Tag Archives: cardio

What Your Fitness Regime Should Look Like

Hello!

We’re well into the THIRD month of the year. Where did time go?!

How is everyone doing?

I hope this post has helped you shape your fitness/physical/health/nutrition goals for 2017! What are they? DO SHARE!


Before we dive head in, we need to know the BASICS! Whatever your goals (running PBs, strength gains, yoga, cross fit, OCRs etc), we cannot run away from the fundamentals of fitness.

A well balanced fitness routine should have these components:

CARDIO

*my favourite component*

Your HEART is a vital organ. It beats to keep you alive. There are a million reasons why we need to preserve its function and strengthen it.

Even if you are not training for a run or a marathon, you cannot neglect this component. A strong heart pumps a greater volume of blood with each beat – more efficient (this means that your heart does not have to work as hard). For example, a strong heart may take 1 beat to pump X volume of blood whereas a weaker heart may take 4 beats to pump the same volume (this is not exactly how it works. I’m just SUPER simplying it. But you get the point)!

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Photo: Nathaniel Kelly

I know I’m getting stronger when my Garmin FR 235 reports a lower heart rate (compared to prev) at the same pace. 🙂

Why is that important?

EVERYTHING you do involves your heart. You are more able to walk, clean the house, run for the bus (that’s me), climb stairs (without huffing and puffing) etc with ease. It makes daily activities seem less of a chore. PLUS, it keeps many chronic/heart diseases at bay.

*For your heart to become stronger, you need to add a little stress. Only then, will it adapt.*

What to do: 30-60 minutes of running, jogging, swimming, cycling, dancing, boxing etc as long as you’re moving throughout! You can even throw in a few sprints to keep things interesting. Cleaning the house counts too (haha! :P). This should be done on most days (if not all) of the week!

Strength Training

Just like our heart, our muscles and joints need to be stressed too. With the right amount of stress, we are able to build/maintain lean muscle mass and strengthen our tendons, ligaments and bones. Again, these will help you with your day to day activities that involve lifting/carrying/pushing/pulling heavy objects.

IMG_3066Strenght training is important for everyone. Muscles help to increase the body’s metabolism (hello MORE FOOD. #jokes) as they need a lot of “food” for growth and maintanence. For older adults, you’ll tend to accumulate more fat and lose muscle mass more easily. You need a good amount of lean muscle mass to maintain metabolism and with stronger muscles and bones, you can prevent falls and broken bones!

What to do: You can start off with body weight exercises (decline push ups, squats, lunges etc) before adding weights. As you become stronger, you will need to add external loads to continue to GROW!

Stability and Mobility

This is the core of movement. We need to be able to MOVE within our full range of movement and maintain stability when we need to. If you lack this component, throwing in cardio and strength training will cause MORE problems such as lower back pain and unwanted injuries.

From the bottom up, our joints are arranged such that it is alternating between stable and mobile:

Foot – Stable

Ankle – Mobile

Knee – Stable

Hips – Mobile

Lumbar (Lower Back) – Stable

Thorax – Mobile

Scapula – Stable

Neck – Mobile

The lack of stability and mobility in any of the joints will affect your ability to move about comfortably. Even getting out of bed would be a chore!

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What to do: STRETCH every other day! Tight muscles hinder mobility! You can do it either when you wake up, post workout, while watching tv or just before bed! A little goes a long way. If you are pressed for time, hit the neck, chest, hips, hamstrings, glutes, calves and lower back. You can also do some balancing workouts to improve stability across your joints.

I always stretch for about 1 hour after my workouts while I’m reading articles/on social media. For me, it is a great way to CHILL! And then I plank for 2 mins front, left and right side!


With this in mind, I hope that you will be able to choose a program (or programs) that will cover all of the above.

With a well rounded fitness routine, you are more likely to maximise results while staying injury free! Go for the ones that YOU ENJOY and COMMIT to them. Everyone starts off as an amateur, not being “fit” or “good” enough (exactly WHY you shld get started, NOW!) is not an excuse!

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Believe in yourself. Have a little confidence. 🙂

HAVE FUN!

Cardio for FAT LOSS

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I get slightly irritated with quotes/statements like the above. The problem here is not that you only do “cardio”; it is the type of cardio exercise that you choose to do and how you’re doing it.

How can one not lose weight by doing cardio? I mean, if you’re not losing any weight by doing cardio, my question to you would be ‘what kind of cardio workout have you been doing?’

If your definition of cardio is hopping onto the treadmill or the elliptical machine for an hour at low intensity (and being able to hold a conversation with a friend), then you are right – you’re not going to get very far (or anywhere) with that. This type of cardio is known as Low Intensity Steady State (LISS) cardio.

Most people start out their weight loss/fitness journey by doing cardio. GREAT CHOICE! The effects are pretty immediate and over the first 3 weeks or so, you would have noticed that you’ve shed quite a bit of weight. So, you continue to do the same thing week after week.

The good thing (or bad) about our bodies is that we adapt. By then, your metabolism would have completely adjusted to your cardio workout that it becomes a baseline to what you have to do to maintain.

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An example of LISS. Happy and smiley, even at the end of your workout.

People tend to want to remain within their comfortable zone. They continue to do LISS at the same rate over the same amount of time as when they first started out. This is the reason why some people even after spending hours at the gym each week, don’t seem to be losing any weight.

As your aerobic capacity improves, what was once very hard wouldn’t seem hard at all. In order to progress to the next level (ie: lose more weight), you have to constantly increase the intensity of your workout.

Another factor is that people tend to overestimate the amount of calories burnt. After an hour of LISS on the treadmill or the elliptical and they feel that they can reward themselves with a big meal. What they have just done is put back everything they have lost through the workout and most times, even more.

The thing about LISS is that it doesn’t dramatically change your body. Therefore, you are only burning calories during the workout, not 24-hour energy expenditure (more on that later). The more time you spend doing LISS, the more calories you burn. LISS is great if you have a lot of time on your hands or if you are training for a marathon (and covering great distances).

The other type of cardio is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). HIIT consists of short burst of high intensity work where your energy expenditure is at a maximum coupled with low-moderate intensity work. HIIT can be done with almost any sport (running, swimming, cycling, dancing, weight lifting) as long as your heart rate is through the roof for a set period of time.

not easyWhen it comes to exercising, most people like to do it in their comfort zone (myself included). As long as you break a sweat, you’re happy. You don’t feel the need to push yourself that far because it requires too much work. Well, the sad reality about HIIT is that it is going to require A LOT of work. It is about maximum energy expenditure and putting your body in a very uncomfortable mode.

It is going to hurt, you’re going to hate it, you’re going to hate working out, you’ll feel like quitting (please don’t), you’re probably going to puke and you can almost taste death. If you don’t feel any of that, then you’re probably doing it wrong.

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After multiple HIIT sessions.

HIIT would be the preferred type of cardio for fat loss. Why? Because by pushing your body to that level of exhaustion, you are effectively breaking down muscle and other tissues. This will send signals to your body to rebuild itself. Repairing, rebuilding and reconstructing damaged tissues require a great deal of energy which would lead to an increase in metabolism (24-hour energy expenditure). Your body would be busy repairing itself all day even after the workout. HIIT also increases your muscle mass which will further increase your metabolic rate (more on that in another post).

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This applies to running, life and everything else. Always do a little bit more than what you can handle.

The great thing about HIIT is that you only have to do one thing – get your heart rate thumping at its maximum. It doesn’t matter if your body has adapted to the previous HIIT session, the next time you do it, it has to feel hard. That is how you gauge a HIIT session.

Conclusion:

HIIT: More effective for fat loss over a shorter period of time, greater change in metabolic rate, improves your body

LISS: Takes a longer time to accomplish the same results as with HIIT, burns calories but does not alter metabolic rate after your body has adapted to it, great for improving aerobic capacity but does little to change or improve your body

I hope that by now you have a slight idea of both HIIT and LISS cardio. Cardio is not the culprit as to why you are not losing weight, it is the type of cardio that you choose to do.

Both LISS and HIIT cardio have different effects on the body. I feel that both should be incorporated into your workout routine so that you are able to reap each of its benefits.You can do HIIT sessions 3-4 times a week depending on your level of fitness and LISS for the rest of the week.

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Trust me, I used to hate HIIT sessions (I still do, sometimes). I hate it mostly because I know what it requires from me. I know that I would have to push myself above and beyond my limits. The slightest thought of it gives me the chills *shudders*.

Do some HIIT and torch some FATS!

Word text images from various sources: Tumblr, Instagram, Google

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