Harmonize Fitness
Harmonize Fitness



What you need to know about steady state cardio

00 Training intro

Some of my neighbors around 3 or 4 like to go for a run in the park specially on weekends because that´s when they have more time and the few times I´ve went to the park I saw some people walking, jogging, running or biking which is amazing considering that we spend most of our time sitting in a chair at the office, in our car or in the couch watching TV.

The year I went to the gym and what I can see now when I take a look from the outside at what most people is doing at the gym is steady state cardio which refers to traditional long sessions of low to moderate intensity at an steady pace.

On this type of cardio you are doing from 20 to 60 minutes of exercise at a low to moderate intensity keeping the same pace all the time, this is what people do on the park and the gym. I got to say that this is my favorite cardio tool, I do 30 minutes of steady state cardio every day, jump rope is my favorite.

Steady state cardio is the favorite type of cardiovascular exercise of many experts on the industry, you can see nowadays most people in the gym doing this type of workouts on treadmills, rowing machines, elliptical, stairs or stationary bicycles. You´ll hear many people there on the gym agreeing that it´s boring but it´s a most if you want to lose fat and get shredded. This idea comes from “the fat-burning zone” there are some studies that show that our body uses more fat when we´re performing exercise at a moderate intensity for a long period of time, but some other studies show that this type of exercise can be counterproductive on long term for muscle growth.

What I like about this type of cardio is that is low impact so everyone can do it and contrary to what many people say that you need at least 45 minutes to get the benefits with 20 minutes is enough.

After some time doing cardio your body adapts to the same amount of exercise, time and intensity and it becomes easier. You need to increase time, or intensity to keep it challenging.

The best benefit of this type of cardio is increasing cardiovascular endurance which can help you enjoy life a lot more, you´ll see results in your day to day, if you get involved in activities like hiking, cycling or any other outdoor activities with friends or family you´ll feel a lot better. Improve cardiovascular health is also an important benefit you get from steady state cardio. Here you´ll only burn calories while you´re performing the activity, once the activity is over you´ll stop burning calories.

This type of cardio can cause muscle loss if you over do it and if you are on a caloric deficit and you´re not doing some type of resistance training. If you´re trying to gain muscle mass and you over do this type of cardio it will be harder to gain muscle. You need to keep your nutrition in check to make sure that you are giving your body enough food to grow.

For a steady state cardio workout choose one activity, it can be running, swimming, rowing, jump rope and perform the activity you chose at a moderate pace that is challenging for you for 20 minutes.

I recommend this type of cardio workouts if you´re starting your fitness journey as a way to develop the habit of working out, getting some kind of activity and giving time for your body to improve cardiovascular health and get in better shape. Once you get used to and feel comfortable you can try HIIT if you want to take to the next level or you can stay with this tool by changing  exercises, increasing time or intensity.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.



How many hours of sleep do we really need?

05 how many hours of sleep

We´ve all heard that we need 7 – 8 hours of sleep every night but, is this really true?

For some of us it´s hard to get 8 hours of sleep every night for many different reasons specially our busy schedule but not being able to get enough sleep impact our performance. It affects our physical and mental health making our productive lower.

Being very busy takes sleep to the last number of our priorities is the first thing we sacrifice and the one that has a negative impact in our day and health. Our lifestyle impacts directly the quality of our sleep, we´ve been talking about stress and how it affects negatively but also watching tv late night, using the computer, exposure to bright light before you go to bed make it harder to fall asleep.

The total hours of sleep will vary depending of your age and daily activities, the younger you are the more hours you need but what I consider to be more important is the quality of those hours, if you sleep 8 hours but those 8 hours are not good quality then you need to improve the quality. The way to know if you are resting or not is by how you feel when you wake up and throughout the day, if you wake up and don´t feel rested, you feel tired and it´s hard for you to stay focus on the task at hand or you have cravings specially for sweets this means you´re not getting good sleep. If you sleep 6 hours but you feel great in the morning and you feel energized through the day then those 6 hours are good quality.

If you are very active during the day, you have a lot of work, you do exercise, you need to make important decisions you need more hours of good sleep compare to someone who has a 9 to 5 job and spend most of the day sitting.

If you have a busy schedule every day having around 5 to 6 hours of good quality sleep every night may be all you need to perform at peak but it will depend of you. You may need more and the only way to know it is by how you feel, if you wake feeling great, with a lot of energy and you´re focused and ready to hit the day then you get good quality, from there pay attention to how long those this last, those this high energy and productive attitude last all day long? in this case you´re having enough good quality sleep, if you start feeling tired and sleepy in the afternoon then you need more sleep. Do the alarm wake you up? Or do you wake up before the alarm ring? If you wake up before the alarm rings then your body it telling you that it had enough sleep but if you have trouble waking up and you hit the snooze button then you don´t have good quality or it wasn´t enough.

Another factor that is important to consider is at what time do you prefer to sleep, do you prefer or feel better when you go to sleep around 9 or 10 pm and wake up at 5 am? or do you prefer to go to sleep around midnight and wake up at 8 am? This will be impacted by your schedule, by work, school or any other thing you need to do on your day.

Creating a routine where you go to sleep at the same every night and wake up at the same time every morning helps your body set its internal clock to help you sleep better during night and perform better during day. What you do before you got to sleep is highly important to make it good quality, avoiding the use of electronics at least 30 minutes before you go to bed will help you sleep better, don´t use your cell phone, computer, tv, tablet or any other. If you can turn off the lights at least 30 minutes before you go to bed do it, it will help.

Use those 30 minutes to calm and relax using tools like meditation to empty your mind and reduce tension in your body and muscles.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.



What is HIIT training?


You may have heard of high intensity interval training (HIIT) it has become popular over the last years and so many people love this type of workouts but, is it right for you? Nowadays you can buy so many different weight loss programs on DVD and do them at home, most of them are based on HIIT and circuit training which are awesome training tools but this is also the reason why most people end hating exercise and are not able to sustain their results.

HIIT is an intense form of cardio where you work in intervals, from there the name and even when some guys are able to do the routines some of them get so anxious and angry because it´s hard. On the other hand you have the people who love it.

The reason why so many guys prefer this type of cardio apart from being shorter in time is because so many experts claim about being the answer to fat loss which is not necessary true. There are more things that come into play for any fitness goal like nutrition, sleep, stress and they all work together so if your diet is right, you are in a calorie deficit then yes high-intensity interval training will help you lose fat and it has more benefits.

Studies show that HIIT burns more fat than steady state cardio and there are studies that show that HIIT can also increase body mass so considering this studies then this type of cardio is the way to go right? The problem I see with HIIT is that it impacts the central nervous system and it takes at least 48 hours to recover and if you don´t consider this it can lead to over training.

So how does HIIT help you burn more calories than traditional steady state cardio? The answer is EPOC. Actually if we compare the calories burn on each type of exercise (HIIT and steady state) we´ll see that we burn more calories with steady than with HIIT, but the benefits of HIIT come after you are done with your workout. Once you´ve finished your HIIT session your body´s metabolism stays high burning more calories for some period of time, this is called excess-post- oxygen consumption. It´s the amount of oxygen your body needs to get back to normal.

One of the biggest problems with this type of cardio training is hunger, HIIT increases hunger so if you are fasting you´ll need to schedule your meals around your workouts or it´ll be harder to continue the fast or you´ll over eat in your meals. If your goal is fat loss you need to be in a caloric deficit and it may be hard for you to do this types of workouts, you may feel a lack of energy so it´s hard to give your all and push to your max and it may be harder for you to keep calories low so you may consider steady state cardio which can also help you burn fat.

 This type of training is based on intervals, you choose one exercise for example sprint and perform it for a short period of time, it may be from 20 seconds to 45 seconds and then you take a rest of 30 to 45 seconds and repeat those intervals 5 to 10 times. The time you are performing the exercise you need to make it as hard as possible, you need to give your all and then you recover to do it again.

I used 20 to 45 seconds of work and 30 to 45 seconds of rest, you can adjust this times according to you level and intensity of your workout, if you a really giving your all you may do the exercise for 20 or 30 seconds and take 45 or 60 seconds or more of rest to recover so that you can do it again.

Since you are giving your all for small periods of time this type of cardio takes less time to complete compared to steady cardio which we will see in the next post. In 10 or 20 minutes you are done with cardio so if you hate it this can be a great option.

You can choose 1 or more exercises to perform for this type of workout, sprints are the most common but jump rope or even burpees are great. Choose the one you like and perform the exercise for 30 seconds try to go as fast as you can, this workout is supposed to be intense so you need to put it all, then take 30 seconds rest. As I´ve said before you can adjust the time of the intervals.

If you are just starting you fitness lifestyle I don´t recommend you start with this type of training, if you are out of shape it will be so hard and you will hate it so steady state is the best option for some weeks or months then you can try HIIT.

I also don´t recommend you take this cardio as your only option, 2 or 3 days a week is all you need to get amazing results and avoid over training or burning out.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.



Is cardio training that important?

02 Cardio training

A few years ago when I decided to lose weight and get in shape I went to a gym for about a year and I saw 2 different kinds of people, first there were the ones who were already fit and love to workout most of them guys who only wanted girls to look at them, they spent a lot more time lifting weights. Second the guys who were trying to lose weight some of them had more weight to lose than others but all of them were out of shape, here you can found both girls and guys all of them in the back corner of the gym hoping that no one seems them and no one makes fun of them, they spent most of their time in some cardio machine.

This haven´t change so much, people who want to lose weight spend more time doing cardio because that´s what they read on the internet or some magazine or someone told them. Even when cardio is important some guys tend to give it a lot  more importance than what it deserves and this can cause problems in the long run.

Let me tell you something first, cardio is not nessesary for fat los sor to get in shape. Yes, you read it right you do not need to do cardio to lose fat and there are so many people who don´t do cardio because according to them you won´t get any more benfetis so if you hate it you can skip it completely. Although I don´t agrre completely with them.

Cardiovascular training is important and has a lot of benefits for your health, of course it can help you lose fat, get in shape and stay in shape, but it also helps your body recover from resistance training, it is great for your heart and also for your brain, it improves mood, it also helps to improve insulin.

Cardio is a great tool to lose fat and stay lean but it´s not the best tool to use for any fitness goal, there are research that shows that one hour of cardio compared to one hour of resistance training burns more calories while you are doing it so, thinking about weight loss as calories in and calories out if you want to lose fat you do cardio which burns more calories right?

Not so fast, … with all types of exercise you send signals to your body and your body will respond accordingly to that signal. With cardio you are sending the message to your body to become more efficient at using calories.

Cardio is a great tool to stay in shape.

If you´ve been spending the last years without doing any exercise, the momento you start working out it will feel like hell, you´ll be so tired and you´ll burn a lot of calories but with time if you continue doing the same exercise, for the same amount of time at the same intensity it´ll become easier and easier and your body will burn less calories every time your do it. If cardio is the only exercise you do, you may start losing muscle and now that your body has adapt to that activity your metabolims slows down.

You don´t need to spend one hour doing cardio if your goa lis to get in shape, if your goa lis to run a maratón then yes you can spend one hour to build your endurance. You need to set a goal and design a plan that gets your on the right track.

Cardio is important if you want to get the health benefits it can give you, this is the reason why I do 20 minutes every day, you don´t need more just make those 20 minutes intense after you´re done with it you´ll start getting some of the benefits like improving mood and more energy throughout the day.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.



What you need to know about muscle fibers and hypertrophy


It´s not new that every year trends come out and the one I´ve been hearing more for the last months at least here is hybrid training and the way people is talking about is related to rep ranges but they don´t really know or understand how this works.

What got m attention is that some of them talk about as something new (as always…) but it´s not new… there´s nothing new, almost all training techniques or tools have been used before people only make little adjustments and change the name, the same thing happens with diets.

To talk about muscle fibers there are 2 points that we need to understand; muscle fibers and hypertrophy.

We have two types of muscle fibers which are type 1 and type 2, both types of muscle fibers are highly important for muscle growth, knowing how this two types of fiber works and how you can hit them or target them is key to creating workout programs that will lead you to your goals.

Type 1 muscle fibers or slow twitch muscle fibers are target with light weights , high reps and short rest periods around the 12 to 15 reps.

Type 2 muscle fibers or fast twitch muscle fibers are target with heavy weights , low reps and long rest periods  around the 5 to 8 reps.

There are 2 types of hypertrophy which are  sarcoplasmic and myofibryllar. The 2 of them are related to the muscle fibers because depending of the rep range you are working is how you target each of them.

In sarcoplasmic hypertrophy the muscle increase in size because more fluid gets into the cell, you target slow twitch muscle fibers which are type 1, working around the 12 to 15 reps per set or more. If you want to get “the pump” this is where you need to focus on, this is also the most common rep range and the one you´ll see a lot more on gyms.

Since you are lifting light weights for high reps you can use the 3 types of exercises; bodyweight, compound and isolation (I´m writing a post for each).

This type of hypertrophy makes you a slave to the gym, you need to be training to hit the muscle otherwise you lose it. Is easier and faster to gain muscle and to look big with this one but if you take some time off the gym you lose that muscle.

In myofibryllar hypertrophy the muscle cell increase in number, you target fast twitch muscle fibers which are type 2, working around the 5 to 8 reps per set. If you want to build lean dense muscle this is where you need to focus on.

Since you are lifting heavy weights for low reps you can use bodyweight and compound exercises which are the ones you can lift heavy weight, with isolation you can´t lift heavy you can get injured.

This type of hypertrophy takes more time to build and to get big but it´s there to last,  you can take some time off the gym and it will take longer until you lose that muscle. What you need to consider is that here you are working your central nervous system and it takes more to recover.

Both types of fibers and hypertrophy have their benefits and hitting both of them gives you amazing results. You can use type 2 for compound movements and type 1 for isolation movements this way you focus on getting stronger and adding some more workout to weaker muscles.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.



Why fitness matters


I´m trying to remember the day I decided to lose weight and get in shape, I was really excited but a couple of days after I started a program I didn´t feel like working out and for some reason I couldn´t control my cravings for sweets, junk and all unhealthy food. After many years being lazy and eating all kind of junk it was hard mentally to make different choices and in many cases I ended up eating the whole bag of chips, cookies or chocolate and skipping workouts.

I think this is something everyone who wants to get in shape deals with and it´s normal, the way you get through that hard time is what makes all the difference. Being mentally strong to break the pattern of old unhealthy habits and develop new ones is what´s all about. Once I found out what the truth was and I created a program based on that true information I convinced myself that my mind was playing tricks with me, it wanted me to fail but I won´t let it, from that point on everything changed.

Getting in shape and sustain it is about lifestyle, you need to develop healthy habits that make it easy for you to achieve any fitness goal in an effortless way.

As in everything in life taking the first step and getting momentum is the hardest step, it is not just one step, in fitness you may take that first step by eating healthy and working out but in this first days you realize how physically, mentally and emotionally though this is so you give up.

You need to take that first step and continue, keep doing it until you get momentum, once you got that momentum going then don´t stop. Most of us begin our fitness journey to get in shape and lose weight but this is only the beginning and the reason to get involved in fitness but the goal must be to make it part of your life.

If you are following the right program you´ll get results every week and those results keep you motivated, once you get to your desired goal you have several options, you may want to sustain those results, staying in shape is not that hard once you develop the right habits, you may want to go one step further and get leaner or you may want to gain some muscle mass.

Depending on what you decide to do not next is how you´ll need to adjust your new healthy habits, specially your nutrition and training to fit that new goal and since it´s now part of your life it´s easier to follow through.

Most of us wait for New Year’s Resolution to beginning our fitness journey, I think there´s something about New Years that make us want to start the right way but you we can start this journey any day. Actually there´s no reason to wait until New Year, it´s February 2019 but it can be April, July or any other month and you can set your goal for Christmas, Instead of waiting for New Year start today and set your target for Christmas or Thanksgiving, your goal is to be in the best shape of your life for Thanksgiving.

Keep something in mind, the first weeks it´s going to be difficult, you´re going to be making different decisions and you´re mind will try to take you back by bringing all kind of negative thoughts and excuses, when this happen don´t contemplate those thoughts just get up and do what you need to do. The only way to develop new habits is by doing them over and over and over again so don´t think twice, if you need to get up earlier to work out don´t let your mind take control of you, instead take control of your mind by getting up and exercising.

It would mean so much to me if you share this post with your friends and family and if you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, together we can help millions live a better life.