Tag Archives: lifting

Workout Wednesday: Is Less More When It Comes To Exercise?

Do you always feel guilty skipping a workout?  An interesting article in the New York Times suggest that maybe you shouldn’t.  In fact, it might be better for your overall health and fitness to take a couple of days off each week.  Can this really be true?!  IS THIS REAL LIFE?!

The article cites a study conducted by researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.  It included older, sedentary test subjects, all women, between the ages of 60 and 74.  They were each randomly assigned to one of three exercise groups.  Group #1 exercised twice a week.  Group #2 exercised four times a week.  Group #3 exercised six times a week.  And guess what.  At the end of the four-month-long experiment, the ladies in the middle won the prize!  Take a look:

“The women exercising four times per week were now expending far more energy, over all, than the women in either of the other two groups. They were burning about 225 additional calories each day, beyond what they expended while exercising, compared to their calorie burning at the start of the experiment.”

The idea is that four workouts a week were enough to help the women feel more energized and willing to be active outside their time at the gym.  They were walking more for pleasure.  They were taking the stairs instead of the elevator.  Maybe they were breakdancing, too.  Isn’t that a lovely idea.

The women who worked out only twice a week saw benefits, too… but the women in the six-workout-a-week group, surprisingly, had the most trouble.  They were burning far fewer calories during non-exercise hours than the other two groups.  They felt burned out, tired, and pressed for time, so they’d make choices out of convenience, like driving instead of walking.

I, for one, can totally relate.  I go on streaks where I’ll workout 6 times a week for a couple of weeks.  Then, during the third week, I can’t get off my ass.  Then I feel guilty.  Then I get depressed.  It’s stupid really.  It helps to remember that fitness is a life-long journey.  We have to make healthy changes we’re able to maintain for the long-term.

So, what do you think?  Is four days a week the magic number?  How often do you exercise?  VOTE NOW and like The Hungry Tortoise on Facebook!


Workout Wednesday: 5 Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making

Get the most out of your workout and stop sabotaging yourself!  Here are the 5 mistakes you may be making at the gym… without even knowing it.

  1. Doing any kinda of cardio at the same pace for your entire workout:  Ample research shows that HIIT, or High Intensity Interval Training, is where it’s at.  It means varying the pace and intensity of your workout, and it doesn’t have to be anything super structured or formal.  Instead of walking at 4 miles per hour for 30 minutes, try walking at 4 miles per hour for 3 minutes, then jogging at 5.5 miles per hour for 2 minutes, then recovering for 1 minute before increasing the intensity again.  You’ll burn more calories and fat this way, because you’re constantly challenging your body and increasing your heart rate.  For ideas, check out the Hungry Tortoise’s Minka Kelly Circuit and the 30 Minute Treadmill Circuit with Hills!
  2. Lifting the same weights every day:  If you’re lifting weights on a regular basis, you’re likely getting stronger, which means those weights you started out with are no longer challenging.  IF IT DOESN’T CHALLENGE YOU, IT DOESN’T CHANGE YOU.  As soon as you feel like you’re able, increase your load, even if it’s just by a pound or two.  Every little bit helps you get fitter and stronger.  And ladies, please stop curling 2 pound weights.  Have some respect for yourself.  You can do more, and you should do more.  Don’t ever be afraid of gaining too much muscle.  Unless you’re mainlining testosterone, there’s just no way you’ll ever bulk up like a man.  It’s science.
  3. Leaning on the cardio machine:  It’s okay to hold the rails, say, on an elliptical or a stair-stepper.  It helps you keep your balance.  But there’s a fine line between holding and leaning.  Leaning = cheating.  You might as well go home.  You look stupid, and you’re wasting your time.  This bitch below, for example, be trippin’:LEANING STAIRS
  4. Stretching before cardio:  Stretching cold muscles can lead to injury.  Warm up the right way by doing something light, like walking, for about 5 minutes.  Stretch AFTER the short warm-up, and make sure to stretch again right before you go home.  That way, you’ll avoid soreness the next day and maintain your flexibility.
  5. Guzzling Gatorade:  Unless you’re a serious athlete in training, or getting over a nasty case of the diarrhea, there’s a good chance you’ll never really need to refuel with a commercial sports drink.  They’re full of artificial ingredients… and get this!  A 20 oz. bottle of regular Gatorade has 125 calories.  That’s equal to about a mile on the treadmill.  Is it really worth it?  Lots of good, clean water works just fine.  And if you feel like you really need some extra electrolytes, I’d argue that coconut water is a better option than a sports drink.  My favorite brand is Vita Coco because it has fruit-flavored varieties that are all-natural with no added sugars.  Coconut water is also great for a hangover.  Just sayin’. VITA COCOWhat mistakes have you made at the gym?  What no-nos did I miss?  Let me know!  Comment in the section below or e-mail me at thehungrytortoise@gmail.com.
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