Tag Archives: getting 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!

How to Start Working Out

13 Jan

We (maybe you did also) made the goal that we want to incorporate strength workouts into our fitness routine as much as possible.  But how do you actually make that happen?

kelly coffee-meyer

start with this video

We got Kelly Coffee-Meyer workout tapes.  She is great because she pushes you without being annoying, or mean.  She is feisty and funny.  Her tapes are designed to be done in 30 minutes.  There are two full length workouts on most of her DVDs.  Also, she provides “pre-mixes” that are shorter and target certain areas.  To us, the premixes are everything!  They tell you what you’ll be working, how long it will take, and are 8-17-ish minutes long.  So you can just do one or you can do a combo.

piyo-live_orig We also have Celine Johnson’s Piyo, a combination of Pilates, yoga, and it uses your own body weight to work on strength.  She is slightly annoying, but not to the point I have to mute it.  There are several DVDs that have names like “Drench” and “Lower” and it’s a nice change of pace.  The Piyo is good because it sneaks up on you.  You’re doing a yoga-type sun salutation, stretching (I’m breathing, though she’s not all pesty about the breathing/mantra stuff), then you’re like out of breath a sweating.

My point is find something you like, some short/abbreviated versions of it, that target different areas.  The pre-mixes or different discs target specific areas of the body.  So we do upper body one day, lower body the next, abs the third, than back to upper body.  Then you can do strength every day without fatiguing any one muscle group.  Each group has two days to recover. Have a plan and schedule out which days you want to do what.  Or mix it up sometimes to fight boredom.

Once you have your workout in mind, make a space in your day for it.  Really fight to keep this time for your workout.  Make the time a priority.  It doesn’t have to take long–sometimes we literally only have (or are willing to do) 10 minutes in a day.  If you are awake for 15 hours in a day, 10 minutes in literally 0.9% of your entire day.  Which isn’t much.  That’s not really an amount of time I can make excuses for.

Part of blocking out (even a short) time is making it a routine.  This is key!  Every day honor that time to work out.  Start by trying to go 5 days in a row.  Every day get up there and at least do some working out.  This is the whole thing when trying to start and stick to a workout.  We start small.  You know, during holidays when we’ve fallen off the wagon, or if we reverted back to couch potatoes and we want the workout goal to be a thing again…

I always feel like I have to be doing 30 other things, and don’t have time.  Sometimes I feel tired and lazy.  Just do something.  It doesn’t have to be a lot of time, a lot of reps, or a lot of weight.  Do any little thing.  When we re-start this goal, we might do 1 or 2 sets.  It’s not about being superman, it’s about making your brain know that this is a routine.  Any little thing is better than nothing.

And I promise, it gets easier.  Nobody wants to get off the couch.  Nobody starts out an in-shape expert.  That first 7-10 days (the out-of-shape phase, I call it) is horrible.  Nobody likes feeling like they can’t do it, they’re getting winded early, they are sore the next day.  Everyone would rather be sitting.  Push through!  Just tell yourself to get through the first week, and it DOES get easier.  A lot of people never feel the joy or happiness from exercise, because they don’t realize everybody goes through an out-of-shape phase that totally sucks for the first 7-10 days.  That goes for running too, but that’s for another post.  Get through that 7-10 days of a new program and that’s when you start to feel it get not quite as difficult, not as sore, and you feel a bit happy.

Also, if you force yourself to adhere to your workout for a week in a row, your mind settles down and actually enjoys establishing routine.  Once you get into the second and third week, it’s a whole different feeling.  And when you start being about to do all the reps, increasing weight, and noticing some tone–it’s a major  morale boost.

And nobody ever regretted working out.  Even on the days I was most hangry and fatigued, very stressed and busy–after the workout, ahhhh.  I felt accomplished.  And more importantly I didn’t feel the guilt for not sticking to it, the regret at lazy-ing out.

That’s my best advice on getting started.  Nike has a point.

Good luck and let me know if this helped, and if you have any additional tips for getting fitness going in your life.