Tag Archives: interval training

21-Day Shred Time

So it’s the last three weeks of prepping for my contestand it’s time to shred! I’ve been doing really well eating and exercising, working hard (except for my little ice cream vacation). It just so happened that at this time, I saw that celebrity trainer, Ashley Conrad, had a 21-day “Clutch Cut” programPerfect. With my main coach, Chris (aka Hungry), giving me the thumbs up to do this program, I was excited to get started. Click on that link and you’ll see the program. It’s a lot of high-intensity stuff, cardio, lifting, and nutrition. You need all three to make a difference.

Building up my back and shoulders

Building up my back and shoulders

I just finished Day 3 which was a rest day. I’m not a huge proponent of rest days for myself during this contest, especially on week days, but I did the best I could. All I did on Day 3 was run a mile and do some core. No lifting. Day 1 was an intense circuit with 15 minutes of HIIT (high-intensity interval training) on the treadmill. All in all it was probably a little over an hour for the workout.  And it was good. I would love to do this with my clients. I would recommend it to anyone who’s trying to build muscle and burn fat. Here it is:

  • Clean and press
  • Overhead med ball throws
  • DB rear lunge
  • Pushups
  • Bench dips
  • Sprint in place
  • Bodyweight squat
  • Lat pull down
  • Med ball jumping jacks
  • Incline pushup
  • DB curl
  • Lateral raise
  • 1 arm row

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For pictures and instructions, check out the link above. For this circuit, you are supposed to do 4-6 sets (I only had time for 4, but got a killer workout) with 30 sec rest in between (I didn’t take the rest to increase cardio). It was great and hit all parts of my body. Two days later, my hamstrings are still sore and those are sometimes hard to hit for me so yay! There was also a core circuit at the end you can check out.

Day 2 was a killer cardio workout. I used the treadmill (she says you can use treadmill, stairmaster, bike, or whatever). It was 25 minutes of intervals:

  • 60 second walk
  • 30 second jog
  • 60 second sprint

It was important to put your all into this and I did. I did so much so that I had a headache for the rest of the day and was exhausted (oops for working out early). It really worked me hard, and that’s what HIIT does, which is why I LOVE it.

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For the nutrition part, I’m just doing what I have been, eating clean: lean protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats. Keeping me strong and healthy. She says to go gluten-free, but I don’t completely do that. I’ve followed my plan and it’s working well this program. If you’re looking to build muscle and cut fat, do this program! I’d love to have someone to do it with anyone for the next 3 weeks–the more the merrier! Use this Fit-approved program to stay hungry and fit!

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FUN TOUGH SUMMER CIRCUIT

Here is an infinitely challenging but tremendously fun circuit that can help you develop lean muscle mass, athleticism, and cut down for the summer. It is a high-intensity exercise that can even be modified for HIIT if you are very goal-oriented. Otherwise, it is a great full body workout that contains some elements that are a little bit outside the box. The order of the exercises can be changed and some can be substituted or left out depending on what fits your needs best. Remember that there is no single workout that can help everyone equally. This is part of the reason that you will hear me constantly not recommending INSANITY or P90X or other similar products. Everyone’s body is different and requires different needs based on their strengths, weaknesses, injuries, goals, etc. But for everyone that is just looking for something a little strange that can still get your heart rate up and challenge you to push yourself… here is our FUN TOUGH SUMMER CIRCUIT.

The circuit is designed as six exercises with no rest between exercises. You run from one station to another and immediately begin the next exercise. After a set of all six, you then rest. I set it up for thirty-second rounds with a rest of 30 seconds after the full six exercises although you can play with these numbers depending on certain variables. Ask below if you are more curious about what I mean.

The goal is continue completing full sets until failure, which means you either give up mentally or physically. I would hope that your legs become jelly and you just can’t do it anymore, instead of getting hurt or giving up. I would shoot for five rounds although if you go all the way through twenty rounds I wouldn’t stop you. Just be careful, like always. Here are the exercises that are demonstrated and explained in the YouTube video linked above. (PLEASE feel free to like the video, comment, subscribe and share it with EVERYONE!)

1. Dynamic Ball Slams – This activates your upper body heavily, your core and your legs. Control the ball fully and dynamically lift it and slam it to the ground before picking it up and repeating. This will really help develop a strong back and shoulders.

2. Punching Bag Flurry – The goal is not to strike the bag as hard as you can or properly but rather to keep your body moving. In the video I use knees, elbows, shins, forearms, palms, fists and everything else. I keep it varied so I don’t get bored but too also activate different muscles. Don’t stop until that timer is finished so that you really challenge your body to push itself.

3. Jump Rope – Singles – Now we move away from the upper body somewhat and start to focus on our legs and getting our heart rate very high. You can absolutely do different jump rope techniques here although I used single jumps. Doubles, crosses, steps, and everything else is fine but keep moving. I will do a post on jumping rope at some point to give you more ideas.

You don’t need to jump this high

4. High Knees – This is a simple exercise but do it properly. Actually get those knees up towards the sky, through your chest. Explode off of the ground with all of your legs, including your hips. Once again, push yourself to continue until the timer ends and you feel those quads burning deep.

5. Over Jumps/Lateral Hops – Your legs probably feel like jelly after one round but you need to dig deep and find a groove. Most of these exercises are based on rhythm and mastering the motion. Complete full jumps with safe landings, absorbing the impact throughout your body. Watch your ankles on the lateral hops and avoids slick surfaces.

6. HULA HOOP – Really? Of course! This is a great way to take the stress off your upper and lower body as you use your core to keep the hula hoop off the ground. Then take some time to get a drink and REPEAT over and over again.

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Again, watch it here on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZFnPqWTp8mk

For individuals that want a challenge, try doing this with ankle or wrist weights or even a weight vest. It can be a great workout for an athlete of any level! And it’s fun! Fun workouts are one of my favorite ways to stay hungry and fit!

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Some Help on Training Splits and Achieving Goals

This is going to be a fairly short post compared to what I can say on the topic but it was prompted by my own changing of my split. Obviously, there are many muscle groups in your body. Major muscle groups include pull muscles, push muscles, lower body, core, and so on. Some people like to split them up even further into back, biceps, triceps, chest, abs, quads, calves, and even more. Some people like to split them up even more but I won’t do that to you.

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Depending on your fitness goals, you might be trying to focus on certain muscle groups more than others. If you’re trying to lose weight, you’re probably targeting all those groups equally in some intense interval training paired with lots of cardio to cut down. If you’re trying to gain mass and strength you might be methodically working out each group in detail in order to build clear-cut muscles so your arms don’t fit in your shirt. Either way, it is very intelligent to plan your approach to achieving your goals.

Every personal trainer initially assesses their client’s health conditions, background in fitness, personal goals, nutritional plan and diet and so forth. This information helps the trainer create the most fitting workouts and lifestyle for their client to achieve these goals. Even personal trainers and professional bodybuilders have trainers and nutritionists that help them achieve their goals so don’t think that you’re too good or smart for some help. It’s always helpful to have someone objective pushing you and leading the way, constantly motivating you to achieve your own goals. It’s hard for me to push myself to failure when I don’t have that motivation or person telling me try harder. Whatever your motivation might be, some extra push can help if the person with you knows what they are doing.

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Splits have many depending factors, such as time. How often do you plan to do strength workouts? Every day? Every other? Maybe every 3 days. Depending on which one, you want to plan your workouts accordingly to give enough rest and recovery time. What happens when we don’t give ourselves proper recovery time? We overtrain and lose progress. So plan to give yourself proper rest in between each muscle group to avoid overtraining.

You typically wouldn’t want to go to the gym and work your chest out every day. This would not allow proper time to recover. Depending on your personal recovery rate, you may be ready to workout a certain group every other day, although that is rare. I typically allow somewhere around 4 days before repeating a workout that is targeting the same muscle group if they are intense workouts. If you plan on doing full body workouts multiple times a week and are not trying to gain massive amounts of strength, power, or size, less rest is necessary.

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Some of the greatest bodybuilders of all time have claimed to workout only two to three times a week while some workout six days a week doing double sessions every day. No matter what you decide, to do make sure you are allowing proper recovery time. If you have any questions about how to fit “cardio”, strength training, performance training or whatever you do together to maximize results, please let us know in the comment section below. With these tips, we hope you can stay even more hungry and fit!

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High Intensity Training [Or: For Cardio Haters]: Treadmill Interval Training

Odd title, perhaps. I wouldn’t say I’m necessarily a cardio hater, but I certainly do not usually enjoy running. Sprinting, sure, but sustained running, no. I’m not sure what it is, whether it bores me, I have poor endurance, or I don’t run properly (definitely a combination of the three). So if you’re like me, or if you just want a new great fat-blasting workout, listen up.

56/365 morning run

56/365 morning run (Photo credit: kharied)

Instead of trying to improve my mile time or extend the amount of mileage in a go, lately I’ve been doing interval training instead. This is perfect for someone like me who is eager for a tough intense workout, but isn’t a huge fan of running for cardio. Using a treadmill for this makes everything a lot easier because you can easily control your speed and monitor it as well.

Treadmill Desk

Treadmill Desk (Photo credit: {platinum})

So go ahead–don’t be scared–jump on that treadmill and get ready for this workout:

25 minutes total

  • Start with a 5 minute walking warm up, but make it brisk–3 or 3.5 mph
  • Now we begin our interval training. Bump up the speed to 5 mph, a light jog
  • After 1 minute, change the speed to 8 mph or something akin to your speed of a sprint
  • Sprint for 1 minute at this pace then slow it down back to 5 mph (or slower if you’re really struggling–but never below 3 mph)
  • Go off and on like this (switching every minute) until your treadmill reads 25 minutes

This interval training is excellent for burning fat. And more importantly–for me–I don’t get bored, because I’m constantly switching speeds and pushing myself hard. It may seem like a long time for such intensity, but it goes by quickly and you will know the hard work you’ve done after. Your body will ache for nutrients.

English: Workout room.

Workout room. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Say you can’t bump it up that high? Or perhaps 25 minutes is just too long for you. Be reasonable, listen to your body, if you need to modify it, do so. For beginners, or people who just want to start smart, extend the rest time (the slow jog or fast walk in between the sprints) to 2-4 minutes instead of just 1. This may be the time you need to help you get all the way to 25 minutes.

And for those who just don’t have the time, simply cut it down farther. But make sure you maintain that speed and don’t cheat. You only cheat yourself. Let us know if you have any questions. As always…stay hungry and fit!