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NIFS Healthy Living Blog

Lori Cates Hand

Recent Posts by Lori Cates Hand:

Thomas’s Corner: Functional Training Series (Part 1)

ThinkstockPhotos-523032469-2.jpgWhat Is Functional Training?

The term functional training is a mainstay in the current fitness/wellness vernacular, but what is it? In lay terms, it is training that supports movements that are performed in everyday life outside the gym, or that are naturally occurring movement patterns (whether or not you use them).

Where You See Functional Training

You encounter functional training anytime you are walking, running, pushing, pulling, twisting, or bending (almost every movement!). As Mike Blume, Athletic Performance Trainer at NIFS, puts it, “Functional training improves our activities of daily living (ADLs), which will then help us get through each day easier.” This improved quality of life could affect something as simple as tying your shoes, to playing with your children on the floor, to carrying your groceries to your second-floor apartment.

Choosing the Right Functional Training Movements

Not all functional training exercises are created equal. We find that exercises that are more specific or have a greater “transfer effect” can have a greater overall impact on the participant going as far as increased brain/muscle motor control). Exercises that are on the other end of the spectrum have a lower overall impact, however.

Preventing Functional Training Injury

We find the difficulty and complexity of an exercise must be taken into consideration and may be detrimental to a person’s health and wellness if they are not physically capable of performing the movement correctly. We all know that there is nothing functional about injury due to inexperience or physical limitation. See a NIFS fitness instructor or personal trainer to discuss functional training and how it applies to your workout level.

In part 2 of this two-part series, I'll look at lifting techniques for functional training.

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This blog was written by Thomas Livengood. For more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: Thomas' Corner running walking functional training muscles range of motion flexibility

NIFS Personal Training Client Robert Banta

PT-trainingHave you ever considered what working with a personal trainer could do for you? Among many things, working with a personal trainer can help you to reach your goals, stay motivated, and provide you with accountability. Whether you are looking to lose weight, improve fitness, or use exercise as a way to improve your lifestyle, a personal trainer can be a great resource on your journey. We at NIFS believe that we house some of the best personal trainers around, and many of our training clients feel the same.

Read about what Bob Banta has to say about his training experiences with Kris Simpson, ACSM-CPT, here at NIFS.

Why did you decide to start personal training?

I lacked personal engagement in past efforts to get fit. Working with a personal trainer overcame that personal engagement resistance. Plus, compensating a personal trainer motivates you not to waste your time or your investment.

Something you have enjoyed:

The whole education side to learning about fitness. Kris is a great fitness educator!

Something you have learned or something that surprised you:

Over the years, once I had integrated exercise into my schedule, when I missed an exercise session, I didn’t feel right. Your body after some time begins to expect the benefits of exercise and when you don’t meet that expectation your body lets you know you are missing something.

Favorite workout from one of the training sessions?

The landmine exercise (weights on barbell that you move side-to-side with). The motion of this exercise uses lots of muscles at the same time.

What accomplishments have you achieved during your training?

I have lost over 120 pounds since I started working out with Kris several years ago*. This summer I visited Crater Lake in Oregon. It is an Alpine lake in the Cascade mountain range that formed in a volcanic caldera. I had to hike up at about 7,500 feet above sea level from the lake’s edge to the top of the caldera rim at a pretty steep ascent. My training with Kris enabled me to do the 1.2-mile vertical hike up through all the switchbacks in under 30 minutes. I passed a lot of people who underestimated how strenuous the climb is at elevation.

Tips you have learned along the way from your trainer?

Correct form matters when exercising. Exercising isn’t a quantity activity; exercising is a quality activity.

How do you stay motivated?

Regular exercise drives up your energy levels. The quality and quantity of my professional work has improved as I have gotten healthier. Bottom line: Regular exercise helps keep you happy. So staying happy is a big motivator.

Any other thoughts you wish to share:

Just want to say working with Kris as a personal trainer was, for me, a critical success factor in turning away from being unhealthy and adopting a healthier life where exercise is one of the main contributors to staying healthy. Thanks, Kris!

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

Looking to lose weight, get stronger or just feel better? Choose NIFS personal training as a way to get started with a new fitness routine, help you target a fitness achievement or simply because you love to work hard and get the best experience. Contact a trainer today about getting started. For more information on Personal Training packages visit our website.

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This blog was written by Stephanie Kaiser, NIFS Health Fitness Specialist and co-coordinator of the NIFS Mini-Marathon Training Program. Meet our bloggers.

 

 

Topics: NIFS weight loss personal training

Looking to Unplug? Running and Walking May Be Your Solution!

178630728If you are like the majority of Americans, your work is strongly reliant on the use of computers, smartphones, webinars, and other electronic devices and digital technology. Along with this, the use of social media, text messaging, and email to interact with our friends and family is also at an all-time high—not to mention the number of hours spent in front of a television. With the combination of these things, the need to unplug from our technology has never been greater.

Fitness Centers Are Full of Technology

Take a look around your fitness facility or your home gym and count the number of devices that incorporate technology, along with the technology that you carry on yourself while you exercise. Your cardio pieces probably have a television; your gym may have an electronic device that tells you which machine to move to next, or even an electronic personal trainer. Along with this you have your smartphone attached to your arm listening to music; checking email; and texting your friends, family, and colleagues telling you how many more steps you need to take. It is time to unplug!

Get Outside and Unplug!

With all of this technology constantly bombarding me, I find that one of the greatest perks about going for a run outside is actually being able to unplug from all of this. It is one of the few opportunities left in my day where I can truly unplug with no distractions. Not only do I get to enjoy the weather and scenery, and reap the health and fitness benefits, but now I also get a break from technology! Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy all of the benefits that technology has brought to our world, but I still believe that having time away from it and actually interacting with others needs to be a priority.

Being unplugged has also brought me closer to friends and introduced me to new friends who share my passion for being active. Sure, I still send my running buddy a text message or give her a call, but it is generally to arrange a time for us to meet for our next run, where our real conversations happen.

I know what many of you are thinking: “There is no way I could run without my music!” Yes, listening to your music does count and I know many of you like to “zone out” with your music, but try running without it for a few weeks. The first few runs will feel very off, but after a week or so I guarantee you will start to enjoy taking in what is around you and enjoy the break from the constant stimulus that technology feeds you all day.

My advice to you is to use running or walking outdoors as a means to unplug from technology, and use that time in your day to either be with yourself and take in the outdoors or spend it with others who also want to be active and are looking for a way to unplug. If you think going for a run or walk on your own is boring or that you need music as a distraction, consider joining a training group, where you will have the opportunity to run and walk with others, bringing back social interaction outside of technology. You would be surprised by the number of connections you can make if you take some time to unplug and interact with others.

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

Topics: motivation running walking group training outdoors

SLIM IT TO WIN IT: The Pushup

My Slim It team 2014 is called ‘The Blasters’ because we are blasting away the fat! So far my team has an average weight loss of 4 pounds per person and we still have some time left to blast some more. I’m very proud of my team for their hard work and attendance.claudia-team-pic

Throughout the program my team has learned one of my favorite exercises: the “pushup.”. It is a calisthenics exercise that can be performed anywhere and without any extra equipment needed.

Pushup exercises your whole upper body, including major muscles of the chest, arms, shoulders and your midsection as a whole. It’s a great way to increase your upper body strength and tightening your arms and waist.
For best results make sure to tightening your midsection to create a straight line from your head over your shoulder to your knees (or for advanced ones to the toes). Your whole body is lowered as one unit and also pushed back up as one.

The other thing I like about pushups is the big variety of this exercise. Here are just a few to name some:

In the beginning of Slim It, most of my participants performed their pushups with a shorter leverage by performing the exercise on their knees. Now most of them can do this exercise in a plank position. Great progression!

Now drop it and give me 20! 

 

Regardless of fitness level or goals, almost every member at NIFS could benefit from Group Training or enrolling in a NIFS program. I highly recommend taking the leap! If you are interested in trying a small group or HIT training session contact Tony Maloney today to get started!

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

Topics: NIFS cardio workouts NIFS programs core Slim It to Win It

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

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

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

The following exercises made up the circuit:

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

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

Everyone Gets a High-Intensity Workout

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

A Workout with Just the Right Amount of Rest

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

A Workout That Emphasizes Camaraderie and Motivation

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

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

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

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

Thomas’ Corner: Shin Splint Showdown

March can be a good starting point for goal setting and modifying resolutions (not to mention contemplating the time we have until swimsuit weather arrives). Regardless of individual intentions and goals, starting a new routine, becoming a regular at the gym, not properly warming up and cooling down and breaking in new sneakers all have one nagging issue in common: shin splints.shin splints

What Is a Shin Splint?

A shin splint is described as pain in the lower leg and is typically located on the front, inside portion of the shin bone (tibia). Some individuals experience tenderness, numbness, and even throbbing in the affected area. The pain usually lasts only during exercise and will go away when we are at rest.

What Causes Shin Splints?

Shin splints are mainly caused by running form, running on hard surfaces, overuse/overtraining, nonsupportive shoes, and genetics (flat feet). While the best treatment for shin splints remains simple rest, it is permissible to exercise if proper post-exercise treatment is administered. This treatment includes icing the shin and keeping it elevated for 10 to 15 minutes after your exercise session.

Preventing Shin Splints

Shin splints are treatable and preventable. Do not let them beat you in your quest for fitness and wellness prosperity. Take the necessary precautions and be aware of how your body is responding to your training. For expert advice on footwear, ask your family podiatrist or footwear professional. You can also help your cause by avoiding running on hard surfaces, adjusting workout intensity to a gradual increase (instead of “no pain, no gain” mentality), and making sure you are wearing proper shoes that fit your foot type.

Stretches For Preventing Shin Splints

shin spint stretchshin splint stretchFor shin splint prevention, begin a stretching routine that includes standing calf stretches (shown to the right using a slanted service), Achilles tendon stretches (shown using a towel for better range of motion), as well as a well-rounded dynamic warm-ups.

It is also important to strengthen the muscles in the lower leg with toe raises and toe presses (shown below using a step).

shin spint stretchshin splint stretch

Please contact a NIFS Health Fitness Specialist to help you set up exercises and stretches that are appropriate for your fitness level and goals.

Be well, and best wishes!

If you are interested in training for a half or full marathon, NIFS has programs just for you! Contact Stephanie Kaiser for more information.

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

Topics: Thomas' Corner running injury prevention overtraining

10 Ways to Survive Your Long Run During Half Marathon Training

It’s Mini-Marathon training time, which means thousands of people are logging miles to prepare for the big day. The NIFS Mini-Marathon Training Program is holding strong as we meet together each Wednesday night to complete the long run scheduled for the week.

If you have trained for a half marathon, you know that sometimes simply logging the miles can bemarathon training a hefty task. If this is your first time training for a half marathon, and the thought of running 10-plus miles seems a bit daunting, you are not alone.

Distance running is difficult, but it is not impossible. I have compiled a list of 10 things that keep me going when I am logging the miles, which will hopefully make your long run successful, too.

  1. Plan. Put this long run into your schedule and set yourself up for success. If you know that your long run is tomorrow, do what you need to do to enjoy the run the following day. Things like going to bed early and drinking lots of water may be helpful, while going out and partying with your friends may not be quite as helpful.
  2. Run somewhere you LIKE to run. I get it, running 10 miles can seem a bit monotonous at times. Some days I prefer to do my long runs through town so I can look in all the shop windows and be around a lot of people. But other times I choose to run in areas with much more beautiful, natural scenery. It doesn’t matter where, just pick a place that you will enjoy for a couple of hours at a time.
  3. Recruit a friend or have a friend meet you midway for a few miles.mini marathon training Sometimes when I am running by myself, a little voice inside my head starts to doubt that I can finish the long run I set out to complete. When I bring a friend along with me, she encourages me the entire way…even if she doesn't know it! Sometimes, just knowing someone else is running with me really helps me push through.
  4. Imagine your post-race or post-run reward. Is it a massage? A manicure? A shopping trip? Frozen yogurt? (Frozen yogurt is often a favorite reward of mine!) A really yummy dinner? Whatever it is, imagine that reward and I promise it will make your feet and legs push to the distance you set out to complete.
  5. Create a special running playlist. Music moves and motivates me, and it always seems that the perfect song starts blaring into my headphones as I reach a really steep hill at mile seven, or when I feel like giving up. It also helps me get lost and kind of forget what I am doing, which takes some of the pain away from my legs and feet! I am so serious about my music that I created a special running playlist and listen to it only while running. That way, the songs stay special and never get old.
  6. Think of a motivational mantra to keep you going. When the going gets tough, I always tell myself that this is all mental. Another mantra that keeps me going is, “You are stronger than you think you are.” Find something that works for you to keep in mind while training for your race.
  7. Mentally break up the run. If I am running 12 miles, I think of it as three 4-mile runs to make the distance seem much more achievable. Another trick I do is plan an out and back. If I am running a 10-mile run, breaking it down to 5 miles out and then 5 miles home really helps me push through.
  8. Compare the time you are running to something else you do for that same amount of time. This is probably one of my favorite things to do to help me get through a long run. I absolutely love group fitness, so I think of an hour-and-a-half run as a BODYPUMP class and a CXWORX class. It really helps me realize that the running time is totally doable.
  9. Imagine yourself on race day. Racing is emotional, at least for me it is. There is nothing that beats the feeling of exhilaration and accomplishment that I feel when I cross the finish line. For me, simply imagining that feeling is enough motivation to keep pushing through, even when the running gets tough.
  10. Think about something different each mile. This one takes a little preparation, but it can really do the trick and totally take your mind off of the distance of the run. Before you run, simply decide on the number of miles you are running, and on a piece of paper make a list of things to think about. For instance, you could write down five people you are thankful for if you are running five miles, all the things that are currently on your mind if you are running 26 miles, and the options are endless. Then place the piece of paper in a pocket or easily accessible area (maybe even in a plastic bag if you get sweaty!) and you have something to pull out if you need to take your mind off the run.

I hope you are able to use at least one of these tactics to log those miles as you train for the Indianapolis Mini-Marathon, or any other race you have in the future. Good luck with your training!

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

Topics: NIFS exercise fitness running mini marathon half marathon NIFS programs race endurance training mental focus

NIFS SLIM IT TO WIN IT: Em’s Team

*Hello Fitness Lovers!emilyslimitblogn

As some of you may know, we have our Slim It to Win It competition going on here at NIFS. As a first-timer coaching a Slim It team, I am excited to share with you an interview from one of my team members, and details on how I train my team.

I have 12 members on my team and we call ourselves Em’s Sliminions, due to the fact that I love minions from the movie Despicable Me. Despite all of my team members not knowing one another from the beginning, they have become very close and developed a very good support system. I wanted my team to get to know each other since they will be stuck with each other for 10 weeks, so the first workout was partner exercises. They also had to share with the whole team their story of why they were there. The energy each one brings to the team is awe inspiring!

I design my workouts to keep them constantly moving at a high intensity and have little rest in between exercises, or metabolic training. The team shows up to the workouts pumped up and ready to sweat. Even when they see burpees on the board, they still keep faith!

Here are one of the team members’ thoughts about the Slim It competition and about NIFS.

NAME: Sally Mulvaneydescribe the image

SHARE YOUR “STORY” OR A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF IN A FEW SENTENCES: I’m 59 and want to lose weight. I’ve been at NIFS for almost a year and I love what NIFS has done for me. NIFS gave me confidence in myself and has made me stronger. I look forward to my workouts, even when they are hard. My goal is to lose about 40 more pounds.

NIFS PROGRAMS YOU PARTICIPATED IN: I participate in the weight-loss program two times a week, once a week with a personal trainer, and Mini Marathon Training.

WHY DID YOU JOIN THIS PROGRAM? I joined this program to change things up with my weight-loss journey. 

SOMETHING YOU HAVE ENJOYED: I have enjoyed working as a group and helping each other out. Sharing experiences of how the team does things that could help me out.

SOMETHING YOU HAVE LEARNED OR SOMETHING THAT SURPRISED YOU: I learned that I can do things I thought I would never do again: lifting weights, running, and regular pushups.

FAVORITE EXERCISE FROM ONE OF THE WORKOUTS? The Cheetah and anything that focuses on the abdominals, but definitely not burpees!

WHAT ACCOMPLISHMENTS HAVE YOU ACHIEVED DURING YOUR TRAINING PROGRAM FOR SLIM IT TO WIN IT (OR DO YOU HOPE TO ACHIEVE)? I hope to lose about 10 pounds during this program and lose some inches on my whole body.

WHAT STRUGGLES HAVE YOU ENCOUNTERED? TIPS YOU HAVE LEARNED ALONG THE WAY? Some tips I learned were not to do the exercises too fast and to work the muscles thoroughly.

HOW DO YOU STAY MOTIVATED? I’ve already lost 45 pounds this past year and feel much better. Also, the fact that I could go off some of my medications with my weight loss keeps me motivated to lose more weight*.

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

ANY OTHER THOUGHTS YOU WISH TO SHARE: I feel like joining NIFS and their programs has been the best choice I have ever made. NIFS is a wonderful place to work out and learn about ways to improve my fitness.

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 Emily O'Rourke, NIFS Heath Fitness Instructor. Learn more about the NIFS bloggers.

Topics: exercise weight loss group training mini marathon NIFS programs metabolism Slim It to Win It

Thomas’ Corner: Slim-lympics Decathlon of Fitness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thomas’s Corner: Using Tennis Balls for Self Myofascial Release

By now, you may have been to the gym a few times and have seen or even tried using the foam rollers. As we have learned from NIFS Personal Trainer Kris Simpson in her blog, foam rollers are a great way to loosen up the muscles by promoting flexibility, blood circulation, and recovery through self myofascial release. Although foam rolling is great, we can take the self myofascial release techniques a step further by implementing a commonly found piece of fitness gear, the tennis ball (or lacrosse ball).

Differences Between Foam Rollers and a Tennis Ball

A tennis ball or lacrosse ball can be used as a tool for applying self myofascial release to the muscle, similar to foam rolling. Differences between foam rolling and tennis ball rolling go beyond the obvious. Visually, a foam roller is traditionally a cylindrical, foam object and can be rather bulky, which would be fine for large muscle groups such as the glutes, hamstrings, or latissimus dorsi. The tennis ball is much smaller and round, giving it the ability to reach smaller areas and pinpoint tight, sore muscles. This is great news for small-muscle issues, but it is not exactly practical for total body myofascial release.myofascial release

How to Use a Tennis Ball for Self Myofascial Release

Some examples of areas on which I like to utilize a tennis ball or lacrosse ball(pictured) include the hip flexor, the glute, and the shoulder blade. Follow these steps:

  1. Rest your body weight (as much as you can handle) on the tennis ball.
  2. Support yourself with your opposite-side leg and foot or with your upper body (depending on the areamyofascial release you are targeting).
  3. Then, roll over your target area, pinpointing and triggering muscles that otherwise may have been missed by the bigger foam roller.

Foam rolling and tennis ball rolling intensity can be determined by increasing or decreasing the size, shape, and hardness of the tool. The various tools you bring to the table will ultimately determine the experience you have with myofascial release.

myofascial release

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are new to self myofascial release or want to experience some new rolling techniques and tips, meet with a NIFS health fitness specialist or personal trainer to get started on your way to wellness excellence. A more fit day is right around the corner.

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

Topics: NIFS Thomas' Corner shoulders injury prevention muscles flexibility stretching