January 21, 2021

Are you on the right track to fitness? By Nicole Bryan

The complex and multi-faceted experience of living a long-term healthy lifestyle is ongoing. In the journey to wellness there will be accomplishments, setbacks, days of confidence, as well as days of uncertainty. And that’s the way it should be! If we’re not experiencing all of those, maybe all within one week even, then the regime needs reevaluating. Just as other life experiences are all emotionally and physically encompassing, the path to wellness is no different. However, somewhere along the line many of us got the impression that getting healthy is easy. The truth is, making the choice to get fit is easy. The “getting fit” part of getting fit takes sacrifice, effort, and often the daily renewal of commitment to the goal.

Here’s how to know if we’re on the right track with our fitness regime.

Are you experiencing results and progress? Results will most likely not be ongoing in a dramatic capacity in a long term fitness program. The body adapts in stages, and that’s often how we’ll experience results. So if results have temporarily slowed, try some unaccustomed exercise to ramp up results again. If progress has taken a back seat, change your regime entirely.

Do you experience feelings of being unsure and doubt that you’ll be able to stick with it? Uncertainty is part of setting goals that force us to stretch our comfort level to reach them. The goals should be big and far out enough to inspire a feeling of “is this really possible.”

Does your regime require effort? If you’re day dreaming through your workout, or cruising through class on auto-pilot, time to mix it up. Your regime should require taking day in and out action steps.

Do you have to build a strategy and think about how you are going to approach your goal? If you walk into the gym and do the same thing, in the same order, with the same weights, reps and sets without a thought as to how you’re going to approach or complete your regime, time to change approach. Your regime should make it necessary to develop a plan of attack regarding how you are going to get to your goal.

Do you miss your routine when you’re away from it? If you miss how your exercise makes you feel better, miss the energy it brings and satisfaction you experience from completing each workout you’re definitely on the right track.

Is it fun, does it bring you joy? It won’t be all laughs all the time, but more often than not it should be an enjoyable, fun, happy experience. If you’re not smiling even once during the workout, change it!

Take your Fitness to the Next Level!

Take your fitness to the next level…

Join #HealthyWayMag Fitness Chat every Monday at 5pm(Pacific)/8pm(Eastern) on Twitter. Pick up exercise tips, workout ideas and your weekly fitness motivation.

How does a Twitter Chat work?

 

1. Log onto Twitter.

2. Enter hashtag #HealthyWayMag.

3. Follow along with our conversation about all aspects of fitness.

4. Interact with fellow fitness-enthusiasts. During our Question and Answer discussion, you’ll learn about new exercise methods, top gear and best practices for success. Your motivation will soar!

5. Enjoy fitness friends, accountability and FUN!

 

 

Monday July 6, 2015 #HealthyWayMag Fitness Chat Sponsored by SaltStick:

Do you know that replacing electrolytes lost during a tough workout is key for top fitness performance? If you race, participate in community events or organized athletics, having an electrolyte replacement plan in place is essential. Enter SaltStick! Reduce muscle cramping and fatigue that results from electrolyte imbalance by adding SaltStick Caps into your training regime. SaltStick Caps enable you to beat the heat and the body stress that comes with max workouts in hot and humid conditions. And with their patented, cutting edge and user-friendly salt tab dispensers, you can easily carry SaltStick Caps with you while cycling, running, hiking or the like. And for more of a competitive edge check out their SaltStick Mini, weighing in at only 12g. Making SaltStick your new training may just mean your fastest workouts are yet to come! Check them out on Twitter @SaltStick , and join their Facebook community for more info!

Need Workout Accountability? By Nicole Bryan

Who are you accountable to?

It’s so easy to skip workouts! Before we know it, five other “responsibilities” have usurped our once preciously guarded exercise time. Then days become weeks, weeks become months, and so on. Before we know it, we’re asking ourselves “It can’t be six months since I’ve been to the gym…can it?” Enlisting the help of others to hold us accountable is a great method to sticking with our wellness plan. Having others to check in with and report back to, in a sense, renews or creates our health as a priority.

So here’s how to do it:

Form an accountability group to stay on pace to reach your workout goals! Similar to the Mastermind Principle that has been around for decades, and sometimes also referred to as a Think Tank or Advisory Board, an accountability group is simply a group with a health and wellness focus or base of principle. There’s one prerequisite to becoming a member in an accountability group; being able to handle honest and constructive feedback. Can you handle it?

Step 1. When searching for others to invite to your group choose those who bring something different than you do to the table. The first step is to write down a list of all the qualities you will bring to the group. For example, you are always willing to try new exercise classes, you like to participate in community events and you are really good about finding new healthful recipes to try.

Step 2. The next step is to write down aspects of health and wellness for which you need support. For example, your Friday workouts tend to be forgotten. And maybe that early morning spin class has been on your list to try for months, but has yet to happen. Perhaps your healthy eating down fall is heading for the vending machine at 3pm for a candy bar to get through the remainder of your work day.

Step 3. The third step is to compose a list of friends, coworkers, etc who are successful at what you’ve not been. Or who you feel represent a well balanced health and fitness lifestyle. Someone who not only talks the talk, but who walks the walk will inspire other members to do the same. Someone who possesses qualities you respect and admire. For example, invite one who balances children and competitive running; invite one who has had success in weight loss while working full time. Invite another who successfully manages a chronic illness while teaching fitness classes. Since a secondary purpose of the group is to provide a functional health and wellness network, consider that as well when inviting members. For example, if a member is looking for a dietician, the participant who’s successfully lost weight could possibly offer a referral. If a member is looking for a health club, another can provide a solid referral, and so on.

Step 4. The final step is to create the basics of your meeting. Holding regular meeting times helps set the pattern of your group.  The frequency is up to the members and how in depth the goals of the members. Designate a facilitator, either rotating or a single person for a set period of time much like a Board of Advisory functions will maintain structure. Follow the same format each meeting to maintain order and stay on task. The goal is to listen more than you talk. Each response should stay on point, with the facilitator bringing the group and conversation back into focus when topic strays. Posting a roundtable question is also a diplomatic approach to brainstorm solutions. Keep tabs on the trend of the conversation (negative thoughts, self-sabotage, not taking responsibility.)

Step 5. A final consideration toward creating your group is to designate a member who maintains writing down goals and questions for discussion. Writing down goals forces members to be accountable for what was said and agreed upon. The bottom line goal of a Health Accountability Group is to learn from one another, as well as to build a network for one another.

If you’ve ever felt frustrated or unmotivated on your journey to wellness, you are not alone! Find others to share your challenges with, and most importantly to share solutions!

How to Choose an Exercise Program by Justin Ross

According to the Physical Activity Guidelines published by the US Department of Health and Human Services, adults need to exercise for at least 150 minutes at moderate intensity during a week in order to gain health benefits. Exercise is crucial for good mental and physical health. Exercise can help to control weight, improve strength and endurance, and keep chronic illnesses such as diabetes and metabolic syndrome at bay.*

Know Your Fitness Goal

Before you decide which exercise routine to follow, you should have a clear idea of your fitness goal. If you are just starting out because you got an earful the last time you visited the doctor, then your immediate goal may be to reduce weight, or manage your diabetes. You may be one of those who already follow a healthy lifestyle, but now want to dial up the fitness part and train for a marathon or a 5K. You might have some body-building goal in mind, or want to improve your flexibility. You may want to become serious about playing a sport, rather than just going for a weekend game now and then.

Choose an exercise routine specifically to achieve your goal.

For example, if you are just starting out, you may want to start with a low-impact or non-impact aerobic activity and aim for at least 30 minutes five days a week. If its body building you are after, you will need a strength training routine that targets specific muscles, with different sets of muscles coming into play in each session. You also need to figure out if you want to work out at home, outdoors, or at a gym. You may want a full-service health club offering amenities such as a swimming pool, sports options, a sauna and a massage service.

Different Types of Exercise

1. Cardio

Cardio is physical exercise of low to high intensity that causes you to breathe harder, gets your heart beating faster than at rest, and makes you sweat. Walking, running, cycling, swimming and dancing are all examples of aerobic exercise. Start with a moderate routine, and then dial up the intensity. Popular aerobics exercise classes offered by health clubs include spinning, high intensity interval training, dancing, aqua aerobics, and so on. Exercise classes also help you to meet new people and can be more motivating than exercising solo. Remember, if you are a beginner to exercise, or have any health condition, you should always talk to a doctor before beginning any exercise routine.

2. Strength Training

This is a form of exercise designed to strengthen the muscles, either by using weights such as free weights, kettlebells, or resistance bands, or by using the body’s own weight. A strength training routine should target different sets of muscles on successive days. There are many exercise routines that combine cardio and strength training; this combination has the dual benefit of increasing your fitness and enhancing your strength. Since strength training can lead to injury if not done correctly, it is a good idea to use a personal trainer, at least in the initial days, so as to learn the correct form. Confirm your trainer is certified by the American Council on Exercise. You can then be rest assured that your trainer knows what she is doing.

3. Sports

Whether a team sport or an individual effort, sports can be a great way of building exercise into your daily schedule. Choose your sport based on your fitness level, familiarity with the sport, access to the proper facilities; don’t forget to consult your doctor.

Justin Ross is a marketing manager at New York Health & Racquet Club. With 20 years of experience in health and fitness, Justin loves to write and talk about different aspects of healthy living. For more info go to www.nyhrc.com, Facebook and follow along via Twitter.

 

*Disclaimer: Result may vary from person to person.

 

The Right Gym by Jennifer Austin

So you’re ready to join a gym, but which one? There really is a workout location for every personality from big health clubs to small private personal training studios.  However, it may be so overwhelming it is difficult to know where to begin. Begin with what you want in a workout facility. The first consideration is answering the question, “what type of fitness experience do you want?” Knowing this right from the get-go will insure you actually use the facility!

A larger healthy club facility will offer amenities to make your exercise experience luxurious, stocked locker rooms, maybe a pool, a wide variety of classes and instructors, as well as offering a social calendar or family focused events. A smaller studio may allow more individual attention specific to your workout goals, more private space, more control over the environment such as music, parking and changing facilities, along with less used and less crowded equipment. And there are many options in between. So which is right for you?

Atmosphere. Choosing the right atmosphere is critical when joining a facility. Remember a goal of healthy living is to decrease stress, so if you’re going to become grumpy with music blasting, you’re really defeating your purpose. Answer the following questions: Do you like to exercise when it’s quiet or do you like music? Do you like to be around others when you exercise? It’s safe to assume all workout facilities will be busy in January. Most people are able to exercise before work hours, about 5am until 8am and then again after work hours, about 5pm until 8pm. If the facility you’re considering offers childcare, assume it will be busy during those hours as well. So, if you’re one who likes to exercise alone, make sure you can exercise in the afternoon hours where you’ll have more space all to yourself or choose a smaller facility with fewer members and less traffic in general.
 

Equipment. What’s the primary equipment you’ll use? Large facilities will have lots of options making having to wait for equipment a non-issue. However, if you’re working toward a particular goal or event, a smaller facility run by Fitness Professionals will allow you space and resources to be as specific as you need and require.

Amenities. Will you need access to changing facilities? Do you need childcare services? Will you bring your own towel or do you prefer to pick up one there and then leave it as you exit? Would you like food and drinks available for purchase? Is paid parking or simply adequate parking a consideration? Are you interested in a health club social scene like seminars, outdoor or off-site workouts or weekend social gatherings? Do you want a space to lounge and chat before and after your workout? A larger health club in many cases offers social activities and they often have food available. Smaller locations may have limited showers and changing facilities, both important considerations if you’re on a tight timeline pre and post workout.

Classes. Do you like the social aspect of working out? Do you like the variety a group fitness schedule offers? Do you like a rotating schedule of classes? If you are not interested in a group workout and are happy doing a solo workout, choosing a location that doesn’t offer classes may be more economical.

Getting what you want out of your exercise experience, means you need to be clear on what kind of exercise experience you want!  It’s your healthy living plan, so make it work for you.

Fitness on 2 Wheels by Nicole Bryan

Have you considered adding cycling or bicycling into your fitness routine? Biking is a mode of exercise that boasts many benefits. It’s a non-impact, full body, functional and economical, as well as an adjustable intensity workout.

Non-impact exercise basically means there’s no jarring or impact on your bones and joints in the exercise. If you’ve experienced joint injuries, biking may be a good choice. Biking could also be considered a full body workout if you’re keeping your upper body and core under tension by maintaining proper posture and spinal alignment while cycling. If you’re planning to head to the trails on your bike, the terrain alone will have all your muscles working the entire time, while also testing your bike handling skills.

As a functional and economical exercise, biking to and from running errands, commuting to work or simply leaving the car at home on the weekends and heading out your bike, will ease finances from having to fill up your gas tank.

Cycling is also an adjustable exercise in regards to intensity, enter your bike gears. You can push a harder gear up a hill or shift to an easier gear and focus on increasing the turn-over of your legs. You can pedal fast, slow or even coast if you’re in need of a break. All in all, most would agree cycling is a workout to consider.

A few safety considerations:
Helmet: Helmets are a must. There are road biking helmets, mountain biking helmets, as well as general sport helmets. Choose one based on what type of riding you’ll be doing most. Prices range from $40.00 on up to $200.00 and more. According to the law, all helmets sold in the USA must be approved by the Consumer Products Safety Commission, so be sure to look for their seal of approval. Another quick safety note, any helmet that has been involved in any kind of impact should be replaced, regardless of the external appearance of the helmet.

Reflectors: If you’re riding at night, a clear/white light must be attached on the front to either the bicycle or the person, check your state requirements. Riders, by most state law, must be visible for up to 300 feet. Also often required for night riding is a red rear reflector, white or yellow reflectors on the front and back of each pedal, as well as clear/white reflectors on both sides of the front half and back half of your bicycle.

Road Rules: Cyclist and drivers follow the same rules of the road.

Emergency Contact: Always carry ID and emergency info with you.

As far as cycling gear goes, that’s up to you. If you’re riding for long distance, padded cycling shorts may be a good investment. If you’re interested in aerodynamics, consider a riding jersey with a rear pocket to hold your belongings such as your keys and phone. Biking shoes will also allow for an efficient pedal stroke, if you’re considering riding for fitness either on the paved road or dirt trail.

Does Workout Recovery Matter? By Nicole Bryan

Does workout recovery matter?
    
Do you include a workout recovery plan as part of your racing or workout program? You should! Here’s why: long term sustainable exercise happens through the delicate and very individual balance between exercise (workload) and rest (recovery.) Depending the distance you’re racing or your workout goal, your training program should not end with race day or goal day, it should actually extend anywhere from one day to three weeks after. Ask any athlete who’s been involved in long term racing or sustainable athletics and has remained injury-free, you’ll find the common thread to be that of allowing sufficient recovery from hard racing and tough workouts.

Accept your need for recovery as part of your exercise program. Better yet, program it in. Keep your schedule on the calendar just as you do when in your heavy or building training period, just write “off” or “30 minute jog.”

Here are a few ways how to decrease the stress of accepting and respecting your recovery period as an essential part of your training program:

Cross Train. Choose an entirely different mode of exercise all together. Change the angle at which you’re working your muscles. If you routinely do high-impact, try non-impact exercise. If you regularly partake in exercise over 90 minutes, set a recovery limit of fifty-percent of your average weekly workouts. If you’ve been wanting to try a different workout, now is the time to do it when the new workout won’t interfere with your race program.

Rest. That’s right, rest! Do less, do nothing, do whatever whenever the mood strikes you. Resting not only applies to your body, but to your mind as well. This includes psychological and emotional rest. When we are racing or focused on completing a major fitness goal, our mind works just as hard. Get caught up on movies, sort through paperwork, play puzzles with your kids. Sit. Rest. Relax. Many are afraid of rest for fear that they’ll lose all their fitness efforts over night. Rest assured, you won’t. In reality, the contrary is true, you’ll come back to your sport and fitness with more enthusiasm than before. Let yourself miss your activity!

Tend to the details. During your recovery period is a great time to tend to those tiny details that during your heavy training were tolerable, but just barely. For example, that nagging foot discomfort you’ve been tolerating (go see your doctor), or your slightly-off hydration plan (research other alternatives), or those biking shoes that just getting worn out (try out new equipment.) This is like your rainy-day activity list. Tiny details that you just never have time for during your training. Get them sorted out now, so when your recovery period is complete, you’re ready to go.

Catch up. Catch up with other areas of your life that may have been neglected during your heavy training period. Re-introduce yourself to your spouse, to your children, to your boss, to your friends. Go ahead and make that time active if you’d like, but activity is not the priority. Get caught up on your desk work, yard work, and the kid’s homework, anything other than variables that have to do with your race or goal.

Bask in your accomplishment. You’ve worked hard to reach your goal, why not allow time to enjoy it before darting off to begin your next training period. Read articles on your sport, send fellow athletes your race pictures, share your race report in a blog post, chat with other participants, and plot out your next race or fitness goal undertaking; have some fun with your accomplishment! There are ways to stay connected with your sport, your training buddies and current events, without the physical demands required by logging the miles in race prep. So go ahead, hone your verbal, written and artistic skills for a change. Brag a little. You’ll inspire fellow athletes, and yourself.

Find your FUN with #HealthyWayMag Fitness Chat

#HealthyWayMag Fitness Chat every Monday at 5pm(Pacific)/8pm(Eastern) on Twitter!

Fitness should be FUN! Find energy, inspiration and accountability every Monday on Twitter. We chat about all things fitness, exchange exercise ideas and workout tips. Discover what has worked for others to keep exercise on track, reach their goals and beat boredom.

Simply log into your twitter account, enter #HealthyWayMag to join in and pump positive energy back into your exercise. You’ll super-charge your motivation and your workout FUN!

 

Monday, April 13th #HealthyWayMag Fitness Chat is sponsored by PowerICE:

PowerICE offers all natural hydration for your sports and workouts! All natural means there’s no high fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors for you. At only 30 calories each, their hydration solution is light-weight, easy to carry and will cool your core at the same time. Fueling your fitness with their on-the-go frozen electrolyte bars really couldn’t be easier. And they’re great for kids sports too! Check out www.PowerICE.com to learn how they can help make your workouts better. Follow them on Twitter at @PowerICE.

How to Get INSPIRED!

Have you fallen off-track with your fitness? Are your workouts lacking motivation? Is your exercise energy lagging? Here’s how to GET INSPIRED!

JOIN US for your weekly dose of fitness motivation, inspiration and FUN!

#HealthyWayMag Fitness Chat every Monday at 5pm(Pacific)/8pm(Eastern) on Twitter.

 

We chat about all things fitness: finding fun workouts, goal-setting, problem-solving, overcoming obstacles, hot new workouts, racing, community athletic events, just to name a few.

Joining in the fun is easy! Here’s how:

Log into your Twitter account
Enter #HealthyWayMag in the “Search Twitter” box.
Follow questions noted as Q1 (Question 1), Q2 (Question 2), etc.
To participate in the conversation answer using A1 (Answer 1), etc.
Chat and have fun with other fitness-minded folks!

 

Tomorrow, March 30th Fitness Chat is Sponsored by goChia!
GoChia is an innovative all natural chia seed beverage that offers an alternative to sugary and stimulant laden drinks. Low calorie and low sugar, plus the power of the mighty chia seed! GoChia provides enhanced hydration, endurance and immune system support. They are the only chia drink that has the power of chia with B-complex vitamin, selenium and zinc as well as being rich in plant sourced-omega-3 fatty acids. Follow them on Twitter @DrinkChia. Find their Chia Bites now available in Costco NE region, and their Chia Drinks and Snacks available on Amazon.

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.