I’m a proud card-carrying member of LA Fitness (again).


This works out well because today is the first day of a 12-week weight lifting challenge! 


Like a lot of women, I know how to get my cardio in, but I admit – I have no idea how to lift weights.  So I’ve enlisted Gina’s (the Fitnessista) help because she’s a certified personal trainer and looks a-maz-ing.   Gina looks like she stepped out of a fitness magazine!


If anyone is going to tell me how to lift weights, it’s Gina!


My plan consists of 3 days of weight lifting and is broken down into synergistic muscle groups (shoulders, chest and triceps, legs, back and biceps). According to Gina, synergistic muscles act together to perform the same movement (when you perform a "row", you’re mainly using your back but the biceps are assisting in the movement, making them synergist muscles). By splitting the muscle groups this way, it ensures that each group isn’t overworked and has adequate time to repair into lean muscle.


While at LA Fitness, I did a body fat assessment.  I have 19% body fat.  I’m interested to see if a cardio and weight-lifting plan lowers this measurement (a female “athlete’s” body fat should range from 14 – 20%).  I’m going to use the measurements and pictures I posted yesterday as my “before” statistics.


Plan details:


  • I’ll be doing cardio 4 to 5 days a week.  Since I injured my foot during the marathon, I’ll be sticking to swimming and biking for the first month or so of the plan.
  • This strength plan will be performed in conjunction with training for a Triathlon (or AquaBike, depending on the foot) and a Century (100 mile) Bike Race.
  • On the days I lift weights, I’ll do shorter, less intense cardio workouts.
  • I’m aiming for 3 sets of 10 –12 repetitions.
  • Gina told me to choose weights that are challenging, but that light enough that I can fully complete at least 10 reps at that weight for each set. I should be pushing myself to finish the last two reps of each set. If I can easily do 15 or more reps of that exercise with the current weight, it’s time to increase the weight!
  • To see the best results, I should continue to try to eat a clean, balanced diet.  According to Gina, what we look like is 80% nutrition, 10% working out, and 10% genetics. 
  • If you don’t know what some of these exercises are, do some Internet research or ask a personal trainer at your gym.
  • For more details about the plan, check out Fitnessista.


Here’s the plan:


Day 1: Shoulders, Chest and Triceps

  • Warm Up: 5 minutes of cardio
  • Overhead press
  • Dips
  • Stability Ball Push Ups
  • Planks
  • Lateral Raise
  • Cable Tricep Extension
  • Stability Ball Leg lifts


Day 2: Legs

  • Warm Up: 5 minutes of cardio
  • Lunge and Lift
  • Stability Ball Hamstring Curl
  • Leg Extension
  • Stability Ball Calf Raises
  • Step Ups
  • Straight leg pullover crunch


Day 3: Back and Biceps

  • Warm Up: 5 minutes of cardio
  • Seated Row
  • Lat pulldown
  • Stability Ball Ys and Ts (alternate between “Y” and “T” with light weights- 3 sets of 10 of each)
  • 21s (can use dumbbells or barbells)
  • Stability Ball Back extension
  • Frog crunches
  • Hammer curls
  • Oblique V-up


I’m also adding abdominal work at the end of each session.


To be sure I know what I’m doing, I created a little notebook to carry around the gym with me:


And I’m writing down how many repetitions and sets I do of each exercise, as well as how much weight I use so I can remember the next week.


In case you can’t read my chicken scratch:


  • Overhead press: 3 sets of 12 with 10-pound dumbbells
  • Dips: 2 sets of 10
  • Stability Ball Push Ups:  I swapped out girlie push-ups and did 2 sets of 12.  My arms was burning too much to balance on the ball! 
  • Planks: 2 30-second planks
  • Lateral Raise: 3 sets of 10 with 5-pound dumbbells
  • Cable Tricep Extension: 3 sets of 12 with 30 pounds
  • Stability Ball Leg lifts: Skipped because I need Gina to tell me what these are! 🙂
  • Bicycle Crunches: 90 crunches


I didn’t do any cardio with my weight lifting today because my foot hurts, and we were short on time.  Today was a shoulders, chest, and triceps day, which worked out well because I didn’t have to put any weight on my foot. 


This was SO HARD and CHALLENGING.  My arms were quivering towards the end.  I’m excited to have something new to focus on, especially with the bum leg holding me back from running.  🙂


I came home and made a yummy post-workout lunch, which included a grilled cheese stuffed with asparagus and kidney beans.


And a fruit salad:


Who’s game to join the Intro to Iron Pumping Challenge?



  • megan January 13, 2010, 1:24 pm

    great challenge! My current goal is to do Jillian Michaels no more trouble zones dvd twice a week. I love how it focuses on strength and endurance together. since I’m doing that, I can’t relaly the iron pumping challenge, but I’ll be cheering you on!

  • Estela @ Weekly Bite January 13, 2010, 1:26 pm

    What a great challenge! I need to get back into more weight training !

  • Heather (The Single Dish) January 13, 2010, 1:27 pm

    Great challenge! I would join but I just started training for a 1/2 marathon and have to focus on that. My sister, an experience marathon runner, created a program for me to follow. It has 2 days of strength training along with running…always have to keep up the strength training!

  • Tracey @ TropicalHappiness January 13, 2010, 1:27 pm

    Great challenge! I LOVE strength training and recently (last week) revamped my routine. I won’t do the same routine as you, but I’ll be joining you on the 12 week challenge!

  • Maya January 13, 2010, 1:29 pm

    I am so game! Weights scare me because I feel so lost in that area of the gym! I’m pumped to have a plan and a definite path.

  • Kelly January 13, 2010, 1:29 pm

    That’s an awesome challenge, I just started a 3 day a week program myself, so I’ll kinda be on board, just a little different 🙂

  • The Hot and Fit January 13, 2010, 1:30 pm

    Wow sounds awesome! I am very much in!

  • Casey @Spicy&Sweet January 13, 2010, 1:30 pm

    Your lunch looks so yummy! I need to try stuffing grilled cheese with asparagus.

    I’M GAME!!

  • Matt January 13, 2010, 1:31 pm

    Maybe I will revamp my strength training! I can run well, but my weight lifting routine SUCKS. Haha I just kind of go there and mess around and hope I am doing it right.

  • Mrs. Myers @ Eat Move Write January 13, 2010, 1:31 pm

    Good for you! My best friend is a fitness model and she’s very into weights. They are definitely fun. It’s a challenge. Enjoy!

  • Morgan @ Life After Bagels January 13, 2010, 1:31 pm

    I already like strength training, but I do it with no real direction, and possibly horrible form. I’m so ready to kick myself into top notch!

  • Jessica @ How Sweet January 13, 2010, 1:32 pm

    You are going to look awesome girl!!

  • Sonja @ ActiveFoodie January 13, 2010, 1:32 pm

    I’d love to join! Unfortunately, 1.) I don’t belong to a gym, instead I belong to a sort of botique facility where they combine either 30 min spin or run w/ 30 min resistance & it’s the BEST workout! And 2.) even if I did belong to a gym there is just no way I could get to a gym 4 days/week – life of an attorney :(. So I willl have to stick w/ my 3 days of am runs + 1 day cross/resistance. However, if I ever get a new job that can accomidate this plan, I’d love to try!!!

  • Katie January 13, 2010, 1:32 pm

    I saw Gina’s post this AM and was really excited because I am so bad at having a plan of a attack for weight training, I usually wander and do random machines or weights. I commented over there that I would like to try out her plan so I will hop on a 12 week challenge. The notebook is a fantastic idea to keep track of it all.

  • Carrie January 13, 2010, 1:32 pm

    I’m excited to see your plan. I plan to give it a try. Right now I’m taking an aerobics class at our gym which is 2 nights a week plus I’m running. I would like to do a 5k in February. I’m looking for things that are going to keep me going. I LOVE challenges!!!! P.S. I stumbled upon your website last week and I’m hooked.

    • Caitlin January 13, 2010, 1:33 pm

      yay! thanks for stopping by!

  • Sana January 13, 2010, 1:33 pm

    I am in!!!!!!!!! Going to the gym is soo much fun- seriously there are some funny people there, I don’t realize that I am in pain until after I leave!
    Will you have demos of these exercises?

    • Caitlin January 13, 2010, 1:38 pm

      maybe? if i can get the husband to take pictures of me at the gym… which might be hard. i just googled the ones i didnt recognize.

    • gina (fitnessista) January 13, 2010, 1:41 pm

      hey sana,
      if you click the links for the workout moves on my page, there are demos for each move:
      hope you enjoy it!

  • Amber from Girl with the Red Hair January 13, 2010, 1:34 pm

    Looks great! I just started strength training again this week – I’m also training for a half-marathon so my focus is running BUT I will be doing full-body strength 2-3 days a week! I did my first workout on Monday and HOLY MAN am I ever sore. I did the workout out of the “New Rules of Lifting for Women” book. It was intense!

    Good luck with your strength training, I’m excited to follow along!

  • betsy January 13, 2010, 1:35 pm

    OOh I love this plan! thanks for sharing, I would love to join you!!

  • Nicci@NiftyEats January 13, 2010, 1:35 pm

    I need some weight lifting in my life. I’m ready for a challenge.

  • Tiffany January 13, 2010, 1:35 pm

    LOVE IT! When I read your post this morning I was anxiously awaiting this post! I have really been looking to add strength training like this and I cannot wait to begin this.

    PS All your sammies make me wish I could still eat bread! Maybe one day I will be brave enough to try the gluten free.

  • rebecca January 13, 2010, 1:36 pm

    I’m in! I am getting married in May and want to be looking my very best. I started lifting regularly a few months ago and it really is amazing how my body has changed already. I keep getting asked if I have lost weight…but I have actually gained a few lbs. of muscle!

  • Jamie in Arkansas January 13, 2010, 1:37 pm

    I’m in! Been focusing more on my strength training lately anyway and this will be a nice change in my routine! Looking forward to seeing results too! Thanks for challenging us Caitlin! 🙂

  • Lee January 13, 2010, 1:37 pm

    Me, Me!

  • Toni January 13, 2010, 1:37 pm

    I do not have a gym membership, but it seems to me most of these things you dont need a gym? I am trying to slim down and tone up, but getting to the gym would be impossible with my scheudle; however, i have the weights and the treadmill and stuff at my house. I’ll have to check out Ginas page too.

    • Caitlin January 13, 2010, 1:38 pm

      many things you don’t need a gym, but you probably need weights. i bet you can find a lot of at-home modifications.

      • Anne January 13, 2010, 1:57 pm

        To save money, we actually just cancelled our gym membership, but thankfully I’m familiar enough with weight training to continue at home! There is so much you can do with just a step and 2-3 different sets of hand weights! I am able to get a full body workout using these, plus a kettlebell. I do a lot of the routines out of the Abs Diet for Women (which includes a full-body weight program), Jari Love DVD’s (Get Extremely Ripped, in particular), and various kettlebell DVD’s. There’s also an iPod touch/iPhone app called “iFitness” that includes pictures of tons of different exercises and a few pre-made routines. It also lets you input your own workouts and exercises and keep track of weights and reps. Just some ideas for those of you trying to save money. You can get all the above-mentioned items for the cost of a 3-4 month membership for 2 people at most gyms! (Plus, you have them for years!) However, I did get a lot out of the BodyPump classes I attended at my gym, which laid the foundation for proper form.

  • Rachel January 13, 2010, 1:39 pm

    I love that you wrote out “girl pushups,” haha. I need to start doing weights, but I don’t think I’m ready yet!

  • Erin January 13, 2010, 1:40 pm

    Last fall I joined a gym that has a computer program that you use to get a print-out of your weight workout when you go in. I love it! No more wondering what machine I should be doing or what weight I should be using. You fill out how many reps you did on each exercise on the print out and then the gym staff enter those numbers into your account. That way it tells you when you need to up the weights!

  • life.art. midnightsnacks. January 13, 2010, 1:44 pm

    I am IN!

  • Emily January 13, 2010, 1:48 pm

    Perfect timing and thanks for the idea I am going on a tropical 2nd honeymoon in March and want to tone up before I go. Even though my trip is in less than 12 weeks, this is a great way to kick-off my work outs. Plus it will be nice to use my gym membership again (I’ve kind of slacked off here lately due to work craziness). This week I also started taking Zumba classes twice a week.

    Can you show us your notebook pages (great suggestion) for the next two strengh days too?

    • Caitlin January 13, 2010, 1:49 pm

      sure can!

      i want to go on a tropical honeymoon… bah.

  • Tay January 13, 2010, 1:49 pm

    I’m down!! Doing less cardio in the past months has led me to doing more strength training. But I’m stuck with my same old strength routine. I need to mix it up!!!

  • Kirsten January 13, 2010, 1:50 pm

    I definitely want to do this! I’m going to start today 🙂

  • Keri January 13, 2010, 1:56 pm

    I’m SO in! I am just starting training for a half…and I know from before that I really need to improve my strength to make it through lots of running! I’m going to try to do it right along with you 🙂

  • Andrea January 13, 2010, 1:59 pm

    About how long minute wise did the work out take?

    • Caitlin January 13, 2010, 2:21 pm

      25 minutes

  • Erica January 13, 2010, 2:01 pm

    I want to do this! I am training for a half marathon and I know that my strength training always goes to the wayside when my mileage increases. I’m going to start next week when the official 12-week half marathon plan begins!

    Do you have a description of the moves? I want to make sure I’m doing them properly!

    • Caitlin January 13, 2010, 2:22 pm

      gina says, if you click the links for the workout moves on my page, there are demos for each move:
      hope you enjoy it!

  • Mandy @ University Cooking January 13, 2010, 2:03 pm

    19% body fat…that is pretty awesome. I will try to join you on the iron pumping challenge. Good luck!

  • Diana @ frontyardfoodie January 13, 2010, 2:05 pm

    that’s so inspiring! I’ve been doing alot more weights since the new year and I absolutely love it. I need to do more interesting work outs though to keep myself interested and looks like you’re doing just that!

  • Wendy January 13, 2010, 2:11 pm

    I am currently training for two half marys + a potential full, so I’m thinking my strength routine should be relatively light. I haven’t got a great routine down yet, but I’m focusing on core strength due to lower back issues. I may have to incorporate some of these moves!

    For a push-up alternative that easier on your knees, try doing regular pushups on a bench instead of doing them on the floor. Tip stolen from “New Rules of Weight Lifting for Women”, which appears to be an excellent program!

  • Brendali January 13, 2010, 2:14 pm

    This is great! My goal this year was to actually add strength training to my workouts! I just had no idea of what kind of program to follow. I am getting married in the Dominican Republic, and I want to have more tone and definition, my skin is flabby and my muscles are non existent! I am so on board with this challenge!

  • Jessica @ Jessica Balances January 13, 2010, 2:15 pm

    What a great challenge! I’m always looking for new moves and routines, so I will definitely try yours out. You are so inspiring – I can’t believe you are starting this new challenege so soon after your marathon!!! You go girl.

  • Jenny @ nutmegger January 13, 2010, 2:21 pm

    What a great spin on grilled cheese! Definitely trying that combination out soon 🙂

  • Marissa January 13, 2010, 2:22 pm

    I love your plan!

  • Alisha (JustBecauseYourSkinny) January 13, 2010, 2:26 pm

    I completely understand how you feel about strength training, it is so hard and boring. Ive never been able to find away to make it fun, but right now I am doing it twice a week and have really been taking it slow. Your challenge is actually perfect timing because I’m only on my second week of training.

    Wow, I’m actually excited to do this challenge with you – keep up the great work.

  • Cynthia (It All Changes) January 13, 2010, 2:27 pm

    Thank you so much for this. I’ve printed it off to put in my gym notebook. I slack on weights because I don’t know what to do. Now I have a good game plan and I want to do it.

  • Laura @ FindingAHealthyBalance...after a 100+ POUND weight loss! January 13, 2010, 2:31 pm

    I am up for the challenge, I can’t do it “everyday” but at least twice a week! Thank you for posting about it. =)

  • Lauren January 13, 2010, 2:31 pm

    Looks like a great workout! I’ve never had my body fat% measured, is there a way to figure it out roughly at home?
    I’m interested in knowing how long these workouts take with the reps you mentioned, I usually only have 30-45 mins available and I am getting pretty addicted to running 🙂

    • Caitlin January 13, 2010, 2:36 pm

      no i dont think so, you need a tool. but i bet you can walk into any gym and ask them to take it. it takes a few minutes and i bet they’d do it.

      • Katie (Sweet Tater) January 13, 2010, 3:15 pm

        i got very curious after reading this too so i searched… while it’s not really accurate, you can use an online calculator to estimate your body fat percentage. i’d be curious to see if it works or not. here is one: http://www.fitwatch.com/qkcalc/body-fat-percentage-calculator.php

        caitlin, if you get a second will you drop your numbers into the calculator and see how the result compares to the one you got at the gym? it’ll be interesting to see if it’s close… thanks!

        • Caitlin January 13, 2010, 3:18 pm

          nope – it says i’m 25.5% body fat. way, way off. not even close enough to say its mostly accurate.

        • Katie January 13, 2010, 3:26 pm

          ha, should have known. thanks for checking!

    • Anna M January 13, 2010, 6:18 pm

      When getting body fat percentage taken, it is important to remember that any measure you get is an estimate, and furthermore that skinfold tests are notoriously VERY inaccurate. Make sure that if you are having skinfolds taken, you find someone who has a degree in exercise science, or a related field, (NOT just a trainer) to take your measurements. For every measurement thereafter, the same person needs to take your measurements. This keeps some consistency, and that way you can track the CHANGE in body fat, but keep in mind, this number is probably not your true bf %. Your best bet is a DEXA scan ( which is really cool, and also shows bone density, as well as lean mass) or hydrostatic ( underwater) weighing.

  • Sara January 13, 2010, 2:37 pm

    Great challenge, this is exactly what I need! One question, though.

    When you do the sequence, do you go about it this way:
    1st set overhead press, 2nd set overhead press, 3rd set overhead press, 1st set dips…etc.

    Or this way:
    1st set overhead press, 1st set dips, 1st set stability ball push ups…etc (x3)

    Just wondering! I have no idea what I’m doing, lol.

    • Caitlin January 13, 2010, 2:39 pm

      The first way, with 30 seconds in between each set. so, overheard presses (12 presses), rest 30 seconds, overhead presses (12 presses), rest, overhead presses (12 presses), rest, then tricep dips, etc.

      • Sara January 13, 2010, 2:50 pm

        Sounds good, this is so helpful. Thanks!

  • Veronica January 13, 2010, 2:39 pm

    I am game! I am just worried I wont remember how to do all of the exercises once I get to the gym, haha

  • Laura @ FindingAHealthyBalance...after a 100+ POUND weight loss! January 13, 2010, 2:44 pm

    Ok, I am about to tailor your schedule above to my 2 day weight schedule now……..I am going to do Shoulders, Chest & Triceps on the 1st Day and Legs, Back & Biceps on the 2nd Day!!!

    It is funny, but my hubby is a body builder (has been for 10+ years) and he is always saying it is a Back & Bi day or Chest & Tri day……now I know why!!! =O

  • Bree@beeskneeslife January 13, 2010, 2:49 pm

    I wouldn’t take too much stock in the bf% numbers (not saying you did) if they used a hand held bio-impedence method like they did at my LA Fitness. It can vary wildly depending on your hydration levels, since that is what it is measuring. Also, I think 14% is really too low for a female athlete, just my opinion. Female figure competitors step on stage around 10-15% and they are crazy lean. The method used can vary so much…all you really want to get from it is that you are making progress, and if you are having someone do calipers, make sure they are qualified and you have the same person do it at the same time of week/month. I am excited to see how your strength training goes! I am big on lifting 🙂

    • Bree@beeskneeslife January 13, 2010, 2:53 pm

      I shouldn’t say 14% is too low, but it is all relative to the measurement you use! Sorry that didn’t come our right 🙂

      • Anna M January 13, 2010, 6:20 pm

        Bree, you are correct. In fact, many women stop menstruating around 18% or lower.

        • gina (fitnessista) January 13, 2010, 9:29 pm

          that is 100% correct. you do not want to go under 18% or it will mess with your baby-making. that being said, the best method to check body fat is with calipers or the “pod” (which is ridiculously expensive in most places– calipers are cheap and pretty dang accurate)
          once you’re done having kids, it’s safer to get your body fat to a lower percent but i never recommend under 18%

  • Liesl January 13, 2010, 2:54 pm

    I absolutely love strength training and the results you get from it! Make sure you are getting enough protein as well, seeing you are a vegetarian and all, this will really increase your muscle growth and help you see results.
    You’ve got a great challenge going, can’t wait to see how it works for you!

  • Erin January 13, 2010, 3:02 pm

    I definitely want to give this a shot — I always fill so funny in the gym when I’m not sure which strength moves to do.

  • Amanda (Two Boos Who Eat) January 13, 2010, 3:04 pm

    This challenge is 100% awesome and would be something FANTASTIC for me to do also. I hurt my knee running recently and want to stay off of it for a while.

    Plus weight training makes you look fantastic! Gina is such an inspiration to me.

    I love your grilled cheese combos.

  • Kate January 13, 2010, 3:04 pm

    I’m in! I’ll be back at school with access to a great weights facility (free!) in a week. Bring it!

  • Lauren @ Eater not a runner January 13, 2010, 3:07 pm

    That grilled cheese looks great, and I really have to get back into strength training….

  • Teacherwoman January 13, 2010, 3:08 pm

    I hear that doing cardio after a good lift session is most benificial! I don’t like doing a lot of weight machines or free weights on my own, that’s why I like taking a bodypump class because we work all muscles all while listening to some awesome music!

  • alli January 13, 2010, 3:17 pm

    i’ve always been interested in what my body fat % is (just out of curiosity). i have calipers at home, but i’m not 100% sure i am doing it correctly. i’ve heard that hydrostatic testing (underwater immersion) is the most accurate method for body fat determination. i would be interested to see if there is a difference between the two outcomes.
    i’m with you on the 12 week challenge! however, ive got a goal in place to run a marathon this year, so my plan is to continue strength training 2 days a week. i love how quickly the results can be seen from lifting. i’ve been consistently strenght training since last june when i did the 90 day p90x prgram. since then i have been switching between those strength videos and the 30 day shred. yesterdays p90x workout was actually chest, shoulder and triceps 🙂 oh those chair dips are intense! even harder with one leg lifted! ouchie!
    caitlin, i’m curious if you will be increasing your protein intake while doing this challenge to see better results? does gina recommend a minimum % of protein intake while focusing on strength training?
    sorry about the long post!
    keep writing, i love reading! 🙂

    • gina (fitnessista) January 13, 2010, 9:26 pm

      hey alli!
      you do need more protein if you’re engaging in a weight training plan (as protein is what helps muscles repair and grow back leaner and stronger) but i don’t recommend a certain protein %, as everyone has different activity levels, goals and needs. a girl my height, weight, body fat % and age would need a different amount of protein to support her activity levels and goals, which is why i never recommend a %. it really is a trial and error thing- i’ve played with percentages for a few years and found the best one for me.
      you’ll know if you’re getting enough protein with how you’re able to build and maintain lean muscle in conjunction with your energy levels. play around and find what works for you!

      • alli January 14, 2010, 10:03 am

        great! thanks gina!

  • Paige (Running Around Normal) January 13, 2010, 3:23 pm

    Sounds like an awesome challenge! Isn’t Gina great?
    I love using synergist workouts in my routines, too. I also call them “push” and “pull” muscle groups – because the muscle groups you worked today are all the ones required to “push” something any directions, and the back/biceps are required to “pull” something!
    Best of luck on your training:D

  • Jenna January 13, 2010, 3:24 pm

    Glad you joined la fitness! Your challenge plan looks great!

  • Mrs. Muffins January 13, 2010, 3:29 pm

    Ooh, I need this! My hubby will be coming home from Iraq soon and although i’ve lost all my baby weight, I need to tone up! I’ll be linking to this post in my blog tonight!

  • Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg January 13, 2010, 3:34 pm

    Mmmm…asparagus and beans– what an intersting addition to a sammie!

    Looks like an AWESOME strength training plan. Like you, I feel kind of in the dark about strength training in general. Can’t wait to participate and follow along!

  • Carolina John January 13, 2010, 3:43 pm

    it looks like a lot of fun girl. and it sure will help with the tri and century training too. especially all the core work you can do.

  • Caroline January 13, 2010, 3:52 pm

    I’m in! I won’t be able to get to a gym everyday I intend to do this though, so I may be modifying a lot!

  • Brenna January 13, 2010, 3:54 pm

    I’m in! I love that it’s flexible enough to do a lot of things at home or the gym. My other personal challenge is to do the yogalosophy at least 2 days a week along with a couple cardio sessions. Bring on the bikinis!

  • Sarah @ See Sarah Eat January 13, 2010, 3:57 pm

    I’m in the middle of mini marathon training (and a yoga challenge) but I am definitely inspired by that workout. I may do it a few times myself!

  • MaryZ January 13, 2010, 4:05 pm

    I am there with you! I love Gina’s work out. This is just what I need to motivate myself to continue strength training. I so easily talk myself out of lifting and just do cardio:)-I’m a cardio girl at hear!

  • Sarah January 13, 2010, 4:05 pm

    Hi Caitlin!

    First off – congrats on your marathon!

    Second – I lift three days a week, but I do all muscle groups each time. Fewer types of exercises for each muscle group. Is it better to do biceps/back in depth but only one day a week, or less each time and three times a week?


    • gina (fitnessista) January 13, 2010, 9:23 pm

      hey sarah,
      you can do it either way but i personally prefer (and have seen better results) with hitting it harder on one day as i get a much better burn

  • Gabriela January 13, 2010, 4:06 pm

    Hey, Caitlin!
    First, I want to say congratratulations!
    You blog´s amazing. I simply love reading it 🙂
    Secondly, I´m so impressed! You´ve just finished a marathon, but you´ve already found another challenge to join! I´m really proud!
    But take it easy! I mean, with your feet pain and everything.
    Oh, and beautiful pics, as always 🙂
    Kisses from a brazilian reader,

  • Lisa (bakebikeblog) January 13, 2010, 4:12 pm

    Great idea! I too am keen to get back into weights – and these short sharp workouts are perfect 🙂 Thankyou for sharing!

  • Amber K January 13, 2010, 4:17 pm

    Very cool! I’m sick right now, but as soon as I’m feeling better I am definitely joining in doing more strength training!

  • Ali @ Food, Fitness, Fashion January 13, 2010, 4:25 pm

    What a great challenge! I love weight training almost as much as I love running! I do weight training 3 days a week and run 3 days a week. The more you do it the better it gets and the more you will love it! Great Challenge, I look forward to reading more posts on it!

  • Julie @ Pickley Pear January 13, 2010, 4:44 pm

    19% body fat – you are a rock already! I think Gina’s plan is perfect for you (and me) and I’ve printed it out also. I like to change things up every now and then.

  • Megan January 13, 2010, 4:47 pm

    Good Luck Caitlin! I will be modifying the exercises from this challenge and incorporating them into my marathon training…three weeks in already! Thanks for posting!

  • BroccoliHut January 13, 2010, 4:54 pm

    Love the idea of adding beans to a grilled cheese for extra protein!

  • Allison K January 13, 2010, 5:23 pm

    I’m game! I’m the oppostie of you. I’ve always been into strength training, and not into cardio. now that i’ve taken up running…I don’t want my strength training to fall by the wayside.

  • Heather @ The Joyful Kitchen January 13, 2010, 5:42 pm

    what a fantastic grilled cheese! i’d totally hire gina if i was anywhere within 100 miles from her 🙂 can’t wait to see how it works out for you and all of us!

  • Kellie January 13, 2010, 5:53 pm

    I completely agree that eating plays such a huge part in how we look. I can work-out all the time, but if I don’t eat clean, I can’t see results. I am curious if you are upping your protein intake since you are training? I am a vegitarian too and really have to make an effort to get enough protein in.

  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing January 13, 2010, 6:01 pm

    I am in for sure!! I used to do strength training all of the time but i’ve been pushing it aside for cardio. I can’t wait to see the results!!

  • Allison January 13, 2010, 6:33 pm

    I totally want to try these workouts, but I’m not sure what some of them are. Do you have a link to pictures or videos that explain all of them? Maybe I should check out Gina’s site…

  • Mackenzie @ The College Authentic January 13, 2010, 6:37 pm

    the sandwich looks like the sandwich to end all sandwiches! looks like a beast 🙂

    by the way, your twitter might be my absolute favorite. i nearly spit out my drink laughing at your “who would be the best celebrity in bed?” post! hahaha

  • Deb (SmoothieGirlEatsToo) January 13, 2010, 6:40 pm

    Quivering=good. As usual I can’t read all 93 other comments so forgive me if I repeat what everyone else says…I can not WAITTTTT to see the difference in your photos and hear the difference in HOW YOU FEEL after you hit the weights for real. I kid you not when I say that weight training changed my body.

  • Karen Whitlock January 13, 2010, 7:42 pm

    Thanks for posting the workout! Ironic that you had a 3 days plan. I just started trying to incorporate strength back in my workouts this week and was thinking earlier today that 3x a week would be perfect. I will be doing the back and biceps tomorrow (and googling pictures of some of the workouts tonight – not sure about a couple of them). Thanks again!

  • Allyson January 13, 2010, 7:50 pm

    I’m so in! I’ve been looking for a good structured routine and this one seems perfect.
    I LOVE your blog by the way. I was tossing around the idea of running a half-marathon and after reading through your racing stories I more pumped than ever to run!

  • Ashley January 13, 2010, 7:51 pm

    I want to try this, but I’ll probably wait until next week to start. I wouldn’t mind seeing videos of each exercise, either. What can I say — I’m confused easily by strength training. That’s why I prefer cardio; no counting involved. 🙂

  • Wendy January 13, 2010, 8:39 pm

    I am totally in…I keep saying I need to work on more on building strength, so no better time to start then now!!
    Thanks for your motivation that your blog gives us. I usually read your blog before I begin to do my workout – and it really sets the mood for me.

  • Ashley January 13, 2010, 8:45 pm

    If you used one of those electronic fat percentage measuring machines at L.A. Fitness, they can be up to 4% off/higher than the actual percentage. The caliper is much more accurate, but I’m sure you know this….

  • Michelle January 13, 2010, 8:53 pm

    Yay – I am excited for the challenge. I follow Gina too so I will be excited to keep up with you and see Gina’s posts too. I have no idea what I am doing at the gym either so this helps a ton. Thanks!

  • Morgan @ Healthy Happy Place January 13, 2010, 8:56 pm

    Good luck! I’m also lifting more weights as part of my “get in shape for my wedding” work out plan!

  • Whole Body Love January 13, 2010, 9:13 pm

    I am so in! I have been running 3-4 days a week to build endurance and distance. I would like to get up to around 13 miles on my long run. With a body fat of about 15% I am not looking to lose a bunch of fat but I want to retain my muscle if not gain a lil muscle! I can’t wait to begin!

    • Morgan January 13, 2010, 10:17 pm

      15% body fat is extremely low for a woman, especially of child bearing age. The average range is 22-25%, where most women should fall to be considered healthy.

      • caitlin January 14, 2010, 8:15 am

        I think this is a pretty high “healthy” range for an athletic person. I’m 19% and obviously not underweight. The American Council for Exercise basically says that anything from 14 – 31 % is under the Athletic, Fitness, or Acceptable range for women. http://www.healthchecksystems.com/bodyfat.htm However, 32% is considered Obese, so I don’t think 31% is really that “Acceptable.” Obviously there is a huge range for what is acceptable, but seeing that I’m 19% and not underweight, I think your stated range of 19 – 22 % can definitely be lower, especially for athletes. I’m interested what Gina would say, since she’s a Personal Trainer.

        • caitlin January 14, 2010, 8:15 am

          gah, your stated range of 22 – 25% obviously, not 19 – 22%.

        • caitlin January 14, 2010, 8:22 am

          And Gina says under 18% is too low for baby-making aged women.

        • Whole Body Love January 15, 2010, 9:27 pm

          I obviously shouldn’t have posted that. The assessment was done in the gym with a hand held BF% Calculator and it was after a workout so it is possible that I was a little dehydrated? I didn’t mean to spark a fire. Sorry ladies

      • Anna M January 14, 2010, 9:20 am

        All the conflicting information out there is so confusing! This is why it is so important to consider the source when gathering information, and to keep in mind that nothing is “proved”. Research may strongly suggest something, but there is VERY little out there that is proven. Caitlin- most cousels out there will decide on some range for what they believe is “acceptable” for their particular organization, and it is not often that they are in agreement. I believe in this case, when the counsel uses the term “athletic” they are referring to individuals like Kara Goucher, or Shawn Johnson. Actual competitive and professional athletes that spend hours a day training. While you are wonderfully active, and completing a marathon is a fabulous althletic accomplishment, it does not make one fall into an “athlete” category. Please refer to my earlier post about the accuracy of different measures for bf%. ( #44). Gina has a wonderful blog, and is a great role model, however she is not correct when she states that skin fold calipers and the Bod Pod are the most accurate ways to gather body composition. I am sure she would tell you herself that irresponsible publishing and varying standards among organizations for health and fitness are rampant in this industry, so please be responsible with the sources you use. Be very aware that anytime you have a body composition measure in a gym, this is a VERY loose estimate, and in reality doesn’t even matter for a healthy individual. Why don’t you contact the Cardiorespiratory or Metabolic lab at UCF? I am sure they would have the resources needed to find your best estimate of body composition.

        • caitlin January 14, 2010, 9:25 am

          great comment and tons of useful information!

          to be honest, i guess i’m not 100% invested in finding out my ‘true’ body fat. the hand tool is enough for me for purposes of this challenge and will serve as a fun way to see what strength training does to my body.

          it’s always important to remember that each organization uses different words for different things and has different goals and motivations.

    • Caitlin January 15, 2010, 11:53 pm

      it’s just a debate, not a fire!! 🙂 no worries.

  • Diana (Mymarblerye) January 13, 2010, 9:51 pm

    i’ll watch you for a couple of days first. 🙂 BTW please post progress pics! it’ll be fun!

  • Morgan January 13, 2010, 10:11 pm

    Is it just me or was the actual “challenge” not mentioned? Or are we supposed to just lift for 12 weeks, 3 times per week? What is the challenge and how will the competition work?

    • caitlin January 14, 2010, 8:08 am

      That’s the challenge… 3 times a week for 12 weeks. There is no competition – its just a personal challenge.

  • Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) January 13, 2010, 10:36 pm

    I think 19% is a perfect number for body fat! I have read that that is a perfect number for the baby factory 🙂 Just sayin’.

  • Lisa January 13, 2010, 11:17 pm

    I’m in! It’s actually quite similar to my current lifting routine, so it’ll be great!

  • Kate January 14, 2010, 8:45 am

    This is so great. I just started reading your blog and (coincidentally) I just started weight training as well. My routine so far has been a little different than yours but I may split mine up to mimic yours a bit for a change.

    My husband and I have have our own little challenge going for the next 12 weeks too, so I think this will give me a little more motivation!

  • Angie (Losing It and Loving It) January 14, 2010, 9:23 am

    Absolutely love LA Fitness!

    I might be interested in starting the Intro to Iron pumping. I need to focus on getting strength training mixed in with my other workouts that is for sure.

    Gina is amazing so I’m sure this workout will kick butt!

  • Megan January 14, 2010, 10:27 am

    Great challenge. Now is Gina expecting you to repeat days one, two, and three or is there going to be days 4, 5, 6, etc.???


  • whitney January 14, 2010, 7:05 pm

    I am going to join you starting tom!!! I took the entire week off from exercise because of the marathon but I am ready to go now!

  • Lesley Lifting Life January 16, 2010, 1:16 pm

    I’m a few days late on this one but just had to comment … I discovered how much I love lifting about a year ago. At first I HATED it, but the more I’ve done it, the more I’ve enjoyed it. I love the challenge! I’m planning on doing a fitness competition in Sep or Oct just for the challenge of it since it’s something that is WAY out of my comfort zone.

    Good luck on your into to pumping iron challenges ; )

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