#Whatsfittrending: Cardio-Weight Cycling

Among the scorching topics melting bodybuilding fora, there reigns the age-old debate of which comes first: cardio or weight lifting? There are multiple sides to this complex issue, all of which are resolved by  considering research, body composition and individual goals.

Since I was 18 I have practiced what I am told is “lactic acid cycling” or “cardioacceleration”: the practice of doing 30sec-1min intervals of cardiovascular exercise between weight lifting sets to maximize burn (so I presumed) – with no rest between sets. It should be strictly noted that in addition to my female status, I am a runner and I lift *light* weights. Those who lift heavy or have less inclination toward cardiovascular activities would clearly prefer to omit cardio or perform it after their weight training, perhaps even on a different day.

For cardio endurance athletes – particularly marathoners, cyclists and triathletes – the process of incorporating cardiovascular exercise between sets makes sense. Adding bulk to a physique that is intended to move quickly would be counterproductive, the same way that running more than bi-daily 3-5 miles is counterproductive to a heavy weight lifter’s ability to add mass. Thus, maintaining a weight-cardio cycle for 45 minutes to 1 hour a couple of times a week can enhance cardiovascular performance – in much the same way HIIT does, actually.

The Effects of Cardio Between Weight Sets

4 Surprising Reasons to do Cardio While You Are Weight Training

Cardioacceleration

Shape Cardio Mix Plan

Cardio Interval Weight Sets

20 minute Military Circuit

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#Whatsfittrending: Depression and Emotional Eating

By now the door has flung wide open on my indulgent affair with reality tv, visible to all by my own actions. Last night’s rendezvous featured the Kardashian clan, and I was spurred to consider what’s going on with Rob (or individuals like him) – his reported depression and subsequent [associated] weight gain are common signs of an individual who needs love and support due to internal and external stressors and imbalances. Interventions are possible and with the dedication of those close to individuals suffering from depression, they can pull through and leave much of their depressive, haunting episodes behind. While the imbalances may continue to present in a person’s life, there are therapies that have proved effective at managing the magnitude of the impact they have.

Through my own battles with anxiety and ADHD I have endured painful weight losses and gains, finally managing to stabilize my weight in a healthy range with a lot of work. I’m neither special nor unique, though: coming through a life circumstance(s) that garner(s) a certain relationship with food requires diligence, patience and sometimes therapy. Having been through something similar – and something with which I STILL struggle – I can recognize the signs of emotional eating (as probably many of us can) and individuals who are not in a position to help themselves yet.

Some individuals are not ready to hear our desires to help –sometimes it is as though the weight gain represents defiance, people attempting to sabotage their own happiness, digging their heels in in the hopes that gaining body weight becomes a literal weight holding them back. I’m not a trained psychologist so I admit my speculation, and I will hold firm on my use of “sometimes.” For other individuals, a relationship with food began young and flourished through years of convenience and excuses. Yes, excuses: we can say anything we want about why we are the way we are – there are powerful tools to get ourselves healthy again, to have control of our emotions and over food.

There are also resources for individuals who wish to read more about emotional eating, disordered eating and why food temporarily elevates our moods.

5 Reasons for Emotional Eating

Understanding, Recognizing Emotional Eating

Weight Management, Depression

Why We Eat when We’re Stressed

How to Help Someone with an Eating Challenge

Is Comfort Food Causing Your Depression

Teen Diet Pill Addiction Therapy

#Whatsfittrending: Raw Power

Premised on the belief that there exist a multitude of avenues toward success, my philosophy on fitness approaches is that there is no one correct way. Every body moves differently, every metabolism processes differently, everyone seeks enjoyment in a different way. I have friends who are staunch power lifters: lighter weights and cardio are not for them. I have other friends who see little point in running fewer than five miles on any given day. I have still more friends who prefer aerobics and dance to anything else and find walking a tremendous waste of time. I see the benefit to all of it.

Curiously there are an equal host of nutritional approaches and schools of thought – nutrition for athletes, nutrition for health, nutrition for weight loss. Led astray by healthcare powerhouses, we have been living under the starchy weight of the admittedly flawed food guide pyramid. While the high-carb, low-fat approach might be worth it to some, for most it has led to dissatisfaction, weight gain, maybe even diabetes. Research is the lifeblood of scientific advancement: without it, we cannot progress into the next phase of optimum health. In a nation so mistrustful of media, who can we trust to guide our eating habits even when they are stamped with the research label? You have to read and make the decision for yourself.

My research and my opinions are captured in the Customizable Fitness Nutrition Planning page, although I will remark that I find a lower-carb, higher protein, vegetable-based diet to be the most healthful and most effective at weight management. I will also confide that I have recently begun a 90% raw diet – more on that in a later post. Below are research-based articles promoting a variety of approaches – I leave it to the reader to consider them, to discover what works best.

US News and World Report: Raw Diets

Long-term Effects, Low Carb Diet

Hypocaloric Diet: (Hypocaloric means eating fewer calories than the body burns)

Mediterranean Diet and Diabetes

Reduced Tumors with Low-Carb Diet

Low Carb/Low Fat Diet for Diabetes (Published by American Diabetes Assoc.)

Benefits, Risks Vegetarian Diet

Diets that Work: Endocrine Society

Vegetarian: Past, Present Future

#Whatsfittrending: Aquarius

Born in March, I’m a proper Pisces,  donning the aquamarine gemstone at all times – I love water. Since I was a small child I’ve taken to water like, well, a fish. Thus I am thoroughly intrigued by workouts that incorporate water but are not necessarily specifically swimming. I was recently introduced to a [newish] workout that makes perfect sense, so I was surprised to find myself unaware of it until now: Aquacycling. Dare I mention that this introduction came via guilty pleasure – Made in Chelsea? Yes, that’s right: this news did not come from a bold name in fitness but from a reality tv show. The workout is most popular in Europe, but there are gyms in the US that provide access to this workout. Below are some resources that provide greater insight on Aquacycling (also called hydro ride, hydroriding or pool biking).

Huffington Post Healthy Living

Fox News

Aquastudio NY

Cornerstone

Women’s Health

Poolbiking (France – page can be translated)

Hydrospinning

#Whatsfittrending: Keep Your Guns and Take the Cannolis – High Protein, Muscle-supportive Treats

{Well, hello there, Friday, you sassy little vixen: it’s been too long.}

This week has been a blur of damage control and work-arounds. While I was *mostly* effective at derailing wrecks at my job the weight has left an indelible imprint. I always turn to exercise in times of stress: unfortunately, home stuff has proved a force against that as well. What to do when life gets hectic?

1. Clean, clean, super-clean diet! When you are eating well and feeling healthy you can manage things better. While you might find yourself scrambling to eke out run – just 20 minutes! – or do some half-hearted crunches, a clean diet will prevent the unraveling of your previous hard work.

2. Take a minute to breathe. So infrequently are we present enough to collect and regroup; we are so involved in doing what’s next.

3. If you have the time to exercise, do it! A brisk walk, a run, yoga, pilates, aerobics, swimming, weight lifting – whatever it is that makes you feel your best get out and do it.

4. Treat yourself. For some people, that means a spa day. For others, a pizza. If you want to indulge without wasting your efforts and still maintain a clean balance to your diet there are a slew of incredible resources. If you’re not the sort to spend your time shopping for ingredients and baking a high protein cookie, there are some fantastic restaurants and bakeries that now offer more than just the label – their products stand up to nutritional tests. Right now I am loving High Protein Cannoli Dip (what self-respecting Jersey Girl wouldn’t know how to make a from-scratch cannoli?!).

5. Plan ahead. These days, weeks, months, semesters come at us no matter what. If you have a plan – a decision tree, if you will – for what to do when working out and eating at home are not options, you won’t feel so powerless.

Your Resources for the day:

Tosca Reno Eat Clean

Clean Plates Clean Eating Restaurants

Eating Healthier at Fast Food Restaurants

Protein Powder Chef: Cannolis

Hairspray and High Heels – No Excuses Workouts

Busy But Health Body Assault Program

31 Healthy and Portable High Protein Snacks

Atkins Diet Chinese Takeout