Top 3 Tips to Maximize Your Deadlifts

People tend to have polarized feelings about deadlifts. Either they love them or they hate them. If you love deadlifts this is usually for one of three potential reasons. 

You already pull heavy weight. You are considered “strong” or “really good at that” so you enjoy doing it more. Yay dopamine!

Maybe you are favorably built for deadlifts with relatively shorter legs, a relatively longer torso, and long arms. (Ape index off the charts!) You seem to PR every time you walk into the gym.

It’s also possible that you grew up on a farm and have been lugging hay bales and drinking raw milk your whole life. Lifting heavy sh*% is a walk in the park for you.

If you don’t fall into one of those categories then there is still hope. Let’s explore the top 3 tips to maximize your deadlifts!

  1. Ditch the Mixed Grip
  2. Dial in Your Setup Position
  3. Train Deadlift Variations

1.Ditch the Mixed Grip

One of the best ways to start improving your deadlift is to ditch the mixed grip. Many people worry that grip will be a limiting factor at their maximal percentage lifts but you can easily overcome this by implementing a hook grip. This takes some getting used to since you’ve probably never lifted a bar of this weight with a hook grip and the pressure can seem unreal. Try taping your thumbs the first few sessions to take some of the edge off. The benefits of a double overhand grip is better position on the bar, less torque on the hips and spine, and decreased strain on the bicep. Build up this strength in your training sessions and if you really need to resort to a mixed grip for a competition or 1RM attempt then you will be better for waiting.

2. Dial in Your Setup Position

One of the biggest issues you may be facing with deadlifts is the setup. That first pull off the ground never feels quite right. To overcome this you can practice rolling the bar into position. This may feel more comfortable and your body will naturally find the right position without you fidgeting around. If you are new to lifting or know that your mobility is lacking then you may find it beneficial to practice pulling off of blocks. The higher start position will make it easier for you to engage your posterior chain. Another good option here is to work from the top down with lighter loads. Take the loaded bar from a rack or higher blocks and start standing tall, hips fully extended. Keeping your back and core tight and start pushing your hips toward the wall behind you as the bar descends down your thighs. Keep the bar in contact with your legs and the weight in the middle of your foot and heels. Practice lowering down in a slow control fashion taking 4-5 seconds to lower for each rep. If you have a hard time finding the right position then you should take some one on one time to work with a coach who can provide the right cues to get you properly set up.

3. Train Deadlift Variations

Another way to build confidence in your deadlift is to explore different deadlift variations. Sumo deadlifts, single arm, single leg, trap bar, dumbbells, kettlebells, atlas stones, dballs and tire flips will all help you. Getting stronger is going to help even if it is non specific. There’s no shortage of heavy stuff to pick up off the ground! These variations will train your grip, stabilizers, and strengthen many smaller muscles of the glutes and hamstrings that may not get fully recruited in your normal deadlift style. 

There you go, the top 3 tips to maximize your deadlifts. Now go find a coach and pull some big numbers!

 

3 Alternatives to Juice Cleansing

Heading into the new year, beach season, or anytime you have had “enough” with the way you look and feel about your body there are some popular options you may have turned to. 

One of the most popular options is buying a multi-day juice cleanse from a local cafe or whole foods market that is supposed to replace all your meals. You are so excited as you pick up your bundle of beverages. A confidence and optimism that this time you mean business. That fat is going down!

But wait…is it really the best option for you to improve your health or lose weight?

Today let’s explore 3 alternatives to Juice Cleansing that truly support a healthy diet and lifestyle. These options will actually help your body perform better and get the results you want rather than juicing fruits and vegetables.

  • Consume Whole Fruits and Vegetables
  • Eat/Drink Balanced Meals
  • Fast Instead of Juicing

1.Consume Whole Fruits and Vegetables

Whole fruits and vegetables are the basis for a healthy carb intake. Juicing eliminates the skin, pulp, and fiber that make these foods so healthy in the first place. Many of the flavonoids responsible for reducing the risk of cancer, heart disease, and stroke are found in the pulp and skins of many fruits and veggies. Removing the fiber also increases the glycemic index. Eating an orange has a totally different effect on your body than drinking a glass of orange juice. In fact drinking OJ is more comparable to a coca cola in the way it effects your body!

“If life gives you lemons, make some kind of fruity juice.” -Conan O’Brien

2.Eat/Drink Balanced Meals 

Did you ever sneak spoonfuls of sugar as a kid? I know I did. But as we get older and wiser we know that that blatant disregard for our health won’t fly anymore. We try to limit our sweets to the foods that are really worth it. 

 But did you know that when you juice you are basically drinking sugar? Especially if the juice contains fruit juices in the mix.

Try consuming balanced meals instead. Eat high quality protein, healthy fats, and whole fruits and veggies. Your body knows what to do with these real  foods and will respond better to a diet focus on protein and fat than a carb dominant intake-especially if fat loss is your goal. If you are looking to maintain a healthy body weight then you need meals that keep your metabolism stimulated and promote fat burning. High quality protein will help keep you satiated and repair muscle tissues. Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats will improve inflammation response and help your body burn stubborn belly fat. Whole fruits and veggies will provide the key nutrients needed for energy production and eliminating toxins from the body.

3.Fast Instead of Juicing

Intermittent fasting may be a much better approach to fat loss than juicing. By choosing to fast rather than consume a juice you allow your body to continue burning fat as a fuel source. When you drink juice it spikes your blood sugar and insulin, promoting fat storage rather than burning. Intermittent fasting can easily be achieved by setting up a 12 to 16 hour window of time for you to eat during. If you consume your last bite of food at 6pm then you don’t eat again until at least 6am the next morning. This is a great strategy to help you achieve the results you work hard for. Make sure you plan your eating window accordingly and you’re good to go!

Now that you have some alternatives to juice cleansing you can try these out and see which option is best for your success. If you have questions about a healthy diet that lines up with your lifestyle then connect with one of our coaches for more great advice.

Make Your Breakfast 10% Better

You’ve heard it before. “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” It’s become cliche. And like so many aphorisms you lose an important message when you overlook it. 

A healthy breakfast can support your physical and mental performance. If you are trying to excel, grow, and make changes to your body or in your life then you need the proper fueling regimen to get you there.

Have you ever crashed during your workout? Felt mentally foggy or weak on a particular day? There’s probably a correlation with your nutrition. Whether it can be drawn back to the days breakfast or the long term effects of neglected nutrition you can probably find a link.

To get the results you want need to pay attention to your nutrition. Some people do better with big changes. But today let’s just focus on how you can make your breakfast 10% better. 

There are so many benefits of eating a healthy breakfast. Of course improved performance is one, but eating breakfast has also been shown to reduce food cravings later in the day. It can also improve mental clarity and boost energy.

Our bodies are complex machines and the benefits of breakfast impacts the way our body operates for the day. Eating breakfast affects neurotransmitter production, electrolyte balance, blood sugar levels and more. Our bodies operate with best with certain types of fuel and the right ratio of carbs, fat and protein to perform at their best. But before you reach for your Cornflakes chill for a second. Not all breakfasts are created equal.  

So what are the makings of a great breakfast?

Choosing high quality proteins, healthy fats, and low glycemic carbs is a great start to make your breakfast 10% better!

Increasing protein intake is one of the best decisions you can make for your nutrition, especially at breakfast. Protein contains high quality amino acids that will keep you satiated and prevent cravings later in the day. Try to eat some solid protein such as meat or eggs. If you need a quick option try keeping hard boiled eggs and greek yogurt on hand. They are easy options to scarf down quickly or grab on your way out the door to work. Protein shakes are also good but whole foods are best. People who consume liquid protein in the morning don’t get the same satiety benefits and still tend to overeat later in the day. Use protein shakes only if no other options are available or you are going to exercise first thing in the morning and need something fast digesting.

For fats look for foods like nuts, seeds, and avocados. These foods provide healthy monounsaturated fat and are chock full of vitamins and minerals as well. Rotating through different fats will ensure you have diversity in your diet and prevent excessive intake of any one food. A handful of nuts, an avocado packet, or some chia pudding are all easy grab and go options for healthy breakfast fats.

For carbs at breakfast you should take a less is more approach. Focus on low glycemic carbs such as leafy greens and broccoli. Dark berries are also great choice when fresh and in season. This will give you some additional fuel for your day. Try to avoid highly processed foods that will spike your blood sugar and have you craving carbs and making energy levels crash throughout the day. 

Not a fan of breakfast?

There can be benefits to intermittent fasting too. Just recognize how your body feels and performs its best. For some people that is 5-6 small meals per day. For others a big lunch or dinner is all it takes. Focusing on high quality whole foods, getting enough protein and heart healthy fats, and calibrating carb intake based on your activity levels. 

For more nutritional and training strategies get in touch with one of our coaches today!

Top 3 Reasons To Train With Kettlebells

If you could only buy one piece of equipment to accomplish all of your training what would you buy? Treadmills and cycles are great for cardio but definitely won’t get you stronger. A barbell is great but where do you have room to keep it and let alone use it? Total gym style machines always feel so awkward, the cables never work and they seem to be built for someone elses body. So what exactly can use to transform your body, build strength, burn fat, and improve your cardio?

Enter the kettlebell.

Kettlebells are a great and diverse tool that you should implement into your training. Kettlebell swings train the total body and can be a low impact way to build muscle.They can be used to improve performance as well as make you look and feel strong and capable. Of course a tool is only useful as long as you know how to use it. Consider learning the basics with a certified coach who can show you the ropes. 

Today let’s dive into the top 3 reasons to train with kettlebells so you can see if they are a good fit for your fitness regimen. 

  • Carry Over To Sport and Life
  • Add Variety To Your Training
  • Quick And Effective Way To Train

1. Carry Over To Sport and Life

Kettlebell swings have tremendous carry over to your sport and lifestyle activities. They teach you how to hinge at the hip, one of the most important movement patterns for health and optimal function. A strong and healthy lower back as well as a tight core will be developed rapidly when you train kettlebell swings with good form. You will also develop an iron grip. Grip is one of the best indicators of a healthy human and Harvard has found strong correlation between grip strength and cardiovascular health. 

Swings will also improve your performance with the olympic lifts and power lifts and any other hip dominant movement like jumping. Kettlebell swings teach the dynamic hip extension that is the foundation of a powerful lifter and athlete. When you become strong and proficient with swings you can continue adding load becoming stronger and more explosive in the process.

2. Add Variety To Your Training

You can train Kettlebell swings more often than many other strength movements. Performing swings 2-3 times per week can really improve your strength and endurance and shake up your typical workout routine. By adjusting the weights , the number of sets, repetitions, and how long you rest you can get totally different responses from your kettlebell workout. 

A typical Monday workout could focus on strength and power. You would use fewer reps and a heavy weight taking 2-3 minutes between sets to fully recover. 

Wednesdays workout could be focused on building cardio. Use a light kettlebell and swing it for a long time. Pick a number like 20, 50, or even 100 reps and see how quickly you can get there. Or set a timer for 5:00 and see how many swings you can get in that amount of time. 

On Friday you could train kettlebell swings in a high intensity interval workout. Use light to moderate weights and focus on explosive efforts followed by bouts of recovery.

3. Quick And Effective Way To Train

Learning swings comes easier for some and harder for others. They are also easier to learn than the olympic lifts and far less technical. Swings are a great alternative for individuals who are focused on fitness for their health and young athletes. They also require less time to prepare the body for in terms of warming up the joints, muscles, and nervous system. They can be a fast and fun way to fit in a workout if you don’t have much time.

The kettlebell swings is such an effective tool because it trains both the eccentric (lengthening of the muscle) and concentric (shortening of the muscle) in a dynamic fashion. The snatch and clean both require a focus on a strong concentric contraction as the weight is lifted, Swings offer a different stimulus that may better suit athletes in sports like basketball or soccer or folks whose goal is not to lift maximal weight overhead. 

Kettlebell swings are a fun and effective way to train. Just like most exercises, it’s best to learn from a certified coach so you know you are performing them properly. If you are interested in getting in shape and training in a fun new environment come in for a free consult and we can show where you how training can be fun and get you results!

5 Superfoods To Boost Your Training

As an athlete, businessman or super mom you are always looking for a competitive edge. When it comes to your diet you should employ the same strategy. Superfoods are foods that have more benefit than the energy they provide from carbs, fat, and protein. Superfoods contain vitamins, minerals, and other key phytonutrients that support your training make these foods even more worth your while to eat. By incorporating these foods in your diet you are giving yourself an advantage in your training and recovery.

1.Reduce Soreness and Improve Healing with Tart Cherry

 

Tart Cherry extracts, powders, and juices have proven to be beneficial for athletes.

Studies have found numerous benefits including reduced muscle soreness after training,

Tart cherries are also naturally rich in melatonin, the hormone that helps regulate the sleep/wake cycle in our body. Consuming tart cherry extract in the evening after a training session should promote sleep and recovery.

Studies have shown benefit with doses of 16oz (480mL). Use that as a starting point and see if you can enjoy the benefits of tart cherry!

2. Metabolize Estrogen with Broccoli

High estrogen levels is not ideal whether you are a male or female athlete. Estrogen can promotes the gain of fat mass. Broccoli contains a substance called 3,3′-Diindolylmethane (DIM) that is capable of metabolizing free estrogen. Consume broccoli at any of your main meals. Just make sure to cook it properly to optimize digestion and absorption.

3. Recover Post Workout with Kiwi and Pineapple

Photo by Jonathan Colon

Kiwi and pineapple are two great choices for a post workout carbohydrate. These fruits are high glycemic and will quickly replenish muscle glycogen and hydrate the body after training. They also contain high levels of antioxidants that help eliminate the waste generated from exercise. Pineapples contain enzymes that can aid digestion and compounds that benefit eye health. Both of these benefits very important to consider if you are training hard. Shoot for 1-2 cups of these superfood fruits immediately after exercise.

4. Control Cravings and Boost Your Health with Cinnamon

Cinnamon contains a powerful compound called cinnamaldehyde which follows into a class of antioxidants called polyphenols. Cinnamaldehyde has been shown to effect ghrelin secretion and gastric emptying of the stomach making it a great tool to support healthy weight maintenance. Cinnamon may improve insulin sensitivity, helping the body store more carbohydrates as glycogen, and preventing a sharp rise in blood sugar. It is also a powerful antioxidant that may help eradicate bacteria, viruses, and possibly even cancerous cells in the body. Cinnamon goes great on so many foods and is an easy way to incorporate its valuable benefits into your diet.

5. Gain Lean Muscle with Brazil Nuts

Brazil nuts are a superfood and can truly be a meal in themselves. They contain healthy fats, essential vitamins and minerals, fiber, and are a complete protein containing all 9 essential amino acids. Brazil nuts are high in the antioxidant and mineral selenium. Selenium has been found to improve levels of luteinizing hormone, which is required for testosterone production. Consume 2-3 of these nuts daily to get the required dose of selenium and all the other benefits of this supernut.

There you have it, 5 amazing superfoods for athletes. If you want to learn more about eating to improve your health and performance we would be more than happy to help!

 

Debunking 3 Big Stretching Myths

Stretching is one of the most misunderstood practices in the realm of fitness and sports performance. A long standing staple in many training sessions, it is commonly performed incorrectly, performed at the wrong time, or avoided for the wrong reason.

By the end of this article you should be able to see the benefits of stretching and how to place it into your routine. Let’s take a closer look at what stretching is, when to do it, and debunk 3 of the most common myths about stretching.

    • Myth #1 Stretching makes you weak.
    • Myth #2 Stretching should not be performed before exercise or sport.
    • Myth #3 Stretching increases risk of injury.

Myth #1 Stretching makes you weak.

Stretching is sometimes avoided entirely. Especially by athletes who are concerned with losing strength or experiencing a decrease in performance. Holding long static stretches before executing a high intensity lift or movement may have an impact on the stretch shortening cycle of the muscle.

Most folks however, are not going hold a long passive hamstring stretch and immediately pop up into a heavy set of back squats or deadlifts. Proper stretching of the muscle requires breathing, relaxation, and a parasympathetic state to be performed correctly. Odds are that what most folks consider stretching is more like jamming their connective tissues, ligaments, and joints into aggressive end range of motion and uncomfortably holding them there until the pain is overwhelming. The positions are wrong. The intensity is too high. The body doesn’t relax. Stretching is not achieved.

Performing proper stretching has actually been shown to IMPROVE strength as the muscle is able to contract properly and generate force through a greater range of motion. But when and how should it be done? Let’s move on to myth #2.

Myth #2 Stretching should not be performed before exercise or sport.

Stretching before exercise or sport can actually increase performance. The key is knowing how long to stretch. A meta-analyses of studies around stretching and the ability to generate strength or power in subsequent effort found some pretty clear data.

Holding stretches for less than 30 seconds had no negative effect on the ability to jump, sprint, or produce force in resistance training movements. Holding stretches for 30 seconds or longer lead to decreases in the ability to produce force with longer stretch times leading to more significant decrease.

Key Takeaway: Perform dynamic stretching and short duration static stretching before exercise or sport. Take the muscles through a progressively increasing range of motion to improve circulation and prepare the body for performance.

Myth #3 Stretching increases risk of injury

Based on the first two myths being debunked you probably know where this one is heading… The idea that stretching increases risk of injury is tied in with the lack of knowledge around proper timing and execution of stretching protocols. In fact in today’s society where we spend more time sitting, in poor positions, with our shoulders hunched and necks cranked forward as we peer at our cellphones and computer screens.

We’ve already established a dynamic stretching and short duration (< :30 seconds) static stretching routine can help prepare the body for performance, but there is a huge benefit to longer duration static stretching post workout and during active recovery sessions. By addressing some commonly tight muscles like the pectoralis or psoas we are able to correct our bodies posture and alignment. Stretching these two muscles helps provide stability to the hip and shoulder joints and can significantly decrease injury risk.

So now that we’ve debunked some of the common myths around stretching you should feel confident about incorporating stretching into your training. If you need help with stretching, mobility, or any other training needs consider connecting with one of our trainers to find a plan that works for you.

5 Common Mistakes in Low Carb Diets

High fat or low carb diets are a popular choice when it comes to styles of eating. Electing to eat more fat and minimize carbohydrate intake can be a great choice if you are trying to promote lean body mass, increase insulin sensitivity, and easily maintain health.
It is important that you consult with your doctor before beginning any new approach to your nutrition. Eating a diet higher in fat, with moderate protein, and lower in carbohydrate is beneficial for most people but may not be right choice for you under certain conditions. Healthy individuals however should consider the benefits of this eating approach. By avoiding these 5 Common Mistakes in your Low Carb Diets you will set yourself up for success.

 

Eating the same foods over and over.
Insufficient Carbohydrate Intake.
Missing Out on Key Vitamins and Minerals
You aren’t able to hydrate properly.
You don’t fuel before or replenish after a workout.

 

1. Eating the same foods over and over.
Lack of diversity is one of the most mistakes that can occur in many diets. With low carb diets this usually is a result of a limited range of choices for fats and a relatively small amount of carbohydrate consumption that limits the amount of foods you eat in that macronutrient.

For fats it is important that you include fats from a wide range of products including nuts, seeds, plants, meat, and fish. You should especially focus on including high quality polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats that will give your body a healthy dose of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids.

For carbohydrates you should focus on getting most of your intake from vegetables, low glycemic fruits and starches, and unrefined whole grain foods. This will help you meet nutrient requirements and the fiber will help prevent spikes in blood sugar that can lead to cravings and fat storage.

2. Insufficient Carbohydrate Intake.
Another common mistake in low carb diets is actually going too low carb. Consuming healthy amounts of vegetables and low glycemic fruits will provide you the energy needed to get through your day. Unless you are trying to enter ketosis your body is running on glucose to fuel the brain. Unless you are practiced at fasting or burning fat as a fuel source you may experience swings in mood and energy levels by simply chopping carbs out of your diet. Most low carb diets still recommend 10-20% of intake from carbs. That means 200-400 calories throughout the day and leaves room for healthy foods like broccoli, carrots, and blueberries!

3. Missing Out on Key Vitamins and Minerals
When carbs are restricted it can be difficult to consume adequate levels of certain nutrients. One study looked at the Atkins diet, a popular low carb diet and found it delivered 100% of the RDI for only 15 out of 27 essential micronutrients. Incorporating a wide range of healthy carb choices will ensure you eat a broad spectrum of vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial phytonutrients. Low carbohydrate intake may not be the best long term plan without proper supervision and supplementation of certain micronutrients.

4. You aren’t able to hydrate properly.
Each gram of carbohydrate in the body can hold 2-3 grams of water. When we stop consuming carbohydrates it can be difficult for the body to maintain adequate hydration levels. Consuming salt, potassium, and other trace minerals becomes even more important when you choose low carb. Focus on high quality sea salt that will help replenish stores after sweating.

5. You don’t fuel before or replenish after a workout.
The final pitfall of a low carb/high fat diet is improper fueling before and after exercise. During bouts of intense activity the body demands more fuel to sustain intensity and output. Many folks who don’t consume carbs before a workout tend to feel weaker and sluggish during exercise. They then try to fuel their performance with caffeine and stimulants which further deplete them and place additional strain on the central nervous system. Consuming carbs before a workout will help boost performance and allow the body to train longer and harder.

After exercise the body needs to refuel glycogen stores. Any carbs consumed after a workout are going to be shuttle into muscle cells and stored as glycogen for energy later. By refueling your body during this time you set the tone for your next workout.

Have you made one or more of these mistakes in your nutrition? No worries. Information is key and working with a coach who has the right information is the best way to get the results you want!

Sonia Collins

With previous Crossfit experience Sonia has been a great source of positive energy joining Nela CrossFit.

Have you met Sonia?

  • How long have you been doing CrossFit?

9 Years

  • How long have you been a member of Nela Athletics?

Since February 2019

  • What’s your favorite CrossFit/Ignite achievement?

Being able to run 1000 m without stopping or doing box jumps since having a baby/C-section.

  • How do you think you have benefited most from Nela Athletics?

Being motivated by the friendly community and really good programming/ coaches.

  • What are your hobbies or activities you do tou enjoy outsdie of CrossFit?

I have a 1 yr old my current hobbies are going to the zoo and making sure he doesn’t kill himself.

  • What is one thing people don’t know about you?

I’ve performed in flying trapeze shows.

  • If you could pick three famous people to be a part of your entourage, who would you pick?

Charlie Hunnam, Chris Hemsworth and Bradley Cooper…. wait what are we talking about

How Your Mindset Affects Performance

How Your Mindset Affects Performance

There is a lot going on when you step on to that lifting platform or competition floor. Some days you feel strong and focused. Others you can’t quite seem able to connect the dots. You feel slow and foggy or the weight feels heavy.

The mind and body are in constant fluctuation. Our thoughts can instantly change our physiology. Just think of a time when your were made or scared. Your muscles tensed, heart rate quickened, and pupils dilated ready to react.

And the converse is just as true. Our body influences our mental state and thoughts. Think about how chill and carefree you feel after a long walk in nature or how amped you get when exercising or dancing to your favorite song.

Controlling the stressors and other stimuli in your environment is essential when it comes to controlling your mind and body for performance. Stress can have significant impact on performance and can seriously get in the way of your competitive goals if you don’t have a strategy to manage it.

Let’s take a look at why stress is so damaging to performance and some key strategies to combat it…

The Cortisol/Testosterone Relationship

A study of 109 male olympic weightlifters was set up to determine the effects of cortisol as a moderator of the relationship between testosterone and performance in olympic lifting. The study measured pre and post levels of serum cortisol and testosterone to see if there was any effect on performance. It turns out that pre-competition levels of cortisol or testosterone had a significant effect on olympic weightlifting performance. The inverse relationship between testosterone and cortisol shows that the level of stress an athlete experiences before training or competition can significantly impact their testosterone levels and subsequent performance.

Getting stressed about before a competition or intense training session is a surefire way to negatively impact performance. There are several techniques you can utilize to prepare your mind making it an asset rather than a liability. Top athletes all develop their mental game through practices involving goal setting, visualization, and routines.

“The Ultimate Measure Of A Man Is Not Where He Stands In Moments Of Comfort And Convenience, But Where He Stands At Times Of Challenge And Controversy.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Goal Setting

Goal setting is essential to achieving any specific outcome you want in life. When you focus on a specific outcome your mind will constantly be searching for ways to bring the object of focus into being. That can be for the good or the bad. Say you are a weightlifter competing in your first meet. You should set a goal involving the successful completion of a lift at a weight you feel optimistic you can hit. When you set this metric for success you will be determined to achieve the outcome and take confident action towards achieving it. Odds are you will outperform your goal and be able to raise the bar for your next meet.

Visualization

Visualization is the formation of a mental image. As an athlete you want to visualize a successful outcome you desire. Picture yourself achieving your goals with as much detail as possible. From the clothes you are wearing to the sound of the crowd. The way you move, powerful and strong. The sweat on your brow and the heartbeat in your chest. When you get to gameday it will feel like you’ve been there before. Visualization of success also lends itself to positive self talk that will reinforce your mindset and confidence when it comes to competition.

Routines

Routines are extremely useful when it comes to athletes and performance. They help reduce decision fatigue and providing fewer distractions and less to think about on game day. Decide ahead of time your warmup, clothing, equipment, music, and anything else you would use in competition. Practice with it and make it comfortable and familiar. One important consideration with routines is not to get too superstitious or hung up on these items being responsible for your success. You and only you are responsible for your success. Not your lucky sneakers…

If you want to accomplish your goals working with a professional coach is one of the best ways to develop a strategy and system for results. If you want to work with someone to help you create a game plan for your fitness goals get in touch with one of our qualified coaches for a free consult and discussion on how we can help you!

Why High-Intensity Training (HIT) Is Good For You

Today there are so many fitness programs and classes available it can be overwhelming to decide how to train. If you are researching training programs you have probably heard of High Intensity Training (HIT) or High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). HIT is incorporated into many classes and has grown in popularity due to its ability to produce fast and effective results. But what exactly is it…and more importantly how do you decide if it’s right for you?!

Lets answer your top 5 questions about High Intensity Training so you can feel confident in finding a gym, personal trainer, or other fitness option in your local area.

Your top 5 High Intensity Training Questions:

 

  • What exactly is HIT?
  • Is HIT a good fit for me?
  • What does a HIT workout look like?
  • What types of movements are in a HIT workout?
  • What are the benefits of HIT?

 

1.What exactly is HIT?

High intensity refers to a level of intensity that is measured by a high power output or a high rate of perceived exertion. This will be unique to every individual.

A high intensity strength workout will cause high motor unit recruitment. This means it activates a majority of the muscles in your body and generally requires loads >80% of your 1 rep maximum to achieve the desired stimulus.

Near maximal exertion for aerobic work or “cardio” this would be performing exercises at a pace that elevates heart rate and gets you sweating and breathing heavy. You would work at a pace that would be unsustainable for more than a few minutes at a time. These workouts are often set up in an interval fashion where you go hard for a short period of time and then rest. This allows you to repeat the effort several times until the desired training stimulus is achieved. As you train in this way you will improve your ability to train hard for longer periods of time and delay the “burning” feeling commonly associated with HIT.

2. Is HIT a good fit for me?

High Intensity Training is a great fit for anyone looking to get fast results. The key is determining what the definition of “Intensity” is for you. Jumping into a class workout performing movements you haven’t mastered and loads your body is not ready for is a big no-no.

Working with a coach who has experience scaling workouts to meet your needs and abilities is the key to having long term success with HIT training. They will help you choose the exercises, weights, frequency, and duration of your training session to ensure your body gets the stimulus you need with risk of injury or burnout.

Be weary of anyone who promises vomiting or intense pain from their workouts. It’s not an effective way to get the results you want!

3. What does a HIT workout look like?

For a high intensity strength training workout you will be using heavy loads. Ideally greater than 80% of your 1RM as this is the ideal load for gaining strength, building muscle, and improving body composition.

Often times performing multiple exercises back to back at moderate intensity (60-80%) can produce a similar training result. It is important that the movements are carefully selected to ensure that form is not compromised and that the rest time is adequate enough to allow for repeated effort.

If you aren’t familiar with exercises, weightlifting, or just aren’t sure of what your body is capable of then you will benefit from working with a certified and highly qualified trainer or coach. They will analyze your movement and help you develop the motor control and stability to prepare your body for more high intensity forms of exercise.

4. What types of movements are in a HIT workout?

Any type of movement can be incorporated into a HIT workout. Resistance training with barbells, dumbbells, or kettlebells are all great tools. You can incorporate resistance bands, chains, battle ropes or medicine balls. Gymnastics implements like pullup bars or rings. Even simple bodyweight movements and plyometrics can be used.

The most important factor when choosing movements is that you have technical proficiency with the movement and can perform multiple reps at a given load with exceptional form. If your form tends to break down when you are fatigued or you have mobility issues that alter your technique then that movement is not a good choice for the high intensity training session.

5. What are the benefits of HIT?

There are numerous benefits that come from High Intensity Training.

The lactic acid produced from properly executed high intensity training will stimulate the release of growth hormone stimulating sugar and fat metabolism. It also increases protein synthesis which means you will build more lean muscle. HIT training also elevates your metabolism helping you burn more calories both during your training session and for many hours after you’re done.

You also tend to accomplish more work in less time with HIT training. This makes it a great way to train for busy folks who can only train 20-30 minutes 2 or 3 days per week. Just remember that training is only half of the equation. Adequate sleep and proper nutrition make sure that your body recovers from and adapts to the training stimulus, giving you the results you want.

There you have it. Answer to your Top 5 questions about HIT training. If you’re ready to talk to a coach to see if High Intensity Training is right for YOU then get in touch with one of our coaches today for a free consult!