By The FIRM Master Instructor Annie Lee
Are you confused by all of the information out there about cardio fitness and how to do it so that you get the best results?
“Eat before your workout — No, don’t eat before your workout!”
“Running burns the most calories but walking burns more fat!”
“Work out for 30 minutes a day or don’t bother working out at all!”
It’s enough to put any girl off her workout routing. That’s why we’re getting to the truth behind some popular “cardio myths” — to help you sort out the fact from the fiction.
By the time Week 8 rolls around, many of my clients already feel a sense of achievement. At this point my hope is that I have guided you to more mindfulness — whether it is just moving your body, replenishing water and nutrition or giving yourself permission to breathe and recover when you need it. What an act of love and respect to actually set aside time and put effort into healing, nurturing and creating the best you!
You’ve likely heard that interval training is effective for your body in many ways. The increases and decreases in heart rate make the body work harder and burn more calories per minute, and the increased energy output requires more fuel, which revs up your metabolism. In this phase you will also work on your explosive muscle strength, which the body needs but doesn’t get much of during steady-state exercises such as swimming, walking and regular strength training.
I have found that in times of stress, physical exertion is one of the most effective and important steps to take — and it can actually help us through hard times!
Numerous studies have confirmed the fact that the right amount of exercise relieves stress and boosts the immune system. It releases feel-good hormones — such as endorphins and adrenaline — and reduces levels of stress hormones.
Yet our natural reaction to stress is usually to take things out of our day that seem superfluous and time-consuming. Often that includes the time we spend on our own health. We sacrifice that time — and ourselves — to other more “important” causes at hand, even when the cause of our stress is something we don’t have control over anyway.
I’d like to point out three other important benefits of exercise that are less often highlighted — but equally great reasons to find time every day to just move.
My clients often ask how they can reach the optimal “fat-burning zone.” I recently came across an interesting article that explains some of the science and suggests strategies for burning fat, information that I’m excited to share the next time someone asks.
In “How to Burn Fat Faster & More Efficiently,” professional running coach and fitness consultant Jason Karp explains that our bodies use both fat and carbohydrates for energy during exercise. Low-intensity exercises, such as walking, use proportionately more fat, while high-intensity activities, such as running or bicycling, draw more heavily upon carbs.
We are still early into 2011, so talking about recharging our batteries and taking a rest might sound crazy. However, it’s important to remember that sufficient rest and recovery periods are necessary to avoid burnout and injuries, as well as to get the best results possible from our exercise routines.
Check out this list of signs to see if you may need a little recharging: