On June 1st, I started strength training at a very local (only 1 1/2 miles away!) gym (McKenna's). I am a complete novice to the free weight world but Mike, the trainer, is patient and better yet, has the know-how and direct experience to teach anyone the correct way to strength train whether they are old, young, female, male, in shape, or out of shape. He knows his stuff and knows how to communicate it.
So, what have I learned from this foray into this new world?
1. I like how it varies from session to session, because I get bored easily with routine and Mike switches it up. I lifted weights in several different forms (I won't list them because I am so new I will screw up the names), swung kettlebells, used some godawful machine that works your glutes and hamstrings, used rings to do body rows, smacked a medicine ball into the floor 100 times, lifted dumbbells and kettlebells over my head, and several other things I've probably forgotten by now. All in three sessions so far. Looking forward to whatever is next. No mind-numbing cardio or machines.
2. DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) will set in. First session, I felt the squats about 36 hours later in first my hamstrings, then my quads, then my glutes. What is interesting is that the soreness travels from one area to another, which is fascinating to this Anatomy teacher as I try to identify the specific muscle that is affected. My cervical vertebrae also let me know that I needed to lower that bar just a bit onto my trapezius muscles next time I did squats with a weighted bar. Nice reinforcement. Second session, my legs felt like I had been doing this for years (side benefit of DOMS, apparently) and my traps, deltoid, and latissimus dorsi muscles felt the brunt. Again, in a sort of one-at-a-time progression. Third session, the deltoids and biceps are feeling it, but I expect the triceps to kick in a bit later. None of this has been bad. In fact, it's almost a good pain (that sounds kinky) but it's kind of cool how you can almost feel the muscles getting stronger. By 48 hours, all pain will be gone and I'll be ready for the next session. Doing stuff in between sessions definitely helps the process move along quicker.
3. My left arm is weaker than my right. Kind of knew that but the knowledge was reinforced when I could lift the kettlebell with my right arm for the complete set, but my left arm said no way about half way through and refused to budge.
4. My VFFs have been accepted so far. They feel really stable to me as I work. I really hate traditional athletic type shoes - they hurt my flexible feet and my toes like their freedom - but if I see a need, I will invest in a pair of weightlifting shoes if I have to.
5. I am pleasantly surprised to find that there are other people in the area who know paleo/primal eating. That is a relief since I don't have to go through explaining what it is, why it works, that it is based on sound science and research, and how Conventional Wisdom has had it wrong for so long.
6. Going to a Mumford and Sons concert and spending 3 hours hopping up and down to the music without any tiredness in my legs proved that this strength training stuff has practical applications as well.
Speaking of Mumford and Sons, here's a little clip for your listening pleasure. It's from an iPhone so please excuse the sound and picture quality.