Saturday, February 25, 2012

Fitness Goals 2012 (for turning 40)

Me a couple of years ago in Hawaii
I was doing just upper body strength
trainingand running then. 
This is a big year for me. I turn 40 in September and my oldest daughter just turned a teenager officially. Let me make sure you know I am NOT 40 yet. I turn 40 September 9th, 2012.

I played around with some fitness goals for the year. I thought about doing a half marathon again (I've done one - by myself, lol) but I just wasn't feeling it. I actually prefer doing cardio most days of the week and training for longer miles just makes me not able to do it 6-7 days a week. I know some people think you shouldn't do it everyday but I get CRANKY if I don't, so I really do it for the world in general - to make it a more beautiful place.

I've been running jogging for gosh years now and really like it. I like it mostly because it is free. You can do it on vacation too without being stuck in a little hotel workout room. I started to not like running  as much lately though. Doing the same cardio every day makes the same muscles worn out and it was not serving me well for my crankiness, because sometimes I would not want to do it. Plus I managed to give myself plantar fasciitus which is not fun. Its like a bad exboyfriend that keeps on popping back up just when you think he's gone. Ouch.

Luckily a gorgeous new YMCA was built a 1/2 mile from my house & my health insurance paid for a good portion of it! So now I started alternating my cardio and not running every day. On a perfect week  I do spin class Monday mornings, run Tuesday & Wednesday before work, Thursday do the cross trainer, run Friday, spin class on Saturday, and whatever I feel like on Sunday.

I also have been introduced (better) to the concept of interval training. I had heard of it before and have seen the setting on different machines but until I did spin class I did not really see the benefits. I always just jogged at a steady pace - every day. I have completely changed that though. I love intervals. They make the time go fast, they make it fun and rewarding, they make the speeds I used to think were fast seem slow, etc. Intervals put simply are just alternating between slower/easier work and harder/faster work in set intervals (or unset). You can do it for various amounts of time like run fast for 1 minute, slow for one, and repeat several times for 20-30 minutes. The goal is to get your heart rate up to 80-90% of your maximum for the hard intervals and back down for the easier ones. You really want your heart rate to go back down during the rest portions before you kick into your harder interval, so if your heart takes longer to slow back down you need to rest longer. A heart rate monitor is really helpful for that.

I am no fitness trainer (obviously) and I think you have to know you don't have any heart problems before doing interval training so please take my silly advice with caution. Actually don't think of this post as advice at all.

Here are some articles that talk about the benefits of interval training:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/03/fashion/03Fitness.html?pagewanted=all

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070627140103.htm

I've also added in strength training. I always wanted to, but I hated the first couple of weeks of soreness and I always thought that it would impair my running. Well I've been doing it for a couple of months and it has done the opposite. After the first two weeks of pain, that felt like I had the worst flu ever or maybe more like I was turning into a zombie, I think it has actually improved my running. I can do those intervals of sprints without my knees giving out. I can even race my 9 year old without that happening - although she always beats me. (I think I could run for longer though).

Right now I am just doing the weight machines at the Y and some free weights, but might do some of the strength classes they offer as well. There is a cross-training class (generic cross-fit) tomorrow if I can get up the nerve and do exercise with other people without a spin bike as a security blanket. Bites nails.

More on the benefits of strength training for runners:

http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-242-304--13093-0,00.html

http://www.performbetter.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/PBOnePieceView?storeId=10151&catalogId=10751&languageId=-1&pagename=195


So I don't have any set fitness goals for when I have to turn 40 this September (why do I have to)? I like the weight I am at. I am enjoying my exercise and I would like to keep on enjoying it. I would like to get less jiggly but I think the intervals will help with that as will the strength training.


I would love to hear about your fitness goals if you are turning 40 too, or 30, or 24 (I hate you). I would also love to hear your opinions on intervals or strength training as well.

-- Nicole 

2 comments:

  1. Yeah, I'm the sister that's 40. :)

    It doesn't bother me so much because I am healthier at 40 than I was at 30.

    My fitness goals right now are just to lower my body fat %. I don't necessarily need to lose weight to do that. I need to stay at the gym regularly and eat enough protein. That is easier than it sounds sometimes!

    ReplyDelete
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    (VIDEO) Text Your Ex Back?

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