Tuesday, February 03, 2015

You are Doing It Wrong! Part II: Exercise

Here is part II of the III part series: You are Doing It Wrong!  I wrote about Rest a few weeks ago...now let's dive into Exercise.

Let's go back in time, even just 4 years ago.  You would find me at LA Fitness on the treadmill or elliptical for as long as I could stand it...although I would feel like a failure if I didn't make it one hour.  I'd go to cardio group fitness classes (kickboxing, cycling, hip hop, Zumba, etc) and I trained/ran in a couple half marathons.

Sound familiar, cardio junkie?

Now that I have done my due diligence and researched exercise methods, joined fitness networks/communities, and attended the IDEA World Fitness Convention twice, I just look back and have to shake my head at my desperate antics.

With the popularity of Pinterest, different workout routines and schedules are easily accessible...which is awesome!  It is really fun to watch the stigmas around exercise change, especially in the past few years.  People are realizing that long, steady-state cardio is not the best way to approach fitness...at least not for every single workout.  A nice long run is therapeutic from time to time, but it is certainly not the only way to workout.  Resistance/strength training and stretching are getting some love that they totally deserve, especially from the women!  Ladies, if you want some toned muscle definition, pick up some weights!  Or at least throw in some push-ups (hey, knees are fine!!), squats, and lunges.  Want long, lean muscles?  Lengthen your muscles with yoga, Pilates, and PiYo.

It is best to incorporate aspects cardio, resistance training, AND stretching into your weekly workout schedule.

A common complaint is TIME, but the time factor is also a new discussion.  Did you know that fitness classes are an hour simply because of payroll, NOT because you have to work out for an hour to experience results!?  Man, I wish someone would have told me that years ago!!  Only have 10 minutes in the day?  That is completely fine - push yourself through a quick circuit, get your heart rate up, and you will definitely be better for it!  No time is too short to reap some benefits.

According to new research, interval training is one of the best ways to effectively use your time to workout.  Varied heart rates and different circuits keep exercisers from being bored and benefits multiple muscle groups.

Interval Training:

These seem to be some of the "buzz" words floating around the fitness communities these days.  What is the difference?  Truthfully, people use the word Tabata loosely.  Tabata was first reported in a 1996 edition of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exericse by Izumi Tabata.  It was designed for high-level athletes on specialized cycle ergometers in order to create shorter, more intense workouts.  Realistically, everyday people do not need to do a true Tabata workout because of the extremely high heart rate elevation (above 100%! Yikes!).  A true Tabata is a workout done in intervals of 2:1, 20 seconds of work to 10 seconds of recovery.  There are 8 cycles completed, totaling a workout of 4 minutes!

HIIT standards for High-Intensity Interval Training, which is a more realistic exercise routine for everyday exercisers.  The interval ratio varies - could be 1:1, 2:1, 3:1, 1:2 and so on.  The length of the intervals also varies - 30 work/30 recovery,  45 work, 15 recovery.  And you guessed it, the length also varies!

I'm in my last week of Insanity Max:30 and keeping up with the exercise trends, there were Tabata workouts included, which I greatly appreciated!  Month 1 included true Tabata intervals with a 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off ratio.  Month 2 increased the intervals to 45 seconds on, 15 seconds off.  It was also great because the program included 0 weights, so everything was done with body weight, meaning it could be done anywhere!

Another unique aspect about HIIT workouts is that they can be applied to all sorts of workouts: running/treadmill, light weights, body exercises, etc!  Here are a couple ideas for you!


Some final thoughts...

What is the BEST workout to do? Honestly, the one that YOU WILL DO!  Everyone is unique and therefore the types of exercise you like will be different than your family and friends. That is okay, stick to whatever is going to motivate you to get moving!
If you love running outside and can't stand the thought of going to a gym, do it!  Throw in some intervals: run harder during the chorus of your playlist's songs.  Or do some walk/sprint intervals.  Change it up a bit, but stay with what you love! : )

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