I’ve been working hard at this fitness thing for over a year now. At my new gym, I tried new classes, and I found several I liked, and I have been attending them regularly. At the same time, I feel like I haven’t been doing as “good” (I hate that phrase – so judgy) as I had been last year. I put on a t-shirt that’s more fitted and it suddenly doesn’t fit the same as it did last summer, and I think I’m figuring out why.

Last winter, I vowed that I was going to work on adding strength training, but I never got around to it. Don’t get me wrong, I took a strength training class back when I first joined, and it was amazing. But on Wednesdays, the Zumba instructor was awful, so I switched to Pilates instead, which is kind of like strength training, though not a weights class. And I didn’t want to have two non cardio days in a row, which meant I “had” to do Zumba on Thursdays then, which is the only day they offer strength training during the day, and I pretty much have to go to the gym while the wee ones are at school. Ergo, no weights.

Top 5 reasons to add a strength training class to your workout routine

Now there’s a new Zumba instructor on Wednesday, and she’s great. And I’m back to doing the strength training class on Thursdays. I’m happy I’m doing it. I walk out of that class hot and exhausted, something I never expected from a strength training class. Those toned arms I was hoping for? They’re starting to come, just a little bit. And my t-shirt doesn’t show quite as many lumps.

I’ve been reminded of a few things while doing the strength training class. The first is that it doesn’t matter what I do. I’m here for me, not for the people around me. Just like in every other class, we’re focused on ourselves and not what the people around us are or are not doing. Just because the people around me are using 10 pound weights (seriously, 10 pound weights for an hour long class? That takes serious strength – or your form suffers) doesn’t mean I should take what they do. Instead, I need to take the weights that are right for me. Second, I’ve figured out that choosing two sets of weights means that I can use heavier weights when I’m able to and switch to lighter weights when my muscles can’t handle it. And the more I do the class, the more time I can spend with heavier weights without compromising my form.

Are you doing a strength training class right now? If not, here’s my top 5 reasons why you should!

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