As summer fast approaches, many of you are asking “how do I increase the intensity of my workouts?” Today, I am going to share five of my favorite strategies to increase the intensity of your workouts to create your summer body
(1) Shorten the rest intervals between your sets.
There are two major benefits to decreasing you rest intervals to between 20-30 seconds between sets.
(2) Perform Super Sets and Giant Sets.
A super set is combining two or three exercises in a sequence back to back with no rest in between.
An example of a super set is performing flat bench press followed immediately by flat dumbbell flyes.
A giant set is essentially performing bigger supersets- at least four exercises performed in consecutive order without any rest in between.
An example of a giant set is dumbbell lateral raise, overhead dumbbell shoulder press, front plate raise, and bent over dumbbell rear deltoid raise.
Super sets and giant sets help improve cardiovascular and muscular endurance. They are also both very effective in burning calories and in building muscle which equates to assisting with fat loss.
(3) Slow-Fast Reps
This is a very intense way to execute an exercise movement. To perform slow-fast reps- pick an exercise and do the following: Perform 3 reps at a super slow pace with constant tension on the muscle followed immediately by 5 reps at a very high tempo. Perform this 3 times for a total of 24 total reps- this is one set. Perform 3-4 sets. This method increases time under tension, essentially the amount of time a muscle is working during a set.
The fourth method to increase the intensity of your workouts is the rest-pause method. This method of training is intended to allow you to use a heavy weight at a higher volume. Pick a weight that you can perform a maximum of 4-5 reps. Perform this exercise with the prescribed weight for 4-5 reps, rest 10-15 seconds, and perform another 4-5 reps. This is considered one set. Perform 2-3 sets using this rest-pause method.
(5) Drop Sets
The technique of drop sets is to select a weight you can perform 6-10 times, then immediately drop the weight 30-50% and lift to technical failure. This is considered one set. Repeat this for 3-4 sets. The key to performing these correctly is to have as little rest as possible between the heavy and light sets. This makes stacked weights and dumbbells ideal for this type of training. This method can improve muscle mass, muscle strength, and muscle endurance.
Now you have 5 new training strategies that you can incorporate into your daily workouts to increase your training intensity. I’m hoping you will utilize these 5 methods to take your fitness to a whole new level of intensity. As always, please consult your physician prior to starting a new workout regimen. If you have any questions, please reach out to any of our personal trainers who are ready and eager to help you on your path to health and fitness.
Exercise and the Mature Adult
Ask any mature adult (read someone in their 40’s and 50’s) how their body looks and feels when they get up in the morning compared to how they looked and felt in their 20’s and you will typically hear a colorful response pointing out this ache and that pain. Where one once leaped out of bed pain free with energy to burn, it is now replaced with the sounds of a popular breakfast cereal-snap, crackle, and pop! This blog article will point out some specific parameters to consider when exploring exercise and the mature athlete or fitness enthusiast.
Studies show that strength peaks around 25 years of age, hits a plateau through 35 to 40 years of age, and then declines in the following decades. Lean muscle mass starts to decrease by 5lbs of lean muscle per decade after the age of 40. This is largely the result of decreasing levels of human growth hormone (HGH) and testosterone. Combine this with the triple whammy of gravity, increased need for recovery time, and a slowing down of your metabolism and you soon recognize that you no longer bounce right back from weekends of long sleepless nights and eating and drinking whatever you desire. So do we throw in the towel and accept the aging process? No, we chose to fight back by implementing weight training, sound nutrition, aerobic exercise/ physical activity, and mobility.
Weight training is a crucial key to any program for the mature fitness enthusiast. It is the single best way to prevent muscle loss, add muscle mass, and increase bone density. Loss of bone density or osteoporosis also increases as we age, especially in women. Adding strength training to your exercise regime can counteract these effects of aging. Adding resistance or strength training 3-4 days a week through banded resistance exercises, free weights or weight lifting machines will help you retain muscle mass, increase muscle mass, and improve bone density. Weight training by virtue of increasing lean muscle mass will also increase your metabolism preventing that middle age spread.
By the time you hit 40, your metabolism starts to decline by 5% every decade. It is largely a result of your decreased muscle mass associated with aging equals a slowing down of your basal metabolic rate. In a nutshell, your body will no longer require the same amount of calories: less muscle mass = slower metabolism. So as we age, if we continue to eat the same amount of calories as we did in our youth, we will gain excess weight and in turn body fat. Following a sound nutrition program filled with lean protein sources, colorful fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats while avoiding fast food, processed foods, and simple sugars.
Aerobic exercise is also a crucial element in the health and wellbeing of the mature adult. The incidence of diabetes, stroke, heart disease and a multitude of other ailments increases sharply as we enter our 4th and 5th decades. It is widely accepted that aerobic exercise has many great health benefits including strengthening your heart and lungs, helping to lower your cholesterol, reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, improve your immune function, and lower your blood pressure. Studies also point to aerobic exercise as helping to decrease symptoms of depression thereby improving your overall mental health as well as physical.
Yoga, mobility, rest, and recovery are key components in formulating a solid exercise program for the mature adult. As we age, we are more susceptible to injury. Injuries if they occur will also take a longer period of time to recover from than in our youth. Incorporating yoga, mobility and active stretching into our fitness programs will assist in creating strong and agile hips, knees, backs, and shoulders reducing the incidence of injury. Building in rest/recovery days into your programming and avoiding consecutive days of training the same muscle groups will also aid in injury prevention.
Please use our contact form above if you have any questions or would like help formulating a safe and effective exercise program. Exercise may not be the proverbial fountain of youth, but multiple studies show that regular exercise can assist in preventing chronic diseases and delay aging.
One of the biggest challenges that many gym goers face is finding the time to train. Every day in the gym I over hear would be fitness enthusiasts cry and complain, “I don’t have time to work out.” So today’s topic is “Time for TABATA.” I am going to introduce you to some of the ways that I employ this advanced training technique to create a high intensity, result producing, and time efficient workout.
THE HISTORY OF TABATA
Tabata training was discovered and refined by Japanese scientist Dr. Izumi Tabata and his team from the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo. They conducted research studies comparing two groups of athletes. The first group trained at a moderate intensity level for one hour while the second group employed the high intensity Tabata approach with workouts lasting four minutes and 20 seconds. The research found that the Tabata group increased both their aerobic and anaerobic capacity while the first group only increased their aerobic capacity.
THE TABATA PROGRAM
To create a Tabata program, we select key exercises (bodyweight or resistance) for each Tabata effort. Each effort only lasts four minutes, but will likely feel like the longest four minutes of your life. The structure of each Tabata is as follows:
A BASIC TABATA WORKOUT
Assuming you have already done a 5-10 minute active warm-up , here is a basic workout done with bodyweight.
INTERMEDIATE TABATA WORKOUT
For this intermediate workout, we are going to use weighted exercises.
Okay folks for the grand finale, I’m going to share something extra special with you. Here is an advanced version of a Tabata workout that I cruelly give to my advanced clients. I call it a Tabata Circuit. You will perform one set of the following 8 exercises in a row using the 20 seconds on/10 seconds off intervals. Repeat this for 8 total rounds for 32 minutes of joy!
I hope this article inspires you to incorporate Tabata training into your workout programming. If you would like help designing your workouts or help reaching your goals, please reach out to a personal trainer at one of our Onelife Fitness facilities.
5 Ways to achieve Best Rest
Athletes and fitness enthusiasts alike love to shout from the rooftops about “gains”, PRs (personal records), and 1RMs (one repetition maximum). However, few internet memes preach about “all the sleep, rest, and recovery.” Gym goers and athletes typically understand the importance of training, weightlifting, and cardiovascular exercise for optimal performance, but often neglect or overlook the significance of rest and recovery. I hope to shed some light on this often overlooked, but crucial element to optimum performance.
One of the most important benefits of rest and recovery is preventing injury. Inadequate rest can lead to overuse injuries, stress fractures, joint pain, and muscle strains. Weight lifting and resistance training actually breaks down your body’s tissue. Proper food, hydration, and rest allows your body them to grow back stronger. If you are constantly breaking down your body’s tissues without allowing time to properly heal, you are in essence setting yourself up for an injury and less than optimum results from your training program.
Piggybacking on the importance of rest and recovery is sleep. When you enter REM sleep, your body’s production of human growth hormone (HGH) increases. HGH is a crucial hormone that aids in the repair and rebuilding of muscles. If one of your fitness goals is to build muscle, neglecting proper quality and amounts of sleep will negatively affect this goal and is counterproductive to your efforts.
There are many strategies, techniques and wellness modalities to facilitate rest and recovery yet the first and most important is optimal sleep. So, today we will conclude with my top tips for achieving optimal sleep.
Practical Tips for Promoting Optimal Sleep
1. ESTABLISHING A SLEEP ROUTINE A sleep routine consists of activities performed consistently to relax the body and prepare the body and mind for sleep. These can include deep breathing, meditation, dimming the lights, shutting off electronics including your phone and TV, and light stretching. The sleep routine typically occurs 60-90 minutes before you go to bed.
2. CONSISTENCY Going to bed at a consistent time each night has proven to increase sleep quality and sleep length.
3. AVOID TRIGGERS Avoiding certain triggers that can either decrease your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. There are many things that can interrupt a good night’s sleep. Eating too close to bedtime, drinking too much liquid close to bedtime, training to close to bedtime, and not eating enough calories during the day are amongst the culprits that can disrupt your sleep pattern.
4. GET COMFORTABLEThese factors are very individualized. For many, this means a cool, dark, quiet room. A good pillow and a good mattress can make all the difference as well as fresh sheets sprayed with lavender.
5. LIMIT NAPS Long daytime naps or naps timed too close to bedtime can interfere with your nighttime sleep. If you choose to nap, studies show short naps of between 10-30 minutes can be energizing and are less likely to disrupt your sleep quality at night.
Hopefully this article has opened your eyes to the importance of rest and recovery and how it benefits your training and overall wellbeing. In the coming months, we will continue our discussion on how to achieve optimal rest and recovery and its benefits to include: foam rolling, active recovery, nutrition and hydration.
Cross Training for Runners
Runners want three very simple things:
So in this blog, I will touch on ways that a cross training program will enhance a runner’s program.
1. How cross training helps you run further.
One of the limiting factors in how far a runner can effectively run is trunk strength and postural strength. A well designed cross training program will incorporate bodyweight and resistance based strength training. We will also strengthen all you core muscles thus allowing an improved running posture. This postural strength is vital for a distance runner. We will develop our athlete from core to extremity.
2. How cross training helps you run faster.
For a moment, let’s assume that our runner has an ideal stride length, awesome endurance, and already does speed work while running. What could make this runner faster? STRENGTH. The correct amount of strength development will give a runner more horsepower. What your program will look like will be based on whether you are a sprinter, 8K runner or a marathon runner.
3. How cross training helps you live pain free
Unfortunately, many runners start cross training as a reaction to an injury or chronic pain. Both of which are all too common. The main culprits are muscle imbalances and overuse. Simply put, certain muscles get stronger from running while others are neglected and get weaker. A well designed cross training program will correct these imbalances leading to less injury and less pain.
Not all cross training programs are the same. It’s important to design a program for each individual. Variables such as number of training sessions per week, exercise selection, volume, load, and intensity should all be taken into consideration. One very important component that is often overlooked is rest. Rest and recovery are essential to any successful training program.
Hey gang, March is here and that means it is time to start your Summer Beach Body Program. In less than 16 weeks, summer will officially be here. Just enough time for you to get in great shape and look your best for the summer. This article is going to highlight my top 5 steps to achieving your summer beach body.
We can also set performance goals. For example, reducing your one mile run time by 1-2 minutes, increasing strength levels on the fundamental lifts, or increasing the number of pull ups or pushups you can perform in one minute by a certain percentage.
You need accountability!!!
A few tips for achieving accountability:
You now have my 5 steps to achieving your “Summer Beach Body.” I challenge and empower each of you to make this commitment to yourself. One final thought, the greatest investment is the one you make in yourself. A qualified personal trainer can help you with all five of these steps to take you to the next level. Consider investing in a 12 week personal training program to help you achieve the success and results you desire.
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Many club members want the benefits of a qualified personal trainer. Yet, for one reason or another, one-on-one personal training is not the right fit for them. This is where “small group personal” becomes the perfect solution. Small group training is when a group three to six clients share a training session with a personal trainer. Check out these four huge benefits below.
Here is a personal testimony from one of my small group training clients.
“Joining my small group for personal training at OneLife Fitness was an awesome decision. At first, I didn’t really know anyone. Yet, workout by workout all of us became great friends. I grew to count on my teammates to help me reach my goals, and I wanted to do the same for them. Working out no longer felt like a chore, it became a highlight of my day.”
-Justine White, Member of OneLife Princess Anne
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March is the time to “spring into fitness.” As a personal trainer, I work with clients daily who all share the common goal of LOSING BODY FAT. In fact, I would estimate that 75% of my clients state that as their primary goal. I am going to be 100% honest you folks: you cannot “out train a bad diet.” So if your goal is to lose weight and/or reduce body fat, we must get you eating responsibly and strategically. Today, I am going to share my personal “Top 10 Tips” for eating properly. I use these tips when consulting with clients and friends in designing a nutrition.
TOP TEN NUTRITION TIPS
To be successful with a nutrition program, we must plan ahead and be prepared. Compose a list of nutritious meals and formulate your grocery list. Shop and batch cook your food for 2-3 days at a time. Package your food with labels so that you can grab, reheat, and go. Preparing meals in advance reduces the temptation to grab unhealthy substitutes on the go.
Avoid processed or pre-packaged foods when at all possible. Many processed foods contain inordinate amounts of sodium, fat, and sugar. An easy tip to remember is to avoid foods that include unfamiliar or unpronounceable ingredients. Think chemical malitov cocktail when reading these ingredient lists and avoid putting them into your grocery cart. Instead reach for and increase your consumption of whole foods. Make fresh, real food the major focus of your diet.
Protein is essential for a healthy nutrition plan. Protein is broken down into 20 amino acids which are the body’s building blocks for energy and growth and are essential for maintaining cells, tissues, and organs. Try to include the correct amount of high quality protein in each meal. You can choose from a variety of animal and plant sources for your protein.
Healthy fats are necessary for proper brain and heart function. They are also crucial for cell function and are especially important for your hair, skin, and nails. Diets that contain up to 25% or more of its calories from healthy fats have been proven to provide individuals with more optimal hormone levels, thus consequently lower body fat levels. Good sources of healthy fat include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Avoid unhealthy saturated and trans fats.
Highly processed grains are high in calories yet offer little nutritional value. Unhealthy carbs include white flour, refined sugar, and refined breads, pastas, and cereals that have been stripped of nutrients, bran, and fiber. These carbs digest quickly and lead to spikes in insulin and energy levels. Instead choose moderate amounts of whole grains which are slow digesting, keep blood sugar levels more stable, and can help you feel fuller longer.
Low stomach acid, chronic gut inflammation or excessive gut bacteria can all lead to bloating and inhibit fat loss. Through testing, trial and error, or through the assistance of a certified professional, determine what foods you should avoid, what possible supplements and probiotics to add, and consume an adequate supply of fiber.
Calories are a measurement of energy. Eating more calories a day than you expend will lead to weight gain. Conversely, eating less calories a day than you expend will lead to weight loss. There are formulas on the internet that can help you establish your caloric needs or consult with a nutritionist to help you establish your baseline metabolic needs. These values will be adjusted according to your goals. Follow your caloric allowance and results should follow.
I hope that you have enjoyed this article, gained some new insights, and are inspired to make positive improvements to your nutrition plan. I hope you will use it as a spring board to educate and empower yourself. Please remember that life is a gift. It’s up to each of us to live life to the fullest. To live optimally, we must eat optimally.
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