Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Mrs F talks Cardio


Cardio The Mrs F Way
Some of this is based in science some comes from trial and error and some is just plain common sense. This is what I do. I'm not saying you need to do it or that this is the only way to do it. All I'm saying is that this is what has been working for me. If you are already working out more than this or harder than this... well.... use your head and keep doing what you are doing.There is some background information about why I am doing this workout in the video and you all can watch that to get the full scoop.

This is what I'm doing now (this is not where I started so keep that in mind):
I am WALKING on the treadmill for 60-80 minutes in one stretch.
I am walking at what I consider to be a purposeful pace, as in I've got to get to an appointment and if I get going I'll be on time... not I'm late and I need to jog!. For me this is 3 mph (I'm serious). Keep in mind I am short so this maybe slower than a purposeful pace for you. I chose this speed because it is about .75 mph SLOWER than if I was at my top walking speed. I want to be at a comfortable but PURPOSEFUL pace so I can focus on my incline.

While walking 3 mph I do incline intervals. On my treadmill I can go up to a 12% grade incline. Right now I'm doing short intervals (about 1.5 minutes) alternating between 0% incline and 8% incline. If I am doing a shorter workout I alternate a double interval at 0% with a single interval at 12%... believe me I need more of a recovery after the 12% incline. When I'm working out I feel like I'm working at about an 8 out of 10 exertion level. Could I work harder?.... yes.... but could I work harder and keep doing it for 60 minutes?.... no. You will burn more calories by uping your incline rather than your speed (fact). Also when doing intervals it is my understanding that you want to change it fairly dramatically so that your body has to work harder since it can't acclimate to the workout. This means 0% to 8% not 7% to 8%... this is one instance where overachieving might actually hold you back.

This is not my first go round at working out. I have done lots of different things in the past, but this has gotten me thinner than I have ever been. My thighs are literally thinner than when I was a TEENAGER! I am absolutely positive that working out at a slower pace while walking "hills" has allowed me to tone my legs and butt in a way that no previous cardio ever has (not even my pilates training!). Also I think keeping at a slower pace for a longer duration allows you to reach fat burning mode and stay there for a longer time. I started doing this workout (I change the incline % periodically) in July when I had hit a weight loss plateau. At that time I was 31% body fat. I started doing this cardio workout 5-6 times a week (consistently) and in 4 months I had lost 10% body fat. I am thinner than I have EVER been as an adult... probably even as a child! I truly believe this can help anyone burn fat faster than shorter more *intense* workouts. I'd love to find out. If you do give this a try PLEASE let me know how it has worked out.

And... People... the endorphins you get from the long cardio make it all worth while! Trust me.

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've done it for 4 days and I'm already a believer. If it weren't for my after dinner snack of 1/2 of a container of cool whip and a waffle (damn those van's waffles, I eat them for breakfast, lust over them all day and then justify that I can eat one for dessert...I think I may have to stop buying them and go back to my apple cinnamon rice cakes), I might actually be proud. Stinker but I'm sticking to your mantra of getting exercise under control and then doing the food component. Have a great day and think of me tonight as I'm going to see xanadu on broadway. I can remember so clearly being in your original room at the top of the stairs on the right on Dutton and dancing and singing to Olivia Newton John. I hope to relive that experience tonight and only wish you were here to see it with me.

Heather said...

Great insights! :)

katieo said...

Amen to the endorphins. But I have to say, my favorite part of the post was, "Dont cry for me...Argentina."

Cara said...

i started this plan last night and will let you know how it goes :-) It will be much nicer on my knees :-)

Mrs. Furious said...

Alexis,
I'm VERY proud of you. Really.
And you know how I loved ONJ.... LOVED her! I absolutely wish I was going to Xanadu!


Heather
the "overachieving" part was for you ;)


Katieo
Yes... try as I might I can never be 100% kook free.



Cara
Definitely keep me posted! :)

Anonymous said...

One question...since you started this cardio routine, have you noticed a change in the rest of your body too? Obviously you have seen that in your legs and butt, but I'm talking about your abs etc. I'm just curious, because I'm thinking about trying your suggestion but I need major help in the stomach flab area and am wondering if the routine will blast fat there too.
Thanks!

Robin said...

Dude! You crack me up. Hehe.

Great post, and very informative. After two days, I can attest to the greatness of the endorphins. I am struggling with some hunger issues, though. On the calories: Did you eat any more calories on the days that you exercised? I wear a heart rate monitor, and I am burning about 700 calories in the 75 minutes of cardio. I normally eat about 1/2 of the calories I burn in exercise. I am curious what you did when you were losing weight.

Mrs. Furious said...

Anonymous,
Oh YES!!! My stomach is my problem area.. and I have pretty bad stretchmarks etc. But my stomach is, outside of that issue, totally toned and my arms and face, etc have never been thinner. Every part is thinner... big time. I was a size 6-8 at 126 pre-pregs now I am a size 1 at 110... I have a wide waist for my frame and I'm thin enough in the stomach to wear a 1 so yeah it shrunk the gut! Okay I'm going to post a picture of my stomach just for you!

Mrs. Furious said...

Robin,
funnily enough I just did a video on this very topic! I ate enough to continue losing at 1-2 lbs a week. I did up my calories when I was working out this much from 1600 to about 1800. I didn't eat more on the days I worked out just ate more everyday (since I was working out almost everyday anyway). Now I was b'feeding so I may have been eating more than you'll be able to to lose 1-2... but if you lose 3-4 this week you might want to add another 500 calories a day back in. It all depends how fast you want to lose. I don't think you should go hungry though.

Robin said...

Thanks Mrs. F-
We must have some psychic diet connection! :)

We'll see about this weeks weight loss. I did a post about my experience so far.

Shirls said...

I agree, I always say the best part of running is stopping, love those endorphins! I know your familiar with Denise (Fitness Fix) and she says inclines are great too, and she knows, I mean KNOWS, but you have to be careful not to walk a steady incline the entire time, so those intervals are brilliant!

btw - walking a steady incline for long periods (as in your whole workout) shortens your hip flexors and cause nasty things like scatic, long term that is.. not good and not good for office workers who sit, as their hip flexors tend to get tight naturally anyway which = brilliant hill intervals :0)

Mrs. Furious said...

Shirls,
I love to get some technical back up!

And good to note about the steady incline.

Anonymous said...

went to kate's paperie.
claudia calhoun is out of business!
your wed invites are one of a kind!

angie said...

Mrs. F, now that we are back on the trying route, i am going to have to do more walking. I am definitely going to try this. That is, once my horrendous back pain goes away. Today is the first day i could turn my head more than 5 degrees.

Totally unrelated, you are stuck with us for neighbors. We declined the Atlanta jobs and are not going to pursue the Penn job. Tony starts his new (way better paying) job Feb 11th. So that means Julie can't buy our house--sorry :-)

Mrs. Furious said...

Alexis,
that makes me sad. They had great stuff. Well I'm really glad Mr F reprinted those invites for us now!

eat like a caveman said...

sounds like a great workout! i'm SO trying it! thank you!

Mr Furious said...

claudia calhoun is out of business!

That's unfortunate, but I'm not surprised. They were ridiculously expensive. At the time there weren't many options for the level of design/style we wanted. That has changed, and there are many more options for people to get great looking, creative stuff.

I just hope it doesn't foretell the extinction of letterpress printing. Which is truly wonderful, and can never be replaced by technology.

Mr Furious said...

Waaay off-topic there, I guess. Sorry.

Mrs. Furious said...

Eat Like A Caveman,
Oh good. Be sure to let me know how it works out!

Preppy Mama said...

Ok, forget Oprah, I'm taking the Mrs. F challenge!!
I am starting today!
I'll keep you posted.

Preppy Mama said...

I have a question about the time of day you work out. Is it better to work out in the morning vs the evening.
What is your allotted time?

eurydice said...

thanks for posting this - i've always wondered about the interval training. very informative and easy to understand now.

i think i'll try it out - although i can't give up running now that i've worked so hard. if only i had a tv or something in front of the treadmill.

now, does your treadmill automatically switch the heights for you, or do you have to push buttons every 1.5 minutes?

Mrs. Furious said...

Preppy Mama,
I work out at night after dinner once Mr F is home. I would love to do it in the day but Baby doesn't nap consistently and Kid isn't in school everyday. I think find the time that you will have available everyday for consistency sake.
I will say I sleep much better after working out then I do otherwise.



Eurydice,
No my treadmill doesn't do that automatically I do it myself. It does have different programs but none of them are exactly what I want.

emmyjw said...

DUDE! You are such a badass and you never fail to make me laugh.I am on board as soon as I can get my fricken treadmill fixed:{ You look great, and you deserve it because you have worked hard to get there!

Mrs. Furious said...

Emmy,
thanks :)

Amy said...

Since the other day when you said that the key to weight loss was your 60 minute cardio work-outs, I've been trying them. I've not quite gotten to 60 minutes because of needing to get home for the babysitter, but I am close. Burning about 400 calories each workout. But I'm glad you gave more specifics about what you're doing. I have a treadmill here at the house and I know I could get the 60 minutes if I'm at home. So I'm going to give it a few weeks and see how it goes. What I'm really interested in though is what you were doing when you first started the 60 minute sessions. I'm short like you with a similar body-type to what you started.

Mrs. Furious said...

Hey Amy,
Okay you might be more fit now than I was when I started so you might need to play around with the numbers until you find the right pace. But I started at 3.0 mph (which is what I still do) and I was alternating the incline every 1/12th mile (about 1.5 min). I don't really do a warm up I just start my first interval at 0% incline then I'd do 3% for 1.5 min and then 6% for 1.5 min and then back to 3% for 1.5 min and then 0%... repeat. Now I just do 0% for 1.5 min and then 8% for 1.5 min repeat. When I was first starting 6% at 3.) mph felt like a workout. Now I can go higher so I do. If I have less time I go up to 12% for 1.5 min but take a longer 3 min interval at 0% since I need more of a rest from that high of an incline.
I think the real key is to pick a slower pace that allows you to do a higher incline. Then alternate what you feel is the maximum incline you can do for 1.5 minutes with a rest at a low to no incline for the next interval. I'm about to up my speed to 3.2 but I've been doing it at 3.0 for 6 months. Don't fix what ain't broke you know?

Julie said...

So that means Julie can't buy our house--sorry :-)

Angie, I guess I should take my house off the market then:)

Glad for Mrs F that you are staying though!

Cardio-wise, I did the treadmill thing with the incline every 1.5 minutes and it is very do-able. I was actually listening to an NPR This American Life for the hour which made it really easy. I have decided that just because I can't get to Jazzercise everyday should not mean I just don't work out at all that day. Previously, if I could only get to a class 2 times that week, that is all I would do for exercise. Not so good when you are trying to lose weight as well as tone, be healthy and all that.

I owe it all to you, Mrs F, and this great group...listening to you all is what encouraged me to kick it up.

It should be noted that I am eating a bowl of ice cream while I write this.

Kiki said...

If I didn't believe you (which I do) just seeing the pics is enough proof...feel like revealing what kind of treadmill you have? I am shopping and so far the only one that I have found that seems decent is $949! Not exactly in the budget, but I'll swing just to get my heiney in shape.

On the side whoever is going to Kate's Papiere is toying with my emotions, its like one of my favorite shops in NY. That and Pearl Paint, okay and the Enchanted Forest toystore...oh the list goes on and on!!!

Mrs. Furious said...

Julie & Kiki,
I'll be back!

Mrs. Furious said...

Julie,
Yay! Good Job :)
Ice cream shmice cream


Kiki,
we have a nordic track one from Sears. We got ours on sale a couple years ago I have no idea how much it was maybe about what you said or a little cheaper...
when I get a chance I'll look up the model # and put it on your blog!

soapbox girl said...

I use the incline on the treadmill to build muscles for running purposes, but what you're saying makes total sense. Very interesting!

Amy said...

kiki: if you're thinking of buying a treadmill, i recommend you check consumer reports. i did that and learned a lot about them. there are certain types that are ONLY good for walkers. i bought mine, which is a Horizon T51 a couple of years ago at a place called Play It Again Sports. It's a place that sells used sports equipment although mind was brand new. I got it for about $700. I'm a runner so I needed one that wouldn't fall apart if I actually ran vs. just walking. I thought it was a good price and I know you can look around on the internet and get comparable prices. if you just plan to walk, places like Sears, furniture stores, Target etc. will have good models that are suitable. good luck!

Kiki said...

Mrs. F and Amy, thanks so much for the awesome information, you know my husband is completely in favor of me getting a used one and Amy the price you quoted is a lot better. In the past, when I worked out, I started out walking and then built up some endurance...enough to start running at intervals. I am not sure I want to go there again, but definitely walking, I'll look into all avenues, its time, so thanks girls!!!

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