Thursday, December 27, 2012

Celebrate Success and Plan for a Great 2013

As 2012 comes to an end, many people are looking to 2013 and setting those common New Year’s Resolutions. Before doing that, take some time and celebrate the successes of 2012. Acknowledge triumphs and get ready for the New Year with these tips.
Do a year in review to celebrate wins. Did you start strength training this year? Take up a group fitness class? Maybe you started interval training or tracking your workouts. Brainstorm and list the fitness goals you met this year. Thinking of what you got right boosts confidence, reminds you to keep those healthy habits going and sets up your momentum for next year. Be sure and appreciate all of your wins and skip beating yourself up for what didn’t happen this year. Use what you didn’t accomplish to plan for next year. 

Make resolutions, but call them commitments. Resolutions are those things people do the first two weeks of January. Make commitments instead. What will you absolutely commit to doing for the year? Think about what you want to accomplish by the end of 2013. Visualizing those end results can help you get specific and define what you want your commitments to be.

Understand what motivates you. Finding the “why” behind your 2013 commitments is very important. It’s what will keep you going when you just don’t feel like waking up early or turning down that cake. Motivations are different for everyone. One person might be motivated by wanting to wear a size four while someone else is focused on being a positive role model for their children. Capture what motivates you most so you can remind yourself of it regularly—especially on those days when you really need it.
You can reinvent yourself toward a healthier life at any time of the year, but a new year provides a clean slate and an opportunity to begin again.

Brought to you by Life Fitness

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Fit Tip: Ride Inside for an Effective Cardio Workout

Some people assume that a stationary bike is an easy workout. Like many things in life, when it comes to indoor cycling, you only get out of it what you put into it. Indoor cycling can be a very effective, intense workout if you put in the effort. Follow these tips from Life Fitness to get the most out of a stationary bike workout:
Use your whole body. Contrary to popular belief, a quality bike workout involves the entire body, not just the legs. Try not to slump in the saddle. Keep your abs tight and your back, shoulders and arms should be fully engaged. 
Set goals.  Indoor stationary bikes offer a good low-impact cardio workout option for those that are overweight or new to an exercise program. The bike is a great tool for setting your own pace. Indoor bikes will offer a variety of preprogrammed workouts that involve hills, intervals and zone training.  They will vary according to speed, intensity, duration and resistance. By using different programs on the console or creating your own workout profiles, you can focus on improving strength, endurance and speed.
Increase the intensity. Indoor cycling can also be an great cross-training cardio workout for runners during the winter. Once again, work at your fitness level and focus on pedal speed and resistance to continually improve.  Increasing intensity is like a math equation:  pedal speed (cadence) + resistance = intensity.  Many of the newer bikes offer iPod hook ups and heart rate monitoring systems for motivation to challenge your inner athlete. 
Join a class. Group cycling classes, guided by an instructor, are a great cardio workout. These popular, high-energy workouts happen on a specially designed group exercise bike. The pace and speed varies throughout the workout, sometimes requiring break-neck speed, and other times pedaling happens from a slow, standing position. Group indoor cycling burns calories quickly and invigorating music make the classes fun. A novice might participate in a cycling workout for 30 to 45 minutes, while a more advanced athlete could ride 60 to 90 minutes.
All you need to get started on an exercise bike is comfortable workout clothes and sneakers. Try wicking tops or padded cycling shorts to make the ride more comfortable.

This Fit Tip brought to you by Life Fitness

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Best and Worst Holiday Drinks for Your Diet

A string of holiday parties and family get-togethers is likely in your future and festive drinks are sure to be served. Make smarter choices when gathered around the tree by understanding the best and worst holiday cocktails for your diet. Those liquid calories have a way of adding up, especially when you top it with decadent family dinners.
The Worst
White Russian (6 oz.) – 374 Calories
Eggnog (8 oz.) – 343 Calories
Kir Royal (6.5 oz.) – 219 Calories

The Best
Champagne (1 glass/4.1 fl oz) – 91 Calories
Make it lighter: Go for brut (dry) champagne.
Mojito (6 oz.) – 167 Calories
Make it lighter: Use a sugar substitute.
Hot Toddy (8 oz.) – 173 Calories
Make it ligher: Use ½ - ¾ tablespoon of honey instead of the stand 1 tablespoon.


Via Life Fitness

Thursday, December 13, 2012

13 Ways to Burn off a Holiday Meal

Some people can consume up to 4,000 calories from just one holiday meal. That’s twice the amount of calories most people need in a day. If you want to start 2013 on the right note instead of packing on extra pounds during the holidays, marry your indulgences with some serious calorie burn. While calorie burn varies based on your weight and ratio of muscle to fat, here are some ideas to burn a few extra calories..
Eat one serving of mashed potatoes at 250 calories and you’ll need to hop on the treadmill for an hour long power walk to burn them off.  A 150-pound person walking for one hour at 4 mph would burn about 272 calories.
Take the treadmill up to a 5% incline and you’ll double the calorie burn, making up for a serving of candied sweet potatoes or a cup of eggnog at around 400 calories each.
You can also burn those calories with your favorite winter sports and activities.

Sledding: 250 calories
Snow shoeing: 300 calories
Skating moderately: 230 calories
Cross-country skiing: 300 calories
Downhill skiing: 210 calories
Snowboarding: 250 calories
Walking the dog, moderate pace: 125 calories
Shoveling snow: 230 calories
(Approximations based on a 150 pound woman for 30 minutes of activity.)
Watch portions and be on the lookout for ways to burn extra calories this winter. Dance at your Christmas party (600 calories), take a 60-minute walk to do some holiday shopping (240 calories) or spend two hours preparing a holiday meal (320 calories). 
Discover more fun calorie burning facts at

Brought to you by Life Fitness 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Fit Tip: Stretch to Success

Stretching may seem like an easy thing to cut out of a busy schedule, but the benefits of stretching far outweigh any excuses. Stretching can improve athletic performance, decrease risk of injuries and increase flexibility through a wider range of motion. So take a minute and stretch your mind around these easy tips:
Start with a warm up, not stretches. Did you know stretching pre-workout can actually decrease performance? The perfect warm-up is simply a lower-intensity version of whatever exercise you are about to perform. The goal during this time is to slowly increase the temperature of muscle tissue to prevent injury.
Stretch at the end of your workout. For best results, stretch when muscles are warm, after bringing your heart rate back to a comfortable zone. Static stretches, or stretches held in place, are most effective.  Follow the American College of Sports Medicine guidelines and hold each stretch for 20 to 40 seconds. This will increase blood flow to the muscle and improve workout results. Stretching consistently over time will lead to improvements in flexibility and range of motion. 
Focus on main muscle groups. Pay attention to the calves, hips, thighs, lower back, neck and shoulders. Always stretch on both sides and focus on performing stretches that are sport-specific. For instance, runners should focus on stretching the hamstrings, hips and calves thoroughly.
Listen to your body. Make sure to breath. Inhale to prepare and exhale before going a little deeper into a stretch. If you ever feel pain, stop immediately, back off to a comfortable point and hold. Never bounce when holding a stretch.
Stretching after exercise can help relax and balance tension caused by a workout and save you from tight, sore muscles the following day. Make stretching a habit every time you hit the gym to reap the benefits.

This Fit Tip was brought to you by Life Fitness

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Fitness Wonderland Sale!

Please join us at our 26th Annual Fitness Wonderland Sale to be held at all of our retail locations on December 7, 8 and 9 this year.

The Fitness Wonderland Sale is our largest sales event each year!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Fit Tip: Impact vs. Intensity

Many people confuse the terms “impact” and “intensity” when it comes to workouts. “Impact” refers to the force of your body used in a particular exercise, while “intensity” refers to the level of difficulty, focus and your power.  
High impact exercises include running, jogging, plyometrics (jumping) and other workouts where the body is making contact with, or pounding, the ground. Low impact exercises typically mean that one foot stays in contact with the ground, such as walking, climbing, riding a bike or pedaling the elliptical.
Since high impact exercises tend to put more stress on the joints – particularly ankles, knees, hips and backs – the good news is that low impact does not mean low intensity.
Follow this advice to find a low impact/high intensity workout that works for you:
Low impact can be high intensity. Another word for intensity is exertion – how hard you are working. When it comes to workouts, intensity also means raising your heart rate or your concentration level, which can happen concurrently while performing a low impact exercise. Add intensity to your workout by increasing your range of motion, increasing your speed, adding resistance, changing directions (moving forward/back/diagonal instead of stationary), ramping up your incline or moving your arms above your heart and head. 
Low impact/high intensity workouts:
  • Power walking and swimming are two excellent examples of low impact, high-intensity workouts that provide no impact on your joints. By adding short bursts of speed or an occasional steep hill to your walking workouts, you can increase the intensity of your workouts as well as your calorie burn.
  • Climbing stairs, riding a bike or pedaling an elliptical are all great low imapct workouts that can fall into the high intensity category depending on your effort. 
  • Try walking lunges while pressing hand weights overhead or side step with deep squats and a resistance band around the ankles.  
  • Don’t forget dancing and aerobics, which usually incorporate lots of overhead arms and movement using large ranges of motion.   
Benefits of low impact/high intensity workouts.  If you want to get in a good workout, increase your calorie burn and get your heart rate up without all of the jumping and pounding on the ground, try a low impact/high intensity workout.  Protect your joints, but push yourself to work hard.  Don’t use the excuse that you can’t increase your heart rate because your body can’t take the high intensity pounding anymore. Instead, work your mental muscles and push yourself to achieve!

This Fit Tip was brought to you by Life Fitness

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Fit Tip: Track Your Health for Better Results

Documenting diet and exercise can go a long way in helping you stick to a fitness regimen. Whether you use pen and paper or a smartphone, documenting your health and fitness routines is an essential part of getting and staying fit. Use these tips from  to stay on track, even during the holiday season.
Log your exercise. You can use a monthly calendar or go high tech with tools like theLife Fitness LFconnect site. The site and mobile app allow exercisers to create and track their workouts and view progress over time. Remember to record both your cardio and strength training routines for a full picture.
Keep a food journal. You can go online and track what you eat through sites like MyFitnessPal and apps like Lose It!, or keep a notebook and write down what you eat every day. Keeping a food journal makes you more aware of what you are putting in your mouth, because you know you have to write it down later. Use your food journal to see how you are doing. Are you eating five servings of fruits and veggies most days? Are you eating too much at certain times of the day? Understanding your problem areas is essential to improvement. 
Track triggers. Be your own support system. Write down times or days when you have trouble eating healthy and see if you can identify any patterns. When do you stress eat? Keep a log of what triggers you. Eventually you can predict when you might emotionally eat and arm yourself with other choices.
Follow your vitals. Keep a list of health stats from doctor appointments and see if you can improve those as well. Weight is the easiest and most visible, but doesn’t give a full picture of your health. For example, you can take note of your HDL (good) and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, blood pressure and blood glucose to get a better understanding of your health over time.
People who track their diet and fitness have more success than those who don’t. Documenting helps you visualize the change you are creating in your life, so get tracking.

This Fit Tip was brought to you by Life Fitness 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Fit Tip: Family Fitness for the Holidays

It might feel like you gain weight just thinking about the holidays, but don’t despair. The holidays don’t have to end up making you feel as big as Santa Claus. You can enjoy the turkey of Thanksgiving all the way to the champagne of New Year’s (and the holidays in between) by using these tips along the way.
Get your family moving.  Weight is always an equation of calories in vs. calories out, so encourage your entire family to be active even in down times. Hop on the treadmill during your favorite holiday TV shows or movies. Park farther away at the stores, mall or post office and take the stairs with your packages. Better yet, get your workouts at the gym in early in the morning before you get derailed by holiday hoopla.
Turn shopping into a family sport. Zigzag the mall to get all the gifts on your list, take the stairs, and skip the escalators and elevators. Calorie burn can triple for each minute of stair climbing vs. mall walking, so take the stairs whenever you can. And while you are at it, do some arm curls with all of those gift bags in hand.
Eat before the party.  Never starve yourself before a holiday party. The hungrier you are, the less capable you are of staying in control. Eat a protein-based snack before the party begins and avoid the grazing mentality at parties. Take a plate and fill it only once with appetizers. Grazing can result in a major caloric disaster.
Escape the sedentary couch routine. Step away from the living room and invite family and friends to get active. Get out and power walk to check out the neighborhood holiday lights. If you have a video gaming system like the Wii-Fit or the Kinect for the Xbox, use it to get a family competition going. Choose gifts that encourage venturing outdoors, such as sleds, ice skates and snowshoes, or surprise family with some new fitness equipment for your home.
The holidays don’t have to mean lights out on your fitness regimen. Just stay smart and the festivities won’t derail your health.

Brought to you by by Life Fitness

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Three Ways to Boost your Metabolism

Everyone seems to understand the basics of losing weight: calories in versus calories out. However, we all have met those people that seem to eat whatever they want and don’t gain a pound. They claim, “I have a fast metabolism!” -- which may be true in your twenties and possibly your thirties but the quality and quantity of fuel you intake will build your body’s infrastructure (like it or not) to reflect these choices at some point over the years.
What is metabolism?
Metabolism is the chemical processes that occur within a living organism in order to maintain life. Translation: The amount of calories you need to breathe, eat, sleep and function on a daily basis.
How can I boost my metabolism?
1. Eat breakfast
Fueling your body first thing in the morning isn’t just for school age children. Skipping breakfast actually slows our metabolism during the day and increases our hunger and appetite later in the afternoon. Slower calorie burn, slower reaction times and high calorie craving later in the day are the result.
Tip: Try simple breakfast ideas like quick oatmeal or cholesterol free scramblers like Egg Beaters 100% Egg Whites.
2. Muscle Up
You don’t have to be a body builder to have a lean muscle to fat tissue ratio. Leaner bodies have higher metabolic rates. Muscles burn calories - fat doesn’t. Muscle also burns calories while you sleep while fat doesn’t.
Tip: Incorporate body weight training programs in addition to your cardio routine
3. Move it
Exercise doesn’t just burn calories, but also improves metabolic rate even after you’ve stopped moving. When your body needs more fuel to move, it first uses the fast energy stores of “sugar/glycogen” in your muscles. Once these fuel centers start to deplete, the body has to break down fat for energy, which it has to work even harder to do. But the best part is, when you stop moving, the body has to work to replace that muscle by burning up more fat and restoring the muscles with more sugar/glycogen to be ready for the next workout. That “after burn” is revving up the metabolism.
Tip: Try something new to challenge yourself or work out with a partner to get some healthy competition going.

Brought to you by LifeFitness

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Fit Tip: Crunches Do Not a Six Pack Make

Somewhere far, far away, there is a magical gym where there’s never a wait for a cardio machine at 6:30pm, the bootcamp instructor never raises his voice above a whisper, and jiggling upper arms instantly tighten up after just one biceps curl.  This mythical place is called Imaginary Fitness Land, and it, like spot-training to burn fat, doesn’t exist.

Welcome to the real world, where workout results take time, energy, and variety, and where our body’s ability to eliminate fat, and which specific areas it will eliminate fat from, are influenced by age, genetics, hormones, and some other factors beyond our control.

Luckily, we can control the fat-melting effectiveness of a cardio workout, so keep this real-world advice in mind to maximize your results. 

Two’s company. Combine fat-reducing cardio exercise with a consistent strength training program to tone and sculpt your muscles. Although spot-training won’t work for burning fat, spot-sculpting will tighten and tone the areas where you want to show off your results. Focus on a specific group of muscles during your strength training routines.

Add instability. Use the BOSU ball, balance disk, or wobble board to throw off your balance and force your core muscles to work overtime. With a strong core, you’ll be able to take on more challenging workouts, and achieve success faster.

Pilates, please. Heralded as the secret behind tons of toned tummies, a Pilates mat workout provides an effective ab routine when you want to add some necessary variety to your exercise program. Pilates utilizes very focused and specific movements, so find an instructor to get you started. 

Intensify. Interval training is a great way to incorporate high-intensity exercise into your workouts. Start with 30 seconds of jogging followed by 2-3 minute of walking, then repeat for 30 minutes. Once you can complete the program with ease, lengthen the jogging intervals. Your increased intensity and elevated heart rate will result in more calories burned and a smaller waist line.
The trick to getting the fit, sculpted body you want is to be realistic. If you have overall body fat to lose, you aren't going to see washboard abs without eliminating that excess insulation first.

Brought to you by Life Fitness

Friday, November 9, 2012

Top 5 Things to Look For In a Personal Trainer

For some people, working out feels natural, almost like an addiction. Not for this girl. Every day I beg myself – Please go work out, please go work out. And, if you’re like me, who better to push you than a trainer?
I mix personal trainers into my weekly workout routine to keep me on task, teach me new things and hold me accountable when I start skipping my lunges. Here are some things to look for when  choosing a personal trainer:

  1. Honesty: Make sure you can trust your personal trainer, because hearing the truth is the only way to improve and make progress. Don’t pick a trainer who tells you look bad when you don’t, but find a trainer that has the guts to point out the obvious. When I first met my trainer she complimented some things, but also pointed out my problem areas with blunt force. I laughed, considered her suggestions, and thanked god someone had the guts to tell me. I knew we were on the right track.

  2. Creativity: Find a trainer who knows how to mix up the workout on the fly. If you feel like they are following a play card, you’ll realize you could do that yourself. You want a person that will come up with interesting workout ideas when, on any particular day, you have a new area you want to target. Once I was put on a Pilates trapeze. Was it graceful? Absolutely not. But I had a blast and I worked out just a little bit longer because it was so different

  3. Balance: A personal trainer should push you beyond what you personally thought your limits were. If a session feels too comfortable, you won’t see results and will stop coming back. But, he or she should find balance and be aware of your limits. If you feel like someone is always pushing you to a point of instability  you’ll dread your sessions and start to skip them. Find someone that can give you a good mix.

  4. Attention to Detail: I need a trainer who won’t let me get away with the wrong body position and forces me to do it right. You can do ab work for practically hours if you’re doing it incorrectly. Get someone who notices the subtle differences in your positioning and it will make a huge difference long-term.

  5. Attitude: Find a trainer who you enjoy being around. Personally, the cheerleader-type would exhaust me during a 6 a.m. workout and the drill sergeant type would terrify me. I like someone who can keep on task but is also pleasant. Positive reinforcement will keep you excited to do better with each workout. 
It’s not easy to find a trainer that fits you just right. If you’re having trouble, ask your gym for advice on which person might work best with your style. And if you don’t have a good fit at the moment, there are ways move on from the relationship gracefully. I love this post with tips on breaking up with your personal trainer. 
If you’ve found your dream personal trainer, make sure they know. Simply telling them can help to make the relationship stronger and feel more personal. But you can also nominate them for the Life Fitness Personal Trainers to Watch Awards to recognize them in a bigger way.
 Brought to you by LifeFitness

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

TRUE Fitness and Fitness Showcasae

TRUE Fitness is one of the most respected global fitness companies in the world, delivering unsurpassed quality, durability, and performance since 1981. Over the years, TRUE's innovative and award-winning products have solidified its reputation as an industry leader. TRUE markets premium cardio fitness equipment in more than 70 countries through a worldwide network of more than 500 dealers and distributors.

You can find it in our online store here.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Fit Tip: Ski Season Training

We all know that apr├Ęs ski activities consist of sipping hot chocolate next to a roaring fire in a Navajo-print jacket, but what about avant (before) ski? Skiing and snowboarding are physically demanding sports and optimal conditions occur at high elevations (less oxygen) and in cold temperatures, but it’s also fun and a great way to get your heart rate up during those winter months. Whether you are a Blue Circle bunny or a Double Black Diamond Slalom, uh, mogul, you may want to do some ‘pre-season training’ to prepare before you hit the slopes, focusing on these four areas: 
Stamina.  Optimize your cardiovascular strength so you can schuss all day. Higher elevations and cold weather put extra strain on your lungs, so do some interval training on a treadmill or elliptical machine to challenge your heart rate and improve your oxygen intake capacity. Begin with at least 3 days a week for a half hour and increase the time, frequency, and intensity over time so you are in prime condition to conquer the mountain.
Core. Core strength is key for skiing. A tight, stable core allows you to control your movements with more precision. Simple exercises such as bicycles on the floor, back extensions, and full body roll ups or crunches on an exercise ball will benefit your core and therefore your skiing abilities.
Balance. All Carvaholics know where to find their CM (that’s ski slang for Center of Mass). Improve reaction time and agility by taking advantage of the balance-training aids available at the health club or for the home, such as a Bosu ball. Begin by balancing on one foot and progress up to balancing on the Bosu ball itself.  Take it a step further and try squats and plyometric drills on the Bosu ball.
Flexibility. Yoga not only keeps you limber but improves your mental focus and breathing techniques. Yoga can help protect against injury by addressing muscle imbalances and improving flexibility, so try out a beginner-level class and work your way up. The positive influences that yoga can have on your skiing (and other athletic activities) may surprise you.

This Fit Tip was brought to you by Lifefitness 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

What Works for Weight Loss: Negative or Positive Feedback?

A few weeks ago, TV broadcaster Jennifer Livingston in LaCrosse, Wis. defended herself against Mike Thompson, a viewer who criticized her for not being a responsible role model as an overweight, public personality. He asked her to reconsider her responsibility to promote a healthy lifestyle. Livingston made a public response where she said she’s more than a number on a scale, and that Mr. Thompson was out of line with his email. While the dust has settled on that exchange, the story brings to the surface a great weight loss question for discussion: What’s more motivating, positive or negative feedback?
Painful, but motivating? I’ve heard many people say that sometimes hearing the truth—even from strangers—can be painful, but motivating. Oftentimes people get so caught up with work, kids, stress and life that their personal health becomes the last thing they think about. Exercise, unfortunately, is the first thing that falls off of a daily routine when people are in a time crunch. When that happens it can take a jolt from an outsider to shine a light on their daily decisions and the toll they take on our health.
Is there a fine line? On the other hand, there’s a big difference between a friend encouraging you to exercise or keep food journals together versus a random email or online post from a stranger. It’s inappropriate to go around making judgments about people without knowing their story—or more importantly—them. It’s great to encourage family and friends to make healthy choices, as long as it is done in a respectful and encouraging way. It's never productive to only criticize.
Positive, but tough. I am wired toward the positive and have been since I was a kid.  Glass half full has been my motto forever and maybe I’m overly optimistic at times.  But, I believe you can attract more bees with honey. Having a positive mindset doesn’t mean I let people off the hook. I am positive and tough. People should be tough on themselves and get honest about the choices they are making and how those choices are impacting their health. I think people should take responsibility for their health. I am not into excuses. As a fitness trainer, there’s a balance to strike between encouragement and being tough. I do believe that those four words, “I don’t have time” are worthless and I tell my clients to switch those four words to this: “I choose to do something else I feel is more important.” Ouch! It’s a bit of a reality check. Are your health and happiness not important? I have always believed that in order for people to keep a habit, they have to enjoy it.
What motivates you to live a healthier life? Are you the kind of person who would rather have a trainer screaming in your face or someone smiling and encouraging you?
Comment and let us know! 
 Brought to you by LifeFitness

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Fit Tip: Multi-Machine Cardio Workouts

exercise xenophobe (noun): 1. Any individual who works out on the same machine every day and is comfortable with their current workout. 2. An exerciser who avoids trying out an unfamiliar machine. See also: In an exercise rut.
Ok, that is a fictional term. But repeating the same cardio routine every day is getting a little dull, right? Not to worry; this 30 minute triple cardio workout is guaranteed to put some pep in your step. Simply spend ten minutes on three different cardio machines for a workout that will spice up any routine.
Try something newMake like Magellan and go exploring. Have you steered clear of the Summit Trainer or avoided the cardio rowing machine in favor of a familiar treadmill?  Conquer the foreign territory of a new piece of equipment by committing to a 10 minute session.  Using your muscles in a different way will reinvigorate your mind, too. Here’s a triple workout to try: Start with three minutes of walking to warm up, followed by seven minutes of walking at a fast pace on the treadmill. Then switch to the elliptical cross-trainer for the next ten minutes. Finally, hop onto an upright bike and pedal briskly for seven minutes, and decrease your speed for three minutes to cool down.  
Throw a wrench in it. Once you’ve acquainted yourself with each different cardio machine, change up your program to combat boredom and stave off humdrum-ness. Jack up the incline or add hand weights to your walking workout on the treadmill. Choose an elliptical with handlebars to get your upper body moving at the same time.  Try increasing the resistance on your stationary bike and make it a hill workout instead of a flat ride.
Minimize time to maximize results. Keeping your workout on each machine shorter in duration means you can pay more attention to your body and its movements instead of zoning out. Make the most of your limited time on each machine by pushing your intensity to achieve results.
Success, multiplied. Exercising on different pieces of equipment engages many more muscles than a workout on one machine would, including two of the most important muscles we have: our brains and our hearts.  Cardiovascular exercise improves heart health, and planning each new triple program will engage your mind as well.

This Fit-Tip was brought to you by LifeFitness

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Fit Tip: Winterize Your Workout

It’s easy to see why people enjoy working out alfresco, whether you are challenging your friends to a pick-up game of volleyball at the beach, testing the strength of a carabiner on the side of a cliff, or jogging with your dog. But, there will undoubtedly be at least a few days this winter season when Jack Frost’s arctic temperature or dangerous, icy terrain will force even the most stalwart outdoor exercise enthusiast inside. That’s no reason to hibernate. Beat the winter blues (and blahs) with these brrrrrilliant tips from Life Fitness.
Bring the Outside In:  Many of your outdoor workouts can be tweaked to function inside. Try transitioning from outdoor boot camp to circuit training on the Cable Motion Dual Adjustable Pulley machine. Take advantage of Lifescape interactive courses, which will transport you to exotic locales across the globe and are available on Life Fitness Elevation Series Treadmills, Cross Trainers, and bikes.
Make a “hot” new playlist: Few things can shake up an otherwise dull workout like some new music. Harness the transformative powers of music by stocking your list with tracks that evoke warm weather and summertime celebrations. Need some inspiration? Start with Don Henley’s “Boys of Summer”, Buster Poindexter’s “Hot! Hot! Hot!”, and the ubiquitous summer 2012 anthem, “Call Me Maybe”.
Try a new class: Winter is the perfect opportunity to try out a new class and a new way to work out your body.  Group fitness or small group personal training also helps motivate you to show up for the camaraderie, the fun, and the benefits that accompany working out with a pro.  Plus, you may meet some workout buddies to help you greet the spring thaw.
Get in the zone: If you are used to high intensity, strenuous outdoor workouts, you may think it’s impossible to achieve similar results inside.  Try preprogrammed cardio machine workouts that simulate hills and/or intervals and customize the settings to push you both aerobically and anaerobically.  Don’t forget to use a Heart Rate Monitor; keeping track of your zones will ensure you are working hard enough but not overdoing it. 

This Fit-Tip was brought to you by Life Fitness

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Ask the Trainer: Am I sweating too much?

You’ve asked and we’ve got the answers to your most pressing summer workout questions. Have a question you want answered by the Life Fitness Academy trainers in future posts? Leave a comment below!
Q: Am I sweating too much or not enough?
A: Did you know there are two to four million sweat glands throughout the body? Sweat is essential to survival and serves as the body’s cooling mechanism. Everyone is unique in how much or how little they sweat based on how active their sweat glands are. There are four factors that can affect the amount: messages from the brain that tell your body it’s overheated, hormones, emotions and physical activity. Instead of worrying about the amount of sweat, pay attention to your hydration level, especially when exercising during the hot summer months. The easiest way to measure how much you sweat and how much water you lose, is to weigh yourself without clothes before an hour of exercise. After that hour, weigh yourself without clothes again. For each pound lost, you lost approximately 16 oz. of fluid. Focus on staying hydrated and replenishing the fluids and electrolytes lost during your workout.
Q: When is it too hot to exercise outside?
A: The heat index tells you what the temperature feels like when combining the air temperature and the relative humidity. For example, if the air temperature is 90 degrees Fahrenheit and the relative humidity is 70 percent, then it's going to feel as if it's 106 degrees. Most NCAA athletic trainers will not recommend exercising outside when the heat index is greater than 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Check your local weather station to determine your heat index.

Brought to you by Life Fitness

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Fit Tip: Improve Your Speed; Improve Your Game

The difference between catching and missing that long touchdown pass (or the train for your morning commute) comes down to only seconds and inches, but can end up costing a lot more.  Put some hustle behind your muscle and improve your overall speed with these easy and quick tips.
Do Strength Training. View your body as an engine: more horsepower means quicker acceleration and faster speeds overall. Focus on building strength throughout your lower body with calf raises, squats, lunges and leg presses, and pay special attention to your hip flexors.  Powerful hip flexors will improve your range of motion and are the key to sprinting faster. Try the Dual Adjustable Pulley machine for single leg and balance work. In addition to your lower body, strengthening your core will improve your speed, balance, and agility by fortifying the connection between the muscles of the upper and lower body.
Do Plyometrics. Plyometric training involves high-intensity, explosive muscular contractions, which enables your muscles to exert maximum force in the shortest amount of time possible, thereby improving your speed. Pre-stretch your muscles and then harness their maximum force by utilizing jumping, bounding, and hopping movements. Jumping jacks, split jumps, squat jumps and box jumps will torch calories and build lean muscle while helping you log faster times.
Do Intervals. Amp up your overall speed with interval training, which alternates short, high intensity bursts of speed with slower recovery phases in a single workout. Interval training will enhance your cardiovascular capacity (the ability to deliver oxygen to the working muscles) and ultimately leads to increased acceleration and speed.
Put on the Brakes. Speed is more than just a mad, reckless dash. As an athlete, maintaining control over your movements and agility is paramount to your performance. You can’t stop and turn on a dime with your legs flailing wildly beneath you, right? The key to slowing down is to have flexible legs, bent knees and lowered hips. Staying low will occur naturally if you are strong enough. Practice flexibility training multiple times per week.  Warm up before workouts with dynamic movements and cool down with static stretches. 

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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Fit Tip: Strength Training Technique

Do you ever cringe when you see someone lifting weights because their form is so bad, you can almost predict a disaster? Well, your concern is warranted. Lack of proper technique can lead to all sorts of injuries including sprains, strains, fractures and more.
If you or someone you know needs a little refresher about strength training technique and form, follow these tips.
Stand up tall and breathe. Posture is important. Stand tall with your chin up, chest lifted and shoulders up, back and down. Don’t hunch over or hold tension in your neck. Contract your abs during strength training to protect your lower back. And make sure you breathe instead of holding your breath, exhaling on the exertion.  
Use muscle not momentum. Don’t use momentum to lift weights – engage your muscles. Avoid swinging the weights and instead lift and lower with purpose through the range of motion. You will activate more muscle fibers and get better results. As a rule of thumb, if you cannot lift a weight without swinging it, it is too heavy.
Solicit help.  If using machines, take a quick look at the placard on the machine. Read the instructions and understand which muscle(s) you will be using. If you are using free weights and have questions about your knee positioning or arm movement, consult a personal trainer or take a group fitness strength class to get tips for proper technique.
Use all muscle groups. One of the most efficient ways to build muscle is to do compound exercises—those that work more than one muscle group at a time. For example, a walking lunge requires multiple muscle groups such as your quads, glutes, hip flexors and hamstrings. Throw in a bicep curl as you do each lunge and now you are also working your biceps.
Make sure you feel it. If you aren’t feeling anything after 12-15 reps, the weight or resistance is probably too light. Change up your weight or the machine so that after 12 reps you are feeling fatigue. Listen to your body and make sure to differentiate between muscle pain and muscle fatigue. Muscle pain is “ouch that really hurts”.  Muscle fatigue is “wow I’m getting tired, can barely do another rep”.  Never work through intense pain.
When strength training, make sure to alternate the muscles you are working out. If you are sore, allow a day or two of recovery before working those muscle groups again. Aim to get in some strength training two to three times every week.

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Thursday, October 4, 2012

10 Ways to Burn 100 Calories

Anything that gets you up and moving is good for your health, so try incorporating some of these 10 ways to burn 100 calories into your daily routine.

1. Vacuuming: 25 minutes
Use good posture and stand tall instead of bent over to engage your tummy muscles. Alternate arms on the push and pulling of the movement. 
Focus: Arms

2. Walking: 15 minutes
Along with the calorie burn, taking a brisk walk 2-3 times a day can also help lower stress levels. Be sure to push off your big toe and take larger strides while swinging your arms.
Focus:  Legs
3. Gardening: 15 minutes
Bending, standing, pulling weeds and digging in the dirt is a great total body workout. Remember to use a knee pad while kneeling and avoid being bent over from the waistline to steer clear of back pain. 
Focus: Total Body

4. Biking (10 mph on a flat surface): 40 minutes
Because you're not bearing weight in your legs, you'll burn less calories riding a bike than walking. However, the time can really fly by on a bike outdoors and you might even use it to head to and from work or the grocery store to incorporate its benefits into your week.
Focus: Lower Body

5. Swimming: 15 minutes
Swimming is great for the joints and can produce great toning effects.  Alternate strokes to change muscles group every five laps. 
Focus: Total Body

6. Stairs: 20 minutes
You'll find that stair climbing can boost your cardiovascular conditioning faster than going out for a run. Remember to use your arms on the hand rails to pull your body up instead of just pushing up from each stair. Going down is more challenging on the joints, so try side stepping. 
Focus: Legs and Hearth

7. Pushing the stroller: 20 minutes
Take the baby out not only for the calorie burn, but for fresh air as well. Focus on lightly holding onto the stroller with a firm grip and standing upright.
Focus: Lower body

8. Dancing: 20 minutes
Dancing has taken center stage with the celebrity competitions and classes like Zumba and Jazzercise, but you don’t have to be at the gym or on a reality show to benefit from dancing. Just put on some music and let your body start moving.
Focus: Total Body

9. Volleyball: 12 minutes
Volleyball is a fun, outdoor activity that can burn calories too. Play in the sand and burn a few extra calories!
Focus: Arms

10. Kissing: 90 minutes
While kissing may improve your love life, it won't burn calories as much as other activities you can do. But it's at least nice to know you can still burn a few while igniting your life.
Focus: Relationship

This fit-tip was brought to you by Life Fitness