Women’s Fitness

High intensity interval training (HIIT) is so effective that it doesn’t need to be done every single day. In fact, you can incorporate a session of HIIT in your normal workouts without having to deviate too much from your training plan.
Let’s look at a few ways to add some HIIT in your normal workouts.

1. Short bursts of speed during the cardio sessions

Let’s assume that you love your steady state cardio and spend 45 minutes on a stationary bike. While steady state cardio does burn calories during the workout itself, once you get off the bike, the calorie burning will taper off and stop.
HIIT, however, will raise your heart rate into the maximum heart rate zone. When this happens, your body will enter a state known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. Your body will be in calorie burning mode for hours after the workout session ends.
That means, you’ll burn more calories overall and lose weight faster. To incorporate HIIT into a normal steady state cardio session, you only need to ‘go hard’ during the last 10 or 15 minutes.
Following the earlier example, it will mean that during the last 10 minutes of your stationary bike session, you will go all out and give it your best effort. So, you will cycle as fast as you can for 1 minute and rest for 1 minute. Do this 5 times and your last 10 minutes will be exhausting.
You’ll be perspiring like crazy. Your heat rate will be up and you will be in fat burning mode for 10 to 14 hours. This is how you add HIIT to a normal cardio session. It could be a treadmill session or swimming. Whatever it is, the last 10 or 15 minutes MUST be executed with maximum effort. There must be no gas left in your tank.

2. Short HIIT bursts during weight training

The same applies to weight training/resistance training. Instead of slow, controlled repetitions, spend the last 10 or 20 minutes doing reps as fast as you can with good form. It’s important to note that you must NEVER sacrifice form for speed. Jerky, haphazard reps might leave you injured and they’re just not effective for building strength.
With good form, you may wish to do your push-ups or deadlifts or lunges with speed and minimal rest between sets. If you do lunges at full-speed for 45 seconds, you’ll rest for 15 seconds and move on to the next exercise and so on. Try and keep it a full-body workout.

3. Twice a week will do

If you’re doing steady state cardio 4 times a week, just remove 2 sessions and replace them with HIIT workouts. For example, steady state on Monday, HIIT on Tuesday, rest on Wednesday and Thursday. HIIT on Friday and steady state on Saturday.
The HIIT sessions are so draining and effective that you only need about 2 or 3 sessions a week to get in shape. In fact, even if you got rid of all 4 steady state cardio and stuck to two 20-minute HIIT sessions, you’d probably get the same results or even better. You could do resistance training on the other two days.

4. Do the right exercises

Focus on compound movements like pull-ups, snatches, mountain climbers, deadlifts, squats, lunges, etc. These are exercises that work several muscle groups at once. If you create a set with 4 or 5 of these different exercises and did them fast with minimal rest, not only will you get a cardio workout but you’ll also train and tone your muscles.
HIIT done in this manner is very effective. Truth be told, HIIT sessions that use resistance training are more effective than those that only use cardio. You’ll be killing two birds with one stone.
Women need to focus on muscles like the thighs, butt and arms. These areas are especially important if you wish to develop a lithe and toned shape that looks attractive in whatever you wear. So, focus on compound exercises.
Bicep curls and calf raises are isolation exercises. No matter how fast you do them, they’re not going to be as effective. The load and intensity of your HIIT workout will determine how effective it is. So, incorporate HIIT in your training regimen and watch your performance improve and your excess pounds melt away in no time at all.

4 Ways Women Can Incorporate HIIT in Their Workouts

Latest Update: Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Cardio activities for women

Cardio workouts are without a doubt essential if you want to shed the excess pounds fast. A twenty or thirty minute cardio session will boost your metabolism and get your body in fat burning mode. Diet alone is not enough for weight loss.
2 or 3 cardio sessions a week will accelerate your weight loss and you’ll be able to see positive changes much faster. This will motivate most women to stay on track with their weight loss journey instead of throwing in the towel too soon.
There are a few tips that you can employ to make your cardio workouts more challenging. The tougher your workouts, the more calories you’ll burn and the fitter you’ll get. Let’s look at 5 tips that will really help you get the best out of your cardio training.

1. Fasted cardio

Cardio activities for womenThere is often much debate as to whether one should do cardio on an empty stomach. Some people say that it’s very effective while others say that it’s extreme and will burn lean muscle instead of fat because your glycogen levels are low.
The truth of the matter is that fasted cardio is very effective. It has to be done when you wake up after a good night’s sleep. Your body will be in a fasted state and since there is no food in your stomach, your body will burn its fat stores for fuel.
However, your cardio sessions should NOT be rigorous. The best type of cardio that you should do is just brisk walking. You want to raise your heart rate and break a light sweat but the intensity should not be too high. You should be able to hold a conversation. If you’re panting and gasping for air, you’re going too fast.
Walk for 20 to 30 minutes at a moderate pace and your body will burn its fat for fuel. Do this daily and over time, you’ll notice that your weight drops steadily. This is one of the most powerful fat loss methods out there.

2. Inclines

Inclines refer to slopes, hills, etc. Anytime you walk uphill or climb stairs or swim against the current, you’re adding resistance to your movement. It will require extra effort to walk or run uphill. If you’re on a treadmill, set it at an incline and you’ll burn more calories during the same duration of the workout.

3. Speed and intensity

When your cardio sessions are kept short but intense, your workout becomes anaerobic in nature. When this happens, your body will go into fat burning mode for hours after the workout is over. Overall, you will lose more fat and get fitter.
Short, hard cardio sessions will always be more effective than long, steady state cardio sessions. If your level of fitness allows you to engage in hard cardio, go for it. Your fat will melt off faster and your stamina improve noticeably.

4. Added resistance

Besides walking or running uphill, you can add resistance to your workouts by using weights. Wearing ankle weights and running makes it that much tougher. Throwing on a weight belt or a haversack with a couple of weight plates will take your cardio session to a whole new level because you’re hauling more weight.
This makes the entire workout more tiring and you’ll burn more calories. Even holding a pair of lightweight dumbbells while walking will make a difference. Constantly find ways to add resistance to your workouts.

5. Splitting up your sessions

Another interesting way to get the most out of your cardio sessions is to split them up. Instead of doing 45 minutes of cardio at one go, you could split in into a 25-minute walk in the morning and a 20-minute workout around 6 PM or so.
By splitting your sessions, you’ll keep your metabolic rate constantly elevated. Your metabolism tapers down once your workout ends. If you train in the morning, by noon or so, your metabolism will start to dip. If you have another session in the early evening, you’ll rev up your metabolism again.
This will put your body in fat burning mode throughout the day. You will lose as much fat as possible during a given time period. Of course, you’ll need to eat clean and be at a caloric deficit.
If you have these 2 in place and you employ the cardio tips mentioned above, you can expect to see visible change in your body within 30 to 60 days, provided you train consistently.
Most women do lose some weight when starting off but they always regain the lost weight because they start skipping workouts and lose consistency. This is a cardinal error. Consistency is everything. If you’re persistent you’ll get it and if you’re consistent, you’ll keep it.

How Women Can Accelerate Fat Loss by With These 5 Cardio Tips

Latest Update: Tuesday, October 16, 2018

One of the biggest hurdles when it comes to exercising is the aches and stiffness you feel roughly around 24 hours after your workout.
This is known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
The symptoms are usually pain in your muscles when you move and your muscles may feel weak and tender.
This is normal and nothing to be worried about. Women who have led sedentary lifestyles for a while will experience this in the beginning. In fact, both genders are susceptible to DOMS and it is part and parcel of working out.
Over time as your body gets used to the activity, you will not become sore unless you increase your training load and intensity. As long as your training is hard and there are micro tears in the muscle fibers, there will be pain.
You must be able to distinguish the difference between muscle soreness from cramps or muscle strains and pulls. DOMS is just discomfort that arises from inflamed muscles that are healing. Your body will not be in pain if you’re not moving. Muscle soreness is felt only when you move.
Cramps, however, are sudden pain spasms that arise due to a contraction of muscle fibers. The best way to treat cramps is to stretch the muscle. Massaging and stretching a cramped muscle will ease the pain.
The same does not apply to muscle soreness. Stretching before workouts, muscle rub creams, massages, ice baths, etc. cannot prevent muscle soreness. They may provide temporary relief but you will still need 2 to 4 days for your muscles to heal.
It can be discouraging in the beginning when you embark on a training program and plan to exercise regularly but after one workout, you can’t move without groaning for a few days. You’ll need to rest till you’re healed.
The best way to prevent this is to make your first few sessions light. The goal is to just do a few of the exercises and use light weights. If it’s cardio, don’t go all out and give your maximum effort. Just stick to a slow or moderate pace.
Even short 15 or 20 minute sessions will suffice in the beginning. This will prevent your muscles from being too sore the next day. Always ease into your training regimen slowly. By slowly and gradually increasing your intensity and training load, you’ll be giving your body time to adapt to the demands placed upon it.
Many women are eager to lose the weight fast or get fit overnight and they try to give it their best. Common fitness mantras like ‘Go hard or go home’ and ‘No pain no gain’ do not help here.
These motivational quotes are best used by athletes and people who train often. When you’re just starting off, do go slow. Slow progress is better than no progress.
In the event that you still have muscle soreness, you can try soaking in a tub of water with Epsom salts or you can try over-the-counter muscle rubs. These will provide temporary relief.
If you’re experiencing muscle soreness in your legs, you can always focus the day’s workout on your upper body and vice-versa. There’s no need to skip a workout if just one part of your body aches. You’ll feel satisfied knowing that you at least got something done for the day.
However, if your entire body aches and this can occur when you do full-body workouts, you can rest or go for a slow walk. Resting and recovery is just as important as activity. It doesn’t mean you’re off track. Even a tiger crouches before it leaps.
So, don’t feel dejected and quit just because your first few sessions are causing you pain. Maintain a positive mindset and keep pushing forward knowing that pain is weakness leaving the body. Approach your training in a gradually progressive manner and you’ll be just fine.

Dealing with Muscle Soreness and Pushing Forward

Latest Update: Tuesday, October 16, 2018