Category Archives: Health Tips

Lifting Is No Longer Just For Men: More Women Lifting Heavy For Health and Beauty

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!

 

Are You Taking These Benefits of Cross-Training For Granted?

Cardio bunnies and bodybuilders alike may be missing out on key health and fitness benefits that can be obtained through cross training workouts. There are many physical benefits that cross training exercises can give you that cardio or strength training alone cannot. Regular full body workouts help you maintain health, balance, and full body fitness. We’ve put together the top five benefits of cross training workouts that you may never have considered: Continue reading

The latest in deadly illnesses: AMA votes to make obesity an official disease

If you’ve been following the news lately, you probably heard that the American Medical Association recently voted to declare obesity an actual disease. But you might exactly not understand the ramifications of that decision.

Here at Smooth Fitness, your #1 internet retailer of home fitness equipment, we’re committed to bringing you all the latest news relating to your health and wellness. So we’re happy to elaborate on the AMA’s recent groundbreaking move, and discuss just what it means for our valued customers.

In a nutshell, declaring obesity an official disease means that the nation’s leading organization of physicians has effectively defined – in one fell swoop – more than one third of adults and about 17 percent of children as suffering from a “medical condition requiring treatment.” Despite much debate over whether the ruling will serve to further stigmatize the condition, the AMA ultimately concluded that recognizing obesity as an official disease would force the medical community to become more aggressive about helping their patients maintain a healthy weight.

The AMA is confident that the ruling will prompt the discovery of more effective solutions to the complexities of obesity. But many are concerned that the label of “disease” will shift national focus away from natural weight management methods like healthy eating and home exercise, and toward expensive drug and surgical treatments instead.

As a Smooth Fitness client, you know we’re not big fans of “quick fix” weight loss fads like diet pills or crash diets. From our Smooth treadmills to our kettle bells, our home fitness equipment and fitness accessories are designed to promote healthy, gradual weight loss or maintenance through natural home exercise and a holistic commitment to wellness. But we also understand that obesity is an ever-expanding American problem that hasn’t responded well to past methods. Perhaps the recent AMA decision will be the wakeup call many people need to finally start dedicating themselves to a healthier lifestyle.

What do you think about the recent AMA decision about obesity? Weigh in with your thoughts! The Smooth Fitness team looks forward to hearing from you.

Create your own cross workout with Smooth fitness accessories

Last week, Smooth Fitness introduced you to a very effective form of exercise called cross training. If you like what you learned, you’ll be interested to discover how easy it is to incorporate cross workouts into your daily home exercise routine – all with the home fitness equipment available for purchase here on our website!

Recall that cross training workouts utilize a unique blend of aerobic and anaerobic activity, fostering functional movements in all areas of strength and conditioning. Brace yourself – your cross workout will demand some pretty extreme physical exertion on your part. But after you notice how much your fitness improves across multiple varieties of exercise, we think you’ll be thanking us after just a few cross training workouts.

So what makes a cross workout so difficult? By combining cardio with strength training, cross workouts require you to develop functional movement proficiency in multiple muscle groups and fitness skills – all in just one workout. In terms of your Smooth fitness equipment, that means running hard – we’re talking sprint level, or at least 80 percent of your maximum speed – on your treadmill or elliptical for intervals of two to four minutes. In between, your “rest” periods should incorporate an ab workout on your yoga mat or exercise ball; arm strengthening with your push up bars or kettle bells; or leg resistance work with slow and even squats, made more difficult with the weight of your medicine ball. You only have a few minutes before you’re back at cardio, so make every crunch count!

Like we said, it’s no walk in the park, but cross training workouts have some serious benefits for your overall health. Best of all, if you’re trying to squeeze in a workout between all the obligations of your busy schedule, cross training is perfect for you: thanks to the high intensity of each exercise interval, most cross workouts can be completed in 30 minutes or less!

In the coming months, Smooth Fitness will provide more specific tips on how to use your fitness accessories alongside your cardio exercise to get the most out of your cross workouts, depending on your goals. So stay tuned to the blog of your favorite source for home fitness equipment and news! We look forward to helping you hone your home exercise routine so you can continue on your path to optimal personal fitness.

Open up new fitness possibilities: the benefits of cross training

As your #1 internet retailer of home fitness equipment, Smooth Fitness is always eager to share with you all the exciting ways you can achieve your own optimal levels of health and wellness. Home exercise encompasses everything from running hard on your Smooth treadmill to squeezing in some quick mat work before heading into the office, so today we’d like to suggest you add one more workout program to your repertoire: a cross training workout.

The benefits of cross training come into play in situations like when you’re in great shape from running three miles a day five times a week for years, but you’re somehow out of breath and covered in sweat after a few minutes of rock climbing. That imbalance springs from a lack of cross workouts, which you’ll find provide you with some of the best full body exercise you’ll ever experience thanks to their ability to build comprehensive fitness and stamina – in addition to introducing you to constantly varied types of activities that add flavor to your daily workout routine.

Based on the concept that constantly varied activity better prepares your body for general fitness, cross training workouts tackle head-on the problem that working out only one set of muscles leaves the others sorely out of shape. Not to mention, mixing it up with cross training helps prevent injury to those oft-used muscle sets by giving them a well-deserved break. Win, win, right?

In a typical cross workout, you’ll use a combination of cardio aerobic activity with fitness accessories like kettle bells and similar workout equipment, in order to challenge your body in unfamiliar ways. One particularly successful cross training method is high-intensity interval training (HIIT), which refers to an enhanced form of interval workouts that alternate periods of short intense activity with recovery breaks in between. As one of the best workouts you’ll find that blends cardio with strengthening, HIIT training not only gets your heart pumping and burns tons of fat, but also improves your overall conditioning for future cross workouts.

Now that you know what it means to cross train and what this kind of workout program can do for your body and health, stay tuned to the Smooth Fitness blog for more info – like how you can use your Smooth fitness accessories to create your own personal cross workout at home!

Happy Father’s Day from Smooth Fitness!

Summer is fast approaching, and with it comes plenty of cookouts, vacations and holidays. Don’t look now, but Father’s Day is already coming up this Sunday, so it’s time to start thinking about how to express your appreciation if you haven’t already done so!

Feeling panicked? Don’t worry. The team here at Smooth Fitness, your #1 internet retailer of home fitness equipment, has plenty of unique ideas for how to show your love this Father’s Day. Whether your own dad is young or old, fit or fat, there’s no better way to prove you care than giving the gift of health. Read on to find the best gift ideas for every kind of father! Continue reading

Smooth Fitness weighs the costs of popular home workout videos

Home exercise comes in all shapes and sizes, and as your #1 internet retailer of home fitness equipment, Smooth Fitness generally supports anything designed to promote health and wellness. But when it comes to weight loss, many people will do anything – and we mean anything! – to try to shed a couple pounds. Hey, we’ve all been there, but sometimes the risks of fad weight loss programs can significantly outweigh the benefits.

Consider popular branded high-impact home workout videos, many of which utilize intense progressive training cycles and highly strenuous stamina routines. As a Smooth Fitness client, you probably know at least one super-fit friend who swears by the “push through the pain” mantra of these kinds of rigorous workout videos. But the biggest problem with home exercise programs that utilize high-impact workouts is that fitness should never adhere to a “one size fits all” philosophy.

Even if we (reluctantly) ignore that such high-impact home workout videos can significantly increase your potential for injury and long-term joint or muscle damage, the fact remains that these kinds of extreme routines are simply not sustainable.

  • The You Factor: Because no two people have the exact same body, everyone requires a different exercise routine that is catered to their own physical limitations and fitness goals. Blame genetics, health history and a whole slew of lifestyle factors, but some people will simply never be capable of achieving the kind of lean, mean bodies promised by many of the popular branded workout video programs on the market today. And that’s not something to be ashamed of! You should be working toward your own personal level of optimal fitness, not one prescribed by a professional, paid athlete.
  • The Future Factor: Most high-impact home video exercise schedules offer only one day of rest in an entire week of hardcore workouts. That might sound like the kind of discipline required to achieve a rockin’ set of abs, but without supplementing these harsh sessions with lighter ones, your body is less likely to adapt to more demanding routines later down the line. This is not the way to build a lasting dedication to fitness; in fact, it’s hardly sustainable for the length of time each workout series requires, let alone for the rest of your life.

So, do home workout videos work? Sure, for a select type of person, for a fixed period of time. If you’re able to complete these high-impact workout video schedules consistently, safely and efficiently – and you can keep it up for years to come – we at Smooth Fitness applaud you. But if you can’t, there’s no need to beat yourself up! Successful home exercise can come in any form, from running on the soft belt of a treadmill, to getting your heart pumping on an elliptical machine, to lifting weights in your basement.

Achieving your own best health possible should be your #1 priority. And at the end of the day, you are the only one who knows just exactly what that should look like.

Top 10 Cookout Foods that Sabotage Your Diet – And What to Eat Instead

Memorial Day is right around the corner, and that means a long weekend full of friends, family and food. With cookout season upon us after that, the team here at your #1 internet retailer of home fitness equipment thought it might be a good time to reflect upon which common picnic and barbecue foods we should all try to avoid if we want to see real results from our home exercise regimens.

1) Hamburger or bratwurst. With up to 25 grams of fat each, a standard hamburger patty or bratwurst is one of your diet’s worst enemies. A veggie burger would be your healthiest choice, but if you’re craving real meat, opt for leaner turkey patties or dogs instead.

2) T-bone steak or ribs. Any meat that’s marbled with visible fat is going to wreak havoc on your arteries. Instead, choose fresh fish like salmon or shrimp, or veg out by grilling up some juicy Portobello mushrooms.

3) Fried chicken. This one’s a no-brainer, but that fatty breading isn’t doing your figure any favors. Grill your chicken breast instead, and marinate with chipotle seasoning or a light vinaigrette.

4) Buttered white bun. Skip the butter, and go for whole wheat if it’s available. And PS – you don’t actually need a bun at all. For an ultra-health-conscious choice, wrap your hotdog in a lettuce leaf. That refreshing crunch comes in a 5-calorie, 0-fat package.

5) Fatty sandwich toppings. Trade the sharp cheddar and greasy coleslaw for lettuce, tomato and onion – as usual, fresh veggies are your most valuable fitness accessory. Then, finish it off with barbecue sauce instead of ketchup or mustard.

6) Potato salad. A good rule of thumb is to avoid anything mayo-based. Obviously, leafy green salad is your best option, with your own health-conscious dressing made from extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and fresh herbs. Not a fan of greens? Try a zesty black bean and corn side dish.

7) Potato chips. Pretzels will satisfy your salt craving at a quarter of the fat content. For dipping, opt for hummus, guacamole or salsa over traditional ranch.

8 ) Lemonade. The artificial sweeteners that make kids love lemonade stands also work behind the scenes to make you pack on the pounds. If the healthier choice of sweet tea just isn’t your thing, it’s best to stick with plain old water, freshened with a lemon wedge or cucumber slice.

9) Beer. There’s nothing like a cold one on a hot summer day, but we hate to break it to you: beer is not the best of fitness accessories. If you can’t stomach the thought of a light brew, go for dry wine like chardonnay or white zin, or a low-cal mixed drink like a gin and tonic or vodka soda.

10) Rich desserts (blueberry pie, chocolate brownies, etc). With plenty of natural sugars and so many different kinds in season for the summer, fresh fruit makes the healthiest dessert hands-down. Try fresh fruit kebobs or a colorful fruit salad to satisfy all flavor palettes.

Of course, this list is by no means exhaustive! If you want your home exercise efforts to pay off, you’ll need to supplement them with a healthy and nutritious diet. For more tips on how to stick to your fitness guns during summer gatherings, make sure you check back frequently here on the Smooth Fitness blog. Whether you’re in the market for new home fitness equipment or just looking for tips on how to stay healthy, the Smooth Fitness team looks forward to welcoming you to the family!

Give the Gift of Health this Mother’s Day!

When it comes time for Mother’s Day, coming up with new ways to express your love and appreciation can be tough. While mom is sure to love the sentimental card and bouquet of flowers, why not switch it up this year with a gift that keeps on giving?

At Smooth Fitness, we suggest nixing the Mother’s Day clichés and opting instead to give the gift of health this Sunday. Wherever your own mom lands on the fitness spectrum, she deserves a present that celebrates her life while keeping her happy and healthy at the same time. From cardio machines to fitness accessories, we are sure to have something that will fit your mom’s unique fitness needs here at your #1 internet retailer of home fitness equipment.

For the beginner: If your mom is a fitness newbie, she’ll want to start off easy. An elliptical machine is a great way for anyone to ease into regular cardio workouts, thanks to their low-impact nature and multiple program settings that can be customized depending on fitness level. Check out our Elliptical Trainer Buying Guide to determine which of our Smooth ellipticals might be best for your mom.

You might also want to consider purchasing a heart rate monitor alongside any fitness equipment you buy for a mom who’s just getting started on her personal fitness journey. Using a heart rate monitor will allow her to regulate her performance to ensure she’s pacing herself appropriately, as well as track her progress as she becomes more accustomed to working out on a regular basis.

For the busy bee: Many of our moms have full-time jobs, or their hands are full carting the kids to and from school and soccer practice, paying the bills, volunteering, trying to find time for a personal life, or more likely, a combination of all that and more. For the mom who is constantly on the go, you need a gift that fits easily and conveniently in between the responsibilities of raising a family and the obligations of building a successful career.

Our collection of exercise bikes, including the all-new Smooth Fitness SitNCycle, offers the perfect solution: a cardio workout in a hands-free package that allows your mom to answer her emails, make a phone call, check her kid’s homework, or even catch up on some unheard-of leisurely reading all while staying in shape.

For the fitness junkie: If your mom’s already big into fitness, your task might be a little more difficult. Chances are she’s already found the best treadmill or elliptical for her and is fully equipped with all the fitness accessories she uses on a regular basis. But when it comes to health, there’s always room for improvement!

Since she’s been working out regularly for a while, your mom might need an upgrade to her “best treadmill” without even realizing it. Smooth treadmills come in all shapes and sizes, but an advanced runner needs an advanced machine, so check out the selection to see if your mom could use a sturdier belt or larger variety of programs. And to remind her to take care of herself after a hard workout, throw in a foam roller or exercise mat to help relieve any sore or stiff muscles.

This Mother’s Day, ditch the flowers and baked goods for a gift that will really show your mom how much you care. No matter how you choose to celebrate, the team here at Smooth Fitness wishes all our readers and clients a very happy and healthy Mother’s Day!

Don’t Let Pollen Pollute Your Workout: Five Foods that Fight Spring Allergies

There’s only one thing worse for your home exercise routine than flu season: allergy season.

Spring is in the air, but so is pollen. That means all those beautifully flowering trees and plants are releasing tiny, annoying grains that infest your nose with irritants, sending your immune system into overdrive. Since your body is trying to protect you, it mistakenly labels the pollen grains as foreign invaders and starts attacking the allergens by releasing antibodies and associated chemicals, resulting in the runny nose and itchy eyes that slow you down every spring.

Of course, working out inside on your Smooth elliptical or treadmill eliminates some of the adverse effects of allergy season by allowing you to avoid direct contact with the pollen-infused air. But sometimes you just can’t get away from those symptoms. At Smooth Fitness, we feel your pain, and we’d like to share one of the best ways to fight off your allergies this spring season: eating healthy. Believe it or not, many natural foods contain nutrients capable of relieving your allergy symptoms.

1) Dark-colored produce: As if you needed another excuse to reach for the veggies instead of the potato chips, many naturally occurring plant compounds contain antioxidants that prevent damage to your airways. Try beets, berries, cherries, and red grapes for the best results.

2) Spicy turmeric: A yellow spice found in most Indian curries, turmeric offers anti-inflammatory benefits similar to many medicines. If you’re not into curry, you can also add it to soups, stews, or salad dressing – just be sure to avoid anything dairy-based, since it will reverse positive effects with its mucous-forming properties.

3) Leafy greens: For a great source of hesperidin, a phytonutrient with antihistamine properties, go green with veggies like broccoli, spinach, and romaine or red-leaf lettuce.

4) Black, green or white tea: Drinking tea might seem like a no-brainer comfort food when you’re feeling sick, but did you know that these teas also contain an important nutrient called quercetin? With antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antihistamine properties all rolled into one, quercetin is great for improving lung function during allergy season.

5) Tree nuts: Because they are high in magnesium and vitamin E, which alleviate breathing difficulties while boosting immunity, tree nuts like walnuts and pecans are a great way to fend off your spring allergy symptoms. Just don’t go overboard – nuts tend to be high in fat, so portion control is vital if you’re trying to lose weight.

Armed with these five allergy-fighting foods, you should be back on the home exercise horse in no time at all! Whether you’re increasing the resistance on your Smooth elliptical or running faster and longer on your new treadmill, your overall health and fitness can only improve when you incorporate a nutrient-rich diet into your workout regimen this spring.