Why High-Intensity Training (HIT) Is Good For You


Today there are so many fitness programs and classes available it can be overwhelming to decide how to train. If you are researching training programs you have probably heard of High Intensity Training (HIT) or High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). HIT is incorporated into many classes and has grown in popularity due to its ability to produce fast and effective results. But what exactly is it…and more importantly how do you decide if it’s right for you?!

Lets answer your top 5 questions about High Intensity Training so you can feel confident in finding a gym, personal trainer, or other fitness option in your local area.

Your top 5 High Intensity Training Questions:

 

  • What exactly is HIT?
  • Is HIT a good fit for me?
  • What does a HIT workout look like?
  • What types of movements are in a HIT workout?
  • What are the benefits of HIT?

 

1.What exactly is HIT?

High intensity refers to a level of intensity that is measured by a high power output or a high rate of perceived exertion. This will be unique to every individual.

A high intensity strength workout will cause high motor unit recruitment. This means it activates a majority of the muscles in your body and generally requires loads >80% of your 1 rep maximum to achieve the desired stimulus.

Near maximal exertion for aerobic work or “cardio” this would be performing exercises at a pace that elevates heart rate and gets you sweating and breathing heavy. You would work at a pace that would be unsustainable for more than a few minutes at a time. These workouts are often set up in an interval fashion where you go hard for a short period of time and then rest. This allows you to repeat the effort several times until the desired training stimulus is achieved. As you train in this way you will improve your ability to train hard for longer periods of time and delay the “burning” feeling commonly associated with HIT.

2. Is HIT a good fit for me?

High Intensity Training is a great fit for anyone looking to get fast results. The key is determining what the definition of “Intensity” is for you. Jumping into a class workout performing movements you haven’t mastered and loads your body is not ready for is a big no-no.

Working with a coach who has experience scaling workouts to meet your needs and abilities is the key to having long term success with HIT training. They will help you choose the exercises, weights, frequency, and duration of your training session to ensure your body gets the stimulus you need with risk of injury or burnout.

Be weary of anyone who promises vomiting or intense pain from their workouts. It’s not an effective way to get the results you want!

3. What does a HIT workout look like?

For a high intensity strength training workout you will be using heavy loads. Ideally greater than 80% of your 1RM as this is the ideal load for gaining strength, building muscle, and improving body composition.

Often times performing multiple exercises back to back at moderate intensity (60-80%) can produce a similar training result. It is important that the movements are carefully selected to ensure that form is not compromised and that the rest time is adequate enough to allow for repeated effort.

If you aren’t familiar with exercises, weightlifting, or just aren’t sure of what your body is capable of then you will benefit from working with a certified and highly qualified trainer or coach. They will analyze your movement and help you develop the motor control and stability to prepare your body for more high intensity forms of exercise.

4. What types of movements are in a HIT workout?

Any type of movement can be incorporated into a HIT workout. Resistance training with barbells, dumbbells, or kettlebells are all great tools. You can incorporate resistance bands, chains, battle ropes or medicine balls. Gymnastics implements like pullup bars or rings. Even simple bodyweight movements and plyometrics can be used.

The most important factor when choosing movements is that you have technical proficiency with the movement and can perform multiple reps at a given load with exceptional form. If your form tends to break down when you are fatigued or you have mobility issues that alter your technique then that movement is not a good choice for the high intensity training session.

5. What are the benefits of HIT?

There are numerous benefits that come from High Intensity Training.

The lactic acid produced from properly executed high intensity training will stimulate the release of growth hormone stimulating sugar and fat metabolism. It also increases protein synthesis which means you will build more lean muscle. HIT training also elevates your metabolism helping you burn more calories both during your training session and for many hours after you’re done.

You also tend to accomplish more work in less time with HIT training. This makes it a great way to train for busy folks who can only train 20-30 minutes 2 or 3 days per week. Just remember that training is only half of the equation. Adequate sleep and proper nutrition make sure that your body recovers from and adapts to the training stimulus, giving you the results you want.

There you have it. Answer to your Top 5 questions about HIT training. If you’re ready to talk to a coach to see if High Intensity Training is right for YOU then get in touch with one of our coaches today for a free consult!

Stop Counting Calories


Stop Counting Calories, Do This Instead

If you’ve ever pulled out all the measuring cups for your spinach, torn meat into tiny pieces as you placed it on a scale, or counted out exactly 26 almonds then this is the article for you. Fed up with stubborn fat or not looking and feeling your best…you found a hardcore plan that spelled out EXACTLY what you were supposed to eat. You religiously plugged everything you consumed into a special calculator. You lugged around an oversized diaper bag laden with tupperware containers of your “meals”. Yea we’ve all been there…

Trying to balance your macros based on your calculated energy expenditure is one popular way  to build a diet plan. It works for a lot of people who need to eat specific quantities of food to lose weight. So why doesn’t anyone stick with it?

Quite frankly it’s not really worth the time and effort of tedious weighing, measuring, and portioning. Especially when counting calories has some serious flaws. In fact calorie estimation is kind of like a game of telephone. Depending on lab equipment, human error, rounding, moisture, conversions, and a host of other factors calorie estimations can be widely miscalculated.

Yes it can be a great learning opportunity and gets you really thinking about what you’re putting in your body. But there has got to be a better way…Right?!

Instead of counting calories focus on quality of food and learning how to estimate portion sizes to keep your body healthy and satiated. You only need one tool to measure your food with and you just so happen to be blessed with two of them (unless you’re Jaime Lannister). That’s right, your hands are the only measuring tool you’ll be using from now on. Let’s explore how to use your hands to measure different food categories so you can stop wasting time counting calories. Your hands can be used to calculate:

  • Protein
  • Vegetables
  • Carbohydrates
  • Fats

Let’s take a look at how.

Protein

For protein you want to use your palm to estimate portion size. That means a portion the same length, width, and thickness of your hand without the fingers. Men should eat about 2 palm sized portions of protein at each meal and women should try to eat 1 palm sized portion. This applies to foods like meat, fish, eggs, and dairy.

Vegetables

For vegetables you can make a fist with your hand and use that to estimate portion size. Mens should try to eat 2 fist sized portions at each meal and women should shoot for 1 fist sized portion. This works for foods like broccoli, asparagus, spinach, carrots, peas, and many other veggies.

Carbohydrates

For carbohydrates you will want to curl your hand making it into a small cup shape. Carbohydrates include grains like bread and oatmeal, starchy vegetables like potatoes, and fruits. Men can eat 2 cupped hand sized portions and womens can eat 1 cupped hand sized portion per meal.

Fats

Last of all is calculating your fats. For fats you can use your whole thumb to estimate portion size. Men would use two thumbs to estimate their fat portion and women would use 1 thumb to calculate theirs. This works for foods like oils, butter, avocado, nuts, and seeds.

What has two thumbs and knows how to easily balance their meals?

–> THIS GUY! <–

Now that you know how to easily estimate a healthy portion size for your bodies it’s time to ditch the scales and measuring cups. Focus on quality foods, a daily movement practice, and enjoying your life!

If you are looking for more ways to make healthy habits a fun and easy part of your day then get in touch with one of our coaches today!!

How Your Mindset Affects Performance


How Your Mindset Affects Performance

There is a lot going on when you step on to that lifting platform or competition floor. Some days you feel strong and focused. Others you can’t quite seem able to connect the dots. You feel slow and foggy or the weight feels heavy.

The mind and body are in constant fluctuation. Our thoughts can instantly change our physiology. Just think of a time when your were made or scared. Your muscles tensed, heart rate quickened, and pupils dilated ready to react.

And the converse is just as true. Our body influences our mental state and thoughts. Think about how chill and carefree you feel after a long walk in nature or how amped you get when exercising or dancing to your favorite song.

Controlling the stressors and other stimuli in your environment is essential when it comes to controlling your mind and body for performance. Stress can have significant impact on performance and can seriously get in the way of your competitive goals if you don’t have a strategy to manage it.

Let’s take a look at why stress is so damaging to performance and some key strategies to combat it…

The Cortisol/Testosterone Relationship

A study of 109 male olympic weightlifters was set up to determine the effects of cortisol as a moderator of the relationship between testosterone and performance in olympic lifting. The study measured pre and post levels of serum cortisol and testosterone to see if there was any effect on performance. It turns out that pre-competition levels of cortisol or testosterone had a significant effect on olympic weightlifting performance. The inverse relationship between testosterone and cortisol shows that the level of stress an athlete experiences before training or competition can significantly impact their testosterone levels and subsequent performance.

Whoop Dee Doo. But what does it all mean Basil?!

Getting stressed about before a competition or intense training session is a surefire way to negatively impact performance. There are several techniques you can utilize to prepare your mind making it an asset rather than a liability. Top athletes all develop their mental game through practices involving goal setting, visualization, and routines.

“The Ultimate Measure Of A Man Is Not Where He Stands In Moments Of Comfort And Convenience, But Where He Stands At Times Of Challenge And Controversy.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Goal Setting

Goal setting is essential to achieving any specific outcome you want in life. When you focus on a specific outcome your mind will constantly be searching for ways to bring the object of focus into being. That can be for the good or the bad. Say you are a weightlifter competing in your first meet. You should set a goal involving the successful completion of a lift at a weight you feel optimistic you can hit. When you set this metric for success you will be determined to achieve the outcome and take confident action towards achieving it. Odds are you will outperform your goal and be able to raise the bar for your next meet.

Visualization

Visualization is the formation of a mental image. As an athlete you want to visualize a successful outcome you desire. Picture yourself achieving your goals with as much detail as possible. From the clothes you are wearing to the sound of the crowd. The way you move, powerful and strong. The sweat on your brow and the heartbeat in your chest. When you get to gameday it will feel like you’ve been there before. Visualization of success also lends itself to positive self talk that will reinforce your mindset and confidence when it comes to competition.

Routines

Routines are extremely useful when it comes to athletes and performance. They help reduce decision fatigue and providing fewer distractions and less to think about on game day. Decide ahead of time your warmup, clothing, equipment, music, and anything else you would use in competition. Practice with it and make it comfortable and familiar. One important consideration with routines is not to get too superstitious or hung up on these items being responsible for your success. You and only you are responsible for your success. Not your lucky sneakers…

If you want to accomplish your goals working with a professional coach is one of the best ways to develop a strategy and system for results. If you want to work with someone to help you create a game plan for your fitness goals get in touch with one of our qualified coaches for a free consult and discussion on how we can help you!