Episode 16: Close Encounters of the COVID Kind

Person wearing gas mask sits on couch surrounded by toilet paper.
Just chillin’ in quarantine. I knew this gas mask I got for that steam punk costume would come in handy. TP is the new currency, right?

We know, we know. We’re all tired of hearing about COVID 19. Tired of the politics and arguing and masks and quarantine and distance learning and Zoom meetings and … yeah, we’ll stop now. Anyway, it’s all been exhausting, and there’s no end in sight.

But sometimes, it helps to hear the stories of those who’ve been exposed or who have loved ones who’ve tested positive. Especially if those people are some salty bitches who will keep it real.

Hillary’s COVID Exposure: My COVID Close Encounter was pretty tame, all things considered. And I know how lucky that makes me. 

Four friends and I had been getting together monthly to watch movies together. These were friends who I knew had been being careful and acting responsibly, so I had zero worries hanging out with them for a few hours.

One of my friends thought she was suffering from allergies, which was pretty common at the time, especially given how much smoke was in the air from fires raging to the west of us. But she ended up testing positive for the ‘rona a few days after we’d had our monthly get together. 

The worst part was worrying about how the virus would affect her and if she’d have any lingering health concerns once she recovered. Fortunately, she had a mild case, and though she sometimes still has trouble breathing, she’s mostly doing well.

Two days after I’d been exposed but before I knew about it, my husband and I had dinner on the porch of the elderly mother of one of his friends. That was really scary because I was sure I’d given it to her, even though I didn’t have any symptoms. Again, luckily for us, she didn’t end up getting the virus.

One of the things that stood out to me during the whole process was how unprepared I was. I didn’t know what to do, how long I was supposed to quarantine, if I should get tested, where I could even get tested. And I thought I was pretty in-the-know about the virus.

One of the things that stood out to me during the whole process was how unprepared I was. I didn’t know what to do, how long I was supposed to quarantine, if I should get tested, where I could even get tested. And I thought I was pretty in-the-know about the virus. But I ended up having to check and recheck the CDC’s website to figure out the latest recommendations.

Five days after my exposure, I thought I was having symptoms. After a frustrating process to figure out where I could get tested, I ended up getting the quick test from one of the urgent care centers in town. Did I say “quick test”? I mean “nasal cavity violation.” Seriously, that was a super unpleasant experience. Pretty sure the nurse swabbed the front of my brain with that Q-Tip. 

I tested negative but still was advised to quarantine for two weeks from the date of my exposure. That meant I wasn’t able to officiate my boss’s wedding, and that was really disappointing. She was able to find someone to take over at the last minute, but I felt like a total dick for leaving her in the lurch only a few days before her big day.

Again, I know how fortunate I was that my friend wasn’t sicker, that I didn’t contract it, and that I didn’t spread it to anyone else. But still, it was a scary and stressful experience.

From the Desk of Pastor Tom, AJ’s FIL

It’s very difficult to give advice that is comprehensive because COVID comes in so many forms and results in so many different symptoms from person to person.

My personal experience began with an initial feeling of “Well, yet another adventure!” That was followed by much coughing, some intense body aches, temperatures that wouldn’t drop below 100 for about 10 days and extreme fatigue.

The goal was to return home after the diagnosis and try not to die.

For the ten days of the quarantine, I drank lots of fluids, took some Tylenol and ibuprofen, and rested as much as possible. Blessedly I did not experience any respiratory difficulties.

I am glad when I see folks wearing masks in public, and I would urge those in my age bracket (upper 70s) to stay away from large gatherings where it is impossible to maintain a safe distance from those around you.

toilet paper and a mask
paper

Teenaged angst + COVID 19: One Mother’s Tale by Kristin, a FMATMIP friend

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional; this is merely advice from my experience. Also, I can be light-hearted about this because my family didn’t have any pre-existing health conditions and no one got terribly sick. 

  • Supplies: I don’t think COVID looks for a convenient time to descend upon your life, so you’ll likely be surprised and inconvenienced by this news. It’s helpful to be a little prepared because the only supplies you’ll be getting while quarantined are from well-meaning friends and grocery store deliveries/pickups. I was very thankful AJ had provided intel on Clorox wipes this spring, and I had some stashed away. I also had Extra-Strength Tylenol in the cupboard (once touted as the remedy for COVID symptoms) that I picked up when I saw it in the store. Lastly, I recommend having disinfecting spray around because you’ll want to disinfect everything. 
  • Mental Preparation: In my situation, everyone in the house didn’t get sick at once, so mentally preparing yourself for a two week quarantine isn’t realistic. If it takes up to two weeks for you and others in the home to develop symptoms after someone gets sick, THIS COULD GO ON FOR A WHILE. Don’t put undue pressure upon yourself and your family, just cancel all social engagements and obligations for the time being. This may actually be a benefit for some people.
  • Financial Implications: If you live with two teenage boys, prepare to spend a small fortune on food while everyone is at home (which, remember, can be longer than two weeks). Remember the money you saved from not going on vacation this year? COVID is the experience you are now paying for.
  • Am I sick?: When you live with someone who has COVID, you’ll spend most of your waking hours wondering if you have it too. Every cough, sneeze, nose twitch and headache might be a symptom. You’ll take your temperature 10 times a day. You’ll “worst case scenario” yourself getting sick, or maybe I’m the only one who does that. Your brain will experience this as if it’s being chased by a tiger for most of your quarantine, so plan to be exhausted.

Have you or someone you care about had a ‘rona experience? What helped them or you get through it? How are you dealing with the effects? Tell us about it in the comments or drop some knowledge on our Facebook page!

Info and Further Deets

National Institute of Mental Health: Shareable Resources on Coping with COVID-19

Episode 15: You Are Getting Vurrrrrrry Sleeeeepy

Sleeping Koala
Suck it, koala. You might sleep like a champ, but we know you have chlamydia.

If you’re one of those people who usually gets a good night’s sleep and wakes up refreshed and ready to tackle the day, congratulations. We hate you and wish a pox upon your house.

But if you’re like AJ and Hillary and about a third of Americans, sleep can be an illusive beast at the best of times and damn near mythical during the worst of times. 

So, if sleep issues plague you, you’re in questionable good company. 

But Feed Me Goddesses, you might say, if so many people struggle to get to and stay asleep, maybe it’s just too common a problem to really give much attention to.

Oh, sleepy friend, your exhaustion is clearly clouding your thinking.

Turns out, a lack of good, quality sleep does more than just make you feel like a pile of lukewarm dog turds in the morning. It also has serious health implications, like weight gain, depression, anxiety, memory and cognitive issues, decreased sex drive, suicidal thoughts, high blood pressure, heart disease … yeah, it’s a long and alarming list that’s enough to make you lose sleep over (oh yeah, we went there).

Both AJ and Hillary struggle fairly regularly with sleep issues, often in the form of insomnia. So, they put together a list of 10 tips that help them catch a few more of those sweet, sweet zzzzzzzs.

None of these is a cure all, and they don’t work all the time. But if you’re having trouble getting to sleep or staying that way, give ‘em a shot. 

  1. Drop It Like It’s … Cold: Keep your room on the cooler side. A lot of experts say about 65 degrees at night is ideal for getting good sleep. But since everyone’s body chemistry varies, shoot for a range between 60-67 degrees.
  2. Bullet Points Before Beddybye: Make a list of all the things that are stressing you out or that you have to do the next day or that you don’t want to forget. Get all the shit out on paper so your brain doesn’t get stuck on a loop trying to remind you how stressful your life is.
  3. Natural Sleep Supplements: Some people swear by sleep supplements, while others don’t have luck with them or don’t appreciate the morning-after side effects. But if you’re thinking of giving a supplement a whirl (after talking to your doctor, of course), OLLY gummies, one of AJ’s current faves, may be worth trying. They contain a nice combo of natural ingredients like passionflower, L-Theanine, and melatonin, and lemon balm. Also, they’re nummy in the tummy. (Shut up! You grow up!) 
  4. CBD? Yes, please: The research about cannabidiol is still lacking right now. But there are some indications that CBD can be helpful in treating different health alignments, including treating insomnia. 
  5. Magnesium for Your Sleepisium: It seems a lot of adults are magnesium deficient, especially women. Increasing your magnesium could keep you healthy in other ways, not just by helping get some more shuteye. 
  6. Weighted Blankets: Yeah, it sounds weird. Sure, just go ahead and throw an extra 15 to 20 pounds of weight on top of yourself at night. But of all the things Hillary’s tried, it’s the one that’s made the biggest difference in her quality of sleep. 
  7. Slow Your Roll: Regular exercise is a great way to improve your sleep. Just make sure not to get that heart rate up too high too close to bed. Hillary usually finds that it’s best to avoid working out at least two hours before it’s night-night time.
  8. Put Down the Booze: You might think a nightcap will help you have a better night’s sleep. But the opposite is actually true. Though a glass of wine might make you feel sleepy, it’ll likely disrupt your sleep in the later part of the night and seems to have a greater impact on REM sleep. This one makes Hillary sad.
  9. Tell Yourself a Bedtime Story: “A 2009 study from researchers at University of Sussex showed that six minutes of reading reduces stress by 68% …” As if books weren’t magical enough. Just make sure if you’re reading on a tablet that you’ve got something to block the blue light, as that can negatively impact your sleepy-sleep. 
  10. Beware of Nap Time: Sleep deprivation can be a vicious cycle. You don’t get a good night’s sleep, so you take a nap the next day. But while short naps have a lot of health benefits, don’t catnap for too long. Long naps can disrupt your nighttime sleep patterns.

What’s your sleep success story? Have you found anything that works on the regular, or are you still struggling to feel rested in the morning. Tell us about your path to passed-out in the comments!

Further Info and Deets

Episode 14: AJ ‘Falls’ for Keto All Over Again

Ma’am, please put down the avocado. That’s not how you keto, ma’am.

Seriously, keto? Again?

Less “again” and more like #ketober! Yes, that’s a thing. Look it up.

It works out because when the weather turns cold, my appetite yearns for heavier fare, more meats and cheeses. Which is why I think of the keto diet as a seasonal choice. Maybe one day I will graduate to lifetime keto. But for now, a low-carb lifestyle works for me … when I’m willing to “work it.”

Anyway, I posed #ketober to Hillary. After her eyes unstuck from rolling, and after I ducked the Real Housewives-worthy face slap, we decided this wasn’t the right time for her. At least that’s how I’m translating it. There were a lot of eff bombs to wade through.

For me, however, fall means ditching the fruits and the splurges of the summer for a more structured eating in the fall.

Don’t get me wrong; I eat low carb 80% of the time, year round and usually only go whole-hog-high-carb when I’m on vacation or at the occasional holiday party … and every other Friday because PIZZA. 

Don’t judge me! How very dare you! The scale is doing all the judging that I can handle right now. And I have been found wanting. As in, wanting to “GET A GRIP” before I explode out of my skinny jeans and need to buy a whole new wardrobe and maybe rent a crane to get me in and out of my house. Thanks, COVID!

Those of you who’ve been with us for a while might recall our first episode was Keto for Realz, and we were both low-carbing it at the time. We were also both younger, less jaded. It was a different time. It was pre-COVID.

Let’s face it, during “these unprecedented times” [insert eye roll] many of us have let ourselves go and turned to the comfort of fuds and boozes. Turn away! Put down the doughnut, AJ!

Have I convinced you? Care to #ketowithme? Do it! Do it! Fifty days until Thanksgiving! No pressure!

If you decide to join me and others who are keto all the time, review the keto diet rules, consult you physician, re-listen to our first episode for some good tips, and join in. Post your favorite recipes on our FB along with your favorite keto tips.

Keto Prep Checklist

  • Clear pantry and refrigerator of high carb snacks and foods
  • Stock up on keto-friendly foods
  • Review guidelines
  • Discuss dietary changes with your physician
  • Purchase electrolyte supplements
  • Plan meals ahead of time
  • Know thy enemy: Keto Flu
  • Prepare to fight cravings the first two to three days
  • Carry keto friendly-snacks for cravings in the early days

What about you? Are you trying any new or previous eating plans this fall? What’s your plan for success? Tell us about it in the comments!

Further Info and Deets

Episode 12: The Dirty Dozen-ish Things We’ve Learned

dirty hands covered in grease
What it looks like after anyone tries to touch AJ’s soul.

Yes, dear listeners and Feed Me followers, we have somehow managed to string together 12 whole episodes. No one is more shocked by this than AJ and Hillary.

In honor of our twelfth episode, AJ and Hillary decided to put together the dozen things they’ve learned over those past many episodes. … Or at least, that was the working theory. AJ says there are more like eight things. Hillary cannot believe that’s correct. But she was a journalism major, so math was never really her strong suit.

Regardless, here are a handful of things the yahoos running this show have learned and some links in case you’d like more details. 

  1. Hillary: Keto isn’t too bad, but I probably don’t need to do it again.
  2. AJ: HIITHigh Intensity Interval Training — should only be done two to three times a week.
  3. Hillary: Writing every day helps level out my emotional ups and downs.
  4. AJ: I need structure and accountability … or I don’t just go off the rails. I eat the rails.
  5. Hillary: Aadam from Physionomics is a wise fella.
  6. AJ: I gotta get my workout done in the morning.
  7. Hillary: Progress is not a straight line.
  8. AJ: Cat and minimalist videos are OK and help me to get my zen on.
  9. Hillary: Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
  10. AJ and Hillary: It’s tough to reach people with our vast knowledge so we can make money so we can help them on their journey OR being Oprah is harder than it looks.

OK, so there were like 10. Although, No. 10 was something both AJ and Hillary had in common. Oh, and AJ didn’t get the chance to talk about how MUD/WTR doesn’t taste like mud. So, like 11. Close enough to 12. 

Also, to No. 10’s point, we need your help getting the word out.

No, not so we can become filthy rich and fabulously famous. (Though we’re not opposed to either of those things.) Just so we can help other people on their own journeys.

It can get lonely if you think you gotta do this all on your own or you’re the only person who’s ever encountered a certain health obstacle.

So, if you see something that tickles your fancy that you think other people would enjoy, make sure to share it. Sharing is caring. … Yes, that’s cheesy, but it’s true, too. 

How about you, our lovely followers and listeners? What have you learned during this wild and crazy ride. Tell us all about it in the comments!

Episode 11: Is MUD/WTR Worth the Hype and Expense?

Hand holding a can of MUD/WTR with list of ingredients shown.
You gotta give it to the MUD/WTR peeps. Their marketing and packaging is on point.

You ever drink out of a mud puddle as a kid? You know, you’re playing outside, the older kids in the neighborhood dare you, it’s hot out, you think, “what’s the worst that could happen.”

What? No, this is not an anecdote from Hillary’s childhood. Shut up.

Anyway, as an adult, your mud puddle drinking days are probably behind you (or not. Hey, we don’t judge). 

MUD/WTR packaging that reads "Started from the mud now we here."
Dammit, that’s clever.

But see, there’s this new thing called MUD/WTR.

Normally, we’d have hyperlinked that “MUD/WTR” reference to their website. But damn, the MUD/WTR people like them some tracking cookies. And that shit will follow you around the web until the end of time. 

So, you can find a lot of their details and story here: https://mudwtr.com. But we recommend you copy that link and open it in an incognito window unless you enjoy being stalked by a health drink.

Speaking of, that’s basically what MUD/WTR is. It’s billed as an alternative to coffee for people who react negatively to coffee’s caffeine side effects. 

MUD/WTR unboxing with product shown inside.
It’s a bit like an Apple product unboxing.

The ingredients are pretty simple and include:

So, basically, four types of mushrooms touted for their health benefits and then some other ingredients that are generally also believed to be good for ya. It’s worth noting that the studies done on the mushrooms were mostly animal studies, so it’s unclear if they carry over to humans.

OK, so, yeah, it’s probably good for you or at least not harmful. But does it taste like mud?

On this, both Hillary and AJ agree that the taste is pretty good. It’s a lot like chai tea or a cup of unsweetened hot chocolate. And you can add in your own sweeteners or creamers so that it matches your taste preferences.

MUD/WTR is billing itself as a coffee alternative that somehow magically gives you steady energy despite having only 1/7th the amount of caffeine. 

So, does that claim hold up?

MUD/WTR whisk
The whisk it a neat little tool and all, but it is waaaayyyyy too powerful, unless you enjoy licking MUD/WTR off your countertop.

Hillary is the coffee drinker of the dynamic duo, and because she loves you all, she actually gave up coffee for … OK, she made it like four days. It was hard, OK?

For her, no, MUD/WTR is not a magic elixir that provides boundless energy and focus and causes magic fairies to sprout from the couch cushions and clean your house for you. It’s just a nice drink that tastes good. 

AJ disagrees and says she noticed more mental clarity and focus. Plus, she really started to look forward to her morning cup o’ mud.

There’s also the cost factor. MUD/WTR is not cheap. It can run you anywhere from $40-$125, depending on how many servings you opt for.

So, it’s healthy and tasty and spendy. 

Stickers from MUD/WTR that read "support your local sunrise," "f*ck your coffee," and "MUD WTR VIP."
Ooo, sassy stickers. You can never go wrong with sassy stickers.

But is it worth it?

AJ is all in. She’s planning to start a subscription package and plans to drink it for the long haul.

Hillary is “meh” on it. It’s tasty stuff, and she enjoys mixing it in her coffee, like a dirty chai. But the cost is too great for her, especially since she didn’t see the benefits and loves coffee just too much.

What about you? Have you tired MUD/WTR? Yay or nay? Other coffee alternatives you’ve tried and love. Give us the dirty details in the comments!

Further Info and Deets

Wanna get dirty yourself? The MUD/WTR people approved our request to be an affiliate. So, if you feel like ordering yourself something dirty, use this link.

(Note: As an affiliate, we might make a small profit anytime anyone uses our link to make a purchase. Thanks for your support!)

Episode 10: Walk It Off or Walk On? Whatever You Do, Just Walk This Way

man and woman sprint away from walking in the middle of the road
“We have to move immediately, for we are strolling down the middle of the road like a pair of idiots!”

Is there a less sexy exercise than walking? Sure, it’s got health benefits galore. But its appeal factor is somewhere between “limp, two-week-old broccoli” and “watching golf on TV.”

You’re likely not going to get “shredded” by walking, though your legs might get toned. If you want a heckin’ calorie burn, you’re gonna need to walk for eh while. (You don’t burn as many calories as you’d think with exercise anyway.) And it’s unlikely you’re going to see Russell Wilson or LaBron James shilling for those dead-sexy white walking shoes with soles the size of phone books.

But honestly, tramps like us, baby we were born to … walk. (Deepest apologies to The Boss.)

What walking really needs is a brand ambassador, one of them fancy influencers who will somehow make the most basic and yet one of the most beneficial exercises you can do totally, like, rad. Or whatever the cool kids are calling “good” these days.

If you’re still not convinced walking is “hard core” enough, consider some of these bitchin’ bioproducts of putting one foot in front o’ the other:

  • Good for your ticker
  • Boosts your immune system
  • Lowers your blood sugar
  • Can help with depression
  • Good for your joints
  • Helps you live longer
  • Kicks your creativity into high gear

There are also some ways you can incorporate gamification into your walking regimen. If you have a fitness tracker, it’s probably got you shooting for 10,000 steps a day, although the science behind that magic number is a little “meh.”

What ways have you embraced the humble walk? Where are your favorite places to walk, and what have you learned as you’ve walked on? Lay it all out for us in the comments.

Further Info and Deets

HIIT that walk hard, yo!

Outside Magazine: The Extraordinary Power of Going for a Walk

Put Your Money Where Your Foots Are with the Stepbet App

Who Put the Woo Woo in Achoo?

Bearded man daintily dabs at his nose with a tissue — credit to Brittany Colette from Unsplash
Even for a stock photo, sir, this looks super staged.

Is the air trying to kill you? Does every season change bring feelings of dread as first one nostril, then the other, shuts down for business? Do you pop Claritin or Allegra or Zyrtec by the handful while praying for a merciful death? Do your eyes look redder and wetter than the latest loser on “The Bachelor”? Do you … 

You know what, we forgot where we were going with this.

Oh. Right. 

Allergies.

If you’ve got ‘em — whether they’re seasonal, caused by dust or pet dander, or any of the myriad environmental causes that make your life miserable — you have our deepest sympathies.

AJ herself is a longtime allergy sufferer and tried all of the conventional treatment methods. That included the over-the-counter drugs, the skin pricks that made her back light up like a Christmas tree, the shots. 

And here’s where this post starts to sound like an infomercial full of some next-level bulljive. But try to keep an open mind. We swear we wouldn’t try to sell y’all on something that was bogus or harmful. Also, we’ve got no affiliations with any of the practitioners, and we ain’t making a dime off any of it. So, there that is.

Anyhoo, in her quest to reduce her allergy symptoms, AJ stumbled upon a couple of alternative options, NAET and AAT.

As a quick explainer, NAET — or  Nambudripad Allergy Elimination Techniques — is a “non-invasive, drug free, natural solution to alleviate allergies of all types and intensities using a blend of selective energy balancing, testing and treatment procedures from acupuncture/acupressure, allopathy, chiropractic, nutritional, and kinesiological disciplines of medicine.”

Yeah, it’s getting a little woo-woo-y up in here. But stay with us.

AAT — or Advanced Allergy Therapeutics — “works directly with the relationship between the major organ systems and overreactions to harmless substances.”

AJ’s allergies are both seasonal and food-related, and she found that both NAET and AAT were incredibly helpful in eliminating her symptoms. She also has allergy-suffering friends who found the same to be true.

Keep in mind that neither treatment is usually covered by insurance. However, both are fairly inexpensive treatments. So, if you’ve tried typical allergy-relief methods and found them wanting, maybe give NAET or AAT a try. Just make sure you use a licenced practitioner of each.

And now, over to you. What have you all found especially helpful in treating your allergy symptoms? Spill the tea in the comments.

Further Info and Deets

More details about AAT: https://www.allergync.com/aat

A handy playlist about all things allergy-related

The Unexpected Healing Power of Cat Videos

Sad, short-eared cat
Somebody get this poor animal a nummy immediately!

The current state of the world has a bit of a — oh, I don’t know — tire-fire quality about it, no?

Like everything is ablaze around us, and there’s just no putting it out, right? (Incidentally, for those who were really hoping we’d start this blog post with some song lyrics as we’ve done so often recently: Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire” was a strong contender.)

Anyhoo, even in the best of times, the world can get a bit gnarly, and that can wreak havoc on your emotional state.

AJ and Hillary find this to be true quite frequently. As such, over the course of time and trial and error, they’ve developed some strategies to make everything a smidge more bearable. 

The podcast tied to this post will talk in a bit more detail about some more well-known tips and tricks (so listen in and tell a friend!) like walking or getting yo’ ass outside.

But here are some lesser-known ideas that have worked for AJ and Hillary that you might want to consider the next time you’re a little blue.

Oh, ho’d on though: To be clear, these are tips for when you have a bad moment or day and have a temporary case of the blahs. If you’re struggling with depression, suicidal or self-harm thoughts, or something that’s impairing your ability to function, we are not advocating you only watch cat videos. Please find a way to get yourself some professional help. 

Say It’s Name

As odd as it may sound, the simple act of naming how you are feeling can help you to lessen the negativity of that emotion. (BTW, that link mentions “name it to tame it,” and Hillary has never been so pleased by a rhyme in all her days.)

Try a Little DBT

Dialectical behavioral therapy — a term Hillary can rarely remember the name of — is usually done one-on-one with a counselor or in group therapy. But there are tons of tools that you can also use when you’ve just hit a rough patch. One such tool is to describe your emotion. It’s similar to naming how you’re feeling, but it goes into a bit more detail, like drawing a picture of your feeling or visualizing what your feeling looks like. You can see a step-by-step explainer here

The Title of This Post Contains the Phrase ‘Cat Videos,’ So We’re Pretty Sure You Can See Where This Tip Is Going

Links to the cat videos are in the “More Info and Deets” section below. Oh, and AJ loves her some minimalist videos too, so there are links to those as well.

Try a Mishmash of Things

Now we need to hear from you. What do you do when you’ve got the blues? Sing us a sad song in the comments!

Further Info and Deets

Some of these cats are dicks. … We love them.
Don’t like the snek throw you. There’s some real gold here.
Not all kittehs are that bright.
Why is this so soothing?!
Just slid of my chair in a deep state of relaxation …

You HIIT that Workout, and You HIIT It Hard!

Smiling woman seems to slap man
No, no, no. Not THAT kind of hit! Sheesh.

“HIIT me with your best shot! Come on and HIIT me with your best shot. HIIT me with your best shot! Fire away!”

Are all of these blog posts going to start with very obvious song lyrics? Probably. Do you know how hard it is to come up with an original intro every. single. time? It’s hard, m’kay. Very hard. (That’s what she said.)

Anyhoo, today’s hot topic is High Intensity Interval Training. And if you haven’t guessed it by now, that term is generally abbreviated “HIIT.” Prepare for an obnoxious amount of plays on the word “hit.” You’ve been warned.

According to this very helpful definition we completely stole from Precision Nutrition’s Ryan Andrews, who has a bunch of Very Important Sounding Letters after his name and thus Must Be An Expert, a HIIT is “when you alternate between high and low intensity exercise(s) or between high intensity exercise and a short period of rest.

“For example, a short sprint up a flight of stairs followed by a walk back down is interval training. Or a set of burpees followed by bodyweight rows.”

When you’re doing the hard work of a HIIT, your heart rate should be pretty high, like 70-90% of your max HR. (This is all under the assumption you’re a relatively healthy individual. And you already know this, but check with your doctor before embarking on a new workout regimen.) 

As another example, something AJ does, you could jump rope for say 20-30 seconds, and then do 20-30 seconds of squats before resting for 10-15 seconds, and then start the whole sequence again. You’d want to do that for a number of rounds, say 10-15.

The sky’s the limit when you want to HIIT that. Sprinting, biking real hard, body weight exercises, weight lifting (with good form, ya meathead). Most exercises will work for HIITs. 

Why would you want to HIIT it up? HIIT is good for your cardiovascular health or when you’re short on time or when you just wanna shake up your regular routine.

Note that although you’ll feel like you’re burning thousands upon thousands of calories because you are HIITing it so damn hard, you likely are not.

As our good friend Aadam over at Physiquonomics (fine, we’re not friends. Not yet anyway.) noted, a recent study looked at how much energy overweight women expended during a BodyPump class versus a typical strength training workout. According to the study’s results, both groups burned about the same amount of calories. Bummer, dude.

If you’re just hitting a HIIT for the first time, maybe start with just one workout a week to see how you feel. As your body adapts, you can adjust the workout length or the number of days you do a HIIT.

But if at any point your workouts or sleep or mental capacity or general well-being start to suffer, you should probably back off the intensity, length of workout, or number of days you’re HIITing it so hard.

What’s your favorite way to get in a good, solid HIIT? HIIT us up (OK, we’re done now. We promise.) in the comments!

Info and Further Deets

I must be because my abs look nothing like that guy’s.

Aspirational … ‘cos damn, those legs tho.

She looks so happy and not at all like she wants to die.

Fun one for beginners, and it’s just four minutes.

Elliptical or treadmill (scenery and timer). … Yeah, but they look waaaaayyyyyy too happy, like someone spiked their smoothies.

WTF is IF and Is Intermittent Fasting for You?

empty plate after meal
Wow, I ate that SUPER fast. … Wait, is that not what we’re talking about here?

If you hear the word “fasting” and immediately picture Gandhi on a hunger strike, you’re not alone.

Well, you and Hillary aren’t alone at least.

Fasting — especially intermittent fasting — has less to do with social activism and more to do with health and oftentimes weight loss. 

Although everyone fasts multiple times a day (anytime you’re not stuffing your piehole, like when you’re sleeping, you’re technically fasting), intermittent fasting is a bit more deliberate. 

Different people opt to IF (yes, that’s how the cool kids abbreviate it) in different ways. Some people find it easiest to skip eating from around 7 p.m. until the following day at 11 a.m. That’s a 16-hour fast or a 16:8. So, 16 hours fasted with an eight-hour “eating window” (you’re damn right there’s gonna be a quiz. Also, no, you do not eat a window. Try to keep up here.). Other folks forgo lunch or dinner.

No matter which route you take, the usual objective is to shorten the aforementioned eating window.

But why in the name of everything holy would anyone want to skip eating a meal?

In lots of people, fasting has shown myriad benefits, including better sensitivity to hunger signals, improved blood sugar levels, increased mental clarity and focus, decreased appetite, improved insulin sensitivity, and more. 

So, is IF the magic bullet that everyone should start trying immediately OMG why are we still sitting here we need to stop eating for days at a time right this very second eeeeeee?!

Yeah, maybe not.

If you suffer from low blood sugar, IF might not be for you. Also, although the benefits of intermittent fasting in men tend to be fairly universal, that’s not always the case with women. Some women might actually see their blood sugar levels get worse. Or it can disrupt their menstrual cycle.

This goes without saying (but we’re gonna say it extra hard and loud for the people in the back), but if you do decide to try intermittent fasting — especially if you have lady bits — you’re gonna want to check with your doctor. And keep close tabs on how IF makes you feel and if it has any negative effects on your body or your sleep or your mood, etc. 

What about you? Have you tried IF for any length of time? Seen the benefits? Suffered some not awesome side effects? Tell us about your IF experience in the comments!

Further info and deets