We all have busy schedules and finding time to fit everything is nearly impossible. The first thing we tend to throw out is our workout. Well, forget this all or nothing mentality, you do not have to workout 30-60 minutes all at once. Instead, squeeze your workouts in where you have 10 extra minutes. It is proven that doing 10 minutes of medium to high intensity workouts at least 3 times a day, 5 days a week, will help you live a healthier life and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
Besides fitting in the 10 minute workouts when you have a little bit of free time, you can also make simple choices that will help you burn a few extra calories. For instance, park at the far end of the store parking lot and walk briskly to the store. Whenever possible walk wherever you need to go. By taking the stairs instead of the elevator you can burn 75-115 calories for every 10 minutes spent in the stairwell. While watching your favorite show doesn’t just sit on the couch, on those commercial breaks get up and get you’re heart rate up and your blood pumping. Just think if you did 5 minutes of jumping jacks, crunches, pushups, squats, and lunges, each time you had a commercial you would get in an extra 20-30 minutes of working out.
Also spring is just around the corner and it is time to do spring-cleaning. Get out there and do some gardening, 30 minutes of gardening will burn roughly 140 calories, mowing the lawn for 30 minutes will burn about 160 calories, raking the leaves will burn about 125 calories in 30 minutes. Clean those dirty windows! Wash all your windows inside and out for 30 minutes and burn 85 calories. 30 minutes spent cleaning out the garage can burn 100 calories. Rearrange your furniture, and vacuum and dust behind everything can burn an extra 135 calories. As you can see it does not take much to burn those extra calories! Your goal is to squeeze in your workouts whenever you have a few extra minutes, and to move more!
Many people at new years try and change their lifestyle to become a healthier person. Of those people only about 20% can actually stick with their new year’s goals for more than 3 months. That’s not a very high number, so here are some tips to make your new fitness program one that stays with you for your lifetime.
The first thing to do is find a gym that fits all of your needs. Basically you want to get the best bang for your buck. This means find a gym that is convenient, clean, and organized well enough that you can do exercises without being in your fellow member’s personal bubble. The gym should also offer a wide range classes and amenities that fit your needs and preferences.
The next thing to do is contemplate what your personal goals for your fitness program will; they should be both long-term and short-term goals. These goals then need to be written down and visible every day. It is a proven fact that people who write down their goals achieve them at a higher percentage than those who do not.
Now that you know where you are working out and what you want to achieve, you need to think about nutrition and water intake to fuel your workout. You should drink two cups (16 oz) of water about two hours before you exercise, drink one glass for every 15 min of exercise, and drink two cups of water for every pound of weight lost after exercise. As far as food goes, eating before exercise can help prevent a crash in energy during your workout. If you are trying to eat with an hour of your exercise, stick to light foods rich in carbohydrates; if you have a couple hours before exercise grab food rich in carbohydrates as well as protein, and if you have over three hours before your exercise get a small mean of complex carbohydrates, protein and good fat. Right after you exercise, replenish your energy with carbohydrates and protein.
As for the exercise, if you are a new exercise enthusiast keep the workout simple. Do not try and do all of these crazy exercises you see other gym goers doing. Stay simple and basic in your exercises first, and then progress into other advanced exercises. If you are experienced but have lost that drive to exercise, try finding an exercise partner or asking for advice from a fitness expert, like a personal trainer, to vamp up your routine.
To have a successful fitness plan DO: find the right gym, write down those long and short term goals, eat food before and after your workout as well as drink plenty of water throughout the day and your workout and keep your workouts simple, but ask for advice from a someone if you need to vamp up your workout.
Olympic-style and/or Power weightlifting is a long-established and commonly misunderstood form of resistance training. When performed correctly, Olympic lifts can be some of the most beneficial exercises that exist today, and may likely have a place in your regular workout routine.
What are “Olympic-Style and Power Lifts”?
Olympic lifts are exercises where you move relatively heavy weight over your head in a quick, concise movement. Where as power lifts are exercises involving back squats, deadlift, and bench press.
Traditionally only the snatch and the clean & jerk are considered to be Olympic lifts, as they are used for Olympic competition. In non-completive environment, however, similar lifts such as the power clean, push jerk, as well as many variations involving subtle shifts in grip and body position also qualify.
Do not be afraid!
Olympic/Power lifts often take a backseat with the general population because of fears surrounding accidental injury. Fear not! When done correctly, Olympic-style lifts are some of the safest activities available in the weight room, including those sit-down resistance-training devices.
Olympic/Power lifts have unique advantages: they utilize the entire body, require complete core involvement, promote strength and power development, teach you to generate force utilizing muscles in sequence, and accustom the individual to distribute and accept force correctly.
Also, the extension of the hips, knees, and ankles utilized in Olympic/Power lifting exists in virtually all athletic activities. For those who value power production, which translates to moving quickly, jumping higher, hitting harder, and the like, Olympic lifts are right up your alley.
Before you get Started…
You need to log some serious hours training in the weight room. If it is your first week back to the gym in a few years, Olympic and Power lifting may not be best for you. It takes a certain amount of structure (created with hypertrophy training) as well as requisite strength to perform an Olympic/Power lift effectively. It is a good idea to become proficient in some simpler exercises that utilize the components of Olympic and Power lifts, like the back squat, deadlift, Romanian deadlift, bench press, and overhead press before beginning an Olympic-style routine.
As stated earlier, Olympic and Power lifting, when done correctly, is a very safe activity. As with all exercise, there are risks inherent to the performance of Olympic and Power lifts, so do your research! To mitigate the risk, ensure you put in the necessary training hours prior to beginning an Olympic and Power training program, begin with a reasonable weight, make sure you have enough room, familiarize yourself with appropriate spotting and escape techniques, and attain the correct equipment.
There is no substitute (this article included) for instruction from a qualified professional. If you are interested in learning about Olympic and/or Power lifting consult a strength coach or an experienced and qualified personal trainer.
It’s ski season—ah…the pure joy of skiing down a mountainside of sparkling powder, surrounded by tall evergreens and brilliant blue sky……
Then, after that first day of tackling moguls, dodging trees and other skiers; the fatigue and soreness of the legs and hips kick in. This is partly because of muscle overuse and lack of core strength. If the core is not working enough, your legs and hips have to work harder to stabilize you.
Pilates will stretch tight, overused leg muscles, such as the quads and hip flexors and strengthen underused muscles such as the hamstrings and inner thighs.
Skiers rely on side to side hip movement to recruit the inside and outside edge of the ski. Boarders tilt their hips forward and back to access the front and back edge of the board and use a more rotational movement to change directions. A strong core gives you better edge control. Edge control improves balance as you navigate the twists and turns of the slope –at high speeds-, the ever-changing snow conditions and the ability to get up unscathed when you take a tumble.
By practicing Pilates, core strength and alignment improves and you become more in tune with your body. Movements are fluid, there is less wear and tear on joints and your sport becomes more enjoyable. You’ll find yourself adapting better to changing snow conditions, challenging terrain, and falling less.
Here are some mat exercises you could start today:
1) The Hundred- core, arms, hip stabilizer 2) The Abdominal Series
Single leg stretch
Double leg stretch
Single straight leg stretch
Double straight leg stretch
3) The Side Lying Leg Kick Series
Inner Thigh lifts
Nothing will improve your skiing faster than a strong core. Cross-train by adding a Pilates mat class to your fitness regime or perhaps a private session with your Pilates Instructor.
At Seattle Athletic Club, we are widely recognized for our superior squash program. More than 500 members compete in tournaments, and many people seek out our club to study with the legendary Khan family. Coincidentally, Seattle Athletic Club also has an excellent authentic Pilates program. All of the instructors have graduated from the most rigorous authentic training program, under the tutelage of master teachers hand-picked by Joseph Pilates and his protégés. The common denominator here is the availability to receive the best cross-training method in addition to the best squash instruction.
So, how can Pilates improve your squash game? Racket sports, by nature, are repeatedly one-sided. Half of the body, generally speaking, is used more than the other half. Also, the rotation required in the torso, let alone the extremities, is significant in the game of squash. Furthermore, the mental focus and physical stamina required in squash is crucial to the outcome.
Pilates is designed to work the body evenly, building strength in the torso to aide in the mobility of the entire body. A program of specific exercises will work the body more uniformly in order to prevent overdevelopment of one side. The custom Pilates workout will also strengthen the deep abdominal muscles providing a stable base from which to hit the ultimate ‘kill shot’. The range of motion through the middle of the body is improved upon during every Pilates exercise, as the core initiates all movement. The shoulders and upper back, typically a difficult region to stretch, will gain flexibility through precise movements that will subsequently enhance far-reaching swings, and your ability to reach that drop shot.
The focus required for your Pilates workout will increase your focus on the court. The ability to decelerate in your Pilates workout in order to develop the specificity of the work, will inherently improve your concentration in any fast paced sport. You will, perhaps, be able to anticipate and prepare shots that were once more hurried and less skillful. Also, the breath control that is essential to your Pilates workout, will enhance your innate ability to find that last energetic lungful in order to successfully complete the game.
The benefits of Pilates will follow you through your daily routine, condition your body so that you stay injury-free, and will clearly aide in the mastering of your chosen sport. Squash is a challenging game of athleticism, and Pilates is clearly a ‘straight drive’ to your success!
Do you ever wonder while you are lifting weights, when to exhale? Is it when pulling or pushing? Well, it can be both. It depends on which muscle group you are targeting and which aspect of the muscle’s contraction you are in. There are three types of muscle contractions: concentric, eccentric, and isometric. An isometric contraction is when there is no muscle fiber movement. For example, many yoga positions are isometric contractions. Holding a plank position is an isometric contraction for numerous muscles. The concentric contraction is when the muscle fibers are shortening, while the eccentric is the reciprocal and the fibers are elongating. In this dynamic movement, you will want to exhale on the concentric contraction of the muscle group you are targeting and conversely, inhale on the eccentric. In using a chest press for our example, which utilizes the pectoralis major (pecs), one would inhale lowering the bar to the chest because the pecs’ muscle fibers are elongating (eccentric) and exhale as you push the bar away from the body which contracts or shortens (concentric) the muscle fibers in this muscle group. If we are using the seated row as an example of the opposing muscle group exercise utilizing the latissimus dorsi (lats), then one would exhale while pulling the weight towards the body shortening the lats’ fibers and inhale when eccentrically releasing the weight away from the body.
So to sum it up, exhale when you’re doing the work part of the movement and inhale for the non-work part of the movement. If you are ever questioning which muscle group your exercise is targeting or if it is a pushing or pulling exercise, please do not hesitate to ask any one of our training staff. We love to educate.
Recently Fitness Anywhere highlighted the Seattle Athletic Club Downtown’s commitment to diversifying workout options for our members.
Located one block north of the historic fish markets in Seattle, Washington, the Seattle Athletic Club (SAC) opened in 1982 and quickly became downtown Seattle’s premier health and fitness destination. Under the direction of internationally renowned squash pro Yusuf Khan, the club drew squash enthusiasts from across the region and is still recognized today for its superior squash program. In addition to squash, the club offers athletic training in a variety of other areas including court sports, MMA, triathlon, golf and youth training, and on the group exercise side, their robust curriculum boosts programs like BODYCOMBAT, BODYPUMP, BOSU Blast, Endurance Cycle, Power Sculpt, Sports Conditioning and Zumba.
SAC prides itself on staying ahead of the curve when it comes to industry trends. They pay close attention to clients’ demands and interests for new classes and equipment, which keeps the club evolving with the industry. One such client request was TRX Suspension Training, which SAC introduced in March 2009. Members lapped up this latest offering.
“After my first TRX training, I was hooked!” says member Cathy Garrison. “In a 45 minute workout, TRX strengthened my core muscles to the point of fatigue and at the same time provided an amazing cardio workout. TRX has stepped up my fitness level.”
Currently, three instructors at SAC have taken a TRX Suspension Training Course, which has proved invaluable to them as they continue to incorporate the TRX into their clients’ workouts on a daily basis. “The TRX adds more diversified training for our members. More tools in the tool box helps the members reach their goals,” says personal trainer Katrina Yniguez (performing the TRX Pike above).
The SAC trainers perform circuits with the TRX and other equipment such as kettlebells, jump ropes, BOSU, medicine balls, agility ladders, cones, hurdles, etc. Because the trainers have different areas of expertise, they each work with a unique demographic on the TRX, from young athletes to clients in their mid 30s to 50s to seniors. Regardless their skill level or goal, all clientele have achieved noticeable results from TRX Suspension Training.
Member Margie Duckstead frequently recommends TRX to her fitness-minded friends, citing it as one of her favorite ways to strength train. “I feel less likely to get injured than I do with certain free weights and equipment,” says Duckstead. “It provides great results and is enjoyable in the process.”
From its initial launch, the TRX class offering at SAC has evolved in multiple ways: increased frequency from three days a week to five days and now including one-on-one training sessions; increased visibility to a higher traffic area at the club; and improved anchoring with the TRX MultiMount, which allows up to 10 people to train at once.
Seattle Athletic Club stays committed to continuing to offer members ever-evolving and improved fitness programs and equipment, and the versatility, effectiveness and fun afforded by the TRX Suspension Trainer goes hand-in-hand with this mission.
Every ski season brings the opportunity to be better than the last. If you continually tell your self you will get into ski condition but wait till the season actually starts you will end up in the same rut as last year, and not finishing out the whole ski season. If you give your self enough time, and with a proper foundation in fitness, you can make this ski season one of your best and longest.
The first step to ramping up your fitness starts with a solid strength training program. The first six weeks of a strength training program should be spent building a foundation. Start light and focus on proper form. Lift twice per week, with 48 hours of rest in between each session. To see significant results, put in and hour per session, in which you do two sets of 12-15 repetitions each, resting only 30-45 seconds between each set.
Because skiing is a whole-body sport, you’ll want to do whole-body strength workouts. Thinking of your body as a series of components simplifies planning a workout. Target the following muscle groups: Legs (ankles, calves, quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes), torso ( chest, back, and abdominals), and arms ( biceps, triceps, and shoulders).
Also keep in mind that muscles don’t work independently. Each muscle group has an opposing group and can only lengthen when the other one contracts, so it’s important to develop both equally. For example, the quadriceps extends the leg (straighten the knee), while the hamstrings flex it (bend the knee). If only one group is strengthened, the imbalance can lead to injury.
After six weeks, crank the workouts up a notch. Try to do three sets instead of two, start lifting to failure (the point where you can’t lift any more) and incorporate eccentric lifting. Each weight lifting move has two parts: the concentric (lifting and shortening) part of the motion and the eccentric (releasing and lengthening) component. In an eccentric move, you add 10 pounds to the maximum weight you can do 15 reps. A training partner helps you lift the weight, and then you slowly lower – or resist – it on your own. This method helps simulate the forces your body has to deal with while skiing. As you ski your body is resisting forces during turns and bumps more than it is trying to produce force. So when you put on a huge amount of weight that you can’t push, that you just have to resist, it trains the muscles and allows you to be so much more efficient that you don’t get tired.
After 10 weeks of lifting , add ski specific exercises that demand not only strength, but balance and quick reflexes, too. Plyometric jumping exercises and training on unstable surfaces are often added in to workout routines twice a week with two days of rest between sessions to ramp up your intensity. Plyometrics will make you quicker, more balanced and lighter on your feet. Plyometricss include any exercise, from jumping rope to tossing a medicine ball, in which a muscle is contracted eccentrically and then immediately contracted concentrically. To picture it, think of the muscle as a rubber band that is stretched and then released. The faster you can switch from a stretch to a release, the greater your explosive power and the better your reaction time on the hill. This would also be the time to add in unstable surfaces such as bosu balls or gym balls to increase activation of stabilizing muscles. Most strength workouts are done on a firm surface, giving the stabilizing muscles a break but if you move your workout to exercise balls or unstable balancing surfaces this will force the smaller muscle to work during your workouts similar to the demands of skiing. Plyometrics will make sure you are not fazed by powder, crud or anything else mother nature throws at you.
With the ski season right around the corner it is time to get started with your conditioning program. The Seattle Athletic Club offers a ski conditioning class right now on Mondays at 6 pm with Joel Mitchell or for more information on sports training please feel free to contact any of the training staff at the Seattle Athletic Club to help get the best out of your next season of skiing.