Monday, May 2, 2011

Spring Forward

A few weeks ago, on one of those unusually warm February days, my brother in-law and I drove past an obese woman jogging on the side of the road. I commented, “That’s awesome.” Apparently, he thought I was making fun of her, as he replied, “Hey, at least she’s trying.”

“No, I’m serious, it’s awesome. It brings me great joy to see fat people running. She won’t be fat for long if she keeps that up!” was my exact response.

It’s officially spring and this is a time when chubby suburbanites all across the country flood the streets and the gyms to shed off their winter weight in preparation for summer. And you know what? It’s a beautiful thing.

I think seasonal exercise habits are a great idea! If you remember last winter I recommended a muscle building phase to coincide with your holiday eating schedule. It makes sense; more muscle requires more calories, and increased calories usually means an increased waistline. So you put a little flab on over the winter – so what?! That’s a small price to pay for enjoying a little holiday gluttony with your family.

But now, the weather is warming up and the clothes are coming off. If your butt is bigger than it was the last time you had shorts on, I hope that’s because you’ve been squatting heavy the last couple months and you have well developed glutes. If so, it’ll be that much easier to shed your winter coat and your legs will be that much stronger to do what I’m about to recommend… and that is to get out and run!

No gyms, no machines, no non-sense; just you and a pair of running shoes (I recommend out in the fresh air. Run your neighborhood, hit the trails or find a good hill to do sprints on. No experience necessary. Just go out and enjoy the weather and be thankful that you can run.

Like anything else, start off gradually. Try to establish a habit of running before you attempt to break any records. As soon as you find yourself in a routine, I’d recommend that you start trying to run faster, at least on occasion. Sprints and high intensity intervals. There are many additional benefits associated with higher intensity (increased metabolism, better muscle building, improved work capacity, etc) and by keeping your heart rate elevated you can reap all of the aerobic benefits of longer duration steady-state exercise as well.

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