Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Strong Legs and Great Cardio with "Speedy Steps"

As you know, I am getting myself ready to test for my next rank in the martial arts; in it’s essence, this is a goal, just like any other you might set for yourself.  And just like all good goals, there is a deadline attached to it.  And, like all the paths taken to achieve a goal, sometimes it gets a bit bumpy.  This week, I was tired and lacking enthusiasm to workout and practice my material.  But alas, I have this big deadline looming over my head, demanding that I not give in and “rest on my laurels”.

Although it was my deadline that got me started in the workout last night, it was one of my students that helped me do just the little bit extra I talked about in my last blog.  During class we were doing the following exercise of the week.  I came up next to this student (I’ll call him “Awesome D”) and started doing it alongside him, going a bit faster than he was.  The result of this went as follows:

Awesome D: “Awe! You’re making me look bad!” (said jokingly)
Me:  “Come on!  Get it!” (chuckling along with him)
To which he responded by speeding up even faster than I was going…challenging me with a friendly:
Awesome D: “Where you at???”
This of course “forced” me to step it up and match this new, top-speed pace!  It was this friendly competition that got both of us to go that extra bit and have fun along the way. 

Sometimes it’s hard to stay on track, but having a deadline and some friendly competition might be just what you need to keep on going and get you to achieve your goal.  If you are trying to reach a goal, set a deadline; this gives you an endpoint to strive toward (when you reach your deadline, reevaluate and repeat the process).  You also want to develop a relationship with your instructors; they will help you set realistic goals and keep you accountable (at my martial arts/fitness studio we call our students when they don’t show up and follow up on their progress at least every week).  Lastly, get to know your classmates; you can razz each other, encourage each other, and overall keep the process a bit more fun.

Speedy Steps

Note:  You can use any height of step for this exercise.  (I like to use 12”-18” step.)

Start in front of the step, belly in, chest open and lifted, and head up.  Step up with your left foot, followed with your right foot; then step down with your left, followed with your right foot.  That’s it!  Go as fast as you can for 30 seconds, starting with your left; repeat on the right side for 30 seconds.  If you aren’t huffing and puffing (with your legs burning), speed it up!  If you still need more of a challenge, increase the time and the height of your step.

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