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Monday, 23 July 2012

Finding the Right Gym, with the Right People

Like a soap opera most gyms have their archetype characters as if specially cast in a role just for the gym. Unfortunately, the roles they play are set to annoy even the most tolerant of us.

At most gyms you get several role types - grunter, smelly, know it all, flirter, talker and care-less

Right Gym, Right People

In this post I'll look at the hogger. The type who are either in love with a piece of gym equipment or they believe they own it.

Despite notices saying something like no more than x minutes on gym equipment, the hogger can't read or, believe they are so special the rules are written for other people to follow.

You have your eye on a piece of gym equipment, say a new running machine with all the latest add-ons. The hogger has been on it since you arrived at the gym.

After an hour you leave the gym, the hogger is still using it. You bite your lip, say nothing and quietly leave the gym - frustrated.

A few days pass you return to the gym, that hogger is still on the same machine. Are they welded to it? You desperately want to use that machine.

What do you do? Shouting expletives won't make them willingly hand it over for you to use. No, the chances are they're so absorbed with what they're doing and haven’t seen you.

Politely ask, at a convenient time such as a pause when they’re changing settings on the gym equipment, how long they'll be or if there's any chance you can use it for a few minutes before you go home. Chances they'll say not long the offer ask again in 10mins. This time they'll either offer to let you use the equipment or stall again with the response not long.

Dealing with Gym Hoggers

If they say not long, ask if you can use it for 15 minutes and if they'll give you some tips on how to get the most from that piece of gym equipment. This way you get to use it, they get to watch over their beloved equipment which they probably view as theirs. Hopefully, you may have begun to build some kind of rapport with them.

If this still fails to work speak to the gym manager to get them to enforce their policy on using gym equipment.

If this also fails to work, ask yourself do you really want to continue as a paying member of this gym that favours certain clients over others?

Your only option is to vote with your feet and wallet. Do your research and join a better gym.

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Saturday, 7 July 2012

A GPS Sports Tracker Can Make Fitness Fun

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How do you turn a dull routine, which at a push you can call exercise, into something mildly interesting and evenexciting?
I found that using Endomondo, a little free gps sports tracker application for your Blackberry, iphone or smart phone, it is possible.

Endomondo, GPS Sports Tracker

I started using Endomondo nearly 2 years ago to make my cycle rides more interesting. Endomondo was and is much cheaper than buying a cycle computer to get average speeds, duration, distance travelled and calories burned. Since I first started using Endomondo the user interface has been updated so it’s really easy to use, I guess you could work out all the settings in less than a minute.
Endomondo can track over 30 different exercise activities from Aerobics to Yoga. Included in the activity list are Beach Volley, Martial Arts and Polo. How Endomondo tracks calories burned for Beach Volley or Martial Arts remains a mystery to me. You also risk damaging your phone if it’s in your pocket while playing Beach Volley or Martial Arts.
The main screen settings asks you to enter your name, weight and countdown intervals. You then select your exercise activity, in my case it's cycling. Press start, a couple of seconds later the GPS tracker picks up your location. Press stop when you’ve completed your activity.

GPS Sports Tracker on Your PC

A number of features that make Endomondo worth trying out are:- functionality to share your fitness progress with friends and find out how they’re progressing too in their struggle to become or keep fit. Endomondo uses the contacts on your mobile phone or Facebook account.
- The app keeps a history of all your workouts. Logging into Endomondo via your PC gives you access to detailed graphs of your performance so you can actually measure how well you’re progressing.
For example, if it takes me 45 mins to cycle from the train station to home on day 1, and on day 30 it take 37 minutes I know I’m making progress.
This gives me the boost to persevere so I know my struggles are not in vain.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Correcting Poor Posture, How to Feel More Confident

Getting fit and staying healthy will help you feel more confident and project a positive image about yourself. Slouching or stooping projects negative signals which might make people perceive you as nervous or lacking in confidence and authority.

Slouching and stooping is a result of bad posture which may have developed from childhood and into adulthood.

How any times were we told as a child by our parents or teachers to stand up straight? The primary reason they said this is so we didn’t look slovenly or dishevelled. Another possible reason is they didn’t want us to develop a bad back and maintain bad posture into adulthood.

Good posture helps you look more confident, self assured and contributes to feelings of self-worth. How many celebrities or successful politicians have you seen walking with bad posture? I'd imagine very few.

As well as being told to stand-up straight there are a number of devices that can help maintain good posture. There is the Magnetic orthopaedic posture corrector for your back and shoulder. It’s essentially a back brace/support strap. This is designed to improve posture and correct stooping. Magnets are strategically positioned to target the spine and lumbar region.

For children there are similar devices like a Child Back Support Band to prevent stooping.

A common theme with all these devices is that they physically change your posture. This means as long as you wear the devices your posture improves. They don’t change behaviour.

Bad Posture Belt

A novel device invented by Ellen Sundh is the Bad Posture Belt. What makes this device different is that it detects when your posture is bad and emits a sound, mildly irritating, to correct your posture. The belt detects the degree of curvature of your spine and when this is beyond a certain threshold emits the sound or voice that says, “bad posture”.

This means you learn to correct your posture rather than physically being ‘forced’ to maintain good posture which some of the posture correctors attempt to enforce.

The look and design will not be to everyone’s taste, but if you’re not comfortable with a brace to enforce good posture, the ‘talking’ Bad Posture Belt could be a good alternative.