High Intensity Training … Is It Right For You?

If you are looking for a new workout that delivers results trade out the 45-minute treadmill routine for some high intensity training that takes half the time.

High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, can be defined as a 10- to 20-minute workout that alternates short, intense bursts of activity with moderate-exertion recovery periods. It is one of the best ways to stimulate your hormones for a fat burning benefit that lasts for hours after the workout is completed. High-intensity training also strengthens your heart and helps you to build and sculpt muscles, while improving your overall women’s fitness.

Here’s what you can expect when beginning any high-intensity interval training class. A HIIT workout consists of a warm-up period of exercise, followed by six to ten repetitions of high intensity exercise, separated by medium intensity exercise, and ending with a period of cool down exercise. The high intensity exercise should be done at near maximum intensity. The medium exercise should be about 50% intensity. The number of repetitions and length of each depends on the exercise. The goal is to perform at least six exercises, and the entire HIIT workout should last about fifteen minutes but not more than twenty.

Workouts aren’t meant to be comfortable. Research shows that brief and intense workouts trump slow and steady. An exercise that is actually producing results should challenge your body to be better, stronger, leaner, and longer. If you are wondering if your workout is intense enough, you need only to look to your body for clues. Good indicators are sweating, increased heart rate, and lactic acid production during exercise. Lactic acid produces that burning feeling in your muscles. You really do need to feel the burn. Moderate muscle soreness for up to a few days post-workout is also a good sign, but not the kind of pain that results from an overstressed muscle.

For overall muscle health, stretch your muscles to strengthen them and improve flexibility. This will help to minimize injuries. Many times when women start a new exercise program they become overzealous and exercise so intensely that they end up hurting themselves. Injuries can then disrupt your otherwise healthy women’s fitness program, not to mention causing intense pain.

Now is the time to take your workout to the next level. Whether you choose to increase weights, prolong the amount of time you workout, or go for the gold and actually get it done this year, consider high intensity interval training as a way to take your body from great to fabulous. You just might lose some weight and will certainly boost your confidence.

Focus On The Positive

I believe that affirmations are essential when you want to lose weight and make healthy changes for life. Affirmations super charge the brain and make the connection between body, mind and soul. When you focus on positive thoughts and actions, your brain picks up on these thoughts and sets about a path to make them happen. That’s why it is important to focus on positive thoughts and shut out the negative ones.

When you want to take your women’s fitness workout to the next level, you want to focus on your success. Each week, make a plan to increase an area of your workout and follow this with positive affirmations that confirm your accomplishment. For instance, if you have begun adding weights, your affirmation to focus on would be that you are getting stronger. Another affirmation could be that your arms are looking better or that your legs are looking leaner.

If you are trying to lose weight keep in mind that the number on the scale is not the only important factor. That number will change eventually. Other indicators to note are how your clothes are fitting—are they fitting better, looser? Do you feel stronger, sexier and prettier? Tell yourself these things. Focus on these positive aspects.

Affirmations have a power all of their own because they help your brain to focus on the positive. When you want to accomplish a task, it is important that your mind is in tune with your physical body because it is responsible for the hormones that control emotions and physical sensations such as hunger. It also has much to do with our strength and ability to win or lose in competition. If you think you can or if you think you can’t, your mind will believe you.

I am stronger.
I will work out today.
Today, I will walk an extra mile.
Today, I will run instead of walk.
I will lift an extra 5 pounds today.

Write down your affirmations and repeat them to yourself. Standing in front of a mirror will bring you face to face with yourself. Look deep into your eyes and repeat your affirmations with conviction. Remember to stick to the positive and stay away from the negative. Your mind has a tendency to take the easy road, so instead of saying I will lose weight, concentrate on being thin and skinny. Focus on the positive and train your brain to do your bidding.

Get Skinny Without Giving Up The Foods You Love

The secret to not only losing weight but staying skinny is to eat. Eating regularly is the basis for all successful diets. As a matter of fact the whole definition of diet is a way of life and nothing speaks of life more than what we eat. A diet that will sustain you for life is one that is centered on food—that’s why you can learn to get skinny without giving up the foods you love.

I’ve selected some special favorites that have some extremely good attributes when it comes to helping you lose weight and cut down on saturated fat. Reducing the amount of saturated fats and choosing nutrient rich foods that help you to feel fuller longer will make a big difference in the amount of calories that you consume.

Greek Yogurt
Great as a snack, Greek yogurt is protein rich, an 8-ounce cup containing the equivalent of 3 ounces of chicken breast. It’s low in saturated fat and has the ability to keep you fuller for a longer period of time. Greek yogurt is a comfort food that can be as enjoyable to the body and soul as a cup of ice cream. Be sure to check the sugar content as not all yogurts are made the same.

Raspberries
Red raspberries are delicious for breakfast with a handful of nuts and a dollop of yogurt. However, you can enjoy them just about any time and they contain an important compound known as raspberry ketone that helps your body burn fat faster. Raspberry ketone is the primary aroma compound of red raspberries. This compound regulates adiponectin, a protein used by the body to regulate metabolism. Raspberry ketone causes the fat within your cells to get broken up more effectively, helping your body burn fat faster.

Green Tea
Drinking green tea can help prevent the storage of excess fat, improve your appetite-regulating hormones, lower food cravings and improve the way your body metabolizes food. Recent studies indicate that guzzling green tea can help you feel full between meals. Full of a phytonutrient called EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), green tea increases the hormone responsible for making you feel satiated.

Watermelon
This cool tasting fruit is wonderful on a hot summer day but it’s also a super food when it comes to losing weight. A recent study showed that women who ate water-rich foods lost 33% more weight in the first 6 months than women on a low-fat diet. Watermelon also contains vitamins A and C, as well as the “mother of all antioxidants,” glutathione, which is known to help strengthen the immune system.

If none of these foods appeal to you, there are many other fresh foods that can help you stay skinny. You can eat the foods you love as long as you don’t over consume the amount of food needed to sustain your desired weight. The secret is to choose healthy foods that you love to eat and begin to integrate them into your diet.

Remember to eat more often if you want to stay skinny. Eating 5 meals a day instead of 3 meals a day can actually help you lose weight. Rather than consuming all of your calories in 3 meals, you will spread them out over the 5 meals. This way you can better control your hunger and food cravings. Also, make a habit of snacking on fruit or veggies rather than chips or candy. Small steps, little changes day by day will keep you skinny for life without having to give up the foods you love.

Cashew Chicken Salad Wrap

I love to make this ahead of time and serve it after bike riding with the boys, power walking with a friend or a fun game of tennis with a fierce competitor. It’s a great treat to have on hand when the kids get home from school or when my girlfriends stop by for a little get together.

Serves 4

1 head of lettuce / whole romaine good for wraps
1 Tbsp light or low fat mayo
1/4 fat-free sour cream
1/4 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
3 cups cooked, cut-up chicken (white meat)
1/2 cup celery, cut-up
2 green onions, cut-up
1/2 cup unsalted cashew pieces

Directions:

1. Combine all ingredients, mayo, sour cream, garlic and mix well.
2. Put salad mixture and chicken in large bowl gently tossing till blended.
3. Serve over lettuce leaves.
4. Add cashews on top.

Health Benefits:
Chicken is a low fat and delicious meat that satisfies the appetite; it’s low in calories and a great source of protein. Cashews are also high in protein and a healthy mainstay to enjoy as a snack or a topping for meats, vegetables, yogurts, salads, oatmeal or pasta. Lettuce leaves round out this salad and add fiber and all kinds of nutrients. A good source of beta carotene, folate, manganese, iron and Vitamins C, K, and A.