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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2012 12:43 pm 
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Hey everyone,
Summer has begun and I need to get back into shape after a lay-off around March 17th. Before my lay-off I generally went to the gym about twice a week where I would do a warm-up set+set and then I would get on the elliptical for 30 minutes. I haven't weighed myself recently but back in March I was around 143 lbs and not even 6 ft tall. What I'm going to do is start the cardio portion of my program this next week and then implement weightlifting again the week after since I need to make a new routine (I plan on doing warm-up set+2 sets). Overall, the entire workout routine will look like this:

Mon:Gym
Tues:Elliptical (first week=10 min and increase each wk)
Wed:Gym
Thurs:Elliptical
Fri:Gym
Sat:Treadmill
Sun:Other cardio (ex. Jump Squats, Jumping-Jack Pyramid)

Basically the purpose of my new program is to try to implement cardio training with weightlifting in a way which is more efficient, reduces the risk of loss of gains from X days vs W days, and which doesn't require a lot of time since I'm a very busy college student. Preferably, I would ask that most of the advice focus on how I can improve the cardio aspect of the plan since I feel this is the dimension of the workout I least understand currently. Thanks to everyone who posts a reply!


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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2012 12:58 pm 
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What do you want to achieve with your cardio? It most certainly isn't weight loss. So why exactly are you training? What are your goals?
Furthermore, what does your gym days look like? What do you do in the weight room?

"back into shape" is a very loose term to say the least. Considering that you did 2-3x /week routine before, 7xweek is a pretty huge step. I think you should consider adding atleast one or two rest days to your program to begin with. It's about consistency and the fact that results will come from several months of work. Going from zero to hundred will be though to follow for such a long time. But more on that when some of my questions get answers.

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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2012 1:54 pm 
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At least one day/week, do nothing strenuous at all. It would be a good day for a long stroll.

Most important, get off the machines and get out in nature, or at least the fresh air.

You can keep your aerobic fitness maintained with 10-20 minutes of intense exercise 3 times/week. Any more than that, you could eat into muscle gains. Above that, you should be doing something enjoyable, go for a walk, play a sport, etc.

Depending on how your aerobic fitness is now, I think you can get by with 1-2 miles, as fast as you can, 3 times a week. Once you're comfortable with that, start jacking up the intensity so you're doing sprints.

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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2012 11:11 pm 
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Dub wrote:
What do you want to achieve with your cardio? It most certainly isn't weight loss. So why exactly are you training? What are your goals?
Furthermore, what does your gym days look like? What do you do in the weight room?


Hopefully I can clarify some of these things for you. First of all, what do I want to achieve from cardio? Basically in the context of getting into better shape when I talk about cardio I mean increasing my baseline mileage, increasing my VO2max, and just doing something to sort of cross-train with my weightlifting. Now as far as "weightlifting" goes, maybe that's not the best term. Previously my routine looked something like this:

(Remember x2 a wk & warm-up set)
1) Bench press-15 rep max
2)Bent-over Row-15 rep max
3)Chair Dips-30 rep max
4)L-chin-ups-6 rep max
5)Deadlift Curl Press-12 rep max
6)Single Leg Calf Raise-15 rep max
7)Pulse-ups-20 rep max
8)Hanging Up & Overs-12 rep max
9)Scorpion Plank Twist-6 rep max
10) Medicine Ball Arch Chop-30 rep max
11) Side Hip Raise-12 rep max

Please understand that my workout routine is always a work in progress because I'm always learning new ways to make it better. This was meant to be a full-body workout.
My long-term goals aren't very specific right now. I just want to continue to educate myself on better technique while gaining muscle. Hopefully one day I can get up to about 150lbs. I need to stay healthy and stress free and so that's why I go to the gym. Everyone wants to look their best, let's be honest.


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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2012 11:22 pm 
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stuward wrote:
At least one day/week, do nothing strenuous at all. It would be a good day for a long stroll.

Most important, get off the machines and get out in nature, or at least the fresh air.

You can keep your aerobic fitness maintained with 10-20 minutes of intense exercise 3 times/week. Any more than that, you could eat into muscle gains. Above that, you should be doing something enjoyable, go for a walk, play a sport, etc.

Depending on how your aerobic fitness is now, I think you can get by with 1-2 miles, as fast as you can, 3 times a week. Once you're comfortable with that, start jacking up the intensity so you're doing sprints.


I considered this option when I was planning my latest workout/cardio routine Stuward and I'm glad you brought it up for discussion. Do you think stretching on this day would be beneficial? One concern I did have with this is how I decide which part of the cardio I should sacrifice? Should I forget the idea of the "other cardio" on Sunday? Should I stick with the elliptical the entire time and just switch to the treadmill as a substitute when I get bored? As for your second comment, taking a walk outside would be nice but I don't think it's the best option for me. I hate cardio as it is and the elliptical along with other machines just makes things run smoother for me and helps me commit better I think. Besides I get plenty of fresh air walking between classes! I've also thought about doing sprints like you suggest. Again, the problem with this is being able to commit. I'm afraid the harder I have to run the more likely I am to drop my own program. As I periodically review my toleration for cardio exercise it's something I will look into again in the future. Correct me if I'm wrong but as long as I push my body with a steady and accelerated jog I'm still getting a decent amount of intensity.


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PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 5:40 am 
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I'm very similar in that I hate cardio and will avoid it if possible. Finding something you enjoy becomes more important in that regard. The 1-2 mile range I think is the sweet spot between brutal and boring. There is an inverse relationship between intensity and duration in order to get the same benefit. If it's easier to do it inside, then go ahead but anything longer should be outdoors. A rule of thumb is that if you can think about anything else, like read or watch TV, it's probably too easy. However, the long stroll type exercise is for active recovery, stress relief, meditation, bonding with spouse/friends and getting out into nature and off the couch. The benefits extend beyond aerobics.

Stretch any areas you need to. Some people with flexibility issues need to stretch more than people that don't. Don't do it just because conventional wisdom say too. Know why you're doing it.

As for volume of exercise required, Ken Cooper came up with the concept of "Aerobic points" years ago and still talked about it in his latest book "Start Strong, Finish Strong" so he obviously thinks this works. He recommends 15 points/week for "health and longevity fitness" and 35 points/week for "Aerobic Fitness". An example of an activity that will generate 15 pts is walk 2 miles < 30 minutes 3x/week. An activity that will generate 35 pts is to run 2 miles < 20 minutes 4x/week. He assigns 1 point for every 5 minutes of circuit training, 2 pts for 5 minutes of wrestling, etc. You can see that it doesn't take a lot if it's intense enough. There's a huge chart in his book. He doesn't quantify interval or HIIT exercise which I think is a major shortcoming. Dr. Al Sears covers this better in his PACE book.

http://www.alsearsmd.com/msfitnessty/PA ... elines.pdf

Notice the 20 minute program chart only goes for 3 weeks. in subsequent weeks you cut the duration of the work interval in half every 2 weeks and increase the number of reps until you're down to about 8 x 50m sprints at about week 16. The workout duration stayed around 20 minutes throughout. That's the protocol he used for the twins example that he gives.

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Let thy food be thy medicine, and thy medicine be thy food.~Hippocrates
Strength is the adaptation that leads to all other adaptations that you really care about - Charles Staley
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PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 11:57 am 
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The PACE program is interesting because the participants actually performed progressively shorter bursts of intense exercise. There is one thing I don't understand. How do I stay with a program like this over several years? In the pdf article you provided it lasted only 3 wks and for only 20 minutes a piece. Do I just increase the duration or continue to increase the intensity? From the information we have discussed on the thread so far it seems wise to add 1 rest day (moderate stretching when needed).


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PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 4:36 pm 
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I would think that after 16 weeks or so of constantly increasing the intensity, you'll have to switch it up or else burn out. Eventually you'll find a level you're comfortable with and just maintain it.

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Let thy food be thy medicine, and thy medicine be thy food.~Hippocrates
Strength is the adaptation that leads to all other adaptations that you really care about - Charles Staley
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PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 5:16 pm 
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And by "switch it up" you are referring to??


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PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 5:26 pm 
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I mean do something different once in a while.

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Let thy food be thy medicine, and thy medicine be thy food.~Hippocrates
Strength is the adaptation that leads to all other adaptations that you really care about - Charles Staley
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PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 9:48 pm 
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Yeah, don't plan to do exactly the same thing forever. Most of us make some sort of change to our routine every 4 to 6 weeks. It doesn't have to be a big change, at least not that often.

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PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2012 10:21 pm 
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Sounds good. If I have anymore questions I can always come back and get them answered by informative individuals such as yourselves. Thanks jungledoc, dub, and stuward!


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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 4:21 pm 
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Does the PACE program utilize a cool down period after its initial workout program? Most cardio workouts include about a 5 minute cool-down afterwards and some even include a warming-up phase.


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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 7:21 pm 
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Let your heart beat return to normal gradually. The sprints are very intense and your heart rate will be high. At the end of each sprint, continue to walk around until you've caught your breath and your heart rate starts to decline. That's all a cool down is for anyway. You don't need a formal cool down. A warm up is essential. You don't want to just start off with a full tilt sprint.

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Let thy food be thy medicine, and thy medicine be thy food.~Hippocrates
Strength is the adaptation that leads to all other adaptations that you really care about - Charles Staley
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