Army H.e.a.l.t.h. Arsenal
October, 2015

The Nike+ Training Club app is a free app that provides the support you need to help you get fit and stay fit. Users of this app can add friends to create a social network of virtual workouts, motivation, and cheers. Additionally, pro athletes lend their expert tips and provide inspiration.

The free version of the app comes with over 100 workouts, which vary from high intensity interval training (HIIT), to yoga, pilates, and running. Or, you can focus on specific goals such as getting toned or building strength.

The Nike+ Training Club App is available for free in the app store for iPhone and Android.

Sleep Corner

Sleep and Weight.

When it comes to weight, we often think of calories in (our diet) versus calories out (our exercises habits). But, there are many other factors that can play a role in our ability to reach and maintain a healthy weight. Sleep is one of them.

Research has shown that people who get too little sleep have a higher risk of weight gain and obesity than people who get seven to eight hours of sleep a night.

Again, there are many factors at play here, but there are a few that we know play a large role. Not getting enough sleep has been linked with higher levels of ghrelin (a hormone that stimulates appetite) and lower levels of leptin (a hormone that signals the feeling of fullness). It is easy to see how this hormonal imbalance not only causes sleep deprived people to over eat, but it also causes people to over eat high calorie and high fat dishes, in particular.

What can you do about it? Try to avoid caffeine at least 6 hours prior to bedtime, practice mindfulness throughout the day to reduce stress at night, create a quiet, cold environment to sleep in, keep technology out of the bedroom, and set a firm bedtime each night.

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How High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) can improve endurance and fitness

Research shows that body weight training can increase endurance as well as fitness. One variation of body weight training, high intensity interval training (HIIT), has also been linked with improved cardiovascular performance and metabolism. This makes HIIT an excellent choice for those who are overweight, have diabetes, or are prone to cardiovascular disease. Body weight training also aids in preventing osteoporosis by helping build and maintain the mass and density of bones.

Just 7 minutes of HIIT has been shown to have an impact on cardiovascular fitness, insulin regulation, body weight, body fat, and metabolism. According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), HIIT can boost metabolism and accelerate weight loss. During HIIT, a person consumes more oxygen than in slower, distance-based exercise, therefore causing an increase in post-exercise metabolism. Research has shown one session of HIIT can burn calories for 1.5 - 24 hours after exercise. This boost in metabolism in combination with increased muscle mass and decreased body fat, contributes to the efficacy of HIIT as a tool for weight loss.

This type of brief, but intense exercise has also been shown to reduce insulin resistance. One study found that short bouts of high intensity exercise performed three times per week for 15 weeks was associated with significant reductions in leg, abdominal, and total body fat, and insulin resistance in young women.

Functionally, HIIT can also improve athletic performance. The results of a study published in 2013 demonstrated that short term, high intensity sprint intervals are just as effective as traditional endurance training regarding muscle exercise and performance.

All in all, HITT yields many of the same health benefits as distance or endurance training, but you don’t have to exercise as long and most of it can be done with body weight alone. Although 7 minutes is the minimum amount of time required to attain benefits from HIIT, in order to meet recommendations for daily physical activity, it is recommended that you repeat the 7 minutes workout 3-4 times. If you’re low on time, try breaking up each segment throughout the day.

Ready to try it for yourself? Try this 7 minute workout:


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To stretch or not to stretch?

Knowing when to stretch, and what kind of stretch to do can not only reduce risk of injury, but it can also improve performance. Despise what your elementary gym teacher may have told you, it would not be a good idea to sit and stretch out your legs in a V style formation before running. This type of sustained stretch, in which you stretch a muscle untill tight and hold the position, is called static stretching. Static stretching done before running, for example, has been shown to slow performance.

Conversly, rapid movemnt designed to mimic a specific challenging and repetitive motion, can help improve performance. This type of stretching is known as dynamic stretching (i.e. running in place).

It is best to perform dynamic stretching before running or exercising and static stretching after running or exercising. In doing so, you are giving your muscles a proper warm up and cool down, which leads to reduced risk of injury and improved performance.

Mindful Moment

Get the most out of your workouts by practicing mindfulness. Focusing on what you are doing, especially during strength training exercises, will result in better form, better quality in your movements, and greater overall satisfaction.

Bottom Line

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has been shown to have an impact on cardiovascular fitness, insulin regulation, body weight, body fat, and metabolism. It has also been shown to boost athletic performance. Incorporating HIIT into your exercise is easy because it requires as little as 7 minutes of your time.

When it comes to reaching and maintaining a healthy weight, there are other factors besides physical activity that play a role…sleep also plays a crucial role in regulating the hormones that control hunger. Lastly, remember to use the appropriate kind of stretching depending on whether you are warming up or cooling down.

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Featured Recipe: Pumpkin Applesauce Muffins

Take advantage of seasonal produce by using either fresh or canned versions of pumpkin and applesauce. This combination of sweetness and flavor makes for a healthier version of a Fall treat that can be enjoyed for breakfast or lunch. We recommend pairing with a lean source of protein, such as low fat milk or yogurt.

  • 3/4 C white flour
  • 3/4 C whole grain oat flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking flour
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 C pure pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 1 C unsweetend applesauce
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 C honey

  • Instructions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, combine flours, baking powder, baking powder, baking soda, spices and a pinch of salt. Combine egg with the pumpkin puree, applesauce, honey and vanilla. Pour your wet ingredients into your dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Bake for 10-20 minutes, depending on size, until a skewer removes clean.

    Nutrition Information:
    Servings: 12      Calories: 116      Carbs: 22g      Fiber: 2g      Sugar: 8g             
                             Fat: 2g               Protein: 4g      Sodium: 161mg     

    Crab Walk

    This time your elementary gym teacher got it right (see FAQ). Crab walks are a great full body exercise to engage your core as well as your arms and legs. It's really a total body exericse that can be done anywhere, anytime. This exercise can also help improve coordination and balance.

    Sit on the ground with your legs extended out in front of you. Place your hands by your side with your fingers pointed toward your feet. Lift your body up into the air. Arch your back up as far as you can making sure your glutes are tight. Begin to step forward one hand after the other. Maintain a high buttocks position as you walk. When you get to the end of the room turn around and go back to the starting position.

    Repeat this motion for 8-12 repetitions across the room. As you progress, you can add a weight on top of your stomach to increase difficulty.

    Featured Recipe adapted from Southern Inlaw.