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Introduction to HIIT

What is HIIT?

HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. In other words, it is short periods of intense exercise separated by short periods of rest.

For example:

    • Sprint 100 m
      • Rest 10 secs
        • Repeat 9 more times

A HIIT session usually lasts for anything up to 20 minutes. This is because the average person’s body would be unable to cope with performing intensive intervals for much longer than this.

The opposite of HIIT is Steady State Cardio. This is cardiovascular exercise that usually lasts 20+ minutes where the intensity stays consistent. An example would be swimming 50 lengths of the pool at a steady pace. This is what we traditionally regard as cardiovascular exercise.

 

Why choose HIIT?

  • Very quick – between 4-20 minutes is all that is required to perform a HIIT session.
  • Burns fat – in fact it can burn fat for up to 48 hours afterwards by raising your metabolism.
  • Can be performed anywhere – within reason!
  • No equipment needed – HIIT can be performed using just your own bodyweight.
  • Reduced risk of injury – less wear and tear on joints compared to steady state cardio, such as running.
  • Increase heart and lung capacity – body has to adapt to the intensity over time.
  • Reduces risk of cardiovascular diseases – helps to improve the health of your heart.

In terms of most goals, HIIT is a much superior option to steady state cardio. However, steady state cardio still has its benefits. For example, many people simply enjoy performing certain exercises such as running, swimming and cycling at a steady pace. It also depends on the individual’s goals. For example, if a person’s goal is to run a marathon, there is no substitute for steady state training in terms of getting the mileage in.

 

How does HIIT burn fat for up to 48 hours afterwards?

After a HIIT workout, your body requires a lot of oxygen to return the body to the natural balanced state that it prefers to be in. Your body uses this oxygen to raise metabolism, and so fat is burnt to help restore and repair for up to 48 hours afterwards.

This is unlike steady state cardio, where most of the fat is burnt during the workout. Very little fat is burnt afterwards as it doesn’t take much time or effort for the body to return to it’s natural balanced state.

 

What exercises?

HIIT is usually performed using full body exercises, working as many muscles as possible at all times. This is because we want to exert as much energy as possible and raise our heart rate.

Examples of exercises used in HIIT:

  • Sprints (i.e. whilst running, swimming, rowing or cycling)
  • Bodyweight exercises (e.g. jumping jacks, mountain climbers, burpees or high knees)
  • Barbell/dumbbell exercises (e.g. squats, lunges, clean & press or deadlifts)
  • Kettlebell exercises (e.g. swing, squat & press, snatch or rows)
  • Others (e.g. skipping, boxing, jumping or kicking)

Length and structure of HIIT sessions will depend on the individual’s goals, fitness levels, experience, time constraints, and equipment and space available. For example, a beginner may want to rest twice as long as they perform the exercise. Everyone has different fitness levels, so one person’s intense could be another person’s stroll.

 

Where to start?

Every Friday evening at 6:30pm, I hold a HIIT class at the Tesco community room in Church wood Drive, Hastings. It lasts 30 minutes (including warm up/down and stretching), involves no equipment and costs just £3 per person. I am passionate about the fact that my class is open to people of all abilities, and everybody is welcome to do it at their own pace. I will not scream and shout in your face if you rest out a couple of sets (or your money back – ha ha). Come along and try for yourself what HIIT is all about!

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Win 2 Free PT Sessions!

I’m offering 2 free PT sessions to a lucky person and one of their friends! All you need to do to enter:

a) Head over to my Facebook Page and like it if you haven’t already.

b) Finally, just find the competition post at the top of the page. Like it, share it, and enter your friend’s name in the comments. Job done!

The winner will be chosen at random on Monday 11th April at 8:00am.

One competition entry per person. PT sessions will last an hour each, with both friends training together. Training will be based around each of your fitness goals. The sessions will take place outdoors in Hastings and must be redeemed by 31st May 2016. Good luck!

The Truth Behind 10 Fitness & Nutrition Myths

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Half a century ago, not enough information was available regarding health, fitness and nutrition. In 2016, we suffer from information overload. Newspapers bombard us with what food has been revealed to cut the risk of cancer, gossip magazines carry stories on the latest diet taking Hollywood by storm, and Youtube bloggers debate what exercise regime is best to give you better glutes or pecs.

Much of this information is completely inaccurate, either originating from an unreliable source, or still being branded about decades after we didn’t know any better. Unfortunately, these myths often leave people completely confused.

In this blog, I will highlight ten of the biggest myths going, and explain why they need to be quashed forever.

 

Myth #1 Low-fat and fat-free products are healthier for you

Many food manufacturers will reduce the amount of fat in their products so they can promote it as ‘low-fat’ or ‘fat-free’. However, this alone would be detrimental to the taste of the product, so what do the food manufacturers do? Laden the product with sugar or artificial flavours, which will do you far more harm than the fat in the original product.

 

Myth #2 All calories are the same

There are 139 calories in a 330ml can of Coca-Cola. This is roughly the same number of calories as a John West tin of tuna steak. One of these products is packed full of protein, vitamins, minerals and essential omega-3 fatty acids. The other is, well to be polite, devoid of anything useful. How can these be treated the same?!

Calories can be divided into two categories; nutritional calories and empty calories. Nutritional calories are responsible for providing the proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals that allow our bodies to function properly. Empty calories do not provide any benefits to use whatsoever.

 

Myth #3 Eating fat makes you fat

First and foremost, not all fat is bad. In fact, the good fat is essential to human life and it is imperative that we include it within our diet. These good fats, found in  eggs, nuts, oily fish, coconut etc., will only do you good when eaten in moderation. They will certainly not ‘make you fat’, and in fact sugar and carbohydrates will do us way more damage when it comes to our fat loss goals.

 

Myth #4 You can reduce fat in certain areas

Unfortunately you cannot train to reduce fat in certain areas of your body. Genetics, hormones (dependant upon gender), and age will dictate where fat is lost throughout the body. Performing exercises such as crunches will simply work the muscles under the fat, rather than help reduce the fat itself.

However, a fitter and healthier lifestyle will at the very least minimise all of those problem areas, and at best eradicate them once and for all!

 

Myth #5 Protein shakes are essential for building and repairing muscle

Protein itself is essential for building and repairing muscle. Fortunately, protein can be gained from a wide range of food sources, including meat, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds and beans.

For most people, these sources will provide more than enough protein for their goals and needs. However, for some people protein shakes are a convenient way to supplement their diet if their protein needs are greater than most (i.e. bodybuilders) or struggle for whatever reason with the food sources mentioned above.

 

Myth #6 Exercise is most important for losing fat

Ever heard the phrase ‘you can’t out-train a bad diet’? It’s true! When you consider it would take around 40 minutes of swimming to burn off a Mars bar, you can see how easily all your hard work can be wasted with a few wrong mouthfuls.

 

Myth #7 You need to use barbells and dumbbells to build muscle

Muscle is built through applying progressive resistance to your body over time, breaking down the muscle and causing it to repair over and over again. Muscle does not detect the difference between a barbell or a kettlebell, and can be built using bodyweight exercises, kettlebells, resistance machines etc.

Yes, there is no doubt that free weights such as barbells and dumbbells are the most effective in building lean muscle mass, but there are plenty of other options. In fact, for those who have more functional goals in mind, using bodyweight and kettlebells are probably a better option.

 

Myth #8 Hours spent on cardio machines are the best way to burn fat

Countless studies have proved that intensity is more important than duration when it comes to fat loss. Exercise involving high intensity will increase your metabolic rate like no other and maximise fat burning. Unless you are training for a long distance race, hours spent on the treadmill will be completely wasted.

 

Myth #9 You must have a gym membership to lose fat and get fit

To be honest, with the right knowledge you can get fit and lose fat without any equipment at all! There is also nothing better and more exhilarating than exercising in the great outdoors. Equipment such as kettlebells, battle ropes, medicine balls etc. also make it possible to train away from a gym.

Modern gyms are often half full with expensive equipment often designed to impress members rather than offer practical benefits. Know what equipment is of use to you or lose that membership.

 

Myth #10 Women will bulk up if they do strength training

Women have too much oestrogen and too little testosterone to build huge amounts of muscle.  Female bodybuilders have to train excessively and eat huge amounts of food to get to the size they are, amongst other things. Ladies should embrace strength training and all its benefits, rather than be afraid of loading on too much muscle.

 

Adam Dicker is a REP’s certified Personal Trainer, available in Hastings and surrounding areas.

WIN 2 free PT sessions!

I’m offering 2 free PT sessions to one lucky person and one of their friends! Head to my Facebook Page and tell me who you would choose and why, and give my page a ‘like’ whilst you’re there ;-). The winner will be chosen at random on Friday 19th February at 8:30am.

PT sessions will last an hour each, with both friends training together. Training will be based around each of your fitness goals. The sessions will take place outdoors in Hastings and must be redeemed by 31st March 2016. Good luck!

 

10 Simple Tips to Help You Lose Fat

There are many strategies to help you lose fat. Here are 10 simple steps that I recommend for you to start with. Don’t panic about applying them all at once; focus on one or two each week. This will help you create good habits that will lead to a healthier lifestyle.

 

  1.  Cut down on sugar

Sugar is everywhere. Most people in the UK eat too much sugar, and it a lot of it comes from processed food where manufacturers chuck it in to make the food taste better. Stick to natural foods as much as you can.

 

  1. Reduce alcohol intake

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting going teetotal. But when you consider a gram of alcohol contains 7 empty calories, it is well worth reviewing your alcohol intake. Along with the obvious risks of drinking too much booze, alcohol will also increase your appetite, loosen your inhibitions to bad foods (kebab shop anyone?), as well as suppressing important hormones that aid fat loss.

 

  1. Eat more protein

Foods high in protein have been proven to cause the greatest release of hormones that help you feel full and satisfied. A high protein diet may also reduce the amount of carbohydrates you consume too.

 

  1. Exercise

The benefits of exercise for our health are numerous; exercise will also aid fat loss by raising metabolism and burning fat.

 

  1. Drink plenty of water

Often when we feel hungry it’s not because we are craving food, but because we are dehydrated. Drinking plenty of water will reduce those hunger pains. Water also plays a role in every chemical reaction within our bodies, ensuring our bodies are efficient fat burners.

 

  1.  Control portion size

Are you eating for one or three? Try to view your portion size objectively, if you need to start reducing it then do it slowly over a few weeks rather than dramatically cutting it.

 

  1. Eat slower

Savour your food. Eating more slowly will help your digestion, plus you are less likely to feel the meal was over too soon and crave more.

 

  1. Don’t eat in front of the TV or computer

Television and computers divert your attention away from the food you are eating; thus it is less likely you will feel satisfied and more likely you will crave more. Eat at the dinner table and savour your food. Coronation Street can wait until afterwards.

 

  1. Sleep more

Studies have shown that a lack of sleep can cause cravings for sugary foods, as well as increase the temptation of late night snacking. What more reason do you need to spend more time in bed?!

 

  1. Avoid sugary drinks

Many people forget the calories they intake from drinking. Avoid energy/sports/diet drinks like the plague. They are full of sugar or other chemicals that you cannot possible pronounce, and will only do your body and fat loss goals harm. One day they will be viewed in the same way as we view cigarettes now.

 

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Adam Dicker is a freelance personal trainer, helping people to lose fat and get fitter in Hastings and the surrounding area.

Adam’s Running Club

Are you looking for friends to run with?
Maybe you’re signed up for the Hastings Half Marathon or are considering giving it a go…or just looking for someone to teach you how to run and motivate you to get fitter.
Launching 30th January – join us every Saturday from 8am-9am at Ravenside Retail & Leisure Park and run along the coast at your own speed with like-minded runners to spur you on.
As well as making new friends and learning how to achieve your fitness goals – you’ll have access to a Personal Trainer who can advise on nutrition and exercise that suits your lifestyle.
£3 per session which includes a personal timesheet and progress tracker.
Email adamdickerpt@gmail.com or message me on Facebook to book your place.

Hiring a Personal Trainer – 10 Reasons

10 Reasons Why You Should Hire a Personal Trainer

Are you just starting out on your weight loss journey, utterly confused by what diet to follow and downbeat by the thought of another hour on the treadmill?

Have you been training for months for the Hastings Half Marathon  but can’t quite nail the pace you need to achieve your target time?

Or are you struggling to lose those last few pounds of fat that just won’t shed for that holiday in the sun you’ve got booked in a few weeks?

Wherever you are in your fitness journey, a personal trainer may just be what you need to take that step closer to realising your goals. Here are 10 reasons why you should hire a personal trainer:

Motivation

There is no better motivation than having someone encouraging you through every rep of every set of every exercise. Exercising on your own is simply not the same, a personal trainer will motivate you to carry on when your mind starts to tell you to give up.

Accountability

Do you have trouble motivating yourself to go to the gym? What if you knew there was someone there waiting for you?

Do you struggle to resist that packet of biscuits you know are lying at the back of the cupboard? Would you struggle as much if your food diary was due in the next day?

Are there some days when you feel you can only give 60% effort in your workout? Could you give more if someone was watching your every move, encouraging you to do even better than last week’s session?

Having a personal trainer means you are accountable to them, and bad health and lifestyle choices suddenly become less of an option.

Safety

At best, bad form can prevent you from making any progress. At worst, bad form can cause a serious injury. Minimise your risk of injury by hiring a personal trainer to teach you good form and safe exercise habits.

Bespoke workouts

Everyone’s body is different. Everyone has different goals. Therefore everyone needs a different exercise programme. A personal trainer will design a customised fitness plan based on your goals, and what your body can and can’t do.

Direction

We live in an age of information overload in terms of health and fitness. One click of Google in search of a suitable workout routine can provide thousands upon thousands of results. On the other hand, a personal trainer can guide you on the best path to success, based upon your goals.

Variety

Performing the same exercises and routine week in, week out can cause you to become bored and demotivated. Variety is the spice of life, and a personal trainer can provide this by changing routines and alternating different exercises to work the same muscles.

Improve knowledge

Hiring a personal trainer will help you learn new workouts and routines, as well as facts about fitness and nutrition. This may be useful in pushing you further towards your goal, or may help you develop fitness plans that you can perform on your own.

Rehabilitation

Whether you are recovering from an illness or injury, a personal trainer with the relevant training can help train you back to full health. Not only this, but a good trainer may also be able to build up your strength to prevent the injury/illness from returning.

Workout outside of a gym

Gyms are not for everyone. Some people find them intimidating. Some people do not have the time to fit in travelling to and from the gym. Some people prefer to exercise in the great outdoors. A freelance personal trainer will provide the flexibility to train away from the gym.

Event specific

Got a Half Marathon coming up? Not sure how to go about preparing and training for it? A personal trainer will prepare workouts for you that are specific to your event and goal. Workouts will also be periodised to ensure you are at your optimum level for the event.

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How To Smash Your New Year’s Resolutions

Now we are into December many of us will be thinking of making a New Year’s resolution or three. The majority of these resolutions will revolve around getting fitter, living healthier or losing weight. However, roughly only 1 in 10 of us will succeed in achieving their goals. What can you do to ensure you are one of those people? Here are 10 tips for achieving your New Year’s resolution in 2016:

1. Make only one resolution. Making two or more can be overwhelming and will distract you from fully focusing on each one.

2. Make a resolution that you want to achieve.  Don’t follow the crowd or set a goal that you think others would want you to achieve. It is your life afterall, and when the going gets tough you will only succeed at something that you really want.

3. Make your resolution SMART;

Specific (is your resolution specific and definitive; what, why, who, where, which?)

Measurable (how will you track your progress and know you’ve reached your goal?)

Achievable (what makes your resolution realistic and attainable?)

Relevant (does your resolution really matter to you, how will attaining it benefit you?)

Time-bound (when specifically do you want to achieve your resolution by?)

4. Break down your resolution into smaller goals. Start with your overall resolution and then set yourself a series of short-term SMART goals that will help you to attain it.

5. Write down your short-term goals and your overall New Year’s resolution. Display it where you will see it every day. Fridge door. Bathroom mirror. Front door (inside preferably).

6. Reward yourself for achieving each of your short-term goals. This will help maintain motivation and act as reassurance that you are making progress.

7. Let your friends and family know all about your New Year’s resolution. They will hopefully support and help motivate you, and you may also feel accountable to them.

8. There will be setbacks along the way. This is not failure. ‘Failure is not falling down but refusing to get up’. Keep calm and carry on.

9. Learn something from each of your setbacks, namely why it occurred. This will help you avoid experiencing the same setback in the future and strengthen you mentally.

10. If your New Year’s resolution is related to getting fit, healthier or losing weight… why not seek out a Personal Trainer to help you succeed…

Adam Dicker is a Personal Trainer based in Hastings, East Sussex.