Tag Archives: goals

Machines VS. Free Weights

Any workout program you choose, any training style you choose, resistance training (weight lifting) is beneficial to you.  There are two ways to accomplish resistance training, Machines vs. Free Weights.  Machines are stationary, usually plate loaded or have a weight stack and pin system for choosing the amount of weight you wish to lift.  “Free weights” is a broader term, and refers to things like dumbbells, barbells, kettle bells, body bars, and body weight resistance tools such as a BOSU, stability ball or TRX.

Which is better?

Well that depends.  Both have a role in training, and it really depends on what you are looking to accomplish.  Stationary machines are a wonderful tool for beginners, and they help to teach the body about postural awareness, what an exercise should feel like and where exactly you should be feeling it.  Machines are also useful for intermediate and advanced lifters, as they work to isolate specific muscles or muscle groups.    Machines may also facilitate the ability to lift more weight, as you are more stable and controlled.  Stationary machines hold your posture, thus they take out the necessity to have an advanced body awareness, and it can be easy to forget to activate your core muscles. Because a weight machine keeps the body in a stable position, it usually only works the muscle in one plane of motion at a time.

Free weights generally require heightened body awareness, as proper posture and core activation will reduce the risk of injury.  When beginning to lift with free weights, you can start by doing many of the exercises seated as opposed to standing which keep a greater amount of control.  Seated vs standing free weight exercises also allows for heavier weights to be lifted safely.   Moving to dynamic equipment such as a TRX suspension system, a greater awareness of proper posture and core activation is recommended. Free weights also train the body in more than one plane of motion at a time.  The body moves dynamically, and free weight training is more functional in terms of movements in every day life.

There are definitive benefits and drawbacks to both – mix it up and try something new.  Remember that if you need help with any of the topics discussed, spotting, or an idea for a different exercise, please ask us!


The Four Core Values in Fitness

Weight-Room etiquette is basically the same at every gym or club.  At the YMCA we like to base our etiquette on four core values displayed prominently in every location across Calgary and Canada alike.  Following the basic idea of these core values both personally and within the facility allows all members to show one another the kindness of these core values in our workout areas.

Honesty – Personal – Listen to your body and acknowledge what your limits are; push yourself to those limits.  Hitting below won’t give you the results you desire, and above may lead to injury.  Facility – There isn’t a sign-up for our cardio machines as there once was, but we do ask that members honor the 30-minute maximum during busy or peak times when someone could be waiting.

CaringPersonal – Care for yourself by eating well, sleeping well, and creating a wellness balance in your life.  Facility –  allow others to work-in between your sets.  Working together can help build new relationships and friendships within our YMCA community.

RespectPersonal – Acknowledge that you are being the best version of yourself and stop comparing yourself to others.  Cherish the uniqueness that is you!  Facility – wipe down equipment after use, no one wants to use equipment that hasn’t been cleaned!  The staff and volunteer team has a cleaning list that covers all equipment in the gym and we do our best to keep things are clean as possible for member use.

ResponsibilityPersonal – Hold yourself accountable, don’t blame external forces if you stumble.  It happens to everyone; own it and move past it.  Facility – Clean up after yourself; put weights away, cable attachments back to where they belong, and take pride in being part of our YMCA community.

The YMCA prides itself on delivering four core values in our every day engagements.  As a member of the YMCA, we hope that you feel those core values every time you are in our facilities, as well as paying it forward to one another.

Be Well

 


Mid-January ‘blues’

It’s that time again – Mid January! Did you know, that mid-to-late January is called, “Blue Monday?” Yes! One reason is because it is during this time, that we start to fail, or drop our New Year Resolution’s (NYR) after the short period of creating them. Here’s a few ways to assist you in maintaining those fitness goals and New Year’s Resolutions!

Fitness

Choose an Obtainable/Realistic Goal: One step at a time. Don’t set yourself up to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger in a month, or the next top model. Firstly, that isn’t healthy and you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.

Break it down into small steps: Creating small goals throughout the month (Ex. running on the treadmill for 15 min. 3 times a week and making my way to running for 30 min. 3 times a week until the end of February) makes a much bigger difference in accomplishing your goals.

Tell/ask friend’s/family regarding your fitness goals: The great thing about telling someone about your fitness goals is you then have someone to be accountable to. Next time they see you, a simple, “Hey, did you workout this week? How’s the progress?” can greatly help in motivating you to keep at your goals. Personally, I know that when I have a major goal, I tell my close friends and family so they can help me stay on track as well as give me incentive to do better.

Write them down, display them: To help in motivating you to keep at it’ during this year, try writing your resolutions and goals down where you can see them. For example, the fridgerator, the pantry where the chocolates are… (haha), in your vehicle, etc. I find that material objects I use daily such as my laptop, and cell phone are great places to create a ‘note’ so it will stay in the back of my mind throughout the day.

Don’t be too hard on yourself, we all fall: It’s okay to slip-up and make a mistake. We all do! In Batman Begins, Thomas Wayne (Bruce’s father) tells him: “And why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.” So don’t be too hard on yourself. As cliché as it sounds, Never give up! It’s okay to admit we need assistance or help. The staff at the YMCA will always be ready to assist you in attaining your fitness goals!

Reward Yourself: After setting those little goals for yourself, it’s good to reward yourself after every ‘milestone’. Treat yourself that white chocolate raspberry Crème brûlée you’ve been drooling over! Buy yourself those new sneakers. When you work hard, you deserve it!


Staying Motivated – Tip #16

Commit.
Register for a race, buy a personal training package and schedule appointments, register for a paid class, get a friend to do it with you.  Money down will make you accountable for following through.


Staying Motivated – Tip #15

Knowledge is Power.
Educate yourself in the area in which your goals are seeded. The more you know means the more empowerment you have, the more control over actions you express, the better chance of success you will have. 

Here are a few fun facts to get you started:
– 1 pound of fat = 3500 Calories.  Reducing your caloric intake by 3500kcal/week will allow you to lose 1 pound.  Increasing your activity level by another 3500kcal will up that to 2 pounds.
– 1-2 pounds a week is the healthy and maintainable rate for weight loss.  Anything more is not targeting body fat, simply depleting the body of essential minerals and hydration.
– There are 1.6 kilometers in every mile you walk or run.
– Stretching after your workout for a minimum of 20 seconds/muscle group will reduce soreness and tension the day after.
– The soreness after workout number one reduced each time you work that muscle group out. If you start/stop over and over again, you will feel that level of soreness every time you re-start your program.
– Your body sees benefits as soon as 20 minutes after you quit smoking.
– If you eat too little, your body actually metabolizes muscle mass and essential energy for body function.
– Muscle weighs more than fat; don’t focus on the number! It’s about body composition and how you feel.
– Canada’s Food Guide to healthy eating is the only nutritional plan or “diet” you need (unless otherwise stated by your physician). People can eat well and still eat too much, check it out to learn about proper portion sizes.
 – Regular physical activity will: allow you to sleep better, increase your self confidence, decrese stress, and reduce your risk for chronic conditions such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease.


Staying Motivated – Tip #13

Music Makes the Workout.
fill your MP3 with your favourites! A playlist will your favourite songs will certainly get you going more than the background noise in the gym. 
Lose yourself in the music. 
Create a playlist that compliments your workout; try running/jogging for an entire song, walk the next!


Staying Motivated – Tip #10

Picture The End Result.
Whether it’s a distance you want to run, a weight you want to bench or squat, or a pair of pants you just want to wear again, visualize yourself there. Everyday.


Staying Motivated – Tip #10

Picture The End Result.
Whether it’s a distance you want to run, a weight you want to bench or squat, or a pair of pants you just want to wear again, visualize yourself there. Everyday.


Staying Motivated – Tip #9

Get Involved.
Getting involved gives you ownership of your goals.  The YMCA thrives on community involvement and volunteerism. Volunteer application form are available on our website under the “careers and volunteers” tab, and in each branch.


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