Archive | Health and Wellness

A big reason we are dedicated to the pursuit of fitness is for improved health and wellness. Whether it is through insight on better workouts, diet and supplements, or the best equipment we have, we want to help improve your health. Our friendly and experienced professional staff knows a thing or two about improving health and wellness. Feel free to ask us any questions you might have!

What Should Your Target Heart Rate Be?

One of the most important aspects of cardiovascular activity is getting your heart rate to be in its target zone. Getting your heart rate into your target zone is the key to not under-exercising and not overworking yourself. Although you should push yourself to improve, working your heart too hard can actually slow down your metabolism and cause you to burn fat more slowly! Besides that, over-exercising will also increase your risk of injury and temporarily weaken your immune system. Hitting your target heart rate not only nullifies these issues, but it also gets you into your maximum calorie burning zone. Remember that this is different for everyone. Here are the steps on how to find and enter your target heart rate zone when exercising.


  1. Find your resting heart rate

There are various devices that can measure your heart rate, including many built-in to fitness equipment, but if you don’t have access to these here’s how to measure your resting heart rate the old fashioned way. There are two spots to take your pulse. First is on your wrist. Take your index and middle finger and place your fingertips on the outer edge of your wrist until you feel a strong pulse. Count how many times your heart beats for 15 seconds and then multiply it by four to determine your beats per minute, or BPM. Alternatively you can also take your pulse on your neck using the same two fingertip technique. Be careful not to use your thumb because you can also feel your heart beat in it, which may confound your count. The average heart rate for an adult is between 50 to 90 BPM, with athletes having a lower rate on average.

  1. Finding your target heart rate

As a rule of thumb, your maximum heart rate is usually double your resting heart rate. This is not the target heart rate though, reaching your maximum heart rate would be straining far too much. The target heart rate you should be aiming for is a 50% to 85% increase of your resting heart rate. For example, say your heart rate is 70, a 50% increase would make your low target range to be 105 BPM. When you’re just starting out, you want to stick around the low end of your target heart rate and slowly increase to the higher range. Slowly work up to a 70% increase and be wary that only seasoned fitness fanatics should attempt to go above a 75% increase of their resting heart rate.

Now that you know how to calculate your target heart rate, it’s time for you to reach that zone. Buy some of our commercial grade fitness equipment that can keep track of your heart rate and help you enter the optimal fat burning zone!

Should You Exercise in the Rain?

In every sports movie there’s always the dramatic scene of the team practicing intensely with the rain pouring down on them while they’re doing push-ups in the mud. While it certainly does make for a great drama, you may be wondering if it is really beneficial or even safe to exercise in the rain. It is a common myth that being outside in the cold and rain will cause you to catch a cold or the flu. You have to be in contact with a virus in order get a cold or the flu. It has also been found that, surprisingly, working out in the rain can actually be beneficial, specifically in increase fat burning. We’ll get into further detail.

Working out in the rain hinders athletic performance but burns more calories

What this means is that you may not yield the same results, you may run a shorter distance and not as quickly, but you will be working harder. This is mostly due to the colder temperatures which causes a higher level of oxygen consumption, meaning that the body is burning more calories and at a higher rate. The rain is also keeping your body cooler which eliminates the impact of heat stress, which lowers your power output. On the mental side, working out in the rain and cooler temperature also reduces the perception of effort, making it seem like the workout is much easier.

How do I workout in the rain?

Working out in the rain is certainly better than training in dry heat, but it can also have some hazards. First, do not exercise in extremely heavy rains, a light drizzle or sprinkle is fine. If the roads are flooding, you should probably stay off of them.

It is also highly suggested that you purchase waterproof clothing, such as shorts and shirts that can wick off sweat. This will keep it from rubbing against your skin and causing abrasions. You should also get waterproof socks, because wet socks leave you prone to blisters, which is terrible. A hat or a visor is also recommended in order to keep the rain from your face. Wear bright clothing so drivers can see you from a distance and not splash or run you over.

These are just a few tips if you want to work out in dramatic fashion in the rain. If you’re not a fan of it, then we have another suggestion. You can buy fitness equipment from us and workout in any weather in the comfort of your home!

Benefits of Group Exercise

One of the most important keys for getting a good workout, the fun factor, is often overlooked. If working out isn’t enjoyable, you’re not going to do it as often and with the vigor necessary in order to reap the full benefits. One of the quickest ways to turn getting fit into fun is by doing it in a group. Whether it’s a couple of friends or a group training class, working out with others is highly beneficial. We’ll tell you why!

  1. It creates a fun and social environment

If a buddy of yours invites you to dinner or to grab some drinks, you’ll most likely accept without a second thought. This is because these invites are for fun social outings. There is no reason working out cannot be a fun social event. Inviting friends to workout with you can motivate you to work harder and also allows all of you to be accountable for each other. A fun idea is to set up a home gym where you can blast the music you enjoy with all of your most beloved buddies. By making working out an event rather than a chore, you’ll be more likely to stick to a routine and feel great about it.

  1. Group classes are great for beginners

Probably the biggest hurdle to overcome when starting a fitness routine is where to start? It is difficult to create your own exercise and regiment that will benefit yourself if you don’t have previous experience in fitness. One of the best ways to begin your workout journey is by taking classes at your local gym. These are led by experienced fitness gurus that know how the body work and how to maximize workouts for the most benefit. You’ll also be surrounded by other beginners so there is no intimidation. Even if you are taking an advanced class, the other participants will be able to help.

  1. You can meet new friends (or maybe more)

It is not the wisest idea to go to the gym with the intention of finding new friends or your soul mate but it is a nice potential added bonus. Meeting people at the gym and befriending them will help to add motivation. Friendly competition can also push you harder and help you reach your goals more quickly. You’ve also most commonly heard stories of couples meeting at the gym, so there’s also that.

  1. Routine and Accountability

As we previously alluded to before, friends and group workout are great for accountability. It is hard to find excuses when you have to convince someone other than yourself. Having more than one person working out together also means that there is a need for coordination, which is great for creating a routine.

Are there any machines that are used for group workouts?

Actually, yes there are. For example, we have a great total group training machine called the Life Fitness Synergy XS. We also have a Cybex 3 Stack Multigym which will allow you to workout with two of your buddies. Make working out a social event!

How to Make Your Thanksgiving Healthier

Thanksgiving dinner is usually synonymous with expanding your waistline, but it doesn’t have to be the undoing of all that quality time in the gym. Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t have to be a deadly carb bonanza filled with fattening foods. We’ve listed some great healthy alternative dishes that still have that Thanksgiving spirit without packing on the calories.


  1. Roasted Turkey Breast

The mainstay centerpiece of Thanksgiving, the beloved turkey, is actually quite healthy when cooked properly. Of course, we’re going to suggest that you go for the low fat, lean breast of the turkey which can be just as juicy as the other parts of the turkey if roasted correctly. To roast your turkey breast, mix up all your favorite herbs (garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, etc.) with some olive oil and lemon juice. Put this mixture between the skin and the meat. Pour some white win in the roasting pan. Roast it at 325 degrees for around two hours or until it is at 165 degrees internally at the thickest part of the meat. Let the turkey rest after roasting before serving.

  1. Mashed Sweet Potatoes

We’ve already written about all the great benefits of sweet potatoes, especially for body-builders, so why not replace the traditional mashed potatoes and gravy with some mashed sweet potato? The recipe for this dish is also ridiculously simple.

First, you need sweet potatoes, about three pounds of them. Boil those potatoes until they are tender, drain the water and let them cool down for a bit outside of the pot. Put half a stick of a light butter alternative in the pot and one sliced banana. Add one cup of orange juice and cook the banana for five minutes. Add in the potato, mash it and add a bit of brown sugar for extra flavoring.

  1. Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut squash is a one of the healthiest and nutritious fruits in the game right now. It not only has a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, but is also loaded with antioxidants. It also has a pretty low calorie count and is high in fiber so you’ll feel fuller without as many calories. A great starter for the big Thanksgiving dinner is butternut squash soup.

For this recipe you’ll need one butternut squash (around two to three pounds is optimal) that is peeled and seeded. You’ll need two tablespoons of a light unsalted butter alternative, one chopped medium onion, six cups of chicken stock, nutmeg and salt and pepper. Cut the squash into small chunks and melt the butter alternative. Throw in the onions until they’re translucent. Add the squash and the chicken stock and simmer until the squash is tender and free of chunks. If there are still chunks of squash, scoop them out, blend them and throw them back in the soup. Sprinkle some salt, pepper and nutmeg and you’ll have a wonderfully warming soup.


Fittest Countries in the World

Are you a fitness fanatic who’s caught the travel bug? If you want a dose of great sights and being in a fitness friendly environment, we have put together a list of the top five healthiest and most in-shape countries in the world. These countries made our list not only because of their active ways, but also because they live a healthy lifestyle in general by both eating right and working out.


  1. Japan

Japan has one of the highest life expectancies in the world which directly correlates to their healthy lifestyles and habits. Japanese people tend to eat a more local diet, filled with healthy low calorie vegetables. Due to their island nature, they also eat more fresh fish as opposed to high fat foods and red meat. They also eat less dairy and consume more vegetables and eat smaller portions. Their love of green tea is also an added health benefit.

  1. Monacco

The primary reason that Monacco is so healthy is because of how wealthy most of the population is. They have many of the largest and most advanced gyms in the world. They also have the necessary financial means to eat healthy meals cooked by personal chefs.

  1. Iceland

Iceland has a pretty small but very healthy population. The small population size aids in keeping pollution low and the air fresh and highly breathable. Another reason is that they love using fitness equipment. Resident Icelanders are always in the gym because the weather is frigid and chilly most of the year so they pass the time by getting fit. This has caused Iceland to have one of the highest life expectancies in the world and why they make our list of fittest countries.

  1. Singapore

Singapore has strict regulations and rules that ensure that their environment and people are both healthy and clean. Singapore is rated as among one of the most hygienic nations in the world which leads to healthier lifestyles. The government also strongly promotes being clean and healthy through education and their laws.

  1. Netherlands

One of the primary reasons, if not the biggest reason, that the Netherlands is so healthy is due to their love of everything except a car. The Dutch frequently cycle and walk instead of using a motor vehicle. Nearly 40% of the population states that they either walk or cycle daily to their jobs. This not only keeps them in shape, but also reduces pollution in the air, creating cycle of healthiness.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but we have spotlighted some of the leaders in health around the world!

Best Gym Equipment for Glutes

Want to participate in the fitness fashion of yoga pants but don’t feel confident in your backside? The gluteus (minimus, medius and maximus) is the most targeted body parts in terms of toning, only trailing the stomach. Besides the aesthetic benefits of a firm and perky posterior, strengthening the glutes will aid you in a variety of health benefits. The glutes are responsible for sitting down, standing up, lifting heavy objects, sprinting and changing direction and jumping. Strengthening the glutes, in addition to the hips, also will help stabilize your back and improve posture. They are a very vital muscle to strengthen if you wish to increase your athletic performance. If you are planning to hit the gym with your glutes in mind, we’ll help you out by listing the most effective fitness equipment for working them.


  1. Treadmill

In order to tone the gluteus, it is important to burn away excess fat and rid yourself of cellulite. The best method for fat burning is definitely cardio. The added advantage of a treadmill is that many of them have the option for interval training. Sprinting activates nearly every muscle in the gluteus muscle group, so it is a great exercise for both burning calories and strengthening.

  1. Stepmill

Another cardio machine that can help melt away the fat and help you sculpt your backside. This can serve as an alternative for a treadmill if you have knee issues or can’t withstand high impact exercises. For maximum benefit to your maximus, let go of the side railings to force your glutes to take the brunt of the stabilization duties. Doing this for around 20 minutes at moderate intensity is recommended.

  1. Squat Rack

A squat rack will aid you in performing the best exercise for working your glutes, the squat. The squat is the single best move to obtaining a quality backside. To properly perform a squat, have your feet parallel to each other and keep them shoulder width apart. Look ahead at a spot on the wall and focus on it. Lower your hips and keep your spine in the neutral position. A squat rack will help you if you are squatting with a barbell.

  1. Leg Press

The leg press machine is essentially a squat machine but with the user in an inverted position. The leg press is great because you have all the benefits of doing a squat, but not having to worry about your back. You can also add more weights to the machine to increase the work on your glutes.

We hope that these four machines will help you tone your posterior into what you’ve always dreamed of. Whether it’s a peach shape or a bubble, using the right machines and putting in the work will help you reach your goal.

What Fitness Equipment is Best for Losing Weight?

Most people enter the world of fitness and exercise with the intention of losing weight so it is probably very important to know which exercise machines melt away the calories. We do also strongly recommend adding in strength and weight training to your routine in order to accelerate your weight loss. The more muscle you have, the more effectively you’ll be able to move and burn calories. We’ve narrowed it down to the 5 best cardio machines for fat burning.

1. Treadmills

Due to their simplicity, treadmills are great calorie burners for users of every fitness level. Treadmills utilize the natural movement of walking and running so there is no learning curve involved in using this machine. Running is also extremely effective for losing weight, which is further amplified if you don’t use the sidebars and bear your entire body weight. You can always go for a more intense workout by increasing the incline or by upping the speed.

2. Elliptical Crosstrainers

Elliptical crosstrainers offer many of the same benefits as a treadmill, except that it is low impact which can be a lifesaver if your knees aren’t in their primes. Ellipticals that have movable arms are also wonderful for weight loss because it allows for a full body workout.

3. Stepmills

It is no secret that we love the stepmill and all its benefits. What makes this machine a monster in terms of weight loss is that it requires you to support your entire body weight. Each step forces you to go into an incline and the act is lifting each leg up to each step is quite strenuous, meaning it is great for burning fat. Another added benefit of a stepmill is that is a low impact cardio machine, so there is less strain and wear and tear on your knee.

4. Indoor Cycle

The indoor cycle is a great machine for short, high intensity workouts. Indoor cycling classes generally follow interval training, where the rider alternates between periods of very high intensity, followed with a brief slow down period. These alternating intensities are great for weight loss but it isn’t for everyone. Interval training can be far more intense than traditional training, so make sure you can handle it before you attempt to jump straight into it. You can also take spin classes, which can motivate you to work even harder being alongside people with similar goals.

5. Rowing Machine

 Using a rowing machine is sort of a mix between cardio and strength training, which is great. What makes working out with a rowing machine so effective is that it is a total body workout. You’re engaging your arms, core and legs

These are the most effective machines for burning calories, but at the end of the day, the machine that works best for you will melt away the fat.

Best Fitness Equipment for Basketball Training

With basketball season just around the corner, you may be itching to dust off your kicks and get some shots up. If the offseason has made you rusty or you just want to improve your game, you might be wondering what type of workouts you should be doing. In addition to that, you might be wondering what equipment will help you become the greatest baller on the court.

Leg Press

Even more so than other sports, your legs may be your most important weapon when on the hardwood. Your legs need to be strong for constant back and forth running and sharp change of directions. A leg press primarily targets your thighs and glutes which are also especially important in improving your vertical leap, a vital aspect of the game. Improving your leg strength is also part of a great jumpshot. This may be counter intuitive because it appears as if the arm is primarily used for jump shooting, but the legs provide the lift needed in order to generate the proper arc and distance.

Rowing Machine

Also important in improving balance and vertical leap is core strength.Without a strong core, you won’t be able to generate enough force to get off the ground explosively. Balance is also a crucial part of the game and being able to move how you want to move without being unstable is essential to being great. A strong core will help both your leaping abilities and balance. A rowing machine also works your arms and back, not to mention it also serves as a cardio machine to improve your conditioning.

Assisted Chin Dip Machine

Upper body strength is also extremely important when playing basketball both on the offensive and defensive ends. Having strength in the arms and chest does wonders for overpowering opponents in the low post or being able to body up and defend them. The assisted chin dip machine is great because it works the shoulders, back and biceps. It uses your own body weight in the workout which is also a nice bonus.


Basketball is quite a long game at 48 minutes and when up against fierce competition, you’ll expend energy extremely quickly. This is why it is important to build endurance and stamina in order to perform at the highest level at all times. The best way is to simulate the movement that you’ll be doing most often on the court, which is running.

These are just a few of the machines that can accomplish your work out goals to become a future YMCA recreational league legend.

Should you work out when you’re sick?

If your nose is running, should you be too? It can be devastating to be doing so well on a routine, never missing a day, seeing results, then being hit with the flu or a common cold. Many work out warriors will go through their routine whether it’s rain or shine, but there are certain times when working out can be detrimental to your health. We help break down when and when you shouldn’t workout depending on what kind of sickness you have.

When You Should Work Out

There’s a general rule regarding working out while sick. If your symptoms are above the neck (ie. a runny/stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat, watery eyes, other common cold symptoms) then feel free to lightly exercise. Do not follow your typical routine but rather just move the body around. This can clear up congestion and the nasal passage. This does not mean that you should go work out if you feel like you’ve been hit by a train though. If you feel well enough for a walk or some light cardio, feel free to do so.

Even if you feel well enough to work out, avoid prolonged strenuous exercises when you are sick at all costs. This is the same principle that causes so many endurance athletes to become ill. The body is working so hard to repair the muscles and recover, that it does not have sufficient resources to bolster up the immune system.

The important fact to remember is that your body is still in recovering stages so you should not push it at all. Also be mindful that if you’re going to the gym, people may not appreciate you coughing and sneezing on the machines. This can be remedied by having gym equipment at home.

When You Should Not Work Out

While it’s fully possible to exercise with a cold, it is highly recommended that you do not do so when you have a flu. Flus are generally associated with fevers and a dangerous rise in body temperature. Exercise is a sure way to raise your body temperature so exercising with a fever is extremely dangerous and can cause serious health risks.

You should not exercise when symptoms are below the neck, which includes chest congestion, coughing or stomach issues. These problems can be further aggravated by excessive movement.

Also not recommended is exercising when you can barely get up. It is dangerous because you can collapse at any moment since your energy levels are already low. You probably won’t even make it to the elliptical if you have trouble getting out of bed.


Rule of thumb is you can exercise when you have above the neck symptoms; Don’t exercise with below the neck symptoms. Definitely do not exercise with a fever. In the end, just listen to your body. If you would struggle with a workout, don’t work out. Rest up and get better. Overall you can get back into the groove of things much quicker if you let your body heal and slowly work your way back.

What’s the best time of day to exercise?

Finding time to exercise can be hard to come by, so if your time is limited, working out whenever you can find time is recommended. If you do have the luxury of picking and choosing when you work out, then you might be wondering what time is best? Unfortunately, there is no definite answer on an optimal time to exercise, but there are different merits and benefits associated with working out at different times of the day.

Working out in the morning can make you more active throughout the day and help you sleep better

For the early birds out there, a morning workout can be an extremely beneficial way to start off the day. If you’re the type of person who hits the alarm before it goes off and springs out of bed, working out in the morning would be optimal. Exercise in the morning can boost metabolism for the rest of the day and also encourages more activity.

One of the keys to getting fit is routine and habit. Studies have shown that people who exercise in the morning are more likely to adhere to a regular workout schedule. If you don’t have a set time for exercise, other life events might overwhelm you and you might never get that workout in. It’s always much simpler to just wake up a little earlier to make time for fitness.

Another great benefit of working out in the morning is that you’ll have better and deeper sleep. This is a cycle of benefits as deeper, more restful sleep allows you to wake up more easily in the morning to work out again! Another way a morning workout contributes to sleep is that it prevents you from working out too close at night. Exercise raises your body temperature and gives you energy, which are two things that prevent quality sleep.

Evening workouts are usually more intense

Workouts later in the day are a definite must for fans of the snooze button. If you struggle to even get up in the morning, it is highly unlikely that you will stick to a consistent morning routine for working out.

It is also much more likely that you will exercise harder later in the day because due to the rise in temperature and your activity throughout the day, your body temperature will be higher. A higher body temperature means that you perform better athletically and a chance of injury is also greatly reduced.

Conclusion: The bottom line is, it all depends on the person. The key factors that you should consider when working out are when you feel best and at a time that you can consistently make. There are merits to working out both in the day and evening so ultimately, whatever fits your schedule is optimal. You can also try working out at different times a few weeks at a time and see what feels right. Once you find a good time, you can stop by our site to shop for some used fitness equipment!

Should you drink coffee before a workout?#

Should you drink coffee before a workout?#

A majority of people start off their day with their routine cup of joe or a workout, but could the combination of both actually be beneficial? Coffee, or more accurately, caffeine in general is perceived to give high amounts of energy initially followed by a crash. Contrary to this belief, there are actually benefits to drink coffee before a workout.


1. It skews your perception of exertion 

Caffeine increases energy and output which creates the perception that your workout is actually easier than normal. With this increased feeling of ease, you are much more likely to work out longer and harder than usual. The caffeine aids in increasing output and duration of a workout.

2. It improves circulation

Coffee or caffeine in general, if used in moderation, can increase circulation and blood flow. Quality circulation is absolutely vital in a workout because blood carries the oxygen to the muscles which are being pushed to their limits during strenuous exercise. With a more efficient flow of blood and oxygen, your workout effectiveness will drastically increase.

3. It can increase fat burning

An interesting fact about coffee is that if it is consumed before a workout, it can actually encourage the body to use fat cells as energy instead of glycogen during a workout. This is obviously a huge plus because almost everyone exercises with the goal of fat burning in mind. A short term effect is that it also temporarily increases metabolism which will burn more calories during your workout.

4. You feel less tired after exercise

In addition to increasing performance, the after effects are also drastically reduced if coffee is consumed prior to the workout. Researchers also noticed that athletes that took caffeine before their workouts also had much less potassium in the fluid between their muscles. Potassium is associated with the fatigued feelings of muscles after an intense workout.

5. It makes you sharper

In addition to the physical benefits, coffee can improve mental sharpness and cognitive functions. It improves alertness and fine motor skills in addition to improving mood. With sharper skills, you will drastically reduce the chance of injuries and increase effectiveness.

Even though caffeine can benefit a workout, like everything in life, moderation is key. A single cup of black coffee will be more than adequate in order to get results. Make sure your coffee isn’t filled with sugar and creamer because those may cause you to become jittery or experience a crash midway through your workout. So brew up a roast and go work out!

11 Ways to Make your Life More Active

Life can get hectic at times so it may be difficult to get a full blown workout in every single day but there are plenty of little ways you can stay active in everyday life. Even if you are not breaking a sweat, there are still great benefits to getting some extra movement in.


1. Workout at work

As we’ve previously detailed before, working out at work can be a great way to help energize yourself throughout the work day. Even these micro-workouts can elevate the heart-rate a bit and serve as minor cardio. Besides the exercises we’ve detailed in that post there are many other ways you can get some exercise during your 8 hour day.

1. Take the stairs as often as you can

2. Instead of driving to lunch, take a walk with some coworkers and maybe even have some quality bonding time.

3. If you find yourself constantly using your phone to page your coworkers, try walking to their physical offices instead. Unless the matter is extremely time sensitive, then you should probably stick with using the phone.

4. Encourage social sporting outings after work and maybe even form a team. Or have sporting competitions between departments.

5. If your commute is short enough, you can even ride a bike to work. On that note,

2. Ride your bike 

If you do not have a bicycle, it is well worth it to invest in one. Try to ride is everywhere whenever possible.

3. Let the remote collect dust

Even during your relaxation time, you can find a way to get a little more movement by getting off the couch and manually changing the channels. This also prevents soreness and dangerous conditions which may arise from sitting still for an extended period of time.

4. Clean the house

This piece of advice offers you two great benefits. First, you can easily work up a sweat cleaning up your house by intensely vacuuming or taking mopping to the extreme. The second benefit is that your house will be clean.

5. Find an active hobby

It doesn’t have to be a sport, but sports are a great and fun way to get into shape and stay active. Other active hobbies include carpentry, gardening, wood chopping, biking and many more.

6. Find someone who is active and tag along with them (or make someone active)

Workout partners are the best. Being active is always more fun when you have someone to socialize with and you can hold each other accountable. You can also take your dogs for walks. Dogs are generally always up to be more active.

7. Stand up at work or just whenever possible

As stated before, sitting down can negatively impact health, so if possible, standing at work can help you feel better and more energized throughout the day. There has also been an increase in popularity recently for the desk treadmills. While the technology isn’t quite there yet, standing at work can still help you be a little more active.

8. Dance

Whether it’s at a club or just in your living room, dancing can be an awesome way to burn a few calories. If you have a significant other, take them out to swing dancing or salsa or any of the other festive dances out there. If you don’t have a significant other, there is no shame in dancing alone. Everyone does it.

9. Go shopping

Not online shopping, that doesn’t count. Walking around the mall at a brisk pace can also be a way to move around in a fun environment. Malls are especially great during hot days since they’re air conditioned. Just make sure to keep your credit card at home so you don’t get too tempted by all the goodies.

10. Park far away

When you’re at the mall or anywhere else, try to park a good distance away in order to squeeze in a little more fitness time. Avoid parking a great distance away at night though. That may be harmful.

11. Exercise while doing other stuff

Multitasking is highly recommended if you’re too ridiculously busy to work out all the time.

1. Do wall-sits while brushing your teeth

2. Work while sitting on an exercise ball. Trying to stabilize yourself will work out your core muscles.

3. Ride a stationary bike while reading

4. Ride a stationary bike while watching television

5. Ride a stationary bike while contemplating the true meaning of life

6. Do calf-lifts while standing in line

The possibilities are endless. There are always ways to make everything a little more active. You just have to get creative.


5 Ways to Treat Soreness#

5 Ways to Treat Soreness#

Many fitness fanatics love that feeling of soreness after an intense workout. Although many enjoy it, if the soreness is overwhelming it can drastically hinder subsequent workouts. Soreness can also discourage many newcomers to the fitness world. What causes soreness is the build up of lactic acid which is a byproduct of muscle metabolism. Although it is impossible to completely prevent muscle soreness after an intense workout, there are a variety of methods to reduce the intensity of the soreness.


1. Stay hydrated

Staying hydrated not only helps to prevent intense soreness, it’s just a great habit to have overall. Staying hydrated before, during and after your workout is absolutely vital in not only getting a better workout but also in staying healthy.

2. Warm up properly

Warming up is an absolutely great way to prevent muscle soreness and also decrease the chance of injury. Warming up does not mean only stretching though. Warming up should begin with light cardio to increase your body temperature and then movement that will increase the elasticity of your muscles.

3. Eat after you workout

You do not have to immediately eat a big meal after a workout, but it is important to put something in your body, proteins and carbohydrates are adequate, in order repair and build your muscles. Your body can benefit from a protein shake or a small snack of chicken and rice in order to get the necessary nutrition that will prevent soreness.

4. Ice

Ice is the preferred method of recovery for many top athletes around the world for a reason. The immediate effect of ice is that it reduces inflammation and alleviates pain from the onset of soreness. An ice bath constricts blood flow and once out of the ice bath, will promote new blood to improve healing. This also flushes out the lactic acid that has been building in the muscle after a workout.

5. Stretching

After your workout, when your muscles are still warm, is the best time to get some stretching in. Stretching serves to bring blood to certain body parts to promote recovery.

These are just a few proven methods to battle soreness so you can get back to your workout. If the soreness is too much though, remember to rest and let your body heal itself.


Can vegans and vegetarians be bodybuilders?

There are some who doubt that vegans and vegetarians can even intake enough nutrients to live a healthy life, so body-building while on a plant based diet could seem a little extreme. Plant based diets have been shown to have long term health benefits, but are they sufficient for building muscle? The short answer to our headline is yes, but it may take a little more effort than their carnivorous counterparts. One of the most essential nutrients in bodybuilding is definitely protein, which may be lacking in a vegan or vegetarian diet. One of the staples of a bodybuilding diet is chicken breast, which a vegan or vegetarian obviously cannot eat. Luckily, there are many useful tips and alternatives that will allow vegans and vegetarians to bodybuild successfully.


1. Have enough calories

In order to build muscle, you need a surplus of calories compared to your normal diet. If you do not have enough calories to burn when working out, your body may use protein instead which will be counter-productive in building muscle. Make sure that your surplus calories are coming from healthy sources though such as vegetables, fruits, nuts alongside protein.

2. Have enough proteins

While plants may not be as densely protein packed as meats, there are tons of great options for adding extra protein to your vegan or vegetarian diet. One great source of protein, that is also delicious, are chickpeas. As we’ve detailed before, hummus is a great post workout snack. Another effective source of protein is quinoa, which you can eat instead of brown rice because it is more protein dense. Nuts and seeds can also give you an adequate amount of protein for a bodybuilding diet.

3. Vary your diet

The best way to ensure that you are not lacking in any nutrients is to not gravitate toward the same food day after day. Each food offers a variety of different benefits so filling your diet with a plethora of different options will help you intake enough nutrients.

4. Make sure to have enough healthy fats

Contrary to its bad reputation, fat is essential to life and a healthy body. Not all fats are created equally though. The best kinds of fat are the ones from natural sources such as avocados, peanut or almond butter, and of course nuts. Make sure to limit your intake though, as even healthy fat does easily convert into body fat.

5. Consider taking supplements 

This is not absolutely essential, but there are some nutrients that vegetarians and vegans are more likely to lack. The main ones are iron and calcium. If you’re not a fan of supplements, there is food that contain these nutrients.

In conclusion, it may not be easy to be a vegetarian or vegan bodybuilder, but it is far from impossible. With a well planned diet, a great workout routine, maybe some used fitness equipment, you can build the body you’ve always dreamed of while maintaining your plant based diet.

How long should you work out?#

How long should you work out?#

There are many misconceptions about how long you should work out to get maximum benefits. You may hear of some of your friends doing three hour marathon sessions at the gym and others doing high intensity, shorter workouts. There are a wide spectrum of workout lengths ranging from 10 minute intervals to 90 minutes or more. Here are a few ways to help determine how long your workouts should be.


It depends on your fitness goals, but 30 minutes a day is the minimum for healthy adults.

Across the board, the magic minimum workout number appears to be at least 30 minutes of moderate activity a day. This rule applies to all healthy adults and serves to maintain a healthy weight and lower the chance of diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis just to name a few. The Department of Health and Human Services is a little more lenient and suggests at least 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity or alternatively 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity. You can also mix and match both moderate activity and strenuous aerobic activity. The Department of Health and Human Services also recommends at least two days of strength training a week, although doesn’t specify the type of activity or length.

Is there such a thing as to short of a workout or too long of one?

Free time is very difficult to come by and many people may not even have a 30 minute chunk to dedicate to a workout. This is not a problem at all, as shorter 10 minute intervals that add up to 30 minutes can benefit you just as much as one longer session. If you notice that you are still gaining weight, feel free to lengthen your workouts or add more vigorous exercises. Workouts can even be extended to 90 minutes which is extremely beneficial for overweight individuals who are in the process of losing weight or maintaining their weight loss. There is no magic amount of time that you should be aiming for, but if you begin to feel pain, not soreness, then you should stop your routine because that is never a good sign.

Should I have a time limit then?

It all depends on you. If you have places to go and a limited time frame, then yes set a time limit. Another benefit of setting a time limit is that it will keep you from dilly-dallying or overworking yourself and causing harm to your body. You should not design a routine with a time limit in mind though, but find a routine that is optimized for your body and that will help you meet your goals.

Again, we should specify that the time associated with your routine should be the time actually spent working out, not waiting in line for the machine or socializing.  A great way to reduce that machine waiting time is to buy your own used fitness equipment!


Best Gym Machines for Abs

Many people go the gym and workout with the sole dream of that flat stomach or those six-pack abs but aren’t sure of what machines or exercises can help them reach their goals. Besides aesthetics, strengthening your abs is great for your overall fitness. We have detailed what we believe to be the five best machines for working your abs.


1. Cardio Machines

As we’ve detailed in our previous blog post, spot burning fat is not a real thing, so essentially any cardio machine would be great in helping you flatten your stomach. In order to see those six pack abs or flat stomach, you need to lower your body fat percentage by burning calories. All cardio machines are great if you’re putting enough effort into them. We’ve explained the pros and cons of each cardio machine, but at the end of the day you should pick the machine that you enjoy the most. If you want the maximum calories burned per minute rate though, a treadmill is usually your best bet.

2. Row Machine

Have you ever noticed that rowers usually have extremely ripped and toned bodies? This is because the rowing motion is amazingly effective for working out a variety of muscle groups, including the abs. More specifically, in addition to the abs, a rowing machine works the arms, back and chest. To increase effectiveness of the ab workout, remember to consciously keep them engaged when rowing. The rowing machine also doubles as a great cardio workout so this is one of the must have machines if you want to work out your abs.

3. Ab Bench

Also occasionally called sit-up machines or just benches, the ab bench is a fundamentally sound piece of equipment where you can perform a variety of ab-targeted exercises on. Your best bet would be to purchase an adjustable bench which will allow you adjust the incline and decline of the bench. From this, you can perform sit-ups, leg raises, crunches, etc.

These are just a few of the effective and affordable options when looking for fitness equipment that will give you the abs that you desire. With enough hard work and dedication, anyone can get the body they dream of.

5 Fitness Myths That You Should Stop Believing

Finding information on fitness can be quite the task because new information is coming out every single day. There are always new studies, new experiments or new diets that will make all other fitness information irrelevant. With such contradictory information consistently being released, it is difficult to know what is real and what isn’t. Luckily, we have compiled five fitness “facts” that science and studies have easily shown to be wrong.


1. Certain exercises can burn fat in certain spots

There are some websites out there that lead people to believe that there are certain exercises that can target certain areas and burn fat there only. For example, doing tons of crunches or sit-ups can “spot burn” fat at the stomach area and give you a flat stomach or six pack abs. The reality is there is no way to just burn fat at a certain body part. The keys to having a toned or ripped body are by having a low body fat percentage. Fat is burned evenly throughout the body with exercise. A balanced routine that incorporates both cardio and strength training is what will truly help you burn away the calories and lose the fat.

2. You have to stretch before you exercise

We first must clarify that stretching is absolutely vital to a successful workout routine, but stretching before you do any other activities can do more harm than good. This is because before working out, your muscles are not warmed up and therefore less limber. Stretching these cold muscles can actually decrease your range of motion and lead to injury. If you feel that you absolutely must stretch before your routine, do so after a warm up. A short jog, some jumping jacks or fast feet will be adequate to warm up your muscles so you do not injure yourself.

3. Lifting weights will make women bulky and manly

Many women fear picking up weights and lifting because there’s a notion that they will bulk up and get big. No matter how many weights or how intense women lift, it is much much more difficult for them to become “bulky” because the primary hormone which creates those large muscles is testosterone, which women produce very little of. Gaining muscle can help women significantly slim down because muscle is much more efficient at burning fat.

4. More sweat means you’re working out harder

Dripping buckets of sweat is commonly associated with working out hard, which is mostly true but not absolutely essential. Sweating does not necessarily mean that you are working out hard, it just means that your body is hot. You sweat in order to keep your body cool. It is completely possible to burn a ton of calories with minimal sweating.

5. Take a hot shower after you workout

As we’ve detailed before, showering after working out is great for your skin. What we didn’t go over is the water temperature. Icing down after  you workout is a great way to keep from becoming too sore and an ice bath is great for your body’s recovery. Kobe Bryant swears by it and he is one of the most elite athletes of our time. The reasoning behind this is that when you workout your blood vessels widen in order to carry oxygen to the parts you’re working out. These widened veins are susceptible to waste products like lactic acid. A cold shower will constrict these veins and prevent soreness.

There are so many more fitness “facts” out there that are untrue. It is important to do your research before believing anything you read or hear that is fitness related.


5 Best Foods for Bodybuilding

In order to sculpt the perfect body, it is important to eat the right food in order to fuel your workouts. Not all calories are created equally and there are definitely foods that would benefit you much more than others. It is also important to remember when to eat and how much to eat in order to reap the full benefits of eating the right food. For serious bodybuilders, it is recommended to eat at least one small meal every three hours that includes 30 grams of protein. But what type of food should go into these meals?


1. Chicken Breast

This is the staple of bodybuilding foods and proteins. If eating for bodybuilding had a face, it would be the face of a grilled white chicken breast. Now what makes this food so beloved and revered by all fitness fanatics out there? It’s a very simple concept. Chicken breast is high in protein and extremely low in fat. Especially if you trim it all out and aren’t frying it in bacon fat. There is also another great reason that grilled chicken breast is so popular, it actually tastes pretty good. You can save by buying these in bulk in the freezer section.

2. Salmon

If you’re going for an extremely clean bulk, you’re probably avoiding most if not all fats. While salmon does contain some fat, it’s the good fat, the heart healthy fat that your body desperately needs and benefits from. Baking the salmon is also the preferred way to eat it as there is very little or no oil required, and it also tastes delicious. You can also buy a fillet to save time and not pick the bones out.

3. Turkey Breast

Turkey isn’t just for Thanksgiving anymore. After you begin to grow tired of your 500th grilled chicken breast, turkey breast is a great alternative because it’s extremely lean and filled with proteins. Generally turkey isn’t grilled like chicken, but roasting it will get the same benefits and flavors.

4. Sweet Potatoes 

It may be a big thing, but serious body builders know that cutting carbs out of your diet isn’t going to help you build a body. Carbohydrates are necessary in fueling your workouts, but there are carbs that are better than others at providing energy without packing on the unwanted pounds. Sweet potatoes are a great tool in building mass.

5. Spinach

Popeye was on to something here. As your mother probably told you, vegetables are important for a balanced diet, and this is no different for bodybuilders either. Spinach has been shown to increase strength and contains plenty of great nutrients just for your overall health.

These are just a few of the great foods that can benefit you in your quest to build your body. Remember that you don’t have to eat the same meal day after day. There are a variety of foods that are just as beneficial


When is the Best Time to do Cardio?

Cardio is essential to anyone trying to get or stay in shape. Without cardio, even lifting becomes difficult because you will not have the necessary endurance to lift long enough to get quality gains. Cardio is a little more simple than lifting because it does not require as much precision in form. There are also a wide array of different way to get cardio, whether it’s from running  outside or using a cardio machine such as an elliptical, treadmill, exercise bike or stepper. Everyone knows cardio is important, but when you do it is essential in determining how much benefit you will reap from it. This issue has been widely debate and there are thousands of pages written on it, but we’ll try to give you the quick rundown.


Do not do cardio on an empty stomach

Before we can determine the optimal time to do cardio, we have to understand the optimal situation. One of the most common mistakes that people make is that they start their day off with cardio, before eating anything. Cardio on an empty stomach is not only ineffective, it is even harmful to the body. Without any carbohydrates or anything else to fuel the workout, your body will start looking at your muscles to gain some energy. Also the fact of the matter is that you won’t have the energy to perform anything substantial. This is not to say that you cannot do cardio in the morning, but make sure to eat a balanced breakfast at least 45 minutes to an hour before.

Do not do cardio before lifting

This is also not only not helpful, but harmful to your body. Intense cardio will drain you body of energy which makes your weightlifting session shorter and ineffective. Weightlifting properly is dependent on form, which tends to break down with fatigue. Lifting with incorrect form will not benefit you and can also damage your muscles. Your body benefits most from pushing through your last grueling reps, which you will be unable to do if you’re exhausted from cardio.

You can do cardio after lifting, but it may not be as effective

Lifting does not drain your energy nearly enough as cardio, so you most likely have some energy left to perform some cardio after your weightlifting session. For maximum benefit though, wait a couple of hours after to restore your energy.

Best time for cardio is separate from your weightlifting program

Before we elaborate more on the optimal time for cardio, we must first establish that it is perfectly fine to do cardio everyday. Try to separate the two sessions though if you plan to do both cardio and lifting in the same day. This may be difficult, but can be simplified if you have a home gym so you don’t have to drive to the gym twice.  Keeping your cardio and weight lifting separate will allow you to exert maximum effort.

In conclusion, do cardio when you have the most energy

If you’re a morning person, do some cardio in the morning, after you eat of course. If you’re more of a night owl, get some cardio in later in the day, but not too close to bedtime. The best time for cardio is when you can exert full effort without having to worry about saving energy. Also, schedule cardio far away from leg day as possible.


4 Reasons You Need a Workout Partner

15407_wpm_lowresIf you’re looking for that extra push when exercising, there is no better motivator than a workout partner. There are countless benefits to having a workout buddy that’ll not only encourage you to actually go and work out, but also to exercise harder when you are at the gym. Now comes the question of how to choose your partner. What if you are a fitness fanatic and all your friends are not really fans of the gym? This may be a slight challenge but it can also be a great opportunity to help guide your friend and bring him/her to your level of fitness so you can work out as equals. Or if they are fitter than you, that’s even better because they can bring you up to their level. There are a few key factors that you should be looking for when choosing a fitness partner. Make sure that your friend isn’t someone who consistently makes excuses, as accountability is one of the key perks of a workout buddy. Also make sure that your partner has similar fitness goals, whether it’s to lose weight, build muscle, or become better at a sport.

Now that you know what to look for when browsing for a fitness buddy, let’s see why getting one is beneficial.

1. Holds you accountable

A workout buddy will stop you from making lame excuses on why you can’t work out today. If you get a really motivated buddy, they’ll even go and drag you to go exercise even if you keep refusing. There is also a psychological basis behind this phenomena. If a person tells others that they’re going to accomplish a goal, they are more motivated to actually meet that goal because they fear that they will look like a liar in front of their peers. A workout partner will consistently remind you of your goals and not letting them down will keep you motivated to go work out.

2. Helps push you to the next level

Some people are motivated by the drill sergeant method while others prefer more encouraging positive motivation. No matter which way helps you exceed your limit, a workout partner can push you to new limits. That is also another important part of having a companion when working out. They can help you not only continue with your routine, but push yourself harder and implement new, more challenging exercises.

3. It creates competition

There is nothing wrong with a little healthy competition. When you’re working out with a partner, you can create challenges or competitions to up the ante a little. Competition can bring out the best in the two of you and make you work harder.

4. Makes working out more fun

A workout doesn’t have to be pure intensity with burning muscles and excessive sweating, it can also be fun. This is why it’s important to pick a fitness partner that you genuinely enjoy being around. When you have fun working out, you look forward to working out, when you look forward to it, you tend to do it more often. It is also vital to remember that  you shouldn’t be primarily goofing around while working out, as results are important also.

These are just a few of the great reasons that you shouldn’t be working out alone. There are benefits for both party and it’ll make reaching your goals that much easier. You can also team up and invest in some machines together to create a home gym. In a wonderful coincidence, Primo Fitness sells commercial grade used fitness equipment for your future home gym.
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