Latest News from Rally Fitness

October 31, 2014

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Sign Of the Times? Obese Crash Test Dummies Are On Their Way

The obesity epidemic has been particularly unkind to Americans. Thanks to an endless parade of cheap, processed food and a drought of time available for exercise, more than one-third of Americans can be classified as obese. While it’s likely we don’t consider the long-term consequences of our food choices, there’s certainly no avoiding them when they appear. Larger cup holders, wider grocery store aisles and beefed-up hospital beds are the harvest for all the poor health decisions we’ve sown, and now there’s one more not-so-subtle shift to remind us that, yes, we are getting larger. A maker of crash test dummies now makes an obese option for car manufacturers and safety officials to buckle up and get slammed into solid and stationary objects.

To be fair, crash test dummy maker Humanetics isn’t building a portly analog as a commentary on our expanding waistlines. President and CEO Christopher O’Connor cites a study which found obese crash victims are 78% more likely to die than their thinner peers. Add this risk to your life to the existing health risks brought on by high body mass index and driving while obese becomes a dangerous affair. Humanetics’ new dummy simulates a 271 pound person who has a BMI of about 35. (Typical dummies, by the way, tip the scales at an average of 167 pounds.) The dummy also measures how much force an airbag has on a larger person and the amount of pressure applied to the gut by a seat belt.

Though intended to save lives, these larger crash test dummies also prove a point. Americans are getting larger, and big companies understand it. It’s the reason auto makers began installing larger cup holders and grocery stores stretched wide their aisles and lowered their shelves. Sugary soda tastes good and we want more, especially if that "more" can be bought for mere pennies. And who likes to feel claustrophobic when they shop or go out of their way to reach for items on the top shelf? Companies understand we’re more willing to part with our cash if we can feel good while doing it. The result of doing what feels good, however, has been wider waist lines and larger portions at the dinner table. Obese crash test dummies aren’t just an indicator of who we’ve become, they’re the first step in understanding how we can build cars to better protect our bellies.

The obesity epidemic is one that’s easy to beat, of course. It just takes a bit of work, sweat, and determination. Thanks to countless papers and studies, we are all well aware of what food is good for us and what food isn't. Losing weight really can be as simple as eating more of the good, less of the bad, and moving around from time to time. Those who choose to exercise at home will find that the equipment doesn’t have to be expensive or take a lot of room. Losing the weight is easy, the hard part is deciding to do it. Make the right decision today. 

The expert professionals at Rally Fitness make it easy to craft a gym for your organization that will help people to achieve an optimum level of health. When you are ready to fight the battle of the bulge, give Rally Fitness a call for a consultation on creating a gym facility for your company. (855) 725-5934

October 27, 2014

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Employee Fitness Cost Savings

The benefit of regular exercise has long been understood. Those who can carve as little as 10 minutes out of their day for any form of exercise tend to sleep better, have a healthier resting heart rate, enjoy lowered blood pressure and cholesterol, and are less likely to develop heart disease or diabetes. In recent years, employers have seen the productivity benefit of employees who exercise as well. Clearer thinking, another great benefit of regular exercise, leads to innovative solutions to vexing problems. 

How do you motivate an employer who doesn't recognize that the benefits above lead to a better overall quality of life for their employees? Enter rational self-interest. A new study, as reported in Fortune Magazine, explains that even a modicum of attention to exercise lowers the overall healthcare costs for the employer and employee, alike. With the total annual cost of healthcare in the U.S. exceeding $3 trillion dollars, focusing on the easiest and most obvious cost cutter is a no-brainer.

The study, out of the University of Michigan Health Management Research Center, explains that a person's likelihood of developing one of the diseases associated with metabolic syndrome, like heart disease and diabetes, is drastically diminished with as little as 10 to 20 minutes of exercise each day. And the Fortune article states employers need not adopt a fully conceived and implemented wellness program to inspire their employees to be proactive in maintaining and improving their health.

"With a little imagination, employers can come up with low-cost ways to get people moving at work, like putting up signs that remind employees to take the stairs instead of the elevator, or giving out maps of nearby walking routes that fit into a lunch hour," explained Alyssa Schultz, a researcher who worked on the UM study.

A healthy employee is a happy employee is a productive employee. If your company is looking to cut healthcare costs while simultaneously driving up the overall revenue potential, providing any type of fitness opportunity to your employees is the way to go. Contact the fitness professionals at Rally Fitness today to begin improving the lives of your employees and your company's bottom line.

"People tend to think that, if they can’t spare half an hour a day to spend on a treadmill at a gym, then they might as well not bother doing anything,” Schultz concluded. “But any number of minutes that is more than zero makes a noticeable difference." Call Rally Fitness today to plan your on-site employee gym today! (855) 725-5934.

October 22, 2014

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Working Vegan Into Your Fitness Lifestyle

Health enthusiasts and fitness buffs are known to radically change their lifestyles in the name of overall health. After all, one doesn’t simply make exercise and workouts a keystone of their routine without making some dramatic shift in their life. Though it may sound counter intuitive, one of these diets that many from the health set have switched to is based solely on plants. The common misunderstanding is that you need protein for all the energy you’ll burn while working out and that you’ll never find all that protein by snacking on a stalk of kale. As it turns out, there’s plenty of protein to be had in a plant-based diet, as well as other essential vitamins and nutrients. There’s also the added bonus of lower cholesterol, increased heart health, and better circulation. 

Going vegan can be easy. According to experts who have taken the plunge, the key to going vegan is being prepared. Here are some other tips to keep in mind when trying a plant-based diet and workout regimen:


  • Where Do You Get Your Protein?
You'll be amazed by how many people in the world are concerned about a vegan's protein intake. There are plenty of vegetables which pack a protein punch, including the obvious beans, lentils and legumes. Whole grains like quinoa and meat replacements such as seitan, tofu and tempeh are also good sources of protein. Try a quinoa bowl with black beans and salsa for a quick protein boost a few hours before your run or workout routine.

  • Vegans Eat Breakfast.
The importance of breakfast has been trumpeted by health experts and professionals for many years. In many ways breakfast is the meal where veganism shines. Fruit is often served first thing in the morning, making choosing a healthy breakfast incredibly easy. You can also try some oatmeal sweetened with dates or agave nectar or a green smoothie packed with as many green fruits and vegetables as you can find. Eating breakfast has been found to both kick start your metabolism and give you the energy you need to get through the day.

  • Eat Your Colors.
If you’ve decided to kick dairy, eggs and meat to the curb, you may as well get the full benefit of going veggie. While there’s nothing completely wrong with eating white foods like bananas, cauliflower and potatoes, eating colors gives you more nutritional bang for your buck. Fruits and vegetables, especially those with the darkest colors, are packed with phytonutrients which act as antioxidants. They also provide a wealth of important vitamins and nutrients which, when paired with running or any other fitness routine, will set you on the path to overall health.

If you decide to go vegan, you will certainly be met with some questions and even some light ridicule from your friends. If you keep at it for a few weeks, you’ll likely find what many others before you have: a vegan diet can leave you feeling healthy, youthful and clean. 
October 21, 2014

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20 Minutes of Exercise Improves Your Memory

Just when you needed one more reason to put down the remote and hit the gym, a new study claims being active for just 20 minutes can boost your memory. This is far from the first study to show a workout boosts both your physical and mental health, but this paper finds something different. Lead scientist Audrey Duarte wanted to find the immediate effects, if any, of simple leg workouts and brain function. After doing some basic leg exercises for just 20 minutes, participants were able to recall information better than those who did not work out. These new findings are especially encouraging to health experts as it provides a simple way for people to take control of their mental health.

The Long and the Short of It

Numerous studies have found a link between being active and improved mental capacity. These studies usually conclude that exercise causes the heart and lungs to work harder than normal. This means muscle is built and blood flow increases. It’s this increased blood flow which is listed as the cause for improved mental performance, particularly where memory is concerned. Previous studies have been more long term, however, and have shown how a regular exercise routine can improve a person’s chances of being able to recall important information even as they age.

Better Brain Power in 20 Minutes

Duarte set out to determine if those without regular workout regimens stand to benefit in the same way as their active peers. To conduct her study, Duarte and her team recruited a group of college students who aren’t accustomed to hitting the gym every week. These participants were first shown a series of 90 photographs before being asked to perform leg lifts for 20 minutes while a control group were only shown the images without being asked to exercise. Their heart rate and blood pressure were also monitored before, during, and after the exercises. Two days later all participants were asked back to the lab and shown a set of 180 pictures, half of which they had seen two days previously. The students were then asked to point out the images they had seen before. The college students who had performed the resistance leg exercises were ten percent more likely to correctly point out the familiar images than those who hadn’t exercised.

This study is good news on two fronts. First, it proves that two kinds of activity, aerobic and resistance, can improve brain functions. Second, it gives those who aren’t physically able to start a long-term aerobic regimen some hope, particularly aging patients who are already experiencing memory problems. No matter your age or condition, it’s likely you’ll be able to incorporate one of these exercises into your lifestyle and begin boosting your memory. 

October 19, 2014

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Facebook Cheers on 800 Pound Man On His Weight Loss Journey

Everyday more people are using social networking as a tool to reach their personal fitness goals. Smartphone applications such as Nike Running, for instance, integrate Facebook and Twitter and allow runners to post their achievements and receive virtual “cheers” from their friends.

There’s one St. Louis man, however, who is getting cheers from more than 10,000 well-wishers and friends on his way toward his own fitness goals. Larry Evans let his weight climb to 800 pounds before he decided to shed some major pounds and save his life. He’s now under 650 pounds thanks in no small part to “Team Larry,” a Facebook group with thousands of followers. Larry has also created a GoFundMe page to help him raise money as he continues his weight loss journey.

More than four months ago, Larry began posting videos of his workout everyday to Facebook. The videos of Larry lifting weights, running an underwater treadmill, or pedaling a stationary bicycle are often accompanied with hashtags like “#GetFitDontQuit,” or “#ShhhDoWork.” The story of his progress has even inspired another hashtag: “#TeamLarry.” A fan page has been setup for those who claim #TeamLarry and allows them to watch as he works hard to drop the pounds. Team Larry has expanded to include two more inspiring individuals who have decided to shed the pounds in pursuit of a healthier lifestyle.

Larry’s local Gold’s Gym has taken the extra steps to help him along his journey by asking other members to donate healthy food items and cheer him on. At his last check-in, Larry had lost 150 pounds and now weighs 650 pounds. Though he has not posted his final goal, Larry seems to have the determination and the guts to achieve any and all fitness goals he has set for himself.

A GoFundMe page set up by Larry is requesting donations to help him along the way. According to the website, Larry is on the Body By Vi challenge thanks to a friend who set him up with the program. He is also asking for help to buy two pairs of shoes, some exercise equipment, and healthy, organic meals.

Larry’s progress is indeed an encouragement and a motivation to anyone on their own personal weight loss journey. This touching story is proof that social networking can bring us together as we work to improve our lives. 

August 11, 2014

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The Full-Body Kettlebell Workout Move

Kettlebell exercises are a great combination of strength training and calorie burning that’ll keep all your muscle groups conditioned and help prevent osteoporosis, too. Why? Kettlebell exercises require different muscle groups to coordinate whenever you do a move, which means multiple toning, fat-burning benefits in less time. A single swing might engage your abs, legs, arms, and glutes at the same time.

Ready to give it a try? Here’s a simple exercise that will get you conditioned fast:

The Kettlebell Swing

  1. Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent.
  2. Keeping back and arms straight, grab your kettlebell handle with both hands, knuckles out, facing away from your body.
  3. Lean forward from hips and swing the bell back between your legs
  4. In one motion, straighten legs and push hips forward to propel the kettlebell up
  5. Lower slowly down and repeat

Using the momentum generated from your hips and thighs protects your back, firms your butt and thighs, and works your abs, too. Slowly lower the ball while maintaining control to give your arms a nice workout as well.

August 06, 2014

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The Most Effective Wall Ball Exercise Ever

 

Want to try a wall ball / medicine ball workout, but not exactly sure what to do? Here's the correct technique for executing a move that works your entire body, strengthens muscles, and will get your heart pumping, too.

 

  1. First things first: pick your ball. If this is your first time using a wall ball, you'll want one in the 5–10 pound range. If you're a little more advanced, try one between 15–20 pounds instead.
  2. Next, get your posture right. It protects your back and knees from injury (and it's just good form, too). You'll want to stand facing a wall with your feet shoulder-width apart, your back straight and your shoulders wide.
  3. Hold the wall ball right in front of your sternum.
  4. With your back still straight and your chest up, dip into a low squat until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Don't overextend by going lower, and check yourself to make sure you aren't leaning forward as you do this.
  5. Now pop up, pushing through your heels, and toss the ball up to the wall.
  6. Catch the ball as it's coming back down, lower into a squat again, and repeat for reps.

What Makes A Great Garage Gym?

 

When you’re putting together a gym in your garage, you don’t need a ton of equipment or bulky machines. With a little organization and forethought, you’ll have everything you need to do the day's workout and enough space to park a Ford Explorer, too.

Here’s a list of basics that allows you to do any workout sequence without needlessly junking up your garage:

  • Barbell
  • Kettlebells (at different weights, depending on your needs)
  • Weight Plates in 5, 10, 25, 35, & 45 lbs.
  • Parallettes
  • Olympic rings
  • Plyometric Box
  • Wall Ball
  • Slam Ball
  • Concept 2 Rower
  • Jump Rope
  • Climbing Rope
  • Yoga Mat

Got your necessities? Great—now all you need is the right setup. The rower and barbell may seem like a challenge, but remember: both of them can be stored vertically. Whether you choose hooks, shelves, or simply leaning them against the back wall, the amount of space they take up is negligible.

Next, you’ll want storage for balls, ropes, and mats to keep them within reach but neatly organized. This is when you can get sly and just turn your plyo box over to make it a convenient equipment bin.

Your kettlebells and weight plates are too heavy duty for a regular storage container, so you’ll want a rack. Rolling racks are great if you just want to stack and go, but make sure there are brakes on the wheels so the entire unit isn’t rolling around your garage (or into you).

July 29, 2014

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Five Tips for a Correct Kettlebell Snatch

 

Kettlebell workouts seem pretty straightforward, but as with any exercise — and especially those involving weights or functional movement—technique is extremely important to avoid injury. So how can you perform a kettlebell single arm snatch routine to get fit without getting hurt?

Here are five tips to ensure you’re doing kettlebell exercises the right way (and if you need a visual reference, here’s a great video to check out):

  1. Don’t think of the snatch as a series of big swings. It’s actually four separate, tightly controlled arcs: one from between legs to shoulder, one from shoulder to above the head, then two more of the same arcs back down. Remember: if you’re not in control of your exercise equipment, you’re not in control of the workout.
  2. For the first arc, always make sure to bend your elbow when you have the kettlebell at shoulder height. That way, you can press up into the next arc, giving you a better workout and keeping you from pulling a muscle, too.
  3. For the second arc, the one that goes from shoulder to above the head, straighten out—but never lock—your elbow.
  4. Use a lighter kettlebell than you normally would. Snatches tire muscles out quickly, and relying on the kettlebell’s momentum instead of maintaining good form and proper control could injure your arms, shoulders, or back.
  5. Don’t twist your arm or wrist. It’s tempting to rotate your elbow in when you straighten up to go above your head, but your elbow should stay rotated out, away from your core, and your wrist should remain parallel with the kettlebell grip.
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