Quick & Easy Workouts for a Busy Morning

Quick & Easy Workouts for a Busy Morning

The alarm clock rings. You open your eyes. Hop out of bed. Get dressed. Feed the kids and/or dog or cat. Check your schedule. Check the clock. Feed the kids and/or dog or cat. Wait… you’ve already done that. Run out the door. Forget your keys. Run back into the house, grab your keys. Get in the car. Realize you’ve forgotten your coffee. Exhale – already exhausted.

Hello, work day. Great to see you again.


With the hustle and bustle of everyday life, how on Earth is it possible to make time for working out? Especially in the mornings!

Between taking care of the family, putting in the hours at work, paying the bills, and still managing to make time for others, you are the Hero-of-the-Everyday.

However, every great hero needs to make sure they are putting in the time and effort to stay strong enough to keep being their super-selves.

And that’s why self-care is so important.

Exercise helps us function, move better, feel better, and make healthier choices throughout the day.

Here are a few quick and easy workouts to get the blood pumping and those endorphins flowing so you can conquer your day.


PLANK AWAKE

Drop and give me a plank till exhaustion! Assume proper plank position and hold it for as long as you can. Don’t forget to keep your core tight and engaged, and your body in correct alignment. Don’t let your bottom half start rising upwards towards the ceiling.

BEDFRAME WAKE UP PUSHUPS

Grab a hold of the edge of your bed (the bed frame) and make sure it’s strong enough to support your weight. Take a few steps away from your bed, with your arms still firmly grasped to the framing. Once you’re at a proper angle to begin pushups, go ahead and get started! Complete as many as you can.

MORNING MADNESS BURPEES

Get some cardio in quick with early morning burpees. This full body exercise uses your own bodyweight to work your arms, legs, and core. It’s a fast way to increase heartbeat and quickly burn off some calories while simultaneously building muscle strength.


Bonus: If you’re able to wake up extra early to make it into an LA Fitness, we offer early morning Group Fitness classes that may help jumpstart your day and give you the extra motivation you need to push yourself harder than you would on your own. Just don’t forget to grab a pre- or post-workout snack!

This article is sponsored by belVita – breakfast for your mornings. For a list of hours to visit your favorite LA Fitness gym, click here.


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Zumba®: A Fitness Fan’s Happy Hour – Podcast Ep. 4

Zumba®: A Fitness Fan’s Happy Hour – Podcast Ep. 4


Welcome to the fourth episode of the Living Healthy podcast, presented by LA Fitness.

On this episode of Living Healthy, Andrew and I take a Zumba® class and speak with Zumba® instructor, Ana. Who knew burning calories could be so much fun? Have a listen and find out why Zumba® just might be your new favorite group fitness class! 

Are you passionate about a certain class? Do you find enjoyment in cardio or strength training? Let us know what YOU would you like to hear about! Share with us in the comments below!

Send us a tweet @LAFitness or email us at blog@fitnessintl.com.

Timecard Markers – Zumba®: A Fitness Fan’s Happy Hour – Podcast Ep. 4

Introduction

Begins at 0:29

Zumba® Instructor, Ana, joins the show

Begins at 2:52

Different Zumba® Styles

Begins at 5:28

Dance Battle

Begins at 6:50

BetterBodSquad

Begins at 8:29

Advice for Newcomers

Begins at 8:52

The Member Experience

Begins at 11:37

What to Bring

Begins at 16:02

Member Success Stories

Begins at 19:13

Show Wrap-up

Begins at 22:24

This podcast should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.


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The Common Misconception of Getting Fit Before Joining a Gym

The Common Misconception of Getting Fit Before Joining a Gym

You’ve wanted to lose weight. You’ve wanted to get healthier, feel better, and have more energy. You’ve thought about the possibility of joining a gym, but something has held you back. Perhaps it’s fear, vulnerability, or a lack of confidence keeping you from accomplishing your fitness goals. Before allowing any more negativity to cloud your frame of mind, let’s push the pause button.

For many toying around with the thought of joining a gym (but slacking with the follow-through), we’re here to say: let’s not put off your health and happiness any longer. There seems to be this common misconception that one must get fit before getting fit in a club. That could not be any further from the truth. Yet, it’s an idea that many people believe, usually due to one of the fears listed below.

7 Common Fears When New to the Gym (And How to Avoid Them)


1. Everyone is going to judge me.

  • No – most people who go to the gym are way too focused on their own workout routine to be watching anyone else, let alone judge you.
  • The gym is a type of community where you’re surrounded by others who share similar health and fitness goals.
  • Almost everyone is supportive because they’ve been where you’ve been and want to see you succeed.

2. I won’t know how to use any of the equipment.

  • Easy fix – perhaps one of the easiest on this list! On most machines, there is a picture showing which muscles the machine helps target and how to properly perform the exercise. Take the time to review it before getting started.
  • Still nervous that you may be doing it wrong? There are plenty of helpful videos showing proper use of gym equipment online (check out our LAF YouTube channel).
  • Your third option can be adding on some personal training sessions to your membership and have an instructor walk you through how to properly use the machines and explain which would be best for you.

3. Everyone is going to be ripped fitness models/competitors.

  • No – sure, some people at the gym will be in peak fitness shape. Some will be fitness models. Some will be bodybuilders. The majority will not be.
  • Remember: Everyone was once a beginner. You’re not any different or capable of accomplishing any less than those others you see at the gym.

4. I am going to sweat… a lot.

  • This is probably true. We’re not going to lie to you. Working out can get sweaty, especially if your body isn’t used to it, but guess what? Everyone sweats.
  • Sweating is great for your body! It can help rid your body of toxins and help cool the body down from a particularly intense workout. Plus, it’s great for boosting those feel-good endorphins (just don’t forget your towel).

5.

The weight area will be dominated by Arnold Schwarzenegger built men.

  • The weight area of any gym can be a bit intimidating if you’ve never lifted before. The key for overcoming this fear is to do your research so you know how to properly use the weights without bringing injury to yourself.
  • It never hurts to ask for help! Do you see someone who looks like they know what they’re doing? Wait until they finish their set, and then ask them to help spot you or ask for assistance. Again, most people want to help and watch you succeed. In fact, they may even be flattered that you’ve thought to ask them for help.
  • Not a fan of asking strangers for help? Book a session with the PT department and they’ll walk you through the weight training basics.
  • Men and women can be seen in the weight training area. Being strong is sexy. The old-age idea of hulk-like men grunting and dropping weights is yesterday’s worry. Fear no more.

6. I’m so out of shape, I won’t be able to keep up in group fitness classes.

  • Far from the truth! Group fitness classes can be a great place to start if you’re looking for an instructor to help push you, without the added cost of personal training. All classes can be tailored for the fitness level you’re currently at. Let the instructor know that you’re new and they can help give alternative moves so that you can confidently complete the class without fail.
  • Stick with the class. The more often you attend, the better (and more comfortable) you will become. You’ll begin noticing a difference in your endurance and strength levels with continued participation.

7. I won’t end up going, it’ll just be a waste of money.

  • We wish there was a way to say this isn’t true, but it’s entirely on you. There is a frame of mind that you must be in to make sure you’re putting your gym membership to good use.
  • Think of the money that gets spent on fast food, specialty coffees, and afternoon snacks. If you aren’t feeling healthy, wouldn’t an investment towards your health be more worthwhile than the money spent on less than healthy habits?
  • Here’s some advice on healthy (and inexpensive) meal prep to help get you on the right track –
  • Don’t commit to a membership yet. Give us a try first.

Conclusion

You don’t have to be in shape, an experienced-gym goer, or former athlete to reap the benefits of joining a gym. Whether you’re a complete beginner (or otherwise) there are ways to modify your gym experience to fit your personal physical fitness goals.

At LA Fitness, we’re a judgment-free zone. We’re here to help you reach all of your fitness and health goals. Come check us out today, and don’t be afraid to start.

Referenced:

  1. Borreli, Lizette. “Sweat It Out! 5 Surprising Health Benefits Of Sweating That Actually Don’t Stink.” Medical Daily, 7 Nov. 2014, www.medicaldaily.com/sweat-it-out-5-surprising-health-benefits-sweating-actually-dont-stink-309718.

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How to Stay Fit When Pregnant

How to Stay Fit When Pregnant

It’s one of the happiest moments of every soon-to-be parent’s life: that moment when you first realize you’re going to be bringing a little you into the world – and then comes the planning.

Between baby books, baby-proofing the home, and making sure your diet is as healthy as can be for your little tummy bunny, it’s important not to forget to maintain your fitness routine.

However, you’re going to want to change things up a bit.

While exercise is important to sustain the health of you and your little one, it may be hard finding the motivation if you’re experiencing common pregnancy symptoms like exhaustion, nausea, swollen ankles or back pain.

The good news is, there are exercises that can help ease the extremity of some of these issues.

Aqua Fit

Before rolling your eyes at the thought of attending an Aqua Fit class, hear us out. Water exercises can be great for soon-to-be mamas because they are low impact and can help alleviate some of the added weight that brings on the aches and pains. Not only will you feel lighter, but you’ll get your cardio in without the high-intensity or added pressure on your ankles.

Find an Aqua Fit class near you here.

Yoga

Breathe in. Breathe out. Practice your breathing techniques before the big day arrives! Yoga classes are known for helping promote relaxation, improving balance and strengthening core muscles. Not only that, but according to an article1 published in WebMD research has shown that Yoga may even make labor shorter and more comfortable, and who wouldn’t want that?

!! FYI – Try to avoid hot yoga after your first trimester2, or laying on your back3, as the weight of the uterus can compress a major blood vessel, disrupting blood flow.

Indoor Cycling

Much safer than the outdoor alternative and a great way to get your heartbeat up and those calories burned! Another benefit of taking an indoor cycling class when pregnant is that you can go at your own pace, and when the belly starts growing, you can easily adjust the handles bars to make for an easier and more comfortable ride.

Walking

Let’s get back to the basics! Sometimes an exercise as seemingly simple as walking can work wonders for your body. The combination of fresh air, getting your daily steps in, and switching up the distance, incline, and pace of your walk is a great way to get in your cardio while not overexerting your body.

Another benefit of exercising while carrying your soon-to-be bundle of joy is the flow of endorphins! Exercise helps boost the body with “feel-good” chemicals like dopamine and serotonin and can help ease symptoms of depression and anxiety. Plus, exercise had been known to help improve self-esteem and can help you stay within a healthy weight gain limit while pregnant.


 

Here’s the Best Part

Research has shown that “healthy pregnant women who exercise during pregnancy may have less risk of preterm delivery and shorter labor, are less likely to need pain relief, and recover from childbirth faster.”6 We say those benefits alone make exercising during pregnancy worth it.

Stay healthy, mamas to be! We look forward to seeing you in the gym soon and wish you and your little one(s) a great start!

DID YOU KNOW?

Even though you may be feeling exhausted, exercise can help increase your energy and stamina. Sounds kind of counterintuitive, right? Well, living an active lifestyle helps the body get stronger and improves cardiovascular health, thus giving the body more stamina. When you feel better, you have more energy.


 

Here are some tips for having a safe workout:

  1. Whatever activity you choose, don’t overdo it. Listen to your body and rest if you feel tired. Any sharp, shooting or stabbing pain means you should stop. You should be able to carry on a conversation during any activity.
  2. Avoid dehydration by drinking extra water before, during, and after exercise.
  3. Eat plenty of food so that you don’t run low on glucose.
  4. Avoid overheating. During hot weather, exercise indoors and in an air-conditioned space.
  5. Avoid high-risk and contact sports; any activity where there’s a risk of falling or getting hit in the stomach. If you’re not sure whether something is safe or not, don’t do it.

 

We spoke with Dr. Rhonda Smalls, Chief of Service, Obstetrics and Gynecology, at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center, who helped offer some helpful advice for our pregnant moms-to-be out there.

Q: How does exercising impact both the mother-to-be and baby in a positive way?

 

Dr. Rhonda Smalls: Exercising during pregnancy can help the mother-to-be maintain muscle strength, avoid excess weight gain, lower the risk of certain pregnancy-related complications – gestational diabetes and preeclampsia – and shed unwanted pounds after the baby is born.  During pregnancy, the muscles in the lower abdomen, lower back, and around the birth canal come under great strain.  Moderate exercise helps reduce backaches, constipation and bloating.  It can also improve circulation and minimize swelling and prepares the body for labor and delivery.

 

Q: What are some exercises you would recommend for moms to be?

RS: Walking. It’s safe and easy for most women from the moment they find out they’re pregnant until the final weeks. I encourage expecting moms to sneak in some extra steps into their day by parking their car at the far end of the lot or taking the stairs instead of the elevator.  Remember to use the handrail when walking up or downstairs.

Swimming or water aerobics. Both are gentle on the joints and provide a feeling of weightlessness (a welcome break in the later months of pregnancy).

Stretching or yoga. Stretching eases back pain and helps maintain flexibility, while yoga can help expecting moms better cope with everyday stress.  Look for prenatal yoga classes or videos designed for pregnant women.

Low-impact dance or aerobics. Moving to music is fun for moms.  Be careful when doing movements that require balance like jumps, kicks, leaps, and bouncing.

 

Q: Are there varying degrees of exercise difficulty that pregnant women can participate in depending on the trimester they’re in?

 

RS: First and foremost, it’s important that all pregnant women check with their primary obstetric provider before starting any exercise routine. If they’re already physically active most days, great! If not, this is a good time to start. Begin slowly, build up gradually, and try to exercise at least 30 minutes per day.

During the first trimester, pregnant women should be able to continue their exercise routine as long as they’re having a normal, healthy pregnancy.  I encourage expecting moms to try a combination of aerobic, strength, and flexibility exercises.

During the second and third trimester, most women will have to vary their routine slightly.

 

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet (particularly when pregnant), make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Sources:

  1. “Safe Exercise During Pregnancy: Running, Weights, & More in Pictures.” WebMD, WebMD, www.webmd.com/baby/ss/slideshow-pregnancy-fitness-moves.
  2. Ibid
  3. “Can I Still Sleep on My Back While I’m Pregnant?” Parents, Parents, 18 Sept. 2015, www.parents.com/advice/pregnancy-birth/my-pregnant-body/can-i-still-sleep-on-my-back-while-im-pregnant/.
  4. “Safe Exercise During Pregnancy: Running, Weights, & More in Pictures.” WebMD, WebMD, www.webmd.com/baby/ss/slideshow-pregnancy-fitness-moves.
  5. BabyCenter Medical Advisory Board. “Great Pregnancy Exercise: Weight Training.”BabyCenter, 9 Mar. 2018, www.babycenter.com/0_great-pregnancy-exercise-weight-training_7878.bc.

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Understanding Functional Fitness

Understanding Functional Fitness

What is Functional Fitness?

Cardio and strength training usually dominate fitness talk, but what about the often-overlooked concept of functional fitness? At its core, functional fitness is really about focusing on building your body so that it can better handle everyday tasks such as bending over to tie your shoes, playing catch with your dog, or chasing after your kids without the added exhaustion, aches or pains.

Real Life Samples

Let’s think about this from a practical standpoint. Our daily habits cause us to turn, twist, bend, climb and lean to get things done. We’re using our whole bodies, so why not focus on exercises that use multiple muscle groups? Isolated weight training is great, but it doesn’t always help prevent strained backs or pulled muscles.

Exercises like kettlebell squats are a great way to stimulate a real-life scenario – you’re bending down (squatting) using your lower body, and at the same time picking something up (great with the added weight of the kettlebell) using your upper body. Try forward lunges with a twist to help work the lower body, upper body and help stabilize the core. Bent over rows can also help with upper and lower body strength. Bosu balls can also help aid in stability training!

Think about which muscle groups are actively being engaged when performing your desired exercise. If it feels like a move that mirrors real life movements, most likely you’re engaging in functional fitness.

The Benefits

To put it simply – fewer aches and pains! Less strain on your body, less worries about not being able to perform day-to-day activities and more confidence in moving around with a stronger body. If this all sounds like what regular or “normal” exercise does to improve the body, you’re right… sort of.

Functional fitness focuses on movements, rather than muscles.1 In your ordinary day-to-day routine, chances are you’re not doing an activity that focuses on the same muscle repeatedly. Think of lifting a semi-heavy grocery bag, similar to a bicep curl. Sure, you may do this a few times, but realistically you’re not going to be standing in your kitchen doing biceps curls with your grocery bags.

Depending on age and activity level of your life, the functional fitness exercises you’ll want to focus on will vary. If you’re uncertain what’s right for you or where to begin with this type of training, reach out to a representative in the personal training department.

Another alternative is sending your fitness related question to us for a chance for it to be one of our featured ‘Ask A Trainer’ questions on our LA Fitness YouTube channel or Living Healthy blog!

A better life starts with a decision that you deserve more for yourself. LA Fitness is here to help, and functional fitness is a great way to begin your training for the everyday!

Sources:

  1. Roberts, | BY: Amy, and Amy Roberts. “What Is Functional Training and How Can It Benefit You?” The Beachbody Blog, 20 July 2017, www.beachbodyondemand.com/blog/functional-training-benefits.

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