Marathon Monday

21 Apr

Hi all! Won’t be posting today because I’m currently on the course at th Boston Marathon. It’s a beautiful day!

Wish all the runners have an amazing race!

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How Accurate Is A Heart Rate Monitor For Strength Training?

24 Mar

I had no idea that a heart rate monitor (HRM) could be less accurate for strength training than for cardio. I figured that if your heart rate is elevated, you’re burning calories, which will be measured by the HRM. Well, this may not be the case.

how accurate is your heart rate monitor Background Image via Compfight cc

I was reading an article recently on the accuracy of heart rate monitors on SparkPeople which discussed this very topic.  Here’s what they had to say about it:

A heart rate monitor (HRM) is capable of estimating calorie burn pretty accurately—but only for aerobic (cardio) exercise, not for strength training. Here’s why:

A HRM won’t give you an accurate idea of how many calories you burn during strength training, because the relationship between heart rate and calorie expenditure is not the same during strength training as during cardio exercise, which is what the HRM’s estimate is based on. Unless your weight training is very vigorous circuit training, the heart rate monitor will be overestimating your calorie burn by a fair amount.

Why will it overestimate the amount? Because apparently calories burned has to do with the number of muscle cells activated to perform an activity. These cells use energy while they are doing the work. While your heart rate may be elevated during strength training, the muscle cells aren’t using as much oxygen and energy as you would be by doing cardio – which is when you’re using several muscle groups at once. This is why you may sweat more and feel your heart rate is more elevated when strength training larger muscle groups, like legs, than smaller ones such as arms and shoulders.

Another writer on MyFitnessPal wrote about this as well, explaining it this way:

The increased heart rate that occurs with aerobic exercise is the result of the need for increased cardiac output–the heart must pump more blood to meet the energy demand of the activity. Heart rate increases because of a VOLUME load.

The increased heart rate that occurs with strength training is the result of changes in intrathoracic pressure and an increase in afterload stress. There is no corresponding increase in cardiac output, and thus only a modest increase in oxygen uptake. Heart rate increases because of a PRESSURE load.

Very interesting…

He also goes on to say that HRMs are very useful when doing any sort of cardio exercise, or even circuit training style lifting (HIIT, bootcamps, CrossFit).

So should you ditch the heart rate monitor? I don’t think so. If you already wear it for strength training exercises, you can keep doing so. I think it’s still a good GENERAL idea of what you’re burning but just be aware that it could be off, either by a small amount or a significant amount.

Both articles stated that HRMs are pretty accurate when it comes to cardio, so if you’re wearing it already then you’re all set!

I guess you learn something new everyday😉

Do you wear a heart rate monitor while training? What do you think of these articles?

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Motivational Monday!

24 Mar

I feel like I have said this a million times, but how is it possible that it was 60 yesterday and this week we may get snow…??!? Come on spring….

Anyway, I was looking through Tumblr for a good quote for today. If you ever want some inspiration, look up “inspirational quotes” or something related and you’ll find a lot of great stuff. I love Tumblr in general for discovering funny things, news, GIFs, etc. Here’s the quote I found:

inspirational quote

I read it and it immediately got me thinking. I mean, I think no matter what…even if you followed all of your dreams and gut instincts, you’d always regret something or wish you had done something else, BUT I like the message here. Pursue your goals and see what happens. You might regret it, or it may not work out, but it’s better to try. I think it would be scary to see “the person you could have become.”

Even now I think back to when I was a teenage and how I thought my life would be by now…and it’s totally not! Sometimes it is disappointing to think about but it also makes me want to work harder to get to where I want to be, so that when I’m 45 I’m not looking back to now and remembering how I wanted to accomplish X,Y,Z. Did that make sense? I feel like I just started rambling…😛

What do you think about this quote?

What did you think you would accomplish by now when you were a teen? It’s not necessarily a bad thing if you haven’t done those things! Some of those desires were totally unrealistic🙂

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First Week Of Crossfit Workouts

22 Mar

As I mentioned in my Get Swole update, my brother and I decided to try some Crossfit workouts for the next 4 weeks. I don’t belong to a Crossfit gym, so I looked for workouts that can easily be done in a typical gym.

I like the set-up of Crossfit workouts in that you start with strength moves, and improving on big lifts, and then move into conditioning (more like cardio).

I wanted to share our first week of workouts and see what you think! It was definitely a change from our normal routine but I really liked it.

Monday

crossfit wod

Tuesday

amrap crossfit wod

Wednesday

Off

Thursday

4 sets of 10

Barbell deadlift

T-Bar row

Conditioning:

50-40-30-20-10 (repeated 2x because we don’t know how to do double unders)

Jump rope

Crunches

Friday:

Ran 2 miles

Saturday (today):

Not sure yet!

We are obviously staying away from Olympic lifts like squat and clean, etc. because I’m not certified in Olympic weight lifting, so I can’t teach my brother and myself the proper form. Although I’m sure I can figure it out based on other exercises I have taught to clients, better safe than sorry!

I’m going to create my own “strength” portions based on what I want to get better at, but I look through the internet to find good conditioning WODS. So if you know any good ones, please leave a comment!

Have you tried Crossfit? What do you think of it?

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Get Swole Program Review

21 Mar

Well, 16 weeks has come and gone…crazy! When my brother and I first started the Get Swole program we didn’t think we’d get past 4 weeks, simply because we had never followed such a long plan before. Well, besides marathon training.

Get Swole program

Here’s my most recent update about the plan. I have gained a lot of strength throughout these 16 weeks. Sure, I’m a personal trainer and could have made my own plan, but I wanted to try something new.

I was a little skeptical because a lot of the exercises are the same throughout the 16 weeks, BUT, each phase (which is 4 weeks), you change how many sets and reps you do. This keeps you from hitting a plateau, and also helps you to continue gaining strength.

For example, in Phase 1 of leg day, we started with 5 sets of 12 reps of exercises. In Phase 2, we moved to a pyramid phase, so leg day was exercises for 20, 15, 12, 10 and 8 reps (such as squats). Phase 3 was higher reps (3 sets of 15), and Phase 4 was 6 days of lifting (as opposed to 4), and lower reps (8 reps).

So even though we did a lot of the same exercises throughout, like bench press, barbell squats, leg press, and others, we were constantly challenging our muscles because we were switching the reps, which means we were switching up the load we were using.  If you’re doing less reps, you want to challenge yourself by making the weight heavier than if you’re doing 15 reps of an exercise.

I have looked through other bodybuilding.com plans but haven’t found one I like as much, mainly because it seems to focus on smaller muscle groups rather than incorporating the big lifts (squat, bench, pull-ups).

I really like this plan, and my brother and I plan on re-starting it and changing a few things. Currently, we are going to do 4 weeks of Crossfit workouts at the gym, in order to change things but, but afterwards we will go back to Get Swole.

Here are some of my numbers/how I have improved. I know this might be nothing to some people but it’s a big improvement for me!🙂

  • Bench Press – Started: 45 lbs, Current: 65 lbs
  • Barbell Back Squat – Started: 30 lbs, Current: 100 lbs (!!) <– most I have ever squatted!
  • Leg Press – Started: 80 lbs, Current: 160 lbs
  • Leg Curl – Started: 30 lbs, Current: 60 lbs
  • Military Barbell Press – Started: 20 lbs, Current: 40 lbs
  • Incline Dumbbell Press – Started: 12.5 lbs, Current: 25 lbs

These are the exercises that are currently coming to mind but there a lot of others on the plan. Sadly, I didn’t make my goal of doing an unassisted pull-up (well,maybe…hmm I will try at the gym tonight), but I’m almost there! I can pull myself up half-way😉

I’ll warn you now – leg days are killer. But so worth it. I was always dripping in sweat, but I love challenging myself with barbell squats. My goal was to hit 100 lbs by the end of the program, and I did it! Here are some baby quads😛

And I think I got a little bit of bicep progress! I’ll admit, if I skipped any workout it was bicep/tricep day, but doing pull-ups and presses still helped make those areas stronger.

If you’re looking to gain some muscle and strength, I highly recommend checking this program out! I will say, I did not follow it to a tee. There were some exercises I left out, or changed, just based on what my brother and I could do at our gym, or what I thought was more appropriate for us. But feel free to contact me if you have any questions about that.

Don’t be afraid to lift heavy ladies! You will feel 100% more confident knowing how much stronger you got…and you will definitely not look like a man.

I’ll keep you posted on how these 4 weeks of Crossfit workouts go. So far, I love them! It’s totally different than anything I have done.

Do you like to lift heavy?

What is your favorite muscle group to work out? I think mine is leg day🙂

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Are You Eating Enough Calories?

20 Mar

When you want to lose weight, the “rule of thumb” is to subtract 500 calories from your total daily calories, or exercise to burn an extra 500 calories.

Apps like the LoseIt! app (which I do love), give you caloric numbers depending on what your goals are and how fast you want to lose weight. When I put in that I want to lose 10 lbs., it told me I should be eating 1,200 calories.

How often have we heard that number? 1,200 calories? It seems to be the “magic” number for how many calories to eat and lose weight, but also the number you’re never supposed to dip under.

But how many calories do you actually need?

calorie calculator

Well, it all depends on how often you work out and for how long. When I typed in my stats into the Mayo Clinic Calorie Calculator, it told me I should be eating 2,000 calories daily, and a minimum of 1,700! I’m definitely not eating 2,000 calories per day, but have been trying to be better about eating more. It’s just hard, but I’ll get into that later.

The Plateau

Have you been struggling to lose weight or bodyfat? It may be metabolic damage – or, not eating enough calories. Contrary to popular belief, you need to EAT MORE to LOSE. Recently, trainer Tony Gentilcore had a guest post from another trainer who discussed metabolic damage.

I’ve seen real people…exercising often and leading a busy life consuming less than 2000 calories a day. 

Hmmm….shouldn’t they be burning at least 623 calories a day from fat, leading to over one pound of fat lost a week? (3500 calories in a pound of fat).

Quite often, they don’t because their metabolism has adapted to such a low calorie diet that it won’t chance increasing energy expenditure for fear of burning through it’s precious energy stores.

Not eating enough calories puts stress on your body, and increases cortisol…along with other negative effects. This post also states that, “even if you don’t drop your calories too low, dropping carbohydrates too low can inhibit your metabolic functioning.” Don’t be afraid of carbs! Especially if you’re an active person!

The first time I heard about “metabolic damage” was when a friend sent me this video by trainer Layne Norton. He is mainly using fitness & figure models as the example here, but I think a lot of active people can relate. He really opened my eyes as to how dropping your calories or going low-carb can have a negative affect on your body:

He has said that what he does to help figure competitors recover is to have them eat a bit more calories each week until they reach the threshold for how many calories they can eat without gaining weight. It’s something that I have started doing as well. I used to only eat 1,300-1,500 calories because I wanted to lose bodyfat. Clearly, not enough!

Recently, I’ve been tracking my calories and trying to eat close to 1,700-1,800 and will slowly build to 2,000. It is really hard for me because I have no clue what to eat to get there! I can only eat so many protein shakes, fruit, eggs, etc. So any healthy snack ideas you have, please feel free to comment😉

If you have been stuck in a plateau for a while (I certainly have), then how many calories you consume may play a role. Another thing to think about is your macros (protein, carbs, fat). Check out “If It Fits Your Macros” to get a break down of how many calories they think you should eat, along with macros.

I’ve written about IIFYM before, and don’t 100% agree with the premise, but I do agree with trying to calculate what percentage of each macronutrient you should be getting. Like I mentioned above, I use the LoseIt! app to track all of this.

If you want to see part 2 of Tony’s post about recovering your metabolism, check it out here.

If you want to get a clearer picture of your caloric needs, the best and most accurate thing would be to consult with a nutritionist or dietician.

Do you eat enough calories?

Do you track your calories and macros?

How does eating affect your workouts?

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How Blogging Is Like Running A Business

19 Mar

Last Friday, I attended Blogging Concentrated in NYC…and it was awesome! I seriously learned so much. If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen some of my live-tweets from the event.

The main theme of the event was this:

This is so true if you are working towards building and monetizing your blog. Sometimes we sell ourselves short, but if you really think about it, we make a lot of business related decisions day in and day out. Should you create an e-book? How much will you sell it for? Should you join an ad network? Should you sell ad space on your blog? Bloggers are also constantly networking, working with other bloggers, developing their brand, developing a social media strategy…aka all things that businesses do!

Dan Morris, author of LettersFromDan.com, was the presenter and he did an amazing job. He’s truly an expert, and used the knowledge he has gained from helping clients to help us implement ourselves. He was really funny (I laughed out a lot a lot), and very helpful. He helped answer anyone’s questions, no matter how long it took.

The day-long workshop touched upon the above mentioned topics, and we also discussed YouTube, Google Ads, SEO, finding your niche, and more. I really wish I could fit it all into a post but we really learned so much stuff. This workshop is geared towards a specific type of blogger. According to their website, this is who would be perfect for this event:

Bloggers who have traffic to their websites, have been blogging for a while, are making a little money but are ready to take the next steps are the best fit for this program.

If you’ve tried Adsense, affiliate marketing, sponsored posts or membership sites as a monetization course, you’d be perfect for this class.

It was great to network with other bloggers, and also inspirational to hear other’s stories about why they started their blog, and what they hope to accomplish.

Here are a few tidbits I learned and would like to share with you!

  • A good thing to think about when thinking about your brand/blog’s purpose and niche is this: If you spoke in front of 10,000 people, who would stand up and applaud? Think about those people when you’re writing.
  • Want to expand your reach? Don’t be afraid to network! Get in touch with organizations and brands related to your blog…and other people, such as podcasters, vloggers and other writers. Do interviews with them.
  • Be the expert in your niche. Answer people’s questions, whether it’s on your blog, on YouTube, through comment sections, forums etc. This will also help people find you and view you as the expert.
  • What problem is your blog solving? Hone in on that and focus on that for the majority of your posts.

I’m so glad I was able to attend and learn. It was also my first blogging conference! There were about 20-30 people in attendance, and I really liked the intimate atmosphere.

If you’re interested in future Blogging Concentrated events, you’re in luck! There are multiple BloggingCon events going on throughout the nation in the next few months. In fact, for all you east-coasters, there will be a Blogging Concentrated in Syracuse on March 22. Last minute, I know, but you still have time to register! You can find a list of locations and register here.* If you’re near any of these areas, I highly recommend checking out this event, especially if you want to grow your blog and monetize it in some capacity. Let me know if you have any questions!

*This is a referral link provided to me by Blogging Concentrated. All opinions are my own.

Have you ever attended a blogging conference? Which one?

Have you or do you want to monetize your blog? Do you view your blog as a business?

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