Treadmill-free cardio workouts

More like running-free cardio workouts…

Wow. Never thought I’d say that… Weird.

I am working out with my best friend, Ashley, and she is not allowed to run because of her hips and knee.

Yet.

She’s not allowed to run… yet. Eventually, I’m sure she’ll be able to run or, at least, jog.

We have to do our cardio workouts without the treadmill and without running on the track for now, and we need to get in some good cardio if we want to burn fat. We have to do more than resistance training.

Plus, I’m really sore, and I need to get out some soreness, and the best way to do that is cardio.

For two weeks, we have done our cardio on the bike for about 15 minutes, but it is getting boring. I need a cardio workout to mix up our routine that doesn’t involve running, sprinting, jumping, skipping… you get the idea. No high-impact!

The first option is to make the stationary bike a little more interesting.

Instead of setting the stationary bike to P-8, which is the Cardio Program, Ashley and I are going to try interval and tempo workouts on the bike. The Greatist published this low-impact tempo workout from the American Council on Exercise. (ACE has more workouts!)

Warm up with a 10-minute spin at moderate intensity. After the warm-up, alternate two-minute high intensity (still low impact!) and five-minute moderate intensity intervals for 21 minutes. Then, for 18 minutes, alternate high for two minutes and moderate for six minutes. Finish the workout off with a cool down.

Moderate intensity is at a level where Ashley and I will be able to speak. High intensity is at a level where it will be difficult for Ashley and I to speak at all. We are on different levels with our cardio so we will have different levels of moderate and high intensity intervals.

That’ll be fun to figure out.

While this interval workout will be easy-ish on Ashley’s joints, it will get our heart rates up and our bodies burning evil fat cells.

Our second indoor bike option is to join a spin class, which has the added benefit of someone else telling us what to do. The YMCA has several indoor cycling classes to attend at different levels. Bonus? It’s free with our membership. Whoop!

When Ashley and I feel like hopping off the bike, another option is to use low-weight free weights for fast-paced toning sessions. Instead of lifting heavy weights, we lift almost zero weight and do it really, really fast. Much like Insanity workouts with dumbbells and without the jumping and the skipping.

And the sheer awfulness of it.

Kettlebell workouts are also good fat-burners. I think it’s all the swinging…

We will have to increase our cardio soon if we want to continue to burn fat. According to Women’s Health Magazine, we have to keep pushing our bodies to keep seeing results. (I haven’t seen any results yet so I’m not too worried right now.)

A bad week for fitness

What a week!

Apologies for the lack in content, folks, but I have been one busy kid.

Remember when I mentioned my big girl job? Well, I “started” on Monday. (By “start,” I mean “I’m just going in to learn stuff” because I don’t actually work full-time until December.)

And, now, you are asking yourselves: “How will she work while teaching and finishing her master’s degree?”

Good question. I made a decision not to teach next semester. I made another decision not to write a thesis. I made yet another decision not to apply for doctoral programs next fall.

Why?

I have been a student, in school, for the majority of my time on earth. All of it, actually.

It is time to grow up. It is time to leave academe.

No worries, though, I will be employed! And I will finish my master’s degree next semester sans the teaching gig.

And, now, back to your regularly scheduled Shae Day!

And it is confession time…

I missed Shocker Fitness Monday, Wednesday and Friday (today), and I ate straight crap food all week like pizza, donuts and French fries.

Problem. Serious problem.

For the past two weeks, and especially this past week since my mentor/teacher/friend passed away, I have felt fatigued, sick and downright depressed.

Since I am so tired… I do not want to wake up early and workout. After a long day of working, teaching and school, I do not want to leave home and workout.

Since I am so busy… I have not eaten on a regular schedule. Breakfast at 10 a.m., lunch at 3 p.m., dinner at 8 p.m. Sleep(?) between 11 p.m.-1 a.m. What kind of schedule is that?!

In between all the eating, not sleeping and working I do, at some point, I have to study… It’s not going well.

I have three papers to write, loads of data to analyze, a few tests to study for and a presentation to prepare for a “conference” (It’s at WSU) – all of which must be done by Thursday, Dec. 8.

Three weeks.

I have three weeks.

I have never feared nor anticipated the end of a semester as much as I do now. PLEASE END. NO PLEASE I NEED ONE  MORE WEEK.

Ridiculous.

If you could read my mind: “Should I stay up all night and sleep early tomorrow evening? Should I work on my papers tomorrow evening? How much sleep do I really need to function tomorrow? Is three hours enough? I have to get that paper done. Holy crap! It’s almost Thanksgiving! I have time off next week to get work done. When is that paper due? I think it’s due after Thanksgiving. Wow. I really need to workout. Have I gained weight? No. But I’m all squishy. Is that a new stretch mark? Man, I want some fries.”

And this is why my husband thinks I’m crazy.

Because I am.

After work, I went for a 10-minute run around my neighborhood after doing this 7-minute warmup. I notice I run faster when I’m alone at night. I also did a 10-minute strength circuit when I got home.

IN MY NEW SHOES! Review to come soon.

I hope that, until the semester ends, I will be able to work out for 20 minutes in the morning and 20-30 minutes in the evening.

I also hope I can stuff less food in my face.

Wish me luck! (Or stitch my mouth shut. Husband will appreciate less talking.)

Announcement!
skinnyshae turns 1-year-old on November 23! How should we celebrate my birthday? ;)

Need a six-pack? Get rid of the keg.

Announcement!
Big. Girl. Job. (Details to come soon!)

A continuation of my past requests to the athletic gods for ab definition

I need an ab.

Just one.

Please!

:)

I know more about fitness now than I did then so I am happy to provide you with more information. Check out the links for more details.

Ab definition is pointless if the defined ab muscles are covered in a squishy layer of fat, which is quite my problem. I feel my abs, and they feel great, but I do not see my abs.

Want.

The abdominals have three layers: the transverse abdominals, internal and external obliques and the rectus abdominis (from deepest to most superficial).

Transverse abdominals hold your insides… inside… and are the WORST place to accumulate fat (causes heart disease and diabetes and whatnot). The obliques crisscross the abdomen, and the rectus abdominis are the actual muscles we see.

According to Livestrong.com, in order to see the six-pack, you have to strengthen all of your abdominal muscles and burn fat all over your body.

Crunches will not be a quick fix. While crunches will tone your abs, crunches do not burn fat all over the body. You have to get moving: running, jogging, walking, swimming – all burn calories.

Lucky for me, I fell in love with running.

According to Jane Unger Hahn for Runner’s World, running is one of the most efficient ways to burn calories, which, in turn, burns fat. And remember when Ashley told me running gave her ab definition?

For every mile you run, you can burn 100 calories. If you run a 10-minute mile, you will burn about 500 calories in five miles under an hour.

Holy. Crap. TELL. ME. MORE.

Unger created three plans, all of which are outlined in the article, based on increasing mileage and increasing intensity – both of which will increase your fitness.

I like Plan 3!

Food and diet are important, too. Reduce the amount of calories you eat, and eat high-fiber, lean protein foods. I hear blueberries actually burn belly fat… in lab rats.

Women’s Health Magazine hands out free workouts if you sign up with their site. Yes. I get spam, but I have a separate email address for spam.

I recommend the WH 20-Minute Workout Series Part 1-The Core, the Lose Your Belly 15-Minute Workout and the Abs Diet Workout Plan, which you have to buy to get the whole thing, but it comes with a diet, and a book.

Note: When you hear something like a “15-minute workout,” do not assume your abs will look better in 15 minutes.

And, in reference to the headline, if you really want to lose weight and tone your abs, lay off all kegs – and six packs, for that matter ;) (Do not tempt me with pumpkin beer.)

Which running plan do you want to try?

Circuit Wednesdays

Every Wednesday, Shocker Fitness coaches Em and Nate (and Heidi for Shock Fit Xtreme) work us out through a circuit.

affordable community fitness programHow come I never noticed this? Crazzzzzy. (Most likely because when I’m working out, I’m not thinking about organization. Thank goodness for coaches!)

Backtrack: On Monday, I ran my little heart out, and, apparently, stretched a few too many tight muscles. My hammys were killing me, and quads? Don’t get me started. I do not feel bad about taking it easy today with sprinting and skipping the circuit.

I had to get pictures! :)

Circuit Wednesday
Warmup

6-80’s
(sprints or “fast runs”)
I really strained my left quad here.

And then the circuit…

Circuit training on wednesday community fitness programaffordable fitness for wichita kansasWichita Kansas fitness programNext, members power skipped, jogged backwards and ran with weights.
Heavy weights.

power skips proper form coach trainingrunning backward proper form coach trainingshot put run proper form coach trainingThey are carrying shot put weights.

Next, members zig-zag shuffled down the track to the hill.
Oh, the hill…

community fitness program affordable cheap easy go at your own paceLateral walk up, jog down.
Other direction.
Run up, jog down.
Run up backwards, jog down.

And then members restart the circuit under the helpful guidance of Coach Em.

fitness personal training group training with coachesI like this girl :)
Don’t worry about the megaphone – the track is just big so she has to be loud.

I blogged about this circuit previously. If you want to see how I did, check it out here. (Not awesome, in case you didn’t feel like reading.)

I hope you woke up to a wonderful Wednesday! I sure did.

We're such a small group! Join us so we can get all of Wichita fit!How is that morning? There’s no sun!

I will not be defeated!

Dear Readers,

From my previous post, I’m sure you know I did not have a great Thursday.

Well, after Friday, my Thursday got a lot better. Doesn’t make sense? Doesn’t need to. Just know that ALMOST everything is better. (Cooking is still impossible for me right now.)

I suppose I got some splainin’ to do!

Thursday: 7:30 a.m.
I wake up with a terrible headache, but it’s not bad enough to worry over so I take an Alieve (just one) and get some breakfast.

I slept well Wednesday night, but I still feel tired. Coffee should fix the problem. It doesn’t.

Before I leave, I carp at Husband. He is quite confused.

9:00 a.m.
I am at work. It is my last day before school starts on Monday.

I must write two final content pages, but the web editor is being difficult… timing out and crashing. Nothing new, I guess.

I must also write my last blog (for the organization, not for skinnyshae). It is a “goodbye” blog, and it introduces my replacement.

My last goal: Train my replacement. She has her work cut out for her. The job is hard (but only because parts of it are frustrating).

Noon(ish)
Email after email. Text and phone call, one after another. Bad news. It’s all to do with school. I am anxious. I am pissed.

3 p.m.
My head aches with full force. My stomach hurts. Time to go home.

4 p.m.
I’m home. I shower quickly. I do not want to be in the shower long; it’s too hot.

Nap! Brilliant. Peaceful. Three hours.

Night(ish)
I make Creamy Dijon Chicken and Rice. It’s terrible.

Sadness…

Friday 7 a.m.
Filled with endorphins after three miles with Ashley and her friend. Happiness abounds! But running with skinny girls is hard…

My body is too heavy to maintain pace. I have to stop and walk. (They’re nice so they stopped with me.)

I feel good, but I also feel fat.

9:30 a.m.
My headlight is fixed! :)

10:30 a.m.
SUPER anxious. It is almost time for the meeting that decides my entire schedule for the next five months.

I cannot work the same schedule I worked during my first two semesters. It will kill me, and I will get stressed out and fat.

Noon(ish)
WONDERFUL NEWS!

I get the schedule I need. Stress- and anxiety-free!

My Thursday got better! It just took 24 hours and half of a Friday. :)

I wish I could go into more detail, but some things are SUPER private, and other things I just cannot remember – like what I said… no clue!

Fitness Update: No workout on Thursday, three miles on Friday and an intense yoga practice this morning!

Diet Update: Beer-Battered Shrimp Tacos and Chips and Salsa at Jose Peppers… I know it’s bad, but I didn’t eat the tortillas or the cheese. The tacos were dressed with raw cabbage, little sauce and avocado slices. I also ate black beans and only a little rice.

Big problem? Margaritas… I know. On the rocks is better than frozen! :)

Back with better posts as soon as my curriculum is set! I have a lot of work to do for the semester.

While you are not reading skinnyshae, check out the awesome blogs on my blogroll.

-Shae

Fitness Mistakes: A collection

I tend to blog about my failures in fitness more than the obstacles I have overcome. It might be depressing, but I learn from failure. I also learn from Fitness Magazine articles.

 The following are a collection of fitness mistakes that I’ve read over the years.

Most the information is based on my personal experience.

Mistake #1: Just Cardio
Partially true, but cardio alone will not help you lose weight. Exercise is only half of the equation. The other half – diet – is the more difficult to work with part. Diet is the variable that might equal a negative number but you missed a step and don’t know where it all went wrong.

Dieting feels like dividing by zero. Impossible. (GRE Note: You CANNOT divide by zero.)

I know I have to change my eating habits or weight loss will become stagnant.

Mistake #2: Pump Iron Fast
Also not true, and I know from experience.

From the weights and aerobics classes I took in high school to workout programs like The Firm, Slim n’ 6 and Insanity, I know… like I know… you have to go slow.

Do a pushup, and then do the same movement five times slower than normal. Instead of plummeting toward the floor, inch down slowly. The difference is control, and it makes your muscles work harder.

Mistake #3: Just the Bike
Cycling promotes muscle growth in the legs, and only in the thigh region.

If you want super thighs, then bikes are for you; but if you want all over fitness, you have to switch up the routine and the machine.

I do not have this problem. I hate bikes ever since after puberty – and, no, not for a gross reason. The seats simply are not comfortable for me to sit on. Leisurely ride, sure. Sweat session, no.

Mistake #4: Fat Burning Zone
With certain aerobic machines, like the treadmill and elliptical, you can measure your heart rate. The machine will also tell you what “zone” you are in. At the YMCA, the fat burning zone is purple, and it’s the highest.

But why aim for fat burning and only fat burning? The cardio zone will burn more fat calories, which is better in the long run if you want to lose weight.

Remember: Weight loss is calorie loss.

Mistake #5: No Warm Up
Boxers enter the ring covered in sweat and partially fatigued but energized for their fight. Why? If a boxer approaches a fight (or a runner hits the track) with cold muscles, then the athlete risks injury. The first 10 minutes of the actual workout is crap if you don’t warm up your muscles.

When I was in middle school, I attended a camp to improve my speed. The coach told the kiddos to avoid static stretches before a workout and always warm up. (And I still need to work on this.)

Mistake #6: Crunches for Abs
I don’t believe in abs. Not anymore.

Honestly, after the debate I have heard, I do not believe there is an actual solution for abs. Crunch! No crunches! Standing crunch! Run! Get an ab slider! WHO KNOWS?!

I’ll tell you who knows! People with abs.

What do they know? They know they were genetically predisposed to have beautiful stomachs, and the rest of us are screwed.

Forget abs. Yeah, right, I know I won’t either. :(

Mistake #7: Same Old Routine
Weight lifting circuits are meant to be changed.

If you believe in muscle memory, and you should if you still know how to ride a bike, then you know your body will remember routines. Instead of working, the body just does. It’s efficient that way, and you won’t build new muscle tissue.

Mistake #8: Just Yoga
So? I love yoga.

However, although I know several yoga instructors who ONLY do yoga for their workouts and remain pencil thin or perfectly shaped, they are the exception.

A one-hour session of hatha yoga burns fewer calories than breakfast. On the other hand, a 90-minutes vinyasa flow can burn up to 800 calories depending on your weight, height and age.

However, the body is efficient, and once yoga becomes easy for your muscles to remember, all you are is strong and stretchy. Weight loss will stop.

Just like “just cardio” and “just the bike” don’t work, neither does “just yoga.”

Mistake #9: Steady Pace
Running five miles every day at a steady pace, which would probably take me an hour and half, is worse than running three miles with sprints.

By adding fartleks of just 30 seconds, you can increase your calorie burn. Screw steady pace, get moving. (Mondays are for sprinting!)

Mistake #10: Workout, and then Couch
If you work out hard for one hour, and then spend five hours on the couch, you are effectively turning off your metabolism. Turns out that thing has an on/off switch.

Remember: The body is so efficient that when it is put into a mode of inactivity it begins to store. Why? Well, in case ever we are put into a situation where we have no food, the body is prepared.

Why does this bother me? I know women who do nothing but workout for an hour a day (or do absolutely NOTHING) and look fabulous and skinny while stuffing their face with doughnuts and drinking every night. Not fair!

It goes the way of abs I suppose…

The preceding mistakes were found in an article from Fitness Magazine – no link.

The following came from The Nestie Newsletter.

Mistake #11: Workout = Hunger = Weight Gain
Our body is “hungry” when it does not receive the nutrition it needs to survive. If we were never hungry, we would die.

Being hungry is normal. In addition, exercise is an appetite suppressant. Fit kids are abstemious.

Mistake #12: Workout without Fuel
Always eat before your workout. Just a little protein-fiber snack is all you need.

A body performs at its best when it has fuel. When the immediate fuel (your snack) runs out, it is easier for the body to consume the stored fuel (fat and glucose). The longer you work out, the more your stores deplete.

I used to skip breakfast and forget to eat lunch all the time. It was terrible for my body. I know that now.

Plus, after spending all summer eating breakfast every day and remembering to eat lunch, I lose weight more readily.

Work out with food in your stomach (not French fries or a doughnut) and have a post-workout snack (ditto) to promote weight loss and health.

Mistake #13: A Longer Workout is a Better Workout
If you are training for a marathon, it is good to rack up 50 miles a week. However, if you want to peel on pounds, it is much better to rack up 20 minutes a day of hard exercise.

Push your body hard and reap the benefits. Push your body long when you’ve got different goals.

Mistake #14: 3 a Week at 30 a Day
Exercising for 30 minutes a day three days a week is not fitness.

I have heard that women have to do 30-60 minutes of cardio daily to maintain. Gross.

In my experience, 20-30 minutes a day four or five days a week plus 90 minutes of yoga once a week is STILL not enough to lose the weight I need to lose.

I don’t have the equation for the right amount, but Women’s Health Magazine promotes this in their running program. It’s what I’m trying to do now.

Mistake #15: Pain = Gain
Soreness or fatigue is normal. Aches and pains are not. If your body just downright hurts, you might be injured.

I do not have war stories so this is the only example I have.

During a totally normal yoga practice for flexibility, I hurt my right hand. I ignored it because I figured I pinched a nerve or was sore or squished a finger. Something small.

Turns out I did more damage than I thought. Now, I have a recurring serious pain in my hand because I pushed my body when I shouldn’t have.

It’s my hand. I know. It’s dumb, but it hurts!

I have talked about my knees being “upset” during long runs or that my shoulder hurts incessantly. I mean that my body is simply sore and weak. My knees will feel better when I get stronger. The pain in my hand keeps coming back because I didn’t take care of it properly.

Mistake #16: Deus ex Machina
Do not rely on the treadmill (or a stupid watch) to tell you how many calories you burned. Generally, both are incorrect.

I have this problem all the time! The treadmill will tell me I burned 300 calories in 40 minutes after running three miles. However, my watch will tell me I burned 700 calories in the same workout.

Both are lying. I might have burned 900 calories. I might have burned 200 calories.

Here is what I go by: In an hour, a 140-pound woman can burn 500 calories running. I estimate based on that little factoid. (Or I use a Calories Burned Calculator online, which also might be lying.)

What fitness mistake can you add to the list?

How do you determine how many calories you burned? I NEED to know.

Feelin’ pretty crappy…

I’ve felt pretty icky since Sunday.

Last night it got worse. I felt like a bloated fish, which usually means rotten.

I still feel gross.

When I got home from work, I took a shower immediately, hoping it would wash away my stomach pains.

It helped mildly.

I wanted to take a steaming hot bath with candles and bubbles, but it’s still a gazillion degrees outside, which means it’s even hotter in my bathroom.

Cold shower it is.

What I am trying to convey is that I will lift no weights, run no distance and do no yoga. Not today.

Hopefully, I will feel better for my hill workout tomorrow. It’s supposed to be cooler tomorrow evening so I might just be able to run on a real hill!

Fingers crossed!

Dinner Challenge? Check out my friend Dana’s blog @ my little celebration!