By: Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D Fitness Psychology San Diego
See those club members who look like they can’t make up their minds on the treadmill, recumbent bikes, elliptical machines, and other cardio equipment? Fast, slow, on the treadmill running as fast as they can, then jumping to the side and barely able to catch their breath before jumping back on. They aren’t confused. They are getting fitter, healthier and stronger often in half to one-third the time of typical endurance workouts.
They are also improving their insulin sensitivity, improving their cholesterol numbers, turbo-charging their fat metabolism, potentially eliminating diabetes type 2 and some forms of depression and hypertension, increasing their levels of human growth hormone and expanding aerobic capacity. Interval training trumps steady state uphill exhaustion when it comes to putting a smile on your face and reducing stress as well. Not bad for someone who doesn’t seem to know if he/she wants to give it his/her all or coast for a bit. Don’t let that up and down fool you. It’s intentional. If you haven’t tried High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, what are you waiting for? A pill to swallow?
Maximum exertion followed by a brief rest period for 6-10 cycles, is the essence of HIIT. Start with a comfortable 3-5 minute warm-up and then a series of 30-second sprints each followed by 90 seconds of recovery, and end with another 3-5 minute cool down. Or adjust the incline while going at a steady pace, increasing the exertion peak and decreasing the recovery time as you become fitter. Some like the idea of sprinting for a couple of minutes and then doing a slower jog or walk for a minute, followed by 6-8 cycles. When it becomes too easy, sprint for four minutes and cool it for two minutes. Go faster and longer with about a 50% reduction in your cool down time for each “peak.” Think approaching 95% of your max heart rate and peak VO2 Max.
Your VO2 Max, which is the maximum amount of oxygen you use during peak exertion, is a measure of your cardiovascular fitness. HIIT boosts this measure increasing your ability to use oxygen more efficiently, allowing longer and more strenuous workouts before fatigue sets in. Your metabolism continues to burn longer as well post-exercise, some say burning up to 15% more calories during the 24 hours following a HIIT session.
Of course, obese, deconditioned, injured folks, or those with hypertension or heart disease should check with exercise savvy physicians to be cleared for this type of elevated demand.
Think of HIIT as a dance, back and for the across the aerobic-anaerobic line, each time, catching your breath. Probably won’t get you a trophy on “Dancing With the Stars,” but it sure will increase your health, fitness and happiness in a condensed time frame. You decide what’s more valuable.
Our very own Jiu Jitsu instructor, Clark Gracie, has been recognized as one of the most photogenic individuals on the internet in 2013! Clark Gracie recently appeared on Good Morning America to discuss his newly found fame to claim!
Here are our team members who medaled!
Clark Gracie La Jolla Clark Gracie – 1st Place Mike Scott – 1st Place Akim Assenine – 3rd Place Ron Blake – 3rd Place Brettao – 3rd Place
Clark Gracie Tijuana Agustin Rivera – 3rd Place Jose Navarro - 3rd Place Jose Robles – 3rd Place
The Pan American Championship is the second biggest Gi Tournament in the International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation. The tournament took place in Irvine, CA from March 20th – 24th.
San Diego Fitness Psychology
By: Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.
On March 16th, at 10:00 a.m., I’m giving a presentation on the psychology behind eating. No, don’t worry, if you know me at all, it won’t be filled with any nonsense psychobabble…well, mmm maybe just a tad bit. But it’ll be down to user-friendly earth.
For a taste of what I’ll be talking about—and I do hope you’ll join in, I thought I’d share some interesting and novel takes on weight management here. Simply put, research has shown that people who use the approach I’ll be describing in my presentation, along with lifestyle change, lose more weight than those who only make changes in their daily habits. The link is what you think.
Typically, folks who want to lose weight have negative views of themselves, are self-conscious and perhaps even embarrassed to be around others who are trimmer, toner and more “in-shape.” Self-esteem and self-confidence trip these people up since they erroneously believe that the ONLY way to increase self-worth is to lose weight. Of course, becoming healthier is a key factor in motivation to reaching a normal weight goal, along with wanting to be more active and maybe even seeing their grandchildren grow up.
Identifying and modifying thinking patterns and negative mood states that undermine healthy eating approaches is a critical factor in understanding successful weight loss. Cognitive behavioral coaching for weight loss helps you to identify your unhelpful patterns of thinking that are maintaining your current weight problems. Thinking patterns tend to be over-learned and occur almost “automatically” – they just pop into your head without you noticing. This is because they are so familiar that you don’t even recognize they are there – it’s like you’ve tuned out the ‘background noise’ of your thoughts. The first step learning how to ‘tune in’ and recognize your patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving in relation to weight.
Otherwise, your self-esteem, body image, stress that affects problem-solving, social anxiety and other similar issues will continuously get in your way of successful weight loss regardless of the diet and exercise program you adhere to—if you do adhere to one.
Here’s an example. Let’s say you think what are called, “sabotaging thoughts” about exercise. “If I don’t have enough time for a long workout, it’s not worth doing.” Unless you catch that erroneous thought and have a ready more accurate response in your head, you are likely to avoid exercise that day. Thus, “ANY amount of time spent exercising is better than no amount of time. It’s important to sometimes work out for smaller amounts of time so that I prove to myself that exercising doesn’t have to be ALL or NOTHING, it’s somewhere in the middle.”
When it comes to the overall success of your weight loss, you might have a sabotaging thought, “Well, I did lose a bit of weight this week but I’m really upset and disappointed that it wasn’t more.” Instead, a rational counter would be, “C’mon, real life weight loss has nothing to do with being the “biggest loser.” Losing a half pound or up to two pounds a week is the normal range. While I WISH and would PREFER to lose more, every pound I lose is a victory and adds up to serious weight loss.”
What about dealing with a craving? The sabotaging thought might be, “I need to eat to make this craving go away—it won’t go away any other way.” The rational response is, “Cravings are just like an itch. The more I think about it, the worse it gets. It’s just a craving and when I distract myself from it, it’ll start to go away.” How about this familiar one? The sabotaging thought is, “Since I didn’t lose any weight this week, I’m a failure and this is not working. I give up. The rational response is, “Hey, nothing is perfect, and it’s absolutely normal to not lose any weight some weeks. I need to stay at it and I will succeed.”
While exercise is important, what, when and how you eat are most important. Some say the balance is 70% diet and 30% exercise. But it’s all based on 100% in your mind. You need to learn to create healthy responses to those sabotaging thoughts, choose a healthy diet plan, get involved in proper exercise with a trainer ideally, give yourself lots of credit, eat slowly and mindfully, consider getting a diet/health coach, arrange your environment, make time for proper nutrition preparation, differentiate between hunger, desire and cravings, practice hunger tolerance, monitor your eating, prevent unplanned eating, and stop fooling yourself.
The link is what you think…even more than simply dieting and exercising. Remember that DIEt has the word “die” in it.
By: Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.
Recent research has discovered that February 7th is a date in history that goes typically unnoticed by most, but is also “celebrated” by most as well. Huh? What’s that mean? It means that research on when most people stop honoring their New Year’s resolution to participate regularly in exercise at the gym, says that it happens 38 days after January 1, thus, February 7th.
1. Don’t wait to feel like it. Do it, and then you’ll feel like it. When your blood begins pumping all of those feel-good chemicals including endorphins, serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, to name a few, usually in less than 30 minutes, you’re on the way to being happy you showed up.
2. Remind yourself of your specific, measureable, attainable, realistic, timely, enthusiastically set and rewardable goals, your SMARTER goals. What? You didn’t set any that clearly? Ahhh, maybe that’s the problem. Wanting to “lose some weight,” “get in shape,” “tone up,” “get active,” “feel less stressed,” “look better,” are so vague that nobody would ever know if they are achieving these or not. So quickly set ONE GOAL using the language above and you’re on the road to success—and staying motivated in the gym.
3. Pack a friend in your gym bag. That’s right, a real-live, human being. Not an app on your cell phone, a page torn from your favorite fitness magazine, or a picture from Pinterest. The research is clear: commitments to others keep you showing up. Sign up with a friend for a group ex class, arrange to have a workout buddy exercise with you alone, plan a power-shake after workout date—you’ll be amazed how difficult it is to let another down with an excuse. “It’s so boring,” “I don’t have the time,” and “I’m too tired,” give way to the commitment you’ve made. (For more on overcoming excuses, see my interview in the March issue of Women’s Health Magazine)
4. Your personal fitness trainer is calling. Are you answering? That’s right, a definite way to get past the “I’m done with the gym” feeling past February 7th is to have a trainer who will help keep you motivated, insure you don’t injure yourself, and help you see the progress you are making under his/her watchful eyes.
5. Visualize how you feel after you exercise and how you feel if you decide NOT to exercise. That thing you feel after you exercise is called happy. It’s because you’ve boosted your brainpower, connected with others, you are looking healthier, you feel sexier and you are even sleeping better.
Bye-bye February 7th blues and hellllooooo to the newly re-motivated you!
San Diego Fitness Psychology
By: Michael R Mantell, Ph.D.
“Happiness depends upon ourselves,” proclaimed Aristotle. And I would add, happiness also depends on our fitness. From enjoying physical and mental health, improved coping skills and increased satisfaction at work and in personal relationships, having a stronger immune system and increased longevity, the benefits of happiness continue to fill the pages of scientific journals, the lecterns of medical schools, newspapers and magazines, and the Internet.
University-based researchers have discovered that our overall circumstances at any given time make a small contribution to our happiness—about 10%. This includes our jobs, financial situation, where we live, and so on. Our personality and genes contribute about 50% to our overall level of happiness. The remaining 40% of our happiness is due to our choices, decisions, intentional factors and are fully within our control.
Science tells us that regular, consistent and vigorous exercise contributes to our feelings of happiness and joy and can generally boost our mood. That’s right, we can use exercise to increase our happiness—and thus, the fitness we build at The Sporting Club can help us derive real life benefits as described above.
Sure you can practice gratitude, cultivate an optimistic attitude, avoid comparing yourself to others, add to your social connections, practice kindness and forgiveness, develop healthier coping strategies, find hobbies and activities in which you can “flow,” savor joy in daily living, increase meaning and spirituality in life and work towards positive goals in life. These will all build happiness.
But when you are stressed out or frustrated, your body is busy producing cortisol that damages your organs. Exercise will decrease the amount of cortisol in your body creating…you guessed it, happiness.
Exercise also releases the feel good chemicals. endorphins and endocannabinoids, which also lower your stress level and…you guessed it, increases happiness.
The American Psychological Association analyzed 80 studies of exercise and depression and concluded that all types of exercise reduced depression. The Mayo Clinic reported that to significantly improve depression symptoms people might need to do at least 30 minutes of exercise a day at least three to five days a week.
Resistance training and cardiorespiratory exercise lead to greater happiness. After only two weeks of regular exercise, you will begin to feel the benefit of these chemical changes and your motivation for more exercise will naturally increase.
The value of group exercise in building happiness cannot be overlooked. The social connections that come with small group training are important for physiological and emotional wellbeing, leading to increased happiness as well.
Fitness activities in all of its various combinations can be an effective strategy in insuring more happiness in your life. It’s not only about sweat and muscle. The more variety, it seems, the better. Make it fun and sweat your way to more smiles!