Living the Gray Life’s Strong and Confident Workout Program | #DoYouEvenLiftRo

It has been a while since I’ve shared a Do You Even Lift, Ro and I am so excited to share with you my experience testing out Abigail from Living the Gray Life’s Strong and Confident Workout Program! Do You Even Lift, Ro is a series in which I review different workouts, and you can find my previous reviews here!

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Towards the end of the fall, I totally fell out of my workout routine so I stopped going to the gym and as soon as it was too cold to run outside I became a library bound couch potato, eating delivery, sleeping less than 6 hours, and not even scheduling time to get to the gym. I’m a strong believer in there being periods of your life in which priorities will adjust and school or work has to come first, but this period went from a month to a season.

This spring, I made a commitment to make my health a priority again and I needed a way to get from 0 to confident enough to register for a marathon. That’s when I saw that Abigail from Living the Gray Life was getting ready to release her Strong and Confident workout program.

The Program

I needed a workout program that was sustainable and forced me to actually get to the gym. It also needed to be adaptable to my life, and fit around a cardio program as well.

Strong and Confident gives 4 weeks of workouts, two upper body days and two lower body days per week. The goal of the program is to introduce you to the weight room and to provide structure to a workout routine.

You can check out her full guide here.

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How I Implemented It

I started the program the first day of spring quarter along with the Couch to Half Marathon program I used to train for my half this time last year. Since Strong and Confident is only a month long, I figured pairing it with the first month of the Couch to Half Marathon Program, combining walking and running to build an aerobic base and lifting to build strength. I kept my diet the same, cooking most of my meals, all vegan.

I had some familiarity lifting from training for the marathon and Yoga Sculpt, but I quickly learned that Strong and Confident required a lot more equipment than was available in the gym in my apartment building so I had to workout at school.

Although the first week, I could manage to combine the two programs easily and get to campus in the mornings before class, I found myself going to class smelly more often than ideal so for the third week I changed up the schedule.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays after my 8 AM class, I would go straight to the gym and do both the upper and lower body workouts back to back. I followed the half-marathon plan on the other days by the lake so I could get more fresh air, be closer to home, shower, and get to class faster.

So Am I Strong and Confident?

The first couple week was rough, as can be expected from any transition from couch. The workouts took more than an hour to complete and I was constantly sore.

I found it frustrating because the low level of cardio combined with the weight lifting resulted in my actually gaining weight. I could tell I was getting stronger because I could increase the weight. At the end of the program, I started to see more definition, especially as the cardio was ramping up.

Although I wouldn’t have described myself as being shy in the weight room, by the end of the four weeks I didn’t think twice about which weights to pick up or machines to use. I felt stronger physically, and a friend actually noticed that I was picking up heavier weights.

At the end of the four weeks, I measured myself and found I lost 3% body fat.

What’s Next

What really makes this program a success in my eyes is that about a week after I finished the program, I registered for the San Francisco marathon this summer. Although I was still running around four miles, I felt solid enough to talk my friend Marianne into registering with me.

I’m training using the Nike Running Club, so look out for that review after the race!

What else should I try? Comment below or tweet me @xoxorosana_blog!



4 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Ran a Marathon

This week last year, I registered for my first half marathon and decided that I would keep training to run a marathon! It was a six month journey that changed my life. Here is what I wish I knew before signing up!

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When I started toying with the idea of running a marathon, I had no idea what that would mean for me. Like most dreams I have, at first it was really nebulous. I figured I was already running a bit, and had tentatively agreed to running a half marathon with Katie, but didn’t take the idea of the marathon seriously. I didn’t do a lot of research, but just piggybacked on to Katie’s training plan and figured it would be fine.

Most First Time Marathon Runners Get Hurt

First time marathon runners tend to make one of two mistakes that result in their getting injured: they push themselves too hard when training or they don’t push themselves hard enough and get hurt on race day.

When you shift from running 5 or 6 miles every day to trying to run much longer distances, the shift to 13 and 15 miles is often done too quickly. Jumping from 5 to 8 miles isn’t that big and first time marathon runners can get over excited and jump to 10 or 12 the next week (and then pull something). This especially true for those (like me) who didn’t really follow a training plan.

The alternative happens when you pick a marathon on a date that doesn’t allow you sufficient time to train. You get hurt on race day because deciding you’re going to add an extra 6-8 miles day of guarantees you’ll either be miserable and slow or broken. You can only push your body so far without giving it time to adapt.

Pick the Right Marathon

I talked a lot about this after I ran mine back in June because this was by far the biggest mistake I made. Instead of considering the terrain and climate for race day, I decided I was just going to run the one that was on a convenient day. There is a reason that most marathons are in the spring and the fall. The summer doesn’t often offer optimal conditions to run 26 miles.

Also, think about the conditions you’ll be training in. If you’re going to run a marathon that is all hills, the footbridges over Lake Shore Drive are not sufficient. You need to be running up and down flights of stairs. Or, like normal people trying to run their first marathons, just sign up for a flat one near you. Even if it means its in the middle of midterms.

You Actually Need to (Have Time to) Stick to a Training Plan

About halfway through my training, I decided that for the sake of my schedule and school work that instead of following the weekly plans that required workout out every day and running 8 miles before class three times a week, I would just make it up as I went. I added a mile or two to my long runs every weekend and then ran or lifted weights for less than an hour on weekday mornings. This was enough to help me finish the marathon, but it wasn’t enough to do it without walking large parts of it.

Long runs on weekend mornings, especially given the temperature in May and June, required waking up at 5 or 6 am and running until 10:30 or 11 am. I would then have to stretch, shower, cook, hydrate, and nap before making it out the door around 1 pm and be a functioning human. It made it so that I couldn’t go out the night before or make it to any Sunday brunches. The nap was the only way to make sure I could be any degree of productive later in the day.

You Might Not Lose Weight

The idea that you’re running a marathon brings pictures of super skinny runners. I was always hungry when I was training and would eat accordingly. I had to put better things in my body because I could feel the fat and carbs from the night before so I was healthier, but I ate multiple meals a day some weeks during my training. I also gained a lot of muscle, so although the numbers on the scale weren’t changing, I started getting definition I wasn’t before.

If you want to lose weight while training for a marathon, you need a regimented diet plan along with your training plan because otherwise you’ll eat everything in sight.



Running a marathon is a huge accomplishment, but in order to actually make it through training and the race, you really need to be thoughtful about the way you’re going about it.

While I was writing this post, I realized there are a ton more things I wish I knew, so if you’d like to see a part 2 of this post, comment below or tweet me @xoxorosana_blog!

Xoxo, Rosana