Fitness: Update + Tips 7/28

Posted by Nicole

When Lauren and I started blogging, I felt the need to give a day-by-day report of workouts.  I’ve realized that this is not natural for me, and I don’t want to contribute to the “comparison trap” that many people experience when reading blogs.  On the other hand, sometimes I feel proud of what I’ve accomplished.  And, I like sharing some interesting workout ideas to help motivate readers.  So I’m going to be doing random fitness updates from now on.

Here we go!

1.  Lazy HIIT– Lately I’ve been doing a version of what I call “Lazy HIIT.”  If you’re new to the concept of HIIT workouts, I’ll let Wikipedia give you a quick heads up:

  • High-intensity interval training (HIIT) or sprint interval training is an exercise strategy that is intended to improve performance with short training sessions. HIIT is a form of cardiovascular exercise which is beneficial to burning fat in a short and intense workout. Usual HIIT sessions may vary from 9–20 minutes. The original protocol set a 2:1 ratio for recovery to work periods. For example, a runner would alternate 30–40 seconds of jogging or walking with 15–20 seconds of hard sprinting.”
Rather than constantly staring at the time on my treadmill (because let’s be honest, that makes time pass so slowly), I’ve been using music to get me through Lazy HIIT workouts.  I’ll purposely choose songs that have more upbeat parts and do the “sprints” during the fast choruses.  Keep in mind, I listen to dirty house/dubstep music when I run; you might not like my song choices, but some recent favorites include:

And there you go… that’s about 20 minutes of Lazy HIIT.

2.  Stationary Bike “Sprints” — For short amounts of time I’ll pedal really aggressively and really quickly.  In Lazy HIIT form, I typically just set my sprints to the music.  For me, this means taking my bike from Level 8 & 80 RPM to Level 10 & 95 RPM.  A different setting might work for you, but basically… you want your quads and calves to be working hard.

3. The New Rules of Lifting for Women — I know I talk about this book a lot and there is a good reason why.  It is wonderful.  The first section that describes the philosophy behind women and weight-lifting is fantastic.  It talks about eating more, training hard, and working out effectively.  It’s such a fresh perspective compared to what most health and fitness magazines have to offer.  I highly suggest buying this book, finding it a library, or borrowing it from a friend.  It is so worth it.  I’m halfway through Stage 1 and each time I increase my weights, I feel like my hard work is paying off.  I already know that my Christmas list is going to include “The New Rules of Lifting for Abs.” :)

5. Additional Strength Sets — I’ve noticed that the NRLW workouts don’t take me too long to complete (typically 20-30 minutes).  If my body feels like it, I might add in some extra weight or toning exercises.  Today I discovered an amazing hamstring exercise.

Following similar directions for sets and rests that NRLW uses, I did 20 reps, 60 second rest, 20 reps; and I sure felt the burn.

4. Stretching — This is a short one.  Stretching is KEY to maintaining happy muscles.  I tend to stretch after working out because my muscles are warm and ready to cooperate through stretches.  Another reason stretching has become increasingly important lately is because I have to get flexible again (for when I hopefully dance at college next year).  I’m sorry for all the gym-goers who have to watch me do weird stretches………… like this one….

5. Foam Rolling — Once again Wikipedia is going to tell you why foam rolling is great.

  • Foam rolling is a self-myofascial release (SMR) technique that is used by athletes and physical therapists to inhibit overactive muscles. This form of stretching utilizes the concept of autogenic inhibition to improve soft tissue extensibility, thus relaxing the muscle and allowing the activation of the antagonist muscle.”

Foam rolling hurts, but feels so good.  (It’s kind of like pushing a bruise; am I the only one who likes that feeling?)  I haven’t had cramping calves in a long time, and I think foam rolling is partially responsible.  It feels good on sore back muscles too :)

6.  Hill Running — On a treadmill, I tend to stick to Incline 1 as I run.  I noticed during the Davis MOOnlight 10K that I really can’t run hills.  I started do hill running similar to my “Lazy HIIT” in that I try to do sets of running and walking based on my music or how I feel.  To practice, I set the treadmill up a few notches:

  • Incline 6 — Speed 6 mph

This worked, but to get really intense I’ve been increasing it more.

  • Incline 15 — Speed 5 mph

It may seem slow, but trust me… running on full incline is difficult.  Hopefully my body will react to the hill training and be able to conquer real hills at a decent pace.

7. Endurance Training — On days I don’t do NRLW weight workouts, I push myself to do longer cardio work.  It really does feel great to push your body to its limits (carefully) and look back on what you are capable of.  Another benefit of endurance training is the way it will affect longer runs and races.  I’m hoping to hop of the half marathon train soon, but am unsure about balancing a training schedule and college life.  That being said, if my college schedule allows for it, I’m diving head-first into training!


Something of interest: Active’s “10 Do’s and Don’ts for Better Runs”

  • The best tip: “Do Invest in Barefoot Running Shoes When it comes to support, less is more,’ says Figueroa. Build up to wearing shoes with minimal support, like NIKE Free or Vibram Five Fingers, to help strengthen and develop the natural muscular support in your foot and ankle.”
  • I love my NIKE Frees.  I would live in them if it was socially acceptable ;)


Q4U: What has been your latest fitness trend?

Q4U: Would you rather do a short HIIT run or a longer endurance run?

Comments (7)

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