Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Free Workout Friday: Components of a Cool Down


Last week we talked about the proper way to warm up before exercising.  This week lets talk about cooling down post workout.  A proper cool down at the end of your workout is just as important as a total body dynamic warm up. Your goal during a cool down is to decrease heart rate and static stretch the muscles. To decrease heart rate, continue with low intensity cardio and reduce pace every minute or two. Marching, light jogging, or walking are great ways to get your heart rate back to its resting level. Static stretching prepares the body for its resting state. Start with some basic stretches. As you feel comfortable, incorporate some compound moves.


  • Upper back
  • Check
  • Quad
  • Hamstring/calf
  • Tricep
  • Oblique
  • Shoulders



  • Cobra
  • Triangle
  • Warrior 1
  • Down on knee, hand inside foot, torso twist
  • Eagle arms
  • Downward dog
  • Child’s pose

Check out these other blogs from NIFS Fitness Center Management's staff in regard to stretching:

Employee Health: Stretching and Ergonommics to prevent Injury

Workplace Wellness: Prevent Injuries with Stretching


Topics: Free Workout Friday active living stretching

NIFS Fitness Management: Free Workout Fridays Back in 2015


It's 2015, a fresh start, a new you and what better way to start following our Free Workout Friday blog?  This year we have two new faces to keep you motivated and have scheduled out a year worth of workouts for our readers.  Let's start this first Friday off by meeting the faces behind our 2015 Free Workout Friday Blogs.

adamsMichelle Adams is a corporate fitness manager in Indianapolis.  She began working for NIFS in January 2013.  She really enjoys working in the corporate setting because she is able to get a good variety of being active with employees through teaching group fitness classes while also having the opportunity to design wellness and incentive programs.  Michelle encourages her members to take control of their own health and is very passionate about helping others with their health and wellness goals.  Michelle is currently certified through the American College of Sports Medicine as a Health Fitness Specialist, a group fitness instructor through the American Council on Exercise, and holds specialty certifications in TurboKick and PiYo.

Stephanie Hackett is a health fitness specialist at a corporate client hackettlocation in Indianapolis.  She began with NIFS fitness management shortly after completing her internship with NIFS,  Stephanie loves the variety that comes with the corporate fitness setting.  She is able to teach classes, personal train employees, and implement health promotion programs.  Her favorite part of the job is making those special connections with members to help engage them and keep them coming back.  Stephanie is currently certified through the American Council on Exercise as a personal trainer, and is GEAR Indoor Cycling certified through the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America.

Now that's you've met our staff behind FWF's, let's get started with Stephanie as she takes you through the components of a workout each week in January!

Dynamic Stretching and Warm Up

It is extremely important to give your body a proper warm up before starting a workout. For years, static stretching was the norm. Static stretching means holding a stretch in a challenging but comfortable position for generally 10 to 30 seconds at a time. Research has shown that dynamic stretching is better for you before a workout. Dynamic stretching uses controlled movements that bring muscles through their range of motion without exceeding it. It helps promote blood flow through the muscles and to prepare the body to exercise. Start your warm up with a handful of basic movements targeting the whole body. As you become more experienced, use compound movements to warm up.

Basic: (demonstration video)

  • Arm circles
  • Marching
  • Squats
  • Lunges (front and side)
  • Trunk rotation
  • Arm raises (front and side)

Compound: (demonstration video)

  • Walking lunge with trunk rotation
  • Inch worm
  • Knee hug lunge
  • Side lunge with rotator cuff activation
  • Ankle grab toe touch
  • Arm swings across the chest

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Topics: exercise at home Free Workout Friday

Corporate Wellness: Free Workout Friday - Pumpkin Workout

free workout fridayBefore you carve those pumpkins for Halloween, put them to use for a good workout!  NIFS Fitness Management staff in our corporate fitness centers had great success in offering pumpkin workouts to employees this month.  If you think about it, pumpkins are like a medicine ball and come in a variety of shapes and sizes to accommodate all intensity levels!   So grab that pumpkin off the porch and show your kids how to use a pumpkin for a workout!

Squat and Curl – Hold a pumpkin in both hands with arms extended down in front of your body.  Step feet wide with toes pointing out at an angle.  Keeping your chest up, lower into a squat and hold the position.  Now curl the pumpkin up toward your chest performing a bicep curl, lower the pumpkin slowly back down and perform 12-15 repetitions.

Full Sit Up – Lay on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor.  Holding the pumpkin on your chest, do a full sit up reach overhead with the pumpkin as you perform the movement.  Slowly lower to the floor bring the pumpkin back down to your chest in one smooth movement.  Repeat for 15 repetitions.

Toe TapsLay on the floor bringing your legs up toward the ceiling (bend your knees if a modification is needed).  Holding the pumpkin in both hands, contract your abs and crunch upward pushing the pumpkin toward your toes.  Rather than relaxing and lowering back to the floor, continue to quickly contract and release taping your toes with the pumpkin for 30 repetitions.

Overhead pressWith feet shoulder width apart, hold the pumpkin in both hands in front of your chest.  Press the pumpkin up over your head extending your arms, and then slowly lower to the starting position.  Repeat for 12-15 repetitions.

Push Up Plank – For an advanced option, place both hands on the pumpkin, if that is too much you can place one hand on the ground and the other on the pumpkin.  Extend your legs out behind you into a plank position.  Slowly bend your arms to lower your body toward the ground, push through your hands and shoulders to return to the starting position to complete a pushup.  Strive for 10 repetitions.  

Russian twist – Sit on the ground with the pumpkin in your lap.  Place your feet on the ground shoulder width apart, for a more advance move lift your feet up keeping your knees bent.  Holding your pumpkin lean back slightly, dropping your right shoulder and taking the pumpkin toward your right.  Slowly move back toward the middle and continue toward the left.  Continue side to side for 30 seconds.

Now get creative and share with us what your favorite pumpkin exercise is!!  

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Topics: corporate wellness employee health nifs fitness management Free Workout Friday pumpkin workout

Corporate Wellness: Free Workout Friday - Take the Stairs

free workout fridayStairs are a great way to take your same old cardio workout to the next level.  Changing it up by utilizing the stairs might have your muscles twitching like never before!  Take a look at your workout routine, you possibly neglect your lower body more than you think.  Many people consider their cardio activities their lower body workout because they are walking, running, biking, etc.  Exchange your regular cardiovascular exercise for a stair workout and not only will your heart be pumping, your muscles will be telling you that stair workout gave them a run for their money!

Using the incline of the steps helps to improve your balance, coordination and trigger those smaller muscles you generally don’t target with regular machine workouts.  It’s always important to kick off your workout with a warm up to wake those muscles up and get them ready for your workout.  Now print this blog, and head out of your corporate worksite and find some stairs!

Basic Step – use this as a breather between exercises, one foot on each step climbing the flight of stairs.  When you get to the top, turn around and walk or jog back down the stairs. 

Side Squat – turn and face the right, keeping your toes forward place your left foot on the second step.  Lower into a squat maintaining proper form keeping your hips back and knees in line with your ankles.  Push through your left foot and straighten your leg allowing your right foot to come off the ground, slowly lower and repeat for 12-15 repetitions then perform the same with the other leg.

Mountain Climbers – you’ve done this dreaded exercise in your corporate fitness center group exercise class, so let’s throw them in here!  Get in a plank position with hands placed on the second step shoulder width apart.  Just as you would do if on the floor, draw knees toward your chest alternating right and left for 30 – 45 seconds.  Remember, you control the exercise intensity!  Push yourself to go harder.

Lunge – Think of this as skipping steps as you walk up the flight of stairs.  Focus on the movement rather than just running up the stairs.  It will be a small movement due to the incline of the steps, but lower into a lunge and use that front leg to drive your body up.  Be sure to alternate between legs to get an even workout.  Once you reach the top, turn around and walk or jog down the stairs.

Dips – sit on the second step and place hands on either side of you on the step.  Keeping your knees bent slide yourself off the step with feet hip width apart.   Bend your arms until your upper arm is parallel to the floor or you can’t lower any further and return to the starting position.  Complete 12-15 repetitions.

Get another boost and basic step up the stairs and repeat each exercise for 2-3 rounds, push yourself and challenge your intensity level!  


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Topics: exercise at work employee health Free Workout Friday fitness stair workout

Corporate Wellness: Free Workout Friday - Tabata

free workout fridayAre you looking for a new, quick, high-intensity workout routine? Then Tabata may be the training style for you! Be prepared to go all-out for short durations of time to increase your strength, while improving your cardio at the same time!  Tabata facilitates a workout which is so intense that 8 rounds will be completed in only 4 minutes! If 4 minutes are enough, then you have completed a full Tabata set, if not, choose a different exercise and repeat the Tabata!

The general set up of Tabata:

  • Go all-out for 20 seconds
  • Rest for 10 seconds
  • Repeat 8 times (8 rounds)

The key points of Tabata:

  • Do as many repetitions as possible in the 20 seconds of work.
  • Pick weights which are hard enough to make you breathless after 20 seconds, but light enough to be able to complete all 8 rounds.
  • Pick an exercise which works most of your body.
    • I.e. Kettle bell swings, squat jumps, jump lunges, step ups

Tabata Exercise Example 1 – alternate between the following two exercises

  • Round 1,3,5,7 – Squat presses with a medicine ball
  • Round 2,4,6,8 – Burpee with push up

Tabata Exercise Example 2

  • Tabata 1: Round 1-8 Squat jumps
  • Tabata 2: Round 1-8 Plank one-arm dumb bell rows
  • Add on more rounds with different exercises to increase length of workout


  • Tabata training should be intense, always listen to your body and use modified options if necessary
  • Have the proper equipment to complete the exercises, if needed
  • Not all Tabata exercises need equipment, body weight exercises can be done at home with no equipment

Have fun, work hard, be creative, and make the workout yours!  What is your favorite Tabata style workout?

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Topics: corporate wellness nifs fitness management Free Workout Friday employee health and fitness

Corporate Wellness: Free Workout Friday - Plyometrics

free workout fridayA plyometric exercise is one that includes a stretch of the muscle, followed by an explosive movement, working the power aspect of the muscle. For example, in a jump squat, you will bend the knees and  lower down towards the ground, stretching the quads and glutes, then jump straight up into the air in an explosive movement, landing back into the deep squat.

Plyometrics are found in many intense workout formats like boot camps and popular DVD series like Insanity. When plyometrics are performed over the course of 30-60 seconds, not only are the muscles being challenged, but it will become a fairly intense cardio workout as well!

Benefits of plyometrics include:

  • Higher heart rate, leading to more calorie burn
  • Increased muscle strength and power
  • Specialized training for athletes who use techniques like jumping

Here are four plyometric exercises to add into your workouts:

  1. Jump Squat
  2. Box jumps
  3. BOSU plyometric push-ups
  4. Jumping lunges

Need more ideas for changing up your routine?  Subscribe to our blog, or visit our YouTube channel for exercise demos created by our NIFS Fitness Management staff.


Topics: exercise at work Free Workout Friday employee health and fitness nifs fitness managment

Corporate Wellness: Free Workout Friday - Band Workout with Partner

free workout fridayLooking for new things to do with your spouse/partner, teenage child, best friend, or even co-worker? A partner band workout is a great way to get some physical activity, work on team building skills, and have fun all in one! Partner band exercises require muscle control from both parties, so you have to pay close attention to the speed and location of your partner. This workout can be done anywhere; hotel room, on the beach, at home, in your office or conference room, in the garage/driveway, etc. All you need is a band to fit your resistance level.  So grab your partner and bands to try this workout!

  • Band rows
  • Chest press
  • One arm bicep curls
  • Tricep push backs
  • Core rotation
  • Lunges (alternating legs)
  • Outer thigh steps in combination with outer thigh tap outs


Only have the smaller round bands or have access to both types of bands? Try these other exercises you can do together.

  • Squat with outer thigh lifts
  • Lateral shoulder hold with outer thigh tap outs
  • Single leg squats with outer thigh tap outs
  • Push up arm tap outs
  • Glute lifts
  • Plank thigh tap outs
  • Lower back lifts

Remember to motivate your partner and hold each other accountable to do these exercises on a regular basis!


Topics: exercise at home Free Workout Friday fitness success Fitness Center exercies at your desk

Corporate Wellness: Free Workout Friday - Take it Outside

free workout fridayAre you sad that summer is coming to an end or getting bored with your workouts and just need a change? Taking advantage of the warmer weather is a good way to challenge your body and try different exercises outdoors before it’s too late and the cold winter months keep us all inside. I bet you pass several landmarks and unique open areas every day on your way to & from work that could be used for your next workout. Do me a favor and get creative the next time you are on your way to work or school and find a public place you can run stairs and a bench you can do lunges and tricep dips on.

Living in downtown Indianapolis there are a lot of very cool locations I’ve found to create my own outdoor boot camp workouts. I love to exercise outdoors but get tired of running all over the city (it’s not that large), so I started adding other things in and I’ve even got a few of my friends to try it with me! Yes, some days it’s hot & humid and it can be exhausting but you can always give it a try on a spring or fall day to get out of your corporate wellness center for a change of scenery.

Here is one of my favorite workouts to do, so get creative and find locations near you! Watch our videos for demonstrations to take this workout outdoors.

Topics: nifs fitness management employee wellness Free Workout Friday indianapolis exercise in the workplace

Corporate Wellness: Free Workout Friday - 10 Minute Abs

free workout fridayDid you know that you can exercise your abs every single day of the week? Normally with strength training, you should wait 48 hours before lifting with those same muscles again—however, since the abdominal muscles are made for endurance by performing jobs like supporting posture and breathing, they can be worked all 7 days of the week! If you are particularly sore after an ab workout, still use your best judgment, and delay working them until the soreness is gone.

Even though it only takes a few minutes to squeeze in a great ab workout, it’s easy to skip that portion of your workout when you are already tired. Below is a 10-minute workout to really target the ab muscles for toning and strength in your corporate fitness center. If you are at a beginner level, shorten the workout by performing 30 seconds of each exercise, for 5 minutes total.

 Perform 1 minute of each exercise:

  1. Warm-up crunches
  2. Reverse crunches
  3. Leg raises
  4. Elbow to knee crunch
  5. Side plank (30 seconds each side)
  6. Bicycle crunch
  7. Russian twist (feet off ground, if able)
  8. Plank w/ alternating knee in to chest
  9. Toe touch crunch
  10. V-sit
Topics: corporate wellness exercise Free Workout Friday core conditioning

Corporate Wellness: Free Workout Friday - Tabata

free workout fridayWhat is a tabata workout and why should you try it?

Tabata workouts are usually designed with short high intensity cardio exercises along with short rest periods in between. You can also incorporate strength exercises in these workouts. Tabata workouts can help to improve your aerobic and cardiovascular systems. Typically the sessions last 4 minutes and have 8 intervals, but don’t get so caught up on the traditional method because you can mix it up a little and it is just as effective.

Two other very good reasons to try tabata workouts is because it doesn’t take near as much time as traditional cardio sessions and since you are quickly increasing your heart rate you will increase your metabolism and burn more fat. Also, you can design the workout to require
minimal equipment.

Perform each of these intervals below for 20 seconds each and in the order I have them numbered. Since it is only a few seconds be sure to push yourself and give it your all. Ok, now it’s time to give it a try! Good luck!!

High knees in place (1,3)

Pushups (2,4)

Squat hops in place (5,7)

Center plank (6,8)

The only thing this workout requires is a mat for the planks and possibly your knees for the pushups and a stopwatch/timer. You can get more creative with the exercises if you have access to equipment, but if you are traveling or just want to keep it basic at home, this workout is perfect! Last but not least, you need to build your way up to repeating the workout 2-3 times with a short rest period (1 min) in between.



Topics: exercise Free Workout Friday corporate fitness centers Fitness Center