May 6, 2007

is it true? is spring really here?

I think that it must be!

To wrap up this week - Mike and I hit the gym Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. That is 4 days this week! I ran Friday and today (heading out to KMP to get in the time). I am still down 13 lbs, which is fine by me! I lost a fraction of a pound over this weekend, and given that it was Cinco De Mayo, 3 Detroit victories (Red Wings, Tigers, and Pistons), as well as the Mint Julip drinkin' Kentucky Derby, oh and Mara' college graduation... I did well!

The test was Yesterday for sure.

On the running front, Friday's run really felt great! I moved on to week 3 (after all of this time!) I took the run off-road this time, and while Mike was doing bike work inside the gym, I was running outside around the lesser known Novi area.

When I completed my 30 minutess of HIIT, I came back inside the gym and we ended it with leg and shoulders. Due to my running, I took it really easy on the legs cutting the weight I normally use by half if not more.

Today I decided to go ahead and head to KMP after I post this, and get in my 2nd installment of week 3.

Now here is the kicker. Not only will this interval style of running that I am doing help in the long run two-fold: faster pace and more endurance, it is also helping out on the weight-loss front.

You may have caught my mention of HIIT above. Well HIIT is High Intensity Interval Training. The theory is that when you do one form of cardio, at the same level, for long periods of time (i.e. running an 11:30 mile for 6 miles) your body gets put into this stagnant place. The same theory applies to eating. If you consume the same amount of calories daily, your body starts conserving them because this is it's baseline. In order to "trick" your body and keep it guessing as to what caloric intake it will have available, you need to switch up the calories every day. This will keep your body burning the calories, insetead of conserving them.

Our bodies are efficient. If we feed it the same things and do the same things daily, it slows down the burn. However, mix it up and your body will turn up the heat!

If you think about it.. we would be a lot fatter if our body was not so efficient. When you splurge and have the McD's food - and if your body was not efficient and constant burning, you would gain about 2lbs a day. Yes - 2 lbs a DAY. Since we eat pretty consistently, even without knowing it, so our body expects this intake and burns for it.

Another eating example: If you eat 1400 calories one day 15oo the next 1450 the next, then 1600 the next... your body is confused. When it sees 1600 it goes into overdrive and burns quicker. If you cut back the next day to 1400, your body is still burning for the previous day's amount.

So how does this apply to running or any other form of cardio for that matter? Easy. If you run or do the elliptical or swim every day at the same pace throughout the run/session, you body starts conserving. If you run harder for 90 seconds, then slow it down for 90 seconds, the increase it again for a few minutes, and keep on switching it up like this - your body gets confused and since it never knows what is comming next - it burns more calories... not neccesarily during the exercise, but definitely afterwards.

I guess you can do more study on this yourselves... but after talking to Lorraine (Mike's sister who happens to be a fitness competitor and champion) and doing my own research on this, I have found that every site I see says the same thing. 15-30 minutes HIIT is more efficient than 60 minutes straight cardio. Truth be told, most sites say 12 minutes is all you need. But hey - those site are generally aimed at bodybuilders.

A far as training for my races goes, this really is not neccessarily the best way to run, but for shorter distances, as well as already planned interval training sessions, I say keep them up! Run your 6 mile one day, then do an interval session the next running day. Millions of runners already know this. I decided to stop fearing the word interval.. and embrace it. So far, I have burned more weight off when I do intervals, than when I do straight constant cardio.

And if you are not a runner, but rather a person who adores the elliptical trainer.. do the same thing! 30 minutes goes by so much quicker in your mind if you adjust the level periodically throughout the session.

HIIT those runs!!

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