Snap Fitness Health & Fitness Blog

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How to Perfect the Plank

By: Snap Fitness

 

Planks are an effective way to work your abdominals as well as your lower back, shoulders, glutes and chest. A straight arm plank creates more of a challenge since it offers less stability than the forearm plank.

 

They look pretty easy, but if you have bad form, they can end up hurting your back and shoulders.

 

Here are the things to watch for while doing a plank: 

 

Straight Arm Plank 

 

To do a proper straight arm plank, come to the top of a push-up position and align your wrists straight below your shoulders. Keep your feet about hips' width apart and keep your heels high. Avoid an arch in your lower back by pulling your abs in and lifting your ribcage and hips. Lastly, be sure your ears are aligned over your shoulders.

 

Once you have proper form like below, hold the position for 30 seconds, or as long as you can, and don't forget to breathe!

 

Straight Arm Plank 

 

For an added challenge, try these variations:

 

Straight arm plank with leg lift - while keeping your proper form, raise one leg in a slow, small movement and lower back down. Lift for 10 reps and switch to the other leg.

 

Bent knee plank - while keeping your form, bend one knee and lift, making small movements. Complete 10 reps and switch to the other leg.

 

One arm & one leg plank - while keeping your proper form, lift your right leg and left arm simultaneously and hold for 5 - 10 seconds. Lower and switch to the other arm and leg. Alternate for 20 reps.

Snap Workout: Arms

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 may cause you to feel sweaty, but it should not cause you to feel fatigued.

 

The Workout


Strength exercises: 15 reps

Non-equipment exercises: 30 seconds

Complete 3 sets of each superset and move on to the next

 

1a. Bicep Curls 

1b. Mountain Climbers

 

2a. Tricep Kickbacks

2b. Plank

 

3a. Overhead Shoulder Press

3b. Jumping Jacks

 

4a. Dumbell Front Raise

4b. Bicycle Abs

 

The Cool-down

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

Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

By: Jodi Sussner, Director of Personal Training

Apple cider vinegar is a completely natural product. It is made from apple juice which is fermented into hard apple cider. Once this process is complete, the hard apple cider is then fermented a second time to apple cider vinegar. Most people are unaware that apple cider vinegar boasts many healthful benefits, such as; boosting hair and skin health to aiding in weight loss, this wonder drink seems to have it all.  Thankfully the benefits of apple cider vinegar just might outweigh the taste! 

 

-Use Apple cider vinegar (ACV) as a hair rinse to naturally remove chemical build up and increase shine.  Combine ½ tablespoon ACV and 1 cup of water – rinse through hair after shampooing/conditioning.  This can be done several times per week!
 
-Apple cider vinegar can regulate the PH balance of your skin – simple dab a small amount onto a cotton ball and smooth over face after cleansing for a natural toner.
 
-ACV can remove stains from teeth!  My oldest stains on his lower teeth and after many attempts at removing, from changing our toothpaste to consulting our dentist, apple cider vinegar did the trick!  Simple dab onto a Cotton swab and scrub – rinse immediately with water and do not soak. Excessive use and leaving it on the teeth can actually be corrosive.
 
-The PH balanced nature of ACV can help relieve sunburn!  Place 1 cup into a warm bath and soak for 10-15 minutes.
 
-Apple Cider Vinegar has been shown to aid weight loss.  Combine 2 teaspoons into water daily – enjoy the increased energy it provides.  Current research points to the active ingredient, acetic acid as the primary reason for its successful use in weight loss.
 
-Remove odor from shoes – simply combine 1-2 tablespoons of ACV and water into a 12 ounce spray bottle.  Spray into shoes and leave to dry – the antimicrobial qualities will kill any odor causing bacteria.
 

You don’t have to suffer through the taste of Apple Cider Vinegar either.  Dilute 1-2 teaspoons in 12-16 ounces of water and sip throughout the day.  Or better yet, combine 1T in 1-cup of warm water plus 1T of honey and enjoy!

 

See the recipe below for a light, tasty apple cider vinaigrette recipe:

 

How Do You Find Balance Between Strength and Cardio Training?

By: Jodi Sussner, Director of Personal Training

The right balance of strength and cardio training is completely dependent on your training goals and what you hope to get out of your time, effort, and commitment to fitness.   Someone looking to compete their first 5k running race will have a different balance than someone looking to do a bodybuilding competition.  Here are some strategies to help you find balance based on your goals:

 

Weight Loss: 

Most people think they need to do as much cardio as possible and eat very little in order to lose weight.  However, that couldn’t be farther from the truth.  Cardio will certainly support fat loss, but will also lead to muscle loss as well.  Finding the balance between keeping/gaining muscle, getting enough calories to support that muscle, and sprinkling in some cardio to burn fat, is key.  I have always been a big believer in cardio intervals to improve cardiovascular fitness, plus it boosts metabolism throughout the day.   Intervals should be done 2-3 times per week.  The rest of the week includes 2-3 strength training sessions and 1 longer moderate intensity cardio session. 

 

Muscle Building:

If you are looking to add muscle, cardio can be your nemesis.  While cardiovascular fitness is still important to heart health, it also tends to burn muscle in addition to fat.  Your focus should be great nutrition and 3-5 sessions of strength training per week.  Add to that, 2-3 days of interval-based cardio and you are good to go.  Remember, pre and post cardio nutrition will prevent muscle loss as much as your strength training sessions so, don’t skimp on nutrition knowledge.

 

Performance Goals:

For cardiovascular focused events such as obstacle events, 5k and 10k races, marathons, and triathlons, cardio-based workouts will always consume most of your training time.  But, you will also want to maintain your strength and muscle definition.  Cardiovascular training should make up 3-5 days of your training week.  This should be supported by at least 2-3 total body strength training workouts.  The strength training workouts will support your performance goals by improving strength and power – while still preventing muscle loss from the amount of cardio you are doing. 

 

Remember, both strength and cardiovascular training will always be necessary components to a balanced physical fitness program.  To be successful, Stay consistent, balanced, and focused on your goals!

Fueling Your Body- No Matter When you Work Out!

By: Jodi Sussner, Director of Personal Training

To have enough drive and energy to hit the gym hard, you need to fuel your body.  You also need to refuel once you are done.  But, how do you juggle pre or post-workout fuel with regular meals and a busy schedule?  Whether you prefer to get your gym time in before the sun comes up or choose to exercise after a long day at the office, these fueling options will ensure that you remain on top of your game.

 

Early-Morning workout:

 

Pre-Workout:   For most people, eating can be difficult early in the morning but, it’s important to get certain nutrients in prior to a workout (especially after a 6-9 hour overnight fast!).  To get the most of your gym session, eat something with a small amount of protein, carbohydrate and healthy fats.  My go-to food is a banana and 1T peanut butter. Carbohydrates to boost energy and brain function, fats and protein in the peanut butter to slow absorption so that I maintain that energy boost throughout the entire workout. Bonus, the potassium boost from the banana will also prevent cramping!

 

Post-Workout:  Whip up a quick smoothie for post-workout readiness.  You can even make it ahead of time so that it’s ready to go when you are dashing out the door after your workout.  Post workout fuel should include a ratio of 1-carbohydrate to 2-proteins for maximum absorption and recovery for hard-working muscles.  Try one cup of plain nonfat Greek yogurt, 1 Tablespoon of cacao seeds (course ground found at natural food stores), and 1 sliced banana.  I add a sprinkle or 2 of cinnamon to make it extra tasty!  Recommended at least 45 minutes post workout – wait any longer and you can lose that hard earned metabolism boosting muscle.

 

Midday workout:


Pre-Workout:   When I work out midday, I can’t rely on the breakfast that I had 3-4 hours ago to fuel me through my workout. Plus, I am already thinking about lunch. Think of this pre-workout fuel as your mid-morning snack - to be enjoyed 1-2 hours prior to your workout.  This snack should be convenient, easily digested and nutritious.  I love a piece of fruit and a handful of nuts.  The fat and protein in the nuts keeps me satiated until the start of the workout and the carbs gives me energy needed to pull me through until lunch time.

 

Post-Workout:  Don’t mistake post-workout refuel for lunch.  Often your midday workout falls something around lunchtime but, soup and salad doesn’t sound as appealing right after you’ve completed treadmill sprints and weights – likely you are still a little heated from your workout.  My go-to here is a simple protein shake with whey protein powder, ice and fruit (try mangos, oranges, or pineapple –they are high in vitamin-C which is known to decrease oxidative damage from free radicals that can cause muscle loss).  Again, protein for muscle repair and carbs to aid in absorption.  Keep it light and enjoy a healthy lunch an hour or two later. 

 

 

Evening Workout:


Pre-Workout:   Squeezing in a workout between the end of your workday and dinner?  Miss fueling up first and it’s a recipe for post workout sugary snack attack disaster!  Enjoy a snack that includes carbs, protein, and fat.  Shoot for a carbohydrate-rich snack that fuels muscles and boosts energy levels, try plain Greek yogurt, with fruit and ¼ oats or granola an hour before your workout.  The protein will satiate you until your workout and the carbs will provide focus and energy to get you through the work out.

 

Post-Workout:  If you’ve pushed off dinner for after your workout, chances are that you are famished.  But grilled chicken and mixed greens won’t cut it after an intense workout.  You need to refuel with complex and simple carbs to replenish glycogen stores – plus, protein for muscle repair.  In the evening, there is nothing better than 8-oz of chocolate milk post workout.  Sounds indulgent if you are looking to lose weight but, it’s the right balance of carbs/protein/fat that will refuel your body quickly with fast digesting nutrients.  Plus, the calcium and magnesium in milk will help your muscles relax while you sleep.  

 

Snap Fitness Helps You Find Your Super Powers!

By: Snap Fitness

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Find Your Finish Line this Summer

By: Snap Fitness

Whether you’re a hardcore adventure athlete, a weekend warrior, or you’ve never completed an athletic competition in your life, there’s a race out there for you.

Each summer thousands of people from all across North America set their sights on completing a 5K or 10K road race, an extreme mud run, or even a full-blown marathon. In fact, Snap Fitness members are eligible for special registration discounts at several of these types of races, including the Run for Your Lives 5K (a zombie-infested obstacle run), Hero Rush (a four-mile course with 17-20 unique, firefighter-themed obstacles), and LoziLu (a 5K women-only mud run). With the nice weather outside and the opportunity to conquer a new goal alongside friends and family, finding a summer event to train for is a great way to keep you engaged in your workouts.

But before you lace up your shoes and paint your face for battle, it’s important to decide which event is right for you, and what it’s going to take to find your finish line this summer.

Set the bar high; but not out of reach – There are dozens of races from all over the country, with varying degrees of distance and difficulty. While it’s great to want to push your limits and tackle that next great challenge, it’s important to start off at the level that’s right for you.

It’s much better to cross the finish line of a race you were prepared for feeling ready to step up to the next challenge, than feeling frustrated from struggling in an event you probably weren’t  quite ready for in the first place. Start slow, build your confidence, and keep raising the bar a little more each time.

Don’t ditch the gym – We totally understand where you’re coming from: The fresh air, sunshine, and scenery are all reasons you might think it’s time to temporarily break up with your Snap Fitness membership for the summer. In reality, if you’re looking to perform at your very best – regardless of what type of event you’re training for – strength training is an essential part of the process.

Ask any personal trainer, and they’ll tell you how finding the right balance of cardio, weights and cross-training will make you a more effective runner, mudder, or even zombie. 

Check out our Facebook page for workout guides created specifically for the Run For Your Lives and Hero Rush races.

Step out of your comfort zone; but don’t abandon it altogether – When it comes to selecting a fun run, there are plenty of new, fresh ways to keep you motivated. Whether its bursts of color, action hero-like obstacles, or just the allure of a quiet stretch of road free from distractions, there’s something for everyone. But the most important thing when it comes to picking your fun run? FUN!

It’s great to push yourself and try new things, especially if it’s going to help you mix up your workouts. But at the end of the day, after all of that hard work and training, the race itself is meant to be the reward. Make sure it’s something you’ll be proud of, and try to have a little bit of fun along the way.

Need help finding the right race in your area (or figuring out how to get ready for it)? Talk to a trainer or staff person at your club, and let them get you started towards your finish line today!

 

Friday Workout Challenge

By: Snap Fitness

Looking for a way to kick the Basic 8 workout up a notch?

 

Try adding in a cardio set between each strength set. Complete 10-15 reps of each strength set followed by the cardio set - and repeat for 2 sets each!

 

If you haven't head of the Basic 8 workout, you can check it out here.

 

Featured Recipe: Overnight Oats

By: Snap Fitness

Looking to kick-start your morning with a healthy, delicious breakfast but don’t have the time? Take a look at this easy-to-make recipe that you can put together the night before!

 

Ingredients: 


- 1/3 cup dry oats- old fashioned oats work best
- 1/2 cup milk or milk substitute- depending on thickness add more/less
- 1/3 cup plain or vanilla yogurt

 

Add your own toppings:

Nuts
Raisins
Chia seeds
Flax seed
Strawberries
Banana

 

Place all ingredients in a bowl overnight. In the morning top with something crunchy and something with healthy fats – like nut butter or nuts. Peanut butter is also a good topping option. 

Let your imagination run wild, and start your morning on the right foot!

 

How to Overcome Exercise Boredom

By: Jodi Sussner, Director of Personal Training

Even the most eager and dedicated fitness enthusiast gets bored with exercise.   Personally, I have a hard time missing a workout (mentally and physically) , both mentally and physically.  But, I’m not immune to an exercise slump filled with; boredom, lack of inspiration, or low motivation.  When this happens, I have to dig deep within myself and make a change before an exercise slump becomes a fitness derailment.   If you’re like me, you want to stay motivated, continue to get results, and enjoy fitness.  Here are some common slump causes and strategies to overcome them:

 

  • Can’t Get up early enough to Move? – Get a better wake-up call - Getting up early can be tough, but always pays off when you’re done.

 

Wear your workout clothes to bed – All you have to do is get up and go!

Change your alarm clock/phone ringer – Crazy but true, I change my ringer anytime I need a little motivation or boost to ensure that I pay attention enough to get up!

Set your coffee pot to brew ahead of time – the aroma alone could get me out of a slump!

Pack everything and have it sitting right by your bed – you’ll hear that alarm and see your gear staring up at you…let’s go!

 

  • Strength Routine Feeling Blah- Muscle up your Strength Routine  - Who wouldn’t get bored with exercise when you’re looking at the same machines and doing the same routine every day!

 

Change your type – Do you use dumbbells for chest?  Use cables or bands instead.  Do you always use barbells for squats?  Try dumbbells or bodyweight with an added jump or plyo box.

Change your order – Pre-fatigue a smaller muscle group like triceps before hitting your chest set.  You won’t make huge gains in chest strength but, you will tweak your routine enough to come back strong!

Change your focus – Do you consistently do upper body on Mondays, lower body on Tuesdays, etc?  Mix it up and try a total body strength set M/W/F – then hit your old routine again the next week. 

Start with Core/Abs – Often the most overlooked but, most wished-for muscle group.  Why save it for last?  Start with corework and use that strength throughout your entire strength routine.

 

  • Trouble Getting out the door and into the Gym? -  A good workout Partner or Trainer can be worth their weight in Gold -  A dedicated partner can make or break your commitment to fitness.  Partner up with someone that will pull you out of a slump when needed – just be prepared to do the same for them when they need it!  See our recent blog post on this topic.

 

 

  • Sluggish intensity or Commitment to Cardio - Make  a New Music playlist– here is a sample of my go-to list of motivating tunes:

Start me up – Rolling Stones

Girl on Fire – Alicia Keys

U Can’t Touch This – MC Hammer (hey, old school is motivating!)

Rock and Roll – Led Zeppelin

We Will Rock You – Queen

I’m in the House – Steve Aoki

 

  • Treadmill boredom This tends to be the old-standby when it comes to cardio and why not, there’s very little learning curve.  Unless you change it up, the tried and true treadmill quickly becomes the dreadmill.   When this happens, I head straight to the Stepmill.  It boosts me out of boredom and humbles me at the same time.  

 

Constantly mixing up a workout-routine is essential for not only our physical bodies, but also our mental state-of-mind. The more we challenge our bodies to try new things, the further we get away from the exercise rut. You may even discover a particular exercise you didn’t know you liked, or a class you enjoy. Check in with us often on Facebook, as I will be providing workout ideas to get you out of a slump and into exercise freedom!

Posts 391 - 400 of 499