The Fitness Guide

Rosie Gomez's Guide to Getting Fit!


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Should You Join a Gym?

working outAs each New Year comes upon us, people are flooded with inspiration in the form of resolutions. It’s not surprising that many of the resolutions are health or fitness related, as we all want to feel better, look better, and become healthier.

Joining a gym might seem like one of the best ways to set yourself on the right path to these goals, but is it always the right or best way to accomplish them? The smiling receptionist at the desk of your local fitness center is likely to tell you that is, as their job is ultimately to increase revenue, but how can you be sure?

We’ll look at some of the reasons why a gym membership might be right for you and some of the reasons why it might be the wrong choice.

The Pros

People join gyms or fitness centers for a variety of reasons, but one of the biggest is variety. Perhaps you’ve become bored or complacent with your self-directed fitness routine, or perhaps you’d like to try new routines, such as yoga and would prefer to work with a professional. A gym membership offers you a wider range of activity choices in a controlled atmosphere and, for some, this is exciting and motivating.

The structured environment found within a gym is also very beneficial for those who have difficulty with self-motivation. The simple fact that friends or your trainer are expecting you to be present for a certain class or an coaching session can make the reluctant fitness buff feel more inclined to participate.

Taking time out of your day to visit the gym can be a great way to relieve stress. By removing oneself from home and work environments you can focus on your personal goals and have some time to yourself at the same time. This can be especially attractive for very busy people with high-stress jobs, or those who stay at home to care for young children or aging parents.

training with a partnerThe Cons

While the benefits of joining a gym are certainly obvious, that scenario is not right for everyone, for a number of different reasons. One of the main concerns for many people is the expense. Many gyms require some sort of contract that can be up to 12 months in duration, and people often question whether they will get their money’s worth, especially if they don’t show up often enough.

While it’s true that many gyms offer extended hours, and some are even open 24 hours per day, the fact remains that even these liberal schedules might not align with your own. Acquiring child care can also be a problem for some people, as is transportation to and from the fitness center. If these issues apply to your life then a gym membership might not be the right choice.

So if you don’t join a gym how can you meet your fitness goals on your own? The option to buy your own fitness equipment is available, which gives the opportunity and the ease of working out at home. Additionally, videos and other tools are abundantly available, both free and for purchase, that can help you stay on the right path.

Whether you choose a gym membership or a home workout plan, the point is to stick with it so that you can be better prepared to meet your fitness goals.


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Go Climb a Mountain

shutterstock_151437512Mountain climbing is not for everyone. Even seasoned and well-conditioned athletes wouldn’t dream of taking on the challenge of summiting some of the world’s tallest peaks. The rigorous preparation for and the actuality of mountain climbing requires a fierce commitment and peak physical health.

Again, it’s not for everyone.

That being said, if you’ve reached a point in your life and in your training regimen that you’d like to consider tackling a peak, there are many things to consider. Read on to learn more about how to prepare for what will undoubtedly be one of the most grueling, frustrating, and thrilling adventures of your life.

Choose Your Peak

While it might seem logical to think of Mount Everest as the white whale of mountain climbing, in fact many seasoned climbers find other, lower peaks to be more challenging and more accessible. If you live in the United States there are mountains in Colorado and Alaska that might be just the challenge that you’re looking for.

Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa is another option that combines climbing and adventure into one incredible package. Europe also boasts several peaks that will test your strength and stamina. Whether it’s at home or abroad, once you’ve chosen your mountain do some research and learn more about what other successful climbers have to say about that particular climb.

Train, Train, Train

You might think that you’re in top shape, but mountain climbing is something entirely different. Not only do you need the physical strength to make the summit, but you also need an incredible amount of stamina.

If you’ll be going with a group or a guide you should be able to learn exactly what you’ll need to carry in your pack and how much weight to expect. Add twenty pounds to that start working. Run with your pack on, hike with your pack on, and do everything that you can to increase your stamina and endurance. Using your heart rate monitor during this type of training can give you great information about your progress.

shutterstock_109553405See Your Doctor

Keeping in touch with your personal physician is always a great idea when you undertake any type of specific and rigorous training, but for mountain climbing you’ll want to discuss an entirely different set of issues. The main one is the altitude of your chosen peak. If your doctor is not familiar with high altitude and the physical problems it can cause perhaps ask for a reference to a sports medicine physician familiar with the subject.

Altitude affects everyone differently but altitude sickness is no joke. If you’ve never spent time at high altitudes you’ll have no idea how your body will be affected, but even if you’ve done high-altitude climbs before with no ill effects, that’s no guarantee you won’t be stricken on your next climb.

Medication to combat the symptoms of altitude sickness does exist, but the best way to protect yourself is by ensuring that your cardiovascular system is in top condition.

Climbing a mountain can be one of the most personally satisfying experiences in any athlete’s life. Just be sure that you are adequately prepared and ready to take on the challenge.


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3 Easy Ways to Jumpstart Your Health

Drink more waterWhile most people would say that they want to become healthier, as we all know, saying it and doing it are two very different things. It can seem like an insurmountable task at times, especially for those people who might be severely overweight or have an ongoing or chronic medical condition.

The good news is that, after you receive the go-ahead from your health care provider, there are many small ways to begin improving your health, and most of these can be done throughout the course of an average day. Yes, joining a gym or an exercise program is a great way to get started on the road to better health, but it’s not the only way, and for those people who might be intimidated or unsure, having a list of little things can be a big deal.

If you’re ready to partially take the plunge and learn how to improve your health, check out this list for tiny ways to make a huge impact.

1. Drink More Water

It seems so simple, but some might be surprised to know that many people struggle with drinking enough water throughout the day. Perhaps it’s because we’ve gotten used to the strong taste of flavored drinks, but whatever the reason we should all make a conscious effort to hydrate with water over anything else.

Aim to drink 64 ounces of water each day. While this might sound like a lot, it translates into only eight 8-ounce glasses. Add sliced fruit or fresh berries to your water if you’d like a little flavor, just don’t add sugar or other sweeteners.

2. Keep a Movement Diary

Even those who might self-identify as couch potatoes move more in one day than they might think, so it is a great idea to keep a movement diary. Simply jot down the times that you engage in any movement throughout the day. This could be as simple as taking the trash out, or something more intense like walking your dog for 30 minutes.

Now might be a great time to invest in fitness tools like heart rate watches, as well. As you monitor your heart rate you’ll have a better idea of your fitness level, and seeing your heart rate decrease over time can also encourage you to keep going and increase the amount of exercise you do every day or week.

Snack Healthy3. Snack More Often

While it might seem logical to skip or reduce meals during the course of your day to try and lose weight, that can actually have the opposite effect on your health. The human body needs energy in the form of food to keep all of its systems operating, but a bag of chips or a fast food burger is not the best way to accomplish this.

Be sure to start your day with a healthy breakfast, and then plan to have a snack two hours later. This could be as simple as a spoonful of natural peanut or almond butter, a piece of cheese, or a handful of grapes. Then, plan to have another snack after lunch. Again, choose something healthy like a piece of fruit, a slice of whole grain bread, or a cup of yogurt. As your body gets used to being fueled throughout the day you’ll find that you feel better and that you eat less at meal times.

Health and fitness are not a destination but a journey. If you start with small steps that you can increase to big steps over time, you’ll find that the journey becomes more rewarding and a whole lot easier.