Beat The Freshmen 15

College is one of the most exciting times of your life.  The college town atmosphere in Gainesville and the ever present Gator spirit are highly contagious.  Unfortunately some unwanted habits can also creep up on us. 

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Sprint or Jog?

What should you be doing? Honestly both.  They both have their benefits and place in your training.  Let’s take a look at why.

They both are parts of different energy systems in your body and thus have different impacts on the body.  Let’s start with the jogging or yogging if you are as excited for the new Anchorman as me.

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Jogging is considered to be a moderate to low intensity form of cardio.  You should be able to talk a little at a faster pace and a lot at a slower pace.  For a solid calorie burn you need to jog for 20-30 minutes depending on your pace without stopping.  During the jog you will mostly be burning calories from fat, which may sound appealing but wait till you hear about the sprint.

Sprinting, it sounds daunting and probably reminds you of not so fond high school gym class.  We’re past that now, and the only person you’re racing against is yourself from the week before, the perfect opponent.  Sprinting requires an all out effort of speed and power for either a set time or better yet distance.  Sprinting torches calories, flat out.  Although it does burn less calories from fat and more from stored carbohydrates in muscles (glycogen), the overall calorie burn of a 15-20 minute session outweighs the jog every time.  Raising your heart rate to a maximum elevation and letting it come back down is much tougher on your body then keeping it at a moderately high level.  This is because during sprints your body actually consumes more oxygen than it can take in.  This means that you owe something, oxygen.  Luckily unlike other debt, an oxygen debt is a great thing to have.  Your body will have to take in extra oxygen after working out to make up for it thus helping you burn extra calories, while you plop on the couch after your sprints.  This little miracle of couch burning calories is called EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption).

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You might be thinking that now you have to run only sprints, why wouldn’t you? It takes less time, and burns more calories.  Something you can’t overlook is recovery.  Sprints or other High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) activities take a toll on the body.  Just like you wouldn’t do bicep curls every day you wouldn’t work the same energy system every day doing sprints.  The solution is a healthy mix of jogging and sprinting.  This will help your recovery, give you a balanced routine, and keep you motivated.

But you say you hate running?  Well you don’t have to sprint or jog there are many alternatives to both with similar effects.

Alternatives to jogging:

  • Biking
  • Group Fitness Classes
  • Moderate Intensity Exercise Circuits
  • Elliptical (If you must, just kidding I do it all the time, just crank up the resistance)

Alternatives to sprinting:

  • Kettlebell swings for 15-30 seconds
  • 200m Row
  • 15-30 seconds squat jumps or burpees
  • 15-30 seconds sprint on a bike

Get off the couch try one of these HIIT activities plop back on it and feel the calorie burn!

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Group Fitness Instructors Learn and Teach

Broccoli Syndrome

As kids many people hate broccoli, they just hate it and their parents forced them to eat it. Years later when they recover from these traumatic force feedings they find that broccoli may not be the worst thing ever. The same can be said for exercise. I’ll admit it, I hated burpees. They felt like torture and although I knew they were a great exercise I never did them nor forced anyone to. Finally I decided that I could live with 40 total seconds of them in class to switch things up. After all there was the chance that some people enjoyed them. After that day I put in some type of burpee in every intervals class. It felt good to jack my heart rate up, move as fast as I could, and not have to worry about launching a body bar across the room like a spear from 300. You might not enjoy an exercise at first but everything deserves a second chance whether it’s broccoli or burpees.

Power of the Group

People at all levels of working out from Pro’s to Joes eventually find themselves working out by themselves. I enjoy working out by myself at times, the mental focus is high and you do exactly what you want. On the other hand a partner can be motivating to step up the intensity and making sure you don’t get crushed. The confidence of having a spotter can make all the difference on intense lifts like squats. The effects of training with a partner are multiplied in the group fitness class. As an instructor I feel obligated to use the heavier weights and go faster and harder than everyone else while yelling out some motivational cues. As a participant there is always someone in the class that is going to either go faster or be nipping at your heels like a wild puma. If you stray from group fitness I highly encourage you to give a shot and you might just find yourself pushing it to new limits and upping your motivation for your other workouts.

Fun

Workouts can be intense aaand fun at the same time? My definition of a fun workout usually means picking some random exercises that I like and combining them together for an overall tough workout, working the core, energy systems, and just random little things I would like to improve. I call them fun because they are random and do not necessarily fit into my overall goals. Group fitness has shown me that this is more than okay that it’s Grrrreat!!!. Switching it up and doing more ‘fun’ workouts is inspiring. You remember the pure joy of working out. You get to move your body in all kinds of crazy patterns and show yourself that there are benefits from workouts that do not match up exactly with your goals. Your body and mind come back more refreshed than ever from the break in monotony and you still got a solid workout. The moral is, whatever your goal may be throw your training a curve ball and let yourself lose the seriousness in working out a bit.

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