Tag Archives: Physical exercise

The Neck Rule

6 Feb

The sun does exist!

I tell ya, living in North Carolina for 4 years during the winter has made me forget what a real winter is. I think this is the FIRST time I’ve been legit sick. Something’s going around; co-workers are sick, Adam is sick, and everyone and their brother is feeling under the weather.

Fact:

It is believed that regular, consistent exercise can lead to substantial benefits in immune system health over the long-term (ACE fitness)

However, sometimes enough is enough and we get sick. For my co-workers and I, our main job is to exercise; whether it’s teaching a class, training a client, or sneaking in some “me” time, our job is provide exercise for our participants, regardless of how we’re feeling.

So..the question arises..

Should I (could I) exercise when I’m sick?

Every body is unique; one’s “cold” may be another’s “I’m on my death-bed”. When it comes to exercising when you’re feeling less-than stellar, experts use the “above the neck” rule to gauge whether or not it’s safe to be active, if it’s even worth it, and if you’d benefit from taking a rest day.

Above the neck symptoms include nasal congestion (the sniffles and sneezes), sore throats and teary eyes.

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If you have these symptoms, light to moderate intensity workouts can help drain head congestion; after 10 minutes of low-impact activity and you feel okay, it’s safe to increase the intensity gradually. Watch! Overdoing it with heavy, intense exercise may actually reduce your immune system function and prevent you from getting better! Exercising at max intensity with above the neck symptoms should NOT be a goal.

Below the neck symptoms involve fever, chest congestion, coughing, aching body and fatigue.

Chest stache

Had to. Adam do NOT get any ideas.

If you have these symptoms, it’s best to completely rest. ACSM states that a rest period of 2-4 weeks is adequate and a slow, monitored progression back into exercise is the best practice (maybe even a physician’s clearance too).

All in all, the best practice to exercising when you’re sick is to listen to your body! Stay hydrated, eat a well-balanced diet, and obtain adequate sleep will help you get back to your routine.

Fitness at Home Series-1

15 Jan

I’m instructing a series at the Rec Center called Fitness at Home, where I’ll be talking, demonstrating, and explaining workouts that can be done right in the comforts of one’s own home! With everyone’s crazy-busy lives, it’s still super important to fit in physical activity. If you have an open space, 2 soup cans or water bottles, and a sturdy chair-you have a gym!

Benefits of exercising at home and tips to make it a little easier:

  1. It’s right there. No need to find a parking spot, get a locker, and wait for a piece of equipment.
  2. Rise and shine sweat! First thing in the morning, set your alarm clock for 30-45 minutes earlier and exercise. Not only does this clear your schedule for the rest of the day, but also, research has shown that exercising first thing jump-starts your metabolism, so you’re constantly burning calories throughout the day.
  3. Add variety to your workouts. There’s been a huge shift from in-the-gym workouts to any physical activity counts; walking, running, Tai Chi, tennis, ice skating, gardening, moving-all are forms of activity that can act as exercise.
  4. Set your clothes out the night before. There goes the excuse “it takes too long to get ready”-problem solved!
  5. Enlist the help from a friend, furry or not. Having someone or something holding you accountable is an excuse-proof way to exercise. You don’t want to let down a friend or partner and you surely don’t want to let down Rover or you’ll have quite a bit of a mess to clean up.
  6. Tune in. Workouts on demand offer tons of options with little to no equipment and at a very low-cost.
  7. Youtube. Type in workouts and thousands are available to you! Ranging from 3 minutes to a half an hour.
  8. Log your efforts. This not only keeps track of what you’re doing, exercise-wise, but also will help if you get stuck in a rut.
  9. Track your progress/regress! How are you clothes fitting? Is walking up the stairs becoming easier? Are you able to do jumping jacks and squats longer? And vice-versa.

Need a little help?

A Kitchen Maid workout:

PicMonkey CollageThe who, what, where, when, and why’s of creating an at home workout:

  1. How are you feeling today?
  2. What do you want to work on? Create a small goal that can be accomplished in ~45 minutes.
  3. What equipment is available to you?
  4. How much time do you have?

Your turn!

Not-So-Monotonous Cardio Workout

8 Jan

The gym has been PACKED. Lots of people working on their New Years resolutions I’m sure! The real test will be if they’re still here in 2 weeks… :-/.

Group fitness has been booming with participants! We have over 50 classes on the schedule this semester, some new and some old. Power hour debut yesterday; the concept behind this class is HIIT and to get a kick-butt workout in under 40 minutes. I don’t think the participants caught-on at first, but by the end, they realized that the workout is coming to an end and they picked it up! Hopefully the numbers keep climbing throughout the semester!

This semester, I scheduled set office hours for my graduate assistantship. Last semester, I came and went and found that although I enjoyed the freedom, I didn’t feel like I accomplished much in my hours. My weeks will look like this:

  • Monday’s 9-2pm
  • Tuesday’s 6-1pm
  • Wednesday’s 6-1pm
  • Thursday’s 6-1pm
  • Friday’s TBA

Why so many crack-of-dawns? I’m training more! Last semester, I taught ~4-5 classes a week and completed only fitness assessments when needed. This semester, I’m teaching 3 classes (and subbing where I can) and being a trainer in The Biggest Loser program we offer. My group will train Tuesday’s and Thursday’s at 6am and I do BLAST at 6am on Wednesday’s. I feel I have a much better grasp on getting things done in my designated hours.

This morning I completed a not-so-monotonous cardio workout. I only do 3-AT MOST-HIIT workouts a week, interspersed with strength, mind/body’s, and steady-state workouts too. I did a lot of strength workouts yesterday (Power hour, TRX demo) so today I wanted to do steady-state with some plyo’s at the end.

Slightly adapted from Julie at PBFingers’ Beat Boredom Interval Workout:

20-Minute Elliptical:

  • 0-10:00 @ Resistance 7
  • 10-12:30 @ Resistance 9
  • 12:30-15:00 @ Resistance 10
  • 15:00-20 @ Resistance 7

10-Minute Treadmill:

  • 0-5:00 @ Speed 7, Incline 1
  • 5:00-10:00 @ Speed 4.2, Incline 8

7:30-Minute Plyometrics:

  • 1:00 Burpees
  • 2:00 Jumping Jacks
  • 3:00 Mountain Climbers
  • 4:00 Speed Skaters
  • 5:00 Jump Squats
  • 5:30 Burpees
  • 6:00 Jumping Jacks
  • 6:30 Mountain Climbers
  • 7:00 Speed Skaters
  • 7:30 Jump Squats

Stay happy 🙂

All Planks

12 Dec

Clear 10 give or take minutes out of your study time, work day, running errands-whatever excuse you use to get out of exercising! This workout focuses on your core but you’ll definitely be feeling it throughout your arms and legs.

10-minute give or take Planks:

  • 30-second straight-arm plank
  • 20 up/down planks (alternate arms)
  • 20 side plank leg lifts (hold side plank, lift top leg)
  • 30-second elbow plank
  • 20 side plank leg lifts (opposite leg)
  • 30-second elbow plank
  • 20 side plank hip drops (right)
  • 30-second elbow plank
  • 20 side plank hip drops (left)
  • 30-second elbow plank
  • 20 oblique plank crunches (knee outside to elbow) (alternate)
  • 30-second elbow plank
  • 20 across-body plank crunches (knee underneath to opposite elbow) (alternate)
  • 30-second elbow plank
  • 20 plank crunches (knee to center) (alternate)

Happy Workout Wednesday and 12-12-12!!

Post-Thanksgiving Fat Blaster

29 Nov

Workout Wednesday Thursday!

Remember me?! It’s been a whirlwind of a week; actually, a whirlwind of the past weekS! Work, homework, projects, work #2, Thanksgiving, traveling-tis the time of the year! It’s okay though; everything turned out fine. Homework done, projects turned in, classes are completed, and both works are running juuuuust fine.

I’ve completed my first 2 classes of graduate school! Hooray. Only 6 more to go..

I’ve taken over product notifications for work. I send out weekly emails to all of our guests of all the new product(s) we have in the store! So much fun once I got the hang of it! If you’re interested; go to lululemon.com, find your store, and sign up for weekly PN emails! It’s a great way to know what your store has in for the holiday season :).

Aaaaand on the workout front..

Post-Thanksgiving fat blaster! Indulging is the definition of the holiday season-as it should be! The holiday’s aren’t about “I can’t eat that” or “I’m going to have to work extra hard tomorrow”; it’s about the loved ones around us, friends, and giving back. Let’s not forget that :).

I completed this workout after teaching BLAST; 3 times through takes about 15 minutes. Such a quick workout for days when we can’t fit in an entire sweat-sesh. High intensity, toning and cardio, and core work all included.

*Angled burpees– instead of jumping or walking your feet back into plank, jump/walk feet out to the right for one rep, then the left for the next rep. This works your obliques more than a regular plank.

Oakland Students/Employees/Members- subscribe to both this blog AND our Campus Recreation blog! Lot’s of good things to come.

Cheers 😀

Death by Burpees

24 Oct

Am I right or am I right?

Don’t get me wrong-burpees are a GREAT total body exercise that challenges:

  • strength- repetition after repetition, your chest, arms, deltoids, quads, hamstrings, and entire core is continuously engaged
  • stamina- the up-down movements increase your heart rate. add in jumps and your heart rate will soar!
  • coordination- there are so many components to a burpee (at every level) that tests coordination and agility
  • mental sanity- if you can last through a set of burpees, more power to you.

but man do they burn!

Workout Wednesday consists of lots of burpees! Complete the following exercises, one after another with little rest, for the repetitions stated. This was inspired by Julie’s Super Fast, Super Sweaty workout, with a couple of tweaks in rounds 2 and 3. As always, proper form is super important-quality over quantity.

..and really, no one ever died of doing burpees, so let’s keep doing them-shall we? 😛

Lookie what finally came in! Oakland University group fitness instructor jackets!

It was a tough pick between an Eddie Bauer jacket ($45) and a no-name brand ($12); we went with the no-name brand and are so impressed! They’re warm enough to wear before we teach yet light enough to throw on after our classes when we’re still glistening sweating.

ROCKtober Review & Workout

17 Oct

Happy Wednesday! Did you try any of the pumpkin-full recipes yet?

It’s about halfway through the fall semester-where does time go..seriously!!? I can always tell when it’s midterms week; the gym is empty. Once that week is over though..mark your spot cause it’s packed!

Exercise is a GREAT stress reliever; taking your mind off of school work and putting some of that effort in your workout will leave you feeling rejuvenated, relaxed, and those endorphins will pump you up to ace that exam! It doesn’t even have to be a long, drawn-out workout; even a quick 20 minute circuit, strength training, cardio workout, or yoga/Pilates session will do the trick. It’s about finding “you” in the workout; you’ll put more effort into the workout and get more out of it. #sweatandforget

Speaking of a good stress reliever..

I completed Katie’s ROCKtober workout yesterday and got rid of lots of stress! I’m always up for using someone elses workout; it adds variety to my routine and takes the guess-work out of creating one for myself. I thought it was a well-designed workout and structured appropriately but was way too long for me, personally (it was ~75 minutes); I don’t think I’ve completed an hour+ workout since my high school days-who has the time anymore? Also, for as many push exercises as we did (chest press, shoulder press, triceps dips, push-ups), they’re weren’t an equal amount of pull exercises (biceps curl). I’m extremely OCD about balancing the front AND back out in every workout.

All-in-all though, awesome workout! It constantly kept me moving becauseIwantedtobedone and switched between strength training to cardio utilizing different equipment-thanks Katie!

My challenge for you Workout Wednesday-er’s..give this ENTIRE workout a try! You’ll complete each set, 3 times through, for the recommended repetitions.

  • if you’re a beginner and new to workout Wednesday’s, I challenge you to complete the workout 1 time through each set. Use light weights and/or body weight where applicable.
  • if you’re intermediate/advanced, no excuses! I know you can do this workout. It’s definitely more challenging, but if you’ve been active for the entire semester, you can handle this.

*don’t have a treadmill nearby? No worries-jump rope, high knees, mountain climbers, stairs, jumping jacks, speed skaters, and/or burpees will substitute!

10 Rounds X 10 Reps Challenge

3 Oct

It’s workout Wednesday!

I hope you all enjoyed the post last week about healthy eating on campus. There really are tons of better-for-you options, you just need to do your homework, plan, weigh options, and most importantly, not deprive your body of what it needs!

I completed this workout last week and was sore for at least 4 days. That’s when you really know you worked hard :).

In the Rec center, it sometimes can be more challenging to find a space to do plyometrics than the workout itself, especially if you come at prime time. With the exception of the stretching area (although it has no mirrors (for form purposes, not vanity!)), your next best option is outside in the common area. You can use the reflection from the group fitness room as a mirror and space isn’t an issue. Your options:

  • by the staircase
  • near the ping-pong tables (watch for flying balls)
  • outside the activity center
  • down the hallway near the courts and cycling studio

This workout combines plyometrics and toning exercises; you’ll complete 10 repetitions of each exercise for 10 rounds. Try to limit your rest periods! A Men’s Fitness article in the October 2012 issue says that research shows resting for only 30 seconds can increase the rate at which you burn calories by up to 50% compared to taking a full 3-minute rest period.

10 Rounds X 10 Reps

Burpees

Overhead Shoulder Press

Jump Lunges

Push-ups

*If you’re a beginner and not used to plyometrics, complete the burpee without the jump (step back into plank instead) and alternate lunges. Remember, proper form and safety all the time! As you get further into the workout, you’ll fatigue more every round; don’t sacrifice form for a good workout.

The 10X10 workout works wonders on its own, but if you’re looking for extra total body conditioning, here ya go!

  • 20 squats
  • 20 reverse crunches
  • 20 triceps dips
  • 20 alternating lunges
  • 20 leg raises (laying down)
  • 20 biceps curls
  • 20 squat jumps
  • 20 v-sits
  • 20 lateral raises

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Looking for another way to track your diets and workouts? Stay tuned for SlimKicker; a website that tracks your exercise and movements (the more you move, the more points you’ll accumulate). First, you’ll upload a picture of something you want to be rewarded with later (an outfit, accessory, electronic, etc.). When you’ve reached your points, they’ll remind you to reward yourself! There’s a lot more perks to this tracker than just rewards but that’s always the most fun :).

They hope to release it between March and April of next year; it’ll be a compact version of FitBit and in motivating colors (red, black, blue). I was contacted about trying SlimKicker and writing a review on it- what better motivation to get in shape for Spring Break! Who knows..maybe a giveaway is in store… :-D.

Tabata Elliptical Intervals

19 Sep

Today was my first time teaching the BLAST class! A strength and eduranced-mixed class that’s held every week on Monday’s and Wednesday’s with an optional class on Friday’s. The workout doesn’t change (except for Friday’s), so the participants learn the exercise order and can manage their progress in the 10-week period. The group is semi-lively (mind you, the class begins promptly at 6am..) but very engaged. I find their energy increases once we start the warm-up; it probably doesn’t help that this morning was the COLDEST morning yet! 43degrees and windy makes walking to the gym painful. Some of them work together on campus while others form relationships and opt to exercise on the off days-forming fitness relationships:). I’m excited to see what the other Wednesday’s bring :-P.

..drumroll please..

Workout Wednesday!

Another week where I’m bringing students, faculty/staff, and members of Oakland University’s (and others all around!) Campus Recreation center a functional workout to do in the gym.

Last week I mentioned I’d reveal the best exercises to do in a small-ish apartment or dorm room; da-data-da! This article is a great resource for students who don’t have time to go to the gym but want a quick, no equipment workout to do in the space that’s available to them. Try recruiting your room/suite/hall mates to get together and workout!

When you do have time to go to the gym, try this tabata elliptical workout: a tabata interval is 20 seconds of an all-out effort followed by 10 seconds of recovery. You complete 8 rounds of 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off for 4 minutes straight. I like to use the Precor ellipticals for intervals; these ellipticals have tons of program options and allow you to pedal forwards and backwards.

  • warm-up ~2-5 minutes
  • 4 minute Tabata pedaling forwards
  • 2 minutes of regular ellipticalling forwards
  • 4 minute Tabata pedaling backwards
  • 2 minutes of regular ellipticalling backwards
  • 4 minute Tabata (2 minutes pedaling forward, 2 minutes pedaling backwards)
  • 1 minute cool-down

When you’re doing your work intervals (20 seconds), sit your hips back and dig your feet into the pedals. You want your legs to do most of the work without the bouncing you normally do when you’re dozing off into space ellipticalling.

Enjoy!

Under 30 Minute Circuit

12 Sep

Happy Workout Wednesday!

Starting this week, I’m partnering up with another Oakland U’s Campus Recreation blogger to bring you something fitness/health/wellness related! It may be a workout, a fit-tip, a recipe, or a new trend in fitness that could potentially benefit you.

Today’s post comes in circuit workout fashion; I just love circuits. They’re so quick and you’re never doing an exercise for a long period of time- GREAT if you have a little ADD and/or are short on time.

A circuit workout usually combines both strength training and cardiovascular exercise, back to back, with little or no rest in between. When beginning a circuit-style workout, you may find that your rest breaks need to be longer than your working intervals; it takes your body (every body is different!) time to acclimatize to an up-down-up-down level of intensity compared to steady state. As you continue to practice circuit training, you’ll find that you can slash your rest breaks in half (or even have none!) and increase your working intervals…how’s that sound?

Here are some more benefits of circuit-style workouts:

  • efficient. you can get a total body workout in minutes compared to what you’d get if you did steady state cardio
  • burn more fat. even after the workout is over, you’re still burning thanks to the intensity of the workout
  • healthier heart. most people don’t work in their anaerobic zone (think: breathless, rosy-cheeks, real attractive) long enough to reap the benefits. you’ll find the more you do circuit/HIIT workouts, the easier other workouts will feel
  • no equipment needed!

Under 30 Minute Circuit

Perform each exercise for 30 seconds. Either jump right into the next exercise or rest for 30-90 seconds. Repeat each block 3X through:

  • jumping jacks
  • squat jumps
  • mountain climbers
  • butt kicks
  • high knees
  • plank jacks
  • speed skaters
  • push-ups
  • burpees
  • football run
  • walking lunges
  • wall sits

And..guess what? All of these exercises CAN be done in a dorm room! No excuse! Speaking of a dorm room workout, next post will be on the 8 bodyweight exercises suitable for a small-ish dorm room/living space with a sample workout..stay tuned :).