training tipsLearn about effective training from the experts at OrangeTheory
Need a summer body fast? try a rowing machine
Summer is right around the corner, and it’s time to get serious about your beach body! Choosing an exercise program can often be overwhelming, but getting in shape doesn’t require you to scale mountains or hit the pavement for a long run. At Orangetheory Fitness, we use a heart rate based interval training that stimulates metabolism and increases energy while utilizing the rowing machine.
You may be thinking, “what is a rowing machine?” This machine has changed the fitness game for the better, and provides a low-impact, full body workout without the strain. Unlike an elliptical – you can’t cheat! You need your entire body to complete a full stroke on the machine every time.
What the Rowing Machine Is
This piece of exercise equipment mimics the motion of rowing a boat, making it the perfect low-impact full body workout. This machine is a game changer. Not only is it great for weight loss, toning, and building muscles, but it works out several major muscle groups and can help develop both the upper and lower body. The rowing machine is considered an aerobic, or cardio, workout meaning it causes you to be out of breath very quickly. Other aerobic exercises include sprinting, dancing and kickboxing. It’s the perfect workout for a fast and effective, high calorie burn.
Why Orangetheory Fitness Utilizes the Rowing Machine
No matter what your age is, a fitness plan that includes cardio contributes to your overall health. When paired with walking or jogging on the treadmill, the rowing machine increases the effectiveness of your cardio workout. A rowing machine allows users to burn an average of 600 calories in an hour, making it a great workout to maintain your target zone and keep burning calories after your workout.
In addition to the great physical benefits the rowing machine provides, it also strengthens other aspects of your body. By using the machine as an endurance exercise, it increases heart function and uses carbohydrates to provide the energy required to function. Aerobic workouts improve your lungs, heart and circulation systems in addition to toning your muscles.
Fitness junkies are making the switch to the rowing machine because it burns two to three times the number of calories as a spin class. With summer only weeks away, it’s crunch time. At Orangetheory Fitness, we recognize the benefits of the rowing machine and combine it with more cardio and weight training, making it an effective, 60 minute full-body workout plan that burns calories – just in time for your summer body.
WAYS TO GET THROUGH THE FLU SEASON
AVOIDING FITNESS SCAMS & FRAUDS
It’s no secret that flu season is in full swing. This year’s strain is the most widespread case in the 13 years since health officials began tracking the illness. Flu symptoms vary from person to person, but common symptoms to watch out for include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headaches and fatigue. With such undesirable symptoms, avoiding the flu is imperative. Check out some of our tips below to survive this year’s flu season.
Take Preventative Actions
Besides getting a flu vaccine, there are several preventative actions you can take to avoid contracting the flu. Although it may seem self-explanatory, you should avoid direct contact with sick individuals as much as humanly possible. Always wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer if you are on the go. To stop the spread of germs, keep your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth. When you cough or sneeze, be sure to cover your mouth. If you do contract the flu, the Centers for Disease Control recommends staying home for at least 24 hours after your fever has subsided.
Nourish Your Body
Keeping your body in tip-top shape is a major way to prevent catching any illness, not only the flu. Research shows that regular exercise is a key way to maintain optimal health and decreases your risk of getting a cold or the flu. Exercise increases your circulation and blood flow, which results in strengthening your immune system. Antibodies and white blood cells are sent throughout the body during exercise, which act as your defense. Additionally, exercise helps you sweat out toxins and relieve stress. A relaxed, mindful body is less susceptible to falling ill. To accompany exercise, prioritizing nutrition, getting enough sleep, and staying hydrated are other ways to keep your body in excellent shape. Everyone knows that a nutritious diet is essential for maintaining overall health. But, a lesser known fact is that a poor diet actually lowers your immunity and makes your body more vulnerable to illness. Prevent the flu this year by eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins.
We hope you all stay healthy this flu season, so you can join us for our upcoming OTF Victory Park parties! On February 9th we will be tackling the flu with the power of orange at Buda Juice, and on February 10th we will be brunching with Dallasites101 and DJ Jesse Koo at the Rustic. Hope to see you there!
For Fitness Professionals, the most wonderful time of the year is just around the corner. January 1st begins the busiest time of the year with many people either making new fitness and health resolutions or getting back to business as usual after the holidays. But, buyer beware as this is also the time of year when scammers come out to prey on those who are looking for a quick and easy solution. What are signs that a product or service is a scam? Here are some helpful tips to help you identify a scam and steer clear:
- Specific claims that you will lose X amount of weight in a specific amount of time. For example: “Try the Wonder Shaper! Guaranteed to drop 10 pounds from your belly in 2 weeks.” Nobody can make claims like this due to individuals starting points and food intake. I can guarantee that there is fine print somewhere in the ad stating that these results would not be typical.
STAYING FIT DURING THE HOLIDAYS
- The last example also includes another tip off. It stated that the weight would drop from the belly. Fat spot reduction is a myth as fat tends to come off somewhat evenly across the entire body when fat loss occurs.
- Everyone who has used the Internet has probably seen the ads that claim that if you follow some simple (and usually strange) tip, you will start dropping weight immediately and achieve a perfect physique. These are usually ads for supplements containing exotic or secret ingredients. While these may have some studies backing them up, the studies usually state that this ingredient may help weight loss or the weight loss is only seen in a small percentage of those tested. Again, read the fine print and do your own research on ingredients that you will and will not put in your body.
- Disregard the before and after pictures. Unfortunately, these can easily have been altered with software. Lighting, posing, makeup, and clothing choice can all make a subject look more or less flattering.
There are cases in which the before and after subject used a current picture for the after and purposefully gained weight for the before. There is no limit to what people will do to get your money. A couple of quick ones:
-- Are the claims backed by scientific research or is it all testimonial based?
-- Do they claim that results are easy to achieve?
-- Read all the fine print.
In the same vein, be aware that in most states there is no state-wide credentialing for personal trainers. Anybody can call themselves a personal trainer and start training clients without any education. If you are hiring a personal trainer:
-- Ask to see their Personal Trainer certification and verify that it is NCCA accredited or that they have college education in Kinesiology or Exercise Science.
-- Ask for references from their current or former clients.
-- Interview the personal trainer and make sure he/she understands what your goals are, not what the personal trainer’s goals are for you.
It is no secret that the holidays are a time when everyone is busy and something just must give. Often, that something is exercise. You may think if you skip your workout, you will free up time for all the other things that must be done. However, it is important to keep on track with your workout routine or running schedule this season. Even if you do not have the time for a full workout, a short session is better than no session to keep you mentally on track and your body healthy.
One reason to keep exercising is it keeps you in a better mood – something we could all definitely use during the stressful holidays. Before your trip to a family get-together, get out for a jog or walk to put you in a great frame of mind to enjoy the holidays. Many gyms are closed during the holidays, but walking outside or doing a few rounds of body weight exercises at home should do the trick.
Another benefit is that working out helps you to manage your sleep. Getting the proper amount of sleep will leave you rested to tackle shopping, in-laws or traffic. Keep track of how morning or evening exercise affects your sleep. Some exercisers report that evening sessions keep them awake and wound up at night.
Better food choices are a huge benefit of maintaining your workout routine. People engaged in a workout routine tend to make better food choices. Being in a healthy routine helps you make healthy choices in all aspects of life. When you are confronted with a dessert plate at a party, you may go for the fruit instead knowing how hard you worked on your run or at the gym this morning.
Finally, if you stay fit all season, you don’t need a January 1st fitness re-commitment. If you stay on your routine, there is no need for New Year’s fitness resolutions. Once you get off your routine, it can be very hard to get back on it. Truly, a body in motion stays in motion and a body at rest stays at rest. Even if your workouts are not as intense or you are not doing the mileage that you are used to, you will be mentally in the routine of working out.
If you can stay fit during the holidays that’s great! But if you fall back a little, don’t beat yourself up about it. Understand that if you miss one workout, you have not blown your entire week. Do not throw your hands up and give up on the week or holiday season. Get back on track tomorrow and put it behind you!
Inspiration & Motivation for the next level
Going to the next level in any fitness endeavor takes pushing ourselves past a point of comfort. Some people are quite comfortable with being uncomfortable, while others struggle pushing across a certain threshold. I want to be careful and not say “no pain, no gain” and I am being very careful not to use the word pain in this article. Exercisers are advised that if they are in actual PAIN to back off whatever they are doing. However, there is a difference between the burn of athletic effort and pain. Knowing the difference is important.
What does it take to push past the point of wanting to quit? How can you have the grit to finish what you started? Fitness progress has much to do with consistency of effort and simply doing what you said you were going to do. There are some strategies you can employ to complete your effort and reach your fitness goals.
- Having a great workout or training partner is the number one strategy for completing your effort with the same or greater intensity than you started. I used to tell my clients that they just need to find somebody to workout with, however, sometimes this can backfire. The trick is to find someone who is not going to sleep through their alarm, bail out half way through the workout or suggest a trip to the taco stand instead of a workout. On the other hand, a partner who is much more advanced may push you to the point of injury or overtraining. So be picky and find somebody who will help push you when you want to quit, but will not leave you so exhausted you must take the day off work.
- Along the same lines of the first suggestion is to find a group that focuses on your sport or area of interest. This could be a running, cycling or group exercise group. Groups foster a sense of community and the feeling that “we are all in this together,” along with a healthy dose of peer pressure. In a group setting, we do not want to be the person who stops.
- When the feeling sets in that you want to stop, ask yourself the simple question of “why do I want to quit?” Usually the answer will not be a very good one unless it is “I am in pain.” If the end is very close, use self-talk to realize that the finish is soon and that you will feel accomplished if you do the whole thing. Reminding ourselves that new fitness levels are achieved at the point of discomfort. If the end is not soon, ask yourself if you started too fast or picked up too much weight. Would you be able to finish if you backed off a bit?
- Use heart rate training to motivate you. Are you training in the appropriate zones for the type of exercise you are doing today? If you quit now will you hit the targeted number of minutes in the zone? You can see my articles about Heart Rate Training farther on down this page.
Next level fitness goals are achieved by being uncomfortable. Learn to embrace these moments and enjoy the endorphins afterward!
Cross Training for Runners
Staying Motivated and Focused at the Gym
Heart Rate Monitor Training – Part 1
Heart Rate Monitor Training – Part 2
Transitioning from Indoor to Outdoor Activities
Staying Committed to Resolutions and Goals
As a personal trainer, I often get the question “how can I be a better runner” or “how can I be a faster runner” or “how can I help prevent injuries.” There is a principle that all fitness professionals are taught called the SAID principle (specific adaptations to imposed demands). This simply means if you want to be a better cyclist, you need to ride your bike, if you want to be a better runner, then get out there and run. However, there is only so much you can perform a specific sport without causing overuse injuries. Cross Training is the answer to provide a path to a better athlete and help to prevent injuries. Perfect additions to training for, specifically, running are non-impactful activities and strength training. The following are activities that runners can add to their routine to achieve performance goals and help to prevent injuries:
- Single Sided Strength Training Exercises – Add in single sided exercises to help strengthen the smaller stabilizer muscles and improve muscle imbalances, especially in the ankle, hip and around the knee. Single leg squats, either with or without dumbbells, will quickly show the athlete which leg is stronger and more stable. These can also be done on suspension straps (like TRX) to help assist with balance or challenge the athlete with a deeper squat.
- Core Training – Strengthening the muscles of the core (abdominals, lower back and hips) will help especially longer distance runners complete their distance without a sore back. Runner need a strong base to be able to stabilize their upper body and go the distance. Traditional core training should suffice with exercises like:
- Side Plank
- Bicycle Crunches
- More advanced strength trainers can opt for weighted variations like sit-ups while holding a dumbbell or holding plank with the toes in a TRX strap.
- Rowing – Rowing is a great cross training tool for runners or as an alternative when dealing with an injury. The fitness gains of rowing easily translate to running. Athletes will notice increased strength in glutes, hamstrings and quadriceps while still getting a fantastic cardio workout with low impact.
These are just a few options that can be mixed in with a running routine. Of course, as stated at the beginning of this article, to be a better runner, you must put the miles in. But, being strategic with other modalities can help the runner take advantage of time off the road.
Unless you are a personal trainer, most people have arrived at the gym only to wander around either trying to decide where to start or what to do. Worse, gym goers often find themselves getting distracted from their work out and spend more time focused on things other than improving health and fitness. Of course, some days will be better than others, but use these strategies to come to the gym with a plan and minimize distractions.
Have a Plan – “Failing to plan is planning to fail” – Alan Lakein
First and foremost, know what you are going to do before you get there. What is the intention of the workout? If the purpose is weight training, will the focus be on muscles groups or targeting a full body workout? How will you warmup? What stretches do you need to incorporate? If these are questions you have no idea how to answer, hiring a personal trainer for a few months will help you understand what your body needs for better health and fitness. The trainer can develop a plan that makes sense for you. If this is not an option, there are some great phone apps to help come up with a workout plan as well. Fitness Buddy is a good app that has programs for beginners to experienced gym goers.
This goes along with pre-planning. Any person who has been to a gym knows that there are times when you must wait for equipment. Gym-etiquette says that someone using a piece of equipment should allow you to “work in” with them. This does not always work out, so you should know what other equipment in the gym will serve the same purpose. Again, this may be something worth hiring a personal trainer to educate you on alternatives. It is well worth it to know how to maximize your time, plus free weights can be much more effective than machines that you have to wait on. Here are just a few examples:
•Leg press machine: use instead traditional back squat with a barbell or a dumbbell squat
•Chest press machine: use instead bench press, pushups or TRX press
•Calf machine (standing or seated): use instead the smith bar and a step - https://www.bodybuilding.com/exercises/main/popup/name/smith-machine-calf-raise
It is so easy to get distracted at the gym, but focus on maximizing your time. It is easier to focus if you have a plan in mind and set a goal to finish the entire workout before leaving the gym.
•Leave your phone in the locker. If you are using an app for your workout, put the phone on “Do not disturb.” This is your time, do not be bothered by outside distractions.
•Know yourself, can you better focus on your workout while listening to music with earbuds or is it distracting? Be honest!
•If your cardio equipment is so boring that you must read a book while doing it, find something else to do. Try an interval focused workout that takes you through high and low intensity levels. Try a cardio class or do a circuit training workout utilizing calisthenics
Have you been thinking about training with a heart rate monitor, but are not sure where to start? Many people buy a heart rate monitor system and do not get past simply setting it up and looking at their total calorie expenditure at the end of the work out. That is perfectly fine if that is all you want to do, but you can fine tune your training and watch for over and under training with this device.
Purchasing a monitor is the first step. I will speak generally here because there are about as many types of monitors out there as people. I have stuck with Polar for about 20 years, but others love Garmin and other brands. It is up to you.
Strap Type - Current technology still favors the chest strap as most accurate, but radial or wrist straps can still be quite accurate.
Features – Heart Rate monitors can have GPS, lap counters, split time, daily steps, and any number of other bells and whistles. My monitor will even behave somewhat like an Apple Watch and display notifications from my iPhone.
Technology - Make sure that your monitor will connect with ANT+ technology, this will give the most versatile system. With ANT+, you can pair or link up the display system (watch) with any of the ANT+ heart rate receivers. I have 3 different receivers that will pair to the watch.
Charging and Data - Other considerations are battery life, charging and computer link. Most systems will link to your computer for updates to the watch and upload of watch data to a website. This allows you to view your training data in a more robust format. If you like taking in the minute details of a run (where was your heartrate when you ran up the big hill, for example), you may want to have this feature.
Take your time to research to get the system that meets your needs.
Setting up the system is the next step.
• Typically, the first step of setup is to pair or link the strap to the watch. The strap is positioned somewhere on the body where your heart rate or pulse can be read. In most systems, the device is simply counting BPM (beats per minute). The harder you are exercising the higher your BPM. This is an over-simplification because there are instances where your body is working hard but the heart rate response cannot be measured quick enough (think low repetition, high weight training). There are other heart rate monitors that will also read other factors like acceleration and/or movement, skin perspiration and/or heat, as well as heart rate variability.
• Next, you will need to provide the system with your vital statistics. You can count on having to enter your height, weight and birthdate. These are all pieces of data that all systems need to provide an accurate calculated maximum heart rate and calories burned during activity. Most systems will want to know your level of activity or how often you exercise per week. You may want to set up different profiles for different activities if your system has this function. For example, you may be able to turn off the GPS function when in a cycle class, so you would have a “Cycle Class” profile, but you want the GPS on while running outside, so you would also have a “Running” profile. It is worth reading through your system’s manual to see what is available to get the most out of your purchase.
• Some systems have a “Fitness Test” setting. This is an amazing tool that will help set your true max rate based on a close estimation of your Vo2 max as determined by the Fitness Test. Here is a link explaining VO2 max if you need a tutorial: https://www.verywell.com/what-is-vo2-max-3120097
This should get you started! Next month look for Part 2 of this article discussing how to train with your heart rate monitor.
Last month’s article (see above) discussed the factors in deciding which heart rate monitor to purchase, different functions that might be important in that decision and finally how to set up your heart rate monitor. This month, we will take the discussion further and talk about how to use your heart rate monitor while training.
Training in Zones
Many heart rate systems use the concept of training in zones and most use a 5-zone system. There is a wide variety of ways of calculating these zones, but let’s will stick the simplest system. I will be referencing your maximum heart rate which will be calculated by your heart rate monitor system based on many factors that I discussed in last month’s article.
• Zone 1 is approximately 50%-60% of your maximum heart rate. This should feel easy and on a scale between 1 and 10 maybe around a 4 or 5 perceived exertion. This actual effort will be dependent on your fitness level. While this may be equivalent to a walk in the park by some athletes, some newer exerciser may find a walk in the park higher on their zone chart.
• Zone 2 is approximately 61%-70% of your maximum heart rate. This still feels easy and perhaps not that much different from zone 1. You have upped your exertion level to a good 5 or 6, but you can still hold a conversation.
Zone 1 and 2 training can be used for recovery training. After a hard workout, the next day may require a recovery or zone 1 workout that can be used to let the muscle rebuild and can help avoid over training.
• Zone 3 is approximately 71%-83% of your maximum heart rate. This zone starts to feel moderately intense. You still may be able to hold a conversation, but it will start to feel more labored. This used to be called this the fat burning zone, but now is more often referred to as the endurance or aerobic training zone as your body is still using oxygen as an energy source. Perceived exertion is moving toward the 6-7 range.
Zone 3 can be used as an endurance building zone. Tap into this zone on a long, endurance based day. This is the zone that you will use when doing your long run when training for a marathon or on a long day on the bike.
• Zone 4 is approximately 84%-91% of your maximum heart rate. This zone is feeling uncomfortable and is often used for high intensity interval training (HIIT). It begins to feel hard to speak in full sentences and perceived exertion is up in the 7-8 range. Especially for non-athletes, this zone becomes difficult to maintain for longer than 3-4 minutes.
Zone 4 can be used for a sustained tempo workout when staying at the bottom of this zone. These sessions tend to be shorter and flirt with the anaerobic threshold. This is also the zone that you will be in during most HIIT training especially when working at a 3 or 4 minutes high intensity with 1 to 2-minute recovery.
• Zone 5 is approximately 92% - Maximum heart rate. This zone is highly uncomfortable and should be difficult to maintain for longer than a minute. A conversation is unthinkable and perceived exertion is approaching a 10. You may hit zone 5 at the end of a longer HIIT interval or during 100-meter sprint repeat workout.
Your heart rate monitor system will usually set up your zones automatically based on their algorithm. You should read your heart rate system manual to verify what percentages of max heart rate your system uses for zones. Most systems will let you adjust these zones, if you desire. Most systems will indicate either on the watch face or audible signal what zone you are in or if you are in the desired zone while you are exercising.
Heart Rate Monitor training is a great tool that you can use for any workout. Here are some ideas to try:
• When going for a recovery run or walk, use it to ensure that you are staying in zone 1 or 2.
• For a long training run that will not include sprints, use the heart rate monitor to stay in zone 3. If the heart rate starts to creep into zone 4, it may be time for a walking break.
• For a High Intensity Interval Training session, shoot for zone 4 during the high intensity intervals and do not do the next high intensity interval until the heart rate has recovered to zone 2.
• The same can be done when doing short sprint intervals, do not do the next interval until recovery has been achieved. Approaching intervals in this way, ensures that you will be able to hit maximum effort after your recovery.
It is important to remember that many things can affect your daily heartrate including medication, caffeine, sleep, sickness and stress. You may also not be able to get your heart rate up if your muscles are extremely fatigued.
As the weather starts to get nicer and the days get longer, some of us start transitioning our activities from indoor to outdoor. It is important to take some things into consideration when moving from indoor to outdoor activities especially for injury prevention and joint health.
Consider training volume when moving from the treadmill to road running. One mile on the treadmill will not feel the same as one mile on the road. On the treadmill, terrain can be controlled and you are keeping up with the treadmill belt as you run. On the road, subtle inclines and declines as well as different road pitch will make the run feel different. Also, you must propel yourself forward rather than keeping up with the belt of a treadmill.Transitioning to the road may take scaling back on miles and building back up slowly. Also consider speed when making the transition, it may take a few runs at a slower speed to become accustomed to the road and to help with injury prevention.
Keep in mind that dehydration may be more of a factor when moving into a non-temperature controlled environment and as it gets hotter and more humid outside. Come up with a strategy to stay hydrated. Plan your runs around park water fountains or run a loop passing by your water station. Try putting a water bottle by your mailbox and run loops of your neighborhood so water is always available. A simple solution is to purchase a hydration belt to always have water with you!
Moving to the outdoors may be a good time to check your shoes. Running on the road will induce more impact to the joints, so make sure your shoes are not in need of replacement. If your joints start to bother you after starting an outdoor routine, you may need fresh shoes. Even hip pain could be induced with over-used shoes. If pain persists, contact your physician! Here is a great article to help you determine if it is time for new shoes.
Slow and steady adaptation is the key to a successful outdoor running season. Take small steps to return to the road and they will add up to a long run outside. Now, get out there and enjoy the weather!
Who is still committed to their health and fitness goals? Have the resolutions made in the new year fallen by the wayside? Some start to lose the motivation and drive to stay committed after staying on a strict routine for even a short period. It may be time for some self-reflection on the goals that were made and either adjust or recommit.
It may seem like an obvious question, but why did you commit to the goal in the first place? Having a reminder of the why of the goal in plain site can motivate us to stay committed. For example, if you want to look great for a trip in the spring, keep a photo of the location on the lock screen of your phone. If your doctor asked you to get more exercise and watch your diet, put a copy of your latest blood tests somewhere where you will see it daily.
Is the issue that you do not have a motivating reason, but you just know that you should make some changes to your lifestyle? You may need to create a"why." Set a goal to complete a5K, bike rally, an organized stair climb or any other event that strikes your fancy. The why could even be something like"I will be able to lift my body weight on a dead lift by May1st." Write it down and get to work.
Is the resolution too general? When goal setting or creating new habits, the experts tell us to set specific and measurable goals. Instead of setting the goal to exercise more, set a goal to exercise a specific number of days per week for a specific amount of time and mark these on your calendar. If the goal is to"eat a healthier diet,”be specific about the healthy foods that will be added to your diet.
Is the resolution too strict or incompatible with other parts of life? Are you making yourself miserable to reach the goal? In an effort to make big changes, it can be tempting to swing too far on the side of restriction. For most people this is not sustainable for very long and will soon result in falling back into old habits. If you are showing signs of overtraining or under eating, you may need to see a professional to help you find the road back to moderation (personal trainer and/or a registered dietician). Signs that you may be overtraining from the WebMd website:
• You constantly feel tired or listless.
• You cannot make further fitness gains or you actually move backward in your level of fitness.
• Your resting heart rate increases5 beats per minute. • You have lost your enthusiasm for exercise.
• You feel irritable, angry, or depressed.
It is natural to lose motivation for a goal after working towards that goal for several weeks. The important thing is to take the time to reflect on what is working and what is not and make some adjustments where necessary. Avoid abandoning the goal all together and throw in the towel. It just may need some tweaking to make your goals compatible with your busy life.
Don't Ignore the Core!
No Excuses for the Holidays!
TRAINING FOR AN ENDURANCE EVENT
YOU & YOUR METABOLISM
A BALANCED WORKOUT
- When most of us think of fitness and health, we think ‘cardio’ and ‘weight lifting.’ Most gyms even separate their equipment into a ‘cardio’ room or floor and a ‘weight’ or ‘strength’ area or floor. While cardiovascular and strength training are absolutely key to overall health, the human body is a unique chemistry set that requires a balanced training approach beyond strictly ‘cardio’ and ‘strength.’ In the fitness industry, these terms are often further defined as cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility and body composition. Without getting too in depth, these 5 components are often used by physical education classes in school, fitness centers, gyms and health clubs to directly measure an individual’s fitness level. Beyond these first five fitness components are six additional components of health that are often overlooked, not the focus of training and become more and more important as one gets older. These include agility, balance, coordination, and reaction time.
- Agility is the ability to stop, start and change direction quickly. Agility can be improved by performing footwork drills such as stepping over small cones or moving laterally through a ladder.
- Balance is the ability to control body position while standing or moving. Balance can be trained by standing on one leg with eyes closed or using a BOSU trainer to stand on while performing exercises.
- Coordination is the ability to mentally and physically make movements work together smoothly. Coordination can be improved by balancing on one leg while tossing a medicine ball or tennis ball against a wall or performing a squat on a BOSU while doing bicep curls.
- Reaction time is how quickly an individual responds to a stimulus. This particular aspect of fitness is skill-related and can often be enhanced by practicing a specific sport or reaction to a stimuli (playing tennis, catching a baseball, etc. )
2017 is here, and whether you are a person who sets a resolution or not, we all may be thinking of a fresh start. With that, many are considering a new goal, challenge or habit that will kick off in the new year. Most experts will say that writing down a goal is the first step in success and then measurably tracking the goal or habit daily. Putting goals to pen and paper and using a calendar to track days a habit is successful is one way, but perhaps turning to a phone app is the way to go. These are a few free apps that get high marks for goal and habit tracking.
While primarily an app for tracking calories and macronutrients, Sparkpeople is a robust app that provides several tools for goal tracking centered around diet and exercise. It provides coaching tips that motivate the user to log food and do weigh-ins. One can also manage goals by inputting a weight loss or gain goal. The app will modify the calorie intake based on how much and how quickly the user wants/needs to lose or gain. If exercise is tracked, this will be incorporated into the calculations for required calories for the day.
Mostly used by runners and walkers, Runkeeper has a great goal setting area that leads the user step by step through the goal setting process. The app asks questions about how much the user wants to lose and by when and what level runner you are (beginner, intermediate and advanced). For a monthly fee, Runkeeper will build a customized plan. There is also a free plan that can be used as well. Other goal categories are Challenge Myself (distance challenges), Get Fit, Learn to Run and Run a Race. Run a Race will help the user develop a training plan based on running fitness level, when the race is and how long it is. To say this app is robust is an understatement.
Productive Habits and Daily Goals Tracker
This app is very simple and is more of a habit tracker. It provides premade goals like “eat a good meal”, “limit caffeine”, and “meditate.” The user can also add a customized goal, so one can track anything. Tell the app how many days a week the habit should be done and when reminders should come the app to do or not do the habits. The app provides a calendar to track how many days in a row the habit was completed. This app is very simple and straight forward and is for all types of goal setting.
Coach.me is based on the premise that one should share their goals to provide accountability. Basically, a goal or habit is selected from a long list and the user joins a group of others who are also tracking the same goal. Every day the goal or habit is completed, the user goes to the group and checks in. Users can also post a message to the forum to ask for support or comment. Many different types of goals can be tracked here from exercise to skills like practicing a musical instrument to meditating. The user can set the privacy level and how often reminders are sent.
Good luck with your goals and habits and Happy New Year!
Endurance runners sometimes miss a very important component in their training to aid in a successful run. Core strength is vital for running longevity and crossing the finish line faster and with less pain. The stabilizers in the back and abdominals keep us upright and provide part of the movement of the leg that propels us forward. If your core is weak from poor posture or lack of training, your shoulders may hunch forward closing off your airway and diaphragm making it more difficult to breath. You may also experience lower back pain or hip mobility issues. The quadriceps may not work affectively when the core is not performing at its best. If the quadriceps are not working well, your run will most certainly suffer. When we talk about the core, we are not just talking about the "abs." The core includes, not only your "six pack," but also the muscles on the sides of your waist, the lower back, glutes and the hip flexors. All of the core muscles need to be strengthened and stretched to prevent muscle imbalance.
To aid in maximizing core strength, you can add a few core exercises into your routine. These can be done with very simple equipment (or none at all). These should be performed 2-3 times per week:
1. Plank - Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute with precise form. Rest for 30 seconds and repeat. Work up to 3 sets.
2. V-Up - 10 repetitions and rest for 30 seconds. Work up to 3 sets.
3. Russian Twist - Use a medicine ball or dumbbell and do 10 repetitions per side and rest for 30 seconds. Work up to 3 sets
4. Back Extensions or Superman - 10 repetitions and rest for 30 seconds. Work up to 3 sets.
Always include stretches to improve hip mobility, like the hip flexor stretch to your stretching routine. Upper and lower back stretches are vital after a long run. if you are unfamiliar with the above exercises or stretches, work with a personal trainer or physical therapist to aid you in important strengthening and stretching. As always, consult with your doctor before starting a training program.
It is no secret that the holidays are a time when everyone is busy and something just has to give. Often, that something is exercise. You may think if you skip your workout, you will free up time for all of the other things that must be done. Keep on track with your workout routine or running schedule this season. Even if you do not have the time for a full workout, a short session is better than no session to keep you mentally on track and your body healthy. Exercise benefits are many, but these may help you survive the holidays:
A Better Mood - Study after study show that exercise boosts mood and lowers stress level. Before your trip to a family get together, get out for a jog or walk to put you in a great frame of mind to enjoy the holidays. Many gyms are closed during holidays, but walking outside or doing a few rounds of body weight exercises at home should do the trick.
Sleep Better - Exercise helps you better manage your sleep. Get your sweat session in and get your shut-eye for a better day tomorrow to tackle shopping, in-laws or traffic. Keep track of how morning or evening exercise affects your sleep, though. Some exercisers report that evening sessions keep them awake.
Better Food Choices - People engaged in a workout routine tend to make better food choices. Being in a healthy routine healthy choices in all aspects of life. When you are confronted with a dessert plate at a party, you may go for the fruit instead, knowing how hard you worked on your run this morning.
No January 1 Recommitment Needed - If you stay on your routine there no need for New Year's Fitness Resolutions. Once you get off of your routine, it can be very hard to back on it. Truly, a body in motion stays in motion and a body at rest stays at rest. Even if your workouts are not as intense or you are not doing the mileage that you are used to, you will be mentally in the routine of working out.
Understand that if you miss one workout, you have not blown your entire week. Do not throw your hands up and give up on the week. Get back on track tomorrow and put it behind you.
Whether you're an experienced runner or training for your first 5k, 10k, half-marathon or full marathon, one of the keys to successfully finishing an endurance event is having a progressive and safe training plan in place. The first step to any plan is setting a goal and registering for a specific event. Registering for an event builds accountability and gives you a timeline to safely train (roughly 12 to 14 weeks). When picking an event (especially your first one), chose one that inspires, excites and is similar to the terrain you will be training on. After researching and registering for an event, it's time to start your engine and get the training ball rolling. Whether you decide to hire a run coach or use an online training program, its important to start with a plan that matches your current training level and slowly progresses in mileage, frequency and intensity. The body adapts and improves if you make small changes over a long period of time and thus patience is key. Keep in mind that there will be great and not-so-great training days throughout the process. At the end of the day, overall consistency and steady improvement will help you achieve success and keep you safe in your event. Throughout the training process, get social by joining run groups or clubs, challenge the body by mixing up practice terrain and routes, and don't be afraid to cross-train by adding activities such as flexility training, cycling, elliptical, yoga or swimming. Train steady and consistently, listen to your body, provide proper attention to nagging aches and pains, and pace yourself through the training process and event itself. There are few people who will ever complete a 5k, 10k, half marathon and full marathon. Take the time to celebrate your accomplishment and take every moment of the event in.
Do you ever wonder how some people can consume an entire box of chocolates or a pint of ice cream without gaining a pound while just one chocolate or one bite of ice cream somehow goes straight to your hips? The answer lies with your metabolism, the chemical processes that occur within a human being that breaks down nutriment, provides energy and maintains life within the body. While genetics and gender do play a role in the speed of a human being's metabolism, there are things that can be done to increase ones metabolic rate. First and foremost, eat a lean protein (you should increase protein intake throughout the entire day), complex carbohydrate and healthy fat balanced breakfast soon upon waking up. Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day and helps to speed up the body's metabolism. If breakfast is skipped, the body's metabolism will drastically slow to conserve energy. Second, drink lots of water throughout the day to maintain hydration, help the digestion process and keep your mind focused. According to various research studies, human beings should try to consume between 8 to 12 eight-ounce glasses of water per day on average. Third, get adequate sleep. According to research found in the Sleep Medicine Journal, when the body and mind are sleep deprived, metabolism slows drastically, the body's ability to regulate hormones controlling appetite decrease and can lead to excessive food intake, and the risk of obesity and diabetes increases. Fourth, mix up your workout routine to include resistance and High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). Lifting weights helps the body build lean muscle mass, burning more calories at a resting rate than fat. HIIT training calls for a period of hard work coupled with a period of recovery. An example would be running a very hard sprint effort for 30 seconds followed by 60-90 seconds of recovery and repeating 8-12 times. At Orangetheory Fitness, we train clients across 5 Heart Rate zones and includes interval training throughout the entire 60-minute workout. Our workouts are designed based on science and research supporting EPOC (Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption) or an 'afterburn,' where your body burns additional calories and your metabolism is working overtime after the workout is completed. Come give us a try!! Your first class is FREE!
Regardless of current health, a balanced approach to fitness beyond strictly cardiovascular and strength training is essential to a well-rounded body and mind. Remember, sitting is the new smoking so get up, move around and keep that body healthy!!
With more and more activities shifting outdoors for the summer, it is important to keep in mind that heat and humidity can affect the body if you’re not careful. Here are 5 tips to keep in mind when it comes to exercising in the heat that will help keep your body and mind functioning properly during the summer.
Loose fitting, light colored, sweat wicking clothing. Be sure to wear loose fitting, sweat wicking clothing that is light in color. Darker colors and heavier/thicker fabrics will retain heat and not allow the body to cool itself.
Hydration. Not only is it important to stay hydrated during an outdoor workout in the summer heat, be sure to prepare yourself both pre- and post-workout. Drink water often throughout the day and roughly every 15 minutes during exercise.
Time of Day. If possible, try to workout early in the morning before the atmosphere heats up (prior to roughly 10:00 AM) or once the sun goes down (after roughly 7:00 PM). This will reduce the risk of fatigue, dehydration and sunburn.
Covered/shaded trails/pathways/fields. If you can’t run early in the morning or late in the evening, try to keep the activity on a shaded trail, path or field. Not only will the body and mind fatigue quickly when working out directly in the sun but the ground gets heated and reflects onto the body as well. Picking covered or shaded paths can prevent dehydration, fatigue and exhaustion.
Listen to your body. The human body is a chemistry set that is extremely unique and must be listened to during physical activity. Take time to acclimate to any training in the heat and pay attention to any bodily abnormalities
Workouts THAT WORK
As the weather continues to get warmer, the days longer and summer fun begins to highlight the atmosphere, many of you are in a crunch (literally) to get your body ready for the summer. While it’s often said that summer bodies are made in the winter, here are a few tips to help get a move on that summer body! First, set a specific, and realistic, goal for yourself. Whether it’s a smaller shirt, pant or dress size, eating healthier, a specific number of pounds to lose, or increasing lean muscle mass, setting a goal will help keep you on track, focused and determined. Second, it’s the perfect time of year to rid your cupboards and refrigerators of all the processed, high sugar, calorie deficient foods such as cookies, white pasta and rice and chips and replace them with lots of vegetables, fruits, nuts/seeds and learn meats/proteins (think fish, chicken and eggs). Third, completing workouts first thing in the morning will leave you feeling energized, focused and a sense of accomplishment to start the day. Try working out before work 3 days a week for 3 weeks and see how it goes, you may surprise yourself. Lastly, we at Orangetheory Fitness get a significant number of questions of how to get ones legs, core and butt in shape. Squats and lunges are two of the best exercises to get the legs and butt in shape. Mix in different variations such as sumo squats, squat jumps, squat holds, forward lunges, reverse lunges and side lunges to tone throughout the leg and butt area. If you’re looking for a stronger, more toned core, focus on variations of not only core exercises, but also low back and oblique exercises to help keep the core tight (think side crunches, plank side dips and back extensions). Remember, sitting is the new smoking so get up, move around and keep that body healthy!!