HIIT Cardio Versus Fartlek Training

HIIT cardio is the new craze sweeping across gymnasiums in Europe and North America – the reason for this … it's fast, efficient and it works!

High intensity interval training is something that athletes and runners in particular have been well aware of for a long time now. This training has been a popular method of fitness training for runners for a long time and one method that has been shown to burn more fat than steady paced running. Fartlek training mixes slow paced running with high paced intervals of running, one example that most people who have ever played Football will be familiar with is jogging the length of the pitch, sprinting the width, jogging the length and then sprinting the width again.

Although Fartlek training is still a great method of physical training, the Tabatha protocol of HIIT shone a light on the possibility of condensing a workout dramatically without taking away any of the benefits. The problem with the Tabatha protocol of high intensity interval training is that it sounds false; no one ever really believes that a 4 minute workout can strip fat and despite the 8 circuits that violate the Tabatha method are extremely difficult, athletes often tend to feel they have cheated themselves leaving the gym after 4 minutes. On way in which body builders chose to incorporate the Tabatha protocol of HIIT Cardio to their sessions was to blast one 4 minutes session either side of the normal body building routine. This tend to be a very popular way of using HIIT without feeling you have cheated yourself.

The Tabatha protocol will work for anyone using it. What we all have to keep in mind is that time spent in the gym is not in direct correlation to results gained in the gym. Always keep in mind the famous saying 'you can train hard or you can train long, you can not do both'. A great example of this is the direct comparison of the traditional one hour treadmill session for fat burning at a slow steady pace versus the very popular and newly found 30 sets in 20 minutes Kettlebell Workouts. Studies show that not only are more calories burnt in the actual training session of the shorter period of activity, but participants display greater muscular definition, lower body fat and far greater fitness levels. This is just one way in which training harder for shorter periods of time is proved to be more beneficial.

Often you will hear about Boxers overtraining for a fight and not feeling fresh when the big night arrives which can have devastating effects, think of Amir Khan in his most recent outing Danny Garcia. He was originally primed to a fight a few months earlier before Lamont Peterson was taken for taking illegal substances. After being stopped in 4 rounds only a couple of months after peaking for a fight that never happened, a lot of pundits and coaches around the world attributed this to over training. There are others such as the never outsoken Chris Eubank Senior who claims over training is a myth and a state of mind and it is more about becoming stale when training which the biggest worry is. Whilst this may be the case with Boxers, there is a lot of scientific evidence in body building as to how overtraining can halt results altogether. For instance studies have shown time and time again that Bicep progress is halted by over training and in fact as soon as the Bicep is over worked the muscle shuts down and no growth or repair will occur. In addition to this, often the best way to get over training plateau (a stage when progress as halted) the best way to get past this is take one week of the Gym prohibiting all the muscles and joints to recover. After doing this, most people find that they can instantly lift more weight than one week previous when they were stuck lifting a certain weight.

HIIT Training looks to answer most if not all of the problems associated with physical training; it keeps you fresh in body and mind. It combats injury and overtraining problems and is a tremendous fat burner and a great way to increase your physical fitness.

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Kettlebell Swing Cardio

Kettlebell swing cardio classes are proving very popular, with instructors and participants alike.

For a personal trainer the class is a dream, some decent music, one kettlebell per person and a 20 minute disciplined session in which keeping people in the fat burning zone is the key. This is not too much to ask from a personal trainer.

For the participant no change in workstations or equipment, the main thing required is to keep the rate high and the strength of their grip. The rest will take care of itself as long as instructions are followed by the personal trainer.

To perform the Kettlebell swing an athlete is required to stand with legs slightly wider than shoulder width. Place the Kettlebell on the floor directly below your legs. Take hold of the Kettlebell with both hands and driving down and back with the hips swing the weight between your legs about one foot behind your heel, you are then required to drive the kettlebell upwards using the thrust of your hips. It is important that you keep your abdominal wall tight at all times through the move to avoid injury and use only momentum to drive the weight upwards and back down between your legs.

To ensure you are performing the Kettlebell swing correctly, ensure you are not using the arm muscles to lift the weight, think of the arms as a pendulum. Also ensuring that at the top portion of the movement that the bottom of the kettlebell is facing away from the athlete and not at the floor. If the very bottom of the weight is facing away from the athlete this is because the kettlebell is moving through momentum and be driven correctly through the hip muscles and not lifted by the arms.

For the Kettlebell swing cardio exercise routine, each athlete is required to perform one set of 30 repetitions, ensuring you are using a weight that is first of all light enough to complete 20 sets but also sufficient to be challenging come the mid-point of the routine. Start your set of 30 Kettlebell swings on the minute mark and when complete, rest until the next minute begins.

If done correctly your first few sets should enable you to have about 40 seconds rest and by the middle few sets your resting period should be down to 30 seconds. If you have chosen a weight heavy enough your last few sets, usually sets 16 – 20 will only allow you to have between 10 and 20 second rests.

The increasing activity levels of this routine elevate your heart and breathing rate to a level which will be uncomfortable and yet very achievable. The natural high you will feel after this session is quite amazing due to the release of endorphins (similar to eating over 1kg of chocolate but without that sickening feeling) and the body will reward you with a massive uplift of Human Growth Hormone levels in the bloodstream for the following 24 hours allowing improved muscle repair, immune system and even increased drive and motivation.

A kettlebell swing cardio session can be a fantastic session to perform alone or within a group and is one that can be performed at home with just one Kettlebell. Simple, effective and rewarding, give it a try!

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Great Benefits of Cardiovascular Fitness Training

One of the most important keys to fitness is a strong heart and vascular system. The best way to achieve health gains in these systems is cardiovascular respiratory exercise also called aerobic exercise, cardiovascular exercise or simply cardiovascular. We will discuss the benefits of cardiovascular and several great ways to perform it.

There are countless health benefits to regular aerobic exercise. First, it strengthens the heart and circulatory system leading to reductions in heart related diseases and stroke and is a recommended for treatment for heart attack sufferers. Cardiovascular lowers resting heart rates; helps the heart pump additional blood more efficiently, delivering more nutrients and oxygen to the muscles and organs, increases the capillaries and expands the elasticity of arterial passages. This helps feed our bodies and allows quicker recovery from strenuous activity.

Cardiovascular lowers levels of bad cholesterol or low density lipoprotein and can raise levels of good cholesterol or high density lipoprotein. It reduces the risk of blood clots, helps build bone density reducing the risk of osteoporosis and helps maintain healthy blood pressure. There's also weight reduction, suppression of appetite, calorie burning and a reduction of stress. It helps with joint health and arthritis and reduces the risk of many cancers and diabetes.

Cardiovascular offers benefits to sexual performance too, strengthening the heart which translates to more stamina in the bedroom. It also increases blood circulation which benefits both men and women's sexual organs, improving performance and sensitivity and can even improve erectile dysfunction. It energies mood, energy and muscle tone enriching the overall look of your body and who does not want that?

Cardiovascular exercises include: walking, jogging, rowing, swimming and cycling or to keep things interesting try soccer, basketball or water polo. Always warm up and stretch to ensure protection from injury. It's recommended that you engage in some kind of aerobic exercise that increases pulse and breathing rate for at least 15 to 20 minutes, 3 to 5 days a week up to as much as 60 minutes or more for those in better shape.

Pursuing information on cardiovascular you may hear information on fat burning zones and Volume O2 Maximum. There are many conflicting views on these subjects. The fat burning zone is supposedly where you burn more calories by doing lower intensity aerobics than you would at higher intensities. Here are the facts; the body will burn 50% of its calories from fat at lower intensities while only 35% at higher intensity but you will burn more total calories exercising at higher intensity, to keep it simple, do not worry about it! If you are going for fat loss and calorie burning, raising your metabolism is your best bet. Lifting weights will burn more calories, even when you are not in the act of working out than cardiovascular, however both are certainly different things for the body, working in concert with each other. Both burn fat and calories but cardiovascular also builds a stronger heart and vascular system which feeds oxygen to the muscles making them work more efficiently. Note: cardiovascular will actually ever slow your metabolic rate, burning fewer calories as your body adapts to it. Therefore it's essential to vary your workouts to maximize your fat burning results.

Volume O2 maximum reflects to fitness measurement, calculating the volume of oxygen your body consumes as you exercise at maximum levels. This is important for endurance athletes but not so much for beginners. That being said the higher your Volume O2 Maximum the more efficiently you process oxygen to your muscles and the harder you can go at higher intensities. To increase Volume O2 Maximum workout at levels that raises heart rates to between 65 and 85% of your maximum for at least 30 minutes, 3 to 5 times a week.

To keep your cardiovascular workouts varied and fun take them outside but be careful about temperatures, here are a few essential tips. Always drink plenty of fluids before, after and if you're running distance, during your workout. In extreme heat the skin undergoes vasodilation to keep you cool; this decrements blood flow, raising your heart rate. This can lead to heat related injuries especially in high humidity so be sure to wear cool clothing. In cold weather warm up inside, wear layers of warm, sweat wicking clothes and cover head, hands, face and feet to keep warm.

Finally, make sure shoes are comfortable to prevent injury to feet, knees and back, the last thing you want is to suffer an injury that could have been easily avoided with the right gear and be sure to consult a fitness pro to ensure you're getting the most out of your exercise. Have fun!

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The Importance of Cardio Training for Your Health and How Exercise Machines Keep You in Top Shape

Studies carried for decades by organizations focused on cardiovascular health have shown that there is a strong link between a healthy heart and physical activity. However, for people over 30 years of age, especially women, frequenting a gym on a regular basis is not too convenient, as it can eat up a lot of time that must be used for taking care of the kids, work and household chores.

An exercise machine can be a great replacement for going to the gym, and cardio training workouts can be organized at home, instead of a gym. Women that care about cardiovascular fitness can purchase their own cardio equipment and start training at home, in order to stay physically fit.

There are many effective and efficient cardio exercises one can do. In this article, we discuss 3 cardio exercises that will enable you to have effective results.

(1) Cardio workouts with exercise bikes

There are many exercise machines that can help you strengthen your muscles and improve the health of your cardiovascular system. As indicated by studies carried out by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Heart Association (AHA), individuals that are physically fit are much less likely to develop coronary heart disease. Furthermore, even if this condition occurs, it does so later in life and it is noticeably less severe.

Exercise bikes allow you all the cardio workouts you need, and the best thing is that you do not have to leave your home in order to carry out your cardio workout exercises.

(2) Cardio exercises at home with rowing machines

Another exercise machine that can help you fight efficiently against cardiovascular condition is a rowing machine.

This indoor exercise machine will provide you with the means to carry on with your cardio training workouts without having to abandon your family and their needs to go to the gym.

It is not only your cardiovascular health that is at stake here. Other conditions, such as hypertension, osteoporosis and colon cancer are effectively prevented by cardio workout exercises.

Even patients that have suffered a heart attack can benefit from cardio workouts, as long as they are monitored by their doctors, and their death rate is lowered with about 25%.

(3) Cardiovascular fitness with jump ropes

If exercise machines are not exactly your thing, you can always consider a jump rope as the only cardio equipment you need.

You can execute various cardio exercises at home, using nothing but a jump rope.

You may have heard that you need at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular fitness each day in order to protect your heart. However, you may feel daunted to jump the rope or execute other types of cardio workouts for half an hour without interruptions.

Specialists in health care advise to exercise for 30 minutes daily, but not necessarily at one time only. Accumulated 30 minutes of cardio exercises at home in short bouts of physical activity offer the same benefits as strenuous exercises.

It is more recommended to try this type of cardiovascular routine, especially if you are not an athlete, you are interested in maintaining your health and you do not focus on obtaining performance.

Always remember that if you have any serious health issues or concerns, ask your doctor for personalized advices on what types of strength training is best for you.

Note: the content of this article is provided for educational purposes only, and is not to be used for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always as your doctor first for what is best for your particular condition.

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Is Zumba for Beginners? Yes It Is!

Is Zumba for beginners? It sure is. It can be a fun, exciting way to lose weight and get in shape. Like most fitness programs, if you are a newbie, you will need to start at the bottom and work your way up. Fortunately, not all Zumba workouts are the same. The workouts vary in intensity and difficulty which enables people of all fitness levels to participate.

Zumba is a dance workout that usually takes place in a class setting. It combines aerobics and dance moves to burn calories and improve your conditioning. It incorporates music and dance steps from hip-hop, salsa, meringue, martial arts, belly dance, and more. The variety of dance steps, movements, and music appeals to most people because the workouts do not get boring.

Zumba sessions usually take place in a gym and the sessions last about an hour. Classes are taught by a certified instructor. If you are a member of a gym that offers classes, you may be able to take the class for free or for a small fee. If you do not have a membership, you may be able to take a class for a fee without signing up for a membership. Each gym has different policies so you need to contact them for class availability.

Taking a class at the gym is a fun experience. Not only is it fun but it also holds you accountable if you take classes with the same group of people. Taking the class with other people will give you motivation to complete the full hour. If you are a beginner, other gym members and the instructor are great resources if you have difficulty mastering the steps.

If the thought of going to the gym makes you feel queasy or your local gym does not offer Zumba for beginners, there are DVDs that allow you to do the Zumba dance workout in the comfort of your own home. The benefit of doing the workouts at home is that you can learn the steps at your own pace without feeling out of place among experienced Zumba trainees. Another benefit of a home DVD workout is that you can work out at any time. The gym might not offer a convenient time for you due to work and family commitments.

Zumba is a fun and effective way to get in shape. If you do not like the gym scene or if your gym does not offer Zumba for beginners, you can get a home workout video. No matter which options you choose, the key is to be consistent with your workout and you'll see your fitness improve.

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Breathing Exercise Challenge – On Lung At a Time

It seems that the human body is pretty symmetrical is not it? In fact, we have a lot of redundancy because of this. Have you ever noticed that we have to lungs, but we probably do not ever use the full capacity of both of them? I have, because I was a runner in high school and college. I used the peak capacity early and often, I had to, to win races. However, most people do not, they barely use a third of their capacity. Perhaps this is why everyone is so out of shape. Now then, I'd like to talk to you about a breathing exercise that I used to do, and I'm not sure if it helped or not, but when you're a high-performance athlete it's amazing how much control you have over your own body.

Okay so, what I used to do was practice breathing only on one lung. Of course, you can not shut off your windpipe because there is no valve for that, which would allow you to breathe and let air in and out of only one side. However, if you work very hard at this in trying to do so you will notice that you can develop muscles in your body to help you control where you send most of that air. People who have a collapsed lung, that is to say they only have one lung left to breathe on are able to use the remaining lung to serve all their needs, it will make plenty of oxygen as long as you do not go out and try to run a mile.

It is interesting when practicing this exercise, that after a while you can feel all the air going into one side, and only a little bit of air going into the other. It is possible to actually control it, although most people can not, it's only because they've never done this type of breathing exercise, I would challenge you to try. It will not hurt you, it can only help you. Do I think that my body is capable doing things that others can not? I think in sports I've provided that, but when it comes to an exercise like this you are utilizing new ways of doing things, new methods, and developing new muscles.

Better lungs mean more oxygen in the blood stream, better cardiovascular health, along with more capability in all that you do. Perhaps you should try this exercise, concentrate on only filling up one lung at a time, and then switch sides, and then switch back again. If you do this for five or 10 minute a day, while you are at work, you will find a new way to control your body that you never knew you had. There are no research reports to be found on this, I've looked. But it is interesting no doubt. Indeed I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.

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Jack Rabbit Sports – Accept No Imitations

The old me used to get my running sneakers just about everywhere, you know those stores in the mall, or the giant shopping center in your town. You know the drill: go when there's a sale, pick out a cute color and move on. Boy was I clueless …

That is until my hubby introduced me to Jack Rabbit. It was about 6 years ago, he had just taken up running (you can add that to a list of fitness hobbies, boxing is the latest). I went with him and naturally rated myself a pair (thanks hubby !!). Here's what makes Jack Rabbit everything I did not know existed:

First you sign up your name (OK this was new, my usually routine involves walking over to the cute ones). Once your name is called (wait-time is never more than 5 mins) the sales person requests you all sorts of questions on your intended use for your new kicks. Let me stop right here and change “sales person” to Running Shoe Experts, really they've all ran a ton of marathons / triathlons and have put more miles on their shoes than you dare to imagine.

OK, so now that you and your expert are acquainted it's time to get on the treadmill, no really they make you run. Nothing crazy, but avoid wearing those new skinny jeans that you can not quite bend in yet.

There's a camera hooked up to the treadmill and after snapping a quick video (do not worry about any jiggles crazy, they just get your feet in the shot) your Running Shoe Expert analyzes your running style and how you plant your feet in motion. Based on this they recommend particular sneakers and it did not stop there. My guy also pointed out that I was over pronating while I ran, asked if my knee was bothering me — yes! I've been starting to wear a brace while running (slow jog would be more accurate). Therefor the shoes he was recommending for me had more stability and support. He also suggested squats to strengthen my knee to fix the over pronating.

The only disappointment I had here was that they really did not get the whole pick your shoes based on cuteness. So you might not get your first color choice. (hubby says I was insulting the guy with my color requests “Susan, this guy is helping you pick out a shoe to help you run better, he's not a stylist” Still, my guy went out of his way to get me an assortment of color options … and you know what? I loved those shoes. And now I only go here when I need a pair, and not to mention they have a great selection of clothes for all types of sports (love my running jacket).

When it's time to get a new pair of running shoes this should be your only destination.

Also check out Jack Rabbit Training. They have all sorts of classes to improve your running, swimming or biking at every fitness level. If I ever get myself to do a full marathon (doubt it) I'll join the beginner's team.

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Skipping Rope for Cardio

One often overlooked way to train cardiovascular endurance is by using a skipping rope. For some reason, people often forget about the benefits of jumping rope while growing up. It's a staple of boxers' training as it's a great exercise to work on coordination, footwork, agility, quickness, and endurance.

Another fun aspect of jumping rope is that there are many techniques to develop so that your workouts always stay challenging and fun. Well, until you snap yourself with the rope, but that's just part of the learning curve. Also, a skipping rope is pretty much the cheapest fitness tool you'll find. They're usually available for 5 to 10 dollars, and can last you a lifetime. To top it off, its minimal size makes it easy to carry around everywhere. In short, there is no reason you should not have a skipping rope at your disposal.

When looking for a rope, you need to make sure it is the right length for you. To find this out, put a foot in the center of the rope and lift the handles so that you fully extend the rope. The handles should not go past your armpits, a little below your armpits is perfect.

Learn to Skip Rope

If you're like me, skipping rope kind of passed you by when you were in school. In our case, we need to learn skipping rope as adults, and that can be a pain in the ass, trust me, I've done it. Nonetheless, just keep trying and you will ever get it.

If you've never skipped rope in your entire life, it's a good idea at first to try and imitate the motion of skipping rope without a rope. Keep your elbows close to your side and imagine yourself skipping rope using your wrists and forearms. You should jump about 1 to 2 inches off the floor, just enough so that the rope can slip under your feet. Also, only the balls of your feet should be touching the ground.

Make sure that your first workouts are aimed at learning the proper technique. When your technique is better, you'll have more than enough time to work on your condition.

As you start feeling more comfortable visualizing yourself and practicing the movements of jumping rope rope, incorporating the rope and practice small time intervals, making sure you can continuously jump rope without tripping on it. For example, jump rope for 10 or 20 seconds so that you do not tire yourself. Concentrate fully on technique, making sure you're not jumping too hard. Repeat the intervals 5 to 10 times in a row.

More Advice

I would not recommend skipping rope if you have flat feet as the constant impact of jumping could possibly hurt you. If you have any type of problems with your feet arch, make sure to consult a doctor beforehand. Also, to limit impact, it's a good idea to wear good cushioned shoes, and to practice on a shock absorbent surface such as a gym mat or wood floor. Tennis courts and boxing rings are also great alternatives.

This week, work on technique, and next week, you should be ready to start working out with the skipping rope.

The Double Under

This is probably the most common technique that people learn after learning how to skip rope. To perform a double under, you basically need to make two turns of the turn for every one jump. You still jump with your feet together, both at a time. When first learning how to do double unders, it is better to practice them by themselves, one try at a time. Once you become more efficient at it, jump rope normally and try to do a double under every ten seconds or so. Once you become even more used to this technique, you should be able to do double unders and resume jumping rope normally without tripping or taking breaks in between.

Jumping Rope Workouts

The most obvious way to train with a jump rope is to do timed intervals. As boxers do to simulate the effort and strain of a round in the ring, use a timer and skip rope for periods of time ranging from one to three minutes. If you want, you can comprise double unders once in a while, but always focus on your technique. Soon enough, you should become good enough so that you're able to skip rope for one complete interval without tripping.

Mix It Up With Interval Training

A simple way to boost up your skipping rope workouts is to incorporate interval training. As opposed to 2 or 3 minutes intervals, practice doing twenty seconds interval followed by a ten second rest. Make sure you go at full speed during these intervals, you'll have to push yourself fully to really feel the benefits of interval training.

A 10-Minute Cardio Workout

Here is a quick 10-minute cardio skipping rope workout to improve cardiovascular endurance and agility. Try to do it by taking as fewer breaks as possible. If you absolutely have to take a rest, make sure you do it in between rounds, and stop the timer so that you go through the ten rounds. You'll notice that there are not too many different techniques in this workout, it's made this way so that you first concentrate on doing the basic moves correctly. As you start feeling more comfortable, have a look at some of the different techniques shown in the video at the end.

1st minute: Figure eight

Stand up with your feet shoulder-width apart, and hold the rope handles together with your two hands. Now, stay in place and trace a figure eight pattern, moving from left shoulder to right hip, then right shoulder to left hip.

2nd minute: Jump rope

For one minute, get into a comfortable pace and jump rope the usual way. You should be jumping about one or two inches off the floor with your feet together.

3rd minute: Figure eight

Repeat the first exercise.

4th minute: Double unders

Skip rope the typical way, and incorporated a double-under every 10 seconds.

5th minute: Brisk walk

Just walk in place for 1 minute at a good rhythm, make sure you're taking in big breaths.

6th minute: Run and skip rope

For 1 minute, skip rope while alternating you feet as if you were running.

7th minute: Jump rope

Go back to skipping rope the usual way.

8th minute: Brisk walk

Same as before, walk in place at a good place

9th minute: Double Unders

For this round, try and do as many double unders as you can in one minute.

10th minute: Jump rope

Jump rope the usual way.

One of the best thing about the skipping rope is that it forces you to work primarily on technique and balance as you push up the pace and get more and more tired. If your technique fails for even just a second, you'll snap yourself with the rope, and have to start back again. The same principle applies to boxing as you do not want your technique to suffer in the later rounds as you become more and more tired.

With that said, you do not need to be a boxer to practice jumping rope. It's a great exercise that will improve your cardio while keeping it fun and diverse.

As always, make sure to consult a doctor before trying any of these exercises.

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Merits of Stair Stepper Machines

Stair steppers were considered the state-of-the-art aerobic fitness machines, but in recent years they've been overshadowed by elliptical machines, in addition to cardio kickboxing classes and Pilates. Even when you do not see the rows and rows of stair stepper machines that once dominated the middle of the gym floor, a stair stepper will still be an excellent source of cardiovascular fitness.

Do not forget to talk to your physician before you begin any workout or weight loss program and to stop if you experience pain. Be sure you stretch before and as soon as you finish your workout to keep up flexibility and prohibit injury.

Stair Stepper Categories

There are essentially two varieties of stair machines. Most steppers have two pedals that move in an easy up and down motion since you step, simulating the action of climbing stairs. Using some machines one pedal moves up as soon as the other is pushed down. However, machines which supply independent action provide more intensity, increasing cardiovascular benefits and weight loss. The other type of stair stepper, called a stepmill, is configured similar to an escalator, with stairs that move down because you simulate climbing upwards. This sort of machine combines the benefits of walking upon a treadmill in the increased muscle toning results of acting against gravity.

Benefits to Stair Stepper Exercise

Both of these sorts of steppers work the glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves. Exercising these large muscle groups maximizes calorie consumption and fat utilization. This type of equipment provides weight-bearing exercise, and that is thought to boost density of bone and lower bone loss in addition to providing aerobic benefits. On account of this muscle toning effect, stair steppers also make great cross-training machines. Either kind of stair machine offers a low impact workout that minimizes joint and bone strain, especially good if you are coping with an injury. However, improper technique can put strain on the knees, so caution bought to be used in the event that you have knee problems.

Proper form is necessary if you resolve to use stair climber to refrain from injury and maximizeize effectiveness. Holding the handles too tightly or leaning exceedingly forward through out your stride will significantly reduce the fat burning advantages and benefits of your routine. Here's the best way to use this type of exercise machine:

• Make sure that you hold the handles lightly, if you need to help them. If you think that you need to hold tightly to keep up your stride, reduce your speed to a softer pace.

• Stand with the hips slightly forward, rather than just keeping your back perfectly vertical. This slight incline may help prevent injury and strain to the knees and back.

• Keep your stride even and long, as an alternative to taking short quick steps, to avoid overworking your calves.

• Keep an entitlement foot up the pedal to ensure the main target stays on your thighs rather than just your calves.

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The Road to Better Cardio: The Tabata Method

If you've read my article on high intensity cardio training you already know about the benefits of interval training. If you have not heard a thing about this subject, I would say that it's probably the most important thing you should learn about if you want to get better cardio. Simply, interval training focuses on short periods of intension exercise followed by quick periods of rest. What I love most about this type of training is the short amount of time that it takes to do. Do not get me wrong, I love working out, but I would always rather work on my kickboxing or my slap-shot than do sprints in the park. This means that if I have an hour and a half to train, I will do 1 hour of technique in the sport of my choice, and finish with 30 minutes of conditioning. A few years ago, I would have done the opposite.

When I first learned that I did not have to run 40 minutes a day to improve my cardio, needless to say, I was skeptical. Like many of you, taught that jogging over long periods of time was the way to achieve better cardio. I would see the people running the marathons and think that this was the way to improve my soccer or hockey game. So, I ran a lot. I was good in sports, but it never felt like I was really improving, it was like I had reached a plateau with my cardiovascular endurance.

Then, a few years ago, I decided to put some thoughts into my training and look up the most recent improvement in terms of conditioning. It was then that I learned about a japanese man named Izumi Tabata and his revolutionary 1996 study.

Tabata called his experiment the IE1 protocol. He took two groups of athletes and made them train using only a stationary bike.

Here's what his study demonstrated:

The first group did (cardio training at moderate intensity)

-60 minutes of training at 70% VO2max (moderate exertion)

-5 days a week

-During 6 weeks

-30 hours total of training

The second group did (high intensity interval training)

-20 seconds of effort at 170% of VO2max (intense exertion)

-10 seconds of rest

-7 to 8 times in a row

-5 days a week

-During 6 weeks

-Each training regimen lasted 4 minutes

-2 hours total of training

The results

The group who did interval training showed more improvements in their VO2max at the end, and were the only group who gained anaerobic benefits. High intensity training proved to be better in improving your cardiovascular endurance and your anaerobic performance.

Now, if this all new to you, you should be excited. If you work out already, this means that you can probably achieve more results in less time. Is not that what we always want? On the other hand, if you are just beginning to train, you now know that it is possible to lose fat and get in shape with a workout that lasts less than 10 minutes.

The popular myth that fat loss occurs after 30 minutes of training

If you're like me, you've heard some variations of this proposition before. To this day, scientists have shown that HIIT (high intensity interval training) can burn more fat effectively than the old-school method of cardio training. There are many factors that contribute this, such as an increase in the resting metabolic rate when one does interval training. Basically, you continue losing fat even after you've finished your workout as your metabolism is accelerated. HIIT also lowers insulin resistance and causes skeletal muscle adaptations that results in enhanced skeletal muscle fat oxidation and improved glucose tolerance. Not only will HIIT make you lose fat, it is also a good way to prevent type-2 diabetes.

Are there downsides to the Tabata method?

All of this talk about interval training, the tabata method, and cardiovascular endurance might have made it all seem easy to you. In fact, when I tell you that you can work out 10 minutes a day, and get better results than from your 40 minute jogging sessions, you might think it sounds too good to be true. The fact is that interval training is HARD. During these 20 seconds sprints, you absolutely have to work at your maximum level. Basically, you have to train like a madman every time you perform an exercise. Interval training will improve all aspects of your life, and will not take you more than a few minutes to do, but believe me, these minutes will be painful.

This is not to say that you will not get to like it after a while, I certainly do, but the first few times will not be easy. You might want to scream, and you might want to stop, but know that the next workout will be easier. This type of determination and endurance translate perfectly to competition and sports in general. Push your body to its limits, and you'll get a huge advantage over your competitors.

With that said, I would suggest setting up a meeting with your doctor to make sure you can start implementing interval training into your workouts. If this seems too hard at the moment, do not worry, stick with standard moderate training methods, and slowly start incorporating Tabata exercises.

Here are a few Tabata exercises to implement into your training routine.

Here's your reminder when doing these exercises:

1. Do the exercise at full speed for 20 seconds

Rest 10 seconds

3. Repeat 8-20 times total

-Squats : Standard and hindu squats will work perfectly. If you want to make this exercise even harder, hold the squat position during the 10 seconds rest.

-Burpees : My favorite body-weight exercise, get in the push-up position, stand up, and jump!

-Sit-ups: All variations are also good.

-Jumps : As high as you can, lift your knees in the air,

-Bicycle sprints : Sprint for 20 seconds, take off your feet from the pedals during the resting period

-Jumping rope : Cardio and coordination combined!

-Swimming : If you have access to a pool, sprints are excellent to improve your overall endurance.

-Prints: The easiest exercise, and possibly the hardest, try sprinting.

What Tabata will do for you:

-Improve your aerobic endurance

-Improve your anaerobic endurance

-Help you lose fat

-Improve your appearance, increase your confidence

I hope this article has taught you a few things about interval training and the benefits of the Tabata method. Do not hesitate to read more about this subject, there are many, many more exercises that can be adapted to this method. Whatever happens, stick to a schedule, and you'll get the results that you want in no time.

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How Much Does P90x Cost?

The P90x workout DVDs It seems that a lot of people would like to try out this exercise program that promises amazing results in just 3 short months. Most buyers are drawn by the before and after photos that actual users have posted. Since they seem to prove that the system works, the next question would be: how much does the system cost Online, the product is very resonable and comparable to other products. What do you really get at this rate?

1. 10 Exercise DVDs: A single purchase includes a set of DVDs that feature workouts divided among several videos. Each video features an exercise routine that is specifically meant for a target group of muscles. The exercises are mostly made out of intense cardio routines that use the whole body, assuring you of a head – to – toe workout.

2. It's like having a trainer in a box: invented by Tony Horton – the personal trainer to the stars, he incorporated certain aspects of his service to the package. Tony made sure that you get a guide that's why the DVDs come with an excel sheet that shows your schedule and tracks your progress. For each day that a person performances, one or two exercise videos are assigned. They are arranged pursuant to Tony's secret weapon – Muscle Confusion. According to his theory, human muscles get immune should you apply the same kind of exercise to it on a daily basis. Thus, the exercises are arranged to shock the system every once in a while – just when you're starting to get comfortable. Is not made to get easy over time. They will continue to shock and challenge you.

3. Nutritional Guide: The set comes with a dietary plan that tells you what kind of food you can eat to compliment the workout you will be executing each day. Some days you will imbibe more protein, sometimes less. This varies based on the strength training you are expected to do that day. It will teach you to stay away from fatty foods and those that do nothing to burn the calories you have in your system.

4. After Sales Support: Not included in the package, but anyone can access the website. There you can expect to talk to a community of other people on the same exercise regimen as you are. They have the special light equipment that Tony and his team uses during the workouts, as well as a very responsive helpdesk to guide you through your journey.

Given all these inclusions, it looks as if the product is an amazing buy. But there are still warnings about the p90x workouts not being for everyone. Reviews will recommend beginners – or people who have little or no physical activity – to start with something lighter first before embarking on this one.

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Stationary Exercise Bikes Are Great for Cardio

Go into any fitness center and you will see rows of stationary exercise bikes. It has become one of the primary tools to increase general fitness, and for good reason. It offers a low-impact, safe and effective means to give a great cardiovascular workout and technology has added many bells and whistles to give you greater performance. They first made their appearance in their earliest forms with the invention of the gymnasticson in 1796, and their function was to exercise the joints. Obviously they have come a long way since then.

Some models feature handlebars that connect to the pedals so that the upper body gets work. They can also give you feedback on heart rate, calories burned and other facts. Some even have the option to pedal backwards to exercise muscles not used when pedaling forward. It is a way to exercise that does not place a lot of stress on the joints and does not require sporadic motions that some fitness equipment may require. Plus if you have space in your home, there are many varieties that are for sale that make exercising handy, without taking up excessive amounts of room.
There are two different types of stationary exercise bike: upright bikes and recumbent bikes.

1. Upright bikes. This looks a bit like a normal road bike with a more vertical upright position and handle bars in front. These will offer a greater degree of variety in movement. People with osteoarthritis may find it easier to pedal in the forward-leaving that can be done with the upright bike. More muscle groups will be able to be incorporated, as you can get into a more standing position as well as a racing position and change-up your variety.

2. Recumbent exercise bikes. With these the rider is resting back into a back-rest, with the legs out in front. This position may be more comfortable for some people, especially those who experience lower back pain. The back-rest will also provide additional balance.

Most manufacturers have available both types of bike, with the recumbent style typically more expensive. Before purchase, try out both types. This can be done at any health center where both types are available. If you do not have a membership, most will offer a one-day or multi-day trial for their club, so take advantage of it to do your experimenting.

Not everybody, and most of all fitness trainers, is convinced that stationary bikes do much good for your fitness. Especially with the recumbent bikes, some people appear to be taking a leisurely ride rather than doing any meaningfulful exercising. I would agree that to lean back, reading a book and leisurely peddling away is probably not going to do as much for you as a stroll through the park.

Unless you get on the bike and work, you will get far less out of your workout aerobically than riding a real bike, which requires balance and overcoming obstacles such as hills. Unless you approach your stationary bike as a complete exercise, and not as just putting in your time, you will not receive the benefits. You can do this by varying your resistance, go from high intensity to low and back again. Also, opt for one where you are required to move your upper body in conjunction with your peddling. This will give you the workout you're looking for.

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How to Spice Up the Treadmill Cardio!

Today, I'm going to tell you a top 2 ways to get more out of your treadmill work then just mere visual entertainment. The good thing is you can add them in RIGHT NOW and start seeing results quickly if you are willing to go that extra mile. Ya know, it's kinda funny that I said that because because on treadmill you are not really GOING anywhere, oh well moving on.

# 1: Take That Hill!

From my military days I remember running through different types of terrains for morning PT. Whether it was a dense forest, tall grassy fields, ice-covered roads, and my personal favorite … deserts, we ran through it all to keep shape. I believe the one of the best methods, that worked for me anyways, is getting on a treadmill and doing the “HILL” cardio program.

This is easier than it sounds (well when getting started with it anyways), all you have to do is set the treadmill on the HILLS setting and go at it. Now what I recommend after a week or two is gradually increase the speed at which you are running up the hills, and also the incline. What this does is forces you to work harder by not only increasing your heart rate, but also bringing some muscle fatigue to your legs due to the incline of the treadmill.

# 2: Run, Walk, Run, Sweat!

This method has to do with adding in a few short bursts of sprinting into the mix. Now, I must first stress that you have to be careful not to over do the sprinting part for safety reasons. The sprinting requires you to push but not to the point of almost falling off the treadmill because you could not keep pace. Not only could that be potentially serious injury-wise, you do not want to look like a fool trying to impress that blonde running next to you by falling straight on your face. Not smooth at all.

Now this type of session only takes about 20 minutes in the beginning, which will end up being plenty when you give it a try. Let's break it down:

First, you are going to set the speed of the treadmill to a pace that you can walk at with some light jogging, nothing too strenuous but enough to get your heart rate up a bit. You still want to be able to hold a conversation with that same cute guy or girl next to you on the treadmill while running. Continue to do this for the first 5 minutes.

Now as the first 5 minutes comes to a close start increasing the speed to a very high pace to where you would be running VERY close to top speed. You are going to do this for a time of 15 seconds, trust me when I say this is that if you are running fast enough, you will feel it.

After the 15 seconds is up you are going to stop for 60 seconds to catch your breath.

* Pay very close attention to the following instructions on how to exactly get off of the treadmill during your rest period safely.

In order to get off without causing injury to yourself you have to first grab hold of the handles on the treadmill's side while you are getting close to the end of your sprint, like 1-2 seconds from finishing. After you have a firm grass of the handles, swiftly kick your feet out to each side of the treadmill's edge to clear the belt. After a firm landing, you should be safe to take your rest break and get ready for the next interval.

You are going to repeat this 15 seconds on 60 seconds off interval 8 times which will equate to 10 minutes of the interval training. After the last 60 second rest, cut the speed in half and finish out the last 5 minutes with a good challenging jog. This workout will not only allow for more total fat calories burned during the workout (which works better for FAT LOSS), you will look like a total bad-ass to the other people around.

Well there you have it folks … 2 awesome fat burning ways to get even more out of the treadmill. Now try one of these programs for at least 6 weeks to see the best results. Of course ensure that your nutrition is tight, and soon your body will be tight too.

This is Lou signing off and I'll be back soon with another earth-shattering article … Later.

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Refocus On London

The dust has barely settled and people are still struggling to get back into work mode after the 2012 Olympics took center stage. In twelve days' time, the world will again refocus their attention on London. This time it is the turn of the Paralympics. The tournament starts on the 29th of August and is set to be every bit as thrilling as the Olympics was.

LOCOG (London Organizing Committee of the Olympics and Paralympics Games) chair, Sebastian Coe has stated that there will be four flames created at the four highest peaks in the United Kingdom (UK) to ensure that the spirit of each home nation is represented in the 'Paralympic Flame'.

The flame will travel to the capitals of the four nations and will spend a day there focusing celebrations on the upcoming Paralympics. The Flame will eventually come to rest on opening night in the center of London, where the games will kick off.

Once again water will be a key debate and water cooler rental London will increase drastically, as athletes' look for clean water to keep hydrated through the games. There are three Paralympians to watch out for in the upcoming games:

Number One – David Weir, Great Britain

Britain is the leading nation in Paralympic sports and in Britain David Weir is their best athlete. He won gold in the eight hundred meter and one thousand five hundred meter wheelchair racing categories. Weir grown up walking with callipers (an apparatus designed to take the weight off your lower limit and allow you to walk), as his parents discouraged him from using a wheelchair. When technology evolved and allowed for better and faster wheelchairs, Weir to the wheels. He is now considered the best all-round race in the world in the event.

Number Two – Jerome Singleton, USA

Jerome is a talented sprinter and a truly great all-round sportsman having played football, basketball and running track at school level. To add to that Singleton has degree in engineering (with a triple major in maths, applied physics and industrial engineering). He was born without fibula in his right leg, with doctors amputating his leg below the knee at eighteen months. Singleton beat Oscar Pistorius in the 100m at the World Championships and looks set on getting gold in London.

Number Three – Esther Vergeer, Netherlands

Esther has been the world number one in wheelchair tennis for the last thirteen years and is extraordinary to watch on court. At the age of seven Vergeer had an operation on the bone marrow in her spine, when she woke after the operation she was paralysed from the waist down. Sport was the bases for her rehabilitation and since then she has become a wonder woman of wheelchair tennis.

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Why Does My Hula Hoop Keep Falling?

Why does your hula hoop keep falling to the ground like gravity just multiplied 10 fold !?

Do you feel like giving up?

Have you thrown your hula hoop across the room in frustration, causing sheer destruction in it's path?

Well do not worry, I have been there!

Some people pick it up straight away and can keep it spinning for ages (these were probably the same people you hated at school).

However, us mere mortals can sometimes have a harder time.

Over the past 4 years I have been teaching hula hoop fitness to women of all ages, shapes and sizes. Occasionally some people just can not seem to get the “knack” … or so they thought! Usually it just takes a bit of tweaking and like magic they can do it !. If you are finding yourself in this position then I'm going to cover some of the possible reason's why hula hoop might be falling. Read on …

Reason # 1 – It's The Wrong Size.

If you have one of those kids hula hoops from your local supermarket then FORGET IT! They are far too small and far too light. You need an adult sized weighted hula hoop, you can get these on eBay or Amazon and possibly local suppliers, just type in 'adult weighted hula hoop' to Google and see what happens.

Personally I do not like the really heavy weighed ones (2lbs or over) I have 2 of these and I never use them because of how much they hurt, plus they congratulate me, I can usually only waist hoop for 5 or 10 minutes with them.

I recommend the hoops that are 2lbs or under and are wrapped in grip tape (gaffer tape) which is cloth based and sticks to your clothes and skin.

Reason # 2 – Wrong Technique!

If you're struggling to keep the hoop spinning then it could be because you just got not the technique down yet! If you're stuck in the 50's and still doing the circular hip movements then you need to get with the times!

Here is the correct technique ..

– Stand with one foot in front of the other (does not matter which foot)

– Push the hula hoop with good force around your waist and make sure it's straight

– Beginning rocking your hips forward and back, shifting your weight from front to back foot.

Please try to avoid the big hip circles .. you will not have success trying to hoop like that.

Think of it as a push pull movement, pushing forward with your belly and back with your lower back.

Keep the shoulders back and down and head still .. try to avoid flailing!

If the hoop is still falling then try hooping faster. I call it double time hooping .. that should do the trick!

Reason # 3 – Your Clothes Are Holding You Back

This one sounds a bit random, but it's true!

If you are wearing the wrong type of clothing then this will not come easy to you. Let me give you some examples of clothes to avoid when hooping.

– Loose t-shirts, jumpers, cardigans

– High waisted shorts or jeans

– Sweat pants / workout clothes that are made of nylon or non natural fibers.

Wear some tight fitting clothing like vests or t-shirts and tight pants or leggings made of natural fibers such as cotton. I would recommend as a beginner wearing trainers or something to cover your feet. If the hoop is falling a lot you do not want some bruised tootsies!

If you want to learn more about how to hula hoop then sign up for my Free Video Course. You will not be sorry!

Feel free to leave me a comment if you have any questions or need any help!

Until next time,

Happy Hooping!


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