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Diary of a Spartan Warrior: Week 12



Preparing to Conquer the New Year...

In preparation for the New Year, our fitness expert, Dr. Sean Wells, is giving you tips on some activities you can master when it comes to getting fit in 2012.

Inspired by workouts from our Real Food Warriors, here are some exercises that you can embrace.

Spartan Warrior Week 12Master Cardio Progressively

Whether you are competing in a race or not, pace cardio is always a good foundation to anchor any workout.

“Pace cardio is designed to build up your endurance, and is always a good warm up for other, more intense activities,” says Sean.

Before you set your designated speed and pace, it may be wise to consult with your physician, just to make sure you are physically capable of handling changes in intensity. (This is especially important if you are 55 years of age or older.)

With pace cardio, it’s all about progression. To begin, you want to make sure you are starting at a lower intensity. This is vital if you want to move forward. Starting out at a high intensity will only hinder your progress.

Start out by doing cardio about 3-4 times per week, at a medium pace. (55-75% Maximum Heart Rate). Do cardio at this pace for about three weeks, or until you feel you can move on to a higher intensity. In terms of distance, you should be able to run a minimum of three miles at the end of three weeks.

After the three mile mark, you can move on to a higher intensity where you are at a 70-80% MHR, for about 4-5 times per week.

Re-evaluate Resistance

Resistance training isn't all about bodybuilding and brawn. If you are just an average Joe who wants to tone muscle, resistance training is a good way to achieve this.

“Like cardio, resistance training also needs to be done progressively,” says Sean. “If you push yourself too hard with too much weight, you risk injury and risk ruining your progress.”

Basic activities like squats, heel raises, rows and bicep curls can give you great results—if you embrace the right technique. Just remember: better technique is better than more weight.

When doing squats, always keep your back straight and bend at the knees. Start out with a weight you feel comfortable with, and that isn’t going to weigh you down. The squat should be a little difficult to perform, but not to the point you feel you are going to fall backward.

When it comes to bicep curls, control of the weight is more important than anything else. Always keep your back straight, and lift with your arms—not your entire body!

For heel raises, lift up on the front of your feet, and keep your weights to the side, raising up slowly, and then gently planting your heels back down on the ground.

For these type of exercises, you want to do higher reps with little rest in between. Make sure you use sufficient weights to do about 15-20 reps comfortably. If this gets too easy, increase your weights by another 5-10 pounds.

For more tips from our experts, please visit the healthy facts section of our website.

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