Saturday, 28 February 2015

The Real Impact of Carbs

Carbohydrates have earned somewhat of a bad reputation over the years. Like other macronutrients before them, carbs have fallen victim to the latest diet trends and fads, many of which recommend significantly reducing carbohydrate intake across the board. In fact, the topic often inspires heated debate between health and fitness experts, not to mention the feelings of love, hate and guilt inspired in the average person. Carbs have become the guilty pleasure of macronutrients. 
For those with weight loss as a goal, low-carb diets have seemed to provide the answer. Reduced carbohydrate diets are commonly recommended based on the initial weight loss; however, studies have found this initial weight loss is often not sustained and, in many cases, leads to weight gain down the road. Plus, without carbs to utilize for energy, the body begins to burn protein. Over the long-term, a balanced diet including carbohydrates will yield the best results. 
It’s time to set the record straight about this essential macronutrient and find out the real impact of carbs on our bodies. 
The Role of Carbs
Carbohydrates are a key source of energy. As the body ingests these macronutrients from food, it sets in motion a complex process of carbohydrate breakdown, insulin release and sugar absorption. This process creates, ideally, a steady stream of energy for the body, whether the individual is typing away at a desk or completing a rigorous training session. Clearly, carbohydrates play a vital role in our diets. 
The Right Carb for the Right Job
We’ve all heard the terms simple and complex carbs and, more recently, glycemic index. These refer to the structure of the carbohydrate and how quickly it’s broken down into glucose in the bloodstream. In general, the diet should focus on complex carbohydrates, such as whole-grain breads, rices and cereals, along with the right simple carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy (simple carbs like refined sugar are best avoided). These types of carbohydrates provide not only energy, but also vitamins and minerals and, in many cases, fiber. When quickly trying to replenish energy stores after an intense workout, the right carb is often a simple carb paired with protein. Chocolate milk, yogurt with fruit and similar post-workout snacks can be good options. Like anything else in a good nutrition program, it comes down to taking a total-diet approach and choosing the right carb to fuel your day or refuel after a training session. 
The Dark Side of Carbs
Yes, carbs are a primary source of energy and a must for a quality nutrition program. And yes, carbs can have a dark side just like any other macronutrient consumed in excess. This is where carbs start earning a bad reputation and it’s all in how we eat them. Carbohydrates are a source of energy, broken down by the body and then used or stored as glycogen, which is a quick source of energy to power your muscles through their next lifting session or high-intensity interval training workout. Unfortunately, the body’s ability to store glycogen is limited. Once the glycogen reserves are full, where does the excess glucose go? That extra energy broken down from excess carbohydrates is stored as fat instead of glycogen. Not all carbs lead to fat, just the excess ones. 
It’s time to recognize the real impact of carbs—the energy they provide for day-to-day needs or extreme workout—as well as how we utilize them, for better or worse. Making a place for quality carbohydrates like whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes in a good nutrition program can ensure long-term success 
Source : By Evolution Nutrition / Ace 

Friday, 27 February 2015

2014 Games Highlights | Mini Doc and review

From the Open to the regionals to the Games, the 2014 Reebok CrossFit Games season made history.
 In this in-depth look at the top level of CrossFit competition, we catch up with 2014’s top-seeded competitors Camille Leblanc-Bazinet, Rich Froning, Jason Khalipa, Josh Bridges, Sam Briggs, Lindsey Valenzuela and more.
Watch as we get inside the minds of the athletes who achieve their dreams of making it to the Games and find out what makes them tick. What are they thinking before 3-2-1 … go? Who are they watching? What are their expectations?
At the end of the weekend, three women and three men occupy the coveted Games podium and while some are already thinking about 2015, others are taking in every second of what may be their last time on the floor of the CrossFit Games.
Video by Ian Wittenber.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

The Test of Fitness

 Published on 20 Feb 2014
A documentary about creating the ultimate test of fitness, the CrossFit Games.

Nearly 12 years ago, CrossFit Founder and CEO Greg Glassman defined fitness. In 2007, the first test to find the fittest man and woman on Earth was born: the CrossFit Games.

"It's as easy as this: if fitness can be defined and measured, then it can be tested, and we can, in turn, find the fittest," Glassman wrote in 2013 of the CrossFit Games, which started as a small competition between friends and grew into a global battle.

Glassman's definition of fitness: work capacity across broad time and modal domains—something measurable, observable and repeatable.

"We claim to title the Fittest on Earth, and we can do that because we as a fitness methodology have defined fitness," says Dave Castro, Director of the Games.

He continues: "No one else is testing fitness, and at this point, no one can make a claim."

"Anyone in the field of exercise would agree that the definition of fitness that Greg Glassman came up with is as complete as any that's ever been," says Matt Chan, a six-time Games competitor and member of CrossFit's Level 1 Seminar Staff.

He adds: "Fitness is not just in the gym. Fitness is outside of the gym. It's life. Anytime you find yourself saying, 'Damn it, I can't do that,' you have a hole in your fitness."

In this official CrossFit Inc. documentary, learn how and why the Games started, as well as about the efforts that go into making the annual event not just an athletic contest but also an experiment in human performance.

Justin Bergh, CrossFit Games General Manager, explains: "We'll look back and say, 'We were just—in 2013—scratching the surface. We were just starting to understand what fitness really was.'"

Video by Heber Cannon and Jonathan Glancy.

The CrossFit Games -- (

The CrossFit Games® - The Sport of Fitness™
The Fittest On Earth™

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Why We Do It

Why do you compete? Why do you do the Open? We all have a reason. What's yours?

Register for the 2015 Open here:
The CrossFit Games -- (

The CrossFit Games® - The Sport of Fitness™
The Fittest On Earth™

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Core Fitness With Crossfit Wall Balls

One of the popular exercises used in Crossfit(r) is 'Wall Balls'. Wall Balls are both very simple and crazy hard. Wall Balls are a full body weight bearing exercise and are great for rapidly strengthening the core muscles of the abdomen and lower back while improving overall conditioning. They are also plyometric (more on that later). While no doubt previously done informally by many, Crossfit seems the first to have formalized it as an exercise sequence.
In sports such as basketball or lacrosse wall balls are traditionally a series of drills done against a wall. Here they are done with a definite Crossfit burnout (metabolic overload) twist. The Crossfit idea of a Wall Ball is to throw a medicine ball upwards against a wall, catch it in a squat position and then explosively spring back out of the squat throwing the ball back up. Then squat catch, spring up and throw, squat catch, spring up and throw - and repeat sequence as many times as specified.

Medicine ball training is one of the oldest forms of strength and conditioning training. A medicine ball is a weighted ball and is traditionally roughly the diameter of the shoulders - 14 inches. Medicine balls were a staple of 18th and 19th century English gyms and early references to Persian wrestlers training with sand filled bladders date back almost 3000 years.

To do a Wall Ball start out facing the wall about 12-18 inches back. The throwing motion is much like basketball - start out by sinking down and keep your elbows down with the ball held evenly close to the chest. Unlike basketball, you descend all the way into a squat position, and then explode into a throw. It is important to do a full squat - your rear should hit a medicine ball if one was placed on the floor behind you. Whether you take one breath per throw or two, breathe deeply and calmly, synchronizing your breath with the throws. Keep your movements even and smooth on both the ascent and descent.
The extension of the leg muscles as you catch and sink into the squat, then their rapid contraction with the throw is the plyometric part. Plyometric exercises are designed to develop and increase muscle power. Plyometrics emphasize the rapid stretch of a muscle followed by a rapid shortening of the same muscle. Simple bouncing jumps are a good example. Like the Crossfit-style squat-thruster, the Wall Ball is basically a squat-push press combination done continuously with a light weight as a plyometric exercise.

In Crossfit workouts Wall Balls are often done as part of a couplet or triplet series along with sit-ups, pull-ups, or some Olympic lift such as push-press in a 21-15-9 sequence. For example a triplet of 21 Wall Balls followed by 21 pull-ups and 21 weighted push-presses, 15 Wall Balls, 15 pull-ups, 15 weighted push presses, and finally 9 Wall Balls, pull-ups, and weighted push presses.
Originally the goal was to throw the medicine ball up 8-9 feet, but with the advent of the Crossfit games the standard became 10 feet for men and 8 feet for women. The usual specified Rx weight ("Rx" is short for 'as prescribed' in Crossfit terms) is a 20lbs for men and 14lbs for women. You often now find lines at these heights scribed on the walls of Crossfit gyms. Check out your local one and see..!

  CrossFit is a registered trademark of CrossFit, Inc.

Source : John Harker / Ezine

Monday, 23 February 2015

People Try CrossFit For The First Time

Proof We where made to Move ....

“Sitting will kill you”—this is a CNN headline that caught my eye a few days ago. In fact, many recent research studies have revealed that being sedentary and sitting too much will shorten one’s lifespan, diminish quality of life and contribute to the development of chronic diseases. 
How is it possible that, with the knowledge and technology available today, we have managed to adapt such sedentary, self-destructive behaviors? Slowly, but surely, we have arrived at a daily routine that involves hardly ANY physical activity, intentional or non-intentional. We are now reaping the consequences of not moving our bodies. This should give us a clue, namely, that our bodies were made to MOVE—not to be sedentary. 
The human body is an amazing and fascinating organism, which works BEST when it’s active. It is vital that health and fitness professionals fully comprehend this significance to be able to communicate its importance to clients. Understanding the value of one’s own human parts and mechanisms will contribute to a greater appreciation of one’s entire system, hopefully creating a desire to take care of it more intentionally.
Here are some amazing facts about the human body:
  • There are an estimated 37.2 trillion cells in the body (at maturity)
  • On average, adult bodies contain 5.5 liters of blood and about 10 liters of interstitial fluid
  • Adults are made up of approximately 7 octillion atoms
  • The human heart beats around 100,000 times per day
  • The human lungs have a surface of around 70 square meters
  • On average, adults blink 10 times per minute
  • It takes the human body about 12 hours to digest food 
I often ask my clients and students, “Don’t you wish you had a zipper going down the front of your body, so you could open it and see what’s going on at all times?” The answers vary, but if you imagined the same thing and “unzipped” yourself, you would find out one key thing about your body: It is ALWAYS in motion! There is constant movement within our bodies. 
Benefits of Physical Activity 
Examining the immediate and long-term benefits of physical activity provides clear evidence that the human body is made to move. Examples of powerful benefits of movement include: 
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Better regulation of blood sugar
  • Lower resting heart rate
  • Better control of body fat
  • Improved immune function
  • Increased muscular strength and endurance
  • Improved cardiorespiratory functioning
  • Increased flexibility
  • Better join health
  • Improved mental functioning
  • Higher quality of sleep 
In just a few minutes, physical activity boosts our metabolism. Research shows that physical activity decreases depression and increases self-esteem. This list could go on and on. Further, it is important to realize that the human body contains more than 600 muscles, which is an indication that the body was constructed for amazing physical capabilities. It is clear that the human body functions best when it is active. There is power in motion! 
Consequences of Physical Inactivity 
Further proof that the human body was designed to move, are the consequences of not moving. Physical inactivity leads to deterioration, such as: 
  • Loss of bone density
  • Stiffening of joints
  • Weakening of muscles
  • Weakening of the heart and lungs
  • Degeneration of the cellular energy systems 
As soon as one sits down, electrical activity shuts off in the leg muscles. Calorie burning is significantly reduced (potentially to as little as one calorie or less, depending on one's height, weight, gender, etc.) and lipase, an enzyme in the legs that assists with the breakdown of fat, dramatically and rapidly drops. After two hours of sitting, HDL (the so-called good cholesterol) levels drop by 20 percent. After 24 hours of sitting, insulin effectiveness drops 24 percent and the risk for diabetes rises. Sitting increases the risk of death up to 40 percent. 
Inactivity is killing people and is arguably one of the greatest threats of our time. The World Health Organization (WHO) asserts that physical inactivity constitutes the fourth leading cause of death globally, causing an estimated 3.2 million deaths globally. 
As health and fitness professionals, we have a responsibility to educate our clients about the human body, its functions, abilities and needs. Recognizing that the human body was made to move and that it functions best when it is regularly physically active provides a critical foundation for our clients’ journey to improve their fitness and overall wellbeing. Further, it is essential that health and fitness professionals design effective exercise plans that include daily physical activity and structured exercise for maximized success and to meet the human body’s innate need to be in constant motion.

Source : By Dominique Wakefield/ Ace

Sunday, 22 February 2015

3 Benefits of the CrossFit Community

Global Relations:
When you join the CrossFit community, you're not only joining a workout program or a gym, you're joining a community of people that have common goals. You can find people from countries like Germany, Australia, China, and South Africa, doing the same thing as you.
The unique thing about CrossFit is that it is free. Yes, you read correctly. If you visit, you will find the Workout of the Day, also called the "WOD." 


 Anyone from anywhere can do this workout. Providing the opportunity to reach elite fitness is one of CrossFit's primary goals. CrossFit is open to the masses, and the only way to morph this world into a fit community is by letting everybody participate. When entering the CrossFit community, you are joining thousands of people that have one goal: to become better. Not just better CrossFitters, but better parents, lawyers, police officers, firefighters, friends, etc... Just ask any member of our community whether CrossFit has had an impact on his/her life outside of the box. I have yet to hear a "No."

You Can Do It:
The single best thing about CrossFit is that it is for every level. Whether you have never lifted a weight in your life or you are a professional athlete, CrossFit will make you better. This is what you were born to do. If you decide to join a CrossFit gym, an instructor will always be there to coach you. He or she will perfect your movements and make sure you have the correct form for optimal performance and safety. You will find yourself surrounded by a group that will cheer the last person to finish just as hard as the first.

 No Ego:
CrossFit in nature does not allow for egos. The workouts always win. The only thing you can improve on, is how badly it affects you. That's what makes people stronger, not a big chest.
When you work hard, you earn respect. It does not matter who you are or what you are capable of. Hard work is hard work. There is no room for egos in a CrossFit box.
Because of this, we have the unique capability to make a novice athlete better as well as the elite athlete. Any Strength and Conditioning gym will get an athlete in shape."
"If you can brag about either a low 4's mile or a high 4's bench press you could also be a lot fitter."

Source : Dan Martini / Ezine

Simple Strategies to Change Your Habits

"Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny."
- Mahatma Gandhi

A large proportion of our daily actions are habits: routines that we've formed over a lifetime. It's estimated that about 40% of people's daily activities are habits. Some habits serve a positive purpose- such as locking the door when you leave the house, speaking with pleasantries during a phone conversation, or letting the dog out when he sits by the back door.
Most of us, however, have habits that we wish we could break. Many of which, revolve around food. Examples may be having something sweet in the afternoon to get you out of an energy slump, snacking at night when you're not hungry, or rewarding yourself with a second helping of dinner after a stressful day at work.
Habits, especially bad habits, are difficult to break. Breaking a habit takes a tremendous amount of willpower, and willpower is a limited resource. It's highest in the morning after a restful nights rest, is easily eroded by stress, fatigue, anxiety, happiness, or pretty much any emotion or situation. It wavers when someone offers you a piece of chocolate, and admits defeat at the smell of fresh baked pie. It may put up a good fight at breakfast time; after all, most people find it relatively easy to say no to chocolate cake at 7am. But even on a good day, you may find your willpower levels are pretty low by 3 or 4 in the afternoon. It leaves you vulnerable to the breadbasket at dinner, the handfuls of cereal after supper, or the chips after the kids are in bed.
Willpower is not the answer. So, instead of trying to break bad habits, aim to change them.
The lifecycle of a habit can be broken down into three parts; cue, routine and reward. For example, the cue to lock the door when leaving the house is, well, leaving the house. The routine is locking the door, and the reward is the peace of mind that your house and belongings are relatively safe. In the example of the 2PM treat as a 'pick me up', the cue would be the feeling of waning energy, feeling bored at work, or simply the fact that it's 2PM. The routine would be heading to the vending machine, office kitchen, or desk drawer in search of a candy bar or muffin. The reward would be the short-lived increase in energy, the pleasure of having something sweet on your tongue, and a break from work.
If you want to stop the sugar habit, simply saying "I am going to give up my afternoon treat" is likely not enough. When that cue hits, it's hard to resist! Your body needs something- and up until this point you've been feeding it candy.

 In order to swap a habit, you first need to pause and recognize that your actions are just that- a habit. Also, you must remember that you are in charge, and you have the power to change your habits.
Ask yourself the simple, but often emotional question "what do I really want?" Think about the reward- how do you want to feel? When that afternoon slump hits, you want something. But, do you really want that slightly stale doughnut or to wolf down a chocolate bar while sitting at your desk? Or, are you simply bored with the task you're working on and need a break? Do you need to feel re-energized? Do you need a pleasurable experience?
Next, think of different routines that could yield the same reward. If you are battling an energy slump and need to feel energized, would a short walk or doing a few squats to get the your blood flowing do the trick? Perhaps, a short visit with a co-worker to offer a change of scenery or a mind break? What about going outside for some fresh air, or taking a few minutes to stretch? If you are slightly hungry would a crisp, juicy apple do the trick?
What about the evening rummage through the pantry after your kids are in bed? Are you looking for a reward after a long, hard day? Are you bored? Are you stressed? Again ask, "what do I really want?" Do you need some excitement to overcome boredom? Do you just need to unwind? Would working on a project, indulging in an entertaining novel or writing in a journal give you what you really need?
To get started, pick one habit that you'd like to change. Identify the cue associated with the action, and the feeling that you get from the reward. Make a list of alternatives, more healthful habits you can engage in to replace that bad habit. Rehearse the situation in your mind and picture yourself engaging in that new habit. The more you practice, the better you'll get!
Although habits can most certainly be changed, the process is not always easy. Do not expect to change a habit overnight. It takes patience and persistence! Proceed with kindness, understanding and acceptance of yourself. Celebrate your successes and learn from your mistakes.

Source : Tanja M Shaw /Ezine

Saturday, 21 February 2015

2015 CrossFit Open Announcements and Athletes

Photo Credit: Daily Burn

2015 CrossFit Open Announcements and Athletes

With the 2015 CrossFit Open just around the corner, CrossFit HQ has just announced the dates and details for the 5 workouts across the duration.

The Workouts & Athletes

15.1 | February 26 | Froning vs. Fraser | Reebok CrossFit ONE | Canton, Massachusetts

15.2 | March 5 | Letendre vs. Bridgers | CrossFit Jääkarhu | Austin, Texas

15.3 | March 12 | Foucher vs. Brooks | CrossFit Chicago | Chicago, Illinois

15.4 | March 19 | Bridges vs. Panchik | CrossFit X-Factor | Portland, Oregon

15.5 | March 26 | Leblanc-Bazinet vs. Briggs vs. Thorisdottir | CrossFit Max Effort | Las Vegas, Nevada

 Photo Credit: CrossFit Games

So what’s the rundown?

 15.1 kicks off the first week of the CrossFit Open and you cannot get much bigger than Rich Froning and Mat Fraser. All the hype this year surrounds Fraser as a potential heir to “The Frone”. Can the second placed finisher in the 2014 CrossFit Games take it up to Froning, or will the four time champ hold strong?

The remainder of the five weeks is finished with an all mighty bang, with the last three winners of the CrossFit Games going head, to head to head. Sam Briggs, Camille Leblanc Bazinet and Annie Thorisdottir will battle out as a potential showdown for not only the winner of the overall CrossFit Open, but the subsequent champion of the hotly contested CrossFit Games.

Source: CrossFit Games

Mastering the Muscle Up for CrossFit

Many athletes struggle greater to do the muscle up, than they do just about any other technique in CrossFit. While technique is the most valuable tool an athlete has at his disposal, the development of the muscles used in this workout will assist the athlete in exploding above the rings, and having the kinesthetic muscle awareness to maintain proper technique.

 Many workout regimens I have seen are ineffective while others are dangerous. Today we are going to break down some vital workouts that, when used effectively, can help you achieve a perfect muscle up.

#1: Strict Pull ups
In CrossFit, I feel we focus a little too much on our kipping pull-ups and butterfly pull-up and forget the pull-up we all did in P.E. in elementary school. The strict pull-up is foundational for the bar muscle up. This movement develops your latissimus dorsi, traps, supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor and subscapularis which is vital for your strength and support for your rotator cuff. If you are unable to do a strict pull up, there are a number of exercises you can play with to develop this critical movement.
  • Negative pull-ups (start at the top and lower yourself slowly)
  • Ring Rows
  • Pendlay Rows
  • Isometric Pull up hold
  • Gymnastic Rings Archers
# 2: Develop your Core Strength
In addition to isometric lifts and explosive power, a strong core is vital to this. Abdominal isometric holds, like L-holds and hollow holds accompanied with explosive core work like pike-ups and GHD situps will strengthen the explosive muscles needed in the abdomen that you will need to get the pop your hips need for a muscle up.
#3: Chest to Bar
The next drill you should perfect in your quest to mastering the muscle up, is developing a strong chest-to-bar. For this drill I want you to focus less on stringing chest-to-bar pull-ups together, while instead trying to bring your hips and legs parallel to the floor and pulling the bar to your rectus abdominus. This will involve a dramatic back swing followed by an explosive kip.
If you can master this skill and can learn to pull that bar to your abs, you are just one step away from flicking your elbows to the air, and finishing your muscle-up.
You will also need to develop a strong hollow and a strong arch on the ground which will develop kinesthetic muscle memory.
#4: Learning the transition from False Grip to Ring Dip Position.
As stated earlier, technique drills are vital to this workout. While this articles scope is more focused on the muscle development needed to do a muscle up, there is one particular technique that simply must be practiced before one should try a ring dip from below.
For a proper technique video on the drill I'm discussing, check out Jason Khalipa's technique video

Practicing this transition will prepare you for the "flick" of the elbows to the sky you will need to master before attempting your muscle ups.
Philip Gephardt is a professional fighter and owner/founder of Factum CrossFit and MMA in Utah. Phil was a nationally ranked wrestler before switching sports and focusing on a professional mixed martial arts career turned gym owner
Souce  : Philip Gephardt / Ezine 

Friday, 20 February 2015

5 Things You Should Know If You Want To Get A Flat Stomach

The reason why you have excess belly fat on your body is due to the fact that the amount of calories that you are consuming is greater in number than the number of calories that you are burning. You have to turn this the other way round if you want to get a flat stomach. In other words, increase the number of calories burnt than have been consumed. Here are 5 top tips to help you get a flat belly.

1. Build Muscle.
Muscles burn more calories, even while they are at rest. Lifting weights or resistance training helps to build and tone muscle but it will not turn you into a bulky bodybuilder. Body builders use a very particular exercise regimen and usually take muscle enhancing supplements to get their bulky body shape. Your resistance training routine to get a flat stomach should focus on training the largest muscle groups of the body like the legs, back, and chest.
2. Eat Less, But Frequently.
According to nutrition experts, consuming around five smaller and healthy meals everyday is a lot more effective to burn calories. This is because, every time you eat, your digestive system will burn food and in the process calories will also be burnt.
3. Cardio Workout.
You do need to include some cardiovascular activity to increase your heart rate, condition your lungs and stay healthy. But if you spend hours on the treadmill or stationery bike at the same continual pace, it is not going help you get a flat stomach so that those abs muscles start to showing. To burn fat but to get the maximum results from your cardio exercises, use interval training where you alternate between high intensity exercise with low intensity recovery periods.
4. Eat Foods That Help You To Burn Fat.
There are certain foods that do help you to burn fat. Foods like spinach, cucumber, tomatoes, carrots, watermelon, berries and apples are high in water and fibre but low in calories. Cruciferous vegetables, like brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, turnips and watercress actually contain nutrients that help fight elements that cause the body to deposit fat in the stomach area..
5. Drink More Water.
When you want to get a flat stomach, what you drink is just as important as what you eat. Water has no preservatives, no sodium, and no calories. You can drink plenty of water without adding to your caloric intake. If you feel hungry, try drinking a glass of water first because the sensation of hunger and thirst are very similar. Drinking water can help you to feel fewer hunger pangs, so you'll eat less and that will help you to get a flat stomach more easily.
Do you want to learn more ways to lose weight and get fit? Are you confused about healthy eating? Do you want to know the best workout techniques to get the results you want?

Source By Jon Allo  / Ezine 

Thursday, 19 February 2015

13 Important Points to Know About Pre-Workout Nutrition

While plotting your diet plan, it is important that you eat right before your workout session. If you fail to do this, you will not perform well for the workout and will also not recover that quickly.
The most important times for you to fuel your body are the few hours before you exert extra energy. So do not ignore these pre-workout considerations while evaluating your nutritional requirements.
1. Your muscles need protein for support, so consume at least 10 grams of lean proteins before a workout.
2. Time your healthy meals properly. If you plan to immediately head to the gym, opt for simple carbs for instant energy. If you plan to go after an hour or so, opt for complex carbs which take longer to digest.
3. Reduce your fat intake as too much of fat before a workout session makes you feel slow and sluggish. Maintain your fat intake to less than 5 grams for this meal.
4. As the body only uses glucose as a fuel source for intense exercise, eating something before any intense training is a must for optimal performance. If you don't, you'll crash fast and so hard that you may even start feeling shaky and weak.
5. Avoid eating too much fruit as though healthy in general, if fruits are eaten pre-workout, they can cause digestive distress.
6. It's better to prepare your pre-workout meal the night before. This way the chances of your skipping it are reduced.
7. Drink lots of water as it's important you stay hydrated during your session. So drink at least 8 ounces of water before your workout and continue drinking water throughout the session.
8. Consider eating whey isolate protein powder as it's convenient and delivers nutrients to the muscle tissue quickly for your coming workout.
9. Don't eat more than 300 calories of food. This is usually sufficient for most people and anything extra causes cramping.
10. If you have a habit of working out first thing in the morning, you could drink a protein shake. This is the easiest way for you to get the nutrition you require without feeling too full to move.
11. Learn to read your body signals and understand your body. You will find that some foods tend to work better for you than others as your pre-workout meal.
12. Avoid eating vegetables before a workout as they have too much fiber which will just sit in your system while you work out. Vegetables are better kept for a later time during the day.
13. Avoid eating high-volume foods or foods that take up large amount of space in the stomach as they just cause discomfort, especially if the sport or activity you do requires lots of different movements like yoga.
In a nutshell
It is important that you take time out to plan your pre-workout meal; it will serve you well in the long run. If you eat properly before your workouts, you will feel much better after the workout. Moreover, the food you consume will kick-start your recovery so that your body makes maximum use of the time and energy you devote to the gym.
No matter what the goal you are working at now, it is important that you understand pre-workout nutrition to ensure your body is healthy and happy as you go on increasing your fitness level.

Article Source:

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Heart Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate

Planning to give your Valentine some chocolate? Make it dark chocolate and you'll be helping more than your relationship… you'll also be helping their heart. 

What is it about dark chocolate that makes it so heart healthy?

 "There is a lot of science behind the cocoa bean and a substance called flavanol," explained Jared Bunch, MD, electrophysiologist with the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute. "Flavanol is also in things we look at as healthy, like grapes, apples, blackberries and legumes and has been extensively studied regarding its heart-related benefits."
Research has shown that consuming four to eight ounces of 75% dark chocolate per day can be good for your heart. But what are the specific benefits of consuming flavanols? 
Helps How We Respond to Stress
When people get stressed, the body responds by releasing chemicals into the blood stream (cortisol, epinephrine, adrenocorticotropic hormone, and norepinephrine) that raises the blood pressure. Dark chocolate has been shown to reduce the levels of cortisol and epinephrine.
Lower Blood Pressure
Studies show that consumption of cocoa increases nitric oxide, which is a naturally occurring chemical in our body that prompts the blood vessels to dilate. This simple process lowers blood pressure.
Lowers Bad Cholesterol
There are two types of cholesterol - HDL (good) and LDL (bad). Flavanols reduce LDL cholesterol and can increase HDL cholesterol and since dark chocolate is high in flavanols, consuming the treat can also lower your cholesterol. 
Helps Stability of Injured Vessels
Cocoa may help stabilize blood vessels that have been injured by plaque build up over time, thus reducing the likelihood of blood clots forming that could cause a heart attack or stroke. 

Source : Intermountain Health/ Dr. Bunch

The Importance of a Rest Day

Rest days are an aspect of training which we maybe don't consider to be "training" - but ask any high performing athlete, and they'll tell you that Rest Days make the difference between hitting a new PB or picking up a new injury.

verb: rest; 3rd person present: rests; past tense: rested; past participle: rested; gerund or present participle: resting

    cease work or movement in order to relax, sleep, or recover strength.
    "he needed to rest after the feverish activity"
    synonyms:    relax, take a rest, ease up/off, let up, slow down, pause, have/take a break, unbend, repose, laze, idle, loaf, do nothing, take time off, slack off, unwind, recharge one's batteries, be at leisure, take it easy, sit back, sit down, stand down, lounge, luxuriate, loll, slump, flop, put one's feet up, lie down, go to bed, have/take a nap, nap, catnap, doze, have/take a siesta, drowse, sleep;

noun: rest; plural noun: rests; suffix: -rest; suffix: -rests

    an instance or period of resting.ri
    "you look as though you need a rest"
They say that big, multi-stage events (such as the Tour de France) are won in bed - how a team use their rest and recovery time is one of the leading factors in a winning team. How you spend your rest days can vary depending on which stage of your training you're in; if it's a rest day dring the taper before your marathon, odds are, you'll have too much nervous energy to just do nothing. Alternatively, if it's the day's rest in a multi-day event - your stategy will probably involve a lot more rest in that rest day.
Rest days are easier to plan for and to fit into a training plan when you're working towards an event, however if you train all year round, it can seem harder to find the time.
Why take a rest day?
  • Prevent overtraining working out every day can lead to fatigue which can increase your risk of injury
  • Prevent tedium - training with the same routine can lose its appeal if you do the same thing every day, rest days work as a mental break from your workout as well as a physical break
  • Improve recovery - DOMS (delayed onset muscle soresness) can really affect your training, with appropriate rest days built into your routine, you can avoid training on already sore muscles
  • Improve sleep - whilst you shouldn't spend your entire rest day asleep, taking a day to catch up on some Zzzz's can really help your training and productivity in the following days
We asked the Tribesports community & a selection of personal trainers how they like to spend their days - and from the results, we've pulled out 3 distinctive types of rest day-ers:
1. The life admin rest day: No exercise? Fine. I'll just do my chores instead.
"Rest day = laundry day. FACT."  

Source Jon B / Tribe Sports

Monday, 16 February 2015

Drink More Water and Start Losing That Extra Weight

Who hasn't heard the idea that drinking water can contribute to you diminishing your weight? Much more than usual! But is this affirmation true? The answer is yes! When you drink more water, you boost your metabolism, suppress that wild appetite, and clean your organism of waste. At the same time, you stop the body from retaining water and thus lose some extra pounds. How can you make sure you drink the right amount of water (8-10 glasses every day), maintaining yourself hydrated and losing weight? Here are a couple of great tips that will help you out!
Drink before eating
Water suppresses the appetite, so it is an excellent idea to drink it before you eat. As a result, you will feel full faster and eat less. Specialists say that drinking water before eating can reduce the calories intake with 75 calories/meal. Thus if you do this each meal daily for one year, you would cut the calories ingestion by 27,000. According to my math, you would be losing 8 pounds/year only by drinking water.
Drink water instead of calorie drinks
Forget all about sodas or juices, and drink water instead. Add a bit of lemon if you think this is too boring for you. You know for sure that a glass of water with a bit of lemon in it can really contribute to you losing weight and cut your food cravings. Don't believe it? Why don't you just start drinking water and convince yourself of the result?
Drink it cold
When you drink cold water, you boost your metabolism by forcing your body to work more in order to warm the water. This will also burn down calories and help you lose weight. Not to mention that cold water tastes better than normal temperature water.
Go to the gym
When you drink water, you prevent the muscles from cramping and you maintain your joints lubricated. This means that you can work out for a longer period of time. The key is to remain hydrated and those extra pounds will disappear quickly.
Get enough
The best trick when it comes to drinking water is to follow a rule called "8x8". Most nutritionists recommend it. You have to drink 8 glasses of 8 ounces with water daily. This will help you lose weight and keep your ideal figure. Keep in mind that you if exercise more, you will sweat more. This requires more water intake, or the same amount of water but completed with other type of drinks, like herbal teas.
What's the best way to know if you receive sufficient water? A good, but somehow weird rule, is to verify the toilet before going to the bathroom. When you are properly hydrated your urine gets light yellow and clear in color. If case your urine is dark, then you will know that you need to drink more water. Remember: drink water if you want to remain healthy and lose weight!

Source :  Karina Popa/ Ezine 

Sunday, 15 February 2015

How to Fall in Love With Whole Foods

Have we fallen in love with convenient, processed foods? With busy schedules, fast-food restaurants on every corner, and an abundance of comfort foods available (even at the local Starbucks), it’s no wonder we opt for all those fatty, salty and sweet foods. It just tastes so good. And it’s so easy to get. Food manufactures know exactly how to get us “hooked” without us even knowing it, and many of us have lost the desire and taste buds for whole, unprocessed foods. It’s time to go back to the basics and rediscover a love for whole foods. It may not happen overnight, but with these tips you may just have a new love affair for healthy and tasty “real” food.
Add Flavor With Spices and Herbs
Put down the salt shaker and start enhancing the flavor of your food with spices and fresh herbs. Not only do herbs and spices taste good, they are loaded with anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antibacterial properties. Turmeric, for example, is made from the turmeric root and often found in curry dishes. It also happens to be a powerful anticancer agent. Cinnamon (one of our favorites) can be added to any sweet or savory dish and gives both an earthy and sweet taste. Plus, cinnamon has been shown to help lower blood sugar in people who have diabetes or who are prediabetic. Fresh rosemary, thyme and oregano can be added to a pot of homemade chicken soup to help fight the common cold. Make sure to check the spices and dried herbs you keep in your pantry and buy new ones every six months as they lose flavor and potency over time (except salt and pepper, which last longer). 
Shop Local and In Season for Fresh-tasting Produce
Do you have a farmer’s market near where you live or work? If so, make a trip there as soon as possible and check out what’s in season. Or check out websites like Natural Resources Defense Council and Epicurious, which provide information on what foods are in season in your area each month of the year.
Eating food that is locally grown and in season is less expensive and usually tastes much better than food that is grown in a hothouse or transported thousands of miles. Produce that comes from far away is usually picked unripe and transported in refrigerated containers, which affects its ability to properly ripen. Stick with local, seasonal food for better taste and to save money. 
Healthy and Convenient?
There is something to be said about the benefits of pre-packaged foods. Sure, they’re easy and quick, but most packaged food is full of refined carbohydrates, sugar, bad fats and preservatives. Read the ingredient list and see what you find. If there's anything on that list that you can't pronounce, you probably shouldn't be eating it. Instead, make your own convenience foods that are healthy and tasty. The best snacks are a combination of protein and fiber as they work together to keep your blood sugar balanced and energy level higher for longer periods of time. Here are some ideas to get you started: an apple (or other seasonal fruit) with some almonds (or other nuts); veggies and hummus; black beans, quinoa, and salsa; a homemade muffin made with almond flour (for more protein and healthy fat); a snack-size baggie of mixed nuts, seeds and dried fruit; homemade egg salad; a container of Greek yogurt with some chia seeds and berries. Taking a little time each week to shop for ingredients and put them together into small packages will save you time and money during the week when you're on the go.
Turn Off Electronics and Tune Into Your Food
Everywhere we go, we see people on cell phones, laptops and tablets. We're wearing monitors that record every step, heart rate, calories burned and quality of sleep. And there's no turning back. While we're happy for all that technology brings us, there is a time and a place for it, and a time for turning it off. When you eat is a perfect time to turn off the computer, put down the cell phone and tune into your food and your body. Be present. Allow yourself to feel what hunger and fullness feels like. Distraction-free eating enables you to notice the flavors, texture and temperature of your food. And it allows you to eat at a slower, more relaxed pace. Not only will you be able to appreciate all the elements of your meal, you will walk away from that meal feeling more satisfied.

Source : Tiffani Bachus, R.D.N., and Erin Macdonald, R.D.N

What is Isagenix?


  •  It is an all natural system of products that is organic where possible and doesn’t contain artificial flavours colours, fillers or sweeteners and uses the highest quality  ingredients.
  • Nutritional cleansing is about bringing the body into balance by gently cleansing away toxins while feeding it high quality nutrients and minerals.
  • It’s not a ‘’single organ” cleanse….. EVERY SINGLE CELL in your body, including your brain is cleansed without the nasty, ill effects that some detoxes result in.
  • Our Nutritional Cleansing System is actually not a “weight-loss program’’. As your body moves into an optimal state of health, excess fat and fluid are released while preserving your precious lean muscle mass. In fact, the same program used to lose weight is used by elite Olympic Athletes like Jana Pittman and Natalie Cook that have very little body fat!
  • The system is not a liquid or starvation diet, you continue to eat frequently and abundantly throughout the day and your body is rejuvenated and replenished with natural botanicals, trace minerals, enzymes and incredible nutrients that are all scientifically proven to allow the body to be the miracle it is.
  • Ever wonder why you get that Yo-Yo effect with diets – lose weight then get it all back plus 10% more than you started with? It’s because they don’t address one of the main causes of weight accumulation – Toxicity. The body is protecting our organs from these toxins by creating more and more fat cells with which to coat the toxins and chemicals. Simple isn’t it? Get rid of the toxins and the body doesn’t need to create more and more fat cells.
Isagenix is for anyone that wants to look better, feel better and sleep better or just to de-stress. The ultimate goal is to get the mind and body in perfect balance through cleansing the body of toxins and providing it with all it needs nutritionally. The aim is to move the body from an acidic to an alkaline state and to reduce inflammation in the body. It’s fantastic to support gut and brain health and to boost the immune system by up to 500%.

To be ‘on a diet’ is depressing and boring. They are often hard to stick to and require a lot of motivation and effort. If something is too hard to maintain you won’t stick with it. The Isagenix system is not a diet or a quick fix, it is a lifestyle change. If a pack isn’t right for you for any reason, you may benefit by just using a couple of the products, be sure to contact us.
If you are on prescription medication you need to be monitored by your regular Doctor. Please see FAQ’s.
If the products are not suitable for you or for any other reason, there is a 30 day money back guarantee.
Isagenix does not intend to diagnose, cure or prevent disease. 

The main reason why a lot of traditional diets fail is that many actually starve the body of what it needs nutritionally. The body needs nourishment to function properly.
Some diets and detoxes are so extreme, the body needs protein and if it does not aquire that through good nutrition it will start to break down muscle tissue. You think it’s fat and fluid loss that you see on the scales and it might be but it also might be the breakdown of your muscles. Lean muscle mass is so important for your metabolism and burning calories.

The Isagenix systems flood your body with all it needs nutritionally and at the same time assists it in removing the toxins and impurities that make us sick, tired and fat. All the products are 100% natural and all sourced from  the highest quality ingredients. The products are all food. Superfoods in fact.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

How to Prepare for Exercise After an Injury

Injuries occur at any time and for any reason. If you get injured, you may not know how to proceed and prepare for exercise post-injury. This mind-and-body guide can help prepare you for a brighter, injury-free future in fitness and performance. 
Seek Medical Care
Pain, swelling, discoloration of the skin and chronic discomfort is your body’s way of letting you know that something is not right. Acute pain, if left untreated, eventually leads to chronic pain, which usually requires longer recovery and treatment methods. 
The first step to overcoming an injury is to seek medical care. Follow your healthcare professional’s recovery and rehabilitation protocols to ensure that your body heals appropriately. Pushing beyond protocols and avoiding corrective care prolongs recovery, so take care of the injury before planning your first post-injury run, hike or workout. 
Overcome Mental Battles
One of the hardest things to overcome when injured is the mental battle caused from a lack of movement and progress. If you’re someone who thrives with regular exercise, you may find yourself disconnecting emotionally when forced to be sedentary. Also, you may be concerned about losing some of the fitness you’ve worked so hard to achieve.    
It is important to accept the present moment. When injured, it is easy to let the mind spiral with negative thoughts, and extreme sadness can hinder the body from healing.  All of this can lead to depression or despair, so it’s important to remind yourself that your body will once again reach its potential. 
Question Yourself
Work to overcome mental battles by answering these questions, which will increase awareness of the injury and prepare you better for the future.
How did I get here?
This question can help you realize why or how you became injured. Reasons vary from overtraining, not wearing the appropriate footwear, pushing limits or not paying attention. If unsure, take note of what could be improved for the future. 
How do I get out of here?
Once you define how the injury occurred, you can better plan for the future. Talk to your healthcare professional about appropriate rehabilitation progressions. Ask the provider to specify if the injury is an imbalance or genetic issue. For example, plantar fasciitis is most often caused by overuse, whereas a bunion (bony growth) develops in early ages and is labeled as genetic. 
Ask your provider whether the injury is correctable with rehab, or if exercise alterations are required to avoid future problems. 
Is the injury a blessing in disguise?
Ask yourself, “Is there a silver lining to the injury?” Sometimes the most positive situations arise out from a negative event. For example, an injured marathon trainee may be forced to correct his or her running gait during rehabilitation. Because of the improvement, the runner improves performance and spares his or her body from running hundreds of training miles with incorrect form, which could have led to a more severe injury. 
What seems like a setback may actually be for your benefit. 
How do I stay positive?
The first step to staying positive is to remember that your injury is temporary. Next, use positive-thinking tools, such as motivational quotes or positive-reinforcement meditations, to maintain a positive outlook. Regardless of which tool is your preference, do your best to think positively and avoid falling into the trap of doomsday thinking. 
Also, talk about your injury as if it is temporary. Use sentences such as, “I will run again,” rather than, “I hope to run again.” Saying, “I will” trains the brain to know what it wants and focuses on the specific goal. “I will” clearly defines what you want and sets the tone for your future. This determination keeps the mind focused and clear of distractions.      
The Importance of Cross Training
Cross training allows the body to exercise while moving in various planes of motion. This reduces repetitive motions and impact from performing the same exercise repeatedly. Post-recovery, it is important not to overstress the healed area, which is still susceptible to reinjury. Take the load and stress off the body with cross training. For example, a weightlifter can benefit from alternative resistance training such as yoga or Pilates, while a runner can benefit from low-impact cardio exercise such as aqua jogging, swimming or cycling. 

Source Elizabeth Kovar M.A, personal trainer and yoga/fitness instructor

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Natural Movement Workouts: Hang Time

The Journal of Clinical Psychology reported jungle gym pastimes are a thing of the past, and gone are the days when swinging from the monkey bars is a safe activity on the playground. But is the related danger really something adults and children should be overly concerned about? Exercise today neglects to include many functional movement patterns, like hanging or brachiating (swinging from rung to rung on an overhead ladder or bar). “Hanging and the much more challenging action of swinging from object to object, uses upper body strength in a general sense. Swinging requires the full participation of every bit of tissue from the fingers to the lower body,” said Katy Bowman, a biomechanics specialist on natural movement and development.
Although our physical exercise capabilities have not changed from our Paleolithic ancestors, we have mechanically engineered the functional movements of climbing and carrying very heavy loads out of our modern life. Our bodies are paying the price. Increased rates of osteoporosis, osteopenia, and sarcopenia, in addition to common shoulder and back problems can be attributed to muscle and joint weakness or imbalance. In 2006, approximately 7.5 million people were treated for shoulder injuries, and the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases estimates 8 out of 10 people will experience back pain in their lives. So, how might we incorporate hanging and brachiating into their exercise regime?
Our bodies were genetically designed for these kinds of movements. Paleoanthropologists suspect bipedalism in humans was directly correlated to swinging and suspensory climbing, rather than for walking. Just look at all babies today. The palmer grasp reflex that enables them to grab a finger is the very same mechanism our hunter-gatherer ancestors used to grab a branch. In fact, babies are even strong enough during their first six months of life to be able to suspend their entire body when gripping a bar. The grasping reflex begins to disappear at 6 months of age, however research suggests it is only the lack of cultivation of the capability that reduces its appearance. For this reason alone, we should encourage our children to hang on their arms, and join in on the fun.

Where to get started?

Begin to add isometric hangs and brachiation movements to your fitness routine a few times a week, working up to daily sessions of up to 7 minutes. You can install a pull-up bar in your home for convenience or visit your local playground.


However, if you are a beginner or rehabilitating a shoulder injury take some of the weight off of your arms by placing your feet on the ground, either by using a low bar at playground or placing your feet up on a bench. In the supported position, your hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders and hips will be in alignment, and your knees and feet will form a 90° angle.

Active hang

From the passive position above, retract your shoulder blades back and down towards to the ground. Return to the passive position and repeat for your desired amount of time.

Active Hang

Brachiation Basics

Once you have built enough endurance to successfully perform passive and active hangs, experiment with brachiation. Test your strength to see if you can perform passive or active hangs on one arm at a time before adding in the momentum. Try swinging from side-to-side, using each arm as you move across an overhead ladder, like monkey bars at a playground. As you become more skilled, the options for where you can go with your arms are unlimited. 


Source : Stephanie Vuolo

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

What is CrossFit?

Forging elite fitness

CrossFit begins with a belief in fitness. The aim of CrossFit is to forge a broad, general and inclusive fitness. We have sought to build a program that will best prepare trainees for any physical contingency — not only for the unknown, but for the unknowable. After looking at all sport and physical tasks collectively, we asked what physical skills and adaptations would most universally lend themselves to performance advantage. Capacity culled from the intersection of all sports demands would quite logically lend itself well to all sport. In sum, our specialty is not specializing.
 CrossFit is many things. Primarily, it’s a fitness regimen developed by Coach Greg Glassman over several decades. He was the first person in history to define fitness in a meaningful, measurable way (increased work capacity across broad time and modal domains). CrossFit itself is defined as that which optimizes fitness (constantly varied functional movements performed at relatively high intensity). CrossFit is also the community that spontaneously arises when people do these workouts together. In fact, the communal aspect of CrossFit is a key component of why it’s so effective.

Today, CrossFit, the company, provides accredited training seminars throughout the world. We publish several websites providing extensive free content, including workouts, training and support for becoming fit, as well as a growing Journal of extended instruction. We have a worldwide network of more than 11,000 affiliated gyms and more than 100,000 accredited CrossFit Level 1 trainers. And, we have created the Sport of Fitness, known as the CrossFit Games, where we crown the Fittest Man and Woman on Earth.

In 2003, we started a “new” blog that would spur a revolution in the fitness industry. The contents were simple: the date, a picture, the Workout of the Day (WOD), and usually some provocative nugget of information. Check out our first full month of posts back in May 2003.

Anyone with an Internet connection and the willingness, curiosity and bravery to try it, could. From this simple blog and a single gym in Santa Cruz, Calif., there sprung an immense community of fitness enthusiasts who have learned the movements, tested the theory and accumulated a huge amount of data supporting Glassman’s equation:

CVFM @ HI + Communal Environment = Health

A regimen of constantly varied (CV), functional movements (FM) performed at high intensity (@HI) in a communal environment leads to health and fitness.


Today, CrossFit publishes several websites, including: —This is the original blog and main hub for everything CrossFit. Come here for the free Workout of the Day. The WOD (as written) is designed to exceed the limits of the world’s fittest people, but can be scaled to meet anyone’s current fitness. —The CrossFit Journal provides the highest quality instruction, stories and videos. This is the place to learn more about CrossFit in theory and in practice. With years of articles and videos on coaching, equipment, functional movements, exercise physiology, affiliation and much more, the CrossFit Journal is the essential guide to all of CrossFit. Get started by browsing the content by category or date published. —Can’t get enough of the CrossFit Games? Check here for stats, archived coverage, athlete stories, interviews and much more. 


CrossFit is not easy and it’s not simple. To be fit and physically competent to handle all of the challenges in life is no small endeavor. As you work to become a fitter and healthier person, you will need to learn about:
  • Movement - How to move safely and effectively.
  • Fitness - What it means to be fit. Its definition, the supporting theories, and how to go about attaining it in real life.
  • Nutrition - Eat meat & vegetables, nuts & seeds, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise, but not body fat.

Education is a big part of CrossFit. When you start, you are not expected to have the knowledge you need.

CrossFit is an education about movement, fitness, nutrition and community. All of these things require responsibility, common sense, and work to educate oneself using all the tools available in the community.
Source :

Monday, 9 February 2015

Interval Training: Stop with the Tabatas and do some Gibalas!

   Sprinting would obviously have been a necessary requirement for Paleolithic hunter-gatherers, both for the procurement of food and to avoid becoming food! Those who want to argue against that statement with the “persistence hunting” position, I will address that in a future post. Regardless, let’s fast forward to modern day and address a topic pertinent to my initial statement. To say that “Tabatas” have become an extremely popular interval training protocol in the fitness industry would be an understatement. When I wrote a position paper1 back in 2008 on the benefits of sprint interval training, the research conducted by Izumi Tabata et al. was obviously referenced as it added to the body of evidence that supports the benefits of high-intensity intermittent (interval) training (HIIT). However, the interpretation of this protocol in the fitness industry has often been misunderstood, and even when done correctly, I would argue that, for most individuals, it is not the most effective approach to interval training. After all, the protocol tested was simply one that was first introduced by a head coach of the Japanese National Speed Skating Team, Kouichi Irisawa; a protocol one would assume worked well for certain athletes based upon the duration of their events. Further, most good coaches use training methods that are often experimentations that change with time, as more successful protocols take shape. Along these same lines, I believe most people could improve their investment of time by not using the Tabata protocol for their interval training; but rather, use a different approach.
For the uninformed, in 1996, Tabata et al. published the findings of a study comparing moderate-intensity endurance training (MIET – 70% VO2 max for 60 minutes, 5 days per week) with HIIT (170% VO2 max for 20 seconds x 7-8 with 10 seconds recovery, 5 days per week) on a cycle ergometer.2 The study found that HIIT improved maximal oxygen uptake slightly more than MIET; but, also improved the anaerobic capacity by 28% while the MIET had no effect on the anaerobic capacity. So, essentially, a “two for one” in terms of improving metabolic capacities for the HIIT protocol.
While the results of the study were important for the comparison of MIET to HIIT, other interval training protocols have demonstrated similar and; in some cases, even greater benefits with a decreased investment of time.3, 4, 5, 6 These latter studies support what I have witnessed clinically over nearly 20 years, which is, that intensity, not duration, is the key ingredient for beneficial physiological change. The intensity of the HIIT protocol examined in the Tabata study was 170% VO2 max, which, while correctly being labeled supramaximal (above 100% VO2 max) and certainly “high-intensity,” is nowhere near a maximal sprint effort given that humans are capable of intensities around 250%. The power output sustained for a maximal effort for the duration of the exercise time of the Tabata HIIT protocol (140 seconds to 160 seconds), is very different to the power output sustained for a maximal effort for an “all-out” sprint lasting, say, 30 seconds. If 170% VO2 max was all one had to escape a predator in primitive times (or today for that matter), it is pretty much a guarantee that you are going to be out of the gene pool in short order! 100% VO2 max represents the power output attained when one reaches maximal oxygen consumption during a graded exercise stress test. Any human starting out at that equivalent intensity would not find it anywhere near a maximal effort for a short “all-out” sprint.
When sprinting “all-out,” most individuals are going to start slowing down within seconds; but, could probably still hold a decent percentage of their maximum power output for anywhere between 20-60 seconds, depending on their level of conditioning, and, in particular, their ability to handle the lactic acid production associated with supramaximal exercise. Considering the short duration of supramaximal activity, it generates a relatively large volume of excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), partly due to the lactic acid production. Research has shown a significantly larger EPOC is generated for a 45 second “all-out” sprint compared to a 30 second “all-out” sprint, and a significantly larger EPOC is generated for a 60 second “all-out” sprint compared to a 45 second “all-out” sprint.7 However, a 90-second “all-out” sprint did not generate a larger EPOC than a 60 second “all-out” sprint. The reason for this is that lactic acid production typically reaches its peak at around 60 seconds of supramaximal exercise, which, in turn, inhibits muscular contraction and thereby decreases the production of further large quantities of lactic acid.  Anyone can easily experience this for him or herself. There simply is not a human on the planet that can maintain close to maximal power output without a precipitous drop-off at around 60 seconds. If you find otherwise, immediately contact your country’s Olympic Committee as I can assure you that you will be in high demand! So, 60 seconds is essentially a maximal and optimal duration to engage in supramaximal activity. Perhaps selective pressure with respect to our ancestral survival played a part in this physiological reality.
Now, back to the Tabata protocol. There are two ways in which individuals in the fitness community are misinterpreting this methodology. First, and perhaps somewhat ridiculously, are those individuals and classes that label their work-outs as “Tabatas” because they simply exercise for 20 seconds (at relatively low intensities), rest for 10 seconds, and then repeat the same for seven to eight intervals, and then, in some cases, even repeat again for an hour long workout. Anyone engaging in this approach is as far away from supramaximal interval training as one can get. The second misinterpretation comes from those that are completing the seven to eight 20 second intervals as “all-out” efforts.  With this approach, based upon the previous discussion about 60 seconds being an maximal duration for “all-out” exercise, any intervals past the first three 20 second sprints are essentially a waste of time. The only way someone can complete seven to eight 20-second intervals with only a 10-second recovery is to back down from an “all-out” sprint, to an intensity similar to that tested in the Tabata study. Doing this certainly has its merits for athletic endeavors that last for 140 seconds to 160 seconds; however, for the average individual and most athletes, I would argue that the protocol researched by the group headed by Martin Gibala from the Department of Kinesiology at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, is a much more effective approach to interval training.
This protocol, as first described by Burgomaster et al.,3 involves completing “all-out” 30-second sprints (also on a cycle ergometer) with a 4 minute recovery between exercise bouts. The number of sprints increased from 4 during the first two sessions, to 5 in the third and fourth sessions, and 6 in the last two sessions. The total time commitment was 17–26 minutes per session, involving only 2–3 minutes of sprint exercise. Exercise sessions were completed every two to three days such that 16 minutes of exercise was completed in a two-week time period.  The results of this protocol showed a doubling of the participants’ endurance capacity! So these benefits occurred over a two-week period using just 16 minutes of sprinting. Further studies using this same protocol have been shown to substantially improve insulin action in young sedentary subjects, a much-needed outcome in this world full of metabolic syndrome.4 This demonstrates that quality not quantity causes physiological change for the better and, in many cases, the Tabata protocol in the fitness industry has become a methodology that has moved away from quality toward quantity. Further research has now shown that intense bouts as short as 6-20 seconds can have a tremendous benefit on physiological health, emphasizing, again, that intensity, not duration, is the key element to beneficial change.5,6 I have also found clinically, that these very short bouts of intense activity are better adhered to while still providing tremendous improvements in health and performance.
Moreover, I found a common objection to this methodology is that unfit and elderly individuals should not engage in this type of supramaximal activity due to the inherent dangers of engaging in such intense activity. With extensive experience in this field, I have never had a situation where an unfit individual or an elderly individual has had a problem with engaging in this kind of supramaximal activity. In fact, I would argue that it is beneficial to engage in this type of exercise in a controlled environment; rather than leave it to the reality of life where external pressures may demand an effort above which one is physiologically not trained to handle.  Interestingly, an increased QT dispersion (QTd) – a marker of myocardial electrical instability that predicts ventricular arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death – has been shown to be decreased with short-term supramaximal exercise.8 This supports the notion that short-term supramaximal exercise is an appropriate approach for anyone to improving one’s physiological health.
In closing, unless you have an athletic event lasting between 140 seconds to 160 seconds, skip the Tabatas and engage in Gibalas or some other shorter interval training protocol that produces better results with a smaller investment of time.  And don’t overdo the quantity of “all-out” sprints – eight to twelve minutes per week is sufficient to reap the benefits without the risks associated with overtraining.

Source Dr. Mark J. Smith