Is this the cardio you are looking for?

Intense workouts will give the results people are looking for. I’ve written many articles that expose the ineffectiveness of workouts in the fat burning zone, and have written many articles that explain the effectiveness of workouts in the intense zone. I’m not going into why working out with intensity gives us the results we need, just read my previous posts.

What

In the spirit of sticking with intensity let’s talk about HILIT. Yes, HILIT. Figured it out yet? Just like HIIT, HILIT is the same but without the impact. High Intense Low Impact Interval Training.

How

 

Low impact

Actually it’s very simple. So simple I don’t know why I’m writing this. Actually I do know why I’m writing this. It’s a reminder that there are things we can co regardless of our body issues.

Before I get into exercises let’s quickly go over the pattern of intense interval training. You have the classic Tabata named after Izumi Tabata. 20 seconds maximum effort followed by 10 seconds zero effort for a duration of 4 minutes.

Then you have the classic of 1 minute at 90% effort followed by 2 minutes at 70% effort (this is why I recommend a heart rate monitor, a great way to know your output percentage) for a duration of 20 minutes.

You can also do low impact 2 minutes at 90% followed by 3 minutes at 60% for 20 minutes. Lots of options.

Exercises

Let’s get into the exercises you can do. Now I’m not listing every exercise, only a few. Try to come up with some yourself keeping the above guidelines in mind.

        • No Jump Burpees – It’s as easy as doing burpees without the jump but, when you squat and kick your feet out behind you do 4 Mountain climbers. And, even though you are not jumping, pretend you are by swinging your arms up just don’t let your feet leave the ground.
        • High Knees with Crossing Arms – Bring the knees up as quick as you can minimizing impact while also crossing your arms back and forth in front of your chest.
        • Modified Mountain Climbers – Ok, get in Mountain climber position and when doing these Mountain climbers move your lower body side to side like you are sweeping from a 45 degree angle on one side all the way through to a 45 degree angle on the opposite side. And don’t wimp out on me, those feet should be shooting forwards and backwards like no one’s business.
        • Pool – High knees, running on the spot, alternating lunges. The pool is the quintessential location for low impact exercising.

Lower back pain, knee pain, hip pain I have you covered. There’s always options that keep you healthy and most importantly keep you enjoying those things you enjoy.

Yours in health,

Darryl

If you do not control the enemy, the enemy will control you

I’ve been there myself, many times, not only when I’m participating in a stressful physical event such as a belt grading but also when being part of something where I’m the center of attention, especially when I don’t know my audience. Our mind takes over often focusing on the worst outcome and it only makes matters worse. Worse case is we can feel like a prisoner of our mind.

What

relaxing thoughts

The title of this post may seem a bit ambiguous at this point but let’s see if I can add clarity later on.

You’re about an hour away from an event that you are participating in, maybe a 10k or marathon, or something else that you want to do really well in and you start to feel those nerves. You need to be well fuelled, hydrated for this event but you have concerns that if you consume too much too close to the start you’ll end up missing the start of the event or have to stop partway during the event for a washroom break.

It’s happened before but you really don’t want to have to deal with it again for obvious reasons. Is it your diet or do you have the unfortunate burden of having a sensitive gut? It very well could be the foods you eat. I’ve written a number of posts that talk about diet so I’m not going in depth on this post, you can go back and read them.

Your gut Flora has a large influence on your overall health and also how your stomach can deal with anxiety and nerves. First off, ditch the dairy. No other animal consumes dairy after being weened so why do we (hint, it has to do with money)? Then, lose all the other animal products you consume and replace them with complex carbs, pulses, nuts, seeds, and so on. Focus on whole foods plant based eating. If you’re someone who doesn’t produce a daily stool easily then that will change, for the better.

Now that you are eating the foods that help with digestion and provide you with the fuel you need to compete you can start to focus on pre event fueling. Complex carbs approximately 2 hours before your event, something like steel cut oats with some fruit (if having apples lose the skin as it’s difficult to digest and we’re trying to avoid that). 15 minutes before the event you could then consume a gel energy pack to top up the fuel tank.

If this is new to you I highly recommend you follow the routine you plan to use before several of your workouts to see how you react to it.

        • Never try something new before an event! Never do this the day before or the day of. You will not want to find out that your stomach disagrees with the new energy drink or gel you decided to try.

Next

Now, let’s get to the meaning of the quote I used. The mind, we need to control our mind. Our mind is very powerful and I believe most of us underestimate what it can do to us or what we can have it do for us. Too often we let the negative mind take control and do our bidding.

Why is it that you have done many long runs leading up to your event without any gut issues but now, just before the race you are looking for the porta-potty? You let your mind get the better of you. Anxiety, uncertainty, fear, doubt can put your nervous system into overdrive impacting the blood flow to the gut thus slowing down digestion and activating the colon muscles.

Breathe, relax, meditate, put on music that can get you to that relaxed state you need. Just like the mind can put you in that anxious state so it can also put you in that relaxed state. I think we don’t realize that because no one has taught us that. Quick question: how many of you have taken a course on meditation? I’m betting the vast majority haven’t.

Something else that can be done is to make it familiar. The more times you are in this situation the more normal it will be and the more relaxed you will probably be.

Finally

Having nerves is normal, it can help you achieve great things as long as those nerves don’t become unmanageable.

A positive and relaxed mind can do wonders too. Read a book on mindfulness, watch some instructional videos on meditation. I hope you get to find that out for yourself.

Yours in health,

Darryl

I’ve done this before, why can’t I do it now?

Going for that evening run, a routine run that you’ve done many times. Summer’s hear, or at least the summer weather and it’s been a hot day. An evening run is nice as it’s a bit cooler at this time but still somewhat hot. You’ve had a busy day outside working in the backyard or maybe cleaning up the garage. It’s been somewhat of a sweaty day.

Time for that run. You’ve brought water with you as you know you’ll need it. You start off with a gentle pace. You’re already thinking that you feel a little off, somewhat lacking. You pick it up a bit increasing the difficulty and you are starting to feel it. That feeling that it’s going to be a laborious run. You give it a few minutes to let your body adjust to the increased pace but it’s tougher than normal. You push yourself through the run but afterwards, you are left wondering why the run was so tough when it was supposed to be a moderate run, not an intense run?

What

Since we are at the beginning of the summer weather we’ll be getting, at least where I live, and we have already had days in the high 20’s with high humidity we need to understand two important things:

      • Our bodies need water. We can live longer without food than without water
      • We need to ensure we have our electrolytes. Electrolytes are responsible for our nervous system and if our nervous system isn’t performing well we can’t perform well.

Our body is mostly made up of water and even when we are a little bit dehydrated our performance is impacted. Foggy brain, lethargy are some symptoms of only a 2% decrease in your body’s water level. We don’t always think of this, that something as simple as slight dehydration can impact how we are and how we perform. Let’s look at what a 5% decrease in our hydration level can do to us:

      • Can decrease the capacity for work by 30%
      • Decrease sweat rate thus increasing body core temperature
      • A reduction in blood volume requiring the heart to work harder to fuel our muscles, and our brain
      • Increased rate of glycogen use

And lastly, depending on the duration of your workout, prolonged dehydration due to lack of hydrating can lead to death. Years ago there would be incidents of college, and even high school students dying during football practice due to dehydration. You were a wuss if you needed water during practice during hot summer days and these knuckleheaded coaches in their ultimate wisdom deprived people of water. Fortunately, I hope, these days are over. But severe dehydration will lead to thicker blood which the heart has to work harder to move through the body.

What Else

Electrolytes. Electrolytes are vital for normal functioning of the human body. Sodium, potassium and calcium. When you are an athlete that is performing intense workouts for more than 60 minutes it becomes important to consume electrolytes during your workout. Also, if you sweat a large amount expelling these electrolytes you need to replenish.

If your body is low on electrolytes you may experience the following:

      • Twitching
      • Weakness or excessive muscle contractions
      • confusion

Lastly, if you are severely low you could experience seizures or heart rhythm disturbances.

If you think about it all this makes sense. It makes sense that being deficient with regards to something that helps controls the nervous system will impact performance. And increasing performance is one of our goals of working out!

I’m not going too in-depth on this article as I have written articles on these things before (see at bottom of page). But sometimes we need a reminder when we hit that time again.

As a whole, we spend a lot of money on fitness from clothing to the latest tech. It doesn’t require a lot of money to stay hydrated and also to replenish your electrolytes. You’ve made the effort to get off the couch and put in a workout, and may be an intense one. Make it enjoyable by being prepared to get the most out of your body by having your body hydrated and by also being ready to replenish your electrolytes.

It’s hot out there. Be careful and be prepared.

You’ll be glad you did.

Yours in health,

Darryl

Hydration article

Electrolyte article