Traveling for a triathlon: The Basics

 

 

If you’re itching to “get away,” but want to keep your vacation as active as your home life, consider a racing vacation.  Finishing a race in a favorite vacation spot can add a real sense of accomplishment to your trip.  When you’re traveling for a race, however, you have an extra level of planning over and above your usual vacation routine.

 

When you’re planning your vacation, you’ll have to choose whether to travel to a particular desired race or find your destination and start looking for a local race.  Triathlon publications and sites for training are great resources for finding races all over the world.  You can also talk to fellow triathletes to hunt down that perfect race and vacation spot.

 

It’s vital to register as soon as possible for the race in which you want to participate.  You don’t want to make travel plans and then discover that the race spots are full or you don’t meet the qualifications to race.

 

Races often have agreements with local hotels to provide special rates for athletes traveling to the competition.  There is a healthy network of hostels in many major cities throughout the world if you’re traveling “on the cheap.”  Check reviews to find the cleanest and best hostels – since they’re run independently, the quality does vary from place to place.

 

Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to acclimate before your race.  You don’t want jet lag to drag down your performance.  If possible, give yourself at least 24 hours before the race start to get rested and ready.  Light exercise and sunlight help the body recover from jet lag.

 

When packing, use a triathlon checklist, and use a separate bag specifically for race gear.  You don’t want to forget anything, since you won’t be familiar with the shops in the local race area.  Arriving prepared ensures a stress-free time before the race.

 

If you’re bringing your bike with you, be sure to pack it according to airline guidelines.  You don’t want bike damage before the race.  Hard-shelled cases are the best bet for your trip, and you might even be able to rent one at your local bike shop.

 

Stay hydrated while you travel.  Air travel is dehydrating to the body, so being mindful of this will help you as prepare for your race.  Avoid alcohol and caffeine, and don’t eat airline foods with a high salt content.

 

Above all, relax and have fun!  And be careful, traveling for triathlons may just turn into a habit.

Finding a workout partner can improve your motivation

A workout partner is a great way to get and stay motivated.  Time and again researchers have found that exercising with a partner is the best way to improve your weight-loss results.  This underscores how important motivation is to the weight loss and fitness process.  Accepting that you might need a workout partner is the easy part; it’s finding a willing partner that is the trickier prospect.  Here are some ways to find an exercise partner.

 

FIND A PARTNER ONLINE

If you can find a date online, you can surely find a workout partner online.  There are a lot of great sites to facilitate new relationships.  One to check out is Meetup.com, a site that serves as a clearinghouse for all sorts of group meet-ups – not just fitness.  Meet-up features groups of all different kinds, from marathon training to boot camps in the park.  If you can’t find what you’re looking for, you can start a Meet-up of your own.

 

ZogSports is a regional sports club (New York, New Jersey, DC) where you can sign up for various intramural leagues and play soccer, kickball, football, and other sports.  Check around to see if your city has a similar offering.

 

Findanexercisepartner.com is yet another site that helps connect two willing exercise partners.

 

MINE YOUR WORKPLACE FOR POSSIBLE PARTNERS

If you work somewhere with others, there is surely someone there who shares your desire to get fit and stay fit.  Post a message in the break room, or post to your work message board that you’re seeking an exercise partner.  Lunchtime workouts are easier on the waistline than a business lunch!

 

BARGAIN SERVICES/COUPON SERVICES

With local “daily deal” sites popping up everywhere, there is bound to be a few options for you to try locally.  From yoga and Pilates sessions, to boot camps and dance lesson, there are deals out there to be had where you can meet and greet possible partners for future workouts.

 

TALK TO A PERSONAL TRAINER

If you use a personal trainer, you might find out if your trainer has any clients looking for a workout buddy.  The trainer may have some insight as to a good partner for you.  You can be assured that your trainer has some insight as to the other person’s exercise motivation and fitness level, so hopefully s/he can be of some help.

Having a workout partner can really keep you motivated and raring to go when it comes to staying fit.  Give one of these options a try, and discover the power of workout out with a partner!

Stretching benefits you need to know about


Stretching:  we all know we need to do it, but if you’re like I once was, you may only have a vague idea as to why. Most of us know that stretching helps with range of motion and prevents injury, but there is more to it than just that!

 

Stretching comes naturally; just see newborn babies stretching their arms and flexing their feet in a stretch.  From the moment we’re in the world, we’re working those muscles.

 

Stretching helps improve your health and fitness in several ways.  It is ideal for improving circulation, posture, and range of motion.  Additionally, stretching decreases your muscle tension, any joint stiffness you may have, and improves relaxation and general athletic performance.

 

You can get a good stretching regimen finished in about 10 minutes.  After the workout warm-up, it’s time for stretching.  If you’re trying to improve your flexibility, you can do the bulk of those exercises after your workout is complete.  Muscles are completely warmed up, and there is ample time for relaxation post-workout.

 

When you’re stretching, stay balanced.  If you stretch muscles on the left side of your body, spend equal time on the right.

 

Don’t “overstretch.”  Unless you’re an aspiring gymnast, there is little reason to push your flexibility to the point of pain or discomfort.  If you feel some tension, that’s fine, just don’t overdo it!

 

Avoid any bouncing motions when stretching.  Bouncing can cause you to go too far, and actually cause injury.
Breathe easy when you’re stretching.  It’s pretty easy to lose track and hold in your breath when leaning into a stretch.  Be mindful, and take deep, cleansing breaths.

 

Some basic stretches include the hamstring stretch, the standing quad stretch and the standing calf stretch.

 

If you want some specific stretches to try, there are many options from which to choose.  The local library should have some volumes dedicated to stretching, and you can order DVDs online as well.  Sites online also have stretching tutorials, as do video hosting sites such as vimeo and YouTube.

 

There are a host of reasons to incorporate a good stretching routine into your workout.  Injury prevention and improved range of motion are just a few of the benefits you’ll see from a good stretching regimen.  One of the best benefits of a good stretching routine is the piece of mind and relaxation associated with a calming stretching routine.

Boost your workout results in the pool


If your gym has a pool, you should be utilizing it as part of your workout.  A look at Michael Phelps or other elite swimmers should answer the question: can I get a good workout in the pool?

 

Swimming burns up to 750 calories per hour, so it’s very effective for fat burning and cardiovascular health.  A fully integrated swimming workout is remarkable for keeping in shape, and you may find that you may not even have to be as strict on your eating habits.

 

Each workout should take between 30 and 45 minutes, and you’ll want to be in the pool at least four times per week – preferably five, if you can swing it.

 

The stroke can vary according to your personal tastes.  Beginners might opt for the backstroke, and proceed onward to breaststroke, freestyle, or sidestroke.

 

For those just starting out, warm up either outside the pool and stretch out, or tread water for several minutes and get out of the pool to stretch.  Swim 10 lengths of the pool, taking 30 seconds between each lap.  Each week you can add 100 meters (or more, if you like) to start increasing your intensity.

 

As you grow more accustomed to your new workout, you can move on to something more challenging.  Start your workout with a 200-meter swim, after which you can stretch out.  Follow that with a 100-meter swim, and break up your workout with a set of push-ups and crunches.  Repeat for 10 sets.  Now THAT is a workout.

 

Professional trainers recommend starting your swimming workout after your weight lifting session, since your body will have already shifted into fat burning mode.

 

Swimming is a great workout.  It is low-impact, making it an ideal workout for those of any age, and particularly effective for those who suffer from chronic pain.

 

Swimming also has a mental health component.  It’s meditative in nature, because unlike other workout forms, you can’t listen to music or look at a magazine while doing it.  Concentrate on your strokes, think of a calming mantra, or just stay in the moment while you’re swimming, and you can experience the calming effects of regular meditation.

 

Hopefully, I’ve been able to convince you to add a swimming component to your overall workout regimen is worth considering.  While your workout plan probably isn’t complete with swimming alone, your workout without swimming is missing something pretty amazing.  Give it a try!

Kettlebell Workouts – Introduction

by KB on June 16, 2011
in Fitness workouts

kettlebell

Kettlebells come in many weights to target your training.

Kettlebells are becoming one of the leading strength and cardio training regiments used by athletes, celebrities and even the military. Originated in Russia, the kettlebell is a cast iron weight which helps develop explosive power, endurance and burn calories at an astonishing rate.

 

Unlike traditional bodybuilding exercises that seek to isolate and sculpt one muscle, Kettlebell training involves compound exercises that work multiple muscle groups simultaneously, and consequently develop strength and muscular endurance throughout the entire body. Additionally, this type of training integrates one’s breathing, movement and alignment along with the ability to control and balance the weight. This multidimensional approach helps develop a healthy body that is flexible, strong, lean and well coordinated.

There are a host of kettlebell exercises you can perform. Just as with other free weights, the combinations and variations are endless. However, athletes should remember the principle of specificity. Pick kettlebell exercises that most closely match the movement patterns of your sport.

Kettlebell exercises may not be as effective as more traditional free weights for developing maximal strength – an important phase in the athlete’s overall program. The movement patterns and loads they incorporate makes them better suited to converting maximal strength into explosive power and / or strength endurance.

One great way to use kettlebells for working out your core is to perform kettlebell snatches. First off, you want to get a good grip on the kettlebell. With your hand on the kettlebell, lock your arm, squat down, then use your whole body to lift the kettelbell over your head. At the end of the exercise you should be standing with the weight over your head. To add to the difficulty you can swing up, than once standing you can lower the weight down to shoulder height than back up over your head. This momentum building you use by using your body to swing the weight replicates what is required by most sports, making it an ideal exercise.

Here is an example of this exercise:

Breaking out of your plateau

For the readers that are into pumping iron, it’s almost a certainty that you’ve at one time or another hit that brick wall.  You’ve been lifting for a few months, and the progress is slow and steady, and definitely noticeable.  And then one day – BOOM!  Suddenly you’re not experiencing any improvement at all, and your workouts feel like a waste of time.

 

If you’ve been here, know there is a way out.

 

Even the most experienced trainers find themselves in a rut from time to time.  The trick is to overcome the body’s natural tendency to adjust to the routines you set for it.

 

The body really is an amazing piece of machinery; finely tuned and responds to stimulus.  If you run every day for 2 miles on the same terrain, soon enough, this run will not challenge you.  We understand that we need to vary the distance we travel, the type of terrain we run on, and perhaps introduce intervals to keep the body guessing.  The idea works the same when you’re lifting.

 

The best place to start is by changing your set and rep plan, change the order in which you work out, taking shorter periods of rest, and tracking your progress.

 

Tracking in one area where you can really get tripped up.  Don’t check your maximum bench every week – try every month instead.

 

Another way to introduce some variety into your lifting is to keep your concentric – or upward movement – phase to a one-count, but experiment with the eccentric – or downward – movement.  If you take longer counts in your eccentric movement, you can increase the resistance your muscles experience, which can have a dramatic results.

 

Another way to change up your workout is to implement a box squat.  Box squats are when you sit down on a bench or box at knee-height when doing squat lifts.  By sitting mid-way through your rep, you erase the so-called “rebound effect.”  You don’t have the natural rubber band-like effect of the muscle to decrease your resistance, so your muscle has to work harder to complete the movement.

 

In addition to these ideas, there are others, including such ideas as doing external shoulder rotations to increase shoulder stability.  If you’re well and truly mystified after trying all of these different ideas, consult a trainer who can help you get back on track.  Whatever you do, don’t get discouraged!

Aspiring Marathon Runners: Pay Attention!

There seems to be something in the water.  Does it feel like everyone you know is suddenly running half or full marathons?  Maybe it is where I live, but it sure feels like there is some kind of marathon-craze afoot, and hopefully you’ve jumped on board too.

Marathons represent a great challenge to people who love to make and achieve goals.  It’s one thing to run a 5K or 10K, but entirely another to run 13 or 26 miles.  The training requirements are quite different; as is the strategy you use to run the actual marathon.  Every newbie needs to be fully educated before attempting to run a marathon.

In the first three weeks of training, your main struggle will probably to simply get started.  Unsurprisingly, 80% of marathon running is showing up for training, so getting a good start to your regimen is pretty important.  There is a strong mental component to running marathons, so overcoming any ideas of failure is monumental.

Getting your hands on a good running schedule is ideal.  The work is done for you, and there are a ton of different plans and options – not to mention timelines – that will help you get on track for your marathon.  Make modifications as necessary, and set realistic goals about training.  You need longer than a month to train for a marathon.

Once you’ve been training for about a month, the most important aspect of training is to stay committed.  When your friends are headed out to happy hour and you have a 7-mile run ahead, it’s so easy to just skip your training.  Seeing past momentary pleasures is going to be hard, so stay mentally tough as you continue training.

A few months into your training, you will start to want to “gear up.”  Marathoners use Body Glide to prevent unpleasant and painful chafing.  Some men even cover their nipples with bandages to avoid “runner’s chest.”

Start experimenting with your nutritional needs.  You should do some trial-and-error with your meals, finding out which sources of energy will work best for you.  You will want to stay away from anything with high fiber content, and you might consider power gels or energy beans.

As you come into the final weeks before your race, be sure you’re sleeping enough and that you’re stretching properly.  Massage, ice baths, or other ways to soothe pain and injury will help keep you feeling good.  Scheduling a sports massage a few days before your race can help stave off injury.

Is It Time To Give Hot Yoga a Try?

by KB on May 1, 2011
in Fitness workouts

If you’re interested in hot yoga, but are not exactly sure what it is, then you’re in the right place.  Hot yoga is pretty simple; the name is very descriptive.  It’s yoga done in a hot room – a room heated to 95-100 degrees Fahrenheit.  There you go!  The question is:  why?  Why do complicated yoga poses in a room designed to make you sweat bullets?  In short, it makes the body more pliable and flexible for posing.

Hot yoga is known as Bikram Yoga, a style innovated by master Bikram Choudhury.  Born in 1946 in Calcutta, India, he and his wife Rajashree were both champions of yoga in India, and brought their talents to the United States.  This famous yoga master founded the Yoga College of India located in Beverly Hills. He developed a series of 26 poses that are to be performed in hot rooms.

Anything trendy among the trendsetters in Beverly Hills is sure to spread, and Bikram Yoga was not exception.  In an effort to stop others from doing his poses in hot rooms and calling it Bikram Yoga, Choudhury has made efforts to copyright the Bikram Yoga experience.  According to Choudhury, there is but one correct way to practice Bikram Yoga, and he wants to certify all those purporting to teach it.

Some claim you can “sweat out toxins”  in their hot yoga class, and that is technically correct.  However, there is a little more to the story.  The body is a very sophisticated piece of machinery, and it has many avenues by which it rids the body of toxins.  When you sweat, you can excrete some materials –  alcohol is one substance that readily expels via sweat.

People who are not sweating profusely each day are still able to rid the body of toxic substances that pass through it.  Oftentimes, people feel cleansed when they combine profuse sweating with an invigorating workout.  This may be why some swear by “sweating out” toxins.

If you’re going to try hot yoga, you need to be sure you have a yoga mat.  This is an important courtesy to your fellow students.  Additionally, be sure you are properly hydrated before going to class, for obvious reasons.  Dress comfortably, as the room will be toasty.  Tight and small is probably better than loose and bulky!  If you are interested in doing true Bikram Yoga, be sure to check ahead of time that your studio has a Bikram-trained instructor.

Hot Yoga For Health and Vitality

If you’re interested in giving hot yoga a try, then there are few things you’ll want to know ahead of time.  Hot yoga is simply certain yoga poses done in a room heated to about 95-100 degrees Fahrenheit.  Simple right?  Wait, why does anyone want to do this in the first place?!

The primary reasons people enjoy hot yoga is because it allows for greater flexibility for posing, and working out and sweating profusely gives a sense of invigoration.

The practice of hot yoga was originated by Bikram Choudhury, who came up with 26 specific yoga poses to be performed in a certain order in a hot room.  You may have heard of Bikram Yoga, originated at The Yoga College of India in Beverly Hills.  Choudhury is fiercely protective of his method, and has sued to ensure that those purporting to teach Bikram are trained in the Bikram method.

Whether you’re taking true Bikram Yoga or doing generic hot yoga, be sure you have a yoga mat (you’ll be sweating!) and light clothing.  You’ll love the feeling of invigoration and vitality when you’re done!

Hot Yoga:  Your Pathway to Better Health

Hot Yoga is exactly what it sounds like:  yoga poses done in a hot room, usually heated to about 95-100 degree Fahrenheit.  Those who do currently do yoga in a more standard form might be interested in taking part in this invigorating style of yoga.  Not only does it help make the yoga experience more intense and refreshing, it also is just something different to try and perk up a workout routine.

Bikram Choudhury, a yoga master from Calcutta, India, first popularized this type of yoga.  He made his way to Beverly Hills, where he founded The Yoga College of India.  Bikram Yoga is a specific set of 26 poses to be performed in a certain way at a certain temperature.  Choudhury is fiercely protective of his name and yoga style, and not all hot yoga is certified Bikram Yoga.

Whether or not you are taking a true Bikram class or not, you can still feel benefits from performing hot yoga.  If you are planning on attending a class, be sure to take with you a yoga mat and clothes that will be of comfort in a hot workout setting.  Once you’re done with the class, we’re sure you’ll be back for more!

Improving your fitness while on the job

If you’re like many Americans, you have a job that is sedentary in nature.  Whether you work in an office, out of your home, or out of a vehicle, you spend most of your days on your posterior.  Technological advances in the last 30 years have eliminated about 2,000 calories that office workers of yesteryear burned in the course of the day.  So, how can you start burning a few more calories without changing the type of work that you do?

1) Modify your office space.

Even if you work in a cubicle or shared space, you can alter your area to burn more calories throughout the day.  Getting a fitness ball is a great replacement for your office chair.   Fitness balls promote proper posture, and engage your core as you sit at your desk.  You’ll make many small movements throughout the day when sitting on a fitness ball, and you’ll definitely burn more calories than sitting in a chair.

You can also inquire with your facilities manager about stand-up desks.  These are desks that taller, not designed for use with a chair.  This option will definitely burn more calories throughout the day than a traditional desk!

2) Meetings “on the go.”

For one-on-one meetings, consider discussing business while walking around the block a few times.  For informal meetings that don’t require PowerPoint or note taking, an on the go meeting is perfect.  Recommended for brainstorming, since movement fuels creative juices!

3) Lunchtime workouts with a partner.

If you have a fitness center at or near your work place, find a partner and start making your lunch hour a calorie-burning enterprise.  Finding time to workout is difficult, so lunchtime is perfect.  An hour is long enough for a 30-minute intensive workout and a shower.  Eat at your desk instead.  Another benefit of lunchtime workouts:  forget the 3 o’ clock doldrums; you’ll be too invigorated.

4) Take control of takeout.

If work will provide lunches for upcoming meetings or conferences, consider volunteering to handle the catering arrangements.  If you are in charge of ordering the food, you can ensure that there are plenty of healthy options to eat.

5) Keep healthy snacks in your drawer.

Preparation is the best way to avoid bad choices.  Forget getting snacks at the vending machine; start packing your own healthy options and keep them in your desk.  There are a bunch of choices:  whole grain, high fiber cereals, tuna packets in foil, nutrition/protein bars, and fresh fruits and vegetables.

Is it Time to Hire a Personal Trainer?

by KB on April 18, 2011
in Fitness workouts

Deciding whether or not to hire a personal trainer is a question mainly of money. After all, they can be expensive relative to a regular gym membership.  Personal training, though, is a great way to jump-start your workout routine, and to learn proper technique if you haven’t worked out much in the past.

Personal trainers are typically certified by some variety of national fitness organization.  There are different organizations, and some are more reputable than others.  It is recommended that you do some research to make sure that the certifying organization meets your expectations for quality and reputation.

Personal training typically runs anywhere from $50/hour and up.  Upscale gyms tend to charge more for their services, and you may be able to find someone to work with you for less.

Personal trainers should provide a certain baseline of services for you, including outlining a training plan with specific goals and benchmarks, providing accountability, encouragement to reach your goals, and basics about strength training, cardio and nutrition.

Typically, personal training sessions last about an hour, and your first meeting will include a session of assessing your current fitness level.  You’ll probably get weighed, have your body fat measured, and run down your individual fitness goals.

When you’re evaluating prospective trainers, as we mentioned, you’ll want to check their certifications.  It isn’t necessary for your trainer to have a 4-year degree in exercise science or some related field, but it certainly can’t hurt.  However, it is important to stress that there are some great trainers out there without a degree.  Hopefully your trainer is up-to-date on his or her CPR and first aid certifications as well.

Depending on your goals, you may want to find a trainer that specializes in your particular need.  For example, bodybuilders have a different focus and set of needs than do those aiming for weight loss.  Still others are training for marathons and other athletic events, and require a different kind of training regimen.  Whatever the case may be, you’ll want to find a trainer who can meet your individual needs effectively, and has the experience to get results.

Don’t forget to find someone with a friendly personality who can also “crack the whip.”  One of the benefits of having a trainer is having someone keeping you on track.

Check out your local gym for a list of available trainers or check online for that perfect person to help you meet your fitness goals.

Is it Time to Hire a Personal Trainer to Get in Shape?

Most people would love to have a personal trainer by their side for every workout.  The main obstacle is, of course, the expense of doing so.  If you’re weighing whether or not it is time to hire a personal trainer, then it’s important to know the benefits you’ll realize by doing so.

The right personal trainer is accredited by a reputable fitness organization.  They provide guidance as you seek to make fitness goals, they educate you on the proper way to perform exercises, and they provide accountability as you progress toward your fitness goals.

Training typically runs about $50/hour and up, though that will vary widely depending on your locale.  The expense is a good motivator for some, as it is an investment in fitness.

Finding a trainer is not difficult, with plenty of options right at your local gym.  Give it a try, and you might surprise yourself with your progress!

Personal Training May Be The Right Choice For You

If you’ve been struggling to get in shape, then the idea of hiring a personal trainer has likely crossed your mind.  Hiring a personal trainer isn’t just for the wealthy; anyone can experience the great benefits of a trainer, even if it is for a short time.

Personal training is beneficial for many reasons, not least of which that they provide good education and support to individuals struggling with some aspect of fitness.  Trainers are there to help instruct people on an effective training regimen, proper form and technique, and to provide accountability.

Typically trainers are certified by some recognized fitness organization.  Researching your trainer’s education and experience can give you a good idea of whether or not they’re equipped to help you meet your goals.

Finding a trainer is as easy as stopping at your local gym, and interviewing some of the trainers on hand.  You can also check the Internet for local trainers with a particular specialty.

Great workouts on a tight budget

It’s been several years since the economic crisis exploded into our lives, and for many people, it’s been a time of cutting back.  If you’ve dumped your gym membership in an effort to save money, you’re not alone.  Just because you don’t have the money in the monthly budget to belong to a gym, that doesn’t mean you can’t get an effective workout and stay in shape.  There are several ways you can workout “on the cheap.”

Walking

Walking is the perfect beginner’s exercise; if you’re not accustomed to working out yet, chances are that walking will be the perfect starting point.  Experts recommend starting out with an easy 10-minute brisk walk.  Working your way up to 30 minutes or more is ideal, and you’ll want to get that heart rate up as you’re walking.  Attach a pedometer to your hip, and try getting in at least 8,000-10,000 steps each day, and you’ll start seeing some great fitness benefits.

Running

Jogging and running are another classic cheap workout.  Getting started in running is more intensive than walking, and looking into a program like Couch To 5K is the perfect way to integrate running into your daily grind.  We’re warning you; running is very addictive!  Once you get started, it’s very possible you’ll catch the bug.  Marathons are exploding in popularity, with thousands of new runners each year getting in on the action.

Exercise DVDs from the Public Library

If you have a DVD player, you can get a wide variety of workouts using DVDs.  The library is a terrific resource for workout DVDs, and it’s hard to get tired of a workout when you’re constantly trying new ones.  If you find a DVD you really like, chances are you can get it used on sites like eBay or Amazon at a great savings.  All of this is a fraction of the monthly cost of most gyms.

Free Weights

Now, getting a set of free weights is not exactly “cheap,” but it certainly pays for itself in a few months as compared to a monthly gym membership or buying an elliptical machine for your garage.  You don’t need an extensive set unless you’re a bodybuilder, and let’s face it; bodybuilders pretty much have to belong to a gym anyway.

You can get a wide-ranging and complete resistance workout with a modest set of free weights.  Consider searching Craigslist for locals looking to get rid of theirs at a cut-rate price.  Exercise equipment ends up taking space in a lot of homes, collecting dust.  You can benefit from someone else’s clutter purge!

Once you have some free weights, you can get a variety of training books from the local library to design a program you can implement right at home.

Make Room For HIIT Training In Your Schedule

by KB on February 15, 2011
in Fitness workouts

Do you find that you have trouble working in that workout?  One way to get better workout results in much less time is to give high-intensity interval training (HIIT) a try.  This exercise strategy aims to produce the best results in the absolute minimum amount of time and training sessions.   Considering the benefits of HIIT training, it is really surprising that more athletes don’t engage this type of training!

HIIT training is cardiovascular in nature, and one session can last between about 10 and 20 total minutes.    The techniques for HIIT training vary.   One example is a runner sprinting full out at maximum exertion for 15 seconds, and then lightly jogging for 15 seconds.   HIIT athletes will repeat these cycles anywhere from 6 to 10 times, depending on their personal training goals.

The trick behind HIIT is really to treat the high intensity portions of the workout as absolutely all-out effort expended.   In other words, get as close to the maximum exertion your body will allow for those time periods of high intensity movement.  Medium intensity portions go to about 50% of possible total effort.   If you are keeping true to the training methods that make up HIIT, then you are going to be amazed at the results.

A popular method of HIIT training is called the Tabata Method, which was devised based on a 1996 academic study.   This method calls for the exerciser to work out for 20 seconds at highest intensity, and then take a 10 second recovery period.  This process repeats continuously for 4 minutes, or 8 total cycles.  The study found that Tabata exercisers experienced increased “maximum oxygen consumption” and anaerobic capacity in less time than the control group exercising using conventional methods.  Professional or serious amateur athletes are ideal candidates for this method.

A newer method, based on a 2009 study prescribes 60 seconds of intensity followed by 75 seconds of rest.  The session lasts 8 to 12 cycles, completing the workout.  When using the Little Method, participants experienced similar gains in 3 days that conventional workout methods produced in 5.  This method is accessible for most exercisers, and can be done on an exercise bike or treadmill with relative ease.

The biggest benefit of HIIT training is effectiveness at burning fat while during a cardiovascular workout.   Perhaps even more importantly, this great benefit is occurring in much less time than typical workouts take.  Combined with well-documented training benefits for serious athletes, it is a good reason to give HIIT training a try.

Looking for a heart rate monitor?

by KB on September 30, 2010
in Fitness workouts

If you purchase nothing else to support your new exercise regime, be sure to invest in a reliable heart rate monitor. We’re not talking about the top-of-the-line model with all of the bells and whistles; a basic model will work just fine.

How a Heart Monitor Works
A traditional unit has two parts: a chest strap and a wrist watch. The strap fits comfortably around your chest and registers your heart beats, sending this information (wirelessly) to a display on the watch. The watch will show your heart rate, exercise time, and average rate. You will be able to set the monitor to alert you when your rate goes below or above your desired range.

This simple device can act as your personal training by helping you:

Accurately Measure your Heart Rate
As you work out, it is critical to gradually increase your heart rate, maintain it at a steady and appropriate level, and decrease it slowly. The best way to make sure your heart is beating as it should during exercise is to view it on the watch display. The only other way to get this information is to manually take your pulse which can be difficult to get right; especially for beginners.

Moderate Exercise Intensity
It is important to not over-do it when you first begin exercising. A monitor will let you know if your training is too strenuous for your fitness level. On the flip side, it will also tell you if you are not training hard enough.

Get Motivated and Track your Progress
Having goals is one of the best ways to stay motivated with an exercise routine. The monitor will allow you to set straightforward goals such as maintaining a defined rate for a set amount of time. You will be able to judge your improvement over time by recording your heart rate data after each workout (some more advanced monitors will let you download this information to your computer). Your successes will motivate you to work harder and you will know when you need to reset your goals.

How to Interpret the Numbers
The changing number on the display represents your current heart rate, i.e. the number of times your heart will beat in one minute’s time. A beat is technically a contraction of the lower ventricles of the heart. You’ll want to learn what these numbers mean to you. To find your maximum heart rate take 220 and subtract your age. Your target zone is between 50% and 80% of this number. For example, if you are 36 years old, your maximum heart rate would be 184 (220-34). Your heart rate range will be between 92 (50%) and 147 (80%) as you are working out. As your fitness improves your heart will slow down while doing the same amount of exercise. This will encourage you to work harder to maintain the same rate.

Before you splurge for the latest and greatest running shoe or fashionable workout wear, pick up a heart rate monitor and start using it from day one of your new exercise routine.

Elizabeth Dennis has been writing health and beauty articles for three years. She regularly contributes to the hair removal surgery guide and the cough treatments guide.

The Benefits of Regular Physical Activity

by KB on June 16, 2008
in Fitness workouts

If you are one of those people who wants to live a longer and a better life, then what are you waiting for? Take up that so called old fashioned physical activity know as regular exercise. None of us can deny the benefits of a regular physical activity. Physical activity helps in preventing chronic diseases and boosts our self esteem and confidence. Physical activity can be undertaken irrespective of age, sex, or even physical capacity.

 

Following are the seven benefits of regular physical activity.

  • Exercise ameliorates your mood:


You may be back after a stressful day. You may need to come off the stress. You can blow off your stress by taking a half hour walk or by even visiting a gym. In my role as a West Hollywood Personal Trainer I tell my clients that exercise stimulates the different chemicals in the brain and this leaves us in a happier and relaxed mood. Your looks and feeling also change with regular physical activity. This will enhance your self confidence and self esteem. Physical activity helps to reduce depressed feelings and anxiety.

  • Helps in fighting inveterate maladies:


You can either manage your high blood pressure or even prevent it by taking up regular exercise. Your HDL cholesterol will increase and exercising will lower your LDL cholesterol. This helps your blood flow smoothly and you are free from plaques which build up in the arteries. Certain types of cancer can also be kept at bay by regular physical activity. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented and osteoporosis can be avoided with the help of regular exercising.

  • Exercise keeps you slim and trim:


You can shed off some of those excess pounds by regular exercise. This is because when you exercise you burn some calories. This will help you keep yourself slim. As a Personal Trainer in Beverly Hills I teach that the more intensely you do your physical activities the more calories you burn. You need not spend a lot of time on exercising or work outs. Just do some simple work outs which will help you. For example instead of taking the elevator you can climb the stairs. Instead of watching TV and becoming a couch potato you can take a walk and keep yourself fresh and active. Dedicated workouts are the best but some activity through out the day also helps a lot.

  • Exercise tones up your heart and lungs.


Regular exercising helps you to breathe smoothly. Your blood circulation improves. All the tissues in your body are supplied with nutrients when you exercise. Actually exercise helps your entire cardiovascular system. Improved circulation keeps your heart and lungs active and you can do your activities more efficiently.

  • Exercise encourages better sleep.


A good night’s sleep can amend your engrossment, productiveness and mood.  Exercise is sometimes the key to a better deeper sleep. Once you exercise there will be a natural fall in your body temperature. Five to six hours after you exercise is the best time for you to go to bed. This will help you to fall asleep faster.

  • Doing exercise can be fun!


I’m a Personal Trainer in Los Angeles and I can tell you that exercise does not have to be boring. You can go to a ballroom dancing class. You can go for hiking or even do an exercise of climbing a wall. Take a family work out. You can go with your kids to swing or even climb with them on the jungle gym. You can plan for a football or kickball match with your neighbors’ on off days. You have to remember that you got to be on the move always. If you become bored of an activity try your hands at something new which will keep you going for some time.

Tags: physical activity | exercise | tones | tones | heart | heart

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