Tag Archives: cardio

“The Truth About Exercise” Documentary

Last night on PBS, there was a documentary on exercising and what the optimum amount of physical activity provides the optimum results.  This is always a tricky theory to answer, because every body is built differently.  Our genes play a factor in how our body responds to physical activity and how we process foods.  Though genes can play a role in how we look, I do believe with hard work and dedication, we can reverse what we may be negatively predisposed with.


I often get questions around how much to exercise, and for me, I think the ideal scenario would be 5 times a week 45 mins to an hour each session. For the majority, that may be considered way too much, and if you think that’s not enough, maybe you should revisit the reason why you work out. If you’re not training for a competition, there really should be no reason to work out more than that. If you believe so, maybe revisit the reason why you work out.

In this documentary, Michael Mosley defies the traditional theory that spending countless hours at the gym is the primary way to lose weight.  Instead, he suggests that doing short, yet intense amounts of hard work is just as beneficial, if not more, than spending hours with steady state cardio. Yes, some people are less responsive to high-intensity training (HIIT), but in general, there are internal (less visible) benefits of this type of training as Michael demonstrates. He even goes as far as suggests that 3 minutes of high-intensity training PER WEEK is sufficient to reap rewards. That might be a bit extreme for me, but it does imply that it’s not quantity but quality that counts!

If you know me at all, you know I’m no fan of steady state anything. In fact, I often refuse to run because I find it more detrimental than beneficial. However, I don’t discourage people from steady state cardio if that’s what they truly enjoy. Ultimately, the goal is to move and be active, so whatever activity that brings you joy and promotes health, you should continue regardless of what this study says.   Here’s the documentary if you’re interested.


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Until you value yourself, you won’t value your time…

…until you value your time, you won’t do anything with it

My playlist for this week!

3-12-2013 11-23-12 AM

…. is this me?!?


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Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail

Here’s my playlist from this week’s class!  I am obsessed, OBSESSED with Mayer Hawthorne.  How can you resist that dorky, white boy hipster swag?!  🙂


2-26-2013 9-34-31 AM

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If you travel through life with a lack of conscience

… life will treat you similarly sooner or later


Last night was easily one of the top 5 classes I’ve ever taught!  Great energy and some of the hardest workin’ people ever!  I could tell everyone was into the class.  It definitely makes my job a whole lot easier (and fun)!  Here’s my playlist for those of you who requested it.  See you soon!!!

1-29-2013 11-44-10 AM

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The time is always right to do what is right – MLK

This has to be the most eclectic playlist I’ve put together for a spin class, but it worked!

1-22-2013 11-06-23 AM

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Remember, people, do your duty today and go out and VOTE!




On another note, here is my playlist from last night’s spin class.  Many people had said it was one of the toughest classes I’ve taught, and I have to agree.  I was winded and a few times had to stop and catch my breath.  It was a good ride with a lot of good vibes.  A couple new tracks for you this week too!

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Done is Better Than Perfect

Some new stuff, but also some old stuff.

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Building Your Energy Systems

One of my favorite resources when it comes to the science of training and nutrition is Core Performance.  They do a really good job of explaining the science behind why we do what we do as athletes, training professionals, and regular gym-goers.

For a while, I’ve been on this rant about high-intensity training versus steady-state cardio.  You will NEVER find me running outdoors (unless it’s for my dog, of course), or just steady-state anything on any equipment.  The most effective training is interval training.  We obviously want to make the most out of everything we do (well, at least I do), so why not capitalize on the time while you’re training and work on building your lactate threshold… lactate whhaaat?!?!

Below, Core Performance lists the different energy systems that are important for us to build:

1.Lactate threshold – This is your capacity to do high-intensity work for up to 3 minutes. The ESD unit of your training program is a form of interval training in which you will alternate between periods of intense exercise with less strenuous periods.

2.Lactate power – This is your body’s ability to do high-level work for periods of up to 12 seconds.

3.Aerobic system – The ability to work beyond 3 minutes and help you recover from your bouts with the lactate threshold. For instance, if you’re sprinting up hills and walking down, you’re using the lactate system on the way up and the aerobic system on the way down. In this case, the aerobic system enhances your recovery from these intense bursts of energy.

These are dependent on the types of activities you do and to what capacity they can elevate your heart rate, because it all boils down to science, right guys?!  Calorie burned > Calorie intake  — and the most effective way to increase your calorie burn is increasing your heart rate!  DUH!

So here are some activities (excerpt from Core Performance site) that correspond with the different energy systems mentioned above:

Level 1

Level 1 focuses on steady-state aerobic work. Aerobic simply means that your body will use oxygen to provide a steady and consistent, low level of energy for a long time, without building up any waste products in the body that hinder performance.  A good rule of thumb for level 1 is that you should be able to carry on a conversation when you are in the aerobic zone. Some of the best activities for level 1 are:

■ Outdoors: Brisk walking, walking up hills, biking, swimming, rowing

■ Indoors: Biking, treadmill climbing/walking, elliptical trainer, Airdyne

Level 2

Level 2 will introduce interval training by mixing moderate intensity (heart rate zone # 1) with bouts of Level 1 easy-intensity aerobic work to allow you to catch your breath and recover from the slightly more intense intervals.  You’ll know you’ve reached Level 2 moderate intensity if you would find it difficult to carry on a conversation. You could, but you wouldn’t be able to say much more than a couple of words at a time. Some of the best activities for Level 2 are:

■ Outdoors: Running-to-jogging/walking, jogging-to-walking

■ Indoors: Bike, elliptical trainer. treadmill, stair climbers, Airdyne

Level 3

In Level 3 you will work harder, performing intervals that include time spent in heart rate zone # 2. The times and rest intervals both decrease. Don’t be intimidated by more intense work; you’ll be ready for it. In fact, you will be looking for a greater challenge. Some of the best activities for Level 3 are:

■ Outdoors: Running-to-jogging/walking, jogging-to-walking

■ Indoors: Bike, elliptical trainer. treadmill, stair climbers, Airdyne

Level 4

Level 4 is the shortest of the intervals, increasing your heart rate to the highest zone (zone # 3). It requires mobility, stability and strength. At this level you will ride, run, or climb as hard as possible for between 10 and 30 seconds. In order to get the most out of Level 4, you’ll need to pack as much power and energy into these segments as possible.

Some of the best activities for Level 4 are:

■ Sprinting (flat or uphill)

■ Shuttle runs (5 yards and back, 10 yards and back, 15 yards and back)

■ Bicycle intervals (or take my spin class, hahaha)

The rest of this article can be found here.

So cardio it up, my friends, but cardio wisely!!!

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HIIT … part deux

I’ve been on this High-Intensity kick lately. Here are some other options you can do for HIIT other than sprints (as mentioned from my previous post). You’ll find these exercises to jack your HR up, esp. if you’re doing it right. Work on good form, and go for speeeeeddddd! Go hard for at least 30 secs, or you can even go Tabata (20 sec on and 10 sec off for multiple consecutive sets).  In between each of these high-intensity sets, you could add some weight resistance exercises keeping the weight low and work on good form for max rep…. and after that, back to these HIIT drills. 


“I hated every minute of training, but I said, “Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.” — Muhammad Ali


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