Targit In Your Toolbox

08101701

Expand your workout options. Make sure you have more than one type of resistance training tool in your fitness toolbox.

No matter what your goals are, you need to build muscle as well as get your cardiovascular system in shape. WebMD advises that building lean muscle via resistance training is vital for getting in shape because it helps burn fat for weight loss and helps keep it off. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends both resistance training and aerobic activity on a weekly basis in their Physical Activity Guidelines. The aerobic part is easy enough to solve, as you really don’t need any unusual or special equipment to get your heart rate up. Hop on your bike, take a jog around the neighborhood or jump rope for awhile — it’s all good. For building muscle, though, it’s useful to have more than one tool in your fitness toolbox.

Open Your Mind to Options

Some people are die-hard free weight lifters. They don’t consider it a serious workout unless they’re using the dumbbells or any equipment that incorporates weight plates. There’s nothing wrong with that while you’re young, but as you get older your body doesn’t recover as quickly as it used to. Plus, lifting heavy weights is hard on your joints and tendons in general but, as you age, it’s natural for cartilage to deteriorate, according to Healthline, making heavy weight lifting difficult and even risky. That’s not to say that you should give up free weights entirely. Many experts from personal trainers to physical therapists to doctors advocate using bands in conjunction with free weights for effective strength training programs.

The benefits of resistance bands increase the effectiveness of your workout. Image by Dave Crosby/Flickr

Advice like that from experts is what makes the TargitFit Trainer a valuable piece of equipment for your fitness toolbox. It uses bands for resistance, eliminating the load placed on your joints while still giving you a challenging workout. If you’re one of the intractable free weight enthusiasts, open your mind a little to discover the benefits of bands as resistance. Colorado State University lists a whole slew of them including but not limited to

  • constant tension that isn’t subject to gravity
  • momentum is eliminated, which encourages proper form and prevents “cheating”
  • activates core muscles to improve posture and torso stabilization
  • greater range of motion for increased effectiveness of resistance, resulting in more muscle fibers recruited for greater muscle strength

Additionally, the American College of Sports Medicine says that resistance bands are useful for athletes of all fitness levels, from beginners to advanced.

Injuries Last a Lifetime

bench press

Bench presses with resistance bands won’t aggravate your shoulder joints.

Injuries never go away. Your body may heal, but you’ll likely never be the same after your knee blows out or you injure your rotator cuff. Band-based resistance is a valuable training tool for anyone, but those who have an injury, currently or one in the past, will find that the non-load type of resistance bands offer are easier on their injured limbs and/or joints. It’s the reason why resistance bands are used in physical therapy and injury rehab. If squats bother your knees or bench pressing irritates your shoulder, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that you can do both pain-free with equipment like the TargitFit Trainer. The resistance is challenging, yet won’t inflict damage or cause further injury, so you’ll be able to keep working out. Also, you’ll recover — from your workouts and your injury — more effectively.

Resistance Training for the Young ‘Uns

kid workout

Kids as young as 7 can safely workout on the TargitFit Trainer.

Another case for adding TargitFit to your toolbox is that it can safely be used by anyone of any age or fitness level. Though a study published in Sports Health concluded that strength training is beneficial for children as young as 7 years, the Mayo Clinic points out that lifting too heavy and using inappropriate equipment contribute to injuries, such as bone plate fractures and lower back, joint and tendon damage. The Mayo Clinic and the Sports Health study agree that resistance bands and tubing are the answer. Bands are viable and safe alternatives for weight lifting for kids, and using them is a terrific way to introduce children to strength training. It allows them to learn proper form to prepare them to lift free weights when they get older.

Multiple Uses, Never-Ending Benefits

the gear

Portable, easy to store and safe — TargitFit is a valuable addition to your fitness toolbox.

As stated before, you should have more than one resistance tool in your fitness toolbox. Most experts agree that giving yourself options benefits you in multiple ways. Having access to a tool such as the TargitFit Trainer increases your chances of working out consistently, because you’ll have access to it when the gym is closed or overcrowded, when you’re on vacation or when you just don’t feel like leaving the house. You can use it without concern that it will aggravate old or new injuries. It’s useful as a transition tool, from young to old. It takes the place of free weight accessories such as chains for linear variable resistance but isn’t as bothersome to store and transport. Also, working out with TargitFit is a refreshing change of pace when you get bored with your workout routine. The health and fitness benefits of the TargitFit Trainer are reason enough to try it. The sheer convenience and effectiveness will make you a believer.

Weight Loss Tips Part Two: How To Stick To a Diet Plan

Last week’s post got the weight loss ball rolling with advice on how to lose weight by making your weight loss plan a part of your lifestyle. Studies show the most effective weight loss programs to be ones that include both diet and exercise. The American Council on Exercise confirms this, revealing that 89 percent of the members of the National Weight Control Registry owe their weight loss success stories to using both strategies.

08031702

Soda addiction, stress, and lack of time for preparing healthy meals are all excuses for not sticking to a diet – but it’s all another way of saying weight loss isn’t that important to you.

There are loads of common excuses for not sticking to a diet, but most of them boil down to not having enough willpower. “I’m stressed,” “I’m addicted to soda,” “I slipped up earlier, so why not make today a total loss?” can all be said another way: “I don’t want to try.” You shouldn’t let the lack of willpower be yet another excuse not to stick to your diet, though. A study conducted by the Center for Adaptive Behavior and Cognition found that starting a diet and sticking to it was more about how complicated the dieters perceived their diet plans to be than it was about having the will or desire. So let’s make that the first on our list of diet tips.

K.I.S.S.

It’s hard to stick to eating plans with complicated guidelines.

No, not the rockin’ glam-metal band, the acronym: Keep It Simple Sweetie. (There are no stupid dieters, just stupid excuses.) When a diet requires you count each and every calorie that goes into your mouth; when you start carrying a digital scale wherever you go to ensure you don’t eat one fraction of an ounce more than diet guidelines allow; when you hang your food journal from a chain around your neck for quick access each time you pop a handful of nuts or sip from a glass of juice, your diet is too complicated. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t be aware of caloric intake or portion sizes, but when it takes over your life, you’ll be less likely to stick with the weight loss plan.

Importance of Mindset

We covered it last week, but changing your mindset is so vital for successful weight loss that it bears mentioning again. How about this: don’t ever go on a diet. The word has developed a negative association to the point of being equivalent with curse words. (“‘Diet’ is a four letter word!”) Instead of calling it a diet, rename it your healthy eating plan.  While the word “diet” may make you feel deprived, an “eating plan” has a pro-active tone. It’s also important to make a commitment to a lifestyle change. Healthy weight loss that lasts requires making healthy choices every day for the rest of your life.

Don’t Demand Perfection

The Healthy Eating Plate has replaced the old-school Food Pyramid.
Image by TipsTimesAdmin/Flickr.

Most people know what foods are considered healthy. You may have been introduced to the food pyramid in health class, but these days nutritional experts advocate the Healthy Eating Plate. For the most part your daily diet should be comprised of the healthy, nutritious foods outlined on the Healthy Eating Plate. However, don’t entirely deny yourself the occasional treat, and don’t beat yourself up over slip-ups when they occur. A helpful way to keep from feeling deprived is to allow yourself a “cheat” day on which to eat small to moderate amounts of the foods you feel you can’t live without. Plan what you’ll eat on your cheat day, even write out a menu, just don’t go overboard. Pigging out on fat and calories even one day a week can undo an entire week’s worth of healthy eating benefits.

A Few More Tips

Cut off eating at 6 p.m. or earlier to avoid taking in and storing calories that you won’t immediately use.

The TargitFit Never Fail Extreme Weight Loss Diet includes loads of tips for accelerating your results by sticking with the eating plan, and it’s free — just fill out the form on the right-hand side of this page. It explains how you can estimate portion sizes, how to figure out how much water you should be drinking and gives options for protein, vegetable and carbohydrate choices. Some other valuable diet tips include

  • avoid eating after 6 p.m.
  • switch to skim milk
  • ditch the soda and even juice in favor of more water
  • never skip breakfast
  • eat your meals slowly to give your brain time to recognize when your stomach is full

How To Stick With a Weight Loss Program

07271704How many times have you started a weight loss program? If you started and are still sticking with it, good for you! You’re definitely in an elite minority. According to Psychology Today, even when people are faced with a major incentive such as losing weight and getting fit or dying, about 90 percent don’t make the necessary changes, or they start and don’t stick with it. If you’re tired of feeling tired and wish your clothing was a few sizes smaller, you need more than another weight loss plan. Follow these weight loss tips to understand how to lose weight and make it part of your lifestyle.

Change Your Mind, Change Your Life

There is no finish line for weight loss. Losing weight and keeping it off requires a long-term lifestyle change.

Whether it’s on doctor’s orders, for an event like a wedding or class reunion or you just want to lose weight to look and feel better, you have to understand that weight loss success only comes when you change your mindset and your lifestyle. Don’t start with the thought that you only have to keep it up for 3 weeks, 4 months or any set time. According to HelpGuide.org, there’s no such thing as a quick fix that results in permanent weight loss. Yes, you’ll have to keep eating better. No, you won’t reach a point where you can quit working out. It will all be worth it once you start seeing results.

The Secret to Setting Goals

Treat yourself to a day at the beach or any other reward when you meet short-term weight loss goals.

You might have one big overall goal in mind when you start a weight loss plan, such as dropping two dress sizes or losing 50 pounds. Even when they need to happen, those numbers as goals are overwhelming. To make losing weight more manageable (and more likely), break up your overall goal into smaller, short-term goals. Aim to lose 4 to 5 pounds in the first four weeks, for example. That’s a goal that you can achieve and, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), accomplishing short-term goals will motivate you to stick with your weight loss program. Celebrate those small accomplishments, too. Treat yourself to that gadget you’ve been eyeing or a new outfit for the thinner, fitter you. Recognizing those accomplishments will encourage you to keep going.

Take Your Time

Use a heart rate monitor to ensure you work hard enough without over-exerting yourself.

When you first start, you’ll be all fired up to lose weight fast, but having such high expectations guarantees disappointment and failure. After years of a sedentary lifestyle, your body won’t know what to make of the sudden change. It may take anywhere from 3 weeks to 3 months to start seeing results. Know that going in and don’t get discouraged. Don’t try to force quick weight loss, either. Overexertion for a body that’s used to sitting all day and lounging all night can be detrimental to your health. Figure your optimum heart rate and use a heart rate monitor to keep it high enough but don’t exceed maximum heart rate. The CDC recommends this calculation for figuring your target exercising heart rate:

  • 200 – your age = maximum heart rate (MHR)
  • MHR x 60 to 70% for moderate intensity
  • MHR x 75 to 85% for vigorous intensity

Partners Shouldn’t Make or Break Weight Loss

bench press

Not having a work out partner shouldn’t derail your weight loss plans.

Weight loss programs are easier when you have a partner to help keep in check. Even if you have a friend who is willing to work out with you and help you stay accountable in the diet department, don’t put all your weight loss eggs in someone else’s basket. Do it for yourself and don’t count on them to keep you eating healthy or getting to the gym. There will be times your workout partner can’t make it, or he might lose interest in the diet part of the . Accept any support you get from a partner, but commit to doing it yourself.

Muscle Building: A Good Idea For Women, Too

Putting on muscle mass may have seem like a topic for guys who want to bulk up. However, building muscle is important for women, too. Keep your active imagination in check, resisting images of bikini-clad, muscle-bound women bodybuilders. While that level of muscle mass on a woman is an impressive demonstration of self-control and the ability to train muscles, it’s a result that requires a lot of hard work and more attention to your diet than you ever want to give. For the average woman, female muscle growth will provide vital support for the bones and can positively affect the aging process. Plus, it’s easier for women who put on muscle mass to lose fat.

You Can’t Bulk Up (Easily)

It takes a lot of testosterone–more than you have–to build big, bulky muscles.
Image by Eduardo García Cruz/Flickr

The fact that women bodybuilders exist proves that women are capable of putting on muscle mass in serious amounts. However, as fitness and nutrition expert Catherine Piot points out in her book “The Fit Body Plan,” women don’t produce as much testosterone as men do, so they don’t have the genetics to gain muscle as easily as guys can. To accomplish significant female muscle growth, a gal has to adjust her entire lifestyle, centering it around workouts and diet.

If I Could Turn Back Time

Resistance training can do more for anti-aging than a ton of expensive cosmetic treatments.

Growing older is a fact of life for everyone. Right around the age of 40, people start to notice little differences in how their bodies function and those little differences soon become major limitations. According to a study reported by the IDEA Health and Fitness Association, however, not only can muscle building workouts slow the aging process, but they can actually reverse it. In fact, the study showed that resistance training reversed the aging process right down at the genetic level.

Support Those Bones

Bones supported by strong muscles don’t break easily.

The International Osteoporosis Foundation reports that osteoporosis affects an estimated 200 million women worldwide and that 1 in 3 women over 50 will suffer from osteoporosis-related fractures. Considering that major loss of muscle mass is one of the leading causes of osteoporosis, it’s a shame that more women don’t engage in strength training for building muscle. Everyone from the National Institute of Health to the CDC recommends muscle building for avoiding osteoporosis. That’s because muscles not only provide support for your bones, but the stress of strong muscles working against your bones improves bone strength and will even stimulate bone growth, according to a study published in Medicine and Science in Sports Exercise. In light of these facts, muscle fitness for women should be a top priority.

Tip the Scales: Build Muscle Mass, Lose Fat

Maintaining muscle mass keeps the fat off your middle–and everywhere else.

If anti-aging and avoiding osteoporosis aren’t enough reasons for you to embark on a muscle-building regimen, then do it to stay trim. Not only do women who strength train have a pleasing, toned look to their physiques, but they also have an easier time keeping fat weight off. That’s because muscle is metabolically active. It literally burns calories all the time, even when you’re not working out. This is one of those times when something that sounds too good to be true isn’t; it’s a scientifically proven fact.

If you’re in a panic, thinking that you should have started putting on muscle mass long ago, you’re right. That doesn’t mean, however, that it’s too late for you, regardless of your age. That’s where resistance training comes in, and you don’t have to pump iron if you don’t want to. Training with resistance bands is an excellent, safe alternative. It speeds up strength and muscle gains by allowing you to lift at your maximum potential. Go ahead, give it a try. You have nothing to lose and only muscle mass to gain.

Sweet Treats That Won’t Derail Weight Loss

When you have a sweet tooth, having to forgo your favorite treats is torture if you’re trying to lose weight. The good news is that there are a number of sweet things you can snack on that won’t work against you. In fact, there are some that will actually help with your weight loss goal. How awesome is that? You can satisfy your craving for something sweet and still stay on track for losing weight.

Honey Almonds

 

If your downfall is sweet and crunchy snacks, honey roasted almonds will be your go-to treat. The almonds provide protein and fiber, both of which are essential for weight loss. The weight loss secret to this treat, however, is in the honey. A study in the Journal of American Nutrition found that honey has an appetite-suppressing effect, so you’ll feel satisfied faster and won’t feel hungry again for awhile.

Chilly Cherries

No, not chili cherries–these are frozen, not spicy, and will help you lose weight because they’re low in calories and full of fiber, according to LIVESTRONG. An important part of this snack is to freeze the cherries. That will encourage you to eat them slower (no one likes brain-freeze!) plus, Prevention says that it makes them taste like an Italian ice.

 

Skim Milk Shake

07131701

Substitute half of the milk in a protein shake with cold coffee for a tasty sweet snack with a kick.

There’s a reason supplement companies build their products around sweet-tasting foods, and that’s to help you trick yourself into eating what you should while enjoying it. It’s the enjoying it part that some drop the ball on, but there are a few protein shake mixes out there that taste great. Beverly International‘s chocolate and rocky road Muscle Provider shakes are good examples. Mixed with a cup of skim milk, both taste rich and decadent, giving you a real chocolate milk or milkshake experience while sneaking in necessary protein and nutrients. As you know, eating protein helps curb your appetite plus it actually burns calories to digest it, so you get a two-fer when you opt for a protein shake.

Want an energy-boosting trick to enhance a cardio session for more fat burning? Mix the Muscle Provider with 1/2 cup of skim milk and 1/2 cup of cold coffee left over from breakfast. It will taste like a Frappucino, and the caffeine in the coffee will give you the oomph you need for an effective workout.

Berries and Yogurt

Don’t confuse this snack with yogurt that comes with the fruit in the bottom. Buy your own fresh berries and mix them into a cup of Greek yogurt yourself.

Opt for Greek-style yogurt for this snack to cash in on the extra protein. It doesn’t hurt, either that the yogurt will provide healthy bacteria to keep your digestive system working optimally for weight loss. The berries bring the actual “loss” factor to the table. Research published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that the anthocyanins in strawberries, blueberries, and many other berries stop your body from storing fat.

Chia Seed Pudding

Throw some puree on top of a basic chia seed pudding to get the added weight loss benefits berries provide.

Chia seeds’ secret weapon is that they’re high in fiber, so they’ll fill you up and keep you feeling full. In fact, according to Healthline, just 2 tablespoons contain almost 40 percent of your daily fiber needs. They are a bit heavy on calories for such a small amount, but that shouldn’t matter if you stick to one serving and factor it into your total daily calorie count. A simple recipe for the sweetly satisfying pudding is to mix coconut or almond milk with chia seeds and a splash of vanilla and let it sit overnight in the fridge. Alternatively, DailyBurn has a collection of chia seed pudding recipes to appease your sweet tooth.

Ask the Expert: How Do I Lose Weight Fast?

Being a personal trainer and having been a natural bodybuilder for years, the question people ask me most is how to lose weight — and usually the question is how to lose weight fast. Although there are some basic, common-sense guidelines for weight loss, everyone is working from a different starting point and with different circumstances including health history, genetics and personal weight loss motivation. It’s sometimes hard to hear, but weight loss success stories typically include equal parts exercise and attention to diet. If you can get past what you wish were true about weight loss programs and get motivated to put these weight loss tips to work, the outcome will be guaranteed weight loss.

Diet and Exercise Make the Best Weight Loss Program

Those who aren’t partial to working out want to do it all through diet, and those who love their food hope for significant weight loss through exercise alone. Either approach will bring results, but when you incorporate both together, those results will be even quicker and more significant, and it will be a healthy weight loss.

Avoiding the Hunger Games

Drinking water before, during, and after your workout will help fight hunger.

Your body is used to doing its normal thing on a certain number of calories, so be prepared for your appetite to increase when you first start working out. To avoid the urge to binge after working out, make sure to fuel up ahead of time by eating a full, protein-packed meal about 2 hours before you work out. If you don’t have time for a big meal, the American Council on Exercise recommends having a light snack that includes both carbs and protein about 30 minutes before exercising. Other useful tips for avoiding hunger when dieting include chewing gum, drinking water and brushing your teeth immediately after eating.

A Healthy Weight Loss Diet

Track calories to ensure you’re burning more than you’re eating. Image by Kevin Simmons

To lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you take in, and it helps if those are healthy calories. Start keeping track of how many calories you eat each day. MyFitnessPal has a calorie counter along with an extensive library of the calorie content of different foods. The good news is that successful diet plans are more about portion control and when you eat than about deprivation. Most people will benefit from small adjustments to their diet such as increasing protein, switching to skim milk and not eating after 6 pm. As for calories, the free extreme weight loss diet from TargitFit runs around 1200 calories, but you can figure optimal calorie intake for weight loss using this formula:

your current weight x 15 – 500

The answer is the number of daily calories you require while still losing about 1 lb per week. Increase the “500” to 750 or 1000 for more rapid weight loss, or eliminate it entirely for the number of calories you need for weight maintenance.

Working Out for Weight Loss

Jen working out

Resistance training increases your fat-burning capabilities.

Taking an aerobics class or hitting the treadmill for 30 to 45 minutes three or four times a week will burn fat and keep your cardiovascular system in top condition. You can do more, though. Building muscle with resistance training will enhance your body’s fat-burning and weight loss capabilities because muscle is metabolically active. According to ShapeFit, every pound of muscle you put on will burn an extra six calories each day. So, let’s say your weight stays the same, but you replace 3 lbs of fat with 3 lbs of muscle. That’s an extra 126 calories you’ll burn every week without doing anything. That’s a nice payoff for time spent on the TargitFit Trainer.

–Matt

Raise a Glass To Tequila For Weight Loss

06291701

Casamigos Tequila
Image by Dominick Lockyer

 

Yeah, it’s true. We just published an article about how alcohol affects your workout, but if you read it thoroughly, you’ll remember that it doesn’t have to derail your exercise regimen altogether. In fact, it turns out that one specific type of alcohol actually assists in weight loss.

After reading about how Randy Gerber and his pal George developed a brand of tequila and sold the company for (pinky to lip) one beelyun dollars, we remembered stumbling across an interesting study that showed tequila can help you lose weight.

The Research

06291702The Royal Study Of Chemistry published a paper in which the researchers found that agavins–fructans from the agave plant–aren’t digested like typical sugars are. They actually act more like fiber in the digestive system. That alone is good news because, although agavins are sugars, they won’t raise your blood sugar level, but that’s not really the ultimate benefit. The researchers found that in as few as 5 weeks, agavins promoted peptide secretion which was useful in regulating appetite. The difference in that short amount of time was significant enough to show lower triglycerides and less weight gain, leading the researchers to conclude that agavins could be useful in controlling obesity and metabolic disorder.

Applying the Science

06291703

Rather than drinking cocktails made with sugary mixers, opt for tequila and soda over ice, garnished with citrus fruit and maybe a sprig of mint.

Don’t uncork the Petron just yet…we know the traditional train of thought is that if a little is good, more is better, but that is where everything usually goes wrong. Too much of anything isn’t good, and no studies have yet come up with a recommended amount of agavins for health or weight loss. If you’re looking to tequila for help losing weight, make it a substitution choice rather than your whole plan.

That means still keeping alcohol intake to a minimum, but choosing tequila–agave tequila specifically–over other types of alcohol when you do imbibe. Also, remember that tossing it in a shaker with super-sweet mixers will defeat the purpose. That makes drinking it straight a better choice–shots or poured over ice– the best would be to serve it with soda and citrus wedges. Diluting the tequila in that way will keep it from going straight to your head.

Be Smart

06291705

Get exercise out of the way before raising a glass of agave tequila with friends.

Tequila is still liquor, so in order for it to not hinder the exercise part of your regimen, you’ll want to time your drinking appropriately. The agavins may help in weight loss, but the alcohol can reduce protein synthesis which interferes with muscle building. Additionally, it can obstruct nutrient absorption and dehydrate you, both issues that get in the way of an effective workout. That’s why it’s best to work out before you drink, then take the following day off for recovery. You’ll have all the energy and hydration you need, your body will be able to perform optimally, and you’ll be ready to go again after your rest day. Salud!

The Summer Dilemma: Staying In Shape While You Travel

06221701Summer is here, and everyone is hitting the road. If you’ve been looking forward to summer travel, that’s good news for you, but it’s usually bad news for your fitness and weight loss goals. An unofficial survey on TripAdvisor showed that people typically gain between 2 and 5 pounds during summer vacations with most saying that they give themselves a vacation from exercise and watching what they eat when they’re on holiday. Plus, some commented that they had a hard time getting back into their regular schedules once they got home, contributing to even more weight gain after vacation was over.

There’s nothing wrong with giving yourself a break when you head out on vacation, provided you are committed to resuming your healthy eating habits and workout regimen when you get back home. It’s certainly fine to treat yourself during meals and not worry about an extra beer or glass of wine while on vacation, but you’ll be able to justify it easier as well as help keep extra pounds off if you get some exercise while you’re on holiday. That is easier done than you think and, when you still fit in your “normal” clothes after vacation, you’ll be glad you did.

Make Your Bodyweight Work For You

Men’s Fitness maintains that an old-school bodyweight workout is a good way to hold onto the progress you’ve made even on vacation. Bodyweight exercises don’t require specialized equipment or much room to do them in–most can be performed even in a small hotel room. Start with a selection of plank exercises like a basic plank and a one-arm plank, also called a “seagull.” Other effective bodyweight exercises to put into a vacation routine include

    • pushups
    • single leg squats
    • windmills
    • ab lunge twists

Use Your Surroundings

06221702

Before lounging by the pool, why not do a few laps first?

Incorporating exercise into your vacation time can be easier for some people if they do something different than typical working out. The Washington Post says using your surroundings is a great way to work a unique exercise regimen into your vacation time. Take advantage of the good weather and beautiful surroundings by running or doing yoga on the beach. Bring your bike along or rent one where you’re staying and take an evening ride. Also, walk everywhere you can. You’ll get to see the sights and burn some calories at the same time.

Bring Some Equipment Along

06221703

Compact, portable equipment is easy to take wherever you go, and works in small spaces like a hotel room, too.

Some people would prefer to stick to their usual workout even when they’re not at home, but the fitness facilities in many hotels don’t have the equipment they need. That’s when taking your own equipment comes in handy, but if you’re into lifting heavy, that’s not necessarily doable. Comprehensive band equipment like the TargitFit Trainer is the answer. Everything you need to do gym-quality exercises–including 220 pounds of resistance–is packed into an easy-to-carry case. Portable workout equipment like the TargitFit makes it easy to keep exercise in your schedule, even away from home.

HIIT It Up: 5 High Intensity Interval Workouts for Busy People

This week, TargitFit is pleased to offer some healthy living advice courtesy of guest blogger, Eric Bogy:

If you haven’t already, it’s time to jump on board the HIIT bandwagon. HIIT, also known as High Intensity Interval Training, is perfect for busy people who only have a set amount of time for their workout but also want to torch fat and gain lean muscle. In several studies throughout the years, HIIT has been found to reduce abdominal and visceral fat, the kind that leads to metabolic syndromes, like diabetes.

HIIT is also effective at increasing athletic conditioning. So if you are looking to break through a plateau or lose some weight, it’s time to HIIT it up.

Bodyweight HIIT

06151701This is a beginner-friendly HIIT workout that has 3 rounds, about 60 seconds of work, and 15 seconds of rest. You are going to need a stopwatch to help you keep track of time. The best part about this HIIT workout is that you don’t need a lot of time or space.

Complete the following exercises as fast as you can but slow enough to maintain proper form:

Pushups, as many as you can do in 60 seconds

For those who cannot do a traditional pushup, consider bringing over a stable chair or plyo box to give you an incline that is easier to manage. Another option is putting your knees down. Focus on form and maintaining a tight core as you do your push-ups. Manage your time wisely.

Rest for 15 seconds

Squats, as many as you can do in 60 seconds

Keep your feet under your hips as you bend deep into the knees. Body weight should be shifted into the heels at your lowest point.

Rest for 15 seconds

Butt Kicks, as many as you can do in 60 seconds

The higher you bring your heels to the butt, the more you have to work. As you start getting tired, you can downshift to a jog in place.

Rest for 15 seconds

Triceps Dips, as many as you can do in 60 seconds

Use a chair or low table. Your back should be toward whatever is providing support. Put your legs out straight while balancing on your palms. Bend solely from the elbows, lowering as far as you can, then press up to your original height. Keep your core tight!

Rest for 15 seconds

Reverse/Rear Lunges, as many as you can do in 60 seconds

As you step back, focus on getting 90-degree angles with both the front and back knee. Hands can be on your waist for stability.

Remember to warm up and cool down!

Rowing Machine HIIT

One of the most underestimated pieces of equipment at the gym is the rowing machine. However, the rowing machine is a full-body sculptor that improves posture, strength, and cardiovascular endurance. When used as the basis for a HIIT workout, you are going to burn some serious calories.

Complete the following circuit as written 2-3 times through or pair with another circuit listed here and finish up with a cool-down:

  • Row 30-45 seconds
  • 15-second rest
  • Pushups for 30-45 seconds
  • 15-second rest
  • Row 30-45 seconds
  • 15-second rest
  • Plank for 45 seconds
  • 15-second rest
  • Row 30-45 seconds
  • 15-second rest
  • Triceps Dips for 45 seconds
  • 15-second rest
  • Row 30-45 seconds
  • 15-second rest
  • Plank for 45 seconds
  • 15-second rest
  • Row 30-45 seconds
  • 15-second rest
  • Pushups for 30-45 seconds

Treadmill HIIT

06151703Using a treadmill for your HIIT workout means there is no need for special equipment or planning. Just be sure to have a good pair of running shoes, water, and a towel to soak up sweat.

To do the treadmill workout:

  1. Start by walking fast or jogging for 5 minutes.
  2. Increase the pace to a fast run (for beginners) or an all-out sprint (advanced) for 30 seconds
  3. Walk briskly to recover. The length of recovery should be anywhere from 15 seconds (advanced) to 45 seconds (beginners).
  4. Repeat steps 1 through 3 for several rounds (e.g., 5 for beginners; 10 for advanced exercisers).
  5. Cool down by walking for about 5 minutes. Don’t forget to stretch afterward.

Burpee HIIT

We know what you are thinking. Burpees. Still, a burpee works the triceps, chest, core, legs, and serves as whole-body aerobic resistance training. If you cannot do a proper burpee yet, there are a number of modifications that you can use to match your fitness level. For example, you can leave out the pushup or step back into plank rather than jumping back.

Complete the following circuit 3-4 times, resting 1 minute after the burpees in each round.

Pull-ups (see below)

Reps: As many as possible within 30-40 seconds. Rest for 15 seconds. 

Jumping Jacks

Reps: As many as possible within 30-40 seconds. Rest for 15 seconds.

Burpees

Reps: As many as possible within 30-40 seconds. 

The pullups can be standard bodyweight or assisted. If you don’t have access to a pullup machine or are at home, you can do “Door Pull-ins,” a horizontal pullup alternative that requires a towel wrapped around the doorknob. Place your feet on either side of the door to hold it stable. Grab the towel, lean back knees slightly bent, then use your arms to pull you forward.

Jump Rope HIIT

06151704Even moderately jumping rope incinerates calories, so imagine what happens when you use it as your HIIT finisher in this combination? Plus, you are building agility and quickness.

Complete the following circuit in 4 sets and rest for 1 minute after the finisher each round.

Mountain Climbers

Duration: 60-90 seconds, 15-second rest

Pushups

Duration: 60-90 seconds, 15-second rest

Plank Pose

Duration: 60-90 seconds, 15-second rest

Jump Rope

Duration: 60-90 seconds

The key to getting a lot of benefits from the Jump Rope HIIT circuit is to focus on form and speed. You want to concentrate on properly engaging the muscles of your arms and core throughout the first three exercises. When you pick up the jump rope, your arms are undoubtedly going to be tired, so use the energy remaining in your legs to blast through the finisher with as much power as possible.

Conclusion

Ready to fire up your workout? HIIT is going to make you stronger, faster, and healthier than ever before without needing to spend hours in the gym. Even the busiest of people have time to get fit by using these 5 HIIT workouts that are perfect for all fitness levels!

About the Author:

Eric is the content manager at Fit&Me. Fit&Me is dedicated to helping you achieve your health and fitness goals, and transform your body by offering the best fitness equipment and knowledge you need.

7 Tips For Better Sleep

This week, TargitFit is pleased to offer some healthy sleep advice courtesy of guest blogger, Brenda Bostwick:

It’s a vicious cyclical world we live in these days, hyper-caffeinated during the day and restless at night.  We can’t fall into a good sleep so we have to keep our engines running in other ways.  If only we could wake up completely rested every day, maybe then we would feel like we’re ahead of the game instead of just barely staying afloat.

09151607Sleep is essential to the health and wellbeing of your mind and body.  It is amazing we survive the way we do with the demands that are put on us daily.  But we are just surviving most of the time, when the goal of living is to thrive.  We could all use a more sleep, but how do we obtain it?  Here are seven great ways to start getting the most amazing night’s sleep… every night.

1. Find the right mattress

06081703The right mattress is like the right pair of running shoes.  Slightly more expensive, yes, but you will never be happier with a decision than finding the mattress that cradles and supports you in all of the most perfect ways.  One size certainly doesn’t fit all, and you may not get it right on the first or even second try.  Do your research and find your perfect match; for example, these mattresses work well with platform beds.

2. The way you eat is the way you sleep

06081704

Save that cuppa joe for morning. Non-caffeinated tea is a better choice at night.

It shouldn’t be a surprise to hear that caffeine, sugar, alcohol, eating too heavy (or too light), and using tobacco products can highly affect your sleep.

Tolerance differs, but in general caffeine has a half-life of 7 hours, meaning it takes on average 7 hours for half the amount of caffeine to leave your system.  Try to avoid caffeine after late morning and remember to look at the ingredients of packaged products for hidden caffeine.

3. Physical activity is important, but…

06081705

Your workout is important, but give yourself adequate time to calm down and relax between exercising and going to bed.

 

 

While, yes, it is extremely important to maintain a physical activity routine, the time of day you’re working on your fitness can be killing your ability to drift away into dreamland.  It’s best to exercise in the morning or early afternoon, giving your body time to get pumped up and then slowly come down off of the natural high.

4. Napping

06081701Studies have shown power naps are super beneficial to brain activity, alertness, problem solving, and creativity.  But napping too long or too late in the day will only keep you up later that night, lessening the amount of REM-cycled sleep you need.

While some situations call for longer naps, make sure your naps are between 20-30 minutes to avoid waking up feeling groggy.  Thirty minutes is just enough time to give us a quick boost of energy without falling into the deep sleep process.  Keep your nap routine in the early afternoon and keep the room warm and dark.

5. Routine and Rituals

06081706

Following the same before-bed routine as often as possible will help prepare your body to sleep.

 

Growing up, the majority of us had bedtime routines: dinner, bath, brush teeth, bedtime story.  Most of the time we drifted right off to sleep and stayed that way until morning.

Just because we got older doesn’t mean we need any less of a routine.  Life is certainly more crazy and unexpected than a toddler’s, but your brain still works best when it knows what is going to happen next.  Creating routines is the best way to a good night’s sleep.  If you follow the same steps before bed every night your brain will eventually start quieting down on its own sooner into that routine because it will know to anticipate the rhythm of the repetition.

6. Your bedroom is your sanctuary

06081709

Set the mood for sleep. Use curtains or blinds to tone down or block outside light completely.

Your bedroom is the one place in your home you should feel most at peace and relaxed.  It is for certain activities only.  It is not your office, tv room, or storage room, nor is it a place you put things to deal with them later.  Your mind can’t rest if there is constant clutter or if it is continually being stimulated.

A clean, quiet space is best.  Make it somewhere you want to be.  Spend some quality time making a refuge.  Find bedding you love, hang artwork, use an oil diffuser to fill the room with peaceful scents, use a humidifier to make the air easier to breathe, try a fan for white noise.

The room should be cool and dark, turn all electronics off and cover all lights. Also, consider getting a circadian rhythm alarm clock to naturally and gently wake you up.

7. When you just can’t get there

Maybe you’ve followed every suggestion you’ve ever been given and you’re still not able to fall asleep consistently or well enough to wake up rested.  Well, here are a few more options:

06081708

Journaling before bedtime can help clear your mind to help you sleep better.

Journal.  Most of the time our minds are racing with all that stuff we didn’t get done today and all the stuff we need to do tomorrow.  Just jot it down.  Make this a part of your routine.

Leave the sanctuary.  Sometimes, it’s just not time.  And that is okay.  But don’t lie there counting down the remaining minutes you have left until you have to be up, remember your bedroom has a specific purpose and lying there waiting isn’t one of them.  If you truly cannot fall asleep, get up and try your routine again.  Try to find the source of the problem and find a relatively quick solution to help yourself into as much sleep as possible.

Ask for help.  We live in a self-help world.  But, there are degrees that other people have paid a lot of money for to help you with the exact problem you’re suffering from, I promise.  Let them do their job so you can do yours.  Find the right doctor and try everything they suggest that you feel comfortable with, you never know what will be the missing piece just for you.

Remember, your sleep is just like the air you breathe, the water you drink, and the nutrition you intake.  It is required to live, let alone live happily and healthily.  What you put into it, you get back from it.  Make certain you are giving your body what it needs so it can give everything it has back to you.