What Exercise Fits You Best?

April 22, 2014 By: office Comments Off

By: Debbie Davis

“What exercise fits you best?” is a pretty straight forward question with an even more straight forward answer. It’s simply the kind of exercises that you like and are more likely to do! The bigger issue here is that our preferred exercise is usually not enough. Our guests at Shane Diet and Fitness Resorts tell us all the time, “I love Zumba but I hate cardio, weights etc.” Rarely do they incorporate strength training, stretching and cardio into what would be a more balanced, effective workout regime.

Personal_trainer_showing_a_client_how_to_exercise_the_right_way_and_educating_them_along_the_way

The exercise that fits you best is clearly the exercise you will do. If you enjoy it, you’re more inclined to do it with more consistency. But the key point to remember is to make sure you are including a balance of all exercises. You may never love stretching but it is imperative for overall performance that you stretch your muscles. You may never run a 10K, but cardio training is critical for your overall heart and lung health. Many won’t be entering Strong Man competitions, but strength training is critical for bone and muscle preservation, which additionally benefits your quality of life as you age.

So, by all means begin with the exercise you most enjoy doing, take that exercise and excel, practice, train and challenge yourself. Then take the forms of the exercise that are not your favorite and implement them into your routine in an effective way. If cardio is your thing and you perform cardio 5 days a week, consider taking that to 4 days a week and adding 2 days of strength training (one of which can be included on a cardio day). Another idea is possibly taking two days a week to perform a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workout which has a cardio component as well as a strength training component. Stretching for better range of motion and flexibility should be included in your daily workout routine. As a personal trainer for over 15 years, I understand loving some forms of exercise and hating others. I would like to challenge you, though, to continue to excel at what you enjoy but to also consider taking your challenge one step further and adding what you’re not so comfortable with for better overall physical health. Your body will thank you!

Below is a link to a fun quiz that reveals your exercise personality type, it takes 1 minute. See how accurate it is for yourself and then post it on our Facebook page. Happy Fitness!

http://exercise.about.com/library/blfitnesspersonalityquiz.htm

13 Things I Learned At Weight Loss Camp

April 15, 2014 By: office Comments Off

By: Eugenia Correa, @eucorrea
Originally Published: April 11, 2014 on ‘Blog de BabyCenter’
(translation: Miranda Southwell)

A month ago I was invited to spend a week at a weight loss camp in San Antonio, Texas. Even though I don’t consider myself overweight, I will admit that since the birth of my baby, it’s been much more difficult for me to control my diet, do exercise and keep myself in shape. It was a hard week because it made me realize that I’m very far from my ideal physical condition. Additionally, my daily meal portions tended to be much larger than they ought to have been.

weight loss camp

A week in this resort was enough to make me see that I can improve, day-by-day and that daily habits are the ones that make a difference in your desire to lose weight. This experience granted me the tools for transformation that I needed to create substantial change in my daily life. While I was there, I lost a kilo (approx. 2.2 lbs.), and after one month at home, I lost two more by making simple changes to my routine. Here are some of the things that I learned during my stint in the program that have helped me keep the weight off:

  • You don’t have to wait until you become what you believe to be the worst version of yourself to join one of these programs. It’s a program of behavior modification that can help you far sooner.
  • Involving yourself in one of these programs is a decision rooted in self-love. No one can be obligated to go. It only works for those who are thoroughly convinced that they need a vital change to improve their lives.
  • It’s never too late to change your eating or fitness habits. Every day is a good day to start to work toward better health. It’s not just about losing weight, it’s also about changing your habits in ways that you can keep up with over time.
  • Doing exercise is a habit we can all acquire. In a weight loss program, you simply show yourself that it’s just a matter of taking that first step and discovering that exercise can be a fun habit, which also changes your energy levels and outlook on life for the better.
  • One of the most valuable tips that I learned is that you should stop drinking your calories! Sugary drinks are not your friend. There are lots of drinks disguised as “healthy” or “natural,” when in reality they’re anything but. There’s no healthier substitute out there for you than that clean, natural old staple…water.
  • There isn’t a better way to know what you’re really eating than by cooking it for yourself and choosing all your own ingredients. By avoiding processed products or fast food, you’re saving both yourself and your family, a boatload of calories and unnecessary toxins.
  • When exercise is a daily habit, your body starts craving healthier, lighter foods instead of greasy, heavy ones.
  • Cooking healthy doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice flavor! My favorite: a blueberry muffin recipe is one of many you can learn to make during your stay at Shane Diet & Fitness Resort, since healthy cooking classes are included in the program.
  • Eating slowly and enjoying each bite makes you feel full faster. Eating quickly is one of your enemies when trying to lose weight.
  • Upon arriving at Shane Diet & Fitness Resort, you quickly realize that you’re not alone. There are lots of other people who deal with many of the same battles you’re facing. Being able to discuss and listen to common experiences allows you to put your life (and your weight) into perspective.
  • In many cases, the way you feel in the clothes you wear has a direct impact on your self-esteem. In the Shane Diet & Fitness program, fashionable fitness accessories are provided to make you feel comfortable in your own skin.
  • The program at Shane Diet & Fitness Resort offers you a short, daily exercise program that you can complete in just a half-hour. This makes continuing the process at home much easier.
  • Temptations will always be around. They’re in the supermarket, on TV, at the movie theater and even in your own pantry. A behavior modification program gives you the tools you need to keep those temptations from overpowering you.

The program I went to is the Shane Diet & Fitness Resort. There, you’ll find programs for adults, children and entire families; although there are also many other weight loss camps out there to suit your own unique needs.

Are You Succeeding With Your Exercise and Weight Loss Resolutions?

May 8, 2013 By: consultant 74 Comments

gymEvery year exercise and weight loss are ranked as the top New Year resolutions that people make. Were you one of them? Whether you’re looking to drop a few pounds, tone up those muscles or improve your overall health, creating a gym in your house can give you the comforts of home while not having to worry that you don’t have time to get to the gym.

Here are some low cost items that are handy to have around the house as well as ideas on how to use items you may already have.

Cardio
Pick up a good sturdy and fairly heavy jump rope at your local sports retailer. If you are planning on jumping rope indoors, make sure you have at least a nine foot ceiling, if not, head outside! Jumping rope burns approximately 110 calories in just 10 minutes. Change the speed at which you’re jumping to create interval training and to ramp up your cardio experience.

If you are looking for a lower impact cardio workout, head out doors. It is recommended that people walk 10,000 steps a day to maintain their weight. By clipping a pedometer to your belt will help you know how close you are to the 10,000 steps a day. Take the jump rope with you and try connecting with your inner child and skip down the street; trust me, it’s fun.

Building Strength
While you are out grabbing the jump rope you can pick up a few low cost free weights and they can be easily stored under your bed. For a change from weights, get a kettle bell. In just 20 minutes, you can burn up to 400 calories and get firm all over. There are plenty of online videos to assist you in creating a routine.

If weights just aren’t your thing, a rubber resistance band, which mimics machine moves, can help target back, hip and inner thigh muscles as well as biceps, triceps and shoulders. Most come with a door attachment or handles for you to change up your routine.

Many household items can easily be used for exercise too. Rather than purchasing hand weights, use gallon sized milk jugs filled with water and that can be used for any exercise that requires dumbbells. Adjust the amount of water in the bottles and you can change how heavy the weight is.

One of my all time favorite pieces of equipment is a stability ball. You can get creative and do many different exercises to flatten the belly, work out the back muscles, do pushups and much more. Of course, when all else fails, there are always the basic body-weight exercises, most of which only require a bit of empty space on the floor or wall. Squats, push-ups and jogging in place are all great ways to work up a sweat and burn calories and they don’t cost a penny to do.

Use these simple tips to help keep you on track with your exercising and weight loss resolutions. Have fun with your exercise routine, utilize free weight loss tools and there’s never any reason why you can’t succeed. If you have questions on how to make your home a gym and using things around your house, just ask! Our Fitness Coaches are always willing to help.

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!

4 tips to lose the last 10 pounds

February 19, 2013 By: consultant 9 Comments

P1010360Why is it so hard to lose the last 10 pounds?” Weight loss is tricky in that multiple factors play into how much weight is lost, how quickly it comes off and for how long the weight loss is maintained. To successfully lose a sizable amount of weight, a person needs to be committed to significant long-term lifestyle changes. With a lot of effort you can achieve a new steady-state, but it requires a great deal of persistence and effective nutrition and physical activity strategies.

A few tips:

  1. Change up your endurance routine. The goal is to burn more calories. You can do this without increasing the amount of time spent on cardio by upping your intensity. Otherwise, you’re going to have to increase the amount of time committed to cardio whether that’s adding 15 or 20 minutes to your current routine or increasing the number of days per week.
  2. Strength train at least twice per week. When you lose a lot of weight, about a quarter of weight loss comes from muscle if you don’t include a strength-training component to your workout routine. This helps explain why those last few pounds are so hard to lose. Your metabolism has slowed down; therefore, you’re burning fewer calories at rest. The metabolic rate is directly linked to the amount of muscle you have. For every pound of lean muscle mass, you burn about six calories per day. While that doesn’t sound like much, if you lost 20 pounds of fat and kept all of your muscle mass, the five pounds of muscle mass you kept (versus what you might lose without a resistance training program) would help you lose about three extra pounds. Maintain muscle mass while continuing to lose weight by committing to your resistance training routine.
  3. Eat a little less. To have successfully lost weight in the first place you have to have made some significant dietary changes. If you want to continue to lose weight, you’ll need to make further cuts. Assess your approximate daily caloric intake and then come up with strategies to cut an additional 250 calories per day (provided that will still keep you at a healthy calorie level and not at risk for nutrient deficiencies). If you eat 250 calories less per day and do not make any changes to your exercise regimen, you’ll lose those last 10 pounds over the course of the next five months.
  4. If you exercise more, it will come off faster. Anyone can finish a 5K or a 10K but not everyone can finish a marathon. It takes a high level of commitment and ongoing diligence to successfully train for and compete in such a long race.

Weight loss application: Somewhere around 40% of women and 30% of men are trying to lose weight at any given time. Some are successful initially but most are unable to lose and keep off the weight.

Losing weight is tough. Keeping it off requires a constant effort. To achieve and maintain your weight loss goals you’ve got to be in it for the long haul. Slowly and steadily progress to your goal with each of the small decisions you make every day take the stairs instead of the elevator, go for the fresh apple instead of the apple pie. After all, being the first one done isn’t the goal, it’s just about having the strength, endurance, and mental toughness to successfully cross that finish line. And if you’re looking to lose your last 10 or first 10 Shane Diet & Fitness Resorts is here to help.  With help from our expert Nutritionist, Fitness instructors and Behavior Change coaches, we give you all the tools you need to be successful in losing weight and keeping it off for good.

 

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.

High Intensity Fitness Tips to Bust through Plateaus

November 11, 2011 By: afeldman 3 Comments

Recently, one of my former clients from Ohio got in touch with me to inform me of her progress in the weight room.  She asked an interesting question that I would like to address in order to help others with their weight loss efforts.

Fitness Tips

If you feel like you've reached a plateau in your fitness plan, it's time to mix up your routine.

Since she has recently hit a plateau in her training, she asked me for some tips to turn her routine from boring to intense.  Once you start a workout plan, whether it is something you read in a magazine or something that was designed for you, it is very important that it becomes harder as you get in better shape.  The goal of any program is to make progress, in whatever form it comes.  So, once you see progress, your body is adapting to the demands of your workout and you must make adjustments to accommodate greater intensity.  If your body is no longer adapting to physical demands, the progress will stop. Examples of challenging your body during a workout include adding weight to an exercise, changing the movement, adjusting speed, etc.

I would like to share some personal techniques that raise the intensity and force you out of your comfort zone.  If you recently started an exercise program, stick to weight increases during strength movements and speed/resistance increases during cardio exercise.  The tips below are for the intermediate to advanced exerciser that has been at it for at least 4-6 months with a higher level of knowledge on how to perform weight room exercises safely and correctly.

1. Drop sets – Instead of religiously sticking to the three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions, throw in a week or two of drop sets.  A drop set is a workout set done normally, followed by you adjusting the weight to a lower setting.  Without resting, immediately go into a second set at the lighter weight (10 to 30% lighter).  For example, after you finish a set of dumbbell bench presses with 25 pound weights, grab the 15s or 20s immediately after and keep going.  You can also do a triple or a quadruple drop set if you’re really feeling strong.  If done correctly, this will greatly fatigue your muscles after just one set.

2. Interval Supersets – These are a good way to break up the monotony of a generic cardio routine that has you on a machine for 20-30 minutes.  A superset is a combination of two exercises that are done back to back without rest.  For this one, pick two total body movements; one of them being high intensity, while the other is low intensity.  For four to ten minutes, alternate between the two exercises.  You will need to come prepared with a watch or stopwatch.

For my example, jumping jacks will be my high intensity exercise and alternating high knees will be my low intensity exercise.  Perform 1 minute of fast moving jumping jacks followed by alternating knee lifts for a minute in which you allow your heart rate to go back down.  Each minute, switch back and forth between exercises.  Sandwiching 10-20 minutes of these intervals in the middle of 10 minutes on a bike or treadmill will make for a high intensity cardio workout.  Some other examples of high intensity movements include jump squats, quick jumping rope, mountain climbers, burpees and step-ups done on a platform at a quick pace.  Some examples of low intensity movements include the modified jack, alternating punches in place, slow jogging in place or step-ups at a much slower pace.

Interval Running

Try doing interval sprints on a track or treadmill for a short and sweet workout.

3. Track sprints – This is a good way to make cardio exercise short and sweet.  An ideal track for these is one that is sized 1/8 to 1/10 of a mile, but this can also be done on a larger track or a treadmill if needed.  Start by walking a lap and follow that with a lap running as fast as you can.  Repeat this 6-12 times.  On a larger track, such as the quarter mile tracks at most high schools, walk half of a lap and run half of a lap.  When doing this on the treadmill, walk for two minutes then run at a fast pace for two minutes.  When running, your goal is to sprint at a nice fast pace.  For advanced exercisers, try jogging instead of walking.  For beginners, your sprinting pace may be a jog.  Start out at the pace that feels challenging, but not impossible, and continue to work your way up to build stamina, endurance, and strength.

4. Time under Tension – This is an interesting exercise for people who are becoming bored with their resistance training program and are looking for something different.  Time under tension is a routine in which you take an exercise and slow it down greatly so that one repetition takes 20 seconds to complete.  For my example, we will use a chest press machine.  While pressing the weight up, count 10 seconds in your head and slow the movement down so that it takes you the full 10 seconds to extend your arms.  Repeat the counting as you lower the weight back down.  Try this for 4-6 repetitions.  Your weight should be between 40-50 percent of what you would normally do.  This can be done on just about any exercise including leg presses, squats, curls, rowing machine and etc.  If done correctly your muscles will be burning quite a bit at the conclusion of your workout.

5. Isometrics – Another way to change up a workout that has become monotonous is by incorporating isometrics.  An isometric exercise is one in which you hold resistance at a certain position without movement.  For my example, we will use the dumbbell side raise (an exercise in which you hold dumbbells in both hands and lift them out to the side, elbows slightly bent).  In the isometric version of this exercise, you raise your dumbbells to the side, and hold them there.  Pick a weight that is between 50-60 percent of a weight that you would use normally.  The goal is to hold those dumbbells up so your arms are parallel with the ground for 30-60 seconds.  These can also be done with squats (the bottom part of the motion), pushups or chest press machine (the bottom part of the motion) and crunches (the top part of the motion).  If you start shaking towards the end of a set, then congratulations, you are doing it correctly.

Fitness & Weight Loss Tips: Staying Fit on the Road

September 28, 2011 By: afeldman 4 Comments

Whether traveling for work, school or pleasure, it is very easy to ditch healthy lifestyle habits when on the road.  It is acceptable to take a break from exercise and diet every once in a while, however, regular gaps in exercise and nutrition can catch up to you.  Being away from home is not a valid excuse to ditch the routine.  In this article I will share some tips to continue your healthy lifestyle, even on the road.

Fitness Tip: Book a Hotel with a Gym

To maintain your healthy lifestyle fitness routine, book a hotel that has a gym.

Book a hotel with a gym – This one may be obvious to some, but a hotel with a gym is not always easy to find.  If you know that you have to travel somewhere, get online and do a little research.  There are numerous hotel-booking websites that tell you about the amenities that a hotel offers.  The best bet is to get onto a hotel’s website and check out the property features.  If you can’t find a hotel with a gym, call the hotel and ask if there are any fitness centers nearby.  Many fitness centers will offer a day pass for out of town visitors or potential members checking out the facility.

Bring exercise bands - Exercise bands are an excellent way to exercise while on the road.  I stayed in shape during a 14 week backpacking trip by using exercise bands alone.  These can be purchased at any sporting goods store or online for $10 to $20.  They come in a variety of resistance levels for beginner and intermediate exercisers.  These lightweight and portable pieces of exercise equipment can be taken anywhere and used anytime.

Plan Quick Exercises for your Trip

To stay on track with your fitness routine, plan out exercises for your trip that require minimal equipment.

Bring a list of exercises and a plan for each day you are away - If you have a trainer, ask them to list out things you can do while you are away.  If you exercise on your own, make a list of things you can do with minimal equipment and plan out your routine.  Activities on the list can include exercises such as pushups, outside nature walks or swimming laps in a hotel pool.

Plan 3-5 short workouts that you can fit in between various appointments or activities - One of the conflicts of traveling for work is that there is not much time to exercise.  Plan ten minute workouts that you can do periodically throughout the day.  While doing this will not have the same effect as a normal workout, it will still have benefits and keep you active.  A good example is taking the half hour that you have between meetings and squeezing in a ten minute calisthenics routine followed by a quick shower.  Ten minutes can also be spent jogging or walking.

Have workout clothes handy – When packing your clothes, pack at least one set of workout clothes.  When down time does arise, you won’t be able to say that you didn’t bring workout clothes.

Eat a Healthy Restaurant Meal

While on the road, research nearby restaurants that offer healthy meal options.

Research healthy eating places in proximity of the hotel while you are there or ask for healthy eating options off the menu – While researching gym options and hotel amenities, be sure to look at food menus.  Most hotels with a dining area have healthy eating options.  If not available, look into nearby restaurants or grocery stores.  If you can’t find a place that serves healthy food, go shopping for some.  If that is not an option, try to bring a couple healthy snacks from home.  You may not be able to follow a perfectly healthy diet while you are away, but that is no reason to overindulge on the junk food.

If no gym is available, find a good place around the hotel to exercise – There may be an empty field nearby in which you can do total body exercises or some good trails for walking and running.  It is always rejuvenating to find a nice scenic area to do exercises like yoga and pilates.  If there is a beach nearby, that is a perfect place for cardiovascular exercise as well.  One of my favorite things about traveling is being able to explore the area by going out for a nice jog or bike ride.

If a pool is too small for lap swimming, try water running – If you are not familiar with water running, there are many videos online demonstrating it.  Water running is just as it sounds- the art of running in the water.  This can be done in two ways; in a pool where you are touching the ground or in deeper water.  In shallow water, you can run stationary or run from one side of the pool to another.  In deeper water, you will be doing more of a water treading motion, but it is still the same concept.

When leaving home, do not let something like a business trip or a lengthy vacation be a reason for you to regress on healthy living.  A break is okay every now and then, but don’t let workout skipping become a habit.

Fitness Tips: Exercising on an Empty Stomach

August 23, 2011 By: office 2 Comments

Hitting the gym before you eat may seem like conventional wisdom, but should you try to deliberately go to the gym on an empty stomach in order to burn more fat?

The idea, advocated in popular fitness books for decades, is that exercising on an empty stomach forces the body to dip into fat stores instead of burning the carbohydrates quickly available from a pre-workout snack or meal. Seems to make sense, doesn’t it? In actuality, research shows that working out in this way offers no additional bodily benefit, and may actually stunt your workout and affect your weight loss efforts.

Exercising on an Empty Stomach

It is more beneficial to your body to eat a pre-workout snack than to go on an empty stomach.

After years of studying and research, a report from the Strength and Conditioning Journal concluded that you burn the same amount of fat regardless of any pre-workout carbohydrates. On the contrary, you are likely to lose muscle by exercising in a depleted state. Also, without fuel to exercise, intensity and overall calories burned will be reduced.

When working out on an empty stomach, up to 10 percent of your calories burned can come from protein. This includes muscle loss. Also, separate studies show that if you consume as little as 45 grams of carbohydrates prior to working out, you will consume later throughout the day. This can lead to over-eating, which can contribute to weight gain. Consuming a little bit before working out instead of trying to work out on an empty stomach seems to be a win-win situation!

If you want to burn more fat and less carbohydrates, try changing up what you do in the gym instead of when you eat. Doing a cardio workout for a longer time at a lower intensity burns more fat. Working out at a high intensity for a short amount of time will burn more carbohydrates. Try ditching the sprints for a long, slow jog in order to shed some pounds. Just remember not to be too low on energy, or your weight loss workout will suffer overall.

Weight Loss and Fitness Tips: Make Cardio Fun!

May 11, 2011 By: afeldman 8 Comments

If you are still working on your New Year’s fitness goals, then congratulations, you are in a minority. Many people give up weight loss resolutions by February and most go back to old habits by March. In previous articles, I have made recommendations for changing up the fitness routine and increasing exercise intensity. Now it’s time to think about the mental aspect of exercise.

If exercise is just boring and monotonous, then you are expending mental energy doing it. If you are not enjoying your exercise session, it is obviously harder to remain dedicated. A good rule of thumb for cardiovascular exercise is to incorporate enjoyable activities for at least one of your weekly sessions. It will help you avoid mental burn out and also give you a reason to look forward to getting up and moving around for an hour. Making cardio fun can mean trying different activities or even doing the same activities, but with a friend. Below are some ways to make your cardio-vascular sessions more enjoyable and more sustainable.

Sign up for a team – If you are in school, this is easy. There are usually intramural teams for just about every sport. If you don’t have friends that are interested, sign up as a free agent and be assigned to a team. For those who are not in a college atmosphere, community recreation centers also have leagues for basketball, soccer, football, volleyball and sometimes swimming. Don’t be intimidated to join because of being unfamiliar to a sport. Recreational facilities do a good job of running multiple leagues separated by athletic experience. Usually, there will be 1-2 days a week for games and however many practice sessions with the team. This is a great way to get the heart rate up and move the body without a structured exercise session.

Dance Class

Consider joining a dance class for a fun, effective weight loss workout.

Learn to dance – The popularity of dance classes has really risen in the past decade. With classes like Zumba and Cardio Hip-hop, exercise is very nicely incorporated into dancing. You can burn between 400-700 calories in an hour of dance exercise. If the fast paced classes aren’t for you, ballroom dancing is an alternative option. Many community centers and dance studios offer classes like ballroom dancing and ballet for all ages and backgrounds.

Learn to defend yourself – Another fun and popular form of cardio exercise that is found in many gyms is cardio kickboxing. Kickboxing allows you to burn a large amount of calories in a short period of time. You could even take it one step further and sign up for martial arts classes or karate. Many people have found martial arts to be a good release of negative energy as well as a great way to get fit.

Go out for scenic hikes – Grab a friend and hit the trails. If you are lucky enough to live near areas of nature or parks, take advantage of it. Block out an afternoon to go hiking in the hills. If you want to increase the challenge, pack a bag with some extra weight and throw it on your back.

Join a running club – Many groups will meet up during the week for outside runs. From those attempting their first 5k to seasoned marathon runners, most running clubs divide off based on experience level. You can inquire about running groups in your area on various meet-up websites, at the community recreation center or even the local running shoe store. When I say running shoe store, I mean a store that specializes in selling running shoes and gear, not a sporting goods store. If you can’t find a group in your town, then start your own with friends.

Get out the skates - Of course, it takes balance and coordination to successfully roller-skate, but once you develop those skills, skating can be a lot of fun. Skating can be done outside or at a skating rink. The skills from roller skating also carry over into ice skating. If you are teaching yourself how to skate or rollerblade, start off in an empty parking lot or on a slow side street. Slowly work up to skating in areas with hills and curvy pathways.

Commit to a goal – Make it a 5k, a swim for diabetes or a biking trip. If you have a specific goal to work towards, the light at the end of the tunnel is enough to keep you moving. The best thing to do is to sign up without thinking twice about it. After you are signed up for something, it is time to make a training plan. Find something at least 2-3 months away that is realistic to complete and sign up!

The bottom line is that not everyone enjoys going to a gym and spending a half hour on the same treadmill 6 days a week. If you are one of the few that looks forward to walking into the gym, then keep doing what you are doing. If you struggle to make it into the gym, try to find at least one activity that is enjoyable. Your chances of reaching your goals will be much better. Consider an adult weight loss program or fitness retreat, such as Shane Diet Resorts, which offers the vacation atmosphere combined with a healthy lifestyle. It’s a fun, effective way to lose weight!

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