15Jul
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FitBit: New Fitness Tech

FitBit FlexFitBit is the newest device doing the health rounds helps people track their exercise and associated activities, helping you live a healthier lifestyle, but are they really worth it?

FitBit’s aren’t cheap, but then again neither are their competitors such as the Garmin, or Polar devices that do the same things. The great thing about the FitBit’s is they deliver the whole package; in addition to the device, they offer online and mobile tools which help you track everything.

There are a few different FitBit models, so which FitBit is the best? Not all FitBit’s offer the same features, so its best to consider which one is right for you.

FitBit Flex

Considered to be premium model in the FitBit range, the Flex is fully featured; It counts Steps, distance, calories burned, Floors climbed, Sleep (hours, # times woken, sleep efficiency) and has other handy features like Goal setting, Silent Wake Alarm (vibrates on your wrist) and is able to sync wirelessly to Macs and PCs. It can also sync to selected Bluetooth devices. Most importantly, it’s sweat, rain and splash-proof.

FitBit One

The FitBit One has all of the features of the Flex, with the exception of the Goal Setting dunction and ita full featured set but lacks the

It has an OLED display, which some might prefer over the Flex’s LED display. The display on the Flex is just an indicator display, where the One can show the count of steps, calories etc. on its display. The One is also capable of showing the time, which is a feature the Flex lacks.

FitBit Zip

The Zip is considered the budget model in the FitBit line-up; it’s considerably cheaper and has less features. Its functions include counting Steps, Distance and Calories burned. It’s doesn’t allow for goal setting or count Sleep statistics; however it does sync to a computer or Bluetooth device.

 

All of the FitBit devices are rechargeable, so its handy to charge them before you head out for that run so it doesn’t stop recording on you.

A nifty feature of the FitBit range are the free online and mobile tools, which let you set goals, track trends, log your food intake and generally help you improve your fitness and weight.

As part of the FitBit package, you receive a FitBit Tracker (the actual device), large and small wristbands, Wireless Sync dongle, Charging cable, membership to fitbit.com and access to free mobile apps for iPhone and Android.

If you like to make sure you’re colour coordinated while out pounding the pavement or sweating it out in the gym, the Flex comes in eight colours including; Black, Slate, Tangerine, Teal, Navy, Violet, Lime, Pink. The Zip comes in Blue, Magenta, White, Charcoal and Lime. The One is bit limited on colours with only Black and Burgundy available.

Fitbit’s are available at most national retailers in-store, or online at FitBit’s website.

What is CrossFit?

João Victor Ribeiro by Felipe Pilotto CrossFit RJ 1046

João Victor Ribeiro by Felipe Pilotto CrossFit RJ 1046

 

CrossFit, dubbed as an elite fitness regime, has emerged as the new favourite strength and conditioning program for those seeking ‘elite’ like training routines. In 2014, there were approximately 9,000 gyms around the world that practice the CrossFit regime.

Despite the use of the word ‘elite’, according to CrossFit, their training ‘is designed for universal scalability making it the perfect application for any committed individual regardless of experience’.

CrossFit’s primary aim is to improve cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy. Said to be used by elite forces, marines and police forces.

CrossFit workouts incorporate a range of exercises from;

  • high-intensity interval training,
  • Olympic weightlifting,
  • plyometrics,
  • powerlifting,
  • gymnastics,
  • girevoy sport,
  • calisthenics, and
  • strongman exercises.

CrossFit uses many of the exercises you would be used to in a circuit class at a gym, including Kettlebells, Jump Ropes, Burpees, Sqauts, Lunges, Sit Ups, Push-ups, Pull-Ups and more. These exercises are done at a high intensity, high repetition across different time periods.

Every CrossFit session is taken by a qualified trainer, so you’ve always got someone to guide, motiviate and walk you through your sessions, but more importantly ensuring you do each exercise correctly to get the most out of it and reduce the risk of injury. Qualified trainers also assist with nutritional guidance, which is a large part of any exercise regime, not just CrossFit.

The methods used in CrossFit are designed around increase fitness and functional movement that are used every day, not just in exercise. Workouts are all recorded just like your session with a Personal Trainer, so you can increase the intensity and further challenge yourself if you wish.

Can I do CrossFit?

According to CrossFit, anyone can do it. Despite the high-intensity routines, the CrossFit approach challenges you at your current fitness level.

Will it be difficult?

Yes, for most people there will be exercises that are challenging. After all, isn’t that why we go to the gym? To challenge ourselves?

What’s the difference between Personal Training and CrossFit?

Here’s just a quick checklist of the difference between Personal Training and CrossFit;

Personal Training

  • Performed in one-on-one environments, typically at gyms or studios
  • Focused on helping you achieve your fitness goals, whether they be weight loss, muscle gain, cardio endurance among others.
  • Generally focused around exercising particular body parts during each set.
  • Typical equipment used would be those found in a regular gym.

CrossFit

  • Generally performed in groups, typically at CrossFit designated gyms.
  • Aims to improve conditioning and endurance, however weight loss, muscle gain are undeniably by-products of the CrossFit exercises.
  • CrossFit with its varied workouts can scale to workout multiple muscle groups at once (including ones you never knew you had!)
  • Equipment varies from run-of-the-mill gym equipment, right through to gymnastic rings, plyo boxes, climbing ropes and more.

 

For all of CrossFit’s perceived benefits, there has been some criticism of the program, including promoting a unhealthy and potentially dangerous atmosphere of encouraging people to training well above their limits, resulting in injury or the potential or long-term damage. For highly competitive people, it’s worth knowing when to stop!

 

Still interested in CrossFit? Get down to your local CrossFit centre and talk to some of the people down there and perhaps watch a session or two to see if it’s for you!

Kettlebells vs. Dumbbells

Kettlebells have taken the fitness world by storm over the last few years, with most Gym’s making them available and even classes dedicated to the use of Kettlebells. So what’s so great about them? Should you switch to using a Kettlebell in your work outs?

Kettlebell

Read ahead and find out more.

Like Dumbells, Kettlebells offer varying results depending on how you use them.

Kettlebells are great when combined with cardio exercise as they offer the ability for extra range of motion by being able to swing them and can, depending on the exercises work a wider variety of muscle groups than other free weight exercises.

Word of caution; find a Kettlebell weight that’s suitable for swinging, otherwise you might end up hurting yourself, someone else or breaking something!

 

Some advantages of Kettlebells

  • Kettlebells sit better in the hand when performing exercises that ‘swing’, ‘snatch’ or ‘lift’ the weight.
  • Kettlebells Allow for a better cardio workout allowing for the ability to swing the kettlebell.

Some advantages of Dumbells

  • Sit better in the hand when performing more traditional exercises, particularly those that ‘press’ and ‘push’.
  • Better for strength exercises due to the ability to load and balance weight.

 

The thing to keep in mind here is that both Kettlebells and Dumbells are great. Neither of them are better than each other as they are different. Different in the way they are used, the muscle groups exercised and the results to be had.

There are certainly some free weight exercises that favour the use of Kettlebells and vice-versa. A few that came to mind we’re;

(Disclaimer: You should consult your trainer or a fitness expert before performing these exercises)

Kettlebell High Pull

Works out: Legs, Arms, Glutes, Shoulders

Placing the Kettlebell on the ground in between your legs, stand shoulder width apart and squat down to grab the Kettlebell. Push through your heels using the force of your hips to stand up, while driving your elbow up past your ear until your arm ends up in a ‘chicken-wing’ like position. Lower the Kettlebell back down to the ground. Repeat 10-15 times for each arm.

Kettlebell Back Row

Works out: Back

Find a bench, place your left knee and right hand on it and make sure your back is flat. Your hand should be directly under your shoulder, while your leg directly under your bum. Position your right leg out wide to balance. Pick up Kettlebell with right hand and pull up slowly keeping your right arm close to your body, then slowly lower the Kettlebell. Repeat 10-15 times, swap over to the other side.

Speak to your trainer about more Kettlebell exercises you can incorporate into your routine.

 

So would we recommend dumping the dumbells and moving to the Kettlebell revolution?

No. If anything, we’d recommend finding the right tool for the exercise and the result you’re looking for. In some exercises, a Kettlebell is interchangeable with a dumbbell, but it may provide a different end result due to the way it’s held in the hand and you would operate a Kettlebell.  As mentioned above, for the most part they have their own exercises that provide their own results and the use of Kettlebells should be considered with that in mind.

When in doubt, speak to the team and your fitness centre or personal trainer about what type of exercises you can substitute Kettlebells in for and what the difference in result might be.