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Exercises

Exercise in the Time of COVID-19: Positively Strong H.A.B.I.T

This virus has reminded us of the importance of eating well and exercising in order to maintain a healthy immune system, but it’s definitely not easy to workout when the gyms are closed, the weather is cold, and the kiddos won’t give you a moment of peace.

We may be spending more time at home since we are also working from home, but that is not all that we’re doing. We’re all trying to cook three meals a day at home, homeschooling, making 433 snacks a day for the kiddos (who else knew that 3 year-olds eat like teenagers?), entertaining little ones, staying on top of the ever dwindling groceries, and still trying to stick to our old exercise routines and maintain healthy habits. No wonder feelings of anxiety are at an all time high.

Short Bursts of Training for Maximum Results

Pre-Covid quarantine, I would normally hit up my karate club to teach a class and also get in some martial arts training. Then, on alternate days I would drop my daughter off at daycare and go straight to my local gym for a strength training workout. Now that both the dojo and gym are inaccessible to me, I have had to pivot and create quick and effective Tabata home workouts (that combine my passion for Karate and strength training) to deliver maximum results in minimum time.

The Tabata Protocol

Tabata training or the Tabata Protocol is a type of interval training that was studied by Dr. Izumi Tabata, a professor at the Faculty of Sport and Health Science at Ritsumeikan University in Japan. In the study, athletes performed 20 seconds of a very high intensity exercise (e.g., squat jumps, burpees, mountain climbers, etc.), followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated for a total of 8 times. The athletes were able to improve their VO2 max (the body’s ability to use oxygen more effectively) and overall athletic performance, according to Dr. Tabata’s study published in the journal of Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise.

My workouts use a variation of the Tabata protocol to create a combined Karate and strength training workout. I call it the Positively STRONG Hit All Body Interval Training (HABIT). My dojo is Youtube. Each week I focus on different body parts and techniques to deliver workouts that hit the lower body, upper body, and total body. I teach Karate techniques and drills for the interesting and dynamic cardio training, and use basic Olympic weight lifting and accessory exercises for the strength training portion.

H.A.B.I.T Tips

Before you follow along with my youtube videos, please be sure to do the following:

  • Get thoroughly warmed up. You should spend about 5-10 minutes jogging on the spot, skipping, or doing dynamic warm-up exercises prior to starting the video.
  • If you decide to repeat the video in order to do more than one set, be sure to rest about 60 or more seconds in between sets.
  • Monitor your intensity. These workouts can feel super easy if you do not push yourself to go fast during the karate cardio cycles. Once you know the drill, try to execute the technique as fast as possible. On the same note, the strength training movements should not be performed quickly, but instead the aim should be to go as heavy as safely possible.
  • Remember that intensity is accumulative. As you go through each cycle, the level of intensity peaks as you reach the end of the workout—when muscles are fatigued— which is the time that your form usually gets sloppy, making you more prone to injury. Constantly monitor your form.
  • Depending on your fitness level and number of sets performed, these Tabata style workouts can be done 1-3 times per week, with rest days in between in order to avoid overtraining and injury.
  • Don’t be afraid to extend your recovery time or take longer breaks between rounds.

Overall, I find that the workout just flies by. I love that the intervals are so short, yet you burn tons of calories and can really feel the burn towards the end of each set.

Stay tuned and subscribe to my Youtube channel for new fitness videos as I release new workouts week after week.

To building Positively Strong habits,

Sunny

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Event Exercises Health Informational

Intermittent Fasting, Client Spotlight, and the Must-Try Shoulder Workouts of the Month

Intermittent Fasting: Fad Diet or Effective Weight Loss Method?

Every few months a new fad diet pops up that promises an incredibly easy and effective way to shed those unwanted extra pounds, fast. While most of these types of diets shock your body into losing weight quickly (usually due to the high caloric deficit caused by eliminating whole food groups) they often deprive you of much-needed nutrients and of your sanity as well. The end result is that most people will yo-yo back to their previous weight once the restricted food groups are reintroduced back into the diet.

Sunny’s Take on the Situation: What’s the Deal?

At PostivelySTRONG Health Solutions, we don’t believe in fad diets. Eliminating whole food groups is frowned upon unless you have a food intolerance or history of food allergies. It should also be noted that calorie restriction is not seen as the only way to lose weight. In fact, most clients are quite surprised to see that eating a varied and colorful diet without eliminating whole food groups is the norm. This includes dairy, bread, and even (gasp!) sugar. 

However, there are certain methods to nutrient timing that have scientific backing, and some forms of calorie restriction are necessary for weight loss. One such method is Intermittent Fasting (IF), which is a diet that I sometimes recommend to my clients.

IF is an eating pattern where you either: 

  • A) eat how you would normally eat for 5-days out of the week while vastly restricting calories for two nonconsecutive days out of the week.

OR 

  • B) you only eat all of your daily required calories in two to three meals in an 8 to 10-hour window and fast the rest of the time (usually fasting while sleeping and in the morning).

Here’s why IF is a trend I can get behind:

IF can help you lose weight while encouraging your body to burn stored fat as energy to fuel your body. Benefits include cranking up your metabolism and balancing of hormones. This is accomplished through a reduction in your caloric intake and nutrient timing to get your hormones to fire correctly (i.e. decreased insulin resistance + increase in growth hormones = an increase in the fat-burning hormone Leptin). IF has also been credited with improving heart health.

Here’s how IF can turn on you:

IF can’t fight the good fight against junk food. So don’t expect to lose weight if you are eating everything in sight in those eating windows. Also, it’s definitely not a diet for everyone. There are reports of women experiencing changes in their menstrual cycle after starting IF.  Also, individuals with chronic illnesses, advanced diabetes, or prone to eating disorders, I encourage you to explore other lifestyle and nutrition changes that may better suit your individual needs.

Client Spotlight: Kendra J

Sunny’s Client Kendra is a travel expert who has been working with PositivelySTRONG health solutions for the past 4 years. Her contagious smile and warm personality make her a delight to work with. Her strong self-drive and consistent work ethic make her the dream client. We recently caught up with Kendra and asked her a series of questions to better understand how she enjoys working with Sunny at PositivelySTRONG Health.

Hi Kendra, can you describe your health and fitness regimen before you started with PositivelySTRONG Health?

Before I started working out with Sunny, I was a person that focused a lot on cardio and how much I weighed. I would go through spurts where I was doing kickboxing, running on a treadmill, anything cardio-focused. Which is funny because I really hate cardio—and probably why after a few months I would be over it. 

I would also lift light weights with the fear of gaining too much muscle and didn’t go into the gym with a set workout so I would often wander around with no direction or what body part I should be focusing on. Eating-wise, I would go through periods where I would eat low-carb salads with protein to quickly lose weight, and then politely gain it back once I hit my target size.

What problem(s) were you trying to solve by signing up with PositivelySTRONG Health? 

I wanted to figure out a long-term solution to what I should be feeding my body and how I could incorporate working out consistently and with purpose.

What made you happiest about working with PositivelySTRONG?

Uh. Everything? I love that you challenge me with each new workout (or try to kill me. However you want to see it). Most trainers get weird and don’t acknowledge any disability and your workouts are mindful of my limits but also incorporate moves that will strengthen my arm. Also love that you know life happens and you don’t expect me to eat celery on my birthday, your 80/20 rule is the bee’s knees, and I love how your page gives me more ideas on how to switch up meal prep.

What have you been able to achieve since using our services?

Definitely a lot stronger and I love lifting now! I’m also mindful of what I’m putting in my body and I feel that I figured out what foods make my body happy. You made me rethink my relationship with food.

What has exceeded your expectations since working with Sunny?

Everything! You have been such a joy to work with. You don’t judge my heart if I disappear, but you also call me on my sh*t in a loving encouraging manner (don’t know how else to describe that lol).

What’s the main reason you recommend PositivelySTRONG Health?

Sunny is a thoughtful trainer that encourages her clients to push their bodies, don’t judge their own progress, and make taking care of yourself a priority and a mandatory thing.

What would you tell someone who’s considering working with PositivelySTRONG and/or Sunny?

To be prepared to be changed. You are going to be pushed/warmly shoved out of your comfort zone but it’s definitely worth it!

Thank you Kendra, we definitely appreciate your feedback and enjoy guiding you on your health and fitness journey!

Two Best Shoulder Boulder Workouts To Try Today

For maximum strength, body symmetry, and proper posture, look no further than these two shoulder workouts demonstrated in this video:

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Uncategorized

Fitness Fundamentals: Stretching

SunnyStretch

Stretching. We all know we should do it, but it’s just so easy to skip the stretching after the warm up and at the end of a grueling session at the gym. We usually think “no pain, no gain” and stretching feels too good to be of any real benefit right? Wrong! Stretching can make daily activities so much easier and actually helps to prevent injury during exercise. It is a fundamental way to improve your overall health and fitness and will prepare the muscles for exercise and decrease the chances of injury.

Adding a regular stretching program into your exercise routine will:

  • Decrease muscle pain and soreness after exercise
  • Improve circulation
  • Increase your range of motion
  • Improve your posture
  • Relieve tension and stress
  • Give you a chance to focus your attention for your exercise routine

Stretches are either dynamic, meaning they involve motion, or are static, meaning they involve no motion. Dynamic stretching affects dynamic flexibility and static stretching affects static flexibility. There are 7 different types of stretching and they are as follows: