Interval training

Snowed in for the first time in a long time today, so posting this a little earlier than planned! If you really want to maximise your fat burning, forget all those boring long distance runs that can stress your joints, try this one to jump start your metabolism!

If you are running for example, try and use lampposts as a guide for training intensity. You would jog slowly for one post, then sprint the next post, then jog the next, sprint the next one after and so on. Your efforts may only last a couple of minutes at a time to start with but this a great form of training for increasing your stamina, and really getting your fat burning underway.

If you on a treadmill in a gym, try running slow and steady for one minute, the sprint the next minute or certainly push it, slow for the next minute, sprint the next minute after that and so on. If you can work up to 20 minutes of this, you will be doing extremely well indeed!

If you are out cycling, try making your training intervals a bit longer, so you could still use landmarks, it’s just that they will be further spaced out. They could be 100 yards of sprinting on the bike, then 100 yards of steady pedalling, then you go for it again for 100 yards and so on. You can make the intervals any distance you want, depending on how you feel and which route you are on. Cycling is not always about long distances, and don’t forget, brit mark cavendish is one of the msot exciting riders, and he’s a sprinter who concentrates on the last couple of 100 metres in the tour de france (although he may have rode 100km before that!).

Ensure you have a good warm up before attempting any of these,  as they will stretch you over short periods and will be very intense. They can add great excitement to your workouts. To get up to this kind of workout, i would suggest you build up a base first to get some stamina levels and you don’t shock your system too quickly. You could even try using this system in a daily walk just to start off, it will work you hard, and break the monotony of the walk up.

All to be done when the snow goes of course!!

Keri

Gym based workouts

Had some emails in so i’m going to do a great gym circuit that works, and is very much using the same principles of the home workout, which really works too of course!

Select 6-8 exercises again, trying to work each body part in each circuit, and try to do a total of 3 circuits if your fitness allows. Take sips of water in between each circuit, and use good form in each exercise, no cheating or using too much weight for the sake of it!!

Use 8-10 reps for each exercise, and i like 12-15 reps on the leg exercises, you will get out of breath so scale down the weight you normally use, over the weeks that weight will go back up slowly as your fitness improves.

Bench press (chest)

One arm dumbbell rowing (back)

Upright rows (shoulders)

Leg press (legs)

Arm dips (using bench) (triceps)

Dumbbell curls (arms)

Sit ups (do as many as possible)

So basically, you will be using the same principles as the home circuit (see my previous posts), and if you really put a good effort in, you will get an excellent sweat and really get out of breath. Plus you will be breaking down muscle tissue, as you should now by now will raise your metabolism significantly (burn more calories 24 hours a day!).

Other examples would be

Pec deck

Lat pulldowns

Lateral raises

Leg extensions

Leg curls

Plank-Aim for 1 minute eventually (the gold standard)

Alternate squat thrusts-your best effort on each one, it’s a great exercise!

Your combination of circuits is only limited by your imagination. The bottom line is i repeat, DO EACH EXERCISE IN PROPER FORM, not simply so quick as just to finish it, or you won’t get the results you want!

I would do these circuits in the gym on a monday, wednesday and a friday (use the 48 hours in between each circuit to your advantage). These are over quickly but bring some big results to your body’s firmness and stamina levels. All good stuff!

Keri

Do i need to work more than 20 mins to burn fat?

Jean brought up a very interesting point today, she said that she always took it that you needed to work for at least 20 minutes before she starting burning fat. In theory, she is right and your body will start burning it’s carbohydrate and simple sugars first, then after the 20 minutes stage depending on energy levels in the body, fat can then be used as a fuel source so that does work-in a perfect world.

What happens if nothing is going to plan that day, we need a quick workout and we can only fit in a 15 minute run, is it worth it? We can only do 20 press ups, 20 arm dips. 20 squats, and 70 squat thrusts, is it worth it? What if you can only get a 10 minute walk in with the dog as you have to go back to work, is it worth going even you put in a light jog? Is it worth going for 15 minute bike ride when we usually do 45 mins? Will we burn fat if we do any of these things?

The answer must be a resounding “yes”! Of course, we would spend a little more time warming up and getting into the workout, it’s not good to rush in and go 200% all the time! What i am saying is that any exercise is good, and i have had some of my best workouts in under 10 mins. Breaking 9 minutes for the first time whilst doing 2500 metres on a rowing machine nearly half killed me! Usain bolt does his best workouts in under 10 seconds! What about the guys and girls who do the run up the stairs every february in the empire state building in new york? There are 1575 stairs and the women’s record is 13 minutes 12 seconds, the men’s rec0rd is 9 minutes and thirty three seconds.

Do you think that any of these workouts/events burnt any body fat or not? Of course they did and often pushed our bodies to new levels of achievement and conditioning.

The key is you are pressed for time is to raise the intensity to suit the workout. For instance, if you are used to running for 30 minutes on a flat surface and that gives you an effort of 8 out of 10 then great. Do make a workout of 15 minutes much more intense, incorporate hills or interval training, do some sprints with minimal rest, in fact do anything that makes it harder and really try and take rest out of the equation.

P.S. To clear up my home workouts post yesterday, my example workout was exactly that, an example. For instance if your best test on your own was 20 press ups, 30 arm dips, 60 squat thrusts etc, your circuit you do 3 times should be half of that. Therefore, it would be 10 press ups, 15 arm dips and 30 squat thrusts. Effectively, you are halving your personal best totals but doing them a total of 3 times instead of once. This will make a very effective workout indeed. Any problems let me know.

Training at home

Training in the house

You should be looking at doing 3 workouts on your own if training in the house, and by that I mean working with resistance. That doesn’t have to be massive weights, or a stepper you never ever use, I’m talking about honest, simple exercises using your own bodyweight that work you very effectively indeed.

You need to pick 6-8 exercises when you are used to doing your home circuits, but even 4-5 exercises to start can be highly effective. The great thing about circuits too is that you are only limited by your imagination when designing your workouts. The goal is to work each body part in each workout and this is always easier than you think.

A press up for instance works not only your chest, but your shoulders, arms, back and legs even, and the all important core of your body (especially your lower back and stomach).

If you do a squat, it not only works your legs but your whole body in a way because of the energy demands it makes, your legs are your body’s biggest muscle group and therefore require most energy to work them, which in turn burns more calories. Also, when you develop your lean muscle tissue, your body demands more calories because one pound of lean muscle tissue burns up to 50 calories a day. One pound of fat for instance only burns two calories per day.

You can see that being leaner, and more shapely has many more benefits than you thought and starting a home fitness programme will very much get you on that track.

I’m going to give you plenty of options for your home circuits, and ones that are guaranteed to work every time, and get that all important metabolism going at a very quick rate, something a lot of you may not have experienced for a long time.

That’s 3 days a week covered (typically Monday, Wednesday and Friday), the other 2 days at least, I’m going to ask you to do some heart and lungs work (easiest way to describe it). This could be brisk walking, running, cycling, swimming, anything that gets your heart and lungs going. This again gets your metabolism going again, puts a lot of vital oxygen in your blood, and gets the all important process of fat-burning going again, just as the inside workouts do.

Again, the range of heart and lungs activities you do are only limited by your imagination and pick out your favourites. There are huge benefits though by mixing them up too. For example, you could do a cycle on a Sunday, and a swim on a Thursday? Or if you are running, mix your routes up to make it more fun, and combine longer routes with some shorter sprints, which really confuse the body and help you blast through plateaus.

Over the coming days, as I said, you will have lots of options thrown at you, if you are new to exercise, always make sure you get doctor’s approval before beginning any exercise programme. For the rest of you, no matter how experienced you are, it’s important to have a good structure in your exercise programme, once you have, you can then measure your progress. If you are improving most weeks or at least making a decent improvement every month, you will know your programme is working and this helps keep you motivated.

You will see a million faddy exercise gadgets and programmes, just like you will a million faddy diets, this one will work because the fundamentals of it are sound, based on science and tried and tested.

Keri.

Do i take my kit or not?

After a weekend in london, its always great to have been away, but great to have arrived back too. The main point of this post is about the eternal question;

1. Shall i take my kit on holiday/weekend break?

2. Do i even think about taking my kit?

3. I always take my kit away!

You can possibly guess that i now always take my kit away, in the past, often i didn’t and paid the price when i came home. The “price” would be a wheezing chest, shortness of breath, weight gain and generally feeling not so good and sluggish. That is exactly the reason i take my kit away, i simply want to FEEL better when i come back, its that simple, and i really don’t want to be a few pounds heavier after just a couple of days away!

So the bottom line was i did two runs, both at 5.45am on saturday and sunday, only for 25 minutes and after a shower, i felt incredibly better after pounding oxford street when only the cleaners were around, and some coming home after a night out!! It was freezing in a pair of shorts but that feeling only lasted around 5 minutes, and it did have some strange looks!!

Another question you may ask, why are you so “boring” to run on a break? First of all, it’s part of my lifestyle and i want to feel better and well, as listed above, and isn’t it more boring to whinge about how many pounds you’ve put on after a trip, and complaining how bad you feel? Not exactly entertaining is it! I’ve been in both camps and i can assure you that feeling great is number one by a mile!! When you make the commitment to look after yourself, you take every opportunity to look and feel your best, i didn’t always have this mindset, but so glad i do now!

We all eat richer food on holiday, we may drink a bit/lot more. It needs to get worked out of our systems sometime or another, there’s no time like the present so let’s make it happen!

Keri