Go Ballistic!

Ballistic, high intensity movements are an awesome addition to any workout.  They’re sometimes tough to push through, but they’re worth the effort.

High intensity training has plenty of press coverage so you can find lists of benefits all over the place, as well as solidly backed articles. . .

For the naysayers, I’d encourage giving it a go for a time and you will notice many of the purported benefits yourself, nevermind what others are saying.

That said, it isn’t something you need – nor should – do every workout.  The body gets pushed quite a bit during HIIT, so it’s important to also take a rest.  Two to three times a week is generally the recommendation (though don’t take it from me directly, as I’m not a doc myself.)

I personally love adding it in here or there.  Some of my favorite non-equipment HIIT exercises include:

  • Active Skater Lunges
  • Jump Squats
  • Sit-thrus
  • Bench Hops

I find that these jazz me just a bit more than steady state cardio, and are a great addition to my regular weight lifting routine.  HIIT exercises give me (and my metabolism) a nice boost, help me be as efficient as I can be with my workouts, as well as increase my endurance for Martial Arts.

If you haven’t tried HIIT before, start slow – try some jumping jacks, jump rope, or jogging in place to start. You don’t have to make it impossible (which honestly will only make you jump ship that much quicker!)  

It’s okay to take your time building up! HIIT is an awesome “bang for your buck” approach to fitness – the benefits are not only ones you’ll feel, but ones you will see.

Keep up the awesome work!

Fitness Humor – Cardio Motivation

I hate cardio.  Truly… Being on a treadmill, for one thing – for me – takes a bit of mental prep.

That said, I’d take it any day over this alternative (or a web, because that can be horrifying also, though maybe a step down from actual arachnids.)

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(C) John McPherson / Cartoonstock

It Doesn’t Have To Be Your Best, Just START

I general dread traditional cardio – I DO it, because I know it’s important.  But…it’s a struggle most days!

I recently gave myself a lovely bout of plantar fasciitis from running too hard, too fast, too intensely – I woke up the next day and knew EXACTLY what happened.  

Frustrated I may have been, I knew it was a cue from the grand ol’ Universe telling me to slow down.  My feet have been hurting, I’ve been overly exhausted, and frankly. . .I’ve derided cardio even more than normal.  Did I take a break?  NOPE!

So…the Universe HANDED me one.

Instead of busting my buns of the treadmill, I’ve done a few days of moderate spin.  My session aren’t stellar – I haven’t drilled myself for a while, so my pace and power isn’t necessarily where it could be.  But, I put in the effort.  I get on knowing that it may not be perfect, and it doesn’t have to be – the point is, I’m doing SOMETHING.  I’m getting on and giving it a whirl – there’s no need to be breaking records every time you do an activity (maybe I’m writing that as an extra reminder to myself! 😉 

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So don’t worry about making one session or another your absolute best – just START.  A little CAN go a long way towards your goals of staying fit and healthy. ❤

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Fitness Humor – Cardio Woes

Honestly…I think it would be better if I WAS being chased by a bear most mornings.  Cardio I am aware of = T O R T U R E.

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I push through – I’ll get it (or some part of it) done.  Because I have to.  But…I’m not a fan.  At the end of the day, it’s more about the caloric deficit rather than how, necessarily I got there, though, so maybe I’m being too hard on myself.  And my feet.  

When running for my life, I’m certain I’d do a better job of cardiovascular ramping.  If the bear got me? I’m pretty sure he’d still be in a caloric deficit (AND he got the benefit of cardio – how annoying!). . .unless he ate a few of my neighbors as well.

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The Reward

Some days are really hard to motivate as far as the cardio goes… But as the years have progressed, I find that cardiovascular work is absolutely vital to my well-being.  It isn’t strictly physical either – I need it emotionally and spiritually as much as anything else.

The past few days made for a more intense week than I have had in a long time, though… I’m sore EVERYWHERE!  I’m not only continuing with my cardio and lifting, but also endeavoring to maintain my Taekwondo and Hapkido practice (test coming up!)  On top of all that, I also started two (to three) new Martial Arts, which are not only challenging on an intellectual level, but very much so on a physical one as well.

With Ninjustsu, JuJutsu and Brazilian JiuJitsu on the roster, that means new types of muscle recruitment AND extra exercise.  That said, I am not in a place ~YET~ where it can take place of some of the cardio sessions (I’d love it if that were the case but I still have to do my HIIT treadmill and spin time for now!)

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So despite the weariness and sore muscles, I pushed through – it wasn’t my best, and it didn’t have to be.  Getting ON a bike, or treadmill…stepping foot in a gym…it takes effort.  Just getting there is a huge hurdle surmounted, and I always encourage people at that point who feel like they aren’t doing enough.  You STARTED – you walked through the door, sat on the bike, hopped on a treadmill – that’s a big deal!  Don’t forget that you had the choice to stay home or do nothing, and you chose to be active – WAY TO GO! 🙂

Once you start, I find that you often are able to push more than you thought.  A friend of mine the other day said he hit a plateau with push ups – three sets of a certain number.  When he asked what I would do, I offered two thoughts:

  1. Get to that “I’m stuck number,” take a deep breath and squeeze out one more on each set…OR
  2. Try less reps, more sets, to pass the total number of the 3 sets combined.

He wrote me back to say he opted for less reps, more sets…and he beat the total by 7! 😀

My goal on the bike the other morning was 60 minutes – I normally stick it through and do 90, and I have habit of giving myself a guilt trip when I don’t get there… But listening to our bodies is what keeps us healthy – I could do a better job of that too!  As my Grandmaster says, “are you going to the Olympics?! No?  SLOW DOWN!

So I jumped on…put on the Sonos (thanks to my man!) and did it.  It wasn’t the fastest, or hardest, or all-around most ideal ride…but it was SOMETHING.  I felt better for the rest of the day knowing I got it in.  Honestly, that’s one of the biggest rewards of all – knowing you made the effort and pushed through even when you wanted to quit.  Proving to yourself that you have what it takes is like getting a trophy!

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I’ve also been doing activities like Aerial Yoga on the weekend, and one or two Martial Arts classes…so I’ve decided that there will be zero traditional cardio and weights for Saturdays and Sundays.  And when I need to sleep longer to recharge and rest my muscles…I DO IT!