The Thanksgiving Feast – How to enjoy, but not over-do!

Author: Laura Bredenberg, Director of Marketing

adjustable stride elliptical

The Thanksgiving Feast – How to enjoy, but not over-do!

I love Thanksgiving. It’s been a day to eat, over-indulge, and then eat some more. It’s a day to spend with family and friends. There is time for joking, laughing, and telling stories. The appetizer round starts early, followed by the huge plates (yes, ‘plates’ is plural) of turkey, stuffing, potatoes, gravy, etc. To end the meal, I often “stuff down” a slice of pie and possibly even ice cream. And that is just the food. During the entire time of eating, I often indulge in a few adult beverages. This eating and drinking marathon is often completed by a nap on the couch while watching football. Every year is the same routine. When the nap is over, I feel full, tired and sluggish. The bathroom scale adds a few pounds the day after, and we all know that sinking feeling of the creeping scale. Why, do I do the same thing every year? I know how hard it is to reverse those added pounds. The hours of cardio to work off the indulgences, is it really worth it to over-do on Thanksgiving? I am following a new plan this year.

Can we enjoy the Thanksgiving feast and not over- do?

  • 1. Use one plate. Fill it ONCE and do not go back for seconds. Better yet, use a smaller plate or a salad plate for the main course. If salad is being served as a side dish, load up on lettuce and healthy veggies first.
  • 2. Opt for white meat and remove the skin. Yes, we know it adds a bit of flavor, but it also adds fat and calories.
  • 3. Offer to bring some of the side dishes to your family feast. Make your own sweet potatoes which don’t include the extra butter and marshmallows. Make steamed green beans instead of the famous green bean casserole, which can have on average a 100 more calories per serving than steamed green beans.
  • 4. Choose your desserts wisely. Yes, it’s a holiday and it’s time to celebrate, but choose fresh fruit, frozen yogurt, or sorbet as a dessert. If you must have pie (which I always do), opt for pumpkin over pecan and save on average another 150 calories per serving.
  • 5. EAT SLOWLY. Enjoy your time with family and socialize during the meal. Your talking will slow down your eating.
  • 6. DRINK Water! This will help you feel fuller faster. It will also help keep you hydrated in case you are also celebrating with your favorite adult beverage.
  • 7. Get off the couch and get some fresh air. Get up and take a family walk. Get the entire family out for a game of kickball. Enjoy the day and get moving. Better yet, sign up for your local turkey trot or family 1 mile, 5K or 10K race. Burn those calories even before the meal starts!
Enjoy the Thanksgiving Holiday!

Contact us at to learn more!
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STOP Wishing and Thinking – START Planning and Doing

Author: Logan Axne, Store Manager and C.P.T (Clive, IA) adjustable stride elliptical

Get Started!

As a personal trainer, I have encountered many clients who have spent years desiring to make a change in their life in regards to fitness. It has varied from general weight loss for cosmetic appearance to doctor ordered exercise to prevent illness or death. Much like eating your vegetables and drinking water, most people generally know exercise is important to stay healthy, but the application is often delayed.

  • “I’m starting my diet on Monday.”
  • “I’m waiting until after the holidays to start exercising.”
  • “I’m too busy this time of year, but will start once things settle down.”
  • I was talking to one of my fitness mentors one day, and I mentioned not having time to workout for the next few days because of a busy schedule. He responded by reminding me that everyone has the same amount of time in a day. If it’s a priority, you will make the time for it. If it’s not, you will find an excuse not to. I believe this is so true for fitness.

    Get a Goal!

    Upon meeting any client for the first time, I always ask why they are looking to start a journey into fitness. Regardless of experience and their fitness level, it seems like everyone has a general idea of what they would like to achieve with fitness.

    • “I want to LOSE WEIGHT”
    • “I want to TONE UP.”
    • “My doctor says I need to START EXERCISING.”

    These are good motivational phrases to get someone started, but they aren’t goals. The best way to build a consistent program is to set goals with data you can track. If you can follow your progress with QUANTITATIVE data, you are more likely to continue working toward your goals. Set short, intermediate, and long-term goals you can track and a timeframe in which you want to reach this goal. If you’d like to lose 20lbs, pick a finish date and set short and intermediate goals to stay on track. If it’s over three months, break it down by months and weeks to help make the goal seem less overwhelming. Many doctors prescribe exercise to their patients, but do not elaborate on what that means. Hypertension is very common, and many people want to lower their blood pressure, pick a goal of what number you’d like to reach just like weight loss.

    Get Informed!

    In the fitness industry, there are hundreds of thousands of workouts and diets. Some are methodically designed by educated health and fitness professionals to help with specific goals, others may be written by journalists trying to attract readers or a celebrity trying to earn money promoting a certain brand or product.

    “The great thing about the Internet is there is so much information available. The problem with the Internet is there is so much information available.”

    I have spent my adult life studying and training to help individuals reach their goals. I have a degree in health, a certification in training, and years of hands on experience. One of my favorite analogies I make to my clients is asking who does their taxes. Some people go to a trusted Internet site, others may attempt to try them on their own, but typically they take them to a Certified Public Accountant to be submitted. It seems sensible that you would go to a professional for significant life decisions, and fitness should be one of those decisions you may need guidance. Find a professional who has experience in the fitness industry and the qualifications to help make a specific plan for you. Everyone has different goals and different needs to reach those goals, having someone to help direct and keep you on track can inevitably be the difference between reaching a goal and falling back to old habits.

    Get Healthy!

    After you’ve established goals and have equipped yourself with the proper information, get going! Keep your goals in mind and remember, no matter your pace, you are always making progress! Don’t quit! Find a support group; friends, coworkers, spouses can all be great to help keep motivation and retention to a schedule. Make it a routine and have fun!

    Logan’s Tips For Success
    • Never skip a Monday workout. (Start the week off on the right foot)
    • Never go two consecutive days without physical activity or exercise
    • Eat with a purpose. (Give thought to the food you consume)
    • Stay hydrated. (Make sure to be drinking plenty of water)
    • Record your progress! (Make a Journal and note your success)

    Contact us at to learn more how a personal trainer and certified fitness consultant can help you reach your goals!

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Three Parts to Achieving Great Fitness!

Author: Chase Hagen, 2nd Wind Exercise Store Manager, Ankeny, IA
Weight Lifting Image for Blog

There are three parts to achieving great fitness results when when starting a new exercise program.  Those three parts include diet, cardio, and strength.  I would like to start by focusing on the strength portion of the three.   Strength training is a great way to burn extra calories without even knowing it! After you’ve completed a strength workout, you will continue to burn calories for up to eight hours.  That is amazing.  Cardio training continues to burn up to 3 hours after a workout. By building up your muscles, you are constantly burning more calories in your everyday activities.

Strength training offers an array of exercises to choose from. You can work out your legs, arms, back, shoulders, and core, to name just a few. You can even isolate certain muscle groups for a more targeted workout. Lifting weights is simple. A simple pair of dumbbells will do at the beginning of your program. Start with arm curls, overhead shoulder presses, and tricep extensions. To work your legs, try squats, lunges, and leg lifts.

Strength training is an important part of fitness, but in the end, it takes all three parts to accomplish your goals! Watch your diet, choose foods wisely, and get some cardio training in as well.

Visit one of our 2nd Wind Exercise stores to learn more about the three parts of great fitness. We can help with your personal fitness goals and provide assistance in setting up a cardio and strength training workout tailored just for you.


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High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

Author: Nathan Young – 2nd Wind Store Manager, Jordan Creek, IA
Girl on Treadmill
High intensity interval training is growing in popularity with both athletes and novice exercisers.  Often called HIIT, this training is characterized by continuous bursts of high intensity activity followed by lower intense bouts of activity and/or recovery.

Why is this type of training becoming so popular?  You can modify the workouts to fit any fitness level.  You can do the workouts on your favorite cardio equipment like the treadmill, elliptical, or bike.  You can also incorporate this training with whatever exercise activities you enjoy the most.

Busy with the kids and work?  Do you have little time to get a workout in?  You can get a great workout in with only 20 minutes using the HIIT technique.  Studies show you can burn more calories with greater benefits doing HIIT for 20 minutes versus a consistent 60 minute workout.

To start a new HIIT program, break up workout segments to fit your personal exercise level.  If you are a beginner, start with 15-30 seconds of high intensity exercise followed by 1 min of recovery time.  After you start feeling more comfortable with that level, you can jump up to 45 seconds of high intensity followed by the recovery segment.  You can tailor the workout to fit any level.

Studies have shown that high intensity interval training comes with many benefits:

  • Lowered blood pressure
  • A decrease in cholesterol
  • Improved cardiovascular health (heart health)
  • Higher calorie burn
  • Increased metabolism
  • Extended calorie burn after the workout  (6-15% more calorie burn)
If you are tired of doing the same routine every day and you are not seeing the results you want, give your workouts a little kick with some HIIT.

Visit  one of our 2nd Wind Exercise stores to learn more about HIIT training and equipment:


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The Three R’s: Reconditioned, Refurbished, Remanufactured

Author: Tedd Falk

adjustable stride elliptical Shopping for a used piece of fitness equipment can at times feel a little overwhelming, especially with all of the different terms being thrown around to describe the condition of the equipment. Reconditioned, refurbished, and remanufactured are the big three when it comes to fitness equipment terms. Here’s a quick breakdown of the differences between each one:

Reconditioned: Reconditioned equipment typically means there was little work done to bring the machine back to proper working order. A reconditioned machine is typically, tested, reassembled, lubricated, and cleaned. Reconditioned might sound a little more risky compared to a refurbished or remanufactured machine, but what it really means is that the machine was in pretty good working condition in the first place. It can also be the best value because the dealer will have less investment, or costs, into the machine so it can be sold for less.

Refurbished: Like a reconditioned machine, a refurbished piece of fitness equipment will go through a testing, reassembly, lubrication, and cleaning process. However, refurbished fitness equipment will have non-functioning parts replaced. This does not typically include cosmetic items such as upholstery or shrouds unless they are severely damaged.

Remanufactured: Remanufactured equipment is probably the closest you can get to a “like new” machine, and also consists of the most work. Nearly all parts, shrouds, and upholstery will be replaced and it some cases the machine will be repainted. While typically remanufactured equipment will be more expensive than reconditioned or refurbished equipment, it is still a great value for someone looking for the true “like new” machine.

Lastly, one thing to keep in mind is that “as is” warranties will vary by condition and dealer. Typically, you will see anywhere from 30-90 days. Some reconditioned, refurbished, and remanufactured equipment will also have the option to add an extended warranty plan for 1-2 years.

You can visit our used equipment here:

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Ellipticals: The Adjustable Stride Feature

Author: Tedd Falk

adjustable stride elliptical If you’ve been doing your elliptical research lately, one feature that tends to appear more often than not is adjustable stride. Adjustable stride can absolutely be a vital feature to many elliptical consumers, so let’s get into a few details regarding what to look for in an adjustable stride!

Manual or Automatic: No we aren’t car shopping, but just like cars, not all ellipticals are automatic, or have automatically adjusting stride. Many will have a pin near the fly wheel that will have to be manually adjusted to change stride. This manual adjustment can be a turn off in that it can interrupt your workout, or is just flat out annoying! However, it can be a more inexpensive way to get the correct stride lengths you are looking for, instead of shelling out more money for the automatic feature.

Stride Length: How far can the elliptical actually adjust? Is it 16”-20”, 20”-22”, 18”-24”? There is a wide array of ranges when it comes to elliptical strides and the only way to find out what range will fit best is to try them out! You might even find that you like a longer stride when you are working hard and moving fast, and a shorter stride when you are cooling down. Don’t forget about your family if they will be using it too! A family of varying heights might find it very beneficial to have a wide range of stride lengths.

Incline: Some ellipticals, such as the Vision Fitness Suspension Trainer, adjust stride by varying the incline of the pedals to create more of a hiking motion. Others, like the Octane Q47, will simply adjust length for more of a running motion. Once again, the only way for you to know which suits you best is to try them out. Do you want to focus on a particular body part? Are you training for a specific sport? Is your elliptical for cross training? These are all things to keep in mind when deciding which motion is best for you.

Stride Programs: Stride programs are typically only available on automatically adjusting ellipticals and act as a personal trainer to adjust the stride for you. Stride programs help to give you a variety of stride lengths during your workout to help engage different muscles in the lower body. For example, an interval stride program might start you off at a shorter 18” stride for one minute, then increase the length to 22” for the next minute, and so on and so forth. While one could certainly do this on their own by pushing the adjustment buttons every minute, the programs make the ability to adjust stride more convenient and are usually better designed to help you better achieve your goals.

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I Can’t Fit That In My Home!

Author: Tedd Falk

Folding Elliptical If you have ever looked at a piece of fitness equipment and said these exact words you are not alone. Luckily, there might be an option out there for you!

Let’s first get one thing straight. If there was such a thing as an elliptical, treadmill, or bike that could fit snug into a corner and was durable, natural feeling, smooth, and comfortable, we would never sell anything else. The problem is, there is a reason the equipment is so big and it’s because of all those adjectives above. When you start shrinking an exercise machine, you typically start to lose out when it comes to durability and comfort.

But there is hope! Did you know that a lot of the equipment out there today can fold up? Yes, folding treadmills, ellipticals, and bikes are becoming more and more popular today and can save you that little extra space to fit your favorite piece of equipment in that spare bed room. But, buyer beware, there can be some disadvantages to a folding machine. A treadmill for instance, might have a lighter deck to make it easier to fold. This will unfortunately take away from the strength and stability of the machine. When in doubt, always try it first. Going back to our treadmill example, take a jog on the machine to make sure it doesn’t feel too flimsy and take a look at the folding mechanism itself. Does it look like the machine is folding on top of any parts that are vital to the operation of the machine, say the front roller? These are all things to keep into consideration, and always make sure to ask your sales associate to become as informed as possible. Just a few examples of machines that we like and can fold are the LifeSpan 4000i treadmill, Vision Fitness TF40 treadmill, and the Vision Fitness XF40 elliptical.

Ok, now for the free weight dilemma. There is no way I can fit a whole rack of dumbbells in my home! Yes, not everyone has a dedicated home gym space and that is why adjustable dumbbells exist. Adjustable dumbbells, like PowerBlocks, include a variety of weight selections in one dumbbell with weight varying anywhere from 5lbs-90lbs depending on how much you need. They are easy to use and tend to be less expensive than piecing together a set of individual dumbbells. They also usually include a small rack option for added convenience.

Now that you have some ideas of options and what to look for, it’s time to work out!

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