Let me know if you are starting a new yoga practice and how your experience has been coming along in the comments below. I'd love to hear from you!
February is here! Can you believe how fast time flies? Me niether. Anyway January seemed to go by in a whirl and I am now feeling the need to slow down a little bit. I don't mean to say I need to lessen up with the routine I've been doing. If anything I am planning to add more! More yoga that is! I am very much a beginning yogi, but I absolutely love the spiritual connect and release of stress that comes from yoga. So to kick this month off I am going to practice with this yoga video: "Yoga for Beginners" from www.yogawithadrienne.com.
When I am able I also plan to go to the yoga session available at my local gym. They have a class on Monday/Wednesday mornings. I'm not always able to get there, so I am very excited to have Adrienne for some at home yoga practice.
Let me know if you are starting a new yoga practice and how your experience has been coming along in the comments below. I'd love to hear from you!
Fitness is not all about how much time you spend doing a workout. When you are looking to improve general fitness - your body’s functional capacity and overall strength - the quality, or intensity, of the workout is key. Using a heart rate monitor can help boost your fitness level, by acting like a pacer that helps you either push harder or slow down to trigger the effects and results you are looking for in athletics, general health, or a weight loss plan.
Is a HR monitor the right device for you?
There are so many different types of fitness tracking devices nowadays. Many devices have a combination of purposes and most smart phones have a way to do general, not always accurate, activity tracking. The most common types of devices are:
When you are first getting started on your fitness journey there will be a period of time that you need to adjust to and build new healthy habits. In my opinion this is not the time to spend a lot of money on expensive fitness toys. Go cheap and build the healthy habits you want and need. Then, reward yourself with a more sophisticated device when you’ve committed and succeeded to a 30 day plan or maybe even 90 days. You don’t want to spend all that money on a device that makes an appearance on your wrist once or twice a month.
REVIEW: POLAR WATCH/HR MONITOR FT1
I recently picked up a Polar FT1 for half off the original price. I would not recommend buying this device at full price. It isn’t particularly accurate or reliable during the workout. Also the folder system combined with a single button to filter through it all is at times annoying to deal with. It has been a good tool to help motivate my workouts, it is useful to see after my workout how long I stayed in my “training zone.” In the future I hope to purchase a device that has more capabilities and is more user-friendly and sophisticated.
Because HR monitors help monitor a person’s optimum training levels, these devices are great for avid athletes that run, ski, and cycle. It is also beneficial for those working on weight loss goals. A HR monitor can help with regular exercise and diet. Most, not the Polar FT1, display calories burned during a workout. Many can help target your exercise for maximum fat burning.
What target heart rate zone will help improve my fitness goal?
So why do we even want to know about our optimal heart rate zone? There are different heart rate zones that when maintained during exercise provide specific results.
Endurance (60%–70%): Considered ideal for endurance and weight-loss programs. Develops cardiovascular and muscular efficiency. The body learns to use stored fat as fuel.
Aerobic (70%–80%): Ideal for overall cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength and weight management. The body burns mostly fat and carbohydrates in this zone.
Anaerobic (80%–90%): Used for interval workouts or consistent speed. At this zone, your breathing will be heavy and your muscles tired. Enhances lung capacity and increases lactate tolerance.
VO2 Max (90%–100%): Helps enhance speed in athletes (who exercise at this level only for short periods as muscles quickly go into oxygen debt).
When you are setting up your HR monitor, most have a way to preset your minimum and maximum heartbeats per minute. You can usually set a third target as well. So for example if I want to work on endurance training for climbing Mt. Rainier, I need to be exercising with a sustained heart rate of about 120 bpm. To start maximizing your efforts in the gym, on the trail, or with your at-home workouts, calculate your maximum heart rate and use the guidelines above to start reaching your goals faster. Below is a chart by the American Heart Association with average target heart rates or you can go by this calculation: HRmax = 220 – your age.
Overall, I have really liked adding a heart rate monitor to my fitness tracking routine. It motivates me to push harder and slow down as needed. I like to have the real time feedback so I know that what I am doing is working. It helps me learn what types of activity outside the gym create the training effect too. I am looking forward to tracking my heart rate doing things like, kayaking, rock climbing, and even yoga.
As with any new exercise regimen be sure to consult with your physician to decide on options that are best suited for your personal health.
Did you like this article? Was it helpful? Do you think you’ll buy a heart rate monitor? Comment below with your thoughts!
Halfway through the week I really like to break up my routine with what I call #WaterfrontWed. It always turns out to be incredibly energizing. Added bursts of energy become pretty important right around mid-week.
This week I decided I wanted to try doing a yoga sequence in the great outdoors. I’ve wanted to do something like this for awhile now, but have made excuses not to try it. I was worried that I would die of humiliation if some passerby watched me as I alone get into “embarrassing” yoga poses with my big arse in the air. Even as I drove to the lake I had to tell myself out loud,...
“Why are you scared to do yoga in public? You don’t have to be embarrassed. So what if you are doing the Happy Baby Pose and some stranger happens to walk by… I want to do yoga outside, in the elements, near the water, surrounded by the evergreens. It is going to make me happy and that is all that matters.”
I told myself to not care if anyone was around. I did have a secluded little spot next to the water in mind. It was perfect for creating the zen experience I was after. There happened to be NO ONE out at the lakes while I was there. It was 35 degrees and foggy. Nonetheless, I had an awesome experience.
The yoga sequence I did was a “Revitalizing Flow” and can be found at www.yogawithadriene.com at the end of this article. (I love her website by the way, it is PERFECT for beginning yogis like me.) The whole reason I wanted to do this little excursion was to break up my routine and just sort of refresh. Something I really like about what Adriene mentions briefly is that yoga is about creating an experience that is a break from your day. You can escape from whatever is mentally or physically draining today and just live in the moments or the breaths you take. I loved the meditation and breathing in the fresh air while I listened to the water, the wind, the ducks in the lake, and the movement of the trees.
Not only was this a great rejuvenating experience for me it gave me the opportunity to appreciate the unique beauty that comes from Winter in the Pacific Northwest. Because of today, I now have a soft spot for foggy 35 degree days by the lake.
Do: Before you start, log your weight, your measurements, and take your "before" photos.
Don't Freak out over what you see.
Do: Weigh yourself once a week.
Don't: Weigh yourself everyday.
Do: Eat for the body you want - not the one you have.
Don't: Cut out all your favorite foods.
Do: Plan your meals and organize your kitchen.
Don't: Wait until the day of to figure it out.
Do: Push through soreness.
Don't: Push yourself to the point of injury.
Do: Follow your workout calendar.
Don't: Wait until Monday to start again if you miss a workout.
Do: Get back on program if you fall off.
Don't: Beat yourself up, feel like you've failed, or wait until the next day/week/month to start over.
Do: Share what you're doing and find people who will keep you accountable.
Don't: Listen to the haters.
We are wrapping up this segment on how just 15 minutes of exercise can truly transform your health. The final four reasons below will definitely have you ready to stop, drop, and give 15 minutes to workout every single day.
#9 Avoid Diabetes - Research shows that high intensity resistance training is particularly good at burning visceral fat. That’s that fat in your belly putting all your organs under pressure. You could also improve insulin sensitivity.
#10 Prevent Cancer - As if there are not already enough reasons you should stop right now to do a 15 minute workout, resistance training has been shown to fend off cancer-causing free radicals.
#11 Get Smarter - More and more research is being done to show exercise improves brain function. Not only can you improve memory, verbal reasoning, and attention span, you can drastically improve symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress.
#12 Energy - You will have a major boost of energy from a quick 15 minutes HIIT than if you push for a hard 60 minutes. So you will be more productive and have more time to do what you want and need to do.
So I decided to jog the route below for my workout at the waterfront today. I must say I HATE running. Within a few minutes my chest is hurting and my legs feel heavy. I figure that getting outside in nature is a great way to encourage me to keep on running. I figured right. Although I ran at a slow pace, I only stopped a couple times to catch my breathe. So I am proud of myself. The total distance I ran was roughly 2.68 miles. I can't be totally sure because the app I was using, MapMyRun, did not track my route or distance. Anybody know how to fix this?? I have been having issues with it all week. I only have the free version, but it used to track my route and it used to give me nearby routes and everything. But I feel like since I did the update, maybe those are now paid for features??
Anyway, the route I went on was perfect. It was pretty much flat the whole distance with subtle inclines. The chilly clean air kept me feeling focused and determined to get through my little run. Silver dale may make a runner out me yet.... we'll see.
15 minutes for exercise a day should easy to find. Especially if you consider how much time we all spend bored playing little games on our phones or watching tv. Why should you put down the device and do a 15 minute HIIT workout? Below are four more ways that doing a short, but intense workout will improve the body and mind. If you missed the first segment, “Get Fit with Just 15 Minutes a Day - Part I” check it out at this link, http://bit.ly/1rxwMt7.
#5 Sleep Better - Yep! You will start getting more restful Zs at night when you exercise everyday. Which also keeps unwanted pounds at bay. Sleep deprivation triggers the hunger hormone ghrelin and the fat-storage hormone cortisol.
#6 Get Stronger - Resistance training builds muscle and bone mass. A study published in the Osteoporosis Journal said that over 40 weeks of resistance training bone density increased in high risk spots like the spine, hips, and legs.
#7 Become More Flexible - Our muscles shorten over time. Doing total-body training will help increase range of motion when resistance training and cardio are incorporated 3 or more times a week.
#8 Prevent Heart Attacks - Working out 3 days a week can greatly decrease your risk, by as much as 40%, for stroke and heart attack.
Heart disease is the number one killer in the United States today. What was your excuse for not working out? Adding in regular bouts of cardio and resistance training just about eliminates most of the excuses we make to not work out.
Check in next week for Part III of the series. Have a great day today and let’s all try and add 15 minutes of exercise today.
Some thoughts after today's workout:
When you choose to reinvent yourself or transform your health this year, I have learned that to get started an important part is getting out of your own way and allowing yourself to do the work.
One way I am doing this is to stop thinking and planning and to just do. In order to be something, we have to do something. "Pull the trigger," as my Dad would say and get out there to tackle your goals.
I want to spend more time outdoors and lead a healthier lifestyle. So instead of constantly thinking and talking about it, I'm doing it through these weekly waterfront workouts. Not only do I want to share some workouts with you, but I'll share some ways to explore certain coastlines and where to eat while you are there.
For instance, I've heard that Monica's Waterfront Bakery is the best place for a good piece of homemade pie. I dropped in for a post-workout Vanilla Soy Latte. The staff were very friendly and looking around it has a "this is where the locals live" kind of feel. They are located directly across from the Silverdale waterfront boat launch in the bright yellow building. You can't miss it.
Scientists tell us that a combined workout of cardio and resistance training is the most effective for weight loss. Research done at Pennsylvania State University tested three groups of overweight people. They were all put on a diet and then asked to do a specific workout regimen. The first group did only cardio exercise, the second did cardio and resistance training, and the third did no exercise at all. While each group lost an average of 21 pounds, the resistance group lost 40% more fat. This is crucial to having lasting results from your weight loss program. When you add resistance training to your routine you are able to build and maintain the lean muscle that is so important to a healthy metabolism.
There are a lot of benefits to exercising daily and doing just 15 minutes a day can give you substantial progress over as little as four weeks.
2. Burn More Calories - You can increase your metabolism and fat-burning power with the more muscle you build. Also getting up in the morning to have a light breakfast and doing your 15 minutes will seriously rev up your metabolism too. Remember to keep you calorie intake in check too.
3. Stay Young - After we turn 20 we start to lose a little bit of our muscle mass every year. That means a lower metabolism. So it becomes easier to gain weight and harder to lose. Slow the process by building and maintaining healthy lean muscle, and with just 15 minutes of HIIT it is a more manageable feat.
4. Fit Into Your Clothes - Start looking good in everything you wear again! Even if you don’t see the scale going in the “right” direction, you will see and feel good because of the transformation of your body composition.
Stay tuned for Part II and Part III of Get Fit in 15 Minutes a Day. I’ll be sharing more of the benefits and research for why it takes just 15 minutes of your day to start managing your health physically, emotionally, and mentally.