Category Archives: Be Fit

North Carolina

Just got back from a fun, short trip to North Carolina to visit my sister. Was hoping to get away from the cold here in Michigan but it ended up actually being colder there than here.  Oh well, what can you do, at least they didn’t have snow! Just a lot of rain. Fortunately we were still able to make the best of the trip and we were able to get some good hiking in, which was of course, my favorite part of the trip.

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Hiking is a great way to workout, mostly because it doesn’t feel like working out. You’re still working hard and breaking a sweat but it’s just so invigorating. There is something about being out in nature that energizes you.  Sometimes, especially in the winter, I find myself getting stuck in a rut. I get sick of going to the gym all the time and working out becomes less enjoyable and seems more like a chore than something I should be enjoying. Hiking is a relaxing way to get a good workout in. It can be as difficult or as easy as you want it to be depending on the difficulty of the trail you choose and how quick of a pace you go. Our hike was to Rainbow Falls in North Carolina. Even though it was only a total of 3 miles my fitbit tracked that we climbed almost 80 flights of stairs in that short hike!

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Unfortunately, hiking is not something that can be done everywhere. Here in Michigan you’ll be pretty hard pressed to find trails of that difficulty. However, you can find some that are less strenuous and it can still be a great way to get outside and get moving to break up your workout routine. Weather can make hiking difficult (it’s a lot less fun when it’s snowing and cold) so it’s good to have other options to get outside. Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are two great options for a good cardiovascular workout.

Basically the point of this is, don’t let the winter blues get to your workout routine. Take advantage of the terrain and weather where you live and get outside and move! 🙂

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HIIT Training

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HIIT training, have you heard of it? Well, according to ACSM its one of 2014 top fitness trends. HIIT training or high intensity interval training has become quite popular in the last year and for good reasons. But before I get started on that, if you don’t know what HIIT training is, this is how it works. HIIT training is a type of cardiovascular based workout, but instead of biking or swimming or running for 30 minutes or more at a moderate intensity, it alternates between sprinting and resting. The high intensity intervals are generally performed anywhere from 30 seconds to 5 minutes, with a recovery interval that is equal to or longer than the high intensity interval (“High intensity interval,” ).

In the last year HIIT training has gained popularity for its many benefits. Here are just a few:

  • Significantly increased aerobic and anaerobic fitness.
  • Decreased fasting insulin and increase insulin sensitivity.
  • Reduced abdominal and subcutaneous (just under the skin) fat.

HIIT training is also an incredibly efficient way to workout. Just 15 minutes 3 times a week can burn more calories and fat than running for an hour at a moderate intensity (“High intensity interval,” ). Participants in a study were compared in a 20-week endurance training program vs. a 15-week HIIT training program. Despite the lower energy costs and the shorter program, participants in the HIIT training showed greater reductions in body fat (Tremblay, Simoneau & Bourchard, 1994). No wonder it’s so popular!

Another great thing about HIIT training is that it’s not only efficient but adaptable as well! You don’t need any equipment to do it. Just get your heart racing, you can adapt it to whatever space and time constraints you have. It can be high knees in place or jumping rope or sprints down the sidewalk. Make it what you want and make it fun!

If you are looking at trying HIIT training it can be difficult to decide where to start. There are so many variations that there is not really a set protocol (which is what makes it such a flexible routine). The best thing to do is experiment with shorter and longer periods of speed and recovery times to find what works best with you. To avoid injury it is suggested to do HIIT training only 1-2 times per week and as always if you are thinking of starting something new, make sure you consult with you doctor to make sure this type of exercise is okay for you. So, there you have it, a great way to get the full benefit of your workout even in a time crunch.

Sources:

High intensity interval training . (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.acefitness.org/fitness-fact-

article/3317/high-intensity-interval-training/

Tremblay, A., Simoneau, J., & Bourchard, C. (1994). Impact of exercise intensity on body fatness and

skeletal muscle metabolism. Metabolism , 43(7), 814-818. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed  /8028502

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Importance of Strength Training

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I’m sure you have all heard this before, but I’m going to say it again. Strength training is so important! Working in the health industry I can’t tell you how many people I come across who are trying to lose weight and trying to be more fit but they refuse to pick up the weights. I see this with women especially. They are too worried about bulking up and looking too manly. I promise, if you are a woman and you start lifting weights you will not end up looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger. First of all, our bodies have too much estrogen and not enough testosterone for that so, unless you are taking hormones that won’t happen. Secondly, you need to be doing some seriously crazy training to bulk up like that.

So pick up the weights! Strength training has some really great benefits for men and women; it’s not just for bodybuilding. Women in particular generally have less lean body mass than men, as we age we tend to lose even more of the lean body mass. Weight training is a great way to be proactive and help maintain that muscle mass to combat frailty as we age. Weight training also reduces bone loss and can help prevent osteoporosis (“Strength training for,” 2011). Not only will it help you in the long run as you age but it will just make you stronger and more confident, and will make everyday activities a little easier.

Contrary to what many people believe, weight training is also a great tool for weight loss for men and women. I remember when I was growing up, hearing that if you wanted to slim down you just had to do cardio at a low intensity for a long time (now we know that isn’t the best method but that’s for another post) and NEVER EVER lift weights if you want to lose weight.  Well, that’s wrong. Studies have shown that regular resistance training can increase your resting energy expenditure 7% or more. That means if you have a resting metabolic rate of 1500 calories per day, that’s an extra 100 calories every day! It is thought that the increase in energy expenditure from resistance training is largely due to the energy requirements necessary to repair the muscle tissues after a strength training session. Assuming you do weight training 2-3 days per week it is likely that the increased metabolic rate will remain elevated as long as the resistance training continues (“Resting energy expenditure ,” 2010). Therefore, in combination with cardiovascular training, regular weight training c.n help you lose body fat, increase strength and be more toned and fit and not leave you looking huge and bulky, unless you want to be huge and bulky then in that case well, your workout will be a little different.

For strength training American College of Sport Medicine (ACSM) recommends 1-3 sets of 8-12 repetitions with a load that is 60-70% of your 1 rep max (RM), the max amount you can lift for a single repetition ( if you are trying to find your one rep max, please make sure you are being safe and have a spotter). For endurance training ACSM recommends 2-4 sets of 10-25 repetitions with a load lower than 70% your 1RM (“Strength training for,” 2011).

So, if burning more calories as rest, looking toned and fit, and being stronger and more confident doesn’t convince you that lifting weights is awesome. Well, then I say just give it a try for a few weeks. It doesn’t have to be an hour long session. If you aren’t comfotable lifting weights at the gym or are too intimidated by the big lifters, see if your gym has a resistance based group class, the instructors there will be able to teach you proper form and help you modify moves if necessary. Don’t have a gym? Try a resistance based, home workout video. Even just doing push-ups and squats while you are watching tv is a great place to start.

Sources:

Resting energy expenditure (2010, March 20). ACSM news , twenty (one ), 10-10. Retrieved from http://certification.acsm.org/files/file/ACSM_CNEWS_20-1.pdf

Strength training for women (2011, October 04). ACSM public articles, Retrieved from http://www.acsm.org/access-public-information/articles/2011/10/04/strength-training-for-women

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Group Fitness Instructor Certification

I am very excited! I am now a certified group fitness instructor and am hoping to start teaching classes soon. I have an interview coming up and have put together a little ten minute workout to present. It is short and sweet but really gets your blood pumping quick. If you’ve got ten minutes give it a try!

**Videos showing moves coming soon**

Warm up:
Jumping jacks-30 seconds
High knees- 30 seconds
Butt kicks- 30 seconds
Standing Mt. climbers 30 seconds (high knees+ punching corresponding arm up in the air when knee goes up)

Workout:
Jumping Lunges-8 each leg (go down into and lunge and jump up to switch legs)
Brupie/8-count Mt.Climber+ 4 push ups X3
Squat side kicks- 8 each leg
Scissor runs- 60 seconds
Scissor jumps- 8
Push up jacks-8
Abdominal twists- 8
Rowers-10
Knee to elbow-10
Rowers- 10

Cool down:
Lunge stretch hold at least 15 seconds each leg
Triceps stretch- 15 seconds
Quad stretch- 15 seconds each side