Tuesday, April 12, 2011

First Run of Spring

The weather perked up enough that I was able to go for my first run of the season.

Thanks to all the metabolic conditioning workouts, I ran twice as fast and four times as far as I usually can. I definitely felt stronger.

Which lends a lot of credence to the studies showing these cardio strength/fat loss training workouts result in the best aerobic performance.

Now, I'm not a runner. I don't go for distance. More of a HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workout. A lot of times, I alternate running and walking with skips, jumps and traveling lunges--this is one of my favorite all time workouts.

I'm impressed with the results I've achieved so far. Really impressed.

Photo Credit: Danielito via Morguefile

Saturday, March 12, 2011


The metabolic conditioning workouts are getting easier. I no longer feel like I'm going to have a heart attack and die.

It's nice to feel strong and fit. I can't believe I need to find a way to make it harder!

Here's a great article discussing the strength benefits of stimulating growth hormone release. Fat loss training improves strength by 300% compared to 9% with conventional strength training. Amazing!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Elliptical Interval Workout

On my 'off' days, my goal is to do an interval cardio workout. Intervals are supposedly second best after metabolic resistance training at burning fat.

Today, I did 30 minutes on the elliptical, 1 minute full blast, 2 minutes of recovery. 15 minutes forward, 15 minutes backward.

Wow. It was hard core.

Instead of thinking 'I'm doing it' I was thinking 'I'm gonna DIE.'

Except, I didn't.

Go Slow Then Fast for Optimal Fat Loss

Here's a great video talking (and demoing) lactic acid training. The physiology is apparently that lactic acid build up prompts growth hormone production which builds muscle and liquidates fat. The trainer here suggest going slow on the positive (work) portion of movements and then snapping back to the starting point again.

So going slowly up in a push up and quickly dropping down to go again. Going slowly up from a squat and quickly dropping back down to the starting position. This is supposed to optimize lactic acid production.

Check out the video for a great demo. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Beginner Fat Loss Resistance Training Routine

Here is my beginner metabolic resistance training routine. It's not perfect and I'm sure professional trainers with serious metabolic resistance training expertise would find all sorts of things wrong, however, this is my starting point. It works for my body where it is today, decently conditioned legs and completely deconditioned upper body.

Because I have some health challenges too, no workout is textbook for me, everything has to be modified. Which is kind of a good thing because this means my routines are great for beginners and not too many of the pros have workouts geared for mushy muscled newbies.

Some people may wonder why I'm so gung ho on fat loss training if I'm not able to really do it full bore. The reason is because I have severe insulin resistance and my weight loss has been stalled for two months now. Studies have shown that this kind of exercise is better at burning off fat and improving insulin sensitivity.

So, on to the workout. Anyone who took my advice to prep with the SHAPE 20 Minute Makeover DVD will recognize it as the inspiration for this workout.

The basic template is:

1. Squat
2. Squat with jump
3. Hold squat postion
4. Rest

There are no repeats in this workout, although you can certainly go back through and work extra sets in if you wish. Since this is a beginner work out, you should adapt it to fit your body and fitness level.

With rest periods, this workout takes about 15-20 minutes. It will burn. You will be out of breath. Don't give up. Push through.

While most of the exercises are basic and well known, search Youtube for how-to on any of the squats or exercises mentioned below. There are tons of videos out there.

Set 1

1. 10 reps of a sit back squat
2. 10 reps of sit back squat with jump
3. 10-30 second hold of sit back squat


Set 2

1. 10 Burpees (this is on Youtube for sure if you haven't heard of this exercise before)


Set 3

1. 10 forward lunges (same leg)
2. 10 jump switches (alternating legs, jump into a lunge squat)
3. 10-30 second hold of lunge.
4. Work the opposite leg.


Set 4

1. 10 side lunge squats (same leg)
2. 10 side lunge squats with a jump
3. 10-30 second hold of squat position
4. Work opposite leg.


Set 5

1. 10 push ups
2. 10-30 second hold of plank position
3. 10 push ups
4. 10-30 second hold of plank position


Set 6

1. 10 plie squats
2. 10 plie squats with jump
3.10-30 second hold of plie squat


Set 7

Note: Skip this set unless you know what a front kick and jumping front kick are.

1.10 Karate front kicks (same leg)
2.10 Jumping Karate front kicks
3.10 repeat leg extensions
4.Work opposite leg.

Push Ups for Girls

I didn't master push ups until my 30s and I know lots of women who have lived without ever executing one military style push up. Which is a shame, because there's nothing better (or sexier!) than feeling strong in your body.

If you are a woman (or man!) looking to master push ups, here's how I did it.

It started with a karate class when our Sensei issued a 5000 challenge. Pick one technique, any technique, do it 5000 times in three months and win a T-shirt.

Most people in my class selected a kick or a punch, but being the only woman in the dojo, I was tired of struggling with push ups. Tired of standing out.

So I selected push ups as my technique to perfect.

5000 push ups in 90 days translates into 55 push ups a day. Only I couldn't even do 10 push ups on my knees let alone 1 military style push up, which meant I was working at a deficit right from the beginning.

Indeed, at the end of the challenge, I was doing 100 to 300 push ups a day just to catch up.

But I did all 5000 push ups.

And at the end of that 90 days, I was off my knees and doing true push ups with the guys in my dojo.

Here's what I learned.

1.If you plan the work and work the plan, you will succeed.

2.You can do 100, 200, 300 push ups every day, even if it hurts*, and you will gain strength.

So if you want to get strong enough to do push ups then start by doing push ups. Start on your knees and add in some plank position holds. Keep trying to do it military style.

Do push ups even if it hurts.

Do push ups even if your form is less than ideal (tip: form will improve as strength improves).

Just do it!

At first it'll be too much just to hold the push up position. Then you'll crank out your first wobbly, half-a$$ed push up and once you've gotten to that point, it's all downhill.

Just show up and keep working and, before you know it, you'll be doing 100 military push ups like I was this past summer.

It can be done. You can do it, but you have to show up and put in the sweat.

P.S. Since you're not on a 90 day deadline like I was, aim for every other day instead of every day.

*Routine soreness is okay, injury pain is not. Never work through an injury.

Getting in SHAPE for Fat Loss Training

Fat loss training (or metabolic resistance training) involves a lot of strength work. There are squats, push-ups, weights and even dragging heavy things around outside. In short, it's not for recently liberated cough potatoes.

In fact, judging by the whimpers my husband emitted while doing the routine I created last week (which I will be posting soon), it's even a challenge for people who exercise regularly.

You're going to have to work your way up.

Fortunately, I have a real simple suggestion. 

The SHAPE 20 Minute Makeover DVD.
This DVD is not exactly metabolic resistance training, but it is close and it will get you into good enough shape that you can handle a more vigorous cardio strength routine to blast off fat.

I started this DVD last summer and dropped a size in a month doing it just twice a week (in conjunction with a low carb diet and aerobic exercise). It was a tipping point for my body and I was amazed with the results. Especially considering I only ever did 17 minutes of the work out because I always skipped the warm up.

The SHAPE workout is a good lower body routine that will build base strength to withstand metabolic resistance training. All you need to do is add in some push ups and you're ready to go.

Note: If you get the DVD and it's too much for you, then start with walking and low impact aerobics and work your way up.