The fitness industry is changing, and boutique gyms are leading the transformation. But traditional fitness facilities can learn from the industry shift and replicate the appeal of the smaller, niche gyms.
Photo: Butler Armsden Architects for Houzz
Rowing is a great low-impact, total-body workout that’s perfect for exercisers of fitness levels. Here’s the catch—it really has to be done correctly to maximize time and efficiency.
LFA Trainer of the Month is designed to help you get to know the trainers behind one of Life Fitness’ greatest educational resources: Life Fitness Academy (LFA
Have you met our Life Fitness Academy (LFA) Trainer of the Month, Michele Sotak? This month, in addition to Michele’s abundant fitness knowledge, we’re sharing some of her go-to recipes that help her stay on track. We know that when you’re in the midst of a workout, knowing that there’s a delicious reward at the finish line encourages you to keep up that energy up and push through—so why not make sure that treat is just as nutritious as it is delicious?
About the author: Leon Rudge is the technology solutions manager for Life Fitness. He has extensive experience in the global fitness industry and is immersed in future technologies on behalf of the fitness industry.
One of the reasons I love digital is that one feature can create multiple value propositions to multiple customers, in different industries which lead to multiple revenue streams.
We’re kicking off this summer with something new—the Life Fitness Academy (LFA) Trainer of the Month. If you’re not familiar with LFA, you’re missing out. LFA is an accredited resource for both Life Fitness and our customers. Comprised of certified fitness trainers from all over the globe, it offers a wide range of educational products including live, web-based and on-demand learning. Read up on LFA here.
The LFA Trainer of the Month is designed to help you get to know the trainers behind one of the greatest educational resources at Life Fitness: Life Fitness Academy (LFA). Our June 2016 Trainer of the Month is Michele Sotak. Michele is an LFA Master Trainer based in Chicago.
About the author: Deborah McConnell is the Training and Education Manager for Life Fitness Academy, the global training and education arm of Life Fitness.
If you usually choose Quick Start on your cardio equipment, you’re missing out on the benefits of the preprogrammed workouts. Try these workout options the next time you step on a Life Fitness cardio machine.
Congratulations! We made it. It’s safe to say that warmer days are ahead of us. Like most people, in addition to honoring the U.S. armed forces, we see Memorial Day as the unofficial start of summer. That means, beach trips, outdoor workouts, and yes, barbecue after barbecue. Party invites can be hard to avoid, and hey, you shouldn’t have to. We can all admit, though, that it can be easy to fall off track when each weekend you have yet another can’t-miss cookout on the agenda. Good news, we took the time to round up five recipes (so you can spend more time prepping!) that you can enjoy and/or prepare this weekend—and for the rest of summer—without feeling like you’ve completely fallen off course. Remember, moderation is key. Have fun!
So, how important is the time you spend on a treadmill or cross-trainer each week? Are you putting in the miles just to help maintain your weight or because there’s a 5K coming up?
The upside of cardio a workout isn’t limited to just the obvious health benefits. A great article by trainer Pete McCall on the ACE Fitness website examines seven overlooked benefits of cardio.
Yoga at Home
Whether you’re teaching classes or just want a studio of your own, an in-garage yoga room can deepen your commitment to your practice. As you probably already know, your studio’s environment has a huge impact on the quality of your exercise. Separate from the distractions of your day-to-day life, a garage space allows you to focus and may even reinvigorate your enthusiasm to practice.
Setting up a home gym is a serious endeavor, and shows your deep commitment to getting—and staying—fit. Congrats to you for taking the plunge! You’re about to have a space of your own that complements your gym routine.
Setting up your own gym can be intimidating. After all, you have to pare down the wide variety of equipment you use at the health club to just a few essential items that fit in your home. There are, however, a few must-haves for any home gym user.
Late day at the office? Car in the shop? On babysitting duty tonight? With our busy schedules, it’s not always convenient to hit the gym. But a break in your routine can undo critical training—while a night off may not exactly bring on the bulge (it takes a few weeks for that to happen), it can definitely harm your mental conditioning, making it harder to get back in the workout routine.
May is a good month to get moving, and not just because it’s when spring hits full stride. May is also National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. At Life Fitness, we consider it our job to encourage people to move and be active, so May is the perfect month for us to spread our message and the message of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition.
Do you meet suggested physical activity guidelines?
We’ve discussed what boutique gyms are and why they are gaining popularity. The big question for traditional health clubs is how they are prepared to respond.
The boutique experience is based largely on creating a welcoming environment of excitement and energy. Clubs need to replicate that atmosphere, and here a few different ways that you can do just that.
It’s no secret, boutique fitness studios have been exploding on the fitness scene for several years. Participation in boutiques doubled in one year from 21% in 2013 to 42% in 2014 according to research from IHRSA. And boutique chains have been adding new studios at a rate of 450% per year since 2010 according to the fitness-focused investment firm Piper Jaffray.
A boutique fitness studio is generally viewed as a small gym (800 - 3500 square feet) that focuses on group exercise and specializes in one or two fitness areas. One of the most remarkable aspects of boutiques is their premium price tag. The popular group cycling studio, Soul Cycle, charges roughly $32 per one-hour group class, and other boutiques average $20 or more per class.
So what is the appeal? Will this rapid growth continue? And what does this mean for traditional health clubs that have dominated the exercise scene for decades?
The health and fitness industry uses the words “digital” and “technology” frequently, but they also seem to be used interchangeably. This isn’t necessarily wrong in normal conversation, but as the industry seeks to find clarity and direction in an evolving world, having a unified definition helps us use common language and better understand the journey ahead.
I’ll explain how to differentiate the two. (Source: Oxforddictionaries.com)
We’ve talked about the ACSM list of the top fitness trends of 2016 [link to previous blog post], and they’re all good trends to know and keep in mind. The American Council on Exercise (ACE) has its own list, which provides plenty of detail on what ACE expects for next year, and a slightly different take on 2016.
These 10 trends are pretty fascinating, and a couple of the most interesting points have a direct impact on small group training. That’s an area where facilities really need to focus their attention in 2016.
We’ve talked about the ACSM list of the top fitness trends of 2016, and they’re all good trends to know and keep in mind. The American Council on Exercise (ACE) has its own list, which provides plenty of detail on what ACE expects for next year, and a slightly different take on 2016.
One of the toughest decisions a health club has to make is deciding on the right blend of cardio equipment. Picking the perfect mix isn’t easy. Guessing can be pricey, and you don’t want to have a row of empty treadmills, while exercisers wait impatiently in line to use the one or two ellipticals that you have.
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recently released its list of the Top 20 Worldwide Fitness Trends for 2016. And while there were many familiar mentions on the list, the top spot was occupied by a newcomer who made quite a splash.
In 2010, older adults made up 524 million of the world’s population. That number is expected to triple by 2050. That’s a lot of potential exercisers.
The fastest growing population can’t be forgotten when it comes to small group training, and group exercise is a perfect match for the active ager. Studies show that adherence to workout routines for older adults is positively affected by creating social support and encouraging commitment—two definite aspects of a successful small group training program.
The Sportspark facility in Norwich, UK has a clever and motivating approach to small group training. The small group training area there went from a nondescript daycare center to the exciting SYNRGY360 Face Off training facility.
Hammer Strength, a Life Fitness performance brand of strength equipment, and the National Basketball Strength & Conditioning Association (NBSCA) have named Keke Lyles of the Golden State Warriors the 7th annual NBSCA Strength & Conditioning Coach of the Year.
Small Group Training (SGT) comes in many styles, is delivered in many different ways and enjoyed by countless individuals. It’s an important way to create energy, excitement and motivation.
But, what exactly is SGT? Most fitness industry articles refer to it as having group size from 2 to 12, some advocate even higher numbers. In adult education, a small group can range from 2 to 8 students. An ACE article in 2012 defines SGT as, “big enough to be fun, but small enough to still be quality.”
The best method of tracking your daily exercise may already be in your pocket.
Life Fitness recently updated its LFconnect app to sync with popular built-in fitness apps — Apple Health, Google Fit and Samsung S-Health — automatically transmitting data collected from our Life Fitness cardio equipment.
Whether it’s frequent business travel or a summer vacation, one of the first things to go out the window when you are at a hotel is your workout. But, with a little bit of planning, you can stay motivated and consistent with your workouts. Here’s how:
Go online and see what your hotel offers. You probably check out your hotel before you book it to make sure it has the amenities you like, so check out the gym too. Some hotel gyms are fully equipped with circuit machines, free weights, treadmills and ellipticals. Others have fantastic pools where you can swim laps, and some even have fitness classes.
“Follow your dreams, work hard, practice and persevere. Make sure you eat a variety of foods, get plenty of exercise and maintain a healthy lifestyle.”
-Sasha Cohen, Silver Medalist at 2006 Olympic Games
Have you ever tried planking on top of a fridge? How about on a desk, a train or on top of a billboard sign? No? Neither have I. But we have all laughed at those crazy viral photos of “planking” in unique places. Although their form isn’t quite up to par, these plank daredevils are onto something – a plank is truly one of the best core exercises ever. No need to do endless crunches or break out expensive equipment: planking is an easy, all-terrain, effective exercise.
For many regions right now, stepping outside means braving icy terrain, sub-zero temperatures and knife-edge wind chills. Despite these facts, we don’t want to barricade ourselves indoors and miss out on quality outdoor workouts. It’s time to suit up and get outside!
Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and love can make you do strange things. Maybe you’ll surprise yourself and try something completely different – like a new exercise regimen. Maybe you’re crushing on a gym rat, a marathon runner, a star athlete or a health nut. Either way, nothing motivates us to trade in our couch potato status for a new gym membership like newfound love.
If you're trying to lose weight, you probably know diet and exercise are key to
success. If you're exercising consistently and truly challenging yourself at the gym, but you're still not losing weight or you're exercising and continuing to gain weight, it's time to rethink what you eat. Here's the bottom line: If you don't buy it, you won't eat it. Shop for success to achieve success on the scale.
Whether your fitness journey started as a New Year's resolution or a desire to fit into a swimsuit, you probably began with inspiration and motivation. You may have lost weight rapidly and noticed your body change in positive ways. That's to be expected.
I know what you are thinking: Tips on how to get a better run? How about being happy that you run at all, right?
We hear you. Running can be hard, especially if it’s new to you. You can barely run a mile one week and the next, it seems like you can run for miles and miles. It can take some time and practice to get in that kind of running groove, but you could be making your runs harder if you aren’t following these tips.
If you love running, you won’t be happy if you get an injury that leaves your running shoes sitting in the closet without purpose. The good news is you can prevent injury with a little bit of planning, a realistic weekly running regimen for your fitness level, and an awareness of some of the most common running injuries. And don’t forget to cross-train. A strong overall body can prevent injuries in any sport or activity of your choice. Here’s what you can do to prevent these common injuries:
With the growing popularity of boot camp-style classes and back-to-basics workouts, bodyweight exercises are becoming increasingly common in and outside of the gym. And for good reason!
Bodyweight exercises involve simple yet efficient movements that burn fat, build muscle, boost cardiovascular fitness and improve stability – with no equipment required. None!
A lot of people walk into the gym with certain body parts on their minds – they want to target the triceps, focus on the inner thighs or work their biceps to exhaustion. Isolating muscles definitely has its purpose and place, but in today’s world, it’s all about functional fitness! Haven’t heard of the latest gym buzzword? Let us explain.
Planning to work out doesn’t count as a workout. Good intentions don’t show up on your body. If you currently live on someday-isle—where promises and hope are part of your fitness plan, you need a little tough love, don’t you? You won’t reap all the benefits to your body, energy level and mind until you commit to getting fit. Here’s your friendly kick-in-the-butt.
No matter what your eating habits are at home, you know that travel presents a new kind of challenge to sticking with healthy choices. Temptations tend to surface at family outings, poolside gatherings and vacation spots. Plus, you develop a condition called “vacation mindset,” which is the place where all of your excuses to eat junk food live. If you want to avoid getting derailed from eating healthy when you are away from home, try some of these tricks of travel.
If you are training to run a 5k, 10k or half marathon, you just might want to beat your number one opponent: YOU. Sure, the crowds and the like-minded runners around you are motivating, but there’s nothing quite as exhilarating as beating your own race time. Here are a few tips to help you improve your running time and establish that personal best.
Shoveling snow, scraping windshields and running from the car to the office burns calories, but enough is enough. We can’t take it anymore, winter! We’re tired. We’re cold. We want spring! But alas, it’s only March.
The medicine ball is a master of versatility. What else can you toss, bounce, lift and throw in the pool? (Yes, they float!) In the past, medicine balls were used exclusively by athletes and strength coaches, but now, you’ll see them in almost every health club, workout class and sporting goods store.
There’s nothing like training to become a marathon runner. Where you start and where you finish are miles apart—26.2 miles to be exact. Watching how your body can increasingly cover more miles, at a faster pace when you stick to a training schedule, is an amazing transformation to experience. Here are a few more tools to complete the picture of YOU as a serious marathon runner.
With the news of the royal baby, we’re reminded of all the amazing ways having a child changes your life, whether you’re the Duchess of Cambridge or the queen of your own castle. One thing that can be less than amazing? Getting your pre-pregnancy body back. Once you feel ready and your doctor gives you the green light, here are five great exercises that can help you get your workout routine back on track.
Do you really think the way to start a sparkling new year is to hammer on yourself to make personal changes? It’s negative, don’t you think? Don’t look at the New Year as an opportunity to be a whole new you, look at it as a time to improve on the already fabulous you. I bet you did some things right in 2013 for your health and fitness, right? Start the year strong by focusing on your 2013 accomplishments and use them to propel you to success in 2014.
Can you really get fit with your kid’s gaming system? Absolutely! The Wii and Xbox have turned gaming into a workout for both kids and adults. A recent CDC fitness study found that only one in four teens aged 12 to 15 meet the standards of an hour or more of moderate to vigorous activity every day. If you aren’t meeting those standards either, join your kids and game your way to fitness!
In many regions of the country, winter is two months too long! It’s dark. It’s cold. But as the saying goes, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” Instead of staring longingly out the window and wishing for warmer weather, join the ranks of outdoor enthusiasts and cure your cabin fever with one of these winter workouts. Not only will you prove that you can exercise outside in any season, but you’ll also earn some bragging rights. Cold weather doesn’t stop you!
Have you ever heard about a cool new gadget or magic supplement that’s going to put you on the fast track to fitness? You can already picture the sculpted bod you are going to show off and you are about to fall prey to a GIMMICK! It’s time for your friendly wake-up call: Your fabulous body awaits, but you won’t get to it by falling for gimmicks, it’s going to take (gasp) WORK!
Only one more day to “deck the halls” before the rubber meets the road. Yes, there is nothing so over as the holidays and when you are ready to burn off the holiday fruitcake, eggnog and sugar cookies. How about taking it up a notch and trying a high intensity interval workout? High intensity intervals not only yield results, they give the motto, “Work harder not longer,” true meaning. You don’t have to burn up hours in the gym to burn off your post holiday sluggishness, just try a HIIT workout!
It’s almost the New Year...the time of year that many decide to join a gym, and we love that! Just remember, when it comes to choosing a gym to join, there is no one-size-fits-all. You have to weigh the pros and cons. You have to ask yourself the right questions: Geographically desirable? Do you value the same things? Are your goals aligned? If you’re on the hunt for the right gym, approach it like finding the perfect life partner … Consider your gym selection as your partner in health.
It’s January. Your gym is packed. Don’t wait in line for a machine; get a workout in your driveway and pick up a shovel. It’s more economical than a snow blower, and shoveling is an intense cardio workout that exercises muscles in your legs, core, back, shoulders and arms. If you want to overachieve, you can extend the workout by shoveling the sidewalks or helping out your neighbors. How’s that for accessible? Here are some important ways you can use snow shoveling to make this workout work!
Give something meaningful by giving the gift of wellness. If the people you associate with the most care about health and fitness, that probably means you do too. Your associations influence your decisions. Healthy friends and healthy family means healthy you! So what are some cool new gifts to give your fitness peeps this holiday? Check out these ideas so you can play “active Santa” this year.
It’s that time of year again. We vow to get our health back on track starting January 1, but not without enjoying (and indulging) during December. Losing weight and getting healthy are two of the most popular New Year’s resolutions, but despite good intentions, only a small percentage of us reach our goals.
Life Fitness is celebrating the holiday season by sending all of our valued customers, exercisers and partners season’s greetings from around the globe. From the U.S. to the Netherlands and over to Hong Kong, see all of our offices which you and yours a happy holiday season in their own special way below.
Abs. The enviable body part that everybody wants but are tough to get. To make the six-pack process easier, commit to an early morning core session four to five days a week in addition to your normal workouts.
A before and after photo of a weight loss journey or muscle-building plan is common. But what about taking a weekly photo of yourself from the beginning all the way through your transformation instead? These simple shots will keep you motivated, track your progress, and help you reach your end goals.
You might feel like you gain weight just thinking about the holidays. But don’t worry, you can still enjoy the turkey and stuffing of Thanksgiving –just get active. Are you hosting the holiday? Here’s how to enjoy the occasion without losing focus on your exercise.
Ahhh, the holidays. We all look forward to family celebrations and parties with friends. You may be getting ready for the annual day of baking Christmas cookies together or your traditional family movie night. But maybe this year you can start a few traditions that will get you and your loved ones moving. Here are a few ideas on how to spend quality, active time with your family this season:
If you think you can’t get your workout into your day because of work—think again. If you are skipping your workouts due to a busy job and sitting in an office all day, that’s a double sedentary whammy. Sitting too much is detrimental to your health and can increase your risk for a cascade of health ills including obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, and depression. Even a little is better than nothing. Here’s how to get a workout at work. Try one of these ideas:
Sure, online shopping can save you time, but it doesn’t do you any favors in the fitness department. However, an afternoon in the mall toting an arm-full of heavy bags from store to store will definitely help burn off those extra “festive” calories we all take in this time of year. So warm-up your car already; your workout is waiting!
With gyms bursting at the seams during the first few weeks of the New Year, it can be tough to get a spot on a treadmill or elliptical.
So, you’re setting up your health and fitness resolutions for the year, but you’re not really sure how to make the motivation and hard work last more than a few months?
We're here to encourage you to keep up the good work long after New Year's Day. We’ve rounded up our best tips to help you avoid the fizzle and reach your goals this time around.
Finding time for exercise isn’t about your schedule, it’s about your priorities. Even if you’re the busiest person on the planet, you can set aside 10 minutes a day devoted to get your body moving! It’s time to drop the excuses and try one of these super quick workouts. Plus, studies show that short workouts help improve your fitness level, it’s all about the intensity of your workouts. As the old saying goes, work harder not longer - so step up and fit 10 minutes into your day:
Travel makes exercise difficult but not impossible. You just have to come prepared. Whether you’re on a business trip, heading out on vacation, or visiting the family, here’s how to ensure you’ll stay fit on the fly.
Okay, so you aren’t a morning person. We get it. But here’s the thing—if you aren’t fitting your workouts in because you run out of time and energy, then a morning workout may be the solution. Yep, you read that right—you can become a morning person and get up and workout. We've already given you some tips to help but this is so important, we want you to know more.
Whether there’s snow in the air or the temperature is dropping, the winter weather will affect your outdoor workouts. Rather than dread the cold or let it hinder your exercise, follow our advice and be prepared. The key to comfortable cold weather workouts is what you wear.
Shared from The American Council on Exercise
Unlike most forms of cardio, swimming makes it possible to work your body without the harsh impact to the joints. And just like land-based exercise, swimming offers a long list of benefits, including increased muscle tone and strength, improved flexibility, and reduced resting and exercise heart rates.
Hello, winter! The days of sunny carefree runs are long gone thanks to snowy and slippery conditions. Thankfully, the trusty treadmill is not a one trick pony. Mix up your workout these four ways to bust boredom and burn calories on the belt!
When your car runs out of fuel, it doesn’t run properly. When your body runs out of fuel, the same thing happens. To avoid empty tank syndrome, fuel with carbohydrates pre-workout.
Did you know YouTube could replace your next trip to the gym? Amidst the cat videos and music videos, YouTube is actually a goldmine for free workouts and exercise instruction!
Just type what you’re looking to do into the search bar, check to see if the source is reputable, and then sweat away!
Dive in, dunk under or take a dip! However you want to call it, swimming is a great way to get a good workout, especially if you have arthritis or bad joints. Water places upward force on a person – better known as “buoyancy” – which means you can be unweighted by 90 percent in the water up to neck level. Thus, this phenomenon makes pool time the perfect low-impact activity for those who suffer pain during land-based exercises.
We live in a media-savvy world, and information about health – some legitimate, some dubious – is in abundance.
You probably read magazine articles or scroll for tidbits on your smart phone about how to work out better, eat smarter or lose those extra pounds. But what are you actually doing about it?
Unless you are a highly motivated self-starter who always sticks to workouts, you may want to consider finding a workout partner.
Exercising with a buddy can keep you accountable, provide motivation and be lots of fun!
September is upon us, but summer hasn’t left the building quite yet! Squeeze out the last bit of sunshine by heading to the waterfront. Lakes, oceans and rivers offer a plethora of activities that will get your heart rate up and muscles working. Remember, water sports aren’t just for the pros. Check out our favorites below and take your pick!
Eating healthy doesn’t start with a magic pill or protein bar – it starts with your very own kitchen. That’s right, homemade meals take a little extra planning, but you can end up cutting calories and adding more nutrients if you do it yourself. And don’t forget about the money you’ll save.
Food is fuel, and if you don’t have the right fuel or the correct amount, it can throw a wrench into your workout. Think of food and exercise as a dance between two partners – you want to be in sync. You want to avoid feeling full and sluggish, but you also want to avoid feeling empty and weak. To get it all straight, here’s the scoop on eating before you hit the gym!
When’s the last time you’ve completely unplugged? Yep, that means saying no to your phone, computer and television. Hard to remember, right?
When we want to lose inches off our waist, conventional wisdom has us mounting treadmills, traversing the open roads, and whirling from station to station for high-intensity interval training. This is well and good – all of these activities are healthy ways to incinerate calories and torch excess fat. But one of the hidden keys to weight loss is the activity you engage in when you aren’t working out. That's right, we’re talking about NEAT.
Fall TV premiere season is here. Is your favorite show calling your name to the couch? Yep, it happens to the best of us.
Life Fitness has been supporting the fight against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease, for many years. Now, we’re excited to help fight this debilitating disease by hosting the first ever Life Fitness: Fitness in Motion 8K race right in our own backyard at our headquarters in Rosemont, IL.
Have you noticed more Stepmills at your gym? Well, you aren’t seeing things. The Stepmill is having resurgence in popularity and for good reason. Athletes have always run the stairs for cardio, and now gym-goers are figuring out that taking the stairs is a seriously good workout. Check out the benefits of Life Fitness’s new Powermill Climber and then give the machine a try on your next trip to the gym!
“But I don’t have enough time in the day to workout.” Have these words ever come out of your mouth? We know it can be a challenge to fit every task and chore into your day, but what are you truly using your time for where exercise could go?
Looking to amplify your workout on a walk or run? Look to the lunge. This do-anywhere exercise will firm up your glutes and strengthen your hamstrings, quads and calves. With tons of variations, your backside will never get bored! I’ll start with our five favorites below.
One medicine ball. Five moves. 22 minutes. That’s the equation for a killer total body workout that will leave you sweaty, satisfied, and a good kind of sore.
Step away from the car wash, folks! Instead, swap a sponge and bucket for the gym and do it in your own driveway. You can easily turn this dreaded household chore into a great workout.
If you take the bus to work, there’s a simple way to sneak in a little extra exercise: walk a mile to the next bus stop down the line, and then hop on. Why go the extra mile? You’ll be surprised by how little time it takes, and there are some big benefits that come with getting out of your seat and onto your feet!
Put a little swing into your workout with an old school Russian exercise tool that does wonders for the body: the kettlebell!
A candy bar or energy drink may seem like an easy option if you’re experiencing an afternoon slump at work and need some quick energy, right? Wrong.
Looking for a pre-workout pump? Skip the expensive energy drinks and reach for a classic cup of coffee.
That caffeine kick in your cup can elevate your next sweat session and here’s why:
The stability ball originated in the rehabilitation and physical therapy environment of the 1960s, but these days, you’d be hard pressed to enter a workout facility and not see it used as exercise equipment. Now the big rubber ball is bouncing into the workplace.
While Wii Tennis is a blast, it will never be the same as the real thing. Grab your rackets and head out to the courts as a family instead!
Thunder thighs. Ever heard of ‘em? Harsh, we know. But thighs are a common problem area for men and women alike. The culprit? Glute obsession. Most people are so concerned with their glutes that they completely neglect their quads in the gym. But our quadriceps (the front part of our thighs) are the last thing we should neglect.
People always say, “I can’t buy organic – it’s too expensive!” However, there is a good reason for shelling out the extra cash for organic food: it’s without chemicals, fertilizers and added hormones, and thus is a much better fit for our bodies.
If you want to purchase organic but your wallet says otherwise, consider starting with organic fruits and vegetables.
Let’s face it: our schedules are busier than ever, and free time is the most valuable commodity we have. Sloppy strength training – including poor form, incomplete repetitions and ill-conceived resistance weight – is simply a waste of time.
When we start exercising consistently, two truths emerge: repetition helps us achieve our goals, but too much repetition fosters boredom. So how do we resolve this issue while continuing to improve?
To answer the question, “How often should I change my workout?” we must the answer two other questions:
Need to refresh your strength routine? How about picking up a resistance band? Rubberized resistance will help you perform functional total-body exercises, refresh a stale routine and give you the toned results you’re working for.
What excuse keeps you from exercising? It’s amazing how these rationalizations invade our thoughts and hold us back. But it’s time to recognize excuses for what they really are … excuses! Now here’s what to do to lose ‘em:
How do you spend your lunch break? Are you hunched over your keyboard chowing down on a sandwich? Or are you on the phone trying to sneak in bites while the other person talks? Both ways are common, and both ways are too sedate. Instead of working through lunch, take a walk to an area bistro, even if it’s just once or twice week. Here’s why getting up and out is good for your health:
At Life Fitness, we love how bodyweight exercises hit multiple muscle regions, work both strength and cardio, and incinerate calories. And while there are many candidates for “best bodyweight exercise,” only one of them has royal blood: the burpee.
According to the US Census, one half of the US population lives within 5 miles of their workplace. Yet less than 1 percent of workers nationwide bike to work. It’s true that cars rule the road, but the benefits of biking are greater. Give it a shot, and make an open-air ride to work part of your daily routine! Why? It’s all about the three Es.
“My job is so stressful,” “My boss is driving me crazy,” “This commute is brutal,” “I’ll never pass that test.” Sound familiar? Of course it does, because we all indulge in these stressful and innaccurate thoughts.
Inaccurate? Duh. Sure, they're inaccurate. This type of thinking claims that stress is created by an outside event – the work, the boss, the traffic or the test. Yet we know full well that stress doesn’t exist until we invite it to live in our heads.
It’s springtime again, and amidst the tulips and lilacs comes something a little less enjoyable: spring cleaning. Winter gear needs to be stashed, while warm-weather items need to make its grand entrance (finally!). As you get your patio and garage in tip-top shape, you can get some heavy lifting done and get in shape, too.
If you’ve ever had shin splints, the name alone can cause a shudder. That aching pressure in the lower legs, as if our shinbones are brittle twigs bent at odd angles, can damage our workout performance and even deter us from running. With spring finally here and the treadmill lines and running trails opening up, the question is this – how can we stop shin splints before they stop us?
We all know a trip to the gym can burn calories, build strength and improve heart health, but it doesn’t stop there. When you’re on a Stairclimber working your glutes, you’re also working your mental muscles. That’s right, just like a Sudoku, exercise trains your brain!
We all know it feels good to stretch, but why is flexibility training so important?
There are three components of fitness: cardiovascular training, strength training and flexibility training. And while many see the importance of cardiovascular and strength exercise, few understand the importance of incorporating flexibility into their workouts.
HIIT is one of the hottest workouts that exercisers are participating in today’s fitness market.
So what makes HIIT so popular?
When it comes to a healthy lifestyle, nobody can be perfect all the time. We are human beings with cravings and behaviors that naturally make us want to diverge from a diet and exercise plan.
The key to giving into the cravings without completely sabotaging all of your hard work is moderation. Here are a few tips to help you navigate “cheating” on food, drinks, and exercise in a healthy way!
You work out hard in the gym and get in those 10,000 steps a day, but the scale still isn’t budging. What gives? It’s time to take a long, hard look at your meal habits and see what needs to be modified.
Rice cakes. Grapefruits. Cabbage soup. Yawn! Eating should be enjoyable, not miserable. Don’t fall prey to boring diets and boring meals.
Here are some easy ways to spice up your routine, avoid the diet rut, and still lose weight.
Do you meticulously count calories to stay fit? We hate to break it to you, but a 150-calorie brownie is not the same as 150 calories worth of broccoli. But what about that age-old weight loss saying, “Calories in vs. calories out?” Well, it’s true that a calorie is a calorie regardless of its source, but not all calories have the same effect on your body, and that’s the real key!
If running or walking is your workout of choice, nothing is worse than an ache or pain. The good news? With a smart plan and a few simple strategies, you combat these common and annoying ailments.
When May hits, a scramble to prepare for swimsuit season sweeps the gym. But why wait until spring? Now, in the dead of winter, is the perfect time to start building your glutes!
With ski season in full swing, we want your next trip down the hill (or mountain) to be strong, speedy, and safe. To conquer all three—plus that black diamond—the exercises you do before and after hitting the slopes are crucial. Here’s the how to prep your body for that upcoming ski trip!
Spring break season is right around the corner and it’s almost time to swap sweatpants for a swimsuit. Yep, you’re about to uncover areas that haven’t seen the sun in a long time.
Watch any top athlete compete and you can’t help but notice how gracefully they move. They have superb coordination, unbelievable agility, lightening quick reflexes, and a firm, sculpted body.
Heavy weights versus light weights. To stretch, or not to stretch. Group fitness versus sweating solo. These fitness “debates” are all about personal preference. But when it comes to high-impact versus low-impact exercise, there might actually be a correct answer.
So you enjoy your cardio workout in the sweet sunshine of the spring and summer months to get your sweat on? But what happens when winter puts a temporary freeze on your outdoor routine?
In honor of Healthy Weight Week, we’ve rounded up our favorite ideas to help you maintain a healthy weight through exercise and nutrition. These tips are simple, realistic, and most importantly, can be incorporated into your life starting today. Ready?
We hear so much about morning being the best time to workout. But what about the night owls in the crowd? Some of you simply can’t function like a normal human being before 7 AM and some of you have no choice but to workout at night because of your schedule. So let’s give a shout out to those who sweat past sunset and find out why it can be a good idea!
We all know the direct benefits of exercise – that the influx of buzzing endorphins increases our sense of well-being, that the boost in physical activity sculpts our muscles and tightens our waistline, and that the oxygenation to our skin creates a healthy, attractive glow. But how exactly does exercise protect us for the future?
Eating regularly throughout the day is essential for providing your body with appropriate fuel. But individual nutritional requirements can be quite different depending on your daily activities and exercise routines.
Beach body articles, social media influences, and Barbie and GI Joe dolls certainly aren’t helping your clients, male or female. These unrealistic ideals are unattainable for many. Yet, statistics suggest that 80 to 90 percent of women are unhappy with their reflection.
For mental health professionals and fitness coaches, we strive to promote optimal health—mind and body.
Do you ever feel like your spouse’s diet is sabotaging your weight loss? Or you use your kid’s schedule as an excuse for a week of skipped workouts? If these all too common scenarios sound like your situation, know that healthy living is possible.
Having trouble staying motivated because you’re not getting any feedback to keep you going? Welcome to the era of the wearable activity tracker. Get instant-feedback about your activity habits, including your sleep, and it might just change your life.
There’s a constant focus on what is new, flashy and trendy. And, to a certain extent, that’s fine. But in pursuing the new, the cutting-edge and the fresh, we can sometimes overlook the basics. Here are a couple of old-school movements to train some fundamental movements well.
Current estimates throughout the business world, including the fitness industry, suggest that attracting a new customer is five times the cost of retaining existing clientele. When times get tough, maintaining a steady relationship with current customers increases in its importance. Here are the four best ways to retain customers:
Choosing the right running shoe can mean the difference between a great run and a bad experience. Running in old shoes or the wrong shoes can lead to discomfort, pain and even injuries. And now that running shoes are built more hi-tech than ever, shopping for a shoe can be confusing and expensive. Here are some tips for choosing the right shoe:
Purchase shoes for the sport you will be doing. Most sporting goods stores carry a variety of shoes for different activities like walking, running, basketball, tennis and aerobics. If you’ll be combining several sports or activities, look for cross trainers as another alternative. No matter the activity variety, if you’re going to be doing a lot of running, skip the cross trainers and invest in a good pair of running shoes.
Stretching isn't only a great way to cool down from a workout, but can also help expand your range of motion and help muscles repair more quickly for another workout. Perform static stretches at the end of your workouts when muscles are still warm and hold each stretch for 20 to 40 seconds to reap the benefits.
Take a nod from our yogi friends, and try using some tried-and-true yoga poses as part of your post-workout stretching routine.
If you are taking one last summer road trip, flying across the country for work, stuck at your desk with a deadline or in traffic on a long commute, you could be doing something that’s taking a toll on your health—sitting too much! While people tend to look at seat-time as time to relax, your body doesn’t see it that way. Too much sitting, now referred to as “sitting disease” by experts studying it, can wreak havoc on your body’s metabolic system. Sitting too much can increase your risk for obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, depression and a cascade of other health ills. So what can you do?
Do you love boot camp workouts? What about hitting all of your major muscle groups with military precision? Well, you can do it on a hike – Ruck-style.
You can burn more calories throughout your day by looking for ways to turn daily activities into mini-workouts. If you workout an hour per day-congrats! Just remember, a one-hour workout each day doesn't cancel the negative effect of sitting for the next 10 hours. Turn your regular daily routine into a significant calorie burn with these ideas and tips.
Summer is just around the corner, which means sleeveless tops and days at the beach can’t be far away either. Get toned and strong arms with classic free weight and bodyweight exercises. Use these tips to work your triceps, biceps and shoulders to get the definition you desire.
Front Shoulder Raise: You might as well call this exercise the “tank top toner.” Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding weights down in front of your thighs with your palms facing you. Keeping your elbows slightly bent, raise your arms up in front of you until they are parallel to the floor. Don’t shrug. Keep your shoulders relaxed and don’t raise your arms above shoulder level. Lower back to starting position and repeat.
As summer gets into full swing, it’s more important than ever to keep an eye on your hydration. Without it, your body can’t produce the sweat it needs to regulate your core body temperature during workouts. This can lead to dehydration, leaving you dealing with dizziness, muscle cramps, headaches and even heat stroke.
So to avoid the side effects of dehydration, here are some worthwhile water-drinking tips to beat the summer heat:
Sunlight, fresh air, green trees – an outdoor workout sounds just like a vacation! And we promise that your treadmill won’t get offended if you ditch the incline and hit a natural hill every once in awhile.
Summer is in full swing, packed with vacations, backyard barbeques and community pool time. The weekend getaway and summer camp commutes might be flipping your personal schedule upside-down, but bodyweight training can help you work in some exercise no matter what your summertime schedule throws at you. In fact, your own body weight can be the best resistance tool you have. Total body strengthening can be done almost any time, anywhere. So UP your strength with these exercises:
Change up your strength training routine and try out a kettlebell. A kettlebell is an ancient Russian exercise tool that is increasing in popularity for fitness enthusiasts. Shaped like a cannonball, it’s a cast iron weight with a handle. The kettlebell allows for ballistic movements and swinging motions you can’t do with traditional weights. Not only are the moves functional, but the dynamic nature of the swinging motion will increase your heart rate and burn some serious calories.
Many trainers will tell you that no single other tool can do it better. Kettlebells can replace barbells, dumbbells, medicine balls, and even cardio equipment. Choose the proper size kettlebell where you are able to complete eight to ten repetitions per exercise.
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.
With August right around the corner, kids are playing longer and harder to get the most out of what’s left of their summer. So how can you make sure they’re staying safe in the heat without slowing down the fun? Do a quick safety check with these “beat the heat” tips.
Break out the sunscreen. Be sun smart and make sure to apply sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more to your kids, reapplying every two hours. You’ll want to do this around 15 to 30 minutes before sun exposure to allow it to absorb into the skin and decrease the likelihood of it getting washed off. And if they do go swimming, make sure to reapply after they’re done—even if the sunscreen is waterproof. Don’t think you’re covered by the shade on a cloudy day, either. You can still end up getting burned due to those harmful UV rays.
Most people wouldn’t mind a firm booty, but the more we sit, the softer our seat gets. To get a gravity-defying butt that’s strong and toned, commit to adding exercises that focus on your backside.
Squat it out. Squats are often touted as the best workout for your butt (and thighs), and for good reason. Perform squats using your body weight, a pair of dumbbells or a kettlebell. Stand with your feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart, bend both knees and act like you are sitting back in a chair, until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Keep your chest up, head lifted and abs engaged. Squeezing your glutes, drive through the heels as you return to standing. Try a few variations like narrow squats, single leg squats or squat jumps.
Do you remember swinging from a tree branch or pulling up on the monkey bars when you were younger? Those were variations of what is called suspension training, a form of fitness that’s becoming more popular for integrating the body and mind into workouts.
You may have seen TRX® Suspension Trainer™ at your gym or learned about our new Synrgy360 training system that incorporates suspension training, but it’s also a practical workout you can try at home. Suspension training involves an apparatus made of nylon straps and handles that you can attach to a sturdy anchor in your home, or even in a door jam with a door anchor. You then use your body weight as the resistance to perform exercises that build power, strength, core stability, flexibility and balance.
Image via Behrendt & Rausch/FIBO
Understanding how to use and progress through the weight training 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).
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.
Plyometric workouts have long been known as one of the most efficient and effective ways to train, because they simultaneously burn calories and build muscle. Plyometrics or “plyos” are a type of exercise that encourages muscle development, power, speed and endurance. It can even build bone mass. Get all of these benefits by adding plyos to your fitness routine with these tips from Life Fitness:
What are plyometrics?
Plyometric exercises use explosive, fast-acting movements to develop muscular power. In other words, they are high-impact movements that involve jumping.
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.
Professional tennis players are some of the best athletes in the world. Tennis involves strength, speed, agility, footwork and endurance to last the match. Getting more court time to practice your strokes is important, but even for recreational players, sports-specific conditioning is the key to improvement.
Strength Training: Strength training increases the power of your shots and minimizes injuries by protecting the joints that are subject to repetitive stress. Try a combination of dumbbells, resistance bands and cable machines. Focus on the whole body – legs, arms, back, shoulders and the core. Try a circuit style workout moving from exercise to exercise. Make sure to incorporate rotational movements and balance exercises.
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.
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.
It should come as no surprise that you need both a healthy diet and an effective workout plan to reach your health and wellness goals. As the old saying goes, “You can’t out-train a bad diet.” If you want to be healthy inside and out, you have to eat clean and train mean. Some people take this mantra very seriously, but even small lifestyle changes will go a long way. Use these tips to clean up your diet and step up your workouts:
What is eating clean? Eating clean involves not only choosing the right foods to eat but also avoiding junk foods and processed foods whenever possible. Try eating more plant foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Also consider choosing grass-fed and free-range meats and poultry, fresh fish, low fat dairy products and raw nuts and seeds.
Your smartphone isn’t just for Facetime, Foursquare and Facebook. It’s also for fitness. More people are turning to apps to track their fitness, enhance their workouts, find better foods and customize their workout experience. Here are just three ways you can get fit with your phone:
Track what you are eating and how much you are moving with this popular app. If you want to be on the positive side of statistics (the people who lose weight and keep it off) track what you are eating. This app is easy to use and its database makes it easy to find, select and log your meals. Plus, it remembers foods you eat regularly so you can easily select them. Track the type and duration of your workouts and find out approximately how many calories you burned. This free app also features an online community for further support and features.
When we feel sick, we call the doctor, and when we have a leaky pipe, we call the plumber. So when 30 minutes of cardio training and a stop in the weight room doesn’t generate the fitness results we want, why not turn to a professional who can coach us through the rut?
The American Council on Exercise boasts more than 50,000 certified fitness professionals in the world, making it easier than ever to tap a local trainer to fit your budget. A trainer typically costs between $40 and $90 per hour, and less for small group training. If you’re struggling with the personal trainer debate, we've got five reasons why now may be the time to invest in some exercise support:
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 trainer.
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:
With the Tour de France taking place the next few weeks, it’s the perfect time to use this famous race as inspiration for your own workouts.
Enjoy the health benefits. Cycling is a heart-pumping cardio activity that can increase your endurance and stamina, and lead to better overall fitness and muscle tone. When cycling, your quads, hamstrings and glutes do most of the work, but your core muscles will get a great workout, too. Outdoor cycling is particularly beneficial because you have to deal with the challenges of gravity, weather and terrain. Mix up your daily routine by using your bike as a means of transportation this summer and you’ll notice a difference in your endurance after a couple weeks.
Water workouts are easy on the joints and beneficial to the entire body and mind. While the buoyancy of water can make you feel light and relaxed, don’t let the calm water fool you. Pool moves can blast calories, increase heart rate and boost muscle strength. Add a pool workout to your routine with these tips:
Try an aerobics class. Many fitness facilities now have aqua classes in their group fitness schedule. Circuit classes and boot camps are offered in the pool using tools like Styrofoam dumbbells, noodles, resistance tubing and medicine balls. (Yes, medicine balls float in water.) Your gym may even have the latest fitness craze, Aqua Zumba, an in-water dance party that offers a more intense, full body workout.
With exercise, if you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting. To help you avoid the dreaded weight-loss plateau, we've rounded up some of the top trends in group exercise.
Most clubs offer a wide range of classes for all fitness levels and interests like group cycling, boot camp, power yoga or a kickboxing class. Sign up for a class to mix up your routine or better yet, do a different workout each day. It’s important to have fun, try new things and change fitness routines often.
Strength training is a beneficial form of exercise for everybody no matter your age, gender, or fitness background. And no, it’s never too late and you are never too old to get started.
It’s important to know a few fundamental principles of strength training:
Most dream of having sculpted abs, but it’s not an easy goal to reach. The abdominals are used in virtually every movement from running and lifting to bending and jumping. While cardio exercises will whittle away your middle by torching calories and burning fat, you can achieve a flatter and tighter stomach with the right strength exercises. And crunches aren’t the only way. Try these non-crunching exercises to get results:
Plank: This traditional exercise starts in the standard push-up position: face down, hands shoulder-width apart and balancing on your toes with the abs contracted. (To modify, you can start on your forearms instead of your hands and/or drop your knees to the mat.) The most important thing is to keep your body straight from head to heels (or knees if modifying). Maintain the position for 15-30 seconds by engaging the abdominal muscles and holding the position, being mindful not to let you chest or lower back sag. Use a mirror to check your form. As your core muscles improve, you will be able to hold this position longer. Gradually increase your time up to a minute or more. To increase the difficulty, try lifting one leg to create a balance challenge.
Valentine’s Day means dates with your loved one. But don't think that quality time needs to be spent at a cozy restaurant or any other traditional date spot. Try sweating it out together at the gym. Exercising with a special someone is not only a way to partake in some friendly competition, but a way to stay accountable to your training goals.
Lift and spot. Whether at the gym or at home, strength training is an important part of a healthy workout routine and is often more effective when done in pairs. Lifting weights with a loved one should reflect the strengths of your relationship, too, because the best weight lifting partners are trustworthy, accountable and motivating. You can spot each other with the heavy weights, help each other with form and encourage each other to reach your goals.
The 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.
Many golfers start the season with visions of greatness only to become frustrated when their game plateaus or even gets worse. One of the best ways to prepare before each game is to warm up your muscles and your mind. Done consistently, golf stretching exercises can help your range of motion, your strength and ultimately your handicap.
Dynamic golf stretches are the key to a warm up and involve sports specific movements that start with a small range of motion for the first few reps and increase the range as you go. (Static stretches should only be done after your golf game.) Get to the course a little early and do this pre-game warm-up. It should take no more than 10 minutes and allow time for a few practice swings before you tee off.
Fitness boot camps have become exceedingly popular in the past year thanks to the variety and effectiveness they offer participants.
In 2012, the American College of Sports Medicine listed ‘group fitness’ as a global fitness trend to watch and here we break down the benefit of giving the trend a try.
It’s finally summer and adults and kids alike are hitting the court for a pick-up game of basketball with friends, neighbors or coworkers. Depending on the intensity of your game, basketball can be a great total body workout with all the benefits of a cardio session at the gym. You don’t have to be a pro to play, but there are a few things you can do to improve your game and get more out of court time.
Strength Training: Shooting the basketball involves chest and shoulder muscles. If you haven’t shot a ball in a few months your muscles will be talking after your first game. Start doing pushups on a regular basis to strengthen your shooting muscles. Begin with 10 and work up to 3 sets of 20 each day. If traditional pushups are too difficult, start on your knees and work up to performing them from a full plank position.
Ever wonder what that foam cylinder lying around in the gym is for? It’s a Foam Roller, a popular tool for relief from sore, tight muslces. It may just be the tool that can improve your flexibility and help prevent injury. After workouts, muscles can become tight and range of motion can feel limited. Muscles are like rubber bands and the further you stretch them, the better they can power you. So grab a foam roller and use these tips to help stretch out and prevent injury.
Thinking of skipping your workout for a hot date tonight? Think again. Step outside of your sedentary dinner-and-a-movie comfort zone and go for an active date instead. Not only is it great for your health, it can be great for your relationships, too. The next time you’re making plans with your significant other, try one of these active date ideas:
Try something new. Choose an activity that is both new and physically challenging to you and your partner; the fun is often in the unknown. For example, try indoor rock climbing, ice-skating, kayaking or snowboarding. You might just discover a new workout you both enjoy.
When you’re trying to get into shape, the question isn't whether or not you'll hit a plateau, it's when. Plateaus are as inevitable as rainy days and Mondays—and just about as welcome. Before you throw in your workout towel, first know you aren’t alone. A plateau simply means you have reached a state of equilibrium: the calories you’re consuming and the calories you’re burning are balanced. Balance is a good thing; it’s your body’s way of announcing that you’ve succeeded. But if your weight loss has come to a screeching hault, we advise you to perhaps add one thing, change one thing and stop one thing to break free from your plateau and see the results.
The pace of many families appears to be stuck in fast-forward. So many are busier than ever—but busy doesn’t always mean active. Driving in a car, running errands, sitting in meetings and in front of a computer doesn’t mean you are getting the physical activity you need. Try some of these tips to get your family moving, healthy and happy.
Get out in your own driveway. Get out those jump ropes, hula-hoops and basketball. Play hopscotch. Grab some chalk and draw a ladder on the driveway, then time yourselves doing fast feet or single leg jumps along the rungs. Get a quick pick-up game of hoops started, or play a game of four-square. Try to think of it as active family playtime instead of workout time.
You’ve decided to seriously invest in your health and hire a personal trainer. It’s a great idea to have a dedicated fitness expert in your corner that can give you advice, keep you honest and produce results. Picking a trainer that can help you overcome your physical and emotional obstacles isn’t always easy. Be smart about your investment and take the time to choose your trainer wisely with these tips:
Do the research. Don’t settle for the first trainer you see when walking through the gym door. Chemistry, education and skill set is important. The trainer you choose should meet your needs in motivational style, training techniques and price. Referrals can be a good assessment of a trainer and always make sure they are certified by an National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCAA) accredited organization.
You may think you only need a good pair of shoes, some breathable workout clothes and motivation to be ready to exercise. Well, maybe not. You can go beyond the basics and accessorize your workout with gadgets that solve small annoyances or make it easier to count calories, measure heart rate, track activity levels and stick to your healthy diet. Receiving feedback on these key elements of performance can be very motivating, so you will be more likely to keep up with your workouts.
The BodyMedia FIT armband provides 24/7 feedback on your habits. Take the guesswork out of your weight loss by understanding the three things that make or break a healthy lifestyle: energy expenditure, energy consumption and quality and amount of sleep.
Watching great teams compete in the 2012 Olympics can be truly motivational. Although you may not qualify for any Olympic team sports in the near future, you can still use this surge of inspiration to find your own workout partners and create a winning team.
Not only will a workout partner keep you accountable, but it can add some variety to your workout. If you feel bored with your current routine, mixing it up with someone else by your side might be just what you need.
Here are some ideas on how to get moving with a friend:
When it comes to connecting, Twitter is one of the fastest ways to share and receive information. In 140 characters you can connect with friends, experts, celebs and your favorite brands. In the health and fitness world, Twitter is a hot bed of great info and advice, but not all Tweeters are created equal. That's why we've compiled a list (that’s really just scratching the surface) of ten great accounts to follow:
1. @BornFitness - Adam Bornstein is the former editorial director of Livestrong.com and former fitness editor of Men’s Health. He tweets quick fitness advice, tips and articles and encourages his followers to ask questions so he can help them live healthy and strong.
One of the easiest ways to tone your legs is to get up and use them more with consistent walking, jogging or biking routines. These cardio activities will also burn calories and help reduce overall body fat. But if you are looking for lean, strong legs, the prescription is strength training. Rely on variations of good old-fashioned squats, lunges and deadlifts to firm up the muscles in your glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves.
Try the following leg exercises to train your muscles and get your legs ready for summer:
Take the Stairs: Choosing the stairs over the elevator is one of the easiest ways to work your legs during the day and you don’t need any extra equipment, just your body weight. Make it even more effective by taking the stairs two at a time. Push yourself up with your glutes and hamstrings to work the back of your legs.
When time is tight and you have to squeeze in a workout, the first portions that usually get omitted are your warm-up or cool-down, but both are essential to a good workout.
Follow these tips and learn to efficiently incorporate warm-ups and cool-downs into your regular exercise.
Technology can get a bad rap, often blamed for the increasingly sedentary lives many people are leading. But your phone, tablet and television don’t have to be a license to sit still. They can actually be used as motivators to get and stay fit. In fact, in a global survey of exercisers, Life Fitness found that exercisers that use technology to support their workouts consider themselves to be more successful at achieving their weight and fitness goals. Try one of these tech-driven tools to lead a healthier life:
A heart rate monitor can be a great tool for monitoring workouts. Most cardio machines feature an embedded heart rate monitor that clearly displays how hard the body is working. You can also wear a heart rate monitor for indoor and outdoor workouts. To effectively us it, it’s important to know your maximum heart rate. This is the highest number of times your heart can beat in one minute and offers a key figure in determining training intensities. Using heart rate to create interval training sessions or steady-state workouts, can strengthen the heart and improve cardiovascular fitness.
When you think vacation, visions of warm sun, a good book and a frosty drink probably come to mind – and then you remember how challenging it is to maintain your exercise routine when you go on vacation. The good news is you don’t have to choose between total indulgence and dedicated fitness on your next vacation.
1. Plan an adventure vacation. If you need to get away, plan a cruise that makes stops at exotic locations where you can rock climb, snorkel, hike, bike or swim. Many cruises have tracks where you can power walk or jog, and often offer top-notch gyms on board
If ships and open water isn’t your thing, plan a trip to a tropical destination where you can trek through the rainforest or a mountain adventure, which will guarantee a good calorie burn.
We all know that après 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:
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.
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 longpower walk to burn them off. A 150-pound person walking for one hour at 4 mph would burn about 272 calories.
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.
Joining an online fitness and health community is a powerful way to share tips and workouts, provide support and stay accountable. One study from the University of Texas even found that active online weight loss community members lost more weight than members who were inactive.
Get the right support. Do you long to have the support of a community and access to fitness experts like contestants on The Biggest Loser? With an online community you can commit to your goals and share struggles and successes alongside others in your same position. Fitness community sites range from free, forum based communities to monthly subscriptions with access to exercise and nutrition experts and structured programs designed to fit your personal goals. Pick one that fits your personality, goals and budget.
Did you know that regular exercise has been proven to reduce stress, boost self-esteem, improve sleep and ward off anxiety and feelings of depression? While exercising, the body releases chemicals called endorphins that reduce your perception of pain and trigger a positive feeling in the body that can make you all smiles. Often referred to as a “runner’s high,” the euphoric feeling can energize you and provide mood-boosting benefits long after a workout has ended.
Go for moderate exercise that you enjoy. To make sure you reap the most mood-boosting benefits, work out regularly instead of sporadically. If you begin working out with exercises you enjoy, you are less likely to skip your workouts. Try biking, dancing, power walking or jogging on the treadmill to start. More good news: weight training can be as effective as an aerobic exercise in elevating your mood. Aim for two to three days a week of resistance training using machines, cables or dumbbells.
It’s good when exercise gets boring—that means you’ve been doing it often enough to get bored! Fortunately, you don’t need the latest equipment to keep the spark in your love of fitness. Many forget that they have two very effective fitness “tools” readily available to them at all times—your bodyweight and gravity—which allows you to exercise anywhere, anytime without any equipment needed. That said, because these moves don’t use the latest fitness gizmo or gadget, some people find that standard bodyweight exercises can get stale pretty quickly. Luckily for you, freshness has arrived—the bodyweight exercise variations below will engage your mind and bring a novel challenge to your body!
Most sports fans can rattle off the names and recent successes of their favorite athletes without giving it much thought, so why not use them as fitness inspiration.
Train like a pro with these tips:
Be committed. Make exercise a part of your everyday life, instead of just temporary activity. Athletes are always thinking about how to improve their performance and stay committed to reaching new goals. Start by being committed enough to work out even on those days even when you don't feel like it.
Willpower is discipline - it means doing what you know you should do, whether or not you feel like doing it. Wake up and choose willpower daily, and build it up like you would a muscle!
Here are some areas to focus on as you work out your willpower.
Think short-term. Willpower can be found in your habits, so think of what you can do today to meet your goals. Focus only on your next immediate goal, whether it is building muscle, toning up or losing weight. For strength training, try fitting in two sessions a week at first. Once you have that mastered, try three times a week.
Don’t cheat your body of a good workout by using poor form. Avoid the mistakes that can affect your workout results and cause injury by focusing on your technique. Next time you go for or a run or jump on the treadmill, keep in mind these dos and don’ts of cardio exercise technique.
- Don’t slump over the treadmill or elliptical, holding on for dear life. Your hands only belong on the equipment for balance and not support. When you use the equipment as your prop, you are not burning optimal calories and you aren’t effectively working your lower body. Plus, you are putting unnecessary strain on your wrists and back by leaning into the equipment.
- Do straighten up your back, look straight ahead, rest your hands lightly on the rails and get the most out of your workout.
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.
Has simply looking at an athlete, fitness trainer or someone in ideal shape inspired you to increase your workouts? Picturing how you want to look and feel can be a big motivator to exercise regularly and make healthy decisions.
Repetitive visualization, combined with your associated emotions, will help develop your power to visualize and take action to achieve your goals. Here are several ways you can use the power of visualization in your quest to live fit.
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.
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.
Now that spring has sprung, everyone has sleeveless shirts on the mind. Follow these tips to achieve sculpted arms in four to six weeks.
For the moves below, we recommend choosing hand weights heavy enough that you'll feel fatigued after 12 to 15 reps. If 15 reps feel easy, try something a little heavier, but don't overdo it.
Perform two sets of each of the following moves and you'll be ready for sleeveless season in no time!
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.
If summer travel has you staying in hotels throughout the next few months, there are ways to maintain your regular workout routine when you’re away from home. Whether your hotel has a huge fancy gym or a small facility with just a few machines, use these tips to make the most out of your hotel workouts.
When it’s possible, try to book a hotel that has a complete gym. You can give the concierge a call or go online to check out hotel gyms before you make a reservation. If you are traveling on vacation, some resort gyms come complete with a full range of exercise machines, weights and even classes.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Exercise is the perfect remedy to alleviate stress. It can release built-up tension, stress and any frustrations about your day. Exercise also provides you with endorphins, which can boost your mood. Plus, the social aspects of exercise, interacting with friends at the gym and building camaraderie through small group workouts, can reduce stress and promote your overall sense of wellbeing. The more you enjoy the exercise you are doing, the less stressed you will feel. We suggest checking out these stress-busting options.
The concept known as ‘flow’ involves finding something you enjoy doing so much that you lose track of time while doing it. It’s always important to stay mentally aware of your movements when using fitness equipment, however, you can trick your mind and body into losing track of time and getting into an exercise ‘flow’ with a few tricks. .
TV doesn’t have to mean sedentary. Multitask by watching TV when you work out and you may be able to find the ‘flow’ more easily. The TVs in your gym are meant to act as healthy distractions while you exercise.
Try aligning your next gym visit with timing of a favorite TV show – watch it from a fitness machine instead of your couch, and let your mind escape while your body continues working out.
While most people strive to find time for a regular fitness routine, there are a small percentage of people who tend to overtrain their bodies. Overtraining can happen when you are working your body so hard that it doesn't have a chance to recover in time for your next workout.
How can you tell if you're overtraining?
There are a few tell-tale signs: