interval training


My recent Saturday morning workouts was one of the best workouts I’ve ever had. I felt strong, happy and pain-free during the entire workout. There wasn’t a single moment where I was bored, or lost steam, or felt tired and slow. It was one of those workouts that you don’t want it to end because it was so dang good! First, I did something new on the elliptical. Instead of the same ol’ same ol’ routine (manual with 10-12 resistance), I did intervals. It was so much fun! The machine went from Incline 4 with 6 Resistance to Incline 10 with 12 Resistance. I did that for about 45 minutes and burned more calories than I do when I us do a straight 60 minutes.

Then my run was the kind of run where I could have gone forever. I hated that I had to stop when I did. Even if I could DO more, I had to listen to my body and take it slow. Adding too much mileage too soon is how I’ve gotten into trouble in the past. My 1.38 mile run was fast and FUN. That’s the best part. I felt so good! And so bummed when I stopped.

After my run, I spent a good 40 minutes doing a circuit routine with free weights and full-body exercises. I increased the free weight amounts and I felt strong while I lifted. See that above photo? My butt seems to have entirely disappeared! I have no idea where it went. Talking with Suzanne later that day, she suggested that I need to increase the weight that I’m lifting even more. I also need to look at what I’m eating and I might need to change that up a bit.

Time: 1:41
Calories Burned: 875

We spent the rest of the afternoon trying to get caught up on our DVR’ed shows. We’ve been so busy lately we’re about three weeks behind on everything! Then we made dinner together.

I was craving fajitas and guacamole so that’s what we made. I didn’t want to eat tortillas though, so I made us salads. I prepped all the ingredients while Michael made the guacamole.

If you want to try some amazing guacamole, try Michael’s recipe. It’s delicious and spicy. The secret: TONS of garlic and some jalapenos. We don’t add salt to the guacamole at all because the tortilla chips are pretty salty themselves.

I had some ulterior motives for suggesting fajita salads for dinner. Not only was I craving Mexican food, but I wanted to use up some stuff from the pantry. My last visit to World Market produced this:

It was time to use it up. Michael wasn’t too enthused about using the fajita sauce. His stance: he could make the same flavors with spices and it wouldn’t be some pre-packaged crap. Yes, I know…I’m trying to get away from the processed foods and we totally didn’t NEED this stuff to make yummy fajitas, but sometimes I’m weak and I give in to impulse shopping! I can’t help it!

For the veggies we used one small yellow onion and a sliced up yellow pepper. The sauce thickened up in the skillet and when it was ready I topped the salads with the fajita mixture. It smelled pretty good. I topped the salads with the guacamole and some sour cream.

How was the fajita mix? It was just okay. My first bite of the salad and I said “Wow this is really salty!” and then “And it’s really sweet too.” There was way too much sodium in the mixture. I think Michael was right, as much as I hate to admit it! We could have made the same flavors ourselves without using the processed food and without having a TON of salt in our fajitas.

I’m not saying that dinner was awful in any way. The salt was more than *I* like but the dinner was still really delicious. We had some of the sauce leftover and I just dumped it out. In the future we’ll just use our own spices. Lesson learned!

QUESTION: Do you use a lot of prepackaged items and sauces when you cook?

I is for Intervals

I is for Intervals.

I love intervals. It’s something I don’t do nearly enough. Sometimes it’s easy for me to just get stuck in a rut where I do the “long boring cardio” routines. That can be time consuming and boring, AND it can cause plateaus in weight loss.

Recently I was chatting with my friend who has been trying to lose weight. He was jogging on the treadmill for I think 30 minutes a day and he wasn’t seeing any changes. He was frustrated with the weight loss that wasn’t happening like he thought it would. I suggested he do more than 30 minutes of exercise.

He didn’t want to do more exercise, which I understand so I suggested he do interval training. Interval training is the BEST way to fit in a high-intensity workout in a short period of time. “HIIT is a form of cardiovascular exercise which is beneficial to burning fat in a short and intense workout. Usual HIIT sessions may vary from 9–20 minutes.”

Interval training with running is beneficial too.  Doing intervals when running will increase your speed as a runner. When I was training a lot I’d do interval workouts once in awhile to “liven things up.” Sometimes training can be long and boring and changing things up makes it fresh and new. It’s also nice to do sprints in running when you are short on time. If I wasn’t able to do my full run, I’d do sprints around the track. Typically that means that I’d sprint in the long stretches and then walk in the curves on the track. It was a great workout! Try this website for a beginner’s interval routine.

Interval training is also good for cyclists. Over the summer I practiced interval training on my bike and I felt a huge difference with that workout. On long, straight stretches of road or trail it’s much easier to try speed training on the bike. I biked as fast as I could for as long as I could and got my heart rate spiked high. I burned way more calories doing that than I would on a normal, steady bike ride.

Another reason interval training is a good thing is because it’s easy to get stuck in a fitness rut. When that happens our bodies get used to the workout and stop losing weight. Plateaus can be very frustrating.

How to Do Interval Training

I’m not a personal trainer, I’m just sharing my experience with trying sprint training. I started with a slow jog to warm up. Then I went for it. Getting started is easy–just go super fast, super hard for 15 or 30 seconds. That’s a good beginner time. Your whole body should be burning. Then walk. Rinse and repeat.

Start easy–do the workout for 15 minutes. When I first started doing intervals while running I did the workout for about 30 minutes–but I started after I became really fit and athletic.

The great thing about HIIT is you can choose almost ANY activity to do it! I’ve done sprint drills in the pool to shake up my routine and it felt great! You can do it on the elliptical, on a treadmill or bike. You can do it with squats or jumping jacks. Basically you’re just working as HARD as you can as FAST as you can for a short period of time. Keep in mind: you WILL be sore!

So instead of working out longer, try working out smarter with an interval workout! See what kind of changes you see in your body and stamina.

QUESTION: How often do you do speed workouts? 

A-Abstinence * B-Balance * C-Calories * D-Vitamin D * E-Emergency * F-Fast Food and Fine Dining * G-Gym Bag * H-Happy Weight * I-Intervals *