Sleep & Muscular Development

Sleep. Can’t get enough of it, am I right? What’s even worse is we can be so doggone tired, lay down to go to sleep and then it’s like the checklist you couldn’t get accomplished throughout the day hits you like a train! Now, you feel like you’ll never get to sleep … I’m sure we have all been there. As part of a healthy lifestyle sleep is important for many different reasons like muscular development and physical performance, improves memory, and also gives you a higher level of energy to take on the day! Since we, here at CSL, are geared towards fitness I am going to direct your attention to why sleep is important for muscular development and overall physical performance.

A little information on SLEEP

There are 2 categories that sleep is divided into, REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, and NREM (Non Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. You spend a large portion of the night in NREM and progressively work towards REM sleep about every ninety minutes. The later stages of sleep that your body enters into are the most important when it comes to restorative function. The downside is that you can only get there by getting through the initial stages of sleep. Improving sleep quality is just as important as improving how often you sleep.

Human Growth Hormone

Most of your growth hormone is produced while you sleep and responsible for your physical growth.  Some benefits of HGH include but are not limited to:

  • Repairs muscles allowing optimal growth
  • Increases calcium retention improving bone mass
  • Promotes fat loss
  • Minimizes fat storage
  • Support optimal immune system function
  • Keeps your body running smoothly

HGH levels are high in childhood and peak in adolescence. HGH levels begin diminishing after puberty. HGH is constantly being produced throughout our lives and helps regulate the body’s metabolism aiding weight loss.

Recovery

Recovery, the period during which muscle growth occurs, will not take place without plenty of sleep. Rest and the duration of rest are important for each and every muscle group. The rest time varies according to each muscle group and the intensity at which you trained. It may take your legs 2-4 full days to completely recover where your arms may only take 1-2 days. Full recovery will allow your body to grow in strength and size.

Sleep Time

Sleep time is very individualistic. Generally between 6 and 12 hours of sleep will suffice. Although there are super-humans out there like The Rock who seems to function optimally on very little sleep (props to him!) Find the time that works best for you. For myself I have noticed that 6-7 hours allows me to wake feeling energized and refreshed, any more than that and I feel sluggish the entire day!

Sleep tips & tricks!

Below are a few helpful tricks to allow you to turn off your brain and improve your sleep!

  • Keep a notepad on your nightstand and jot down anything that comes to your mind. Jot down your “check-list”. Write it down, leave it, and rest! This method allows peace of mind in realizing that you no longer have to think about it any further (fingers crossed!)
  • Utilize calming music to help you fall asleep and stay asleep. I won’t lie, I have had to use this method on those nights where I just can’t seem to relax. Listening to the sounds of birds chirping, waves crashing, rain, or grasshoppers allows me to mentally focus on those sounds alone eventually leading to sleep.
  • Maintain a clean room. This might sound very elementary but it works! You’d be surprised at how many adults go to sleep with clothing and shoes thrown everywhere, papers and deadlines sitting on dressers, etc. By picking up after yourself and placing any work related paper or information in the dining room or living area, you are promoting a stress free environment that allows for optimal sleep rest. The atmosphere in which you rest in plays a huge role on you mentally and eventually physically.
  • Implement a casein protein or a blended protein like CSL’s Clinical Protein before you go to sleep. I am famous for getting in bed, falling asleep, and waking up in the middle of the night hungry (I know I’m not the only one!) Your body goes through a period of starvation while you sleep pulling from its energy stores. For people trying to build muscle this can be detrimental. Try supplementing with a blended protein that contains slow digesting proteins right before you go to bed. The slow digesting protein allows your body to take in nutrients throughout the night while you sleep keeping you satisfied and avoiding hunger. This also allows your body to fuel itself from those nutrients and not your muscles, bonus!

CSL’s Clinical Protein also contains mct’s (medium chain triglycerides) that provide cellular energy for repair. These mct’s aid in muscular recovery while you sleep! Avoid muscular cannibalism and enhance muscular recovery with Clinical Protein! Click the link below for more information.

http://clinicalsportslabs.com/product/clinical-protein-vanilla-ice-cream/

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You’re getting warmer! Why you should warm-up, stretch, and cool down!

Attractive woman stretching legs after run on beach

I have to ask …

Do you warm-up, stretch, and cool down before and after your workout?

Unfortunately, many people will agree that they DON’T. If you are one of those people, this article is exactly for you!

You’re Getting Warmer!

Warming up is absolutely critical when it comes to being successful with your training. It allows your bones, muscles, and mind to warm-up, get loose, and get the blood flowing. This allows your body to train efficiently and accurately minimizing the threat of injury to muscles, joints, and ligaments during your workout. Though the main purpose of warming up is injury prevention it is also super beneficial for your mental state as well!

When you go into the gym and immediately start lifting or working out you don’t give your mind enough time to comprehend your workout and get you motivated for the stress you are about to put your body through. During the warm-up phase of your training you will be able to focus on the exercises you want to hit and you will be able to jump-start your motivation!

Here are a few great ways to warm-up before you train!

  • 5 – 10 minute warm-up on the treadmill, stair climber, elliptical, or arc trainer.
  • Perform light weight warm-up sets for the muscles you plan on training, bump up the weight to a moderately heavy weight and complete a few warm-up After this moderately heavy warm-up set you want to rest until fully recovered, then start your workout!

What you get from warming up!

  • Increased flexibility
  • Injury prevention
  • Lubricates the joints
  • Achieve optimal results

Stretch it Out!

Along with a good warm-up before your workout you should follow-up your workout with a stretching session. Just like warming up, stretching is preventative care. By implementing stretching into your training regimen you are less likely to experience injury in future training sessions.

There are many great ways to stretch each and every part of your body!

There is a big debate about what whether or not you should stretch warm or cold muscles. I am a huge advocate for stretching after a light warm-up. This allows increased blood flow to the muscles which in turn creates better mobility and avoids injury while stretching.

Imagine that your muscles are like a rubber band, a cold and brittle rubber band will snap but a warm rubber band will stretch and bend and return to its original shape.

What you get from stretching!

  • Increased blood flow
  • Improve flexibility
  • Prevents injury
  • Optimum training

Cool Down

Cooling down after you workout or cardio session is actually very important even though most people don’t normally incorporate a cool down after training. I would say it is most important after cardiovascular training. Think about it, you just completed 15 minutes of 30 seconds on and 1 minute walking rest of sprints. You immediately turn the treadmill off and leave. You’re gasping for air, sweating bullets, shaking, and your heart rate is higher than the empire state building. This is exactly why you need to allow your body a chance to cool down and let your heart rate return to normal.

I would say if you complete a 5 minute warm-up you should also complete a 5 minute cool down after you session.

What you get from cooling down!

  • Helps your heart rate and breathing to return to normal
  • Will help avoid dizziness or fainting
  • Helps prepare your muscles for the next exercise session

Protect your body from injury by incorporating a warm-up and cool down session along with stretching before and/or after training. Hey, we only get one body! Might as well take care of the one we have.

-mk

From Unhealthy to Healthy: How you can make the switch!

From Unhealthy to Healthy: How you can make the switch!

healthyunhealthybody

I’m going to give it to you straight up … it ain’t easy. Hell if it was everyone would be living a healthy and fit life! Am I right? Knowing how to start helps and having simple steps to guide you through the process is even better. I have compiled my own step by step process to help guide you into this beautiful, stress relieving world of health.

  1. The Decision

It honestly has to start with the decision to willingly begin. It can’t be someone else’s decision for you, it must be 100% your own. As we all know if our heart isn’t 100% dedicated to something we are less likely to follow through with it. So, when you have taken that first step … you are ready to begin.

  1. Educate Yourself

This is the hardest and most frustrating part. Because you are a newbie you are a beginner and we all know where beginners start … the beginning, the bottom of the totem pole, the back of the line, etc. There is always a stage where you have to put in a little bit of hard work and that comes with anything in life: there are no shortcuts to any place worth going.

Research any information pertaining to YOUR current health status. For example, if you deal with a disease or have any food allergies you will want to look up the foods you can and can’t eat. Take note. Also, make sure to write down the types of foods that your diet should be rich in and will have a positive impact on your health. As for your fitness plan, research exercises you can and can’t participate in. Any injuries you may have, you will want to find the exercises that will build these parts up stronger but won’t hurt these bones, ligaments, or muscles at the same time.

I strongly suggest avoiding fad diets. A fad diet is a weight loss plan or aid that promises dramatic results. These types of diets may give short-term weight loss but the promise of keeping it off long-term … it just won’t happen. Fad diets can also cause metabolic damage and other health related issues.

To learn how to differentiate between healthy diets and fad diets check out the link below:

http://www.upmc.com/patients-visitors/education/nutrition/pages/fad-diets.aspx

After you have made a list of foods you can and can’t eat and a list of body strengthening exercises that won’t further irritate any injuries you may have, it’s time to make a plan of action!

  1. Plan of Action

Failure to plan is planning to fail.

So, it’s time to put all of that information you spent hours researching together in a document. Pat yourself on the back because the hard part is over … for now (insert evil villain laugh). I highly recommend using a word processing program like word, excel, or publisher to put together something you can refer to. This is where you can have fun! What I would do next is simply put together a sample weekly diet plan and weekly fitness regimen. Start with one at a time so that you don’t overwhelm yourself! A sample diet plan could look like this:

Monday

Breakfast: egg whites with spinach, grape tomatoes, and feta cheese and 1 slice of Ezekial bread with Almond butter.

Snack: handful of almonds and 8oz of water

Lunch: 1 can of tuna mixed with seasonings, spicy brown mustard, and celery served on top of whole wheat toast with a side of mixed field greens and balsamic vin.

Snack: 2 rice cakes with peanut butter

Dinner: grilled chicken breast, mixed veggies, and sweet potato

Try your best to be thorough but the key here is to create something that YOU CAN REFER TO. This shouldn’t be some silly ‘ole regimen you put together and never look at again. This should be your guidance, what you will refer to when you get overwhelmed in the future. Trust me, it helps.

A sample fitness regimen could look like this:

Monday

Morning run / Afternoon weight lifting: Chest & Tri’s

  • Barbell bench press
  • Barbell incline bench press
  • Cable flies
  • Skull crushers with EZ bar
  • Dumbbell kickbacks
  • Cable press downs

If you are new and you aren’t sure where to start with selecting exercises visit bodybuilding.com. They provide thousands of sample exercises and all you have to do is type in what muscle group you are searching for.

www.bodybuilding.com

Those are a couple of examples of how you can lay out your sample diet and fitness regimen. A few things to aim for when it comes to creating a healthy diet plan:

  • Include variety: make sure your plan includes a variety of whole foods ranging from green leafy vegetables, fruits, red and white meats, legumes (beans), nuts and seeds, dairy, whole grains, etc. Including a variety of all of these foods allows your body to take in the nutrients it needs to be strong and healthy! Of course, pay attention to any health or medical conditions you have as they might limit or exclude some foods.
  • Create balance: creating balance just means not having too much of one thing. I am sure you have heard of MyPlate. If not, MyPlate is just a useful website that gives you information about eating healthy. It shows you how to divide your plate according to meats, vegetables, dairy, whole grains, etc. MyPlate says to dedicate half of our plate to green leafy vegetables and then divide the other half of our plate between a carbohydrate and a protein. Simple enough right?
  • Moderation: this simply means to pay attention to how much of one item you’re eating. Have you noticed that you have been consuming a lot of sweet potatoes the past couple of days? Maybe it’s time to switch things up and try eating some brown rice. Too much of a good thing can be bad, so just keep an eye on what you eat and how much of it you eat daily.

Visit the link below for more information about healthy food choices and how to implement balance, moderation, and variety into your diet!

http://www.choosemyplate.gov/

  1. Implement your Plan!

The day has finally arrived. Day One in your calendar; this is the day where your life can change forever. You have made the decision to begin living a healthy life and you have created a plan of action that will guide and aid in this life changing process!

It’s GO TIME!

Always keep in mind what your long-term goals are: lose 20 lbs, clear your acne, relieve the symptoms of psoriasis, and strengthen your heart, whatever it is always remember what you are working so hard for! They will be your motivating factors on this journey. When it comes to health and fitness nothing happens over night, let me say it again,

NOTHING HAPPENS OVER NIGHT.

Got it?

This process takes time. Do not give yourself unrealistic expectations of trying to accomplish this life change in one week or a month. Be patient and trust the process. Rome wasn’t built in a day, was it? No.

If you are someone who is motivated through seeing changes, as I am, I recommend keeping a journal. This is where you can write any and everything! Write down your starting waist, hips, and thigh measurements, your current weight, how clear your skin is, how you feel mentally and physically. Write down whether or not you enjoyed the food you ate or if you hated it. Make notes about your fitness: what did you enjoy and what did you dislike? As time goes by you will begin to notice subtle changes and you will also have a point of reference for determining if and when you need a change.

These steps helped me start living a healthy and fit life. I always recommend reaching out if you have questions or concerns. Contact a friend for advice, information, and motivation. Talk to your doctor if you have health related questions or a personal trainer for physical questions. You won’t know the answer until you ask the question!

Today is the day you could change your life forever.

Go for it!

-mk

Other blog posts I have previously written that can help aid in this process are listed below:

How fitness can impact your relationship!

Studies show that fitness can make relationships stronger. It can create a fun environment for couples to challenge and motivate each-other while spending time together; building strength not only physically but strengthening the relationship as a whole.

Couples-Fitness

Below are 5 takeaways of couples living an active lifestyle together!

  1. Unbreakable Bond – Living a healthy lifestyle and taking care of your body is very important when it comes to living a healthy and strong life; it’s even better when your significant other is dedicated to health and fitness just like you. It allows you two to spend time together pushing and motivating each-other in ways you never thought possible.
  2. Great Motivation – Talk about some great motivation! When you two are both interested in fitness and have goals you are trying to meet, one of the most motivating factors in your life can be your significant other. For me my boyfriend pushes me and tests my limits in ways I never could do for myself. When couples train together the motivation levels increase dramatically!
  3. Confidence Boost – One of the most important results fitness gives you is self-confidence. Living a healthy lifestyle and taking care of your body makes you feel like you are in control. You can change your body with exercise and nutrition and for some people this change brings on an amazing confidence boost! When you are confident in your own skin that light will shine in your relationship!
  4. Improved Patience and Understanding – We all know that training times can range from very short to pretty dang long! Couples who train together understand that some training days may be longer than others and sometimes training has to come before movie dates and dinners. This understanding improves the level of patience in a relationship.
  5. Improved Sex Life – Your active lifestyle in the gym can improve your active lifestyle in bed! Exercise improves your energy, stamina, and flexibility. It also gets your blood pumping and raises testosterone levels. The confidence you get from fitness will give that added boost of confidence and sex appeal under the sheets!

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One of the biggest keys to success is motivation. Whether it is self motivation or motivation from an outside source, it is important for your significant other to be there for you and motivate you in working towards your goals. That is what strengthens and bonds relationships.

Below are a couple of comments my readers left on my blog when I asked how fitness has impacted their relationship!

“Fitness has become a big part of my life in the last 3 years. Robb my boyfriend of the last 3 years has definitely contributed to getting me in the gym especially weight lifting rather than my usual cardio. He bought me a gym membership (which I took no offense too lol) our first Christmas together so that we could workout together at his gym Fitness 19. He made me enjoy the gym and helped me learn how to lift weights. It has never affected our relationship in a negative way, it brings us closer and is just another hobby we have together. Health and nutrition also plays a huge role in our household and we educate each other on how to be healthy and fit together. The gym has definitely helped me with anxiety issues that I have. Some days the gym is therapy for me and I know it’s the same for Robb as well. Nothing is more of a turn on in a relationship than dedication and motivation on yourself and appearance.” – Lauren

With her boyfriend motivating her along the way Lauren is able to live a stronger more healthy life. Proof that fitness can certainly bond two people in a relationship and bring them closer together!

Another reader said,

“I think working out is a fun and healthy way to spend time together. It’s definitely an important part of my relationship with my fiancé considering I have a hard time motivating myself to go alone. It’s good to remember to keep it fun and not take it too seriously, whether working out together or alone. Don’t ever obsess over your body or your significant other’s body which be detrimental to the relationship. Just be happy, love and enjoy each other.” – Shalimar

It seems like the biggest factor that comes into play is motivation. When your significant other is able to motivate you and encourage you to do what you enjoy, your relationship naturally strengthens. When he/she is constantly frustrated with your fitness hobbies motivation can diminish drastically.

So, what if you are someone whose significant other is less than motivated in the gym? I know it can be truly frustrating but you can’t sacrifice your own happiness for someone else’s. If living a healthy and fit lifestyle is something you enjoy, I say take the time you need to satisfy that part of you!

Below are a few ways you can still enjoy fitness when your significant other is less than interested!

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  1. Outdoors Activities – There are many, many ways you can stay fit with your boyfriend or girlfriend. I am a huge fan of hiking. I would recommend researching hiking trails in your area that you two can take a day and visit together. My favorite is Amicalola Falls in Georgia. The hike ranges from beginner to experienced. What makes the trip so much more rewarding is the breathtaking view of the waterfall at the end of the hike!
  2. Races – Races like the Savage race or Warrior Dash are fun way to get involved in fitness outside of the gym. If your significant other despises lifting weights in a room, try suggesting you two take part in a race like this! They are fun, motivating, and the sense of community is truly inspirational!
  3. Walks – Taking walks is not only a great way to refresh and reboot you mentally but is also a great way for couples to bond. I suggest going in the evening or morning and leaving behind any technology. This allows you two to engage in meaningful conversation!

There are always ways around not living a healthy and fit life. I know from experience that it can be frustrating and it can drastically diminish your individual motivation when your loved one doesn’t care about health and exercise; but, it doesn’t have to!

Don’t sacrifice your own happiness and individual needs for someone else’s. Communication is key. Talk to your significant other about your feelings and hopefully you two will be able to meet in the middle.

-mk

Are you taking the right supplements for your goals?

Supplements can give you an added boost in achieving your desired physique and can also help boost your immune function. There are many varieties of supplements on the market today which makes it tricky in choosing the right product that works best for you. I have compiled a list of the top supplements I recommend (my favorites!) and what they can do for you.

supplements

  1. Multi-Vitamins
    • If you maintain a healthy diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, healthy oils, and nuts you may not need to supplement with a multi-vitamin or other vitamins.
    • Multi-vitamins help fill in the missing pieces to your body’s health puzzle. What you may not be getting from your diet your multi-vitamin will fill that in. For example, Folic Acid and Vitamin D are a few things we may not get enough of in our diet. Taking a multi-vitamin will help provide these for our body.
    • Be careful not to take too much of a certain vitamin. Have you ever heard the saying, “Too much of a good thing”? Well it’s true. Too much of a good thing can be harmful. Take the recommended daily dose.
    • The best way for your body to get the nutrients it needs is to eat whole foods. Following the food pyramid is a great starting point. A multi-vitamin will help fight any nutrients your body may be deficient in.
    • Keep in mind that the quality and composition of multi – vitamins can vary significantly between different brands. Below is an excerpt from Charlie Seltzer author of “Should you take a multi – vitamin? Benefits and side effects” on builtlean.com,

I like to break down multivitamins into two broad categories: whole-food derived (found in natural, whole foods) and synthetic (created in laboratories). Without getting too technical, it is important to understand that just because something has been synthesized in a laboratory doesn’t necessarily mean it is not the same as what is found in nature. However, it is often different – for instance, synthetic Vitamin E is structurally unique from that of natural Vitamin E.”

  • Charlie Seltzer MD recommends whole food multi-vitamins by Megafood and Garden of Life. These don’t contain any chemicals or synthetic nutrients.
  1. Omega – 3’s or Fish Oils
  • Fish oils are important in preventing heart disease/managing heart disease, lowering blood pressure, reduces triglycerides, and can help slow the build-up of plaque in the arteries.
  • The best way for the body to obtain omega – 3s is from eating fish 2 -3 times a week.
  • Fish high in omega – 3s are: salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, lake trout and tuna.
  • For those of you who do not like fish, supplementing with a omega – 3s in pill form is a great choice.
  • Take the recommended dose; usually no more than 3 grams a day.
  1. Glucosamine
    • Glucosamine is a naturally occurring substance found in the fluid around our joints.
  • Glucosamine is very important in the process of building cartilage. Cartilage helps cushion the joints.
  • As we age glucosamine levels decrease making the possibility of joint injury more likely.
  • Glucosamine is a great supplement for those suffering with bone or joint issues.

Now, let’s get into some fun supplements that are geared more towards the fitness aesthetics and performance!

 ropes

  1. Pre – Workout!
    • Pre – workouts are supplements that contain ingredients that provide a boost of energy, focus, increased strength, speed, and endurance.
    • Most athletes and “gym-rats” (like me) take pre – workouts before training sessions.
    • My favorite pre – workout brands are Metabolic Nutrition’s ESP Blue Raspberry flavor and Cellucor’s C4 mimosa flavor. (de-lish!)
    • Just a little bit of advice on pre – workouts. If you have been working out without using a pre-workout and you don’t need the added energy it provides I would recommend not starting regular consumption. Like any caffeinated beverage, it is addictive. Once you start taking it you feel the need to keep taking it and keep taking it. Catch my drift? If you do decide to begin taking a pre-workout supplement, I recommend cycling on and off to avoid becoming addicted!
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  1. Creatine
    • Creatine is a compound formed in protein metabolism and is present in much living tissue. It is involved in the supply of energy for muscular contraction.
    • Helps increase your overall workout intensity; allows you to workout longer and harder.
    • Better muscular contraction (especially good for athletes who train using stop and go movements).
    • Allows you to participate in frequent training sessions
    • Results in huge muscle pumps (yesss!)
    • Helps increase your metabolic rate
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  1. Glutamine
    • “Glutamine is the most common amino acid found in your muscles – over 61% of skeletal muscle is Glutamine. Glutamine consists of 19% nitrogen, making it the primary transporter of nitrogen into your muscle cells.” (bodybuilding.com)
    • “During intense training, glutamine levels are greatly depleted in your body, which decreases strength, stamina and recovery. It could take up to 6 days for glutamine levels to return to normal – and glutamine plays a key role in protein synthesis. Studies have shown that L-glutamine supplementation can minimize breakdown of muscle and improve protein metabolism.” (bodybuilding.com)
    • Helps your body secrete the human growth hormone or HGH which helps burn fat and supports new muscle growth.
    • The best times to take glutamine are pre- and post-workout and right before bed.

For more information on the benefits of glutamine visit the link below:

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/glutamine.htm

  1. Protein Powder
    • Supplementing with protein powder can be beneficial if used properly.
    • Protein is used by the body to build and repair muscles and bones after times of stress.
    • Protein is an essential nutrient that is needed daily by the body.
    • If you cannot consume the adequate amount of protein needed by the body through your diet alone, supplementing with a protein powder can be very beneficial.
    • Do not assume that any and all protein powders can be used as meal replacements. Do your research. Some proteins can replace meals and others can’t. Be sure to read the labels!

There are different types of protein powders that exist to fit your goals and needs.

  • Whey Concentrate
  • Casein Protein
  • Whey Isolates
  • Hydrolysate Protein
  • Soy Protein
  • Milk Protein Isolate
  • Egg Albumin

Follow the link below to find the right protein for you!

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/protein-types-best-for-you.htm

Supplements are called supplements for a reason. They should not replace anything in your diet unless specified by a doctor. They are to be used ALONG WITH a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and oils.

The true definition of the word supplements is

“Something that completes or enhances something else when added to it.”

I hope this information will help you in your future fitness and health endeavors. Honestly, fitness is all about trial and error. What works well for someone may not work well for another person. The same can be said for supplements. Some people may have great reactions to supplementing with creatine or glutamine but that doesn’t mean you will. You have to try it out and see for yourself!

What are your favorite supplements?

-mk

References

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

Does fitness have a positive or negative impact on your relationship?

I am putting together some ideas for a future blog post and I need YOUR help. I have actually seen a couple posts about relationships and fitness but I really wanted to find out for myself from all of you!

Here is my question:

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  • Does health and/or fitness have a positive or negative impact on your relationship? Whether it is yes or no, can you explain why?

Fitness and health play huge roles in my relationship. My boyfriend Joey trains in Jiu Jitsu about 4 – 5 days a week. I weight-lift about the same amount of days. We both encourage and motivate each-other to work hard doing what we enjoy. He is okay with the time I take to weight-lift and I am okay with the time he takes to train. Two people in a relationship should be able to take time to do what they enjoy even if it involves being apart. Don’t get me wrong we workout together too! 😉

Please comment and leave me your thoughts and opinions. Your comments will help me write my next blog post on Fitness and how it impacts relationships!

-mk