EXTRA! EXTRA! Trainer Runs 8 Minutes STRAIGHT!

Wow right?!?

what I look like when I runI laugh as I type this because for many of you the fact that a fitness trainer ran for a solid 8 minutes sounds silly.  However for me, this is a PR (Personal Record  for the cool folks who workout a ton) at this point in my life.  I don’t run.  My husband tells me I can’t really call what I do running, it’s more of a jog…and he’s right (the photo is very accurate).  After 3 kids and 2 knee reconstructions, my running jogging leaves nothing to be desired.

When it comes to my cardiovascular training, I will rollerblade the pants off of most and I am decently in shape for the step mill but running has always been a struggle for me.  I grew up a short distance swimmer and a gymnast which do NOT require endurance.  I think I ran a 5K race once.  So why am I working on a PR for jogging?  Because I was inspired by my 10-year-old son and my cardio workouts needed a kick in the pants.

My oldest is 10 and he is in his 4th year of tackle football.  For the team’s conditioning they need to run 8 minutes at the end of some 2-hour practices in full pads.  My son was at the end of the pack during this run for the first month of practice.  I knew he could do better so I told him that I would start running with him from home to help him (us) train. What?!?, was my first inner thought. Did I really just say that?  Yes, I did.  I figure if he can run in full pads for 8 minutes after a practice, then I can suck it up through 8 minutes of jogging.

What is ironic about this goal is that I had to train for it.  That’s right, my first “jog” interval out of the gate was a whopping 3 1/2 minutes.  At least after a 2 minute walk I saved some face by upping the next interval to 4 minutes.  My next outing was better yet as I went 4 1/2 minutes jogging, 2 minute walk then 5 minutes jogging.  I even topped that workout off with a 1 minute hill sprint after a 3 minute walk. Now we’re talking progress.

It was this Monday when my son was home for the holiday weekend when I asked him to run with me.
“I need your cheering please” I said.
“Do I have to run next to you?” he says. Little booger.logan running

We then geared up with music and one dog each.  We warmed up with skips, leg kicks, high knees and bum kicks (this creaky body needs it).  For most of the 8 minutes my view was my son disappearing in the distance (see photo), but I made it.  I had a brief thought of only going 6 1/2 minutes but then I kept pushing to keep up and I went 8 minutes straight.  Yeah me!  My son gave me a pat on the back and we then worked our way back home with him doing sprint intervals and then waiting for me while I caught up with my jog/walk intervals of 2 minutes.

Part of me thinks this is great, I can keep increasing and maybe even run another 5K someday.  The other part of me thinks I will complete this journey at 15 minutes straight jogging plus some intervals and call it a success.  The great thing about being so inefficient at running is that I burn a TON of calories while doing it!  Ha!  If I trained to the point of being an efficient runner, I would have to run further to expend the same amount of energy you know.  *Just being honest*

As I read this so far, I sound pretty lazy and out of shape.  I’m really not, I still exercise quite regularly.  I occasionally fall of the wagon just like everyone else.  It’s just that I would much rather run stadium stairs or do box jumps or jump rope in intervals than jog.  Heck, I’d rather do sprint intervals than jog.

But now I have a new way to hang out with my son (even if he’s running ahead) and one of my greatest joys is being active with my family so bring it on!

My Favorite Cardio Training

BFL Cardio IntervalsI chose Body for Life Cardio training this morning on the treadmill.  I love this interval style training!  Mostly because it only requires 20 minutes of cardio :), BUT it also helps keep cardio workouts from getting boring.

My first 2 interval groups remained at 3.8 MPH, and I increased the incline from 4.0 to 8.0% to get higher intensity.  The last 2 groups I actually JOGGED from 4.5-6.0 MPH (I know I’m slow so don’t knock it) while keeping the incline at 2%.  Lots of stretching afterwards as I know my running gate is not a technical masterpiece.

BFL recommends this cardio workout 3x/week and I have to say, when I am vigilant about it, I am quite pleased with the results.

To Exercise or Not To Exercise, THAT is the Question!

I was battling a head cold this week and it was frustrating to say the least.  It was one of those annoying colds that couldn’t decide to go full force or go away.

My theory on seasonal illnesses is to try exercising first.  If my energy takes a nose dive during or after the workout, then rest is more valuable.  But if my energy stays the same or gets better then I fight to get my workouts in.

This cold was bi-polar.  On Monday I did a 45 min treadmill/BOSU cardio workout then took the dog for a 45 min walk.  I felt pretty good during, but the 30 lb toddler on my back for the walk might have put me over the edge because Tuesday and Wednesday I was beat!   So I took a pass on exercising until Thursday when I went to yoga and felt great afterwards.  Yesterday I went to my trusty barre class at The Ballet Physique and got a great leg and bum workout without putting me back to bed.

The moral of my story is that vigorous cardio was no good for me but strength and stretch workouts were helpful.  Therefore, it is important not to resign to being sick and simply curl up in bed to wait it out (as tempting as that is.)  Next time you feel something coming on, try a couple different exercise tactics, it just might help bring you out of it.

So I hope to enlighten you next week with some great workouts and healthy recipes now that my cold is on its way out!

My Couch to 5K Journey

I am a Fitness Professional.  I am a former athlete.  I am fit.

These are my mantras as I begin the Couch to 5K running plan.  For those of you who know me, or follow my Facebook page or blog, I am not a runner.  I grew up doing gymnastics and diving, both of which are power sports where the greatest cardiovascular requirement came from the 3 minute floor exercise event (where I felt I nearly died every time).  Usually, if you see me running there is either someone chasing me, a need to rescue my children or a donut at my destination.

So I am turning over a new leaf so to speak.  I chose the Couch to 5K plan in order to have a simple exercise option while traveling for my new injury prevention business because as of today, I have yet to exercise while traveling.  There is also that little side benefit of increasing my cardiovascular fitness as I have a family history of heart problems.

I had seen a few folks talking about the Couch to 5K plan on Facebook but I ultimately made the decision to try it after reading through this info-graphic on Pintrest.   The plan was laid out in a way that I was able to talk myself into the idea that I might be able to do it.  So I was off.

My ego was happy to report that I was fit enough to start on week 2 and I was not starting at the “couch” (as a fitness professional that would be embarrassing).  My knees really liked the walking bits before and after jogging as I have 2 left knee reconstructions under my belt and I’m no spring chicken.

After week 2 of the plan my shins were screaming at me and the 5 minute chunk of jogging had me sucking serious wind.  *This is where all those real runners out there are laughing at me.  Beginning week 3, I found a little Black Eyed Peas got me through the 6 minute jogging chunks and my shins took mercy on me and eased up.  Even better still, I had my cousin in town to distract me through the 7 minute chunk bringing me into week 4 this week.

In the meantime, I try to keep up with a barre class here and there plus a leg strength workout.  If I only ran I would be a complete hypocrite as I firmly believe that running alone is awful for your body (skeletal muscles and joints) unless you add balanced strength training and flexibility work.

So tell me, have you tried this program?  What do you think?

Burn Baby Burn (calories that is)

If you haven’t met already, this is the Stepmill (or Stair Machine). 
For all of us that love the calorie burn of running but HATE to run this is your new best friend.  Have you ever wondered why you get so winded when going up a few flights of stairs?  It is because you are using the largest muscle groups in your body.  When you activate so many muscles at once, the heart has to work harder to pump that much more blood to the needed areas.  All of this equals MORE CALORIES BURNED!
There are so many ways to use this machine.  Try out each of the programs offered and see which one you like.  Remember not to do the same thing everytime…change it up.  “Muscle confusion” as the P90X plan touts.
I like to do the intervals and turn sideways on the faster segments.  By stepping sideways you are utilizing the gluteals more, and who doesn’t like that?!?  If you are feeling coordinated you can also try stepping backwards (please be careful and start on the slow levels), or taking two at a time.  Pay attention to what your upper body is doing and don’t let it rock forward and back to use momentum (that’s cheating and less burning).  Also keep your grip loose and avoid pulling/holding on with the arms; this will prevent any shoulder injuries from the joint-tugging that holding on causes.
So give your joints a break from the impact of running and even boost your bootie in the process!

Cardio Days

3 days a week of cardio brings many opportunities to change it up.  For this plan, keep the intensity HIGH. 

This works great for those that are “stuck” on the routine of longer cardio workouts at a constant intensity.

Try this treadmill workout: *only 20 minutes!!
Time (min)        Speed                  Incline           Intensity (out of 10)
2                          4.0                        3.0                           5
1                          4.0                        5.0                           6
1                          4.0                        7.0                           7
1                          4.0                        9.0                           8
1                          3.5                       11.0                          9


1                          4.0                        1.0                           6
1                          5.0                        1.0                           7
1                          6.0                        1.0                           8
1                          7.0                        1.0                           9
1                          4.0                        1.0                           6
1                          5.0                        1.0                           7
1                          6.0                        1.0                           8
1                          7.0                        1.0                           9
1                          4.0                        1.0                           6
1                          5.0                        1.0                           7
1                          6.0                        1.0                           8
1                          7.0                        1.0                           9
1                          8.0                        1.0                         10!
1                          3.5                        1.0                           5
Great Job!
This is by INTENSITY, so if your levels are different please adjust the speed or incline accordingly.

Indications You’re Doing Too Much Cardio

by Brett Blumenthal – Sheer Balance, on Thu Sep 24, 2009 8:25am PDT

Sometimes when I go to the gym, I have this urge to tell some of the most religious treadmill riders “Ma’am, Step away from the treadmill!” No matter how many articles and reports are written on the benefits of exercise other than cardio, it never ceases to amaze me how many women (and men too…) relegate themselves to the endless monotony of the treadmill – or for that matter, any other piece of cardio equipment. Moreover, these individuals will do cardio for over an hour…sometimes hopping from one piece of cardio equipment to another…never even considering time in the weight room, in classes or outdoors.

Although there are definite benefits to doing aerobic exercise; strength, core and flexibility training all provide numerous health benefits that cardio can’t: They increase muscular and bone strength, increase lean body mass, safeguard against injury and boost metabolism while decreasing fat.

Is it possible you are overdoing the cardio? Here’s how to know:

Time: Unless you are training for a race, marathon or triathlon, there is no need to do more than 30 minutes of cardio (with your heart rate between 65% – 85% of your maximum heart rate) when you workout. Fitness Revamp: If you want to exercise for over 30 minutes, you are better off doing a 20 – 30 minute cardio session and another 20 – 30 minutes dedicated to strength training, stretching and/or core training.

You aren’t seeing results: If you are trying to lose weight, yet you aren’t seeing results, it may be because of too much cardio. Believe it or not the idea of ‘burning off fat’ does not stem from cardio…it stems from strength training. Fitness Revamp: Build in 20 – 30 minute strength training sessions 2 – 3 times a week.

Injuries: Too much wear and tear on your muscles and joints can end up in an injury…or even worse, multiple injuries. Incorporating flexibility and strength training helps to strengthen the joints which will prevent pain and damage to joints. Fitness Revamp: Take the time to stretch before and after your cardio sessions.

Boredom: Does it take a lot to motivate yourself to go to the gym? Doing the same type of exercise every day, of every week, of every year is…BORING! Working out should be fun and should make you feel good. Fitness Revamp: Mix it up. Take a class or two that interest you each week. Get into the weight room and do a few sets of bicep curls. Go hiking. Do things that motivate you and keep you interested. Being active is what is most important…not the time and mileage on a piece of equipment.

Do you think you are overdoing cardio? Have you found any of the above indicators true?