Fitness Freaks Must Know These 2 Things

These 2 things are about Skin Care and Troubleshooting Minor Injuries. Your skin may become dirty while exercising outdoor and you might face some light injuries because outdoor is not a bed of roses. But before knowing those things, I’ve a question to you my dear fitness freaks.

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Are you content with gliding along to fitness success?

The elliptical machine (or glider, as I like to call it) is a fan favorite at my gym, and for good reason! It’s easy on the joints, and it engages both your upper and lower body during your workout. Still, like the treadmill, there are always ways to really get the most out of the machine you’re using. If you’re looking to burn some serious calories, ditch the blog-reading and see how you can pump things up for a fitter you.

Set your own pace:

set your own pace

When you’re on the elliptical, you’ve got be diligent about staying challenged. While the treadmill keeps the pace for you, on the elliptical, you’re essentially powering your own workout. This, in itself, is great because you have to work harder to move yourself along. However, because you’re the one setting the pace, it’s tempting to just ease off and glide along at a humdrum speed whenever you start to feel a little tired. The idea is to ensure that you’re challenged, while not injured yourself in the process.

When I’m on the treadmill, I like to train in intervals, mainly because then I don’t have to constantly be checking my speed and pace while wondering if it’s challenging enough for me. I aim to do a hard, fast minute or so, followed by another 30 seconds to a minute of moderate gliding. If this is too tough for you, use your playlist and switch up the pace with every new song. The change in pace is refreshing (the minutes will fly by), and it forces your system to constantly adapt and work harder. Trust me, you will be sweating. All in all, it’s a win-win for you.

Use your glutes:

Looking for a way to really ramp up your workout on the glider? Depending on the type of machine you’re on, you may be able to work on really shaping up your buns as well. Some ellipticals feature a longer stride similar to the illusion of cross-country skiing, whereas other machines have a tighter, more circular stride that’s more reminiscent of a stair climber.

If you’re on the latter type, dip as you’re pedaling to engage your butt muscles. You’ll definitely feel the burn more so than if you were standing straight up; use the support bars for leverage. If you find yourself on the “cross-country skiing” machine, the longer stride makes it harder to lower your position, so simply clench every other minute to help work your butt. Another tip for both machines: push through your heels when you pedal. You’ll feel your butt muscles working a lot more if you do this.

Engage your entire body:

If you find yourself on one of the full-body machines, work it to your advantage by utilizing your upper body as well as your legs. Instead of just letting your arms flail along passively, see if you can engage those muscles so that you’re really getting the full package deal. You might need to increase the resistance on the machine, since you’ll be using both the upper and lower body to power your movement.

I find that my legs do work much harder than my arms, so when I’m pedaling along at a lower resistance, the upper body levers are just flying out of control. Up the resistance a bit (you don’t need to go nuts, just enough to actually be able to utilize your arms without flailing around), and you’ll find the settings more effective.

Bonus tip: clench your abs as you’re working. If you can’t concentrate on all things at once, look to tighten and release every few minutes. The more you’ve got going on, the more muscles you’ll be working, so even if you do a brief clench every so often, you might just be setting yourself up for an added bit of success.

Run For Your Life – Getting the Most Out of Your Treadmill Workouts:

Staring at the wall (or someone else’s butt) getting the better of you? The treadmill workout is, admittedly, a favorite pursuit of mine where the gym’s concerned, but I totally understand the many complaints that arise when stepping on the machine. You can feel an all- out goodness once you’ve wrapped up your workout.

But it’s terribly boring. Isn’t that always the case, though? What’s good for your body is tedious and super unexciting (same could be said for eating and preparing brussel sprouts, but I digress).  Get motivated and make the most of your treadmill sessions.

March to a different beat:

People may doubt the motivational power of music, but believe you me, a great playlist can make a huge difference when it comes to that cardio sesh. I’m talking about using your playlist as a guideline for increasing the intensity of your workouts, and there’s even more that music can do for you when you’re getting sweaty. Experiment with the tempo of your tunes to help ensure that you’re never running the same route all the time.

Race your neighbor:

Generally, I find it annoying if someone is obviously trying to interfere with my run, so if you’re using this tip, be discrete and don’t let on that you’re doing it. If you like, imagine racing the person on the treadmill next to you. Take the pace a step or two up from what your neighbor’s doing, or look to outlast their run. If your treadmill-mate’s going at a good clip, you can use them to help pace yourself as well. You can even just flat- out pretend you’re in a leg-race around the track and go there mentally. Just don’t be creepy too obvious about it— eye contact isn’t required.

Watch some sports:

watch some sports

Not all of us are sports fans, so take this advice with a grain of salt. If you’re lucky enough to be on a machine with a TV, tune in to the sports network. As those crazy soccer riots tell us, even watching sports can get your blood boiling, so if you’re used to tuning in to the game, get involved during your run.

As the action heats up on screen, take your pace up a notch to match what’s happening on the field. Imagine yourself taking the ball up the court as you’re running; simulate your involvement in the game with speed, incline, and variety. Not feeling the sports atmosphere? Find an action movie or a music video channel on your machine’s TV.

Seeing the good stuff on the tube not only keeps you entertained, but it also encourages you run along at a similar tempo. Beyonce’s dance videos may very well inspire you to move a little faster, and action sequences can also rev up your adrenaline. Find something that gets you moving, and tune in.

Go at it in 10-minute bouts:

Slogging through a long bout on any machine is bound to get boring, so try livening up your cardio by breaking up long runs. Run it out for 5-10 minute blocks of time, then jump off the machine and try something else, either resistance moves or even another machine. This way, you’ll never be doing one thing long enough to get bored.

To really get the most out of your workout though, be sure to keep your heart rate up, whether you’re on the machine or not. If you can, try to avoid stopping altogether; if you’re jumping off the treadmill, keep your body going between moves to really help maximize the burn. Are you now secreting sweat? Let’s see some skin savers to take care of your skin.

Super Skin Savers For Your Sweaty Workouts:

use of towel

Typically, sweat and a hard workout go hand- in- hand. What we don’t usually think about is what that can mean for our skin. If you’re as conscious about your complexion as I am, then you know that all the oil, dirt, and grime that accumulates on your face during a typical day is bad enough as it is. Throw in a lot of salty sweat from the gym and you’ve got a potential war zone on your T-zone. To help keep you looking as fresh as a daisy, make sure you’re following these steadfast skin-saving fitness rules:

Get Out Of Your Gym Clothes ASAP:

Not to be too obvious or anything, but the longer you sit around in your sweaty clothes post- gym, the greater your chances of getting acne and so forth from all the clogged pores and general grottiness of not showering. When I get home post- gym, I’m usually so hungry that I may pause the shower in favour of downing a quick protein smoothie. You can feel okay doing the same— just make sure to change into some clean clothes first. I usually throw on my robe, since I know I’m going to be hopping in the shower shortly after anyway.

Bring a Towel:

At my gym, a towel is mandatory for the weight lifting area. Not only does toting a (clean) towel help keep your sweat in check, it also helps keep the bacteria off your skin. Towel service at the gym is generally not too expensive; at my gym, I think it comes out to about 100 bucks a year, which is only a little over a quarter per day.

If you’re frequenting the gym enough, it’s definitely worth it to invest. Bringing a clean one from home is easy enough to do as well though. I’m sure you’ve got at least a few old hand or mid- sized towels around just in case; you can look to keep a few clean ones handy so that you’re never caught having to do some late- minute laundry pre- gym.

Avoid Touching The Face:

dont touch your face

When you’re going hard on the elliptical, it makes sense that you’d wanna wipe your brow and blot away some of that sweat dribbling down your face. Rather than dragging your bacteria- laden hands across your skin, making you prone to breakouts, consider using a towel, an exercise band, or even a clean paper towel.

The shared machines and equipment at the gym can harbor a lot of germs, so make sure to wash your hands prior to touching your face mid- workout. If you find yourself without a towel (paper or otherwise), opt to use the back of your arm or, if you must, the back of your hand. The backs of your hands and your arms generally don’t come into contact with surfaces as much as your fingers and palms do. So if you’re looking to save some skin, avoid wiping down with your digits and other areas that are always touching common surfaces.

Similarly, if your skin is sensitive and acne- prone, keeping your hair out of your face at all times during your workout is the best course of action. Pin back your bangs or use an exercise headband to help keep your locks looking lovely and your skin soft.

Consider Your Clothes:

For those of us looking to avoid acne, breathable fabrics are a must. Cotton ranks high up there for breathability, but many activewear lines boast their own variety of sweat- wicking tops, bras, pants, shorts, and crops. Anything that helps pull the sweat away from your skin is a good thing to look for. The less moisture trapped against your back and chest, the better. Not only will you feel more comfortable during your workout, but you can also potentially save some skin as well.

Depending on the activity, a t-shirt can be a better choice than a tank top, and vice- versa. For contact activities or workouts involving a lot of rolling around on a mat or other surface, greater coverage can potentially be better. The less your skin comes in direct contact with the floor/ mat/ someone else’s sweaty body, the less chances you’ll have at picking up a lot of excess oil, dirt, sweat, and grime. Obviously, if it’s in the spirit of the game, then jump right in; good judgment is always your best call. On the other hand, having too much chafing fabric can also irritate your skin, so it’s up to you to be the judge.

Wipe It Down Before You Hop On:

It’s generally an unspoken rule that once you finish up with your machine or mat, you wipe it down for the next potential user. Unfortunately, not everyone offers this same courtesy. As such, it never hurts to give your mat a quick wipe- down prior to getting your yoga on. Think about it— you’re wearing a tank top, and you’re about to lie down on the same mat that other people have walked and sweat all over. Save your skin and give the mat a quick swipe pre- stretch.

Learn To Go Naked:

It can be tough and sometimes annoying to wash up before you hit the gym, but exercising in a face caked with makeup spells trouble for your skin. I hate to think about all the gunk that can get trapped in your pores as you’re sweating, so taking two minutes to cleanse quickly before going for a run can be totally beneficial.

Two solutions to help make it easier: 1) use makeup wipes for ease of removal, or 2) plan to work out in the morning before you head out for the rest of your day. I hate having to needlessly repeat anything twice, so the latter case is optimal.

In the morning, I wear little more than sunscreen before heading out for a run; this way, I don’t have mascara running into my eyes during my workout. If I’m stuck hitting the gym in the evening or midday after I’ve already applied makeup, a quick swipe with some Neutrogena facial wipes does the trick. My skin is super- sensitive and really prone to breakouts, so I’m pretty meticulous about exercising naked-faced. Now, you should come to know about taking care of minor injuries.

Troubleshooting Minor Injuries:

troubleshooting minor injuries

Any type of injury can certainly put a snag in achieving your exercise and weight loss goals, even the minor ones. Recently, I had the pleasure of catching my right foot on the corner of my pantry door, and you can guess who won. I now found myself down half a toenail on my pinky toe and wow, I guess it’s true to say that you never really realize how important your appendages are until they’re systematically ripped from your body.

Blood and gore aside, my story does have a point. Sustaining minor injuries (like a blister or ripped toenail) can indeed put your workout on the back burner and more than cripple your motivation.

I had started the week off consistently enough— made it to the gym twice despite having planned a couple social outings. Suddenly my hopes of hitting the elliptical became as crushed as my right pinky toe, and rather than play through the pain, I decided to bench myself for the night.

So, what can you do to troubleshoot minor bodily injuries? It certainly depends on the severity and type of damage of course, but assuming you’re not wrapped up in gauze in the hospital, it’s really all just a matter of being resourceful and creative; just be sure to check with your doc to make sure it’s all kosher of course. In this case, what I refer to as injury should be taken with a grain of salt— think a blister on your foot or a sore wrist sustained through everyday activities.

Change Medium:

Water aerobics aren’t just for Grandma and pregnant moms anymore. Aerobic exercise in the pool provides you with a natural type of resistance— water. You’re battling the friction and weight of this medium in a way that is joint-friendly, so if you have a bum knee or other issues with articulation, this is a good alternative to hitting your treadmill or elliptical.

If bouncing around in the shallow end seems a bit too amateur for you, try doing some laps around the pool. Swimming is a whole body workout— you’re using all your muscles to keep your body afloat while simultaneously propelling yourself through and against the water. It’s something I’ve never really been good at, but for the sake of getting ripped, I might have to give it a go.

Go Low-Impact on Land:

Running is especially hard on the joints. When running, your body pounds down on the pavement or treadmill surface while the weight of your body and your momentum puts incredible stress and pressure on your knees and ankles.

That said, I’m quite addicted to it. Running is an age-old, time- tested cardio classic. It’s a take- anywhere, no- cost method of breaking a sweat that is 100% customizable. Think speed, terrain, intervals. Personally, I don’t feel like I’ve truly hit the mark on my cardio session unless I’ve done some interval training on the treadmill, but that’s just me. Either way, a ripped toenail presents quite the obstacle to walking or even running comfortably without causing excessive bleeding, so if you find yourself in a similar situation, you’ll have to improvise.

Because we don’t want to avoid working out, experiment with different machines that put the least amount of stress on your injury. In my situation, running put too much pressure on the wounded toe, so I opted to try the exercise bike for a while. You might want to check out the elliptical or stairmaster as well, depending on how your injury affects your movement.

In any case, change it up, and try as best you can to keep your heart rate up. You might not be able to perform at the same level as you would were your toenail intact, but your body will thank you for keeping it active rather than suspended.

Use Natural Resistance:

If your wrist is going to be out of commission for a while, then lifting a heavy dumbbell is potentially off the table. In consultation with what your doctor advises, test your range of movement with your cast or support brace. While you don’t want to prevent your injury from healing, if it’s a green light, you can try light movements using gravity as natural resistance.

Although your limbs may not be quite at the stage where you should be bearing weight, you can still perform similar moves that can work your muscles on a lighter scale. Simply contract and extend your muscles in the same way you would perform the exercise with a weight; hold the position for a five to ten seconds count then slowly bring your arm/ leg back to its resting position.

When performing the moves with a dumbbell, your body relies on the weight of the equipment to act as resistance. Instead, follow through using controlled contractions and extensions. It may not be the same as doing it with weights, but at least you’re working the muscles on some level as you recover.

Finally you shouldn’t be lazy to remember that what you can and should do goes with the advice of your physician. So if they recommends staying out of the gym, you may just be benched for a while. In the meantime, stick to eating clean to ensure that you don’t fall further behind the 8- ball, and try not to get discouraged. If your doc advises you to do so, staying off your injury can actually be the best thing to aid in your recovery, so if that’s the case, be good to their word.