The Benefits of Strength Training and How to Improve Your Metabolism

 

When most of us think of getting fit, the first thing we think of is that we will be losing weight and burning body fat. But in fact, unless you are obese, these may be the last things you need to think about. Sure, losing that last 5 kilos is always a bonus and generally the hardest weight to shift, and as every woman (and man) knows we always feel a little better when we are less rounded or ‘bloated’. But do we think about what else we gain when we embark on a new training regime or lift those weights to fatigue in class? We should!

Muscular strength and endurance, along with cardiovascular and aerobic improvement, body composition (percentage of body fat to muscle) and metabolic changes should be high on your list of goals to achieve through training. Strength training is essential to achieve the above.

This article is about the importance of being involved in Resistance/Strength Training, especially for women, and not essentially about weight loss.

Many women are literally afraid to lift weights, but the National Strength and Conditioning Association provides these stand points on Training for Women, and if followed, will help you stay healthy, strong and slim for your lifetime. Of course most of these points relate to men too, so you blokes out there – read on!

  1. Proper strength and conditioning exercise programs  may increase athletic performance, improve physiological function (day to day activities) and reduce the risk of injury as we age and are beneficial to both males and females.
  2. Females can hypertrophy (increase muscle size) through resistance training, relatively the same as men, but not absolutely the same. Females have the same muscle fibre types as men, but they are smaller in their cross-sectional area, hence their smaller size gains.
  3. Females will not ‘bulk up’ like a male due to their limited levels of testosterone. It is simply not possible to look like a female version of Arnold Schwarzenegger by participation in a weight  training program. Unless of course you specifically want that result,  which is a whole other topic.
  4. Resistance Training that utilises multi-joint (eg legs, back and chest) and structural exercises (eg a squat and then shoulder press) is recommended to induce sufficient stresses on the skeletal system and to enhance calcium storage in the bone to ward off osteoarthritis and increase or maintain bone density.
  5. Bone mineral density begins to decrease between  30-40 years of age. Females lose approx. 8% and males 3% of their skeletal  mass every decade and are more susceptible to bone density loss the 3-4 years prior to menopause. As we are never really sure when menopause will hit, it pays to start early and keep going! People who participate in activities that are more non-weight bearing, such as swimming, tend not to have as great a bone density as those who do more weight-bearing exercise. Programs that target the major muscles and joints  of the body have a potentially greater impact on maintaining and restoring bone density, than single discipline exercise activities such as walking.
  6. People who have participated in exercise activities over their lifespan, particularly in the first 30 years of life, are in the best position for making the greatest gains in bone density, than those who discover exercise later in life. However, whilst gains can be  made, there is every chance that bone density will return back to pre-exercise levels if the program ceases. More reason to keep moving!
  7. Resistance Training has demonstrated favourable  changes in body composition with minimal changes in body weight. In other words, body fat loss and an increase in lean muscle mass. The more lean  muscle you have, the better your metabolism.
  8. The more lean muscle mass you build through resistance training, the higher the ‘resting energy expenditure’ (REE). Most of the calories you burn during the day is not when you exercise, but when you rest. Your      heart, lungs, digestive system and most importantly, your brain, work 24/7 and require a constant energy supply. As a result, about 70% of your metabolic demands come from REE. If you are moderately active, you burn an additional 20% of calories during ‘activity energy expenditure’ (AEE). The last 10% comes from simple digestion and breakdown of food and metabolism  otherwise known as ‘diet induced thermogenesis’ (DIT).
  9. Obviously if you want to lose weight and keep it  off and start burning more calories while you rest, you have to exercise. Exercise burns extra calories and helps shift unhealthy stubborn fat, and helps you to preserve and build lean muscles that will keep your metabolism high. Muscle tissue is the powerhouse of resting metabolic rate.
  10. Eating and Energy – if you have enough energy through all food groups, and complex carbohydrates, you can exercise at a higher intensity for longer. Which in turn will burn up more  calories just through exercise (past that 20%) and you will boost your metabolism, improve your digestion, and have positive changes on your hormones. So whilst dieting can make you lose weight in the short term,  the best way to maintain weight is through sensible eating and exercising, and you will ward off the inevitable loss of lean muscle tissue that is related to aging. If you cease to exercise you will see drastic drop in your endurance, strength, power and ultimately additional muscle mass. All of this reflects on your REE – the calories you burn at rest and results in a slower metabolism.

But wait…there’s more………

  • Strength training is essential for injury prevention and increased performance. Through strength work you can tend to the weaker supportive muscles that can get neglected such as the gluteus medius, rotator cuff, hip stabilisers, abdominal and lower back region.
  • Strength doesn’t necessarily have to equate to muscle mass and huge bulging biceps – it can simply refer to your increased ability to recruit extra muscle fibres in times of need, such as when you are running up a steep hill.
  • Strength also ensures your joints, ligaments, soft tissue and bones are strong and sturdy enough to withstand repetitive pounding, in running and most sports.
  • Power and Speed also comes from Strength Training. Plyometrics and explosive exercises such as box jumps, squat jumps, lunge jumps etc result in a greater muscle fibre recruitment, which in turn gives you more muscle fibres available for the explosive exercise you are performing. Eg a sprint finish up a hill!

 

Summary

In a nut shell, don’t always rely on cardio exercises such as running to improve your body and performance. If want to change your body, you will have to change your lifestyle and approach to training. Move more and get your heart rate up, and eat better quality food, but make sure you include resistance training in your fitness regime at least twice a week. You should then reduce your body fat, increase your lean muscle mass, lose centimetres, increase your metabolism, prevent injury and improve your performance results.

 

 

Simone’s Kale & Quinoa Tabouli Salad

 INGREDIENTS

1 cup quinoa (try Woolies Macro brand tri-colour if available)

2 cups chicken stock

1 teaspoon Moroccan Seasoning

Half a bunch of fresh kale leaves, stems removed and chopped coarsely.

Half a large red capsicum chopped

3 shallots sliced thinly

¼ cup dried cranberries

1 large cucumber, halved, deseeded , and finely chopped

Half a punnet of cherry tomatoes halved

Half a bunch of fresh basil roughly chopped

Half a cup of chopped walnuts, toasted *

3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

Zest of one lemon

Juice of one lemon

Salt & Pepper to season

*TIP Place walnuts in microwave on kitchen paper and cook for approx 1 min – cook all nuts this way rather than cooking in oil in a frypan

 

METHOD

Place quinoa in stock, add Moroccan season and cook according to instructions until light and fluffy. Set aside with lid on saucepan so that any remaining water is absorbed.

Place oil, lemon and zest, and rest of ingredients in a bowl and toss to combine.

Add cooked quinoa, toss and serve warm or cold.

Great as a meal or a side dish. Add tuna for extra protein as a complete meal.

 

 

SOOOOOO NUTRITIOUS  AND YUMMY – ONE OF MY BEST YET!!

 

 

 

Mother’s Day Classic 2014

 

What a wonderful way to spend Mother’s Day!

This was the 6th year in a row that Energy Fitness has participated in the MDC, and each year it get’s bigger and better. Energy Fitness had two buses of participants from the Sutherland Shire with many other EF’er’s scattered over the other 6 buses,  so a great turnout from all of you. Bay Babes had a whopping 720 members on the day, and I think they need to rename the event the Bay Babes Classic! 🙂

Being a part of the amazing Bay Babes is a truly special experience, as all the Gymea Bay mums and their families get together to celebrate the day, their health and to raise money for a wonderful cause, Breast Cancer Research. And once again, the Gymea Bay Babes took out the award for the Biggest Community Group! Well done to the organiser Chris Callinan and her committee of volunteers.

Amongst us there were survivors, carers and of course those battling the illness right now, so it speaks volumes about how important this event is.

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The event consisted of 4km & 8km Walks, and 4km & 8km Runs. There were some that chose to walk with their families and others that took the event more seriously, and for those that ran the race in earnest, there were some fabulous results and massive improvements in times over last year.

Special mention goes to Natalie O’Brien and Linda Knowles of Gymea Bay that had great results in the 8km Run, with Natalie coming 2nd in her age (30-39) and 8th overall, and Linda coming 10th in her age (50-59) and a huge PB. She wasn’t the only one with a PB and there are too many to mention here, but I have to say as a trainer I am so proud of all of those that ran, as they all had a go and did their absolute best on the day. And that is all that matters!

I hope to see you all again next year and would love to see even more new faces at the event!

 

 

Calories in V’s Calories Out – Not So Simple…………

Weight loss is hard, yes? There wouldn’t be too many people out there that would disagree with me. Nearly all of us watch our weight, if not all of the time, at least at somestage in our life – and we should. It is part of living an healthy active life, and being mindful of our consumption (as overconsumption is so easy to do) and to be aware of what we eat, when we eat, and why we are eating.

I know I have mentioned to you all that watching your weight is a simple equation on calories in V’s Calories out, but I have also mentioned to you that everyone is different and everyone metabolises foods differently, due to your lean muscle mass composition, genetics, type of exercise you do, your hormones, stress levels just to name a few. Also, you all have different fitness levels that affect your ability to burn calories. You also know that I am a big believer of high intensity interval training, and that this is more beneficial than say, walking, for fat loss and increased fitness.

So, that said, here is an article written by the very clever Andy DuBois that may better explain why some of you are finding it easier than others to lose the weight. It also explains why I am so focused on you eating not a low calorie diet, but a HEALTHY diet. And why I also bang on about the obvious importance of exercising regularly, and at the right intensity for your desired outcome.

I have highlighted a few good points that I want to focus on and hopefully this will explain more about the differences in food (and why I hate white stuff!). It also mentions that there are inaccuracies with tools of measurement such as Heart Monitors and calories counters etc. While this is true, without the use of these tools many of us would have absolutely no idea of the calories in foods and how many calories you burn during exercise, so these tools are still invaluable even if they cannot be measured exactly. They allow you to take an element of control over your diet, but more importantly, your exercise and eating behaviour.

Happy Reading!

Simone

 

Fat loss is easy, all you have to do is eat fewer calories than you burn, or so many people would have you believe. If you aren’t losing weight then you are either eating too much or not exercising enough. Unfortunately the human body is a little bit more complicated than that and the calories in vs calories out model of fat loss has some serious flaws.   It’s all about balance yeah?

 

1. Food isn’t just calories.

One assumption calories in v’s calories out makes is that the all the food we eat is converted into calories. This assumes that whether you consume fat , protein or carbohydrate (macro-nutrients) it is all going to be used for energy and no other purpose. This is an incorrect assumption. Protein is used for muscle repair. It is also found in our hair , nails , skin and brain and it can be converted into a number of hormones essential for the body to function. Fat is used for insulation , it is used in cell membranes , it makes up part of the fatty sheath that surrounds nerve fibres, it helps with the absorption of some vitamins and is a key ingredient in hormones and other chemical substances that are vital for the body to function. Carbohydrates are almost solely used for energy. So depending on what you eat a certain amount of the macronutrients will be used for maintaining the cells in our body. A meal high in protein and fat will have a percentage of its potential calories used as building blocks for the body whereas a meal high in carbohydrates will be used solely for energy.

 

2. The numbers don’t add up.

According to the calories in v’s out argument if I ate 100 fewer calories per day for a whole year I would lose 36500 calories or approx 4 kilos of fat. That sounds great you may think. What if I then kept this up for 10 years. I would then have lost a total of 40 kilos of fat. I currently weigh 67 kilos so I would then weigh 37 kilos! Now 100 calories is approx 1 slice of bread . So I wouldn’t exactly be starving myself.   The good stuff There have been a number of studies that have shown that people eating the same amount of excess calories put on vastly different amounts of weight. If the calories in v’s calories out theory is correct then the amount of weight gain should be very predictable, instead it ranges enormously. Studies have also shown that it is possible to gain weight when eating fewer calories than your body supposedly needs to maintain weight.

 

3. It takes energy to store energy.

Energy is required to convert food into a form of energy that can be stored by the body. The amount of energy required depends on whether it is carbohydrate, protein and fat and which scientific paper you read! The macro nutrient composition of your meal will affect how many calories are burned in converting food into a storable energy source.

 

4. Different macro nutrients affect our bodies differently.

Hormones such as insulin and glucagon affect our fat storage or fat usage systems. Other hormones like leptin and ghrelin affect our feeling of hunger and satiety and all of these hormones are influenced by what we eat. The primary influence is not the amount of calories that we eat but the type of food we eat. If the calories in vs calories model out is correct then it shouldn’t matter if we obtain all of our calories from pure sugar or from lentils. If we eat fewer calories, then we should lose fat. But sugar has a vastly different hormonal effect on the body than lentils.

 

5. Inaccuracies measuring calories.

If the low-calorie theory is correct, then it is important to figure out how many calories we need to eat and how many we are burning per day. After all, 100 calories extra and you will put on 4 kilograms in a year! It is almost impossible to measure either the amount of calories you eat or the amount of calories you burn to anywhere near that degree of accuracy. Any watch or machine that tells you how many calories you burn is making some pretty big assumptions. The amount of fat and muscle you have will affect your calorie usage, your genetics will also affect it, as will the amount of sleep you had, the temperature, the time of day, your stress levels and numerous other factors. There are numerous calorie counters that will tell you how many calories are in a certain foods but the level of accuracy of these is very questionable. How many calories in an apple for example , a quick search on the net shows anything from 70-120 for the same size and type of apple. If you are measuring everything you eat, and using a state of the art watch to measure your calories burned you are still only going to have an estimate that is maybe several hundred calories out. Clearly this isn’t a good way to go about losing fat.

 

6. All exercise is not the same

The more calories we burn during exercise the better. Right? Well what about exercise that doesn’t burn as many calories during exercise but raises your metabolism after your workout? What about the hormonal response to exercise? Different exercise affects our hormones in different ways and our hormones affect fat storage , fat usage , muscle growth and numerous other bodily functions. High intensity cardio or weight training involving full body exercises will elicit a greater hormonal response than going for a walk. But if calories out is all that matters then whether we walk for 60 minutes or do weight training for 20 minutes as long as we burn the same amount of calories it shouldn’t make a difference. In the real world, weight training or high intensity interval training will have a far greater fat loss benefit than walking (comparing workouts burning the same amount of calories)

Why do some people lose weight when they count calories? The primary reason some people are successful is that when people calorie count they choose healthier foods as they are often lower in calories. It isn’t the fewer calories that promotes the weight loss it’s the healthier food choices.

So if counting calories doesn’t work what should you do? Whilst there is a raging argument going on between low carb, high carb, Atkins, Paleo, Dukan, South Beach or any of hundreds of other diets, I prefer to keep it simple. Eat a diet high in vegetables, a moderate amount of fruit, legumes, protein and good sources of fat, low in grains and cut out the processed stuff (it’s not really food).

Written by Andy DuBois, Mile 27

 

Love it, love it, love it! I hope you got something out of this. So, next time you head for that burger, fries, extra couple of slices of white bread or sweet biscuit, think of the response your body is going to have after digesting it.

 

 

Cumin Spiced Chicken Skewers With Orange & Lentil Salad

INGREDIENTS – Serves 6

1 tablespoon ground Cumin

2 garlic cloves crushed

2 teaspoon olive oil

2 oranges, find finely grated, segmented

1 kg chicken thigh fillets, excess fat removed, cut into 3c, pieces

2 x 400g cans brown lentils, drained

½ cup firmly packed fresh continental parsley

1 bunch fresh chives

1 small red onion, halved, thinly sliced

2 Lebanese cucumbers, trimmed, halved lengthways, thinly sliced

2 large sticks celery, finely sliced

½ head fresh broccoli chopped into small pieces

Cumin-spiced plain low-fat yoghurt, to serve

 

METHOD

  • Combine cumin, garlic, oil and orange rind in a class or ceramic bowl. Add chicken and season to taste with salt & pepper. Thread 4 pieces or chicken onto each skewer.
  • Preheat grill on medium-high. Line baking tray with foil. Place skewers on prepared tray and cook under grill for 3-4 minutes each side or until thoroughly cooked through
  • Combine orange segments, lentils, parsley, chives, onion, celery and cucumber in a bowl. Season to taste with salt & pepper. Divide among serving plates. Serve hot with cumin spiced yoghurt.

 

Per Serve

325cals

38g protein

10g fat

20g carb

6g dietary fibre

 

Calories in Chocolate – Is it worth having that pig out?

So, Easter is around the corner and the stores are full of temping little morsels that you just can’t resist buying. Some for the kids, some for you?

Next weekend when the house is full of chocolate, how will you cope? Do you have the willpower to resist hooking in to the Bunny’s ears every hour? Or peeling one more piece of foil wrap off a ‘tiny weeny egg’ – after all – how bad can they be? Might as well have another one!

You have trained hard all year and have realised your New Year’s Resolutions, only to be confronted with the friggin’ Easter Bunny and all his wicked ways, depositing his loot in all the wrong places so they can’t be avoided (the fridge) and all just in time to settle into Winter and hibernate. Right? Lucky that you can pull on some baggy warm clothes and hide those Cream Eggs! But it doesn’t have to be this way!

With that in mind, I thought I’d arm you with some knowledge that will help you turn away from temptation, and if you can’t, let you know how much damage you can do over a few days, and more importantly how hard you have to work to get rid of it all. Once it’s past your lips, it generally lands on your hips!

So, exactly how many calories are in those tiny eggs hey? Let’s see.

 

Cadbury

Mini Eggs    36cals each

Deluxe Bunny 100g (purple)  800 cals

Creme Egg    172 cals

Cherry Ripe Mini   84 cals

Cherry Ripe standard bar  241 cals

Crunchie Mini    87 cals

Crunchie standard bar   243 cals

Flake Mini    75 cals

Flake standard bar   161 cals

 

Lindt

Lindt Gold Milk Bunny w/ Red Ribbon

200g large 1086 cals

100g small 543 cals

10g mini  53 cals

Gold Bunny Gift Box w/ 3 carrots 716 cals

Mini Eggs    97 cals

Lindt Balls (red)   64 cals

 

Red Tulip

Mini egg caramel   48 cals

Maltezer Mini Egg    34 cals

 

Now, how long to work it off??

This is just an average and will vary due to body composition and fitness levels, but it is a good guide on how much exercise is needed to burn off Easter calories. Remember that if you are lighter you burn less calories, and heavier you will burn more. Use the weight in kilos below to gauge an idea.

 

EXERCISE                                                 65KILOS             85 KILOS

30min Jog at 6.5km/hr                               195                        255

80min Soccer Match                                    607                       793

60min Brisk Walk                                         345                       451

Swimming 30 mins                                       189                        247

Circuit Training Vigorous 75min               650                        850

Mountain Bike Riding 90mins                   829                      1024

 

For less than a minute of pleasure on your tongue, you will need to perform at least 30mins of exercise to burn it off.

 

So by all means, enjoy an Easter treat, but be aware of what it will take to work it off. Think twice before going back for seconds!

 

Happy Easter!

 

 

 

 

 

 

BeachFit Wind Up April 2014

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Congratulations to all of the guys and girls that have completed another 10 week round of BeachFit. You have been a fantastic group to work with and I have thoroughly enjoyed watching you all go from strength to strength. This has undoubtedly been one of the toughest programs I have set, and you have all passed with flying colours!

This week I ran their Time Trial for the last time (we do one at the start and one at the end) and then compared them with their trials 10 weeks ago. I am very pleased to report that there have been significant improvements all round.

Weigh-in was Monday night, and again, there have been some great results, with everyone registering body fat loss when compared to the beginning of the 10 week program. Proof that High Intensity Training works! It has been a tough program, but well worth the effort when you see these results.

This program has also had the highest rate of 100% attendance out of all of my previous programs – although obviously I would prefer 100% attendance, 100% of the time, from 100% of people! It is a big commitment to say you will get out of bed before 5am two days a week, but that is what you do when you sign up – you commit to making a change – so only you can get those changes happening, and the first step is obviously to get your butt out of bed! So well done to the following people that toughed out every single sessions with no excuses!

Kathryn Mayger – 100% both days

Sarah Dixon – 100% both days

Nadine Coady – 100% both days

Ian Linton – 100% both days

Rich Williams – 100% one day

Liz Williams – 100% one day

Jeanette Goodwin – 100% one day

Donna Snudden – 100% one day plus many casuals

Matt O’Brien – casual participant due to work travel but almost completed all sessions.

 

I hope you all enjoy your well earned rest now, and then decide what your next challenge is! Don’t let all this hard work go to waste! I hope to see you at Gymea Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays as you continue this healthy lifestyle journey! Find a new goal and then go out and chase it!

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Thanks for being a part of BeachFit once again, I look forward to seeing you all at the next program when it starts in August/September.

 

Simone

 

 

Can I Eat Carbs at Night??

As the old saying goes, “Breakfast for a King, Lunch for a Prince and Dinner for a Pauper”.

But should you really eat less at night? Here are some facts and tips along with some practical advice.

Can I eat Carbohydrates after 6pm?

The simple answer is yes you can, just make sure you don’t overeat. It is the over consumption or food late in the day which is the likely cause of weight gain related to night time eating.

There is not much conclusive metabolic evidence that carbs or any foods eaten at night are more likely to be stored as body fat. Metabolism drops when you are sleeping, but that simply lowers your daily energy expenditure. It is your total 24 hour energy balance (energy in versus energy out) that really matters for weight gain or loss. There are studies that suggest eating 6 small meals a day as opposed to 3 square meals are better for fat loss, however there appears to be no difference in success between the two ways of eating, as long as the total energy intake remains the same. In saying that, the answer to the question of is it better to eat small frequent meals throughout the day as opposed to 3 meals per day is up in the air – ultimately it depends on how much energy (calories) are consumed in total, as opposed to how often you eat.

Eat Regularly

A study suggests that keeping the meal pattern constant does have metabolic advantages. Researchers compared a regular meal pattern (6 meals per day) versus a ‘chaotic’ meal pattern (ie, all over the place/skipping meals etc) of anywhere between 3-9 occasions on different days for two weeks. The regular eating pattern was associated with a greater thermic effect of food (diet-induced thermogenesis – I have mentioned this before), which is the energy cost of digestion and absorption – yes, eating burns calories! There was also a lower energy intake, a lower fasting total and LDL (‘bad”) cholesterol with regular eating, as well as a slightly lower postprandial (after meal) insulin concentration with the regular pattern. According to the study, all these factors suggests that choosing a pattern and sticking to it, rather than skipping meals will assist with fat loss.

Personally, I think that the habit of eating regularly prevents you from overeating at night and gorging on easy snack and junk food in the late afternoon when you are starving because you have missed meals throughout the day. Eating regularly and choosing healthy smaller meals will sustain you for longer, reducing the desire to snack on junk food and high GI carb loaded food, which is nutritionally inferior food. Lets face it, we have all needed a cuppa in the afternoon after a hectic day as a pick me up so that we can survive the night shift, but if you tend to grab a bikky or something sweet to go with it for a quick sugar fix, you are taking in unnecessary high GI, sugary and fatty carbs, which is what you need to avoid if you are watching your weight. Reaching for these foods as a ‘pick me up’ is because our blood sugar has dropped due to skipped meal or low quality foods that leave us feeling tired and lethargic. If instead, we had a decent breakfast, a healthy morning tea, a substantial nutrient rich lunch and a light low carb high, protein afternoon tea containing good fats and lean proteins, we would survive until dinner time and be able to sit down to a light meal and still feel satisfied.

Examples of smaller meals are fresh fruit and nuts with a piece of low fat cheese or cottage cheese, yoghurt and low fat muesli, crackers with chicken, avocado and tomato, tuna and salad, an egg lettuce and tomato sandwich on multigrain bread. Always include lean protein to help with satiety, low GI carbs, lots of greens and good fats (avocado, raw almonds, etc) as well as fruits in your diet to keep up with all food groups and nutrients. Remember my rule to always eat RAINBOWS! Lots of fresh variety and make it colourful! Colours mean vitamins!

By eating this way your body is also getting good fuel to keep you going and feeding your brain so you don’t get tired. Your brain requires carbs to function and stay alert, just choose them wisely and avoid high GI and refined processed foods, such as white sugar, bread rice etc. GO FOR BROWN – IT WON’T LET YOU DOWN!

Plan!

Another reason eating carbs at night can make you gain weight is because you eat too much of them! If you don’t eat enough during the day you risk greater hunger at night. If you skip breakfast, are too busy for lunch, or forget to snack you leave yourself open to overeating in the evening. If you plan your food for the day, and take the time out to eat regularly, you can satisfy your fuel needs and avoid overfilling late in the day.

Lastly, another reason we can overeat is that we are dehydrated. Often we think we are hungry when our body is actually telling us we are thirsty. Before you snack on crap, try having a big glass of water first. If in 15mins you are actually getting true tummy grumbles that are feeling of hunger, then have something to eat. Try to always consume 1.5-3ltres of water per day to avoid dehydration and unnecessary ‘fake’ feelings of hunger.

 

 

20 WEEK HALF MARATHON TRAINING PLAN

So, you have decided to bite the bullet and do a Half Marathon! Good on you! I have set this plan around 20 weeks leading up to the Hunter Valley Running Festival Half in July 2014 so this plan should commence on the 15th March which is tomorrow! This only gives you 19 weeks and will be plenty, however you need to get cracking now! But before you do, I want you to start preparing yourself for the coming weeks that will get you over the line. So call this a pre-half marathon training program!

Before you start you need to:

  • Get yourself properly fitted for a good pair of running shoes. You can expect to pay around $150-250 dollars for a decent pair of shoes but they are so important. All injuries generally start at the feet and if your shoes are wrong for you and you start punching out km’s in them you will end up injured and there goes your race! I recommend seeing Trent Wood at Southside Runners in Cronulla (9545 6010) to fit you, as he is one of the most experienced people in the industry. A pair of shoes should get you around 500km of training before you will need new ones. Just save them for running, not cross training when you are with me up at the oval. You will then need a new pair for race day.
  • Comfortable clothes are important and need to be able to breathe and wick away sweat and avoid chafing. They don’t have to be fashionable, just practical.
  • Invest in a drink belt that you can use to carry fluid and gels etc in. Nathan is a good brand and can be found online. GU products and similar energy supplements can be purchased locally at Endeavour Cycles Gymea, in Gymea Shopping Village, or even in your supermarket.
  • Plan your days that you are going to train so that you can stick to the program and fit in cross training as well. To be a good runner you also need a good core and good strength so keep up your other classes as well. The rest days from running are good for this as they keep your aerobic fitness up too, while allowing the muscles used for running to have a breather.
  • Start to pay attention to your diet and realise that you will need to fuel your body accordingly to have the energy to run long distances. This doesn’t mean you necessarily need to eat more, as you want to be leaner to run better, but eat differently and get enough carbs/proteins and good fats for fuel and recovery. You may need to look at mulitvitamins if your diet is inadequate to help with the additional strain on your body. More on this later. The better the nutritional quality of your food, the better your performance. Stay away from simple sugars and look for Low GI foods to provide you with the carbohydrates you need.
  • Make sure you get good sleep while you are embarking on this journey as sleep is where you recover and get stronger.
  • You need to start and do a few short runs each week for the next month to get yourself prepared for what is to come. If you are already comfortably running 5-6km this is great.
  • I’d advise that you get yourself a Heart Rate Monitor – a very good training tool. Try the www.thepolarshop.com.au for great models and you can often get a good special.
  • Get a friend or group of friends that you are going to do this week and make a pact to get through it together. You will have more fun in training and once race day comes along you will share in the glory together – just like these girls!
Gold Coast Girls 2011 #2 (800x600)

Gold Coast Glamour Girls 2011

 

TRAINING COMPONENTS

Your Half Marathon training plan should consist of the following elements to give you a good base and build speed, strength and endurance.

Tempo Runs

Medium-distance, sustained-pace run that is slightly uncomfortable. These workouts “improve your lactate threshold pace.” This sort of training gives you the ability to hold a high heart rate for longer. I call your lactate threshold your “spew point”!

Speed work

  • Short Intervals – Warm up for 5 -10mins then run 400m, then cool down by walking 2 minutes; repeat x 3-5 to start with then increase as your fitness does. You can manipulate and play with intervals as long as your heart rate is high in the work period and you have a rest period.  EG 200m fast, 30 sec rest/100m fast, 10 sec/1km hard, 2 minute recovery etc. Intervals “improve our anaerobic capacity” (working without oxygen), as well as promoting muscle development, and building speed.
  • Hills – find a hill, roughly 5% gradient, (eg  Ellesmere Rd from the driveway leading down to the baths to the park opp Mexican Restaurant) and mark out a 200-400m length on the hill; starting at the bottom, run up at a pace you can barely maintain from bottom to top, then cool down by walking or jogging slowly to the bottom; repeat. Hill training improves leg-muscle strength, quickens your stride,  develops your cardiovascular system, enhances your running economy (makes you run more efficiently and saves you energy). As your fitness improves you could try running 800m at about 80% of maximum effort, then cool down by jogging for the same number of minutes as it took you, then repeat. This type of interval training has the same benefits as shorter intervals, as well as improving the ability to buffer lactic acid.

Relaxed Run

Medium-distance, relaxed-pace run. These are ‘recovery’ runs – they provide additional aerobic conditioning, and keep the muscles loose, without causing fatigue. This is the one you would skip if time poor or you are attending other regular sessions at the Oval.

LSD – Long Slow Distance

This is your weekly endurance run where you start to build endurance, improve your fat burning ability and where your muscles adapt to being on your legs for a long time. You are also training yourself to increase kilometres. You run a long distance, at a relaxed, easy pace. It is MOST IMPORTANT here to only increase your weekly distance by 5-10%, even if you feel good. This will help you to avoid injury and build the necessary muscle adaptations to build your endurance safely. You will work in roughly 4-5 week blocks where you will increase your distance by 5-10% for 3 weeks then on the 4th week you will knock it back to where you were in week two to have a rest week. At the start of week 1 in the second block you will again 5-10% per week form where you left off in the previous rest week and so on. Before you know it you can run for a long time!

 

EXAMPLE

LSD RUNS –  4 WEEK BLOCK

WEEK 1 – 7KM

WEEK 2 – 7.35- 7.7KM (5-10% INCREASE)

WEEK 3 – 7.7-8.5KM

WEEK 4- 7.35-7.7KM (BACK TO WEEK 2)

 

WEEK 1 – 7.7-8.5KM

WEEK 2 – 8-9.35KM

WEEK 3 – 8.4-10.3KM

WEEK 4 – 8-9.3KM (BACK TO WEEK 2)

NB If this is too confusing then below is a simpler way to work out increases

 

Format each week

DAY 1 – rest day

DAY 2 – Tempo training

DAY 3 – Rest day/Cross Training (strength/core/boxing etc)

DAY 4 – Speed work

DAY 5 – Relaxed run

DAY 6 – Rest day/Cross Training

DAY 7 – LSD – Distance run

 

You can work out which day of the week suits you to start ‘Day 1’.

 

Training Schedule

Note: the speeds provided correspond to a 2 hour half-marathon finish. If you plan to finish faster, or slower, adjust your speed accordingly. Remember to make the fourth week a rest week if you can, and drop your mileage to similar to that of the second week of the current block.

Week 1

This is a ‘getting started’ week. 3km easy run on Tuesday, 5km easy run on Friday, 7km easy run on Sunday, or days that suit.

Weeks 2-7

Tempo runs – 3km, increase by 0.5km each week @ 5:30/km pace

Speed work – short intervals 400m in 2minutes, 2 minute recovery jog; repeat 4 times on week 2, 6 times on week 3, and so on up to 14 times on week 7.

Relaxed runs – 5km @ 6:30 – 7:00 /km pace

Distance runs – 7km, increase by 1km each week @ 7:30/km pace

Weeks 8-13

Tempo runs – 5km, increase by 0.5km each week @ 5:30/km pace

Speed work – hill repeats 400m in 2minutes, jog slowly back down; repeat 2 times on week 8, 4 times on week 9, and so on up to 12 times on week 13.

Relaxed runs – 5km @ 6:30 – 7:00 /km pace

Distance runs – 10km, increase by 2km each week @ 7:30/km

Weeks 14-19

Tempo runs – 7km, 8km, 9km, 10km, 10km @ 5:30/km

Speed work – 800 m in 3:40, recovery jog 3:40; repeat 5 times on week 14, 6 times on week 15, and so on up to 10 times on week 19.

Relaxed runs – 5km @ 6:30 – 7:00 /km

Distance runs – 12km, increase by 2km each week @ 7:30/km pace

Week 20 (Race week)

Monday – rest day

Tuesday – 3km @7:00/km

Wednesday – rest day

Thursday – 5km @ 7:00/km

Friday – rest day

Saturday or Sunday – RACE DAY!!!

YOU DID IT!


FOODS TO EAT WHILST TRAINING

To train efficiently and give yourself enough fuel to cope with your runs, and also the proper nutrition to recover with, you need to be focused on your diet.

You need a combination of carbs and protein for fuel and recovery and good fats to provide essential fatty acids to help reduce inflammation in muscles and joints and to speed recovery.

Any run over 90 mins will require carb replacement such as energy gels and sports drinks. Anything under this and water during the run should be adequate, unless you feel yourself flagging then try a gel. Your body will become efficient at burning fat stores for fuel over time during your long runs.

Intervals and tempo runs however will use more carb stores quickly and need to be topped up beforehand, not during.

Here is a good guide that I found that will help you eat well and at the right times around your runs to maximise your efforts:

 

2 Hours Before:

  • Low GI, slow digesting foods to top up carb stores and a little high quality protein.
  • Best choice is fish and eggs and wholemeal (not wholegrain) bread. EG a poached egg on toast. Other choices are:
  • Low fat plain yoghurt
  • Chicken
  • Brown rice
  • Sweet potato
  • Oats/porridge
  • Wholegrain pasta
  • Avoid fats

1 Hour Before

  • Easily digested low GI carbs still a priority
  • Best choice is a banana and low fat yoghurt
  • Proteins from milk and cheese eg Up and Go, Sustagen Sport, cottage cheese, low fat yogurt.
  • White rice is easily digested and hi GI for quick energy
  • Egg whites (lower fat is required now so skip the egg yolk)
  • Whey protein shake with skim milk
  • Avoid fats

30 Minutes before

  • Coffee – boosts endurance and lessons the perceived effort/pain
  • Sports Drink – for carbs, fluids, salt and electrolytes
  • Water – for hydration
  • Green Tea – promotes fat usage

NB If your run is less than an hour stick to water but over that sip on sports drinks.

20 Minutes In

  • Water – approx 500ml per hour

1 hour In

  • Sports drink
  • Whey protein shake.

Research shows that mixing protein with carbs increases the rate of replenishment, reduces muscle damage and can boost time to exhaustion by 15%. Try a sports drink with electrolytes and 30g of carbs and 10-15g unflavoured whey protein mixed before you go and in placed in a drink belt bottle.

Straight After

  • Hi GI fast absorbing carbs are what you need here to recover along with protein. A 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein is recommended. EG 20-30g chicken breast with 80g cooked white rice.
  • Fruit is effective too which restores liver glycogen more effectively than other carbs.
  • A great option is chicken, rice and fruit salad.
  • If you are short on time an Up & Go Energise is great to have on hand in an esky in the car, or you can pick one up form a service station.
  • Don’t forget electrolytes if it’s hot or you are a heavy sweater, or if you have been out for a very long time. A Gatorade or similar is fine.

2 Hours After

  • Omega-3 rich foods reduce inflammation in muscles and joints and speed recovery, promote insulin sensitivity and are the key to good carb stores for your next run.
  • Antioxidants to help repair and help the immune system which cops a beating during training – include heaps of leafy green vegetables, broccoli, blueberries, green tea and colour foods like red capsicum.
  • Chia seed, flax seeds, raw almonds.
  • Fish, especially oily fish like salmon.
  • Good meal idea – thai salmon, vegies like bok choy and broccoli and capsicum with coconut milk and noodles.

 

GOOD LUCK!

 

 

 

 

Wok-tossed Calamari & Broccolini w/ Nam Jim Dressing

Wok-tossed Calamari & Broccolini w/ Nam Jim Dressing

Serves 4

 Ingredients

600g squid tubes

Olive oil spray

2 bunches broccolini cut into short lengths

Nam Jim Dressing

2 garlic cloves

½ bunch coriander, roots chopped and leaves reserved

1 long red chilli, deseeded & finely chopped

2 tbs sugar

2 tbs fish sauce

¼ cup lime juice

8 cherry tomatoes quartered

2 french shallots sliced

1 packet fresh baby corn sliced lengthways and then halved.

1 red capsicum, sliced in strips.

  1. TO make the dressing, combine the garlic, coriander roots and chilli in a medium bowl. Add sugar, fish sauce and lime juice. Stir to dissolve. Stir in tomato and shallots and set aside
  2. Cut each squid tube along one side and open out flat. Using a small sharp knife score inners soft side in a criss cross pattern. Cut into 6 x 3cm pieces
  3. Heat a wok over high heat and cook calamari in batches for about 2 minutes or until they change colour and are lightly charred. Remover form wok
  4. Add broccolini, capsicum and corn in wok with 1 tbs water. Cover and cook for 2 mins until broccolini turns bright green and just tender. Return squid to wok and toss to reheat. Add dressing and toss to combine. Serve on plate and garnish with reserved coriander leaves.

250 cals per serve

31g Protein

19g Carbs

5 g Fat