Monthly Archives: July 2014

CONDITIONING

Over the years, this has been an up, down, and all around type of topic! I have literally tried hundreds of methods, both on myself and with thousands of people that I have trained! This is not a science or physiology lesson, so in laymen’s terms and for you to put to use immediately, this is what is important to understand about conditioning….

(No particular order)

Short duration, high intensity cardio work outs get your heart rate up for hours, and not only make you burn calories, but also put your body in a state to burn fat for 48-72 hours post work out!

Here are 5 of my favorite short duration, high intensity conditioning methods!

TABATA: Squat Jump to Pushup Tabata is a great way to work the nervous and musculatory system while pushing the heart rate as well!!

COMPLEXES: A complex is a series of exercises performed continuously as fast as possible for anywhere from 5 to 8 reps!

ARYDENE: Bike Intervals: Beginner: 10s on 20s off. Advanced: 20s on 10s off!

HILLS: Pick a hill, run up as hard as you can and walk back down. Beginner: Repeat 10 times and Advanced repeat 20 times!

SHUTTLES: Very demanding on the nervous system and all of the starting and stoping creates a nice disturbance throughout your body!

Who’s this for you ask?? People with limited time! People that already do long duration low intensity cardio work as it will be a great shock/ change up  to your energy system development.

CARDIO

Long distance anything is bad, (in my opinion “long distance is anything over 20 miles a week) ask anyone who does over 20 miles of running, biking, walking etc, a week what their injury is. I bet they will have one, from the constant wear and tear they are putting on their joints! Not to mention this is a perfect way to over stress / over train your body! When you over stress and over train your body a (body fat) hormone called cortisol is released as a result. This could result of a increase in body fat!

On the other hand, most people took the long distance thing way to far! Now no one can run a mile without passing out! Is that a good thing?? No way!  If you can’t walk up a flight of stairs without huffing and puffing is that a good thing?? Point being, it’s time to start spending time in the aerobic cardio camp as well!

We love some good old sled pushes! If everyone did 20, 40 yard sled pushes with a little less than half their body weight, than we would have less diabetics in the world! You could push anything  that you can slide and load up, it dosent have to be a sled!

Carries are amazing for the energy system as well! Get a heavy weight and hold it like a heavy suit case or bag the same as you do on a regular day, (use good posture) and now walk it for 50 yards 10x or so and trust me you will be sweaty!

Hiking! Hiking can really test your durability / mobility and mental toughness! It also is a great test of cardio! Check out my beautiful girlfriend and I, in Ricketts Glenn PA!

To go along with the above point. If you can’t run a mile without feeling like you’r going to pass out, I think its time to include this energy system and cardiovascular work into your training! We like to incorporate what is called tempo runs! This is simply running a quarter mile or so at a faster pace than what you normally would.

Simply figure out what type of work your body needs! In my opinion everyone needs a little bit of everything! The nice part about the short duration high intensity options is that it will actually improve your aerobic capacity to a degree as well. Hope these basic ideas help you to improve your weekly conditioning! Have fun!

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TRAINING WEEK BREAKDOWN

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One of the biggest confusions in the world of training, in my eyes, is the “when” & “how” to set up a solid week of work outs! In this blog I want to give you all an example of what I think a week of training should look like and explain to you the importance of having what is considered high intensity days and low intensity days! Obviously everyone has their own reasons for working out and goals they want to accomplish, but for time sake, I will gear the weekly schedule toward the lump some of you, who just simply want to accomplish moving – looking & feeling better every day!

 

It should be quickly noted that the human body needs stimulus of all forms as I have mentioned several times before in my previous blogs! The key is to provide yourself with a bunch of different ways to challenge your body and keep it guessing.  Also, while never losing site or not doing enough of what your particular body needs most!

 

Confused? Let me explain. If you are a dancer, obviously you need to factor in aerobic work into your training! However, you definitely could benefit from strength training to help keep your bones, joints, muscles, and ligaments strong. This helps to prevent overuse injuries such as heel spurs, shin splints, and tendinitis, from all of the constant bouncing, jumping, cutting, crawling etc while performing! Most people would say dancing is a good enough work out! Trust me, I agree! However, your body will not be able to benefit from things listed above unless you give it a true strength training stimulus! Same goes for long distance runners, fighters and other aerobic athletes! On the other hand, some football players are big, muscular, and strong, however, have them go and do some serious yard work (metabolic stuff) like chopping wood, pushing wheel barrows, etc and they will need a nap! This is simply because some football players never train their energy systems, they just train their muscles! Obviously this is just an example, don’t get all bent out of shape! So am I saying people should factor in opposite training to what the goals are they want to accomplish? I think it would help, yes!

 

So all that said, I think its very important for you guys to understand that your body needs some high intensity days, and low intensity days! Below I classified the difference between the two.

High Intensity training: (Is real central nervous system, musculatory demanding and will cause your body to need some time to recover)

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  • Heavy weight training (heavy weights / lots of sets)
  • High intensity Interval training (Shuttles / Hills / Sprints)
  • Metabolic work
  • (Circuits / sleds / suit case carries / Medicine ball circuits / Complexes / Explosive circuits)

Low Intensity Training:

(Hiking / Walking / Running / Playing sports / Gardening / Manual Labor)

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Knowing your life style and everyday demands is very important to dictate your training! For example, lets say you are on a sports team that is high in intensity and you play 5x a week. Or, you are constantly crushing your body day in and day out with high intensity grueling work outs (some examples listed above) you will for sure over train, get aches and pains, and not be able to give 100% every single time you train. This will actually become unhealthy. Your body will respond to the volume of stress you are giving it and store cortisol that could potentially increase your body fat! Some low intensity exercise in this case would for sure benefit you, allow your body more recovery time in between your high intensity life style days or work outs! Ultimately this would help to enhance results! However, lets say you are someone who is really aerobic most of the day. Maybe a camp councelor for example, who plays sports and games with the kids most of the day. For you to go on a long run or walk after work, would not only be non beneficial for you, as you would be working on the same energy system you were all day long, it could actually lead to over training as well! In this case, you would benefit from shorter in duration higher intensity work outs! Strength training would be highly recommended for this person! The only cardio this person should do in my mind, is intervals or metabolic work! So a mixture of everything works. However, make sure to work in those high intensity, short duration work outs if you are a “low intensity long duration person” like the camp counselor. Work in those low duration high intensity work outs if you are someone who is constantly forced (by self choice or not) to perform on a high intensity level!

 

Remember, the body actually doesnt do the majority of its adapting during training! This generally happens via proper rest recovery, and nutrition habits! If you beat your body to a pulp you will never allow for true adaption and for your body to grow the way it wants and needs to!

Lets take a look at what I feel a weekly schedule should look like: (Obviously depending on your everday demands as mentioned above)

WARNING: This is very generic and in a utopia world, I realize there are obviously some factors that could prevent some of you from being able to do this particular weekly set up! I am just trying to provide an example and some insight. Email me at finisherfitness@comcast.net and I will send you a more specific personalized set up!

Day 1 =  Heavy Weight Training (full body)                          (LOW DURATION – HIGH INTENSITY)

DAY 2 =Stretching / Foam Rolling                                       (LOW INTENSITY)

DAY 3 = Metabolic Conditioning and Core Work                 (LOW DURATION – HIGH INTENSITY)

DAY 4 = Hiking / Walking                                                     (LOW INTENSITY – LONG DURATION)

DAY 5 = Off

DAY 6 =  Heavy Weight Training / Intervals                         (LOW DURATION – HIGH INTENSITY)

DAY 7 = Hiking or Walking / Team Sports OR Heavy Weight Training depending on your goals  

(LOW INTENSITY  – LONG DURATION)

 

I hope you enjoyed! Some final thoughts, too little is not enough and you won’t get results, however too much is no good either! Follow this blog so you can train hard some days of the week without over doing it! I think the happy medium is the best approach! Hope this helps!