Hill repeats: 30-minute incline treadmill workout

 

Disclaimer: The information below is for informational/educational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional help. Before beginning a new exercise regimen or making any other changes in your lifestyle, always consult with your physician and/or a certified coach.

 

It’s been a while since I last shared my workouts, so here goes.

06177a53c50379c6dc0b3b0f24c7f487The day of the week when I give it my all in terms of fitness is mostly on Saturdays. That has been the pattern since I was still living in Frisco – my long runs (6-mile [9.7km] or more) mostly fall on Saturdays, and in terms of fitness, that hasn’t changed today, except for certain technicalities.

These days, my protocol actually consists of minimizing my weekly mileage while still maintaining the strength and stamina for long-distance runs. Why? Because I’ve learned to better prepare my runs and eliminate junk miles, and pardon my jargons from hereon.

In addition to getting more intentional with my runningthere is such a thing as too much of a good thing (ergo the importance of cross-training, i.e. doing other sports that are not running aren’t your primary sport), particularly when your run feels forced. In spite of all this, running has been my main mode of meditation for the last 6 years, and still, nothing else in the world feels better than to just sprint your way through the anxieties in your head and release all the stress you’ve built up throughout the week. Do that in a secluded area with fresh air, greens, and breeze – tension is gone.

 

 
 

More power, less effort

This morning, I just want to share this effective hill workout that will surely jazz you up by the end it (get your hill workout 101 here and here). It’s a straightforward way to simulate the perfect terrain indoors with the singular goal of improving your lung capacity.

Also, running uphill is actually easier for your joints, and for someone bruising easily around the knee area, it’s an ideal way to build strength without squeezing in too many sprints. I’ve been doing a lot of hill variations for the past few weeks, and they vary depending on my mood. They don’t necessarily make you become faster, but what you’ll get out of it is ultimately rewarding: You’ll breathe easier. This makes you run on a steadier cadence, and with that, you’ll be much more efficient with your energy on level grounds.

 

Should I try it?

Before I move on to the workout, I want to give a heads up again that this is just my personal routine. In general, it’s unsafe to do any hill workout before you’ve got a good base of long runs before you (and no, the ones where you stop doesn’t count). I shared this 40-minute workout that includes slight elevation a while ago that you can also refer to, but for the most part, please consult with your healthcare provider before attempting to do this.

Alrightey then, let’s get on with it. If you put your mind into it and give it time, and you can certainly do this.

 

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You up for the challenge? Do come back and let me know how those big, sexy lungs are working out for you.

 
 

P.S. Yoga and Pilates are fantastic ways to practice breathing on days you’re not running. I’m not particularly disciplined on stretching *guilty*, but here’s 3 everyday ways to amp up your lung power. Have a great one ;)

 
 
 
 
 


Stace

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via Molly Swenson on Pinterest

 

12 do-anywhere moves to tone up all over

 

Disclaimer: The information below is for informational/educational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional help. Before beginning a new exercise regimen or making any other changes in your lifestyle, always consult with your physician and/or a certified coach.

toning-01

Most of us are now spending more hours than ever during the day driving in a car and/or sitting on a chair (I’m guilty too). In case you’re not informed, it’s a silent killer. Putting sad salads and gym memberships aside, you can get fit and take charge of your health by making one simple change: Give yourself half-hour or hourly breaks from your desk to go do these simple exercise moves.

For me, I’m a big believer of the growth mindset. By the same token, if you train your mind to treat physical activity as a stress release (rather than a source of stress), you’ll do yourself a huge favor by moving more throughout the day and stressing less by the end of the day. By now you probably know how easily stressed out I am already. A toned physique is just the bonus.

These are just some of my favorite just-do-it, no-equipment moves that keeps me on my toes and lifts my mood up, along with expert video demonstrations on how to do each of them properly:

 
 

1. Squat jumps


 

2. Jumping jacks


 

3. Crossover jumping jacks


 

4. Lunge jumps/Split hops


 

5. Burpees


 

6. Pushups


 

7. Bridges


 

8. Mountain climbers


 

9. Butt kicks


 

10. Reverse lunges + knee drives


 

11. Kneeling rear leg raises


 

12. Plank


 
 
 

Which exercise(s) are you going to try today?

 
 

P.S. Remember to keep breathing all day. Whether you’re in the blissful state of nirvana or merely surviving in one of those hectic days at work, remember that your breath is just about the only thing you do have control over.

 
 
 
 
 


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Build your base: Nice, long, steady treadmill workout with fast finish

 

Disclaimer: The information below is for informational/educational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional help. Before beginning a new exercise regimen or making any other changes in your lifestyle, always consult with your physician and/or a certified coach.

 

HIIT is all the craze these days. The ACSM1 was right: You see Paleo devotees running around, sporting their sturdy physiques from all that sweat sesh from CrossFit and P90X.

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Truth is, HIIT is nothing new. Experts have been advocating these time-saving workouts that anyone can squeeze in daily in their busy schedules.

While I have nothing against them (I do love a good quick-and-intense burn on most days), I still believe in building a solid foundation of long slow distance before getting myself to that fitness level.

As time goes by, I personally think it’s more important to minimize the chances of getting yourself injured than to get fitter and stronger. I may very well be a timid tortoise, but naturally, the hare that runs around with tremendous energy all day gets higher chances of losing balance, falling down, and breaking a leg.

Trust me, I’ve been there. Instead of reaping HIIT’s benefits, doing it more actually prevents me from building my pace in the long run (poor posture, blisters and bruises, IT band syndrome, anyone?). Matthew Basso, president of Iron Lotus Personal Training, breaks HIIT all down according to your personal goals: If you want to lose weight, build muscles, and gain strength, doing HIIT 1-4 a week is great. If you want to build endurance, it probably won’t help much.

So what exactly is HIIT?

Wikipedia defines high-intensity interval training as “an enhanced form of interval training, an exercise strategy alternating periods of short intense anaerobic exercise with less-intense recovery periods. HIIT is a form of cardiovascular exercise. Usual HIIT sessions may vary from 4–30 minutes. These short, intense workouts provide improved athletic capacity and condition, improved glucose metabolism, and improved fat burning.”

As much as I love intense exercises, I have a long-term soft spot for long slow distance. I think best during and after logging those miles; something about being still and breathing deep provides the clarity I need with all the stormy waters in my head2.

In that sense, these days I’m treating HIIT as a supplement to my miles instead of doing full-circuits of it (although I still do them whenever I feel sluggish), because squat jumps and burpees do get your heart rate up pretty quickly, which comes in handy when your mind tells you to quit the last mile toward the finishing line.

With that in mind, I want to share the standard long and steady workout (with a final sprint!) I do whenever I’m hopping on the treadmill:

 

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I included hill repeats because they build up your endurance over time. Plus, running on incline is easier on the joints (even though you’ll end up huffing and puffing more). Please feel free to adjust speeds according to your running level.


 

It’s more about conserving energy and holding yourself back in the first 30 minutes of getting your heart rate up, saving it all for the end, whereas HIIT is about spending it all right now.

I know the steady state can be boring for many, and not everyone has the luxury to spend as much time if their fitness goals are purely aesthetic. But for me, just the motivation you get to beat your last PR is enough to keep me moving on the ‘mill. Plus, it’s more of a mental work than you think.

Nonetheless, I guarantee you’ll come out stronger – in fitness and in life – by the end of this workout. I recommend bringing some good music to get you longer in the zone.

 
 
 
 
 


Stace

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via Angry Trainer Fitness

 Footnote(s):

  1. American College of Sports and Medicine []
  2. Hence the blog is called Stillwater, right? []

Get in, get out: My go-to 25-minute elliptical workout

 

Disclaimer: The information below is for educational/entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional help. Before beginning a new exercise regimen or making any other changes in your lifestyle, always consult with your physician and/or a certified coach.

 

Confession1: I’m a cardio queen. After years of experimenting, I found no other form of cardiovascular exercise I enjoy more than running.2

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But several months ago, I was hit by a really bad IT band syndrome on my left leg. Even walking became difficult. The pain creeped up really slowly during the weeks before, and I just thought it’s one of those sores that’ll go away as long as I keep moving those muscles. But the pain only got worse.

It forced me to stop playing during one of my weekly tennis rallies – I couldn’t run after the balls as fast as I could, much less control my shots as accurately as I’ve done before. And then there’s the crazy painful sports massage. The following weeks after left me completely restrained from hitting the treadmill whenever I’m at the gym. Either I skip cardio entirely or choose to work with some other cardio equipment until I fully recover.

This leads me to reunite with my longtime pal, the elliptical trainer, and it’s something I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with.

It doesn’t help that out of the four basic components of physical fitness, i.e. speed, strength, flexibility, and stamina, I value stamina the most. Too often, the longer I stay during an elliptical workout, the more I find myself ended up compromising myself and go easy.

It just doesn’t take as much mental effort to last through an elliptical workout as on the treadmill, and there’s always the voices in my head that will come while the clock is ticking (“I’ve got resistance to keep up with the intensity”, “I can lay low for a bit with my balance”, “No need to go long when I’m already this fast”).

It’s very different from running, at least for me, where your balance, posture, and movements are entirely arbitrary.

But here’s the good news: This machine is much easier on your joints, as you’re not stressing them a lot like when you’re pounding the pavements. When used correctly, the elliptical shouldn’t cause knee pain. As it turns out, those precise reasons I don’t find the it as challenging have become the reasons that allowed me the time to heal while still keeping myself active. So I figured it can also benefit anyone who’s recovering from a running injury, but still wants a gripping workout to keep those cardiac muscles strong.

That said, I want to share this particular workout today. It’s the minimum standard whenever I’m running short on time:

 

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Depending on your current fitness level, the goal of the resistance is to maximize your use of perceived exertion. Also note that there isn’t any particular speed requirement: As long as your heart stays within the 150-200bpm range, you know you’re getting an effective aerobic workout.3


 

So the next time you rationalize yourself out of cardio with the after-burn effect, or simply decide to forgo the gym, think about this: The time you need for this workout is equals to the time you use watching a sitcom episode (or about seven cat videos on YouTube). Choose one that your future self will thank you for.

 
 
 
 
 


Stace

 
 

via Healthy Relationship

 Footnote(s):

  1. and this may not come as a surprise []
  2. Although swimming comes to a close. []
  3. Speaking of which, please check your target heart rates here, as reported by the American Heart Association. []

50 ways to tell you’re a runner

 

Thank God for Internet. I stumbled upon this video a while ago, finding myself saying yeap, yeap, yeap and more yeaps as I watch the vid went on. Though some are just exaggerations of the nature, I bet you can call yourself a runner if you agree with more than 20 of these items:

 

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1. You have chafing in strange, unimaginable places
2. All of your socks are either stained or torn
3. You use the phrase “10 mile” and “easy run” in the same breath
4. You can eat your weight in pasta
5. You spend more money on training clothes than school clothes
6. Your Saturday mornings for the rest of your life are RUINED
7. You often foam at the mouth
8. (If you’re a guy) You try to impress girls by saying you’re a faster finisher
9. You consider school/work a break between runs
10. You own spandex in more than one color
 
Continue reading →

Running Body: 12 days to get fit

 

Whether you run or bike or swim, I found this TribeSports challenge to be a great strength-training circuit to pair with your normal training session.

They’re basically an all-rounder circuit that gets your whole body working, as opposed to machines in the gym that targets isolated muscle groups (and that’s why I love doing these exercises individually). I’ve opted to do it all at one go instead of spreading it over a 12-day routine. Up till I get to the push ups, I couldn’t maintain good form any longer and decided it’s better for me right now to take it one day at a time :S

12daysoffitness

 

Here’s the breakdown of the blood-pumping circuit:

 

Day 1
1 minute plank

Day 2
2 minute wall squat
+ 1 minute plank

Day 3
3 minute bridge
+ 2 minute wall squat
+ 1 minute plank

Day 4
4 full burps
+ 3 minute bridge
+ 2 minute wall squat
+ 1 minute plank

Day 5
5 star jumps
+ 4 full burpees
+ 3 minute bridge
+ 2 minute wall squat
+ 1 minute plank

Day 6
6 push ups + 5 star jumps
+ 4 full burpees
+ 3 minute bridge
+ 2 minute wall squat
+ 1 minute plank

Day 7
7 mountain climbers
+ 6 push ups
+ 5 star jumps
+ 4 full burpees
+ 3 minute bridge
+ 2 minute wall squat
+ 1 minute plank

Day 8
8 squats-a-squatting
+ 7 mountain climbers
+ 6 push ups
+ 5 star jumps
+ 4 full burpees
+ 3 minute bridge
+ 2 minute wall squat
+ 1 minute plank

Day 9
9 lads chair dipping
+ 8 squats-a-squatting
+ 7 mountain climbers
+ 6 push ups
+ 5 star jumps
+ 4 full burpees
+ 3 minute bridge
+ 2 minute wall squat
+ 1 minute plank

Day 10
10 lords tuck-jumping
+ 9 lads chair dipping
+ 8 squats-a-squatting
+ 7 mountain climbers
+ 6 push ups
+ 5 star jumps
+ 4 full burpees
+ 3 minute bridge
+ 2 minute wall squat
+ 1 minute plank

Day 11
11 ladies lunging
+ 10 lords tuck-jumping
+ 9 chair dipping
+ 8 squats-a-squatting
+ 7 mountain climbers
+ 6 push ups
+ 5 star jumps
+ 4 full burpees
+ 3 minute bridge
+ 2 minute wall squat
+ 1 minute plank

Day 12
12 crunches crunching
+ 11 ladies lunging
+ 10 lords tuck-jumping
+ 9 chair dipping
+ 8 squats-a-squatting
+ 7 mountain climbers
+ 6 push ups
+ 5 star jumps
+ 4 full burpees
+ 3 minute bridge
+ 2 minute wall squat
+ 1 minute plank

 
 

You’ll look smokin’ by NYE if you do this for the next 12 days. So … you up for the challenge?

 
 
 
 
 


Stace

 
 

via TribeSports