A Killer HIIT Workout

I just did a HIIT (high-intensity, interval training) workout for 90 minutes today at Orange Theory Fitness and got my butt kicked. I ran almost 5 miles at different intensities, and then had to row and do dumbbell moves afterwards. By 1 hour and 20 minutes, I was done. I was barely moving. I’m pretty sore now already.

WHAT’S A HIIT WORKOUT?

HIIT workouts are high-intensity interval training workouts designed to increase the

Crossfit chicks preparing to weightlift in CrossFit
Preparing to Weightlift in CrossFit

body’s need for oxygen and create an oxygen shortage, causing your body to ask for more oxygen during recovery. This afterburn effect is referred to as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) and is the reason why intense exercise will help burn more fat and calories than regular aerobic and steady-state workouts.

Over time, high-intensity workouts can increase your VO2 max, or your body’s ability to use oxygen for energy. This translates to better endurance, which leads to more energy and the ability to sustain more work for a longer period of time.

Working different aerobic systems improves endurance while building stronger fast-twitch muscle fibers, which can help deliver that final kick needed to finish strong. Working out at 70 percent to 80 percent of your maximum heart rate will deliver the greatest EPOC effect.

However, recovery is important. We only get stronger when we recover, and it can take 24 to 48 hours to fully recover from a high intensity interval training workout.

WHY YOU SHOULD TRY HIIT WORKOUTS

  • Increase your metabolism to burn more calories faster and longer
  • Increase your VO2 max to increase endurance
  • Force yourself outside your comfort zone to do things you otherwise wouldn’t
  • Increase performance across all sports

I can tell you right now I would never have done this on my own. The advantages to working out in a class setting is you do do things you otherwise wouldn’t. It was fun. I got an amazing workout. I burned 741 calories. And I feel great! I can’t wait until my next class!

Exercising: How Doing Something is Better than Doing Nothing

I woke up late today.

I hadn’t gotten much sleep the night before, had a long day at work, and then had to get ready to leave town for Christmas. So I slept in.

Thus, I felt rushed to squeeze in lifting, exercising, and a workout before I left. However, I told myself, “Something is better than nothing.” It made me think how doing just a little is better than doing nothing at all.

5 Quick Tips for Squeezing in a Workout When You “Don’t Have Time”

“I don’t have time to exercise,” is a common excuse amongst those who don’t exercise.

Steamboat Springs, CO
Steamboat Springs, CO

Let’s face it, we all lead busy lives. And we all can find 20 extra minutes to squeeze in a workout. If this has become your mantra, then here are tips to get in an extra workout:

  • Get up earlier. Even if you get up just 20 minutes earlier, that 15 minutes you can squeeze in some kind of activity. Whether this is walking your dog, a quick 5×5 session at light weight, or a quick circuit of bodyweight movements, getting up sooner will give you the time to workout.
  • Cut your TV time. All it takes is to watch one less episode of “Game of Thrones” or whatever you happen to be binge watching to do a quick run or bike.
  • Cut your Internet/Social Media time. You’re not losing weight Instagraming your latest photos or liking blog posts. Twenty minutes of less Internet time is all it will take to get moving.
  • Skip your after work happy hours. If your work happy hours are turning into an every day thing, then start skipping them and hit the gym instead. Plus, when you consume less calories, that’s less you’ll have to burn off later!
  • Maximize your wait times. When you’re waiting for your kids’ soccer practice to get over or you are stuck in town for an hour, waiting for gymnastics to end, try hitting the gym during that time or walking around the field.

We all waste some time during the day — sometimes we can’t prevent it, but sometimes we can. Staying healthy doesn’t have to take long. It only takes minutes a day that add up to health and wellness. Ask yourself where are your wasted minutes during the day and how can you use those minutes more wisely?

After all, something is better than nothing.

How to Return to Exercising after an Illness

Over the weekend, I got food poisoning. Luckily, it didn’t last that long. However, I lost all my energy and overall felt like I was hungover. Yet, I wanted to return to training as soon as possible. In the past, I have been sick as well and getting back to exercising when you’re not feeling 100 percent is tough. Here are some tips to help you return to exercise after you’ve been ill.

Tips for Exercising after You’ve Been Sick

  • Take it slow. Don’t go all out to crush a workout (especially a CrossFit workout) after you’ve been sick. It’s okay to return to exercise not quite 100 percent, but don’t push your body to its limits. You open yourself up to injury and a longer recovery period from your illness if you do.
  • Drink more than usual during a workout. Stop at logical breaks or at least every two minutes and take a sip of water. Your body needs extra nourishment as it’s trying to fuel your body and recover from an illness.Image result for picture person in bed sick
  • Recovery after the workout is key. Drink your protein shake and recovery drink immediately after you’re finished and don’t cut the dosage. Your body will need all those electrolytes.
  • Listen to your body. I say this a lot, but it’s true. Over the next several days, your body will let you know when it’s ready to be pushed and return to your normal level of exercise. This is different for everyone who has different levels of fitness and a different degree of sickness. Food poisoning is quite different than pneumonia.
  • Be smart. Fitness will always be there. Recover and then hit it hard. Injuring yourself is just not worth it. If your body needs rest, then rest as hard as it is. You’ll be the stronger for it if you do.

Illnesses are a part of life. Luckily, as our immune systems get older, they aren’t a big part of our life. When you’re active and you get sick, take a break. Let your body concentrate on recovery and not performance. Use the time to catch up on a book you want to read or a TV series you want to watch. The mental break can be just as good for you as the physical break. Feel better soon!

Exercising After Surgery

Exercise after surgery is a delicate balance. You don’t want to strain yourself, but you want to get back in the game. Here are some tips to find that balance after surgery:

Tips for Returning to Exercising after Surgery

  • Listen to your body. You’ll know when you’re ready or not, and if you feel you’re Image result for exercise after surgerydoing too much, stop. Exercise can slow the healing process, so be cognizant of your “push” level.
  • Take it slow. Return to easy workouts for the first few days with some low-grade cardio and moderate strength training. You’ll want to ease yourself back in the game.
  • Proceed with an abundance of caution. If your doctor says you’re good to go, add in an extra day or two. There’s no rush. Your workouts will still be there in a few extra days.
  • Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. Don’t go run a 5k the day after you’re cleared. Run a mile instead.

It was so good to feel my heart rate elevated again. I didn’t realize how much I had missed it. I waited an extra day before I worked out. Then I only did mild cardio and my squat program. I’m taking tomorrow off and will return to a real workout on Monday.

I should be cleared on December 11th, so until then I will be cautious. Listen to your doctor. Listen to your body. Soon enough, you’ll be back!

Fitness: The Benefits of Swimming

It’s been about 5 months since I last hit the pool and did some laps.

I love swimming, but CrossFit is taking up most of my time, so I cut out swimming about 5 months ago.

Today, I went swimming and realized how much I miss it. It was fun, exhilarating, and a great cardio workout. Here’s my tips on why you should swim more.

The Benefits of Swimming

  • It doesn’t feel like work. Swimming is relaxing, enjoyable, and fun. It doesn’t really feel like you are working out, but you are.Related image
  • Work every muscle at once. There’s no better all-around workout than swimming. Every muscle is worked from your upper body to your lower body.
  • Cardio. Swimming is a cardio exercise, and we all need to get our heart rates up for maximum benefits to our fitness and health. You also build endurance and muscle strength.
  • Low impact. Swimming is pushing against water, so your bones and joints are protected.
  • Great if you have an injury. Swimming is active recovery and perfect if you’re trying to heal a muscle. You’ll get blood flow to the area you want to target without weight-bearing on the muscle.
  • Boosts your mood and helps to manage stress. With the serotonins and endorphins rushing from exercise, you will feel better about yourself and release pent-up stress in the process.

I need to swim more. We all do. An activity you can do up till the day you die, swimming is an all-around workout that is great for your health, your body, your mind, and your soul. Go and swim today!

Some Days I Wonder Why I Do the Things I Do…

I’m laying in bed, and my butt’s sore.Image result for weighted lunges

Specifically, my glutes.

Why? you may ask.

Because on Friday I decided to change the workout at my box because it was too easy.  It was jumping lunges, but I decided to do weighted lunges instead.

And now my butt is paying the price.

Why do I do the things I do again?

Working Out Alone is Not for Everyone…

Sometimes being alone is good.

You can listen to your thoughts.  Get a lot of work done without distractions.  Reconnect with yourself.

Sometimes, however, you need support and a push.

I like to work out alone.  No one judging.  I can do my own thing on my own time.

However, it can be challenging at times.

Today for example.

I had to do heavy push jerks.  I hate heavy push jerks because they are hard for me.  I never want to do them.  They suck.  And there were 20 of them.  In a row.

I did these one at a time, and they were tough.  The only thing that kept me going is my innate desire to finish and to conquer.  Otherwise, I would have quit because no part of me wanted to do them.

It’s all too easy to quit when you’re alone.  Because no one is looking.  No one is judging.  No one is there to care or to let down.

Except you.Image result for picture working out alone

And I can’t let myself down.

The key here is know yourself.  If you need support, go in a group.  If you’re a loner, go it alone.  Or mix it up like I do.

Know yourself and be honest with yourself.

In the end, that’s what makes you a better person.