HILLS: ITS WHAT’S FOR LUNCH (& FAT LOSS)
This season run faster! Occasionally, I too am a sucker for technology. Whether it be the Jawbone UP3, your Garmin Forerunner, or the latest MyFitnessPal app to track calories, we all need a little accountability and a fun new toy from time to time. The majority of the time however, all you need is our own body weight and a hill! If your goal is to shed fat, increase muscle and improve your endurance and conditioning, then we may need to crank it up a notch. And although Portland is no San Francisco we still have our fair share of hills.
High-intensity intervals or HIIT is popular for a reason. Our clients can do a major fat-burning workout in 30 minutes and not only be efficient but have fun and fit fitness into busy lifestyles. From Tabata to circuit training and track workouts, there are many ways to lose weight and become fitter faster. One of my favorites: hill sprints.
With our busy lives I often here people use the excuse of lack of money or time on why they did not get a workout in. Guess what? The hill gets rid of both of these common fitness excuses.
- Money. The last time I checked, running a hill is free, and if you did not know already Mt Tabor is closed to automobiles every Wednesday! My faves our Mt Tabor, any small hill climb in SW/NW hills, and Duniway Track has a great little hill right off the main lanes, my clients love it.
- Time. Hills Repeats are great from an efficiency point. They are short and sweet! Usually they only require about 30 minutes from start to finish. I am not a gambler but I bet you can carve out 30 minutes into your schedule one time during the week!
My Faves: Below are two workouts that anyone could do. And remember you are in and out in under 30 minutes!
For the Beginner: Non-threatening Hill Work
- Perform a 10-minute warm-up of brisk walking and walking lunges to make sure that the body is warm and ready.
2. Perform 4 to 6 hill sprints. Each sprint will last about 30 seconds. The sprints can be broken up into groups of two. After sprinting up, WALK back down the hill to allow for enough time between sprints., this is important! I often also will have my client use a piece of basic workout technology, the heartrate monitor, to make sure they are sufficiently cooled down before they begin their next sprint. As a beginner the time it takes to recover can vary greatly and the use of heartrate monitor can literally be lifesaving! These workouts are highly client-specific; it’s always better to proceed with caution and progress them intelligently.
3. Perform a 10-minute cool-down to aid in recovery. Usually a brisk walk or jog.
Your work-to-rest ratio will vary, it depends on your current fitness level. I usually have clients aim for a 1:4 ratio. Meaning if they are sprinting for 30 seconds they recover ideally for 120 seconds before the next sprint. The more you do these workouts, the less time you will need to recover. (We usually use the heartrate monitor to verify the exact recovery time).
For the Advanced: A workout I perform frequently with my endurance professional athletes and some of my weekend warriors.
- As with my beginners I always have my clients perform a 10-minute warmup. With my more advanced clients this will usually be about a half mile jog at a conversational pace.
2. Perform 12 hills sprints each lasting approximately 45 seconds, these will be broken into groups of three. In between each sprint, take 60 seconds to get back down to the start. They will usually do this in the form of a jog and at this point our heartrate is not as much of a concern because the client has worked over the past few months on breathing and recovery techniques. In between each group of four sprints, take two minutes to recover before starting the next group of four.
3. Perform another half mile cool-down to aid in recovery.
Your Joints and Intensity
Hill work is generally a bit easier on the joints as long as you are conservative on the downhill, not heal striking and leaning into the hill. For most a grass or dirt hill is the more ideal surface but a paved surface is great to work in occasionally. Running uphill naturally shortens your stride length and this will lead to a more powerful upper body drive. When sprinting, it is important to use proper posture. Try not to lean forward and out over your stride. A slight forward lean without a bend at the hips; driving from the balls of your feet; and keeping your arms in a 90 degree bend driving forward and back not up will help you master the sprint.
Perform this once to twice a week and you will soon be moving Uphill towards your goals!