According to the latest research we have been told to do everything from long slow cardio in the fat burning zone (like what it says on treadmills), kill it with HIIT workouts, Tabata sprints, strength train with light weights like Madonna and Gweneth, Strength train with heavy weights like Crossfit. We have been yanked and pulled in a million directions only to feel like “what the heck am I supposed to do?”
If you want to be: Strong, Heart Healthy, Flexible, and Toned than you need to think about your weekly routine in a new way.
We need to:
The way you have been going about your routine is probably the same as it has been for while. Am I right?
The methodology I’m about to share will give you an amazing body inside and out. It will build in rest periods to allow recovery, it will challenge you to intense sessions that will improve your muscle definition and your endurance, it will require planning, hard work, and focus. But you are going to look and feel awesome!
So many of us do the same routes, the same exercises, the same paces over and over again. We just go all out effort hard at every workout and then we have those days where we feel like a failure because we just couldn’t go hard when we wanted to. We find ourselves too tired and exhausted to really give a good effort.
Then we wonder why our bodies aren’t changing! LIGHT BULB!
I would like to introduce to you the Mix Training Concept of:
Hard Heavy Long & Light.
Hitting your fitness from all four angels.
My theory is that based on all of this we need to train our body in various modes in order to achieve the results we want without killing ourselves in the process.
This is How you do it:
Every week or two weeks you should have workouts that fit into the following categories: How many you do of each will depend on what you are training for, your fitness level, equipment or season and what you like…
HARD: HIIT, Sprints, Tabata, Interval Training
We need to work our fast twitch muscle fibers with some form of interval/sprint training 2-4 times a month.
This means a short 15-30 minute workout in which there is an interval that is 20 seconds – 3 minutes long at an effort that you can only maintain for the designated time. Then you recover for equal time or even more before you repeat. Because this is so intense it should not be done more than twice a week and not on consecutive days. Always do a minimum of 5 minutes warm up before your Hard days.
HEAVY: Strength Train with a weight heavy enough to increase or maintain muscle mass.
That means that at least for a couple of your major exercises you are truly challenging yourself until the point where you can no longer lift. This is tough! But it will elicit the tone, definition, and metabolism effects that you want.
LONG: Long Slow, Fat Burning, Enjoyable Cardio lasting an hour or more.
We need to hit our slow twitch muscle fibers, decrease our cortisol levels, increase blood flow to muscles, enjoy friends and nature, and just RELAX. These days in our training may not feel like you are doing much. However, they are crucial to your overall fitness and your ability to burn fat as fuel. To find this fat burning heart zone is easy.
Method 1: You should be able to easily have a conversation with the person you are out with.
Method 2: Warm up on a stationary bike or treadmill for 5 minutes at an easy pace. Then find a pace that feels like a 7-8 intensity level (out of 10). It should be something you can maintain for 20 minutes but it also feels tough. Take your heart rate at various times and then average it out. Take this average and subtract 20 beats. Then use a range. So if my high average was 170 then my Long workout heart rate should be about 147-153.
LIGHT: Strength Train with a weight appropriate for the size of a muscle and appropriate for your current energy level.
Some days we just need to focus on an easy workout or maintenance. It’s important to listen to your body and go light (or sometimes not at all) on days that you have not had enough sleep, or are super stressed, or undernourished. By going easy on this day you’ll come back so much stronger on your next Heavy or Hard day. Trust me.
TAKE A DAY OFF!
On this day off you can still Foam roll, stretch, or play fetch with your dog. You could get a massage, take a hot bath, float in the lake. Think about this day as a day to do something for your body but just not a workout.
Note: Foam rolling should be done a few times a week and the more I read about foam rolling the more important I feel this aspect of your fitness and long term health of your body is. So don’t skip this.
Incorporate into a routine. I do it at night while watching a show or listening to music. But you could do it before your workout, or after, or every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday afternoon. Whatever works for you!
Be sure to ask if you have any questions either in the comments below or at your next session.
Example of my calendar: