As a fitness professional living in NYC for the past 20 years and working with the city’s busiest, time-crunched professionals, full time parents and often those juggling both career and family, you can imagine how happy I am that a brilliant scientist from the University of Copenhagen decided to do a little study1 that proved you could not only get the same, but better results by working out less time at a higher intensity-practicing High Intensity Interval Training. So if you want to take your fat loss and overall fitness to the next level—and spend less time in the gym—then high intensity interval training (also known as HIIT) might be for you.
Note, I didn’t say it would be easier, just that it would take less time. :) So before giving you all the details, it’s key to know that because the HIIT approach to cardio exercise is very physically demanding, it isn’t for everyone. If you have any cardiovascular problems or other health concerns that limit your ability to exercise at very intense levels, HIIT may not be for you—at least for now. If in doubt about whether it's safe for you, check in with your medical professional before trying HIIT.
WHAT IS HIGH INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING (HIIT)?
HIIT is an enhanced form of interval training, an exercise strategy, alternating periods of short intervals of maximum* intensity anaerobic exercise with longer intervals of low to moderate** intensity recovery periods.
The key is that your recovery period needs to be three times (3x) longer than your sprint period. The goal is to work yourself up to 8 intervals over time. Because it involves briefly pushing yourself beyond the upper end of your aerobic exercise zone, it offers you several advantages that traditional steady-state exercise (when your heart rate remains within your aerobic zone) can’t provide.
*Maximum intensity = a 9 or 10 on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being an all out runnin’ for your life sprint.
**Low to moderate = a 3 to 5 on the same scale.
Scroll to end of blog if you want to cut to the chase and get my recos, sample HIIT workouts and Intermittent Fasting Schedules!
THE STUDIES & BENEFITS OF HIIT
By Dr. Mercola
"Compelling and ever-mounting research shows that the ideal form of exercise is short bursts of high intensity exercise.
Not only does it beat conventional cardio as the most effective and efficient form of exercise, it also provides health benefits you simply cannot get from regular aerobics, such as a tremendous boost in human growth hormone (HGH), aka the “fitness hormone.”
One study published in the Journal of Obesity2 reported that 12 weeks of HIIT not only can result in significant reductions in total abdominal, trunk, and visceral fat, but also can give you significant increases in fat-free mass and aerobic power.
Other research published in the journal Cell Metabolism3 showed that when healthy but inactive people exercise intensely, even if the exercise is brief, it produces an immediate measurable change in their DNA. To read more, click HERE. "
NET NET OF HIIT
By Fitness and Behavior Expert Dean Anderson
INTERMITTENT FASTING & HOW IT RAMPS THE FAT BURNING:
By Dr. Mercola
“Is it a good idea to “starve” yourself just a little bit each day, or a couple of days a week? Mounting evidence indicates that yes, intermittent fasting (IF) could have a very beneficial impact on your health and longevity.
I believe it’s one of the most powerful interventions out there if you’re struggling with your weight and related health issues. One of the primary reasons for this is because it helps shift your body from burning sugar/carbs to burning fat as its primary fuel.
As discussed in the featured article,1 intermittent fasting is not about binge eating followed by starvation, or any other extreme form of dieting. Rather what we’re talking about here involves timing your meals to allow for regular periods of fasting.
I prefer daily intermittent fasting, but you could also fast a couple of days a week if you prefer, or every other day. There are many different variations.
To be effective, in the case of daily intermittent fasting, the length of your fast must be at least 16 hours. This means eating only between the hours of 11am until 7pm, as an example. Essentially, this equates to simply skipping breakfast, and making lunch your first meal of the day instead.” To read more, click HERE
BENEFITS OF COMBINING HIIT AND INTERMITTENT FASTING:
Several books published in the last couple years prove that working out in a fasted state (before your first meal of the day) shifts your body into an maximized fat-burning zone by protecting your active muscle tissue and activating your sympathetic nervous system, responsive to both exertion and the absence of food. The Intermittent Fasting method is most effective and beneficial when a foundation of healthy eating (such as the Mind Body RE BOOT eating protocol) is already in place.
NET NET OF HIIT & IF:
HIIT and IF are the ultimate power couple when it comes to disposing of adipose tissue. To read more about this duo by Dr. Mercola click HERE
MY RECOS-HOW TO INCORPORATE HIIT AND INTERMITTENT FASTING:
1. First and above all, eat a healthy balanced diet: lean, clean proteins, lots of green non- starchy veggies and juices. Avoid all processed and fried foods and the most common allergens or food triggers: dairy, gluten, sugar.
Have your largest meal at lunch and eat a healthy, light dinner as early in the evening as possible. For example 4 ounces of low mercury fish or other clean protein and lots of non-starchy veggies.
2. Incorporate Intermittent Fasting as many days a week as you can. See my sample day HERE.
3. Do 3 x 20-25 minute HIIT workouts per week, in the morning, optimally 30 minutes before breaking your fast. See my sample HIIT workout HERE. Yes your fave Soul Cycle, Flywheel Sports and other high intensity group fitness classes or personal training workouts count as long as they incorporate at least 7 “sprints” followed by recovery periods.
Remember to round out your exercise program with three, strong core workouts like my PATY’s and three good stretch or Yin Yoga sessions each week
I recommend that because of the intensity of the workout that you do it no more than three times a week and best with at least one day in between each. Supplement your HIITS with at least three core workouts a week.
1. M. Rosenkilde, P. L. Auerbach, M. H. Reichkendler, T. Ploug, B. M. Stallknecht, A. Sjodin. Body fat loss and compensatory mechanisms in response to different doses of aerobic exercise – a randomized controlled trial in overweight sedentary males. AJP: Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, 2012
Organic Avenue (my favorite juice vendor) calls me the "Juice Fairy" and in a lot of ways I am, but I'm more of a juice zealot. For over 25 years I've been juicing veggies and preachin' the benefits of drinking greens to anyone who will listen and I'm still tweakin' recipes and discoverin' new stuff every day about the best ways to get my greens. Two green juices or smoothies are an essential part of my daily routine and my Optimal Mind Body food plan. They give me energy, loads of essential nutrients I might not otherwise get from my salads, help curb my cravings for processed food, enhance my digestion and I actually think they make me a better person or at least a nicer person to be around. My saying is "two juices a day keep the doctor, the need to diet and the depression away."
Thanks to friends and juice pioneers like Doug Evans, Jill Pettijohn and Joe Cross, this country's in the midst of a juice revolution. Now we can find (or have delivered to our door) fresh green organic juices in more places than imaginable-even at Starbucks.
Unfortunately most (more than half) of the juices or smoothies you'll find in stores or that we make are surprisingly high in sugar. While the sugar found in fruit is not bad, too much sugar, even fructose, the sugar found in fruit, raises your insulin levels and leave us wanting and needing more sugar to feel better and more energized. Ultimately too much sugar also leads to insulin resistance which can lead to a whole host of health problems, including diabetes.
To keep calories, body fat, sugar cravings and inflammation at bay, as a standard recommendation, just as some of my fave functional medicine doctors like Dr. Mercola, I strongly advise keeping your TOTAL fructose consumption below 25 grams per day. A small apple has 15 grams of sugar, a big apple, 23 grams and there are a whopping 47.8 grams in one cup of blueberries. See below for more info on highest and lowest glycemic fruits.
This is why when it comes to drinking green juices, I suggest 80% green veggies: kale, chard, cucumber, celery, cilantro, parsley, etc. and only 20% low glycemic fruit: 1/2 avocado, as much ginger & lemon as you like and only 1/2 an apple or pear. And if you buy a juice, 12 grams of sugar or less per bottle, not per serving.
To help you decide whether to make or buy your green juices and smoothies, I've answered some of the FAQ's about the benefits of drinking your greens, the differences between pressed and other juices, the pros and cons of juicing versus blending, blender recos, etc. in a previous blog post.
HERE ARE MY FAVE WAYS TO GET THE HEALTHIEST LIQUID GREENS IN YOUR LIFE:
1. BUY THEM:
Mellow Love : 6 grams of sugar
Stand and Deliver: 4 grams of sugar.
Simple Green: 8 grams of sugar.
Essential Green: 12 grams of sugar.
Unfortunately, I could not find a low in sugar green juice at Whole Foods. I tried Suja, it was great but it had 20 grams of sugar. For juices higher than 8 grams of sugar (per juice), my suggestion is to drink 1/2 in AM & 1/2 in afternoon, to avoid a sugar rush or pour half in a water bottle and fill both with water OR get a Multigreen Kombucha which is delicious, low in sugar AND good for your digestion/gut health. Swap one green juice out for one Kombucha and do 1 of each per day if you get bored with just green juices.
The Whole Foods and Starbucks juices are bottled with a special process that allows for a longer shelf life-up to two weeks! So if spoilage is your concern, choose these:
Reach for the juice furthest back on the shelf. Those are usually the freshest. Look at the expiration date. Organic Avenue says that you can wait 1-2 days after the expiration max although to maintain the best quality, consume by the expiration before or on the expiration date.
For a great NYC Juice Roadmap check out this awesome blog by Well and Good.
2. MAKE YOUR OWN JUICES OR SMOOTHIES
It really doesn't take more than five minutes to make a delicious juice or smoothie, if you have everything you need. I'm partial to my MB Green Smoothie because all you need is a blender, it's yummy, it has avocado and fills me up.
TIPS: Keep organic frozen veggies stocked in your freezer for your juices. All Whole Foods have organic frozen kale, spinach and lots of other frozen yums, you can keep on hand to reduce the amount of waste that comes from unused fresh veggies.
3. STIR THEM INTO YOUR WATER:
I use Innate Green Powder from Mountain Health Products for when I'm traveling to a 3rd world country or other places, where it's hard to find organic green veggies. I also use it to supplement my juices back home.
IF YOU WANT TO DO YOUR OWN JUICE CLEANSE CLICK HERE FOR MY FAVE MB CLEANSE SCHEDULE. You can use an combination of store bought or homemade green juices or smoothies. But I recommend you add a vegan protein shake and a salad or soup as well.
Need more guidance, want someone to customize and guide you through your own juice cleanse or just don't want to go it alone? Schedule an appointment for a consultation.
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