Bodybuilding is hard for me –yes I have won my fair share of competitions, but I have had to fight my genetics to do so.
I am built more for ‘or would be’ for athletics –namely running.
When I was kid –in the words of Forest Gump –“you may not believe me –but I could run like the wind blows and If I was going somewhere, I was running”.
I would run to school –if I went –I run home-I run to the shop.
And on that note, I will tell you, that my dad would time me to run to the shop in the old town to get his cigarettes.
Took me years to figure –he just wanted his ‘cigs’ quicker.
I would even put on my plimsolls so I could be faster –I was 26 at the time ha-ha, no I’m joking, I was about 8-9 and running was a huge part of my life.
At 13-14, I was starting to do a few bodyweight exercises most mornings before school and some evenings. I would also run after my little workouts, the mornings being the longest, I would run around 10 miles most- early mornings of the week.
The run I loved, as growing up in Bridlington- a seaside town, it was very open and rural.
My ‘little’ run was from the point of just outside Bridlington town on the cliff tops –along the tops I would run. Through- Sewerby, Danes Dyke and all the way along the cliff tops to Flamborough head. Not more than a stones throw off the lighthouse. I would look out over the sea for a few minutes, turn right round and come back. It was five miles there and ‘surprisingly’ back.
The terrain was rough –with hills of many sizes, that added to the wind blowing off the north-sea made the run incredibly hard.
But something I can see in my minds eye even today, I loved it that much.
Even after all these years, I still long for that outdoors solitude-never did I like the street- city type runs I loved to be out in nature and not seeing a sole other than wildlife.
For my bodybuilding goals I had to let the running go –I simply could not eat enough food for the calories I was expending and hold onto muscle tissue. If its lean muscle tissue you’re after- long duration CV and weights do not mix, as you will compromise the amount of muscle you will ultimately hold. When I am prepping for a show –it’s a strict no CV work program-its weights all the way training fast and heavy. This is also my philosophy when prepping clients –hard fast heavy-weights bring about the look needed for the stage, In girls and guys.
If I have to prescribe any other work, it would be what I call drills. These are mini early morning workouts with weights to boost the metabolism and anabolism.
So what’s my take on the CV side of things?
Long duration CV –be it a run or some kit in the gym –is in my mind a muscle waster and in-turn a metabolism kill switch.
But if your not prepping for the stage and enjoy doing some –do it –its your choice, just don’t overdo it.
If it is a cosmetic look your after for the stage, well then–there needs to be a prescription for that look –the best and fastest strategy to obtain it if you will.
And in my experience hard, heavy, fast weight workouts are the top rung of the ladder –with everything else below.
I could go on and write a book here on this but lets stick to the first point here. I love to run-I love being out so how can I not compromise my physique goals –but still do something that I enjoy and will actually be a part of the lean muscle mass equation.
This is the point that hill sprints come in.
Something I can do, that will keep muscle tissue on me and even aids it.
I can be outside –enjoy the solitude of just me my dog and my thoughts.
Hill workouts are incredible and will humble you if you give them all you have. They will spike the metabolism and in time will make you feel functional fit. The type of -in shape- feel you have when you just know you can do something if need be, that in shape feeling and agility that makes you feel good from the inside out.
The benefits don’t stop there.
You get such and incredible workout from them that your legs will increase in squatting power –your hamstrings will take on a whole new look –not to mention calf’s.
So–as in we have reached the top of the hill –we have a downside ha-ha.
They knock the crap out of you-they are as tough as many sets of high rep squats and at this time of year you get wet through and covered from head to toe in mud –but that, for me- is part of the fun.
I have two hills I run one is a long nasty Bast*** and the other a short sprint of maybe 30 sec. The big ‘B’ takes around 80 seconds to run it as hard as I can to the top.
To be honest the big un is my favorite, It is out in the wilds –just off some woods –not a sole about just the dog and me.
A couple of days a week, I have Daisy (yes Daisy the dog) jump in the back of my van and off we go-she gets as giddy as me. After a 15 min car drive we pull up on the outskirts of our hideaway place.
We trek though the woods as a warm up till we reach the hill. I then just run up the frigging thing as fast as I can –without resting I turn round and jog back to the bottom, the jog is the rest –I turn at a marked clump of trees. I try to run even harder now, as the aggression is building in me. I attack –but love every second –the clean cold air cuts into your lungs –but makes you feel so alive. Daisy is right there at my side all the way-on three, to the top hard runs –I take a short pause and suck in the clean air.
It’s at this point I realize I am covered in mud and I smile. Always a kid. As you can guess the hill is very rough –with the only trail on it is a muddy little track through the tall undergrowth and brambles that Daisy and I have blazed through it.
With my heart rate dropping – I head back down for another set of three. On a good day I may do 3 rounds of this –I play it by how good I feel. I kill it –but don’t overkill it, all things being in place –eating rest –work and home are not as mad –I get my three in.
Other times if time does not permit and I feel I need a shorter quick blast I do the hill walking distance from my home –six on this is short sharp shock, again my mutt by my side.
You could say she’s as fit as a ‘coach’s’ dog –not butchers ha-ha.
What you need.
A good-sized hill for a start-something to challenge you.
Some old trainers –or even football /rugby boots –something to give you some traction in the mud. I use some North Face cross trainers –had em years and they are held together by mud now. But they are still going strong.
Some time-just put a couple of days a week aside for hill sprints –this should be plenty enough to reap all the benefits.
The dog or a buddy to sprint with is optional.
Enjoy the basic simplicity of hill workouts –find a remote hill and make it yours –and be functional fit and in shape.
Love to ya all Ian