How to Prevent Your Workout from Becoming Stale

Boring blog pic 2Do you dread workouts at the gym? Well, that should not be the case because you need to exercise for purposes of getting healthy and fit. Consistency in workouts also helps to ensure your body remains in good shape. There are many strategies which you can employ when you want to spice up your exercises and make them less frightening. Below is a look into some of these strategies:

Choose activities which you enjoy doing

One of the best ways to prevent your workouts from becoming stale is to go for exercises or things that you love to do.  No matter how many workouts you want to work on, you might not benefit from them if you don’t have the interest in you.  The exercises that you indulge in should therefore have an element of personal appeal. If you don’t love push-ups, you can still try jogging, skipping or weight lifting. Basically, you need to try and get something that you truly find interesting in your case.

Get your buddy to accompany you when going to the gym

Even if you are not working out in the gym, it might be a good idea to get a friend or someone else to offer you company when you are doing your workouts. For instance, cycling with your spouse or kids is one of the best options in this regard. On the other hand, some morning jogging with workmates and friends can be a great help. There is an unexplainable force that takes over your instincts when you are working out as a group. You can therefore use the group mentality to make your workouts fun and more rewarding.

Distract your mind from focusing on the pains of workouts

It is also important to try not to focus too much on the pain associated with the workouts or exercises that you are performing. Music is one of the means you can use when you want to distract yourself when exercising. Basically, anything that helps to put your mind off the real exercise will be adequate and helpful in this regard.

Remember that, variety is an important spice in life

Involving yourself in a variety of workouts might also help you to make workouts more interesting. If you are used to doing one exercise every other time, you can attest to the fact that it gets boring as time goes by. Much as that is the case, you don’t have to stop exercising. You can simply bring in a mix of other exercises and workouts in order to spice up the entire element.  In fact, changing from one exercise to another with time will help to get rid of the element of boredom.

Dancing might as well be some form of exercise

Many people do not know this but it is a fact. If you love to dance, you can have your favorite music on and dance to it. In any case, you will still be working out various parts of your body.  The dance can take various forms. The most important part is to ensure that it is active and that it can cause perspiration. It can therefore be salsa, belly dance, ballroom dance, country dance or whichever other type. Just make sure that you are working out as much as you can.

Last but not least, your workouts might be getting stale since you have never introduced a change of timing for the exercises.  If you have always been exercising in the mornings, you can try to exercise in the evenings and see if there is any substantial transformation.

The Keys to Picking the Right Personal Trainer

Imacon Color Scanner

Working with a personal trainer is a great way to jump start your fitness goals. If you’ve been heading to the gym for months on end without any real results or you’ve gotten bored with your current fitness routine, working with a personal trainer can help you meet your goals and help your fitness plan get back on track. Before you book your first session, here are four things to consider when you start looking for a personal trainer.

  • There’s an art and a science to good personal training, and your trainer should hold a certification from one of the mainstream accreditation organizations. Look for a certification from The National Academy of Sports Medicine, The American College of Sports Medicine, or the National Athletic Trainers Association, to name a few. Your trainer may also have a specialized certification, like CrossFit Level 1 or as Certified Strength and Condition Coach. These specializations can also give you insight into what he or she might focus on during your session. A commitment to learning new things and continuing education is also a plus.
  • A qualified personal trainer will take a complete medical history. Be sure to let your trainer know about any injury- no matter how old- any health issues you have. He or she should also have you run through a basic fitness evaluation, which may include getting your blood pressure, weight, body composition, and heart rate. You may be asked to run through a series of benchmark exercises, including running the 40, executing push ups, squats, or chin ups /pull ups. These exercises will give you and your trainer an accurate picture of your current fitness level and help you identify your new fitness goals.
  • Your trainer should vary your workout. You are paying for individual attention, so your workouts should be programmed to meet your personal needs and goals. A well-rounded program will incorporate strength training, body weight training, cardio, and mobility. Your trainer should also take any issues or injuries into consideration and modify or scale your exercise and programming appropriately. If you find your programming is stagnant, redundant, or not individualized, it may be time for a new trainer.
  • You should feel comfortable with your trainer. Do you respond better to positive reinforcement, or do you need a drill sergeant to keep you moving? The personality of your trainer and how you respond to him or her will play an important role in your success. You should feel comfortable sharing important heath information about any outside stresses, eating, drinking, and sleeping habits, and your over all well being. All these factors play a role in your performance. You can’t feel shy about sharing personal information, so consider your comfort level with same or opposite gender trainers.

Committing to a fitness regime and including a personal trainer can be costly, but the benefits far outweigh the costs. Whether you are looking for a long-term relationship or a jump start to a new routine, finding the right trainer can make all the difference.

How to Return to the Gym After Child Birth

Pregnancy fitness blog photoBody of Misinformation

Exercise after childbirth is great for promoting mood stability and keeping your energy levels high.  If done the right way, increased physical activity can expedite the healing process, stave off depression and keep you positive and proactive in balancing and managing your new lifestyle.  One major challenge that women face, however, is finding ways to get back into the gym and build an effective and feasible workout plan.

Consulting With Your Doctor

Women will typically need between four and six weeks to recover from the birthing process, before they are physically ready to adopt and maintain stringent workout routines.  Talking with your physician will help you to determine when is the best time to start aggressively working out.  Fortunately, new moms can rely on professional fitness trainers to help them establish workout plans that are best reflective of their new needs.

Muscle Memory And Pregnancy Fitness

If you are serious about reclaiming your pre-pregnancy physique, the best time for maintaining a solid and consistent workout plan is during your actual pregnancy.  Prenatal yoga and Pilates classes abound.  Remaining consistent in your workout plan throughout pregnancy will increase muscle memory, whereby the various muscle groups retain their tone and definition after childbirth and the process of returning to pre-pregnancy fitness levels is greatly simplified.

After The Baby Is Born

It is always a good idea to consult with a personal trainer after having had your child, especially if you are attempting to traverse the delicate line between weight loss and offering your child optimal nutrition through breast milk.  Not only can your trainer show you different workout strategies for slowly rebuilding core strength and promoting gradual fat loss, but this individual can also give you nutritional tips that will ensure that you are giving your body all that it needs for the ongoing process of milk production.

More importantly, trainers emphasize gradual, healthy weight loss.  This will allow you to adopt a plan that is in line with your body’s ability to recover after pregnancy.  Rather that implementing strict and calorie-deficient diet and exercise plans that will throw the metabolism into starvation mode, women who work with trainers can instead, use this time to pamper themselves, improve their overall health, regain systemic balance and boost their metabolic functioning.

Taking Classes 

There are a number of low-impact and even non-impact exercise programs that ladies can engage in.  In addition to minimizing the stress that is placed on the joints and bones, these activities also help to foster optimal spinal alignment.  After carrying excess weight for several months, many women suffer from pinched and compressed nerves, especially compression of the sciatic nerve.  Putting the body back in motion and engaging in activities that lengthen, elongate and realign the spine is therefore ideal.  Thus, the best place to start a new post-natal routine is often in beginning or intermediate yoga classes, especially those classes that have a post-natal focus.  There are also water-based exercise classes that help to loosen sore stiff muscles and serve as the perfect introduction to physical fitness training for women who did not workout before or during their pregnancies.

Using Equipment And Building Strength And Endurance

Women will find that there is an incredible range of gym resources for every level of fitness.  Thus, as they increase in flexibility, strength and endurance, they can look forward to high-energy Zumba classes, training with fee weights, cardiovascular equipment and innovative weight machines and systems.  There is also an extensive array of children’s programs available, for keeping little ones occupied throughout their various stages of development.

Why Full Extension Is More Important than Heavy Weights

Imacon Color ScannerBody of Misinformation

Lifting heavy and with bad form is all too common in gyms. In any given gym on any day, you’ll find dozens of enthusiasts tossing around much too heavy weights, groaning as they twist their ways through joint-busting workouts.

While all are potentially guilty of this mistake, men are especially prone. Something about male hormones, male ego and the need to be a champ in the gym sends many a wannabe Mr. Universe onto the bench to press a thousand pounds as quickly as possible. Injuries are the least of this guy’s issues.

And for women seeking to exchange fat for gently sculpted muscle, easy does it. Easy, as in take it slow and do it right. Lifting with proper form and through the full range of motion for each exercise and muscle is the safes, effective route to a toned physique.

Fully extending while lifting goes hand in hand with proper form. Both lay the foundation for acquiring strength. This foundation allows you to incorporate more advanced techniques into your workout later on and to raise the poundage you lift as you grow stronger.

Proper form and full extension prevent the risk of injury and are central to any lifting regimen, although a great many exercisers overlook this rule. But you only need consider the science behind this basic truth about getting toned.

Picture Motions

Repetitive motions have a basic start-to-finish trajectory. The motion begins, develops, ends and then you return to the starting point and repeat. Exercise repetitions epitomize this idea, whether you’re benching or leg pressing.

The contracting of your muscles is what impels your body through space. When you lift your arm, for example, different sets of your arm muscles contract in tandem to complete this task. In a biceps curl, the sets of muscles in question are biceps and triceps.

When you lift the dumbbell to perform a biceps curl, your biceps contract concentrically. When you lower the dumbbell, your biceps extend but remain tensed, or flexed, owing to the dumbbell’s weight and to gravity. This is an eccentric contraction. Both kinds of contractions are essential to developing muscle strength, a necessary prerequisite to any attempts at increasing muscle size.

Proper form and mindful lifting allow you to perform the biceps curl through the full range of motion, to raise the weight and squeeze the biceps, and then to lower the weight and extend the biceps during the eccentric phase. This full extension recruits more muscle fibers and encourages the flow of oxygenated blood.

Fully extending on each exercise is impossible when you lift weights that are beyond your capabilities. To compensate for the heavy weight, your movements become jerky, hurried and without rhythm.

Your workout feels challenging because you’re lifting heavy, but you’re not truly working the muscle through its full range. The result is lots of sweat, fatigue, little muscle definition and strains.

The Big Buffed Picture

Plan each workout in advance, and review definitions and demonstrations of the exercises you intend to do beforehand. This is where personal trainers or small group training come in very handy.

Start with lighter weights, and concentrate on using proper technique during each exercise. You’ll be stunned at how difficult it is. Difficult but not impossible. Full extension, proper form and the right rep range are the three pillars of an excellent workout.

Once you’ve nailed correct form and full extension, then proceed gradually to heavier weights, more complicated exercises and different workout combinations.

Love the TRX? Get Certified!

smc love the trx 514

Calling All Runners

smc calling all runners 314

How to Get Back Into a Fitness Routine

running couple closeMany people find themselves suddenly realizing that they have lost themselves. Life gets hectic, children are born and you become busy. One thing that suffers is your health and fitness, unfortunately. Making sure that you take care of yourself is an important part of taking care of those that you care about. Getting back into a fitness routine is one of the toughest tasks you might face and it may require a little work. There are several things that you can do to ease back into a fitness routine without feeling like you are climbing up a mountain.

Find Time

The first thing you want to consider is how much time you have to devote to a fitness routine. This will help you find a routine that fits your lifestyle and prevent you from failing by trying to cram a fitness routine where it simply won’t fit. Even if you are going to devote one hour every other day, you can be on your way to a fitness routine that will give you excellent results.

Find Motivating Choices

Remember that a fitness routine doesn’t have to mean weight lifting or riding an exercise bike. You might find that there are other forms of exercise that fit your needs and will be exciting for you at the same time. You might want to consider signing up for a fitness class where you can build relationships while you are working out. This is a good way to develop an accountability plan. It is often easier to go to class and work out if you know someone else might be looking for you. It is also easier if you are doing some exercise routines as a group and experiencing the ups and downs together.

Exercise for Stress Release

Many people find that using their workout time or fitness time as an escape and stress reliever is the best way to commit to doing it each day. Making your fitness outing a reward instead of making it something of a chore is the best way to get yourself into the routine of getting the job done. Look forward to your routine so that you can get the benefit while making sure that you don’t feel like you are punishing yourself for being out of shape.

Make Commitments

Another important part of getting back into a fitness routine is making sure that all of those around you, such as your children, your friends and your spouse, realize that you are going to be doing this. Mark it on your daily planner and on the calendar on your refrigerator. Write it in ink so that everyone knows you are unavailable during these times and this is not a time when you will work out if you have nothing else to do. It is an appointment that you are responsible to keep.

Reward Yourself Positively and Consistently

Rewarding yourself for every step you take, especially in the first 30 days, is vital to sticking with it and getting a routine going. The first week will be the most difficult and will be when you are making the workout a regular part of your routine. Take the time to appreciate every step forward you make, whether it is going through your fitness routine for another day or losing another pound. Every bit of progress forward is going to help build the momentum you need to stay strong.

Easing back into a workout routine is not an easy task, but you will be rewarded for the effort. Find the time, make the commitment and refuse to give up.

Great After School Activities for Your Kids

Afterschool blog pic 1We all know how important staying active is for overall health.  As parents, we want to make sure our children learn good habits for lifelong health.  After exercising their minds all day in school, make sure your kids have a chance to exercise their bodies as well.  Except for a short break for recess or gym class, kids are expected to sit still and concentrate.  There are also plenty of options for their free time that don’t involve being physically active.  So finding after school activities that help your kids get some exercise is really important.  Staying active can help them learn to focus on their studies too, making homework time more effective. Here a few activities your child might like to try.

Tennis is a really great activity for kids.  Tennis is an exciting form of exercise, it is fast paced and action packed. It increases strength and hand-eye coordination.  It also uses both your upper and lower body. While tennis can be played as a doubles team, most of this sport is based on one-on-one competition.  So it is good for kids that prefer individual over team sports.  Tennis is a fast paced sport and requires a player to react quickly.  It requires the participant to mentally engage and pay attention. While players can always work to improve their skills, if your child doesn’t perform well in a fast paced environment, they may not enjoy it.  Tennis can be practiced alone so your child doesn’t need a whole team of people to help them practice the necessary skills. Parents might like tennis because it offers a little more civility than some other sports.  If your child is watching a tennis match, they won’t see bench clearing brawls and punch throwing.  As a result, participants end up practicing more self-control.  Since tennis can be played both indoors and out kids can participate year around.  Even younger children can participate with the use of the right sized equipment.

Swimming is another good sport for kids that exercises their entire body. While swimmers often participate on a swim team and in relay events with other swimmers, it is still an individual sport.  Lessons can be individual or group and swim teams offer competition opportunities.  Small children often like to play in water and are often enthusiastic about learning the basic skills and participating in classes.  Swimming can be an especially good choice for children with disabilities since it is non-contact, and requires no equipment.  It can often benefit these children therapeutically as well.  Many people find swimming relaxing and children can participate and learn skills at a pace that works for them.

Yoga for children can help them relax and focus.  It is a non-competitive way to build strength, flexibility and balance.  All of those things are necessary physical well-being and can help improve their performance in other sports or physical activities as well.  Yoga can incorporate a little creativity too.  Many of the poses involve animal names and young kids can like “pretending” they are the animals.  It is important to make sure the yoga program is designed specifically for children to ensure that the exercises are developmentally appropriate.

After school activities offer lots of enjoyment for children of all ages.  Finding the right after school activity for your child can help them stay healthy and happy!

The Benefits of a regular massage

EfleurageA regular massage will do wonders for your body and mind. Researchers and doctors are taking note of this non-invasive pain relief technique that is quickly gaining respect and acclaim all across the globe. Aside from providing a therapeutic and pleasurable feeling, a massage can help treat a wide variety of disorders and physical maladies including muscle tension, digestive disorders, headaches, anxiety, soft tissue strains, fibromyalgia, myofascial pain syndrome, sports injuries, insomnia and nerve pain.

The most widely recognized benefit of a regular massage is the relaxation that it provides. Even as few as ten minutes on a massage table can settle a person down, calming both his body and mind. It lowers blood pressure, slows down the heart rate and puts the mind at ease. The mental aspect of a massage is a large part of the reason why people without physical maladies will still have regular massages. It provides a fantastic psychological cleansing that replenishes mental energy and reduces feelings of stress. Studies have shown that people perform much better on academic exams and problem solving challenges after undergoing a massage.

People who undergo regular massages also sleep better. They attain REM sleep, or deep sleep at a higher rate. This deep sleep stage allows the body to restore itself and is essential to attaining ideal health. Fibromyalgia sufferers who received a half an hour massage for three times a week over five weeks slept almost an hour longer after the study than they did before the study. This boost in sleep cuts down on the body’s production of substance P. This is a neurotransmitter that is commonly linked to pain. Massage also cuts down on cortisol, a hormone that is created by the body during stressful experiences. A reduction in cortisol causes a significant increase in serotonin, a “happy chemical” produced in the brain.

The best massage involves a moderate amount of pressure. Moderate pressure will relax the body, drop heart rate and stimulate the body’s pressure receptors. Ideally, everyone should have at least a ten minute massage with moderate pressure every single day. Deep massages and Swedish massages are the most popular varieties of massage. A deep massage uses slow techniques with moderately forceful stroking to impact the deep segments of your muscles. It also targets the tissues that connect muscles and bones. A Swedish massage is more of a gentle massage that incorporates gentle stroking and circular motions, vibrations, tapping and kneading with the application of moderate pressure.

Aside from a massage’s impact on specific diseases and physical problems, it is enjoyable because it lets people find an inner peace. People enjoy closing their eyes, escaping their problems and being cared for by another human being even if it only lasts ten minutes at a time. The simple truth is that human beings love to be touched. Touching is instinctual to every single one of us. After a long day of sitting still in front of a computer, serving customers or taking care of children, the touch of a masseuse is exactly what you need. It is a relaxing and empowering experience that makes you ready to face the rest of the day or recuperate from the stresses that challenged you throughout the day.

7 Exercises to Improve Your Golf Game

Golf  blog pic 3Although golfers are not considered to be elite athletes, they should make an attempt to stay physically fit. If you golf, you can perform several different exercises to increase your flexibility and muscle memory.

Plenty of golfers complain about back pain as the golf swing puts stress on those muscles. You can be proactive and take measures to keep your back muscles loose and strong. You should perform the Lying Leg Crossover exercise. Lie down with your back against the ground. Stretch your legs outwards and raise one into the air while bending the knee at a ninety degree angle. Move this leg over. Keep the other side of your body tight to the ground. As soon as you feel a strain in your backside, stop the exercise and hold yourself in that position for ten seconds. Repeat the exercise with the opposite leg. Perform the exercise in sets of ten.

If you add strength to your arms then you will be able to swing faster and harder, causing the golf ball to go further. Perform a side lunge rotation by standing with your feet spread and hold a dumbbell in each of your hands. Keep them at your chest’s height and have your palms pointing to one another. Now bend at one knee and perform a side lunge by moving the opposite side’s hand down toward its opposing foot. Then move the dumbbell across your body. Alternate the exercise with each side and arm multiple times.

Don’t forget about your glutes. A strong backside will increase your swing power and help you maintain your center of gravity. Lie down on the floor with your back flat against the ground. Put your legs onto a physio ball. Move the ball towards your bottom side by pulling your heels in and bend at the knees. Then move your heels back to the original starting position. Repeat the exercise about 15 times.

The golf swing puts incredible stress on the shoulders. Strengthen this pivotal part of the body with the side lying dumbbell external rotation. Lie down on your side and hold a five pound dumbbell. Make sure that your wrist is open and facing the same way that you are looking. The put your elbow on your hip’s area and keep a 90 degree angle with the elbow. Drop your wrist in the floor’s direction to the point that it is parallel to the floor then move it back to the original position. Do this with each arm at least 15 times.

In order to maintain your balance during your swing you will need a strong core section. Try the woodchopper exercise. Sit on a stability ball or a bench and hold a dumbbell in your hands. “Chop” the dumbbell from the hip up to the opposite shoulder and back down to the hip. Be sure to keep your arms straight and squeeze your core. Do this fifteen times on each side.

Another core exercise is simple crunches. Lie down on your back, lift your knees upward and keep them bent. Your feet should stay flat to the ground during the entire exercise. Lift your shoulders up until your abdominal muscles squeeze. Hold that position and then lower yourself back down.

The Superman exercise will work out several areas of your body, providing extra strength and flexibility for the shoulders, back, glutes and hamstrings.  It begins with you lying with your stomach against the floor. Stretch your arms out over your head and lift them about half a foot off of the ground. Hold them there until your arms feel fatigued.