Ab Exercise Alternatives

As a certified personal trainer and instructor, I’m most often asked how to improve the appearance of abs. I’m going to let you in on a super exciting secret: crunches won’t help you get there. If you’re questioning everything you ever thought you knew about getting a solid core workout, that’s a good thing! While you will gain some strength from a classic crunch or sit-up, you’re missing out on some important factors that contribute to the appearance of your abs: diet, cardiovascular intensity of the exercise, and exercises that promote posture and balance. Exercise alternatives Below, we rounded up the four most common ineffective and/or incorrectly performed ab exercises. Try trading them out for some of the suggested alternatives for a new change of pace on your ab strength journey. The results will start showing as long as you remain committed to your workout routine and healthy meal choices. Classic sit-up alternatives This one throws everyone for a loop! Sit-ups? It seems counterintuitive, but it’s quite the opposite. If you remember those physical fitness …

The Most Common Exercise Mistakes

Chances are, you had no idea you were doing some of these. Planks, curls, squats — we have a general understanding of what’s correct and incorrect when it comes to our form, but what about the things we don’t know that we don’t know? As an instructor, I spend a lot of time analyzing and helping my students improve their workouts. Common exercise and weight lifting mistakes This includes beginners and advanced students alike: many of the most detrimental mistakes are often the hardest to feel. The four mistakes below are the most common ways I see students develop injuries and struggle to see results. Not everything you learned about lifting weights in the past holds true in today’s world with advancements in exercise physiology. Additionally, you can’t always trust what you read on the internet. As a trainer/instructor, there are a few major mistakes I see often in my classes, and walking around the gym. I’m not talking about proper form either, these mistakes are a little less visible to the untrained eye: Holding …

Cycling vs Running: Which is Best for You?

Cardiovascular exercise is one of five basic components of fitness. The Centers For Disease Control states that healthy adults can gain extra health benefits from doing 150 to 300 minutes of moderate and vigorous cardiovascular exercise a week. If weight loss is one of your fitness goals, your activity choice can make a difference towards  your caloric deficit for the week. Seasoned exercisers may ditch Zumba and the elliptical for more challenging workouts, like running and/or spinning classes.  When you are ready to get that heart rate pumping, which cardiovascular session will come out ahead: a 5K run or a 45-minute spin class? Running vs cycling Running a 5K is less time consuming than a marathon but the perks are similar – you can still get a new cool t-shirt and maybe even a medal! But apart from the swag, the amount of calories burned during a 5K depends on how much you weigh and how fast you are able to run. Here is a simple formula based on a 150-pound person running a 12-minute mile: 0.73 x …

Workout Motivation Tips

There are plenty of reasons to slack off during class. You’re tired. Feeling stressed. Not loving the playlist. Having some simple motivation boosters on hand can help you break through that invisible wall. Next time you’re ready to call it quits, try one of these tricks. Some are out there, others are just downright silly. But all of them will help you go higher, faster and longer than ever before. How to motivate yourself to workout Shock yourself A little negative reinforcement can go a long way to help you form better habits and work harder to achieve your goals. If you struggle with self discipline, there is a device that literally jolts you into action. The Pavlok Wristband is a new tracking band that delivers a small electric shock every time a fitness goal is not met. If you don’t want to spend $199 – just pinch yourself lightly when you feel like you’re slacking in class.  Roll it out Sore muscles are a legitimate reason not to overdo it. Taking a few minutes before …

The Best Cross Training Exercise for Swimmers and Former Swimmers

Whether you swam competitively in high school or simply prefer to work out submerged below water with a refreshing set of strokes in your local pool, good for you! Swimming is one of the best forms of exercise since it utilizes nearly all of the muscles in your body, many of which are difficult to work out through on-land exercises alone. The best workouts for swimmers But if your access to a pool has run dry, fear not. You can still score the same body power benefits on land. In fact, certain fitness moves involving weights that might be difficult to do underwater may even enhance your performance in the pool. Rowing You might not think to put rowing and swimming in the same exercise category, but the movements and technique involved in each are similar. You’re moving your arms in a similar motion against a similar resistance (though you can up the resistance level on the rowing machine). You can row at a fast speed on your own accord, just as you can swim …

Common Pilates Terms, Explained

The buzzwords you hear in Pilates class, defined! Our bodies speak the language of movement during class, but what about our minds when it comes to all the terms we hear during class? Pilates terms If you’re experiencing a bit of a language barrier when it comes to your Pilates classes, you’re not alone. Bookmark this article on Pilates terms and read it on your commute to the gym or the night before your next class for a serious level-up in your fitness knowledge! We’ve explained all of the common Pilates terms below. Abduction:   Movements that take your limbs away from the center of your body. Adduction: Movements that bring your limbs closer to the center of your body. Anterior: This refers to your front side, and all the muscles that work to support it and move your limbs toward it. Barrel: This is an apparatus that helps develop proper breathing techniques and train the spine for correct posture. It looks just as it sounds, like a barrel of hay! BEAM: This is an acronym …