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Archive for the ‘Health Tips’ Category

Avoid the Pitfalls of the Treadmill-to-Outdoors Switch

Friday, April 5th, 2013

It might not feel like spring with all the snow we’ve seen in places like New York over the last couple of weeks. With temperatures in the mid-50s in Washington DC and low 70s in California, however, it does seem like all that wintry weather might finally be behind us. Which means that many of you home fitness enthusiasts are probably considering trading in some of those evenings on the treadmill for mornings on the trails.

The team at Smooth Fitness is just as excited about spring springing as you are. But transitioning from the soft cushion of a treadmill belt to the unforgiving rigidity of concrete can mean harsh consequences for your body and your psyche. Before you hit the pavement, keep a few things in mind:

  • Losing momentum: If logging 3 miles on the treadmill feels slightly easier than logging three miles around your neighborhood, that’s because it is. It’s not noticeable enough to detract much from your workout, but by propelling you forward, the treadmill belt does some of the running work for you – and that’s without taking into account factors like hills and wind. So don’t be a hero; start off slow and give yourself time to adjust to running outdoors.
  • Problems with pacing: One of the best parts of a treadmill is that it keeps your pace for you. Whether a 5K or a marathon, everyone who’s completed a race knows that pacing is perhaps the most vital aspect of becoming a good runner – and often one of the hardest. Try running with a friend so you can pace each other, or plan a playlist of high-tempo running songs.
  • Pavement pains: There’s just no getting around the fact that running on pavement is terrible for your joints, not to mention it makes you more prone to shin splints and muscle cramps. If there’s a shortage of dirt trails around your area, avoid pavement pains by taking a few minutes to walk, warm up your muscles, and stretch them out before you begin running. Stretching cold muscles is useless, so try to make post-run stretching a habit as well.

Of course, if you’re in the market for a new treadmill, warmer weather doesn’t necessarily mean you should put off buying one until November. April is famous for rain showers and other wet weather that’s less than ideal for a jog in the park, and the 100-degree-plus weather of summer isn’t always the most encouraging, either. Stay prepared for whatever the fickle weather throws your way by browsing through our Smooth treadmill selection for the home fitness equipment that keeps you fit, rain or shine!

Smooth Fitness Weight Loss Secret: Everything in Moderation

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

Most of us have learned it the hard way. As much as we may hate to admit it, no matter how many hours we log on the treadmill or elliptical, we simply won’t shed those excess pounds without adjusting our eating habits. An exercise regimen can’t – and won’t, believe us – do its job unless you supplement it with a healthy diet.

But that being said, it’s time to clear up some common yet problematic black-and-white thinking about what it really means to adopt a “healthy diet.” Because let’s face it: Cutting “bad foods” out of your diet entirely is a nice concept in theory, but it tends to backfire in practice.

Now, it’s certainly true that not all food is created equal, which is why balance and moderation are key. Do we suggest gorging yourself on a family-sized bag of greasy potato chips every day for lunch, or wolfing down half a rich chocolate cake for most dinners? Nah. Do we suggest enjoying a handful of potato chips alongside your sandwich and fruit a few times a week, or savoring a slice of that chocolate cake after your healthy dinner of lean protein and sautéed veggies? Absolutely.

Here’s why: Completely depriving yourself of those fat-filled greasy potato chips or rich chocolate cake can actually make you gain weight. While this seems to defy logic, think of it in terms of physics. Every action requires an equal and opposite reaction, right? The pendulum will always swing back to the other extreme; the more you deprive, the more you will binge to compensate. Since you haven’t been allowing yourself to consume anything conventionally “tasty,” thoughts of doing so will probably consume you until you finally snap under the strain of your diet – and go WAY overboard in the other direction.

It might seem like magic, but indulging in small amounts of your favorite “unhealthy” foods every once in a while might actually help your weight loss plan in the long run – by preventing those feelings of deprivation from turning into enormous, pound-packing binges. So next time you need a little exercise motivation, it’s ok to break off a square of that dark chocolate bar hiding in the back corner of your cabinet.

Just don’t scarf down the whole thing.

8 Percenter – How To Make Your New Year’s Resolution Stick

Friday, January 11th, 2013

Another year gone and another year of New Year Resolutions, so what’s the difference between this year and last? Last year most of our resolutions were long gone within a month. What can we do to make this year different, what are tricks of the trade to allow us to ditch that weight, save more money, go back to school or get that dream job? Statistics show that only about 8% of us stick to our resolutions. How can you become an 8 Percenter? (more…)

The Importance of Stretching

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

How many times have you seen someone not stretch before they work out? Maybe you’ve jumped on the treadmill yourself once or twice without loosening your muscles first. There are many benefits of stretching you might want to consider before skipping and hopping directly in to your exercise routine.

The first and most important benefit to gain from stretching is relieving of pain! Most of the stiffness and tightness you feel in your muscles after a workout can be prevented by stretching. Another important benefit of stretching is that it releases a lubricating substance from the cartilage within your joints; which allows your joints to move more smoothly, preserving the cartilage in your joints and keeping your bones from scraping. Stretching is also known to improve the circulation of water and nutrients through your body, which slows the aging process. Studies have also shown that stretching can lengthen muscles and, by doing so, can improve your posture.

Here’s the kicker. All these benefits are achievable, even if you don’t regularly work out. You can experience a healthier, more comfortable day, just by stretching.

In order for stretching to be effective, you’ll need to warm up your muscles first. A simple ten minute walk or jog will make a huge difference. Remember, cold muscles are tighter, and will make you have a harder and more uncomfortable time stretching.

However, there are times when stretching should be avoided. Don’t stretch before intense workout sessions like sprinting or other high-intensity cardio training. Also, some chronic health issues can be exacerbated by stretching. Consult a Doctor if you have an injury or other health issues that may cause problems.

Ways to Make Your Diet Easier

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

While dieting is a very rewarding process, it can be a difficult one. Many individuals struggle with staying on track, weight loss plateaus, and resisting temptation. Sometimes it may seem as if you need to make a major dietary change, but in many cases small changes over time almost always lead to healthier and longer lasting results. Overcoming these obstacles and knowing what to change is difficult on your own; therefore, we have come up with some tips to keep your diet simple and easy.


Temptation Strikes: Strategies to Boost your Willpower

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

Willpower can be a limited resource when it comes to diet and exercise. Every person struggles with willpower in some capacity. Temptations are around every corner and the ability to make the right choices directly correlates to the strength of an individual’s willpower. But willpower is not static. With the use of some simple strategies willpower can be improved, strengthened and used to achieve fitness goals and overcome dietary obstacles.

Easy Ways to Kick Start Your Diet

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Okay, so we’ve talked about the most common health and fitness New Year’s resolutions, and we’ve talked about guidelines you can use in order to stick to them. Now it’s time to take action. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel on your resolution. For instance, pick something you’ve tried before, but didn’t see all the way through.

Take dieting for example. As one of the most common resolutions out there, there’s no doubt many people have taken multiple stabs at this one, only to find themselves back at square one sooner or later.

Starting a diet is easy. Sustaining a diet is trickier (more…)

Healthy Thanksgiving Alternatives

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

Getting stuffed on Turkey day is easy as most of the foods found on a traditional Thanksgiving dinner table are very high in sugars, fats, and carbohydrates. While eating healthy on Turkey day seems impossible, there are some alternatives. These options offer the same great Thanksgiving tastes, but with a few adjustments can allow for a much healthier late November feast.

Healthy Halloween Tips

Saturday, October 29th, 2011

Halloween is a spectacular holiday, but it is full of dense, sugary, creations designed to make you want more. It is ok to step outside your normal health guidelines on this holiday, however it is important to not take your exceptions too far. Staying on track for Halloween will help you stay on track for the rest of the holiday season as well. It is very hard for parents and adults to resist the delicious treats and even harder to limit how much candy your children will eat. We hope to provide you with some helpful tips on how to keep Halloween healthy and fun for everyone.



Top Fitness Foods

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

When it comes to staying healthy, eating the right foods is just as important as routine exercise. There are a number of “healthy” options out there; however, it is important to get the most out of your meals. Not only do you want to eat healthy foods but you want to eat foods that will blend well with your workout style, daily routine, and fitness lifestyle. We have outlined some of the top fitness foods that all offer great benefits for maintaining a healthy lifestyle and enhancing workout results.


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