Posts Tagged ‘ Workouts ’

Training Day

I’m officially in my second month of personal training. I am loving it! While each week is basically the same I like to mix each of my strength training sessions up with some new exercises to keep my workouts fresh and interesting. I’ve also introduced some classes into the schedule like yoga and pilates for balance, flexibility and core strength.

I split my strength training days into two groups because that’s what works best for my daily schedule: Day 1 – Back and Biceps, Legs and Abs, Day 2 – Chest and Triceps, Abs.

The reason I split my sessions in this way is because Back and Biceps, Chest and Triceps are complimentary muscle groups, meaning you often use one when you work out the other. For example, I did a bench press for my chest and that movement also made my triceps work hard. And abdominals can be worked out every time you do any strength training.

Others like to do full body workouts, while others focus on upper body (arms, chest, back, abs) one day and lower body (legs, glutes, hips) the next. I think that the most important part of a strength training routine is making sure you have at least one rest day in between lifting to make sure your muscles have enough time to heal. And, if your muscles feel extra sore, don’t push yourself and lift more weights but wait until you are fully recovered. Rest is just as important as a proper strength training schedule.

Next week I’ll give you some of my favorite strength training exercises to try on your own. And remember, lifting weights is a great compliment to any fitness routine as it builds a stronger body to burn fuel faster and minimize injury! 🙂

Fitness Friday!

To spin or not to spin…

For those of you who have never been to a spin class or think that spinning means turning in circles until you fall down in a discombobulated stupor, here’s what you need to know about this fabulous workout.

Spinning is a class that incorporates the workouts of cycling using indoor exercise equipment. The bikes used are meant to mimic those that cyclists use from the handlebars to the pedals that you can clip biking shoes into (if you want to). As with any workout, spinning is as intense as you make it. Just as with an outdoor road bike, you are able to increase or decrease the resistance as you pedal typically using a knob on the middle bar of the bike instead of separate gears.

While I’m sure every spin class is set up differently dependent on what gym you go to, here are a few things you should know/keep in mind when finding a spin class that fits your needs:

1. Instructor – The instructor can really make or break how enjoyable a class is. His/her energy, enthusiasm and preparedness can make you want to push yourself and come back for more pain workouts. When you’re in class notice: Does your instructor arrive early to set up? Does she give understandable verbal instructions during class? Is the music upbeat? Is there adequate warm-up and cool-down time built into your class time?

2. Bikes – Spin bikes get a lot of miles put on them and have to maintained regularly to keep up with the wear and tear. Make sure the bike has pedals that are fit for both sneakers and bike shoe clips so you have different options. Make sure all the handlebars are worn out with holes so you don’t get blisters and that there’s a place for a water bottle and an easily adjustable seat.

3. Atmosphere – Taking a new class can be intimidating and gyms should be aware of your needs. A spin class should be lively and upbeat. They typically run an hour long. Also, spin classes I’ve taken have several rows of bikes so those first timers are able to sit in the back and watch others until they become comfortable with the different instructions as it’s not just about “riding” but standing up and shifting your body weight to work out your different muscle groups.

Note: If you take a class, make sure you ask someone (preferably the instructor) how to adjust your bike before you start the class. A badly adjusted bike can lead to back and knee problems.

While I haven’t been to a lot of spin classes, I love biking and spin was an fun extension of that love. I loved being challenged in new ways and it was a perfect complement to running as it was still a good cardio workout, but I wasn’t pounding the pavement as I do with running.

For those of you who love biking, but can’t go to gym during the cold months when you don’t want to bike outside, a good alternate is to invest in a trainer. A bike trainer is a stand that you can hook your bike into and ride as if you were outside. It’s like having your own private spin class! My girlfriend just purchased one (she’s the avid biker) on ebay for only $60! Much, much cheaper than joining a gym and now she can train indoors all winter.

So check out spinning, you may just find it’s a perfect fit! 🙂

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Fitness Friday!

I have to say that one of my favorite things about being a runner is getting to eat carbs without feeling guilty. 🙂 It’s important to have a healthy diet to that balances your workouts. You need to find foods that provide elements like vitamins, carbs, healthy fats, and proteins. I’m constantly reading Runner’s World and scouring vegetarian and healthy cookbooks for great recipes and foods that will give me energy and strength I need to be fit. It’s a big topic and one I’ll revisit since there’s just too much info to cram into one blog. And I’m always learning something new that I try to fit into my diet.

Most recently it’s been my desire to move away from processed foods. Not easy. I realize this will be a long road of little changes along the way, but as long as I’m moving in that direction I feel it will lead to healthier eating habits.

I’ve started making little things like granola and protein smoothies and have gradually added more baking to my repertoire, most notably – bread! Mmmm…Homemade bread is perfect for any number of tasty meals – french toast, any number of sandwiches and paninis or just as a side for a steaming bowl of soup, salad or pasta. Yum! My most recent bread was a whole wheat bread, but I’ve made the classic white and a yummy cinnamon raisin.

I’ve included links to my favorite bread recipes below:

Homemade White Bread/Homemade Wheat Bread – I use the same recipe for both and just substitute wheat flour for white flour as it is such a great recipe!

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

I also was reading the October issue of Runner’s World and came across a series of wonderful (and more importantly simple) recipes for homemade pasta sauces and dishes. Click HERE for a link to the article and for a link to the recipes click HERE.

Now all I need is a pasta machine and a bigger kitchen and I’m golden! 🙂

Do you have a favorite healthy homemade recipe?

Tasty Treat on a Hot Summer’s Day

I’m a BIG fan of an icy cold smoothie on a hot summer’s day. As you know, I love to be active as often as possible and wanted a smoothie recipe that would be filling, tasty and be a perfect post-workout snack.

Here’s the recipe I’ve concocted, enjoy!

1/2 frozen banana (I freeze these myself so I always have them on hand)

1/4 c frozen strawberries

1/4 c frozen blueberries

1 tsp flax seeds

1 scoop protein powder (I use Trader Joe’s vanilla soy protein powder)

1/2 c vanilla soy milk

Throw in a blender, blend until smooth.

Flax seeds are rich in omega-3 which has been shown to prevent heart disease and have anti-inflammatory benefits.

Soy is high in protein, which helps to rebuild muscle fibers, and contains isoflavones which are linked to the prevention of heart disease, cancers, and osteoporosis.