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!

CrossFit: Sport vs Exercise Program


CrossFit has exploded in popularity as a fun and effective way to get fit.

It’s popularity has evolved because it works for everyday folks who need to maintain their health but is also extremely popular as a competitive event.

Sometimes it is tough for the outside world to see the differences between the sport of CrossFit that they see on TV and the training methodology they would experience in a local gym. Let’s look at some of the key differences between the sport and the training style so you can make an educated decision on adopting CrossFit into your life.

CrossFit in any form without a doubt incorporates functional movement. Using natural human movement patterns like squatting, hinging, and pressing overhead you will experience these patterns. What varies between competition and class is the technical requirements or difficulty, and the loads used in competition. The Games you see on TV are the best athletes in the world competing head to head. In order to truly differentiate the fittest men and women they must be tested by the most extreme workouts. You will see that they perform weightlifting, gymnastics, and cardiovascular workouts but at much higher intensities and volume than a coach would ever ask you do perform in your local gym.

“Intensity is the independent variable most commonly associated with maximizing favorable adaptation to exercise,” -Greg Glassman

The cool thing is you get to see your favorite athletes being pushed and tested so that they feel the workout is just as challenging as you might feel workouts are. Everyone is safely pushed and challenged to improve themselves. Reaching just a little bit further and tapping into their true potential.

If you want to try a high intensity functional fitness workout like CrossFit you may well be surprised by how friendly and welcoming the community is. You will not be the biggest or smallest, the oldest or youngest, or even the least experienced.

Training for the sport looks very different from what you may think is involved with a regular CrossFit class. Everyday the workout is different and scaled to your specific needs. You coach is more likely to scale the weights or movements in a way that is self limiting (you choose when to stop) rather than push you into doing something that is dangerous or painful.

This style of training is so popular because people are able to experience long term growth in a fun and supportive environment. If you’re ready to join a like minded community of motivated individuals then come check us out!

Tracking Workouts


For 2 weeks starting on May 13th to May 27th  you will be challenged to log every workout.

Firstly, logging your workouts holds you accountable and honest. Your workout logs reveal either a positive pattern or a negative avoidance. You are doing the workouts and showing commitment or you are not.

Second, tracking your workouts make your purpose-driven and more efficient. Workouts need to have a goal or purpose. Whether it’s about getting strong or improving your endurance, a workout log is an important component to the planning, organizing, actualizing and understanding of your fitness and life goals. When you have a purpose and goal, your workouts become more efficient too. Each workout should be about improving something.

Third, tracking your workouts provides a clear measurement towards completing your goals. As the classic quote goes, if you don’t measure it, you can’t improvement. Whether it’s an endurance sport like cycling or running, weight lifting or just getting moving, tracking your workouts provides a portrait into the progress you are making towards running faster, cycling longer, lifting more or whatever.

Fourth, tracking your workouts summarizes your progress and lets your know exactly what you’ve done. Your logs tell your how long you ran and how fast. It tells your how much you lift and which exercises you did. It only counts if you show up. Your workout logs don’t lie.

Fifth, tracking your workouts isn’t just about the workout; it’s also about your story. You can track more than just the workout info. You can record how you felt, both positive and negative. It can be your fitness- or health-focus story and provide a form of self-talk too. I often log my workouts along with a short journal entry.

Sixth, tracking your workouts provides you with health data. The data you collect helps you check on your progress and understand how you are performing and improving. Whether it’s your active heart rate, intensity or weight lifting, your workout data provides a way to accelerate. your health and fitness improvements.

Memorial Day Schedule


Memorial Day Schedule

8:30 AM WOD

9:30 AM Iginite

10:30 AM WOD

Memorial Day WOD: Murph

In memory of Navy Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy, 29, of Patchogue, NY, who was killed in Afghanistan June 28, 2005. A United States Navy SEAL officer, Murphy was awarded the U.S. military’s highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his actions during the War in Afghanistan. His other posthumous awards include the Silver Star Medal (which was later upgraded to the Medal of Honor) and the Purple Heart.

Speed Is a Skill


Here is how to master it…

 

Depending on your sport the importance of speed could be a defining characteristic of your success. Naturally track and cross country athletes want to run fast, but speed can help in almost all team and individual sports where strength and conditioning comes into play. Whether you’re a running back who needs to hit the gap just a split second before the linebacker can wrap you up or a basketball player who needs to explode past the defender for a layup speed can be your best friend on the field or court. Given all else, a faster athlete tends to be a better one and luckily many of the defining characteristics of speed are skill based. That means they can be trained and improved upon. It is important to work with a coach who can teach you the skills and mechanics you need to learn. When improving speed is the focus you need to make progress in at least one and possibly all 3 areas of strength, mobility, and mechanics.

 

Strength

An athlete can become faster by improving their absolute strength and relative strength to their body weight. This can be achieved through a combination of resistance training and plyometric exercises. Heavy squats and deadlifts will help develop the the motor unit recruitment and force production ability of the leg muscles. Plyometric exercises like box jumps will strengthen connective tissue and improve the stretch shortening cycle in the muscle. Athletes will grow stronger and more powerful and this will directly correlate with increases in speed. Working with a coach who is well versed in speed development will help you get results quickly as well as stay injury free.

 

 

Mobility

Improving mobility, the ability of your joints to move freely and easily can directly improve your speed. This is primarily due to the increase in stride length when the hips, knees, and ankles have full range of motion. This allows for greater muscular contraction due to the body having a higher threshold for motor recruitment. Your coach should explain the proper way to dynamically stretch, warmup, cooldown, and mobilize as a part of your program. It is important to discuss any past injuries with your coach so they can help you to the best of their ability.

 

Mechanics

The foundational movement pattern of running is a skill just like any other. Learning how to generate power through the proper mechanics can be a game changer for many athletes and may make you feel like you are running for the first time all over again. The timing, stride length, ability to change directions, and use both the arms and legs for explosive movement are all essential skills to improve speed. Your coach will be able to address your unique needs and provide the proper guidance to dial in your mechanics.

 

If you are serious about improving speed to crush it in your sport seek out one of our coaches to develop a training plan to reach your goals.

 

Ditch the Bench…


The top 8 Press variations instead of bench press

There are an incredible number of options of exercises to train the chest and shoulder muscles. Yet most athletes stick with the same barbell and dumbbell presses year after year. When it comes to training upper body pressing there are many alternative movements that will improve strength and mobility.

If you’re reading this it might just be time for you to ditch the barbell bench and strict press. These exercises are great for building pure strength, but without some variability in your training could leave you vulnerable to injury in other ranges of motion. Selecting a wide assortment of pressing exercises to train your chest, shoulders, and triceps is best for an athlete who is serious about long term growth and success in their sport.

Ideally working with a coach who can program the best drills and exercises will optimize your training. Here are the top 8 movements that will help you build strong healthy chest and shoulder muscles and convey other performance benefits as well.

Behind The Neck Push Press

The push press performed from behind the neck is a great exercise for developing strength through the full range of motion of the press. It has high transfer to other exercises like the jerk. Many athletes find they are able to develop better neural connection between the dip and drive portion of the lift than when performed in the front rack because the load stays directly over their hips.

“If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.” -Thomas Jefferson

Z Press

Named after the strongman Zydrunas Savickas, the Z Press is a press performed sitting flat on the floor with legs extended in front so your body is in an L shape. It requires trunk strength, hip flexor mobility, hamstring flexibility, and lumbar and thoracic spine health. The Z press can be performed with any implement of your choice and is great for training out inefficient movement patterns in the press.

Filly Press

This is a 1 arm dumbbell Arnold Press while holding a Kettlebell in the front rack position of the non-working arm. This exercise is great for building scapular stability as well as core strength as you balance the two different implements throughout the press. `These are also great for address muscle imbalances.

Plyometric Pushups

The ability to generate power can often be beneficial to athletes. Lifting heavy loads slow is generally not as useful as rapidly being able to generate force. Plyometric push-ups provide a way to train the fast twitch muscle fibers of the chest and triceps. You also achieve a stimulus as you receive your body’s weight during the eccentric deceleration experienced after every rep.

One Arm Dumbbell Bench

One arm movements are great for challenging stability and core strength. For an added challenge try performing this movement with only your upper back resting on the bench while driving your heels into the floor and bridging the hips to full extension.

Bottoms up kettlebell Press

The bottoms up kettlebell press is a very challenging movement that should be learned with extremely light loads. It is tremendous for teaching proper pressing mechanics and learning how to develop stability in the shoulder. You are forced to stay engaged with a tight grip, elbow underneath the wrist, and tension in the total system.

The Sots Press

The Sots press is an tremendous strength and mobility exercise created by weightlifters but beneficial for all. This movement requires you to press from the bottom of a front squat and will force you to increase mobility and strength in the hips, back, and shoulder girdle, while increasing core stabilization. Clearly this movement has huge carry over to athletics and completing it with a moderate load is very impressive.

Landmine Press

The landline is a great tool for developing pressing strength in the upper chest and shoulders. It is effective because it provides a new vector to move weight through and disrupts the vertical resistance curve you are used to with most pressing movements.

There you have it. The 8 pressing variations you should be training!

When implementing new movements or routines into your training safety is the most important factor to focus on. Working with an experienced coach to learn the proper progressions is the key to having long term success!

Fruits and Vegetables


When did “Fruits and Vegetables” become 1 word?

Fruits and vegetables seems to have become one word when it comes to giving advice on a healthy diet. However these two different food groups must be approached with different strategies. When it comes to optimizing health you need to choose the foods that best support your health and training needs.

Fruits and vegetables have varying macronutrient and fiber contents and can also contain different types of vitamins, minerals, and other key micronutrients. They contain different types of carbohydrates that affect their digestion and effect on blood sugar.

“Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.” -Michael Pollan

In America most folks are still missing out on many essential nutrients and simply do not consume enough vegetables. In schools kids are encouraged to have either fruits or veggies. The fact is that 8oz of orange juice is not going to provide the same nutrients as 1 cup of broccoli. Whole fruits do contain fiber, vitamins, and minerals but when turned into concentrated juices they are not much different than drinking a soda.

Even as an athlete you may be guilty of eating 2 or 3 bananas in a day but neglected consuming foods like green cruciferous vegetables that have true health benefits.

Fruits are higher in sugar and unless you are a high level athlete training multiple times per day you probably do not need to consume that many carbohydrates in your diet. A piece of fruit to fuel your workout and some fast digesting carbs post workout should be the majority of your “carb” intake. Fill the rest of your meals with vegetables that will make you feel full and contain an abundance of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

A healthy diet should consist mostly of healthy fats, high quality proteins, and complex carbohydrates from vegetables which are nutrient dense and have a minimal effect on insulin.

If you are consuming fruits focus on fresh seasonal fruit that will have a low impact on blood sugar. Dark berries are one of the best fruits in this regard and contain high levels of antioxidants. Kiwis and pineapples are a great choice that is ideal for post workout recovery.

If you are looking for a more natural approach to eating, feeling better, and looking great then we can help you get there. Reach out to one of our friendly staff members today to see how!

Nela Fit In A Minute


What is Nela Fit In A Minute?

Nela Fit In A Minute is a 60 seconds or less weekly fitness challenge. Every Monday for 10 weeks, a video will be released via Instagram and Facebook for the announcement of the challenge. Some challenges may be individual and some you may need a partner.

Why?

Nela Fit In A Minute is great way to push your self. Some of us may not want to impact our score during a workout by going up a level, with Nela Fit In A Minute its a great way for you to push yourself out of your comfort-zone when you have nothing to lose. Participation is a big thing when it comes to athlete of the month and this can always help you stay in the conversation.

What do you have to do?

  • Recored your attempt of the challenge
  • Post your attempt via Instagram or Facebook
  • Tag 3 friends in your post to challenge
  • Use the hashtag #nelafitinaminute

Once you are tag, its only right to give it your all and pay it forward to the next person!

Squat versus Deadlift


Which lower body movement is “King of the Lifts”?

 

The squat and deadlift are the two staple movements of a lower body training program. The squat and hip hinge are also two fundamental human movement patterns and are important for normal daily function. They also require a large percentage of muscle recruitment making them essential for developing muscle mass as well as increasing neurological capacity and hormonal output.

 

The squat and deadlift are also both elegantly simple in theory yet technically complex in application which can make them intimidating for new lifters. The human body is capable of moving tremendous loads with these movements and to stay safe you must master the basics. After all, strength training should always be performed with the proper coaching, equipment, and environment to keep you safe as an athlete.

When it comes to strength training many athletes tend to prefer one lift over the other. There are many reasons for this. Comfort. Body type. Skill level. To name a few. Some people may have stayed away from performing either the squat or the deadlift from a negative past experience or injury.

 

Let’s take a look at:

 

  • Who should be training squats and/or deadlifts
  • The benefits and muscle groups worked
  • The Volume and Intensity you should be using

 

 

General Population versus Athletes

If you are a recreational athlete or utilizing strength training to stay healthy and fit then it is essential that you learn the basics of squatting and deadlifting. After all the ability to squat and hinge are components of everyday life. The human body is an adaptation machine and responds to the demands that are placed upon it. When we spend a lot of time sitting in chairs instead of moving We begin to lose these human movement standards. Don’t worry, the gym is the perfect place to bring them back. When you first learn these lifts make sure to work with an experienced coach who can give you the visual, audible, and tactile cues to perform these lifts.

 

Athletes also need to hinge and squat to develop explosive power, muscle stiffness, and joint stability for their sport. They may prioritize either the squat, deadlift, or a derivative like the trap bar deadlift based on the demands of the sport on their muscles. Working with a strength coach on sport specific training will be key to choosing the right lifting program for you.

 

Benefits and Muscle Groups Worked

The ability to perform a basic body weight squat should be the first goal of a training program. The squat requires mobility of the ankles, knees, hips, and spine as well as the motor recruitment patterns to properly extend at the knee hip and ankle simultaneously. The primary muscles worked are the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. Depending on the squat variation being used as well as the depth and other variables you can increase or decrease specific muscle activation. Low bar back squats and box squats achieve greater posterior chain activation. Front squats and overhead squats require a more upright torso and are quad dominant.

 

The deadlift is the most effective exercise for working the posterior chain. The posterior chain is essential for developing strength and power as an athlete. Powerful hamstrings and glutes will make you run faster, jump higher, and lift more weight. The muscles of the back also benefit from deadlifting due to the powerful isometric contraction required to maintain a neutral spine during heavy pulls. The rear delts, lats, and erector spinae all will grow as a result of deadlifting.

 

Volume versus Intensity

As a general rule of thumb strength training programs should have an inverse relationship between volume and intensity. Since squats and deadlifts are both total body lifts that require intense focus and neural activation it is important to vary loading patterns, volume, and intensity.

 

Deadlifts tend to be great for intensity but can be problematic in large volume. One fix for this is to train the hinge movement pattern with other implements that remove the need for heavy loading. Kettlebell Swings, Romanian Deadlifts, and Glute Bridges all train this movement pattern and are great.

 

Squats on the other hand seem to respond better to higher training volume. With that said you can still grind yourself down with too much high intensity work in the rack. Sticking to Prilepin’s chart for percentages is a great way to stay on top of loading parameters to ensure progress without burning out!

There you have it. A breakdown of the squat and deadlift as well as the reasons you should train them. If you’re looking for help learning these movements and building a movement practice to change your body or get stronger we have a team of coaches who can help you reach your goals.

 

Eat This Not That!


Easy food swaps to keep you fit.

Is there anything like a piping hot slice of pizza sliding out of the oven? How about a heaping mountain of nachos in front of you during the game or a tall stack of pancakes for weekend brunch?

As you look to improve your diet you may have struggled to give up certain foods. Knowing how to make a few simple ingredient changes can have a major impact on your nutrition and health. The best part is that you don’t have to sacrifice any of the delicious foods you love. Whether you are an athlete, a mom, a busy working professional, or maybe even a combination of all three of those, making healthy diet choices easier is something you can benefit from. Try these a few of these easy switches to make any meal healthier!

“You are what what you eat eats.” -Michael Pollan

A twist on pasta

Spaghetti dinner is a staple in many American diets but if you are focused on eating healthy you have to tread lightly. The calories and carbohydrate content of pasta adds ups quick. Even alternative pastas that are gluten free are still calorie dense foods to keep an eye on. A better choice is to try veggies like spaghetti squash or spiralized zucchini. Combined with a low sugar tomato sauce and a healthy serving of lean protein pasta night can take on a whole new meaning of health.

A new slice on pizza

Pizza can be tough to navigate as your range of options is so vast. Some local joints may use great quality ingredients but still pack a caloric punch. National chains should be totally avoided with the processed ingredients and additives that make up their knock-off pies. Since most of us would love to keep pizza in our lives it is important to develop a system of eating it that supports your diet and lifestyle goals. Gluten free has become a buzzword and marketing tool used to attract new customers. I’m not here to have the GF debate about whether or not your body can digest it, I’m saying that a pizza crust made from processed starches that happen to not have gluten does not make them any healthier. Luckily you have a few options…

One method is to limit total intake, order a pizza with as many veggies and proteins on it as possible and limit yourself to one slice of the crust. Or you can try finding a restaurant that has  or making your own cauliflower crust pizza. This is a great low carb alternative that lets you reach for another guilt-free slice.

Flip what you sip

It’s easy to forget the calories that are found in drinks. A study conducted by Harvard found that women who consumed sugar sweetened drinks daily tended to consume more calories daily and gained weight. Meanwhile women who eliminated sugar sweetened beverages tended to consume fewer calories and demonstrated better body composition. Scientists believe that drinking calories doesn’t provide the same signaling mechanisms in the body as food does. Basically our body doesn’t recognize it has consumed calories and the subsequent insulin spike can leave you feeling energy depleted and hungry.

Soda, juice, and alcohol don’t really belong in your diet if you are trying to build muscle or burn fat. If you are looking for a fun drink try reaching for a juice made from vegetables like kale and collard greens, powerful nutrients like ginger root, and maybe a dash of lemon or lime juice. Kombucha, a fermented tea beverage, can be a great option as well provided you find a low sugar variety (always read the label) and of course there are many great flavored sparkling and seltzer water options out there.

The Burger Swap

One of the toughest foods to give up can without a doubt be the hamburger. Before you part ways with this American classic let’s figure out a way for you to still enjoy your cheeseburger in paradise…

There are two ways to clean up this delicious food. One way is to eliminate the bun. Replace it with a collard greens wrap or two pieces of fresh romaine lettuce. Two large portobello mushrooms can also do the trick if you have them available (Pro tip: Grill the mushrooms for 2 minutes on each side with a little oil, salt, and pepper).

The second way to clean up your burger is to make sure you have a patty made from high quality grass fed beef or organic ground turkey. Balance the fats you use as topping and try swapping out the cheese for some fresh avocado slices.

Pancake, stacked to jacked

Fluffy buttermilk pancakes or belgian waffles are a staple of weekend brunch. Instead of shooting for the white flour varieties though try a cleaner approach next time. Start with the batter. Substituting bananas and ground flax meal, almond, or coconut flour are a much better alternative. Keep an eye on the fat content if using nut flours as they are very calorie dense. Make sure you have a ratio of at least one egg per pancake or add a scoop of protein powder to the mix to keep the macronutrients balanced. Top with fresh berries and grass fed butter and avoid the powdered sugar and whipped cream. Also be sure to spring for real maple syrup over any of the high fructose corn syrup versions. It is packed full of antioxidants and so sweet that just a teaspoon will go a long way in terms of flavor.

If you want to learn more about eating healthy and getting in shape then talk to a coach today.

We can develop a plan for you to help you achieve your goals!