5 Types of Fat Shredding Cardio

First let me say that I am not one of those religious cardio bunnies you see sweating their life away for an hour on the treadmill. Unless you’re main goal is to shred tons of fat, and even then it’s questionable, I don’t feel like steady state cardio is as much of a necessity as weight lifting; but everyone is different. However, I do believe that various types of cardio or cardiovascular training are extremely important about 5 days a week. Cardio keeps your heart strong and healthy and also keeps your body fat down.

Below is a list of five different types of cardio and what they can do for your body!

  1. Steady State Training

treadmill

  • Involves training at the same workload OR the same speed & level for an extended period of time ranging from about 20 minutes to 60 minutes.
  • Steady state cardio is constant; there are no moments of rest.
  • Steady state cardio will burn fat AND muscle. Those of you more focused on building muscle might want to avoid steady state training.
  • An example would be jogging at speed level 7 for 30 minutes on a treadmill or using the Stairmaster at level 4 for 30 minutes.
  • This type of cardio training is great for all fitness levels especially beginners.
  1. HIIT: High Intensity Interval training (my favorite!)hiit
  • HIIT requires you to train at a high level for a short period of time followed by a relaxed recovery period.
  • The switch from a higher intensity to a lower intensity really heats things up and confuses the body.
  • This type of training is great for all fitness levels.
  • For those of you who are focused on burning fat without eating away at the muscle you have worked so hard to build, I would recommend utilizing HIIT. It allows the body to burn fat while holding on to muscle.
  • An example would be training on theStairmaster beginning at level 4 for the first 4 minutes. Bump it up 2 levels to level 6 for 2 minutes. Bump it up 2 more levels to level 8 for 2 minutes then bump it up to level 9 for the last-minute. Repeat this process 1 – 2 more times to complete the training sequence.
    • You can adjust levels/speeds to your fitness level. Beginners may start at level 3 instead of 4.
  1. Fartlek Training – My brother introduced me to this type of cardio training after he received his PT certification.

fartlek

  • Fartlek training is very similar to HIIT.
  • Traditional Fartlek training is unstructured and is performed by surging from one landmark to another.
  • It can also be structured. What I mean by that is you can train by determining what speed and time to perform at; basically creating a routine.
  • This type of training is very demanding, therefore is recommended for people who are experienced with running and fitness.
  • For more information on Fartlek training and sample Fartlek training workouts click the link below.

http://running.competitor.com/2012/03/training/workout-of-the-week-fartlek-session_49932

  1. Circuit Training or Super Circuit Trainingdeadlift
  • Traditional circuit training involves rotating through pre-determined exercises for a certain amount of time or rounds.
  • Super Circuit Training is aerobic training that involves a combination of anaerobic exercises like resistance training with short periods of cardio.
  • An example of this would be to perform 3 minutes on the treadmill followed by 1 minute of squats then immediately performing 3 minutes on the elliptical followed by 1 minute of leg presses, so on and so forth.
  • This type of training is perfect for those of you trying to squeeze maximum training into a short period of time.
  • Super Circuit training is also great for those of you competing in anesthetic competitions like body building. It allows you to burn the fat without wasting precious muscle mass.
  1. Cross Trainingcrosstraining
  • When I do decide to train cardio, I am a huge fan of cross training. I get bored easily so I like to switch it up to keep my motivation high.
  • Cross training is simply switching from different cardio machines remaining on one machine for a certain amount of time and then switching to another for a certain amount of time.
  • An example of this type of training would be performing 10 minutes on the treadmill, switch to 10 minutes on the arc trainer, and then 10 minutes on the stationary bike.
  • You can also choose to switch machines each day: stationary bike one day, treadmill the next day, etc.

Frequency, Duration, & Intensity

  • 3 – 5 sessions a week is recommended
  • 20 – 60 minute sessions
  • 55% – 90% of your max heart rate

These numbers can change. We aren’t robots therefore we are not all the same and do not require the same times, intensities, and frequencies. Consult with your doctor or personal trainer to determine what your body needs.

Not one type of cardio is better than the other though each one yields very different results. When determining which type of cardio training is best for you I recommend utilizing one that you enjoy doing. If you don’t enjoy cardio at all HIIT or Super Circuit Training might be right up your ally. If you are a book-worm and don’t mind reading while doing steady state cardio then by all means give it a whirl!

You need to find the type of physical activity you enjoy doing to keep your body and mind as healthy as possible. If you don’t enjoy it, do you think you’ll be motivated to do it 3 – 5 times a week? My guess is probably not; I wouldn’t.

Be healthy. Be happy.

-mk

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Diet or Exercise – Which one is more important? Part. 1

Part 1: Diet or Exercise – Which one is more important?

For the past couple of days I have been posing this question to my friends on Facebook, my followers on Instagram and on Twitter and the responses have been amazing!

So, which one is more important?

I found that choosing one or the other can be very situational.

One blogger commented that,

“They are both important. But it depends on what either of them can and will do for someone. Are either for weight loss, disease prevention, diagnosis corrections, build of stamina, preparation of a marathon, walk increase. One may be more important than the other depending on the situation.”

Determining what your goals are is essential to figuring out where you should start and what you should focus on first. If you are working on weight loss many might say to focus on your diet first and later down the road exercise will come into play. Some would also say to focus on diet MAINLY along with a light fitness regimen.

Another blogger posted that,

Wellness is achieved through a balance of many elements. Nutrition and exercise are two of the most important factors in determining your health status. As a registered nurse, I educate patients on both topics. In terms of preventative health, lifestyle modifications like diet and exercise are a great defense against chronic illness. There is a direct correlation between diet/exercise and risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease and many other debilitating illnesses. Diet is more crucial for my patient population because they are paralyzed and do not have the luxury of physical activity.”

Did you catch that?

Her patient population consists of people who are paralyzed. Do you think they have the luxury of exercise? Certainly not, diet is most important to keep their bodies as healthy as possible.

Almost all of the responses I received were in agreement with both of them (diet and exercise) being equally important as a whole, but when it came down to choosing one or the other nutrition took center stage.

What is considered good nutrition?

According to the National Food Service Management Institute, “good nutrition means getting the calories we need for energy and the nutrients we need for proper growth.” They also state that, “Variety, balance, and moderation are keys to good nutrition”. If we look at those three keys to good nutrition how many of us can honestly say that we pick the foods we eat because we need the nutrients it gives us? My guess would be not too many. We pick the foods we eat

because it’s what we like, it’s what we crave, out of habit, or addiction. Good nutrition can be achieved after we have educated ourselves on what foods give our body what it needs.

The link below lists types of foods and lists specific nutrients they offer!

http://www.whfoods.com/foodstoc.php

Here are some pointers in achieving variety, balance, and moderation:rainbownutrition

  • Variety
  • An easy way to obtain variety in your diet is to make sure you’re meals include an array of different colors, much like a rainbow!
  • Balance
  •     Fruit and vegetables should make up half of your plate shown in picture B. The remaining half should be split between protein choice and starchy/whole grains choice.divided_plate_630
  •     Learn how to calculate the calories you need daily. The link below can help you figure out the total calories you need daily for your size and also show you how to calculate the calories you need to lose weight.

http://www.eatingwell.com/diet_nutrition_health/weight_loss_diet_plans/diet_reports_information/3_easy_ways_to_balance_your_di?page=2

  • Moderation

I know you have heard time and time again, “Moderation is key” Well, it is!

  • Moderation is the control or the regulation of food intake WITHOUT depriving yourself of the foods you love.

This is key when it comes to good nutrition or dieting.

Utilizing moderation in your diet does NOT mean depriving your body of the foods you crave or enjoy.

For instance, I LOVE chocolate chip cookies but does that mean I am going to sit down and eat the whole container? No. One or two cookies will suffice! This can also be applied to alcohol consumption. Ladies, I know we love our wine but does that mean we have to drink the whole bottle? No. Moderation is key. One or two glasses are all we truly need unless your ultimate goal is to get plastered … (yikes!)

Moderation also means “changing it up”.

Consuming the same foods in excess can cause major health issues. Some nutrients may accumulate to toxic amounts, which can lead to serious disease. For example, too much vitamin A during pregnancy can cause birth defects.

By “changing it up” we can lower toxic levels in our body. Instead of eating a banana every single morning try eating an apple one day, a banana the next, and maybe berries another day. This gives us a variety of different vitamins and minerals and not too much of the same vitamin or mineral.

What can good nutrition do for you?

No one can deny that good nutrition has unlimited health benefits. Good nutrition is essential for our bodies to operate optimally for a lifetime. Medical online states it perfectly,

“…the benefits of good nutrition can be found in physical and mental health because a healthy diet provides energy, promotes good sleep, and gives the body what it needs to stay healthy.”

Here is a list of health benefits good nutrition offers (just a few):

  • Healthy heart
  • Strong bones
  • Higher energy levels
  • Better weight control
  • Positive brain health
  • May reduce the risk for stroke and other cardiovascular diseases
  • Reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes
  • Help decrease bone loss

Above are some of the most important aspects of good nutrition. We can all agree that these are just a few examples among the thousands of ways to achieve good nutrition. Eating whole foods and drinking lots of water is the best way to maintain a healthy body. Try staying away from any beverages and snacks high in artificial ingredients and artificial sweeteners (splenda, equal, sweet ‘n’ low, etc.). Be sure to utilize the three keys to good nutrition: variety, balance, and moderation. Also, try to “eat a rainbow a day”; this simply means to choose colorful foods. These are just a few easy ways that will help you switch from an unhealthy diet to a nutrient dense, healthy diet.

If your ultimate goal is to live a healthy lifestyle nutrition alone won’t give that to you.

You have to be willing to put in the blood, sweat, and tears in the gym!

I know, I know … it’s hard and it hurts. Well, look at it this way, if it was easy every person in the world would be doing it! Nutrition and exercise truly go hand in hand. They’re “two peas in a pod”, “two halves to a whole”, or even your “yin and yang”; you truly cannot have one without the other unless you have a physical impairment hindering you from moving your body. Physical exercise should be as much of a necessity as breathing!

Let me paint a picture for you.

You don’t exercise nor do you like to. You believe that you are a healthy individual because you “never” get sick during flu season. You consider yourself a pretty healthy person even though that long walk from your car to your office or climbing a couple of flights of stairs makes you feel like you just ran a marathon! You’re pretty convinced that you just don’t NEED to exercise because you “never” get sick.

What happens as you age and maintain this sedentary lifestyle?

Your heart grows weak and heavy; it isn’t strong enough to pump the blood your body needs to move effortlessly. Heavy breathing ensues not just when you walk up a flight of stairs but the slightest physical exertion standing up out of a chair can throw you into a breathing frenzy! Your muscles slowly waste away not only as a result of aging but as a result of inactivity making you prone to injury. You also develop osteoporosis in your bones making them very brittle, frail, and very susceptible to fractures or injury.

Before you know it, you’re either bed ridden or ordered to be in a wheel chair for the remainder of your life all because you decided not to designate only 30 minutes a day to exercise.

Here is an amazing fact:

Just 30 minutes of cardio and weight lifting each day can have an amazing effect on your bones when they…

6.9.2015 – Part.2 of Diet or Exercise – Which is more important?

meagan kunisch

Budgeting for my 12 week prep

So over the past few weeks I have been researching information on show costs for participating in a competition. Holy cow! It is expensive, but I already knew that going into the research. I am determined to save, save, save and save up to be able to afford the costs for my show. There is a lot you have to take into consideration. I will post the prices when I begin prepping to show you how it all adds up. $$$

– federation membership fee

– federation card

– tan, makeup, hair, and nails

– bikini

– heels

– jewelry

– food and supplement costs

– Posing classes

– Trainer

Are you starting to get the picture? I have been asking myself, “How on earth is a 24 year old server going to be able to come up with the money that is required to participate in a show?” The answer to that is … I honestly don’t know. I am going to take it one day at a time and will do what I must to make it happen. I have a plan but it wont be easy and I will have to work very hard to achieve this goal. Nothing worth having comes easy and I am prepared to put in the hours of blood, sweat, and tears that it takes to be successful.

I would love some feedback from those of you who have participated in a show and have personally experienced the prep process physically and financially. I always welcome and appreciate advice!

M.

hardworkabs

 

Destined for Greatness

Do you ever get that feeling that you’re destined for something more? That fire you feel within you burning day in and day out. Do you feel it?

The feeling that you are destined for something more than just what is; something more than the day-to-day activities that fleetingly pass us by like the wind through our fingertips. I do. I don’t feel like I was put on this earth to just wake up, work, pay bills, and partake in the small activities that keep our souls happily nourished. Now, don’t get me wrong I love my hobbies and activities I participate in but, I do feel that there is more that life has to offer than the “norm”. I do feel that I was put here to inspire and help motivate others as are so many of you! I can easily count on two hands the names of people who have come into my life and inspired me towards the healthy life I live today. I want to be that person someone turns to and says, “Thank you so much for inspiring me. You are the reason I now live a healthy life. You are the reason I was able to make a complete “180” and turn my life around.” To hear someone say those words would make my heart scream out with pure exhilaration.

I can’t wait to experience what the competition world has to offer me: the excitement, the glamour, the hard work: blood, sweat, and tears. I can’t wait to put in the hours of training and meal prepping it takes to succeed. You know why? I don’t expect anything less from myself. I know I will reach this goal of being on stage, win or lose. What sets you apart from the rest is confidence. Your self-confidence will radiate like the sun’s rays setting fires in other people’s hearts, a fire that will burn and motivate them towards achieving their own goals. I may not be strong every day but I can tell you one thing I get back up and get back at it, I don’t stop. I won’t stop until I am where I need to be, until I am where I know I should be.

So, here is my question to you:

Do you feel that you are destined for more, that you are destined for greatness? 

M.

“Hardship often prepares an ordinary person for an extraordinary destiny.”

C.S. Lewis

The differences between bikini, figure, physique, and body building divisions.

For the past few days I have been thinking hard and long about my fitness goals. Do I want to participate in athletic competitions like power lifting OR do I want to compete in an aesthetic competition like bikini, figure, physique, etc.? So far, I have decided that I want to participate in an aesthetic competition but, here is what I realized … I honestly have no clue what the differences are between the different divisions! To help me help you here is the breakdown:

Bikini – Bikini competitors are judged on the following:

  • Balance and shape
  • Physical Appearance
  • Complexion and skin tone
  • Poise
  • Overall presentation

bikiniimage

(Ashley Kaltwasser)

Figure – Figure competitors are judged on the following:

  • Small degree of muscularity with separation (no visible striations)
  • Overall muscle tone with shapely lines
  • Overall firmness
  • Not excessively lean
  • Healthy appearance

figureimage

(Erin Stern shown above. This is the division I will be prepping for and competing in!)

Physique – Physique competitors are judged on the following:

  • Overall aesthetics and look that is found in figure
  • Muscularity
  • Shape
  • Proportion
  • Muscle Tone
  • Poise
  • Beauty flow

physiqueimage

(DLB or Dana Lynn Bailey)

Bodybuilding – Bodybuilding competitors are judged on the following:

  • Judged in weight categories
  • Presentation
  • Muscular development
  • Overall assessment of symmetry

bodybuildingimage

So there ya go!

Listed above are all of the differences between each division. Here is a side by side picture that will help show you the differences.

Bikini, Figure, Physique, Bodybuilding 2

I have always been under the impression that I have a body built for bikini. I think the posing is very feminine (which I like), the suits are sexy, and there isn’t a huge demand for overall muscularity. I also like the figure division and is what I will be competing in. The division does not focus on a large degree of muscularity (which I like) but they still have an ATHLETIC/FIT appearance.

Competitions take 100% dedication. They will test not only your physical strength but your mental strength as well. You have to be consistent with both diet and workout regimen. As of right now I feel like I have been training my mind for competitions. I meal prep and I have just recently started counting my macros (fats, carbs, and proteins) so I can get a feel for it when the day comes that I begin prepping for a show. Hey! You know what they say, “You never know until you try!”

M.

“I am too positive to be doubtful. Too optimistic to be fearful. And too determined to be defeated.”