Snap Fitness Health & Fitness Blog

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Commercial Break Workout

By: Snap Fitness

What do you usually do during a commercial break while watching your favorite TV program?

 

If you’re honest with yourself, more than likely you either go to the refrigerator, flip through other TV channels, or check your phone. How about getting in a mini workout instead? Who doesn’t want to burn a few extra calories?

 

Follow the table below, and choose a cardio exercise for your first commercial break, and a core exercise for the second commercial. Continue to alternate cardio and core exericese to burn the most calories and challenge your body.

 

Its time to put down the remote, and take a commercial “break” from your old routine!

 

 

Click here to get a printable version of the workout! 

 

 

Leg Pyramid Workout

By: Snap Fitness

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:

 

For this pyramid workout, complete the following upward, then downward sequence of reps for each exercise. Adjust the weight for each set for the maximum you can tolerate.

 

10 reps

12 reps

15 reps

12 reps

10 reps

 

Rest 15-30 seconds in-between sets.

 

Complete the pyramid for one exercise, then move on to the next exercise. 

 

Exercise 1: Side Lunges

 

 

Exercise 2: Bodyweight Squats

 

 

 

Exercise 3: Dumbbell Front or Back Lunge

 

 

The Cool-down: 

 

End your workout with stretching exercises for 3-5 minutes.

 
 
Click here to get the printable version of this workout!  
 

 

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.

 

 

Featured Recipe: No-Mayo Tuna Salad

By: Snap Fitness

Most of us shy away from tuna salad because of the heavy mayo content, which is full of added fat and calories. Believe it or not, the key to a really good tuna salad isn’t hiding in the mayo jar, it’s in the added ingredients.

 

If you haven’t tried tuna packed in olive oil, we highly suggest it. Tuna packed in oil tends to be meatier and is actually healthy for you at the same time. We added our own dash of olive oil in this recipe, which gives this tuna salad a fancy kick.

 

Feel free to throw your own twist on your tuna salad. May we suggest; tomatoes, apples, raisins, walnuts, or sliced almonds? The skis the limit with your flavor combinations.

 

So go ahead! Get your fancy pants on and let’s get cooking!

 

Ingredients:

 

  • 1 can (5 oz) water packed tuna, drained
  • 2 Tbsp kalamata olives, pitted and chopped or 2 Tbsp capers
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 4-5 whole canned artichokes, chopped
  • 1/2 stalk celery, minced
  • 1 finely chopped scallion - green part only
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Extra virgin olive oil to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions:

 

1. Drain tuna, place in a medium sized bowl.

2. Combine kalamata olives, artichokes, minced celery, scallions, and stir.

3. In a separate bowl, wisk; lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.

4. Slowly pour dressing onto tuna mixture. Serve on bread, crackers, or on top of your favorite lettuce.

5. Enjoy!

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.

 

5 Tips to Halt Junk Food Cravings

By: Snap Fitness

We’ve all been there. Whether it’s the middle of a stressful workday, you’re bored late at night, or just don’t have the time to make a healthy choice, junk food cravings have snuck up on all of us. While the urge might be tempting, there are five easy ways to help keep them at bay:

 

1. Stay Hydrated

Studies have shown that when people crave unhealthy foods, it could be a sign of dehydration, so opt for a glass of water when you feel a craving coming.

 

2. Don’t tell yourself you can’t eat it

The moment you tell yourself you can’t have something you immediately want it. Has this happened to you? Instead, tell yourself you won’t have it because ______ (insert your reasoning, such as: I can find a better option, I am working towards a goal, I don’t really want it, I have been doing so well staying on track, I don’t want to feel bad about it afterwards, etc. )

 

3. Divert your attention

Focus on something not related to food, such as finishing an email, turning to another task or stretching

 

4. Make sure you kitchen is stocked 

But stocked with healthy foods. Keep junk food out of the house to avoid temptations.

 AND 

If you do end up giving into your craving...

 

5. Don't beat yourself up

the last thing you should do is beat yourself up about it.  What you should do is forget about it and move on. If you get down on yourself, you might find it easier to give in to temptation once again.

To avoid this vicious cycle, do the following:

1. Have enough to satisfy your craving, and get rid of the rest.

2. Tell yourself that it was a one-time thing and that you are not going to give in again, and move on. 

 

Good luck!

Homemade Avocado Hummus

By: Snap Fitness

It’s amazing how adding one simple ingredient to a recipe can take it to a whole new level. In this recipe, we’ve taken traditional chickpea hummus and added an avocado to the ingredient list. What comes from the combination is a creamy texture, you’ve never imagined possible. It will be a new snack addiction.

 

This dip is very versatile and tastes great with just about anything. Use it as a sandwich spread instead of mayonnaise. The beans in this recipe actually make this dip a protein packed  option that's pretty filling for a snack or even a light meal.

 

Grab those avocados and let’s dip!

 

Ingredients:

1 can garbanzo beans drained and rinsed (chickpeas)

1 ripe avocado

2 Tbsp fresh lime juice

2 Tbsp olive oil

½ tsp garlic powder

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

Optional: cilantro

 

Directions: 

1. Combine all ingredients in blender or food processor

2. Blend until the smoothness is to your liking

 

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! 

 

10 Reasons to Eat More Fruit

By: Snap Fitness

 

The jig is up! Fruits and vegetables are the key towards a healthier lifestyle, but why?

 

We often hear that adding more fresh fruit into our diet will suddenly make us more nutritionally fit. The fact is, it will! Adding more fruit into your diet is good for your overall health. Eating a variety of fruits is shown to help lower blood pressure, aid in chronic diseases, and lower cholesterol.

 

Not to mention, fruit is full of fiber and natural sugars to help our bodies function properly and keep blood sugar at bay.

 

Grab your fruit bowl. Its time to hit the produce section!

 

 

Apples

Nutritional value: 1 medium – 95 cal, 4.4g fiber

Apples contain antioxidants that may help lower the chance of developing diabetes and help your body resist infections

  

  

Bananas

Nutritional value: 1 medium – 105 cal, 3.1g fiber

Bananas are one of the most potassium filled fruits and pack an energy punch

 

 

 Blueberries

Nutritional value: 1 cup – 85 cal, 3.6g fiber

Blueberries top the list of all fruits in antioxidants, which help fight off disease and improve memory function

 

 

Cherries

Nutritional value: 1 cup – 77 cal, 2.5g fiber

Cherries may help reduce inflammation and calm your nervous system

 

 

Grapes

Nutritional value: 1 cup – 62 cal, 0.8g fiber

Grapes contain an antioxidant that may help in reducing blood pressure levels

 

 

 

Kiwi

Nutritional value: 1 large – 42 cal, 3g fiber

Kiwis pack more vitamin C than oranges and boost the immune system

 

 

Oranges

Nutritional value: 1 medium – 45 cal, 2.3g fiber

Oranges help lower blood cholesterol levels and help to maintain healthy skin and vision

 

 

 

Peaches

Nutritional value: 1 medium – 59 cal, 2.2g fiber

Peaches help regulate the immune system and fight off infections

 

 

 

Pineapple

Nutritional value: 1 cup – 82 cal, 2.3g fiber

Pineapple aids in digestion and helps fight arthritis

 

 

Watermelon

Nutritional value: 1 cup – 46 cal, 0.6g fiber

Watermelon is a great fruit to add to a weight-loss diet since it is 92% water.

My Survivor Story: Dawn Koceja

By: Snap Fitness

This month, Snap Fitness is proud to sponsor the American Heart Association’s Milwaukee Hearth Walk, taking place September 29. To celebrate, this month we’re providing you with heart health-themed fitness tips, recipes, and a very special survivor story from the American Heart Association.

 

Dawn Koceja of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin has a strong family history of heart disease, so when she decided to train for a marathon at the age of 39, she saw her doctor first.  She was given a clean bill of health, but a hip injury which required surgery derailed her marathon plans.  After recovering from the surgery, she couldn’t get back to her previous level of fitness.  She was experiencing chest pains and shortness of breath.  Several cardiologists were unable to pinpoint what was going on, but one suggested she had a rare condition: myocardial bridging. 

 

Her condition was confirmed at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.  Basically, Dawn’s left descending artery dips into the heart muscle, instead of lying on top of it.  Every time her heart beat, the muscle would cut off blood flow through the artery.  Dawn underwent open-heart surgery at Mayo, where doctors “un-roofed” or removed half of her top heart muscle.  She was the first patient to have this surgery at Mayo. 

 

After months of rehabbing, she was able to pick up her workouts once again.  She enjoys cross training, running, biking and weightlifting.  Originally she was on 15 pills a day, but thanks to healthy living, she is now off all medications. 

 

Dawn has several messages she likes to share:  You’re never too young to develop heart disease.  Be an advocate for yourself and your health; find a doctor you trust who will listen to you.  Know your family history of heart disease.  Eating right, exercising and not smoking truly can make all the difference in the world when it comes to heart health.

Posts 391 - 400 of 590