Fitness & Wellness

Burpees - A Full-Body Exercise

Burpees – A Full-Body Exercise

At VIP 1 to1 Fitness in Fort Lee, New Jersey, we create personalized programs and follow your progress, helping you every step of the way. However, people often ask generalized questions, and one of the most common is “If you could only recommend one exercise that would provide the most benefit for the whole body, what would it be?” The answer is easy, I’d suggest burpees. The exercise was originally created by Dr. Royal H. Burpee, as a test for total body fitness of inactive individuals.

What is a burpee?

Dr. Burpee’s original burpee was easier than it is today. It consisted of five steps. Step 1. Squat down and put both hands on the floor in front of you. Step 2. Push your feet backward to plank position. Step 3. Bring your feet back to starting position. Step 4. Stand up again. Step 5. Repeat. Today burpees have changed a bit and become more difficult. It’s now seven steps and a lot tougher. Step 1. Squat. Step 2. Do a plank. Step 3. Do a push-up. Step 4. Jump your feet back. Step 5. Squat. Step 6. Jump. Step 7. Repeat.

Burpees use all large muscle groups.

One thing that makes burpees so effective is that it uses all major muscle groups. It’s extremely helpful if you’re trying to get into shape and if you speed up a succession of burpees, helpful in getting your fitter and keeping you fit. They’re not easy, but you can do them anywhere and since they work so many muscle groups, can be the basis for your workout when you’re short on time. You’ll work your core muscles, glutes, quads, shoulders, calves, chest and triceps. It also provides a good cardio workout.

If you’re out of shape, start slowly.

You can revert to the original burpee if you’re completely out of shape. It’s better to error on the side of safety. Once you’ve conquered those, add the other steps of the modern version. The military first used burpees to see if recruits were in shape. Later they modified it to the more difficult version during WWII as part of the training regimen. Most trainers use the more difficult military version.

  • Burpees also provide flexibility and balance training, besides building strength and endurance. The squatting and thrusting movements help improve flexibility and balance.
  • Burpees can help lower blood pressure. Large muscle groups are worked during burpees, which causes the body to create nitric oxide. That causes vessels to dilate and lowers blood pressure, which reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke.
  • Burpees is a fat burning hero. They’re hard and will make you sweat. You may love them or hate them, but one thing is certain, burpees will help you lose weight. They’re demanding and use a lot of calories.
  • No matter what type of exercise program you start, always check with your health care professional first to see if you may have any conditions that it might affect. In most cases, they’ll wholeheartedly approve.

For more information, contact us today at VIP Fitness Center


Strength Training Tips For Beginners

Strength Training Tips For Beginners

People often avoid strength training for a number of different reasons. Some people worry they’ll bulk up too much, while others are simply intimidated. You don’t have to worry about either of those. For women, it’s really difficult to bulk up due to hormones, but it also requires a lot of dedication for men to achieve that look. If you aren’t sure where to begin, here are some tips for beginners that should help you on your way.

Start with building strength and later decide what your ultimate goal really is.

Do you want to build strength and stay fit, but not build big muscles or is the “look” and bulk the most important reason for strength training? Building strength means lifting something heavy or using your muscles to work against a resistance, which is gravity when you lift something. For beginners, I recommend lifting lighter weights. Lighter weights with more repetitions burns fat, tones muscles, can aid in flexibility, builds muscle mass and is best for beginners. Lighter weights can cause less stress on joints and ligaments. If you want to build more bulk, you can switch to heavier weights later.

Always warm up to make sure your muscles are loose and flexible.

What is the importance of a warm up routine for strength training? It’s extremely important because it prepares the body by easing into exercise with easier movements and increases circulation. It prepares the muscles for later, more taxing exercises and boosts the range of motion. That can prevent injury. Your warm up should involve the corresponding muscles you’ll use in strength training.

Focus on form.

Form is one of the most important parts of training. If you’re doing bodyweight exercises to build strength and don’t have the right form for push-ups, you won’t get the results you want. Improper form can even cause injury, especially when you’re lifting heavier weights. If you have to do your workout slowly and include fewer reps at first, but achieve perfect form, then you’re on the right path. Having the proper form will help you achieve your goals faster.

  • Make sure you have a sleep schedule and stick with it when you’re doing strength training. Your muscles need time to heal, and they do it while you’re sleeping.
  • Do strength training two to three times a week. Make sure you have 48 to 72 hours between workouts of the same muscle groups. They need that much time to heal the micro tears from strength training that ultimately builds muscle strength.
  • As you workout, you’ll notice some strength training becomes easier. It means you’ve made progress and it’s time to up the ante. Add more repetitions, heavier weights or create a different workout that’s tougher.
  • While strength training will build muscle tissue, boost your metabolism and make it easier to lose weight, you still need to eat healthy. Eating healthy provides the nutrients to build muscle and helps you reach your weight goals.

For more information, contact us today at VIP Fitness Center


Ways To Stay Motivated On Your Fitness Journey

Ways To Stay Motivated On Your Fitness Journey

One reason people love to come to V.I.P. 1To 1 Fitness Center in Fort Lee, NJ, is that we help them stay motivated, so they can reach their goals. Two of the biggest roadblocks to fitness are getting started and staying motivated. If you’re reading an article on staying motivated, you’ve probably accomplished step one. Staying motivated is tough, especially after the initial determination wears off and before there are results. It’s hardest to stay motivated after the first session right up until you see results, which can take a month or two.

Push yourself, but don’t overdo it.

One reason people quit after the first day or week is that they really hurt. That can come from pushing yourself too hard. More is not always better. For instance, you need to rest muscle groups between 48 and 72 hours after doing strength training. It’s counterproductive to do an intense workout for the same group every day. It doesn’t give the muscles time to heal from the micro tears caused by the workout. Pushing too hard can cause injury and pain later, depleting motivation. Focus more on form initially, rather than reps and sets.

Don’t constantly weigh yourself or take your measurements.

You need to be held accountable and that can be done once or twice a week. Take measurements and weigh in at the same time every week. I’ve talked to clients who weigh themselves several times a day. It’s just not productive. Your body weight fluctuates throughout the day and it can be quite deceiving and even depressing. It can destroy your motivation. It’s especially true if you’re just beginning, when physical changes can take a month or more.

Elevate your workout to appointment status.

For some reason, people feel that other things are more important than staying fit. They put off exercise until they have time that day, but as the day progresses, that window of time never occurs. Make your appointment with fitness important. Schedule it as you would any appointment, even if you’re working out at home. Once it’s on your calendar, don’t cancel it to put in something else.

  • Set goals. You should be able to measure them and have a time to complete them. Then, break those goals down to smaller goals you can achieve quicker. Track your progress weekly.
  • When you schedule your workouts, make sure you schedule them at the same time every time. Doing your workout at a consistent time helps it becomes a habit and habits are harder to break.
  • Track your workout, not just your results. Have a list of exercises, including number of repetitions and sets. Having the list in front of you can help speed the workout and avoid wasted time. When your workout is more efficient, you’ll be more motivated.
  • Take care of your body in other ways, too. Make sure you eat healthy, stay hydrated and get adequate sleep. If you don’t eat healthy, you won’t see the progress you want. Sleep and hydration can boost your energy and help keep you motivated.

For more information, contact us today at VIP Fitness Center


Can You Work Out "Too" Much?

Can You Work Out “Too” Much?

If you’re spending hours at the gym every day pushing it hard at peak intensity, but you aren’t getting the results you want, maybe you work out too much. Yes, you can get too much of a good thing, especially if your workout is intense. Getting fit is finding the right blend of intense exercise and rest. Consider how hard people worked in early industrialized America, yet they died early. Part of the reason was diet and lack of medical care, but part of it was not giving the body a chance to recover and heal.

While your great-great grandparents or great-great-great grandparents may not have had a choice, you do.

People who want results often decide that more is better and sometimes it is, but that’s not always true when it comes to exercise. When you’re building muscles, the exercise causes micro tears in the muscle, which requires time to heal. As it heals, it causes scar tissue and becomes bigger and stronger. If you don’t give it time to heal and build, at least 48 to 72 hours between tough workouts, you continually tear the muscle tissue and that can slow your progress. It taxes the body, rather than helps you get fitter.

It’s all about the design of your program.

Can you do strength training every day? Yes, but your program needs to be designed well to ensure you give all muscles a rest. You can work on different areas of the body, allowing every muscle group to have the 48 to 72 hours of rest to heal. Alternating your workout by focusing on various types of exercise, such as cardio, strength, balance and flexibility, during the week is another way to help prevent muscle stress.

Listen to your body.

If your performance is suffering, you find you have mood swings, depression, confusion and irritability or are subject to frequent illnesses, you may be working your body too hard. If you’re pushing hard seven days a week or going to the gym twice a day for an extended session, you may be tearing down your body, not building it up. Get sleep, rest your body and if you want to keep active, do active recovery, like walking, between sessions.

  • Our trainers will create a tough program for you, but also one that lets your body recover and builds your strength and endurance. They watch your progress carefully to make sure you stay on track.
  • The longer you overwork your body, the longer recovery takes and the longer you’ll feel exhausted instead of revitalized. Watch for signs and focus on less intense workouts to help get you back on track.
  • One sign of overworking the body is a high resting heart rate. If your resting heart rate is normally in the 40 to 50 bpm range and suddenly jumps to 70-80 or higher consistently, talk to your trainer.
  • Over-exercising can actually cause weight gain, rather than weight loss. It can cause the body to produce less thyroid hormones and increase cortisol, which can increase insulin levels, cause belly fat and other hormonal imbalances.

For more information, contact us today at VIP Fitness Center


Are Natural Sweeteners Actually Healthy?

Are Natural Sweeteners Actually Healthy?

Whether you use the training facility at Fort Lee, New Jersey or at one of the surrounding areas, you probably know by now that having a great body is as much about eating healthy as it is about exercise. What you eat, especially snacks and carbs, play an intricate role in your overall health. In fact, it also includes how you sweeten your food. Even though artificial sweeteners may contain few or even no calories, many can be detrimental to your health. Natural sweeteners also can play a role in whether you’re healthy, too. While not all natural sweeteners are healthy, not all of them are unhealthy either.

What are the dangers of a diet of simple carbohydrates, like natural sugars?

In order to understand the effects of sweeteners and diet, the easiest way is to go back millions of years before man. The microsyops latidens, which is a squirrel sized primate that lived in the US 54 million years ago, had dental carries. This primate lived on natural sugars and a diet high in carbohydrates. That proves that no matter how natural the sugar in your diet is, your teeth still pay a price. Today, sugar is in all types of food and can have a negative effect on more than just your teeth. It’s been linked to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and other serious conditions.

Stevia may be one of the better natural sweeteners and may even have health benefits.

Stevia rebaudiana has leaves that taste sweet and was used for its sweet nature in South America, but also as a medicine. It’s hundreds of times sweeter than table sugar yet has no calories. While some people hate the taste of stevia, others love it. Stevia may be beneficial for people with diabetes, as it can help level out blood sugar. It also can aid people with high blood pressure if it’s considerably elevated. It has drawbacks. It interferes with the microbiome in the gut, by inhibiting the growth of bacteria including the beneficial bacteria.

Sugar alcohols like xylitol have some benefits.

One of the best known benefits of xylitol is for dental health. It’s been proven to help reduce cavities and remineralize teeth. Some people use it by adding a small amount of water and slushing it around the mouth, then spitting it in the sink. Why spit it out? It can cause abdominal distress and explosive diarrhea, like other sugar alcohols when consumed in larger amounts. When used in moderation, xylitol may help improve bone density.

  • Monk fruit extract comes from a fruit from Southeast Asia. It has no calories or carbs. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and can help control blood sugar. Be aware that some monk fruit extracts are mixed with other types of sugar.
  • Yacon syrup may be beneficial for the good bacteria in your intestines, since it’s high in fructooligosaccharides. It may help with weight loss and prevent constipation.
  • Using actual fruit can add a sweet treat. Using the whole fruit, such as unsweetened applesauce, figs, dates or bananas can add sweetness, but also provide the benefits of fiber and nutrients.
  • Getting the healthiest sugar alternative can be simplified by avoiding added sugar, whether it’s artificial or natural. Alternatives, like maple syrup or honey may be natural, but they still can cause many of the problems of table sugar or high fructose corn syrup.

For more information, contact us today at VIP Fitness Center