Thursday, January 26, 2012

Online Fitness Programs Growing In Popularity


The benefits of a personal trainer and the convenience of the Internet have come together in the latest fitness trend: online personal training. Nicole Keith, Ph.D., Fellow in the American College of Sports Medicine explains that online personal training is convenient and effective. 


Keith and a team of researchers tracked the effectiveness of their own online group fitness program. They followed 40 previously inactive adults who saw marked improvements in all physical abilities - with a 34-percent improvement in arm curls, a 31-percent improvement in the step test and a two-inch gain in upper body flexibility. "We also saw mental gains." said Keith. "The participants began to believe in their abilities during those eight weeks." 

All fitness programs come with pros and cons. While online training is accessible, convenient and affordable, it can also be risky for clients who are not honest about their abilities. Still, Keith believes online training programs are here to stay. 

Have you used an online fitness program?  What did you think about it? 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Staying in Shape on a Cruise


If you love to cruise, but hate the thought of getting out of your workout routine here are some great ways to stay in shape.
  • Check out your ship’s amenities before you leave. Also the ports you’ll be calling at to see what kind of shore activities they offer.  Do a walking tour instead of a bus tour.
  • Try something new.  Yoga? Snorkeling? Massage? Zip lines? Aqua Exercise?  Remember a swimsuit
  • Bring great walking shoes, at least two pair!  The best advice is to take the stairs and walk whenever you can. 
  • Enjoy your meals, avoid the snacks.
  • Drink lots of water, and less of sugary hi-calorie drinks.
  • Check out the workout facilities, they are often spa-quality with great views. 
  • Watch the sun!  Nothing ruins a workout routine, or your vacation, like serious sun burn. Make sure to cover yourself to avoid full sun exposure.
  • Enjoy with a Friend.  Walking the ship with a friend, seeing everything your ship has to offer, is a special joy of cruising. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Winter Is for You. Really!


Junonia is headquartered in Minnesota, the land of four seasons.  We like to think we know a little bit about winter -- and how to love it.

Some tips for loving winter wherever you are:

  • It’s beautiful.  Sun glinting, birds you can see in the trees, animal tracks in the snow, stars shining in the crisp air. Enjoy it all.
  • It’s not as cold as you might think.  A temperature between 10-30 degrees Fahrenheit is perfect for being outside.  It’s cold enough to keep everything frozen and warm enough to stay outside for hours.
  • Watch the wind.  There’s a reason they report the wind chill factor!  Always head out into the wind, and return with the wind comfortably at your back.  And check out the wind-chill factor and believe it!
  • Head, hands and feet.  Keep them warm with great insulation, and you’ll stay cozy. 
  • Layer for comfort. You’ll be ready for anything. Start with a wicking base layer that will keep you dry even when you work up a sweat. Then add insulation that keeps a layer of warmed air next to you like warm, cozy fleece. Then top is off with a wind-breaking layer that can also be opened up to release heat when get hot!
  • Be sensible.  There are a few days when the only activity that makes sense is a book by the fire and a cup of cocoa.
  • Winter is a great time to start a walking program.  You’ll love getting outside and you won’t overheat.  Just remember to layer and watch the wind. 
  • Extend your hours even when the days are short by walking with a friend.  Walk along a shopping avenue, or head to the mall.
  • Try a new sport this winter!  Ski areas offer great beginning lessons for adults, downhill and cross country.  How about ski-joring with your dog?  And there’s always sledding with the kids and an old fashioned snowball fight.  You’ll soon find yourself looking forward to snow! 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Should You Hire a Personal Trainer?

Tips from Jeanne Johnson, the trainer Anne Kelly has been working with for just over a year now.   Jeanne trains in the Twin Cities of Minnesota and can be reached at Jeanne Johnson [jchombody@gmail.com]

When do you think a person should consider hiring a personal trainer?   Will I need a trainer forever or just to get me started or over a hump? 

If new to exercise, especially weight training, hiring a trainer to teach proper form and workout design is very important. If you are motivated and disciplined, hiring a trainer for a few sessions or periodically will work well. If you start and stop often with exercise and feel unmotivated to work out, hiring a trainer is a smart decision. You will be more consistent and get the most out of your workouts. Even if you are disciplined, hiring a trainer will help you keep your workout fresh and challenging. Also, we tend to not push quite as hard without someone watching over us, so another great reason to hire a trainer.

What is the difference between a trainer session and a boot camp/class?  Is the extra cost of a trainer worth it?

Classes can be great alternative to hiring a trainer, but I would recommend still hiring a trainer initially for proper form and helping you decide which class to take (a good trainer will determine your current fitness level/capabilities and recommend classes based on that.) Classes are definitely a less expensive option and can be a good choice for people familiar with exercise. Another alternative would be small group personal training which would keep costs down but still give a more personal/individual experience.

What can I expect to pay a good trainer? 
Cost for a trainer can range anywhere from $50-100/hr and up depending on location.

What qualifications should I look for?  
Definitely look for a trainer with a certification through a respected organization such as American College of Sports Medicine (ASCM), National Academy of Sports Medicine or National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) Experience is equally important especially if you have any health conditions or injuries.

Do I have to sign a long-term contract?  What if we just don’t “click?”  
It depends on where you are working with the trainer. Independent trainers usually require you to purchase a set number of sessions, but not a contract. Trainers at larger gyms may have you sign a contract for a period of time, but it just depends on the gym. Definitely meet with a potential trainer before working with them to make sure that you are a good fit. Most trainers will want to have a consultation with you before working with you for that same reason. A good fit is very important - many people spend more time with their trainer than with anyone other person in their life - so you have to keep that in mind as you make your decision.

I’m a larger person and not very fit.  I’m nervous about starting with a trainer who probably has no idea what it is like to be overweight and under-fit.  What questions should I ask a trainer to make sure they “get it?”  
Obviously you want to work with a trainer that you feel comfortable with and who you think will motivate you. This will be different for every person as some people like a more in your face, aggressive trainer, while others will appreciate a trainer with a softer approach. You should ask your potential trainer if they have experience working with people similar to you, also you could ask for names of clients that would be willing to talk to you about their experience working with the trainer.

Should I look to a personal trainer for nutritional or equipment advice?  
Unless your trainer has a specific certification or degree in nutrition, I would recommend that you work with a professional in nutrition to guide you with your diet and food choices. Most trainers will have a network of professionals that they can recommend or refer you to. Your trainer is a good resource for equipment purchases. They will know what to recommend based on your level of fitness and preferences.

In-home or studio?  Sharing a trainer?
Location is up to you, what you are most comfortable with. Typically in-home trainers are more costly, while small gym trainers are more affordable. Small group training is a great option - usually 2,3 or 4 people sharing a trainer for the hour. This can be fun and motivating for the clients, but again it is what you are most comfortable with and what you think will keep you going and stay committed.

How should I find a trainer?  Do they allow sample sessions?
 A referral is probably the best way to find a trainer. Ask your friends, coworkers, family who they work with. I think this is the best way to go, rather than using a Google search. It doesn't hurt to ask for a free session or partial session. This is really up to the trainer or gym policy. At the least, paying for one session as opposed to several sessions initially would be a smart move so that you can get a feel for the trainer's style and expertise.

Comments from Anne Kelly
My friend Christine recommended that I come with her and share a workout session with Jeanne once a week.  It took me about six months to warm up to the idea.  The thing that pushed me over the edge was realizing that I was losing upper body strength. I had a canoe trip planned with my strong son, and I wanted to be strong for the portages—and I didn’t want to get injured on the trail.   I have really enjoyed it—well, in the middle of the hour, when Jeanne pulls out those slider-things to make us work on our abdominal muscles, there are a few moments of whining!  Overall I feel much stronger and more balanced. Jeanne also offers her clients a once a week early morning boot camp and I have started doing that as well.  It’s a bigger class with less individualized help on form, but we keep moving!  I can tell in my posture that I am moving more freely and comfortably. I can’t say I have lost weight during the year, but I have stayed stable, and some parts of me are definitely a little firmer.  I am clearly stronger and feel great. Sharing the hour with Christine has also been really fun.  The three of us chat about everything from movies, to family, to politics.  Somehow sweating makes the conversation better.  Jeanne is correct in her comments that really liking your trainer is important.  Don’t settle for someone you don’t really connect with.  Jeanne is a wonderful trainer, highly organized so we can just do the workouts without thinking too hard.  That is really nice if your life is at all stressful.  She is always ready to offer a way to modify an exercise if a knee is twinging, or something is awkward for your body.  But she always pushes me just a little harder than I would on my own.  Even though you are working hard, the hour with Jeanne is refreshing.  She also keeps the boot camps fun, holding them outside in a park whenever the weather allows. She attracts nice clients, and I’ve loved getting to know everyone in her circle. Jeanne trains in the Twin Cities area.  If you’d like to connect with her, just email her at Jeanne Johnson [jchombody@gmail.com]

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Top Ten Fitness Trends to Watch for 2012


Top Ten Fitness Trends to Watch for 2012

  1. Dance, dance, dance!   Zumba and more.  You’ll be seeing dance opportunities everywhere for real women, not just the stars.  Ballroom to Latin, enjoy the beat for the most fun workout ever. What to wear?  Definitely leggings!
  2. Yoga for all.  There is now a yoga style for everyone, from meditative stretching, to intense!  Most places let you try out a class to see if it is for you, so sample away to find your bliss.  What to wear?  QuikWik™ for ultimate stretch. 
  3. Group and personal training.  Getting the most out of your time is the reason more and more people are choosing to use a personal trainer.  Trainers are organized!  They set up the weights and equipment so in one hour you can accomplish a lot!  Look for experience and certifications.  You want to gain strength without injury.  Price a problem?  Ask about sharing a session with a friend, or regular group “boot camp” that will keep you motivated.  Whining with friends is part of the appeal!  What to wear?  A good sports bra.
  4. Life Balance is now a fitness trend.  You’ll see more programs that combine mindfulness or some kind of meditation, with fitness and even nutrition.  People are finding out that to achieve the overall results they want, they need to look at more than just their fitness routine. 
  5. Pets.  Our pets need us to keep them fit, and we need them to motivate us.  Look for more walking companions, and a few skateboarding dogs!  Walk in any weather!
  6. Core/Balance.  Building endurance is important, but it must be complemented with strength of the core balance muscles.  For those of us who sit all day, this is really important to avoid back and other chronic injuries.  Look for classes stressing core work.
  7. Equipment mixes up the workout.  It’s not the old-fashioned weight room anymore.  Look for all kinds of balls, belts, straps, and novel weights like kettle bells.  Look for classes that make use of all these new toys, distracting you into a great workout! 
  8. A new approach to dieting.  Dieting works for less than 10% of people.  A combination approach has a better chance of long-term success.  Look for programs that take a more “holistic” approach.  These don’t promise quick weight-loss, and are focused on long-term improvement of health overall.  Look for programs that develop a social network for on-going motivation.
  9. Technology.   Want ideas on stretching?  Want to track your activities?  Want to plug in your heart rate numbers from your last workout?  If you can dream it, it is probably online with an app or one coming soon to an iPad near you!
  10. Daily fitness.  A counter trend to more classes, trainers, equipment is the daily fitness trend. People simply fit in fitness to their usual routines.  Examples? Walking to and from a car, taking the bus, biking 1-2 days a week, walking to the store, taking hiking vacations, having walking meetings at work, taking a walk break instead of a coffee break, breaking out the hula hoop for 5 minutes.  What to wear? Junonia’s Juno© Stretch Naturals that go from work to play. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Ring in the New Year with Resolutions Designed to Succeed

Ring in the New Year with Resolutions Designed to Succeed Since most resolutions “fail” should you make any? Yes! Even though most fail, people who make resolutions are MUCH MORE LIKELY TO SUCCEED. So if at first you fail, go ahead and fail knowing you will eventually be far ahead of those who do NOT make resolutions. At Junonia we hope one of your resolutions is to take care of yourself, and to get the exercise your body needs.

Here are some tips for you to consider as ways to improve your odds of great success:

Make it fun. This can be a simple as changing your perspective. Why think about exercise as ‘work” when actually, it is as close to childhood as most adults get! What a joy! Skip rope, ride a bike, read a cheezy magazine, avoid “real” work, play with friends, sweat and get dirty, jump in a pool. You know you’ve achieved a new mindset when you find yourself feeling a little guilty as you slip out to the gym for some fun and relaxation.

Make it social. Unless you are the 25% of people who are introverts, who loves the peace and rejuvenation of working out alone, most of us like the social part of exercise. Make it part of your motivation. You don’t need to have a workout partner every day to keep you motivated. A once a week workout date is often enough to keep you going on the other days, too. Make sure you are both committed to being there and being on time. Develop several workout buddies for different activities and different days. Over time you’ll find you have a whole new circle of friends.

Know yourself. One person only needs to write it down and she does it! Another who resists documentation like it is a disease. Think about other times you have successfully accomplished your goals. How did you do it? What has worked in the past is highly likely to work for you again.

Buy support. It is not a character failure to buy the support of a personal trainer. You will learn a lot about your body, you will make gains more quickly than on your own, and you will have a lower probability of injury. Find a trainer that works with people like you by asking around. Credentials are important, but so is a personality match. You’ll spend quite a bit of time with this person, so make sure you can like them, even when they are making your work hard!

Set Specific Goals. Smaller more specific goals are the pathway to bigger things. Be patient and kind, but persistent with yourself. Sign up for a 5K walk in 2-3 months and get ready!

Tell others. A goal becomes real when you are willing to tell others. You might feel a little vulnerable at first, but being willing to be accountable to others will help make your goals a reality. They will want to know what they can do to help – so tell them! Can they watch your kids while you fast-walk the dog around the neighborhood? Can they stop buying ice cream and instead stock the freezer with low-cal treats? Will your friends join you for a weekly walk and make a healthy meal after—with leftovers for the rest of the week? 

Reward yourself. New clothes from Junonia are always motivating! What else are you doing to celebrate your commitment to yourself? One woman we know sets a twice a month splurge of Dairy Queen for herself. For another it’s the monthly pedicure.

Be kind to yourself. We will all fail in our resolutions at some point. But it is not all or none. One slip does not failure make. Just start again! Just like children joyfully learning to walk, stumbling, falling, laughing, and starting again!