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5 WAYS TO BOOST YOUR WORKOUT & MOOD

Originally posted on the FIT4MOM blog

Written by: Jessica Maurer & JoAnna Zapata

At FIT4MOM, we believe exercise isn't about losing weight or what the scale says. Movement helps you feel better, de-stress, improves brain function, and can leave you in a better mood.

A great way to boost your mood is to perform cardiorespiratory (or cardiovascular) training - more commonly known as "cardio." This training style improves one's overall fitness while relieving stress, increasing bone density, and providing more energy. Cardio is any activity that raises one's heart rate and maintains an elevated state for an extended period.

During cardio training, your heart becomes stronger and more efficient; this increases the capacity of the heart, blood vessels, and lungs to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the working muscles for energy production. This training style will also lower your risk of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes as your cardiovascular system strengthens.

Additionally, studies have shown that cardio training helps moms of all ages and stages of motherhood reduce the risk of anxiety, depression, dementia, and insomnia. Exercise produces neurotransmitters such as epinephrine, serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. These fun molecules influence your energy levels, thoughts, and emotions. Dopamine and serotonin feed into the brain's pleasure centers, which is why many people can feel great, or even a little 'high,' after a challenging workout.

There are different ways to practice cardio fitness: steady-state training & intervals. At FIT4MOM, we love all cardio workouts; we offer a running program called Run Club+ (check out this blog for some running tips!), a more steady-state cardio class called Strides 360, and Body Boost, our class that focuses on interval training.

You will experience high-intensity interval training in Body Boost, also known as HIIT. You perform a cardio movement with high intensity, followed by strength and core training at a lesser intensity.

JoAnna Zapata started her FIT4MOM journey with FIT4MOM Frankfort/Lemont, IL, in 2017 as a brand new mom, struggling with Postpartum Depression and lacking mom friends. Just 15 minutes into her first class, JoAnna knew she had found her Village. A few months later, she became an instructor after discovering her passion for coaching during an 8-week Body Well program.

JoAnna shares, "I love interval training because it is the best of both worlds. The short interval of cardio allows moms to focus on one goal. Then she can shift her focus to the mind-muscle connection during the strength and core intervals. You get a total-body experience!"

At FIT4MOM, we respect all bodies, and we understand that jumping is just not fun on some days. We want you to keep in mind that intensity during cardio movements doesn't always mean impact - there are other ways to increase your heart rate besides jumping. Here are five ways to increase your intensity, get in a quick cardio workout, and instantly boost your mood.

SPEED

Speed can be a fun way to increase your effort during a movement. Try a Repeater Knee slowly for the first 30-seconds, then push for speed during the last 30-seconds.

Plant your right foot and extend your left leg behind you with your foot on the ground. Bend your right knee, hinge your torso slightly forward, and get the weight off your left foot. Drive your left knee in towards your chest & back out behind your to tap the ground. Try to repeat this knee pull while pumping your arms as if running. Try to keep all of your weight on your bent front leg.

RANGE OF MOTION

How low can you go, mama? Increasing your range of motion during a movement will increase the force needed. That means the intensity will be higher! Try 30 seconds of small quick lunges, followed by 30 seconds of really big (and still quick) lunges.

Start with your feet under your hips, ribs laced up, and shoulders back. Soften your knees and hinge slightly forward so your nose is over your toes. Quickly step back with your right foot, bend both knees, and press through your front heel to return to the starting position - staying in a slightly hinged position. Repeat with the other foot.

ADD MOVEMENT

How do you make ice cream more fun? You add toppings! Adding additional movements to your cardio drills will increase your intensity (and fun factor). Try adding knee strikes or arm movements to your cardio exercises like this squat & knee drill. Try the basic squat for 30 seconds, and then add the knee for the next 30 seconds.

With your feet hips distance apart, bend your knees, sinking your weight into your heels. Press through your heels to stand up while lifting your right knee towards your chest. Lower the right foot down as you return to your squat. This time as you stand, lift your left knee instead. As you continue this motion, put your effort into the knee lift so that you are lifting with energy!

TRAVEL

The more you move, the higher your heart rate will go. So mama, take up the space you deserve and travel further in all directions! For this drill, try not to take up a lot of space for 30 seconds of Shuffles, then cover as much space as possible for 30 seconds.

With your feet together, bend your knees into a squat position. Start stepping to the right twice & ending with your left foot tapping behind you. Then, step to the left twice, with your right foot tapping behind you. Begin to make the side-stepping more of a quick change of the feet or a shuffle. Repeat this on the other side.

IMPACT

Sure, jumping is a great way to increase your intensity, but have you thought about leaps or hops to lessen the impact of landing?

  • Leap: 2 feet lift off to 1-foot landing

  • Hop: 1-foot lift-off to 1-foot landing

  • Jump: 2 feet lift off to 2 feet landing

For this drill, we will start with a basic marching step, move into a leap series, and then into jumping. Try each movement for 30 seconds.

Starting with your feet together, march forward with your right & left foot, then backward with your right and left foot. Then soften your knees and drop your tailbone; press off of your left foot to leap forward with your right & land second with your left foot. Repeat to the back. Now, jump forward with both feet leaving the floor at the same time & jump back to return.

Want the whole interval experience? Join us for a live Body Boost class! Your first class is always free!

Combining cardio, strength, core, and meditation, Body Boost™ is the perfect workout for a mom's mental and physical health. Body Boost™ is a 60-minute results-based, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) class designed to challenge, empower, and energize, leaving Mom feeling refreshed and recharged for motherhood and all that comes with it.

"As soon as you step into a Body Boost class, you are surrounded by moms who are there to feel good about themselves. Body Boost is a tough workout, but so are moms! All moms feel an overwhelming sense of accomplishment and confidence in our classes; We empower them to choose options that work for their bodies on their specific journeys," JoAnna shares.

Each Body Boost instructor is skilled to meet you where you are mentally and physically. You'll leave the class feeling connected, successful, and energized!

Find your happiness with us, mama.