Posts Tagged ‘gym’

Your confidence level should be high right now. Really high.

My spin instructor this morning was giving us a way to gauge our ride, about 2/3 of the way through.’ Hmmm,’ I thought, ‘My confidence level is really high. Okay, bring it!’ Amazing how his words made me realize I actually did feel pretty good and was ready to amp up the intensity.

If you’re going to hang out at this level, that’s a perfectly sane and reasonable choice. Or, if you’re feeling strong, go for it and really take it all the way.

His euphemistic way of daring me to give a little more and not be a baby worked; I increased my resistance, sped up my cadence, and mopped the sweat off my brow.

This is when it starts burning.

Oh, okay. I’m supposed to be feeling that. In that case…

You can hang out here if you’re taking it easy today. But if you’re ready to go for it, take it all the way and just getcha some!

After class I wiped off my bike, layered my coat and sweats on over my bike shorts, and trudged through the dark snowy parking lot to my car, but all day long all I can think is “Getcha some!” Like I have the power to take on the day and get whatever I want from it. And don’t I?

– albledsoe


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Burn, baby, burn!

Here’s my new favorite gym workout. It’s a great way to get an intense burn when you’re pressed for time, and I always feel it the next day!

  • 10 minutes on a StairMaster (not a stepper, the machine with the actual revolving stairs). If you don’t have access to a stairmill of some sort, walk on a treadmill fast at a high incline…I’d say level 10. Go hard, it’s only 10 minutes!
  • Weight circuit including: chest press, upright row, shoulder press, tricep press, alternating bicep curls, hip hinge, and wall squats using a stability ball. Try 20 reps of each exercise, using a weight that is uncomfortable but not too too heavy.
  • 10 more minutes on the stairmill. You should really start sweating right about now.
  • Repeat weight circuit with at least the same number of reps as the first set…add 5 more if you’re feeling frisky.
  • Finish up with 10 minutes on the stairmill (no slacking!).
  • If you still have time, do some sort of ab work; I usually do center and side planks.

– albledsoe

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A leg up

I slipped into the empty group exercise room at my gym the other day to mix things up a little bit. I wanted a different workout that really targeted my legs, and I’d been in the mood for some jump rope. I love jumping rope because I feel like it strengthens my ankles and calves, and it’s an easy way to work up a sweat. My college kickboxing instructor had us jumping rope all the time, but I hadn’t practiced much in the years since then. If you need to brush up on the basics, here’s what the American Council on Exercise has to say about it. [picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=jump+rope&iid=4221093″ src=”a/c/1/f/Gabrielle_Reece_8779.jpg?adImageId=7846697&imageId=4221093″ width=”234″ height=”352″ /]

My workout went like this:

  • 100 jumps (both feet)
  • side squats across the room and back, holding weights
  • 100 jumps
  • walking lunges
  • 100 jumps
  • step-ups with weights (20 each leg)
  • 100 jumps
  • Repeat 2-3x

My legs felt like spaghetti, so mission accomplished!

– albledsoe

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As soon as I hear that cough and sneeze from the gym-goer next to me, I cringe. Thinking about their sick germs latching on to that treadmill makes me want to run right out of the gym for the entire cold and flu season. But, we all know that’s not an option. You have to find a way to fight the germs and keep your immune system up.

Towel, please! Any towel will do, but in there is a fancy new gym towel available just in time for the holiday season. What’s so special about it? Well, it is designed to help keep all of those funky gym germs off of you. One side of the towel says face and the other says gym. So you always know which side is mopping up your sweat and which side is mopping up everyone else’s. Very clever, but it’s also a little pricey. It comes in around $15 plus shipping. I’m not totally sold on this miracle towel, but it did make me think about how to avoid the dreaded gym-to-face contact.

Three solutions:
– Use the free towels you get in swag bags at races or conferences for your workouts. They usually feature the logo of a vendor on one side and have no writing on the other. Perfect for knowing which side is for your face.
– Mark your territory; summer camp meets your gym bag. Buy your gym towels on sale, and break out the Sharpie. Just write your initials on one side of the towel and you’ll be in good shape. You won’t have to worry about confusing one side from the other.
-Better yet, bring two different colored towels to the gym. One for the machines and the other for your body.

Lather, Rinse, Repeat. Since sickness-causing germs and bacteria can live on gym equipment several days, it’s very important to minimize your risk. In addition to the towel trick, keep a bottle of hand sanitizer in your gym bag and always wash your hands thoroughly before and after a sweat session. This time of year instead of singing “Happy Birthday” in my mind while washing, I usually go for a Christmas tune. One verse of, “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” will help you to get a good 20 second hand washing in and fill you with holiday cheer.

BYOB (water bottle, that is). Avoiding water fountains at the gym can help eliminate the spread of cold and flu germs, so please arrive armed with a water bottle of your own. You know how important it is to stay hydrated, and this allows you to do so while avoiding the germ-fest happening at the water fountain.
– Make sure you are washing your refillable water bottle after each use.
– Avoid refilling your water bottle at the water fountain.
– Don’t toss your water bottle in with your gym bag. Remember, that’s where you keep your shoes…

Do you have any tips/tricks you want to share about how you stay healthy during the winter workouts at the gym?

On a side note, my lettuce has sprouted! I’m a little concerned that it’s not getting enough sunshine, but I’m still hopeful that I’ll get a homegrown salad before we get snow in St. Louis.


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I’ve read so many articles over the years about the best time of day to work out, but this one from medicinenet.com sums up all the advice in one article. Mornings are great for routine, you may have greater endurance in the evenings, pollen counts are lower early, but later workouts might interfere with sleep…there are many tidbits of advice, but basically, the best time to exercise is any time you’ll actually do it!

Last year when Daylight Savings Time ended, I knew I would be awake an hour earlier than my alarm went off, so I took advantage of it and started an early morning exercise habit. It was great to have my workout behind me heading into the day, especially when it’s dark at 6 p.m. and cold and I want to snuggle into bed for the night by 8!

Now that shorter days are upon us once again, I’m struggling to make the commitment to morning workouts. I’m one for three this week, but my bed is so nice in the mornings! I know I’m more likely to get the workout in if I do it early, so I need to buckle down and just do it.

P.S. Sara’s spaghetti squash dinner inspired me to try the fall veggie for the first time as well. I used this recipe from DrWeil.com (he posts some great healthy recipes). Instead of baking the squash, I boiled it, which was so simple. Sara’s the cook on this blog, so I was anxious, but it turned out really great. The only problem was that I severely underestimated how long it would take to prepare. It’s more time than I normally have for cooking on a work night, but we have so many leftovers, we won’t have to cook for a few more days! The casserole (almost like a lasagna, really) was all veggies, spices, and a little cheese, so it’s a great dinner that’s not too heavy before bed.

– albledsoe

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Sure, you know that smoking, overeating, and lack of exercise aren’t healthy. But did you realize the effect these behaviors can have on your budget as well as the financial wellbeing of your employer?

At the Kentucky Economic Summit in July, Wellsteps CEO Steven Aldana’s presentation on wellness in the workplace made the connection between lifestyle choices we make every day and the downslide of the economy. Aldana maintains that while several factors can be blamed for the U.S. recession, the outrageous cost of disease care in our country has caused some corporations to fail or move to other countries.

Aldana presented some interesting statistics, including that within nine years, 20 percent of money produced in the U.S will go to pay for healthcare. We have by far the highest healthcare costs in the world, but that isn’t making us healthier. In fact, we have the highest infant mortality rate among developing countries, and more than two-thirds of U.S. adults are overweight or obese.

On average, 25 percent of employees have a chronic disease; that 25 percent of the workforce accounts for 85 percent of a company’s costs. An overwhelming majority of these chronic diseases are completely preventable: 71 percent of cancers, 70 percent of stroke, 82 percent of heart disease, and 91 percent of Type II diabetes are the direct result of poor lifestyle choices. Not only do these diseases raise healthcare costs, but they increase absenteeism (which is costly to a company), workers compensation, and short-term disability.

How can you make better choices to improve the financial situation for your family and ensure the success of your company? Begin with a few simple steps:

-Begin taking family walks every day. It’s a great, FREE way to relieve stress and spend time together while getting fresh air a physical activity.

-Try adding a vegetable or fruit at each meal. Toss extra veggies on a sandwich or throw some berries in your cereal or oatmeal.

-Trade white flour products for those made with whole grains.

-Prepare meals and snacks ahead of time and keep some with you to avoid the temptation of the drive-thru.

-Use spices and herbs to flavor your food instead of fats and creams to help your waistline as well as lower cholesterol.

-Do some sort of physical activity most days of the week. Little changes can add up!

– Read the F2BT blog regularly for more tips and ideas (shameless plug, sorry!).

Changing your habits isn’t easy, but healthier lifestyle can add 10-20 high quality years to your life. Try incorporating just one of these tips every day for a week, then add the next one. You can’t afford not to!

– albledsoe

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Hotel Fitness

I was back on the road last week for work, this time to San Diego. After trying airplane exercises and hotel running maps on my last trip, I wanted to mix it up a little this time. It was my first trip to San Diego, and it was a quick one. Luckily, the weather was great for walking, and the hotel had a great complimentary fitness center (and I did grab a running map from the concierge, but didn’t end up using it). There was a beautiful outdoor pool as well, but it wasn’t quite that warm!

Turns out, the Omni San Diego also offers a Get Fit Kit for guests, which they bring right to your room (they’ll even bring a treadmill to your room for a “nominal fee”). The kit was delivered to my room while I was at the conference Monday; it contained resistance bands, light weights, an exercise mat, towel, bottle of water, and a brochure with suggested exercises. Although I really enjoyed my workout in the fitness center, it was nice to be able to use the kit to get a workout in without leaving my room. The bottled water was also nice, because I always seem to have trouble getting enough water when I travel.

Get Fit Kit at Omni San Diego

Get Fit Kit at Omni San Diego

I did a combination of the suggested exercises and some of my own, and that seemed to work pretty well. I haven’t had a lot of experience with resistance bands, so I appreciated the recommendations; my favorite workout was side leg lifts with the band looped around my knees. Quite effective!

It’s nice to see that more and more hotels are considering the needs of guests who want to continue their healthy lifestyles when they’re on the road. I tend to judge hotels by their fitness centers these days, and an in-room Get Fit Kit was a nice bonus. Have you stayed somewhere that has great fitness options?

– albledsoe

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