The tortoise and the hare…

So I was working out with some folks this week and life had gotten to them, they were tired and stressed from the day. Sound familiar?! So we started an exercise and they were really picking up the speed. “That way we get done faster right, like those 10 minute workouts!” – not exactly

Want a good quick workout? Then think slow and steady! Hang tight, this will make sense soon. 

Often we find ourselves using momentum when doing exercises like bicep curls, leg extensions, squats, you name it. But that momentum is just using a couple muscle groups and the other helper muscles are kicking back and reading a nice book. To wake them up and get a more effective work out, slow your movements down. 

Think of three counts up, pause, and three counts to return to the starting position. 

“But that’s harder Britt!” Well, yes. It can be more difficult at first because you are recruiting those book worm muscles that often relax because of their overcompensating big muscle partners. Lets get these guys to be friends and work together. By slowing down, you not only do the exercise in better form, but you are being more effective with that move. Fewer moves done correctly is better than 20 repetitions done by swinging your limbs!

Wanna procrastinate whatever it is you are supposed to be doing? Check out this great article about myths of short workouts. Remember, if you don’t do ANY activity, 10 minutes of movement will benefit you greatly. But if you are looking to really get into good cardiovascular shape, 10 minutes a day may hurt more than help. 

So take a breath, shoulders down away from your ears, and slow down. You’ll get done in about the same amount of time and have a WAY better result from your exercises. 

Love and sparkles, 

 

Britt

Do high intensity workouts really work?

We all look for that quick answer to fitness and fat loss. That promise came with these amazing high intensity interval training or high intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts. 

From what I’ve read, a Japanese scientists Dr. Izumi Tabata and a team of researchers at the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo are credited with discovering this program. The design is simple, do 20 second intervals of an exercise at your near-maximal effort with a 10 second rest period in between. Do this for 16-20 minutes with various exercises. 

Dr. Tabata and the researchers did some sciencing and found that the group that did the high-intensity workout during their testing period. The group that trained using the tabata method showed greater improvements in both aerobic and anaerobic systems. In other words, that sh*t worked. 

So enter time crunched and stressed out Americans! We can work out 20 minutes a day for 2 or 3 days and be in shape?! SWEET! 

The big BUT in this theory is having the conditioning to enter this very high-intensity workout in order to not only gain benefits, but avoid overtraining and injury. Other sciencing people found that this repetitive workouts can predispose people to overtraining, especially working out at levels of maximimum effort. 

Britt, get to the point, do I do HIIT or what?! Yes and no! πŸ™‚  So here’s the deal.

1) FORM Take some time to evaluate your form. Lots of folks to squats, lunges, burpees, etc, but doing them incorrectly, especially in a high intensity capacity, will most often lead to injury. So -shameless plug- make sure to check out my foundation videos coming this fall. 

2) CONDITIONING My personal recommendation is that you don’t go from couch – or office chair- to tabata training directly. Give yourself a couple weeks to get active and moving again. Work out 4-5 times for 30-60 minutes getting to a point where your body anticipates the movement instead of going “what the hell are you doing to me!” Then start to incorporate low impact moves in a tabata style. 

3) WARM UP COOL DOWN – just don’t, don’t skip this! I used to skip the cool down and then always wondered why my muscles were mad at me. It’s not about just avoiding in jury, its about stretching your muscles so they are connecting to the brain parts you got so they are working more efficiently! You want to feel like a muscle car but run like a Prius …er..something. 

To be clear, I am not knocking tabata or HIIT training, I love it! Just want you all to be careful and realize it is not a secret way to only work out 20 minutes and then go back to your desk or couch πŸ™‚ 

With love and sparkles

Britt