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The TOP 3 things to remember before going on vacation

Vacation Workout The sun is out, the snow is gone, and school is finally out. It’s summer again and that usually means vacations and fun. But, before you replace your workout routine for an exotic resort, remember these 3 simple things to keep healthy and fit even when miles away.

1. Study your surroundings: Depending on where you are going, you might not have access to a local gym or machines. Be sure to check out where you will be staying on using it to your advantage. If you plan on staying in a hotel or on a cruise ship, does it have its own gym for you to use? Don’t just assume, this is a hit-and-miss and you’ll want to check. If it doesn’t, most fitness experts suggest doing basic body workouts in your own room. Being on vacation means you’re in a new place, so jog or run around! It’ll be both scenic and energizing.

2. Focus on your food: It’s easy to ignore diets while on vacation, with unhealthy snacks and going out to eat too much. Plan ahead: Figure out what will be served at the hotel, cruise, or in the area. Map out anything that fits within your diet. Pack ahead: If you’re traveling or afraid of your food options, pack healthy snacks that can replace the fast-food option.

3. Take advantage of mobile apps: Whether you count steps or calories, there’s a fitness app just for you. Take a minute to search around your app store and find that one meant for you. Calorie Counter, RunKeeper, and Lose It! are a few suggestions to help you get started.

Remember! You don’t have to let a vacation interrupt your workout routines or diets, nor do you have ruin the fun focusing on exercising. Just remember these simple things to keep you active. And most importantly, remember to have fun!

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Foundation of Fitness…Posture

Back Pain Posture Blog Photo

Get yourself BACK in the Game!

OK…raise your hand if you have ever had back pain!

Exactly as I thought…everyone with a hand.

Lets take a simple look at why most people have back pain. We know that it’s hard to avoid pain from an accident, injury or a genetic condition, so this is for the general public.

Just like anything, If you use it enough, you will wear it out. Your lower back is the region we are talking about, which is the OPPOSITE muscle group of your abdominals. Your low back keeps you from falling forward just as your abdominals keep you from falling backwards. The muscles must be in balance…but how many times do people complain about sore stomach?

Posture is the #1 reason most people have a problem. The average person sits over 50% of their waking hours…If you are hunched over then your low back spine is usually in an expanded state. This is where the discs are being “rest” on and are getting squished out of the bottom and back part of your spine.

While standing…most people have a posture issue that is the result of not actively engaging the core muscles in the abs AND glutes. This causes the pelvis to be anteriorly tilted to the front. This is when someone has an excessive curvature in the low back and hunched shoulders. It is a sign of weak abs and glutes and causes the disc in the low back to be squished or “compressed”. This is where the pain in coming from. If you were on the bottom of a 10 person dog-pile, you’d feel squished too!

The key to helping your back feel better is 2 things…

  1. Stand up straight…Keep your ears, shoulders, hips, knees all in alignment. See your mom was right. So call her up and tell her you’re sorry you didn’t listen…and she was right. (And don’t forget her Mother’s Day gift)

    Your muscles can make you taller and it takes the pressure off of the lower discs. When sitting, do the same thing. It is the most simple conscious thing you can do to feel better anytime!

  2. Strengthen your core! Keep your Abs in tight AND squeeze your glutes! When you contract your glute muscles, it helps to pull your pelvis into a “Neutral” position that allows your spine to rest on a more stable and flatter foundation. Your discs will not be so compressed.

Also…working on strengthening your abs and low back with either an exercise ball, inversion table or “roman chair” can help to keep the muscles awake and keep the spine more stable!

*Our in-store certified fitness consultants are here to help! We offer free training advice, proper techniques and more! This article was provided by Greg Lofgren at 2nd Wind Exercise in Lindbergh, MO. Stop in or call any 2nd Wind location and take advantage of our amazing team!*

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Is Heart Rate Important For Weight Loss?

Yes!! It’s a common misconception that if you’re looking for the best weight loss results you should workout in your “fat burning zone” at about 60% to 70% of your maximum heart rate. However, the fat burning zone burns fewer calories than working out at the higher intensity “aerobic” zone (70% to 85% of your maximum heart rate). The body may burn a greater percentage of fat in the fat burning zone compared to higher intensities but in the aerobic zone you burn way more total calories AND more fat calories overall than at lower intensities. Of course, caloric burn also depends on a workout’s duration and it is easier to work out longer when exercising at a lower intensity.

Heart Rate Monitor

Electronic heart monitors, such as Polar products, typically consist of a wristwatch-like display and an electrode-studded chest strap that provide accurate, real-time heart rate information. Using a heart rate monitor can help you pace yourself and can also motivate you to exercise. With your heart rate monitor you can observe if your workouts are helping you to lower your resting heart rate. You can also monitor your workout routine to see if you can maintain the same pace but get your heart to pump more slowly or to see if you can shorten the time it takes your heart rate to return to normal after a workout.

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Common Running Mistakes

Running Mistake Blog Photo
  1. Pace: The key to starting a running routine is to Increase your mileage gradually, upping your mileage about 10% each week. Be sure to take rest days, they’re important to your recovery and injury prevention as your muscles build and repair during this time.
  2. Core: Runners who do core exercises four times a week run faster on average than those who didn’t according to a study done by the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research so be sure to include some core workouts into your routine!
  3. Stretching: Stretching when your muscles are cold is not a good idea so instead warm up a little bit with a quick running then stretch and continue your workout. Sleep: Make sure you are getting enough sleep, your body needs rest to improve your recovery.
  4. Overstriding: Try to keep your steps light and quick, overstriding, or landing heel first with your foot well ahead of your body’s center of gravity wastes energy since you’re braking with each foot strike, and may also lead to injuries such as shin splints. Try to land mid-sole, with your foot directly underneath your body.
  5. Arms: Some runners swing their arms side-to-side, which makes your breathing less efficiently. Additionally, there is a tendency to hold the hands up near the chest, especially as you get tired, however this can actually make you feel more tired and creates tightness and tension in your shoulders and neck. Try to keep your hands at waist level with arms at a 90 degree angle and elbows at your sides. You should rotate your arms at the shoulder, opposed to the elbow, and keep your posture straight. If you feel yourself slouching poke your chest out!
  6. Nutrition: Nutrition is important for running performance and overall health. What and when you eat before, during, and after your runs matters. Eat a snack about 1 to 2 hours before a run that is high in carbohydrates and lower in fat, fiber, and protein such as a banana and an energy bar, or cereal with milk. If you’re going on a long run (over 90 minutes) you need to replace some of the calories you’re burning through sports drinks, or bars. You should be taking in about 100 calories after an hour of running and then another 100 calories every 45 minutes after that. Post run it is important to replenish energy quickly as studies have shown that muscles are most receptive to rebuilding stores within the first 30 minutes after exercise which means eating quickly after your workout can minimize muscle stiffness and soreness. Choose foods of primarily carbs, and protein with a ratio of about 1 gram of protein to 3 grams of carbs such as a fruit and yogurt smoothie. Carbohydrates are important to runners as a major source of fuel, so don’t cut them out of your diet! After hard runs, grab your post-run carb snack, and then follow up the evening with a meal of carbs and protein to rebuild muscle.
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Workout Habits to Quit

Workout Habits to Quit Doing Now

It’s easy to get in to a routine and forget to change your workouts. If you get in to the habit, don’t forget to keep challenging yourself. Below are some of the most common habits that you should quit in your workout.

1. Working out alone:
Most people get a better workout when they’re with someone else. It’s more enjoyable to share it, you’re more likely to keep showing up, and you’ll push yourself harder if you have some competition.

2. Long workouts of moderate intensity:
There’s a reason they say, “No pain, no gain.” You can’t improve your fitness without pushing yourself. It’s much better to go 20 or 30 minutes at high intensity, than it is to go for an hour at a comfortable pace.

3. Wasting time between reps:
Don’t look in the mirror, don’t check your phone, don’t start conversations with other people. Plan out a certain workout for a certain time period, and get it done.

4. Too much cardio and no strength training:
Some people are all about burning calories, so they just focus on the treadmill. But building muscle is important too. The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn throughout the day.

5. Hydrating with sports drinks:
Most sports drinks have too much sugar. Go with water instead . . . the extra electrolytes aren’t worth all the empty calories.

6. Doing the same exercises all the time:
The more you do something, the more efficient your body gets at doing it. If you run half an hour a day for six months, you’ll start burning fewer calories. Try rotating your workouts on a regular basis.

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Traveling During the Holiday

Trim Up While Traveling for Thanksgiving.

Turkey Workout

Thanksgiving is the busiest time of the year for traveling. While you are busy celebrating and catching up with family and friends. It is easy to forget a workout. Here are a few traveling workout tips to keep you motivated throughout the holiday.

1. See the sites, old or new:

Where you’re reminiscing over childhood memories, or visiting a new place, make sure you get out and see it. Go for a long walk or a jog. If this is where you grew up, go for a stroll to see how things have change and bring back memories. This will make it feel more like and adventure rather than a workout. If you’ve never been there, it will feel exciting to gallivant around town.

2. Stuff your suitcase:

Make sure you pack plenty of gym clothes. On your down time, go to the fitness center. If you are in a hotel with a pool, unpack your swimsuit and go for a swim. Or check out some new trails and go for a hike. Grab a cousin, sibling or spouse and go together.

3. Download your favorite workout:

Share your favorite workout with your family, while everyone has some down time or are waiting to get going. You’d be surprised how far a 20 min workout video can go while traveling and enjoying a Thanksgiving feast.

4. One step, two step:

If you’re staying in a hotel and are on the 15th floor, take the stairs! It will be challenging and even if you do it one time a day, it will still feel good. If you love stair climbing at the gym, take advantage of being at your hometown and go to the high school football stadium. Climb until you can’t any more.

5. Just do something:

This is the perfect opportunity to play with your niece or nephew you only see a few times a year. Take advantage of their energy and play with them. Play catch with a parent or go for a walk with your grandparent. This will get your blood pumping so you can enjoy a Thanksgiving feast, guilt free.

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Fall Fresh Recipes

Fall is finally here and we’re kicking off the season with fresh food ideas! This is a great time of year to incorporate healthy and organic fruits and veggies into your meals. Did you know in Minnesota the fall brings apples, figs, artichokes, arugula, grapes, beets, cabbage, carrots, chard, squash, green beans, kale and so many more delicious options! With this great variety of ingredients you can make endless dishes and you’ll never get bored.

Check out some of our favorite recipes below:Apple Chips

Baked Apple Chips:

3 medium sized sweet apples
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbs of sugar

Preheat oven to 225 degrees F
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Slice apples. The thinner you slice them, the faster they will bake and the crispier they will be.
Mix the sugar (optional) and cinnamon together and sprinkle over apples slices.
Bake for a total of approximately 1 hour then flip the slices, and bake for 1 more hour.

Hearty Vegetable Curry:

1/2 cup plain 2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup diced peeled sweet potato
1/4 cup sliced yellow onion
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 cup small cauliflower florets
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 1/2 tsp olive oil
2 tbs chopped cilantro

Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
Add sweet potato to pan and sauté for 3 minutes.
Lower heat to medium and add cauliflower, onion, and curry powder. Stir and cook for 1 minute.
Add broth and tomatoes and chickpeas. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat.
Simmer 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
Sprinkle with cilantro and serve with yogurt.

Caramel Apple Protein Shake:Apple Shake

Can’t live without your shakes? Us either! Plus the apple adds a serving of fruit to your meal.

1 scoop vanilla protein powder (your choice)
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 small apple, skin removed and diced
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
2-3 ice cubes
2 tablespoons sugar-free instant butterscotch pudding mix

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Allow the shake to thicken for a minute. It’s that easy and delicious!
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