Tag Archives: interval training

6 Ways to Trim Your Waist

2 Aug

If you want to slim your waistline, you can’t focus on spot training. You will need to increase your fat burning furnace with strength training, cardiovascular activity, and an appropriate diet.  Done in combination, these strategies will help you trim your waist quickly and improve your health.  Fat carried around the waistline increases your risk for serious health issues, including Type 2 diabetes, stroke, and certain cancers.

Here are 6 ways to slim and trim your waist:

  1. Have a plan.  Set a fat loss goal for yourself.  In order to shed one pound of fat per week, you will need to burn 500 calories per day.  This can be accomplished through exercise and diet – for example, you could burn 250 calories with exercise and reduce your calorie intake by 250, daily.
  2. Get moving.  Engage in vigorous activity. Moderate-to high-intensity activity accelerates the fat/calorie burning process.  Jogging burns almost twice as many calories as walking.  Other good calorie-burning activities include racquetball, jumping rope, and hiking.
  3. Try interval training.  If vigorous activity is too aggressive, initially, try interval training.  This approach involves alternating intervals of high- and low-intensity activity.  Begin with a moderate activity, like walking, and incorporate periods of jogging, as tolerated.  Rotate between walking and jogging during your workout, gradually increasing the duration of your high-intensity activity.
  4. Lift weights.  Exercise with weights, or some other type of resistance (even body weight), at least twice per week.  Total-body training sessions will benefit all your major muscle groups, and trim your waist in the process.  Incorporate core (planks, leg raises, etc.) and rotational exercises (lateral kettlebell swings, weighted twists) into your training plan.
  5. Watch your diet.  Make sure your diet – both quality and quantity – is aligned with your goals.  Keep your daily calories consistent with your ideal/target weight.  Choose nutrient-dense foods that contain fewer calories and allow you to feel satisfied.  Produce and protein are the rule.  Fruits, vegetables, and whole-grains are high in fiber, which take longer to digest.  Keep your dairy low-fat and your protein lean.
  6. Eat breakfast, and don’t skip meals.  Avoid sugary, high-carb breakfasts and instead choose protein and whole grains.  Studies show that a protein-rich breakfast like an egg-white omelet will fill your stomach and help to reduce food cravings later in the day.  Eat, but don’t feast, every three to four hours to keep your metabolism running, so your body won’t go into starvation mode and stop burning calories — which is what happens when you don’t eat for extended periods of time.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

6 Ways to Sculpt Your Abs

19 Jul

Everyone wants a lean, muscular physique and six-pack abs.  And, although there are lots of people and products making lots of promises, you can do all the abs exercises you want but, until you lose that layer of fat covering your midsection, the only thing you’ll accomplish is strengthening the muscles hidden beneath the fat.

Here are 6 tips to help reveal your abs:

  1. Burn fat.  Doing lots of abs exercises won’t help you lose fat (I once read that it takes 250.000 crunches to burn one pound of fat!).  To lose fat, you’ll need total-body strength training, a certain type of cardio called interval training, and a diet that is consistent with your goals.
  2. Lift weights.  Every time you exercise, you should aim to work every major muscle group.  Research shows that the metabolic impact of strength training persists for up to 48 hours, post-workout.  The more lean muscle you build, the greater the number of calories you burn, at rest.
  3. Keep moving.  Turn your strength training workout into a metabolic circuit by minimizing rest intervals between sets.  Alternate between upper- and lower-body exercises, or push-pull exercises.  Increase the intensity even more by mixing in cardio exercises like step-ups, jumping jacks, running in place, or jumping rope.
  4. Work your entire core.  Don’t limit your focus to your abs.  Find exercises that work your entire core, from shoulders to hips.  We really like to incorporate planks – 4-point, 3-point, side, and several other variations – into our core work.  Rotational exercises, using kettlebells and medicine balls, tend to be higher-intensity and are also effective core exercises.
  5. Add intervals.  As discussed in a previous article, High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is one of the best ways to burn fat.  HIIT involves alternating intervals of high- and low-intensity activity.  HIIT works equally well, whether the type of exercise is resistance/strength training or cardio.  The key is to go hard during the high-intensity portion of the interval, and keep moving, even during the low-intensity portion of the interval.
  6. Eat smart.  If you really want to get a ripped six-pack, doing the right abs exercises is only part of the equation.  Avoid (or, at least minimize) foods like white grains, pasta, fruit juices, and other processed, high-sugar foods. Ultimately, excess blood sugar gets stored as fat.  Make sure your carbs are whole grain and high-fiber.  Increase your protein consumption by eating more lean meats (chicken, turkey, fish), eggs, and dairy (milk, Greek yogurt), and add a daily protein shake to your diet.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Train Your Brain, Improve Your Focus

3 Aug

mental-training[1]The digital media era is supposed to have made us smarter and more efficient.  In reality, it has probably had the opposite effect, fragmenting our attention and making it more difficult to focus on the task at hand.  Here are some suggestions to help improve your effectiveness, efficiency, focus, and productivity:

  • Focus on what you’re doing.  Stop multi-tasking — when you do, every level of performance is lowered.  Your brain wasn’t wired to do two things at once.  When you do one thing at a time, you increase brainpower and energy.
  • Prioritize.  Focus on just a few critical things per day.  Forget about the to-do list approach, where you address the quickest, easiest things first.  Tackle the two items that require the most energy and don’t allow yourself to be disrupted during that time.
  • Avoid lengthy email sessions.  You’re better off dealing with most issues with a quick phone call or in-person conversation rather than a lengthy email exchange. If that’s not possible, at least limit email to three times a day or the last 10 minutes of every hour.
  • Interval training.  I’ve written a bunch about interval training for athletes.  Just as endurance athletes understand the importance of alternating between hard bouts of work and periods of lesser activity or rest, why not apply this concept to the brain?  Get started by focusing for just 15 minutes on one task. Don’t allow anything to distract you during that time frame. Gradually work your way up to 30 minutes and an hour.
  • Clear your mind.  I’m not referring to meditation.  What I am talking about is temporarily “unplugging” all the digital distractions — stepping away from the computer, cell phone… even the car radio.  Doing this for even a few minutes can help you think more deeply and change your brain for the better.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Why Are You Still Jogging?

3 Jun

Adrian Peterson, Leon HallLong duration aerobic exercise (AE) is well-known for its impact on exercise performance, particularly with regard to enhanced maximal aerobic capacity.  However,high-intensity sprint training (HIT) can yield similar, and even better, results than aerobic exercise, with less time spent training.  Research indicates that AE is not required to improve metabolic/cardiovascular fitness and, in some cases, may be less effective than HIT.

Although AE is beneficial — and any exercise is generally better than none — there are some consequences of AE that should be considered:

  • Long-duration AE can elevate cortisol, an inflammatory hormone (released as a response to stress) that promotes muscle loss (via protein breakdown) and fat storage.
  • Chronic AE increases the amount of slow-twitch (Type 1) muscle fibers, decreasing the potential for power production and compromising anaerobic exercise performance.

HIT, in addition to yielding comparable metabolic benefit (as compared to AE), decreases overall body fat, increases lean body (muscle) mass, and promotes development of fast-twitch (Type IIa) muscle fibers.

If you’re an athlete, pick up the pace and add sprint and interval training to your cardio training regimen.

If you’re not an athlete, you too should pick up the pace.  Increasing the intensity of your cardio training applies broadly to walking, running, and biking; as well as the treadmill, elliptical, and stairclimber.

Researchers note that AE may be an acceptable exercise choice for anaerobic athletes if used minimally and far away from the competitive sport season.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Improve Cardiovascular Fitness with Kettlebell Training

2 Sep

1299165789_phd_hype_-18%20(Large)[1]High-intensity kettlebell training “significantly improved aerobic capacity… and could be used as an alternative mode to maintain or improve cardiovascular conditioning,” according to a study from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.

20 minutes of kettlebell training — consisting of 15 seconds of alternating work and rest — can significantly improve aerobic capacity when performed 3 days a week for 4 weeks.

In the JSCR study, subjects improved aerobic capacity by about 6% (as measured by VO2max) after four weeks of training.

Kettlebell swings, snatches, cleans, and presses — performed according to the aforementioned work-rest interval — provide for a great total-body strength and cardio workout.

Remember to keep the intensity high (especially if your goal is to improve aerobic capacity), as higher exercise intensities have been shown to elicit greater improvements in VO2max than lower exercise intensities.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Get Functionally Fit in 2015

29 Dec

bigstock-Gym-man-and-woman-push-up-stre-40734724[1]It’s New Year’s resolution time and, for some of us, that means a major overhaul of our diet and exercise plans in 2015.

For others, a few modifications to our current regimen is all we’ll need.

And, of course, there will be those of us for whom 2015 — from a fitness perspective — will be “business as usual.”

Regardless of your plan, don’t just get (or stay) fit in 2015… get functionally fit.

Functional training means challenging yourself with exercises that not only build strength, but also require balance and stability.  Avoid or minimize stationary, machine-based exercises that “lock” you into single-joint and/or isolated muscle group movements.

Free weights generally require more balance, stability, and core activation than machines and can also provide for a greater range-of-motion.  And don’t limit yourself to pushing and pulling exercises.  You can use kettlebells and medicine balls to bend, twist, turn, carry, swing, toss, and throw.

Perform more unilateral exercises — those that work one arm, one leg, or one side of the body — as an alternative to traditional bilateral exercises.  Single-leg exercise versions of the squat, Romanian deadlift, and Bulgarian split squat work the entire lower body and prevent the stronger limb from compensating for the weaker one.  The same principle applies to upper-body exercises like single-arm presses and rows.

Perform more exercises on your feet, as opposed to sitting or lying down.  Try using a suspension trainer, like the TRX, and you’ll activate your core with every exercise you do.

If you’re going to do cardio, get away from the traditional slow, steady paced jog.  Incorporate high-intensity interval training into your routine.  Add exercises and drills that require backpedaling, lateral shuffling, hopping, skipping, and lunging.

Do more movement-based training, and less muscle-based training, and you’ll look, feel, function, and perform better than ever.

Looking for some help, guidance and/or direction to get started?  Contact us today via our website.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

The “Get Back in Shape Fast” Workout

16 Apr

Bridge-Plank-on-Elbows[1]When it comes to exercise, there aren’t a whole lot of shortcuts — you have to put in the time and do the work.  But there are some strategies that can accelerate the process, and interval trainingshort bursts of high-intensity activity that build strength and endurance more effectively than moderate activity — is the way to go.

Don’t have time to go for a long run?  Can’t get to the weight room?  No problem.  There are plenty of “no-equipment required” exercises that can be performed anywhere.

Here’s the simple but effective strategy (adapted from Johnson and Johnson’s 7-Minute Workout): Alternate among exercises that work your total body, upper body, lower body, and core.  Perform each exercise, working as hard as you can, for 30 seconds.  Allow a 15-second rest interval between exercises.

To start, try these four exercises:

  • Pushup
  • Plank
  • Jumping Jack
  • Squat

Perform each exercise, as described above (30 seconds on, 15 seconds off), as a circuit.  Do as many circuits as you are able.  As you progress, add more circuits or more exercises (in groups of four).

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

6 Ways to Trim Your Waist

19 Mar

Black+Skinny+Waist+with+Tape+Measure300dpi[1]If you want to slim your waistline, you can’t focus on spot training. You will need to increase your fat burning furnace with strength training, cardiovascular activity, and an appropriate diet.  Done in combination, these strategies will help you trim your waist quickly and improve your health.  Fat carried around the waistline increases your risk for serious health issues, including Type 2 diabetes, stroke, and certain cancers.

Here are 6 ways to slim and trim your waist:

  1. Have a plan.  Set a fat loss goal for yourself.  In order to shed one pound of fat per week, you will need to burn 500 calories per day.  This can be accomplished through exercise and diet – for example, you could burn 250 calories with exercise and reduce your calorie intake by 250, daily.
  2. Get moving.  Engage in vigorous activity. Moderate-to high-intensity activity accelerates the fat/calorie burning process.  Jogging burns almost twice as many calories as walking.  Other good calorie-burning activities include racquetball, jumping rope, and hiking.
  3. Try interval training.  If vigorous activity is too aggressive, initially, try interval training.  This approach involves alternating intervals of high- and low-intensity activity.  Begin with a moderate activity, like walking, and incorporate periods of jogging, as tolerated.  Rotate between walking and jogging during your workout, gradually increasing the duration of your high-intensity activity.
  4. Lift weights.  Exercise with weights, or some other type of resistance (even body weight), at least twice per week.  Total-body training sessions will benefit all your major muscle groups, and trim your waist in the process.  Incorporate core (planks, leg raises, etc.) and rotational exercises (lateral kettlebell swings, weighted twists) into your training plan.
  5. Watch your diet.  Make sure your diet – both quality and quantity – is aligned with your goals.  Keep your daily calories consistent with your ideal/target weight.  Choose nutrient-dense foods that contain fewer calories and allow you to feel satisfied.  Produce and protein are the rule.  Fruits, vegetables, and whole-grains are high in fiber, which take longer to digest.  Keep your dairy low-fat and your protein lean.
  6. Eat breakfast, and don’t skip meals.  Avoid sugary, high-carb breakfasts and instead choose protein and whole grains.  Studies show that a protein-rich breakfast like an egg-white omelet will fill your stomach and help to reduce food cravings later in the day.  Eat, but don’t feast, every three to four hours to keep your metabolism running, so your body won’t go into starvation mode and stop burning calories — which is what happens when you don’t eat for extended periods of time.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

6 Ways to Sculpt Your Abs

5 Mar

abs%20man%20and%20woman[1]Everyone wants a lean, muscular physique and six-pack abs.  And, although there are lots of people and products making lots of promises, you can do all the abs exercises you want but, until you lose that layer of fat covering your midsection, the only thing you’ll accomplish is strengthening the muscles hidden beneath the fat.

Here are 6 tips to help reveal your abs:

  1. Burn fat.  Doing lots of abs exercises won’t help you lose fat (I once read that it takes 250.000 crunches to burn one pound of fat!).  To lose fat, you’ll need total-body strength training, a certain type of cardio called interval training, and a diet that is consistent with your goals.
  2. Lift weights.  Every time you exercise, you should aim to work every major muscle group.  Research shows that the metabolic impact of strength training persists for up to 48 hours, post-workout.  The more lean muscle you build, the greater the number of calories you burn, at rest.
  3. Keep moving.  Turn your strength training workout into a metabolic circuit by minimizing rest intervals between sets.  Alternate between upper- and lower-body exercises, or push-pull exercises.  Increase the intensity even more by mixing in cardio exercises like step-ups, jumping jacks, running in place, or jumping rope.
  4. Work your entire core.  Don’t limit your focus to your abs.  Find exercises that work your entire core, from shoulders to hips.  We really like to incorporate planks – 4-point, 3-point, side, and several other variations – into our core work.  Rotational exercises, using kettlebells and medicine balls, tend to be higher-intensity and are also effective core exercises.
  5. Add intervals.  As discussed in a previous article, High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is one of the best ways to burn fat.  HIIT involves alternating intervals of high- and low-intensity activity.  HIIT works equally well, whether the type of exercise is resistance/strength training or cardio.  The key is to go hard during the high-intensity portion of the interval, and keep moving, even during the low-intensity portion of the interval.
  6. Eat smart.  If you really want to get a ripped six-pack, doing the right abs exercises is only part of the equation.  Avoid (or, at least minimize) foods like white grains, pasta, fruit juices, and other processed, high-sugar foods. Ultimately, excess blood sugar gets stored as fat.  Make sure your carbs are whole grain and high-fiber.  Increase your protein consumption by eating more lean meats (chicken, turkey, fish), eggs, and dairy (milk, Greek yogurt), and add a daily protein shake to your diet..

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Train Your Brain, Improve Your Focus

14 Jun

mental-training[1]The digital media era is supposed to have made us smarter and more efficient.  In reality, it has probably had the opposite effect, fragmenting our attention and making it more difficult to focus on the task at hand.  Here are some suggestions to help improve your effectiveness, efficiency, focus, and productivity:

  • Focus on what you’re doing.  Stop multi-tasking — when you do, every level of performance is lowered.  Your brain wasn’t wired to do two things at once.  When you do one thing at a time, you increase brainpower and energy.
  • Prioritize.  Focus on just a few critical things per day.  Forget about the to-do list approach, where you address the quickest, easiest things first.  Tackle the two items that require the most energy and don’t allow yourself to be disrupted during that time.
  • Avoid lengthy email sessions.  You’re better off dealing with most issues with a quick phone call or in-person conversation rather than a lengthy email exchange. If that’s not possible, at least limit email to three times a day or the last 10 minutes of every hour.
  • Interval training.  I’ve written a bunch about interval training for athletes.  Just as endurance athletes understand the importance of alternating between hard bouts of work and periods of lesser activity or rest, why not apply this concept to the brain?  Get started by focusing for just 15 minutes on one task. Don’t allow anything to distract you during that time frame. Gradually work your way up to 30 minutes and an hour.
  • Clear your mind.  I’m not referring to meditation.  What I am talking about is temporarily “unplugging” all the digital distractions — stepping away from the computer, cell phone… even the car radio.  Doing this for even a few minutes can help you think more deeply and change your brain for the better.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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