Snap Fitness Health & Fitness Blog

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Foam Rolling for Everybody

By: Jodi Sussner, Director of Personal Training

 Foam rolling has received a lot of attention in fitness centers, movement therapy clinics, pilates and yoga studios, and for good reason. Using it helps to improve movement, allows cool-down from exercise, and decreases the likelihood for injury.   However, there is a right way and a wrong way to use a foam roller.  It helps to understand how it works in the first place. 

 

Connective tissue known as fascia surrounds the muscle, protecting and connecting it to tendons and joints, allowing for injury free and fluid movement.  Repetitive use and micro trauma (small injuries over time) cause damage to the fascia.  In response, the body lays down more connective tissue in crisscross patterns over the injured area and in-between it and the working muscle.  This is good from a repair standpoint but, not from a movement standpoint – because muscles may become tight, movement becomes restricted, and the body loses muscular balance and function as a result.

 

The first reaction by most trainers or even athletes is to stretch.  Unfortunately, this does not address the connective tissue and can actually lead to further instability and the likelihood for injury.  Massage can be a great option for working into the bound-up connective tissue but, it can be difficult and expensive to receive on a consistent basis.  This is where the foam roller comes in

 

The trick is to avoid simply “pressing into” the affected area.  Instead, work to not only press but, also provide cross-friction and movement to the area.  Once completed, it’s important to get up and move the joint or muscle in order to increase blood flow to the area. 

 

Each foam roller movement should include those 4 components:

1. Press on the affected area with foam roller.

2. Move the roller opposite of the muscle fibers.

3. Roll the roller along the length of the fiber.

4. Move the muscle/body part to increase muscle flow

 

Below are foam rolling techniques on areas commonly affected by restriction, bound up connective tissue, and pain or injury as a result:

 

TFL/IT band – foam rolling this area is a common need for runners looking to prevent knee or hip pain.  Start at the top/side of the hip and work down toward the side of the knee joint.  Avoid rolling too far forward or backward – stay centered onto the side of your thigh.  Start with a small amount of pressure and place more bodyweight as tolerated.  Roll it out 3-5 times and then walk or move around to increase blood flow.

 

 

Quadriceps – foam rolling this area is great for anyone seated at a desk most of the day, or those with weak abdominal muscles and tight low backs.  The Quadriceps gets overused when the core and low back are weak.  Because the quadriceps has 4 parts to the muscle, start to the outside of thigh (at the knee joint) and work up to the hip.  Follow that with moving slightly inward, then working from the center, and finally toward the inside of the thigh (at the knee joint) and working upward.  Start with a small amount of pressure and work up to more.  Roll out each section of the quads 1 time. 

 

 

Low Back – specifically QL (quadratus lumborum).  Foam rolling for the low back is one of the easiest and painless ways to start foam rolling.  Simply start with the roller at your seat (top part of the seat and the lowest part of the low back ideally), and walk your feet forward allowing the rolling to massage through the low back.  You can also work up into the mid-back as well.  Work the roller down to the starting position and repeat 2-3 times.  Follow this foam rolling action up with a twist and a standing stretch for the low back to increase blood flow.

 

 

Achilles Tendon/Sartorius  - foam rolling the ankle and calf area is perfect for athletes and anyone on their feet all day.  This small but often neglected area is important as proper foot/ankle function provides a base to so many movement activities as well as core stability.  Start with the Achilles tendon placed onto the foam roller.  Cross the opposite foot over the top to apply pressure.  Rock your ankle side to side and then forward and back along the roller.  Follow this exercise up with standing and walking or jogging as a way to increase blood flow.

 

 

How to Perfect the Push-up

By: Snap Fitness

 

You probably learned the push-up in elementary school gym class.

 

But does that mean you are performing the push-up correctly today? More than likely, unless you have had some instruction by a personal trainer, you aren’t.

 

Many agree that the push-up is the best upper body exercise – but done incorrectly, you can hurt your shoulders, wrists and lower back.

 

Here are the things to watch for and avoid while doing a push-up:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

1. Elbows flared out

 

2. Hips sagging

 

3. Relying on gravity

 

4. Not stretching wrists

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To perform the push-up correctly:

 

 

 

 

1. You should be engaging your upper back, with hands pressed into the floor to allow your shoulder blades to press apart. 

 

2. The abdominals should be drawn in with the pelvis tilting back to avoid “hanging into” the lower back. 

 

3. The heels should be lifted as to keep the glutes engaged. 

 

4. While lowering, elbows and shoulders blades should move, rather than dropping through the neck or losing the overall posture. 

 

5. Engage abdominals, glutes, chest, back and arms to press yourself smoothly and evenly back up to the starting plank position.

 

Upper Body Band Camp

By: Snap Fitness

The Warm-up:

 

High knees – 60 seconds

Mountain climbers – 60 seconds

Jumping Jacks – 60 seconds

 

The Workout:

 

For each exercise, complete 3 sets of 10-12 reps

 

1. One arm row   

 

 

2. Lat pull-down  

 

 

3. Cross-body pull 

 

 

4. Chest fly  

 

 

5. Squat, curl to shoulder press  

 

 

 

6. Tricep kickback 

 

 

7. Bicep curl  

 

 

 

The Cool-down:

 

End your workout routune with some ab work and stretching

 

1. Straight Arm Plank (1 min.)

2. Bicycle crunches (30)

3. Elbow Plank (1 min.)

4. Stretching exercises for 3-5 minutes

 

 

Click here to get a printable version of this workout! 

 

25 Minute Stepmill Workout

By: Snap Fitness

 

The stepmill can be an intimidating machine, but if your gym has one, it is a machine you don't want to ignore.

 

It can torch as many calories as a steady jog, and is perfect for sculpting because it takes your legs and glutes through a full range of motion. 

 

Be sure you are choosing the stepmill, not a stair stepper. The stepmill is the one that looks like a moving staircase. If you do not have a stepmill in your gym, you can still apply the intervals below to a stair-stepper workout!

 

 

 

5 Fast Lunch Hour Exercises

By: Snap Fitness

 

This is a quick workout that hits each of your major body parts. Keep your rest time between sets below 30 seconds. 

 

For each exercise, complete 3 sets of 10-12 reps

 

1. Reverse lunge with dumbbell bicep curl (5-6 reps each leg)

 

 

2. Medicine Ball Pushup (5-6 reps each side)

 

 

3. Squat with bicep curl to shoulder press

 

 

4. Pull-ups or lat-pulldown

 

 

 

OR

 

 

5. Plank Row with tricep extension

 

 

Finish with 3 rounds of burpees, 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off

 

Take the workout with you!

 

Attacking Heart Health – A Three-Part Approach

By: Jodi Sussner, Director of Personal Training

When discussing heart health, most people think of cardiovascular exercise.  Did you know that nutrition, stress management, and cardiovascular training all affect heart health?  To tackle heart health, consider looking at your health from a balanced 3-part approach: 

 

1. Proper Diet

 

Nutrition:


Dietary changes to improve overall heart health include; a decreased consumption of high fat or processed meats, increased consumption of dark green leafy and cruciferous vegetables, and the inclusion of high quality, specifically mono-saturated, fats.  Diets high in these items work to decrease LDL (bad cholesterol), and increase HDL (good cholesterol).  Additionally, check with your doctor to get a baseline cholesterol level.   

 

Foods to include:

Lean meats – chicken, fish, turkey, and lean cuts of red meat

Vegetables – broccoli, cabbage, kale, and beets

Fruits – all citrus fruits and berries

Grains – Oats and brown rice

 

Hydration:

 

When you are properly hydrated, your cells can function at their best.  Proper cell hydration improves the flushing of fluids and waste products out of your system – free radicals and fatty acids within the blood stream specifically.  Make a goal to hydrate with at least ½ of your body weight in ounces each day.  This should include fresh, plain water without additional carbonation, artificial flavors or sweeteners.  

 

Supplements:

 

Omega-3 Fatty Acids – according to a study from the Mayo Clinic Medical Education and Research (MFMER) from 1998-2010 - can reduce cholesterol, blood pressure and the risk of blood clots.  Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of unsaturated fatty acid that is thought to reduce inflammation throughout the body. Overall, inflammation can damage your blood vessels and lead to heart disease.

 

They recommend eating one to two servings a week of fish, particularly fish that's rich in Omega-3 fatty acids or including an omega-3 supplement to your diet that contains at least 300mg daily.

 

Vitamin E – Vitamin E helps to neutralize free radicals and prevent heart disease because it acts as an antioxidant.  According to the Livestrong organization at livestrong.com, Vitamin E slows the process of plaque buildup in the arteries, which can lead to many heart problems. Foods that contain vitamin E include nuts, seeds and vegetable oil.  Or supplement with at least 600IU of Vitamin E daily.

 

Vitamin C - Vitamin C also prevents the activity of free radicals. According to NaturalNews.com,  Vitamin C helps to rebuild collagen which prevents damage in the arteries and decreases the chance of heart disease.  Choose citrus fruits that are high in Vitamin C (like oranges, mango, or grapefruit).  Or, supplement with at least 500mg daily. 

 

Vitamin D – It is well-known that North Americans don’t get enough Vitamin D each day.  As we spend more time indoors we lose the absorption of this important vitamin.  Plus, when we are eventually outdoors, we cover up with sun-blocking clothing and hats or use sunscreen to prevent sun damage.  Though good to prevent sun damage on the skin, the need to absorb Vitamin D is still crucial to preventing heart disease, increasing energy, and improving your mood.  Truestar Health recommends supplementing with at least 500 IU per day.

 

 

2. Stress Management

 

Stress increases cortisol levels within the body.  This increase in cortisol also promotes inflammation.  Increased Inflammation in the body forces the release of fatty acids into the blood stream.  The result is increased cholesterol and triglyceride levels.  Consider taking up a daily meditation practice or other mind/body disciplines like yoga or pilates as a way to manage stress and subsequent cortisol and inflammation.  We love the meditation support offered through Truestar Health – download and try some of our favorites here:  Travel Meditation with Truestar

 

 

3.  Cardiovascular Fitness

 

Though High Intensity Interval Training is the latest fitness craze, it is well-documented that consistent and moderate cardiovascular exercise is best for improving heart health and lowering blood pressure.  Consider a balanced approach to cardio that includes:  3-4 days/week using a variety of equipment options such as:  Stairstepper, elliptical, and treadmill - at the following intensities:

 

Steady State – Maintain the same moderate intensity heart rate throughout the entire duration of a 30-45 minute workout.  This intensity should make you winded to the point that you work up a sweat, and cannot sing a song but, could say a few sentences at a time in conversation. Do this 1x/week.

 

Low Intensity – Maintain a light intensity throughout the entire duration of a 60 minute workout.  For most people, this would include a long walk or an easy bike ride.  This intensity should allow you to speak easily to a friend, break a light sweat, and generally leave you feeling re-energized.  Do this 1-2x/week.

 

Anaerobic Intervals – Include bouts of high intensity mixed with lower intensity. You should establish an aerobic base before adding anaerobic intervals into your cardio mix.  It is recommended that you complete 2-4 weeks of steady state and low intensity workouts first (2-3 workouts/week for 2-4 weeks), before adding in anaerobic intervals.

 

An example of anaerobic intervals include; running for 1min, then walking for 1min.  Or, walking at a steep incline for 1 min. and then walking with no incline for 1 min.  During high intensity bouts, you should feel breathless and unable to speak a full sentence.  Use the easy interval to recover and get your heart rate back down to where you can speak 2-3 sentences in conversation. 

 

 

Looking to improve heart health and prevent heart disease takes a balanced approach.  The key is consistency and finding a way to make positive changes in all areas of nutrition, stress, and exercise.  Start in the areas that you can make the most immediate impact and add from there.  You will add years to your life and of course, life to your years!

Attacking Heart Health – A Three-Part Approach

By: Jodi Sussner, Director of Personal Training

When discussing heart health, most people think of cardiovascular exercise.  Did you know that nutrition, stress management, and cardiovascular training all affect heart health?  To tackle heart health, consider looking at your health from a balanced 3-part approach: 

 

1. Proper Diet

 

Nutrition:


Dietary changes to improve overall heart health include; a decreased consumption of high fat or processed meats, increased consumption of dark green leafy and cruciferous vegetables, and the inclusion of high quality, specifically mono-saturated, fats.  Diets high in these items work to decrease LDL (bad cholesterol), and increase HDL (good cholesterol).  Additionally, check with your doctor to get a baseline cholesterol level.   

 

Foods to include:

Lean meats – chicken, fish, turkey, and lean cuts of red meat

Vegetables – broccoli, cabbage, kale, and beets

Fruits – all citrus fruits and berries

Grains – Oats and brown rice

 

Hydration:

 

When you are properly hydrated, your cells can function at their best.  Proper cell hydration improves the flushing of fluids and waste products out of your system – free radicals and fatty acids within the blood stream specifically.  Make a goal to hydrate with at least ½ of your body weight in ounces each day.  This should include fresh, plain water without additional carbonation, artificial flavors or sweeteners.  

 

Supplements:

 

Omega-3 Fatty Acids – according to a study from the Mayo Clinic Medical Education and Research (MFMER) from 1998-2010 - can reduce cholesterol, blood pressure and the risk of blood clots.  Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of unsaturated fatty acid that is thought to reduce inflammation throughout the body. Overall, inflammation can damage your blood vessels and lead to heart disease.

 

They recommend eating one to two servings a week of fish, particularly fish that's rich in Omega-3 fatty acids or including an omega-3 supplement to your diet that contains at least 300mg daily.

 

Vitamin E – Vitamin E helps to neutralize free radicals and prevent heart disease because it acts as an antioxidant.  According to the Livestrong organization at livestrong.com, Vitamin E slows the process of plaque buildup in the arteries, which can lead to many heart problems. Foods that contain vitamin E include nuts, seeds and vegetable oil.  Or supplement with at least 600IU of Vitamin E daily.

 

Vitamin C - Vitamin C also prevents the activity of free radicals. According to NaturalNews.com,  Vitamin C helps to rebuild collagen which prevents damage in the arteries and decreases the chance of heart disease.  Choose citrus fruits that are high in Vitamin C (like oranges, mango, or grapefruit).  Or, supplement with at least 500mg daily. 

 

Vitamin D – It is well-known that North Americans don’t get enough Vitamin D each day.  As we spend more time indoors we lose the absorption of this important vitamin.  Plus, when we are eventually outdoors, we cover up with sun-blocking clothing and hats or use sunscreen to prevent sun damage.  Though good to prevent sun damage on the skin, the need to absorb Vitamin D is still crucial to preventing heart disease, increasing energy, and improving your mood.  Truestar Health recommends supplementing with at least 500 IU per day.

 

 

2. Stress Management

 

Stress increases cortisol levels within the body.  This increase in cortisol also promotes inflammation.  Increased Inflammation in the body forces the release of fatty acids into the blood stream.  The result is increased cholesterol and triglyceride levels.  Consider taking up a daily meditation practice or other mind/body disciplines like yoga or pilates as a way to manage stress and subsequent cortisol and inflammation.  We love the meditation support offered through Truestar Health – download and try some of our favorites here:  Travel Meditation with Truestar

 

 

3.  Cardiovascular Fitness

 

Though High Intensity Interval Training is the latest fitness craze, it is well-documented that consistent and moderate cardiovascular exercise is best for improving heart health and lowering blood pressure.  Consider a balanced approach to cardio that includes:  3-4 days/week using a variety of equipment options such as:  Stairstepper, elliptical, and treadmill - at the following intensities:

 

Steady State – Maintain the same moderate intensity heart rate throughout the entire duration of a 30-45 minute workout.  This intensity should make you winded to the point that you work up a sweat, and cannot sing a song but, could say a few sentences at a time in conversation. Do this 1x/week.

 

Low Intensity – Maintain a light intensity throughout the entire duration of a 60 minute workout.  For most people, this would include a long walk or an easy bike ride.  This intensity should allow you to speak easily to a friend, break a light sweat, and generally leave you feeling re-energized.  Do this 1-2x/week.

 

Anaerobic Intervals – Include bouts of high intensity mixed with lower intensity. You should establish an aerobic base before adding anaerobic intervals into your cardio mix.  It is recommended that you complete 2-4 weeks of steady state and low intensity workouts first (2-3 workouts/week for 2-4 weeks), before adding in anaerobic intervals.

 

An example of anaerobic intervals include; running for 1min, then walking for 1min.  Or, walking at a steep incline for 1 min. and then walking with no incline for 1 min.  During high intensity bouts, you should feel breathless and unable to speak a full sentence.  Use the easy interval to recover and get your heart rate back down to where you can speak 2-3 sentences in conversation. 

 

 

Looking to improve heart health and prevent heart disease takes a balanced approach.  The key is consistency and finding a way to make positive changes in all areas of nutrition, stress, and exercise.  Start in the areas that you can make the most immediate impact and add from there.  You will add years to your life and of course, life to your years!

Butt & Gut Workout

By: Jodi Sussner, Director of Personal Training

The Warm-up:

 

Select your favorite cardio machine and get your body loosened and blood flow moving for 5 minutes. The warm-up should increase your heart rate, but it should not leave you feeling fatigued.

 

The Workout:


Repeat the circuit below 4-5 times.

 

1. Squat jumps - 30 sec.

 

 

 

2. Walking lunges - 45 sec.

 

 

 

3. Back leg pulses - 30 sec. each side

 

 

4. Oblique twist - 45 sec.

 

 

5. Step throughs - 30 sec. each side

 

 

 

6. Glute bridge with march - 45 sec.

 

 

7. Elbow plank - 30 sec.

 

5 Yoga Moves to Perform After a Workout

By: Snap Fitness

As you may already know, stretching after a workout is not only an effective way to cool-down, but is also good for stiff muscles and joints. Leaving your body more relaxed and rejuvenated after pushing it to the limits.

 

There are many stretches that can be done, but none are as effective as doing a few easy yoga moves. Most people think that yoga isn’t for them, that it takes flexibility and balance, but in time yoga can actually assist in your overall fitness performance. In conjunction with a workout routine, yoga can be the missing piece to the puzzle. Not only does yoga provide strength in a whole new way, but also allows the body to take a break and breathe.

 

Grab a mat, take a moment to “stretch it out” with these 5 basic yoga moves.

 

Downward dog - This simple pose stretches out hamstrings, calf muscles, strengthens the core and shoulders while releasing tension in the upper and lower back,

 

Camel pose - This chest and heart opener is releasing tension in the lower back and neck joints.

 

 

A good modification for this posture is placing your hands on your hips leaning back slightly.

 

 

Another modifcation is placing only one hand on your ankle.

 

 

These modifcations help to support the spine while keeping your chest lifted and your lower back straight.

 

Standing Forward Fold - Release tension in the thighs and calf muscles. This posture also elongates the back and opens up the shoulder muscles. Great for runners and those weight training.

 

Legs up the wall pose - This pose helps to release tension in the lower back. Do you have sore legs or poor circulation? Then legs up the wall pose is for you!

 

 

Tree pose - Effective for stretching out the legs, back and arms, and also challenges balance.

 

These postures are not only beneficial after a workout, but also can aid in better sleep, digestion, and over-all mood. Next time you hit the gym, try taking a few extra minutes after your workout to go through these basic yoga postures. Your body will thank you tomorrow!

5 Minute Treadmill Blocks Workout

By: Jodi Sussner, Director of Personal Training

This treadmill workout improves cardiovascular fitness and improves speed on hills and flats – perfect for anyone looking to improve pace for an upcoming race or just decrease the boredom of treadmill work.

 

The Workout:

 

5 min. easy warmup

 

1 min. –  jog at 0% incline

2 min. – jog at 3-5% incline

1 min. – sprint at 0% incline

1 min. – easy walk

 

Repeat this 5 min. interval 4-6 times for a 20-30 min. workout

 

Bonus: For each 2 min. interval (hill), increase the incline .5-1% each time!

Posts 41 - 50 of 208