Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Truth? Though this didn't have the controls of a scientific experiment I think I really DID get more out of my cardio by paying attention to my body. I wear a monitor and it showed me that 50-100 more calories were burned yesterday than I expected.
Is it true? did really paying attention to how my thighs, my back, my abs and upper arms felt as I worked my 35 minutes on the elliptical really burn more calories than just flopping my way through? Or did I subconsciously spend more time exercising and moving than I realized.
Let's examine the day. I did get in a 1 mile walk with my funny little white dog. Here she is, checking things out in the bean field.
But that had been planned all along. It's a short walk, worth some 50 calories, but I'd like to add it to my daily routine.
At work I was at my desk only slightly less than usual. I had a program to prepare for and enough staff that I only worked the front desk for 30 minutes. No walk at lunch time since I had a WW meeting - where I was glad to find out that I'm still within my goal range - even after 2 weeks of rather profligate eating. and still below 150 - which was more than satisfying.
Hmm. I sat during the program in the afternoon - though there was a good bit of walking back and forth as I brought paraphernalia into the meeting room. Altogether, if I really want to push things I burned 50 calories more than I would have on a library day with no kiddie program in it. I guess. Pushing it a bit. Maybe.
Okay - then it was off to the gym - 35 minutes on the elliptical. Normally I'd expect to burn 150 +/- calories doing that while watching HGTV (my 5 o'clock TV poison). I use a programable elliptical that has the hand poles for working the upper body.
I decided to really pay attention to the body and what do you know - I found that to be impossibly boring to do for 35 minutes and MUCH harder too. It's true. I worked harder while I was paying attention. But I just didn't have the mental control to stay at it for 35 minutes. Within the first 5 minutes (maybe even instantly) I realized I had to take baby steps into this mindful body cardio, so I decided that I would concentrate for 2 minutes and then I could buzz off on the television for 8. I set the elliptical so that after 8 minutes it would tell you to start pedaling in the opposite direction. Those were the Pay Attention Minutes. So I did 3 sets of 2 minutes when I paid close attention - abs tucked? glutes taut? back straight? Thighs engaged? Arms pumping? Check.
Ordinarily - at this point I would have racked up about 150 calories burned and to make sure of it I did just a few strength exercises - 3 sets of 10 presses, 3 sets of tri exercises and 3 sets of the rowing lift ... or whatever it's called. 10 minutes in all? Honestly I'd be overestimating if I could claim 50 calories for that.
So at the very best I could claim 300 calories burned for yesterday. But when I plugged the monitor in it showed a 350 burn.
As I said - this was no scientifically controlled experiment but hey - I'll take a 350 calorie burn any day! In fact - I think I'll go take it today. I know my little dog wants me to take her out. I hear her scratching at the door.
Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Don't you just love it when a light bulb goes off inside your head? When an idea you never thought of before blossoms right in front of you? When something suddenly becomes clearer?
(of course you do, LOL)
So today while reading The Best of Spark People article 10 Smart Ways to Burn More Calories
Crank Up Your Cardio to Blast More Fat! the light clicked on at number 9.
"9. Focus. We talk a lot about the importance of the mind-body connection and fitness. Although cardio isn't as Zen-like as yoga, cardio can still benefit from a strong sense of awareness. The next time you do cardio, focus on the movements and breathing while squeezing those muscles. By engaging your mind, you can actually better engage your muscles, which allows you to complete the exercise more easily and still burn more calories!"
Wow. See - whenever I'm doing cardio I try to zone out of what's going on. When I'm on that elliptical or stationary bike ... or even when I'm swimming laps - I try to get away from what it feels like because it feels hard. I like to watch television if I'm not in the water, so I can forget about how tired my arms and/or legs are getting. It's a "grit your teeth and plow through it" sort of feeling. I can almost hear myself thinking "I know this is hard but la la la la I can't hear you telling me!"
But by doing this maybe I'm missing out on something. For sure I'm not savoring the experience of those hard working muscles. Maybe I'm not even getting the full benefit of my workout. I know this is true with weight lifting - when I just push with my arms it's hard hard work but when I engage my abs and glutes ... it's still hard but it's different. It's ... it's easier to do it well.
I think it's time to pay attention to my body while I'm doing cardio workouts. It's time to feel those legs and back muscles, to experience what they're actually doing. I'd like to get to know Who Is This Body a little better. After all, I might like her.
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