Diary of a Spartan Warrior: Week 4
Keeping it all in Balance...
For four weeks now, our dedicated team of Spartan warriors have been hitting the gym hard, while balancing work and family.
Not only are they balancing their professional and personal lives, but balance is also one of the key components to their current workout routine.
“Each of our Spartan warriors is doing a workout that combines cardio with resistance training,” says Sean Wells, a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA, and the fitness expert at BistroMD. “It’s keeping this balance and learning when to rest that helps your body build the endurance and strength to handle a race, like the Super Spartan.”
See how each of our team members are exercising and keeping things in balance, with these exclusive tips.
Get Your Cardio On with Good Kicks
“Right now, each of our team members is doing cardio at least 4 days each week,” says Sean. “For the first week up until week 3, each team member was required to do at least 3 days of moderately intense cardio. Now, in our fourth week, we have pushed this up to four days.”
The reason for this gradual shift? Your body’s need to grow muscle strength gradually and to increase endurance.
“Right now, the pace is great, and I’ve never been able to run so long, without breaking as much of a sweat,” says Amanda, a member of BistroMD’s marketing team and a Spartan warrior. “I really feel like I will be able to endure the length of this race, simply because I have increased my stamina week after week. It feels great.”
When preparing for a race like this, cardio is very important. If you need to train your body to maintain the energy to get through a race, start out gradually by doing cardio at least three days out of the week, at a medium pace (jogging, not running or sprinting.)
“When doing cardio every week, make sure it is being performed at 50-75% intensity,” says Sean. “Don’t try to do too much too fast. This is where people make their biggest mistake. Gradually increasing your intensity is key.”
You also need to make sure that you are running on a flat surface, and that you have the appropriate shoes. Whenever you perform cardio, having the proper sneakers can promote more effective balance, and prevent painful injury, like shin splints.
Once you’ve mastered your current cardio pace, bump up your workout to 4 days out of the week, with an extra day of lower intensity cardio (elliptical, cycling).
Maintaining Your Resistance to Stay Motivated
In addition to cardio, BistroMD’s team of Spartan warriors are also utilizing a resistance training workout, in balance with their current cardio routine.
“For the past four weeks, our team has been utilizing a resistance training workout that involves a sequence of different exercises, completed with a certain amount of reps, and in certain sequences,” says Sean. “In addition to the cardio, this routine is designed to work every major muscle group in the body to build resistance and performance.”
Each workout, the team starts out by doing a series of more intense resistance training exercises. This includes squats, heel raises, and a series of abdominal exercises in the captain’s chair.
“These exercises should be performed at the beginning of your workout, simply because this is when your body has the most energy,” says Sean. “Less intense exercises like bicep curls and flexion and extension exercises should be performed at the end of your workout.”
After three sets of squats, heel raises and a series of abdominal exercises in the captain’s chair, continue to build upper body strength and endurance by performing three sets of planks, rows and tricep pushdowns.
“The key with these exercises is that you want to build muscle, but I have learned that technique and form are more important,” says Wes, a member of BistroMD's marketing department and a Spartan warrior. “When I do my planks, rows and tricep pushdowns, I progress gradually, and the results show. Each week, my weight limit increases, which also increases my endurance and resistance.”
It is recommended that you perform three sets of these exercises and that you don’t try to use more weights than you should. Progression here is important, especially when you are trying to build upper body strength.
Toward the end of your workout, do exercises that will require the least amount of intensity. This includes lateral raises, bicep curls, and flexion and extension exercises.
“This workout is perfectly balanced, simply because you don’t feel totally exhausted after you are finished,” says Amanda. “It works really well, I see the results, and I increase my weight capacity each week.”
REST, REST, REST…
When training for an event like this, your body needs at least two days of rest to start, and one day of rest once your workouts become more intense.
“If you don’t rest, you risk injury, and it can actually hurt your progress as you train,” says Sean. “If you don’t rest, your muscles will become overworked, leaving no room for progression or improvement.”
Sunday is the most popular day known for rest, so keep it that way.
For more tips from our experts, please visit the healthy facts section of our website.
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