Posts Tagged ‘body building’

On a previous post, you can read about what protein is, what its uses are, and how the body metabolizes protein or breaks it down for energy. This is Part 2 of this couple of posts on Protein Nutrition.
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fresh-organic-farm-eggsIt is important to know the basics of what Protein is, not only for a better understanding of what you are consuming or eating, but more importantly to know how to fuel your body for repair and improved function. Food rich in protein, when ingested, takes time and travels a long way before it is digested, absorbed, and used by the body. Excess protein is processed again to be excreted by the body. It is essential to know which protein sources provide the complete amino acids that your body needs at a specific time, without taxing your body from processing excess protein.

Read about Amino Acids here

This article aims to enumerate the common and best sources of protein and rank them according to their quality and how quickly they can be absorbed by the body. I included the advantages and disadvantages for each protein source so that you can decide which one fits you for your specific goal in a specific time. These ingredients can be found in food but are usually the main ingredients that are used for protein supplements. Note that the sources below refers to the protein ingredient from food sources and not to the actual dietary food that we see everyday (for example, egg protein refers to ovalbumin, the protein extracted from egg whites) unless indicated.

Read here about the 31 Healthy Portable Protein Snacks from Greatist

How do you measure the quality of Protein sources?
A laboratory method of determining the quality of a protein source is called the Protein Digestibility- Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS). The PDCAAS of a protein is internationally recognized as the best method to compare sources of Protein. If a protein source has a PDCAAS of 1.0, it means that it exceeds the essential amino acids requirement of the body and is an excellent source of protein.

Another method is called the Protein Efficiency Ratio (PER). PER is determined by comparing the weight gain of rats that were fed a particular protein against a standard protein source (egg whites).

In general, gelatin (collagen) protein and wheat protein relatively has poor quality. Meat and fish sources are moderately high-quality sources of protein. The sources of protein that have the highest quality are soy, egg, milk, whey, and bovine colostrum protein and they will be discussed and enumerated for comparison below.

EGG PROTEIN (ovalbumin)
This is the fundamental protein source that we all know of. If you are a regular gym goer, yomay have heard of some big bulky guy in your local gym who gulps a dozen raw egg whites for body building. Drinking raw egg whites may sound crazy (I think it is) but it may be reasonable because egg protein is the standard of comparison or the reference point to compare and rate the quality of the other types of proteins.


Advantages of Egg Protein
Egg protein is actually extracted from whole eggs or primarily from chocken egg whites through various techniques. Studies have shown that egg protein is as effective as milk protein, casein, and whey in nitrogen retention to make lean tissue. Also, egg protein can be readily available for your daily consumption from egg whites.

Disadvantages of Egg Protein
Processing egg protein to produce ovalbumin can be expensive, and its use for the production of supplements has been reduced.

PER- 2.8
PDCAAS- 1.00

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MILK PROTEIN
Milk protein has 80% casein and 20% protein. It is commonly used in supplements because milk protein is relatively cheaper. However, milk sources for protein vary in fat content and total calories, so better check the labels first and compare with other milk products if you are considering milk for your protein source.

Advantages of Milk Protein
One cup of milk provides about 8 grams of protein. Milk is a fairly good source of both essential and conditionally essential amino acids. If you are lactose intolerant, you can have skim milk as an alternative, which is also a good source not just of protein but also carbohydrate.

Studies have actually shown that milk before or during (and both) exercise is an effective sport drink. Also, drinking milk after exercise encourages protein synthesis.

Disadvantages of Milk Protein
Milk sources for protein generally contains a higher amount of fat and total calories compared to other sources. Milk protein is also digested and absorbed more slowly by the body. Also, some people may be lactose intolerant which eliminates milk from their options for protein sources.

PER- 2.8
PDCAAS- 1.00



WHEY PROTEIN
Whey protein is one of the most familiar and may be the most used nutritional supplement for active individuals. There can be different ways that whey protein is processed and manufactured and it affects the fat and lactose content of the product. Some proteins found in whey also bind with vitamins and minerals, therefore making it a very useful protein source even for nutrient metabolism.

Advantages of Whey Protein
Compared to other proteins, whey protein can be digested faster and is often perceived as a protein having a high quality. Some studies have also shown that whey protein may offer additional health benefits compared to casein (another protein found in milk) such as improving the immune system and preventing cancer.

Disadvantages of Whey Protein
Whey protein is one of the high-quality protein sources, but it is also a more expensive protein source. Differences in processing whey protein also slightly affects its amino acid, fat, and lactose content.

PER- 3.0 to 3.2
PDCAAS- 1.00

CASEIN
Casein protein or caseinates is another protein processed from milk. Caseinates are extracted from skim milk and can be produced as sodium, potassium, and calcium caseinates. They are common ingredients in commercial supplements.

Advantages of Casein Protein
Casein is a high-quality protein source and is a very inexpensive source of protein. Supplements that have casein as its main ingredient may be relatively cheaper compared to other products, depending on its quality, taste, and how it is manufactured. Also, casein is absorbed slower by the body but this makes it produce a prolonged increase in amino acids. A notable advantage when comparing casein to whey is that casein prevents muscle breakdown (catabolism) which adds to better muscle recovery and faster adaptations to exercise and training.

Disadvantages of Casein Protein
Generally, casein is absorbed by the body much slower compared to other protein sources. It does not mix well with liquid and tends to clump, which can be an issue when it goes to your stomach. If you are in a competition and you already have butterflies in your tummy, casein protein may not be a good choice.

PER- 2.9
PDCAAS- 1.00


SOY PROTEIN
Most people may be surprised that soy is actually a high-quality protein source. Its scores are similar to that of fish and meat, and just slightly lower than egg, milk, and other high-quality protein sources. Most importantly for vegetarians, soy protein is considered the best choice for their protein source.

Advantages of Soy Protein
Compared to other dietary sources like milk, meat, and eggs, soy protein is a low-fat vegetable source for protein. It can contribute to lower cholesterol levels and displaces food that are high in saturated fat. For women, soy may serve as an alternative nutrition for estrogen hormone. I once had a male client who did not want to drink soy milk because he heard from his gym that it can cause the chest muscles to increase in size but in an undesirable manner and even sag (i.e., man boobs). To explain this, soybeans have isoflavones which bind to estrogen (a specific female hormone) receptors and this binding producing estrogen-like effects. Men need not to be fearful of soy protein because men doesn’t have estrogen receptors and are unaffected by this subtle chemical reaction. To quote the book, “Little if any research exists to document negative outcomes in males ingesting soy protein in terms of training adaptations.”

Disadvantages of Soy Protein
Soy protein is not a complete protein source as it lacks the amino acid methionine. For some people, the taste of pure soy milk products can be a factor. Also, you should also check the labels on flavoured soy milk products regarding its fat and total calorie content.

PER- 1.8 to 2.3
PDCAAS- 1.00

BOVINE COLOSTRUM
Bovine Colostrum is a pre-processed milk liquid that is derived from cows during the first 48 hours after giving birth. It is mainly processed as a supplement (unless you dare drink directly from a cow’s udder) for commercial protein products.

Advantages of Bovine Colostrum
Bovine colostrum has more nutrients than traditional dairy milk and also has a higher quality of protein. It also has other benefits such as improving the immune system, balancing insulin, and antibacterials which cannot be found in other proteins. Bovine colostrum has been marketed as a unique and high-quality protein source that promotes growth and enhances the immune system.

Disadvantages of Bovine Colostrum
There are only producers and dairy farms that market bovine colostrum. There also are major differences in processing bovine colostrum products. You also have to pay a little more for supplements containing bovine colostrum. More research may be needed to determine if it is a better source to whey protein.

PER- 3.0
PDCAAS- 1.00

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SUMMARY

  • Ovalbumin, the protein found in egg whites, is the standard for comparing protein quality
  • The two highest-quality sources of protein are Whey and Bovine Colostrum.
  • The ingredients in protein supplements can be found in dietary food. The body digests and absorbs protein differently compared to other food like carbohydrates and fats, so consuming protein supplements may be beneficial for better absorption.
  • Since most of these protein ingredients can be found in dietary food, it may be more prudent to eat a healthy balanced diet instead of taking in supplements especially if you are not a competitive or professional athlete.
  • Knowing the PER and PDCAAS rating of each ingredient would help you choose and decide which protein supplement works best for your individual needs and goals.
  • The way these protein sources are processed to be manufactured as ingredients for protein supplements may affect its quality.

Click here to read about Proteins.

The prevalence of various supplements and ergogenic aids today can be very confusing not just for the recreational athlete, but even for seasoned competitors who aim to improve their performance. The supplement industry is taking advantage of the increasing number of people who are now more conscious about their health. While some are clinically backed by science to deliver results (glutamine, creatine and protein), other supplements have received skepticism on whether they really work or whether they simply produce a ‘placebo effect.’ Some pills offer almost all of the performance enhancements that you can think of, and you can be quite sure that if a product does that, it’s definitely false. Still, there are supplements such as Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) which are proven by science to be beneficial to performance.

What are Branched Chain Amino Acids?
Branch chain amino acids or BCAA’s are composed of three essential amino acids namely leucine, valine, and isoleucine. Essential amino acids are nutrients that can only be derived from food such as especially meat, dairy products, and legumes. On the other hand, non-essential amino acids can be produced by the body. ‘Branch chain‘ refers to the chemical structure of these three essential amino acids.

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What are the known uses of BCAA’s?
Branch chain amino acids have been used in medicine for treatments of various diseases which includes brain conditions due to liver disease, a movement disorder called tardive dyskineseia, and to treat poor appetite in kidney and cancer patients. It is also being used to help slow muscle degeneration in patients who are confined to bed.

BCAA’s are also known to prevent fatigue and improve concentration. Athletes have been using Branch chain amino acids to improve exercise performance by reducing protein and muscle breakdown during intense training.


Are BCAA supplements effective or are they just a waste of time (and money)?
A study has proven that although BCAA’s does not directly enhance athletic performance, they still produce a postive effect on muscle recovery and the immune system. According to the study, “Data show that BCAA supplementation before and after exercise has beneficial effects for decreasing exercise-induced muscle damage and promoting muscle-protein synthesis. Muscle damage develops delayed onset muscle soreness: a syndrome that occurs 24-48 h after intensive physical activity that can inhibit athletic performance.

Another study performed by Green et al (2007) observed the effects of BCAA supplementation on endurance exercise through measuring blood samples. 9 untrained men performed 3 series of 90 minute bouts of cycling at 55% of VO2 max. They performed the cycling bout once with BCAA’s, once with a carbohydrate drink, and once with a non calorie containing drink.

Blood samples were taken at 4, 24 and 48 hours following exercise. The study showed that the blood samples of those who took BCAA’s had lower accumulation of waste products, which minimized soreness for the cyclists.

These studies suggest BCAA’s could certainly benefit sportsmen and gym goers by buffering waste product accumulation in muscles, thus preserving muscle tissue and promoting quicker recovery.
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When should BCAA’s be taken or ingested?
Branch chain amino acids are usually taken prior to exercise or training. BCAA’s are ‘free form,’ which means that they do not require much time to be digested. The contents of your supplement should contain 50% leucine, 25% isoleucine, and 25% valine. BCAA’s should be taken with water before and after training, and even with any other pre or post workout supplement. For those who aim to build muscle mass, BCAA’s can be taken with whey protein for faster absorption and for additional nutrients.

According to consumerlab.com, there is no apparent toxicity or danger associated with BCAA supplementation. They recommend anywhere from 1 to 12 grams.

Should I take BCAA’s?

The benefits of Branch chain amino acid supplements are proven to be effective. However, before you take BCAA’s or any supplements, talk to your coach, sports nutritionist, or doctor for advise. Know your goals – Why are you participating in exercise or training? Are you aiming to be a bodybuilder? Are you going to compete in a race? BCAA is an answer to the question ‘What supplements can help improve my performance?‘ or ‘What can help build my muscles?‘ but other factors should be considered. For any supplements, don’t take them for vague reasons unless you really need it and you are advised to take it. Remember that sometimes, eating a healthy diet and getting enough rest could do a lot more than taking a supplement.

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Athletic supplements such as Branch chain amino acids do have a role and are effective ergogenic aids, but like any other aspect of your training, taking supplementation should match your goals.

Did you know that according to top10supplements.com, the best BCAA supplement is Optimum Nutrition?

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Source:
Green B.K, Woodard J.L, White J.P, Arguelle E.M, Haymes E.M., (2007). Branched-chain amino acid supplementation and indicators of muscle damage after endurance exercise. Int J Sport Nutr Exercise Metabolism; 17(6): 595-607

The Pull up is a basic upper body exercise. However, it remains unfamiliar to most fitness enthusiasts and gym buffs as most people tend to focus on aesthetic muscle building, ie, working on muscle groups that can be easily seen and adored such as the chest, arms, forearms, and abdominals. In addition to being a less familiar exercise, it is also difficult and can be very challenging not just for newbies in the gym, but sometimes even for long term gym-goers who neglect this very essential exercise.

Nevertheless, this exercise is very convenient to do and all you need is your body and a hanging bar. Pull ups can be done by both men and women. In fact, some women do pull ups as a regular exercise in their routine.

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What are the benefits of doing Pull ups?

The Pull ups is a very effective resistance exercise as the only equipment you need are your body and a bar that is high enough. It is a compound exercise that targets the big muscle groups of the upper trunk (yes, there’s a muscle in your trunk that is bigger than your chest and biceps) which means that you’ll need more energy to do it and burn more calories. Apart from targeting these muscle groups, it also works the arms and abs as well! This exercise is not solely resistance as it will most likely pump up your heart rate. Compared to the squats or push-ups, you are literally off the floor while doing this exercise, so the intensity is definitely high! Also, almost all of your muscles will need to work to keep your body stable and well-supported. When paired with an exercise like the burpee, the pull ups will be an excellent cardiovascular workout.

What are the muscles targeted by Pull ups?

These are the main muscles that are targeted by the Pull ups:

Latissimus Dorsi – this is your big back muscle that connects from your hips, and to individual spines of your back, and inserts into the back of your arms. When developed well, this supports the back for movement and it’s a great muscle to rip as well!

Trapezius – this is another big muscle on your back that is connected from the middle of your trunk to your shoulders and the back of the arms. They support the movement of your shoulder blades and arms, and assist in the both the lifting and lowering phase of the pull up.

Abdominals – the abdominals support the legs throughout each lift, and in some variations like the L-pull up, the abdominals can be totally targeted.

Biceps – the pull ups work the arms as well, especially when doing variations such as the chin ups. Some modifications on the grip can also target this muscle.

Forearms – your legs are up in the air and you basically rely on your grip strength all throughout the exercise to keep yourself from falling on the floor. Pull up variations such as the towel or rope pull ups target the forearms more.

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Why should I do a Pull up when I can do a ‘Pull down’?

As you can already see, the traditional Pull up works a lot of muscle groups and can really increase your heart rate. With the Lat Pull down machine, you are sitting down and you’re probably going to relax your legs. There would be less pressure on your forearms and your abs and legs will go to sleep after one set.

How to do the Pull ups:


The step by step ways to do the pull ups is very easy to say, but doing it is a totally different and hard thing to do. You can simply copy a person doing pull ups. But the question is, how can I increase the number of pull ups that I can do?

First of all, don’t be ashamed of your one-rep pull up. Everyone starts with something, and it’s better to start with one. The thing is, challenge yourself to do additional sets of pull ups instead of maxing out your energy by trying to do more reps of one set. If you can only do one pull up, start with doing one pull up for 3 to 5 sets. Rest in between sets should be enough for your muscles to recover, and you should be sure that you can do your next rep in the best form.

Watch this short video “Beginners Pull Up Workout:

 

What are variations of Pull ups?
Amazingly, there are lots of variations that can be done with the pull ups. You may have seen people try to increase the intensity of their pull ups by adding a weight on their legs or tying a heavy chain around their waist. This helps, but there are a lot more options to challenge your pull ups and even work on smaller muscles for better support.

This video shows 25 variations for Pull ups. You can see the list after the video:


1. Regular Pull up
2. Chin up
3. Wide-grip Pull up
4. Wide-grip Chin up
5. Hammer-grip Pull up
6. Combo-grip Pull up
7. Towel Pull up
8. Commando Pull up
9. Alternating Pull up
10. Side swipers

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11. One arm assisted
12. Subscapularis Pull up
13. Clap Pull ups
14. Circular
15. Upside Down Pull ups
16. Switch ups
17. Triangle Pull ups
18. Kipping Pull ups
19. Behind the Head
20. X-grip

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21. Gorilla
22. Close-grip Pull up
23. Pull and Push
24. L-pull ups
25. 3,2,1 finger Pull ups

Go, ‘get off’ your feet and start pulling!
 

strength training

Original post by Jonathan Ross at Ace fit

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If you’re going to do it, you might as well do it right. This applies to just about everything in life, and strength
training is no different. It’s too important—and your time is too valuable—not to do it well.

Consider this quote from Chris Crowley and Dr. Henry Lodge’s terrific book, Younger Next Year: “Cardio training may save your life, but resistan0ce training makes it worth living.” This illustrates the essential quality that strength training possesses. Cardio makes your lungs, heart, and blood more capable while strength training improves the bones, muscles and joints—making you feel better while you are moving and doing things.
 

Here are four common strength-training mistakes and some tips for turning these mistakes into successes.
1. Switching Programs Too Often (Often Called “Program Hopping”)

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There are a many effective workout programs. There also are many great subjects you can study in college. What’s the connection? In college, you sign up for a class and then you attend it several times a week—for an entire semester. Obvious, right? Of course, this is the best way to gain sufficient knowledge and mastery of a subject for it to be at all useful.

Imagine a college that would let you change your classes every other week. You’d spend a no more than two to three weeks in each class and then change to new classes. Just as you’re getting to the point where you’re starting to actually learn something and get a little better at it, change happens and it’s gone. This is ridiculous! And yet, this is exactly what most people do with their workout programs.

No one gets out of shape overnight. It’s actually a relatively lengthy process of consistently repeating a combination of behaviors that result in physical transformation given enough time. And the exact same thing applies to what it takes to get in shape.

Yet somehow with strength training, the simple truth of what it takes to see progress is often abandoned in favor of jumping to a new program after a few weeks, because a radical transformation hasn’t happened.
 

FIX THE MISTAKE: Once you begin an effective program, get into it, do the work, and make sure to keep it steadily progressive so things get a little more challenging as your body begins to adapt. The rest of this article contains some great tips for doing just that, but no program will be effective if you don’t stick with it long enough to see results. How long is long enough? I recommend a minimum of four weeks, with a maximum of 10 to 12 weeks before changing programs.
2. Lifting…Without Shifting or Twisting
Most weightlifting exercises involve lifting, directly opposing gravity by moving resistance vertically up and down (e.g., squat, dead lift, shoulder press, pull-up). But in life, we lift, shift and twist things we hold, even if it’s just ourselves. We move through gravity, which means we have to deal with momentum. We live and move in three planes of movement, so a strength-training program in three planes of movement is essential.

FIX THE MISTAKE: We’ve done a great job of spreading the message that resistance training (“lifting”) is essential for fitness. Now we need to expand the definition of lifting to include shifting and twisting. The exercise options here are nearly limitless. Click here to view three great examples of these exercises from a full article I wrote on this topic.
 

3. Never Changing Your Speed

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Strength training is great for developing muscle and aesthetics, but it’s equally important to do it for life in general. Life comes at you at different speeds. Sometimes life makes you move fast, like when you almost drop your cell phone. Sometimes life makes you move fast and unpredictably, like when someone bumps into you while walking down the street.

And yet with strength training, it is usually performed at a slow, controlled tempo out of concern for safety. Somehow, adding speed is automatically considered dangerous. Speed without skill is dangerous. But speed that is added to skill is the essence of moving in life and in sport. If all of your strength training is slow and controlled, then you’re not really getting ready for everything life can throw at you.

To be clear on terms, truthfully “strength” training is done for a low number of reps with high resistance (see next mistake, below). In common use, “strength training” and “resistance training” are used interchangeably, although the former is really a type of the latter. When you add speed, you’re training more for power or reactivity than strictly strength. But the ability to apply some strength quickly is what gets you out of most of life’s potential physical challenges.

FIX THE MISTAKE: Try moving a little faster while weight training—and perhaps even a little slower—than you are used to. The more range of speeds you train for, the more ability your body develops. Add enough speed that it challenges you in new ways, but not so much that it makes your movements too sloppy.

4. Lifting Too Little
A prominent “celebrity trainer” insists that women should never lift more than 3 pounds. Essentially, she’s telling every mother and grandmother to never pick up or hold her children or grandchildren. She didn’t say that specifically, but children obviously weigh more than 3 pounds. Where is the backlash? Unfortunately, there hasn’t been any because, when it comes to women and strength training, many still believe that any weight is too heavy. Despite the fact that countless articles and experts seek to dispel this myth, it continues to dominate the thinking of many people and, unfortunately, even some trainers. To get the benefits of strength training (or any other form of exercise), you must provide a stimulus beyond which the body is currently adapted.

The common fear that lifting heavier weights will make you too bulky is, like most fears, unfounded and irrational. It is exceedingly difficult to grow very large muscles, and even more so for women due to hormone differences between the genders.

Lifting heaver does not mean going from 10 pounds to 200 pounds, so concerns about safety are grossly overstated and unfounded. By steadily increasing demand, real gains in strength, muscle definition and physical ability are guaranteed.

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FIX THE MISTAKE: Once you’ve been using a comfortably challenging weight for a while, try to beat your rep goal and don’t stop until you feel fatigued on the movement. Once you can do two or more reps than your target, you can be assured that it’s safe to increase the amount of resistance. If you’re concerned about going up too much, just progress to the next smallest increment. I’ll tell you a secret: Sometimes to drive this point home with a client, I will talk to them about something distracting while they are performing an exercise so they lose count and I have them keep going until they feel fatigue. I’m keeping track of the reps and when they are done I tell them how many they did. Many people are shocked when they double their target reps with a given weight!
 

Wrap-up

Making real progress with strength training is not easy, but it isn’t the hardest thing in the world either. It’s much more challenging to life a live of decreasing strength, ability and vitality. All you need is the right mix of consistency and intensity. Yes, it’s a little tough. But you are worth the effort. If the human body can do it, it’s best to train for it. So lift heavier weights more slowly, lift lighter weights more quickly, and mix in some shifting and twisting along with your lifting, and you’ll be well on your way to strength-training success.

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This post is originally from “Ace Fit.”

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High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a kind of workout that alternates between an intense burst of exercise and a short active rest. It is somewhat a mix of anaerobic and aerobic exercises that is sure to fire your metabolism. The workouts are shorter and may or may not require equipments.


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According to studies, HIIT has been shown to significantly reduce subcutaneous fat (don’t mind the technical term- fat burned is good news! There’s even a study that it burns abdominal fat specifically, more than other forms of exercise), improve body composition, develop VO2 max (the capacity of your lungs and body to deliver and use oxygen), and insulin sensitivity. It also burns more calories and increases what is called “post-exercise fat oxidation” –you keep burning even after the workout! A new study also suggests that HIIT results in the same health benefits that we get from endurance activities that take twice or thrice the time.

Below is a sample HIIT that you can do at home using only bodyweight! You can add small weights or theraband as you progress. Do each exercise for 40 seconds, then do an active recovery exercise for 20 seconds. The active recovery aims to keep your metabolic level high even in between your sets.

40 on – Ankle jacksSHOP
20 off – Jog in place
40 on – T push-ups
20 off – High knees
40 on – Mountain Climbers
20 off – Heel kicks
40 on – Alternating lunges
20 off – Leg shuffle

The routine above mixes exercises that works around the lower and upper extremities and requires you to keep your core engaged.

Yes, HIIT can be hard and painful but it surely works,
so be ready to hit the floor for your HIIT workout!

 

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