Unlike lower-body exercises like squats and deadlifts, where the stronger of the two legs can easily compensate for the weaker limb, lunges force each leg to take turns doing the brunt of the work. Working your legs separately can expose and correct any strength and stability imbalances between the left and right side, says Carol Mack, DPT, a certified strength and conditioning specialist and board-certified specialist in sports physical therapy.
However, to see any benefits from lunges, your exercise form has to be on-point. Here are the most common lunge mistakes Mack sees — and how to fix them.
It’s common for people to lunge with their feet too close to their centerline. “A lot of times, people will step too narrow and start to crossover, almost like they’re walking on a tightrope,” Mack says. But lunging on an imaginary tightrope not only makes it hard to balance, it also makes it hard to get the right muscles firing, while adding extra stress to the hips and knees, she adds.
The fix: Begin every lunge with your feet hip-width apart. As you step into a lunge, step the working foot in line with that hip — not in line with the other foot. “The feet should be hip-width apart at all times,” Mack says.
According to Mack, many people mindlessly step in and out of lunges. As a result, they don’t activate the right muscle groups (i.e., glutes, quads and hamstrings) — or even know what it feels like to engage these muscles. But, if you’re going to go through the trouble of doing lunges in the first place, you may as well score quality reps. “It’s quality over quantity,” Mack says. “If you can get sets of eight really good repetitions, that’s going to go a lot farther than lunging 20 times each leg and just going through the motions.”
The fix: Step into a lunge slowly and with control. Then, pause for 1or 2 counts before pushing back to the start. You should feel your glute and quadricep or hamstring (depending on which lunge variation you’re doing) firing throughout the movement.
Allowing your front knee to collapse inward when you lunge not only limits the effectiveness of the exercise, it also increases your chances of developing knee pain down the road (if you don’t have knee pain already).
The fix: As you lunge, make sure your front knee aligns with your shoelaces, Mack says. However, if you can’t lunge without your front knee falling out of alignment, weak glutes may be to blame. When you lunge, your glutes push your hips forward and rotate your working leg outward. But if your glutes are too weak to do their job, your upper leg and knee will likely collapse inward, according to Eliza Nelson, ACE-certified personal trainer and orthopedic exercise specialist. Your best approach to fixing this collapse is to incorporate more glute-focused exercises — like glute bridges, squats and banded lateral walks — into your exercise routine.
Another common lunge mistake is to let your front knee creep past your front toes. Doing so adds stress to your knee joint, which can cause knee discomfort or pain over time.
The fix: If your knee goes over your toes, your lunge stance may be too narrow, according to Nelson. Try widening your stance to ease the pressure, but take care not to shift too much weight onto the back leg in the process. If you let your front knee drift too far backward, you’ll increase the strain on your back knee, which can also lead to pain. “You should always be able to see the toes on your front foot,” Mack says, but if you start feeling a strain on the back knee, let your front knee drift forward just a touch.
The answer for most of us is probably no. But the good news is that drinking more water can have a number of positive health benefits, and it’s a great New Year’s resolution that you can easily stick to.
Before you hit the road to better hydration, here are a few water consumption facts that we’ve put together with the help of our friends at “A Healthier Michigan.”
How much water should I be drinking?
While this is a matter of some medical debate, a good goal for improving your daily water intake is to aim for eight, 8-ounce glasses per day. Other medical experts recommend drinking at least half of your body weight in ounces of water per day. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should drink at least 75 ounces of water each day (that’s approximately four and a half 16.9 oz. Absopure water bottles).
Maintaining proper hydration is especially important around this time of the year, as the winter months also tend to be peak cold and flu season. Getting your daily-recommended amount of water every day can help keep your immune system running in tip-top shape.
How can you tell if you’re not drinking enough water?
When you start to feel thirsty, dehydration has already started. Dehydration can also cause fatigue, headaches, sleepiness and lack of concentration. Don’t wait for the symptoms to set in before you grab a glass of water. Instead, drink a glass during every meal (and a few more in between).
What are some other ways to increase your water consumption?
Increasing your water intake isn’t just about how much you drink, it also includes what you eat. In fact, there are a number of healthy fruits and vegetables that are full of vitamins and antioxidants and also contain a lot of water.
Cucumbers, pears, celery, strawberries, tomatoes and grapefruit, among other fruits and vegetables, contain a high water content that can help you reach your goals.
There are plenty of good reasons to drink more water, and getting started is as easy as filling up a glass.
#Tonedbabes, did you know that Jumping rope can burn up to 1,000 calories per hour, making it one of the most efficient fat-burning workouts available.
Unlike other forms of interval training that are much more stressful on the body, Jumping rope has some awesome benefits. Such as it tones muscles throughout the entire body and develops lean muscles in all major muscle groups.
Of course, jumping rope optimizes conditioning and maximizes athletic skills by combining agility, coordination, timing, and endurance. Most importantly for you, it can help burn body fat.
Jumping rope is practical because, well, it is easy. Jump ropes are portable and inexpensive and can be purchased for less than $10. If you are at home and needing some cardio to do that is less impactful on your body, you’ve found it with a jump rope.
For your jump-rope program according to ISSA, start by jumping rope 30 seconds and resting 1 minute for 6 sets. Depending on ability, add 10 seconds per week or workout. Make it your goal to complete 6 sets of 3 minutes of jump rope, with a 30-second rest interval. When you are able to complete 6 sets of 3 minutes, body fat will have melted off and conditioning will be at a whole new level.
Another way to reduce stress and maintain your weight: Get moving at least once a day. “Our bodies crave movement and the feel-good endorphins that come with it,” says Carmel. As such, make it a point to put daily workouts on your calendar, too. With multiple YouTube videos, Instagram tutorials and free apps, there are plenty of ways to add variety to your new at-home workouts, she says.5
Sticking with a healthy eating plan and exercise routine is especially difficult when so much is going on in the world. “Times are hard, so remember that you don’t have to manage this perfectly,” says Carmel. Rather than getting down on yourself when you skip a workout or consume extra calories, be compassionate with yourself. Remind yourself of the times you showed up to sweat it out and better controlled your portions in the past. Then, commit to getting back on track.7
In the midst of such high-stress times, some impulsive eating is to be expected, but you can plan ahead by stocking up on nutrient-dense, low-calorie snacks. Where and how you store your snacks can make a difference, too, says Nissley. For instance, if you know you’ll eat a bag full of chips or a package of cookies in no time, opt for pre-portioned snack packsinstead. “Keep them on an out-of-reach shelf or inside a cabinet instead of on your countertops or kitchen table,” suggests Nissley. This way, you have time to ask yourself first, “Am I really hungry?”10
“Any step in the right direction is a reason to pat yourself on the back,” says Carmel. Stick with your workout? Prepare a healthy dinner? There are plenty of non-scale victories that can indicate improvement to your overall physical and mental health. Make sure to take a moment to celebrate steps forward and acknowledge your progress.
Have you been working your butt off trying to lose weight, tone your body, or kickstart your metabolism only to be disappointed with your results? If so, you are so not alone. So many people embark upon their health and fitness journey with big goals, and when things don’t go as planned, it leads to a world of disappointment.
But, what if we told you that it may all have to do with how you are working out? Well, if you’re unfamiliar with the three different body types and how they determine how you should workout and fuel your body, keep reading.
We are going to uncover exactly what you need to know about your specific body type and what this means for how you should be working towards your fitness goals so you can stop hitting roadblocks and start seeing results.
The Three Different Body Types + Fitness & Nutrition Tips
There are three different body types, ectomorph, endomorph, and mesomorph. Each have their own unique characteristics, so let’s take a look and see where you fit in.
Ectomorphs tend to be long and lean. They often have a super speedy metabolism making it difficult to put on weight and muscle.
Pro Fitness Tip for the Ectomorph
If you have an ectomorph body type, and you are feeling frustrated when it comes to trying to build muscle, it’s not necessarily anything you are doing wrong! Ectomorphs are naturally long and lean, and it just means that you may need to make some modifications to train your body into thinking that building muscle is the way to go. To help build muscle, try incorporating some strength training using light weights and resistance bands into your fitness routine.
Pro Nutrition Tip for the Ectomorph
Since ectomorphs tend to have super fast metabolisms, consuming complex carbohydrates with plenty of healthy fat will help promote satiety, and adding plenty of clean protein into the diet is a great way to help support muscle growth.
If your goal is to try to build muscle, and it’s something you struggle with, adding some collagen protein to a post-workout smoothie can make an excellent supplement choice.
Endomorphs are generally stockier with a wider build and have a slower metabolism than someone with an ectomorph body type. Someone with an endomorph build generally has more muscle and fat than ectomorphs.
Pro Fitness Tip for the Endomorph
If you have an endomorph body type, and you are working out as a way to help promote weight loss, then aerobic exercises are going to be your new BFF. Aerobic fitness for those who an endomorph build can help with weight loss and can help fire up your metabolism. Get your daily sweat in with HIIT trainers Danielle Pascente and Katie Dunlop using FitOn.
Pro Nutrition Tip for the Endomorph
With a slower metabolism, endomorphs will want to be a little extra mindful of when and what they eat. If you have an endomorph body build, focus on eating fewer carbs and getting plenty of clean proteins and healthy fats to fuel your body with energy and keep your metabolism reeved.
As it turns out, we all really do need our beauty sleep, and for more than one reason. A lack of sleep can lead to food cravings and weight gain. In fact, a study found that a lack of sleep causes a higher likelihood of overeating and eating the wrong kinds of food. Strive to get at least eight hours of uninterrupted sleep per night to help support not only a healthy weight, but overall health as well.
Those who have a mesomorph body type tend to have some characteristics of both an endo and an ectomorph. They may have a much easier time losing weight while also finding it easier to pack on muscle.
Pro Fitness Tip for the Mesomorph
Mesomorphs generally don’t have to train as hard to see the results they want as compared to endomorphs and ectomorphs. If you have a mesomorph body type, you may want to consider adding a combination of things into your fitness routine to keep things fun and interesting!
Pro Nutrition Tip for the Mesomorph
Since mesomorphs are sort of a balance between the two others, it’s no surprise that eating a well-balanced diet is the way to go here. Strive to consume balanced meals with a complex carb, a clean protein, and a healthy fat to support a balanced metabolism and to keep you full between meals.
Since you may have characteristics of both an endo and ectomorph build, try to continue to reduce stress and get as much sleep as possible.
The Bottom Line
So, should your body type determine your workout? The answer is yes, but it’s not just a simple yes. Since no two people are the same, it is very possible that you may be a combination of body types, which means you will have to determine which types of exercise works best for you. While one person with an endomorph build may see best results with cardio exercises, someone else may lose weight faster with strength training. With health and fitness, there is never a one size fits all approach, so experiment with what feels and works best for you!
When it comes to your walking pace, gauge your intensity on a scale of 1–10 — a 5–6 effort should have you breathing quickly, but still allow you to carry on a conversation easily. An 8–9 effort should have you breathing very heavily and able to answer yes or no questions only. Since your intensity varies with your personal fitness level, vary your speed and power to reach the recommended effort range for each walk.
This walk is steady but strong. After walking for 3 minutes at an easy pace to warm up, focus on maintaining a steady effort level of a 5–6 intensity until you’ve completed your session for the day (be sure to spend about 3–5 minutes walking at an easy pace to cool down, catch your breath and complete your walk).
Go the distance in less time with this interval walk! After walking for 3 minutes at an easy pace to warm up, begin repeating your HIIT interval sets (spend 3 minutes walking at a brisk pace, at an intensity of about a 5–6, power walk or jog at 1 minute at an intensity of an 8–9) until you’ve completed your session for the day (be sure to spend about 3–5 minutes walking at an easy pace to cool down, catch your breath and complete your walk).
It’s important not to over do it, and this active recovery walk is all about keeping a balance in your fitness routine. Plus, science has shown stress relief is a great way to help reduce belly-fat causing cortisol levels. This walk is all about enjoying the movement (stride at a comfortable 3–4 effort level). Take in your surroundings, focus on feeling good — try to be mindful of your breath and steps along the way.
The main point is to make it work for you. If you’re already a regular walker, feel free to add additional time to your walk — or extra days if you feel up for more. You can also skip ahead to the weeks that contain more walking and simply repeat the schedule from there. It’s easy to switch the daily and weekly schedule as you see fit, just be sure to make it work for you. It’s also a great idea to cross-train with other activities such as strength training, stretching and other movement such as bicycling, swimming, etc., to avoid overuse injuries and continue to build strength and endurance.
Walk with good posture, keeping your abs drawn slightly in (you should still be able to breathe comfortably), with your shoulders back and chest wide. Drive your arms back and forth to help power up your pace.
Of course, it’s important to note that nutritionplays a vital role in the permanent reduction of belly fat. Consuming nutritious food in the right amount is important and some research also suggests adding foods that help fight inflammation to your diet may also assist losing deep abdominal fat, so be sure you are also pairing your walks with healthy meals for the best results.
Notes: Your total walk time can include your warmup and cooldown — or not — it’s up to you. If you have enough time, add the additional 6–10 minutes to gradually warm up for and wrap up your walks to your walk total for the day (if, for example, your HIIT walk is 15 minutes, you’ll really be walking for 21 minutes with a 3 minute warm up and 3 minute cool down). However, if you are short on time, include the warm up and cool down into your daily total, just don’t skip them — it’s important to ease into and wind down your walk properly.
Remember that you can always adjust your walk days and times as needed to make them work for your schedule. And don’t forget to keep challenging yourself during the plan — as you become more fit, work on pumping up your pace when appropriate to cover more miles in less time.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
As someone who struggled to lose weight for years, Jessica found that the key to her own 40-pound weight loss was making small, healthy lifestyle changes that led to big, lasting results. Now, as a certified wellcoach, fitness instructor and personal trainer, she has spent the last 15 years helping students and clients reach their goals in New York City, Los Angeles and Miami. She now reaches millions online through her YouTube Channel and home exercise DVD series. Please visit walkonwalkstrong.com to learn more about her fun, results-driven programs for all levels of exercisers.
For individuals who are obese and trying to lose weight, or anyone looking to keep the weight off, the ACSM recommends bumping this number up to 200–300 minutes per week (3.3–5 hours). Breaking this down, a one-hour walk 4–5 days per week will be sufficient to achieve your weight-loss goals. Any additional time you spend exercising on top of this adds to your overall calorie burn and fitness level.
If you decide to up the intensity — either by adding resistance training in the form of weights or including short periods of running — exercising at a vigorous activity level (70–85% of your maximum heart rate) requires the duration of your walk to be cut in half to achieve the same benefits. In other words, a 60-minute moderate-intensity walk is the same as a 30-minute walk/run at a vigorous intensity level.
The most accurate way to measure intensity level is to use a heart rate monitor, but you can also keep track of perceived exertion. On a scale of 0–10 (0 is sitting, 10 is the highest exertion possible), moderate intensity is a 5–6, and vigorous activity begins at 7.
Calculating and recording your daily steps, mileage, time and exercise intensity is all important when you’re trying to lose weight. But the last part of the equation — nutrition — is equally crucial. Logging your food intake with MyFitnessPal as well as your workouts can help you get a more accurate picture of the quantity and types of foods you’re consuming. That way you can make informed decisions regarding smarter portion sizes and where you can cut excess calories to find a healthy deficit that allows you to lose weight and keep it off.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Start by walking a little more than you normally do each day until you can do an hour or more 4–5 times per week. If you keep to a brisk pace and pay attention to your nutrition, you’ll set yourself up for effective weight loss.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marc is a freelance writer based in Scottsdale, Arizona. He holds a master’s degree in writing from Portland State University and is a certified physical therapy assistant. An avid cyclist and runner of over 20 years, Marc contributes to LAVA, Competitor and Phoenix Outdoor magazines. He is the former cycling editor for Active.com.
This is good information to know. If you are like me, running is NOT my thing. I do enjoy HIIT cardio because the pain is quick and over quickly as well. 🥵 I do enjoy walking.
If you are like me, I know you are missing your time in the gym. I feel like gym class is my “ME TIME”! 😩 But since social distancing has taken place, I’ve tried making my life doable right at home. Much has not changed for me, I’ve been working from home for a few years now. Most of my social life takes place in gym classes. 😆
I still wake up every morning before 6am (usually would wake up at 5:15am for gym class). My morning routine still takes place during this time…even getting dressed in gym clothes & shoes. 😜 I want things to feel as normal as possible. This important timeframe sums up my daily productivity. When I miss a workout, I feel sluggish and lost the entire day. 😩 Workout time starts anywhere from 7a – 7:30a and lasts about 1 hour. It takes place upstairs in my step-daughter’s playroom. The room has the perfect space!!! I only have to dodge kicking the dog because he seems to always find his way right next to me.
After my workout is complete, I go downstairs to the kitchen to drink my protein shake and eat breakfast. I use a vegan protein and the taste is great (vanilla flavor). It mixes very well in smoothies and baking goods.
After breakfast, I take a shower and then complete any company work I need to do. After I complete (usually done around 12pm), it’s about time for lunch. 😆 I eat lunch and then complete my duties around the house. When life was normal, I could at least run my daily errands. Now…🤷🏽♀️ We are all coping with stay-at-home syndrome. FYI…this social distance eating will be the death of me. 😩 #boredtodeath Everyone, please stay home and be safe. ❤️
It all depends on your goals. In a nutshell: If the primary goal is to increase aerobic endurance or lose weight, then you should perform cardiovascular exercise first. If the primary goal is to increase muscular strength, then you should perform strength training first.
Factual Info –
By now you know if you want to build a lean, fit body, you can’t stick to the treadmill or elliptical alone. It takes some heavy lifting to get that strong and chiseled physique. In fact, even if you want to be a better runner, you still need to incorporate strength training into your routine. But when you’re strapped for time, and need to squeeze cardio and weights into a single sweat session, which should you tackle first? Strength training, according to the research and fitness pros. Here’s why.
Why Weights Shouldn’t Wait
In one study published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, researchers pinned three workout tactics against each other: Strength training alone, running then strength, and cycling followed by strength. They found that exercisers did fewer weight lifting reps if they had just ran or cycled. Yet, doing strength training with no cardio beforehand resulted in more reps.
Another recent study found similar results. After research subjects performed different bouts of treadmill running, the number of reps they performed during resistance training decreased, as did muscle power. Their heart rate and rate of perceived exertion also increased during the strength training sessions that followed aerobic exercise, especially after a HIIT running workout.
“In my experience, I’ve found that most exercisers feel ‘stronger’ when they engage in resistance training first,” says Robert Confessore, PhD, clinical exercise physiologist at Summit Medical Fitness Center in Kalispell, MT. Many scientific studies also demonstrate that aerobic training can negatively affect strength development when performed prior to lifting (whereas research is lacking on the reverse effect), he says. This is due to physiological changes in the muscles that help you move. When you use those fibers to fatigue before you do resistance exercises, your form and drive will likely suffer.
And that can have a noticeable impact. According to Lacey Stone, an LA-based celebrity trainer, if you want the muscle-building benefits of strength training, it’s best to start with those exercises. “It’s vital that you lift before your cardio workouts, because you will have the most power and the most strength to lift heavier loads, which in turn will make you stronger,” she says.
When Cardio Matters Most
In terms of fighting off fat, both resistance exercises and anaerobic workouts are crucial. “When you gain muscle, it raises your metabolic rate, which helps you burn fat faster,” Stone explains. And according to research, doing both strength and cardio decreases body fatsignificantly more than each method alone. So you can probably stick to the same formula mentioned above, but keep in mind this caveat: That same study showed that while fat mass and waist circumference decrease when you do a combo of the two techniques or just aerobic activity. In other words, lifting alone didn’t lead to weight loss.
So if you want to slim down, you need to kick up your cardio — even if that means skipping some weights when you’re short on time. “Remember: Strength training changes your shape and cardio changes your size,” says Stone.
If it’s better cardio capacity you’re after, Stone says there are mixed reviews on what to tackle first. It’s still smart to strength train even if you want to be a better runner or biker. In fact, one study found that resistance exercises improved endurance athletes’ performance, muscle power and economy. You may just need longer and more frequent cardio moves (some of those being stand-alone aerobic sessions), with cross-training days sprinkled throughout your weekly schedule.
Research suggests taking ample recovery time between strength sessions, too, so you don’t mess with your endurance benefits. As shown in the study, the physiological stress from resistance training can fatigue muscles and potentially slow down the benefits of running or cycling sessions. Similarly, ACE-sponsored research shows that strength training before cardio increased heart rate by 12 beats per minute, which can increase your rate of perceived exertion. This makes your workout feel more vigorous and causes you to feel tired, faster. An important note to keep in mind if you’re aiming to go for a longer run or ride.
Finding Your Formula for Success
Of course every individual has different ideas for what they want to get out of their gym time. So tailor yours to your goals. “To the recreational exerciser, I recommend experimenting with the order of the two types of training within the same workout. Then gauge which works best for you,” says Confessore. If you’re still unsure of what to do, Confessore suggests scheduling these two types of workouts on different days. That way, you don’t have to worry about one affecting the other.
The bottom line… Do what works for your body, but if you need a place to start: Tackle strength, then cardio.
You may already suspect your metabolism slows as you age. According to research published in the Public Health Nutrition journal, you’re right. In a review of data on energy expenditure, researchers found simply getting older is associated with progressive declines in basal metabolic rate. On top of that, there are many daily habits that can drain your metabolism even further.
But you don’t have to go down without a fight. Cut out the below habits and watch your metabolism and energy levels improve.
Eating a nutritious breakfast is always a good way to start your morning. Because your metabolism slows down during sleep, eating can fire it up and help you burn more calories throughout the day. According to Rush University Medical Center, “When you eat breakfast, you’re telling your body that there are plenty of calories to be had for the day. When you skip breakfast, the message your body gets is that it needs to conserve rather than burn any incoming calories.”
OK, so it’s about more than just eating something in the morning. If you grab a sugary donut or eat a muffin in the car, you’re setting yourself up to crash later. Instead, choose something with filling protein and fiber like eggs, yogurt and berries or whole-wheat toast topped with peanut butter.
Going from your office chair to your car to your couch can lead to a very sedentary routine. And sitting for extended periods puts your body into energy-conservation mode, which means your metabolism can suffer. According to the UK’s National Health Service, “Sitting for long periods is thought to slow metabolism, which affects the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar, blood pressure and break down body fat.”
Cardio is great, and it can quickly burn calories, but once you’re done running or cycling, your calorie burn quickly returns to normal. When you do HIIT and resistance-based workouts, however, your calorie burn stays elevated for longer as your muscles repair themselves. Per the American Council on Exercise (ACE): “Strength training is a key component of metabolism because it is directly linked to muscle mass. The more active muscle tissue you have, the higher your metabolic rate.” And, according to ACE, a pound of muscle burns an additional 4–6 calories each day compared to a pound of fat.
Protein feeds your muscles, promotes satiety and is an important component to sustaining a healthy weight. Eat too little, and you may have trouble building or maintaining muscle mass — and per the above, we know muscle’s importance to metabolism. Also, protein requires more energy to break down than carbs or fat, so you’ll actually burn more calories during digestion.
One bad night’s sleep is enough to leave you feeling sluggish and impair your cognitive processing. String together several nights in a row — or a lifetime of inadequate sleep — and science shows decreased metabolism and hormonal imbalances may follow.
In a study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, researchers found drinking 500 milliliters of water (about 2 cups) increases metabolic rate by 30%, and that spike lasts for more than an hour. So, drink water throughout the day to stay hydrated, and you’ll get the added benefit of a boosted metabolism.
When stress levels increase, your body produces a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol leads to increased appetite, makes us crave comfort foods, decreases our desire to exercise and reduces sleep quality — all things that negatively impact metabolism. So, while you can’t always control your stress levels, managing stress can go a long way toward protecting your body’s internal fire.
About The Arthur
Kevin is a Dallas-based writer who spends the majority of his weekends on a bike. His less healthy pursuits can be found at Bevvy and Cocktail Enthusiast.
How often can your body handle this all-out type of workout, though? Probably less often than you think.
FIRST THING FIRST: WHAT COUNTS AS HIIT?
“HIIT is a type of cardiovascular exercise that involves short periods of high-intensity work followed by intervals of low-intensity recovery,” explains Tom Holland, a certified strength and conditioning specialist, author of “Beat the Gym” and host of the “Fitness Disrupted” podcast.
Let’s break that down: On a scale of 1–10, your average run or cardio session might involve a steady effort of about a 5 or a 6. In a HIIT workout, though, you’ll alternate between intervals of pushing at an effort level of 7 or higher and intervals of recovering at a minimal effort level.
Just how long your work and rest intervals last, and whether you run your intervals on a track or step them out on the stairclimber, though, is totally up to you. According to the American Council on Exercise, work intervals typically last between 30 seconds and 3 minutes, with rest intervals lasting equally as long — if not longer. (Because of these high-intensity efforts, most HIIT workouts last just about 20 minutes or so.)
The benefit of pushing through a HIIT session instead of doing your usual cardio? You burn more calories and fat — and in less time.
GENERALLY, HOW MANY HIIT WORKOUTS CAN YOU DO PER WEEK?
Given the serious bang-for-your-buck HIIT workouts offer, you’re not the only exerciser tempted to swap them in for every cardio session you do.
The thing is, “if you are truly doing HIIT correctly, you are putting significant stress on your cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems,” says Holland. For that reason, you can’t do it every day.
Though just how many HIIT workouts a week you can handle varies based on your current fitness level and goals, it’s generally a good rule of thumb to have at least one day of low-intensity exercise between two HIIT days, says Holland.
Sticking to that guideline means you can consistently churn out three or four HIIT workouts per week, tops. “Even professional athletes generally perform at least one, if not two, easy workouts for every hard session like HIIT,” Holland adds.
If you’re a complete HIIT newbie, though, the American Council on Exerciserecommends you start with just one or two sessions per week for about six weeks.
WHY MORE HIIT ISN’T ALWAYS BETTER
Remember that thing about HIIT stressing your heart and muscles big time? It’s nothing to mess around with.
“Doing these workouts every day can lead to overtraining syndrome and injury,” Holland says. (Overtraining syndrome is basically a state in which you feel constantly fatigued and perform poorly in the gym as a result of too much exercise.)
“No matter how effective a form of training is, if you do too much, you will experience problems,” Holland adds. “This is especially true of higher-intensity workouts.”
TELLTALE SIGNS YOU’RE DOING TOO MUCH HIIT
First of all, if you’re attempting to do HIIT every day (or almost every day), keep Holland’s philosophy in mind: “If you can do HIIT every day, you’re not doing it right.”
However, even if you’re sticking to three or so sessions per week, look out for overtraining symptoms like trouble sleeping, a higher-than-usual resting heart rate, irritability, excessive soreness and poor performance, all of which indicate a need to dial it back.
If you need to slow your roll with the HIIT, don’t sweat it. LISS (lower-intensity steady-state cardio) still has a valid place in your routine, too. Lower-intensity workouts not only offer weight loss and heart-health benefits, but they can be a much-needed reprieve from the all-out mentality of modern life. In fact, during low-intensity exercise, you recover while you move, which makes it a must-do for anyone who wants to stay active and reap HIIT’s benefits.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lauren is a writer, editor and content creator with a deep passion for all things health and wellness. Her work has been featured in Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Cosmopolitan, SHAPE, Prevention and more. A self-proclaimed veggie-lover and nature-seeker, Lauren spends her free time reading, hiking and coaching at her local group training gym.
Well, well…..this is a great article because I’ve learned something new. Even though I love HIIT, it’s imperative that I mix it up a bit. I normally do HIIT cardio 2-3 days a week and get a pretty good burn. I do have weight training days where I feel like I need to do more. With that said, heavier weights are coming upon me on weight training days. 😊 I’ll let you know how it goes. 👍 With eating pretty clean & increasing weight, I hope to gain more muscle tone. I still need to focus on eating the right amount of protein I need. To be continued…..
Losing weight doesn’t always have to be about deprivation and denial. In fact, it shouldn’t be. Successful, sustainable weight loss is far more attainable when you focus on the quality of food rather than the quantity. Eat wholesome, nutritious, (and even calorie-filled) foods and you’ll be far more satisfied and content on less. Many of the foods people think are off-limits when it comes to losing weight are the very foods that have the ability to actually help us reach our goal. Here are eight foods that cannot only help you reach your weight-loss goal, but help you keep it off for good.
Drink skim and stay slim? Not always so when it comes to dairy. A recent study published in the American Journal of Nutrition found that more than 18,000 women who consumed more higher-fat and whole-milk dairy products had a lower risk of being overweight.
How can this be? Some essential fatty acids are stripped when milk is skimmed — the very component that may help you feel fuller sooner and stay full longer with full fat products. Several studies have found that when people reduce the amount of fat in their diet, they tend to replace it with sugar and refined carbohydrates, which can have a worse effect on overall health.
Bottom line: Eat a variety of dairy and worry less about how much fat it contains. Limit high-sugar ice cream treats, and buy plain yogurt with no added sugars, which tend to pile up in the flavored and fruited varieties.
In addition to healthy fats, nut butters contain an impressive amount of protein and fiber, too. Peanut butter boasts a plentiful 8 grams of protein per 2 tablespoons along with 2 grams of fiber.
A study from Harvard School of Public Health found that regular nut consumption among a group of more than 51,000 women was associated with a lower risk of weight gain and obesity. A similar study in the Journal of Nutrition found that weight changed very littleamong people who consumed a normal versus nut-enhanced diet. In other words: Nuts and nut butters can be a healthy addition to your diet, even when trying to lose weight. Try snacking on nut butters in between meals to sustain your appetite. A 200-calorie cashew or peanut butter snack is far more satisfying and filling than say, 200 calories of crackers or pretzels.
Shopping tip: Skip the reduced-fat versions, which ironically tend to have more calories, sugar, sodium and preservatives than regular nut butter. Buy those that list nuts — and maybe a bit of salt — in the ingredient list, and use them as a way to eat more whole grains, fruits, and veggies. What’s not to love about an apple smeared in almond butter?
Pasta is surprisingly low on the glycemic index — a ranking of carbohydrates on a scale of 0 to 100, based on how quickly they raise blood-sugar levels. The lower the number, the longer it takes to digest, leaving you with a steadier source of fuel to support energy levels. Whole-grain pasta falls in the 32–37 range (about half that of white bread), while white pasta averages in the mid-40 range — still much lower than that slice of white bread. And because pasta is traditionally tossed with other wholesome foods like seafood, vegetables and olive oil, a healthy pasta meal is far from off-limits for those concerned about their weight.
Pro tip: Stick to whole-grain varieties, double up on veggies and skip the super cheesy, cream-based sauces.
Rich in high-quality protein, healthy fats and essential vitamins and minerals, eggs are a low-calorie, nutrient-dense choice when it comes to snacks and meals. At just 70 calories per egg, there’s no reason not to enjoy the entire egg, yolk and white combined. Yes, egg yolks are a source of dietary cholesterol, but recent studies now prove that dietary cholesterol has less of an effect on blood cholesterol than we once thought. The evidence says eating whole eggs in moderation is safe, and some studies even show they may aid in weight loss when eaten in place of refined carbs.
Bonus: Eggs are super cheap and cook quickly — a perfect solution for busy, time-crunched mornings. Cook your eggs in olive oil and use them as a vessel for sautéed greens and vegetables, then serve them over whole-grain toast for a complete, well-balanced, weight-conscious meal.
What most people fail to realize is that per ounce, dark meat chicken or turkey (from the leg and thigh) only has about 5 extra calories and 1g of fat more than white breast meat. The skin is where most of the fat lies — skip that on any part of the bird for a far more calorie-conscious choice. Dark meat poultry tends to be more tender, juicy and rich in flavor than white meat — requiring not only less butter and oil to cook with, but also less sauce or creamy condiments to make it palatable than breast meat. It’s a great source of lean protein that may leave you more satisfied at meal time, and less likely to overeat later.
Dark meat contains more myoglobin, an oxygen-carrying protein that gives it a gray-reddish color, as well as more iron and zinc — two immune-boosting minerals.
Portion tip: Thighs are about half the size of the breast, making them a far more portion-savvy option than today’s 9- and 10-ounce breast halves. Double bonus: They’re cheaper, too.
When it comes to weight loss, limiting liquid calories can be the key to success. Alcohol carries 7 calories per gram, which not only adds up quickly, but goes down quickly, too. But giving up our occasional cocktail at the end of a long day is non-negotiable for some.
Red wine may be more beneficial than white, according to one study from Washington State University, which found the polyphenols in red wine (including resveratrol) may even prevent obesity by aiding in metabolism. The heftiest boost of polyphenols comes from whole grapes, but wine certainly carries a portion of those benefits.
Bottom line: Alcoholic beverages won’t necessarily aid in weight loss, but they do help us relax and wind down from stressful days. In moderation, alcohol is good for the heart, too. Drink responsibly (not on an empty stomach), limit your intake and choose a 120-calorie glass of wine over sugar-loaded cocktails and carbohydrate-dense beer for better weight-loss success.
Your daily cup of joe may do more than just help you roll out of bed each morning. It stimulates the brain and nervous system, and contains antioxidants that may help improve glucose metabolism — which not only helps suppress the appetite, but also lowers the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Caffeinated coffee may also stimulate thermogenesis, and the body’s ability to burn more fat stores, improving performance in endurance exercises like running and biking.
While the effects of coffee on weight loss are likely minimal, the overall health benefits are reason enough to enjoy a cup or two each morning as part of your daily routine. A 2014 systematic review and meta-analysis of 36 studies found those who drank their morning cups of coffee were actually at the lowest risk for heart problems.
A cup of advice: Not all coffee is created equal — most of the benefits associated with coffee are singular to black coffee — not the cream and sugar-filled coffee beverages from drive-thrus and coffee boutiques. Limit the flavored (and over-priced) lattes to a rare treat.
Just one or two bites of rich, satisfying chocolate can not only reduce stress levels, but help curb cravings for other sugar-loaded treats, too. High stress levels can lead to cortisol hormone spikes, which increase the appetite and emotional eating behaviors.
The benefits of chocolate are specific to the concentration of cocoa flavonoids, which have been shown in studies to have multiple health benefits, such as improving blood flow to the brain and reducing the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels, blood sugar and blood pressure. The higher the percentage of cacao, the greater the benefits.
Buying tip: Skip the convenience store and check-out lane chocolate bars, which contain a lot of added fats and sugars — which can counteract some of cocoa’s health benefits. Look for bars with at least 70% cacao or higher, with a short, simple ingredient list … and indulge in just an ounce or two. Eating too much will work against you.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR!
Sidney is a two-time James Beard Award-winning food and nutrition writer, editor and mom based out of Birmingham, Alabama. A registered dietitian with a passion for research and being proactive about health, she loves to eat, write, run and create simple, tasty meals with whole-food-based approach. Find out more from her website, Instagram or Twitter.
———————BACK TO THE BASICS——————
This article takes us back to the basics so we know of some foods and their benefits. I struggle a lot on my protein intake daily because I don’t eat much meat and always looking for non dairy alternatives. I’ve learned that dairy has a “not so good” reaction for me. 😕 That’s why you will see me posting to recommend some of my finds from the market. Weight loss was not a deprived time for me at all. My goal is to continue to loose body fat and still be able to enjoy foods I love. So far, this journey has gone well. My next step is to tackle and conquer my protein intake so I can gain muscle tone. 💪
While the treadmill is often synonymous with high-intensity interval training (HIIT), there’s another machine that can be just as effective with a lower impact: the elliptical. But lower impact doesn’t mean easier. As long as you’re putting for the effort, you can work up a sweat and burn plenty of calories.
Woman doing a HIIT workout on the elliptical at the gym HIIT is an intense but effective workout. Credit: microgen/iStock/GettyImages HIIT workouts come with a long list of benefits, including slowing negative effects of aging and boosting heart health. Whether you do a 15- or 45-minute HIIT workout, are on an elliptical or doing body-weight exercises in your living room, you’ll still reap the benefits and the basic components are the same.
“You progress through a series of high energy bursts for a shorter period of time followed by active rest or recovery,” says John Thornhill, master trainer for Aaptiv. “The amount of time needed for a HIIT workout to be effective is based on the individual and their experience with exercise.” Exactly how do you use the elliptical, then, to conquer your next HIIT workout? Here’s what you should know before you turn up the intensity. Read more: How to Get All the Fat-Burning Benefits of the Elliptical Machine
How to Get the Most Out of Your Elliptical Workout
“The elliptical was created to mimic a running motion in a low-impact environment, and that’s exactly what it does effectively,” Thornhill says. “If you have injuries that prevent you from high-impact activities, the elliptical is an excellent cardio and strength machine.”
To avoid wasting your time plodding along with minimal effort and lackluster results, keep these two main things in mind.
Ramp Up the Intensity
Ever heard the myth that the elliptical can’t offer you as intense of a workout as a treadmill? Clair Mason, owner of elliptica, an elliptical studio based in Fairfield, Connecticut, says that isn’t the case as long as you change up the resistance and increase the cadence.
So first things first, figure out how to change the resistance and the incline on your machine. Not all ellipticals have an adjustable incline, but if yours does, you should absolutely take advantage of it, Thornhill says.
Resistance is your best friend when it comes to the elliptical, so once you get familiar with it, be generous with it. In the same way, if your elliptical has incline, make sure you take advantage. The higher the incline, the more you work your glutes.”
Perfect Your Form
You can’t get the most out of your workout if you aren’t using the elliptical correctly. Just as with running, form and posture are crucial. Even if you’re a veteran of elliptical workouts, a form check may be exactly what you need if you feel you’ve plateaued.
“Starting from the ground up, your feet should be placed squarely in the pedals with heels grounded,” Thornhill says. “Stand tall with good posture, hips and shoulders in line, and shoulders relaxed… Place your hands lightly on the handrails and focus on pushing and pulling with your arms to work your arms, chest and back, with the primary drive coming from your legs, glutes and core.”
While it may seem awkward at first, Mason says you should mimic your natural walking, jogging, running and sprinting motion when using the machine. Again, the elliptical was created to provide the same motion as running, with less impact.
When it comes to the pacing of an actual HIIT workout, Mason says it’s a back-and-forth between bursts of energy and periods of recovery. Even if you’re just starting a workout routine, you can still do these types of intervals.
Need a HIIT workout that’s accessible for anyone? Thornhill shares this one that can be easily adapted to your fitness level. “Start small and work your way up once you build stamina and confidence,” he says.
5-minute warm-up: Light resistance at a steady, easy pace.
30 to 60 seconds: Add a moderate amount of resistance and push the speed to as fast as you can maintain for the duration.
2 minutes: Active recovery (similar to your warm-up pace).
Repeat 3 times.
Should you need more guidance — and even more workouts — there are apps for that! Aaptiv(look for Thornhill’s workouts) and BeatBurn Elliptical Trainer offer audio guided workouts so you can put in your earbuds and get moving without having to track the time on the screen as you push your pace during those high-intensity bursts.REFERENCES
As some may know, I’ve been into fitness for a while now (since 2010). CrossFit was a big TO DO on my list. 😊 I was in the best shape of my life and felt good. But what’s different now….I’m revisiting my journey and becoming healthy in the process. It wasn’t until moving back to Texas, I decided it was time to take my life back. I turned to ALL foods for comfort, this was not good for my health. From the loss of loosing my twins (2015), to my acoustic neuroma brain surgery I had to have to save my life (2016), and to loosing my baby girl to save my life or stop lifelong complications, Rylee, at 22 weeks (due to severe pre-eclampsia, March 18, 2017), I needed a break through. ☹️ I felt very broken and at my lowest point for a while but GOD. 🙌
In 2018, I finally decided it was time to not only workout but eat myself back to healthy. I was at my heaviest weight. I started making baby steps on my food choices. (Example: Instead of drinking soda and juice all day, I would make myself drink at least 1-2 cups of water a day. 😂🤷♀️) It was a struggle because I craved my sodas all day. It’s said that it takes 21 consistent days to break a habit. I totally believe it. I can now drink my required amount of water everyday without drinking sodas at all. Don’t get me wrong, every now and then I will drink no more than half of soda when I crave it (never a whole one because of the burn 🙈). In the meantime, I still struggled because I was lifting more weights but not doing enough cardio to jump start loosing more body fat. I finally discovered HIIT (high intensity interval training) cardio. 😍 This type of cardio worked for me because I would get bored doing traditional cardio and quit. With the HIIT movements, it’s a different feeling. I love it!!! I do HIIT cardio 2-3 times a week and HIIT weight training 3 times a week (5 days a week, sometimes 6 when I’m in town).
As of today, I’ve lost 30 lbs., eating healthier, healthier being, and enjoying life to the fullest with my amazing husband. Consistency is the key! If you are on your fitness journey and struggling with results, don’t give up. I promise you will see change. Your ideal weight loss should be (not everyone because everyone is different and have different goals) .5 – 1 lb a week. The slower the weight comes off, the better the results should be to keep it off. 💢 I will share what works for me. And yes I still enjoy some of the not-so-good for you foods I love from time to time. 🤟 #journeycontinues
Excuses for not exercising include lack of time and a busy schedule. You can improve your health and get fit in just four days a week. Do cardio exercise three times during the week with strength-training sessions on two of those days. Your fourth workout day should consist of a core strengthening and flexibility session.
Build muscle and trim down with four workouts per week.Credit: Luca Francesco Giovanni Bertolli/iStock/Getty Images
Burn Baby Burn
Aerobic exercise is necessary for weight-loss.Credit: Estudi M6/iStock/Getty Images
Aerobic exercise burns calories for overall weight-loss. You’ll need to do cardio three days of the week for 30 to 60 minutes per session at a moderate-intensity. One session should be high-intensity interval training to maximize caloric burn. Do intervals on a run or bike by working hard for 30 seconds followed by two minutes of lighter recovery. Repeat 10 times and include a 10-minute warm-up and cool-down.
A fitness group doing strength training.Credit: Monkey Business Images/Monkey Business/Getty Images
Strength-training may be performed twice a week on the same days as cardio with a day off in between for recovery. Do exercises back to back with little rest in between for a total of three sets. Select one to two exercises per major muscle group and do 10 to 15 reps each.
Two for One
Yoga helps you stay flexible.Credit: Denis Raev/iStock/Getty Images
A focus on the core forms part of the fourth workout of the week, along with attention to flexibility. A circuit of core exercises can include front and side planks, super-mans, one-legged dead-lifts and medicine ball twists. Do each for one minute and complete three circuits. Twenty minutes of yoga stretches for the major muscle groups — including the quads, hams, gluteals and back — will help you stay flexible.
Before I start with a technical answer, let me just tell you that I sometimes think my heart is about to come out my chest on my HIIT cardio days. 😩 My cardio day goal is 2-3 times a week and weights day goal is 3-4 times a week. This is a short, sweet, and get to the point post. Please comment below if you have any questions or feel free to contact me via email, Facebook, or Instagram.
Factual Info –
“Target heart rate—the heart rate range used to determine the desired intensity of an activity—will differ depending on the goal of the workout. You can calculate target heart rate using a percentage of your client’s heart rate maximum (HRmax), which can be predicted by subtracting your age from 220, or by measuring your heart rate while performing a maximum exercise test.
When the workout goal is to increase aerobic endurance (most useful!), the target heart rate should be 65 to 80 percent of HRmax (about 55%-70% of HRR). During interval training, which focuses on increasing cardiovascular performance, the target heart rate should be greater than 80 percent of HRmax (70% of HRR). “
Helpful Website –
This website can help you to calculate your target heart rate along with other important calculations. Please check out https://www.active.com/fitness/calculators/heartrate to receive your target calculations, or shall we say goals! ✨ You can also click on the image.
My name is Rayan Marks, and I reside in the great state of Texas. ☺️ I will soon turn into a Georgia Peach AGAIN….we won’t get into that topic. I’m a wife (Sen’Derrick Marks), angel mom (Rylee Marks), dog mom (Teddy Bear Marks), and live by faith! 🙌 God is good, all the time. “With God on my side, I will not fail.” I’m a small, online business owner of some delicious candy made from a secret – family recipe. 🤐 At Sweet XII, we offer homemade fudge (it’s not actual fudge but kept the original name from our older generation) and two variety of praline candy that’s to die for. 🤤 Please check out the website (www.sweetxii.com), shipping is available. We are adding new items this year, started on January 1st. . Marks On Fitness is a new venture to blog my journey and hope to motivate someone in the process. Worse case scenario, you will get a “laugh of the day” from my epic fails. 😬 Welcome to my life, my journey.
I started my fitness journey in 2010 but challenging events in my life have intervened. To fast forward, we moved to the state of TEXAS. Shortly after I decided to change my health and get serious about fitness again in 2017. My main struggle was finding cardio (I’m not a traditional cardio girl) that would help me on this journey. That’s when I found out about HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) in 2018, and this was the best discovery EVER. 😍 I do cardio exercises with high intensity and a short amount of time. No more long minutes on the treadmills or ellipticals. 👏 I have a love/hate relationship with the rower. 🙃 My goal is to still enjoy my favorite foods in moderations without sabotaging my health or fitness results. I’m a “sweets lover” so it doesn’t takes much before I give in. 🥴