4 Ways to Bring Your Indoor Workout Outdoors

These beautiful summer days have a way of making us feel guilty about staying indoors, don’t they? It’s a shame to spend the entire day cooped up in the office, only to spend more time indoors during our workout before or after work. So what’s an outdoors person to do? Relocate to the outdoors, of course! For those days that you’re just itching to get outside, here are 4 ideas to bring your indoor workout outdoors.

1. Backyard Weight Workout

Dragging your entire strength training system outside might be more work than it’s worth. Free weights, on the other hand, are highly mobile and can easily be relocated to your back yard. Set up a mat on your back patio or deck and tackle your favorite weight workout outside. If you’ve got easy access to the outdoors from your home gym, you could alternate between your weight machinery indoors and the free weights outside.

2. Set up a Stretching Sanctuary in Nature

Pilates and yoga are two activities that are best performed outdoors. The warm sun and a calming breeze can help you to relax and become fully engaged. After your cardio workout indoors, head outside for some yoga to loosen up and stretch out those muscles.

3. Set Up an Indoor/Outdoor Circuit

Circuit training is a fun way to combine cardio and strength training, and when the weather’s nice, you can move a few of your stations outside. Set up mats outside for different stations and bring out balance bands and a medicine ball. Start with a warm up on the treadmill, followed by your outdoor stations:

  • Push-ups
  • Abdominal work with the medicine ball
  • Sumo squats
  • Mountain climbers
  • Burpees

Finish up your workout with a cool-down on the treadmill or elliptical.

4. Take a Walk on a Fit-Trail

Find a friend and go for a fit-walk for a more interactive alternative to your standard walk in the park. Some trails have fit-courses set up so that walkers can stop at different exercise stations along the way. If you don’t live near a fit-trail, take a walk in the park and use park benches, grassy areas and jungle gyms to create your own stations.

Especially in the midwest, our days of nice sunny weather and warm temperatures are numbered. Take advantage of the nice weather this summer and find ways to take your workouts outside.

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5 Essential Items to Start Your Home Gym

Thinking about building a home gym? With so many options available to you this can be a little overwhelming. One way to simplify the process is to break it down into the type of exercises you’ll be doing in your home gym. For example, in order to accomodate well-rounded workouts, you’re going to want to include equipment for cardio and strength training. From there, you can narrow down your search based on your personal preferences, budget and space constraints. Here is our list of 5 essentials for building your home gym.

1. Pick Your Cardio Poison

In order to accommodate a complete workout, you’re going to need to outfit your home gym with some type of cardio machine. When it comes to the type of cardio machine you choose, that is entirely up to you. Treadmills are great for people who enjoy running and can tolerate the impact. However, if your body doesn’t respond well to the impact but you still want that type of intensity in a workout, an Elliptical machine is probably a better fit for you. You can also achieve great results from stationary bikes and rowing machines.

2. Strength Training Station

Never discount the importance of incorporating strength training into your workout routine. As you plan for a strength training station, you have a couple of different options to choose from. If you are on a tight budget or lacking a lot of space for your home gym, you might want to consider choosing free weights for your strength training station. Adjustable dumbbells are a great option or if you’re looking for a non-traditional alternative, consider choosing kettle bells for your strength training station.

There are a wide variety of strength training machines to choose from if you prefer a resistance-based machine over free weights. Precor has a great line of strength systems built to accommodate any level of fitness.

3. Weight Bench

If you went the free weight rout for your strength training station, you’ll eventually want to find a weight bench. A weight bench will greatly expand your repertoire of exercises that you can do with free weights. Choose one that adjusts to both flat and inclined positions for even more options.

4. Pilates or Yoga Mat

If you’ve ever tried Pilates or Yoga before, then you know they provide great workouts and do wonders for your flexibility. The great thing about Pilates and Yoga is that all you need to participate is a mat! It might be helpful to have an instructional video to get started, but other than that, it’s a pretty minimalistic workout. Even if you haven’t jumped onto the Pilates or Yoga bandwagon, you’ll want a mat in your home gym to accommodate stretching and abdominal workouts.

5. TV/DVD Player

Whether you like to follow along with exercise videos or just enjoy having that source of entertainment while you work out, having a TV with a DVD player in your home gym is a really nice bonus.

Remember, your home gym doesn’t have to be built in a day. It should be a work in progress that you can continue to expand and improve as time goes on. Start with the piece that is paramount for achieving your fitness goas and expand from there when you are ready.

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Product Spotlight: Landice Treadmills

With treadmills, quality does matter. If you’ve ever ran on a rickety old treadmill or one that was just plain cheep, you know this to be true. A good treadmill makes all the difference in your workouts and your motivation to get back on day after day. Quality is just one of many reasons to buy a Landice treadmill for your home gym.

Why Landice?

Landice has been in the Treadmill manufacturing business for over 40 years, so they’ve got the technology and design of their treadmills down to a science. Landice treadmills are known for their sleek look, quiet operation, and heavy-duty motor. Add it all up and you’re left with the perfect home gym treadmill.

Benefits and Features

4 Horse-Power Motor

With a Landice treadmill, you don’t have to worry about whether or not your treadmill can keep up with you. The treadmill’s 4 horse-power motor allows for speeds up to 12 miles per hour.

Shock Absorption

Landice treadmills offer top-of-the-line shock absorption. Shock absorption makes for low-impact running, which equates to fewer knee and joint injuries. The standard shock absorption in the Landice treadmill is 5 times softer than running in grass. However, you have to option to upgrade to Orthopedic Shock Absorption, for a running experience that is 7 times softer than grass. Say goodbye to sore knees forever!

Accessories

Landice treadmills come outfitted with tons of amenities to make your runs more enjoyable. The iPod plugin and high power stereo speaker system will help you get pumped up for any workout. Stay cool during the most intense workouts with the built-in fan.

Custom User Profiles

Think of the Landice treadmill as your own personal trainer. The treadmill can store up to 5 user profiles and keep track of each person’s data and progress. It also comes with 5  pre-programmed workouts.

You could probably think of 100 excuses to skip your workout on any given day; don’t let a junky treadmill be one of those excuses. Invest in a Landice treadmill and just try to skip out on your daily run, I dare you!

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3 Tips to Avoid Health Club Germs

Spring is here and with the changing season comes another round of cold and flu season. Germs run rampant at the gym due to all of the human interaction, direct contact and sharing of equipment. Here are 3 tips to protect yourself from catching the bug at the gym this spring.

1. Disinfect Everything

Most health clubs have sanitizing spray and towels available for guests to wipe down equipment after using as a courtesy to the next person to use the equipment. However, I wouldn’t always trust other people to take the time to wipe down their machine. Take a moment to wipe down your machine before using it, and of course, wipe it down once again after you’ve doused the machine in your sweat.

2. Bring Your Own Towel

If you are at all concerned about picking up germs at the gym, an easy way to decrease your chances is to bring your own towel. You know your own towel is clean and you don’t need to worry about who has used it before you and whether or not their germs are still embedded into its microfibers.

3. Work Out at Home

Finally, the easiest way to avoid picking up that health club germ is to avoid the health club all together! One of the great things about a home gym is that you don’t have to share your workout equipment with hundreds, possibly even thousands of other people. It’s still a good idea to wipe down your exercise equipment after each workout, but at least you don’t have to worry about wasting valuable time during your workout cleaning off the machine every time you change machines.

Although most health clubs take measures to keep their facilities and equipment clean, it’s inevitable that germs will spread in that type of environment. If you must go to the gym, take a few extra precautions to keep yourself healthy this spring, otherwise, stick to your home gym to avoid germ exposure as much as possible.

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The Top 5 Workout Safety Tips

We typically don’t think of exercise as a ‘dangerous’ activity. After all, it’s good for the body and mind! But the truth is, whether you’re in the home gym or on the trail, there are hazards to be mindful of in order to avoid serious injuries. Here are 5 safety tips to keep you safe while you exercise.

1. Don’t Skip the Warm-Up

Especially if you’re already pressed for time, it’s very tempting to skip the warm-up before your workout. However, is the time you’ll save really worth the risk of injury? Warming up helps you to prepare the body for intense physical activity and serves many benefits:

  • Prevents damage to connective tissue in your muscles and joints
  • Improves the flow of blood to your heart
  • Increases the speed of nerve impulses, making it easier to move your body

According to Runner’s World, the amount of time and intensity of your warm-up should match the intensity of your workout. The more intense your workout is going to be, the more time and effort you should put into your warm-up. Everyone will have to warm-up differently to get the desired effect, but as a rule of thumb, your warm-up should raise your heart rate and body temperature.

2. Equipment Check

Before getting on any piece of exercise equipment, it’s critical that you know how to use it. How do you increase and decrease speed and resistance? How do you shut it off? Secondly, make sure your equipment works properly. Especially with strength training equipment, if something’s not working properly, that piece of machinery is very dangerous. If anything isn’t working properly on your machinery, be sure to have it repaired or replaced before using it.

3. Turn up the Heat Gradually

Typically we feel the best at the beginning of our workout, so it can be tempting to come out with guns blazing. Try to avoid this temptation and use some restraint during the first segment of your workout to avoid serious muscle injury. As you get further into your workout and your body has adjusted to the physical strain you’re putting on it, crank up the intensity!

4. Listen to Your Body

When you’re exercising it’s important to know your body’s limits and to acknowledge them. It’s one thing to push the intensity of your workout, but it’s another thing to try and do more than your body can handle. Pay attention to your body and if it doesn’t feel right to add that extra weight or increase the pace one more notch, don’t push it. Know when to say, ‘when.’

5. Use the Buddy System

Whether you’re working out in your home gym or going out for bike ride on the trail, it’s always a good idea to work out with a buddy. That way, if something goes wrong, you’re not left waiting in pain for someone to happen to come find you.

There isn’t a lot to remember with regard to exercise safety. It’s really just a matter of paying attention to your body and using common sense to avoid getting hurt while you work out.

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4 Tips for Fitting in the Workout When the Kids are Around

Parents, I’m about to take away your one last excuse for not working out. You can’t hide behind your children anymore, because I’ve got 4 good ideas for working out when you’re supposed to be watching the little munchkins.

Set up a Kid Station

Are your kids at that stage where they want to try everything you do? They see you working out on the eliptical and it looks like fun (little do they know)! Although I wouldn’t recommend starting your little guy or girl on the eliptical, you could set aside a spot in your home gym for fun-sized workout equipment. That way, you can keep an eye on the kids when it’s time for you to work out. Plus, your kids can get some exercise too!

Bring ‘em With

It’s a beautiful spring afternoon and you’re dying to go for a run or break out your bike for the first time of the season. The only problem is, you can’t leave the little ones home alone while you go soak up the nice weather and endorphins. Well, there’s good news! Find yourself a nice sports stroller or bike trailer and you’re good to go. Chances are your kids will love the chance to get outside and enjoy the ride. The extra resistance isn’t bad for your workout either.

Sneak it in

This one requires a bit more discipline, but it’s practical. It simply requires you to sneak in your workout when the kids are not around. Fit your workout in while the kids are sleeping late at night or early in the morning, or sneak it in over your lunch break.

Family Time

Depending on how old your kids are, turn your family time into workout time. If the kids are old enough, get the whole family together to play a game of soccer. Not enough kids in the family to field a team? Round everyone up for a long bike ride on the local trails. With child obesity at an all-time high, it’s good to get the kids used to physical activity as early as possible and it allows you to get some exercise at the same time.

There are so many reasons to skip your daily workout. Don’t let the kids be your excuse anymore. Either find a way to get them involved or squeeze in your workout when they’re not around. Trust me, your kids will thank you for it in the long run.

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5 Signs That it’s Time to Cancel Your Gym Membership

Gym

Working out is a good habit to get into. Unfortunately, gym memberships can turn that good habit into a bad one pretty quickly. With inflated membership costs, wasted time, and extra driving, suddenly your workout isn’t quite as wholesome as you thought. If you’re even considering kicking your gym membership to the curb, evaluate these scenarios and consider whether or not you truly need that pricey gym membership weighing you down.

1. You Use the Exact Same Machine Every Time

Do you have a treadmill with your name on it? I can’t believe how many people I know who hold on to their gym membership simply to have access to that one elliptical or treadmill or stair stepper. If that sounds like you, that’s a sign you need to cancel your membership. The money you save on your gym membership would pay for the cost of one piece of workout machinery in no time.

2. You Spend More Time Socializing Than Exercising

You say you’re going to the gym, but really you’re just going out to see what’s happening downtown this weekend and make small talk with the other members. I’m sorry, but 10 minutes of cardio followed by 20 minutes in the steam room does not count for your recommended 30 minutes of daily exercise.

3. You Had to Take out a Second Mortgage to Pay for Last Month’s Membership

Alright, so this is probably a slight exaggeration, but there’s no denying gym memberships are expensive. Especially if you have an automatic payment set up, you may not even realize how much money you’re spending a month on your membership. Think about all of the other ways you could spend your money (or how much you could save) if you had an extra $120 a month in your bank account!

4. You can Count on One Hand how Many Times You Went Last Month

Since memberships are based on a set monthly cost, in order to really get your money’s worth, you have to actually use the membership. A lot. Pay attention to how frequently you’re making it out to the gym. If you find that you’re only making it out to the gym once a week, you probably can’t justify spending the money.

5. Your Commute to the Gym Takes Longer Than Your Workout

Some people like the thought of “going somewhere” to workout. Whether you feel that drive to the gym helps you to mentally prepare or de-stress, or whatever the reason, I bet I could find a better way to fulfill that need. Instead of using the car ride to prepare, spend 10 minutes stretching or doing yoga before your workout at home.

Gyms make it nearly impossible to cancel your membership. They make you set up an auto payment so you don’t think about the chunk of change you’re dedicating to their facility every month. Then when you do try to quit, they sweet-talk you into staying with tempting offers and the inevitable guilt-trip. Take some time to evaluate whether or not you truly need that gym membership. If you decide to move on, be strong and stick to your guns. You’re the only one who knows what’s best for you when it comes to your workout routine.

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Workout Room Feng Shui

Finding the motivation to work out can be tough. Now add an ugly workout room on top of the fact that you just plain don’t feel like working out today and it’s nearly impossible to get your behind in gear. Before you run out and hire an interior designer to make-over your home gym, check out these 5 tips for incorporating harmony and balance into your workout room.

Get Inspired

Just as you’re office should inspire you to do work, your workout room should inspire you to work out. Is there a quote or a picture that gets you amped up? Take that inspiration and frame it in your workout room so that it’s right in front of you throughout your workout.

Natural Light

Think that dungeon you call a basement is the perfect spot for your home gym just because it’s not used for anything else? Think again. You want to choose a room that’s flooded with natural light so that you feel awake when you’re working out.

Add Some Greenery

Not only do plants signify life and bring natural energy into a room, but they also fill the room with additional oxygen: the very thing you need while you’re exercising. Especially if you’ve found a room with an abundance of natural light, keeping plants healthy in your home gym should be a piece of cake.

Color

Although there’s no one specific color that works for everyone, some colors are more inspiring for the home gym than others. Yellows, greens, and blues are colors of life and happiness. They invigorate and energize, even if it is just subconsciously.

Open up the room

Working out doesn’t necessarily require a ton of space, but the illusion of space is very important. If your subconsciously feeling restricted by the room, your workout will be restricted too. Mirrors can help to create the illusion of a bigger room and they can help you pay attention to your form as you exercise. Create more space by removing clutter and making use of wall space when arranging your workout machinery.

A lot of people think it doesn’t matter what their workout room looks like. After all, you’re just in there to exercise and get out, right? Wrong. Design a workout room that is inspiring and inviting and you’ll have a whole new attitude about working out at home.

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