Top Fitness Products: Don’t Just Lose Weight, Gain Life!
by Stephanie Jimenez
The exercise and fitness industry is booming! Americans are at an all time high in taking control of their bodies and their health. More people are taking time to read labels and reduce their fatty food intake as well as incorporate exercise into their daily routine.
Some people take it one step further by creating home fitness spaces. The question is, where do I research the information and find the best products for the most affordable cost? While there are many online resources, we chose to research and report from www.consumersearch.com. Another trusted site is www.consumerproducts.com, but a fee is required.
Another great resource – Simply ask around! Take the time to do your homework so you will find the best price and equipment for your budget as well as your fitness goals. Below is a short summary of quality items to start building your own fitness space.
NordicTrack AudioStrider 990 – Best value, but it comes with a few tradeoffs. It features a space saving motorized incline ramp, pre-loaded workout programs and an MP3 player port. The downsides – durability issues, mixed reviews for customer service and warranty issues.
Landice L7 Cardio Trainer – A heavy-duty treadmill for daily runners. It is described as sturdy and powerful as well as being great for runners. It comes with a lifetime warranty and you can increase your workout using the 15 percent incline. With a 4-hp motor, it can handle the hardest of workouts. Cons include warranty loopholes, and it is rather expensive, but worth the price. The console is “smallish,” but you can buy an armband for your favorite MP3 player that will eliminate the problem.
No home gym is complete without the right accessories. These can improve the efficiency of your workout as well as monitor your body to ensure you’re on a healthy pace.
Best overall Heart Rate Monitor, but expensive, The Polar F11 took the top spot. This heart rate monitor not only comes equipped with specialized workout programs, it also offers goal tracking on Polar’s website and it comes equipped with an interference-eliminating coded transmitter, which blocks interference from other heart rate monitors. The monitor does not come with a user-replaceable battery in the wrist unit, which was the main complaint of users.
I felt the shoes were one of the better-reviewed products and offered more specific options. The following types were reviewed; Stability running shoe – best for most feet, budget stability running shoes, best motion-control running shoes, best running shoes for high arches, budget shoes for feet with high arches and “Green” running shoes. We chose to highlight the Asics Gel-Kayano 15, best stability running shoe – best for most feet. This shoe features an asymmetrical lacing system, has improved gel cushioning and gives you a nice snug fit, which is important to avoid blisters and sores. Like many of the items on this list, they can be expensive, but look at it as a life investment. These items will bring you better health and possibly longer life.
Ask the Pros
Sometimes it’s not enough to read every article and ask as many friends as you know. Sometimes it’s best to ask a professional – and that’s just what we did. We contacted Santa Clarita’s top health and fitness experts to ask them a few questions about getting fit.
So many people love using Elliptical machines. What do you gain from Elliptical training?
There are different kinds of elliptical machines, some with moving arm handles to promote more core muscle engagement, some with adjustable inclines to change the muscle groups being worked, all are great pieces of cardio equipment. Elliptical cardio machines are great for getting your heart rate up and burning a lot of calories while minimizing the harmful impact on bones and joints. The smooth range of motion is great for improving flexibility and building lower body strength by changing the level of resistance. By constantly changing the time, resistance, and frequency of your cardio workout, you will continue seeing results and also look and feel great. – Anthony Evangelista, Spectrum Athletic Club
At what rate do you need to use a treadmill to obtain optimal fitness levels and what is a good pace to start for someone just beginning to work out?
For best results and to obtain optimal fitness levels it is best to use interval training when performing cardiovascular exercise. The best thing about interval training is the intensity is set relative to your strength, endurance and fitness levels. Interval training is a combination of high intensity bouts at 80 to 90 percent personal effort, followed by active recovery periods at 50 to 60 percent personal effort. This means if you’re an advanced athlete you will use a sprint and a jog as your intervals, if you’re a beginner you may use a brisk walk at an incline and a flat walk as your intervals. The key is to push as hard as you can for one round, then recover and repeat the process. Try performing five to eight rounds of intervals using a one-minute work to two-minutes active rest period. Remember to include a low intensity warm up and cool down before and after your session! – Jeff Bomberger, Jordan’s Virtual Fit Club
How essential are free weights in a workout routine? What weight would you recommend to achieve the long and lean body style many dancers have and do you have a favorite brand?
Free weights are an essential element to the Cardio Barre workout. The key is not in the amount of the weight, but rather in the number of repetitions. What truly transforms the body, and separates that bulky look, to a long lean, toned look, is that the more repetitons that are able to occur, the more you are able to breakdown and re-shape the muscle. The result is an elongated body! – Michele Mosler, Cardio Barre
With the medicine ball a relatively new product used in workouts, how much do you use them when training your clients? Is one brand better than the other and if so, do you have a preference?
We use them all the time doing functional exercises, working the whole body and burning a ton of calories. They are especially great for twisting exercises, such as lunge with a twist, or for slamming the ball to the ground or against a wall. We have block walls along the back of our gym that we use to throw the medicine balls against either rotating side ways, or overhead which really works the core. The highest quality, competitively priced place to get them is a place called Perform Better. You can find them online at www.performbetter.com. – Rachel Cosgrove, Results Fitness
Though they may be known to some as alternative workout methods, how important do you feel stretching, free movement and music play in a fitness regiment?
Stretching, free movement and music all play a very important part at Goddess Fitness Dance, as we dance for fitness. There is no body-building and bulky muscles, just beautiful long lean dancer lines from all of our dance workouts. –
Emma Ridley-Tyler, Goddess Fitness
How important is it to monitor your heart as you workout? Can your heart rate determine if your workout is efficient?
A monitor can tell you if you are exercising too hard, too easy or at the right pace. Experts suggest exercising at 50-70 percent of your maximum heart rate for 30 minutes or more, five times a week. When exercising without a monitor and going simply by time or how you feel, you may not be elevating your heart rate enough to achieve the maximum cardiovascular and weight loss benefits. – Cheryl Broughton, Fitness Edge Boot Camp
When someone chooses to add a vitamin or supplement to their nutrition program, are multi formula vitamins sufficient or is it better to customize your plan for your fitness and nutritional goals?
If the multi vitamin is properly formulated, manufactured and balanced – then it would serve as a good basic insurance policy. However, just like the foods that we eat, supplements are varied in their content and dosages. You should speak with a qualified vitamin expert to determine what your needs are and have them create a supplement program just for you. – Bernard Kash, Earth Wise Nutrition Centers
Many people only judge progress by the number on the scale. How important do you feel scale weight is versus the fit of your clothing?
While scale weight shows progress, it is not the only measuring stick to use when gauging progress. When fat weight is replaced by lean muscle weight a person’s clothes will usually fit better even though the scale does not move down. This is as big of an achievement as seeing the scale move downward. The loss of extra body fat, getting to a healthy goal weight and BMI is a main goal in weight loss. When a person reaches their healthy target weight, the scale and clothes size usually catch up with each other. Giving oneself credit for every achievement is very important. – Sharon Marcarelli, Etcetera Medical