Circuit Training

Circuit training is a series of exercises in a short period of time, that target many muscle groups. This type of work out is ideal for toning up your body and getting your heart rate high.  Circuit training is a fast-pace exercise routine with little to no time in between machines and only lasts for about a half hour! You may find this type of exercise to be more exciting, rewarding and less time consuming than your normal work out routine!  Some gyms have circuit training rooms with a CD playing to instruct exercisers when to rotate machines.

Start off your circuit training work out with your normal routine of stretches and get ready to sweat!  Bring a timer with you to keep track of the time while rotating.

Each station should last 60 seconds. You will need hand weights, a step usually used in step aerobic exercises, medicine ball and an exercise ball as well as the machines provided at the gym.

1. For the first 60 seconds, get your heart rate up with some jumping jacks.

2. For the second 60 seconds, use a machine that works your arms. Try a machine like this.

3. For the third rotation, complete sit ups.  To make this work out more difficult, use a medicine ball. Try some of these other abdominal exercises to vary it up.

4. During the fourth rotation, try a combination of lunges and squats.  Make sure that you keep the weight of your body more in your heels than

your toes.  During a squat, your legs should be aligned with your shoulders, not too far apart and not too close. Improper form while squatting may cause injuries.  Check out this link to make sure you won’t injure yourself!

5. For the fifth rotation, pick up your set of hand weights and complete exercises like these. Start with your arms hanging on both sides of your body with a weight in each hand.  Pull the weight up while keeping your arm close to your body. Repeat.

6. The sixth rotation will be burpees. Start by getting into the push up position, perform one push up, then bring your legs to your chest as you’re about to stand up, instead of just rising up, jump up into the air with your arms above your head.  Check out this video to help perfect your burpees.  Do as many as you can during the 60 seconds!

7. For the next sixty seconds, you will be performing wood chops. Grab one of your heavier hand weights and get into the squatting position. Hold the weight with both hands out in front of you.  As you move your body down during the squat, move the weight down.  As you rise back up, gradually move the weight until it is above your head.  Repeat as many as you possibly can! Your legs will be burning after this station! Watch this video for further explanation.

8. Since your lower body was just worked out, try working your abs.  Sit on top of the exercise ball, with your legs on the ground.  Angle yourself so that your back is not lying on the ball, but that your body is in an upright position.  Bend your back so it curves with the ball, then sit back up.  Try these crunches for the next 60 seconds. To achieve the best results possible, make sure your form is correct by watching this video.

9. For the ninth rotation, complete as many push ups as you can.  To avoid injury and gain muscle, make sure you’re performing this exercise properly.  Check out this video for proper instructions.

10. You’re going to get an aerobic work out for the next minute by using the step. Follow this video on beginner stepping.

Repeat all then stations for a twenty minute work out. That is how to get a good work out in just a little time.

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Stay Hydrated.

Staying hydrated is a key factor to maintaining your weight and staying healthy.  Most Americans are dehydrated.  In fact, research shows about 75% of Americans are dehydrated!  Your body is made up of anywhere from one half-water, to four-fifths water.

There are a few factors that go into how much water one should drink daily.  Factors include: one’s weight, physical activity level, whether one is pregnant, or not, and if one lives resides in

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high altitude.  Use this Water Calculator  to find how much water you should drink!  The average person needs anywhere from 9-13 cups of water per day!

The feeling of dehydration can be confused with the feeling of hunger.  If you’re feeling hungry, but have not drank in a while, try having a glass of water before you eat.  Not only will it help you eat less, but will do your body some good!  Remember, water has 0 calories per serving!! Check out this article about drinking water before meals!

In order to burn calories, your body needs an adequate amount of water!  Muscles need water to function properly.  Water helps flush the toxins out of your body as you sweat.  This article, Ten Important Reasons Why Water Helps to Lose Weight, describes how water is essential for those trying to shed a few pounds!

Dehydration can be very dangerous.  Becoming dehydrated while working out is more common than you probably think.  As you sweat, you need to replenish the water you lose.  If you start to feel sick during your work out, you may be dehydrated.

Some symptoms of dehydration are:

  • Feeling dizzy
  • Feeling light-headed
  • Dry mouth
  • Less frequent urination
  • Feeling sleepy
  • Feeling thirsty
  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Lack of sweating while working out

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If you feel like you are dehydrated, try drinking a sports drink such as Gatorade.  Staying hydrated helps maintain your body’s temperature.  Drinking enough fluids is essential for vital chemical reactions in your body.  Drinking will help you feel less tired during the day and improve concentration.

Drinking too much water during meals may actually be a hinderance during the digestion process.  Don’t flood your digestive system during a meal because it will dilute the stomach acids which aid in digesting the food.

Cases of extreme dehydration may require hospitalization.  Make sure this does not happen to you, by drinking plenty of fluids throughout each day!

Drink This, Not That.

College students across the nation are notorious for binge drinking.  But do you really know how many calories you’re drinking?  Depending on the alcohol content, just ONE OUNCE of vodka can have anywhere from 60-80 calories.  Yikes.

Ways to cut calories while still having a good time:

  • Use diet sodas instead of regular.  Sugary chasers are hundreds of calories and may even make your hangover worse!

  • Drink light beer
  • Drink wine
  • Use low-calorie mixers
  • Make cocktails using light lemonade, light cranberry cocktail juice etc.
  • Try these new, ready-to-drink Skinnygirl Cocktails!
  • Drink a Bloody Mary, it only has about 120 calories!
  • Rum and DIET Coke

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Many regular beers have over 100-200 calories per 12 oz.  Drinking a light beer instead can save you roughly 100 calories!
  • Budweiser Select 55 -55 calories
  • Becks Light -65 calories
  • Pabst Extra Light Low Alcohol- 67 calories
  • Bud Light- 110 calories
  • O’Doul’s- 70 calories
Wine is another way to cut calories while drinking.  When it comes to wine, a serving is five ounces.  Having a glass of Gamay, a red wine, only has 115 calories per serving.  If you prefer white wine, try a glass of Riesling, which has only 118 calories per serving.
If you’re going to drink heavily, make sure you exercise before going out!  Try cutting calories throughout the day to make up for the hundreds of empty calories you’ll be consuming that evening!  Skip dessert, and have carrots instead of chips.
Mixed Drinks are very high in sugar and calories.  The average long island iced tea has over 700 calories!  Most likely your lunch had less calories than that!  If you’re a fan of Mike’s Hard Lemonade, be aware that each bottle has 220 calories!  Try drinking Mike’s Lite Hard Lemonade instead, with less than 100 calories per bottle!
Try to stay away from thicker mixed drinks like pina coladas!  Try some of these recipes. Check out this Pina Colada Cooler:

Fitnessmagazine.com

Pina Colada Cooler
from: fitnessmagazine.com
1 1/2 ounces coconut-flavored rum
3 ounces pineapple juice
4 ounces sparkling water
1 tablespoon of Coco Lopez Cream of Coconut Lite (found in the drink mixers section of many supermarkets)

Pour ingredients over ice and stir.
Calories: 165

 The Mojito is another low-calorie flavorful beverage popular among weight watchers.  You can find other skinny cocktail recipes online!
After a long night of partying, your body needs to sweat; so make sure you get to the gym ASAP!

Get Running.

Of course there are those who enjoy running, and those who just cannot stand it.  But if you want to tone your muscles without adding too much bulk, running is the way to go.

Some benefits of running are:

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  • A decrease in one’s appetite.
  • Increased amount of energy
  • Improved concentration
  • Better sleep
  • healthy heart.  Running improves overall blood flow.
  • Fund raising.  Participating in a race or marathon for a cause not only benefits your health, but also helps those receiving the proceeds from the race fee.
  • The prevention of depression as well as treatment.
  • The treatment of anxiety.
  • Prevention of joint pain and arthritis.  Maintaining a healthy weight is healthy for joints especially in the lower body.
  • “COLLEGE STUDENTS WHO EXERCISE AT LEAST 20 MINUTES 7 DAYS A WEEK HAVE HIGHER GPA’S THAN THOSE WHO ARE SEDENTARY.”

A person’s weight determines how many calories he or she burns while running, not necessarily how fast a person runs.  The ability to run great lengths at a fast pace will definitely take time.  Learning how to breathe while you run is very important, especially running in the cold weather during the fall and winter months.  Inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth.  Learn how to breathe here.

Start your day with breakfast.  Stay hydrated.  Working out dehydrated may cause headaches.  Not drinking enough water can hinder the body’s ability to create sweat.  Sweating is how the human body cools off.  Drinking too much caffeine can actually cause dehydration, leading to a slower working out and tired feeling.  Eating carbs before running is helpful considering it will boost your energy.

Picture from: Examiner.com

Eating after working out is ideal because the metabolism is working fast than usual after a work out.  Refuel your body with a balanced meal containing protein, carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables.  Eating protein is essential for muscle repair after a run as well as muscle building.  Avoid high-fat foods, especially foods with trans fat in them.

Pre-run tips:

  1. Drink at least 8 oz. of water
  2. Eat some sort of carbohydrate and/or protein.  A protein bar or cheese stick with crackers are good choices.
  3. Stretch
Make sure you stay hydrated during your run!  Drinking too much, too quickly, or sugary sports drinks may cause a side cramp.
Post-run tips:
  1. Drink water, and lots of it.  The body is made up of mostly water and after you’ve sweat a good amount, you need to replenish your fluids!
  2. Consume carbohydrates.  This will leave you feeling refreshed.
  3. Eat protein.  Have a sandwich with meat on it, or cheese if you’re vegetarian.  Protein helps build muscle.
Posture is important while running.  Make sure you run upright, without hunching over.  Not maintaining a proper form while running can lead to injury.  Make sure you’re not working unnecessary muscles by watching this video!  Grab your iPod and get running!

Dorm Room Living

Now I’m sure you all have very busy schedules.  Between work and school, who has time to cook?  I get it, making healthy meal choices is a lot easier said, than done.  Especially if you have a food plan and/or are living in a dorm.  Living in a dorm room limits you to what you can make, due to the lack of cooking equipment and a small refrigerator.

Tips for the dorm room student:

  • Be aware of how much you’re snacking.  Leaving food all around your room will only promote late night munching, which will cause weight gain.
  • Look at the nutrition label on the back of foods before you purchase them.  Here at Kent State we have markets like the Eastway Market where you can buy food off your meal plan.  Be aware of what you’re purchasing.
  • Remember at home, when your entire family would share the bag of chips? You probably didn’t eat as many as you are now.  Don’t eat the whole bag in one sitting!  Limit yourself to a handful at a time, or a day!
  • Walk to class, as much as possible.  If it’s a nice day out, why not walk to class?  You’ll be getting fresh air which is good for you, and you’ll be burning off those french fries you ate at lunch.
  • Eat breakfast!! Get your metabolism going in the morning.  Eating breakfast will help you focus more during class and give you energy.  Get a coffee from Jazzman’s and make oatmeal in your microwave.  Try to not get a sugary pastry from Jazzman’s, they’re full of calories and will most likely give you a sugar buzz, which will make you crash before lunch time.
  • For lunch, don’t just pig out at Rosie’s.  Try getting a salad with a low-fat dressing, and a fruit cup.
  • Instead of Cheeto’s for a snack, try eating a low-fat string cheese and some Reduced Fat Wheat Thins.  I personally like the Reduced Fat Wheat Thins because they don’t taste as salty as the regular ones.
  • Make healthy choices when you’re scouting out dinner options.  Choose (grilled) chicken over greasy beef.  Chicken has less fat, but also has protein, just like beef.
  • Go bunless.  If you get a cheeseburger, hot dog etc., try eating it without the bun.  I find a cheeseburger just as good eaten by fork.
  • Limit yourself.  Just because you have a ton of money on your meal plan, doesn’t mean you need to binge every day!  Some meal plans allow you to use the excess money from the semester before on the next semester.
  • After you go out, try not to eat.  Drunk eating is a huge cause of weight gain among college students.  Hide your snacks from yourself, so when you get home you go straight to bed!
  • Stay away from the sweets!  Too much sugar in your diet will cause weight gain! Try having this instead: Figure Friendly Desserts
  • Work out, work out, work out.  Exercising is good for you mentally and physically.  Don’t be one of those kids that comes home in the summer with an extra 15lbs. Exercise at least three to four times per week for best results.

Get Motivated.

Have you been keeping track of your weight daily?  Have you seen results? Hopefully you’re toning up your muscles and losing weight!  Don’t forget to write down your goals, especially if you have changed them!

Not feeling motivated to go to the gym? Here are some tips I find helpful on those slow-moving days:

-Drink coffee!  Caffeinated coffee gets the metabolism moving and gives you energy!  It will help you push yourself during your work out.  Try a latte which has milk in it so you can get some protein in.

-Download up-beat music to get you pumped up.  Make a playlist you can see yourself running to and play it while you’re getting ready to put yourself in a determined mindset.

-Get a work out partner.  Make sure they are motivated enough to help you get your butt up and get to the gym!  Having someone to work out with can be supportive, so don’t let your work out buddy down!

-The hardest part can be just getting to the actual gym.  Once you’re there, you’re more likely to just complete your work out.  So just get there!

-Try a new work out machine to vary your routine!

-Reward yourself.  Small rewards will be encouraging.

-If you skip a work out, punish yourself.  Don’t have that extra cookie after dinner, or better yet, skip dessert!

-Just think of all the calories you could be burning!

-Keep your goals in mind and how you want your body to look

-Hang up pictures or posters of individuals who you aspire to look like.

-Working out relieves stress! Take a study break to burn some calories and blow off some steam.

-You’re going to feel guilty if you do skip your work out!

-Print out motivational quotes and hang them up near your posters

-Plan a beach vacation so you have something to look forward to!  Get that beach body you long for.

-Exercising daily improves flexibility!

-You’ll fit into your skinny jeans, every day!!

If you don’t go to the gym you’ll probably end up eating out of boredom and maybe even guilt.  Here are 7 Reasons You Eat When You’re Not Hungry.

Going to the gym when you’re young means you’re more likely to go when you’re older!  The sooner you get into the habit of hitting up the gym every day, the easier it will get over time!  Working out can reduce your chances of hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease!

Remember, living a healthy life means implementing healthy lifestyle changes for the rest of your life.

Get Moving

If you read my first post about preparing for a work out, you should be all ready to get out there and start burning calories.  Aerobic exercise is when you get your heart rate up to at least 130 beats per minute.  After warming up by stretching and getting your heart rate up, you are ready to start your work out.  Running will not come easy at first.  It takes time to train your muscles.  You will need to build your endurance.  At first you will not be able to run for long periods of time without losing control of your breathing.

To start off your first work out, run in intervals.  Run for five minutes, then walk for three.  Repeat this four times so you end up running a total of 20 minutes.  Make sure your walk in between you running intervals is a fast pace walk.  Your heart rate will increase during the running periods, and decrease while you’re walking.  Check this post: Running Goals For Beginners.  A Tweet from @rwchallenge said, “@rwchallenge RW Challenge: The golden rule of running: don’t increase mileage or pace by more than 10% week to week. Get to the starting line healthy! #runningtips

After I run on the treadmill, I either go on the stair stepper or the elliptical.  I recommend putting the stair stepper on the ‘calorie burner’ setting.  This setting will get your heart rate up and give you an incredible work out for you legs and butt.  If this is your first time, make sure your level is at least five, but no more than eight.  For this setting you enter your weight, the amount of time you want to be stepping away, and the level.  There is an automatic cool down that adds a minute and thirty seconds of time after you finish your desired time.  This cool down helps the heart rate decrease back to its normal resting rate.  I like this setting because it shows how many calories I burn after I finish.

Next step: toning your abs.  Start by sitting on a stability ball, which you can find at most gyms in the advanced training section. Check out this YouTube video which explains how to do a proper sit up while on the utility ball.  If using the stability ball is too difficult at first, regular sit ups will do just fine.  Make sure your back comes off the ground, and not just your neck. Check out how to preform a Proper sit up.

After I finish about fifteen minutes of various abdominal exercises, I move on to working out my upper body.  To tone and not bulk up, use lighter weights.  If you want to bulk up your arm muscles, vary your weights and reps.  Muscles get larger when they are forced to adapt.  Here is a great video of arm exercises you can follow along to: Tone Up Your Arms.

If you see a work out machine you have never tried, there usually is a picture of how to perform the exercise, so give it a shot!  Make sure you stretch after your work out to help your body cool down.

Repeat Daily!

Pre Work Out Tips

Get off the couch.

Goal setting is the key to getting in shape and staying on track.  In order to set goals, one must be realistic and serious about meeting them.  First off, weigh yourself and record your weight.  Buy a calendar so you can record your weight daily to see results.  Numbers don’t lie.  Next, write down what weight you would like to be in one month.  Becoming a healthier individual will require changes in your daily life.  You will have to implement healthy choices in your day to day life.

Before you begin your work out, make sure you have a light meal with protein and carbohydrates.  Carbohydrates will give you an extra boost of energy.  One of my personal pre work out routines is drinking a latte.  The caffeine from the coffee wakes me up and gives me a burst of energy and I gain protein from the milk!  Find foods that will get you through a work out which won’t cause cramping or make you sick or nauseous.

Having the right mindset will make or break you when it comes to working out.  You must be willing to push yourself, every single day.  If you have never really been a fan of working out, I am determined to make working out seem less painful.  Both mentally, and physically.  Before beginning a work out, one should always stretch.  Stretching is a way to warm up your muscles to prevent injury.  See the image of examples and ideas on how to stretch.

Getting your heart rate up is essential for a successful aerobic work out.  The average person’s resting heart rate (or beats per minute) is around 70.  This means your heart beats about 70 times per minute.  See http://www.topendsports.com/testing/heart-rate-resting-chart.htm for more information on heart rates.  Your resting heart rate will depend on how active you are.  The more you work out, the lower your resting heart rate will be.  Lowering your resting heart rate will take time.  To achieve weight loss, you will need to get your heart rate up anywhere from 130-200.  Wearing a heart monitor while exercising has become quite common and is ideal for the serious trainer.   I recommend wearing a heart monitor to get a better understanding of how your heart is handling your work out.  Heart monitors can be $30-$300, depending on how many features you are interested in.  For now, just knowing what your heart rate is at any given moment while working out is the only feature you really need.

After stretching, your body needs to warm up, which you can do by walking on a treadmill at a normal to fast walk pace.  Your heart rate should increase up to about 100 or so, depending on your speed and incline.  I recommend that your warm up lasts at least five minutes to increase your body temperature, and blood flow to your muscles, which makes them loose.  While you pick up your pace to a brisk walk, make sure you control your breathing by inhaling through the nose and out the mouth.  Making sure your breathing is under control is key to keeping your heart rate steady.  For more information on warming up, check out: http://www.livestrong.com/article/511702-how-long-should-a-warm-up-last/.  If you feel dizzy or light headed, consult your doctor before exercising.

Stay tuned.