July 15, 2024

Crank Up the Intensity! By Nicole Bryan

Make the most of every minute spent in the gym by cranking up the intensity of your workout. Here are a few ideas to get your started. (The following is for intermediate or advanced exercisers without injury.)

Work in a shorter range of motion. When performing a motion, stop where you feel the most tension in your muscle, and then work your range of motion around that angle eliminating the full bending and straightening of your joint. For example, when lowering into a squat stop when your thighs are parallel to the floor, and then push up only about two inches before lowering back to the parallel to the floor position. Only return to your straight leg upright position every third or fourth rep.

Add in cardio-bursts. Take a few minutes at regular intervals during your cardio workout and double up the intensity into a sprint. For example, every three minutes perform a high speed sprint interval lasting from twenty seconds to one minute. Keeping the cadence high and piling on the resistance for a muscle overload for twenty to thirty seconds will also serve as a cardio burst.

Do back to back exercises. Choosing two or more moves for the same muscle group or movement pattern together without rest will improve difficulty due to a reduced rest cycle. For example do a set of cable pulldowns, immediately followed by a standing dumbbell row, immediately followed by a free-weight single arm row. Do ten to twelve reps each, followed by a thirty second rest. Then repeat the two or three moves until all sets are complete.

Increase your weights to lift with heft. Adding weight will increase the overload on our muscles to promote strength results. Try adding an extra plate of weight or choosing the next set of dumbbells for one set or several sets, then decrease reps if needed. Be sure to keep your movement pace under control and safe, being mindful of posture and stability.

Slow down your reps. Increasing the time muscles are kept under tension will fire up muscular endurance. Pay attention to continue breathing at your normal rate and keep your stabilizing muscles engaged so only the goal muscles are working.

Hands-Free Fitness with Handana Sweatband

Hands-Free Fitness with Handana Sweatband

Handana is a sweatband that is worn on your hand, not your wrist. This unique and patented design allows for a comfortable fit allowing you to be hands-free during your physical activity or sport. With Handana’s innovation, long gone are the days of dragging around a cumbersome, sweat-soaked towel. Handana is truly the only one of its kind.

Proudly made in the USA, “Handana is a high performance fashionable sweat band worn on the hand to wipe away sweat, snot or whatever you got” explains founder Katie Niemeyer. Made of SupplexTM LycraTM fabric that is soft, yet durable. So if you have allergies or sensitive skin this fabric won’t irritate or chafe. “Handana is softer being kinder to the sensitive skin of your face” Katie adds. And, it’s machine-washable!

Boasting “one continuous loop so it slips on and off easily” shares Katie. Handana comes in 5 sizes, a variety of colors and prints. For under $20.00 and free shipping on orders of 2 or more in the United States, your Handana is waiting for you. Here’s what fan Aimee K says, “just received my Handana and love it! Got here just in time for me to use this weekend for my 1st Half Marathon and it’s the perfect color. Very impressed with the fast shipping. Thanks!” Order yours here or via Amazon.

Why is Handana the #1 sweatband choice of athletes around the world?

Wraps around your hand, not your wrist. This means your wrist range of motion is not incumbered. Wear your Handana while playing Tennis, Racquetball, or any racquet sport and you’ll find you’re able to move and wipe sweat away without having to carry an extra towel.

Provides cushion. Whether you’re Obstacle Course Racing, Kayaking or Stand-Up Paddle Boarding you’ll enjoy the extra layer Handana has to offer. Protect your hands from the elements and wipe sweat as you go without breaking your rhythm. If you study Martial Arts, consider wearing your Handana to keep hands protected.

Improves traction. Exercise mats can become slippery or unstable during a sweaty workout. Now you can worry less about slipping during workouts that involve mat work such as Yoga, Pilates and calisthenics.

Increases grip. Wearing your Handana increases reliable grip tension during your strength training, such as a Cross-Fit workout. You’ll be able to do press and pull moves during your workout with confidence.

Reduces distraction.  Handana allows you to keep your eyes on the road during cycling for example, as you’ll be able to wipe sweat away without risking safety by reaching for a towel.

Fingers-free. Having your fingers free, means dexterity is unaltered. For example, wear your Handana while sailing to confidently pull and cleat lines. Do you enjoying rock climbing as your activity? Use your Handana to wipe away sweat, while still having fingers free to crimp, edge and negotiate your climb.

Gardening, yard work, fishing, playing instruments and marching band are additional activities outside of the gym during which Handana provides protection and is there to easily wipe away sweat. How will you use your Handana?

Join the movement! Handana is a product from the heart, Katie’s heart to be exact.  Her goal and Handana’s mantra is “to inspire all to cross their finish line no matter where it is in life and empower others along the way.” She has her own story to tell after all. When training for her first marathon, she needed to wipe sweat before it went into her eyes stinging badly, and so the Handana concept was born. As a teenager, she spent 3 weeks in the burn unit with 2nd and 3rd degree burns from an allergic reaction to medication called Stevens-Johnson (SJS), therefore leaving her with many sensitivities. Click on Handana’s YouTube video for more on Katie’s mission. Katie staged an inspiring comeback and now encourages others to ignite their passion for an active lifestyle.

Check out their booth at the upcoming Rock-n-Roll Dallas Half Marathon and Relay Event on Saturday March 21 and March 22, 2015, and GO! St. Louis 5K on April 11 and April 12, 2015. Follow them on Twitter and join their Facebook page to be in the Handana loop.

Ignite YOUR passion with Handana!

Buddy Friendly Fitness by Nicole Bryan

Want to invite your friend to exercise with you? A medicine ball makes a great buddy friendly fitness equipment option. The following is for intermediate exercisers without injury concerns. Consult your physician before beginning exercise.

Begin with a 5lb or 8lb medicine ball. A few rules to remember when working with a weighted ball. Firstly, only work in a range of motion that you can control. So if you’re using momentum, risk of injury is greatly increased. Secondly, do not sacrifice form for repetitions, ever. When your form starts to fade, your set is over. Finally, start light. Choose a light weighted ball when learning a new exercise.

Rotate and Pass. Standing back to back. Turn to your right and pass the ball as fast as you can control to your friend. Your friend takes hold of the ball and passes it to you via his or her right side as well. Continue passing the medicine ball clock-wise for 15 rotations. Repeat passing the ball to your left in a counter clock-wise direction.

Squat and Toss. Stand facing one another. Perform a squat and then toss the ball under-hand to your partner. Your partner catches the ball and immediately drops into a squat, stands up straight again and tosses the ball back to you. Perform 15 squats and tosses each.

Jog and Toss. Stand facing one another about 4 feet apart. Jog to your right about 10 feet, tossing the ball back and forth as quickly as you are able. Stop, change directly and jog to your left about 10 feet tossing the ball back and forth. Repeat 5 total sets.

Need Workout Motivation?

Need workout motivation? Find your fitness motivation with us every Monday on Twitter.

Meet us at #HealthyWayMag Fitness Chat on Twitter TOMORROW, Monday February 2nd at 5pm(Pacific)/8pm(Eastern)!

Here’s how to join in:

Log into Twitter. Enter hashtag #HealthyWayMag to follow the chat feed. Interact and chat with other fitness enthusiasts. We pose fitness-related questions for discussion, everyone joins in and offers their thoughts, tips, experience and advice. Instant motivation at your finger tips!

Tomorrow, February 2nd Fitness Chat is Sponsored by ENERGYbits:
ENERGYbits® is a high protein, low calorie snack gives unlimited energy as it is 100% organic spirulina algae. Spirulina contains as much gram for gram of calcium as milk, as well as containing 5 times more iron than spinach. ENERGYbits are easy to carry and convenient to consume before or even during your workout. It’s stomach-friendly and it’s packed with nutrients which means awesome energy for you. Follow them on Twitter via @ENERGYbits

How to be Gluten-Free in the Office by Gretchen Scalpi R.D.

How To Be Gluten-Free In The Office

Eating gluten-free is something that involves your entire life. You can’t just eat gluten-free at home. One of the most difficult places to keep to a gluten-free diet is the office. With all the candy, doughnuts and homemade treats people bring into the office sticking to your gluten-free diet will be a challenge. You also have to worry about cross contamination.

Start with talking to your office manager or human resources department. Communicate your needs clearly and offer reading materials about gluten-free diets to those who would like to learn more. Be prepared to explain your needs clearly.

Ask for some gluten-free counter, shelf and refrigerator space. If necessary, and allowed, you could create a gluten-free kitchen in your office with a mini fridge, microwave, toaster and a small table.

Bring your own meals, snacks and drinks a whenever possible and label everything clearly.  Make sure everything you bring is sealed completely to avoid cross contamination.  Bring your own condiments and never share.

If you tire of eating frozen or pre-packaged meals at the office set aside a portion of your dinner from the night before and package it for lunch.  Bring your own paper plates,  plastic utensils, paper napkins and zip lock baggies to keep in your office.  You may want to keep these in a locked drawer.

Eating out with co-workers or clients should be something you enjoy but it can be a problem if you need to eat gluten-free.  Do your own research and find restaurants that offer gluten-free options.  If they say yes then your research is not done.  You’ll need to find out if they use separate pots, pans, plates, cups, etc. for gluten-free guests.  Ask if their staff has been trained to accommodate gluten-free diners and if they use a separate preparation area for these types of dishes.

Many offices have the tradition of bringing in food for staff or to celebrate certain milestones like birthdays.  You won’t have to miss out if you bring in gluten-free goodies on those days and take the opportunity to share your how delicious gluten-free food can be with your colleagues.

If you are struggling to transition to a gluten-free lifestyle consult with a nutritionist who can help you create a plan that will work for you.

Gretchen Scalpi is a Registered Dietitian, author and Certified Wellcoach® who has celiac disease and knows the challenges of eating right with this condition. Gretchen is pleased to announce her new online program “Gluten-free Bootcamp’, designed to help those who need to follow the gluten-free diet. If you are new to the gluten-free lifestyle for medical or health reasons, you’ll want to attend Gretchen’s new free webinar “Five Things You Should Know Before Going Gluten-free” at How To Be Gluten-Free In The Office.

2014 Twitter Must-Follow

Words matter! Sometimes encouraging words are just what we need to focus our fitness efforts. When they come from our fitness friends sometimes they matter even more. From the experience of another who has been there, who is on the journey with us and has found a way to make their healthy living happen. We carry these words of inspiration with us!

Need motivation in fitness and healthy living? Look no further than our 2014 Twitter Must-Follow List!

THANK YOU ALL for your motivation, expertise, encouragement and inspiration to live healthy and fit.

@Deb_Lowther Deb Lowther

@FitExpertJess Jessica Matthews

@LoRoRD Lori Rosenthal, RD

@lmaydak Laura Maydak

@SarahJChicago Sarah Johnson

@familyfocusblog Scarlett Paolicchi

@HelenAgresti Helen Agresti, RD

@StressFreeKids Stress Free Kids

@LoriShemek Lori Shemek, PhD

@Smart_Kitchen Kathy Smart

@DrCedricBryant Dr. Cedric X. Bryant

@slowswimmer Kenny Steil

@FitnessToGo Tera Busker

@30SecondMom 30 Second Mom

@kerigans Keri Gans

@SusanCross1 Susan Campbell Cross

Take a Breather! By Sarah Johnson

Take a Breather by Following these Stress-Reduction Tips:

Even after the hectic holidays are over, a new year may bring new stress and anxiety.  Why not take a step back this year, and instead of worrying about all of the changes you’d like to tackle, make a resolution to manage your stress through these simple techniques.

Find some quiet time.  When your job or family demands become overwhelming, carve out a 5 minute time-out for yourself to stop, breathe and regroup.  Simply counting to ten and taking several deep breaths can slow your heart rate and blood pressure.  Take this time to reevaluate the stressful situation and respond to it calmly.

Exercise regularly.  Keeping up with your workouts can be challenging when the weather or your schedule don’t cooperate.  But getting in some form of exercise regularly is crucial to staying healthy and being able to better handle stressful situations.  Even an extra walk around the office or living room yoga session are better than no exercise!  A little bit will keep you consistent and in the mindset of doing something active every day.

Get enough sleep.  Trying to accomplish it all without much sleep is like flooring your car on fumes.  You’ll be hot out of the gate, but you’ll burn out in no time.  With little sleep, we tend to overreact to stress and feel even more pressure.  Sleep is your chance to recover; your body and mind rest and heal, and you’re able to recharge for another productive day.

Eat well.  Diet and stress management go hand in hand; from preparing meals in advance to eating more antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies in place of processed or pre-packaged foods, you’ll be less anxious if you can make a few simple changes: Know what’s in the food you’re eating.  Prepare it yourself when possible.  Put more fruit and veggies in your grocery cart.  Plan ahead for the week’s meals so you’re less likely to grab something unhealthy.

Follow Sarah on Twitter @SarahJChicago

Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain is as Easy as 1, 2, 3! By Laura Maydak

Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain is as Easy as 1, 2, 3!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but, unfortunately, busy schedules and holiday festivities can lead to some not-so-merry weight gain.  It may seem challenging to enjoy all that this season has to offer without gaining weight, but it is doable.  Avoiding holiday weight gain can be as simple as remembering, and applying, these three concepts: Be prepared, remain aware, and when in doubt, workout.  Not convinced it’s as simple as it sounds?  Read on, and then see what you think:

Be Prepared
Problem 1: You’re out shopping when your stomach begins to growl.  You planned to be home in time to eat, but the long checkout line, the crowded parking lot, and the bumper-to-bumper traffic between the store and your home are making that impossible.

Solution: Bring a healthy, portable snack with you no matter where you go (even if it’s just a “10 minute errand”).  Try something simple, like a piece of fruit or a few heart-healthy nuts.

Problem 2: There’s a party later this evening, and you decide to skip lunch and your afternoon snack to “save” calories.  Now it’s party time, and you’re starving – but the food there is not what you would consider healthy.

Solution: Keep your regular eating schedule, but choose lighter options for each meal.  Also, eat a high-protein snack before the party to help keep you full while there.  These strategies will reduce the risk of overindulging on unhealthy party foods.

Remain Aware
“Little tastes” of food can quickly add up to more calories than you would expect.  This is true for when you are at home or at a party.

Here are the calorie counts of some common holiday treats:
- Eggnog (1 cup): 112 calories
- Wine (5 fl. oz.): 120 calories
- Cheddar cheese (1 oz): 113 calories
- Sugar cookie (1): 120 calories
- Candy cane (1): 40 calories
- Chocolate chips (1 tbsp): 70 calories
- Mixed nuts (1 oz): 168 calories
- Cinnamon roll with icing (1): 140 calories
- Piglet in blanket (1): 60 calories

When in doubt, WORKOUT:
While the holidays are joyful, they can also be stressful.  Do yourself a favor, and make time each day to engage in physical activity.  You don’t have to go for a run (even though that would be an excellent idea), but you should do your best to move as much as possible.  Even parking farther from the store, or taking the stairs instead of the escalator while shopping, will help.  Exercise is a proven stress-buster, and it will help to balance out any extra calories you may be eating.

Have a happy (& healthy) holiday season!

Laura is currently a graduate student in the University of Pittsburgh’s Coordinated Masters in Nutrition and Dietetics program, one semester away from being eligible to become a registered dietitian.  Connect with Laura on LinkedIn or on twitter (@lmaydak) for motivation and tips to live your healthiest, happiest life – all given with a healthy dose of humor.

Stay Moving on the Road by Brett Klika, C.S.C.S.

For those of us who strive to stay active when traveling, we can find ourselves in suboptimal exercise scenarios in regards to safety, time, and facilities.

Whether you use fitness as your fuel to perform or are merely trying to stay consistent on a program to improve your health, there are a few “hacks” I’ve found along the way that have helped me stay consistent (and safe), even in the most unpredictable situations.

1.    Workout pajamas
When you’re on the road, your schedule is often very concentrated and time is of the essence. I’ve made it a practice to go to bed in my workout clothes and set the alarm to give me an extra 30 minutes in the morning. When the alarm goes off, I pop out of bed and throw on my shoes.  I start slow, and build up to 20-30 minutes of sweat-inducing splendor either outside, in the gym, or even in my hotel room.

2.    Pack- hacks!
Becoming a master of packing for travel allows you to travel light while still having everything you need to stay active.  I now only need a school- sized backpack for trips up to 5 days with dress, casual, and workout clothes, in addition to all electronics.

a.    Thin, quick-drying workout shirts and shorts don’t take up much packing room and you only need 1 pair of each.  When you’re done working out, shower in them (with soap), then wring them out and hang them up. They’ll be dry by the time you come home in the evening.

b.    Get some minimalist shoes.  If you’re a distance runner and you plan to do mileage on the road, you may want to find another option depending on your needs.  However, these packable shoes take up very little space, can be crammed anywhere, and work great for basic workouts. They are often designed to be worn without socks, so there’s another bulky item you can forgo.

3.    Plan
A little planning goes along way for the active traveler.  Hotel websites have their gym information.  I know some people who go as far as to pick their hotel based on the workout facility!

If you like getting out and about, spend 5 minutes on a Google search of the area for suggested running paths, safety information, and landmarks that may constitute cool areas to workout.  Beaches, trails, parks, and sometimes monuments are cool areas to break a sweat.

If you are short on time and need to exercise right in your hotel room, try this short, no equipment routine.

Humans are perpetual motion machines. Our mind, body, and soul work best when exercise is part of our day, even when we travel.  Use the 3 hacks above so strange lands, bad weather, or packs of wild animals never stand in the way of creating your best, most energetic self.

Brett Klika, author of the Underground Workout Manual- Fat Loss Results for Busy Adults (www.undergroundworkoutmanual.com) is an award winning personal trainer, author, and international motivational speaker.  He inspires men, women, and children around the world to create a culture of wellness in their home and live the best version of their life.

Contact Brett with questions or comments at brett@spiderfitkids.com.

How to Exercise at your Desk by Sarah Johnson

We realize it’s sometimes tough to fit in exercise during the work day, especially with all of the family activities you have planned before and after your 9-5!  But taking even a 5 to 10 minute break during your work day can help you de-stress, re-focus and gain energy.  And you don’t even have to change out of your work clothes!

Try these desk exercises the next time you need a pick me up at work:

Chair Squats (Sit to Stand)
Stand shoulder width apart in front of your chair and lower your body down as if you are about to sit back in your chair.  Then press through your heels back up to a standing position. (If your chair has wheels make sure it is against a wall!)

Desk or Chair Dips

While sitting on your chair, place your hands on either side of you-palms facing back. Take a step forward and lift your hips off the chair and slightly forward. Lower your body down by bending at your elbows and push back up to the starting position by extending your elbows.

Desk Push-ups

Place your hands on your desk slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Walk your feet back so you are in a straight line from head to heels.  Lower your chest towards the desk while keeping your back flat, then press up to the starting position.

Wall Sits

Place your back against a wall and take a step forward with both feet. Slowly lower your body down until your knees are at a 90 degree angle (if that is too far, go only as far as you can). Hold this position with your arms relaxed at your sides, or with computer on your lap.

Follow Sarah on Twitter @SarahJChicago