Snap Fitness Health & Fitness Blog

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Become a Spartan Workout

By: Snap Fitness

The popularity of obstacle races such as Spartan Races and Tough Mudders has exploded over the past several years. They provide a unique challenge to athletes and generally active people alike that is different from any other kind of competition or exercise that exists. These races allow gym members to stay motivated through their workout programs and give them something new to strive for. While it is impossible to train for exact race circumstances due to the ever-changing nature of these races, there are some aspects that remain constant. This workout, with the proper progressions, will allow you to complete any obstacle encountered.

 

This workout contains two separate circuits to be completed on the same day. The goal is to build strength and then develop functional endurance related to muscular function that translates to what an individual may experience during an obstacle race.  

 

The first circuit is meant to build overall strength in accordance to muscular recruitment based on obstacle course racing. Essentially, the stronger these muscles are, the easier it will be to maneuver through the course and obstacles. These exercises will require a heavier load (more weight), so make sure to take time to recover in between exercises, about 30-45 seconds and about 90 seconds in between each circuit. The second circuit is meant to boost metabolic output and build the strength of multiple energy systems. To get the best results try to only rest when you have to, otherwise moving from exercise to exercise and only resting after the circuit is complete for 30 seconds.

 

Circuit 1

 

Complete three sets through this circuit. Take your time and allow recovery to happen in between exercises, taking about 30-45 seconds and about 90 seconds after each set.

 

Squats: In a Smith machine or squat rack, place the bar on top of the shoulder blades. Push the hips back keeping chest up and bend the knees down to just above a 90 degree angle. Make sure the drive up comes through the heels, using your gluteal and quadriceps muscles, while the core holds strong. Strong legs are a must! The quadriceps and glute muscles provide strength and stability for climbing up and down mountains, maneuvering efficiently in mud and powering you up, over and through many obstacles. Choose a weight that will only allow for 10 repetitions maximum. Looking for a range of 8-10.

 

Fireman Carry: Holding a pair of heavy dumbbells at your side, keep chest up and squeeze shoulder blades in the back. Maintain proper posture with the upper trapezius muscles in the back and forearms engaged to hold that position and weights. Walk from one end of the gym to the other. Start with a weight that will only allow you to travel to one side of the room, but not back as well. As you increase strength and endurance with this exercise, try to make it from one side of them room to the other and back. Then increase weight. Grip strength is a must for any obstacle race. 

 

Pull-ups: Hands should face away from your body and be placed wide enough for your elbows to bend to a 90-degree angle as you pull up. Chest stays out and the pull comes from the back and not the shoulders or arms. Keep shoulders down away from the ears and don’t lock the elbows on the way down. The Latissimus dorsi, or back, is an extremely important part of obstacle racing. Performing well during these races requires this muscle to be strong. From climbing ropes, to pulling tires, successfully crossing the monkey bars etc., the lats are used throughout obstacle races.

 
The goal is stay in the 8-10 repetition range. You can use an assisted machine or if you can do more then 10 with your own body weight, squeeze a dumbbell in between the ankles to add resistance.

 
Plank: In the prone position (face down) on the ground, hold your body up in the air in a flat position and belly button braced into the spine. Elbows should be directly under the elbows and start on the toes. Drop to knees if necessary. Without a strong core, the body will struggle to complete obstacles and maintain proper posture. This will put joints at risk for injury and burn more energy as muscles will need to fight harder to accomplish the goal at hand. Hold this position as long as you can! Each time you complete this exercise hold for a few more seconds.


Single Leg Deadlift: Balancing on one leg, bend at the hip bringing the chest forward until it is parallel with the ground. Keep the knee slightly bent and core braced, lift the back leg to assist with balance. Squeezing hamstrings and gluteus pull the chest back up to starting position. This exercise will provide power climbing up hills and assist with obstacles that require balancing on one leg at a time.

 
Stay in the range of 8-10 repetitions for each leg.

 

Circuit 2

 

Set a timer for 20 minutes and complete as many rounds as possible. Rest 30 seconds in between each circuit, if needed. Move quickly from one exercise to the next with little to no rest.

 

Box Jumps: This is a quick movement down and up. Bend knees and explode up on top of a step or box. Reset by stepping down and repeat as quickly as possible. Repetitions: 15-20.

 

Army Crawls: Start in a plank position. Move opposite arm and knee forward at the same time in a crawl movement, keeping hips and chest square to the floor. Abdominals should feel the brunt of this exercise, as they should be braced the whole time. Go for 45 seconds – 1 minute. If limited in space, just move a few crawls forward, then backwards and repeat until time is up.

 

Burpees: Start in a standing position then drop down to the floor for a pushup. After the pushup, pull knees in at the same time so feet are flat on the ground and you have a solid base underneath you. Jump into the air then land with soft knees to absorb the shock of the jump. Repetitions: 15-20.

 

Dumbbell Bent-Over Rows: Holding dumbbells hinge at the hip and push the hips back so the back remains flat. Squeeze shoulder blades together and pull dumbbells up to the side so hands end up next to the chest. Keep shoulders away from the ears and don’t allow the forearms to curl in. You should be using the middle of your back to pull up. Choose a weight that will allow for 15-20 repetitions.

 

Release Push-ups: In normal push-up position, lower body to the ground and once body is on the ground, lift hands off the ground squeezing shoulder blades together. Then place hands back on the ground and push body back up to starting position using your pectoral muscles (chest). Repetitions: 15-20.

 

Lunge With Shoulder Press: Use either a barbell or dumbbells, hold the weight above shoulders and complete a lunge. Make sure back knee drops almost to the ground and you drive through the heel of the front foot, engaging your glutes. As you return to a standing position press the weight overhead using your deltoids (shoulders). Alternate legs as you walk forward. Repetitions: about 8-10 steps per leg.

 

Sprints: Go fast! Ideally, run with an incline of about eight percent and a speed that you can only last a maximum of 1 minute.

 

Black Forest Cake Protein Shake

By: Snap Fitness

Black Forest cake is a rich chocolate cake that is covered with whipped cream, cherries, and kirschwasser. Instead of eating this sugary dessert, we have a protein shake that is sure to be just as good! This shake is loaded with antioxidant-rich cherries and chocolate protein powder, so you can satisfy your sweet tooth without feeling guilty.

 

Ingredients:

1  cup frozen dark sweet cherries

2 scoops chocolate protein powder

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

1 banana

1 cup unsweetened almond milk, soy milk or skim milk 

3-5 ice cubes

 

Directions: 

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Enjoy immediately!

Sheet Pan Dinner Recipe

By: Snap Fitness

Weeknight dinners need to be simple and something the entire family will enjoy. And in my opinion, they need to be healthy too! This chicken dinner fits the bill of healthy and simple - it takes a few minutes of prep and is cooked all together (fewer dishes to wash!) and happens to be gluten-free, grain-free and high in protein. I like serving our favorite BBQ sauces alongside the chicken for dipping.

 

Ingredients:

2 lb chicken drumsticks

1 lb fingerling potatoes

1 lb brussels sprouts, trimmed

2 Tbsp olive oil

zest from one lemon

salt, pepper and red pepper flakes

 

Instructions:

Heat oven to 415 degrees.

Wash potatoes and brussels sprouts. Pat dry.

Spread out chicken, potatoes and brussels sprouts on large baking sheet.

Combine remaining ingredients and drizzle over chicken and vegetables.

Bake for about 45 minutes, flipping chicken and stirring vegetables about half way through.

Serve with your favorite BBQ sauce!

 

 

Nutrition: (4 servings)

475 calories, 15 grams of fat, 31 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams fiber, 3 grams sugar, 53 grams protein

 

I Seek Obliques

By: Snap Fitness

A strong core is essential in order to utilize other parts of your body to make the most out of your workouts. It’s important to exercise your entire core, not just your abs. We tend to forget about our obliques, even though they are key to having a strong core. This exercise is designed to work your entire core with an emphasis on the obliques.

 

30 Russian twists

20 Side plank dips

10 Double leg lifts on back

Repeat 2X

 

20 Dumbbell side bends

30 Oblique crunches

20 Hip twists in plank

Repeat 2X

 

10 V-ups

20 Double leg lifts lying on side

40 Bicycle crunches

Repeat 2X

 

What are your favorite oblique exercises? Comment on our Facebook page!

Where to Start with Nutrition

By: Snap Fitness

I get this question a lot working with people that are new to exercise and eating right as well as people that are lifelong exercisers — "Where do I start?” 

 

This question is critical to get the client started but also very important on framing what their expectations are for what they can do or what they can achieve. Of course I want to tell them to ditch all their old bad habits and routines and start fresh with this “New Year, New You” type of thought process but that doesn’t typically work with most of us that have more than one or two bad habits to break or reverse.

 

This is what I tell them. It’s not so important where you start but just THAT you start. I have them pick something: a meal, a goal, a habit, and start there! Typically it is a diet or eating-related habit, so let’s take that example. I have them typically start with breakfast. Starting off the day right helps most people stay on track better throughout the day and sets the tone for the day. Start with a breakfast that has some carbs, some fat, and a good amount of protein to keep you full longer and avoid the mid-morning crash. An easy example would be your favorite protein shake, an egg or two, and a complex carb like whole wheat toast. This will start fueling your body for the day ahead.  

 

Once breakfast is conquered, I move on to the night time and help them develop a strategy for what to do at dinner or post-dinner snack. I find that if you can bookend the day with good choices then the rest of the day has a much greater chance of falling into place for most people. This biggest thing I try to get across to my clients that are looking to lose weight or get healthy is that THEY need to make it happen. Nothing is going to fall from the sky and magically get them results. THEY need to start. Where or what isn’t the most important thing — STARTING is!

 

Snap Fitness Academy Awards

By: Snap Fitness

The Oscars isn’t the only award show tonight! We are introducing the 1st Snap Fitness Academy Award nominations—honoring all things gym-focused. Comment on our Facebook post with your votes!

 

Best Machine

Smith machine

Cable machine

Leg press

Rowing machine

Chest press

 

Best Equipment

Barbell

Dumbbells

Kettlebells

Elastic band

Jump rope

 

Best Cardio Machine

Treadmill

Stationary bike

Recumbent bike

Elliptical

Stair master

 

Best Pump-Up Song

Uptown Funk by Bruno Mars

Dark Horse by Katy Perry

Sweet Nothing by Calvin Harris

Rather Be by Clean Bandit featuring Jess Glynne

The Monster by Eminem featuring Rihanna

 

Best Headphones

Noise-cancelling headphones

Classic ear buds

Bluetooth ear buds

Over-the-ear style

 

Best Fitness Apparel Brand

Nike

Under Armour

Adidas

Reebok

Lululemon

 

Best Fitness Apparel Style

Bro tank

Classic t-shirt

Basketball shorts

Yoga pants

Compression shorts

 

 

Spaghetti Squash with Veg'd Marinara Sauce

By: Snap Fitness

Spaghetti squash is a detoxifier and a great substitute for pasta. Served with a delicious marinara sauce jam-packed with veggies­, this dish makes for a delicious, healthy, and comforting meal.

 

Bonus! This recipe can be prepared in advance by refrigerating the cooked squash separately from the marinara sauce and heating them up together when you are ready to eat.

 

Double Bonus! Although this recipe is plenty hearty without meat, feel free add any cooked protein to the finished sauce. I suggest trying lean ground beef, ground turkey, ground bison, turkey sausage, or flaked tuna­. Remember to season your ground meats with salt and pepper while cooking.

 

Ingredients

 

Squash

1 medium spaghetti squash, halved  

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt

Pepper

 

Marinara Sauce

1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes, pulsed for 10 seconds in the food processor or blender

6 cloves garlic, minced or use a garlic press (I highly recommend this gadget!)

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh basil, minced

Red pepper flakes (optional)

 

Veggie Sauté 

1 cup sliced mushrooms 

¾ cup spinach, copped finely

½ cup carrot, finely grated

½ cup onion, finely grated

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 teaspoon garlic powder

  

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 425°F.

2. Drizzle each squash half with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

3. Place flesh side down on a parchment lined baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes to one hour.

4. When you can easily pierce the squash with a knife, remove the baking sheet from the oven and place it on a cooling rack.

5. While the squash is baking, cook the garlic, tomato paste, 1 teaspoon oil and pepper flakes in a medium saucepan or high-rimmed frying pan over medium heat until the mixture begins to brown (approximately 2 minutes). 

6. Stir in tomatoes and cook uncovered over medium-low heat until the sauce thickens (approximately 20 minutes).

7. Turn off the heat, stir in the basil and season with salt and pepper to taste Cover and set aside.

8. In the same medium pan, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil over medium heat.

9. Sauté your selection of veggies until softened (approximately four minutes), add 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, and continue to sautéing until slightly browned (approximately 3 more minutes).­ Add your cooked veggies to the sauce.

10. When the squash is cool enough to handle, use a fork to scrap the flesh into noodle like strands.

11. Plate two cups of squash noodles, spoon over at least one cup of sauce, and then top off the mountain of marinara with toppings.

 

Additional Toppings

Chopped basil

Toasted pine nuts, rough chopped (TIP: Bag your own pine nuts in the grocery store’s bulk foods department, or use any toasted nuts you have on hand.)

Parmesan

  

Servings: 2 – 4

Prep Time: 20 Minutes

Cooking Time: 45 Minutes to 1 hour

 

 

 

The Dirty Dozen Workout

By: Snap Fitness

Often times I see people trying to incorporate eight exercises or more in a circuit for a workout. While circuit training has many benefits and I do use this style of training with many of clients, this time of year can prove to be very difficult to maintain the pace needed to have an effective workout. Finding space and time to complete this workout will not be a problem.  

 

This workout will greatly improve muscular endurance and cardiovascular function, strengthen muscles, and burn a tremendous amount of calories. Include this workout in your routine a couple times a week to reset your metabolism and burn fat.

 

Instructions

For this workout, super set each pair of exercises (back and forth between the two), completing repetitions in descending order starting at 12 and ending at 1 for each exercise. For example, complete 12 repetitions for exercise 1, then complete 12 repetitions for exercise 2. Go right back to exercise 1 and do 11 repetitions and then 11 for exercise 2, all the way down to one repetition of each.

 

Group A

Exercise 1: Pushups

Exercise 2: Kneeling Overhead Shoulder Press. In a kneeling position, press dumbbells overhead. They should be lighter than your regular overhead press.

 

Group B

Exercise 1: Pull-ups. If you can’t do body weight pullups, use an assisted pullup machine. Try to keep the weight the same throughout.

Exercise 2: Plank to Row. In a plank position with hands on the dumbbells, pull one dumbbell up to the side of the body while maintaining body position square to the ground. Alternate side to side.

 

Group C

Exercise 1: Jump Squats

Exercise 2: Mountain Climbers

 

Chocolate Mint Protein Shake

By: Snap Fitness

There's no denying chocolate and mint are one of the best duos. Many of the delicious treats that have this combo are also unhealthy, but not this one! Now you can enjoy chocolate and mint without feeling guilty. Savor this protein shake after a workout or as a special treat today!

 

Ingredients:

 

½ scoop chocolate why protein

1 cup almond milk

½ cup mint chocolate

1 tsp. peppermint extract

2 ice cubes

 

Directions:

 

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Enjoy immediately! 

How to Motivate Yourself

By: Snap Fitness

 This time of year can be tough to get yourself to the gym and give 100 percent in your workouts. Our New Year's resolutions tend to be replaced by the "winter blues." Don’t let the blues get you down and differ you from your goals! We compiled a list of useful tips to help get you back on track with your fitness regimen. 

 

Write down your workouts 

  • Telling yourself that you are going to work out later isn’t as reliable as marking it in your calendar or putting a note somewhere you will see it.

 

Have a workout partner

  • It could be a significant other, a family member, or a friend. This person will help to push and encourage you.

 

Keep track of your accomplishments

  • Looking at your progress and how far you’ve come will motivate you to go further. Keep pushing!

 

Switch things up

  • By trying new things and switching up your workout routine, you avoid the dreaded fitness plateau. Your body and mind need change and challenge.

 

Crank the beats

  • Music gets you amped up and in the mood for a workout. Picking songs with a lot of bass will motivate you to go 100 percent in the gym.

 

A short workout is better than no workout

  • Even if you have limited time, a short workout is better than none at all. Interval training burns more fat and calories in a short amount of time.

 

Sign up for an event

  • Doing this will hold you accountable for something such as a 5K. At the end, you have the feeling of accomplishment.

 

Rest!

  • Hitting the gym hard every day and overworking yourself can result in fatigue and/or injury. If you get rest and dedicate a day off from the gym, you will have more energy for your harder workouts.

 

For more motivation, nutrition, and fitness tips, follow us on Pinterest!

 

Posts 1 - 10 of 546