Darlene has been, and still is, exceptionally committed to her three weight-training and three cardio workouts per week, and also to following a cycle diet of five days low carb, high protein (with carbs only after weight training) and two days of high carb, moderate protein. Darlene isn’t perfect with her diet every single day, but she is always trying to improve and she has been keeping a food log for me ever since she began training.
When asked if she was surprised to have won (she certainly looked surprised when I told her!) Darlene commented, "Gina let me know what the winning time was from last year, and I thought it would be pretty hard to get to—but I had faith in Gina and thought it was possible if I kept up with my training program."
For Darlene’s 5K race contest prep, I designed a running-only cardio plan that included steady-state running as well as interval training which involved alternating a very fast sprint with a slower recovery jog. I also scaled back her weight training a little so that her body had time to recover and to exert most on the cardio, as that was her category.
Since Darlene performed a classic weight and cardio routine from January through April with fat loss as a primary goal, she welcomed the change that the contest brought in her training. "I definitely worked harder those twelve weeks because I was in the contest," says Darlene. "I have run a marathon before, and I remembered that many of the runners thought that weight training would slow you down for running. Gina taught me that the weights actually help a runner increase speed—but they have to be done in a specific way. This information motivated me to push myself on the weight training too. I got some neat running-specific weight training exercises to help increase my running speed."
Darlene genuinely pushed herself to the limit during the pre-contest test run, but she still managed to shave two minutes and thirty seconds off her 5K race time! This is a very impressive feat that normally takes many months to accomplish—yet Darlene logged this improvement in less than three months!
Darlene’s secret to her success is that she takes her exercise and nutrition program very seriously and does not allow herself to make excuses for underperforming. She follows my advice as closely as she can but she also keeps a good attitude if she slips up. This positive attitude and perseverance serve her well in all things fitness!
"This contest kept me focused on running, and it gave me a little challenge to work towards," says Darlene. "I think everyone could benefit from joining a contest or race, especially people working out at home, doing everything on their own…I thought of it as real race. You want to give it your all, knowing other people are training for it too. I think it's an extra way to keep you motivated and keeping you going, a new goal to work toward. For me I am sort of at that maintenance phase, and a contest like this mixes things up." To read about her other achievements as Client of the Month, click here: Darlene Mack of Lynnfield, MA is Home Bodies client of the month for May 2006!
Darlene’s Contest: 5K Run, Fastest Time
24:28 (24 min. and 28 sec.)
After 12 weeks:
21:58 (7:08/minute miles!)
The 5K run is a 3.1 mile run and is a true test of cardio endurance at the moderate-distance level.