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Fitness Made Easy 

By Dr. Renae Norton

Probably the most popular New Year’s resolutions is weight loss. While last week I told you about the benefits of clean eating and the wonders that it alone can do for you, this week I wanted to explain fitness. There are several broad categories of fitness, each with a different goal. I will be discussing aerobic exercise, anaerobic exercise, high intensity interval training (HIIT), CrossFit, and pulse training (BurstFit Training).


Aerobic Exercise

First off, aerobic exercises are designed to increase your breathing and heart rate by increasing the amount of oxygen that your body takes in. This is done to keep your heart, lungs, and circulatory system healthy and to improve your overall fitness. Aerobic exercises can also decease your risk for heart disease, lower blood pressure, and increase good cholesterol. Building aerobic endurance also makes it easier to carry out many everyday activates. Aerobic exercises include:


  • Lower impact activities such as swimming, cycling, elliptical training, walking, and rowing.
  • Higher impact activities such as moderate running, jumping rope, and step aerobics.


Anerobic Exercise

Conversely, anerobic exercise increases your overall strength and does not utilize as much oxygen as aerobic exercises do. Benefits include increasing bone density, fat burning, building muscle, and similarly to aerobic exercises, increases stamina for everyday activates. For individuals who are ill or aging, it means greater independence as it allows such individuals to carry out everyday activities such as opening a jar, shoveling the sidewalk, raking the leaves, or carrying in the groceries. For young parents it is essential to have strong muscles to carry a pumpkin seat along with a diaper bag, and other essentials all at the same time. Not to mention the weight of your growing infant/child. Some examples of anerobic exercise include:


  • High intensity interval training (HIIT)
  • Weightlifting
  • Calisthenics, such as plyometrics, jump squats, and box jumps
  • Sprinting



CrossFit is a very popular form of training today that is relatively new in the fitness world.  It was developed by Greg Glassman over the past several decades.  CrossFit workouts incorporate elements from high-intensity interval training, Olympic weightlifting, plyometrics, powerlifting, gymnastics, calisthenics, strongman, and other exercises. CrossFit is a combination of constantly varied functional movements performed at relatively high intensity. They are designed to represent the core movements in our lives.


The goal is to move the largest loads the longest distances, to maximize the amount of work done in the shortest time. Intensity is essential.  The more work you do in less time, or the higher the power output, the more intense the effort. Employing a constantly varied approach to training, functional movements, and intensity can lead to dramatic gains in fitness. Another hallmark of the approach is the community that spontaneously arises when people do these workouts together, such as the Work Out of the Day.  It harnesses a natural camaraderie, through competition and fun, and yields an intensity that cannot be matched.

High intensity interval training (HIIT)

HIIT involves low to moderate intensity intervals that are alternated with high intensity intervals.  In other words, if you are on a stationary bike, you crank up the tension and go all out for 1 minute, and then lower the tension and take it easy for the next 1-minute interval.  HIIT can be applied to running or to most exercises. HIIT appears to be much more effective than normal cardio because the intensity is higher, and you can increase both your aerobic and anaerobic endurance while burning more fat. Research has shown that HIIT burns adipose tissue more effectively than low-intensity exercise – up to 50% more efficiently. It has also been shown to speed up your metabolism, which helps you burn more calories throughout the workout.


In short, HIIT improves aerobic and anaerobic energy systems for greater endurance and better fat burn. It is accomplished in a relatively short period of time….10 minutes is the typical time spent doing HIIT training.

Pulse Training (BurstFit)

A new version of HIIT training, and something I found on Dr. Axe’s website, is BurstFit Training.  Essentially, it is a “push until you can’t, rest until you can” model.  So how that looks is if you are riding a stationary bike, instead of having 30 second intervals, with 30 seconds on and 30 seconds off, you ride as hard as you can for as long as you can and then you rest for however long it takes you to regain your breath and do it again full out.  You might be able to go full out for 2 minutes before you must coast. So, it is like interval training, but the intervals are varied.  Repeat for 5 minutes and change the exercise for a total of 4 exercises per 20-minute session.  The four exercises are usually designed to work out each major muscle group. This is an oversimplification, but it is the general idea.  The first time I tried it, I was able to do 90 pushups in a 5-minute period.  A record for me, as the most I had ever done before was 25 pushups.  I believe that this is a true testament to the value of Burst training.

Interested in Wellness Coaching or Nutritional Guidance?

Dr. Renae Norton specializes in the treatment of eating disorders. Located in Cincinnati, Ohio. Call 513-205-6543 to schedule an appointment or fill out our online contact form for someone to call you to discuss your concerns. Tele-therapy sessions available. Individual and family sessions also available.

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