Monday, 30 December 2013

Interval Training

What is it?

Interval training alternates between bursts of intense exercise followed by slower recovery phases. You use both your aerobic and anaerobic systems by varying either the resistance or speed you work at for different periods of time. Interval training can be done for almost any type of exercise, from cycling to bodyweight exercises to kettlebells, and there are so many benefits in making interval training your new workout...

1. It's efficient- it takes as little as 15 minutes a session depending on the length and number of intervals you do.

2. It burns sooooo many more calories than your standard steady-paced endurance workout because the intense exertion kicks your body into overdrive and kicks starts you metabolism.

3. It increases your cardio efficiency.

4. It improves performance- you will be able to train harder for longer ad your body uses its anaerobic system and adapts by becoming m ore efficient at removing lactic acid build-up. 

5. It mixes speed and intensity so there's less chance you'll get bored.

6.  There's variety- You can play round with the duration of your intervals or recovery periods, the speed you work at, the resistance and the number of repetitions you do of each interval. E.g. One popular type of interval training called Tabata involves working at 9/10 of your maximum effort for 10 seconds, with 20 seconds of complete rest. 

Interval training is great for people who are short on time, who get bored doing cardio or those who want to get the most out of their workouts. Here are the main benefits in summary:

  • Short and sweet- can be done in as little as 15 minutes
  • Bang for your buck- burns a lot of calories in little time
  • Quick but effective- improves both aerobic and anaerobic systems
  • Less chance of boredom
  • You put in more effort because each interval is fairly short (usually about 30-60 seconds)
  • There's variety because you can play around with variables like speed and resistance

Friday, 6 December 2013

Boost your Immunity

Hi guys! Everybody knows it's easy to get ill during Winter as bugs are in full swing and you're maybe not looking after yourself as well as over the warmer months. This doesn't make sense, although we all end up doing it! It's easier and feels natural to whip up a fresh, cool salad in the middle of July and to get a big pot of stew on the stove during January.

What we should be doing is taking better care of ourselves before we're more likely to start feeling "run down". Ramping up the vitamin intake, eating lots of fresh fruit and veg and making sure we don't skip the gym just because, baby, it's cold outside.

I've put together some easy steps you can take towards better protecting yourself from infection this Winter...

1. Exercise- during and after exercise your body makes more germ-fighting cells called T-Cells and studies show these get to work faster in peeps who exercise regularly. Here's an interesting post I read from on how regular moderate exercise can increase immunity.

2. Probiotics- Those who regularly take a Probiotic supplement are 42% less likely to get the sniffles. Either take them in supplement form or eat natural, live yoghurt which is a great source of protein too.

3. Boost your Vitamin D intake, either by getting 20 minutes of sunlight a day or by taking a vitamin D supplement (look for vitamin D3). Examples of food sources are milk, oliy fish e.e. Salmon, Mackerel and Sardines) and fortified cereals.

4. Cruciferous veg like Broccoli, Kale, Spinach, Cabbage and Lettuce all boost your immune system by increasing the liver's ability to flush out toxins.

5. Ginger- add it to teas and stir fries to cleanse your airways and lymph system.

6. Get 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Researchers aren't 100% sure why yet but studies show getting this amount seriously reduces risk of infection.

7. What your Granny said is true! Wrap up warm!! Your immune system works better in a warm environment so turn up the heat.

8. Get eating garlic. Your friends might not thank you but your immune system will It's anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial.

9. Get plenty of fresh fruit and veg which are high in vitamins A, C, E and Zinc. Aim to eat a variety of colours as these represent a different nutritional profile. Some good examples are berries, sweet potato, broccoli, tomatoes and carrots.

Basically, the bugs are always there, it's how well you look after yourself which will determine whether you catch a cold!

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