Fat Loss? Do Without HIIT

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a training strategy that integrates short periods of intense exercise with periods of recovery, in rapid succession, until failure or extreme exhaustion. The goal of HIIT is to maximize caloric expenditure while minimizing activity duration. Although activity duration differs, 30 minutes is generally the cap.

Here are two sample workouts:

10-second sprint, 50-second jog

EMOM*, 10 rounds

Jump Squat, Deadlift 80% 1RM, Plank

AMRAP**, EMOM, 10 rounds

*Every Minute On the Minute

**As Many Reps As Possible

This post addresses THREE pitfalls of a weight management program that strictly utilizes HIIT.

1. Sustainability

First and foremost, when starting a new training program, we need to ask ourselves: can we sustain this activity, both physically and mentally, long term? Health and fitness should be a long-term goal, but quite frankly, HIIT does not allow for this. This is because HIIT requires consistent, high-energy output…even under extreme fatigue. High-energy output under extreme fatigue, more often than not, leads to technique breakdown. Consistent (or acute) technique breakdown will (not can, will) present high injury risk, and ultimately, an injury will prevent the individual from continuing to train. For example, how will your deadlift repetitions look on your 10th round in a workout like the one above? Probably not good.

2. Progression

Next, a training program should be progressive and adaptable because the human body is designed to adapt to the stimuli we provide it. This progression should be realistic. With that in mind, if you start with the intensity that HIIT requires your first week, where will you be in week 10? In a year? For example, you start with 10 rounds of sprints like the sample workout above. Second week, you go to 12 rounds, then 15, then 20… then 60…? Yes, every training program will present challenges and plateaus, but is the risk associated with the necessary training effort worth the outcome? If the answer is no, maybe an intervention is required.

3. Practicality

Lastly, a training program should consider an individual’s or group’s overall make-up and goals. Yes, HIIT can burn plenty of calories—but burning as many calories as possible is not an optimal, long-term fat loss strategy. This is especially the case for beginners or individuals with minimal weight training experience. If improving body composition is the goal (getting “toned”), there needs to be a change in mindset. That is, building and maintaining as much muscle and strength is most optimal, and not simply burning calories, as it will not only burn calories but increase one’s Basal Metabolic Rate over the long term, too. Unfortunately, HIIT, in general, does not allow for this, as one can expect to lose almost as much muscle as fat during the process. For example, John Doe, who is skinny-fat, decides to start working out and utilizing HIIT to get rid of belly fat. Burning as many calories as he can each workout, he notices he has lost weight, but he proportionately looks the same (same body composition). Not ideal. Almost always, a strength-training/muscle-building program coupled with a nutrition intervention will work better in this case.

In summary, HIIT can be a short-term training tool for advanced trainees looking to burn fat, as it can help burn more calories than their average workout. However, when combining all of the above reasons, it’s clear that a strength-training program WITH a nutrition intervention will provide better results long-term.

“Quickly come, quickly go.”


Written by: Dawit Girma

Making An Investment In Your Health

Many individuals who want to be an ideal weight, look a certain way, or want to be stronger do not realize the true investment that needs to be made into their health and wellness.  Everyone seems to want the end result, but aren’t willing to commit to building a healthy lifestyle that will be sustainable for the long-term. So many are looking for a quick fix or the next nutritional fad, rather than making an investment to be the best version of themselves.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the “total costs associated with high blood pressure in 2011 in the US were $46 billion in health care services, medications, and missed days of work.”  One way or another, you will end up paying for your health - the question is would you prefer to make that investment on the front end as preventative health care, or on the back end for medications and medical bills?

Changing your life does not come when there is one foot, it comes when you realize that you are sick and tired of being sick and tired.  As I said, there are a some investments that will need to be made to reach your potential with your health and wellness:

  1. Financial Investment

    • Invest in a gym or personal trainer who will help you achieve your goals.  

    • Invest in choosing healthier foods at the store.  This may mean paying extra for fresh produce over the quick and easy drive thru restaurant.

    • Invest in proper supplementation that will give you support towards your nutritional goals.

  2. Time Investment - results do not come overnight, it will take time

    • Time that will take you away from friends and activities that do not align with what you are trying to achieve.

    • Time that will take to go to the gym in order to build strength and lean muscle.

    • Time that will take you to prepare your meals that align with your nutritional goals.

  3. Social Investment

    • Invest in a support system that will help you achieve your goals - which may mean finding new friends.

These may not be statements you want to hear, but they truly are things you need to hear.  We understand that making such a commitment is the most difficult step in the process. Once you recognize the positive changes you can make by cutting out eating out and going to happy hours (both physically and financially), the investment in your health does not seem all that bad.  

The only question left to ask is are you willing to make an investment in your health?

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Pre and Post Workout Nutrition for Specific Body Types

Pre and Post workout nutrition play a key role in one’s recovery and results when they begin a training regimen.  It is important to get a balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats throughout your day in order to maintain a healthy body composition.  Based off of one’s body type, there can be a benefit from getting a specific amount of each pre and post workout, plus adding in proper supplementation during their workout.

The three different body types include the following:

Ectomorph - smaller frame, tends to be leaner, usually trying to gain muscle

Mesomorph - athletic build, medium-sized frame, usually trying to optimize physique or sports performance

Endomorph - larger frame, tends to have a slower metabolism, usually trying to lose fat or support strength

Below are three images to describe the portions sizes and timing of one’s pre and post workout meal.  You can see that all three body types can benefit from a source of protein and vegetables, but the main differences take place in the amount of dense carbohydrates and healthy fats one has.  

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An ectomorph can benefit from more carbohydrates and less fat; a mesomorph can benefit from a balance of both carbohydrates and fats; an endomorph can benefit from less carbohydrates and more healthier fats.

Proper supplementation during exercise can also aid in bettering one’s results and recovery.  The two that we highlight are BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids) and a Protein + Carbohydrate Drink (P+C Drink) during your workout.  BCAA’s help fuel and maintain your lean muscle. A P+C Drink is typically has a 1:2 or 1:3 ratio of protein to carbohydrates.

The amounts of each can vary depending on your training and body composition goals, which are highlighted in the diagrams above.  

As you are preparing for your next workout, take all the following into account.  Your body will thank you on the recovery end, and your results will increase at a better rate!

Written by: Megan Osysko

Train to Get Strong. Eat to Get Lean.

All too often people try to use exercise as a way to validate eating whatever they want.... “I just burned 500 calories in my HIIT class, so I can go enjoy brunch now”.  This justification won’t result in progress, and in fact derails progress.

Unfortunately, our environment has shaped us to think that way.  It is important to create a mindset that allows you to feel empowered and proud of how far you have come in your strength training program.


Training allows you to get strong, feel powerful, be motivated, and create muscle. Nutrition allows you to alter your body composition and fuel your training regimen. They go hand in hand. 

Not sure where to start or feeling like you have hit a plateau? A DEXA Scan will give you a better idea as far as how much fat vs. lean muscle you have. On the nutrition end, the best place to start it by tracking your food intake for 3 days. This will highlight any red flags, and allow you to see where you can make some simple switches. 

If you have questions, reach out to a professional who can provide guidance, education, and help you change your mindset that may be holding you back from your next break through.

 

Written by: Megan Osysko

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What's For Breakfast?

Many people often skip out on breakfast because they don’t have the “time” to eat it, or they aren’t hungry in the morning… Whatever the excuse, it is still not a good enough one to skip out on such an important meal!

Benefits of a Healthy Breakfast:

  • Boosts metabolism
  • Helps maintain energy throughout the day
  • Promotes healthy weight management
  • Improves alertness and concentration

Be sure your breakfast has a balance of proteins, carbohydrates and healthy fats.  Keep it simple, here are some easy ideas to get all of the right nutrition to start your day!  

  1. Slice of whole-grain toast with peanut butter and sliced banana
  2. Oatmeal with a scoop of protein powder mixed in and topped with fruit
  3. Scrambled eggs with ground turkey and vegetables
  4. Greek yogurt topped with granola and fruit

Plan out what you will have the night before, wake up a few minutes earlier, and start your day off with a healthy breakfast — you will be glad you did!

Four Healthy Tips For The Fourth Of July

The 4th of July is filled with family, friends, fireworks and of course, food.  As the holiday approaches, set yourself up for success and remember these four healthy tips to stay on track:

  1. Don’t skip your workout.  Plan your time accordingly to get in a short strength training circuit with friends or family interval run, you will feel a lot better having done something rather than nothing.
  2. Extra, extra fruits and vegetables.  You can’t go wrong grabbing an extra serving of fruit salad or vegetables.  Research some healthy recipes and bring your own side dish to share with everyone!
  3. Go for lean meats.  Lean meats are a great source of protein with a lower fat content.  Grilled chicken or lean steak are great options over hot dogs and hamburgers.
  4. Practice moderation.  Grab a smaller plate to help with portion control.  Moderation is key.
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Have a safe & happy 4th of July!

Make Your Own Salsa This Summer

Salsa is always a fan favorite at summer barbecues and get togethers -- it is filled with nutrients from all types of vegetables and fruits.  It is a healthy snack or side dish that is simple and easy to make on your own. Rather than opening a can of salsa, make your own this summer for the next friend or family barbecue -- try the recipe below!

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Aunt Audrey’s Corn Salad

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c. canola oil
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. apple cider vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Mix these items together in a sauce pan, bring to a boil, and set aside to cool.

Salad Ingredients:

  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 orange pepper
  • 2 jalapeño peppers
  • 3 stalks of celery
  • 1 bunch green onions
  • 1 medium/large tomato
  • Small bunch of cilantro

Chop the above items, then add:

  • 1 can kidney beans, drained
  • 1 can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 can black beans, drained

Pour sauce over the vegetables and mix well.  Great served with salsa chips or as a salad.  Stores well in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks.

Stay Hydrated this Summer!

Dehydration is one of the leading causes of a drop off in daily performance.  Proper hydration and electrolyte balance is necessary for every individual to perform at their highest level.  Electrolyte replaced plays a key role in staying hydrated as well, especially during intense activity and during the hot summer months.  Electrolytes are the various types of salts in our body fluids that play a key role in physiology (function) of performance.  If not properly hydrated, fatigue, muscle cramps, dizziness or more serious symptoms can set in very quickly.

Factors to be considered when dealing with dehydration:

  • sweat rate
  • heat
  • humidity
  • exercise intensity
  • duration of activity

The American Council of Sports Medicine (ACSM) guidelines for staying hydrated before, during, and after an activity are as follows:

  1. Drink at least 17-20 oz. of water 2-3 hours before activity.
  2. Drink at least 8 oz. of water 20-30 minutes prior to activity or during your warm up.
  3. Drink at least 7-10 oz. of water every 10-20 minutes during activity.
  4. Drink at least 8 oz. no more than 30 minutes following activity.

Although everyone is different and will react a specific way in certain conditions, it is important to always be prepared and properly hydrated.  Drink water before you begin to get thirsty.  For exercise longer than 1 hour, one should begin consuming electrolytes, primarily sodium. This can be in the form of a food or drink with at least 250 mg of sodium per 0.5 liter (or about 100 mg per 8 ounces).  Keep a water bottle filled with you at all times throughout your day and don’t let dehydration be a factor in your upcoming athletic event!

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