Archive for ‘fitness’

January 12, 2013

Using Workout Time Well: A Personal Trainer’s Tips

KO

One of the many benefits of nutrition school is the wonderful friends that come with it and the wonderful knowledge, backgrounds, and passions that they have to share.  Katie Occhipinti has been a personal trainer since she was 18, once competed in a figure body-building competition, comes from a family of personal trainers, and has an undergraduate degree in Exercise Science. I’m always chatting with her about workouts and her training (and trying to squeeze out some new ideas), so I figured I’d ask her to write a guest post and share some tips and pointers from her vast pile of fitness knowledge & experience. If you like what you’re reading here, check out Katie’s blog at noskinnygirls.com

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Time, or lack there of, is one of the biggest obstacles we face when trying to stick to our exercise regiment. Whether it is getting in a run before work or pumping some iron in between classes, making the most of our gym time is crucial. Try incorporating some of the tips below to get the biggest bang for your buck. You will see that kicking your own ass at the gym does not take long.

1.  Circuit train. Circuit training is a popular style of lifting weights. It consists of going through a series of exercises (usually 3 different exercises) and upon completing the last exercise in the series, beginning back again at the first exercise. Circuits are usually done 3, 4 or even 5 times through. If you are FIRST starting out, it is perfectly fine to go through your exercises one or two times through and then increase the number of rounds as the weeks go on. The benefit? Constantly moving from one exercise to another will help you maximize calorie burn and will allow you to strengthen many different body parts in one workout. 

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January 2, 2013

Spend Money On Fitness

With the new year come many new fitness resolutions, and this post is about what I think the #1 best way to ensure that fitness resolutions are met: spend a bunch of money on them. more than you really should.

As a graduate student living off loans with plenty of debt from undergrad, I am lacking in the money category. Nevertheless, last week I spent $10 to download Grand Theft Auto 3 (I am terrible at this game and stopped playing because I always killed the prostitutes who I was just trying to drive to the policeman’s ball so they could make some money, perhaps to afford a gym membership). We all throw money around stupidly sometimes.

My gym, with the student discount, is $90 a month. I just switched to it about a month ago. Since I pay $90 a month, the following things are true:

  • I go. Frequently.
  • There are about 15 classes each day, with everything from boxing and spinning to trampoline jumping and yoga.
  • The trainers are nice and helpful (and tell me when I look particularly badass, which I obviously love)
  • They have all the pieces of equipment & gagets I want (including punching bags)
  • They play classical music in the beautiful locker room.
  • There’s a whirlpool AND a sauna
  • The showers at the gym are much nicer than the shower in my apartment
  • The TVs are always playing a few chick-flicks (it’s an all women gym), SVU marathons, and random other things
  • The other people who go to the gym are serious about it, too, so aren’t drinking iced coffee and chewing gum (as previously experienced)
  • I go. Regularly. For all of these different reasons. And I love going.

In all practicality  I cannot afford this gym, but I don’t plan to leave it anytime soon. Exercise makes us much healthier, both in the long and short term. It’s winter in Boston–exercising outside is difficult, and I don’t have the equipment to do preferred strength exercises at home. Spending this much money on a gym ensures regularity for me. Knowing that I will continue to regularly exercise is priceless because healthy people exercise and that’s what I need to be forever and ever.

Fitness is truly is worth spending money on — and it makes us happier and healthier. Wanting to exercise and having a space in which to do it is worth much more than $90 a month. Our own health is, perhaps, the most worthwhile investment there is. When our bodies are strong, they are healthy. Exercise is shown to decrease risk for pretty much every single disease that we don’t wanna get. I’d much rather shell out $90 a month and feel strong and energized than save my money and hate going to a terrible cheap gym so instead and spend time trying to get better at driving prostitutes to the ball in grandly thieved autos. Pay for fitness!

February 19, 2012

The Strength Part of the Gym Is Not Male Exclusive

Sometimes I do weird stuff in the gym. I stare (to learn new moves), I make badass psycho faces (to amp myself up), and I mouth the words to almost every single song I listen to (because it’s fun). But today, I think my weirdness reached a new level: I walked around the gym and counted people.

There were 27 people doing cardio work. 20 of them were women.

There were 19 people doing strength training. 2 of them were women.

Are men & women really that different that our bodies require completely different forms of exercise? Absolutely not.

I watch a lot (read: all) of The Biggest Loser for a number of reasons, and something that I have been recently paying attention to is that the workouts that the trainers put the men & women through are essentially the same. You don’t see Bob screaming, “Ladies–ellipticals! Men–squat presses!”.

I’m not a fitness professional, but it’s easy to see that both strength work and cardio work are crucial for fitness. Strength work  builds muscle, and cardio work uses muscle — they balance each other out. If your muscles are stronger, they’ll be more effective during cardio.

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September 30, 2011

On Not Running

So many of us who struggle with weight stuff get into this constant mode of “exercise exercise exercise you need to exercise if you want to be healthy GO GO GO It’s good for your body and good for you RUN RUN RUN WHY ARE YOU NOT EXERCISING? Oh, I guess it’s because you’re a lazy butt GO TO THE GYM.

or something

But way more important that exercising, I think, is to listen to your body, and, when this is what your body is telling you: maybe stop running so much in the vibrams.

I’ve got some tendonitis in my pinky-toe foot tendon area, and haven’t been able to run for almost a month now. I’m best friends with my foot doctor, and after the cortisone shot I got on Wednesday and the anti-inflammitories I am poppin’, it should be better within the next week or so, which is great.

My initial frustration with getting injured was very brief, and, to be honest, I was pretty proud of myself for not being a dramatic baby and curling up with a pint (I’m talking ice cream, but if you’re thinking beer, that’s fine, too) & a box of granola on the sofa, taking this as a sign that I was destined for eternal fathood.

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August 8, 2011

Commuting with The Bike

Here's me & the bike I had when I studied abroad in Germany (in 2007) when it was last appropriate to say "I commute with the bike." This was actually the first time I had a bike for practical reasons, and it's also when I learned how to ride in a city without getting hit! Ah, that bike was so great.

That’s how I say it. When I travel to work on my bike. That I commute with The Bike. Sometimes, I steal german word order in my English talking. I cannot help it, and I have no intention to try to.

I am lucky enough to work a bikable (10 mi) distance from my home, so, every once in a while, when I wake up and any of the following are true, I bike to work:

  1. I don’t want to shower immediately
  2.  I have to watch TV at night, and won’t have time to go to the gym after work & cook dinner before Prime Time (this is only relevant during So You Think You Can Dance)
  3. I have errands to run for work in the town where work is, and these errands are bikable
  4. It is a beautiful day and I don’t “have” to run for exercise that day
  5. For some reason or other, I can’t be at the mercy of the train (I’m usually a car-less train commuter)
  6. I don’t have professional well-ironed-outfit requirements for the day
  7. I don’t want to shower immediately

Of course, please add, “and the weather is cooperating” to each of those items. Because communing with the bike in rain is certainly possible, and while it’s fun, too, I don’t ever tend to do it (on purpose). Because it’s messy.

As you have likely guessed, biking to work requires a bit more organization than the normal commute. If only workout clothes were business casual, my life would be a lot more streamlined. 

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July 30, 2011

Summer Night Runs are Wonderful, But Sometimes Bring Tragedy

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night time running is glorious. Everyone else who is out is relaxed and happy. Well, they might not be, but it’s too dark to see facial expressions, so sure, why not — they all are relaxed and happy. Summer nights on the river/running paths make Boston seem so calm. It’s gorgeous out there, it’s cooler, and, if you leave at the right time, the change in light is fantastic to watch. Whenever a night time summer run fits into my life, I am delighted. And I think these pictures explain why. 

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June 22, 2011

A Vibram Five-Finger Update

So I’ve had these crazy toe shoes for about two months now, and I’ve just gotten to the point where  I can go out and run for an hour+ like I used to do in sneakers.

The pain I had in my leg that eventually brought on this whole vibram curiosity? Completely a thing of the past. My entire running form has completely changed, and with every additional vibram run, I find something else to tweak in order to make running more natural and more comfortable.

Back straight, hips forward, upper body relaxed, knees up, heels kicking back, legs circling through, almost pedaling over the ground. The consistency in momentum is kind of remarkable with this running form — it’s not pavement pounding, it’s pavement gliding, I’d say, or maybe pavement…cycling? Whatever it is,  it’s a LOT more fun.

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June 6, 2011

How To Fix a Flat Bike Tire

While this isn’t one of the posts from which ever so so many readers will be able to immediately draw something to integrate into their lives (although I really think you all should bike absolutely all the time), I am still throwing it up here on le Blog because fixing a bike flat is a lot easier than I thought it would be, and, well, if the singular reason that you’re holding off on the bike riding is because you’re nervous to ever be in a situation in which you have to fix a flat, I’m here to help. But I’m sure that that’s not stopping people from bike riding. But. It’s a good skill to have, so here’s what you do when you’re faced with this type of situation mid ride:

You may remember that this lovely tire situation interrupted a ride I took a while back. It’s taken this long to muster up the ability to revisit the experience. And since then, I have also upgraded to a Real Grown Up Modern Road Bike which doesn’t get flat tires every 40 miles! But. If it does get a flat, I am prepared.

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