Intervals are your friend!

When I walk into commercial globo-gyms I see plenty of mistakes from bad lifting form to just plain ridiculous exercises. One thing I see a lot is people half-heartedly strolling on a treadmill.  I would never discourage exercising even if it is a very low intensity.  However, I have found that most gym goers have big goals, no plan of attack, and very little time.  That is why I have most of my clients doing interval training.  Simply put – interval training is effective, easy to execute, and takes less time than traditional “steady wins the race” cardio.

Below is an outline of specific benefits that can be gained by including interval work into your routine.

  • You can burn more calories in less time by including higher intensity intervals in your program.
  • Research studies have indicated that interval training will improve your endurance (the amount of time you can exert yourself at moderate intensity before reaching exhaustion).
  • Exercisers who use interval training burn more calories in the hours following their workouts when compared to exercisers who performed steady state cardio.
  • Interval training recruits muscle fibers and promotes physiological changes that will boost your body’s energy metabolism thus making it easier to reach and maintain a healthy weight.
  • The start and stop sprints performed in interval programs mimics the way your body performs in athletic events like a pickup game or moving your friend into a new apartment.
  • Interval training helps you add variety to your workout and stave off boredom.

Interval training can provide big benefits in small time.  Need I say more?

Never Hit Your “Peak”

The Merrell Down and Dirty Mud Run at Lake Castaic was a total blast!  Do not confuse “fun” with being easy, though.  This race was a true challenge for me when I crossed the finish line – I did not have much left in the tank.  From the training to actual race, I’ve learned three things from this awesome experience;

1.  I am terrible at running up hills.  I finished the course in 45 minutes which placed me in the top 10% of female competitors in my age bracket.  I feel pretty good about that, but not too good.  I came pretty close to crying uncle while trying to trek over the half mile slope the other racers fondly call the “widowmaker.”  Needless to say, I have a new training goal.  I will get better at running in higher elevations.

2.  Mud Runs and other races are an excellent way to spend a weekend.  You get exercise, excitement, the great outdoors, competition and camaraderie all in one afternoon.  And let’s not forget that most races serve as fundraisers for very worthy causes like  Operation Gratitude, an organization that sends care packages to deployed troops.

3.  Never allow yourself to believe that you have reached your fitness peak.  Many people want to believe that after your twenties have passed you by that it is all downhill as far as your athletic performance is concerned.  That is simply not true.  I ran alongside folks who were old enough to be my parents.  In fact,  the honor of overall first place went to 45 year old Melinda Carrillo who tore through the course in an awe inspiring 19 minutes and 56 seconds!

If I have taken on thing away from this experience it is the importance of finding a way to set fitness goals that excite you and, once you have reached that goal, set a new one.  If you can’t tell by looking at the muddy grin on my face I will be competing in other races.  I have a lot of training to do if I am going to make the podium before I am 45!