Tag Archives: strong

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!


One Step at a Time

Part Two – Putting One Foot in Front of the Other; the Beginning of Cardiovascular Wellness.

Getting yourself moving sounds like an easy step, but for someone who is beginning their wellness journey for the first time, or someone who is starting to work out again after some time off, it can be really daunting.

Try Different Things The first place a beginner heads to when they walk in the door is the treadmill. Keep in mind that there are a lot of different things you can try when getting started, but overall the best place for anyone new to the gym is the place that makes you feel comfortable, safe, and secure.  I’m a fitness professional, and the idea of hanging out on a treadmill for an hour sounds absolutely dreadful to me.  The key to finding a successful cardiovascular program is to change it up and find something that you like to do.  The treadmill might be your favorite place in the gym, others will find the elliptical, track, or bike your happy place.  If you want to try something and don’t know how or are intimidated by it, please ask us!  There are staff working in the weight room at all of our facilities and as active people, we would much rather talk to and help our members than sit at a desk!

Not Everyone is Built to Run Every single one of us is different. Our body’s physiology and genetic code plays a great deal into what our optimal style of workout is.  There are different muscle fibres in each of us that will make certain styles of physical activity easier than others.  If you absolutely dread long distances, try inserting some higher intensity intervals into your workout.  An example of this is to run a lap, do a set of jumping jacks, running stairs, or jump rope etc… in-between resistance training (weight lifting) sets.  So of you don’t like to run, don’t stress! There’s always something else to try!

Find Your Target Heart Rate Zone, and Stay Within It! An individual’s target heart rate zone (THRZ) is based on age.  The easiest way to figure out your THRZ is with this basic equation: 220-(age)= Heart Rate Max (HRM)  This is a number that we should aim to never surpass when doing cardiovascular activity.  Multiply that number by .6 and you will get 60% of your HRM.  Multiply that first number again by .8 to find 80% HRM.  During your cardiovascular workout, you would want to monitor your heart rate and keep it between 60% and 80% of your HRM For example, if you were 25 years old, your math would look like this:

  • 220 – 25 = 195 beats per minute (BPM) as your Heart Rate Max
  • 195 x .6 = 117 BPM
  • 195 x .8 = 156 BPM

This would mean that you want your heart rate somewhere in between 117 and 156 BPM during your cardiovascular workout.

Other Options Hiking groups, team sports or group fitness classes are an amazing way to sneak in a little cardio without even noticing it! It’s fun, it’s interactive, and you can meet new people who are living a healthy balanced life to help keep you on track. Here at the YMCA there are numerous different options to get involved in both aspects.  There are registered and drop-in group fitness classes offered at every branch in the city. We also offer climbing wall classes, swim and aquatic fitness classes, as well as some sport options.  These can differ from branch to branch, so check what is offered at your home branch. A lot of towns and cities have different recreational organizations to help people get involved with team sports as well. In Calgary, a great resource to check out the Calgary Sport and Social Club.  You can join a sport by registering a full team, partial team, or an as individual to make up a full team.

Build the Habit If you miss a day, don’t get discouraged! It’s all about putting one foot in front of the other, and sometimes a stumble will happen.  This is where you need to pick yourself up, dust off those hands and take another step.  Think to yourself the number twenty one. 21. XXI.  It takes twenty one days to build a habit.  Twenty one days to notice a real difference in your physiology. Twenty one days.  Keep putting one foot in front of the other and you’ll hit your stride.  You’ve got this.

Happy Trails!


Strong Kids

Strong Kids.  What is a Strong Kid?  It seems like an ambiguous phrase; that is until you know the story.  The Strong Kid stories you hear change with everyone you talk to at the YMCA, but rest assured the message remains the same.  We see the potential to grow in all children, kids, youth, and young adults that walk through our doors.  A little background  to get you closer to the Strong Kids big picture:

• The YMCA is a registered charity, and unlike some other charities, 100% of proceeds raised in our annual Strong Kids Campaign go to the kids.  All costs associated with Strong Kids promotion comes out of an operation budget and doesn’t use any of the donated funds meant to help children and youth participate in YMCA programs.
• Nobody gets turned away from the YMCA.  We welcome everyone from all walks of life and backgrounds into our facilities and programing.  Financial Assistance is provided to those in lower income situations to ensure that equal opportunity is provided to all.  When there are children and youth in families that qualify, Strong Kids donations help pay for them to participate at the YMCA

It seems like all my colleagues and friends here at the YMCA all work directly with children and their connection with YMCA Strong Kids is apparent in their everyday work.  Working in adult fitness doesn’t connect me with kids every day, so it admittedly took me a little longer to fully understand what YMCA Strong Kids is, the benefits of the campaign and a true connection with who Strong Kids are.  Strong Kids are determined, ready to participate, fun-loving, active, and creative.  Strong Kids are all kids.  I can truly say I get it now, and want to share it with you.  When it’s put into terms that affect everyone, it makes a lot more sense as to why your support (as well as mine of course!) for Strong Kids is so important.

What if a future Canadian gold medal athlete’s family can’t afford to have him/her take part in organized sports programming?
What if our future Premier or even Prime Minister is someone who can’t afford to participate in leadership programming?
What if the cure for cancer is trapped in the head of someone whose family can’t afford proper nutrition to be able to learn and excel in extracurricular programs?

Allowing these youth to grow in a safe and accepting environment could see a different outcome for their entire lives and even affect ours.  What if you had the opportunity to allow these kids to find their potential, and to lead, grow, thrive, and belong at the YMCA?  You do.

Please ask us how you can become involved at your YMCA.


Soccer, Baked Goods and Frozen Yogurt!

Looking for something to do this weekend with your family or friends? Join us at three great YMCA Events tomorrow:

  • Bake Sale at Saddletowne YMCA (Genesis Centre) 10am-2pm
    Lots of goodies will be available by donation. All proceeds will support Sarah Finn and Valeria Pardo, our 2 YMCA Calgary Youth Delegates, on their journey to YMCA Europe Festival in Prague.
  • Play it Forward Soccer Marathon at Saddletowne YMCA 10am-2pm
    Come watch and cheer on the soccer marathon! All proceeds of this event will go to YMCA Strong Kids and help youth participate in YMCA programs locally, in Colombia or in Ukraine, through our partnerships.
  • Tutti Frutti Grand Opening at 858 16th Avenue SW (off of 17th Ave) | 12-3pm
    Tutti Frutti is a new frozen yogurt store opening in Calgary. At their grand opening, they are offering FREE frozen yogurt to everyone that donates to YMCA Strong Kids.

We hope to see you all there!


Support YMCA Strong Kids with Frozen Yogurt!

At Tutti Frutti Frozen Yogurt’s grand opening celebration on Saturday March 23, free frozen yogurt will be served from 12:00pm to 3:00pm with a donation to YMCA Strong Kids!

YMCA Calgary is dedicated to helping the community build healthy lifestyles. Tutti Frutti offers yogurt to suit differing needs including intolerances to lactose, gluten, and sugar. There are a variety of yogurt options including soy-based, non-dairy sorbets, and no sugar added options.

Join us at Tutti Frutti’s Grand Opening Celebration (858 16th Ave SW) on March 23, 2013 between 12-3pm for:

  • Free frozen yogurt with a donation to YMCA Strong Kids
  • Tutti Frutti Frozen Yogurt Gift Card Giveaways
  • YMCA Calgary Giveaways

Frozen yogurt will also be 50% off  all day with a donation to YMCA Strong Kids.

One in four kids coming to YMCA needs financial assistance. 100% of all donations raised by YMCA Strong Kids goes directly to children and youth. Administrative costs are covered from YMCA’s operating budget; not from donations received.


Spin for YMCA Strong Kids Update

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to all of our supporters and donors who helped us at our YMCA Strong Kids kick-off event. We were able to raise a total of $83,185.18 from Spin for Strong Kids!

March 4 marked the 2013 YMCA Strong Kids Kick-Off. YMCA Calgary hosted Spin for YMCA Strong Kids where every YMCA in Calgary had spin bikes in the lobby. The participants took turns spinning for 30 minutes each–raising money for our charity, YMCA Strong Kids. At Camp Chief Hector, the staff got on road bikes to do a camp version of Spin for Strong Kids.

It was a very exciting day with lots of people anxious to spin for a great cause! The event saw staff, volunteers, program participants, members, Y Survive teams, a former Team Canada Olympic Woman’s hockey player, NHL alumni, Calgary Stampeders players, YMCA Board of Directors, a media spin challenge, and many kids, youth and families in the community.  We would like to thank everyone for all their support and enthusiasm!

In 2013, our goal of $1.5 Million will help more than 20,000 kids and youth in our community. If you are interested in helping us reach our goal and help keep children and youth happy and healthy,  please contact Lana Dionne in the Financial Development at 403-781-1663.

Click here to view more photos from YMCA Spin for Strong Kids.


TODAY is the 2013 YMCA Strong Kids Kick-Off!

2013 YMCA Strong Kids Kick-Off event is happening TODAY at all YMCA branches in Calgary!

Please join us as we celebrate the children and youth in our community! The 2013 YMCA Strong Kids goal is to raise $1.5 million to benefit 20,000 local youth and children. Raising donations for YMCA Strong Kids means that children and youth have positive experiences, make healthy choices, feel connected with others and learn the skills required to become leaders.

Want to get involved? YMCA Spin for Strong Kids is a great way to get active while helping out a great cause!

It’s not too late to participate in Spin for Strong Kids! Every YMCA in Calgary will have spin bikes in the lobby today—all of our fantastic staff, volunteers, participants and members who want to participate will be taking turns spinning for 30 minutes each–raising money for our charity, YMCA Strong Kids. Visit Member Services to see how you can participate!

One in four kids coming to YMCA needs financial assistance. 100% of all donations raised by YMCA Strong Kids goes directly to children and youth. Administrative costs are covered from YMCA’s operating budget; not from donations received.


It’s Not Too Late to Sign-Up for YMCA Spin for Strong Kids!

YMCA Spin for Strong Kids is a great way to get active while helping out a great cause! Please join us on March 4 for our 2013 YMCA Strong Kids Kick-Off and celebrate the children and youth in our community.

How do I Get Involved?

Sign-up at your YMCA branch. Every YMCA in Calgary will have spin bikes in the lobby all day long.  Members, participants, staff, volunteers and ANYONE who wants to participate will be taking turns spinning for 30 minutes each–raising money for our charity, YMCA Strong Kids. Visit Member Services to sign-up for a bike and get ready to spin and have fun on March 4!

What is YMCA Strong Kids?

Did you know YMCA is a charity? Raising donations for YMCA Strong Kids means that children and youth have positive experiences, make healthy choices, feel connected with others and learn the skills required to become leaders. The 2013 YMCA Strong Kids goal is to raise $1.5 million to benefit 20,000 local youth and children.

One in four kids coming to YMCA needs financial assistance. 100% of all donations raised by YMCA Strong Kids goes directly to children and youth. Administrative costs are covered from YMCA’s operating budget; not from donations received.


It’s Not Too Late to Sign-Up for YMCA Spin for Strong Kids!

YMCA Spin for Strong Kids is a great way to get active while helping out a great cause! Please join us on March 4 for our 2013 YMCA Strong Kids Kick-Off and celebrate the children and youth in our community.

How do I Get Involved?

Sign-up at your YMCA branch. Every YMCA in Calgary will have spin bikes in the lobby all day long.  Members, participants, staff, volunteers and ANYONE who wants to participate will be taking turns spinning for 30 minutes each–raising money for our charity, YMCA Strong Kids. Visit Member Services to sign-up for a bike and get ready to spin and have fun on March 4!

What is YMCA Strong Kids?

Did you know YMCA is a charity? Raising donations for YMCA Strong Kids means that children and youth have positive experiences, make healthy choices, feel connected with others and learn the skills required to become leaders. The 2013 YMCA Strong Kids goal is to raise $1.5 million to benefit 20,000 local youth and children.

One in four kids coming to YMCA needs financial assistance. 100% of all donations raised by YMCA Strong Kids goes directly to children and youth. Administrative costs are covered from YMCA’s operating budget; not from donations received.


Looking for a way to get active while helping a great cause?

On Monday, March 4, join us at Spin for Strong Kids to kick-off the 2013 YMCA Strong Kids Campaign!

Every YMCA in Calgary will have spin bikes in the lobby—all of our fantastic staff, volunteers, participants and members who want to participate will be taking turns spinning for 30 minutes each–raising money for our charity, YMCA Strong Kids.

How do I Join?
Pick up a pledge package at Member Services of your YMCA and sign-up for a bike. You don’t have to be a YMCA member to join—everyone is welcome. Join individually or gather a group and spin together!

The 2013 goal is to raise $1.5 million to benefit 20,000 local youth and children. Raising donations for YMCA Strong Kids means that children and youth have positive experiences, make healthy choices, feel connected with others and learn the skills required to become leaders.

One in four kids coming to YMCA needs financial assistance. 100% of all donations raised by YMCA Strong Kids goes directly to children and youth. Administrative costs are covered from YMCA’s operating budget; not from donations received.


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