High intensity workouts like CrossFit, Insanity and P90X were a phenomenon this past year and now, according to the American College of Medicine’s Sports Fitness Journal, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), is expected to be the top calorie-burning trend of 2014. While the popularity has increased, so have subsequent injuries.
The HIIT workout is one that centers around high intensity exercises immediately followed by a short period of rest or limited activity. For example: A one-minute sprint on the treadmill followed by a 90-second recovery period or jump rope for three minutes followed by a 45-second walking lunge with alternating hand-to-hand kettlebell exchange. Repeat!! Some HIIT workouts can be completed in as little as 20 minutes.
While the variety of exercises and short time commitment can be tempting to those seeking something besides the boring treadmill routine, these workouts aren’t for everyone. We asked certified personal trainer, Jessica Smith, to give her thoughts on the CrossFit craze. “A good, safe fitness program should be scalable to meet the participants’ fitness levels,” she said. “I’ve seen some programs that do that, and others that really can’t adequately offer modifications that meet all participants needs.”
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About a year ago, I wanted to drop a few pounds. I began eating healthier and working out daily. My workouts included short strength training series and daily three-mile runs. There was no interval training. I didn’t know what it was.
Then, I decided to get crazy once I learned about workouts like Insanity, which use interval training to completely transform your body. After one month of interval training, I dropped about 10 pounds. I felt healthy and toned.
Now, I continue to incorporate some intervals into my everyday workout routine. I’ll tell you more and see if it’s a fit for you, too!
What is interval training?
Interval training is the process in which you do short bursts of intense exercise followed by a slightly longer recovery time. A great example of this is sprinting for 30 seconds and then jogging for 60 seconds.
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For sisters Brianne Canepa – a 32-year-old paramedic and quality manager for Kaiser Permanente – and Cara Garcia – a 31-year-old communications specialist at Stanford Life Flight – weight loss has been a joint effort. In the last year the pair has managed to drop more than 200 pounds together, and it all started with a life-changing visit to the Biggest Loser Resort in Malibu, California.
At their heaviest, Brianne weighed 361 pounds and Cara, 308 pounds. However, it’s a totally different story now ever since the sisters embarked on a weight loss journey that transformed their health and their lives for the better. Today, Brianne weighs 258 pounds and Cara, 197, which is a combined weight loss of an amazing 214 pounds.
In the process of shrinking down together, these sisters have not only kept each other motivated but also bonded and became even closer friends than they were before. To tell this inspiring story, we’ve asked Cara and Brianne to share about their journeys in their own words starting with where it all began: The gain.
left to right: Cara and Brianne, respectively.
When did your individual struggles with weight begin?
Cara: I was a skinny mini most of my childhood and through high school. Wearing size 12 was the biggest size I wore. I was very active and could pretty much eat anything I wanted to. In 2000, I left home and lived in the dorm at San Jose State University. It was my first experience making my own schedule, my own food choices and none of it was good. I was eating crappy food and taking naps between classes. I think I went to the gym once that whole first year. The freshman 30 turned into 10 years and more than 100 pounds.
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This week’s inspiring true weight loss story comes from Candice Ball of New York City who lost more than 40 pounds after deciding she’d put health on the back burner for long enough. Candice had struggled with her weight for the majority of her life, but in 2011 she came to the realization that she had to get healthy. “I’ve struggled with weight basically all my life,” she said. “I was not eating healthy…I was addicted to an unhealthy lifestyle.”
At her heaviest, Candice weighed 174 pounds. Her adorable puppy, Toshi, who is a professional pet actor and model, was one factor that triggered her weight loss journey. “I was embarrassed that I made sure my dog was well taken care of, but I wasn’t.”
Another factor that helped Candice finally decide to lose the weight was a run-in with an old flame. “I ran into someone I really cared for many years ago and I felt awkward, him seeing me the way I looked. I was always active when I was with that person,” she said. “Then I just let myself go.”
In December of last year, Candice started doing P90x2 and within two weeks, she dropped 17 pounds. After she finished the program she continued to follow a food plan and added Insanity to her workout routine. Candice’s initial goal weight was 140 pounds, but she surpassed that mark and is currently thrilled to be 133 pounds.
Even though Candice met her weight goal, she still continues to workout and eat healthy. Her exercises consist of circuit training, P90x2, running, martial arts, and riding horses. “Anything to keep me moving and not in the same routine,” she said.
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Growing up in Wichita, Kansas, 30-year-old Matt Long was never apt to be idle.
“I guess you could say I was raised in an active household… there was always something going on, or someone coming to visit,” says Matt. “There was always work to be done and there wasn’t time to sit around relaxing and eating.”
Matt was in great shape in high school and like many young kids with rocketing metabolisms, he could eat anything. However, once he moved out of his parents’ home, Matt began to see his weight increase.
The seeds of unhealthy eating may have been planted in high school when his weight fluctuated dramatically by his own doing for sports.
As a freshman, Matt weighed 180 pounds for football season. When wrestling season came along, he lost weight dramatically, getting down to 119 pounds. Matt says he was “a cranky hot mess for the rest of the season.”
After wrestling, Matt put it all back on and then some for football, moving up to 200 pounds, repeating the cycle for the next three years.
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