How to Work Out Effectively During Your Lunch Break


Staying fit and healthy is of the utmost importance. Not only does it improve your mood and strengthen your muscles, but it’s a well-known fact that physical activity boosts your immune system. However, not everyone has the luxury of time for a lengthy gym session. Even a work-from-home setup can be extremely demanding. This is why we need to take every opportunity to relax, and squeezing in a workout during lunch might just do the trick.

How does exercise benefit work?

Not only will your immunity get a healthy boost, your work productivity might see some significant gains, too. According to experts from Harvard University, exercise has a positive impact on your cognitive abilities. These include better memory, concentration, learning ability, and creativity.

And although some people prefer exercising before or after work, a lunchtime sweat session might be more beneficial for workplace productivity. In fact, Gala Bingo states that exercise can help you beat the afternoon slump — or that sluggish feeling that usually hits you between 1PM and 3PM. A quick cardio session can help counter those effects, such as headaches, fatigue, and mood swings, all of which affect your ability to work productively.

So, here’s how you can maximize your workouts at lunch:

Dress for success

Sleeping in your exercise clothes is one useful trick that many fitness enthusiasts swear by. Getting dressed truly is half the battle and putting on your workout gear the night before, or even laying them out, can help you find the motivation you need.

But you might not want to wake up all sweaty in your leggings. Instead, you can opt to get dressed in exercise gear after your morning shower. Preparing your equipment ahead of time is another hack, but make sure to display your gear where you can see it. This way, you won’t forget about your lunchtime workout.

Plan ahead and prepare

Scheduling your routine ahead of time is another key to success. You can use a calendar to schedule your workout plan for the week. It can be something like this:

• Monday – HIIT
• Tuesday – 45-minute yoga
• Wednesday – Rest
• Thursday – 30-minute cardio
• Friday – Isometric exercises

Writing down these goals can keep you motivated. And if you’re having a hard time, you can always sign up for an app to plan your workouts for you. All you have to do is to put in the actual work.

When in doubt, try HIIT

A lot of people don’t have access to equipment right now. But there’s no reason to worry, because body weight exercises will always be available to you. To make squats and push-ups even more effective, incorporate them into your high intensity interval training or HIIT.

Studies show that 20-minute HIIT routines can burn more calories than steady-state workouts, like running on a treadmill. And that’s perfect, given the limited amount of time that you have! But don’t be fooled by the short session — HIIT will definitely get your heart pumping.

Or, try desk exercises

Desk exercises can give you a quick energy boost on days when you just can’t get away from work even to eat lunch. For instance, you can try doing sideways rows using Activ5 and work on your upper body strength. For a lower body exercise, you can work on pistol squats without leaving your chair.

Another example of a desk routine is chair yoga. Simple moves like seated cat and cow or sideway stretches can help you release tension along your spine. It’s perfect for people who are always hunched over their computer for work.

Meal prep your lunch

Preparing your meals over the weekend or even in the morning can free up some time to work out during lunch. You can simply enjoy your food later at your desk when you get back to work.

But while a lunch break workout may just be the boost that you need, there’s no reason that you should be limiting yourself to this period. You can always adjust and work out in the morning or in the evening — the important thing is that you’re getting a healthy amount of exercise no matter the time of day.

Top 3 Techniques for Effective Off-Season Football Training


The NFL Draft is just a few days away and although NFL season doesn’t actually start until September, players across the nation are still hard at work preparing for the first kick-off of the year. Building an effective off-season training program is extremely important when it comes to injury prevention, building strength and ultimately having success on the field, and this goes for NFL players, all the way down to Pop Warner players. 

There is no doubt that every player’s off-season training program is different, but one thing all players can agree on is they want to build a training program that will have a positive and lasting impact on their performance. So if you’re ready to get serious about reaching your full potential on the field this season, try incorporating these tried-and-true techniques into your off-season training program. 

Metabolic Running
Metabolic conditioning can be applied to many different workouts, but what it really boils down to is developing structured patterns of work and pairing them with strategic rest periods that are designed to elicit a desired response from the body. For football players, this can be translated into a cardio-based training program focused on activating all of the muscles used in common movements on the field. Yes, many football players already incorporate running drills into their off-season training, but these are highly focused on conventional, straight-ahead running. This kind of training can be beneficial to players in some ways, but it completely disregards the muscle groups used in lateral or backwards movements, which are extremely common for players to do in football games. Not sure where to start? Check out this metabolic running program designed by strength and conditioning coach, Ben Peterson. It focuses on training all the muscles used in 360-degree movements.

Isometrics
Isometric exercise focuses on control, as opposed to traditional weight lifting that is more force-driven. Isometrics are a different kind of strength training, as they involve isolating muscle groups and contracting them for brief periods of time to increase strength and endurance. They also work to improve the stability and durability of muscles, which in turn can be instrumental in preventing injury or rehabilitation of an existing injury. Football is a contact sport that causes a lot of wear and tear on the body, so injury prevention is a key aspect that should be focused on in off-season football training. The benefits of isometrics are endless for football players, which is probably why teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers and Stanford University regularly incorporate them into their training programs.

Proper Nutrition
Now, we know having a healthy diet isn’t necessarily a “training technique”, but we would be remiss not to mention the impact nutrition has on your performance as an athlete. Having a poor diet will leave you with repercussions, no matter how hard you hit the gym in the off season, yet many players fail to take this into consideration when developing their training program. When developing an off-season nutrition plan, there are a few things we recommend taking into consideration. For one, muscles need an adequate amount of calories to grow and recover. Not just any calories, though. Athletes should focus on eating carbohydrate-rich foods, like whole grains, vegetables and rice, along with lean proteins and healthy fats. It’s worth noting, though, that the amount of calories you need to intake depends largely on the amount and type of exercise you are doing, as well as your total body weight. Here’s a chart that can be used to easily determine your caloric needs based on these factors. 

Another thing to take into consideration as a high-performance athlete is the amount of the three main macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and fats) you are eating each day. Each of these macronutrients play a key role in your performance and health, so it’s important to get an appropriate amount each day. This study suggests 5-8 grams per kilogram of carbohydrates per day for athletes undertaking 2-3 hours of intense exercise, 5-6 times per week. It also suggests that competitive athletes require 1.5-2 grams per kilogram of protein and 30% of their total caloric intake of healthy fats per day for optimal results in muscle mass growth, fat burning and overall performance. 

While this article has barely skimmed the surface of what it takes to become a successful football player in the off-season, it is definitely a great starting point. On-field success truly is accomplished through effective and strategic off-season training and the three techniques discussed above are crucial for muscle gains, fast-twitch responses, athletic endurance and everything in between.

Benefits of Isometric Training for Women


Although isometric exercise can be beneficial for everyone, there are some perks of this training method that can be particularly beneficial to women. Isometrics are great for improving strength and stability, which are essential in group exercise classes, like yoga, pilates and barre. On top of that, they can have a positive impact on the overall health and wellbeing of women, but that’s just the beginning! Here are even more ways isometric training can benefit women: 

Improve Strength & Stability

If you’ve ever taken a yoga or barre class, you’ve probably done isometric holds without even realizing it. Isometric holds involve contracting a muscle or muscle group and holding that contraction for an extended period of time. It may not be referred to as isometric holds by your instructor, but holding a pose in yoga, pilates or barre is exactly that. This type of training is extremely common in group classes of this nature and in order to improve your practice of these techniques, it takes an incredible amount of strength and stability, which can be achieved through continued use of isometric training both in and out of the studio. 
This brings us to our next point. If yoga, pilates and barre aren’t your thing, there are many other ways to implement isometrics into your training regimen that are just as beneficial to improving your strength and stability. Holding a plank, for example, is a popular full-body strengthening isometric exercise that is practiced by many, but even something as simple as holding an isometric calf raise or knee extension while in a seated position can have positive impacts to your strength and stability as well.

Relieve Pain

If you’re in pain, you’re probably willing to try whatever you can to relieve that pain and isometrics can be a great solution. Chronic pain, especially lower back pain, is extremely common among women and studies have shown that stabilization exercises, like isometrics, have been helpful in reducing that pain. Not only can they help find immediate relief to pain your experiencing, they can also have effects lasting as long as 9 months in some cases. Targeted isometric exercises work to activate and strengthen specific muscles, without aggravating the surrounding tissues, tendons and joints, which is why they are used a lot in rehabilitation settings. Isometrics are static holds, so they have much less wear and tear on the body than eccentric and concentric movements, ultimately resulting in less pain.

Aid in Weight Loss

With so many fad diets and exercise options out there, it’s hard to find a weight-loss program to buy into. This seems to be particularly challenging for women, as their biological makeup makes it a bit more difficult to shed pounds as quickly as men. Men typically have less body fat and more lean muscle than women, which in turn allows them to naturally burn more calories. Before you get discouraged, try incorporating isometrics into your training program. Isometrics have been proven to strengthen muscles, which helps the body burn more calories and lose more body fat. In fact, a study done by Dr. Jerrold Petrofsky proved that isometric exercise, paired with a healthy diet resulted in the average person losing 3.0 cm around their waist in just two weeks. That’s equivalent to one pant or dress size!

Help Reduce Risk of Disease

In the United States, heart disease is the cause of one in every four deaths in women and while this statistic may be a little shocking to some, we’re not here to scare you. Instead, we’re here to shed some light on ways to help reduce your risk of developing diseases like this. Studies have shown that isometric exercise is a natural remedy that can assist in lowering blood pressure, which is one of the leading causes of heart disease. Even simple handgrip exercises can lower the amount of pressure in your arteries and these types of exercises can be done virtually anywhere! We recommend reaching out to a healthcare professional to see if isometric exercise is right for you. 

Convenience

Between rushing the kids to school, your job and having a social life, it’s no wonder many of us struggle to find the time to get a workout in, which brings us to our last point. Isometrics are a super convenient way to get a workout in anytime, anywhere. They require little to no equipment and even short increments of isometric exercise can be beneficial to your health. Whether you’re at your desk, on an airplane, sitting in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, or anything in between, anyone can incorporate this type of exercise into their daily routine. 

If you’re not sure where to start, one easy way to introduce isometric exercise into your daily routine is with the Activ5 device and mobile app. Designed for those short on time and seeking convenient exercises on-the-go, the Activ5 program can help you remain physical, all while keeping up with your hectic daily schedule. Plus, with Mother’s Day right around the corner, there’s no doubt that many of us are thinking of ways to treat the ladies in our life to something special, and the Activ5 is a gift that will keep on giving.