Train Like an Olympian!

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“Follow your dreams, work hard, practice and persevere. Make sure you eat a variety of foods, get plenty of exercise and maintain a healthy lifestyle.”

-Sasha Cohen, Silver Medalist at 2006 Olympic Games

Train Like an OlympianWe love the Olympics: heartwarming moments, gut-wrenching storylines and fearlessly dedicated athletes. Although you may not be training for an elite competition in the near future, all of us can learn from our Olympic heroes and walk away feeling like champs.

Develop the Discipline. No surprise, Olympians have discipline. They use systematic and diligent training as the bridge between goals and accomplishments. They commit to a clear goal, visualize themselves achieving it, and then they train for it – relentlessly. Not every disciplined athlete wins a gold medal, but using discipline allows us to reach our highest potential, with nothing left on the table. Our advice: embrace an Olympic discipline. Set a clear goal with checkpoints and a deadline. Visualize achieving your objective. Get up early and train. Realize that every workout won’t be your best. Do something each day to get your closer to your destination. As always, work harder.

Plan Like a Champion. No more lackadaisical workouts with extended rest periods and ill-defined goals. Plan and maintain your weekly workouts as if a medal is on the line. Make sure you’re working on cardiovascular endurance, muscle building and interval training so you can push yourself out of your established comfy workout zone. Change can be a challenge, but challenge can lead to greatness.

Fuel Like an Olympian. Athletes know that what they eat and drink helps determine their effectiveness when it counts. They get plenty of fluids (guzzle your water) and eat lots of water-packed fruits and veggies. They fuel with carbs pre-competition and recover with carbs and protein. Make sure to eat your breakfast and work out with fuel in your tank. Restore and rebuild your muscles after your workout with a protein shake, a good source of dairy, meat, beans, eggs, nuts or seeds. Fuel your inside to be an athlete on the outside.

Fit Tips are provided by Life Fitness, the leader in designing and manufacturing high-quality exercise equipment for fitness facilities and homes worldwide. For more information on Fit Tips and other fitness advice and expertise visit www.lifefitness.com/blog.

Regularly update your goals.

Keep Your Workouts BALANCED

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Bosu

I love Fall! I love the weather, the colors and I even love getting back into a routine after summer has thrown my schedule out of whack! Resuming a regular workout schedule is a part of getting back into a routine, and as we do that, it is important to make sure that our workout includes all aspects of fitness. That includes stretching, cardiovascular fitness, strength, and balance.

Balance is an area we don’t focus on enough in the fitness realm, and yet it is an extremely important factor for athletes and people of all ages. Balance helps athletes lift more weight, have more productive workouts, reduce the chance for injury, and participate in any sport with more power and agility.

Because our balance begins to erode in our 50′s, focusing on balance as a part of our regular workout routine as we age can increase our confidence in our physical abilities, reduce falls that can lead to broken bones, and help us live independently and continue to perform the regular activities of daily living to a ripe old age!

HealthStyles Exercise Equipment provides a variety of accessories that can help you improve and maintain balance as a part of your normal workout routine. Bosu Balls, Stability Balls, and Balance Boards can all enhance your balance.

Click here for a video from ACE Fitness showing a simple progression of balance training exercises:

Ace Balance Training Exercises

Modern Movement M-board 1.1In addition, HealthStyles is pleased to feature a new product, just out on the market, that is sure to challenge and improve the proprioceptive feedback that will help improve your balance.

The M-Board by Modern Movement allows the user to train using multiple planes of motion (3D) that more closely replicates the way our bodies move in balance sports, and in everyday living. For those not quite ready for the 3D movement of the M-Board, a balance stand can help you progress more quickly from a 2D back and forth motion to a 3D motion.

Click here to Shop for the new M-Board and Balance Stand.

Click here for M-Board demonstration and workout videos:

M-Board Exercise Demonstration Videos

To learn more about the importance of balance for people of all ages, we recommend the following articles:

The Perfectly Balanced Body by Andrew Heffernan talks about balance as a part of the workout routine of an athlete.

Work on your balance now to avoid falls when you’re older. Lenny Berstein talks about how working on your balance now can help you avoid falls when you get older.

Training for Balance, Training for Life from the American Council on Exercise provides more details on the mechanical principles related to balance and how to manipulate training variables to achieve better balance, improved fitness, and quality.

Or visit a local HealthStyles Exercise Equipment store to see and try our selection of balance training tools.

Tarrah Lee – Next Fitness Star

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Tarrah LeeWe are very excited to announce that Tarrah Lee, one of the personal trainers who trains out of our Park Meadows store, is a finalist in the Next Fitness Star competition through Women’s Health Magazine. She is on the cover of this month’s issue that just came out this week!!! 

Tarrah is a personal trainer and nutritionist who weighed over 200 pounds – until four years ago. After losing her father to a heart attack from a lifetime of unhealthy living, she wanted desperately to change her life and knew she had to make a commitment to health and fitness. She left the corporate world to study to become a trainer and nutritionist; ninety-two pounds lighter, she has a new outlook on life. She competed in her first fitness show last summer – and walked away with a first place trophy. She also began her own radio show, “Denver Nutritionista,” and educates and motivates her audience on fitness and clean eating.

Tarrah tells us, “My biggest passion in life is helping others, especially women, reach their health and fitness dreams and never look back at their unhealthy past. I truly believe my mantra, ‘Anything is possible,’ and am living proof, and so are my amazing, hardworking clients. They fight the battle every day and have learned, with my support, to take joy in the small accomplishments along the way and have a little fun while doing it!”

Tarrah has been featured in Westward Magazine recently and in the Denver Post this week. Should she win, she will be on the Today show and doing a national tour as a personal trainer.

Vote for Tarrah today (and every day since you can vote once a day!) by clicking on the following link.

http://thenextfitnessstar.com/finalist.php?q=tarrah-lee

Voting ends on August 5th!

Check out Tarrah’s video below or click here to read her blog.

Crunches Alone Do Not Make a Six Pack

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Somewhere far, far away, there is a magical gym where there’s never a wait for a cardio machine at 6:30pm, the boot camp instructor never raises his voice above a whisper, and jiggling upper arms instantly tighten up after just one biceps curl. This mythical place is called Imaginary Fitness Land, and it, like spot-training to burn fat, does not exist.

Welcome to the real world, where workout results take time, energy, and variety, and where our body’s ability to eliminate fat, and which specific areas it will eliminate fat from, are influenced by age, genetics, hormones, and some other factors beyond our control.

Luckily, we can control the fat-melting effectiveness of a cardio workout, so keep this real-world advice from Life Fitness in mind to maximize your results.

Two’s company. Combine fat-reducing cardio exercise with a consistent strength training program to tone and sculpt your muscles. Although spot-training won’t work for burning fat, spot-sculpting will tighten and tone the areas where you want to show off your results. Focus on a specific group of muscles during your strength training routines.

Add instability. Use the BOSU ball, balance disk, or wobble board to throw off your balance and force your core muscles to work overtime. With a strong core, you’ll be able to take on more challenging workouts, and achieve success faster.

Pilates, please. Heralded as the secret behind tons of toned tummies, a Pilates mat workout provides an effective ab routine when you want to add some necessary variety to your exercise program. Pilates utilizes very focused and specific movements, so find an instructor to get you started.

Intensify. Interval training is a great way to incorporate high-intensity exercise into your workouts. Start with 30 seconds of jogging followed by 2-3 minute of walking, then repeat for 30 minutes. Once you can complete the program with ease, lengthen the jogging intervals. Your increased intensity and elevated heart rate will result in more calories burned and a smaller waist line.

The trick to getting the fit, sculpted body you want is to be realistic. If you have overall body fat to lose, you aren’t going to see washboard abs without eliminating that excess insulation first.

Fit Tips are provided by Life Fitness, the leader in designing and manufacturing high-quality exercise equipment for fitness facilities and homes worldwide. For more information on Fit Tips and other fitness advice and expertise visit www.lifefitness.com or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/lifefitness or join our Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/lifefitness.

Don’t Make a Resolution, Make a Plan!

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Christmas is over and it’s that time of year again where we are expected to make resolutions for the coming year. If one of the things that you want to change or improve on is your level of activity, don’t make a resolution, make a plan! Having a plan of attack rather than a general “resolution” will make it much more likely that you will accomplish what you hope to in the coming months and year.

Do What Works for You!

Is morning your best time of day? Then put your workout clothes on first thing when you get out of bed and get your workout behind you.

Do you like to workout on your own schedule? Get a piece of fitness equipment for your home, or put on your IPOD and head outside if the weather allows.

Are you motivated by having others around you? Take a group Indoor Cycling Class, Boot Camp, Pilates or other exercise class.

Avoid Boredom

Have a schedule, but mix up your workout so that your body and mind are constantly stimulated. Mix up your workout using different pieces of equipment. Alternate a treadmill with time on an indoor cycling bike or elliptical. Do interval training using a piece of cardio equipment alternated with strength training. Use a 20 minute Sprint 8 high intensity interval workout when time is tight.

 

Make a Goal

Maybe you have a warm weather vacation coming up in the spring. There’s a Moab 5k Run and Half Marathon in Moab in March, the Cherry Creek Sneak in April, the MS Walk/Run in May and the Courage Classic Bicycle Event in July. Climbing 14ers with friends might be in your plans for the upcoming spring and summer. No matter what it is, having a goal that you are working toward will increase your chances of sticking with your workout routine. And if you have a week that is interrupted with travel or other unexpected events, you are much more likely to get back to your exercise routine if you have a goal that you are working toward in the future.

The bottom line is make a plan, choose the workout routine that works for you, allow yourself to be flexible, and have a goal that you can work toward – and 2012 is sure to be a year of improved health and fitness for you!

Jeanne Sheriff
Owner, Healthstyles Exercise Equipment

Family Fitness: Make Your Home, Your Gym

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Our country is in a crisis. Two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese and our children aren’t faring any better. Here in Colorado, we are the leanest state in the U.S, however our obesity rate continues to increase. This pattern is even more disturbing when we look at our youth, who are ranked 23rd nationally. This is alarming as just 4 years ago our youth were the 3rd leanest in our nation! Many health care experts attribute this to the lack of movement and physical activity our kids are getting. It’s time to make health and fitness a priority on the home front. The easiest way to do this is to make your home, your gym. Here are some tips to help you get there!

First, start by identifying challenges to getting the whole family involved in a regular exercise routine. These could include time, space, knowledge and equipment.

  1. Have each family member find time in their daily schedule for 30-60 minutes of exercise. Yes, even your younger ones can do this. If you are like most families, each family member will most likely have a different time slot. That’s okay, encourage this as something they can achieve on their own, for themselves!
  2. Create the workout plans. This is the hardest part and may require some professional guidance. Make sure to incorporate resistance training into the plan and understand that programs will vary depending on the family members’ age. For the cost of a month’s gym membership for one adult, you can hire a trainer to consult with the family and help design programs that will work for each family member. This ensures both safety and fun!
  3. Identify your equipment needs. If you have some existing equipment, make sure it is in working order and fits the needs of all the users in the family. Chances are the Bowflex you and your wife bought 10 years ago, won’t work for the needs of the family now. If you’re just starting out, identify the biggest needs, budget and space. For households with small children, you may find some that some equipment is better suited than others. For example, functional trainers and rowing machines may be better than an elliptical and an elaborate gym system. Invest in 1-2 pieces of quality cardio equipment as well as resistance training equipment, such as kettlebells, suspension trainers and resistance bands that the whole family can use.
  4. Make your home gym safe. Establish rules for the use of all equipment and make sure each family member knows how to use the equipment properly. This is extremely important and will ensure that exercise is fun and will produce results.
  5. Promote your gym use! Find ways to encourage your family staying consistent with their workouts. Make it a way of life at your house and promote how awesome it is to move and exercise in the comforts of your own home.

For help creating your home gym, contact your fitness professional at your Local HealthStyles store! We are home fitness!

Tonja Hadley, MA, CSCS
Personal Trainer
Loveland Store Manager
HealthStyles Exercise Equipment

Don’t Fall Back …Fall Into Fitness

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It’s the fall, leaves are turning, weather is changing and school is in full swing. Our schedules tend to get hectic this time of year with work and school activities and the long days of summer well behind us. Our sense of time changes, it gets darker earlier and now is a good time to make sure we have a plan in place to manage our health and fitness. We will need to establish a routine and give ourselves plenty of workout options to handle the changes in season with workouts moving indoors. Here are some ideas to help you manage the changing seasons and avoid Fall backs or set-backs!

Establish a new fall workout routine! This is a fun way to try a new workout regime, new group exercise class or activity and let that be the motivation to keep you going strong! Check out the classes your gym or community center offers and go for it! Incorporate gym/exercise time with family time to keep the whole family active!

Set a fall goal! Start training now for a Holiday 5K or 10K or create a family weight loss challenge to lose weight before the holidays and to maintain weight during the holiday season! Short term goals are essential to our long term success!!

Check-Up Time! It is time for your annual check-ups. Keep the gear and equipment that keeps you in shape in great condition. Check your treadmill, indoor bike, elliptical or home gym for signs of wear. Regular maintenance such as lubricating treadmill belts and home gym guide rods will keep your equipment, and you going strong! Check with your local exercise equipment store to have a service tech do a maintenance check on your equipment to make sure everything is working properly and good to go for fall!

Trade-Ins and Upgrades: Maybe it’s time to replace your old equipment with a new piece that offers you variability and flexibility with your workouts. Exercise equipment, like most technology, has come a long way in the last 5-10 years and there are some truly awesome new, innovative pieces out there! Some specialty equipment retail stores offer trade in credit for old equipment, and the fall is traditionally a great time to get awesome prices as we head into the holiday season and New Year’s models! Often times a new piece of equipment with lots of options is just the motivation you need to get you through the indoor season!

Re-write your favorite fall recipes! Make soups, stews and warming comfort foods more healthy. Aim to incorporate seasonal foods for flavor, freshness and an upgrade to your traditional fall menu!

Hire a Pro! Working with a personal trainer is an excellent way to jump start your fall workouts! Ask about a start-up program or program design offer. Often working with a trainer short term can lead to long term adherence and success! Many trainers offer buddy training, which is a great way to cut costs and train with a friend! Give the gift of training sessions or special programs to others who may need a little help getting a routine established.

Tonja Hadley, MA, CSCS
Personal Trainer
Loveland Store Manager
HealthStyles Exercise Equipment

Run Yourself into Shape This Summer!

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If you are struggling with trying to get into a regular workout routine, one of the key factors in staring a program and continuing, can be to have a goal to work toward. Research shows that specific and measurable goals are the most motivating. Finding a goal that will be motivating to you personally is the key. For many individuals, choosing an event to participate in can provide that motivation that they are looking for.

Running is a versatile activity that is has many health benefits. It’s one of the top activities for burning fat, helps prevent muscle and bone loss, reduces the risk of stroke and breast cancer, and has many other specific physical benefits. In addition it boosts confidence and self esteem, reduces stress and has been proven to improve attitude and reduce depression. If you have not tried running as a regular activity in the past, or if you used to run regularly but stopped for some reason, this might be just the season for you to get back into a regular running routine.

Choosing a local event to compete in may be just the thing to get you motivated. With summer fast approaching, the upcoming weekends are full of running events in small towns and large cities throughout Colorado and beyond. A 5K (or 3.1) mile road or off road running event is a short enough event to train for in a relatively short period of time.

If you have never participated in a running event before, your goal may to “compete to complete”, whereas if you have done previous races, your goal might be to improve over your previous best 5K time. No matter what, the goal you set should be related to your personal ability and fitness level, and training for a specific event will help get you on a treadmill, or out on the road, on a regular training schedule.

The article below outlines a 6 week training schedule for recreational runners, written by Rick Morris from runningplanet.com and author of Treadmill Training for Runners. In it he outlines a 6 week training program designed to get you ready for a 5k event. My caution would be if you are have not been running on a regular basis, start slowly and work your way up! If you start out trying to do too much, you may feel overwhelmed, become discouraged, and give up. That’s what training is all about! When you work your way up gradually, you improve gradually over the course of your training, and are therefore able to increase your distance in a way that does not push you beyond what you are capable of at any given time.

I would also encourage you to sign up with a friend so that you can train together and compare notes on your progress. And when the day of your event arrives, make sure to have fun and reward yourself for your accomplishment!

5K Training Program for Recreational Runners

5K Training Program

This is a 6-week 5K training program that is designed to prepare a recreational runner for a local 5K race. Recreational runners usually do not follow a year round training program and may run only on weekends.

Before beginning this program, you should be able to run at least 2 miles without stopping. If you are not currently up to that level, slowly build up to running two miles without stopping before you start this program.

This 5K training program is general in nature. Feel free to make adjustments in order to accommodate scheduling conflicts and individual goals and rate of improvement.

The Workouts

This 5K training program contains easy runs, some hill workouts, some beginning speed workouts and rest days. It is designed to allow a recreational runner to compete in and comfortably finish a 5K race. The beginning speed workouts are an introduction to more intense training and will moderately improve your performance, speed and speed endurance.

Easy Runs

Easy runs should be run at a pace that feels fairly comfortable. You should be breathing hard, but should be able to carry on a conversation. If you are breathing so hard that you cannot talk, you are running too hard. If you can sing, you are running too easily.

Speed Workouts

The speed workouts in this program consist of short intervals that are performed at faster than your normal training speed. These are introductory level speed workouts and are designed to moderately improve your speed and performance in the 5K race. These workouts are based on your current 5K race time. If you have not completed a race or do not know your current 5K race time you have a couple of options. You can simply make your best guess on how fast you can run a 5K or you can perform a time trial. To do the time trial, go to a 400 meter track (most high school tracks are 400 meters) and run three 1600 meter repeats with one minute of rest between the three repeats. Run the repeats at a pace that you can maintain for the entire workout. You should run hard, but not so hard that you cannot complete the three workouts. Calculate your average pace per mile for the three repeats. Multiply this pace by 3.125. That will give you a fairly accurate estimate of your 5K race finishing time.

Hill Workouts

Hill workouts will help build strength and speed. These workouts are short, repeated runs up a hill of moderate grade.

Rest

Rest is a very important part of any training program. Without proper rest, your muscles and connective tissues will not have an opportunity to recover and strengthen properly. On the days calling for complete rest, do no strenuous activity. On the days calling for rest or cross training, you can rest totally or do some cross training. Cross training can be any activity other than running. You could go for a walk, swim, bicycle or do nothing. It is up to you.

Week 1

  • Monday – Rest. Rest is an important part of any training program.
  • Tuesday – Run 2 miles easy. Run at an easy “conversational” pace.
  • Wednesday – Warm up with 10 to 15 minutes of easy jogging. Run 4 x Hill repeats. Run up a hill of moderate grade. Run at a pace that feels like 5K pace. Your pace will be slower, but will feel 5K pace because of the added difficulty of the hill. Run up the hill for about 100 meters. Jog down the hill and repeat.
  • Thursday – Rest or cross train. Rest or engage in a non-running activity.
  • Friday – Run 2 miles easy.
  • Saturday – Run 2 miles easy.
  • Sunday – Run 2 miles easy.

Week 2

  • Monday – Rest. This program uses Monday as a rest day, because Sunday is your longest run of the week. You can adjust this to meet your needs, but take off the day after your longest weekly run.
  • Tuesday – Run 2.25 miles easy. You add a quarter mile to your previous longest run. You will make some additional increases later in the program.
  • Wednesday – Warm up with 10 to 15 minutes of easy jogging. Run 4 x 800 meter repeats at around your goal 5K pace. Jog easily for 400 meters between repeats. Cool down with 800 meters of jogging. You can do this workout on a track, on a trail or on a treadmill. You will have a more accurate measure of distance on the track or treadmill.
  • Thursday – Rest or cross train.
  • Friday – Run 2.25 miles easy.
  • Saturday – Run 2 miles easy.
  • Sunday – Run 2.5 miles easy. You move up to 2.5 miles here. Try to keep your pace easy, but consistent.

Week 3

  • Monday – Rest
  • Tuesday – Run 2.5 miles easy.
  • Wednesday – Warm up with 10 to 15 minutes of easy jogging. Run 6 x 400 meter repeats at 10 seconds per mile faster than your goal or current 5K pace. Jog for 400 meters between repeats. Cool down with 800 meters of jogging.
  • Thursday – Rest or cross train.
  • Friday – Run 2.5 miles easy.
  • Saturday – Run 2.5 miles easy.
  • Sunday – Run 3 miles easy. You make another increase in mileage here. You are running almost a full 5K distance here. A 5K is 3.1 miles.

Week 4

  • Monday – Rest
  • Tuesday – Run 3 miles easy.
  • Wednesday – Warm up with 10 to 15 minutes of easy jogging. Run 5 x 800 meter repeats at around your goal 5K pace. Jog for 400 meters between repeats. Cool down with 800 meters of jogging.
  • Thursday – Rest or cross train.
  • Friday – Run 3 miles easy.
  • Saturday – Run 2 miles easy.
  • Sunday – Run 3 miles easy.

Week 5

  • Monday – Rest
  • Tuesday – Run 3 miles easy.
  • Wednesday – Warm up and run 8 X 400 meter repeats at 10 seconds per mile faster than your goal 5K pace. Jog for 400 meters between repeats. Cool down with 800 meters of jogging.
  • Thursday – Rest or cross train.
  • Friday – Run 3 miles easy.
  • Saturday – Run 2 miles easy.
  • Sunday – Run 3.5 miles easy. This is the final mileage increase in this program. You are now running .4 mile farther than the 5K distance. This will give you the endurance to easily complete the 5K race and will increase your confidence.

Week 6

  • Monday – Rest
  • Tuesday – Run 3 miles easy.
  • Wednesday – Warm up with 10 to 15 minutes of easy jogging. Run 3 x 1600 meter repeats at 10 seconds per mile slower than your 5K pace. Cool down with 800 meters of easy jogging.
  • Thursday – Rest or cross train.
  • Friday – Run 2 miles easy.
  • Saturday – Run 1 mile easy.
  • Sunday – Race Day. Have Fun!!

If you completed the workouts in this program, you will be able to easily finish your 5K. You can repeat this program for other races, as long as you maintain the ability to run 2 miles non-stop. If you wish to improve your speed and performance, you should start following a specific year round training program. The beginning competitors program is the first step into a competitive year round program.

By Rick Morris – Running Coach, Author of Treadmill Training for Runners and editor of runningplanet.com.

Video: The Truth About Ab Exercise Equipment

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During the cold months, it’s easy to long for the warm summer sunshine. If you’re working hard to tone your midsection in time for swimsuit season, you want to be sure you know fact from fiction when it comes to gadgets, gizmos and quick-fixes designed to trim belly fat and give you the lean, sculpted abdominals you’ve always wanted.

This video from ACE Fitness will help you understand the the truth about what works and what doesn’t.

For examples of effective core exercises and workouts, visit the ACE Fitness Exercise Library.

Shop for Exercise Balls, Bosu, and Floor Mats online or visit your local HealthStyles retail store to find the best fitness accessories to improve your core workouts.