Here are five steps to energizing your workouts in these refreshing spring months…
With spring comes new energy, which makes it an even better time than January to boost your exercise. Along with cleaning closets, window dressings, and garage shelves, it’s also the perfect opportunity to scrub up your fitness program.
Here are five steps to energizing your workouts in these refreshing spring months…
Simply toss your so-called “reasons” why to skip your workouts out with the rest of your winter blahs. Or figure out how to overcome them. Check out this previous blog post, three ways to make sure your workout actually happens.
Amalgamating fitness and friendship is a no brainer. Accountability skyrockets, because “I don’t feel like it” sounds silly when you say it out loud to your workout buddy. Plus, both physical activity and time spent with a friend stimulates the release of feel-good chemicals endorphins and serotonin, which research correlates with weight loss and overall health.
Our bodies are very good at adapting to physical challenges, expending the least amount of energy as necessary. As we settle into this path of least resistance, our fitness levels and motivation fizzle. Freshen up with innovative equipment and workouts to move your body in fun and results-oriented ways.
Even if your athletic shoes look fine, you can’t see the midsole. A deteriorated midsole does little to protect against the stress and impact of exercise on your entire skeleton. How often you need new shoes depends on usage, but don’t hold back your mileage to save a few dollars. Get new shoes each spring with the goal of wearing them out. Up-to-date clothing is not completely necessary, but retail therapy can be a fun way to boost your motivation to exercise.
Sure, you can exercise indoors. But why? Longer days and warmer weather require you to simply lace up and go get some vitamin D. Amazing workouts can happen with just a patch of grass, perhaps a hill, and a picnic table.
Don't enjoy your workout? Don't worry, you probably won't be doing it for long. Sticking to our fitness program depends on how enjoyable the workouts are.
Good news, recent research from McMaster University has unveiled that HIIT (high intensity interval training) is reportedly more enjoyable than moderate, continuous training (such as jogging).
That’s “high intensity” and “enjoyable” in the same breath.
If you’ve never tried HIIT, or you’re wondering why HIIT is found in fitness facilities, outdoor bootcamps, and home gyms everywhere, it’s because it works. And, according to the McMaster researchers, it’s fun.
A HIIT workout consists of a series short, physically challenging intervals (bursts) with brief recovery periods in between. Hard scientific evidence tells us that HIIT workouts provide greater results in a shorter amount of time. (Click here for more HIIT facts.)
Humans are busy creatures, and HIIT workouts can offer whole-body training, combining strength and cardiovascular fitness gains in a time-effective manner.
The McMaster study had the HIIT exercisers riding a stationary bike for one-minute intense bursts, one-minute recovery, repeated ten times. While physically challenging, the exercisers reported increased competency over the six weeks of the study, three workouts per week. This definitely sounds more interesting, invigorating, and inspiring than the non-HITT exercisers… they simply rode the bike for 27.5 minutes at a moderate, continuous tempo.
HIIT training classes in your community likely won’t be only on a stationary bike either. Instructors will have you using interesting equipment and movements. For HIIT training in the convenience and privacy of your home, check out the Transform by moveBALL™ 30-day program. It’s a complete exercise program plus innovative equipment that requires very little space and time.
Knowing that most entry-level exercisers drop out in the first six weeks of a program, enjoying a workout is an essential consideration.
Bottom line, whatever exercise modality you choose, you must actually like to do it. This is why trying new ways to be physically active, and mixing up your workouts are great strategies for being physically active for a lifetime.
Reference: Heisz, J. J., Tejada, M. G. M., Paolucci, E. M., & Muir, C. (2016). Enjoyment for high-intensity interval exercise increases during the first six weeks of training: Implications for promoting exercise adherence in sedentary adults. PLoS ONE 11(12). doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0168534
Image from: https://media.mercola.com/ImageServer/Public/2016/April/exercise-brain-fb.jpg
Your best workout requires your whole body, including your head.
Competitive athletes have long known the benefits of including mental training in their regimens. According to recent research published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine, this investment of positive mental energy works for non-athletes too.
A study conducted the University of Freiburg, Germany, correlated mindset and workout effectiveness. Participants who believed that exercise would positively influence their health experienced a more enjoyable workout and reduced anxiety. The opposite was also true – a negative mood resulted in a less enjoyable workout.
The researchers said their next step will be to investigate if positive brain energy also results in increased exercise intensity. It seems a logical extension that if you are enjoying your workout, you will be willing to exert more effort and, as a result, burn more calories. Once again, we realize that our minds and bodies are intimately connected.
If you’re cranky about exercise, don’t throw in the towel just yet. Grumbling through one or two workouts should prime your endorphins and cheer you up. Then, you can begin reaping the neurophysiological benefits from investing your newfound positivity into your workouts thereon.
Think of your brain as just one more muscle you get to flex. Shape up your attitude, and your physique will follow.
Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg. "Believe it or not: Exercise does more good if you believe it will." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 August 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/08/160811090039.htm>.
Everything we do has meaning. Our actions speak about our values and beliefs, sending messages to the people in our lives and to ourselves.
Today you’ve made time in your busy day to have a workout. You put your world on hold and spent an hour for yourself. What’s the meaning in that? It’s three-fold.
1. You matter. There’s only one of you, and you need to be happy and healthy for a lifetime. Your workout today has given you an endorphin rush, boosted immunity, an effort at disease prevention and/or management, and so much more. Plus, physical health is intimately linked with emotional health. At times when we feel a lack of control over our emotions, we still have the choice to exercise.
2. Others matter. The people in your life deserve the best version of you. Relationships require wholehearted participation by all parties, and sometimes this is no easy feat. Daily fitness, giving time and energy to your own wellbeing, puts you in the right mindset and physical condition to give to others. You exercise because you care about your relationships.
3. Life matters. We have a natural instinct to survive, to be on this planet for as long as possible. We are organic beings with a limited life expectancy, with an abundance of fortune and misfortune that shape our decades. Every day is an opportunity for adventure, moving forward on a journey toward our true potential. A good life requires strong muscles and heart, which only comes from exercise.
Exercise has little to do with calories burned or steps on a treadmill. It is more about an inner desire to live well for ourselves, for those that we care about, and for each day we have the privilege to be alive.
Each new season is an opportunity to revisit, tweak, or set new fitness and wellness goals. Here’s one that might sound familiar: "I just want to get toned."
Unfortunately this simple statement is rooted in misconception, which doesn’t say much for its attainability. There is no such thing as toning our muscles. Tone is a state of partial muscle contraction at rest. All muscle has tone all of the time. It’s the reason we don’t fall over while seated or standing during our daily activities.
The statement "I just want to get toned " has nothing to do with tone. The speaker usually means two things.
Let’s clear up this mess and dispel a few myths so that you can get down to the business of improving your physical fitness level for overall health.
Myth #1: Spot reduction is possible
Spot reduction is the hope of burning fat from a certain part of the body by performing a strength training exercise using that specific body part. Spot reduction is 100% impossible, despite every issue of every fitness magazine in every supermarket lineup splashing spot reduction promises on its front cover. Ab crunches do not whittle your waistline. Jane Fonda-style leg lifts do not trim your thighs. It’s basic physiology. Your body’s fuel of choice for all strength exercises is carbohydrates, not fat.
So how do we burn fat? A combination of cardiovascular and strength training. Cardiovascular exercise, such as jogging, cross-country skiing, and rope jumping, get into the body’s fat stores once carbohydrates aren’t enough. However, you cannot control where in the body the fat comes from. For example, jogging uses the legs, but leg fat isn’t necessarily the fuel used. Don’t give up your strength training just yet. Muscle is a metabolically active tissue. More muscle in your body means more calories burned while exercising and at rest. More muscle means more fat burned during your cardiovascular exercise. Strength training is an essential component of all weight loss endeavours.
Myth #2: Lifting heavy weights will make me bulky
Bodybuilders lift very, very heavy weights for very, very few repetitions (6 or less). This results in muscle hypertrophy (bulkiness). If you lift a weight so heavy that by repetition number 6 your limb almost falls off, and you have a genetic predisposition to bulking up, yes, you may get yourself some muscle hypertrophy. But otherwise, no.
Testosterone is the hormone makes hypertrophy happen. Some females have more testosterone than other females, but in general females have very little testosterone compared to men. On the opposite end of the spectrum, lifting very light weights for many repetitions (more than 25) will not cause a training effect and may actually stress the joints. So, not only is this a waste of time, it can be harmful.
For whatever exercise you are doing, a sufficient weight load will cause complete fatigue after 8 to 15 repetitions. Fatigue means that you can’t perform another repetition without sacrificing technique. This 8-15 repetition range will result in muscular strength and endurance without hypertrophy.
Remove the notion of "I just want to get toned" from your vocabulary. Engage in whole body strength training and regular cardiovascular exercise. Challenge yourself to lift challenging weight loads with good technique for 8-15 repetitions, 1-3 sets for all major muscle groups. Better yet, get some help from a certified personal trainer to make sure that your valuable time spent at the gym is taking you on a direct path to your fitness and wellness goals.
Yesterday was Blue Monday, the research-proven most depressing day of the year. There was only one sure-fire way to make yesterday not blue for you... the endorphin rush from exercise. Did you get some endorphins going yesterday?
How is your fitness program going with its refreshing jumpstart on January 1? Here are some expert and inspiring words from Tanja Shaw to put everything about New Years resolutions into perspective.
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We are Anita Parker & Jamie-Dee Marshall - busy moms, fitness trainers, and founders of Fitness Matters.