Tag Archives: crossfit

HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training Infographic

I picked this up from an email and was impressed with how inclusive it is. I think I now know twice as much about High Intensity Interval Training as I did before I read it.

Enjoy!

On the subject of HIIT, the September 12, 2016 issue of Time magazine says, ” Martin Gibala, an exercise physiologist at McMaster University wanted to test how efficient and effective a 10-minute workout could be, compared with the standard 50-minutes-at-a-time approach. The micro-workout he devised consists of three exhausting 20-second bouts of all-out, hard-as-you-can exercise, followed by brief recoveries. In a three-month study, he pitted the short workout against the standard one to see which was better.

To his amazement, the workouts resulted in identical improvements in heart function and blood-sugar control, even though one workout was five times longer than the other. “If you’re willing and able to push hard, you can get away with surprisingly little exercise,” Gibala says.

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Tony

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Filed under Exercise, high intensity interval training, HIIT, men's health, Weight

What Happens in Las Vegas …

No, this time it isn’t staying there. I have been in Las Vegas for the past couple of days and thought there might be some value in sharing a few of the details of my trip with you. Certainly the exercise part.

I had a nice view of the Eiffel Tower and the Las Vegas strip from my room.

I had a nice view of the Eiffel Tower and the Las Vegas strip from my room.

First and foremost, I am not able to ride 20 miles a day on my bike. So, my body is not going to get its usual super cardio workout. I am staying at the Paris Hotel which offers health club facilities so I have been using that. Guess what, although I am a seasoned bike rider, 20 minutes on the exercise bike here wears me out. How can that be? Is it the extra helpings of goodies at the buffet, or the late nights at Jersey Boys taking their toll?

No. My first instinct was to feel guilty about having fun and over indulging which was damaging my conditioning.

Although there are no signs posted anywhere in the health club, or in the city for that matter, no one mentions the fact that Las Vegas is 2000 feet above sea level. The air is thinner. Air compresses under pressure. At sea level there is greater pressure than there is 2000 feet above, so while there is the same amount of oxygen in the air, the molecules are farther apart and you get less oxygen when you breathe.

Basketball fans know about this regarding the Denver Nuggets who play in Mile High Stadium. It is harder for visiting teams to keep up with the home team because of the elevation. While Las Vegas is only about 40 percent as high as Denver, there is more oxygen available, but less than we are used to at sea level. The effect is more subtle and more unexpected.

As you can imagine I was gratified to learn this elevation fact, as I thought my body had begun going to seed after only one night of overindulgence. The second and third mornings I did the treadmill instead of the bike to get some weight-bearing work, too.

Cracked crab legs at Joe's were part of my overindulgence.

Cracked crab legs at Joe’s were part of my overindulgence.

You need to drink more water in the higher altitude and pay attention to alcohol consumption as drinks pack more wallop higher up. Just what you need in Las Vegas, right?

My game of choice is video poker. The Royal Flush is a jackpot winner.

My game of choice is video poker. The Royal Flush is a jackpot winner. Chances of catching a Royal when holding only two cards are one in 16,215.

So, it is possible to exercise and eat well without losing your conditioning. You just need to be alert and not overdo it on either end of the spectrum.

Tony

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Filed under biking, cardio exercise, Exercise

How Good Are Mini Exercise Sessions?

A very commonly heard reason (excuse) for not exercising is I just don’t have the time. Everybody finds themselves working longer hours these days. That’s one of the explanations for the increased productivity we hear so much about. Businesses cut jobs and reallocate the work among the remaining employees. I get it. You are likely to be working longer hours now than you ever have in your life. But there are solutions for curtailed free time.

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One of the basic facts of healthy living that you need to know is that exercise is not optional. You need to do it. If you aren’t getting some kind of exercise, you are on a fast track to big time medical problems. Being overweight and under exercised is a prayer to an unkind god that will be answered in a way that does not make you happy.

One of the basic principles of healthy living is that you can break exercise up into smaller segments. Your body needs 30 minutes of exercise five days a week. Besides providing much-needed work for your muscles and cardiovascular system, exercise also helps to lower your LDL cholesterol (the bad one) and raises your HDL cholesterol (the good one).

You can break up your 30 minute exercise requirement into 10 minute segments three times a day and still get the benefit of 30 minutes of exercise.

Remember there are lots of ways you can do exercise without going to the health club. Park the car at the far end of the lot and walk the rest of the way to work, shopping mall or supermarket.

If you work or live in a high rise building, take the stairs for the last few flights. Stair climbing is a super exercise to get your heart going. You are using the big muscles in your legs to lift your body and pump your blood around your circulatory system. I have written a number of posts on the benefits of stair climbing: Stair climbing is good for you – Part One, Stair climbing is good for you – Part Two, Stair climbing is good for you – Part Three and Stair climbing is good for you – Part Four.

Get going on these mini exercise segments and remember to be kind to yourself. If you only get in two instead of three, do it again tomorrow. Two is better than none.

Tony

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Filed under aging, Exercise, HDL Cholesterol, LDL Cholesterol, overweight, Weight

Weight Training Techniques for Seniors

One of my problems with most advice on working with weights is that it is written by young jocks for young jocks. I am a senior citizen and I don’t want to break or tear any parts of my body. If I tried to emulate some of the recommendations or workouts done by you younger guys and gals I think I would end up in the emergency room.

The principles of exercise change for seniors whether it is cardio or resistance work. I have written about seniors doing endurance sports and also seniors lifting weights.

Dr. Anthony Goodman, in the course I took called Lifelong Health, said that seniors should concentrate on using lower weights, but do higher reps because seniors want to strengthen their ligaments and tendons as well as the muscles. Ligaments and tendons weaken as we age and lead to injuries that can really slow you down. Strengthening ligaments can also protect you from common aging problems like Achilles tendon rupture, rotator cuff tears in the shoulder and hip and knee injuries.

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Having said that, I am very pleased to pass on the bottom quarter of a recommendation from Dr. Doug McGuff as reported by Dr. Mercola on his fitness website in January of 2012. Although over a year old, it was news, welcome news, to me. I hope it will be to you, too. Sometimes old news is good news.

Dr. McGuff is explaining super-slow weight lifting. As you will see in his conclusion it is especially helpful for seniors.

Essentially, by aggressively working your muscle to fatigue, you’re stimulating the muscular adaptation that will improve the metabolic capability of the muscle and cause it to grow. McGuff recommends using four or five basic compound movements for your exercise set. These exercises can be done using either free weights or machines. The benefit of using a quality machine is that it will allow you to focus your mind on the effort, as opposed on the movement, because the movement is restricted by the structure of the machine.

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Filed under aging, endurance sports, seniors, Weight, weight-bearing exercise, weight-training

Squats and Lunges – The Good and the Bad

So, besides pushups and chinups, that I wrote about two days ago, what are some other useful exercises that you can do without needing the equipment of a health club? Squats and lunges are some good ones. When I took the conditioning course last fall, we did a lot of lunges.

WebMD suggests squats and lunges in their series of Effective Exercises.

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webmd_photo_of_squat_technique_with_chair
webmd_photo_of_trainer_doing_lunges

I like these photos with right way and the wrong way. It’s good to keep in mind that you always want the front knee directly above the foot, not extended forward.

Tony

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How Can Senior Cyclists Warm Up Faster?

I am over 70 and averaged biking over 20 miles a day last year, most of them with my dog in the basket. My pace is one that keeps my heart rate in the target zone, but otherwise I am not breaking any speed records. Thought this discussion of warm ups from our friends at RBR Newsletter for senior cyclists worth reading.

Biking on Chicago's Lake Shore Drive with poochie.

This senior cycling on Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive with poochie.

Question:
Have you guys noticed that it takes much longer to warm up for a ride? Once upon a time I could jam from the gun. Now, 40 years later, it takes me close to 40 minutes to get comfortable going hard. And if I push hard too early, the ride seems to stay hard to the finish. Is this common among senior riders or unique to my physiology? — Art W.

Coach Fred Matheny Replies:
I’m afraid that difficulty feeling good and performing well without a warm-up is common among older riders. As the saying goes: “By the time I’m warmed up, I’m too tired to ride!” Continue reading

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Filed under aging, biking, Exercise, seniors, warming up

Is Cycling Past 70 Different Than Cycling Past 50?

I ran across this excellent discussion of senior cycling on RoadBikeRider.com. They have graciously permitted me to reprint it. See permission at end.

RBR Editor’s Note: Coach John Hughes copied me on a recent email exchange he had with Marty Hoganson, an RBR reader with whom he had ridden on tours in years gone by. Marty wondered what, if any, differences there are in terms of recovery, motivation, etc., between 50-somethings and 70-somethings. Both agreed to let me share the exchange with RBR readers. It provides a wealth of solid, useful information.

Marty Asked:
These days I live and ride in Yuma, Arizona. I am involved in our local bike club called Foothills Bicycle Club, which is primarily made up of retired folks – late-50s to mid-80s. Many strong riders in their 60s and 70s, for their ages — or any age, for that matter.

Now that I am older also I have taken some interest in your articles on cycling and aging. I was wondering how cycling over 70 relates to your articles on cycling over 50? I’m pretty sure they don’t necessarily relate well. I am arriving in that 70+ age group this year, and have been feeling the difference in recovery time and healing from injuries for quite a few years.

The plus 70 year old blogger riding with his dog on Northerly Island in Chicago.

The plus 70 year old blogger riding with his dog on Northerly Island in Chicago.

What used to take three days to recover from, while riding a tour, may now take longer than the tour lasts. Maybe months longer. I ride year-round and still ride pretty strong, but I’m also experiencing a loss of interest in doing long days. I still like to do long tours, but with shorter days. I’m wondering if the lack of desire or drive might be a major contributing factor in the loss of performance, or if the loss of performance leads to the lack of desire to train harder? Also, if the shorter days might lead to the longer recovery times? Continue reading

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Filed under aging, biking, blood pressure, cardio exercise, Exercise, general well-being, health, healthy living, heart, living longer, men's health, muscles, seniors, stretching, Weight

New Year’s Resolutions, er, Revolutions

Getting through December in a four season climate like Chicago is a dicey experience for a guy who wants to ride his bike every day. You just don’t know what the weatherman will be serving up on any given day.

December usually has some of the most bizarre offerings, unfortunately. However, this year was one for the record books. No snowfall of an inch or more since March. This was the third most snow free season on record with 0.9 inch the lowest since 1939. The year 2012 was the warmest in Chicago’s 142 year observational record dating back to 1871.

Easily mistaken for Tony, this is an ad from J2 Studios. That' one hot set of wheels.

Easily mistaken for Tony, this hot-looking guy is from Shawn Jantzen’s J2 Studios. One hot set of wheels.

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I just finished adding up my bike riding for the year and it comes to, wait for it … 8,433 miles. I don’t know if you are impressed, but I am. This mellow December has been most helpful in my biking. Normally, we have snow and really difficult weather for riding at all, let alone virtually every day. This year, as you can see from the first paragraph – warmer and less snow. I bought a new car on February 25. I have driven it 4200 miles.

This cycling total is most gratifying to me because last year I rode 6,300 and thought I had begun to slow down due to my age. In 2010, the prior year, my total was 7,111 which was the most I had ever ridden. I was not surprised when I slid back the following year.

The 8,433 miles comes to a daily average – 366 days in 2012 – of 23.04 miles. A 23 mile ride lasts around two hours and burns about 1000 calories, thus expanding my gustatory horizons for the remainder of the day. It also works my heart and lungs and pumps up fresh oxygen to my brain creating new neurotransmitters.
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Filed under 2012 in review, aging, biking, calories, cardio exercise, cold weather, Exercise, happiness, heart, heart rate, men's health, seniors, Weight, winter

How Good is Treadmill Exercise?

Here we are in the end of summer and the onset of inclement weather. Even a somewhat hardcore bicyclist like myself doesn’t ride where there is snow and/or ice present on the bike path. So, what’s a person to do?

My first choice is to go to the health club and ride the Schwinn Airdyne bike, or row on the rowing machine. Those are good calorie burners and run my heart rate up into the zone. But, my health club has lots more treadmills than Airdyne bikes or rowing machines. Most folks opt for the treadmill.

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For that reason, I thought you would be interested in an article entitled – How the Treadmill is Killing Your Workout – in Men’s Health News.

They cite a study in Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research that says, “Walking or running indoors requires less effort than moving at the same speed outdoors.

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Smart Health Walking Fit Watch – Cool Gadget

Once again, I got a great deal on a cool product from Costco. This time it was via email. Costco is sending out a flyer every day with Christmas deals on it. This was on one of them last week.

Actually, one of the folks in my aerobics class inspired it. He has a heart rate monitor and I thought it was a nice idea to see how much of a load any workout put on my heart. Then the offer from Costco came, and I bit.

The watch comes in either white or black

The watch comes in either white or black

Although I am somewhat computer savvy, I don’t love messing with them. So, I had misgivings about buying a little watch. It advertises that besides telling time there is a step count, calorie burn, distance and, of course, the heart rate monitor. I did not look forward to punching in a lot of this button and that button the feed it my vital statistics. But, the listing said ‘NO SET-UP.’ Costco advertised it as $39.95, on special for $25. So I ordered it.

I have now owned it for two days and I like it a lot. The heart rate works very well. The watch has two contacts, the back of your wrist and a finger pad on the watch face. It takes only seconds to get a reading and so far they have been excellent. I had been using the iPhone monitor which requires taking your pulse for 15 seconds and multiplying by four. Slow and cumbersome, but no problem for biking. I couldn’t use it in an aerobics class.

The step count works well, too. Because it is in your watch it is based on arm swings. I like this because when I ride my bike, I can’t have a pedometer on me that measures steps because my legs are pedaling away. My arms aren’t swinging at all.

It says all day calorie burn, but since I use Lose It! I don’t need that nor use it, so I can’t comment on how it works. I know that the User Manual offers what they call ‘Advanced Set-Up’ which inputs your height, weight, age, etc. It was a little complicated, but not too bad.

I don’t need to paint with that fine a brush. I like that it gives me an estimate of how many steps I took during the day, keeps accurate time and allows me to monitor my heart rate at a moment’s notice. For 25 bucks that’s a win.

If you are considering starting a walking program, or would just like to get a reading on how far you walk on a given day, you might be able to use this. I feel strongly about the benefits of walking. Check out the walking tags at right for more details.

As an old fogie, I like analog watch faces, so I am not thrilled that this gives a digital readout of the time. But, that’s personal and may have no relevance to you.

As always your comments are invited.

Addendum:Posted December fifth. I have just come back from my aerobics class and used the heart rate monitor successfully several times. Fascinating to see how my heart rate varied through the class.

Tony

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Filed under heart rate, Smart Health Walking Fit Watch, walking

What About Seniors Doing Endurance Sports?

I have written repeatedly about the value of exercise on these pages. Regular readers know that I am a senior citizen and I ride my bicycle nearly daily here on Chicago’s lakefront. As I have said, I am paying for my old age one bike ride at a time. Anything I read about senior endurance athletes hijacks my attention. That’s why One Running Shoe in the Grave in The Wall Street Journal really stuck in my eye.

Getty Image

Getty Image

The Journal‘s sports editor, Kevin Helliker, writes, “A fast-emerging body of scientific evidence points to a conclusion that’s unsettling, to say the least, for a lot of older athletes: Running can take a toll on the heart that essentially eliminates the benefits of exercise.”

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Filed under aerobics, aging, biking, brain, calories, Exercise, life challenges, men's health, muscles, Weight