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5 Fitness Hacks to Make Staying Fit Simpler
When it comes to getting fit, there's no way to cheat. It requires hard work and dedication. However, there are a few simple tricks to put into effect to make life a little easier. Here are 5 fitness hacks that could be useful for anyone.
Combine Strength and Cardio
Short on time? For those days that don’t allow a full workout, try combining your efforts. You can get in both cardio and strength training in the same amount of time. Using kettlebells is one way to accomplish this. While they are primarily used for strength training, certain movements will keep your heart rate up and provide some of the benefits of cardio. Adding a weighted vest or a pair of ankle weights as you walk or jog will increase your strength during your cardio session.
Perform Compound Exercises
Another way to get the most out of your workout is by working more than one muscle group at a time. The best way to do this is with compound exercises. To read more about the benefits of compound exercises vs. isolated exercises, check out our previous article.
Keep a Record
One of the most important things you can do to stay on track with your fitness regimen is making a plan. Setting goals and planning ahead is a great way to hold yourself accountable. So, why not take it one step further by keeping a fitness diary? Don't just plan your routine before it happens. Take some time to write down what you did after your workout. Did you meet your goals? Were there areas where you fell short? Not only will it be a valuable tool for showing you how you can improve, it can also be motivating to see how hard you've worked and make it easier to stay on track.
Use a Pedometer
How close do you come to reaching the recommended goal of 10,000 steps a day? A pedometer is a great way to evaluate how active you really are. This is an especially useful accessory on those rest days.
Listen to an Audio Book
It's common to use music to get you through your workouts, but have you tried listening to an audio book? It's easy to do with some earphones and the help of your phone. It may not get you as pumped as your favorite tunes, but it can easily help in passing the time. This is especially true for a book you've been waiting to read or with one you have trouble putting down. For an added incentive, don't allow yourself to listen to it unless you're exercising. That doesn't mean you need to ditch your favorite playlist, but switch up what you're listening to for some added variety.
posted Sep 4th, 04:18 pm
10 Tips for Staying Fit in College
Adjusting to college life can be a challenge. It’s often the first time that many young adults get the chance to make their own rules. There’s the freedom to choose all your own meals at the cafeteria and snack on whatever you want in the dorms. Plus, there’s no one requiring you to stay active in high school P.E. classes. But it’s not just freshmen that are concerned about the “Freshman 15.” Keeping fit can be difficult for any seasoned college student, especially when you add in the busy class schedules, social activities, part-time jobs, and late night study sessions. Fortunately, staying healthy doesn’t have to be hard if you commit yourself to it. Here are 10 tips to help you stay fit in college.
2. Use the Campus – College campuses are perfectly designed for cardio workouts. Walking or biking to class will add activity to your day, especially if you have time to take the long way. That’s another reason why planning ahead will come in handy. There are many ways to fit in cardio, even if you’re not headed to class.
3. Head to the Fitness Center – Many colleges have a fitness center that is either free for student use, or the rate is reduced. This is a perk that won’t last after graduation. So, if you have access to fitness equipment, you might as well take advantage of it.
4. Take a Class – Your school may offer fitness classes that you can receive credit for. This will keep you from giving into excuses. Even a nutrition class would be a smart idea.
5. Multitask – If you’re short on time but have a lot of reading to do for a class, take your book to the fitness center. Hop on a treadmill or bike and study at the same time. You can pass the time on a machine while you review your notes.
7. Form Your Own Club - Look for others who have shared interests and may want to join something like a running or biking club, for example. Working out with others will help you stay committed, and it will give you an opportunity to meet new people. You can check bulletin boards or put up flyers to find others that may want to join you. Even if you only wind up working out with one other person from your dorm, it can give you the edge you need to stay focused.
8. Maintain Balance - Be sure you’re making time for cardio and strength training. With all the walking you may be doing around campus, it’s important to make sure you’re incorporating strength training into your routine.
9. Get the Right Tools -Put together your own mini home gym for your dorm or apartment. There are plenty of small fitness items that don’t take up much space but can give you a full workout, while still staying within the tight budget of a college student. Resistance bands, weighted fitness balls, jump ropes, yoga mats, or a small pair of dumbbells, are some examples of portable, space-saving pieces. They can be taken outdoors or used inside if the weather doesn’t cooperate.
10. Eat and Sleep Well – In order to stay fit, you should try to eat right and get enough sleep. This isn’t always easy in college, but it can be done if you make the effort.
Making fitness a priority while away at school is not only important for keeping off the unwanted Freshman 15, but it will allow you to succeed in other areas. It can help you manage stress, improve your mind for your classes, and give you the energy you need to handle your schedule. If you make an effort to stay healthy, you’ll have an easier time, overall, at handling college life!
posted Aug 21st, 03:48 pm
Benefits of Using a Medicine Ball
Day after day, you head to the gym performing the same movements in your routine. If you need a change that will prevent boredom, adding a medicine ball is an excellent way to challenge yourself in a routine that you’ve become used to. Besides keeping your workout fresh, it also provides some great benefits.
Medicine balls are a valuable tool for strength training. You can add intensity to some of the exercises you’ve been performing by simply holding the ball while you do the movements. You can take exercises, such as lunges or squats, to the next level and build more muscle mass. If you’ve recently hit a plateau, this can be a great way to vary your regimen and push beyond it.
Medicine balls are also frequently used to improve core strength by working on your abs and muscles in your back. Tossing the ball to the side or throwing it back and forth to a workout buddy is one of the ways you can engage your core. Using it in this way can help with balance and posture.
Sports training is another way medicine balls are used. They can be tossed, caught, rolled, pushed, or bounced in a variety of ways that enhance sports performance. Plus, they improve hand-eye coordination.
Other benefits include improving flexibility and endurance. Since the movements become more challenging, you have to push harder, which increases your range of motion. It will also help you with performing your daily tasks because it’s a form of functional training, and you mimic real-life activities. Although medicine balls are commonly used to push harder in a routine, they are also used in rehabilitation. Whether you’re an athlete looking to train harder, or simply just improve your balance, they are safe for all ages and fitness levels.
Because you’re able to use them with such a variety of exercises that work out both your upper and lower body, it’s an inexpensive piece of equipment that takes up little space. And it’s easy enough to take outdoors with you if you need a change of scenery. With its limitless uses and many benefits, it makes a great addition to any home gym!
posted Aug 14th, 04:08 pm
Choosing a Weightlifting Belt
While they were once considered gear for only serious lifters, weightlifting belts have become increasingly popular among male and female lifters of all levels of experience and skill. Among some of their benefits, lifting belts support the core, encourage proper form, assist in preventing injuries, keep the back aligned, and can be a great confidence booster at the gym. You may have noticed more people wearing them and wondered if a belt was right for you. If you're considering making a purchase, there a few things you should think about to help you decide which one to get.
The best way to start narrowing down your options is by deciding what type of material you want. The two main choices are leather or nylon. A leather belt is stiff and offers less give when performing exercises. As a result, you'll get much more support. They’re also very durable. Weightlifters tend to favor using them for things like squats or deadlifts. However, some people find them to be too rigid and not as comfortable as the lighter material.
As an alternative, nylon belts will provide much more give during exercises. This makes them ideal for performing more complex movements. Although, it also means they don't offer the same secure feeling that a leather belt gives. They tend to be favored by power lifters, and are also great for those who are sensitive to the stiffness of leather and want more comfort.
Once you've figure out the type of material you want, the next thing to consider is how it closes, or the locking mechanism. Many belts lock in place with a hook and pin, similar to what you'd see on a regular belt. This closure system offers lifters a lot of security, but you may not get the belt as tight as you'd prefer since the pin can only be locked in certain places.
For a more custom fit, there are belts that come with some form of a quick release lock. The belt can be adjusted to lock in place at any point for the ultimate fit. However, some lifters prefer the security of the hook and pin closure.
The next thing to look at is belt width. The width of the belt comes in various sizes, with the most common being four or six inches. Choosing the right width is generally determined by height. Four inch belts are great for those who are around 5'6" or shorter. Six inch belts are ideal for those over that height. However, that's just a guideline and some people base it on personal preference for what feels best.
Finally, paying close attention to the manufacturer's sizing chart is important. You may be used to buying a particular size in one brand, but the guidelines may vary in another brand. It's best to measure and not make any assumptions.
Ultimately, the right belt is decided on your preferences and needs. Think about what movements you'll be using it for and how much support you'll need. This will help guide you in deciding on the perfect belt!
posted Jul 31st, 04:05 pm
Returning to Exercise
Sometimes life gets too hectic and even the most dedicated athletes have reasons for taking a break from their workout routines. Whether you were sidelined with an illness, had family issues arise, or simply got bored, things happen. Maybe your summer has been busy but you’re now ready to make exercise a priority again. Whatever the reason, it’s never too late to get back in the habit. There are a few things to consider before jumping back into a routine after a hiatus.
Depending on how long your break was, you may need to work back up to where you were. A few days of rest are encouraged at times to prevent overtraining, so a week-long break isn’t a cause for concern. You may even feel stronger after giving your muscles a break. However, a couple months or even a few weeks will require changes from what you were used to doing.
Many people who start exercising again might do so because they feel a renewed sense of motivation. That’s great! But too much enthusiasm can be a danger. You don’t want to be so excited to make up for lost time that you overdo it. Your strength will not be what you were when you had a regular routine, and you should gradually work up to that point again. If you’ve taken a few weeks off from strength training, it’s best to scale back on the number of sets you do and the size weights you use. Or, start at a slower pace for your cardio workout. Taking the time to progress again will help prevent unnecessary injury.
Just as you don’t want to overdo it, you also don’t want to underdo it. The key is maintaining the right balance. If you were running ten miles and took a two week break, it isn’t necessary to go back to walking one mile. How long you’ve been inactive and your fitness level will make a difference.
Another important thing to think about is your diet. You haven’t had to worry about the right nutrition to fuel your workouts while you were taking a break. Once you start up again, you’ll want to cut back on any junk food and tailor your meals to give you enough energy.
However long you’ve been out of practice, don’t get discouraged if you’re not where you used to be. It may take some reconditioning but your body will be able to get back where it was. And you’ll have an easier time getting back into it than when you first started. The important thing to keep in mind is that you’re getting yourself back on track!
posted Jul 24th, 04:45 pm