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Ever heard of HIIT Training? It stands for High Intensity Interval Training. Ever heard of Tabatas? They are repeated 20second work intervals followed by 10second rest intervals. They are named after the Japanese doctor Izumi Tabata who in 1996 published a now-famous study of high intensity intervals that he performed on 14 elite athletes. Unfortunately, it has been interpreted in ways that have often been used to blindly justify high intensity training for “everyone”. This was perhaps wrong? Even with the young, elite athletes in his study, progress stalled after 3 weeks. Sadly, popular culture now believes that all lower intensity exercise has little to no value. It’s not that high intensity exercise is necessarily bad, or bad for “everyone”, it’s more that it should be used appropriately. Everything has value and naturally also limitations. It’s important to use the correct tool for the correct job. Heart diseases is the number 1 killer of men & women in the United States. Sedentary folks need to ease into exercising. Starting off with High Intensity Intervals is probably a really bad idea until the body adapts to lower intensity exercise first! For some, high intervals may never be safe or appropriate. It doesn’t mean that improving fitness, health or body composition will never be possible. It only means a different path may be required. (This video shows Joel JAMIESON being interviewed. He is a very respected, experienced, educated Strength & Conditioning Coach and author.) #bssbbooks #austinpersonaltrainer #austinpersonaltraining #highintensityworkout #hiitworkout #tabataworkout #drtabata #blueskystrongbox
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You don’t need to own a heart rate monitor to exercise effectively. That is a myth. With that said, I do think monitoring heart rate has value. Just know that you can absolutely gauge most any exercise of any type by the way you feel while doing it. This is often referred as the Talk Test. If you can easily talk, the exercise is considered lower-intensity. If you can’t, it’s more intense. Obviously, there is plenty of room in between. Don’t make the mistake of thinking all exercise need be intense to be effective. It’s not just about burning as many calories in one session as possible, it’s also about sustainability. In other words, can you repeat this for a long time to come without quitting? The average person quits exercise within the first six months. I would argue that the average American needs more lower-intensity exercise… done more often. I’m talking about something like dedicated Walking most days of the week. It’s great if someone does some form of really intense exercise once or twice a week (if they are healthy enough to to so) but not if the other 5 days are all rest days. Move more often, even if it’s low-intensity. Adequate DAILY movement is always the correct choice. Our bodies were made to move. Walking is the best choice, that is why we have legs. Aim for a goal of lowering your resting heart rate by the end of the year. (For healthy heart rate zones, Google: “karvonen formula calculator”). If you really want to do higher-intensity (HIIT) exercise, try getting your resting heart rate UNDER 60 before doing so if possible. Consult with a medical professional if you have any specific concerns or conditions. #bssbbooks #restingheartrate #walkingasexercise #austinpersonaltrainer #austinpersonaltraining #blueskystrongbox
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RESTING HEART RATE. This number can say quite a bit about health and fitness. Keep in mind, it doesn’t say everything. It is pretty easy to check. You can download a free app and check it using your phone. The best time to check it is obviously while RESTING. Lol. So first thing in the morning is best (before sitting up) or lie down for 2-5 minutes then check it. Check it for a few days, or even a week. Just get an average. Don’t overthink it. The goal is to get this number under 60. It’s ok if it’s not. The average person is in the 70’s. You could be higher. How do you get this number down? Get better rest. Exercise regularly but not too hard or too long. For most folks, I recommend daily walks for 30minutes. 1-2 weekly resistance training sessions (45min max). Get a minimum of 7 hours each night of quality rest. Avoid unnecessary stress whenever possible (this one may be the most challenging but worth the effort.) PS if you want to do intense HIIT exercise, i highly recommend getting that number down as quickly as possible by doing lower intensity work for a while. #bssbbooks #restingheartrate #austinpersonaltrainer #austinpersonaltraining #blueskystrongbox
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When was the last time you tried to JUMPROPE? It’s probably been a while right? Skipping rope is a legitimate skill that requires practice. It’s not easy in the beginning and does take time but worth the effort. I consider Jumping Rope to be what I call a “fountain of youth” exercise. This would be anything that preserves or builds back movement abilities that we tend to lose quickly with inactivity and aging. The ability to run, hop and jump might seem trivial but it’s the difference between being a “spring chicken” or “old beef jerky”. Jumping Rope is an excellent way to put some “pep back in your step”. It’s also an excellent way to burn some extra calories and improve your conditioning, aka “cardio”. 5-10 minutes is typically all that most can handle in the beginning. It’s ok. Most folks won’t be able to last but about 20 jumps before resting. Some less. You may hit your feet every time the first few tries. That’s ok. Don’t quit. Any effort is good effort. Another thing I really like is that it keeps us on our toes, literally. Crashing down on the heals of the feet is not typically desirable. People often do this while jogging on concrete. This combined with poor running form literally destroys most people’s knees, feet and ankles. Jumprope is a great way to teach the body to absorb force using the calves, the body’s naturally shock absorbers. #bssbbooks #blueskystrongbox #jumprope #healthandfitness
Ideas for a better warmup:
THE “Old” WARMUP (5-15min): Most people just hop on a treadmill or stationary bike for anywhere from 5-20 minutes to “warmup”. This works but it’s most likely not as effective as other options. Guys who plan on lifting “heavy” weights often ONLY warmup by doing light warmup-sets of their chosen exercise(s) for the day. Again, this also works but considering the fact that most of us know we need more stretching in our lives, including at least a few simple stretches in the warmup might be more optimal. Often guys are also scared to stretch before they lift because, “rumor has it”, you won’t get as big and strong. While it may be true that doing a marathon stretching session before lifting might be counterproductive for some, including other “types” of stretching has proven to actually increase strength & performance when done correctly. Lastly, some folks do their “cardio” first before lifting “weights”, i would assume in hopes of losing some unwanted body fat. Again, this is probably not the best idea UNLESS you are primarily seeking to increase your endurance for a specific event, competition or occupation. But for everyone else, i don’t recommend it. Ever, really. Normally, too much “cardio” before “lifting weights” interferes with… you guessed it, the weights. (And just to clarify, “weights”, “lifting”, “lifting weights” “strength machines”, “strength training”, “resistance training”, “body weight training”, “calisthenics”, “hard yoga”, “hard pilates”, etc are ALL basically the same thing!) “The primary purpose of resistance training is to get stronger, and for some, also build muscle. Both these things can also indirectly aid with fat loss. But keep in mind, getting stronger and building muscle both require INTENSITY to get the desired results. So don’t empty your fuel tank too early by doing too much in the warmup. If your goal is fat-loss, getting stronger or packing on more muscle, try including a short, intense 10-minute “interval session” after “weights” (aka “a finisher”). I’d also recommend doing your longer “cardio” workouts or group classes on another day, all by themselves, if you have the time available.
THE “New” WARMUP (5-10) So here we go. Here are some new things to try as your “warmup”. First and foremost, correct breathing is essential and often overlooked. This means breathing deeply from your diaphragm, through your nose. Keep this in mind as you warmup and proceed to the rest of your workout. I often tell people to do all movements at a pace that allows you sync your breathing with each repeat of that movement. Start your warmup by massaging some of the major muscles regions (back, legs, hips, calves) with a Foam Roller. (This is what most professional athletes do.)Most gyms have them. Walmart, Target, Amazon, etc all sell them for $30 or less). Then do a few safe Dynamic Stretches (aka “moving stretches”). Google this. Then perform a few easy body-weight warmup movements, focusing on stabilizing your spine and moving your many joints about (especially the hip & arm sockets). To summarize, you could very quickly Foam Roll 2-3 major areas of your body, do 2-3 full body stretches and 2-3 major body-weight movements (easy pushups, easy pulling & easy squatting), and be done in less than 10 minutes. You could even include 1-2 “core” exercises near the end or even devote some of the time to practice a new exercise (with no weight or a light weight) that maybe needs some practice. If you really want to hit everything, perform all the primitive movement patterns every time you warmup. (Check out any of Mark Verstegen’s Books). Research all this stuff! Educate yourself. It’s free. Keep things simple. Many things could work. Just keep this in mind, the purpose of a “warmup” is to get you prepared/ramped-up for the harder work ahead, not beat you done prematurely. The key is always to maximize your time, this should include not wasting any precious time doing useless sh*t during a warmup. You may want extend your warmup longer if you are sore or dealing with an injury, have specific “corrective exercises” you know you need to include, it’s really cold outside or you just woke up. We all know we need to stretch more, etc. Include these type things in your warmup and you can always get a lot done in each session, regardless of time. Density is the key.
p.s. Keep things simple. Always. I know i mentioned a lot of things, and that was just the silly warmup. lol. The reality is that the details of exercise and programming can easily start to bog any mind down. So don’t let it. Start by including just one new thing next time your workout. Build on that over time. The point is to move more, move better. There will probably never be a “perfect” way. And while some will waste time searching tirelessly for that, you should be out there getting work done. Time is of the essence. Ask for help if you need it. Work hard. Play hard. Enjoy.