Friday, August 24, 2012

Fit Tip: Add Treadmill Incline Training to Your Workout Routine

There is nothing like the thrill and challenge of climbing a mountain. And although incline training on a treadmill may not be quite the same experience as hiking up a mountain trail, you can still get great results (sans the mountain air). Use these tips to add variety and intensity to your workout with incline training.
Incline Training on a Treadmil
Most treadmills are equipped with the incline feature and can reach grades of 10-15 percent. You can manually incline the tread belt to simulate an uphill workout, but many Life Fitness treadmills also come with built-in hill climbing programs that automatically take the grade of the treadmill up and down to simulate an uphill or rolling hills workout. Incline training can be a great way to increase the intensity of your walking workout while keeping it low impact or to kick your running workout into high gear.  
Benefits of Incline Training
  • Training indoors means you get to determine the terrain, grade of the hill, and avoid any environmental or weather issues. 
  • Incline training gives an extra boost to your low impact walking workouts. The lower impact workouts on a treadmill decrease the risk of injury or strain to knees, hips, back, and ankles.
  • If you are a runner, adding in a hill climb or two will kick your cardiovascular workout into high gear. Try a few rolling hills or jog up a steady climb.
  • Studies show that by increasing the incline, you engage more leg and glute muscles then flat road training. This means increased heart rate, calorie burn and muscle strength.
  • Using the incline feature or preprogrammed hill climbing workouts can provide variety and prevent boredom.
  • Letting go of the handrails will also engage more core muscles for balance and increase the intensity. More muscles used means more calories burned.
If you are just beginning an exercise program, start at a low incline level and speed.  Listen to your body and as your endurance and strength improve, gradually increase the intensity and length of your workouts.
This Fit Tip was provided by Life Fitness August 24th, 2012

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Finding Your Way Around the Weight Room

Understanding how to use and progress through the weight machines at the gym helps you not only get a good workout, but also avoid injury. Weight machines offer a fixed motion system where exercises are guided by the machine, helping target specific muscle groups in a stabilized, controlled environment. It’s a great way to add variety to the functional strength training workouts you may already be doing with free weights, balls and bands. Because range of motion is consistent for each repetition, this type of movement may feel more familiar and intuitive and can help prevent injury and promote good form.  
Every fitness level can benefit from weight machines at the gym, but beginners often feel more comfortable starting with this type of equipment. Advanced exercisers are also attracted to the consistent and dependable range of motion because they can safely use heavier weight to build more strength in specific muscle groups (like a very heavy bench press).

Keep these tips from Life Fitness in mind when using weight machines:
• Select the proper weight machine for the part of the body you wish to work. All weight machines at the gym will have placards that show which muscle groups are being worked.
• Review the instructions and reference the on-product diagram to make sure you're comfortable with the movement.
• Take the time to adjust the weight machine to fit your body. Most machines will have a seat adjustment or options for moving the arm and leg position.

• Pick a weight appropriate for your fitness level. Challenge yourself to fatigue in 10-12 reps. Complete three sets of 10-12 repetitions with a few minutes rest in between before moving to the next machine. 

• Be respectful of the next user. Wipe down the machine and return the settings to a neutral position. 

Here are a few of our favorite machines to get you started and give you a full body workout:
1. Chest Press Machine: Flat or incline, you sit or lay down, grip a pair of handles, and then push your arms out and away from your body. 
2. Pull-Down Machine: You sit down, reach up to grab the bar and pull it down towards your torso, until the bar touches your chest. This works your lats.
3. Seated Row Machine:  It’s the exact opposite motion of the chest press: sit and pull the weight towards your body.
4. Leg Press Machine: Lie down, bend your knees, place your feet on the platform and press your legs away from your body.
5. Abdominal Crunch Machine: There are several variations of this machine with the main movement crunching forward and contracting the abs.

This Fit Tip was provided by Life Fitness August 15th, 2012

Thursday, August 9, 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 provided by Life Fitness August 9th, 2012