Four tips for finding your resistance training mojo.

Ahhh. The empty hotel weights area.


About a week ago Ren Man and I ran away I went to see Joel McHale.

(If you dont know J.McH I highly suggest you check out The Soup.  If youre of a delicate ‘dont make innuendos around me’ nature I highly suggest you skip The Soup)

It was a fantastic evening and, to top it all off, we spent the night away from the Tornado & had the lovely opportunity to sleep past 530a on a Sunday morning.

That said, as anyone who’s a parent, nanny, aunt, uncle, babysitter etc. knows all too well, I was *still* wide awake by 6am.

I had coffee.  I checked my email.  I tried to figure out precisely which room in our hotel The McHale was staying. I skimmed through Twitter and Facebook.

It was 6:20a.

I glanced over at a snoring Ren Man, resisted the urge to wake him & headed to check out the gym and lift.

The hotel gym was crowded (impressive for a Sunday morning).

The hotel gym was fancy (see photo above & that’s only half!).

The hotel gym was filled with women & they were all using the cardio machines (not pictured. I dared not ask.  these women were sweating & serious.).

I happily lifted (enjoying both the empty weights area & being in no hurry) & when I finished four of the women approached me.

They were all exceedingly hungover friends in town for a wedding and, longstoryshort, wanted to know how I motivated myself to lift weights.  They all lamented the same thing:

I want to lift weights. I plan to lift weights. When it comes time to lift weights I bail 95% of the time & just do more cardio.

I hear this frequently from blog readers & friends.

The simple answer is I LOVE RESISTANCE TRAINING.  I enjoy the process of it.  I love the results of it. Who wouldnt look forward to that?

The more comprehensive answer became clear as I early-morning chatted with my four new good lord I felt old. I barely remember 25! friends.

Please to enjoy the fruits of our morning convo.

Four misfit tips for finding & maintaining your resistance training mojo:

  • Plan.  Plan. Plan.  This is something we all know (I literally saw one woman roll her eyes when I said it) yet few of us do.  Whether youre lifting at home while watching TV (dont knock it till youve BRAVOtried it!) or going to the gym—plan your workout.  Get specific (sets, reps, rest periods etc).  Have a Plan A & B.  Yes the marriage of mind & muscle is important, but sometimes so is the opportunity to NOT to have to think once you begin a workout.  PLAN.  It gives you less of an opportunity for excuses.
  • More muscle = higher metabolism.  Now, I’m in no way saying we *shouldnt* do cardio, but this is DEFINITELY a way I keep myself motivated to hoist the iron.  Im not willing to watch what I eat as I age. Im not willing to limit my portions & shift from mindful eating to calorie counting as the years creep on.  Im *very* motivated to resistance train by the higher metabolism it gives me.
  • It’s fast.  I am not training for an event.  My competition is LIFE.  My workouts are short (some of this is the result of pre-planning some is they need to fit into my life) and focused.  Twenty minutes.  I can always find (& motivate for) twenty minutes in my day especially when the pay-off is lower stress and higher metabolism.
  • It empowers me.  When I finish cardio—I feel depleted.   When I finish resistance training (be it a silly PLAYout with the Tornado or a traditional lift) I feel empowered.  I feel strong.  Im reminded I AM MY OWN SUPERHEROWeight training helped my find my voice.  It gave me the confidence to speak up, demand to be heard & know Im worthy of taking up *space* in the world.Who wouldnt want to make time for something when it feels that amazing & extends into all realms of life?

I know.

I realize I can be a weight-training evangelist if  given the merest of opportunities & I do think there’s a small chance the poor dehydrated hungover foursome entirely regretted asking.

So now I throw it back to you (as the four are reading, ready and waiting for all your best tips too):

How do you motivate to resistance train when the call of the cardio is so easy to hear?

How do you track down D-List celebs when you KNOW they are staying at your hotel & you KNOW you must have a photo of you two together?

Please to hit us all up in the comments below.


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  1. STacie says

    Thanks for this post.
    Cardio seems so much simpler to me I just get up and run.

    I wonder if I need a trainer?

    • MizFit says

      Im a big believer in trainers.
      When Id have clients come in and say I CANT REALLY AFFORD THIS BUT I DONT KNOW WHAT IM DOING Id always tell them (whether they hired me or someone else!) they couldnt afford not to.

      Hire a trainer and make it clear what you want from the session(s).

      That you just want to learn what to do on your own.

  2. says

    I definitely used to be afraid of lifting weights, but now I can’t imagine my life without it! I never have to find the motivation to lift, but cardio on the other hand… Yikes.

    But I have similar conversations with my female clients every day, and gradually they are coming around :)

  3. says

    what timing…I’ll take this and the fact I had to write a blog post myself yesterday about strength training vs cardio and get my butt into the condo gym…hmmm guess I’d best plan to get the keycode to the door from mgmt today!

  4. says

    Excellent timing for me too!

    Took a little holiday from weights for the last week or so and am getting back at it TODAY, dang it.

    Wish I loved it like cardio, but while I find it something to slog through, I do love the results and the metabolic boost. The more I lift, the more I can eat!

  5. Trish says

    LOL Mizzy.
    I can envision this all happening too.
    I love how you write and wish you’d me The McHale.
    The Soup ROCKS.

  6. says

    I have been really burnt out on resistance training for a couple of years. Probably because I did bodybuilding, have some negative memories and have this association thing going on. But I’ve been working with a weightlifting coach, and slowly feeling a flicker of mojo coming back.

    I could cardio until the cows come home. So this is a good sign :)

    Cheers from Australia
    Liz N

    • Miz says

      see? and in a small way I covet your TILL THE COWS COME HOME.
      I just dont let them leave here :-)

  7. Renee says

    I like that you point out you are fast when you do weights, Carla.
    I am starting a new routine at work and plan to do weights during my lunch.

    You don’t think I have to sweat a lot to do it?
    It is the only time I can fit resistance training in.

  8. says

    Great tips! Now we need four tips for finding your gym cardio mojo, ’cause I’m far more likely to bail on that part than the lifting. :) In the summer that works out fine, because I’m out walking and riding my bike, but in the winter, I’m cardiominimum all the way.

  9. says

    What works best for me is to not do it alone. Right now, my strength training partner is my mom, twice a week. If she’s not around, I go to a group fitness class at my gym and enjoy the camaraderie and motivation that comes from someone telling me what to do:)

  10. Miz says

    great point Karen!! And one since I like to be solo or with Ren Man ONLY I failed to make.

  11. Tia says


    I like where you said it helped you find your voice.
    That is motivation I can get behind.
    I need my voice.

  12. says

    I love, love lifting weights!!! Like you, I find it absolutely empowering! It gives me strength in every way, shape and form. The feeling I get is amazing after each and every workout I do :)

    I was also recently approached by someone in a hotel gym asking how I find the time to weight train…(in my head I thought, never would I have imagined the day someone asking me about anything related to exercising seeing I was so out of touch with Health and Fitness two years ago!). I was flattered and we chatted away :)

    p.s. When I was 14, I stayed at a hotel with friends because we knew the Backstreet Boys were staying there. We never saw them. But, we did see the Philadelphia Flyers. I took pictures with them. I didn’t follow Hockey at 14.

  13. says

    No mojo problems ’round here. I got the dumbbells in the living room and husband bitching at me to put them away for a change. But here’s the Ancient Dumbbell Secret: after the whining is over, he breaks down and puts them away for me.

  14. says

    i love my cardio but resistance makes me feel stronger and ready to tackle the day, agree! a good plan. All i need is 20 minutes. Even if it’s just bodyweight resistance. Hit all the big muscles first and feel the burn.

  15. says

    I’ve come to love resistance training I think mainly because of the variety. I’m not just running or doing the same cardio thing all the time. I can work different muscle groups via different exercises and it keeps me challenged. Plus, I love how it makes me feel strong and empowered. I used to hate being the only woman in the weight room but doesn’t bother me anymore though I do wish others would join me :-)

  16. says

    I so need to get back to lifting. I burned out on kettlebells but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t get out the ol’ 8 and 10 lb hand weights and get back to business!

  17. says

    AMEN, AMEN, AMEN, AMEN! <—Don't think I could say that enough. What an awesome post, Carla! :-) "I am not training for an event. My competition is LIFE." Love this. It's so true! Similar to yourself, when I need a pep in my exercise step, I tend to tell myself, "Think of how much your body will love you back when you're older and not brittle boned." It really does help to bring the REAL reason for strength training back into perspective. So glad you had a great time with your hubby. And I'm totally jealous you got to see Joel McHale!

  18. A blogger says

    Well phrased, Miz.

    I frequently feel like I should compete (or at least do Crossfit LOL) because everyone I read is in competition-mode.

  19. says

    Have a challenge going with friends, or some kind of set up where you answer to others as well. It makes me feel like i can’t let them down, so i have to do it.

  20. Gena says

    I could use non-physical motivation.
    I need to htink about your point about finding your voice.
    I htink running does that for me?
    I’m not certain.

  21. says

    I have grown to love weights. I do have a basic plan that I follow – not having to think at o’dark-thirty is key for me. But, I like to mix things up (and know that’s important) so I find that once I get started I don’t want to stop. That said, I would love to know your routine(s).

  22. says

    You already know my answer to this – LOVE JOEL of course!!! The Soup is recorded every week!

    Weights – well – you know – like you – my love except I do way more than 20 minutes & I have a hard time stopping cause I love so much! :-) I do a lot of cardio to & always have had to even when I was young but once I started weights & then got into the bodybuilding in the 30’s – well even more love!!!

    All you said is correct: I plan my workout & have another plan just in case. I can tell you from experience that SO IMPORTANT with age & younger too for people like me that gain weight easily & did when I was young too. YES it empowers me!!!!! I can only imagine how hard this aging crap would be without my muscles – YIKES! 😉

  23. says

    I used to be afraid of the weight room, but my husband started helping me and lifting with me and now I love it! I have started seeing changes in my body I didn’t get form just running.

  24. says

    I am kind of new to lifting and sometimes feel intimidated by the weights… AKA… I feel silly lifting when everyone is doing cardio… like ohhh who am I to go against the grain…

    so stupid!!!

    I am going this week and buy 5 and 8 pound dumb bells for TV time… That sounds like a great idea!!!

    I guess I always feel like I am getting more bang for my buck when I do a killer cardio session… like the exhaustion is validation that I worked HARD… I get in 2-3 lifting work outs a week, but sometimes when I spend too much time doing cardio I am soo spent the lifting session is kind of puny…

    You have given me some food for thought. Maybe on days I KNOW I am going to the gym to lift, I will just do 10 minutes of cardio to warm up and do the killer cardio’s on my gym off days

    Love ya lady :) Hope you had a nice holiday

  25. says

    I could have been one of those girls. I’m so bad at being motivated to do weights and I know all the reasons why. Planning is key. I used to have a good routine that I’d do regularly, and I fell by the wayside. Must get back to it.

    Will you share your 20 minute routine?

  26. says

    I love, love lifting! I sing its praises all the time. Maybe it gets through to some people. I hope so. I would rather be working out in the empty free weight section than be elbow to elbow on the treadmills.

    I save my cardio for outdoor biking!

  27. says

    I can’t think if anything worse than steady-state cardio at the gym. I’d rather walk my dog outside. Give me weights, stability balls, kettle bells and steps any day!

  28. Kelsey says

    I started a resistance regimen in March and I’ve already made way more progress than I had after years of cardio. Plus I feel strong — nothing beats that.

  29. says

    Great post! In the last two years I have fallen in love with weight training. I saw immediate results and loved feeling stronger! Now, I am in a rut and not seeing results anymore! :(

  30. says

    Ah, those who know me know – that question should be reversed. As I stick my fingers in my ears and whisper “la, la, la” at the thought of cardio.

    Resistance training does so much more for my life: enables me to more easily get through my day. I have no problem picking up grocery bags (no pack it light for me), or a sick dog.

    Resistance training makes me genetically younger. They have shown that our DNA becomes younger (the telemeres become longer) as we resistance train. Example: I’m almost 60. Last year I was carded before I could buy a beer at a baseball game.

    Resistance training helps my mood. I smile by the end of a session. And that smile remains long after I leave the gym.

    I have a plan written out that will carry me most of the way through November when I compete in my first PowerLifting comp. Plan is done. I can see the progress. And watching the guys in the gym approving of my workout (especially on clean and press day) is more than enough reward.

    What do I get out cardio besides breathless?

  31. says

    I have friends who bail on weight training and it drives me nuts. I can’t stand that people continue to recommend cardio for weight loss.

  32. says

    I don’t understand how people can think lifting weights isn’t cardio! I know after doing legs with squats and deadlifts I am generally sweating and panting with an elevated heart rate!!

    Strength training is so much easy to motivate yourself for, if I don’t feel in the mood for a run I have to find the self resolve to keep going for at least 30minutes. If I don’t fancy doing a lift I know all I have to do is grin and bear it for 10 minutes AT MOST and it will be over.

    Strength training for women ROCKS, it makes me feel powerful, it makes me powerful.

    • says

      well i can tell you that from going to the gym since september of 08.and eanitg in a cleaner and healthy way,and working out 4 to 5days a week for a hour.i only lost 20 pounds and one dress the question is were u trying to reach a certain size?because your inches will come off first before pounds.then pounds at about after a month of intense working out.and the other question would be how often you are willing to go to the gym?how long and intense of a workout you are willing to do?and how much you can change you eanitg habits and stick to them.cause once you get most of the weight off,you would have to stick to the same rountine of eanitg and working out in some sort of way.make them similar,but not just alike.if not all that weight will come back on you should take these things into consideration when wanting to get healthy.i go to a gym called 24hr fitness here in saint louis,mo.i picked one that was open every time of the day expect certain holidays so i wont have an excuse to not work out after of before work or school.i have a lead rush on the time i should go.maybe you should look for a gym like that.maybe talk to some trainers for tips when you get not pay them,just is what i now that i work out alot,i am use to it.and i love this lifestyle and wonder how did i ever live the way i did before.but whatever way you choose,just know the consequences of quick dieting and exercising,verses what will happen in the long run when you dont continue it.i wish you all good luck and well in your weight loss for the wedding.YOU CAN DO IT,JUST FOCUS AND STAY MOTIVATED!!

  33. says

    WOW! I love this! I feel the same way, too. I am motivated to lift weights because I love seeing the changes in my body. I’m so happy I decided to check my fears at the weight room door a couple of years ago – I’m in love now! Great post :)

  34. says

    Interesting that your previous post was about the pool!

    I just wrote about my T2HM program to help people learn to swim!

    As for weight training. I think if there were activities that people did that made more of a game out of strength training, it would be easier to stick with.

  35. says

    I used to have a personal trainer and he taught me so much about weight training. I wish I had his guidance again because it was fabulous…in fact, I think it made me stronger on the cardio side of things. Thanks for this amazing post!

  36. says

    I needed to read this right now. I’m heading to the gym and I have misplaced (note – it isn’t LOST) my lifting mojo. Mainly because I don’t want to think and I can easily sit on the stationary bike and pedal while reading trash and that is what my brain is craving. My body though? Needs some weights.

    I hereby vow to lift for 20 minutes at the gym, where I am going Right. Now.

  37. says

    I am never, ever tempted to do cardio over weights! The only cardio I really enjoy is indoor cycling AND that’s only when I’m teaching the class (I get so bored when I’m not at the front of the room!).

    Strength training makes me feel like I’ve really done something with my body. Although I wish that more women enjoyed it too, you gotta love having the free weights section of the gym to yourself!

  38. says

    I force myself to do at least one group x strength training class a week. For some reason, it’s the last thing I want to do, but I feel pretty cool when I’m in there lifting weights. I used to do them on my own, but I just don’t love it so I use the class as motivation.

  39. says

    I have been struggling to find my weight lifting mojo over the past few weeks. I think it helps to have friends that lift with me and give me a big butt kick when necessary!

  40. Amanda says

    Back in november I decided it was definitely time to start resistance training, but I can’t afford the gym or a trainer or even to buy weights. So I started with just situps, pushups, triceps pushes and back flys (or whatever they are called) and I started really small, at just 10. Then every day I added 1. Now I’m going to hit 100 in the next couple of days. My tip – start really small (my first workouts were less than 5 mins at a time) and work up slowly. That way you don’t even notice the changes until suddenly you can see and feel your muscles. And really, it is amazing how much your metabolism benefits from it.

  41. says

    I still think I’m a cardio girl at heart, but not being able to do cardio for a while lead me to trying strength training more. I still struggle with getting it done, but I’m getting a little better with it. My main issues are boredom (music helps), and lack of balance and coordination. I feel awkward doing the moves and like I have to read and reread instructions on how to do things, but I really DO feel strong and kickass once a session is over.

  42. says

    You know, I didn’t used to think that I loved resistance training. I was always a cardio girl. But this past month since I’ve been taken off pretty much all weight lifting (in favor of corrective body weight exercises, per my trainer) I’ve found that I really really miss it! I surprised myself. I can’t wait to get back to lifting some heavy stuff again:) P.S. That really is the swankiest hotel gym ever!!

  43. says

    Simple – you just need to find exercises you like, and start with them. Over time you can add variations to keep your workout fresh. The only downside is that if you don’t work out your body evenly, you can end up with a bunch of imbalances, and increase your risk of injury.

  44. says

    This is still a difficult one for me. I think because I’m lost… I just need something to follow. But I am horrible about do exercises out of books. I know it’s an excuse. I have to get over it!