Thursday, March 15, 2012

Beware of Interval Training

If you read enough about fitness and exercise you will come across an article promoting interval training. Wikipedia defines interval training as follows:
Interval training is a type of physical training that involves bursts of high-intensity work interspersed with periods of low-intensity work. The high-intensity periods are typically at or close to near-maximum exertion, while the recovery periods may involve either complete rest or activity of lower intensity.

About a year ago I was training for a triathlon and it was recommended to me to do interval training to help my cardiovascular strength and endurance faster. Fitness experts will always talk about the benefits of benefits of interval training but you never hear about the down sides. When running if you alternate between very high intensity running and a jog you end up running much faster and harder during the high intensity portion than you would if you were running at a constant speed because you have a chance to rest and recover. Unfortunately running (especially on concrete or a treadmill) puts a lot of stress on your knees, shins and back, so very high intensity running puts even more stress on your body. In one 20 minute session of interval training I managed to herniate a disk in my back. A perfectly healthy 25 year old athlete got a serious injury from just running. Unfortunately I did not realize I that I had a herniated disk until I got an MRI last week.

While I would strongly caution against doing any type of interval training on concrete or a treadmill, you can safely do interval training on an elliptical runner.

Fitocracy, the Facebook of Fitness

A few days ago I wrote about how you could use fitocracy to track your BJJ training. I am reposting it on this blog since I think it is a great tool for a person who is training for any sport.
Today I was reading a blog entry at jiujitsu365 about a new website called Fitocracy. It is a training log mixed with a competition mixed with social networking. You log your workouts and get points based on the different exercises. There are contests, quests, accomplishments and leader boards to compare yourself to other people. Since I am a competitive person, I can see myself really getting into this. If you need motivation to get in shape or lose some weight then this is the perfect site for you. Fitocracy also has groups so you can socialize with other people with similar interests.

If you sign up, I highly recommend changing your email settings because they are pretty spammy at first. Right now the website is in beta testing and is only available by invite. If you are interested in getting an invite, post a comment on this post, then email me at and tell me why you deserve an invite. I have limited invites so I am not going to just post it here.

Some of my criticisms for Fitocracy are that it overvalues weight lifting compared to other typse of exercise. It also doesn't have a mobil optimized site. I would also like for people to be a little more interactive in the groups, it seems like anything anyone says gets lost amoung all of the workouts that are logged. I would also like some sort of charting funtion to see my progress over time. However I am very impressed with the wide range of exercise options the site has and how good the search function is to find the different exercises.

I would like to add that I am still a big fan of this website. It is great for people who are competitive and also for people who like the constant feedback and likes from a website similar to facebook. I see a bright future for Fitocracy.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Martial Arts can help you lose weight

A few days ago I posted on my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu blog about how training in martial arts can help you lose weight. It was by far my most popular post so far and is relavent to this blog so I thought I would repost it here:

Today I am going to talk about weight loss, after all it made it on my list of top 10 reasons to do jiu jitsu. I have heard about story after story after story about people who have lost a lot of weight doing martial arts. I think there are 3 main reasons it helps you to lose weight an keep it off:

1) Martial Arts is exercise which helps you burn calories.

2) Martial Arts are fun which often means you will continue to be active even after you reach your goal.

3) Martial Arts teaches people discipline which helps them stick to the diet they are following and keep eating healthy even after they reach their goal.

I have been doing BJJ for 3 months now and following the paleo diet. So far I have lost 27 pounds, making this the most successful diet I have ever had. I plan to lose another 5 pounds before I hit the body fat percentage I want (roughly 7%). I look so much better than when I started, I have abs showing and everything. Once I reach my goal I will post before and after photos. When I have more time I will do a detailed (probably several part series) entry about paleo diet and losing weight.

Since learning that my back is herniated, I can no longer train martial arts for the next 6 months. I forgot how boring running and lifting by themselves are. No wonder most people don't want to go to the gym. If you are the type of person who gets bored going to the gym, sign up for a martial arts class as soon as possible. It is much more intereting. You will look forward to it instead of dreading it.

The Starting Point

This blog will be dedicated to health, fitness and exercise. I have always been in good shape and exercised a lot, but in the last few months I decided to get really healthy and drop the extra weight I was carrying around. Over the past 3 and a half months I have dropped 27 pounds and am looking and feeling better than I have ever looked or felt. To be honest I didn’t know that I could even lose that much weight, I was only a size 34 waist when I started losing weight. Now I can see my abs when I flex, so I only have another 5 pounds or so to lose.

Through this blog I will share my knowledge with my readers so they can get healthy and fit as well. I will help you lose weight and build muscle and find interesting activities and sports.

Over the past month I have been blogging about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and my training. Unfortunately yesterday I learned that I have a herniated disk in my back and I can’t do any contact sports for at least the next 6 months. Since BJJ is no longer an option for me, I will instead write about general exercise and fitness.