Soooooooo, be on the lookout!
Soooooooo, be on the lookout!
By the way, have you ever seen anyone with a great body only doing the ellyptical or stationary bike?? Nope. They ALL run. It's just part of the sad truth.
Don't get me wrong, alot of people love to run. I'm just not one of them. However, it does get a little easier to keep pushing yourself once you start getting in better shape. The truth though, is that it should never really be easy because it would mean you're not really pushing yourself or getting better. The same goes for the weightroom, but we'll get to that later. Cardio/running should be the core of your workouts.
Distance Vs. Speed
I think there is a common misunderstanding out there (especially among some girls I know) that distance is the way to go, to really get in shape. Granted, running at all will help you get in shape and distance is definitely a way to do that. BUT, the two training methods for distance and speed do two totally different things to your body. Look at the difference between sprinters' bodies and marathoners' bodies, then ask yourself "which is my goal?" The two different styles of athletes specifically train their bodies to do their one task. I, on the other hand, want to be somewhere in the middle. I'll give you some resources so you can understand the differences between the two styles.
- http://www.performanceworkouts.com/workouts_articles_mythvs.shtml (sprinting myth vs. reality)
- http://www.runtheplanet.com/trainingracing/training/ (good site with running tips)
Here's what it boils down to. Shorter distances (probably 3 miles or less) is a good way for an average person to train. The way you train for 3 miles will include shorter speed training, agility exercises, and only about 1 long run a week. Distance running however, focuses on increases in distance while also working on time. Since I hate running and want to keep some muscle definition (did I just make fun of distance runners? sorry!), I'm going to go with the shorter stuff!
A couple months ago, I set a goal to run 3 miles in a certain amount of time. When I first started it was AWFUL! Seriously, it was not good. I ran probably 5 days a week and in about a month and a half I accomplished my initial goal. (My first timed 3 miles, which was like 3 weeks after I first started running was about 4 minutes from my goal.) After the initial torture (DON'T GIVE UP) the times started falling faster and faster.
Tips: 1.) Drink LOTS of water throughout the day, every day. Don't gorge before a run or after a run. 2.) Wear your watch and focus on results and truly getting better each week 3.) Wear proper attire 4.) Practice proper form and technique all the time. 5.) Try to keep your eyes focused ahead, not down -- this ones hard for me especially when the breathing starts getting labored 6.) Try to mimic/model good runners' form. Good posture, arm movement, etc. 7.) Run outside as much as you can. This keeps it from getting too boring. Change up the course every now and then too. Find a place where you can measure the distance and dominate it! 8.) Stretch, and stretch correctly...ahem, my wife Jamie... 9.) Most importantly... DON'T GIVE UP!
Here's what i've been doing for the last few months (take it slower or do less if you're a beginner and work up -- If you're advanced, then you're probably doing your own workout anyway):
- day 1 -- short speed work -- jog 1/2 mile, 2 or 3 agility drills (i.e. High knees, side shuffles, run backwards, etc. video posted below), 4 or 5 hill sprints (or regular sprints if no hill)
- day 2 -- run 1 mile @ maximum effort (sprinting to the end!) -- IMMEDIATELY going in to very light jog to catch breath for 1 mile cool down (It's important to not completely stop after a run - your muscles need a cool down not a freeze up)
- day 3 -- run 2 miles at 70% (timed) with a half mile very light jog/fast walk cool down
- day 4 -- long run (i'm training for 3 miles, so I may run 3 to 5miles with a 1/2 mile jog cool down)
- You don't have to do these days/runs consecutively, especially if you're sore. Change it up a bit every week and skip a day in the middle of the week and run once on the weekend sometimes. Don't push yourself too hard to the point of injury. The important thing is to get in the habit of pushing yourself at the end of every run (even the lighter jog days).
There are a whole bunch of good videos on running on Youtube. I'll put one here and you can research some more if you want.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xo_IHmqxfEs (side shuffles)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVB7FUoobxE (high knees -- helps with form)
Excellent series here on running. Goes over form and styles in this one and stretching, breathing, and more in the others...
Hope all of this helps! I'm sure I left something out like "consult a physician before an physical activity" and "I am not responsible for any injuries associated with your workouts."
DON'T GIVE UP!!!!!!!!
Here's some easy ones that you may have not thought about...
1.) Proper attire -- wear clothes to work out in that are comfortable, but also that you think you look good in. This may sound weird, but why are you working out to begin with? We all are wanting to improve ourselves otherwise we wouldn't be working out, so wear clothes that will help motivate you by keeping your self-esteem up. Wearing overly baggy, worn out clothes don't help as much as the feeling that you've got on proper work-out attire that helps you see results. It's all part of the mission.
2.) Shoes -- I absolutely HATE running. In fact I would have rather played basketball for 2 hours than run distance for 30 minutes. Soooo, when I finally started running recently I wore the same shoes I do everything else in. Bad idea. My knees started hurting, shin splints, etc. I finally decided to go to a shoe store that dealt with only running. I got properly fitted according to my running style and the problems went away quickly. If you're in Nashville, I suggest The Athlete's House over by Belmont or a store where they can determine your running style/foot needs. Don't get shoes to run in just because you like the way they look!
3.) Eating Before and After Workouts -- This can get rather lengthy so I'll keep it short. If you're hungry before a workout DO NOT eat sugary items. This will greatly impede your workout. Also avoid the obvious like greasy/heavy food items. Depending on you caloric intake for the day, you really don't need many calories before a normal workout unless you're planning on an extended workout (then you'll need to consume calories during as well). Protein helps fuel muscle growth as well as fills us up. Stick with a little peanut butter, nuts, and lower calorie options with protein (or a banana or something like that). AFTER workouts, if you're going to consume protein powder or drinks, you should do it ideally within 30 minutes or so following the workout. This maximizes the body's ability to utilize the protein in muscle growth. Bananas are always good as well because they inhibit lactic acid build-up (cramps) as well as contribute to muscle growth (potassium).
4.) Get a Watch -- This is the easiest. I bought a $9.00 digital watch with velcro band at Wal-Mart. It has a stop watch so I can time my runs, which helps me chart my progress and gives me a reason to push myself each time. It also keeps my workouts conistent by timing the amount of rest between "sets."
Ok, here are some definitions that will be used in future posts with workouts.
- "Reps" = Repetitions - this is the number of exercises you perform (ex. "Do 5 pushups reps" --- You would perform 5 pushup)
- "Sets" = The amount of times you do a "set" of reps (ex. "Do 5 sets of 5 reps of pushups" --- You would do 5 pushups at a time, with rest between, 5 times for a total of 25 pushups)
- "Max Efforts" = This is obviously the maximum number of reps you can do at one time
(Any other terms that need explanation in the future will defined in that post)
Set Goals and Motivate Yourself!
Your goals for physical fitness need to be realistic. Millions of dollars a year are made on telling people how to set goals and get motivated. No one else can do this but YOU! Make them realistic but not too easy. It needs to be something that can be accomplished but won't be easy, nor necessarily fun. The motivation to do this needs to come from within. Having a goal to lose 5 lbs. is good but won't keep you truly motivated. We find excuses after a while and start compromising our goals to relieve ourselves or internal torment or guilt for not reaching the goal. For example; DO NOT WEIGH YOURSELF EVERY DAY! Here's what can happen...My goal is to lose five lbs. At first, it's going well and i'm motivated. THEN, I start eating poorly and working out a little less right when I was getting close to the 5 lb loss. So, I forsake healthy weight loss methods by taking water pills, etc. and start weighing myself morning and night. Obviously our weight can fluctuate greatly just between morning and night. So one morning you weigh yourself and you've done it! Mission accomplished right? Most likely, wrong. Did you really accomplish your goal to lose 5 lbs to feel and look better? Do you REALLY feel and look better? We need more to keep us motivated which is why it's important to make a lifestyle difference; a true attitude change that pushes us when we want to quit.
I could literally write a book just on the books I've read about motivation. There's a LOT of information out there. Again, the key is to focus on one thing and master it. DON'T GIVE UP. Learn to push yourself each and every workout by focusing on the details and pushing yourself a little harder each time.
If you're a beginner or trying something for the first time, it will always be hard. DON'T GIVE UP. It gets better and you're confidence will grow with your physical progress.
Lastly, I'll leave you with this for today. Practice POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS. These make you feel really stupid at first but they work. Every elite fighting force in the world practices this technique all the time so they'll have what it takes when they are truly tested with no time to think. Look in the mirror every day and tell yourself positive things. It can be silly or serious, either way you're improving your attitude. When I work out or run and I'm starting to hurt, I tell myself ("just finish, just finish" or "Rest when you're dead" or "No excuses" or "You're only cheating yourself") I repeat these often when I'm struggling and it gets me through. The feeling of accomplishment from truly pushing yourself will continue to motivate you through your next workout. You can carry this over to everday life as well with saying like, "I'm good, I'm great, I'm wonderful!" and pretty soon you'll start to believe it. I've got some good books on this stuff if you ever want to borrow one.
Here's another positive affirmation for you. Every now and then, flex in the mirror. I know there was some laughter after that one, but let me explain. We all like to feel good about ourselves. Seeing physical progress does wonders for our self esteem and will again add to the motivation. You don't have to do it for anyone else or at the gym when people are looking (unless you want to) but I still recommend it. Also, it will help with muscle memory and muscle formation. Flexing is another form or working out!
Since I've talked so much about POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS I figured I would throw in a motivational video with some positive affirmation with it (double whammy). (I do apologize for it being R. Kelly however - Also, I wasn't allowed to post the real music video here -- it's actually about Muhammed Ali)
With that said, I decided to make the first post all about "The Basics" of working out and getting started. There's a lot to think about when you work out so getting the little things down early helps tremendously on the days when you just want to make any excuse you can not to give that extra effort. I'll try to make it all coherent and you can tell me what doesn't make sense...deal?
Losing weight, maintaining a healthy physique, adding muscle, etc. all require the same things: knowing your body and discipline. That's simple enough to say but actually perfecting those two things take practice, consistency, and a lot of experience.
Knowing your body and how it reacts to "stimuli" (i.e. food, exercise, sickness) is important. This key is often why some people can't overcome a workout plateau while their peers, who are doing EXACTLY the same things, continue to show improvement. So, how can we learn to listen to our bodies? One way is to focus more on form and technique in every type of workout we do, as opposed to focusing on amount of weight or reps. Yoga/Pilates is a perfect example. Have you ever seen an obese yoga master?? Probably not. That's because they focus on slow, intentional movements which help a person "feel" every muscle stretch and pull. I'll reiterate later on.
Injuries are also important to how we workout. It's very important not to overwork yourself if you feel an injury coming on. It's OK to take some time off to let an injury TOTALLY heal. When you do hurt, practice telling yourself in your head exactly where the pain is coming from (as if you were explaining it to a doctor). I've found in most cases I can better protect myself in the future from that same injury as well as really isolate the hurt area better while continuing to get some form of exercise. Also, it's hard to go wrong with ICE. If you have an injury (exceptions: broken bones, loss of vision, etc) put ice on it for 15 min. on and 10 min. off for a while. This does wonders!
Growing up as a "chubby" kid, in my own eyes, I learned early on that my chubbiness was not due to the way I ate. My parents were very strict on how we ate and in turn I couldn't use that as an excuse or blaming mechanism later in life. I saw this as a positive thing. It was seen as one less excuse getting in my way to getting in shape. Getting rid of roadblocks makes our path easier right? Well getting the whole food issue out of the way, or at least under control, makes getting in shape easier. Easy enough right? Wrong! Ok, so here's one of the best ways I've found to help in this area...JOURNAL. Here's how it works.
1. Get a composition book or some kind of journaling book
2. Write the date at the top of the page (ex. "Tues. 5/5/09)
3. On the first line write the time of your first meal/food item eaten and out to the side write EXACTLY what you ate. (this is very important. It's all in the details and plays an important role later)
4. In the far right column (same line) write how many calories you calculate it had in it.
Continue this for the whole day.
I also write every exercise I do that day on the line with the date, so i can keep track of what I do.
The point of this is not an unhealthy calorie restriction, but rather getting to know our body and what's going with it. I guarantee you that if you start looking at your caloric intake you'll automatically start eating better OR stop doing the journaling! It's the truth, and i've seen both examples. In my opinion, THIS IS THE ONLY DIET YOU NEED TO START WITH! All fad diets are just that, FADS! They're nearly impossible to maintain for any normal human being over an extended period of time. A journal is something practical that is easy to maintain forever. The eventual goal is to know the dietary value of nearly everything we eat. Now, I know how many calories a Logan's dinner roll has and it's MUCH harder to keep eating them now, but I also know how many calories a McDonald's icecream cone has and would probably rather sacrifice two rolls for one icecream cone and come out ahead! Just an unintended consequence of journaling! *not a usual occurence, just an example of changed thinking*
One other thing. EAT LESS MORE OFTEN. This is a classic tip that's easy to forget with our hectic schedules. Eat a few hundred calories every couple of hours and you'll probably end up feeling better and eating less, ironically. It takes a few days for your body to get used to it, but that will be a common occurence...your body getting used to what your doing to it (for the better though!).
So, count your calories for education NOT necessarily restriction. Eating disorders are banned! It takes 3 weeks/ 21 days to form a habit, so again remain consistent with it and it will get much easier, I promise. There are a few good websites where you can find calorie information, etc. I'll list them at the end of this post. I also recommend really trying to figure out the calories in the stuff you make at home too (add up ingredients, etc.). This takes a little brain power, but it's only helping you become more knowledgeable and "knowledge is power."
That's all for this post, but I've got plenty more before the actual "workout" part get here. Let me know your feedback OR if you have any tips or questions. I can post pictures of my journal if you need a reference. I may even have some guests input/workouts from the readers themselves, who knows.
**Remember, it's not about mastering everything at once but really focusing on a few things and really getting them down. Once it becomes habit then you can add to it. Just ask Dave Ramsey!**
www.calorieking.com (good place to get information about restaurants) Also, just google "how many calories in ..." for other items.
http://www.myoptumhealth.com/portal/ManageMyHealth/Calories+Burned+Calculator (gives you an idea of how many calories you burn doing different activities -- just something interesting)
Here's a little motivation and insight of things to come...muhahaha