Perseverance.  Focus.  Endurance.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, (2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.)
        Hebrews 12:1-2
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Blog Archives - 2012
Cardio Junkies Anonymous

"Hi, my name is Agne Miskinis, and I am a cardio junkie."

Okay, so while this really isn't true--at least not anymore--it's a pretty common problem with runners. Now I wouldn't exactly call it a problem, but more of a hindrance, an irritation for seasoned, well-rounded runners. What exactly is a 'cardio junkie' you ask? Why a cardio junkie is simply someone who runs....and that's it, they just run, or bike, or do some other cardio all the time. They only focus on the cardio aspect of exercise, sometimes for the enjoyment, or for the wrong mindset of thinking it will help them to lose weight faster and keep it off. Let me tell you something though, that's a lie. A big fat LIE. Just doing cardio all the freaking time is no healthy way to lose weight, I mean, honestly, how much more brainwashed can the media make us?! Losing weight can be SO tricky, because it depends on you, your composition, and genes. But it's possible, if you do it the right way.

Cardio junkies--you've seen 'em, in fact, you may be one of them! They're the ones with the great legs; slim, defined muscles, something I would totally be jealous of. But you'll also notice that they're lacking a bit in the upper/middle body. As in, their arms lack definition, and their abs, well, they are quite nonexistent, not to mention the love handles. I'm not trying to insult anyone here, but let's admit it, that is totally not the picture of health we're looking for. You see, in order to be a more successful, more efficient runner, you need to have a more balanced body. This may cause you to retort with a "But it all depends on your body type, we're born with it!" remark, but that, my friends, is a sad, sad excuse. It really doesn't matter what kind of body type you have, it's totally possible to proves those genes wrong. Cardio junkies tend to just work on their legs, allowing their middles and upper body to go soft. The problem here is that without a strong core, you can't run efficiently. Your abdominals are the muscles that keep you balanced as you run, giving you a good posture and allowing you to last longer with that strong central core.

There are plenty of exercises you can do to strengthen and define your ab muscles, although they're never easy, mainly because plain old situps will never do. For one, they're hard on your back, and two, they only target one area of your abdominals, so they aren't nearly as effective as your gym teacher told you back in high school. I'm gonna give you a few exercises to help you dominate your core, and be sure you can handle doing a plank for over a minute before you try any of these.

: You can use either a medicine ball or one of those bouncy exercise balls for this. First, lie on your back and hold the medicine/exercise ball behind your head resting on the ground. Then lift the ball above your head, lifting both of your legs simultaneously and crunch your abs--trying to touch your feet to the ball, all the while keeping steady and balanced. (if you are using the big exercise ball, you can let your feet grab the ball by holding it between your ankles and then handing it off each time you go up) This is a really hard one, but it gives results, I promise!

Stirring the Pot
: I promise you, this is NOT a drug reference. My fellow trainer and I kind of made this one up, so hopefully you like it! Take one of those big bouncy exercise balls, and get in the plank position on it, so your elbows are resting at the top and your body is in a relatively straight line. Clasp your hands together like you're playing volleyball and begin moving your hands as if you're stirring something in a big pot. Make sure you stay balanced and engage your core. This one gets to be painful, so have fun with it!

The (dreaded) Plank: I hate these. And I'm sure you do too. Like seriously, every single person I know hates planks to no end. But they're incredibly effective, albeit painful. Let's start with the simple front plank. Get into the pushup position, then place your elbows on the ground underneath your shoulders. Keep your butt down, and your body in a straight line. Hold this for about a minute to ninety seconds. Not on to the side plank. There are many variations of this, so please bear with me. Lie on your left side, and lift your upper body off the floor so your weight is resting on your elbow, which is supporting/balancing you. Lift your hips and knees so only your elbow and forearm are touching the ground. Make sure you're in a straight line, and hold for about 1 min to 90 seconds. Then switch to the other side and repeat. You can also turn it into an oblique abductor raise by raising your leg up vertically while in a side plank. Do this about 25 times or for the whole minute. You can also do that while in the front plank. Just lift your legs up vertically, alternating between legs. Each time, do about 25 reps on each leg and then switch. Keep your body aligned straight, and engage your core!!

I hope this was helpful to you cardio junkies, I mean, who doesn't want abs??

Happy Trails!

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