That Which Doesn’t Kill You

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heart rate monitor
Close, but not quite there today

I have some bad news for you. You can’t take the easy route in working out and expect great things in return. They say that which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. My trainer is constantly reminding me of this. If you aren’t counting the seconds until you stop, thinking that you can’t possibly go on, or a combination of both, then you aren’t working out hard enough. Now what do I mean hard enough? Hard enough to make a change of some kind.

All the stuff that I do like pole dancing, paddleboarding, and dog walking is not hard enough. Yes, it burns calories but it doesn’t make a change in my strength or cardiovascular health. It is basically maintenance for my body, something for fun. Change requires a much higher intensity than fun. Everyone’s fitness level is different so intense for me may be much less than intense for a more experienced lifter. I’m talking your own personal level of intensity.

I try to burn between 600 and 700 calories during each of my hour-long lifting sessions. On leg day, I’ve even gone as high as 800… in an hour. Put your eyes back in. I kid you not. That’s a huge amount of calories for someone who weighs 135 lbs, but it also shows you the intensity that I have during that hour. I don’t just stand there and curl a weight between rest periods. My heart rate is up the entire time and serves many purposes. The heavy lifting taxes my muscles and makes them grow, while my elevated heart rate improves my cardio health and burns off fat. All rolled into one workout!

Each of my workouts is comprised of 4 circuits of 3 exercises and 1 minute of cardio. Each circuit is repeated 4 times before moving on to the next circuit. The minute of cardio at the end of each set is to keep my heart rate up while giving my muscles a chance to prep for the next set. There is very little rest between exercise sets. Just enough time to grab the next weights and get in position.

Example Circuit 1

  • Exercise 1 – Dumbbell curls
  • Exercise 2 – Overhead triceps
  • Exercise 3 – Barbell curls
  • 1 minute cardio

Repeat 4 times and move to Circuit 2, then Circuit 3, then Circuit 4 and done. Drag yourself to your car and drive home.

Usually by the end of Circuit 2, I’m glancing at the time and worried that I won’t last the next 30 minutes. I haven’t taken the easy way out yet and have finished every workout despite my doubts.

I laugh to myself when I see magazine articles promising great changes by flapping around with 5 lb weights. You can flap until you fly and not see much results. Change requires more effort – even outside of the gym. To grow and change as a person, you have to step outside of that comfort zone. Challenge yourself and change and grow throughout life. That’s part of the fun along the way. Jump out of planes, strut on stage in a bikini, set some goals and push yourself.

What do you want to change?


  1. Adrianne- I am so amazed by your success. You look amazing. So happy for you. Where did you get that watch that counts the calories? Thanks for sharing this motivation on my mommy linky. You certainly have pointers that we can all implement.

    Sharing a link to this on Facebook.

  2. Accidental Fitness Quest says

    Thanks, Crystal! I sometimes can’t believe it myself. It’s been an incredible year. The watch is a Polar Heart Rate Monitor that comes with the watch and strap that you wear around your ribs. It tracks calories based on your heart rate, age, and weight. You can get them on Amazon, Academy Sports or other sporting goods places.

    There are several brands of heart rate monitors out there, but I highly recommend Polar because of the accuracy of them. If you know what you burn, then you can better plan your calorie intake. Thanks so much for sharing! You are an inspiration to me and I love your blog.

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