10-20-30…Will It Make A Difference In Your Fitness?

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I ran across this article on a study completed in Denmark, regarding interval training and sticking with an interval program for the long term. Unless you are getting ready to run a marathon or some other fitness accomplishment, most of us do not think about pushing ourselves to an intense limit.

This study showed if you can incorporate an interval training in place of one of your sessions a week, there are major benefits to be experienced. The best part is holding that intensity for short bouts of time, meaning 10 seconds (not 4 minutes, as many interval workouts are structured) at a time! That’s it!

The study definitely sparked my interest in gaining better fitness from just 10 seconds at a time.

What are the benefits?

According to the article, improved health, lower blood pressure and perhaps, logging faster times when jogging, et al.

How do you do it? (excerpt from the article)

Warm up with an easy jog (or pedaling or rowing), then ease into the intervals. The 30-second portion should feel relaxed; the next 20 seconds moderately hard; and the final 10 seconds a full gallop. “The aim is to cover as much distance as possible in those 10 seconds.” 

Do five of the 10-20-30 intervals in a row without pause, then rest for two minutes by standing or very slowly walking about. Repeat the five consecutive intervals one more time, cool down, and you are done. The whole session, minus warm-up and cool-down, will have lasted 12 minutes.

If you are already in fine shape, add another set of the five uninterrupted intervals.

Rest the next day, he said, or very lightly exercise; don’t do two of the intense interval sessions in a row.

Interested in learning more? Please feel free to email me and find out how I can help you with your fitness needs.


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From Couch Potato to The Treadmill : 5 Tips On How To Start

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Many of us have busy schedules, whether you’re a professional trying to accomplish all your errands and tasks after 5 p.m. or on your weekends, or you’re a stay at home parent, running around taking care of everyone else and what they need.

Often, it’s easy to look at that couch as a respite from the duties of the day…an escape. But is it really? Especially if the voice in your head inspires guilt rather than relaxation?

How can you find the energy in an already busy schedule with very little free time to get moving and commit to exercising a few times a week? It all starts in our heads, when we put ourselves into the position mentally, the body will have no choice but to follow.

Here are a few tips:

1. Ask yourself, if you think exercise is truly important?

If you’re not convinced, then it is an uphill battle. Create a vision for convincing yourself that it is what you want to do. See the positive results, from short to long term, which come from exercising in your vision.

2. Figure out what you like to do.

Some of us want to go inside a gym, get on a treadmill and read a magazine, others of us want to experience the outdoors. Get to know what it is that resonates with you and fit this into your vision, see yourself happy, calm and really spending that time with yourself…for yourself.

3. See yourself, if you decide to not exercise.

What will happen, if you continue to not exercise? How will you feel about yourself? How will your clothes fit? If you take a vacation, will you be wearing that swimsuit, and if you do, how will you feel it in if you don’t exercise? This is all meant to really give you an idea of what it’s like to have positive results in your mind’s eye versus the reality of what will happen if you keep avoiding movement.

4. Recognize your timing.

Are you more apt to stick with a routine when you roll out of bed or is it easier to go for your work out when you leave the office? (Or perhaps, you have a gym in your office building and lunch time works best for you?). Ask yourself what you would be doing in that time period if you were not exercising? Sitting on the couch? Watching TV? Eating because you’re bored? And look at how you actually feel in doing something different at that time–breaking the routine of not moving your body, make sure you don’t feel like you’re missing something at that time of day–otherwise you’ll feel deprived.

5. See yourself as a participant in life rather than allowing it to pass you by.

By increasing your physical abilities, what will it allow you to do? If you have more stamina, perhaps you’ll be spending more time on the dance floor, or going for a longer swim with your kids, or having the wherewithal to instead of being dragged through the amusement park, you’ll be taking them by the hands as you glide through the crowds without feeling worn out.

For more information on changing your mindset, please check out the article: Get Psyched For Fitness by psychologist James Prochaska.


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How to Keep Lactic Acid From Holding You Back!

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Most of us at one point or another have experienced muscle ache, burning, rapid breathing, nausea, and stomach pain during exercise, caused by lactic acid build up.

Our bodies utilize oxygen to break down glucose for energy during a workout; we begin to breathe faster as we attempt to get more oxygen to our working muscles. Sometimes there’s not enough oxygen available to complete the process, which results in a substance called lactate being created in our muscles. Our body can convert this lactate to energy without using oxygen, but the painful part is if the buildup happens faster than we can burn it off.

This means our body is trying to slam on the brakes, in essence, telling us to stop what we are doing; thankfully, it’s a temporary condition. There’s too much acid built up in our bloodstream, which causes the muscle fatigue and other physical discomfort during a workout.

Our bodies are intelligent machines and it’s the natural defense for the body to prevent permanent damage by slowing down the vital structures needed to preserve muscle contraction.

Once our bodies slow down, oxygen is more readily available, allowing continued aerobic metabolism and energy for the body to recover from the exercise we are doing.

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If we want to go the extra mile to ensure we are doing everything we can to prevent the buildup of lactic acid, we can manage it through diet too. Increasing our intake of magnesium, foods rich in fatty acids, and high in vitamin B, are extremely helpful to our bodies in processing lactic acid. If we really want to help we can take baking soda, because it is an alkaline substance, it helps to neutralize the lactic acid that may build up in the muscles.

 

 


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The Importance Of Electrolytes

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Electrolytes are essential to physical activity. During intense exercise they begin to shift in the body; dehydration is about electrolyte loss, not just water loss.

What are electrolytes?  They are minerals, which break into small, electrically-charged particles called ions when they dissolve in water. They regulate bodily fluids and are found in our blood and cells.

How much do they matter in physical performance?

They matter quite a bit.

Electrolytes are critical for any kind of performance. We should be just as concerned about replenishing them as we are with replacing any lost fluid. If we eat a balanced diet we’re probably consuming adequate quantities of electrolytes for normal human function.

But if we are working out….

The balance begins to shift, by increasing the concentration of electrolytes in the body and then, over time, depleting them. We can actually witness improvement in our immediate performance with replenishing our electrolytes when working out. Physical function may hang in the balance if electrolyte levels remain low after a workout.

Why?

Our bodies lose electrolytes through sweat, which can result in an imbalance. This may bring on symptoms such as; muscle cramps, fatigue, nausea, and mental confusion. If these levels stay low, it can effect our next workout and possibly cause longer term health issues.

 Key electrolytes:

  • Sodium and Chloride – help “excite” nerves and muscles
  • Calcium – aids muscle contraction
  • Magnesium – aids healthy cell function
  • Potassium – helps regulate pH balance
  • Phosphate – helps regulate pH balance

During workout sessions lasting at least an hour, the plan for electrolyte replacement will depend on the following:

  1. Keeping in mind, men tend to sweat more than women, so the amount of electrolyte replacement will depend on our size and how much we sweat. Do you sweat a lot when working out?
  2. Are you working out in warmer weather? (Excess water without electrolytes in heat, actually washes electrolytes out of the body, increasing the risk of dehydration.) Also–individuals who are salty sweaters, which is indicated by skin and clothing covered in salt residue during and/or after exercise, should eat a salty snack or drink a sports drink instead of water for pre-exercise hydration–especially in higher temperatures and humidity.
  3. The length of our workout. Endurance athletes would need the most fluid with electrolyte replacement, as we lose more water than some electrolytes when sweating (where we lose more sodium and chloride), so we need to be preemptive in replacing them before we hit the wall. How long do you work out? More than an hour?A general rule of thumb is to never begin a workout session thirsty or dehydrated. Start electrolyte replacement at the beginning of your workout.

How to best ingest electrolytes?

Besides looking at our diets and seeing foods, which contain the above key electrolytes, there are several quick and easy items we can grab to have with us during and after our workout.

  • Sports Drinks
  • Milk (chocolate milk is best)
  • Coconut water
  • Emergence C
  • Energy gels
  • Dill pickles
  • Tomato Juice
  • Table Salt
  • Bananas
  • Yogurt
  • Potato with skin
  • Greens
  • Mixed nuts
  • Baked potato chips
  • Pretzels

Electrolytes are important to our physical health, especially with an active lifestyle and warmer temperatures of summer coming up!


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How Do Different Styles of Massage Benefit You?

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The word massage conjures up different thoughts for different people.

All massage can be therapeutic to your body, when it is in a healthy state, while certain techniques may be more applicable, if you are suffering from a specific injury or pain.

Perhaps, it seems some techniques are more popular than others, but it really comes down to what you as an individual need for you.  It is so much more important to discover what style for what need will actually help you.

Length of time, whether they use lotions or oils, stones, aromatherapy or other tools, depends on what you are looking for in your experience.

For this post, we will start with the most well-known and common massage therapy: Swedish massage.

This type of massage involves using oil or lotion accompanied by  soft, long, kneading strokes, as well as light, rhythmic, tapping strokes, on the topmost layer of muscles. It might also be combined with movement of the joints. Swedish massage can be both relaxing and energizing, by relieving muscle tension. These movements warm up the muscle tissue, releasing tension and gradually breaking up muscle “knots” or adhered tissues, called adhesions. It can be somewhat helpful after an injury.

The four common strokes of Swedish massage are:

  • Effleurage: is to skim or move lightly on, it is used to relax soft tissue. It warms up the muscles, before deeper work is done.
  • Petrissage: is used to knead and apply pressure with massage movements, to squeeze, wring, and roll, to compress deeper muscles. Movement is slow and rhythmic; the fingers and thumb are usually doing the movements, although sometimes other tools are used. It follows effleurage.
  • Friction: deep, circular movements that cause layers of tissue to rub against each other, it helps with blood flow and breaks down scar tissue. The purpose is to maintain the mobility within the soft tissue structures of ligament, tendon, and muscle; it is deep and must be applied transversely–across muscle fibers.
  • Tapotement: This may be executed by one of the five styles, which include:
    • Cupping, which make your hand into a cup to gently tap the affected region.
    • Beating is using a closed fist, which lightly hits the area.
    • Tapping uses just the fingertips.
    • Slapping using the fingers only to gently slap the muscles.
    • Hacking, is using the edge of the hand on pinky finger side.

Tapotement is generally used to “wake up” the nervous system; it can also be a stimulating stroke, which releases lymphatic build up in the back.

For a relaxing massage, especially if you do not get massages often, this is one where it is not too deep in the tissue work, so a Swedish massage can be the right choice.

Check out our next post on another massage technique: Myofascial Release. If you are interested in learning more about our current massage offerings, please email carina@profitnessnetwork.com


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