High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) – sounds intense doesn’t it? I used to be skeptical of HIIT and whether the claims of its benefits were actually true. Could someone really achieve the same aerobic gains in half the time? Was it safe? Was it only for top-level athletes in a sports science lab? I was skeptical – that is, until I scoured the literature. What I know now, I can share with you and, hopefully, better guide you toward your health and fitness goals.
Let’s look at what HIIT is, its benefits, and how it compares to other types of exercise. We’ll also look at some sample workout regimens and see if HIIT is right for you…
If strengthening your core is of any importance to you, there’s no doubt you’ve attempted a plank once or twice. I try to incorporate some form of a plank at least once per week – it has become a staple in my exercise toolbox. The beauty of the plank is that it works multiple abdominal muscles while putting very little stress on the lumbar spine. It’s also easy to do – you don’t need any equipment and it gives you that burn in your abs that hurts so good. It’s simple and effective.
There’s more to the plank, though, than meets the eye. It’s more than just holding a straight position for as long as you can.
Although you’re likely already reaping the benefits from your efforts, there are a few tweaks you can make to maximize your benefits.
Here’s some suggestions to make sure – from head to toe – you’re getting the most out of your planks.
Do you enjoy exercise? The word ‘exercise’ seems to have so many negative connotations, doesn’t it? It makes me think ‘hard work’, ‘pain’, and ‘routine’. But when you stop and think about what you do enjoy about exercise, oftentimes you focus less on the pain and more on the fun activities: walking with your spouse, playing pickup basketball, surfing, Zumba class, Yoga, CrossFit. Most of the time, these fun activities include other people. It turns out regularly exercising with others can benefit you in many ways. Here are 6 of them…
I don’t stretch as much as I should – that’s what I caught myself telling a friend over dinner the other night. He had asked me what my thoughts were about stretching – when to stretch, how often, for how long, etc. As I was informing him of my knowledge on the subject, I felt a certain sense of guilt in regards to my own stretching regiment because, in all honesty, I don’t really stretch that often.
But I’m a Physical Therapist! I’m supposed to embody total health all day, every day! Shouldn’t I be stretching morning, noon, and night?
Maybe you’re like me. Maybe you feel like you should be stretching more. Or maybe you feel like it’s unclear why you’re stretching in the first place and what kind of benefit it will have.
Well, I’ve got some good news for us both: how you stretch and when you stretch is more important than spending more time stretching…
Weakness is a relative term. We tend to think of weakness in comparison to other people. For instance, I am weaker than ‘The Rock’ (first person who came to my mind). But what about weakness of certain muscles in your own body relative to others? There are several important groups of muscles that tend to be weak in many people.
Maybe you’ve been neglecting to strengthen some of the weakest areas of your body without even knowing it…
Knee Pain can be debilitating. It starts as a little ache – no big deal – you think you can push through it. So you continue on with your weekly exercise routine only to find that the pain isn’t getting better, it’s getting worse. What started as a minor nag is now a major issue.
I used to be a gym rat. I went 5-6 days a week religiously. I went to a dumpy little cave of a gym that I grew up going to. Its where my parents went from the time I was little. I knew every machine, every dumbbell, and the routines of most of the other regulars. It was my territory – I felt like I owned the place. Then one day my gym shut down and I had to find a new one. Great, I thought, I’ll pick up right where I left off. Wrong. Going to a new gym felt like starting from scratch. Sure, I knew how to exercise but being in a new place was uncomfortable. It had different equipment, a different layout, a different mentality, and I didn’t like it…at first.
After a few months, though, it became MY gym.
Because I went outside my comfort zone, tried new things, stuck with it, and made it my gym.
Likewise, you need to make it YOUR gym. Here’s how…
Starting a new workout routine is hard – whether at home or at the gym. The gym can be an intimidating place for many people – a lot of equipment, a lot of people, a lot of activity. It seems you have to know what you’re doing to fit in. Maybe this is why so many of us sign up for gym memberships early in the year as part of a Resolution, but fail at keeping up with the workouts.
Has this happened to you?
It’s easy to get discouraged at the gym, isn’t it? Everyone there seems to be in really good shape and have their workouts dialed in. It often seems like some gym-goers can be downright rude at times. No one has the time or patience to allow space for a newbie.
Rather than dreading the thought of getting started at the gym, I’m here to give you some pointers to get you ready to be on top of things before you step foot in the door and start working out…
Are you thinking about signing up for a gym membership in 2017 as part of your New Year’s Resolution? That’s great! But guess what? So are about a hundred million other people. You are going to get there and be so overwhelmed you won’t know which way to turn – except toward the exit. Don’t get me wrong, January 1 is a great time to sign up for a gym – you’ll get the best deal, for sure. But, it’s also the worst time to actually exercise at the gym. You’ll find yourself standing in line for 20 minutes just to get on a treadmill. So take my advice – sign up for the New Year’s Special, but then freeze your gym membership until February.
That’s right – most gyms will allow you to freeze your membership for a designated amount of time. Once January comes to an end, about 50% of the new members will stop going regularly. That means that you will have room to breathe – and, more importantly, room to work out!
“But wait!” you ask. “I’m motivated to start working out now, I want to get started!”
I’m so glad. Because now is the perfect time to get started – even before you touch a machine or weight.
You need to get your body prepared for battle. Most people start working out without preparing first and one of two things tends to happen. They either get so fatigued and sore that they give up, or worse, they get injured.
Don’t let either of these scenarios happen to you. Here’s what you can do instead…