NIFS Healthy Living Blog

Ready to Try Cycle? Here's What You Need to Know

Cycle is NIFS class of the month! This high-energy cardiovascular workout uses various performance levels and speeds to get you cycle fit. Music is a big motivator and will help you get through the hills, flats and intervals!

If you have never tried a cycle class there are things you might want to know that will make the class experience more enjoyable. In this video I will show you how to setup your bike properly including:

  • Adjusting your seat position and height
  • Adjusting your handlebars
  • How to adjust tension
  • What to do the first time you come to class

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I hope these tips help you get more comfortable before you jump into your first cycle class! Let's get started! Check out NIFS group fitness schedule for the next cycle or RPM™ class.

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This blog was written by Rebecca Heck, Group Fitness Coordinator and NIFS Trainer. To find out more about our bloggers, click here.
Topics: cardio group fitness group training cycling cardiovascular indoor cycling Group Fitness Class of the Month

How to Get the Most Out of Indoor Cycling (Spin)

cycling.jpgIt’s getting to be that time of year again…the time when you wake up and there is a nip in the air and it seems to be getting cool in the late evenings. Fall is when things really start to ramp up in the fitness center: classes are filling up, and you potentially take on a new workout routine. One of the greatest indoor group training classes that is offered is indoor cycling, or spin! While the benefits of spinning can be a whole additional blog, I’ll just say that it’s a great cardiovascular exercise as well as a tool to build strength in the legs and butt.

Adjusting the Bike

We’ve all been there one time or another: your toes go numb, your neck or lower back starts to hurt, or you begin to feel tingling in your fingertips. All these can be a result of not having the bike adjusted properly for your body. Don’t make the mistake of jumping onto a bike that someone else has just been riding on and think it’s the right fit.

Whether it’s a spin class, RPM, or another type of cycle class, making sure that you are set up on the bike properly is of utmost importance. Let’s take a closer, step-by-step look at how to get set up:

  1. Set the saddle (seat). Begin by standing next to the bike. Raise one of your knees to a 90-degree angle and locate where your hip bone is on that same leg. Once you have done so, you can put both feet back on the ground and raise or lower the seat to the spot on your hip that you have indicated. You can get onto the bike to feel for comfort. Another good indicator is that when your leg is fully extended on the pedal, there should be a 5- to 10-degree bend.
  2. Position your feet on the pedals. Get on the bike and place your feet so that the ball of your foot is on the axle or back part of the pedal. While pedaling, the pressure should go through the ball of your foot and not the arch. If you are wearing tennis shoes and have a cage, you will want to tighten the straps to help secure your foot.
  3. Position your knee. You need to be sure that your knee does not overshoot your toes. If you were to draw a straight line from the front of your kneecap down toward your foot, it should line up behind your toes. Do a few revolutions and make sure that you feel comfortable. If you are still not sure about your positioning, this is a good time for someone to easily help you. Have someone stand behind you while you are pedaling and watch your hips. There should be no movement or dropping of the hips as you extend through the pedal.
  4. Adjust the handlebar height. Much of this is personal preference, but there are a few tips for people who don’t bike all the time to get adjusted correctly: comfort, comfort, comfort! Start with the handlebars at the same height as the seat (look at the seat and see what your adjustment is; it may be indicated by a number or letter). As you begin to ride, you will want to be sure that you feel comfortable. Watch for neck or lower-back pain and shortness in the hamstrings. If you often ride a road bike, lower handlebars may be more comfortable. This is okay as long as you don’t begin to pull on the hamstrings.
  5. Adjust the distance of the handlebars. This is also heavily weighted on personal preference and comfort. You want your shoulders to be as much over your hands as possible and have a slight bend in the elbows. Remember, be comfortable! If you begin to feel tingly hands or numbness in the arms or neck, you need to adjust your handlebars.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

If you are ever uncertain, you can always ask the class instructor to assist you. I would always advise you to get to class a few minutes early to get adjusted and ready. Enjoy, and cycle on!

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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: fitness center group training cycling spin indoor cycling RPM

NIFS Crucial Conversations: Stephanie Whittaker Conquers Cancer

Stephwarriorhighlight12.13new.jpgWorking with phenomenal people is one of my favorite perks as a fitness professional. I often share that I have the best job on the planet because I get to spend time with just fantastic people. Witnessing the successes, the defeats, the comebacks, and the emotional victories is why I do what I do.

I began working with one of these remarkable individuals about six years ago, and knew right away that she was going to accomplish great things, and make me a better person along the way. Stephanie Whittaker, among so many other warrior-like attributes, has slain the big C, packed on a bunch of muscle, and been a leader in so many programs at NIFS. I had the honor to sit down with this amazing lady and ask her how she has come so far, what are some of her accomplishments, and what is the mindset needed to do it all.

Tony: What, if anything, motivated you toward fitness and wellness?

Stephanie: Seven years ago, NIFS was the starting point for regaining my health. I had recovered from surgical procedures and finished treatments for thyroid cancer and melanoma. Grateful for all that modern medicine had accomplished, it was now my turn to do whatever I could to restore my health and well-being.

Tony: Tell me about some of the struggles you faced at the beginning and throughout your journey, and what helped you overcome them.

Stephanie: One of the biggest struggles was accepting how deconditioned I was (overweight with zero stamina) and not getting overwhelmed by my goal of returning to my former state of health and activity. I remember my first spin class so vividly. I couldn’t keep up with the workout; my only goal was to stay on the bike that day. I was gasping for air and seeing stars, but I stayed on the bike! One of the reasons I could stay on the bike was the welcoming encouragement and energetic support of the instructor (Steven Kass).

Tony: What do you think has had the biggest impact on your transformation?

Stephanie: My ladder of progress over the next year included regular spin classes, participation in Slim It to Win It, and the Mini-Marathon Training Program. I then mustered the courage to challenge myself and try a series of Small Group Training (SGT) classes with Tony. This was my “game changer.” Prior to starting SGT, I went through a battery of physical testing, mobility assessment, and the BOD POD® calculation of my lean-to-fat ratio (oh, great!). The results were sobering; although I was not pleased with my starting metrics, Tony put that information into perspective and provided guidance to help me set achievable goals. If you don’t know the starting point, how can you measure success?

“The group training environment is one of support, encouragement, and celebrating the fun of completing a 60-minute workout that you never would have done left to your own devices.”

Now to the fun part: Group Training has been part of my life for six years. Twice a week I am one of Tony’s “Warriors,” and every Saturday I am one of Mike Bloom’s “Crew.” This is my fitness family. The group training environment is one of support, encouragement, and celebrating the fun of completing a 60-minute workout that you never would have done left to your own devices.

Over the past year I have incorporated personal training sessions focusing on Olympic lifting techniques with Aaron Combs and am making good progress. These skills translate to my group training workouts and overall improved fitness. I also continue with spin class twice a week.

“I have become comfortable with being uncomfortable.”

Tony: Brag time! Tell me about some of your achievements during this time.

Stephanie: First of all, a regularly scheduled fitness evaluation (yes, more BOD POD®) and continued goal setting keeps me on track and moving in the right direction. The numbers don’t lie.

*Starting metrics: 32.8% body fat; Functional Mobility Screening results = 9. I could not do a pull-up; my flexed-arm hang with chin above the bar was 10 seconds.

*Metrics as of December 2015: 20.7% body fat; Functional Mobility Screening results = 19. Pull-ups = 6 consecutive.

*Weight loss claims and/or individual results vary and are not guaranteed.

Tony: What message would you like to pass along to all those out there working to be the best version of themselves?

Stephanie: I am personally accountable for how I live, choices I make, and how hard I work to fulfill my goals and expectations. I approach each of my workouts with a mindset of getting to my “edge” and working that edge. Over time that edge advances. I have become comfortable with being uncomfortable—not injured, but going beyond my comfort level to push my mental and physical boundaries. This is how I have transformed into a more confident, vibrant individual who celebrates life each day.

***

The proof is in the pudding. It takes hard work to accomplish the things you hope to achieve, not just in fitness, but in anything in life. I would never sugar-coat that to anyone; it does take work to do things the right way, and there is no magic pill. Stephanie is a reminder of what hard work looks like, and is an inspiration to those who have or are battling cancer and other powerful diseases. Never give up, never give in, and never take a day for granted are just a few mantras Stephanie lives by. I am honored to have had the opportunity to spend time with her all these years and look forward to witnessing not only her physical accomplishments but her leadership success as well!

Want to get started on your own path to success? Try a small group training class on us

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This blog was written by Tony Maloney, ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist and Fitness Center Manager. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: NIFS fitness center weight loss cycling mini marathon Slim It to Win It weight training Crucial Conversations cancer

Foundations of a Strong, Healthy Body: Cardio Workouts

ThinkstockPhotos-77293911Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is a physically fit and healthy body. The great city was built as the result of the culmination of years and years of hard work. From streets to buildings, each single brick or stone was set with a vision in mind to create the best city in the world. I’m sure many mistakes were made throughout the process; however, those mistakes were only microscopic setbacks in the overall plan.

In exercise, the same rules apply. Some programs you try may yield great results; others may fall flat. You may see success for a couple months and then plateau. Remember: it is all a part of the process. Having a strong fitness foundation sets you on the best path to success in your goals and helps minimize the fitness mistakes you make along the way.

Physically fit characteristics must be set individually. These specific traits, such as cardiovascular fitness, muscular endurance, muscular strength and power, and body mobility, are all equally important. They are the foundation of building a strong and healthy body. You must work on them to maintain or improve your current levels. The majority of individuals possess the ability to improve their current state of health throughout these fitness aspects. Whether or not they choose to address them is another story.

Cardiovascular Fitness

I start by talking about cardiovascular fitness. When it comes to starting a program, begin with the basics: running (or walking), biking, and rowing. These three modes of exercise can all be used to help build that cardiovascular base that you can improve upon continually throughout your exercise program. Although it may seem like it is very basic, all individuals need to have some sort of cardiovascular base they can work off of. Without it, your ability to get through workouts (running, lifting, etc.) will be compromised.

My Recommendation: Intermediate Skill Levels*

  • Run/Walk: 10 minutes at a moderate pace
  • Bike: 10 minutes at a constant and moderate pace
  • Row: 10 minutes, 1 minute at a fast pace, 1 minute at a slow pace

*Adjust time or intensity based on your individual skill level.

Part 2 of this blog series will focus on muscular endurance and how to structure your workouts to improve your muscles’ ability to withstand long-duration workouts.

As always, get after it!

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This blog was written by Alex Soller, NIFS Athletic Performance Coach. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers click here.

Topics: exercise fitness cardio running walking workouts cycling

Three Group Fitness Classes to Try NOW!

NIFS offers a wide variety of group fitness classes every day of the week that are innovative, fun, and make sweating a bit more enjoyable. Whether you are a group fitness “junkie” or just trying out the whole group fitness thing for the first time, here are three group fitness classes you should put on your list to check out:

1. Cycle/RPMcycle

This heart-pumping cardio class will get you fit while sweating to the beat of powerful music. In the middle of summer, it’s often too hot or humid to safely ride your bike outdoors, while in the winter it can be too icy and cold. Indoor cycling is a great alternative. For a high-intensity workout, cycling is low-impact. Each class focuses on a combination of interval training, speed work, and hill climbs to keep you healthy, fit, and happy.

2. CXWORX

The CXWORX workout is just 30 minutes and focuses on the core (the abs, hips, butt, shoulders, and back). That means whether you are looking for a quick and effective workout or are trying to improve your performance in your other workouts, this is the group fitness class for you. While this can be an intense and challenging class, our instructors are excellent at providing exercise modifications that allow everyone in the class to be successful!

3. Yoga_DSC0280

We all know that stress doesn’t do anything good for our health, and one way to balance out the many stresses of life is to hit the mat and take a yoga class. The controlled stretching and breathing practiced in a yoga class allows the body to relax, which can lower your blood pressure, repair overworked muscles, and give the mind a needed break from the hustle and bustle of a regular day. Not flexible? Not a problem. Our instructors understand that everyone comes into class with his or her own “baggage” and will make necessary adjustments and provide options so that everyone can have a calming and rejuvenating yoga practice.

With 80+ monthly group fitness classes at NIFS there is something for everyone. Get started and try a free class on us!

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This blog was written by Tara Deal Rochford, LES MILLS® certified BODYPUMP® and CXWORX® instructor and contributing writer. Author of Treble in the Kitchen. Meet our other NIFS bloggers.

Topics: NIFS yoga group fitness cycling core Les Mills

Race Day Nutrition: Before, During, and After

You have trained for the marathon, half-marathon, triathlon or other race, and now it’s the big day! However, you need to make sure you are properly fueling your body with optimal nutrition to guarantee that you will cross the finish line feeling great! Here are some tips to ensure that will happen.

Before the Race154039075

It is essential to have carbohydrates before racing. They provide the best source of energy for your body and give the most efficient fuel for working muscles. Examples of these are whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, whole-grain breads, cereals, bagels, oatmeal, and fruits and vegetables.

Protein helps with sustaining energy for longer periods of time. A small to moderate amount of protein-rich foods is essential before exercising. Examples include skim milk, 1% milk, or low-fat chocolate milk; low-fat cottage cheese or low-fat cheese; boiled eggs; peanut butter; yogurt; a small amount of nuts; lean meat, poultry, or fish; and soy products. Fat is stored in the body and is used as an important energy source. It is especially important for endurance athletes, such as runners.

Try to avoid high-fat foods because they may slow digestion. Examples of high-fat foods are crackers, chips, snack cakes, or muffins. Instead, opt for healthy sources of fat such as peanut butter, nuts, and olive oil.

Eating sugary foods before a race may cause side effects such as upset stomach, diarrhea, and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). This can have a major effect on your race! You might think you get that burst of energy from the sugar, but the energy will peak quickly and will not last for a long time. Avoid pastries, donuts, and high-sugar cereals.

Drink 2 to 3 cups of fluids such as water, 100% juice, low-fat or skim milk, or a sports beverage two to three hours before the race, and then 1 more cup of fluid 10 to 20 minutes before the race. A small amount of coffee (6 to 8 oz.) may be an option, but be sure that it settles well in your stomach.

During the Race Gels

Drink at least 1 cup of fluid every 10 to 20 minutes during exercise (24 to 48 ounces per hour for most people). For every pound you lose during exercise, consume 2 to 3 cups of fluid. It is always good to calculate your sweat rate during training to know the proper amount of fluids you need to be taking in during the race. This can be done by weighing yourself before a workout and immediately afterward.

Water is always an excellent choice during the race, but for durations of longer than 60 to 90 minutes, it is important to take in some type of sports drink. Sports drinks provide a mix of water, carbohydrates, and electrolytes. Electrolytes are lost in sweat during the race, which is why sports drinks help replenish electrolytes in the body.

It is important to intake the proper amount of carbohydrates during the race. Consuming carbohydrates should be a goal during the race to help increase endurance; 60 to 70 grams per hour is recommended. Good options for getting in carbohydrates during the race are sports drinks, energy bars, GUs, gummy blocks, and Sport Beans. If you prefer consuming an energy bar during the race, it is important to consume a bar that is high in carbohydrates, but low in protein and fat. Make sure to take in 4 to 8 ounces of water with the gels or the energy bars to prevent an upset stomach. Consider how your body digests these different items. Go with the item that digests well for you and will help you stay at your optimum performance level. Always practice with these products during training and never try something new on race day.

After the Race

Here are some tips for recovering after the race:

  • Aim to consume a 200- to 300-calorie snack within 30 minutes of finishing the race.
  • Rehydrate with 16 to 24 ounces of fluid for every pound of body weight lost during the race.
  • Eat a well-balanced meal that includes protein, fluids, carbohydrates, and electrolytes.455658863
  • Aim for 15 to 25 grams of protein to be consumed within 30 to 60 minutes after the race.
  • Take in at least half a gram of carbohydrate per pound of body weight within the first hour after the race.
  • Have salty snacks and sports drinks to help with replacing electrolytes, if it will be 3 to 4 hours until your next well-balanced meal.

Remember that training with certain foods is just as important as the physical training for the event! If you need help, consider a personal nutrition coaching session from NIFS.

If you are interested in having your questions answered during a personal nutrition consultation, please contact me at ascheetz@nifs.org or 317-274-3432, ext 239. Learn more about Nutrition and Wellness services at NIFS.

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This blog was written by Angie Sheetz, NIFS Registered Dietitian. Read more about the NIFS bloggers.

Topics: nutrition running marathon training triathlon cycling half marathon hydration endurance

Shave Time Off Your Tri by Training for Triathlon Transitions

Transitioning has been called the fourth discipline in Kris-new-1triathlon. When you finished your first race and looked at the breakdown of the times for each event, you probably noticed the T1 and T2 times. T1 is the time it took you to go from swimming to the bike, and T2 is the time it took you to go from the bike to the run. Like the swimming, biking, and running training, the transitions should be trained as well. But don’t think you need to spend hours perfecting getting from one event to the next. A good transition can simply be added to the other brick training sessions.

Before the race you need to check where you will be exiting the water and follow this to your bike. You can mark your transition spot with chalk on the ground, with a balloon, or with a bright towel. The transition area looks different when everyone is out on the course. Many athletes have wandered transition areas looking for their gear. Also look at the course from where you will be headed at the end of the bike to your transition spot. You will rack your bike and put your gear down on the side of the bike you will mount from.

Practicing the Swim-to-Bike Transition (T1)

The swim-to-bike transition is often the most difficult transition to practice because of the logistic of getting to the water (pool or lake) and then keeping your bike close to make this practice possible. Instead, you could just practice getting your bike gear on after stepping your feet in water. Putting on socks is often the toughest part of this as you deal with balancing while tired and getting the sock on without getting sand on the sock. Many people will sit on the ground or bring a big bucket to sit on.78810088

During a race I try to dry my feet with the end of my transition towel (placed before the race) or have a small towel to dry the tops of my feet while standing on my transition towel. You do want to make sure not to have any rocks, sand, etc. on your feet as those may cause a blister.

You must have your helmet on and buckled before you get out of transition, so do this first or directly after getting your shoes on. This is also a good time to get a drink of water and have a gel or other nutrition so you don’t have to try to ride and eat.

Once you get off your bike, you will run your bike back into your transition area. Rack your bike as close to where you took it off as possible. This is a rule, but it also helps you be courteous to your fellow triathletes who are racking after you.

If you change your shoes, have the laces open and ready to slip your feet into quickly (baby power can help with this).

Grab hats, sunglasses, and race belts and put those on as you run out of transition. Again, you could get a drink or nutrition if you need it. The gels or chews can be pinned on your race belt to have along the course.

Practicing the Bike-to-Run Transition (T2)179659833

The bike-to-run transition is easy to set up and a nice way to do some race preps the day or two before a race. Follow these steps:

  1. Set your bike against a wall or car, WITH THE SIDE YOU WANT TO GET ON YOUR BIKE FACING OUT.
  2. Place your shoes, helmet, hat, race belts, sunglasses, etc. near the bike.
  3. Figure out in what order you will put on your bike gear and practice it. Put on your helmet, socks, shoes, etc.
  4. Grab your bike and RUN, HOLDING THE BIKE WITH THE OUTSIDE HAND (no need to run with two hands on the stem) to your marked start point
  5. Get on your bike.
  6. Ride a short distance (less than a mile).
  7. Get off your bike at your marked spot and run your bike back to your setup spot.
  8. Take off your helmet, change shoes (if necessary), grab anything you want for the run, and run a short distance, getting into a nice rhythm.
  9. Repeat as many times as you need to feel confident.

Putting in a little transition practice time during your regular workouts will help you cut your total time in your triathlon. As you are trying to beat your time from before, this will help more than you realize.

NIFS’ Tri-Training for Women triathlon training program has recently begun. Find the details here.

This blog was written by Kris Simpson BS, ACSM-PT, HFS, personal trainer at NIFS. To read more about Kris and NIFS bloggers click here.

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Topics: running group training swimming triathlon cycling training

Top 10 Reasons to TRI a Triathlon This Year

Have you ever thought about training for and doing a triathlon? This is a great time to start getting ready for it, and here are some reasons why you should!

tri

  1. Never a boring day. You can swim one day, bike another day, and run another; then rest and do it all over again.
  2. The pool is warm (76+ degrees) when it’s cold outside.
  3. Cycling inside (in a group fitness class or on a bike trainer) is a great way to start to build your aerobic fitness base.
  4. Running outside on a warm winter day is peaceful.
  5. The outdoor training gear is awesome at keeping you dry and warm; plus it looks good, too!
  6. Gear is ON SALE NOW!
  7. The NIFS Triathlon Training Program is fun, educational, and great preparation for triathletes of all levels. NIFS runs co-ed and women’s-only training programs.
  8. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results: TRY SOMETHING NEW THIS YEAR! Triathlon is the original CrossFit.
  9. Destination triathlons are a great way to get away and still work out.
  10. You can knock doing a triathlon off your bucket list. 

Ready to TRI? NIFS 11-week tri-training program is Tuesday nights starting 6/17 at 5:30p. All experience levels are welcome. This training includes race entry for the Go Girl Triathlon at Eagle Creek Park on August 23, 2014.R19XDP1

Contact Kris for more information either by email or at 317-274-3432 ext 211. Or register online:

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This blog series was written by Kris Simpson BS, ACSM-PT, HFS, personal trainer at NIFS. To read more about Kris and NIFS bloggers click here.

Topics: running group training swimming triathlon cycling NIFS programs

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.

Fall Marathon Training Program runs July 9th-October 25th. Get Registered Today! Early Bird pricing before May 31—Members: $65 Non-Members: $80

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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

Indoor Cycling Is a Good, Fun Winter Workout

There is nothing like hopping on a bike and riding nowhere. If this sounds dull and boring to you, you have never ridden with me. I teach RPM®, the Les Mills Indoor Cycling Program. Cycling is a great way to balance your workout and helps build leg strength and cardio fitness. With the weather turning cold, this is the time to try indoor cycling. Honestly, it can be terribly boring when done on your own, but a group class always makes it better and the workout factor is not one to be missed!

A Lower-Impact Workoutindoor cycle

My love/hate relationship with running is what brought me to indoor cycling. I love the feeling of the burning in my lungs and the pride of finishing in a sprint up the driveway, but my ankles and shins are not always fans of the inevitable high-impact movements associated with running. A few years ago I was fighting injuries from running and my doctor recommended I ride a bike as an alternative workout. This worked really well until it got cold. That is how I ended up in my first RPM® class.

Honestly, I was dreading the thought of doing it. The concept of sitting on an uncomfortable seat in spandex going nowhere was less than appealing. But I dragged myself there and am so glad I did! I found I could achieve the same physical feeling of running without all of the high impact. High-impact activities have their own benefits and I enjoy them; I just need balance in my workout, and RPM® gives that to me and can provide it for you as well.

Join the Fun of Indoor Cycling

RPM cycleDuring these cold months, do yourself a favor and try out a Cycle or RPM® class. The worst part is getting used to the seat. But after that, all you will notice is the strength building in the legs and the cardio party in your heart. Put that all together with epic music and you’ve got one heck of a workout. Outdoor riders, you may find that you miss the scenery, but the instructors are all pretty entertaining in their own ways, so you won’t be bored. We may not be physically relocating, but we are moving forward with our fitness level. Take a class regularly and you may find your outdoor rides and runs are a little easier next summer! I know mine always are.

Check out the Group Fitness Schedule and pick a class time. Come a little early so the instructor can get you set up on the bike properly. As with any group fitness class, try the class three to five times before deciding if it is for you. Have fun and ride it like you stole it!

Not a member yet? Request a FREE CLASS PASS!

This blog is written by Tasha Nichols, the NIFS Fitness Center Group Fitness Coordinator and Les Mills National Trainer and Presenter.

Topics: winter fitness cardio group training cycling Les Mills