Scanning for Success
At the beginning of October, I had the opportunity to volunteer at the She’s It booth at the Pennsylvania Women’s Conference. There, I met the She’s It team in person, was able to connect with scores of other women and also was able to have a personal body scan done.
I stood on the machine and held still while it analyzed my body. The scan that was produced told me my weight, but also my BMI, my ratio of muscle to fat and measurements of specific parts of my body.
The goal the scan set forth for me was that I had 10 extra pounds of fat that I needed to lose or transform into muscle.
That fit exactly with my exercise goals. I was down over 10 pounds at the time and had a goal to lose 10 more. I have also been focusing on strength training so building more muscle is one of my plans.
So what could I do with this scan besides see it reiterate my own goals?
I took advantage of a second complimentary training session at my gym that I received when I signed up. When I met Midge, my personal trainer, I brought a copy of the scan along with me.
Unlike the first trainer I saw back in May, Midge took measurements of my body with a measuring tape. We were both pleased to see that her measurements matched exactly with the body composition scan that I showed her.
We talked about the progress I had made so far and what my goals were for moving forward.
She asked what workouts I had been doing the last few months, specifically in terms of weight training. We looked together at the parts of my body that needed more strength work: my core and my legs.
Midge pointed out that I was relying on a class called Body Pump for strength training. I typically took this 1-3 times a week. Body Pump uses a bar and relatively light weights with lots of repetitions to work various parts of your body. During each song on the playlist, the instructor leads the class in exercising a different area: back, core, chest, back, legs, etc. I’ve really enjoyed going and found it challenging, but Midge had another suggestion.
She said that to truly challenge my muscles, I needed to mix things up and experiment with lighter and heavier weights.
She introduced me to a circuit of machines in the gym. Three machines work out the legs, two the arms and three the chest, lats and shoulders. I was familiar with these but have not used them in a long time.
Midge helped me figure out what weights to start with and how to set up each machine. She took me through the entire circuit once and wrote down exactly how to configure the machines in the future and how to properly use each one. I learned to always have a full range of motion and to make sure my wrists were positioned correctly for the arm machines.
She did not discourage me from taking Body Pump, but pointed out that there are limitations in the class for adding weight. With the circuit machines, I can lighten up the weights to do more reps or do less reps with higher weights. Body Pump follows the same routine from class to class.
I thought that I was doing a good job of mixing up my routine to challenge my body by taking a different class each day of the week. However, I was sticking to the same routine week after week. Tuesday was always Zumba, Wednesday was Sculpt and Shred, and so on.
Midge recommended that I constantly change things up to always keep my body guessing.
She explained that the machine circuit was a great way to do that. She also said I could do cardio every day if I wanted to as long as I varied the type of cardio that I do.
In terms of the weights machine, there are a million different ways to work out with them so that I do something different each time. Besides changing up the weights and the amount of reps, I can also change up the order I work out in. Or I could do all arms one day and legs the next. I could do three machines and hop on the treadmill for 10 minutes and then do another few machines and another cardio set. I could do the circuit all the way through three times or do three reps on each machine before moving to the next.
I am still experimenting with how I use the machines. I tend to be a very routined person so I constantly have to remind myself to make changes from day to do. It’s a work in progress.
I have been successful in changing my weekly workout. Every week, I sit down with the gym schedule and plan out what I’m going to do each day. I balance out cardio and strength training. I make sure that if I did a Tuesday Zumba class one week, I try a Spin or Bootcamp class the week after. I work active or passive rest days in there too.
I’m grateful for the body composition scan. It helped me to step back and examine my body. It helped to reinforce the progress I have made and the goals I still have to work on. It was helpful to look at with my trainer and base our session on what the scan revealed.
I’m also glad my gym membership came with two complimentary personal training session. While I don’t have room in my budget to see a trainer on a regular basis, I loved having the opportunity to see a trainer at the start of my fitness journey and then being able to check in with Midge a few months later to set new goals.
At the end of our session, Midge and I set up one more appointment for a few weeks from now. There’s a whole new set of machines that I’ve never used that she’s going to show me. I’m excited to continue challenging my body in new ways.
My gym also recently added their own 3-D body scan which I’ll be able to use again when I’m ready and upload to the SheAPP to continue my own HEALTHy WELLthy Journey.