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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!

Perfecting Your Running Form

By: Jodi Sussner, Director of Personal Training

If you’re looking to improve your overall running performance or preparing for a race, it is important to know if your running form is correct. Having proper form can reduce the stress on your body, as well as your race time. Here are a few tips to perfecting your form- from head to toe.


Eye contact

Your eyes should be focused on the ground about 10 feet ahead of you. Try to avoid staring at your feet. Always pay attention on what is ahead of you.


Land mid-foot

Try to land mid-foot, and roll through to the front of your toes. Landing on your heels or toes can cause excessive fatigue, injury and tight calves. This can also lead to shin splints if not properly fixed.


Keep your hands at your waist

Try to keep your hands at waist level, right about where they lightly brush your hips. Your arms should be at a 90 degree angle. Beginners have a tendency to hold their hands up by their chest, especially as they fatigue. You may also increase tension in your shoulders and neck if your arms are pulled too high.


Relax your hands

As you run, keep your arms and hands as relaxed as possible. You can gently cup your hands, as if you are holding an egg and you don't want to break it. Avoid clenching your fists as this can lead to tightness in the arms, shoulders, and neck.


Check your posture

Think; head up, back straight, and shoulders level. Keep your shoulders under your ears and maintain a lifted and lengthened spine. Avoid leaning forward. When you're tired at the end of your run, it's common to slouch, which can lead to neck, shoulder, and lower-back pain. Avoid slouching by keeping your eyes focused forward and your chest lifted. This will also improve breathing mechanics and efficiency.


Don't bounce

Try to avoid too much up and down movement- rather, focus on driving your body forward. Take quick, light, steps that will leave you feeling energized and capable of running further.

Workout: Perfecting The Bench Press

By: Jodi Sussner, Director of Personal Training

The bench press is a great way to work the chest, as well as the shoulders and triceps. Avoid injury and work the proper muscles by using these simple tips. You might consider using a spotter if you are challenging yourself with a heavier weight or added reps. 


Choose one of the three hand grips to change the focus of muscle groups and to vary the intensity:

Normal grip – is the best place to start. Set hands so they are slightly wider than shoulder width apart.

Close grip – will challenge your triceps a bit more. Plan on using a lighter weight to start with.


Wide grip – will challenge the stability of your shoulder joint the most. Practice normal or close grip before starting with wide.


1. Lie back on the bench and plant your feet onto the floor. Avoid placing your feet onto the bench as this will require more core stability and not generally safe if this is your first go at the bench press. Feet on the floor will ensure torso stability and keep your focus on chest, shoulders and triceps. Determine your hand grip, press the bar upward and off the rack. 


2. Lower the bar toward your chest with control. Avoid resting the bar onto the chest to avoid additional strain at the shoulder joint. 


3. Press the bar straight upward with an exhale.


4. Avoid locking the elbows at the top of the movement.


Try to keep spine and shoulders supported and in good alignment on the bench. Straining through low back or neck and shoulders may indicate too much weight and/or fatigue. If this happens, adjust the weight or reps and try again.

The Hunger Games Workout

By: Jodi Sussner, Director of Personal Training

Prepare to compete in the 75th Annual Hunger Games by knowing the strengths, weaknesses and training styles of your competitors. You will be required to build stamina, strength, flexibility and agility in order to survive as Victor! Tour the districts and learn more about their industries along the way.


To start: Complete 5 minutes on a cardio piece of your choice. The workout was designed on an Octane Elliptical but, you can choose from any piece of cardio equipment - as long as you have space behind the equipment to perform the strength interval. Also, choose a pair of dumbbells that will challenge you to complete 20 total repetitions with good form. 



After completing the 5 minute warm up:


20 reps – Jump Squats (District 13 - Nuclear Power Industry)


Though we don’t recognize District 13 in our Annual Hunger Games celebration, we’ll pay them recognition by performing the “Jump Squat”. Start with feet shoulder-width apart and squat down so your knees are bent at a 90 degree angle. Complete this move by jumping up high reaching towards the ceiling.




1min – Elliptical sprint to next district


20 reps – Coal Digger Twist (District 12 – Coal Industry)


The citizens of District 12 are constantly working their bodies down in the mines. We can learn from their example by performing the “Coal Digger Twist”. Hold the dumbbell overhead firmly and lower it down to one side as you lower into a squat. Go back to the starting position and repeat on the opposite side. Alternate for 20 total repetitions on each side.  



1min – Elliptical sprint to next district


20 reps – Bent-Over Row (District 11 – Agriculture)


Simulating the field work that the people of District 11 do daily, give your back, core and biceps a good workout with the “Bent-Over Row”. Bend your knees slightly while holding two dumbbells. Lower your arms toward the floor. Keep your back straight, pull your arms back and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Return to starting position and repeat.



1min – Elliptical sprint to next district


20 reps – Wrangler Twist (District 10 – Livestock)


Controlling herds of cattle is no easy feat and no one knows that better than the hard workers of District 10. Simulate one of their most strenuous tasks by trying the “Wrangler Twist”. Lunge one foot forward while holding a single dumbbell firmly in front of you. Move it from side-to-side at a comfortable speed, engaging your torso and obliques as you alternate.



1min -  Elliptical sprint to next district


20 reps – Plank Row (District 9 – Grain, Agriculture)


Fellow District 9 tributes can get a good arm workout from harvesting. Lean forward with one hand planted on your cardio machine or weight bench. Fully extend your arm with dumbbell in hand, then bring it to your side, squeezing your shoulder blade as you go. Return to starting position and repeat for 10 reps. Complete 10 repetitions with the opposite arm.



1min - Elliptical sprint to next district


20 reps – Press It (District 8 – Textiles)


Spending your days in a factory like the people of District 8, you’re likely to use your arms repetitively. While this might be aggravating work, it can lead to impressive upper-body strength. Setup in a plank position with one dumbbell under each hand. Maintain torso length and strength. Lower down into a pushup. As you press up, pull one dumbbell up to the side.  Repeat the pushup and the pull with the opposite arm.



1min - Elliptical sprint to next district


20 reps – Back Lunge Break (District 7 – Lumber)


Workout like the lumberjacks of District 7 by trying out the “Back Lunge Break”. Hold one dumbbell with two hands above your head. As you lunge forward, bring the dumbbell down to your side as if you were chopping wood. Repeat this move alternating legs.




1min - Elliptical sprint to next district


20 reps – Jump Lunges (District 6 – Transportation)


Like the citizens of District 6’s transportation industries, we know that our bodies take a lot of momentum to keep up with our competition! Jump high in the air landing in a lunge position. From there, jump back up in the air while switching leg positions and lunging with the opposite leg. Use your arms to help keep your balance.



1min - Elliptical sprint to next district


20 reps – Power Pushup (District 5 – Power)


Use your body’s internal energy by dropping down to all fours and performing a “Power Pushup”. In a plank position with hands together, lower into a pushup. As you pushup, try to “jump” your hands apart. Lower into a pushup and land with your hands together. Repeat for 20 reps. 



1 min - Elliptical sprint to next district


20 reps – Fly Bridge (District 4 – Fishing)


The Fishermen of District 4 know that reeling in the largest catch means having good arm strength while maintaining a decent core! Lie down and lift up your seat while balancing your body using your upper back and feet. Holding two dumbbells, allow your arms to stretch out to the sides (with a slight bend in them). Pull hands together to engage the chest and return to the starting position. 



1min - Elliptical sprint to next district


20 reps – Squat with Tricep Kickback (District 3 – Mechanical Power)


Simulate the tinkerers of District 3 by trying the “Squat Tricep Kickback”. Squat down in your invisible chair while holding two dumbbells. Channel your inner mechanic by alternating each dumbbell behind your back to give your triceps a good workout.



1min - Elliptical sprint to next district


20 reps – Bricklayer Blast (Push Press) (District 2 – Masonry)


The tributes from District 2 will have excellent upper-body and arm strength from years of masonry work and you should too! Practice with the “Bricklayer Blast” technique by squatting down and holding two dumbbells to either side like a shoulder press. Squat down and lower the dumbbells toward your shoulders. Stand up as you press the dumbbells overhead. Repeat.



1min - Elliptical sprint to next district


20 reps – Posh Press (District 1 – Luxury Items)


The tributes from District 1 are trained fighters. Show them what you’ve got by mastering the “Posh Press”. Stabilize your legs by placing one foot in front of you, and one behind, holding two dumbbells at your chest, ready for battle. Punch one dumbbell forward, pull it back to your chest and repeat by alternating sides. 



Now you’re ready to compete in the Games! Try these workouts again and challenge yourself next time by adding more weight and reps! With dedication and persistence, you too can stand a chance in life’s arena. May the odds of a fantastic workout be ever in your favor!

Perfecting The Russian Twist

By: Jodi Sussner, Director of Personal Training

The russian twist is a challenging abdominal exercise that incorporates all the muscles of the core: low back, abs, obliques, diaphragm, and inner thighs. Unlike crunches in which your rest your back on the floor between reps, the russian twist forces you to hold your spine off the floor the entire time.


1- To begin, sit with your feet on the floor and knees bent and your torso at a 45 degree angle. Keep your abs engaged to hold this angle.


2- Hold your fists together with your elbows tucked into your body. Like a boxer holding a pose.


3- Twist your torso from side to side. As you twist, exhale to better pull your abs in and support the spine.


For added intensity, hold a light weight, medicine ball, or lift your feet a few inches from the floor. This will not only add arm strength, but also strengthens the torso and obliques ( waistline or sides of the torso).

How To Perfect the Crunch

By: Jodi Sussner, Director of Personal Training

The crunch is one of the most popular exercises for those looking to get that perfect set of abs, however, if you’re performing a crunch, you have to make sure you're doing it properly.


When doing a crunch, keep these form points in mind to ensure that you actually work your abs and not your neck or low back.


1- Place hands long to your sides and reach your fingers toward your feet to prevent lifting at the neck and shoulders. For a modification, support your head with your hands.


2- Pull abdominals in and flatten, rather than pushing them out or forcing your low back to the floor.


3-Keep neck long and neutral with eyes gazing toward abdomen rather than pushing your chin out, straining the neck or looking toward the ceiling.

Elliptical Cardio Blast Workout

By: Jodi Sussner, Director of Personal Training

Spice up your cardio routine with this fat blasting elliptical workout. By integrating bursts of intensity throughout this workout you will automatically rev up your metabolism, which will allow your body to burn fat throughout the day.


The key to an effective cardio routine is to add intervals. By adding intervals, you are varying the intensity, therefore increasing the effectiveness of your workout. Try this cardio blast workout twice a week and we guarantee you’ll see results.


Who’s ready to blast those calories?








The Stability Ball Side Crunch

By: Jodi Sussner, Director of Personal Training

The Stability ball side crunch is a great way to get up off the floor and get down with awesome abs!


This exercise is also a safe and effective way to keep the crunch out of your neck and lower back and puts the emphasis right where it counts.  Plus, a bigger range of motion from the ball, ensures that you hit those obliques hard.  Here’s how:


  • Sit the inside hip onto the ball, place your feet where the floor and wall meet. 


  • Make sure that the top leg is stepping back and the bottom leg is stepping forward.  This will encourage a gentle stretch at your hips and allow for better use of your obliques as a result. 


  • Place both hands behind your head and align yourself to face away from the wall.  Keep hips square and perpendicular to the floor. 


  • Stretch over the ball to one side, exhale and curl up toward the wall.


  • Repeat for 10-20 reps then flip to do the same on the opposite side.

11 Safety Tips for Exercising with Diabetes

By: Snap Fitness

Source: American Diabetes Association

November is American Diabetes Month! Regular exercise can greatly improve diabetes, but before you get started you need to be safe. Here area few simple things you can do to help prevent injuries, dehydration, and hypoglycemia when exercising:

1) Talk to your health care team about which activities are safest for you.

Your health care provider’s advice will depend on the condition of your heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, feet, and nervous system. Still, many people with diabetes can do the same activities as someone without diabetes.

2) Warm up for 5 minutes before starting to exercise and cool down for 5 minutes after.

Your warm up or cool down should be a lower intensity than the rest of your time exercising. This helps get your blood flowing and warms up your joints.

3) Avoid doing activity in extremely hot or cold temperatures. Choose indoor options when the weather is extreme.

4) Drink plenty of water before, during, and after activity to stay hydrated.

5) If you feel a low coming on, be ready to test for it and treat it. Always carry a source of carbohydrate with you so you’ll be ready to treat low blood glucose. This is especially important if you are on insulin and have type 1 diabetes.

6) If exercising for an extended period (more than an hour or two), you may want to have a sports drink that provides carbohydrates. Be careful to check the nutrition facts though, you may need to water down the drink so that you don’t have too much, which can cause your blood glucose to spike.

7) Wear a medical identification bracelet, necklace, or a medical ID tag that identifies you as someone with diabetes in case of emergency, and carry a cell phone with you in case you need to call someone for assistance.

8) Activities should be energizing but not overly difficult.

Use the “talk test” to make sure you are not pushing yourself too hard. If you become short of breath and you can’t talk, then slow down. This is most important when you are just starting to increase the activity in your routine. As you become fit, you’ll be able to exercise at a higher intensity and chat with others while you do it.

9) Take care of your feet by wearing shoes and clean socks that fit you well.

You should also check inside your shoes before wearing them. Shoes with silica gel or air mid-soles are a good choice for weight-bearing activities like walking because they are built to reduce stress on your feet and joints. Socks that are made out of a material that reduces friction and pulls moisture away from your skin can also help protect your feet. Some examples are CoolMax, polypropylene, or acrylic (stay away from cotton).

10) Carefully inspect your feet before and after activity for blisters, redness, or other signs of irritation. Talk to your doctor if you have a foot injury or a non-healing blister, cut, or sore.

11) Stop doing an activity if you feel any pain, shortness of breath, or light-headedness. Talk to your doctor about any unusual symptoms that you experience.

Upper Body Tabata Workout

By: Snap Fitness

Tabata is a type of high-intensity training that moves very quickly. 


You perform an exercise at full intensity for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds. You repeat the pattern for a total of 8 times. One Tabata round will take 4 minutes.


Note: This type of workout is for the more advanced. For beginners, start with just 1-2 rounds and build your endurance up. Anyone with preexisting cardiovascular conditions should consult with a doctor first. 


Before you begin the workout, make sure everything is ready and that your equipment and weight is set. To help you keep on track, we suggest a Tabata Timer app.    


The Warm up:


Make sure to warm up properly by including 4-5min of a brisk walk, jumping jacks, elliptical, etc.


The Workout:


Perform the exercise at full intensity for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds and repeat the pattern for a total of 8 times, then move to the next exercise.


1. Incline Press


2. Lat Pulldown (wide grip)


3. Machine Seated Chest Flyes 


4. Seated Row Machine


The Cool-down:

Your cool-down should include light walking or elliptical and light stretching. Because of the high intensity nature of a Tabata, make sure that you give yourself a day rest to allow repair and recovery of the working muscle, plenty of water, and a protein/carb combination as proper nutrition. 

Posts 21 - 30 of 210