All Posts In Fitness

How Long Should Your Workouts Be?

by in Fitness, February 27, 2013

exercise
Finding the time to work out can be beyond challenging. Once you do carve out time to hit the gym (or other workout location of choice) – how much time should you spend sweating it out?

How Much?
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, folks should be getting 150 minutes of physical activity each week, including both cardio and strength-training sessions. Cardiovascular exercise should be at a moderate intensity (no lollygagging), something like brisk walking or easy biking counts. If you really ramp up the intensity, the 150-minute recommendation shrinks to 75 minutes but you’d better be working it (examples include running, swimming laps or playing basketball). Two weekly sessions of resistance training (such as lifting weights or yoga) should work all major muscle groups.

Don’t have a large chunk of time to spare everyday? No need to throw in the towel – you can break it up into smaller increments. Even as little as 10 minutes at a time counts.

It really all comes down to intensity. If you’re a runner, hitting the pavement for 75 minutes a week comes out to 15 minutes per day, over 5 days. Walking 25 minutes each day for 6 days a week will also meet the requirements. As you continue to exercise, you’ll gain strength and endurance – making it easier to work harder. Visit the CDC Website for specific guidelines on increased activity.

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CrossFit 101

by in Fitness, February 19, 2013

crossfit
There hasn’t been a fitness craze this widespread in decades! Are intense competition-driven workouts what you need to get motivated to exercise? Here’s what you should to know about CrossFit.

Defining CrossFit
The CrossFit brand was established a little more than 10 years ago but has really gained momentum and nationwide popularity over the past few years. While most CrossFit gyms are independently owned and operated, the type of exercise and overall environment is consistent across locations. CrossFit workouts typically include some combination of strength and endurance training, along with plyometrics, power-lifting and even gymnastics (the creator is a former gymnast).

Some locations may specialize in the specific needs of a local group of fitness buffs like boxing or rowing for example. CrossFit branches often follow a Workout of the Day, or WOD that is followed by all members.

Workouts are intense and beginners should be cautioned to take things slow to prevent injury.

CrossFit has stirred up some controversy in recent years. Rumors have swirled of violent trainers pressuring participants to compete against others or exercise beyond their capabilities. Some orthopedic experts and physical therapists complain that the intense nature of the training can subject members to some pretty serious injuries, especially if they have preexisting orthopedic issues.

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Bootcamp 101

by in Fitness, January 6, 2013

bootcamp workout
Looking for new form of exercise? Maybe you’re already a fan of this intense workout regimen. Learn more about this exhilarating fitness craze.

Defining Bootcamp
Inspired by military training, bootcamp workouts combine cardio and weight training. Classes may include the use of free weights, bands, balls and plyometric-type exercises – all designed to build lean muscle. Sessions also include lots of interval training where intensity is ramped up for short bursts to maximize calorie burn.

Class attendees will often find themselves switching between running, doing pull-ups, playing tug of war and jumping through a course of oversized tires all in one session. Bootcamp workouts are designed to push participants to work together in groups, while weaving some healthy competition in to the mix. If you’re a competitive person or former athlete, bootcamp is for you. Some programs are designed to be a little less intense and can be offered for specific groups like women only – there’s lots of variety so find the best fit for you.

Classes are typically an hour in length. Some gyms and fitness outlets offer outdoor sessions at local parks. Many also offer package deals where participants can sign up for a month of hour-long sessions that take place 5 days a week.

Like any exercise regimen, check with your doctor before getting started. Those with existing orthopedic issues may need to modify their activity for some of the more high-impact activities.

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Yoga 101

by in Fitness, November 24, 2012

yoga
Diet and exercise go hand in hand for a healthy lifestyle. If getting bendy in yoga poses is your workout of choice, we’ve got tips on the best way to fuel and hydrate.

Defining Yoga
Nowadays, the ancient art of yoga takes many forms. The very foundation of this craft involves joining mind and body to achieve emotional and physical gratification. When done properly, yoga can help benefit joint and muscle health as well as the neurological and cardiovascular systems.

Some of the most popular types of yoga include Hatha, Vinyasa and Bikram. Hatha is a more basic and simple style while Vinyasa is typically more aggressive and athletic. Bikram classes are conducted in a hot and humid environment – resulting in some super-sweaty participants! There also various types of yoga for pregnant women and moms and babies but be sure to check with your doctor before you start something like this.

For a list of more yoga styles, visit the Lululemon website.

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Sports Nutrition Tips for the School-Aged Athlete

by in Back to School, Fitness, September 13, 2012

kids sports
Back to school also means back to sports. From elementary age to college-bound, these tips will help any athlete P.E.R.F.O.R.M their best.

  • Pick nutrient dense foods

Athletes need vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to keep those muscles pumping. Calcium, iron, Vitamins C and D, and B-vitamins can be found in dairy, fruits, veggies, breads and cereals.

  • Eat throughout the day

Nothing stalls metabolism like an empty tank. Eating every three to four hours is a must for peak performance in the classroom and on the field.

How to Deal with Post-Workout Hunger

by in Fitness, August 12, 2012

exercise
Does an exercise session leave you famished or does the thought of food post workout make you ill? There’s a right and wrong way to eat after exercise; find out the balance to get the most out of your fitness routine.

Feel the Burn
Some people question whether or not it’s worth it to exercise since burning lots of calories can make you hungrier. It IS worth it and there are tricks you can adopt to beat this vicious cycle. Choosing the right foods after a workout can make a huge difference.

Research says hunger pangs may hit women harder than men; hormones are to thank for that. For this reason gals need to pay extra attention to how they eat before and after exercise.

On the flip side, other studies have found that exercise lowers levels of a hunger-spiking hormone called ghrelin. The only caveat here is that the exercise needs to be intense, not a leisurely a stroll on the treadmill.

Frequency of exercise also plays an important role. Hitting the gym (or however you like to sweat) regularly trains your body to burn calories more efficiently and of course lowers your risk of an onslaught of ailments including diabetes and heart disease. The bottom line is exercise: is good; here’s how to fuel it properly.

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Product Review: Nike FuelBand

by in Fitness, Product Reviews, July 31, 2012

fuel band
Tracking physical activity can help keep you motivated, but most calorie-counting knickknacks are famously inaccurate. Can Nike’s newest gadget get it right? I couldn’t wait to test out the FuelBand.

My Take
A gadget fans dream — and you don’t have to be a computer wizard to figure it out. The FuelBand allows you to track your activity (excercise and dozens of everyday actions), calories and progress. After a simple online set up to link the FuelBand with your computer and iPhone, you’re on your way.

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Burning Off High-Calorie Foods: Fair Foods

by in Dining Out, Fitness, July 20, 2012

fair food
Is your family hitting the local fair circuit this summer? Carnival concessions are famously fattening. We’re not saying to boycott fair foods all together but since these treats don’t come with a food label, we’ll fill you in on just how many calories you’re gobbling down, and what it would take to burn them off. As always, moderation is key!

Crunching the Numbers
Everyone burns calories a little differently, the values below are averages based on a 155-pound person.

1 Corn Dog  = 375 calories = 1 hour, 30 minutes walking the boardwalk

Funnel Cake = 760 calories = 1 hour, 20 minutes of singles tennis

Fried Twinkie = 420 calories = 1 hour water skiing

Cotton Candy =175 calories = 30 minutes whitewater kayaking

Candy Apple = 375 calories = 40 minutes running (8 mph)

Chili Fries = 700 calories = 3.5 hours playing frisbee

Nachos With Cheese Sauce = 850 calories = 1 hour, 15 minutes of vigorous swimming

Turkey leg = 1140 calories = 1 hour of beach volleyball

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Staying Hydrated: Electrolytes 101

by in Fitness, July 19, 2012

orange juice
There’s more to beating the heat than just drinking water. Electrolytes are important nutrients that help maintain your body’s fluid balance.

Electrolyte Basics
Electrolytes are substances that conduct an electric current. In the body, they help to facilitate actions of the nervous system, maintain proper fluid and acid-base balance, and allow muscles to contract.

Many important minerals also act as electrolytes – some of the major players for healthy muscles are sodium, chloride, potassium and calcium.

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Recovery Foods: What to Eat After a Workout

by in Fitness, June 16, 2012
greek yogurt
Eat Greek yogurt after a workout to replenish energy.

Eating after exercise is a MUST for healthy muscles. Recover and refuel with these regenerating foods.

What and When?
The body craves both carbs and protein after exercise. Carbohydrates are required to replenish energy stores, while protein repairs tired muscle fibers.

To optimize results, you want to take in carbohydrate and protein in about a 3 to 1 ratio, that’s 3 grams of carbs for every one gram of protein. Depending on when you exercise, recovery food can be a snack or a meal; either way, look to these 5 recovery foods.

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