GymBug

I've caught it. Fortunately, it's not treatable.

Archive for the tag “bad”

How I drastically cut my 10km run time

Hi there!

When I started running consistently it was during my Christmas break of 2012. I had put on weight in first year (the ‘fresher’s fifteen’) and was really uncomfortable with how my clothes felt and how unfit I was generally. I started running with my dad who had been at it for a while. When I ran my first 10k it was brutal. My time was around 1 hour 15 minutes. It was a struggle the whole way and my evening was spent with me on the couch. It was here I realised just how unfit I had been.

I started running regularly and more and more I started to enjoy my Dad’s and I’s Sunday 10k sessions. By Christmas 2013 we were running 12k’s and made the mistake of doing a 16k too (no one won that one). Our 10k always hovered around the 1 hour mark. My dad is over 50, so we never pushed it.

Fast forward to Summer 2014. I went on a family holiday to Nerja (below you see the view from our villa, which indicates the length of the hill I had to run up). It was here my sister introduced me to hill sprints. Brutal, heart-pounding hill sprints. We only had to do roughly 20-30 minutes to be as worn out as a solid 45 minute run! I fell in love with the new high intensity element, something that I had generally lacked in my running. I continued to do hill sprints when I got home over the summer and I noticed my 10k runs with my Dad were becoming easier and easier (but not faster, because my Dad is over 50, I was warned).

I joined a gym within my first couple of weeks of moving to Madrid for a year abroad for University. I started off with just using the bike, doing some intervals and things. Then I went onto the treadmill and slowly started incorporating more and more intervals and HIIT into my cardio. I now combine HIIT on the treadmill and the bike for 2 cardio sessions a week, I do about 45 minutes each session.
Important; my first stint in Madrid was September-December, and I lost far too much weight. A key part of this was doing too much HIIT and not fuelling my body properly. Even with weight training I ended up being scrawny and unhealthy. If you do HIIT, ensure you’re fuelling your body correctly too. This means good carbs, protein and fats.

Now, onto Christmas 2014. I was limited to my exercise routine because I was putting on weight (because it was absolutely necessary). However, I did go out with my Dad for a 10k during my tme at home. The second we were out the car he said ‘Just you go on and run at your own pace’. I initially resisted, because I enjoyed the time we spent together running, but he refuses to accept it wasn’t my fault we ran a 16k!
It ended up being a mistake anyway, I ran so far ahead he tried to reduce the distance between us and pushed himself to far. However, I ran 11k in 57 minutes! I couldn’t believe it. I thought back to what caused my sudden incrase in speed and realised it was the HIIT. Whilst I did not fuel myself, my fitness and times improved dramatically (the lack of fuel is really bad and embarassing, I’m not endorsing my stupidity, if you do HIIT or speed work, fuel it right)!

My most recent 10k which I did on a treadmill clocked in at 47 mins 35 seconds. I altered my incline and speed throughout to achieve this and I wasn’t wiped out by the end! (I was tired, don’t get me wrong).

So, after this long (hopefully not boring) story, what’s my point? My point is if you want to cut your time and improve your fitness, logging kilometers and kilometers of steady running will not do it quite the same as using HIIT, hill sprints and lots of intervals. You need to speed train to improve your times!

Here’s an example of what you could do on a treadmill;

Warm-Up; 5 minutes at 9km/h

Sprint; 1 minute at 13-15km/h (wherever you feel you won’t come flying off the treadmill)

Rest; 1 minute at 9km/h

Repeat, repeat, repeat.

Cool-Down; 5 minutes starting at 9km/h then reducing by 0.5km/h every minute.

I do this often, I also mix it up with inclines in place of a sprint. The point is to challenge your body and your speed. You also don’t need to workout for as ong when doing HIIT because your sending your heartrate into a higher zone (if done correctly. Check out my HIIT post for more information on HIIT and routines!

Gym Bug

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Sleep Experiment Trial 3

Hi there!

Last night’s option for the Sleep Experiment did not work at all. I had to follow the following breathing exercise;

  1. Breath in deeply for 4 counts
  2. Hold breath for 2 counts
  3. Exhale for 4 counts, gently forcing the last bit of air out at the end
  4. Repeat and focus on breathing, clearing your mind of all else.

I found myself focusing on how tired it was making me and trying to become aware of when I was falling asleep so I was hideously distracted. I eventually gave up and just there waiting for sleep to come. It took a while. When I finally got to sleep I slept pretty soundly but the whole process of getting to sleep was not improved via this method, for me at aleast.

Rating for the breathing execises; 3/10.

I’m going to give the yoga a try tonight! Fingers crossed!

Gym Bug

Energy drinks; recipe for a sugar crash

Hi there!

I found an article recently about energy drinks and how they can contain up to 20 teaspoons of sugar PER CAN! This is insane, especially since our new recommended daily amount of sugar has been reduced to 6 teaspoons according to the WHO. This is insane and what’s even more concerning is that people, especially children, are drinking these regularly! I did a post on child obesity and this links directly with that. Studies have linked energy drink consumption with issues such as obesity, caffeine overdoses, risky behaviour and addiction.

Thee energy drinks are also targetted at those who participate in sports as a way to get that ‘much needed energy boost’ to improve performance. I can’t sit here and say I’ve never drank them and I never will again. I had half a red bull a few weeks ago (I had been drinking a little, so my ability to comprehend it’s awful-ness was hindered somewhat) but I most certainly drink far less. I probably average about 1 every 6-8 months. Prior to my half a can of red bull a few weeks ago, I think the last one I had was in the summer of 2014.

Anyway, energy drinks are getting an increasingly bad reputation. When I say energy drinks I’m referring to brands such as Red Bull, Monster, Rockstar, Bullet and so on. They typically come is huge cans as well. They are also becoming increasingly mixed with artificial fruit juices to make them more appealing. Not only does this amp up the calories but it makes the sugar content sky rocket. For example, Rockstar Tropical Punch contains 260 calories and 31g of sugar! That’s 20 teaspoons of sugar (Note; 1 teaspoon of sugar= 4grams) These energy drinks truly are something to avoid consuming regularly!

Energy Drinks

There are other drinks out there, such as Powerade or Lucozade, that are marketed as ‘sports drinks’ and something athletes should consume to help them. However, you should really only consume these ‘sports drink’ (I’m using the term lightly) when you’re participating in long, intense exercise. Typical standard is to skip the ‘sports drink’ if you’re running anything less than 30 minutes. Consumption of them before, during or after anything longer than this can be beneficial as it provides your body with carbohydrates, which is necessary to endure and recover. I typically opt for water however, whatever the distance or I’ll choose energy tablets, which you dissolve into water, for example I drank High5 Zero Pink Grapefruit before I ran Tough Mudder in 2014. I did notice I didn’t cramp during the race, which I did in 2013. High5 is an electrolyte based ‘sports drink’ and I personally prefer them a lot more to traditional ‘sports drink’ or energy drinks. But again, I only consume them for hard, intense, long exercise (or if I’m hungover, they work wonders).

An increasingly popular alternative is to make your own! Here’s a recipe I found on Everyday Roots.

Make Your Own Electrolyte Drink

Gym Bug

Image 1 Source; http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/var/plain_site/storage/images/publications/food-beverage-nutrition/foodnavigator-usa.com/markets/bad-press-affecting-energy-drink-category-mintel/8678378-1-eng-GB/Bad-press-affecting-energy-drink-category-Mintel.jpg

Image 2 Source; http://everydayroots.com/homemade-energy-drink

Brace yourselves; Summer is coming

Hi there!

So Christmas and New Years have been enjoyed and now it’s time to focus on one thing; summer. People are now turning their heads to the sunny months of skimpier clothes and more skin on show.

This means a lot of people are sitting there thinking “right, restrict my calories for x number of weeks/days so I look great in my bikini/swim shorts/summer clothes”. It’s all good and well in theory, but the issue with this “summer starve” is that you’re very likely to put the weight (if not more) back on after you’ve been on holiday or achieved what you wanted to achieve. This means you’ll have to repeat it next time you want to get into a bikini/swim shorts and that’s just not a healthy way to live. It’s also not particularly fun.

So this short post is to tell you not to do it. It’s not easy, but by developing healthy,life-long habits you’re setting yourself up for long lasting results. You won’t have to cut back your calories dramatically for a week or so, instead you’ve made a change that you can continue and that will benefit you for the rest of your life.

It’s simple steps. Start by looking at what you’re eating and make small changes. Have brown rice instead of white. Go for a banana instead of the chocolate. Go for a 30 minute walk everyday. Get active. Slowly but surely you will start to notice a difference and you will start to develop these changes into habits. Then as you become more informed about healthy lifestyles, healthy changes, exercise etc. you’ll soon be able to start making bigger changes, which will see you improve dramatically.

Don’t do the summer starve. Use this summer to start a new, healthier lifestyle and forever have that beach body you want AND the incredible healthy benefits of a long term, healthy lifestyle.

It’s small steps, you can do it.

Gym Bug

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