Article

  • Get in shape at home

    Winter is a great excuse, with the cold a handy reason to stay at home. Feeling protected under the layers of warm clothing? A perfect cover for those excess pounds.

    But sooner ora later summer will come, our lighter clothes will come back into the wardrobe, leaving us nowhere to hide. All is not lost. You can get back in shape. And fitness at home is an excellent way to say hello to summer.

    But hours and hours of training, last-minute diets will be no help if not supported by a healthy lifestyle.

    There are just two rules to keep in mind for embracing a healthy lifestyle:

    • Eating a balanced diet;
    • Training in a smart, regular way.

    So forget the excuses and make space for a bike, running machine, cross trainer, fitness equipment and physical activity!

    Correct training and a balanced diet, no alcohol or smoke, are always the winning solution.

    Let's start with small steps

    In recent months have we let in lavish feasts and junk food? Did we forget to eat our fruit and vegetables? Perhaps we drank more alcohol than usual? Our bodies do notice this lifestyle.

    A correct diet is the fuel for training.

    • Drink a lot

    Avoid alcohol in preference for water and still, fresh fruit juices. Two litres of water a day will help to recover the fluids lost while training. It will also avoid dehydration, the enemy of a healthy body.

    • Eat healthily

    Don't forget the importance of fruit and vegetables and a balance of foods in individual meals. Skipping meals does not help you stay in shape. Instead it slows the body down. A balanced diet will support your determination to achieve your goals. You will be even more motivated during training sessions.

     

    What must we do to get back in shape?

    Any form of training is preferable to staying on the sofa.

    The secret to getting back in shape quickly and seeing the results in the mirror is to combine aerobic with anaerobic activity.

    WELLNESS WALL

    Anaerobic activity is where you undergo intense effort for a short period of time. Here is where the body does not use oxygen, as in strength training, for example.

    Aerobic exercise instead uses oxygen as a fuel. The greater the quantity of oxygen supplied to the muscles, the more you will be in shape. Oxygen provides energy for extended low to medium intensity exercise.

     

    What aerobic activities can we start with?

    • walking;
    • jogging and running;
    • swimming;
    • cycling.

    Aerobic exercise is an infallible method for burning fat and helping lose weight.

    If carried out on a continual basis!

    If done for relatively long periods, it will allow getting back in shape, but especially:

    • internally, aerobic exercise improves heart and lung efficiency;
    • peripherally, it improves the capacity to use oxygen and oxidise fats.

    After all these good intentions, it now comes down to you. By definitively freeing ourselves from our excuses we can find the most suitable training.

    Still not sure about weather? Coming back late from work? Drowning in smog and urban chaos?

    Training at home is the answer.

    Although summer is here our working hours are no more flexible and often you are staying at the office even later. Perhaps you live some way from open spaces and, once at home, you have to go out again to train.

    Fortunately there are many solutions for indoor training. Thanks to the use of ever more advanced technology, you can take part in any type of training.

    Training at home is the answer. Unrestricted. Independent. Free. Training at home is the smart way.

    Aerobic training at home requires equipment. Especially if designed to make training sessions unique and enjoyable.

    Say hello to running machines, bikes and cross trainers!

    What equipment do you need to train at home?

    The first item for domestic aerobic activity has to be the treadmill. Running is a fundamental way to get back in shape.

    Running is a natural movement and posture for everyone, but there are different levels of intensity.

    You can go from a light to a very intense rhythm, but that isn't all. Everyone has their own unique stride, cadence and oscillation. These parameters should be monitored while running. So we need a device that can measure them.

    TECHNOGYM has recently introduced a new concept for the home treadmill: MYRUN

    A running machine designed by professional runners for those who love to run.

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  • Women embrace wellness by taking quality time out for themselves

    In this article we will talk about how women can tone their bodies with three simple tips, and how in two steps they can start exercising again.

    Mothers are women who dedicate themselves to their children without asking for anything in return. Mothers are women like all other women: they want to feel beautiful, fit and active. Women dream of having a young, toned body. Their bodies and strength are needed to sustain the pace that life imposes on them. For this reason it is important that women are able to embrace a healthy lifestyle, through wellness.
    Women want to relieve every day stress, to feel good and to make those around them happy.

    Women’s arms are strong. Cradling, rocking, pushing. They are resistant and never tire.

    Women are active, busy and beautiful. They are women and mothers, partners, wives and friends.

    They are women who for a particular period of their lives have less time to devote to themselves. They are concentrated on dedicating all their love and energy to someone else. We are all that someone else.

    If the mother is happy the child will be too.

    Therefore, a mother should never forget that she is also a woman; a relaxed, happy woman, even with her body.

    Sometimes women find themselves spending long periods of time at home. A sedentary lifestyle is not ideal for your health, especially if associated with an unhealthy way of eating.

    Lack of physical activity can mean:

    • Loss of muscle tone
    • Stress
    • Weight gain

    So the solution is to dedicate a few minutes to yourself. You can stay fit without necessarily leaving the house. A few minutes of physical exercise is enough. Toning up, relieving stress and staying fit is easier than you think.

    Donne_Wellness

    Three tips to tone your body and achieve Wellness

    Sedentary women lose overall muscle tone and accumulate fat. This happens mainly in the lower parts of the body such as the legs, buttocks and hips.

    So here are five tips to stay focused on your ultimate goal. Make sure that you follow the advice.

    1. Take one step at a time

    To improve our physical appearance we need to do two things:

    • eat well
    • physical activity

    Exercise will burn fat and tone and strengthen muscles.

    How?

    You have to work on your muscles. Increase the weights progressively. Always exercise with the same weights. This allows the body to get used to the exercise.

    Whereas gradually increasing the weights allows us to:

    • concentrate more on the exercise
    • be more motivated to do it

    Don’t boast about improvements. Take notes. Write down daily progress, go back and read your notes when you are having difficulties.

    Working out at home is a great way to start toning up.

    Practice by simply using the natural weight of your body or by using specific equipment for training at home. In addition to helping to tone the whole body, working out at home will increase self-esteem. Self-esteem for women means being more physically and socially confident.

    1. Choose a suitable activity that you really like

    Consistency is the key that will allow you to obtain the desired results in the long term.

    Choosing a fun workout helps motivation. Do it with pleasure and enthusiasm.

    A well-toned body should be a priority. Women’s bodies require a regular training routine. It’s the only way to achieve and maintain lasting results.

    1. Train consciously

    Women should know about the advantages to be derived from good, regular workouts to ensure the correct carrying out of both the exercises and the programmes, and in order to be aware of the effects of a workout on the body.

    WELLNESS WALL

    Improvements derived from regular exercise.

    Cardiovascular system: regular workouts improve the resistance and efficiency of the heart. This will allow you to exercise more for longer periods and burn more calories.

    Muscles and the skeletal system: developing muscle mass increases our basic metabolic rate. Muscles are more active metabolically than fat. Well-developed muscles burn more calories even when at rest. This ensures better muscle tone and improved posture.
    Increasing lean body mass and bone density means that muscles and bones get stronger. Flexibility and resistance are also improved. This reduces the risk of osteoporosis and loss of muscle tissue with ageing.

    Metabolic system and muscle mass: physical exercise helps burn fat and increases muscle mass. When muscles are metabolically active more calories are burnt. You will also lose body fat gradually and the body will become more toned and lean.

     

    Is there an ideal exercise programme for a toned body?

    The best workout is composed of:

    • Cardio: aerobic exercise is the key to being fit. Tone the whole body while having fun. Running, walking and swimming stimulate large muscle groups in a rhythmic manner. Exercising moderately allows you to train for long periods of time;
    • Strength: muscle tone can be achieved by using different types of equipment. The exercises should focus on the main muscle groups (chest, back and legs). Free weights are very useful for reinforcing and strengthening arm and back muscles;
    • Flexibility: stretching after the workout prevents pain and tight muscles. It is important to stretch all the muscles that are used in the exercises well. Doing targeted stretching exercises provides numerous benefits: more mobile joints, lengthened muscles, reduction in the risk of injury and improvement of posture.

    Carried out in this order the exercises ensure the best possible training programme. In fact, a cardio workout gently activates all our muscles. Strengthening exercises tone and stretching lengthens.

    Alternating aerobic exercises with strength training means optimizing both the time and the results of each workout:

    • 5/10 minutes walking or running with MYRUN
    • 1 or 2 sets of exercises using the Wellness Bag elastic bands or handles

    Getting back to being active gradually will bring a series of aesthetic benefits. It will also improve your health and mood. Daily tasks will be easier to do.
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  • Detecting and preventing over-training

    Professional athletes often push themselves to the limit in order to achieve their goals. Training often at high intensities can lead to a decline in performance.

    However, a super-compensation effect occurs with the athlete showing a greater performance compared to base line when appropriate periods of recovery are provided. This is known as Functional Overreaching (FO).

    If this “intensified training” is prolonged in time, the decrease in performance will become stagnant and the athlete will not be able to recover for several weeks or even months. This condition is called Non Functional Overreaching (NFO) or Overtraining (OT).  When OT is ignored, it can degenerate into a chronic situation, the Overtraining Syndrome (OTS), it is not only characterized by a constant unexplainable underperformance, but is typically associated with chronic fatigue, poor sleep patterns, drop in motivation, episodes of depression, helplessness, increased sense of effort, etc.

    While recovering from a FO can take as little as a week, a complete recovery from OTS can require months or even years, and in some cases it could lead to cessation of a top sports career.

    If the only cause of the condition were the amount of exercise/training, the solution would be fairly simple. Unfortunately the term “syndrome” implies that the OTS is a multifactorial disorder!

     

    Other co-stressors/triggers such as issues with family, relationship, work, school, coach, financial problems, monotony of training, excessive expectations, altitude exposure, exercise heat-stress, ongoing infections, immune depression etc., are often present.

    The last two co-factors are particularly interesting. In fact infections and immune depression can be both a cause and an effect of OTS. Studies1,2 report upper respiratory tract infections due to increased training and it seems that exaggerated training could increase the duration of the so-called “immune-depression window” and the severity of the resulting outcome.It is clear at this point how difficult diagnosing and preventing OTS could be.

    If the symptoms above mentioned are observable, a systematic approach is necessary. First step would be to exclude any organic and endocrinological diseases and other factors such as dietary restrictions, insufficient carbohydrate and/or protein intake, iron deficiency, or allergies.

    If those are ruled out, the presence of training errors like sudden increases in volume and/or intensity, monotony of trainings, high number of competitions, end environmental stressor needs to be investigated. Additionally it is crucial at this stage looking for possible psychological and social confounding factors.

    Another possibility would be the conduction of some tests for the detection of FO, NFO and OTS. 3 different solutions could be:

    - Session Ratings of Perceived Exertion (sRPE) questionnaire, in which individuals subjectively estimate the overall difficulty of a workout session after its completion. sRPE has been shown3 to be a fairly useful tool for evaluating recovery across sessions;

    - Measurement of Recovery Heart Rate after a submaximal test under controlled conditions. The heart rate (HR) during a submaximal exercise at self-chosen intensity should be between 85 to 90% of the maxHR4. A change in HR recovery from test to test of more than 6 bpm or a change in HR during the test of more than 3 bpm could be caused by improved training status (if positive) or accumulated fatigue (if negative)4;

    - Maximal Exercise tests separated by 4 hours. A decrease in exercise time of at least 10% from one test to the other is significant5,6,7, but needs to be confirmed by specific changes in hormone concentrations such as the adrenocorticotropic hormone, prolactin (PRL) and GH6,7. In fact, in a FO stage, a less pronounced neuroendocrine response to the second exercise is found6, while in a NFO stage the response is extremely high7. With the same protocol it has been shown that athletes suffering from OTS have an extremely large increase in hormonal release in the first exercise, followed by a complete suppression in the second exercise6,7.

    In conclusion, while no single marker can be evaluated for preventing or predicting OTS, the consistent monitoring of subjective, performance, biochemical, immunological, physiological, and psychological variables (through tests, questionnaires, training diaries and direct observation) can be a valid strategy to identify those athletes/individuals who are at risk of developing NFO and OTS.

     

    REFERENCES

    1. Gleeson M. Immune function in sport and exercise. J Appl Physiol 1985; 103:693-699.

    2. Nieman DC. Immune response to heavy exertion. J Appl Physiol 1997; 82:1385-1394.
    3. Green JM, Yang Z, Laurent CM, Davis JK, Kerr K, Pritchett RC et al. Session RPE following interval and constant-resistance cycling in hot and cool environments. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2007; 39:2051-2057.
    4. Lamberts RP, Lambert MI. Day-to-day variation in heart rate at different levels of submaximal exertion: implications for monitoring training. J Strength Cond Res 2009; 23:1005-1010.
    5. Urhausen A, Gabriel H, Kindermann W. Impaired pituitary hormonal response to exhaustive exercise in overtrained endurance athletes. Med Sci Sports Exerc 1998; 30:407-414.
    6. Meeusen R, Piacentini MF, Busschaert B, Buyse L, De Schutter G, Stray-Gundersen J. Hormonal responses in athletes: the use of a two bout exercise protocol to detect subtle differences in (over)training status. Eur J Appl Physiol 2004; 91:140-146.
    7. Meeusen R, Nederhof E, Buyse L, Roelands B, de Schutter G, Piacentini MF. Diagnosing overtraining in athletes using the two bout exercise protocol. Br J Sports Med 2010; 44:642-648.

  • Benefits of Base Training for Cyclists

    What is Base Training?

    With the expression ‘Base Training’ it is intended a training period, executed at the beginning of a periodized plan, where sessions are at a moderate intensity with an heart rates below 75% of the maximal one.

    Riding at this pace you are not overextending yourself, meaning that you can get up the next morning feeling great and fully recovered from the previous day. In short, cycling  at  ‘base training intensities’ you will be able to complete a large volume of training. In fact, base training done correctly will leave you feeling like you have made an effort that is well within your limits!

     

    However, be careful, this does not mean that you are not training!

    The advantages of Base Training

    As a matter of fact, Base Training has numerous advantages:

    • it stimulates your slow twitch muscle fibers and in turn makes them much more efficient enabling them to contract using less and less oxygen from the blood;
    • it teaches your body to conserve its glycogen stores within the muscles and vital organs;
    • base training trains your body to burn its larger stores of fat in preference to muscle glycogen. This can help you lose a considerable amount of weight that you may have gained during those months spent without training;
    • by training consistently for at least a month in this zone, it is likely that you will be able to extend your time to glycogen depletion;
    • blood vessels become larger and more flexible making it easier for the blood to flow;
    • to a certain extent, it also improves the angiogenesis (number and complexity of vascular capillaries transporting oxygen rich blood) and mitochondrial biogenesis within the muscles (number of energy producing mitochondria cells), resulting in a more efficient respiratory and muscular systems; thus allowing you to produce more power for the same level of work rate . However, it has to be noticed that greater results on both angiogenesis and mitochondrial biogenesis can be furtherly achieved by training at higher intensities.

    All of the above mentioned helps build your economy on the bike so that come the racing season you are able to ride for long distances with comparative ease.

  • Are you looking to become a better Alpine Skier?

    Alpine Skiing is an exciting sport, but to be fast and to avoid common injuries you need to be physically prepared. If your goal is to hit the slopes in winter, you should consider some of the training tips found in this article.

    Alpine skiing performance can be enhanced through increased lower body strength, power, balance and agility, as well as core stability through a strong trunk. Fundamental exercises like squats and some single-leg exercises are the basics in your training agenda.

    Do not forget core strength which an essential pre-requisite for safe and effective sport performance.

    That’s why more and more competitive skiers are investing their summer time (the off-season) in the weights room to improve their performance.

    But what do you have to do? If you decide to add biceps curls in your program, you are getting a little off track , why?

    In fact, alpine skiing benefits most from increases in lower body strength, power, balance and agility, as well as core (abdominal and low-back) control. Basic exercises like squats and some single-leg exercises are likely your best decision. In addition, core strength is an essential component of sport performance.

    Here are 5 training tips for an effective session

    Warm up before lifting weights

    You can start with 5 to 10 minutes on a stationary bike or on a treadmill (foto run personal) and then perform some lighe resistance exercises like the dumbbell front squat (foto). Over time gradually increase the intensity (i.e., move from full squats to single-leg squat).

    Start with the basic movements to improve strength

    The key exercise to improve strength of the lower limbs is the squat. Be sure to execute perfectly the movement and start using a weight that you can lift between 12 and 15 times. Over time you can gradually increase with a load that you can lift 10 times for three sets.

    The second basic movement we suggest you is the dumbbell lunge (foto). With this exercise that has to be executed perfectly, you will improve knee and hip stability as well as optimizing trunk stabilization

    Challenge your core muscles

    Core muscle (abdominals and low-back) provide the fundamental support when executing a static contraction which is highly common in skiing performance. Maintaining specific positions 30 to 45 seconds is particularly effective. This is due to providing a structured and progressive overload in comparison to the average static duration per turn when skiing.

    Improve your dynamic stability with rotational movements

    When skiing force production is often expressed in a rotated position. That’s why is important to apply controlled rotational exercises with external load. Be sure to execute this movement with a well stabilized trunk movement.

     

     

    Improve Balance & Explosiveness at the same time

    To improve power you need to execute any given movement at a high velocity with a significant load. Be sure to perfectly execute the exercise in order to avoid injuries during training.

     

     

    However, do not forget that flexibility exercises aid in injury presention so be sure to carry out an effective cool down after every session.

  • How to overcome stress

    In a continuously evolving and advancing society, in which everything seems to revolve around success, money and speed, stress is one of the risks of everyday life.

    The word “stress” has entered our common vocabulary; we’ve all used it at least once in our lives to describe a difficult, tense, worrying or anxious situation.

    We continuously face stressful situations on an everyday basis, relating to our jobs, our familiesshutterstock_571747465 (1) or our relationships. We never seem to have enough time for what we need to do, we have deadlines to meet, bills to pay, children to look after, and so it goes on. And the result? We forget to look after ourselves and can fall into a state of anxiety and stress, often with negative and dangerous consequences.

    Stress can often lead to loss of memory and concentration, muscle tension, insomnia, excessive weight gain or loss, nervousness, overtiredness during the day, apathy and premature ageing.

    Many of us tend to turn a blind eye to these problems, telling ourselves that “it’s just a phase and it will pass” or “I’m just a bit stressed, that’s all”. Of course, if you want to hide everything under the carpet and pretend that “it’s just a difficult time” or that “things are hard and that’s just how life is” you can do so, but it’s certainly not the best attitude and is neither useful nor constructive.

    What is stress? what can we do about it?

    In medicine, stress is any factor (physical, chemical, psychological, etc.) capable of exerting on the body, with its prolonged action, a stimulus that leads to a reaction. These reactions are mediated by the activation of the sympathetic nervous system and by the adrenal glands. Glucocorticoids, the main one being cortisol, or the stress hormone, are produced by the adrenal cortex. They promote the use of fat, protein catabolism, and therefore the destruction of muscle mass; they increase glucose emission from the liver into the bloodstream, suppress the release and activity of the growth hormone and perform an immunosuppressive action, reducing the effectiveness of the immune system.

    Here are some simple rules for preventing, reducing and combating stress

    Look after yourself and listen to your body

    Your body is always sending you signals to tell you what you need. If you’re hungry, have a snack, don’t resist in spite of yourself; if you’re tired, have a rest; if you feel like letting off steam, call a friend; if you want to relax, go for a walk. In other words, try to do what your body tells you to. You’ll soon realise that at the end of the day you’ll be less fatigued and nervous.

    Try to take regular physical exercise

    Physical activity plays an essential role in dealing with psychological stress, reducing anxiety and the symptoms of mild depression, and therefore helps you to withstand physical stress.

    There are countless options to suit your needs. If you are tense, it’s also a good idea to perform a low-intensity activity, such as cycling or walking. These activities, performed for 30 minutes a day on a regular basis, help you to relax and lower your overall stress levels. You can, for example, use some innovative cardio equipment such as the Cross Personal or svolgere una sessione a bassa intensità camminando all’aperto e seguendo un programma su MYRUN TECHNOGYM.

     

    Activities with a higher level of intensity, on the other hand, are perfect for combating feelings of anger, frustration and powerlessness. They also help to improve your self-esteem and self-concept and you learn how to set objectives and achieve them. There will also be an increase in your levels of noradrenaline, the hormone produced by the adrenal medulla, associated with combating depression. While exercising, your plasma levels of noradrenaline increase and this helps to relieve the symptoms of depression.

    Training in a group, either in the gym or outdoors, is also an excellent way of sharing positive experiences, achieving results together, letting off steam and simply enjoying some time in the company of others.

    Sport increases the levels of endorphins in the brain. These chemicals, like morphine, have a narcotic effect which induces feelings of pleasure and wellbeing.

     Practice meditation and breathing techniques

    Finally, for the best results, combine your physical activity with meditation or autogenic training techniques, where you concentrate on yourself through deep analysis of your body, passively analysing how you feel (e.g. heavy limbs, heat, breathing, regulating your heartbeat, etc.).

    It’s good to remember the saying “a sound mind is a sound body”, and that the two are strongly interlinked. You should therefore try to look after them both for a happy and active life.

  • Guidelines for effective and sustainable slimming

    One of the main topics of conversation among women is slimming. “I’d like to slim down, I’d like to lose a few kilos, I feel bloated, I just have to get back in shape…” How many times do we hear or tell ourselves this? A lot. An awful lot. Maybe too many times. But the results are more often than not disappointing. This is because we often rely on last-minute diets found online or recommended by a friend, or we simply do the wrong things without realising it because we’re ill informed.

    But what does “slimming” really mean?

    Slimming is a highly complex physiological and psychological process and is essentially a question of striking a balance  between our calorie intake and calorie consumption (the calories we burn/use).

    These two variables (calories consumed and burned) should be the same, although not everyone responds in the same way. Genetics  have a significant role in the differentiated outcome, as well as a series of other variables such as stress levels and hormones. However, on a PHYSIOLOGICAL level, the key guidelines remain the same:

    1- Take part in physical exercise to reduce body fat (adipose tissue) and increase lean body mass (muscle).

    2- EATING PROPERLY, focusing on quality and the quantity of nutrients.

    The golden rule for effective and sustainable weight loss is to burn fat without losing lean body mass. But how do you go about this? Let’s look in detail at the 3 key points that will help you achieve your goal.

    Aerobic activity is not the only solution

    The most common mistake is to join a gym and only perform aerobic activity for fear that exercising with weights “will make you too muscular, like a body builder”. Nothing could be further from the truth; in fact, how many times have you gone running, walking or cycling for hours without achieving the expected results?  The answer is very simple: to lose weight, you not only need to reduce your body fat, but also increase your lean body mass, which comes from combining aerobic exercise (which is still important) with muscle-strengthening exercise.

    In addition to burning fat, you need to train your muscles, increasing your lean body mass, which will help you  burn more calories even when you’re resting, as well as giving you a more attractive figure. Muscle is in fact metabolically more active than fat and require a higher amount of energy, even when resting.

    The intensity of the training depends on the time you have available

    It’s not true that you lose fat through low-intensity activity alone. Therefore the rule to follow, is to differentiate the intensity of training proportionally to the time you have available: if you don’t have much time you should train at a high intensity; otherwise, low-intensity training will also help you to achieve good results over a longer duration.

    Choose a physical activity that suits you, something that you find enjoyable

    There’s no point in making the effort to perform activities that you find boring or unsatisfying. For lasting results, your choice of activity is extremely important. If you practice a sport that you enjoy, then you will perform it better, be motivated to improve, work beyond your limits and improve your mood and self-esteem.

    There’s a wide range of activities that you can enjoy; there are group classes held in the gym, such as Group Cycle (link) or Omnia, outdoor sports or workouts that you can do by yourself in the weight room or at your convenience at home (link con esercizi su wellness bag).

    Remember, don’t underestimate the effects of stress

    Many women think that leading busy lives, with lots of activity, running around, is a valid solution for keeping fit. Well, we have some bad news for them. Stressing the body, lack of sleep, skipping meals or eating them at different times are all ways that will inhibit weight loss or even worse have adverse results.

    As we all know, stress is not an ally of fitness. In addition to the problem of “cortisol”, the stress hormone that tends to cause bloating and, not getting enough sleep has a negative impact on your physical and mental balance. If we’re tired, we’re more likely to eat more, especially what we call “comfort food” (chocolate, sweets, etc.), or to smoke or drink alcohol to “relax”. So we need to devote the right amount of time to rest:  proper rest has major implications on our response to stress, on post-training recovery and on our hormone profile. For effective slimming, you must therefore also sleep well.

  • What women need to know for a toned body

    Finally, after all that dieting and hard work in the gym, you’ve lost those few extra kilos that you’ve always been meaning to shed. And yet, you’re still not satisfied with the results you can see in the mirror. Your figure isn’t how you imagined it would look. Your skin looks drained, feels untoned, and the contours of your body lack definition.

    So, what went wrong? And how can you rectify it? The fact is that after dieting and a training programme based solely on aerobic activity, your body loses its excess fat but unfortunately become less toned, a bit like a deflated balloon. So what’s the answer? You need to work on your muscles with the right exercises. If you want a toned and defined body, there’s nothing else for it, you have to work on your muscles.

    Aerobic exercise and strength training for your muscles must always form part of a programme aimed at building body tone and definition. This is because slimming doesn’t only mean that you lose weight; the needle on the scales that shows how much weight you’ve lost doesn’t just relate to fat loss, but also sometimes to the loss of water and protein mass, ultimately muscle mass. And this happens when a low-calorie diet is not combined with the correct training programme or when the programme only consists of long-duration, low-intensity aerobic exercise.

    Slimming in the right way therefore reduces body fat whilst maintaining or increasing lean body mass

    Contrary to what you might think, what you need to concentrate on is your lean body mass, rather than your body fat, as your metabolism is primarily linked to the latter. It’s your lean body mass that contributes most significantly to your calorie consumption, rather than body fat.

    So, for a toned body you need to eat healthily, certainly do some aerobic activity, which has numerous positive effects on the cardiovascular system and your overall health, but don’t forget to do some strength training to work on your muscles.

    So what should you do? You can train on alternate days, with aerobic activities on some days and strength training on others, or you can combine the two types of training in the same session.

    Here are some simple guidelines for getting the best out of your toning sessions

    Concentrate on the right movements

    Don’t focus on working on your small muscles (e.g. your triceps or adductors), but choose exercises that involve several muscles at the same time by performing basic movements such as:

    - Pressing

    - Pulling

    - Squats

    Go to the gym, and if you can’t, do the right exercises at home

    Many people won’t hear of going to the gym, but science tells us that muscles develop better if they’re subjected to a certain load, for a certain amount of time, with certain exercises, and the gym is the ideal place in which to find the appropriate equipment and expertise.

    But if it’s impossible for you to go to a fitness/wellness centre, don’t worry; you can also achieve the same results at home.

    If being part of a group would help motivate you, try joining some classes offering a combination of high-intensity aerobic and strength training. The enthusiasm of a group will help you to work to an intensity that’s harder to maintain by yourself.

  • What is HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)?

    HIIT: Technogym highlights its risks and benefits

    The constantly rising popularity of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), involves the execution of one or more exercises at high intensity with rest intervals between each exercise (with the duration of the intervals depending on the intensity of the previous exercise). The resting period can also vary depending on the individual's ability to recover, thus allowing them to perform the next active interval at an optimal standard.

    To  highlight pros and cons of this methodology, Technogym organized the ‘HIIT Congress’ which invited; Prof. Silvano Zanuso - Technogym’s scientific communication & research Manager – Antonio Paoli, (Associate Professor of Physiology in Padua), Adam Lewis (Researcher at the Solent University) and Andrea Biscarini (Associate Professor in Biomechanics at the University of Perugia).

    We asked Prof. Zanuso to answer a few questions.

    What is HIIT?

    A HIIT program can be constituted either by aerobic exercises, such as running or cycling, or by strength exercises, which naturally requires recovery a period between exercises. It is clear, however, that both aerobic and strength exercises can be combined together to create a multitude of different training schemes.

    Within these programs, the High Intensity workouts can last from a few seconds (e.g. the strength training) up to several minutes (e.g. the aerobic training), with the aim to reach 80%-95% of maximum heart rate when performing cardiovascular exercises. When performing strength based exercises the load can be very close to the maximum (1RM), or to a slightly smaller percentage of that. In this last case, it is necessary to increase the number of repetitions in order to achieve muscular exhaustion.

    The workout, typically consists of alternating periods of rest and activity, for a total duration of 20-60 minutes.

    Another method is to replace the rest period with another exercise, creating a training session of extreme intensities, with a much shorter duration than traditional training sessions.  In this case the second ‘I’, meaning  Interval, should be removed thus creating the HIT acronym (high intensity training).

    How can we define Why are HIIT and HIT programs so popular?

    There are three main reasons:

    1. The duration is much shorter than traditional training workouts.
    2. Energy expenditure is higher than a traditional workout per time unit. This has a further metabolic effect on the post workout caloric expenditure, called EPOC (Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption). This is identified as an additional energy requirement from the body to recover from a workout, back to a pre-workout state. After a HIIT program, EPOC is generally higher in comparison to traditional workouts for the first two hours post exercise.
    3. This training is often executed in fitness classes, and group training interaction. The constant switch between aerobic and anaerobic exercises are perceived as being more engaging and exciting.

    What are the risks of HIIT training programs?

    High intensity training can bare serious risks if poorly managed. These risks belong to the cardiovascular and osteoarticular domain. People with hypertension or with a history of coronary ischemia should pay much more attention.  The high number of repetitions and the high velocity of execution, could additioanlly determine the onset of joint and tendon problems within the Muscle-Skeletal system.

    in order to perform HIIT and HIT programs efficiently, high level of technical skills are required (e.g. Squats or deadlift). This means that these exercises are limited to people with good coordination skills and motor control.

    To conclude:

    HIIT is not a completely innovative training methodology. However, the essence that stands behind this method should be understood. The approrpriate metabolic intensity should be considered for each individual, respecting  the ability  to execute  the exercise correctly form a technical and coordinative perspective.

  • Winter: many good reasons for training

    For some, it can be challenging to stay fit during the winter season, especially for those who perform outdoor fitness activities. In fact, many people claim that factors such as cold temperature, lack of light, bad weather, being too tired and a lack of time are common barriers to outdoor physical activity. However, some strategies can be adopted to keep the motivation of staying fit alive. Here some suggestions:

    Trying something new

    If you are someone who prefers to stay in a dry, warm environment participating in fitness classes within a gym could be ideal. Attending a class with a friend or family member, could also aid in a greater sense of motivation. Moreover, many gyms offer different kinds of fitness classes, with or without music, with or without load and also choreography. It has been noted that the growing trend of group based activities with music and those of a more quiet natured based on stretching exercises are supported by scientific research regarding the benefits of participation. This research has identified that both improve aerobic capacity, muscular strength and balance control.

    Partecipate in Winter sports

    The likes of Ice skating, skiing, snowboarding and sledding are activities that you can participate in during the winter with your friends or family. This will also provide a seasonal activity, something to look forward to and a great way to develop new motor skills and abilities that could later benefit you in alternative fitness activities.

    Exercise for health

    Exercise prescription from a physician or regular counseling can improve motivation with the additional aid of self-monitoring with diaries or pedometers. This is a great way to set short, medium and long term goals and assess your progress along the way. The added benefit to this would be that, the fitter you are, the less likely you are to get sick during the winter. A fit and healthy body often results in a strong immune system.

    Set a fitness goal to achieve before Summer

    Commonly people start to exercise a few months before summer, often failing reaching the results they desired due to the lack of available time. Improving Muscular strength and aerobic capacities or weight loss are all goals that need to be trained consistently to be maintained or improved, therefore it is important stay active during winter season.

    Train at home

    Why not a safe and comfortable training at home with a professional equipment featuring specific training programs like MYRUN Technogym?

    In conclusion, trying new activities, participating in winter sports,  exercising for the health benefits and training at home  are strong forms of maintaining motivation to stay fit during winter.

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