I increased my mileage a bit this weekend. Not by much, but I added a few extra steps. I think my goal for this summer will be to run 12 miles easy. This run felt easy and I’m hoping next week to repeat it or go for the 6 miles.
As much as I hate to admit this, it’s been roughly 1 year since I added a proper legs routine to my workout. So last week I started my comeback by doing leg curls and squats (using the squat rack). I was tempted to use the Smith machine, but I stayed away from it because using the barbell gives you a little bit more natural motion and it works out your stabilizer muscles (that’s the case with any free weights vs. machines argument).
Squats are a great way to lose weight and pack muscle because they work out such a huge portion of your body. In retrospect, I was very stupid for ignoring them and can’t even tell you why I ignored them for so long (I thought my running was enough of a “legs workout.”)
A few years ago I used to be able to do squats with two 45-lb. plates on each side. This time around I started with the 45-lb. barbell only. The reason? I want to make sure my form is perfect. Otherwise you’re not going to reap the benefits. A good rule of thumb is to keep your head up while doing squats and pretend there’s an invisible chair behind you and you’re trying to touch the chair with your butt.
I ended up doing 2 sets of 12 (with the bar weight alone) and then two sets with 25-lb. plates on each side (8 reps). I’ll continue this routine for another week (or as long as it takes for me to feel comfortable with my form) before increasing my weight. Needless to say, the next day my legs were sore — I truly missed that feeling.
I had my free personal training session today. It was intense. We did lateral squats, deep lunges, pull ups, push ups, seated rows, and lots of different exercises using this rubber, barbell-size tube called the Vipr. I believe the Vipr is an Equinox phenomenon, but anyone can use it really and it can be used a million different ways.
One tip that I learned tonight (among the many) is that when training to do pull ups, you should do them every day. In addition, on your last repetition — you should hold your body up (above the bar) for as long as you can. (I held for 10 seconds today.) Doing so will help you build more muscles which in turn will make it easier for you to pull your body up the next time you do pull ups.
Overall, it was a great session. If I had the money, I would totally sign up for more sessions, but alas, I can only take what I’ve learned from this session and apply it to my workouts (which works for me!) So effective immediately, I’m incorporating more pulls ups, lateral squats, and the Vipr to my workouts.
I’m trying to get into a new habit. On Wednesdays (which would normally be one of my off days), I’m hitting my home gym for a quick 30 minute workout. It consists of lunges, leg curls, and abs. Lots of abs. I did it last week and I did it again this week. I worked up a decent sweat today too. Hopefully this will get me back on track with my ab workouts and will also help me get to that 10% body fat percentage I’m shooting for. So here’s what I did:
*4 sets of lunges
10 reps with 12 lbs. in each hand
*4 sets of leg curls
*4 sets of lunges with 8 lb. medicine ball
*4 sets of crunches
*4 sets of bicycle abs
(this particular exercise kills my abs!)
Why do I keep ignoring my abs? It’s not that I hate ab workouts, I just keep neglecting them. That said, today I did a 30-minute abs and legs workout. (It was technically an off day for me, but I figured I’d do this quick routine instead of just watching TV.)
I did lunges and leg curls and then did planks, crunches, and medicine ball crunches (like the ones in the photo). It felt pretty good. Hopefully I can stick with my ab routine. I just need to find a way to incorporate it into my normal workout routine so I don’t neglect them.
I had a crazy intense cardio workout today. 30 minutes on the treadmill with a speed of 6 and a minimum incline of 4. (Maximum incline was 6.5.) I had the machine on random and I got the hardest “virtual route” ever. I stuck with it though and the ending felt great. My heart rate jumped to 173 at its highest. My tip to all you indoor runners (especially now that the cold winter season is almost upon us), vary your indoor workouts. Play with the incline and speed. Maybe one day you keep the incline low, but work on speed. The next day you hike the incline up, but lower the speed. And then one day, you hike them both up and see how you fare. So as a reward for my super workout, I had a healthy dinner. Grilled salmon, avocado, salad, and blueberries for dessert. Overall, I’d say I had a pretty healthy day!
I had a jam-packed day today. In the morning I went to NYC for a haircut, then went to an open house in Jersey City, visited my parents, went for my run, walked from WTC to 14th street and back, and finally came home. Phew.
I was worried that my legs would be too sore from my leg workout earlier this week, but I was still able to hit the pavement for my outdoor run. I had to be at the Apple Store by 6.45pm, so I cut my run short (by a few minutes) and did 4 sprints. Not full-on crazy sprints, but very brisk runs. Man, it tired me out and sent my heart rate instantly soaring to 179. In all, I ran 4.7 miles and burned 932 calories. Then I showered at my gym and walked from WTC to the meatpacking district (the Apple Store) and back. (4.3 miles, 644 calories.)
Needless to say, my legs are pretty damn sore. But it feels good. I topped off my workout with 2 salmon burgers and an avocado for dinner. I’m about to snack on some blueberries and an Asian pear to get all those toxins out of my blood stream. I gotta say, although I’m dead tired, I do feel great!