Essential Tips for Winter Running

Any personal trainer, such as your Skokie personal trainer, would agree that winter is one of the best seasons. Owe it to the cool weather and the non-crowded roads. However, it’s more challenging and requires certain preparations. Here are some tips to help you make the most out of winter running.

Goal Driven
Setting goals is a crucial part of any exercise regimen, and the same applies in winter running. Skokie personal trainers and fitness coaches recommend that set a particular target before you hit the snowy roads. This way, you’ll be more motivated to do your workout. It doesn’t matter what distance you aim for as long as you hit your goal.

Running Companions
While most people prefer running alone, having buddies that exercise with you can make the experience more fun and fulfilling. Get your beau, your friends, or your colleagues to accompany you on your daily runs. You can also opt to join a group of runners in your community.

Proper Getups
Make sure to wear the right clothes when embarking on your winter run. Temperatures can drop very low and you can get hypothermia if you’re not appropriately dressed. Wear proper jogging pants, sweater and gloves to keep you warm and comfortable. Don’t forget to don the proper shoes to avoid any injuries.

Of course, it’s vital to do some stretching before you get on the road and after you finish your run. It helps condition your body and keeps your muscles healthy and strong.

Always remember to hydrate no matter how humid or cool the conditions are. Bring a bottle of water or your favorite sports drink during your run so you can replenish the lost fluids in your body and prevent you from succumbing to fatigue. You certainly wouldn’t want to collapse due to thirst once you are out there on the road.

Posted in Fitness, Personal Trainer | Leave a comment

Gym Training Tips for Couples

If you want to work out as a couple, here are some suggestions from our in-house personal trainer — particularly if you’re on different fitness levels.

Go to an Exercise Class Together
Dancing classes are perfect for couples, but other classes work out just as well. Try something new that interests both of you, like aikido or some other martial art, indoor rock climbing, yoga, or swimming.

Try Cardio That Lets You Work at Your Own Level
Exercises like indoor cycling let a group pace their workouts to each one’s fitness level. This means that as a couple, you both can get the workout you want — whether easy or challenging, or somewhere in between. You can also do your cardio regimens side by side by picking out two machines next to each other.

Switch with One Another Between Sets
When doing strength training with weights, switch places with each other between your sets. A minute or two of rest in between sets is good for you anyway. While you’re taking a breather, your partner gets to finish one set of whatever exercise. Another alternative is to use dumbbells instead of replacing weight plates or attachments on a machine in between sets.

Stretch Together
Stretching with your partner’s assistance can give you both great benefits in terms of flexibility. For example, gently tugging at your partner or giving him or her a soft push in a specified direction can be extremely helpful — but don’t overdo it!

Explore the Outdoors
You can create a newer, more active lifestyle by trying out different hobbies. Of course, these may not count as cardio or strength training, but remember that every activity you engage in with your partner will benefit your health. Hiking, tossing a ball, canoeing, rafting, camping, or just a leisure stroll at the end of a busy day can improve your fitness. And these activities are certainly better than just lounging in front of the TV after dinner.

For more exercise ideas, you can try asking a fitness trainer in Skokie — or you can try out each other’s ideas in turn. Stay focused on keeping fit, but keep your partner’s needs in mind, too — that’s the whole idea of exercising together!

SUMMARY: One of the best ways to get fit is to do it with a loved one. If you’ve no idea where to start, read on. We have some great suggestions that you can try out.

Posted in Fitness, Personal Trainer | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The Truth About Vegetarian Diets

Vegetarian diets come with different eating patterns and your personal trainer in Skokie (if you live there) would be able to tell the difference. You can be a total vegetarian or a vegan who consumes only fruits and vegetables, along with beans, nuts, grains and wheat. You can be a lacto vegetarian, who also eats dairy products; an octo-lacto vegetarians, who include eggs; or a semi-vegetarian who includes fish and chicken. All of them shun animal meat and processed meat products.

Achieving Health without Animal Meat

But the question is: are vegetarians missing anything in their daily nutritional needs? The answer is no, if their diets are properly planned. Your personal trainer will tell you that a well-planned and balanced vegetarian diet is nutritious as long as the essential nutrients are present. However, too much salt or unsaturated fats, and lack of nutrients can make your vegan diet unhealthy.

What a Vegan Diet Provides
Vegetarian foods can provide the same level of proteins that animal meats provide. For one, proteins from broccoli, potatoes, lentils, and spinach contain the same essential amino acids. Soy beans have also been shown to match the protein levels of animal meats.

Vegans run a higher risk of missing out on iron, which is abundant in animal meats, liver and eggs. But consuming some servings of spinach, black beans, peas, molasses, watermelon, brewer’s yeast, and fruits should make up for this. Zinc could also be missed, but not if you take in shellfish, nuts grains and legumes. A diet of spinach and broccoli, as well as legumes and soybeans, can also provide you with the recommended calcium dose.

The essential Vitamin B-12 comes naturally from animal food products. So, vegans need to take in B-12 enriched cereals, soy beverages and brewer’s yeasts. Vitamin C is not a problem since many fruits contain it. If you feel that you’re lacking other essential vitamins and minerals, you can always resort to a good vitamin and mineral supplement.

With all things equal in terms of nutrition, it has been observed that vegan dieters enjoy a lower predisposition to obesity, hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and some forms of cancer.

Posted in Fitness, Personal Trainer | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Fitness Activities That Are Ideal For Couples

Couples can do worthwhile fitness activities that will be beneficial not only for their health, but for their union as well. It’s true that marriage and having a family can put a lot of pressure on you and your partner. But, it should not stop you from getting fit. In fact, engaging in physical exercise as a couple has more advantages than doing it alone. Here are some suggestions:

Enlist In Walkathons and 5k Runs
One great activity for couples is to join walkathons and 5k runs for charitable causes. Not only will you and your beau stay in shape, you’ll also be contributing to a worthy cause. Any fitness trainer in Skokie and elsewhere would agree that it is also a great way to reconnect with each other and provide mutual support in your unified thrust towards wellness.

Go Biking Together
Biking, like walking and running, is a great cardio exercise that is perfect for adults and children alike. Couples are not an exemption to this since it fosters bonding and some privy time together. It is also a great way to explore unfamiliar routes and places, scenic views, and countryside trails. This activity also encourages intimacy and allows couples to become closer.

Pair Up For Regular Yoga and Gym Sessions
Admit it; you may have been initially attracted to your hubby’s abs or mighty arm muscles. So why not sign up for a gym or yoga class together? However, you shouldn’t have too many high hopes from the get-go. Don’t expect you and your partner to sport a lean body within a week’s time. What’s important is the time and effort you both spend towards your fitness goals. Skokie personal trainers, among others, could vouch on the fact that this activity provides mutual support and enhances motivation for couples. It is also a great way to reduce stress levels and regulate your moods. Ultimately, it will set you up in the mood for love, heightened romance, and intimacy.

Posted in Fitness, Personal Trainer | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Yoga Basics – The Different Styles of Yoga

Yoga is mostly composed of stretching exercises that go beyond a regular phase. It works on a deeper level and provides great benefits not only for the body, but also for the soul. It enriches the mind and spirit, and provides a totally relaxing experience. No wonder it has become so popular over the years.

Here are some of the different styles of yoga which you may be interested in. They all utilize the same poses, but each style has a particular emphasis. Any personal trainer would advise you to learn and be familiar about each style first, before finally deciding what type of yoga class you want to participate in.

This style puts emphasis on breath-synchronized movements. It involves performing a series of poses called Sun Salutations, which are matched with one’s breath. The Sun Salutations are done as a warm-up before proceeding to the rigorous stretching routines.

The term anusara aptly means “to follow your heart”. Therefore, this style is highly referred as being a heart-oriented one. It integrates principles of alignment and balanced energetic action to facilitate the poses, while also celebrating one’s heart and emotions.

This style is used to describe many types of yoga classes. It is characterized as being slow-paced with gentle movements and poses, while providing good introduction to basic yoga poses. Any personal trainer in Skokie or elsewhere would highly suggest this style for yoga beginners and novices.

The core of this yoga style is all about discovery and stimulation of sensual spirituality. It should always be facilitated by a certified instructor. Most people assume that this style is about sexual indulgence, but its focus is on kundalini energy and how students can utilize it for sexual pleasure and spiritual evolution. The routines include visualization and poses, as well as strong breathing exercises and chanting.

Posted in Fitness, Personal Trainer | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Do’s and Don’t’s for Exercise Newbies

Exercise is one of the most important habits that anyone should incorporate in their lives. When combined with a balanced diet, it would lead to a healthier lifestyle. Of course, if you’re a newbie in exercise, you should first know about the do’s and don’ts so that you’ll have an enjoyable experience and not injure yourself.

Here are some of the exercise do’s that your personal trainer in Skokie would recommend:

Work Out Regularly
In order to reap the benefits of exercise, you should do it on a regular basis. Condition yourself to exercise and stick to your schedule no matter what. At least half an hour of cardio training every day, coupled with strength training twice a week can already do wonders for your body.

Loosen Up
Take it easy when you are trying to lose weight. There are some people who are so eager to try out high-intensity workouts to gain faster results. But you should not put too much stress on your body, since it would only cause injuries. Instead, slowly build up your intensity as your body gets stronger.

Everyday Exercise
Incorporate exercise in your daily routine. Climb up the stairs instead of using the elevators. Walk to your office or to the grocery instead of taking the car. If there are any office tournaments for certain sports, participate in them. Your body will thank you for it.

And here some of the things that your personal trainer would advise you not to do when exercising:

Your posture would impact your confidence, performance and mood. If you slouch, your focus and concentration would be affected. Also, you won’t be breathing as deeply as you should, and your muscles would not have enough oxygen. Avoid slouching and always maintain proper posture and form when you exercise.

Sticking to Just One Routine
Doing just one type of exercise is a big no-no. Not only would it cause boredom and lessen your enthusiasm for exercise; it would also lead repetitive stress injury. You should incorporate various types of exercises to make your training more fun and enjoyable.

Posted in Fitness, Personal Trainer | Tagged , | Leave a comment

How to Work Out Your Hips

Even a Skokie personal trainer would agree that working out your hips can be quite challenging. But don’t fret because this article will teach you some easy exercises that will effectively target your hips.

Back Kick
This exercise would provide strength and backward mobility to your hips. You need a chair or a counter to hold on to for support. Move your right leg up and back while keeping your knee straight. Avoid arching your back and ensure that you are standing straight. Do ten repetitions then switch to the other leg.

Side Kick
This is another exercise for improving sideway mobility and strength. The procedure is same as the back kick; the only difference is that you should move your leg up and to the side.

Straight Leg Raise
Your personal trainer would recommend this exercise for strengthening the muscles which bend the hip and straighten the knee. First, lie on your back with knees bent. Your feet should be flat on the floor. Next, straighten out your right leg. Make sure to tighten the muscles of that thigh and to keep your knee straight. Then, lift that leg about 2 feet from the floor. Hold that position for 10 seconds and ensure that your back is not arched. Do ten repetitions before switching to the other leg.

Abduction Exercise
Increasing sideways mobility and hip strength is the purpose of this exercise. Lie on the floor with your legs straight out. Then, move your right leg to side, as far as possible. Keep it straight throughout the movement. Do ten repetitions then alternate with your left leg.

Standing Knee Raises
This exercise won’t only strengthen your hips; it will also increase your flexibility. Hold on to a chair back for support. Then, bend your knee while lifting your foot up. Avoid raising your knee higher than your waist. Again, do ten repetitions before alternating to the other leg.

Posted in Fitness, Personal Trainer | Tagged , | Leave a comment

4 Benefits of Aerobic Exercise

Aerobic exercise is one of the most famous forms of physical exercise, especially among women. It’s a great cardio workout that challenges your heart and lungs, and requires the help of your larger muscles and hamstrings to carry out the movements.
Here are four benefits of aerobic exercise, which makes it highly popular among fitness enthusiasts. Skokie personal trainers and other fitness coaches definitely agree on this and highly endorse this workout to anyone who wants to be healthier and stay in shape.
Aerobic Exercise Decreases Body Fats and Flab
Since aerobic exercise is a form of cardio, it’s great way to lose weight. When done regularly and coupled with the right strength training and healthy diet, it can effectively decreases and diminishes body fat.
Aerobic Exercise Strengthens the Heart and the Respiratory System
Your heart is always at its busiest when you engage in aerobic exercise since it has to pump blood more efficiently to produce the body’s needed oxygen. The constant activity will therefore strengthen it and maintain its optimal condition even as you age. Your respiratory system is also strengthened with regular aerobic exercise. This is because aerobic activities increase your lung’s efficiency in facilitating the oxygen supply of your body.
Aerobic Exercise Reduces Health Risks
When done regularly, aerobic exercise will greatly help in alleviating common ailments and diseases.  Studies show that aerobic exercise enthusiasts are less prone to succumb to diabetes, stroke, hypertension and arthritis. Aerobic exercises have also been known to prevent cardiovascular diseases and strengthen your immune system, making you less susceptible to coughs and colds. A fitness trainer in Skokie and anywhere else could definitely attest to this fact.
Aerobic Exercise Makes Us More Active and Alert
Since your muscles are generally strengthened, the exercise will give you the needed mobility and alertness even as you age. It makes you more active and energized to do your daily tasks. It also gives you mental alertness and allows you to enjoy life more fully.
Posted in Fitness, Personal Trainer | Tagged , | Leave a comment

How to Know If You’re Over-Exercising

Too much of anything is bad. Too much of a good thing is just as bad. The health benefits of getting into shape with consistent workouts is good. But going overboard with it is not only unhealthy; it’s disruptive of your normal living.

Telltale Signs That You’re Over-Exercising
Too much exercise not only harms the body, gives you pain, and increases your susceptibility to catch diseases. It can also lead to irritability, moodiness, and depression. If you live in Skokie, your Skokie personal trainer would be able to tell you the other dangerous consequences of overdoing exercise. He would also advise you to watch out for these telltale signs:

Muscle Pain
Are your muscles always in pain the day after your workout session in a gym? Muscle soreness and stiffness is normal for novice gym goers on their first day or two. But if you experience them after every fitness regimen, that’s not good. Your personal trainer would tell you that you’re overdoing it.

Do you always feel more fatigued or sleepier than a week ago? Bear in mind that exercise drains your body of its fuel reserves. While a good night’s sleep can repair overused and abused tissues, your body has a way of telling you that it needs more time to repair itself. As a result, you would feel sleepier, lethargic and easily fatigued the next day. Needless to say, fatigue always interferes with your work, as well as with interpersonal relationships. You get easily irritated, moody, and depressed at the slightest problem.

Do you fall sick more often lately? Because your body always spends its fuel in the process of repairing itself, you render your body vulnerable to all sorts of illnesses that could otherwise be prevented by a strong immune system. You end up calling in sick more often. And that’s not good for your work.

Reliance on Painkillers
Are muscle pains killers now part of your expense budget since starting your workout? Most likely it will if you are always over-exercising.

Posted in Fitness, Personal Trainer | Tagged , | Leave a comment

All About Anaerobic Exercise

Anaerobic exercise is defined as any type of exercise that does not require copious amounts of oxygen to generate energy. Doing such activities requires the body’s tissues to use up less energy, as opposed to aerobic exercises. Personal trainer in Skokie can suggest a healthy balance of aerobic and anaerobic exercises.

What Happens to the Body During Anaerobic Exercise?

During an aerobic workout, oxygen is used to break down glucose, but in anaerobic exercise, phosphocreatine from the muscles is the main agent for metabolic activity. This is the reason why muscles get whipped more into shape, as anaerobic exercise is an ideal means of toning the muscles. The most common forms of anaerobic exercise includes weightlifting, wrestling, mountain sprinting, alpine skiing, hill-climbing, squats, push-ups and sit-ups.

Benefits of Anaerobic Activities

Anaerobic exercise is done in a short period of time but there is a high intensity of muscle work involved. The benefits for the health are quite remarkable. Cardiovascular diseases, obesity, arthritis and other health problems are further prevented.  It also helps build lean muscle mass, which can deteriorate through aging and sedentary lifestyle. Anaerobic exercise also strengthens the bones, not just the muscles. Bone density improves when there is regular weight-bearing exercise.

Aerobic and Anaerobic Exercises

Skokie personal trainers advise combining aerobic and anaerobic exercises for optimal fat-burning fitness program. Aerobic workouts help burn calories and fat easily, promotes health of lungs and heart. On the other hand, anaerobic exercises build stronger muscles. When these two are mixed in a well-balanced fitness plan, expect to reap the long-term benefits for an improved quality of life.

Anaerobic and aerobic exercises are two different training programs, but they do complement each other if combined the proper way. A healthy balanced diet also helps to gain the maximum benefits brought by these training techniques.

Posted in Personal Trainer | Tagged , | Leave a comment