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FITNESS

Fitness Equipment Glossary

There are dozens and dozens of different type of fitness equipment out there so keeping track of them can be quite the task, even for an expert. The constant influx of new type of innovations and equipment also does not help and can intimidate newcomers to the fitness world. We have compiled a list of the most common terms regarding fitness equipment and break them down to simple to understand, non-jargon explanations. We have also detailed which body part the equipment targets, if applicable. If words like ergometer, P80 console, and smith machine baffle you, this list will be your friend. We have gathered up all the fitness equipment names that we could find and we are constantly adding to this list.

Ab Bench

Category: Strength

Body Parts Targeted: abdominals

An ab bench is a fitness bench that is generally at a decline, usually with padded leg rollers to hook your legs or foot around to perform a crunch or sit-up. There are also adjustable versions of these where you can perform different exercises on.

Adjustable Bench

Category: Strength

Body Parts Targeted: N/A

Similar to a flat bench, but they are adjustable to either become a flat bench, an incline bench or a decline bench.

AMT

An abbreviation for the Precor AMT (Adaptive Motion Trainer) which is an all-in-one elliptical machine. It is able to change strides and adapt to the user without any manual adjustments.

Arc Trainer

Category: Cardio

Body Parts Targeted: hamstrings, quadriceps, gluteus maximus, core (if it includes upper body: triceps, biceps, back)

A cardio machine created by Cybex that closely resembles an elliptical, but the independent floating pedal mechanism further reduces the impact on your lower joints.

Assisted Chin Dip

Category: Strength

Body Parts Targeted: triceps, deltoids, pectorals, abdominals, biceps

An assisted chin dip machine is a tower with two protruding rods. Some machines will have the user either kneel or stand on a weighted platform. The user starts with their arms at a 90-degree angle and extends their arms to perform the exercise.

Crosstrainer

See entry for elliptical.

Curl Bench

Category: Strength

Body Parts Targeted: N/A

Also sometimes called a preacher curl. This bench resembles a seat with a padded section in front. The user places their arm over the padded section of the bench and can perform curls with proper form.

Cybex

One of the leading manufacturers of fitness equipment. They mainly specialize in producing strength equipment with over 150 unique pieces. Cybex is also known for their innovative Arc Trainer cardio machines.

Decline Bench

Category: Strength

Body Parts Targeted: N/A

A weight bench where the user’s legs are higher than their head. It is used for bench presses that target the lower portion of the chest.

Elliptical

Category: Cardio

Body Parts Targeted: hamstrings, quadriceps, gluteus maximus, core (if it includes upper body: triceps, biceps, back)

An elliptical is a stationary cardio machine that simulates running or climbing. Users stand on pedals which allows for a low impact workout. Some elliptical also has movable arms which will also allow for an additional upper body workout. Also sometimes referred to as an elliptical cross-trainer or a cross-trainer.

Ergometer – This is quite the confusing term. Sometimes an ergometer can refer to the device inside your exercise machine that tracks your statistics like heart rate, calories burned, distance run, etc. An ergometer can also be referring to an indoor rowing machine. See rowing machine for further definitions of the term used in that context.

Flat Bench

Category: Strength

Body Parts Targeted: N/A

A flat bench is designed for users to lie flat on top of. It is designed to support users while they are performing bench presses.

FreeMotion Fitness

A fitness equipment manufacturer that produces both strength and cardio equipment. They are best known for their FreeMotion Functional Trainer, which uses pulleys and cables to allow a more dynamic range of motion.

Functional Trainer

Category: Strength

Body Parts Targeted: Entire body

Functional trainers are all-in-one fitness machines that usually look like one large tower. Many of them utilize cables or pulleys in order to accommodate a wide variety of different exercises. Functional trainers target upper body, lower body, and the core. The type of exercise varies depending on the model.

Hoist Fitness

Hoist Fitness is a San Diego based company that produces strength-training and indoor cycling products for commercial and home markets.

Incline Bench

Category: Strength

Body Parts Targeted: N/A

A weight bench where the user’s head is higher than their legs. Generally used in bench presses and curls.

Incline Press

Category: Strength

Body Parts Targeted: pectorals (upper chest), deltoids, triceps

An incline press machine is a weight machine that consists of a seat with two handles located in front of the user that are attached to weights. The user extends their arms and slowly brings them back to starting position to complete a repetition.

Indoor Cycle

Category: Cardio

Body Parts Targeted: hamstring, quadriceps, calves, gluteus maximus, abdominals, tibialis anterior, core

An indoor cycle is a stationary bike that is similar to an upright bike but is generally smaller and uses a weighted flywheel. It is commonly used in indoor cycling classes where riders ride the indoor cycle in a group in a group, following an instructor and music.

LeMond Fitness

LeMond Fitness, powered by Hoist Fitness, is a fitness company formed by Greg LeMond that specializes in creating stationary cycles.

Life Fitness

Life Fitness is one of the largest and most respected fitness equipment manufacturers. They manufacture every type of equipment including cardio and strength machines.

Matrix Fitness

Matrix Fitness is a commercial grade fitness equipment manufacturer. They are known for their industrial design and contemporary look.

Olympic Bench

Category: Strength

Body Parts Targeted: N/A

Olympic benches are slightly larger than standard benches and are generally made of composite steel for maximum durability. Olympic benches are also more padded since they’re designed to be able to withstand larger weight loads and heavier lifters.

P80 Console – Precor’s newest consoles for their cardio fitness equipment. It has a 15″ LCD capacitive touchscreen. It is also iPod/iPhone compatible.

P30 Console – Precor’s older style console. Includes large LED display and motion controls.

Power Rack

Category: Strength

Body Parts Targeted: N/A

A power rack is a machine with four vertical bars and two movable horizontal bars used to catch barbells. Many power racks also come with additional horizontal bars to perform chin ups and pull ups on in addition to barbell exercises. They are usually wide enough for a person to easily fit inside, along with a fitness bench.

Preacher Curl

Category: Strength

Body Parts Targeted: N/A

See entry for curl bench.

Precor

Precor is a worldwide leader in the home/commercial exercise equipment due to their emphasis on superior quality, creative innovation, and overall performance. They specialize in both strength equipment and cardio and are probably most well known for their innovative AMT (Adaptive Motion Trainer).

Recumbent Bike

Category: Cardio

Body Parts Targeted: hamstring, quadriceps, calves, gluteus maximus, abdominals, tibialis anterior

A recumbent bike is an exercise bike that places its user in a reclining position with the pedals out in front of them. The recumbent bike is great for users with back problems because there is

less pressure on the lower back due to the laid-back position.

Smith Machine

Category: Strength

Body Parts Targeted: quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteus maximus, back

A smith machine is a machine usually consisting of a vertical steel rail that is used in weight training. It is primarily used with a barbell and as a self-spotting machine. There are slots on the smith machine that you can hook a barbell onto with only a twist of a wrist. There are also usually safeties which can be placed at a minimum height to catch the barbell and prevent injuries. Smith Machines usually only also vertical movement and are primarily used for squats.

StairMaster

A fitness company established in 1983 and known for their stair climbing fitness equipment. Their most famous products include the stepper and stepmill.

Star Trac

Star Trac has been manufacturing exercise equipment for both home and commercial use since 1979. Their main specialties are their Pro Treadmill lines, their complete lines of selectorized strength equipment and much more.

Stepmill

Category: Cardio

Body Parts Targeted: quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteus maximus, hip flexors, calves

A stepmill resembles an escalator in the sense that it is an endless set of rotating steps. These steps are attached to a belt that revolves around every step. Stepmills are meant to exactly simulate stair climbing and uses your own body weight as resistance, which can increase the number of calories burned.

Stepper

Category: Cardio

Body Parts Targeted: quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteus maximus, hip flexors, calves

Steppers are machines that have two side by side pedals that you pump up and down to simulate stair climbing. Since steppers rely less on bodyweight, they are more effective for lighter individuals who may not have enough mass to properly move the stepmills. Generally, steppers allow you to adjust resistance level to adjust intensity and difficulty of the workout.

Upright Bike

Category: Cardio

Body Parts Targeted: hamstring, quadriceps, calves, gluteus maximus, abdominals, tibialis anterior, core

An upright bike is an exercise bike where the user sits in an upright position, similar to a road bicycle, with the pedals almost directly below the seat. The upright position helps to simulate real road bike riding and engages the core more than a recumbent bike.

Weight Bench

Category: Strength

Body Parts Targeted: N/A

A weight bench (sometimes called a fitness bench) is a padded board supported by legs and its primary purpose is for weightlifters to sit or lie down on. There are various types of weight benches, including an incline bench, a decline bench, an ab bench, a preacher curl/curl bench and an Olympic bench.

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FITNESS

Living The Fitness Lifestyle

A number of you have written me about how to approach the days when you are not working out, when you are not following a meal plan and when you are not scheduled to participate in a physical fitness event of some kind. We tend to call these “off days” or “rest days,” some people even have an “off-season” and I tend to think these names are pretty appropriate. I think the major idea or concept we who engage in and live the fitness lifestyle must have is that there is never a time when our body is doing nothing. The only time your body will even come close to doing nothing is when you are dead and then it is still doing something; it’s called decaying. But on a serious note, we have to get it in our minds that living fit is more than a gym workout or a series of well-planned meals, it truly is a lifestyle. Media and marketing do a great job of selling products but they have also given many people an unrealistic idea of what being fit is, what it looks like and how to live fit.

Popular mindsets to avoid

So often I talk to people who engage in bodybuilding and physique competitions. These are sports that I personally love and respect. These sports are characterized by a huge number of amazing athletes and they have always had a firm place in my heart as some of my favorite personalities and friends. However, most people (but rarely the athletes) tend to place the wrong label on these people and incorrectly think of these people as the ultimate symbol of the fitness lifestyle. In the majority of cases (there are exceptions) I can tell you that nothing could be further from the truth. I lived that lifestyle for the majority of my life so I know what I’m talking about.

In my experience, the majority of these people only engage in fitness lifestyle endeavors around the clock when it’s time to get ready for a competition. The rest of the year many of them won’t train for weeks at a time, they eat anything they please and engage in binging, literally gorging themselves with food then turn around and initiate extreme dieting practices in order to prepare for their show. In addition to this, most of the people I’ve known in these sports (including myself at one time) only exercise and eat “clean” at various times throughout the year during the years that they are competing.

Over time, the great fluctuations in body weight, the steroid abuse and constantly changing dietary practices take their toll. Once their lives have moved past the competition phase, most of them tend to become recreational exercisers and end up having the same physical fitness shortcomings that most other people face. While sport is a tremendous way to stay in shape and enjoy our lives we have to ensure that we create lifestyle characteristics that will remain once our days of competition have passed. I struggled with this for years and can tell you that this is a tremendous challenge for the former physique athlete.

Get To Know Yourself It’s Going to be a Long Ride

Living fit (for life) is about you becoming aware of your body’s fitness shortcomings and designing a lifestyle that will improve them and maintain them at a high level. It’s really that simple. It’s not a get ripped-up for summer than gain all the weight back in the fall type of lifestyle. Sure there are times when a fit person may decide to take some aspect of fitness and improve it considerably in order to enjoy the benefits of it, but the thing to remember is there is no stopping point.

This is a key concept that is so simple, but so absent from most people’s lives. The fitness lifestyle never stops. It doesn’t end when you quit playing a sport, it doesn’t end when you get married and it doesn’t end when you start your own business. There is no stopping point for those who live fit. Sure we all have setbacks, struggles, and challenges to overcome, but we overcome them. We know that these setbacks, struggles, and challenges will be overcome while living in the fitness lifestyle. In other words, we do not modify our lifestyle in order to deal with issues, we deal with issues while maintaining our lifestyle. As simplistic as this sounds, I’ve found that this is perhaps the hardest aspect of living fit that most people deal with.

Of course, there are meals, days and times when we do things that are contrary to our fitness beliefs and lives. But they are the exception, not the rule. These things are allowed into our lives as a break from the norm, as brief events that add to our lives in other ways and are worth the cost.

Some examples may be:

  1. Eating cake with your child on their birthday – there are so many positives that come from this
  2. Having some drinks with an old friend who needs to talk – friends are priceless, this won’t hurt you
  3. Enjoying cultural events by partaking in its food and drinks – many things in life can’t be replaced

So you get the picture. The living fit is not about sporting six-pack abs year-round (but can include this) until you get married then adopting the beer belly. The living fit is about a lifetime of choices and actions that lead to your physical betterment as your life goes on from phase-to-phase and relationship-to-relationship. The greatest thing I love about the fitness lifestyle is that it is never too late to begin. This is an amazing concept that has changed the lives of millions, myself included, and it can do the same for you if you so choose.

I challenge you to take a long look at many of the lifestyle choices you now make and consider ways to incorporate a healthier fitness mindset into those things in order to create and build a lifestyle that will provide you with a great level of fitness from this moment forward. You can do it! The living fit is a choice and that choice is yours.

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FITNESS

Power of a Home Fitness Gym

For the stay at home moms and working moms getting to the gym can be a hassle. Between work meetings, school meeting and everyday chores the gym is the last thing we want to do at the end of the day.

We all know physical fitness is important to stay healthy. The question I will attempt to answer is how to fit a good quality workout into your busy schedule.

The Answer: A Home Fitness Gym.

Now I am not talking about going out and buying workout equipment or a treadmill. Although eventually, you may decide it is necessary for you, definitely it is not required.

I want to show you how to set up a quality home fitness gym, which will have great fitness programs to use. You will have to spend some money, but not thousands of dollars.

One item I really like is fitness balls. You know those big balls, which allow you to do ab workouts. Most fitness balls can be purchased for $20 to $50.

Miss the Camaraderie

The hardest part of setting up the home fitness gym is a having a proper atmosphere. At home, you do not have all the people you see in an aerobics or biking class. The reason gyms are so popular is due to the camaraderie from other women at the class. When you miss a couple classes they ask where you have been and they missed you.

Working out at your own home fitness gym you do lose that camaraderie. How can we fix this element?

Use DVDs

The best way I have found is the use of DVDs. There are thousands of fitness programs to purchase from as little as $10 to $70 or $80. The most important consideration is the person leading the workout video. I have found some to be a little too perky and annoying, sort of nails on a chalkboard personality.

Multiple Fitness DVDs

What I have done is bought one from a “workout guru” who has a number of different titles. The reason is simple. I get bored doing the same routine over and over again, but with I really like the person on the video. I solve this problem by purchasing their other workout DVDs.

The use of workout DVDs is a quick and easy way to set up a home fitness gym. All you need is the fitness ball and a fitness program on a DVD and you are ready to go.

Now The Hard Part

Here is the hard part. We still have to find the time to workout. Yes, time is still an issue because as we know kids and a husband have their own needs.

What I have done is carve out 30 minutes in the morning after the kids go to school and before I have to go to work. It is a quick workout, but I do feel better once I am done.

Home Gym Will Save Time and Money

However, the 30-minute workout saves me the hour and a half I would spend at the gym. Oh, I forgot to mention this money saving tip. Since you no longer have to spend $50 a month for a gym membership this money can be used to set up a home fitness gym.

Use the $50 to buy new DVDs or other fitness equipment each month.

Creating your own home fitness gym is fun. You get to design the gym and workouts to meet your fitness needs. If you get bored just redesign the fitness program with different equipment and DVDs.

Now go set up your home fitness gym today!

Tina Danfield is a staff writer and resident fitness guru for [http://thefitnessoasis.com]. She is a working mom who tries to fit in home fitness into her busy schedule. Staying healthy is part of having a healthy family. Learn tips and ideas at The Fitness Oasis where you can find additional articles and home fitness products.

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FITNESS

The Road To Fitness

For most of us, choosing to be fit is more a test of will than a one-time decision. Being “fit” covers a change in our lifestyle much more than just embarking on a new exercise or diet program. For me, the choice came about 15 years ago. I was about 24 years old when friends of mine convinced me to start going to the gym as a group. At that time, I knew I didn’t really like the way I looked, so I thought it would be a good idea. How hard could it be? Well, it didn’t take long before I knew the answer to that question. And to tell you the truth, at that time my workouts were not that difficult. But getting up at 5 am to be at the gym by 5:30, certainly was, Also, since there were 4 of us and only 1 really knew what he was doing, the workouts were VERY long. Too long when you mix in the water cooler talk that often took over some workouts.

So, after trying this approach for about 3 weeks I still wasn’t motivated nor did I look forward to working out and was about to quit. As luck would have it for me, 2 guys in the group beat me to it, leaving just myself and the only person who knew anything about working out correctly at that time. That changed everything.

With just 2 of us now, we were much more focused and I got some really good coaching on the basics. After a month of 1-1 time, we started increasing the intensity of the workouts and mixing in some really fun cycle classes. Somewhere within the next month, I saw a change. Not just in my appearance, but my outlook and attitude were all affected. At that point, I was hooked. I worked out consistently at the gym 5 times a week incorporating cardio, running, and weights. I looked and felt good thinking this would always be my way of life.

And it was, until about 5 years ago. In 2007, my mother was diagnosed with brain cancer and turned my life upside down. I quickly lost interest in many of my normal activities including fitness. During the next 2 years, I really let myself go and didn’t much care to get back into the swing of things. A major life changing event will do this to a person, and I was no exception. My wife became really concerned about my decline in fitness and began encouraging me to get back into it. I tried but absolutely could not get motivated. After much research and a hard look in the mirror, I was able to pull back the self-discipline I once had. It was not easy, and it took a lot of planning and hard work. So, today, I want to share what helped me conquer my fitness demons. Hope these help you.

The reason I’m giving so much background of my personal fitness experience is to show that each of us will struggle in different ways with choosing fit. Lifetime fitness really isn’t a “one size fits all” approach. We all have different situations that initiate our interest in getting in shape, keeping us motivated and sustaining the lifestyle for the long term. However, I do believe there are some common practices we can all adapt to help us overcome obstacles at any of these stages and become an improved, healthier and fit person.

1. Initiate – This may be the easiest of the 3 stages because it only requires us to decide to get fit, but not actually do anything. That said, don’t underestimate the importance and key factors that should be used to initiate your fitness journey. The main things to remember here are these:

    • Do this for you! Be sure you’re not just giving in to pressure from others. You need to be willing to take this step and feel good it’s the right approach for you.
    • Start with the end in mind. Set goals and imagine what you want your body and health to reflect during the journey. Lose 25 pounds, Get ripped, lower cholesterol, feel better, keep up with the kids.
    • Choose the right program.– The right fitness program for you is very important and will vary depending on your fitness starting point. Choosing one too hard, or that doesn’t yield results fast enough will quickly discourage you and run the risk of bailing too quickly. Find the balance of enjoyable exercise that challenges you enough to hit early goals. Don’t discount the power of proven favorites like walking, jogging, and biking to get started. These can help your body start getting into a routine that will be a base to adopt going forward. Just try to perform your exercise at the same time daily to get your internal clock know what to expect. As you establish a rhythm and hit some milestones you’ve set, it may be time to try new programs or increase the difficulty of your current routines. For a list of some awesome routines, just leave a comment requesting it.
  • Accept that your eating habits MUST change. Like it or not, it is part of the game. By not embracing the fact that the workouts alone will not cut it, you’re bound to fail when results do not come. The good news is, the change in eating habits can actually be a very positive experience. You’ll feel great and have the energy to workout the right way. Completely removing everything you like about food is the WRONG way to approach this. You can still eat really good tasting and satisfying foods without sabotaging your hard work. There are even ways to sneak in your favorites and not feel guilty about it, so don’t worry about that. Just know that what and how you eat makes all the difference in the end.

2. Stay Motivated – Everyone is motivated out of the gate when starting a fitness program, but that quickly fades for many people when they realize the process is more difficult than they imagined. Make no mistake, getting fit is HARD, but the challenge is not unlike anything else worth having in life. You must commit and keep motivated using several tactics, of which I’ve tried many. Try these to help you stay on track.

    • Aim for some quick results. Everyone wants this, but it is key to see some quick results early on so that the momentum of starting the program does not dwindle. Losing a pound or two, dropping a pant size, completing a workout without stopping, whatever makes you feel good. Be realistic about this, but have something you shoot for so you can taste success and drive you to continue.
    • Read about being fit. This is truly a big motivator as it shows you success stories and gives a lot of ideas about achieving goals. So take the time to read a magazine or internet article about your favorite exercise, or healthy food. You’ll be surprised how engaged you may quickly become.
    • Get the sweat flowing. For me, a workout that doesn’t do this leaves me somewhat empty. Getting your heart rate up (and sweating) activates all of the key things that makes exercise so effective. It burns calories, strengthens the heart and cardio system, and releases endorphins in the brain that make you feel great. You’ll see!
    • Never settle – Set, Reset and Reset your PB (Personal Best). Constantly challenging your last record is an awesome way to stay in the game. Run that mile faster, go longer, extra reps, extra sets, higher jumps, deeper lunges, better form. The list can go on and on. You can be your best competition and there’s nothing like competition to motivate the heart and soul. So kick your own butt! You’ll enjoy it.
    • Do what you can! We all have limits and quite often use them as excuses that interfere with our fitness routines. Time, stress, aches, and tiredness all contribute to our justification to digress or completely stop a program. Don’t let that happen. If you find yourself giving in to one of these temptations, try to at least do something. Convince yourself you can at least do 1/2 or even 1/3 of a workout. (10 minutes? Don’t go as intense or fast. Give yourself a break, without actually giving yourself a break. You may be surprised by convincing yourself to at least get started, you’ll be more willing to push harder during the workout.
    • Don’t tempt yourself or give in to food junkies. Everyone I know encounters this during their fitness journey. It involves either being introduced to a food situation that makes it difficult to say no, or being encouraged by others to “cheat” even when they know how you feel about staying on track. By giving in to either, you will likely feel guilty afterward, which oddly enough increases your chances to continue cheating. The negative feeling of guilt are powerful and can actually begin a vicious cycle of continuing the pattern, so don’t let this happen. The first of these is actually easier to deal with by simply planning around it, or modifying the portions of food you have available so they at least meet some of the standards of your diet. For the second, if you find yourself in this situation often, have a gameplan. Either be ready to defend your stance on cheating or plan to deal with it in another way. Maybe use it as your cheat meal, compensate for it on the next day or week, or modify the portions so you can at least control the damage.
  • Keep a support network. Family, friends, social networks, whatever. Have some person you can confide in about your struggles that can offer positive support. Works wonders in the beginning.

3. Sustain the LifeStyle. This part can seem a little easier once you achieve your goals, but the long-term approach to fitness is actually one that must always be top of mind. While this stage is a practice of discipline, even an “iron will” can be bent when the lifestyle is too far from what a person enjoys. So how can you force yourself to embrace a long-term lifestyle that doesn’t match who you are? Well, actually you can’t. I think people are amazing and capable of just about anything. But not allowing yourself to be YOU jeopardizes your character and simply said, is not right for anyone.

Because of this, let’s look at this challenge from a different approach. How do create a lifestyle that is both fits and matches your personality? The answer may be a little different for everyone, but for me, I can provide a few tips that helped. Consider these and possibly modify to suit your own needs.

    • Find your fit, in fitness! Put another way, find exercise and diet that allow you to be fulfilled. What activities do you enjoy, or for that matter, dislike? Running, walking, lifting, bike riding, Plyometrics, calisthenics, WiiFit, whatever. If nothing lights your fire, you will have a tough road here, However, if you’ve read this far into the post, I doubt there’s nothing for you.
    • Challenge yourself! Once you’ve found the exercise(s) you enjoy, don’t always settle for the moderate workout. You need to push yourself for various reasons. It not only keeps your workouts interesting, it provides the edge required to make an impact on your fitness. The level of “intensity” differs from person to person, but you know when you’ve given your all. Don’t cheat yourself out of real benefits. I don’t think someone really taps into the true benefits of fitness until they crank up the volume of the workout. You’ll look better, feel better, and even be more confident and positive.
    • Learn how to eat clean, then do it 90% of the time. There are a ton of books on the topic of eating right, and they all have some validity. Find a good nutrition plan that works for your body, and learn the framework. Once you understand the basics of nutrition, portion control and the most harmful foods to avoid, the rest can be adapted to your eating habits. Now, eat this way 90% of the time. This gives you the break people need to keep their sanity. I eat approx 5 times a day, which means I have 35 meals per week. In my world, I allow 3 of those meals to stray from my normal eating. I don’t lock myself for a day, or time of day to do this. I choose the right meal to allow this based on “life”. Sometimes it’s a donut breakfast with my daughter or an awesome dinner with my wife. Maybe a good old fashion home cooked meal from my mother in law. It doesn’t matter, just stay committed not to go beyond this limit and please don’t overdo it. The 90% rule is not a free for all at the dinner table. That could really wreck your progress! It is a way to give yourself the freedom you need to eat foods you really enjoy to make the system work for you.
  • Variety, Variety, Variety! Did I say that enough? If so, it’s because I believe without variety in your fitness it will inevitably become boring while not allowing enough areas of the body to get attention. If workouts become stale and mundane, you run the risk of disengaging from them and eventually quit. Who wants to do always do something that’s boring and hard.NOT! This doesn’t mean you have to always recreate your entire workout. Most often slight adjustment to your current routine will provide the mix needed to spice them up. If you run/bike, change the route, look at modifying the weights or reps on a lifting routine, even changing the intensity or order of the exercises can help liven things up. Whatever you decide to do to make them a little different helps and you’ll see how quickly it rekindles your interest in staying fit.

Hopefully these tips on “Choosing Fit” will help you Set, Hit and Maintain your fitness goals. They have done wonders for me in my life and I am constantly looking for new items to add in each section. Let me know your own ideas, and feel free to share with all your fit friends. Like I said, it’s a tough road but worth it and doable with a little bit of strategy. Hope this helps you on your journey.

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FITNESS

A Guide To Total Body Fitness!

EXERCISE FOR A BETTER YOU – INSIDE AND OUT

Being fit can give you immediate benefit of improved vigor, and it may offer long-term benefits as well.

# Gain More Energy. As you exercise regularly, your entire body becomes more efficient. Your heart begins to pump more blood with each beat and to beat fewer times each minute. Your body develops the ability to make more oxygen available to your cells. That means more energy – greater productivity, more stamina, and less fatigue.

# Feel Good. Exercise makes you feel good, both physically and mentally. It gives you a psychological lift and strengthens your sense of accomplishment. The discipline associated with exercise also makes you feel good about yourself: “I feel good that I walked today,” or “When I run, I feel I have control over one area of my life.”

# Look Good. Regular exercise plays an important role in helping to reduce body fat and weight and to develop muscle. Fitness can give you a better-looking, better-proportioned body: a flatter abdomen, firmer thighs, and slimmer hips.

# Feel Younger. Increasing your activity level can reverse or slow the changes that many people think are simply the unavoidable results of aging. In reality, lack of exercise usually reduces flexibility, strength, blood vessel elasticity, and lung functions; slows reaction time and metabolism; and increases body fat between ages 30 and 60.

# Build A Stronger Heart. Regular exercise may help reduce or modify some of the risk factors associated with heart diseases, such as high cholesterol levels, elevated blood pressure, obesity, and stress. A three-year study at the University of Toronto showed that people who exercised regularly after a heart attack had less than a 5 percent chance of having a second attack, while those who were sedentary had 22 percent chance.

WHAT IS PHYSICAL FITNESS?

Physical fitness has two extremes: the well-conditioned person at one end and the completely inactive individual at the other. To be well-conditioned, you need to work on the four components of physical fitness: Body Composition, Cardiovascular Fitness, Muscle Fitness, and Flexibility.

# Body Composition: Body composition is the ratio between body fat and muscle. Too much fat and not enough muscle may increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes, gout, and arthritis and back problems.

# Cardiovascular Fitness: Cardiovascular fitness is the ability of the heart, blood, and blood vessels to transport oxygen to your muscles. A strong, efficient heart is important for stamina and may lower your risk of heart disease.

# Muscle Fitness: Muscle fitness is the strength, endurance, and shape of your muscles. Good muscle fitness helps you maintain good posture; avoid lower back pain, and lift, carry, push, and press any objects. Regular exercise keeps your muscles well developed – an important ingredient in proper body composition. Calisthenic and weight-training exercises improve your muscle fitness. Aerobic exercises also can improve muscle fitness, although to a lesser extent.

# Flexibility: Flexibility is the range of motion possible at the joints of your body. Good flexibility helps you avoid lower back pain, plus joint, neck, shoulder, arm and leg injuries. Calisthenics, stretching exercises, and yoga can help maintain or improve flexibility or suppleness.

GETTING OFF TO A GOOD START

Before you begin an exercise programme, discuss what you plan to do with your physician. Most physicians will adjust the programme according to your needs and health status.

HOW ARE FIT YOU NOW?

Evaluate your physical fitness level before you start a fitness programme. Ask yourself the following questions for the evaluation:

CARDIOVASCULAR FITNESS

Q #1: Do you exert yourself enough to work up a sweat for 20 minutes or more, three to four times a week?

Q #2: Are you physically active on the job? That is, does your work require you to move for at least 40 minutes non-stop, do the vigorous physical activity, lift heavy objects?

BODY COMPOSITION

Q #3: Is your weight appropriate to standard height/weight charts?

Q #4: Are you satisfied with your body’s muscle tone and the way your body looks?

MUSCLE FITNESS

Q #5: Have you been free of lower back pain (a backache) during the past 6 months?

Q #6: Have your waistline expanded less than one inch since age 18 (women) or 21 (men)?

FLEXIBILITY

Q #7: Can you easily touch your toes without bending your knees?

Q #8: Are you currently free from aches, pains or stiffness in joints such as the neck, shoulders, lower back, hips, and knees?

WHAT IS YOUR BODY TYPE?

In addition to your medical and fitness status, consider your weight and body type when starting a fitness programme.

BODY TYPES

Heavy: Substantial amount of fat with poor muscle development – usually very inactive.

Heavy Muscular: Substantial amount of fat with fair to good muscle development – usually formerly or occasionally active.

Thin: Very lean and very little muscle development – usually very inactive.

Now check the list below for guidelines on the best exercises for particular body types. But remember that there are always exceptions: some aerobic dancers are heavy and muscular, and some swimmers are thin. In general, the list highlights those activities from which you can expect the most success, the least frustration, and the best chance to staying with on the road to fitness. For example, a heavy person may not get the full benefit of jumping rope, running, or aerobics because of the stress that extra body fat puts on the legs.

# Heavy: Bicycling; Swimming; Brisk Walking

# Heavy Muscular: Aerobic Dancing; Bicycling; Racquet Sports; Swimming; Brisk Walking; Weight Training.

# Muscular: Aerobic Dancing; Bicycling; Racquet Sports; Jumping Rope; Running/Jogging; Climbing Stairs; Swimming; Brisk Walking; Weight Training.

# Thin Muscular: Aerobic Dancing; Bicycling; Racquet Sports; Jumping Rope; Running/Jogging; Climbing Stairs; Swimming; Brisk Walking; Weight Training.

# Thin: Aerobic Dancing; Jumping Rope; Running/Jogging; Climbing Stairs; Brisk Walking

ASSESS YOUR PERSONALITY

Your personality is basic to success in selecting the right fitness programme. If you are introverted, you will probably like activities that you can do alone such as bicycling, running, and swimming. If you like to do things with other people, an aerobics class, racquet sports, walking with a friend or perhaps weight training at a gym may be best. If you are competitive, one of the racquet sports may be a consideration. As an outdoor person, brisk walking, jogging, or roller skating might be one of your options.

CHOOSE A FITNESS ACTIVITY

There are many activities that help you get into shape. Brisk walking, running/jogging, swimming, bicycling, aerobics, jumping rope, climbing stairs, weight training, and racquet sports will all help you develop physical fitness. These activities very, however, in how effectively they help you develop the four fitness components.

To make the most of the activity you choose, it’s important to consider how often, how vigorously, and how long you exercise.

FREQUENCY, INTENSITY AND TIME

FREQUENCY

You need to exercise three to four days each week. While some people exercise every day, it’s a good idea to take a day or two of rest, especially if you have been inactive for some time. If you are past age 40, exercising every other day gives your body time to recover.

INTENSITY

You have an efficient, built-in computer for determining how hard to exercise: your heart or pulse rate. To count your pulse rate, place your first and second fingers of one hand along the thumb side of your other wrist to feel for the pulse. Count pulse for 10 seconds, then multiplies by 6 to find out how many times your heart beats per minute.

Your ideal exercise level is determined by your “training heart rate.” Your training heart is approximately 60 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate. To make sure you are exercising vigorously enough; check your pulse occasionally to see if your heart rate falls within the training zone.

In addition to taking your pulse rate, you can determine whether you are exercising too hard by listening to your body. For example, if your breathing is labored, slow down. A good guide is that you should be able to hold a conversation while exercising.

The list below shows average ranges; you should check with your doctor if you have a condition that would not allow you to safely reach these levels.

TRAINING HEART RATE:

Age || Beats per Min.

10-19: 123-174

20-29: 117-166

30-39: 111-157

40-49: 104-149

50-59: 99-140

60-69: 93-132

70+: 87-123

When considering the intensity of exercise, remember your fitness level and age. If you are just beginning a programme, exercise on the low side of your training heart rate. This is, do not exceed 10 beats above your lower reading. For a 40-year-old, for example, a pulse rate of 105-115 could be appropriate.

A warning: trying to beat the clock can defeat an otherwise good exercise programme. Thinking that if two miles in 17 minutes is good, then two miles in 15 minutes is better can be inefficient. When you run, bike, swim or walk against the clock as if trying to excel in competition, you have moved from fitness to sport.

TIME

Ultimately you should aim for an exercise period of 30 minutes, enough to train your heart and reduce body fat. If you are just beginning an exercise programme after a period of inactivity, you will want to take it slowly, gradually building up to 30 minutes.

# Aerobic Dancing: Good for Cardiovascular fitness and Body Composition. Works most of the body.

# Bicycling: Excellent for Cardiovascular fitness and Body Composition. Strengthens leg muscles with little trauma

# Racquet Sports: Fair for Cardiovascular fitness. Good if both players are skilled and timeouts minimal.

# Climbing Stairs: Excellent for Cardiovascular fitness and Body Composition.

# Weight Training: Excellent for Muscle Fitness. If done correctly, may improve Flexibility too.

# Yoga/Stretching: Excellent for improving Flexibility. No equipment necessary.

# Jumping Rope: Fair to good for Cardiovascular fitness. If skill level is adequate, you may get a good workout.

# Running: Excellent for Cardiovascular fitness and Body Composition.

# Swimming: Excellent for Cardiovascular fitness. Low injury rate. Excellent for heavier person or person with joint or arthritic problems.

# Walking: Excellent for Cardiovascular fitness and Body Composition. Easily built into the day. Low injury rate and very safe.

WARM-UP AND COOL-DOWN

You should spend 5 to 10 minutes warming up before each exercise session and 7 to 10 minutes cooling down afterward. This will help prevent injuries and sore muscles as well as promote flexibility. Walking vigorously and then walking while swinging your arms, twisting your upper body, handshaking your hands and arms is a good warm-up. To cool down, spend a couple of minutes walking slowly and then do some exercises that stretch the upper, middle and lower third of your body.

MUSCLE FITNESS

Aerobic exercises are very effective in strengthening the heart and lungs and are a good aid to weight loss. As beneficial as aerobic exercise is, however, it is not enough to add muscle and shape to your body.

The best activities for developing muscle fitness are calisthenics and training with weights (dumbbells or barbells, for example). These type of exercises allow you to place greater-than-normal resistance on your muscles, which result in improved muscle strength and endurance. But it is essential that you know how to perform the types of exercises correctly and safely.

CROSS-TRAIN FOR LONG-TERM FITNESS

Cross-training – complimenting the activity you have chosen with other forms of exercise – is an excellent way to maintain your interest in a long-term fitness programme and to make sure you develop all four fitness components. It also helps prevent injuries that might be caused by overstressing certain muscles and joints. Runners, for example, should consider doing other exercises to develop the upper body. Cross-training also allows you to target a particular area to improve your overall body proportions.