Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

How to Build an at-Home Gym: What Is Essential Equipment?

509255562.jpgOpen 24 hours a day, no membership fees, and no commute; this is what you have to look forward to after you complete your at-home gym! This can be an exciting time, but also overwhelming if you don’t know where to get started on your quest to exercise at home.

Planning Your Equipment

If you build a home gym the right way, it should take a couple of years. You don’t want to build the picture-perfect gym with no money left in your pocket and lots of equipment acquiring dust. Make a plan to grow your gym as your workouts progress. You will commit to more complicated workouts, and will need heavier weights and more equipment to mix up your workouts. When you purchase a piece of equipment, you want to know you are going to use it and it is going to be part of your routine. When planning, think of the cost vs. benefit for each piece in your home gym.

If you are a runner and know you will complete most of your workouts in the winter months on the treadmill, you know the workouts you put in will outweigh the cost of the treadmill. You should splurge on this item and buy a state-of-the-art treadmill. If you are just getting into weightlifting, the benefit of an extravagant dumbbell set might not outweigh the cost. Think about what your workouts look like now, purchase that equipment, and build over the next few years.

If there are pieces of equipment that are more of a want than a need or you are working on a smaller budget, look into purchasing used equipment. Lots of websites sell gently used gym equipment. Ask your family, friends, and coworkers if they have equipment they don’t use or have suggestions on brands to purchase.

Home Gym Essentials

If you have no idea where to start, here is a list of a few essentials that are seen in most home fitness centers.

  • Adjustable bench: A sturdy, comfortable bench is vital to your workouts. An adjustable bench can be used in so many different ways.
  • Power rack: If you are looking to lift heavy and do it safely, this piece is a no-brainer. You will bench, squat, press, and deadlift using this machine.
  • Barbell and plates: These can be used for free-standing exercises or along with the power rack. Purchase the weights you know you will use and you can add to your collection over the years.
  • Adjustable dumbbells: They are an investment but will save you money and space in the long run.
  • Piece of cardio equipment: Pick a piece that you enjoy or is right for your budget. These pieces will be pricier, so choose one you know you and your family members will use.

After you have the essentials you can purchase some extra fun pieces of equipment that are typically lower cost. These may include jump ropes, resistance bands, stability balls, etc.

Planning the Space

You will also want to think about where you place your gym, what kind of flooring you use, paint color, windows, display case with awards, motivational quotes, posters, TV, etc. These are things that will be personal preference but are important and will make your gym unique. Include items that motivate you and fit your workout personality. You want your gym to be a place that you can escape to and feel motivated to work toward your goals!

 What is your favorite in home piece of equipment?  Comment below and share with us!

Subscribe to our blog

Topics: exercise at home equipment weightlifting resistance winter Fitness Center

Corporate Fitness: Why Do Your Feet Go Numb During Workouts

 

ThinkstockPhotos-484968472.jpgRegardless of whether you're new to exercise or you've been sweating it out for years, there's a good chance you've experienced the sensation of one or both of your feet going numb during a workout. For me, it's most likely to happen when I'm on an elliptical machine in the fitness center, but it's happened when I was out on a run, too. And "Why do your feet go numb during workouts?" is certainly one of the more commonly asked questions posed by our corporate fitness members. This phenomenon is common (and annoying), but it's probably not a life-threatening medical condition. There are a few things you can try to get the sensation to go away for good.

Check your routine. If you find that you frequently experience numbness during a specific activity, try changing up your routine. Maybe that particular piece of equipment or class just isn't the right fit for your body. Who knows, it might be that you just need a break, and taking a little time off can allow you to come back refreshed and ready for a new start.

FREE DOWNLOAD: 7 Ways to Add Exercise to the Workplace >

Check your laces. You may find that a simple adjustment in how tightly you lace your shoes can help. Resist the urge to snug-up the laces for a tight fit, and instead give your foot a little breathing room. Feet sometimes swell during exercise, and if you lace up tightly before you start sweating, you don't leave much room for your foot to spread.

Check your shoes. Consider the width (brand) of your shoe. A medium-width shoe is not the same across brands, and the same make/model of shoe has a different width for men and women. Men's shoes tend to have a wider toe box than women's shoes. So ladies, if you don't need a wide width, but your women's joggers aren't cutting it, try the men's version of the same shoe for a more comfortable fit. If you haven't been professionally fitted for shoes, it may be worth that investment.

[Related Content: How to find the right shoe]

Check your placement. On an elliptical or a bike, where the tendency is to keep your feet in the same position throughout the workout, think about making slight movements throughout the ride/roll. Subtly shifting how you place pressure on your feet over the span of a 20–40-minute session can help minimize numbness in the feet.

Check your symptoms. If you can use one of the recommendations above and the numbness goes away, no worries. If you find, however, that the numbness persists through your day, always occurs in the same place on your foot, or is so severe that you have to discontinue your workouts, it may be time to see your doctor. You may be dealing with a pinched-nerve injury that will need more than the suggestions above to remedy.

 

Topics: shoes Fitness Center corporate fitness injury numbness workouts

The Alternative to Personal Training in Corporate Fitness

personal trainingLet me start by saying I’m not here to dog personal training. There is absolutely a niche for that fee-based service, and there is clearly a clientele for it. It should definitely remain an option in fitness centers.

But sometimes, there are people in corporate fitness client settings who simply cannot afford the service. And the real rub is that often, the people who can’t afford it are the ones who would benefit the most from it. If you’re a trainer, you know what I’m talking about.

If you’re charged with overseeing outcomes from your corporate fitness program, you may be pulling out your hair trying to figure out how to get more people exercising on a regular basis. Personal training could help, but again, you're stuck with that price point issue that makes the service out of reach for many.  

The research is clear: moving more is good for your health and sitting is WAY worse than we thought.  

More Personal Attention Without a Personal Trainer

But let’s face it, for someone who is new to exercise or who, for whatever reason, is intimidated by the gym, a little hand-holding from a compassionate and capable professional can go a long way toward boosting the confidence of an unsure individual. The struggle is how to create opportunities for that hand-holding that don’t cross the line into fee-based personal training.

Fortunately, we’ve landed on a service that has proven to be a major value-add both for our clients and for their employees. Personal Fitness Quest, NIFS’s alternative to personal training, was born out of our staff routinely encountering the challenge of trying to invite more members to exercise regularly as a way to improve their health, and knocking up against people who needed more than a little instruction. Here are a few snippets of success stories from the service.

Corporate Fitness Success Profiles

Joyce’s Story: In January 2011 I started working out consistently. After working out with Adrienne through my Personal Fitness Quest, I started to feel more confident. I later joined Weight Watchers and almost three years later, I’m 80 pounds lighter, off my blood pressure meds, and feeling great!

Jen’s Story: When I started my first Personal Fitness Quest, I was walking for exercise. My NIFS staff trainer whipped me into shape and in that first six weeks I lost 11 pounds and seven inches. Since then, I’ve completed two more Personal Fitness Quests with the NIFS staff as well as started other healthy behaviors. As of July 2013, I had lost 115 pounds.

Julie’s Story: In August 2012, I started my first Personal Fitness Quest with Anne. She had me do things I didn’t think I could or wouldn’t try. I complained and whined but she said I’m the only person who smiled the entire time. After a year and a half, I’ve learned a whole new way to exercise and I’m thrilled to say I’ve lost more than 60 pounds and almost 40 inches.

Learn how you can implement a personal fitness quest program at your corporate fitness center by signing up for NIFS best practice series.  

Topics: corporate fitness program corporate fitness weight loss NIFS corporate fitness centers corporate fitness managment best practices Fitness Center personal trainers CORP Programs and Services

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 fitness success Fitness Center exercies at your desk Free Workout Friday

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 Fitness Center corporate fitness centers Free Workout Friday

Corporate Fitness Center: The Other Side

young couple working outGenerally speaking, there are 3 “sections” to each fitness center. On one side, you have the cardio area. On the other side is the resistance area. And somewhere in the corporate fitness center is usually a group exercise room. The latter can be used for just about anything so we’ll leave that alone for the time being. That leaves us with the cardio and resistance areas.

When you walk into the fitness center, who do you see in these areas? Women jogging on the treadmills (cardio) and men lifting weights (resistance), right? But why? It makes no sense! If you get a general consensus of the various goals of each gender, you’ll come up with a list that probably resembles something similar to this:

Female Goals                                               Male Goals

Lose Weight                                                  Get Stronger

Tone Up                                                        Get Ripped

So now you’re thinking, “What’s the problem? That looks about right to me. Why wouldn’t they be in their respective areas if these are their goals?”

This is why.

Women: Chances are you are probably already relatively thin. You may only need to lose another 10 lbs. or so. Well guess what, you’re not going to tone any trouble spots (i.e. that muffin top or bingo arm) by walking on the treadmill for 2 hours. You have to put those things to work! Get over on the resistance side and do some squats and work those triceps with some pushups. (And yes, you can do squats and pushups.) Cardio is, in fact, good for burning fat and you should continue doing it. But at this point you need to get the majority of your cardio through resistance training.

Men: You’ve been doing the bench press and bicep curls for 20+ years now. Let’s give it a rest. The strength is there, it’s just that fat is hiding it. Your fat is selfish. It wants to keep those muscles to itself. Well I say NO! It’s time to unleash your muscles to the world. Jump on the treadmill for a half hour. Go for a bike ride. Get that cardio in b/c yes, we can tell you’re strong, but we can also tell you like a good beer. I’m pretty sure you want people thinking your wife is pregnant, not you. Continue your resistance training, but get your heart rate up already and do some cardio.

So the next time you go to the gym ladies and gentleman, give the other side a try. You’ll be amazed.

 Like what you just read? Click here to subscribe to the blog.

Topics: Fitness Center cardio goal setting muscle endurance health and wellness

Active Aging: Workout Technique - Form First

seniors lifting weightsWe have all heard the phrase “quality over quantity,” and most of us have even directed this adage at someone else. But do we really believe it? And if we do, why is every gym and fitness center in the country filled with people sacrificing form for a few additional reps and pounds?

Before you pick up a weight, start a treadmill, or begin whatever mode of training you have planned for the day, think about your technique. “Where should my feet be?” “Should my hips be under my torso or behind it?” and “How am I going to breathe?” should be some of the questions you ask yourself before getting started.

Common problems associated with poor exercise technique include injuries such as sprains, strains, and fractures. Decreased activation of the desired muscle is also common when performing an exercise incorrectly. I see this most often when people are doing exercises too fast and momentum begins to reduce the work the targeted muscle has to do. All of these technique-associated problems have one thing in common: time.

“Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time,” said Jim Rohn. So stop wasting your time recovering from injuries you got only because you were doing exercises incorrectly or because you had to do extra repetitions since poor form caused the targeted muscle not to fatigue as quickly as it should have.

Here are some workout technique tips for making sure you take the time needed to do the exercises properly and safely.

Use Your Resources

There are countless fitness resources around us, some clearly better than others, that you can consult with to ensure that you are doing exercises properly. The first thing I would recommend you do is research the exercise technique on your own so that you have a general idea of what to expect. Then you should consult with the fitness professional in your active aging community, who can then provide you with cues and possibly hands-on instruction.

Proper Breathing During Exercise

Proper breathing can make the most difficult exercise seem easy. Or it can have the exact opposite effect, making a routine move seem like the end of the world. The most common method of breathing while performing resistance training is to inhale during the eccentric contraction (lowering weight) and to exhale during the concentric contractions (lifting weight). This method of breathing is not the only option an exerciser has, so do your research and find out what is the best method for you, but keep in mind that some variations carry risks. The Valsalva maneuver, for example, can be used when resistance training, but this method of breathing, exhaling against a closed airway, can cause dizziness as the blood levels returning to the heart drop.

Correct Body Position

Once you learn the appropriate body position for your desired exercise, pay attention to it as you execute the reps. The best way to do this is by watching yourself in a mirror. If you notice that your form is beginning to deteriorate and you are not able to correct it, stop the exercise and rest or reduce the weight you are working with. As I mentioned earlier, a few extra reps now are not worth the time you could miss as you recover from an injury.

This year’s tragic bombing of the Boston Marathon has sparked a new saying: “If you see something, say something,” reminding us all that we are the first line of defense when it comes to our own as well as our neighbors’ safety. This motto could also be used in the gym when you see someone demonstrating poor form; say something, but you better make sure you know what you are talking about first.

Topics: exercise injury Fitness Center weight training strength training

How to Build a Better Fitness Center for Your Residents

Senior living communities are spending a lot of time and resources today responding to the consumer's demand for opportunities to live well.  We see those responses translated into a variety of services and amenities that speak to wellness, and specifically exercise opportunities and fitness centers are one of the most common wellness elements in senior living.  Unfortunately, a lot of communities are still operating with exercise areas that are outdated and less than friendly for residents.  But money is tight, and allocating capital for improvements to existing exercise spaces or building brand new fitness centers is not a decision to be made lightly.  If you commit to investing in that type of capital improvement, you need to do it right. 

Questions about space allocation, design, equipment selection, programming, and liability can be overwhelming.

As you might expect, in my wellness consulting work at retirement communities, I get asked a lot of questions about new construction and rehabbing existing spaces.  I've answered some of the most common questions in a blog on the top 5 list of things to avoid when building a fitness center for senior living.

In a little bit deeper dive on key questions related to space design, size, and equipment, we hosted a "Build a Better Fitness Center" webinar, as part of our Build Vitality series.  The recording is below.  When you watch the 30 minute webinar, you find out more about the following:  

  • how to design/redesign a fitness area,
  • how to make sound exercise equipment selections for your residents,
  • what practices and policies need to be in place to effectively manage your liability, and
  • how to program the fitness areas for optimal engagement.

View the full Build a Better Fitness Center webinar using the button below. 

Watch the webinar: Build a Better Fitness Center 

If you want to cut to the chase and access all four of our Build Vitality webinars, click here.

 

Topics: senior wellness programs senior fitness management Fitness Center CCRC fitness center active aging fitness center for seniors

Free Workout Friday: Partner Workout

Free Workout FridayIn celebration of National Employee Health and Fitness Month, be a healthy trendsetter in your company by inviting a co-worker to join you for a workout at your corporate fitness center! Not only will working in a group help keep you motivated, you can push each other to strive for a better workout.  Here are some ideas that are featured in the video below for partner exercises that are great for any level of fitness!

  1. Partner squat with med ball toss
  2. Partner sit-ups with med ball pass
  3. Partner plank w/ high five
  4. Partner band  core twist
  5. Partner band rows

Your workouts don't have to be stressful.  If you find you struggle with fitting exercise into your routine, take ten minutes at a time to go for a walk, stand up at your desk to stretch, perform exercises at your desk, anything that can help you FIT IT IN to your schedule. 

Stop reading... Get up and Move! 

Talk to your corporate fitness staff about Deskercise and how you can fit exercise into your routine from your desk!

 

 

Topics: exercise fitness Fitness Center exercies at your desk Free Workout Friday nifs fitness management

Free Workout Friday: Upper and Lower Body Combo Exercises

Free Workout FridayOnce you have learned basic strength moves separately and have mastered the form for each, consider trying a workout where you combine both a lower and upper body strength exercise into one. Combo exercises have many benefits, such as burning more calories and increasing your physical and mental coordination. They also allow you to pack more into a certain amount of time, making your workout thorough and efficient. On busy days, this can be a good way to squeeze your normal 40 minute workout into 20!

There are many ways you can combine separate, basic strength moves into a combo exercise: upper body paired with lower body, lower body plus core, two arm exercises combined, etc. Even combinations of more than two are possible, for example a squat with a bicep curl into a shoulder press. Get creative, as long as you are using proper form for all exercises. Here are five upper body/lower body combos to try today:

1. Squat w/ tree-hugger - placing a band behind your back (or ancor if possible), sit back into a squat while bringing your extended arms out in front of you as if you were hugging a tree.

2. Deadlift w/ upright row - maintain a straight back while performing the deadlift, as you return to standing position, perform an upright row leading with your elbows.

3. Step-up w/ bicep curl - stepping up onto a box or bench while performing a bicep curl, maintain proper form keeping knee in line with the ankle.

4. Backwards lunge w/ front raise - as you step back into a lunge simultaneously perform a front shoulder raise with manageable weight, strive to maintain proper form.

5. Shoulder press w/ leg extension - can be performed sitting or standing, if standing you will balance on one leg lifting the opposite knee. You will perform a shoulder press while simultaneously extending the lifted leg at the knee and lowering.

Take a 10 minute break today and work through these exercises for worksite wellness.  Be sure to complete exercises on both sides where applicable.

Like what you just read? Click here to subscribe to the blog.

 

Topics: corporate fitness employee health healthy workforce exercise fitness Fitness Center exercies at your desk corporate fitness centers employee wellness Free Workout Friday