OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  Is this a future sprinter, half marathoner, or marathon man?  Maybe–but right now his face says it all.  He’s simply enjoying putting one foot in front of the other, adding a little bit of speed.

If you don’t quite remember how this felt, maybe its time to reconnect.

You don’t have to be a runner to enjoy running.  The rich auburn and burnt orange that leaves are sporting this time of year, make a trail all the more becoming.  Depending upon your choice of venue, there may be hills, a few twists, and a couple of turns.  Run the hill, or run down the hill.  See how far you can go before hitting a curve.  If you’re feeling adventurous, try a short sprint.  You get the idea.

Most consistent runners are interested in mileage, pace, and distance.  If you run track, cross-country, or looking to complete your first marathon or even 5K– that mentality is completely understandable.  Yet what if none of the above apply?  While I may be committing sacrilege, I’ve found there’s more to running than that stuff.

BENEFITS

Nothing for me anyway, really revs up the metabolism like a good sweaty run.  Those of you who follow my posts realize though, it’s my favorite–but certainly not my only form of exercise.

One of the major benefits I’ve discovered with running (even intermittent) is a sense of calm during the day.  You probably thought I was going to say weight loss.  Yes, that too–unless you are eating your way past your mileage.  And that can be a very real possibility. 

When I run or run/walk,  I find the minutia of the day doesn’t throw me off-balance.  Yoga helps with that too.  But running came first, and continues to be my “North Star,” in times of uncertainty.  I find myself working out solutions that didn’t really come, until I ran.

RISKS

As with any exercise, there are risks.  If you already have joint issues, running probably isn’t going to be your “go to” routine.  If in doubt, check it out.  A good work up and consult with your MD, or sport’s medicine practitioner is in order.

While you may never become the ultra-marathoner of tomorrow, or even a 10K enthusiast, who cares?  It doesn’t seem to be a concern for the little one above.  Is he going to go a hard mile or do a slow-paced three today?  He seems equally unconcerned if he ran better yesterday, than he is now.  Will he be able to pass the toddler ahead of him, if there is one?  From the looks of things, these questions are not uppermost in his mind.  Unless you’re awaiting race day, take a page from his book.  He only knows I’m running now.

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

Questions? Comments?  Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com

recovery neededFrom my teen years till now, I considered cardio the ideal fat burner.  High intensity exercises, ranging from INSANITY, back to 80’s style aerobics, were (and still are) the core of my routines.  Strength training, machines or free weights, were a distant second.  If I was too tired for cardio, machines and weights were my “back-up.”  I tolerated strength training; like many tolerate or endure uninvited in-laws; after two weeks.

While that ideology has changed for me, most of you familiar with my posts, realize running preserves my sanity.  Even after a car accident, running was my constant–the north star in a time of uncertainty.  It was there for me to shed the “baby weight.”  It was there after a long work day; working with people who made snobbery an art form.

Since most of my running consists of submaximal workouts, not sprinting, this information would not apply.

Did you know that fat oxidation is reduced, with increasing exercise intensity?

Scraping the surface only, here are a few reasons.

Intramuscular triglycerides (lipids inside of muscle) are used 1st.  Then comes fatty acid oxidation.  Possibly, your body likes to hang on to its excess baggage; for a couple of reasons.  Just in case there’s a famine; just in case you decide to skip a meal or two–just in case you become pregnant.

Lactate also plays its role; it stops fatty acid mobilization.  The good news:  if you are an endurance athlete, you produce less lactate.  Yes, it’s a slow process to become one of those.   BUT, another perk of endurance training–when you finish, fat oxidation is increased.  Free fatty acids in plasma and intramuscular triglyceride oxidation is increased; contributing to fat usage.

What’s the take away if you want to burn fat?  Slow and low.  More to the point, you might want to alternate low and moderate intensity workout days.

My opinion?  High intensity should be part of your regime.  Why?  To shake things up a bit.  Your body can reach a set point with any routine; high or low.  However, if you start low, you still have somewhere to go.  If you start high, your appetite will definitely match that.  That will leave you with an ever-increasing hunger–quite disconcerting if you are trying to lose weight.

In subsequent posts, I will try to address more on this subject.  The exercise physiology class in which I’m enrolled and deriving this information, should shed additional light.  There is more to fitness than just the newest 3 day detox, or trendy workout routine.  It entails, as with nursing, evidence based practice.  Coupled with experience, this is the premise from which I operate–both as a nurse and now as a nurse personal trainer.

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

yoga female on topFitness for me has many faces.  It is definitely not a “one size fits all” endeavor.

As I have written in earlier posts, running has been a mainstay in my “toolbox.”  As much as I hate to admit it however, it has proved somewhat one-dimensional.  Before my running enthusiasts leap to defend, I am discussing what works for me.  Let me explain.

Unless I was consistently upping my mileage, as well as watching my diet (which is essential to incorporate into any regime) I found I was gaining weight.  I also started to experience problems with my right knee.  This is not uncommon due to the repetitive nature of running.  While overuse of certain muscles can occur with any routine, runners are very prone to overuse issues others may not suffer.  Still I do it.  Why?  Because I love it.  Yet I had to find something to support the muscles that run; in a way “support my habit.”  Enter INSANITY.

In case you haven’t seen the infomercials, INSANITY is workout which consistently changes routines.  With this is mind, your body is always working to adjust & readjust to what’s going on today.  Because running is so repetitive, INSANITY gave me a jolt–as well as a wake-up call.

Most runners (myself included) feel they are in great shape.  Whether you run track, cross-country, distance, or anything in between–if you are a consistent runner, you are in great shape–for running.  However, try something like INSANITY, and you will be unpleasantly surprised how out of shape you feel.  I know how I felt–and it was runner’s arrogance which kept me from trying other workouts.

The results?  INSANITY made me a stronger, as well as faster runner.  My mileage suffered initially–simply because now I wanted to go faster.  It reshaped my body, giving me more muscle without bulk.  However, it also increased my appetite.  Not surprising though, considering the workload you are performing in a short period of time.  Keep in mind, you are only doing this for less than an hour (second month DVDs are an hour-long).  In order to maintain caloric burn, newer research suggests you your keep active throughout your day.  It doesn’t mean you’re doing plyometrics and high intensity aerobics all day.  It does mean you are mindful of your activity level and what you are eating.  Taking a walk later, cutting grass, cleaning out your closet or crawl space (a workout in its own right), are all ways to keep that activity level elevated.

Make no mistake though, INSANITY is NOT for everyone.  It incorporates explosive jumps, into HIGH intensity workouts.  If you have joint issues (especially knee) you may have to modify or even skip some of the routines.  In my case, I modified–then found my body adapting and getting stronger as I progressed.  As always, my recommendation is to preview & review.  Preview any video (if you can) and review your history/medications with a medical professional, BEFORE you begin.

INSANITY is another tool in my box.  Like any wrench or ratchet, I use it in conjunction with other equipment.  It is not my only tool–nor will it be.  I received the boxed set 2 years ago, and alternate/incorporate it into my week.  That week includes strength training at the health club, running on treadmill (I know, anathema to those who run outside exclusively) and running outside when I can.  So what else is in my toolbox?  Two workouts which for a long time, I considered much too “girly girl” for me.  Yet like INSANITY, they gave my body another wake-up call–as well as results I never achieved by gym workouts, running, or anything else.  But more on that next time.

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

Questions? Comments?  Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com