Optimal Workout Equipment Settings for Your Fitness Goals

Young fit woman rowing indoor on a rowing machine

With the range of equipment on the market these days it’s important you’re not just choosing the right workout piece, but engaging in the right settings to achieve your goals too. Whether you want to push for weight loss with summer around the corner or need to build muscle tone and strength, sometimes the ‘right’ equipment can be very wrong for you when you’re not using it properly.

Regardless of it you love training at the gym or you’ve purchased a few key workout pieces to set up in your home gym, finding the optimal settings can help kick those fitness goals more effectively. Get more out of what you’re using with these tips:

1. Exercise Bikes

Getting fit for summer on an exercise bike is a popular option because of the level of comfort it provides. Great for those that prefer to sit down whilst exercising, this piece will help to burn calories and boost cardio exercise. For those that want an extra level of support on the exercise bike, recumbent bikes are designed to have a reclined body seat and pedals in front of the bike instead of under the body like a regular bike. This offers the use more comfort and a better leg workout.

To get the most out of your workout, you’ll want the speed level to sit between 80-100 RPM. It’s crucial you don’t pedal at the same speed for the full workout though – especially if you’re wanting to burn calories. Instead, mix it up by riding at lower speed (50-70 RPM) and then crank to 120-140 RPM. The lower speeds will help to build leg muscle, whilst the switch to more intense speeds will assist in shredding weight and boost endurance.

You’ll also want to consider the resistance and heart rate monitor settings. By alternating between low and medium resistance settings, fat-burning will happen quicker. For the most effective workout, keep your heart rate between 50-85%.

2. Treadmills

If you’re looking to build muscles in your calves, quads and glutes your treadmill should be set to 9% incline. This is the ideal setting for marathon training, boosting endurance and slashing kilos too and will give you that burning sensation in your legs after a workout. If you’re just looking to boost those running skills though, a simple 1.5% incline will mimic outdoor running. For extreme marathon or steep hike training change the incline closer to 15%.

Both the speed and incline of the treadmill should never be too high where you find yourself walking, sprinting or running without moving your hands. Like with the exercise bike, you want to switch your speed and incline settings to mix the workout up. This will save your body getting too comfortable in a certain setting – as soon as you’re ‘comfortable’ your body is burning less calories! To build endurance, use high-intensity workouts and switch between a 4-5% to a 0% incline during various running intervals. Walkers and slow joggers will only need to a speed of 10-12km/h whilst serious joggers and runners should go for 16-20km/h.

3. Elliptical Machines

A steady 20 minute workout on an elliptical machine can shred that extra weight and get your heart rate up, boosting endurance and strength training.  But to get the full effect, the right settings are important. As far as cardio equipment goes elliptical machines, also known as cross trainers, are the powerhouse of cardio equipment; having the potential to burn 270-400 calories in less than 30 minutes.

Interval workouts are the best on these machines to boost metabolism and burn more calories. Because it gets your whole body moving, it’s ideal for strength training too. To boost strength and improve weight loss, the resistance of the machine needs to be increased – the more you turn that dial up, the more strength you’ll be building.

For a medium workout on the cross trainer, aim for a RPM of 90. Keep increasing the resistance and incline though to ensure your heart rate is high. For a full-intensity hard work out to get everything burning (including calories!) you can still go for a 90 RPM but aim for a maximum heart rate between 90-100%, as opposed to a medium work out of 85-90%. Resistance is key to achieving fitness goals on a cross trainer; once this level is bumped up, your arms and legs have to work harder to keep the machine moving. This offers a full body workout to build endurance and strength. For a more intense interval, adjust the incline to a higher level too.

4. Rowing Machine

These machines have a reputation for offering a low-impact workout that increases stamina, builds on muscle strength and drops those calories. The biggest problem with this machine is users tend to forget the damper setting – a crucial lever on the side of the rower’s wheel that can give you a solid cardio workout.

Before using this setting, make sure your rowing form is in top notch. Like gears on a bicycle, the damper setting will offer a heavier feel on the body the higher the gear. Start it on between 3-5 which will mimic the feeling of rowing in the water, and build it up to power your legs and upper body. You should feel it working your legs, butt, arms and back muscles.
Author Bio

Jayde Ferguson writes for Orbit Fitness – the largest supplier of fitness equipment in Perth. You can catch Jayde on Google+ to discuss this piece.

Burn Fat Fast With HIIT

Fitness by HIF Health Expert and Gabriel Method Fitness Coach Brian Killian

What I’m writing about today I’m hoping you will take on board and change the way you exercise forever.

If I was tell you with only 8 minutes of exercise every 3 days, you can help turn your body into a fat-burning super engine, would you be interested? If so, read on.

I worked out very early in life I was blessed with some speed in my legs. With older brothers this ability to run fast came in very handy, and I’ve used it to enjoy a fun athletics career. However it’s the type of training I did and its effect on my body shape, which I want to pay closer attention to.

Fortunately I am and have always been fairly lean, but have definitely not always eaten the right foods. With 3 kids, a wife, a business, I am no stranger to stress either, and come from a family who are all shapes and sizes. So what is it I’m doing which helps to keep my body fat levels down?

The answer is HIGH INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING (HIIT), and you can do it too!

What is HIIT?

A typical HIIT session consists of a warm up period of exercise, followed by 6 to 10 repetitions of high intensity exercise [EFFORT], separated by low to medium intensity exercise [REST], and ending with a period of cool down exercise.

The EFFORT should be done at close to your maximum intensity, with the REST being no more than 50% intensity.  One proven protocol for HIIT sets a 2:1 ratio of EFFORT to REST periods.

For example, 30 seconds of hard sprinting or your fastest walking, alternated with 15 seconds of jogging or slower walking. You perform this cycle 6 to 10 times. This protocol can be used effectively for swimming, skipping, cycling or any other form of aerobic type exercise you enjoy.

My own training experience, and that of the body shape displayed by sprint athletes, suggests this short, intense training is effective in encouraging your brain to reduce body fat and lay down muscle tissue.

But why? The key is HIIT tricks your brain into initiating your Fight/Flight stress response and as a result a cascade of hormones are released. These hormones cause a liberation of fat, an increase in muscle tissue and an improvement in aerobic capacity, even while you’re resting. Let me explain this in more detail.

FACT: Exercise is stress on your body. Your brain must always  interpret any stress, respond to this stress and subsequently adapt to it. Regardless of the origin of the stress, your brain interprets ALL as a physical threat and responds. For example when nervous I have the sensation of ‘butterflies in my stomach’, now I’m pretty sure there aren’t any in there but it sure feels like it! This is just one example of the direct correlation between a mental stress and a physical response, and it happens all the time.

HIIT is a stress on your body, it’s high intensity, short and powerful and very similar to the stress say, if you were getting chased by a predator or fighting for your life. Your brain adapts to this stress, that is, it prepares your body to reduce the risk of this type of threat ending your life. Your brain wants to keep you alive, that’s its job. So it’s appropriate then for you to be faster, stronger, leaner so you don’t get caught by the predator or you can fight off the predator, otherwise you’re dead. Your brain is in control, it controls what hormones are released, and it responds to HIIT by releasing the hormones which make you slimmer, faster and stronger.

 A word of warning though, HIIT may result in injury. The protocol I suggested isn’t set in stone, if you need more REST have it. The key is in the EFFORT and doing it once, twice or eight times doesn’t really matter, do what you can at your present level of fitness and health. Always warm-up appropriately and check you’re performing the exercises correctly and safely.

Warm regards

 

Brian Killian

Try this 15 minute routine at home now. You will need a fit ball.

Top 5 Ways To Boost Your Metabolic Rate

Want to boost your metabolic rate so that you can see faster fat loss success? If so, you need to start doing a few key things throughout the day that will help you burn more calories 24/7.

Those who do have a faster metabolic rate will see an enhanced level of fat loss results because of the fact it’s that much easier for them to create the calorie deficit they’re going for.

Let’s look at some of the best methods to boost your calorie burn out there.

Sip Green Tea

First, consider drinking at least two cups of green tea daily. Green tea contains certain compounds that will help to stimulate your metabolic rate and get you burning up body fat at a faster pace.

The slight caffeine content of green tea as well will help to boost your metabolism up even higher yet and help to energize your body.

Get More Sleep

Next, also consider getting more sleep. Those who are deprived of sleep tend to feel sluggish and tired all day long and also have a slower metabolism as well.

Furthermore, lack of sleep can also cause food cravings to set in, so yet another reason you should be getting enough.

Use Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper is a fast and easy way to boost your metabolism as this spice will increase the amount of energy you burn off a heat in the hours following consumption.

If you prefer not to use cayenne pepper, adding chili peppers would work equally well.

Interval Train

Interval training is a must-do as part of your workout program if you want to see good results. After an intense interval training session, your body will burn up to a few hundred more calories over the course of the next 24 hours.

This significantly helps enhance your overall fat loss results.

Build Muscle

Finally, don’t overlook the power of adding lean muscle mass to your frame. The more lean muscle mass you have, the more calories you’ll burn at rest, so the easier fat loss will be.

Focus on strength training workouts or pilates classes to help make this happen.

So there you have the main ways to boost your metabolic rate so that you can go on to see the fat loss results you desire.

Do these and you won’t be disappointed.

Start here with this Pilates routine.

Top 5 Ways To Boost Your Metabolic Rate

Want to boost your metabolic rate so that you can see faster fat loss success? If so, you need to start doing a few key things throughout the day that will help you burn more calories 24/7.

Those who do have a faster metabolic rate will see an enhanced level of fat loss results because of the fact it’s that much easier for them to create the calorie deficit they’re going for.

Let’s look at some of the best methods to boost your calorie burn out there.

Sip Green Tea

First, consider drinking at least two cups of green tea daily. Green tea contains certain compounds that will help to stimulate your metabolic rate and get you burning up body fat at a faster pace.

The slight caffeine content of green tea as well will help to boost your metabolism up even higher yet and help to energize your body.

Get More Sleep

Next, also consider getting more sleep. Those who are deprived of sleep tend to feel sluggish and tired all day long and also have a slower metabolism as well.

Furthermore, lack of sleep can also cause food cravings to set in, so yet another reason you should be getting enough.

Use Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper is a fast and easy way to boost your metabolism as this spice will increase the amount of energy you burn off a heat in the hours following consumption.

If you prefer not to use cayenne pepper, adding chili peppers would work equally well.

Interval Train

Interval training is a must-do as part of your workout program if you want to see good results. After an intense interval training session, your body will burn up to a few hundred more calories over the course of the next 24 hours.

This significantly helps enhance your overall fat loss results.

Build Muscle

Finally, don’t overlook the power of adding lean muscle mass to your frame. The more lean muscle mass you have, the more calories you’ll burn at rest, so the easier fat loss will be.

Focus on strength training workouts or pilates classes to help make this happen.

So there you have the main ways to boost your metabolic rate so that you can go on to see the fat loss results you desire.

Do these exercises and you won’t be disappointed.

 

Alternative Ideas For Interval Training

As you go about your workout program, one type of workout set-up that you’ll want to be sure you’re including into the mix is interval training. Interval training has been proven to be far more effective for helping you to burn fat quickly and achieve your goal body weight – all while allowing you to take your fitness level up a notch.

This said, interval training can mean more than just hopping into your chosen piece of cardio equipment and alternating between intense and active rest periods.

One alternative method to consider that still utilizes the interval training route is performing bodyweight, strength based movements instead.

Let’s look at what you should know.

Perform Compound Movements

First, to get the best benefits from this set-up, make sure that you are choosing to use compound exercises. These are the movements that are best going to get your heart rate up (an essential element for effective interval training) as well as help to boost your metabolic rate so that you’re not only burning more calories during the session, but after as well.  Since this is the hallmark trait that makes interval training so beneficial, it can’t be overlooked.

Great options would include a squat and press, a kettlebell swing, or a burpee.

Use No Weight Or Very Light Weight

Second, when you’re choosing your exercises, make sure that you don’t make the mistake of using heavy weight. This is not your typical strength training workout session.

While when doing strength oriented sessions, you do want to make sure that you are pushing yourself with a heavy weight, but that’s simply not the case here.

Instead, use a very light weight or bodyweight only.  The focus is more on the cardio side of things and lifting too heavy of a weight could impact your ability to achieve your desired results.

Sequence This Wisely With Your Workout Program

Finally, since even though you are using lighter weight you are still adding that strength oriented angle to this workout session, you must make sure that you do sequence it properly with your strength training sessions already in your program plan.

Do your best to avoid doing these workouts immediately after an intense lower body training day because it would hamper the recovery that you experience.

So there you have a great alternative method to the classic interval training workout. Try this to add more variety and excitement into your workout protocol.

eFit30 Team

Try our 30 minute cycle class or a cardio and core routine below.

 

Best Exercises For Firming And Toning Your Thighs

If you’re like many women out there, one particular area of your body that proves to be an ongoing trouble spot is the thighs.  As a woman, you do tend to store more body fat in this area of your body compared to other areas, so it’s natural that you would have a slightly harder time losing fat from this region.

That said, it isn’t impossible. If you can perform the right mix of exercises for your thighs, you can definitely see the results you’re after.

Let’s go over the best exercises that will slim your thighs in a hurry.

Lunges

For fast thigh firming results, you can’t beat lunges. Lunges are a great exercise that will work the quads, hamstrings, as well as the glutes, all while stimulating the core muscles as they contract to keep you balanced.

Lunges are great to perform walking or stationary – the choice is yours. Do them with your bodyweight or holding a set of dumbbells.

Squats

Second, also consider adding squats into the picture. Squats are going to be great for firming up your backside in a hurry as they are going to work every single muscle group in the lower body without fail.

When doing these, make sure that you squat as far down to the ground as possible to fully work the muscles.

Pause at the bottom and then come up to finish off the rep. Contrary to what you may think, squats will not make your legs larger, but rather make them look leaner. Remember that excess calories is what makes you get larger, not strength training.

Step-Ups

Step-ups are the third must-do exercise to have in your workout routine. The higher the step you step onto, the more you’ll work the back side of the leg while the lower the step, the more you’ll challenge your quads (front of the leg).

Keep this in mind as you design your program plan.

Step up onto the bench with one foot, pause at the top, and then lower back down to complete the rep.

Pilates

Finally, the last exercise to consider getting into place is pilates.  Pilates is a great leg strengthener and is going to be ideal for helping to build toned, lean legs without any muscular bulk.

Perform pilates classes three times per week to see optimal benefits.

So don’t let your thighs be a trouble spot any longer. Get these exercises in and you can start seeing results.

Start here with our free Pilates series or body weight workouts.