Recreational Sports: The forgotten cardio workout

Can recreational sports be a supplementary part of your cardio workouts? I seem to be asking myself this question on a regular basis as I try to decide whether clients, and myself, should only participate in a workout designed for the fitness center. Would playing basketball three days a week be a good replacement for running on the treadmill?

As a sports junkie it is hard for me to continually run on a treadmill because it gets very monotonous with no chance of any of the conditions changing as I keep pounding away on that belt on the treadmill. Wouldn’t one rather take part in a sport during which the conditions constantly change, and still get the needed workout for your goals?

I am definitely an enthusiast for recreational sports as a part of your workout. It keeps one coming to the gym because they never know what will happen in a game of volleyball, basketball or even soccer at the club. Running on a treadmill or even using an elliptical would be great workouts as well, but as a “sports person” I can’t bring myself to participate in these activities on a regular basis.

If you are an individual that has been a sports enthusiast for much of your life it would make sense that you have trouble transitioning your workouts into a fitness center as you bypass your high school, and collegiate days on the courts. A typical fitness center or health club in general isn’t designed well for a former competitive athlete because everyone is there doing their own individual workouts. As athletes we are used to being a part of team workouts, or even competitions that bring us all closer together.

The best way we can get that feeling from our clubs is by participating in the recreational sports that our respective club may offer or even a group exercise class. For Elite Sports Clubs this could range all the way in the spectrum of sports from swimming, tennis, basketball, and volleyball to even indoor soccer in one of our Milwaukee Wave clinics. If one is used to the competitive spirit of sports then these recreational sports can at least help you offset your desire for competition. It is also a great way to get a workout in if you are an individual who only worked out because of sports in high school or college.

Men playing basketball photo

Playing basketball for an hour is an aerobic activity that can easily help offset running on a treadmill or using an elliptical machine. So, if you are someone who is looking for workouts that will not only challenge you physically, but also mentally then my club, Elite Sports Clubs, like many others offer opportunities to compete against others in a recreational sport of your choice.

Do you prefer machines for cardio or recreational sports? Does your health club offer recreational sports? How do you change up your treadmill runs, stationary bike rides or elliptical workouts to keep it new? Please share your comments.

Plus check out the recreational sports offered at Elite Sports Clubs.

Thank you,

Kyle Krogmann
Personal Trainer
Elite Sports Club-Mequon

Functional Training: Why we should be doing it.

Most of you have probably heard of the term “functional training.” Maybe it was in a magazine, at the gym, or even from your trainer. But what does this term really mean, and first and foremost, why should we be adding functional training to our workouts?

The best way I can define functional training, or functional exercises, is that they are movements that are done by us as humans in everyday life. By doing these exercises and training the body to do these movements, we will get stronger in any and all activities we would normally do on a day-to-day basis. Functional training involves full-body movements and incorporates multiple muscle groups, just like the things we do in our everyday life. Because more muscle groups are involved in each exercise, we need to have more neuromuscular control in order to perform that exercise. In other words, that specific exercise will be harder for you to perform and will require more concentration, balance, and energy.

This type of training is also considered multiplanar (which means moving through different planes of motion), and not isolated, which is working through a single plane of motion to isolate a certain muscle group. A good example of this would be to picture yourself performing a lunge with a dumbbell shoulder press, as opposed to just sitting on a machine and performing a leg raise, or leg extension. Obviously, you can figure out from the example which exercise will be more challenging.

Lastly, I would like to touch on the fact that functional training is a great way for you to maintain or even increase balance. As we get older, we want to be able to have good balance, as well as strength, not only to lead a more productive life, but also to prevent falls and injuries that may occur. Functional training should be something we all should be incorporating into our workouts, whether we are an athlete, avid exerciser, or just somebody that wants to live a healthier life.

Comments are welcome or if you like, please feel free to e-mail me at TonyBieri@EliteClubs.com.

Tony Bieri
Fitness Director
Elite Sports Club-Brookfield

Are you working hard enough at the gym?

Do you go to the gym, jump on a piece of cardio equipment for 10 to 20 minutes, then do 10 reps with a weight that you could probably lift 20 times, and call it a day? If this sounds a little like your average workout, then you are not working hard enough.

Four symptoms that you should feel every time you workout:

  1. Increased Oxygen Demand-You should feel out of breath.
  2. Lactic Acid Buildup-You should feel slight pain and burning in your muscles, but not in your joints!
  3. Body Temperature Rise-You should be sweating.
  4. Increased Heart Rate-Your pulse should be faster than usual (most gyms have charts that help you estimate your optimal heart rate).

You may not feel all of these in every workout, but if you do not feel any of them, there is a good chance that you are not working hard enough. Now get out to the gym and up your intensity so that you actually get something out of your workout!

Here is an exercise that should make you feel all four symptoms:

Dumbbell Clean & Press
Grab a dumbbell between your legs in a squat position and then stand up explosively, pulling the dumb bell up to your shoulder. In that same motion flip it over and press it above you.*

Thanks, and enjoy your next workout!

Seth Eckl
Personal Trainer
Elite Sports Club-West Brookfield

*If you don’t know how to perform this exercise or have questions about it, please ask your trainer.

How to Choose a Health Club

Choosing the right health club is very similar to buying/renting a home.  From the outside, most homes look very similar with bedrooms, a kitchen and bathrooms.  Unfortunately, when choosing a health club you do not have a realtor to point out the details.  There are a few questions that will help you choose the right health club for you.  It’s no secret that picking a quality club is key to sticking with your exercise program.

Is the location convenient to get to?  To be successful at your health club, it must be convenient for you.  Typically a club near your home, near work or near a place you travel to frequently–such as a school–works best for convenience.

Does the club have what you want?  Make a list of things before you tour a club that are important to your success at a health club–such as personal training, pools, tennis, exercise classes, childcare, towel service, etc.  If you are currently exercising, make sure you can do your exercises on the equipment provided in the health club.  If you do not currently exercise, make sure the health club staffs a personal trainer in the fitness center at all times to help you become accustomed to the equipment and answer questions.

Do the hours fit your lifestyle?  Think about when you are available to exercise and make sure the club is open during that time.  If you have children and you plan to bring them to the club, make sure childcare is available during that time as well.

How much does the membership cost?  Clubs vary in price and it is important to make sure you can afford the health club.  Do not write off the basic, low cost club or the high-end club as long as it is in a tolerable price range for you.  There may be hidden “intangibles” that you will find out about on a tour that might be worth the additional money or the basic health club may suit your needs and you do not want all the extras.  Besides the monthly membership fee, there are fees to beware of.  Is childcare an additional cost?  Is there a cost for group exercise classes?  Are lockers and towel service included?  The additional cost should be considered in your monthly membership fee even if it is not on the membership contract.  There is one question you must ask when you are discussing cost and contracts.  Does the health club “own” your contract or do they sell it to a third party?  In the latter case, there is little incentive to provide good service if the club does not “own” your contract.

The first four questions are the pre-qualifying questions to choosing the right health club.  This is like making sure your home has the right number of bedrooms, the appropriate garage space, enough bathrooms, etc.  Now it is time to narrow down the search and look at the intangibles of a club.

Can you try the club before joining?  It is important to try the club during the time you would normally use it.  You will be able to see how busy the fitness center is and make a more educated decision.

Does the clientele fit your lifestyle?  Health clubs are not just a place to exercise.  Health clubs provide a social circle for many people.  Make sure you are comfortable exercising around and with the other members.

Is the staff friendly and knowledgeable?  Did the front desk greet you?  Are the personal trainers certified?  Are the personal trainers college educated?  Ask the club if they have minimum requirements for their staff.

Here are a few other thought provoking questions to consider:

  1. Is the music too loud?
  2. Are there too many out of order signs?
  3. Do you need to sign up for group exercise classes?
  4. Do they offer a free orientation program when you join?
  5. Are towels and lockers provided?
  6. Are there a variety of programs to mix up your exercises?
  7. Are there personalized TVs on the cardio machines?

There is no perfect gym for everyone. Do your research, ask questions, be observant and know your goals and you’ll likely find a good fit.

http://eliteclubs.com/

Benefits of Massage Therapy

Relax as our certified therapists relieve your aches and stress. Elite massage will revitalize your entire body. In an age of increased longevity, care of the body with adequate exercise and nutrition can improve the quality of life. Massage therapy can play an important role in attaining a high level of wellness.

Benefits of Massage Therapy-Elite Sports Clubs

Benefits:

  • Relieves pain
  • Increases flexibility
  • Promotes circulation
  • Reduces stress
  • Relieves mental & physical fatigue as it energizes the body
  • Improves overall sense of well-being, and athletic performance

Guidelines:

  • 24-hour advance reservations are recommended
  • 24-hour cancellation notification is mandatory
  • Late cancels and no-shows will be billed
  • Being freshly showered is appreciated by the therapist
  • For those of you who care to indulge beforehand: a hot whirlpool or bath will allow the body to relax at a deeper level
  • Please remove all jewelry
  • Clients are asked to disrobe to their level of comfort and slip under the covers provided
  • The massage therapist will knock and request verbal approval upon entering the massage room
  • Clients are draped securely and only specific parts of the body that the therapist is massaging are uncovered

Therapists:

When selecting a Massage Therapist it is best to examine the person’s credentials. In general a certified Massage Therapist must have completed 600 hours of Massage training at an accredited Massage School. Ask about experience and if the therapist has at least one specialty such as reflexology, orthobionomy, or Swedish massage. Also ask other clients about their results and for recommendations.

Massage services are offered at all Elite Sports Clubs. Massage therapy appointments can be made through the front desk and are offered at very reasonable rates with Elite’s own certified and experienced massage therapists. Come take a tour of any of our 5 Milwaukee-area Elite Sports Clubs locations today!