Archive for October, 2011

Something you need to keep in mind and never forget
is that when you exercise, you are training for
life.  You still may spend an hour a day in the
gym, although that will still leave another 23 hours
or so for your muscles to function without using
any fancy equipment.

Whenever you do any type of exercise, the movement
of your body during the exercise is known as the
range of motion.  The more difficult the range of
motion is, the more effective the exercise will be,
because your body has to work twice as hard to
perform the movement.

Take for the instance the classic dumbbell bicep
curl.  If you aren’t familiar with the exercise,
it is performed by standing up straight with your
palms facing forward, and a pair of dumbbells held
down by your sides.  You’ll contract your biceps
to bring the dumbbells up to your shoulder height,
then repeat the exercise as many times as you wish.

Using that same movement for exercise on a bicep
curl machine, you should sit down, brace your
upper arms on a pad, grasp 2 handles that are in
front of you, then perform the same movement as
above to move the handles in an upward motion.

Now, looking at the muscle contractions in this
exercise, you are contracting essentially your
biceps if you are using the curl machine, and
that is pretty much all you are doing.  When you
use the machine you are sitting down, which will
limit just how much your shoulders give.  The
machine has several muscles used in this
exercise limited to the biceps, as well as
the muscles in your forearms and fingers.

Most of the time, when using machine weights, you
will always be limited as to what type of exercise
you can perform.  You must always follow a strict
procedure, which is pretty much the same with
free weights.  Unlike free weights, machine
weights offer a certain degree of resistance.

One of the best thing about free weights is the
fact that you move a little chuck around to
select the weight you want to use.  Instead
of dragging it over to your exercise area,
you simply select it on the machine.  When
you are tired during a workout, this can be
a blessing.

A lot of people argue in the fact that free
weights are the best for your body.  While this
is normally true, many people out there feel that
machine weights are the best.  There are pros
and cons with both machines, although free
weights have been around a lot longer and have
been proven time after time to achieve dramatic
results.

Body builders for example, have used free
weights over the years to build very impressive
bodies.  If you ask most of them about machine
weights, they would probably laugh at you and
tell you that you need to quit joking around.

In a nutshell, free weights will use more of your
muscles than the machines do, which makes them
more effective overall.  This doesn’t mean
that the machines are a waste of use, as they
offer some great advantages.  In some cases,
it is best to stabilize the muscles that are
being used in a movement, which is where machines
are the best to use.

The decision on which to use for you should be
based on what you hope to achieve with lifting
weights and where you plan to use the equipment,
such as home or at a gym.  Both systems are
great for your body, although the free weights
are best to use if you want the best possible
workout, and always ensure that your muscles
are getting the right workouts they need.

Using Stairs To Get Fit And Lose Weight

weight loss

Why is it that when exercising comes to mind everyone immediately thinks they have to join a gym? Maybe it is from watching all these weight loss and fitness shows on TV. Anyway getting fit doesn’t have to be expensive. If you look around your home and even your local community you can probably find ways to get fit without spending a ton of money.
To start with why not use the stairs in your home to get fit? If you have ever run up or down stairs you know how winded you can get. So why not start stair climbing on a daily basis. Aim to walk up and down the stairs five to ten times each day. Then once you have this mastered the next day add one more set. If you can do it once you can do it again, so there is no reason to do fewer repetitions.
If your stairs at home are really steep or you just want a change of venue, see where in your town you have lots of stairs. Is there a church, library or community building that has lots of stairs? How about your local mall? The mall is a great idea for rainy days plus you can walk around the mall as well as climb the stairs and get a great workout.
For those who live in a community with lots of parks or nearby trail walks you may find nature walks that incorporate stairs. These are the kind that are built right into the ground and are not as evenly spaced. This way you will have to adjust your steps to navigate the stairs.
If your child is in soccer, hockey or baseball you can walk the flight of stairs on the stands while your child is playing or practicing. This doesn’t allow you to have any excuse about not having time to exercise because of after school activities.
If you haven’t tried climbing stairs in a while you will be surprised at just how good of a workout this is. Your leg muscles will be burning afterwards and you’ll find yourself huffing and puffing. If you experience shin splints they will go away in about a week or two. This is just a sign of your muscles becoming adjusted to your new activity.
Stairs are available almost everywhere and you shouldn’t have any problem finding a set that you can use each day. It wasn’t that difficult to find a low cost exercise solution now was it?

weight loss

Jumping Rope For Weight Loss

weight loss

One of the simplest, cheapest and most effective workouts you can do to lose weight and get fit is jump rope.  It’s deceptively simple to do, but very effective if you do it right because jumping rope can easily burn 200 calories in a 15 minute period, making it a perfect complement to any weight loss program.

Here’s what you need if you want to start rope jumping for weight loss:

Obviously, you need a jump rope.  Most of the ones you can find it sporting good stores for less than $20.  You will also need a good pair of athletic shoes with good support.  Remember, you’ll be jumping which can put a lot of strain on the feet.  You will also need a large enough space to jump rope: at least a 6 foot by 6 foot empty room (no furniture or other people that could be hit by your rope).  Also make sure that the ceiling is high enough and there are no fixtures overhead that your rope could catch on.  For best results you may want to choose a location that is NOT carpeted because it can affect the swing of your rope, and may even make it more likely that you’ll trip.  A hard, flat, smooth surface is best for jumping rope.

Jumping rope is a fairly intensive exercise.  If you aren’t already in good shape, you may need to slowly build up to full rope jumping gradually.  It may also not be a good choice for you if you have a lot of back or joint pain, because it’s definitely a high-impact exercise.  A better choice might be something low-impact like swimming or brisk walking.

However, if that doesn’t apply to you and you’re ready to start rope jumping, be sure to check with your doctor first to be sure you are healthy enough for exercise.  Then make sure to warm up slowly for 5-10 minutes.  Then jump rope for as long as you are able to – most people will find that 15-20 minutes gives them an excellent workout.  After your rope jumping workout, be sure to spend another 5-10 minutes cooling down, letting your heart rate come slowly back to normal, and then gently stretch your muscles.

Jumping rope can definitely be helpful in a weight loss program, but also just for general health and fun.

weight loss

Planning For Weight Loss

weight loss

Losing weight is a simple matter of eating less and moving more, but in between those main objectives is a LOT of “wiggle room” that can wreak havoc on your weight loss goals.  To be successful in losing weight and keeping it off, it’s a good idea to prepare and plan ahead, especially in the following 3 key areas:

1) Shopping

Do you usually stick to a list when you shop for food?  Or do you routinely make a lot of impulse purchases?  If you don’t use a list (or just don’t stick to it), it’s important to start changing that as soon as possible.  Make a firm list of the healthy foods you need to stick to your weight loss plan for the week, and add one prominent line to the top of your list in red pen:  NO IMPULSE BUYS!  Before you enter the store, read over your list and make a commitment that you will not buy anything that is not on your shopping list.

It may also be helpful to eat a small snack before you go shopping, as hunger can be a strong temptation to buy things you shouldn’t.

2) Meal and Snack Preparation

After you buy the food and bring it home, it’s very important to start preparing it immediately!  Why?  Because if you just toss it into the refrigerator “as is”, you’ll find it way too easy to procrastinate on making healthy meals and snacks.  It will seem like too much work, so you’ll reach for something easier or faster, which probably won’t be as good for you.

Don’t give yourself an out like that.  When you bring the healthy food home, don’t even put it into the refrigerator until you have washed, peeled, chopped and prepared it for cooking.  If possible, you can even start cooking it right away.  Keep your refrigerator stocked with raw vegetables, hard-boiled eggs, low-fat cheese, fruit salad, yogurt, and low-calorie dressings.  Then you’ll have no excuses for not eating healthy.

3) Workout Schedule

Last but not least, it’s important to create a workout schedule and stick to it.  It’s great to say you’re going to work out for 30 minutes each day, but that’s not a firm enough commitment to keep you on track.  Instead, you need to designate a set TIME for your workouts, and you need to be clear on exactly which exercises you are going to do.  You can even go a step further by making sure you have enough workout clothes to last a few days in case you don’t get your laundry done often enough, and you can actually lay out your workout gear ahead of time so you have no excuses there either.

Planning and preparing in these key areas will go a long way in helping you stay on track with your weight loss goals.  Remember; you have to PLAN for success . . . it doesn’t just fall into your lap!

weight loss

Wii Fit Plus With Balance Board Review: Should You Buy This Fitness Game?

 

Fitness games were relatively unheard of before the Wii Fit came along and changed everything. With its revolutionary balance board, Nintendo somehow managed to combine video games with getting fit! Since then, Wii Fit has been enhanced and added to with the release of Wii Fit Plus. But is it worth your time, money and effort?

 

What Do You Get With The Wii Fit Plus With Balance Board?

 

If you never bought the original Wii Fit and balance board then this is the package to get! You’ll get the game along with the revolutionary balance board that brought so many people into the new world of fitness gaming.

 

Some of the features of this package include:

* The balance board that can measure your movements and weight,

* The new improved Wii Fit Plus game,

* Four game categories: Aerobic, Balance, Yoga and Strength,

* Work with a personal trainer as you learn how to perform each exercise,

* As you improve and play for longer you’ll unlock new activities or increase the number of reps for each exercise,

* Wii Fit Plus brings several new features such as routines and specific areas of focus (see below).

 

How Does Wii Fit Plus Compare To The Original Wii Fit?

 

If you already have the original Wii Fit then you can get the upgrade simply by buying the software on its own without the balance board. This game does include the original content of the Wii Fit, but adds a whole other level of gameplay. Some of the new features include mixing and matching strength and yoga activities, and flowing exercises together seamlessly for an effective daily workout routine.

 

Other new features include:

* A much larger range of customization options,

* “My Routine” allows you to put together your own routines,

* “Favorites” is a collection of workouts you use the most,

* 15 new balance games,

* 6 new strength and yoga activities,

* Users can choose which area of health and fitness to focus on,

* See how many calories you’ve burned,

* New feature allows users to weigh their cats and dogs.

 

What Customers Are Saying About Wii Fit Plus

 

The product has received generally positive reviews, with customers noting how the new game has addressed many of the shortfalls of the original Wii Fit. With the original, while novel and fun, many would soon abandon it due to the lack of ability for seamless workouts and more control over which areas to work on. Customers have mentioned how they’re now a lot more motivated to continue exercising with the Wii Fit Plus day after day.

 

Any Complaints?

 

Some customers have complained that the new games are mostly added for fun, but will not have much effect when it comes to exercising. There are only 6 new strength and yoga games to help improve fitness. The customized workouts are by far the biggest improvement, but the main drawback of this is that they do not include the aerobic or balance activities.

 

Conclusion

 

When the original Wii Fit first made its way into stores it was all we had. However, since then fitness games have come a long way. Many people considered the original Wii Fit too basic to hold their interest, and the new Wii Fit Plus goes a long way to addressing those issues. If you don’t already own the balance board then there’s no reason to buy the old version over this new improved one. However, if you already own a balance board then it’s up to you to compare Wii Fit Plus to other fitness games on the market to find one that matches your aims and interests.

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