NIFS Healthy Living Blog

Music as Motivation: Give Your Workout a “Tune-up”

ThinkstockPhotos-499628790-1.jpgIn a world where trying to gain a competitive edge is at an all-time high, everybody is searching for the next big thing to help bring their workouts to the next level. Many individuals end up using some type of ergogenic aid. According to the National Strength and Conditioning Association, an ergogenic aid is any substance, mechanical aid, or training method that improves sport performance. Dietary supplements and special equipment are two common avenues that athletes use (sometimes legally and, unfortunately, sometimes illegally).

Consider Music as a Motivational Aid

Do you use any ergogenic aids? You may think that you do not, but chances are you probably do. One of the most popular ergogenics that gym-goers currently utilize is music. “Music?”, you’re probably asking yourself. Yes. I know it does not really fall into the category of substances, mechanical aids, or training methods, but the music can have very similar performance-enhancing effects.

Do you listen to music while you work out? If so, what kind of music do you listen to? For me personally, music allows for a sense of focus to happen. I pick my favorite workout song (Guns N’ Roses: “Welcome to the Jungle”) and I find every bit of energy I have to push through a personal record attempt or final set of a hard training session. That is what training is all about.

In many cases, regardless of the type of exercise you perform, you must break the barrier that stands between you and that next step. Music also allows for a positivity to flow throughout your workout. It makes everything more enjoyable! Let’s face it: if every training session were boring and stagnant, how long would you continue on that program? My guess would be not too long. You have to enjoy yourself to some extent while you are busting your backside, and music might be a way to do that.

My Workout Music Preferences Survey

As I was contemplating music and this blog, I thought to myself, “Alex, does everyone listen to music when they work out? What kind of music do they listen to?” I decided to create a little survey that I sent out to the employees of NIFS to get the cold, hard facts about music. In total, 36 NIFS employees completed the survey. Check out the results below!

What best characterizes the type of exercise you perform most often?

  • Cardiovascular (i.e., running, biking, etc.): 16/36, 44.44%
  • Resistance training: 12/36, 33.33%
  • Cross-training: 4/36, 11.11%
  • Other (please specify): 4/36, 11.11%

Answers included: “Real work—kettlebells” (I wonder who that was), mental exercises, and combinations of resistance and cardiovascular training.

 What type of music do you generally listen to on a day-to-day basis? (not when working out)?

  • Alternative: 3/36, 8.33%
  • Blues: 0/36, 0%
  • Classical: 2/36, 5.56%
  • Country: 4/36, 11.11%
  • Jazz: 0/36, 0%
  • Metal: 1/36, 2.78%
  • Rap: 2/36, 5.56%
  • Pop: 11/36, 30.56%
  • Rock: 1/36, 2.78%
  • Classic rock: 2/36, 5.56%
  • Techno: 1/36, 2.78%
  • I do not listen to music: 0/36, 0%
  • Other (please specify): 9/36, 25%

Answers included: Folk, Christian, Dance/New Age, and combinations of the above genres.

 Do you listen to music while you work out?

  • Yes: 27/36, 75%
  • No: 9/36, 25%

 What genre of music do you listen to while you work out?

  • Alternative: 1/36, 2.78%
  • Blues: 0/36, 0%
  • Classical: 1/36, 2.78%
  • Country: 1/36, 2.78%
  • Jazz: 0/36, 0%
  • Metal: 1/36, 2.78%
  • Rap: 5/36, 13.89%
  • Pop: 11/36, 30.56%
  • Rock: 3/36, 8.33%
  • Classic rock: 1/36, 2.78%
  • Techno: 2/36, 5.56%
  • I do not listen to music: 7/36, 19.44%
  • Other (please specify): 3/36, 8.33%

Answers included: Skrillex, Dance, or “music in my soul OR Jerry’s loud music.”

 If you had to choose only one song to get ready for an intense training session, what would it be? (artist and song name)

Regardless of what type of music you listen to, try to make it part of your exercise routine. If you already do, keep at it. I think it will make your workouts more focused and potentially more fun. As the legend Lil’ John said, “Turn Down for What?” So turn up the volume and rock out with your weights out!

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 Note all songs are trademarks This blog was written by Alex Soller. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

 

Topics: NIFS motivation nifs staff workout music

Tasha: Kettlebell Novice to Champion in Less Than a Year

I first met Tasha three years ago when I started working at NIFS. At that time, she was working full time and was in charge of group fitness. Besides the administrative duties of scheduling classes and riding herd over all of the independent instructors, which included getting them paid, she also taught several classes throughout the week. She was in early and always seemed busy.

When I started the Kettlebell Classes Monday to Wednesday at noon, several of our trainers and staff would drop by and take a group training class whenever their schedules would allow. As time went by, Tasha was one who showed up more often. She seemed to really like the Kettlebell and the demanding workouts. 

Getting Competitive

About a year ago, the subject of competing with Kettlebells came up after a class, and I suggested that Tasha go to the Ice Chamber Kettlebell Girls website and check out the videos of the girls lifting and read about their journey into Kettlebell Competition.

I studied for several years with 10-time Kettlebell World Champion and Honored Master of Sport Valery Fedorenko. I was certified by Valery as a Kettlebell Competition Coach and was also named Master Trainer in 2012. The Ice Chamber Girls also studied under Valery, so I knew their technical skills were solid and would be a great example for Tasha to watch. 

A few days later, Tasha came up to me and said, “I want to do that!”

Tasha’s Rapid Rise

Her journey into serious Kettlebell Competition Lifting began at that moment, and neither one of us knew how it was going to unfold, but here is what we know thus far.

Tasha began training for Kettlebell Competition less than a year ago along with Catherine Kostyn (a longtime NIFS member) and a gentleman by the name of Neal Baker (who would be shocked that I placed “gentleman” and his name in the same sentence). Tasha’s progress was amazing. She was truly a natural for the sport, but how far and how fast she would go was yet to be revealed.

All three competed in their first competition in Louisville at a club that my longtime friend Dave Randolph owned. He and I were among the first Kettlebell instructors in the country. We were in the same RKC class in 2002, so we go a long way back. We put together this meet for some of his members and my three athletes so they could get some experience on the Kettlebell lifting platform. Tasha won her class and was the most outstanding lifter in the meet. There were no awards, just a community of Kettlebell enthusiasts getting together and having a good time.

Tasha competed several weeks after that in a IKFF Midwest Regional meet. Once again, she won her weight class, and I consider her performance to be the most outstanding of the competition.

The AKA National Championships took place in early August outside Chicago. Tasha won her bodyweight class (58Kg) competing with a 16Kg Kettlebell in the Biathlon (1 arm Clean & Jerk - 10:00 / 5:00 per arm and 1 arm Snatch - 10:00 / 5:00 per arm). Tasha did 175 Jerks and 167 Snatches. That performance set a new AKA National record for her bodyweight and 16Kg Kettlebell. A week after that meet, Tasha was invited to represent the U.S. on the AKA World Kettlebell Championship Team to compete early November in Dublin, Ireland, in the 16Kg One Arm Snatch event. Of course she accepted that invitation!

Allow me to summarize: In less than a year of serious training, Tasha has won three competitions, including the National Championships. She set a National Record and has been invited to compete for the USA at the Worlds in November. By any standards, it’s been a pretty good year. But it is not over. 

I told Tasha, if she gets invited to the Worlds, we’re training to win, not to just be happy to be there. The training program has started and there is less than 10 weeks to go. I have no doubt that Tasha is capable of winning a World Championship. She has the natural talent, the ability to work hard, is extremely coachable and has the deep desire to win. A coach can’t ask for anything more, and the United States could not ask for a better representative.

A Growing Sport

Now that I have had your attention this far, let’s get down to business. Kettlebell Competition Lifting is a small but fast-growing sport. The AKA lacks the resources to send its athletes to the World Championships. The athletes must find their own way there and cover their own expenses. Tasha is no exception. Most of the AKA team members have set up their own GoFundMe accounts, and here is Tasha’s link: GO TASHA

Both Tasha and I are on Facebook, and you can follow her video blogs about her training there.

Also, Tasha and I will be conducting a Kettlebell Clinic on Saturday October 10th at 10am. We will demonstrate proper Kettlebell techniques and celebrate Tasha’s accomplishments at the same time!  You will learn: the swing, clean, rack position, press, push press, goblet squat, and the beginning steps of the Get-Up. You will also experience a version of the Coyote workout to get an understanding of "work capacity" training.

This is a really great story with more news to come, and you have an opportunity to help someone reach for their dreams. We are grateful for the support and your energy and good wishes for Tasha’s success, and for your interest in a little-known but rapidly growing intense sport, and if you are motivated to contribute financially, every little bit helps. 

Peace and Power in Your Life!
Thank you!
Rick

Interested in starting Kettlebell Training? Click here for more information on
NIFS Kettlebell sessions!

Get Started!
 

This blog was written by Rick Huse, CSCS, WKC Competition Coach. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

 

Topics: NIFS group training nifs staff NIFS programs Les Mills kettlebell

Finding the Motivation to Swim Pays Off!

swim-blognewYou have heard it over and over again: If you are not swimming, you are missing out on a great low-impact, total-body workout. If you were sore from beating yourself up from running on the roads or lifting earlier in the week, you will find yourself feeling much better after a good swim.

If you are like me, though, swimming is not your first choice of exercise, and you find it hard to find the motivation to get to the pool when there are so many other options that you find more enjoyable. 

I am fortunate enough to have a great group of ladies who are committed to heading over to the IU Natatorium twice a week to get in a good swim session. Swimming is not my favorite fitness activity, but it has grown on me and I know that it has great health and fitness benefits*. So I have convinced myself that I need to do it! Even though we are all very committed and consistent with our swimming, we still try to talk each other out of it.

Common discussion and thoughts before and on our way to the pool:

  • Are we really going? Why are going? What if we just go run or bike or lift or do yoga instead?
  • I can’t go today. I just went spray tanning.
  • I think Starbucks is open?
  • Cold walk all the way over there! Can we go to the steam room, sauna, or whirlpool instead (or before)? 
  • I really shouldn’t even go until I get my new suit, which will be on its way as soon as I order it.
  • Wait, should we check to see if the pool is closed today?
  • Am I out of visits? Too bad if I am, because I don’t have my wallet.
  • Oh no, there are no empty lanes. Maybe we should do this another time?
  • The water is so cold…is this colder than it usually is? Why are we doing this? Can we go get coffee instead? It’s not too late!
  • Is the warm pool open today?
  • We have been sitting here with our feet in for 15 minutes. If we don’t get in soon, we will have to leave.
What we are thinking during the workout:
  • What is the workout again? 
  • If I can get through this, I can have coffee after.
  • This is hard. I can’t breathe. My arms are tired. Why I am not getting better?
  • I kind of need to use the restroom…I think I can hold it…I better just hold it.
  • Why do I do this to myself?
  • This pool got really hot all of the sudden.
  • Wow, I’m getting better at this! I am fast!
What we talk about and think about after:
  • That was great! I feel so much better than I did before we started.
  • I am awesome!
  • When are we coming back this week?
  • What is our next workout? I think I need more speed work next week.
  • I really need to buy longer fins and a new swim cap.
  • I am going to sleep good tonight.
  • I can’t wait for this warm shower and lunch.
  • Why do we complain so much? I now understand why people have a hard time committing to exercise. But it feels great at the end!
  • Another one in the books!*Weight loss claims and/or individual results vary and are not guaranteed.
This blog was written by Stephanie Kaiser, Fitness Center Manager. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

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Topics: motivation swimming accountability nifs staff attitude

NIFS Staff in Action: 2014 Summer Showdown Challenge Sneak Peek!

SS2We know what crosses through many of your minds in the middle of the workouts that we provide to you through HIT classes, Group Training, and special programs at NIFS: “I bet he/she doesn’t even do this stuff he/she is putting me through!” With that in mind, it would not be fair of us to expect you to complete our Summer Showdown Fitness Challenge without us testing it out first!

For the Summer Showdown this year, we are sticking with basic fundamental movements that almost everyone can complete with no trouble. The challenge comes into play when we ask that you select a level and complete as many rounds as you can in a given period of time.

Beginner: 10 minutes
Intermediate: 15 minutes
Advanced: 20 minutes

Here is what we have in store for you this year:SS4

Complete as Many Rounds as Possible

50m Suitcase Carry

10 KB Goblet Squats

10 KB Swings

10 TRX Rows

10 TRX Chest Presses

10 Slider Mountain Climbers

As a staff, we had a great time completing the workout! Now you can rest assured that we can relate to what you are going through. If you have never participated in the Summer Showdown, don’t be intimidated. This is your year to pick your level and complete the challenge to give you that extra push this summer!

If you are looking for a a great summer challenge participate in Summer Showdown from June 23-July 25! Sign-up  6/9-6/20 on the bulletin board located in the fitness center hallway.

This blog was written by Stephanie Kaiser, Fitness Center Manager and Health Fitness Specialist. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers click here.

Topics: group training nifs staff NIFS programs Summer Showdown summer HIT

What It’s Like to Be an Intern at NIFS

AU_XC_picFour years ago when I began applying for schools, if someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have laughed and said, “I have NO CLUE!” I was not sure where I wanted to go, who I wanted to be, or what type of job I could see myself in. All I knew was I wanted to be close to home. Growing up I was very family oriented, so I knew whatever college I chose needed to be close enough to come home on the weekends for family dinner.

I found the perfect one, Aurora University—small campus, small class size, with the added bonus of being only 30 minutes from home! Here I found my niche in the Fitness and Health Promotion major, understanding various levels of exercise prescription for diverse populations, and having the expertise to plan and implement prescribed exercise programs.

First_day_of_senior_yearWhen my senior year rolled around, I had one last program to complete before I could hold my diploma: a 16-week internship! Completely overwhelmed at the thought, seeing that the internships I did previously were barely a month long, I spent countless hours searching for a good fit. And after 3½ years of living at home as a college student, I was finally ready to be out on my own. I wanted to challenge myself and find something completely out of my element.

When I came across NIFS, competitive was a complete understatement. I knew I would really need to step up to get accepted as an intern. But all the long hours of resume and cover letter work really paid off. Coming to NIFS was the best decision I could have made at this point in my career. Sure, it was hard for me to pack up all my belongings and live in a city by myself, but the reward was well worth it.carmel_finish_with_family

Wanting to find out where else my major could take me besides the personal training/coaching realm, and having a love for healthy lifestyles, I worked in the Education Services department with Angie Scheetz, RD. I did not just feel like another intern, but an employee who had my own responsibilities and tasks to contribute to the department. I worked on anything from wellness presentations and nutrition consultations to Mini Marathon training. Working with Angie I learned more than I had ever expected and was able to see how maintaining a healthy lifestyle goes hand in hand with exercising.

NIFS was different from any other internship that I have ever experienced, because there was the option to investigate the various other departments. Through shadowing and volunteering, I was able to experience just how diverse each was. Seeing what each job entailed helped to point me in the direction I wanted to go and left me with a better idea for a future career.

Although I still have a long road ahead of me in the fitness and health world, working at NIFS as an intern was a great experience that truly applied my education. I could not have asked for a better end to my senior year.

This blog was written by Alyssa Furman, NIFS intern. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers click here.

 

Topics: NIFS nutrition mini marathon nifs staff education interns

NIFS SLIM IT TO WIN IT: Team Tank the Plankers!

Another year of Slim-It to Win It and team “Tank the Plankers” are holding strong! Five of the biggest highlights for the team are the following:steph-team-pic

  • Over half of the team has 100 percent attendance.
  • Everyone can hold a plank for at least 45 seconds.
  • Everyone has completed their food logs and made adjustments according to Angie’s feedback.
  • Everyone has completed their Functional Movement Screen and started completing their correctives.
  • Everyone has a great attitude every day.

Along with all of these great things, the team has completed  a wide variety of workouts successfully. One workout that was recently completed was the Partner 100 workout using the  TRX. The workout runs as follows. One partner completes one lap around the indoor track while  the other counts up to 100 reps of the exercise before proceeding to the next one. The exercises completed are listed here:

  • 100 TRX Chest PressSlim-It-logo2
  • 100 TRX 2-count Mountain Climbers
  • 100 TRX Rows
  • 100 TRX Squats

Although it was a very challenging workout both mentally and physically, everyone conquered it and even had a little energy left at the end to finish up with a sled push relay on the sprint lanes!

I will be sad once the program concludes because I feel very privileged to have the opportunity to work with this fun and hardworking group twice a week, but I also cannot wait to see how much progress they have made with all of their health and fitness goals going into this program.

KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK, PLANKERS!

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 Stephanie Kaiser, NIFS Heath Fitness Instructor. Learn more about the NIFS bloggers.

Topics: nutrition group fitness group training nifs staff functional training NIFS programs Slim It to Win It TRX

Humble Pie: A Fitness Pro Struggles with a New Workout Program

NIFS Personal Trainer Tony Maloney

Stop me if this sounds familiar: “I am terrible at this new workout program. I don’t feel that I am doing it right, and I think I am just going to quit and go back to the familiar.” If you have thought this to yourself, you are not alone. Many people who have started a program have felt this way and have wanted to give up, but I won’t let them give up. I recently found myself on the other side of this process. As a fitness professional it is not easy to accept that you need help moving, and that you can’t do a certain movement or exercise.

Getting Help from a Movement Specialist

I visited a movement specialist to remedy an ongoing shoulder ailment and a newly acquired knee issue. I had to seek an expert because what I was doing just was not getting it done. I was tired of being in pain and not being able to move the way I have grown accustomed to. So I needed some help. I was assessed, and given a program that I was confident would get me back to getting after it in the gym.

I worked with a fitness coach to go over my newfound program and learn how to reset, realign, and fix my body back into shape. But it was not as simple as I thought it would be going in. I felt very confident about my physical abilities, but boy was I mistaken. I KNOW what it feels like to struggle with movement issues and following a program I am not familiar with and feel terrible at. I did not fare very well this day, the first day of a new workout program, and was very frustrated.

Wanting to Go Back to the Old Way

The next week I flew solo with the program to practice and work on the movements, only to build on my frustration and feelings of wanting to go back to the old way of doing things. But it was the old way of doing things that got me in the jam I am in today. Needless to say, I was quite humbled by my inability to pull off what was being asked of me. Now, I am a pretty big believer that a slice of humble pie from time to time is a good thing; it keeps you on your toes and makes you better than you were the day before. But my humility quickly turned to feelings of

  • Denial: There is no way I can’t do this; they must be telling me wrong.
  • Inadequacy: If I can’t do these movements, what else am I failing?
  • Embarrassment: I don't want to be seen by others as struggling.
  • Frustration (who am I kidding; I was ticked off): Am I ever going to get better?

Have you ever felt this way when starting a new workout program, job, or lifestyle change? Well, you are not alone! Those are hard emotions to overcome, and they are REAL! I think often during this process that if this is how I (someone who loves to move) feel, these types of feelings can be very high in someone who is just starting out or is at a low fitness level. I truly feel for this individual, and would love to pass on a message to them:

Don’t give up, because the goal is at your reach. But you have to do just that: REACH.

Step Out of Your Comfort Zone, and Get Support

Step out of your comfort zone to propel your progress and get closer to where you ultimately want to be. Seek out others who are experiencing some of the same things and join them in the gym or in a group training session and work together through the hard times. Failing is a staple of life. It’s how you react to it that will determine your path. Will you lie down and accept defeat, or get up and spit in its face? It’s your choice.

I am happy to report that I have continued with the program and have had great gains and am nearly pain free. I am just getting started, though; there's a long road ahead. But it is a road I no longer dread traveling, and humble pie can be a tasty reminder that struggle equals success!

If you like this article, follow me on Facebook at NIFS Elite - Tony Maloney.

Contact Tony to schedule a Free Fitness Assessment and step out of your exercising comfort zone.

Tony Maloney is the Fitness Center Manager and Personal Trainer at NIFS. He leads group training Sunday through Thursday. Find out more about the NIFS Bloggers.

Topics: fitness center workouts group training nifs staff muscles attitude

NIFS 25th Anniversary: Charter Member Dean Behrmann

screenshot dean 5

Charter member Dean Behrmann talks about why he started coming to NIFS and what has kept him
coming back for 25 years. Watch his video.

Dean was also featured in a NIFS video back in 2009. Click here to watch.

Topics: NIFS cardio running marathon training mini marathon half marathon nifs staff anniversary race

NIFS 25th Anniversary: Charter Member Candy Lander

screenshot candy 2

Charter member Candy Lander talks about her favorite things about NIFS. Watch Video.

Topics: NIFS fitness fitness center running marathon training mini marathon half marathon accountability nifs staff anniversary

Ready, Set, Row! The NIFS Staff Rowing Challenge Is Back

Get ready for the 2013 Annual Staff Rowing Challenge here at NIFS! If you are looking for a little bit of friendly competition as the winter rolls in, be sure to sign up with a team this year! The competition is pretty straightforward. All you need to do is sign up for a team; row, row, row; record your meters; and watch the boats on the string-line in front of the rower to see if your team is winning the race!

WARNING: This competition can be pretty intense (all in fun), so bring your “A” game!

For those of you who participated last year, you probably remember how it all turned out in the end. For those of you who didn’t, here are the results from last year:

2012 Team Total Meters Rowed

  1. Tony: 730,336
  2. Rick: 483,377
  3. Adam: 413,370
  4. Ben: 325,370
  5. Mike: 242,032rowing NIFS
  6. Cara: 213,230
  7. Tasha: 206,304
  8. Brad: 199,438
  9. Josh: 90,726
  10. Alex: 84,505
  11. Christy: 83,793
  12. Steph: 77,543
  13. Thomas: 59,297

             Do you know the right way to row?
             Watch our video with Tony and Alex!
             They will show you the proper form before
             you get started!

2012 Team Average Meters Rowed

  1. Ben: 46,481
  2. Adam: 45, 930
  3. Rick: 30,212
  4. Tony: 26,083
  5. Cara: 21,323
  6. Brad: 16,620
  7. Tasha: 12,894
  8. Alex: 12,072
  9. Thomas: 11,859
  10. Christy: 9,310
  11. Mike: 9,309
  12. Steph: 7,754
  13. Josh: 7,560
This year we are adding a little bit of a twist to the program that will be sure to make the race even more exciting and competitive than it has been in the past. Here are the ground rules for the program this year:
  • Choose your team and sign up with a Health Fitness
    Specialist at the track desk for your team starting November 18.
  • Between November 25 at 6am and December 24 at 2pm, row!
  • There are two ways to utilize your meters rowed this year. In the tracking binder located at the track desk, record your meters rowed immediately following your rowing session, either for your team or against another team. Your meters rowed can only count for one or the other.
  • All rowing must take place at NIFS to count toward your team total.
  • Your HFS will move your team boat along the line to show how well your team is doing against the others.
  • There will be two winning teams that will have bragging rights as champions for the year: the team with the most total meters rowed and the team with the highest individual average.

Sign up before Monday 11/25! We are looking forward to another exciting race this year! If you have any questions about the program, contact Stephanie Kaiser at sgreer@nifs.org or 274-2432, ext. 226.

This blog was written by Stephanie Kaiser. Click here to learn more about the NIFS bloggers.

Topics: NIFS winter fitness fitness center nifs staff rowing