Blog Archives

Toughen Up

I have an on and off relationship with strength training. I wouldn’t call it love-hate because I actually really enjoy strength training, I just….forget to to do it. More often than I should.


This is what usually happens in my brain:

What workout are you going to do today, Sam? You haven’t lifted in a while. You should lift. Maybe upper body work. Remember how you said you wanted to be able to do 20 real push-ups in a row? 2012 is almost over and you totally can’t do that. So stop sucking.

I begin my day with all of these great intentions – I’m going to strength train that day, no matter what.

Then my day gets busy and all I want to do is spin or run, especially when I don’t have time to do cardio and lift because of the 6464654892 things I attempt to tackle on my to-do list on a daily basis (that number, I admit, is a rough estimate).

So then I do my cardio and am happy. Until I remember how much I really need to lift, so I vow to make it happen the next day, and the  conversation above begins again.

In an attempt to break the vicious cycle, I’ve had a few things working in my favor:

  1. The company that employs me. Fortunately, my company really pushes health and wellness initiatives in the office, then rewards us with free things for participating. Um, done and done! Recently, there was an eight-week strength training initiative at work, when I had to lift – targeting different muscle groups each time – at least three times a week. Nailed it! 
  2. Friends that like to lift, too. When you work where I do, it’s not uncommon to hear about one person killing it at a Tough Mudder one weekend, another dominating an IronMan the next, and yet another tackling a half-marathon. Sure, they’re all cardio-heavy activities, but there’s a decent amount of strength required to perform well in each. So when they’re all going to lift, I want to go lift, too. And then I see it happening on Twitter and I really want to do it.
  3. My Type-A personality. Lately, I’ve been whipping out my trusty calendar and penciling strength training in! BOOM! Better yet, I make an appointment (so formal, I know) to lift with friends, which means I’m not allowed to bitch out. DOUBLE BOOM.

So when I heard that Abby was hosting a strength training for runners clinic this week, you know that went into my calendar.


A small group of us met up at Cynergy PT, where we went over a lot of basic strength exercises, which was a great reminder that keeping things quick and simple really does help. We don’t even need weights if they’re not around. In fact, we only used a resistance band. It’s so small and easy to transport. Isn’t that nice?

We did exercises for about 20 minutes (short and sweet), talked a bit and then I got to test this crazy machine that I’ve been curious about for a while.

The Alter-G Anti-Gravity Treadmill.


I told you I like to do cardio. I like it even more when it feels like I weigh about 25 pounds. I can run really fast then and it doesn’t really feel like I’m doing too much, when normally I’d be gasping for air.


Plus, I get to wear these really sexy shorts.


Oh, so you’re wondering how the Alter-G actually works? A quick summary: the anti-gravity chamber (the thing I’m trapped in) fills with air and gently lifts you to take the weight off of your joints – it’s really helpful for those who still want to run but are recovering from injury, or for pregnant women. You can take off anywhere from 20-100% of your body weight, which basically means it feels like running on a cloud.


I ran with 75 percent of my body weight, meaning I took off 25 percent (for those who struggle with math, like me). I only ran for about seven or eight minutes, but you can schedule 30-minute sessions anytime you want. And you don’t have to be injured to use it (clearly, I’m not)  – I chatted with Dr. Karyn Keating afterward and for $250, you can book 10 sessions, and for $150, you get 5. Um, that’s cheaper than 5 classes at SoulCycle or Flywheel, or basically any other group exercise class in NYC. Awesome. I’d love to go for a three or four mile run on this thing to see how I feel after.

So basically, I’m trying to lift more. And defy gravity. Winter is basically here (how is it December 1st?!), which means I’m about to start hiding in the gym. No more excuses.

What about you? Tell me about your stories with lifting heavy things and putting them back down. And have you tried the Alter-G?