In today's Oct. 15, 2010 newsletter . . .

  • Discover Cardio You Can Love

  • The Clean and Press

Discover Cardio You Can Love

Some people love all kinds of cardiovascular exercise, and others hate it. Often the ones who hate it are lifters whose primary interest is in picking up the heaviest objects possible. Don’t bother me with that other stuff is their their attitude. Plenty of bodybuilders, too, ever striving for more muscle, may also share an aversion to things like jogging, interval sprinting, or treadmills. They just don’t like that aspect of training, while at the same time knowing that exercising the heart, lungs and circulatory system is essential for true fitness.

But I wonder how many have tried Fartlek? If they enjoy the outdoors, it might be just the thing that will have them thinking a bit differently about cardio. Let’s start with the word itself. Middle-school boys giggle, but Fartlek is simply a Swedish word meaning speed-play. It is fitness-effective and can be a highly enjoyable cardio workout, especially if you are lucky enough to live near wooded hills, a beach, or in mountain country.

Here is how it works:

Begin by walking or jogging (give your body time to warm up), and then vary your pace as you go along. Look up ahead; sprint to that tree or signpost 30 or 40 yards up the trail. Now slow down to an easy jog; or walk down a steep hill. Now and then, challenge a hill. Then walk again. Then jog. Be creative. You are combining the joy of healthful exercise with beautiful scenery. Workout time: Anywhere between 20 and 45 minutes, depending on the intensity of the sprints.

That is classic Fartlek. Or you can do what I call “Fartlek Plus.” The “Plus” part in the title means adding a few muscle building calisthenics. Let’s say you come to a grassy field: Stop and do some pushups. At another spot, knock out some sit-ups or leg raises. If you spot a strong tree branch that you can reach, grab it and get in a few pull-ups.

With either the classic or the plus, variety is king. Just keep moving: go easy, then hard, then moderate, then easy again, and so forth. Breathe deeply and sweat a little (or a lot). Make it fun.

Please note a few words of caution:

I hike a lot, often in remote woodsy areas. When I see women hiking or running alone I want to tell them it is dangerous. Don’t do that. Don't go off in the woods alone. There is safety in numbers. Be smart: Workout with a training partner(s).

Do you ever wonder how hard you should push yourself for cardiovascular fitness? Go here for Cardio Intensity Guidelines.

The Clean and Press

The clean and press is one of the full-body lifts that involves nearly all of your body’s pushing and pulling muscles in a single exercise. Until 1972, it was one of the lifts in the Olympics, along with the snatch and clean and jerk. The reason it was dropped is interesting but for another time.

Watch the video to see how it is done using either a pair of dumbbells (the video example) or a barbell.

You've probably heard about the tremendous benefits of weight training and how you can retain -- or even reclaim -- the attributes of youth . . . Discover the way with . . .

Gray Iron: A Fitness Guide for Senior Men and Women

Newsletter Policy

The Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter is a free publication sent twice monthly to subscribers. The purpose is to provide honest and realistic fitness information for people age 50 and above.

I have never been paid or received compensation of any kind to write a positive review or endorse a product. If I say that I personally use a product or service, it is because I find value in it and have paid for it with my own money.

Like newspapers, magazines and television, the newsletter and web site contain advertising and marketing links. I receive payment for ads or commissions when people buy advertised products or services.

The newsletter and web site provide information to help users establish and maintain a fitness lifestyle. But fitness information is not the same as fitness advice, which is the application of exercise and dietary practices to an individual's specific circumstances. Therefore, always consult with your physician for assurance that fitness information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate for you. Your comments and questions are always appreciated.


Logan Franklin
The Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter