Check out my public running playlist on @Spotify. This has all my current favorite jams to get you through the tough spots.
Check out my public running playlist on @Spotify. This has all my current favorite jams to get you through the tough spots.
As a trainer, I’ve had over 6 years experience in seeing what works and what does not when it comes to my clients & exercise. I see the following 5 mistakes all too often. If you are going to put the time & the sweat into it, you may as well do it right.
You Just Go For a Run
Stop just going for a run. Steady pace running feels like you are burning a lot of calories, it’s a good sweat, and usually the duration in which you run makes you feel pretty accomplished. I get it. But only do steady pace running when you need to recovery or to maintain endurance. This is a once every week kind of workout. This works the same like cardio HIIT classes, It’s great, but there’s really no threshold pace being held or weight/strength-training involved, and so the problem is that you are operating at a consistent heart rate and you are only burning calories during the class. The minute you stop moving, you stop burning. Your body isn’t under any real stress (heart rate variation) and so you plateau. More intense (speed work, tempo running, weight training sessions) require more from your muscles. So the EPOC (Excess Post Calorie Burn) is much great. When you train like this, your muscle fibers actually break down, and in order for your body to repair those fibers, it uses calories for the restoration process.
Stop just going for a run 🙂
You Don’t Strength Train With The Right Weights
Women are scared they are going to bulk up if they lift heavy. And because of this, we have grown to glorify the small weights and high reps, because…. we think, we are the ladies. Well, the ladies can lift heavy too. And they should.
It’s time to put their fear and uncertainty aside! You are going to have more effective fat loss if you lift heavier, and do bigger, fundamental lifting. When you lift below 10lbs with weights, you are only training for muscular endurance. This doesn’t make you lean or toned. The more lean muscle you gain by lifting heavy, the more calories you are going to burn throughout the day. Also, the heavier you lift, and harder you go, the better you sleep. And the better you sleep, the less you are going to crave sugar and salt. Really, the only way you are going to bulk up is if you eat more calories than you expend each day. And if you know you are going to eat about 100 more calories per day, add a 10 minute run at the end of a session.
You Justify Eating by Working Out.
NO! STOP! We are not our pets. We do not reward ourselves with a treat. And the main problem I see with this is in order to make working out a lifestyle and a consistency, the rewards from it have to be far more gratifying than food. The benefits have to resonate with you mentally. Look at working out as your time to be at one with yourself; it’s moving meditation. Working out should be about competing with yourself, about setting new goals, and riding off the endorphins. Once you allow the mental benefits to be more rewarding than the food, you’re going to be unstoppable. It’s all about a mindset.
You Do Targeted Exercises to Attempt to Lose Weight in a Specific Place
If you want better abs, doing 100,000 sit ups isn’t going to do it. Seriously.
Your body is genetically predisposed to lose weight in a certain order. Which is why people get frustrated and stop before their body is fully able to reap the benefits of a workout regiment. Start strength training with big compound movements that recruit more muscles. Big fundamental movements like deadlifts, require full hip extension, so the main power source of the movement is core. The more you can incorporate hip extension, and total body movement, the more you are going to incorporate core work. It also matter how you superset things. Big movement should also be complimented with accessory work (range of motion and body weight training) in order to strengthen all your muscles.
You Cut Out Entire Food Groups
The more colors, the better. And I get that no one is just dying for a salad, but start looking at your food as fuel. Again, this is all mental. It’s about taming how you think of food, and finding more enjoyment and satisfaction in being healthy than you find in a bag of M&M’s.
Easier said than done, I know. Eating junk food is a temporary high, one in which is immediately gratifying, yet long-term, it’s unfulfilling and leaves you a nice little present called excess fat. The gift that keeps on giving. Eating healthier, real food is going to keep you fuller longer.
When you eat bad, you feel bad. And from what i’ve seen, if you’ve made a habit of this, you tend to eat unhealthy again BECAUSE you feel bad. For intense, have you ever been stressed out and so all of a sudden you reach for the bad stuff. Hormones are directly correlated with how you eat, so make sure you are mindful of how you handle stress. Don’t use food to cope.
Circuit 1: Legs Part 1
Circuit 2: Plyometrics
Circuit 3: Core
Circuit 4: Legs Part 2
1. Do 300’s instead of 400’s. The monotony of the one lap workout (400 meters) can become mundane after a while. Switch up your 400 meter repeats by doing 300 meter repeats. What’s good about the 300’s is that the splits will be quicker and shorter, but still have the same anaerobic affect without the longer distance attached to it. Also, 300 meter repeats are not specific to a certain type of athlete. So this type of workout is good for someone who is running a 5k or for someone who is running a marathon.
Try: 7 X 300 with a 60 second break in between each interval
2. Start doing plyometrics. Plyometrics improve overall strength by recruiting on the same muscle fibers that the running motion does, but without the long wear and tear of a run. Plyometrics are geared at improving your overall running economy because they create greater power by training the muscles to contract more quickly and efficiently.
According to competitor.com, “One of the most important functions of muscles and tendons in running is to store energy. Like a pogo stick, your body can store energy from impact and then release it to propel your body forward. As such, a large portion of your propulsive energy actually comes from the energy stored in your legs from impact previously made with the ground. This is why you can leap higher and longer if you do a “countermovement” before jumping, like swiftly bending your knees, which allows you to reach much higher into the air than slowly bending your knees.
3. Do 2 hard workouts (metabolic conditioning or strength training, not so much running), the week of the race and take the day off before the race. Yes, I understand tapering is good, and you should still taper, but don’t become stale. This will help you to avoid exhausting earlier during the race since your pain tolerance is in recent muscle memory. Try and mimic race motion and pace with you sets and make sure you incorporate some triple extension lifting (i.e. deadlifts, or anything you can pull from the ground).
4. Start using music that matches your cadence. Cadence is the number of steps your take per minute. The more steps you take per minute the less time you spend on the ground, which in turn alleviates the impact on your shins and knees. Advanced runners have a cadence of 180 or higher, however, most runners have a cadence of 150-170 steps per minute.
Matching your music to your run is imperative if you want to maintain a consistent pace. The idea is to forget you are running. You want to transcend mentally and physically in order to be in complete sync with your body and stride.
5. Know the difference between anaerobic and aerobic running. According to Runners Connect, “If you begin to run too hard in the middle of a workout or the start of a race, your body goes into an anaerobic state, producing lactate. If you “go anaerobic” early in a race, you will fatigue sooner, and your ability to maintain pace will take a nosedive. Lactate pools in your muscles, and you will have to slow dramatically to get your body back into an aerobic state. Your PR is out the window and you will be struggling before the halfway mark of your race.
PACE PACE PACE.
Whether you’re out there pounding the pavement on a daily basis or you’re just starting to make running a habit, there are ways ensure that you get the most out of every single mile. Read on to discover seven habits from Aaptiv trainer Meghan Takacs that can amp up the effectiveness of your runs and even help you enjoy the journey.
1. Don’t set expectations
Nothing will kill your momentum faster than getting down on yourself for not starting a run at top speed. Avoid negative thoughts by waiting until after the first mile or first block to set realistic expectations for the rest of your run. Be honest with yourself and listen to your body. If you’re feeling great then push yourself. If it’s a less than stellar day, pull back and focus on gaining mental clarity as opposed to breaking a personal record. Running always gives back—don’t look at it as just a means to lose weight.
2. Pay attention to your posture
Be fully aware of your posture and form throughout your entire run. Many people are concerned that focusing on technique will distract from just running for fun. But, avoiding injuries such as shin splints and running faster depend on good form. Be mindful while you run—it won’t take any joy out of hitting your stride.
3. Music is mighty
Your playlist is everything. The music you listen to can make you run faster and more effectively (find out how, here). That’s why I, and your other Aaptiv trainers, work so hard on the playlists we use to create Aaptiv workouts. Find a great run with a playlist that gets your heart pumping and you’ll find your cadence and posture fall into place.
4. Embrace the pain
Running becomes a lifestyle when you stop doing it to lose weight and start doing it to push yourself outside your comfort zone. Yes, you get faster by pushing yourself, but more importantly, stepping outside your comfort zone makes you feel powerful in fitness and in life. Embrace the temporary pain of a steep hill or a longer-than-normal run. The positivity you put into new challenges will help you gain self-awareness and make your run so much more than a workout.
5. Make time for speed
Make it a habit to do speed work with both active and passive recovery. I often find that the more experienced the runner, the fewer miles they run. I used to run 20-25 miles every week—it was great, but my body wasn’t feeling good. As I’ve become more interested in racing 10k and half marathons, I’ve run fewer miles and done more speed work. I have accepted that the endurance is there, and that from here on out, I will work on improving my overall running efficiency by becoming powerful through speed and strength training. I don’t care how many miles you run, I care about how you do it, and how it feels.
Dedicate each run to a personal purpose—it will make your mission to finish a whole lot stronger. Try to find answers and solve problems on your run so it becomes moving meditation. If I’m conflicted about something or I can’t make a decision, I go on a long run. In my opinion what makes a runner experienced is when he or she can use that cardio time constructively.
7. Compete with yourself
Push yourself. Find pleasure in fatiguing to the point where you can’t go on. There’s something about bringing the body to the brink that is so enchanting. You have to enjoy taking yourself there in order to truly love fitness or running. Advanced runners are basically adrenaline junkies daring to do a little more each time.
Ready to try one of Meghan’s runs? Here’s one for every level:
Beginner: “Get Efficient”
Intermediate: “Race Prep Pop”
Advanced: “Chasing Miles“
Food and fitness go hand-in-hand. The effort you put into your workouts can be completely undone by a bad diet. That said, nutrition is very personal and it can be confusing and time consuming to find a solution that truly works for you.
Nutritional science is not exact and you may need a nutrition coach to get a truly personalized eating plan but, Aaptiv trainer Meghan Takacs tackled some common food questions submitted by Aaptiv members recently when she sat down with nutritionist Nicole Gorman MS, RD.
It depends on the carb! Simple, less wholesome carbs that are high in sugar including yogurt, white bread, or bananas, should be consumed 45-60 minutes before you run because they are not as rich in nutrients as whole grains, and are digested quickly. You basically use this type of carb as fuel.
On the other hand, whole-grain carbs, should be consumed post-run, since they help aid in the repair process our muscles undergo post-run. The more complex (healthy) the carb, the more constructively the body uses it.
Gorman says, “Runners should not go totally low-carb since glucose is the body’s preferred source of energy.”
The best, and most efficient way to lose weight is to incorporate 2-3 days of strength training into your week and to make sure that you expend more calories than you consume. Some of you may have experienced a plateau in weight-loss, even during a running program. And, in some cases, you may have actually gained weight while running.
Always remember the calories you consume should be of high nutritional value and should provide your muscles with the necessary carbs and proteins needed to recover. Recovery is a critical component of weight loss. It is important to make sure your body has the nutrients required to rebuild muscle fibers, because if you aren’t gaining lean muscle, you are not going to lose weight efficiently or quickly. Gaining lean muscle helps to eliminate body fat and muscles need recovery time to make those gains. Have rest days!
Gorman says, “You want to eat the quicker acting carb, like peanut butter on white bread, pretzels, or chocolate milk, right after exercise (within the hour) for quicker and more effective glycogen
Similarly for the long-run vs. sprint question (which kind of carbs do you eat before a long run and what kind of carbs do you consume for a sprint workout) Gorman clarifies, “for the long run day, eat the quicker absorbing carbs after for more rapid and effective glycogen replenishment. I wouldn’t skip on on carbs during the day, either. Meals throughout the day, before workouts, should include high-quality carbs. The meals or snacks immediately before/after the run should be quicker absorbing carbs.”
Pre-natal: According to Gorman, “General diet variety is important because the more types of foods you eat, the greater chance you are going to be getting all your minerals and vitamins. Eat the rainbow.” Prenatal nutrition is all relative to the person. But in general, energy needs go up in the 2nd and 3rd trimester, so you should really listen to your body when it comes to what it’s asking for.
Post-Natal- For nursing moms, breastfeeding facilitates weight loss. “But it’s also important, while breastfeeding, to not restrict because you still need all the nutrients,” says Gorman.
Change up your foods and colors every day to keep your pallet confused and entertained. For women who are not breastfeeding, go back to your normal routine before you were pregnant, but make sure you break the habit of “eating for two,” which takes a ton of self-discipline.
Get enough sleep. When you don’t sleep enough you crave sugar, salt, and simple carbohydrates. This is because your hormone levels are not balanced when you are tired. Eat regular meals and snacks throughout the day, don’t skip breakfast, and have a snack before lunch. According to Gorman, “This will prevent too much hunger before your next meal and help you avoid dips in blood sugar that make you feel low energy. Avoid the post-work slump by bringing your gym clothes to the office and going straight from work to the gym.”
Gorman says, “I’d say to consult a health professional (doctor, nurse, dietitian, mental health professional, combo of any of them). You should also make small changes each week to continuously improve, which makes big changes and increases activity over time. These changes could be anything from pushing a little harder at the gym, to just switching up your breakfast routine. In addition to this, continue to strength train to help gain lean muscle and get rid of body fat.”
Nicole Groman, MS, RD
Time: 8:30 AM Saturday
Duration: 60 minutes
The Sweat Sesh for Women
Join me for 60 minutes every Saturday at 8:30 A.M. This class is endurance-focused with strength exercises that can be modifiable to any level of fitness.
Metabolic resistance training maximizes your body’s capacity for change. My class is a mixture of cardiovascular and metabolic conditioning. By simultaneously training these two pathways, anaerobic (muscular) and aerobic (oxidative), I am aiming to torch your fat, and get you lean and powerful. This type of workout is great in terms of immediate calorie burn, but also has a high EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption). Since the 60 minutes is intense and includes high-rep strength training, your muscle fibers do a pretty good deal of breaking down during the workout. This is where EPOC comes in. As soon as you are done working out, your body immediately starts to repair the muscles so it can rebuild leaner and stronger muscles. Your body uses calories to do this. Therefore, the more destruction done to the muscles, the more calories burned post-workout, for the repair process.
I also like this type of workout because it forms a supportive community for women who are looking to maximize their potential. This is a safe haven to sweat out all the stress, be intense and unapologetic!
This class is made to accommodate all levels of fitness. The movements are scalable and there are progressions used so that members can create a solid foundation of form and technique before they progress to some of the more advanced movements. Check out the location HERE.
Hi, I’m Meghan and I am a personal trainer and running coach here in NYC. I have been in NYC since the end of 2015, and couldn’t ask for a better place to spread my love for health and fitness. For me, the ever evolving fitness industry here in New York constantly promotes creativity and innovation when it comes to promoting my own personal core values in fitness. I am a personal trainer at Remorca Fitness, and a running coach for the app, Aaptiv.
I started a Metabolic Conditioning class called Zone, in Atlanta in 2012 and saw a ton of success in the women who participated in the class. Not only did they see results with their bodies, but we formed a sort of bond over those classes! Everyone was supportive of one another and I saw that this helped keep people accountable and motivated. My goal is to start a similar class that has the same impact on NYC participants. The classes will be held at Remorca Fitness (171 E 74th St.) on Saturdays at 8:30 AM.
Sunday: Take Sunday to do aerobic work. This should be a pretty solid distance run, ranging between 5-10 miles based on your experience and level. This should always be an outdoor run to get the variation in terrain with hills and flat ground. Keep the same pace the entire run.
Monday: Run + Strength workout. I like this type of workout because it subconsciously forces you to correct muscle imbalances. Mixing strength with running is directly conducive to making your a better runner. High intensity strength training builds up your resistance to fatigue. It should be body weight exercises in between running.
Tuesday: OFF – Or Cross train low impact (i.e yoga, swimming)
Wednesday: Speed work. This should be a track style workout (i.e. 400 meter repeats or 1 minute sprints on the treadmill)
Thursday: Fartlek Run. Three ways you can do this: One, on the treadmill and you run with your active recovery as an incline walk in between.
Two, an outdoor run, switching between pacing the following: 1. Run (regular pace), 2. Light Recovery jog, 3. Tempo speed (threshold pace), 4. Sprint (400 meter pace).
Three: Replicate the outdoor run style, but on the treadmill.
Saturday: TEMPO Run Steady Threshold pace (3 to 4 miles) and cross train after – lifting
1 minute light jog (active recovery pace), 2 minute run (normal mile pace)
1 minute light jog, 5 minute run
2 minute active recovery, 1 minute sprint (400 meter sprint pace)
1 Active recovery, 1 minute sprint (400 meter sprint pace)
1 minute active recovery, 4 minute run
2 minute light jog, 3 minute tempo (70% Threshold pace)
1 minute active recovery, 3 minute tempo (80% Threshold Pace)
1 minute active recovery, 1 minute sprint (400 meter pace)
5 minute run (normal mile pace