Stretching, Intervals, and Strength (The Final Twenty Pounds)

The Netflix Workout carried me a little ways, but it wasn't far enough. Starting at the beginning of 2005 I completely overhauled my training approach, and that overhaul is now fodder for this weblog. Here were my revelations (which I'm sure are old hat to anyone who's already fit):

  • You can only get more flexible and stave off injury if you make stretching a priority. Do it every day, and not just as a half-assed workout warmup. I now take a break from work to stretch, making it an entirely separate activity from my workout proper.
  • You have to train for strength in addition to training for endurance.
  • Intervals and high intensity training are king. Long duration aerobic training is for marathoners, not team sports and power athletes. Shorter, more intense workouts will still boost your endurance, but without sacrificing speed and power.

You can check out the links to the right to see how I came to many of these ideas (none of which are original, that's for sure).

I have to admit, I was quite skeptical that intense interval training would get me the same endurance benefits (within the context of Ultimate Frisbee) as my hour-long aerobic sessions in front of The Sopranos. But the bottom line is this: I cut my workout time in half, and was easily two months ahead of schedule, conditioning-wise, from the previous season. I was amazed. Shorter workouts, better results. Oh, and I dropped the rest of the forty pounds, bringing me roughly back to my college weight.

Best of all, after many months of forcing myself to exercise, I'm finally happy to exercise for its own sake (and that's despite my workouts being intense and varied enough that watching TV at the same time is out of the question).

Okay, that's enough groundwork. Time to start blogging for real.