Another In-Your-House-Cardio-Circuit…

Here is another In-Your-House-Workout.  No equipment is needed.  It’s a great cardio circuit created by fitness celebrity Lindsay Messina.

The Endorphin Rush is saving the day…

I’ve been completely exhausted lately.  Going on a month of complete and utter fatigue.  It’s exhausting being this exhausted.  To add to this complete fatigue, other issues requiring plenty of thought and life changing decisions have added to the stress of being this flat-out tired, sluggish, and lifeless.

My workouts have suffered this past month.  If I’m not getting out of bed to workout, there is a definite problem.  Then that adds to my stress, because the feeling of completing a workout always makes me feel amazing, and now I’m not getting that.

Saturday morning it took hours for me to finally get downstairs and workout…I mean hours!  I finally dragged myself off the couch, with plenty of help from my husband.  I decided to go with something a little different for me and did an Insanity dvd.  It took about 4 minutes and I was already feeling better and when I finally completed the workout I felt amazing.  And the feeling lasted for hours.  It’s that feeling of the endorphin rush that always saves me.

I live for this feeling!  Exercise, mainly cardio or very high intensity workouts, create this endorphin rush or feeling of euphoria.  If you hear people who run (and actually enjoy it) talk about “runners’ high”, this is what they are talking about.  It feels as if you can go on forever.  Your mood becomes enhanced, you are invincible, and you become ready to take on the day and anything that is thrown at you.  You feel less stressful and your sleep becomes better.  All of this can be attributed to that endorphin rush.

Endorphins are hormones made and produced in the brain. They are a natural painkiller or feel-good hormone made by the body and released during exercise.  These hormones have actually been proven to help people with depression and anxiety.  Why do you think doctors encourage exercise to their patients?  It helps us on so many different levels. Marathon runners have continued to run on some serious injuries, but the release of endorphins during their run actually masked their pain.  Endorphins also act as that second-wind you feel during a workout.  It may take as quickly as 10 minutes for some to feel this, and sometimes up to 30 minutes for others.

The hard part for me the past month is getting my workout started.  But, missing my workout does even more damage.  I know how amazing and fearless I feel after a great workout and what that release of endorphins does for my body, brain, and overall mood.  The endorphin rush is helping me make it through the day.

 

Here are a few bodyweight endorphin rush workouts you can do in your home, no equipment.

Just found this one…remember to be creative if you don’t have equipment…jumprope, jog in place, run stairs.

Crazy 8 Body Weight– yep, still love this one

Or, try something like this….

Do a 5 minute warm-up of cardio, your choice.  Follow this by 30 seconds of the following, no break in between exercises.

Jog in place

High Knees

Fast-paced Jumping jacks

Burpees

Split-Squat jumps

Squat jumps

rest a minute and repeat 2 to 3 times

 

Bring it up a notch with a different approach to HIIT…

I’m preachin’ it again!  High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is the absolute way to go if you are looking to shape your body and see results quicker than traditional approaches.  HIIT has the ability to help you see results quicker than traditional methods of training by releasing growth hormones, increasing your VO2 max, and pushing your body to its limits working at max or near maximum abilities.  It is also a great training technique to help get your heart to recover quickly.  Getting your heart rate to recover means bringing it down to levels that are lower than they were while working out at a higher intensity.  For example, when performing an interval workout, you may get your heart rate up to 176 beats per minute (bpm).  Within a minute you are able to bring it back down to 116.  Your heart rate does not have to work as hard to pump blood because it is getting stronger with each training session.

Why is recovery heart rate so important? Well, imagine if your heart rate never, ever recovered after a workout.  It would probably explode!  Being able to get your heart rate to recover quickly means YOU being able to recover quickly.  The faster it slows down, the less exhausted you are.  Your breathing slows down.  You are no longer huffing and puffing.

Most people think of cardio as the only form of HIIT.  Even endurance athletes throw in some HIIT in the form of sprints.  This allows them to have a faster recovery heart rate and a heart that is able to pump blood more efficiently without causing too much exertion on the athletes’ part.  But, don’t think of HIIT as purely cardio.  You can perform HIIT with weights as well. One of the ways you can do this is by lifting heavy weights maxing out between 8-12 reps.  Maxing out at this weight at 8-12 reps means you can’t lift a single rep more if your life depended on it.  Follow this with little rest between sets, no more than 30 seconds tops.

Combining this type of HIIT with weights, along with HIIT with cardio, you have a pretty solid workout program.  OnFitness magazine just put out an article that states combining these two types of exercises will have “the heart muscle itself begin to increase its contractility and its ability to pump more blood per beat”.  Contractility is the “intrinsic ability of heart muscle to generate force and to shorten, independently of changes in the preload or afterload with fixed heart rates”.

Here is a workout that I do that combines both heavy weight and cardio HIIT for the lower body.  I’ll also throw this on my workout page for quick reference.

I take 4 of the exercises that I do for my glutes (which you can find on my workout page).  I perform them 10 reps and I’m lifting heavy.  I run through each exercise one time, 10 reps each.  After each set, I jump on the elliptical and go hard for 2 minutes.  Remember, if you don’t have cardio equipment get a jumprope, do jumping jacks, run the stairs in your house, run in place…whatever you need to do!  After this I take a minute break and run through it again a total of 3 times.  Here’s the program:

5 minute warm up on elliptical (cardio of your choice)

10 reps of each: squat, deadlift, walking lunge, side box jumps

2 minute of elliptical going hard

1 minute water break

Repeat 2 more times

5 minute cool down on elliptical at end

I will use this in place of my traditional glute workout since I am utilizing the same muscle groups.

Listen to your body.  If you are feeling pain or something doesn’t seem quite right, then slow down.

 

Kick your own butt and Lose weight doing it…

Ok!  You want to kick your own butt, increase your aerobic and anaerobic capacity, and burn calories well after your workout is over…all within 4 minutes?  Who doesn’t want this?  There is a form of training that can provide all of this for you, but it definitely takes some dedication, lots of towels to wipe the sweat that is pouring off your body, and maybe even a garbage can for some well deserved vomit.
Tabata Training.  Tabata training is taking an exercise, or a series of exercises, and performing them 20 seconds on and 10 seconds off for 4 minutes, non-stop, at 100% capability.  You can perform Tabata Training with pretty much any type of exercise: running, swimming, jumprope, biking, weight training, combination of exercises (mountain climbers, squates, burpees, plyo (jump) drills,….).

I have done Tabata training with sprints.  I sprint full effort for 20 seconds and walk for 10 seconds.  I do this continous for 4 full minutes.  You end up performing 8 total sets in this 4 minutes.  And let me tell you, 10 seconds of rest is nothing!  When my 20 second sprint ends, I’m into my 10 second rest still trying to slow down, and then 10 seconds is up and back into my sprints.  It’s a very rough workout, but you feel like you have taken over the world when you finish it!

Some advice that I have read says that trying to get through 6 sets the first couple of times is where you should set your mark.  This means start off following the 20 seconds on 10 seconds off, but if you feel like you truly can’t make it another 20 seconds on, extend your rest set a little longer.  This means you will accomplish less sets in the 4 minutes, but you still are performing each set to exertion.  It’s also extremely important to warm up before Tabata training.  If you jump right into this without warming up and stretching your muscles, you can really injure yourself.  Get in a 5-10 minute warm-up. Do some dynamic stretching.  And, do a few sets of the exercises you are performing at around 60%  your maximum effort.  This will help to loosen up a little more and see where your pace and endurance is at.  End with a 5 minute cool down and some more stretching (static).

I’ve provided some links with more info on Tabata training below, if you don’t believe anything I’ve said.  The last link has a lot of good info and some great Tabato workouts and videos.

T-Nation-Tabata Training info

Good background info on Tabata Training

T-Nation-some good workouts here

Oxygen Women’s Fitness | Training | Stronger, Leaner, Slimmer

I have not tried this, but a workout you can do in your home, even if you have no equipment.  If you need more intensity without equipment, extend your time performing each set and run through the workout a couple of times.

Oxygen Women’s Fitness | Training | Stronger, Leaner, Slimmer.

Log your Training…

This one’s for you, Sheila (hopefully)!  Here is an old log that I used to use to chart my workouts.  You can track one month of progress on one page, one week at a time.  It has room for 6 exercises per muscle group, 3 sets per muscle (with reps and weight used for each set), and a total of 4 weeks progress.  I will show you one with some info filled in and also a blank sheet. Let me know if you have problems viewing.  You can always change things up and personalize it for your own workout needs.

workout log blank                       workout log

Another HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) Note…

I just recently talked about this in “don’t forget your Heart”.  If you want to lose weight, increase your endurance, and also increase lean tissue, HIIT is the way to go.  Like I said before, this isn’t something you want to do every day because your body will be screamin’ out for mercy!  A couple of times a week and you will start seeing results.

The key point about HIIT, and why I like it so much, is that within the next 24 hours after one of these sessions, you are still burning calories.  When you perform steady state cardio, you may burn more calories, but the calorie burning effect is pretty much limited to the cardio session itself.  With HIIT, the burning continues after the training session..for up to 24 hours!

HIIT also has been shown to increase the amount of a special protein in the muscle.  This protein is responsible for carrying fat into the mitochondria of the cell.  The mitochondria plays a role in burning fat for fuel.  Therefore, HIIT results in an increase of a special protein in muscle, which results in an increase in fat loss.

You can do HIIT with almost anything…running, weight training, swimming, jumprope, biking, etc.  That’s what makes it so versatile.  You will never get bored because you have a variety of options, most of which you don’t even need equipment!

Read this article from BodyBuilding.com.  It shows great scientific backed research on HIIT and its effect on the body.  It also gives you an 8 week breakdown on how to gradually bring HIIT into your workout routines using any exercise or type of equipment you like.  For more ideas checkout my post on:  “Don’t Forget Your Heart!”

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