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Plan your workouts like a pro

How to plan your workouts, fitness, cardio, strenght, sport, health
Today I´m going to explain how to plan your workouts like a pro. Planning your training sessions is key to succeed. I bet you´ve heard the famous quote “Failing to plan is planning to fail”. When it comes to fitness plans, “failing” means not meeting your goals and expectations. You have to plan ahead to meet your goals because it takes much more than motivation and goodwill to get there.
 
The technical term for this kind of planning is “periodization”. It is the process of dividing an annual training plan into specific time blocks. Each block has a particular goal. This allows us to create hard training periods and easier periods, to facilitate recovery. Periodization also helps us develop different physiological abilities during various phases of training.
 
Let´s say you have found a workout routine that works well for you. That´s great but, lately, no matter how hard or how often you work out, you just can’t seem to progress any further. You’re stuck on a plateau. This is because your body has adapted to the exercise you’ve been doing. You need to “shock” or “surprise” your body, give it a new challenge periodically if you’re going to continue to make progress. Instead of doing the same routine month after month, you change your training program at regular intervals, “periods”, or “cycles” to keep your body working harder, while still giving it adequate rest. That goes for both strength and cardiovascular training.
How to plan your workouts like a pro, training, workout, progress, success, sport, fitness, weightlifting, bodybuilding, health
The goal with periodization is to maximize your progress while also reducing your risk of injury. It also addresses peak performance for competition or meets. Periodization, if appropriately arranged, can peak the athlete multiple times over a competitive season (Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting, track and field) or optimize an athlete’s performance over an entire competitive season like with soccer or basketball.
 

Periodization cycles are classified by amounts of time: 

 
The macrocycle is the longest, and includes all four stages of a periodized training program: endurance, intensity, competition and recoveryAll 52 weeks of your annual plan. For example, if you want to peak for an event one year from now, you can mark that date on your calendar and work backward to create a program that allows you to peak at that time. You can use the same process to identify several major events throughout the year and develop a plan that facilitates multiple fitness peaks.
 
The mesocycle represents a specific block of training that is designed to accomplish a particular goal.  Mesocycles are typically four or six weeks in length. For instance, during the endurance phase, you might develop a mesocycle designed to enhance your muscular endurance for six weeks.
 
A microcycle is the shortest training cycle, typically lasting a week with the goal of facilitating a focused block of training. Generally speaking, four or six microcycles are tied together to form a mesocycle.  
 
You can get the most out of your training by having a good understanding of each of the three cycles of periodization and then using these cycles to create a plan that allows you to peak for your most important events throughout the year.
For example, you can alter your strength-training program by adjusting the following variables:
  • The number of repetitions per set, or the number of sets of each exercise
  • The amount of resistance used
  • The rest period between sets, exercises or training sessions
  • The order of the exercises, or the types of exercises
  • The speed at which you complete each exercise

There are many different types of periodized strength-training programs, and many are geared to the strength, power and demands of specific sports.

You should also periodize your cardiovascular training for the same reasons: challenge your body while still allowing for adequate recovery time.
 
For example, you’re a recreational runner, running for fitness, fun and the occasional short race, you’ll want to allow for flat, easy runs, as well as some that incorporate hills and others that focus on speed and strength.
What you don’t want to do is complete the same run every time. If you run too easily, and don’t push yourself, you won’t progress. And chances are you’ll get bored. Conversely, too much speed or high-intensity training will lead to injury or burnout, and most likely, disappointing race results.
 
If you want to improve your time in a 10K or completing a half marathon or even a full marathon, you’ll need a periodized program geared to each type of race.
 
Specially designed periodized training programs are also available for cycling and many other sports.
 
Periodized training will ensure that you continue to make measurable progress, which will keep you energized and interested in reaching your goals.
 

Proven benefits of periodization:

  • Management of fatigue, reducing risk of over-training by managing factors such as load, intensity, and recovery
  • The cyclic structure maximizes both general preparation and specific preparation for sport.
  • Ability to optimize performance over a specific period of time
  • Accounting for the individual, including time constraints, training age and status, and environmental factors.

Plan your workouts according to your goals.

There are different types of periodization: 
 

Linear periodization

is the most commonly used style of training. This form of periodization gradually increases volume, intensity, and work by mesocycles in an annual training plan. Progressive overload is a major key to the success of this training style. This style is characterized by longer training periods, less reliance on super compensation, and a focus of more general training over specific.

This programming style is useful for building a strong foundation, progressing in one variable, and working towards a peaking point. Recommended for those who are newer to training, it’s definitely the easiest periodization style to understand.
 

Non-linear/undulated periodization

rely on constant change throughout training cycles. As opposed to a linear periodization that focuses on gradual increase of one variable, this style manipulates multiple variables like exercises, volume, intensity, and training adaptation on a frequent basis (daily, weekly, or even bi-weekly). Non-linear periodization is more advanced than linear and incorporates multiple types of stimuli into a training program.
This programming style is an excellent way of individually training one variable and secondarily training others at the same time. It’s often used for those with advanced training backgrounds and longer sport seasons. For example, think about a program that has you train strength one day, then power two days later – this is non-linear.
 

Block periodization

focuses on breaking down specific training periods into 2-4 week periods. It consists of a two-block design, accumulation and restitution.
In the accumulation blocks, the focus is directed toward supporting motor abilities while simultaneously developing certain strength qualities necessary for the athlete with a limited volume load.
The restitution block is essentially the opposite. They support strength qualities in the athlete, while addressing the development of specific, technical motor qualities with a limited volume load. These training loads must target different abilities (max-strength, explosive strength, max anaerobic power, etc.). 
The goal behind these smaller, specific blocks is to allow an athlete to stay at their peak level longer, since most sports call for multiple peaks. Within the training season, athletes will only focus on adaptations they need specifically for their sport, if an athlete doesn’t need endurance, they won’t train for it.
When trying to maintain a high level of athleticism for competition over an extended amount of time, block periodization can be a great tool. By frequently training specific training adaptations you work towards progressing in your sport with the variable you need, and avoid burning out.
 
Periodization has stood the test of time for the simple fact that there are so many progressions and ways to structure your training so that you can be at your best when it matters most. Failing to utilize any form of periodization for your training could lead to overtraining, failure to recover appropriately for progression, and the inability to see the progress you deserve from the time you put into training.

Help for beginners

To start planning your workouts, here is a linear periodization template, for free.

I know that planning workouts for the first time can be complicated, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask me and I will help you.

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Best Swimming Workout to Lose Fat

Now that we are enjoying the summer, it is hot and what we most want to do is dive into the water, Eva Forde brings us the best swimming training to lose fat:

One of the best ways to look great in a swimsuit is to slip into one for your workout. Swimming is by far one of the optimal types of exercise. Not only does it provide you with resistance you can work against to build more muscle and burn more fat, but it is low-impact, so any one of any age and any fitness level can do it.

Of course, you’re not going to lose much weight just dog paddling around the pool. If you want to lose serious fat, you need to slip into your best sports swim suit and ignite your fat burning engines. To do this, you need to tap into your anabolic system: that system that fuels your body without the presence of oxygen. Instead, you draw on your glucose and glycogen to fuel your movement. The result? You use existing energy stores instead of O2, and you burn more fat.

So, the question remains, how do you get an anaerobic swimming workout?

Read on to find out!

Interval training!

Interval training uses short, intense bursts of energy followed by a short period of active recovery (minimal intensity) to maximize your workout, and increase your fat burning gains. When you’re pushing yourself through those intense bursts, you’re working in your anaerobic zone, and you need to be pushing yourself to your limit. Remember: you won’t be doing it for long! You continue to cycle back and forth between your working sets and your active recovery sets until your time’s up.

Photo credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-swimming-on-body-of-water-863988/

When is your time up?

That’s the other good news: when you interval train, you don’t have to workout for long. As little as 20 minutes can give you better long-term metabolic health than an hour on the treadmill.

Sounds great, right?

Of course it does. So suit up! Here’s your fat-blasting swimming workout.

You’re going to do this workout in a circuit. Start with exercise #1 and then move to #5. Cycle through the circuit 3-5 times, depending on your current fitness level, and then call it a day.

Photo credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/water-swimming-competition-pool-56837/
  • Exercise 1: Front Crawl at maximum intensity — 1 minute. Treadwater or jog on spot in pool for 20 seconds.
  • Exercise 2: Butterfly at maximum intensity — 1 minute. Treadwater or jog on spot in pool for 20 seconds.
  • Exercise 3: Back crawl at maximum intensity — 1 minute. Treadwater or jog on spot in pool for 20 seconds.
  • Exercise 4: Flutter kick at maximum intensity — 1 minute. Treadwater or jog on spot in pool for 20 seconds.
  • Exercise 5: Reverse flutter kick at maximum intensity  — 1 minute. Treadwater or jog on spot in pool for 20 seconds.

A note on maximum intensity…

For this short and sweet workout to burn the fat and build the muscle that will keep your fat burning engines revved, you need to work hard. Super hard. On a scale of 1 – 10, with 1 being lying on the couch doing nothing and 10 being working so hard you’re ready to vomit, you need to be working at a 9. This is the only way you’re going to see the results you’re working toward.

Eva Forde

Eva Forde

Eva Forde is a dedicated and passionate freelance lifestyle blogger. She blogs over at evafordebeauty.blogspot.com about Fitness and Fashion.

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30 healthy chickpeas recipes

30 healthy Chickpeas recipes

Chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans, are one of the oldest consumed crops in the world and remain one of the most popular today across nearly every continent. Chickpeas have been a part of certain traditional diets for over 7,500 years!

Chickpeas are a type of legume that offer a range of health benefits. Chickpeas help to

  • increase satiety,
  • boost digestion,
  • keep blood sugar levels stable,
  • increase protection against disease
  • provides essential vitamins and minerals.

Increases Satiety and Helps with Weight Loss

Chickpeas are high in both protein and fiber, which helps to make you feel full and to curb food cravings and unhealthy snacking. Studies have shown that consuming fiber is correlated with having a lower body weight.

Chickpeas give us a feeling of being full after eating, while also helping to control our blood sugar levels and therefore maintaining our energy.

Improves Digestion

Chickpeas make my list for the 20 Ultimate High Fiber Foods, with roughly 6-7 grams per half cup serving. 

Fiber facilitates in healthy digestion by quickly moving foods through the digestive tract, helping to decrease symptoms of IBS and constipation. Fiber works by drawing fluids from the body and binding them to the bulk of forming stool, which contains toxins and waste that must be removed from the body.

The high amount of fiber in garbanzo beans is responsible for its filling effect and helps to improve digestion, but it does much more than this. Fiber aids in heart health, helps to control blood sugar levels, guards against cancer, heart disease, diverticulosis, kidney stones, PMS, obesity, and more.

Helps Control Blood Sugar Levels

Chickpeas nutrition includes starch, which is a slow burning carbohydrate that the body does not react to by suddenly spiking glucose in the blood.

Unlike simple sugars- found in processed products like refined flour, white bread and pasta, soda, candy, and most other packaged foods- the starches found in chickpeas take an extended period of time to break down once consumed.

Starches contain natural sugars called glucose, which the body uses easily for many essential functions, however glucose can be troublesome for people who are pre-diabetic or who have diabetes. The process of digesting and utilizing the glucose found in all beans and starches is drawn-out, which is extremely important for diabetics who have trouble reaching a stable blood sugar level after contain sugars due to a resistance to insulin.

Helps Protect Against Heart Disease

Chickpeas have been shown to help balance unhealthy cholesterol levels, to reduce hypertension, and to protect against heart disease in multiple ways. Fiber works to create a gel-like substance in the digestive system that binds with fatty acids, helping to balance cholesterol levels. Both soluble fiber and insoluble fiber have been show to be important in helping to control and manage hypertension.

Beans help to keep the arteries clear from plaque build-up, maintain healthy blood pressure levels, and decrease the chances of cardiac arrest and stroke. In fact studies show that having just one daily serving (about 3/4 cup cooked) of beans of any kind can help to decrease chances of a heart attack and to help balance “bad” LDL cholesterol.

Provides Essential Vitamins and Minerals

Chickpeas nutrition boasts high levels of iron, zinc, folate, phosphorus, vitamin K, and B vitamins, all of which are especially important for vegetarians and vegans who may be lacking in these essential nutrients due to avoiding animal products. Chickpeas are great source of folate, also called Vitamin B6. Folate is important for helping the body to effectively produce new cells as it plays a role in copying and synthesizing DNA. A deficiency in folate can contribute to anemia, poor immune function, and poor digestion; and for pregnant women, a deficiency can lead to neural tube defects such as spina bifida.

Though phosphate and calcium are both important in bone structure, the careful balance of the two minerals is necessary for proper bone mineralization – consumption of too much phosphorus with too little calcium intake can result in bone loss.

Chickpeas nutrition also includes zinc. Zinc is an essential trace mineral that plays a role in over 100 important enzymatic reactions in the body. Zinc facilitates in bodily functions including protecting against free radical damage (also called oxidative damage), helps speed up wound healing, plays a part in the copying of DNA, and helps with the formation of hemoglobin within the blood. A deficiency can include frequently getting sick with colds, leaky gut syndrome, consistent digestive problems like diarrhea, poor eye health, infertility, thinning hair, and even stunted growth in children.

Adequate vitamin K consumption is important for good bone health because it improves calcium absorption and may reduce urinary excretion of calcium, making sure that enough calcium is available for building and repairing bone. Low intake of vitamin K is associated with a higher risk for bone fracture.

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30 healthy quinoa recipes

Quinoa recipes

Quinoa is a grain crop that is grown for its edible seeds. It technically isn’t a cereal grain, but a pseudo-cereal. In other words, it is basically a “seed” which is prepared and eaten similarly to a grain.

Quinoa was an important crop for the Inca Empire back in the day. They referred to it as the “mother of all grains” because the Incas believed it increased the stamina of their warriors.

Here are sone health benefits of quinoa:

Protein rich

It is one of the most protein-rich foods we can eat. It is a complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids.

Control diabetes

Contains almost twice as much fiber as most other grains. Fiber helps to prevent heart disease by reducing high blood pressure and diabetes, lowers cholesterol and glucose levels,  and may help you to lose weight because it makes you feel fuller for longer and is less “energy dense” which means it has fewer calories for the same volume of food.

Boost circulation

Contains Iron, which helps keep our red blood cells healthy and is the basis of hemoglobin formation. Iron carries oxygen from one cell to another and supplies oxygen to our muscles to aid in their contraction. It also increases brain function because the brain takes in about 20% of our blood oxygen. 

Tissue growth and repair

Contains lysine, essential for tissue growth and repair.

Lower blood pressure

It is rich in magnesium. Helps to relax blood vessels and thereby to alleviate migraines. Magnesium also may reduce Type 2 diabetes by promoting healthy blood sugar control. 

Increases energy

High in Riboflavin (B2). B2 improves energy metabolism within brain and muscle cells and is known to help create proper energy production in cells.

Antioxidant

Quinoa has a high content of manganese, an antioxidant, which helps to prevent damage of mitochondria during energy production as well as to protect red blood cells and other cells from injury by free radicals.

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