Should you be concerned about high intensity training?

FIT TIP: High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), and High Intensity Resistance Training (HIRT) programs have been in the news a number of times recently with people rightly asking the question – Are high intensity training programs safe?
The answer is a definite yes.
Not all HIIT/HIRT programs are created equal, and even a great system will be only as good as the trainer who prescribes it. A good trainer will have not only specific knowledge in a specific exercise style such as HIIT/HIRT, but also a qualification that enables them to understand all the surrounding issues that are needed to keep you safe. This includes a thorough understanding of how the human body works and responds to exercise, and any limitations you as an individual might have from a pre-screening health check before commencing.

Until a couple of years ago you would have been forgiven for thinking that HIIT and HIRT was for athletes, and stayed on the treadmill for 30-40 minutes of steady state training finishing with a few light weights. With the arrival of exercise products such as Tabata and Crossfit, HIIT and HIRT gained huge popularity, and the fitness and exercise landscape changed. While trends come and go, it is clear that HIIT and HIRT are here to stay.

And there is a good reason for this. When done safely and regularly, HIIT and HIRT get results, and it’s not just us trainers who think so. The latest research suggests that high intensity workouts can be more beneficial than longer, steadier state workouts.

HIIT/HIRT programs can be adapted to all fitness levels. ‘High intensity’ is a relative term, so for an untrained beginner, a high intensity program will be at a lower level than someone who has been working out for longer. The interval part of the program is the key here, with bouts of high intensity work cycled with rest periods. This is the foundation of any HIIT/HIRT program. If you can keep exercising at a level that doesn’t require regular rests, then it’s not a true HIIT program. And if the program is not progressed in difficulty, then the results will not progress either.

What exactly is your ‘metabolism’?

FIT TIP: The correct name for your metabolism is BMR – Basal Metabolic Rate. Your BMR is the minimum level of energy your body needs when at rest to function effectively.
This includes your respiratory and circulatory organs, neural system, liver, kidneys etc etc.
You are always burning energy (in the form of calories or kilojoules) even when you sleep. Otherwise you die!
Around 70% of the calories consumed every day is used for your BMR. In addition, energy is used when doing any kind of exercise – however the more vigorous the exercise, the more calories are burned. This is because your muscles act as your metabolic engine and use a huge amount of energy. Your BMR therefore is greatly affected by the quantity of muscles you have, and increasing your muscle mass will increase your BMR.
By studying healthy individuals, scientists have found that as people age, their metabolic rate changes. BMR rises as a child matures, peaks around 16-17, then typically starts to decrease.
Having a higher basal metabolic rate will substantially help to decrease body fat! A low BMR will make it hard to lose fat and decrease overall weight.
All the exercises conducted at the Busy Body studio are designed to affect one thing – your BMR, not just the calories burned while exercising. This approach takes a lot less time than traditional programs, and lasts for life :-)

Smashing Salt!

FIT TIP: Salt (or sodium chloride) is essential for survival. Your body depends on sodium to transmit nerve impulses, contract muscle fibres, and along with potassium, balance fluid levels in all your cells.
The body is so efficient at conserving this vital mineral that you need to consume only a tiny amount of sodium each day. Too much sodium sets off a cascade of physiological changes that can raise blood pressure. Over time, uncontrolled high blood pressure can stress the heart and blood vessels.
Here’s 5 great tips to smash your salt levels down to healthier levels!

  1. Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables. Our bodies need more potassium than sodium. But for most of us it’s the opposite, which can contribute to high blood pressure. Fruits and veges are naturally low in sodium, and many fruits and vegetables are good sources of potassium. Filling your plate with them will boost your potassium and shift the sodium-potassium balance in your favour.
  2. Embrace healthy fats and oils. Unfortunately, the big low-fat and no-fat product push in the 1990s wasn’t rooted in sound science. Many well-meaning product developers cut both the good and bad fats out of formulations, and in order to maintain consumer acceptance of their products, they were forced to increase levels of sugar and sodium. So skip most fat-free salad dressings and other similar products.
  3. Stealth health. The average person can’t detect moderate changes in sodium levels, including reductions of up to as much as 25%. Some food manufacturers are already starting to do this for you, over a period of time, so that you will not be able to detect it!
  4. Retrain your taste buds. We can shift our sense of taste to enjoy foods with lower levels of sodium. One key to success: make the changes gradually and consistently over a period of time, rather than trying to cut back by a large amount all at once. Try this trick: combine a reduced-sodium version of a favorite product (like vegetable soup, for example) with a regular version in proportions that gradually favor the reduced-sodium version.
  5. Watch out for hidden sodium. “Fresh” and “natural” meats and poultry may be injected with salt solutions as part of their processing, and manufacturers are not required to list the sodium content on the label. Some foods that are high in sodium may not taste especially salty, such as breakfast cereals, bakery muffins, energy drinks, and sports drinks.
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