Tag Archives: get in shape

Intervals are a FAST Way to Get in Shape

5 Jan

Along with running on an incline, interval workouts are one of the fastest ways to get in shape.

The nice thing about them, is you can customize your workout. YOU decide:

how many levels you will have (2: fast slow or a few different speeds?)

how long of a rest period

how long of an intense period

how long you go (a certain distance or a certain time or after completing a number of the sets)

And depending on your fitness level you can change any of these variables. It’s also a great boredom or plateau-buster for this reason.

The point of intervals is to push yourself. But then you get a built in rest. And you do it over and over to make your heart stronger. Probably other stuff shapes up too, but I never said I was an expert on human physiology 🙂

I’ll give you an example of a slow out-of-shape beginner workout I am currently doing (I’m kinda outta shape from cold and holiday season slow runs) and my workout from summer when I’m in peak condition so you can get the hang of building your own routine:

I warm up until I have to take my coat off (it’s 55F and I’m acclimated to 90F). My muscles aren’t tight, my breathing is just at the point I have to open my mouth.

I have been running at 8 (7 on extra cold days b/c pulling a muscle is NOT worth it, and takes like a year to recover from) on the treadmill for 20 sec.

Then I rest for a full minute. And this is extra long of a rest time. And as I regain my endurance, I will shorten it. My rest speed is 5.5 right now. This is also low.

I repeat this 20s @8 to 60s @ 5.5 until I’ve finished a mile.

In summer, I’m pushing to better my personal records all the time. It’s very toasty in my house so I’m not very afraid of pulling tight muscles.

I’m the worst and have very little patience for a big warm up. I maybe go 6m (1 length of a track) then start. I think trainers recommend like a half mile to warm up, so listen to experts on that, probably,

For the intense bursts I do 30 sec at a speed of 9.

I rest at 6.5 speed for 30 sec.

I try to keep these intervals pretty even, and I go until for 1 mile.

I could also go by distance, and I liked that when I ran more on a track (vs my treadmill).

I would sprint the straights and jog the corners.

Or I would sprint a lap and jog a lap.

You really can do anything with it. And for some reason getting your heart rate up, letting it rest, getting it up, in succession really helps get my speed up and endurance better. And it seems to work faster to get through that out of shape phase. Have fun making your own intervals workout!

Get Through the ‘Out-of-Shape’ phase Faster!

4 Jan

Yesterday, I just ran every single day for the last SEVEN years. I just want to help you start running too.

In the interest of getting through the out of shape phase as quickly as possible (see that post first, using my search function), I will share with you (in my experience) what workouts help most. I am not a fitness trainer, nor doctor. So don’t go injuring yourself, OK? Use logic, and if this is going to hurt you, be careful. But short of like having a health situation, do push yourself and try this 🙂

And you’re not gonna like it. Nobody does.

But what you will like is being in shape enough that you don’t absolutely dread running, and hate every second of it. Sound good?

So just trust me on this and try it. Do this while you’re motivation is the highest and you’ll get your cardiovascular fitness up fast, and your endurance a bit better. I used to do it as a warm-up every day. Now we just do it once a week. It’s your workout, you chose when you do this.

Run on an incline. And I’m not talking on measly 1 or 2 (that’s like streets, anyway).

To set up: Walk on the treadmill (or use your fitness tracker to figure speed/pace) at your fast-comfortable pace. So, not like walking/chatting with a friend at the mall, but as if you’re 5 min late to work walking through the parking lot. A bit faster than normal, but you could sustain that a long time and talk if you needed to.

Find that speed. And crank your treadmill to the highest incline it will go. Or find a decent hill (like from the bottom of high school bleachers to the top–pretty steep.

Yep, you heard right. But remember how much the out of shape phase sucks! Wouldn’t you like to get through it in as few days as possible? This will help, this will help.

My treadmill goes to incline of 15, some only go 10, and that’s OK.

When I did this by myself, I would do 1 min at incline 15/speed of 3.5 then click down to 14 incline and increase my speed by 0.2 to 3.7. Then do 1 min there until I went to incline of 13/speed of 3.9, so on and so forth until I was running faster with no incline. So 1 min decreasing incline by 1.0 and increasing speed at 0.2, for example.

Lately, Cool and I have been alternating this work out with strength. I run half a lap (about 12.5 on the treadmill) while Cool lifts weights. Then we switch and she runs half lap while I lift. Then switch again til each of us has run a mile. That way you can rest, but still get your strength done without taking additional time.

This workout will get your heart going! You should be very fatigued. Obviously, if you’re having a problem, adjust to decrease the speed or intensity. You could start at a slower speed, do shorter intervals, decrease incline by 2 instead of 1 each time, end the workout earlier (time/distance), or sit/stretch between half laps to build in more rest.

Another thing: We used to have to run up the hill next to the bleachers in track. First, they made us do it with our arms above our head. It makes your legs work so hard, and you feel wobbly! This was to show us how necessary arms are to running. And how most people aren’t utilizing their arms very much (they’re not just decoration, people).

Then we’d do it again but using our arms maximally. Like, it feels super-exaggerated, but when you watch other people, it looks just like normal arms. Pump. Those. Arms!

So what I’m saying is (when you’re not dying and can concentrate) when you do incline focus on really swinging your arms to help you. The hands can be any way. Except tight fists as that puts tension on your arm, up your shoulder, to your neck. You should try to be relaxed when you run. Seriously, the goal is for your cheeks to bounce, bc your face is so loose and relaxed (one more thing to think about, right?!). Anyway your hands can be like blades, pistols if you’re fancy, or I prefer the soda can hand–like you are holding a can in each hand. The swing goes from the “holster” at your belt area to your shoulder. If it was a soda, gravity would have to take it from your shoulder to your mouth, so hands not too high. WITHOUT crossing your chest. Arms go straight up and down, never going diagonally in front of you (think aerodynamics). It’s hard. It probably took me 18 years to get my arms anywhere near where they’re supposed to be. Try it in the mirror. Do it while you walk for practice (and when nobody is watching!).

And the arms situation is HARD. I don’t know anyone who has their arm situation together–everyone could use practice. So while you’re going kind of slow speeds, just think about your arms. This, along with watching time/distance and changing incline speed will take your mind off your struggle (more). I mean, it’s not magic, you’re still going to be feeling this and wanting to be done.

Bonus Bonus Bonus: When you are finished, take note of calories burned. Hill work is a calorie incinerator!!! Treat yourself. You earned it.