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Building Strength and Speed with Hill Training

December 14th, 2008

Whether you are heading outside and running up hills or you have set your treadmill to an incline in order to simulate running uphill, taking on these steep monsters can be very beneficial to your body in many ways.  At the same time, it is important for you to exercise caution when running up hills in order to make certain you get the best workout possible without causing harm to your body.

The main benefit to running uphill is that an incline provides a greater deal of resistance, which helps build strength.  The muscles in your glutes, calves and hamstrings all benefit from running uphill.  In addition to strengthening muscles, running uphill also helps to strengthen your hip flexors, your Achilles tendons and the muscles around your knees.  By building up your strength in these ways, you will also find that your speed increases when you run on flat surfaces. 

Although there are many benefits associated with running uphill, it is important to keep a few things in mind in order to avoid causing more harm than good.  Some of these things include:

  •  You should not start hill training if you are still a beginner.  Take time to build up your strength and your endurance before taking this next step.
  •  You should never run uphill if you are injured, particularly if you have an injury to your Achilles tendons or your calves
  •  You should be certain to stretch properly before engaging in any workout, but this is particularly true with running uphill
  •  You should take the time to read up on proper uphill training techniques in order to avoid becoming injured

Keep in mind that you do not have to engage in hill training each time you go for a run or hop on the treadmill.  Rather, once per week is generally enough to get the benefits without overstressing or straining your body. 

Avoiding Post-Meal Sleepiness

December 12th, 2008

Have you ever finished eating a meal and then felt like you were going to fall asleep?  All of us have had this feeling, which is often referred to as having a “food coma” at some point.  But, what causes this feeling to occur and what can you do to avoid becoming the victim of a food coma?

There are actually many potential reasons for experiencing a food coma after a meal.  The most common reason is simply eating too much at one time, though eating a larger number of carbs or a great deal of sugar can also lead to a food coma.  Therefore, many people experience food comas a great deal during the holiday season because they tend to overeat or to snack on lots of sweets.

If you want to avoid food comas, you might want to try eating several small meals throughout the day rather than a couple of large ones.  Not only will this help keep your energy level up without bogging down your body, it will also help keep your metabolism going strong.  You should also consider cutting back on carbs, as meals that are high in carbs have a tendency to increase the amount of tryptophan that is released in the body.  This is then converted to serotonin, which can create a sense of sleepiness.  Avoiding sugar and choosing foods that are high in protein can also help you fend off the sugar coma while also keeping your body stronger and healthier.

Fitness Tips for the Holidays

December 10th, 2008

If you managed to make it past Thanksgiving without cheating on your diet, congratulations may be in order.  Unfortunately for anyone who is trying to watch his or her weight, however, there are still plenty of tempting days left in the holiday season.  Therefore, if you are struggling to stay on track, you might want to keep these tips in mind.

Don’t Skip Meals

In order to “save” calories, many dieters decide to skip breakfast and lunch so they can chow down on the evening holiday feast.  Remember, starving yourself will only increase your chances of overeating.  In addition, your body needs a regular supply of energy in order to keep its metabolism up.  Skipping meals will only slow down your metabolism and cause your body to work less efficiently.

Watch Your Portions

The number one rule of dieting has always been to watch your portions, and this remains true during the holiday season.  Don’t deny yourself from partaking in the available treats.  Rather, take a little of each item and eat in moderation so you can enjoy the foods that have been prepared without overeating or taking in too many calories.  Also, keep in mind that creamy foods and deep fried foods tend to have the most calories, so make a special effort to limit how much you consume of these items.

Monitor Your Drinks

Many dieters forget to keep track of the calories that are in their drinks, and this can be particularly problematic during the holiday season.  This is because alcoholic beverages tend to flow freely during the holiday season, and these drinks are generally high in calories.  The same holds true with fruit drinks.  Try to increase your water intake so you can suppress your appetite and resist the temptation to consume too many drinks that are high in sugar.

Get Your Exercise

Although the holiday season can be quite hectic, it is no reason to neglect your exercise routine.  Be certain to still get plenty of exercise so you can keep your body in shape and burn off those excess calories.  Purchasing exercise equipment for home is a great way to make it easier for you to keep on a regular exercise schedule while still enjoying the holiday season with your loved ones.

Choosing the Proper Fitness Apparel

December 8th, 2008

When it comes to getting a great workout, it is important for you to choose the right equipment.  While most people think of machines and weights when they think about exercise equipment, there is more to selecting the right exercise equipment than machinery.  In fact, it is also essential for you to select the proper fitness apparel for your workout time.

Failure to select the proper fitness apparel can make your workout routine far more unpleasant than necessary.  As a result, you may be less likely to follow through with your full workout and you may not get the fullest benefits from your workout session.  Therefore, there are several things you should consider when purchasing workout apparel.

Basically, your workout apparel should meet five basic criteria:

  •  Able to effectively remove moisture from your skin
  •  Fits your body properly, which means it is loose enough to allow for ease of movement while also being tight enough to stay in place properly
  •  Durable enough to last you for a long time
  •  Able to be put on and taken off easily
  •  A comfortable design made from breathable material

You may also want to select fitness apparel that is stylish as well.  Of course, if you are working out in a home gym, the way the workout apparel looks should be of very little concern.   Also, keep in mind that you don’t have to spend a fortune on workout apparel.  Rather, find something that fits you well and that you feel comfortable wearing and you will be certain to get the most from your workout routine.

Getting a Well Rounded and Safe Workout with an Elliptical Trainer

December 6th, 2008

Are you looking for a piece of workout equipment that will allow you to safely get a great workout?  If so, you might want to consider purchasing an elliptical trainer.  The reality is that elliptical trainers are one of the safest machines to use for a workout, particularly if you are a beginner who is looking for a great all around workout machine.

Matching Your Speed

One of the benefits of an elliptical trainer is that you set the pace for your workout.  Unlike a treadmill, which you set at a certain pace and then need to keep up with, the speed of the workout is determined by the amount of effort you exert.  If you are in the more advanced stages of your workout, you may prefer having a machine that sets the pace because it forces you to keep up.  If you are just getting started, however, using an elliptical can be a safer option that will help you avoid excessive strain or accidentally falling off as you try to keep up.

Reducing the Impact on Joints

Another perk to using an elliptical trainer is that it reduces the amount of impact you place on your joints during your workout.  This is particularly important if you are just getting started with a workout after having a relatively sedentary lifestyle, as your joints may not be prepared for the jolting they may receive with other types of equipment. 

Working the Entire Body

Elliptical trainers are also a good option for those who are just getting started because they offer a full body workout.  Many people who are just getting started with a workout become frustrated or confused when trying to develop a workout routine.  The elliptical trainer allows you to hit all of your major muscle groups while also getting a great cardio workout.  As your body gets into better shape and you are ready to take your workout routine to the next level, you will certainly want to look into adding other pieces of equipment to your home gym.  For most people who are just getting started, however, an elliptical trainer is a good piece of equipment to have.

Choosing Between an Elliptical and a Treadmill

December 4th, 2008

Are you trying to decide between an elliptical trainer and a treadmill?  If so, there are many things you should take into consideration in order to select which piece of equipment is right for you.

Getting a Great Cardio Workout

Regardless of which piece of equipment you purchase, both an elliptical trainer and a treadmill will help you get a great cardio workout.  After all, both of these pieces of at home workout equipment will help you get your heart pumping and will help you burn off calories.  Therefore, when it comes to the cardio aspect, there really isn’t much of a difference between an elliptical trainer and a treadmill.  Either way, you will be a winner!

Perceived Level of Exertion

Your perceived level of exertion refers to how tired you feel after completing a workout.  Many people feel that elliptical trainers have a lower perceived level of exertion than a treadmill.  In other words, you can achieve the same quality of workout with an elliptical trainer as you do with a treadmill, but you won’t feel quite as tired and worn out afterward. Obviously, the lower your perceived level of exertion, the more likely you will be to push yourself harder and further.  Of course, whether or not an elliptical trainer has a lower perceived level of exertion for you is a matter of personal opinion.

Working Out Your Muscles

One benefit to using an elliptical trainer is the fact that it allows you to workout both your lower and upper body while also getting a great cardio workout.  With a treadmill, on the other hand, you workout only the lower body.  So, if you are looking for a piece of at home fitness equipment that will help you focus on your legs, abdomen and buttocks, a treadmill is the best choice.  If you want to workout your upper body at the same time, you should go for an elliptical trainer because it provides you with a more “full body” workout.  Of course, if you are addressing your upper body with other resistance training techniques, the full body workout provided by the elliptical trainer may be undesirable.  Or, you may want to purchase an elliptical trainer that gives you the option to not workout your upper body when using the machine.

When it comes down to it, but elliptical trainers and treadmills are excellent pieces of at home fitness equipment to add to your home gym.  Consider your personal preferences, your workout plans and your long-term goals in order to select the piece of equipment that is right for you.

Keeping Your Fitness Program Fresh and Exciting with Treadmills for Home

December 2nd, 2008

Are you looking for a way to keep your at home fitness routine fresh and exciting?  If so, you might want to consider purchasing a treadmill.  With the help of treadmills for home, you can easily change up your routine whenever you like while also getting an excellent cardio workout. 

The reality is that treadmills come with a number of options that can help you keep your routine fresh each time you get on the machine.  By changing the speed, the resistance and the incline, for example, you can vary your routine so you do not get stuck in a rut.  In addition, treadmills are great for interval training, which might involve hopping on the treadmill for a 5 minute run, then lifting weights for 5 or 10 minutes before you get back on the treadmill for another 5 minutes.  Not only will this type of interval training help increase the amount of calories you burn, it will also help you stave off boredom and will help keep you from getting stuck in a rut.

If you would rather stay on your treadmill for a longer period of time, there are also steps you can take to stave off boredom during your workout.  For example, you can set up a television in front of your treadmill so you can watch your favorite television shows or movies while working out.  If you think about it, this is a great time saver because you can knock out your workout routine while also enjoying the shows you love.  In addition, by watching a television a television show or movie while working out, it will help make your routine go by more quickly.

If you do not currently have a treadmill and you are getting bored with your current routine, you may also want to consider purchasing a treadmill in order to help break up the monotony.  By introducing a new piece of workout equipment to your routine, you can reinvigorate your excitement and get your heart and mind back into your workout in order to enjoy better results.

Buying At Home Fitness Equipment vs Going to the Health Clubs

November 29th, 2008

Are you trying to determine whether you should purchase home fitness equipment to use at home or if you should join a health club?  The reality is that there are pros and cons associated with both options.  Therefore, it is important for you to consider all of the pros and cons in order to make the best decision.

Home Fitness Equipment Pro:  Work Out Time

One of the benefits of purchasing home fitness equipment is the fact that you can work out whenever you want.  No matter the time of day or night, you can hop on your home fitness equipment whenever you like.  This added convenience may make it easier for you to stick to a regular workout routine that will help you successfully get and stay in shape.

Home Fitness Equipment Con:  Getting Lazy

The fact that you can workout whenever you like may make you less disciplined when you own home fitness equipment.  After all, if you don’t have a certain scheduled time to workout, it is easy to continually put your workout off until “later” - and then “later” never comes.  To prevent this from happening, set aside a specific time each day for your workout so you can get into a routine that works for you.

Health Club Membership Pro:  Equipment Variety

One of the benefits to working out at a health club is that you gain access to a wide variety of pieces of exercise equipment.  Most people’s budgets will not allow for purchasing all of the equipment that can be found at most health clubs, so joining one can help you add variety to your workout and make it possible for you to more easily hit all of your muscle groups while getting a great cardio workout.

Health Club Membership Con:  Sharing Equipment

Although you may gain access to a variety of different pieces of equipment at a health club, you may find yourself waiting in line to use the equipment you want.  When you have your own home fitness equipment, you don’t have to wait to take your turn.  In addition, by purchasing a couple major pieces of home fitness equipment, you should be able to vary your home workout without any problem.

Top 10 Pieces of Home Exercise Equipment to Add to Your Home Gym

November 27th, 2008

Are you looking for some great pieces of home exercise equipment to add to your home gym?  If so, there are several items you should consider adding to your collection.  While some of these items will require a somewhat significant investment to purchase, you may be surprised to learn that there are several pieces of home exercise equipment that can be purchased relatively inexpensively.  Here’s a look at the top 10 pieces of home exercise equipment you should consider adding to your home gym.

Jump Rope

Jump ropes help you achieve better strength, agility and balance while also providing a high intensity cardiovascular workout.  One of the great things about a jump rope is that it can be easily packed and taken with you wherever you go and it does not take up much space.  It is also a great piece of workout equipment to use with interval training.

Elliptical Trainers

Elliptical trainers are also a good option for those that are just getting started with a workout routine because they offer a non-impact cardio workout.  They also workout more parts of the body that exercise bikes.

Free Weights

Free weights are an inexpensive form of resistance equipment that will help you build up or maintain muscle mass.  Care must be taken when using free weights, however, as it is easy to perform the exercises incorrectly and cause injury to occur.

Treadmill

With the help of a treadmill, you can get a great cardio workout without having to go outside.  This is particularly helpful during the winter and summer months when temperature extremes can make an outdoor workout unbearable.  It is important that you don’t skimp out when purchasing a treadmill, however, as you need to purchase one that provides a smooth workout and has incline settings in order to get the best and safest workout.

Rowing Machine

A rowing machine can help you achieve a great full-body workout, though you need to follow the proper techniques in order to avoid back strain. 

Exercise Bikes

Just as with treadmills, exercise bikes make it possible to get a great workout indoors.  They are also a good choice for anyone that is just getting started with a workout routine, as they offer a non-impact cardio workout option.

Recumbent Bikes

Recumbent bikes are a special type of stationary bike that provides more back support, which makes it an even better option for those looking for a non-impact, low-stress workout option.  In addition, they help build the quads, gluts and hamstrings

Step Machines

Step Machines help build strength in the lower body while also building up cardio endurance.  Finding a quality step machine can be a bit costly, but can be worth the expense if your budget allows.

Balance Balls

Balance balls help improve agility, core strength and coordination.  They are also relatively inexpensive and easy to use.

Cross Country Ski Machines

Cross country ski machines are a great option for a full-body workout that also helps build cardio endurance.  Care must be taken to use them properly, however, as mastering one of these machines can be difficult

Getting the Most from Your Elliptical Trainer

November 25th, 2008

There is no doubt that working out with an elliptical can provide you with a great workout.  In fact, there are many benefits to using a workout that you cannot necessary get from other pieces of workout equipment.  In addition, when used in combination with other exercises or when you use a little creativity with your elliptical workout, you can maximize the benefits of using one of these machines while also staving off boredom. Read the rest of this entry »




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