Blog Archives

Hittin’ the HIIT

Soooo…guess what? I forgot my camera at work today. I didn’t have many food pictures to begin with – but I always like including my yummiest eats in my posts! Ah well, you will just have to wait until tomorrow to see the awesome breakfast I had (I know, you’re holding your breath, aren’t you :P)

Anyways I do have a lil’ somethin’ I want to discuss tonight. It’s called interval training. Namely, cardio intervals.

I love interval training. Especially in the wintertime when I’m stuck on boring gym equipment. I especially love doing something people fondly refer to as HIIT – high intensity interval training. This is doing what I like to call “sprints” or just a burst of high intensity cardio, followed by a period of recovery, and repeated several times. Because it’s high intensity, it shouldn’t be drawn out for too long.So it’s a perfect way to get sweaty and breathless in a short period of time. You can do it on things like treadmills, ellipticals, rowing machines, stair machines, stationary bikes, or basically any machine you can get your hands (or feet) on.

First and foremost, you need some sort of continuous training base before attempting interval training. You should be accustomed to exertion, because well, you’re going to exert yourself!

Interval training is based on a work-to-rest ratio. What ratio this is depends on your fitness level. Some people are fine with 1:1, some require a little more rest in-between like 1:3. I personally like 1:2, particularly one minute of work followed by two minutes of rest. I don’t recommend recommend doing your high intensity intervals longer than two minutes as it’s hard for your body to provide proper fuel after that length.

However, even short bursts of 10 seconds work, followed by 30 seconds rest is perfectly doable. This could be something like jumping jacks, followed by marching in place for recovery. These shorter bursts can also be done in “sets” with an easier recovery in between. (Hmm, sound like weight lifting to anyone else? Hint hint ;) )

Proper relief between intervals is important so your body has time to replenish its ATP stores, otherwise it will rely on lactic acid (ie ow). Relief also clears the lactic acid in your system and helps its ability to handle it.

But what is this ATP I speak of? ATP is a chemical compound which stands for adenosine triphosphate. More importantly, when food is broken down, the energy it releases is captured by this compound to power your body’s cellular needs. Basically, if you want to perform an activity, you need ATP. 

 

The easiest way to monitor your intensity is by heart rate. I have a Polar F11 heart rate monitor to do this. Today for example, I peaked at 183 bpm during my treadmill intervals. This is damn high for me, and I knew I was challenging my cardiovascular system. But I also like to keep an eye on it to make sure it lowers enough during my periods of recovery. A lot of people have the tendency to work too hard during their rest interval. Mine will often dip down to 140 bpm during recovery, but it’s all up to the individual.

If you don’t have a heart rate monitor, the RPE scale is a pretty good measure. It stands for rate of perceived exertion. In order to not make this post a novel, go read Janetha’s amazing post on the RPE scale to get an idea of how it works.

Intervals also lead to something called EPOC, aka excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. This is when your body continues to take in oxygen after exercise is finished. This doesn’t happen as much in steady-state cardio because there is faster recovery, which means less of an oxygen deficit. But in anaerobic activity (when the body can’t get oxygen to the muscles in time to produce ATP) there are increases in lactic acid, body temperature and hormone levels. Depending on the intensity and duration of exercise, it can take up to 24 hours to return to normal oxygen levels. This is commonly referred to the “after burn” in weight lifting – when your body continues to burn calories at an increased rate for a certain amount of time after you workout is finished.

On top of the sweet after-burn, interval training will also increase your speed and endurance. You will train your heart and muscles to endure high levels of intensity, making it feel easier the next time you do it.

Okay, so let’s recap all the awesome things about high intensity interval training:

  • It’s short and efficient. You can challenge your ticker and burn calories in a shorter period of time than with lower intensity cardio.
  • It breaks up the monotony. You’re always changing it up so it keeps you interested.
  • Mentally, it’s easier to talk yourself into, knowing you’ll get a period of rest between each interval.
  • EPOC. Depending on what you do, you can burn calories at a higher rate for a certain period even after you leave the gym.
  • It will build your endurance, training your body how to handle higher exercise intensities.

A few things to remember:

  • You should only to anaerobic training 2-3 times a week.
  • Remember to warm-up and cool-down for at least 5 minutes. An improper warm-up will use up your body’s ATP stores so you don’t have access to adequate stores during your actual workout. It’s also important to get your heart rate back to normal during your cool-down, as well as flush out the lactic acid in your muscles.

Any questions of the day for me to answer? How about you? What’s your favourite interval workout?

You’re invited…

TO THE GUN SHOW!!!!

gun show

Woo-pah!!!! Seriously, whose arm is this? Albeit, the flexing, lighting and flattering angle helps ;) My face is cut out because I’d just stumbled out of bed and it’s smeared in drool and yesterday’s mascara.

Now, I’m not one to go flaunting my body around town, especially on the internet. But, well, I’m kinda proud of my little muscle! You’ve probably heard me whine before that aaalllll my body fat goes to my stomach. So, in my head, my composition looks like this big round middle with skinny arms and legs poking out. I don’t really want to lose any more body fat to take care of the tummy situation (Chris may dump me if my boobs get any smaller :P ). BUT, I can work on making my arms and legs look a little more solid. Apparently, that work has so far been paying off :D

In other news I want to thankyouthankyouthankyou for the kind and congratulatory comments about my new job prospects. I am so lucky to have not only a supportive family behind me, but a slew of blog friends out there backing me up as well :) I’m a little apprehensive about announcing it to my wider circle of acquaintances, co-workers and old schoolmates. They all think I’m crazy for leaving a solid journalism job. For so long I’ve been told that I’m a good journalist. I think that’s why I stuck it out, because I was just following the praise. These people just assume I’d do what I’m good at, but being good at something is not enough.

Plus, as my mommy pointed out, not one person in my family works in the field of their undergraduate degree. The best example being my lovely sister Jane. She was a star psychology student, and gave it all up after graduation to pursue her passion for music. She’s now got two albums under her belt and living a life she loves making music in Quebec City (which you can listen to here!)

Minutes after registering for the personal training course yesterday, I got this in my inbox:

email

Is that a sign or what!? Totally unrelated too, the e-mail just popped up out of the blue. I can’t go though because I have to stay in Fredericton. Would have been nice to scope out what it’s like to work there.

 

So this morning, I tried out something that’s been a long time coming – eggs in a basket!

101_0420

Eggs + toast is my favourite breakfast, and I’d never tried it!

There was some dippage happening…

101_0426

It was fun :) Although, I think I still prefer the usual fried egg on top.

I had a date with the treadmill today, so I snacked on another new-to-me Larabar flavour for some sugar energy.

101_0443

101_0447

Is there coconut oil in the American version too? I’m not opposed to coconut oil, from everything I’ve read it’s pretty good for you (in moderation, of course ;) )

101_0450

First, I found it was really mushy. If I buy this again, I’ll keep it in the fridge. It was good but if I had to choose, I like the cocoa coconut better. This is kinda plain, like just dates and coconut. I know that’s the point, but it was just missing a little sumthin’.

My “dreadmill” sesh was stellar today!

On a 1% incline:

2 minutes @ 3.0 mph
3 minutes @ 3.5 mph
5 minutes @ 5.8 mph
10 minutes of 1-minute intervals @ 5.8 mph & 6.2 mph
10 minutes of 1-minute intervals @ 6.0 mph & 6.4 mph
10 minutes of 1-minute intervals @ 6.2 mph & 6.6 mph
10 minutes of 1-minute intervals @ 6.4 mph & 6.8 mph
5 minutes @ 5.8 mph
3 minutes @ 3.5 mph
2 minutes @ 3.0 mph

The last time I did this workout, I found it to be a touch too easy, so this time I upped the speed a little – it was perfect! I never felt like I had to stop, but those last set of intervals were hard. And yay for getting faster!! Hope I can get those numbers to keep going up. Oh, and on my last 6.8 mph interval, the final chorus of “Don’t Stop Believing" from the Glee Soundtrack kicked in on my iPod. Yeah, it was epic.

Since I got home for a late lunch, and needed to do an early dinner before work tonight, I though it would be a perfect opportunity to test out a liquid lunch.

101_0455

  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/4 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • 1 scoop Chocolate Amazing Meal
  • handful ice
     

101_0462

387 calories, 13g fat, 23g protein, 46g carbohydrates, 12g fibre. Not too shabby, right? I mean, that’s what any other meal looks like for me. I think I felt full-ish after drinking it. But within 90 minutes, I was feeling snacky and wanted something to chew. I thought the fibre in the Amazing Grass would save me, apparently not. This girl needs her food to be solid.

I was ravenous come supper time (at 4:30).

101_0466 
More leftover chicken! Today I put it in a pita with blackberry jam, onions, spinach, sprouts and swiss cheese. Grilled to melty perfection. I’m running low on chicken. Need to roast more stat ;)

 

Eating and exercise aside, I had quite the surprise today. I saw the Canada Post lady walk to my back door this afternoon with a package. I always miss my packages, so I jumped up and met her at the door. I was hoping it would be my recent Amazon purchase or PT course materials. But I was handed a big unfamiliar box. When I ripped it open, I discovered this:

101_0474 
A FOOD PROCESSOR!!!!! Holymolyasjbgeiuhsfskg. As soon as I saw the note from Janetha attached, I started crying. JB, this is one of the sweetest things anyone has done for me, thank you SO much!!!! You are such a wonderful person, I don’t even know where to start!

Regular readers know I’ve been vying for a food processor for a while, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to splurge on a nice one for myself.

101_0478

It’s the perfect size for making hummus! (and baby food as the box implies?) Janetha, I will get on the hummus making immediately so I have more recipes to share with you in thanks for the amazing gift :D

And with that, it’s super late and this granny needs to hit the hay.

 

Question of the Day: What should I make in my new food processor?

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 485 other followers