Use Intervals to Stay on Track This Season

For many clients I create quick workouts.  I deal with busy people, people who have children, people who work long hours, people who have life outside fitness. These people are able to fit it all in because they understand the value of exercise and the payoff they get is more energy, less stress, better sleep, and they are more productive even with minimal amounts of exercise. Now, I do not mean to lecture so let’s talk about quick workouts.

Many people use interval training to get better at an activity. I use it with clients to build their endurance. Basically, you begin at a lower level, push yourself harder for a short time, and then recover at the lower level, repeat as often as necessary. For example: Begin walking after 2 minutes, then walk faster raising your rate of perceived exertion to 8 or even 9 for 45 seconds to a minute, then return to a pace that will bring your heart rate down and your rate of perceived exertion to a 5 or 6 for 2 minutes. Repeat throughout the workout and you’ve got interval training down.   The last thing you need to consider about cardio work is, how hard should I be working?   The rate of perceived exertion scale is an easy way to measure intensity.  I like a simple one to ten scale.  One is easy, ten is too hard to continue.  Work around a 7.  If you have been sedentary work up to 7 for 10-15 minutes per session. Initially, you may only be able to maintain 7 for a very short time, slowly increase your time at that intensity until you are reaching your goals. This building and recovering from 7 is interval training.

Remember anyone can do intervals as long as you listen to your body, work within your current exercise level, and you should always talk with your health care provider before beginning any exercise, just to be safe. Intervals can be a great way to move yourself beyond a plateau, build endurance, and get the most out of a short workout. When you complete an interval workout you will feel great, excited, and successful. Its not easy but few things worth anything are!

Holiday Exercise

I know its a bit early for the holiday exercise lecture, but ya know what? The stores are already gearing, the parties are being planned, and the frenzy is just around the corner. Many people dread the holidays because they feel they always put on weight. However, with a bit of pre-planning you can make it through the holidays without too much trouble.   First, look at your schedule. For many people the holidays either become overwhelmingly busy or they become a time to not go out because everyone else is so overwhelmingly busy. If you are in either camp or somewhere in between it is a good idea to take realistic stock of how your life changes during the holiday season now. This will allow you to begin to modify workouts that need it now.

Next, start adding intensity to your workouts now while you’ve got the time. This will allow you to continue to workout for the whole time but pump up the caloric burn while you do so. This allows you to begin to cycle your workouts so the upcoming weeks which have more going on you’ll be able to workout shorter durations saving you time but not sacrificing all you’ve gained.

Finally, remember the 80/20 rule. 80% is going to go as planned and 20% its not. This goes for workouts, party foods, and obligations. So don’t beat yourself up if you show up at the party and they are serving your favorite meatballs drenched in the best sauce ever – I used to cater and this was one of my favorite downfalls during the holidays! The trick is to honor its something you want, have a bit, and if you still have a bit more remember you want the overall picture of your diet and workouts to reflect the 80/20 rule so you might need to make a few changes in the next few days to get back into balance.

Oh – and don’t forget to prioritize your time. Its very possible you don’t need to attend every party, gathering, concert, or whatever you are invited to.