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!

Benefits of Steam Room Therapy

Detox and rejuvenate your body in one of our steam rooms conveniently located at each of our Elite Sports Clubs locations. Towels are provided for all individuals who wish to partake in the wonderful benefits of our steam rooms.

Benefits of Steam Room Therapy-Elite Sports Clubs

Steam “baths” are known for relaxation and stress relief, but steam room benefits also include:

  • Muscle soreness relief
  • Stiff joint relief
  • Immune system enhancement
  • Lymph detoxification
  • Blood circulation improvement
  • Sinus congestion relief

Heat causes your blood vessels to expand, which increases blood circulation. As a result, more oxygen and nutrients can reach damaged parts of your body. This has a double effect of temporarily reducing or stopping pain as well as increasing your body’s healing rate. Spend 10-15 minutes in a steam room post workout and you will speed up healing of damaged muscle tissue.

The high concentration of moisture in steam baths has also been proven to be effective treatment for respiratory conditions such as:

  • Asthma
  • Bronchitis
  • Sinusitis
  • Allergies

Regular use of a steam room can improve not only your health, but also your appearance. Nothing is better for your skin than a heavy sweat. Heavy sweating cleanses your skin more thoroughly than soap and water because it opens your pores and allows deep-seated grime and dead cells to be flushed out. This is one reason steam baths can be helpful for acne treatment and some other skin conditions. The heat of a steam room also causes an increase in blood circulation, bringing more oxygen and nutrients to your skin surface. Over time, this can help contribute to a healthy, glowing appearance.

Steam Rooms are offered at all Elite Sports Clubs. Adult use of steam rooms is included with all Elite Sports Clubs memberships, along with towel service and luxury locker rooms. Come take a tour of any of our 5 Milwaukee-area Elite Sports Clubs locations today!