2.5 Minutes

Is that all you need to get in shape? In a recent study from Colorado State University and the University of Colorado, it was shown that in just 2.5 minutes of intense exercise, an extra 200 calories are burned during that day. (for you science people that like to see the study). http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-10/aps-moh101112.php

Notice I didn’t say during the actual exercise. Over the course of the day, the uptick in metabolism is accounting for that calorie burn.

In this study, participants sprinted on a bike for 30 seconds at an all out effort with a 4 minute recovery. They did this 5 times. Essentially a typical interval training workout. What researchers discovered was that the participants burned an extra 200 calories on those workout days.
An extra 200 calories from just 2.5 minutes of hardcore work? Seems like a good trade off to me.

Now what I don’t want you to do is go overboard and say “if 2.5 minutes is good, then 60 minutes must be even better.”. When it comes to intervals, intensity and rest are essential. The sprint part needs to be all out, and if you reach a point where that is no longer possible, then what’s the point of continuing?

A safe place to start is doing 5-10 intervals for 30 seconds with enough recovery where your heart rate and breathing rate come down. This ensures that you can give a max effort on the next interval.
An even better way to do interval training is by monitoring your heart rate. To do this we need to look at the following formula.

Target Heart Rate = ((max HR − resting HR) × %Intensity) + resting HR

(max HR being 220-AGE)

So for someone looking to do intervals over 85% of their max, we’ll look at a 30 year old with resting HR of 60.
THR= ((220-30)-60)* .85 + 60.
THR= 170
So in this example HR should get to 170 to be an effective interval.

As for the rest period, HR should reach below 50% of max. Therefore based on the same formula the THR is 125.

Just another way of doing this workout. Try plugging in your own numbers. Just be sure to take your resting HR as soon as you wake up in the morning. That’s when it’s at it’s lowest.

We used to chart that number over the course of a cross country season to see how our body adapted to training. As the season progressed, the more efficient our bodies got at handling the training, and our resting HR would come down.

Give this a try and if you need help with the formula, leave a comment and I’ll help in anyway I can. I even have a few beginner interval workouts to try on your own.

What the Space Jump has to do with you


By now I’m sure everyone has heard or seen Felix Baumgartner’s amazing jump from space.  If you haven’t, look it up on YouTube.  It is quite an amazing accomplishment.  He has seen things that few have seen in person and probably never will. 
From over 24 miles above the earth, he jumped down hitting record speeds and surpassing the sound barrier, and landed safely on the ground.  This record setting jump was 5 years in the making.  Think about that..5 years.   That’s a long time to have your eyes set on a goal.  Now I’m sure there were bumps along the way.  People telling him that he was crazy for trying to attempt such a jump.  Even last week, when the jump was supposed to take place, the weather thwarted their plans, and the jump was scrubbed. 
I dont think any of that got in his way.  I dont think anyone could shake his determination to finish what he started.  He had a goal, and he hit his mark. 

My favorite quote was “Sometimes we have to get really high to see how small we are.” Sometimes we need to stop and see the bigger picture to get the minor details. 

Now what has this record setting space jump have to do with you?
Well, we all have goals in life, don’t we?  But how often do we let little things hold us back from reaching those goals?  In the context of health and fitness, we always have big ambitions and goals when we first start(especially the new years resolution crowd), but slow progress and slow results leads to disappointment and then eventually you just drop off completely.  But theres a saying “some people quit due to slow progress, never grasping the fact that slow progress IS progress.”  It may not happen overnight, but with hard work it will happen. 
I’m here to tell you, dont let little setbacks slow you down and deter you from your goals.  Learn from those set backs so they dont happen again. 
Look if Felix Baumgartner can jump from the edge of space, you can certainly accomplish any goals you set out to accomplish. 

Motivation Monday

Let’s get after it this week.

Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it. -Lou Holtz

You have the ability on any given day to take on your goals, hit the gym, keep your nutrition on point.
You need that internal motivation that nothing is going to stop you from those goals.
Take on an attitude of “I’m gonna give it my all. I’m 100% in and committed.”

Wait? You’re still doing that?

Now, if you’ve read any of the first few posts that I’ve written, you know I’m
Do yourself a favor, avoid these machines, that is if you are still training using machines at all. 
Leg Extensions, Hip ABductor, Hip ADductor. 

The leg extension machine is probably the most dangerous one to use just from a bio mechanics/physics standpoint.  The body is really a system of levers and when looking at leg extensions, the knee acts as the fulcrum and the load is at the very bottom of the lever(lower leg), as in a class three lever.  This results in shear forces on the knee, specifically on the ACL(anterior cruciate ligament) itself.  Yes it is designed to increase strength of the quads, however at what cost to the knee.  In terms of looking at it from a “functional” standpoint, when is a forceful leg extension done?  Soccer? Place kicking in football?  Most of that strength is drawn from the hips, not in isolation.  Just in terms of the compression and shear forces on the knee joint itself, you would do yourself a big favor in staying away from this exercise.  Try doing wall squats, or squats in general.  Squatting with the right form is one of the best exercises you could do for your quads. 
“But what if I’m coming off a knee injury?” Well yea, that’s a tough question, but there are heel slides, quad sets, and straight leg raises to help recover initially, but the sooner you get back to squatting, the healthier your knee will be.  Listen, I handled my own knee recovery from a PCL(posterior cruciate ligament) by doing suspended TRX lunges, front squats, and deadlifts.  Not once did I do a leg extension.  My knee has never been better. 

Looking at the two hip exercises, you have to look at it from a functional standpoint again.  When are you ever seated and moving your legs in and out against a resistance?  Safe to say almost never.  I would rather see people engage in lateral or transverse lunges as these exercises train the adductors to decelerate the body and absorb impact.  They train the body to move and work as one rather than in isolation.  As for the abductors, try wrapping a band around your ankles and doing lateral walks for about 15-20 steps.  Much more effective at targeting those abductor muscles. 

So skip these 3 useless machines and try the substitutions i mentioned.  You may find out that they work better than those isolation exercises. 

Motivation Monday 11/8

“Clear your mind of can’t!!  – Samuel Johnson

Can’t is a word you use to set yourself up for failure.  There are no can’ts, only won’ts, and don’t want to’s. 
Try living without the word can’t in your vocabulary, specifically “I can’t.”
Its so self limiting. 

Say to yourself “I can!”  Very powerful stuff right there.