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.

Is sitting cutting years off your life?

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

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Did you know sitting for long periods of time can literally cut years off your life?

– A British Medical Journal reported if you were to reduce the average time you spent sitting to less than 3 hours per day you could increase your life expectancy by two years. The average American now spends somewhere between 4.5 to 5 hours per day.

– Studies also show that people who sit for long periods of time are twice as likely to have diabetes or heart disease. In fact, sitting has joined smoking and obesity as an important risk factor for chronic disease

– In a 2010 study, men who were sedentary for more than 23 hours a week had a 64 percentage greater risk of dying from heart disease than those who were sedentary less than 11 hours a week

– A study of more than 17,000 Canadians found that the mortality risk from all causes was 1.54 times higher among people who spent most of their day sitting, compared to those who sat infrequently.

– According to an Australian study, sitting time is a predictor of weight gain among women

– People who use a computer for at least 11 hours per week or watch TV for more than 21 hours per week are more likely to be obese than those who use a computer or watch TV for more than 5 hours per week.

One study I found showed after one hour of sitting,  the production of the enzymes that burn fat declines, your metabolism slows, and your levels of good cholesterol lowers.  This may well be the link with too much sitting and an increase in risk of Type 2 Diabetes and Heart Disease.

Lack of exercise is sitting best’s friend, they tend to go hand in hand. The more you sit, the less your body wants to move.

So you may think the answer is to get regular exercise but you’d be wrong. Even by following a moderate exercise routine research shows you’re still subject to the adverse effects of sitting too long, if you spend the majority of the rest of the day on the couch or at your desk.

What’s the answer? STAND UP, every 30 minutes for a couple of minutes.

The evidence shows by standing and moving every 30 minutes or so, the detrimental effects of sitting are drastically reduced or eliminated entirely.

My advice: Program a reminder in your phone ( I just thought of a great App – more on that later) to get you up from your desk, or couch every 30 minutes.

Stand up, move around, stretch, correct your posture, have a drink, smile at someone and back to work.

Now we can all do that. Let me know how you go, do it consistently for a few days and keep me posted on your progress. Let’s start this new financial year on the move, and make looking after your most valuable asset your focus. Watch a short video on “Why sitting is deadly?”

 

Warm Regards, 

Brian Killian

 

Obesity Epidemic

We hear the word Obesity on a regular basis and many people surprisingly are not aware of the seriousness of the obesity epidemic that has fast become a global problem. Prior to the 20th century obesity was a rare occurrence rather than the “norm”. It has now become one of our top public health concerns.

There are over 1 billion adults all over the world that are overweight with at least 300 million of these adults diagnosed with clinical obesity. This is not to mention the now rapidly growing population of obese children.

So why many would ask, is such a serious problem? Well it has serious social, psychological and more importantly physical consequences. Obesity places pressure on health care services and leads to a rise in diet related chronic diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, stroke, High blood pressure, Sleep Apnea or difficulty breathing, depression and cancer. I often wonder if we could see our insides in the mirror if we would be less inclined to continue with our unhealthy choices!

Obesity is measured by BMI or body mass index which is the individuals body mass divided by the square of his or her height. If your BMI is above 25 but below 30 it is considered overweight, between 30 to 39 is obese and over 40 is considered morbidly obese at which time the risk of severe life threatening health problems increases threefold. BMI is not usually used without other clinical observations.

The cause of this rise in obesity is due to increased availability and consumption of high levels of sugar and saturated fats and a reduction in physical activity. Our modern lifestyle is killing us! We are eating more and doing less. Our kids are spending less time outside playing and competing in sports and more time in front of the television and computer games.

We have less time to prepare food from fresh, raw healthy ingredients and why would you when the ready prepared meals are so cheap and convenient? Many people blame obesity on the individual and believe if they tried hard enough they could just lose the weight. But it is more than that.

It is the messages of advertising and marketing for unhealthy products that are laden with fats, sugars and hidden products that we then get the taste for. Our children are exposed to junk food on a daily basis instead of only being available occasionally for treats.

Our lack of time in our modern lifestyle where we work longer hours in often stressful environments all directly or indirectly contribute to the increase in obesity.

So what can we do about this? Instead of bombarding people with expensive fad diets and gym subscriptions that don’t offer long-term health there is a need for education about food and exercise. Promote healthy behavior to encourage and motivate people to lose weight. It is important to start with our children as they are so impressionable and often do not have the knowledge about what is making them obese.

Diet needs to be realistic and sustainable with exercise being part of our everyday routine. Even just 30 minutes of medium intensity exercise every day will make a difference. Cut out the processed foods and go back to having lean protein and lots of fruit and fresh vegetables. Do not deprive yourself of everything, as you will not succeed. It’s amazing how hard it is to cut out the sugar from our diet as it is in everything we eat and can become very addictive! Especially when we are feeling low in energy and in a hurry with no time to prepare.

Preparation is the key to success. If you are organized with your food and make extra salad or cook extra protein at dinner time that you can take for lunch for example. It becomes almost a habit. We are role models for our children so they will watch and follow. Make their exercise enjoyable in the form of bike riding or playing at the park or a sport they enjoy. There are no miracle cures or diets it can be done at home but if you need ongoing support there are many groups or dieticians that offer this.

Try some of our eFit30 thirty-minute exercise sessions at home at your own convenience. It doesn’t matter what the time is or if the kids are at home you fit it in when it is convenient for you.

 

Weight lies at the heart of Men’s Health

With over 5.5 millions Australian men aged 18+ categorised as overweight or obese (60%), Men’s Health Week (June 11-17) provides a time to reflect on how this impacts men’s health.

Overweight men (classified by Body Mass Index) are more likely than those with an acceptable weight to suffer many health problems including bones, joints and muscle problems (22% more likely); lungs and breathing (25% more likely); digestive system (32% more likely); heart and circulation (86% more likely) and; brain and nervous system problems (35% more likely). These are the latest findings from the Roy Morgan Single Source survey.

Although Australian men generally report feeling well and in good health, men of an unhealthy weight are less likely (9% less) than men of acceptable weight to feel ‘well and in good health’. The majority of overweight men (74%) agree they would ‘like to be able to lose weight’ as do 27% of men who are a healthy weight. Men of unhealthy weight are also less likely to ‘love doing as many sports as possible’ (19% less) and more likely to be concerned about their cholesterol level (37% more).

Norman Morris, Industry Communications Director, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Maintaining a healthy weight is important, while we’ve highlighted some of the more major issues, we see that across the spectrum overweight and obese men are more likely to suffer most types of health problems.

“It is encouraging to see that men with an unhealthy weight do acknowledge the issue, however it would be encouraging if they were more concerned with low fat diets and exercise as ways of improving their condition.

“Our findings are a clear reminder of the importance of maintaining a healthy weight and active lifestyle in order to reduce the majority of health problems.”

See full article from Roy Morgan Research here.

Staying Motivated to Exercise!

Getting motivated to exercise sounds easy. We all get excited when we make the decision to finally do something to get fit and healthy and to improve our appearance by losing those few extra pounds!

For most of us that motivation remains right up until the moment our alarm goes off to get up early and start our program. Or on that first day that you have decided to start the healthy eating program and you have a morning tea with your girlfriends and they are all eating cake. There goes that motivation, at least for today.

So why is it that we can’t seem to get started and why is it some people seem to have no trouble? Motivation is defined as the process that initiates, guides and maintains goal-orientated behaviors. It is the reason we act.

There are three components to motivation: activation, persistence and intensity. Activation is the easiest part, which involves making the decision to start exercising or eating well. Then comes the effort required to persist towards your set goal even through obstacles such as having no time, feeling tired, it’s raining need I go on we all know about the obstacles! Lastly is the intensity or the vigor at which someone will pursue his or her goal. Some people may choose to enlist help such as a personal trainer or group to keep them motivated whereas someone else will just do their own thing and seem to have no trouble keeping to their program.

The problem is motivation does not just happen. We have to make it happen. We need to create a goal that in our mind is extremely important to us. If you say you want to lose 5 kilos for example it is the why that gets you motivated. I want to lose 5 kilos as I have a wedding dress to fit into! I want to lose weight so I can stay healthy for my children. Anything that will give you a reason to get up every day and exercise and say no to that cake. It is actually easier if you set smaller goals and then as you achieve them set another one. Have more than one goal.

If you have 20kg to lose imagine how overwhelming that is when you struggle all week exercising and eating well to only lose 500gm? But what if you set yourself a goal of losing 5kg at a time it seems much more manageable. 500gm loss is a good result. Don’t deprive yourself and have such a restrictive diet that you can’t follow it. Make changes that you can live that are going to move you towards your goal. Losing weight or gaining muscle tone is a process that takes time, it is  not a spectacular event that suddenly occurs.

We all have very valid reasons for why we may not be able to make time to fit in exercise or why we will start our diet tomorrow but maybe by setting out some goals and putting them in writing and treat your exercise like you would a Drs appointment. Write it in your diary and do it.  Each day that you follow through will make it easier the next day. It is easy to do something when you feel like it but if you can do it when you don’t feel like it that is when it will make the difference.

Enlist the help of those around you such as your friends, family or colleagues. Maybe your friends would enjoy going for a walk or doing an exercise routine rather than having an unhealthy morning tea. Maybe they just need you to help get them motivated!

If like me you find it difficult to get to the gym or get out and exercise try the eFit30 exercise videos that you can do at home in your own time.

Dare to Dream

 

When you are a child, it’s easy to dream big about what you might accomplish someday. It doesn’t cross the beginner’s mind to dwell on the necessary efforts, or fear of possible failure when pursuing big goals. In the young mind’s eye, the mission is complete. As you grow up, “reality” steps in and dreaming often fades. It is easy for the logical mind to override the dreamer’s mind. In my experience, yoga can re-open that space for dreams.

See full post here from Valerie Goodman. Valerie has performed a number of Yoga routines for eFit30.