For years, I believed that a workout didn't "count" unless I did 45 minutes to an hour of hard-core cardio. I loved being able to watch the calories click up on treadmill or the elliptical machine, providing instant validation that yes, I worked hard, and yes, I deserved to feel good about what I'd accomplished. (And maybe yes, I absolutely did deserve that second helping of ice cream.) At the end of that time I feel simultaneously worn out and energized, and I could mentally check off another work out box for the week.
There were only a couple of problems with my "workout plan." #1, spending 5 plus hours a week on the treadmill or elliptical was boring, #2, I totally plateaued on my speed, distance, and fitness level, #3 I'd dread each and every workout, #4 by the end of my cardio I just wanted to get onto my next activity so any stretching, weight training, or core work was out of the question.
Still, I was a dutiful little exerciser and I showed up day after day, watched the little green numbers tick up on the screen, counting down the seconds until I was free again.
Then six months ago I discovered Barre Amped, which busted me out of my cardio rut by showing me that you can get results (and in fact, much better results) without boring yourself to death.
In other words, I'm a strength training convert. Each week I've tried to incorporate at least two strength workouts into my routine, whether it is Barre Class, TRX, or some seriously intense circuit training.
It took me a little while to change my brain into believing that spending 30 minutes doing push ups, sit ups, wall sits, mountain climbers, squat jumps, burpees, etc. should "count" in my mental workout log, but when I realized that I could barely breathe between sets and my heart was racing like a young Twihard in the presence of Robert Pattinson, it became harder and harder to deny that my inner-athlete was getting her money's worth, treadmill or not.
Best of all, I feel myself getting stronger. I'm not bored because every minute I have a different exercise to focus on, and I've learned that working out can actually be a fun challenge to test my mental and physical limits instead of merely being a test of my patience.
I still think cardio is important...I want to run another marathon this Fall and qualifying for Boston is on my bucket list, but I genuinely believe that expanding my fitness horizons will only help me be stronger and faster in the future.
In an effort to "unplug" my daily workout, today I completed the following routine this afternoon. I had to take way more rest breaks than suggested, but I finished and cooled down with an easy mile walk. I thought this workout would be easy. I thought wrong. If you try it, let me know what you think!
Hope it's a great day!