2011-05-21

Here We Go. Are You Ready?

Tomorrow, we kick off our 18 week program with a modest workout. If you're joining me for the Level 3 morning workout, you'll want to get up nice and early. I realize it's the weekend, but you'll have a lot better success if you make your morning workout a regular routine. In my case, this means I'll be getting up at 5:00 A.M., come what may.

What to Do Tonight
Spend about 20 minutes this evening stretching and relaxing. Don't exercise today. We want to be ready to start fresh with 18 consecutive weeks of strong exercise. Drink a lot of water today. If you can handle drinking more than a liter of water, aim for two.

Tomorrow Morning:
Begin by getting out of bed as soon as your alarm goes off. The quicker you stand up and get some light on your face, the more energy you'll have for your workout. Quickly put on your workout clothes and start stretching. You'll want to make sure you do some inside hurdler stretches, calf stretches, IT band stretches, and glute stretches. I seldom stretch my arms, and my back muscles are usually stretched sufficiently during the hurdler and IT band stretches. Keep in mind that the goal of these stretches is to increase flexibility, not to avoid injury. A byproduct of better flexibility is that you will avoid injury. Your muscles will also develop more quickly.

Having finished stretching, it's time to work out! Those of you who are not diabetics should consider having a glucose- or fructose-rich snack on your way out the door. Half a piece of fruit is probably ideal, be it a banana, orange, apple, or what. The energy should hit you just as you start your routine and will be a great help.

My recommendation for you diabetics, however, is to avoid snacking. We'll be starting out with strength training, which will naturally push your blood sugar higher. But you don't want your blood glucose levels climbing too high. As yet, I have not ever needed a snack prior to a strength training routine. You may also find that after increasing your blood glucose levels over the course of the strength portion of the workout, you can complete the cardio portion more safely and successfully. This is why I always do my strength training prior to doing any cardiovascular exercise.

We start with four sets of a push up / crunch / unweighted squat routine. You will have to choose a number of repetitions that is appropriate for your current fitness level. For me, this will be executed as follows:

1st Set:
  • 30 standard push ups
  • 50 standard crunches
  • 30 unweighted squats
2nd Set:
  • 30 wide-armed push ups
  • 50 right side crunches
  • 30 unweighted squats
3rd Set:
  • 30 "triangle" (tricep) push ups
  • 50 left side crunches
  • 30 unweighted squats
4th Set:
  • 30 standard push ups
  • 50 hip raises (see this video for technique)
  • 30 unweighted squats
Remember not to rest between the push ups, crunches, and squats. Our goal is to do these continuously. Take about a 60-90 second break between each set.

Once we've finished that, we'll take a 2-5 minute break before jumping rope. For now, avoid doing any fancy jump-roping. The goal here is to simply keep moving for 20 to 30 minutes. Relax, don't jump too high, don't land too hard. Remember that we have a 40-minute run to complete in the afternoon, so if you over-expend yourself in the morning, you'll have no energy left for the evening workout.

You should be able to complete the whole workout in less than an hour. If it takes you much more than 60 minutes to do all of this, you may want to consider moving down to Level 2. It's only going to get more difficult after today; it won't get any easier.

Tomorrow Evening
Nothing complex this Sunday. Go out for a 40-minute run. Not too fast, not too slow. You should feel comfortable; you should be able to stride out a little bit, too. If you find yourself working too hard, slow down. Today isn't supposed to be a difficult day. Just relax. There's no shame in slowing down to finish the 40 minutes, or even quitting a little early, if you're not used to 2-a-days. Most importantly, stay comfortable.

Up Next: I'll share my initial thoughts after my workout tomorrow, and maybe provide you with some handy tools for blood glucose monitoring.