High Intensity Interval Training – An overview

High intensity interval training is becoming very popular these days. With so many people striving to be fit yet not having hours in the gym to workout there is a need to get a lot done in a short amount of time. As you can imagine since this is called high intensity training that this involves very short yet difficult workouts.

Now intensity is relative to each person. What would make a routine intense for me would be entirely different for something that would work for you. If you have a lot of weight to lose then you may find some of the most basic routines to be intense enough to help you feel like you accomplished a lot.

These routines are short. Typically you should not spend any more than 30 minutes doing a HIIT workout. There may be times when it would be appropriate to spend more than 30 minutes but overall you should strive for your workouts to be brief.

The reasons why people lose fat with HIIT

The body responds to the intensity of your exercises it turns out. While there may be people in the world that can walk for many hours at a time and lose weight it is far more effective to stimulate a real environment which means varied intensity and varied exercises daily.

Clearly your goal when working out is to lose fat, some also may want to gain muscle at the same time. A high intensity routine will help with both aspects and that ultimately is what is going to help you get leaner and fitter than ever before.

HIIT routines simply cause your metabolism to speed up. You see the body has to react to such a high intense program that you are giving it and this in turn will cause you to lose body fat.

Using Free Weights or Body Weight Exercises

When you begin this journey of using HIIT workouts it may be advisable to start off just using your body weight to begin with. If you feel you need to use weights then something light would be best. Always start off slowly or gradually because you are far more likely to get injured otherwise.

You may see others who use different methods to add resistance to their HIIT workouts. For instance Bodyrock.tv introduced many to this concept of training for a short period but with a high intensity and you will see many of the people on those video’s use a sandbag or some other unique devices.

HIIT Training on the Treadmill

Many people don’t consider the treadmill a piece of exercise equipment associated with HIIT routines. However, you can easily create some by using varying speeds and inclines to create a workout that would challenge even the fittest among you.

As well there is this perceived need to always go in one direction with the treadmill. You don’t have to do that, you could walk or run backwards on the machine, as well you could even walk sideways if you so desired. Of course it would be best if you were very comfortable using this treadmill and knew what you were doing.

If  you are unfamiliar with HIIT on the treadmill then it may be best to consult with a trainer or a friend who knows what they are doing. By getting the proper instructions you should be able to avoid any potential problems.

Perceived Exertion Scale

When discussing HIIT you will run into something called the perceived exertion scale. This scale is something that varies from person to person and as you become more physically fit you will also have to adjust your own scale so as to keep up the intensity to get the desired results.

Obviously someone who is a couple hundred pounds overweight will find that they are exerting a lot of energy even with little movement because their body is so out of shape. Monitoring your heart rate throughout the time you are exercising is crucial, you don’t want to over do it and cause damage to your heart.

Using a timer to help with the intervals

You can buy a GymBoss timer to help you with the intervals in your training. The benefits of using a GymBoss are that it can be set up to give you short moments of rest in between each set of exercises. These little devices are not that expensive and they are crucial to your overall success if you are planning on performing HIIT routines regularly.

Where can you find HIIT routines?

There are many free routines for this type of exercising on bodyrock.tv and dailyhiit.com as well there are others who are contributing to this movement by also adding their own interval routines. Not only that but you can find various DVD programs from companies like BeachBody that can add to the variety. Les Mills Combat is a great example of a DVD set that contains a lot of HIIT routines that are fun and relatively short.

My struggle with Keratoconus

Many people who know me understand that I suffer from a somewhat rare eye condition called Keratoconus. While somewhat rare this condition can lead to blindness. It is just fact, you have to understand and deal with the worst case scenario here, doing otherwise is just showing a lack of maturity.

For myself, I have been advised by three separate cornea specialist that a transplant in my left eye is truly the only way to go forward. Now, while I struggle with the ultimate decision to go through with this surgery if I should happen to do that I will then record what happens here on this blog.

As well, there are not that many resources for people who may be interested in weight lifting, or other intense exercising such as Crossfit and dealing with a corneal transplant. Since there are so few resources available, then I will attempt to record what I am able to do after the surgery. It is my understanding that the healing time could take up to one year for the eye to fully heal.

Now that does seem like a long time, but I am sure after a while I will be less and less restricted so it may not seem that bad. There are other’s who have had this surgery before and unfortunately never really made a true account of what happened, that is a shame because that would have been a great resource for many other’s.

As bad as this disease may be I am fortunate enough to be living in a country where there are experienced surgeons who can handle this situation. While the technology to help with this particular ailment is always improving it is astonishing to me that there is yet to be a cure for this disease. Some of the solutions are a bit primitive in my eyes and just don’t seem to really get to the root of the problem.

Today I spent the morning searching various forums and websites for people who may be in the same situation, unfortunately there are not that many. So hopefully my blog can act as an aid for those who also struggle with this disease.

My “Little House on the Prairie” Project

For those that know me I grew up in Minnesota. As well I recently discovered this new obsession with “Tiny Homes” or homes that are roughly 200 sq. ft. or sometimes less. These homes have several advantages, they are mobile, they are cheap, they can be built by one person over the course of several months, and they don’t have a large environmental footprint.

Since I always wanted to have a home again in Minnesota I have made it a mission to buy or build one of these tiny homes and make it my getaway home or vacation home. I have deemed to call this my “Little House on the Prairie Project” and I will record my findings on this blog as I endeavor to buy or build a home that fits the bill.

Tiny homes are exactly what any environmentally conscious person would desire. You can easily power them by one or two large solar panel cells and if you use a composting toilet then you could be off the grid completely. Since these homes are so small you should not require a mortgage to buy one, I certainly will not take a mortgage out to purchase mine.

Now, this may seem to be a bit of an odd mission or quest as others always strive for larger homes and bigger cars but I have been always a bit different from others. In time, though these tiny homes may just be the wave of the future. I mean with the housing bubble and all that came with it there are many families that simply cannot afford to buy a home outright anymore. Who wants to be beholden to any bank or lender? The thought of any home being taken from me is what keeps me up at night.

Furthermore, this project may lend allow me to live more independently from the grid and be more likely to survive any major issue should the crap hit the fan. While I don’t want or predict any major issue in the future it would be stupid to not at least plan for the worst case scenario.

There are many lessons that I have yet to put into place after reading Neil Strauss book called Emergency. This tiny home project may just be a catalyst to get going on that project.

So if you are interested in buying a home without a mortgage then this series may just be the ticket for you. There are numerous advantages to not having a mortgage, namely a lower cost of living and no worry about losing your home in the future.

Please stay tuned as I gear up for this project.

Upcoming posts

Okay so now that I have restarted by my blog I wanted to let you know what is coming along so that you may know and hopefully let other’s know.

Book Reviews:

  • Getting Things Done
  • The Four Hour Body
  • Unleash the Giant Within
  • The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

Health and Fitness Articles:

More articles on why we get fat, various fitness products reviewed, and some general news if something major should come up.

Technology:

  • Review of the Razor Naga mouse (possible??)
  • Review of Google Glass (if I am able to get one??)
  • Other reviews of anything that interests me

Anyways this is just a short post but some ideas that I have been floating around in my head and some articles I have already started so they should be on the way.

Food Journals – Why use them?

Food journals are a great tool to help you lose weight or help you with any athletic goal you may have. These are used frequently by the most successful athletes and those who have dropped their body fat percentage rapidly. Once you can see how the food you are eating is affecting your health and your performance then it should be fairly easy to make the changes you need.

Why Recording Your Food Keeps You Accountable

Unfortunately, many people today have horrible eating habits. These habits are the result of many years of self abuse. Truly understanding this can be difficult. If you know ahead of time that you will have to record that chocolate cheesecake you just ate then you are probably less likely to feel tempted. As well if you are in a group of peers that will give you a lot of grief for doing so then that can be even more incentive to avoid eating like that.

Losing weight can be tough. It can be even more difficult if you don’t have a support system to help you through it. That is why you should not only record the food you eat on a daily basis but also get yourself an accountability partner. The idea behind an accountability partner is to rely on someone to hold you to your goals you have set.

Free Food Journals Online

An online food journal is perhaps the best route to go with in this case. The reason being is that you can easily share your food journal with whomever you want. As well, since these websites are used by thousands of people the amount of food that they keep track of is immense. So if you don’t know the macros of something you ate for lunch you can probably rest assured someone has put that meal in the website beforehand.

One of the best online food journals used by millions is myfitnesspal.com as this is used by many who go through various online weight loss programs. Since this is free to use you don’t have to worry about any monthly charges or anything like that, and many people experience great results just by contributing to the community that is already there.

If that is not something you like or would like to try a more feature rich website there are alternatives such as fitday.com and my-calorie-counter.com to name a couple. Fitday.com has the ability to set up a customized food plan for you, so that is definitely advantageous. However, there is something about meeting someone in real life that just seems more personal.

Many people have smart phones that they use each day. One of the benefits of having an online food journal is that you can easily track what you eat by entering in your food through your phone. As well if  you combine that ability with instagram you can be held accountable for everything you eat. That can make a big difference when you want to really shed those pounds.

Figuring out where you want to be

No matter how much food you track on a daily basis it would make little sense if you didn’t have a plan or goal in mind. Figuring out the reasons why you want to lose the weight is just as important as your daily excercise routine.

So if you want to lose weight or gain muscle, or both, then you need to write these goals down so you can plan out your meals for the week. By not only planning your meals and tracking them you increase the likelihood of future physical success dramatically. This combination is what keeps those who are on stage competing in bodybuilding shows in shape all the time.

You must be able to accurately track what you are eating. In that regards you should buy and use a food scale. These scales are not that expensive, there are many which can be bought on amazon.com for under 30 dollars, so there really is no excuse not to use one. If you have a hectic job then knowing you are ready with your meals will help you mentally keep true to your goals.

Food journals are a necessary part of your overall weight loss and fitness journey. So many people neglect their diet and that is the reason why they don’t experience the same level of success of others who are on point with their diet at all times.

Crossfit – Is it safe?

The sport of Crossfit is starting to become really popular. As more and more people choose to participate in this activity the number of Injuries seems to rise accordingly. So then this begs the question of whether or not Crossfit as a sport or a means of getting fit is really safe or not. I am going to be taking a pragmatic viewpoint on this subject and try and examine both sides of the argument. Ultimately it will be up to you to decide if Crossfit is something you want to take on or not.

Sports and General Safety

Sports are by their very nature unsafe. By unsafe I mean you are not immune to getting injured. You are typically pushing your limits while you are competing against others. This level of competition is what sometimes results in people getting injured on the field or even while training.

All sports have their injuries. Football is one sport where people seem to get injured every single game. As that game is very physical and involves a lot of tackling and hitting into each other that just makes sense, it is expected.

So one could argue that sports by their very nature are just unsafe, it is the level of safety then we are really discussing. Relatively speaking any sport when taken up by a wide mass of people would naturally cause more injuries overall.

Crossfit compared to other sports

However, Crossfit on the other hand involves a lot of weight lifting, gymnastic moves, and other activities that people generally don’t associate with injuries. While people are getting injured every day in their gyms they are typically not in front of millions of viewers on television. But that is from the viewpoint of Crossfit as the competitive sport, but what about the people in your local box?

Those who choose to take on training in Crossfit do so typically because they are competitive in nature. So when they seem someone beating their time for the day’s workout of the day (WOD) they want to try and hurry up and that is when injuries occur. It is the point where form is sacrificed in order to beat someone else that is when Crossfit becomes dangerous and unsafe.

The principles of Crossfit are by their nature not particularly unsafe. In fact if you are always using proper form, always properly warming up, there would be very little likelihood of yourself getting injured.

Crossfit Exercises

Many exercises that Crossfit employs involves a lot of compound movements. The squat, push jerk, and the other Olympic lifts are dynamic and can be tough on the human body. Using proper form is crucial to avoid injury.

However, not all Crossfit exercises are particularly dangerous. You could create a wide range of WOD’s that just involve body weight movements and still consider yourself a Crossfit athlete. Many times the most difficult exercises involve relatively simple devices such as a jump rope, the double under is one such exercise that has a tendency to cause a lot of problems for many people.

Why is Crossfit becoming popular?

This sport or activity is becoming popular because many times people want to get healthy but don’t have a support system to help them through it. A group of people who are determined to better themselves each and every day is something that can be really compelling to those who have let themselves go.

Quite honestly those who attend a Crossfit box or gym are more likely to succeed in their weight loss goals. Not only will you have the peer pressure to improve but you will also be held accountable, those that can really thrive in that environment will be very successful.

But Crossfit is not about just losing weight, rather it is trying to forge yourself into the best athlete that you can. Sometimes you may need to have other programs available to ensure you are keeping yourself on track but this is a great way for truly overcoming any obstacle you may have in your life.

Some people attend their local boxes because they find their trainers to be very motivational and by that very nature they can succeed in other areas of their lives. After all just being healthy is great but having your entire life become better as a result is just a fantastic side benefit.

Final thoughts

So in conclusion Crossfit is no less safe than any other activity where you would put strain on your joints and muscles. The idea that this an unsafe activity is patently false, there are thousands of people working out nationwide at any one time and they are not all becoming injured. Just use some common sense and strive to avoid injury by training in the right way and in a preventative way so that your muscular system can handle the stress you are placing upon it.

The Four Hour Work Week – A Book Review

First off this book review will be a bit different in that to really examine the ideas of this book they should be tested out thoroughly. So, while this post may be an initial review of the material that is in the book the rest will show through by my actual implementation, or the attempt at an Implementation, of what this book represents.

Unfortunately many people have made fun of this book throughout the years. There are those in the internet marketing field that say they work 17 hour days in order to get to a four hour work week. That just may be the truth for those people. But, maybe they just have not implemented the ideas as they should? Not sure.

The content of the book is very well written, so clearly someone must have spent some time editing and reviewing this book so to give it’s polish. You don’t end up as a New York Times Bestseller by halfassing that aspect. There are many who try and publish a book on the Kindle Marketplace and don’t go through the rigorous editing and reworking that any book published by the reputable book publishers have to go through.

Since this book has been published I know for a fact that some of the ideas are next to impossible to implement. The rules regarding Google Adwords for instance are a lot more stringent and you simply cannot test some of your ideas as you may think using that system. While Google Adwords is a great tool to generate traffic to a website it can be a bit difficult to use and many times people will find that their account has been closed with no explanation.

However, that being said the ideas presented in this book are somewhat solid still and can be implemented. They may not be easy for someone who has zero business knowledge or at least someone who is not willing to go out and try and learn how to do it. Many times criticisms spring from people’s frustrations with their own inadequacies and their lack of wherewithal.

The opening story and premise of the book

The opening of the book is a realization by Tim of the number of hours he is working and how much money he is making. Clearly there is a bit of a disconnect here and the sad fact of the matter is that many people who start a business become slaves to their business. Without revealing this point of pain however you would not know the journey Tim went through in order to transform his life into something many people admire.

Clearly this opening story is also meant to cause you the reader to relate to this particular situation, after all the whole idea of the book is supposed to cause you to want to change your life. One might say that he is setting himself up similar to that of a the story of many “superheroes” and that may just be a valid point.

Now there are numerous success stories of people who have implemented Tim’s ideas in their own life, for them this has worked wonderfully. However, there is an untold amount of people who tried and for some reason could not get this system to work. You simply don’t hear about people’s failures because most of the time those that failed are just too embarrassed to admit it. Why am I saying this? Because the frank and honest truth is what is missing in many other’s reviews of The Four Hour Work Week.

The Concept of the New Rich

The premise of this book is that the “New Rich” today tries to design their lives so that they have a source of money, an income stream, that allows them to live a life they desire. With the advent of the Internet and globalization, this is entirely possible, but the emphasis on foreign workers is a bit much in my opinion.

Just because I could go out and hire someone for far less than someone here in America does not mean that they would do a far better job nor does it mean that this would not subject my company to various security threats. If you have ever tried to go through the task of hiring a VA from any of the countries mentioned in this book you know of the nightmare that this can be. Some Virtual Assistants are great, they do a fantastic job and are well worth the investment, but others are very poor to say the least.

For instance it is routine to generate a customized training manual to give to a potential VA for the work that you want to have done. However, since your potential VA could have already worked in that same field he or she may have some bad habits that he or she picked up along the way. It is not uncommon for a VA to completely ignore your detailed instructions and do whatever he or she damn well pleases. This would put your business in a bind if the VA happens to break the Terms of Service for the many accounts and websites you may have.

One of the biggest hurdles in becoming a member of the “New Rich” then is sourcing your VA’s and making sure that they follow your instructions to the letter. Overseeing your foreign employee’s is also a task that can take up a lot of time. If you happen to give your employee’s too much free reign then you are just asking for a nightmare.

Honestly the scope of this review will require a number of posts to cover everything. I don’t want to give everything away as well because that would not be right to those that bought the book. So please stay tuned for a continuation of this review, yes it is exhaustive.