I usually am always looking for ways to improve my fitness, however it was not easy during my internship. I was able to keep up my fitness fairly well, especially after all of the winter holidays were over, by getting work-outs in when I can and by watching my portion sizes, but by the time spring and summer were approaching, I finally got to the point where I really wanted to take it up a notch.
I’ve been a casual/recreational runner for about a year and half now, but I decided to improve my running skills as part of my new work-out. I googled a beginner’s training program for a 10k, and decided to act as though I actually had a race since there weren’t any races in my area that fit my schedule and budget. I combined the routine I found with some strength training and yoga, which proved to be highly effective. Not only did I go from being able to only run 2 miles to being able to run 6 miles, but I was really able to tone up and slim down in areas I usually have trouble with.
The combination of cardio, strength, and yoga/stretching is ideal for losing and maintaining weight. Strengthening your muscles is very important as you lose weight because when you lose pounds, it comes from both fat and muscle. If you tone your muscles as you lose it, you will prevent the muscle loss making it easier to keep the weight off. Plus you have the extra bonus of a sexy, tight body! The strength and stretching is also extremely beneficial in improving your running and preventing injuries such as runner’s knee. I choose to do yoga as my stretching because it is so effective in creating flexibility and improving your posture, making you appear even slimmer. Incorporating the 10k training schedule I feel really helped in slimming down for a couple reasons. 1) The speedwork that I did once a week included interval and hill training which is great for revving up your metabolism, and 2) it was much easier to not skip work-outs because you have your goal as a motivator and if you did skip one, the next work-out was more difficult. Not to mention that at one point, I was running over 20 miles a week- talk about calorie burn!
Below is a sample week from my 7 week work-out. I used Jillian Michaels’s 30-Day Shred for strength training because it also involves cardio to increase calorie burn, and I used The Firm Power Yoga because it’s short but effective.
Sunday- 25mins of strength training; run 3.5 miles
Monday- 30mins yoga; 6x 400meter repeats (jogging before, after, and in-between repeats)
Tuesday- 25mins strength training
Wednesday- 30mins yoga; run 3.5 miles
Thursday- 25mins strength training; run 2 miles
Friday- 30mins yoga; run 4 miles
After the 4th week, I changed it up a bit because the miles were getting longer, so it looked like this:
Sunday- Run 4.5 miles
Monday- 30mins yoga; 2x 1600meter repeats
Tuesday- 50mins strength training (levels 1 and 2 of Jillian Michaels)
Wednesday- 30mins yoga; run 4.5 miles
Thursday- 25 mins strength training; run 2 miles
Friday- Run 5 miles
Each week, the speedwork got more challenging, and the miles got longer. I had planned on doing a full 8-weeks, but after the 7th week, I felt that I was ready for a change, so I’m currently working on a new schedule. It will involve the same resources, but will be more suitable for my current daily routine.
Tips for creating your own work-out:
- Don’t overdo it: if you can’t run a full 2 miles without stopping at an easy pace, start with a 5k training schedule instead of a 10k
- Use all three components: make sure to include strength and stretching with your cardio
- Add variety: I could have done just 30-day Shred or Power Yoga because both have some degree of strength and stretching, but by doing both, I had variety which is more effective than doing just one work out plus you’re less likely to get bored
- Eat a balanced diet: by including both lean protein and healthy carbs in your diet, you’ll give yourself more energy to complete your workouts
- Stay hydrated!