Gym Cardio Theatre Category:Gyms_and_Health_Clubs

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So, you decided to get serious about getting in shape and you bought a treadmill, huh? And now, it sits in the corner of your living room, looking more like a technologically advanced drying rack than a piece of exercise equipment – right? Maybe you’re not using your new treadmill because you just don’t know what to do with it, or how to make it exciting. After all, when you really think about it, is there anything exciting about walking or running in place while you stare at the same spot of peeling wallpaper for 20 or 30 long minutes? Let’s face it: You need some spice in your treadmill life. Here are six tips for making those treadmill workouts more interesting, thereby motivating you to actually use it.

1. Interval training.

Want to burn some serious fat? Try interval training. In interval training, you vary the speed at which you walk or run. You might start at about 60% of your top speed, then jump after a few minutes to 95% of your top speed, then slow back down to 60% again, and so forth for the duration of your workout. You’ll burn more calories this way than you will be running 30 minutes at 60% of your full speed.

To do interval training, check the settings on your machine – there might already be an interval training setting. If you have a simple, old-school machine, you can create your own interval training changes through song selections: Classic rock might mean 60% speed, then you might throw in some techno to speed things up.

2. Circuit training.

Mix up interval training with some circuit training. Start on your treadmill for five minutes, then hop off and go to push-ups, crunches, lunges, or free weights for one very intense minute. Hop back on the machine and go hard again for five or ten minutes, then back to the push-ups, etc. Circuit training will definitely keep you from getting bored.

3. Television makes everything better.

On the one hand, it’s a little Brave New World creepy when you walk into a gym and hear only the whir of exercise machines while everyone’s eyes are plastered onto television monitors. On the other hand, watching TV or a movie while you work out makes the time go by quickly, and stops you from thinking too much about how tired you’re starting to get.

4. Train with heart.

One of the best ways to make sure that your treadmill workouts are effective is to monitor your heart rate. To hit the fat burning zone, your heart needs to be beating at 70% of its maximum level. To calculate your maximum heart rate, start by subtracting your age from 220. In other words, if you are 30 years old, your maximum heart rate is about 190, with a fat burning zone at 133 to 152. Some machines have heart rate monitors built into them. For those that don’t you can easily track your heart rate by counting your pulse for ten seconds, then multiplying the number you get by six.

One training technique is to try to work in that 70 – 80% zone for as long as you can. Once you get tired, slow down for a few minutes. Then, ratchet it back up to 75 – 85% and see how long you can go at that pace.

5. Take a hike.

Rebecca Rusch won her third straight mountain biking championship in 2009 in a unique, 24-hour solo competition. She also rock climbs, competes in canoe competitions through dangerous straits, and has earned the nickname “Queen of Pain.” She also uses a treadmill, but she likes to keep that challenging, too. She’ll start at 3.5 miles per hour with the belt flat, then increases the incline each minute until the grade hits 5%. For three minutes, she’ll stay at that 5% grade, raising and lowering the belt every two minutes until she’s been going for 25 minutes. For the last five minutes, she decreases both the speed and the incline for a cool down. For someone who trains to go up and down mountains, “hiking” in this way is an excellent training method.

6. Keep mixing it up.

Let’s close with this bit of advice: Keep mixing those workouts up, never allowing yourself to fall too deep into a treadmill workout rut. Once you’re in a rut, you’ll start to burnout, and once you burnout, you’ll give up. Therefore, try out each of the five methods listed above, and keep mixing them up to keep your interest level and motivation level high.

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Fitness for everyoneHave you been hoping to get fit, but you feel like you are so far away from your weight loss goal that it is impossible? Have you spent the last several days searching for the perfect weight loss workout plan, looking for something that you feel able and ready to do? Maybe you have five pounds to lose, or twenty, or fifty, or a hundred or more, and you don’t know where to start to get back into shape. That is probably what led you here in the first place.

I am here to tell you a secret: there is no perfect weight loss workout plan. We all want something tailor made by an expert to suit us, but the truth is there is no magic go-to to help us slim down and tone up. We are all at different levels physically, but also mentally and emotionally. Getting fit takes strength of will and is hard work. Sometimes it can feel like an insurmountable task, rendering even a fantastic, personalized and expensive plan useless.

So, where do you begin? Wherever you like. The important thing to remember is that even a small effort in the beginning is a good one. Once you get started you will almost certainly struggle, and you will find yourself unable to do that much. But after a few weeks you will see your stamina building, and that effort will no longer be a challenge. So you will double it, then triple it, then add it to different workouts or activities. Where you start is not where you will end, so don’t worry about your beginning level.

There are some general rules you should follow to see it through:

  • Do something you enjoy. This is crucial, because if you do something you hate, you will find it almost impossible to do it every day you are supposed to. Hate running but like biking? The opt for a ride around the city rather than a jog. Like to swim? Find a community center with pool access on the cheap and do it in the morning before work, or in the evening before bed. If you like it, you will be more eager to do it, especially on those days where you don’t feel like doing much at all.
  • Do something to distract yourself. A workout goes much faster if you have something else to focus on. Bring along your MP3 player and listen to a book on tape or podcast, some talk radio or a blood pumping music playlist. Watch the televisions in the workout room or gym, or bring a media player that lets you watch movies or TV. Anything that keeps your mind focused away from the timer.
  • Do something with a friend. A spouse, a friend, a sibling, kids or just a workout buddy from a fitness group make great motivators. Have them exercise with you, or make it a fun group activity everyone can enjoy. If you have someone to hold you accountable, and for you to hold accountable in return, you are more likely to work out.
  • Do something different. Don’t restrict yourself to a single workout if you get bored. Some people like to follow a routine all the time, which is fine. But if you are like me you should mix things up to keep yourself from losing interest. Have a small arsenal of workouts to do on different days, such as running, biking, an in-gym workout, a swim, yoga and exercise videos. Do whatever feels good for that day.
  • Do a fitness class. Classes can be a lot of fun, and a great way to meet other health conscious friends. Zumba, pilates, yoga, spinning, water aerobics, salsa and hip hop dancing, martial arts, kickboxing…there are classes for people at every level and with any interests. With a gym membership you will usually have access to all classes, but you can also find community run classes around your city.
  • Do keep track of your progress (here is one fun free Twitter-based tool for that!). Whether you use a notebook, a chart or a website like Sparkpeople, you should keep track of your progress. How you do this is up to you; you can go by the scale, by inches, or just by how you feel at the end of a workout and how long you can go at what intensity. Whatever you decide, you should take some time to recognize how far you have come. It is the greatest motivation there is.

Resources

If you want a place to start, you can use any one of these websites to get you on the right track. They are appropriate for anyone, and you are sure to find something to meet your needs.

  • SparkPeople – A personal favorite, Sparkpeople is a comprehensive site with a fitness tracker, food diary, personal blogs, community groups, fitness videos (including the popular 10 – 15 minute workouts), recipes and articles. They also have a point system with trophies.
  • Bodyrock.tv – A website with a ton of fun and interesting workouts set to good music. Better for intermediate and advanced users, but with beginner options. This is a nice way to get in a workout without going anywhere.
  • Crossfit –  A great site for advanced fitness buffs. Crossfit has some of the more challenging workouts that I have found, which can be adapted well for your style. You can either do them alone, or by going to one of their licensed providers. They also have a great course for kids.
  • StickKNot fitness specific, StickK can be used to set and reach goals. The idea is based on a university study that found that people were more successful at reaching goals if they had something to lose. So you make a commitment, set stakes (as in laying cash down), and get going. If you don’t reach that goal you lose your money. Whether you want to quit smoking, lose weight or get fit, this is the way to do it.
  • Ross Training – A strength and conditioning blog. This forum is a great place to meet like-minded individuals and get advice and training tips.
  • Mark’s Daily Apple – A blog written by Mark Sisson about health, nutrition, fitness and the industry.

cc licensed flickr photo shared by lululemon athletica

 

This is a guest post by Jessy Troy who tries to find her own perfect plan (and loves discovering great free tools for that)! She blogs on trainer fitness and dreams of a fitness body!

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