Tuesday, February 21, 2017

7 BENEFITS OF A HOME GYM & CARDIO INTERVAL WORKOUT FROM MATRIX FITNESS

This post is sponsored by Matrix Fitness. All opinions are my own. If I hated it, I'd tell you. 

I love my home gym, better known as the ShredShed. It is quite literally a shed remodeled into a gym in my backyard. If you have some extra room in your garage or a spare room in your home you can enjoy the benefits of a home gym too.


The Benefits of a Home Gym


SHORT COMMUTE


If you have trouble finding the time to go the gym, part of the problem may be the commute. If your gym is even just 10 minutes away, you need at least 20 minutes to get there and back. When you have a home gym you have a short commute. With just a quick walk to the garage or spare room you can knock out a quick workout. The cardio Sprint 8® workout from Matrix Fitness I share below can be completed in the same amount of time you would have spent in your car. 

NO WAITING


With a home gym you never have to wait for a treadmill again. You have a life. Your workout needs to be as quick and efficient as possible so you can get back to the business of living your life, aka scrolling Pinterest. Maybe it's the middle child in me but I'm tired of sharing, I like to have my own things.

NO SHARING SWEAT


Speaking of sharing...When you have your own gym equipment at home you never have to wipe other people's sweat off the machines and equipment. I never want to wipe a stranger's sweat off of a treadmill console again.

PRIVACY


In my home gym I never have to worry about other people. I am comfortable enough to get in and do my workout on my own terms without worrying about who may be watching. I can take unlimited mirror selfies without fear of judgement. (See:Instagram)

NO RULES


When you have your own gym, you make the rules. You can wear what you want, drop the weights and grunt as loud as you want (not that I do that, as far as you know). I might show up in my home gym with no shoes, in a sports bra and my music way too loud. As long as my neighbors aren't complaining, I'm good.

YOUR OWN EQUIPMENT


I think of having a home gym is like living in an apartment or owning a home. When you go to the gym and pay a monthly membership fee you are essentially renting the equipment. You can buy the specific equipment that you need one time and use it forever or you can pay a monthly fee to to have access to equipment in the gym. We built the ShredShed a couple years ago and have been enjoying the freedom of not paying a monthly gym membership. Sure, there is some up-front investment required, but in the long run we are enjoying the benefits of having our own home gym. 

I believe in investing in quality equipment that is built to last. Check out Matrix Fitness to see the newest line up of home gym equipment. Matrix Fitness is the fastest growing commercial fitness equipment provider and they have now launched a line of luxury home gym equipment designed to give you the best possible workout at home. They're the best in durability, performance and functionality. 


YOUR OWN ENTERTAINMENT


In your home gym you can put on any show you want to watch and play any music. You can check in on Facebook during your recovery intervals to tell all 700 of your friends know how hard you are working. Matrix Fitness believes that if you are entertained while you are working out you are more likely to stick with it and achieve your goals. These treadmills have apps on the console that are available to use while working out.

SPRINT 8 CARDIO WORKOUT FROM MATRIX FITNESS TREADMILLS


Take your High Intensity Interval Training to the next level. As a personal trainer and a running coach I recommend that runners include 1-2 HIIT workouts in their weekly training plan. You can use this short and effective workout from Matrix Fitness to increase your fitness. Sprint 8 is available on Matrix treadmills to help you lose fat and boost energy. Try this 1-2 times a week for 8 weeks to help with your fat loss goals as well as improvements in running speed and efficiency. 



Always warm up before beginning a high intensity workout. This workout calls for three minutes, take longer if needed. 

Following the RPE (rate of perceived exertion) chart below your 30 second sprint intervals should be between a 7-9 RPE depending on your fitness level. The 90 second active recovery interval should be a brisk walk or slow jog at a RPE of 4-6. 




Do you have a home gym or are you considering it? Check out Matrix Fitness for their line of luxury home treadmills with all the bells and whistles. In the meantime, try out this HIIT Sprint 8 workout and let me know what you think! 


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Keep Running,

Lea


I am a NASM personal trainer and RRCA adult distance running coach that specializes in strength training for runners. I offer in-person training in the Shredshed, online training and Fit to Run bootcamps. If you are interested in a more in-depth running or strength training plan, please contact me. Have questions? I'd love to help. 

Are you a Dallas/Fort Worth local? Join us for my free Saturday morning bootcamps

While I am a certified personal trainer, I am not your personal trainer. Since I don't know your exercise abilities, injury background or medical history, please see your doctor before beginning any new exercise program. This is an opinion blog. No information in this blog is intended to be taken as medical advice or prescription. Please see your doctor and/or registered dietitian for any health concerns.

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Saturday, February 11, 2017

6 Week Macro Cycling Shred

I just finished up Cori Lefkowith's Redefining Strength 6 week macro cycling shred program. Before I tell you how I did (spoiler alert: I could have done so much better) I'll explain macro cycling.

But first...this post contains affiliate links. That means if you decide to purchase Cori's program using the links in this blog I make a small percentage of the sale with no additional cost to you. No one is getting rich here, it just helps with the running (pun intended) of this blog. I purchased Cori's program with my own cold hard cash (OK, I used a credit card). All opinions are my own. If I hated it, I'd tell you. 

Macros or macronutrients are the fats, proteins and carbohydrates that make up our food. All foods are made up of some combination of these macronutrients. Macro cycling is varying the % of calories that come from each these macronutrients so that some weeks you will have moderate protein, fat and carbs and other weeks higher protein and fat and lower carbs. I like macro cycling because you get some of the benefits of a lower carb diet (never extremely low on this plan) without the drawbacks of low carb, because you never stay in a cycle for more than two weeks.

Here is an example with just one food item for illustrative purposes. I ate three eggs this morning and entered them into MyFitnessPal. Just looking at the eggs I entered, you can see that 2% of the calories from my eggs came from carbohydrates, 70% from fat and 28% from protein.



Remember this is just one food item. When you enter all the food you eat in the MyFitnessPal app it will calculate the total daily macros for you. The goals listed in the image are from the final lowest carb phase with only 20% from carbohydrates. If you run a lot or do any kind of endurance exercise you may find this too low even for a two week period. Since my shoulder injury, I am not doing a lot of high intensity or endurance workouts so I was able to maintain this number relatively easily before cycling back to a higher carb intake. This phase is not intended to last more than two weeks. Always listen to your body first.

Let me tell you how I did on the macro cycling shred program.

The Good


I lost 8 lbs in six weeks and honestly, I didn't really have 8 pounds to lose. I gained a few vanity pounds over the holidays and I lost those and more. I'm good.

There may be other factors at play here in addition to the macro cycling: I stopped drinking wine and eating out. I didn't do either of those things excessively beforehand, just a few glasses of wine over the weekends and would eat out 1-3 times per week. I am sure these changes also played some role in my success.

But I will also point out that I hurt my shoulder eons ago so I haven't been exercising as much or as intensely as usual. In addition, during those 6 weeks I went out of town for a wedding and ate out every meal for one day. Everything seems to have balanced out nicely regardless.

The Bad


I didn't do a great job in hitting the targeted macros at all. I thought I would just be able to make a few tweaks to my normally healthy meals and I would magically hit the numbers. Turns out I actually have to work at it. Go figure.

I was shocked in the first two weeks at how few calories were coming from protein, even though I eat protein-centric meals three times a day like eggs, chicken, fish, etc. It seemed like during the whole program I was always over my percentages on fats (I love my morning eggs) and under on protein. I was pretty good at hitting the carbohydrates through the cycles.

I am a Premier Protein ambassador, so in addition to adding plain Greek yogurt and cottage cheese as snacks for additional protein, I started using more of the Premier Protein ready-made and powdered protein drinks to help hit my numbers.

Afternoon snack of banana Premier Protein, plain Greek yogurt and strawberries YUM.


During every two week cycle it would take me 3-4 days just to get even close to in-range. It took me a few days to kind of figure out where I would land for the day and then I would make adjustments the next day. I am pretty sure I never hit the macros exactly. I can do much better.


Lessons Learned


My big takeaway for success in the program: Plan ahead.

Enter what you plan to eat into MyFitnessPal the day before. Plan out every meal and go ahead and enter them all in as if you already ate them. Where did the macro percentages fall? Did you hit the targets? Make adjustments as needed. My mistake was that I was entering as I ate throughout the day, but then if my macros were off it was too late to do anything about it. I don't know why this didn't occur to me until the very end of the six week program even though Cori repeatedly said, "PLAN AHEAD!" I thought I was planning ahead because I had an idea in my head what I would probably eat that day. Wrong.

My husband is the cook in the family, Chef Boy Russ G, as he likes to be called (hah). He plans and cooks dinner every night. While he is super supportive in whatever I am doing, I can't expect him to cook me special dinners every night to make sure I hit my macro goals (that would be a whole new level of spoiled. I am pushing it as it is). I ask my husband what we are having for dinner, I enter into MyFitnessPal the day before and then I plan the rest of my meals and snacks around it so I can still meet my numbers. Brilliant! (If I do say so myself.)

I, for one, have to be very careful when tracking because I have a tendency to fall into an "all-or-nothing" mindset. I work very hard at moderation. I can easily swing from one extreme to the other if I am not aware and careful.

While tracking meals, calories and macros can be helpful, I also have to check myself that I am not getting obsessed or carried away. I find that tracking helps a lot with mindless or boredom eating because it forces me to think about it when I know I will have to log it later, but I try not to go crazy.

I go at least one day a week where I eat whatever I want (Sundays are for waffles!) and don't enter anything into MyFitnessPal. It helps me mentally and physically maintain sanity. If I am off on my calculations or have a bad day, I simply move on. This is life. You do the best you can when you can. #wycwyc (look it up). As with anything all we can do when life doesn't go as expected is learn lessons, move on and try to do better next time.

What's Next?


I am repeating the six week macro cycle shred, this time with a focus on body composition. Since I do not want to lose any more weight, I will increase my calorie intake a bit and work on some strength and cardio around my shoulder injury. 

This time I am going to track my body fat percentage, body measurements and scale weight because the scale doesn't tell the whole story, especially when we are talking about body composition. I am even going to take a "before" picture in my shorts and sports bra (that I will be keeping to myself for now). I fully expect to have great results after six weeks. Repeat after me. 

"I fully expect to have fantastic results after six weeks!" 

You have to believe it first. Then put in the work. 

If you are interested in trying Cori Lefkowith's Redefining Strength Macro Cycling Shred program with me you can learn more here. I respect Cori and her nutrition and fitness programs. With so much misinformation out there, she is one of the voices in the fitness industry that I trust to give it to me straight. I wouldn't stand behind and promote a program that I didn't personally believe in.




I'll keep you posted on how it all goes! I wrote about macro cycling a little more over on Lea Genders Fitness.

Like this post? Please consider sharing.

Keep Running,

Lea


I am a NASM personal trainer and RRCA adult distance running coach that specializes in strength training for runners. I offer in-person training in the Shredshed, online training and Fit to Run bootcamps. If you are interested in a more in-depth running or strength training plan, please contact me. Have questions? I'd love to help. 
Are you a Dallas/Fort Worth local? Join us for our free Saturday morning bootcamps

While I am a certified personal trainer, I am not your personal trainer. Since I don't know your exercise abilities, injury background or medical history, please see your doctor before beginning any new exercise or nutrition program. This is an opinion blog. No information in this blog is intended to be taken as medical advice or prescription. Please see your doctor and/or registered dietitian for any health concerns.

Does your running partner have four legs

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Friday, February 3, 2017

Furry Friday Feature: Running on Happy with Rachel & Trixie

Welcome to the latest edition of Furry Friday Feature! This month I am thrilled to introduce you to Rachel from Running on Happy and her favorite four-legged running partner, Trixie.



Tell us a little bit about your favorite running partner.


Trixie is a terrier/poodle mutt. We rescued her when she was 4 months old. Now she's a year and is still learning the ropes of running.

Where is your favorite place to run with your pooch?

We haven't gotten too many miles in together yet since she's still learning. So far we enjoy running in our neighborhood.

Tell us about a running moment that made you proud.

Every time I take Trixie out on the run I'm a little more proud. The first few times we went running together she would run as fast as she could and I had a hard time keeping up. It was frustrating for both of us. But the more we've run together, the more she stays right by my side. She weaves very little and there's a lot of slack in the leash (which is how it's supposed to be!). It makes running together a lot more pleasant and we have a blast.





What running (or life) lesson can we learn from our dogs?

To always have fun! If running isn't fun, what's the point?

Do you want to tell us anything else about you or running with your dog?

When we first got her, she was not the breed I wanted to run with. I had a completely different dog in mind. But I'm glad I gave her a chance because as it turns out, she's quite a great running partner! My advice if you get a dog to run with: don't give up! Puppies are hard to run with. Wait until they're older and their bones have hardened and their attention span is longer. They'll love running with you!





Any parting thoughts?

If I let her off the leash at the end of our run, her favorite thing to do is run as fast as she can. Even if we just ran four miles together and she's fairly tired, she still has enough energy to run, run, run! She runs to the neighborhood dogs' houses to see if they're available to play. And if they're not, she explores the woods behind the homes on our street. It's really cute.

You can follow Rachel and Trixie on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. Thanks for sharing Trixie with us, Rachel!

Do you run with your dog? Want to be featured with your favorite four-legged running partner? Fill out this form for a chance to be featured in a future blog post. 



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Keep Running,

Lea

Does your running partner have four legs

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