Active4Less News & Blog

Are You Making These 3 Mistakes?

Posted on October 2nd, 2014 by Active4Less | Category: Articles > Club News > Burnham > Club News > Club News > Luton > Club News > Uxbridge | Permalink

There’s a lot more to toning up than just heaving those free weights, being a cardio animal, and pushing yourself to the limit. You’ve got to know specifically what to focus on, what to adjust, and what to plan for.

Avoid these biggest mistakes and watch your body tone up, slim down and thank you later:

1. Not Focusing On Recovery

In trying to tone up, your focus should be on recovery. It’s the last, most important step in the entire process of your fitness regime. Think of it as a business.

What do you think is the most important – product creation, financial planning, or marketing and selling? In business, nothing ever happens until a sale is made.

Nothing also ever happens until your body has time to repair. I don’t how much you’ve bench pressed, how long you worked your cardio or how many group fitness classes you did today. It doesn’t matter. What matters first and foremost is how you’ll be able to recover afterwards.

So if you’re trying to be macho doing 40+ sets for 5 times a week while cross-training in other sports, good luck. The guy or gal who just spends 30 minutes doing a complete workout, 3 times a week will earn my respect a lot more.

You can train all you want. But can you recover from all of that?

2. Not Adjusting Your Diet

I think for most people, sleep is a given constant – 7 to 8 hours a day. Count yourself lucky if you can afford even this basic requirement.

When it comes to diet however, yours could look drastically different from the person next to you. That’s because you need to adjust your food intake to the level of activity you’ve done, you’re doing, and going to do in the next couple of hours. And that’s a lot to take into consideration.

The ones who constantly adjust their diet experience the biggest gains compared to those who eat as constantly as they work out. Don’t get me wrong. You need to be consistent with your protein, carb, and fat intake. But it’s their proportion you need to scale.

In general, mornings are best for high-carb intake while evenings are better for high-protein meals.

3. Not Planning Your Training

If you think your nutrition is the only the thing you need to vary, you’re in for a surprise. Your workouts need to be re-cycled as well.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be as immediate and day-to-day as your diet. Changing your training routines usually happen every 6-12 weeks. Most people still don’t get the reason for this. For them, if a program works great, why change it at all? That’s very logical. However, your mind and body is smarter than that. Once you’ve adjusted well to the exercises, weights, and repetitions you impose on yourself, the program slowly becomes more and more ineffective.

Think about the first time you ever drank coffee. The ‘buzz’ from that instant brew will always be the most intense. Same with your workouts. So to keep your body (and mind) challenged and growing, adjust your workouts – even if it means simply re-ordering your exercises.

Want more great ideas and ways to improve how you look and feel? Stop in and meet with a member of our fitness team, they would be glad to help you develop a specific plan to meet your goals!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,  

Exercising After 50

Posted on August 28th, 2014 by Active4Less | Category: Articles > Club News > Burnham > Club News > Club News > Luton > Club News > Uxbridge | Permalink

Fitness for Baby Boomers

Men and women need to be aware of the importance of the five phases of a successful cardiovascular exercise session. We have seen many people start an exercise program with great intentions and then suddenly quit. Usually, they quit because of pain and injury. Sometimes, they quit because they don’t see any results.

When people over 50 exercise in a proper way, you burn calories and increase fitness. But when you exercise in an improper way, you risk injuries. You risk burning away the protein stored in your muscles and vital organs and the carbohydrates (sugar) which you need to supply nourishment to your nervous system and brain. But what is proper exercise? Of the course the best thing to do is to speak with a member of our professional staff to assist you in developing a program that fits your needs and goals. However, we can share with you five basic steps to be followed at each exercise session. These basic parameters have proven to give optimal results and minimize the chance of injury during exercise.

1. WARM UP
Function: To prepare and “‘alert” our body for the upcoming physical activity. A warm up at the beginning of an exercise session is one of the best ways to prevent pain and injury. Despite its importance, this step is often ignored by exercisers – even experienced athletes.

How To: For a proper warm up, simply perform the exercise at a slow pace for about 5 minutes (or until your pulse count is above 100 beats per minute-bpm). For example, start your brisk walk with a slow 5 minute stroll or be at your aerobics class at the beginning of the session (a good instructor will always start the class with a warm up).

2. PRE-EXERCISE STRETCH
Function: Relaxes and lengthens our muscles.

How To: Once we have warmed up our body (our pulse count is over 100 bpm), it is time to stretch the muscles we are about to use. The leg stretches and upper body Static Stretches, relax the muscles that are used for walking a track or riding a bicycle. Relaxed muscles tend to improve our efficiency and our performance as well as reducing our risk of injury.

3. EXERCISE
Function: To improve cardiovascular fitness and/or burn body fat.

How to: An aerobic activity such as walking, biking, swimming and Walkaerobics should increase our pulse count to 40% – 60% of our maximum heart rate. The activity should be done for 12 – 30 minutes, not more than 60 minutes per session. The Heart Rate Chart based on your resting heart rate and age determines your exercise heart rate.

4. COOL DOWN
Function: To gradually return to resting state.

If we stop short after exercising, it takes time for our body to regain homeostasis. Meanwhile, our heart is still pumping at an accelerated pace and blood pools in our extremities. We get swollen fingers and feet. This causes dizziness because no blood, and therefore no oxygen, is getting to our brain.

How To: The cool down is the same as the warm up, but in reverse. Just do the exercise or previous activity at a slow, temperate pace for about 5 minutes or until your heart rate has gone down below 100 bpm.

5. POST-EXERCISE STRETCH
Function: Prevents soreness and increases flexibility.

How To: This is the optimal time to static stretch. Your body is warm and your blood is pumping at a moderate pace so you can stretch further without causing an injury. Besides increasing your flexibility, stretching at this point squeezes out the excess waste products that have built up in your muscles during exercise. If you do not stretch at this time, the waste buildup causes muscle soreness and fatigue.

These five phases of an cardio exercise session are condensed from proven scientific studies and the American College of Sports Medicine Guidelines ACSM. When followed at each workout they will give optimal results and minimize the chance of injury during exercise.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,  

Careful How You Choose Your Protein Bar

Posted on August 12th, 2014 by Active4Less | Category: Articles > Club News > Burnham > Club News > Luton > Club News > Uxbridge | Permalink

Careful How You Choose Your Protein Bar

You’ve probably heard eating five or six small meals a day is one way to maintain a healthy weight and keep your energy levels high, particularly if you work out regularly. But let’s face it: it’s hard enough to find time to cook one meal a day, never mind six. When you’re on the go and looking for a quick, healthy small meal, a nutrition bar can be a good option.

However, there are so many different brands and types of bars on the market — meal replacement/diet bars, energy bars, protein bars — that choosing one that’s healthy and suits your goals can be quite confusing. Let’s try and make some sense of it for you.

What Protein Bar is Best for You?

The different types of bars all contain varying levels of protein, carbohydrates, fat, and sugar, depending on their intended goal. Energy bars are generally designed to give a boost of energy to endurance athletes, such as marathoners and cyclists. Therefore, their main ingredient is carbs, which provide the “fuel” necessary to make it through a competition. Meal replacement bars are essentially “diet” bars; they contain the least amount of calories and more carbs than protein.

They are meant to replace a meal for dieters, or as a healthy, low-calorie pre or post-workout snack. Finally, protein bars are designed with weightlifters in mind. With high levels of protein, they are meant to help you build muscle and lose fat when you’re training.

Always Read the Label

While a nutrition bar can be a healthy choice once in a while, you should always read the labels carefully. Many bars are packed with sugar, which can make them just as bad as a regular chocolate bar. You should always choose one that contains little refined sugars and saturated fats. Also, don’t make the mistake of eating too many of these, or you might end up packing on the pounds. And be aware many bars tested by ConsumerLab didn’t meet its labeling claims, which means they may contain more fat and sugar than you think.

Like all foods you consume, read the label and make wise decisions to fit your lifestyle and activity levels.

Your Active4 Less Team x

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,  

How To Prevent & Manage Diabetes

Posted on April 9th, 2014 by Active4Less | Category: Club News > Burnham > Club News > Luton > Club News > Uxbridge | Permalink

Exercise is vital for managing diabetes; the other essential management tool is a well-balanced healthy nutritious diet. Implementing regular exercise into your daily routine will allow you to easily achieve optimum health and take control of your diabetes. Here at the club we certainly can help you with both!

Before starting and exercise program to help you in managing diabetes you need to consult with your doctor first to see which exercises will be the most beneficial for you. Depending on what condition your diabetes is you need to realize that some exercises can actually cause you more harm than good. When you are ready, speak with a professional on our staff to assist you.

Always remember that before starting your exercises, you need to do at least 5 minutes of warm-up exercises so that you do not cause yourself unnecessary injury. When you have completed your exercise program for the day, it is also very important that you do a 5-minute cool down for the same reasons as with the warm-ups.

Following are some different exercises that will help you in managing diabetes more easily, both at the club and at home:

Working with one of our trainers
An easy walk around the block
Taking your dog for a walk
A gentle jog
Using our cardio equipment
Gardening or mowing the lawn
Swimming has many great benefits
Cycling is another option that is beneficial
Joining an aerobics class can be fun
Doing the chores around the house

When you start your exercise program, depending on your fitness level, make sure that you start off slowly, don’t rush in and overdo as this can cause you many complications that you can do without. Start with 10 to 15 minutes per day and gradually build up to at least half an hour per day.

The secret to doing exercises on a regular basis so that managing diabetes can be obtained is to do exercises that your enjoy, if you don’t like doing the exercise, it will feel like a chore and you will give up too easily. Some exercise activities can be done with a friend or family member, this will allow you to become motivated as well as look forward to each time you come to the club.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,  

What to Do Your First Day at the Gym

Posted on March 18th, 2014 by Active4Less | Category: Club News > Burnham > Club News > Luton | Permalink

Complete gym workouts are exactly what you need if you are looking to build your whole body and get yourself in shape as a whole. Too many people focus on just one area of their body when exercising. By involving multiple muscle groups, your body burns more calories and you get in shape faster. There are literally dozens of complete gym workout routines that our professional staff can develop for you. Here is just one example that may appeal to you:

Phase 1: Cardio
The first part of any full body workout should be some cardio work. You want to get the blood pumping and get yourself all stretched and warm and ready to challenge your muscles. Not only will it warm you up, but it will help you get your fat-burning engine running. Most people run on a treadmill, but if you’re real hardcore you may want to try jumping rope. It’s a real killer!

Phase 2: Chest and Back
You’ll find that many of us start our workouts with our arms or legs, but this is a mistake. They should be last, because if you tire them out right at the start, a) your arms won’t be able to pull their weight during other exercises, and b) your legs still have to carry you around the gym for the remaining workout time. Instead go for your chest and your back first. Start with some dumbbell bench presses going for your chest. Your back can be a little harder to work, but get into some lat pull downs and some deadlifts and you’ll be seeing gains in no time.

Phase 3: Arms
Ok, now it’s time for arms. This is the favorite part of many people’s complete workout, as the arms are where most people notice their gains the most. It’s important not to forget there are 3 sets of muscles in the arm, so you want to get some dumbbell curls going to build the biceps, some triceps pull-downs for the triceps (tough!), and both forearms curls and reverse forearm curls for your forearms. Now you are glad you didn’t do this to start!

Phase 4: Legs
Your leg muscles are the largest in your body and we save them for last. During most full body workouts, unless people are looking to compete, the legs are mostly neglected. Thankfully though, they have to carry you around all day and so respond quite well to any stimulation. You can do some squats to build your thighs, and you’ll find some single footed heel raises will build your calves quickly. Lastly, it’s your hamstrings and they’ll build naturally from all the running, but you can also do some basic leg curls to really get them pumping.

Complete body workouts don’t have to be hugely time consuming or complicated; but they can be highly effective as part of an overall fitness regime. Speak with our staff for more ideas and exercises to meet your specific challenges!

Tags: , , , , , , ,