I’ve talked many times about the benefits of strength training, yoga, core work, and other types of exercise – for the general population, but especially for runners, who tend to do the same thing (run) repeatedly without variety. My seventh post ever was called “Mixing Up Your Workouts to Maximize Your Benefits,” so it’s obviously something I believe in strongly. Articles citing the benefits of incorporating strength training into a regular routine pop up constantly, as well. (picture source)
Somehow, though, over the past few months, my balanced workout habits have been slacking. It’s not that I haven’t been exercising enough, but once I started really gearing up for my spring marathon, I slowly started ramping down the 15-minute interval or strength workouts that I used to love tacking on to my daily routine. I still made time for yoga about once a week, but it was often a 20-minute podcast (I use yogadownload.com). I tried to go to Body Pump once a week, but if I skipped it, I didn’t worry. I did a few ab challenges here and there, but I started skipping my planks more frequently than I’d like.
So, even though I’ve been running consistently, I still don’t feel quite as strong as I like to feel. When I’m feeling a little bit softer or a little bit less strong (I hate the word ‘weak’!), I know I need to change up the plan and add in some strength training. It’s actually perfect timing, because it’s going to start getting H.O.T in Texas for the summer, and I know my runs won’t feel as great. During the summers, I try to allow myself to stray from a plan and run whatever distance feels right, but I’m a Type-A girl at heart, and I love having a training plan or a challenge to keep me motivated. (In fact, I’ve been on some type of running “training plan” – almost always made myself – for probably 4 years straight!) (picture source)
So what am I going to do? Focus T25! Have you heard of it? It’s led by Shaun T, the same guy who led the popular Insanity DVDs. Basically, it’s a 25-minute, 5-day-per-week overall fitness and strength program that uses “Focus Interval Training” to squeeze an hour’s workout into just 25 minutes. It’s high intensity, full-body, and leaves you dripping sweat. Well, at least it did for me! I started my first day yesterday, and I’m already excited. I thought 25 minutes would be a breeze, but it was tough! I can’t wait to feel stronger and fitter after finishing the program!
***Note: Since this post was originally published, I’ve started selling Beachbody products myself! You can purchase yours through my Beachbody website here. And of course, I’m more than happy to answer any questions you may have!***
And what about running? Don’t worry, I’d never give up my true love :). But hopefully, sticking to the plan and challenge of my T25 workouts will allow me to just ‘go with the flow’ of running rather than having a rigid training plan right now. I also joined a yoga studio, and I’m going to quit my gym membership tomorrow. Things are a ch-ch-changing, and that’s a good thing! (picture source)
So what does this have to do with you? OK, I’ll be honest, it’s somewhat of a selfish post, because I believe that publicly stating your goals makes you far more likely to actually uphold your commitment. But I also hope it serves as a reminder to mix things up in your own routine – find things that you can get excited about rather than just continuing to do the same thing day after day and (potentially) getting bored by it. What’s the harm in trying something new to keep it interesting?
So tell me in the comments … What new workout have you tried lately? Do you ever do workout DVDs? (I’ve done P90 and P90X, as well as a collection of probably 10 that I rotate through on occasion!) What can YOU do today to challenge your fitness routine?
Let me know if you want to try going to boot camp! My husband and I have a bunch of guest passes for ours, which is downtown at 5:30 M/W/F mornings, lasts 60 minutes. We’ve been doing it faithfully for about 7 years (more actually I guess!) now and it’s so much variety that it works really well.
You are so nice to offer, Carina! I was almost thinking that my days of 4:xx wake-up calls are over, but your offer is tempting me! I love bootcamp-style workouts! Do you go 3x/ week?
Yes. Occasionally on Tues/Thurs too, but I usually run with my buddies those mornings, so boot camp is rare. Only the week after a race or right around the holidays between training seasons. Email me if/when you’re interested and we’ll coordinate. You’d only need water, mat, handweights (but of course you can borrow mat/weights from us if you don’t have them).
Just emailed you! I’m already nervous 🙂
I’m doing my best to change it up since my personal trainer is now out on maternity leave for 6 weeks. She is who I go to for my strength training while my cardio is primarily through my boot camp workouts. Yeah I am a Type A and have workout overload too sometimes. LOLOL.
Keep up the good work, Diatta! Workout overload is no good, but it sounds like you’re getting in a great balance of strength and cardio!
The great part about FOCUS T25 is that you can follow Shaun and push your hardest, or follow the modifier who’s always on screen. So even if you’re in top shape looking for a challenge to push yourself to the next level, or just starting out on your fitness journey, anyone at any fitness level can achieve exceptional results working out just 25 minutes a day. Like the post above you can find a Shaun T workout that will suit any fitness level. Great Point!
Great points, Jennifer! I try to “ignore” the modifier so I’m pushing myself as hard as I can, but it’s nice to have here there for when you feel like taking a break – you can just modify instead!
Nice, Meg! Great to see this thrown into the mix!
Would love to hear how it goes later down the track- I’ve tried P90x, but mostly only the cardio ones- need to whip them out one day when I feel brave..or not living in a shoebox.
I’ll give you an sneak preview update 2 weeks in since it’s taken me 9 days to respond to your comment :). The workouts are certainly challenging, and I love feeling like I’m wiped out after just 25 minutes. I think I’m getting stronger, although the measurements (they ask you to measure every week) aren’t changing dramatically. I have gained a few pounds which I think it muscle so I’m OK with it! The one downside is the repetition, since you’re doing 7 of the 25-minute sessions per week (and some of the workouts are repeated up to 2x/ week, so you end up doing them a lot). It’s OK for now, but in a few weeks I think I’ll be itching for a change!
Good for you! You know I’m a strength junkie… but I’m actually going beyond that this weekend and doing a Strong Man competition for “fun.”
I did P90X before I started competing and it gave me a great base to build on. Can’t wait to see what you think of this series!
What the heck is a “Strong Man competition”?!? I can’t WAIT to read about this!!! I also love that P90X was a base for your strength building and it was probably the strongest I’ve ever been :). I think I’ll leave the serious strength work to you, and I’ll take over the running long distances for you 🙂
Pulling trucks, farmer’s walks, etc. They look really fun!
Until I started with my trainer, P90X was the strongest I’d been! But yeah… don’t put me down for cardio. 😉
I’m curious to see how T25 works! I’ve heard good things. I recently downloaded the Nike Training Club app… I’ve only used it for about a week, but I like it so far. I’m considering cancelling or at least freezing my gym membership, too, and just doing at-home stuff, but I don’t know if I can pull that trigger. I’m too attached to some of the gym people, I think. 🙂
I will let you know, Cassie! It’s funny – I don’t talk to anyone at the gym, so it’s not the people I’ll miss at all … it’s the Body Pump class!!!!
Have fun with my boi Shaun T! But be careful cause he’s ruthless and I swear he is responsible for my injuries…well maybe hehe 😉
Good to know, Davida! It’s a good point – T25 is not for the faint-of-heart, and I can definitely see it causing injury if you push too hard and / or are not in tip-top shape heading in (I’m not saying that I am, or that you weren’t, just commenting in general). I’ll be careful!!!
You being on a fairly regimented plan … totally not a surprise 😉 Ultimately it is what works best – much like for me I am most happy about where you are now ‘mostly running with some other stuff!’
I really don’t do much formal stuff … and you have seen that I am more than a bit cynical. I have been through too many cycles of ‘latest greatest’ through the decades, Something claiming 60 minutes of results in <30 minutes – especially when it is a product being sold – sends up a red flag for me immediately … though from what I have seen recently the concern isn't about the 25 minute workout – it is the so-called 60 minute results it is comparing with! Know what I mean? The bottom line is 'am I getting a good workout and seeing / feeling results'?
You’re so right on the red flag with the 25 vs. 60 minutes thing. I can very easily do a 10 minute workout with 60 minute results … where the 60 minutes is me pedaling away on the elliptical while reading my magazine and the 10 minutes is sprint intervals :). Yes, I get the point, and I know it’s a total marketing gimmick, but I can tell you FOR SURE that the 25 minutes of T25 today was FAR harder than my 50 minute run!
Awesome! I was actually considering T25 after the baby gets here… seems like such a great way to stay fit in a short amount of time!
I’ll let you know what I think, Laura! Seems like you’re doing all that you can now to make sure your fitness comes back as quickly as possible after the baby – you’re very motivating!
Woohoo, love T25, quick – but SO effective! I think it’ll be perfect for what you’re looking for!
Oh good, Lauren! So glad to hear it!
yes!! love it! enjoy your new routine and unroutine of running. It’s freeing!
I want to get to the point where I can enjoy it being “freeing,” Lindsay! At first, it kind of feels stressful rather than freeing, but I know I’ll get there!
I think there is seriously a Shaun T workout for everyone. My ex-boyfriend did Insanity (while I’d sit on the couch eating french fries watching) and it looked like hell that I would never want to endure. Sure was a good workout though! I think it’s great that you’re changing up your training. It’s all about what is working NOW, and being flexible!
Hahahahaha, you crack me up, Amy. No sugar-coating things for you :). Yes, Shaun T is a little over the top for some people (I am seriously panting half the time and wanting to kick him in the face, but I kind of love that type of workout). Thanks for making me smile!
I auditioned to be in a Shaun T Insanity Video……. Yeah…………………
AHHHH HA HA HA HA HA HA!
I would have fallen over backwards if I had put it in and seen GIGI on the screen! 🙂
Thanks for the kind words. I know T25 will add the cardio you need during the Texas hot summer. I noticed after a week or so of T25 my core was tighter. Let me know if you notice that too.
I’m glad you said that, Jennifer! It’s only been 2 days, and I’m not sure if I notice any core tightening, but it was definitely a great workout on both days!
In the last few months I’ve added in hot yoga which I love love! Regular yoga just wasn’t for me. I need to sweat to feel like I’m doing something and hot yoga does it for me. I think it’s a great compliment to running. I used to teach and do spinning for years and then as I started running more that fell off. I’ve realized the importance of cross training and have added spinning back in and I feel stronger and more fit.
Good for you, Deborah! I really do believe in cross-training for overall fitness. Of course, if you were JUST wanting to run well, there’s something to be said for specificity and NOT doing cross-training, but for me, I want to be fit overall, so I think cross-training is helpful!
I’m in my last week of P90X3 which is also a daily shorter workout program. I was a 30-minute workout doubter until now. I’ve heard great things about T25! I’m curious to find out what you think. Keep us posted.
I will definitely let you know, Jill! After 2 workouts, I’m loving it so far!
I love body pump so I’ve started doing that recently and I enjoy the elliptical – I tend to do body pump once a week and elliptical twice a week until my endurance can permit me doing body pump twice a week, lol. 🙂 Right now I’m just trying to form the habit of GOING to the gym and sticking to it for a few weeks before I get too complicated with things. Definitely agree its necessary to change it up! Have a great one Megan! -Iva
I do LOVE Body Pump … that’s the only reason I’m sad to give up the gym. But I hope T25 fills that void! Keep up that awesome habit of going to the gym, Iva!!! You’ve got this!
This sounds like a great plan Megan! Everyone can fit 25 minutes into their day somewhere. I’ve had to really focus on making sure I am continuing my strength training and stretching. It’s not always easy and some weeks are better than others but I try to always make a conscious effort!
It seems like you’re doing a great job, Sara!
My husband and I are actually starting T25 next week! The Hubs surprised me a few weeks before my marathon by getting it, but I didn’t want to start anything too intense so close to my marathon so we decided to wait to start it. I know what you mean about getting in a workout routine of just running and not making the time for cross training and strength training. I actually haven’t ran since my marathon because my hamstring that was giving me trouble before the race still gives me a little trouble if I try to run. So right now I am focusing on weight training, yoga, and cross training to increase my strength, then next week we will begin T25. Then hopefully soon my leg will be totally healed and I can start running again because I already miss it so much!
Breaks from running are SO good, both mentally and physically, so don’t stress yourself out! You just ran a MARATHON! Many people say that it takes the number of days of the miles you raced to recover (so, 26 days for you), and during that time you should only be doing light activity. I usually start running sooner than that (not waiting 13 days after a half or a full 26 after a marathon), but it’s still a good reminder!
I can definitely relate to getting stuck doing the same workouts! Like you, running seems to take over my life:) I’ve pretty good about keeping up with strength training, but running was the only cardio I did throughout my training. Now that I don’t have any other races planned I feel like I can be much more flexible with my workouts. Since I’m taking some time off running this week, today I did the elliptical and took a core class. Once its warm out I hope to add swimming to my routine. (My gym has an outdoor pool that opens Memorial day weekend- I’m a terrible swimmer but I think it would be a really helpful form of cross-training!)., Your workout program sounds awesome- I hope to hear more about how you like it!
I love the elliptical since I can read a magazine on it :), but now without the gym I’ll be finding other ways – I’m trying to fit in more walks! Swimming is SUCH a good workout. I think when I was doing triathlons I was in the best overall shape due to swimming.
A 25-minute workout sounds pretty easy to fit into my day! I used to do more weight lifting, which always made me feel strong – but I kinda stopped once I quit the gym. Now, I do mostly running & yoga. Although I get plenty of strength work in yoga (& tons of mental benefits!), I have been looking for a high-intensity, strength type workout for a while to add. Especially now that’s it’s (almost) warm enough to workout outside!
I’ll let you know what I think about T25, Lauren, but it seems to be just what you’re describing – a quick, high-intensity workout that could compliment running!
I recently signed up for crossfit (the 2nd time I’ve done so). When I can’t climb/boulder, it seems to be the only activity that is varied enough and challenges my mind enough to keep me engaged. The first time I did crossfit I injured myself (shoulder) and now this last time I strained my back about 5 weeks in–it’s a love hate relationship at this point.
I stuck with yoga about 4x weekly for a couple of years and although it did a lot for my mental state, it just didn’t give me the feeling of strength and fitness I was looking for.
Be careful, James!!!! That’s what worries me about Crossfit – people get so motivated (Which is a great thing!) that they often end up injured (a not so great thing). I hope it works out this time!