Want to stay in shape, but don’t have time? Bored with your usual routine? Shake it up with some high intensity intervals and get more results for less time in the gym. Sound too good to be true?
Recent research has shown that you can get many of the same physiological effects from high intensity interval training (HIIT) as you can from more time-consuming, moderate endurance workouts. These effects include fat loss, improved muscle cell function, increased oxygen consumption and improved anaerobic capacity–all for a fraction of the time spent.
What is HIIT?
High intensity interval training is any activity that alternates short bursts of maximal activity with brief periods of low to moderate intensity exercise. For example, a brief interval of fast running followed by an interval of walking, or brief interval of fast cycling alternated with an interval of slower cycling at a recovery pace. The aim is to push yourself beyond upper end of your aerobic zone, which trains both your aerobic and your anaerobic energy systems. On a scale of 1-10 of perceived exertion, high intensity can be considered anything over an effort level of 7.
What are the benefits of HIIT?
Burns more fat. The effect of the brief, intense exertion causes a significant afterburn. That means that your body will continue to burn more calories in the hours following your high intensity workout.
Doesn’t require equipment. HIIT doesn’t require any special equipment. Just put on your running shoes. Even simpler, you can do any plyometric exercise like jumping lunges or jumping jacks.
Saves time. For example, one study showed that 20 minutes of HIIT three times a week was found to be comparable to multiple, hour-long sessions of moderate endurance exercise, even though the HIIT workouts involved about 90% less exercise time. In both cases, exercise performance was increased. (Little, 2010)
How to do HIIT
Most of the fitness programs on the market today take a one-size-fits-all approach. The overweight office worker just starting out should follow the same exact routine as the advanced athlete? Yup.
There are two major problems with this approach, and it’s the reason why most programs on the market fail to produce real results:
- The program is not appropriately matched to a person’s specific GOAL.
- The program is not appropriately matched to a person’s specific LEVEL.
FITNESS ROUTINES SHOULD COME IN DIFFERENT SHAPES AND SIZES. BECAUSE PEOPLE DO.
The market for “fitness that works for anyone” is large, and many DVD makers and group exercise instructors have pushed this approach for years. The problem is, this market is non-existent, despite what the infomercial makers have trained us to believe.
Many uninformed trainers make the same mistake:
- The boot camper who has you do every gut-busting drill he can think of just because he’s so darn tough.
- The meathead or fitness diva who has you train 4 hours a day and “squat til you puke”.
- The functional guy who has you do every complex exercise on a balance ball, even though you have no need to function like a circus performer.
Are you working out to impress people or get results? ”Getting your butt kicked” is much different than a properly targeted and progressive plan—one that actually helps you gradually develop your gluteal muscles, for example, if that’s what you’re going for.
FINDING THE RIGHT LEVEL EQUALS REAL RESULTS.
That’s where GAIN is different. Not only does it match your training program to your goals, time parameters and available equipment, but it also matches your program to your training level.
We have 5 different user levels, and we’re building progressions into each one, which means we have the right programs for you—from complete beginner to advanced athlete, and everyone in between. And we’re constantly tuning and tweaking our levels and workout recommendations, based on real workout data.
Don’t misunderstand us, your workouts should be challenging, but within the confines of the appropriate level. And we’ll work with you to progress you as you “level-up,” introducing new, more advanced exercises, adding reps and volume and intensity, but only when you’re ready. You’ll “learn as you do,” and eventually you end up a fitness expert yourself.
Today we welcome DeAnn Teixeira as a first time guest blogger. DeAnn is a certified trainer (NSCA) and Wellness Coach (WellCoaches) who does training and nutrition coaching in Menlo Park, California.
Let’s face it, after a while our fitness routine feels a little…routine. That push we count on from our inner athlete seems to feel more like a nudge. We start to worry that we’ll slip and turn into a couch potato. It doesn’t take an Olympian to know that our minds and bodies are good at adapting to a routine, then quickly get bored. Whether we are exceptional athletes or weekend warriors, we need to beat the boredom–to shake it up and regain our fitness momentum.
Here are a few tips to propel you over that ho-hum hump:
1. A Little Goes A Long Way
By increasing your workouts by 10% each week, you’ll challenge your body and mind to stay focused. I.e. If you do 40lb dumbbell chest presses at 12 rep max sets, try 45lb dumbbells at 8-12 rep max sets the following week.
2. Stop The “All Or Nothing” Attitude
If one day of running and two days of weight training is all you can commit to, so be it. Good things can come in small packages. Plus, down the road, you may find time to add more.
3. Have Fun!
Health and fitness are a lifetime commitment, so find workouts that you look forward to. Check out dance lessons, recruit a fitness partner, or sign up for an adventure race.
4. Set Goals, Not Limits
Each workout should have a purpose. You could plan to run 10% further for every 30 minutes you hit the pavement. Or, maybe you want to burn an additional hundred calories at your next exercise class.
The sky is the limit when it comes to spicing up our fitness regimens. We all need something new to keep our body and mind interested, and to avoid that comfy spot on the couch. Figure out what’s going to get you going. Then look your “inner athlete” in the eye and say its time to get back to it…no push required.
With the release of GAIN 3.0, we’ve introduced several advanced “Expansion Packs” — goal-oriented training approaches and exercises that turn out quick results. As our pack selection continues to grow, we’d like to introduce the newest addition: The Advanced Crotch Pack.
Many personal trainers ignore the popular “crotch area”. But the truth is, the v-shaped gap between your legs is chock full of major muscles that need regular strength training. Our brand new pack targets your love quarters straight on with a series of high-intensity pulling and pushing motions. The inner-thighs and pelvic region are the fulcrum points of both love-making and general attention. Get this pack if you’re ready to turn the region below your belt into a steel showcase of muscularity.
Next up in the GAIN Fitness lab: The Happy April Fool’s Day Pack!
Too many fitness enthusiasts, or gyms for that matter, focus on acquiring the latest and greatest fitness PRODUCTS, and not on implementing intelligently designed PLANS. If you can’t get results with a good old-fashioned dumbbell, that $5,000 hydraulic machine (fitness model included) probably won’t do the trick either.
As a trainer, I often get asked, “What do you think of X product?” My reply is always the same, “It depends on the program behind it.”Whether it’s a band, ball, or something more cutting edge, resistance is resistance. You can get terrible results or great results with any of them — well, maybe not all of them — if you shake your weight more than twice, you’re simply playing with it. But it’s the plan that truly makes the difference.
A good coach ensures you get the most out of your fitness products, whatever they may be. He assesses a client’s current status and goals, analyzes the tools they have access to, and designs a plan accordingly.Not everyone can afford to pay the top dollar for high quality private training. That’s why the GAIN app was created — to give consumers the much needed guidance they are lacking. It’s a digital personal trainer that gives you a focused plan of action. Think about it this way: Filling your shopping cart with a bunch of groceries is meaningless. It’s only when you get an awesome recipe from a top chef, and then follow it to the best of your abilities, that you create some culinary magic.
Don’t misunderstand us. There are some phenomenal fitness products out there. As a matter of fact, GAIN was working hard behind the scenes, forging partnerships to eventually introduce you to some of these cool, new tools.What did these companies see as the value of the GAIN app? You should have seen their faces light up when we demo’ed it for them. We can give you targeted programs that will help their products actually produce RESULTS. The scammers are one thing, but the smart equipment manufacturers know that even a great product without a targeted plan is useless.
So are you still just wandering through the gym doors, considering what to do? Or buying infomercial products that are collecting dust? Download the app, and get a GAIN Plan going today. You’ll thank us later.
Hangovers kill fitness routines. We hear about it all the time. You set aside an hour Saturday morning to work out, but that dehydrated dance-throb in your head buries you back under the covers.
It’s time to take charge. After a long night of drinking, you need to fight back. Sure, water and ibuprofen will take care of the headache. But you need something for the body ache, too. Which is exactly why we developed “The Morning After Workout”–an up-and-atomizer that keeps you fresh after a long night of elixirs.
Since we’re down @ SXSW this week, we figured it’s the perfect opportunity to unveil it. So if you’re hungover, plan on being hungover, or simply don’t like mornings, check out our new workout here:
Ladies, if you’re still not strength training with heavier resistance (and no, those pink 2 LB dumbbells don’t count), it’s most likely because you believe one of the biggest fitness myths around: lifting weights will make you “bulk up”. Well, we’re here today to finally drive a stake in the heart of that nonsense. If you want to get leaner and meaner, you need to strength train regularly with challenging resistance.
Fact: Lifting builds lean muscle, and that’s a good thing.
- Lean muscle is what provides our body with its shape, definition, and tone. In other words, that sexy, sleek and sculpted look.
- Muscle is more dense than body fat. A lean, firm, sculpted triceps takes up less space and appears less “bulky” than triceps covered in body fat (turkey arms syndrome).
- If you’re skinny with NO muscle tone, you will still appear loose, flabby and soft.
- Lean muscle is a metabolically active tissue. The more lean muscle you build, the faster your resting metabolic rate, and the more body fat you’ll burn throughout the day.
In this week’s GAIN Fit Tip, Nate Miyaki, our health and fitness guru, shows you how to pick the right weight and avoid the most common mistakes folks make when lifting. See why it’s not just about the number of reps, but how you do those reps that counts.
If you’re not seeing “gains” in your fitness, this could be one of the reasons why.
Want to get the most out of your chest training? Check out this video by GAIN Fitness expert, Nate Miyaki.
- Ensure maximum tension and overload on the chest muscles
- Prevent shoulder joint stress, wear and tear
- Provide simple exercise execution cues to remember