As we approach another winter holiday season, if you’re one of the millions of Americans that have to travel a significant distance to visit family, you know how hard it is to maintain healthy eating and fitness habits. Everyone is in a hurry and convenience hardly yields healthy choices. This year, try to modify to hustle and bustle routine by following a few simple guidelines.
If you are flying:
If you are driving:
Once you reach your destination, you will be feeling good about your trip and can more fully enjoy your mom’s fabulous home-cooking. But… don’t forget to take our family out for a walk after the big meal!
If you live in Kansas City or are a KC sports fanatic, you know that October was a difficult month to focus on much else other than baseball (and maybe football, but mostly baseball). Playoff baseball was played on 16 of 31 days of the month. I can't think of many people who were at home watching, eating carrots and drinking coconut water watching the Royals tear through each series. If you were one of the victims of having a phenomenal baseball team to watch all month long, you probably need a detox.
I started mine the day after Game 7 of the World Series. It seemed like, for me, October was an endless cycle of early morning coffee consumption, unfocused work, baseball beers, and very little sleep. As exciting as it was to check off a life-bucket list item, I was very tired on October 29th. Fifteen days into my coffee/alcohol-free detox, my mental clarity has returned, as well as other healthy habits (daily workouts, healthier eating and sleeping routine, hydration, etc.).
Consider some of the pitfalls of your daily habits. Sugar? Artificial sweeteners? Fried foods? Fast food? Challenge yourself to give up an unhealthy habit for 30 days. You will find yourself to be more productive, more focused, and feeling a new level of physical well-being. Ready… go!
HIIT, or high-intensity interval training has been in the top five fitness trends during the last few years. Lots of bootcamp classes and HIIT specific workouts are flooding the workout scene. HIIT training is a method that involves short, intense bouts of high amounts of work followed by a short recovery. It's been used in training both anaerobic and endurance athletes and considered a necessary principle leading to athletic improvements. But amateur and professional athletes aren't the only ones using this technique. You can find these same principles with CrossFit and Tabata training.
Is this the best technique for everyone? ACSM researchers found significant evidence that backs aerobically-based interval training (running, cycling, etc.) but body weight/resistance training interval benefits remain to be seen. Since bootcamp-style HIIT has only been around (in the grand scheme of fitness) for just a few years, more data needs to be collected to measure any long-term physiological improvements. However, it's easy to feel the benefits while fitness professionals collect evidence.
In general, current recommendations for aerobic training call for 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week. HIIT workouts tend to be shorter but more intense which fulfills recommendations for vigorous exercise. For lots of participants, especially those busy with work and family, this is an efficient solution.
My biggest complaint about HIIT workouts, especially those that require olympic-style lifting is that these should be supervised by a professional. I've heard too often that some participants who are entry-level athletes or undertrained enter into intense workouts, load exercises too soon, and end up with a serious injury that impairs their movements and/or keeps them out of all activities.
It's best to start these kinds of fitness programs much like any other. Start with low to no weight and higher reps and increase the intensity by decreasing repetitions and increasing weight. HIIT training is popular for a reason -- it can make you stronger and help you increase the quality of how you move.
The American College of Sports Medicine just released what they believe to be the top 20 fitness trends for the New Year. To summarize, it seems to be more of the same -- body weight training, HIIT, Yoga, etc. I don't disagree with their analysis. There's only so much you can do to give your fitness routine some variety. I like all of the activities they list, most of which can be combined with others listed.
In my opinion, I think 2015 will be a year when people decide to try something different. Between hearing stories from customers at Garry Gribble's running store or from my friends, everyone struggles here and there with overuse injuries. Up until this year, my only experiences have been running-related. Now that I'm doing multi-sport events and cross training during the offseason, I can't believe how foolish I have been for the past decade. I've run more miles than God and stretched less than my grandpa.
If you find yourself in a single- or no-sport world, you are first in line to have a breakthrough year in 2015! Start looking ahead at fitness trends you are most interested in and seek out ways to engage in those activities. Not only will you accomplish something you thought you'd never do, but you never know what you will learn and who you meet along the way.