Unique Fitness Blog ::

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!

How to Deal With Injuries ::

Posted in injuries, Injury | Posted on 30 March 2015

Maintaining fitness while injured is possible, contrary to common belief–it just takes some creativity!

 

 

First and foremost, it is important to do exercises that don’t irritate the point of injury. Working through the pain will only result in prolonging the injury. Many athletes have difficulty with this concept but you can still stay in shape while recovering. Cross training (for example, biking if your injury is from running) is a good option for most as it allows your body to still stay fit regardless of the joint or muscle that is currently immobilized.

It is key during this time to maintain the right attitude. Being injured is no fun but negativity will only make it worse. Staying optimistic will help the recovery process sail smoothly.

Of course, before taking any of these tips, consult your physician for his/her approval.

Simply, if you have an ankle, foot , knee, or leg injury, exercise your upper body. There are an abundance of exercises that isolate and target this area, you just have to experiment with what works best for you. If your injury is upper body, exercise your legs. Injured in your arm? Do abs! The possibilities are endless. Just make sure you take precaution and are safe.

Trying to get cardio in is quite a struggle as it varies from person to person. If you have shin splints from running, for example, swimming may be a good option. But if you have a knee or shoulder injury, this may irritate it. That’s why it is important to ask your doctor before doing any exercises.

Don’t forget to follow your physicians recommendations for recovery whether it may be icing, heating, or attending physical therapy.

When returning to regular exercise after an injury, it is essential to start off slow. You may feel silly going for a 5-10 minute run when you used to run 6x that, but your body will thank you for giving it time to rebuild itself. You have to work your way back to your fitness level–be patient! Taking it slow will not only allow your muscles to gain strength again, but will prevent further injuries!

For example, if you pulled a muscle while bench pressing, don’t go back lifting the same weight once you fully recover. Recovery time is different for each person, but once your physician verifies you are fully healed and can exercise again, take precautions at the gym. Start off benching the lightest weight possible–even if it’s just the bar! Each time you exercise, increase the weight about 10% until you reach the fitness level you were at before the injury. However, if lifting too much weight was the cause of the injury, take it easy and don’t attempt that weight until you have had more training.

Best of Luck!

 

swimming

 

 

Stay tuned for our next post on how to prevent injuries!

10 Body Weight Exercises to Improve Your Workout ::

Posted in ab workout, abdominal exercises, back excercises, back routine, Bodyweight exercises, core muscles, core strengthening, core training, exercise and health, exercise benefits, fitness routine, fitness routines, fitness tips, Fitness Trends, hamstings, hamstring exercise, pull-ups, push-ups, quads, working out, workout, workout guide, workout tips | Posted on 26 March 2015

More and more people have been recognizing the benefits of body weight exercise. In fact, the American College of Sports Medicine ranked it as the number one fitness trend for 2015. Although it topped the list of trends, it’s certainly not new and it will continue to have a place in the fitness world. Not only is it an effective form of training, it’s easy to do anywhere.

Here is a guide to 10 of the best body weight exercises that will work the entire body at once or focus specifically on your core and upper or lower body.

Squat – This exercise is perfect for working muscles in the lower body including glutes, quads, and hamstrings. It even works the core. Pull your shoulders back and engage your abs while you lower your body as if you were sitting in a chair. Once your thighs are parallel to the floor, raise yourself back to the starting position.

Lunge – This is another triple threat move for working the quads, glutes, and hamstrings. With your upper body straight and your shoulders back, step forward with one leg. Lower your hips until both knees form a 90-degree angle, without allowing the back knee to touch the floor. Push back to the starting position while keeping the weight in your heels.

Push-up – This will work your upper body and abs and strengthen your chest and back. Tuck your elbows to your sides and align your wrists with your shoulders for the best form. Lower your hips and chest as much as possible without touching the floor.

Pull-up – This is one of the best upper body exercises that will work your shoulders, back, and arms, while strengthening your core. There are a variety of ways to do it, but one of the most popular is to keep your palms facing away from you on the bar as you raise yourself up so that your chin is higher than the bar. You’ll know you’re ready for more reps when you are able to lower yourself with control. If you’re unable to do this exercise now, almost anyone can get it with practice, so don’t give up.

Burpee – This is an excellent total body exercise that will keep you conditioned. It combines squats and push-ups from earlier on in the list. Start in a standing position and move into a squat with your hands on the floor in front of you. You then transition into a push-up as you kick your feet back and lower your body. Tuck your feet back under you and then jump up to start all over again. They may sound a bit complicated but they are definitely worth it.

Bicycle – This can be a more effective way of focusing on the core than the standard crunch. While lying on the floor with your hands behind your head, bring your knees towards your chest. Move your left elbow to your right knee as you straighten the other leg. Continue to alternate sides in a pedaling motion.

Mountain Climber – This is another move to work out your entire body at one time. Start by getting down on your hands and knees. Bring one leg forward under your chest as you straighten the other leg. Jump to switch leg positions while tightening your core and keeping your hands to the ground.

Plank – This move will also give you a full body workout. Lie face down on the floor, supported by your forearms and clasped hands. Your legs should be extended behind you as you rise up on your toes. Engage your core and tighten your back to hold your position for about 30 – 60 seconds. If you’re more advanced, you can extend your arms straight out beneath you instead of resting on your forearms.

Bridge – This will work the hamstrings and glutes, while strengthening the inner thighs, abs, and back. Lie on your back with your arms at your side and knees bent while hip-width apart. Keeping your head, shoulders, arms, and feet to the floor, raise your hips and then slowly lower them down.

Side Lunge – It’s a lower body move that’s friendlier on the knees and challenges your body in more than just a forward and backward motion. While standing with your feet together, take a step to the side and lunge toward the floor while keeping the other leg straight. Push back up to return to your starting position.

While all these moves can be done with little or no equipment, exercise mats can provide added comfort, especially with the ones that you have you working on the floor. All you need is your own body weight but weighted fitness balls, kettlebells or dumbbells can be added to most of these moves to take them to the next level and continue to challenge you. Plus, there are numerous variations to keep your routine fresh!

Debunking 4 Muscle Myths ::

Posted in muscle building, myths, strength gains, strength training, weight lifting, weight training | Posted on 26 February 2015

If you’re looking to build muscle, gain strength or simply get the most out of your workout, you don’t want popular misconceptions holding you back. So, we’re tackling four muscle myths to give you the information needed to make the appropriate adjustments to your routine to help you achieve greater success.

 

Myth #1 – Stretching before you exercise will prevent injuries.

 

Reality – Stretching has its benefits, but many people often confuse warming up with stretching. The key to preventing injuries is with a warm up period. It gives your muscles the chance to prepare for your workout by gradually increasing the bloodflow. It’s a valuable step that you won’t want to skip. Instead of starting out with stretches, save them for after you’re already warmed up.

 

Myth #2 – Sore muscles mean you should forget your workout that day.

 

Reality – Sore muscles can be a good indicator that you need a break but it doesn’t always signal that. It depends on the type of pain. If it’s impacting your full range of motion or it feels sore to the touch, then a recovery day is best. Otherwise, light activity at the gym can be tolerated, and even help alleviate some of the soreness by stimulating the bloodflow through the muscles and encouraging the healing process.

 

Myth #3 Free weights are all you need.

 

Reality – Machines are just as valuable. They can isolate muscles when recovering from an injury. They also help beginners build up the strength needed to perform exercises with free weights. They even provide novice lifters with similar results that machines yield. It’s not until a lifter becomes more advanced that free weights should receive more attention. While free weights are better for gaining muscle mass, machines still have their place, especially with those who are just starting to lift.

 

Myth #4 – Slow lifting produces better results.

 

Reality – Slow lifting will only prolong your workouts. The speed of the up phase does not need to be as slow as some believe. Lifting the weights can be done fairly rapid, while it’s more important to go slow with the down phase. In addition, lifting with focus and control is what really matters in gaining strength and preventing injuries.

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