Interval Training

Day three on the abs workout, quite a bit harder! After my “200 sit ups” training, I decided to try some interval training on the treadmill. Not only did I get a great workout, but the time went MUCH faster as I played with the speed every 30 seconds or so. But, let me confess, I am tired now!

This is what I did — First, I warmed up for about 3 minutes on 4.5-5 mph. Then I ran at a moderate pace (6mph or 10 min/mile pace) for 2 minutes. I used 6.5 as my baseline and ran for 30 seconds. Then I went up to 7 for 30 sec, down to 6.5 for 30, down to 6 for 30; then back up — 6.5 for 30 sec, 7 for 30, etc. Up and down for a total of 20 minutes. Phew, exhausting, I finished the last 5 minutes on 6 to recover, and ended with 5 minutes of light jogging then walking to cool down. I’m going to incorporate interval training in my routine once a week.

If you want to give it a try, use a comfortable pace as your baseline, it doesn’t matter what it is. If you walk on the treadmill, try 3 and go up to 3.5 and down to 2.5. No matter where you start, this sort of training will improve your pace and conditioning. A word to the wise, after an interval training day, take a day of rest or go easy on the cardio. Remember, muscles need time to recover in order to get stronger.

An Alternative to the Gym

The crazy wind storm of Friday night left me without power (or heat) so I escaped to a friend’s house. It was warm and well lit, but not accessible to my gym, so what about my workout?

Never fear, you don’t need a gym or fancy equipment to work out. There is always the ability to go for a long walk, but the weather is snowy and it looks cold so a walk is going to have to wait. Instead I did a fairly complete total body workout using good old fashioned body weight.

I started with my four sets of sit-ups from my 200 sit-ups program. The sit-ups worked my abs and core. Next I did four sets of modified push-ups — that would be on my knees rather than my toes. Push ups are a great all around exercise working the chest, shoulders, triceps and core muscles. Even the upper back (lats) get a bit of a workout. I followed these up with lunges and squats. Lunges and squats are all you need for your lower body, working quads, hamstrings, glutes and a bit of the calves. I ended my workout with a lot of stretching; something, I have to admit, that often gets neglected. If I wanted to add some cardio, I could have added jump-roping or even jumping jacks. Instead, I’m looking forward to that walk later today.

Tone those Abs!

A friend of mine introduced me to a great website: http://www.twohundredsitups.com
This site provides an easy to follow program for strengthening and toning your abs in just 10 minutes a day, 3 days a week. They start by defining a traditional sit up, then show you how to correctly perform a crunch (or curl up) for maximum benefit for your abdominals.

The first step is to do a quick sit up test. Based on the results, you are guided through a six week program designed to get you to the ability to do two hundred sit ups. More importantly, the program will result in a strong core and tight abdominals.

Let’s try it. I did the test today (result 40, not bad I get to jump to week 3). Tomorrow I will start the program. Let me know how you do!

The Myth of the Fat Burning Zone

Cardio Zone? Fat Burning Zone? The myth exposed! Check this out, it is good! Yuri Elkaim, a fitness trainer explains how the higher the intensity of your workout, the better the cardio and fat burning benefits. Check this out…

Walking vs. Running

Let’s compare the benefits of walking to running. Both walking and running will improve cholesterol, lower blood pressure, reduce your risk of Type 2 diabetes, help you lose weight and improve your overall fitness. Unlike bicycling, both are weight bearing exercise, so both will help build bone density.

Walking is definitely easier on your feet, knees and lower back. It is one of the safest exercises and provides the cardiovascular benefits without the stresses of running. But to get the same benefits of running, you have to walk briskly and walk longer — about twice as long. In terms of calories burned, an hour of walking equals a half hour of running.

For maximum health and weight loss benefits, you have to walk “briskly”. Strolling around the block won’t do it. Ideally, you should work up to waking a 15 minute per mile pace, or 4 miles an hour.

To get used to that pace, start on a treadmill. Walk comfortably for a few minutes to get your base line pace; then increase the pace by .5 for as long as you can; rest by going back down to your comfortable pace. When you feel at ease, increase your pace again, etc.