Thursday, January 31, 2013
he New Year is the perfect time to shake up your fitness routine and there are plenty of exciting and new workouts to choose from. Here are four workouts you probably haven’t tried, but should:
Mud Runs. Mud runs are growing in popularity because they bring back the kid in you. There are many different types of mud runs with varying degrees of difficulty. The courses can involve climbing over stuff, jumping over fire, balancing across a log, crawling under wire, slogging through waist high mud puddles and scaling walls. People are attracted to mud runs because of the sense of adventure, the camaraderie, the challenge and the fun of getting dirty. Oh, it’s also a great workout.
HIIT. This workout is interval training with two extra words: high intensity. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts alternate periods of work with periods of recovery. The interval times may vary and the exercises can be a combination of both strength and cardio. The key is to go at a high effort level during the work periods and make the most of your recovery so you can hit it again. HIIT is all about working smarter, not longer.
CrossFit. Unless you live under a rock, you’ve heard of CrossFit and the Workout of the Day (WOD). These intense workouts mix up body weight exercises with plyometrics, weights and sprints. The workout changes daily and the instructor pushes you to give it your all. It’s a back to basics approach and can be modified for varying fitness levels.
Barre Workouts. In just one hour, a barre class will work every major muscle group in your body. It’s low impact, fun and if you are consistent you can see incredible results. Most barre studios combine light weight work with isometric toning and ballet inspired moves. But the workouts are for all ages and absolutely any fitness level. Dance experience and flexibility are not required. It’s hot among the Hollywood crowd and a fun way to cross train.
Brought to you by LifeFitness
Thursday, January 24, 2013
Flu season is on its way to becoming an epidemic in the U.S. and while a flu shot is preventative, it won’t always help you escape a winter cold. While your dedication to hit the gym every day is admirable, there are some symptoms of sickness that should make you think twice. Please use common sense. If your symptoms are severe, skip the exercise and see your doctor. Otherwise, follow these guidelines to decide when you’d be better off staying at home, getting rest and keeping your germs to yourself.
Do a neck check. You can exercise while sick if your symptoms are all above the neck, like a runny nose, a sore throat, nasal congestion and tearing eyes. Of course, you should always listen to your body and take the intensity of your workout down a bit if your regular pace feels too strenuous.
If it’s below, don’t go. If you have any symptoms below the neck, such as body aches, chills, coughing, fatigue, stomach problems or diarrhea, it’s advised to take it easy until you're feeling better. And if you're running a fever, no matter where your symptoms are, put off exercising until your temperature returns to normal.
Follow common courtesy. Just as no one likes gym goers who sweat on equipment and don’t clean the machines, you won’t make any friends having a nonstop sneezing or coughing spell. If you suspect you’re contagious, follow common courtesy and stay home. If you do go while under the weather, use hand sanitizer and wipe down all machines after use.
Listen to your body. When suffering from congestion or low energy, exercise often helps you feel better. Know your limits and take the intensity down a notch. A brisk walk can sometimes unclog the sinuses better than an afternoon on the couch. Gentle exercise will rev up circulation and counteract that sluggish, rundown feeling. Exercising while sick is a personal decision and you’re the best judge of what your body can handle.
To avoid getting sick remember to keep up a healthy lifestyle without running yourself down. Take time to relax, get seven hours of sleep, drink plenty of water, eat healthy and wash your hands—a lot.
Brought to you by LifeFitness
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
The 2013 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) was a hot bed of tech geeks, reporters, app developers and some of the most innovative consumer electronics companies in the world. We saw everything from a helicopter you could control with your thoughts to a fork that tells you when you’re eating too fast, and an ultra hi-def TV that blows current HD models out of the water. Inspiration at this year’s show was limitless.
There was also no shortage of fitness and health innovations. For hi tech fitness buffs, data is king, and being connected was the theme of this year’s show. Fitness brands showed off wireless data collection, sharing and tracking, then integrated the exercise information with the products we’re already using during our workouts, like smartphones.
Imagine the implications for companies, insurance providers and healthcare professionals if the average person could access tools to easily keep an accurate, daily log of their biometric data.
Industry staples in fitness movement tracking, like FitBit, Runtastic and Jawbone, introduced improved versions of their monitoring devices, focusing on low-energy Bluetooth technology for seamless tracking. Design also got a boost. Committing to wearing a product all day long means it has to be easy-to-use, comfortable and beautifully designed.
Traditionally “unconnected” devices also found their place at CES. Wahoo Fitness introduced the first iPhone powered bike trainer at the show and WiFi and Bluetooth scales were a big hit.
Newcomers like FitBug and Valencell have created products with capabilities to monitor other health data like sleep patterns, glucose levels and VO2 levels. iBitz also introduced a tracking device that seeks to make fitness a game for both adults and kids.
A holistic view of health and fitness is extremely important, and our team thinks we’ll see this advanced health monitoring trend explode over the next few years.
When we weren’t scouting out the latest and greatest, our team was on the show floor with runtastic, demonstrating their app’s integration with Life Fitness cardio products through LFopen. We want exercisers to be able to easily and comfortably track their workouts, but most importantly, we want them to do it with the cool apps and tools we see at shows like CES.
What are your favorite fitness products from CES 2013?
Thursday, January 17, 2013
You’ve heard it before: If you want to be successful, study the habits of the experts. To get in shape, pay attention to the routines of highly fit people like personal trainers. Many of their secrets are very straightforward habits that anyone could adapt into their own life.
1. Live by the 90/10 rule. 90 percent of the time, focus on maintaining healthy habits and allow indulgences only 10 percent of the time. It’s not what you do once in a while that counts; it’s what you do most often.
2. Aim for an hour a day but never miss more than two days in a row of exercise. Follow the two-day rule. Something may come up that makes you miss exercise on a particular day, but don’t let it happen more than two days in a row. Commit to never letting more than two days pass you by without exercise.
3. Find a substitute for weaknesses. With a simple Google search you can find healthier options for the most tempting treat. For example, if you love ice cream, try Greek yogurt with fresh berries and walnuts instead. Or if you love salty chips, try some homemade popcorn for a healthier substitute. It’s okay to enjoy temptations here and there, just not daily.
4. Use monitoring tools. Determine what monitoring tools you want to use to track steps taken, calories burned, heart rate zones and workouts. With all the different high-tech tools available in today’s market, it’s never been easier to keep track, pin-point strengths and weaknesses and monitor progress.
5. Cross train. Unless you are preparing for an upcoming competition or race, train for overall health and include cardio, strength and flexibility in your routine. Don’t get stuck in a rut of steady state cardio. Add in intervals, hills and speed to challenge the heart. Work muscles with functional strength training at least twice a week. Also consider taking a yoga class or make a habit of stretching.
6. Be prepared. It takes planning, but travel with healthy snacks and always have water on hand. Set the refrigerator up on Sundays for a week of healthy choices. Extreme hunger is the enemy of making bad choices and overeating so have healthy snacks like nuts, apples, carrots or homemade granola bars at the ready for when hunger strikes. Also, don’t go anywhere without water. You should be drinking it all day long.
7. Check your attitude. If thoughts are positive, actions are more likely to be positive too. Stop negative thoughts in their tracks and focus on small wins and progress.
Thursday, January 10, 2013
If you haven’t heard of Pinterest yet, it’s a social media site that functions as an online pin board where you can post images of favorite things like recipes, clothing, quotes and more on personal “boards”. While Pinterest is great for sharing beautiful things, you can also use it for motivation and support for your goals—like the one you have to live healthy. Whether you’re already pinning away, or want to join, try creating these four boards to kick your fitness goals into gear.
Healthy Recipes. Pin healthy recipes for meals, snacks and desserts from bloggers, nutritionists or fitness professionals. Resolve to make a few of the recipes each week and reduce the number of times you eat out. Use Pinterest to discover creative ways to limit the amount of calories you consume and eat healthier, more whole foods.
Fitness Motivation. What motivates you? What inspires you? Pin it! Maybe it’s quotes or images of athletes. It could be fit people doing the form of exercise you love or pictures of triathlons and mud runs. Whatever motivates you to get out the door and move, put it on your motivation board. Think outside the box and pin images of places you’ll visit as a healthier you or family that you want to set a good example for.
Exercises to Try. For those days you can’t make it to gym, post workouts and exercises you can do at home. Look for exercises you can do with your body weight or free weights. Pin a variety of workouts and you only need to look as far as your Pinterest exercise board to mix up your routine.My Progress. Pin images of you working out, losing weight and getting healthier to for motivation. You can use the pictures to track your progress and inspire yourself to stay active. Add some photos of you in a favorite outfit or of a healthy meal you ordered. If it shows off your healthy lifestyle, put it on your personal board. Hint: Pinterest recently added private boards if you would rather not share these images with your friends
Thursday, January 3, 2013
How many times have you started a new workout routine in January and fell off the wagon by the end of February? It happens to a lot of people when goals are unrealistic or plans aren’t well thought out. Get focused this year and use these tips to create a workout plan to stick to.
Create a weekly schedule. Long term goals are great, but it’s also important to break it down into weekly expectations. Write down a weekly workout plan and schedule it into your calendar like any other meeting. When planning workouts, remember that the Center for Disease Control recommends 150 minutes of cardio exercise per week. Split that into five, 30-minute sessions or maybe 15 minutes Monday-Thursday and an hour on Saturdays and Sundays. Make it work for you. Add in two strength sessions per week and you’ll be meeting the exercise requirements for a healthy body.
Log your exercise. Tracking workouts and progress will increase your motivation to show up at the gym. Log workouts with apps like Runtastic, websites like LFconnect or just old fashioned pen and paper.
Find a class and make friends. Group classes are ideal because there’s something for everyone. Add a class once or twice a week to cross train and add varitey. Plus, on those days when you don’t feel like creating your own workout you can just show up and follow the guidance of a group fitness instructor. Making friends in class will make showing up even more enjoyable and will provide an additional layer of accountability.
Increase intensity over time. Don’t jump on a stationary bike for the first time and go full tilt with the most difficult preprogrammed workout. Doing more than you are ready for might make you throw in the towel. Hop on the treadmill, elliptical or other equipment and work up to an intensity that’s right for you. Add hills, intervals and zone training as you go. As your strength improves, you can increase your speed, intensity, duration and resistance.
This FitTip was brought to you by Lifefitness