Tag Archives: strength training

Class Highlight: Total Body Strength & Toning

TBS&Tcolor

Total Body Strength & Toning

Kathleen Parker

Leader Kathleen Parker

Lean muscle mass cannot be maintained or increased with aerobic training alone. Without strength training, an adult will lose approximately 1% of their lean muscle mass per year after the age of 30!!

INCREASE LEAN MUSCLE MASS AND YOU WILL BURN MORE CALORIES NATURALLY, 24 HOURS A DAY.

TOTAL BODY STRENGTH AND TONING is set in beautiful Rollingwood Park under a shaded pavilion. This class focuses on strengthening the entire body through low impact exercises using weights, resistance bands and of course, bodyweight.

Though it is low impact, we move at a fast pace with little rest to challenge you, and increase lean muscle!

IMG_0971Many women miss out on the incredible benefits that strength training has to offer. If one of your health goals is weight management, strength training is the key that can unlock your potential for the strong, lean and healthy body you dream of. If this is your goal, I would love for you to come try out this 45 minute class.

The biggest impact on weight loss or weight maintenance is a revved up metabolism. Strength training increases the amount of lean muscle on your body, and lean muscle mass requires more calories both during exercise and throughout the rest of your day. Muscle also requires energy in the form of calories to maintain itself—unlike fat, which requires almost no calories to exist.

Strength training has SO many more benefits for women, including the following:

-Increased bone density
-Increased tendon and ligament strength
-Improved joint function
-Reduced potential for injury
-Better balance
-Increased overall metabolic function—especially at rest
-Improved overall health and well being!

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I hope you can join me to try out TOTAL BODY STRENGTH AND TONING! Getting under the weights has changed my body and my life!
It was through strength training that I have changed my own body. I feel stronger now than when I was 30 — or even 20.

Plus, life is so much more FUN WHEN YOU ARE STRONG!

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5 STRATEGIES TO TRAIN FEARLESSLY NOW & FOREVER

iGnite - strength training

Can we keep lean, strong and fit into our golden years? Can we still get a summer-ready body even if we are flashing a senior citizen card someday? The answer is YES!!!
The strategy is UPPING THE ANTE and DOING IT WITH INTENSITY!!

by Kathleen Parker

by Kathleen Parker

You can make 70 look like the new 50 and 50 look like the new 30 if you are smart about your lifestyle choices and approach them, particularly exercise, with intensityGenes play a leading role, but even if you have elevated risk in any category of illnesses/conditions you have a solution: regular strenuous exercise. We may have received a certain genetic package from our parents, but it is not our fate to be governed by it.
Dr. John Ratey writes in his enlightening book SPARK: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, “If your brain is not actively growing, then it is dying. Exercise is one of the few ways to counter the process of aging because it slows down the natural decline of the stress threshold.” He says intense exercise is the Holy Grail for our bodies and our brains.

INCREASE YOUR INTENSITY!
Here are strategies you can incorporate into your next workout to drive the power of your workout to a higher level. Get more work done. Lift Heavier. Sweat more.

1. INCLUDE ALL FOUR VARIETIES OF EXERCISE IN YOUR TRAINING.
–Aerobic Exercise that increases your aerobic capacity
–Strength Training to build and MAINTAIN muscle
–Balance activities like training on a BOSU to build core strength–strong core AND a sharp nervous system
–Flexibility to remain limber and agile and on your feet well into your later decades

2. FOCUS ON REGULAR STRENGTH TRAINING
–Regular strength training is also cardiovascular training. It offsets the steady decline in muscle mass and metabolic rate that starts in our 30’s. Only progressive strength training, performed at least 3 times per week will help build muscle and brain mass. The weight should be heavy enough to challenge you. You need to feel the burn and be out of breath when done.

3. HIGH INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING IS KEY!
–HIIT repeatedly proves it is one of the best ways to challenge you aerobically and muscularly. HIIT works your aerobic and anaerobic systems at the same time, engaging your complete physical self.
By adding even one 30 second sprint into your cardio, human growth hormone peaks and stays that way for several hours afterward. HGH is the surefire, turn back the clock, fat-burning agent produced naturally by the body that ensures a lean and strong body!

4. PUT YOUR MIND INTO THE MUSCLE
–Engage your mind in your training. When you are mentally present for reps or sets, physical payoffs are far greater. In Dr. Norman Doidge’s book The Brain That Changes Itself, he reveals that just thinking about an exercise changes your brain structure as if you were doing the movement. This changes the structure and function of your brain by affecting the neurons at the microscopic level.

5. HEALTHY DIET
Food is Fuel. Don’t pollute your engine!!

This applies to ALL AGES–even you 20 and 30 somethings! Remember at the young age of 30 we start to lose muscle mass yearly if we don’t do something about it.

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Staying Fit in the Summer Heat: Training Tips & Building Your Heat Tolerance

Tips for Staying Fit in the Summer Heat

by Alli Phillips

by Alli Phillips

With the hot summer months quickly approaching, let’s talk about how we can best beat the heat and continue to enjoy outdoor exercise during those sometimes brutal summer months with a smile on our faces!

Your body acclimates to heat in a number of ways, and by cautiously training in the heat to improve the efficiency of your body’s “cooling system,” you will not only be able to better tolerate high temps and humidity (like we have here in Austin), but you’ll also be able to continue to participate in and enjoy your favorite outdoor activities and exercise classes — and may even be motivated to try some new ones!

Here are some important facts about training in the heat and a few tips for building heat tolerance:

Acclimating to Heat

  • The Body Mechanics: The body acclimates to heat with changes in circulation, increased blood flow to the skin for cooling, increased sweat production, and decreased sweat electrolyte concentration.  As you adapt and acclimate to heat, the body begins sweating earlier in exercise, produces a greater volume of sweat, and produces more dilute sweat (losing fewer electrolytes).
  • How to Safely Acclimate: Gradually increasing the duration of exercise in hot conditions allows the body to safely acclimate. With repeated, but cautious and gradual increases in daily exposure, acclimation occurs within 10-14 days, depending on your initial level of heat tolerance.

Tips for Better Cooling Your Body

  • It is the evaporation of sweat (not sweating itself) that cools the body, so wear wicking fabrics that allow sweat to evaporate and light colors that reflect the sun (dark colors absorb sunlight, and thus, heat).
  • Avoid exercising in the direct sun, but rather seek out green shadey spots and trails (versus heat-absorbing pavement), preferably near water where air movement and breezes aid in the evaporative cooling of sweat.

Hydration 101

Because as you adapt and acclimate to heat the body begins sweating earlier in exercise, produces a greater volume of sweat, and produces more dilute sweat (losing fewer electrolytes), PRE-hydration, hydration DURING, and RE-hydration are crucial!

Therefore, increase your overall water/fluid intake during the 24 hours prior to a bout of exercise in the heat. More specifically:

  • 1-2 hours beforehand, drink 15-20 oz of water
  • 15 minutes beforehand, drink another 8-10 oz
  • During, drink 6-8 oz every 15 minutes
  • Afterward, continue to rehydrate, drinking 15-20 oz within an hour or two

Keep In Mind!

Be aware that although your body can and will acclimate to hot temps, you will not be able to exercise at the same intensity as you do in a “thermo-neutral” environment.

  • With the changes in circulation to aid in cooling, more blood is sent to the skin for evaporation, less blood is available to the working muscles, and therefore the intensity of exercise must be reduced.
  • When you’re running or cycling in the heat, use a “rating of perceived effort” or “feel” to gauge the intensity of exercise, instead of your watch, as your pace/speed will be slower than at the same effort level in moderate/mild conditions. (Runners and cyclists should let go of any pace/time-based goals for the summer months.)

Even after acclimating, exercise in extreme temps always requires extreme caution. The following are symptoms of heat related illness and heat stroke. If you experience any of these, take immediate steps to cool down and seek medical attention.
Symptoms of Heat Stress/Illness:

  • Headache
  • Cold, moist skin
  • Chills
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Weak or rapid pulse
  • Fast shallow breathing
  • Nausea
  • High body temp (103+)

Adjust Your Route

Finally, when running and/or cycling this summer, plan new routes that start, finish, and/or include stops at pools, splash pads, and natural “watering holes,” to cool off, rehydrate, refuel, and ENJOY AUSTIN!

Here, I’ve put together a few cool spots to cool off here in central Austin:

  • Barton Springs Pool/Spillway
  • Deep Eddy Pool
  • West Enfield Pool
  • Big Stacy Pool
  • Ramsey Pool
  • NorthWest Park Pool
  • Clarksville West Austin Wading Pool
  • Little Stacy Wading Pool
  • Butler Park Splash Pad
  • Pease Park Splash Pad
  • Bailey Park Splash Pad
  • Clarksville Splash Pad

Visit austintexas.gov/pools for pool/splash-pad locations, hours, and more info.

Last, but not Least…

One more suggestion for staying cool this summer while enjoying fitness and fun…don’t just exercise near water — take the plunge and try these activities IN the water:

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3 of My Favorite Strengthening Exercises

by Kathleen Parker

by Kathleen Parker

“Having been a runner most of my life, it is only in the last 7 or so years that I have actively and regularly strength trained with weights and bodyweight …Running for 40 years became very boring and also was not great for my joints — mainly my knees — because I was not strengthening the muscles around my joints and knees.

…My epiphany was realizing that once you build long lean muscle doing resistance training, your RMR (Resting Metabolic Rate) greatly increases, so now even while I am resting, I am burning more calories than I ever was in my 30’s, 40’s and even my 20’s because I now do regular strength training!”
 Read more about Kathleen’s journey from runner to strength training enthusiast

Here, 3 of Kathleen’s favorite strength training exercises to Power Up your body and your exercise routine:

Complete 15 reps of each exercise, with a 30 second rest between each exercise.  Find the right amount of weight to use by selecting a weight that is difficult to lift after 10-12 reps.

bulgarianlunge_igniteyourlifeStep by Step:

  1. Using free weights in each hand, elevate one foot on a step behind you.
  2. As you do a lunge, focus on moving your torso up and down, not pushing it forward. Keep your weight balanced evenly through your front foot and press into the floor with your front heel to come back up to the start position, which works and tones more lower-body muscle.
  3. Do not lean forward or let your front knee extend past your front toe.
  4. Complete 15 per leg.

Benefits:

  • Dramatically improves core strength and balance, as well as agility because it isolates one leg
  • Produces noticeable muscle and strength gains in the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings
  • Reduces risk of injury by minimizing strength and muscular differences between your left and right side

weightedrenegaderow_igniteyourlife

Step by Step:

  1. With your hands on the weights at shoulder’s width apart, extend your legs outward into a full push-up position. This is your starting point, ending point and point of stability.
  2. Tighten your core, firmly straighten your left arm, and slowly row the right weight upward until your upper arm is slightly higher than your torso.
  3. Hold one second at the top and then slowly lower the weight back down.
  4. Keep your chest and hips parallel to the floor throughout and try not to rock or sway to one side.
  5. Repeat the same motion with your left arm. Again, keep your core engaged and tight throughout this exercise. This is a great core exercise!
  6. Complete 15 per side.

Benefits:

  • It’s a compound exercise that strengthens your muscles throughout your back, including the trapezius, lats, rhomboids, simultaneously working the biceps, forearms, and rear deltoids.
  • Works the muscles that draw back your shoulder blades, improving posture
  • Forces the abdominals to contract and work hard to stabilize your body — especially the obliques — strengthening the entire body from head to toe in the process!

deadlift_howtoStep by Step:

  1. Using heavy free weights or a barbell, stand up straight with shoulders down and back.
  2. Bend (hinge) from the hips, keeping a flat back: when bending down, act as if you are holding a tray of drinks and need to close the door behind you with your backside. This helps you push your hips back instead of rounding your lower back — a form blunder that puts you at risk for back problems.  Keep the weights as close to your legs as possible, as if you are shaving your legs with the weights or barbell.
  3. Go down as far as your flexibility will allow you, then squeeze your glutes as tight as possible to lift the weights back up to standing, keeping shoulders back and down away from your ears. Squeezing the glutes will engage your butt rather than straining your lower back.
  4. Remember to always keep those abdominals tight, as you should with any strength exercise that you do!
  5. Complete 15 reps

Benefits:

  • One of the top glute strengtheners
  • Increases your core strength and adds to core stability
  • Targets all of the muscles responsible for your posture and enables you to keep your back straighter during regular daily activities
  • Works your lower and upper body, including your back muscles
  • Develops the muscles you need to carry things, such as heavy grocery bags and suitcases
  • Builds amazing grip strength — your forearms also work hard!
  • Can help prevent injuries by increasing the strength of your muscles and critical tendons and ligaments. Supporting joints with strong muscles is crucial to preventing injury, especially in the hamstrings and lower back.

Power Up | iGnite Your Life

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Kathleen’s Health-Changing Journey from Runner to Strength Enthusiast!

by Kathleen Parker

by Kathleen Parker

It is MID SUMMER in Austin, Texas, and I still always look forward to returning to this fun city from any destination!
After a week of vacation I would love to share with you some great information that I found and my thoughts on it.

Having been a runner most of my life, it is only in the last 7 or so years that I have actively and regularly strength trained with weights and bodyweight. I have always been active on the lake skiing, which requires pulling strength, but besides that I was not regularly doing much in the way of strength training.

It occurred to me over vacation sitting on the beach having my second vodka tonic that over the past few years, my vacations have become so much more pleasant! I get up a little later than usual and dive in to the activities that are available wherever I am — fun activities. This was not always the case. For SO many years — mainly in my 30’s and 40’s — I felt the need to get up early on vacation and go run down the road, pounding my feet down the concrete path before I could enjoy my day. This would make me feel “better” about myself, but many times it would interrupt time that should have been spent enjoying the morning on the beach, or enjoying the local activities, or the people I was with. I remember many times getting up to run at 5 am if I had an early flight to catch to offset the travel day of sitting. Needless to say, doing that for 40 years became very boring and also was not great for my joints — mainly my knees — because I was not strengthening the muscles around my joints and knees.

The epiphany I had was realizing that once you build long lean muscle doing resistance training, your RMR (Resting Metabolic Rate) GREATLY INCREASES, so while I am now sitting on the beach, I am BURNING MORE CALORIES THAN I EVER WAS in my 30’s, 40’s and even my 20’s. So, not only does resistance training increase lean muscle mass which burns more calories, but as your muscle mass increases and your % body fat decreases, you will achieve a leaner and more toned YOU.

For those of you who like to hear the research to back up these claims, here’s the  factual information to back this up that inspired my recent epiphany:

“Strength training, in general is great for the body. It is great for the bones and overall athleticism. Everything we do in life involves having to pull or lift things. So, not just for body strength, it is important to know how to move things around correctly. The monotonous pounding of running ALONE will not carry well into older age. It will keep the cardio-vascular system healthy, as long as diet is also healthy, but eventually, the body ADAPTS and tightens. Shoulders round, knees start to hurt, hips ache, joints get sore. That’s not because of running–running is GREAT–it is because you ONLY ran. The entire body has to be attended to and preserved. It is important to run, but the other STRENGTH exercises that BALANCE THE BODY are equally crucial.” -David de Leon, “Lifting for Life,” Austin Fit Magazine

SCARY INFO!

People lose about 20 PERCENT of their muscle mass between the ages of 40 and 60! By age 70, muscle mass decreases by 40 PERCENT and STRENGTH BY 30 PERCENT. Loss of muscle mass is called Sarcopenia, which can result in diabetes, falls and injuries, muscle and joint pain, bone loss and DECREASED QUALITY OF LIFE. Could being strong be the fountain of youth?? Not sure, but it sure is more fun being strong!”
-Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports

AGING IS NOT A REASON TO SLOW DOWN ATHLETICALLY. As early as your teens and 20’s, maintaining a dedicated fitness routine is the way to stay at a healthy weight, be strong and sculpted and build stamina while creating a rock-solid foundation to prevent BODY BREAKDOWNS IN LATER YEARS. As we move into our 30’s and 40’s, RESISTANCE TRAINING becomes increasingly important since we naturally LOSE MUSCLE MASS as hormones shift and lifestyles become less “intense”, says M. Olson, Ph. D, FACSM, Professor of Exercise Science at Auburn University. “In our 40’s MUSCLE STRENGTH AND LEAN MUSCLE MASS BEGIN TO LESSEN. With age comes a loss of muscle elasticity and opportunity for injury. Most importantly, while METABOLISM NATURALLY SLOWS IN WOMEN 40 AND OLDER, IT IS NOT THE ABSOLUTE. “Despite what many think, OUR METABOLISM DOES NOT HAVE TO DECREASE WITH AGE IF WE EXERCISE REGULARLY AND VIGOROUSLY,” says Reyna Franco, MS, RDN, CSSD.

-Since METABOLISM is driven by LEAN MUSCLE TISSUE, and PHYSICAL ACTIVITY, women over 40 who are physically active CAN HAVE THE SAME ENERGY NEEDS AS A YOUNGER ACTIVE INDIVIDUAL”.

Challenging the body with high intensity bouts followed by a recovery period increases fat burning, lean muscle, and overall cardio vascular health. Why it works? This is really amazing:  “New research reveals that high intensity interval training (HIIT) actually supercharges your body on a microscopic level enabling the mitochondria, your cells’ powerhouses, to BURN FAT MORE EFFICIENTLY. Doing 10 60 second sprints, each followed by 75 seconds of recovery, 3 times a week, appears to do MORE FOR YOUR MUSCLES THAN 10 STRAIGHT HOURS OF STEADY JOGGING,” according to a study in The Journal of Physiology.

BOTTOM LINE: TO BURN FAT FASTER, YOU CAN DO LESS.

It has been proven in multitudes of studies that CARDIO is so important for our Cardio Vascular health, and the BEST way to do cardio is through INTERVAL TRAINING, no matter what age you are.

I hope this motivates you to wake up in the morning and get going!!  Strength and Cardio Combos can be done ANYWHERE! Push ups and sprints on the beach? Burpees in the hotel room? Or igniting with us here in Austin!

Just remember to get up and “LIVE LIKE SOMEONE LEFT THE GATE OPEN!”

Keep moving!
Kathleen

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3 Unexpected Benefits of Strength Training

by Molly McCauley

by Molly McCauley

Hi iGniters!

I thought all of this information from The Women’s Health Big Book of Exercises was a great reminder, so I wanted to pass it along. We know strength training is extremely important for many reasons such as building stronger bones and burning more calories than doing cardio alone, but what are the ‘unexpected’ results of strength training that we wouldn’t usually think of right away?!

Here are a few:

  1. You’ll sleep better: Lifting hard helps you rest easier. Australian researchers observed that patients who performed three total body weight workouts a week for 8 weeks experienced a 23% improvement in sleep quality. In fact, the study participants were able to fall asleep faster and slept longer than before they started lifting weights!
  2. You’ll get in shape faster: A study at the University of Hawaii found that circuit training with weights raises your heart rate 15 beats per minute higher than does running at 60 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate. According to the researchers, this approach not only strengthens your muscles, it also provides cardiovascular benefits similar to those of aerobic exercise.
  3. You’ll add years to your life: Get strong to live long. (I love that phrase!) University of South Carolina researchers determined that total body strength was linked to lower risks of death from cardiovascular disease, cancer, and all causes. Similarly, University of Hawaii scientists found that being strong at middle age was associated with “exceptional survival,” defined as living until 85 without developing a major disease.

These are just great reminders of why strength training in addition to cardio is important. Using both lighter and heavier weights is good. As women, we won’t bulk….we will become stronger, more toned and fit!

Have a great evening and enjoy this beautiful weather!

Leave a comment and join the discussion!

The Secret is Exercise QUALITY Over Quantity

by Molly McCauley

by Molly McCauley

As I’m reading through my Jillian Michaels Making the Cut workout book, I came across a really great couple of paragraphs that I’d like to share with you all. It makes complete sense, and it is something we iGnite leaders try to emphasize throughout our classes. Of course we want to have fun, visit with friends, and make new friends (that’s what iGnite is all about!), but we also want to make sure we have proper form and technique with every exercise we do so that we don’t get injured and so that we see the results we are wanting and hoping to see!

Here’s the info from the book: (Don’t worry, I’m only going to give a little bit!)

So what constitutes proper form and technique? Precision, concentration, control and breathing.

Concentration: Concentrate on what you are doing and the specific muscle you are training. Your mind should be focused on the task at hand, isolating the muscle group you are working and really feeling the work you’re doing. To achieve maximum results, you must focus on the muscle you are training and make every rep count.

Control: You must perform your exercises through a full range of motion in a deliberate, steady manner.  This will ensure that you are stimulating the entire muscle, not just a portion of it.

Breathe: Not only is breathing essential for keeping your blood pressure steady, but it also promotes slow, controlled movements, which will max out your results. Additionally, by holding your breath during even a single repetition of an exercise, you are depriving your body of valuable oxygen and encouraging muscle fatigue.

There’s much more to be learned, of course, but let’s focus on these three components!  Keep up the hard work and keep iGniting!