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Drop a Ton Challenge 2010


Jordan_E
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I've been back running for about 4 weeks after spending 3 months recovering from an IT band and quad injury.  I've been running 20 miles per week in that time but it has been a laborious effort with slow paces and a lot of "I just want to quit" thoughts.  

 

My wife wanted to try this new chain of small gyms called Orange Theory Fitness as something to supplement our weekly regimen. I was skeptical of a trendy strip center workout but gave it a shot anyway.  We've done it twice now and I think we are going to add a class with them once per week.  It's essentially a one-hour high intensity workout that I describe as "cardio crossfit".  Where crossfit mixes all sorts of strength challenges to build endurance Orange Theory puts its eggs in the cardio basket and sprinkles in enough traditional weights to create a well-rounded package.

 

They give all participants a Polar bluetooth heart rate strap. There are several big-screen monitors throughout the gym with everyone's name and heart rate data.  It also includes colored heart rate "zones" ranging from "very light" to "Maximum".  These are based on your age and weight data entered in your gym profile.  As you workout the trainer will let you know what color zone you should be in at any given moment.

 

The class is 60 minutes long.  The first 30 minutes is all cardio.  Split between treadmill work and rowing machines.  Both are the best cardio machines I have ever used. The treadmills have an amazingly springy feel that is better than any road or track I've ever ran on.  The rowers are the water filled kind that provide a very natural resistance.  The faster you row the greater the resistance from the water.  

 

In the yesterday's class the cardio portion broke down as follows:

 

  • Run .25 miles 
  • Row 100 meters
  • Run .25 miles
  • Row 200 meters
  • Run .25 miles
  • Row 300 meters
  • Run .25 miles
  • Row 400 meters
  • Run .25 miles
  • Row 500 meters
  • Run .25 miles
  • Row 600 meters
  • Run .25 miles
  • Row 700 meters
  • Maintain "hard" heart rate zone (84%-91% max heart rate) throughout

You get as far as you can in 30 minutes.  I managed to get to the last 700 meter row when time was called (meaning, I just sat on the rower to begin my 700 meters when time ran out).  It may not be a great distance but keeping your heart rate up and rapidly shifting from running to rowing is pretty intense. 

 

The 2nd half of the workout is 30 minutes of timed weights. It's nothing fancy (chest presses, TPX ropes, upright rows, crunches, curls, etc.). There are 2 sets of 4 exercises and your goal is to cycle through 2-4 sets of each before time runs out.  Again, following instruction regarding your heart rate zone.

 

At the end of the class you see you calories burned and can compare your results with the rest of the class. They even email you a PDF of your workout results.  My results are below as an example. You can see where I switched from cardio to weights at the 30 minute mark as my heart rate slowed into the green for the last 20 minutes or so.

 

lFSjwbd.jpg

 

Anyway, I've been pleasantly surprised and I think it's helping me get back into running shape quicker.  I just got back from a mid-morning 6 mile run where I finally managed to stay at a constant 8:30 min/mile pace.  Still 0:30 seconds off my time before the injury but a hell of a lot better than the 9:00 to 9:30 I've been running post recovery.   

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6am wakeup and out the door for 7 for me tomorrow. Runners begin to set off at 9am, and I suspect my wave will be around 9:30-9:40. Looking like a cloudy day tomorrow, but no rain until the early evening thankfully. I should be finishing as you're leaving to check in for the marathon I suspect, Mark. Best of luck! 

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PB!!!!

 

Obliterated my 2011 previous best by just over fifteen minutes, and beat last year's time by over twenty-five minutes! final time was 2hrs 18mins and 17 seconds. I was ahead of the 2hr 20 min pace keeper runners for most of the run but they overtook me in the last two miles and my heart sank. By mile six I had actually incurred a terrible blister between my toes (I was left with a very bloodied sock at the end), and by mile eight my left calf began giving me grief. To my amazement I still pulled it in under 2hrs 20. I guess without the complications I could well have been looking at under 2hrs 15, but I'll take my achievement today. I still sprinted the final 100m and I think I got the best crowd roar I've ever received. Great day. 

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Just chiming in here.

 

Current schedule is three days of lifting, 2 days of martial arts, and then other fun cardio things thrown in like road biking, running, elliptical, etc.

 

I'm a huge believer in and fan of lifting. If you're not doing it, you'll get injured, as Kelley seems to be discovering. I started years ago with a simple 3-day split, but for the past couple months I've been doing stronglifts 5x5 (look up the app) and I absolutely love it. TONS of squats, which is one of the best things you can do for yourself. I'm now squatting 260lbs, which is a personal best.

 

Kelley is right, though: There is a LOT to the proper for for lifting, so do it with a coach the first time. That said, nothing, and I mean NOTHING, will get you in shape better. It burns fat, it strengthens (duh), makes you feel amazing, and allows you to excel in other things, whether it's running, biking, or just sitting up straight. It will NOT bulk you up and make you look like Arnold unless you're taking supplements and / or steroids.

 

I'm in more of a maintenance / cutting phase now, though, after jamming through 8 weeks of stronglifts. Time to cut back some body fat so I'll be upping the cardio. I have doing HIIT so I'll just be doing some goofy elliptical hike (they have videos of hikes on the machines at my gym, so I just watch those while listening to Marc Maron).

 

Finally, I urge you all to begin to focus on body fat % as opposed to just pure weight. This will allow you to monitor overall body mass along with muscle development. You'll be glad you do, and it'll let you know if you're just losing muscle vs fat and can adjust diet / workouts.

 

Rambling message, I know, but I've experimented with tons of things. I'm by no means an expert, but happy to answer questions as you get into lifting. No plan is right, but I love talking about it.

 

Kelley: Is he having you do a split? What's your lifting routine?

 

OH AND CONGRATS ON THE PB, DAN!!

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Great stuff, Mark. Look forward to hearing more.

 

Josh, I've always wanted to measure body fat percentage for the reasons you mention, but what method are you using to measure it?

 

I have a Tanita scale, which is sort of accurate, at least to track change over time, but I also have these calipers for more accurate measurements. I bought this one years ago: http://www.amazon.com/FatTrack-Gold-Premium-Measurement-Measure/dp/B00GK5U61W/ref=sr_1_10?s=hpc&ie=UTF8&qid=1413213824&sr=1-10&keywords=myotape+body+fat+caliper ... it's oaky. I'd probably go with a pure analog one next or once this one dies.

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It's important to stick to one method of body fat measuring rather than bounce around to calipers vs. bioelectrical impedance (or some of the more exotic methods like x-ray or water weighing).  Jumping between methods (even between a different brand of bioelectrical device or calipers) can give wildly different results. 

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It's important to stick to one method of body fat measuring rather than bounce around to calipers vs. bioelectrical impedance (or some of the more exotic methods like x-ray or water weighing).  Jumping between methods (even between a different brand of bioelectrical device or calipers) can give wildly different results. 

 

For sure. More than anything I use them to track change over time.

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I'm a huge believer in and fan of lifting. If you're not doing it, you'll get injured, as Kelley seems to be discovering. I started years ago with a simple 3-day split, but for the past couple months I've been doing stronglifts 5x5 (look up the app) and I absolutely love it. TONS of squats, which is one of the best things you can do for yourself. I'm now squatting 260lbs, which is a personal best.

 

This is basically all I do.

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I'd get into that if I could afford a gym membership again.

 

Ugh, I hear you. I luckily have a YMCA right across the street from my place and membership for both my wife and I is just like $70/month.

 

There are interesting bodyweight exercises and plyometrics you can do if you have the space, but you likely already know that.

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