Thursday, November 18, 2010

Mind-Body Workout of the Week: Extrospective Intervals

How many times do you hear it:

"My workout time is my "me" time."

"I use my long run to organize my thoughts"

"I just need some time to myself to think"

It's not a bad thing, but for many of us our workouts are a time of introspection, a time to draw inwards and have some time to ourselves. As busy people, we often need this time to recharge. As a mom, I know a lot of my day is spent doing something for someone else, so I feel that I need to take that time to just do something for myself.

Occasionally though, it's nice to break out of the introspective rut, and use our workout time to send our energy elsewhere. Enter this week's workout: Extrospective intervals. These intervals are guaranteed to blast your fast-twitch muscles, increase your post-workout levels of HGH (human growth hormone), and take your spirit to a new level as well. Best of all, you can do this workout anywhere and with anything. I've done it with a rowing machine, with bodyweight exercises (squats, pushups, pullups) and running but feel free to use your creativity and whatever you have at hand to do your intervals.

The Body Workout:

This part is simple: Warm up for at least 10 minutes (I prefer 15 if I'm going to sprint). Then do the following intervals:

30 seconds ALL OUT no holds barred going as hard as you can
90 seconds rest

Repeat eight times. Yes, I said eight times. The rest periods may feel long at first, but if you're really going as hard as you possibly can in the intervals, you will be completely tapped out at the end of this.

The Mind-Spirit Workout:

Here's what I challenged myself with for the Extrospective part of the workout. During each rest interval, I thought of a different person in my life and just appreciated them. For the first 30 seconds of the rest period. I thought of all the things they do that make me smile or make the world a better place. I didn't allow any negative thoughts to creep in. For the next 30 seconds I just pictured that person surrounded by glowing light. For the last 30 seconds I just tried to rest and prepare for the next interval (grab a sip of water, get in the right position, etc.)

I used my watch for this one, setting it on 30 second repeats made it easy to keep track of both the work and the rest intervals. At the end of it, perhaps I didn't get that feeling of "me time" where I just went through all of my innermost thoughts, but it made a huge difference in how I felt about the people in my life. Sometimes we're so entrenched in day-to-day living we don't always take the time to really just appreciate our family and friends like we should. This workout is a great way to get in the Thanksgiving spirit.

The Ironmom Extra Mile:   If you want to read more about how this workout increases your HGH levels and how to keep them higher afterward, check out the background on this workout from Dr. Mercola's website

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