Interval training and weight loss go hand-in-hand

Interval training and weight loss go hand-in-hand

It seems lately there has been a lot of emphasis placed on interval training. But, most people don’t understand what it is and why it’s so important. Since studying for my personal training certificate, I’ve learned from my NASM book why intervals work best when you’re trying to maximize a workout.

  • Why is interval training good for the weight loss process? Our bodies store energy three different ways. One is for short-term intensity training (running a spring), another for moderate intensity and the last is for long-term training (such as running a marathon). When you do intervals, you tap into all three energy systems – making your body work to its maximum potential.
  • What are the benefits? 

According to SHAPE, “You burn more fat and calories in the 24 hours after a high intensity interval training (HIIT) workout than you do after, say, a steady-pace run.”

  • Also, you don’t necessarily need equipment to do interval training – Biking, running and jump-roping are a few examples. The point is to push your heart to it’s max.
  • What’s an example of an interval training workout? Here’s a training plan from SHAPE:

– Warm up for 15 minutes

– Then run, bike or row for 3 minutes at 90 to 90 percent of your maximum heart rate (should feel like 8.5 or 9 on a scale of one to 10). Take three minutes active recovery (you’re still moving, but at an easy pace)

– Repeat the 3 on/3 off pattern three to four times.

– Finish with a 10-minute cool down.

Interval training is definitely no easy take, that’s why a lot of people avoid doing it while working out. IT’S HARD – no doubt about it. But, if you want great results and you want to challenge yourself to something new, you should try intervals!

Can’t hold yourself accountable? This might help..

Can’t hold yourself accountable? This might help..

Sometimes I find myself struggling to maintain excitement in the whole process of weight loss. It’s not that fun, we all know that. But, there are ways to kick it up a notch. If you have a hard time holding yourself accountable, you need to be reminded as to why you’re doing this in the first place.

I found this awesome idea on Pinterest – Create a motivation board. Pin to it pictures that make you feel empowered, motivated or confident. If it’s the first thing you see every morning when you get up, you’ll be reminded of your goals.

There’s also this website, Slimkicker, that lets you log your food, exercise, goals and challenges. You can join motivational groups and invite friends to get in on it too! Oh, and i forgot to mention.. It’s FREE!

Once you sign up the website will calculate how many calories you should be consuming based on your body type and the amount of exercise you do. This gives you a basis as to how much you should be eating depending on how many calories you lose. For example, if I eat around 1,500 calories or less, I should be able to reach 140 in a month or so. But, I try to eat around 1,300 to speed up the process!

Remember, in order to lose weight you have to burn more calories than you consume. Keep that in mind when you’re trying to reach your next goal!

Let me know if you liked the website! Follow me on Pinterest to get some more motivational tips. I love feedback! Let me know how my site is doing! Email at or tweet me @goalsforgals. 

Mix up your gym routine with this trick

Mix up your gym routine with this trick

Doing the same workout routine is boring — And I know I’ve said this before. I’m always an advocate for switching up your gym routine by trying new classes, working out with a friend or training outside if you can. Doing the same thing over and over leaves you not wanting to workout at all because you’re sick of it.

I came across this awesome idea on Pinterest (pictured above) that’s cost effective, creative and fun. Get popsicle sticks and write different exercises on them and every time you go to the gym you have to incorporate that exercise. Move that stick to the “done” cup afterward.

Not sure what exercises to put on the sticks? Here are some of my ideas:

  • burpees
  • 100 meter sprints
  • Turn BOSU ball upside down and do squats balancing on it
  • planks
  • push-ups
  • mountain climbers
  • squat swings
  • jumping jacks
  • squat to overhead press
  • wall sit
  • jump rope
  • bike for 30 minutes or attend spin class
  • squat jumps

I think this is a really great idea to making your time at the gym a little more eventful. It forces you to hold yourself accountable to sticking to your goal. If you pull a workout out of the cup and don’t do it, you’ll feel guilty about it, so I think this trick will give you an extra push.

If you’re looking for things to write on the popsicle sticks, Google circuit workouts and check out, and

Email me or tweet me if you like this idea! I love hearing feedback. Let me know what you think! 

How To Not Stress Over Stress

How To Not Stress Over Stress

By Monica Kucera

With mid-terms approaching at DePaul, it’s safe to say that a lot of us are stressing out. With it being a holiday weekend, the last thing we students want to do is sit around and study when we could be spending quality time with the family eating yummy food.

But let’s face it, it’s impossible to forget about the homework weighing down our shoulders when we’re trying to relax with the fam. Here are some tips to use to de-stress over mid-terms:

1. First and Foremost, Don’t Stress Over Stress. Don’t let the stress you already have stress you out even more. Thinking about all of the things you have to do is going to make you feel like the world is ending and you’re not going to get everything done in time. Focusing on all of the things you have to do will make everything worse.

2. SLEEP. Even though we believe it’s necessary to pull all-nighters in order to get good study time in, that’s probably not the best idea. It’s impossible to have a perfect sleep schedule, I realize that, but getting in a couple naps or at least one good night’s rest will help relieve stress.

3. Exercise! I’m sure the last thing on you’re mind when you have a bunch of homework is working out, but honestly, working out will make you feel better (and I know you know it.) According to SELF, “Exercise is a great distraction. When you start moving and focusing on something else you immediately start shedding the thoughts and worries of your day.”

4. Allow Distraction. Just because midterms are around the corner doesn’t mean you can’t use part of the weekend to have some fun. One night or day of distraction isn’t going to keep you from getting adequate study time. Go out to eat with friends, hangout and watch a movie, workout together, I don’t care what it is, but you need some time away from homework.

5. Make a List. This is my favorite of them all. Make a freaking list. Out of all the things you have to do, this is the most painless. It puts into perspective exactly what you need to get done and when you’re going to do it. For me, making a list helps because it makes me realize I don’t actually have as much to get done as I thought.

6. DON’T Take Your Stress Out on Food. Okay, so I guess I’m a little hypocritical when I say this one, but don’t reach for a carton of ice cream or candy when you feel like the world is caving in. I love spooning out peanut butter when I feel like freaking out, but take it from me, that is NOT the best idea. I feel like like crap after and wish I grabbed something more healthy. SELF suggests some good ideas for foods that make you feel good:

  • Dark chocolate (in moderation)
  • Pistachios
  • Pumpkin seeds (Will help your headache!)
  • Check out SELF magazine for more snack tips.
Just relax. Mid-terms will come and go before you know it. If you take a breath and consciously take note of what you need to get done you’ll survive, I promise.
What do you do to relieve stress during tests? I love hearing suggestions and feedback. Email me at or tweet @goalsforgals.