Who says Weights aren’t for Women?

April 25, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

From the looks of the weight room, you’d be surprised JMU’s male to female ratio is 40/60…There’s no evidence of it here!

JMU's UREC Weight Room

The question is: why aren’t more young women incorporating weights into their workout? Is it due to the popular misconceptions circulating from female to female? I’ve heard:  “I don’t want to get bulging muscles” and “I’m not strong enough” to even the commonly stated, “Weights are just for guys.” As a frequent strength training exerciser, I’m here to prove you females otherwise. After incorporating weights into my fitness routine this past December, I feel stronger and look toner — not bulky.

If I can’t convince you, maybe the benefits might. Strength training boosts your metabolism, increases and restores bone density, increases muscle mass, prevents injury, increases lean muscle mass,  improves balance, decreases your risk of coronary disease, and finally, leaves you feeling better and stronger. Don’t get me wrong…cardio is great too, but why not do both?

If you’re not familiar with weight training exercises, learn about the basics and guided exercises here. Hope to see more ladies lifting!

Loren

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Purcell Park

April 18, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Thanks to my roommates, I just discovered Purcell Park. Sad, right?  For those of you like me and aren’t familiar with Purcell, it’s a 67-acre park located off South Main Street in Harrisonburg, Va. The park has three baseball fields, four tennis courts, a volleyball area, two playgrounds, three picnic shelters, a lake for fishing and my personal favorite — a 1.5 mile trail. The best part is: It’s super close to the JMU campus! For a map, click here. If you’re in the Harrisonburg community, I definitely suggest visiting Purcell.

Because it’s almost 70 degrees here in Harrisonburg today, I decided to forego the gym and instead, use Purcell’s 1.5 mile trail for my workout. I love the time of the year when I can temporarily say good-bye to the treadmill! Want to know the benefits of running on the treadmill vs. outside? View one of my previous posts here. With its steep hills, running on Purcell’s trail is a great workout. It felt a lot harder running three miles on the trail (going around twice) than running three miles on the treadmill. Another great thing about Purcell’s trail? It’s gravel — giving your body a break from constant pounding. For differences in running surfaces, click here. When I stopped for a quick breather, I snapped these photos:

Sorry for the blur….Didn’t realize I had a smudge on my cell phone’s camera lens!  :-/  If you’re like me and enjoy getting-in a good workout, take advantage of the Springtime weather and Harrisonburg’s scenic views by visiting Purcell. If you’re not in Harrisonburg, find a local park/running trail near you by clicking here! What’re some of your favorite running routes? Let me know what you think!

-Loren

Butt Blasters

April 11, 2011 at 11:06 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Who would’ve thought the largest muscle in our bodies is our gluteus maximus, aka our butts?  It operates in full motion anytime you move from standing to sitting or press from a bent knee to a straight leg position. With the right workout, yours can appear toner, higher and rounder…perfect for the dreaded bikini weather rapidly approaching, right?

To my surprise, exercising on the elliptical or stair-stepper is not worthwhile if your goal is to tone your badonkadonk. According to personal fitness trainer, Joe Dowdell, you’re better off using strength training exercises. For seven butt-blasting exercises, click here. You can do them anywhere, anytime and the best part is: this can be a seven-minute workout! If you commit to doing these everyday, you’ll see results in two weeks and your booty will thank you!

Mixing up the motion: Making the most out of your workout

April 4, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Okay, so if you’re going to dedicate 45 minutes of your day to working-out, why not benefit the most from it? Who wouldn’t want to burn twice the amount of calories in one workout? How, you may be asking?  The answer: interval training.  Improved endurance, increased fat burn and enhanced weight loss results are just some of the advantages interval training reaps. Even better news? Whichever type of fitness you prefer, interval training can be practiced.

 

Photo from New York Times

How do you start an interval routine? Erin Kurdyla, a contributing writer for Self Magazine explains. To see her article in full, click here. Long story short, crank up your cardio routine by increasing the intensity. For example, if you usually jog on the treadmill at a “6” pace, go at an “8” for a minute, then rest by jogging for a minute at a slower pace of “4.” Once you feel rested, complete the process again, repeating for about 15-20 minutes. To finish up, jog at your cool-down pace for 5 minutes.

 

Simple enough, right? Try it out during your next workout and share what you think! Remember, this can be done on the bike, stairstepper, elliptical or treadmill. Even if you’re a walker, you can incorporate interval training by alternating jogging and walking!

 

**I’m proud to admit I’m drinking water and exercising everyday. To start my day off right, I usually drink a glass of water while getting ready in the morning. Not only am I getting in a glass of water early in the day, it also helps to wake me up! 🙂 Because I have  papers, tests and Greeksing practice every night this week, I’ll be lacking on my sleep. Luckily I incorporated a full eight hours both weekend nights! Considering I’ll be on-the-go this week and grabbing food from JMU’s dining halls, week four’s challenge might present problems. I’ll keep you posted!

Loren

Peel off the pounds…starting now!

March 31, 2011 at 11:43 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Whether we like it or not, Spring weather is on its way. What does this mean? Covering up less and showing more skin. The solution? Boost your metabolism and lose weight…starting now! By making a few tweaks in your daily routine, you’ll see instant results, and what’s a better time than now as we’re on the brink of 80-degree weather?

Jen Ator, a contributing writer for Women’s Health Magazine, gives her readers the low-down on losing weight by speeding up your metabolism. To see her article in full, click here.

For a quick overview, Jen suggests following the steps below for slimming results!

1. Eat (a good) Breakfast!

2. Brew up Green Tea.

3. Add iron to your diet.

4. Add intervals to your cardio routine.

5. Hit the sack (early!) **See our weekly wellness challenge for this week!

Try these 5 simple steps and you’ll be sure to feel and see results!

Steppin’ it up

March 28, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A few days ago I attended my first EVER group fitness class at JMU‘s UREC! I know, I know, where have I been, right?  To be honest, I’ve just gotten so caught up in maintaining my own, individual work-outs, attending a group fitness class didn’t seem too appealing. With pressure from my roommates, I finally found myself in a step class full of girls ready to break a sweat.

Because I’m a cardio-queen, I thought this class would be a breeze! Was I wrong! This is an intense 45-minute, nonstop cardio workout with a challenging choreography. Thankfully, in the middle of our workout, the instructor gave us a two-minute break for water (when I was able to snap this photo!). I would definitely recommend signing up for a step class. And not going to lie, I liked being in a group…it challenged and pushed me harder for sure!

Because it was my first time, I was a little lost and behind on the moves. For all you first-timers like myself, I suggest signing up for a First Step class instead. I plan on attending a First Step class in the next few days. Hopefully afterward, I’ll have mastered the moves and be able to attend the regular step class without looking like a fool! If you’re a student at JMU like myself, go here to view and register for group fitness classes.

***As for my weekly challenge, I’m proud to say I exercised five out of the seven days last week! Just getting in a mini-workout for 30 minutes is all I need to feel better. Who says working out should take hours? As for this week’s challenge, I can already say it’s going to be tough. With papers due and late-night meetings, my sleep might be getting cut short. I’m going to try my hardest though, promise!

Hope everyone’s weeks are off to a good start! Remember, get your sleep!

Hmmm…fact or fiction?

March 21, 2011 at 6:52 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Happy Spring! Hope everyone is as excited as I am to experience Spring-time weather. For me, the weather transition means more cardio exercise outside rather than inside. Yipee! 🙂

Photo from buzzle.com

Want to know the pros/cons of running on the treadmill vs. running outside? Click here!

For today’s fitness post, I thought I’d switch it up a bit and test you fitness-know-it-alls with a quiz! So grab a pen and paper, and no cheating — don’t scroll down until you’re done!

Fact or Fiction? Fitness Quiz:

1. Cardio burns more calories than strength training.
2. You can reduce cellulite through exercise.
3. Crunches are your best move to target your abs.
4. Exercise immediately increases your ability to learn.
5. The morning is the best time of day to exercise.
6. Running a marathon increases your risk of a heart attack.
7. Lift weights quickly to increase the burn.
8. Stretch before you run.
9. Skinny people are always healthier than overweight people.

 

 

 

 

And the answers are….

1. FICTION! By building up muscle and boosting your metabolism, you will increase your fat-burning potential long after you leave the gym.
2. FACT! Exercise can help reduce the appearance of those puckering bulges. According to Wayne Westcott, Ph.D, author of No More Cellulite, “Strength training can play a major role to tone that muscle and get the firm foundation back.
3. FICTION! Most women are using their hip flexors without engaging much of their core.
4. FACT! Sounds crazy, but this is so true. According to a study at the University of Muenster in Germany, participants who ran sprints learned new words 20 percent faster than those who did nothing.
5. FICTION! Try the late afternoon. Because muscle strength and body temperature peak between four and six p.m., you are able to work out harder with less effort.
6. FACT! Unfortunately, a May 2009 study from Winnipeg’s St. Boniface Hospital and the University of Manitoba confirmed marathons cause short-term injury to heart.  Thankfully there seems to be no lasting damage or long term effects.
7. FICTION! If you do, you’ll increase your risk of injury. Also, chances are you’re using less muscle because of the momentum. To get the best workout, go sloooowwww.
8. FICTION! Start with a warm-up run for a few minutes. Then perform static stretches held for 30 seconds to a minute.
9. FICTION! Heart rate, blood pressure and cholesterol are measurements for health, not just one’s weight. Overweight-but-active is better than thin-but-inactive any day!

So how’d you do? Leave a comment and share your thoughts!

**As for the weekly challenge, I haven’t been doing so well. (Oops!) During the week, I’m pretty good at consuming lots of water, thanks to my camelbak water bottle that I bring everywhere! I tend to slack a bit on the weekends, so I’m getting back on track today! Have you had your water yet today?!

Hope your week is off to a good start, and remember to keep drinkin’ that H2O!

So long spring break!

March 15, 2011 at 1:34 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Hi Everyone! Sorry for the late-night post. I just arrived back at school…so long spring break!  Since I didn’t have access to my campus gym over break, I followed Jillian Michael’s workouts from my newly purchased DVD, Shred It With Weights. I’ve been doing her workout everyday since I bought it last Monday (see my last post!). Within a week, I already feel stronger and toner, and her daily workout is only 25 minutes long! So, when I woke up this morning, I popped in the DVD and after 25 minutes, felt better and more energized.  To get more exercise, I took my dog on a brisk two mile walk, and afterwards, did my ab exercises that I posted about earlier. For a simple and quick workout, I suggest following Jillian Michael’s DVD and finishing with my ab exercises. In two weeks, you’ll see and feel results!

 

Loren

Who said you need the gym?

March 8, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Not sure where you are, but for all of us JMU students, it’s Spring Break!  With an abrupt schedule change, you may find it hard to maintain smart health decisions. So, when I came home for break, I was on one mission: to find a quick and intense workout that I could do anytime, anywhere. Luckily, when browsing through the fitness aisle at my local Walmart, I found the perfect solution.

Thanks to my boyfriend, I began incorporating weights into my fitness regime. Most women focus on cardio, not realizing that weight training actually boosts your  metabolism longer, burning fat long after you leave the gym.  I found the perfect set of weights at an incredible price: $19! With (4) 2.5 weights and (4)  7.5 weights, it’s the perfect set for someone looking to tone muscle rather than build-up muscle.

Because I am fairly new to weight-training, I wanted to follow a workout routine from someone who knew better…and who knows better than Jillian Michaels? So, for $9, I bought Jillian Michael’s Shred It With Weights.

It’s an intense 30-minute workout that you can pop into your dvd player and do wherever! I definitely recommend it! I felt the same effects of going to the gym afterwards!  With my new set of weights and dvd, I am able to incorporate a butt-kicking workout without leaving my house!

Enjoy your weeks!

 

Loren

 

Ten minutes today, a toner core in two weeks!

February 28, 2011 at 8:36 pm | Posted in Fitness | 1 Comment

Hi all, Loren here.  While browsing through my daily blog subscriptions, I stumbled upon five simple ab flattening moves. The best part is – I am already doing these moves on a regular basis, and I can vouch that you’ll begin to see and feel results in as little as two weeks!  Due to lower back pain, I visit a physical therapist every few months.  On my last visit, he taught me these moves — promising that they would strengthen my core, and as a result, ease back pain.  Guess what? He was right!  So if you’re one of many who suffers from back pain, strengthening your abs may be just the trick!

Thanks to thatsfit.com, here are the ab flattening/pain lessening exercises (that take less than ten minutes combined!):

1. Lower Tummy Toner

Photo from thatsfit.com

1. Lie on your back with your knees bent at a 90 degree angle. Place arms by your side, palms facing the floor.  Pull your belly button in as you lift your hips off the ground.

2. Double Crunch

Photo from thatsfit.com

2. Lie on your back with your hands behind your head and elbows out. This is just like a regular crunch, but you’re bringing your lower and upper body together at the same time.

3.  Knee Twists

Photo from thatsfit.com

3. Lie on your back with your arms extended out, palms toward the floor. Bend your legs in the air at a 90 degree angle. Keeping your upper body completely still and your legs together, lower your knees to the left side. Then bring your knees back to the initial position, and bend them to the right side.

4. Flutters

Photo from thatsfit.com

4. Lie on your back with your legs extended straight up toward the ceiling. Place your arms close to your sides, with your hands underneath your buttocks. While lifting your head and shoulders off the ground, alternate crossing your legs in front and back of each other, making your way to a 45 degree angle. Once you’re at a 45 degree angle, crisscross your way back to the starting position.

5. Plank Pull-ins

Photo from thatsfit.com

5. Position your body in a plank —  just as you would for doing a push-up. Be sure your back is straight and your head is extended. While tightening your abs, bring your right knee up to your chest. Then straighten your leg, and bring your left knee up toward your chest.

And there you have it! For each exercise, try and do as many as you can in 60 seconds. For just ten minutes a day and a toner core in two weeks, I’d say these are some beneficial exercises to incorporate in a daily routine!

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