Joli Guenther

  1. Which Fitness Equipment Burns the Most Calories?

    Wondering which home fitness equipment burns the most calories?  It’s no surprise that this is the question we hear the most when people are shopping for home fitness equipment.  Burning calories in your home gym is an important piece of any effective plan to lose weight.  Used correctly, the right piece of exercise equipment will burn calories, and even specifically target fat loss, support a healthy metabolism, and improve cardiovascular function.  So how do you know which piece of exercise equipment will help you burn the most calories?

    Calorie calculators are a good place to start, but they only tell one part of the story.  Calorie calculators provide a helpful reality check when it comes to planning your diet and total calorie consumption for weight loss.  Knowing the calories burned while running or cycling for an hour helps you consider how many calories you burn each day, but it doesn’t necessarily tell you which piece of exercise equipment will be the most effective for helping you to lose weight.  So how do you choose the best exercise equipment to burn fat and calories?

    Calories are really just a way of measuring the amount of power generated by our bodies.  The best exercise machine for burning calories on your body is the one that allows you to use your body the most, rather than relying on the machine to create the movement. Sounds simple? Not surprisingly, your current physical health, available time for training, and tolerance for some types of exercise are important things to consider if you want to burn a lot of calories while using your home exercise equipment.  

    Here’s How It Works:

    If you are in good physical health, without injury or physical limitations, and have plenty of time for training, the best exercise for burning calories is going to be running, hard, on a treadmill.  Hard running on a treadmill burns more than 700 calories per hour.  Additionally, running is a very honest exercise.  It doesn’t allow much cheating when it comes to supporting your body.  Unless you are gripping and leaning on the handrails (hard to do when running, but I have seen it), you are forced to hold your body upright, engage core strength, and move your legs forward.  All of these actions will make you burn more calories per minute.

    So what happens if you’re not a runner?  Elliptical machines, indoor bikes, rowing machines, and even a steep incline on your treadmill all offer great ways to burn calories for those of us who need something that is lower impact.  These methods of exercise also provide varying levels of opportunity to cheat when it comes to working out.  If you want to burn calories, cheating is anything that makes the machine, rather than your body do the work.  Avoid supporting yourself by holding on to the machine as much as possible. Leaning on the elliptical machine means you aren’t holding yourself upright. Standing on a bike with bad form or using very low resistance means you aren’t engaging your leg muscles to pedal, which results in fewer calories burned.  This is where calorie calculators break down and the number of calories per hour becomes much more individual.

    If you want to burn the most calories on your home fitness equipment, choose a piece of fitness equipment that you can use with good form and use good form while using that equipment.  If running hard on a treadmill for an hour is not something that you can physically (or psychologically) tolerate, it’s not going to be the piece of equipment that burns the most calories for you, even if it blasts calories in a laboratory setting.  Rowing is a calorie blaster that targets the upper body and provides a great low impact workout.  The calorie burn is also close to running.  Depending on the amount of time you plan to spend working out, rowing is a great way to make use of limited time by providing intense workouts that also build strength.

    If you have more time for working out but want to avoid high levels of impact, consider an upright cycle or elliptical machine and learn how to use it well.  Avoid leaning on the handlebars and use sufficient resistance to make your muscles feel tired during your workout.  Simply leaning on a machine while you read or surf the web, might look good on a calorie calculator, but your heart rate monitor and your waistline will tell a different story. When used properly, both biking and the elliptical can burn calories that are in keeping with running on a treadmill, from 500-1000 calories per hour, with the advantage of being more forgiving when it comes to impact.

    Remember when it comes to exercising to burn the most calories, it’s not so much the machine as the way you use it.  Use a heart rate monitor for objective feedback.  Calories are really a way of demonstrating the work performed.  The more of the work your body performs versus relying on the machine, the more calories you’re burning. Choosing the exercise machine that you can use well, without compromising your joints or core is the best way to burn fat through exercise.  
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  2. How to Get Your Beach Body Ready In 8 Weeks

    Memorial Day is around the corner and the best of summer follows right behind it. Are you ready to level up your fitness routine for a beach ready body? This eight week program is just what you need. Combining the research proven benefits of high intensity interval training (not just for serious athletes) through the foolproof Sprint 8 program, offered through many Vision and Matrix Home Fitness products, you will reduce body fat and increase muscle mass in just eight weeks. These home workouts are convenient and time efficient and will help you lose the winter bulk while targeting your core, arms, and backside (you want to look good leaving the beach, too, right?).

    Why 8 weeks? 8 weeks is the perfect amount of time to commit to a tough but doable training program. By combining these workout routines with a clean diet, you’re giving your body the tools it needs to shed five to fifteen pounds and build visible muscle. The evidence backed Sprint 8 programming included in this plan has been demonstrated to boost energy (keeping you motivated), reduce body fat, promote lean muscle mass, and improve cholesterol in just eight weeks. After eight weeks of training you’ll probably be ready for a break to enjoy your first taste of summer and possibly repeat the program after a week or two. Here’s how to get started.

    Choose your Cardio Equipment:  You already know that some cardio equipment is better than others at torching calories. You want to choose equipment that lets you, personally, get the hardest workout you can, while also maintaining good form. That means, no leaning on the machine. You also need to keep your core engaged and use a sufficient resistance to challenge your heart and the muscles involved. If you can run, choose a treadmill. If you aren’t a runner, or can’t tolerate the impact, an elliptical machine or exercise bike will also get you there.

    Weeks 1-2: Nail the diet. Increase your Cardio Base and Begin Targeted Strength Training

    Diet: We all know that abs are made in the kitchen, right? Start a food journal, do some meal planning, and measure your food to get a reality check on portion sizes. Your meals should be centered around whole foods … fruits, vegetables, and reasonably lean protein. If you’ve got more than five pounds to lose, keep your starchy and sugary carbs to a minimum as well (easy on the potatoes, pasta, and recovery drinks). Be careful about going too low on fat as that can impact your motivation for working out and make you hungrier in the long run. Your best approach is to include a small amount of fat, as well as healthy carbs and protein each time you eat. Now is a good time to cut out the extras . . . sugar, alcohol, and processed foods.

    Workouts: This plan includes both an AM and PM workout schedule. Developing a morning workout routine is associated with higher success in sticking to your workouts so it’s a good habit to develop. These morning workouts are designed to be quick so you can get started on your day. If it works for you to switch up am and pm or to complete all of your workouts in the morning at this point, that’s fine.

    Weeks 1-2 AM PM
    Monday Sprint 8; Strength Workout 1
    Tuesday 30 minutes of cardio at 75% of max heart rate, Strength Workout 2
    Wednesday Sprint 8; Strength Workout 1
    Thursday 30 minutes of cardio at 75% of max heart rate, Strength Workout 2
    Friday 40 minutes of cardio at 75% of max heart rate
    Saturday Sprint 8; Strength Workout 1
    Sunday Recreation: walk or hike, take a yoga class, play frisbee, or garden. Whatever gets you moving on the weekend!

    Weeks 3-4: Increase Intensity and Challenge:

    Diet: The changes that you made during the first two weeks should feel more second nature now. If you need to revisit meal planning or food journaling this is a good time to recommit. If there is something you’ve been craving and stayed away from, schedule a time to enjoy it by having a dinner out of the house or meeting up with a friend for ice cream or a glass of wine. Workouts: To keep your body from adapting, these workout routines will add intensity to the workout routines of the first two weeks. Increase the load and muscular recruitment through adding in resistance bands and dumbbells. This will build muscle and increase stability, preparing you for more explosive work during weeks 4-6.  We are also increasing intensity through super-sets, back to back exercises targeting the same muscle group, and beginning a day of twice daily workouts to keep your metabolism high.

    Weeks 3-4 AM PM
    Monday Sprint 8; Strength Workout 3
    Tuesday 30 minutes of cardio at 75% of max heart rate, Strength Workout 4
    Wednesday Sprint 8; Strength Workout 3
    Thursday 30 minutes of cardio at 75% of max heart rate, Strength Workout 4
    Friday 25 minutes of cardio intervals at 75-85% of max heart rate 30 minutes of cardio at 75% of max heart rate
    Saturday Sprint 8; Strength Workout 3
    Sunday Recreation: walk or hike, take a yoga class, play frisbee, or garden. Whatever gets you moving on the weekend!

    Weeks 5-6: Halfway There! Avoid the Plateau

    Diet: It might get tougher to stick to your diet at this point, especially if the pounds are coming off. A tough training schedule increases your need for protein so make sure you’re getting plenty of that, as well as fat. Keep focusing on a variety of nutritious carbs from fruits and vegetables to help keep the cravings under control. Schedule a Friday evening with a friend to enjoy a meal or drink you’ve been craving and then get back on track with a tough Saturday morning workout. Workouts: Introducing the Saturday Slammer. After your Friday night out, eat a healthy breakfast and choose one of the calorie churning workouts given here (you can do the same workout routines on an elliptical or indoor bike as well). You’ll burn more than 500 calories and break up your routine. We are also adding an additional 2 workout day and stepping up the explosiveness of the strength training to support muscle growth while maintaining a high metabolism. The range of 75-85% of your max heart rate during interval training is designed to stay just below your lactate threshold in order to build endurance and recovery. You want to feel uncomfortable during this training, but as though you can stay there with effort for more than 5 minutes.

    Weeks 5-6 AM PM
    Monday Sprint 8; Strength Workout 5
    Tuesday 25 minutes of cardio intervals at 75-85% of max heart rate 30 minutes of cardio at 75% of max heart rate, Strength Workout 6
    Wednesday Sprint 8; Strength Workout 5
    Thursday 30 minutes of cardio at 75% of max heart rate, Strength Workout 6
    Friday 25 minutes of cardio intervals at 75-85% of max heart rate 30 minutes of cardio at 75-80% of max heart rate
    Saturday Saturday Slammer (see above), Strength Workout 5
    Sunday Recreation: walk or hike, take a yoga class, play frisbee, or garden. Whatever gets you moving on the weekend!

    Weeks 7-8: Getting Shredded

    Diet: You’re almost there! Keep your hydration up and continue including a variety of unprocessed foods to keep the cravings under control. If you’ve stepped back from journaling, reintroducing it now will keep you on track. During the final week, make sure to stay away from alcohol, processed sugar, and starchy foods to reduce bloat for your final weigh in or beach event. When you make it to the final week, take some time to recover by enjoying a favorite food and some extra rest. Workouts: Your goal is to avoid injury and support full muscle development before you head to the beach. We do this by adding more variety and rotating through the previous weeks’ workouts and hitting the upper body super-sets from weeks 3-4 hard. While we continue the frequency of workouts for a few more weeks, the upper body strength training is targeted at visible muscle development to help you get your pump on before you hit the beach.

    Week 7 AM PM
    Monday Sprint 8; Strength Workout 1
    Tuesday 25 minutes of cardio intervals at 75-85% of max heart rate 30 minutes of cardio at 75% of max heart rate, Strength Workout 2
    Wednesday Sprint 8; Strength Workout 3
    Thursday 30 minutes of cardio at 75% of max heart rate, Strength Workout 4
    Friday 25 minutes of cardio intervals at 75-85% of max heart rate 30 minutes of cardio at 80% of max heart rate
    Saturday Saturday Slammer (see above), Strength workout 3
    Sunday Rest or active recovery
    Week 8 AM PM
    Monday Sprint 8; Strength Workout 5
    Tuesday 25 minutes of cardio intervals at 75-85% of max heart rate 30 minutes of cardio at 75% of max heart rate, Strength Workout 6
    Wednesday Sprint 8; Strength Workout 1
    Thursday 30 minutes of cardio at 75% of max heart rate, Strength Workout 2
    Friday 25 minutes of cardio intervals at 75-85% of max heart rate 30 minutes of cardio at 80% of max heart rate
    Saturday Saturday Slammer (see above), Strength Workout 3
    Sunday Enjoy the Beach!

    Enjoy the results of your hard work over the past eight weeks. Remember that your body needs to recover after pushing hard. Take the next week or two to focus on sleep, nutrition, and recovery while you step back on your training volume and intensity. You can repeat this training plan once again before Labor Day to end the summer in even better shape!
    To make your workouts easier, we've lowered prices on all our home cardio and strength machines. Stop in store today to talk to a fitness expert and try machines in person. We'll make sure you reach your summer fitness goals.       
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  3. How to Get Your Body Beach Ready in 8 Weeks - The Workouts

    Weeks 1-2

    Strength Workout 1 (upper body/core, less than 20 minutes)

    25 push-ups

    1 min plank

    1 min hollow hold/Banana

    20 tricep Push-ups

    1 min Superman/locust

    Each round has a time cap of five minutes. If you do not finish in 5 minutes, rest for 1 minute then start where you left off for your next round. Repeat 3 times.

    Modifications: Push-ups and planks can be done kneeling; If needed, bend knees for hollow hold and keep legs down for locust. Option, reduce push-ups and tricep push-ups by five each round.

    Strength Workout 2 (lower body/full body)

    10 Burpees

    25 bodyweight squats, full depth

    20 foot Bear Crawl

    Stepping Lunges – alternate legs, 12 each side

    20 foot Bear Crawl

    Side Plank, 20 sec each side

    Complete the round in 6 minutes. Repeat 3 times. If you do not finish in 6 minutes, rest 1 minute and start where you left off for your next round.

    Modifications: Squats should be done to full depth (butt drops lower than your knees). If you cannot do full depth, you may place a low chair behind you to provide a target to squat to and get up from. You may also do less than full depth. Squats may be substituted for the lunges if needed. Squats may be reduced by 5 and lunges by 3 (each side) for second and third rounds.

    Weeks 3-4

    Strength Workout 3 (Using Bands)

    Each exercise should be done 12 times (on each side of the body) before moving to the next exercise.

    Complete each Super-set three times.

    SuperSet 1:

    Tricep Dips: Using a chair, place hands outside of hips on the chair. Dip your hips as low as possible while keeping your bottom near the chair. Bring legs in close to make it easier, far away to increase challenge.

    Shoulder Extension with Tricep Kickback: Anchor band to a low point. Facing the band, grip the band to extend your arm away from your body. Then bend and straighten your arm while keeping your shoulder in position. That’s one rep. (here’s an image. Just add the tricep kick back to that…

    Superset 2


    Pallof Press (using resistance band): Anchor band and turn so that your side faces it. Hold the band at chest height. Maintaining tension, extend arms to press away from your body. Return.

    Here is a quick demo…

    Superset 3

    Bent Row: Anchor the band to a low point and face the band. Holding it in each hand, bend over, make a rowing movement so that your elbows come behind your body as you press your shoulder blades towards each other.

    Rear Delt Fly: Face side on to your band and bend over so that your upper body is parallel to the floor. Using the hand furthest from the band, grip the band and extend the arm away from you so that it is in line with the shoulder and also parallel to the floor. Return your arm to the starting position.


    Strength Workout 4

    Superset 1

    Front Squats: Complete full depth squat holding a heavy dumbbell in front of the chest

    Squat Press: Holding dumbbells at shoulder height, complete a full squat. As you stand, press the weight overhead.

    Superset 2

    Weighted front lunge: Holding a plate at chest height, step forward into a lunge. Step together. Then step the other leg forward.

    Lunging Pallof Press: Anchoring band at a middle point. Stand in a lunge position. At the bottom of the lunge, press hands forward to extension. Stand while keeping feet in beginning lunge position. Repeat 6 times

    Superset 3

    Dumbbell Sumo Deadlift High Pulls: In a wide leg position with dumbbells on the floor centered under the body, bend to pick up the dumbbells keeping chest upright. Keeping the dumbbells close to the body and elbows high, shrug shoulders to lift dumbbells to chest height (here’s an example:

    Squat with Side Leg Raise: Holding a shallow squat position (hips above knee level), step your right leg to the right. Stay in the squat position on the left leg. Raise your right leg up and touch it down. Repeat up to 12 times before completing reps on the left.

    Weeks 5-6

    Strength Workout 5

    Circuit style: each station is 60 seconds. Complete two stations then rest for one minute before the next pair of stations.

    Jack Push-ups: from high plank positions jump hands and feet wide to low push up position, return to high plank position.

    Jump to Squat Clean: From a standing position with dumbbells at your side, jump forward to a wide squat position catching dumbbells at your shoulders. Jump back to starting position.

    Rest (1 min)

    Scissor Lunges (jump into a lunge position then immediately jump into a lunge with the other leg forward)

    Mountain Climbers

    Rest 1 min


    Alternate Dumbbell Pushups: Place a dumbbell under your right hand to raise it up. Complete 6 push ups, move it to your left hand, complete six pushups. Repeat

    When you finish, repeat the circuit placing the other exercise first, so that station 1 is Jump to Squat Clean followed by Jack Pushups, etc.

    Modifications: Remove jump or weight from any movement. Squats can be substituted for lunges.

    Strength Workout 6

    Home Gym Friendly Wall Balls: Using a Dynamax Ball, complete a full squat holding the ball at chest height, when you stand extend heels up and reach ball overhead as though throwing it up the wall in front of you. That’s one rep.

    Sit up Ball Passes: Using the Dynamax ball, facing the wall as though prepared to do push ups. When you lie down, your arms bring the ball to the floor over your head, when you sit up, pass the ball to the wall, catch it and repeat.

    Each station is 5 minutes.  Complete as many reps as you can. Repeat each station 1 time.

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  4. Five Minute Yoga Practices for Workout Recovery

    If you've already hit the ground running on your New Year's resolutions, you might be noticing aches in new places. While DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) will reduce after a few workouts, it is be a great reminder to start adding some yoga into your training routine. In addition to increasing your flexibility, yoga can make you a better athlete by improving your concentration, breath control, and functional movement patterns. Since you're already warmed up and building strength in your regular workouts, you don't need a lot of time to benefit from yoga. Here are some of the best ways to incorporate yoga into your workout recovery practices. Standing Poses: From Warrior 1 to Triangle pose, some of the most familiar yoga postures will help you to build functional flexibility and strength. Because you are holding your bodyweight, these poses build strength, while challenging you in different movement planes. Holding these poses will build stability. Repetitions in and out of the postures will ingrain healthy movement patterns, improving the stability of the knees, shoulders, and low back. This video shows ways to use Standing Poses for Recovery.

    The sequence: Warrior 1: with shoulder shrugs and repeated transitions from standing Warrior 2: with wrist flexion and increased depth Triangle: with shoulder opening Hip Openers: These poses help to release tightness from the piriformis, as well as the rotators and flexors of the hip joint. This can reduce low back strain and increase range of motion in running and strength training. This active recovery video focuses on the hips and low back.

    The sequence: Ardha Matsandrasana (seated spinal twist) Easy Pose Supported Bridge Pose using a block for support Foam Rolling: Add foam rolling to your yoga practice to increase its benefits. By holding a posture with the foam roller or foam rolling prior to the stretch, you release areas of held tension in the body's connective tissue providing the opportunity for realignment and healing of dysfunctional movement patterns, as well as improving circulation and hydration in the muscle tissue. This foam rolling sequence is a great way to wind down at the end of the day or after a workout.

    The sequence: Figure Four with Foam Roller Modified Pigeon with Foam Roller Lat Foam Roll followed by Modified Child's pose Adding yoga for recovery into your workout routine doesn't need to take a lot of time. The brief practices provided above are excellent ways to warm up or cool down and can be rotated throughout your training week. If you have the time to include a yoga class on your active recovery days, you'll find that your practice and its associated benefits will progress even more quickly. Whether your yoga practice is intense or limited to a few minutes each week, commit to using that time to observe the effect of each posture on your body and breath to fully incorporate yoga's benefits on and off the mat.
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  5. Jump Start Your Fitness Today with These 7 Helpful Tips

    We are officially into 2017, and maybe you've already made goals for the New Year. If not, that’s okay, it’s always the right time to start a new goal or a life improvement. If you're making health and performance related improvements such as losing weight or getting in shape, a little planning and a few tricks can make all the difference towards making those goals a reality. If you've got big plans for 2017, here are a few are a simple tricks you don't want to miss.

    Set Concrete, Achievable Goals.

    This widespread advice is still important. If you want to make your goals a reality, know what you are trying to achieve and when you will achieve it. Give yourself a realistic deadline, such as lose 5 pounds this month. While your goal may be to lose 20 pounds or more, breaking this goal into smaller pieces lets you celebrate your progress along the way. Big changes don't happen overnight. Consistently sticking to your plan for reaching your goals over time will ensure you get the results you envision.

    Track your Progress:

    Bad days happen. The scale will weigh heavy. You will make bad diet choices. You'll miss a workout…or even three. That's called life and it's why you need to document your progress. A simple calendar or spreadsheet can record the basics: a daily weigh-in, meal planning, or just getting your workouts in can all be recorded in less than a minute. When you see a string of successes your goals become a part of who you are, making it a lot easier to stay on track and on the wagon.

    Build a support network.

    By making your goals public, you create accountability. Take this a step further by enlisting a network of others who can support you in your goals. Scheduling a few personal training sessions can be a big help in creating accountability. You can also take advantage of on-line support networks, including ViaFit integrated into everything from treadmills to recumbent bikes. This virtual technology allows you to effortlessly upload your workouts (see Track your Progress above), while choosing friends, joining in challenges, and setting personal goals that will help keep you motivated.

    HIIT it Hard.

    High Intensity Interval Training has big benefits for all exercisers, whether you're a serious athlete or just looking to shed some body fat. Two sessions per week is ideal. Just 20 minutes will increase post exercise oxygen consumption (you'll burn calories AFTER you work out!) reduce body fat, and increase your VO2 max (i.e. cardiovascular efficiency). Think that HIIT training is just for hard-core athletes? HIIT is based off of your own heart rate and performance and can be used by any level of exerciser. Overwhelmed? Sprint 8 is a patented way to take the guesswork out of HIIT training by providing efficient 20 minute workouts that are proven by research to reduce body fat and increase energy levels.

    86 Sugar and Alcohol.

    Say good-bye to sugar and alcohol. It's been fun. You know that container of your favorite cookies in the cabinet? Take them to the office. Leftover wine and sugary soda in the fridge? Throw it away. Do not buy more. Whether you're improving your performance or shedding body fat, it's time to get the empty calories out of your house so you can support your goals with wholesome nutrition that will improve your workouts and your blood sugar. And if you're looking to blast belly-fat, this is important. Not all calories are created equal and those from sugar and alcohol are the most likely to build up as inches around the middle.

    Start Slowly.

    When you want to make big changes, take the time to build a base. Frequently new exercisers are excited by their training goals and feel the need to hit their workouts hard, day after day, risking injury and burn-out. Remember that your tendons and joints will also be keeping up with the work that your heart and muscles do, but will take longer to grow strong and to recover. Build in active recovery and low or no impact training sessions so that you can keep your momentum going without creating additional aches and pains. Recumbent bikes and incline settings on treadmills are great ways to continue training and burning calories without stressing your joints.

    Invest in yourself.

    While you might be tempted to reward yourself with opportunities to indulge in skipped workouts and "cheat meals", the best rewards are investments that will move you closer to your goals. We all know the frustration of working with sub-par equipment and the joy of having workouts and progress click. Personal training and massage sessions are affordable and motivating gifts. Home fitness equipment that allows for a range of training options and body sizes is another way to ensure that you stay on track when celebrating your success. The Matrix TF50XIR treadmill offers a top of the line, commercial experience that accommodates running, incline training, and larger athletes with ease. With a large surface area and a user rating up to 400 pounds, this machine is tough and will stick with you as you progress in your training. Virtual Active and Sprint 8 integration take the guess work out of creating effective and motivating workouts that you can share through the effortless ViaFit platform. As you move towards your goals in 2017, remember that making lasting changes takes time and perseverance. Commit to manageable goals, record your progress, and remember to build in rewards and recognition for your achievements. By this time next year, you won't believe how far you've come!
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