I used to love my arms. I used to train with free weights on a pretty regular basis, and my arms had some really nice definition. They weren’t arms of a bodybuilder or even what I’d call a “gym rat”, but they were just…nicely toned. I don’t even have a problem embarrassing myself by admitting to you that I used to gaze at my arms in the mirror just because I liked the way they looked.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been very disciplined over the past four or five years about resistance training.

Wait, scratch that. Let me rephrase.

I GAVE UP resistance training about four or five years ago.

I could say that I just didn’t have the time or the equipment, but what it boils down to is–as usual, with me–laziness. I mean, I have access to the health club where I teach. I have a Bowflex home gym in my basement. I have a rack of free weights in my family room.


On occasion I’d get some weight training in if I did the Jillian Michaels Shred workout, or sometimes I’d grab the free weights or my Body Bar (oh wait, didn’t I mention I have one of those, too?) and lift while watching the Today Show, but I lacked the discipline for doing it regularly, and my arms…

…they went FLOP. Sort of.


There are SO MANY reasons for women to lift weights. I know these reasons. I’ve worked in the fitness industry since the early 90’s.

Well, I decided to do something about it. Jim and I joined a gym closer to our home than the one where I teach (I have a 30-minute commute, each way!), and I found a “Body Works + Abs” class on Tuesday mornings at 9:45 that looked good to me. I tried it this morning, and…WOW. I had a great time. (Seriously!) It was so nice to follow the cues of a really good instructor instead of half-assing it at home by myself, and it was just the right degree of difficulty for me. I was pleased that, even after only sporadic weight training for the last few years, I was able to do the 8-pound weight exercises with 8-pound weights instead of starting lower.

After class, I introduced myself to the instructor (which you should always do if you’re new! We instructors want to meet you!) and told her that I teach spin elsewhere and that I fell off the resistance training wagon a few years ago but I’m back and I really loved her class. I was pleased when she smiled and told me that my form was really good (yay!).

On the way out of the gym, a woman who was also in class stopped me to ask if the class was normally that size, and when I told her I was new she said, “Oh, me too!” Her name is Melissa, which will be easy to remember. I’m thrilled to have made a new friend and told her I’d see her next week.

My arms, legs, and abs are thrilled. That class is going right into my schedule. Every Tuesday morning at 9:45 you’ll know where to find me…now to find a Thursday class. I’ll keep you posted!


  • Carol

    I LOVE weight training and circuit training! It has been the most effective in my effort to lose weight and stay toned in the process! Good for you!

  • Patty at A Day in My NYC

    Way to go Melisa! That’s awesome that you found a class that fits into your schedule. I’ve heard the benefits of weight training…will add that to the list of workouts to try. Right now I’m just running with the c25k app, trying to get back into 5k form. I’m going to the gym with my sister since she can always bring a guest. Might as well take advantage of our time together while taking care of dad. 🙂

    • Melisa

      Yeah, the cross training is important, Patty. Weight training speeds up metabolism: if you’re not doing it now, you should start and I bet it’ll help you. See how I did that? I just started back myself and I’m telling YOU how helpful it is. haha

  • Kat

    Way to go indeed.
    Just carried a biiiiig hamper full of clean laundry from the basement to the bedroom on the second floor and I feel like Mr. Muscle – not 🙂

  • Lisa

    My arms are hideous. They are one area I’m going to try to blast over the next 6 months. I haven’t looked into specifics yet (DVD’s or machine/sets) so if you have suggestions, I’m open to them! 🙂

    I’m starting Zumba next week…hopefully that’ll help the overall problem…my body! LOL!

    • Melisa

      You will LOVE Zumba!! It will also help your arms. I have to say, 2 days after that weight training class my hamstrings and butt are still killing me but my arms are fine. I think Zumba does more for them than I thought!