Category Archives: workout

10 K Training Guide

motivational-quotes-2191Congratulation, you have decided to bring it up a notch and run your first 10K. You might be wondering where you are going to start and what you need to do. Below is a fun, 8 week training plan that will help you prepare for a successful, stress free race. In anticipation of Preachtree Road Race, we will be offering an expanded edition of this training plan starting on May 1st. The expanded program will include 8 weeks of cross training workouts, stretching guide, and a meal plan.

10K or 6.2 miles is a fun distance to run. You have successfully graduated up from 5K and moved on to the next level. It is easier and takes less time to prepare for than a half marathon, with manageable training hours, and you can still go out dancing after the race.

Before you start training for your 10K race, you should get a full workup from your doctor to make sure that you are healthy enough for this kind of activity. You should have a reasonably good level of physical fitness and should have done some sort of running / walking in the past. If you are new to running, I would suggest starting at a 5K level. There are plenty of programs and apps available to train you for your very first 5K race.

How This Program Works:

Cross Training (CT): Simply put cross training can be anything that isn’t running. It can be swimming, cycling, walking, and weight training or any other form of aerobic activity. However, recent research has shown that runners benefit more from weight training and exercises that builds underactive core muscles than from any other form of cross training. My recommendation is combining weight training and other forms of cardio for a complete, well rounded workout.

For example, you could do 15 minutes of intervals on a stationary bike at the beginning of your workout, 20 minutes of weight training, 15 minutes of intervals on a stationary bike, and 5 minutes of stretching as your cross training.

For a list of cross training workouts, check back on May 1st for an expanded 10 K prep guide.

Running: This part is fairly simple – go run. It is preferable to train on the same surface as the race, so go outside and hit the pavement (or a trail if you are doing a trail run). If the weather doesn’t allow you to do so, set your treadmill incline to 1.5 -2.0 for your running workouts.

You should be able to run at a comfortable pace that allows you to carry on a conversation. If you find yourself unable to talk, or only talk in short phrases, you are running too fast.

Rest: Rest is extremely important. On rest days you should take it easy, give your muscles a chance to recover and rebuild.

Long Run: This is the longest run of the week. Typically a long run is done at a slow pace.

Walking: Walking is so underrated! In this 8 week training plan, I have a walk scheduled for Friday (the day before your long run). A walk will keep your muscles active with less stress. It is a great way to recuperate from the week of training before your long run. Feel free to walk at any point during your runs too! No one cares if you run the whole race (unless that is your goal). If you are tired and you know you can’t push through, walk!

Below is an 8 weeks training schedule. Feel free to modify it to fit your life, this is merely a guide to help you get started. If you would like a personalized, custom training guide, don’t hesitate to contact me. I would be honored to help you reach your 10 K training goals.

8 Week 10K Training Schedule:

Week Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
1 CT 1 M CT 1 M Walk 2 M Rest
2 CT 1.5 M CT 1.5 M Walk 3 M Rest
3 CT 2 M CT 2 M Walk 4 M Rest
4 CT 2.5 M CT 2.5 M Walk 5 M Rest
5 CT 1.5 M CT 1.5 M Walk 3 M Rest
6 CT 3 M CT 3 M Walk 6 M Rest
7 CT 3.5 M CT 3.5 M Walk 7 M Rest
8 CT 3 M EZ CT Stretch Walk RACE Rest

 

Diet

Diet is extremely important when prepping for a race. You don’t want to get to the start line and realize that you are 10 pounds heavier than when you started your training. You also need to eat for your goals. That means eating strategically to optimize your performance.

Eating whole grains and complex carbohydrates will help you maintain steady energy in your workouts as well as on race day. Protein will help with recovery and building up muscles necessary for a successful run. Proper water intake is essential to keep your body functioning properly.

Going on a low calorie, low carb diet is not the best choice when running a 10 K is the goal. You need to be eating smarter, not less. Try swapping out processed foods for whole foods, decrease your fat intake, and make sure that every meal is well balanced. That means that you should eat a complete lean protein (such as chicken, fish, eggs, or lean red meat) and complex carbohydrates (whole grains, squash varieties, sweet potatoes, and cruciferous veggies) with every meal. The longer the distance, the higher amount of carbs you will need in your diet.

The jury is still out on the optimal amount of carbohydrates that a distance athlete needs to ingest to optimize their performance. For more details on nutrition, meal planning, and a sample menu check back on May 1st for our extended edition of the 10 K training plan.

The Problem with BMI

What is BMI?

health-and-fitness-motivation-by-elisaBMI or Body Mass Index is a frequently used to measure or quantify an individual’s body shape based on a correlation between that person’s height and weight. BMI was first created in the 19th century by a Belgian sociologist and mathematician Adolphe Quetelet as a means to measure populations with a predominantly sedentary lifestyle.

Today, BMI is used by doctors and other healthcare professionals as a means to objectively discuss weight problems instead of using terms such as “overweight”, “obese”, or “underweight”. However, more and more physicians and other healthcare professionals forget the intended purpose of BMI as a generic way of classifying a population and instead use it as means for diagnosis.

Misusing BMI:

Sounds unbelievable, doesn’t it? And yet it is increasingly true. About a year ago I went to visit one of a few dozen physicians from the “old country” that operate in my area. I thought that since this particular doctor had experience dealing with people from my region I could save some time on filling in the gaps about some of the common ailments and just get to being treated for the problem that was bothering me. What I didn’t expect is to come into the office get weighed in and to be told that I am overweight and need to lose a lot of weight.

bmi-chartAt this point, allow me to give you some back story. I am a runner with a love of bodybuilding. I am fit, I eat right, I have a fairly low body fat percentage, and high muscle mass. So, when the doctor whom I never met before, looked at me (I was wearing a hoody and loose pants) and told me that I really needed to start watching my weight and change my diet, I couldn’t help but laugh.

He, of course, asked me why I was laughing. I asked him why he thought I had a bad diet and was overweight. In turn, he turned my attention to the BMI chart and said that based on my height and weight, I was clearly overweight and that could be due to the fact that I am not eating right and not exercising regularly. Honestly, at that point all I wanted to do is get up, take my hoody off, flex my “guns” and walk out, but I refrained.

I nicely told him the following:

On a case to case bases, BMI alone is not a good indicator or predictor of health or body composition. For example, a man who is 6’ 3” with a weight of 210 pounds is considered overweight according to the BMI chart. However, the chart does not specify if the body fat percentage (BF) of the man in question. Sure, if the man has a BF of 30% or more he is overweight. However if you look at a man who weighs in at 210 and stands at 6’ 3” with a BF of 15%, I guarantee you, you wouldn’t be calling him even remotely overweight.

What is the Lesson to be Learned Here?

1970767_10152283371584394_2044580024_nBMI is a good way to analyze large samples of predominantly sedentary, average population, not as a way to discuss weight issues on an individual case by case bases.

You will hear fitness professionals tell their clients to stop concentrating on “the number on the scale”. This is partially the reason why. That number means absolutely nothing unless you pair it with measurements, accurate BF% measurements, and, of course, whether or not the client is trading their “fat pants” for the “skinny jeans”.

So, if anyone tells you that you are overweight / obese and you respectfully disagree, ask them why they think that. If the answer is that the BMI chart told them so, tell them to read this article and walk away. You should expose yourself to such willful ignorance and negativity.

Fierce Workout: Well Armed

Regardless of who you are and what you do you probably spend a lot of time picking things up and putting them back down. Whether you are carrying your children and groceries, working in your garden or lifting a 32 oz. mug of beer to your mouth, your arms are probably involved in the process.

This weeks workout is all about building strong, shapely arms to make whatever it is you do look a little sexier.

The How To:

Tension (resistance) Band Curls:

Stand on the tension band with your legs apart until you feel appropriate (challenging) tension with your arms straight down. Holding the tension band handles, palms out, curl up as you would with a dumbbell curl.

Tension (resistance) Band Triceps Extensions:

Wrap the tension band around a post, tree, bedpost, or anything else that is sturdy and will hold tension well at about your ankle level. With the tension band behind you. With your hands behind your head grab the handle, palms face each other, elbows bent at 90 degrees. Keep your upper arm pressed tightly against your body with the elbow bent at a 90 degree angle. Pull the handles up and slowly return it back to the starting position. Make sure that you are using appropriate tension for this exercise.

Tension (resistance) Band Preacher Curls:

Wrap the tension band around a sturdy surface at about your waist level. Hold the band with your arms extended, palms up. Pull the handles towards your shoulders and slowly return back to starting position. Make sure that you are using appropriate tension for this exercise.

Tension (resistance) Band Triceps Push-down:

Wrap the band around something sturdy high above your head. Hold the handles with your palms facing each other, elbows bent at 90 degree angles close to your body. Pull the handles down while keeping them close to your body, bending only at the elbows. Return to the starting position. Make sure that you are using appropriate tension for this exercise.

Tension (resistance) Band Wrist Curls:

Secure the tension band underneath one of your feet. Hold the tension band handle with the opposite hand, elbow resting on top of your quad, hand  above your knee, palm facing up. Pull the handle up by curling your wrist up. Return to the starting position. Take care to utilize proper and challenging tension on the band at all times.

Tension (resistance) Band Wrist Extensions:

Secure the tension band underneath one of your feet. Hold the tension band handle with the same hand, elbow resting on top of your quad, hand  above your knee, palm facing down. Pull the handle up by utilizing only your wrist and allow it to return to the starting position. Your forearm should remain stationary throughout this exercise.

Well_Armed

Fierce Workout: Cry on My Shoulder

Warm weather is right around the corner and that means sleeveless shirts and exposed shoulders and arms. Who wouldn’t want to have some nice, sexy definition? This weeks no gym required workout is all about shoulders. All you will need is a set of tension (resistance) bands.

The How To:

Tension (resistance) Band Shoulder Press:

Stand on the tension band with one of your feet until you feel appropriate (challenging) tension with your hands over your shoulders and  elbows bent. Holding the tension band handles, palms out, push the handles up until your arms are almost fully extended (keep your elbow soft), then bring your hands slowly to the starting position.

Tension (resistance) Band Internal Shoulder Rotation:

Wrap the tension band around a post, tree, bedpost, or anything else that is sturdy and will hold tension well at about your waist level. With the tension band at your side, grab the handle with the hand closest to the band. Keep your upper arm pressed tightly against your body with the elbow bent at a 90 degree angle. Pull the handle in towards your abdomen and slowly return it back to the starting position. Make sure that you are using appropriate tension for this exercise.

Tension (resistance) Band External Shoulder Rotation:

Wrap the tension band around a post, tree, bedpost, or anything else that is sturdy and will hold tension well at about your waist level. With the tension band at your side, grab the handle with the hand furthest away from the band. Keep your upper arm pressed tightly against your body with the elbow bent at a 90 degree angle. Pull the handle out across your body away from your abdomen and slowly return it back to the starting position. Make sure that you are using appropriate tension for this exercise.

Tension (resistance) Band Front Deltoid Raise:

Wrap the tension (resistance) band around a post, tree, bedpost, or anything else that is sturdy and will hold tension well. Hold the tension band handels with your arms in front of you, palms facing down. Pull the tension band up until your arms are parallel to the floor, then slowly return to the starting position. Remember to maintain appropriate, challenging tension on your resistance bands!

Tension (resistance) Band Lateral Deltoid Raise:

Stand on the tension band with your legs apart until you feel appropriate (challenging) tension with your arms straight down. Holding the tension band handles with your arms on either side of your body, palms in, pull the handles out and up until your arms are parallel to the floor. Slowly return to the starting position.

cry_on_my_shoulder

I’d love to her what you thought about this workout in the comments below or on our Facebook!

 

 

Easy Calorie Counting & Demystifying Weight Loss

Nutrition and Calories

l_a1d8c110-60e7-11e1-b1da-97b177c00001It is no secret that in order to lose weight you have to burn more calories than you consume. Cutting calories and “dieting” is more of an individual process than generic, preset approach. It is only through trial and error that you will be able to know what truly works for you and how many calories you need to consume in order to lose weight and gain lean muscle.

If you follow Fierce Miles, you have heard me say this time and time again—severe caloric restriction is not sustainable and extremely dangerous. Creating massive deficits will wreak havoc on your hormones and result in slowing down your metabolism even further which will lead to the inevitable weight gain.

Of course, there are general guidelines that can help you figure out your approximate optimal daily caloric intake. However, without good record keeping and a willingness to go through a certain period of trial and error, you will never be able to zero in on what truly works for you.

 

Fat Loss:       

The general formula to calculate daily caloric intake with the emphasis on fat loss is the following:

Focus on getting 11-16 calories per pound of your target body weight.

So, if your goal weight is 140 lbs:

11 cal X 140 lbs = 1540 calories (this is your absolute lowest daily intake)
16 cal X 140 lbs = 2240 calories (this is your highest daily intake)

Muscle Building:

The general formula to calculate daily caloric intake with the emphases on muscle building and weight gain is the following:

Focus on getting 17-25 calories per pound of target body weight.

So, if your goal weight is 200 lbs:

17 cal X 200 lbs = 3400 calories (lowest daily intake)
25 cal X 200 lbs = 5000 calories (highest daily intake)

Weight Maintenance:

It is generally ill-advised to maintain a caloric deficit for prolonged periods of time. Your body will eventually get use to the deficit making fat loss more difficult. In order to maintain a healthy metabolism and a lean, strong, healthy body, periods of maintenance are essential. During maintenance periods your body rests and rebuilds.

There is no set formula to calculate your maintenance calories. I suggest starting slowly increasing your caloric intake by 15-20 % every week until you stop losing weight. A large increase in the daily caloric intake may result in an increase in body fat. If that happens just reduce the weekly caloric increase.

Maintenance periods can be tricky and it usually takes time to find the proper increase percentage. Good record keeping is essential for the maintenance phase.

Counting Calories:

fitness-inspiration-954-eaf80244-sz480x480-animateToday, there are a number of tools that you can use to track your daily caloric intake. However, nothing beats good old math. Many food companies actually underestimate caloric values of their products on their labels due to the way they count calories in fiber. It has been a fitness myth for many years that calories from fiber do not count towards the total caloric value of a carbohydrate because fiber isn’t fully absorbed by the body. The key word here is fully. Some fiber does get absorbed and can’t be counted towards “free nutrients”. So, what does that mean?

That means that some food companies do not include the caloric value of fiber in the calorie total of the product. Although a difference of 10 calories here and there may not sound like much initially, an extra 100 calories a day can add up to 1 pound of body fat gain per month.

Here are the macro nutrient caloric values:

Protein = 4 cal/gram
Carbohydrates = 4 cal/gram
Fat = 9 cal/gram
Fiber = 4 cal/gram (fiber is a carbohydrate and there for is 4 calories per gram. When you take into account that only about ½ of the fiber gets absorbed by the body, it totals to roughly 2 calories per gram. When calculating total caloric value of fiber, divide by two).

Example of calculating calories based on food labels:

Let’s take Healthy Life High Fiber Bread, the label give the following information:

Calories: 70
Total Fat: 0.5 gram
Total Carb: 16 grams
Fiber: 5 grams
Protein: 5 gram

Look at the total fiber number, divide by two. Subtract the number you are left with from the carbohydrate total and multiply by 4 to get the proper carbohydrate calories in the food you are looking at.

When you calculate it out:

0.5 x 9 = 4.5 (fat)
5 / 2 =2.5
16 – 2.5 = 13.5
13.5 x 4 = 54 (carbs)
5 x 4 = 20 (protein)
4.5+54+20= 78.5 (total calories)

So the total calorie count in the Healthy Life High Fiber Bread is 78.5.

What to do when a food doesn’t have a nutrition facts label:

There are a number of resources that you can turn to if you find yourself in a situation where nutrition facts are not readily available.

  • USDA National Nutrient Database
  • USDA Super Tracker (a more user friendly version of the Database)
  • CRON-O-METER (although this does not come in a convenient app form, it is accurate)

In most cases a simple Internet search will answer all of your macro nutrient questions. However, make sure that you rely on trustworthy sources for your nutrient information. Some of the largest fitness and calorie tracking applications that are available today grossly underestimate calorie information and are laden with human error.

Fierce Workout: Fierce Fit

This week is all about endurance and seeing what you are made of.  Do this workout as fast as possible, with proper form for 30 minutes. Make sure that you are keeping track of how many rounds you have completed, write the number down. I do this workout at least once a month to see if I can beat my score every time. Enjoy!

fiercefit

Fierce Workout: Tabata Body

Lately I have been under a bit of stress. I wanted to do something fun, easy to keep track of, and physically challenging so I can take my mind of off the things that have been happening in my life lately. A friend has suggested I try to do some tabata workouts to switch up my routine and get the optimal calorie burn.

So what is a tabata workout, you will ask? Well, to put it simply: tabata training is a high intensity interval training routine created by Dr. Izumi Tabata and his colleagues to study the effects of HIIT vs. moderate intensity training. The results of the study clearly showed that athletes who engaged in HIIT training showed significant aerobic and anaerobic system improvements over those that participated in the moderate intensity training.

Below is a tabata workout during which you will work at  100% exertion level for 20 seconds followed by 10 seconds of rest. Enjoy and let me know how it went!

Tabata-Body

Fierce Workout: 300

On December 17th of 2013 I decided that I am going to take the Spartan challenge and do the 17 workouts that the actors did to prepare for the movie 300. Below is the assessment workout that I did at the beginning and at the end of the 17 workout period (a little over a month).

I have to say, this is not for the weak or those that are just starting their training, but if you have been at it for a while, it is a good way to test your strength and endurance. At the end of the challenge I completed this workout 20 minutes (!!!!) fast then the initial. Can you believe it? I couldn’t!

Another worthy point to mention is that before I embarked on this journey of becoming a Spartan, I was deathly afraid of box jumping and bear crawls. I just never thought of myself as the kind of person that was coordinated enough to do these exercises and escape in one piece. Now, I deliberately seek out boxes to jump on and bare crawl whenever the opportunity presents itself.

But enough about me! Let’s get back to this workout! Complete the following exercises in as little time as possible. Don’t stop, keep pushing! Log your time and share it below!

300

4 Easy Steps to Stick to Your New Year’s Resolution

tumblr_lxvu5kSHWe1qgh9aoo1_500It’s the middle of January and many of you might be starting to think that the New Year’s resolution you made wasn’t an objective one. Maybe you motivation began to wane and you started to skip workouts, slip off your diet, and began making excuses to justify it while feeling guiltier than ever in the process. Does that sound like something that you are going through? Don’t worry, there is a way to fix it.

Step One: Guilt is Overrated

Stop feeling guilty and beating yourself up over your past failures. What’s in the past is in the past and there is nothing that you can do to change it. What you can do, however, is resolve to be dedicated to your goals and promise yourself to practice disciplined behavior day in and day out from this point on. Minor slip-ups will happen and we have to move past them. Train your will power just like you train your body. Saying “no” to a piece of cake gets easier after you said “no” 500 times before.

Step Two: Re-Evaluate, Set Goals and Benchmarks

Re-evaluate your New Year’s resolution. Why did you make it? Is it realistic? Is it sustainable? Answering these questions will help you set benchmark goals along the way which will help with the process of achieving your greater goal. For example: “I want to lose weight” is too generic of a goal but can be your greater goal. “I want to lose 5 lbs by the end of February because I am running a 5K on February 28th” is a specific goal with a modifier (running a 5K) which can be broken down into two (or even three) separate benchmark goals: 1) benchmark goal being losing 5 lbs by the end of February, 2) run a 5K on February 28th, 3) finish a 5K at a certain time.

Benchmark goals are smaller, more achievable goals that help you celebrate your wins and achievements. Setting these goals keeps you more motivated, more concentrated on the task at hand especially if there is a satisfaction of an achievement and a reward at the end.

Step Three: Food is a Reward for Your Pet

Don’t reward yourself with food. When you achieve your benchmark goals, reward yourself with something other than a trip to the bakery. Agree to treat yourself to a SPA day, a new tech toy, a new outfit, or a night out at the movies. Do something that you enjoy, but do not derail your progress by eating food that isn’t on your plan. After all, you are not a dog, you don’t need treats.

Step Four: Get Involved

It is easier to stick to a resolution when you are part of a community. If you like to run — join a local running group (any specialty running store will be able to give you information about running groups in your area), if you prefer fast paced exercise that tightens and tones – find a crossfit gym, if you don’t like people but still want to get in shape – pay a personal trainer. Even the most seasoned fitness enthusiasts have someone who holds them accountable. One might even say that having an accountability partner accounts to 60% of successfully met goals for most people.

If you are still having trouble sticking to your New Year’s resolution after reading the steps above, consider doing a bit more reevaluating and editing. Remember, your goals can evolve out of the initial resolution and the deeper you dig, the more you might be able to find. If you need help “distilling” benchmarks goals out of your greater goal, feel free to contact me via Facebook, Twitter, or just comment below.

 

Gym Faux Pas

Since many of you are just starting your fitness journey, I’d like to talk about a few things that might help you avoid an uncomfortable situation and save you the dirty looks. You may already know this, but there is a certain gym etiquette that most of us prefer you abide by. Below I have assembled a short list of gym faux pas that everyone should know:

shutupandsquat

Using Your Phone

No one, and I mean no one, wants to hear your conversation with your girlfriend about how awesome the party was last night, how horrible your boss is, or how hot that guy / girl is that you hooked up with last night. There is a time and a place to use your cellphone and it is definitely NOT while you are working out. Plus, if you can talk on the phone that means that you are not working hard enough, taking up valuable time on the equipment, and annoying everyone who is actually putting in the work. Think of it this way, your gym is like a movie theater but instead of watching a film, you are watching your health and body composition. Don’t be a jerk and disturb everyone around you. Hang up or take it outside!

you are doing it worng

Have a Question? Ask Somebody!

This seems self-explanatory, but you’ll be surprised how many people lack common sense. If you have a question about a piece of equipment, ask someone, google it, or simple look at the machine. More often than not there is a demonstration of what it does and how to use it. Don’t just jump in and assume that you can figure it out. Why risk a chance of injury?

clean

Leaving Sweat on the Equipment

We know you are working hard and sweating bullets. That’s what you are supposed to do! However, be nice and wipe your sweat off the equipment so the other person can come in and use it without having to worry about your funk.

keep-calm-and-re-rack-weights

Not Racking Your Weights

If you can do ten reps, you can do one more to rack your weights. Be considerate to others and to the gym employees who will have to pick up your mess.

spotting_wrong

Unsolicited Spotting and Hovering

It is NEVER ok to spot another person unless they asked for it. Don’t be that creepy person. Just mind your own business.

Waiting to use a machine? Don’t hover. You can always do something else while you wait. You can also politely ask to cut in while the other person is taking a rest. More often than not, they’ll let you.

creepygymguy

Locker Room is NOT Your Bathroom

That means be modest, don’t leave your stuff lying around everywhere, and don’t be gross.

NoFragrance

Smells are Bad

I really don’t know what could be worse than being hit by a wave of perfume or cologne while you are in the middle of a heavy set. It is disorienting, nauseating, and extremely annoying. Why would you want to wear a fragrance to the gym anyway? Who are you trying to impress? Remember, you are here to workout, not to strut your stuff!

However, perfume and cologne are not the only offensive odors. If you know you have bad BO, take a shower and put on some deodorant, if you are a smoker, please try to refrain from smoking before you come to the gym.

Finally, if you think that what you are doing could be annoying or impolite, it probably is.