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.