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Re-Think Your Workout

Thursday, October 05, 2017


Fall is here, which means a few things for folks here in the Pacific Northwest: “Pumpkin” flavored everything (have you ever actually tasted Pumpkin?), Seattle Seahawks football, and thousands of cars fighting for a parking spot at LA Fitness.

Many people automatically associate getting fit with a pricey gym membership, going on a treadmill for hours, and trendy diets.  Here in the beautiful PNW, there are luckily some great options in order to spice up that boring weekly routine, save some money, and enjoy the natural splendor of our area.

Sprint! Crunched for time after work? Stop off at a local turf field and run some sprints. You can accomplish more in 10 minutes here than during your low-intensity, knee pounding hour-long session on the treadmill.  Try this pyramid to get started and get yourself huffing and puffing:

1. 30 yards down and back, 10 second rest. X 5

Rest 2 minutes

2. 60 yards down, 10 second rest, 60 yards back X 3

Rest 2 minutes

3. 30 yards down and back, 10 second rest. X 3
Go Home!

Hike – There are an endless supply of beautiful hikes at your disposal. For Washingtonians, check out WTA.org to find that perfect hike. Read trip reports, see distance and elevation gains, and pick out your next incredible view. Another great resource is alltrails.com. If you don’t have time for a long hike or are afraid of wildlife, find some local stairs or a nice big hill. Fresh air is good for you, cheap, and you may even get some Vitamin D if you head out on a sunny day. Yes, you may need to buy a trail pass for something around $30 per year. That’s about as expensive as one class at Orange Theory Fitness.  Besides, hiking is a great family activity (unless there’s whining involved). Ever heard of killing two birds with one stone?

Swim – Ok, this one may require a gym. But there may also be a local high school or community center where you can cheaply swim. There’s a reason Michael Phelps must eat 20,000 calories per day while he’s training. It’s not because he goes on the elliptical for an hour three-times per week.  He swims! Swimming is a total body exercise that will burn fat, build muscle, and is really time efficient. Try some sprints, long distance, and change things up just as you would in a running workout.

Body-weight exercises – Maybe hold off on the expensive gym membership until you have enough self-discipline to do 80 push-ups per day in your home. Mix in a minute-long plank three times per day, and you will begin to see results.  Seriously, try it! How many days in a row can you go without missing?  If you pair those two things with some YouTube some ab-exercises (thank you, Tony Horton’s Ab-Ripper X) and you have yourself a free, effective, convenient total body workout routine.

So, reconsider the expensive gym membership, use some creativity, and get to work! There are certainly some benefits to a gym membership if you’re looking to throw around lots of heavy weight, but it seems today it’s more important for people to be able to tell their friends, “I went to the gym” instead of being sore the next day after a great workout.  Granted, you may not be able to post as many gym-selfies, but your body, family, and wallet will thank you for the new routine.


Related Slideshow: The 7 Best Health and Fitness Apps

Here is a list of some of the most obsession worthy health apps.

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MapMyRun is the number one selling running app for a reason:  it is easy to use, offers community support if you want it, and tracks and stores your exact routes for you.  If you are training for a race or a serious runner, users say that the extra perks in the upgraded paid version are well worth it. 

Made for iPhone, Android and Blackberry 

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MyFitnessPal seems to be the clear favorite amongst everyone polled.  It is helpful not only for the fitness tracking aspect, but everyone polled mentioned how much they loved the food/diet aspect as well. From carb counting for diabetics to recipe ideas to complement your fitness goals, users love this app. 

Made for iPhone and Android

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JeFit is another fitness app that has rave reviews.  It not only tracks progress for you, but offers a huge database of workouts.  While many apps offer community support, JeFit allows you to sync workouts with friends who use the app, offering a (real) virtual buddy system.

Made for iPhone and Android

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Strava gets the highest mark of all the cycling apps.  While it is also great for runners, the cyclers seem particularly inclined towards the fierce competition that can be ignited by this app.  You can track all of your rides via GPS, then you can compare your efforts to those logged by others in the community on the same stretch of road.  You can also join ongoing challenges that can net you great prizes (in addition to bragging rights). 

Made for iPhone and Android

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YogaStudio gets the top vote for Yoga apps.  It has a lengthy collection of full class-length videos available at your fingertips.  Unlike many other apps, this one also allows you to customize your own video yoga class.  All of the poses are done by qualified yoga instructors, and you can find classes suitable for all levels of yogis.

Made for iPhone only

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SimplyBeing meditation app offers the best of both worlds.  You can choose to run this app as a background for your meditation with soothing music or natural sounds that run for a set amount of time.  Conversely, for those of you who have trouble focusing during meditation, you can choose a soothing voice-guided meditation. 

Made for iPhone and Android

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Fooducate is an app all about educating people so that they make healthier food choices.  Although not perfect, this app is easy to use (you can even take pictures of bar codes to instantly find foods in their database).  It gives food a letter grade, tells you the pluses and minuses, and gives you better ranked alternatives.  You can also use it as a weight loss tool by tracking your daily calories. 

Made for iPhone and Android


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