Jennifer Hanway

Enliven Your Lightest, Brightest You

Jennifer Hanway is a Holistic Nutritionist, Bio Signature Modulation Practitioner and Certified Personal Trainer, originally from London but now living in Newton Centre and working in Back Bay, Boston.

Filtering by Tag: workout

What To Do When You Have Lost Your Fitness Mojo

I met with a friend of mine yesterday who needed some advice - an avid runner (a couple of marathons in the last few years), group fitness class lover, yogi and lifter in the gym, she had lost her 'fitness mojo'. The appeal of the couch and TV were far outweighing her desire to exercise, and she was not enjoying her favorite classes and workouts when she did go. 

Perfect timing for me to advise, as I am just coming out of this funk myself. Only this last week have I found my love for working out again, the last two months have been a struggle for me to feel motivated and enjoy my workouts. This is especially hard for me as in my industry it is expected that trainers love to train, and I believe that we should practice what we preach. The flip side of this is that we are human, and it can be just as hard for us to haul ass to the gym, or to strap on our sneaks and go for a run. 

So I gave my friend the same advice I gave myself: stop being so hard on yourself. Energy levels will ebb and flow, and its what you over the course of weeks, months and years that is important and will impact your health, not what happens over the course of a few days. Also, there may be a biochemical reason for needing the downtime: in my case I had followed a diet regime and workout plan designed by a trainer/dietitian colleague of mine in the UK over the summer that had totally kicked my butt, and the dental surgery I had in November was way more intense with a longer, harder recovery than I had expected. In my friends case she had run two marathons in the last two years, coupled with some stressful family events, and a super challenging job. 

All of these things will effect our physical and mental health, and at this point 'pushing yourself' is the last thing you should be doing and no amount of positive self talk or beating yourself up is going to help. Prolonged stress is going to raise your cortisol levels (stress hormones), which has a cascade effect on your adrenal function, possibly resulting in adrenal fatigue (when your adrenal glands function sub optimally). If this is the case then it is time to back off, and give yourself time to rest and recover, and implement nutrition, wellbeing and supplement strategies that will help you heal the body and get back on track. I suffered with severe cortisol disregulation and adrenal fatigue 3.5 years ago, following the unexpected death of my mother, and my move to the U.S. and recovered by using the above strategies. 

So back to the advice I gave my friend: give yourself permission to take time off (this was the most important part), nourish yourself with great food and more sleep (now is the time to up your good carbs and get your 9.5 hours), workout only if you feel like it, and prioritize lifting over cardio, and add in some great supplements such as Vitamin D (everyone should be taking this at this time of year), magnesium (to help deal with stress), and adaptogens which help the body deal with stress and fatigue. And be kind to yourself. 

If you would like any more information on dealing with high cortisol levels or adrenal fatigue please feel free to comment below of email me at jenniferhanway@icloud.com. 

 

 

 

Fitness Friday: Why I Love HIIT Workouts and You Should Too!

Fat loss and lean muscle gain in one workout? In just 20-30 minutes? It sounds too good to be true but High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) can be one of your strongest weapons when looking to improve body composition.

A study in the "Journal of Obesity" showed 12 weeks of HIIT reduced body fat and increased muscle mass. There were also substantial reductions in abdominal fat and visceral fat, and increases in lean muscle tissue and overall fitness.

But what about steady state cardio (SSC) or low intensity aerobics? Steady state cardio makes the body work in the most efficient way possible - think of a fuel efficient car, it uses as little gas as possible to get from A to B, which is what SSC does for our bodies, so we burn very little fat and carbohydrates when training this way. Going overboard on SSC can also lead to the loss of lean muscle mass (remember we want lean muscle mass as it is a metabolically active tissue that helps us burn calories), increase cortisol production (cortisol is the stress hormone that can lead to belly fat) and hinder increases in both muscle strength and size.

A lot has been written about HIIT, and there are many ways to utilize this training method. Put simply, there are three different energy systems that we can utilize when performing HIIT training.

In terms of efficiency and results the one that provides the most ‘bang for your buck’ when your goal is fat loss (whilst retaining calorie burning lean muscle tissue) is the Anaerobic “Lactic Acid Glycolytic System, which we shall explore in further detail below.

Why should I train this way? 

  • It has 3 main physiological benefits: you burn calories during the workout, it prevents lean muscle loss (and can even build lean muscle depending on the type of workout you do), and ensures you burn more calories throughout the day through a process called EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption).
  • Its easy to fit in – workouts should be no longer than 20-25 minutes (if you can train any longer than this then you are not working at a high enough intensity and are therefore not reaping the benefits).
  • You don’t need any equipment to train this way on your own. Sprints, hill sprints and bodyweight exercises are all great tools for this style of workout.

The Workouts: 

  • To start, try a work to rest ratio of 8 seconds on, 12 seconds off. This can be done in many ways, sprints, hill sprints, on a stationary bike, on a rower, etc. Work towards completing 60 rounds, which should take you 20 minutes. This is great for someone who is new to HIIT, and you can work up to the 60 rounds by adding in longer rest periods every 4 -6 rounds. Hill sprints are a great option for beginner as they force you to have good sprint technique (a strong elbow and knee drive), and ensure you are working a the correct intensity.
  • To progress, you can lengthen your work time to 30 seconds with a 1 minute recovery between sets.
  • If wanting to combine resistance training with HIIT (talk about multi tasking) circuit training with 10 reps per set with 10 seconds rest per exercise for a total of 25 to 30 minutes is a great option. Choose compound exercises such as squats, deadlifts and pull-ups.
  • What about Tabata? The 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off protocol, commonly known as Tabata is a another option. However the fact that 1, 4 minute round will produce results is a fallacy (wishful thinking)! Tabata intervals are a great tool, however you will need to complete 4 rounds of the 4 minute protocol to achieve results, or combine it with another HIIT protocol to achieve a total workout time of around 16-20 minutes.

Things to consider:

  • Always include a 5 min warm up of pulse raising, multi joint exercises such as High Knees, Star Jumps or Burpees. Think of the R.A.M.P. process: Raise, Activate, Mobilize, Potentiate. Because of the level of intensity needed to reap the benefits of HIIT, a warm up is essential to prime the body for this level of work and to prevent joint and soft tissue injury.
  • The work to rest ratio should be between 1:8 to 1:12 when starting interval training in this way, as you become more used to it and the body starts to adapt you can move to a work to rest ratio of 1:6 to 1:10.
  • The ‘work’ phase of the workout needs to be ‘all-out’ for the benefits to kick in. If you feel nauseous with your heart jumping out of your chest and your lungs in your mouth you are doing it right! As you progress and your fitness level raises this will become more comfortable, so stay with it!
  • If resistance training on the same day as HIIT always resistance train in the morning and HIIT later in the day as you will attain more strength gains when your central nervous system is fresh at the beginning of the day.
  • Never repeat the exact same workout twice – just as with resistance training you always want to improve something in each session, either by adding work volume, lengthening the work to rest ratio, or by increasing intensity. This will also keep the workout fresh and interesting, improving compliance.
  • Don’t train this way more than 3 times a week, it is challenging on many of the bodies systems and more than 3 times a week can lead to burn-out, especially if training with other modalities (eg. resistance training) in the same training phase.

Training Tuesday - Super Results, Super Fast!

This time of year is busy for everyone, from work deadlines to holiday parties. I'm finding my clients are really pushed for time, so getting the most 'bang for your buck' from their workouts is key right now. Below is a tough but manageable conditioning circuit that is guaranteed to challenge your whole body, make you sweat, and burn some serious calories! I love that it combines some of my favorite booty building exercises with high intensity intervals and throws in some abs and arms for good measure!

The workout should only take 35- to 40 minutes at most, so it should be easy to fit into even the busiest of days...

Fellow BFX trainer Alex Grossmanides (my handsome model for today) and I completed this workout before our holiday party and we really felt we earned our (healthy) treats that day!

We took inspiration from a workout on www.theptdc.com, and then added our own spin to the exercises and format.

Holiday Heart Rate Raiser 

Complete a 5 minute warm up to get the blood flowing and prepare you for the workout.

Perform each exercise for 45 seconds, with 15 seconds to transition to the next exercise. Complete 3 rounds. Rest for 90-120 seconds between rounds. Smile!

1.Battle Ropes

image1
image1

2. One Leg Glute Bridge (Right Side)

3. Battle Ropes (again!) 

4. One Leg Glute Bridge (Left Side)

5. Kettle Bell Swings 

KB Swing
KB Swing

6. TRX Atomic Crunch

Pike
Pike

7. Bike Sprint

8. Push Ups

9. Jump Rope

10. Walking Lunges

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image5

I'd love to hear your feedback on this workout (did you survive, did your butt fall off, or did you just look at it to see the pictures of Alex flexing his muscles)? Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below and I will always respond! 

The information and materials provided in this blog are to support and assist people who are looking to improve their health and wellbeing I understand that all new dietary/supplements/ exercise programs should be undertaken after consultation with a medical doctor. Jennifer Hanway is not responsible for any injury or illness sustained whilst following the information in this blog.

Contact: jenny@jenniferhanway.com