Intervals and Timers!

For today’s healthy living email, I got to talk about two of my favorite things! So I thought I would share here too! My sister-in-law and I are getting closer to launching a blog and website to support these emails, so let me know how you like the topics I post here, or if you want to join the email group!

Today is February 1, 2012.

Workout Wednesday! And our Raw Recipe of the Week!

Essential Equipment #3

The countdown timer

I have a collection of different timing tools that I use not only for working out, but for helping me to focus on other (often undesirable) tasks as well.

Here are some links to handy-dandy timers (most of which I own and use, so if you want more info please email me or post to our Facebook page here:

Any countdown timer, even the one on your microwave will do. If you use a timer that re-sets and continues to run automatically, as all except the last on the list above do, you’ll get the best, uninterrupted experience.

To start off the month of February, and since it’s Workout Wednesday, grab a timer and experiment with some intervals! Interval training has a lot of selling points, but my two favorites are:

1.    Fat burning and muscle building

2.    Tends to warp time and boost your mood

Most people have heard about “the fat burning zone”, and furthermore many people have been told that to burn fat you need to do long bouts of cardiovascular exercise at a moderate effort (stead-state cardio, or walking/running/elliptical at a conversational intensity, for example).  So there you are, trying to slog your way through 30-60 minutes every day of mind-numbing steady-state cardio.

While it is true that your body utilizes different sources of energy (glucose, fat, protein etc.) at different durations and intensities, this scientific fact typically doesn’t apply to the average person. It’s important for elite athletes, and running marathons (read: race day), but not for your Wednesday night trip to the gym. 

The bad news is that this is a myth, this notion of a fat burning zone, used in this way was, in fact, dreamt up by a marketing team, not scientists. A manufacturer noticed that treadmills and other machines that had the heart-rate zones for “fat burning” and “performance training” and so on stamped on them, sold more. And a mythical beast was born. 

This myth has been perpetuated by the fact that steady-state, longer duration exercise is, well, easier.

The good news is, that it is possible to work out for less time and burn more calories (or the same as you would in the above situation at least).

The caveat is that you need to pay attention a bit more and work a bit harder for that time. 

More good news?  It is reasonable to think that you could do 3 interval sessions a week, less than 20 – 30 minutes each, and still see progress! 

To test this idea I did a little self-experiment recently. First I worked out on my stationary bike for 45 minutes at a moderate effort (wearing a heart-rate monitor). A week later, under conditions as similar as I could make them, I did the following, a 10 minute warm up, then alternated 2 minutes hard effort, then 1.5 minute easy/moderate effort for 30 minutes, then I cooled down for 5 minutes.

 Session 1 (steady-state) = 322 calories burned

Session 2 (intervals) = 483 calories burned 

Same time, 161 more calories burned.

Also, the first workout FELT much longer, I found I was changing the channel on the TV a lot, I even tried reading a book. For the second workout, I was so involved in what I was doing that the time flew by, I didn’t even pay attention to the television.

To be effective your interval session doesn’t need to be long. Start with what you are ready for. Even going for a walk, and picking up the pace until your breathing is more labored and you can feel your leg muscles working, couting to 30 like that, then slowing back down and repeating 5 times, is a great beginner interval workout!

If you are struggling to get going in a work out, or you are feeling tired, do 2 or 3 hard intervals and you may just perk up!

So go to it today, and share your favorite interval session with the group on Facebook:

Raw-Vegan Recipe of the Week!

Fennel Orange Salad

1 bulb fennel, including fronds

1 orange

4 nice looking lettuce leaves, butter, red leaf and green leaf are all good choices

1/4 cup high quality black olives (not the kind in the can)

Olive oil

White wine vinegar

Sea salt

Fresh ground black pepper

Trim fennel bulb, cut in half and cut out the core. Slice thinly. Cut orange in half, then in half again. Cut off peel and slice thinly.  Cover a serving dish with lettuce leaves, alternately, place one lettuce leaf on each dinner plate.  Arrange fennel and orange slices on the lettuce. Top with olives. Season with sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and a splash of white wine vinegar. *Garnish with fennel fronds.

Do more, feel better,



Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s