I do plenty of cardio -- walking, running, cycling, swimming (soon), and kickboxing -- which has helped improved my fitness, build endurance, and shed several pounds. Even though I am at a healthy weight, I still have a bit of belly fat I'd like to do without, and I'd like my body to be more toned in general. So it's time that I seriously consider a strength training routine because feeding muscle helps burn more fat and will make me stronger. I've dabbled in it a bit with body weight exercises -- push ups, squats, lunges, core exercises, and even yoga -- because I hate lifting weights. These have helped and my upper body is definitely stronger, but it's not enough. I do not do it consistently, and don't know enough to do it on my own.
I joined the YMCA at downtown Orlando a few weeks ago, and got set up in their machines circuit, but I am still at a loss as to the right amount of weight, reps, and sets. I talked to Tim, one of their exercise class instructors and directors, and he recommended Body Pump 3x a week for best results. This morning was my first class, and it went well. It was challenging, but not as hard as I build up to be in my head.
Since this was my first time, I took it easy on the weights while I got used to the exercises. I can probably handle more weight next time now that I know what to expect. I did most of the squats and lunges at the end with just body weight. I mainly want to strengthen my upper body and not tire my legs too much. I may focus on lower body more after the marathon, but for now body weight squats and lunges will suffice.
I'll definitely be back next week. I don't want to add too much too fast, especially now that I am in marathon taper mode, so I'm going to try this once a week for now and see how it goes. I'll build up to 2-3 times a week after the marathon if I can find a way to fit into my triathlon training schedule.