Tag Archives: training

Starting A New Program

Whether you are new to the gym or a seasoned gym-goer, beginning any new exercise program should start the same way – safely.  There are a few different things you can do to ensure that you are working out in a safe manner.

1. Don’t copy what you see someone else doing.  You don’t know why they’re doing it, You don’t know if they’re doing it correctly, or if they have modified it for any reason.  Just because someone who looks “fit’ is doing it doesn’t mean it’s right for you and your body.  Proper execution of an exercise trains the targeted muscle(s).  Improper execution can create imbalances and lead to injury.

2. Ask us!  Staff in gyms are extroverts, we want to talk to people.  We thrive on sharing our energy and enthusiasm for wellness.  We’re looking for you and want to answer your questions; we want to see you succeed.

3. Work on the basics – posture, body alignment, core engagement.  If you want to do an exercise correctly, these are part of the package that reduces the risk of injury.

4. Get the Sets and Reps right.  The number of repetitions within a set, and the number of sets completed makes a huge difference from one program to another.  Learn what the difference is between low reps heavy weight, and high reps lower weight – dialing in the correct combo will guide you towards your ultimate goal.

5. Stretch!  Most of us are in a rush and want to get as much packed into our workout time, then off we go to the next part of our busy days.  Take the time to cool down and stretch, it increases range of motion, reduces soreness in the day(s) to come, and reduces risk for injury.

-D

 


Active Exercise Recovery

You train hard and recovery is an important part of that program.  Recovery is important for many reasons.  Recovery allows the body time to adapt to a workout program.  It allows time for the body to repair tissue that has been damaged working out as well as replenishing depleted energy stores.  It also allows the body the rest required to keep from over training and eventually burning out.

Active recovery really means a day off – from your program.  That means that you take a day to live your life actively or doing a workout that is less intense.  This could be walking the dog, enjoying a yoga class, going for a swim or bike ride, hiking, stretching, or even grabbing a foam roller for some much needed self-myofascial release (SMR).

Rest and relaxation refers to the down time away from training altogether, allowing the body the needed time to do those tissue repairs, strengthen, and replenish.

 


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!


Finding Time

You’ve packed your bag the night before, filled your water bottle, packed the kid’s snacks and booked her into child-minding.  She wakes up with a fever.  Sigh.

You got all of your paperwork filed, you’ve had your morning snack and have a packed lunch to eat at your desk after a lunch-time run. Your phone rings, and it’s a client crisis that just can’t wait.  Sigh.

No matter what the scenario that you’re hit with, the one thing that gets missed in your day always seems to be you.  For a workout veteran, this can be disappointing, frustrating, changing the mood and course of your entire day.  For a rookie, this can be catastrophic, completely derailing your momentum.

How can you combat this?  Here are five not-so-average body weight exercises that you can do at home or in the office with absolutely no equipment.  Before you even begin, take a moment and focus awareness on your posture.  Hold your core in tight (belly button towards your spine), open up your chest and pull your shoulder blades back.  Bring your chin up and tuck your pelvis under just a bit to protect your lower back.  OK, let’s go!

1. Sumo-SquatTargets the Leg Adductors (inner thigh) – Start with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, toes pointing out towards “10 and 2 o’clock”.  Raise your hands out in front of you as a counter-balance, and push your glutes (bum) backwards, bending at the knee.  Be sure to keep your knees behind your toes and your head up.  If you feel a strain in your lower back, come back to your starting position and reset your posture.  Every time you get to the top of your range of motion, squeeze your glutes tight.

2. Plank Jack/Jump JackTargets the Core, Leg Adductors, Shoulders – Start in a prone plank position, on either your hands or elbows, knees or toes.  Hop your legs out laterally and back in, come to a standing position and up for a jumping jack.  Come back into that starting plank position and repeat.  Be sure to watch that your glutes don’t pop up into the air, as that essentially deactivates your abdominal recruitment.  To make this lower impact, walk out 1 leg at a time in both positions.

3. Roll-OversTargets Oblique Abdominals (Core) – Starting on your stomach, stretch out your arms and point your toes.  Roll over onto your back without using your arms/hands to assist you.  Roll back onto your stomach in the other direction.

4. Plank Kick-BacksTargets the Core, Glutes – Start in a prone plank position, on either your hands or elbows, knees or toes. Tighten your glutes (bum muscles) and slowly lift your leg upwards and back towards the ceiling.  Alternate sides.  Be aware of hip positioning and try to keep the pointy bones on either side of your pelvis (ASIS) pointed down towards the ground. This will help to keep your hips from rolling open to the side

5. Incline or Decline Push-Up Targets the Pectorals (chest) – Start with a basic push-up.  You can do this on either the knees or the toes.  Come down to the floor as low as you can go, and push your body weight back up.  If you’re on your knees, try to keep the fleshy spot just above your knee cap in contact with the floor.  This will keep your hips and glutes down enabling your core to stabilize your body.  Incline: have your hands positioned 6-12 inches higher on a platform.  The higher up you are, the easier the push-up becomes.  Decline: place your feet up on a platform, with hands on the ground.  When progressing from a knee push-up to toe, start with incline, progressing to flat or decline push-ups.

To add intensity, jog on the spot or add a set of jumping jacks in between each exercise. 

No Excuses left, let’s go!


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!


Ready for a New Fitness Challenge?

Step up your game with one of our new fitness & wellness classes at Saddletowne YMCA in 2016:

Obstacle Race Training

This is a great class to take whether you are looking for a program that will challenge you in different ways, push you past a fitness plateau or help prepare you for an actual Obstacle Race for the first or fiftieth time! This class will cover muscular strength and endurance, cardiovascular endurance, balance, agility and grip strength with a variety of drills that will take you out of your comfort zone and drive your fitness to the next level. In addition to studio, track and weight floor work, certain classes may include workouts on the climbing wall, in the swimming pool or outdoors to improve your fitness in a range of environments and modalities.

Mondays | Starts Jan 11 | 5:30-6:30pm | M $90 NM $126 | 9 classes | Barcode# 107157
Wednesdays | Starts Jan 13 | 6:30-7:30pm | M $100 NM $140 | 10 classes | Barcode# 107158
Fridays | Starts Jan 15 | 10:30-11:30am | M $100 NM $140 | 10 classes | Barcode# 107159

Sport Conditioning

Are you passionate about sports? Do you want to build strength and stamina to improve your game? This class will provide sports-based exercises and drills to help you increase muscular strength & endurance, coordination, agility, quickness and stability to improve your sport performance. Exercises and drills will be determined based on the interests and needs of the group, according to their sport(s) of preference.

Thursdays | Starts Jan 14 | 7:00-8:00pm | M $100 NM $140 | 10 classes | Barcode# 107161
Fridays | Starts Jan 15 | 5:15-6:15pm | M $100 NM $140 | 10 classes | Barcode# 107163
Sundays | Starts Jan 17 | 5:30-6:30pm | M $90 NM $126 | 9 classes | Barcode# 107162

Advanced Conditioning

Are you tired of machines and dumbbells? This class will teach you about different training techniques and equipment that can be used to take your workout to the next level. Learn how to use things like Kettlebell, TRX and Battleropes with proper form and apply principles of HIIT (high intensity interval training) for optimal efficiency. Step out of the rut with Advanced Conditioning!

Tuesdays | Starts Jan 12 | 7:30-8:30pm | M $100 NM $140 | 10 classes | Barcode# 107121
Wednesdays | Starts Jan 13 | 9:15-10:15am | M $100 NM $140 | 10 classes | Barcode# 107160

Nutrition 101: 7 Keys to Eating for Good Health

Are you wanting to make changes to your eating habits but are unsure where to start? Have you tried dieting and found that you were left feeling hungry and unsatisfied? Are you aware of the changes you want to make but just need a bit of extra support getting there? Are you confused by all of the conflicting nutrition information and advice being dished out by the media?

If any of these situations apply to you, this is a course you won’t want to miss! Facilitated by a Registered Dietician, this course will introduce you to simple dietary changes you can adopt that will make the most difference to your health, along with practical strategies for doing so. The science behind the information will be explored to help clarify nutritional advice and dispel the myths. In addition, you will have the opportunity to keep a personal food journal and receive weekly feedback and support on your progress and challenges over this 8-week program to give you the best chances for success in reaching your goals.

Saturdays | Starts Jan 16 | 9:30-10:30am | M $80 NM $112 | 8 classes | Barcode# 111873


The Top 5 Things Not To Do In a Running Race: Lesson 4

The Top 5 Things Not To Do In a Running Race
The Tales and Lamentations of the Ill-Prepared Runner

 

May 13, 2013 by Chad Baird

UPDATE – January 13, 2014: I wanted to share with everyone the before and after photos of me doing this race! Happy running!

Lesson 4 – Dress for the Weather

Sometimes living in Calgary is tough! The weather is often cold and unpredictable. In turn, this causes every Calgarian runner to shake their fists at the sky occasionally throughout their lifetime. To properly explain this concept, I shall be explaining my tales and lamentations regarding the 2010 Mother’s Day 10km race. It was a frosty morning. I woke up, looked and fully expected to see a stray reindeer or two. I decided to put on five layers of clothing for my upcoming race. I put on a wool long sleeve, three short sleeve cotton t-shirts, and a warm hoodie. I was set! The cold had no chance against my defence! No chance! Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that overheating had an excellent chance of breaking the defense system…but I didn’t even think about that. I got to the start line and it had warmed up to about zero Celsius but it had begun snowing. Through the fresh falling snow, I saw a guy in front of me wearing nothing more than shorts and a sleeveless shirt. I thought to myself, “This guy is so dumb! He will be so cold!” Negative, this guy was exponentially more enlightened about running races that I was. I started the race and within 500 metres, I could already tell that I was getting way too hot. By 3 kilometres, I standing at the aid station dumping cold water down my back and legs. 5 km in, I had my sweater tied around my waist, old granny style, looking fashionable as ever with my sweater tie swag and a beet red face. At 7km, I had my hoodie still around my waist – and was now carrying three shirts. You know what makes running a race easier? Not carrying a couch cushion sized ball of your extra clothes that you brought along with you for the ride. I continued huffing and puffing down the road, physically steaming because I was so overheated. A person could have cracked an egg on my head and 14 seconds later, enjoyed a fine omelette breakfast because I was as hot as a frying pan. I crossed that finish line 15 seconds shy of an hour and that is nothing short of a miracle. As I walked to the C-Train to head back home, I saw the guy I stood behind in the crowd – Sleeveless Shirt Man. I looked at him, majestic, muscles prominent and graceful, barely had a bead of sweat on him. He won, I lost. As he looked at me, he gazed upon a poor soul who had a face as red as the sun, an absolute mound of clothing burdening his arms, and to top it all off, a sweater tied around his waist. I’m sure if he was preacher, he would have laid hands on me right then and asked the Lord to help me in my time of need. I was a mess, but it was my own fault!

Before

 

…and After!

My advice to you is this – don’t over dress for races. Running Room founder John Stanton states that it is always best to start off a race a little chilly. I always try to follow his wise words. It may seem cold standing at the start line, but when your feet hit the pavement and you have multiple kilometers under your belt, you will warm up I promise!

Don’t overdress for races, come to the start line with a bit of a chill, and please don’t make my same mistakes! Running is beautiful; don’t make a mess of the Mona Lisa.

Stay tuned next week for Lesson 5 – Eating Too Much

Written by Chad Baird | BCMM Public Relations Student | Mount Royal University


Shake It Up!

2014 is a great time to switch up your workout or wellness routine.  Whether you are a beginner, or are seasoned to your workout routine, a simple change of how you’re working out can really make a difference.

A routine is just that; the same thing every day, every week.  When working the same muscle groups in the same order and in the same way your body will learn this pattern and adapt to it; expecting it.  By changing the modality of training, you can shock your muscles and body systems which can once again achieving a higher rate of results, like you once did when you began your current routine.

At the YMCA, we try to offer a variety of options for all levels of fitness and experience. Programming, classes, and other wellness options are available to both members and non-members alike.

Getting Started

New to the Y?  Consider registering at Membership Services for a wellness appointment. Available to YMCA Members, a wellness appointment gives you an hour of personalized time with one of our certified wellness coaches.  The coach will help determine which course of activity is right for you, Coach Approach©, Fitlinxx, or Personal Training, as well as recommend any fitness classes that suit your interests and wellness goals.  Some group fitness classes that are geared towards beginner/intermediate level are:

Group Cycle*, Turn & Burn*, Step Fit*, YBO*, Muscle Works*, Barbell Blast*, Karma*, Cardio & Core*, Hi/Lo*, First Ascents Climbing, Shallow H2O Aqua-Fit*, Gentle H2O Aqua-Fit*, Yoga Passive – Stress Reduction & Meditation, Fusion, Zumba, Social Dance Level One (partner required), Belly Dance Level One, Triathlon Training, Individual Conditioning Level One, and Pilates Level One

The Fitness Veteran

As noted above, changing what, how and when you work out will definitely enhance results and help get you out of that workout rut.  Getting past that plateau and changing your routine will invigorate your workouts and reenergize you in a whole new way!  Try a group fitness class that interests you, climb out of that box you’re in and experience a whole new world!  Some fitness classes that are geared more towards intermediate/advanced level are:

Performance Cycle*, HEAT*, The Worx*, Cardio & Core, YBO Plus*, Cardio & Sculpt*, Hi/Lo*, Turn & Burn*, Yoga-Active, Yoga Level Two, Zumba, TRX, Metabolic Conditioning, Triathlon Training, Deep H2O Aqua-Fit*, Shallow H2O Aqua-Fit*, Appalachians Climbing, Individual Conditioning Level Two, Boxer’s Workout, and Pilates Level Two

Not a Member?

That’s OK, we’re happy to welcome you.  Options for non-members include any of our registered and drop-in programming, as well as Personal Training services.  If interested in a drop-in fitness class or open gym, badminton etc… simply pay the drop-in fee at Membership Services and come on in!

Good luck shaking it up, and please don’t be shy; ask us any questions you might have to ensure you’ve found the right fit for you!  It is important to note that everyone is welcome in any fitness class.  However, you will find you need to take advantage of modifications offered by the instructor and listen to your body.

*Denotes a drop-in fitness class, registration is required in all others.  The Fitness Flex Pass is available for most registered programs.  The Fitness Flex  Pass allows attendance to a registered class to try it out before committing to a full session, to ensure it’s right for you.

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HEATing up from the Cold at Shawnessy

Looking to kick-start your day?  I’m pleased to announce that the ever so popular 6am HEAT class in the gym is back on the schedule at Shawnessy YMCA!

High Energy Athletic Training is a boot-camp style class that is sure to get your temperature up in these chilly months ahead.  Taking you through a series of strength, plyometric and cardiovascular challenging exercises, HEAT will ensure that your physical conditioning is kept in top shape!

Join us this Tuesday at 6am for a HEATed start to your day!


HEATing up from the Cold at Shawnessy

Looking to kick-start your day?  I’m pleased to announce that the ever so popular 6am HEAT class in the gym is back on the schedule at Shawnessy YMCA!

High Energy Athletic Training is a boot-camp style class that is sure to get your temperature up in these chilly months ahead.  Taking you through a series of strength, plyometric and cardiovascular challenging exercises, HEAT will ensure that your physical conditioning is kept in top shape!

Join us this Tuesday at 6am for a HEATed start to your day!


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