<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=424649934352787&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

NIFS Healthy Living Blog

Should You Do Cardio or Strength Training First in Your Workout?

ThinkstockPhotos-477951991-newWe’ve all heard the saying, “There are no stupid questions,” but there are a lot of questions that take a lot of effort and thought to answer correctly. One such question comes to mind when we are discussing fitness: “What should I do first, cardio or strength training?”

I would say that sounds pretty cut and dry, and the answer would just be in a textbook reference somewhere, but solving this conundrum will not be so simple. When you put it in perspective, it’s almost like asking what comes first, the chicken or the egg? Both are necessary and complement each other, but the overall outcome of your fitness results could very well be determined by whether you do your cardio before or after your strength training.

Define Your Goals

While wearing your fitness investigator hat, first ask the question: “What are my fitness goals?” This will be a defining moment, because your goals will directly influence your cardio decision. Instead of thinking about what you are burning (carbohydrate or fat) to fuel your workout, think a little more about specific goals, such as increasing your cardiovascular endurance, decreasing body weight, increasing muscular strength, and so forth. 

Goal: Cardiovascular Endurance

If your goal is to increase cardiovascular endurance, the most sensible next step is to perform cardio exercise and vice versa with increasing muscular strength (Roizen, 2014). Although there has been some research on the topic, a 2013 study at the Life Science Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that both walking and running were beneficial to good health, and went so far as to say that walking may be even more beneficial to good health (which is also a topic we will cover in a future blog. 

This makes it seem as though normal individuals with sensible goals can make their lives a lot easier and focus on more manageable ambitions, such as the aforementioned weight loss, etc.

Goal: Losing Weight and Gaining Muscle

Probably the most commonplace goal I hear as a personal trainer is, “I want to lose weight, and gain muscle.” How does that fit into our cardio vs. strength training riddle? Without spending a huge amount of time reading tomes of fitness research, alternating the cardio and strength order and doing various cycles is one way to make sure both of your goals are met and you continue to have a well-balanced regimen. Variety is the spice of life, is it not? 

I encourage you to continue this discussion in the comments area. As we go along our fitness quests, we do not have to go alone. A Health Fitness Specialist can provide some much-needed guidance, and can lend a helping hand when you need to be lifted back on the wagon. Feel free to stop by the NIFS track desk, or call to schedule an appointment today!

Rejoice and evolve,

Like what you've just read? Click here to subscribe to our blog!

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

Topics: cardio workouts strength personal training

Training Tips for Former Athletes: Stay Fit and Motivated

MasieI recently ended my rugby career at Indiana University. I had been playing for 9 years, and competed in various other sports before that. Until now, I have always had a coach scheduling practices and creating workouts for me, and have always pushed myself to my limits for the team.

If you've played sports your whole life but now you are in the real world with other responsibilities and time constraints that did not exist when you were an athlete, you may start to lose your strength and endurance. You may have even noticed changes in your body due to your lifestyle change. You want to stay in shape or get back in shape, but you are unsure where to start or what to do. 

Here are a few tips to help you figure out how to train as a former athlete.

  • Acknowledge that you are no longer a competitive athlete. You are now a former athlete. This is a hard step to take because in your heart you will always be an athlete. You are just no longer a part of a team or competition, and that is okay. 
  • Create new goals for yourself that pertain to your life now. Back in college or high school, you trained a lot, and you trained hard. You had a deadline to be in shape before your first game. However, this mindset may not work now with your new lifestyle. You need to set new goals, which can include cardiovascular training like running or biking. Or your goal could be to lose weight or fat. Your goal can even simply be to maintain a certain overall fitness level. 
  • Train better, not harder. During athletic training you were told to run more, lift more, and practice more in order to be the best and win. This mindset and form of training may have worked then, but that doesn't necessarily mean it works now. You need to train better and more efficiently. Training better is easier to maintain and accomplish than trying to train as hard as you did before. But how do you know you are training better, when all you have known is how to train hard?
Join a Training Program

Many gyms offer training programs for marathons or triathlons or even weight loss. What is great about these programs is that they have coaches that create workouts and guide you through them. You will work alongside others in the program and can get the feeling of being part of a team. Here at NIFS we offer a variety of training programs

Find a Personal Trainer

If you are interested in working on your own, but still feel that you need more guidance, look into personal training. Trainers offer you the accountability that coaches and practices did. Personal trainers can help create new goals for you and lead you through specific, efficient programs. 

Working Out on Your Own

If you need help finding a starting point, here are some tips and examples you can use to help. You'll want to focus on full-body, multi-joint lifts. 

Here are examples of some exercises you can use as the basis of your workouts:

  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Deadlifts
  • Rows
  • Pull-ups
  • Pushups

Choose a few to perform for each workout. You can alternate between 2 and 3 days per week, performing 3 to 4 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions each. 

When performing cardio, a great goal is to try to complete at least 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise each week. For example, you can complete five 30-minute sessions of cardio each week. You can also perform them on the same day as your strength training. 

***

In the end, take time to find what works best for you at this time in your life. Training like you did when you were an athlete isn't always what works. Explore your options, and find what you like to do now. 

Like what you've just read? Click here to subscribe to our blog!

This blog was written by Masie Duncan, Health Fitness Instructor and Weight Loss Coordinator. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: cardio motivation accountability NIFS programs endurance strength personal training team training

Where Do “They” Come Up with These Exercise Names?

Salutations, NIFS friends. Whether you have been working out for 30 years or are brand new to fitness, one mystery that normally goes unsolved is “Where did they come up with the name for that exercise?” Sometimes it’s pretty self-explanatory (such as biceps curl), but other times it can be quite misleading (for example, Burpee). Then when you have met several different trainers, maybe they call the same thing something different (such as torso rotations versus Russian twists). It can be downright confusing.

Here we will explore a few of my favorite mystery exercises and dig a little deeper into their backstories.

Jumping Jacksjumping-jack

So, who invented the jumping jack, and where did it originate? I should preface that by saying that it is really hard to invent exercises, at least classic, iconic ones like “the pushup,” “the sit-up,” and “the jumping jack.” That being said, we really want to credit the jumping jack to the great Jack LaLanne. Although LaLanne made the exercise popular, it was already in use by the U.S. military and gets its name from a traditional toy in which a string is pulled and the arms and legs spread into a star or jumping-jack position. 

Burpees

Another exercise that carries some notoriety for name confusion is the Burpee. To a lot of people, the Burpee sounds like a made-up name for this brutal exercise. Prior to doing Burpees for the first time, you might snicker at the idea of doing some crazy Dr. Seuss-like movement, but then you do them and your opinion changes quickly. 

So, where do Burpees come from? Apparently, in the 1930s, Dr. Royal H. Burpee (sounds made up, right?) at Columbia University invented the Burpee as part of a PhD thesis. His Burpee test was meant to simplify fitness assessments and was used by the U.S. military. Nowadays, the Burpee is mostly associated with cruel and unusual personal trainers.

Turkish Getups

The Turkish Getup is in a category all by itself when it comes to mysteries. To some, it closely resembles a strongman wearing a leopardskin Onesie and handlebar mustache performing for a traveling-circus sideshow. 

As deep as that sounds, finding the exact origins of the Turkish Getup was even more challenging. It is thought to have originated in Turkey hundreds of years ago and to have been passed down from generation to generation to modern times, where it is primarily done with a kettlebell in either a kettlebell class or a during a CrossFit session. One thing that hasn’t changed, though, is the Turkish Getup’s reputation as one of the most intricate movements in all of fitness.

***

What are some names that have perplexed you or even made you laugh out loud? Share in the comments below for an open discussion and maybe you can “stump the trainer.”

Whether you call it a squat press or a thruster, one thing we always want to make sure of is safety. Your NIFS health fitness professional will ensure you’re getting a great, safe workout regardless of what you call it. Schedule a free assessment today!

Free Fitness Assessment

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

 

Topics: exercise cardio fitness center injury prevention kettlebell personal training exercises core strength CrossFit

Running with Scissors: The Art of Stupidity in Fitness

ThinkstockPhotos-462463965A recent study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) looked at the winners of the past Darwin Awards. These awards are given to people who die in an idiotic manner, thereby insuring the long-term survival of the human species by removing themselves from the gene pool.

The study examined 318 cases. Of them, 282 (or 88.7%) were men. These results support the emerging “Males are Idiots Theory” (MIT). The authors were at a loss to explain the reasons for males dominating the art of stupid death, but they offered that men are more willing to take unnecessary risks simply as a rite of passage, for male social esteem, or perhaps just for bragging rights. It is also believed that alcohol had a lot to do with the outcomes (duh!).

Macho Man Cuts Off Own Head

My favorite Darwin Award went to Polish farmer Krystof Azninski, who in 1996 cut off his own head while trying to prove how macho he was by one-upping his friend who had just cut off his own foot with a chainsaw. Azninski won. And lost.

The bout started while drinking (again, duh). They began hitting each other over the head with frozen turnips. But when Azninski’s friend cut off his own foot, Azninski felt compelled to respond.

As kids, we were all warned about the dangers of running with scissors: “It’s all fun and games until someone pokes an eye out.” When you’re 4 years old, that gruesome image stays with you and vividly comes back every time you hold scissors. Running is the last thing on your mind, at least for most people.

But there are some who never listen and seemingly never learn. Tell them the stove is hot and they’ll end up with a second-degree burn because they had to prove it to themselves. Their universe is a lot different than ours, and if we were able to listen in on the conversation in their heads, we would twitch in disbelief. Logic? What logic?

Fitness and the Male Ego

What does this have to do with fitness? Well, while walking around the gym, I twitch a lot because I see bad technique. I see really dumb exercises. And worse, I see really dumb exercises done badly—and you guessed it: mostly by men. In this environment, I assume alcohol is not involved, so it must be something else. Let’s try the male ego.

Maybe it’s a guy thing, but very few males will seek out proper lifting instruction, and there are some who will not even accept it when it is offered. Their pride won’t let them consider that they may be doing something wrong, and they are not going listen to another male tell them that they are. Female trainers, in this situation, stand no chance in helping these men regardless of their qualifications and experience.

Females, on the other hand, are not invested in false pride and are more interested in exercising correctly. They have no unrealistic expectations of strength and are pleasantly surprised when strength arrives. Their major concern is that they simply want to lift correctly and avoid injuries, and are therefore more willing to listen and follow through on instructions. Because of this, they progress better toward their goals and suffer from fewer injuries on the way.

I see the gym’s version of Krystof Azninski round-backing deadlifts, knees collapsing inward while squatting, totally missing the point of the Olympic Lifts (which is power development, not conditioning), engaged in a death struggle under the bar while benching, not having the strength and proper technique to handle the weight they’re using on any exercise, etc. The point is they are more interested in demonstrating strength than actually developing it.

Running with scissors, running with dumbbells; it’s all metaphorically the same. It’s all fun and games until you poke out an eye, rupture a disc, blow out a knee, or turn a shoulder into hamburger.

Guys, take pride in “doing it right.” Let results come to you naturally; don’t chase them. Stop running with scissors, and for god’s sake put down that chainsaw!

To learn more about how a NIFS personal trainer can help you with injury prevention, click here.

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

 Like what you've just read? Click here to subscribe to our blog!

Topics: fitness fitness center injury prevention injuries personal training

Defining Fitness Goals Is Like Wrestling with Jell-O (Part 2 of 2)

carrotIn my earlier post, I talked about asking questions to get at true motivations behind wanting to be more fit. 

The answers to those questions will fall into four broad categories: appearance, performance, feel or move better, and major health issues.

Goal: Looking Better

Appearance is the most common and strongest of all of the motivators. One of my Russian coaches thought of it as frivolous. He referred to it as “wanting to look better naked in front of a mirror,” but yet its power can never be underestimated. Bodybuilding strategies are the most common route, but the newer athletic-inspired approaches to training will also produce that desired appearance—with the added benefit of a more functional strength for daily life activities.

Goal: Performance

Performance means strength and conditioning for a purpose. That purpose may be for sports, military, police, fire, etc. However, in the general public, Special Ops–inspired training and functional training have become very popular in the belief that this type of training will help them reach higher levels of both strength and conditioning, and can be found in various programs like Boot Camps, CrossFit, and so on. Sport Performance gyms have also grown exponentially across the country in the last decade as parents invest in whatever it takes to improve their children’s athletic careers.

Goal: Feeling Better

Feeling better becomes the primary goal when the barnacles of aging reach critical mass. The idea of chasing body beautiful and seriously improving athletic performance fade as the need to “just keep moving comfortably in one’s body” dominates awareness. Wear and tear of the joints (arthritis), loss of muscle mass (sarcopenia), and serious body fat increases (caused by the great American diet combined with little activity) lead to a whole host of life-quality issues that exercise and diet can greatly improve.

Goal: Alleviating Major Health Issues

Major health issues require their own individual approaches to strength and conditioning. Experienced and well-educated experts know the correct approaches for their area of expertise, and the uninformed should not guess at them. Heart disease, MS, COPD, cancer, diabetes, stroke, and brain damage, for example, are very serious issues but life quality can be improved with the right guidance and proper effort.

When There Is More Than One Issue

As complex as individuals can be, you may find their situation to be a combination of the above categories, and therefore they must be ranked in order of importance. Training is also a process along a timeline, so there must be flexibility and the willingness to adjust the program as training progresses.

The “how” to train will be born within the answer to “why” someone is seeking fitness. For any real success, the “why” question must be answered honestly. As stated above (and worth repeating), a technically correct workout could be a total waste of time, money, effort, and perhaps could even be dangerous if the training program doesn’t match the individual’s needs and motivation.

One last comment regarding this issue. There have been many attempts throughout the years to create a universal definition of fitness, design workout programs to address each fitness component of that definition, and then sell the concept that if one truly wanted to be fit (by their definition), one would have to train according to their program. I am sure these attempts started out to be sincere efforts to make Jell-O solid, but morphed into profit-producing ventures with corresponding business agendas (see this post with more philosophy on separating good fitness and nutrition advice from bad).

Please remember, the Fitness Holy Grail is a myth. There is no one perfect workout and the definition of fitness is relative to who is asking and why. I suppose that in some situations that wrestling in Jell-O could be fun, but wrestling with Jell-O is not. First establish your goals and then clearly understand your motives. The proper training program will evolve as a natural result of that process.

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

Like what you've just read? Click here to subscribe to our blog!

Topics: motivation goal setting functional training personal training fitness trends goals

Defining Fitness Goals Is Like Wrestling with Jell-O (Part 1 of 2)

jelloThe concept of defining fitness seems simple at first glance, but like Jell-O®, the definition of fitness appears solid on the surface until you grab at it and realize that impression was wrong. Both will get messy while they ooze in all directions.

Fitness is truly in the eye of the beholder—or more correctly, in the vision of the motivating ego. Something about one’s current status is unacceptable and the ego wants it changed. This fitness change generally becomes a quest to be bigger, faster, stronger, or prettier. Basic movement problems and health issues are other major driving forces to seek improved fitness.

What Is Your Goal?

Many times, when I ask clients about what they expect to get from their investment of time, money, and sweat in exercise, I usually get, “I want to be more fit, of course,” which to them is the universal hall pass for answering all fitness questions. They’re thinking, “After all, everyone knows what it means to be fit. Don’t they?” Well, they don’t and that’s the problem. Are we talking about serious weight loss, bodybuilding and shaping for esthetics, training for athletic and job performance, correcting serious medical issues or movement deficiencies, etc.?

Strategies for each goal are very different. A “good” technical workout may very well be the “wrong” workout for a particular goal because of individual needs. Therefore, before any program can be developed, everyone must agree on what exactly it means to be more fit and what goals they are try to reach. Without a target, it is easy to wander around aimlessly in the forest of fitness options with a bloody forehead from banging into the many workout trees.

All-You-Can-Eat Fitness Can Lead to Gluttony

A trainer is also responsible for providing a more expansive view of exercise and fitness, which is generally beyond the fitness education and experience of most of their clients. This task is much like a waiter explaining a menu to a new restaurant patron. Although this step is necessary to arrive at the best program design, this additional client education can create another problem called the all-you-can-eat fitness syndrome.

As in the famous scene of the enormous man in the restaurant in Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, when presented with the menu, he reads it very carefully, hands it back to the waiter, and says, “Yes.” When people become more aware of what fitness can provide, they want it all. But the body cannot do it all, at least not equally as well and certainly not all at once. If you remember the scene, the patron did eat the entire menu worth of food, but when offered a small after-dinner wafer, he exploded. Fitness gluttony has a price, as well, which usually comes in the form of poor results and, of course, the higher risk of dreaded injuries.

What Do You Really Want?

Whether you are a trainer responsible for the health, fitness, and safety of your client or an individual fitness enthusiast who has taken on the arduous task of training yourself, the meaning of fitness for that individual and for that moment in time must be clearly defined before an appropriate fitness program can be developed. The fastest shortcut to this meaningful foundation is by going directly to what is truly motivating the desire for change, the ego.

It is a rather simple process. Keep asking the following question until you arrive at the real answer: “What do you really want to get out of your investment of time, money, and sweat in exercise?

However, there are two rules: The answer cannot be, “I want to be more fit,” and each answer is followed by the question “why?” until a satisfactory answer is reached. This “why” will reveal what is actually motivating the fitness quest and will also serve as the motor to keep driving the quest when progress slows or when there are setbacks. The combination of “what” and “why” forms a strong foundation for developing an effective exercise program.

In my next post, I'll talk about the categories that the answers fall into, and how to start thinking about the right training program for each goal.

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

Like what you've just read? Click here to subscribe to our blog!

 

 

 

Topics: motivation goal setting functional training personal training fitness trends goals

New Year, New Healthy Habits (I Hope)

453886289If you are anything like me, the new year comes with lots of “I’m going to do this (fill in the blank) better than I did last year,” or “I am starting a new workout plan for the year,” or maybe “My goal this year is to ________.” Then mid-February hits and all those New Year’s habits you planned to start, goals you were working toward, or things you were going to do better on have fallen off the radar.

Together, let’s make this year different than the ones in the past! There are hundreds of articles out there to help you come up with ideas if you are struggling to think of some. For example, Health.com has a list of the top ten healthiest resolutions.

Now let’s make those New Year’s resolutions and make them stick! I came up with some strategies for turning your resolutions into healthy habits.

  1. Have a plan. It is important to come up with a plan and put it in place. When you have a plan in place, it’s a lot easier to stay on track than just winging everything and putting it off. Take some time to come up with a weekly or monthly plan to stay on track.
  2. Program. Having a program in place helps you to stay focused, on track, and working toward a goal. There are lots of programs out there, or if you do not currently have one, the New Year is a great time to get started with one. NIFS offers personal program building from our Health Fitness Specialists.
  3. Commit. This is probably the one area that people struggle with most, and I think that one of the greatest ways to make your habits stick is to be committed! Once you commit to a plan or a schedule, make it a priority and always keep in the back of your mind the commitment you made. Share your goals with friends and family.
  4. Be accountable. Figure out what works for you in order to stay accountable. Maybe it’s keeping a calendar where you check off that you did your workout today; maybe it’s finding a friend to report to after your workout; or maybe you can use those wonderful smartphones that we all carry around to help remind you that you need to go to the gym! If you are struggling with getting to the gym on a regular basis, be sure to schedule in that time for yourself.
  5. Do not settle for failure. It is easy to not do your workout once or twice, and suddenly you notice it’s been several days! Don’t be okay with slacking; stay on track and be successful.
  6. Reward yourself. Who doesn’t like a reward? Don't confuse it with going crazy, but find some way to reward yourself. Maybe it’s one of those yummy sugar-free, no-calorie cookies or a new workout top. It does not matter, but find something that is a special treat for you for staying on track.

Now think of what has worked for you in past years. Use the strategies above and what already works for you to make changes that will stick for the new year to come.

Need help with a fitness plan? The best way to start is with a fitness evaluation. Schedule a free assessment with a NIFS HFS today then develop a plan that works for you!

Free Fitness Assessment

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

 

 

Topics: healthy habits goal setting accountability personal training

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.

Like what you've just read? Click here to subscribe to our blog!

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

Do You Even Lift, Bro? Weightlifting for Beginners (Part 1 of 2)

Episode #1: 5 Game-Changing Tips for the Weight RoomTony-1

I spent a great deal of time in a weight room growing up, and still do. The “Iron Church,” “The Metal Shop,” and “House of Pain” were all names I used to reference a place where I saw so much growth in myself, both physically and mentally. I remember watching one of my brothers train to power lift with the U.S. team when I was pretty young, and couldn’t wait to get my hands on all the stuff. Flash forward a few years and I was the one on the training side preparing for high school athletics. Man, there was nothing like the weight room! The feel of it, the smells (not always pleasant, but part of the charm), and the clanking of metal on metal were all rushed to the senses, signifying that a lot of hard work was about to go down!

I learned so much during that period of my life when I was in the gym every day; I definitely thought I had everything figured out on how to get strong and stay injury free. As I got older and wiser (okay, older and after many mistakes), I needed to find a way to lift so that I could lift another day. As fitness evolves, we learn bigger and better ways to get the most out of every workout.

5 Game-Changing Tips for the Weight Room

In the first installment of this beginner’s guide, I would like to share with you 5 game-changing tips to rock the weight room like you never have before. In future episodes, I will dig a little deeper into each of these tips (along with a few extras) and outline a guide that will allow you to get the most out of it.

1. Have a plan, ink the plan, and work the plan.free

Going into a place full of things to do without a plan will usually result in meandering around and wasting time, extinguishing the metabolic fire. Get a workout log and write down your plan of attack for the week. This will keep you focused as well as give you a means to track your progress. I highly recommend consulting a fitness professional to help you set up your first program. 

2. Get a super friend.

The benefits of working out with one or more partners are substantial, emotionally, mentally, and physiologically. Find a likeminded individual and link up your training times to provide support for each other and accountability. And if you are using the room for what it is intended (to GET STRONGER), you will eventually need a spotter.

3. Pair exercises.

If you want to get the most out of your time, not only from the clock, but from your ability to get stronger and lose fat, you must pair exercises. You may know this as “super setting.” No matter what it is called, DO IT! I prefer to pair exercises in this fashion: Push/Pull/Upper/Lower. We will spend more time on this in later posts, but here is a basic example:

  • 1a. Front Squat
  • 1b. Chin-ups
  • 2a. Dead Lift
  • 2b. DB Bench Press

4. Work unilaterally.

There are many fitness pros, me being one of them, who believe you are stronger unilaterally than you are bilaterally. I jokingly say that you have nothing to hang onto when you are working one side at a time. The core stability necessary to work unilaterally is also a huge benefit of working one side at a time. So next time you are planning to do a squat, try it on a single leg. You will love the feel and the results.

5. Utilize many different modes.

Many of us can get stuck using the same tools to perform the same exercises, and wonder why you continue to get the same results. Packing your workout with many different pieces of equipment and varying the movements themselves is similar to why your salads should have a bunch of color in them. It’s because different ingredients provide different nutrients, nutrients that we need. Lifting weights is the same thing; your body needs the different benefits that come from different movements using different pieces of equipment. Some refer to this as “muscle confusion”; I think that’s an industry term made up by those who like to dance around the living room and sell DVDs. I don’t really care what you call it; you just have to do it! Change up the movements and modes of training from time to time so you can taste all that a weight room has to offer and your body can enjoy the benefits of the different ingredients.

This is just the start of what will be a pretty handy guide to getting the most out of your weight room as you begin to lift weights. Keep your eyes open for the next episode, where I show you how to put together a program. Until then, I leave you with one more piece of advice to get you going. Absolute strength is the foundation to your fitness. The stronger you are, the more things you will be capable of across the fitness continuum. Bottom line: to get stronger, you have to lift heavy things. Do it right.

Tony Maloney is the Fitness Center Manager at NIFS in Indianapolis and leads group training on Sunday through Thursday.

Topics: fitness center injury prevention muscles training weight lifting strength core dumbbell personal training

Slim It to Win It: Shelli's Hard Bellies

This is my first year being a Slim-it to Win–It coach and my team, Shelli’s Hard Bellies, and I are having a blast!shelli-team-picture  Over the past several weeks we have had some ups and downs with teammates being sick and/or injured but no one has given up!

During this program I have tried to spice up each workout utilizing the equipment all over the gym. My team hasn’t loved the sleds at times but understands the importance and major benefits of them.

One of my favorite workouts I have done with Shelli’s Hard Bellies is the DOC (Desk of Cards) workout or “The Card Game.” I love this because it is fun to do and can be done with any age and ability level. It is also a great way to mix strength training and cardio into one kick butt workout.

Start with a deck of cards and give each suit an exercise.  Have fun with this, you could choose all body weight exercises, all strength exercises or list two options for each suit. 

Examples are as follow:
Diamonds: Push Ups
Spades: Goblet Squats (Add Jump)
Hearts: TRX or Barbell Row
Clubs: Push Press

When it comes to the face cards, either simply make Jack=11, Queen=12, King=13 & Ace=14 or make it even harder! I usually do the indicated amounts plus extra exercises on top of it all. Face card are worth more so why wouldn’t they be the hardest part of the workout.  Slim-It-logo2

The last time we played I made Ace the exercise listed above PLUS jog 1 lap around the In door track, King, as listed, PLUS 30 seconds of plank, Queen, as listed, PLUS 30 seconds of Mt. Climbers, leaving Jack as listed, PLUS 10 Burpees. I left the jokers in there too and that indicated a small rest period where the team could grab some water.

Needless to say, this was a tough workout but they loved it! I plan to do the DOC workout again before the end of the program but all the exercises will be different so ensure the element of surprise!


Thanks, Hard Bellies, for working hard throughout this entire program!
I hope to see you all consistently after Slim-it to Win-it wraps up to ensure continued results.

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 Shelli Kopetsky, NIFS Heath Fitness Instructor. Learn more about the NIFS bloggers.
 

Topics: exercise weight loss workout personal training team training