Why I Use “The Truth About Six Pack Abs” as a Way to Improve Running

Truth About Six Pack Abs Helped Me Be a Faster Runner

I was able to improve my running time using a method that was not supposed to be about running. In fact, it was about getting in better shape, losing fat, and eating better.

However, the benefits were that I was able to actually be faster at my 10K time.

Caveat – the program I link to in this post is to an affiliate program. I bought it with the purpose of leaning out, learning how to eat better and lift weights. It was not supposed to be about supplementing my running training but it ended up working really well.  Find out more here.

What is Truth About Six Pack Abs?

Truth About About Six Pack Abs is the number one selling fitness and nutrition product available on Clickbank.  From the title it is easy to figure out what the program is about – losing belly fat to look and feel better.

It can seem “sale-sy” when you read the sales copy.  However, when I read about the author on Tim Ferris’s Four Hour Work Week blog and the fact that he had sold over 500,000 copies I figured it had to be at least somewhat legitimate to sell that much.

Basically, the program provides the reader with the following things:

  • Exercise suggestions that are easy to follow (which can easily be incorporated into a running program)
  • Information about which foods to avoid
  • Simple ways to increase daily movement of the body to burn more calories
  • Loads of foods that will increase your body’s potential to lose weight faster
  • Suggested food intake schedules
  • Targeted information about getting your mid-section in shape

Why I Used the Program

People who are new to running often think that their belly fat will magically disappear.  However, as a long-time runner I know that I can run all the miles in the world and still manage to keep a bit of a belly.

I had been looking for a solution to my stomach fat problems for a while and knew that it was a matter of calories in/calories out.

That was not working because it lacked structure.  Left to my own devices I will eat too much and even the wrong foods.  Running is not an excuse to eat whatever you want, whenever you want.

I knew that I needed to do something different and this ebook was going to be that something different.

I bought the program out of interest more than anything.  However, when I read it there was actually some very good organization and it provided the structure and tools I needed to do two things:

  1. Tell me exactly how to eat in order to minimize stomach fat
  2. Tell me exactly how to work out to maximize calorie burn and lose fat

This is exactly how Truth About Six Pack Abs is structured.  From that point on I was committed to sticking to the Truth About Six Pack Abs to see how I could benefit from it, while still running.

The Benefits of the Program to My Body

It took about 1-week to go through the program and to get comfortable with the system.  There is a lot of detail in there which was interesting to read.

However, the book is presented in easy to follow “rules” and hints that can be easily followed.  For example, the author tells you exactly how to eat, how much to eat, and when to eat.  He covers which nutrients provide the best benefit and when to eat them.

My weight went from 161 pounds to 149 pounds in 4 weeks.  I was much leaner, meaning that it was fat that was disappearing.

I also got stronger.  My bench press went from 135 pounds for 10 reps to 190 pounds for 10 reps 4 weeks later.  The beauty of this is that I was actually seeing some pretty good muscle gain and it showed all over.

Why the Program Improved My Running

Again, I did not buy this with the intention of improving my running speed.  It was pure vanity and to try to lose fat around my stomach.

However, at the end of the 4 week period my 10-K time went from 45:34 down to 43:23 at the lowest.  It was not a one off as all my runs prior to the weight loss was around the 45 minute mark and after it was between 43:23 and 44:00.

I did nothing different with my training.  I was not focusing on speed or extra miles during this period.  I was just running to maintain my status quo.

The reason my running time improved was for two reasons:

  1. I weighed less!  I did not have to move that extra mass around and had more energy to run quicker.
  2. I was stronger!  The weight program and eating protocol made me stronger and being in better shape meant I could run more efficiently and with more power.

Summary and Recommendation

Considering this is a running blog, I resisted actually posting this blog.  I did not want to appear to be just trying to pitch a product.

However, given that I have used this weight loss and nutrition system successfully I can comfortably recommend to my readers that it is worth the money.

The power is in the system – this tells you exactly what to do and when to do it.  That took the guesswork out of it for me.  I need structure and I got it with the Truth About Six Pack Abs.

You can get your copy of the program by following this link.

 

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Posted by The Running Guy - June 13, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Categories: Fitness, how to improve running, how to improve running time, Improve Your Running, Nutrition, Weight Loss   Tags: , ,

Using TRX Workouts to Improve Your Running and Sports Performance

As I wrote in my post on the Airdyne Exercise Bike, another tool I use to improve my running time is TRX workouts.  The TRX system is a whole body exercise aparatus that uses your bodyweight and some very well designed straps to give the user a whole body workout.

Personally, the TRX suspension trainer has improved my core strength, upper and lower body strength, mobility, and flexibility.  This has had dramatic benefits on my running performance as I know that my whole body is in better shape which allows me to run more efficiently and with more power.  Combined with my endurance work I have been able to see strong gains in both 5-K and 10-K time.  I did this without increasing the time I spend on the road but focusing on using the TRX from two to three times per week.

Most importantly other professional runners use the TRX their training.  Ironman Champs Chris Lieto, Linsey Corbin and Tyler Stewart all use the TRX as part of their regular routine.

On Amazon.com, there are a number of positive reviews of the system and many people have discussed how they use it to improve their running performance.

What is a Suspension Trainer?

The TRX falls into the genre of fitness equipment called suspension trainers.  Basically it is a series of straps and handles that the user attached to a stationary object and uses bodyweight exercises to build strength, mobility, and flexibility.

Here is a definition from Wikipedia which describes a suspension trainer the best:

Suspension Training is a type of bodyweight exercise in which a variety of multi-planar, compound exercise movements can be performed. These are done with the aim of developing strength, balance, flexibility, and joint stability simultaneously. Suspension Training can be considered a type of resistance training.

These trainers are also great in that they are very portable and take up very little space.  This means that you can use it at home without taking up any space.  You can also take it on the road and use it in hotel rooms to ensure you get your additional training in.

How TRX Workouts can Improve Your Running Time

The TRX system can be used in a number of different ways.  However, we are worried about covering running.  TRX running is what we will call a program that is focused on building up our running performance.

The benefits to runners and other athletes can be best explained by Matt Dixon, world-class trainer:

“My big message is that whether you’re training for cycling, running or triathlon, people tend to dramatically over train and get very fit but very tired. We put the TRX up there as equal in importance to swimming, biking and running [for triathlete clients],” says Dixon, who is also an instructor at the VeloSF cycling training center. “That’s one of the secrets of our success. We have far fewer injuries and much greater strength and stability as a result of integrating TRX training into training programs.”

They key is less injuries and greater strength and stability.  As part of a whole training program runners who have built the TRX into their programs are faster and less prone to injury.

TRX Workouts – Training with the TRX to Improve Your Running

There are a number of good TRX workouts that you can do to improve your running.  I want to start with a video from the people at TRX that give a good overview of how to train for endurance events like running using the TRX suspension system.

 

The exercises outlined in this video will go a long way to get you ready to take on longer runs and actually improve your running time.  Some other examples include the TRX corkscrew, the TRX jump squat, and even the TRX muscle-up.  All of these will improve your whole body strength and allow you to recover better for those longer runs.

Where to Buy the TRX

I hope I have convinced you that the TRX is a viable tool for runners.  Bar-none, the best place to buy one is on Amazon.com.  They are the cheapest.  Be sure to get the TRX door anchor kit so you can use it at home.

 

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Posted by The Running Guy - January 18, 2012 at 9:16 pm

Categories: how to improve running time   Tags: , , ,

How to Get Faster at Running by Training with the Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells

When I first started running the question I had in my head all the time was, “How to Get Faster at Running?”  I thought I had been doing everything right.  My mileage was steadily increasing over the weeks as I built up to my half-marathon race at that time.  But it was not getting that much faster. It wasn’t until I purchased a set of Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells and started to build strength workouts into my running program.

Why Strength Helps Us Run Faster

Do you think that strength workouts will be of no benefit to you as a runner?  If you are like most people then I bet you do.  However, building whole body strength has a couple of huge benefits, including helping you run faster.

Consider this quote from Runner’s World:

“Running faster is easier if your whole body is working with you,” says Jim Fischer, head coach of men’s cross-country and track at the University of Delaware. “A runner with strong legs but weak arm muscles and weak core muscles will always be slower than a runner with total-body fitness.”

It stands to reason that a stronger body will work better and actually allow us to have quicker leg turnover and more efficient and powerful whole-body movement which can only lead to faster running time.  So, if the question is, “How to Get Faster at Running?”, the part of the answer needs to be building strength.

Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells

Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells

That is where the Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells come in to play.

Strength, Not Size

Before I talk more about these dumbbells and my program, I want to emphasize that we are talking about building strength, and not necessarily size.  As a runner you don’t want to get bulky as the extra weight will slow you down.  As such, you don’t need to be doing huge olympic lifts in your strength training. Instead you are going to focus on basic movements with heavy weights for lower reps that will add strength but not  size.

Why Adjustable Dumbbells

I workout at home a lot.  As a busy professional I don’t have a lot of time to be going to the gym in addition to logging the miles I need to depending on the race I am working towards.

That is where adjustable dumbbells come in.  These dumbbells pack up to 52.5 pounds in each dumbbell (there are obviously two) which saves a lot of space.  Basically, you simply turn a dial to select the weight you want and pull the weight up.  Only the weight you choose comes out of the base.  It is actually pretty cool.

How to Improve Your Running Time with Dumbbells

The key to workout with adjustable dumbbells in reference to improving running performance is to lift real

Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells

Breakout View of SelectTech System

heavy.  You want to be able to stimulate your muscles to get stronger and the best way to do that is to slowly build up the weight you lift over time.

You also want to focus on around 5 to 8 reps, meaning that by the end of those 5 to 8 reps you cannot possibly do another rep with good form.  Do this a couple of times a week and add additional weight once those 5 to 8 reps are getting too easy and you will get stronger.

Summary: For each dumbbell exercise, do 3 sets of 5 to 8 reps max.

That being said, you don’t need to fully take my word for how good these are nor how to workout with them.  You can see other people’s suggestions for how to use the dumbbells by reading the product reviews over at Amazon.com.

Which Exercises to Do

Here are the best exercises that runners can to to get faster at running:

  • Straight Leg Deadlift

  • Lunges

  • Squats

  • Dumbbell Rows

  • Bench Press

  • Lateral Dumbbell Raise

  • Calf Raise

Summary

So to sum up, I would recommend that any runner build in a strength component in to their running program.  This will both reduce risk of injury and also help you to run faster.  Stronger is better!

I purchased my set of adjustable dumbbells at Amazon as they were way cheaper than any store in my city or any other online retailer. Check out the current prices, and overall positive reviews, by going over to Amazon now.

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Posted by The Running Guy - January 15, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Categories: Improve Your Running   Tags: ,

How to Improve Running Time By Using the Airdyne Exercise Bike

I have drastically improved my running time by training on an Airdyne Exercise Bike. I have one of these bike both at home and the gym where I workout at and the benefits to my running performance have been very clear. Over the past year I have been able to cut my 10-K run time down by 3 minutes and my half-marathon down by 7 minutes.

If you think about how you train for your own races, you are probably doing most of your training is simply heading out to run. During these runs you may do drills, fartleks, hills, and sprints, all with the goal of improving your running time. That is fine as you get started, but as the miles add up over the week many runners risk injury and reduced performance Airdyne Exercise Bikebecause they don’t allow time for complementary exercises. That is where the Airdyne Exercise Bike comes into play. If you build a program with this bike into your running schedule you will see similar results that I have over a relatively short period of time.

The Key Benefits for Runners of the Airdyne Exercise Bike

The airdyne bikes are designed in a manner that will bring huge benefits to any runner. Here are a listing of what these benefits are:

  • Builds strength – because of the progressive resistance you get with the Airdyne you actual build leg and upper body strength during your workout
  • Effective cross-training exercise that works complementary muscles (quads and core) that will improve your running speed
  • Increase leg turnover speed due to the pedalling action that requires a consistent and steadily increasing level of resistance
  • Provides your whole body from a rest from the impacts brought on by running – the Airdyne bike provides a low impact workout that complements running nicely
  • Different from normal exercise bikes in that the resistance builds as you go faster – this forces you to progress in terms of both strength and cardio ability
  • Amazing cardio workout – I dare you to try to do at a steady pace on this thing for over twenty minutes!

How the Airdyne Works

The Airdyne exercise bike is designed differently than other exercise bikes. The main difference is the way it uses the resistance to provide you with the level of workout you need. There are no dials or knobs to twist! If you are anything like me I can be a bit lazy and on exercise bikes ALWAYS go with a lighter resistance Airdyne Exercise Bikethan I should.

Instead of using friction as its resistance mechanism, the Airdyne employs wind resistance. At the front of the bike there is a large fan that the user turns by using the pedals and pushes and pulls the handles. As you pedal and use the handles harder and faster the fan spins creating wind resistance. The fast your spin the harder it gets, and continuing at a pace that pushes you will build leg and upper body strength as well as cardio fitness.

If you do a program of 1 to 2 times per week supplementing your running workouts, your legs and upper body will get stronger and you will improve running time!

The Two Downsides of the Airdyne

There are only two downsides that I have come across with both my own and my gym’s bikes. The first is the noise. With the large fan spinning at a high rate it is loud. Not a problem if you don’t want to watch TV while you bike. I would suggest you focus on your workout and not watch TV, but that is my choice.

The second downside is that it does take some maintenance to keep it running smooth. You need to keep the chain oiled and ensure all the bolts are tight. This is easy to do and the manual covers it well, but just be aware.

A Sample Workout Routine to Supplement Your Running Program

I have found the best workout to complement my running program is a high intensity interval training (HIIT) program on the bike. Running is usually a long and steady type of workout so supplementing with HIIT is very valuable in that it allows for recruitment of different muscles and nervous system responses.Airdyne Exercise Bike This will make you a better runner.

Specifically, I either do a Tabata program or a longer HIIT interval. In Tabata, I go balls to the wall for 20 seconds and rest for 10 seconds and repeat this 20 times. By the time I am done I am spent – just be sure you actually go all out on the pedals and handles!

For the longer intervals I pedal hard for 30 seconds and rest for 30 seconds. This just breaks the workouts up and makes it more interesting.

Again, this type of training works different muscles and is very valuable to runners.

Amazon Reviews

I like to reference Amazon reviews to see how good a product really is. In fact, I encourage you to do the same. Click this Amazon link and you can see how many positive reviews the Airdyne Exercise Bike has. In fact, at the time of this writing there are 158 reviews with 144 of those a rating of either 4 or 5-stars. So don’t take my word for it.

Summary

If you are in the market for a piece of exercise equipment to improve your running and supplement your running program, then the Airdyne Exercise Bike is the best option.  You will get stronger and your cardio will go through the roof – mine has.  And, as stated earlier my times are better.

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Posted by The Running Guy - January 13, 2012 at 9:52 pm

Categories: Improve Your Running   Tags:

The Importance of Physical “Variability” in Cardio Exercise

Your Cardio Workouts may NOT be helping you unless you incorporate a high range of heart rate shifts in your training

By Mike Geary – Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Nutrition Specialist
Author of best-seller: The Truth about Six Pack Abs
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Are you a cardio junkie? Everyone seems to think that “cardio” is the best way to get in shape and lose body fat. I’m going to show you with this article why I disagree!

It is quite common to hear fitness pros, doctors, and other health professionals prescribe low to moderate intensity aerobic training (cardio) to people who are trying to prevent heart disease or lose weight. Most often, the recommendations go something like this:

“Perform 30-60 minutes of steady pace cardio 3-5 times/week maintaining your heart rate at a moderate level”

Before you just give in to this popular belief and become the “hamster on the wheel” doing endless hours of boring cardio exercise, I’d like you to consider some recent scientific research that indicates that steady pace endurance cardio work may not be all it’s cracked up to be.

First, realize that our bodies are designed to perform physical activity in bursts of exertion followed by recovery, or stop-and-go movement instead of steady state movement. Recent research is suggesting that “physical variability” is one of THE most important aspects to consider in your training.

This tendency can be seen throughout nature as most animals tend to demonstrate “stop-and-go” motion instead of steady state motion. In fact, humans are the only creatures in nature that attempt to do “endurance” type physical activities such as running long distances at the exact same speed the whole time.

Most competitive sports (with the exception of endurance running or cycling) are also based on stop-and-go movement or short bursts of exertion followed by recovery.

To examine an example of the different effects of endurance or steady state training versus stop-and-go training, consider the physiques of marathoners versus sprinters. Most sprinters carry a physique that is very lean, muscular, and powerful looking, while the typical dedicated marathoner is more often emaciated and sickly looking. Now which would you rather resemble?

Another factor to keep in mind regarding the benefits of physical variability is the internal effect of various forms of exercise on our body. Scientists have known that excessive steady state endurance exercise (different for everyone, but sometimes defined as greater than 60 minutes per session most days of the week) increases free radical production in the body, can degenerate joints, reduces immune function, causes muscle wasting, and can cause a pro-inflammatory response in the body that can potentially lead to chronic diseases.

Highly Variable Cyclic Training

On the other hand, highly variable cyclic training has been linked to increased antioxidant production in the body and an anti-inflammatory response, a more efficient nitric oxide response (which can encourage a healthy cardiovascular system), and an increased metabolic rate response (which can assist with weight loss). Furthermore, steady state endurance training only trains the heart at one specific heart rate range and doesn’t train it to respond to various every day stressors.

On the other hand, highly variable cyclic training teaches the heart to respond to and recover from a variety of demands making it less likely to fail when you need it. Think about it this way… Exercise that trains your heart to rapidly increase and rapidly decrease will make your heart more capable of handling everyday stress. Stress can cause your blood pressure and heart rate to increase rapidly. Steady state jogging and other endurance training does not train your heart to be able to handle rapid changes in heart rate or blood pressure.

The important aspect of variable cyclic training that makes it superior over steady state cardio exercise is the recovery period in between bursts of exertion. That recovery period is crucially important for the body to elicit a healthy response to an exercise stimulus. Another benefit of variable cyclic training is that it is much more interesting and has lower drop-out rates than long boring steady state cardio programs.

To summarize, some of the potential benefits of variable cyclic training compared to steady state endurance training are as follows: improved cardiovascular health, increased anti-oxidant protection, improved immune function, reduced risk for joint wear and tear, increased muscularity (versus decreased muscularity with endurance training), increased residual metabolic rate following exercise, and an increased capacity for the heart to handle life’s every day stressors.

Sports Workouts and Sprinting

There are many ways you can reap the benefits of stop-and-go or variable intensity physical training. Most competitive sports such as football, basketball, volleyball, racquetball, tennis, hockey, baseball, etc. are naturally comprised of highly variable stop-and-go motion which trains the heart through a MUCH wider heart rate range compared to just steady walking or jogging.

Doing swimming workouts in a variable intensity fashion may also be more beneficial than just swimming for a long duration at the same speed. Same goes for bicycling — that is why mountain biking, which involves extreme ups and downs at various intensity levels may also be more beneficial than just a long flat steady pace bike ride.

One of the absolute most effective forms of variable intensity training to really reduce body fat and bring out serious muscular definition is performing wind sprints. Wind sprints can be done by sprinting at near max speed for 10-30 seconds, and then taking 60 seconds to walk for recovery before your next sprint. 6-12 total sprint intervals is usually a very challenging workout for most people.

In addition, weight training naturally incorporates short bursts of exertion followed by recovery periods. High intensity interval training (varying between high and low intensity intervals on any piece of cardio equipment) is yet another training method that utilizes exertion and recovery periods. For example, an interval training session on the treadmill could look something like this:

Warm-up for 3-4 minutes at a fast walk or light jog

Interval 1 – run at 8.0 mi/hr for 1 minute
Interval 2 – walk at 4.0 mi/hr for 1.5 minutes
Interval 3 – run at 10.0 mi/hr for 1 minute
Interval 4 – walk at 4.0 mi/hr for 1.5 minutes

Repeat those 4 intervals 4 times for a very intense 20-minute workout.

Also, don’t overlook other great ways to incorporate variable intensity cardio training by using a jump rope, a rowing machine, stairs running, or even outdoor hill sprints.

The take-away message from this article is to try to train your body at highly variable intensity rates for the majority of your workouts to get the most beneficial response in terms of heart health, fat loss, and muscle maintenance.

Full-body strategically-designed resistance training programs along with high intensity cardiovascular training programs guaranteed to strip off body fat when combined with a healthy diet are included in my book The Truth About Six Pack Abs. If you’re serious about getting lean for good, this book is a must-read.

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Posted by The Running Guy - December 28, 2011 at 11:48 am

Categories: Fitness, Interval Training, Weight Loss   Tags: , ,

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