Interval training: Fun fitness 10-20-30 Method for Running and Spinning

By Marina Aagaard, MFE

Looking for interval training variety? Try this special version of interval training for exercisers of all ages and fitness levels for increased motivation, cardiovascular fitness and fatburning. The method is excellent for running and indoor cycling.

The method is called 10-20-30 and is developed by Danish researchers at the Center for Team Games and Health, University of Copenhagen. It has been tested with great success and is super for interval training variety.

  • More muscle mass
  • Stronger bones
  • Lower body fat
  • Better cardiovascular fitness
  • Better running [or cycling] performance.


The method is different from typical interval training with work and rest intervals.
It consists of three-part sets, which are repeated.

  • 30 seconds Walking [cycling] or very slow running (jogging)
  • 20 seconds Running [cycling] in a moderate or fast tempo
  • 10 seconds Fast running [sprinting]
  • Every 30-20-10 part is repeated 5 times, that is five repetitions without rest-pause, so a set (or block) lasts 5 minutes.
  • Between each set, there is a 2 minute rest-pause.
  • You can repeat the set 2-4 times: 5+2+5+2+5+2+5+2 minutes = 28 minutes in total.
    [Note: Last 2 minutes can be a pause before more training or a cooldown].

Repetitions (30-20-10) initially (or onwards): 5

Sets (blocks of 5 rep.): 2-4

Pause: 2 minutes between sets.

Duration: Approx. 28-38 min. workout, including a 10 min. warm-up.

Happy workout!

Interval training: New Super 5-10-15 Method for Kids and Adults

By Marina Aagaard, MFE

Now there is a new smart method for interval training, especially for kids and their parents. A method, which can be used by exercisers of all ages and fitness levels – for getting started with interval training or for variation during (interval) running.

The method is called 5-10-15 and is developed by Danish researchers at the Center for Team Games and Health, University of Copenhagen. It has recently been tested at 60 Danish schools with great success. Professor Jens Bangsbo tells, that “the results are even better, than we had hoped for”.


In just 7 weeks with 3 workouts per week of 10 minutes (max. 20 minutes including warm-up) the children and their parents have made impressive health gains:

  • The children now have more muscle mass, stronger bones and better running performance.
  • The parents now have more muscle mass, lower body fat, better cardiovascular fitness and better running performance.

The method is different from typical interval training with work and rest intervals.
It consists of small three-part sets, which are repeated.

  • 15 seconds Walking or very slow running (jogging)
  • 10 seconds Running in a moderate or fast tempo
  • 5 seconds Fast running [sprint]
  • Every 15-10-5 part is repeated 4 times, that is four repetitions without rest-pause, so a set (or block) lasts 2 minutes.
  • Between each set, there is a 1 minute rest-pause.
  • You can repeat the set 3 times: 2 +1 + 2 + 1 + 2 + 1 minutes = 9 minutes in total.
    [Note: Last minute can be a pause before more training or a cooldown].
    Every third workout you can add other 2 minutes (sets) of work.

Repetitions (15-10-5) initially (or onwards): 4

Sets (blocks of 4 rep.): 3 (or more)

Pause: 1 minute between sets.

Duration: Approx. 20 min. workout, including a 10 min. warm-up.

Happy workout!

Cruise Ship Fitness: 10 Expert Tips for Fitness and Health

By Marina Aagaard, MFE

So you want to cruise? Enjoy a relaxing holiday at sea with sunbathing by the pool and all-inclusive dining … but worried about putting on weight and losing fitness? No need to worry, you can have your cake and eat it, too …


Depending on your general activity level and food intake, ashore and on board, you can maintain weight and fitness by following one or more of these excellent and proven strategies (most work at home, too).

Cruise ship pasta dish

Too much of this?

Cruise ship dance lesson

You need much more of this!

10 Cruise Ship Fitness Tips

1. Enjoy! Get the most out of your cruise. Think happy thoughts (stress and worrying is very bad for health and weight maintenance) and relax; breathing deeply and slowly (inhale through the nose) helps.

2. Eat with mindfulness. Do not feel ‘guilty’, rather savour every mouthful. Eat with all of your senses, eat slowly and with maximal enjoyment.
It is better for your digestion and you will be satisfied sooner.

3. Stand and move about more. If you plan to do a lot of sitting by the (ice cream) bar or lying around in deck chairs, get up and walk about at least once every hour. Grab every chance to ‘run an errand’. It all adds up to more calories expended.

4. Walk (or run) more. Go to shore and do some sightseeing. Walk every where you can and see more (it will shape up your cells, grey and others, too). On board; walk around the ship to see all of it, the passageways (corridors) go on for miles: Not only exercise, an adventure.

5. Dance. Most cruise ships offer many different styles of dance lessons every day, from fitness ‘dance’ aerobics and ZumbaFitness over disco, latin and salsa to ballroom dancing. Dancing is an optimal way of exercising; it does not feel like exercise, but fun.

6. Take the stairs. Large cruise ships have endless flights of stairs. Use them at every opportunity. Do not take the elevators. Stair walking is excellent for cardiovascular fitness, tones your legs and will help maintain weight.

7. Participate in sports games. Large cruise ships have tennis and basket ball courts, table tennis and more. Find something you enjoy at home or try something completely different. Playing a game is great for mental and physical (and social) fitness and health.

8. Do some fitness exercise. It is holiday, so make it fun! Usually there is a dance exercise floor, where you can do bodyweight or free weight exercises. Or use the cardiovascular and resistance training machines; if you are not used to exercising, it is a good chance of trying something new, if your are a fitness buff, work out in a new way with different exercises for variety.

9. Do high intensity training. If you really want to keep fit, while on your cruise, interval training and circuit training gives you maximal results in minimal time … so you can spend more time holidaying.
Perform total body exercises and lift heavier weights for functional fitness.
Video below show a couple of exercises as basic preparation for this.

10. Get quality rest. Recovery is all-important after workouts, but also after long periods of working hard. Using the wellness facilities, the jacuzzi, sauna or steam bath or even having a massage, will increase fitness, health and wellness.
Recovery tip # 1: A good nights sleep is paramount for fitness and performance and weight loss or weight maintenance.

A short video with a couple of workout suggestions for beginners:


Fit for Ski or Just Fit? Slide and Glide, It’s a Hit!

By Marina Aagaard, MFE

Skiing and skiing holidays – as well as every day and leisure time activities –
are much more fun, when you have strength and stamina and don’t get tired or sore.
 Get fit by doing basic training for skiing, ski fitness.

Traditional basic training and fitness, e.g. running, cycling and leg press, primarily involves backward-forward movement in the sagittal plane, while many sports movements including skiing involves lateral, frontal plane movement.

Include lateral movement training, frontal plane training, a.o. slide training and gliding, in your fitness program, then you will have a more all-round training and be better prepared for e.g. skiing.
At the same time you work your core muscles and become more stable, so you reduce the risk of back ache and knee injury.

Here is a video, 1:01 minute, with examples of lateral movement training with three different pieces of equipment: Fitter, slideboard and Flowin. It looks easy, but you work against resistance, so it is a great workout for your muscles and cardiovascular system.
You will work up a sweat! Try one or more of these pieces of fitness equipment in your (ski) training program.

Contract your muscles well to control the movement: Feet and knees must be aligned to avoid inappropriate stress to the knees.
Start with only 5-10 minutes and progress gradually, so you build strength-endurance and improve the technique without hurting the knees during the lateral movements.
Progress to 20-30 minutes over time (weeks/month depending on form and fitness level).


Want a Better and Faster Run? Don’t Run Like You’ve Always Done!

Løbetræning for bedre løbetid

By Marina Aagaard, MFE

Do you run and run without progressing? Then read on for some great tips for smarter running in answer to this typical question: 
“I have now been running for three years 4-5 miles twice every week. But still I do not see any improvement?”
“Do you want to improve or maintain your current form? To maintain a certain level of fitness with one type of program (with little change) is an o.k. goal. If you want to progress, however, you must apply some changes to your program.”

Running is super for cardiovascular fitness, but if your runs are the same every time, your body gets used to it and stops improving because of lack of variety, which stimulates improvement.

If you want to progress, you must change your running and push your body (a bit):

If you have time and energy, add an extra run a week – mostly you need three times a week for greater improvement. Or run a longer run or a more intense run, of same or shorter duration, on one of your running days.

The most time efficient and effective method is to increase intensity, e.g. run faster or run up hills or steps (if available) on your usual route.

You can run with regular intensity changes, systematic interval training, or let your mood or the landscape guide you, so-called fartlek (swedish for ‘speed play’).
You can vary your interval runs with different speeds and interval durations.
After a period with interval running, systematic or fartlek, you will feel the improvement and observe, that your running time gets better.

Systematic interval  run
After the first 10-15 minutes of running you can play with short sprints, high-speed running, for 10-60 sec., followed by easy jogging for twice as long, e.g. 30 sec. : 60 sec.
A sprint and a jog, a ‘work interval’ and a ‘recovery interval’ is a repetition. Repeat this e.g. 8-12 times.

After the first 10-15 minutes of running, race from one lamppost to the next and then jog to the next. Or, whenever you see a hill or some stairs take a quick run up and down, and then jog until the heart rate drops and you feel ready for a new ‘detour’.
Choose different (new) routes for even more variation.

Strength training
Note, that stronger muscles also improve your running markedly. Just a couple of times of fitness strength training per week, e.g. 2 x ½ hour, 6-8 exercises for the major muscles of the hips and legs, lower back and abs and upper body, will increase your strength and energy level. You will feel a difference in your running after just 1½-2 months of strength training.

Running for True Beginners? Run This Way!

By Marina Aagaard, MFE

The sun is out! You want to get into shape? You want to loose weight?
You want to have more energy? You want to be healthier? You want to run!
You can find a multitude of running programs for beginners on the internet, so which one to choose?
Choose this one, if you are a beginner and want 1) to have a motivating program, 2) to follow a goal-oriented program for beginners and 3) to run safely with minimal risk of overuse injuries.

It is time to get started:

Find your motivation
What drives you? Some people are motivated by:

  • running alone, others by running with friends.
  • running to meditate and relax, others by working out and burning fat.
  • running to music, others by silence or nature sounds.
  • running with a heart rate monitor, others by listening to the body.

Find out, what motivates you and plan accordingly.

Choose the right strategy
Avoid the usual running mistakes, which are very common:
Too ambitious and much too much initially; 1) running without a warm-up, 2) running too fast and 3) running too far …
Choose to:

  • Warm up for 5-10 minutes by walking faster and faster, then jog and then run.
  • Run a very moderate distance initially, eg. 5 x 300 ft … increase gradually over time.
  • Cool down by walking for the last 5-10 minutes of your ‘run’.
  • Stretch lightly; hips, thighs, hamstrings, calves, 15-30 sec. to relax and loosen up.

Start smart
A moderate (conservative estimate) tempo initially and a gradual progression is essential for running success. It takes time to get into running shape: Muscles need 1-2 months, the tendons, which attach the muscles to the bones, need 3-6 months, and the bones and joints need 6-12 months to become more resilient to the impact forces of running.
Exactly how long depends on your ‘body age‘ – health, body weight and fitness level – and training age – how long you have been exercising regularly.
Start gradually to avoid overuse injuries in your feet, legs and hips.

Plan your runs
Make a plan, take notes in your calender; how many days do you run, how long/far do you run and how hard do you run? Check your training volume to avoid overtraining … and undertraining.
Beginners benefit from a regular running program to make running a fun and healthy habit.
Tip 1: Have your running shoes and clothes ready, so you are all set to run.
Tip 2: Run with a dog, friend or family member to increase motivation and keep on track.

Løb for begyndere BegynderløbRunning is freedom, fresh air and fun. Photo: Photographer John Nyberg.

Running equipment
Hardly any equipment or gear is required for running. However, the running experience is a lot nicer, if your clothes fit and are ‘dry fit’ (avoid cotton), so they don’t get cold and clammy, which can induce hypothermia (you feel cold).

  • Running shoes, for your feet and running style. They are important: Have your running technique checked on a threadmill by a sports physiotherapist or a running coach, so you get the right shoes for you. You can also do ‘barefoot running’, run in bare feet (or FiveFingers), with extra attention and extra gradual progression.
  • Sweat-transporting running pants, tight fit without (annoying) seams.
  • Sweat-transporting running shirt.
  • Windbreaker jackets (and pants).
  • Sweat-transporting underwear.
  • Sweat transporting socks without seams.


  • Sports-bra or comfort top (eg. PureLime award-winning sports-bras)
  • Sports panties, which stays in place.

Running technique and tips
Humans are designed for walking and running, so you don’t need special training to run. However, as many people are very inactive during the everyday and start running from scratch, check and focus on this:

  • Breathe deeply; inhale through your nose, exhale through your mouth or nose.
  • Run on softer surfaces initially; grass, sand or soil.
  • Listen to your body; your breath, heart rate and muscles. Running should feel good and a little hard (your body loves to exercise); nothing should hurt or feel painful.
  • Run in a natural way: Start walking and then ’fall’ slightly forward, so you start to run and land with your body weight evenly distributed across the foot, instead of landing hard on the heel. Run with a full natural stride length and cadence, that fits you.
  • Run with a natural arm swing forward backward, not diagonally in front of the torso.
  • Run with a proper running posture; spine neutral and head up, relaxed neck and shoulders. Full body lean from ankle to neck, do not bend at the waist.
  • Run straight forward, avoid bouncing; hopping up and down.

Running program for new runners
This is a running program designed especially for beginning runners:

Realistic and goal-oriented program: The goal is to run 2 miles (or less) in 12 weeks. Far too many beginning running programs include too much running too soon (eg. 0-3 miles in 10 weeks), which often leads to overuse injuries.
Gradual progression: The program progression respects not only the heart and lungs, but also muscles, tendons, bones and joints, preparing them for increased load in time.
Goal-oriented with variation: The program is based on advanced interval training principles and designed  for optimal results, running with fun, with minimal risk of injuries.

Try it out! Here (at the bottom) is a program for running 3 times a week for 12 weeks.

  • Every run warm-up by walking for 5 minutes with a gradual increase in tempo.
  • Then run for some seconds/minutes, then walk for some minutes.
  • Repeat this run-walk sequence a number of times, a number of series.

Is it too easy? Then run a little faster in the same timeframe.
Is it too hard? Then repeat the same program, the next day or the next week.
Your body and your running should feel well.

The program suggests monday, wednesday and saturday, but you may choose other days. However, it is recommended to have a day of rest between running days, so the body is able to recover before running again.

Listen to your body: Do you feel energetic and ready for the runs of next week. If not, continue another week with the same program without increasing time and intensity.

If you experience pain or soreness, find out what is causing it. Maybe have a break from running, do something else, or repeat the same interval run or runs from an earlier week program and proceed with caution.

Note.: Have you been injured or ill? Are you overweight (Running-for-weight-loss)?
Are you very inactive during the everyday? Then you should start even more gradually with a walking program or a variation of this program (make it easier and run/walk the same intervals for more days, eg. same intervals monday, wednesday and saturday, before moving on).

Running for beginners  From 0 to ~ 2 miles in 12 weeks