Category Archives: getting results

Liven Up Your Interval Training

Interval training is a great way to up the ante on your cardio routines.  But what happens when even your interval training is getting stale?  Is that possible?  Intervals can be quite intense anyway, but sure, it’s definitely possible to get bored even of HIIT (stands for “high intensity interval training”).

So, how do you crank up your intervals?  Or at least get some interval training in that doesn’t feel like the ‘same old, same old’.

Intervals don’t have to be limited to just running but if running is your sport of choice, you can incorporate different kinds of intervals into your training.  Try finding a big hill and doing hillsprints, or finding a sandy beach and doing your sprint training in the unstable sand or better yet, the resistance by adding waves.  Or you can find a big field and sprint to one end and do a slow jog back to the other side (and repeat ).

BUT, if you’re looking to liven it up with different kinds of intervals besides running, then there’s also lots you can do.  Intervals can be done with almost every kind of cardio exercise imaginable.

Hop on your mountain bike and find a good hilly trail to cycle.  Hills add intervals to your training naturally.  Every up hill is your work interval and every trip down is your rest interval.  You don’t even have to time it.  Just keep finding hills and giving it your all on every trip up.

I have a little trick when I’m short on time and need a quick interval workout without leaving home.  Luckily I live in a highrise building in the city with a huge stairwell, so I head to the bottom of the stairwell and climb 20 stories as my work interval, until I hit the top.  Then I punch the elevator button and take a quick ride to the bottom as my rest interval and hit that stairwell again for another work interval climbing to the top.  Eight times doing this takes me 45 minutes and it’s a heck of a great workout.  It works my glutes, hip flexors, quads, hamstrings, and calves thoroughly and gives my cardiovascular system a major boost in the process.

Another cool alternative for Interval Training is to SWIM it out!  Yes, you can do interval training swimming too.  And, believe it or not, there’s lots of ways to ‘time’ your intervals when you’re underwater.  A cool gadget that’s available now is an underwater mp3 player and there are lots of different brands making these now.  So you can either load in a timed interval mp3 and use that to time your swim intervals or just pick a few songs that have a definite ‘chorus’ and ‘non-chorus’ parts to the songs and swim hard for the chorus and swim easy for the non-chorus parts.

Or, if you don’t have the budget for a swimming mp3 player, just time your intervals by counting your strokes.  Swim hard for 50 strokes and easy for 50 strokes.  Or change your strokes.  Swim hard for 50 meters of front crawl and 50 meters of breast stroke at a slower pace.  This is easier to accomplish in a swimming pool where you hit the wall and turn around for the next 50 meters (for example).  If you’re in a lake or ocean you might try swimming from buoy to buoy.

Another great and extremely easy way to do intervals that you can also do pretty much anywhere is to make sure you’ve got a jump rope with you and just start jumping.  Jump at regular pace for your rest interval and double pace for your work interval.  Count turns of the rope to time it out.  100 fast jumps for the work interval, 50 slow jumps for rest interval.

There ya go.  Interval options to keep you interested and motivated with your interval training for weeks to come. Enjoy the benefits you’re sure to see from all your hard work.

And don’t forget to have fun.

Robert Martin

Top Six Benefits of Pilates Exercises

Pilates is the exercise of choice for dancers, gymnasts, and a host of famous Hollywood celebrities, and now it finds itself firmly entrenched in the mainstream.  So… why is Pilates so hot?

Pilates incredible popularity can be traced to the fact that it provides its faithful practitioners with benefits that you simply can’t get through the traditional aerobics/strength training format.

1. Gives You Long, Lean Muscles

If want a long, lean look without bulky muscles, but with all the strength. Would you like to build strength and endurance without getting the muscle man look? If so, Pilates may be just what you have been searching for.
There’s a reason that Pilates is the exercise of choice for gymnasts and professional dancers. Pilates does not rely on frequent repetition, and thus no overgrown muscles. Pilates focuses on the whole body, not just on sections of muscles.

2. Increases the Strength of Stabilizer Muscles

There are many benefits that one can achieve through a proper use of the Pilates program. One of the most significant points of the Pilates program is it’s ability to increase the strength of stabilizer muscles that may not commonly be worked out in a standard exercise program.

Also, since Pilates stresses the use of graceful and fluid movements, it can be a great way to get a better sense of the kinesthetics of your body. The sense of body that you can achieve through Pilates is quite significant, and many find that they are better able to balance themselves regardless of the position that they are in.

3. A Mind-Body Workout That Strengthens Your Whole Body

Another one of the benefits of Pilates is that it engages the mind and enhances body awareness. Like yoga, tai chi, and Asian martial arts, Pilates is not just a workout for your body. Joseph H. Pilates studied yoga, martial arts, and other ancient mind-body activities and included a strong philosophical foundation into the practice of Pilates.

Pilates not only helps tone your body, but your mind and spirit as well. The smooth, precise and flowing movements of Pilates are designed to make you more mindful of your body.

Breath movement is also emphasized to put you in touch with how breath moves through your body. Pilates has been demonstrated to reduce stress, anxiety, and helps lift depression. The mind-body connection is fundamental to the study and practice of Pilates.

4. Pilates Strengthens Your Core like No Other Exercise

Another one of the benefits of Pilates is the increased amount of strength that one can achieve in the ‘core’ of the body. The term core refers to the muscles in and around the area of the abdominal muscles and the back.

Proper breath control is also stressed in Pilates, adding to the numerous list of benefits that one can attain through regular use of the exercise program.

5. Prevents You from Future Injuries

Pilates strengthens your body and helps prevent future injuries. Pilates helps to condition the whole body, not just certain muscles. This helps balance the muscle and strength of the body. Since no set of muscles is ever over or under trained, there is less risk for injury. The body becomes more fluid and supple, protecting against injury.

6. Helps You Become Efficient With Your Body

Last, but not the least, one of the benefits of Pilates is that it teaches you how to become efficient with your body. Very few exercises can help your body become more efficient in its movement.

Why is efficiency so important? Being efficient means that your body moves in a way that is smoother, safer, and less prone to injury. By practicing Pilates on a regular basis, you can train your body more to move in a much safer and more efficient manner.

Benefits of Pilates for Older Adults

The benefits of pilates have been particularly noted in older adults. Older adults are more likely to suffer from symptoms of arthritis, including stiff and painful joints. Pilates practice has also been lauded for its ability to help prevent injury.

Even adults undergoing serious rehabilitation therapy can use Pilates to increase their range of motion and overall muscle strength. But is Pilates safe for all adults? Who should avoid participating in a Pilates program, and who is more likely to benefit from the program?

Consult your medical professional if you have any doubts about starting a pilates program. If you are suffering from severe degeneration or physical pain, you should take extra care before beginning a pilates program.

You should never feel pain while practicing pilates. If you do, you know that there is something wrong. Don’t be afraid to pull back if you feel overwhelmed.

Pilates was designed to progress naturally from one movement to another. If you feel stopped at one movement, don’t give up. Start at the beginning and work your way back to the areas you found most challenging.

Other Benefits of Pilates
Tone and build long, lean muscles without bulk.
Reduce stress, relieve tension, and boost energy through deep stretching.
Restore postural alignment.
Create a stronger, more flexible spine.
Increase the range of motion in your joints.
Improve circulation.
Heighten neuromuscular coordination.
Offer relief from back pain and joint stress.
Correct over-training of muscle groups which can lead to stress and injury.
Enhance mobility, agility and stamina.
Compliment sports training and develop functional fitness for daily life activity.
Improve the way your body looks and feels.

Yoga for Weight Loss: What You Need to Know to Succeed (part 1)

Using yoga for weight loss might not look effective to most people. I bet you they’ll go: “Naw, it’s just stretching” what can it possibly do to burn calories?  Well, a lot my friend. Yoga can work for weight loss if you use it right and I’ll tell you what to do in due course.

“But how exactly can yoga work for weight loss Foras?” (That’s my name by the way),  “y’all are just stretching that’s it”

Boy, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that comment.

Well for interested parties, yoga as an option for weight loss is wise, safe and effective.
Remember, it is the oldest physical culture known to man and not only does this exercise work the body, it works the mind and soul as well. Hey, have you seen Madonna, Sting or Russell Simmons lately? (I can just see you go: “Foras,they were never overweight so don’t go there”!  Well they never gained weight either and they actually all still look good for their ages… right?

Okay, here are the poses I recommend you use when using Yoga for weight loss.
Now my friend, I will go over what I believe is the CORE of Yoga Poses.
Trust me, there have been times when I did this alone and still got the benefits that yoga gives from daily practice.

Let’s take notes:

The Sun Salutations When using Yoga for Weight Loss:

These exercises are a combination of Yoga Poses, Breathing Exercises, Sun Bathing and Prayer. They have been practiced for centuries by Yoga Practitioners in India, Martial Artists and African Wrestlers and as a system to rejuvenate the body and soul are beyond compare. It’s been said in the Drugless Healing circles that one round of the Sun Salutations is much better than a week of exercises at the gym!

They are very simple to learn and just about anyone, regardless of their fitness or flexibility levels can learn these simple exercises. In actuality, if you are familiar with “burpies” (the calisthenics exercise), they do derive their origin from the Sun Salutations.

Here are some of their benefits:
-They alleviate disorders of the skin and waist.
-Flexibility increases and breathing is corrected, moreover, they mildly exercise the legs and arms, thus increasing the circulation.
-They are the best way to burn calories and reduce weight and are often recommended for obesity and depression.
-They are an effective way of loosening up, stretching and massaging all joints and internal organs of the body.
-They stimulate and balance all the systems of the body including the endocrine, circulatory, reproductive and digestive system.

Technique:

1. Stand straight with the palms together as in a prayer position.

2. Inhale and stretch the arms above the head.

3. Exhale and bend forward while touching the toes.

4. Inhale and stretch the right leg away from the body in a big backward step and keep the hands and left foot firmly on the ground. Bending the head backward the left knee should be between the hands.

5. Inhale and hold the breath. Move the left leg from the body and, keeping both feet together and the knees of the floor, rest on the hands (arms straight) and keep the body in a straight line from head to foot.

6. Exhale and lower the body to the floor. In this position, only 8 portions of the body come in contact with the floor: the two feet, two knees, two hands, chest and forehead.

7. Inhale and bend back as much as possible bending the spine to the maximum.

8. Exhale and lift the body of the floor. Keep the feet and heels on the floor.

9. Inhale and bring the right foot along the level of the hands; left foot and knee should touch the ground. Look up, bending the spine slightly (same position as #4)

10. Exhale and bring the left leg forward. Keep the knees straight and bring the head down to the knees as in the third position.

11. Raise the arms overhead and bend backward inhaling. As in Position 2.

12. Exhale and drop the arms and relax.

You have now completed one round.

Perform as many rounds as possible in multiples of 3. Ideally you want to aim for 6 rounds minimum and up to a maximum of 30. It only takes about 5-10 minutes, depending on your speed and intensity and is best practiced with as little clothing as possible before an open air window first thing in the morning.

Okay, we’ve gone over the core pose or combination thereof when using Yoga for weight loss in this part of the series of this article. I’ll go over SPECIFIC poses (asanas) that will target the trouble spots and some breathing exercises that would speed up burning up of calories. But my friends, note, when I say use yoga for weight loss; I mean ALL its limbs: the poses, the prescribed diet for practice and mind-set. If you were doing conventional exercise for weight loss, you’d know to eat a healthier diet right??
Well the same applies to yoga for weight loss as well friends.

See you in part 2 of this article.