Wednesday, January 12, 2011

'Abs Express' and 'Muscle Blaster'

This is the year to get really lean and part of the plan of action (including of course dropping some weight) is to add some additional workouts to the near daily running.  It has become almost a cliche to talk about 'muscle confusion' but based on personal experience there is something to be said for the theory that the body or at least particular muscle groups adapt to certain types of exercise.  I am pretty sure that my legs have adapted to running up to 40  miles per week and that they handle this load  very efficiently while expending a minimum of energy.  So I burn fewer calories covering the same distance at the same speed than would a first time runner of similar weight.  Definitely not rocket science.

So what to do to 'shock' the body into burning a few more calories?  Surprise it with some new and different exercises.  Ergo the 'Abs Express' and 'Muscle Blaster' classes, which are offered by the Rice University Rec Center every Tuesday and Thursday evening.  Expect to find me there every Tue. and Thu. until the end of February.  In March I will be in Africa.  Last night I attended the first two classes.  There is no pre-booking or signing up.  You pick up a pass up to 30 minutes prior to the start of the class.  This makes sense as this reduces no-shows to an absolute minimum.

There were about 20 participants for the 45 minute Muscle Blaster and nearly 40 people for the 15 minutes Abs Express.  The instructor, a young guy whom I assume must be a Rice student, was knowledgeable and energetic - he had presented the same classes previously so we got into it right away.  The exercises were of the high repetition, low weight variety involving the use of a barbell, several different sizes of dumbbells, an exercise ball,  steps and a mat.  We did a range of squats, lifts, crunches, bends, calf lifts and stretches targeting all the major muscle groups.   Like all exercises of this type, you can work as hard as you care to by increasing or decreasing the weight load.  I thought the exercises were very effective and by the end of the hour-long workout I was starting to feel the burn.  Adding these workouts to my twice weekly hour-long sessions with a personal trainer on Monday and Wednesday ought to give those pesky muscles something to think about...

On the running front all is going well.  My wife bought me a RunLog and I have been using it diligently, jotting down all exercise as well as daily food intake. Not counting calories, just writing down what I consume.  Last week (ending on Sunday Jan 10) I managed 40 miles which is about as many miles I've managed over the course of 6 days (Fridays being a rest day) since early last summer.  The left knee injury now definitely appears to be a thing of the past but I will continue to use the Capsaicin two or three times a day for another couple of weeks or so.  I felt a little calf tightness developing over the last few days (especially after a 14-miler on Saturday) and will continue to use the foam roller twice a day.


Amy said...

There is a similar class to that at my gym, called Body Pump. I did it for a while til I got a shoulder injury and had to stop. But it is very effective!

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