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Say “Goodbye” To Your 1 Hour Workout

This past weekend we put our bodies through the intense, exhilarating challenge of becoming certified as Tabata Bootcamp™ instructors. The experience was remarkable.  Our instructor, Mindy Mylrea – the creator of the program, had enough energy to fuel a jet plane.  She has been involved with many of the most successful fitness trends in the industry.  She is the creator and lead talent for Gliding discs and a master trainer and part of the pro-development team for Schwinn Cycling, Body Bar, Flirty Girl Fitness and Bosu.  You can read all about her here: http://www.tabatabootcamp.com/about-mindy.php

interval-training-watch

“Tabata”, a form of HITT – high intensity interval training, is based on a 1996 study by Professor Izumi Tabata, initially involving Olympic speed skaters. According to his research, study participants who exercised a mere four minutes at extreme intensity, four times a week, improved anaerobic capacity by 28%, and VO2 max and maximal aerobic power by 15%, in as little as six weeks.  This was compared to participants who performed an hour of steady cardiovascular exercise five times a week for six weeks, and only improved their V02 max by 10% with no improvement in anaerobic capacity.

Mindy took the concept of Tabata and created Tabata Bootcamp™, a full 8-week program that transforms bodies dramatically by involving fitness, nutrition and behavioral change. The Tabata workout is built around 4 minutes of high intensity exercises, and this means the hardest kick-your-ass four minutes possible. The structure includes working out at your max for 20 seconds, rest for 10 and repeat for 8 rounds. A typical workout, with warm-up and cool-down, is only 30 minutes….30 minutes!  And it’s a lot of fun. The EPOC, excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, effects are immense – which means you continue to burn a crazy amount of calories hours after your workout.

We are working on developing our own local 8-week Tabata Bootcamp starting in April, which will offer a personalized website page that tracks your progress, achievements, nutrition and results. The classes will be limited to no more than 10 participants.  More information to follow… If this is something you think you might be interested in, please let us know via email: info@heelstolaces.com.

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Favorite Fitness & Nutrition Apps

imagesI remember the days when I would go for a run and then go back out in my car to track how many miles I completed.  Those days are long gone.  Today, there are mobile apps for tracking your run, counting calories, designing workouts, monitoring your mood, and so much more.  Below are 7 of my favorites apps to help you achieve your fitness and nutrition goals. And stay tuned; we will tackle this topic again, as the list of ingenious and inventive apps continues to grow.

Run with MapMyRun + GPS running.  This app is the primary reason that I now run almost a full minute faster per mile than I used to run.  I don’t know how I ever ran without.  Its primary feature is to simply track how far and how fast you run in total and per mile.  You can play your music and run this app at the same time.  My favorite part is when my music lowers (this happens automatically each time you reach a mile marker) and I here that Siri like voice telling me that I have completed another mile and at what pace.  It keeps a record of all your runs and allows you to post to Facebook or Twitter. And it even has a nutrition tab that allows you to enter the food you have eaten and calculates your calorie budget for the day. $2.99.

iMuscle2.  This app is excellent for planning a workout and keeping track of your progress.  Using a beautiful rotating 3D model, you tap the body part that you want to work and then choose among dozens of exercises offered to work that specific body part.  You can filter the results based on which type of equipment (if any) that you have at your disposal. If you don’t want to build a custom workout, you can choose from one of the preset ones.  And if, like me, you have trouble understanding how an exercise is supposed to be performed based on a static picture, then you will love the little moving pictures that illustrate each move. For every exercise, it will tell you the primary and secondary muscles worked and will record the number of sets, reps, and weight used.  You will also have the opportunity to enter your weight, height and 10 different body measurements, so you can track exactly how your body is changing.  And all this is for $1.99.

Upbeat Workouts for Runners.  It has happened to most of us – you are hitting the pavement and feeling invigorated when some slow paced, depressing song starts playing and you can’t hit the skip button fast enough.  This app takes care of that problem.  It matches your running or walking steps to you pace – automatically!   It works directly from your own itunes library by picking the songs that suit your pace, whether cooling down or going all out.  $2.99

Lose it! and MyFitnessPal.  The goal of both of these apps is to help you lose weight by tracking everything that you eat.  It is the food journal that every health professional has been telling us to keep if we want to lose weight. Both are 5 star apps and both do their job well.  But to note a few differences, MyFitnessPro has a much larger restaurant database and its bar scanner (which they both have) seems to recognize more food.  On the other hand, Lose It! seems a bit less ‘techie’ and slightly easier to navigate.  For imputing homemade meals, MyFitnessPal can be a touch more cumbersome, but it will remember your meals.  You really cannot go wrong with either one and since they are both free – why not try both?

Fooducate.  This app looks beyond simple calorie counts – it helps you eat healthy.  Simply scan any food at the grocery story or type in the name of an item, and it will not only tell you the calories per serving, but it will also assign a letter grade to your selection.  It will let you know about harmful ingredients or what vitamin or nutrient it is a good source of, as well as provide GMO details (this is an upgraded feature).  And to make your shopping easier, it will even suggest a similar, but healthier alternative.  Free, but lots of upgrades available for additional cost.

Healthy Break.  A recent American Heart Association study showed that periods of inactivity beyond 30 minutes will slow down your metabolism.  Your time at the gym is important, but what you do the rest of the day affects your metabolism as well.  So get up from that computer and stretch and walk around – but wouldn’t it nice to be reminded?  This little app does just that.  You can set it to go off at certain intervals and to repeat for a set period of time. Now you will never forget to keep moving!  Free, but a pro version available for $1.99

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Heels to Barbells

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The New Year has begun, and if you are already growing impatient waiting to see results from all that cardio, you may be leaving out an important piece of the puzzle – weight training!  Yes, weights!  And not those pretty, pink hand weights or those fancy machines, real barbells.  More and more women everywhere are seeing and feeling the positive results of weight training, yet many women still worry about bulking up and are afraid to give it a chance

It is a great feeling to be STRONG!  You will be able to lift those boxes all by yourself and not have to wait for some guy to do it.  As a single mom, my boys are getting bigger, but they still rely on me to lift or open anything difficult.  I want them to see how powerful women can be.  There is never a time in life when being weak comes in handy!

Some important facts to keep in mind:

  • You will not bulk up.  Our bodies are not made to get bulky – we do not have the testosterone to look like body builders. When you lift weights that are challenging, you actually create micro-tears in the muscle fibers. (This is the soreness you feel.)  As these tears are repaired by your body, the muscle becomes stronger.  Because muscle tissue is more dense than fat, adding more muscle to your body actually makes you look leaner—not bigger. To truly bulk up, you would have to train with that goal in mind. Bodybuilders spend hours and hours in the gym lifting extremely heavy weights, and eat a very strict diet to promote muscle gain. The average person’s workout and diet—especially a calorie-controlled diet—will not lead to the same effects.
  • Increased metabolism.  Another amazing benefit of weight training is what it does for your metabolism.  It allows you to take advantage of your body’s natural ability to maintain an “after-burn,” known as Excess Post-Oxygen Consumption (EPOC). The after-burn is the extra calories your body burns after you complete a weight lifting workout. Your metabolism will stay elevated for anywhere from 15 minutes to 48 hours, depending on the intensity and duration of your workout.  This means is that your metabolism operates at a faster level even while you’re sitting on the couch after a workout.  It takes extra calories just to keep muscle.
  • Heavy weights are key. Many women rely on lighter weights with higher reps in an attempt to get a more toned body.  However, to get truly toned, you need larger muscles and less fat. One recent study found that lifting 85% of your maximum ability for 8 reps burns about twice as many calories in the two hours post workout as compared with 15 reps at 45% of your maximum ability.  Don’t give up lighter weights entirely, as they do a great job of building endurance, but they do not build tight, dense, strong muscles.
  • Weight loss.  Some women worry that once they begin weight training, their weight will go up or they won’t lose the weight that had hoped.  Try not to focus on the scale and don’t get frustrated before you see results.  At first, your muscles may retain water as they react to the shock of the workouts and the recovery afterward.  But as you continue weight training, you will be building muscle and shedding fat.  This may still not translate to high weight loss, but a pound of muscle is much denser than a pound of fat, so your body may shrink even if your weight doesn’t change significantly.  Keep in mind that muscle is a metabolism booster – the more you have, the more calories and fat you will burn all day long!
  • Getting older.  As we age, maintaining muscle mass becomes more and more important.  Muscle may make the 40 something woman slightly heavier than in her college years, but the improved body composition and faster metabolism is the big payoff.  Many women find they’re able to attain a lower body fat percentage, fit into smaller sizes, and generally feel more vigorous by adding weight training.

The bottom line is weight training can lead to fat loss, stronger leaner muscles, better fitting clothes and a general better feeling of wellness and strength.  What are your waiting for – let’s get lifting!!

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