Tag

build muscle

Browsing

The Biggest Achiever Program is about improving ourselves mentally, physically and emotionally. In order to become happier and healthier on the outside, we have to work on the inside first. Although this week’s challenge is  bit different, it is equally important.

This week, your challenge is to give one compliment to yourself and one compliment to someone else, every single day. I urge you to step outside of your comfort zone on this, and give a complete stranger a compliment. When was the last time you remember getting a compliment from someone you’ve never met before and will likely never see again? Those compliments are very special, since the person giving them truly has nothing to gain in return. It always makes my day when I get a compliment like this, and with that knowledge, I try to do the same for others.

Now, you may give someone a compliment, and they may look at you as if you are from outer space. Forget about it. You are not giving this compliment for a sense of gratitude from them or anything in return. If they show appreciation, that’s just an added bonus. Also, try to give a compliment in regards to something about their personality, their body, their skill set, etc., instead of a material item. For example, telling someone they have beautiful eyes, a lovely smile, great muscles, a great personality, or that they are great at their job or are very well-spoken are better compliments than telling someone you like their shirt. Anyone can own that shirt, so although that is in fact a compliment, we’re seeking something a bit deeper here.

It is also important that you give yourself a compliment, every day. Find something you like about yourself, even if you think it’s tough. Maybe you did a good deed today, that is something worth complimenting. Perhaps you took the stairs instead of the elevator… that too, deserves a pat on the back. Find at least one thing that you can be proud of yourself for and say it out loud. Even better, leave it in the comments here! We want to draw attention to the positives in our lives. Doing that for ourselves and doing nice things for other people, make us feel good. When we feel good, life is better. Our worries don’t seem as big, goals seem more attainable, our stress levels decrease and the level of serotonin in our brains rises. Serotonin = good stuff.

I’m a strong believer that everything happens for a reason. I was in yoga when this challenge came to me, and wouldn’t you know it, two minutes later, a complete stranger came up to me and gave me a compliment. 🙂

Exercise Challenge — Push Ups

Every night before you go to bed, do push ups. Even better, do them in the morning and the evening! I’m not going to tell you how many, you will be dictating your own goals. To find/set your goal, do as many push ups as you can in a row, then every night, add one more to it. For example, if you can currently do 5 push ups in a row, tomorrow night, do 6. The next night you will do 7 push ups, and so on. The most important thing here is that you do the push up correctly. It is perfectly acceptable to modify the push up so that you are pushing your body up from your knees. If that is too difficult, you can do push ups in a standing position, against the wall. Doing the push up with proper form while showing control will build a solid foundation with the proper muscles. From here, you will be able to advance to other exercises, while decreasing the risk of injury. Click here to see the Mayo Clinic’s video showcasing proper form for modified push ups.

 

Good luck!

Peace, love and kind hearts,

Melissa

What is Tabata Training?

In short, it’s one of the best ways to lose weight, gain muscle and increase your athletic performance. It is very simple but very intense. Tabata is named after a former researcher at Japan’s National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Kanoya, Japan, named Izumi Tabata.

How Does Tabata Work?

After about a 5 minute warm-up (or more if you feel it’s necessary), you will do one exercise at your maximum effort for 20 seconds. You actually should be working at 170% of your VO2 max. In layman’s terms, you should be working harder than you ever have before, basically working until muscle failure. After those 20 seconds, you will rest for 10 seconds. After your 10 second rest, you will move onto the second round of the Tabata (same exercise, for 20 seconds again). You will do 8 20-second sets, with 10 seconds of rest in between, for a total of 4 minutes. Four minutes may sound easy, but when you are working as hard as you possibly can, you will find those are the longest 20 seconds of your life! I’m not trying to scare you, just want to impose on you how important it is to work as hard as you can. That is the only way you will get the maximum benefits of Tabata Training. Also, you don’t want to spend the first few seconds “ramping up” to your full potential. With Tabata, you need to be at your MAX from the beginning, and you basically have to claw your way through the remaining 20 seconds.

You can use a regular stopwatch, or if you have an iPod Touch, iPhone, etc., you can download the Tabata Pro App from the iTunes store, it is the best app out there for keeping track of your timed intervals. (Shown to the right).

What Are The Benefits of Tabata Training?

There are a myriad of benefits to Tabata Training. For one, it is better for fat loss than steady-state training. When you do a cardio session at the same pace the whle time, your body will adjust itself to the speed you are going and tries to conserve energy (calories). By training in high-intensity intervals, you will be able to avoid this and burn more calories and fat. Another benefit is the afterburn you receive after interval training, also known as EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption). This type of training results in a higher EPOC, which means your body is burning more calories after your workout is over. You will increase your VO2 max (the maximum capacity of your body to transport and use oxygen during exercise, which reflects your physical fitness level). I also love being able to get a killer workout in a short amount of time. We’ll all tight on time these days, so if I can get a quality workout in, in half the time I would have spent in the gym, that sounds good to me! Also, the harder the workout is, the better you feel when it’s over. I feel so much more accomplished after a tough Tabata training than I do after doing comparable time on the elliptical machine at the gym. Boring!

How Often Should I Do Tabata?

It is important to note that you need to have a solid baseline of strength and endurance to attempt Tabata. If you are just starting an exercise program, make sure you give yourself enough time to gain the muscular strength and cardiovascular endurance to get through several rounds of these exercises before diving into a full Tabata workout. If you don’t feel you’re ready to take on some of the tougher Tabata exercises, you can apply the Tabata Training Method to other forms of exercise. So if you are on the elliptical machine, go hard for 20 seconds, then slow it down for 10. You can also apply High Intensity Interval Training methods to your workout (HIIT). This is similar to Tabata in the sense that you are working hard for a set amount of time, then recovering for a set amount of time. If you are a beginner in terms of fitness level, you can adjust the exercises and the amount of training time.

  • HIIT for beginners: I would try a 1 minute walk/1 minute jog. Do this for as long as you can, this time will vary by participant, 2-4 times/week.
  • Intermediate level HIIT: 1 min walk/1 min jog for at least 20 minutes, 3-5 times/week.
  • Advanced HIIT: All out sprints for as long as you can go followed by a 1 min jog, 5-20 minutes, 3-5 times/week.

Both Tabata and High Intensity Interval Training require rest, and should not be attempted on subsequent days.

What is an Example of a Tabata Workout?

For an example, please read my post No Gym? No Equipment? No Problem! There I give you an example of a recent Tabata Training my husband and I completed while out of town, without any access to a gym or training equipment. You can also visit Mindy Mylrea’s You Tube page, where she provides the public with a new Tabata exercise every week! I recently had the pleasure of taking a few of Mindy’s classes, they were phenomenal!

Can I Create My Own Tabata Workout?

Absolutely! There are a few things to keep in mind when developing your Tabata Workout. First, you’ll want to take your fitness level into consideration, please note the HIIT variations above. For a Tabata workout, the exercise needs to be something that you will fail at by the end of a 20 second bout. Any exercise that is intense and can ramp up extremely quickly will work just fine. You’ll want to make sure you’ve hit all major muscle groups with these exercises (arms, legs, core, etc.) and be sure to alternate strength and cardio exercises. Examples of good Tabata exercises are: sprints, jump roping and plyometric jumps. More specifically: Mountain Climbers, Plank with Push Ups, Squat Jumps, Burpees, Lunge variations, etc.

Happy Tabata Training!

Sounds like an infomercial, but it’s true! You actually don’t need any equipment at all to get a good strength and cardio workout. Here’s the Tabata workout we did this morning. High intensity intervals, a great workout in a relatively short amount of time. We got a full butt whooping in under an hour.

Tabata intervals consist of doing one exercise at your maximum effort level for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds. You’ll repeat this 8 times for a total of 4 minutes. The exercises should be completed at 170% of your VO2 max. In layman’s terms, you better work harder in those 20 seconds than you’ve ever worked in your life. You’ll then move onto the next exercise, doing the same thing… one exercise for a total of 8 rounds, on for 20, off for 10. I usually do anywhere from 7-10 exercises depending on what I want from my workout. For more on Tabata, click here.

Here’s what we did this morning:

Started with a 10 minute warm up, a slow 1/2 mile run, some plank walk-outs, squats, etc., then a fast 1/2 mile run, then straight into our Tabata intervals. It is important to note that these exercises should be done at your maximum effort level. You should to fail at some point during the Tabata set. If you’re not at muscle failure, you’re not working hard enough. When you get to the point that you can no longer do the exercise with correct form, you can modify the exercise so that you can do it correctly. Sloppy exercises won’t get you anywhere, so if you’re having trouble doing the exercise, do a version of it that you can be successful at. We rested approximately 60 seconds in between each new exercise set.

  1. Mountain Climbers — Modification: Walking Mt. Climbers or High Plank
  2. Reverse Lunge Alternated w/Curtsey Lunge — Do left leg for the first round, right leg for the second round, and repeat. Modification: Hold reverse lunge and do small pulses up and down.
  3. Knee-to-Elbow Push Ups — Modification: Knee-to-Elbow High Plank
  4. High Knee Run — Modification: High Knee March. Try to keep hands behind head, alternate right elbow to left knee, and vice versa. Do not lean forward, stay upright.
  5. Squat Jumps — Doesn’t have to be high, concentrate instead on keeping the knees soft to absorb the landing, deccelerate and keep the body moving as you go into the next jump. Use you arms as well. Modification: Remove the jump, stay grounded.
  6. Swinging Triceps Modification: Tricep Dips
  7. Brazilian Lunges — Often done w/gliding discs, but since we didn’t have equipment, start in a reverse lunge, left foot forward, right foot back. Keep your fingertips on the ground, stay down low, and move your right foot up so that it’s parallel with your left foot. Keep fingers on the ground, lean forward (back is flat, chest to left thigh), and move right foot backwards again, keeping left foot in place for the entire round. Alternate using right foot forward for the next round. Modification: Stand upright, leaning forward slightly. Left foot forward, right foot back, bring right knee up, keeping left foot flat on the ground, then return right foot back behind you. Repeat for the entire round.
As a cool down, we ended with 10-15 minutes of slow lunges, squats and core work, and of course, stretching. Enjoy!