Monday, July 9, 2012

How I started... and a quick workout and recipe

The idea of running a mile seemed impossible to me less than a year ago. In middle school P.E. class, I would huff and puff, desperately trying to meet the 11 minute mile "suggested time," and always complete it in a miserable 14 or 15 minutes. I blamed it on the exercise-induced asthma a doctor had said I might have (ignoring the fact that he had gone on to say I was probably just out of shape). I had gotten a black belt in TaeKwonDo when I was 12, but I abandoned martial arts at 13. 

After losing and gaining weight multiple times in college, I had stayed at what I refer to as my "happy weight" for two years when I gained back quite a bit during my first year of law school and summer internship. Finally I realized I was sick of it -- I hated being unhappy with how clothes fit me, mostly, but I also realized that at 23, there was no way I should be unhappy about my body.

In August 2011 I started working with Amanda, my personal trainer. I've continued to meet with her every other week and I cannot say enough about how amazing she is. Working with Amanda has been the best investment I've ever made in my health, and I will have SO much more to write about her in the future.

The incredible thing about getting fitter and healthier is the changes you feel. As I started doing more strength training and slowly working up to running more than 1-2 miles at a time, I saw differences in my energy level, the food I enjoyed, and even my happiness. I don't feel tired and sluggish throughout the day anymore. I don't eat meat other than fish because it doesn't make me feel good. The changes have been pretty incredible in under a year. 

I've also become a huge nerd who loves reading about fitness, seeking out cool new exercise classes to supplement my own work outs and runs, cooking healthy recipes, and trying new restaurants that specialize in vegan or vegetarian food.

I'm writing this while drinking a really tasty protein shake (the most recent addition to my healthy and quick meal rotation -- recipe below!) after doing a short interval run that my trainer suggested I throw in to boost my cardio work.

Interval Run - 30 Minutes
Note -- I am 5'9" and have long legs, so adjust the speed so that, roughly, the "4 mph" speed makes you breathe hard but you could have a conversation, the "6 mph" speed is a comfortable jog, the "7mph" speed is a run, and the "8 mph" speed is a full out sprint where you can't even mouth the words to the song you're listening to.

What to do

power walking @ 4.0 mph, 0 incline

power walking @ 4.2 mph, 4 incline

power walking @ 4.2 mph, 5 incline
power walking @ 4.2 mph, 6 incline
8:01-10:30 jogging @ 6 mph, 0 incline

10:31-11:00 sprinting @ 8 mph, 0 incline
11:01-11:30 jogging @ 6 mph, 0 incline
repeat jogging and sprinting in 30 second intervals

power walking @ 4 mph, 2 incline
23:01-24:00 running @ 7 mph, 1 incline
24:01-25:00 running @ 7 mph, 2 incline

running @ 7 mph, 3 incline

running @ 7 mph, 4 incline

power walking @ 4 mph, 0 incline

slow walk to lower heart rate

This seems way more detailed than it is. Basically, power walk for the first 10 minutes while raising the incline consistently throughout. Then, jog for 2 minutes to get comfortable before going into 10 minutes of 30 second intervals, alternating between jogging and sprinting. In the last 10 minutes, you lower your heart rate with a power walk for 3 minutes, then run at increasingly difficult inclines for 4 minutes, before you bring down your heart rate for the final 3 minutes. And, of course, stretch after!

Protein Shake
1 scoop protein powder
1 c. Blue Diamond Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
1/2 c. water
1 banana, broken into pieces
Sprinkle of hemp hearts
Shake of cinnamon
Squeeze of Agave Syrup

Throw it all in a blender and give it a whirl. A great post-gym mini-meal.

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