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Love dessert? Satisfy your sweet tooth with fruit instead of desserts that are loaded with calories, carbohydrates, and fats. Switch things up by cutting up an apple or pear, sprinkling it with cinnamon, and microwaving it for 1-2 minutes for a healthy treat. Or put a dollop (or three) of fat-free whipped cream on a bowl of strawberries. Not only will you increase your daily servings of fruit, but you’ll cut some calories, too. Talk about a win-win.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) has become hugely popular thanks to real results in shorter periods of time and extensive benefits. With busy schedules the norm, it’s no wonder so many clients and potential clients are now seeking out these kinds of workouts.
HIIT, which involves repeated sessions of relatively brief, intermittent exercise, usually performed at very high intensity, can be easily modified for various client needs and fitness levels. When combined with an expert nutrition program, personalized HIIT programs can elicit serious results and health benefits, including:
- Improve blood pressure and cardiovascular health
- Improved insulin sensitivity
- Improved body composition
Whether you’re adding HIIT to your own personal fitness program or ramping up client results and health benefits with this style of training, it’s important to understand the nutritional needs to support it from start to finish. While nutritional needs do vary by individual and training program, these nutrition plans and meal ideas for pre- and post-workout nutrition can help.
General Nutrition to Support a H.I.I.T. Program
To get the most out of any fitness program, clients should follow a healthy meal plan in general. Effective and well-rounded nutrition programs are based on a variety of healthful ingredients such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and lean proteins. The best nutrition plans provide adequate calories and macronutrients such as carbohydrates to fuel the body and provide energy stores for workouts. It’s important that these are expertly created programs that prevent clients adopting a restrictive diet which may inhibit their success.
Adequate water intake is also a must to ensure complete hydration during workouts.
Pre-workout Nutrition for HIIT
Due to the intensity of these workouts, it’s vital to follow a healthy nutrition plan with adequate nutrition in the days and hours leading up to a workout. Plan on a moderate- to high-carbohydrate meal that also includes protein approximately three to four hours before a HIIT workout, and then another high-carbohydrate snack within an hour after the workout. Good options for a pre-workout meal include:
- Whole-wheat toast with peanut butter and banana
- Non-fat Greek yogurt or cottage cheese with fruit
- Dried fruit and almonds
Post-workout Nutrition for HIIT
The biggest nutritional concern post-workout is replacing energy stores (glycogen) and repairing muscles that have been broken down during the intense workout. Again, a combination of carbohydrates and protein has been shown to be most effective. Research shows that a 3:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein within 30 minutes of completing a HIIT workout is best for replacing energy stores in preparation for the next high-intensity workout.
Suggestions for post-workout nutrition are similar to pre-workout meals and include:
- Whole-grain cereal with fruit and soy milk
- Whole-wheat crackers with fruit and cheese
- Hummus and pita bread
M.J. (2007). High-intensity interval training: New insights. Gatorade Sports Science Institute Sports Science Exchange, 20, 2.
Sunday, April 21st, 2015
No team underwent a bigger offseason makeover than the San Diego Padres, and you'll get your first look at the new squad as they host a season-opening series against the defending World Series Champion San Francisco Giants at Petco Park. The Giants are coming off their third World Series in five years, and with ace pitcher Madison Bumgarner, they look strong once again. But the Padres will counter with powerful outfielders Matt Kemp and Justin Upton, and No. 1 pitcher James Shields. Come out and support the Friars as they battle their NL West rivals in this early season showdown!
Does it feel like no matter what you do in the gym, you just aren’t moving forward? Nothing is more frustrating than hitting a progress plateau, but sadly, it’s something that virtually every gym-goer will face at some point in his or her fitness career.
Things were going along great and then results just seemed to come to a halt. You haven’t changed anything, so why aren’t you seeing the results you want?
The reason is precisely this: You haven’t changed anything.
Remember, the whole point of your workout is to get your body to adapt to a training stimulus. This means your body builds itself up so that you can comfortably do what you are asking of it. This is the process of progression. So once adaptation has taken place, if you continue to do the same thing over and over again, you aren’t giving your body anything further to adapt to—thus, it maintains the status quo.
Here are four ways that you can help get unstuck from that plateau, and start seeing results again:
Change Your Rep/Weight Scheme
Think the only way to progress is to add more weight? In some cases, this isn’t the best solution. You might be at a sticking point where you just can’t lift any more weight, but yet the weight you currently lift isn’t challenging enough. What then? It’s time to adjust your rep range. If you were doing sets of 8 reps, try doing sets of 10 or 12 reps. You may even need to decrease the weight slightly as you do this, but that’s fine. The increased rep range is going to provide a new challenge for the body and something it needs to adapt to.
Utilize Drop Sets
Drop sets are another great way to get through a strength plateau. Can’t get to that next level? Try this for two to three weeks and then see if you can progress. To perform drop sets, start with your normal standard set using the regular weight you lift. Then, immediately after the first set is done, drop the weight by 5 or 10 pounds. Perform a second set. Once that set is done, drop the weight one more time and then perform as many reps as you can on that third and final set. This should bring you to the point of full exhaustion, upon which you can rest before repeating a second time through. Just avoid doing any more than two drop sets per session, as they are highly taxing on the body.
Try A New Piece Of Equipment
Sometimes what your workout really needs is a new form of training. If you always lift using dumbbells, for instance, try using a barbell next time you’re in the gym. While it’s a small change, often it’s enough to see results. Switching over to weight machines may also be an option if that’s what you prefer. As long as you’re still stressing the muscle and providing an overloading stimulus, you’ll see results.
Take One Week Off
Finally, the last thing that may be needed to help you get past a plateau is to take one week off entirely. If you are on the verge of overtraining—a state where the body is not quite recovering as well as it needs to between each workout session—this will completely halt your progress as well. Take one week off and don’t be surprised if, when you come back, you feel stronger than ever.
These fast, simple ways should help you get past any progress plateau. Use one of these tricks the next time you’re feeling stuck and frustrated, and not seeing results.
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