September = Strength Month :)

September = Strength Month :)

So, I'm 3lb from my goal weight of 10st7 and I stayed the same this week. I am running, cycling and sticking to 1400cals most days. I know that if I really stick to 1400cals EVERY day, do 3 runs and some cycling and walking then I WILL keep losing weight, so I'm not complaining that I've got stuck and the weight won't come off. I could just stick really closely to the pattern that's worked for me so far and I would see the lbs come off. But - I like a challenge (a manageable one) and I've been thinking lately about the lack of strength exercises in my routine. All through the 12 weeks of the NHS plan I really fell down on the strength exercises requirement (to do 2 sessions per week). I think the most I ever managed each week was 1 session, and most weeks I didn't even do any at all. So I've decided today on the 1st day of the month to make this the month that I develop a strength exercises habit to help really boost my weight loss and get me to my final goal weight (and stay there). September is going to be Strength Month :)

Inspired by fifi15 I've made myself a chart using lots of colours. I'll fill it in every day with what I manage to do. My challenge is to always do the same as yesterday, plus a bit more (e.g. do 10 squats today, 12 squats tomorrow, 14 the day after, etc). I've started by doing 10 squats, as a sort of lighter version of the '30 day squat challenge' (which is meant to start with 50). I may do a few more throughout the day, if so I'll add them on. Maybe every few days I should add something new in too, e.g. sit ups, something with weights, the rowing machine in the park, etc. I'll see how I get on. Obviously some days will be harder than others, depending on what else I have on. But I'm so inspired by the way people on here make up their steps for the day using pedometers etc. I want to develop that same attitude and introduce something that is doable every day and that can be fitted in around my daily routine.

Does anyone else want to throw their hat in for 'Strength September'? I think even if my chart goes haywire and ends up with a few gaps at least this will get me doing more. And the 10 squats I just did didn't even make me break into a sweat! I can totally do this! I'm feeling very motivated about it right now :)

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  • Hi Ruth Canal runner

    I like your Strength September concept! Nice chart. going to make one for myself. I found a couple of 30 day challenges (ab/squat types).. Not sure how to send the work out plan to you. I have it as image files.

    I am planning to use them.. would be great to track each others' progress through this month :)

    Good luck


  • Hey Shob, great to know that you'll be doing strength exercises this month too! I'm thinking of taking on the NHS strength and flex programme but I also just want to build up really gradually. I think by just doing a bit more each day, I will achieve a lot over 30 days. It will definitely be good to track progress, thanks :)

  • The workout podcast you shared is interesting.. Thanks..

    I'll find the links to those exercise plans and send you too..


  • You can add images to a post, but I think it has to be a small file size so that may not work. Alternatively if you downloaded the images from a website, then maybe share the link.

  • Hi Ruth,

    I do like your thinking and strength plan, I've still not started couch to 5k, there's just something about running that puts me off.

    I am going to join you in your challenge if the is ok and make this month squat September! I sometimes do squats at circuit class and find then hard so I am going to rise to the challenge but do it low key, I am a bit old lol.

    I will start at 5 today and work up !!! or does 5 sound a bit cissy lol

    Here goes

    Have a great week, fab post, thanks


  • Five sounds good to me! If you do one extra each day that will be 34 by the end of the month. You might find you do 5 in the morning and 5 in the evening, and end up doing double even! I just think anything that helps to develop a habit is good. Yay, thanks for joining! Welcome on board, and hope you have a great week too :)

  • Thanks Ruth,

    Will start my 5 tonight, not sure will be doing doubles by hey, never say never.


  • Hi Ruth,

    Ok - I'm in :-) Was tempted to go for the more pleasant sounding Shortbread September, but realised that wasn't the right attitude to have !! I need something to do during my C25K days off...

    I've posted a link to these before, but no harm in posting them again.

    They incorporate a bit of strength into a few nice workouts and you can choose to do as many of them as you want, between the warm up and cool down. I did the cardio box one this morning and it was good fun (as much as these things can be). There were some scary sounding 'Squat Kick Backs' involved, so I have done my squats for the day :-) :-) <feeling smug>

  • Now for a pretty coloured chart...

  • I saw the link when you posted it before, but thanks for re-posting here. If I get as far as doing any squat kick backs I'll definitely let you know! :)

  • "Shortbread September"

    That was funny - gave me a good belly laugh :)

  • Brilliant and very inspiring post. Makes me think I should do something, as I want to have a good month of loosing weight this month too. I think I will start with signing back into my fitness pal and add in my food today. Which has been fasting 11 hours, Pulp crackers, cold pressed watemelon juice and two gulps of buttermilk.

  • I haven't done squats since I was at school but think this might be useful. This morning I've walked my friends two lively dogs up and down some very steep hills for an hour and a half. I was a little puffed but managed the "ups" well but struggled on the "downs" you need really strong leg muscles to stop yourself running or toppling forward! Most of my walking is in parks or on canal towpaths which doesn't seem to strengthen these muscles. I'll join you Ruth in the squat challenge! Will start tomorrow as already had jelly legs today and let you know how many I manage. Good luck x

  • I also struggle more with downhill walking than uphill, I hadn't thought this was down to lack of strength. Hopefully squats will help then! My area is all flat too, I only come across hills on daytrips/holidays out of town. Hope your jelly legs recover and good luck starting the challenge :)

  • Hi Ruth,

    Yes, I'm in too! Great idea - very inspiring, and will definitely help to motivate me to keep up with regular squats - I've also ended up doing some press-ups and sit-ups too - so it has proved really motivating already!

    I love your chart! Really good. :-)

    September = Strength is a great mantra.

    Lowcal :-)

  • Yay! Glad you're motivated and glad you like the chart. I really like fif15's chart and the way it progresses over the weeks. I also miss having the NHS 12 week plan to fill in each week. So I got the coloured pens out and made a new chart of my own :) The plan is to have a different colour for each type of exercise. I already did 10 more squats too, considering some situps, almost just so I can add a new colour :) But I won't go mad, as I know I'll only have to do even more tomorrow!

  • Yes, that's something to consider! Doing too many too early on could lead to problems keeping up with the challenge - pacing is good! :-)

  • Hi Ruth, as you are so close to your goal weight it does get harder to shift those last pounds. With only 3 to go you are well on your way to completing a very successful journey and should be really proud :-) Love the chart and it's such a great way to keep you motivated to get those squats in everyday.

    I began the nhs legs, bums and tums workout which is brilliant as well, but the lunges were very hard on my knees so I just stick with the squats.

    You are doing fabulous hun, keep up the great work and with all that you do :-)

    Have a fantastic week

    Trafford1 x

  • Thanks trafford1, I just looked up the legs, bums and tums exercises and the descriptions/pics look really straightforward. I think maybe I might use that as a guide of what to introduce as I go through the month. Then maybe by the end of Sept I'll be doing them all everyday...

    I know you're very disciplined about doing your strength exercises, and it's also meant to be a good complement to running. As I've said before it's great knowing other people are pushing themselves with the exercise too. Hope your knees give you less trouble soon :)

  • Add me in chick I do strength almost every day now and it's great weights with squats and raises etc love it ๐Ÿ˜ x also when I plateaued for 2,weeks found I needed to slightly increase calories and weight started coming off again

  • And big applause for achievements so far xx

  • Thanks. Lots of people on the couch to 5k forum advocate squats to help strengthen running muscles. So I'm partly hoping to improve my running as well as push my weight loss a bit further. Do you alternate running days and strength exercise days? Or do you aim to do things like squats and raises everyday?

  • At the moment doing strength every day at least 30 mins either just legs or mix of upper and lower ๐Ÿ˜€ days when I do a long run.... Over 5 miles I don't do any strength x I bought some weights a mat and a DVD called 21 day fix been on it 6 weeks now and it's structured. Aldo has Pilates and yoga mixed in as recovery days x

  • Hi Ruth

    I love the way you keep pushing yourself to do more!

    I bought my new dvd player yesterday and got up early enough to do my work out with resistance bands before breakfast. It was my first day back at work after the school holidays and I fully intend to do the same every weekday. This means I will be doing Cardio and Strength together 5x a week.

    I took your advice and was only doing the resistance on alternate days at first, (till the dvd player packed up!) But think I can do it every day now, I think I will be better doing little and often and making it part of my getting ready for work routine.

    I still have a bit more to lose but am into my last 3kg ..... hoping doing 5 sessions a week will help me see a steady loss. I don't mind if it is only 0.5kg a week, so long as it goes and I don't stall!

    I love your chart! Good luck with it and do share how you get on

  • Yes this is kind of contrary to my advice, finding something that I'll do everyday rather than alternating days. I think maybe the impact of running outdoors needs break days, but if it's within the home and you build up gradually it's probably fine to exercise every day. I also don't mind if the last bit of weight loss is slow, it just does definitely need to come off, and I want to give myself the best chance of that happening! Good luck with your new pre-work exercising routine and I admire your determination to lose your last few kgs too :)

  • Count me in please, Ruth. Love the chart and your fab mantra ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

  • Hi Lizzy, I know you've already posted about doing strength exercises. How are you getting on so far? Hope you're finding a way to introduce the exercises you want to do. Glad you like the mantra. It was just me trying to finally once and for all get myself doing the strength exercises I should have been doing all along!

  • Did try some of the NHS strength and flexibility exercises last night. I think for the first week I need to be gentle with my body whilst I get into the swing of things. It is however long overdue. Ouch to tricep dips!

  • Definitely need to ease in gently. I'm only doing squats for now but will start adding more types of exercises soon. I'm definitely feeling the effects too! No idea what tricep dips are but if I find out I'll let you know! Good luck keeping it up :)

  • Good luck for your September = Strength month.

    You are doing far better than me on the strength training - I decided to do resistance exercises (is that the same as strength?) to fight the potential loose skin issue but have only managed it once in the last 6 months. ๐Ÿ˜” I needed a floor mat for my back and even when I bought it I still haven't done it!

    Part of my problem is having some privacy to do it and this summer school holidays has been impossible. The only opportunity I get is Saturdays and that is when I do my longest walk.

    But no more excuses - I will commit to once a week for the resistance exercises this month. I'd hate to be left out :)

  • I think resistance is definitely about increasing strength, that sounds like a very good plan for Strength September :) I'm with you about needing privacy. I'm not planning to do squats with an audience watching, unless that audience is all doing squats too (and struggling as much as me!). But if you keep trying, eventually you find moments in your routine where you can fit this stuff in. Hope you find your moment for the once a week resistance exercises :)

  • Ruth I love your exercise posts. This plan Sound great -I am addicted to weights and I now think everyone should do these from pre school. Dont forget to warm up and stretch, don't forget your abs, try candles, music and/or going outside. Try measuring something at the beginning month so you can chart your progress - for example how long can you stand on one leg or how far can you bend towards your toes or your sleep patterns. I won't join you as I am being sent by the NHS physio to something called knee camp two mornings a week from 08:00am v exciting.

  • Hi Gonti. Good advice about warm ups and measuring something. I can already touch my toes (something my very slim boyfriend can't do, so I think it's more to do with my short legs than anything else!) My balance is terrible though. So I might do the timing standing on one leg thing. Good luck for knee camp, whatever that is!

  • Right because Ruth has motivated me to push a little tonight I have done 30 mins upper body and 20 mins lower (great for us runners) will do yoga tomorrow as planning 40 min run too ๐Ÿ˜ƒ good squatting everyone and thx Ruth xx

  • I'm In! I've got to do some work on my left arm following an injury so I've been doing a bit already, but its something I've shied away from and I know I need to do!

    Thanks for the challenge!

  • Yay! What will you do for your arm injury? Do you have physio exercises or are you going straight in with the weights? Good luck for getting it back to normal, this is the month it will happen :)

  • Hi Ruth, you're an absolute inspiration...I ran, me, yeah! For about three minutes...during a walk. ..I just started to run. somreading the post strengthening my knees, will be a good idea. It's what stopped me running a few years ago. Before I join you all I'll check with a fitness instructor and make sure I'm being sensible. And accurate in what I'm doing. And a huge congratulations on your achievements.


  • That's so cool! Yes apparently squats are a good complement to running as they strengthen your knees. If you're able to consult a professional then go for it. The last thing anyone needs is to end up injured. Congrats on your achievements as well and your constantly positive attitude too :)

  • I just did 10 squats before I replied to you !

    Yes I am in for Strength September.

    EDIT And then I stopped writing, read some more replies and did another 10 squats!

    Well done - I always enjoy your posts and this is very motivating.

    If you have time perhaps you could do a September Strength weekly check in like @Lowcals weigh in and we can check in with our progress?

  • Okay, maybe just for Sept. But we all really have to squat! I did 22 extra squats I wasn't expecting at run club tonight. So I'm up to 42 for today, so tomorrow I will really have my work cut out...

  • Hi Ruth, I may live to regret saying this but what the hell, I'm in! I love the rowing machine at the gym, but find myself there rarely. I know that getting to the gym is not going to happen every day, but my promise is to go 3 times each week through September. I will start with the 20 minutes I do now and add on 5 minutes each time. I will also do squats each day, but Mrs - don't laugh, I will start off with 5 and add 2 each day. Squats are murder to me and your on your own with sit ups ( picture my horrified face). Now remember, I do have a broken toe........๐Ÿ˜ฑ

  • Laughing so much! Hope you do make the gym three times a week, that will be three times more than me! I'm not laughing at keeping the squats at a manageable level though. I also wouldn't push myself beyond what I can actually manage either. The idea is to increase gradually, so maybe +1 per day would be better than +2? I'll let you know if the situps ever happen, and there is zero pressure on anyone else to do them either, each to their own :)

  • I can't believe you are only 3lb away from your goal weight that's amazing. This chart is an excellent idea and now seems the perfect time to begin toning. Good luck

  • Thanks Emma, it is definitely amazing to be so near my goal weight, especialy after so long of thinking I'd just never be able to lose the weight. I stole the chart idea from fifi15, but also it's a way of still having something to fill out now I've finished the 12 week plan, as I found having something to fill in and look back on was really motivating. Good luck for your continued weight loss too :)

  • Had a go at squats today, not sure whether they're supposed to be quick or slow but went for slow as that seems to demand more of the leg muscles! Only managed 15 but plan to try to add one each day so should be up to 43 by the end of September ๐Ÿ˜€

  • 3 sets of 8 twice a day curls, fly, & squats! Then I'll add another exercise! Phew!

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