A very close friend came to my house yesterday to exercise in my home gym and our kids enjoyed a playdate while we trained. My friend has not worked out in 7 years, so I promised her to show her some exercises to help her with her problems areas.
I learned a lot from her as well. Not about exercise but about mental state of mind and a different perspective. Let me explain what I mean and maybe some of you can relate.
I asked my friend what she did when she went to the gym. She said the elliptical machine, treadmill, and some kind of stair climber. That’s it. She expressed to me how important cardio was to her. I asked her why, and she said because that’s what women are supposed to do.
Then I asked her about her diet. Her mornings consist of barely eating, or having a cookie with a coffee. She might not eat the entire day but have a grilled chicken or fish with mashed potatoes, for example, for supper.
I asked if she drinks water. She said on occasion but I know she prefers diet Coke. Yet my friend is tall, ultra thin and gorgeous.
Then I showed her a basic body-weight routine consisting of push-ups, skipping, sit-ups, burpees, lunges and squats. She had difficulty, with reason, considering she has never done interval training. After 5 minutes, she was sore all over and asked, how could it be considering she was working out 4 days a week at a gym doing cardio. I will get to my answer in a moment.
While I was encouraging her to keep pushing forward through her work out, she stopped and said, “not everyone is as crazy as you. When you get an idea in your head, you go all the way. I need to take it slow.”
Am I obsessive? Am I an extremist? Am I the all the “all or none” type?
I thought about it all night. My answer is yes to all of the above. Which got me thinking. I have always been this way (and luckily for me, so is my husband) but most others, like my friend pointed out, aren’t. I can appreciate people wanting to take it slow. Maybe you don’t want to jump into Green Goddess Juices right away because you don’t eat a lot, if any, veggies, let alone a green drink and just want to get your feet wet. I can appreciate that. I appreciated my friend’s comments and I was brainstorming all night and I think she made a very valid point. Some people want to start slow. So I woke up at my usual 5am hour to train and came up with this Beginner’s Green Shake that will do the trick.
Getting back to why just doing cardio isn’t ideal: when all you do is cardio workouts, you are not burning as much fat as you think you are. You are making your heart stronger but you are also destroying muscle. Ever notice how those long distance runners look, well, emaciated? That’s because too much cardio has that effect. If that’s what you want, all the power to you. But if you want to have long and lean muscles as well as low body fat, interval training is what you need. It includes a mix of weights (and your own body weight) and cardio to give you a powerful, fat-blasting, muscle building (but not bulky muscle) work-out. I see more and more woman embracing this way of training and leaving the all-cardio 80′s style workout behind.
This recipe makes 2 days worth of shakes. I drink them for breakfast because they are a complete meal (protein, complex carbs, fruits and veggie). This is a sweet and satisfying shake that will introduce you to kale.
1 1/2 c. frozen kale
4 frozen strawberries
1 medium orange, peeled and quartered
4 cubes frozen mangos
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1/2 c. raw steel cut oats
1 c. plain, unsweetened almond milk
Blend all the ingredients together except for the almond milk. Pour the almond milk through the opening at the top to prevent clogging. Blend until smooth.