Exercises to Strengthen Your Lower Back and Reduce Pain

How to strengthen your back, while reducing pain.

Anyone who’s ever experienced lower back pain is fully aware that it can be both excruciating and debilitating. In severe cases, you can have a hard time moving around and may not even want to get out of bed in the morning.

Not engaging your muscles, however, will only make the situation worse. Here are some simple exercises to strengthen lower back muscles while simultaneously reducing and preventing potential injuries.

The Most Common Causes of Back Pain

Millions of people across the United States suffer from lower back pain. Many of them suffer from severe cases that result in limited mobility, depression, and other problems.

Here are several of the most common causes of lower back pain:

  • Back Injuries
  • High Stress
  • Weight Gain
  • Hormones
  • Pregnancy
  • Bad Sleep
  • Gastro Issues
  • UTI

How Exercising Helps Relieve Lower Back Pain

When you strengthen your core or any muscle group, you’ll effectively reduce the chances of injury of those particular muscles. By building up the muscles in your lower back, this can alleviate and even prevent back pain from occurring and/or worsening Plus, it’s also believed that exercise increases blood flow to your lower back, which results in less stiffness and a more expedient healing process.

Exercises to Strengthen Lower Back Muscles

If you’re experiencing lower back pain, then you’ll definitely want to obtain a medical diagnosis. Your doctor will go over with you precisely the types of exercises to strengthen lower back muscles and improve your overall health.

There are quite a few different exercises to choose from and here are some of our favorites:

Partial Crunches

Start with knees bent, feet flat, and either your arms crossed over your chest or hands behind your neck. Tighten your abdominal (stomach) muscles as you raise your shoulders and exhale. Resist the urge to use your elbows or arms to pull your neck off the floor. Hold for a second and then return to the starting position.

Duration: 8-10 reps

Hamstring Stretches

Start by lying on your back with one bent knee. Loop a towel beneath the ball of your foot and then straighten your knee while slowly pulling back the towel. If you’re doing it properly, you’ll feel a gentle stretch in the back of your leg. Hold this for 15-30 seconds.

Duration: 2-4 reps for each leg

Glutes Bridge

Start on your back, knees bent, feet flat, and hands at your sides. Raise your hips off the floor and try to create a straight line from hips to shoulders. Lower your hips to the floor, rest for 10 seconds, and repeat.

Duration: 8-12 reps

Pelvic Tilts

Lie back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Tighten your stomach as if you’re getting ready to be punched in the gut. This will push your back against the floor, with your hips and pelvis rocking back. Hold this position for 10 seconds while you breathe normally (deep breaths aren’t needed).

Duration: 8-12 reps

Bird Dog

Start off on your hands and knees while tightening your stomach muscles. Lift and extend your left leg behind you, keeping your hips level, and hold this position for 5 seconds. Then, switch to the other leg and repeat. To improve this exercise, lift and extend your opposite arm each time.

Duration: 8-12 reps

Quad Superman

Start in the tabletop position, drawing your navel in toward your spine. Raise an arm and the opposite leg straight up to the level of your shoulder. Slowly lower your arm and leg, and then repeat with the opposite arm and leg.

Duration: 8-10 reps

Lifting Weights

Whether or not lifting weights is a good exercise for your lower back pain will depend on the advice of your doctor. If you have acute back pain, he or she may advise against it. However, lifting weights can relieve chronic back pain in many people.

Yoga & Pilates

The gentle stretches involved in yoga and Pilates can be very beneficial in reducing lower back pain. However, if you’re experiencing lower back pain, be sure to tell your instructor because there are certain moves that he or she may want you to skip just to be safe.

Visit Fitness 360 to Learn More about Exercises to Strengthen Lower Back Muscles

If you’re experiencing lower back pain, always be sure to consult your physician before beginning an exercise routine. Once you’ve done that, Fitness 360 will work closely with you to create a focused regimen of exercises to strengthen lower back muscles and relieve pain. If you would like additional information or are ready to sign up, give us a call at (727) 797-5100 today to join our fitness community in Palm Harbor and Trinity today!


8 of the Best Leg Exercises for Women

Why Leg Exercises for Women Are Important

A lot of people – both men and women – seem to truly dread “leg day.” They’ll either put it off, skip it occasionally, or cut the number of exercises, sets, or reps in a given session. If any of these describe you, then you’re making a huge mistake. Since our legs contain the largest muscles in your body, they need to be strong and powerful, in addition to improving our core and overall health.

If you’re a woman who’s worried about your legs getting too muscular, which is a common concern, let us put your mind at ease. Due to the lower levels of testosterone, you can safely work out using multiple exercises without your leg muscles appearing too bulky or large. To that end, here are 10 of the best leg exercises for womenthat you can do with nothing more than a bench or chair and two 5-pound dumbbells.

Banded Lateral Walk

Targeted Muscles: quads and glutes

Exercise Instructions: With a small resistance band just three or four inches above your ankles, keep your feet hip-width apart and knees slightly bent. Tighten your core and then move your left foot to the side, followed by the right. Next, go back the other way and repeat.

How Many to Do: 3 or 4 sets, 10-12 reps per leg

Split Squat

Targeted Muscles: quads and glutes

Exercise Instructions: Start by standing with your back facing a chair a couple of feet away. Place your hands on your hips, then bend your right leg behind so that the top of your foot lands on the seat. Next, squat and bend your leg at a 90° angle with your knee over the ankle. Finally, press through your midfoot and stand.

How Many to Do: 3 or 4 sets, 15-20 reps per leg

Pistol Squat

Targeted Muscles: quads and glutes

Exercise Instructions: Feet hip-width apart and hands reaching in front of your chest, lift and flex your left foot a few inches off the floor. Squat down and bend your left knee 90°, holding your leg to hip level in front of you. Repeat with the other leg.

How Many to Do: 3 or 4 sets, 5-10 reps

Single-Leg Deadlift

Targeted Muscles: hamstrings and glutes

Exercise Instructions: Start with your feet hip-width apart, dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing the front of your thighs. Hinge forward at the hips at 90° as you extend your left leg behind you to make your body parallel to the ground and arms hanging down. Switch to your right leg and repeat the process.

How Many to Do: 3 or 4 sets, 15-20 reps per leg

Three-Way Calf Raises

Targeted Muscles: calves

Exercise Instructions: Place the balls of your feet on either the bottom step of a staircase or something at a similar height and place your hands on your hips. Lift your heels high with your toes pointed inward, lower them just below the step’s level, and then repeat the motion with your toes outward. Finally, stand on one leg with the toes pointing forward and bend the opposite leg behind you, repeating the lifts.

How Many to Do: 3 or 4 sets, 15-20 reps

Good Morning

Targeted Muscles: hamstrings, glutes, and abs

Exercise Instructions: Feet shoulder-width apart and the end of a dumbbell in each hand, bend your elbows and move the weight under your chin. Keep your legs straight and maintain each arm’s position, then press your butt back to hinge forward at the hips until your back is almost parallel to the ground. Finally, squeeze your glutes to return to a standing position.

How Many to Do: 3 or 4 sets, 15-20 reps

Goblet Squat

Targeted Muscles: quads, hamstrings, inner thighs, and glutes

Exercise Instructions: Feet hip-width apart, hold a dumbbell in front of your chest with your elbows toward the floor. Then, push your hips back and bend your knees to squat. Finally, push yourself back up to reset.

How Many to Do: 3 or 4 sets, 15-20 reps

Three-Way Lunge

Targeted Muscles: hamstrings, inner thighs, quads, and glutes

Exercise Instructions: Feet hip-width apart and hands clasped together in front of your chest, lunge your left forward, keeping your knees at 90°. Return to the starting position, then lunge to the left with your toes facing forward and knee at 90°. Return to the starting position again and then do one final lunge backwards.

How Many to Do: 3 or 4 sets, 15-20 reps

Contact Fitness 360 for More of the Best Leg Exercises for Women

Routine leg workouts for women can help you stay strong, get toned, lose weight, and provide other meaningful benefits. The staff at Fitness 360 can give you all of the tools you need for a successful workout and can set you up with a personal trainer if needed. If you have any questions about our list of best leg exercises for women or any other workout increase, give us a call at (727) 797-5100 today to learn more about our fitness centers in Palm Harbor and Trinity.


Your Guide to Les Mills Body Combat Classes

What are the benefits of body combat classes?

Fitness classes have come a long way from when they began, and the popularity only continues to grow. Gyms and studios have become more creative and versatile with their classes, so you now have plenty of options to choose from. If you are looking for a go-to workout, now may be time to try out the popular body combat classes.

Body combat classes make use of mixed martial arts movement to create a fun and energetic cardio workout that is sure to burn those calories. The name may sound daunting especially if you are not into intensive exercises. However, do not let that intimidate you. Get to know more about what you can expect from the class, and you might understand just why it is gaining so much popularity today.

What are Body Combat Classes?

Perhaps you know the gist of a body combat workout, but before you enroll in your first class, you may want to get more information to help you decide. Body combat is a full body and non-contact workout that features moves from Karate, Taekwondo, Boxing, Muay Thai, Kung Fu, and other similar disciplines.

The Les Mills body combat workout is designed using the science of cardio peak training, which combines steady-state and high-intensity training for maximum fat burning results. It means maintaining a moderate heart rate zone of around 50-69% of your maximum rate for aerobic endurance, coupled with occasional peaks that push you to about 85% of your maximum heart rate. If you are familiar with HIIT, body combat essentially follows the same principle. 

No need to worry if you have no prior martial arts experience. What makes body combat classes highly attractive is that they are suitable for anyone, regardless of fitness level or age. Instructors will guide you through the workout, so they will show you the proper stance and form for each movement. From punching and striking to kicking and lunging, you can expect your whole body to be engaged.

Why Join Body Combat Classes?

Body combat offers more than just cardio fitness—it trains your whole body and targets different muscle groups. Beyond burning fat and calories, you can also expect these benefits from taking body combat classes:

1.     Flexible Workout

The common concern with a fitness class is the difficulty. While body combat will certainly challenge you, it is also flexible in that instructors show variations of each movement, making it suitable for anyone. If you are a beginner, you can stick to the low-impact modifications and gradually transition as you get stronger.

Depending on your fitness center, you may also find different workout durations. Some classes will be a 45 or 30-minute workout, while others may reach an hour.

2.     Tone Muscles

The combination of martial arts movements allows you to engage different muscle groups in your body, so you can target your upper and lower body, as well as your core. By repeating the moves multiple times throughout the workout will help strengthen, tone, and define your muscles.

3.     Release Stress

Yes, you read that right! Body combat can help you release stress a few times a week to keep you at your best mental state. Whatever the cause of your stress may be, you can let it out once you get to class by giving your all in every kick, punch, and jab.

4.     Achieve More

Instead of spending a whole hour doing solely cardio, strength training, or core training, you can do all three with body combat. The program design allows you to achieve cardio and conditioning at the same time, thus resulting in maximum efficiency. Moreover, you can expect even better results when combining the two together since your increased heart rate will ultimately help burn more calories.

5.     Improve Reflexes

The movements in body combat classes help improve your reflexes and balance. Since it is non-contact, you will find yourself having to balance on one leg to execute a kick or mixing punches and kicks. It might be challenging at first, but over time, you will become much better at coordinating your movements.

Sign Up for Body Combat Classes Today

If you want to try out the Les Mills body combat, come visit our fitness center in Palm Harbor to sign up for a session. Aside from getting to join the class, you can also gain access to our top facility and gym equipment. Our trainers are ready to help you develop a routine that will match your needs and goals. Contact us today at 727-797-5100 to join our community today!


Workout Plan to Burn Belly Fat: Tips for Your Workout Routine

Improve your workout plan to lose belly fat this summer!

Losing weight is already a challenge, but if you are trying to be fit, you would know that losing belly fat is a whole different challenge. The belly area just seems to be one of the most stubborn. There are many reasons why you may want to lose belly fat. Other than the aesthetic reasons, a large midsection can also be linked to heart diseases like heart attack, diabetes, and stroke. This makes it so critical to pay attention to the area.

Before anything else, it is important to understand that you cannot spot-reduce your belly fat. You can achieve this by modifying your diet, so you end up losing body fat and weight. Rather than fixating yourself on belly fat, you must think of it as a holistic approach that involves losing overall fat. Doing so will help you reduce your visceral fat, that stubborn fat stored in your abdominal cavity and known for increasing health risks.

Ultimately, trimming down your midsection will require a good balance of diet and fitness to promote overall health. To help you with your goal, here are some tips for designing a workout plan to lose belly fat.

How to Begin to Lose Belly Fat

As mentioned above, losing belly fat requires more than just working out. It is a holistic process that requires looking at every aspect of your lifestyle. Check out these tips and tricks to develop an effective routine and proper habits to help you stay active and healthy.

Eat at a Caloric Deficit

The basic rule to losing weight is to eat at a caloric deficit diet, which essentially means you burn more calories than you consume. Now, does this mean you have to restrict yourself with your diet heavily? Not necessarily. While you would need to be more mindful of what you eat, this does not automatically mean you have to cut back on all types of food.

Generally, eating more protein and less carbs is recommended if you are trying to lose weight. Protein is essential for building muscle and repairing after your workouts. It also boosts metabolism more effectively than carbs and fats and helps you feel fuller for a longer time. Caloric intake will depend on your body and level of activity, but the overall goal is to reduce your intake without depriving yourself of the essential nutrients.

Eat Healthy Fats

On the topic of losing body fat and weight, there tends to be a misconception that you have to cut out the fats you eat. What many do not realize is there is a distinction between good and bad fats. Naturally, you want to cut down on the latter, but healthy fats are an essential part of your diet. These come from unsaturated fatty acids like olive oil, eggs, fatty fish, avocados, and nuts.

You will still need to eat these fats in moderation since they can be heavy on calories. However, the bottom line is that you should not eliminate fats from your diet since they still offer health benefits.

Keep Moving

You likely already know by now that physical activity will be a must to get rid of belly fat. If you want to get serious about your fitness, you can build a workout plan to lose belly fat. However, even without one, you can still incorporate some activity into your daily routine.

Remember that your journey is gradual, so even small steps can make all the difference. Walking is usually a good starting point for those who want to be more active. People tend to push themselves too hard and go for extreme exercises right away, which can cause them to give up more easily. Instead, start small and add in as little as a 10-minute walk to your daily routine. You will be surprised to see how much of a difference this can make.

Circuit and Strength Training

The key to burning belly fat and maintaining the results is to do circuit and strength training. Circuit training involves performing a set of high intensity exercises consecutively and taking a short rest between each circuit. This is particularly effective since the minimal rest times push your muscles to work harder, allowing you to build muscle and burn more calories.

Strength training will also be important in your exercise regimen since you want to replace your body fat with muscle. Many tend to shy away from lifting weights due to the fear that they would bulk up, but strength training does not immediately equate to heavyweights. Depending on your capabilities and goals, you can opt for lighter or moderate strength weights, which will be just as effective in burning calories, building muscle, and boosting metabolism.

Get Enough Sleep

Beyond your diet and fitness, always remember to prioritize the quality of your sleep. Sleep deprivation can increase tendencies to binge on unhealthy food, so you want to make sure to avoid developing such habits. Poor sleeping patterns will also make it more difficult to get the energy you need to work out and get through your day, so give yourself adequate rest time.

Exercises for a Workout Plan to Lose Belly Fat

Not sure how to start building your workout plan to lose belly fat? Losing belly fat requires you to work your whole body, which means you should exercise not only your core but also your other muscle groups.

Here are some effective exercises to include in your routine to help you out.

1.     Crunches

Crunches are an essential in any workout plan to lose belly fat. They are great for burning stomach fat and working that area in your body, allowing you to develop a stronger core. Lie on a mat with bent knees and your feet on the ground. You can place your hands at the back of your head or cross them on your chest, then lift your upper body while keeping your neck and head relaxed.

Remember: You cannot spot-reduce fat. Thus, while crunches are great for strengthening your core, they should not be the only exercise you do. Mix up your workout plan by adding the other exercises below.

2.     Burpees

Burpees are the perfect addition to any circuit or warm-up, sure to get your heart rate up. Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, then slowly lower your body into a squat position. Next, place your hands in front of your feet, then jump into a plank position.

For more advanced variations, lower yourself into a push-up. Jump your feet back so that they are positioned right outside your hands, then lift your hands up and jump up explosively. Overall, burpees are a great high intensity exercise that will work multiple parts of your body.

3.     Squat Curls

This compound exercise works your upper body and lower body at the same time. Holding your dumbbells and with feet shoulder-width apart, bend down into a squat position. Keep your weight on your heels and bring your chest out. As you move back into a standing position, curl your arms into your shoulders to do a bicep curl.

4.     Walking or Running

Depending on your activity level or preference, walking and running are both welcome additions to any workout plan. Taking a brisk walk for 30 minutes can do wonders for your metabolism and endurance. On the other hand, running, whether outside or on a treadmill, can elevate your heart rate and burn massive amounts of calories.

You can also combine the two to do a HIIT style workout, where you push yourself and run at high speed for 30 seconds, then walk or take a break for the remaining 30 seconds.

5.     Mountain Climbers

Another classic exercise that works your core and other muscles is mountain climbers. Start in a plank position, with your palms facing down and core engaged. Bring your right knee towards your chest then return it to the plank. Do the same on your left side.

As you get stronger, you can explore more mountain climber variations. For example, you can bring your knee to the opposite chest side or bring it to the same side before swinging it to the other side.

6.     Squat Jumps

If you plan to do some HIIT, make sure to include squat jumps in your circuits. This explosive plyometric movement will work your lower body and give you the cardio kick you need to burn calories. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, then lower down into a squat position. Press down and jump as high as you can. As you land, bend your knees until you return into a squat.

Visit Our Fitness Center Today

Our fitness center in Palm Harbor and fitness center in Trinity are here to help you achieve your health and fitness goals. Whether you need the guidance of our personal trainers to develop a workout plan to lose belly fat or prefer to do your workouts on your own, our facility is sure to provide you with the perfect environment for that. Contact Fitness 360 today at 727-797-5100 to learn more about our memberships.

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Summer Workout Plan: How to Stay in Shape this Season

Build your summer workout plan now!

Summer is here, which means it will soon be time to change into your swimwear and head to the beach! During this time, everyone wants to look and feel their best, but some become demotivated or find it difficult to stick to their workout routines when they go on vacation.  A summer workout plan will help you attain a beach body while also forming healthy, long-term habits.

Here is how you can get the most out of your summer workout plan.

Examine Your Current Level of Fitness

To decide how high to put the bar, you must first establish your current fitness level. Knowing your starting point will assist you in creating a training program that is personalized to your specific demands. Additionally, it can help prevent undertraining and overtraining, as well as injuries and burnout. Documenting and assessing baseline fitness scores, on the other hand, can provide you with benchmarks that you can track your improvement with.

Set Your Fitness Goals

Are you embarking on a workout regimen to reduce weight? Or are you motivated by something else, such as fitting into a new swimsuit? Setting explicit goals can help you track your progress and keep you motivated.

Pair Your Workout with Equipment

You can do equipment-free workouts and there are apps and YouTube channels can help you with it. However, if you want to improve your efficacy or strength, basic gym equipment can help. If you are not ready to invest in a home gym, there are many affordable options. Pick the items that work best for the types of workouts you’re doing.

A jump rope is a go-to for warming up or putting in a quick aerobic workout when you are short on time or can safely venture outside. Milk jugs, water bottles, and a heavy backpack can be used as weights for a home workout program.

A mat is a great addition to your workout. There are many different types of mats available, and your style of exercise will determine the one you choose and the floor you will be laying it on. A yoga mat is best for yoga practice, but a higher-density fitness mat is best for bodyweight workouts on carpeted surfaces.

You can also add a mirror to your space to ensure proper technique while trying new workouts. Headphones will enhance your workout if you enjoy listening to music while working out. It will also be a courtesy to anyone in the house who doesn’t want to join you.

Take care of your body as you ease into a new fitness regimen by using a foam roller. A foam roller is used to release stress and vary core workouts. You can also use a tennis ball to relieve tension after a workout.

Create a Balanced Routine

If you are new to exercise or returning after a long absence, you can start with a cardiovascular program. The quickest method to get started with a summer workout plan is through an instructor-led workout video. The videos are typically 15-45 minutes long and require little to no workout equipment, making it simple to get started. Access to some of these videos requires membership or a subscription, but several providers make them available for free.

Run or jog for 20-30 minutes every other day. Other moderate-intensity exercises include bicycling, brisk walking, and swimming. You can also do three to four rounds of bodyweight exercises like squats, burpees, pushups, or Russian twists after your cardio session.

There are many options for routines that work different muscle groups, even if you have a little area, little time, or no equipment. There is also Tabata training, dance cardio, and animal flow. These workouts will raise your heart rate regardless of your fitness level.

Be sure to take rest days in between workout days. But you may keep active by doing yoga to improve blood flow, relieve tension, and improve flexibility. After that, gradually incorporate weight training. This type of workout will help you burn more fat and calories by increasing your metabolism.

You can carry out three to four rounds of strength exercises with eight to twelve repetitions each set if you have access to a fitness center in trinity. If you don’t have access to a gym, a personal trainer can help you build a strength program using bodyweight exercises, kettlebells, and dumbbells that you can do at home.

Perform High-Intensity Interval Training for Fast Results

Trainers prescribe full-body strengthening workouts and high intensity interval training for quick results. This form of workout will build muscle and increase your aerobic capacity, allowing you to achieve two goals at once: fat burning and muscle sculpting. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) alternates periods of intensive activity with periods of moderate exercise or rest.

Trainers recommend doing high-intensity interval training three times a week, with a day off in between. For this it’s recommended that you do 30 to 60 seconds of moderate activity and alternate with 30 to 60 seconds of intense activity. Repeat this cycle for a total of 20 to 30 minutes.

If you have a treadmill, HIIT is done by doing one minute “all-out” sprints followed by two minutes of walking for a total of 15 to 25 minutes. Beginners can do intense power walking by swaying their arms instead of grabbing onto the treadmill and doing the same interval pattern. Increase the walking speed or treadmill slope for the most strenuous portion of the cycle.

If you do not have access to a treadmill, you could try burpee intervals or high knees. This workout can also be done outside on a sidewalk or track, on stairs or hills representing the incline.

Another brief but intense workout is called circuit training, which is a fast-paced blend of cardio and weights. The decrease of the rest periods is the most important component in circuit training. Performance improves as the number of repetitions is increased and the rest period is shortened.

Increase Your Fitness Level

If you already work out consistently, you may focus on a specific performance barrier that you have not overcome and set a precise, measurable objective for the month. Your goal could be adding twenty pounds to your deadlift or cutting one minute off your three-mile run time.

Once you have decided on a time frame, you can restructure your summer workout plan to attain your objective. Your improved workout plan will re-energize you because you have a definite target in mind to achieve within a certain time frame.

Advanced athletes and weightlifters may not show significant strength gains in a month, so they should concentrate on the workout volume rather than the heavier weight they are lifting. Individuals who have followed a continuous workout routine for four or five years can also benefit from power-building exercises. Instead of standard cardio exercises like jogging or cycling, you can try boxing for a cardio workout.

Stay in Shape With a Summer Workout Plan

Summer will be here before you know it, and consistency is the key to improving your health and fitness. A single workout will not miraculously transform your body, but committing to a summer workout plan can yield significant results in a short period. Fitness 360 will be there to support you as you unlock the full potential of your body. Call us today at (727) 797-5100. Check out our Palm Harbor and Trinity promotions and classes!

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Strength-Training Plan: How to Build Strength Step by Step

How to develop your strength training plan. 

Working out can do wonders for your health. Adding exercise to your lifestyle can help improve your overall well-being, allowing you to become stronger, fitter, and healthier. That said, working out and training your body is much more complex than it sounds. Many assume that starting a strength training plan is enough to bulk up and gain the muscles they want, but there are many other factors to consider.

Understanding how strength training works is important in choosing the right program and in avoiding common mistakes. Many people have experienced hitting the gym regularly and abiding by a strict workout routine, only to see no results. It can be incredibly frustrating. Instead of getting discouraged, try to take it as a sign that you may have to change something in your plan.

Below, you will find a step-by-step guide to building your strength training plan to help you reach your fitness goals.

Understanding Strength-Training and Muscle Physiology

Before you get started with planning your workout program, it’s important to take the time to learn about how strength training works. As its name suggests, strength training is designed to increase your overall body strength, which entails the following things:

  1. Lower Reps, Increase Weight

When you lift weights, your goal is to push your muscles to the extent of its capabilities, so lower reps will allow you to choose heavier options. Regardless of your level or strength, weight will always play a bigger role than sets or reps. Over time, you will learn how to balance this with weight intensity and volume.

  1. Resistance Training

Resistance training is an important, yet often overlooked aspect of strength training. It uses resistance to challenge your muscles so that they eventually become stronger. Whether you use dumbbells, resistance bands, body weight, or even makeshift weights, your muscles will contract and gradually gain more strength.

  1. Rest Periods

There’s a common assumption you can build strength faster if you train longer and more frequently. While this also factors into the results you achieve, it doesn’t mean that you should push yourself to train for hours each day. In fact, allotting rest periods in your strength training plan is a must since you have to make sure you give your body enough time to recover between sessions.

Steps to Creating a Strength-Training Plan

Now that you have a better idea on how strength training works, you can create a plan that will help you meet your goals.

  1. Determine Your Goals

Before you hit the gym or even attempt to lift a heavy weight, it’s important to determine your goals for your strength training plan. What specific changes do you want to see in a certain period? Knowing your goals from the very beginning gives you direction for your workout program. It also helps you prepare your meal plans to ensure you hit your nutritional targets.

For this step, you can create one general “vision”; then think of specific and measurable goals to achieve it. For example, your overall goal could be to become fit and gain muscle. Then you can set milestones like how many pounds of muscle you want to gain, or how much body fat you want to shed.

  1. Decide on Frequency

How many days will you be training each week? Get started by answering this question to get a good idea of how you can map out your schedule. While there is no fixed rule as to how many days you need to work out, two days a week would be ideal for starting out. It gives you ample time to target different muscle groups and rest at the same time.

Experienced lifters usually train three to five days a week; but as a beginner, you have to be careful not to overwork yourself. Take it gently and slowly. As mentioned above, don’t forget to give yourself rest days. While you want to schedule regular workout days, you also need to let your body recover and get yourself used to the program.

  1. Divide Your Training Days

After deciding how many times you will work out per week, you can proceed to assign specific areas or muscle groups for each day. Again, it is up to you to decide how you want to split your training days, but you have to make sure to give each area at least 24 hours to recover.

One way of designing your strength training plan is by splitting the muscle groups evenly throughout the week. For example, you can dedicate one day for your upper body to target your arms, shoulders, and chest. Then allot another day for your lower body or legs. Do not forget to also make time for your core, as this is crucial to building your strength and improving your balance.

  1. Plan Exercises

Once you know where to focus on for each training day, you can plan out the exercises you can do for each muscle group. As a beginner, it helps to have a structured routine to follow along since you are still learning the ropes of strength training. However, over time, you’ll get used to it and become so familiar with how it works that you might not need to plan exercises in advance anymore.

To know what exercises will best fit your routine, think about your fitness level, where you plan to work out, and what equipment you have access to. Include around 6-10 exercises per day, and make sure to incorporate some compound movements to work your muscles together.

  1. Choose Your Lifts and Routine

Next, you will have to decide on the amount of weight you want to start out with. The rule of thumb is to go for a weight that will challenge you, but not to the point of messing up your form. There’s no need to rush the process. As you go along your journey, you will slowly be able to lift heavier and heavier weights.

In terms of routine, you can start with a basic setup, where you do 3 sets and 8-10 reps of each exercise. Make sure to give yourself a minute break in between each set to avoid overexerting your muscles while still pushing them to become stronger.

  1. Add a Post-Workout Stretch

As much as possible, try to squeeze in around 10 minutes to cool down after you train. This time will be used for stretching to improve blood circulation, which will help with recovery. At the same time, a post-workout stretch can feel great, especially when your body and muscles are still warm from training.

Get Started on Your Strength-Training Plan Today

Ready to get started on your fitness plans today? Our fitness center in Palm Harbor and Trinity is here to provide a top facility with all the equipment you need to achieve your goals. Whether you opt for body training, weight training, or any other form of training, we are here to help you every step of the way!

Contact Fitness 360 today at (727) 797-5100 to get started on your membership. Our team will be happy to tell you about our offers, give you a tour through our gym, and view our fitness classes in Palm Harbor and Trinity if you are interested in learning more.

tips-for-exercising-in-hot-weatherCategoriesBlog Fitness Center muscle workout

10 Tips for Exercising in Florida’s Hot Weather

Tips to exercise in Florida’s Hot Weather!

Want to stay fit and active in the summer but not sure how to beat the heat? Anyone who has tried working out during summer can attest to how difficult and challenging it can be. Exercising for as little as 20 minutes can feel like you ran a marathon, especially since the heat can make you get tired quicker and cause you to sweat like never before.

That said, you need not let the heat stop you from achieving your fitness goals. Check out these 10 tips for exercising in hot weather to ensure you stay healthy, active, and safe. Summer can also increase the risk for heat exhaustion and heat strokes, so you have to pay extra attention to your well-being at this time.

Tips for Exercising in Hot Weather

1.   Stay Hydrated

One of the main tips for exercising in hot weather is to drink water. This may already be a staple for every workout, but it is particularly important to remember this during the summer. Make sure you stay hydrated all throughout the day and not just while exercising. Sports drinks will also come in handy for potassium and electrolytes of you plan to do long workouts at high intensities, but make sure to consume these in moderation.

2.   Eat Snacks

In line with staying hydrated, it is equally important to keep yourself filled and energized when working out. More specifically, eating juicy and water-rich foods like fruits will be ideal during the summer to supply your body with the extra water it needs.

3.   Exercise Indoors

If the weather forecasts predict extremely high temperatures or you notice how hot it is on a specific day, consider taking your workout indoors to avoid getting accidents or injuries from extreme heat. Even if you do not have the equipment like your gym does, you can still sweat and exercise productively. Bodyweight exercises, dance cardio, yoga — you might be surprised to see how much you can do indoors.

4.   Take Breaks

Always take breaks in between your workouts to avoid getting a heat stroke from over-exhaustion. The heat and humidity from outdoors can increase your body temperature and cause you to tire out more quickly, so make sure to pace yourself and rest whenever needed. More than ever, it is critical to pay attention and give yourself breaks whenever needed. Failing to do this can increase the risk of you getting dehydrated or cramping up.

5.   Wear Light-colored Clothes

During the summer or hotter days in general, it is best to wear breathable and light-colored clothes. Dark colors will absorb heat from the sun, so they can easily make you feel more stuffy and suffocated from the heat. Similarly, avoid heavy or tight clothing and instead go for lightweight fabrics to keep your body cool and fresh.

6.   Listen to Your Body

No matter how determined you might be to push yourself with your workouts, knowing your limits is crucial when under the heat. Make sure to listen to your body as this is one of the most important tips for exercising in hot weather. Staying under the heat for too long can be exhausting, so if you start feeling dizzy, weak, or lightheaded, stop your workout and go to an air conditioned room to cool off your body.

7.   Do Shorter Workouts

There is often the assumption that longer exercise sessions can yield better results, but this is not necessarily always the case. Doing regular workouts lasting 20 minutes can already do wonders for your health, so you do not need to push yourself to exercise for an hour or more all the time. When the sun is up, you can opt for shorter and quicker workouts since the heat can affect your performance.

8.   Avoid the Hottest Times

Whether you plan to exercise indoors or outdoors, avoid the hottest times of the day. Usually, this will be from 10 AM to 4 PM, so the ideal times would be early morning or after sunset. Depending on your preference or schedule, you can try to squeeze your workout into any of these times to prevent exercising when the sun is high up.

9.   Wear Sunscreen

The sun will be your biggest enemy on any hot day, so do not forget to wear sunscreen before you start exercising. Even if you are exercising indoors, it is still important to put on sunscreen since you will likely still get exposed to sunlight one way or another. The last thing you want to get is a bad sunburn and not be able to work out for the next few days because of it.

10. Know the Symptoms of Heat Stroke

Heat stroke cases easily spike during the summer or in hot areas, when people are exposed to high temperatures for prolonged periods. Thus, if you are planning to work out, make sure you learn the symptoms of a heat stroke to know when to stop and take a step back. If left untreated, this condition can be fatal.

Get Started With Your Fitness Plans Today

Feeling motivated to work out after reading about the tips for exercising in hot weather? Our fitness center in Palm Harbor and Trinity is here to help you reach your goals. Contact us today at (727) 797-5100 to get started with your fitness journey. Our team will help you tour our facility and get to know more about our membership options to find you the best option for your fitness goals!

summer-body-workoutCategoriesBlog Fitness Center Lifestyle muscle workout

Summer Body Workout: Get Your Summer Body Now!

Get your summer body workout ready!

Summer is here! Do you want to get in shape for the season? If that is the case, it’s high time to try out a summer body workout that combines high intensity weight training and cardio to get your heart rate up. If you are still not sure about how you can achieve a summer beach body, keep reading to learn about the things you can do to get there.

Create a Baseline for Your Fitness Level

Start by establishing a baseline for your fitness level that includes exercises that assess the strength of your main muscles. You can count how many mountain climbers you can do, how many lunges you can perform in a minute, and how long you can maintain a plank. From here, set a target for yourself to beat those statistics in a month.

Knowing the specifics can help you create realistic fitness goals, track your progress, and stay motivated on the journey towards your beach body. If you are unsure about how to build your fitness regimen, you can visit a fitness center where qualified personal trainers will show you how to do your exercises safely and correctly. Following through your regimen will be essential to get your desired results.

Focus on Eating Healthy

While exercising is vital to losing weight, your diet will ultimately have a greater impact on your body. The greatest method of reshaping your body is to eat nutritious, fresh, and low-calorie foods. Try to consume enough protein, lipids, and complex carbohydrates. It will be best to avoid fast foods high in trans fats and added sugars.

If your goal is to lose weight, try to consume the majority of your calories before 3 p.m. People who consume most of their calories early in the day lose more weight than those who consume the same number of calories later in the day. In doing this, you can keep your dinners light and have your lunch around midday or early afternoon.

Build a Workout That Works for You

Strength exercises in your summer body workout promote bone health and build muscle mass when done two or more times per week regularly. Strengthening your muscles also helps you maintain a healthy weight by increasing your metabolic rate.

A strength training program can be structured in various ways, such as doing full body workouts or pairing particular muscle groups together. For people who are overweight or obese, high intensity interval training (HIIT) may be the most effective kind of exercise to burn fat.

Try these exercises in your summer body workout:

●      Chest Press – To perform this upper body workout, lie flat on a bench with a shoulder-width grasp on a bar. Tense your muscles and plant your feet on the floor. Lower the bar until it reaches your chest, then violently press it back up.

●      Back Squat – Hold a barbell over the back of your shoulders and stand tall. You need to bend your knees and squat down as low as you can while keeping your chest high and your entire body stiff. To get back up, push through your heels.

●      Dumbbell Pull-over – You will lie flat on a bench with your arms straight and a dumbbell in each hand above your chest. Lower the weight behind your head slowly and steadily while keeping your arms straight, then return to the start position.

●      Romanian Deadlift – Stand tall with your feet shoulder width apart and an overhand grip on a barbell. Hinge forward from the hips and lower the bar till you feel a stretch in your hamstrings with a tiny bend in your knees. Reverse the move back to the beginning.

●      Incline Biceps Curl – Sit on an incline bench with a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing front and elbows tucked close to your sides. Bend the dumbbells up to your shoulder height while keeping your elbows close to your body. Lower the weights after squeezing your biceps at the top.

Drink Enough Water

It is critical to stay hydrated every day to keep your body running smoothly. Water keeps your body cool and keeps your joints lubricated. It aids in the transportation of nutrients, which gives you energy and keeps you healthy. Hydration refers to drinking enough water before, during, and after activity. There is no one-size-fits-all formula for daily water intake, according to physicians.

To encourage you to drink more, you can make fruit-flavored water. Fresh fruits such as strawberries, lemons, berries, and oranges, can be added to your water. You can even add cucumber slices, chia seeds, and mint leaves for a refreshing flavor.

Do Not Forget to Stretch

Stretching may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about obtaining a summer body. However, your quest can be severely hampered if you get injured along the way. Muscle flexibility diminishes as you age, and this can be hastened by activities like sports that abuse and overwork muscles through repetitive action. Overuse can lead to aches, pains, and injuries, so it is important to stretch from time to time.

Dynamic stretching has been demonstrated to aid muscles in preparing for the summer body workout. After you have finished cooling down, spend around five minutes performing static stretching, holding each stretch for roughly 30 seconds.

Prioritize Getting Enough Sleep

Even individuals who strive to live a healthy lifestyle often forget the benefits of a good night’s sleep. Sleep allows your body to recuperate, repair and rebuild the muscles that have been used during activity. Getting adequate sleep will not only provide you more energy and strength for your workout, but it will also improve your concentration, mood, and focus.

Achieve Your Summer Body Goals With Us Today

To achieve the finest outcomes, you will need to be dedicated and focused. Celebrate your progress with every summer body workout you complete and change your fitness goals accordingly each time you repeat your assessment. Start with Fitness 360 in Palm Harbor or Trinity today, and we will be by your side while you discover the full potential of your body. Call us at (727) 797-5100.

leg-workout-benefitsCategoriesBlog Fitness Center Lifestyle muscle workout

Leg Workout Benefits: What You Gain from Leg Day Workouts!

Top Leg Workout Benefits

Working out can be a complex task. Now that people are becoming more health-conscious and engaged in fitness, you may hear words like “leg day” getting used more often. While everyone has unique goals that will translate to different workout routines, it always holds that you cannot solely focus on a single muscle group or area in your body. To achieve your desired results, you must work your whole body and engage different muscles.

You may be familiar with the leg workout benefits you can get from training the muscles in your lower body. Even so, many often skip leg day to spend more time on other areas like their upper body, abs, and the like. Similarly, some choose not to train their legs anymore because they feel that their cardio session on the treadmill or Stairmaster was enough of a workout. No matter what the circumstances are, there are many reasons why you should still work your legs.

To better understand the benefits of leg workouts and why they should be included in your routine, here are top reasons to keep in mind.

Burn More Calories

Whenever you exercise your legs, you are working the biggest muscle groups in your body, such as the hamstrings, glutes, and quads. Thus, doing leg exercises will require more energy for work and recovery, effectively burning calories. Most of the time, people may stray away from leg workouts if they are trying to lose weight. However, the truth is that incorporating them into your routine will actually be beneficial since it can help boost your metabolism.

Enhance Body Symmetry

Perhaps one of the most apparent leg workout benefits you can get would be toned legs, which are undeniably attractive. However, more than that, having toned legs can make your body look more balanced, symmetrical, and proportional. If you focus too much on training your upper body, you can end up bulking the area but having skinny or weak legs.

Stimulate Hormone Production

Studies have shown that leg exercises can stimulate the production of hormones like the growth hormone and testosterone since you are training larger muscles. This aids in recovery to ensure that your body can repair damages and build muscle after your training sessions.

Prevent Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain may often result from weak stabilizer muscles, so working your legs can reduce the likelihood of getting back pain and injuries. While it is true that a strong core and back muscles can help remedy the issue, you must also train your lower body and strengthen the muscles there. However, it is important not to rush into it, especially if you are not used to leg training. Start slow and gradually add weight, but make sure you focus on following the right form at all times.

Lower Injury Risks

You may think that you are doing enough work with your lower body from daily activities like walking. However, the truth is that many muscles are easily neglected and left unused. Many activities like sports, running, and even walking can easily lead to injuries if your muscles are not stabilized or strong enough. Thus, strengthening your leg muscles can help promote balance and reduce the risk of injuries.

Improve Performance

When you think of leg workout benefits, you might be limiting yourself to the idea of stronger and more toned legs. In reality, strengthening the legs can do so much more as it can improve your overall performance, whether it be in other workouts or life in general.

By gaining strength in the leg muscles, you can do better with your cardio sessions and get through each day with more ease. Even the simplest activities like bending down to pick up a pen will use those muscles you train, so do not underestimate their function!

Start Your Leg Training Today

Now that you better understand the many leg workout benefits you can get, you can start to incorporate more leg exercises in your daily routine. Not sure where to start? Contact Fitness 360 today at 727-797-5100 to sign up for our fitness center in Palm Harbor or Trinity to get started on building your training regimen.

working-out-but-not-losing-weightCategoriesBlog cardio workout Fitness Center muscle workout Nutrition Personal Training

Are You Working Out but Not Losing Weight? Find Out Why!

Why are you not losing weight, even though your working out?

Starting out on your fitness journey can be one of the biggest steps you take towards a healthier lifestyle. Working out and eating a balanced diet can do wonders for your overall health but staying committed can be more challenging than it sounds. While everyone may have different goals in their fitness journey, one of the most relatable would probably be losing weight, perhaps to shed some extra pounds or reach a healthy weight.

Say that you started exercising often and cut down on unhealthy food to achieve your goal. However, after months of doing this, the numbers on the scale remain the same. In some cases, what may happen is you lose weight at first, but gradually, it slows down until it completely stops. Nothing can be more frustrating than working out but not losing weight, especially since committing to a routine can be hard on its own.

It is important to understand that weight loss is a complicated process. Results do not happen overnight, and it takes much discipline to get your desired results. If you have found yourself in a plateau or not losing weight at all despite exercising often, check out the information below to understand why it might be happening

Ignoring Your Diet

For anyone who is working out but not losing weight, one of the first things to look into would be diet. Even if you burn calories from your workouts, you may still not see results if you end up consuming more calories and eating unhealthy food.

Generally, eating at a caloric deficit will help you lose weight. However, while doing this, you also have to pay attention to what type of food you are eating. Many often associate cutting calories with cutting food groups like carbohydrates but doing this will only make you have less energy and increase the likelihood of binging. Thus, it is best to stick to whole foods to maximize your nutrient intake while still hitting your caloric goals.

Lack of Sleep

Poor quality or lack of sleep may also affect your weight loss goals. Having less than the optimal hours of sleep increases the risk for obesity and may affect your eating habits. Being sleep deprived may cause you to have less concentration through the day, which can subsequently affect the food you eat.

Studies have also observed the relationship between sleep and weight, showing that getting enough sleep is an important aspect of your weight loss progress. Thus, if you have been more selective about your diet and working out but not losing weight, it could be caused by your poor sleeping patterns.

Too Much Cardio

Cardio is often most associated with weight loss since it can pump up your heart rate and help you burn more calories. While there is no denying that cardio is an important part of your workout routine, you must not limit yourself to this. Focusing too much on cardio and neglecting strength training and other workouts can cause you to rid of muscle mass that ultimately slows down metabolism and fat loss.

Doing cardio in excess can also cause you to lose any progress you may have achieved from other workouts and increase the probability of overfatigue and muscle soreness. Given how intensive cardio sessions can be, you may also end up eating more to get enough energy for longer sessions. As such, it is important to find the right balance when exercising since overdoing one type can also be a common culprit explanation for working out but not losing weight.

Since there is no fixed answer to how much cardio is considered “too much,” it is best to consult with a personal trainer who can assess your age, fitness level, medical condition, and overall state.

No Rest Days

While it is true that your workout should not be too easy, this does not necessarily mean you should push your body beyond what it can do. The common misconception is that the more you work out, the more weight you will lose. However, in reality, rest days are important to give your body and muscles time to recover from the strenuous exercises that you did in previous days.

When it comes to finding the balance between work and recovery, always remember to listen to your body. Doing intensity workouts can help you push yourself to see results, but after, you must also allow yourself to rest. This allows you to build muscle, which then leads to more calories burnt. Additionally, it ensures that your body stays healthy and minimizes risk from injuries, as these can be common when you overwork yourself.

Constantly Stressed

Stress can have a huge influence on your health and lifestyle, so if you are constantly stressed out, this may inhibit your weight loss progress. Exercising is naturally a stressor, so your body produces cortisol or the stress hormone when working out. This is completely normal, but if you do not give yourself enough time to rest, your body produces too much cortisol, which can be harmful in the long run.

Aside from exercising, you may also have multiple other stressors in your life. Whether it be affecting your physical, mental, emotional, or any aspect of health, these can all prevent you from reaching your weight loss goal. Stress can easily make you feel overwhelmed and affect your decision-making skills, so you must not forget the importance of your overall wellness.

Drinking Too Much Alcohol

Drinking too much alcohol may also hinder your weight loss. Putting it simply, alcohol is high in calories, so if you frequently drink it, you are adding more calories on top of those you consumed from your diet. That said, you do not necessarily need to cut alcohol off completely as you can still drink it in moderation. Similarly, it is advisable to choose beverages with lower calories, such as vodkas and spirits.

Sign Up for a Gym Membership to Achieve Your Weight Loss Goals

What better way to kickstart your weight loss journey than by signing up to a fitness center in Palm Harbor or Trinity? At Fitness 360, we offer top amenities, workout classes, and personal training sessions to help you find the most suitable exercise routine to reach your goals. Contact us today at 727-797-5100 to get started with your membership.