Week 06 Summary; Week 07 Plan

Week 06:

  • Mon: BodyRock +  Weights
  • Tues: 4.8mi progressive tempo run
  • Wed/Thurs: Rest
  • Fri: 6 mi LSR with hills
  • Sat: Rest
  • Sun: 3.5 mi intervals

Weekly mileage: 14.3 mi

Summary: A lot of rest days this week, because I was at my parents’ house from Thursday night to Saturday evening for a short visit. I’m impressed that I actually got up on Friday – in a different state – and went out for a long run. I had hoped to do 7 miles, but I’d forgotten just how hilly it is where my parents live; that 6 miles involved me walking a couple hills, because, damn. So on one hand, sure, I had a lot of rest days, but on the other hand, I manged to put in 6 miles while on a trip. That’s something, and I’ll take it.

Week 07 Plan:

  • Mon: BR + weights
  • Tues: 4.5 mi tempo (0.75 warmup, 3mi tempo, 0.75 cooldown)
  • Wed: rest or BR + weights
  • Thurs: rest
  • Fri: 7 mi LSR
  • Sat: rest or BR/weights
  • Sun: 4 mi easy

This would put me at 15.5 miles, with 3 days of running, and 2 days of BR/weights/crosstraining. I think 5/7 days with workouts is a worthy goal.

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Week 06: Monday/Tuesday Update

Weeks 04 and 05 seem to have vanished into the ether. Week 04 was a rest week, and then during week 05 I had some personal issues and some physical problems (took my bad neck to a chiropractor, and then was loathe to overwork it after he’d ‘corrected’ it) which combined to kind of wipe that period of time off of the map. No matter now; I’m back on it and looking at the Warrior Dash (Ohio II) coming up on 26 August as well as the Marathon Relay on 29 September.

Monday: I went to the gym and did a 12 min BodyRock to warm up. I didn’t use a video; instead I planned out a workout using moves I already knew:  3x(4x(50/10))

  • Sumo Squat + Knee Lift with a 12 lb medicine ball
  • Forearm Plank 5 sec + leg hops + 17lb kettleball drag
  • Sit Squats + 12lb medicine ball
  • Pushup + Toe Touch + Burpee Jump

I hadn’t really realized how much easier BodyRock was getting when I was doing one per day;  I haven’t done one in over two weeks and it was harder than I remember! After that warmup I did weights: squats, shoulder presses, lat pulldown, weight-balanced pull-ups, and the ab chair. I was exhausted afterwards.

Tuesday: Tuesday I did some speedwork: negative splits on a ~4mi road run. My Garmin footpod and my iPhone GPS disagreed on this run: the Garmin FR60 said I was about 10-15% slower than the GPS. Normally when they disagree, I err on the side of caution and go with whichever form of measurement says I am a worse runner (so that I’m not setting my expectations too high). However, in this case, I really feel like the GPS was correct. It tracked the entire run without losing signal, the road I ran didn’t have a lot of tree cover so I am pretty sure it was getting signal, and I do know the footpod needs to be calibrated soon. Plus, in terms of effort, I felt like I was going faster than the footpod said – and it was good effort, the kind that said you’re running better than you think you are, not the bad kind of exertion level where it’s hot as crap and I feel tired.
 
So if I go by that, I did 4.8 miles total (because I was following the footpod which was underestimating my speed), going from ~11:30/mi pace up to 10:00/mi pace. I kept with negative splits, too: each mile was faster than the last. It felt good.
 
Today I am very, very sore. Especially in my legs. I did bring my gym bag, because I am hoping to get into the gym to do some ab work, if nothing else – but if I am too sore, I’ll take today as a rest day. However, I’m going to visit my parents this weekend, so I would like to get one more workout in before I head up there.
 

Let’s Talk About Things That Aren’t Running: NROL4W and BodyRock

I’ve been doing a lot of posts on running lately, but running isn’t all that I do – and if you want to be efficiently healthy, honestly, running isn’t necessarily your best choice. So I want to launch a second series of LTA posts, this time addressing stuff that isn’t running. It’s more related to weight training, cross training, and an intersection of the two.

This is just an introductory post and only involves these two programs that, right now, I’m making a part of my routine – I have many more thoughts on these kind of things and how they relate to efficiently honing your workouts, which will be coming soon.

The New Rules of Lifting for Women (NROL4W)

NFOL4W is a lifting program. It’s more than a program, I guess – it’s an entire book. The book itself is dedicated to a much bigger-lifestyle-type program that hits every area from diet to mindset to weight room. If you’re new to the fields of health, weight training, weight loss exercise programs, “dieting” and the like, it may be worth picking up. However, if you’ve done a little research on these kinds of things (or if you’re here), I can kind of sum up about half the chapters for you.

  • Eat more good stuff, eat even more protein, and eat less junk.
  • Lift heavy weights with your whole body.

The book’s main selling point is to convince women to lift heavy. There are some companion “unisex” programs, but since for whatever reason many women are still terrified by weights, by “bulking up”, by dumbbells, this book was designed specifically to sell women on heavy weightlifting. I do have to say that it’s interesting from a feminist perspective to be told “YOU can totes lift like a dude!! It will make you HOTTTT” — you think, do I like this message? or do I want to punch this author in the face? But this is about the program, not the book.

The program itself focuses on compound lifts. The beginning routines are built around squats and deadlifts – two of the most important and most effective compound lifts out there – and add in other things like lunges, shoulder press, pushups, ab work, seated row: stuff that generally hits more muscle groups. The program’s theory is that by building muscle (which involves the important steps of weight lifting and eating more, high quality food) we can design our bodies to burn more fat (since muscle burns more efficiently) which, generally, improves the look of one’s bod.

As a very brief summary, the program’s advantages are:

  • A good target: building muscle is in fact a good, efficient, effective way to eliminate fat and “look better”
  • A good plan: compound lifts are a great, effective, efficient way to build said muscle and get stronger
  • Focus on nutrition: many times when people are working out, if they don’t clean up their diet, they won’t see results as clearly – aka wasting time, aka inefficiency. This program emphasized a clean(er) diet and increased protein intake

and the disadvantages are:

  • The program requires equipment: namely access to a weight room. The compound lifts use dumbbells, barbells, a squat rack — you not only need access, but the knowledge on how to use it without hurting yourself.
  • The program does provide directions for the lifts, but it isn’t a trainer, so there is the chance for injury. Good form is required and must be learned to progress.
  • Weight training programs – although they can be more effective in the long run depending on your goals – may not provide results quickly initially, which can make them hard to stick with.
  • The general lack of cardio in the program – cardio burns calories, which is somewhat detrimental when you’re trying to build muscle – means runners can’t train for races, for example.

Overall, I do like NROL4W. I do find that as a runner and as a chronically injured person, I can’t stick to it as well as I’d like. But I think the program is sound, and I think if nothing else, it’s good knowledge to have in the bank.

BodyRock

BodyRock is a website which supplies a series of high intensity interval-style mainly bodyweight type workouts. That’s a lot to take in, so let me split it out: each workout provides you with a set of exercises. The exercises are usually based on bodyweight – using little to no equipment, and even when there’s equipment involved, there are almost always modifications one can make at home – and are usually very high intensity, meaning they’ll get your heart rate up quick. Exercises are done in intervals of 50/10, meaning perform the exercise for 50 seconds and then rest for 10. Usually exercises are presented in sets of 4 done 3x or sets of 6 done 2x, so each BodyRock workout is 12 minutes long. (of course, some are longer, some are shorter – the program has lots of options.)

The website has resources for diet and nutrition, but I haven’t explored those yet – I’ve done enough research thanks – so I can’t really speak to that side.

Because most workouts are only 12 minutes, BodyRock is built on a slogan of “no excuses” — everyone has 12 minutes in their day they could use to get their heart rate up and smoke some calories. The workouts aren’t a joke, either – the combinations of moves is quite challenging, and if there’s a move you’ve done for a while, there are modifications shown so that you can keep challenging yourself. I wear my heart rate monitor while I do these, and I find that in those 12 min I burn between 120-160 calories. For a day I would have otherwise done nothing, that’s a good addition.

In brief, the advantages are:

  • Accessibility: not only are workouts short, but there are almost always modifications for people who don’t have equipment — or people who might have injuries. And the program is available online for free.
  • A good concept: combining high intensity intervals with bodyweight work is an efficient way to burn some calories and improve cardiovascular health while also strengthening the body. You get dual benefits.
  • Good execution: the bodyweight exercises focus on full-body moves and will help balance, flexibility, and core strength as well as overall health/strength.
  • Variety: workouts are different every day and there are tons on the website, some with different themes (yoga, strength, weight training, etc).

And the disadvantages:

  • 12 minutes at a time may not be enough to see drastic results or changes, unless you also clean up your diet and maybe add other workouts.
  • With only 12 minutes, you are neither building large amounts of cardio endurance nor building significant muscle (like you would running or lifting heavy). Since you’re getting a small amount of both, you’re getting significant gains in neither.
  • Form is important, and if you don’t commit to the exercises and to making them hard, you won’t see results. It’s easy to cheat.

Overall, I love BodyRock, but that’s because it has filled a distinct hole I had in my workout regimen. I’ve always loved yoga and many of the exercises seem rooted in yoga poses (to me at least) so I feel like the overall full-body workout is more useful than “bicep curlzzzz again”. Personally I use BodyRock as part of an overall workout plan. I’m not sure using it by itself would produce the kinds of results I want.

And there’s an overview. I have plenty more to talk about, but if you have questions or anything specific to ask, please let me know.

Week #02 Summary

There’s my week #02! I took off Wednesday because I ended up resting instead. I didn’t modify today — I did 3 miles of recovery run instead of 2. I was feeling a little bit extra.

Total Week #02 mileage: 12.5 mi

Days weightlifting: 1 day only

And in terms of eating, because health isn’t all about working out:

  • Weekly calorie balance: 1759 calories under maintenance for the week, ~250/day below maintenance target
  • Macronutrients: 42/27/31 carb/fat/protein (week 01: 45/27/28) (goal: 45/20/35)

So, week 2 in review.

This week was harder because of the trip in the middle — I ate more/worse and skipped a workout. I don’t have a lot of choices for food when I am on a plant trip – you eat what they bring in for lunch; you go where they take you for dinner – so all I could really do was try to stay reasonable overall. And I was exhausted, so the scheduled BR workout just didn’t happen.

However, health is about maintenance, and I still managed to net a deficit on the week in calories, plus I did all of my miles (running is the priority right now). So it’s not too bad. This can be a bad point for me: week 2, just getting into habits, and the first roadblock hits, and I decide this isn’t a reasonable feasible maintainable plan and I toss it all out. I’m staying away from that attitude.

Plus, please note that even though my calorie total is higher, I had more protein this week than last week. Yeah!

For week #03:

There shouldn’t be any major upsets this week, except that I’m helping a friend repaint their basement on an admittedly tight schedule, so things may get shifted a night or two — but overall this is another week I should be able to execute.

  • Mon: BR or rest
  • Tues: 4-5 mi easy/tempo/easy run
  • Wed: weights (upper body), BR
  • Thurs: rest
  • Fri: 75 min long slow run
  • Sat: BR/yoga
  • Sun: 3 mi easy run + weights

Listing the LSR on Fridays as a time limit instead of a mile limit makes me feel better when I’m doing it — it doesn’t matter how slow I’m going, that way, I just have to go for a time. Here we go. 🙂

Week #01 Summary

Here’s my workout summary for Week #01:

  • Mon: rest
  • Tues: 4 miles easy/moderate/easy (outside)
  • Wed: BodyRock W2D4
  • Thurs: weights (upper body, abs)
  • Fri: 5.1 mi / 60 min easy/slow run (treadmill)
  • Sat: BodyRock W2D5
  • Sun: 2 mi easy run (treadmill) + weights (legs, abs)

Total Week #01 mileage:  11 mi

Days weightlifting: 2 days

And in terms of eating, because health isn’t all about working out:

  • Weekly calorie balance: 2700 calories under maintenance for the week, ~385/day below maintenance target
  • Macronutrients: 45/27/28 carb/fat/protein (goal: 45/20/35)

So, week 1 in review.

My calorie levels are looking good; I don’t want to go much lower than this or I won’t actually build/maintain the new fitness I am working so hard at.  I know that after this first month I’m going to need to increase, to keep up with my increased weekly mileage, so for right now I am okay with the deficit.I could probably go a little bit higher, if I could get the macros right.

I really need to get more protein into my diet — without accompanying fat.Or carbs. This is tricky. I had a couple meals out this week, and I was relatively good, but it’s really hard to get those macros into the 45/20/35 range. And hilariously I “should” be at more like 40/20/40! oh well.

Workout-wise, I feel good about it. I managed to get in two days of pretty heavy lifting, and I got my three runs in. And I only had one rest day; I did at least a BodyRock on the other days. This is probably my favorite thing about BodyRock – it keeps me doing something on days I’d be much more likely to take off.

For week #02:

This is going to be tricky, because I’m going on a business trip from Wed-Fri. I’ll be down in Louisiana and I don’t know what the schedule’s going to be like or how the hotel gym is. So, I’m trying to make a plan that will incorporate that.

  • Mon: BR
  • Tues: 5 mi easy/tempo/easy run
  • Wed: hotel gym weights, or BR in hotel room
  • Thurs: rest (don’t know schedule)
  • Fri: 70 min long slow run (in the evening when I return)
  • Sat: BR
  • Sun: 2 mi easy run + weights

I know eating will be a little off when I am traveling with work people, so my only real hope is just to stick to it on days I have control over it. And try to pack some snacks.

Wednesday and Thursday Summary

I forgot to post Wednesday’s summary! Whooooooops.

On Wednesday, I did this BodyRock workout. I’ve done this one before – it was still a burn!

On Thursday, I did weights: upper body mostly, all machines at the apartment fitness room.. 3×10 of shoulder press @20-30 lb, 3×10 of lat pulldowns@80-90lb, 3×10 seated rows @70-80lb, and a bunch of abs in the elevated ab chair of doom.

Both of the days seem a little light, but I have an hour-long run tomorrow (that I will try to get up early for! Ugh) so hopefully that will make up for it.

I have the hot pad on my back/shoulder right now. It’s still a little funny.

Sunday Workout Summary

Today’s workout:

I started the BodyRock 30 Day Challenge last week – it’s 5 workouts a week, and I am on week 2, day 2. They offer Burn (high intensity intervals mixing body weight bearing exercises and body weight cardio type things), Sculpt (intervals of heavier weighted exercise or less cardio, more strength based stuff), and Flow (yoga-based intervals). So far I’ve only been doing Burn, and an occasional Flow – I prefer to do my own weightlifting rather than follow the Sculpt. It’s a good thing to have on a day I do not feel like doing anything – its easy to make yourself to just 12 minutes – or to add to a day like today, when the other workout ends up being an easy bit.