Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Nike: Getting in Shape

originally posted March 20, 2009 by Coach Jay

Dear Coach Jay, I am an overweight teenager who is looking to lose some serious weight and I've always loved running (even though I was never any good). Is there a course of action or a plan you can give me so that I can lose weight and get in shape without hating or dreading the run? Thank you. Sincerely, Will

Will - I really appreciate your candid email and I hope that what I share will be helpful.

The biggest thing you need to remember is a term that most humans hate - patience. I'm in my 30's and I'm horribly impatient so I'm going to assume that as a teenager it's not your strong suite either. However, what I'm going to suggest takes time and the time it takes to see the results is part of the challenge in front of you, especially since we live in such an instant society.

Over the first 8 weeks the goal is to work out 5-6 days a week, but to keep the running minimal, though you can walk briskly up to 75 or 90 minutes. You'll need to incorporate the General Strength (GS) routines from the videos on video wall. The progression of easy-to-hard exercises are:

You should do two routines from the Myrtl/Back/Lunge group each day for the first two weeks; in weeks three and four you can do all three of those. During the fifth week you should do the Myrtl and the Lunge WU, then go for your run/walk, and then end with 10-15 min of GS after your workout. But again, if you're overweight you need to look at this long term so that you don't sustain a running related injury by running too much, too soon.

Here is a progression of how GS and running work together:

  1. Strengthen the body
  2. Work the body with GS and non-impact or low-impact aerobic work (i.e. walking and biking before brisk running)
  3. Add running, but don't be afraid to lengthen runs with walking during parts of the run
  4. 4-6 days a week of running with GS as part of your daily routine following those runs.

Finally, the idea of "muscle confusion" is actually true in sports science. You need to embrace the idea that if you want to lose weight, then you're going to need to do other activities in addition to running to really change your body. I ran a ton in college, to the point that my "easy day" was 10 miles, yet I was too tired to join in the twice-weekly informal pull-up contest with my teammates. They ended up running faster than me in all distances, including the 10,000m races. My point is that you want to become stronger - even in your upper body - while you become aerobically fit.

I wish you the best, Will and it's great you’re asking these questions now, since you’ll have the spring and summer months to get into a daily exercise habit. Good luck!

*Coach Jay’s advice is provided as general training information. Use at your own risk. Always consult with your own heath care provider for questions relating to your specific training and nutrition.

Coach Jay coaches athletes at RunnersCoach.com and blogs at CoachJayJohnson.com. If you have a question for Jay, email him here: coachjay@nike.com.