Cardio Conundrum

Some things are mostly good of late. Teaching has gone well despite my inability to turn the fans on high at times. And usually at least one person compliments the playlist.

Of course, this has also led me to becoming a bit of a subbing whore. I actually proudly wear this label given to me by a fellow SPIN instructor, though when some people say it to me, it can be annoying.

Anyway there is a point here, just bear with me. Recently, at a training session, my cardio routine had come up. Mainly because I had mentioned that assuming all goes according to plan (i.e, Bucktown Athletic Club is open) then I will have close to double-digit classes to teach at the end of February / beginning of March. I’m pretty excited about this but at the same time, slightly freaked out about.

Why? Because starting today I will be getting back to training for a 10-mile race / half marathon and that means I will be running several days a week. That in addition to teaching Spinning classes means a lot of time doing cardio possibly at the expense of muscle-building. Once I started talking to my trainer, I was sufficiently freaked out. I don’t want to lose muscle! I want to actually build more of it so that I can do more as well as feel / look better. In fact, I was so freaked out by our chatting about doing too much cardio that I skipped a planned cardio workout to take a rest day even though I didn’t really “need” one.

Anyway since I enjoy being a subbing whore, I have to find a way to counteract the cardio so that I don’t lose muscle tone. So, that means I am upping my weight training. I am now aiming to do a weight workout at least three times a week. That does not include the time I spend with my trainer. Additionally while I am still doing weight work that is geared more toward running, I am trying to up the amount of weights that I use.

This started slightly as a happy accident. One of the weight classes I take is BodyPump and after not having gone for a few weeks, I showed up to lift. In that first class back, I apparently forgot what weights I had been using because I really upped the weights. On the squats, I was lifting 22 kilo and on the clean and press track, I was lifting 15 kilo.The increase I did on the clean and press was a surprise, but a really good one because apparently I had just not been challenging myself enough with what I had been lifting. Needless to say, I was quite pleased with myself in lifting more for that track. The squats wasn’t really all that big of an increase as I had been lifting 20 kilos. I’d like to lift more, but I can’t get the weight lifted over my head so I think I will be stuck at 22 kilo for a while until I can lift more weight over my head.

My problem with weights on squats isn’t unusual for women since we do have less upper body strength than men. I would be more irritated that I am “stuck” except that I am looking at BodyPump more as an endurance muscle thing for squats. I can always lift more when I am using the squat rack in the gym. In any event, I need to seriously think about how much lifting I do. Not all of the lifting will be of the heavy weight variety. Some of this will be in the form of conquering my new nemesis, TRX. Additionally, I will probably be doing more interval training when I do cardio work. Intervals will keep my body guessing and prevent me from getting “too efficient” at a particular workout and thus stop really making gains in fitness. For more on the efficiency stuff, you can read this article and this one.

I think this will be good for me overall. The last few weeks I have been getting to weight classes more often and while some days I just don’t feel like going, it has been good to go and do it. Especially when after I am finished I feel like I can lift anything. Of course, I will be looking forward to how this all works out once I do my 10-mile race in a couple of months.

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