Workouts

Treadmill vs Cross Trainer vs Exercise Bike – Which is Right for Me?

Facing your fitness goals comes complete with a huge variety of exercise options. From different workout plans for different needs and a piece of exercise equipment for almost everything imaginable, it can definitely be a challenge to find what’s right for you. Whilst some training methods work wonders for shredding those extra kilos, they may be harsh on other parts of the body or simply not be working the right muscles for your fitness needs.

When you’re in the market for a new piece of equipment or you’re looking to change your workout up at the gym, it’s important you do your research first. What may work for the person next to you may not be right for you. To help you kick those fitness goals – regardless of what they may be – we’ve put together this comprehensive guide to find out what will work best for you; a treadmill, cross trainer or an exercise bike?

1. I want to burn calories

If you’re maintaining the same heart rate across all three machines, there’s not going to be a lot of difference in the number of calories you burn. The intensity required to maintain this heart rate however, can vary between each piece of equipment and this is why you’ll get better results from some over others.

Cardio workouts are one of the best ways for burning unwanted calories but it’s still important to find the right workout and equipment for your fitness needs. If your goal is to burn calories, stick to cardiovascular exercises over weight training activities and workouts that are of a high intensity.

Both treadmills and cross trainers (also known as an elliptical trainer) can help you shred calories and fat but they do so at different rates. To burn calories using a treadmill you’ll want to be running (20-40 min workout is good) as this is a faster calorie burner. Alternatively, you can do a 30 minute elliptical machine workout which will generally burn about 400 calories in a 85kg person.

Burning calories effectively though isn’t just about the machine you’re on. How many calories you burn depends also on your body weight and workout intensity and consistency – so keep these factors in mind too. Whilst both pieces of equipment are great for burning calories, an elliptical trainer requires more coordination leaving the treadmill to be the easiest option for many.

2. I want to gain muscle and increase bone density

Cross trainers offer all the benefits of a treadmill but with an extra kick to it. Because they work every muscle of your body instead of just the legs, they’re an ideal piece of equipment for overall muscle strengthening and building. If you’re looking to only target the legs and buttocks area, both treadmills and exercise bikes can give a good workout without a whole body muscle gain.

The advantage a cross trainer or elliptical trainer has over these two though is it trains both your legs and arms at the same time. As your legs power away, your arms are moving back and forth targeting all the major upper body muscles including your chest, shoulders, biceps and triceps. If you want to target different leg muscles to that of a treadmill or bike, you can change the direction of your feet on the cross trainer by pedalling backwards and this will work other leg muscles and buttocks. If muscle gain is your fitness goal, the elliptical trainer will offer a full weight-bearing workout that’s super effective in building bone density.

3. I want something that’s easy on my body and joints

Despite the benefits of exercising, your body can take a huge beating – especially in your joints. If you suffer from pre-existing injuries or knee and joint issues, it’s vital you take a close look into what equipment you’re using and how this is impacting on your body.

As far as low impact goes, cross trainers are renowned for offering a full body workout without the stress and strain on your joints. Exercise bikes too provide a calorie burn workout that’s low on impact and can be a better option if you’re just after something basic. For knee pain sufferers, it’s best to steer clear of treadmills and opt for an exercise bike as the impact of body weight and stress on joints is not a concern. But, like with any piece of equipment if it’s not adjusted to your body properly, it can do more harm than good so get a professional to demonstrate the best way to use it first if joint stress is an issue for you. Here’s a great read on how to set up your exercise bike for a better workout to start you off.

4. I want to use my upper and lower body

Whilst treadmills are fantastic for burning calories and customising a workout to suit your own needs and fitness level, it doesn’t give you a full body workout. For fitness goals consisting of a workout that utilises both the upper and body workout, it’s hard to go past a cross trainer or elliptical machine.

These units are a treadmill, stair master and exercise bike combined and thus, offers maximum potential with a unique combination of fitness benefits. Helping to not only burn calories and boost bone and muscle density, many people steer towards them because it does give you the full body workout. If you are a beginner though, it’s definitely best to speak to a professional before using one to get the full benefits.

5. I want to reduce stress and boost endurance

Exercising isn’t just about calorie counting and muscle gain, sometimes your goal is to simply reduce stress and feel better. Exercising to gain energy is a fitness goal you don’t read too much about anymore with all the calorie and weight loss talk around – but it’s just as important.

The best part about this goal is all three machines are great for a daily stress reduction and healthy boost of endurance. Combined with other factors – like the space in your home, budget and whether there’s any other goals to tick off too, it’s super easy to find a machine that works great for you.

Exercise bikes will boost stamina and endurance naturally and are fantastic for those after a basic workout or if you’re just starting out on the fitness bandwagon. If you’re after more of a challenge or a variety of workout options, treadmills and cross trainers will definitely tick these boxes too.

What fitness goals will you be tackling this week?

By Jayde Ferguson, who writes for Orbit Fitness – the largest supplier of fitness equipment in Perth. You can catch Jayde on Google+ to discuss this piece.

June 6, 2015

The Best Anti-Aging Exercises

We’re all looking for the secret to eternal youth, but most of us don’t realise how effective exercise is to take the years off. Read on for some easy fitness tips and exercises that will keep your face and body looking – and feeling – young.

The basics

To keep you feeling good on the inside, lose those extra kilos and do a minimum of 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise every day to ensure your organs are healthy. Good cardio workouts include stair climbing, walking up hills, bike riding and swimming. When you feel fit and ready, increase the amount of time you exercise and the intensity.

Complete this picture with resistance exercise to ensure you look as good on the outside as you feel. Resistance-based exercise keeps muscles strong and toned, because the last thing any woman wants is sagging body parts.

And most importantly, drink lots of water, at least eight glasses a day.

Facial exercises

Some women swear by facial exercises to prevent wrinkles, crows feet and other signs of ageing, as well as enhance glowing skin. Exercising the facial muscles allows the skin to get the oxygen it needs to keep it healthy and deliver other nutrients to the skin cells. Try laughing, frowning, smiling, raising your eyebrows, moving your jaw up, down and sideways.

It is easy to overlook caring for your neck, even though it is an area prone to wrinkling. While a woman’s face can look young, her real age can be obvious when looking at her neck. Neck exercises, such as chin tucks and stretches, can minimise neck wrinkling and help women look younger.

Legs and butt to die for

Part of looking and feeling young is having great legs and a firm bum! All women can have wonderful legs and bottom using the following exercises:

• Step-ups, using stairs, a park bench or an exercise stepper, tone everywhere and offer a great cardio workout because they work all leg and gluteal (bottom) muscles at the same time

• Lunges work the same muscles. Perform walking or stationary lunges and swap legs to ensure both get a good work out

• Add ankle weights to your legs to tone them faster and perform and use for thigh exercises (lying on your side and raising one leg up)

• Squats push the full weight of your body through your legs and buttocks.

Michelle Obama arms

Triceps (in the upper arm) are often forgotten because women can be preoccupied with toning their tummies and bottoms, so here are some exercises to tone those arms:

• Tricep dips, tricep kick backs, overhead tricep extensions and shoulder presses are effective isolation exercises

• Wide-grip push ups work pectoral muscles (hidden under the breasts) and triceps if you move your hands closer together.

What are your favourite exercises to keep the years off?

April 8, 2015

5 Ways To Get A Killer Core

Former World Ironman champion Guy Leech has shared his top tips on how to strengthen and shred your core – sans the serious gym equipment. According to Leech, the much talked about “core” encompasses the entire, complex series of muscles that extend far beyond just the abs, this muscle group works to stabilise and support your body.

“While core strength is essential to correctly perform all sorts of strength training exercises, it is also very important when carrying out simple day-to-day activities and maintaining good posture and balance. A strong core can also help reduce the risk of back pain and injuries,” he says.

And these are Leech’s go-to exercises to get a killer core at home:

1. The plank

“The plank works the entire core including the upper and lower body muscles all at once,” Leech said. Simply lie down on your stomach, and then lift your body off the floor with your forearms and toes, while keeping your elbows at 90 degrees. Try to keep your body straight without arching your back. Leech explains that “the longer you can hold a plank, the stronger you will get, and the more resilient your lower back will be to injuries.”

2. V-sit hold

“This exercise is great as it not only works to strengthen the core, but also helps drastically improve balance,” Leech said. Start on your back, and then bend your legs and back up at the waist as you extend your legs and arms off the ground into the air to form a ‘V’. Hold this position for as long as you can. “For a slightly more advanced version, drop your legs closer to the ground and hold your feet a few centimetres off the floor for a few seconds, before releasing.”

3. Twisting crunch

As one of the most effective crunch workouts, the twisting crunch will target all your stomach muscles in one simple movement. Just assume a standard crunch position, and then raise your torso to a 45 degree angle from the floor, and then twist from side to side, each time driving the opposite elbow to the opposite knee. For an extra challenge, Leech suggests, “Try extending your legs and pretending to peddle a bicycle as you continue to twist.”

4. Ball roll-ins

Ball roll-ins are great to target the central and lower abdominal muscles. Start with your hands on the ground and the tops of your feet on the top of a large exercise ball. Keep your hands in place and bend at the knees to bring the ball up toward your chest. Hold this position for a second and slowly roll the ball back out. “With this one, it’s important to focus on squeezing your abs throughout the movement and avoid just using your hip flexors to pull the ball in,” Leech said.

5. Work in short bursts

The final tip, which can be applied to any kind of core exercise, is to execute every part of the movement ‘explosively’. Scientists have shown that performing abdominal exercises at a fast tempo activates more muscle than doing them slowly. “This is most likely because in order to speed your movements, your muscles are required to generate higher amounts of force,” Leech explains.

March 16, 2015

A Beginner’s Guide To Yoga

Over the last few years, yoga has become increasingly popular due to the many physical, emotional, mental and spiritual benefits. Regular practice of yoga postures, breath exercises, relaxation, concentration, self-inquiry and meditation cultivates health & wellbeing A low-impact exercise, Yoga postures can be practiced by anyone at any age and at any fitness level.

With the new year already moving into full gear, what better way to start afresh with your yoga practice than with a guide outlining everything you need to know – from what to wear to safety measures. If you’re new to yoga, you want to find out as much information as you can to help build a better foundation to your practice, therefore minimising injury and maximising health benefits.

Here are a few handy tips to get you on the right track and ignite your inner yogi this New Year:

Where should I start practicing and which class or style should I take?

If you’re new to yoga or haven’t practiced in a while, beginner or foundation classes are a great way to start out as they can guide you along the right track and get you motivated. This will help build the right foundations for more advanced poses and yoga styles later down the track.

Another important aspect is finding a qualified and registered teacher to ensure you are practicing Yoga in the safest manner possible. Visit yogaaustralia.org.au to find a suitably qualified teacher in your area.

There are so many different styles of Yoga practice with some more challenging than others. A good place to start is with a Hatha or Vinyasa class, depending on whether you prefer to work slowly or work up more of a sweat. As you become more confident, you can try other styles to see which one suits you most. Your first class is always a little daunting and it’s natural to feel uncoordinated but don’t worry, this is perfectly normal and you won’t be alone. Make sure you let the instructor know it’s your first class and about any injuries you may have.

What should I wear to my first class? Do I need to bring anything?

When practicing yoga, you should wear comfortable clothing that you can move freely in. Consider that you might be doing postures where a t-shirt may ride-up. Yoga is traditionally practiced barefoot, but there are non-slip socks on the market if you’re not ready to get your feet out in public!

Check with the studio or gym where you are attending the class to see if they have mats, otherwise you may need to bring your own. You can get quality mats from most sports stores. When attending your first class remember to bring a bottle of water to help keep you hydrated and a towel to wipe any sweat.

What can I expect in a yoga class?

Try to arrive at least 15 minutes early to your first class and avoid eating anything for two hours before (water is fine). You may need to sign enrolment forms and you’ll get a chance to speak to your teacher. This is a good opportunity to introduce yourself to your teacher, let them know you’re just starting out and you can also discuss any concerns or injuries you may have before you begin your practice. Plus this gives you time to settle in, relax and prepare for your practice in class. Make sure you switch off your mobile phone and enter the room quietly.

Once the class has begun, your teacher will start by going through a series of different postures and poses. They will offer students alternatives and modified poses, geared toward different levels of experience. Listen to your body and only try a more challenging pose if you feel comfortable. Yoga isn’t a competitive sport so don’t feel the need to keep up with everyone else in the class, go at your own pace. The more you practice the easier it will be and you will quickly progress.

Safety measures and precautions

Yoga may look comparatively less impacting on your body than other physical activities; however, there is still a risk of injury especially if you don’t understand how to enter and hold a particular posture or push beyond your body’s limits.

Here are some tips to help you develop the safest yoga practice:

  • Pick the right yoga style: If you are still quite new to yoga, start with a series of classes that are aimed at beginners. That way you can build a solid foundation of knowledge and alignment principles before you try something more challenging.
  • Be in tune with your body: Safety in yoga is about knowing your limitation and being comfortable in staying within those limitations while practicing yoga. As a student, you carry the responsibility of advising the teacher prior to commencing the yoga practice of any injuries or other factors that might affect your safe practice.
  • Pick the right yoga teacher: It’s important that your teacher is qualified and registered as part of a governing body such as Yoga Australia (link thru). This will ensure you are practicing yoga in the safest manner possible and with a teacher who knows what they’re doing . It’s important that the teacher understands how to teach a posture correctly and recognises when a posture, position or breath practice is just not suitable for a particular student. Don’t worry if you don’t ‘click’ with the teacher straight away – it doesn’t mean the practice or style isn’t for you and it might be worth trying a few others until you find one you click with.

The teacher is there as a guide so if something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it! You are always your own best teacher. Honour what your body is telling you that day and if it says to rest, come out of the post and take a break. There are no prizes in yoga for hurting yourself.

If you have any questions about Yoga, visit the yogaaustralia.org.au for more information and to find a teacher in your area

February 15, 2015

Gym Etiquette 101: Top 5 Crimes Against Humanity

Gym crimes against humanity occur suddenly and at random; they should not go unpunished. Just the other day, an overzealous, new young employee startled me by jumping up suddenly, within inches of my face, on the treadmill next to mine.

She then proceeded to – gasp – try to talk to me mid-workout, when I was covered in sweat and majorly fatigued as I was halfway through a gruelling intervals training session. WTF? How very dare she?!

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I looked around and everyone but me had earphones in. What an idiot I am, I thought! I’m being highly sarcastic, of course, but is mid-workout really the time to harass people? Does “walking the floor” ever really retain gym clients?

gym etiquette, gym crimes, fitness rules

For me, the gym isn’t a place to socialise; I get in, go hard (in what limited time I have) and then I go home. I do not want to talk to someone, other than my PT, about my “exercise journey” mid-workout, if ever, actually.

So, in no particular order, here are some common Gym Crimes Against Humanity:

  1. The Grunter: There’s always one, it would seem: the beefed-up guy who has to let everyone know he’s lifting really heavy weights (yawn). Keep your God-awful animalistic sounds to yourself, buddy! This strange breed of gym goer may also often offer unsolicited advice and/or use foul language, including the C-word.
  2. The Show-off: You know the type – the girl who always has to outdo the gym class instructor and/or strut around the gym in full make-up and eye-wateringly tight lycra – ala Adidas’ questionable, new gym leggings (pictured) that closely resemble aluminium foil.gym etiquette, gym crimes, fitness rules
  3. The Hogger: You will meet this strange breed in many a gym: he refuses to share gym equipment and will sit, admiring his own reflection, for hours at a time on one machine – naturally, the one you really want to use.
  4. The Socialiser: This could be either sex, but is usually more commonly a woman: the stranger or gym staffer who loves to share odd intimacies with you at every turn and who expects you to do the same, often mid-workout. And if she’s not accosting you, she’ll no doubt be glued to her iPhone or iPad for the duration of her workout.gym etiquette, gym crimes, fitness rules
  5. The Flirt: I understand some people may meet the love of their life mid-workout, but for me, I don’t want my gym resembling a meat market or nightclub vibe. Take it outside, people! Who wants to get chatted up while they’re drenched with sweat? Eww. Don’t ogle others, or yourself. Gym flirts belong in jail. Too harsh?

What are your gym dos and don’ts?

Images via www.thefashionpolice.net; thefitspoproject.com and fitgirlkris.wordpress.com

January 30, 2015

Easy Barbell Exercises For Women

Barbell’s are one of the easiest ways to keep your fitness routine interesting, especially if you’re a beginner and wanting to stick to the New Years Resolution.

But sometimes women find it discouraging to train using weights since so many of us believe that we could develop a muscular physique, but this is far from the truth! Tone your entire body from head to toe with just five of these easy barbell exercises.

RELATED: How To Get Toned Without Bulking Up 

Deadlift

It is true, this exercise sounds a lot more difficult and scary than it actually is!

In reality, it will work your buttocks, and carve out those toned, sculpted thighs in no-time. Bend forward holding the barbell, then push back and upwards. Keep your head up to avoid causing strain or injury to your neck.

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Sumo squat

Take your squat to the next level by using a barbell to maximise your entire workout routine. Stand with legs wide apart, and squatting, lift the barbell slowly upwards as your body begins to straighten out. For best results, keep the barbell as close to the body as possible.

sumo-squat

Incline bench press

Use an inclined bench to help workout the upper chest, as well as the arms and core abdominal muscles. Keep your back as flat as possible, then inhale and lower your arms until they are level to your chest. Grab a friend to come and spot you, as it can sometimes be scary if you’re a beginner.

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Standing curl

Stand with your feet apart and curl your biceps until they have completely contracted. This is a must-have workout if you want to define your arms, and lose any body fat before swimsuit season!

Standing-Curl

Bent over row

Straighten your back with this effective lifting exercise which feels amazing once you get the hang of it. Slightly bend your knees for extra stability, then pull your arms back, and roll towards your chest. Make sure to stretch well before any of these exercises to avoid the dreaded muscle strain!

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Images via ThinkStock, Body Building, Elite Fitness, Supt, Gallery Hip

January 20, 2015

The Most Effective Back Workouts

Working out your back isn’t something most women think about, but it is an important part of a daily or weekly routine. Not only will it help to improve your overall posture, but can honestly change the way you look and feel!

Follow these workouts for a better looking back in no-time, minus the pain.

RELATED: Check out our Winter Fitness Motivation here

Cat-cow

This easy workout will reduce any strain on your arms and back, but also helps to realign your hips and spine. Just remember to give your body a good stretch before starting out.

The Most Effective Back Workouts

Start on your hands and knees, then lift your head and make sure your back is concave. Get back into the cat position by tucking in your tailbone and extending your head upwards on the exhale.

The Most Effective Back WorkoutsBridge pose

Lie down on your back with feet firmly on the floor. Naturally, your back will rise upwards, and this is the best way to keep your arms and palms flat on the floor.

The Most Effective Back WorkoutsOn the inhale, press your feet and palms downwards, and your knees should begin to form a diagonal. Lower your spine on the exhale and repeat this entire process 6 times.

Extended leg pose

This exercise is perfect for stretching out your hamstrings, and strengthening your abs and core muscles.

Lie down on your back, and keep your knees tightly bent. As you exhale, bring your knees towards your chest, then hug and release it upwards.

Butterfly pose

Not only does this exercise aim to strengthen your back muscles, but it also works on abs, inner thighs, and even the pelvic floor. Perfect if you want to nail a few workouts but you’re pressed on time.

The Most Effective Back WorkoutsLie down on your back, and press the soles of your feet together. Try and keep your knees as close to the floor as possible. Inhale then press your legs tightly together, before repeating the step 6 times.

Images via Meadows Knits, Mandy Ingber, Yoga Pose Weekly, 

October 8, 2014

The Best Workouts For Saddlebags

Are you absolutely helpless when it comes to getting rid of your saddlebags? These are often  referred to the extra fat which is located on the side of each thigh. The upper-thigh area of the body usually protrudes sideways and is often extremely difficult to tone up. Below are a just a few effective exercises which will help to reduce the appearance of saddlebags and inner-thigh fat.

Leg raises

Lie down on your side and keep your body propped up on your bottom arm, which should be tucked under the breast. Raise your upper leg, making sure to keep your hips nice and straight.

The Best Workouts For Saddlebags

Step-ups

Perfect for beginners who are just trying to tone-up without over-exerting themselves, step-ups are quick and easy workouts for the entire leg muscle. Bend your knee at a 90º angle then step down before repeating this on the other leg.

The Best Workouts For Saddlebags

Elbow plank

The elbow plank is much more effective than your regular plank, since it requires extra attention and stability. Start off with a pushup position, then lower both of your forearms onto the ground. This should allow both your elbows and fists to remain fairly flat. Curl your toes, then push out into a normal plank position.

The Best Workouts For Saddlebags

Squats

You know by now the best way to achieve a killer squat, right? The secret is to keep your back very straight and always have your feet hips-length apart.

The Best Workouts For Saddlebags

Side lunges

Bend your knees into a squatting position and keep your hands on your hips for extra stability. Now bend your knee before returning into a standing position. Remember to alternate on each leg for a consistent workout.

The Best Workouts For Saddlebags

Bridges

We’ve left the best (and most painful) for last. Start by lying flat on your back with arms on the side, then keep your feet flat onto the ground and slide them upwards so your knees are slightly bending. Squeeze your butt muscles as your raise your hips upwards for the best possible results.

The Best Workouts For Saddlebags

Images via Make Me Sweat, Hip Healthy Chick, Beekman 1802, Vote Me Not, 30 Day Fitness Challenge

September 18, 2014

Workouts For A Better Bust

Want a bigger bust without going under the knife? There are a series of exercises designed to not only tone your bust, but have your chest looking firm and lean. The following workouts will also give you better posture, toned arms and target the upper, middle and lower chest muscles.

Push-up

A classic push-up is a great exercise to work the chest, core muscles as well as the shoulders and your back. If you want a harder workout, simply stand on your toes or even use a workout ball which will really test your strength.

Bench press

This exercise will really help you feel the burn since it works out the chest muscles and triceps – especially when used in conjunction with a workout ball. Just remember to keep your legs at a 90º angle at all times, and push the dumbbells away from your chest for a perfect workout.

Medicine ball

Working out with a medicine balls has many perks, one of which helps to tone the arms and chest muscles. Hold the medicine ball with both hands and extend your arms before throwing it down as hard as you can.

Burpees

Oh, the wonderful world of burpees! This workout aims at stabilising your body whilst also working out the pectoral muscles, shoulders and arms.

Tips

  • Always stretch before each exercise. This gets your muscles ready and won’t leave your body feeling as sore the day after. Jumping jacks and running on the spot are both great ways to stretch your muscles before getting straight into it.
  • Don’t only use these exercises to rely on a better bust. Eat well and regularly take part in some form of exercise such as jogging or swimming to really sculpt your body.

Image via Flip Beans

September 4, 2014
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