Stretching Prevents Injury, and Other Misconceptions About Exercise

This does need a YMMV disclaimer unfortunately.  Cold static vs warm static pre workout stretch varies in terms of efficacy for many, and the six month rule shoe rule is in play for most marathoners, and may even be less depending on whether you rock a stability type of shoe, etc.

Take Out Your Rage On The Rowing Machine

My problem with the gym has always been that I love cardio, but find it incredibly boring to do cardio in a room filled with other people doing cardio. Walking into a gym right after work alongside a rush of folks with the same idea isn’t very appealing in itself. Behold! A line of sweaty health drones best differentiated by the uniqueness of their B.O.! Group classes are fine, if you’re down with the unspoken team camaraderie that comes with spinning or Zumba or whatever. I used to play team sports, I get it. But if we’re not accomplishing a shared goal, I’d rather not feel the pressure of performing in front of a mirrored wall together. I’m an editor, I do that all day at work anyhow.

Source: Take Out Your Rage On The Rowing Machine

Three really important pieces of advice for people getting on a rowing machine:

  1. Learn the technique first! Having the right technique at a slower/consistent pace really is so important.  Don’t be the guy who has to throw his hands up over his knees returning up the slide every stroke. The right technique isn’t too complicated but it really won’t come naturally at first. Check this out:…
  2. Set the drag somewhere between 2 and 5, and focus on trying to move strongly and quickly on the drive, and patient and relaxed on the recovery.
  3. Don’t row at a 30 (or higher) until you know what you’re doing. If you’re just getting a good cardio workout, anything higher than a 24 or 26 only means you’re missing on the technique. Remember, a higher rate doesn’t mean you’re actually going faster or doing more/better work.

Why Counting Calories Burned by Exercise Can Sabotage Your Weight Loss

I’m a huge fan of tracking calories in order to lose weight. This process is quite powerful…with one exception. Here’s an eerie case where merely thinking about calories may nullify your progress.

Source: Why Counting Calories Burned by Exercise Can Sabotage Your Weight Loss

Very interesting read – the article goes into various studies to present why exercise does not mean weight loss.

[maniacal laugh]

How Long Does It Actually Take to Get Out of Shape?

Don’t let anybody tell you different—everyone has skipped a workout at some point. At Greatist, we’re firm believers in cutting yourself some slack and taking time off from exercise when you need to. But we also know how easily three days off can snowball into six, then 10. Before you know it, you’re asking that question we’ve all asked when the gym feels like a distant memory: How long does it take to lose my fitness?

Source: How Long Does It Actually Take to Get Out of Shape?

If you have a regular gym habit, you may be able to take a four-week vacation without losing much strength.  When it comes to cardio, loss occurs faster: after that same four week vacation, you may lose 20% of your aerobic capacity. The good news is that cardio fitness is easier to gain back.  Staying active while you’re injured is money in the bank, even if all you can do is hobbling around.

Something to keep in mind if you taper – a week is fine, two not so good depending on how little you plan on doing.  My sprint triathlon tapering currently is taking Saturday off.  I used to get stir crazy, taking in a yoga class and walking my run route.  But lately I’ve been falling asleep if I’m not active, so my training plan has been evolving… 🙂

Prior to this, and what prompted me to take up triathlon, was that I’d worked up a decent amount of cycling fitness.  Then I was off the bike for a month, and the article confirms how I felt when I got back on the bike – rock bottom.  I was desperately working at it for months before giving up.  I jumped into a beginner triathlon camp for two months, and it kicked my butt.  It was seriously brutal to do running speed work on Thursday, followed by swimming, and then bike on Saturday.  I remember wanting to ride faster, but my legs were used up from the running.  But even if I didn’t do tri’s, I found I liked the cross-training/variety of activity vs just doing more cycling.  And this fits my schedule better, partly because I don’t like cycling with lights.

Can You Lift Weights Faster Instead of Doing Traditional Cardio?

In a 2012 interview for “Faces of MN,” I discussed my answer to the not-infrequent question about what I do for exercise. When I answer that I lift weights and leave it at that, I’m often met with a hesitant follow-up question: “So…what do you do for cardio?”

My answer has long been, “I lift weights faster.”

Source: Can You Lift Weights Faster Instead of Doing Traditional Cardio?

Interesting read.  I was told by a swim coach that when runners were injured, they were told to increase swimming to maintain cardio.  It makes sense that, given the right exercise you can get cardio benefits.

No Playlist

Should you lift weights to heavy metal? Should you cardio dance to hip hop tracks? Should you run the streets listening to podcasts? NO.

Should you work out to techno? To Beyonce? To 50 Cent? To enlivening hard rock? To soothing Sade? Should you jazzercise to jazz and cardio dance to hip hop and do Pilates to Enya and spin class to, I don’t know, that fucking horrible shit they always play in the glass room with all the exercise bikes in there—some sort of boy band shit, maybe?

Source: No Playlist

I’ve previously written about my habit of not listening to music while training.  For most activities, like running or cycling, I find it to be rather dangerous because you can’t hear what’s going on around you.  When I’m cycling, I particularly dislike pedestrians and/or runners who won’t be able to hear my bell/etc.  Occasionally, cyclists too.  At one point, I would find a song at a desirable tempo stuck in my head before going running.  I don’t remember when I stopped, but I think I’ll try it again now that running is feeling easier and I’m doing a consistent time.

For other things like yoga or cooking, it’s a different matter.  Yoga, I tend to zone out for the most part.  I’ve always found it meditative.  Cooking – sometimes a fast tempo helps with the dicing/mincing/etc 😉

Whatever works for you, be safe.