What cardio do you do?

Following on from my post last week about the right time to start an exercise and healthy eating program, I thought I would run a few posts about the type of exercise you should be doing when starting out.  Whether you are starting from scratch, or starting back again after a bit of time off such as after pregnancy, your first point of call should be your doctor to get the all clear.  Most likely your doctor will be excited about you starting to exercise too!

The most common type of exercise that people start out with is some form of cardiovascular exercise ( or "cardio" ).  Cardio exercise is one that raises your heart rate ( either a little or a lot ) for the duration of the exercise.  It is an aerobic activity that uses oxygen to produce energy in your body to fuel your activity.  Cardio exercise can use pretty much every muscle in your body.

So, why do cardio exercise?
  • It improves the strength of your heart
  • It strengthens your lungs and increases your lung capacity
  • It strengthens the muscles you use for the exercise ie legs if you are running
  • It increases your fitness levels
  • It burns calories
  • It may help you sleep and reduce stress
  • It makes you feel good and increases your energy!!

What type of cardio should you do?
This all depends on what your goals are and what your current fitness levels and abilities are. 
When you are starting out you will probably want to stick to cardio exercise that is going to be a little lower in intensity such as swimming, walking or cycling.
As you build up your strength and fitness you might like to increase the intensity and add in a little bit of jogging.  
Exercise classes are another great option for those starting out.  Most classes cater for varying fitness and ability levels.  Just start out at your own level and your own pace and before you know it the class will seem easier and you can push yourself a bit harder
Some of the really popular classes based around cardio include
  • Step
  • RPM / Spin / Cycling
  • Dance classes such as Jam, Zumba etc
  • Boxing type classes 
As you build up your fitness and confidence you might find that you would like a bit of an extra challenge.  This is where the real fun starts!
Why not build your cardio fitness up so that you can start taking on some long endurance type cardio challenges ... 10km runs, Half Marathons, Marathons. 
Whilst you might think these are out of your reach now, with consistent and persistent training you will be able to get the hang of this type of cardio exercise.  If I can run Half Marathons, then pretty much anyone can give it a crack!  Just check out the number of registrations at the Gold Coast Half Marathon each year!         

Another type of high intensity cardio exercise is called just that .. HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training.  This type of training is aimed at increasing your aerobic capacity and it can help you run, faster, longer and stronger.  It's not the type of training you would do all the time, but adding into your routine can definitely bring results!  I really like this type of training, it's hard and fast and you can get it over and done with quickly!

Do you like cardio exercise?  If so, what is your favourite?
My favourites are running, but I really enjoy interval training ( crazy hey!! ) and I love boxing!

Why not set yourself a goal and try a new type of cardio exercise?  Let me know how you go!

Fit Mum x   

Friday Fotos ...

It's been a few weeks since I said I was going to start posting my Friday Fotos.
Things have been a bit hectic around here and I have again managed to neglect my plan.

But, ta-da! I snapped a few pics today .. I know last minute!

This week it's been rather overcast, wet and just plain annoying here.

Then this afternoon it looked like there might be a break in the weather ... Beautiful!!

Here's to the weekend!

I hope that you enjoy it whatever you do!

Fit Mum x   

Now is the right time to start ...

This week is the start of the 12 week challenge at work.
Of course there is much excitement as is to be expected.
Lots of girls making new goals and commitments!
New habits will be created ( hopefully! ) and adhered to as a positive lifestyle choice.

It does seem a little late in the           
new year to be starting out.                       
In my opinion, there never really
 is a "right" time to start make some             
positive changes to your  lifestyle                   
and improve your health and fitness.             
It's whatever time is right for you!

With such important steps being taken ( not just those on the treadmill ), I thought I would do up a quick few points on what you should consider when starting out on a new exercise and nutrition program.
Those of you who are already well on your way with your new lifestyle changes may just want a refresher or look to changing your routine a little to get some more results.

Why start an exercise or nutrition program?

There are many different reasons why one would start an exercise and / or nutrition program ...

Change or improve Lifestyle
Improve health ( there may be medical reasons this is important )
Improve or increase fitness .. you might want to compete in a fun run! Or just walk to the top of a hill without feeling completely exhausted.
Look good
Feel good
Lose weight

These reasons are personal and everyone will have their own reasons.  Provided you are realistic about your expectations ... Get out there and go!

When to start out ..

See your doctor first for a check up and go ahead
NOW!! ( I thought I may not have mentioned it before .. )

What to do ...

Anything that takes your fancy ..

Gym .. weight training or cardio equipment
Fitness class .. there are SO many to choose from now, it's great!
Walk around the block
Run (if you can and want to )

When you start out you must work to your own ability and fitness levels.  Don't get over excited, a quick way to lose interest is to get an injury!
Enlist the help of the professionals .. Book some sessions with a PT
Visit a dietitian or nutritionist for expert advice

How to do it ...

Eat a sensible BALANCED diet .. Check out my thoughts on fad diets here ..

Exercise to your ability and fitness level.  Start out gradually and build .. ie every second day for 30 minutes and build from there.  Everyone is different so don't go comparing yourself to anyone else!  You do what you can and with practice you WILL get better!

Rope a friend or family member in with you!! It's more fun if there's more than one!!

Most importantly, have fun and enjoy what you are doing!

Now that you have got yourself started I feel the need to remind you that this should not be for a predetermined period. 

Many of the changes you make will be lifestyle changes that you can sustain on going. 

Remember to seek your doctors go ahead and speak to other professionals to help you out for what is best suited to you and your fitness and current health.

I love to hear what you are up to so let me know how you are going!

Also, let me know if you have any questions and I'll do my best to answer them!

Fit Mum x   

Monday's Motivation ...

The message is simple .. the choices you make will change you.

It's all about the choice ...

Have a great week everyone!

Fit Mum x   

Monday Motivation ...

I'm a little bit late today as things have been a bit hectic the last few days.   Better late than never I guess!

This time of year finds so many of us starting a new health and fitness program / diet / job .. something new anyway! 
And also at this time of year there are many people giving up on their new endeavour because it sometimes gets a bit hard.

Do not give up .. It will be worth it and you know it!

Fit Mum x   

A coffee a day ...

Impending emergency averted ...

As any proper hostess would do, I have offered coffee to my guest.  
I go to the cupboard to get a new sleeve of coffee ... And realised we are almost out!
I know, how could I possibly have ALMOST run out of coffee!

What would I have done if I had run out? Buy a takeaway coffee .. Or do without? I couldn't possibly have an instant coffee ... In fact, the only instant coffee we have in the house is the stuff that my parents bring down so they don't have to use the coffee machine. ( I think they are scared of it )

I'm not addicted to coffee .. Really, I'm not .. but I sit down with my coffee every morning to check out what is on the calendar for the day.   My window of opportunity to relax before we rush off for the school run and work.

I don't rely on my coffee as a wake me up or even as a pick me up before training.
Coffee doesn't like me that much .. I usually have to visit the bathroom exactly one hour after finishing my coffee.
This, I can assure you is not that much fun when you are in the middle of a 10km run ... hence, no coffee before a long run.

I know some research shows that caffeine can actually enhance cardio performance, even help to burn more fat!  Hmmm, maybe I should brave those loo stops on the side of the track ...  

There is also research to show that too much caffeine is harmful to our bodies. I know for me that too much coffee gets my heart racing and can make my head a bit spinny. I really don't like that feeling, so I'm sticking to my one morning coffee.  Another in the afternoon if I am going out on Saturday night and really need to be alert ...  

Do you love or loathe coffee? Are you an espresso before training or to wake up type person? Or are you strictly a social coffee drinker?

Oh, that reminds me ... I must go and order some more coffee!

Fit Mum x   

Moroccan Mince Monday ..

Monday night is netball training night in our house.
It is not the best timed training session, but I'm not really in a position to complain about this sort of minor detail.  However, given that it's all about me I really should be saying .. oops! sorry, was off on a tangent there!
Anyhoo .. to move away from me ( !! ) .. netball training is on during what would usually be dinner on a normal ( ?? ) night in our house. 
As Mr FitMum is not always home in time to finish off dinner and look after Mr 6, this is yet another day when I need to be prepared.  Dinner is made before we leave and I pack a container with the finished product for each of my constantly starving children.
Needless to say, dinner must be quick and easy to prepare, easy to eat and reheat for Mr FitMum and myself when we finally get home.  Oh, and the kids have to like it!

I thought I might share last night's fare.  It is super quick and easy and it's not too bad for your either!

Moroccan Mince and Rice

What you need ...

1 cup basmati rice
1 tablespoon olive oil
500g lamb mince
2 tbspn pine nuts
2 tbspn slivered almonds
1 tbspn Middle Eastern seasoning or Moroccan Seasoning
2 tbspn raisins
2 tbspn chopped dried apricots
2/3 cup roughly chopped fresh continental parsley
2 tbspn lemon juice

What you do ...

Cook rice following packet directions.
Heat oil in pan over medium heat.  Add mince. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up mince, for 6 to 8 minutes or until browned.
Add pine nuts and almonds.  Cook, stirring for 4 minutes or until golden.
Add seasoning, raisins and apricots.  Cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
Add rice, parsley and lemon juice.  Gently toss to combine.

* To increase the veg I sometimes add grated carrot or finely chopped capsicum, depends what I have in the fridge.

While I was at it last night I put on my Martha Stewart hat and whipped up Mr 6's birthday cake .. This was the request ...

How do you think I did?

Now, I'm off to check the pantry is full of ingredients for Mr 6's choice for birthday dinner!

Fit Mum x   

Monday Motivation

It's all about the effort ...

Are you making the effort to work harder and get better?

Fit Mum x   

Friday Fotos ...

Yep, it's time for the weekly update!

It's a crossover this week. The end of the February Photo a Day Challenge and the start of the March Challenge. The challenge over the last month has been interesting .. Seeing other people's photos and also making the effort to be a bit creative with the pics that I am taking.

As I mentioned, the March challenge started yesterday so I have included two days of March in this week.

If you would like to join the thousands of people doing the challenges here's a link to Fat Mum Slim's blog where you can find all the details and the list of what we are taking pics of this month.

Here are this weeks photos ....

Day 25 .. Green

 Day 26 .. Night

Day 27 .. Something I ate ...

Day 28 .. Money

Day 29 .. Something I'm listening to ...

Day 1 March .. Up

Day 2 March  .. Fruit

I have decided not to continue posting the photos each week, which means I'm going to have to think of something fabulous to take a photo of each week. The thought feels me with a small amount of dread .. what am I going to take a photo of? Anything that takes my fancy I guess!

So, anyway if you want to check out my photos for March's challenge you can follow me on Twitter   @Fit_Mum

or Instagram  @fitmum 

Why not join me? I would love to check out your pics!

Fit Mum x