You’ve Got No More Excuses to Skip the Weight Room Because Strength Training is Trendy

Why do we need a top trends list to remind us how important strength training is? That seems to be the case as not enough of us are doing it, but we’ll take whatever it is that gets people in the weight room!

Embrace strength training

In their annual report of fitness trend predictions, the ACSM names both body weight training and strength training as popular workouts for 2015. So if you’re part of the 17.5% of women who currently strength train — great job, keep it up!

If you’re part of the overwhelming majority of women who don’t — then it’s time to get lifting. This is not about bulking. This is not about looking ripped. It’s certainly not about stacking your feminine frame with big, bulging man muscles. It’s about overall wellness and health!

“[Strength training is] not about fitness or being buff, it’s not about that anymore. In fact, that’s the last reason to do it,” said Holly Perkins recently at TapGenes.com. The renowned strength and conditioning expert, who is set to launch her Women’s Strength Nation in early 2015, echoed lists found across leading health organizations that suggest vast benefits that are derived from strength training. Breast cancer survivors are aided in their recovery when a strength regimen is introduced. Confidence, self-esteem, and empowerment come from lifting weights. Women experience more stamina, greater flexibility, and more functional movement. And those who strength train regularly (which the CDC says is two days per week) experience an optimized shift in hormones; management or prevention of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke; and a host of other health benefits.

The question isn’t so much “Do you lift?” so much as it is “Why don’t you lift?”.

How exactly do you get started? There in lies one of the greatest barriers of entry in strength training, especially for women. The weight room, with its free weights, machines, and men, is an impossibly intimidating place for women. No different than the first time you went to yoga, went for a run, or tried a Zumba class, all it takes is that one breath of confidence to move forward. 

If you truly are new, or haven’t hit the weights in some time, the best thing for you to do is work with a trainer. They’ll teach you how to use the machines and the weights, and in a circuit that’s meaningful, so that you can return regularly with confidence. This will ensure you prevent injury, but also give you the education you need to manage the workouts on your own.

However, the great part about strength training is that it doesn’t all have to come from a gym’s weight room. The number one trend from the ACSM this year is body weight training, and it provides the same strength benefits without the props.

Body weight training uses minimal equipment making it more affordable. [It’s] not limited to just push-ups and pull-ups, [and] this trend allows people to get ‘back to the basics’ with fitness,” reported the ACSM.

It’s more affordable, and more accessible, too! Because body weight training doesn’t specifically require machines or weights the way traditional strength training does, you can effectively do it anywhere. The monkey bars at the park – done. Squats, lunges, pull-ups, push-ups, wall sits — all considered body weight training exercises that require nothing but your body and the space to do it. 

“Incorporating strength training is an essential part of a complete exercise program for all physical activity levels and genders,” declared the ACSM. A well-rounded fitness regimen that you’re going to reap the most benefit from includes cardio (or aerobic) exercise as much as it does strength. Together, your body gets all of the functional movement and beneficial stress it needs.

The CDC recommends that American adults get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week, plus two or more days of muscle-strengthening activities. 

In crowd or not, trendy or not, strength training is getting some overdue attention this year. Be sure to listen!


12 New Workouts You’ve Gotta Try in 2015

What’s going to make you sweat this year? It’s sure to be your dependable workout, the one you know works for you. It’s great to have that! But what about those days when you aren’t feeling it? If you reach a point where the same ‘ole feels uninspired, we’ve got the fix. That’s what makes fitness so exciting…the infinite ways you can pursue it! Make a note of these 12 exciting, interesting, anything-but-usual workouts. Not only will they re-awaken your interest in being there, but you could find a whole new love affair you didn’t know you were missing!

12 workouts to try in 2015

POUND. It’s being called a “liberating” new workout experience, a group fitness class that has you moving, grooving, and banging around on drumsticks. The club-like group class involves high energy music, free spirit movements, and a focus on strength. You can pound on your own at home with their forthcoming DVD, or take classes at 30+ locations in the U.S. and Canada.

ROWING. You see the machine, we know you do. Now stop ignoring it! If Francis Underwood on House of Cards can make it look good, we know you can make it look better! This intense total body workout gives you everything, working the legs, core, arms, shoulders, and more with each fluid motion, all the while your rate stays elevated. It’s strength and cardio in one.

STAND UP PADDLE BOARDING. Known in its inner circles as SUP, this relatively new sport is a thrill. You’ll need access to a body of water — think hot tourist spots near lakes and oceans — and a little bit of patience. It’s surprising how quickly you can take to this core-engaging sport, and much you’ll love the feel, the view, and the power you feel once you’re up.

HORSEBACK RIDING. Seriously, horseback riding is a legitimate sport and it can provide a legitimate workout. Whether you’re trying to keep a weekend or vacation active, or just wanting to mix things up in your daily routine, a trip to the farm will do your whole body good. It’s way more than just sitting, as you will work your core, balance, legs, thighs, and arms.

BARRE. Hit the barre, and then maybe you can hit that bar, too! There are a number of ways to explore this ballet-inspired workout. BeyondBarre is intense with a cardio, fat-burning approach. Barre3 feels a bit like yoga meets Pilates. Booty Barre introduces resistance with a focus on toning the rear. Cardio Barre uses light weights for a touch of strength training. So look around, there’s a barre that suits your needs.

MEDITATION. You may not being doing much physically, but the silence and stillness of focusing your mind can reap healthful repercussions head to toe, body and soul. Check out of the grind of your usual workouts and use a meditation practice to re-focus, re-center, re-balance.

HIIT. You’re going to see a lot about high intensity interval training this year, and you should definitely join the crowd. Especially for the time-crunched, these fast-blast, 30-minute or less sessions can truly be done anywhere and will give you a total body workout you can feel.

ORANGETHEORY. Interval and strength training combine in this workout some are calling the best in the country! Studio locations are available across the U.S., giving you a trainer-guided, one-hour workout that takes you through treadmills, rowing, and weights. It’s total body strength + cardio that won’t let you down.

SWIMMING. Trade your gym shorts for swim bottoms and take your workout to the water. Your options are truly limitless, but not effortless. Whether mixing it up, recovering from an injury, or trying to stay cool, a workout in the pool can provide strength, cardio, and conditioning for upper and lower body. New offerings include aquatic yoga, spinning, and zumba. You can even take your Enell in a non-chlorine environment.

SKATING. Take it old school and do your workout on wheels. Take the kids to a roller rink or strap-on your old skates and make a few laps around the park. Or blast back to the 90s on a pair of roller blades. Regardless, Harvard says you’re burning nearly as many calories as you would on your usual run! Ice skating counts in that math, too! This sport makes it easy to remember a workout can be fun.

PLAYING That’s right, just go play. Your kids shouldn’t have all the fun at the playground, and you can get some functional fitness out of the quality time spent with them. Body weight training can be done by pulling up on the monkey bars. Cardio is an easy gain when you’re chasing them around. Glutes and legs enjoy the climbing exercises. And pushing them on the swings (or pumping your own legs) takes care of your upper body. So go have fun!

CYCLING. Get back on your bike and go for a ride (or several) this year. Especially for runners, cycling is an excellent way to cross train. If you’re not too big on working out at all, it’s an excellent way to get in some activity. Everyone who cycles torches calories, enjoys total body toning, boosts their energy, and so many more benefits. Just don’t ride without the right gear!

Are you trying any of these this year?


HIIT 2015 Hard with the “It” Workout of the Year

Just before the new year, the ACSM published its annual list of fitness trend predictions. The list itself was rather predictable, citing yoga, exercise for weight loss, and group training amongst some of the “rising” trends in 2015. But the one item that really stuck out as having some weight was HIIT training.

Why is HIIT so great for you?

High-Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT as it is more commonly referred to, should be the second most popular fitness trend of the year. It was a big deal a few years back, and apparently it’s going to see a resurgence.

What is it exactly? The ACSM describes HIIT as “short bursts of activity followed by a short period of rest or recovery. These exercise programs are usually performed in less than 30 minutes.”

That’s what makes HIIT so desirable — that 30 minute timeframe. It’s hard to include time in a list of workout excuses when it only requires 30 minutes. HIIT requires less time, but demands more of you during that time. You blast through circuits with little to no rest between moves or machines. It’s also a total body workout; because you never stop moving, and you’re doing strength training and not solely focused on strength or cardio exercises, you get the best of both worlds in one quick, tidy (very sweaty) session.

Making time for an hour or longer at the gym, and managing a schedule of cardio versus strength sessions, can be cumbersome at best. With HIIT workouts, you get it all squared away at once. Whose jam-packed, always-busy schedule couldn’t use that? HIIT really is the schedule relief we’ve all needed at the gym.

Or not at the gym, for that matter. Another great benefit of HIIT workouts is that it doesn’t require that you be in any one place. At home, the park, the gym, a hotel room… it honestly doesn’t matter. As long as you can dedicate that half hour to just getting the job done, then HIIT goes anywhere you do. That means you don’t have to just sit at your kid’s soccer practice or sack out on the couch during a Gilmore Girls marathon… you can use that time and that space to complete a legitimate, meaningful workout.

A lot of resources exist for getting your HIIT on! Everything from gym classes to books, DVDs, and more are available. These are often free or cheap (eliminating the cost excuse!).

Jessica Smith’s 2012 book Thin In 10 is one example. The resourceful book, co-authored by Liz Neporent, is hinged on HIIT principles and introduces those throughout its approachable fitness instruction. One of Jessica’s HIIT workouts includes a five-minute warm-up, something as simple as marching in place. You’ll do a series of exercises, each set you go all in, maximum effort, for about 20-30 minutes, with active rest between moves. Lateral burpees, jumping jacks, mountain climbers, high knee marches, and squats are some of the moves you’ll do over two or three sets.

No equipment, no trainer, no certain place to be, and no brainer… HIIT workouts just make sense. Women’s Health Magazine likens HIIT training to a nice BOGO deal, combining cardio and strength training in to one fast-blast workout.


Giveaway: Supporting Your Resolutions

Resolutions are on all of our minds as we enter 2015, and ENELL wants to encourage and support you! Each week in January, we are giving away an awesome prize pack. The prizes will change each week, and you can enter multiple times!

To enter our New Year, New Bra Giveaways:

  1. Tag your ENELL-related photos with #enell on Twitter or Instagram. You can also post your photos to the ENELL Facebook page and include #enell for an entry. There is also an entry form on the ENELL Facebook page. All tagged photos that are related to ENELL will be entered to win the weekly prize packs. IMPORTANT: If you use the hashtag on Twitter or Instagram, your account MUST be public for us to be able to see it.
  2. Winners will be selected from all applicable entries at random on 1/10/15, 1/17/15, 1/24/15, and 1/31/15.
  3. Entrants can only win 1 prize pack during the giveaway period of 1/1/15-1/31/15.
  4. Prize packs for each week will be updated on this page, and across ENELL social media pages: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook. Prizes subject to change.
  5. Have questions? Email socialmedia@enell.com

Week 4 Prize Pack:

New Years Giveaway from ENELL

 

Week 1 winner: Julie D.
Week 2 winner: @former.fatgirl on Instagram
Week 3 winner: Pending

Gallery of Entries:


What Your Personal Trainer Won’t Tell You

She’s the woman you love to hate the most, but she’s also the one pushing you harder than anyone else toward that goal. The relationship with a personal trainer is a unique and special one, and clients either soar or break under their tutelage. For every tidbit of insight and encouragement your trainer offers you, there’s something she’s holding back.

Things your personal trainer won't tell you

Pamela Hernandez, a certified personal trainer and health coach, recently published a really insightful piece on her blog at ThriveFit. She is regularly faced with clients who complain, “You make it look so easy!” She usually says “Because I’ve had more practice.” What she wants to say but leaves out to those bewildered clients, “I have to make it look easy so you don’t start doubting my ability or yours.” She plans workouts in advance and tries new stuff several times on herself until she’s got it and trusts that she can properly show you. You’ll get it too…with practice!

We talked with a few trainers who keep a few things to themselves during those sweat sessions. Whether to maintain the relationship, your respect of their position, a level of professionalism, or to not insult, offend, or scare you away, these personal trainers know when to keep their mouths shut!

“I think I am going to give the high protein diet a try,” said one of Valerie Orsoni’s clients to her. A wellness expert and founder of LeBootcamp, Valerie says she knew what the outcome would be for her client, recognizing that rapid weight loss with an equal or better regain were in the cards.

“I had already told her several times not to,” recounts Valerie, who this time didn’t say a word. “I let her do it for ten days, and then we looked at the situation and she realized, had I said something at first, she might have wanted to ‘win the fight’ and might have done it on a longer period of time.”

Lauren Martin, a NESTA personal trainer, will never lie about your progress just to make you feel better. If you ask and she answers, know it’s the honest truth, even if you don’t want to hear it. She’ll also never compare you to another client. Like most trainers, Martin believes in positive reinforcement; and she’s certainly not going to downplay another client’s efforts to boost yours (or talk yours down to someone else).

“Shut up. You’re wrong,” is bubbling just under the surface for Byron E. Hall, III, a district fitness manager for Portland Sport and Spa who holds a half dozen varied national fitness certifications. He’d never tell you that you need to remember that your trainer is “untangling years of bad information and habits in order to help you work smarter not harder, and we only have a few hours a week to do so.” So listen up. You’re paying him and trainers like him good money to get their expertise. You wouldn’t second guess your cardiothoracic surgeon based on what you scraped together from a few health talk shows, so don’t second guess your trainer based on an infographic from a fitness mag site.

His other dirty secret? “We eat like [garbage], too!” Yep it’s true. He may have told you to skip the dressing-soaked Caesar, but he did it with a burger and fries on his breath. “We just know that our usual healthy eating habits and consistent workout routines will easily offset that massively calorie dense lunch, and we’re pretty sure that’s the last thing you wanna hear!,” he said.

Pamela is right there with him, owning up to enjoying homemade ice cream on her birthday! [insert shock and horror!!] “A client made a comment about how on my birthday I probably celebrated with hummus and vegetables.” Yeah right! Ice cream fits in with the 80/20 rule she lives by and prescribes to her clients. “I practice what I preach because it makes me feel good.”