Jan. 16. 2015
Written By:
McKel (Hill) Kooienga
McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

Founder of Nutrition Stripped® and the Mindful Nutrition Method™

As a way for me to bring another level of living whole and well to Nutrition Stripped, I’m introducing you all to a new series on the blog all about FITNESS! Fitness, staying active, being fit, strong and lean year round is incredibly important to me and something I practice and preach each day with my workouts. It keeps my mind, body, and spirit happy and healthy and it’s truly something I love and enjoy doing. I love working out from boxing, yoga, barre3, HIIT style workout, pilates, swimming, anything and everything fitness I’m all about.

With the new year so many of you are inspired to get fit, I think that’s so awesome! Half the battle for those of you starting out with a new workout program or exercise routine is 1) finding something you love to do, 2) knowing how to do it with proper form, 3) how to harness your mind-body connection for the most effective workout, 4) materials and resources needed (fashion, gym, equipment, etc.) and 5) and prioritizing the time! I’m incredibly happy to introduce you all to my dear friend Sarah Vance, who is a qualified and certified personal trainer, ICU nurse, advocate for positive body image for women, and overall bundle of knowledge. I’ll let her take it from here to teach you all Working Out 101, Fitness for Beginners. 

“Living a healthy lifestyle encompasses many aspects of life. It includes eating nutrient dense foods, finding balance in your life, loving yourself, treating your body well, feeding your soul and mind, and lastly MOVING. The fitness industry is growing larger and larger every single day, and I love it! However, for people new to living a full healthy and fit lifestyle it can be somewhat overwhelming. It is time to take it back to the basics and timeless facts of fitness.

When starting on any fitness journey I do want to point out this:

  1. First, if you have health issues check with your physician before partaking in any activity.
  2. Secondly, choose something you enjoy. This is about making this a lifestyle and incorporating it into your life. Exercise is not punishment or a way to beat your body to death. It really is an act of self love by taking care of yourself. Choose something that you enjoy, because if you don’t enjoy it chances are you are not going to stick to it. Just as McKel with Nutrition Stripped has stated with nutrition..if you can envision yourself doing this down the road then stick with it. I urge everyone to try a variety of training styles to see what best fits you and your life.
  3. Thirdly, listen to your body. It is incredibly intelligent. Push yourself, but also know when to stop and rest.

A solid training program is one that will consist of some type of resistance training as well as cardiovascular training. I am huge advocate for strength training (I am a powerlifter!), especially for the ladies. Resistance training not only helps us physically by decreasing our risks for osteoporosis, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, depression, obesity, aches and pains, and lastly arthritis…but it also helps us mentally. Resistance training and working out in general makes us feel good thanks to all those endorphins that are released during the training session. We also get the added benefit of helping our metabolism, getting stronger, building muscle, and decreasing body fat when paired with a well balanced nutrition guideline. As you can see, the benefits are abundant. Everyone should partake in some type of resistance activity if they can, no matter your fitness level, age, or health conditions. Anything can be modified to YOU.

What’s up with all the acronyms? Now that we have a grasp on why resistance training is important, let’s break down some common things you may see when it is talked about:

  • Set: A set is a group of reps. It is the first number written. Example: Pushups 4X10 meaning four sets of ten pushups. You will do ten pushups, rest, then repeat for a total of four times.
  • Reps: Second number being written. This is the number of movements in a single set. Using the example above. You do ten REPS of pushups. Sometimes you will see this as a range.
  • Superset: When you do two movements back to back with no rest between.  Example: Push ups superset with Pull ups. You would do your set of pushups, and then move onto pull-ups. Then you go back to pushups. Repeat until you reach the desired amount of sets for the superset.  You will see the first movement in a superset with the letter A and the next movement with the letter B, ect..  Example: 1A Pushups 3X6-8 1B Pull ups 3X6-8
  • Circuit/Giant sets:  A cluster of movements performed right after another with no rest between each movement. Typically after one set on the circuit you will rest 30 sec-2 min then repeat the circuit for the desired sets.
  • DB: Abbreviation for Dumbbell. These are the smaller and are in a variety of weights from as small as 1lb to as heavy as 200 lbs+.
  • BB: Abbreviation for Barbell. Can come in a few different shapes. There are smaller ones, larger ones, curved ones. Typically when people are saying BB it is the longest (usually) iron bar in the gym. Typically it weighs about 45 lbs.
  • BW: Abbreviation for Bodyweight. A lot of movements can be done as bodyweight. Never underestimate how challenging some BW movements are.

The number of sets and reps that you utilize will actually depend on your goal. They all are beneficial in muscle growth and strength gaining in some way depending on how they are programmed. Without getting into too much detail I would suggest utilizing all rep range.

  • Pure strength rep ranges are typically identified as rep ranges 1-5 (gaining strength)
  • Muscular growth rep ranges are those in the 6-12 range (gaining muscle/tone)
  • Muscular endurance is usually classified as 13+ (maintenance and tone)

However, this is not a black and white topic. You can get growth from pure strength training, and can get stronger from rep ranges 6-12. As I stated before, I suggest utilizing all rep ranges if possible.  They all will help your metabolism and be beneficial. One is not better for fat lass over the other either. The common misconception that more reps equals fat loss is actually inaccurate. Nutrition is the biggest factor in fat loss.

With any balanced program you will and should have some type of cardiovascular training. Typically cardiovascular training is seen as running on a treadmill, which is totally okay. However, there is a plethora of ways to get your heart rate up.

  • Moderate steady state cardio is that of which your heart rate stays in a moderate zone for you for an extended period of time (about 30-40 min). Some examples of this would be jogging, running, swimming, plyometrics, dancing, and jump rope.
  • Interval training is when there are up and down moments with your heart rate. During your ‘working’ times typically lasting 20-30 seconds your heart rate will be very elevated, this is then followed by a ‘resting’ time where you either do very light activity, or nothing at all. Some examples of interval training would be high knees on a jump rope for 30 seconds followed by 1 minute light jump rope. Another example is  a run/walk method on a treadmill or outside. Many people are familiar with interval training. There is one aspect of interval training that some people utilize which is HIIT.
  • High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a different way of doing cardio, or conditioning as some people like to call it. It involves truly almost maxing out your heart rate by performing an activity for about 15-30 seconds followed by rest and recovery until you are recovered enough to do it just as hard the next time. These typically only last around 15-20 minutes, because they are THAT intense. This is my favorite way of training; I am all about doing less while getting more or the same results. Some examples of this would be sprints, prowler pushes, ERG rower, spin bike, barbell/dumbbell complexes. True HIIT is when you really do work at your maximum. There is a lot of science behind true HIIT training that we will not get into.

For beginners, I would suggest doing some type of moderate cardio first just to get accustomed to things, then you can choose to do interval training or HIIT.

As you can see this is very basic information on training. We always want to build up from there and progress. Weather it is getting faster, stronger, healthier, balanced. Always try to progress, and always feed your soul with what you are doing. If you feel good you are more likely to do good for your body. Also feel free to stop by SarahVanceFit.com and shoot me ANY questions you have. I am more than happy to help. Self love. Train Smart. Eat Well. Live Fully.”

Sarah is an ICU nurse, avid strength trainer, and health and fitness coach. As a major advocate for positive body image and self-love, Sarah overcomes the superfluous standards of today’s society with unique balance and approaches. In a world full of extreme dieting and training methods, her approach to living a healthy and active lifestyle is both refreshing and realistic. As a former physique competitor, she knows first-hand the pressure of the public-eye. Surpassing negative body images, eating disorders, and all-or-nothing approaches to fitness has fueled this #warriorwoman to wholeheartedly believe in training in a way that YOU LOVE and that fits YOUR LIFE. Her programs are based on building a solid foundation of strength, confidence, health and fitness.

Sarah’s goal is simple: Help others consciously incorporate a healthy lifestyle, unique to every individual.Through her own trial and error, past experiences and research, she helps others break away from the scale, invest in themselves, and build and maintain a positive relationship with food, fostering a transformation from the inside out.Sarah’s message is full-circle with self-love, and it begins w/ the right mindset.

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Here’s a quirky fun little video I made at my barre3 class the other day haha! Enjoy 😉

A couple things that I think you’d all enjoy from reading this: Love your Body Bundle, Beach Babe Guide, and my Back to Basics Bundle

And there you have it everyone! I hope you enjoyed Sarah’s post on everything fitness, please do comment below to share what you’d like me to share here in the Fitness section of the blog. I’m already planning all sorts of FUN THINGS coming up, like my favorite personal workouts, music playlist, and so much more! Comment below to share with me!

xx McKel