Guide to Designing Interval Structured Workouts

Related: Creating Interval Structured Workouts on our iOS apps

Guide on designing fun, effective and interesting interval workouts

The Basics of the Workout Routine Definition

<Routine (for a specific workout type) >
<Interval 1 – do this Z times>
<Series 1>
<Do Pace / Effort Level A for X time / dist.>
</End Series 1>
</End Interval 1>
<Interval 2 – do this Z times>
<Series 1>
<Do Pace / Effort Level B for Y time / dist.>
</End Series 1>
<Series 2>
<Do Pace / Effort Level C for Z time / dist.>
</End Series 2>
</End Interval 1>
<Interval 3 – do this Z times>
<Series 1>
<Do Pace / Effort Level A for X time / dist.>
</End Series 1>
</End Interval 1>
</End Routine>

A Workout Routine is basically an activity you do in a more structured way than what most would call a “free” or “open” run.

There is a point to a workout routine. It can be as simple as completing a set time or distance, to guide you through a recovery run, a steady-state to build stamina, or even a hard HIIT session (High Intensity Interval Training) workout for peak performance and caloric burn.

The basic Workout Routine has the following structure, which is time honored. A routine is broken into time or distance “Intervals”, then from there a “Series” of actions are performed during those Intervals. With Fitdigits, we give you the choice of workouts based on either Heart Rate (BPM), which we call also “effort based”, or by pace zones.

When you are doing custom Workout Routines, it helps to check out the Zone Notifications section so you are prompted to transition when you want.

Some examples of Custom Workout Routines 

Recovery Run 30 min Run: Warm Up, Easy Run, Warm Down
Translates to: Interval 1 (repeat 1 time) – Zone 1 for 5 min. Then Interval 2 (repeat 1 time) Zone 2 for 20 min. Finish with Interval 3 (repeat 1 time) – Zone 1 for 5 min.

Steady State 4 mile Run: Warm Up, Strong Run, Warm Down
(Interval 1 (repeat 1 time) – Zone 1 for .25 miles. Then Interval 2 (repeat 1 time) Zone 3 for 3.5 miles. Finish with Interval 3 (repeat 1 time) – Zone 1 for .25 miles.

Walk / Jog 30 min: Warm up, Jog 1 min, Walk 1 min (do this for 20 min), Warm down. 
(Interval 1 (repeat 1 time) – Walking Pace Zone 5 min. Then Interval 2 (repeat 10 times) – Jogging Pace Zone for 1 minute then Walking Pace Zone for 1 minute. Finish with Interval 3 (repeat 1 time) – Walking Pace Zone 5 min.

Related: Creating Interval Structured Workouts on our iOS apps

 

 

 

 

More Sun = Outdoor Fun

74497___gustavorezende___Kids_6_03On March 8th many around the globe turned their clocks back, ushering in the era of an extra hour of sunlight. Now that the weather is being more reasonable and it is sunny until 7 pm, it is time to leave the drab and dingy gym and get outdoors! The sun beckons, so answer the call and go on a vitamin D spree, burning some calories in the process.

Shape has a great article that features 10 New Outdoor Workout Ideas. The article offers you a grab-bag of fun and exciting ways to break a sweat outside. From Paddleboarding to a Fitness Scavenger hunt, this article is sure to stir up some ideas in the old noggin.

Track it all with Fitdigits! Fitdigits will map your route, and provide other interesting stats and charts.

learn-more-orange-button copy

Ditch the Distance – Go for Time

If you are training for a distance event, or just training in general, it is important that you work out properly and are prepared for any set of circumstances that come your way. So many things can affect your performance. The weather can be unpredictable, your body can respond differently; so many variables come into play on any given day, especially set race
days!

Prepare for anything and make your training Mother Nature-proof by training with duration and intensity instead of distance.

A recent blog post by noted endurance training expert Joe Friel argues that one of the more common endurance training mistakes is focusing on distance instead of duration. While most people use distance when training because that is the measurement races use (it’s called a “5k”, not a “30 Minute-er”), the best way to combat variability is training using duration. Friel went on to explain further:

“With rare exceptions, the workouts I suggest athletes do are based on duration, not distance. The reason is that the intensity of a workout is specific to its length in time, but not necessarily to its distance. For example, if there are two runners in a 10-km race and one finishes in 30 minutes while the other, also working as hard as he can, finishes in 60 minutes, their intensities were not the same. The 30-minute finisher was working at a much higher intensity as a percentage of VO2max. If they were to both run as hard as they could for 30 minutes they would likely use almost exactly the same intensity; one would simply cover more ground than the other”

Therefore, if there are adverse conditions on race day, you can use your intensity training to alter how hard you push it in order to make sure you complete the race. Friel continues:

“The bottom line here is that intensity is inversely related to time. This means that as one increases, the other decreases. As the time of a race or workout gets longer, the intensity at which you are working is reduced. It’s obvious. You can’t run a marathon at your 5-km pace. You run slower in the marathon because you have to run for a longer time. A 30-minute 10-km racer and a 60-minute 10-km racer are, essentially, not doing the same race, and they shouldn’t train the same way either. In the same way, if the bike race will take longer due to wind then you must race at a lower power.”

IMG_0236

Fitdigits on iOS has all of the tools you need to both create and track duration based workouts with a focus on intensity. Fitdigits Custom Workout Routines allows you to not only create workouts specialized to you, but also gives you in workout feedback if your intensity (i.e. Heart Rate) is too high or low.

Create a Structured Workout Based on Duration:
  1. On the Home page, choose the icon of the workout you wish to create the workout for (most likely Running)
  2. Tap Workout -> Workout Routines
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the page and tap New Time/Distance Routine
  4. Add a Name, Time and Zone. Longer workouts should be in lower zones, while shorter workouts should have a higher heart rate

 

You now are ready to start training! It is up to you whether you wish to add Auto End Routine and Auto Recovery to your workout.

–Read Joe Friel’s blog post Train for Duration or Distance?

Come race day, make sure you are prepared to monitor your race and make it to the end injury free. Use Fitdigits Fitness Assessments to set custom Heart Rate Zones, VO2 Max, and Lactate Threshold.

 

 

An Indoor Winter Workout

With Winter comes cold weather, making it difficult to get outside for a run, walk or ride. If you don’t feel like going to the gym, we still have a great solution to burn some calories and stay fit.

Active.com has a great 30 Minute Indoor Workout that is sure to get your blood pumping! We have tried this ourselves in the Fitdigits office and can attest it will leave you sore and ready for more!

The 12 Days of Fitness Christmas

Twas 12 nights before Christmas, when all through the land
Not a person was exercising, no workouts were planned.
The ham was carved, candy eaten without care,
10 pounds later we complain life isn’t fair.

This holiday season, before you snuggle into your bed,
Make sure to have a Holiday plan in your head.
Fitdigits is sharing the year’s best fitness tips,
To help you avoid adding winter weight to your hips.

Like Fitdigits on Facebook for a Chance to Win a Bike Case!

December 13
12th Day- 12 Tips to Survive the Holiday Season

December 14
11th Day- 11 K Steps a Day

December 15
10th Day- 10 minute workouts, 3 times a day

December 16
9th Day- 9 Ways to Talk About Fitness

December 17
8th Day- 8 Reps, 3 Sets

December 18
7th Day- 7 Wonders of the Fitness World

December 19
6th Day- 6 Times a Day Leave Your Desk

December 20
5th Day- 5 Ways to Get Your Metabolism Moving

December 21
4th Day- 4 Stretches For After a Workout

December 22
3rd Day- 3 Workouts a Week

December 23
2nd Day- 2 Tools to Use With Fitdigits to Lose Weight

December 24
1st Day- 1 You

December 25
Merry Christmas!

Tell us what you have learned in 2013 by taking a brief Survey.

1 You

Twas 1 nights before Christmas, when all through the land
Not a person was exercising, no workouts were planned.
The ham was carved, candy eaten without care,
10 pounds later we complain life isn’t fair.

This holiday season, before you snuggle into your bed,
Make sure to have a Holiday plan in your head.
Fitdigits is sharing the year’s best fitness tips,
To help you avoid adding winter weight to your hips.

1st Day- 1 You

The world is big.

Ground breaking news I know. But think about the vastness of Earth. This third rock from the sun has over 7.1 billion people. That is Billion with a capitol B. For those of you who are not math whizzes, in my scientific opinion that is a whole lot of people.

Below you will find a square full of dots. Each smaller square has 100 dots, and in total you have 10,000 dots. Think of each dot as representing a person.

10,000 dots

You would have to line up 700,000 of the images above to represent the world population. 700,000! Just thinking of the vastness of this world we occupy can make anyone feel pretty small.

I would argue the opposite.

In a world of 7 billion people, there is only one you. There is only one person with your thoughts, feelings, actions, lifestyle and mannerisms. Only one person who has inside jokes with your friends and family. Only one person who has gone through the unique set of circumstances that has made you the person you are today. Only one person with the ability to shape the world around you.

This should make you feel pretty powerful. Like there is nothing you can’t do. You are the lone representative of you, in a world of billions, and are capable of doing anything and everything you set your mind to.

Change starts with you. There is no trick. No fad diets. No 7 minute workouts. We have spent the last 11 days detailing ways to help you on your journey, but it is just that, your journey. Be the change you want to be.

And, oh yeah- MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Tell us what you have learned in 2013 by taking a brief Survey.

7 Wonders of the Fitness World

Twas 7 nights before Christmas, when all through the land
Not a person was exercising, no workouts were planned.
The ham was carved, candy eaten without care,
10 pounds later we complain life isn’t fair.

This holiday season, before you snuggle into your bed,
Make sure to have a Holiday plan in your head.
Fitdigits is sharing the year’s best fitness tips,
To help you avoid adding winter weight to your hips.

7th Day- 7 Wonders of the Fitness World

This list is a bit different then the classic 7 Wonders of the World, which are more reserved for awe inspiring spectacles. Instead, this will be using the literal meaning of the word “wonder”. Allow me to use an antiquated literary technique, and provide the Merriam-Webster definition of the word wonder:

  • something or someone that is very surprising, beautiful, amazing, etc.
  • a feeling caused by seeing something that is very surprising, beautiful, amazing, etc.
  • something that is surprising or hard to believe

With these definitions in mind, the 7 Wonders of the Fitness World are going to be often overlooked and surprising aspects that are helpful in making sure you are in tip-top shape.

  1. Sleep– Sleep is an essential component of working out. You could be doing everything else perfectly, but without enough Zzz’s you can find that you will not make the gains you should be. For more information, check out an article on Health.com on the 11 Health Benefits of Sleep.
  2. Interval Training– Interval training should be a key component in the toolbox of anyone who is focused on Fitness. By having your heart rate alternate from high to low, you see benefits you wouldn’t otherwise, as outlined in this Mayo Clinic Article on Interval Training. Create your own custom Interval Workouts in the Fitdigits app with Custom Routines.
  3. Breakfast– I’m guessing you have heard the saying “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. Do you know why you have heard this ad nauseum for years now? Probably because it is true! Break the 7-9 hour fast of sleep with a balanced and nutritious breakfast, which will leave you full longer and get your metabolism going. Try oatmeal with blueberries to get lasting energy, antioxidants and more to fuel your day.
  4. Hydration– Water is one of the most overlooked fitness supplements out there. Everyone is rushing to grab the newest fad or craze from the nutrition world, but good old water still is needed and necessary for workouts and recovery. Men’s Health does a great job outlining 5 Reasons to Never Neglect Water.
  5. Recovery/Rest– Sometimes the want and need to workout can be overwhelming. You have goals that seem so far away on the horizon, and you just want to keep pushing until you reach them. However, not paying attention to your bodies recovery and overextending yourself can be a detriment to your goals. Learn more about The Importance of Recovery.
  6. Pre-Workout Meals– What you eat before a workout can go a long way towards determining how effective that workout will be. Make sure to have a meal heavy in complex carbohydrates, low in simple sugars and laden with vitamins and nutrients. A great example is an Almond Butter, Blueberry Preserves, and Banana Sandwich.
  7. Core Workouts– Core workouts are the forgotten pillar of working out. While core workouts have numerous health benefits, too often they are shrugged off as a waste of time. False! Core workouts are a, ahem, core part of any workout routine. Learn more about How Core Fitness Exercise Benefits the Entire Body.

8 Reps, 3 Sets

Twas 8 nights before Christmas, when all through the land
Not a person was exercising, no workouts were planned.
The ham was carved, candy eaten without care,
10 pounds later we complain life isn’t fair.

This holiday season, before you snuggle into your bed,
Make sure to have a Holiday plan in your head.
Fitdigits is sharing the year’s best fitness tips,
To help you avoid adding winter weight to your hips.

8th- 8 Reps, 3 Sets

If you are not lifting weights on a regular basis, you should be.

No this is not the diary of a muscle head Jersey Shore reject. This is dropping straight science on you information seekers.

Weight Lifting raises your metabolism level long after you have left the squat rack, meaning you burn more calories sitting on the couch after a lift then after a run. On top of that, muscles require maintenance. If you have built up your muscle mass, it requires more energy for your body to function throughout the day, increasing your BMR. This is just one of a myriad of health benefits from lifting weights.

So how do you get started? The best set and rep combination for beginners is doing 3 sets of 8 reps. This is just long enough at 8 reps that you will be able to build muscular endurance, but just short enough that you can experiment with some heavier weights.

In the beginning, start light and work on perfecting your form. Without good form, you are cheating yourself! Over time add as much weight as you are comfortable with. Consult a trainer at your gym to help you get started.

9 Ways to Talk About Fitness

Twas 9 nights before Christmas, when all through the land
Not a person was exercising, no workouts were planned.
The ham was carved, candy eaten without care,
10 pounds later we complain life isn’t fair.

This holiday season, before you snuggle into your bed,
Make sure to have a Holiday plan in your head.
Fitdigits is sharing the year’s best fitness tips,
To help you avoid adding winter weight to your hips.

9th Day- 9 Ways to Talk About Fitness

I loved watching Breaking Bad. While it was an obviously compelling show in of itself, a big part of the fun was discussing what happened on Sunday night and Monday morning . I would call friends, chat at the water cooler, and scour online for thoughts on what occurred, what it means and what might come next.

The same goes for Health and Fitness.

Find outlets to discuss your workouts and diet with. Collaborating with others is a great way to “stir the pot” and uncover new ideas and plans, find motivation, or even further shape your own thoughts. It can be deeply rewarding to find other people who are enthusiastic on the subject.

Unless those people are secretly dangerous, meth cooking drug dealers…

I wonder if he has tried interval training?

Without further ado, 9 Ways to Talk About Fitness:

  1. Talk to Friends, Family and Co-Workers– Many of your friends and family are active and have nutrition tips and tricks. All you have to do is ask! Mine the golden information all around you to increase your knowledge, or help those hiding in the desolate blackness of ignorance find the light.
  2. Join a Running Group– What better way to find people who are excited to talk about health and fitness then to join a running group. One of our personal favorites is Moms In Motion, a group for Moms to get out, exercise, and give back to the community. Find a Moms In Motion group today!
  3. Find Your Favorite Fitness Site– The internet is a virtual cornucopia of knowledge, especially when it comes to fitness. Find a few sites or authors you really like, and check back a few times a week to find new articles and tips. Write in to the site if you have questions.
  4. Share Your Workouts– If you track workouts with a Fitdigits app, share your workouts. Fitdigits allows you to share workouts by Email, Facebook, Twitter, various health and fitness sites and more! Tag a friend in a Facebook post, and see if they can beat your best run.
  5. Create a Fitdigits Group– If you upgrade to Fitdigits MVP you have the ability to create groups with fellow fitness fanatics. These groups allow you to view each others workouts, have a group leaderboard, share blog posts and link to a Facebook group. Keep in touch with workout wizards around the world.
  6. Be Social at the Gym– Working out on the gym can sometimes feel like you are exercising on an island. Everyone has headphones in, is sweating, and generally look like they do not want to be bothered. I have found that nothing can be farther from the truth. Everyone is proud of the knowledge they have built through years of experimentation with exercise and nutrition, and you will find that if you ask those around you questions they will be more than happy to respond. Next thing you know, the gym feels like Cheers and everyone knows your name!
  7. Online Forums– Many health and fitness websites have interactive forums to discuss anything and everything health and fitness related. MyFitnessPal has a great forum.
  8. Take a Spinning Class– Great music, great instructors, a great workout. Join a Spinning class at your local gym and find people who live in your neighborhood who share a similar passion for smashing calories.
  9. Talk to Fitdigits– We love to hear from our users! Whether you want to share a success story, talk training routines or have nutrition questions, contact us! We are not necessarily “experts”, but we are passionate about getting fit and staying healthy, and we workout regularly.

10 Minute Workouts, 3 Times a Day

Twas 10 nights before Christmas, when all through the land
Not a person was exercising, no workouts were planned.
The ham was carved, candy eaten without care,
10 pounds later we complain life isn’t fair.

This holiday season, before you snuggle into your bed,
Make sure to have a Holiday plan in your head.
Fitdigits is sharing the year’s best fitness tips,
To help you avoid adding winter weight to your hips.

10th Day- 10 minute workouts, 3 times a day

Every once in awhile, you hear something in regards to health and fitness that really blows your mind. It may not make sense intuitively, but after reading mounting piles of irrefutable evidence, you just have to face the facts, throw up your hands and accept the once unimaginable.

That is how I felt when I found out The Flex Belt may not be THE ultimate workout for abs.

Did not give me a six pack…

I know, it is still shocking to this day. A slightly more relevant revelation is that 3 ten minute workouts a day is as good for you or maybe even better than one 30 minute workout a day.

Pause for ten seconds, then read that again.

All my life I upturned my nose to short workouts as recreational folly and completely disregarded their validity, but after reading the New York Times article “The 10-Minute Workout, Times Three” I am a changed man. The article details a study completed at Arizona State University that found that three 10 minute workouts are significantly better for combatting high blood pressure then one 30 minute workout.

Each day try to at least get in three ten minute walks or jogs, and you may find yourself that much happier, healthier, and fitter.

And oh yeah- stay away from The Flex Belt.