Reasons to start strength training

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The Pick-Me-Ups — Your Action Plan

1. Rev metabolism. After a few dates with some dumbbells, both guys and gals will notice an increase in resting metabolic rate  . And with the right diet, routine lifting may even help shed a few pesky pounds more effectively than cardio alone.

2. Tone up. Whether the goal is bulking up or leaning out, there’s a lifting regimen that will deliver optimal results. Remember that muscle mass also declines as we age, and while weight training can be effective for virtually all ages, consider picking up those dumbbells in your body’s prime.

3. Bulletproof the body. Lifting weights is key to staying injury-free. A little weighted action works out the tendons and ligaments that support our muscles— making sports and other daily movin’ and groovin’ worry-free!

4. Fight the blues. Need a new happy pill? Research suggests resistance training can release happiness-helping endorphins and help keep anxiety at bay .

5. Get better in bed. An all-around stronger bod can boost the stamina needed to keep on keepin’ on. (Panting isn’t always sexy. Just sayin’.)

6. Beat out boredom. Muscles need time to recover, so switching up that strength training routine is a must. Give the legs some love on one day, and follow with upper-body action the next. Working out will never get repetitive!

7. Boost self-esteem. Exercise the ego: Lifting can help improve a person’s body image . Plus, it feels great to track progress and see gains in weight and reps.

8. Up that I.Q. Hitting the books isn’t the only way to pass that exam— strength training can also sharpen the mind (no pencil sharpener necessary).

9. Strengthen bones. Grab some weights to avoid getting stuck in a sling. Those bones will toughen up, which will lower the risk for fractures . After all, not everyone’s up for chugging three glasses of milk a day.

10. Lose the limitations. Drop down and give me 20— anywhere. Resistance training doesn’t require a gym membership, let alone a set of dumbbells or fancy machines. There are plenty of ways to strength train right at home with little to no equipment.

11. Perk up that ‘tude. Unhappy at work? Studies show lifting can have psychological benefits, including feeling more positive at the office . No need to call in “sick” ever again!

12. Increase flexibility. There are other ways to get limber besides yoga (although we do love a little downward dog). Over time, resistance training can help improve flexibility; ladies, lifting every other day for eight weeks is all it takes. .

13. Cut down cancer risk. One study found strength training three times a week for six months led to reduced oxidative stress, which can lessen our cancer risk. So get lifting and fuel up with antioxidants to double-team disease.

14. Amp up productivity. Losing focus at work? Squeezing in some desk-side reps can help make deadlines a breeze while fine-tuning those time management skills.

15. Protect the heart. A healthy diet isn’t the only path to a happy heart. Lifting also has cardiovascular powers that could help protect us from heart disease.

16. Catch those zzz’s with ease. There are many well-known remedies to help us fall asleep— like sipping herbal tea and taking a hot shower. And while exercise in general has been shown to help make snoozing a breeze, studies suggest weight lifting in particular can lead to a better night’s sleep .

17. Build trust. We often need spotters, especially at the bench press (a bar to the face or neck is never good). Naturally, relying on others for our own safety in the gym can instill trust in a kick-butt kind of way.

18. Jump-start power. Eager to improve performance in the gym and on the track? An extra dose of dumbbells can really work fast-twitch muscles, the speedy muscle fibers responsible for generating power.

19. Sneak in some cardio. Hate the dreadmill? A fast-paced resistance workout can keep the heart rate up and can even count as cardio (provided those sets move along at a quick enough clip).

20. See results… fast. Need one final incentive to hit the weights? Strength training can offer speedy results. It takes two to three weekly sessions (for less than a month!) to see muscles shape up. Can’t bench press 200 lbs? Not to worry: Lifting lighter weights can also be effective at building muscle, as long as those lifts are tough enough to cause muscle fatigue.

http://greatist.com/fitness/20-reasons-start-strength-training

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High Intensity Interval Training – HITT

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WHAT IS HIIT?

HIIT is a training idea in which low to moderate intensity intervals are alternated with high intensity intervals.

HIIT can be applied to running or to exercises such as squatting. HIIT is considered to be much more effective than normal cardio because the intensity is higher and you are able to increase both your aerobic and anaerobic endurance while burning more fat than ever before.

“In research, HIIT has been shown to burn adipose tissue more effectively than low-intensity exercise – up to 50% more efficiently.” It has also been shown to speed up your metabolism which helps you burn more calories throughout the day. (www.musclemedia.com)

HIIT improves both energy systems for endurance:

ANAEROBIC ENERGY SYSTEM

Anaerobic literally means “Without oxygen.” The anaerobic energy system is what provides energy in all out efforts of up to 1 minute. For the first 10-15 seconds, the phosphate pool is used up and after that, glycolysis and lactic acid are involved in the effort.

During 10-15 second bursts, there is a very small amount of lactic acid produced. Rest periods of 30 seconds to a minute will provide complete recovery of the Adenosine Triphosphate-Creatine Phosphate (ATP-CP) system. During efforts of more than 10-15 seconds, a large amount of lactic acid is produced and such efforts are extremely taxing on both the athlete’s muscles and their Central Nervous System (CNS).

AEROBIC ENERGY SYSTEM

Aerobic literally means “with oxygen.” This energy system is utilized during prolonged exercise over a period of at least 3-4 minutes. As long as there is enough oxygen to provide energy, the fatigue that you experience will remain at a low level.

This is the reason why many track and field athletes train at higher altitudes where there is less oxygen. By training at high altitudes, they can increase the number of red blood cells which will help them to perform for a longer period of time with little to no fatigue throughout.

WHAT IS THE BEST HIIT WORKOUT? BE SPECIFIC AND MAKE SURE TO LIST EXERCISES, REPS, SETS, ETC.

HIIT can be used with a few different goals in mind – to lose as much fat as possible while cutting or bulking, or to improve aerobic and anaerobic endurance as much as possible. Diet will mostly determine how these goals are achieved by manipulating calories and macronutrient ratios.

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Case Study: Nerdfitness – Stacy

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Meet Stacy

As we’ve learned from Mark Twight, trainer for the actors from 300, “appearance is a consequence of fitness.”

Diet:

While I did switch to a 80/20 Paleo Diet for a while, ever since my Hashimoto’s diagnosis I’ve been doing an extremely strict auto immune Paleo diet. I basically eat meats, veggies, and berries.  The auto immune part of Paleo cuts out nuts and seeds, nightshades (tomatoes, peppers), and eggs.  I do have milk and butter, but only whole and organic grass fed. I don’t do any other dairy (like cheese) at all.  I don’t even cheat with gluten or soy anymore, no matter what.  I feel SO much better since adopting this new diet.

  • Every Sunday (or whatever works, but usually its Sunday) I cook a few pounds of boneless skinless chicken breast.  I then portion it out and keep them in ziploc bags.  If I don’t have time for that, you can get all natural precooked sausage (both chicken and pork) that works just as well as a “bring to work” meat.
  • 5AM: pre-workout: (first thing in the morning) – protein shake. (nothing special).  Its not paleo, and i love every sip of it.  Then I go and work out.  If I go to the gym with a full stomach, I will not leave with a full stomach.  :)
  • 7:30AM: on my way to work: apple or pear.
  • 9:30AM: sweet potato with cinnamon. I keep them at work, and cut them up, throw it in the microwave for 5 minutes with cinnamon.  Comes out amazing.
  • Another protein shake somewhere in here between breakfast and lunch.
  • 11:45AM-12PM: lunch: two of the bags of chicken I precooked and a bag of the steamfresh vegetables.  The entire bag, its like 3.5 servings of vegetables.  My favorite is broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots.
  • Lunch 2: spinach salad with shrimp, red peppers, green peppers, red onion, lemon juice.
  • 2-3 snacks in the afternoon. Could be one of these: Apple with almond butter, bell pepper (I eat them like apples… I’m weird), carrots (they even make carrots cut like chips), bags of chicken (yes, those bags of chicken I consider a snack as well, not just a meal), a zucchini (yes, plain, raw, uncooked), celery with almond butter and raisins, strawberries, frozen mixed berries.
  • 7-8PM: dinners: 95% of the time it’s meat (steak, sausage, shrimp, salmon, or chicken) with one of the following: red peppers, green peppers, red onions, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower (steamfresh bags!), and/or summer squash and zucchini
  • Every once in a while i make something awesome, like this (but really, that takes a lot of time).  When i DO make something like that, i make it in mass bulk and will eat it for the week.
  • In the winter, I’ll usually make a beef shank stew on Sundays that I can eat for a lunch or two as well.

Focus on:

Follow up:

Right now I’m focused mainly on strength, doing a crazy Russian squat program where I squat heavy 4x a week, working other big lifts in around that. I try to get in conditioning, in the form of something like sprints, burpees, or sled pushes a few times a week as well. I’ve also been swimming a lot, but that’s more for fun, recovery, and meditation.

Staying Hungry:

I guess I never reached a point where I felt like I was content with where I was at.  I always want more, and there’s always something new to learn.  People will tell me that once they reach, say, a 315 lb squat they will be satisfied. But to me, I’m thinking, “Why? Why wouldn’t you want to try to squat 316 lbs next time?”

I have this concept of hitting a PR every day, no matter what, and that could mean anything from lifting 1 more pound, doing 1 more rep, or finishing 1 second faster.  I hate the idea of being “comfortable,” because if I’m not pushing out to the edge and trying to do better, then I’m not growing.

I think because my overall goal, sport specific aside, is to be able to do whatever I want to do whenever I want to, without warning, without my body holding me back.

And by that I mean if a friend calls me tomorrow and says, “I found a secret treehouse in the middle of the woods, but we need to hike a gigantic mountain and bike 50 miles to get there,” I want to be able to say “I’m in” without hesitation.  So I always want to push my body’s limits.  Plus, it’s fun.