Pump some Iron

I am totally psyched (again), but this time not about food but about fitness. A couple of days ago I signed up for 1 month of unlimited CrossFit. Woot Woot!! I took my class about a month ago and I was sore for almost an entire week. So of course I was hooked!

CrossFit is relatively concept. It is more the term CrossFit that is new. There have always been boot camp type classes , which a mix up of strength training and endurance. As I mentioned before I am a huge fan of strength training, the benefits are amazing.

So far I have gone to 3 classes back to back and as you can guess I am extremely sore, but loving it! Each time I go the workout is different. Some days we use mostly weights, some days we use fun toys like ropes and rings!

This is not me, I'm not that good yet!

I love the diversity of it, always keeps you on your toes. This is important to me because as much as I love Bikram Yoga, the repetition gets to you after a month or so. You feel absolutely amazing after, but you do the same workout over and over again. Another reason why I love cross fit is that the gym I go to is 2 blocks from me! It really makes a huge difference when you do not have to leave ½ hour early to get somewhere. Yesterday I was running late to the 6:30 pm class, I left my house at 6:29pm and made it to cross fit in 2 minutes. If this were in another location I would have totally missed the class.

A Cross Fit workout is 45 minutes – 1 hour. A class usually consists of a quick warm up of about ten minutes, then the main 40 minute workout which includes intervals, weights, and other forms of strength training then a short 5 minute cool down. Intervals are when you do whatever you are doing to the max that you can do (about 1 – 2 minutes) then cool down for 1 minute and repeat for a specified amount of time. The other day for 15 minutes, we did a set which consisted of 5 pull-ups, 5 pushups and 5 squats repeatedly with 1 minute rest in between each set. As you can image while I am doing these sets my heart rate increase a lot and then has a chance to recover in the 1 minute rest. Although my heart rate is not increased for a long time (like if you are running) you still burn a lot of calories.

The idea with any work out is to sweat, and to sweat you usually need resistance and or intervals. I love Lululemon’s motto

Don’t get me wrong, walking is great, but usually only if you want to maintain your cardiovascular system. I say usually only because if you don’t do any exercise, walking will initially increase your heart rate, and also if you are an older folk you don’t want to be increasing that heart rate too much! By maintaining your cardiovascular system I am implying that you are not increasing Basal Metabolic Rate. This is the rate at which you burn calories (aka metabolism). To increase BMR you need to workout to the max (or close to the max) that you can do. If you consistently walk at the same resistance and same time (which again is great) you are not going to increase your BMR because you are not increasing your heart rate.

If you are looking to lose weight, lower cholesterol and increase endurance you may want to consider increasing your BMR. I highly recommend doing interval workouts. This does not mean you have to join CrossFit or even a gym, which I’m sure your wallet is super excited to hear. You can do interval workouts with just your body and or any home equipment that you may have (such as stability balls, weights, pull up bars, resistance bands etc). Decide what exercises you want to do, go hard  for 2 minutes, then rest for 1 minute. Do this for 15 minutes and you will feel like you did a great workout, which of course you did and it does not take too much time! Of course you can increase the total time, but I recommend starting slow.

Below are some great ideas for interval workouts.

http://bootcampideas.com/an-extremely-challenging-bootcamp-interval-workout/

http://www.womenshealthmag.com/video/resistance-band-exercises#/video/fitness/created/d/1 not all of these videos are intervals, but you can certainly make them!

Tina from Carrots n Cake just posted today some great interval workouts http://carrotsncake.com/2012/03/i-just-want-to-make-you-sweat.html

With all said, don’t forget to stretch and breathe deeply every day!