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Eight Simple Summer Fitness Tips

With the temperatures hovering above 90, vacations planned, schools on holiday, and the in-laws inbound it’s easy to get distracted from your fundamental fitness regimen.

We all struggle with consistency from time to time, and summer is a classic example.

Rather than fight the friction, here are a few easy ways to adjust your life and lifestyle to go with the flow when it seems like your exercise program is falling apart.  Here are my Eight Simple Summer Fitness Tips …

1. Lift Weights two to four times per week no matter what. As described in detail in previous blog entries, and is well documented elsewhere,  increased lean body mass increases your metabolism which significantly increases your calorie burn. Load bearing exercise also helps prevent osteoporosis … a threat to both men and women.

2. Just Move More. Use the spread office suggestions from my January blog. Cut your own grass. Walk your own dog. Walk down the hallway to check with a colleague instead of phoning her. Park in remote areas of every parking lot you park in. Use the stairs. All of these simple, additional body movements add up quickly in the long run.

3. Ride your bike to work at least once weekly. Check our May blog to begin your new commuting life style. You’ll look better, feel better, be healthier, and reduce your carbon footprint all at once!

4. Eat Clean. The American Journal of Medicine reports that Americans eating 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily has gone from 42% in 1988 to 26% in 2006.   One thing is for sure: if you don’t buy them, you won’t eat them, so be sure to spend at least 25% of your total grocery shopping experience in the produce section!

5. Eat Smart. Smaller meals digest better than larger ones. And they help keep your stomach smaller. Don’t eat big meals before bed time. Do eat breakfast every day. Don’t get crazy on the carbohydrates, and limit or eliminate highly saturated fat content foods from your diet.  Need even more help?  Ask me about our Nutrition Together program.

6. Get enough rest each day. Proper rest assists with recovery from exercise. It also affects your job performance, and is critical to regulating insulin. Researchers have also found that proper rest can reduce your risk of developing cancer.

7. Stretch Daily. Certainly, you can do yoga to improve your flexibility, but a simple home stretching regimen is plenty sufficient for most people. More important than anything else is that you build a mere 10 to 15 minutes of stretching into your day. Here, as well, are a few ways to time-slice stretching into your day.

8. Hydrate. Develop the habit of carrying a water bottle with you where ever you go. Drinking plenty of water helps you digest food better, increases muscle and joint flexibility, and helps keep your breath fresh!

And  here’s a bonus tip …

9. Make incremental adjustments. Changing habits takes time, effort, and determination. Rather than attempting to tackle all 8 of these tips tomorrow, pick and seriously focus on just one for each of the next 8 weeks.

Got a tip or some feedback for us!?  

Leave a comment and be automatically entered for a free week of personal training! 


Ready to Sweat!? Small Group Training is coming to Fitness Together Minneapolis!

Same great managed training & nutrition programming in groups of 2 to 4.

Bring your A game though, because it gets a little competitive!

Current clients will be offered a taste early this fall!

Healthy Summer Hydration Hints

Water, one of the basic 6 nutrients, is the medium within which all of our body’s metabolic process occur!

Body temperature regulation, nervous system impulse transmissions (including brain activity), and energy conversion systems all rely on proper body hydration to function effectively!

Further, as the weather heats up, additional fluids are lost during basic daily activities, making proper fluid consumption (hydration) even more critical.

Water is also the body’s primary means of cleansing itself by flushing toxins out the (bottom) door.

Hydration, in short, is a pretty big hammer!  Proper hydration:

  • Improves digestive efficiency;
  • Reduces blood pressure;
  • Improves the appearance of skin, nails, and hair;
  • Increases muscle and joint flexibility;
  • Improves the elasticity of your skin (reducing wrinkles); and
  • Helps keep your breath fresh!

Got a slight headache? Maybe you’re dehydrated.

With all of these things dependent upon proper hydration levels, it’s a wonder that any of us become dehydrated at all!

But we do, and we seem to do so with some regularity. A good rule of thumb for monitoring your hydration levels is the color of your urine. Unless you’ve just taken a loaded multivitamin, you should be generally passing clear fluid when you urinate. The darker it is, the more dehydrated you probably are!

We’ve all heard the advise to drink 8 glasses of water each day. You know, that’s a lot of water! And it actually takes a conscious effort to consume that much water positioned butt down at your desk. The easiest way to provoke  additional fluids intake, of course, is to exercise!

More on that below, but here are a few basic tips for proper daily hydration:

  • Develop the habit of carrying a water bottle with you where ever you go. Sip on it every 15 or 20 minutes.
  • Drink unsweetened green iced tea if all that water is just too much water; avoid sugared drinks
  • Plan to consume at least 8 ounces of water before and with each meal
  • Make extra efforts for additional fluid intake with higher protein diets
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which are technically diuretics with dehydrating effects.

And Exercise more!

A lot of us simply require an exercise induced thirst to get in enough fluids on a regular basis. Not unlike how increasing your heart rate helps to eventually reduce your resting heart rate, profuse sweating increases your thirst to where you will more effectively hydrate!

Complete a few hot cardio intervals, one of our FT HEAT programs, or a few sets of lunge presses, and you’ll have 20 ounces through your body in no time!

While hydration requirements for aerobic activities (cycling, running, nordic skiing) are slightly different from those required for resistance training, the basic requirements are the same, and fit into 3 basic categories:

  • Pre-exercise hydration;
  • Exercise hydration; and
  • Post-exercise hydration.

Pre-exercise hydration should actually begin 2 to 3 hours before your workout with consumption of 500-600 ml (a bottle) of water, followed by an additional 100 to 200 ml of water (or sports drink) 20 minutes prior to your workout.

Consumption during exercise should approximate sweat rate, though given that most people can only absorb about a liter per hour (the rest is just passed through), extremely vigorous, extended exercise will almost always result in some dehydration.  Therefore …

Post exercise hydration is a critical time to make up the difference in fluids lost during exercise …preferably within 90 minutes.   Drink a post exercise recovery drink (with nutrients) first, then just plain water at a rate of a liter an hour for the next 2 hours.

Got any other hydration tips?  Please leave a comment!

SuperSet Spice for your Workout

FINALLY! Some Elbow room in the gym!

 Most of the new year’s resolutes fell off their programs long ago.  The Spring Break body polishers have been there and done that, and lots of Minnesotans are on vacation at the moment, so …

The clubs have LOTS of room these days! 

Which means better equipment availability and a few more training options!

And one of my favorites is the use of SuperSets!

If you’re looking for a step up in intensity, or for a way to pack more exercise into a limited time budget, incorporating SuperSets into your routine might be the ticket!

While it will indeed be a super addition to your program, the term SuperSet is really just a term used to describe an extra-large set.

A set, of course, is a collection of continuous repetitions. 10 push ups completed consecutively is a set of push ups. 20 situps done without rest in between is a set of situps. And so on. Fitness Professionals typically call a set like this a Straight Set.

A SuperSet then, is two Straight Sets done back to back to each other without any rest in between.

Indeed, a set of 10 push ups followed immediately by and without any rest in between a set of 20 situps is a SuperSet!

Supersets can be done, for similar muscle groups, opposing muscle groups, or, as in the above example, completely unrelated muscle groups!

At Fitness Together we frequently train clients with something called tri-sets where 3 exercise sets are done consecutively and without rest in between, but I’ll save that soap box for another day! 🙂

And why would you want to do SuperSets at all!?

Answer: Generally speaking, you would use SuperSets to increase load to promote adaption (get bigger, stronger, leaner, have more endurance, etc.). Your body will eventually adapt to Straight Sets, so using SuperSets is simply one way to trick and force your body to adjust!

SuperSets are most frequently done for similar or identical muscle groups to increase intensity and improve muscular endurance. A SuperSet of two chest exercises will not only enhance muscular endurance for your chest, but it will also exhausts the muscle groups in a way different from straight sets … and thus promotes adaption.

So, with the additional availability of equipment in the clubs these days, this is where you can really add some spice to your program for a nice little bump in progress!

Something like chest presses followed immediately by some chest flyes will really light up your pecs! Or, if you have a push/pull workout planned, something like cable crossovers followed by some lat pulldowns can pump up your entire upper body!

Here are a few SuperSets to try:

Similar Muscle Groups:

  • Chest: Chest Presses followed by Flyes
  • Back: Lat Pulldowns followed by Bent Rows *
  • Quadriceps: Squats followed by Leg Extensions
  • Deltoids: Overhead Dumbbell Presses followed by Upright Rows

Opposing Muscle Groups:

  • Legs: Diagonal Lunges followed by Single Legged Ball
  • Chest/Back: Wide Grip Incline Bench Presses followed by Wide Grip Cheater Chinups
  • Core: Hanging Straight Leg Leg Raisers followed by Hyperextensions

Completely Unrelated Muscle Groups:

  • Biceps/Calves: Standing Dumbbell Curls followed by single legged Calve Raisers with the same weight
  • Deltoids/Abs: Single Arm Dumbbell Rows followed by ball crunches

Got an interesting or favorite SuperSet? Please do comment here, or shoot me an email!

Get Fit Discount with MN State Shutdown

Get_Fit_MN with our Government Shutdown Discount!

We’re now 10+ days of the Minnesota State Government shutdown and I am outraged that my elected representatives have been unable to get one of their primary roles completed in enough time to avoid completely shutting down the government.   Wow.  And WTF!

You, however, can Get Fit and cash in big with our Day X Government Shutdown Discount Program … running up through and until day 20.

Get X% off of any training package on Government Shutdown Day X.  The only caveat is that it’s over when it’s over, and it’s for new clients only.   So, you can hold the dice and hope for day 19 or 20,  but when your favorite 134 elected officials finally figure it out, and there will be no discounts!

But, here is your chance to get fit while your state congress gets fat!

Maybe they shouldn’t have been debating how we’re going to spend money we don’t have on a football team that doesn’t have an operating league.

Or maybe they shouldn’t have been discussing marriage or gay marriage or same sex marriage constitutional amendments.

Hey, I’m just sayin’….

Maybe, just maybe they should have been tackling the budget!!

Although, as we all know, it isn’t completely shut down, or I wouldn’t be able to send in my payroll taxes, or property taxes, or income taxes (which, in recent years, has been small enough that even the legislators could count it).


Cross Training Key Summer Diversion

The dog days of summer are officially with us!

Daylight starts early and ends late. Clouds do their best to shelter us from the burning sun above, but are only marginally successful, because when the sun pokes through, it’s hot, hot, hot!

For whatever reason, it’s just really hard to get the body going in these conditions.

Whether it’s the heat and or the humidity, it’s simply not inspiring weather to crank up the intensity … or easily extend your workout.

So, now is a perfect time to introduce or better incorporate some cross training into your regular exercise patterns.

If you’re like a lot of folks, you’ve got a good routine well established: strength train 3 or 4 days per week; 2 or 3 moderate cardio days; and a long slow cardio event on the weekend.

It’s all good. Though actually, that’s terrific, because if you’ve found a way to get that much exercise into your life you’re well on your way to accomplishing anything you’d like to achieve with your fitness program. And your life. You’re approaching Fitness Fung Shui!

But with the summer doldrums settling in, or, if your consistency is off a bit (or a lot!), now’s a good time to break out of this groove a bit.

And some cross training is the perfect solution!

For starters, new exercises elevate the body’s nervous state. A lot of energy is spent sending electrical impulses around your body. And when you perform a foreign exercise, your body is in a heightenedstate of alertness, generating even more electricity.

As a result, you’ll burn more calories simply by trying some new exercises.

Additionally, if you’ve been in the ‘groove’ for a while, you’ll hit a wall after not too long. The body adapts to the exercises, becomes fit, and then finds the routine merely … well, routine!

You don’t need (and shouldn’t) go to extremes to alter your exercise program, but you should change it somewhat significantly at least every 6 weeks.

Fitness professionals call this periodization.

Without going into the science of adaption, just recognize that a bit of cross training can be tremendously helpful with your program.

Finally, no matter how gentle you are with your joints, and no matter how careful you are to hydrate and stretchif you’re into your middle aged years, overuse of specific body motions can introduce pains, strains, and injury. Repetitive stress can set in. Sometimes it’s diagnosed as tendinitis.

Using new or foreign exercises allows highly used muscles and joints to recover a bit while others are utilized.And this is the greatest benefit to cross training.

Here, then, are some specific cross training ideas:

  • For cyclists,it means running a bit
  • For runners it means …
  • For folks on the Fitness Together program, where we completely handle your program periodization, it primarily means changing up your long, slow cardio event.
  • Other Fun Ways to add some cross training to your program:
    • Kayak for a morning, afternoon, or evening
    • Go for a day hike (run?) in the woods
    • Run on a sandy beach
    • Rollerblade out on of our great bike paths
    • Rollerski … but get some instruction 1st … some skills are needed
    • Swim, then swim harder or longer
    • Do some Rock Climbing
    • Join a league and play volleyball, soccer, hockey, or lacrosse once a week

Image Consultant Guest Posting: Summer Stylin’

I had the good fortune to interview my friend and strategic business partner: image consultant Linda Froidland this week about summer style and dress.  

Ladies will be 1st this week; guys I’ll have something similar for you next! 

Randy: Linda, why is that what you wear and how you look are important?
Linda:  “It takes less than three minutes for someone to decide who and what you are. First by your personal appearance, second by your body language and third by your verbal communication.  It takes another twenty times meeting someone for them to change that perception.
It’s true what they say:  the first impression is the lasting impression, so fitness, health, grooming and attention to detail have many great rewards. They get you a better table at a restaurant, a better ticket for the theatre and more.”

Randy: And what exactly do you do?

“I love fashion, I have been reading Vogue magazine since I was twelve years old. The thing about fashion is that it’s what makes us change and evolve. It’s how we identify the time frame when we look at old pictures. Fashion however, only works when it’s part of helping you develop your own person style.

Randy: And how does a person develop a personal style?”

Linda: ” When shopping!  And when shopping for fashion here are some great tips on how to add it to your wardrobe.”

1. Know you body type and what looks good on you.
2. Know what you can add that will go with other things in your closet.
3. If it’s outrageous don’t bust the bank buying it. Have a budget for fashion.
4. Stay true to the message of who you are and not what Fashion says you should be.

You will enjoy shopping and purchasing items much more if you keep these tips in mind.” 

Randy: “You mentioned white in an earlier conversation.  Tell me about that”

Linda: “White, or the opposite of black, stands for purity and cleanliness. It’s a great color to wear in a shirt or blouse for business, especially the financial world. There is nothing better than an all white outfit in the summer, or white jeans, my personal favorite.

Randy: “White Jeans?”

Linda: “Yes, In the summer I love wearing white jeans, although the truth is I wear them all year round. White jeans just seem to say summer.   Here is what you need to know about buying white jeans: 

  1. Make sure the fabric is heavy enough so it’s not see through.
  2. Buy a style that compliments your body type.
  3. Make sure they fit like they were made for you.
  4. Remember even jeans can be altered (especially at the waist so you can’t see down your pants when sitting).
Randy: “Is it true that black tends to be a slimming color, and white less so?”
Linda:  “Yes, that’s mostly true.  You can’t hide much with white jeans.  If you’re overweight white jeans may not be a good choice for you, but it depends on the individual.”
As a side note, if you think white jeans are for you, check out the Denimology blog here. 

Randy: “That’s awesome.  What else can you offer as simple summer image tips?”

If you don’t know what looks good take an image consultant along with you when you shop.   Sales people are just that: sales people;  they are there to sell you clothes.  Friends are sometimes not honest because they don’t want to hurt your feelings. This summer white jeans maybe just the ticket because if the weather is not exactly cooperating these will at least make you feel like you are having summer.”



If you’d like to get more information from or about Linda, check out her website@ http://www.lindasfroiland.com/

If you have a comment on this posting, good or bad, please leave it here and you’ll be automatically entered for our weekly drawing for …

A Free Personal Training Session!