Back to Strength Training!

At long last, I finally got back to strength training and went twice this week.  I made this one of my goals starting out this year.  From mid-2015 to mid-2016, I had worked twice a week with a personal trainer doing strength training.  Then I had to stop when I did my plastic surgery.  I wasn’t fully cleared to do all strength training until around the start of this year.

In January, I rejoined the Y and said I would start going at least twice a week.  And, then, I just…didn’t.  No real excuse.  Yes, I had a lot of things going on.  But, if I wanted to make it a priority I could have made it a priority.  I always just found it easier to use busy schedule as reason not to go.  When I go off track, I find it really hard to get back on.

The past 5 weeks or so I finally got back into using my treadmill, but I knew I really needed to strength train.  So, Tuesday I went with my husband to the Y.  I had actually planned to do it last week, but the hurricane legitimately derailed that (Y was closed most of the week).

We are actually going to a different Y than the one I went to before.  The old one I went to is a little closer, but I like the facilities and equipment at the new Y a little better.  It is also larger and has a greater variety of equipment.  I can still go the the other Y if I want to, so we’ll see if I like the new one better.

One thing that was different on Tuesday was that they had a number of different machines than the other Y had.  For right now, I am going to mostly do machines.  I did use free weights for my biceps since I didn’t like the bicep curl machine.  And, really, it is just as easy to use free weights.

On Tuesday I spent 10 minutes on the elliptical to warm up, and then just did 20 minutes on weights.  I was mostly just getting familiar with the machines and figuring my starting weights to use.  It was deflating to realize that I was pretty much back where I had been when I started in 2015.  It wasn’t surprising, of course.  I do think that if I had started back at the beginning of the year I wouldn’t have lost quite as much strength as I’ve lost.

Today, I went in and did a full 40 minute workout.  I did it by myself without a trainer.  I may set up one or two sessions with a trainer to get a program designed for me, but I don’t think I need the trainer there every time I exercise.  I mostly did that before because it kept me honest and not skipping sessions because I was too “busy” or whatever.  We’ll see how I do this time.

I did wear a chest strap heart monitor along with my Fitbit Blaze.  I know from past experience that Fitbits are terrible are measuring heart rate and calories during weight training.

The above is what I got from my chest strap.  It said that I averaged 117 beats per minute on my heart rate and that I burned 265 calories.  And, that heart rate is about how it felt.

I used a Polar chest strap and synced it with the iCardio app from Fitdigits (used to be Digifit) on my phone.  This gets uploaded to Fitdigits which then syncs the data to my Fitbit so that I get the 265 calorie burn from this workout.  Note, however, that the Fitdigits heart rata data and chart don’t get written to Fitbit.  Fitbit uses the length of workout and calorie burn from the chest strap, but uses its heart rate data.  Which is kind of weird.

The Fitdigits Spin is the 11 minute warm up I spent on the exercise bike.  I didn’t use the elliptical because I noticed on Tuesday that the elliptical was making my knee hurt.  So the calorie burn of 55 is from the chest strap/iCardio while the 100 bpm are from my Fitbit Blaze.  This was the same as the average bpm shown by my chest strap.  Which was great.

The weight training was different.  The chest strap/iCardio said my heart rate was an average 117 bpm during the weight training.  And, that seems right.  Fitbit, however, recorded an average of 93 bpm.  That would have probably worked out to about 120 beats per minute had I simply worn the Blaze and not recorded a workout.  Since I did wear a chest strap, though, I synced the calorie burn from that to my Fitbit and got credit for burning 264 calories although Fitbit still says my heart rate was 93 average bpm.

By the way, had I not had the chest strap on the most accurate calorie burn information during weight lifting would have been to enter a workout in Fitbit for weights and put in how long I exercised.  Had I done that, Fitbit would have given me credit for burning 224 calories.  That is still less than the chest strap/iCardio (and my even be more accurage), but is way closer than the 120 calories or so that it would have been if I didn’t record a weights workout.

When using a Fitbit and doing non-step based activity it is important to either wear a chest strap heart rate monitor or to record a workout specifying what you were doing.

Anyway — I’m glad that I got back to strength training.  I want to do it a minimum of twice a week and, ideally, 3 days a week.


  1. KAREN says

    Glad that you are back to strength training. I belong to the Y in Maryland and we have a program called Fit Quest that you can log into on your visit and the system will create a strength training session for you. You can specialize it for whole body or splits or if you want to you use free weights only and or the machine. The program will tell you how much to lift and it is really helpful. I don’t feel to lost in my strength sessions..

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