What I’ve Been Doing Lately and the Best Ever Challenge Accepted

I have been quite absent from the blog, but it felt sooo good! During this transition time I really needed to tune down a while, so I can focus more on family and work. I also didn’t work out as usual, but again, I kind of needed that time off.

Two weeks ago my husband and I took a sailing course and we learned how to maneuver a sailing vessel, how to dock it, how to navigate during night, how to schedule carts and so much more! It was a fun but insane intense course, where we made lots of new friends.

InstagramCapture_f791f672-30c2-4ec6-a213-4c3cbfc3740a_jpg

(In charge of the boom winch – mainsail adjusted)

During the training, we sailed on two different boats – a cruiser, which was so comfortable you almost forgot you were on a boat, and a competition boat. Opposed to the cruiser, the competition boat was so uncomfortable, and required a lot of action – with each changing of the tack of the boat (tacking or jibing) the skipper had to do, the crew had to execute the assigned maneuvers and then quickly pass on the other side of the boat to balance the boat. Was so much fun! Not to mention the speed that boat was sailing! Now we have to pass the official exams in order to obtain the sailing certificate and be able to rent sailing vessels on our own.

After we returned home, the same weekend we hosted a series of barbecue parties with family that came from our hometown to spend the holiday with us. We were lucky the weather sided with us and the high temperatures dropped by almost 10 degrees Celsius right before Friday. It was warm enough for having a perfect barbecue party.

Then, after two weeks of almost no workout done, Kelli and Daniel from Fitness Blender announced a new 5 days workout challenge. That was exactly what I needed to get back on track with my training and get back in shape. (I know it sounds so weird that only a coupe of weeks of no activity can put you out of shape, but it’s true! It’s not that you can’t do the workouts or you’ll be sore the next days… It’s just the way you feel during the workout that tells you you’re a bit behind the form you used to have.) From my past experience with Fitness Blender’s 5 days challenges, they rock as they really work! It may sound impossible, but by the end of the 5th day you can actually see a difference. Should you try it, make some photos of you before and after the challenge and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Of course, altogether with maintaining a healthy diet.

InstagramCapture_bfbb4af9-3b78-4f40-b888-4e961df8fb94

(Day 1/5 – 394 kcal – HIIT and strength workout)

So I encourage you to join this challenge! It’s not important that you’re starting late, it’s important to do it and finish these 5 amazing workouts! So who’s with me? 🙂

Advertisements

Sexy Legs Workout & Fresh Fruit and Yogurt Popsicles

It’s leg day. And I’m not in the best workout mood. But my 30th birthday and vacation to the sea side are coming up soon, so there’s no cheating – there are only 2 weeks left. For those of you who don’t know this yet, one of my New Year’s resolutions is a 101 challenge with myself – to get in the best shape of my life before turning 30. So far so good – I am by far the most fit I’ve ever been; but why stop here? I feel I can do more and I like it now more than ever, because during all this regular training, I managed to know my body really well. I know now when it’s OK to push a little bit harder, when to skip the workout (without remorse) and when to I need to give myself a little incentive to do upstairs and “hit the gym”. Like today.

Do you know that legs have the biggest muscles in your body? And do you know if you want to lose weight or tone your body you have to train them really hard? You see, big muscles burn more energy, so the bigger they are, the more kcal you’re gonna burn. Always works for me to get me there and be workout ready. 🙂

So here it is – I tried to avoid pistol squats, because not everybody can do them, and the most important thing is to do an exercise with the proper form. I also didn’t include calf raises, because if you’re doing the jumping jacks with the legs really wide, you’ll also be training those calves.
Summer Legs

 

Try not to take breaks between exercises. Push through the burn, but if you really have to stop, then stop for a couple of seconds and then continue.

After this workout I was craving for something sweet… Sooo badly!… I am still on my 100 Days of Summer challenge and it begins to be a real challenge, especially when I’m out. Anyway, yesterday I made 8 fresh fruit and yogurt pops, and I didn’t have the chance to taste them yet. I was pretty warmed up after the legs workout, so this treat felt like heaven. It was also my dinner, as it contained pretty much everything:

2 cups oats
2 cups yogurt
1 cup hazelnut milk
2 cups raspberries, strawberries,  blackberries,

sliced bananas and cherries

I didn’t add any other sweetener like maple syrup, Stevie or agave nectar, because both strawberries and cherries were really sweet. The cookies next to my Popsicle are made also homemade and the filling is plum jam, 100% plums, no sugar added or any other sweetener, no preservatives or any other flavors. Here it’s called majun.

Popsicle

What’s your leg day schedule? How often do you have leg day training?

What’s your favorite Popsicle recipe?

Saturday Workout & Prepping for Children’s Day

Windy Saturday Workout

 

It’s crazy windy here, so I don’t really want to spend my Saturday on the patio… I prepped the lunch, cleaned the house, played with Miss I., worked out a bit and now I am planning tomorrow’s surprize for my kid.

Here’s a sneak peak at what she’s gonna get for the International Children’s Day.

Twitter22f999d_jpg

What do you plan to do tomorrow on the International Children’s Day? What’s you kid favourite thing to do?

 

What Exactly is HIIT?… and Other Questions Answered

In the last few days, I’ve been asked several times about HIIT. Obviously, high intense interval training was not the expected answer. 🙂

So what exactly is HIIT?

The textbook definition says high intensity interval training, meaning that you’ll gonna perform a number of high intensity exercises, each immediately followed by periods of recovery. The high intensity exercises can vary from between 5 – 10 seconds to  minutes. Likewise, the periods of recovery can vary in duration too. It’s a kind of workout that can’t be boring, as you won’t have time to think of anything else except what’s next, maintaining the proper form, and making the most out of the recovery period.

To get the maximum results while HIIT training, it’s recommended that the high intensity intervals to be really intense (90 % – 100% of maximum ‘safe’ heart rate – I will come to that later within this post), as intense as you can bare. The recovery period follows, while you’ll be doing some very light exercise, like jog in place, boxer shuffles or walk around. It’s really important not to stop – always keep moving, slowly or not, but please don’t suddenly stop.

Let me give you an example of a typical HIIT workout. The warm-up and cool down are not included, so you’d want to dedicate around 10 minutes more. And you’ve got yourself a 17 minutes kick a$$ workout!

Why HIIT? | Benefits of HIIT

HIIT is extremely efficient. It lets you get a excellent result with little time spent on working out. As I am a mom, I have a family life and a full time job, so is really important. Most of the time there’re just not enough hours for all the things I’d like to do in a day. So I turned to HIIT because working out like this is really efficient. My workouts vary between 20 – 35 minutes per day, so it’s really easy to squeeze it in my daily schedule. Because it’s so short, you will be working hard the whole time.

Lots and lots of studies and researches show that HIIT training burns more fat than constant pace training. During and after the workout. (Yes, after, you read right! :)) It also trains the heart, as you have to push into the anaerobic zone. Best part is that you don’t even need equipment, because you are working with your own body weight; or if you need some equipment, it’s a couple of dumbbells, a kettlebell, a jump rope and a mat. Another positive is that you can do it anywhere – at home, while traveling, at the beach, in the pool… Anywhere!

FB_20140429_06_25_34_Saved_Picture

(image credit to Greatist)

The thing I love most about HIIT is that it increases the metabolism rate, and the aging process is slowed down. Yey! Also, higher metabolism really works for me, as in the past I had episodes of hipotyroid, which

If you think of it, HIIT comes naturally. We all did it and sometimes still do it. 🙂 For instance, let’s think about the way we played while we were kids – We ran around the playground for a few seconds or even minutes, then stopping for a rest. Then we repeated it all over again. Seems like short bursts of high intensity activity is somehow hardwired into our DNA.

Who is HIIT for?

Let’s start with the untrained persons. Because most of you will be telling me – yeah, that’ pretty easy if your’re in a good shape and you exercise on a daily basis. If you are sedentary or exercise really little every once in a while, please check with your doctor first. This is really important, because otherwise you might put your own well being at risk by doing exercises that are way to high impact for your body.

When starting out, I highly recommend to work out at comfortable intensities, but the aim should be to slowly but steady increase the intensity to 90 % – 100% of your maximal heart rate.

What’s my maximal heart rate? This heart rate is something that you must calculate by yourself, based on your age. The formula is pretty simple:

maximal heart rate = 220 – (your age).

For instance, in my case, it’s 220 – 29 = 191. So my pulse should be around 190-191 while working out high intensity intervals.

For an untrained person, you should always start off at the easier end of difficulty, working your way up towards the maximal heart rate intensity. Also, you can increase the time of the recovery period to a recovery interval that’s enough for you to catch your breath and allow the pulse to go down around 65 % of the maximal heart rate:

recovery heart rare = maximal heart rate * 0.65.

You will be surprised to see that after only a couple of HIIT training sessions, you will be able to increase the intensity. But most of all, you’ll be surprised of how quickly your body adapted and how your fitness level has improved.

For trained persons, HIIT will give them the chance to reach their goals more quickly and push their limits a little bit further. I expect them to become instant HIIT fans. 🙂

The busy persons – this part is my favourite – HIIT allows you to achieve all the benefits of a longer training in a shorter time.

Why is HIIT training better for weight loss than constant interval training?

I have to admit I was really curious why and how I can lose so much weight by just working out 20-30 minutes / day, while in the past I spent months and months training (60 minutes / training session at least 3-4 times / week) without losing much weight nor gaining muscle definition as I would have expected.

Seems that there are two mechanisms that HIIT triggers inside our bodies:

#1 – HIIT training increases the exercise intensity, which leads to increased caloric expenditure (by a lot). So this means that when you work out and do HIIT, you’ll end up burning more calories (and lose weight), as the caloric expenditure grows exponentially.

#2 – It’s about the excess post exercise oxygen consumption, but you might have heard of it as the after burn effect. So how does this weird mechanism helps us lose weight after the workout is over / done / completed? I’ve read that while training really hard, during the high intensity interval, the aerobic system alone is not capable of supplying the required energy to complete the exercise. That’s when another system in our body (the anaerobic system) steps in and to assure the extra energy. While doing that, a large amount of lactic acid builds up in our muscles, as the exercising at the maximal heart rate. This elevated level of oxygen consumption will continue to have a training effect on the body. So ever if your workout is over, your body will continue to burn calories at a higher rate.

Pretty cool, right? You might ask me how long does the post workout burn effect lasts… Well, it depends on how hard you train – it can last from a couple of hours after the workout up until 48 hours.

But doesn’t lactic acid lead to muscle soreness? Doesn’t it build up in your muscles and make your muscles burn!? Well… It turns out, these are just myths. Lactic acid is actually a fuel, not a caustic waste product that will give you sore muscles. Muscles produce it from glucose on purpose, and they burn it to obtain energy.

Ok, but what makes the muscles feel sore? The answer is quite simple and also obvious: “[…] the swelling in the muscle compartment that results from an influx of white blood cells, and other nutrients and fluids that flow to the muscles to repair the “damage” after a tough workout. The type of muscle damage I am referring to is microscopic (it occurs in small protein contractile units of the muscle called myofibrils) and is part of the normal process of growth in the body called anabolism. It is not the type of damage or injury that you see your doctor about. The swelling and inflammation can build up for days after a workout, and that’s why muscle soreness may be worse two, three, or even four days after a workout.” [Muscle Soreness, Richard Weil, MEd, CDE]

While exersicing, the level of beta-endorphins increases a lot. This is the fell good molecule that makes us feel somehow euforic after a workout. It is actually our body’s response to pain. The more intense our workout is, the more beta-endorphins molecules are released, and the after workout feeling is better.

So now that I’ve give you a deeper dive in what HIIT actually is, how do you feel about it? Would you try it? Are you already HIITing it up?