Maintaining Your Fitness Motivation: The Before-and-After Technique
October 29th, 2013
We write a lot about exercise motivation on this blog, because at Smooth Fitness, we know that for many people it can be difficult to stay motivated to do what need to be done when we’re tired, busy, or stressed. One effective method to keep your workouts going and your goal within reach is to have your progress continually reaffirmed for you as you go. A great way to do this is to have before and after comparisons.
If your reason for exercising is weight loss, then you’ll want to snap a few photos and record your baseline information—how much you weigh, how long it takes you to run a mile, how much you can lift—whatever it is that you’re using to measure your weight loss and fitness success. Having photos to reference is a particularly powerful way to see progress happening right before your eyes. Tracking your measurements is also a great way to keep tabs on weight loss progress.
If your goal is to improve your health, then your first step will be a doctor’s visit, when you can discuss with your doctor what health issues need addressing, how to address them, and how to safely monitor that progress.
Those trying to improve their athletic performance or train for a major event (like a marathon) will find themselves tracking all kinds of stats. Weight lifted, personal records, the time it took to run x number of miles, heart rate—all kinds of metrics can be used to measure athletic success. Fitness accessories like a heart monitor watch or ankle and wrist weights can help you get there.
If you’re a number cruncher, track your stats in a spreadsheet for in-depth analysis. If you’re more of a visual person, take frequent photos and measurements to refer to—and gradually create an ever-more-powerful motivational tool as you go!
Make Halloween Fit Instead of Fat This Year
October 23rd, 2013
We all know that Halloween is traditionally the day when we all throw health and fitness out the window in favor of snacking on candy and junk food. But Halloween (and the many social activities that come with it) is a great way to work in some extra exercise here and there, which can help you offset the sweet treats of All Hallows’ Eve, should you choose to partake. Read on for a few tips.
- Plan out a trick or treating route that will give you a generous walking distance, though you’ll definitely want to check the weather forecast and factor that into your plans. (And remember that the more you walk the more houses you can hit, and the heavier your candy bag grows, the more of a workout you get—it’s a win-win!)
- Don’t skip the jack o’lanterns this year! Running around the pumpkin patch and then putting in the elbow grease needed to carve out your creation are great ways to get the heart pumping and burn some calories.
- Grab a few good friends and head out to a haunted house. The walking (and possibly sprinting in terror) definitely counts as physical activity.
- If you plan to stick to a workout routine through the Halloween season, good for you! Put on a horror flick or a thriller to keep you occupied while you pedal away on your exercise bike or run through your fears on your treadmill.
So there you have it. If you’ve got any additional tips, let us know! Of course, the one surefire way you can avoid sabotaging your diet over Halloween is to stay away from eating too much candy, but at Smooth Fitness we know that everyone wants to indulge once in a while. Have fun, and stay safe!
Diving Into A New Workout Routine: Don’t Skip The Checkup
October 15th, 2013
Here at Smooth Fitness, we love being able to provide people all over the world with the tools they need to achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Whether the goal is weight loss or heightened athletic performance, it’s remarkable the impact one can achieve with enough motivation and the right exercise equipment.
But there is something that we also encourage any exercise enthusiast to consider, and that’s the safety of your workouts. Many people who become passionate about their fitness are so enthusiastic initially that they dive in without taking one very important step: going to see their doctor.
For people trying to lose weight in particular, this can be a costly mistake. Often those pursuing weight loss are incredibly motivated when they start out, so they run the risk of serious injury if their bodies can’t handle the abrupt lifestyle change. Since obesity and being overweight are often accompanied by health issues like plaque buildup in the arteries, high blood pressure, joint problems, poor circulation, and much more, subjecting your body to higher levels of exertion than it’s used to can be very dangerous. A fitness checkup can help a doctor determine what a safe level of activity is for you when you’re starting out, as well as ways you can maximize your fitness and avoid injuries if you have specific health issues to keep in mind. What kind of exercise equipment you need, what type of exercise you should be doing, for how long, and how intensely—these are all things a doctor can help you determine.
So don’t put yourself at risk for the sake of jump-starting your workouts. We love seeing people full of workout motivation, but in the end fitness should be a lifelong pursuit, and injuring yourself is not a great way to start out. Don’t forget to check in with your doctor if you’re about to start any kind of new exercise, whether it’s on a treadmill or a home gym.
Heading Into Cold Season: Exercise and Your Health
October 9th, 2013
As we head into the colder fall and winter months, we also head into cold and flu season. Bolstering your immune system takes more than simply keeping warm and taking your vitamins—in fact, consistent exercise is an incredible boon for your health, and can even help strengthen your immune system. Here are three ways you can use exercise and fitness to help stay ahead of the common cold.
- Do: stick to your routine, even if it’s cold and dark outside. As with any other time of the year, increased circulation, the release of endorphins and opportunity to release stress all contribute to your overall physical and mental health. Though there are plenty of questions remaining about exactly how exercise helps boost your immune system, it is known that physical activity may help flush out bacteria from the lungs as well as other wastes through sweat and urine. Also, the temporary rise in body temperature may help you fight off bacteria as well.
- Do: make sure you fuel your body properly both before and after exercise, and don’t skimp on sleep. No matter why you exercise—whether it’s to lose weight or maintain fitness—you should be providing yourself with proper nutrition and energy for your workouts and recovery. At Smooth Fitness, we can’t emphasize this enough.
- Don’t: overdo it. If you exhaust yourself and don’t properly refuel, you can actually wear down your body and become more susceptible to sickness. If you’re already faithful to a workout routine, then don’t fall prey to the ‘more is better’ fallacy—if it already works for you, stick with it, and reap the benefits.
Whether you work out on a smooth elliptical or a treadmill, or if you’re taking advantage of fitness accessories to get a full-body cross-training workout, that exercise will be on your side when the coughing and sneezing starts.
Make it Happen: Get Your Fitness Motivation Mojo Back
September 27th, 2013
We know that it can be pretty difficult fitting your workouts in around family, career, and other demands. As the weather gets colder, our bodies go into hibernation mode, and all we seem to want to do is eat and sleep. But when you’ve got your own fitness equipment at home, there’s really no excuse for falling behind on your home exercise, no matter how cold it is outside or how tired you are.
There are many things that impact how you exercise, and how effective your workouts are. We’ve discussed most of them on this blog—workout nutrition, fitness goals, routine, the fitness accessories and equipment you’re using. And of course, any health issues or doctor’s recommendations you may have. But a common complaint that sets back millions of Americans, even those with the loftiest of weight loss goals, is motivation. Sometimes, it takes a lot to win back your spark, to reignite what got you on the road of your fitness journey in the first place. Fitness motivations fall all across a spectrum—some people want to be able to keep up with their families as they grow, others have athletic goals, others want to look good in that suit/dress/bikini, and still others simply want to improve their overall quality of life by getting in shape. Many times your motivation is very personal. Whatever your reasons were for picking up the weights or jumping on your treadmill in the first place, here are a few quick tips to help you get it back if you find yourself falling off the horse.
- Visualize it. An image of what you’re working toward is a powerful mental tool. Maybe this means taking regular progress photos to remind yourself of your success so far, or a collection of images that represents places you’ll go/things you’ll do to reward yourself once you reach your goal.
- Reward yourself. Set up a rewards system to help keep you on track, and watch yourself earn them with each minute spend exercising or each pound lost.
- Get a buddy. A reliable workout friend is priceless. Accountability is a huge factor in getting things done, and this person can also cheer you on when you’re struggling.
How do you maintain your motivation?
Breathing and Exercise: Optimizing Your Workouts For Better Air Flow
September 24th, 2013
We all know that exercise is important for health, but did you know how important it is to make sure you’re breathing correctly while you’re working out? Not only do you need to get your body moving and your blood pumping, but depending on what kind of exercise you’re doing, you’ll need to optimize your breathing technique, too! Whether you want to exercise longer, harder, or faster, you can start with a few basic breathing techniques to improve. Read on to learn more about what it takes to get the fresh air your body needs while you’re sweating it out on your treadmill or elliptical trainer. Read the rest of this entry »
Fitness Isn’t All Weights and Cardio: Remember Your Work in the Kitchen
September 17th, 2013
No matter how hard you’ve been working to bring those chiseled abs to the surface, there’s one factor that may be working against you without you even knowing. When you get down to basics, it becomes a matter of calories in vs. calories out, but where you’re getting your calories from matters. No matter whether you prefer to use a smooth treadmill or an elliptical to get your exercise in, diet is something you should be paying very close attention to in order to properly fuel your workouts. Read the rest of this entry »
The World’s First Treadmill
September 10th, 2013
Chances are, if you’re a frequent reader of our fitness blog, you’re very familiar with treadmills. You probably have one of your own that you use faithfully, you’ve probably seen every cute cat/dog/parakeet-on-a-treadmill YouTube video, and you most certainly would know all about the history of this glorious fitness machine…right? If not, this is your lucky day—read on to learn more about the world’s first treadmill and some very interesting insights into how far this product has come. Read the rest of this entry »
Weight Lifting and Cardio: Get Both When You Cross Train
August 30th, 2013
Sometimes, it’s hard to choose. If both options are excellent, how can you be expected to decide just one? We feel the same way about exercise. Cardio and strength training both have their own unique benefits, but it takes a blend of the two to really get a comprehensive workout (and smart nutrition for optimum fitness and health.) So at Smooth Fitness, we invite you NOT to choose.
How is that possible, you ask? It’s simple: start cross training. The beautiful thing about cross training workouts is that they allow you to incorporate cardio, fitness accessories, and strength training however you need to in order to obtain your results. They can be tailored to individual needs, meaning that your cross training workouts will accommodate injuries, illness, and any other physical issues you may have. So you don’t have to feel restricted or held back—because when you cross train, all you’re doing is giving yourself more freedom in your exercise.
Cross-training may be all the rage right now, but it’s anything but a passing craze. We think the many benefits of cross training workouts make it a valuable and effective approach to exercise that will definitely stick around. And from what we’re seeing, fitness enthusiasts love that they can use so many different techniques, fitness accessories and types of exercise equipment to get the results they’re looking for. The great thing about the fitness industry is that it’s constantly moving forward—new discoveries in health and technology can be continually applied to help us achieve better health and life long fitness.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to incorporate your trusty smooth treadmill into a more comprehensive cross training workout routine, don’t hesitate to get in touch! We’d love to help you put together everything that you need to reap the benefits of cross training workouts.
Lifting Is No Longer Just For Men: More Women Lifting Heavy For Health and Beauty
August 23rd, 2013
Whether you spend a lot of time online or in the gym, chances are you’ve noticed a change in the weight training crowd. Lifting weights is becoming increasingly popular among women, who are enjoying the many benefits of strength training: strength, empowerment, and often a more trim and toned physique. Blasting through the widely-spread and totally false assumption that lifting makes women “bulky” and “masculine-looking”, many women are finding that strength training offers them a way to set and meet fitness goals like never before.
So what’s sparked the surge in strength training for women? The lean, svelte lines of supermodel bodies have long been held as the ideal for Western women, however unattainable it may be. But things are changing. Alongside fears that weight training will cause women to gain too much ‘bulk’, many women have been taught that cardio is the way to go for a thin and feminine body. Well, the times are a changin’, and with more widely available information about fitness and health, these myths have been largely dispelled, leading to greater female interest in this traditionally male workout. For example, lifting weights actually is extremely effective for accomplishing the ‘feminine physique’ that many women spend hours on a treadmill or elliptical for. To achieve rounder bottoms, slimmer waists and toned arms, many strength exercises produce more noticeable results than endless pedaling or running will. Of course, for optimal results, a mix of cardio, strength training, and diet is the best route to take.
If you find yourself more interested in weight training, no matter what your fitness goals are, check out the home gym and fitness accessory offerings at Smooth Fitness. We’d love to help you try new exercise routines and equipment, so let us help you explore!