So why am I a lazy personal trainer?



I'm trying! Follow my quest to OVERCOME LAZY!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Fartlek: I just love saying that

Fartlek.  Do you know what it means?  I'm impressed if you do.  First of all, I just love the word because it's rather provocative and catches people's attention when you say it.  It even sounds slightly offensive.  The second reason I love it is that it gives you an awesome workout.  It's a Swedish word that means "speed play" and it's a common training tool especially for runners.  It's common because it's so effective.  My track coaches would torture us with them back in the day and now I find myself regularly incorporating them into our workouts.  Hence the tortured becomes the torturer.  But I love it and so does hubby.  They stink at the time you're doing them but they work really well.  I am sitting here with legs (especially the hammies), glutes and obliques that are quite sore from our fartlek workout on Thursday morning.  I'm always pleasantly surprised at how worked out my core gets - my abs/obliques are often sore following a good fartlek workout.

So here's what we did.  There's a squarish path that goes around a big sports field area at the park near our house.  I haven't formally measured it but it's probably slightly larger than a track.  We warmed up by jogging to the park with Z in her stroller.  Once we got to the path, we would sprint down one side of the track, turn the corner and jog to the next corner, sprint again, then turn the corner and walk to recover.  We repeated that four times for this workout and that was plenty.  We took turns pushing the stroller each lap.  Then we cooled down while Z played on the playground toys and jogged home.  It was quick and intense and tough work but it felt great. 

So to do a typical fartlek, you just follow the pattern of sprint, jog, sprint, walk and repeat as needed.  You usually do about the same amount of distance for each interval.  The beauty is that you set the pace.  Sprint simply means trying to push it and run faster than you typically do jogging.  Doing it on a track is probably the ideal situation:  you would sprint the straightaway, jog the curve, sprint straightaway again and walk the curve.  You can apply this concept to several settings.  You can do it on a treadmill and adjust the speed setting while watching the mileage gauge.  You can apply the concept to a street or stationary bike ride.  Any fitness machine, really.  You get the idea.

Try it.  Get yourself outside your comfort zone.  That's what effective workouts are all about anyway:  pushing it just enough to make that difference.

So why am I a lazy personal trainer?

I love a good JFB (Junk Food Binge).  It could be sweet treats.  It could be salty snacks.  Whatever I’m craving that day.  I just like to have plenty of it at the end of the day as I curl up with a good book or movie.  The kids are tucked into bed.  The house is clean…enough.  I don’t wanna think, I don’t wanna be getting something done and the only thing I wanna be moving is my hand to my mouth.  Over and over again.  Ahhh, my favorite time of the day.  There’s nothing I love more.  Oh, wait, there is. 

I love a good kick-ass workout.  I love planning out what torture I am going to inflict on myself that day.  I love warming up, getting the blood pumping, then pushing it – really pushing it – to the end only to make myself do just one more rep and then finally cooling down and stretching.  I love that feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment.  It gives me an incredible physical and mental buzz throughout the rest of the day.

So, like most folks, I’m a study in contrasts.  I’m lazy by nature but I know a lotta good fitness stuff.  I have had to adjust my approach to health and fitness as my perspective and circumstances have changed through life.  My priorities and methods are quite different from when I was a young, single competitive athlete to now being an exhausted, aged, sometimes-working mother of two.  But I love where I am now.  I have loved the challenge of figuring out how to weave my passion for health and fitness into the fabric of my diversified life.  Along the way, I feel I have come up with some pretty awesome ways to be committed to my health and fitness without compromising or diminishing the other important people and things in my life.

I know my ways are just that – MY ways – and what works for me doesn’t mean it will for anyone else.  But I suspect that some of the things I share just might help a few others out there as well.  I hope for good things for all of us.