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Working out with Knee Pain

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While exercise and movement are designed to energize you and make you feel great, aches and pains can occur from time to time. And, knees are among the most commonly affected areas of the body. No need for alarm, just follow the Stop, Drop, & Roll method to help shake it off and get back to work.

STOP:

If pain comes on during exercise, stop to assess.  Shake it out, give your quadriceps a little stretch, and resume the exercise slowly and with control.  If the pain persists, stop the movement you’re doing to cause the pain and move to something different.

For example, leave the exercises focused on the lower body (e.g. squats and lunges) and move to upper body (push-ups, pull-ups) or core focused (planks) exercises for the rest of the workout. Or, if you’re on the treadmill, switch to an upper body ergometer or even a recumbent bike might work.

Evaluate the pain in the moment and once you’re done with the workout. If the pain was sharp, is persistent, or you find you can’t put weight on your leg, it’s best to consult a doctor immediately and receive a professional opinion.

DROP:

If your knees are achy or you are coming back from knee pain, you’ll need to ease back into weight-bearing activities for your lower body or choose alternative activities to keep moving.

For your strength training, weighted squats or lunges (e.g. with machines, barbells or other weights), jump squats or lunges, or box jumps should be avoided until you are pain free. Instead, focus on body weight exercises; focus on performing exercises slowly and avoid fully straightening your knee at the top. Add in range of motion as you can tolerate.

If squats and lunges are still not agreeing with you, try plie squats, variations on the deadlift,  hip extensions, bridging, abduction or adduction (standing or lying) and monster walks.  This could be a great opportunity to work on the stabilizer muscles in the lower body to help you come back better than ever!

With cardio, you may to avoid high(er) impact exercise such as running. Instead try the stepper or stepmill, stationary or recumbent bikes, ellipticals or the ARC trainer. If taking classes, avoid quick directional changes and opt for lower impact options.

ROLL:

While you would want to consult a doctor or physical therapist to diagnose your knee issue and find its root cause, many times, knee pain can be traced back to overuse, strength discrepancies (front side of leg versus back side of the body), or tightness in the lower body. As always, avoid overtraining and take time to stretch after your workouts.

Foam Rolling is a great way to offset overuse injuries and help to ward off aches and pains. Rolling your IT band, adductor, glutes (figure 4), quadriceps, shin & calf both before and after your workouts will go a long way in preserving the integrity of your knees. Oh, and don’t forget about the bottom of your foot which is literally your foundation!  Grab a tennis ball and massage the bottom of your foot before starting a leg workout.

 

 

 

 

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Exercise

The Full Body Sculpt Workout You Need to Try

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Alright folks! Let’s do this! 

We are giving you some great full body workouts, that are guaranteed to spice up your gym life and refresh your routine.

There will also be workouts for ALL LEVELS OF FITNESS. Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or an advanced gym-goer, these are going to push you and increase your productivity in the gym. For each exercise, we’ll offer alternatives to how you can increase difficulty or make it easier so you can customize these to your fitness level.

Here are a few ways to make it harder:

  1. Increase the weight that you load on the movement
  2. Slow down the movement of the rest time
  3. Decrease your time between going into another set

Alright, here it goes!

workout-wednesday-sculpt-spring

Full Body Sculpt for Spring

Warm up

  1. Foam Roll Spine (30 seconds)
  2. Foam Roll Quads (30 seconds)
  3. 20 Squats
  4. 10 Lunges on each leg
  5. 15 Front Shoulder Raises
  6. 15 Lateral Shoulder Raises

4 rounds

  • 20 TRX Pec Flys (Increase depth for more difficulty, decrease depth for less difficulty)
  • 20 Mary Catherines (Beginners: Reverse Lunge)
  • 20 Plank with Leg Raise

4 rounds

  • 20 Tricep Push-ups
  • 20 Squat Jumps (Beginners: Bodyweight Squats)
  • 10 Inchworms

50-minute sprint on the treadmill

  • Okay don’t do this last one.. it’s our lame attempt at April Fools! 

Remember: This is NOT a race. Don’t try to finish your rounds as quickly as possible. Take breaks as needed. Be sure to keep your movement steady throughout the workout and focus on form.

ENJOY!

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Circuit Training

Three Things Your Coach Wants You to Remember During Quick Workouts

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Add some balance

One of my favorite things to do is take “basic” exercises and make the ENTIRE body have to work!

    • Standing dumbbell curls. Do them standing on a BOSU.
    • Dumbbell skull crushers. Do them lying on a stability ball.
    • Stationary lunges. Do them with one leg on an air disc.
    • Push-ups. A BOSU or TRX works fantastically.

What matters here is you take away as much stability as possible, thus making your body take a “normal” exercise and expand twice the energy! Your body will internally be using smaller stabilizing muscles as well as a combination of flex and tension that it wouldn’t do when in a stable position. I liken it to taking a 4 cylinder engine minivan and converting it to a V8 as far as energy (calorie) consumption goes!

Create your own circuit work

I advise you to follow the first bit of advice with this one since they work beautifully together! ESPECIALLY if you’re not used to this style of working out!

Eliminate breaks

Rather than doing a set of squats, resting, then doing another set of squats and then moving on to the next set of exercises (for example’s sake we’ll say “stiff legged dead lifts”), do them back to back! Go from squats IMMEDIATELY to stiff legged dead lifts and THEN take a break!

Already do that?

Add a third exercise to the mix! a 4th! a 5th! Whatever you AREN’T used to doing, do that! When you start doing back to back to back exercises, you will need to drop weight a bit, but don’t worry, you’ll get back to strength! Taking your body out of its comfort zone is the best thing you can do in regards to making sure it is running at maximum potential.

Make sure you’re properly fueled

This is a big one… All too often I run into the “minimalist mentality.” That’s when people have the bug in their brain that says “food did this to you, so the less food the BETTER THE RESULTS!”

If your tank doesn’t have any gas in it, then you’re not going to drive anywhere! Your body is the same way! If you don’t have the ENERGY to carry you through a body-blasting workout, then you’re just going through the motions (and that really doesn’t help you in the long term).

Most of the time, the GREAT workouts were the ones where you were properly fueled and had the ability to nail it. In order to get the most out of your workout and keep up the high intensity… make sure you’ve got gas in the tank!

Lastly, remember this…

You’ve got to want it more than anything because anything can stop you.

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Cardio

How to Be Smart About Your Cardio Time

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Your heart is a pretty important muscle, and cardio training is a big part of making it stronger. But fitness conversations typically turn to touting the benefits of strength training over—or in conjunction with—cardio because its popularity as an equal player in weight loss is often misunderstood. And if you listen to the cardio chatter lately, all you hear is HIIT is hot and it’s the only cardio you need. Well… that’s not entirely true, either. Fact is, we’re missing out on a much bigger discussion about the best way to train the heart, and that needs to change.

Cardiovascular exercise includes anything that increases your heart and respiration rate. Whether you’re walking, running, riding a bike, on the elliptical, participating in a dance class, jumping rope, or taking the stairs, each will tick the box in the cardio column. The benefits of cardio are plentiful, including increasing stamina, warding off viral illnesses, reducing health risks, managing chronic conditions, boosting your mood, and strengthening your heart. Many options exist and cardio is not one size fits all; it’s best to know what’s available and find what works for you!

Do keep in mind that while cardio works the heart, lungs, and circulatory system—all of which are vital to health and longevity—on its own it cannot provide injury prevention, increased muscle, additional strength, coordination, or flexibility. A well-rounded workout plan still includes strength, core conditioning, and flexibility.

Understanding Your Cardio Options

Once you’ve found the cardio you like to do, next comes deciding workout lengths and intensities. Just like strength training, it’s helpful to know the types of cardio training that exist and how they will affect your progress when you work them into your overall plan. So let’s get into steady state, interval training, and HIIT.

Steady State

Steady state cardio training involves elevating the heart rate and sustaining a desired intensity level for an extended period. The intensity and duration you choose will be based on your fitness level and goals.

For example, when beginning a steady state protocol, you might choose to walk on the treadmill for 20 minutes at a comfortable but challenging pace (moderate intensity) by using speed and/or incline. To progress, you would either keep the intensity the same and extend the time, or increase the intensity and keep the same length of time.

Steady state is an established and proven method for improving cardiorespiratory fitness. It increases your cardiac efficiency and your ability to use fat as a fuel source, all while putting less stress on your system and creating less metabolic waste (compared to HIIT workouts). Longer cardio sessions (e.g. a nice, long walk in nature) also are a great way to boost your mood and stimulate creativity! Of course, you should keep in mind that if your goal is weight loss, using steady state as your primary source of cardio might take longer.

Interval Training

Interval training involves alternating between high(er) intensities and low(er) intensities for designated periods of time. Much like steady state, the intensities you choose and the length of time spent in the higher effort levels compared to the lower/recovery effort levels will be based on your fitness level and goals.

For example, you may turn 20 minutes on the treadmill into an interval workout by alternating 1 minute of hard work (breathing heavy, but able to speak 3-5 words before taking a breath) with 3 minutes of moderate work (back to an effort that allows you speak in sentences, 7-10 words, before taking a breath). Then, as you progress, the ratio might become a bit more even (2 min/2 min), and eventually flip to longer bouts of high(er) intensity with shorter bouts of recovery (3 min of hard work and 1 minute of recovery).

Intervals are a great way to keep your workout fresh; by breaking downtime into smaller chunks, you may find longer sessions more enjoyable. While intervals should burn more calories, you’ll need to pay close attention to the amount of time and the effort level of your recovery compared to your “working” time. Many times, the total calorie burn ends up less than that of a similar length steady state workout due to total time spent recovering or the lesser intensity of the overall workout when you average the work and rest.

HIIT Training

HIIT stands for high intensity interval training and is a form of interval training. It’s important to separate out HIIT from other interval training because of the attention it gets as being the “king” of cardio these days. A HIIT workout includes short(er) work bouts and high(er) intensities with adequate recovery before repeating.

For example, let’s use the 20-minute treadmill routine again. Instead of 1 minute of hard work followed by 3 minutes of recovery, you might go all out (breathless) for 1 minute, and then recover until you can breathe easily again, and repeat. The work should take you to a place where you can only say 1 word; it’s your max effort for that day at that time.

HIIT is an amazing way to break through plateaus, increase your fitness levels cardiovascularly, and burn a tremendous number of calories in a short period of time. But beware: too much of anything is not good and HIIT is no exception. If performed correctly, you require 24-48 hours of recovery before participating in another HIIT workout. And let’s face it, it’s hard—hard on your body and hard on your mind. Just because every magazine states it’s the only way to go doesn’t mean you must do it!

The Cold, Cardio Truth

One type of cardiovascular training is not necessarily better, or worse, than the other. Each can, and should, have a place in your plan. (If you’re unsure what’s right for you, ask an Anytime Fitness trainer!) Your decision should be based on the amount of time you have available, your ultimate fitness and weight loss goals, your tolerance, as well as your enjoyment. As with everything else in life, variety is definitely the spice of life and too much of any one thing is never the best approach. More importantly, do not forget about simply moving each and every day in any way that you can. This counts as cardio, too! Short bouts of activity add up and can help strengthen your heart, burn calories, and counterbalance the negative effects of sitting. Happy sweating!

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