20 Reasons to Start Lifting

There are so many great reasons to make strength training a part of your regular workout regimen – and the good news is that it doesn’t take a lot of time (as little as 30 minutes, 2-3 days a week) to make gains in strength, improvement in muscle tone and yes, even make your clothes fit a little looser.

Once you hit your 20s, and every year thereafter, you start to lose muscle mass. This leads to slowed metabolism, and yes, weight gain. But it doesn’t have to be that way! The sooner you add just a few weight workouts a week, the better chance you have of maintaining your svelte physique for years to come.

Looking for a few reasons to wander into the weight room? Here are 20 Reasons to Start Lifting courtesy of Fitbie.

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Spinning Playlist – April 29, 2012

Fresh off of this morning’s class – couple of old favorites today! And it was great to see a couple of faces I haven’t seen in a while this  morning in class … welcome back and hope to continue seeing you! Enjoy your week!

 

Warm-up (Flat road – resistance 3-4)

Rolling in the Deep – Adele

 

Building Block #1 (Start resistance 5, build to 8-9)

Ocean Avenue – Yellowcard

Domino – Jessie J

Titanium – David Guetta ft. Sia

Paper Planes – M.I.A.

 

Building Block #2 (Start resistance 5, build to 8-9)

I Write Sins Not Tragedies – Panic! at the Disco

Turn Me On – David Guetta ft. Nicki Minaj

Keeps Getting Better – Christina Aguilera

Meet Me Halfway – Blackeyed Peas

E.T. – Katy Perry ft. Kanye West

 

Building Block #3 (Start resistance 5, build to 9)

Dirty Dancer – Enrique Iglesias ft. Usher

What the Hell – Avril Lavigne

Feel So Close – Calvin Harris

 

Cooldown

Stereo Love – Gym Class Heroes ft. Adam Levine

Someone Like You – Adele

Picking Up (Running) Speed … You Can, Too!

By nature, I’m not a fast runner. I’ve joked many times that I was built for power, not speed. Which is why I was pumped to finish 6.75 miles in an hour this morning. That’s about an 8:52 pace. I remember the days, not so many years ago, when I was thrilled to get down to a 10 minute mile. I guess you could say a lot has changed since then.

It got me thinking about how I got there – and how you can get there, too. The best part? It helps to stave off boredom. Because you know that an iPod and those little televisions can only keep you from thinking about how much longer you have to go for so long.

So, here’s my totally unscientific, but easy to follow, tip for picking up running speed (I do this on the treadmill, because it’s easier to track your pace, but can be done on the track or the road as well): mix up your speed. It works kind of the same way that intervals work – but it’s playing with your speed more so than your heart rate (although depending on how long you spend at any given speed, it can also help you build interval work into your run).

For example, I start out at a 6.2 mph pace. For my first mile, I will add .2 mph ever y minute, until I get up to 7 mph, then drop down to 6.3 mph and build myself back up to 7.1 (this is the first ten minutes of my run). Once I get mile one – usually plus a little – down, I start changing me speed every 30 seconds. Using the same “build then drop down” as the .2 mph increases for my first mile, I will add .3 mph, then .4 mph, and then .5 mph – cycling through much the same way, eventually getting up to 7.5 mph.

I know, it sounds confusing. But it’s really not. To break it down, this is my typical run (you’ll notice each round adds .1 mph onto the stopping point of the previous round):

Round 1/10 minutes: Start 6.2 mph – build to 6.4-6.6-6.8-7.0, down to 6.3 mph, build to 6.5-6.7-6.9-7.1

Round 2/5.5 minutes: Start 6.2 mph – build to 6.5-6.8-7.1, down to 6.3 mph, build to 6.6-6.9-7.2, down to 6.4 mph, build to 6.7-7.0

Round 3/6 minutes: Start 6.2 mph – build to 6.6-7.0, down to 6.4, build to 6.8-7.2, down to 6.3, build to 6.7-7.1, down to 6.5, build to 6.9-7.3

Round 4/7 minutes:  Start 6.2 mph – build to 6.7, 7.2, down to 6.3, build to 6.8-7.2, down to 6.4, build to 6.9-7.3, down to 6.5, build 7.0-7.4, down to 6.6, build to 7.0

Once I’ve made it completely through these builds, it just depends on how much longer I plan on running, and what I’m in the mood for. I’ll mix up any number of these speed increases, sometimes adding a couple of sprints at the end. Trust me, when you’re thinking 30 or 60 seconds versus 30 or 60 minutes, the time flies by a lot quicker – and you’ll find you’ve grown faster before long, too!

On a completely different, separate note … congratulations to the three Clemson players picked up in the second (Andre Branch) and third (Dwayne Allen and Brandon Thompson) rounds of the NFL Draft last night (and they aren’t through Round 4, just yet, but we have added Coty Sensabaugh to the list for a total of 4 so far)! Here’s hoping a few more end up with a new employer today 🙂

Great Smartphone Apps to Keep You Fit!

Summer is just around the corner … will you be ready for bathing suits and tank tops? If you are looking for a little motivation, and possibly need a push to keep you on the right track, there are plenty of options out there – and there are plenty of tools available to help you, right on your phone!

iVillage came up with a great list of the top 20 new health and fitness apps that can help you get on the right track – and stay there. Check them out here!

You May Go to the Gym, But Laziness Will Not Improve Your Fitness

After yet again getting stuck behind a “stander” on the escalator in my gym (yes, escalator. In my gym.) last night, I found myself thinking … I wonder if people realize that some of the things they do in a … Continue reading

Road-Running Etiquette

When I was first bit by the fitness bug (way back in 2001!), I started out running outside with my college roommate. Clearly, for those who know me, it’s blossomed into I’ll try just about anything … as long as it’s challenging – but a good outdoor run still holds a place in my heart.

So, for all my would-be runners (and potential future fitness junkies – it could happen to you, too!), a great slideshow on the basics of running on the road:

Road-Running Etiquette | Fitbie.

Kinda makes me think of pretty much any run I ever went on when I was living with my parents in Illinois … and nearly got hit by a semi-truck every time I would run the quarter-mile of main road from their street to the next one over.

That said … be safe, and happy running!

Spinning Playlist – April 22, 2012

Fresh from this morning’s class … couple old favorites today! Happy cycling!

Warmup (Starting Resistance 3-4 – Flat Road)

1901 – Phoenix

 

Building Block #1 (Start Resistance 5, Building to 8)

Wild Ones – Flo Rida ft. Sia

Firework – Katy Perry

Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) – Kelly Clarkson

Paralyzer – Finger Eleven

 

Building Block #2 (Start Resistance 4, Building to 8-9)

Moves Like Jagger – Maroon 5 ft. Christina Aguilera

What the Hell – Avril Lavigne

Feel So Close – Calvin Harris

Poker Face – Lady Gaga

Stronger – Kanye West

 

Building Block #3 (Start Resistance 4-5, Building to 7.5)

Drive By – Train

I Can Only Imagine – David Guetta ft. Chris Brown and Lil Wayne

If We Ever Meet Again – Timbaland ft. Katy Perry

Desert Rose – Sting

 

Cooldown

Eyes Open – Taylor Swift

Someone Like You – Adele

Improve Your Fitness through Group Fitness Classes

I took my first group fitness class my senior year of college, back in 2003 (it was my last semester of college, and I had to find something in addition to my thesis to keep me a full time student – so I took aerobic dance two days a week. Yes, I got an “A”).  If you’d asked me then, I never would have thought that five years later, I would ever be leading a class myself. But becoming a fitness instructor has absolutely proved to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

There are so many great reasons to take a group fitness class. So, why should you hit the studio?

  • Strength in numbers. Everyone in the class is trying to accomplish the same thing – to make it through to the end. You may have different end goals, but for that hour, everyone is striving to get stronger ,tougher, and better … together!
  • Built in motivation. Instructors take pride in keeping their classes fun! Don’t be afraid to get into the choreography, sing along to the music, and whoop or laugh … anything that helps you have so much fun you forget that what you’re doing is tough! You’ll never find that on an elliptical, will you?
  • Something to look forward to! Once you find a class you like, you’ll find that you’ll connect with your instructor or fellow classmates – take a week or two off from class, and we do notice … we miss you! You’ll not only improve your health and fitness, but you’ll make some friends along the way.

Most health clubs offer a variety of classes throughout the week (many post class schedules on their websites and outside of the studio), and many community centers and colleges offer classes on a regular basis. Yoga and Pilates studios have become very common, and indoor cycling studios are starting to pop up as well. The key is to find a class that you enjoy and helps bring you closer to achieving your fitness goals.  As with anything fitness related, the more different types of classes you take, the better – it counts as cross training (for example, in addition to my regular cardio and weight workouts, I teach Pilates – which is based in building core strength and flexibility, Spinning – which is cardio based, and Piloxing – which is interval based cardio/core strength).

I read a great article the other day about one woman’s journey to becoming what I call a group fitness junkie – it was actually the motivation for this post. You can read it here.

Don’t Be “That Guy” at the Gym…

This is hilarious … to all my regular gym-goers, you know you’ve seen these guys! Sadly, I think I’m occasionally a combination of three of them …

 

What to Look for in Workout Attire

Buying gym clothes can be almost as daunting as wearing them. There is so much out there already – and it seems that the technology and styles are continually evolving. So, what should you look for when investing in your gym clothes?

  • Comfort. Look for soft, non-restrictive fabrics. Spandex is a great choice, because it is designed to stretch and move with your body.
  • Wicking. Gym clothes have come a long way in keeping you comfortable once you start sweating. Look for polyester/Lycra blends and synthetic materials, which are designed to draw sweat away from the body. Many lines, including Under Armour, Nike, Adidas, and most other major sports even design tops and bottoms specifically to keep you warm in cold weather and cool in warm weather.
  • Layerable. This is especially important if you will be exercising outdoors – you want be sure clothing can be easily layered to keep warm, and removed to keep cool.
  • Technologically Advanced. Fabrics have become specialized for not only warm and cool weather, but also to be antimicrobial, provide UV protection, or to glow in the dark (or be luminescent).
  • Activity Appropriate. You wouldn’t take a Spinning class in big, baggy pants, and you won’t do Bikram in a sweatshirt. Think about what types of activities you will be participating in, and plan your purchases accordingly.
  • Long Lasting. Invest in a few dark bottoms (pants, shorts, capris … whatever your preference) and solid color tops. They’ll never go out of style.
  • Perfect Fit. You want to feel your best when you’re doing something good for you! If you don’t feel comfortable, you won’t be able to focus on your workout. Look good, feel good! The Today Show recently did a great story on fitting your gym clothes for your body – check it out here.

Most importantly, remember you don’t necessarily need to spend a lot of money for functional, comfortable, and attractive gym clothes. Personally, I’m a fan of Lucy – but I’ve never bought anything there that wasn’t on the clearance rack (they do have great sales!) I’ve also found a number of great pieces at TJ Maxx and Marshalls – they can be hit or miss, but I’ve found many of my favorite Nike, Adidas and Under Armor pieces at these stores … for a fraction of the sticker price. That said – make sure whatever you do invest in is quality. You’ll be better off spending $50 on a great pair of pants that look and feel great, versus a $15 pair that will fall apart in six months.  And handle with care! I machine wash my clothes, but I always air dry them (socks excluded) to maintain the integrity of the spandex and lengthen the life of gym clothes.