bookmark_borderBuilding a Home Gym

  • Goals: The first thing you need to do is to determine your fitness goals. Before selecting which equipment will better serve your particular case it is necessary for you to conclude on what do you want to get out from your home exercising facility. Do you wish to maintain your fitness level or increase it? Do you want to burn more calories and add muscle tone or boost your energy? Moreover, upon deciding on your actual fitness goals you have to estimate which are your objectives; which muscle groups you want to train first.
  • Budget: The crucial cost related question comes second, because upon deciding on your fitness goals and objectives you have to determine how much money you have currently available for your house gym project. Keep in mind that a usual price range is between $ 300 and $ 1,000 per equipment and in case you are aiming to buy the best there is, you should at least double those prices.
  • Area: Prior to any purchase, you have to decide how much space are you willing to allocate for your home gym. Does the whole basement seem a good idea, or do you have a spare room you use currently to put laundry which can fit your purposes perfectly? Decide on which area of your house is going to be hosting all the equipment you will later carry in and measure its exact dimensions.
  • Fitness Machines: In order to meet the previously determined fitness goals and after deciding upon the available budget, you have to go shopping. A variety of fitness stores can supply you with the equipment you will need to train that set of muscles you want, but before accepting an offer try first to look around and check what you can discover. A store might be selling off, a department might have an extremely good deal on a couple of machines, or your neighbor might be interested in selling his treadmill. Check, ask and test the equipment you are considering of buying. After all, you are about to spend a small fortune.
  • Expert’s Opinion: Ask, listen and write down the opinion of people much more experienced than you. Also it is always better to purchase the equipment you will be using from a fitness specialty store. You are entitled a guarantee and you can choose from a greater variety of machines. Moreover, these types of specialty stores employ professional trainers most of the times, who know what to advice you and why.
  • Knowledge: Research and learn. Try to improve your knowledge on safety issues and exercising risks. Read all those equipment directions before attempting to use them and follow them!

bookmark_borderPushups Or Bench Press

It was the measuring rod of “strength” back in the day and it was necessary if you wanted to answer the question – “Whaddya Bench?”

But now as we are older and wiser we know that there is more than one way to develop strength and power.

If there is one thing that we accept as functionalist (people who believe in the concepts of functional training) its that there is more than one way to “skin a cat”.

But the question of the day is, “Which one? Push Ups or Bench Press?”

Well, we can tell you right now that the most inexpensive choice is the push up!! And let’s be honest, more often than not, cost is the limiting factor of exercise selection. That is why bodyweight exercises are so popular.

There is no one training modality that is THE GREATEST, but Bodyweight Training is hard to beat.

And it is probably the best choice for anyone looking to get in some great shape.

Why?

When doing a push up you have an opportunity to use your abdominals and your core in a fashion that you just cannot do when you are bench pressing.

And there are *tricks* to performing the bench and moving massive weight. There are no such *tricks* with the pushup.

If you don’t have a strong midsection, pushups will be difficult for you period.

For the personal trainers………

How many times have you seen clients try to do a pushup and look like they are an inverted “U”. Their back just sags down.

The reasoning is a weak core.

bookmark_borderWinter Workout In The Snow

Snowshoeing

Have you ever been snowshoeing? If you haven’t, you’ll be surprised how much of a workout it can be to stomp through the snow, especially if you ads some poles to give your upper body and arms a workout as well. It is also a lot of fun to explore the backcountry or a trail when it is turned into a winter wonderland by all the snow and ice.

Cross Country Skiing

If racing down a hill on a pair of skies isn’t your cup of tea, give cross-country skiing a try. Think of it as a mix between hiking and ice-skating, as you glide along the trail. Cross-country skiing is a great winter cardio workout that also tones and sculpts your legs and upper body.

A Winter Hike

Hiking isn’t just for spring and summer anymore. It’s also a lot of fun in the wintertime. Dress appropriately, put on some big boots and get out there. Don’t forget to pack a thermos with some hot tea to hydrate and warm you up at the same time. Even a very familiar trail will become interesting again when the scenery is draped in a layer of snow.

Snowboard

If you are getting bored with alpine skiing, or are just looking for a change of pace, consider taking a few snowboarding lessons. Most ski resorts will let you rent boards and have instructors on staff as well. You’ll enjoy learning this completely different winter sport and of course also a different way to get down the slopes.

bookmark_borderTrampoline Exercise

Rebounding doesn’t require you to buy lots of expensive equipment or pay membership fees – all you need is a mini trampoline. The good thing about rebounding is that using a trampoline makes it low impact, so it can be beneficial to almost anyone. Even if you’re disabled or elderly you can use a trampoline to help improve your fitness.

Even better, you can do your rebounding routine in the privacy of your own home, and can watch TV while you’re doing it. So no more endless hours staring at the gym walls. There’s no need to take time out of your busy schedule or plan out an exercise regime, you just hope on the trampoline and start rebounding.

There are lots of health benefits you can gain from exercising on a mini-trampoline, here’s just a few to get you started:

  • Exercise your whole body in one session
  • Strengthen your muscles
  • Strengthen your bones; very important if you’re older or at risk of osteoporosis
  • Improve the functioning of the lymphatic system
  • Improve the elasticity of your skin, which helps reduce the effects of aging

All of these benefits combine to improve your overall state of health and give you a feeling of well-being. In addition, exercise helps your body become stronger and more resistant to disease and illness.

Of course there’s not just physical health benefits, these are some more general areas that you can improve by trampolining:

  • Lose some weight
  • Lower your cholesterol
  • Increased energy
  • Improve your coordination and balance
  • Reduce stress and tension

bookmark_borderTry a Zero Gravity Recliner

You can’t see TV very well in that floor position, but you can buy a very comfortable chair that accomplishes doc’s orders at stores all over the country.

It’s called a “zero gravity recliner” because it reclines to the same position as lying on the floor with feet in chair, only without the hassle or TV deprivation. Honestly, there are recliners that do not stress the back, in fact HELP THE BACK, for most people, and they’re easy to find.

Why does this chair make a difference? Just as docs have been suggesting for years, the back is better if you get your feet above your heart because in addition to helping circulation, this position also helps the back.

When the knees do some of the work of supporting the body in a “zero gravity chair”, there are few to no pressure points on the back.

Your back feels better, sometimes very quickly, because you have eliminated the pressure on the point where you have been hurting.

This is not rocket science, it’s logical and even better readily available.
More good news: you can buy either a manual or a motorized version, so it works for most everyone.

My personal experience is very positive. I had regular lower back pain and sometimes my back would simply “go out”, and I’d be in bed a few days.

Now I spend about 20-30 minutes in the chair listening to the news, (who can watch it these days) in the full zero gravity recline position. After that I can come up in the chair to a good position for watching TV and still be doing a great thing for my back.

Zero gravity is virtually pressure-point free for your back and half-way up is still very supportive and healthy allowing for diminishing back pain.
Try it, you’ll like it.

bookmark_borderBeat Boredom At The Gym

Listen to music

Take an iPod, mp3 player or personal stereo next time you go to the gym. Create a playlist or a CD especially to be used for the gym. Include your favourite songs and especially fast paced songs. Songs that encourage you to stay at a fast pace due to its upbeat rhythm. Music is a great motivator and you can also use it as a distraction so that you don’t focus on the pain you’re going through. So next time you go to the gym, take some music with you to help create a more enjoyable experience for you and also to help to motivate you so you work harder.

Take a friend or exercise partner

Having someone with you can also lead to a more enjoyable experience. Someone to talk to during the long stretches on the treadmill and exercise bikes. You can catch up on the latest gossip which again takes your mind off of the pain you’re going through and encourages you to work for just that little bit longer.

You can compete with your friend or exercise partner which motivates you to work for harder and for longer in order to beat them. Adding that competitive edge to your workout routine will work wonders for your body.

Get outside

Sometimes the confines of the gym are too dull for some. The same views and the same people everyday. Take your workout routine outside. Instead of running on the treadmill, run through your local park. Instead of cycling on the exercise bike for an hour, cycle round your local area. You’ll meet new people and experience more attractive scenery compared to the usual four walls of your gym.

bookmark_borderPower Workout

  • Monday: Half-hour of jogging, biking (on hills) or other intense aerobic exercise you enjoy
  • Tuesday: Half-hour of strength training (squats, sit-ups and push-ups for beginners; weight training with machines or dumbbells for the more experienced)
  • Wednesday: Rest day
  • Thursday: Repeat Monday
  • Friday: Repeat Tuesday
    Saturday: One hour of exercise–any type of exercise. Go rollerblading with a friend, take the family to the hills for a hike or swim laps at the pool.
  • Sunday: Rest day

Make your workouts more time-efficient by exercising harder. For example, you can walk two miles in a half-hour, or you can run four miles in a half-hour. You can spend an hour in step aerobics class, or you can spend 20 minutes rowing at the highest resistance level on the rowing machine. When you perform strength-training exercises, use a challenging resistance and move quickly through your exercises to get an aerobic benefit.

If you want to commit to getting fit, exercise must become a part of your life–a habit as regular as brushing your teeth. Try these ideas to help you stay on track:

  • Make a log of everything you do for a week, and identify the time slots where you can fit in exercise. Did you spend a Saturday afternoon watching the Back to the Future trilogy for the fifth time? Could you manage to get up a half-hour earlier on the weekdays? Just skip an hour of television time and go to bed earlier.
  • Make exercise convenient. Find a place to work out that’s close to your home or office. If you’re disciplined and have the space, work out at home.
  • Develop relationships with supportive people. Join an exercise class or go to the gym with friends. If you skip a class, your friends will hold you accountable.
  • Exercise at the right time. The “right time” is when you’re most likely to do it. If you know your day often ends late or meetings come up suddenly, it’s best to schedule your workout for first thing in the morning when nothing can interfere. If you’re a night owl, fit your workout in before dinner. If you can only manage a 10-minute walk on your lunch hour–do it. Some exercise is better than none.

bookmark_borderBelly Dancing

Benefits

Belly dancing is a good cardio-vascular workout,at the same time increasing flexibility. Like Pilate’s, belly dancing focuses on strengthening the abdominal core. The abdominal muscles work hard to isolate the hips from the ribs, resulting in a flatter stomach and more defined waist. It is easy on the knees.

Belly dancing can bring about an improved sense of well being, elevated body image and self-esteem as well as a generally positive outlook on life.

How to get started

Look in the phone book or surf the internet to try to find a teacher in your area. If none are available, there are many DVDs out there to get you started. Books can also be helpful.

A Sample Workout

Put on some music. If you don’t have eastern music, any up tempo cd will do. Jazz is particularly good.

Hip Circles

Stand tall with feet a few inches apart, hands hovering beside hips. While keeping abs tight and rib cage still, slide both hips to left, back, right, and then front, making a circle. Continue for 2-3 minutes, contracting abs tightly at end of each circle. Repeat, circling to the right.

Twisting Shimmy

Stand tall with feet a few inches apart and knees slightly bent. Hold arms straight out from the shoulders, palms facing outward. Relax shoulders. Rotate right hip forward and up and left hip back. Then rotate left hip forward and right hip back. Contract abs while doing this. It is a bump and grind motion, kind of like a washing machine motion. Do for 2-3 minutes.

Sliding Snake Arms

Stand tall with feet almost hip width apart, arms lifted out to sides. While keeping abs contracted and hips still, reach left arm to side, rolling shoulder up, and slide rib cage to left, letting right arm and shoulder dip. As you slide to right, roll left shoulder back and down, and reach right arm to side, rolling right shoulder up. Then slide rib cage back to left, rolling right shoulder back and down. Continue side to side, making one smooth movement. Do for 2-3 minutes.