Out of My Comfort Zone: Lifting Weights Thanks to Suzanne @WorkoutNirvana

6 Nov

Many of you know that Suzanne (@workoutnirvana) and I conspired to swap workouts this week. Here’s Suzanne’s plan for me and my plan for her.) We’re both fit, well trained, and love our routines (I’m a high rep girl, she’s a lifter), but we also recognize the importance of mixing it up. (Check out Suzanne’s update on how she fared with my low-weight, high rep routine.) 

Suzanne put an UBER SPECIAL Full Body Weight Routine together for me. (Really, you should check out this post – it’s loaded with great information and video demos.) I’m so grateful for her thoughtful attention to the order, exercises, and instructions. I learned so much so much and am reminded that I like to lift! I will definitely be incorporating some straight weight training into my program.

Why This Was Such a Great Idea

  1. Mix it up: We know we need to confuse our muscles and balance different types of workouts for full body fitness. This was great for me because I don’t typically lift weights and it was a fun way to try new things and get out of my comfort zone.
  2. Mind in the game: No checking out on this one – I had to refer to my notes and pay attention. I was in the game for the full hour. (Well almost… I had a lapse after the leg press and before the iron cross LOL.)
  3. Be Accountable: This was the digital version of a workout buddy – with all the benefits of having a plan and sticking to it. The fact is, on my own, I would probably never lift weights for an hour, but I did. On my own, I would have skimped and cheated on a few things, and I didn’t. On my own, I would have given up on the cable machine adjustments and gone to something that I was more comfortable with, but I didn’t.
  4. It was fun: I don’t always think about workout as fun, but the planning and plotting and anticipating this one was F-U-N. I don’t know about you, but if there’s fun involved, I’m more likely to do it!

Play by Play Recap – 60 Minute Full Body Weight Workout

Warm Up on the Elliptical. The routine called for 5 minutes, but I threw in a few extra because it felt so good (and I was a bit scared to move on).

Walking Lunges w Weights (15 lb dumbells) – I was careful with this one and am always cautious at the start of a routine. This definitely got my heart rate up and I could totally feel my legs working at the end of each set. Conclusion? That was plenty of weight for me this time around 😉

Leg Press (2×45 lb plates + 2×35 lb plates = 160 lbs) –  I did leg press earlier this month with less weight, so I was confident that I could safely bump it a bit. This is a great glute burner (I hope that’s what I was supposed to be feeling). (We originally had deadlifts in this spot, but since there are other back exercises, I went for Suzanne’s option of doing these instead – besides, I’m at the gym – I can’t do these at home, right?)

Calf Raises – Confession #1 – I forgot them! I was so excited to get to the iron cross and barbell I spaced out (I guess I checked out for part of the game and forgot to check my list LOL).

Iron Cross (5 lb dumbbells) – I LOVE this exercise! Suzanne cautioned about the weight, so I stuck with 5 pounders. I busted out 8 reps comfortably – maybe I could have gone higher? But for the first time, I was playing it safe.

Superset: Bench Press (Olympic barbell + 2×10 lb) & Single Arm Rows (25 lb). I was really excited about this one and found a stranger to “spot” me on the first one – I did the next 2 sets by myself quite comfortably. Bench pressing with the bar made me feel strong! He told me, “You know you can do them with dumbbells.” I smiled and thanked him, thinking, “Yeah, but I’m mixing it up! I’m doing the big bar!” At first I thought I could go heavier on the rows, but I’m glad I didn’t. Supersetting these 2 exercises was PLENTY challenging in terms of the intensity & strength. I was plenty fatigued by the 3rd set.

Superset: Flies (15 lb dumbells) & Two Arm Row on Bosu (60 lb cable). The routine called for the crossover machine, but I got approval from Suzanne to do dumbbell flies (I’m short and can hardly reach the high handles on the crossover). I spent some time finding the right cable machine and handle to do the the two arm row – and CONFESSION #2 – I totally chickened out on the Bosu. I just didn’t feel comfortable enough – dang it! Instead, I encouraged another girl who was struggling on the Bosu, so I’m counting that for something.

Superset: Bicep Curls (40 lb cable) & Tricep Pressdowns (50 lb cable). Home stretch people – ha! I was very awkward with trying adjust the machine and handles, but I stuck with it and didn’t quit. Supersetting biceps and triceps is always a killer and that weight was plenty challenging – thank you very much.

Abs x 3 Sets: Hanging Leg Raises (15), Decline Crunches (15), & Reverse Crunches (15). I gotta say, I was tired at this point and I don’t do a lot of traditional ab work, so this was hard! But I was determined to stay strong, so I breathed and grunted through a few of them….

Cool Down: I was tired, but felt good. I walked for a few minutes on the treadmill and enjoyed leisurely stretches on the mat.

So how am I feeling? My muscles are tired, my body is hungry, and my soul is energized – so this was a success!

So what are you doing to mix up your workouts? Care to join us for some workout swaps? We’d LOVE to have you 😉

12 Responses to “Out of My Comfort Zone: Lifting Weights Thanks to Suzanne @WorkoutNirvana”

  1. Suzanne @WorkoutNirvana November 6, 2010 at 12:10 pm #

    Hot damn girl! You did great! Good job going outside your comfort zone and I’m glad it wasn’t too much or too little. I don’t usually do a full-body weights routine – usually do splits – so glad to hear it was challenging! I’ll be working on my post-killer Kris workout! Thanks again Kris, love our digital connection!

    • Kris O'Connor @Krazy_Kris November 6, 2010 at 12:17 pm #

      Thank you SO much! It was PERFECT – that really is the great thing about weights – because there’s so many ways to switch it up & switch the intensity for whatever reasons. You’re a “real” lifter – doing splits and all – I’ve never really done that before, it seems too hard! And yes, I love the digital connection – this was loads of fun! It’s strange how social media can motivate us and get us out of our comfort zone. Go figure…. Have a great day!

  2. Rita @ Fitblogger November 7, 2010 at 1:20 am #

    So frickin cool! Love the routine too, what fun.

    • Kris O'Connor @Krazy_Kris November 7, 2010 at 6:05 am #

      Thanks Rita! I gotta say – it was SO fun to do! I’m guessing we’ll totally do it again – perhaps you can join us? Share a routine to swap? TY ~

  3. Caroline Calcote November 7, 2010 at 6:25 am #

    Hey Kris! Thanks for the comment on my C25K page. Are we from the same gen? I’m 41. Anyways, I’ve been trying to mix things up by trying some new classes at the gym. I’m always stupidly intimidated by new group fitness. Why? I’ve been doing Bodypump forever. So I decided to try BodyFlow, which is yoga/pilates/taichi, and I’m loving it. Also, tried a new class called Total Tone. Now if I could just get over my fear of spin class and give that a try!

    • Kris O'Connor @Krazy_Kris November 7, 2010 at 6:40 am #

      Hehehe – I’m 43 but my son is older than yours (he’s counting the days to LEAVE) – ha! I’ve never beenI big on the group stuff – my sis had me go to step – now THAT’S out of my comfort zone! But as klutzy as I am, I think it’s good. I’ve been wanting to try some of the yoga/pilates/taichi stuff – hmmmm – you’ve got me thinking. Spin? I haven’t done it in a while, but you can totally do it! It is kind of fun (especially if you like the music they play). Thanks so much for stopping by – happy Sunday to you 😉

  4. Deb Roby November 7, 2010 at 7:48 am #

    So my thoughts as I read this:

    I LOVE that Suzanne gave you a full body workout. Most people should be doing these instead of the splits. And this one well designed.

    You could keep this basic workout (changing up reps, intensity and tempo) indefinitely. -muscles aren’t smart enough to need a whole lot of change -that’s more for our minds.

    Leg press: 160# weight PLUS the 70# bar. Very respectable leg press. A woman who’s been working out a while (more than a year) should be able to press 1.5x her body weight.

    Walking lunges are fun (it an it-hurts-so-good sorta way). Sometime at the gym, throw the little 20 or 30# barbell on your shoulders and try them too. Forces you to concentrate on your posture.

    I freakin LOVE women using the olympic bar. And thank you for asking for a spot on your first set. Hope you kept your hands wide enough apart.

    Rows. Chickening out on the BOSU is fine. It’s a fairly advanced unstable move. Next time you do this workout (you WILL do it more, right?), try it standing on only one leg. Make sure you stand up straight-don’t lean back and keep the support leg slightly bent. It’s a great challenging exercise.

    Next time y’all play, I just might want in.

    • Kris O'Connor @Krazy_Kris November 7, 2010 at 8:07 am #

      Thanks Deb! YES – this was a BRILLIANT routine – I learned so much from it – Suzanne put a lot of time and thought putting it together with great tips & video demos – I’m so grateful to her.
      I will DEFINITELY do this more – I’m gonna do a full body LIFT session 1x per week – I know it will balance my fitness path.
      Leg press? I did that on the machine (the one where you’re lying at an angle – so I’m not sure about the bar. Is there additional weight in addition to the plates? EEEK! I gotta say, I was pretty stoked about that – challenging but doable. And my bike coach (aka boyfriend of mega years) has encouraged me to do more leg/weight training – so I’m stoked about this.
      Love your ideas about the walking lunges – I’ll def give that a go. What is it about the walking lunges that make them so much harder than stationary ones? I can’t figure that out… And yes, when I “walk” those lunges, I have to think about my posture because my tendency is to lean my upper body forward a smidge. Sometimes I hold a plate straight up (smidge forward from ears) and that helps me stay upright.
      I LOVED using the olympic bar – I sort of wanted to add more weight, but I felt silly asking the guy to spot me for 2×5 lbs more LOL. And yes, nice wide grip. Next time I won’t chicken out and I’ll bump it a smidge with some help.
      Great tip on the rows! It’s funny, cuz I do a lot of pull up type work, but not a lot of rows, so this was great to incorporate.
      We would LOVE to have you! Dream up a workout and we’ll play 3-way – it will be awesome!
      Thanks again Deb ~


  1. An Endurance Workout for a Weights Girl (Thanks Kris!) | Workout Nirvana - November 6, 2010

    […] Today @Krazy_Kris and I swapped workouts – I gave her a full-body weights routine and she gave me a top-to-bottom endurance routine. We both went outside our comfort zones to do something we don’t normally do – she lifted weights and I focused on endurance. (See her post-workout results here.) […]

  2. Mixing It Up – Swapping Workouts with Suzanne @WorkoutNirvana « The Heart & Humor of Being Human - November 9, 2010

    […] View My Recap of Her Workout […]

  3. Workout Swap: High-Intensity Weights Routine for Kris | Workout Nirvana - November 28, 2010

    […] a wide variety of training routines herself. (We’ve swapped workouts before – see how Kris did with mine and I did with hers.) Kris focuses on functional, full-body routines and has seen amazing results […]

  4. Lifting Weights – My Workout Swap Recap « The Heart & Humor of Being Human - December 10, 2010

    […] Workout Swap #1 – My Recap of Suzanne’s Full Body Weight Routine […]

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