Playing a sport is a fun activity and keeps you fit mentally and physically. It engages the mind and body while energizing and de-stressing you at the same time. All sports keep you active and improve blood flow in the body. Whether you are good at playing the sport or not it will always benefit you and improve your fitness level. Playing any sport builds self-confidence, develops your personality and infact helps you understand yourself better. Most successful people enjoy playing a sport and even use it as an opportunity to network with other professionals. Being good at a sport can help you also get successful professionally as it helps develop & sharpen essential traits like competition, strategy and desire to win in an individual.
Playing a sport is a great workout for the body as it improves breathing while working the muscles in the body. It drastically improves your eduarance, strength, stamina and helps build lean muscles. Besides for some people it is more engaging and exciting than going to a gym. To help you get better at a sport that you enjoy as a hobby or a fitness routine we have put together a few tips to improve your performance at the sport and enjoy more benefits.
Circuit training is a great combination of high intensity workout in combination with resistance training. What does it exactly mean: There are 4-10 exercises ( mostly resistance training) that make a circuit or a single set. Each exercise is performed for a specified number of repetitions before moving on to the next exercise. The exercises within each circuit or set are separated by a short rest period, and each circuit or set is separated by a longer rest period. Circuit training is highly effective in increasing strength, stamina and flexibility. Each exercise has to be done in a steady pace and maintaining the right posture while performing them.
Circuit training in not a fixed type of exercise pattern but can be changed according to the fitness level of the individual. The exercises in a circuit can be total body, upper body, lower body, abs, combination of these body parts, biceps and legs etc . It can be designed to your body requirement hitting specific muscles if required.
Benefits of Circuit Training:
Weight Loss: Circuit training is a high intensity workout which will make the body burn a lot of fat as different muscles are being engaged in high repetitions with little intervals for recovery..If one is looking for a weight loss and wanting to get active and powerful then circuit training can be beneficial.
Body Building: If one is looking to build muscles then circuit training could help get lean and muscular including weight exercises to build bigger muscles. Circuit training helps maximize muscle size and while reducing the body fat to the minimum.
Develop strength and Endurance: It is a great way to develop strength and endurance as it can be made higher intensity circuits which make the muscles work more and build strength.
Equipments: With circuit training you have the flexibility to choose exercises from body weight, dumbbells, machines, elastic bands, Swiss balls, barbells, heavy weights, aerobics etc in a circuit . You could combine machines and weights or any other combination according to objective and convenience.
No Age Factor: It is high intensity but the intensity necessarily doesn’t have to be the same for everyone. It can be made according to physical ability. So old people can follow a circuit suitable to their body types. Women can choose a circuit which will tone up the body.
Feel Good: Circuit training finds a lot of popularity amongst people because of its options of plenty. Some people find gyms or other kind of aerobic exercises boring and mundane, while circuit training helps break that monotony and adds adrenaline pumping routine to the regular exercises that are done in isolation. Besides giving you double the results in half the time of any other exercise training fro weight loss.
Some researchers are of a belief that exercise makes you fat. And if we continue to be moderately physically active it is enough to maintain the weight. According to them sweating it out in the gym only makes you fat and does not really help in any weight loss.
We partially agree to this theory about moderate physical exercise is enough to keep you fit. Like most things there is a condition that too applies to moderate physical activity, which is if you are also watching what you eat. Even if you are exercising and at the same time eating more than you are actually burning you are bound to not lose any weight. Keeping this logic in mind we further explain how exercising is really making you fat.
We see a lot of people compulsively exercising at the gym over a period of time without losing any weight. Well there could be two reasons for it. First either you are following a wrong routine which is similar to ‘eating empty calories’ or you are still eating more than you are burning. Like doing a twist with a long rod on the shoulder or walking on a high incline while holding the rod in front. Infact talking on the phone while walking on the treadmill, elliptical, slow cycling is as useless as sitting on a chair. There is a study that states that while you exercise you need to focus at the activity at hand for best results. Have you ever seen a sports or a fit person be on a phone while exercising ?
Does the image of running indoors and pile of weights in the gym put you off ? If the monotony of gym workouts is coming in your way of kick-starting a fitness routine we have a few ideas that are fun and as effective as any gym workout routine. Plus there are added benefits of working out outdoors.
Swimming: Summers are creeping in with hot and humid afternoons. A swim in the evening will cool you down and will burn sufficient calories for a workout depending upon the duration and your weight. Thirty minutes of swimming is sufficient to burn a few calories and feel energized. Swimming improves your heart health and doesn’t strain the connective tissues. It improves the circulation and energy, strength, flexibility and endurance balance.
Water Polo: Nothing can be better than enjoying your workouts for best results. What about playing some ball in the pool with your friends for enjoyment as well as burning calories. This will also give you the motivation to stretch your game from half an hour to an hour. Team sports are more involving and engaging than a solo gym workout routine.
Fitness Holiday: Giving the body and mind a break with fitness holidays can reboot your energy level and adventure can Distress and rejuvenate you. Fitness while holidaying is a great idea with a balance of exercise and nutrition to make the body recover and transform your body from unfit to a fit mode.
Walk your dog: Take the responsibility of walking your door. Once out try running instead of walking your dog. A companion while running can be of help and of course dogs are very agile which will keep you on your toes. One study even found that older people are more likely to take regular walks if the walking companion is canine rather than human.
Join a Boot Camp: Register your self for a boot camp. Some serious exercise with experts for 2-3 times a week apart from your workout schedule can give you an advantage for a higher level of fitness and stamina. Workouts in group also gives the motivation to work harder than the people around you. A boot camp will also give you a check of your fitness levels with other people in your group. Aren’t you the toughest of all ?
Sports Complex: Sport complex’s offer variety of activities from aerobics, swimming, sports and space to do your workouts in clean and green environments. Join a group playing some sport or take a run in the field. You can add variety to your workouts with many options available there.
Play Cricket: You can find group of people playing cricket in a park, street or fields. Join them and stop a few boundaries and score a few runs. It will distress you and add the fitness element to your schedule. Cricket is not very intense and adds the choice of resting, running, jumping and gives a complete body workout along with the joy the game gives.
We have given you a lot of fun reasons to get started. Pick your favorite activity and call your friends!
If you’re doing all the wrong things, then it could be possible that your gym is making you fat! Many of us religiously work out at the gym with very little change. Read this and find out what you could be doing wrong and fix it:
Only cardio training: Cardio is great to lose weight, but to get muscle definition in your arms, lift your sagging muscles or get that six pack, you need to do some resistance training. And ladies, you will not get bulky muscles from lifting weights. In fact, you can’t. Else, there wouldn’t be puny guys in the gym trying to gain muscle.
You miscalculate calories: Often people over calculate their workout calories, and under calculate those in their food. More calories in, and less calories out, means weight gain! So, don’t eat those unhealthy samosas after your 30 minute walk.
Same ineffective workout routine: You’ve been doing the same routine, since the dawn of the century. So, you’re body is used to it, and is so efficient at doing the workout, then it doesn’t need to truly exert. You must keep changing your workout routine to make it effective.
So, here’s the second part of the series, where we compare exercising on machines, or out in the open. In Treadmills vs Outside Running Part 1, we considered 3 points between treadmills and running outside. At the end of the 3 points, treadmills were winning 2:1 against running outside. Let’s continue to find out, which is better?
4. Speed Change-Sprints/Intervals: Sprints and Interval Training are the fastest way to burn fat, but intervals on the treadmills can be painful, since you have to keep pressing those buttons at the end of every interval, to change your speed. Its kind of annoying than just using your legs to slow down, where you would actually use more muscle in running on the ground, to increase or decrease your speed. In fact using your legs to increase or decrease your speed actually helps to work more muscle. Its even more annoying to simulate sprints on a treadmill. So, this one goes to running outside. We’re even, at 2:2
5. Environment/Access to Space: This one is a toss up. If you live in a nice clean area, with lots of parking or running space, its great to run outside. But treadmills are great if you live in a polluted location, a dirty area, unfriendly weather like rain, snow or heat; or just don’t have running space!
6. Impact on joints: Depending on what kind of ground you run on, the impact varies. Running on a soft surface reduces impact on your joints, whereas pounding your joints on the concrete sidewalks increases that impact. Most gym treadmills have impact factors that are somewhere in the middle- not as reduced as soft surfaces, and not as hard as concrete. So, this factor is also a draw between machines and the real thing. (A great zero impact cardiovascular exercise is swimming)
Similar factors would affect whether you want to use the cycling machines in the gym, or cycle outside, or deciding between a stair climber machine or actually running on stairs, or between a rowing machine and rowing in a lake. Because of equipment expense and access to water bodies, actually rowing is a tough one, but its a fantastic workout.
We’re partial to running outside, since we like to feel our shoes on the ground. But neither won this battle. It really comes down to what the situation is.
But the answer to the ultimate cardio question – Is is better to run on a treadmill or to run outside, on the ground? , is ultimate one -It depends
Picking a gym or a health club is an important decision, since it can be the reason to make or break your fitness goals. Many of us have experienced it where we’ve signed up for a gym/health club or a class and never really been able to take advantage of it. So, here is a guide on how to pick and choose the right gym
Location: Very much like real estate, location is key! The location of the gym should be close to your routine locations. What I mean is, if you plan to go to the gym from home, then the closer it is to your home, the lower the chances of you skipping the gym. Whenever we choose a gym that is even a 10 min drive from our house, finding excuses to skip the gym only becomes easier. I personally prefer a gym close to home even if its not as fancy. As long as I make it to the gym regularly, it’s far better than barely going to the fancy gym.
Timings: Timing is the second most important factor. Think about the time of the day, that you work out, or when you would be able to work out, and ensure that the gym provides you adequate cushioning. So, if you hit the gym after work at 8 p.m., then the gym should be open till at least 10 p.m. That way, if you’re late to the gym, you don’t get kicked out at closing time, even though you’re only half way through your workout. Also, check their weekend timings. Some people like working out on the weekends, so they prefer gyms that are open on Sunday also.
Equipment: There are many things to consider in equipment. First, check the condition of the equipment. You don’t need the really fancy equipment, but what is important that the gym equipment (dumbbells, barbells, weights, machines, benches) should be in good shape. Rusted, dirty, old or ill-maintained equipment can cause injuries. Smelly equipment will not exactly motivate you to go to the gym.
Also, consider what kind of equipment you like to use or would like to use. Say you like to use the treadmill and the elliptical. Try them once to ensure that you would enjoy using them. If you use weights, check that they carry the kind of weights you like. If you need 1-3 kg (2-7 lb) dumbbells or barbells, check that they have enough of those, or you’ll be fighting other gym members for them. For us, three pieces of equipment are most important- a wide range of dumbbells, a good treadmill and wide range free weights.
Trainers: If you’re planning to use a trainer, try to meet the person who you’ll be dealing with before you sign up. Personal trainers should be amiable, nice people and should really understand body physiology. In India, many gym trainers are not certified and lack knowledge of body physiology, so they can unknowingly cause harm to your body, instead of helping you get fit. You can ask to check their certification. If that’s not possible, then ask them to do a trial session with you. Talk to them before you finalize. Another important factor with trainers is you should check their availability. If they’re trying to manage 5 people in the gym simultaneously, then you won’t get adequate attention, and a structured fitness program.
Gym Traffic: A really under-considered but critical factor. Ask the gym when their peak hours are and go to the gym at that time before signing up. Many gyms get so over crowded that its impossible to get any equipment to use. Let alone any space to perform your workout. And don’t forget, people sweat in the gym. When they sweat, they can smell. And if its too crowded, then you will be smelling them. Again, not on the list of gym motivators
Gym Membership fees: Last but not the least, is the cost of the gym. Most gyms have a number of plans, ranging from yearly memberships to pay per use options. Consider how often you’ll make it to the gym before really signing up for a big commitment. As an example, a local gym costs rupees 2400 per month. Now, if I make it to the gym 2-3 times a week, that’s approximately 10 times a month. At 2400 rupees a month for 10 visits, it costs me 240 rupees a visit. Each time I skip the gym my costs per visit goes up. They also offer an option of 3600 for 25 visits. That’s 144 bucks per visit. That’s a much better deal for someone who goes to the gym 2-3 times a week. So, really think about the plan before you sign up. Most gyms will try to lure you into signing up for a 6 month-1 year plan since it sounds cheaper per month, and they know that many people don’t come back to the gym after their first few visits. If you know you’re not regular at all, try to see if the gym has a pay per visit facility. Sounds expensive right now, but it will work out better in the long run. And if you decide to become very regular, you could always sign up for the monthly or yearly plan.
These are the main factors to consider. If there is something more that you would like to contribute to our readers, feel free to add it to our comments.