I can’t wait to get my sister to try this treadmill workout I’ve been doing lately. I burn 100 calories during the first 8 minutes — and that’s just the warmup.
Needing a tough workout to make goal at Weight Watchers last week, I decided to start right off with with a vigorous mountain hike rather than my usual slow jog. After 10 minutes at 4 mph and 15 percent incline, I was sweating and gasping for breath. At that point, switching to a 5 mph recovery jog felt like a nice rest break — even though I tricked myself by leaving the incline at 5 percent.
See, I can never get myself to run inclines, or at least not for very long. Same with fast intervals. But starting out with such a vigorous walk up such a steep grade gets me over that hump. After 5 minutes on the 5 percent grade I was eager for some flatter terrain. So I turned the incline down to 2 percent — but turned the speed up. Not a lot, just to 5.5 mph, just enough to help my lazy brain get the message: You can run slow or run flat, but you can’t have it both ways. Not in this workout.
When I’m playing the calorie burn game — the topic of today’s newspaper column — I’ll let myself revert back to mountain hiking at times, especially if I’m doing a 60-minute workout. It’s kind of grueling, but it’s a different kind of grueling. Enough of a channel change to stay just a step ahead of my inner whiner.
In a shorter workout where my focus is more on improving my running, I just keep fiddling with the settings every time I get antsy. Don’t like this? Well, try that for a while and see how you like it! I make sure I get up to 7 mph at least some of the time, just for “perspective.” For cool down I go back to 5 mph, but keep a .5 percent grade. By that point, it’s not even noticeable.
I definitely haven’t been getting bored. And the other day, after a quick but intense 36-minute workout, I felt revved up for at least an hour afterward. It was all I could do to keep from running across the parking lot at the grocery store.