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NIFS Healthy Living Blog

Max Results with Minimal Equipment, Part 1: Sliders

Screen_Shot_2016-08-10_at_11.21.07_AM.pngIn my eight years here at NIFS, one major thing I am so lucky to have is a world-class fitness facility right outside my office door. Some of the greatest fitness equipment surrounded by some of the greatest fitness minds are at my fingertips every day. I love to move, and I love to move here, but many times I need to move outside of these walls, and of course I will have to leave the awesome gear where it lies.

But have no fear; there are some options that can maximize results with minimal gear. My first choice is my NIFS’ fitness floor, but in this four-part series, I will highlight my favorite tools to use when you can use only one.

Favorite Portable Exercise Equipment: The Slider

Today we take a look at the innocent-looking but brutal tool the slider, also known as a Valslide. You may have seen them used to move heavy furniture. This simple and versatile tool can challenge most movement patterns as well as create balance and stability needs. With movements ranging from beginner to advanced, there is really something for everybody when using sliders. They can act as a focal point of a metabolically driven circuit, or in a core-targeting segment, as well as super-setting with a heavy strength movement.

And one of the most appealing attributes of the slider is that you can take it anywhere without taking up any space. You will find that the four implements I will be highlighting all have this in common. The other thing these have in common is that they take away your excuses for not training while you are away.

Best Slider Exercises and Workouts

Here are 10 of my favorite slider exercises and some workouts that you can try out.


Circuit—:40/:20—3–5 rounds

  • Reverse lunges
  • Burpees
  • Hamstring curls
  • Pushup reaches


  • A1 barbell deadlift5x2

  •  A2 slider slideouts—3x10

  •  B1 DB flat bench press—3x8-10

  •  B2 slider eccentric hamstring curls —3x8-10

  •  C1 lat pull-downs—3x8

  •  C2 slider lateral lunges—3x8

M & M Sliders Final

There are far more movements and ways to use the versatile slider. For more ideas, flag down a NIFS instructor and they will be happy to help. Until next time when I cover the superband, add a few of these movements into your workout and start reaping the benefits of this simple tool.

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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 equipment workouts balance core

Triathlon Swimming Training: Tips from NIFS

tri.jpgFor many triathlon participants, the swim is the most difficult discipline. Open-water swimming is different than following the black line on the bottom of a pool. Here are some tips to help the swim portion of the race go more smoothly.

Get Good Equipment

Get a good suit and goggles (there are specific ones for different face shapes). Spend some extra money and get advice from a good swim shop.

Get Help with Form, Drills, and Workouts

You need to make sure your stroke is efficient and repeatable, so that you will be confident in the race. Here are a few drills to get you started. Most of your swim workouts will include a drill set. Pick from the variety of drills here:

  • Catch-up Freestyle: Promotes better rotation and arm-stroke mechanics.
    Start by kicking facedown with both arms extended in front of you. After 3-4 seconds, perform a complete pull with one arm and rotate fully to that side. Immediately rotate back on your belly and catch up to the forward arm with the arm that just pulled. Kick for 3-4 seconds and then pull with the other arm and rotate.
  • Count Stroke: Helps to improve overall stroke efficiency.
    Count the number of strokes you take while swimming one complete length of the pool with normal freestyle. Try to lower the number of strokes taken in each length. You will achieve this by taking longer, more powerful pulls, rotating more, and allowing yourself to glide a little bit. Feel free to exaggerate these elements in order to decrease the stroke count.
  • Fingertip Drag: Promotes complete arm extension and proper hand position in the release.
    Swim a normal freestyle stroke, except consciously drag your fingertips across the surface of the water during the recovery phase.
  • Fist: Helps with shoulder rotation and increases pull. 
    Swim with your fists clenched. This drill helps with rotation and working on the elbow bend in the catch portion of the arm cycle in order to create a powerful “paddle” for the pull.
  • Bilateral Breathing: Practice breathing on both sides.
    Most triathletes are only able to breathe to one side while swimming, but breathing on the non-dominant side is very important during a triathlon (and during training, too!). Swim your normal freestyle stroke while breathing on every third stroke (right-left-right) instead of every second or fourth (right or left only). Stick with it and you’ll steadily improve.
  • Sighting: Simulates race-day skills. 
    Sighting is an important skill when you swim in open water without lane lines to guide you. It consists of modifying your swim stroke to look ahead and spot a landmark to aim toward. In a normal freestyle stroke, you turn your head directly to one side to inhale and then turn your head back to a neutral position with your eyes looking toward the bottom. When you sight, you instead turn your head to look forward to spot a landmark, inhale, then put your face back in the water. When practicing, swim normally and sight every 4 to 6 strokes.

Practice in Open Water

This is important! The pool is great for getting in mileage and form work, but the dark water with no lane lines can add stress to race day. Try to find a open swim area to practice sighting and getting used to swimming in a straight line.

Do Plenty of Mileage

If your race is 500 meters, make sure you can do almost twice the distance. In the beginning that may seem like a lot, but you will be much more comfortable on race day if you are always doing extra work beforehand.

Train with Others in Your Lane (or in Your Way)

This is important if you cannot get to open water. During a race there are often fellow racers swimming by, over, or near you. Have someone swim next to you and occasionally hit you, splash you, or harass you. This will help you focus on your stroke, focus on breathing to the opposite side, and get you ready for all challenges on race day.

If you’re ready to train for a triathlon, check out NIFS’s Go Girl Tri-Training Program. Training is Tuesday nights starting 6/21 at 5:30 pm. All experience levels are welcome. Training options include race entry for the Go Girl Sprint Triathlon at Eagle Creek park on August 27, 2016!


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.

Topics: NIFS equipment workouts swimming triathlon NIFS programs

Safe Workouts in the Dog Days of Summer

ThinkstockPhotos-497566061.jpgSo many people have been expectantly waiting for this hot summer weather to be able to get outside for their workouts. And I can tell you that I am also one of those people; but there are some dangers behind the dog days of summer that we all need to be aware of.

Taking your exercise outside is an awesome idea, but I wouldn’t cancel that gym membership so fast. Let’s take a look at both the dangers of the steamy outdoor workouts and ideas on how to stay cool.

Why Outdoor Exercise Can Be Dangerous in Hot Weather

When the temperatures and humidity rise, working out outside can become dangerous, and it can happen very quickly without anyone even realizing it. The hotter and more humid it becomes, the more you sweat, and the sweat cannot evaporate as quickly as it should. Because of this, your internal body temperature rises and can become deadly.

Some warning signs and symptoms of reaching that dangerous and potentially deadly state are weakness, dizziness, muscle cramps, confusion, headache, increased heart rate, and vomiting.

How to Keep Cool for Summer Workouts

But there are some ways that we can help ourselves during the dog days of summer if you do choose to work out outside. Take a close look at this list and consider taking these steps:

  • Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate. Drink as much water as possible for proper hydration.
  • Wear sunscreen. Lather up with sunscreen to protect your skin.
  • Wear sunglasses. This important piece of equipment protects your eyes and conserves energy.
  • Get the proper clothing. You want to wear light and loose, moisture-wicking clothing.
  • Consume the proper nutrition. Eat a well-balanced diet, and make sure to eat something small before you head out for a long run or Bootcamp class.
  • Check the air quality. This is important because it affects how you breathe. The higher the level of AQ, the harder it will be to breathe; the lower, the better. According to EPA standards, if the air quality number is over 100, it’s not good. If it’s below 100, it’s considered satisfactory air level.
  • Stay out of the sun. Look for shade to work out in.
  • Monitor your heart rate. If it gets too high, take a break.
  • Listen to your body. If your body is telling you stop or it’s too hot, listen to it!
  • Stay inside if it’s above 90. It’s better to hit the gym than to put yourself in danger.
  • Bring water to your workout. Try to keep hydrating yourself as you work out; don’t wait until you are thirsty.
  • Cool towels help. Take a cool, damp towel and put it over your head or around your neck.
  • Wear a loose-fitting hat. Wearing a tight hat holds the heat to your head, so in order to protect yourself from the sun, wear a loose-fitting hat that allows your head to breathe.

If you do decide to work out outside in the dog days of summer, do the best you can to take the proper precautions and protect yourself from harm. Listen to your body and be sure not to over-do it!

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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 equipment injury prevention summer hydration sunscreen

The Benefits of Incorporating Resistance Bands into Your Workout

bands-1If you have spent any amount of time in the gym lately, I am sure you have seen a lot of people using exercise bands for part of their workout. When looking at a flimsy, thin exercise band, many would think, “Okay, what type of workout will that even give me?” Studies have shown that workouts using exercise bands will increase muscle strength and size while helping decrease fat, similar to using free weights.

How Bands Improve Your Workout

So, whether you are in CXWORX, working out in a HIT class, or doing something on your own, using resistance bands can add significant benefits into your workout. Here are the top things they can do:

  • Provide resistance: Just like using a weight to make an exercise more difficult to do, resistance bands help to provide tension and resistance to challenge you in your workout.
  • Allow free range of motion: Doing exercises in the full range of motion is important because it helps in injury prevention. Training in full ROM puts positive stress on your connective tissue and will decrease the chance of injury.
  • Allow progressive speeds and tension without changing equipment: Adapting an exercise while using a resistance band couldn’t get any easier! With a simple step forward or backward, the tension on the band will significantly change, allowing the exercise to become easier or more difficult.
  • Easily packable for road trips or a space saver: This is the most obvious one of all; resistance bands don’t take up a lot of space, so even if you have always dreamed of that “home gym,” you can get a few bands and still make it work without a lot of equipment. It goes without saying that this is a huge cost saver.
  • Get a total body workout: Any fitness professional will tell you that you can get a full-body workout simply by using a resistance band. From biceps to triceps, back to chest, glutes to quads, and everything in between, using a band will change the idea of using 200 items to get in a full workout!

Change Up Your Workout

If you are trying to think of ways to change up your workout, think about throwing some resistance band training in there. You can ask any of the health fitness specialists at NIFS to show you some exercises or put you through a routine. 

Need help setting up a workout program? Schedule a free assessment today!

Free Fitness Assessment

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

Topics: equipment injury prevention muscles range of motion resistance Les Mills

5 Reasons to Wear a Fitness Tracker

526115883Wearable fitness technology is definitely the latest thing in the health, fitness, and wellness industry. With several recent studies focusing on the negative effects of sitting and a sedentary lifestyle, it seems as if these wearable fitness gadgets are getting even more hype than ever. These gadgets can track the number of calories you burn, how many steps you take, every single move you make, and even the quality of sleep you get each night. Are these super-fit tech toys really the key to getting fit? Or is it best to stick to the advice of a trusted health and fitness professional?

While it’s always best to work with a certified health and fitness professional and your doctor when making changes to your activity level, wearing fitness tech gadgets definitely has a lot of benefits. Because I LOVE to be in the know with just about anything on trends, I had to get a fitness tracker of my own to see for myself. Here is what I learned.

1. Users become aware of their ACTUAL current activity level.

These fitness trackers give users a great picture of where they are with their current activity level. I will admit that when I started to wear my Nike Fuelband, I was pretty shocked to find out that even though I exercise or try to move my body in some way every day, there are days where I still struggle to reach the recommended 10,000 steps per day.

2. Goal setting is key.

While I was surprised to learn that I needed to step up my game (literally) in the number of steps per day I was taking, my fitness tracker made it easy for me to set realistic goals and track my progress. I know what my numerical goals are, and it’s easy for me to check my progress throughout the day.

3. Getting in an hour workout isn’t enough.

Okay, so I’m not advocating over-exercising here, but I am promoting getting up and moving around throughout the day. It can be so easy to get sucked into e-mail, a project at work, or whatever else you have going on in your day. When we get sucked into these projects, hours can go by without us taking a single step.

After using my fitness tracker to assess where my daily movement was and setting some personal goals, I know that I need to take movement breaks each hour in order to reach my goal. Not only are these movement breaks necessary to achieve 10,000 steps a day, but I have found that I’m more productive in the 50 to 60 minutes that I spend working on a task, and I am more focused after I come back from my movement break.

4. Community helps keep users accountable.

While this may not appeal to everyone, with many of the fitness trackers there is a community element involved. You can share your successes through social media and you can follow along with other people using the devices. Personally, I like to keep my information private, but I think this aspect can be great for some people!

5. Fitness trackers provide extra motivation.

Constant sight of the wristband is like a constant reminder of the goals that you set for yourself. For me, it’s motivating when I see the wristband and a reminder to follow through with the commitment that I made to myself.

While there are so many benefits to using these wearable fitness trackers, there are a couple of things to remember before you rush out to the store to purchase a tracker for yourself.

  • These trackers are not exact. While companies have done their best to ensure accuracy, nothing is perfect and you have to keep that in mind and leave a little room for error.
  • It’s also important to remember that simply wearing the device will not make you fitter or healthier. You must act on the goals that you set in order to see changes.
  • It’s also important to remember not to let the numbers take control of your life. If you find you are putting your fitness and workouts before your personal relationships or you are getting injuries from your workouts, you may want to step back a bit. It’s important to listen to your body and do what is truly making you happy.

I have loved wearing my fitness tracker, as it has helped me to gain activity throughout my day, which was my main goal. While I meet the required amount of exercise each day, I still do quite a bit of sitting, which is now being called the new smoking. Reaching my goal each day makes me feel good and motivates me to continue to work hard to stay healthy while enjoying life.

Be Active Stay Healthy!

Try a group fitness class for free

This blog was written by Tara Deal Rochford, contributing writer, group fitness instructor, and author of healthy living blog Treble in the Kitchen. Meet our other NIFS bloggers.



Topics: fitness healthy habits motivation goal setting walking equipment calories fitness trends

10 Better Ways to Do 10 Exercises (Part 2)

Salutations NIFS blog followers! Welcome back! In part 1, I discussed how to perform effective pushups, improved treadmill walking efficiency, and a more challenging way to do the classic bicep curl, making these more effective exercises. Understandably, we all have our own idea of what a workout should look like, which exercises work best, and which exercises make us almost want to quit. Here I continue our mission to take your fitness knowledge library to the next level.

4. Behind-the-Head Lat Pull-Downs

In most gyms, a good trainer will tell you not to perform a behind-the-head pull-down, but we must ask ourselves, “why not?” If you have the luxury of having a good trainer, they will tell you it is because it is bad for your rotator cuffs, which is mostly true. I feel that even if you are doing this exercise and not experiencing pain, it’s still not a natural movement for your body to perform.

I recommend doing a standard lat pull-down, in which the bar comes to about eye level (or the bottoms of the arms are parallel to the floor) in front of the face. Not only will this be a safer movement, it is more akin to what your end goal could be: standard pull-ups.



5. Weighted Torso Rotation Machine

The idea here is simple: Train your core like any other muscle group with the ease of a machine. The bad news is that your spine and disks in your back aren’t meant to be under that kind of stress, which can be a big problem for individuals with weaker cores. I would avoid this machine if possible and replace the exercise with some modern gym science.

One option is a side plank reach. While performing a side plank, reach through the space between your body and the floor. Our core can respond to mobility training, but this requires stability as well, making for one tough exercise. No weights are required, and you can modify by going to one knee on the bottom side.

torso-rotation side-plank

6. Stability Ball Bench Press

Of all the exercises we will discuss, the stability ball bench press may be considered one of the most dangerous. The idea of using a stability ball is appealing for individuals who want to get the most out of their training and improve core strength and balance, but what they do not realize is that there is a stability ball weight capacity. The ball is intended to support your body weight, not your body weight plus 75-pound dumbbells. If you are a 200-pound person using 150 pounds of weight on a stability ball with a capacity of 350 pounds, you can easily see where the danger arises. In a worst-case scenario, the ball bursts, you end up with a broken back, and life won’t be the same again.

If you are interested in a good core challenge while doing bench press, try single-arm dumbbell press on a normal flat bench. It’s the same as traditional dumbbell bench press, except with only one dumbbell. To counteract the imbalance on the bench, your core has to work just that much more to stay on the bench. Be sure to do both sides.

stability-ball-press bench-press

7. Knees-over-the-Toes Squat

The idea that squatting over the toes is bad dates back many years, almost so long ago that a lot of people have no idea why it’s bad. A common misconception is that it causes way too much stress on the knee and could cause injury. This can’t be 100 percent true because in day-to-day life as well as athletic performances, we track our knees over our toes, and many times it will be in a higher-stress event such as doing heavy yard work or scrimmaging in volleyball. The underlying problem with knees-over-the-toes squats is the tendency to lean forward as we squat, which shifts our hips out of position and in turn our back out of alignment.

For starters, I would start over, developing a new squat pattern from the ground up, known as a primitive squat. A primitive squat, not unlike what our ancestors used for day-to-day tasks, is a good place to begin reprogramming your lower body. Use a TRX for assistance and squat as low as possible without weight, pausing at the bottom for a brief moment. Stay back on your heels as though you are sitting in a chair. If you are experiencing tightness, hang out at the bottom of the squat to stretch and loosen up the muscles. As unnatural as it feels, primitive squats are one of the most natural exercise positions your body will ever be in and will also help if you are invited to have a cultural dinner experience in Tokyo.

Squat-new TRX-squat

This concludes part 2 of “10 Better Ways to Do 10 Exercises.” As you can see, there are many topics to discuss. Skip to Part 3 for exercises 8 through 10: the dangers of rotating shoulder shrugs, are weighted sit-ups worthwhile, and what can a kip pull-up do for me? Until next time, muscle heads rejoice and evolve!

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


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Topics: fitness center equipment shoulders injury prevention muscles core dumbbell exercises

Old-School Weightlifting Gym Etiquette

rack-your-weightIf you dont follow my rules, Ill personally drag your butt to the front door and out to the sidewalk!

Larry Been, gym owner (1963)

In recent years, there has been a lot of focus on old-time strongmen and bodybuilders, trying to discover how their training and nutrition developed high-quality physiques and tremendous strength without the drugs and expensive supplements of more modern times. This search for the secrets and wisdom of the weightlifting past spans decades, and even generations, dating back to the late 1800s and early 20th century and coming forward to the pre-steroid ’60s, my generation of lifters.

I started lifting weights when I was 10 years old in 1957. My uncle brought home pieces of scrap steel from his factory job that I used for dumbbells and barbells. When I was 12, I got my dad to buy me a 110# York Barbell set (which, of course, I added to). I made do with that until I turned 16 and was finally able to drive to downtown Indianapolis and join my first weighting gym, Larry Been’s Olympia Club located at 16th and Alabama.

Larry’s gym was the home for such characters as Peter Lupus, the actor who played the strongman on the Mission Impossible TV series; Dick the Bruiser and friends (professional wrestlers), noted local bodybuilders of the day; and strongmen who were competing in a new sport called powerlifting.

It didn’t matter your race, wealth (or lack of it), age, or lifting ability. It was a small, eclectic group of societal misfits who shared a passion for weight training and strength. Larry Been was the ringmaster.Such a group of strongmen with egos to match required rules that were fair and simple to understand. Everyone knew that they had to share the space and equipment by being conscious of how their actions affected the others around them. Here were the rules:

1. Unload your bars and re-rack your dumbbells and weight plates.

It just makes sense. For safety reasons, weights, bars, and dumbbells could not be left laying around on the floor for people to trip over. But more importantly it was a shared courtesy to not force someone to have to unload your bar or put your “toys” away. If you moved a bench, you moved it back. If you took dumbbells from their rack, you returned them to their proper spot. Weight plates had their own horns on the weight tree. This was simply the gym version of the Golden Rule.

My first day at the gym, I was used to training at home with no one else to answer to. I left 45# plates on each end of a bar and started to walk away from the bench. I felt the crushing grip of Dick the Bruiser grab my shoulder; his arm slipped around my neck and I found myself being walked back to the bench in a headlock, being told to unload the bar. Yes sir, Mr. Bruiser! Needless to say, I never left plates on any bar, anywhere, ever again.

2. Between sets, watch others lifting around you in case they would need a spot.

The experienced lifters knew that when limits were being pushed or beginners were just learning to lift, things could go wrong very quickly. The sense of brotherhood grew when you knew you could count on those around to help keep you out of trouble. Safety was a shared group responsibility. If someone didn’t assist, they would find themselves stuck under a bar for quite awhile if they missed a bench press rep. No one would help them, just to make a point, for some people have to learn the hard way.

3. Weights are not allowed to be dropped.

It was believed that if you were strong enough to lift a weight off the floor or out of the rack, you should be strong enough to return it to its place of origin. If you couldn’t, then the weight was too heavy for you and that was a rookie mistake that should never happen again. Therefore, if you dropped a weight, you were looked down upon as a lesser man in the gym. This rule served to protect the equipment, the floor, the safety of other lifters, and the lifter himself. In fact, the appearance of rubber-coated weight plates and dumbbells, and rubber flooring, occurred in gyms for those rare times a weight was accidentally dropped—not to encourage lifters to drop weights because they were either too lazy to lower them correctly or as a sad cry for attention. “Look at me, I just lifted a really heavy weight!” Don’t be that guy, for that would be headlock time.

Old-school lifters knew that lowering the weight under control improved strength and muscle growth. They couldn’t explain it, but after years of trial and error it became a “gym truth.” Arthur Jones, the inventor the Nautilus equipment and the Nautilus training system, expanded the research of “negative reps” during the ’80s. Recent research has shown that the negative portion of muscle action produces greater gains in strength and muscle size than just focusing on contraction. Therefore, the decision to drop weights makes one miss an important opportunity for greater gains for the time and effort spent lifting.

4. Do not tie up equipment. Allow others to work in.

Again, the logic is simple. If you want to tie up equipment, go home to your own gym. If you don’t have your own gym, you’d best learn to share the “toys” in the sandbox. The answer to the question, “Can I work in?” was “Sure.”Any other answer was frowned on, and good luck working in with anyone else in the future.

There were a few other rules about lockers, food and drink out in the gym, guests, and monthly payments, etc., but these rules were the biggies, which simply boiled down to respecting the lifters around you, not being a pain in the ass, and knowing what it meant to be a responsible man in the gym.

In today’s gym environment, it is amazing how a just few irresponsible people can spoil the gym experience for everyone else. In fact, they are just spoiled brats with an attitude toward others that will adversely affect them in other areas of their lives. Old school gyms had an immediate and very effective correction: headlock and out the door.

I heard something the other day that I found very interesting. The X-Box generation has their own problems with online gamers causing similar problems for others and that they have their means of chasing them off. Sort of an X-Box version of Dick the Bruiser: “Hey jerk, GAME OVER!

We can learn a lot from old school about training and nutrition. But it starts with understanding the gym culture and the individual’s responsibility to fellow lifters; to the owner, who provides the equipment and the space to train; and most important to themselves, for gym environment allows them the opportunity to grow physically, mentally, and in a sense, spiritually as well if they use it correctly.

Thank you, Bruiser!


For beginning weightlifting tips, see this post.

This blog was written by Rick Huse, NIFS Health Fitness Specialist. To find out more about Rick and the other NIFS bloggers, click here.


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Topics: equipment muscles weight lifting weightlifting Indianapolis

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





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

Fit & Forty+ (Fabulous) Series—Increasing Your Metabolism

Fit & Forty+ (Fabulous) Series—Increasing Your Metabolism with Strength Training (Dumbbell Workout)Band workout at NIFS

For the fourth, and final, workout in this series we are going to be using dumbbells.

Dumbbell training is another in the line of adding more weight to your moves to make you stronger and to fire up your lean muscle mass. Dumbbells are easy to find in varying sizes, but as with the kettlebell, you do not need to buy a pair of them. I would go with a light weight for pressing moves and heavier for any leg moves you will be doing. If it feels “manageable” to lift over your head in the store go a bit heavier (2-5lbs). You can do less repetitions and more sets.

Remember we want to get strong, burn a ton of calories, and be able to move about your day easier.  It is not “hard” but it will be a “challenge” that we all can conquer.

This is our final workout for our Fit & Forty+ blog. I hope this series has helped you incorporate some changes into your exercise and nutrition routine.  Keep in mind it is not how old the calendar says you are it is what your mind tells you. Keep working small steps equal BIG results.
Coming up I will be doing a series on Spring/Summer shape up workouts for ANYWHERE. Thanks for watching!

If you have just joined this series please be sure to go back and read all the blogs including:

Getting Started

Foam Rolling and Increasing Your Range of Motion

Eat Right to Feel Right

Increasing Metabolism with Strenght Training (Band Workout)

Increasing Metabolism with Strenght Training (Kettlebell Workout)

Increasing Metabolism with Strenght Training (Bodyweight Workout)

Ready to get started with an exercise program designed for you? Schedule an appointment with Kris by contacting her at 317-274-3432 or email.

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: exercise fitness equipment muscles challenge workout dumbbell 40

Fit & Forty+ (Fabulous) Series—Getting Started

Fit & Forty+ (Fabulous) Series—Getting Started

by NIFS Personal Trainer Kris Simpsondescribe the image

Who Says That 40+ Women Can't Be Fit?

This four-part blog (and "vlog") series looks at what happens to women as we get into our fourth decade. As you see the scale creep higher and the clothes fit tighter, you know something must be done—now!

I will include both blogs and videos, giving you information and showing you ways to become FIT and FABULOUS into your 40's and beyond. Look for each part in the series to be posted weekly each Thursday. Subscribe to our blog so you don't miss an installment!

So What's Changing?

When we hit the big 4-0 the loss of muscle and decrease in metabolism seem to go hand in hand. Of course this varies for each person but some sources claim that your metabolism can decrease by up to 5% every 10 years once you hit 40. That means you have to eat fewer and fewer calories every year just to maintain the same weight.

As you edge closer to 40, you face the realization that workouts are not something you do or don’t do; they become what you need to do. You are starting to get into your routine: family, work, and social commitments, which invade your me time. You need to carve out some time for you, but it does not need to be long hours on the treadmill.

Getting Started the Right Way

(Before starting any workout program, get a checkup from your doctor.)

Just some basics here. Get good gear: shoes, sports bra, and comfortable, breathable shorts and top. The key is your shoes; your feet need to have support for the work you will be doing. The biggest mistake I see with new clients is old, broken down, poor-fitting shoes. If you are going to be running, get running shoes. If walking, get walking shoes. If you are doing strength and interval workouts, get a shoe that allows for side movements (like a court shoe). For most who have worn high heels or tight, ill-fitting dress shoes in the name of looking fabulous, the minimal (or barefoot) shoes will not give you enough support and could lead to injuries.

Also, don’t pay top prices for shoes. Look through the clearance section and buy some that you like the look of (this is a great motivator), that feel great on your feet walking around the store (bring workout socks), and are within your budget.

Sports bras are just a necessary evil, so buy a good one! If you have a difficult time with sizes and support level, look into online companies.

Shorts and tops should be made from breathable and comfortable material to help you move through the workout without getting in the way. Plus you can get designs and colors that can encourage you to get moving. These items can be bought off the clearance racks as well.

Start with Measurements To Track Your Progress

Getting fit is a process. Changing poor habits to better ones, at times, can seem long and slow. Remember you did not gain the extra 20, 30, 40lbs in a week so you won’t lose it that fast either. By taking measurements you can gain encouragement by results, even if the scale doesn’t show it.

Watch my video now on the right way to take measurements. This is an important step in getting started so don't skip it! Tracking your progress will help you see the changes and will also keep you movitated when you need it most.


The changes you start making will need to be life-long. If you can make small modifications, it will lead you to a healthier and happier you. I look forward to challenging you in this series to be your best at 40 and beyond!

To schedule a Bod Pod fitness assessment (mentioned in the video), click here for more information.

This blog series was written by Kris Simpson BS, ACSM-PT, HFS, personal trainer at NIFS. If you have questions about something in this series or would like to schedule an appointment with Kris please contact her at 317-274-3432 or email. To read more about Kris and NIFS bloggers click here.

Topics: fitness staying active motivation goal setting running walking equipment