Tag Archives: muscle

Setting SMART Goals

Setting a SMART goal is more than just something you think is manageable, a SMART goal has defined parameters.  Goal setting is a major piece to the fitness puzzle,  It provides you with direction, motivation, and a vision of what you want to achieve.

SPECIFIC – Set a specific goal, for example instead of saying you want to “run better”, focus on a specific piece of the puzzle.  For example, running for a longer amount of time (45 minutes instead of 30), or running at a quicker pace (move from 5.0 to 6.5 on the treadmill).

MEASURABLE – by setting a specific goal, you have unknowingly set a goal that is measureable.  Staying with the running example, running faster, longer or at an incline are all things that you can track and watch your progress.

ATTAINABLE – Choose a goal that is something you can physically achieve.  I have severe arthritis in my knee, I’d love to be able to do higher box jumps, however I know that this isn’t the goal for me.  Keeping my quads as strong as possible without high impact is something that is attainable for me.

REALISTIC – Realistic and attainable sound like the same thing, I like to look at “attainable” as big picture. Realistic can be a breakdown of mini goals within that large goal.  Small realistic goals are stepping stones to reach that finish line.  For example, adding five minutes to your run every two weeks.

TIMELY – give yourself a realistic timeline to accomplish your goal; setting too quick of a time line can set you up for failure.

Remember that the pieces to this puzzle can be adjusted at any time.  You can add to your goal, adjust your timeline.  Making sure that whatever you adjust is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and can be completed in a timely manner will ultimately lead you to success.


Fitness Fundamentals

Fitness isn’t necessarily what it used to be.  Fitness is a word that brings specific images to mind and for a lot of us, that’s a very specific image of the roots of the word fitness: leg warmers, spandex, and more spandex.  Changing the idea of what fitness is has come over time but it looks like we’re going in a good direction, changing that image to one of overall Wellness. That wellness comes from five different aspects:

Cardiovascular Endurance – Conditioning of the cardiovascular system in the body.  The ability to deliver oxygen and nutrients to tissues, and take waste materials away for a sustained period of time Example – biking, running, swimming

Muscular Strength – The maximum force that a muscle can deliver force in in one repetition

Muscular Endurance –  The ability of a muscle to deliver force over a sustained period of time

Flexibility – The movement of a muscle around a joint in a full Range of Motion (ROM).  Important to note: flexibility is different from stretching, stretching actually increases flexibility

Body Composition – The body’s make up of lean muscle, bone, fat mass, and tissues/organs.  The ratio of these masses in the body is considered your body composition

So remember that fitness is more than spandex and leg-warmers.  It’s about our overall wellness, including our cardiovascular and muscular systems, lifestyle, sleep and eating patterns.

Let’s be well.

 


Kettlebell Effectiveness

Enhance the effectiveness of your strength training and improve your overall fitness results with exercises unique to the kettlebell. New at Eau Claire YMCA: 4-week kettlebell bootcamps!

What is so great about the kettlebell?

  • Highly time-effective: Ability to train both strength and cardio at the same time.
  • More functional/dynamic: Using a kettlebell trains multiple muscle groups at the same time.

Outcomes when using the kettlebell properly are:

  • A high-intensity, full body workout with both cardio & strength gains.
  • Improved coordination.
  • Greater flexibility/mobility.

The new 4-week bootcamps provide the foundation of a kettlebell workout. At the end of the mini-camps, you will be able to challenge yourself with a multiple of effective exercises done right.

  • Class dates: Feb 8, 15, 22 & March 1 (12:00-13:00)
  • Fees: Member $28 Non-Member $36

Wanna know more? Contact Eau Claire YMCA @ 403-269-6701.

Written by YMCA Fitness Director Geoff Starling


Step Up Your Workout: Kettlebell Mini-Bootcamp

Enhance the effectiveness of your strength training and improve your overall fitness results with exercises unique to the kettlebell. New at Eau Claire YMCA: 4-week kettlebell bootcamps!

What is so great about the kettlebell?

  • Highly time-effective: Ability to train both strength and cardio at the same time.
  • More functional/dynamic: Using a kettlebell trains multiple muscle groups at the same time.

Outcomes when using the kettlebell properly are:

  • A high-intensity, full body workout with both cardio & strength gains.
  • Improved coordination.
  • Greater flexibility/mobility.

The new 4-week bootcamps provide the foundation of a kettlebell workout. At the end of the mini-camps, you will be able to challenge yourself with a multiple of effective exercises done right.

  • Class dates: Feb 8, 15, 22 & March 1 (12:00-13:00)
  • Fees: Member $28 Non-Member $36

Wanna know more? Contact Eau Claire YMCA @ 403-269-6701.

Written by YMCA Fitness Director Geoff Starling


Can You Kettlebell?

Enhance the effectiveness of your strength training and improve your overall fitness results with exercises unique to the kettlebell. New at Eau Claire YMCA: 4-week kettlebell bootcamps!

What is so great about the kettlebell?

  • Highly time-effective: Ability to train both strength and cardio at the same time.
  • More functional/dynamic: Using a kettlebell trains multiple muscle groups at the same time.

Outcomes when using the kettlebell properly are:

  • A high-intensity, full body workout with both cardio & strength gains.
  • Improved coordination.
  • Greater flexibility/mobility.

The new 4-week bootcamps provide the foundation of a kettlebell workout. At the end of the mini-camps, you will be able to challenge yourself with a multiple of effective exercises done right.

  • Class dates: 8, 15, 22 Feb & 1 March (12:00-13:00)
  • Fees: Member $28 Non-Member $36

Wanna know more? Contact Eau Claire YMCA @ 403-269-6701.

Written by YMCA Fitness Director Geoff Starling


Kettlebell Bootcamps

Enhance the effectiveness of your strength training and improve your overall fitness results with exercises unique to the kettlebell. New at Eau Claire YMCA: 4-week kettlebell bootcamps!

What is so great about the kettlebell?

  • Highly time-effective: Ability to train both strength and cardio at the same time.
  • More functional/dynamic: Using a kettlebell trains multiple muscle groups at the same time.

Outcomes when using the kettlebell properly are:

  • A high-intensity, full body workout with both cardio & strength gains.
  • Improved coordination.
  • Greater flexibility/mobility.

The new 4-week bootcamps provide the foundation of a kettlebell workout. At the end of the mini-camps, you will be able to challenge yourself with a multiple of effective exercises done right.

  • Class dates: 8, 15, 22 Feb & 1 March (12:00-13:00)
  • Fees: Member $28 Non-Member $36

Wanna know more? Contact Eau Claire YMCA @ 403-269-6701.

Written by YMCA Fitness Director Geoff Starling


A Workout Buddy Helps You Reach Fitness Goals

Wanna get motivated to work out? There are lots of stats out there that show having a workout buddy is one of the best ways to stay on track with your fitness routine. There are a number of reasons why:

  • Motivation. We all have on and off days. Days you don’t feel like hitting the gym, your partner will likely be primed to go and get you there. Plus we people tend to like a little competition – driving us to work harder and challenge ourselves.
  • Results. With a partner, most people push themselves harder. That not only means increasingly the likelihood of hitting your health goals, but getting there much faster than if you were on your own.
  • Alternatives. We all think a little different than each other. Your workout buddy may offer suggestions for alternative exercises or training routines. Things you may not have come up with on your own. (This is also a great reason to get a personal trainer.)
  • Spotting. Your workout buddy can help keep you safe by spotting you on equipment, allowing you to further challenge your abilities.
  • Partner moves. There are lots of exercises that can be done with a partner, like doing sit-ups and passing a medicine ball between each time you both reach the centre.
  • Companionship. Everyone loves a little company. Longer workouts can get tedious but having a friend around makes the time pass much faster.

Give some thought to choosing your workout buddy. This can make or break your success together at the gym:

  • Fitness/Skill level. Team up with someone at a similar level to avoid one person exceling and one person being left behind. The best is a friend who will challenge you to work harder but will also be a motivation.
  • Goals. Review your fitness goals together. If you want to build muscle while your workout buddy wants to increase cardio, you will be doing different exercises and end up not working out together. Try to find someone who will want to do similar moves so you both end up benefiting.
  • Relationship. Make sure you pick someone who you like spending time with because you will be hanging out a lot at the gym improving your health together!

You know you have chosen your buddy well when you are reaching your fitness goals while having fun!


Article: Why Women Can’t Do Pull-Ups

In an article on The New York Times website, writer Tara Parker-Pope takes a look at the struggle many women seem to have with the simple pull-up and why it exists:

“To find out just how meaningful a fitness measure the pull-up really is, exercise researchers from the University of Dayton found 17 normal-weight women who could not do a single overhand pull-up. Three days a week for three months, the women focused on exercises that would strengthen the biceps and the latissimus dorsi — the large back muscle that is activated during the exercise. They lifted weights and used an incline to practice a modified pull-up, raising themselves up to a bar, over and over, in hopes of strengthening the muscles they would use to perform the real thing. They also focused on aerobic training to lower body fat.”

We are wondering what you think about this article? Agree or disagree? Share your comments!


Kettlebell Workout Routines

Kettlebells have been around for decades and been used primarily in Eastern Europe for strength training. Kettlebells bring us back to the idea that fitness means the body’s ability to work well as a whole.

The entire body is needed to control and lift the kettlebell–large groups of muscles are engaged at the same time. It works the core hard leading to better stability and overall strength.

“Just like fashion trends come and go, same can be said about workout trends. Hundreds of years ago Russian bodybuilders were using cannonball-like equipment for strength training. Little did they know then that their workouts would be turned into classes in gyms across the globe 300 years later. The reason kettlebell workouts are so popular is they provide strength training, cardio, balance and flexibility all in one short workout.” Nancy Howard

Check out these 6 kettlebell workouts sure to bring you results found on the Daily Spark website.


Should I do Cardio Before or After Weights?

One of the most frequently asked questions in the gym is, “should I do cardio before or after I lift weights?”

Well the answer is not as clear cut as you think. Trainers, fitness experts, exercise physiologists and scientists are all still debating if it is better to do cardio before or after your resistance training session, if you were going to do both on the same day. There is very little peer reviewed literature on the subject, so what should we all do?

Well everyone needs to be their own scientists and figure out what works for them.

What I find when working with a lot of my clients is if my clients does an intense cardio session at the beginning of their workout they expend a lot of energy and they cannot lift as heavy or as intensely as they would normally be able to if they just warmed up and then went right to lifting weights.

The same is true for cardio. If one of my clients comes in and has a really heavy and intense strength workout and then tries to do an intense cardio session they don’t have the energy and are not able to go as fast or as long or train at the same level because they have depleted a lot of their energy stores when they were lifting weights.

When it comes to the general public I get them to take note of their goal, (lose weight, gain muscle, get stronger etc…). Then take note of their current program, the order that they do their exercises in, the intensity they are able to train at.

If they want to gain muscle and strength then they should be putting the majority of their energy into their resistance training workouts. If they are training for an endurance race then their focus should be on increasing cardio and endurance.

If you are not training for anything specific it is a good idea to change around your program every few months so that you don’t get bored and so that your body continuously need so adapt to the changing stimuli. Try doing cardio first for a few months then do your strength first for a few months and see if you notice any difference in your goals.

The key is to find out what works for you because what works for you may not work for everyone else.


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