DThe older we get, the more likely we are to decrease the intensity of our workouts. Exercise that is too easy will not allow you to reap all of the benefits. However, if we exercise too hard, we might not be able to adequately recover during the workout and may have to stop short of completing it.
The RPE scale (pictured above) is very useful to help you gauge the intensity during a HIIT session rather than measuring heart rate because it is much simpler and doesn't require any math or pulse counting. For the same reasons, this is also a great method you can use with your trainer. By familiarizing yourself with the RPE scale, you can communicate quantitatively how you are feeling.
It's important to note that intensity, duration, and recovery are interdependent. The harder the exercise interval, the shorter you will be able to do it and the longer recovery period will be needed.
During your HIIT workout, there should be times of "active" recovery. This means that while you may be out of breath, you should keep moving (not standing still, sitting, or lying down). In fact, if you need to do any of those things, that is a pretty good indicator that the high intensity part of the workout was too intense. Therefore, keep in mind that your optimal Base Level during the recovery phase should be around 11-13 on the RPE scale.
To increase your intensity during the intervals you can either:
For an example of how RPE works, see the simple HIIT workouts listed below.
Beginner HIIT Workout
Start easy and gradually increase intensity so that you achieve an RPE of about 11-12 (your base level) by the end of the warm-up
Stage 1 (9:00) 3 Hills:
Stage 2 (4:00) 3 Sprints
Cool Down (3:00)
Decrease intensity to achieve an RPE of 9-10. Heart rate should come down significantly.
Mature adults benefit from incorporating a weekly exercise routine. Fitness is important for keeping your muscles and bones strong, your joints flexible, your brain sharp, and your balance stable. The best exercise is the one that you will do! To know how much exercise you really need to see results, keep reading!
If you are brand new to fitness training, then aim to start with just 20 minutes a couple of days per week. Over time, you will will build up your strength and endurance and may be able to reach a total of 60 minutes of exercise per day., with 30 minutes dedicated to strength training! But as you begin a strength program, you will want to start low and go slow. This means that the older you are, the lighter the weights should be, and the more careful you need to be.
To see amazing results, mature adults should aim for twice weekly progressive strength training. This has been shown to be just as effective as training three days per week. Research suggests that older adults need a longer recovery than younger adults. The more you increase your sets, reps, and weight used, the longer your body will need to recover.
Another aspect of a strength program is training for muscle power. This type of training tends to decline earlier and faster than muscle strength with advancing age. Muscle power is even more important than traditional strength training for many functional tasks such as stair-climbing and rising from a chair. Power training using a variety of equipment such as body weight, sand bags, weighted vests, medicine balls, kettlebells, and resistance bands can all be used and typically require using lower weight but at more intensity. It should be noted that before beginning power training, you should have proper form, and a conditioning phase focused on muscular strength and endurance.
Balance and Fall Prevention Training
Falls are due to a number of intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Intrinsic factors include a history of falls, living alone, certain medications, impaired mobility and gait, sedentary behavior, visual impairments, poor lower extremity strength, and fear of falling.
Extrinsic factors include environmental hazards, improper footwear and clothing, and the use of walking aids or assistive devices.
Exercise has been identified as the best single intervention to prevent falls in older adults with up to 42% of falls being preventable with a well-designed exercise program.
To get the best results, balance and fall prevention training should be performed for at least two hours per week for a 6-month period. Further, balance improvements are lost quickly if training stops.
Two options for balance and fall prevention training include Tai Chi and Yoga. Tai Chi is an ancient martial art with many different forms that incorporates mild strength training, balance, postural alignment and concentration by using slow, continuous movement of many body parts.
Yoga has gained momentum over the years among both the general population and mature adults. While more studies need to be done on the effectiveness of yoga, modest improvements in gait, balance, upper and lower body flexibility and lower body strength have been reported in the literature. Also, be aware that some yoga poses may be inappropriate for older adults with specific chronic diseases or orthopedic concerns.
HIIT Training (High Intensity Interval Training) is a very effective form of cardio conditioning. During the exercise intervals, heart rate and metabolism increase significantly. During periods of recovery (lower-intensity exercise), heart rate, oxygen usage, and metabolism remain elevated above the level that you would expect from low-intensity exercise.
One way to think of HIIT training is that it is kind of like shaking a snow globe. If you give it just a little shake then you don't disturb all the flakes and the snow disappears quickly. But, if you give a vigorous shake, you disturb many more flakes with the water swirling violently around inside and it takes much longer for the snow to disappear. HIIT training, therefore, "shakes up" your metabolism and the harder you exercise the more calories you burn afterwards.
If you are new to endurance training, start with something you enjoy doing like walking, swimming, dancing, hiking, etc. Then, to try higher intensity training, experiment by exercising a little harder than usual until you feel like you are getting out of breath and then back off to your usual pace or even a little below it. Eventually, try progressing to longer intervals (2-3 minutes) and limit how hard you go during the higher=intensity phase. Keep in mind that the recovery intervals should be longer than the higher-intensity intervals; shoot for a ratio of 1:2 or 1:3. A general idea would be to begin higher-intensity periods of about 30 seconds, and no more than 3 sets of intervals. Aim to increase over time and work up to as much as 2-3 minutes of higher-intensity, followed by adequate recovery for a total of 5 or more sets during a workout.
Let me let you in on a little secret - no one likes hearing the alarm go off. No one. If you actually find someone that enjoys a 4:30 AM buzz, buzz, buzz, let me know.
So, why is it, that some people NEVER miss a morning workout and others can't seem to find consistency any more than my dog can find the meowing cat inside our TV set?
Let's take a look at what those "morning people" are doing to stay so consistent. Incorporate these tips into your everyday life and you will never miss again!
Tip #1: Lay everything out the night before
There's nothing worse than fumbling around in the dark trying to find your left shoe. This starts your day off on the wrong foot (see what I did there?). So, fix the problem and start everything off in your favor by putting everything you need in a nice, neat pile the night before. Clothes, shoes, keys, favorite coffee mug...whatever you need to get things started in the right direction, figure it out the evening before, and get it together.
Bonus Tip: Sleep in your workout clothes. No one will ever know.
Tip #2: Prep your breakfast/lunch the night before
Again, being organized is a win! The more you can prepare for your day, and save valuable time in the process, the better you will feel. Try this and tell me you don't feel like you have finally figured out the art to adulting.
Tip #3: Set multiple alarms...across the room
If you really struggle with the Snooze game, this will fix it. Set your first alarm on your phone or watch and give yourself the benefit of the doubt that you will actually wake up and get up the first time. But, also set another alarm on the other side of the room so you have to get up and walk several steps to reach it. Personally, I get up at 3:45 every morning, and 3:55, and 4:00. Three alarms set and I've never overslept - not once.
Tip #4: Go to bed at a decent hour the night before
Set yourself up for success by getting a good night's rest. To help with this, prepare your body for peaceful slumber...no caffeine and no screen time 15-30 minutes before you want to be asleep. Get in the bed, read a book (like the dictionary, not Stephen King), and allow yourself to get sleepy. Having laid out everything you need, knowing your multiple alarms are already set, you can drift off to sleep knowing you've got this.
Tip #5: Find an accountability partner
If you workout in a class with someone, ask him or her to be your accountability partner. Text each other in the morning to make sure you are both up and headed to your workout. Give each other some serious crap if either of you miss.
Tip #6: Reward yourself
Waking up and getting to your workout is hard - there's no denying that. So, set a goal to make your morning workout and then reward yourself for not missing. Start small, if necessary, and commit to make it for one week. Then 2 weeks, a month, 3 months, however many goals and rewards you need to keep you motivated and engaged.
Do not, however, get in the habit of rewarding yourself with food. "I made my workout this morning, so a quick stop by Dunkin Donuts is going to be awesome!!!' No. Just no.
Instead, reward yourself with cute workout clothes, new lifting gloves, a new mat, something that will keep you wanting to make those workouts!
Tip #7: Think about how you will feel when it's done
To me, this is the best motivation of all! When I workout in the morning, I just feel better the rest of the day. Sure, I may get tired and need a little pick-me-up around 2PM, but I feel better that I'm not stressing about trying to fit in my workout in the evening around kid's activities, cooking dinner, feeling full and bloated from that big lunch I ate, etc. Walking around all day long guilt free because I.AM.DONE. is the best feeling in the world.
Tip #8: Find a class of people just as crazy as you.
Working out at home is not for me. I don't hold myself accountable. At all. If you do, that's dynamite. If not, stop fooling yourself and find a class you enjoy with other like-minded people that don't enjoy getting up early to workout, but do enjoy the feeling they get after it's over. Bond with your new tribe and never miss another morning workout.
Tip #9: Accept that things will always go bump in the night
Good intentions will only get you so far. Inevitably, the kids will puke, the dogs will bark, and the thunderstorms will come. That's life...it's not an excuse. Resolve to workout in spite of these things happening. Accept this as fact. You will not have blissful sleep every single night for the rest of your life. So, if you do rest peacefully for a full eight hours - great! If not, get up and workout anyway. On a positive note, you should have an easier time falling asleep the next night. Win-win.
Tip #10: Just Do IT!!!
Lastly, just do it. Just commit already. Do not allow yourself to accept less. Do you go to work when you're tired? Yes. Do you still get up and get your kids ready for school when you don't sleep well the night before? Yes. Do you still stick to your daily routine and obligations when you don't get a solid eight hours of sack time? I'm guessing you do. Because, you are an adult. You have responsibilities and you don't ignore them. Why should your health become the sacrifice? Don't lie to yourself that you will "just do it later" because you know you won't. Just get up and get your sweat on! You'll be glad you did!
Motivation is not ongoing. We lose it a little. This is normal. We simply can't be motivated to always do our best 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days per year.
Sometimes, we just find ourselves going through the motions and not giving it our all. And, that's ok.
Sometimes, though, we completely fall off the rails, and can't even show up. We think we need more sleep, we've got too much going on, and before you know it, your coaches are texting you with a "We Miss You!" text.
When you need a little boost to get through it, or you need some reminders to get back on track, because, clearly, the track seems to be covered in weeds, here are my top 10 quotes that I love to tell myself.
I love this quote! I've said this to myself many times and it's even been posted on my website. Sometimes, we get caught up living in the "now" and we lose sight of our future goals, plans, hopes, and dreams. This is a great reminder that we need to be doing something TODAY to make us better in the future.
This is a great reminder when you think things are moving too slow. We live in a world of instant gratification, but let's face it, the world of fitness and nutrition obviously didn't get the memo! It takes T.I.M.E. to see results and patience is vital. Remind yourself that any progress at all is STILL progress! And, it also helps to think about what would happen if you just stopped completely....YIKES.
This one hurts, doesn't it? Oh...you're too busy to workout? Too busy to do a 20 minute HIIT circuit? Too much going on today to get up early? Puh-leeze!!!! This quote has been known to get me off my arse and get to the freakin gym. I know that someone who has a lot more going on in their life is finding time to make themselves a priority, to put their health first, disciplined enough to stay committed....and if they can do it.....yeah, off I go too.
This quote is all about mindset. We can think about all the things we are missing out on when on a cut. Orrrrr, we can simply change our mindset. You have goals, and yes, there will probably be a little sacrifice and a little bit of uncomfortable-ness to get you there. Ok. But, keeping a positive frame of mind is so incredibly important!
Diet = negative mindset.
Goals = positive mindset.
So, think good thoughts. It's not a diet...it's eating how you need to eat to meet your goals.
Ahhh, the fitness version of the quote above regarding the word "diet." Again, it's all about mindset here, folks.
If you're injured and can't run, focus on your lifting.
If your shoulder hurts and you can't do a push press as heavy as the people around you, kick butt at deadlifts.
If you have bad knees, knock your upper body workouts out of the park.
If you can't do a correct push-up, but you are better than you used to be, keep working on it and don't give up!
Focus on what you CAN do and learn to accept what you can't do... and then LET-IT-GO. Reflect on how much you've improved rather than how far you still have to go. Goals are GREAT, but if you only focus on all the things you can't do...you will burnout and lose your motivation.
EveryONE doesn't do everyTHING well. We all have weaknesses and we all have struggles. Change your mindset and focus on the positive.
In other words, discipline.
Outside the comfort zone is where the magic happens. This is true for just about everything life has to offer. Of course, when we are talking about fitness, don't always lift the same weight. Don't always run the same speed. Don't always grab the same wall ball, the same, barbell weight, the same slam ball, the same kettlebell. To get better, we must get outside our comfort zone. What is that other quote? "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result." If you want to improve your physique, it's time to get uncomfortable!
Seriously. Until it becomes a habit, tattoo this to your forehead.
Such a loaded concept, isn't it??? I love this one!!! How often do we self-sabatoge our own goals, hopes, and dreams? How often do we let self-doubt creep into our decisions to stay home, not give it a chance, or not go for it 100%?! How often do we limit ourselves by our thoughts? How often do we tell ourselves we're not good enough? How often is the biggest obstacle to our success...ourselves? Get out of your own way! You've got this!!!
Start today, and everyday hereafter, by giving yourself a compliment. Look in the mirror and remind yourself how awesome you are. Give yourself permission to be great...because you ARE great! You ARE awesome! When you love yourself, respect yourself, give yourself your best, you won't tolerate any less than the best.
Sure, it's hard to stay motivated ALL THE TIME. And, it's perfectly ok to just go through the motions once in a while. It's ok to take a mental break. It's ok to take a physical break.
But, it's not ok to stay there.
When you need.a little reminder, take one of these quotes, make it your mantra, and repeat it everyday. Get out of your rut, and find the reason you started. Don't give up!
"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
Ever look at your kids and say, "Man, I remember doing that!' Or, "Wow! I can't believe I used to be able to do stuff like that!"
Why do we stop playing as we get older?
I encourage you to make time for play as often as you can. If you have kids, don't just sit and watch them - join them!
We recently took a trip with our 15 year old son to Myrtle Beach, SC. All year, he and I argued about grades, study habits, forgetting assignments, poor test grades, blah, blah, blah.
When summer finally came, I got to become "Summer Mom," Summer Mom is much more fun and relaxed than "School Mom." No one likes her very much. It's true.
So, when we went to Myrtle Beach, I told my husband that I wanted to do something FUN with Gavin and we set out to conquer the local ropes course...you know....where you hook yourself onto a cable and step on tiny, thin wires, and go over wobbly obstacles while everyone looks up at you thinking you must have lost your freakin mind.
"It'll be fun," I said.
"I will bond with my son," I said.
I made it through the "training" course. Yeah, because it was one foot off the ground. Then, onward and upward to Level 1. Gavin was nice enough to let his old Mom go first, and off I went climbing the stairs to come head to head with Obstacle #1.
Ummm, this is higher up than I thought it would be wait what did she say about how to hook this thing to the cable this is so freakin high is that a breeze why is it so windy up here oh my god what the heck am I doing this was such a stupid idea where is paul maybe he will trade places with me and do this with Gavin instead of oh dear lord this is high.
Play. I had forgotten the importance of play.
Playing as adults gets us out of our comfort zone. Remember when we were gungho to try new things? Remember when we couldn't wait to be tall enough to get on the big roller coaster because we didn't know to fear it? Remember when we climbed trees and never once considered that we might fall?
We grew up. And got old.
For those of you that have ever looked at us in class like we have lost our minds....
This is why we do handstands in class. This is why we sign up for races like The Spartan and train on the rings and monkey bars. This is why we get out the tumble mat and remind you how fun (and scary) it is to do a front roll aka a somersault. This is why we play games with cards and dice and sometimes color. We want you to play!!!
At every opportunity, find reasons to make your body perform in ways that are in stark contrast to how you spend your regular day....driving...sitting at a desk starting at a computer...we know these things aren't good for us. And, yet....
We continue to do them.
Why should we play as adults? Because, one day, you might blink and find yourself on a ropes course in Myrtle Beach with your 15 year old son yelling at you to "Just go, MOM!!!"
Duly noted. Play on, my friends!
This is a tough one.
My thinking has actually changed on this one. In the past, my answer would have been no. It's not mentally healthy to weigh everyday. It's obsessive. The fluctuations will drive people crazy and will cause them to give up too easily on their goals.
My thoughts have changed.
For 12 weeks, I weighed myself everyday. At first, I hated it. No, seriously. I hated it. But, knowing I was going to do this everyday for 12 weeks, gave me some real world experience and changed my perspective on the subject.
Yes, the scale fluctuates. This happens for many reasons. The amount of sodium in your system. water weight, inflammation, muscle soreness, hormones, the list goes on and on. Your weight can actually fluctuate up to 5 lbs., although, admittedly, I have not personally experienced that much of a discrepancy.
However, weighing everyday, I was able to come to terms with the fluctuations and began to understand my body better. I knew almost immediately upon waking if the scale would be up or down depending on how much sodium was in my meal the night before, what time I ate my evening meal, and so on.
The other benefit of weighing everyday is that the "fear of the week long let-down" goes away. When I've tried to drop weight in the past, I would look forward to my weigh-in day hoping to see a 1-2 lb. loss. I would build it up in my head, so much so, that I had butterflies in my stomach on "weigh day," Inevitably, the scale would let me down, I would become frustrated, and contemplate throwing it out the window.
It would ruin my entire day.
Weighing everyday, however, you see the trend. Weight loss/gain is NEVER linear. There will be fluctuations, good days and not so good days, and if you only weigh in once a week, you may very well weigh in on a "bad" day.
I should also mention that after my 12 weeks were up, I did take a two week break from the scale. I needed it mentally, as I didn't want to become obsessed with checking or get burned out from tracking. I paid more attention to how my clothes felt, how I looked in the mirror, and continued tracking my food. Two weeks later, my weight was right where I expected it to be....within 1-2 lbs.
My recommendation is this - do what you're comfortable with and realize that the scale is only ONE of the tools you can use to measure progress. Take photos, take measurements, and track your food. Use all the data, including the scale, but not ONLY the scale, to determine whether you are succeeding.
Myth #1: Women Will Get Bulky If They Lift Heavy Weights
I hear this on a daily basis. "I want to get strong, but I don't want to look like a man." Let's put this one to rest once and for all. Women will not look like men simply by lifting heavy. It's IMPOSSIBLE. Typically, women have less muscle tissue and much less testosterone than men so women cannot bulk the way men do. For the average woman, feel free to lift as heavy as you safely can, and let go of this fear that you will become HUGE. Besides, even IF it were to happen, it will not happen overnight...you would see it coming and could tone down the weightlifting portion of your workout.
Myth #2: Running is Bad for Your Knees
Nope. Running is not bad for your knees, but this idea isn't completely baseless. Experts say that women are 4-6 times more likely to be at risk for serious knee injuries from running than their male counterparts, but that is because women tend to have muscle imbalance between the quadriceps and hamstrings. Total body strength workouts a minimum of two times per week in addition to running will help to build up the muscles and offer your knees the support they need.
Myth #3: You Can Spot Reduce Body Fat
"I need to lose fat in my __________." Sorry, but it just doesn't work that way. You can do crunches until the cows come home and you will not lose body fat in your stomach area. Do as many arm exercises as you wish, but you will still bat wings. Why? Two reasons. First, when we lose body fat, it's because our body is in a calorie deficit. If you are not changing your nutrition and limiting calories, you will get stronger doing arm workouts and crunches, but you will not lose the body fat surrounding those strong muscles. Second, when you ARE in a calorie deficit and the body fat begins to reduce, your body will lose fat collectively...that is, from all over the body. This is why taking body measurements are super important. If you only measure your bicep, it may be a long time before you see change in that area. The body has its own way of determining how it reduces body fat.
Myth #4: Exercise is the BEST Way to Lose Weight
Sorry...if only it were that easy. Many people don't *mind* working out and you will see a lot of overweight people at the gym getting their sweat on. But, these people will look the same months, even years, down the road. Why? Because as many internet memes correctly suggest, "You can't out train a bad diet." A one hour workout is 4% of your day. That's it. It's not enough to make a dent in weight loss if you aren't also focusing on your macros. Focused nutrition is THE BEST way to lose weight.
Exercise has plenty of benefits including boosting your mood, improving memory, stress relief, and many more. However, thinking that exercise will cause you to lose weight if a myth. Even worse is using exercise as an excuse to eat more. Nope. Nope. Nope.
Myth #5: Strong Toned Muscles Come From Lifting Light Weight for Many Reps
False. To get the lean muscle definition we want, it simply comes from having muscle mass and low body fat. Lifting light weight for a high volume of reps will not build substantial muscle. A poor diet too high in calories will not reduce body fat. If you want to reshape your body (male or female), the key is to lift heavy weight to build muscle and then strip away the body fat by focusing on your nutrition.