One of the most important things to realize in your journey to becoming more fit and healthier is who are you doing it for? Are you doing it to impress someone? Are you trying to become a better athlete to make your coach happy? Some day you aren't going to have the same coach to make happy or maybe have an active coach at all and maybe that person you're trying to impress won't be in your life forever. After those options are no longer, do you just stop? NO. In order to be successful at maintaining habits of being active, you need to be doing all the hard work for no one else but you. The other day I was doing a 200 meter hill workout by myself on hot day. I was super motivated before the first hill and told myself I was going to do six total. I got to the top of the hill and was just not really feeling it anymore. Walked back down, ran the second one. Got to the top again, and thought "Wow maybe I'll stop." I ended up going for that third rep anyway. Got to the top again and thought " Alright, I guess 4 would be okay." Finished the fourth and told myself, "It's only two more, I can do this." After completing all six hills, my goal, I felt great. Even though I was tired and hot, I knew I accomplished what I set out to do and in the long run this will benefit me. Although, my coach wasn't there and no one was watching me, I held myself accountable to finish what I started and I knew if I didn't I was going to regret it. No matter what your workout is, DO IT FOR YOU!
1. Step Away From the Scale!
When you begin exercising regularly or ramp up the intensity of your workouts in order to lose weight, specifically fat mass, stepping on the scale can be discouraging. When you exercise you typically build muscle, which you may know is denser than fat tissue. One pound of muscle can take up less space than fat. Therefore, you may be losing fat (which is typically the goal) and gaining muscle, but the number on the scale continues to go up. Don’t let this what you think is a disappointment stop you from working towards your goals! Instead of weighing yourself on a scale try doing body measurements with a tape measure or if you are able have your body fat percentage measured. To measure your body fat percentage you can use a small handheld machine or see a health or fitness professional to take skinfolds at a few different sites on your body. Your body fat percentage could be a much better indicator of your progress than the number on the scale.
2. Be Comfortable With Who You Are NOW.
You may not be as lean or defined as you would ideally like to be at this moment, but learn to be comfortable with who you are now. Know that someday if you are persistent and maintain healthy habits someday you will achieve your goals! Don’t spend time now being unhappy with how you look, be happy that you are working towards becoming a better you.
3. Be Patient
We watch shows such as the biggest loser where obese individuals lose massive amounts of weight in a short amount of time and think that’s just who it works…except it doesn’t work like that. The faster you lose weight the more like you are to gain it back. Healthy weight loss is only 1-2 pounds per week! If you lived completely sedentary prior to getting back to exercising, you may drop a couple pounds faster in the beginning than later on in your weight loss but don’t get down on yourself. Keep up the hard work and new habits and the pounds will come off with time.
4. Hold Yourself Accountable Or Find Someone Who Will
If you are highly motivated, this may not be an issue for you. If you can push yourself to do some type of physical activity each day, that’s great! Some of us though, it takes a little more to get us going than just knowing we need to go. If you don’t have the drive to hold yourself accountable, that’s okay! There are several solutions to this problem.
Option 1:Begin attending fitness classes! Fitness classes are a great way to socialize and still get that great workout. Most fitness class has “regulars” who attend almost every class. Those “regulars” will expect you to become a regular too! If you aren’t there, they will wonder what happened and try to get you back to class.
Option 2: Find a workout buddy! Working out with another person especially if they are motivated is a great way to get you to exercise everyday. Avoid choosing a lazy friend who will allow you to slack!
Option 3: Sign Up For a Personal Trainer! A personal trainer will support you each step through your journey and give you the best advice they can to assist you to reach your goals. Since training sessions are appointment based it will push you to be there especially if you get in a routine of meeting certain days during the week. There are several relatively inexpensive options for training, just make sure your trainer is reliable!
5. BE PROUD OF YOURSELF!
Be proud that you are working towards becoming healthier! Take pride in the fact that you are taking care of yourself, becoming stronger, and increasing the longevity of your life!
Adding Cardiovascular exercise to your routine is important for both heart and lung health and weight loss. Hopping on your bike, going for a walk or run are great ways to add this type of exercise to your routine. In order for this form of exercise to be fully beneficial, you must exert some sort of effort. For example, at some point during walking, running, or biking at some point you should feel at least slightly winded or break a sweat. In previous posts, I wrote about high intensity interval training. Again, these are exercises where you vary the intensity throughout while also taking short bouts of recovery. This mode of training is great for anyone especially those who say they don’t have time to workout. Since it is summer time and the weather is nice, I have created an outdoor HIIT workout with a version for both runners and walkers. These workouts can be done on a track, on roads, or a treadmill if desired.
HIIT Running Workout
This workout is called a surge run. How this works is you will jog at a comfortable pace for 5 minutes, sprint (run as fast as you can) for 30 seconds, then return to the job for 5 minutes. Repeat this until the total time is at least 20 minutes (you can go longer based on your fitness level). To increase the intensity, you can extend the duration of time you are sprinting, increase the overall length of the workout (leading to more sprints) or both. Also, including hills in this workout will increase the intensity.
HIIT Walking Workout
This workout is similar to the running but modified to walking style. The periods of rest will be decreased but the faster pace segments will remain the same. For 2 minutes you will walk at a brisk but sustainable pace. Following the two minutes you will “power walk” (walk as fast as possible) for 30 seconds, then return to the brisk but sustainable pace and continue the cycle. This workout should be at least 30 minutes in duration. Similar to the running workout, to increase intensity you can increase the overall duration of the workout, the duration of walking at a faster pace or both. Also, including hills in this workout will increase the intensity.
Wherever you may be on your fitness journey there may come a point when you plateau, you stop seeing the desired results, you just aren't making the progress you were before. DON'T GIVE UP! I'm here to offer a few reasons why you may have hit a progress roadblock.
1.Am I Only Doing Cardio?
It's obvious that aerobic exercise is important. It provides many health benefits and can add years to your life. You may be missing out if this is the only training method you are currently using. Adding resistance training to your routine can be the kickstart you need to get back on track with your progress. Resistance training increases your body's muscle tone and muscle mass. When you increase the amount of muscle mass on the body, your basal metabolic rate (BMR) increases. Your BMR, in simplest terms, is the amount of calories your body burns when you aren't exercising. The reason the BMR increases with an increase in lean muscle mass is because muscles are cells, they are living, they need to be maintained. In order to maintain muscle, energy is required and when you produce energy you are utilizing body fuels leading to caloric burn. At rest, 1 pound of muscle burns 6 calories per day where as a pound of fat only burns 2 calories per day. It may not sound like much but when you consider your total muscle mass pound for pound and that this is occurring every day and you don't even have to be moving that is HUGE! Now consider putting those muscles into action! After a weight lifting you will even continue burning calories HOURS AFTER you finish working out. It can really make a big difference in your fitness journey! For all you ladies out there who have been led to believe weightlifting will "make you bulky," erase that thought from your mind completely! As long as you aren't taking steroids, it just hormonally doesn't happen. Adding weightlifting to your routine just 2 times week can make great returns to you! If you aren't comfortable weightlifting, there are plenty of options to help you out. You can meet one on one with a trainer by appointment, attend group fitness classes where weightlifting is involved, or seek out one of the assistants in the red room (where the machines are) for some help.
2. Am I Even Doing Cardio?
Although as I just explained resistance training is wonderful, it should also be paired with cardio/aerobic exercise. Doing cardio burns a higher amount of total calories from the exercise alone than resistance training. The recommended amount of aerobic exercise is determined by the intensity at which you are working. Working at higher intensities allows you to complete more work in less time. As you aerobically train your body, you become better able to rely on fat as an energy source. Aerobic training isn't just running for those of you who aren't really into running or are unable. Other modes of exercise which fall into this category include but are not limited to going on the elliptical, cycling, dancing, step aerobics, or even walking.
3. Am I Drinking Enough Water?
Hydrating with WATER is very important. It is recommended that you drink 64 ounces or 1 gallon per day! If you are exercising, you should be drinking even more. If you are at a stand still with fat loss just drinking some more water may be the answer you are looking for. Fat is broken down through a process called hydrolysis. Simply the body uses water in order to break fat down into smaller droplets to be used as fuel. If you aren't properly hydrated, this breakdown won't occur as rapidly therefore stunting your progress. If you aren't the type of person who can just drink plain water all day there are a few options. Fruit Infused Water is a hit lately. Adding fresh fruit to your water gives it the right amount of flavor without the bad sugar. I realize there is sugar in fruit but it is natural sugar so it isn't terrible for you. You can also add natural herbs and oil to your water to give it that extra kick. Pinterest has plenty of recipes and ideas to liven up your water!
4. Am I Challenging Myself?
Evaluate your workouts. Are you really challenging yourself? Are you out of breath when exercising? Are you tired after a workout? If you answered no to any or all of these questions, you need to kick up the intensity of your workouts. Increase the incline and speed on the treadmill, go for the heavier weight, do some extra reps of that exercise, push yourself! Some individuals aren't always sure if they are working where they should be. An easy way to monitor the intensity of your workouts is by heart rate training. You can monitor your heart rate by purchasing and wearing a heart rate monitor from brands such as Polar or FitBit or simply taking your pulse every so often. You may now be thinking "well what should my heart rate by when exercising?" You first need to calculate your age predicted maximum heart rate (APMHR). You calculate this number by subtracting your age by 220 giving you an answer in beats per minute (bpm). For example, I am 20 years old therefore my APMHR is 200 bpm (220-20). A standard training zone is 60-80% of your APMHR. You can find this zone by multiplying your APMHR by 0.6 for the lower end and 0.8 for the upper end. So using myself again as an example, my training zone is 120-160 bpm. This is simply a guideline, not set in stone. You may exceed your training zone while training especially if you are doing sprint training or working at extremely high intensities. Exceeding the upper end of your training zone is okay.
5. What Am I Putting In My Body?
On the journey to a truly fit body, what you are eating and drinking are very important to your progress. Proper fuel is key to your success. If you find yourself refueling with pizza, cookies, donuts, fast food, or cake after a workout, you might need to make some changes. Exercising is not a free pass to consume a poor diet although it can allow you to have some treats on occasion. Although you should avoid unhealthy choices, especially after a workout, you should not avoid food. Properly refueling is major. After a resistance training or cardio session, it is important to ingest some protein to allow your muscles to repair. You can do this by eating foods high in protein such as chicken, fish, eggs, or peanut butter (preferably natural), using supplement protein in shakes, or drinking some chocolate milk is great too! After an intense bout of cardio, you might want to also consider refueling with some carbohydrates. Although they are often avoided your body needs some. Another important point to not is do not treat yourself like a dog. Find other ways to reward yourself other than with food. Maybe after you achieve a huge goal you've been woking toward, you take a vacation day from work or buy those really cool capris you've been eying up at the mall. Try avoiding sodas and other sugary drinks. Drinking soda could be causing you to hold onto those last few pounds you can't drop. When eating make more natural choices rather than processed. Go for whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and lean meats.
6. Is There Enough Variation In My Exercise Routine?
Doing the same old workout day in and day out can get boring. Your body will also develop a resistance to these exercises leading to a halt in improvements. Begin varying your routine, finding new exercises, attending fitness classes to spice up your workouts. Be enthusiastic and excited about what you're doing!
If you are plateauing or feel like your in a rut, I hope I have provided you with information to help you identify the cause. Any questions, email me! Best of luck continuing your journey to becoming the best you!
Did you know I can help you reach your goals? At a discounted rate of $15 per session I can help you become the best you can be! But wait it gets even better! If you don't want to train alone, it is only an additional $5 for each person! With you and a friend you can receive a personalized workout created by me, for only $10 each time ( if you divide the cost equally). As you can see the more people per group, the lower the cost would be per person! Email me for more information at email@example.com.
This is a high intensity full body workout! Each exercise will be done for 20 seconds upon completion of each exercise, you will rest for 10 seconds, then move onto the next exercise. After completing all exercises you will either run, row, or walk for 5 minutes. You will do this entire set 2 times totaling just a 30-minute workout to strengthen and tone the entire body! This workout requires NO EQUIPMENT which leaves room for NO EXCUSES! This workout can be done almost anywhere! For any further modifications or questions, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org . Stay tuned for the instructional video, which will be posted tomorrow! Enjoy!
1. Body Weight Squats
2. Push Ups (modify with DF Push Ups or on knees)
3. Mountain Climbers
5. Jumping Jacks
6. Upward Facing Plank, Leg Lift, and Dip
7. Squat Jumps
8. Russian Twists
9. Extended Plank Altnerating Shoulder Touches
11. V-Up Tuck Up
12. Burpees (With a Push Up)(Modify by eliminating push up)
13. Front Elbow Plank
14. Right Elbow Side Plank
15. Left Elbow Side Plank
16. Calf Raises
17. Alternating Lunges
18. Leg Raises
19. Power Skates
20. Windshield Wiper
*Walk/Run/Jog/Row 5 minutes
Repeat 20 above exercises and walk/run/jog/row
The “muffin top” is a slang term for the excess fat that accumulates on the sides of the body in the abdominal region. This may spill out over the sides your pants and be affecting your self-esteem. Please keep in mind for women these areas of fat accumulation also have to do with your diet. Healthy eating is even more important than exercising! To clean up your eating habits try replacing chips with fresh, crisp vegetables, drinking fruit infused water instead of soda when you need a drink with flavor, and eating whole foods instead of processed ones. Also, cardiovascular exercise is necessary to helping to burn excess fat and helps promote wellness of the heart and lungs. Many people are told they need to do cardio at a light to moderate intensity for a long duration of time in order to burn fat. This is not true! All you need to worry about is burning calories. Fats you ingest, not subcutaneous fat (the fat on your body), are burned when the body is at rest or working at a low intensity. So technically the best way to burn fat is to sit on the couch and watch a movie. Working at higher intensities allows you to burn more calories in a shorter amount of time, which is really the main concern when trying to lose weight. When working at high intensities, the body relies on carbohydrates as a fuel source. Carbs are serve as one of your body's fastest sources of energy. In order to lose 1 pound of body fat, you need to burn 3500 calories. The fuel source used to complete the exercise DOES NOT MATTER! Whether you burn 3500 calories from fat or 3500 calories from carbohydrates it does not make a difference! An Examples of an exercise that is considered high intensity are HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts. Many of you may have heard of these workouts before, they are currently very popular and they work! Why spend an hour on the treadmill when you could burn the same number of calories doing 20 minutes of exercise at a higher intensity. An example of how to apply high intensity intervals to your training would be varying speeds on the treadmill. Exercise at a higher speed and/or incline for a length of 30 seconds then decreasing one or both for 30 seconds and repeating. If you are interested in this type of training you can try out some classes here at Dedicated Fitness such as Intervals, Cross Train, or Tabata! If you are not the fitness class type, there are many workouts available online and on apps such as Pinterest. Another app I have found useful is the Nike Training App which is available to iPhone users for FREE on the App store.
Below are exercises you can complete in order to help diminish the “muffin top.” These exercises alone will not solve the problem. They should be combined with regular cardiovascular exercise and consistent healthy eating habits! Enjoy!