Be Well: Second Foot Forward

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Yesterday morning, I went on a run. This may seem like a relatively run-of-the-mill fact to you, but I haven't worked out in five weeks. For five weeks I've been signing up for CrossFit classes and then canceling them, planning on morning runs and then sleeping in, talking about playing tennis on the weekends and then lying on my couch instead. Again and again I've tried to break my streak of being so incredibly lazy, and again and again I've failed. Yesterday, I finally didn't fail.

I often feel like getting back into a workout routine is directly comparable to the physics of getting a ball rolling. Getting back on the workout horse requires you to overcome massive inertia, but once you get the ball rolling, momentum and gravity will help you out. The hard part is that it's on you to make that initial push. And that initial push sucks.

I know I'm probably too proud of finally going on a "run" (let's face it - some of it was walking) but you know what the worst part of my week was? Getting out of bed at 6AM yesterday while my husband was still snuggled under the covers. And the second-worst thing this week was going to bed early on Monday night in order to be able to get out of bed on Tuesday morning. But I did it. And it was worth it. And I think getting up in the morning will get less painful as long as I stick to it.

You know what motivated me to get in that morning workout more than anything? The thought that I could tell you guys about it afterword. Never underestimate the power of having other people keep you honest when it comes to exercise. You guys truly keep me honest - I hope I can return some of the favor.

Anyway, enough of my (small) workout victories! Today should be an interesting day - I'm headed down to L.A. to meet with one of our clients! It will be a quick day trip, but it should be fun. Of course, I somehow ended up flying into the Oakland airport...on the night that they're closing the Bay Bridge...so my drive back home will be interesting...but I guess that just makes me a true resident of the Bay Area, you know?

Have a great day.

Be Well: Interval Training

Image via the Cody App blog

Today I want to talk about one of my favorite workout topics as of late: interval training. An article that was forwarded around at work today referenced this article about the rising popularity of interval training, which gave me my Workout Wednesday inspiration.

Back in my younger days, this is what my gym workouts used to look like: I would run on the treadmill at 6 mph until I had run three miles. I would then go do three or four weightlifting exercises. I would then leave, and never be sore, and never feel challenged, and never see much of an impact on my fitness level or my appearance.

But then I started to get a little bit smarter. First, I put more emphasis on weight training with heavy weights, lifting more weight for longer sessions. And then I embraced interval training.

Let's talk about the upside of interval training here: if you have a very limited amount of time to spend at the gym, interval training is your friend. It's got your back. You can do 20 minutes of cardio all-in (including warm-up!) and finish a full workout. You can feel good about getting in and out of the gym in half an hour.

The other major upside is that it challenges you physically in a way steady-state cardio never will. I'm not a scientist, so I can't explain why that is, but it will wear you out and increase your fitness level faster than you could have imagined. After all, no pain, no gain, right?

My absolute favorite interval workout is two minutes walking, one minute sprinting, alternating five to ten times. The concept is easy - work hard, then rest. Work hard, then rest. You can apply that philosophy to any standard cardio workout - swimming, running, biking, stairclimbing, jump roping, etc. etc.

So, give interval training a try the next time you're at the gym. Or, if you haven't been to the gym in awhile, try an interval workout to get yourself re-engaged. For a really easy introduction, try this easy interval workout that's set to the song Gentleman by PSY (it's catchy, but I will admit, it's no Gangnam Style)Remember - the hard parts of the workout should be REALLY hard. As in painfully hard. It will be uncomfortable at the time, yes, but I promise it will be worth it.