I Flunked Cardio

I flunked cardio.  Back when I was  kid in P.E. I had a recurring real life nightmare.  Every day when we got to class, we all had to run a mile.  Every day I would come in dead last.  The worst part was that I was doing everything I could think of to keep up.

I pushed my self as hard as I could.  I carried a stopwatch to see if I could improve my time even if I stayed in last place.  I tried to pace myself at the beginning of the run to see if I could last longer before resorting to the humiliation of walking.  To this day, I am still burned up about the fact that none of my P.E. teachers ever had any advice for how I could get better at running than, “Keep going,” and , “Push harder.”

That probably explains why I get so upset when I hear group exercise leaders shouting the same words at their students today.  The truth is that many training professionals now know better than to ask people to just keep going.  Rest pause, interval training, and tempo training are now accepted techniques for improving stamina and speed, but when it comes to weight loss, many trainers and group exercise leaders are still using steady state discomfort level cardio because it burns more calories during the session than weight lifting or rest based training.

The trouble with this kind of exercise is that it can burn muscle and increase appetite in susceptible individuals like me.  Many of my clients agree that their weight struggles worsened when they tried to do more treadmill, elliptical, or aerobic dance workouts.  Here is my challenge to you: if you have truly committed to a cardio based program for one full year without getting the results you want, contact me: catherine@sugarfreedom.com and I will send you a sample 2 week training program with what I call the “Big Five.”  These are the essential lifts for women who are starting weight training.

If you want a personalized six week program, the cost is just $50.  Simply put “Personalized Program,” in the subject line, and we swill set up a consultation by phone, Skype, or Face Time.

If cardio isn’t working for you, it’s time to learn something new in the world of training for personal development.

I Flunked Cardio.

Again: e-mail me at catherine@sugarfreedom.com

Help. This Leg Workout Is Too Hard.

“I don’t do pain.”  Cathy Best Gordon CPT

Back when I was a chubby kid, my family became concerned about my weight.  My pediatrician put me on a calorie counting diet, and my Mom and Dad put me on swim team.

It was a nightmare.  The diet left me hungry all the time, and my terrible form and lack of stamina literally made swim practice feel like torture.  One of the best parts of being over fifty is the fact that nobody, and I mean nobody, can push me to the point of pain anymore.

That being said, I adore being active.  As a working dancer and choreographer in  musical theatre, I need to continue to develop my strength, agility, and flexibility.  In addition, I like the look of nicely defined legs.  Many of my training clients want a tighter leaner look as well, but many of the exercises that deliver are incredibly hard on the knees.

The solution is to find movements that develop leaner legs without pain.

Just a few days ago, the American Council on Exercise, the organization that certified me as a personal trainer, delivered a bodyweight leg session to my in box.  The session certainly looked effective, but it had single leg work, followed by walking lunges, followed by jumping lunges, and that was just the first round.  I might use the first two exercises in a plan for an experienced client with no knee issues, but even I don’t have the knees to jump right after walking lunges.

So what can we do instead?

Warm up with gentle high knees, butt kickers, standing cross crawls, and leg swings.

The following exercises will make up a leg training session that lasts a maximum of 20 minutes.

Round One

Alternating Side Lunges: 30 Seconds

Alternating T-Bends: 30 Seconds

Body Weight Squat: 30 Seconds

Rest 30 seconds between circuits and do up to 4 rounds.

Round Two:

Regular Squat Hold: 20 Seconds

Heel Raises in Second Position: 30 Seconds

Pulsing Pulsing Plie’ Squat 30 Seconds

Rest 30 seconds between circuits, and do up to 4 rounds.

You may be a bit sore for the next day or so, and that’s fine.  What I don’t want is for you to have trouble walking for a week.  I want our training to be life enhancing, not a painful burden.

For a complete fitness training plan, designed around your abilities, equipment, and goals, contact me:

catherine@sugarfreedom.com