exercise fitness

Run Much Lately?

Thursday, May 30, 2013 Sophia Sanchez

Hello Halfstackers.  As promised, today’s blog will provide some helpful hints on how to achieve that summer body we all long for as the warmer weather and vacation season approaches.  In case you missed last week’s blog, which talked about how to eat better, you can catch up here

Be mindful that I’m not providing you with the end all – be all – sure fire method for achieving a supreme level of fitness; but a guideline of tips and tools that you should begin to implement in your already existing fitness routine.  I am no expert in the field of fitness, but I do my best to seek out the best information I can for you guys! 

That being said, what is the number one thing that highly discourages us on a regular basis in terms of how we feel about ourselves?  Our weight!  That pesky number is what – more often than not – drives us to want to lose weight.  Take me for example.  I don’t consider myself overweight by any stretch of the imagination.  I work out pretty regularly and while there is definite room for improvement , I don’t hate myself when I look in the mirror.  But the second I step on that scale,  I’m suddenly flooded with feelings of sadness & guilt over the way I eat, how often I work out, and what can I change in my overall routine to make that number go down.   

My first piece of advice is to throw away the scale!  Out of sight – Out of mind!  Media and society has taught us that to be beautiful or attractive you have to fit within this mold of having a certain body type, wearing your hair a certain way, wearing a specific trend of clothing – “What I wouldn’t give to look like a Victoria Secret model.”  Let’s be real.  Look around you.  When you are out shopping, at a restaurant, or having a cocktail with friends, do the people you see in your everyday routines ever look like VS models?  Maybe one in about fifty, but not very often.  Feeling beautiful, attractive and sexy isn’t necessarily found in wearing a size zero and quite frankly, unless you are 15 years old, it’s likely not very healthy.  So – back to this scale thing.  The reason I say throw away the scale is because that number is rarely indicative of your true level of health.  There are many different factors that go in to determining what each person needs to work on individually to achieve the kind of body they want…  The number that your scale spits out at you everyday, should be the least of your worries.  In the simplest of terms, if you compare two people of the same height but one weighs 120 pounds and the second weighs 140 pounds, doesn’t mean that the person weighing in at 120 pounds is healthier, sexier or more attractive. 

So here is where things get weird.  I don’t know about you, but when I think of the best approach to achieve a lean, sexy body the first thing that comes to mind is “I’ll just start running.”  Because again, as the media has portrayed for years and years, cardio is the best way to lose weight.  And in the minds of A LOT of people, including myself – CARDIO = RUNNING.  For years and years I’ve been  spending my time at the gym running on a treadmill for 50-60 minutes and then calling it a day.  I still don’t have a six pack.  I still hate wearing tank tops because I’m unhappy with my arms.  I still wish my butt was a bit more firm.  The number on the scale may say I’m skinny but when I stand in front of the mirror after my daily shower, I still see all these problem areas that just aren’t changing.  The word cardio does not mean “run yourself into the ground.”  It means – to exert cardiovascular excitement to the heart.  In Laymans terms – make your heart beat faster with a purpose.  That being said, the best way to achieve that hot body you’ve always wanted is to put together a muscle building program that multitasks the muscular and cardiovascular systems making for an effective workout.  Huh? What does the mean?!  Think circuit training or crossfit where you are incorporating weight training with full body movements for a full body workout. 

And I hate to be the bearer of bad news, because I was just as devastated when I found out that I’m going about it all wrong.  Not to mention the wear and tear on the joints that comes from running alone.  Don’t get me wrong, running isn’t all bad.  But it’s the way you incorporate it into your fitness regimen that will reap the best results.  Here’s an easy way to look at it.  When you look at an image of a long distance runner as compared to a sprinter, who in your opinion looks healthier?  The point is that running isn’t bad but it’s most effective when incorporated as interval training.  Because – and here’s a fact for you to mull over – within the first 5-10 minutes of a long distance run (depending on your fitness level), you are burning the optimal amount of fat.  Short bouts of sprints maintain a high energy that is optimal in fat burning, all while having the same qualities of intense weight lifting, aiding in the building and strengthening of our muscles.   Another perfect example is when you are at the gym, where are the people that have the kind of body you want?  Those who spend their time running on a treadmill for an hour  or those who are weight training?  More often than not, it’s those people who are over by the weights. 

Long story short, there are many ways in which to achieve the kind of body you want – some more effective than others.  But my point in all of this is to bring awareness to one of the biggest misconceptions in the fitness industry and that is that running will solve all your fitness blunders!  Taking into account what we talked about last week, nutrition is also a key factor.  But if you are eating the right kinds of foods and working out in a way that will burn the most fat in the shortest amount of time, all while building muscle; you’ll have that sexy beach body in no time.

I leave you with one final thought – You burn an additional 50 calories per hour of doing nothing for every 1 pound of muscle gained!  So pick up those weights and get moving! 

Thank you to Dre Williams over at Moc Crossfit for providing a ton of valuable information on this topic, including the very effective images!  

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