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Training for Baby: I don't want to look like Popeye

Posted January 11, 2011

My biggest fear of adding weights into my workout routine was that I’d bulk up my arms in the wrong locations, making myself look like Popeye. I’d much rather look like Olive Oil (minus that awful hairdo). I mean, she is super skinny.

But lifting five or ten-pound weights can be a great way to tone up your arms and burn calories. At least that’s what my trainer says.

Trainer Anthony is happy with all the cardio I am doing, but really wants me to add extra strength training each week. That means more weights!

Here are some of the exercises I am already doing with weights:

Hold a five-pound weight sideways above my head with both arms. Then, lean side to side. When doing this, I make sure not to lean back because it makes my back sore. (20 reps twice. Remember, one rep consists of both sides) This works your abs and arms.

Hold one ten-pound weight or two five-pound weights down in front of me. Lift the weights to chest level and then above my head. Then, I bend my elbows to dip the weights behind my head and then back up and down. It is important to make sure that I don’t bend my elbows outward. I need to keep them close to my head so I can work those upper arm muscles. (20 reps twice.)

Hold two ten-pound weights at about shoulder height. Squat down and as I come back up, push the weights above my head. Lower weights and do another squat. (30 reps twice)

As always, I do as much weight as I feel comfortable with.

I recently started taking a weight-lifting class to kick up my weight knowledge and strength. Everyone lifts different amounts, but we work on our reps as a group. There were people more than twice my age lifting half their body weight in that class. It is a real inspiration.

So far, I don’t look like Popeye. But I am getting closer to my goal of having arms like Michelle Obama.

Kathy is a web producer, entertainment expert and concert photographer for She has written a manuscript about her life as an entertainment reporter and pop culture. Learn more about Kathy on her website. On Wednesdays here on Go Ask Mom, she's chronicling her efforts to lose weight before she and her husband start a family.


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  • anclontz Jan 12, 2011

    I've been lifting weights for over 10 years mom had my start when I was young! I never felt like I had muscles in the wrong places. But, if your concerned, the thing to remember is less weight and more reps. Body builders lift heavy weights only a few times, which builds more muscle mass. Lifting a smaller weight 10-15 times for 2-3 reps is for more muscle tone. Goodluck, I can't wait until I have this baby so I can get back into it. :)

  • aloflin Jan 12, 2011

    That's awesome that you are doing weights. I used to think like you did, about weights making you "bulk up". However, after adding weight training to my workout routine, I have noticed the best results! Once you do start seeing definition in your arms, legs, and abs, you will want to continue! Good luck! Weights really are the best toner and body sculptor. HOpe you are pleased with your results!