Kick It Up!
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Kick It Up!

Note: Always check with you medical provider before starting a new exercise program or weight loss plan.

Since I have a diverse group of readers, trying to put out something everyone needs is a challenge! Most of you though, are beginning to intermediate fitness level, over 30, female, and weight loss oriented.  Maybe you have hit a plateau a time or two since the first of 2015. Frustrated? Now is the time to kick it up! Kick up that workout!

Whether you have been doing cardio machines and weights or taking a class, you can take your fitness goals to the next level.  You will need to know what it takes to make that step successfully. First, it is important that you are willing to try new things. Don’t let boot camp style workouts intimidate you.  The ropes, tires, kettlebells, weight balls and other "odd" tools are a fantastic way to give those extra pounds their “leave notice”. Take the time to watch a group doing these workouts or hire a personal trainer to prep you so you understand what the exercises are about so you do them correctly.  A word of advice: Work at your pace when you start! It may not seem that bad in the beginning of the workout, but because you will be alternating between the aerobic and anaerobic pathways, you will hit the wall fast. 

Boot camp style group training and classes may be called “Boot Camp” complete with dog tags or they may be called Skinny Jeans, Bikini Slim Down, Inferno or whatever other title a gym generates.  They are all using the same base concepts.  Newbies usually start out with intervals cycling between a short, hard cardio burst, then do body weight exercise for a set amount of time.  Others might start working with circuits that are pre-set. Either way, the trainer or instructor will use a timer and music that gives you the adrenaline rush to get through the tough stuff.

 NETA, the National Exercise Training Association, has a course called Rest-based Training for personal trainers and exercise instructors to certify to teach.  I like this one for people who want to get into HIIT and Tabatta groups, but don’t feel ready. This program will challenge all fitness levels because you seriously challenge yourself. No one stands over you to intimidate you. During the work phase, you work as hard and fast as you can, and when you can’t go any more, you rest. Keep trying to get back into the 2-minute work phase when you can until the time is up. When rest is called, rest.  At first, the lactic acid burn in the muscles feels nasty. But as you get better with the exercises, you will know how to push past some of it and rest when you absolutely can’t stand it.  The class looks a bit chaotic because some people will knock themselves out continuously while others are either resting or struggling.  Two minutes will seem like forever! No worries. No one is screaming at you to move. You are in charge of your workout.

What if that doesn’t appeal to you? Do a class or group training session that is far different from what you are currently doing.  Some serious calories can be torched in a group weight class using barbells, a group cycling class, Core Command, Pilates, kickboxing, and Hydroblast.  By totally changing the demand on your body, you will feel what you haven’t trained! That’s good because your body has to adjust to meet the new demand which means more calories burned.

By the way, some of the tools that seem unconventional cause you to recruit more muscle fibers. This does a couple of things: 1) brings about greater physical/mental coordination and 2) overall body balance.  Since adults don’t play like they did when they were children, the mental aspect of the physical skills gets rusty.   Adults forget to put these skills to use because work and family demands take a higher life priority.  What instructors and trainers do is teach adults how to play again, serious play! Drumming with large battle ropes forces stabilizing muscles in the entire body to synergize with the majors.  Although it seems like it is all arms doing the work, all it takes is to put a client on a BOSU to do the same motions with the rope to realize that everything in the body is working together. When was the last time you skipped, galloped or jumped rope? Forever? Never? These play exercises are awesome toners, strengtheners, and pound punchers! I taught a Junk Yard workout for a 12-week session as a change up for my Skinny Jeans class.  Tossing tires, running up to them, and doing 5 push ups, then repeating for a 60-90 second cycle with a 30-60 second jog burns out the cortisol levels in the body responsible for excess weight retention. Most of  them had high stress jobs. Everyone felt so much better by the time class finished. They also saw fat melt off their bodies!

How do you keep the weight off? By learning how to cycle, or periodize, your sessions. Have a trainer or instructor help you plan out a progressive cycle followed by a down cycle. The down cycle is an important time for your body to regroup.  If you don’t set that into your workout plan, you could do some damage to your body. 

You will also need to adjust your nutrition accordingly. On the higher intensity/high demand workout sessions, you will need to take in enough planned calories to meet the demand. If you skimp, your blood sugar could crash and you may burn muscle instead of fat. Never starve yourself.  Muscle recovery is extremely important! Have a nutritionist or personal trainer calculate your carb and protein intake needs for each segment of your workout phases, high demand and recovery. 

Are you ready? Get set! Go! Kick that workout up!

May God bless you.

Cardio kickbox picture stock photo

Ball Toss picture from

Battle ropes picture from

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