If you are looking for a simple exercise that helps strengthen your core, tone your midsection and improve balance, posture and endurance, the humble plank should be your next move.
The plank looks deceptively easy. You basically get into the pushup position, either with arms straight or resting on your forearms. Keep your back straight, your pelvis tucked and your toes on the ground. Now, hold the position. Proper form is important, so it is a good idea to get the help of a coach to be sure you have it right.
Why Should I Do Planks?
Unlike sit ups and crunches, which can be stressful on the spine, planks engage a fuller range of muscles, helping to strengthen not only abdominal muscles, but also shoulders, neck, back and legs. It is simply a superior exercise that can increase your core strength, which will only benefit your overall workout.
What Kinds Of Plank Exercises Can I Try?
There are numerous variations on the plank, with varying levels of difficulty. The basic is arms and legs straight, knees off the ground. Here are five others to get you started. Aim to hold for thirty seconds at first and work up to one minute.
1. Modified Plank
If the standard plank is too difficult, you may want to start with a modified plank. Instead of keeping your legs straight, you may lower your knees to the ground. Hold this position for thirty seconds, rest and repeat. When you can hold the position for one minute, then start trying it with your knees off the ground.
2. Rocking Plank
Start with your basic plank, then slowly push yourself forward, so that your shoulders are past your hands. Then, move backwards, until your heels are past your toes. Be sure to maintain proper form and to go slowly. This will increase strength and balance.
3. Shoulder Touches
Again, start with the basic plank, then lift your left arm up and touch your right shoulder with your hand. Put your arm back down and repeat with the right arm. Be sure to keep your hips still!
4. Side Plank
Start in basic position, move feet together, lift one arm up to the ceiling. Hold and then switch sides.
5. Single Arm Plank
Start in forearm plank position, then lift your left arm, balancing now on one arm. Return to position and switch.
If you would like to increase strength, balance, endurance and lose weight, contact Ralph Roberts at the Downtown Athletic Club in Amarillo. Ralph is a personal trainer who has helped hundreds of people reach their goals. He can create a custom workout for you based on your current level of fitness.
Everyone knows how important it is to stay hydrated, especially during periods of activity. Water is the most basic source of good, clean hydration, but you may have also heard that sports drinks do a better job of replacing essential electrolytes. On the other hand, sports drinks also contain a lot of sugar and salt.
Should I Drink Sports Drinks Or Water?
For everyday general purposes, including mild to moderate activity, water is the best way to stay hydrated. Going walking, doing some strength training or taking a 30 minute spin class are all activities that aren't likely to cause severe depletion in your level of electrolytes.
However, if you are going to be doing vigorous activity for a long period of time, especially when it is hot outside, you may need to bring a sports drink. Some examples would be running a marathon, a game of soccer or tennis, triathlon or vigorous outdoor activities and working out for extended periods of time.
The question you need to ask yourself is are you simply looking to rehydrate? Or are you looking to replenish energy?
If you’ve been exercising vigorously and have been sweating, sports drinks or water with electrolyte tabs may be necessary. Be aware that they may cause a temporary energy spike followed by a crash. If you need sustained energy over a period of time, you might want to stick with water.
If you are at the end of a long exercise period and you have lost a good amount of fluid to sweat, a sports drink can help restore balance. This will help your body begin to recover more quickly than water alone.
Where Can I Find A Personal Trainer In Amarillo?
If you want to up your fitness and weight loss game, a personal trainer can help. The added motivation and personal attention can make a huge difference in the kind of results you get from your workout.
Ralph Roberts is a personal trainer with years of experience helping people just like you achieve their ideal fitness goals. He will create a personalized workout plan that will get you where you want to be faster. Find Ralph Roberts at the Downtown Athletic Club in Amarillo.
There are many different types of runners. Distance runners, sprinters, 5K runners, weekend runners and stroller joggers. If you’ve recently begun running to get in shape, you may be wondering how fast you should be running.
Running is a great exercise that burns calories, improves cardiovascular fitness and elevates mood. Running isn't for everyone, as it is considered a high-impact activity. You should always take your overall health into consideration before beginning a running routine, and if you have any doubts about your health, you should consult a doctor.
How Fast Should I Be Running?
If your end goal is to improve your endurance, speed and weight loss, then it is important that you challenge yourself. If you simply maintain your current speed and distance, you will eventually hit a plateau and no longer make any progress. In order to break through the plateau, you must increase your speed and distance.
With that said, you don't want to overdo it either, or you risk injury or increase recovery time, which will not help you progress.
Comparing your running speed to someone else's is not a good idea. There are many factors that can determine running speed, including height and weight, level of fitness, terrain and endurance. The best way to go is to compare yourself against yourself.
How Should I Track My Running?
Recording your running data is a good idea. Also, keep track of how you are feeling during your run. For example, if you’ve been running the same speed and distance for a while and are able to do it with ease, it may be time to up the stakes a bit.
There are several fitness apps that can help you track your distance and running speed. These apps will track how far you run and how long it takes you to cover that distance. Usually, these apps also track this data over time, so you can see your progress. With this information, you can set goals, such as running the same distance in less time, or increasing the distance. Doing both of these things will challenge you and bring you better results.
Do I Need A Personal Trainer?
If you want to speed up results, or get better results, a personal trainer can help. Fitness is not one size fits all, and a personal trainer can design a custom fitness plan that will work for you. Ralph Roberts in Amarillo has been helping his clients reach their fitness goals for years. You can find him at the Downtown Athletic Club.
When you’re trying to shed pounds, any help you can get with burning calories, and more importantly, fat is a good thing. This desire to lose weight can have you trying all sorts of tricks.
One way is fasting before a workout. This is done with the belief that working out on an empty stomach will help you burn more fat more quickly. But does it work?
Should I Exercise On An Empty Stomach?
A typical time for a fasted workout is in the morning. It makes sense, because you have generally not eaten for ten or more hours. Will you burn more calories working out on an empty stomach? In the short term, yes.
When you eat, insulin is produced in the body and has been shown to suppress the body's ability to burn fat by over 20 percent.
So, when you fast, that insulin is not present and so, theoretically, your body is able to burn more fat. However, this is temporary. While you may get that initial calorie-burning blast, the results throughout the day for people who eat versus people who don't eat aren't significant.
In fact, people who eat carbs prior to working out enjoy the benefits of continued "fat blasting" well after the workout is over. This also depends on the type of workout. Strength building workouts have this afterburn effect more than simple cardio.
Bottom line: Fasting workouts are not as efficient as workouts fueled by foods. Continue your workout and be sure to choose a healthy breakfast to start your day.
How Can A Personal Trainer Help Me?
If you are serious about getting fit, then looking into a personal trainer might be the answer. A personal trainer is both coach and motivator. Your personal trainer will have the fitness knowledge and experience to create a plan that will work for you. Everybody is different, with their own unique body type, metabolism, strengths and weaknesses. This is why one-size-fits-all workouts can seem ineffective.
Ralph Roberts has been training clients for years in Amarillo. He can develop a custom fitness plan that will give you the results you are looking for. You can find Ralph Roberts at the Downtown Athletic Club.
If you’re heading on a long road trip or a flight, it's a good idea to plan ahead for meals and snacks to eat on the go.
If there is one thing that will sabotage your healthy eating habits, it's travel. Stopping at convenience stores and restaurants and airport and hotel food all leave something to be desired in the way of nutrition.
Even a day or two of eating sugary, processed or other low-quality foods can leave you feeling sluggish and irritable – not something you want when you’re on a trip.
How Can I Eat Healthy On The Road?
It's a good idea to plan ahead. Whether you’re driving or flying, packing some pre-made snacks can make a huge difference. Even throwing some snacks in your carry-on to eat during your flight is easy enough to do if you pack the right things. Snacks can be prepared, like homemade granola bars, or ready to go, like nuts and dried fruit. Here are five snacks to pack on your next road trip:
1. Almonds: Almonds are a simple go-to for travel snacking. A pack of almonds fits just fine in your backpack or purse and provides protein, healthy fat and energy. You can't go wrong with this snack. Other choices include cashews, macadamia nuts and walnuts.
2. DIY Granola Bars: If you love granola bars, but hate the excess sugar and additives in many store-bought brands, then make your own. Use natural ingredients, like high-quality oats, nuts, dried fruit, honey, cocoa and anything else you might like, without all the excess stuff you don't.
3. Veggies: Prepare some veggies ahead of time to pack in the ice chest or an insulated container. Good choices are baby carrots, broccoli florets, celery and grape tomatoes. A small container of hummus for dipping is a good addition.
4. Fresh Or Dried Fruits: For a car trip, a variety of fresh fruits in the ice chest can make for a refreshing and healthy snack. If you are flying, apples are a good choice, but if you are short on room then consider dried fruit. Apple and banana chips and dried apricots are perfect.
5. Dark Chocolate: If you want to satisfy your sweet tooth, go with dark chocolate. It's packed with anti-oxidants and pairs well with nuts.
In addition to eating healthy meals and snacks, don't forget to stay hydrated.
Stay in shape away from the gym by doing simple bodyweight exercises like push-ups and squats. For a custom-designed workout you can do anywhere, contact Ralph Roberts at the Downtown Athletic Club in Amarillo.
The holidays are a great time of year in so many ways. Family get-togethers, fun activities and parties are all things that people frequently look forward to. Of course, the holidays can be stressful, too. The weather, rushing to events, those same family get-togethers, last-minute shopping and more can leave you feeling stressed and worn down.
Rest Is Paramount
It is important to take time out to take care of you. The stress, lack of sleep and general running around can wear you down and compromise your immune system, for starters. Getting enough rest sounds obvious, but it is important. Be sure you are getting enough sleep.
You Are What You Eat
It is also a good idea is to pay attention to nutrition. Overloading on holiday sweets can give you a tasty sugar rush followed by the inevitable crash, leaving you drained. Be sure to eat plenty of fresh veggies and good protein. Remember to stay hydrated. The cold weather can have you forgetting that you need to keep drinking water. This is especially important if you are consuming more alcohol than usual at parties and celebrations.
Take A Time Out
Take a break from the hustle and bustle so you can recharge your batteries. Take a walk, a bath or spend a few minutes meditating. All the festivity may be fun, but it can take a toll if you aren't careful. While you are out shopping for last-minute gift ideas, treat yourself to a massage or find other ways to pamper yourself. Massage is a great way to beat stress and soothe tired, overworked muscles.
Finally, don't neglect your exercise routine. Regular activity helps keep you feeling energized and promotes a good night's sleep. It also boosts your immune system and elevates your mood.
One way to stay motivated through the busy holiday season is with a personal trainer. If you have been struggling with staying fit, losing weight or finding the right workout for you, a personal trainer can help.
Personal trainer Ralph Roberts in Amarillo has many years of experience helping his clients achieve their personal fitness goals. He can create a custom workout plan designed to fit your weight loss, body type and current level of fitness. He can provide motivation, feedback and nutritional counseling to keep you on track. Find Ralph at the Downtown Athletic Club.
Gift-giving time is around the corner. Some people are easy to shop for. You either know them well or they send you a detailed list. Then there are those that are a bit more difficult. Before you pull your hair out in frustration or send them a Chia Pet, here are some easy gift ideas for those fitness fanatics in your life.
Fitness gifts are easy to give. From the latest in high-tech gadgetry to tried and true classics and accessories, there is something for just about everyone. Here are five great gift ideas for the athlete or workout aficionado in your life:
1. Fitness Tracking Bracelet
These useful gadgets will no doubt be a much sought-after gift for the holidays. There are several brands, including FitBit, Up by Jawbone, Garmin Vivosmart and the Moov.
Each of these brands has their own advantages and disadvantages and come in a range of prices. Some, like the Garmin Vivosmart, incorporate GPS tracking; others work with apps that you can install on your phone to help track activity and get specialized feedback.
2. Resistance Bands
Resistance bands allow for a serious, at-home (or anywhere) workout without expensive or bulky equipment. They are light, take up almost no room and are inexpensive. There are a ton of exercises you can do with the bands. These are a great gift for the fitness fanatic who travels a lot and doesn't always have access to a gym.
3. Touchscreen Friendly Gloves
This is the perfect gift for your die-hard runner or walker who doesn't let cold weather stand in the way of getting outside. These gloves will keep hands toasty while allowing access to touch screens, perfect for anyone who listens to music, books or podcasts while they get their exercise.
4. Customized Yoga Mat
Is there a yoga buff on your list? He or she will love a personalized yoga mat. In addition, there are numerous yoga gifts and accessories for anyone on your list who loves yoga. Meditation CD's, yoga blocks and straps or the latest in yoga wear are all great ideas.
5. Personal Training Session Or Customized Workout
If you know someone who has been wanting to start, recommit to or amp up their fitness journey, why not encourage them this season with personal training sessions or a customized workout? A personal trainer Ralph Roberts in Amarillo can custom tailor an exercise regimen to match the individual's current level of fitness, goals and lifestyle. Ralph has years of training experience and offers not just training but encouragement and support. You can find Ralph at the Downtown Athletic Club in Amarillo.
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