Tag Archives: endurance

Plyometrics – JUMP!

Hello!IMG_2513

It’s Me!

Quick Update:

-Loving second semester of my Masters program! Always learning new things 😀

3 Months ++ of ZERO running (does running for the train count?)


What have I been up to since getting off running?

If you are wondering, I haven’t been sitting on my butt. I can’t sit still. 😛 I cannot NOT do anything. I’ve been doing heaps of body weight circuit training and cycling!

Most of the exerises that I do involve some sort of jumping. I find that it is a REALLY good way to get my heart rate up. Because I have plantar fasciitis, I’ve been incorporating it with a lot of care! I try not to aggravate it too much and have full days of rest + a lot of stretching + foam rolling the feet, calves, hips, butt, hamstrings (SO GOOD!)!


So, let’s talk PLYOMETRICS! Plyos have been a huge part of my training (lately). I love how my training has made a 180 degree change from pure running to pure circuit training. I’ve always been doing some sort of strength training (but it was never consistent). I found it REALLY hard to incorporate other forms of training when I was running. And I was not doing as much cross training as I should. Injury has forced me out of my comfort zone and I’m loving every bit of it!

IMG_4817Every time I start jumping, I remember why I chose running. 😉

If you can see the silver lining, amazing things can come from seemingly “bad” situations/conditions. It is all about perspective and how you deal with “failure” or “change”.


BACK to plyos.

Plyos involve a lot of quick EXPLOSIVE movements. Think jumping and bounding.Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

The goal is to get your muscles to exert MAXIMUM force (EXPLODE) in the shortest amount of time. This means going from eccentric contraction (muscle lengthening) to concentric contraction (muscle shortening) as fast as possible.

Imagine you are trying to jump onto a box. What do you do? You would bend your knees and lower your body slightly before trying to jump. That bending/lowering is basically the eccentric phase where your muscles are prestretched to store potential energy. The jump is then the concentric phase where you release all that stored up energy.

Plyos require a high amount of force, which can lead to stronger bones, joints, tendons and ligaments.

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– Increases POWER & SPEED
-Increases ENDURANCE
-Increases intermuscular coordination and neural drive = Strength and efficiency
-Reduces landing force
-Improved dynamic balance in older people
-Weight bearing = stronger bones (increase in bone mass)
-Decrease risk of ACL injuries
-Better static and dynamic stability
-Aerobic capacity – increasing blood lactate, heart rate and oxygen consumption

Examples:

IMG_1989-Burpees

IMG_3338-Jumps (box jumps, squat jumps, jump lunges, tuck jumps, broad jumps)

IMG_2068-Hops (single leg hops)

IMG_7940-Bounding

-Death jumps

-Plyo push ups

Menu:

Pick and mix! You can do a few sets with a definite amount of reps or set the timer (30 seconds work:30 seconds rest etc). You can alternate between plyo and non-plyo moves for active recovery in between each move.

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Caution:

-Plyos are an advanced form of training (athletes). Make sure you have a good fitness base, flexibility, strength, coordination and range of movement.

-Make sure you warm up for at lesat 15-20 minutes before any form of exercise (esp plyos)

Start slow from lower intensity movements before progressing into more explosive and advance movements

-Engage muscles

-Ensure proper biomechanics while performing every movement

HAVE FUN!

xoxo

 Resources:

NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training 4th edn 2012 (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins)

 

 

Feature: The Ultimate Running Programme

Don’t forget your heart, the most important muscle!


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Special thanks to Axtrosports for this feature! Click here for the FULL ARTICLE. This is just my part on running. ENJOY!


 

We are grateful to have Adele Wong from www.adeleruns.com to share with us a surefire way to whip your heart into shape.

Why Run?

Running is a great workout that can be your staple-go-to healthy activity or thrown in to complement other training regimes that you might have. Running boasts many health benefits, including improving the cardiovascular system (heart, lungs, vessels), strengthens bones, lowers cholesterol levels, releases stress, increases metabolism and helps with weight loss!IMG_4966

If you’re just starting out, your main focus should be on consistency. Commit to a few days of running a week and make it sustainable by picking your preferred time and place.

Week 1-4

The focus for these weeks would be to make running a habit and to build a strong base for more structured workouts.

You can start by running 25-30 minutes, 3 times a week. Monitor how you feel after each run. When 30 minutes becomes too comfortable, you can add 5-10minutes and eventually, being able to run for 50-60 minutes with ease.

At this stage, you can forget about distance and pace. Instead, focus on how you feel. On a scale of 0-100%, you should be running at 70-80% of your effort. Don’t worry, you will get a better gauge of how you feel when you start to run a little more!

Week 4 Onwards

Once you get stronger with a good base, you can spice up your running regime by adding some “fun” and structured workouts. This is where you can work on developing speed and endurance.10356340_10204293752563578_8230519310562349253_n

 

Let’s talk about adding interval training to your running routine. Without getting too technical, interval training is alternating between bouts of high intensity effort and low intensity effort. The duration, recovery time and effort level of each bout depends highly on which physiological system (cardiovascular, muscle strength, nervous system, anaerobic system etc) you want to work on.

Some Great Routines

Short Sprints

10 x 100m sprints with 2-3 mins of recoveryIMG_1446

As you get fitter, work on increasing reps and distance up to 200m. Keep your running time to less than 1 minute.

Hill Sprints

10 x 30 seconds up a steep hill with a jog down for recoveryIMG_2065

As with short sprints, work on increasing reps.

*Short sprints and hill sprints stimulate the nervous system and works on strengthening your muscles.

Long Hill Repeats

8-10 x 60-90 seconds up a gradual incline with a jog down for recovery

IMG_2092Work on increasing reps.

This workout works on muscle fibres that are needed in middle distance running (1km-10km).

Other Routines

6-8 x 400m with 2-5 minutes of recovery (@ mile pace)

4-6 x 600m with 2-5 minutes of recoveryIMG_1448

1 km @ 5km pace | 3-5 x 800m with 2-5 minutes of recovery (10km pace) | 1km @ 5km pace

5 x 1km with 3-5 minutes of recovery

2 minutes x 6 with 2 minutes of recovery

10 x 30 seconds with 30 seconds of recovery

The combinations are endless! You can even do a combination of 5 x 1km finishing with 5 x 400m or 3 sets of 100m, 200m, 300, 400m, 300m, 200m, 100m. As mentioned previously, the effort, duration and recovery time depends on which physiological system you intend to work on.

In general, if you want to work on:

Improving the pace over longer distances (speed endurance): the recovery interval can slowly be shorten/equal to the running time

Getting used to the increased pace by stimulating the nervous system: 3-5 minutes of recovery depending on the length of running time

Anaerobic system: the recovery time should be twice the amount of running time to allow for full recovery and anaerobic products to be cleared.

Try adding any 1 of these structured running workouts once a week on top of your usual 3-5 days of easy running. As your body gets used to the stress of heavier workouts, you can start adding 2 structured workouts a week!

Running is so versatile! Mix it up and have some fun!

Fat Loading: Does it work?

*I apologize in advance for all the drool worthy fatty food pics*

I can’t say this enough, our bodies are AMAZING. Why? Simply because we are capable of adapting to our immediate environment in so many ways!

As you can see from my previous posts, we are highly adaptable creatures. Train hard enough and you are able to run that much faster because your body has made the necessary changes to adapt to it.

In this context, going on a high fat diet (and low carb) would force your body to utilise it more efficiently.FullSizeRender_1

I know what you must be thinking: YAY! Another reason to go on a high fat diet! Of course, it is NOT as simple as it looks. If it was, obesity and other metabolic diseases would not exist because we’d all be super fat burners!

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Previously, we explored how endurance training can help us become efficient fat burners.

Let’s take a look at Fat Loading:

A few studies have found that in general, fat loading does improve performance during endurance based activities [1 , 2]. During an endurance event, intramuscular triglycerides (muscle fats) contribute a significant amount of the total fats used [3]. Consumption of a high fat diet has been shown to enhance the utilisation and storage of these muscle fats. This is the adaptation seen when undergoing endurance training.

However, note that high fat diets only seem to improve time to exhaustion in moderate intensity activities [4].  This is hardly the case in real world racing where there will be times of acceleration, uphill surges, midway and finishing sprints which are moments of high intensity bouts. Such a diet will not work for shorter higher intensity races (5K or 10K race) [5]. Also, a prolonged high fat diet seems to impair endurance performance [1].

The Protocol

Remember that you are not depending on just ONE TYPE OF FUEL at any one time during a race, it is a combination of the different types of fuel. Research has found that it was better to have the best of both worlds – a hybrid diet. A typical fat loading protocol would include a few weeks (1-1.5 weeks) of high fat diet to stimulate the fat oxidation capacity followed by a period (2-3 days) of high carbohydrate diet preceding a race to top off glycogen stores [6].

If you start off with low glycogen levels, performance will indeed be impaired!IMG_6893

Carbs and fat!

The Downside

There’s always a downside. The thing about fat loading is that while it enhances fat metabolism at moderate intensity activities, the use of glucose as a source of fuel is impaired. Studies have found that prolonged fat loading has been associated with a decrease in hexokinase activity (enzyme involved in the first step to using glucose as fuel) and pyruvate dehydrogenase activity (another enzyme involved in using pyruvate as fuel) in trained individuals [7]. This can affect the individual when the demands for muscle carbohydrates are high.Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Personal Thoughts

I’ve gone through a few research papers and they all seem to have very different results/conclusions due to the heterogeneity of the trials.

Every individual is different. Some people can thrive on a high fat diet whereas the same diet might leave another person sick in the stomach. It is quite hard to screen for people who can adapt well to high fat diets to improve performance.

FullSizeRenderJust when I thought I could EAT ALL I WANT!

I personally don’t think I can go on a high fat diet. I have not tried though! But I guess for anything below the marathon distance, going on a high fat diet does not give any significant benefits.

Energy gels are readily provided throughout a race to help you avoid the dreaded bonk and maintain blood glucose levels.

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However, if you are planning to explore ultraendurance events, it may be worth your time to give this protocol a go. *At your own risk!* Experiment with 7 days of high fat diet followed by 2 days of carbo loading before an endurance event, who knows, it just might help!

*Don’t try this before your race though, practice first!*

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At the end of the day, TRAINING is inevitable! It guarantees improved performance and turning you into an efficient FAT BURNER!

Proper training coupled with a wholesome well-balanced diet DURING training is much more important when it comes to improving your performance.

I am curious to know what you think! 🙂

Keep Running!

 

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Fat and Running

Hello!

Hope you guys have been keeping well. I have not been blogging consistently. WHOOPS! I’ve got a lot on my plate right now and I’m feeling a little overwhelmed (in a good way!)! Please bear with me on this one. Life is getting a little bit more exciting and I hope to be able to share the good news with you guys soon!


If you’ve been following my posts lately, you will notice that I’ve been talking about FUEL and RUNNING.

Just a quick recap:

We talked about carbohydrates, how to maximise our stores (glycogen stores) before a run and how to reduce dependence on these stores during a run!

An important point to note is that carbohydrate stores, both in our liver and muscles, ARE LIMITED.


Thankfully, our bodies have another source of energy – FAT!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetThis just spells F-A-T

Fat is basically UNLIMITED. You can’t run out of fat. If you do, you’ll die.

From the above statement, you can see why tapping into your fat stores would be an advantage. If you can train your body to increase its reliance on fat stores, you will be a fairly good endurance runner!

Fat is stored in adipose tissue (fat cells) and muscle.

FAT CELLS

Pinch the side on your tummy and you’d probably be pinching some FAT. Fat cells are found all over the body: abdominal area, buttocks, hips and under the skin. The more we eat, the more fat we store and it becomes our energy reserve.

However, storage fat is not essential for health and too much of it increases the risk of certain diseases.

MUSCLE FATS

Fat stored in muscle is known as intramuscular triglycerides. Found throughout skeletal muscles, they are available for immediate use during exercise [1].

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The story is not as straight forward for fat cells (compared to muscle fats). Storage fat needs to be broken down into fatty acids and transported to the muscles to be used for energy.

Free fatty acids (from fat cells) and muscle fat provide energy to fuel your running.

Which fuel you burn (Carbohydrates or Fats) during running depends on the intensity and duration of it (more on that later). However, how much fat you burn depends largely on your genes as well as training and nutrition.

Although genes wear the biggest hat, you can always train your body to burn more fat at higher running intensities.

Fatigue sets in when your body is low on fuel. As mentioned, fat is virtually limitless which makes it a very attractive source of fuel.


So, the question is: How to become a fat burner?

Becoming a FAT BURNER

The answer lies in endurance training. As you know, when you’re running a marathon, you’re running at a submaximal pace. At this intensity, your body uses more fat. Many months of training and running miles logged would mean that you will burn more fats as compared to carbohydrates at the same intensity. When the weight is off muscle glycogen and blood glucose, you delay fatigue. This ultimately translates to better running performance.

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As mentioned, for fat to be used as fuel, it must first be broken down into fatty acids, mobilised and transported to the muscles to be burned. Endurance training enhances the capacity of muscles to use fat. It stimulates the production of enzymes that would enhance all the steps required to use fat as fuel [2].

In the presence of oxygen, mitochondria are the factory that produces ATP (body’s energy currency). Endurance training increases the number of mitochondria in a cell which means that you can produce more energy from fat (fats are being ‘burned’ in the mitochondria) [2].

Running puts a certain amount of stress on the body. When you start running, the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight response) comes into play. The main energy fuel that is used to meet the sudden demand of energy is carbohydrates. Thankfully, humans are highly adaptable and we are able to learn and change to better handle that stress in the future. Training reduces this sympathetic response and puts a greater reliance on fat as fuel [3].

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Throwback to when I first started running.

Remember how hard it was when you first started running – your breathing was all over the place, your heart felt like it was going to explode and your limbs had a mind of its own – but you continued anyway? And then a few weeks later you realised that running is the easiest thing in the world. That is because your body adapted to the “stress”.

At the same running speed, a trained individual is a fat burner that relies less on carbohydrates to fuel their running at the same intensity as an untrained individual. IMG_0897

These training adaptations don’t take place overnight. There are no short cuts. You can see how training, hard work and effort are keys to unlocking the lock to becoming a great runner.

But if you happen to have a problem with committing to training, maybe there’s a way out. Ever heard of fat-loading diets? We’ll explore that next!

Till then, keep running! 🙂