Tag Archives: boot camp

More Fun Exercises

It’s Monday and we hope you had a wonderful weekend.  October starts tomorrow, and there isn’t a better time to mix up your exercise routine than by adding something new.  Today’s additions to our Exercise Demonstration page include Single Leg Burpees, Hand Release Push-Ups and, always a favorite, 8 Count Burpees.  Each of these exercises will help you get stronger, burn calories and challenge your muscles in new ways.

Single Leg Burpee

The Single Leg Burpee is similar to a plain Burpee, in that you simply fall down and get up.  The additional challenges comes from being able to use only one leg to get back up.  Unlike plain Burpees, you do not have to put your chest on the ground and can keep your shoulders in a plank position.  These will really have your quads, hamstrings and glutes firing and are great for burning calories.

Hand Release Push-Up

One of FitNicePT‘s favorites, the Hand Release Push-Up is a great tool for building shoulder, chest and core strength.  Starting in normal Push-Up position, lowering the chest to the floor and picking your hands up off of it ensures a full range of motion and prevents stopping short.  This exercise can be modified by starting in regular push-up position, putting the knees on the ground during the downward and upward parts of the movement and finishing back in regular Push-Up position in a high plank.

8 Count Burpee

An 8 Count Burpee has a myriad of benefits and will not only help you burn tons of calories, but build leg, arm and core strength as well.  The 8 counts are 1-hands down, 2-feet back, 3-downward portion of a push-up, 4-upward portion of a push-up, 5-jumping feet out wide, 6-bringing the feet back together, 7-bringing feet to hands and 8-finishing with a jump.

Give all three of these exercises a try and put a new challenge into your Fall Workouts!  Good luck and enjoy.

Have a Healthy Breakfast

This week, FitNicePT partnered with the United States College Athletic Association (USCAA) to help launch one of their newest initiatives, Fitness Focus.  Dedicated to helping small colleges in the United States, the USCAA is driven to provide “quality athletic competition on a regional and national level.”  Always ready to give student athletes the opportunities they need to perform at their best, the USCAA released their first issue today and featured one of FitNicePT’s very own blogs!

breakfast

A healthy breakfast, this morning meal of fruits, low fat yogurt and whole grain granola will get your day off to a great start.

Learn about why you need breakfast, all the benefits of making it a healthy one and what the best choices are for your morning meal when you read this issue.

“‘Breakfast is the most important meal of the day because it give your mind and body a jump start’ says Meredith O’Brien, Owner of FitNicePT.  ‘To have a healthy one, eat a morning meal rich in lean proteins, whole grains and fiber.'”

We’re proud to have helped the USCAA launch a new program that is sure to benefit all of their student athletes and anyone else who comes in contact with it.  It will be exciting to watch it grow and we can’t wait to work with them in the future.

Find the first Fitness Focus right here and make your breakfast a healthy one!

Bon appetite!

Beat High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is an epidemic in America.  It can cause heart disease, kidney failure, stroke and heart attacks.  Also called hypertension, high blood pressure is most common in men over 45, women over 55, those who are overweight and people with a family history of the disorder.  Whether you have been diagnosed with hypertension or not, controlling blood pressure is an important part of living a healthy life.

If you do have medically diagnosed high blood pressure, there are lots of prescription medications available today that can help.  Medications can get expensive, and if you’re on something else, the interactions can be dangerous.  While medications are often an easy, quick fix for a serious issue, your body can also build up tolerance to active ingredients, making them ineffective.  There are natural, less expensive and better-for-you solutions that are just as effective as chemical controls, so try these before supplementing your diet with hypertension medication.

Weight loss.  Obesity is one of the major risk factors for hypertension, which makes losing weight one of the best ways to lower risk.  When the body carries extra weight, it puts strain on the biggest and most important muscles in our bodies, the legs and heart muscle.  Shedding excess pounds can relieve this pressure on the heart and, in turn, lower blood pressure.

Staying active.  While moving around and working out will help with weight loss, doing small things to stay active can also help reduce high blood pressure risk.  Social activities such as volunteering and taking dance classes provide supportive settings that promote healthy aging and decrease stress.

Sleep.  Over 50 percent of people with sleep apnea, which prevents good, sound sleep and causes daytime sleepiness also have hypertension.  Many who suffer from this disorder are also obese, compounding the risk of having high blood pressure.  Not only can getting a good night’s rest help control blood pressure, it can help you lose weight.  For more about how to get better sleep, check out this article.

Stop salt.  Processed and restaurant prepared food is rich in sodium, and that can leads to increased risk of stroke, hypertension and heart disease.  Cooking at home, buying food labeled low sodium and no-salt can help cut salt intake down, and asking for no salt added entrees when you’re out are great ways to help control blood pressure.

De-stress.  Stress can cause reactions similar to the fight or flight instincts that humans needed to survive thousands of years ago.  Constricted blood vessels, increased heart rate and higher blood pressure are key for responding physically to stress, but without an outlet, these reactions can cause high blood pressure to stick around.  Exercising is a great way to relieve this physical stress, help lose weight and decrease the risk of hypertension, heart attack, heart disease and kidney failure.

Exercise Demonstrations

This week’s entry features a few of our favorite exercises along with YouTube videos showing you how to do them properly.  You can check them out right here on FitNicePT‘s very own YouTube channel!

Exercise Demonstrations

Do you want to see an exercise that isn’t here?  Ask us to add your favorite!

Common Workout Mistakes

To get the best possible results in the gym, you need to get the best possible workout every time you try.  Of course you’ll have good days and bad days, but there are lots of ways to make sure you give yourself the best opportunity to succeed.  Even if you work with a trainer or take group exercises classes, there are times when you’re sure to be on your own.  Avoiding these common workout pitfalls will help you reach your goals without injury.

Not resting.  Your body needs time to recover from all the extra work you’re asking it to do.  Give it what it needs.  Taking at least one day off each week will allow your muscles and bones to recover from the strain you’ve recently exerted on them.

Wearing weights.  Not the heavy kind you lift, but the ones you strap to your body.  Ankle weights, wrist weights and weight vests can inhibit natural movement and prevent you from getting all the benefits of an exercise.  They can also change the way your skeletal system works and put excess stress on sensitive areas like joint, tendons and ligaments.  Weight vests are great if you’re preparing for deployment, otherwise, you probably shouldn’t wear one.

Not warming up.  Warming up is incredibly important.  It preps your muscles and heart to do harder work and will help prevent injuries.  Loosening up muscles and increasing blood flow helps joints move properly, and a good warm up also means a better workout overall because your body will be ready for the overload.

Exercise at an inappropriate level.  Too easy and you won’t do any good.  Too hard and you’ll get injured or be too sore to go back anytime soon.  Find your target zone by wearing a heart rate monitor and use perceived rate of exertion (RPE) to determine how hard you’re working, never rely on what a machine tells you.

Always doing the same thing.  If you do the same exact things each time you hit the gym, your body will stop responding to the stimulus.  By giving your muscles something new to do all the time, you continually challenge your muscles to work in new ways.  A wide variety of exercises leads to well-rounded and powerful muscles that can work strongly through a full range of motion.

Follow these tips to make sure you get the most out of your trips to the gym.  Want help planning your workouts or deciding how to warm up?  Ask us!  Email Info@FitNicePT.com for answers today!

Gotta Have Breakfast

Everyone has heard the rumor that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  Well, it’s true.  Not only are breakfast foods delicious, making the right breakfast choices can get your day going with a healthy and happy start, but the benefits don’t end there.  Eating within half an hour of waking up can increase resting metabolic rate, improve short-term memory and help control weight.

Skipping breakfast means your body hasn’t been fed in up to 15 hours and isn’t producing the enzymes needed to metabolize fat.  If you wait for lunchtime to eat, your body doesn’t start working, and burning calories, until you’re five hours into your day.  By eating breakfast you give your system something to work on all morning, causing it to produce those enzymes and use more energy from stored fat.  In fact, eating a healthy breakfast has been shown to increase resting metabolism by up to 10% for the remainder of your day.

Breakfast will also give you a burst of energy, increasing your ability to concentrate and your strength.  Numerous studies of kids who eat breakfast have shown that they perform better in school than those who don’t eat a morning meal, and a study of teens in the Journal of Adolescent Health found high-energy foods for breakfast improved short-term memory, proving that kids need healthy morning foods just as much as adults.

Missing breakfast doesn’t slow down your metabolism, but does delay turning it on.  The biggest issue with people who skip breakfast, and tend to weigh more than those who don’t, is that missing breakfast often leads to overeating later in the day.  Overcompensating for a missed meal by grabbing whatever is handy can lead to high calorie food intake, overeating and bad choices.  Another downside to this kind of eating is that lots of easy to eat foods contain fast burning refined carbs and sugars, the reason for those tired feelings after lunch.

The most important part of your morning meal is its content.  Doughnuts, sugary cereals or highly processed toaster snacks will negate most of breakfast’s benefits.  Be sure to pick healthy foods like whole grain cereal and bread products, eggs without yolks, fresh fruits, low-fat yogurt and other lean proteins.  High energy foods, like bagels, have lots of calories and they add up quickly.  Fiber rich foods like oatmeal, berries and walnuts allow you to eat more without all the calories.

For help planning your breakfast menu or to schedule your Kitchen Makeover, email Info@FitNicePT.com today.

More About Proteins

Protein is the ‘it’ word of fitness.  Protein shakes, bars, supplements are all going to get you the protein your body needs to recover after a workout and help maintain a healthy weight, but with so many choices on the shelves, how do you know what to eat?

Protein, made from amino acids, is a macronutrient found in meats, dairy, nuts and beans that promotes healthy skin, hair, fingernails, and muscles.  The best place to get protein is from whole food sources, but supplements can make getting your daily dose of protein a little bit easier.  It’s important to know the different types of proteins available out there and how you might find them packaged.  After learning last week about protein concentrate versus isolate and complete protein versus incomplete proteins, here are two more options for getting the protein you need.

Casein Protein:  Casein protein supplements come mainly from milk, and it is digested at a slower rate than whey protein.  The five to seven hour time period it takes to digest casein can help you stay full and give a consistent source of protein to your muscles.  Because it takes longer to digest, casein is not recommended for use immediately following a workout, but is perfect at nighttime.  Ingesting casein protein before bed will keep your body anabolic throughout the night as it thickens in the stomach and slows its absorption into the bloodstream.  This means the nutrients are released gradually, helping your body use the nutrients while you snooze.

Eggs:  When using eggs as an additional source of protein, it’s important to consider the egg white.  Known as albumin, the egg white can be found as a protein powder, but fresh eggs are probably a little less expensive while easy to find and cook.  Be careful to remove the yolk when eating eggs because eating as few as two eggs in a day can exceed the daily recommended amount of cholesterol.  Lots of meal replacements have egg albumin in them, and egg albumen has the added benefits of vitamins and minerals.  Egg whites are also very versatile, easy to digest and contain all of the essential amino acids.

No matter what your protein supplement choice may be, be careful of food allergies and over consumption of protein.  Too much of this good thing can strain the kidneys and other organs, and protein contains calories, so make sure to continue exercising or it might end up being stored as fat.  Some high protein foods are also high in saturated fat and overconsumption can lead to increased risk of heart disease.

For help making healthy protein choices, ask us!  Email Info@FitNicePT.com!

Eating the Correct Kind of Protein

Protein is the ‘it’ word of fitness.  Protein shakes, bars, supplements are all going to get you the protein your body needs to recover after a workout and help maintain a healthy weight, but with so many choices on the shelves, how do you know what to eat?

Protein, made from amino acids, is a macronutrient found in meats, dairy, nuts and beans that promote healthy skin, hair, fingernails, and muscles.  The best place to get protein is from whole food sources, but supplements can make getting your daily dose of protein a little bit easier.  It’s important to know the different types of proteins available out there and how you might find them packaged.  Here’s an overview of things you might see on the label of a protein powder and what’s inside that package.

Protein Concentrate versus Isolate:  Protein concentrate come from removing the non-protein parts of a whole food protein source and results in a roughly 80 percent pure protein powder that also contains fat and carbs.  Isolation is more intense than concentrate, removing more of the non-protein part of a food and making a powder that is up to 95 percent pure.

Complete versus Incomplete Protein:  There are over 500 types of amino acids, and those that cannot be produced by the human body are known as essential, or indispensable, amino acids.  Complete proteins contain all 10 of these essential amino acids, while incomplete proteins do not.

Whey protein:  This most popular and often most wallet friendly protein comes in a wide variety of flavors and has been shown to help with lean muscle growth, fat loss and maintaining healthy metabolism.  The lactose found in whey protein is an allergen for some and can make it impossible to eat.  Carefully choose flavors with whey protein because they can contain artificial sweeteners and be aware that whey can lead to gassiness and bloating, so slowly building up your intake is important.

Soy protein:  Plant food sources offering essential amino acids are hard to find, but soybeans fit the bill.  Offering all 10 of the essential amino acids, soybeans can improve bone health, help prevent certain cancers, and promote healthy immune function.  Soy has recently been genetically altered for larger crop yields and come under fire, plus it is already found in lots of foods.  Adding more soy to a diet already rich in soy might make another choice more appropriate, though it is a great choice for vegetarians.

Have questions about getting more protein in your diet?  Want help planning what to eat after your gym session?  Ask us!  Info@FitNicePT.com

Running Safety

As the summer heats up, people are more likely to run when they can find some shade and temperatures are cooler.  The problem with these hours, early in the morning or late in the evening, is they tend to be dark and shadowy.  Darkness and odd hours make running at these times especially dangerous, and even if the sun’s out, there are plenty of other risk factors out there.  One big factor in being prepared for any type of attack or harassment during your run is knowing that even though it’s sunny, you aren’t invincible.  Attackers strike at any time of the day, from early morning to late at night and every hour in between.  Here are seven tips to make sure you have a great run and get home safely.

Have a buddy.  The hands down best way to be safe on a run is to run with a friend.  Two people are harder to attack than one, just like four eyes are better than two.  If you don’t have a friend available for your run, bring your dog.  More alert to danger, your canine can sense it before you do.  Of course, your running buddy needs to be bigger than a microwave and capable of helping defend you.

Carry an ID.  While this may seem simple, most people forget to grab a form of identification because they aren’t bringing along their entire wallet.  You can even write your name and phone number inside your shoe, or use a small luggage tag strung through your laces.

Don’t wear headphones.  This, too, may seem simple.  If music is what you’re paying attention to while sweating out a tough day, you’re less likely to hear an approaching attacker, bicyclist or car.  The tunes distract and slow your reaction time, both of which can spell trouble.

Carry a phone.  Most phones have straps or cases that wrap around your arm, and some are slim enough to slide into a shorts pocket.  Many people use their phones to track their distance and time, but should stick to using it for these purposes only.

Vary your route.  Pretend you have a crazy ex.  They know exactly where to find you, especially if you announce on Facebook or Twitter that you’re heading out, and aren’t afraid to show up.  Stalkers and attackers work the same way.  They stake out routes, and on familiar ones, we tend to space out.  Dealing with new terrain helps keep us alert and more aware of our surroundings, which makes us less of a target.

Run against traffic.  Seeing oncoming traffic makes you much less likely to be hit by a vehicle.

Gear up.  Purchase and use reflector tape, vests or shirts.  Even the blinking lights usually associated with cyclists work, and stay off the roads altogether when it’s dark out.

Now you’re all ready to head for a great run and get home just the way you left it.  Need help finding a running buddy or a new route?  Ask us!  Info@FitNicePT.com

No More Soda?

Everyone has heard the soda debate.  To drink or not to drink?  Diet or regular?  Well, we can all enjoy a nice cold soda every now and then, whether it’s because they are refreshing or simply for a caffeine kick, without a worry in the world.  The problems arise when we start replacing water intake with soda.  First you’ll learn the difference between regular and diet soda, then what you should know about the things too much soda and not enough water can do to you.

It’s important to know the difference between regular soda and diet so you decide which one is best for you, if you don’t decide exclusively on taste.  Regular soda is sweetened using high fructose corn syrup, which has calories and carbs galore.  Diet soda contains artificial sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose, and although that means zero calories and carbs, they’ll still get you.  Taking in large volumes of aspartame on a regular basis has been linked to dizziness, memory loss, headaches, irritability and joint pain.  Regular soda, with its carbs and calories and without aspartame can cause its own problems.  Consuming lots of the easily digested sugar or high fructose corn syrup found in regular soda causes a spike in blood sugar and insulin which make you more vulnerable to stroke, diabetes, cancer, obesity and heart disease.  These sugars can also lead to weight gain by causing increased consumption due to a failure to satisfy hunger as solid foods do and, as whole, has been associated with increased blood pressure and, especially in children, tooth decay.  People with diabetes should avoid regular soda because of these spikes and, if you choose to drink soda, stick with diet.

The biggest health issues associated with soda aren’t its actual contents.  The problem is that when you’re drinking soda, you’re not drinking water.  Chronic dehydration affects 75% of Americans and being dehydrated, even a little bit, can cause your metabolism to slow by as much as 30%.  Dehydration can lower the quality and results of workouts by making you feel weak and also make it hard to concentrate.  Choosing to drink water instead of soda will help quiet hunger, especially late at night and aid in weight loss.  Staying properly hydrated keeps skin healthy, while dehydration can speed up the adding process and cause fatigue.

You don’t have to give up your Coke, Dr. Pepper or Pepsi just yet, but now you know why you need to balance soda intake with water.  If you are ready to jump the soda ship, and still want bubbles, try seltzer or flavored, carbonated waters.