Snap Fitness Health & Fitness Blog

You are currently browsing all 9 posts in the Cardio category.

Switch Up Your Cardio

By: Snap Fitness

Change is good. In fact, change is great - especially for those of us who exercise on a daily basis. By devoting a portion of the day to our health, we inevitably create habits. And while many of these habits help us stick to our regimens and goals, it’s important to integrate variations and substitutions whenever possible.

 

Creating alternate workouts for each day of the week not only decreases the possibility of boredom, it also allows us to build strength within the body as a whole while providing a refractory period - or recovery time - for overworked muscles. As they say: too much of a good thing is never a good thing. Balance is key.

 

With 10 minutes of cardio at minimum - as a warm up, if desired - weekly workouts can be easily optimized. Dedicate specific days for walking, elliptical, running, or biking, just to name a few. Lunges, jumping jacks, and mountain climbers all serve as great alternatives, too, and deliver unique benefits to the joints.

 

For a high calorie-burning workout, experiment with varying speeds and inclines on the treadmill. A little change goes a long way. When it comes to switching things up, the possibilities are endless - and fun! What’s your favorite cardio routine? Share it with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Benefits of Walking

By: Snap Fitness

Walking is a gentle, low-impact exercise that’s easy and suitable for people of all ages and most abilities. Something as simple as a daily brisk walk can benefit you in many different ways. Here are seven reasons to take those extra steps and make walking a part of your healthy lifestyle.

 

Maintains a Healthy Weight

A good walk can help shape and strengthen your legs, give great definition to your quads, calves, hamstrings and glutes.  If your posture is on key you’re able to tone your abdominal muscles as well.

 

Reduces Your Risk of Heart Disease

Regular walkers are known to have fewer strokes and heart attacks, have lower blood pressure and have higher levels of healthy HDL cholesterol.

 

Increases Happiness

Getting active releases feel-good endorphins into the bloodstream, reducing stress and anxiety. 

 

Gives Your Energy

Walking is a great natural energizer! It boosts circulation and increases oxygen supply to every cell in your body, which helps you feel more alert.

 

Boosts Your Immune System

Walking regularly can lower your risk of macular degeneration, arthritis and even cancer by 50% compared to people who don’t exercise.

 

Reduces Your Risk of Diabetes

Thirty minutes of walking a day makes your muscles more sensitive to insulin. That allows glucose to do its duty inside your cells rather than pile up in your bloodstream.

 

Relieves Stress

If you’re looking to relive some stress, walking is a great option! Studies have shown that walking can benefit your mood and may even ward off anxiety and depression.

 

Ready to walk it out? Try this 25-minute run/walk treadmill workout to get started.

 

Five Moves to Get a Beach Bum

By: Snap Fitness

You’re not going to get the beach bum you want by sitting on the one you have.  Get up and make that booty work!  These 5 moves will build, sculpt, and lift your glutes in no time.

 

You'll need: A pair of dumbbells (8-10 pounds)

 

20 Dumbbell Squats

These squats are powerful little moves. Over time, increase reps and dumbbell weight to amp them up.

 Do It:

• Start with your legs hips distance apart and 8-to 10-pound dumbbells by your thighs.
• Squat down as if you were going to sit in a chair, keep your weight over your heels.
• Don’t forget to keep your chest up and your back flat.
• Press through your heels to return to starting position.

 

20 Explosive Lunges

This move gives you a deep stretch through your glutes while testing your balance and coordination.

 Do It:

• Stand with your feet together and your hands on your hips.
• Then lunge forward with your right leg.
• Jump up, switching legs midair, and land with your left leg in a forward lunge.
• Make sure to push off the floor with both feet.
• Your front knee should be bent 90 degrees and align over your ankle.

 

10 Kick Backs (Each Leg)

Kick back butt exercises are great for creating toned butt muscles. 

 Do It:

• Come onto all fours.
• Kick your left foot back and up.
• Make sure to keep your hips level.
• Switch to the other side.

 

20 Hip-Lifts

This is a great way to relieve tension in your lower back and work your butt at the same time.

 Do It:

• Lie on your back with your arms at your sides with your knees bent and your feet on the floor.
• Lift your hips toward the ceiling with one leg lifted.
• Squeezing your glutes and hamstrings at the top of the range of motion.
• Keeping your hips up, place your foot back on the floor and then lower your hips.

 

30 Second Squat Hold

 Do It:

• Go back to a squat position, hold for 30 seconds. 

 

 

If you stick to this routine you’ll get a beach bum before you know it. 

10 Interesting Facts About the Heart

By: Snap Fitness

As many of you know, the heart is one of the most important organs in the human body. Here are ten facts about the human heart that make it even more fascinating.

 

1. Your heart beats over 100,000 times per day.

2. Your heart can keep beating even if it is separated from the body because it has its own electrical impulse.

3. Every day, your heart creates enough energy to drive a truck for 20 miles.

4. Your body has about 5.6 liters (6 quarts) of blood. These 5.6 liters of blood circulates through the body three times every minute. In one day, the blood travels a total of 12,000 miles.

5. Your heart is actually located almost in the center of your chest, between the lungs. It’s tipped slightly so that a part of it sticks out and taps against the left side of the chest.

6. Your heartbeat changes and mimics the music you listen to.

7. The pressure created in the heart during a heartbeat is enough to squirt blood a distance of thirty feet.

8. Your heart will pump nearly 1.5 million barrels of blood during your lifetime, enough to fill 200 train tank cars.

9. In a 70-year lifetime, the average human heart beats more than 2.5 billion times.

10. A man’s heart weighs about 10 ounces, while a woman’s heart weighs approximately 8 ounces.

 

It's clear that the heart is a remarkeble organ and it's important we take care of it. That's why Snap Fitness has teamed up with the American Heart Association. Click here to donate to the AHA. 

 

Source:

Mercola, J. (n.d.). 11 Fascinating Facts About the Human Heart Infographic. Mercola.com.

Watson, S. (n.d.). Five Amazing Facts About the Human Heart. WebMD.

Topol EJ (ed). Cleveland Clinic Heart Book (2000) New York: Hyperion.

4-Step Cooldown

By: Snap Fitness

Just because you’ve finished the “hard part” of your workout doesn’t mean you can pack up and drive home quite yet! A cool-down is a must-do during your post-workout routine. Cool-downs gradually reduce your heart rate and help your body return to a resting state. They also reduce muscle stiffness and soreness. Don’t let sore muscles keep you from getting to the gym! Follow these cool-down steps.

 

Here are four things your cool-down should consist of:

 

Cardio: This doesn’t mean run! Slow your speed to a light pace for five to 10 minutes. This flushes out lactic acid from your muscles, prevents soreness, and aids muscle recovery.

 

Stretch: Spend 30 seconds stretching each major muscle group. If a muscle is especially sore, spend more time on that area. The major muscles include quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, chest, arms, and core.

 

Hydrate: You should be drinking water before, during, and after your workout, but it’s especially important to drink up after you exercise. You need to replenish the water supply you lost during your workout. We recommend you drink 16 ounces per hour of exercise.

 

Replenish: In addition to water, we recommend a recovery shake combination of protein and carbohydrates. Protein rebuilds muscle tissue, while carbohydrates deliver proteins to your cells. Sip down your recovery shake within 30 minutes of your workout to ensure your muscles absorb the nutrients they need.

 

Stick to this cool-down routine and the results will come!

Cardiovascular Intensity Levels Explained

By: Snap Fitness

You never know when that cardio training will come in handy. Don’t get stuck in a running rut! There’s so much more to cardiovascular training than following the “running as fast as you can for as long as your can” mentality.In fact, more isn’t always better. By switching up your intensity level, it prevents both injuries and boredom. Train smarter rather than harder!

 

Here are the three main cardio training categories:

 

Long Slow Distance: Working at a heart rate intensity of 60-70 percent of your max heart rate has long been called the “fat burning zone.” While true, it’s not the most effective way to burn fat and boost cardiovascular fitness. The goal in completing Long Slow Distance cardio is to increase your ability to burn fat while you sleep. You’ll know you’re working aerobically and at a heart rate range of 60-70 percent of your max heart rate if you can easily carry on a conversation. 

 

Do Long Slow Distance training one to three times a week – depending on your weekly total, it should account for 25 percent.

 

Interval Training: What makes Interval Training so great? Not only does it boost your cardio fitness and heart rate, it has a lingering effect on your caloric burn – upwards of 30 percent! That means you can burn 30 percent more calories than you would normally burn throughout the day.

 

Interval Training consists of working at or above 85 percent of your max heart rate for a period of time, followed by a recovery period at 60-70 percent of max your max heart rate.

 

Sounds awesome, right? If you only do this type of training, you also burn more sugars rather than fat during your workout. Do too much interval training and you run the risk of burning that hard earned muscle. 

 

For Interval Training, stick to one to three times a week or 50 percent of your overall cardio training.

 

Steady State Training: The toughest of the three! For this, you wantto work just at or slightly below anaerobic threshold  — roughly 75-85 percent of your maximum heart rate. 

 

This training category is the toughest because you have to stay at a relatively high intensity for five to 20 minutes. In comparison, Long Slow Distance training  is easier to maintain and generally feels good, where Interval Training is far tougher but only last a short while. Challenge yourself to work Steady State Training one to three times a week or 25 percent of your overall training.

Are You Ready For #SnapMadness?

By: Snap Fitness

March is here! For all you college basketball fans out there, arguably the best sporting event of the year is coming up … March Madness! No matter how many brackets you fill out – forever hoping your favorite team hoists up the national championship trophy while “This Magic Moment” plays in the background, nothing is for certain in these games. That’s what makes this tournament so great. A buzzer-beater will either bring you tears of joy or immediate heartbreak. The excitement gets everyone hyped up; players and fans alike.

 

Enter #SnapMadness, our new contest that combines the excitement and fun of “The Big Dance” and challenging workouts. These fitness challenges will not be easy, but that makes accomplishing them that much more rewarding. Sixty-eight teams from across the country lay it all on the line during March Madness. You can do the same at your local Snap Fitness club this month.

 

Over the next four weeks, we'll be posting a #SnapMadness workout for you to attempt. Members who complete all four workouts are entered into a drawing. The winner gets $250 in Snap Fitness gear.

 

Here’s how you play:

1. Complete the workout.
2. Take a photo of yourself next to the distance on your machine’s display screen to prove you completed it.
3. Post your photo on either Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and use the #SnapMadness hashtag.

 

The contest kicks off Thursday, March 6. There will be a new activity posted every Thursday in March. Read the Terms and Conditions here.

 

Your photos need to be posted by the following Thursday at 8 a.m. CST. Example: The first workout is posted Thursday, March 6. Your photo needs to be submitted by 8 a.m. CST Thursday, March 13. The photos – whether they’re posted on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram – need to have the correct hashtag (#SnapMadness) in order to be accepted for our contest.

 

The winner will be announced Thursday, April 3.

 

Let the madness begin!

 

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.  Legal residents of the 50 United States and D.C. age of majority or older. Dates: March 6, 2014 through April 3, 2014. To enter and for Official Rules, including odds and prize descriptions visit http://www.snapfitness.com. Void where prohibited.

The Importance of a Rest Day

By: Snap Fitness

You're not a skipper, but maybe you should be.

 

We know that muscle grows and repairs itself while resting, so continuous training can actually weaken the strongest of us. Research suggests having a rest day from your normal fitness routine at least once a week. Not only does it benefit your body, but it can help maintain a healthy balance between the gym, your job, and your home.

 

Overtraining can cause more damage than you think. You may have reached a weight-loss plateau and/or have trouble sleeping, a bigger appetite, and other major mood swings. Don't beat yourself up over a day without the gym; it's a reward for your hard work every other day!

New Year's Eve Countdown Workout

By: Jodi Sussner, Director of Personal Training

Finish off 2013 with our Countdown Finisher workout! A Finisher is a metabolic boost that is often placed at the end of a workout.  It consists of high intensity movements done with maximal effort.

Start with a 5 minute warm-up on your favorite machine. Once you start the countdown, move from one movement to the next without stopping – good luck!

10 - Burpees

9 – Pushups

8 – Squat Thrusters (Plank position, jump feet to the outsides of hands and repeat, plank to squat for 8 reps)

7 – Jump Squats

6 – Side Plank Dips (each side)

5 – Elbow Plank Pulls (hold elbow plank and pull your body forward and back)

4 – Plank Walks (one elbow down, then the other, one hand to plank, then the other – continue this starting with the right side for 4, then the left side for 4)

3 – Jump Lunges (each leg)

2 – Minute Plank Twist (hold plank or elbow plank for 2 minutes, rotate hips right, dip hip toward the floor, return to center and repeat, alternating sides)

1 – Mile run

Happy New Year!