Benefits of Strength Training for Total Body Health

The hype is real; strength training is one of those full-body workouts that ticks all the boxes. If you’re looking to add some variety to your workout plan and want something that boosts total body health, then strength training is a fantastic place to start. This style of training is vital to incorporating aerobic activity and flexibility exercises to your routine and home gym setup, and utilises resistance to encourage your muscles to work against extra weight.

Strength Training

Strength training benefits both the male and female body and can be incorporated into any fitness plan, regardless of your current level. The obvious advantages are the weight loss that comes with it, and the increase in strengthening and toning your muscles. But what else makes it one of the highest rated training methods today?

Effectively Burns Fat

Strength training helps you lose weight and body fat in a few different ways. It’s effective in allowing you to retain the muscle you have, while eating a calorie deficit diet and shredding extra weight too. The ability to burn fat through strength training goes hand-in-hand with body composition. Whilst your overall weight may not change initially, over time you will notice a decrease in waist measurements and body fat measurement. Strength training will boost metabolism by speeding up your Resting Metabolic Rate (which means burning calories when resting), encourage muscle gain and fat loss.

Increases Strength and Builds Muscle

Strength training, also known as resistance training, increases strength by neurological adaptations. As your nervous system learns how to recruit your muscle fibres more effectively, muscle growth is boosted and improvement in tone becomes noticeable. Because this type of training makes your muscles work against a resisting weight or force, muscle strength is quickly amplified. By adding strength training to your daily workout, you can actually stop, prevent and reverse bone and muscle loss.

Boosts Muscle Tone

There’s two types of strength training that will help to develop better body mechanics, muscle tone and strength. Isometric resistance works by contracting your muscles against a non-moving object, such as a push-up on the floor. Isotonic strength training on the other hand, involves contracting your muscles through a range of motions like weight lifting. As they both implement a conditioning effect, muscles are better defined and firmer as a result. Both are effective for boosting muscle tone and making your body overall stronger and healthier.

Encourages Greater Flexibility

As your body’s mechanics develop through resistance training, balance and flexibility is improved. Those with poor flexibility and balance will be able to reduce their risk of falling through regular training. Coordination is also heightened and posture is improved. Flexibility is increased by working the muscles in full range motion and the more flexible you become, the less likely you will experience muscle pulls and back pain.

Makes Your Healthier

Healthy isn’t just defined through appearance – your state of mind and how you feel inside is just as important too. One of biggest benefits about strength training the natural enhancement to your overall health. Physical changes in your body will happen first, and as your body develops and strengthens, your ability to handle stress will improve, sleep patterns are boosted and your state of mind is lifted significantly.

As far as workouts are concerned, strength training gives you the biggest bang for your buck health wise. Bone density is increased, blood flow is improved, cholesterol levels are improved and blood pressure is reduced. Through regular strength training disease prevention is also common. As a healthier lifestyle change, glucose control is encouraged which can assist with type 2 diabetes, arthritis pain is reduced, breast cancer risks are lowered and because it builds bone mass, the risk of osteoporosis is minimised.

Maximises Workout Efficiency

Workouts can get tedious – especially when you’re committing to the same exercise plans daily. Strength training is beneficial (and fun!) because it consists of a variety of exercises that combine aerobic workouts with cardio, and only require two 15-20-minute training sessions a week to reap the rewards, providing you’re doing them properly. You can mix it up on a daily basis and still gain a full-body strength workout. All the corresponding resistance training exercises help to make day-to-day life easier too, making little tasks more manageable like lifting the food shopping, carrying your baby or participating in other exercise activities like swimming, biking and yoga.

Author Bio

This article is written by Jayde Ferguson who recommends Orbit Fitness – the largest supplier of fitness equipment in Perth. You can catch Jayde on Google+ to discuss this piece.

Meet Our Featured Trainers – Sophie from Talking to Trees

SOPHIE 1 cMeet Sophie.

Sophie introduces you to some simple abdominal exercises such as criss-cross, single and double leg stretch, giving you options to regress or progress throughout. From there she takes you on a glute blasting journey transitioning from prone to kneeling and finally to a standing squat series. She completes the workout by returning to the core and offers three strong rounds of core boosters!
Sophie would like to personally thank all the people that took the time to get in touch with her to give feedback on her eFit30 classes. Especially those who contacted her and asked for more. It was your feedback and stories that inspired Sophie to make two more videos with the intention to help you all with your personal movement journeys.

Sophies Video Playlist offer participants challenging Pilates and Yoga inspired workouts designed to – Strengthen students’core stabilising muscles, prevent injury and improve posture and body awareness.

Sophie offers a safe and fun environment to encourage students to feel their body in space and to move with the breath.

Sophies full Playlist is HERE.

sophie@talkingtotrees.com.au
Sophie Ntoumenopoulos
Pilates and Yoga instructor
Www.talkingtotrees.com.au

@talkingtotrees_sophie

What Does the Rowing Machine Target? 5 Essentials You Need to Know

Notorious for burning up to 50% more calories than the treadmill, rowing machines offer more than just an upper body workout. Effectively targeting all the muscle groups in your back, shoulders, arms and legs, these training machines have become a popular option for building strength and shredding kilos.

The rowing machine is designed to offer a non-impact full body workout, so it’s become an ideal mechanism for fitness enthusiasts with joint and lower back problems. Boosting cadio fitness, muscular strength and endurance and working to tone your muscles, rowing machines can also work in reducing stress levels and building stamina. But like with any fitness machine it’s absolutely essential to use it properly and avoid the common mistakes. Here’s what you need to know about your rowing machine workout.

sport, fitness, lifestyle, technology and people concept - woman with trainer working out on exercise bike in gym

sport, fitness, lifestyle, technology and people concept – woman with trainer working out on exercise bike in gym

1. Building Core Strength and Stamina

When rowing machines are used properly, they are a fantastic training tool for building core strength and stamina. For people that struggle to get-up-and-go, using a rowing machine (also known as a cross trainer) 20 minutes a day can boost endurance. Whilst the workouts may feel exhausting at first, the long term benefits of giving you more energy, building stamina and you metabolism are huge.

Because the rowing machine works all your major muscle groups it helps to define your abs and build muscles around the area. Your core strength is one of these targeted groups of muscles and through the low-impact, high intensity workouts offered by the cross trainer it’s possible to get maximum results.

Tip: If you’re looking to build core strength and stamina through a rowing machine, opt for a higher intensity exercise so it isn’t just the cardio you’re working on.  The impact on your abs and core is based on the strength of your rowing so the harder the workout, the better it will work for this area.

2. Toning Arms and Legs

Rowing machines are ideal for both an upper body and lower body workout. Because the machine forces you to ‘row’ the arms are used extensively and muscles in this area will begin to tone (particularly the biceps and forearms).  As you pull, your back muscles help to complete the rowing technique with your shoulder blades retracting together.

The rowing stroke should behind with the legs – the most powerful part of the body, with your back kept straight throughout. As the machine starts to utilise every major muscle group, your arms, back and legs muscles will activate and tone over time.

Tip: If you want to increase the rate of which you build and tone muscle, adjust the rowing machine to create a tighter resistance. With the right workouts and technique, this can help to tone your arms and legs quicker.

3. Strengthening Back Muscles

The benefits of a stronger back and shoulders are great for improving posture and eliminating back pain. Because rowing machines work the back and shoulder muscles, it doesn’t take long for this area to strengthen and better support the rest of your body.

The trapezius in the lower and upper back as well as the rhomboids in your shoulder will receive a great workout. Whilst the cross trainer workout starts with driving through the legs and engaging your quads, your upper body and back muscles are involved at the end of the extension.

Tip: People often make the mistake of driving hard with the legs and keeping the shoulders in front of the hips so that that when the slide stops the rest of the body swings through. This can be hard on the lower back so aim for everything to end at the same time in a fluid motion for best results.

4. Know What Settings to Work

The damper setting (like the gears of a bicycle) should be set for 3-5 for the best workout. Many people make the mistake of setting it to 10, especially athletes, because the higher number gives the impression the workout will be more challenging. Really the challenge lies in the ability to accelerate the flywheel at a lower damper setting as the higher setting will mimic a slow heavy rowboat instead. This will only exhaust your muscles before you’ve had a shot at a proper cardio workout. Keeping it set for 3-5 will give the feeling similar to being on water, like a rowing machine is intended for.

The resistance setting will determine how much energy you use on each stroke. This dial is on the machine’s flywheel and should be high enough to maintain a fast, smooth rowing motion. Setting it too low will give a workout that doesn’t tone or strengthen, whilst setting it too high can result in muscle fatigue and injury.

5. Avoid the Biggest Cross Trainer Mistakes

  • Don’t row with only your arms: Use the power of your legs for each stroke and keep your feet strapped in. Pull through with your back, shoulders and arms for a full body workout.
  • Don’t hunch your back during strokes: Keep your back straight and sit tall with a straight posture to avoid damage. Keep your core engaged to help with the potions and put your spine in neutral.
  • Don’t ignore the stroke rate: Stroke rates build a better workout and determine how hard you’re pulling. To focus on the power of spinning the flywheel, think of a rowing ratio of 1 beat for every 2 beats you travel up the slide. For example: A good target stroke, measured in strokes per minute) will range between 24-30.
  • Don’t ignore the foot strap: It should be fastened so your feet feel very secure. This can make a massive difference when it comes to pushing your legs for power.

Author Bio

This article is written by Jayde Ferguson who recommends Orbit Fitness – the largest supplier of fitness equipment and cross trainers in Perth. You can catch Jayde on Google+ to discuss this piece.

Cross Trainer vs. Treadmill for Burning Calories: Which One Should You Be Using?

Finding the best workout plan to burn calories tends to be the highest fitness goal. But with the busy lifestyles we lead and the limited amount of time we have to actually get it done, people want – and need to – get the results fast in order to maintain a healthy level of enthusiasm. And the right machine plays a huge role in achieving your fitness goals as quick as possible.

You walk into the fitness club or the store for your next home gym purchase and you see the usual assortment of cardio equipment. Which exercise machine do you pick to burn calories in the shortest amount of time? Cardio machines are perfect for giving you the ultimate workout to shred some kilos without leaving the comfort of your home. Two of the best examples of these machines, the treadmill and the elliptical cross trainer, are subjects of an ongoing debate to determine which will give you the most effective cardio workout. Here’s a few tips to find out what one you should be using:

1. Cranking Up the Cross Trainer

Elliptical cross trainers have boomed in popularity because they are highly variable in their workout opportunities and burn a decent amount of calories. Perfect for fitness enthusiasts at any level, they decrease the impact on your bones and joints by engaging more on your muscle groups making them an ideal machine option for people with previous or ongoing injuries.

Man and woman with elliptical cross trainer at gym

It’s this comfort that makes the cross trainer such a versatile and valued exercise machine. They have more workout options than most other machines, building on strength as well as cardio. For the best cardio workout you’ll want the machine to be on high resistance. This is more important that working out at a fast pace when it comes to cross trainers and burning calories.

If a cross trainer is more suited to your fitness goals and health needs, opt for one with handles. This allows you to pump your arms as you move which is highly advised to do. By adding this movement to your workout, your upper body muscles will be engaged and this will help burn more calories.

2. Tackling the Treadmill

Ideal for extreme cardio lovers and those that thrive off running, treadmills have the potential to burn a lot of body fat. Running (or jogging) involves a good full-body workout and if you choose a speed setting that challenges you, it’s one of the best ways to burn a significant amount of calories.

Treadmills offer both low and high impact cardio workouts from slow walks at a controlled pace to runs and sprints and full potential. These machines allow you to set your desired speed and incline and because you’re forced to keep up with the moving belt, treadmills are slightly better for burning calories. This is due to the machine holding you at an intensified level. To burn the most amount of calories in the shortest time frame you’ll want to maintain an incline grade of at least 1-2%.

People running on treadmills

3. Essential Considerations

The problem with cardio workouts is it doesn’t take long for your body to become immune to the workout. As you get comfortable in your fitness plan, you’ll burn less calories because the resistance has diminished. This is why, regardless of what exercise machine you choose, it’s essential your cardio workouts are mixed up to continually challenge your body and keep burning more calories.

Other factors that can impact your ability to shred kilos on either exercise machines include your level of cardio fitness, the weight you’re sitting on now, how intense the workout is and how long you’re working out for. Once your body is at ease with the cardio workout; change the dynamics, speed and intensity of what you’re doing – the higher the resistance the more effective it’ll be.

4. Crunching Calories

The primary reason why many choose the cross trainer over the treadmill is because they don’t enjoy running – whether it’s because of injuries or just the fact that jogging and running isn’t their thing. But if you crave variety and strength building too, then make sure you focus on maintaining a moderate to high intensity. This way the cross trainer can still provide an excellent calorie burning workout (around 600-800 calories per hour). Choose the right settings for your body type and use intervals. Because the cross trainer is one of the easiest machines to just ‘tune out’ on, make sure you focus on your workout and avoid hanging onto the support bars as this won’t help in crunching calories at all!

On average, the treadmill will burn 600-1200 calories per hour between jogging, walking uphill, sprinting and running. To effectively burn calories quickly keep interchanging; start with a slow warm up for 2-3 minutes and break into a run for 3-6 minutes, sprint for 6-7 minutes, run for 7-10, sprint for 10 etc. Ideally you want to commit to a 20-30 minute workout at least. Keep workouts intense and build bone density and shred calories by elevating the incline on the treadmill.

Despite the cross trainer ticking a variety of fitness boxes, there’s still greater weight loss benefits with a treadmill. Mixing between the two exercise machines at the gym though can get all muscle groups moving and keep your cardio workouts spontaneous and intense. Invest in a heart rate monitor and maintain a solid awareness of your intensity levels to ensure you’re burning the most amount of calories – regardless of the machine you choose.

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Author Bio

Jayde Ferguson writes for Orbit Fitness – the largest supplier of fitness equipment in Perth. You can catch Jayde on Google+ to discuss this piece.

Optimal Workout Equipment Settings for Your Fitness Goals

Young fit woman rowing indoor on a rowing machine

With the range of equipment on the market these days it’s important you’re not just choosing the right workout piece, but engaging in the right settings to achieve your goals too. Whether you want to push for weight loss with summer around the corner or need to build muscle tone and strength, sometimes the ‘right’ equipment can be very wrong for you when you’re not using it properly.

Regardless of it you love training at the gym or you’ve purchased a few key workout pieces to set up in your home gym, finding the optimal settings can help kick those fitness goals more effectively. Get more out of what you’re using with these tips:

1. Exercise Bikes

Getting fit for summer on an exercise bike is a popular option because of the level of comfort it provides. Great for those that prefer to sit down whilst exercising, this piece will help to burn calories and boost cardio exercise. For those that want an extra level of support on the exercise bike, recumbent bikes are designed to have a reclined body seat and pedals in front of the bike instead of under the body like a regular bike. This offers the use more comfort and a better leg workout.

To get the most out of your workout, you’ll want the speed level to sit between 80-100 RPM. It’s crucial you don’t pedal at the same speed for the full workout though – especially if you’re wanting to burn calories. Instead, mix it up by riding at lower speed (50-70 RPM) and then crank to 120-140 RPM. The lower speeds will help to build leg muscle, whilst the switch to more intense speeds will assist in shredding weight and boost endurance.

You’ll also want to consider the resistance and heart rate monitor settings. By alternating between low and medium resistance settings, fat-burning will happen quicker. For the most effective workout, keep your heart rate between 50-85%.

2. Treadmills

If you’re looking to build muscles in your calves, quads and glutes your treadmill should be set to 9% incline. This is the ideal setting for marathon training, boosting endurance and slashing kilos too and will give you that burning sensation in your legs after a workout. If you’re just looking to boost those running skills though, a simple 1.5% incline will mimic outdoor running. For extreme marathon or steep hike training change the incline closer to 15%.

Both the speed and incline of the treadmill should never be too high where you find yourself walking, sprinting or running without moving your hands. Like with the exercise bike, you want to switch your speed and incline settings to mix the workout up. This will save your body getting too comfortable in a certain setting – as soon as you’re ‘comfortable’ your body is burning less calories! To build endurance, use high-intensity workouts and switch between a 4-5% to a 0% incline during various running intervals. Walkers and slow joggers will only need to a speed of 10-12km/h whilst serious joggers and runners should go for 16-20km/h.

3. Elliptical Machines

A steady 20 minute workout on an elliptical machine can shred that extra weight and get your heart rate up, boosting endurance and strength training.  But to get the full effect, the right settings are important. As far as cardio equipment goes elliptical machines, also known as cross trainers, are the powerhouse of cardio equipment; having the potential to burn 270-400 calories in less than 30 minutes.

Interval workouts are the best on these machines to boost metabolism and burn more calories. Because it gets your whole body moving, it’s ideal for strength training too. To boost strength and improve weight loss, the resistance of the machine needs to be increased – the more you turn that dial up, the more strength you’ll be building.

For a medium workout on the cross trainer, aim for a RPM of 90. Keep increasing the resistance and incline though to ensure your heart rate is high. For a full-intensity hard work out to get everything burning (including calories!) you can still go for a 90 RPM but aim for a maximum heart rate between 90-100%, as opposed to a medium work out of 85-90%. Resistance is key to achieving fitness goals on a cross trainer; once this level is bumped up, your arms and legs have to work harder to keep the machine moving. This offers a full body workout to build endurance and strength. For a more intense interval, adjust the incline to a higher level too.

4. Rowing Machine

These machines have a reputation for offering a low-impact workout that increases stamina, builds on muscle strength and drops those calories. The biggest problem with this machine is users tend to forget the damper setting – a crucial lever on the side of the rower’s wheel that can give you a solid cardio workout.

Before using this setting, make sure your rowing form is in top notch. Like gears on a bicycle, the damper setting will offer a heavier feel on the body the higher the gear. Start it on between 3-5 which will mimic the feeling of rowing in the water, and build it up to power your legs and upper body. You should feel it working your legs, butt, arms and back muscles.
Author Bio

Jayde Ferguson writes for Orbit Fitness – the largest supplier of fitness equipment in Perth. You can catch Jayde on Google+ to discuss this piece.

Budget vs. “Blow Out” Home Gyms – 5 Essential Tips to Consider

You don’t need to take out a gym membership to fully develop your body and kick those fitness goals. In fact, home gyms have boomed in popularity over the years as gym enthusiasts choose the comfort of their home over the busyness of the actual gym. Offering a sense of freedom in the hectic lifestyle we live, setting up your own home gym can be the perfect motivation to train regardless of what your wallet or the weather throws at you.

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But how can you create the most effective home gym on a budget? Gym equipment isn’t cheap and whilst those big ticket items will be seen as an investment when you start looking and feeling fantastic, you need to completely blow out your savings to make it happen. Home gyms can build great results and it can be just as safe and as effective as being at the public gym. Here’s a few essential tips to help you stay within budget:

1. Go for Quality over Quantity

Building a gym at home doesn’t mean purchasing every single piece of equipment you ‘need’. Opt for quality items that can tick multiple fitness goals rather jamming your space with bits and pieces. Home gyms are usually scarce on space so be smart about your choices.

Dumbbells are an at-home-gym classic because of the amount of exercises you can do with them, they justify the purchase almost straight away. Opt for pro-styled dumbbells like the RDCH 1-80 kg with recycled rubber coating as these last longer and much more comfortable to use, not to mention eliminate the toxic smells new rubber can give off. These can be stored on a special dumbbell rack and uses rubber coated plates and chrome end to make up the weight ensuring the dumbbell diameter stays the same and are idea for bicep curls and other weight exercises. Other quality essentials can include a medicine ball (ideal for core strength movements), a barbell with different weight plates (a staple for almost every gym) and an adjustable bench that can decline, incline and lay flat.

2. Defining Your Fitness Goals

Understanding exactly what you want to work out will make your gym decisions easier. Define your personal fitness goals and make sure you’re investing in things that help you get there quickly and as comfortably as possible. Are you wanting to focus on strength training or shred some weight through cardio fitness? If you are wanting to lose weight, don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s all about cardio. Whilst you want to get your heartbeat up and burning calories, cardio exercises alone aren’t enough before after a few weeks your body adjusts and stops losing weight. Incorporating a combination of cardio and resistance training however, is a better place to start.

Most home gym aren’t complete without a barbell and some weight plates to go with it. Weights are ideal for any home gym because they offer a balanced combo of cardio and resistance training. Through the right weights, you have the stabilisation and coordination aspect to your workout and allows you to use different weights depending on your fitness goals. Make sure you look for a sturdy barbell that isn’t cheap looking and flimsy. Pay attention to the diameter of the bar, too.

3. The Bare Essentials vs. a Fully-Fitted Home Gym

There’s a few at home gym staples that are compact and easy enough to tick off some fitness goals, without taking up too much space. Medicine balls are an essential purchase before they offer a variety of exercises to build core strength movements. You can focus on abdominal exercises, throw or catch the ball to assist with different muscle groups. Opt for one that is soft and if you’re unsure about the weight, go for lighter to emphasise speed and power in your workout.

Stability balls are as important as dumbbells to your home gym and will help to build balance and strength. You can do hamstring curls, abdominal crunches, squats, body bridges and so much more. They are cost-effective, easy to store and offer a good variety of workouts to suit every fitness level. Other at home gym essentials can include resistance bands, which are extremely versatile and can be strapped to the door, table or workout bench, and a jump rope for cardio workouts. Look for a rope that’s lightweight for speed and timing or a weighted rope for strength.

4. Big Ticket Items

Big ticket gym items can get expensive really quickly if you let them, so opt for 1-3 pieces max. If cardio is important, invest in a treadmill, bike or elliptical training depending on your fitness needs. If you love running but not during the winter months by all means get a treadmill – but be realistic about what big ticket items are absolutely necessary to your home gym. If weight training is a priority

If you want something that will offer a fully body workout, not just your arms or legs, a rowing machine can be a wise investment. It’s time efficient for busy lifestyles only requiring a 20min workout and you’re done. Functional trainers  or complete home gyms (max 2 and max 5 are good recommendations) on the other hand can integrate heaps of different workouts into the one piece of equipment giving you more bang for your buck and depending on your needs, you’ll probably find you only need to invest in the one big ticket item with it. Complete home gyms offer the benefits of safe training by yourself at home with settings for muscle fatigue and muscle building.

5. Get Buff, Not Broke

Getting fit at home doesn’t need to come with a hefty price tag. It’s all about being smart with your purchases and looking for pieces that can offer multiple uses. Start small and work your way up and don’t invest in the big ticket items until you fully understand your fitness needs.

Lack of time, hectic work hours, distance from gym and ability can make gym memberships a huge waste of money for some people. By turning your own personal space into an at-home gym, you can be one step closer to feeling and looking great in the comfort of your home. Home gyms are a much better investment in your long term health and fitness. On average, a gym membership is around $750 per annum per person, with a family gym membership costing about $2,250 per annum. Statistics from health club memberships indicate the dropout rate is around 90%, which proves investing in your own gym equipment is the way to go for most. You don’t need all the bells and whistles to reach your fitness goals. With the right workout, consistency and your goals set and measured, you can do it all on a budget.

Author Bio

Jayde Ferguson writes for Orbit Fitness – the largest supplier of fitness equipment in Perth including all the at-home gym essentials. You can catch Jayde on Google+ to discuss this piece.

Overlooked Forms Of Cardio Training

As you go about designing your workout protocol, one thing that you’ll want to be keeping in mind is the variation of cardio that you’re choosing to do. Getting in some cardio training is a very wise move as you move through your workout program plan as cardio training will help to boost heart health and ensure that you maintain a slightly higher total calorie burn each day, making weight management easier.

This said, cardio activity does not have to involve you hopping onto the treadmill, bike, or elliptical on a daily basis and ‘doing time’. There are plenty of other variations of ways to get your cardio training in.

Let’s look at what a few of these are so that you can start adding them to your approach.

Recreational Sports

The very first way that you can get your cardio training in is through recreational sports activities. Whether you prefer soccer, volleyball, tennis, or some other sport, if you participate with a decent amount of intensity, this is a great way to get your cardio training in.

Because this variation of cardio also adds a social element into the mix, many people find that they enjoy it far more as well.

Bikram Yoga

Moving along, Bikram yoga is the second variation of cardio to be considering as you go about your program plan. Also referred to as hot yoga from time to time, this variation of yoga will definitely get you working up a sweat and maintaining an elevated heart rate.

It’s an excellent variation for those who want to enhance their flexibility, build muscle power and strength, while also getting cardiovascular benefits in as well.

Gardening

Finally, don’t overlook gardening.  If you are someone who loves to get outdoors and work in your yard, you can actually burn up a relatively decent amount of calories doing this, especially if you do it for a few hours.

While it won’t be an intense workout session like a Tabata workout would be, don’t discount the benefits it has to your health.

You’ll enjoy the time you spend in your yard and the added sunlight will also help to keep you healthy and feeling well.

So next time you’re dreading yet another machine-cardio based workout session, think otherwise. Get out and do something new and you’ll see even better results than you would have on the cardio equipment. For more ideas on how you can incorporate fitness into your day, check out LiveLighter as well.

 

Burn Fat Fast With HIIT

Fitness by HIF Health Expert and Gabriel Method Fitness Coach Brian Killian

What I’m writing about today I’m hoping you will take on board and change the way you exercise forever.

If I was tell you with only 8 minutes of exercise every 3 days, you can help turn your body into a fat-burning super engine, would you be interested? If so, read on.

I worked out very early in life I was blessed with some speed in my legs. With older brothers this ability to run fast came in very handy, and I’ve used it to enjoy a fun athletics career. However it’s the type of training I did and its effect on my body shape, which I want to pay closer attention to.

Fortunately I am and have always been fairly lean, but have definitely not always eaten the right foods. With 3 kids, a wife, a business, I am no stranger to stress either, and come from a family who are all shapes and sizes. So what is it I’m doing which helps to keep my body fat levels down?

The answer is HIGH INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING (HIIT), and you can do it too!

What is HIIT?

A typical HIIT session consists of a warm up period of exercise, followed by 6 to 10 repetitions of high intensity exercise [EFFORT], separated by low to medium intensity exercise [REST], and ending with a period of cool down exercise.

The EFFORT should be done at close to your maximum intensity, with the REST being no more than 50% intensity.  One proven protocol for HIIT sets a 2:1 ratio of EFFORT to REST periods.

For example, 30 seconds of hard sprinting or your fastest walking, alternated with 15 seconds of jogging or slower walking. You perform this cycle 6 to 10 times. This protocol can be used effectively for swimming, skipping, cycling or any other form of aerobic type exercise you enjoy.

My own training experience, and that of the body shape displayed by sprint athletes, suggests this short, intense training is effective in encouraging your brain to reduce body fat and lay down muscle tissue.

But why? The key is HIIT tricks your brain into initiating your Fight/Flight stress response and as a result a cascade of hormones are released. These hormones cause a liberation of fat, an increase in muscle tissue and an improvement in aerobic capacity, even while you’re resting. Let me explain this in more detail.

FACT: Exercise is stress on your body. Your brain must always  interpret any stress, respond to this stress and subsequently adapt to it. Regardless of the origin of the stress, your brain interprets ALL as a physical threat and responds. For example when nervous I have the sensation of ‘butterflies in my stomach’, now I’m pretty sure there aren’t any in there but it sure feels like it! This is just one example of the direct correlation between a mental stress and a physical response, and it happens all the time.

HIIT is a stress on your body, it’s high intensity, short and powerful and very similar to the stress say, if you were getting chased by a predator or fighting for your life. Your brain adapts to this stress, that is, it prepares your body to reduce the risk of this type of threat ending your life. Your brain wants to keep you alive, that’s its job. So it’s appropriate then for you to be faster, stronger, leaner so you don’t get caught by the predator or you can fight off the predator, otherwise you’re dead. Your brain is in control, it controls what hormones are released, and it responds to HIIT by releasing the hormones which make you slimmer, faster and stronger.

 A word of warning though, HIIT may result in injury. The protocol I suggested isn’t set in stone, if you need more REST have it. The key is in the EFFORT and doing it once, twice or eight times doesn’t really matter, do what you can at your present level of fitness and health. Always warm-up appropriately and check you’re performing the exercises correctly and safely.

Warm regards

 

Brian Killian

Try this 15 minute routine at home now. You will need a fit ball.

Best Time To Work Out

Fitness by HIF Health Expert and Gabriel Method Fitness Coach Brian Killian.

There seems to be two types of people in this world, ‘morning people’ and ‘people who don’t like morning people’. I fall into the ‘morning people’ group however it is through absolute necessity not choice I find myself there. For the last 20 years I have risen to an alarm at 5am six times a week. I don’t say this in a vain attempt to impress you, I do so  to point out each time my alarm goes off the same thought pulses through my head ‘Oh no!’  I do not like getting out of bed!

However I do and head off to train ‘morning people’ in the parks of Adelaide every day except Sunday. Now you’d think over the years I’d get used to these early starts but I haven’t. Whilst I can drag myself out of bed to stand in a park and watch others exercise, the thought of joining in at this time of the morning does not interest me one bit.

Don’t get me wrong, I love to exercise but if it’s before 12 noon forget it. I am a night person, I love to stay up late and sleep in but I think the last time I did that I was probably in my early twenties, some years ago now. I have always done my training at night too. Whether it was football training or the many hours spent on the track when I was an athlete, after 5pm always suited me best.

And I think everyone has their own best time to exercise. Some of my ‘morning people’ clients are so lively in the morning I find it almost disturbing. They train flat out at 6am, often the sun’s not even up, yet their capacity to train is at its maximum at that time of the day. I find them amazing.

Some recent research I found from Canada suggests strength levels increase depending on brain activity levels, and these are different for each person. My brain doesn’t feel like it gets truly switched on until mid-morning so this may explain why the thought of training pre-lunch doesn’t juice me. So if you feel better and are lively in the morning, this is your best time to exercise.

There’s been a myth floating around for many years suggesting a morning workout results in more calories burned. However the truth is no reliable evidence exists to suggest that calories are burned more efficiently at certain times of day.

There is one advantage to exercising at 6am I’ve noticed. There’s not much else going on to disrupt you. Most people are asleep at 6am or just waking up, so exercising at this time gives you a clear run free of phone calls, text messages, emails and other urgent but often not important distractions. I have noted over the years my ‘morning people’ tend to be more consistent with their training, and are on the whole, very successful and balanced individuals.

If you are not a ‘morning person’ and force yourself to exercise in the morning you will more than likely give up. I don’t want to discourage you from trying however if you know your own internal body clock is not set for an early morning workout, I’d look for other options. Far more effective to find a time when your body feels like moving, when you can exercise with some energy and enjoyment.

I’ve seen too many people beat themselves up at 6am for a few weeks, then either get injured, sick or disgruntled and the opportunity is lost. Exercise must be connected with pleasure for it to become a lifestyle choice. If you can find that connection, exercising becomes a joy, and the lean, strong, fit body you deserve becomes a consequence of doing something you love. The time of day you are doing it could make all the difference.

 

Warm regards,

Brian. 

Try Yoga poses for better sleep 30 mins by eFit30.

 

Top 10 Fitness Facts

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Fitness by HIF Health Expert and Gabriel Method Fitness Coach Brian Killian

 eFit30 is delighted to welcome guest blogger Brian Killian, owner of bnatural in Adelaide to our health and wellbeing blog. For the next two months, Brian will provide weekly articles crammed with fitness information, exercise tips and much more.

With years of his own training experience as a professional athlete, and his effort to add variety and fun to exercise, Brian is well known for his non-conventional, but highly effective fitness programming. His mission is simple – “to cut through all the misinformation presented on health and provide honest, simple advice which everyone can follow”. 

To add to Brian’s impressive resume, he also works as HIF – Health Insurance Fund of Australia’s Fitness expert as well as being a Fitness coach alongside the world renowned Jon Gabriel, bestselling author of ‘The Gabriel Method’

Now I am an expert when it comes to exercise and keeping healthy, but even I get confused these days. There is just so much information on the net, TV and radio about fitness. Each day we’re bombarded with the ‘best new product for this’, the latest and greatest for this’, and it sends me into a spin, so I can only imagine how confused you guys must be.

So in my first post for eFit I’ve come up with a list of my FUN FITNESS FACTS to do my bit to cut through the pile of discarded ab rollers, vibrating platforms, thigh masters and my personal favourite, the sauna belt.

10 FUN FITNESS FACTS

1. You are never too old to build muscle.
My oldest client is 93 and she trains with me twice per week and lifts 5kg dumbells.  Age is no barrier to getting stronger.

2. A muscle dehydrated by a mere 3% will have a decrease in strength of 10%.
Always have water handy when exercising it’s the most powerful ‘supplement’ on the market.

3. The more muscle you have, the more energy your body uses at rest.
Adding some muscle to your body is a great way to help shed some body fat. The more muscle you have generally the faster your metabolism, and the greater amount of fat you use while resting.

4. You can lose fat and still gain muscle, so you can gain weight but lose fat.
Throw out your scales, such a poor way to measure your progress. Scales are so demoralising and I’m not in favour of their use. What your body is made of is of much more significance that what you weigh.

5. There’s a high correlation between the fitness level of the people close to you, and your own physical fitness.
Find yourself some fit friends!

6. People who exercise outdoors burn more fat than those training inside.
I love this one because I’m an ‘outdoorsie’ type, love the beach, the wind, anything natural. Combining being outside with exercise seems to me to be the perfect antidote for our modern, indoor lifestyle.

7. It takes twice as long to lose muscle as it does to build it, muscle builds fast. 
Now that’s good news, you’ll be showing off ‘your guns’ in no time (sorry that’s my gym speak, I meant to say ‘toned arms’)

8. There is no ‘best time’ to exercise.
The real and only best time is whatever works for you – Do it when you can, as often as you can, and make it something you enjoy. I have 3 kids, a wife, a business, I understand it can be hard to get some training done, to fit it all in. But it’s important, maybe it’s not urgent (yet) but regular exercise is important.

9. Regular exercise is linked to a better sex life. 
That’s a good enough reason for me!

10. Sleep is the most important factor is fat burning.
Studies show the more you sleep  the more fat you burn. The longer you’re awake the slower your metabolism, as your brain attempts to preserve energy. Studies show 8.5 hours to be the optimum amount of sleep.

Thanks

Brian