Hi everyone! I am a little behind in posting, so this will serve as a wrap-up of the past two weeks. Before getting to the wrap-up, I want to talk a little about cardio....
As you know, I used to be a "cardio queen", meaning I couldn't get enough cardio- spinning, running miles and miles, stepmill (many times all in the same day), you names it, I did it. As you saw in my last post, I was definitely thin when I did all of this, but not very "defined". I think about that a lot when I do my workouts now, and I also think about it when I see the same people at the gym doing the same old thing, day after day. Yesterday, as I was cooling down from a pretty intense 30 minutes incline sprint workout, I looked around to see what everyone else was doing. There was ONE other person there pushing herself as hard as me, and she is someone I know who recently learned the benefits of this style of training. Everyone else was lollygagging, walking or jogging slowly on the treadmill (hanging onto the rails), barely moving on the elliptical, casually spinning on the bikes. While I applaud these people for getting out and doing something, I wish I could tell these people that they could get better results in less time if they threw in some interval-based training a few days a week.
I'm not saying to give up steady-state cardio completely (although I pretty much have); if running for hours on end is what you enjoy, then so be it. But ask yourself, do you really enjoy running for hours on end, or do you do it as a way of compensating for diet (i.e., "if I run for x number of yours, I will burn x number of calories, so I can eat x). I know plenty of people who absolutely loathe running, but train for marathons to "lose weight". That, to me, is pretty messed up. Did you know that a lot of people who train for marathons actually gain weight during the training process? They eat more "bad" carbs and more food in general because they feel they can since they have run for hours at a steady pace. Similarly, did you know that long-distance runners typically have higher body fat percentages and less muscle than sprinters? What id you could burn MORE fat in LESS time? What would be your preference? I know what mine is. I have learned that I get more satisfaction from a killer incline sprint workout, than I used to get from running long distances. And here's the kicker- the short, intense workout creates a wonderful "afterburn" effect, which turns my body into a fat-burning machine for hours after the workout. I LOVE THAT! Also, with shorter duration, high intensity workouts, I am not burning precious muscle... so I keep that wonderful definition I have worked so hard to get! Another benefit, my joints and bones do not ache, and I'm not plagued with nagging injuries like before when I ran, biked, stepped, etc. for hours.
Take a look at this site for some great comparison pics of long-distance runners vs. sprinters: www.caitlinharttrraining.blogspot.com/2009/10/sprinting-vs-long-distance-running.html
For awesome information regarding this type of metabolic exercise, my go-to source is metabloliceffect.wordpress.com
So here is your challenge... if your typical cardio routine is to walk or job at a steady state for say, an hour....try this:
5 minutes warm-up by walking/jogging at an easy pace.
For the next 20 minutes, sprint for 30 seconds and recover completely for 60-90 seconds. A sprint means you get completely breathless during that 30 seconds. The feeling should be that you HAVE to stop at 30 seconds; you can do no more. Recover completely for 60-90 seconds, then repeat.
Cool down for 5 minutes.
To up the ante, do your sprints on a 15% incline! You can also do them on the stepmill (a personal favorite), the bike or the elliptical. Remember, you must get breathless in order to reap the full benefit of this type of training.
Try it 3 days a week, and let me know how you're doing after a month. If you want to do steady state, try to limit it to one day a week.
On to the two week wrap-up!
1/11/10 through 1/18/10- Jacksonville Trip
I was out of town from 1/11 through 1/18, which brought the typical challenges of being out of my normal routine. I was ready for this, and while I was able to get every workout in, I was not 100% compliant on my diet. I am not upset, nor do I feel guilty about this....it was my decision to deviate a bit (I would say I was about 90% compliant), and I'm ok with it. My main deviation was having a little more wine than I should have due to hanging out with friends. If I were closer to competition time, there would have been NO deviation. :-)
Workouts played out as follows:
AM: 45 minute Advanced 15% incline walk (awesome for the hamstring-glute tie-in!)
30 minute incline sprints/Abs
30 minutes incline walk/Legs
35 minutes treadmill HIIT (flat and incline)/Abs
30 minutes Bike HIIT
30 minutes treadmill incline HIIT
OK.... I will admit I did more cardio this week than I should have; mainly to flush out some of the toxins from too much wine!! :-). It was a case of knowing that I would feel worse if I DIDN'T do it, not so much about the cardio.
This week has been good...it was good to get back into my routine. I crave routine and structure!! Anyway, I got my workouts in Monday before getting on the road home. Tuesday was slow, but the rest of the week was crazy with work, clients, etc.. I loved every minutes!
35 minutes incline treadmill HIIT
30 minutes incline treadmill HIIT
Legs with Jill
Shoulders/Chest/Triceps with Jill
45 minutes stepmill intervals
30 minute incline sprints
The diet was good this week. I feel like I'm in my groove! I have roughly 5 to 6 weeks before I have to be out of town again, so it will be great to see what those weeks bring in the way of progress!
Until next time-train hard and remember to find happiness in every day!