Interval Training

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When I moved to Hoboken, my waist was a 34. A few years passed, and I moved up to a 36, and that's when I joined the gym (right after my trip to Vegas). After about two years of working out, my size 36's were getting too tight and I switched to a size 38. Only about 6 months later, by last December, I was out jean shopping because my size 38 jeans were getting too tight. I got to the store, and asked what the next size was, and they showed me the size 40's. I tried them on, but they were a bit too baggy for me and I looked dumpy.

Size 40? How did I get to this? I was lifting three days a week (mostly upper body), but not much cardio, and my hips and waist were just slowly, slowly getting bigger. I couldn't figure it out because I felt I was eating well (not perfect, but well) and still gaining fat around my hips and glutes.

I didn't buy the jeans, and decided, right then, that I had to come up with a better plan to lose weight BUT keep muscle.

My first plan was about watching my diet, and that went well, but I started to fall into my old neurosis about becoming a food nazi. I would count calories and/or not eat food even when I was hungry. I wasn't happy about this, and I wanted to be able to eat what I want, in moderation, but also figure out a way to keep the weight off.

A friend of mine at work was talking about this and mentioned his time in crew. He would row in college five days a week, and he would tell me how he could eat anything he wanted. His body was constantly burning calories because of all the cardio he was getting in and even when he wasn't rowing he was burning calories.

He suggested that if I could get in about four to five days at the gym, with three to four days of cardio, along with a good diet (again, not a perfect diet), that I would see definite results. I was already, at that point, going consistently to the gym about three days a week. I used an article from bodybuilding.com to adjust my lifting routine from three days to five days.

I have been doing 'interval training' based on an article I read in Men's Health.

It's been fairly good to train this way, since I keep trying various forms of cardio but found that running has been the best way for me to drop weight quickly. I also don't want to be on a treadmill for an hour jogging, because its so BORING. Plus, I have to be careful about my leg, ever since I hurt it three years ago.

Basically it's 20 minutes of running. Broken down into the following:

Minutes 1-3: Walking at a normal pace, around 3.5-4.0 mph. (interval 1)
min 4-5, run at whatever speed gets your heart goin like 5.5 mph.
min 6, walk
min 7-8, run (interval 2)
min 9, walk
min 10-11, run (interval 3)
min 12 walk
min 13-14, run (interval 4)
min 15, walk
min 16-17, run (interval 5)
min 18-20, walk

The first few weeks, I kept it at 3.5 walk speed and 5.5 run speed. Once I felt like my leg could take it and my lower back wasn't too sore, I have been raising my run speed each week by .5 mph. I'm up to 7mph now after about four weeks. I did run into a few problems when I first started to jog again and here's what I did to fix them:

1. I stretch before running. I do a hamstring stretch, the runner's squat, Calf stretch, Quad Stretch, and Knee to Chest stretch. If I forget to stretch, i'm usually more sore the next day.

2. My lower back was giving me all sorts of problems, but I have been doing a lower back raise, and just did it once a week, about 10 reps with 3 sets. That tightened things up and my back has been a lot better.

3. Been careful with my heart rate. One thing that has really helped is a Polar wireless heart rate monitor that I wear when I workout. At 36, my target "max" heart rate is 181. I have been careful about not pushing myself above that, and I have found that on my first day of running at a new speed, my heart rate jumps by the last interval (interval 5) to be around 170-175 bpm. Day 2 of the same week, my bpm on interval 5 is usually at 165-170. On Day 3, around 160-165. My body definitely gets used to running at the higher speeds, and I have to keep challenging myself to that next level. The goal isn't about faster speed, it is about getting my heart rate to 90% of my max rate (which is about 163) .

4. Diet, diet, diet. At Bradley Beach, my diet is non-existent. Burgers, dogs, donuts, Red Bull and Vodka, Taco Bell and ice cold Yuenglings are my diet. Weekdays, i'm much more careful about what I eat, and have cut out all alcohol from Sunday - Thursday. So far, it's been working fine, but I certainly know that I would get MUCH faster results if I didn't drink and eat bad on the weekends.

All in all I don't count calories or really judge how i'm doing by my weight. I figure that my jeans fit really well, and that is what makes me happy and i'm able to keep a moderate diet.

I figure it has been working for me, and maybe interval training is something will help others out there who are also trying to lose some extra weight & still live in the "real world" of Hoboken where dieting is extremely hard to maintain if you expect to have a social life at the bars.

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This page contains a single entry by Furey published on July 24, 2008 12:00 AM.

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