NIFS Healthy Living Blog

The First Rule of NIFS Barbell Club: Talk About Barbell Club

Today marks the beginning of our Barbell Club here at NIFS. This is a free Olympic and Powerlifting program for anyone who is looking to:

  • barbell.jpgImprove performance of one or multiple lifts
  • Improve technique
  • Learn the basics about the lifts
  • Do all of the above
You may have years of experience with these different types of lifts, or you may never have attempted or thought about attempting them in your life. Regardless, everyone can benefit from what the program has to offer. As NIFS coaches, we have great experience coaching these movements in safe and effective ways that take you through the progressions. The importance of this is paramount due to the fact that the ballistic nature of many of the movements requires injury prevention. When you think about weightlifting in terms of a food chain, Olympic and Powerlifting are the king of the jungle.

What Movements Will You Learn?

Here are the movements that may be coached during your session:

  • IMG_7315.jpgClean (Hang or Power)
  • Clean and Jerk
  • Snatch
  • Deadlift
  • Squat
  • Bench Press
How Can Barbell Club Help You?

As one of the coaches of the NIFS Barbell Club, my plan is to help out with any individual questions that members may have. If you’ve been around these lifts in the past, you know that there are many details that go into making the movement safe and successful. One of my favorite tools to use is slow-motion video. Many people have done these lifts for years and have never seen themselves do it on video. This can give you an idea of your bar path as well as visual cues with posture (head/foot position, and spine angle).

Another tool that can help you achieve your goals will be advice in programming. You may have been working on a lift for months and have made steady progress but have recently plateaued. Where do you go from there? After ensuring that your technique looks sound, my next goal would be to give you a few ideas on other lifts that you can perform to improve the main lift. For instance, you want to improve your snatch and have failed for the past 2 weeks at 93kg. Instead of continuously failing at 93, how about adding a few sets of “snatch pulls” at that trouble weight or even higher? This will help your body start to adapt to handling that amount of weight.

Can New Powerlifters Join?

But what if you have never attempted to do any Olympic or Powerlifting movement? Are you still allowed to attend? Absolutely! Beginners are my favorite individuals to instruct in these techniques because they have no preconceived notion of what the lift is supposed to be. We will help you learn the basics of the movement and let the session lead to wherever it may. As a beginner, the goal is not to be doing a full snatch or clean and jerk on day 1. More than likely, you will not be able to absorb enough knowledge within that one-hour session to do that. Instead, our goal is to build the foundational movement pattern that will allow you to excel in future training sessions.

No matter your experience level, come give Barbell Club a shot. Did I mention that IT’S FREE? You have nothing to lose and a wealth of knowledge to gain!

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

Topics: NIFS group training NIFS programs injury prevention weightlifting safety personal training powerlifting

5 Tips to Stay Hydrated While You Exercise This Summer

It is finally summertime! You are looking out of the window from your office and can hardly wait to get outside for your workout after work or on your lunch break. Unfortunately, summer comes along with hot and humid conditions that can have a terrible effect on your body if you have not properly hydrated.476485117

It is important to consider the effects that the sun and warmer temperatures can have on your body and your performance, and to be sure to get appropriate hydration. The heat index chart, which shows where the combination of heat and humidity becomes dangerous, is a great resource in determining whether it is a good idea to go outside to exercise.

Here are five helpful tips to keep you hydrated and healthy as you exercise outdoors this summer.

  1. Avoid exercising outdoors during the hottest hours of the day (generally between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.). This will make for a more comfortable training session and decrease your likelihood of becoming dehydrated.
  2. Carry water with you during your workout. Not only should you drink water in the few hours leading up to your workout, but you need to be drinking water during the workout as well. It is recommended to drink a cup of fluid every 15 minutes during your exercise session.
  3. Replace the fluid that you have lost. A good rule of thumb is to drink two cups of fluid for every pound that you lost due to water loss during the activity. If you have weight-loss goals, don’t be fooled into thinking that the weight you lost during the workout is a good thing. It is just water weight.
  4. Recognize if you are dehydrated. There are many symptoms that determine if you are becoming 153736610dehydrated, including feeling thirsty, tired, or dizzy; having a headache; and having dark-colored urine, to name a few. If you start to experience these side effects, you must rehydrate yourself before the situation becomes a medical emergency. Do not try to continue exercise if you feel you are becoming dehydrated!
  5. Be aware of hyponatremia! This occurs when you are consuming more fluid than you need during an activity, resulting in a low level of sodium in the bloodstream. Consuming a sports beverage rather than water during endurance activities can be beneficial to you if you experience this.

If you are looking for a half or full marathon training program for this fall, consider joining the NIFS Fall Marathon Training Program. It is geared toward preparing individuals to complete in the Monumental Marathon on November 7, 2015 in Indianapolis.

 fall_runner

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

Topics: exercise summer hydration endurance outdoors safety

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

Quick and Easy Ways to Improve Performance: Taking a Deload Week

Just so that we are clear, deloading is when you reduce the volume, intensity, or frequency of training for a specified length of time. For many athletes, thinking of taking a deload week can sometimes be difficult. They are either in a groove that they don’t want to mess up, or the fear of losing too much strength or momentum can outweigh their decision to lighten up for a week. The reality of it is that they could come back the following week refreshed and more motivated than ever to reach their performance goals.

When utilizing a deload week, it canweight lifter
sometimes be difficult to understand when to take advantage of it and how to modify your training so that you can come back fully recovered. Your training age, strength levels, and injury history will determine how often you need to take one. The higher your training age, the stronger you are and the more weight that you can lift. If you tend to be injured a lot, a deload week is more important if you want to be successful. 

The three weeks hard, one week deload idea is something that I have added to my programs and have gotten great results from, as well. I use a four-week block system. Depending on where they are at (think off-season or in-season) will dictate if they deload at the fourth week or the eighth week.

Here I outline some general guidelines so that you can take your training and performance to the next level.

Reduce Training Volume

My first recommendation is to drop the total training volume to 60 to 70 percent of what was originally planned. To make things easy, if you had 10 total sets planned, you would only do six to seven total sets for the training session.

Reduce Training Intensity

My second recommendation is to drop the intensity to 60 to 70 percent. So here you would calculate your one-rep max (RM) and work up to only 60 to 70 percent of that 1RM. Let’s say that your bench press is 200 pounds. Then the highest weight that you would lift for the day would be anywhere from 120 to 140lbs. You can reduce both volume and intensity if you are really feeling under-recovered. In this example, if you had 4 x 5 at 80 percent of 200, you would do the following: 

70% of 4 sets = 2.8
(so you would round up and do 3 sets instead of 4 sets)
Instead of doing 80% of 200, which is 160, you would complete 70% of 200, which is 140.
The athlete now would do 3 x 5 at 140 instead of 4 x 5 at 160.

Take Some Days Off or Reduce Training Frequencyfitness calendar

The other option is to take a couple of days off or reduce the training frequency. So if you normally train five times per week, maybe come in for three days that week while dropping your volume and intensity to 60 to 70 percent. On the days off, you could incorporate some active recovery, which includes some cardiac output training (keep heart rate between 120 and 150) to help stimulate recovery, or even a mobility circuit. Again, if you are feeling very under-recovered, it might be best to take the day off completely.

Recovery

The biggest benefit from taking a deload week is to give your body a chance to fully recover so that you can stay healthy and come back refreshed and eager to train even harder. The recovery process is just as important as the training process. If you can’t recover properly, that is going to set you up for injuries. 

If you take only one thing from this post, let this be your warning: Don’t wait for something bad to happen that forces you to take time off. Incorporate a deload week as part of your training program so that you can stay healthy longer. Hopefully this post gave you good insight about how to deload properly, stay healthy for a long time, and improve overall performance.

This blog was written by by Josh Jones, MS, CSCS, USAW, NIFS Athletic Department Trainer and creator of the NIFS Barbell Club. Learn more about the NIFS bloggers.

Topics: fitness center workouts injury prevention muscles strength safety

Fitness Horror Stories

We have all had it happen….Pushed ourselves so hard in a workout we had trouble sitting down for days afterward, forgotten an important article of clothing for post-workout and had to go to work in smelly gym clothes, and the list goes on.

Because we have all had a moment of “horror” at the gym, in honor of Halloween we thought it would be fun to reach out to our members and staff to compile a list of the most frightening scenarios that have actually happened to us at the gym.

What's my fitness horror story?  
After a 13 day hiatus from all BODYPUMP™ due to my honeymoon I thought I would be fine jumping right back into class with the normal weight on my barbell.  My new husband and I were active on the trip as we went hiking nearly every day and walked everywhere, but I we didn’t do any weight lifting.  I felt fine during the BODYPUMP™ class, but boy was I in poor shape the 4 DAYS after!  That is the MOST sore my entire body has ever been!

Halloween

Now for some more frightening fitness stories from members and NIFS staff:

“I decided to run a half marathon without a single day of training and ran the entire distance in under 2:30. I could not walk for 2 weeks!!! Literally!!”

“During my first triathlon I made the mistake of only bringing one water bottle to the race. Within the first few minutes of the bike I dropped it and had no water for the rest of my ride leaving me extremely dehydrated for the run!” –Stephanie Kaiser, NIFS staff

“I trained hard for a trail marathon, my first marathon, eat right, got rest, was ready to go except……near mile 4 my foot/ankle twisted and I broke my 5th (outside) metatarsal, I had broken that foot when I was younger so I knew immediately, BUT I trained hard not just to run for 45 min.  I tightened my shoe, hit all the ice cold creeks I could to “ice” the foot, and finished the marathon in just over 5 hours. Thanks to my friend Sarah I got thru (and she could drive me home).” Kris Simpson, NIFS staff

“Over a year ago I attended my third CrossFit class in where I performed the workout “Angie”. Less than a week later, and one week before my 30th birthday, I was in the ER being treated for Rhabdomyolosis a condition in which the muscle breaks down so much it enters the blood stream and can cause kidney failure among other consequences. Luckily my kidneys weren’t damage but I did “enjoy” a hefty hospital bill.  From time to time I still deal with pain in my arms and  the anxiety that I might have it again!” Penny Pohlmann NIFS Corporate Fitness Staff

“Do members that workout in their underwear count?  I mean, I find it pretty horrific.”

“I joined a fun game of ultimate Frisbee while volunteering at a children’s summer camp. Unable to hold back my competitiveness, I tumbled over 3 children while sprinting and diving for the Frisbee. Needless to say, I didn’t catch the Frisbee and I fractured my ankle in the process!”

“I decided to try out a move I saw on “Biggest Loser” where you jump up onto an upside-down BOSU. I had pretty solid landings for the first few I tried, so I started to get cocky, and then fell off and twisted my knee. I wasn’t able to do cardio for about 2 weeks!” Michelle Meadows, NIFS Corporate Fitness staff

“In September 2009 I attended my very first spinning class. It was a great class, though I had no idea how to do most of the things we did, and indeed it was the very first time I had ever been on anything that resembled a bike in any way. I was 50 years old at the time and could barely walk up a flight of stairs, I was about 60 pounds heavier than I am currently. I DID make it to the end of the 60 minute class though my eyes were focused on the clock. As painful as the class was, the real pain was to come the next day, and for the 3 following days. It took my body close to a week to recover from that very first spinning class, though I was already hooked and went back :)”

“I trained like crazy for the ½ Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati. OH.  I did a great job preparing for the hills on treadmills because we had a very cold, wet and snowy winter.  Little did I know, you can’t really simulate going DOWN hills on a treadmill. It took 3-4 miles to climb this huge hill, but we were down to sea-level within 1 mile.  Needless to say, my quads were burning so bad that I had to us the handicapped restroom at work all week because I couldn’t get up from the seat without a handle…fun-fun!!  LOL!” Anne Murphy, NIFS Corporate Fitness staff

“A member was running a marathon, and at about mile 10 or so, nature #2 called. To make matters worse, this part of the course was through a residential community. Being an avid runner, they found a large neighborhood sign and took care of business. Funny enough, they went on to finish the race with a near PR.”

“I was teaching a group fitness class at a corporate site, and in the middle of class my shorts ripped at the seam while doing squats. Not wanting to disrupt class, I carefully angled my exercises and finished the last half.” Doug Trefun, NIFS Corporate Fitness staff

“I have to put inserts in my running shoes, and doing so I take out the padded insert that comes with the shoe.  I went to a triathlon with my shoes packed in my bag and wore flip flops to the race.  I took the shoes out at the race site and noticed the insoles were not in the shoes.  There were in my shoes at my sister’s where I stayed.  I had to wear the shoes with no insole and it felt like I was barefoot! After 4.5 miles my foot hurt and I was later diagnosed with a stress fracture.”  Kris Simpson, NIFS staff

“I was performing step-ups on stairs, without shoes.  I landed wrong and broke my foot.  I couldn’t do lower body exercises for over six months!”

“Like forgetting your shower towel and only discovering after your work out and when you are supposed to be at work in 45 min.? (Also,  I was carpooling with Mike and was dropped off,  so going home to shower wasn’t an option)  AHHHH the horror…. Drying off with the hand towels provided by Wellpoint at the sink is less then idea…. BUT I got a work out in!“
 
“I did water aerobics at Gold’s Gym and I thought this would be the easiest workout in the world, well I was fooled. I was the youngest person in the pull and slowest. We had to do a figure eight running up to the top of the pool and all the older (elder) classmates were on their way back to the other side and I was still near the starting point. I felt like I was in a dream running as fast as I could but not moving anywhere. I was totally exhausted after that one hour of water aerobics. “


“I went to an offsite exercise class and was trying to challenge myself.  When it was time to do this one particular drill over half the class left out to walk laps outside because it was hard for some to do. Well, I decided to do it and it ended with me running into the wall and in the emergency room with a broken finger. Needless to say that finger will never be the same.”

“When in Denver I decided to start getting fit I walked to work did ok going to work it was 12 miles, going home I was almost crawling by the time I got there my feel and knees were dying, I am over weight, I was limping the next 4 or 5 days and had blisters on the balls of my feet. ouch.”

Now it’s your turn:
What is one of YOUR fitness horror stories? Share it here!

This blog was written by Tara Rochford, NIFS Membership Manager, Group Fitness Instructor and author of Treble in the Kitchen. Meet all of our NIFS Bloggers.

Topics: NIFS exercise fitness group fitness nifs staff safety

NIFS Fitness: How to Dress for Running in Cold Weather

The weather in Indianapolis has been typical Indiana winter weather: COLD. Despite the near-freezing temperatures, the NIFS Mini-Marathon Training Program is logging miles outside in preparation for May’s big race. Running or being active outside in temperatures that are fairly icy may seem dangerous, but with the proper gear and clothing, getting out of the gym can be a great way to switch up your typical training routine.

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Tom BonDurant, co-owner of the Runners Forum, spoke at the NIFS Mini-Marathon Training Program orientation, providing runners with tips and tricks for staying warm and safe when running in freezing temperatures.

Layering Is Key

Tom shared his favorite key pieces of running attire to
mix and match that meet varying weather conditions throughout the year.

Layer 1: The base layer. The base layer can be long sleeve or short sleeve and should be composed of a wicking fabric. The wicking fabric will keep the body drier, which will allow the runner to stay warmer.

Layer 2: The mid/thermal layer. This layer typically consists of a fleece-lined jacket that either zips all the way or is a half zip. The zip allows the jacket to cover the chin and mouth, but can also be zipped down for some extra ventilation if the runner begins to get warm.

Layer 3: Outer shell jacket. This jacket is going to keep the elements out. It should also have reflective material on it for easy visibility when running in the dark.

In addition to these three layers, it is important to have warm and comfortable running gear on the bottom such as fleece-lined running tights, socks, wind briefs (for the guys), a hat, and gloves. With these basic layers covered, you will be prepared for the elements and running outdoors at any time of the year.

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

 

Topics: NIFS exercise fitness winter fitness running marathon training mini marathon half marathon health outdoors safety