I’ve been giving cardio a little more attention lately since my current goal is to get more cut for the warmer weather (and fewer clothes) ahead. I started the process a while ago but then had a little glitch and wasn’t able to concentrate on my workouts. I was still going to the gym but my schedule wasn’t predictable and in light of what was going on in my life I switched to maintenance and just did what I could when I could. Thankfully, things have settled down nicely and I picked up my plan to get good and lean. This is always a balancing act for me since my body prefers skinny over anything else but I want to maintain as much muscle mass as possible AND get those lovely little striations to show. To this end I have increased my cardio to hour-long sessions 3 times a week with at least one more short one (30 minutes) tacked on somewhere once a week. I don’t do high intensity cardio sessions, I just do what I call “low and slow.” I get my heart rate up but do it at a steady pace over the hour. These aren’t those crazy sessions that leave you gasping, hunched over (or on your knees) feeling sick. I do it this way since I’ve found over the years that if I’m more intense I’ll lose weight alright but mostly by chewing up my hard-earned muscle. It’s actually pleasant, listening to my music, thinking about things, sometimes zoning out for a while.
I’ll probably keep up my current routine for a while but add some heavier lifting in a week or so. The concentration on lower reps with more weight will help keep me from dropping too much muscle during this process. The human body is incredibly efficient. It likes to use muscle as fuel but if you’re demanding use of the muscle at the same time you’re increasing your cardio activities, it will tend to hold onto the muscle since it’s being fully utilized. Instead it will use more of the fat stores for fuel. That way I get more of what I want…some pretty muscle and less fluff at the same time.
On another note, the area where I do cardio affords me a view of a bank across the parking lot. Up until yesterday every time I stepped on the elliptical machine I could see the flag at the bank flying at half mast. As I wrote about in my last post, it’s been that way since the Boston bombings and it drives me crazy. I decided that instead of being bothered I should just go over there and see what the problem was and that’s what I did. Right after I finished my cardio, I hopped off the machine and crossed the parking lot. I went into the bank and asked to speak to the manager. She was busy so I had to wait a minute which gave me a chance to look around. The bank was modern and tidy inside, with two female tellers at the front. There was only one other customer besides me and he was a young guy wearing long jean shorts (they were practically capris) and a white undershirt with a “Mom” tattoo on his arm.
The manager came out of the back in a few minutes and I told her I was “concerned about her flag.” I wanted to know why it was at half mast. She said she had been on vacation for a week and had totally forgotten about it . I didn’t point out that it was supposed to be back to the top of the pole by April 20th which was a full 11 days before. She said she’d put it up so I suggested since it wasn’t busy we do it immediately, which we did.
Wishing you a very happy May and lots of great workouts in the days ahead!