Metabolic Conditioning 101

Metabolic Conditioning 101

Metabolic Conditioning or MetCon as it’s popularly called is one of the buzziest trends in the fitness industry. MetCon can also refer to high-intensity training or HIIT. For those new to training, these terms may not seem as familiar as concepts like aerobics or cardio. So, what is MetCon or HIIT exactly?

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HIIT or high-intensity training provides us with a clue to what this workout is all about. Unlike traditional cardio or strength training, HIIT or MetCon involves a high workout rate with short recovery intervals. You will usually be challenged with a circuit-type, total body workout. This results in more calories burned. If your fitness goal is to lose weight HIIT or MetCon training could be for you. MetCon actually works for most fitness goals and people looking to build muscle, strength and endurance should consider MetCon workouts as well.

If you’re new to the gym, there are workouts you may have heard of that actually subscribe to principles similar to that of MetCon. CrossFit is a good example as it’s all about pushing your body to the limits with fast-paced cardio and strength exercises.

Metabolic conditioning in the more literal sense refers to a type of workout that’s meant to challenge two major energy systems. The large muscle groups are engaged and multiple joints and muscles are involved and utilised in movements. Meanwhile, the high-intensity aspect makes your heart increase and blood pump. You will truly feel the burn with MetCon!

MetCon has other benefits beyond burning calories, although it’s a significant benefit. This is because high-intensity training has been found, through several studies, to promote the production of hormones that aid in “lipolysis,” which is the technical term for fat loss. The average calorie burn during a 30-minute MetCon workout is around 500 calories. Another plus you gain from MetCon is an increased cardiovascular capacity. MetCon training may not be as aerobic as jogging or swimming, but it can increase maximal oxygen uptake in exercisers.

If MetCon seems overwhelming that’s because it can be. In fact, it’s recommended that for people starting out MetCon training should be guided and supervised by a trained professional. You may even want to consult your doctor to avoid any complications when undergoing MetCon training. MetCon will take your body to the next level, drastically improving your fitness. However, the volume and intensity may be too much for beginners and could result in injury, burnout, severe muscle soreness and a hasty desire to quit.

If you don’t think you’re ready yet for MetCon or HIIT workouts, you can work your way up and prepare your body for the rigorous demands. Start by getting your body used to circuit training. You can do strength, cardio or a combination of both. Perform exercises as usual, but with 30 or more seconds in between each set. You can eventually decrease the time to 10 to 15 second intervals. You could also mix up different elements of your workouts. For example, lift heavier weights or introduce short bursts of cardio into your regular training.

Beginner’s Guide to The Gym

Beginner’s Guide to The Gym

So, you’ve secured a gym membership. Congrats! You’re one step closer to your health and fitness goals. With so many options at your gym–classes, trainers, equipment–where to begin? Then, there’s gym etiquette. How long can you stay on the treadmill before everybody starts forming a queue behind you? More importantly, are you certain that you’re maximising your time and money spent at the gym? Before you turn around to exit and quit before you’ve even begun, you’ll want to sit down and read a few pointers on how to survive your first few days at the gym.

First Steps

personal trainer near meIf you’re a real beginner, but serious about starting a gym program, there are a few things you can try out first to test the waters. What you need to know is that there’s no need to go solo! Joining classes is the easiest way to see what you like and to build relationships with teachers and fellow gym-goers. You can also consult with a personal trainer, who can assess your wants, needs and goals. You can also get the best of both classes and small group fitness classes. Lastly, don’t be afraid to try out new equipment, no matter how cutting edge and complicated they may seem. This will help cut through the boredom. Just be sure to ask the trainers for a quick explanation so you don’t get injured or make a fool of yourself.

Schedule

How often should you go to the gym? Since you’re starting out, you shouldn’t expect to have the same mental and physical capacity as those who hit the gym six days out of the week. Aim for two to three times a week. It’s enough to make progress and keep up momentum. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to go to the gym more than two to three days a week if you have extra time but build up slowly.

Making Progress

Once you’ve settled into your routine, you might begin to worry about progressing. What you can do is slowly get out of your comfort zone. Gradually shift your goals each week/ month. You could accomplish this by increasing your reps or intensity for each of the exercises. You could even try running for longer distances or adding different types of exercise such as rowing, cycling, Pilates or yoga. You’ll also want to keep a record of your gym sessions. Log your workouts and note the day’s accomplishments. You can also make things more fun and interesting by establishing relationships at the gym and making workouts competitive. Join a team sport or simply hang around with stronger and more experienced gym-goers who have the same mindset as you.

Equipment Etiquette

Most gyms should have time limits for equipment and will be clearly posted for you to see. Be mindful of sticking to that time limit. If somebody is waiting to use the machine, you could even suggest to take turns after each set. And, when you’re on that particular machine, make sure you’re actually using it and not spending time on your phone or just resting, especially when there are other people waiting. When you’re done with whatever machine you’ve used, always wipe it down with a towel. Nobody wants to sit in another person’s sweat. When using weights, don’t leave them lying around after you have used them and return them to the rack where you got them. This is not only courteous, but weights left lying around can be a safety hazard.

The Benefits of Lemon Water

The Benefits of Lemon Water

Quenching your thirst with your favourite soft drink or some other sweet and refreshing drink can be so tempting. When jump-starting your day, you also probably prefer to make a cup of coffee, and, for your mid-afternoon boost of energy, you might reach for an energy drink or a cup of tea. There’s one drink that can see to all your thirst-quenching and energy-boosting needs and it’s simply lemon-infused water.

What’s so great about lemon water? How could it possibly beat out your favourite drinks? For one, it has zero calories. We’re always encouraged to drink more water and infusing it with lemon can make it more flavoursome. Not to mention, lemon has a multitude of health benefits. Soon, you’ll be stocking up your fridge with bottles of lemon water when you learn just how invigorating, healing and therapeutic it can be.

Consuming water alone is one of the simplest and most helpful things we can do to maintain our health. Water is a key component in every system of the body and a requirement in all bodily functions. Water flushes out toxins, delivers nutrients and supports a healthy environment for the tissues in the ear, throat and nose. If you’ve ever experienced dehydration you know how harmful it can be and this is because the systems of the body are struggling to function properly without water. The ideal amount of water to drink is based on your body weight and be calculated as 0.03 litres of water per kilogram of body weight.

Meanwhile, lemon is one of the most nutritional fruits available, being low in fat and sodium while high in folate, potassium and vitamin C. Folate is especially beneficial to women and can prevent cognitive problems, cancer, some psychiatric illnesses and cardiovascular issues. Potassium is great for building protein and muscle, while vitamin C repairs parts of the body. Lemon also has antioxidant properties, which means it can block the negative effects of cancer-causing free radicals.

Weight loss Pinjarra HillsWhen combined together, lemon and water can pack some pretty powerful benefits including aiding digestion. Lemon water has also been found to prevent constipation and is considered a gentle early morning laxative. Lemon water can also keep your breath fresh and can help neutralise the odour after eating some particularly strong-smelling foods, like garlic, onions or fish. The citric acid in lemon also decreases the risk of calcium stones. Even your skin can gain positive effects from drinking lemon water since vitamin C has been found to reduce the risk of wrinkles and dry skin.

Lemon water does come with some adverse effects, though. The citric acid in lemon can erode tooth enamel. You can protect your teeth by drinking through a straw and rinsing your mouth afterwards. Citric acid can also cause heartburn. Furthermore, lemon juice can increase urine production.

If you want to make the perfect lemon water, use filtered water and fresh and organic lemons. You can drink it either hot or cold and you can also add mint, honey and ginger for even more flavour and health benefits.

How Alcohol Affects Your Fitness Goals

How Alcohol Affects Your Fitness Goals

You may have read how a daily glass of red wine or the occasional beer can have health benefits, with claims like lowering blood pressure, preventing heart attacks and other diseases. But, what is the truth? How does drinking alcohol truly impact our health?

Like any other food and drink you consume, alcohol has an effect on your metabolism. For anyone working on losing weight, pay close attention to this. Alcohol still has calories, but also has quite the high metabolic rate compared to most foods. This means you can essentially burn more calories while drinking. When you’re drinking alcohol, your body’s reaction is to process it first and to set other foods aside. Your body’s top priority is to remove the alcohol from your body and, unless you’re a champion binge drinker, it happens quickly.

Alcohol, however, is notorious for lowering one’s inhibitions. A couple of drinks in, you’re feeling loose and relaxed, but your ability to make rational decisions can be impaired. If it becomes an excessive habit, this leads to intoxication. You may also be familiar with morning after a rough night out and the temptation to stay in bed. The dehydration and lethargy aren’t exactly great motivators.

So, what’s the verdict on alcohol? It’s not bad, but what could be bad are your drinking habits. The negative effects of alcohol can be managed, but without control, the results can go from uncomfortable to devastating.

Weight Loss Pinjarra HillsWeight gain is one adverse effect. You’ve probably heard of the term “beer belly,” which is, to an extent, true. Any alcoholic beverage can cause weight gain if consumed in excess. Alcohol in relation to heart health is also vital. Moderate drinking can have great benefits, like lowering cholesterol–but only if paired with a healthy lifestyle.

Athletes should be wary of their alcohol consumption, since alcohol affects balance, hand-eye coordination and reaction time. Alcohol also depletes your body of fluids and electrolytes, which can then lead to fatigue. Additionally, muscle growth can be reduced since alcohol impairs protein synthesis, which is a crucial part of muscle development and maintenance. Alcohol also causes inflammation, which leads to joint pain and muscle aches.

If you’re trying to lose weight, alcohol can leave your body feeling hungry. The calories alcohol contains are not nutritious at all. There’s also the habit of having junk food munchies after a long night of drinking. Worse still, excessive alcohol consumption not only excretes important nutrients, but blocks them as well. Be sure to replenish your body after alcohol. Keep yourself hydrated and nourished–with actual healthy foods, so put down the greasy pizza.

Now, for some good news. You can still drink alcohol, but limit it to one drink a day. The healthiest types of alcoholic beverages are the sugar-free kind. If you’re a wine drinker, make sure to consume sulfate-free wine since sulfates can cause liver damage. Clear liquor, like vodka or gin, are also recommended. One nutritionist suggests adding fresh herbs like rosemary, mint, or basil for their anti-inflammatory benefits. Overall, moderation is key to a balanced and healthy lifestyle.

How To Treat Exercise Pain

How To Treat Exercise Pain

We always assume that “no pain, no gain” is the standard when it comes to achievement, particularly in terms of fitness. The more you sweat, the more your muscles ache, this means the more calories you’ve burned and the more toxins you’re eliminating, right? Not necessarily. A little post-workout soreness is common, especially if you’re a beginner or you’ve just introduced your body to a new form of exercise. However, experts agree that experiencing muscle soreness well after two days of your workout can be dangerous.

If you’re still hurting after two days, you might have delayed onset muscle soreness. During exercise, your muscle fibres get torn and, as the body heals them, this causes inflammation. That inflammation is the reason for that soreness making you feel like you can barely move. To treat delayed onset muscle soreness, the expert recommendation is to hydrate. You’ll also want to keep your blood flowing, which can you do by relaxing in a sauna or by exercising some more. More physical activity may be the last thing on your mind, but light exercises, such as swimming, yoga and working with foam rollers can ease your soreness.

Even if you’re a regular exerciser, perhaps you might be vulnerable to pain in certain areas of the body, like your joints. If you’re experiencing specific kinds of exercise pains in particular areas, there are some ways to treat them.

Knee pain

If you’re fond of running and doing squats and lunges, your knees are probably prone to more pain than most areas of your body. This can be caused by not having proper form and can be an effect of sitting all day. Physical therapists recommend a specific stretch to improve your knee strength. Sit on a chair, extend one leg out straight and lock your knee join as hard as possible for five seconds.

Back pain

personal training near meDeadlifts, cycling, and bent over rows can lead to pain in your spine and back muscles. When performing these exercises, it’s important to maintain the natural arch in the small of your back. To alleviate and prevent pain, you can try this before and after exercises: Create a hollow as large as you can in the small of your back and then round your lower back as much as you can, creating as much movement in the spine as you can. Repeat this for 15 to 20 times.

Hip pain

Running and jumping causes your hip joint to be flexed and can even cause mis-alignment. Re-align the joint before your exercise by doing this: Place a pillow on the floor and rest one knee on it. Take a wide step forward, like you’re doing a lunge. Move your hips and trunk forward until you feel a stretch in the hip flexors and/or groin area. Move in and out of the stretch slowly.

Shoulder pain

If pull-ups, push-ups and presses are making your shoulders feel tight, you need to practise internal and external shoulder rotations before each workout. This can be best accomplished using resistance bands.