Walking as a form of exercise is often thought of as ineffective or too easy, so many fitness buffs add weight to their walks to experience more drastic results.
But is this the best way to make the most of your stroll through the neighborhood?
Benefits of Walking
Despite popular opinion, walking is a highly effective workout—when done properly. According to Art Weltman, an expert in exercise physiology, “Fast-paced walking, when combined with healthy eating, is hugely effective for weight loss.”
It also benefits your overall health, reducing your risk for everything from depression to heart disease. Additionally, studies have shown that women who walk at a high-intensity level for 30 minutes at least three times a week burn more belly fat than those who walk at slower paces more often.
Weights or No Weights
The trick to making your walks more effective isn’t adding weight, as some might believe. In fact, added weight may actually have a negative impact on your health.
Today, many trainers don’t recommend walking with added weight (think: arm bands, ankle weights, hand weights). That’s because doing so causes fatigue to set in more quickly, which means your form suffers. As a result, you compensate for certain movements, leading to low back pain or even injury.
Separate is Better
Instead of adding weight to your walking routine, try amping up your speed. Power-walk for thirty minutes a day, three times a week. Or turn walking into a HIIT workout by strolling for a minute, power-walking for two, then strolling again until you’ve reached the thirty-minute mark.
As far as strength training goes, don’t neglect it—just do it before you walk. Exercise physiologist and trainer Michelle Lovitt suggests, “Do one thing at a time as intensely as possible, and then move on to the other.”
Unless you’re an athlete in training for a competition, the only time adding weight to a walk is acceptable is if you’re only going to be walking for a short amount of time, like five minutes.
Even then, most experts recommend using a weighted vest so that your balance doesn’t get thrown off and affect your form.
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Summer’s finally here, and it’s the perfect time to start a new workout regimen. With the weather warming up and skies clearing, you might even consider exercising outside. Although this has its advantages, it also has some disadvantages. If you do workout outdoors, make sure to avoid these mistakes:
1) Starting Late
If the morning is the best time for you to work out, then consider getting an early start. Pushing your workout to a later time will put you at risk for overheating. If a morning workout is not an option to you, consider working out at sundown, as the heat begins to wane.
2) Drinking Caffeine Before Exercising
If you’re a coffee addict, postpone your cup of java until after your workout. Highly caffeinated beverages act as diuretics, which cause your body to lose more fluid than normal. Drink plenty of cool — not cold — water before each workout instead.
3) Not Eating Enough Post-Workout
When exercising in the heat, you need to restore your water and energy supplies. Replenish your fuel with healthy food. Eat about 30 minutes after your exercise regimen. Some filling post-workout foods include hard boiled eggs, carrot sticks and homemade smoothies.
4) Wearing Dark Clothing
Dark colors absorb the heat, which makes working out much more difficult. Consider wearing lighter colors that reflect the sun. Pastels and neon colors are perfect for outdoor activities, as they reflect the sun and make you stand out to others.
5) Wearing Clothes That Are Too Loose
Loose-fitting clothing can cause chafing when mixed with sweat. Wear clothing that is not too loose or too tight. Another way to prevent chafing is to wear spandex under looser-fitting workout clothes. And, of course, wear sunscreen on all areas of exposed skin to avoid sunburn. Even when it is cloudy outside, you can still get burned.
6) Not Staying Hydrated While Swimming
Many people forget to consume water while swimming. Swimming in water doesn’t have the same effect as hydrating your body. Swimming is a workout, so it's important to drink plenty of water, even while swimming in it!
Want to get your arms in shape for summer? Download my free arm workout guide.
If you're putting the time, effort, and sweat into your workout routine but not seeing results, it may be time for a change.
Why Isn't Your Workout Working?
For one, if you’ve used the same workout for a long period of time, you may be a "non-responder." In other words, your body is no longer responding to your workout, and whatever benefits you used to get from your workout have come to a halt.
The Importance Of Working Out Smarter
Studies clearly show that some people respond differently to various types of exercise than others. Research conducted at Queen's University in London showed the non-response rate among people doing similar exercises was about 30 percent.
While the study didn't measure other potential benefits of a long-term workout routine like lowered blood pressure and healthier cholesterol, the lack of other results (such as weight loss) may push someone to abandon their fitness program.
The Importance Of Change
The frustration level can become sky high when you're working out but not seeing results. And you can try and push past your plateau by continuing to do the same thing, but your body isn't likely to respond favorably.
The important thing is to tell yourself that you're not the problem but that the solution to your plateau is probably changing your routine.
What To Do
Experts suggest that it's important to change your activity if you haven't seen any results in two weeks — whether you're a beginning exerciser or experienced athlete.
Furthermore, results can vary from person to person: while one person is interested in improving their endurance, another person is interested in weight loss or muscle gains. You should tailor your workout around the results you want to see.
Working with a personal trainer who will monitor your results and develop custom workouts that best suit your needs is another important strategy when your workout routine is no longer effective.
Change Is Good
You can even change your activity mix every two to three weeks just to keep your training fresh and to increase your performance. For example, you might do a spinning class for a few weeks and then switch to a weightlifting program, or skip the treadmill in favor of kickboxing.
The important thing to remember is that change is good in terms of keeping you on your fitness track. When your body gets used to what it's doing, it stops working as hard.
Ready to amp-up your workout? Get my free 2-week workout plan to get in shape by summer, all from the comfort of your home.
If you're like most people, you give some consideration to making a New Year's resolution. You ponder how your life can be improved and whether you would actually stick to a resolution.
More often than not, these resolutions have something to do with health and fitness. Let's take a look at some of the most common New Year's resolutions and why they don't work.
“I'm Going to Lose 20 Pounds!”
Shedding 20 pounds is easier said than done. If you would like to lose this much weight, don't expect to reach your goal in a few weeks. It will likely take a few months - at least - to drop 20 pounds. A more realistic and healthy goal is to lose one pound per week.
“I'm Giving up Junk Food!”
Just about everyone has resolved to cut down on junk food following the holiday gluttony. Hardly anyone actually follows through beyond the first couple weeks.
“I'm Going to try XYZ Diet!”
Diet fads are all the rage around the first of the year. Taking a chance on a healthy diet craze is admirable yet few honor their commitment beyond the first few weeks/months. Most “diet of the moment” eating regimens require eliminating tasty foods like fruits or meats. It's much easier to cut down on portion sizes than adhere to a hardcore diet.
“I'm Starting a Cleanse!”
From juice cleanses to cabbage cleanses and beyond, dieters can drop pounds and clean out their system if they stick to this resolution. However, detoxing with a cleanse takes severe dedication and plenty of trips to the bathroom! Opt for a mini-cleanse that allows you to eat a fulfilling meal or two per day and you'll still be able to clean out your system.
“I'm Hitting the Gym Every Single Day!”
Most of us feel bloated following those extravagant holiday meals. Yet promising to hit the gym every day will only serve to tax the body to the point that it breaks down. Add in the fatigue from excessive workouts and most people find that exercising every other day is a much more realistic resolution.
Instead of making "resolutions," why not make lifestyle changes? If you have a fitness and health goal, boost the odds of following through on your promise by enlisting the help of a personal trainer. Ralph Roberts Training is here to get you on the right track and stay there for the remainder of the year. Contact us for a free personal training session and see what you think!
Even with the best of intentions, it's hard to keep your fitness routine on track over the holidays. There's travel, family gatherings, and more than enough tempting food at seemingly every place you go.
There are also ways to maintain your fitness level, no matter what time of the season or where you are, however.
And, remember, even short workouts are better than no workouts at all.
1. Create A Plan
You've probably already put a plan together for how you and your family are going to spend the holidays and there's no reason you can't add your workout routine to the same schedule. An example would be scheduling a quick morning fitness session when you know you'll be at a holiday gathering that night. Making your workout part of your daily planner - like any other appointment - will help you stay on track.
2. Do Short But Intense Workouts
When time is really tight, you can condense your longer workout into a 30-minute session that is equal parts lower body and upper body exercises. Start with a warmup routine of jogging in place or marching, then alternate sets of lower and body exercises with 10 to 20 repetitions per set. Repeat this routine two or three times and then add in a variety of abdominal crunches.
3. Pack With Exercise In Mind
If you're traveling away from home, pack whatever light piece of exercise equipment you can - such as bands and a jump rope, as well as a comfortable pair of walking shoes. Jumping rope is a great way to get intense cardio work and it can be done almost anywhere without taking much time. Or, you can try climbing flights of stairs instead.
4. Cut Yourself Some Slack
If you have to just 'maintain' over the holidays, so be it. If there's just no time to fit in a hard workout, then aim to take a walk around the block with your kids. Celebrate the small victories rather than getting down on yourself for not doing your typical workout. Keeping as active as time allows and maintaining your current fitness level will make it easier when you return to your regular workout schedule.
If you're at the mall for some holiday shopping, do a couple of window-shopping laps before you get started. Or, while a big holiday meal is cooking, take the time to do a short yoga workout or a few sets of squats and jumping jacks.
Working with a personal fitness trainer like Ralph Roberts can help keep you on track during the holiday season. Sign up for Ralph's Train For Results program and stick to your fitness all year round!
There's nothing quite like the feeling of an intense workout - whether it's a sense of accomplishment, or the mental exhilaration of knowing you've met a challenge while doing something good for your body. Muscle soreness can be part of the equation, too.
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is the soreness you may feel 12-48 hours after a workout. It can make it uncomfortable to perform day-to-day tasks, but the good news is that there plenty of ways to relieve it, such as those listed here:
1. Apply Heat
Applying heat to sore muscles reduces pain by increasing blood flow to the area. This helps heal the small muscle tears that lead to DOMS while ultimately relieving pain. You can apply heat in a variety of ways, from a hot tub, steam room, sauna, or just soaking in your tub at home.
2. Apply Ice
Many elite athletes swear by a post-workout ice bath because the cool temperatures constrict blood vessels - which reduces swelling. If sitting in shocking cold temperatures sounds daunting, then use ice to treat to specific muscles and areas.
3. Apply Heat And Ice
Since heat and ice both help in soothing sore muscles, why not combine them? One method is to apply an ice pack for 15 minutes, followed by a heat pack for 15, and then repeating the process until you feel relief. It's an effective way to promote better blood flow and muscle recovery.
4. Gentle Stretching
Muscles tend to tighten up when they're in the recovery mode, which can intensify feelings of soreness. Slow, gentle stretching will relieve the tightness and reduce pain.
5. Light Cardio
If stretching isn't enough to relieve soreness/tightness, light cardio the day after a hard workout can improve circulation and warm up your body. The important thing is to move, slowly and gently, and that can even mean walking around the house or your neighborhood.
6. Pack In Protein
Your muscles are depleted and need nourishment after an intense bout of exertion. And one thing they crave is protein, so give them what they want via natural sources such as fish, poultry, lean meats, lentils, and more.
7. Rub It Away
Not that you need an excuse to have a professional massage, but getting one is a great way to relieve pain and tension. If you can't see a professional, do it yourself with a foam roller or tennis ball.
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Who among us doesn't wish there were more hours to a day? Job, family, friends, activities — all of that can cut into exercise time.
You're going to have to get creative to fit in consistent physical activity if you're stressed for time. But by making even slight changes to your daily routine, you can burn more calories and even improve your cardiovascular fitness and strength.
1. Take the Stairs
Well, this one isn't quite so lazy, but it's simple. If you have to choose between the stairs and the elevator to get to your office, opt for the stairs. Research has shown that climbing a normal public access staircase — without even breaking a sweat — will meet the minimum requirement for getting cardiovascular benefit. Yes, it might take a few extra minutes to reach your office, but your body will thank you.
2. Park Farther Away
Studies have shown that walking 10,000 steps each day has many health benefits — including weight loss — and one great way to add steps to your daily total is by parking your car an extra distance from your workplace.
3. Stand Up
There's plenty of evidence that points to the detrimental effects of sitting for long periods of time. That's scary when you consider how many people have sedentary jobs, and that makes it even more important to stand up and move around whenever possible. Just think about your posture! Even grabbing a cup of coffee in the break room can help break up the sedentary moments.
4. Drink More Water
By now you've undoubtedly heard the virtues of drinking water when it comes to your overall wellness and health. Because we often mistake thirst for hunger, upping your water intake will help keep you feel more full and your hunger at bay. Instead of eating an unhealthy snack, drink water instead. Infuse it with some lemon or mint to make it more interesting.
5. Make Your Meetings Mobile
Why not take your next brainstorming session or meeting with colleagues on the go? So, join together and add to your daily step count while tackling some of those many issues at work.
6. Eat Healthy Snacks
Eating too little during the day can slow down your body's metabolism and cause it to conserve energy by burning less calories. Feed your body with calorie-burning fuel by munching on healthy snacks such as fruit, nuts, yogurt and veggies every few hours. You'll prevent your body from getting overly hungry and yourself from overdoing it during meals later in the day.
Ralph Roberts is a nationally certified personal trainer who can help you reach all of your fitness goals. Contact Ralph today to schedule a free personal training session.
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Back to school means hectic mornings, busy afternoons and very little down time. As a mom, you’re likely responsible for getting the kids to and from school, making sure they’re fed each day, handling homework and extracurricular activities.
Just thinking about it probably stresses you out. But keeping calm is not only good for your own health and sanity, but it also helps your children stave off anxiety about a new school year.
Here are some ideas on maintaining a peaceful home atmosphere in the midst of back-to-school chaos.
1. Stay Positive
Stress isn’t a result of all the things you have to do; it’s a result of your thoughts about those things. If you start to feel overwhelmed, take a few deep breaths, go for a walk and remind yourself that you’re only human.
Additionally, when your kids express negative feelings about going back to school, respond with only positive things. Maybe a silly story about your own school days or a reminder of something fun they get to do in school.
2. Organize Your Life
The biggest cause of stress is being unorganized, feeling like everything is coming at you at once. Find ways to organize that makes sense for your family. One idea is to keep a calendar in a spot everyone sees daily, and write down all activities, school projects, etc.
Another way to get organized in your home is to prepare ahead of time. For example, pack lunches and pick out clothes each night for the following day. Meal plan every Sunday so that you know what you need to get at the grocery store and what you’ll have for dinner every day. This cuts down on the stress of figuring out dinner when you’re already pushed for time.
3. Ask for Help and Say No
Moms have a tendency to overdo. They think they should be able to take on the world and do everything — volunteering, career, housework, social life, etc. But it’s just not possible. The sooner you realize this the sooner you’ll be able to breathe.
It’s OK to say no sometimes. Don’t take on more than you can handle. And remember it takes a village. Don’t be afraid to ask your partner for help around the house and your friends for help outside the home.
4. Practice Self-Care
As a mother, you give and give. But if you’re not replenishing yourself, you’ll have nothing left to give. Find what makes you happy and schedule it into your day—whether it’s going for a run, taking a bath, or reading.
If you're too busy to hit the gym, contact Amarillo personal trainer Ralph Roberts. Ralph Roberts Training can create custom workouts you can do at home or on the go.
You can also download Ralph Roberts Training's FREE At-Home Workouts eBook!
If you suffer from arthritis, you do not have to give up on exercise. Arthritis can affect people of all ages, whether you are 25 or 75. It's possible to stay physically fit even though your body is plagued by pain and discomfort.
Although you may not be able to participate in all the sports you used to enjoy, you should not let your arthritis prevent you from staying physically active.
1. Stretching Is Key
Those who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis will find that stretching is vitally important to a successful workout. Stretch before each exercise session. Stretching helps your joints and muscles respond much better to physical activity. Even something as simple as gardening counts as exercise. Just be sure to stretch out your knees, hips and ankles before you get down and dirty. Stretching after exercise is also prudent. Post-exercise stretching will ward off stiffness and reduce the odds of a limited range of motion.
2. Give Aquatic Sports A Shot
Aquatic sports are some of the best ways for arthritis sufferers to remain physically active. Even if you simply walk in water that is waist-deep, you will burn calories and increase your heart rate. Water is ideal for arthritis sufferers as it decreases the weight put on joints by upwards of 50 percent. If you aren't sure where to start with water sports, sign up for a class conducted at your local pool to learn proper form.
3. Transition To Low-Impact Aerobic Exercises
Arthritis pain can be minimized by reducing the impact on your joints. Segue into low-impact aerobic exercises like light walking, water exercises, riding a stationary bike or even slow dancing. Avoid high-impact aerobic exercises and sports like basketball that require sudden stops, starts and changes of direction.
4. Engage In Tai Chi Exercises
The days of going all out at the gym or on the court may no longer be possible. This is the time to transition to exercises that feature slow movements. Tai Chi is the perfect exercise for those afflicted with arthritis. Its deliberate flowing movements will help you maintain your mobility and improve your quality of life. There is a good chance that a Tai Chi program is offered in your community. Sign up and you will immediately fall in love with the program's focus on slow physical motions, regular breathing and improved mental focus. Tai Chi might even relieve your stiffness to boot.
Exercising with arthritis is a challenge that you should not attempt to overcome on your own. Ralph Roberts Personal Training has experience working with clients with arthritis and can create a custom workout plan just for you. Contact Ralph Roberts today for a free personal training session.
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