Because T-Rex Did It

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Jump Up Your Game

With March Madness underway, I’m wondering how many basketball fanatics at EP are on the lookout to up their games. Dedication to playing on the courts is good practice in general. But there are ways to supplement your game off court.

Specific types of exercises designed for the weight and aerobic rooms can hone explosive strength, meaning that with the right workout routine you can jump higher and have faster start up speed.

If you want all the technical jargon, keep reading. Otherwise you might want to skip to the bottom for sample exercises.

What Is Explosive Strength?

Something like squats and lunges can show results. But to increase your start up power, your exercise needs to push your max strength in a rapid way.

That’s where explosive strength comes in. Explosive strength is more than just strength. It’s kind of like speed and strength combined.

Yeah that big lug over there can lift a lot of weight over his head, but can he do it fast? If so, that’s a sign of explosive strength.

In the simplest terms, it’s how revved and ready your muscles are before you lift, jump, sprint, etc.

Plyometrics

The kinds of exercises that improve explosive strength (and even agility) are called plyometrics. Plyos are a tried and true training method dating back to the mid 1900s. Not only do they work your muscles, but they’re also a workout for the brain. Your muscles can actually learn to improve based on repetition, something related to muscle memory.

Basically, plyometrics will exercise the wiring between your brain and your muscles so that you can blast off more quickly. That repetitive contraction of muscles under strain teaches the brain to rev before movement. And there are documented studies showing that dedication to plyos training can show significant results.

Here are a few plyos exercises that can improve your jump.

Sample Exercises to Improve Height & Air

Additional Notes:

Remember that warming up and stretching are important for this kind of active exercise. Good flexibility significantly lowers the risk of injury when doing plyos. Some of our locations may not have rises or obstacles provided. There are options for improvisation, but check gym policy before attempting. Additional weight can be added using medicine balls and various aerobics weights.

Tuck Jumps

Ankle Jumps

Various Obstacle Jumps

Jump Squats

Tips presented in this blog are for informational purposes only. Consult a specialist before making changes to your dietary and exercise routine whenever possible.

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Exercise the ZZZs Away

Don’t forget to move those clocks ahead an hour this weekend.

That’s right. Daylight Savings Time has caught up with us again. And though many of us are yawning at the prospect of losing an hour’s sleep, there are ways to prepare for the time change starting in the gym.

There’s a misconception that working out will make people tired, when in fact the right kind of exercise can improve your quality of sleep while boosting energy levels during waking hours.[1] That tired feeling you get after/during a workout should be temporary in comparison. The benefits are long lasting. Studies show that sedentary and less active people tend to experience more fatigue and tire more quickly during the day than their more active counterparts who are regularly hitting the gym.[2]  But results may also be affected by exactly how we regiment our gym routines.

Choosing the right time of day can help; sweet spots being in the afternoon or early evening, which will give the body plenty of time to slow down before bed. And the type of workout is also a significant factor.

Cardiovascular exercises, those that last for long periods of time and really get the heart pumping, are extremely effective at preparing the body for a good night’s sleep. Speaking of which, you won’t find our facilities lacking in cardio equipment at EP Fitness. And for those extreme cardio junkies out there, EP offers spin classes and a wealth of other aerobics options that can help. Our very popular and fun Zumba dance classes, for example.

So if you’re tired of feeling tired, these tips might be just what you need to prepare for Daylight Savings Time.

 

Tips presented in this blog are for informational purposes only. Consult a specialist before making changes to your dietary and exercise routine whenever possible.

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Elisa Holguin, Success Story

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Many people are inspired to get in shape by pictures of magazine models or celebrities and their super physiques, but sometimes inspiration comes from something more personal and serious. This was the case for one of EP Fitness’s inspiring members, Elisa Holguin.

In 2010, native El Pasoan, Elisa found herself in the ER and the diagnosis was grim. Never thinking anything can hurt her, Elisa was diagnosed with Diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol and was told she would have to begin medication. Not wanting to be insulin dependent at the age of 40, Elisa made a decision that day. A week after her birthday, she decided to change her lifestyle beginning with her diet.

Elisa immediately began monitoring her nutritional intake, she cut fats, processed foods and carbohydrates. Right off the bat she began to see a change, she lost 15 lbs on nutritional changes alone. Elisa then sought out support of places like the El Paso Diabetes Association and researched books on on the subject. Elisa found that there are so many healthy replacements for the foods she used to love like flour tortillas. It has been a little easier to make nutritional sacrifices and finds solace in new favorite snacks like popcorn and flavored water drinks that have no sugars/calories. While the substitutes for breads, pasta and cakes are a little more pricey, in her eyes they are definitely worth it. Again, Elisa stresses that it is all about just making the conscious decision of what you are eating.

After a few months and with her nutrition in check, she decided to begin exercising and joined EP Fitness. Elisa said that she chose EP fitness because of its convenient location and the corporate discount she received through her company. She felt that EP Fitness was a more friendly environment for everyday people interested in health and working out rather than a type of gym where people go to show off and hang out, which was important to her.

Elisa started off slowly with 30 minutes of cardio and 30 minutes of weights, then steadily increasing the intensity, speed and time as she progressed. Elisa admitted it was hard at first and was very tired but staying consistent and working out 4 days a week helped her from being sore.

Now Elisa feels that she is comfortable enough with her endurance level that she is now branching out and joining some group fitness classes at EP Fitness. “I am very competitive” she says, and feels that working alongside other members in a class setting will help motivate her workouts. She recently joined the EP Fitness Interstate’s Boot Camp group fitness class and it has definitely increased the intensity. Despite having knee problems she says that staying consistent with working out keeps them from becoming sore.

Elisa is now free of medication and has dropped four dress sizes. Finding her new lease on life, she is able to enjoy the activities like zip-lining and repelling that the weight had prevented her from attempting. Additionally, she had always enjoyed hiking and now looks forward to doing more of that as well. She added that one day when she is older she may need medications but she is determined to do all that she can to prevent it now and enjoy her health as long as she can.

Now Elisa feels very strongly about getting in shape and controlling her diet because of all the benefits she has experienced. In addition to being medication free and all her vitals in check, she felt a change in mood and outlook on life, a new vitality. She really wanted to make sure that other people see this story and find the same happier and healthier lifestyle she is now enjoying.

Elisa recommends to anyone finding themselves in her position two years ago, “just start off slow and make conscious [food] decisions, just put your mind to it” and a healthy diet “controls so much overall.”

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Every Accomplishment Starts With a Decision To Try

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Once you’ve decided to get in shape this new year, then what?

1. Get a Membership, 2. Plan!

If you make a resolution to start the new year healthier, whether that means losing weight, gaining muscle or just getting in shape you have to plan for the steps that make it possible. Create a strategy.

Personal Trainer

Find the resources that will make your resolution happen. You can hire a personal trainer to help develop realistic goals for you. It is important to set clear, simple goals like beating your average mile time every week by 3o sec. rather than ambiguous goals like simply, run more. Build on the last goal achieved until you get to your ultimate goal.

Group Fitness

Another great reason to turn to a personal trainer is to keep things fun with diverse workouts keeping it from becoming a boring chore. Remember it is important to always have fun! Much like working out with a partner, a trainer can help keep you motivated, keep you coming back and will be supportive of your  goal. You can develop that relationship with your trainer that you need to continue working out consistently. If you don’t have the budget to hire a personal trainer, there are some options that you can take advantage of and still get the benefit. Upon a new membership, EP Fitness offers a free fitness consultation to show you around as well as the opportunity to talk to a trainer who will point you in the right direction and give advice. Another option is to hire a trainer for at least a month to get a routine established then work out on your own. If neither of these options are budget friendly enough and you simply cannot afford it at least designate a work out partner that will help keep you going.

Similarly you can set small nutritional goals like adding a fruit or vegetable in place of one “unhealthy” or high calorie snack. Once you have gained some confidence in maintaining these small goals then you can ad another goal to the mix. Before you know it you will be gaining confidence with all that you are achieving, making it easier to stick to it.

Also, try to find the root of the problem. If you are trying to lose weight, pinpoint the reasons that make you gain weight. For instance in some folks, stress leads to over eating. Try to find what is stressful in your life and fix that first. Manage stress in more constructive ways. One of those other, better ways happens to be exercising, how convenient!

So get out there and work it this new year, Happy 2012!

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A World Record and a Car Giveaway

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Every now and then EP Fitness feels it is important to give back to the community and more importantly it’s loyal members. This year will close 2011 in a BIG way!

We are trying to break the world Zumba® Record for the largest class. The current world record  for largest Zumba® class is held by a group in Brownsville, TX. They managed to squeeze 1, 223 people in one session. Since we have thousands of members across our great city and our Zumba® classes are always packed to capacity, this should be a piece of cake! Read the rest of this entry »

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Wonderful Workout Gift Ideas

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Just in time for the start of the shopping season, here are some holiday gift ideas for that fitness buff in your family. With all these great workout gadgets and gear who knows, you may just find a little something for yourself too!

 

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This handy bag is a must for keeping all your toiletries together when you're hitting the showers. $20-$50

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