Oops—sometimes life gets the best of you and you don’t get things done as planned. Stage 3 is almost complete (one more session) and I think I can safely move on to Stage 4 without a recovery week. I am increasing my HIIT intervals each session and will be breaking the 8:00 minute mile barrier. This is a big deal for me, even with intervals. I will probably start trading out one of my running interval days to start increasing my steady-state pace. This means I will need to begin intervals (1 day per week) with my stair climber. This should work out and not affect my training significantly. After I am done with this particular program, I think I can be more aggressive with the intervals by expanding the units (3 minutes/6 minutes versus 1 minute/minute) and then having a much faster time for all cardio work. As the weather gets better I want to take some of my workout outside, which may mean doing some hills and or speed work that may be quite different than what I am used to on the treadmill.
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Sometimes I get too detailed in what I eat when a bigger picture may be more helpful. With that in mind, I am going to start an eight-week progressive plan to strip body fat. Phase one will be “cleaning up” my eating. Back to a food log so I get a good idea of my “true” calories, not just I think I ate. After I calculate my baseline and maintenance needs, I will start some basic shifts in my eating habits. So, I will keep my calorie intake at maintenance level (I will get back to you on this next week) while considering my worst dietary habits. Since I eat fairly clean right now, I need to focus on the small tweaks--
- Fast food isn’t an issue but I do tend to eat extra protein bars that can add 250 calories without thought; I will substitute these with real food alternatives that will typically be only 150 calories
- I eat plenty of fruits and vegetables but I could stress the fiber content of all foods I eat to get some of the same results
- I don’t eat lots of sweets (usually ice cream 2 times a week) so this area is off limits for now
- I don’t skip meals, however, I can move to a 5 meal per day to keep from overeating at breakfast/lunch/dinner
- Although not officially part of the cleaning phase, removing alcohol is probably a necessity. The added calories are empty and although it is enjoyable, I don’t need to have it nightly. I will start with a no-alcohol Monday-Thursday and see how that goes.
I will check in next week with my baseline calories, my maintenance calories, highlights of my food journal as well as cleaning techniques I have developed during the week.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
As most things in life, if you don’t set a goal nothing gets done. Even if you are consistent with a workout or health routine, periodically juicing your motivation by establishing a “visible” goal, such as a 10K, charitable event, or community competition can force you to continue improving when you lack motivation. Unless there is something compelling you to strive for improvement, you are bound to get complacent; not only with your workouts but with your life.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Similar to Workout A, Workout B emphasizes smaller muscles and more difficult movements. All through the program it is mentioned that if you don’t do “exactly” what is written, they can’t predict your results—well, that would apply anyway as this is not being developed specifically for you. So, I take some of this with a grain of salt and make adjustments while trying to stay with the concept of the workout. So, without further delay—here is Workout B. Same sets/reps/rest as Workout A (3/6/105 seconds)
Barbell Romanian Dead lift/ Bent-over row
Alternating sets: Partial single-leg squat/Wide-grip lat pull down
Alternating sets: Back Extension/YTWL
Alternating sets: Swiss-ball crunch/Hip flexion/Lateral flexion
Prone Cobra: 90 seconds
I have changed my HIIT this week to a 30 second/90 second interval at a faster pace – 10:00 / 8:00; and will work up to the 60 second/ 120 second intervals for next week while I try to develop an increase fast speed/decrease recovery speed into my intervals.
Although I was doubtful I could weigh 110 lbs earlier this week, I believe I can reach this goal by the end of the year if I am more diligent. Keep your fingers crossed for me!
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Although I was very excited about the new program, I am beginning to think that it was geared for a more novice exerciser. Don’t get me wrong, I am sure the exercises I am currently doing are building the necessary foundation for the future stages. Despite knowing this, they don’t feel as difficult and because they require more balance and coordination, I can’t use the same amount of weight and sometimes I don’t feel like I am getting “a workout”. My interval training has progressed along nicely and I do feel that I am constantly being challenged and now I need to increase some of the work to include longer intervals at a slightly lower rate. On the other hand, I have sustained a number of injuries causing me to have to back-step some in the workout—meaning I am probably working harder than I think. So, in the coming weeks I hope to gain a new, more enthusiastic perspective (maybe it’s what I am eating?) on this particular program. Additionally, I hope my physical and health concerns are adequately addressed in the near future.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Some folks are lucky enough to have a passion for the work they do, so it never seems difficult. Most of us don’t have that luxury but we can be passionate about something. Put some time and energy into a home project, a hobby, a community event, your physical health—anything you love. If you don’t like your job, you can find other activities that keep you motivated. If you are lucky, one of your passions may become your job; if not, you still will have accomplished something in an area you enjoy.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
I was worried I wouldn’t be able to start Stage 3 with the pulled stomach muscle—but the exercises actually helped. Here is Workout A (all exercises 3 sets, 6 repetitions):
One-armed dumbbell snatch
Alternate sets: Dumbbell single-leg Romanian dead lift / Barbell bent-over row
Alternate sets: Dumbbell single-arm overhead squat/Dumbbell incline bench press
Alternate sets: Plank (90 seconds)/Reverse wood chop
I was very careful on the reverse wood chop and kept the weight low and the movement slow. This is followed by a body matrix – 24 lunges, 12 lunges, 12 lunge jumps, 24 squat jumps – recovery time is 2x circuit time – then do the circuit again. I follow this with my 15 minute HIIT – treadmill 3 minute warm-up then 1:2 intervals, 4 rounds alternating between 10 minute mile and 8:12 minute mile. I hope to break 8 minutes in a few weeks. On my alternating days, I am doing longer, less intense intervals on the stair climber for 30 minutes followed by the following body movements for Men’s Health Book of Exercises—Jumping Jacks, walking high knees, Lateral duck under, Inverted hamstring, lunge with side bend, cat/camel, push-up plus, floor Y raises, side-lying thoracic rotation, clamshells, and supine hip internal rotation. When I got home, I did a 20 minute yoga session and plan to walk and stretch later today.
Monday, March 15, 2010
Saturday, March 13, 2010
The first quarter of 2010 has been very stressful physically. I had a scare with my hypothyroidism, my blood pressure, as well as digestive issues. Most of those have been addressed and now I seem to have been bitten by spiders (large welts on my stomach) which I think came from using a heating pad that I had been using. The heating pad was necessary because I pulled a stomach muscle – the girdle part – and have had an ache in my side (similar to a stitch you get when you run) for about a week. Luckily, I had a recovery week and with heat and pain reliever tylenol I have seen some reduction in symptoms. I just don’t feel 100%. As a result, I will start off Stage 3 more tentatively than the other stages and monitor my condition more closely taking time to increase resistance and/or increase HIIT speeds.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Rather than sticking with the same HIIT from the New Rules, I am doing a program from Men’s Health this week. Workout A consists of the following:
1 interval at 50% effort 60 seconds/recover 60 seconds
1 interval at 75% effort 60 seconds/recover 60 seconds
6 intervals at 100% effort 30 seconds/recover 90 seconds
I am going a little faster, an 8:12 mile
Workout B consists of the following:
1 interval at 50% effort 60 seconds/recover 60 seconds
1 interval at 75% effort 60 seconds/recover 60 seconds
6 intervals at 100% effort 45 seconds/recover 90 seconds
I will do two of each of these workout (4 total) for the week so that I start with an 8:00 mile for the next stage of my workout. The following exercises are done prior to each interval session:
Prisoner Squat (10)
Waiter’s Row (10)
Single-Leg Romanian Dead lift (10 each leg)
Lunge (10 each leg)
Leg Swing (10 each leg)
This will keep me limber; I will review my alternating day workouts later this week.
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Saturday, March 6, 2010
An article in my ACE Certified News made me start thinking about my breathing performance again. With higher blood pressure and a desire to integrate yoga into my routines, breathing is important. So I decided to start doing breathing cycle exercises during my warm-up movements, stretching, and yoga. The cycle is divided into three parts—2 counts inhale, 2 counts hold the breath, and 4 counts exhale. I am up to 4 counts/4 counts/8 counts and this seems to work well with slower activities; I will work on applying an appropriate pace with my cardio activities during my “recovery” week. Even if all I do is become more conscious of my breathing, I will have accomplished something that will increase my oxygen supply, improve my respiratory function, and improve my concentrating during training leading to improvements in performance.
Thursday, March 4, 2010
If you are trying to make significant changes in your life, it may help to do these gradually. Pick one area of your life and break it down into some smaller components and start making changes in each of those components. Start with the easiest one and progressively move to more difficult items. As you success and build on each success, the cumulative effect could be fairly dramatic. It is the small, consistent changes that produce the best and long-lasting results.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
I am glad that stages 2-5 are only 8 total workouts (3 weeks) because I get easily bored. Luckily, some of the same moves (or slight variations) are included to help you transition and get continuity. If I change all my exercises drastically, it becomes hard to know if I am actually progressing in my resistance. I know I can reach my maximum by the end of each stage and unfortunately with some of the dumbbell/leg moves, my grip can’t handle the weight but my legs can. So, I think I may have to considered working on forearm and wrist strength in future programs. I can move from dumbbells to barbells but this changes the balance of the move but I may have to change to a barbell equivalent to make progress. I am still struggling with staying “exactly” to the program because it seems too easy. Maybe I am missing something!