Friday, July 15, 2011

Interval Training

Interval training is one of the best ways to increase cardiovascular endurance and strength. Using intervals will increase your threshold of training. So, to get to the next level (or, to just kick your butt in record time), try adding some intervals to your cardio routine. The most basic interval would be walk-run intervals. If you are usually a walker, try adding a run intervals, either in time (start with 30 second bursts), or distance (One city block at a time). To start this kind of interval, try the program outlined at . The C25K app is also available on Iphone and will guide you through the process.
There are other types of intervals, as well. Do you want to be a swimmer? Start by using the kick board and add a lap of swimming every third lap. Want to challenge yourself on the bike? Try sprint intervals or higher intensity intervals. has music for bike interval training led by great spinning instructors. Follow the music, and you'll do automatic intervals at set times. Are you a runner and want to increase your strength and time? Short sprint intervals challenge the muscles from a different angle. If you are not ready to sprint, try intervals of a slightly higher rate. A Garmin watch or similar will have times and distances built in so that you can see what your rate is in any given time (, or use a metronome or metronome app to challenge your pace. For example, if you notice you normally run at a BPM of 160, add some intervals of 180. Start with just 30 second intervals blocked with 3 minutes of your regular speed, and then increase the time of the interval slowly.
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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Creating a Circuit

To make the most of your time to work out, try a circuit. Circuit training is cardio and strength training all in one, much of it with very high intensity, to get the most out of your workout. Set up a circuit that includes a cardio station ( a jump rope or trampoline, or even a running in place spot), a strength station (with weights or body-weight station), and a core-inspired station (a mat, ball, or bosu). Rotate between the stations 3 times, spending 2 minutes on each. As you get stronger, add more circuits. Your initial circuit will be a 20-25 minute workout, and you can keep adding to it for more time and intensity. With a larger circuit, add a 20-30 second recovery period in between, and you'll end up with a 30-45 minute full body cardio wear-me-out workout.
Here is an example of a beginning circuit:

Warm up with a march or step touch sequence for 2 minutes.
1. Run in place 2 minutes
2. Use a hand weight. Squat down to put it on the floor, Stand up, squat back down lift the weight (straight back, head up) up, straighten the legs, pull the weight above your head. Repeat for 2 minutes.
3. Pull your arms down as you lift one knee at a time, pulling the abdominals in and exhaling on each rep. Continue with one knee for one minute, and then the other knee for one minute.
Walk around for 20-30 seconds and start the process again.
Do the circuit 3 times.
The final walk should bring the heart rate down. Follow a stretch or yoga routine for 2-5 minutes, and you're done.

That's for starters. The possibilities are endless. You won't get bored, you can design it yourself, and you'll get in tremendous shape. Like a circuit? Do it every other day for a full body workout, or just a couple of times a week for a change to your routine. The body likes to be challenged with something new, and will thank you by changing it's shape for the better. You may also find some new muscles that haven't been challenged before. Bonus!