High Intensity Interval Training
In todays fast paced society, everyone is busy juggling work, socialising and family life which means sometimes the gym can take a set back. I see it everyday in the gym, people joining for a specific goal (e.g holidays, wedding, big event etc), however, once this goal is reached their workouts start to take a downturn, enthusiasm and drive lags which inevitably leads to canceled memberships, weight gain, back to being unhealthy and stuck in a rut.
What is HIIT?
“Brief intervals of vigorous activity interspersed with periods of low activity or rest”
HIIT is a form of exercise training that involves the participant giving 80-100% effort for a given time period followed by a low effort rest interval and repeated over a number of times. This training protocol has been used for over 100 years with reports as far back as 1912 when the Finnish Olympic long distant runners were using interval training during workouts (Billat 2001).
Why is it Effective?
Studies show that HIIT can increase your VO2 max (which is the amount of oxygen your body can use and an indicator of cardiovascular fitness), reduce lactate accumulation and increase enzyme activity to reduce fatigue (Laursen et al, 2005). The study showed that HIIT will not only boost endurance but also overall health due to improved blood pressure results and higher counts of mitochondria activity in muscle cells.
According to the Journal of Physiology (Holland, 2013), you can get the same, if not greater, results in half the time of low intensity longer duration workouts. The study found sedentary men who did 40-60min of cycling at 65% of their max 5 days per week and those who did sprint interval training for less than 12min each time three times per week had similar results (including reduced aortic stiffness and increased insulin sensitivity), this shows HIIT gives the same benefits in less sessions.
Heart Health, Lau et al, (2015) showed HIIT increases flexibility and elasticity of arteries and veins better than continuous aerobic exercise because HIIT increases pressure demand on blood vessels.
Designing a HIIT Workout?
Determine total workout time:
How long you spend on warmup and cool down as well as the number if intervals and work to recovery ratio (e.g. 30min duration = 5 min warmup, 20 min workout and 5min cool down
Determine work to rest ratio:
Several studies recommend a 1:1 ratio, e.g. 30 sec work : 30 sec rest. However, this is interchangeable, a popular HIIT format is Tabata training which involves 20 sec work : 10 sec rest 4min duration (total 8 sets)
Choose exercise types:
Can be in a circuit format, using a single exercise or using a mixture of exercise. For example, in a circuit format we might pick 10 exercises using a mixture of weights and bodyweight exercises using a 1:1 work to rest ratio of 30 sec work 30 sec rest for 20min duration.
Another example would be to pick a piece of equipment like our Wattbike working at 90% for 30 sec work 30 sec rest for 20min, you get the picture? The possibilities are endless.
HIIT can be done anywhere, anyplace with or without equipment!
We personally found HIIT on the WATTBIKE or via a Spinning Class has greatest benefits. HIIT training due to its high intensity can sometimes be hard to perform when training solo. The Wattbike with its built in programmes and changing wattage and cadence designed individually to each person makes training more fun and challenging.
Spinning is another HIIT class we found gives excellent calorific expenditure with literature showing an average spin class can burn up to 500 calories per 30 min class. Spinning and other group fitness classes like our Atlas Elite 30 makes HIIT training more fun and effective, our trainers push you to your limits ensuring a great workout and correct techniques.
Often referred to as 'the king of all exercises', the back squat uses all the major muscle groups of the lower and upper body to act as either prime movers or stabilisers.
Before beginning to back squat a basic level of strength and balance is required. It is necessary to have basic flexibility in the hip and ankle joints, and to not have any dramatic muscular imbalances. For example, weak spinal erectors or improper back posture (rounding of back during the lift) can be disastrous.
Be sure to fully train the entire posterior kinetic chain, including hamstrings, flutes and spinal erectors.
How to Perform:
How to perform the back squat:
Squat depth will depend on ankle and knee flexibility. A general rule should be to squat as low as you can whilst maintaining the neutral spine (non rounded upper or lower back), heels on the ground at all times and chest up.
Whether you want an amazing bum and legs, toned abs, injury prevention, improved sports performance or to increase overall muscle everyone should do squats.
Remember build your strength first, we recommend bodyweight squats, goblet squats and broomstick back squats to improve initial strength before advancing onto the weighted back squat.
Hopefully this article has enlighten you on the benefits of squating and why we should all squat.
MYTH 1 - "Lifting heavy will make you look like a man!"
For women, jumping into the world of fitness can be terrifying. Countless studies show that women who do resistance training are stronger, leaner and happier than women who do not. Many women have a tendency to think that they have special needs being a female and if they trained in a similiar manner to that of a man, they would start looking like a male bodybuilder, growing more muscles than they desire. This article aims to debunk the many myths of women and training.
What resistance/weight training does to your physique is entirely up to your genetic make-up (DNA). The difference in physiques comes from genetics, how we eat and the movements, volume and intensity of our workouts.
MYTH 2 - "Muscle will turn to fat when you stop training."
In the presence of good nutrition and rest, a muscle grows in size as a result of a challenging resistance training programme in a process known in the science world as hypertrophy. But when you stop training, the reverse occurs in a process known as atrophy, where the muscle simply becomes smaller.
Myth 3 - "Women need to perform aerobics to lose fat."
Even if you want to be a competitive runner, studies show that resistance training helps increase your aerobic performance. In fact constant running can cause atrophy and doesn't help build strength or help you find that balanced physique with multiple studies confirming that consistent endurance training may not be the best for fat loss.
MYTH 4 - "Weight training increases chest size."
Women's breasts are composed mostly of fatty tissue. Therefore, it is impossible to increase breast size through weight training. As a matter of fact, if you go below 12% body-fat your breast size will decrease. Weight training will increase the size of your back, so the misconception probably comes from confusing an increase in back size with an increase in cup size.
MYTH 5 - "You need to work every muscle individually."
Not only is it unnecessary to work each of your more than 600 muscles separately, you actually get better results by performing compound movements (movements that require many muscles working together). Think squat, lunge, dips, deadlift and pushups.
Multi-joint movements burn way more calories than single-joint movements.
Hopefully reading these 5 myths will allow some women to feel more confident and assured about weight training.
Thanks for reading. For specific training advice or if you want to try a proper training session by a highly educated personal trainer please contact Atlas Elite Fitness.
Choose foods with healthy fats, limit foods high in saturated fat and avoid foods with trans fat.
'Good' fats - monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats - lower disease risk.
'Bad' fats - saturated and, especially trans fats - increase disease risk.
Eating foods that contain a variety of fats is a great way to have delicious meals, support health and achieve optimal body composition. But over the last number of years fat has gotten a bad reputation with a number of low fat guidelines published and evil rumours about what saturated fat will do to you. This article hopes to educate and enlighten you on fat.
Fats you need to avoid are trans fats, these are man-made fats that have been chemically altered. They include hydrogenated oils and eating them has been linked to a number of diseases including: heart disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cancer and neurological problems.
Common trans fats hidden under different names include: hydrogenated rapeseed, soybean or cottonseed oil. They are found on the labels of many cereals, crackers and processed baked goods like cookies. These trans fats are harmful to the body producing oxidative stress and causing inflammation.
EPA and DHA
Studies carried out on Greenland's Inuit population showed that despite having a diet lacking in fruit and vegetables, the population has historically healthy hearts. Evidence suggests this may be due the huge amount of health benefits associated with the omega-3 fatty acids naturally present in fish oils - eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Benefits of EPA and DHA include: supporting a healthy heart, improved brain function, increased joint care, boosted immunity and healthy eyesight.
With regards to exercise, EPA and DHA display anabolic (muscle building) properties by encouraging protein synthesis. Through their role in supporting a healthy inflammation response and fending of insulin resistance, higher levels of EPA and DHA have been linked to less body fat accumulation.
What to eat?
Fish species with the most EPA and DHA include: herring, trout, arctic char, anchovies, salmon, mackeral and sardines. These fatty acids are also found in grass fed meats, organic milk, omega-3 enhanced eggs and certain fortified foods.
Some plant foods include: walnuts, flax, hemp, canola oil and chia all contain omega-3 fat in the form of alpha-linolic acid (ALA), which the body can convert to EPA and DHA.
We recommend: Hemp Alka-Protein and High Strength OMEGA Blend.
Conjugated Linolic Acid (CLA)
Emerging evidence suggests that Conjugated Linolic Acid (CLA), an important omega-6 fatty acid, is helping us fight fat stores! CLA appears to target fat by reducing the synthesis of fat cells, altering genes involved in fat accumulation and supporting insulin senstivity.
CLA can also increase the rate at which you burn fat during exercise, which can be beneficial to improving body composition.
There is much confusion with omega-6 fats because the Western diet is dangerously high in isolated, processed omega-6 fats in the form of vegetable oil. Those are the fats you want to avoid, but avocado, tree nuts and unrefined virgin olive oil are unprocessed and can improve body composition, while also counteracting inflammation.
What to eat?
The primary sources of CLA are meat and dairy.
We recommed the Supergreen Wheatgrass Shake
Medium Chain Triglycerides
"Eat fat to Burn Fat"
Increasing evidence suggests that medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) can enhance the body's fat burning potential and lead to improvements in body composition (ratio to fat to lean body mass).
This is due to the unusal chemical structure of MCTs allowing them be absorbed from the digestive tract intact where they can be used for energy production in the liver - therefore it will be less likely they will be stored as fat compared to other dietary fats.
Therefore, MCTs are minimally stored as adipose - body fat - and they contribute to elevated fat burning metabolism.
What to eat?
Foods high in MCTs include: butter, coconut butter and red palm oil. Try to use coconut oil for cooking in place of other oils.
Coconut and red palm oil are saturated fats high in MCTs that can eradicate inflammation in the body, boost metabolism and stimlate the thyroid.
We recommend natural coconut butter.
"Where does the power come from to see the race to the end?"
"From within." (-Chariots of Fire)
Sprints can help us lose fat, build muscle, improve health and live a better life. Sprint training is excellent for improving health and gives you considerably more benefits than the effort required to do it. Sprinting has typically been associated with athletic development rather than as a way to aquire quality muscle, however it does speed up the hypertrophy (muscle building) process.
Research shows that repeated sprint training produces significant fat loss results, and it does so in a very short period of time. Compared to long distance running and cardio 'aerobic type' training (which produces very little fat loss results) sprints are much more effective for fat burning in a short period of time.
Sprints create a huge metabolic disturbance and is one of the best methods for losing fat. This is a result of a metabolic phenomenon known as 'post exercise oxygen consumption' (or EPOC) - which allows the body to continually burn calories for several hours following exercise.
Build Muscle & Target the Right Muscle Fibers
Sprint training will help you build muscle as it specifically targets the powerful muscle building Type 2 (fast twitch) fibers, in comparison to long distance running which used mainly Type 1 (slow twitch) fibers.
Studies show sprinting enhances protein synthesis pathways by as much as 230% which is important as protein synthesis within the muscle repairs and replaces damaged proteins and aids in rebuilding the damaged muscle tissue making it stronger.
Also, sprint training has a positive effect on your hormonal system, it increases testosterone (anabolic sex hormone that can improve body composition) and decreases cortisol (catabolic stress hormone that can increase fat storage).
Women won't experience the same increase in testosterone, but sprints will increase growth hormone (GH) burning fat and building muscle for a strong, lean physique.
Improve Heart Health
As you sprint, your heart rate increases to compensate for the increased need for blood flow to your sprinting muscles.
Sprinting brings your heart to near its maximum speed and thus overtime can increase your maximum heart rate allowing you to work more efficiently.
Studies also show an improvement in stroke volume and a lowered resting heart rate with regualr sprint training.
Improve Insulin Sensitivity & Energy Use
Many studies show any time you alternate intense bursts of exercise with rest periods, you will improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar tolerance.
Sprints improve insulin health in the young, old, overweight, diabetic and people with metabolic syndrome, by causing the muscle cells to produce energy more efficiently.
The programme designed is simple and easy to follow for all levels of fitness (work at your own max pace). This programme on its own is effective but try to incorporate it into your normal training routine for optimal results. The aim of this programme is to increase repeated sprint ability until you can carry out 20 max sprints over 100 metres.
NOTE: include a thorough warmup before every training session!
3 Days per week
Week 1 (build a base level of fitness over short distance)
Day 1 - 6 max sprints over 60 metres (30-60 second rest between sprints)
Day 2 - 8 max sprints over 60 metres (30-60 second rest between sprints)
Day 3 - 10 max sprints over 60 metres (30-60 second rest between sprints)
Week 2 (increase distance and sprints)
Day 1 - 12 max sprints over 70 metres (30-60 second rest between sprints)
Day 2 - 13 max sprints over 70 metres (30-60 second rest between sprints)
Day 3 - 14 max sprints over 70 metres (30-60 second rest between sprints)
Week 3 (increase distance and sprints)
Day 1 - 15 max sprints over 80 metres (30-60 second rest between sprints)
Day 2 - 16 max sprints over 80 metres (30-60 second rest between sprints)
Day 3 - 17 max sprints over 80 metres (30-60 second rest between sprints)
Week 4 (increase distance and sprints)
Day 1 - 18 max sprints over 90 metres (30-60 second rest between sprints)
Day 2 - 19 max sprints over 90 metres (30-60 second rest between sprints)
Day 3 -20 max sprints over 100 metres (30-60 second rest between sprints)
Recommended Training and Supplements
For more advanced training programmes and nutritional advice please view our store where you can purchase comprehensive personalised programmes based on your training/nutritional needs.
For Inner Angel Wellness Clinic we can heavily recommend the HEMP and PEA Alka Protein to aid in muscle recovery whilst also eliminating bloating which is usually associated with whey protein. We also suggest you consume the Wheatgrass Multivitamin to ensure your immune system is heightened when training.
During sleep our bodies are in a fasted state, BREAKFAST breaks the fast and kick starts our body's metabolism especially if we fuel properly with good nutrients!
Breakfast helps us maintain body weight
The desire to lose weight is one of the most frequent cited reasons for skipping breakfast. However, many observational studies show that people who skip breakfast are more likely to be overweight. The theory behind this is that skipping breakfast may cause us to overeat later in the day with research showing that most people will crave calorie dense, nutrient poor junk foods.
Six Reasons to Start your Day with a Healthy Breakfast
1...gives you the fuel to begin your day.
When you wake up in the morning, your body has been fasting all night and needs to be refuelled. Your breakfast should supply about a quarter (25%) of your energy and nutrients for the day.
2...can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, obesity and diabetes.
Studies show people who eat breakfast have a lower risk of obesity and heart disease. By having breakfast, you help keep your sugar levels stable, which can reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
3...boosts your brain power so you can stay alert and concentrate at work.
Fuel you brain! Breakfast will help you feel more energetic and can help improve concentration.
4...will help you feel satisfied during the morning and can prevent snacking on less nutritious foods or overeating later in the day.
People who skip breakfast often compensate by eating more later in the day.
5...can enhance the quality of your diet and help your body get key nutrients like iron, calcium, B-vitamins and fibre.
By skipping breakfast you may not get the chance to make up for missed nutrients later in the day. A balanced diet provides so much more than just energy.
6...can help you to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.
Studies show that eating breakfast is associated with a lower body mass index (BMI) and decreased risk of obesity.
Breakfast for Weightloss
Try to include these foods in your breakfast
A cup of raspberries deliver a whopping 8 grams of fibre (thats more than double whats in a cup of strawberries). The Journal of Nutrition suggests eating more fibre as a way to prevent weight gain or even encourage weightloss.
Oats can help you lose weight in two ways. First, its packed with fiber which keeps you feeling fuller for longer. Second, consuming these slow-relase carbohydrates prior to physical activity does not cause the insulin spike associated with fast-release carbohydrates (e.g. white bread). Because insulin plays a role in signalling your body to store fat, having lower blood sugar levels may help you burn fat.
Yogurt is one of the top 5 foods to promote weight loss due to its high protein content. We recommend Greek natural yogurt, which contains 40% less sugar, 38% less sodium and more than double the protein of other store bought processed yogurts. Yogurts also contain probiotic organisms that can benefit gastrointestinal health.
The egg is a convenient nutritional package, providing high biological-value protein, rich in essential amino acids and is an excellent source of micronutrients such as iron, zinc, folate and vitamin B12. The high protein content of eggs ensures you feel fuller for longer.
NEED HELP KNOWING WHAT TO EAT OR LOSING WEIGHT?
Nutrition is an integral part of any gym goers training regime, as a diet catered towards the training needs of an individual can enhance performance, improve body composition and release positive ‘feel-good’ endorphins (namely
serotonin and dopamine).
Antioxidant supplementation can play a pivotal role in aiding recovery from strenuous physical activity (Bailey et al., 2011; McGinley et al., 2009; Powers & Jackson, 2008) possibly as a result of reduction in oxidative stress and inflammation (Bell et al., 2013; Urso & Clarkson, 2013).
What is Reactive Oxygen Species (the sciencey bit!)
Free radicals are unstable compounds and cause damage to lipids, proteins, DNA and
other biological complexes essential for bodily functions.
Radicals derived from oxygen represent the most important class of radical species and occur during oxidative metabolism. Free radicals and non-radical derivatives of oxygen are collectively termed reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS have long been thought of as detrimental to health, resulting in the degradation of cellular material and leading to cell death.
Exercise induced Oxidative
Strenuous and unaccustomed exercise can induce acute muscle damage
These symptoms are known as delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMS) and can last 24-72 hours following exercise. It is thought that DOMS occurs after intense eccentric (muscle lengthening under tension) and non-accustomed exercise as a result mechanical strain tearing the microstructure of the muscle.
In response to this damage the body begins a pro-inflammatory response. This accumulation of pro-inflammatory cell populations in the damaged muscles is likely to increase the inflammatory trauma to the muscles by releasing ROS in
the tissue (Close et al., 2005; Howatson & Van Someren, 2008; Powers & Jackson, 2008). ROS can:
As a result of ROS buildup and reduction in muscular strength and performance, there has been considerable interest in antioxidant supplements and foods which may reduce exercise-induced muscle damage and inflammation.
So what are Antioxidants?
An antioxidant is any substance that delays, prevents or removes oxidative damage
to a target molecule.
Antioxidants aid in the prevention of certain degenerative diseases such as cancers, oxidative stress dysfunctions and cardiovascular and neurological diseases. Studies reveal antioxidants work in three different capacities:
In basic terms, the first stage involves the release of preventative compounds that suppress the generation of ROS (Isaksson & Andersson, 2008), the second stage involves the use of radical-scavenging antioxidants to inhibit initiation of the oxidation chain, prevent chain propagation and terminate chain reaction by forming a stable by-product (Alonso-Alvarez et al., 2004) and finally, the third stage of antioxidant defence repairs damages caused by free radicals (Olsson et al., 2008).
Antioxidants received from dietary sources may be beneficial in reducing the effects caused by of ROS and may also improve recovery following strenuous exercise. Antioxidant rich ‘super-foods’ have been heavily investigated due to their high content of polyphenolic compounds, some of these super-foods include:
Polyphenols are plant-derived compounds found in fruits and vegetables that contain the potent antioxidant anthocyanin.
FOOD ANTHOCYANIN CONTENT (MG.L-1)
Montmorency Tart Cherry Juice 9117
Grape (red) 300-7500
Sweet Cherry 20-4500
These super-foods due to their high anthocyanin content may optimise recovery from strenuous exercise. As stated previously, strenuous exercise results in muscle damage as a primary response which is followed by protein oxidation and lipid per-oxidation causing increased pain and reduction in function. The increase in inflammatory cells causes an additional accumulation of ROS which starts a cycle further increasing inflammation.
Foods with a high concentration of anthocyanins may be beneficial in recovery from
exercise by inhibiting inflammatory enzymes and oxidative stress.
The benefits of consuming these ‘super-foods’ is manifold, from a health viewpoint, as oxidative stress is linked to cancer development by causing injury to cells, inducing gene mutation and other degenerative diseases, evidence proves high amounts of antioxidants can reduce the ROS level in individuals who overproduce ROS and may aid in protecting them from cancer. From a fitness viewpoint, improving recovery time from strenuous exercise is advantageous and necessary to maintain high levels of performance.
Follow a training programme from a qualified exercise professional and consume a diet rich in antioxidant ‘super-foods’ to ensure that you are developing you inherent antioxidant system.
For sport specific advice and other dietary advice please view our store.
Dietary aids/supplements can be beneficial we recommend Inner Angel Wellness and their brand of all natural supplement.
A high potency acai berry formulation containing acai berry, resveratrol,
grape seed extract and pomegranate all very high in anthocyanin content.
An organic multi-herbal nutrient dense formula containing 14 ‘super-food’ ingredients ensuring your body gets is recommended daily allowance in nutrients and aids in the production of systematic antioxidants.
A highly concentrated combination of beetroot extract and Montmorency cherry extract. This supplement acts as both an ergogenic aid improving performance due to high levels of dietary nitrate (promoting high levels of systematic nitric oxide in the blood aiding performance) and as a powerful antioxidant containing some of the highest amounts of anthocyanins due to the presence of Montmorency tart cherries making it a potent antioxidant.
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