Tuesday, August 30, 2011
I first learned about High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, from the Game On! Diet. I'd done interval training in the past, as a swimmer in high school, but never really understood the science behind it. I found what the Game On! book said very interesting, though - that with interval training, or a cycling of aerobic and anaerobic intervals, you could improve heart health, build muscle, and boost your metabolism. It said that you would keep burning calories faster even as you rested for the next 48 hours.
Sounds fantastic, right? So how do you do it?
There is more than one way to do HIIT, but the basic principles are the same. After you warm up, you do a short period of high-intensity activity (think sprinting) followed by a short period of lower intensity activity while your heart rate recovers. You cycle through the highs and lows multiple times until your warm-down. Most of the interval training workouts I've seen involve either one minute intervals at both intensities, or one minute hard and 3-4 minutes at lower intensity. Workouts are generally 20-30 minutes long. Many fitness machines like treadmills and ellipiticals will have an interval training workout option as well.
So what do you guys think? Have you done interval training before, or would you be willing to try it now?
Friday, August 26, 2011
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Despite the funny poster above, consistency is in my opinion the number one most important thing about exercise. Without consistency, exercise is wasted. We only get stronger and healthier if we work out on a regular basis.
Take, for example, my exercise year in 2010. I participated in the 100-Mile Fitness Challenge all four quarters, even when it wasn't officially going on. All four quarters, I hit 100 miles, but I was completely inconsistent with it. I would exercise 40 miles one month, only 12 the next, and scramble the third to get the last 48 in. Even within those months, I wouldn't be consistent. I'd do well for two weeks, 8-12 miles each, then slack off the next two and do almost nothing.
That sort of exercising did nothing to help my muscles or heart or fitness level. I didn't start getting fitter until this year when I began to exercise on a consistent, regular basis. There's a HUGE difference between exercising one mile every day for a week, and exercising six miles one day and one mile six days later. Same number of miles in the same number of days, but completely different results. With consistent exercise, your body learns and grows stronger. Sporadic exercise only makes you sore without adding any real value to your body over time.
When you start on an exercise plan, it's best to set up a schedule and routine for yourself to stay consistent. That doesn't mean you have to do the exact same thing every day or every week, and you can definitely change things around to suit you, but you will get the best results if you keep going on a regular schedule.
Friday, August 19, 2011
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
The most wonderful thing about the Wii is all the things you can do on it to get active. With the Wii Fit and Wii Fit Plus, there is a huge variety of games to help you get fit, especially with the Fit Plus. The games range from the more aerobic (like boxing or hula hoop) to the lighter balance games. The Fit can also track calories burned or activities you do off-Wii.
Outside the Wii Fit, there are many games and programs that can also get you moving on the Wii. There are dancing games such as Just Dance, DDR, and Zumba. There are interactive sports games, exercise programs like The Biggest Loser, and gym-based workouts like Gold's Gym Cardio. Any of these and others are great ways to work up a good sweat while still having a lot of fun!
How many of you have a Wii? Do you exercise with it? What's your favorite Wii exercise game?
Friday, August 12, 2011
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Boredom is one of the biggest saboteurs of exercise, probably even bigger than pain or difficulty. You don't want to get to a place where you dread your exercise because you're bored to death of it! Today, I'm going to talk about a few things you can do to keep boredom out of your workouts!
- Add variety! At the beginning of this challenge I listed ten different kinds of exercise, and that was just a tiny example of all the many varied things you can do. Try something new. Go to the library and pick out a new workout DVD. Choose a new piece of equipment you haven't tried at the gym. Walk a different route.
- Listen to music or an audiobook. Engage your mind in a story, or get happy listening to your favorite songs.
- Get your friends involved. If you're working out with friends, you're more likely to enjoy the time you spend exercising, plus you'll be more motivated to work out when someone else is involved.
- Join a class. Fitness classes are high energy and can give you a chance to do something new. You can also make fitness buddies!
My mini-challenge for you this week is to go out and try one new thing to add variety to your exercise. Come back here and let us know what you did and how it worked out for you! :)
Friday, August 5, 2011
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
One of my very favorite pieces of exercise equipment in the world is the elliptical. I used to have a treadmill and I hated it. HATED it. I never used it if I could help it, and one day I gave it to my dad (who, interesting, loves the thing...) and got an elliptical instead. I'd heard that the elliptical burned more calories by (basically) combining a treadmill and a stair stepper.
I first got my elliptical while dealing with a foot injury. I don't even remember how I hurt my foot, but walking on it was difficult. It was during the first, original 100-Mile Fitness Challenge back in the last quarter of 2009, and I wanted a way to exercise! I was failing the challenge miserably with that injured foot. It's been over 18 months since then, but I will say that buying my elliptical was hands-down the best fitness decision I've ever made. I not only finished the challenge that quarter, but I did it without pain. I felt great!
Ellipticals are a great way to get a good, solid cardio workout in. It doesn't put any stress or pressure on joints and it uses a full spread of muscles throughout your body. Most ellipticals come with many settings to add different resistance levels or provide different kinds of exercise. Some read your heart rate and track your calories burned. There's quite a wide range of prices for them too, and they're available at gyms as well, so they're pretty accessible.
Are you a fan of the elliptical?