Unique Fitness Blog ::

Working Out at the Beach ::

Posted in Bodyweight exercises, cardio training, exercise, fitness, fitness routine, strength training, summer fitness, summer workout, weight training, working out, workout | Posted on 4 August 2015

While spending a few days at the beach may be the perfect way to spend your summer vacation, it can slow your fitness progress due to the distance it puts you from the gym. Summer spots like Cape Cod are notorious for lacking adequate fitness facilities needed to get a good workout in. Fortunately, there are exercises you can do on the beach to maintain your fitness until you return back to the gym.

There are many benefits to exercising on the beach; besides soaking up some vitamin D, sand massages your feet in a way the gym floor can’t. This natural foot therapy relieves muscle tension, stimulates blood circulation, and improves balance. Sand also serves as a softer surface, thus, minimizing the impact on your joints which prevents injuries.

It is important to stay extra hydrated and apply sunscreen while working out in the sun.

Before attempting these body-weight exercises, a warm-up is needed even in the heat as it increases blood flow and flexibility. Try a 5-10 minute jog along the shoreline to get your heart pumping followed by some light stretching.

Strength Training

When finished, rest for 3 minutes and repeat cycle 1-2 more times.

20 squats

10 lunges, each leg

10 reverse standing lunges, each leg

20-30 push-ups

40-50 sit-ups

20 toe-raises

20 supermans

30 single leg hip extensions

 

Cardio

3×10 squat jumps -OR- 5 10 yard sprints

 

Water Aerobics

If you’re feeling adventurous and want to try hitting the water, try these cardio exercises in waist-deep water for 20 yards.

2-3 sets of high knees, butt kicks, frog jumps, and backward running.

 

Best of Luck and Enjoy the Beach!

 

 

Dumbbells Vs. Barbells ::

Posted in barbell bars, barbell squats, beginning weight training, Building Muscle, dumbbell training, dumbbells, Injury, strength gains, strength training | Posted on 30 July 2015

When it comes to using free weights, many people find themselves asking, “Which is better – dumbbells or barbells?” While they both make great additions to any strength training routine, each one has its own benefits. Understanding the differences can help those who have specific training goals or are looking to invest in one kind.

Benefits of Dumbbells

Dumbbells are a better choice for beginners. This is primarily because they are the safer option. You can train without a spotter and there’s no risk of getting pinned under the bar. They can also prevent injury since they allow for a more natural movement. If you’re not a beginner, dumbbells can still be valuable in your routine. They’re great for those wishing to build muscle mass, regardless of their skill level. And you’re more likely to build even muscle with a weight in each hand, rather than having your stronger side compensate for your weaker muscles.

Benefits of Barbells

Barbells make it easier to gradually progress, which is important for building muscle. They also make it more comfortable to hold heavy weights. For this reason, working your legs, with moves like squats and deadlifts, are easier. In addition you can generate more power for explosive moves.

In the end, it’s ideal if you can incorporate the use of both barbells and dumbbells, but either one should help you see results if you stick to it!

Weight Train for Weight Loss ::

Posted in exercise, fitness, healthy living, weight training, workout | Posted on 7 July 2015

If you’re looking for the fastest, most efficient way to lose weight, consider adding weight training to your current exercise routine. Strength training allows you to maintain a better muscle-to-fat ratio and it boosts your metabolic rate.

Try these 5 workouts to maximize your weight loss!

1. Squat to Overhead Press

Start with dumbbells in your hands. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, and squat down parallel to the floor, or as far as you can go down without your knees moving past your toes. Push through your heels to stand up, pressing the weights above your head.  Do 3 sets of 10-15 reps.

2. Single-Leg Dumbbell Row

With weight in left hand, move down making your back parallel to the floor, with right hand resting on a chair for support, and your left leg straight out, forming a T shape with your body. Slowly bend left elbow until it is even with your torso, hold for 10 seconds, then lower it. Do 10-15 reps, then switch sides and repeat. Do 3 sets.

3. Step-Ups with Bicep Curl

With dumbbells in your hands, step up onto a chair with left foot, do a bicep curl, and lower yourself back to the floor. Repeat 10-15 times, then switch legs. Do 3 sets.

4. Backward Lunges

With either dumbbells or a bar with weight on your shoulders, step back into a lunge position, hold, then step back up. Alternate which foot you step back with and repeat 10 times. Do 3 sets.

5. Russian Twists

Sitting on your bottom, place your legs straight out in front of you, making a V shape with your body. Take a medicine ball, like the Valeo Soft Mini Fitness Ball, and move it side to side at an upbeat pace, touching the ball to the ground beside you lightly each time. Do this for about a minute, 3 times.

 

Top Calorie Burning Workouts ::

Posted in cardio, interval training, Physical Fitness, slimming down, strength training, weight loss, weight loss plan | Posted on 25 June 2015

Everyone has their different reasons for working out. Perhaps you want to build muscle or simply stay active in order to maintain good health. But trying to burn calories is one of the biggest reasons people have. If that’s your primary goal, you may want to consider some of these workouts, which are excellent at burning calories.

Interval Training

Adding intervals to your cardio routine can help build more calories than steady-state cardio. The best way to do this is to incorporate sprints in between periods done at a slower pace. This will encourage your muscles to work hard and give your metabolism a boost by a process called anaerobic conditioning. Running is already a great calorie burner but adding intervals can turn it up a notch. Yet, it’s not just limited to when you’re hitting the pavement. It’s also an effective option while on a bike, a rowing machine, in the pool, or during any other cardio activity.

Weight Training

Gaining muscle doesn’t always mean bulking up. Maintaining muscle is essential for raising your metabolism. Moves like the kettlebell swing are great for burning calories because it challenges you to move in more directions compared to when using traditional dumbbells. But adding any kind of weight resistance to your routine, whether it’s free weights, machines, resistance bands, or bodyweight training, can help you slim down.

Plyometrics

This style involves explosive moves, typically in the form of jumping and bounding. The benefits include more power, more strength, more endurance, and more calories burned. These exercises tend to be used by athletes but modifications can be made so that they’re suitable for others of varying fitness levels. It’s also a high impact workout so having a personal trainer to guide you can be helpful.

Ultimately, trying different types of training and finding workouts you love will motivate you to stick to those calorie burning sessions!

Plyobox

Summer Fitness Tips ::

Posted in exercise and health, fitness plan, fitness routine, fitness tips, flexibility, healthy lifestyle, running, safety tips, staying active, staying fit, summer, summer fitness, summer workout | Posted on 11 June 2015

The summer is the perfect time to enjoy some fresh air while staying fit. But there are several things to keep in mind that you don’t need to worry about the rest of the year. Taking a few extra measures will make it easier to stay safe and healthy.

Dress for the Heat – To help keep you cool, opt for lightweight fabrics and stay away from dark colors. Make sure to use sunscreen and consider a visor to protect your head.

Change Your Route – If you’re used to walking, running, or cycling outside during the day, consider altering the path you take so you get more shade. Make sure you’re not out in the direct sunlight on a hot day during peak sun hours. Try to avoid working out during this time, or take your routine indoors. In addition, switch to dirt or gravel paths when possible because they radiate less heat.

Take Advantage of the Warmer Temperatures – Your flexibility is increased when your body temperature is elevated. That means certain exercises, like yoga poses, are easier to perform. If it’s not too hot, why not head outdoors for some yoga?

Stay Hydrated – Remember to drink plenty of water and keep a bottle on hand during your outdoor workouts. Another good way to get fluids is by eating fruit for your post-workout snack. Summer is the best time to eat a variety of fruits and most of them contain a high amount of water. You can also infuse your water with fruit for a more refreshing treat.

Use Caution – Excessive heat can add stress to your body and you may need to tone down your routine to adjust to the temperature. Be aware of signs that may indicate heat exhaustion such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, chills, or a rapid pulse. Investing in a heart rate monitor can help provide peace of mind that you’re not overdoing it. They can also offer also other valuable fitness information, like distance, speed, and calories.

 

outsideyoga

5 Bad Workout Habits ::

Posted in cardio, exercise mistakes, exercise tips, fitness mistakes, fitness routine, fitness tips, strength training | Posted on 4 June 2015

If you’re consistently working out and not getting the results you desire, it’s possible that a few bad habits are getting in the way. Get the most out of your time by making a few simple adjustments to your routine.

 

1. Don’t waste time. When working out at a gym, you don’t have control over which pieces of equipment will be available. It can be tempting to take a rest or scroll through your phone as you wait. Rather than giving into distractions, use this time to keep going and stay active. Fill in the gaps with bodyweight exercises that don’t require equipment. It’s OK to use that time for a rest but allowing too much time to pass will lower your heart rate. Taking a break for more than five minutes will reduce the benefits of your workout. Planning out your routine will also save you time so you know exactly what you’re going to do next instead of wasting time trying to figure it out.

 

2. Don’t take a strong hold on the cardio machine rails. Gripping the rails too tightly on a treadmill, for example, can hinder your calorie burn if you’re placing all your weight on them. This will preventing you from getting the full workout. Proper use will yield better results and prevent injury. If you need the rails for support because of the incline, then it’s not in the right position for you and adjustments should be made. Your fingertips resting lightly on the rails are enough to give you the support you need. This applies to other cardio machines, as well. Gripping an elliptical too tightly is a good indication you may need to slow down your pace.

 

3. Don’t swing the weights. It’s important to maintain control while lifting weights. Not only does a lack of control make the exercise less effective, you will also be at an increased risk for injury. If you’re swinging a weight to help you build momentum, then you may need to try a lighter weight.

 

4. Don’t lift the wrong weights. If you’re able to fly through your reps, the weight is probably too light. Performing 8 – 10 reps is ideal. Don’t aim for 20 or more, thinking that it will make your workout more effective. If you can easily do more than 10 or 12 reps, it’s time for a heavier weight. However, if you’re not able to do about 6, then that weight is too heavy.

 

5. Don’t hold a stretch too long. You’ll need to hold a stretch for more than a few seconds to increase your flexibility. Try to hold still without bouncing for about 30 seconds and save your stretches for the cool down portion of your routine.

5 Common Squat Mistakes ::

Posted in exercise tips, exercises, exercises benefits, lower body workout, squats, strength gains, thigh development, thigh training, workout mistakes, workout tips | Posted on 7 May 2015

Squats have long been regarded as one of the best lower-body exercises. They are especially great for the thighs, glutes, and calves. Whether you’re looking to build muscle, boost your athletic performance, or improve your overall health, they can give you results. Having the proper form is crucial, though. If you’re looking to add squats to your routine or they are already a part of it, make sure you’re aware of the following mistakes.

Allowing the Knees to Go Too Far Forward

To protect your knees, pay attention to their position during a squat. The best way to do this is to imagine a line extending straight up from your toes. Your knees should not pass over that line. Sitting further back into the squat will help if you’re having trouble correcting this.

Performing Shallow Squats

To maximize the benefits, you need to make sure you’re getting low enough as you squat. Some people wind up loading the bar with too much weight that they are unable to do a deep enough squat. Your thighs should be parallel to the floor as your knees create a 90-degree bend. Working on your hip mobility will help if you’re feeling incapable of going that low.

Improper Breathing

Because this exercise is so challenging, proper breathing is essential. Remember to exhale as you move up and inhale as you lower. You’ll want to forcefully exhale as you near the top of the movement.

Rounding the Back

Keeping a flat back is important, but it can be hard when you have a loaded bar. You’ll need to avoid rounding the back so you don’t add more stress to it. You’ll also want to keep your head looking straight out rather than down or way up.

Not Placing Your Weight on Your Heels

Your heels should stay in contact with the floor during the entire exercise. If you roll up on your toes, then you need to work on your hip mobility. Going on your toes means your hamstrings and glutes will no longer be engaged during the movement.

5 Dumbbell Exercises to Work Your Arms ::

Posted in arm exercises, arm training, arm workout, back excercises, biceps exercise, biceps training, biceps workout, dumbbell biceps curls, dumbbell curls, dumbbell exercises, dumbbell presses, dumbbell row. bent over row, dumbbell training, dumbbells, exercise, exercise routine, exercise tips, exercises, fitness routine, fitness tips, getting in shape, strength training, tricpes exercises, upper body workout, upright rows | Posted on 30 April 2015

Give your arms a good workout with dumbbell exercises that you can perform anywhere you store your weights. The following five moves will help you target several muscles in your arms, shoulders, and back. Perform 2 – 3 sets of 8 – 12 reps for your workout. They’re perfect for beginners, but anyone can benefit when using the appropriate dumbbell size. It may be helpful to use different sizes for some of the exercises, so it’s a good idea to have various pairs of dumbbells handy.

Upright Row – Works the shoulders and upper arms.

Standing with feet hip-width apart and knees slightly bent, hold a dumbbell in each hand so the weights are resting on top of your thighs. Your palms should be facing toward you. Raise the dumbbells to your shoulders while bending your elbows out to the sides. Your elbows should remain higher than your forearms. Keep the weights close to your body as you do this. Lower them back to your starting position to complete one rep.

Overhead Triceps Extensions – Targets the back of the arms.

Standing with feet hip-width apart, hold a single dumbbell with both hands and fully extend your arms to lift the weight up and over your head. This will be the starting position. Bend your elbows to lower the weight behind your head. Raise the dumbbell into the air by straightening your arms to complete one rep. A heavier weight works better.

Bent-Over Row – Works the triceps and upper back.

With knees bent and a dumbbell in each hand, lean forward until your back is almost parallel with the floor. Keep your head up and your back flat. Be careful not to arch it during this move. Your arms should hang down in front of you with your palms facing each other as they hold the weights. Squeeze your shoulder blades together as you lift the dumbbells up to your sides and near your chest. Hold for a second before lowering the dumbbells back to the starting position to complete the rep. If you suffer from back problems, consult your doctor before performing this exercise.

Bent-Over Reverse Fly – Engages the shoulders and upper back.

Standing with knees slightly bent and a dumbbell in each hand, keep the back flat as you bend forward. Your arms should extend down in front of you with the weights together and your palms facing each other. With a slight bend in the elbows, squeeze your shoulder blades as you separate the weights by moving them out and away to the side in an arcing motion. Slowly lower the weights to return to the starting position and complete the rep.

Bicep Curl to Overhead Press – Targets the biceps and shoulders.

Standing with feet hip-width apart, hold a dumbbell in each hand with your arms down at your sides and your palms facing out. Raise the weights up to your shoulders by bending your elbows to perform the bicep curl. Continue to press the weights over your head as you move your arms upward and straighten them. Your palms should face out as you reach the top of this movement. Reverse the exercise by lowering the dumbbells back to the position with your elbows bent, and then move the weights down to the starting position to complete the rep.

Are you ready to get your arms into shape? Grab a pair of dumbbells and get started today!

 

DumbbellExercises

Start a 6 Week Summer Fitness Plan ::

Posted in diet and exercise, Diet Plans, fitness plan, fitness routine, summer, summer fitness, summer workout | Posted on 16 April 2015

We’ve just entered spring but many of us are already thinking ahead to warmer summer days. We’re only 6 weeks away from the unofficial start of summer. That means beach days, barbecues, and swimwear will be here before we know it. Instead of worrying about getting fit, get motivated to actually do it. Keep reading to find out how you can take the next 6 weeks to prepare for summer. But you need to start today if you want to greet the season with a leaner, fitter body.

The first thing you have to do is get in the right mindset. Create specific goals with a realistic workout plan that you can follow. Make a schedule and write down your plan to keep you from giving into excuses. Once you have your workouts mapped out, they’ll be easier to get done. When thinking of exercises, you must remember that there is no magic way to spot-reduce certain areas of your body. The best way to achieve leaner abs, legs, or arms is by working on your entire body with cardio and strength routines.

For your cardio portion, plan on 2 – 3 days each week of 30 minute sessions. Whether you choose cycling, walking, swimming, rowing, running, or jogging, make sure you start gradual. As you progress each week, increase the intensity and duration. You can also incorporate high-intensity intervals to kick it up a notch.

To get the results you want, you should incorporate 2 – 3 days each week of resistance training. You can work out on machines or add free weights, weighted fitness balls, or resistance bands. You can also use your own body weight for resistance and refer to our previous post for what to add to your routine. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends performing 8 – 10 of these types of exercises with 8 – 12 reps.

You can alter the times and exercises to meet your needs, but this can be used as a guide to get you going. Be sure to vary the muscle groups you’re working and include rest days to avoid overuse injuries.

So, get started today and be ready when summer arrives. The countdown starts now!

Summer Beach

 

How to Prevent Shin Splints ::

Posted in cardio, cardio conditioning, cardio training, injuries, injury prevention, runners, running, working out, workout | Posted on 9 April 2015

Spring is the perfect time to start running outdoors. One of the most common ailments of runners, regardless of their fitness level, is shin splints. If you’re concerned about being sidelined by shin splints, keep reading to learn more about this issue, how to deal with it, and how you can prevent it.

Shin splints refer to a variety of lower leg pain that exists below the knee, and may also be called medial tibial stress syndrome. The pain can be present on the front outside portion of your lower leg or on the inside. The pain can range from mild to more severe.

There are a number of reasons why shin splits occur, but there are typically two main causes. The first cause is too much impact to the lower legs, which can be a result of heel striking. The shock from your heels repeatedly hitting the ground can irritate the connective tissue in your muscles. Too much impact can also result from running in worn-out shoes, or increased running on downhill or sloped surfaces.

The other main cause of shin splints is overuse of the lower leg muscles. This can occur from pushing off with the toes while running and forcing the calves and shins to do more work than they are supposed to do. This small group of muscles was not designed to work that hard and soreness may develop. Overuse injuries can also arise in beginning runners who train harder or faster than their body is ready.

There are a few steps you can take in order to prevent shin splints. Make sure you wear good, supportive shoes when running. You can add arch support with shoe inserts, if needed. Warming up before you work out and stretching after it are other ways to help. You can also perform exercises, like calf raises, one-legged bridges, and toe curls, to improve the strength in the stabilizing muscles of your hips and ankles. If you’re a beginning runner, start slowly and gradually increase your time and pace.

If shin splints are already a problem, rest is important. Icing the area or using a sleeve may also provide relief. To continue exercising, consider cross-training and working other areas of the body.

Even though shin splints are a common problem, the good news is that they are completely preventable and curable. So, there is no need to hang up your running shoes and stay away from a sport you enjoy!

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