cardio

Diversify your training to maximize results

If you wish to improve range of motion one might think to start doing yoga. If your goal is to increase core strength you might think Pilates, and if you want to improve your strength you might wanna do CrossFit 7 days/week. If your goal is to improve your overall fitness you are doing yourself a disservice by doing the same workouts day in and day out.

The truth is most people should be diversifying their training disciplines on a weekly and/or daily basis. Finding time to squeeze in classes or workouts of multiple training styles will increase your overall fitness while also helping avoid over-usage injuries. Diversification will also help you stay stimulated and goal oriented. You can more easily see where adjustments need to be made to improve muscular balance, both antero-posterior and bilaterally.

Changing out your normal routine is as simple as signing up for a multi-discipline training facility, joining ClassPass, or making it a point to try a new workout style every month.

Shred your legs with this forgotten training tool

It seems that only elite athletes and exercise masechists use this tool regularly and enjoy it. The benefits are numerous and include being cheap, accessible, and efficient. What more could you want out of a training device. What’s great about them is you can actually find many of them for free so while owning one is great, owning multiple is awesome. What is this great tool?

Hills!

They come in all shapes and sizes. They are found in most neighborhoods around the world. If you ask any Kenyan or Ethiopian runner they will most definitely speak with both respect and admiration for their favorite training hill. Hills aren’t just for runners though. We use hills all the time to straight lateral speed and explosiveness in young athletes. We also use the incline to challenge our members to build their gluts and hamstrings doing lunges and broad jumps up the iconic Laurel St Hill that our studio resides on. No other tool is will force your heart to beat faster, legs to shake with exhaustion, get results as quick as finding a big steep hill and owning it!

How Much, How Often?

Most people aren't gluttons for punishment and prefer not to dedicate the necessary amount of time to create serious bodily changes. In fact, most people also want to do the bare minimum and yield the most results. Unfortunately for these types, that isn't how the body works. Our body's respond to stress. The more we apply the more it will adapt, but if we apply too much stress the body can fail. Over-usage injuries such as stress fractures and tendonitis are the most common, but major joint injuries can also occur due to too much progressive overload. So how much time should we dedicate to see solid results? That number you should aim for is 10 hours per week of fitness related activity. That's right, 10 hours! This may sound very unrealistic, but if we break it into days, we are looking at less than 1.5 hours per day. Here is how you can split up your fitness schedule to make that 600 minutes per week easily attainable.

1. Get your cardio in every day! Mix it up so that it doesn't become boring and redundant. Try something like an easy Fartlek workout on Monday, 15-20 minutes of Stair Climber on Tuesday, a 45 minute Spin Class on Wednesday, Track or Treadmill intervals for 30 minutes on Thursday, an easy jog or bike ride for 60 minutes on Friday, and a  hike or trail run on Saturday.

This should total about 3.5-5 hours of your fitness for the week. The more weight you are looking to lose, the more cardio you should be putting in. Also, adding cardio DOES NOT mean taking time off from your other fitness activities.

2. Make your resistance training short and sweet but also very intense. I suggest at least 3 "hard" workouts per week. Hard is obviously a relative term but and good indicator of a "hard" workout is at the end of 30-40 minutes you have only taken a total of 5 minutes of combined rest time. These fast-paced workouts will boost your metabolism while also increasing the bodies ability to recover.  Do your hard resistance workouts on days that are easier cardio days. You can also combine cardio and resistance into circuits to save time.

Interval workouts and Fartleks are great cardio workouts to mix resistance training and cut down on the amount of time spent in the gym.

3. The most common workout to skip is probably the most important to hit, our corrective exercises. We all make it to the gym for our favorite grueling HIIT class, but most people usually just squeeze a couple corrective exercises in at the end of their workout. While I would never say thats a bad thing, it is much less effective to do 2 exercises than it is to do 2 sessions of correctives. Allowing yourself to focus on what ever muscle imbalances you may have, or joints with a lack in range of motion helps prevent injury and will increase efficiency in the body mechanics.

4. Lastly, the therapeutic aspect of your fitness must be addressed, stretching and myofascial release. I have never told a single person that they foam roll too much. It doesn't matter where or when, but daily stretching and massage will help your body wake up easier. Stiffness and tightness can be mistaken for soreness and lead to skipping your daily fitness fix. 20 minutes per day is all you need. This can even be broke into two 10 minute sessions at the beginning and end of the day. If you really don't like to do it, ask your trainer if they offer stretching sessions. We saw a huge increase in the amount of activity our members were engaging in after the started signing up for 1-2 stretch sessions per week. We also saw a huge decline in the number of complaints about lower back pain, shoulder impingement syndrome, and knee soreness. 

By splitting up our fitness into daily goals we can manage our time better and get great results without risking injury or burn-out. Don't expect to hit 10 hours every week, but make it a goal. Some weeks you will do much more and some weeks you might come up a bit short, but sticking to this goal will create healthy habits. Good luck!