Wednesday, March 14, 2012

My favorite workout

Last June I posted My best purchase in a long time which gave a detailed account of my new home gym.    Indeed it was a great addition to the home office and I feel even more strongly about it now than I did even in that original post.
Today I’m going to go into detail with my current favorite work-out.   Only requirement is a heart-rate monitor.   My treadmill comes with one but if you don’t have one then buy one — it’s a great little purchase.     There are three good contenders:  Garmin,  Polar, and Suunto.   All three are excellent  (at one point or another over the years I’ve tried them all).
This work-out is a combination of straight out cardio and HIIT.   If you think you’re too unfit to do it then read this great NY times piece on HIITs.

This is a 48 minute work-out (with few minute warm-up and cool-down after to put total around 54 minutes).
I do it on a treadmill but of course you can do it outside.  As said, all you need is a HR monitor/watch.
As you can see there are 24 bars meaning each bar is 2 minutes long.

First 12 bars (first 24 minutes)  jog/run/walk  so that your heart-rate is around 140-150.    That’s a nice longer type warm-up.   Now the fun starts:
Each long bar (hill) represents your cool-down.   You have 12 bars left meaning 24 minutes–  12 of these minutes will be hard runs, and the other 12 minutes will be cool-downs.
On the 13th bar (minutes 24-26) take the pace down (you’ve just jogged for 24 minutes) until your heart-rate goes under 130.   This could mean light jog or slow walk, whatever it takes to get your HR down.
On 14th bar (minutes 26-28) start running until you get your heart-rate up to 170.  What I usually do is run fast for the first minute to get to 160 and run faster in the second minute to get to 170.    On the next bar (15th bar, minute 28-30) you need to do whatever it takes to get your heart-rate under 130.    Decrease speed/incline until you can achieve that (for most people it will mean a walk).    Next bar means sprint again until HR 170 as goal and so on until you finish the program alternating each 2 minutes.
Some people might not be able to recover to below 130 on the recovery bars– for these people it might be best to change the time workout and take more time for recovery.   So for example 1 minute hard to get your heart-rate to 170 and then 3 minutes recovery so your heart-rate goes down to below 130.
Change it up, experiment around, but do it (three times a week would be great)– it’s an awesome work-out that’s not boring and great for the most important muscle of all, your heart.