Triathlon season is leaving me a little soft – I’m sure I’m not alone. All the cardio at the expense of weight training means a loss of some muscle definition, and a little weight gain.
How is that possible, you may ask? After burning all those calories?
Have you ever wondered why your group fitness instructor isn’t lean and mean (a lot are, but they know how to manage their cardio)? Or, perhaps you’ve seen an endurance runner and wondered why their body isn’t quite what you’d expect.
The problem is this, and it is entirely unfair. As you do lots of cardio, your body becomes quite efficient – so you aren’t smoking the calories like you once were during the same activities. You also don’t put on lean muscle mass doing cardio as effectively as you do with weight training – and it is lean muscle that ups your metabolism. Cardio craziness can also make your body efficient at storing fat. If you’ve ever trained for a marathon hoping that the pounds would melt away, and found yourself at the same weight (or heavier) at the end of the race – you know just what I’m talking about.
Our bodies also get a little crazy with all the cardio training. Cravings for more and more food sets in because your system senses deprivation – and deprivation means danger. You are just hungry – insatiably so — and sometimes it is nearly impossible to refuse and extra serving. Extra servings equal extra weight, even if its an extra serving of healthy fare.
So, I hit the weights this week for the first time in a while with a purpose: to get leaner and reduce the softness. I thought I’d share this simple routine to get you back on track. The moves also help with the muscles you need to swim and run — so there is a method to my madness beyond simple aesthetics. In just 30 minutes, you work every major muscle group. Rest 30 seconds between each set and augment the workout with high-intensity interval cardio.
- 3 sets: 12-15 single leg squats
- 3 sets: 12 reps bench press
- 3 sets: 12 TRX rows
- 3 sets: 10-15 Bosu pushups
- 3 sets: 15 Stability ball hamstring pushups (Lie on the floor with your feet on a chair or Swiss ball that’s against a wall. Lift your butt off the floor, then lift one leg off the ball. Slowly lower your body to the floor, using the hamstring of the supporting leg.)
- 3 sets: 12 single arm pullovers
Look for more strength workouts this week! Remember to use weights that fatigue you by the end of each set – 5 pounds isn’t going to cut it.