The Count Down And Other Bits

Five days

until the calendar marks another year to my life.

the scoop

I have heard people say all my life that they are too old to do something anymore. I say I am too old not to do things. If not now, when? That is way more logical. Every time I hear that voice in my head say, you're getting too old for that I take the time to correct it. I'm not too old to do anything and I'm not wasting time debating it. It ain't over for me until I'm in the ground. Ha ha!

So this week the count down has begun to my birthday and each day I plan to do something that some would say I'm too old to do. Today I did my trail run and enjoyed it completely. After my run I made a bowl of steel cut oats with mixed berries and honey and almond milk to break my fast. If you don't know what I'm talking about read here.

outdoor living

The above picture on the left is right outside my front door. The picture on the right is my back deck. It's finally turned summer here and I am loving being outside as much as possible. To smell the pine of the trees and feel the sun on my back is like heaven to me. We sold our old wooden deck furniture this year and bought a comfy seating arrangement and I am loving it. I sit outside and read and watch the wild life and cuddle with my dogs and in the evenings my husband and I play cards and eat dinner outside. 

Find what you love to do

and do it!

my look

This is my motivation outfit. If I don't feel like working out I just put on workout clothes and find I am excited to work out. It's just another area where when you look good, you feel good. Oh it's true we all have low days but the trick is to keep up the fight. 

I'm wearing capri leggings, a sports tank and running shoes. I have my sunglasses and my running app with music ready to go. What could stop me now?

I almost always get my active wear on sale and here are some great items for great prices!

pictures above

Each spring I ready our front entry for summer. I have a couple of benches with pillows and a couple of planters that I fill with flowers. I was lazy this year and just planted Marigolds. They are supposed to repel bugs and I love the pretty yellows and oranges. Keeping things simple gives me more time to do the things I love. 

picture below

I take a lot of pictures in this part of my house because I can usually get enough light for them. It's basically my media room and office area. My laundry room is behind that door and it seems I always have laundry going so it is nice to have it close to my office. I rarely sit still for long so my environment is very functional. I am right next to my kitchen here too. This is nice because I love to cook and almost always have something prepping.

Peace!

And thanks for stopping by!

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I'm proud to participate in the following link ups and am always looking for more! I love to start my day checking in with them and seeing what everyone is doing and connecting! I hope you will join us HERE!


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Fitness Times Two

the scoop

Suzanne of Crazy Blonde Life and I are joining forces today to share a fitness challenge. As life-long fitness lovers we understand the ups and downs that come with trying to live a healthy lifestyle. Check out Suzanne's post here and read more about what I'm doing below. 

the challenge

We're asking you to join us for a summer fitness challenge starting  June 1st. If you are currently active, inspire us all by sharing what you are doing. If you want to start living a more active life, join us by taking just 15 minutes a day, three times a week to do something you love. Be it walking, hiking, dancing, skipping or playing hopscotch, tell us your plan and then let us know how it goes!

Send us an email with your picture and your plan/progress and we'll share them on our next fitness post! My email is northwestmountainliving@gmail.com and Suzanne's is Suzanne@crazyblondelife.com. Hopefully we can turn this into a series that helps us all help each other to live healthier happier lives! 

My Fitness Challenge?

Boot Camp

my fitness challenge

If you have followed me for long you know I am always trying to up my fitness game. I love to feel healthy and be active and I defy age to try to stop me (I turn 58 next month). The past year though I have felt like I am in a rut. What I am doing is not working. I am not in optimal shape.

I've been running for over 10 years on a regular basis. I have not done strength training on a regular basis. With each passing year I have to reduce my calorie intake more to stay at the weight I desire. The result is that I have more body fat than lean muscle. I have belly fat which is the most unhealthy fat to have due to links with heart disease, type II diabetes and other illnesses.

A little over a year ago I did a boot camp and really enjoyed it. I learned a lot but felt like I knew more than my coach and didn't fully comply with the regimen. I took away several good lifestyle changes but didn't feel like I reached my goals. After realizing that what I am doing is not working I decided to do a round two of the six-week online camp.

the program

I want to be clear here that I am not a health or fitness expert and I am not advocating that anyone should do anything that I am doing. I am always trying new things and want to share my experiences because that is how we learn. Right? I wold love to hear your experiences too! 

This program is very interesting and those who have done it and stuck with it strictly have had amazing results in losing fat and building muscle. I started week five today. Here are the things I am doing. I will add links to some of the key terms for more detail.

1. Carb Cycling

I have two days a week where I eat low carb (less than 50 net grams) and do exercises, specifically sprints on one day and tabatta training on the second day to deplete my glycogen levels so I become a fat burning machine! Ha Ha. 

  • How's that working for you, you ask? The first week was hard. I felt almost sick those two days. I am now used to it but still don't feel 100% on those days.

2. Intermittent Fasting

I eat all my food in an eight-hour window each day. I usually eat only between the hours of 11 AM and 7 PM.

  • I have been doing this for over a year and actually like it. I still get to have my coffee in the morning so it is all good.

3. Weight Training

Three days a week I do weight training. I focus on different body parts on each of those days. I also do ten minutes of low impact cardio to warm up and cool down (like walking) and I stretch.

  • This is the what I am finding most beneficial! I can see definition already and have consisitently increased weight lifted, reps and sets. Woot! Woot!

4. Macros Tracking

I don't count calories but I do monitor my macros (carbohydrates, fats & proteins) and stay within healthy ranges for each. Except on low carb days a healthy range is 50% carbohydrates, 30% fats and 20% proteins. Two days a week I reduce my macros by 25%. It all sounds complicated but it is not. I use the free app My Fitness Pal to track everything. 

  • This is not so difficult. I am so used to it now that I don't really even have to track. Just sticking to clean whole foods 80% of the time is the key.

5. Two days a week are rest days where I take a walk, hike or something like that.

  • Love my rest days but sometimes I do NOTHING! Oopsy!

Results and take aways? I gave up running while doing this program. The whole point of this program is that as women we are under eating and over training and it is not working for us. So I am eating more than I have for a long time and exercising less. For me however not running is not working. Running for me personally is for my mental health. I get depressed when I don't run for a while. So I will add my short 30 minute trail runs every other day when I am done with this boot camp. I will had HIIT to my runs a couple times a week too. I will continue lifting weights three times a week and I will continue the intermittent fasting. I have done it for a year and a half and find no down side for me. I will also keep my macros on point. I will not continue the carb cycling. I just feel better if I eat a normal amount of complex carbs. 

So that's my long winded story! I hope you find something valuable in it.

Thanks For Stopping By!

Peace!

I always get my active wear on discount. After all its just for working out. I just ordered the first four items linked up. So cute!

More of my fitness posts . . .

P.S.

If you are'nt joining our weekly Style Wise Link Up, please do! You can join this week's here and while you're there meet my guest co-host and our featured blogger! 

other link ups

I'm proud to participate in the following link ups and am always looking for more! I love to start my day checking in with them and seeing what everyone is doing and connecting!I hope you will join us HERE!


Use the share buttons below to share, pin & like. It's so easy, just one click and that's it!

And I always look forward to your comments!

My Next Challenge In Fitness Adventures

Whoa! I've hit a plateau!

What's up with that?

It's true! In all my years I have had a pretty good grip on my fitness routines. I limit my yoyoing to about 3 or 4 pounds and when I am up a few I immediately make the changes in my lifestyle to drop them. It's always been to take in fewer calories than I burn. It works and its fast and basically easy. Two weeks and done!

But this spring I haven't had the will power for lack of a better word to do what I know works for me. For the first time in my life, I almost don't care. But it just hit me recently. If I don't care about myself who will? 

So I am taking the reins for this ride and making changes. I have always been active. Always exercising most days added to not sitting much during the day. I think that has been part of my problem this winter. Sitting too much during the day.

So what will I do?

Go back to the tried and true. Consume less fuel and use more energy.

I've already started the process. I plan an activity for each day that uses my energy. Something that makes me move and keeps me engaged. I started with my closet. A full day of physical work moving the winter/fall things up and bringing my spring/summer things front and center. Next day was my office. I rearranged the furniture, cleaned and organized and boom another day of major activity. I have a list a mile long, especially as the weather warms up and I have the great outdoors to conquer. I also do my regular three-mile runs every other day. And I added a new weight training program for the days I don't run.

What about food? I have been showing you the healthy meals I have been making on my IG stories, and weekend blog posts like here and here. I'm pushing hard to eat lots of veggies, nuts, legumes, lean meats and fish. But I still want cake so I am human.

Do I fall off the wagon? You bet! But only for a moment. Every hour of the day is a new chance to do what I need to do for my body. The only body I will ever have. My hope is to keep it fit enough to enjoy this beautiful life I have been given.

So what's my new challenge? I am starting a seven-week boot camp this week that will be a major challenge. I did this boot camp a little over a year ago and it was intense. But I learned so many important lessons and I want a refresher. Things in health and fitness change all the time and I like to be on top of it. So stay tuned! I'll be sharing more on my journey through a collaboration with fellow bloggers as they also embark on their own new challenges in fitness adventures. Hint, Ball Room Dancing Anyone?

Thanks for stopping by!

Peace!

Linking fun options for you. I think I need that active wear dress and sneakers. Obsessed! I have a few of these dresses and they are so nice for summer!

email updates

If  you aren't signed up for email updates please do so! I have been adding elements to these updates that are fun and I think you will like! You only get an email when a brand new blog post goes live. Click here to sign up.

boutique info

Just an FYI about my boutique. I usually post my outfits in the boutique in advance of  a new post going live and sometimes post extra outfits that I think you will like. So check it out daily if you want spring and summer style inspiration. Its under the shopping tab up top!

other link ups

I'm proud to participate in the following link ups and am always looking for more! I love to start my day checking in with them and seeing what everyone is doing and connecting!I hope you will join us HERE!


Use the share buttons below to share, pin & like. It's so easy, just one click and that's it!

And I always look forward to your comments!

My Healthy Lifestyle Update

Healthy Lifestyle Update

Healthy Lifestyle Update

the scoop

Exercise: I have been slacking a bit on the health front. My main focus this last month has been getting back into running shape. I am in week four of my training and moving right along. This past week I was able to add hikes on the days I don't run so that is a  positive. I feel I will be in 5K condition for my goal date in April. Starting over hasn't been fun but knowing I can come back from injury has made me so grateful. My routine right now is to run every other day and hiking every other day with what I call yoga stretching everyday. It is a group of simple yoga moves I do that stretch and strengthen my muscles. 

Eating: I am not having trouble with intermittent fasting, as a matter of fact I enjoy it. I don't eat after 7 PM and then not again until 11 AM or noon. The problem I am having is what I am eating. I am doing about 50/50 rather than the 80/20 that I prefer. So my goal right now is to work on healthier choices. I seriously have been having cinnamon rolls, burgers, french fries and pizza way too often. Eating well doesn't mean I have to give up anything, I just eat whole, fresh foods. Nothing processed or from restaurants. I eat my cooking which I know if full of healthy oils, grains, fruits and lean meats. Luckily those are the types of foods I love. 

One of my favorite recipes right now is Brussels Sprouts Salad. I do several variations on this salad.  Sometimes I add a piece of roasted chicken on the side but most of the time it is a meal in itself for me. Fruit is my go to for desert and assorted nuts are my favorite snack. Only a small handful of nuts because they pack lots of calories but I find them filling and tasty.  I love eggs and sourdough bread ( I've been reading that it is the best bread to eat if you want bread) toast for breakfast ( usually around noon) and always use real butter with organic jam that does not have sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Many days I have avocado toast which I love. I always use a very high quality olive oil for everything. Anyway these are just some of my ways of eating healthy.

my outfit

I like to put on my active wear first thing in the morning to remind me to stay on track. Layering for cooler weather is key. Being able to add on or remove as needed while working out keeps my comfort level where I spend my time thinking about my workout not that I am too hot or too cold. I have on leggings, a thermal top and a puffer vest. I can take off the vest if I need to or I can even take off the thermal top and wear my vest as a top. This is all stylish and functional.

These pictures were taken while I was still in the Idaho mountains. Here in Arizona is it much warmer and I mostly wear leggings and tanks or even shorts if I exercise late in the day (as seen in last picture below). All my exercise is done outdoors except for my yoga stretching.

create your look

Below are some really fun options for creating your own look.

Healthy Lifestyle Update

Healthy Lifestyle Update

Healthy Lifestyle Update

Healthy Lifestyle Update

Healthy Lifestyle Update

Healthy Lifestyle Update

Healthy Lifestyle Update

Healthy Lifestyle Update

Healthy Lifestyle Update

Healthy Lifestyle Update

More options for Activewear linked below!

Make sure to check out my Boutique under the shop tab up top.

As always thanks for stopping by!

Peace!


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How Stress Effects Fitness

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HOW STRESS EFFECTS FITNESS

Hi All! Welcome to this months' "Move It Or Lose It " fitness post. The new schedule for these fitness related posts is the first Saturday of each month. This week I am going to tell you how excessive stress can effect quality of life. You can exercise all you want and eat perfectly but if you are too stressed it will block your ability to be fit.

For me it is imperative that I keep stress at a low level. My body has never handled high levels of stress. Stress for me localizes in different parts of my body and can make me very ill or cause me to get injured easily. I've had stress cause chronic back pain, tendinitis in my arms, chronic stomach problems among other health issues over my lifetime. Never all at the same time but at certain points in my life where my stress level was too high.  Let me give you a recent example.

For a lot of the summer, my stress was too high. I was trying to do more than I could accomplish. Also like many women of my generation, I have people-pleasing tendencies that are unrealistic. For several years, I have had trouble with gallbladder attacks. Doctors have told me they can't find any real issues but whenever I get stressed I will have one. It feels like a squeezing, crushing sort of chest/torso pain. I will get short of breath and have to lie down. It usually only lasts a few seconds or minutes at most. I've also had my heart checked and it is fine too. It's just my body telling me to settle down. A couple of weeks ago I had the worst attack I have ever had. It lasted for at least 15 minutes and then the after effects lasted for a couple of days. I was in bed sick. No fever, just weak and not feeling right with my gallbladder aching. I was also in pain from injuries due to exercise and was not being able to work out.

While lying in bed I made a decision. I was going to change how I do things and make my life less stressful. I immediately figured out what I was doing that was unnecessary and gave it up. I structured my day so that I was living more for the things that bring me joy. I stopped doing things that were unnecessary and started doing things that I found pleasant and relaxing.

Here is how my days go now.  I wake up in the morning and my husband brings me my coffee in bed. (He has always done that so not new). As I have my coffee with my husband and dogs snuggled around me I do most of my blog work. I make sure my post is live, and I respond to comments. Then I do my link ups and blog hops and do all my blog promotion. I do about 15 minutes on IG and then I am done. Everything takes about an hour. After that I am pretty much done with it for the day. No more spending the day thinking and worrying about it and taking on things that are unpleasant and tension building.

Next I get up and go for my trail run. After my run I have a protein drink and shower. When I get dressed if I think my outfit is blog worthy I take photos. That only takes about 15 minutes at most. Three times a week I sit down in the afternoon and put together my posts. That usually takes about an hour. I have gotten very streamlined about it all. This is also the part of blogging that brings me joy. 

I am a researcher for my husband's consulting firm so anything I need to do for that gets done mid mornings. My afternoons are spent cooking and doing projects around my home. I love to cook and I love to turn recipes into healthy meals. We have been eating so well since I started my new routine. 

The biggest changes I've made have been to not let social media run my day. I hit it about 15 minutes in the morning and 15 more in late afternoon. And that is it. It hasn't been difficult to let it go. My evenings are spent eating good meals and time with my husband. Chatting with my kids and grand kids and doing things that make me smile. Life is just too short!

The result has been I feel better than I have in months. I was so over extended that I was unable to even exercise without injuring myself and now I am back to my trail runs and picking up speed with each one. No pain. I am grateful that I was able to make the changes necessary to feel good again. 

Point of this story? If you have excessive stress in your life, remove it if at all possible. It shortens the life you have and diminishes the quality of your life.

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That's it for this post! Thanks for stopping by!

Peace!

Exercising Too Hard. It's A Thing!

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Exercising Too Hard. It's A Thing

I really worked out hard this spring and summer. I was hiking, running and lifting weights most days of the week except for when I was injured. I was also spending much of my time in pain from sore muscles and tendons. I finally came to the conclusion that I was doing something wrong.

The last straw driving me to the conclusion that I was doing something wrong took place a week or so ago. I had been lifting for several weeks and felt strong and was gradually increasing weight, repetitions and sets. That day I hiked and increased my weight and reps and sets. It felt like a great workout at the time. The next day was my trail run day. I noticed early in the run that my legs felt really tight, which was unusual, but I kept going and completed the run. The day after that and for almost a week I was in so much muscle pain that I ended up in bed for part of the time because it hurt so much it made me sick and depressed. This is not what exercise is supposed to do for you.  

I did some research and came to the conclusion that I have been working out harder than my body can handle. I believe I have adrenal fatigue brought about by too hard and too much exercising. I need to rebound from this before moving forward. My plan is to do a slow two mile hike each morning followed by 30 minutes of gentle yoga in the afternoon. Both of these things should give me a decent workout but not unduly stress my body. I will also take a day off each week and will reassess where I am in a few weeks.

If these changes produce results, I will carry them forward into my fall routine. I usually change my exercise regimen with each season for several reasons. One is to keep my body surprised and working hard. Two, it is necessary where I live because of our changing weather. And three, I get bored doing the same thing all the time so this makes exercising more interesting.

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That's it for this week!

Peace!

 

 

 

My Botox Story

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MY BOTOX STORY

Just before Thanksgiving 2013, I decided to take the dive and try Botox. The miracle without a knife! I was so excited to see what would happen. This may have changed by now but at that time I learned that Botox can only do so much. It could soften the lines around my eyes that are not caused by smiles. Smile wrinkles are there to stay. It could soften crow’s feet until you could hardly see them, and it could do the same for the horizontal lines on my forehead . . . but not those above the outer edge of my eyes because that could cause them to droop. Last, it could soften my “Angry 11s.” Those, I learned, are the vertical lines between your eyes from what I like to think of as contemplating too strongly for too many years.

I sought out a reputable clinic and was attended to by a nice and experienced Physician Assistant who injected the Botox. It hardly hurt at all, just a tiny pinch. She talked to me for a few minutes explaining the realistic results that I could expect and then did the injections. I was to return in a couple of weeks for follow up.

I started looking for my new youthful face before I even got home, although I had been told it could take up to two weeks for it to take effect. Each day I looked and watched for the miracle. Finally, I noticed some softening. But I also noticed itching. I was always told you have to suffer to be beautiful so it was worth it, if I felt beautiful. It became a comical game for me, watching to see what would happen.

My final verdict was that I looked rather odd. When I lifted my eyebrows, I had lines above the outer edge of my eyes but not on my forehead. It seemed silly looking so I decided not to raise my eyebrows for anything. Easy peasy! After three months of itching (I am told another brand may not itch) and thinking about my facial expressions, I decided Botox was not for me at that time. Maybe I will try it again someday. But at that point in time I was fine with my decision and I still am for now. I am 57 and nothing is going to change that.

That was my Botox story but I will tell you right now that I support anyone who wants to do anything to make themselves feel better. I, too, look for the elixir, and always will. I am a girly girl. I love pink! I love makeup and clothes and anything that is feminine. I fall asleep at night imagining the different outfits I can create. I dream in color and create dresses in my dreams. I hope on my deathbed that I have my eyeliner and lipstick right next to me. Not for anyone else, but for me. I feel these things are what separate us from the animals! 

I have been grappling with aging and the changes in my looks for many years. I don’t like it one bit. Why? I don’t know. Is it because people treat you differently when you start looking older and weaker? I think that is a lot of it for me. I am a force to be reckoned with and my looks can’t change that but people are definitely responding to me differently.

I am seeing a lot lately about not using the phrase anti-aging. And I feel strongly that in some ways we as women are our own worst enemies. We talk all the time about our wrinkles, our bodies being dragged down by gravity, our weight, our thinning hair, and what we should or shouldn't do about it.

Sometimes, we forget that our goal is (or should be) to change the perception of a society that regards women less beautiful as they age. Don't you hate being told you look great for your age? I want to go back to the days when I was young and never looked at others and tried to judge their age. I never looked at my beautiful grandmothers or mother and saw their wrinkles and thought they were old. I only saw love, wisdom, and beauty.

I am so glad to be part of a generation that is challenging stereotypes. I hope I can be a part of the march to celebrate our segment of the population just the way we are. It helps to read, learn, and share with each other about how to grow as we age. For me, I am still slowly figuring out what I want to be when I grow up. I want to be woman who is proud of who she is, and of her family and friends. I want to be a woman who forgives the times she reached a fork in the road and went the wrong way. I want to look at myself in the mirror and not hate my face but say, "Job well done, Cheryl!"

I will however get up most days and play with my makeup and think about the perfect outfit for the day’s activities. If you are going to be on a boat you should be dressed like you are going on a boat. Fashion and beauty is an art that you wear. It is a reflection of how you see the world. Everyone has their thing, fashion is mine, and that is what makes the world go round.

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Thanks for stopping by!

Peace!

Breaking Up - With Exercise

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Breaking Up With Exercise

I've exercised fairly consistently my whole life. But every now and then I need a break. Lately I have been really working out hard and regularly. Even when I had house guests for two weeks, I never missed a run, hike, or weight lifting session. But this week, all the events of spring and summer caught up with me and I realized I was tired. Bone tired. I knew it was time to do what I have always done when I hit a wall. I broke up with exercise. So how do I break up with exercise? I understand that the breakup is not a long-term thing; I relax and give myself a break understanding that mental health is as important as physical health and I take a day or few off. Experience allows me to understand that a break from exercise can actually improve my overall fitness by allowing me to rest, rejuvenate and prepare to get back at it, stronger in every way. 

Here is how I knew it was time to break up. On Monday morning I went for my trail run, it took all my energy to get ready, but I have a few tricks I use to help when that happens, so out the door I went. I did the run, but it felt slow, heavy, and I found no joy in it. I had to walk the last quarter of mile. Tuesday, I went for my hike, and came home and lifted weights. Again, it just didn't feel good. I had no energy the rest of the day and I could tell it wasn't just a passing thing. Wednesday, I was sore from Tuesday's weight lifting. With all this, I decided it was time to take a break so I took the rest of the week off. Almost as soon as I made the decision I started feeling better and even started looking forward to Sunday or Monday when I knew I would again be raring to go.

THE TRUTH

Sarah Gibson, Certified Personal Trainer finds that many fitness junkies equate the idea of taking a day off with Satan. My husband was that way when he was a serious distance runner who sometimes trained in excess of 50 miles per week. She points out how this is not true and my husband no longer over trains either.

Rest periods are a part of many professional training plans. They allow the body and the mind to recuperate to our benefit. As Sarah says, “As we work out, we place greater strain on our muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones and joints. Our immune system is activated when there are muscle tears or joint strains, but if the body doesn’t come out of continual practice, this system doesn’t have the time to catch up and start patching everything back up. Thus, if you’re building muscle, you should take a day off from lifting the same region so the body has time to repair the muscles you’re working.”

I have observed the truth of this in my own exercise regimen. Running and other impact activities stress joints and connective tissue. Those who exercise regularly generally have lower measures of inflammation but they also have higher measures immediately after vigorous exercise. Systemic inflammation (e.g., as measured by C-reactive protein) needs to return to baseline; otherwise you may experience joint damage from inflammation. Cycles of deep rest can aid in this process.

Rest days depend on the type of athlete you are, according to Gibson. Mind and body athletes (think Pilates and yoga) may want to take a day off altogether, whereas bodybuilders may only want to take a day off from lifting, but still do a little cardio. Your need for rest days may also depend on your fitness. We need to learn more about this.

I have also observed that it is important to eat differently on days of rest. In general, eat less and perhaps consume fewer carbohydrates. It is OK to stick to your nutrition plan, but make it a light day. This will be different for everyone and your body will probably hit a point where you feel ravenous because your metabolism has shot through the roof as you work out more regularly. Just remember to eat right, eat on time and drink lots of water.

Give your body love and attention and know that every successful athlete does this, too. Take your day of rest to reflect on how far you have come and plan how far you will go!

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That's it for this week! Let me know if there is anything you want to know about how I incorporate health, fitness, and beauty in to my life. And thanks for stopping by!

Peace!

TIP
I have little tricks I use to get myself going on days I don't feel quite up to it. On days that I am feeling slow, I put on my exercise clothes thinking just because I put them on doesn't mean I have to do anything. Then I tell myself to just head out the door and if I still don't want to do it I can come back inside. Almost every time I go that far, I end finishing and feeling really great. Another trick I use is to do a different exercise. If a run sounds too strenuous, I take a relaxing walk. I always feel much better when I do something. If none of those things work, I take a break and I don't beat myself up. I focus on my next workout.

HIIT What What?

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What the heck is HIIT?

I have to start this post out by emphasizing that this is how I incorporate High-intensity interval training (HIIT) into my workout repertoire. In my opinion, which is supported by some research, HIIT activities are best practiced after you have established a baseline of fitness. Someone just beginning an exercise program is more likely to sustain injuries with HIIT activities. Wait until you are at an intermediate fitness level before adding HIIT to your workouts. Always consult an expert if you have questions. 

HIIT workouts are thought to be one of the most effective ways to improving cardiovascular health, respiratory endurance, metabolic function, and perhaps muscular neurological status as you age.

HIIT involves repeated short bouts of high-intensity exercises followed by brief recovery periods. This sequence is repeated several times in a row usually for 20 to 30 minutes.

HIIT workouts can improve your health due to their effect on several important systems within the body:

  • Cardiovascular health and endurance
  • Ability to use oxygen
  • Hormone levels
  • Muscular innervation

HIIT is not a new concept, I can remember doing similar activities 15 years ago. Last year when I participated in a six-week boot camp I got the full modern HIIT experience. I was supposed to run or sprint as fast as I could for 20 seconds, then slow down to a moderate pace for 20 seconds and repeat for 20 minutes. Our snow was too deep for me to get outside and my treadmill wouldn’t adjust that quickly so I used my stair climber. To me it was a hardcore workout. I was surprised I could even do it and more surprised that I didn’t get really sore or just plain die!

For the last couple of years however I have incorporated HIIT into my workouts in a more practical manner. If you google HIIT, you will find an unending list of specific workouts but I am the kind of person that likes to fit things into my life that I can actually do and stick with. I love to run and currently run trails here in the mountain forest. I run up and down steep inclines on varied terrain. I will run on soft sand, to firm dirt, to rocky areas. It requires balance, and endurance. To add HIIT to my runs I speed up to maximum exertion for one to two minutes and then slow down to a moderate pace for a couple of minutes and repeat until I pretty much can't do any more. Sometimes just running up an incline if it is steep enough pushes me to maximum exertion.  I only do HIIT a couple of times a week. It is important to allow time for recovery.

My point to all of this is when you are ready to add HIIT to your workout, add it in a way that fits your workout routine. Read as much as you can and then take the information and adjust it to work for you so you can maintain over the long haul. Because we’re here for the long haul, right?

THE TRUTH

There is a lot of noise on the Internet that HIIT is the fastest way to loose weight and is currently a trendy new program with classes being offered in gyms and online. HIIT is not necessarily the best way to lose weight for most people. It is being reported that many people are injuring themselves trying HIIT because they are not at a fitness level required for it to be effective. HIIT should be something added into your fitness routine when you are fit enough to do it without injury and is a supplement to exercise not your only form of exercise. Far more benefits come from a long brisk walk or slow run. 

There is too much research for me to unpack in this post but I will provide a link to one of the best articles I have found regarding HIIT and how it benefits aging muscles. Dr Mercola is one person who seems to take a knowledgeable and reasonable approach to fitness in general and HIIT in particular. Read here to learn more.

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That's it for this week! Thanks for stopping by!

Peace!