Thursday, October 22, 2009

Back to basics

Alright, the marathon is over, and that means it's back to the gym for me. I have to admit that I was neglecting my weights workout while I was putting up mileage to train for the marathon. Right now I'm easing into it as I'm still recovering from the race. Thankfully my superior genetics have allowed me to recover fairly quickly, but pardon me while I down another 4 Motrin to type the rest of this entry. Hah!

Seriously though, I need to spend some time rebuilding my overall strength if I want to keep up this level of fitness. For now, I'm doing a relatively low weight, high intensity interval workout. I'm sticking to 6 exercises: push-ups/bench, squats, curls, deadlifts, press and clean, and woodchoppers. The number of intervals and reps will change, but I'm doing a pyramid reps, i.e. 1, 2, 3, 2, 1. I'll cycle through each exercise doing the same number of reps before moving onto the next interval. The key is to do it fast with good form and no rest breaks. Then after that some cross-training cardio like the bike or elliptical. I'll do this for 2-3 days out of the week and the rest of the week will be running.

A lot of people have asked me how they can get started running. My first suggestion is just get out there and make yourself do it. You won't get anywhere unless you make yourself do it. My second suggestion is to take it slow. I realize that I didn't do that but I've been blessed with a body that can turn pie and bacon into muscle quickly. Not an easy feat, I assure you. I started out building my overall strength and endurance with weights before I seriously started running. When I did start running, I ran mostly on the treadmill till I thought that I was ready to hit the streets. For beginners, I suggest running on the treadmill no more than 10 minutes a day till you're used to it. Even then, a run-walk (i.e. walk 2 mins, run 1 min, walk 2 mins, repeat as necessary) approach till your comfortable with your stride is probably smart. After the first week, if you're feeling good about your running, then you can bump up your running by a couple more minutes, and just keep doing that until you're running marathons!

As far as general strength program, you should do 1 that builds your upper body, core and lower body. The program I'm doing is probably good if you know your proper forms for lifting. Otherwise you may need something even more basic like push-ups, sit-ups, chin-ups and squats. It doesn't matter whether you do weights first or cardio/running first. I usually do weights then cardio because I like to get warmed up that way. You'll probably be pretty sore the first couple of weeks if you haven't really done much working out, but it will be a good sore that will pay off if you stick with it.

So there you have it. Build your cardio and strength at the same time, and you'll see results. Do high intensity workouts to tire and tax your muscles but keep the number of reps low to avoid injury. One final note about treadmills. I don't like them and won't run on one now unless I'm desperate, however a treadmill will be much easier on the joints than the road until you've got a good baseline tolerance for your new fitness program. All righty then, I think I've done my share of fitness preaching tonight. Good luck and godspeed.

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