Wednesday, March 12, 2014

In The Pursuit of [fill in the blank]

I've been blogging about my pursuit of fitness for over a year now and I've learned that the conecpt of fitness is an interesting one.  Everyone has an opinion.

"I pick things up and I put them down!"

"I qualified for Boston, again!"

"Who just pee'd in the pool?"

Crossfit! Delts and Lats! Tempo Run! WOD! Paleo! Intervals! Squats! Taper!


I have my own view of what it means for me to be fit.  And it doens't require a gym membership or a $10,000 bike.  Though, honey, if you're reading this, that would be ok for a surprise early anniversary gift.

I want to be a monster.  I want to be fast.  I want to be strong enough to lift heavy things and throw them over my shoulder while grunting loudly.  I want to walk down the beach without my shirt on and feel like I can strut it out a little.

Please stop throwing up while I type.  Seriously.

Most of my fitness has often been geared towards endurance sports, but in the last year I've learned to appreciate strength and agility training as well.  While my goals are all endurance oriented, other areas have increased my success in the go fast arena.

I break my personal fitness down into three areas: endurance, strength and flexibility.

I am not professionally trained to do any of these, and I have no school training in sports physiology, exercise science, sports nutrition, biology, or really anything having to do with sports or athletics at all.

I am an average, pasty, skinny, hairy, goofy wannabe that likes to ride his bike and run really far.  But I do have a definite opinion about pretty much everything and feel like it's time I shared it with everyone.

So, here we go.

I'll start with the two areas that I only recently (in the last year or so) began pursuing to compliment my endurance dreams.

Because, getting faster is not just about cardio, it's about improving your fitness as a whole.

First up, strength training.

This is where Charla and I head to the gym, grab some weights and straps, and I try to make her puke. She says puking while working out isn't healthy, but I think it's a natural part of the creative process.

Either way, we've learned to start enjoying this part of working out, building some upper body and core strength where before there was not much.
Charla getting her pump on in the weight room.

Handling lower weights and slower movements gives us increased strength and low twitch muscle fiber, increasing our endurance.  More weight with violent, quick thrusts and movements works the fast twitch muscles helping our ability to explode into a sprint finish or power through a climb.

On top of the endurance and speed benefits is the fact that increased muscle mass also burns more fat.  Your metabolism matches itself to your body make-up.  Build muscle, burn fat, weigh less, then move faster thus burning more fat.  Awesome vicious circle that can work for you.

The harder workouts also help our muscle recovery.  This means that we can push ourselves on a race, ride or training event, then wake up the next day and feel ok.

Less crying like a baby while curled up on the couch.

And, as a mentor of mine once said, "We do bicep curls for the ladies!"

The next area of fitness is flexibility.

Squatch says, Namaste!
I am not flexible.   My wife makes me do yoga and it hurts.  I do it so that other things don't hurt as much.  Ask her if you want to know how to get flexible, 'cause I have no idea.

Honestly, I just started doing yoga with her, and while I can't truly attest to the benefits yet, I know that it's an important area that I need to focus on more.  I've had injuries in the past that I directly attribute to a lack of flexibility and unbalanced muscles/joints.

It's not just about how you can touch your toes, but how your whole body moves together and the perfection of your form or style.

Proper flexibility (and balance) helps achieve proper form and technique in whatever you're doing.  Otherwise, your body moves or strikes in improper ways and leads to stress injuries, twisted or broken joints and bones.  Bad news.

Moral of the story, stretch more often.  And learn to do what you love correctly before you break yourself.

Next time I'll cover endurance, my favorite.

To summarize, hoholo na pia! (runs for beer/carbs)

I'll probably talk about using the Army Wellness Center, VO2 testing, and heart rate monitor use in improving my swimming, biking and running.