“I ended up running further than I had planned”

Jun 12, 2015
Ashley Ann Lawrie

Personal training client Amanda

Getting a good burn lifting weights really can make your aches and pains go away.

Particularly if those aches and pains arise from high-impact activities such as running. Weight training can have a dramatic impact on your ability to enjoy your favourite sport or other athletic activity without suffering for it afterward.

That’s because a comprehensive weight-training program strengthens all the little muscles that help to stabilize joints and support the big muscles doing the bulk of the work. Lifting weights also increases bone density, which reduces your risk of a fracture.

But while a well-rounded fitness routine should include cardio and weight training, many active women often the emphasize one at the expense of the other.

Runner and Ultimate enthusiast Amanda Bernier was no exception. The 29-year-old knew that weight training was important, but shied away from it.

“I never knew what to do with strength training, what constituted it, how to incorporate it and if I would enjoy it,” she said.

Amanda isn’t fond of running outdoors in winter, so she runs less, and struggles to get back into her groove come spring. This past winter, she decided to try something different to maintain her running trim. Colleagues at the Royal Canadian Mint who were clients of Free Form Fitness raved about their experiences and the accountability that comes of working with a dedicated personal training team.

Amanda decided to give it a try.

“I liked the accountability part, because it would force me to get out a couple of times a week during the winter, and the length of the sessions made it easy to fit into a busy schedule,” she said.

That was in January. Amanda soon realized the benefits of regular weight training as a training and conditioning tool. She is no novice runner. Even now, she runs five to 10 kilometres two to three times a week, in addition to hitting FFF twice a week. But the high-impact activity always left her with aches and pains in the knees and hips.

“Training at Free Form makes a big difference,” she said. “The post-run aches and pains I had before from running and just doing cardio, I don’t have anymore. It makes going for a run a more pleasant experience.”

And that first outdoor run this spring?

“I ended up running further than I had planned,” she said. “I felt stronger, and I wasn’t dragging like I usually do at the start of the season.”

Her obvious improvements in strength and endurance have made her much more results-driven than she once was.

“When you see the weights starting to go up, it’s a big motivator,” she said. “I am now dead-lifting almost my body weight and that’s crazy to me, I never thought I would be able to do that.”

While her friends are active too, Amanda now finds herself educating them on the benefits of combining weight training with their cardio activities.

“I tell them it is such a great investment, you feel it,” she said. “Even though I was already fit, I’ve felt my energy levels go up, just from getting out and doing more and different types of training.”

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