Tag: athlete

Know Your Gym Lingo

Know Your Gym Lingo

Remember that feeling of the first day of school, the first day at a new job, or showing up to a party not knowing anyone? The first day at the gym can bring up those same kinds of feelings.

 

For many new gym goers, the gym can be an intimidating place trying to learn how all the machines work and then there are all these terms that you start hearing. Lifting weights, also called resistance training or strength training, is any type of exercise that requires the body to move against an opposing force. Think about exercises that push, pull, lift, and cause that grunt and groan.

 

The following are some of the most common terms you might hear when weight training. It may also give you some ideas of how to mix up your routine.

Superset: A superset is when an individual does one lifting movement and then immediately does another movement for a different body part. Example: Push-ups then right into squats

 

Giant Sets: Giant sets are performed when an individual completes more than two movements in a row without rest. Example: pull downs (back), crunches (stomach), then squat jumps (legs).

Concentric: This is the “positive” movement of the exercise. Example: the curling up when completing a dumbbell curl or the pressing down when completing and tricep pushdown.

Eccentric: This is the “negative” portion of the exercise. Example: straightening the arms after curling them in a bicep curl. Super-secret tip: do this part of the exercise slowly (count to five), and your muscles will tone up much faster.

Isometric: There is no movement during and isometric exercise. Example: a plank or a wall sit.

Drop sets: This is when an individual will take the amount of weight they are lifting and lower it by a percentage in order to complete more reps. Example: Leg curls for 10 reps at 40 pounds, then drop the weight to 30 pounds for 10 more reps.

Exercise in Everyday Activities

Exercise in Everyday Activities

The body burns calories 24/7, even while asleep, so how do every day activities stack up against traditional exercise when it comes to burning calories?

We all burn calories during our daily routines, and there’s even a name for it — non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT). It’s the energy we use for everything (not including sleeping, eating, or sports-like exercise) from walking up stairs to texting.

Everyday activities might seem mundane, but they can be an opportunity to burn some extra calories — no gym required.

But can these NEAT activities really count as exercise? Don‘t give up the gym membership yet; for most people, daily activities such as shopping or housework don’t get the body working hard enough to get the heart rate up, or engage the muscles enough to count toward the CDC exercise guidelines.  However, it doesn’t mean it’s not a good way to sneak in some easy calorie burning. Every little bit help.

There are many opportunities each day to boost the calorie burn, so turn off the auto pilot and get in the habit of doing daily activities with more speed, energy, and intensity.

  1. Stride Right — whether it’s shopping for groceries at the market or a new pair of shoes at the mall, shopping means walking, and walking burns calories. Walking for 30 minutes can burn over 120 calories, and by picking up the pace the burn can be over 150 calories. Park as far away from the entrance as possible to add some distance to the walk, and just say no to elevators and escalators. Take the stairs to burn an extra five calories per minute.
  2. Do the Vacuum while vacuuming — the exercise is called the vacuum, and it’s an easy addition to any vacuuming (or sweeping) routine.  Take in a big breath and fill the lungs with air. While breathing out, draw the belly button in toward the spine.  The dust bunnies are gone and the core muscles get a workout all at the same time. And adding some vigor to the vacuuming will not only get it done quicker, but it will burn a few extra calories too.
  3. Bottoms up — kitchen activities, like cooking and doing the dishes, may only  burn around 75 calories, but add in some gluteus Maximus isometrics (read: squeezing the butt), while chopping those veggies or washing posts and pans, and the backside gets a workout too.
  4. Sitting on an (isometric) goldmine — Sitting in a class, a meeting, or at a desk may only burn around 49 calories, but it doesn’t mean those muscles aren’t able to do some too. Work the shoulders by crunching them toward the ears. Add in some butt squeezes and vacuum abs, and let the muscle toning begin.
  5. Wax on, wax off — washing the car can burn 135 calories in 30 minutes, but add in a few sets of calf raises to reach the top of the car, along with a few sets of squats to wash the tires, and the legs get a workout, too. Bonus: Saving some cash by ditching an expensive carwash.
Fuel Up – What To Eat Before You Workout

Fuel Up – What To Eat Before You Workout

Plenty of energy and a calm stomach are two keys to a great workout.

Not sure what and when to eat before you exercise? Here are a few of my faves that have ideal amounts of carbs and protein to keep you fueled up. Bonus—they’re easy to prepare.

Oatmeal: It settles well and provides long-lasting energy, while added fruit will hit the bloodstream quickly to get you going. I add a scoop of protein powder and a tablespoon of flaxseed to mine with a slash of milk to cool it down.

A whole-wheat bagel with jam: “Simple carbs burn quickly, like paper, while complex carbs burn like wood and take a little longer to provide energy. An easy-to-digest whole-grain bagel with jam or a drizzle of honey combines both types of carbs. It’s an easy way to fuel your workout from start to finish.

Greek yogurt: Greek yogurt contains substantial protein and carbs, and less sugar than the regular kind, and unless you’re lactose intolerant, it’s easy on the stomach, which is ideal before intense activity or bouncing exercises like Zumba or plyometrics. Add fruit, honey, or ¼ cup of whole-grain cereal for an extra energy kick.

Protein shake with added carbs: Premade protein shake mixes are an easy on-the-go snack, and a good way to reap protein’s benefits while adding carbs to stay energized. Aim for a 4:1 carb-to-protein ratio with 10 to 20 grams of protein. I use a shake powder with water (juice is also a good choice), and a banana or other fruit to provide carbs.

Brown rice with chicken: If you tend to exercise later in the day, try to avoid rich, fatty foods. Although a simple dish of brown rice with chicken may be a little bland, it sits well and provides a good amount of carbs and protein. Brown rice is a much better source of complex carbs than is white rice.

Bread with cheese or egg: A slice of whole-wheat bread with low-fat cheese, is easy on the stomach too, and it provides protein and slow-release carbs. Or, as an alternative, top toast with scrambled eggs.

Timing is everything. Even the best foods can come back to haunt you mid-workout if not allowed to properly digest, so it’s best to eat 30 minutes to an hour before you work out—longer after heavy meals. While certain foods settle well and hit the bloodstream quickly, exercising on a full stomach can still make you feel sluggish. Worse, it can cause stomach cramps, because exercise pulls blood away from stomach to the muscles.

If you can’t wait more than 45 minutes between meal and workout, remember that it’s always better to have a small snack (easily digestible, simple-carb snack like yogurt or fruit) rather than exercise on an empty stomach, and then and eat a full meal after exercising.

Achieve Physical Confidence

Achieve Physical Confidence

Everyone pretty much knows that exercise does a body good, and as mortal humans, we need to exercise. There are 100s of reasons to exercise including  improved heart health, living longer, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, weight control, and increased bone and muscle strength… just to name a few of my favorites.

Some exercise is better than none, more exercise is generally better than less, and no exercise can be disastrous. But just in case you need a few more reasons, here you go.

Self-confidence relates to our self–assuredness in our personal judgment, ability, and self-worth. Exercise is an important tool that helps us achieve physical confidence. Beyond day-to-day energy demands, the ability to be physically fit and able to meet any physical situation is very empowering.

Here are 7 ways in which exercise boosts confidence:

Sense of Achievement: Exercise is great for giving you the feeling that you have done something rather than just sitting around.

Change of Mindset: Stressed out? Lost in anxious and negative thoughts? Doing physical exercise can shake this mindset and make you feel confident and positive.

Enhanced well-being: When you exercise, the body releases chemical substances known as endorphins which relieve stress and make you feel good psychologically. This will absolutely boost your confidence because you physically feel better. It’s like nature’s Prozac.

Appearance: Exercise tones you up and can enhance any body shape. Feeling attractive and good about the way you look pumps up your self-confidence.

Anchors Ahoy: Exercise acts as a reliable anchor point and can make you feel in charge. When it feels like you are in control of nothing, one thing you can control is how to be active. Make the choice to exercise and enjoy being in charge of at least one thing during your day.

  The Social Butterfly Effect: Whether it is joining a gym, walking in the neighborhood park, attending a yoga or dance class, exercise gives us the opportunity to meet new people. New friends can be a great self-confidence boost.

 Competition: Exercises can ignite that competitive you. Challenge yourself to work out harder, run farther, or do an extra rep, lift a heavier weight, or even try a new exercise class. Going past your limit makes you feel on the top of the world.

 

3 Secrets To Pumping Iron

3 Secrets To Pumping Iron

Secrets of weight training
I love weight training. I have been doing it for over 12 years, and I am always learning new ways to maximize my workouts and my results. Just walk into a bookstore, or browse online and you’ll find hundreds of books all ready to teach you how to gain the benefits of weight training, but there are a few steps you should adhere to no matter what your goals. These steps will ensure optimal results from you weight training activities.

Step # 1: Make your workouts short. Weight training programs should never last more than one hour. Remember, you’re placing stress on the muscles as you lift weights. An hour is the maximum time to exercise without causing stress and possible injuries.

Step # 2: Make your workout intense. During weight training sessions one of your goals should be to challenge your body, so it adapts by building new muscle cells and burning body fat. If you are going to take the time to lift weights, really make it worth your while. I had a football coach tell me that the last rep should look like the first rep.  This little tip helped me to make sure my intensity was at full throttle throughout the entire set.  The last rep won’t feel like the first one, as there is a pretty good chance it will be painful (in a good way) and exhausting, but if you keep good form and intensity, it will show in your results.

Step #3: Consistently change your weight training routines. Regardless of whether you are trying to burn fat, improve sports performance, boost your metabolism, get more tone, or become a body builder, change is a must. To reach your goals most effectively and work smarter, you must constantly challenge your body. Your body can adapt very quickly to repetitive routines week after week. Adding more weight, changing the routine and changing the number of repetitions are all excellent ways to keep change in your weight training workouts.You should change your workout routine at least every four weeks, but you can mix it up every week if you prefer.

The new fitness buzz is that weight training is the new cardio.  I don’t think it is a replacement for cardio, but the benefits of weight training are endless… for men and women.

Avoid First Time Failures – The Secret to Exercise Success

Avoid First Time Failures – The Secret to Exercise Success

We recently signed our kids up for soccer based on a friend’s recommendation. It turned out to be somewhat of a logistical nightmare, as there were a few things that made it less than fun for the kids.

Needless to say, the first practice was horrible. If it were up to Samantha, she would never go back. Luckily, I wasn’t going to let her quit, especially not after only one practice. The first day of anything is usually overwhelming in one way or another.

The next practice was a little better, and the next one after that was even better. She finished out the season with some great new skills, and with the idea that she stuck with it. For an eight year old, sticking with something is not at the top of her list of great moments, but I feel like it was a great life lesson, nonetheless.

When I think about it, almost everything we do for the first time is difficult, whether it’s the first day at a new job, or the first day starting an exercise routine.  Yep, now you know where I am going with this.

The first time I took a spin class, I thought I was going to pass out. It sucked. But, I knew that I had to give it at least one more try. I couldn’t just quit after one time. The next week I took another spin class, and it didn’t suck quite as bad. I decided to give it another chance, just to be sure. I have been spinning for over a year now, and I love it… and hate it.

The secret to making exercise easier is to do it — to get used to it by sticking with it. The more you do it, the easier it becomes. Here is another secret. It’s supposed to be difficult. If it wasn’t difficult, you wouldn’t be pushing yourself, and you wouldn’t be improving your health and your life.

It can be easy for people to fail at exercise when they don’t realize that it gets easier. If you try something, and the first time you decide you don’t want to do it anymore because it’s too hard, failure is guaranteed.

But is it really too hard? If you try something once, do you even have enough data to say if something is difficult or not? It may be more likely that you’re just not used to it, rather than it being too hard.

One of my trainer friends put this on her FB page.

In the first 30 days of training/exercising you will FEEL the difference.

 In the 2nd 30 Days of training/exercising you will be able to SEE the difference.

For 60 days and beyond of training/exercising your coworkers, family & friends will see the difference.

There is no quick fix, but it gets easier if you just stick with it.

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