Weight Loss

  1. Time Crunching Workouts to Blast Fat and Boost Fitness this Holiday Season



    Letting fitness slide over the holidays is easy to do. Tight schedules, short days, and frequent celebrations sap the motivation of even dedicated gym goers. Your best weapon? Create a go-to workout that's time efficient (less than 30 minutes), convenient (in your home on your schedule), and effective enough to keep you coming back for continued results. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) meets those requirements and is adaptable and effective for any level of athlete. Here's what you need to know.

    HIIT is effective.
    Despite the shorter duration of these workouts (less than 30 minutes), the intensity of HIIT workouts results in a higher calorie burn both during and after the workout. This means that the post-exercise oxygen consumption (an indicator of resting calorie burn) is higher following HIIT workouts than other forms of training, and will stay high for two hours afterwards. After HIIT training your body is primed to use your holiday meal building muscle and fueling for your next workout, rather than putting on fat. HIIT is also demonstrated to specifically target abdominal fat. Additional health benefits of HIIT over steady state cardio include improvement in insulin levels, cholesterol, blood pressure, cardiovascular fitness, and body weight (ACSM)

    HIIT is efficient.
    A true HIIT workout is short in duration. 20-30 minutes is ideal. These workouts are well suited to busy schedules that require results in less time. HIIT workouts also deliver results with 2-3 workouts each week. While you can complement HIIT training with active recovery, strength, and endurance training for a full program, using HIIT sessions as your go-to during the last few weeks of the year will maintain fitness, provide mental health benefits, and support a healthy metabolism while you enjoy your holidays.

    HIIT is adaptable.
    You don't have to be a well-conditioned athlete to benefit from HIIT workouts. HIIT training targets work periods of 85% or greater of your personal maximum heart rate, which makes it responsive to your ability. HIIT workouts can also be adapted to any piece of exercise equipment to provide intense workouts that are lower impact and directed at the fitness level of the user. Elliptical machines and Indoor Cycles are both incredibly effective means of delivering HIIT workouts without the impact of running and jumping.

    HIIT is motivating.
    Knowing that your workout is limited to less than 30 minutes makes working hard more approachable. Understanding the benefits of HIIT also makes it easier to push into a level of training difficulty that you might normally avoid. The repetition of specific intervals in HIIT training sessions, as well as the constant variation in intensity, makes these workouts fly by. The post-workout benefits are also motivating in completing the workout.

    Here are two of my favorite HIIT workouts.

    Indoor Cycle

    Minutes 1-3, Warm UP: Work into a target heart rate of 75% of your maximum at a pace of 80-100 RPM under moderate load.

    Minutes 3-8, Interval 1: Speed
    Alternate 3 1 minute speed bursts with 1 minute recovery periods. During the speed portion, maintain the load that you established during the warm-up, increasing your cadence to as fast as you can control. During rest periods, focus on recovering and then returning to your warm-up pace and effort before your next work.

    Minutes 8-12, Interval 2: Climb
    Alternate three 45 second climbs with three 45 second recovery periods. Reduce your cadence to 60-80 RPM's and increase to a heavy load pushes you up out of the saddle. Maintain this load for 25 seconds then return to the saddle and maintain the load for 20 seconds more. Rest for 45 seconds by reducing the load and returning to a cadence of 60-80 RPM's. Repeat. You can also choose to maintain your position in the saddle if you prefer.

    Minutes 12-15, Interval 3: Power Tabata
    During your recovery from your final climb, return to a cadence of 60-80 RPM's with a moderate load (a level that returns you to about 75% of your maximum heart rate). Maintaining the same load, increase your cadence to close to 100 RPM's for 20 seconds. Rest completely during the ten second break. Repeat the effort for a total of six work periods.

    Minutes 15-20, repeat Interval 1, Speed.

    Minutes 20-24, repeat Interval 2, Climb.

    Minutes 24-27, repeat Interval 3, Power Tabata.

    Minutes 27-30, cool down.
    Continue riding at a reduced load and speed until your heart rate returns to 75% or less of your maximum heart rate. Finish by stretching your hips, quads, calves, hamstrings, and shoulders.

    This workout can be adapted to an elliptical trainer or recumbent bike using the same variations in load and speed. It can be used as a template for treadmill workouts as well.

    Workout 2: Sprint 8
    Vision Fitness's Sprint 8 Treadmills take the guesswork out of designing a HIIT workout. Backed by research, this patented program combats body fat gain, declining energy, and reduced metabolism through a HIIT style training program. Your workout will start with a warm up period followed by eight 30 second training segments with an intensity that is based on your fitness and performance level. This entire workout takes only 20 minutes and is a proven way to keep holiday weight gain at bay this year.
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  2. 10 common mistakes keeping you from your fitness goals



    1. Not Having A Plan
    Your primary objective should influence the amount you do, as well as the the intensity and the type (cardio, resistance, stretching) of every workout. Pick a goal such as losing 10 pounds, running a 5K, or improving your endurance and research proven plans. This is a great way to optimize your workout and stay focused!

    2. The All-Or-Nothing Approach
    Research shows that just ten minutes of exercise can provide important health benefits. A ten minute workout is better than a 0 minute workout!

    3. Skipping The Warm Up
    Taking 5-10 minutes to gradually increase your body temperature and heart rate decreases your risk of injury since working cold, stiff muscles can lead to sprains and tears. Warming up also increases circulation and improves range of motion.

    4. Not Switching Up Your Routine
    Once your strength and stamina improve, it's time to upgrade your routine. The same workout week after week will lose its effectiveness and may lead to injury or burnout, as well as becoming incredibly boring. To switch up your routine, you do not need to spend more time at the gym. Simply try to manage your time differently and more efficiently. This is why interval training has become so popular!

    5. Unbalanced Training
    Most people focus only on certain muscles (such as the abdominals or biceps), but it's important to work your whole body and core.

    6. Rapid Progression
    Exercising too hard and too often, or increasing intensity too quickly, can result in injury and/or setback.

    7. Ignoring Heavy Weights
    It can be intimidating, but you aren't gaining anything from avoiding heavy weights. You have two types of muscle fibers: slow and fast. If you don't use the heavier weights, you neglect the fast fibers, which are important for moving quickly, lifting heavy objects and for spine and hip stability. Ladies, if you're worried that you'll bulk up, don't be. Women cannot add much size to their muscles due to low concentrations of testosterone.

    8. Not Protecting Your Bones
    It’s important to do weight-bearing exercises to help protect your bones. While treadmill walking is sufficient to keep the spinal bones strong, your hip bones need more loading. Remember the terms "steep," or "step." Either increase the steepness (incline) on the treadmill or attempt stepping exercises.

    9. Incorrect Machine Set-Up
    Exercise equipment is adjustable. It's important that you set it up to fit you correctly before you use it. Using poorly adjusted equipment could lead to injury and/or setback. If you're unsure about proper set up ask a staff person at your local gym or 2nd Wind Exercise fitness store.

    10. Always Running At A Steady Pace
    Again, we’re back to interval training. It teaches your muscles to burn energy more efficiently so you can go faster. Try starting out with a half or one-mile warm-up, then doing four to six rounds of running faster than your regular pace for a quarter mile and then switching to a slower pace for the next quarter mile. Strive to gradually lengthen the faster-paced intervals, but be careful not to progress too rapidly. Limit these interval runs to a few times a week to help avoid injury.

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  3. Burn More Calories With This HIIT Workout

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  4. 5 Ways to Speed-Up Your Weight Loss During the Workday



    If you’re a busy working professional you know it can be hard to fit in daily exercise, which also makes it even harder to achieve weight loss goals. With so many busy professionals strapped for time, we wanted to figure out how they can still lead a healthy lifestyle and, more importantly, lose a little weight while working. So, we turned to a few personal trainers, who are also 2nd Wind store personnel, for some tips on how to squeeze in a little extra calorie burning activities throughout the day. Here’s what they suggest:

    1. Take Time for Walk Breaks: Movement is crucial when trying to lose weight. Every time your body moves, calories are being burned. If you’re at a desk all day, be aware of the dangers that come along with sitting too much. In fact, check out this infographic we put together awhile back. It’s a quick insight into some of the issues that come along with sitting too much, as well as some of the benefits regular moving can bring. OK, let’s get to it. Here’s what we suggest you do every work day. Go for walks. Whether it’s down the hall, around the building, outside in nature… wherever you decide, grab a buddy and go! Set a schedule and hold yourself accountable for completing your walking goals each day. If you have a whiteboard in your office, write down your schedule so colleagues see it and ask about your progress. Set calendar alerts reminding you to head out for a quick stroll for 5, 10, 20, or 30 minutes, depending on what your schedule allows. Schedule at least two, 30 to 40 minute lunchtime walks per week.

    2. Move While You Work: Be cognizant of how much you can actually move while you’re completing daily work tasks. Do you talk on the phone a lot, read documents or watch webinars from time-to-time? Those are perfect opportunities to move while you’re being productive. Having a desk that gets you moving is one of the best investments you can make for your health. Treadmill desks (see the LifeSpan Treadmill Desk pictured below) or bike desks will allow you to move with your work right in front of you. Walk or bike at a pace that suits you and you’ll be surprised at how many calories, steps or mileage you can cover while getting caught up in workloads.



    3. Increase walking speed: If you have a treadmill desk, bike desk or take walks outside throughout the day; add a little HIIT or high intensity interval training to the walk. Just like any other workout effort, moments of increased speed equals an increase in calories burned. Try taking your speed from 2.0 to 4.0+ for one minute on your treadmill desk, then bring it back down. Continue that cycle as much as you can. Maybe your 30 minute lunch time stroll incorporates this HIIT effort; one minute up, two minutes back down, and repeat.

    4. Be sure to hydrate: Do you drink enough water throughout the day? Take a look at your daily water drinking habits. How much should you drink? That depends on size and weight, and also on your activity level. You should drink between 1/2 an ounce to 1 ounce water for each pound you weigh, every day. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, that would be 75 to 150 ounces of water a day. What are some benefits to drinking more water? Water boosts metabolism, helps break down food, flushes out toxins, helps you feel fuller and acts as a natural energy booster (just to name a few). Keep it cold! An added bonus of drinking icy cold water? It burns calories! Drink one 16 oz. glass of cold water and burn up to 17.5 calories. As your body brings down the temperature of the water, it will burn calories.

    5. Incorporate fat burning foods: Foods like green tea, whole grains, hot peppers, lean meats or lentils can actually boost your calorie burning engine, even while you’re not moving or exercising at all. Spicy foods like hot peppers contain a high thermogenic which increase the heat in your body causing it to burn more cals. Enjoy foods with whole grains? Great! You’ll burn a little extra there, too. In fact, your body burns twice as many calories breaking down whole grains so that’s a win-win!

    6. Eat smaller food portions more often: Shrink your tummy by consuming those foods above in smaller portions more often throughout the day (aside from breakfast, lunch and dinner). Consider having 5 to 6 small meals a day. Start with a breakfast that includes hearty whole grains, berries and nuts, then mid-morning, have a snack. For lunch, keep the portion small because early afternoon, you’ve got another snack waiting for you. Then, have a portion controlled dinner when you get home. Breaking down your meals into smaller portions throughout the day might take your stomach some time in getting used to, but once you do, you’ll notice your hunger is satisfied much earlier than it used to be. Smaller amounts will start to be plenty of food for you (pay attention to those changes).

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  5. The Best Calorie Burning, Leg Sculpting Elliptical Workout



    If you’re using fitness equipment to help you reach weight loss or fitness goals, try adding some body weight exercises to the mix to really fire things up. Here’s a fun elliptical workout, created by our certified fitness coach, Joli that will rev-up your metabolism and sculpt those legs. In no time you’ll be done with this very effective workout! Let’s start with why you need this: An intense interval session on the elliptical is a great way to burn some serious calories and get your lower body circulation ready for training. By targeting the large muscle groups of the lower body, you'll keep your metabolism revved up for hours, supporting your weight loss.

    Now, let’s get started:

    Warm Up:
    Start with five minutes of easy movement on your elliptical, bringing your heart rate up to 75% of your max effort. Increase your intensity working at 85% of your max effort for 90 seconds, recover for 45 seconds, repeat.

    Circuit 1:
    Lunges: Step in and out of a lunge 20 times on your right leg. Repeat on your left leg. Follow by completing 16 stationary lunges on each leg. For more resistance, add plates or dumbbells into each hand and complete a bicep curl with each lunge.

    Circuit 2:
    Elliptical: Reverse your pedal movement for five minutes. Maintain an uncomfortable level of intensity (you should be able to speak in short sentences.

    Circuit 3:
    Bodyweight squats: Keeping your torso upright, sit your bottom down as low as you can. Stand up. Repeat for 3 minutes. Rest for 30 seconds. Follow with a Wall Sit for up to 90 seconds, with breaks as needed.

    Circuit 4:
    Bridge with toe taps: Lying on the floor with heels close to your bottom and knees towards the ceiling, lift up into bridge pose. Pressing into your left heel, lift your right heel, leaving right toe on the ground. Lightly tap right foot up and down. Complete 16 reps. Repeat on the Left. Complete two to three repetitions taking a break between as needed.

    You're finished with this elliptical workout! Nice work. Now, make sure to stretch and recover your muscles so they're ready to hit this again in the next few days.
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