A workout buddy of mine has a simple gym set up in his garage. Nothing fancy, just an assortment of dumbbells, a squat rack with a barbell, and a bench. With that limited amount of equipment, he’s able to plan very challenging workouts for every muscle group. But his workouts really get interesting when he’s done lifting weights. At the end of each workout, my friend likes to tack on 5 hill runs. He happens to live on a street with fairly steep grade. A single hill run means walking a quarter mile to the bottom of the street and then running full blast to where the hill crests. Then repeat, five times in a row.
I’ve tried this exercise with him after completing 2 hours of brutal full-body weight training, and let me tell you, it’s no cake walk. The first time up the hill, still pumped from your workout, it feels like you could run all day. On the second run up, energy is starting to dip, and picking up one foot after another starts to burn – in your calves, in your thighs, and in your gut. By the time you’re making your third pass, you start to think up reasons why it would be very good to stop. But you don’t. The 4th time up the hill seems to take twice as long, as if you’ve got a weight vest on and just holding your shoulders up is almost impossible. “Why did I sign up for this?,” you think. And then you’re finally at the 5th rep, the last run up the hill. This is where the magic happens. Rather than slow down, you speed up. Rather than give in to the pain, you push back even harder. You bolt up that long hill like a champion. When you get to the top, completely spent, with not one more drop of energy to give, every muscle in agony, barely able to breathe – you feel GREAT.
There is nothing like the pride and power one feels upon accomplishing an “impossible” fitness goal. Whether you’re charging up a half mile hill, trying to lose 30 pounds, or looking to PR on your deadlift, there’s nothing better than seeing your body meet the challenges you set for it.
I credit my relentless cardio training in the gym with being able to turn out a hill run set like this. My O2 Trainer didn’t hurt either. By adding this simple device to my WEIGHT routine in the gym, I’ve increased my endurance, I’ve trained my red blood cells to deliver more oxygen, and I’ve actually increased the strength of my ventilatory muscles. Those bad boys are the real engine that gets you up the hill.
Yes, high intensity training like my buddy’s hill runs are incredible fat burners. They spike your metabolism, turn you into a cardio beast, and shrink wrap those muscles you’ve worked so hard for. But even more than that, training this hard shows you that you can always improve. Working out is your gateway to becoming the person you want to be. You’ve got the tools. Now get out there and climb that hill.