HyperVest by HyperWear

After several weeks of researching for the correct weight vest, we went with the Hypervest. I say, we because, I really relied on J to help with making this purchase. J knows some things about carrying weight, running with weight for training, and carrying weight in real-life situations. Instead of reinventing the wheel, I did the smart thing and welcomed having the extra knowledge and help for this purchase. It has completely paid-off, I couldn’t be happier with this weight vest.

hypervest

I have been using the Hypervest for 5 to 6  years and I have absolutely no complains nor does J. You can check them out, here. I love them for several reasons.  Here is why:

  • Zips in the front, for easy on and off. There are days I don’t want to have to un-clip this then that. Pull over my head or pull off over my head.  It’s just like zipping up your jacket. Well, a jacket that is just a “wee-bit” heavier than the jacket in your closet.
  • Sides have drawstrings with locking mechanisms that help secure the vest.  This is helpful for many reasons, especially with running. The drawstrings help secure the vest when you run, this means the vest is not bouncing up and down too much, which can lead to bruising. I say too much because, the vest will move like everything else on and in your body. You cannot prevent this, but it does limit the movement. This drawstrings create a comfortable fit and does so without extra effort. What I mean by the extra effort, once its set, its set. No extra effort for putting it on or taking it off. You don’t have to loosen the drawstring to take off or put on the vest.
  • Weight Plates are increments of 1/7 of a pound, which helps prevent injury and allows for proper muscle-building and cardio vascular strength building without over stressing your body.
  • Ease of adding and removing weight plates. It is a little tasking, as in, trying to rush placing in or taking out weights to get a workout in before your child wakes up from his or her nap. But if you plan accordingly that is not a problem. The plates slide in and our easy. With a little practice, you will be a pro.
  • Breathable material. The material isn’t like your wicking t-shirt, shorts, etc, but it allows for cooling and sweat better than vests. I sweat a lot and I have no additional issues with rubbing injuries or anything like that.
  • You can make the weight equal in front and back or when fully loaded there is more weight in the back. Again, this is to prevent injury. It is extremely helpful for keep form while running or doing whatever activity you choice to do with the vest. More weight in the front means you will be pulled forward. Think what they will do to your back muscles.
  • **Warning Female Reason** No problems with hurting the ta-tas. I have used this vest with Cs to DD cups. Yes, I used this vest when given the “okay” from my doctor after M was born. I nursed M until she was two. Hence, the range in cup sizes. So, yeah, no ta-ta pain.
    • As a side note, for those mother’s that are working out and nursing. Remember, that the body maximum level of lactic acid is 90 minutes AFTER your work out. So, plan feedings accordingly, some babies don’t have issues with the taste and some do. These issues range from refusal to nurse to feeding and throwing up. Just plan accordingly and read your baby. I fed M within the hour before a workout out then depending on M’s age within 10 minutes or after two hours after the end of the work. As an infant, M did not want anything to do with salty (sweat) taste or acidity as she grew she did not mind the salt taste. I never retried the acidity. There are just some things that aren’t worth the retrial as a parent.

If you want to be able to carry weight up a mountain, while running or in other situations then you have to train to do so. It’s really that simple. The advice, I was given was, “Start light move to heavy. Build your body first then increase your tensity of the work. Then add weight, adjust, increase intensity. Repeat”. Starting light means 5 to 8 lbs for about 5 or 6 workouts. Find where you need to start with the weight.  Some women, maybe able to handle more weight ( 7 to 10lbs) simply because of the fluctuations of water weight during the monthly cycles. Remember, it may take two days for the workout to effect your body. Best advice, again start light move to heavy.  I have lived by it and its paid off. I have carried 40 to 45lbs up and down mountain sides max miles covered in a single day has been 15 with rest periods of 5 to 15 minutes every 2 to 3 miles and a lunch break of  25 minutes. Also, I have carried 25 lbs on a 10 mile run at a pace of 830 minutes per mile.  Getting to that point was rather grueling and definitely filled with my inner monologue going “WTF?!?! Just quit! Stop” and definitely other profanities. So, if you run into that saying (no pun intended 🙂 ) have a plan to fight through it. Mantra works, pick a distant object get there than pick another one, do the same with time, whatever works. Just know the difference between having to stop due to pain and that of mental/physical training barriers. If you are a hiker or backpacker. Getting a weight vest is helpful for training, especially if you can use the vest on a stair stepper or treadmill. The only true way to get your body to adjust to carrying weight up incline is to do so. The only other advice I have while wearing the vest is to make sure no matter what you are doing, running, walking, climbing, weight lifting, day-to-day activities keep your form. It is so important, if you don’t, you will have one heck of a sore back and maybe have additional issues. I have not had any issues in this area, since form as beat into my head from playing sports to dance classes. Make it a habit to check your form. That’s means even now while you read this post. What is your form like? Slouching over or are you stilling up back straight, shoulders over your hips? Stomach muscle engaged? Practice makes perfect. 😉 All and all another great product to help your train to the next level. I highly recommend it.

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Week 3 of Training

Put a fork in me, I am done. This was a hard week, not just the workouts, but the solo parenting with a child that is hitting the “terrible threes”. The latter made it more important than ever I get the workouts in. This week was just overly challenging. Great news, next week will be, too. At least, I am prepared and ready for Thanksgiving week. 🙂

This week focused on lifting weight to muscle fatigue with a good amount of cardio (tempo and speed work). So, here we go… week 3 breakdown.

Sunday – 6 miles with 4 at tempo

Monday  –  Easy 6 miles with core & back work, chest, back, triceps and biceps for weight lifting. Remember to work your whole chest then your triceps then to back to biceps. Always work a-posing muscle groups. Hence, the need to work abs then back. Each weight lifting exercise was done 3 times with 12 reps with the last rep being to muscle fatigue. IE, if I did another up and down I would either pull a muscle or not make it. If you have not been there, go an additional 2 to 4 times from the point you think you can’t.

  • Chest workout
    • Flat bench chest press
      • 25 crunches and 25 reverse crunch
      • Superman 25 times.
    • Incline chest press
      • Repeat Ab and Back work
    • Dumbbell Pullovers, I do this move with only my shoulders on a bench, keep your spine inline abs in gauged, knees 90 degrees, feet flat on the floor. After your last set move directly to tricep presses right over your chest as many as you can do.
      • Repeat Ab and Back work
  • Triceps
    • Seated Tricep Extensions
      • Repeat Ab and Back work
    • Tricep Kickbacks
      • Repeat Ab and Back work
  • Back (Thank you to Jack for this workout, he created the workout with dumbbells. Great guy, very helpful and excited to help and even followed up on the workout to make sure it was working).  The fact he is a ‘Bama fan is just an added bonus! 🙂 You can find him on twitter here and his website here, Jack’s website.
    • Single dumbbell bent over row
      • Body weight squats 10
    • Double dumbbell bent over rows (performed standing, no bench involved)
      • Body weight squats 10
    • Bent-over double dumbbell lat fly
      • Body weight squats 10
    • Bent over Dumbbell pull-backs
      • Body weight squats 10
  • Biceps
    • Hammer curls
      • Body weight squats 10
    • Biceps curls
      • Body weight squats 10

Greatest way to know you lifted correctly is move directly into push up position, if you are not shaking during the execution or if you just can’t even perform the push up, you reached your muscle fatigue. Depending on your recovery rate you may be able to do a push up or two. If you are handling this easily, you are stronger than you believe and you need to adjust your lifting to reach the point of muscle fatigue.

Tuesday – Shoot me now, 10 miles on the treadmill followed by 25 8-count body builders. The body builders took me some time, I was a little sore from the day before. Plus, I really really, did I mention really hate body builders. I mean really, who came up with this god forsaken workout, a form of a burpee set to a rhythm count. If I ever met this person, I am not sure I would punch or hug him/her. Either way… another, lovely workout J taught me.  The run on the treadmill was tough mentally. The only thing that got me through this run was “From Paris With Love”. Yes, the weapons fire, explosions, and awesome character playing by John Travolta made 10 miles seems like a walk in the park.

          One of my favorite quotes from the movie is, “Kitchen staff!?! What kitchen staff ?!? Kitchen staff doesn’t shed lead like that.”  Anywhos…..I highly recommend the movie if you have not seen it. Great effects with some awesome movie liners like the one above.

Wednesday – No cardio, just repeat of Mondays weight lifting. Plus, yoga and stretching. I wasn’t overly sore. Weight lifting then cardio helps work out the lactic acid build up. Plus, the more efficient your body becomes the better the recovery.

Thursday –  First off, I am so stoked I completed this. (8.5 miles total) I learned this workout from J. It was a workout he did some many moons ago. Well, half of it. I just repeated the cycle.

  • Block 1
    • Easy warmup one and a half miles. You can make this a mile if you want. I said easy for a reason.
  • Block 2
    • Four quarter-mile sprints with 30 second working recovery* between each set — you can make the rest period up to 45 seconds
    • 45 to one minute working recovery after your last quarter-mile sprint.
    • Two half mile sprints with 60 second working recovery* between each set — you can make the rest period up to 90 seconds
  • Block 3
    • Working recovery* for one mile.
  • Block 4
    • REPEAT Block 2
      • Try and maintain the same pace of your first round of Block 2. By the third half mile repeat or maybe the first half-mile repeat you should be swearing and pushing yourself through the “I want to quit” stage. Just remember, the saying “Pain is inevitable, suffering optional.” You choose suffer through it or push forward. I use a mantra when things get real tough, I find it’s a way to calm my mind and body, it’s rather simple. Be Strong, Be Confident, Believe. Short simple and repeated whenever I need it.
  • Block 5
    • One mile cool down. Add whatever miles you need for cool down. I did 1.5. I have an A-Type personality and the warm up and cool down need to match and the cool down needs to make the total mileage complete or at a half mile. IE after the decimal the number needs to be 0 or 5.

Finished up with core & back work and another 15 8 count body builders **insert sour loving face**.

Friday – Easy 5 mile run.

Saturday – As always family day. I am truly blessed to have a man or maybe a vampire man in my life that when his flight is cancelled on Friday night, he will get a rental car and drive all the way home to arrive Saturday morning for family day. He did this knowing that early Sunday morning like 4AM he was heading back out to the airport and heading back to the location he just left. Saturday’s adventures were very basic, we picked up our fresh turkey from a local family farmer, we did a little more Christmas shopping, of course watched some football, enjoyed building some great architectures, pig piled on the bed for a few Christmas films, made time for J and M to have play time, followed by Abby getting some solo couch time with J and I got 75 minutes of almost uninterrupted peace and not so much quiet time to do adult things. The time flew by, but we will take it. It is about quality over quantity.

*What I mean by working recovery is that you are still moving jogging or at an easy run pace. You are allowing your body to recovery and take in more oxygen at a reduction in intensity, but you are not standing still or allowing your heart rate to drop completely, I stay within 60 – 65% of max heart rate. The Thursday workout is all about working at a high intensity with minor breaks then back to high intensity. You are training you cells to recovery after high intensity and also training your mind to influence your body. Remember, fitness is not how skinny, built, how far you can run/hike/climb/swim or how much you can carry for a certain distance and/or altitude. Fitness is your rate of recovery. The better your fitness rate, the faster you recover, the faster your body returns to homeostasis. The place it wants to be. In times of stress that being fight or flight, work shit, family BS, disagreement with your loved one, you name it, the faster your body and your mind can make the adjustments and return to normal the better for you and your body.

Week Two of Training

I had to make some changes to my plan. This week we had a sick household.  Everyone, but the dogs, got ‘the crud’.  M had a low-grade temperature for several days, so we were the good parents and kept her home from pre-school and kept ‘the crud’ all to ourselves. The good news is we all are over ‘the crud’ and ready to face week three with all cylinders firing at maximum power.

Week Two Workouts:

Sunday: Off. It was supposed to be 8 miles, but ‘the crud’ and a minor hive outbreak made things a little tough. The latter is getting overly exhausting.

Monday:  6 miles

Tuesday: 6 miles and one hour spin class (HIIT workout) — Did not do the spin class.

Wednesday: 5 mile run with a 16lb weight vest and 1 mile 15% incline walk with 16lb weight vest

Thursday: Started off with hives, but did my circuit training, which breaks down as follows:

Each round of exercise is done 3 times for 40 minutes with 20 second recovery then 60 minute recovery between each round. This week was about making friends with the floor for plank position and push ups. Here are the exercises:

  1. Round One
    • Grab a step (like the ones they use in step class) with 2 or 4 rises for each side or a low bench, stand to one side then place one foot up on the step towards the middle, bend to 90 degrees, jump up and return to bent position. Keep the landing light, soft, as quiet as you can. Keep your form, break when you need.
    • Bent over rows
    • Down the floor, plank position, execute a push up. If you cannot do a push up with perfect form, then do a modified push up with perfect form. Return to plank position, then right leg, knee to chest, then another push up, then left leg, knee to chest. Repeat as many times as you can. Remember you form. Form is most important.  If you do the modified push up, move back to the plank position and then knee to chest and back down. No harm and dropping to modified or starting at modified push ups. We all start somewhere, we all have our weaknesses. With that said, we are all stronger in another area. So, don’t get down on yourself if you can’t maintain or start with a push up.
  2. Round two
    • Back to Step, straddle it, bend over and place hands on the far end of the step, then jump your feet up onto the step, landing on your toes and back down to the floor. Controlled and soft landings.
    • Deadlifts
    • Down to the floor for swimmers. Lay on your stomach, leg out (feet a little wider than hip width, arms out in front of you) pull your chest and hips off the floor as high as you can. Both arms and legs up and down as fast as you can while maintain the distance you just pulled up off the floor. This works your hamstrings and back.
  3. Round Three
    • Squats with overhead press
    • Down to the floor, again. Back to plank position for ‘around the world’. From plank position, lift left arm, left leg, right arm, then right leg. Repeat. You can do a left arm/right leg lift then right arm/left leg. If needed, go down to your elbow and perform the ‘around the world’.
    • Front raises, keep your stomach contracted, if needed place one foot slightly in front of the other to protect your back or bend over.
  4. Round Four
    • Jumping jacks with 2.5 lb plate. Arms —  in and out for 20 seconds then arms up to should height and down for 20 seconds. As many as you can. The jacks with in and out arms may require a bit more focus then your regular jacks. 😉

Friday: 6 mile run with stretching. Later that afternoon, a 3 mile walk with my weight vest. The three miles broke out like this;

  • Mile one at 7% incline
  • Mile two at 11% incline
  • Mile three at 15 % incline

I wanted to run 4 miles at a 4% incline. But I toned it down to just sweat at low intensity and work the cold out of my system.

Saturday: Rest day — FAMILY DAY 🙂 It included, Christmas shopping, ‘The Incredibles’ with puzzles, building blocks, play-dough, M barking out commands to Abby and time as family piled on the couch. I’m amazed how two adults, one toddler and two large dogs find a way to fit on the couch. At nap time,  J & I watched the Alabama Football game. Roll Tide! Yes, I am from the north, but I married a man from Mobile, AL.  When ‘Bama is on, I’m watching the game. I have no complaints. ZERO. When the Pats are on, he is game for watching it with no complaints. The joys of being married. Compromise. 🙂

My mileage was a wee-bit better. I did not like cutting out my spinning class, but the chest congestion really made cardio at high rates a wee-bit tricky.  The circuit training suffered do to the chest congestion, so I made the next day’s cardio a bit easier.

The weight vest training went well. Honestly, 16 lbs is a walk in the park, but with the cold the double session was tough. If you are starting out with a weight vest, stay within 2 to 5, maybe 8 lbs max for a few weeks. Work on your form. Weight carrying while running requires very good form and knowledge on how to use it. If not, you will end up with some or sever lower back pain.

There are many items to consider when purchasing a weight vest for running and other workouts. I will write-up a post later this week on the one I use and why. It’s been my lifesaver when training to carry M up and down mountains.

Week One of Training

Oh, it’s that time again. Time to start building for hiking, rock climbing, training for two half-marathons, a 5k for a local SPCA and a Thanksgiving run or race.

Week One Workouts:

Sunday: Easy 6 miles

Monday:  Stretching, Hatha Yoga.

Tuesday: 4 miles and one hour spin class (HIIT workout)

Wednesday: 5 miles, stretching

Thursday: Circuit Training, which breaks down as follows:

— Each exercise is done once, but 3 times for 60 minutes with 20 second recovery then 2.5 minute recovery between each exercise. Here is the exercises:

  • Curtsy lunges with 5 lbs plates in each arm raise up to shoulder height on down of the lunge.
  • Bench Presses
  • Star Jacks
  • Bent over rows to shoulder shrugs.
  • Squats with barbell
  • Crabs with altering hand and foot.  Get into the crab position, like you would if you were ‘crab-walking’. Contract your abs then Left foot to right hand (feet and hand meet in air above belly button) then right foot left hand. Make sure to keep your hips up and abs contracted. The stronger you get the easier it becomes, but NO, DEFINITELY NO, V shape from shoulders to knees. If you are at a V shape, strengthen your body. You can do so by raising your left hand, then right leg, then left hand then right leg. Just remember keep you hips up and stomach contracted.
  • Band strap jacks.
    • Place a resistant band around your ankles, bend knees, jump out and in (like you are doing jumping jacks) Straight knees do build nothing. Bend like a squat, out and in, as fast as you can, remained as low as you can for the full 60 seconds.
  • Deadlifts
  • Burpees with jumps. Oh yeah, my second most hated exercise saved for the end, dead arms, dead legs. All mental. As many in the 60 seconds as you can. Jump as high as you can.

Friday: 6 mile run with stretch and home yoga.

I took 8 classes in college my second to last semester before I graduated. I took one class, yoga, Hatha to be more exact. It was how I kept my sanity with a loaded semester. Through that class, I learned a ton enough to run my own class, so home yoga is focused and  highly structured.

Saturday: Rest day ——> FAMILY DAY 🙂 Play Day. Enjoyed our normal route,  we do very Saturday, no plans, just play and spend the day as a family. I can say it involved some play-dough, tons of dog kisses, buildings made out of blocks, walks, and Mickey Mouse Musketeers.

Overall, not a bad first week. I was a little sore Friday and Saturday. For week one and starting training this week was basic and will be built upon every week. My mileage was very low this week, but it was needed to allow my body to adjust other exercises. Basically, this week and week two (maybe week three) will be used to help my body rebuild its cellular function for increased exercise, intensity and duration.