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NIFS Healthy Living Blog

Fitness Training Types: Find Your Method

bands-1.jpgIf you take a few minutes to google the various types of fitness training out there, you will come up with a list of about 10 different ones, and then 10 more different variations of each of those. And each year more and more “fitness trends” come out, making it quite confusing for the consumer as to what to choose and where to start. It can be confusing and even frustrating choosing what is right for you and your body.

And to take it a step further, maybe the results you want that you aren’t getting are because you need to try something different. Maybe that different thing does not have to be some crazy, drastic change in gyms, your diet, or everything in your life. In fact, maybe it’s just a workout style that suits you better. Each product you see today—like CrossFit, Orangetheory, and Dailey Method to name a few—all follow a specific training method. And what works for one person doesn’t always work for the next.

I have narrowed it down to five categories of training methods, so let’s take a look at what each one is, and I’ll help you narrow down your focus.

Circuit Training

High intensity–style workouts that incorporate both aerobic exercise and strength training. These circuit workouts can be done with or without equipment.

    • Target: Building strength and muscular endurance. These workouts tend to keep you on the higher end of your heart rate zones and are usually designed in stations for time, with little to no rest in-between.
    • Goals: The circuit training method of exercise is good for those people who are looking for weight loss, are in a time crunch, or are looking for overall general fitness, a total-body workout, and toning. Many say this is where you get the most bang for your buck because you can get the results you are looking for in less time.

Aerobic Training

This type of training is generally summarized as meaning “with oxygen” or cardio training.

    • Target: These workouts tend to target the cardiovascular system, mainly the heart and lungs. In most cases it’s associated with running, biking, swimming, jumprope, step class, and other cardio-based exercises. This style of training helps to increase your cardiovascular endurance and open the gap in your heart rate zones.
    • Goals: The aerobic training style is good for those looking to lose weight, for specific training programs like marathons, for athletes looking to increase performance and endurance as well as recover appropriately, and for those trying to reduce the risk of chronic illness like obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.

Heart Rate Training

ThinkstockPhotos-520046406.jpegThis type of training is specific to each individual and their personal zones. You can read more here about HR training, but this training method is focused in on zones like fat burn, cardiovascular endurance, peak performance, and recovery. In many cases, HR training is viewed as the all-around best training method there is.

    • Target: Heart rate training helps to increase endurance and sustainability in workouts by allowing you to peak and recover in a way that is specific to your body. Training zones are identified by doing a VO2 test.
    • Goals: For anyone and everyone! Typically people training for endurance races like Spartans or marathons, or athletes honing in on max results and recovery, for the person who is totally burnt out after each workout, and all the way to people who are on medications that affect their heart rate.

Flexibility Training

Contrary to what I know everyone is thinking, it’s not just yoga! Forget the general stereotype of moms walking into the gym with lattes, flip-flops, and their yoga mat; this training style is probably the most important, yet the most neglected. It incorporates corrective exercises, stretching (both static and dynamic), and movements from head to toe.

    • Target: To improve flexibility, mobility, range of motion, balance, and better posture.
    • Goals: Another method of training that is for everyone! If you are not a yoga person, it’s time to start! Yoga folks, dancers, runners, meatheads: this is for you, too! Flexibility training is for every single person who wants to enhance their training in any way.

Strength Training

deadlift-3.jpgStrength training typically is done with heavy weight but can be done with lighter ones as well. This style of training is directly associated with Newton’s law: mass x acceleration = force.

    • Target: To increase muscle strength.
    • Goals: Perfect for those looking to put on mass; can be good for those who don’t have a bunch of time to train; also good if you desire to move heavy things.

What should you do from here? If you are stuck in a rut or want to find the method that is going to be most effective for you, take some time to define your goals, figure out what is realistic for you, and take into consideration your past exercise experience. All these things play into what will work as well as what you like to do while in the gym.

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This blog was written by Amanda Bireline, Fitness Center Manager. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: NIFS fitness yoga circuit workout training flexibility strength core strength goals heart rate strength training methods aerobic

7 Tips for Safe Outdoor Workouts

The weather is finally warming up here in the Midwest, which means we are all anxious and ready to spend more time outdoors. Taking my workouts outside is an easy way to soak up the benefits of the sun and switch up my normal gym routine. That being said, I understand that exercising outdoors isn’t exactly the same as exercising inside, and there are some necessary precautions I always take into consideration when completing my outdoor workout.

1. Map My Route Ahead of Time

I am probably the worst person to ask for directions. The GPS was invented for people like me, and I am so thankful to have one with me at all times (thanks to my phone!). Whether I am going for a jog, bike ride, or walk, or completing an outdoor circuit workout, I always make sure to plan my route ahead of time (so I don’t get lost) and show someone else the route I will be taking. This way, if I do get lost or injured, or am not home when I expected to be, someone knows where to find me.

2. Bring My Cell PhoneSprigs_Wrist_Band

Yes, it’s cumbersome and I would prefer to feel “free” and not have it with me while running outdoors, but I know that if I were to fall, or get lost, or for some reason I wasn’t able to make it back home, I could give someone a call to help me. I keep it in my Sprigs Banjee Wrist Wallet so I can listen to music or a podcast, or I keep it in my SPIbelt. Either way, it allows me to keep my hands free. I also have an ICE (In Case of Emergency) number in my phone. I have heard that emergency professionals are trained to look for an ICE number in cell phones to notify a loved one in an emergency situation.

3. Carry an ID

I always carry an ID with me, but that doesn’t mean I always bring my driver’s license along. My Road ID bracelet is the perfect running accessory that contains my name, my husband and parents’ names and contact information, and my age—all important things “just in case” there is an emergency. I love that it is on my RoadIDwrist and I often forget I am wearing it because it is so lightweight and comfortable.

4. Beware of Dogs

Recently, a coworker and fellow NIFS employee who is a runner informed me that one of her friends was attacked by a dog while running. Hearing her story really got me thinking, because luckily I have not come into a negative encounter with a dog while running. Here are some canine safety tips I keep in mind when running and exercising outdoors:

  • Do not run from the dog; this can stimulate the animal.
  • Stand perfectly still with hands and fists close to the body.
  • Don't yell or say anything.
  • Don't look the dog in the eye; this can be threatening.
  • Do not use mace on an animal; it is not strong enough and will upset it more.

5. Wear Reflective Gear

When running in the evening or in the early morning while the sun is rising, I always make sure to wear some sort of reflective gear. I prefer to choose clothing that has the reflective gear “built in,” but you can easily purchase reflective vests to wear over your clothes. Wearing reflective gear makes it easier for cars and bicyclists to see me when I am coming their way, which makes me safer while getting my outdoor workout on.

6. Check the Weather

The weather often dictates whether I take my exercise outside or keep it indoors. If it’s raining, chilly, or super hot, I will opt for an indoor workout. That is, unless I am training for a race. Often when I am training for a race I will head outside to train in less than ideal conditions. Exercising in the elements may seem intimidating, but when I am dressed properly I can go out in all kinds of weather! When dressing for cooler weather, I always layer my clothing. This helps trap the heat in and gives me the option to get rid of some clothing articles if I get too warm. That being said, if the roads are dangerously icy, if a rain storm brings thunder and lightning, or if there is a heat warning I will always pick safety first and move my run to the indoor track or treadmill.

7. I Don’t Blast My MusicTara_ipod

I love listening to music and podcasts while I run and exercise because they really help me enjoy the workout even more than I already do. While I love listening to my music and podcasts, I make sure not to blast the music so I can hear oncoming cars, people, bikers, and anything else that I may not be expecting to come my way. I know how easy it is for me to “get in the zone,” but I try to stay as alert as possible when exercising outdoors, especially if I am not with a buddy.

What are some of your tips for staying safe during your outdoor workouts? Share them here.

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This blog was written by Tara Deal Rochford, NIFS Membership Manager and a group fitness instructor. Author of Treble in the Kitchen. Meet our other NIFS bloggers.

Topics: running walking equipment cycling half marathon injury prevention circuit workout outdoors safety

Team Ben-A-Fits (Team 200) Workout for Slim It To Win It 2014

The Slim It to Win It workout highlighted today focused on a circuit-based, team-style approach. We broke our team into five groups. Each team started on a different exercise and completed 200 repetitions of that particular exercise. The catch was that only one team member could perform the exercise at a time. Once the 200 repetitions goal was met, the team moved on to the next exercise.

The Exercises in Our Circuit-Based Workoutslim it to win it

The following exercises made up the circuit:

  1. Battle Rope Tom-Toms
  2. Medicine Ball Thrusters
  3. Halo Pushups
  4. TRX Rows
  5. Slosh Pipe/jogging laps

This workout is perfect for a Slim It To Win It group for a number of reasons.

Everyone Gets a High-Intensity Workout

One of the biggest challenges of large group training is catering to different fitness levels while maximizing everyone’s results. It is always a priority to keep the intensity high for both seasoned NIFS veterans and newcomers to the program. Splitting the repetition load among teammates allows for different fitness levels to perform a different amount of reps, so all team members can keep their workout intensity at a high level.

A Workout with Just the Right Amount of Rest

Another reason I like this workout is the work-to-rest ratio. Performing the particular circuit exercise to exhaustion allows your partner to get rest time while you work, so you are recovered adequately when your turn is back up. You want to stay moving as much as you can during training, but rest is a very important aspect. The design of this workout allows for rest, but not too much.

A Workout That Emphasizes Camaraderie and Motivation

Finally, this workout has an emphasis on team camaraderie and motivation. While one team member rests, the other can ensure proper technique is being used and provide extra motivation to work together to complete the task.

Training with a group is a proven strategy for sticking with a workout routine and is more economical than one-on-one training. If you are interested in trying a small group or large group training session contact Tony Maloney today to get started!

This blog was written by Ben Norris, NIFS Heath Fitness Instructor. Learn more about the NIFS bloggers.

Topics: NIFS group fitness workouts NIFS programs circuit workout HIT Slim It to Win It

Thomas’ Corner: Slim-lympics Decathlon of Fitness

Good Morning, NIFS! Welcome to Slim It to Win It 2014. We are very excited to bring you another Slim It season, with tons of new workouts and fresh ideas.

Today’s workout is inspired by one of the most celebrated events of the Olympics, the decathlon. In today’s workout, we have 10 exercises in which we will do one set each for a 2-minute AMRAP(as many reps as you can). Between exercises, take 2 minutes to rest. When your rest time is up, be ready to immediately start the next exercise.

For a benchmark, make note of total reps you complete on each event. At any time, complete the event again to see progress, challenge a friend, or change up the exercises with some of your own. Total workout time is around 40 to 45 minutes.

  1. TRX squatThe Dawn Patrol Thomas Team
  2. Dynamax slammers
  3. Box step-ups
  4. Crunches
  5. TRX rows
  6. Lunges
  7. Push-ups
  8. Kettlebell swings
  9. Overhead press
  10. Jumping jacks

Team Thomas completed this workout on February 13 at 6am, just our second class. All 15 team members completed the workout and left nothing on the table. Eighteen-year NIFS member Harrison Royce had this to say immediately following the workout:

“This was definitely an excellent HIT routine. There was amped-up cardio, high-intensity exercise while maintaining friendly competition amongst others in the team and with yourself.”

Others echoed Harrison’s sentiment. Angela Dixon stated, “The partner’s exercises were good and the workout was a good hurt” and Bridget Harter exclaimed, “This workout makes me feel like I’ll be fit in no time!”

Warning: This workout has been linked to profuse sweating, increased heart rate, calorie burning, team-building camaraderie, increased self-confidence, and sense of accomplishment. Participate at your own risk. (Just kidding… GET BUSY AND HAVE FUN!)

Want to try a HIT class for free? Free class sessions are offered each month. Click here to see the HIT schedule and dates and times for fress sessions.

This blog was written by Thomas Livengood, Health Fitness Specialist at NIFS. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers click here.

Topics: NIFS cardio Thomas' Corner NIFS programs circuit workout HIT rowing kettlebell Slim It to Win It

NIFS May Class of the Month: Boot Camp

Boot Camp. Immediately thoughts of drill sergeants, whistles, and large combat boots come to mind. This, however, is a different kind of boot camp.bootcamp

NIFS Boot Camp group fitness class is nothing short of challenging and exhausting. This total body workout will improve overall fitness and push participants to the next level.

Depending on the weather, Boot Camp meets outdoors on the NIFS back patio, or inside NIFS on the sprint lanes. Each session begins with a dynamic (or active) warm-up full of exercises that could be used as exercises on their own. When completing the class outdoors, expect to do tricep dips on park benches, do pullups on support bars, run up and down sets of stairs, and blast through plyometric jumps onto tall steps. If the class is indoors, a circuit-style workout using free weights and traditional callisthenic exercises makes up the routine.

bootcampBoot Camp is suitable for participants of a moderate to intermediate fitness level, and is great conditioning for adventure and obstacle-course–style races. Prepare to be challenged during this 60-minute workout.

Make sure to bring a water bottle, towel, and that “never-give-up” attitude when attending this class.

Join Steven on Mondays and Wednesdays at 6pm for Boot Camp. If the weather is nice, head out to the NIFS back patio to find the rest of the Boot Camp crew! During the summer, a special Summer Camp class meets on Saturday mornings at 8:30am.

Try NIFS Bootcamp class for FREE! Click here to request a pass!

bootcamp

Written by Tara Deal, NIFS Membership Manager, Group Fitness Instructor, and author of Treble in the Kitchen.

Topics: NIFS fitness group fitness workouts boot camp summer circuit workout