Cardio | True Fitness Blog

So if you don’t know by now about JETT Training’s WEEKEND WARRIORS Class, shame on you! The class is every Saturday, 10:30am-11:30am at Sport and Spine Rehab Center, Wintergreen Plaza, in Rockville Maryland. Its a group circuit workout, “boot-camp” style, focusing on functional exercise. Its only 10 bucks per class to attend. Sales pitch completed, what I’d like to do today is give a shoutout to Dave Arnold, who came out last Saturday and totally ROCKED his workout. So what did Dave do? He did a great endurance workout, focusing on total body endurance. Here’s how it went: Warmup and Stretch, then… 10 Single Leg Squats per leg stabilized with TRX Straps 20 Pullups 15 “Perfect Pushups” 30 Kettlbell Swings with 16 kilos 10 more Single Leg Squats per leg 20 more Pullups 15 more “Perfect Pushups” 30 more KB Swings 10 Upward Chops from a Single leg kneel w/ 16 kilo KB, each side 20 Accordion Crunches 20 Twisting Crunches 20 “Toe-touch” Crunches 15 “Perfect Pushups” 20 Alternating Leg backward lunges w/ 16 kilo KB on the chest 10 more Single Leg Squats per leg 10 more Pullups 15 more “Perfect Pushups” 30 more KB Swings 10 Upward Chops from a Single leg kneel w/ 16 kilo KB, each side 20 Accordion Crunches 20 Twisting Crunches 20 “Toe-touch” Crunches 15 “Perfect Pushups” 20 Alternating Leg backward lunges w/ 16 kilo KB on the chest Cooldown and Stretch. Total Workout time 1 hour.

Great job Dave, can’t wait to see you at WEEKEND WARRIORS next week!

Last Saturday, I ran in the Baltimore Half-Marathon.  When I initially decided to do this race, I wasn’t sure exactly what I was getting into, and for everyone out there who has considered it in the past, I have a few things to say about my experience.

First, why did I even decide to do it?  Frankly, I wanted nothing more than so prove to myself that I could.  I wasn’t exactly starting from scratch, I run quite a bit, but had never before gone beyond 10 miles. 13.1 seemed like a perfectly attainable goal.  I began gradually increasing the distances of my training runs over the course of 3 months.  I had no doubts until a couple weeks before the race, on a 12 mile run, I finished, but by the end my right foot and left knee were aching so bad that I could do little but ice them for the following 2 days while I could barely walk.  My confidence was admittedly a little shaken, but I determined that I would stay the course.  For the last weeks leading up to the race I continued my lifting regimen, but did little running.  I wanted to give myself the chance to heal.

Race day arrives.  I’m excited but not nervous, remembering the foot and knee incident, I have told myself that finishing is my goal, I am not running for time.  Finally FINALLY it is time to start, and I set off at a conservative pace in the 3rd wave.  After the first mile, I start feeling confident, I pick up the pace.  I feel so good, there is so much encouragement from the watchers as well as the other runners, that I find that I am truly enjoying this run.  Suddenly, I have to pee so bad it hurts.  Crap, there goes my time… maybe I can hold it for the next 9 miles.  No, I had told myself not to worry about time, and I didn’t want this discomfort to ruin my fun, so I sucked it up and stopped at the next bathroom stop.  I lost 3 or 4 minutes in line, but I felt infinitely better.

Resuming the race, and feeling great I picked up the pace again.  Going going on this beautiful day, before I knew it I was halfway there, then more.  Hell, it felt easy.  Then mile 11 hit.  Every muscle in my body screamed.  I thought maybe that I’d slow to a walk, just for a minute, just to give my legs and feet a break.  Very tempting.  Then again I noticed all the people along the street, cheering genuine encouragement to total strangers, their support was just the push I needed.  Reason took over, I knew if I started walking, I wouldn’t be able to run any more, so I grit my teeth and kept going.  From then on it was a mental, not a physical challenge, I just willed myself to keep putting one foot in front of the other and ignore the protests of my body.  The last 3.1 miles felt like it took 3.1 years, but I made it.  I ran through the finish line grinning like an idiot.  I had done what I set forth to do for no better reason than to prove to myself that I could.

Ultimately, I ran a 2:04:24.  Not a terrible time.  More importantly though, I felt proud of my accomplishment, and I felt warmth and gratitude for all the other runners out there, my loved ones who came to support me, and for all the strangers along the course who didn’t know me, but still wanted me to succeed.

Maybe next year I’ll run the full marathon.

Have you ever noticed when riding that there are some riders stay fast through out the entire ride and they make it look effortless.How do they do it?

Well, of course, being in great shape is the obvious answer, which just means a lot of time spent in the saddle.

The other side of that effortless equation is good shifting and high cadence.  I like to keep my RPM at minimum of 90 and sometimes even as high as 100.

You should never feel like you are trying to muscle your way threw your peddle stroke.  The high cadence will help you stay fast and smooth with less overall effort.

The key to keeping this high cadence is proper shifting.  Be constantly aware of changes in terrain.  If you come upon an uphill, be ready for it.  Anticipate the grade and downshift so that you can still keep the high cadence.  Likewise, when there is a downhill, up shift to gain speed and again keeping the cadence high.  Don’t get lazy and avoid shifting, which can force you to push much harder than you need to on an uphill and not let you take advantage of a gain in speed on your descents.

You will need to stay alert to keep with the changes in grade, and you will end up shifting more than you are used to.  But you will use much less energy and be able to keep a faster pace for longer periods of time.

It just comes down to a matter of efficiency – good shifting and high cadence means better riding!!

Road biking can be a very daunting task for many people and I most certainly include myself in that category. I have been riding now for just over a year but still am hesitant to bust off my normal route ie the Capital Crescent Trail onto the major roads of the area

But today that that all started to change. The first change I made was that I started my ride at Candy Cane City by Meadowbrook Park and the second change was hitting the road.  Within the cycling community Beach Drive is a very popular riding spot and the middle of the day was a good time to get out there without too much car or bike traffic. Though I still did about half of my ride on the trails in that area, the time I did spend on Beach has dramatically added to my confidence on the road already and I’m looking forward to another good ride out there soon!

Have you ever wondered how certain people are able to exercise so much?

I’ll let you in on a little secret, it just takes a little prep time to keep you ready to switch gears from work to exercise mode in minutes.

Here are some tips that will help you to “change gears” when time opens up for you.  Your day could change, you could take a long lunch, a client could cancel. Perhaps you have some time in your day but you haven’t been efficient enough to take advantage it.

Always have your exercise clothes with you, the simplest change of clothes is if you are going it the gym. Shoes, shorts, shirt, socks, a lock, and your toiletries.

If you are into multiple sports keep a set of clothes ready for each type of workout you do.

If you swim, have your suit, a towel, shower shoes (no athletes foot please!), goggles, deodorant and a lock.

If you run have your shoes, running clothes, sunblock if outside, a water belt or bottle, your gel packs (gu, acccel gel, cliff shots etc.) and your heart rate monitor and iPod if you use them. Don’t forget baby wipes if you don’t have access to a shower.

If you’re a cyclist put your bike on the back of your car (lock it or lose it), have your kit ready in your cycling bag.  Don’t forget sunblock.  Baby wipes are key for cycling as well if you don’t gave access to a shower if you are a commuter.

There are some days where you just might not have time to get a workout in, but you do have a small break.  No worries, exercise your mind – have a book with you at all times (preferably a kindle, you won’t kill a tree and you have access to many books at once without taking up any extra space that could be saved for exercise gear.

The most important thing to remember is planning.  Plan your workouts for the week and have your respective gear ready to go.  But even more important is to be ready for the change of schedule. Be ready to SWITCH GEARS and jump into a workout at anytime.

  1. First and foremost you will lose weight.  I am back on the triathlon trail and have been swimming, running and biking for the last 12 days and I have already lost five pounds.
  2. Your health will improve greatly – lower blood pressure, stronger heart, lesser chance of certain cancers, improved cardiovascular system, this is just to name a few…to list all the benefits would take days.
  3. Try something new – triathlons are one of the most exciting sports ventures you can think of.  If you in an exercise rut, think of how fun it would be to try three new things at once.
  4. Improve your mood – nothing beats an endorphins fix.  The feeling you get after a long swim, ride or run is second to none. I don’t think I have every seen anyone have a bad day on a bicycle or in the pool, and well they don’t call it runner’s high for nothing.
  5. It’s fun – Being able to swim, bike and run is fun.  Most triathletes will tell you, you do one and you’re hooked!
  6. You’ll never get bored – Every workout is different and provides it’s own set of unique challenges and skill sets to complete.  Being able to work towards mastery of the swim, bike and the run is very mentally stimulating.
  7. Lowering your stress level is one of the best benefits of doing triathlon training.  It just comes with the territory.
  8. Become a better time manager – I always find that I am more productive when I am training for triathlons.  You have to be very organized to get your training in and that level of organization seems to carry over into the real world.
  9. Meet new people – Triathletes are very cool, and always seem willing to help out people getting into the sport.  I know my wife and I have asked our share of questions, and I love being able to help out anyone I can.
  10. 10. Bragging Rights – There is no better sense of accomplishment than completing your first triathlon.  You feel like you can take on the world, and that you are ready for the next one!

Everyone knows or at least I hope they do that running is one of best forms of exercise.  So what other reason could one need than just doing it?

Now that summer is here, and I have been running outside, let me just tell you what I have come across that made my runs all the more enjoyable.

I was recently in Sonoma, where my wife and I did some trail running.  One morning we came across a coyote on the trail that was by no means yielding for me or Marianne.  After what seemed an eternity, and being a little worried that this coyote was rabid; he made a fast aggressive lunge toward what he had been stalking.  I don’t know what it was but he got it and then faded away into the brush.

Just fifteen minutes later, we came across a field of the most beautiful purple flowers and what must have been at least 50 Orioles.

Two days later my wife and I drove out to the Armstrong Redwood Reserve to continue our running adventures.  It was one the most impressive things I have ever seen in my life – 1400-year-old trees, beautiful colors, and it was nice being far from the hustle and bustle of the city.  Amongst the Redwoods, we came across a doe and her little bambi, who both felt quite comfortable with the many onlookers who had gathered to watch their little family eat, but suddenly another doe attacked the mother, and the pour thing ended up limping away. Ok so this wasn’t the happiest moment in my recent running adventures but it was definitely noteworthy.

Now bringing it back to Maryland, just last week I saw a fox when I was running in Rock Creek Park…very cool!

I have a client that I train in Rockville, MD very close to Wootton Parkway, and when weather and time permits I run from Wintergreen Plaza towards Wootton High School.  There, I have kept up with a family of geese and  am happy to report that as of last week there were four goslings to be seen following Mommy, marching in perfect order and it instantly made me smile.

I also at times run in Bethesda, which is where I train most of my clients, and when I get a break in between appointments…I am running.  I have a Bradley Blvd. loop that I run regularly.  During my run today, I came across four baby rabbits frolicking about and it made me feel all warm and fuzzy.

If these aren’t reasons enough to run I don’t know what is.

Anyone who’s been working out for an extended period of time has hit a plateau.  You may begin to notice that your improvements have slowed and you seem to be levelling off in your performance.   Instead of grinding away with the same old routine, overcome your plateau and think FIT.  FIT is an acronym for the three ways that you can improve or alter your existing workouts:  Frequency, Intensity, and Time.   Frequency refers to how often you’re working out.  If you’re strength training and you feel that your improvements have tapered off, add another session each week!  Two workouts may have helped before, but your body may have gotten used to it; its old hat and no longer challenging.  By adding a third, you might again see greater progress.   Intensity refers to how hard you exert yourself while you’re working out.  Perhaps you’ve been grinding along on the treadmill at 6mph for 30 minutes at a time for weeks now.  You might be ready to push it up to 6.5mph for 30 minutes to burn off a few extra calories.   Time can refer to both the duration of your workouts, and the “time under tension” during your strenth training.  If you’ve hit a plateau doing hour-long training workouts, try adding a few more sets and training for an hour and fifteen minutes.  Or within each rep, you can increase the time that your muscle is in tension by doing slow “negatives.”  

Remember, just showing up isn’t going to cut it!  The only way to see continuous improvement is by constantly challenging yourself!  FIT provides some easy guidlines to help improve the quality of your training without a complete overhaul.  Happy training!

Have you ever been bored with your workouts? I know I certainly have and working out is not only my profession, it’s my passion. Martial arts has been something that I could turn to through the years to shake things up and challenge my body in a different way than the normal cardio and weight machines that the gym provide.

I have been going to Tai Yim Kung Fu in Maryland off and on for over 20 years, and I always seem to come back to this school to refocus my physical efforts. It teaches a very traditional southern style Kung Fu descended from the Shaolin Temple in China.

It is hard to become bored with martial arts because there is a lifetime of curriculum available. Physically it covers all of the basis – negative resistance, flexibility, plyometrics, and, of course, focus and discipline. For me, I have not only seen my flexibility and strength improve when I regularly attend classes, but also, each time I leave the school I feel relaxed, centered. And let’s face it, for anyone with a busy schedule, who can argue with the benefits of indulging in something that will benefit you both physically and mentally.

If this sounds fun to you check out www.taiyimkungfu.com.