Can Physical Activity Help With More Than Just Weight Loss?

March 21, 2013 By: office Comments Off

YogaFIXEDDid you know that regular exercise not only makes your body fit, but your mind and spirit too? It can help ease anxiety, stress, and depression; as well, as boost your self-esteem and energy levels. People who exercise more also tend to eat more nutritiously. In a study of 278 adults ages 60 and older, those with depression had a lower intake of fruits and vegetables (the main sources of antioxidants) and a lower intake of dietary antioxidants overall compared with those who weren’t depressed. Studies have also shown that individuals who are stressed tend to not only consume lower amounts of antioxidants. But individuals also tend to consume more food overall, which can make it very difficult for weight loss, which can in turn cause more stress.
You only need to exercise for a minimum of 20 to 40 minutes, this amount of time is better for reducing anxiety and increasing energy than shorter bouts of exercise. Choose any exercise you enjoy and you’ll be more likely to make it a habit. It’s easy, just taking a brisk walk outside clears your head, helps you absorb vitamin D (another depression fighter) and relieves tension. Studies have shown that if you incorporate walking into your fitness routine, you are more likely to stick to it.

 

These strategies can help you incorporate exercise a part of your routine:

  • Enjoy exercise by keeping it at a level that is comfortable for you
  • Maintain a regular schedule – exercise before work or at lunch. Try joining a class, basketball league, cycling club, or other group
  • Change your outlook. Focus on the positives, like how it gives you more energy and can help reduce stress in addition to helping with weight loss

In addition to reducing stress and helping with weight loss, staying physically active as you age may also prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s and other memory disorders. In one study, older adults who spent a decent amount of time on mentally challenging activities had about half the risk of developing Alzheimer’s as those who rarely engage in physical activities. This test also included brain-saving activities like playing cards, or checkers, reading, working crosswords, or other puzzles and visiting museums. Just remember if you are doing anything seated for long periods of time, get up and move around every hour or so to keep your blood flowing.
Another mental and physical challenge to explore is orienteering – a race in wilderness navigation using a map and campus. Visit their website for information, events and resources. Shane Diet & Fitness Resorts Instructors have a lot of mental and physical challenges to keep you motivated and moving.

Five Fatigue Fighters For Your Weight Loss Regimen

February 28, 2013 By: consultant 18 Comments

Have you ever caught yourself saying, “I’m too tired to exercise”? We’ve all done it, either skip a workout or cut a workout session short because we are “too tired.”

Fatigue is the reason many of us skip our exercise for the day, but did you know it can be a self-inflicted factor? That’s right! Fatigue is a perception – and your perceptions are easy to acknowledge and change. Believe it or not – exercise itself can make you feel less tired and more energized. We have combed through research to list Shane Diet & Fitness Resorts top five fatigue fighting tips to try on those days you need an extra kick in the pants to exercise and continue on your path to lose weight. Make working out part of your routine and over time you should feel less tired and function better.

  1. Eat Carbohydrates. Eating a low carbohydrate diet keeps your body from the maximum benefits from strength-based activities. Carbs equal energy. This is why diets like Atkins are not recommended for athletes. If you are planning to work out and it has been more than three hours since you ate anything, fuel up with a banana, 3 or 4 whole wheat crackers with peanut butter, or 100% whole wheat toast with tahini. Try to stay away from refined simple carbohydrates like white bread. The optimal fuels for fighting fatigue are complex carbs like legumes, starchy vegetables and whole grains.
  2. Variety is the spice of life. Repetitive training can cause boredom and fatigue. Your body becomes use to the same work out and after a few weeks you reach a plateau. Mix things up and your body will react differently. Try using a different cardio machine on every visit to the gym. Change your weight lifting program every four weeks. This will also increase the benefits, since you’ll be regularly working different muscle groups.
  3. Stay hydrated. It’s important to drink lots of water. When you are dehydrated, your cardiovascular system feels the effects, weakening the blood flow to your muscles and decreasing energy and function. Drink cold water before during and after exercise, even more so if you are working outside or sweat heavily. Often the sensation of thirst might not signal when you need to drink, especially with older people and those that take over-the counter or prescription drugs. Just make sure that you always have your water bottle handy.
  4. Track your activity and success. Keeping an exercise journal will help motivate you, just like counting calories can help a dieter. Physical changes occur gradually, so we don’t see the changes in a physical way. Keeping track of the total times you exercise, your distance and times during cardiovascular training, and the number of repetitions, sets, and increases in resistance during strength training will keep you going strong. Also think about logging your waist circumference and how many push-ups you can complete in one minute every month. This will also help you see the physical changes and strength you are developing.
  5. Partner up. This can be the biggest motivator of all! It can push you to do more than you would alone. Now you are accountable to someone else and the last thing you want to do is let them down – right? Don’t worry if you partnered up with someone stronger than you are, you will be motivated to exercise harder and you will be driven to excel. If you don’t have a buddy available, try using some of the new equipment with virtual training partners and other interactive features. Sometimes getting your mind off the work can get you moving faster without realizing it.

We know these five tips will help you hurdle over the road blocks of fatigue and keep you on the track toward achieving your personal weight loss and strength goals. Get going!

Better Than a Magic Pill For Losing Weight & Getting Healthy

February 5, 2013 By: consultant 5 Comments

1   shutterstock_95045926Question: What has a major impact on weight reduction, better cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, improved blood sugar control, stronger bones, a healthier heart, and more?

Answer: Exercise, pure and simple.

If that weren’t enough for you to slide on your sneakers, here are some more reasons to get moving, get healthy and lose weight. Every month new studies appear listing more benefits. Here is a sample of some discoveries during 2012.

  • Arthritis: Aerobic and aquatic exercises reduce the disability of osteoarthritis in the knees and other forms of arthritis. The study form Annals of Internal Medicine also showed that strength training reduces pain and improves function. Adherence to an exercise program was the key to its success.
  • Brain Health: According to a study published in Neurology, older people who are more physically active experience less brain shrinkage (linked to cognitive decline and dementia) then their sedentary counterparts. MRI’s revealed that participating in mental or social activities did not affect brain size.
  • Breast Cancer: A large study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill reported that women who exercise regularly (both in the past and present), had a reduced risk of developing the disease. Maintaining a healthy weight is also essential, the study found. Weight gain, especially after menopause, nearly wiped out the exercise benefits, so it is important to work out and eat right on a regular basis.
  • Dementia: A multi-nation European study reported in the journal Stroke, found that exercise was associated with a 40% reduction in the risk of cognitive impairment and a 60% decrease in vascular-related dementia (such as those resulting from a stroke).
  • Fatigue from Cancer: A study involving people with breast or prostate cancer confirmed that exercise like brisk walking or cycling can help reduce fatigue related to cancer and its treatments. This was a review of 56 different studies by the Cochrane Collaboration.
  • Longevity: Analysis from the National Cancer Institute in PLOS Medicine used data from 650,000 people in six long-term studies and found that physical activity can add years to people’s lives. Those who exercised moderately (like walking briskly 150 minutes per week) lived about 4 years longer than their sedentary counterparts. Even those who did modest amounts 975 minutes of walking per week) lived about 2 years longer and the benefits were seen in everyone from obese to thin.
  • Sense of Well-Being: Two studies from Penn State, published in Health Psychology reported that participants who increased their usual daily exercise by even modest amounts, reported a greater sense of satisfaction with life and positive attitude.

So log off your computer and get moving! Not sure where to start? Search the Shane Diet & Fitness Resorts web site for fitness ideas, or come to one of our resorts to become inspired and to get a jump start on losing weight and getting healthy!

 

Consistent Fitness Routines Depend on Organization

November 30, 2012 By: consultant 2 Comments

During the holiday seasons even the most consistent exerciser struggles to stay “on program.”  We are used to a certain level of busyness, and when that level is greater than normal, something always suffers.  People who organize added tasks often succeed in maintaining their regular workout routines.  Why?  Because organization leads to expediency, and expediency takes less time than inefficiency.

The key to organization is planning.  At Shane Diet & Fitness Resorts we make planning and goal setting a top priority. That is why everyone participates in motivational coaching workshops to help you discover why you are not reaching your personal goals.  Try to somehow record the added tasks that await you–either by using your organizer, by speaking into a recording devise, or by relying on basic pen and paper lists.  Having a running list, will help you group tasks together in a time-saving manner.  People who rely on memory alone end up making multiple trips to accomplish the same tasks that list-makers finish in one trip.

It is especially true during hectic seasons that you keep your workout paraphernalia organized.  Mornings that used to allow time for packing a gym bag are busier. If you had the foresight the night before, your gym bag is ready to grab–you have your sneakers, clean socks, fresh water bottle, sweat towel, Nano, personalized Shane Fitness workout, toiletries for showering, and a change of clothes.  Even with the new added tasks, you can still accomplish your workout because you are prepared and organized.  In the same circumstance, a disorganized person who must first start searching for her sneakers is destined to skip the workout.  Similarly, sticking to a good nutritional plan is easy if you organize your food options in advance—perhaps you have a great snack in your gym bag that you whipped up quickly from The Shane Diet Cookbook.  Disorganized people find themselves overwhelmed, lacking time and clear judgment, which can lead them to making fattening food choices.

The philosophy behind becoming organized is completely contrary to the philosophy required for remaining disorganized: only when you are willing to delay gratification (which leads to long term benefits), instead of opting for immediate gratification (which prevent long term benefits), can you start to become organized.  Deciding whether or not to pack the gym bag in advance is a perfect example of how these philosophies work: You about to relax at night, when thoughts of the morning cross your mind.  You either choose to relax, putting off replenishing you gym bag right, (letting the desire for the immediate gratification of relaxing win you over), or you delay the gratification of relaxing, and pack the bag.  Taking the time to do a chore in advance is like making an investment: the initial effort takes time and energy, but the rewards down the line are many-fold.

Ask yourself what your priorities are in creating a healthful lifestyle.  Then choose to invest some time in those priorities.  Prepare ahead of time the pieces that will make your puzzle fit, and you will reap the reward of a balanced result. You are worth it!

Rosie’s Top Tips for After Shane

November 13, 2012 By: office 3 Comments

This is really special guest post for us- Rosie was a guest at the Shane Diet & Fitness New York resort this summer, and has become one of our Success Stories.  She’s been working hard ever since she left to continue to achieve her weight loss goals while attending college and studying to become a fitness trainer- something she never thought possible before this summer.  Rosie shared with us her top ten habits, thoughts and reminders that have helped her continue her weight loss.

  1. Stick to the routine, even if it isn’t strictly the Shane routine, pick times of the day that work for you to eat and exercise and stick to them.
  2. Don’t get hungry, whatever you do avoid going long periods of time without food, it won’t help weight loss and you’ll end up eating something unhealthy.  Also don’t save up all your calories to eat badly, if you’re going to eat badly plan for it but don’t avoid food all day.
  3. Don’t feel guilty, if you want something so badly you can’t think straight… have it, have a small portion, don’t do it all the time, work out a bit more that week but don’t beat yourself up about it. Own your decisions.
  4. Don’t forget where you’re going, or where you came from. If it feels like progress is slow once you get home don’t forget all the progress you’ve already made and don’t let slow progress stop you feeling achievement or set you back. Even slow progress is a step in the right direction and if you can accept it’s not going to happen overnight you’ll do better in the long run.
  5. Fight cravings, recognize that cravings aren’t usually hunger and tackle them, if it’s an appropriate time to eat have a healthy alternative. If not occupy yourself, take up knitting or paint your nails, read a magazine or have a hot drink like green or herbal tea. Do whatever works for you as a distraction.
  6. Reward yourself, every time you have a healthy home cooked meal rather than a take out or don’t buy that chocolate bar on the way home or take a pack lunch to work. Use the money you save to buy yourself a new outfit or a recipe book.
  7. Be goal oriented, without something to aim for its hard to stay on track, whether it’s a weight to lose, a weight to lift or a race to finish achieving goals is a great way to mark progress. And if it doesn’t happen first time round don’t despair, reassess and try again.
  8. Don’t weigh yourself every day, by all means once a week, even make a chart but don’t do it every day you’ll get sucked up in the little numbers and it won’t feel like you’re making progress when you are.
  9. Keep in touch, Shane creates an environment where you live, eat, sleep and work out with the same people, you go through a lot with them, they are your friends, your family and your support network while you’re there. Don’t lose that when you get home, the staff and the programme will be there for you long after you leave but so will everyone else and it’s a great opportunity to make life long friends. Make sure you utilize that.
  10. And most of all, do not, under any circumstances, give up. You might stop losing weight, you might even gain a few pounds, maybe you’re injured, something is going on at home or at school or you just don’t feel like its worth it. But this is your life, you only get one and it’s never too late to make the most of it. Take the opportunity to get healthy, get fit and enjoy your body.

 

Winter Fitness Tips: Cardio Exercise in Cold Weather

October 8, 2012 By: afeldman 81 Comments

So you have committed yourself to a fitness program to continue your weight loss and have been following it steadily for the past couple of months. You have discovered a passion for running and want to keep your fitness levels up during the cold winter months that are now upon us. It is important to know how cold weather will affect our bodies from an exercise standpoint and also, how to stay safe while exercising outside in the winter. Below are some tips and suggestions that will allow you to stay outside for your morning runs and walks.

 

Our bodies in the cold

In an ideal exercise environment, our bodies heat up from physical activity and sweat will cool us off. Cold weather is different. We are more susceptible to suffering cold related injuries than we are to the overheating dangers in other climates. Since the air we are inhaling is much colder than the temperature of our bodies, it can also become very hard to breathe. With cold air, our body goes through a process to warm all oxygen to an acceptable temperature before it can be used by our muscles and organs. Also, the body will limit blood flow to the fingers and toes in order to keep the muscles and organs warm. If precautions are not taken, heat is lost very rapidly, especially from the head.

Dress appropriately (30-40% heat loss from head)

Since we are exercising in the cold, we need to dress appropriately. Important areas to cover from the cold are the hands, feet, ears, head and neck. Also protect your eyes and face if it is really cold outside. Wear socks that will keep you warm or even double up on pairs. Any layers of clothing that you wear should not be movement restricting, like a large winter coat or big fluffy pants. Layer up if you need to but make sure that you are wearing exercise friendly clothing. Shop for clothes with listed features listed like “breathable” or “dry-fit”. Make sure to dress warm, but remember that your body is still creating heat by exercising. If you overdress, or fail to wear breathable clothing during intense exercise, then you are at risk for overheating, even in the cold.

Warm-up first

Before going outside to run or jog, it is best to warm up inside. This means doing some light calisthenics (jumping jacks, walking/jogging in place or going up and down stairs) for 5-10 minutes to turn on your body’s natural heating system. If you are already warmed up when going outside, then it is a much easier transition to exercise in the cold.

Exercising in the snow or on ice

Be very careful in the winter extremes of snowiness and ice. Try to find a trail or a spot that has been plowed and salted. If you choose to walk/jog in snow, then go through special efforts to protect the legs and feet. This may mean wearing special boots to prevent frostbite. Also, look out for black ice as this will easy blend in with the sidewalks and roads and then sneak up on you. The last thing that anyone wants is an injury.

If it is too much, then stay inside

If the snow, ice and cold temperatures become too overwhelming, then stay inside. There are endless pieces of cardio equipment in the gym for days that you can’t go outside. You can even get creative and do some things in your house. Maybe try some interval training on the treadmill to keep it interesting.

Final precautions to take

Drink plenty of water. Many people make the mistake of not drinking enough fluids while working out in the winter. Your body needs to stay hydrated just like any other scenario. Also, you may need to use lip balm and/or lotions on any skin exposed to the wind in order to prevent skin irritations from the cold and dry air. It is possible to continue an exercise routine outdoors in the winter as long as the proper precautions are taken.

Eating Healthy on a Budget

October 2, 2012 By: consultant 34 Comments

Eating healthy does not need to burn a hole in your pocket. If you are following a food budget, the task of food shopping may seem challenging, but it doesn’t have to. You can save money and still have a variety of healthy foods without breaking the bank.

Simple switches to save money:

  • Limit alcohol
    Alcohol is an additional cost to your weekly budget that if you cut it down or cut it out, it can help you save money and lose weight. Alcohol has “empty calories”, meaning that the food is higher in calories and lower in nutrients.
  • Drink water (aim for 8 cups a day)
    Make 2 purchases that can save you money in the long run: a water filter and a reusable water bottle. You can filter tap water right from your home. Other drinks provide empty calories and can become pricey. Even when you go out to eat, order water. Think water is too boring? Try adding orange or lemon slices to your water bottle for some natural flavoring.
  • Avoid the drive through
    Think you are saving money by hitting up the drive through everyday for lunch. Think again. By skipping the drive through and packing your own lunch can help you save money and keep you on track to healthy eating. Skip the double cheeseburger, fries, coke, and large cookie. Buy a loaf of whole wheat bread, turkey from the deli (often on sale), and fruit (in season is often cheaper). Pack a turkey sandwich, a piece, of fruit and your water bottle. Have a sweet tooth after lunch or dinner? Go for small individually wrapped treats like a couple dark chocolate Hershey kisses.
    This also includes limiting dining out.
  • Make sure to have variety!
    Variety is key. No one wants to eat the same thing everyday. Seasonal foods are cheaper during their peak season. Switch it up all the time. An easy thing to switch up is snacks. Buy a variety of fruits to choose from for a healthy snack.
  • Clip coupons
    Clip your coupons. Do a little research before your shopping trip. See what is on sale to incorporate in your meals for the week. Become a member of the store to get a discount on store items. These might seem little, but they add up to big savings at the end.
  • Buy in bulk
    Buying in bulk is often cheaper. You can freeze perishables like breads and meats and use smaller portions when needed.
  • Make extra
    Double a recipe you like and save the rest for leftovers later in the week or freeze the rest for later.

 

Exercise Tips for Busy Schedules

September 28, 2012 By: afeldman 6 Comments

 

Not enough time to exercise is the number one excuse that we make for ourselves to get out of taking care of our bodies. How can we fit an exercise session into a busy schedule? Here are some tips:

1.Organize your time

If you don’t have a planner, then buy one or download one on your phone. If your schedule is jam packed with activities, start recording them as a doctor or CEO would to schedule appointments. This will allow you to see exactly how you spend your time. If you spend an hour studying or cleaning the house, throw that on this schedule. Try to structure your schedule so all tasks become clustered into one area of the day. For example if you go to class in the morning, try to fit your studying and chores in right after class to give you a larger free time window after. Next, schedule exercise into free time windows, even if they are smaller 10 minute time windows throughout the day.

2. Take advantage of unexpected downtime

If you have a cancelled class or an appointment becomes rescheduled, take advantage of this time to fit an exercise session in. This may mean using the time to get ahead on work so you can exercise later or dropping what you are doing to exercise and then returning later.

3. Limit your lazy time

Set a limit on the amount of time that you are sitting around watching television, playing on facebook or playing words with friends. If you have time to do those things, then you have time to exercise. Put a little sign on the inside of your laptop under the screen that asks you if you exercised yet today. Put an hourly reminder on your phone that lights up and asks the same thing.

4. Have equipment and space easily accessible for down time

If you are operating on limited amounts of time then you need to move quick. This means having everything that you need to exercise ready to go. Have multiple gym bags; one in your car, one in the office and one in your room. This way, when you have a half hour for lunch or before you have to pick up the kids, you can change quickly to get your workout in.

5. Multi-task

Do you have to watch the kids for the day? Then exercise while they are watching tv for a half hour or while they are doing chores. Go outside and play basketball with them or go to the park. Take them for a walk around the neighborhood. Do you have a dog that needs walked? Take him for a jog or a longer walk. Do you have to walk to your next class? Take the long way, use the stairs and do an extra lap around campus. Do you have to do chores? Move fast to turn it into activity.

6. Wake-up earlier and exercise first

Exercise before you start anything else for the day. That way it is done and there is no excuse of missing it as the day gets closer to an end. Set your alarm clock that much earlier, put your clothing out and have a plan- meeting a friend for a walk or jog is a great way to prevent you from just hitting the snooze button.

7. Choose your priorities

What is important to you? List all of the activities or responsibilities that you have over the course of the week. Number them in order of importance. Where does exercise fit into this? Does it score high or low? Theoretically, exercise should take precedence over anything that it scored higher then. Exercise involves taking care of yourself and if that does not fit high on the priority list, then it will be harder to schedule in. If it does score high on the priority list, which it should, then you need to make time for it. That means getting rid of other things so you can fit exercise in. If you are a student, this may mean registering a lower credit load at school or turning down some extra hours at work; at the end of the day, what is more important than health?

How can you restructure your day to MAKE time for exercise?

 

Interval Training for Weight Loss

September 11, 2012 By: afeldman 2 Comments

Let’s talk about this concept known as interval training. This is not some new type of training, it has been around for years. What is interval training? in simple terms, it is doing something hard until it is too hard, then easing up until you are ready to do it hard again. From an exercise standpoint, it would mean taking an exercise move and moving very intense with the exercise, fast and strong, until you become too fatigued to continue at which point you would slow the move down enough to catch your breath and then repeat. When this is done over and over in one session, it becomes an entire workout.

The question is, how does this type of training help you reach weight loss goals and how is it relevant? Even though interval training, isn’t the only way to get in an effective workout, it is still one of the most effective ways to challenge your body. There are 5 reasons here on how it can truly help get you get you to your goals.

1. It gets you used to a faster pace for better fitness – The faster you can move over a 30 minute time frame, the more calories you can burn in that period. Interval training will get you more comfortable with moving at that faster pace. It will get you faster and faster until you are shredding through calories during a 30 minute time window. For example, if you do not currently have the fitness level to jog for more than 1 minute until you get extremely winded, then interval training will get you to a point at which you can jog for 10 minutes without getting extremely winded. The more that you can go at that faster pace, the more fit you become and the more calories you have the potential of burning during a workout. Advanced exercisers can think of that jog as more of a full run.
2. It forces you out of the comfort zone that most people fall into during steady state exercise – As we find our groove with something, it becomes comfortable, which can be good because that means we are becoming proficient at it. The problem is that if you stop taking yourself out of that comfort zone then progress will stop. By having set times that you pick up the intensity and speed during a workout, it forces you to get out of that comfort zone that you’ve become good at maintaining.
3. It gets your heart better at recovery, making you more fit – Recovery takes time during exercise and after exercise. Interval training teaches your heart to recover faster allowing you to feel better more quickly during rest periods and when exercise comes to an end for the day. By working out at a high intensity for a period and then slowing it down for a period numerous times, your heart gets used to having that small recovery period and it begins using that time much more efficiently. This is just one of the many ways that your heart becomes more fit.
4. It breaks up the monotony of normal exercise – This is my favorite. When there is an hour of cardio, we tend to think “Great, 59 minutes until I’m done” or “halfway done, 30 minutes left”. Thinking like that makes time go by very, very slowly. With intervals, you are always thinking ahead to the next interval. The thought process becomes this: “30 seconds until my next hard round” or “only 15 seconds until my next recovery paced minute”. By the time you get through a couple intervals, 20 minutes may have already passed! It’s a great way to make the time during cardio exercise go by more quickly.
5. Learn to control pace and intensity better – This is especially important for those who have goals of completing 5ks, 10ks or eventual long distance marathons. Interval training will allow you to figure out your pacing and speed for running, walking, biking, etc. You’ll learn what a hard pace is for your current level, a medium pace and a complete recovery pace. The only way to learn that is through experimentation during exercise. This is done with interval training. Doing intervals on a track or a cardio machine (treadmill, bike, elliptical, etc.) in the gym will allow you to see your speed during hard, easy and medium paced exercise so you can get precise with goal setting and reaching the proper level of intensity during exercise to see progress.

Now that I’ve talked about why interval training is important for fitness and weight loss, I want to talk about how it should be incorporated into your exercise routine. A recovery pace should be one that is just easy enough to allow you to catch your breath. A medium pace is one that you should be able to maintain for 5-15 minutes, you are working. A hard pace is one that’s just as it sounds, hard. You should be too winded to continue it after 60-90 seconds.
The first thing to do is decide what you’re speeds/resistance is going to be for each pace. The resistance on machines should atleast be at a level where you are not bouncing through the move uncontrollably.
Speed: On a treadmill, find out the exact numbers for each pace. 2.5-3.5 mph is a walking pace, 5.0-6.0 is a jogging pace and 6.1 + would be considered a running pace. On an elliptical, bike or similar equipment, look at strides per minute or rotations per minute to experiment around with speed. Just make sure that the level stays the same if your speed is what is changing. If you are exercising away from a machine, just pay closer attention to what you are doing. Learn how fast you’re body should be moving to reach each level.
Resistance/Level: Instead of changing speed, you would play around with the level settings. On a treadmill, this would mean the incline; on other pieces of equipment, it would mean changing the resistance. At a consistent speed, figure out what levels what be considered recovery, medium and hard.
Example Interval Training Program #1:
5 Minute Easy Warm-Up
1 minute recovery/1minute medium/1minute hard x5
3 minute recovery pace
1 minute recovery/1 minute medium/1 minute hardx5
5 minute Cool Down

Example Interval Training Program #2

5 Minute Easy Warm-Up
5 Minute Medium Pace
1 Minute Hard/1 Minute Recovery x5
3 Minute Recovery Pace
1 Minute Hard/1 Minute Recovery x5
5 Minute Medium Pace
5 Minute Cool Down

Example Interval Training Program #3

5 Minute Easy Warm-Up
5 Minute Medium Pace
1 Minute Hard/2 Minutes Recovery/3 Minutes Medium x4
or 1 Song on your IPOD combining Hard/Recovery/1 Song Medium x4
5 Minute Easy Pace
5 Minute Cooldown

**If Running outside or around track, you may have to approximate time or bring a stop watch. On outside runs, you can also use place markers for the intervals such as stop signs, lamp posts or etc. With a track, time your lap to go off of distance for your intervals instead of time.

Fitness Tips: Stay Injury Free by Avoiding these Strength Training Habits

October 13, 2011 By: afeldman 4 Comments

Walk into a gym and 50 percent of the people in there are doing something destructive to their joints at any given time.  No one ever realizes when they are exercising incorrectly because they’ve been doing it that way so long that the movement just feels right to them.  I have picked some of the most common things I see done in the gym that are bad for your body.  All of these problems can be corrected with a little mental focus and developing an objective eye.  Pay close attention to your exercise movements and try to catch yourself doing some of these the next time you work out.  It’s best to get out of these bad habits sooner rather than later.

Fitness Fix: Don't Pull Weights Behind the Head

When pulling a bar or weight to chin level, always do it in front of the head, not behind.

Behind the Neck Exercises
The two exercises that people will do behind the head are shoulder presses and lat pulldowns.  The shoulder press is the exercise that involves a participant pushing a weight up overhead.  The lat pulldown is the opposite motion that has a participant pulling a bar or cable down from overhead.  Lowering the weight or bar in both of these exercises can either be done to the front of the shoulders or behind the neck.  Behind the neck movements place the arms into an unnatural position.  The shoulder is already an unstable joint and when it is raised over head, many muscles are at work trying to stabilize it.  When adding in the extra weight and movement involved in a behind the neck exercise, a large amount of pressure is placed upon the rotator cuff muscles as well as an excessive stretch on the pectoral (chest) muscles.  The neck is also under pressure from leaning forward too far.  If either of these exercises is done long enough, you are more than likely to see an injury.   When lowering anything to chin level in an exercise, lower the weights or bar in front of the head, not behind.

Lifting with the Neck During Abdominal Crunches
The majority of beginning exercisers make this mistake.  If you are feeling neck pain while doing crunches, then you are guilty of this.  It usually happens when your hands are pulling up on the back of your head or your neck is being used more than it should be during crunches or situps.  The excessive strain of the neck from doing abdominal exercises the wrong way can make the neck muscles stiff, leaving them prone to injury during exercise or even later in the day.  To fix the problem of lifting with your neck, find a focal point to look at to minimize head movement while doing abdominal exercises.  Focus on lifting the shoulders and upper back off the ground instead of leading with the head.  Try crossing the arms in front of your chest and feel your stomach periodically to make sure it is contracting as you lift yourself up.

Fitness Fix: Don't Let Your Knees Go Forward When Squatting

To avoid injury when squatting, make sure your knees don't go in front of your toes. It should be a motion similar to sitting in a chair.

Allowing the Knees to go Forward During the Squat Exercise
I see exercisers that have been working out for years still doing this one.  When doing a squat the wrong way, the knees will move forward excessively towards the bottom of the motion.  This will leave the knees far in front of the toes which should not happen.  When done right, the motion should be the same as going from a seated to standing position.  This means that as you lower your body, the hips are pushed back allowing the knees to stay fairly stationary behind the feet.  However, when knees lead the way into leaning forward, there is a large amount of pressure on the knee joint.  It may take time to catch up to you but most people will feel this pain immediately while doing squats.  If this pain goes ignored long enough, it can turn into a serious injury.  The bottom line is that when doing a squat, push the hips back nice and far.  Stand in front of a chair or by a wall if you need something to hold onto for balance.  It may be more comfortable for some to spread the feet out.  Have someone watch your knees while you squat to tell you if they are going in front of your feet.

Rounding of the Back
Moms always tell their kids to sit up straight, not to slouch.  The same holds true in exercise.  Slouching in general is a bad habit.  Slouching when handling weights, however, is just plain dangerous.  If you’re rounding your back forward, the lower spine and surrounding muscles are under a lot of pressure.  Some cues to get out of this habit are keeping your chest up, shoulders back and chin from being buried into the chest.  This applies for exercises who are pressing, rowing, squatting, or even running.

Moving the Head Around while Exercising
Another common cause of injury during exercise is unnecessary movement, especially of the head.  When using weights or your body as resistance, keep your head still.  It is very easy to strain the neck with a quick movement, especially during exercise.  Going back to my recommendation for abdominal crunches, find a focal point during exercises and continue to look at it.  This goes for runners too.  I know it’s hard to stay still on the elliptical or treadmill, but all it takes is one movement while your head is turned to take a spill.

Fitness Fix: Always Adjust the Equipment

Avoid injury at the gym by adjusting the equipment for yourself. For example, on a chest press machine, the handles should be level with your chest.

Not Adjusting the User Settings on a Piece of Equipment
Since everyone in the world is not the same height, weight or body type, exercise equipment comes with multiple adjustments.  These include adjustments of a seat, adjustment of the handles or an adjustable foot step.  These adjustments are there for a reason.  Use them to set the machine at a level appropriate for your height and body type.  Most gyms have a staff member that can help you find the appropriate setting if needed.  If a seat is too low or too high, your body is not going through the motion intended for the designated machine.  Depending on the setting, you may be putting yourself at risk for injury.  For example, with a chest press machine, the handles should be level with your chest.  If the handles are level with the navel, then the seat is too high.

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