Fitness Humor – Dream Big. No Matter What.

Dreams work, as they say, if you do.  But no matter how big and daunting they may seem, never forget that you CAN achieve them.

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Take care of you and your health, and everything will fall into place…

And – at all costs – Ignore the naysayers and those who discourage you.

You can do anything you put your mind to…you just have to start.

I believe in you.

 

More Fitness stuff

Fitness Humor – The Cardio Conundrum

To do

Or

Not to do…

I try – really, my damnedest – to find ways NOT to do cardio.  I’m a pro at excuses on the topic, and a pro at fighting with myself (maybe not tooth and nail, but pajamas and gym for sure.)

I tell myself that a caloric deficit is a deficit, who cares how I come by it.  But the reality is. . .cardiovascular activity is super important.  And scarcely reliant upon my preferences!  (Ah, but the world would be such a better place, wouldn’t it!?) I would do well to slow it down a bit, personally – and I have (*gleefully patting myself on the back!*) But. . .I should be doing it.  

The benefits are countless, forget that whole bipedalism situation!  Still, you are not alone if you struggle to get it done.

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I go through waves – some days (and they are more the exception than the rule) I feel great, and ready to sprint like the wind. LETS GOOOoOoo, LEGS!!! But it happens that I’ve been overtraining myself lately (I SO know better!) and there’s a severe DRAG going on…  A lot of the time I wake up and think to myself “welllll, I don’t really HAVE to.  Right? . . . Right?!”

Then I get really irritated because I know damn well that I need to do something. From there I work on my “I just need to do a little bit” strategy – that can offer a little boost every so often.

As for depression, it can rear its ugly head around now, absolutely – “But you HAVE to do it, and you know when you do, you’re going to push yourself.  So really even though you’re saying you’ll do less, it’s going to be horrible!”  (~sarcastic tone, laden with frustration~) THANKS, BRAIN! 

An enormous sigh belongs at this stage, followed by the unhappy ceremony of struggling into a sports bra, donning my shorts, lacing my sneaks, and grabbing A.) my iPod, and B.) some bubblegum.  

Whatever it takes!

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Whoever came up with the meme above?  They hit it on the head – the cycle I go through is very much in that order but – most of the time – I manage to squeeze the cardio in.  I’m not wholly proud of the shorter bouts but right now it is about maintenance and keeping in the habit.  That last part – keeping in the habit?  That’s THE biggest key of all – a little DOES go a long way!

And then there’s The Oatmeal – Matthew, from Seattle, his two dogs…and the hilarity of his brain!  Cardio ISN’T just good for your body, but it’s also incredibly helpful in regulating the rest of you, brain and emotions very much included!

I laughed myself silly over this cartoon – gosh he’s really got it down.

Are my sneakers quite so magical?  Mehhh…

But the feeling of having actually run and kicked some ass – even if only a little?  Yeah…it’s something like panel two. 😉

Fitness Humor – Cardio Woes

Honestly…I think it would be better if I WAS being chased by a bear most mornings.  Cardio I am aware of = T O R T U R E.

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I push through – I’ll get it (or some part of it) done.  Because I have to.  But…I’m not a fan.  At the end of the day, it’s more about the caloric deficit rather than how, necessarily I got there, though, so maybe I’m being too hard on myself.  And my feet.  

When running for my life, I’m certain I’d do a better job of cardiovascular ramping.  If the bear got me? I’m pretty sure he’d still be in a caloric deficit (AND he got the benefit of cardio – how annoying!). . .unless he ate a few of my neighbors as well.

For my Fitness Jazz…

HIIT Sprints

I woke up not wanting to sprint, but it’s one of those things…  Once I START, I feel okay.  And once I’m done, I feel AWESOME.

It’s half autopilot – decades of training engrained the get-dressed-and-ready-to-go part!  But that doesn’t mean that every day is a breeze – there is a ton of “self-talk” and “motivational prep” that goes on, especially nowadays when we are all juggling multiple things at once. 

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Sprints are great for those with demanding schedules – they pack a huge punch, giving you a lot of results in a shorter duration (in comparison to steady state endurance (which is also great, just different.))  

What I love most about them, however, is that they are incredibly manageable…physically AND mentally.Getting on a treadmill is torturous for me.  But with sprints, it never feels as daunting.  Why?  It’s broken up, with room to play and vary!  

My typical routine is something like this (keeping in mind that times (in minutes) and miles per hour are averaged here – it depends on the day, and how I’m feeling):

  • STRETCH!  
    • This is just a few moments, but it is vital to warm up the gastrocnemius, soleus, achillies, ankles and feet for me – as a long-time dancer and skater, with knee injuries and supination, this step cannot be skipped.  
  • 0 – 2 – Jog (6 mph – 7 mph)
  • 2 – 3 – Run / Sprint 1 (9 mph)
  • 3 – 4 – Fast walk (4.3 mph)
  • 4 – 4:40Sprint 2 (9.5 mph)
  • 4:40 – 5:30 – Fast walk (4.3 mph)
  • 5:30 – 6:00 – Jog (7 pm)
  • 6:10 – 7:00Sprint 3 (10 mph)
  • 7:00 – 7:40 Fast walk (4.3 mph)
  • 7:40 – 8:00 – Jog (7 pm)
  • 800 – 8:40Sprint 4 (10.5 mph)
  • 8:40 – 9:40 – Fast walk (4.3 mph)
  • 9:40 10:30 – Walk on high incline (4.3 mph)
  • 10:30 – 11:00 – Jog (7 pm)
  • 11:00 – 11:30 – Sprint 5 (10.8 mph)
  • 11:30 – 12:30 – Fast Walk (4.3 mph)
  • 12:30 – 13:30 – Jog (7 mph)
  • 13:30 – 14:00Sprint 6 (10.5 mph)
  • 14:00 – 15:00 Fast Walk (4.3 mph)
  • 15:00 – 15:30 – Jog (7 mph)
  • 15:30 – 16:10Sprint 7 (10.2 mph)
  • 16:10 – 17:10 – Fast Walk (4.3 mph)
  • 17:10 – 18:00 Jog (7 mph)
  • 18:00 – 19:00 Fast Walk (4.3 mph)
  • 19:00 – 35:00 or 40:00 – This part is the less structured.  Based on how I feel I will maybe add:
    • Two more jogs (one to two minutes each around 7 mph)
    • One or two sprints (around 9 mph)
    • One walk on high incline (4.3 mph)
    • Side shuffles (30 to 50 a side, at 4.3 mph)
    • Fast walks
    • Slow walk to cool down

I usually keep the treadmill at a 2:0 incline when not doing the high incline walking.  If you have knee or shin problems, increasing the incline can add stress, so be mindful of that!  Also, I find that the jog before the sprints helps me to keep the calves and shins from getting injured as easily.

Music is a huge motivator for me, in addition to the “you can do it”s!!! that I holler in my mind – it keeps me in my zone and focused without getting bored.  

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So if you are having a tough time, not seeing results from longer cardio sessions…or just feel like you don’t WANT to do a longer session, try some HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training.)  In 22 minutes you can warm up, sprint 8 times, goosing your metabolism, AND cool down.  Pretty awesome, if you ask me!

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The Reward

Some days are really hard to motivate as far as the cardio goes… But as the years have progressed, I find that cardiovascular work is absolutely vital to my well-being.  It isn’t strictly physical either – I need it emotionally and spiritually as much as anything else.

The past few days made for a more intense week than I have had in a long time, though… I’m sore EVERYWHERE!  I’m not only continuing with my cardio and lifting, but also endeavoring to maintain my Taekwondo and Hapkido practice (test coming up!)  On top of all that, I also started two (to three) new Martial Arts, which are not only challenging on an intellectual level, but very much so on a physical one as well.

With Ninjustsu, JuJutsu and Brazilian JiuJitsu on the roster, that means new types of muscle recruitment AND extra exercise.  That said, I am not in a place ~YET~ where it can take place of some of the cardio sessions (I’d love it if that were the case but I still have to do my HIIT treadmill and spin time for now!)

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So despite the weariness and sore muscles, I pushed through – it wasn’t my best, and it didn’t have to be.  Getting ON a bike, or treadmill…stepping foot in a gym…it takes effort.  Just getting there is a huge hurdle surmounted, and I always encourage people at that point who feel like they aren’t doing enough.  You STARTED – you walked through the door, sat on the bike, hopped on a treadmill – that’s a big deal!  Don’t forget that you had the choice to stay home or do nothing, and you chose to be active – WAY TO GO! 🙂

Once you start, I find that you often are able to push more than you thought.  A friend of mine the other day said he hit a plateau with push ups – three sets of a certain number.  When he asked what I would do, I offered two thoughts:

  1. Get to that “I’m stuck number,” take a deep breath and squeeze out one more on each set…OR
  2. Try less reps, more sets, to pass the total number of the 3 sets combined.

He wrote me back to say he opted for less reps, more sets…and he beat the total by 7! 😀

My goal on the bike the other morning was 60 minutes – I normally stick it through and do 90, and I have habit of giving myself a guilt trip when I don’t get there… But listening to our bodies is what keeps us healthy – I could do a better job of that too!  As my Grandmaster says, “are you going to the Olympics?! No?  SLOW DOWN!

So I jumped on…put on the Sonos (thanks to my man!) and did it.  It wasn’t the fastest, or hardest, or all-around most ideal ride…but it was SOMETHING.  I felt better for the rest of the day knowing I got it in.  Honestly, that’s one of the biggest rewards of all – knowing you made the effort and pushed through even when you wanted to quit.  Proving to yourself that you have what it takes is like getting a trophy!

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I’ve also been doing activities like Aerial Yoga on the weekend, and one or two Martial Arts classes…so I’ve decided that there will be zero traditional cardio and weights for Saturdays and Sundays.  And when I need to sleep longer to recharge and rest my muscles…I DO IT!