Demandez une visite privée afin de découvrir votre club Midtown et profitez du même coup d’une journée de remise en forme et de vrai plaisir.
Offre valide pour les personnes qui viennent au Midtown pour la première fois. 18 ans et plus.
Mark Levine, Personal Trainer from Midtown Athletic Club in Bannockburn, IL, is back to talk about overcoming the dreaded fitness plateau, one of the most challenging parts of meeting a fitness goal.
In the outdoor cycling world, reaching a plateau often gives you a needed break before you ascend another gradient of incline. However, if your goal is to get stronger or lose weight, then reaching a plateau is an obstacle that you need to overcome and not embrace.
A fitness plateau happens when your progress toward gaining strength or losing weight stops and levels out. This can affect you both emotionally and physically, and can become a critical time in your fitness journey, as some people tend to quit as the effort they’re putting in no longer shows results.
Here are four techniques to ensure you don’t get stuck on a fitness plateau:
When you flip the calendar page to the next month, change your workout. I often see people lifting the same amount of weight and performing the same number of repetitions each time they visit the club. When you work out this way, your body is smart enough that it operates more efficiently and doesn’t need to burn as many calories as it used to and the body doesn’t work as hard to gain as much strength.
You can also make changes on a weekly basis. For example if you are weight lifting, you can lift heavy twice a week with fewer reps and lift light once a week with increased reps. The following week you would switch it up so you lift light twice a week and lift heavy once. Your body doesn’t know what to expect, and therefore it won’t operate on cruise control.
I cannot stress enough the benefits of cross training, or regularly switching up your workouts. Cross training allows you to keep your body guessing as to what it will need to do. For several days last week, I worked out for thirty minutes in an anaerobic (almost breathless) mode. Then, I went for a 2.5-hour bike ride. At some point during the ride, my body began to suffer. I had been training it for thirty minutes of hardcore work and not an endurance workout.
The bottom line is to keep your body guessing. For any economists out there, cross training is the macro version of calendar training.
Whether you’re doing cardio or weight training, you need to increase the intensity to prevent plateaus. If you are doing cardio, mix up the workout by either increasing the incline, adding speed, or both. Don’t stay at the same speed or incline for the entire session. If you plan on running for thirty minutes at 6.0 mph, then your body will get used to this and you won’t get as much from your workout. Also, if you are weight training, always remember to add weight and reduce the repetitions. Even if you work out intensely, make sure one of your workouts is easier or reduce the weight. Engage in the same type of workout, even an intense one, and your body will get used to those types of workouts.
When weight training, take some rest days. Rest days allow your muscles to grow. Even bodybuilders build in a rest day or two during their weekly training schedule. If you currently break your weight training into upper body one day and lower body the next, then you are giving your upper body a rest on the day that you are working your lower body. If you are doing a total body workout, then take a day off and feel those muscles grow.
Not sure if you’re overtraining? Here’s how you can tell:
Most people don’t like change and tend to stay with what they feel comfortable. It is easy to hop on that treadmill and run 3 miles followed by some abdominal work. However, when you keep your body guessing, you’ll avoid plateaus and meet your fitness goal more quickly.
What’s your tip for avoiding a fitness plateau?
Mark Levine, Personal Trainer from Midtown Athletic Club in Bannockburn, IL, takes over the blog today to discuss the benefits of combining cardio and strength-training into a single workout, especially during the busy summer months when you might have less time to devote to staying fit.
Summer schedules are packed with activities, from weekend graduation parties to weddings to serving as your kids’ camp taxi. If you’re finding it difficult to squeeze in both cardio and strength-training workouts, your best bet is to combine the two into a single workout in the weight room.
#1. Circuit Train
The best way to burn fat is to build muscle with strength training. Train in a circuit versus completing a single exercise.
An example of a single exercise is sitting on the Lat Pulldown machine and knocking out three sets of 10 repetitions, and then moving on to a Chest Press machine. The problem with this approach is that you are working a single muscle and also incorporating too much rest into your workout. This type of workout takes time and doesn’t stoke the metabolism as much as circuit training.
Here is an example of a workout circuit:
Complete Four Rounds with No Rest Between Exercises
Seated Row or TRX Row (12 Repetitions)
MB Squat with Overhead Press (12 Repetitions)
Seated Chest Press, TRX Chest Press, or Pushups (10-to-12 Repetitions)
Standing Forward Lunge with Dumbbell Curls (12 Repetions)
#2. Add a Cardio Station to the Circuit
Try adding a 250-meter row, a one-minute run/jog, or a one-minute bicycle sprint at the end of your circuit. If you have the capabilities and knowledge, you can do 6 burpees or 12 kettlebell swings.
#3. Less Talk, More Walk
One of the main reasons circuit training is a great way to get a cardiovascular workout is that there is no rest between exercises. You don’t rest after every minute on the treadmill, so why should you rest between exercises? By reducing the rest period, your level of cardio will increase.
#4. Add a Finisher to Your Workout
After you’re done with four rounds of the circuit or two different circuits, end with a “finisher.” A finisher is an exercise that will keep the heart rate in the aerobic level. Depending on your fitness level, you can choose one of the following, and perform the exercise for ten minutes:
Beginner- Rowing quickly for 30 seconds and then have 30 seconds of recovery time (or whatever is needed).
Intermediate- Rapidly walking/jogging for 30 seconds, followed by a 30-second recovery period.
#5. Always Have A Plan
When you walk into the weight room, always make sure you have a plan. In the example circuit workout provided above, you’ll notice that you are working the upper body, followed by a lower-body exercise. This plan allows you to rest the upper body while you’re working the lower body. It also incorporates compound exercises (where you work more than one body part at a time), in the forward lunge with a dumbbell curl.
The next time you’re at the club and heading toward the treadmill or elliptical, try circuit training in the weight room instead. It’s a great way to get your cardio, burn fat, and build muscle in a single workout.
What does it mean to be fit?
For many of us, being fit means maintaining a healthy weight with diet and exercise.
However, the “healthy weight = fit” idea omits and misrepresents several important components of what being truly fit means. In biological terms, “being fit” means “being able to provide for one’s own life and wellbeing; the fittest are those who can do so the best.” Now that’s a little closer to what we should be working toward. Not just being fit to the point of sufficiency, but being the fittest.
So, the question is: What can you do to be the fittest you can be, or to obtain the best quality of life possible?
To answer that question, we’ll examine the five components of physical fitness. That’s right, there are five. Not just “fitting into my favorite jeans,” “being able to run a marathon,” or “bench pressing twice my body weight.” Our definitions are from the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Body Composition: This refers to the relative amount of muscle, fat, bone, and other vital parts of the body. Body composition can provide a better evaluation of overall health than weight or BMI alone, so it is important to maintain a level of body fat that is neither too low (below 3-5% for men and 8-12% for women), nor too high (above 20-25% for men and 29-35% for women).
A variety of body fat measurement tools exist including calipers and bio-electrical impedance devices, and although some are more accurate and expensive than others, all can help you monitor changes.
Tip: Have a body fat analysis performed to know your starting point, and begin implementing small, healthy diet and exercise changes to improve body composition.
Cardiorespiratory Endurance: Cardiorespiratory endurance is the ability of the body’s circulatory and respiratory systems to supply fuel during physical activity. This means being able to sustain an elevated heart rate. Activities like walking, swimming, and bicycling will all lead to improvement, and the good news is that the activity you choose does not necessarily have to be strenuous (at least initially).
Tip: choose an activity you enjoy and start slowly, increasing the intensity and duration over time.
Flexibility: Flexibility is the range of motion around a joint. Maintaining good flexibility helps protect the muscles and joints from injury in all kinds of activity. A basic stretching program, such as 10-15 minutes of light stretching for the upper body, lower body, and core after a workout, may be all you need to improve this oft-neglected fitness component. Yoga and Pilates classes can also add more structure to your flexibility program.
Tip: the key to improving flexibility is to make time for it! Add 10 minutes to the end of your workout to stretch or take 10-minute walking/stretching breaks at work.
Muscular Endurance: Muscular endurance is the ability of the muscle to continue to perform without fatigue. You can improve muscular endurance by doing sustained activities such as walking, swimming, or bicycling. When it comes to weight training, completing longer sets (12-25 repetitions) would be considered working in the endurance range.
Tip: look for opportunities to activate your muscles outside the club. For example, walk to the grocery store and flex those biceps by carrying groceries.
Muscular Strength: Muscular strength is the ability of the muscles to exert force during an activity. Sorry to those of you who want to stick to the treadmill, but this means using your muscles against resistance, whether that comes in the form of a dumbbell, resistance band, or your own body weight against gravity.
Tip: take the stairs instead of the elevator, or do some pushups during TV commercial breaks.
To be truly, “totally fit” we need to focus on all five components of physical fitness. Not only will we be healthier overall, but we will also enjoy the benefits of reduced risk of injury and disease prevention (osteoporosis, diabetes, etc.). The added bonus? Improving any single area of fitness will help the others improve as well.
So what are you waiting for?! What areas of physical fitness are you focusing on right now?
LPGA golfer Stacy Lewis’ ability to overcome childhood scoliosis to become one of the game’s rising stars is an inspiring story that hits home with Midtown Athletic Club in Windy Hill, Georgia member Heather McNally, a Coca-Cola Planning and Resource Management Director.
Diagnosed with scoliosis at age 10, Heather began to experience debilitating migraine headaches—often up to 20 times per month—in 2003.
But thanks to a connection made by a Chicago neurologist that directly linked Heather’s migraines to scoliosis, along with a four-day-a-week fitness regimen at Midtown Athletic Club at Windy Hill, her monthly migraine toll is down to just a few each month.
In desperate search of relief for her headaches, McNally, 41, visited four Atlanta neurologists over an eight-year period. Her quest would eventually lead to Chicago, and her stepmom’s recommendation of the Diamond Headache Clinic. It was here where a clinic doctor observed a direct connection between her scoliosis and headaches.
Heather’s doctor in Atlanta had prescribed a drug given for epilepsy. While it reduced the migraines, the side effects were unbearable.
“I lost 10 percent of my body weight, my cognitive reasoning was weakened, and I had memory loss,” she remembers. “Worst of all, the medication made carbonated beverages taste awful. And that’s not good for a woman who works for Coca-Cola.”
Her family coordinated an “intervention,” insisting that she stop taking the drug. McNally did, but the migraines returned with a vengeance.
It was Diamond Headache Clinic’s Alex Feoktistov, M.D., who finally asked the right question.
“He asked if my head hurt when I tilted my neck,” McNally recalls. Tests would later help the doctor determine that McNally’s headaches were actually caused by stiffness in her neck and upper back—and most likely aggravated by her scoliosis.
Says McNally: “This connection was something that all my doctors previously dismissed.”
After talking with her personal trainers at Midtown Athletic Club at Windy Hill, McNally was provided with a four-day training regimen that has been working well. On Monday, for instance, it’s Pilates; Tuesday is for strength training (including neck and shoulders); Wednesday is her day for physical therapy; and Thursday is for massage therapy at the club’s spa.
Eight months into the program, Heather says that her migraines have virtually disappeared. Her back, she adds, is straighter than it has been in 30 years.
“We all know that physical activity is good for the body,” says Dina Casso, Windy Hill’s General Manager. “But for Heather, the results have been literally life-changing.”
“Many members come to us not only to help them lose weight or firm up areas of their body, but also to help them with debilitating ailments,” Casso adds. “We help by designing specific physical fitness programs to help provide our clients with a better quality of life.”
McNally wholeheartedly agrees.
“For me, even my personality has changed,” she says. “Not living in constant pain has made me a happier person. My family, friends and co-workers have all noticed. If it weren’t for Dr. Feoktistov and my great team at Midtown, I can’t imagine where I’d be today.”
I am especially fond of TRX (Total Body Resistance eXercise) because it is easy to use and as challenging as I want to make it. The TRX Suspension Trainer was developed by former US Navy S.E.A.L. Randy Hetrick, as he and his fellow S.E.A.L.S. searched for ways to stay in peak physical condition with limited access to training implements and space.
TRX started as a parachute webbing, but has developed into a well-made, portable training system that is very user-friendly. Its harness system anchors to almost anything and forces you to use your own body weight for strength training, while allowing for the explosive movement of plyometrics.
Exercises performed on the TRX are multiplaner, mimicking real-life situations that require strength. The level of difficulty of each exercise changes by adjusting body position, making it appropriate for people at all fitness levels.
You can perform hundreds of exercises using the TRX, including push-ups, planks, tricep exercises, squats, lunges, and more. By hanging on for dear life, I mean, grasping the handles, you lean away or toward your anchor point, performing exercises. Your body works extra hard to keep your balance and stability. TRX increases stability, flexibility, and works the core with every single movement. You use multiple muscles at once, unlike many weight-lifting exercises, so you feel like you’re getting a full-body workout with every move.
And now, for some exciting TRX news. We’ve had an outdoor TRX Training Center for a few months now, and now we have indoor mounts as well. From today, February 20th through Sunday, February 26th, you can enjoy a complimentary 30-minute indoor class with a personal trainer. Check out the schedule and pick a day and time that works for you.
Have you tried TRX? What do you think of it?
Midtown is known for hiring the best of the best in the fitness industry, including experienced, nationally certified personal trainers. Members trust our trainers to rebuild, recondition, and re-train their bodies.
Pediatric Pulmonary Physician, Samuel Vazquez, knows the importance of a strong body system. He works six full days per week (not including on-call time), eats healthfully, and enjoys playing tennis. Samuel has been a Midtown member since 2001, and recently began training with ACE & NASM-certified trainer for more than 15 years, Sandor Morris.
Born in Jamaica, Sandor is a former track star and Sprinter who still plays volleyball, soccer and basketball on a regular basis. He is has two daughters and is a favorite among high-performance athletes because of his fun, energetic, and motivating training approach. When Samuel hired Sandor, he simply wanted a couple of sessions to improve his endurance during his tennis game. He specifically requested Sandor because he had witnessed Sandor working his clients hard and after speaking with him said, “Sandor knows his stuff.”
Samuel has now been training for five months and has benefitted from personal training much more than he ever expected. Samuel gets one day off per week and chooses to spend it training with Sandor.
Ever wonder what goes on when one of our trainers works with a client?
Sandor : Samuel first came to me to improve his endurance when playing tennis. As I observed him, I realized he could barely bend his knees. He was also extremely tight in his shoulders, across the chest, and into his arms from years of strictly weight training. I needed to recondition his muscles and his mental approach to fitness. I decided to completely change up his routine. Improving his flexibility was just as critical as improving endurance to help him improve his tennis game.
Samuel: I work out with Sandor once a week and follow his routine on my own on another day each week. I play tennis at least twice a week. After one month, I noticed I could actually bend my knees again! I noticed I was in a better mood and had more energy. I have now been training with Sandor for five months and continue to see the benefits.
Sandor: I see Samuel once a week, so we work his total body in a way that will train endurance, strength, stability, rotation and core all at the same time. My favorite piece of equipment to accomplish this type of workout is the Free Motion Dual Cable machine. Although I do not do his entire routine on this equipment, I certainly could.
A session for Samuel with a focus on endurance, flexibility , stability and core may include:
Plymoterics: Step-ups on a box with dumbbell shoulder press. This works endurance, shoulders, legs, and core.
Burpees: The burpee is a full-body exercise used in strength training and aerobic exercise. It is performed in five steps:
Free Motion Dual Cable
- Single leg dead lift
- 1 leg, 1 arm row
- Squat to wood chop
- Triceps extension to squat, shoulder press
- Lunge to bicep curl with knee up
- Cable rotations
- V-up with medicine ball
- Medicine ball rotations
- Explosive leg lifts
- 15 minutes of assisted stretching
Interested in your own training session with Sandor? Please call the front desk at 954.384.2582. You won’t regret it!
I will humbly admit that even though I am a 40-year-old native Floridian with a backyard pool and the ocean at my fingertips, I am not a very strong swimmer. I can doggy-paddle pretty well, but usually feel like a sinking ship. I love to bike and run so I mentioned to Aquatics Director, Raphael Lima, that I would like to take some swimming lessons to prepare for a Triathlon with my 62-year-old father.
Raphael was eager to help me by suggesting Midtown’s Masters Swim Program.
The word “Master” alone was enough to make me steer clear from this offer. Raphael is from Brazil and Portuguese is his native language, so I thought perhaps he had misunderstood my current swimming skill level.
I said, “Raphael, I am a horrible swimmer and need to get a basic freestyle down so I don’t feel like I am drinking more water than I am swimming in.”
Again, he said, “Masters Swim is perfect for you.”
Masters Swim is perfect for anyone over 18 years old who wants to improve his/her swimming skills. We currently offer the program Monday through Friday with a variety of times to accommodate different schedules and levels. It’s only $60 for the month and feels like small group lessons.
Here’s what I learned about Masters Swim:
1. Choose Your Outfit Wisely
I purchased an appropriate swimsuit that would actually stay on and would not end up in the lane next to me. I bought goggles, waterproof sunscreen, and a swimmers cap to keep my long hair from strangling me during my lesson. With as few distractions as possible, I arrived for the 12:00 pm Masters Swim session ready to sink, I mean swim.
2. Bubble-Blowing Isn’t Just for Babies
The instructor asked me to swim a few laps so he could evaluate my form, or lack thereof. I was asked to bob up and down and blow bubbles, which I assume was because it was terribly painful for him to watch me swim.
This part was actually a lot of fun and somewhat relaxing. I later found out it was to help regulate my breathing, a very important skill when you are swimming. As a Pilates Trainer, I thought I had great breathing technique. The Pilates has helped, but I still had a lot to learn.
3. Kicking It
Following breathing exercises, he gave me a kick board and we began working on my feet and my kicking. He helped me improve my freestyle stroke. I learned you are not supposed to actually slap the water and swimming should not be painful in any way. That was a great tip! I was ready to do some laps.
You know when you are young and a room in your house seems gigantic until you grow older, and then you see it as the small room it really is?
This did not happen with the pool lane.
As I have aged, the lanes seem to get longer and longer instead of shorter. After laps, I was exhausted from completely changing my usual fitness routine. One hour of Masters Swim worked all of my muscles and I was breathing heavily, yet I was surprisingly refreshed and relaxed. The water felt great, and my coach taught me so much in just one session, it was worth my time.
Surprisingly, I already feel more confident in the pool and I am proud to tell my father I am now a Masters Swimmer. It might not be like the Masters in golf, but some of the swimmers are at an elite level. I never felt intimidated. The coach focuses on helping you improve your own skills, and they are not concerned with comparing you to anyone else.
Finally I realized this was the first one-hour workout during which my mind did not have a chance to wander. I did not think about the dog, the kids, or what we were having for dinner that night. The coach kept me focused and busy. Add the need for “survival skills” to your workout like I did and you will quickly be focused too.
Have you tried Masters Swim or any of our swim programs?
Offre valide pour les personnes qui viennent au Midtown pour la première fois. 18 ans et plus.