strength

Workout Woes: Three Common Mistakes Women Make At The Gym

Staying in shape is pretty high on many women’s lists of priorities. There are plenty of different reasons why you might want to work out regularly. It could be a desire to look a certain way, or you might just be trying to live a slightly healthier lifestyle. Whatever your reasons are, you likely want to use your time at the gym as productively as possible. There’s nothing more discouraging than putting a lot of effort into your workouts, only to find that they’re not really having any impact. Luckily, if that’s something that you’re dealing with, there are often some pretty simple reasons behind it. This means that you often have to fix one of a selection of pretty simple mistakes in order to start getting the most out of your workout!

Ignoring Weight Training

This is one of the most common mistakes that women make when they’re at the gym, and sadly it comes from some pretty unpleasant gender stereotypes. For one thing, it comes from the idea that women simply don’t have the capacity for strength that men do. The other reason is that there are a lot of stereotypes about what results women “should” get out of their workouts. Many women are taught to avoid getting too muscular because that’s not feminine enough.

These things are both ridiculous, but they do tend to get into many women’s heads a lot of the time. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you should run straight for the heaviest possible weights and potentially hurt yourself. Check out these adjustable dumbbell reviews if you’re looking to get started doing some strength training so that you can find something that fits your personal comfort level. The muscle building that comes with strength training is going to help you get a lot more out of your workout than if you were just focussing on cardio.

Not Refueling After a Workout

Sadly, this comes from more unpleasant stereotypes that surround women trying to get in better shape. You’ll almost always see men at the gym having a protein shake after a workout, and most men’s workout routines involve a pretty hefty amount of calories. Sadly there’s an assumption that a woman at the gym should also be watching their caloric intake really carefully. Of course, it doesn’t take a genius to realize that it’s impossible to have the right amount of energy during any workout if you’re not taking in enough energy in the first place. Make sure that you’re balancing the number of calories you’re eating so that you’re not left exhausted within moments of arriving at the gym.

Not Having Clear Goals

If you don’t have a clear goal to work towards, then you’re going to find it very difficult to find the motivation that you need to stick at anything. A goal to aim for is the thing that gives you the energy you need when you’re faced with the desire to quit. And make no mistake, that desire will appear at some point. When you’re tired and feeling like you just want to give up, having a clear goal in mind is one of the very best ways to give yourself that extra boost you need to motivate yourself. By the same token try to keep your goals realistic, putting in a lot of work but not reaching your goals because they were simply too ambitious, is a seriously effective way to end up frustrated and discouraged.

Ally Gonzales is the creator of RunningSoleGirl. The go-to place for everything healthy lifestyle and conditioning for running. She’s a runner, speaks a total of five languages, and is a soon-to-be college freshman majoring in Exercise and Sports Science.

Guest Post: Why Every Runner Needs Proper Cross-Training

So you want to become faster this year? What should you? Most people simply start running more. However, unless you’re an elite athlete, you don’t really need to run more than three (or maybe four) times a week.

So in addition to running, you should do some proper cross-training as well. Cross training will surely keep you motivated to get all of your workouts complete. There are numerous advantages of cross training, including (but not limited to) avoiding burnout and injuries.

What’s more, if you start focusing on a completely different group of muscles (that you may not work enough when you’re running) will ensure that you will become a better and stronger athlete from top to bottom.

But is every cross training technique helpful? As it is with anything in life, cross-training has its downsides. So before you start hitting the gym, you need to ask one question – does this exercise involve moving your pelvis?

The Proper Movement of the Pelvis

This is simply the most important part of healthy running. The frontal and transverse planes of your pelvis need to move properly (it moves sort of like a seesaw, from side to side).

If you spend too much time on exercises that hold it still, you’ll eventually start moving more slowly and become more prone to injuries. Also, keep this in mind – your brain memorizes movements. So if you manage to strengthen your muscles and learn all the right movements, then you’ll be both strong and mobile enough to run better.

Naturally, if you want to cross-train properly, you need to make some serious lifestyle changes, including changing your diet, timing your meals and getting used to careful meal prep.

But let’s get back to the topic at hand – first you need to learn about the right exercises – because if you learn and practice the wrong ones, even if you manage to strengthen the right muscles your training will still be useless. So let’s look at a short list of some cross-training activities, and see how they’ll help you become a better runner.

Why Every Runner Needs Yoga

  • The Big Benefits

Yoga can improve your strength and mobility, especially of your hip joints and core, especially in warrior poses and sun salutations. And if you pay special attention to all the different kinds of movement your pelvis makes, and allow it to move more, yoga will be even more effective.

  • The Possible Downsides

While there are no huge downsides of yoga, you don’t actually need to spend more than two to three hours a week practicing yoga. Only a small amount of it will do the job – so don’t overdo it.

Why Every Runner Needs Swimming

  • The Big Benefits

Freestyle swimming is great for runners for one main reason – it helps them line themselves up from foot to head. But you’ll maybe have to consult a trainer; because you’ll need to do everything properly (proper freestyle involves rolling side to side and lengthening one side first and then the other).

  • The Possible Downsides

However, the effectiveness of swimming mostly depends on what stroking technique you use. For instance, some strokes that doesn’t involve a lot of turning like the butterfly and especially breaststroke are actually not beneficial at all.

Why Every Runner Needs Strength Training

  • The Big Benefits

Most strength enhancing exercises involve spiral movement, balance and of course, turning – all of which are essential to running. And when it comes to pelvis movements, one great exercise for this is pulling a cable and creating resistance while you turn – this will move your pelvis a lit and strengthen your core.

  • The Possible Downsides

On the other hand, you need to pay special attention to small details, because training on machines that don’t move your pelvis at all can be bad for your running abilities. So before you start using certain machines, you’ll need to evaluate the equipment and learn what it does for your body.

Final Thoughts

Those are just a couple of reasons why every runner needs strength training. So what do you think about our list? Do you maybe have a different cross-training routine? If you do, you should definitely leave a comment in the section bellow and share it with the rest of us.

Vanessa Davis is a 32-year-old fitness enthusiast, mother of two and content writer at www.diet.st. She’s originally from Long Island, New York, and when she isn’t cooking up some new health and fitness article, she enjoys doing yoga and figuring out new, delicious organic-based recipes for herself and her kids.

The Three Types Of Fitness

When we talk about fitness, we have a tendency to use the word as a catch-all. Just fitness. While that’s useful – and we can all generally agree on the difference between being fit and not being so – it’s also a little too vague for anyone who is serious about getting their body into shape. If you want to get a beach body and then sustain it, you need to dig a little deeper into fitness.

While fitness can be broken down into many different sections if you wish to be pedantic about it, the main focus should be on three distinct areas. If you want to achieve the most from your routine and get yourself feeling as good as possible, then you need to be able to tick the boxes for all three of them.

Fitness Category #1: Endurance

Endurance is the cardio fitness that most of us focus on. It’s what makes us able to stay on the treadmill for longer, pedal up another hill, or do anything for a sustained length of time.

Endurance is important, but it’s also probably the most problematic. It takes a long time, more so than any of the other categories. It’s about doing a little bit at a time, on a daily basis, which you can then increase. Over time, it all builds up.

You should always aim to push yourself further to work on your endurance. If you usually just run for 20 minutes or do 100 laps, that’s not pushing your endurance. Week by week, you need to increase: 22 minutes, 102 laps – onwards and upwards is the ongoing trend.

Fitness Category #2: Strength

Most of us associate the idea of strength training and muscle building with the idea of becoming “ripped” – and that’s not everyone’s goal when it comes to exercise. However, getting good muscle tone is not just about the aesthetic indulgence – it’s also a form of fitness in and of itself.

You don’t need to be looking to build muscles to the point of bulging, but a good core strength will help your endurance and keep you as healthy as possible. Get into the habit of doing weights work a couple of times per week, supplementing your efforts with the likes of FitnessDeadline.com to make the most of it. Over time, you’ll feel the effects of this improvement – and you might look better too!

Fitness Category #3: Suppleness

The idea of suppleness being a factor in fitness is a relatively new one, but as we understand more and more about how the body works, it becomes more important. Endurance and strength are necessary for general life and movement, to help keep you comfortable throughout your life – but suppleness is something you have to add in there.

The simple fact is that we lose our natural, in-built suppleness throughout our life. It’s one of the major causes of disability in old age. However, if you nip it in the bud early and keep yourself as supple as possible, then you’re more likely to actually be able to enjoy your retirement.

Yoga and pilates are the standard when it comes to increasing your ability to flex and be supple. Start gently with videos from YouTube.com even if you are otherwise physically fit – if you’ve never done it before, you might be surprised at just how demanding it can be!

Ally Gonzales is the creator of RunningSoleGirl. The go-to place for everything healthy lifestyle and conditioning for running. She’s a runner, speaks a total of five languages, and is a soon-to-be college freshman majoring in Exercise and Sports Science.

Exercising? You Need These Nutrients

You need to eat well while you’re exercising. Otherwise, you’re simply not going to get all the benefits possible from your activities. But it’s worth finding out how precisely you should eat when you’re exercising.It’s not enough to say “eat well” – you need to know what nutrients your body actually requires!

Sodium

Many people may cringe upon hearing the word “sodium” in relation to health; they know it essentially means you need to think about the inclusion of salt in your diet. But isn’t that a big no-no? Actually, exercise makes you lose sodium very quickly, and if you don’t replenish that sodium then you can experience cramps. Low sodium levels in the long-term can cause hyponatremia. That’s why sports drinks have added salt in them!

Zinc

When you don’t get enough zinc, your oxygen intake can become negatively affected. So if your exercise is focused largely on cardiovascular and endurance activities (and what good exercise routine doesn’t at least feature these things?), then you need to pay attention to your zinc levels. It’s also great for helping to keep testosterone levels up, which is something that will become increasingly important for men approaching middle-age! Chickpeas, spinach, cashews, and mushrooms are fantastic ways to get zinc into your system. (Psst – so is dark chocolate!)

Omega-3

If you’re working on cardiovascular activities, then you need to keep your heart healthy. And there are few nutrients out there better at protecting your heart than omega-3. To many, this means you need to consume fish and fish oil – something that worries vegetarians and vegans! But omega-3 can be found in abundance in berries, seeds, mangoes, and leafy greens. Precisely the kind of things you can combine in a Ninja blender to make a tasty and nutrient-packed smoothie!

Magnesium

When you exercise vigorously, you’re actually putting your bones through quite the ringer. Those frequent hard impacts that accompany running can cause problems if you’re not keeping up your bone strength. Calcium is usually considered the obvious nutrient when it comes to bone strength, but you mustn’t forget about magnesium. It also helps you retain muscle strength. After all, your muscles take similar punishment during rigorous exercise! Avocados and bananas are great sources – they’re also rich in potassium, helping you maintain your energy levels. (Psst – dark chocolate also contains a lot of magnesium! Seriously, don’t underestimate dark chocolate. But, y’know, don’t pig out on it, either.)

Vitamins B, C, D, and E

It might be a safe assumption that you need all the lettered vitamins when you’re exercising regularly. But it’s good to understand why these ones, in particular, are so important. Vitamin B helps you metabolize fats and proteins, an essential function for people who exercise. (Vegans will probably need to take supplements to keep their levels up!) Vitamin C helps prevent shortness of breath during and after exercise, so stock up on oranges and grapefruit!

Vitamin D – the sunshine vitamin – helps the mitochondria in your muscles regenerate energy during exercise. This helps you maintain endurance. As for vitamin E – well, vitamin E is just really good at preventing illness. And few things disrupt your exercise routine quite like being ill!

Ally Gonzales is the creator of RunningSoleGirl. The go-to place for everything healthy lifestyle and conditioning for running. She’s a runner, speaks a total of five languages, and is a soon-to-be college freshman majoring in Exercise and Sports Science.

Non-Running Exercises That’ll Make You Run Faster

A lot of amateur runners think that if they just run further or more often that they will improve their mile time. Unfortunately, they eventually hit a plateau, and no matter how hard they train, they can’t break through it and continue improving. The problem with this state of affairs is that it can sap motivation and lead to despair.

The good news is that you can improve your mile time. You just need to stop running and try something else. Here are some non-running exercises that’ll help you run faster.

Up Your Game With Rowing

To get better, our bodies need to be challenged in new and unusual ways. The problem for most runners is that they don’t challenge their cardiovascular system and instead run at the same pace during all their training sessions.

One way to mix up cardiovascular training is to try something different. According to https://bodygearguide.com/best-rowing-machine-reviews/ rowing machines are a great way to prepare for a triathlon. Why? Because they help to tax the cardiovascular system in different ways to regular jogging. While your body is trained to deliver oxygen and nutrients to your legs, it’s less used to providing the same level of service to your back muscles and arms. Forcing your body to adapt to rowing will help when you next go out for a run. Don’t be surprised if you find your mile time coming down.

Single-Leg Squat

When you think about it, running is actually a series of single-legged jumps, one after the other. These jumps put tremendous strain on your knee joints and leg muscles. But despite this, many runners never bother to train their legs. In so doing, they put themselves at risk of injury and cause themselves to have slower mile times.

Single-legged squats are a great way to train for running says http://www.runnersworld.com. Not only do they improve the strength of the knee joint and leg muscles, but they also help the body balance itself biomechanically. Runners who aren’t biomechanically balanced or strong enough often run in a sub-optimal way to compensate. Strengthening the legs can help  prevent suboptimal gaits and make your mile times faster.

Foam Roller Pectoral Stretch

The upper body is one of the most overlooked regions of the body for runners. But it turns out that the trunk region, as well as the upper chest, are critical when stabilizing a runner in motion.

The upper body is important for another reason too: breathing. A stiff upper body that lacks strength can lead to reduced muscle function, low lung capacity and slouching. All these issues can then result in further running issues down the road.

Doing a pectoral stretch on the foam roller can help to reverse these problems and expand the chest area. Opening up the chest helps to stretch out the chest muscle, reducing the amount of rounding in the upper back.

Stretching out the thoracic is helpful too. To do this, lie with your back on the floor and put the foam roller under your lower back. You’ll notice a stretch in your core muscles.

Ally Gonzales is the creator of RunningSoleGirl. The go-to place for everything healthy lifestyle and conditioning for running. She’s a runner, speaks a total of five languages, and is a soon-to-be college freshman majoring in Exercise and Sports Science.

Load Your Guns: Best Arm Strengthening Exercises

Lots of runners focus on strengthening their legs and improving their cardio when they are busy training. Very few think about working their arms and improving upper body strength. But no matter what type of exercise you prefer, even if it is running, you should always work on strengthening your entire body, even the parts you don’t use that much. For instance, when we run we use our arms to help propel our whole body forward. Plus, if you have strong arms, you will be able to carry your water bottle with you on your runs without feeling any aching in your arms and shoulders!

Ready to load your guns? Here are the best arm strengthening exercises for giving your arms plenty of power.

Biceps Curl

What you need: dumbbells

How it’s done: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold tightly onto your dumbbells in each hand. These can be as heavy as you like but it’s best to work your way up rather than starting off with very heavy weights. Have your arms down by your side with the palms facing the thighs. Then just bring your arm up and bend at the shoulder. You should rotate the hands so that the palm is facing you and level with your shoulder. Pause here for a minute before lowering and repeating with the other arm. You should do this for about 15 reps on each side.

Pull Ups

What you need: pull up bar.

Are you wondering what about pull up bars? This is the most common equipment used to strengthen arms, and here’s how you can use them. You just need to grip the bar with your hands about shoulder-width apart. Pull yourself up until your chin touches the bar and then lower yourself slowly down. You should aim to do this for ten to fifteen reps. When you find this gets too easy, try to lift and lower yourself slower, as this works the muscles more.

Plank Press

What you need: yoga mat, dumbbells

First of all, position your dumbbells so that they are at the head of your mat. Next, get into a plank position. Ideally, your feet need to be slightly wider than shoulder-width. The dumbbells should still be on the mat, within your line of sight. Now you need to lift one of your hands and pick up a dumbbell. Make sure your hips stay still so that you engage your core muscles. Bring the elbow up so that you are now holding the dumbbell right next to your shoulder. Now simply extend the arm forward, so it is straight out in front of you. Then bring the arm back to the bent position, so the dumbbell is back by your shoulder. Repeat this for ten reps and then move onto the other arm.

You will find that most exercises that work the core muscles will also be very beneficial to your arm muscles. But hopefully, the three exercises I have mentioned will help you to greatly improve your arm strength, which can, in turn, improve your running ability!

Ally Gonzales is the creator of RunningSoleGirl. The go-to place for everything healthy lifestyle and conditioning for running. She’s a runner, speaks a total of five languages, and is a soon-to-be college freshman majoring in Exercise and Sports Science.

Benefits of Rowing Machine Workouts

A Rowing Machine is really useful to exercise on. This is one of the rare gym equipment that really exercises your entire body in the same routine. Rowing Machines are often favored because they are short in size and can be packed away in the corner to leave more room for other heavier equipment. But rowing is proven to be one of the most effective ways to burn carbs, so don’t push it to the side yet. Here are 7 benefits of Rowing Machine workouts.

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You Can Run Like The Wind

Everyone can run faster if it’s something they really want. Whether you are new to the sport, or you’re a seasoned runner; there are many things you can do to up your game. Sure, you might not be giving Usain Bolt a run for his money anytime soon, but if you put the following tips into practice, you can run like the wind in no time.

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Ally Gonzales is the creator of RunningSoleGirl. The go-to place for everything healthy lifestyle and conditioning for running. She’s a runner, speaks a total of five languages, and is a soon-to-be college freshman majoring in Exercise and Sports Science.

Lifestyle Changes That Promise You Healthy Bones For Life

When we are young, we are constantly told by older relatives that we need to drink more milk – as it will give us strong bones. As with most parental advice, you probably ignored this at the time. But now you are older; you might be thinking a little more about your personal health and fitness, and how you can maintain it. After all, we all want to live long, healthy lives – so we need to take care of our body, so it doesn’t let any of us down.

One part of our bodies that is so integral, but one that we rarely pay any attention to, is the skeleton. It is the basis of our entire body, but we tend to spend more time focusing on the amount of fat or muscle we carry instead. But devoting some time to taking care of your bones can mean you avoid various health problems in the future, like osteoporosis. Not sure where to begin when it comes to healthy bone care? This guide will tell you how to have healthy bones for life.

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Ally Gonzales is the creator of RunningSoleGirl. The go-to place for everything healthy lifestyle and conditioning for running. She’s a runner, speaks a total of five languages, and is a soon-to-be college freshman majoring in Exercise and Sports Science.

Guest Post: 5 Workouts to Do in Your Backyard

Staying fit and physically active is very important for our overall health, not to mention the ideal appearance. With constant workout sessions, one can combat different issues a lot easier. It is well-known that exercises boost the immune system, makes the joints more flexible, helps us get rid of toxins, lift up energy levels, etc. In order to create an effective workout routine, you don’t need to invest a lot of money or visit gyms. Your body is your best tool. Which is why we’re sharing 5 workouts to do in your backyard.

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Zara Lewis is a contributing blogger for High Style Life and a full-time mama of two little ones.

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