Good day and happy Tuesday. After a wonderful weekend and a few days away from work and working out, I was ready to JUMP (literally) back into my groove yesterday afternoon. Today, I am even more ready. Several of the articles I have read recently focused on coming out of our comfort zones. Yes, there is a time to kick-back, a time to rest, a time to move and a time to move out of our comfort zones.
Even as I talk about mixing things up, I wonder how hard we push ourselves out of our comfort zones. This could mean working at a faster pace, working for a longer amount of time, or pushing completely out of the zone, trying things that literally make us uncomfortable. For years we talked about staying “in the zone.” Aerobically that translates to “between 60 and 90%” of our maximum heart rate. The equation for figuring that out, goes like this:
220 minus your age = maximum heart rate / multiply that number times 60-90% to get “the range” — for me that would look like this 220-52= 168 168×60%-90% = 100 – 151 beats per minute
This means that generally I keep my heart rate up between 100 and 151 beats per minute while doing aerobics, running, walking, swimming or on the treadmill or elliptical. For a long time we have been told if we want to lose fat, to keep the numbers towards the lower side of the range but to train our heart and lungs work toward the higher end. I have always, as I do with most everything, advocated mixing it up. I still do, for the most part. BUT– the more I read and the more I think about it, pushing ourselves beyond every once and a while, is a great way to add more variety while getting different results.
Interval training is one great way to push– this is when we work at the lower end of the range most of the time, but add in “bursts” of high intensity. In class, out on the streets, or on a piece of cardio equipment, after a good warm-up, start adding some very short periods of “working as hard as you can.” Follow this by “recovery” periods. A good formula is warming up for about 5 minutes and then adding 30-60 seconds of maximum output, followed by 60-180 seconds of low intensity training. This can be done while walking, as well, adding 30-60 seconds of a jog or run, followed by a 1-3 minutes of walking. Runners get faster by doing this technique (farklets) alternating running and sprinting (as fast as possible). I try for about 8 bursts of high intensity, whenever possible. I am told we burn into fat stores when we are working so hard we are out of our aerobic zone. Burning fat, increasing cardio vascular capacity, making ourselves stronger physically and mentally, all good. TRY IT!
Another way to step out of the comfort zone is to simply try something new. A new machine, a new class, a new format, a new time of day…or how about even trading workouts with someone else for a session or two? These are just a few ideas to help you step out of your comfort zone. I believe that making our brains work harder, burns calories. That’s just my own thinking. Seems the harder I have to think, the more I sweat, so I am going to presume there is a rise is the calorie burn. Obviously the more we have to think, the better the workout is for our brain, so that can neverbe a bad thing!
And what about weight lifting? Don’t be afraid to step up your weights a little. Chances are always good that we can lift a little heavier. If you can get through 3 sets of 10 or 12 reps without feeling the fatigue in your muscle, you are not working out of your comfort zone. Pick up something a little heavier and see how that works for you! More muscle fiber means we can take in more calories but also means stronger bones! These are both very wonderful things.
It’s time for me to walk “bigred.” I am going to actually let him determine the direction, the pace and the amount of time we are out this morning. This is the first thing I will do today to step out of my comfort zone. Not sure what “stepping out” will mean to my clients and students today, but you can be sure it will mean SOMETHING!
Biggest Loser is back on tonight…we’ll “talk” tomorrow. Have a great day, just don’t make it TOO comfortable.