Forgetting your socks or weightlifting gloves can derail your workout, especially if you’re new to exercise or entrenched in a rigid program. To stay the course, having the right supplies is key to your success. To help you prepare, we asked Life Time personal trainers Anna Taylor, NASM, USAW, Alpha, and Bryce Morris, MS, NASM, ISSA, Alpha, for their favorite gym-bag essentials.
- Stretchy, flexible, sweat-wicking shirt and pants or shorts
- Socks (two pairs)
- Undergarments, sports bra, support, or protection
- Cross-trainers or sport-specific shoes
- Refillable water bottle
- Flip-flops for showering
- Hair binders, deodorant, toiletries
- Sports watch or heart-rate monitor
- MP3 player/phone and earbuds or headphones for music
Nice to Haves
- Swimsuit for the whirlpool or sauna
- Wet/dry bag for swimsuit or sweaty clothes postworkout
- Razors: Some clubs offer them in the locker room, but bring a reusable one to cut down on waste
- Odor-absorbing charcoal sticks to keep your bag smelling fresh
- Shaker bottle with premeasured protein powder so you can add water and refuel
Coach Anna also suggests:
- A protein-packed bar to eat before your workout
- Bear KompleX Hand Grips for pull-ups
- A weightlifting belt for lifts at 80 percent or more of max
Coach Bryce also suggests:
- An extra T-shirt
- A RPM speed rope for double-unders and conditioning
- A BCAA and L-glutamine supplement to support recovery after your session
Have you tried this NEW workout plan that everyone is talking about?
Bring on Summer: Week 3 Workouts
Welcome to week three of our three-week Bring on Summer program workouts. If you’d like to view the full complimentary program, which also includes additional workouts, meal plans and recipes, and other healthy-habit tips, you can do so here. (Find the week one and week two workout plans here.)
This workout is comprised of three circuits. Complete all exercises in a given circuit consecutively, one set each, and then take your rest before moving onto the next circuit. Continue until you’ve finished all sets. Repeat the full workout a total of three times throughout the week.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Step forward with one leg, pushing the weight into your heel.
- Bending the knee of your forward leg, lower down and gently touch your back knee to the ground, pausing for one second.
- Push your forward foot into the ground while bringing your opposite leg forward to get yourself to a standing position.
- Repeat this movement, “walking” forward as you lunge, alternating legs.
- Stand upright and brace your abdominals so you do not arch your back.
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand with an overhand grip, palms facing out. Bend your arms so your elbows are facing outward and the dumbbells are near the tops of your shoulders.
- Raise the dumbbells above your head in a controlled motion, gently touching the dumbbells together at the top.
- Lower your arms to return the dumbbells to the position near your shoulders.
Hip Opener With Rotation
Reps: 12 (each side)
- Start in the up position of a pushup.
- Bring your right leg forward to the outside of your right hand.
- Keep your left hand on the floor, even with your right foot. Make sure your left knee doesn’t touch the floor.
- Keeping your right arm straight, rotate your trunk, reaching toward the sky.
- Try to pull the toes on your left foot up toward your shin.
- Lower your arm to the starting position and repeat on the opposite side.
- Load a barbell, or set the barbell on supports so that your starting position is mid-shin level.
- Grab the barbell just outside hip-width with an overhand grip. If your grip strength is not very strong, then alternate your hands instead, with one overhand grip and one underhand.
- While bracing your abdominals and keeping your back and neck in a straight line, drive your feet into the ground, pulling your truck up and thrusting your hips forward into the bar as you stand up.
- Continuing to brace your abdominals and keeping your back and neck in a straight line, bend at your hips, pushing them backward to lower your body back to the starting position.
- Keep the bar as close to your body as possible throughout the entire movement.
- Sit down on a bench, placing your hands next to your thighs.
- Walk your feet out and straighten your legs, lift your hips and glutes off the bench, and hold there with your elbows extended straight.
- Bending at the elbows, lower your body down as far as you can go, or until your arms form a 90-degree angle.
- Push up through your palms, squeezing your triceps on the top for one second.
Reps: 30 seconds
- Lie down on the floor on your back with your legs straight and arms at your sides.
- Contract your abs slowly and reach your arms toward your shins as you lift your legs up to a 45-degree angle.
- Slowly lower back down to the starting position.
- Position yourself on all fours. Place your hands under your chest, positioning your index fingers and thumbs so they’re touching, forming a diamond shape. Extend your arms and legs so that your body is elevated and forms a straight line from your head to your feet.
- Squeezing your glutes and keeping your back flat, bend your arms, with your elbows out to the side, to lower your chest toward the ground.
- Stop just before your chest touches the floor, then push back up to the starting position.
Reverse Dumbbell Fly
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Keeping your abs tight and back straight, push your hips backward, bending to a 45-degree angle.
- Holding a dumbbell in each hand, let your arms hang straight out in front of you.
- Slowly spread your arms apart to a T-shape, squeezing your shoulder blades together at the top and pausing for one second.
- With control, bring your arms back to the parallel position.
Plate Wood Chopper
Reps: 12 (each side)
- Start in a lunge position with one knee on the ground, holding a plate with both hands in front of you.
- Rotate your torso to the side of your raised knee and lift the weight up and across your body with straight arms.
- As you lift, turn your torso and head so you end up facing the plate as its above your shoulder.
- Lower the plate back past the starting position, reversing the twist to bring the weight down on your ground-knee side.
Have you tried this NEW workout plan that everyone is talking about?
Out with the Old: Change Your Workout to Improve Wellness
Take yourself back to the 1970s when Arnold Schwarzenegger was preparing for the Mr. Olympia contest. Everybody wanted to try his incredibly intense workouts. It has been rumored that Arnold’s workouts were so intense that at least three different trainers would have to give him separate workouts in order to keep up with him.
Following in the king’s footsteps, anyone who wanted to be a bodybuilder or get into shape undeniably thought that working out six days a week, two times a day, was the way to make this happen. Luckily for us and all of America, workouts have evolved from the old-school mindset to the new school.
Varying Your Workout Old School: Sticking to the same workout for months.
Although this was the go-to, this pattern isn’t always going to work. When you do the same sets and reps for every workout, you miss out on allowing your body to change.
New School: Implementing the SAID principle.
The SAID principle is an acronym for Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demand. When the body is put under different stress, it starts to adapt. In other words, the body is trying to get better. By providing your body with different types of sets, reps, and loads, you are able to tap into more of your muscle fibers, increase strength, and avoid plateaus.
Targeting Training Old school: Focusing only on the trouble spots.
This type of focus won’t work for the majority of people who are coming to the gym to work out or lose weight. When there is variety in your workouts, there is room for growth and development. Focusing only on the areas that are the weakest isn’t going to help the areas that are already strong continue to get stronger.
New School: Correcting trouble spots while also training strong areas.
Correcting a weakness and building on a strong point at the same time will enable you to improve your body as a whole. A way to correct those problem areas is to figure out exactly why they are causing you problems. The Functional Movement Screen captures fundamental movements, motor control within movement patterns, and competence of basic movements uncomplicated by specific skills. It will determine the greatest areas of movement deficiency, demonstrate asymmetries, and eventually correlate these with an outcome.
Cardio vs. Strength Old School: Focusing only on cardio will increase weight loss.
While it’s important to incorporate cardio into your workout regimen to help build and keep your cardiovascular systems stronger, it is not the only type of exercise that is needed for weight loss. Focusing only on cardio will lessen your chances of building muscle.
New School: Getting a healthy dose of both cardio and strength training will improve overall health.
Much like how a car stays warm after it turns off, the same can be said about your body after you finish a workout. EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) explains how your body’s metabolism can continue to burn more calories. Resistance training can provide a greater EPOC effect than running at a steady speed.
Out with the Old and in with the New
Training methods will come and go, and at some point the new-school methods will become old school. At NIFS we offer a wide variety of programs, assessments, and education to help turn those old habits into new routines. Stay positive, be willing to accept change, and explore to find what works best for you!
This blog was written by Ashley Duncan, Weight Loss Coordinator. To learn more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.
5 Eating Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Workout
As the saying goes: Abs are made in the kitchen. Of course, time in the gym helps, too. “I think nutrition for optimal performance and recovery has gained recent attention because some high-profile athletes have been public about their nutrition strategies. But the science behind this has been around for years,” says Cynthia Sass, MPH, a board-certified sports dietitian who has been a consultant to five professional teams and counsels professional athletes in her private practice.
Chef Lindsey Becker founded Tone House FUEL, a clean-eating program designed to help maximize recovery and boost results for people who work out at Tone House, an athletic-based group fitness studio in New York City. “A balanced, healthy diet with the right key nutrients can help your body become more efficient and enhance your athletic performance [in and out of the gym],” she says. “Consuming the necessary nutrients before and after exerting your body can help replenish energy stores, build muscle, decrease soreness, burn fat and repair damage or inflammation.”
Below Becker shares her tips for eating to get the most out of your workouts, with additional expert insights from Sass. Use their advice to ensure what you’re eating is supporting your exercise.
We often focus on calories, but nutrients also matter, Sass says. “Certain nutrients help your brain and muscles perform more efficiently, and others are crucial for recovering from the wear and tear exercise puts on your body,” she explains. The best macronutrients pre- and post-workout depend on the type of workout you’re doing, as well as the length and intensity.
“Eating the right foods will prevent you from crashing, boost your performance and help your muscles recover and grow stronger,” Becker says. “On the other hand, choosing the wrong foods could cause cramping, nausea, lack of energy and improper muscle recovery.”
Becker recommends beets, sweet potatoes, oats, spinach and eggs for their varied benefits. “Beets increase blood flow to working muscles, which can improve your workout and boost stamina, and are rich in antioxidants, which help fight the oxidative stress that can come with intense workouts,” she says.
She likes sweet potatoes for carbs, antioxidants and potassium; oats for steady energy and B vitamins, which help convert carbohydrates into energy; and spinach because a study found that it may help muscles use less oxygen, which improves muscle performance. And of course the incredible edible egg is a source of easily digestible protein to help rebuild muscles.
Aim to eat something that’s high in carbs, moderate in protein and low in fat, sugar and fiber 2–4 hours before a workout. Some macros aren’t ideal before the gym. “Eating too much protein or fat close to the start of a workout can lead to cramps or a brick sitting in your stomach because protein and fat take longer to digest,” Sass says. “Also, the goal of a pre-workout snack is to fuel the workout. If the food is trapped in the digestive system, it’s not available to working muscles when they need it.”
That’s why carbs are great — they’re generally easy to digest and provide readily available, easily burned fuel. Becker recommends oatmeal with a sprinkling of hemp seeds (for protein) and sliced banana or a smoothie.
Sass recommends eating 30–60 minutes after a particularly tough workout. However, although improper recovery can make you go into your next workout weaker and increase the risk of injury, you only need to refuel within an hour after hard-core workouts. This isn’t so crucial after a walk or moderate-intensity group fitness class, particularly if you’ll be eating a meal soon after, Sass says.
“Consuming the necessary nutrients after exerting your body can help replenish energy stores, build muscle, decrease soreness, burn fat and repair any damage or inflammation,” Becker says.
Good advice for anyone, this is even more important for active people because “nutrients are key to performance and recovery, and unprocessed foods are naturally nutrient-rich,” Sass says.
Becker and Sass agree that refined sugars have zero nutritional benefit and fried and greasy foods can be difficult to digest and cause cramping during a workout. So skip that leftover pizza before your morning indoor cycling class.
Great as they are, you shouldn’t only consume these five foods. “Eat them strategically,” Sass recommends. For example, fuel up with oatmeal, sweet potato, beets or green juices pre-workout, and enjoy eggs with veggies and avocado after a morning workout.
GEAR UP FOR YOUR NEXT WORKOUT
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