Training With Erin–Week 2

February 14, 2014

One week down, a few to go! Week 2 of training was more fun than the last because I felt even more challenged. I am feeling really good about how efficient high quality weight training is. I know Erin would probably love me to be a client for life, but I also feel like she is “teaching a woman to fish” and I am absorbing new exercises to keep in my back pocket for when I’m out on my own.

Weight training has always been hard for me to do on my own. I’m really good at doing 15 minutes and making my muscles burn – a little – but I’m really bad at thinking up exercise that really challenge me. Erin is pushing me to the limit, so I hope I can carry that with me when I’m on my own.


Week 2 – Upper Body

upper body: week 2 [18-20 reps]

  1. cable rope high row – 50lbs x 18 x 2
  2. freemotion low to high chest fly – 10lbs x 10 + 15lbs x 8 | 13lbs x 18
  3. slider mountain climbers – bodyweight x 30s | bodyweight x 45s
  4. marine core pushups – bodyweight x 18 x 2
  5. incline bench hammer curls – 12.5lbs x 14 | 10 x 8
  6. decline bench abs with medicine ball drop – 8 x 18

We started with upper body this week and I was glad since I had done a lot of lower body work in the few days before in classes (cycle, yoga and things). I was actually having a pretty bad morning thus far when I arrived – Mazen had been particularly testy and getting out of the house by 8:30am was a challenge. But I made it, and Erin greeted me with 2 laps around the track. They were actually really refreshing and reset my buttons for the workout ahead.

We started with the most challenging exercise we’ve done so far – a back row done in an air squat. (It’s really hard for me to describe everything we do because I’m not all that familiar with the lingo!). We used a really heavy weight and I could barely finish! I kept breathing though, and did fine.

My competitive side came out when Erin had me do 18 Marine Corps pushups – the kind where you dip under an imaginary bar. She told me I could take a break at 10, but I kept going and completed all 18 in a row not just the first time but our second rep too. I found them easier than traditional pushups because the core isn’t as activated.

I have told Erin that my stabilizing muscles often give out before the ones I’m working on. Like in traditional pushups, my core tires before my shoulders do. My back tires before my glutes in squats. Or in lunges my toes start to hurt before my quads do. We are trying to figure this out, and Erin is doing a good job of choosing exercises that are challenging and multipurpose.

By the end of our session I was pretty tired. I didn’t really get out of breath, yet I felt as tired as if I had done cardio for 30 minutes. This must be the magic of weights!

Week 2 – Lower Body

We took a few photos this time! Although they’re anything but crisp – I was busy working!


lower body: week 2 [18-20 reps]

  1. oly bar full sit to stand – oly bar x 20 (4 risers) | oly bar x 20 (3 risers) | ATG squat – oly bar x 10
  2. weighted full sit up – 10lbs x 10 flat x 10 crossed legs | 15lbs x 18 crossed legs
  3. single leg squat off step – bodyweight x 18R/L (#4)
  4. TRX hamstring 3x threat – bodyweight x 18
  5. clamshells – bodyweight x 5 each R/L
  6. TRX plank with open/close legs – bodyweight x 20

Today’s lower body workout was our hardest yet. I used to (as of 2 weeks ago) think that lower body exercises were a lot easier than upper body – perhaps because I do a lot of running and things and my lower body is in shape. But when you really challenge those big muscles you feel it from head to toe! I was wishing I was working a tiny tricep in the middle of this workout : )


I also broke a sweat this time (It’s really hard to get me to sweat!), and felt legitimately tired at the end. We ended with the hardest exercise yet – killer hamstring curls using the TRX equipment. I could barely finish my 18 reps of these they hurt my hamstrings so badly!

Legs in and out on the suspended hooks –


I’m feeling really good about this program! I asked Erin if she thought I was doing enough to really gain strength and muscle and she said absolutely since our program is in addition to all the other classes I do throughout the week (like 2x Athletic Conditioning, which includes a fair amount of strength). We are also headed into heavier weight territory in the next few weeks, so I have a feeling we’re just getting started!

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jackie February 14, 2014 at 8:37 am

These workouts look hard!


2 Alissa @ Eat Clean Beauty Queen February 14, 2014 at 9:02 am

Ahh the TRX straps are KILLER! I’ve never heard of Marine Corps pushups before. Sound hard!


3 Jesse February 14, 2014 at 9:16 am

i’m still such a cardio girl, but i need to incorporate weight routines like this into my workout. thanks for sharing!


4 meredith @ The Cookie ChRUNicles February 14, 2014 at 9:28 am

It takes a lot to get me to sweat too! I thought I was the only one…


5 Marisa @ Uproot from Oregon February 14, 2014 at 9:41 am

I love hearing that you are having such a positive experience. I try my best to push myself with weights, but like you said, it is hard to think of routines and push yourself to the point of sweating.


6 SD February 14, 2014 at 9:47 am

If your stabilizing muscles are giving out then you need to work on your core. Try Pilates or a slow paced yoga class.


7 Anele @ Success Along the Weigh February 14, 2014 at 9:57 am

Good for you! You’ll be able to crack walnuts with your biceps in no time! 😉


8 Rachel February 14, 2014 at 10:47 am

I do full classes of TRX. We start with 10 minutes of cardio, then we do TRX for about 20 minutes, we do another 3-5 minutes of cardio and back to TRX again for another 20 and stretch. If the class is big than half the class is TRX and the other half is some sort of other strength building circuit and we rotates. I really did not enjoy exercise all that much, but I adore TRX. There is always a way to make the movements more challenging, which scratches my itch for competition. I have trouble pushing myself on my own, but in TRX, sweat drips off of me.


9 Dana @ Conscious Kitchen Blog February 14, 2014 at 11:14 am

This sounds like a great program. I love running and yoga, but lately I’ve really wanted to get more into strength training lately. I never really considered working with a trainer before, I always thought of them more for weight-loss clients or elite athletes, but I think I’ll see what options my gym has. Thanks for sharing your experience.


10 Ali February 14, 2014 at 2:36 pm

Man, I wish I could fit in as much exercise as you do! And to be able to do it when I have the most energy (mid-morning)! My work just doesn’t allow it so I have to fit it in when and where I can but unfortunately, I only get 2-3 chances a week and I’m usually dead tired by the time those come around! Question – how in the world do you wear a hat working out inside! That would drive me crazy!


11 KathEats February 14, 2014 at 4:04 pm

Haha it keeps my hair from floping around. I love it!


12 [email protected] February 14, 2014 at 3:26 pm

Sounds great! So many exercises I’ve never even heard of! Erin should totally posts vids of them on youtube! :)


13 Alison @ Daily Moves and Grooves February 14, 2014 at 4:16 pm

Hamstring curls are killer! I’ve done them on an exercise ball before, but I should try them on TRX next time.
Marine corps pushups sound challenging too! I kinda want to go try them out right now. :)


14 linda February 14, 2014 at 5:13 pm

Hi! What kind of workout shoes are those? I remember you posting once that asics were your favorite tennis shoe?


15 KathEats February 14, 2014 at 9:36 pm

Asiacs…The 2170s are my favs


16 Livi February 15, 2014 at 6:18 am

looks great! I really want to add more strength training to my routine!


17 Aishah @ Coffee, Love, Health February 15, 2014 at 10:19 am

Ahhh Kath I’m so excited to see your results with weights. Everyone in the world raves about the difference weights make. When losing weight, I focused on cardio but saw the biggest difference when I would incorporate some weights. I am really trying to “allow” myself to focus on them because I tend to get stuck on Cardio since the sweat just makes me feel good in general. But I know weights work too! :) Excited to see your progress :)


18 Carolyn February 15, 2014 at 12:39 pm

Wow! You’re in such good shape! Even though I try to workout, I’m a mess lol. Do you think you could post a video of how to do a proper push up? I always think I’m doing them wrong :)


19 Hailey February 18, 2014 at 8:18 am
20 Kate @KateMovingForward February 17, 2014 at 9:15 pm

Wow! This looks so intense in a good way! I definitely don’t push myself enough in strength training and I like to stick to workouts that focus on moves I’m good at. I love that your trainer is pushing you out of your comfort zone!


21 Hailey February 18, 2014 at 8:29 am

Core weakness is extremely common and often originates in the glutes, which are “lazy” and tend to let other, smaller muscles (quads, low back erectors, hamstrings) take over the work they should be doing. You would probably benefit from adding in some glute-specific exercises, such as glute bridges and kettlebell pull-throughs, and working to exhaustion (this may take a while, as the glutes are large and powerful).

I’m sure your trainer has gone over this with you, but external cues can help during exercises such as squats. Try to “tuck” your pelvis under, rather than extending your lumbar spine (i.e. sticking your butt out), and begin the squat by squeezing your glutes tightly and “screwing” your ankles laterally into the ground. This prevents the abdominal muscles from going slack and helps prevent ankle impingement. Then, when you begin to squat, pretend you are sitting down in a chair that’s directly below your butt, activating your glutes *first* (many people bend at the knees or waist to start, which puts undue stress on quads and back). Don’t even activate your knee joint until you’re about halfway down. When you come back up, focus your glutes again – you’re essentially bringing your hips back into full extension, glutes being the primary extensors of the hip joint.

Hope this helps!


22 Cassie February 18, 2014 at 1:07 pm

I’ve always made sure I brace myself right out of the rack. So when you unrack, make sure your already tight. The cues I’ve used for core tightening/bracing are:
-Tighten your glutes
-Pull your ribs down (tightening your core but for me, the mental image of pulling the ribs down always helps)
-elbows tight and pulling “down” on the bar (you can think pulling your elbows back but sometimes that gives unnecessary stress to that joint)

that always helps me keep my core engaged on the squat and tight, to help protect my lower back.


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