Archive for the Fitness Category

Battle of the Calorie Burning Behemoths – Cycling vs Running

Posted in Cycling, Fitness, General, running on September 13, 2010 by Jim St Ruth

A dramatic title for a dramatic battle… well, alright, it wasn’t very dramatic, though I was cycling for part of the time and my heart was a-pumping!

We sold our car a couple of weeks ago – we needed the cash and, because all we really used the car for was a twice weekly trip to Tesco, it wasn’t really worth the £85 a month on petrol and inurance. So that we could still get around, though, we bought me a bike which came at the start of last week.

…Paul’s already got a bike, I’m not giving him seaters 🙂

After assembly, which was a joy of confusion for two normally techie-minded people, I took the bike for a ride round the park and for a giggle set Sports Tracker running. At the end of a 45min ride I’d burnt an estimate 530kCal, about a 100kCal more than my last 45min Podrunner session (25mins running, 20mins walking). This got me to wondering which was truly best, running or cycling?

I only really run or cycle for the calorie burn and to exercise my heart. I know the calorie count is only an estimate and that, mile on mile, running burns more calories… but there are a few key facts that came into the Battle. I shall even number them (gasp!).

  1. Minute on minute, I can burn more calories by cycling.
  2. My thighs feel like steel (well, almost… well, compared to when I run, ok?).
  3. My whole legs and butt get a workout to supplement the slightly upper-body-heavy weights workout that I do.
  4. My aerobic fitness is such that, autumnal rains permitting, I could easily cycle five days a week and still do my weights workout, rather than struggle to run and workout as much as I’d like.
  5. Cycling is much more fun than running. Way more fun!
  6. I sometimes have a bad night’s sleep; difficulty dropping off, waking up from nightmares or having night terrors. I’ve slept like a baby on the night of each bike ride so far.
  7. I’ll be going for bike rides with my partner – quality, fun, outdoors fun!
  8. I don’t get saddly sore, now, after my third ride!

As I’m only really using cycling for aerobic fitness and fat loss (the demands from cycling on my legs will quickly plateau as far as muscular development goes), I need an aerobic activity that lets me do as many weights workouts as I want. That’s only three full body workotus a week, but doing that with running is a huge demand, and almost impossible at my current level of fitness, especially as I’m trying to progress with heavier weights.

So, my part in the Battle of the Calorie Burning Behemoths is over – and the results are an astonishing no-brainer as far as my needs are concerned. My last cycle was for 45mins and I covered nearly 7miles, burning nearly 800kCal. Again, that calorie figure is only rough, but that’s almost twice as many calories as running in the same 45min time.

Cycling wins hands down.

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Podrunner Intervals – Starting to Run for Weight Loss

Posted in Fitness, music on June 14, 2010 by Jim St Ruth

My friend Jo put me onto this.

I’ve been at home for a couple of years, since I finished my last contract role. I’d already put on a couple of stone (oh boy were people right about that happening when you hit 30!) and then last year I quite smoking. That, combined with two years of not moving very much, pushed my weight up to 14 stone. When a relative sent me a picture that he took at a family do, I saw my face and it was really big. I was gobsmacked. I had to do something about it.

So, starting in January I used WiiFit Plus every day. I didn’t lose any weight, but it conditioned my body and helped me recover from two years of atrophy. It also made me more aware of what I was doing, leaving me less inclined to just sit in front of my PC for hours on end, and more mindful of what I was eating. My aerobic fitness improved quite a lot and my metabolism increased so that I was no longer putting on weight, even though I was still eating the same quantity of food. I also started to look much more healthy thanks to me making sure I was getting at least 5 portions of fruit or veg – if not more.

Then, in mid-April, our home gym arrived. I’ve been using the weights twice a week (to be honest it’s been hard to do as often as I want, but I knew it would take a couple of months to work up to being able to workout more often) and I’m noticeably trimmer, I don’t have a huge head anymore and I’ve built up a little muscle tone … but I’ve been losing weight really slowly. (I realise that I’ve built muscle mass and lost body fat, though).

I knew from researching weight loss and fitness that running would be a great way to lose weight and increase my aerobic fitness further, but I’ve had a busy few weeks and so I’ve just been putting off any serious committment to running.

Today, though, I tried my first run with Podrunner Intervals. The workout takes you from a mixture of walking and light running up to being able to run 5K at the end of 9 weeks, using MP3s to guide you, alternating between running and walking over a half hour period. I’ve got to say, the first run was really good – a challenge, but not totally exhausting, and the dance music was definately good enough to listen to and keep pace with.

I know that a lot of people have already heard of Podrunner Intervals, but since it’s not only fantastic but completely free, I thought I’d share it. If you like it, spread the word – DJ Steve Boyett, who produced Podrunner Intervals, encourages it, and I think it’s well worth telling people about.

Thanks to DJ Steve Boyett for producing, and thanks to my friend Jo for putting me on to the workout!