Out of all of the cardio machines that I have to choose from at the gym, the treadmill is usually the last one that I would choose. It’s not that I dislike walking or running – I actually kind of like it – but to me, walking or running indoors can get extremely boring. There’s something about the other machines (like the elliptical and stairmill) that just seem to hold my interest more and make my workout more enjoyable. That being said, I know that running on a treadmill can provide a great cardiovascular workout.
I almost always run outdoors and my surface of choice is definitely dirt. Unfortunately, because of weather and other factors, that’s not always possible. Recently, I decided to give the treadmill another chance, with a different approach this time.
I’m an avid hiker and walking up an incline is often a big part of my hikes. Hiking can be a great cardiovascular and fat-burning workout because it tones your lower body and (depending on the trail) can alternate between high and low intensity.
I tried utilizing the treadmill to get the same benefits of a hike by adjusting the incline and speed during a thirty minute period, which would offer the same type of interval training that I naturally get while hiking. Walking at an incline burns more calories than walking on a level surface because your body has to work much harder to push itself uphill. You’ll definitely feel your heart pumping faster as the incline percentage increases, and it will drop as you come back down to level ground.
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When I initially decided to join a gym about ten years ago I pretty much only ever stayed in one very small area of the building: the cardio section. I would walk in, jump on the treadmill or elliptical trainer for about 45 minutes and leave. I wasn’t really sure what to do in the weight room and found it to be pretty intimidating, so I steered clear of it altogether. But then I got bored. I decided that I wanted to start doing exercise in the form of strength training to build some muscles! And then one day, as if by fate, I noticed a flyer for a new class that the gym was offering: Les Mills Bodypump.
Bodypump is described as the original Les Mills barbell class and will sculpt, tone and strengthen your entire body, fast! The classes use a specific formula of resistance training that is referred to as “The Rep Effect.” This essentially means that the classes focus on using low weight loads and high repetition movements for effective fat burning and production of lean muscle tissue. (Or, in my own words – it’s an hour of strength training combined with cardio moves that will kick your butt and re-shape your body.)
Nervously, I decided to give Bodypump a try, and I loved it! Even though the class was nearly an hour long, it went by super quickly and I enjoyed every heart-pumping minute. I immediately became hooked and found myself faithfully attending the class three times a week. I loved it so much in fact that I eventually decided to become a certified Les Mills Bodypump instructor!
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When I first heard the name “Orangetheory Fitness,” my mind immediately conjured up images of some kind of old school punk band playing a set in someone’s basement. Boy was I wrong! As it turns out, it’s a rapidly expanding fitness sensation (locations in more than 15 states and 2 Canadian territories) that is taking the continent by storm!
I ventured over to the Naperville, IL location (as I am now a Chicagoland resident) to try out a class to see what it was all about. When I entered I was greeted by a very friendly staff who explained the workings of what was to transpire in class. I was given my own heart rate monitor to wear for the workout to see how hard I’d actually be working.
The workout starts with interval training (which I am a HUGE fan of). The first part consisted of Indo Row machines (rowers with water in them for a real rowing effect) and then switching to the box area where we did various strength training moves. This persisted for about a half hour. At first, I was like “Easy Peasy!,” but by the third time around, I was sweating profusely and was feeling the burn!
The second half of the class had us on the treadmills. We did various lengths of intervals, running and jogging, mixed with recovery walks in between. I felt as though I could run a lot harder and faster because we were doing shorter sprints, rather than long drawn out runs. By the end of the second half, I had clocked more than two miles in sprints!
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In preparation for her upcoming 90-minute Las Vegas show at Planet Hollywood, Britney Spears has been getting down and dirty with an intense exercise regimen. Last week, everyone’s favorite ex-girl next door shared a picture of her rockin’ bod in just a bikini. The public has always been obsessed with Britney’s weight fluctuations and style choices, so it came as no shock when the photo set the blogosphere abuzz.
Britney’s workout regimen is called “Trickeration” and incorporates interval training into sports like tennis and football. Interval training involves quick bursts of hardcore exercise followed by a long rest, like sprinting for 30 seconds and then jogging for a minute. Her trainer, Tony Martinez, says Britney has absolutely thrived with the strenuous sessions, and that she is a natural athlete.
During the 40 minute workouts, she’s apparently been serving the tennis ball like Serena Williams and can throw the pigskin with a Manning-esque spiral. In an interview with E!Online, Martinez said, “She is mentally and physically 100 percent ready for Vegas.” Details of Britney’s Vegas stint—which begins in December—are scarce, but it sounds like it will be a fast-paced and extraordinary affair. Here’s how other Vegas performers get in shape for their shows.
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Would you believe it if someone told you that in just four minutes you would not only improve your fitness level, you would also burn more calories per minute than running ten miles an hour, plus increase your metabolism 30 minutes post workout? According to researcher Dr. Michele Olson, aka, the Exercise Doctor, it’s true! It’s been backed up by numerous research studies, and it’s called the Tabata Training Method.
“This particular style of interval training has profound effects even on short-term, post-exercise metabolism,” has explained Olson. “It would take five times the amount of typical cardio exercise, like a twenty-minute brisk walk, to shed the same number of calories that result from a four-minute Tabata.”
Tabata is an interval training workout designed to push you to your anaerobic threshold for 20 seconds, with a 10 second recovery break, for a total of four minutes. Designed by Izumi Tabata, a Japanese trainer of athletes, the Tabata method seems to be a major breakthrough in fitness training programs. However, it should be practiced with caution.
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