Interval Training: What you should know

Author: Tedd Falk

Is your regular workout on the treadmill or elliptical getting old? Try pushing that interval training button on the console of your exercise equipment for a new challenge!

Interval training is a workout consisting of short, alternating bursts of high intensity activity and light intensity activity. For instance, if you enjoy walking outside, you could begin to jog every 30 seconds. By doing this you will now combine aerobic exercise with anaerobic exercise. What does that mean?

Aerobic exercise can vary in intensity based off the individual, but when exercising you are sufficiently generating enough oxygen to meet energy demands and this type of exercise can be performed for longer periods of time. Anaerobic exercise is higher in intensity to the point where lactic acid will begin to form. This type of exercise would more likely be performed by an athlete such as a short distance sprinter.

Well I’m no athlete so how will this help me? To start, more intense exercise will in fact burn more calories, and I think we all know why this is important. Your Aerobic capacity will also improve, so that 30 minute workout on the elliptical can turn into 45 minutes. Or, you will be able to perform that 30 min workout at a quicker pace, which again will increase your calorie burn. Lastly, it will keep you from getting stuck in the same old routine. Anyway we can motivate ourselves to get back on our exercise equipment and challenge ourselves to become a healthier person is a good thing.

The Octane Fitness 30:30 workout is a great example of an intense interval training workout:

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Which type of exercise bike is right for me?

Bike Types Author: Tedd Falk

It’s time to get a piece of in-home fitness equipment and you’ve narrowed it down to an exercise bike. But now you went to the store and you learned that there are 3 different kinds! Here we make the case for all 3 so you can choose the right machine for the right reasons:

1. Recumbent Bike: The La-Z-Boy of exercise equipment. Recumbent bikes have a back rest to lean against for a little bit more comfort and support. This can be a plus for certain medical conditions and for the right person, the added comfort can be a motivational tool as some machines can become uncomfortable which can deter you from using it. Working out is hard enough as it is! Recumbent bikes can also be a bit easier to access as they are lower to the ground and have the option to have what’s called a “walk through” design. Therefore, you won’t have to step up, or step over anything to get on the bike. Recumbent bikes can have simple or more complex workout features, but almost all will have the option to choose a program that will guide you through a workout. It will be up to you to decide whether these programs will help you better achieve your specific goals.

2. Upright bike: As the name suggests, you are seated upright with no back rest when riding this bike. Where the recumbent bike can cause the perception that you are not working as hard because you are leaning back, the upright will not, and this can keep some riders more engaged in their workout. The majority of upright bikes have a large cushioned seat as opposed to what you would find on an outdoor bike, which most people find to be ideal to maximize comfort. This type of bike is best for the rider that likes to stay seated throughout the workout as most of these bikes are not built for standing sprints from a feel or durability standpoint. Like the recumbent style, the upright can come with simple or more complex workout programs that can guide you through a workout.

3. Spin Bike: Spin bikes are for the true bike riders out there and they do a better job of replicating outdoor road biking. If you are the more aggressive racing type rider, this might be the right bike for you. While some seats can be replaced, spin bikes typically come with your standard outdoor bike seat which may not be comfortable enough for some riders. You will also have the ability to ride while standing and this will feel more natural as opposed to if you were to do this on a standard upright bike. While upright and recumbent bikes will include a computer console to guide you through a workout, everything will be up to you on the spin bike. Most spinners only include a resistance knob that you can turn to either increase or decrease resistance and the option to add a computer to track RPMs, calories, distance, time etc.

No matter which one you choose, they can all help you achieve your goals! Good luck!

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Why Hire a Personal Trainer?

Warm up exercises Author: Tedd Falk

1. Motivation! : Usually working out with a partner helps us push a little harder, but having someone who truly wants to help you achieve your goals can be extremely encouraging. It also takes away the ability to make excuses as you’re ultimately paying for the service so you don’t want to be throwing money out of the window.

2. Personalized workout plans and goals: Not everyone knows exactly what they should be doing at the gym or on their piece of in home fitness equipment so a personal trainer can help you come up with a more efficient way to reach your goals. You may also have specific needs as far as past or current injuries or medical conditions and a trainer can help you work around these issues.

3. Nutritional advice: Whether you are looking to lose weight or put on muscle, nutrition is going to be half the battle and a trainer can give you advice on when and what you should be eating.

4. Better utilize your equipment: If you have a home fitness gym or are utilizing a health club, there’s always the possibility that you may not be using all the features your fitness equipment has to offer. Chances are your trainer does and can help you get the most out of your equipment.

5. A helping hand: I’ve always found that stretching can sometimes be best performed by two people. Whether it’s that tight hamstring or back muscle, an extra hand to apply a little bit more pressure or better alignment can make all the difference in increasing your flexibility.

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Dynamic Warmup vs. Static Stretching

Warm up exercises Author: Tedd Falk

Did you know that the classic thinking of static stretching before your workout is actually making you weaker? We used to think that if we are warming up for a run on the treadmill we should hold a static hamstring stretch to “loosen up”. This idea is starting to lose traction as studies are showing that a dynamic warm up is the best way to prepare before any intense physical activity.

Dynamic movements work to put the muscle and joint through a series of challenging repetitive motions. The goal of these movements is to truly “warm up” the muscles and get them ready to fire for peak performance. Static stretching works the other way in that holding a specific stretch for 30-60 seconds will lengthen and relax the joint and muscle but will not prepare it for physical activity and this can lead to weakness or potential injury. While both are important, dynamic movements should be performed prior to a workout and static stretching should be performed post workout. So what kind of dynamic exercises should you do?

Walking Lunges w/ Twist: Take a deep step forward and turn away from the back leg to get a good stretch in the hip then repeat with the other leg.

Inchworm: Start in the pushup position and with straight legs slowly step your feet forward until you reach your hands. Then move back into the pushup position and repeat

Explosive Skipping: Skip with one leg exploding as high into the air as you can and repeat with the other leg

Explosive Push Up: With your hands on the floor or a bench push up as high as you can so that your hands come off the surface and repeat

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Lumbar Disc Injuries and Exercise Benefits

Lower Back Pain Author: Tedd Falk

Let’s first begin with the fact that all lumbar disc injuries are different and can create many different symptoms. Always consult your physician before you start any rehabilitation. That being said, any careful exercise that can safely be performed will be extremely beneficial to the healing process of that disc. Personally, I was a collegiate hockey player who ended up with two bulged discs and DJD (Degenerative Joint Disease) at the L-4, L-5 and L-5, S-1 sections of the spine. 3 months and 2 epidural shots later, I was lying in bed thinking my life was over. Unbearable sciatic nerve pain, muscle spasms, and the inability to bend over to even brush my teeth, I did not see any light at the end of the tunnel.

Luckily, I am back to the point where I can play the sport I love pain free again. Here are a few exercise related tips that I believe can help you too:

1. Move, move, and move some more. Whatever movements, stretches, exercises you can do, do them! Being a couch potato is one of the worst things you can do with a disc injury but it is unfortunately, sometimes the only thing we feel we can do. Our muscles eventually get used to that lack of movement, which will in effect tighten them up and make us less flexible. And tight muscles (hamstrings, quads, back, etc…) mean more pressure on our joints and disc!

2. So what can I start doing? Typically, walking on a treadmill, riding the exercise bike, or maybe even using the standing or seated elliptical is a good place to start. You will probably find one to be more comfortable or enjoyable than the others, but this low impact exercise should not agitate your symptoms any more than they already are. You will probably find that when you are done, the increase in blood flow, and heat in the muscles will decrease your symptoms. The increased blood flow will also hydrate your discs with the necessary nutrients to aid in healing.

3. Now that I am starting to feel a little better, how can I continue to progress? Core strengthening is very important when it comes to the healing process. A strong core will help protect the area around the spine, so when you do bend over to pick up that heavy box on the ground those core muscles will kick in and make sure you don’t get injured again. Grab an exercise ball, medicine ball, or Bosu ball to really work those small stabilizer muscles around the spine. I recommend the static plank as a great core exercise to work on and eventually master.

4. I’ve lost some flexibility since my injury, how can I get it back? A stretching regimen can work and your physician will most likely recommend a plan for you, but one thing I found to be totally lifesaving is YOGA. Yoga is all about the lengthening of your muscles and spine and this will ultimately take pressure off of your back. Yoga can seem a little intimidating at first, but every instructor I have ever met is always willing to help you through a practice if you ask. Just make sure to start slow and avoid any painful forward bending.

5. I sit all day at work and it is the worst! What can I do to make work more tolerable? I recommend sitting on an exercise ball to help keep the core engaged and to work on good posture. Also, I would strongly consider the LifeSpan treadmill desk so you can walk and work at the same time.

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LifeSpan Treadmill Desk Rethinks Work Environment

LifeSpan Treadmill Desk Author: Jeff Hahn

Feeling time crunched? Putting too many hours at the office to get to the gym? Here is how to burn some calories WHILE at work!

The treadmill desks by LifeSpan Fitness are specifically made for walking while you work, and come in several affordable options. The treadmill is different from traditional treadmills in that unnecessary components like the elevation motor are eliminated, saving cost. They are also optimized for walking at slow speeds using a high torque motor geared for the intended use. They max out at 4 mph, but I rarely go above 1.5 mph because it is hard to get any work done going faster.

There are 3 different desk options you can pair with LifeSpan’s most popular treadmill, the TR-1200. The desk components available are the DT3, DT5 or DT7.

If you already own a standing height adjustable desk, the TR1200-DT3 is for you. This is the treadmill base, connected by a piggy-tailed control board that simply sits atop your desk. This system is on sale for $999 ($1499 MSRP).

The TR1200-DT5 is a pop-pin, manually height adjusted desk with the control board embedded in the front lip of the desk. If you don’t have a desk yet and are looking to keep costs down, this model goes for $1499 ($1999 MSRP) and is the most popular version of the treadmill desks.

The TR1200-DT7 is an electronically height adjusted desk with the control board embedded in the front lip of the desk. This is the version I use on a daily basis. It goes for $1999 (MSRP $2499) and is the most flexible option. I prefer this because I change positions throughout the day – sometime walking, sometimes just standing, and sometimes sitting on an exercise ball on top of the treadmill. Each of these activities is most comfortable in a different position so I like having it be so easy to move the desk height as needed with just the push of a button.

Both the DT5 and DT7 are designed to be a functional desk. They are large enough for me to have 2 computer screens, a phone, and writing space in addition to my keyboard and mouse. I also love the ergo pad on the lip for resting my wrists while I am typing. There are racks built in underneath and an adjustable hole in the back of the desk to make managing cords and power supplies a snap. If you need more space, there are specialized monitor mounting systems, and additions for desk sides available to customize your specific setup.

Are you ready to get a treadmill desk? Contact 2nd Wind Exercise Equipment today!

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The New Octane Fitness Zero Runner

Are you ready for the biggest exercise equipment development in over 20 years? Octane Fitness has cracked the code to offering users the ultimate zero-impact running experience with the new Zero Runner. This machine is going to change the game for runners looking to maximize their training and minimize the negative effects of training on the body.

The Octane Zero Runner is different from any traditional exercise machine. It offers several key advantages over the three most popular training options—outdoor running, treadmills, and elliptical trainers.

When comparing to outdoor running or treadmills, the obvious advantage is no impact. Outdoor running on the streets creates a high level of impact and treadmills can mitigate that, but not eliminate it completely. While some impact can be good, and you might want to train on the surface you race on, giving your body a break with occasional zero impact workouts will allow for heavier training and less damage over time. The end result is better performance and less chance of injury.

When comparing to a traditional elliptical, you will see that the freedom of movement is much greater on the Zero Runner. Not only can you create your own stride length, but the key is the knee joint built into the machine. This allows the user to bring their heel up as they do in a natural running movement.

Check Out the Comparison Video:

The other question that comes up is, “Can you get a real running workout on the Zero Runner?” I can tell you from my personal experience, within 40 seconds of hopping on the Zero Runner I was at 150BPM using a heart rate monitor. I topped out at 164BPM when really pushing myself but was able to find a comfortable range of motion and maintain in the 150’s for a full workout.

The freedom of movement feels great, and you can really tell that your muscles are working. For the majority of my workout I was in the mid to high 40’s for stride length. That is amazing freedom of movement when considering most traditional ellipticals are 18”-21”. There is a bit of a learning curve with the Zero Runner because of the excellent free range of motion. Give yourself some time when first hopping on one.

How to Get Started on a Zero Runner:

To sum it up, the Zero Runner is a great new option for runners looking to train with zero impact. Go to your local 2nd Wind Exercise Equipment store and try it for yourself today!

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