Tag Archives: winter

Do These 6 No-Equipment Cardio Exercises (and Skip the Treadmill)

cardio-exercises

For us runners, winter temps mean one of two things: to face a freezing outdoors scenario while logging some miles or to stay indoors and face an even more dreadful alternative: the treadmill.

Don’t panic, we have the perfect solution for all of you who want to stay in shape this season, without the risk of getting injured or bored.

These six fat-fighting, brain-boosting cardio exercises can be done anytime, anywhere, with no equipment at all:

Bridges

Lie faceup on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Raise your hips so your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. (Give your butt a big squeeze at the top!) Pause in the up position, then lower your body back to the starting position.

Plank Squat Hops

Begin in a straight-arm plank, with feet together and abs braced in tight. Bend knees and quickly jump legs forward, landing in a deep squat with toes just outside of hands. Immediately jump back out to plank position. Do 20 reps as quickly as possible.

Burpees

Start by bending over and place your hands on the floor in front of you, just outside of your feet. Jump both feet back so that you’re now in plank position. Then, drop to a push-up so that your chest should touch the floor. Push up to return to plank position, jump the feet back in toward the hands and explosively jump into the air, reaching your arms straight overhead. Repeat 10 times as fast as possible.

Mountain Climbers

Begin in a full plank position so your hands are directly under your chest at shoulder width apart with straight arms. Lift your right foot off the floor and slowly raise your knee as close to your chest as you can. Return to the starting position and repeat with your left leg. Continue alternating as fast as you can for 10 reps.

Skaters

Stand on your right foot with your knee slightly bent, place your left foot just behind your right ankle. Lower your body to a squat position, your right arm out to the side and your left arm across your hips. Hop to your left foot by jumping off your right foot, bringing the right foot behind your left foot as you swing your arms to the left, like you’re skating. Do all the reps you can, as as quickly as possible, for 30 seconds.

Jump Squats

With feet wide, lower into a deep squat and extend arms out to the sides of the shoulders, palms facing up. Jump up out of squat, bringing feet together and clapping hands overhead. Repeat this movement 20 times as fast as you can.

How to Take the Dread Out of the Treadmill

Aww, the treadmill… either you love it or you hate it! In case it wasn’t already obvious from this blog’s title, I’m in the group of runners that can’t stand it! When you love to run outside, it can be frustrating if the weather just won’t cooperate and you’re left with only two options: you skip a workout or you run on the treadmill. Skipping? Not a chance!

Without scenery passing me by and something to take my mind off the machine, I usually can only run about 10 minutes on the treadmill before boredom wins and I start to look at the clock every 30 seconds.

Fortunately there are plenty of ways to make the time on the treadmill more interesting. Why not give them a try before the freezing temps stop us all from hitting the road?

Set goals and achieve them

Treadmill-tips

Road running and treadmill running have their differences. For starters, running on the treadmill is somewhat easier than road running because it requires less energy. So why not set different training goals?

Set yourself some benchmark times and distances. Keep a record of your results and then aim to improve them on every visit to the gym. Having evidence that you’re getting fitter is a great motivation booster!

Break it up

Instead of dreading a 30-minute treadmill run, you can break it up into 5-minute increments, interspersed with some strength training or a different type of cardio work, such as rowing or the elliptical trainer. You could even make up a circuit of 8 to 10 exercises and machines, including the treadmill. Just don’t forget to “WooHoo!” yourself every time you finish a 5-minute run!

Do interval training

Intervals are by far my favorite way to pass the time on any cardio machine. Instead of running at one continuous pace for 30 minutes you can break up your treadmill running by mixing up intervals of faster running and slower recovery.

The types of intervals you can do are really endless. Just make sure you put together a sequence where you increase intensity each minute or two, moving you progressively from a walk to a sprint. Here’s an example:

  • Run or walk at a moderate pace for 2 minutes.
  • Run or walk at a challenging pace for 1 minute.
  • Run or walk at an easy pace for 1 minute.
  • Repeat until you’ve reached your workout goal (minutes or miles).

Race someone

Love-treadmill

Up for a challenge? Ask your running buddy to pay a visit to the gym with you. Choose treadmills next to each other and start the race. First one to run a mile wins! Not only is this strategy motivating, but it also helps you forget about staring at the clock. That first mile will be over in a blink of an eye!

If you’re working out alone, visualize yourself in a race. Or if you’re in a crowded gym, peek at the console of the person next to you and race him or her!

7 Tips to Improve Your Treadmill Running

A couple of weeks ago, we shared some tips for running in cold weather. Back then, the freezing temps were not stopping us from hitting the road, but recently the cold weather and the icy roads convinced us to move our workout to the treadmill.

We bet some of you are already doing your runs indoors, so we decided this would be the perfect timing to share some tips to make your treadmill running more effective, enjoyable, and safe!

Remember: you can still use your Bluefin apps when you’re working out on the treadmill!

Treadmill running

Choose the right treadmill clothes and running shoes

Because the temps indoors are higher, you’re likely to sweat a lot on the treadmill. Keep a towel handy, consider wearing lighter training clothes – such as a well-fitted technical T-shirt and a quality pair of shorts – and a sweatband or wristbands to catch excess sweat.
Even though the treadmill belt is a softer running surface, you can wear your regular running shoes, as long as they are clean. But you might be more comfortable wearing lighter, less cushioned footwear.

Hydrate during your run

When you’re running on the treadmill there’s little air resistance to help to keep you cool. Therefore, you can lose more water running on a treadmill then you would if you were running outdoors. To maintain good hydration levels, keep within your reach an easy to use waterbottle that you can operate with just one hand.

Don’t forget to warm up

It’s very tempting to just jump on the treadmill and start working out at your set pace. But you should allow time for a warm up to help make your workout as safe and effective as possible. To warm up right, walk or run at a slow, easy pace for 5-10 minutes.

Use incline to your benefit

Running on a flat treadmill (incline at 0%) is very similar to running down a slight decline on the open road. Since there’s no air resistance while running indoors, you should set the treadmill inclination to 1 – 2% to better simulate outdoor running.

But if you want to challenge yourself by increasing your base incline amount, avoid setting the incline to more than 7% – this may lead to Achilles tendon or calf injuries – and running at an incline of more than 2% for your entire run.

Always mind your posture

When running on the treadmill, try to maintain the posture you would have if you were running outside, by keeping your arms away from the handrail or console and at a 90 degree angle.
Also, the treadmill tends to pull your feet backward, so you’ll need to pull your feet from the belt before they are driven away in order to keep your body upright.

Focus on improving your stride count

Paying attention to your stride will help you to minimize the impact transferred to your legs and run more efficiently. In fact, elite runners can run about 180 steps per minute.
It’s very easy to determine your stride count. Just count how often one foot hits the belt in a minute and then double that number.To improve your stride count during your run, keep your stride quick and short, and your feet close to the belt.

Don’t forget to cool down

As it is tempting to skip the warm up, it’s also easy to hop off the treadmill when your workout is done. But if you want to prevent dizziness or the feeling that you’re still moving when you step off the treadmill, you should allow about 5 minutes to cool down. Before you get off the treadmill, do a slow jog or walk at the end of your run to allow your heart rate to go below 100 bpm.

Did you also stop running outdoors and start running on the treadmill? How did it affect your training plans?

6 Tips for Running in Cold Weather

Falling temperatures and fewer daylight hours indicate winter is almost here. But they are definitely not an excuse to quit your outdoor running routine. In fact, running in cold weather will help you feel better, boost your energy level, and lose the unwanted weight before the bathing suit season.

Stay healthy and follow these ground rules to ensure your safety and boost performance this winter:

1. Dress in thin layers and choose the right fabrics

Running in the cold

When you’re running or moving at full intensity, you feel 20 degrees warmer than your starting temperature. So, when you’re dressing to hit the road, you should choose clothes that keep you warm without overheating and chilling.

Consider wearing several thin layers of clothing, starting with a layer of synthetic material such as polypropylene, which wicks sweat from your body. Avoid wearing cotton because it holds the sweat and will keep you wet.

The right outer layer should help protect you against wind and precipitation, while still letting out heat and moisture. A breathable layer of nylon or Gore-Tex will do the job!

2. Protect your extremities

About 40% of your body heat is lost through your head and 30% escapes through your hands and feet.

When you’re running in low temperatures, make sure you always wear a snug-fitting hat, gloves mittens and wool socks that wick moisture away.

3. Run into the wind

Running during winter

To avoid catching a chill when you’re sweaty, start your run into the wind and finish with it at your back. You can even break this into segments, running into the wind for about 10 minutes, turning around to run with the wind at your back for five minutes, and repeating.

4. Be visible

With limited daylight, it’s more likely that you’ll be running in the dark during the winter. If you can, avoid running in such conditions. But if you have to run at night or early in the morning, wear reflective and fluorescent gear and dress in bright colors, specially if the landscape is covered in snow.

5. Take it easy and forget speed

When running in the cold, you’re at greater risk for a pulled muscle. On such conditions, warm up slowly and run easy.

If you prefer to run in the morning or in the evening, when the temperatures are much colder, try doing it twice a day instead of doing one long run where you might get very cold toward the end.

6. Change quickly after a run

As soon as you stop a physical activity, your core body temperature drops. The same happens if you get wet from rain, snow, or sweat. To avoid chilling or even hypothermia, change to some dry clothes – including socks, gloves and hat – as soon as you can and get warmer at a shelter with a hot drink.

Do you run outside in cold temperatures? Share your own safety tips for cold weather running in the comments below!