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Health & Fitness

Why Incorporating Power into Your Exercise Routine Matters Spoiler alert: Power training isn’t exclusive to professional athletes.

You might assume that power training is only relevant for boxers, powerlifters, or professional volleyball players, but chances are you’ve already included some form of power training in your workouts, such as an intense sprint or using battle ropes. Power, as defined by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), is the capacity to exert the greatest force in the shortest time. In physics terms, power equals force multiplied by velocity (speed).

So, why should you be concerned about incorporating power into your workouts, even if you’re exercising just for enjoyment? Fitness trainers break down the concept of power in exercise, how to develop power, and why discovering your true power can enhance both your workouts and your daily life.

Understanding Power Training If physics isn’t your strong suit, consider power as the amount of energy generated in a short time, explains Jacqueline Howard, NASM-certified CPT, VKNJA steel mace and kettlebell certified coach, and Schwinn Stages certified trainer. Power represents explosive, maximum effort. For instance, running at a steady pace for an hour tests endurance, not power. However, performing as many heavy-weight thrusters as possible within a minute is a form of power training, as it requires working at or near 100 percent effort.

Howard describes power in physical activity as “elevating or maximizing simple movements,” such as transforming a squat into a jump squat or box jump. Power training involves exerting as much effort as possible for a short duration.

It’s important not to confuse power with plyometrics. Plyometrics are explosive exercises that generate maximum force in minimal time, according to Chris Ryan, C.S.C.S., a certified personal trainer with MIRROR and a Lululemon ambassador. Plyometrics, like squat jumps, lunge jumps, skaters, or clapping push-ups, are a type of power training, but not all power training involves plyometrics. For example, cycling up a hill as fast as possible or performing high knees at maximum speed for 30 seconds are also forms of power training.


Benefits of Incorporating Power into Your Workouts By including power in your exercise routine, you improve your ability to work at your maximum capacity. Think of situations where you’ve had to sprint after your runaway dog or muster the strength to push a refrigerator back into place. In these moments, you’re using power, and power training ensures you’ll be more successful in these tasks.

Developing power also increases your stamina, meaning the amount of time a muscle can generate energy at or near your maximum output. For example, having the stamina to chase your dog for 50 yards requires more power than only chasing for 20 yards.

Additionally, enhancing your power goes hand-in-hand with better breath control, according to Howard. Proper breath control can significantly contribute to your power. For example, inhaling deeply before a power lift expands your diaphragm and engages your core. Then, exhaling during the movement helps exert power. Controlled breathing also aids in recovery by lowering your heart rate more quickly. Practicing breathwork has numerous benefits, such as improved temperament, mindfulness, stress relief, and more.

How to Boost Power Through Training To increase your power, you’ll need to train intensely and regularly push yourself to your limit. Howard recommends a 2:1 or 3:1 work-to-rest ratio (e.g., working at maximum effort for 20 seconds and resting for 10 seconds, similar to a Tabata workout).

Select specific exercises or workouts for power based on your goals. For instance, if your goal is to increase your running power, try sprinting at your top speed for 20 seconds before taking a brief recovery break. To build power in a particular muscle group, consider an AMRAP (as many reps as possible) workout, where you perform as many reps as you can within a set time frame (e.g., as many squats as possible in a minute). You can also find your one-rep max (the heaviest weight you can lift for one rep) and train at progressively higher percentages of your one-rep max for more reps. This structured approach allows you to progressively increase your power while minimizing the risk of injury from overexertion.


If you’re unsure how to start incorporating power into your workouts, begin with basic exercises, advises Howard. Start with bodyweight squats and isolation exercises, and don’t worry about dynamic movements yet, as your body and breath patterns may not be ready. Once you feel confident in your balance and alignment, you can begin to build power, but it’s crucial to start with the basics.

As you incorporate power training into your fitness routine, you’ll likely notice improvements in your ability to perform everyday tasks that require short bursts of maximum effort. In addition, power training can enhance your overall fitness, stamina, and breath control, contributing to a healthier and more functional lifestyle.

Originally posted 2023-03-25 17:48:38.

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Health & Fitness

Discover the link between your workout and stress levels

Exercise is widely recognized as an effective way to relieve stress, but did you know that your workout might actually be causing stress? In light of Stress Awareness Week, we explore the intricate connection between exercise and cortisol, helping you use exercise as a stress-relief tool rather than a stress trigger.

Numerous studies, such as this one published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, reveal that regular exercise can reduce anxiety, stress, and depression, improve mood, and enhance sleep quality. However, it might surprise you to learn that certain workouts can actually increase cortisol levels.

We consulted Dr. Samad Hashish, an expert in body performance and injury, to discuss the relationship between cortisol and exercise and how your workout might be contributing to stress. Read on to discover how to sleep better naturally and the best fitness trackers for monitoring your health, as well as an in-depth look at cortisol and exercise.

What is cortisol?

Cortisol, often dubbed the “stress hormone,” is a hormone produced by your adrenal glands. Although it has a negative reputation, cortisol serves important functions, such as regulating metabolism, blood pressure, and the sleep-wake cycle, as well as suppressing inflammation. According to the Cleveland Clinic, cortisol plays a crucial role in managing our response to stress and triggering the “fight-or-flight” response.


How does exercise reduce stress?

Dr. Hashish explains that exercise typically has a positive impact on cortisol levels and stress management. Exercise decreases cortisol and other stress hormones like adrenaline while stimulating endorphins, which contribute to relaxation and the well-known “runner’s high.”

Exercise also releases neurotransmitters like endorphins, dopamine, and endocannabinoids throughout the nervous system, which help regulate sleep, mood, motivation, and relaxation.

Can HIIT workouts increase stress levels?

Although exercise is generally a valuable tool for stress management, certain types of workouts, such as high-intensity interval training (HIIT), could exacerbate stress levels.


HIIT workouts, which include activities like CrossFit and boot camps, are designed to raise heart rates quickly. However, this rapid increase in heart rate can be interpreted by the body as stress. Dr. Hashish explains that the brain releases cortisol in response to stress, providing the body with immediate energy by breaking down fats and carbohydrates and raising sugar levels.

Unfortunately, the cortisol released into the bloodstream can negatively affect the immune system, sleep patterns, and induce fatigue and anxiety. Elevated cortisol levels can also lead to increased heart rate and blood pressure, which in turn disrupts sleep and leaves you feeling more alert.

Strategies for preventing exercise-induced stress

To minimize the stress caused by exercise, consider adjusting the type and timing of your workouts. Research, including this peer-reviewed article in News Medical, suggests that morning exercise can improve sleep quality later in the day. This allows you to engage in high-intensity exercise without adversely affecting sleep due to elevated heart rate, temperature, and metabolism.

Alternatively, consider incorporating low-impact exercises such as yoga and Pilates, which can decrease cortisol levels and are suitable for evening workouts. These mind-body exercises can help alleviate stress and anxiety. Mental health charity Mind also recommends gentle outdoor exercise for stress relief and mood improvement, making an evening walk an excellent option.


The importance of recovery

Overtraining and intense regular exercise can limit your body’s ability to relax and repair, further exacerbating stress levels. By incorporating meditation and gentle exercise, you can prioritize recovery and enable your body to fully benefit from high-intensity workouts, such as muscle repair and growth and increased energy levels, without experiencing burnout.

Why not try this deep sleep meditation or see the results of our editor’s month-long 10,000 steps a day challenge? If you’re feeling stressed, learning how to get a good night’s sleep is essential for your well-being.

In summary, it’s important to find the right balance between high-intensity workouts and gentler exercises to manage stress levels effectively. By paying attention to the type and timing of your workouts, as well as incorporating recovery techniques like meditation and low-impact exercises, you can optimize your exercise routine for stress relief and overall well-being. Remember, the key is to listen to your body and adjust your workouts accordingly to maintain a healthy balance and prevent exercise-induced stress.

Originally posted 2023-03-17 21:35:16.

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Health & Fitness

Ramadan Workout Plan: Tips for Exercising During Fasting

Ramadan is a month of fasting and prayer observed worldwide by Muslims. It is a time for spiritual reflection, but it’s also important to maintain physical fitness and well-being. Exercise during Ramadan can be beneficial in many ways, including maintaining physical strength, reducing stress, and improving overall health. However, it’s crucial to plan a workout routine carefully to avoid overexertion during the fasting period and to stay hydrated.

Timing is key when it comes to exercising during Ramadan. It’s best to schedule workouts before breaking the fast (Iftar) or before beginning the fast (Suhoor) to prevent dehydration and other complications. Exercising during the middle of the day when the heat is at its peak should be avoided.

Low-intensity exercises such as yoga, Pilates, and brisk walking are ideal during Ramadan. These exercises are less strenuous and will help maintain energy levels throughout the day without the risk of injury. It’s essential to listen to your body and adjust your workout routine according to how you feel. If you feel tired or weak, take a break and rest.

Staying hydrated is crucial during Ramadan, and this includes before, during, and after exercise. Drinking plenty of water between Iftar and Suhoor is essential to avoid dehydration. Hydrating drinks such as coconut water and lemon water can also be consumed regularly.

Overeating during Suhoor and Iftar is common but can make you feel sluggish and uncomfortable during exercise. It’s important to eat healthy, balanced meals and avoid overeating. Fruits, vegetables, and foods high in protein are good options.


In conclusion, a Ramadan workout plan is crucial to maintain physical fitness and well-being during the month of fasting. Low-intensity exercises, proper timing, hydration, and listening to your body are key to a successful workout routine during Ramadan. By incorporating these tips, you can ensure that you stay healthy and fit during this holy month.

Originally posted 2023-03-17 20:15:03.

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Health & Fitness

Health Benefits of Yoga That Will Change Your Life

Yoga is a popular practice that combines physical exercise with mental and spiritual elements. If you’re considering starting yoga or are already practicing it, you’ll be pleased to know that it offers several amazing health benefits. Yoga can increase flexibility, build strength, improve posture, balance, circulation, endurance, reduce stress, and leave you feeling energized. In some cases, yoga can even help alleviate chronic conditions like depression, anxiety, and sleeping disorders.

The physical postures, breathing exercises, and meditation involved in yoga work together to provide these benefits. Practicing yoga regularly can help you achieve a calmer, more peaceful state of mind and body.

To make the most of your yoga practice, it’s important to warm up your muscles before starting, combine yoga with healthy eating habits, and stay committed to regular practice.

So, if you’re looking for a fun and effective way to improve your overall health, consider trying yoga. It’s never too late to start!

Originally posted 2023-03-17 15:09:23.

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