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How To Choose And Take Care Of The Best Shaker Bottle

Written by SEO User Fitness Avenue Monday, November 11, 2019

Shaker bottles have quite a few names. You may hear them referred to as shaker cups. Perhaps you've heard of mixing bottles. Maybe the term handheld mixer is not unknown to you. If you look around online, you'll see them referred to as blender bottles. Whatever the name, shaker bottles are more popular than ever and aren't likely to go away any time soon.

For something that sells so briskly today, most shaker bottles are simple devices. Even so, they serve several key functions that make them great for the gym, the office, and to take along when you're driving for a few hours. If you want to get the most from your bottle, it makes sense to know how to choose one. You also want to know how to care for it properly. Here's some information that will help you with both tasks.

What Are Shaker Bottles?

A working definition of shaker bottles will help you get off on the right foot. Shaker bottles are specially designed bottles that are intended to contain non-carbonated beverages. This type of bottle includes a lid that's designed to fit tightly and not allow any liquid to seep out. The bottle also includes some kind of mechanism that makes it easy to mix the contents. That's helpful when the liquid you're drinking could separate.

What Kind of Materials Are Used For Shaker Bottles?

Most shaker bottles are made using more than one kind of material. The lid and body of the bottle are often made using the same material while the mixing mechanism is often made using something different.

The body and lid of just about all shaker bottles are made using high-grade plastic. Some of the more common plastic types include Tritan plastic, #2 HDPE plastic or #5 PP plastic. All plastic models are sturdy enough to be placed in the top level of a standard dishwasher and not sustain any damage.

While plastic is a common choice, there are other options on the market. You will find shaker bottles made using stainless steel or aluminum. It's not unusual for the metal bottles to also be insulated. That's great if you want to keep the contents at a constant temperature.

The mixing mechanism is usually made of stainless steel. This is true even if the body is plastic and uninsulated. The better options will use surgical grade stainless steel, since it's much easier to keep clean. The right design for the mechanism, such as a mixing ball, works well with the unique design for these types of bottles.

What Are Some Key Features Of A Shaker Bottle?

You'll find that many shaker bottles are designed in 20 oz or 28 oz capacities. While the outside looks much like any type of water bottle, there's a unique feature on the inside. Instead of a flat bottom, shaker bottles usually feature rounded bottoms. Combined with the action of the mixing ball, it's much easier to ensure that there are no clumps built-up clinging to the interior bottom.

The lid design includes features that help to prevent spills. Many bottles have lids that screw on and are then reinforced with the use of snaps to keep it in place. The fit is tight enough to prevent any liquid from getting out, even if the bottle is turned over. A flip cap makes it easy to take a sip, close the bottle, and ensure that nothing spills.

The bottles also feature markings that make it easy to know how much powder or liquid to add. Most designs ensure the markings are in both ounces and milliliters.

Along with standard designs, you can also find custom shaker bottles that can be embossed with company logos, names, or other visual elements. This is a great way to ensure that your bottle stands out from the other bottles people are using at the gym or along your commute route.

Some of the materials used for shaker bottles are treated to resist retaining odor. While most people don't plan on leaving a protein drink in their bottles for more than a day or two, the last thing you need is something that absorbs scents and ruins the taste of your next protein shake. Along with washing out the bottle after every use, it makes sense to focus on bottles that are advertised as odor resistant.

What Size Of Shaker Bottle Do I Need?

Since there is more than one size for shaker bottles, it's a good idea to select a size that's likely to hold more than you normally drink at one sitting. For example, you may normally only take along 15 ounces of a protein drink and think that a 20-oz bottle will suffice. Consider investing in a 28-oz bottle instead. While you may normally only use the bottle while at the gym, the larger one will come in handy if you're about to travel for several hours.

Remember that all sizes of shaker bottles are designed to fit in the cup holders found in vehicles made since 2000. The bottom of larger bottles won't be any wider than the smaller ones. The only real difference is the height.

What Can I Expect to Spend For A Shaker Bottle?

As with many products, you can spend a little on shaker bottles or you can opt for something that's more expensive. The capacity will have some impact on the price, but there's another feature that's likely to drive up the unit cost.

You'll find that plastic bottles tend to be less expensive. This is especially true if a cheaper or thinner plastic is used for the bottle design. Even so, most plastic shaker bottles in 2019 sold for less than $10.00 USD each.

Metal shaker bottles will be more expensive, but not by as much as many people think. You can find stainless steel bottles for under $20.00 USD and a few other designs that may be as much as $30.00 USD. Considering the fact that you will use the bottle for a long time, even the higher end bottles are affordable choices.

One other factor may influence the price. That's adding some type of customization. If you're ordering custom shaker bottles to give away at a trade show or some sort of promotional event, adding a logo, slogan, or other unique touch to the bottles will drive up the average cost per unit.

How Do I Use A Shaker Bottle Properly?

Using shaker bottles is simple. Most manufacturers suggest adding the mixing mechanism and the liquid first. Once that's done, add the powder and any flavor enhancers that you like. Next, screw on the lid. Shake the bottle vigorously for around 30 seconds. Remove the lid and see if everything has blended properly. If there are any lumps, replace the lid and shake again.

Which Shaker Bottle Is The Best?

With different options for shaker bottles, it's difficult to say which one would work best for you. In the long run, the right bottle will be large enough for your purposes, have the features you want, and happens to be in a price range that you consider reasonable.

If you mainly plan on using the Shaker bottles around the house or for trips to the gym, plastic bottles will normally do the trick. People who travel a lot or who like to take protein shakes along for work may want to go with a metal bottle instead. The metal does provide a more polished look and will hold up well to the rigors of travel.

What Is The Best Shaker Bottle For Protein?

Plastic and metal shaker bottles are both fine options for protein shakes. To some degree, the choice boils down to personal preferences. There are a few points to keep in mind that may lean you in one direction or the other.

Plastic bottles typically make it easier to see the amount of product remaining. You may also be able to tell if there are any clumps that seem to have settled near the bottom. That makes it easy to see that you need to give the bottle another shake before taking the next drink.

Metal bottles are better looking. That makes them more presentable if you plan on keeping one at your desk at work. The fact that they are usually insulated also means you can keep the protein shake cold for a longer period of time. On the off chance that you occasionally like to mix protein powder with other ingredients to make a hot beverage, you can also depend on the liquid to remain warmer for more hours.

Today is a great time to compare different types of shaker bottles and see which ones you would like best. Remember that there's no rule stating that you can only own one bottle at a time. In fact, you might want to keep at least two, so there's always a clean one to take along while the other one is in the dishwasher. Keep a few spare custom shaker bottles on hand to give to friends or business associates. You can bet that the bottles will be appreciated and see a lot of action.

Posted in General

Upper Body Benches: How To Choose One And Make The Most Of It

Written by SEO User Fitness Avenue Monday, November 11, 2019

If you’re serious about enhancing your upper body strength and toning your physique, an upper body bench must be part of your home gym equipment planning. With a few types of upper body benches on the market, it pays to spend some time selecting the right one. In order to do that, you need to understand the purpose of the bench, what features should be included, and how to use the bench to best effect.

Along the way, understanding how to select benches with the right materials and what it takes to keep the bench in top shape will also be important. Here are some tips on how to find the right one and get plenty of use from the bench in the years to come.

What Is The Purpose Of An Upper Body Bench?

The primary purpose of an upper body bench is to aid in toning the muscles of the upper body. Those include the pectoral muscles, the arms, and the shoulders. Depending on the exercises done using the bench along with other equipment intended to tone and build muscles in the upper body, workouts of this type will also help to tone the abdominal muscles and flatten the stomach.

Another aspect of using an upper body bench is to perform different types of exercises safely. The size and contours of the bench make it possible to use resistance training without placing too much stress on certain muscle groups. The result is that you get the benefit from the workout but keep the risk of injury to a minimum.

What Features Should I Consider Essential?

As you look at different types of upper body benches, it’s apparent that some are more elaborate than others. The thing to remember is that more is not always better. That certainly applies to selecting the right type of upper body bench for your purposes. Whatever bench design you choose, there are certain features that are considered essential.

A sturdy frame is a must with any type of workout bench, including those designed for upper body exercises. The frame must be stable even when you’re going through an intense routine. No shaking, buckling, or even squeaking should be present. All are signs that the framework is not strong enough for what you have in mind.

Cushioning is another essential feature of any upper body bench that you consider. Many of the exercises you perform will require that you lie flat on your back with your legs bent and the feet on the ground on either side of the bench. You want the padding to provide support for your back that’s firm but also avoids undue stress on the spinal column.

Make sure the covering for the padding is made of a non-porous material. Synthetic materials are often used and they are excellent choices. Ideally, you should be able to sweat without causing any stains to the covering. Once you finish a set, the bench should need nothing more than a quick wipe down with a towel before you begin the next set.

What Features Would Be Considered Optional?

The essentials that you want in any upper body bench are all found with what’s known as a flat bench. While this basic design works fine for beginning and some intermediate workouts, you may want a bench with more bells and whistles if you’re moving on to more intense exercising. That’s where some of the optional features come into the picture.

An adjustable bench design is almost as common as a flat upper body bench. The difference is that the bench itself can be adjusted to a flat position or inclined slightly to provide more leverage. This is a great additional feature, since you can perform different types of curls and pressing exercises depending on how the bench is inclined.

You might also want to add a weight rack to the upper part of the bench. This makes is possible to use barbells along with other types of weights. The rack provides a way to set the bar in a secure position in between sets. Some racks also have space to store your weights when they’re not in use.

You might want to consider investing in a folding upper body bench. That’s especially helpful if you have limited space at home for workouts. There are folding benches that come with the basic features offered with flat and adjustable benches. Typically, the setup is simple and won’t take long to manage. Once you complete your workout, fold the bench and store in the closet.

What Materials Are Best For An Upper Body Bench?

While there are other options like wood or aluminum, your best bet for an upper body bench is to go with one that’s made of composite steel. The durability of this material is important in terms of bearing the combined weight of your body and the weights you will use for parts of the workout. Remember it’s not just about supporting your weight one time; the bench you choose to buy should be strong enough to hold up to recurring use.

Along with the composite frame, your upper body bench needs proper padding. When you’re prone on the bench, you should not feel the steel underneath. If you do, that means the padding is too thin. You also want to go with something like no-slide vinyl for the seat covering. It will be easy to keep clean and is less likely to crack over time.

What Part Does Cost Play In My Selection?

With an upper body bench, the last thing that you want to do is let the cost drive your decision. The focus should be on the quality of the materials and the construction. As with many other products, you’ll find that a truly higher-quality upper body bench will cost more than a cheaply made model.

Even so, it’s possible to find good deals on higher-quality benches. Focus more on the details for any bench you’re considering. That includes checking ratings and reviews to see what other users think. If you notice that two benches are the same in quality and both receive positive reviews from users, it’s fine to invest in the one that costs a little less.

What Does An Upper Body Workout Include?

Along with investing in a quality upper body bench, you will need workout equipment that’s designed to focus on your back, neck, shoulders, arms, and chest. Some equipment that helps tone your abdominal muscles will also be helpful as well.

Dumbbells as well as free weights are excellent choices for use with your upper body bench. They can be used for several different types of lifting exercises. This is true whether you go with a flat bench or settle on an adjustable design. You can also perform curls with both options.

Resistance is key to enjoying the best upper-body workout. To that end, consider investing in exercise bands. They can be used while in a sitting position or while prone on the upper body bench.

The key is to include a variety of upper body exercises that challenge your muscles and gradually tone them. Some can be done without using anything other than your body for resistance. Others will require the use of other equipment. Don’t hesitate to mix things up so you don’t grow tired of the workout. Make sure to include exercises that are designed to target specific muscle groups in your upper body.

What Exercises Can You Do On A Bench?

There are all sorts of upper body exercises that you can perform on the right type of upper body bench. Here are three examples that are ideal for beginners but can also be part of a workout for someone who is more advanced:

*The Chest Press: This requires laying on a flat bench while holding a dumbbell in each hand. Bend the knees at a 90-degree angle with your feet in the air. Begin with the weights just above your chest. While exhaling, lift the weights until your arms are straight. Hold the position for a count of five, then rotate your wrists and bring the two weights together. Your palms should touch. Hold for a count of five and then slowly spread the weights again. Bend the elbows until the weights are back in the original position. Shoot for a minimum of 15 repetitions.

*Arm Raises: These are somewhat similar to the chest press. You’ll begin in the same basic position. Once your arms are extended and the elbows are straight, lower the weights to the side until the arms are in a “T” position with your shoulders. Hold for a count of five and then bend the elbows until the weights are once again just above your chest. Try for 15 repetitions of this one as well.

*Bench Dips: This exercise requires a bench in the flat position plus a medicine or stability ball.  Sit on the floor with your back resting against the long portion of the bench. Rest your feet on the ball while gripping the bench’s seat. Make sure your palms are positioned so the fingers provide a firm grip. Slowly lift your bottom off the floor until it’s parallel to the bench seat. Hold and repeat for 15 repetitions.

These are only some starter suggestions. As you tone and build more muscle, add to these three and continue to build more endurance. You’ll find that the best upper-body workout will work multiple muscles and begin to improve your definition. Keep in mind that you may feel some soreness in areas that have not seen a lot of action before.

What Are The Best Upper Body Workouts?

A full upper body workout routine systematically allows you to work different muscle groups rather than concentrating on only a few areas. Many of those exercises will require the use of an upper body bench. Others will be performed using an exercise mat or while you’re in a standing position.

Getting advice from a trainer will help you structure a workout that does not neglect some of those muscle groups. A typical workout may begin with exercises that focus on the shoulders and upper back. From there, you move to exercises that work the muscles in the chest and the arms. To wrap up your workout, there will be exercises that focus on toning your core.

Once you’re in the habit of working out, it’s fine to shuffle the order of your exercises. You may even want to add some new ones as you build more muscle and endurance. Whether you decide to make changes now and then or stick with the original plan, your upper body bench will remain an essential part of your home gym equipment.

What Is An Upper Lower Body Split?

You’ll hear fitness experts refer to an upper lower body split. The term may confuse you, but the meaning is pretty simple. This type of split is a strategy for dividing your workouts into two distinct sessions. One of those sessions focuses solely on the upper body. The next session in the sequence concentrates on your lower body.

You’ll hear the individual sessions referred to based on what part of the body the sessions target. When you hear someone say that they’re going to split their upper body that means the upcoming session is an upper body workout plan that does not involve working muscles in the lower part of the body. In like manner, a lower body split is a workout plan designed to strengthen muscle groups in the lower body.

You already know that the upper body bench plays a role in strengthening the top half of the body. You’ll use additional equipment once you’re ready to give some attention to your legs, hips, thighs, and ankles. What may surprise you is that your upper body bench may come in handy for performing exercises that also help with the lower section.

What Exercises Can I Do To Split My Upper Body?

Exercises that are performed while sitting or lying prone on your upper body bench work well for splitting the upper body. Many of those, including arm curls and bench presses do provide more resistance to the chest, shoulders, and upper back. Sit-ups performed while on the upper body bench also do more for the core and the chest than for the lower body.

You can also consider other exercises that focus on the upper body. Pull-ups are a prime example. Biceps curls are another option. Chin-ups are also worth working into your plans. Remember that not every exercise has to involve your upper body bench.

Are you ready to get started on your new workout plan? Invest in a good upper body bench today along with some basic weights and as few other accessories. Make it a point to work out at least three times a week. By the time you’ve owned and used the upper body bench for a month, you’ll notice a difference in the way you look and feel.

Posted in General

How to Choose the Best Elastic Bands

Written by SEO User Fitness Avenue Friday, October 18, 2019

People use elastic bands for strength and resistance training, physical therapy, and much more. These versatile bands can help you improve muscle health, boost your flexibility, and get your strength back in an area that has suffered an injury. In order to use elastic bands properly in your exercise, however, you need to choose the right products to match the exercises you intend to use. This guide will help you find the ideal elastic bands to match your fitness routine.

Why Do You Need Elastic Bands?

Elastic resistance bands provide several essential benefits to people who use them to exercise. They increase coordination, provide many of the same strength benefits as weights without requiring as much storage space, and have the flexibility to be repurposed for many different exercises. Elastic bands are also easy to bring with you on the go so you can travel effectively with them. Finally, they can be used by both beginners and advanced trainers. All told, these fitness bands provide a versatile and flexible workout that anybody can take advantage of. The only question is what kind of elastic bands are right for you and how you should utilize them to benefit you as an individual.

Types of Elastic Bands

Elastic fitness bands come in several varieties. Those who use them for physical therapy often get therapy bands that provide low levels of resistance but offer benefits over long sessions of repeated use. These bands are ideal for building up strength in an area where the muscle has grown weaker due to injury or where tendons and ligaments have tightened up enough to reduce your normal level of mobility. For those who are not in physical therapy but who want to use elastic bands as part of their normal exercise routine, strength bands and resistance tubes are both excellent options. The choice you make between these two varieties likely depends on how intensive a workout you desire.

Strength bands are largely the same as the therapy bands used in physical therapy exercises. They come in varying degrees of thickness and resistance, and tend to require more of a pull in order to stretch them to their maximum length. These bands can provide resistance training and can mimic the benefits of certain types of weight training. They require very little in the way of space—in fact, you can keep multiple sets of strength bands in a single drawer. The biggest drawback of strength bands is that they can tear if pulled too hard. Before you begin exercises with these elastic bands, do a visual inspection to make sure that the material doesn’t show stress marks or tears.

Resistance tubes function very similarly to strength bands, but use a tougher material to prevent snapping. These tubes look similar to jump ropes, but are made of strong, stretchy rubber that can allow you to perform all the exercises associated with elastic bands. Handles provide less slippage, and the resilient materials used in the tubes prevent overstretching. Resistance tubes are excellent options for strong individuals or those who are ready to move to more advanced strength training. However, the tubes represent a narrower surface area that can leave marks after intensive exercise, which leads some people to prefer the broader and flatter nature of elastic bands instead.

Purchasing a Variety of Bands

Because the cost of elastic fitness bands is relatively small compared to the price of gym equipment and other exercise essentials, you can purchase multiple sets of bands at one time. You should consider buying one set of bands for each level of resistance you need, and buying a second set of bands as a back-up is a good idea as well. Most exercise bands indicate their tension level. Start with lighter tension if you are new to your workout routine and then build up until you find a level with which you are comfortable. Colour code your bands so you know which ones are at the same tension level on sight. By finding one brand you like and sticking with it, you can make sure that all the bands at a given tension level are the same colour and design.

Choosing Your Exercise Routine

Once you have found a brand you like for your elastic bands, consider your exercise routine and how you intend to use the bands. You should do this before making your final purchase, as the type of exercises you do will influence the size and tension level of the bands you need. If you want to strengthen one particular area over others, such as building your arms up while only doing minimal work on your legs, you will need thicker bands for arm exercises and longer, thinner bands or tubes for your legs. Your planned exercise routine will also play a part in further decisions discussed below, such as the comfort level of your bands and whether you need to purchase additional accessories with the elastic bands.

Buying for Comfort

The elastic bands you purchase should make for comfortable exercise experience. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t sweat and feel the soreness that sometimes comes with a good workout routine, but it does mean that you shouldn’t see red marks on your hands and feet or feel an unhealthy level of pain while doing your exercises. This is one reason why it’s a good idea to test out exercise bands and resistance tubes ahead of time. Some people prefer the added tension of resistance tubes, while others need the wider surface offered by elastic bands. Some bands have padded handles, and many resistance tubes have interchangeable handles. Test out a few if you can before you make a decision to buy an entire set from one particular brand.

Keeping Simplicity in Mind

As you delve into the world of elastic bands for fitness, you will soon find that there are a great many varieties beyond the simple designs that an initial inspection reveals. Some bands are designed to look like figure eights, others use a double band or circular band model, and so on. These all have their uses in more advanced exercises. For beginners, sticking with a long tube that has a good tension and comfortable handles is probably the best way to get. Get acquainted with the various ways in which you can use this basic design, and then you can move onto more advanced fitness bands as you become more comfortable and experienced with the exercises.

Thinking about Location

Where will you perform your exercises? With elastic bands, you can choose virtually anywhere to practice, including in front of your television or even while sitting on the couch. However, most people tend to have success in exercise when they can designate a specific area for it. Your area determines what sort of bands and accessories you might need. For example, if you have a sturdy pole or railing nearby, you can loop your bands around that during certain exercises to add extra resistance. Many exercises require you to simply stand on your elastic band or loop it around a part of your body, but you can only get some fitness angles in by using your environment. Consider your space and the exercises you intend to perform when thinking about the bands that are right for you.

Considering Accessory Options

Finally, you need to think about whether you want certain accessories that might go with your fitness bands and resistance tubes. Potential accessories usually involve providing the user with new and different ways to attach the bands to provide better angles and varying levels of resistance. For example, a sturdy pole with a weighted bottom can fill the need usually provided by a railing or doorframe if your exercise space does not allow for another way to attach your bands to something firm. If you plan to attach your bands to a door frame, using a designated door attachment helps reduce the risk of snapping and also protects the frame from wear and tear. Finally, the use of ankle cuffs and specialty handles can help for exercises where you loop the bands around a part of your own body. This allows for less slippage and reduces the risk that a band might come loose and snap back at you, potentially causing an injury.

An elastic fitness band is really a very simple thing. With a straightforward design and almost infinite possibilities, you can use one for virtually any exercise, including cardiovascular workouts and strength training. Despite that level of simplicity, a strong market for fitness band products has come into existence over the past generation. If you are new to the fitness world, the sheer number of exercise bands, resistance tubes, and accessories can seem overwhelming. By using the information provided above, you can filter through the many products out there and choose the fitness bands that are right for you. Your selection of elastic bands will influence your overall wellness and open up a whole new exercise regimen for you.

Posted in General

Cross-Training 101: How to Get Ready for Your Class

Written by SEO User Fitness Avenue Thursday, October 17, 2019

While many exercises focus specifically on one area of fitness, such as arms, legs, or the cardiovascular system, many fitness enthusiasts have embraces cross-training as a way of working out the whole body in one extensive routine. Cross-training is a fitness routine that combines many different forms of exercise into one session. This includes cardio workouts, strength building, flexibility training, and more. As expected with an exercise this complex, many people rely on specialty crossfit equipment. Before you start buying your own equipment, consider this information as you prepare for your class. Knowing what to expect will help you purchase the right crossfit equipment for your routine.

Why Do People Choose Cross-Training?

People embrace cross-training because it increases their entire fitness level at the same time. This means that there’s less of a risk of accidentally neglecting an important part of a person’s overall health. Cross-training burns fat rapidly thanks to its rapid pace, and it also helps build up a strong cardiovascular system. It improves muscle health and coordination while simultaneously boosting agility and manual dexterity. Where most people might spend an hour at the gym and only work on their arms and legs, a cross-trainer has the advantage of getting a full workout for every part of the body during that same period of time.

In addition to helping the body, cross-training also helps the mind. If you have ever felt bored at the gym or believe that doing the same exercise routine every time leads to a feeling of monotony, cross-training can help you break out of that rut. A crossfit routine requires you to remain alert to the rapid series of exercises and to make changes very quickly. The exercises are far from monotonous, and that keeps the brain working. Such a routine also places a high value on alertness and reflexes, allowing you to build strength in those areas as well. If you want a fitness routine that helps improve both your body and your mind, cross-training is an excellent option.

Preparing for Class

The best way to build a suitable cross-fit routine that will challenge you without exhausting you or exposing you to injury is to consult a crossfit trainer. Many trainers offer classes for both beginners and advanced participants, so you can choose the skill level that fits with you. When you start your cross-training, you should ask the instructor what sort of cross training equipment you need to bring with you to class. Although individual instructors might have special requirements for their classes, you can usually expect to need the list of equipment presented below. If you purchase this crossfit equipment ahead of time, you will be in excellent position to make the most of your upcoming class.

Shoes

Cross-training is very intensive on your feet, so choosing the right pair of shoes is possibly the most important crossfit equipment decision you can make. Don’t just bring a pair of running shoes and expect them to work. Running shoes are great for exercise that requires repetitive forward motion, but not so good for routines that involve a lot of lateral movement like cross-training. Instead, look for special crossfit shoes when buying your cross training equipment. The best shoes have strong outsoles that are designed to support rapid lateral movements. When you cross-train, you will probably be moving laterally more often than you move forward, so having these shoes as part of your crossfit equipment ensemble will spare you a lot of foot pain down the road.

Socks

Not only are socks an important piece of cross training equipment, but it is essential that you wear them properly in order to maximize your foot comfort. You should choose ergonomic socks that are designed specifically for right and left feet—that is, you should have one sock that fits your right foot perfectly and another that is designed specifically to fit your left foot equally as well. Light padding in the toes and heels will help keep blisters and callouses from developing, and moisture-wicking fibers will help you keep your feet dry during exercise. When you put your socks on, make sure to line up the toe seam with your toes and fit the rest of the sock from there. An improperly aligned sock can easily lead to blisters or increase the severity of foot injuries down the road.

Athletic Clothing

When you fill your crossfit equipment bag with clothing, pack with ease of mobility in mind. Your athletic bottoms should include stretchable shorts and comfortable leggings or bottoms. Ideally, something with four-way stretch fabric would be most useful. Remember that you will run, lift, and twist throughout the exercise routine. Anything that feels baggy or heavy can cause discomfort as you start sweating, and something that is overly restrictive will likely either tear or slow you down once you get going at top speed.

For tops, you should go with lightweight, breathable fabric. If you can add a top with “cool and dry” technology to your cross training equipment list, that will help absorb sweat and keep moisture off your skin as the exercises hit their most intense phase. If you wear a sports bra, you should select one that is optimized for moderate to high impact. Racerback bras are especially useful, as they provide uninhibited body movement which will help improve your mobility during exercises.

Sleeves are best reserved for protective purposes only. Even in a cool environment, you will start to sweat a lot, and clothing that covers your whole body may feel restrictive as the crossfit routine continues. On the other hand, sleeves or padding designed to protect your joins will help prevent potential harm should you suffer a fall during a particular intense part of the routine.

Towels and Water Bottles

Health and hydration need to be key parts of your cross training equipment considerations. A water bottle is absolutely essential, especially if you don’t hydrate enough during a normal day. Make sure to get a good water bottle that doesn’t leak. Valve spouts are excellent for this, as they won’t spill if they get knocked over. If you don’t like to drink water, consider adding a flavoring that is colourless and low in calories. Do not, however, put caffeinated beverages into your water bottle, as this will simply dehydrate you more.

You will use your towel primarily to wipe away sweat in between exercises. Since cross-training will have you working up a lot of sweat even after you get used to the routine, a microfiber towel that dries quickly will prove very useful. Keep the towel in a safe and dry place during your exercise, and make sure that you clean it well between classes. Nobody wants to wipe their face with a towel stained by the sweat of last week’s class.

Getting into the Right Mindset

In addition to preparing by having the right cross training equipment on hand, you should make sure that your mind is set and ready to go when the class starts. You can do this in two ways. First of all, you can get to know your instructor and ask questions to make yourself feel more comfortable during the exercise routine. Secondly, you can make sure that you have the right mindset when it comes to hard work and the rewards of an intense physical workout.

You should talk with your instructor before you start your first cross-training class. This helps you to figure out whether you have a compatible personality with the trainer and what the expectations of the class are. Talking with your instructor ahead of time can also let you know what sort of specialty equipment you might need. Most training environments keep cross training equipment such as kettle balls and dumbbells on hand, but you might be asked to provide some gear of your own, especially if you have particular preferences.

In terms of mindset, you need to make sure that you are getting into cross-training for the right reasons. Health and fitness should be foremost on your mind, and you should make sure that you are dedicated to meeting your fitness needs. You should remember that the workouts will be intensive and will likely push you to your very limits. At the same time, the rewards include a stimulating exercise routine like no other and physical fitness that improves every part of your body in the same routine. Cross-training is not for the faint of heart, but those who are in the right mindset can reap many notable rewards.

Cross-training is a unique and intensive set of exercises that combines many other forms of fitness into one complete package. The workouts are intense but rewarding. Because of the fast pace and extreme nature of this exercise routine, having an instructor you trust and cross training equipment that is built to last is very important. If you follow the advice outlined above, you should be ready to participate in your first cross-training course. In other words, prepare to get healthy!

Posted in General

How To Buy The Best Fitness Mat

Written by SEO User Fitness Avenue Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Fitness MatAny type of exercise that involves you putting anything other than the soles of your feet on the floor can benefit from the use of a fitness mat. Mats for fitness provide cushioning and cleanliness to make sure that you get the maximum support and comfort out of your exercise routine. When considering the best fitness mats for your needs, think about the type of exercise you perform, the level of support you need, and the size that fits most appropriately in your exercise space.

Yoga Mats

Of all the mats for fitness available, yoga mats tend to be the thinnest. The goal of these fitness mats is to allow you to feel the floor with your bare feet. For this reason, most yoga mats are no more than 13 millimeters thick. These mats have a bumpy or textured surface to allow for more traction while you do certain yoga poses. You may also notice that your yoga mat seems a little sticky. This is normal, as the mats are designed to keep your feet from slipping. A beginning might prefer a thicker mat, while somebody who is experienced with yoga might like something that provides less cushion and more traction. The thinnest yoga mats can be as little as three millimeters thick, making for easy transport and just a little springiness for yoga exercises.

Pilates Mats

While yoga mats need to be thin in order to provide grip and stability, most fitness and Pilates mats are designed with cushioning in mind. Pilates mats specifically tend to range from two to three centimeters thick. Placed on a hard floor, they provide cushioning for the hips and back during Pilates exercises. You can use fitness and Pilates mats for other purposes as well, such as gymnastic training or even running in place. Fitness and Pilates mats come in various degrees of firmness. For most Pilates exercise routines, you should choose a firmer mat that provides more stability and balance. A person normally does Pilates exercises while sitting or lying down, so slipping on these fitness mats is not much of a concern.

Exercise Mats

The thickest mats for fitness, exercise mats are mainly designed for cushion, not traction. These mats are best reserved for stationary exercises and work with weights, although some gyms may have areas where the fitness mats are fully secured and thus usable for mobile activities such as sparring or certain types of gymnastics. These mats typically range from three to five centimeters thick, and erring on the thicker side is better than getting a fitness mat that is too thin. Note that not all exercise mats are built for absorbency. If you sweat a lot and intend to spend a lot of time on the fitness mat, you should look for an exercise mat that is specifically designed with absorbency in mind.

The Best Fitness Mat Materials

Regardless of the type of exercise you perform, fitness mats come in a wide variety of different materials. The most common options that you will run into include bamboo, latex, microfibers, PVC, and natural materials such as cotton. Each of these materials is detailed below along with information on what sort of exercises these fitness mats work best with.

Bamboo is a strong and sturdy material that also has antimicrobial properties to help reduce the risk of bacteria lingering on the mat after an exercise. The material is also very light, which allows for easy transport to and from different exercise locations. Despite the antimicrobial properties, however, bamboo can be difficult to clean thoroughly. This means that it starts to collect dust and dirt after long hours of use that cannot be removed without a careful hand wash. Bamboo also lacks much in the way of cushioning. These properties make this material ideal as a yoga mat, but its use in Pilates mats and exercise mats are limited.

Latex mats can come from either natural or artificial sources. Natural latex is very environmentally friendly and provides great cushioning for Pilates and intensive exercises. Synthetic latex has all the same properties of natural latex and is also less expensive, but the off-gassing process involved in its creation tends to leave it with a lingering chemical smell. Both natural and synthetic latex stick to floors well and provide great cushioning. A latex mat can be used with virtually any exercise as long as you choose the right level of thickness. The biggest thing to consider with this material is the risk of allergens. Some people are allergic to latex, which can lead to extreme discomfort and even illness after multiple exercise sessions.

Microfibers are usually made from polyester, but sometimes come from another artificial material. This material is extremely soft and comfortable on the skin. Microfiber absorbs sweat well, is non-allergenic, and can be washed with ease. As a lightweight material, it also provides the same ease of transportation as bamboo mats. The biggest downside to microfiber is that it lacks the stickiness needed to hold fast on floors made out of wood or concrete. Because of this, many microfiber mats include a PVC backing to provide extra stickiness. With the backing, microfiber mats can be used effectively with any fitness activity.

PVC, also known as polyvinyl chloride, is a flexible plastic that works well with exercises requiring thicker mats. PVC is flexible, soft, and inexpensive. This makes it an ideal fitness mat material for those shopping on a budget. It unfortunately lacks the absorbency of microfibers and is not as easy to clean as latex. PVC is also entirely artificial, often made from processes that harm the environment. Some companies use endocrine disruptors known as phthalates in the construction of PVC mats, and those materials are linked to certain illnesses and even types of cancer. If you choose a PVC mat, you should make sure to check where and how the material was created.

Finally, cotton mats are entirely natural and sometimes combined with other natural materials such as hemp or jute. These materials absorb sweat easily and remain cool even on hot days due to their ability to wick away heat and moisture. They can be cleaned by tossing them right into a washing machine. They unfortunately don’t provide much in the way of slip resistance, nor do they come in thicknesses that are ideal for Pilates or mobile exercises. Most people who opt for cotton mats use them for yoga, often with some sort of treatment applied to the bottom to help prevent slipping when used on a hardwood or concrete floor.

Size Considerations

The final factor to determine the fitness mat for you is to think about the size you need. Most fitness mats have a fairly standard size, but you need to consider whether your exercise routine might require something out of the ordinary. Most fitness mats range from 1.5 to 1.8 meters long and between 0.5 and one meter wide. This fits the majority of body types, but if you are particularly tall or overweight you might find that parts of your body hang over the mat. In this situation, it is better to seek out a larger than normal mat than to deal with the added discomfort while exercising. For stationary mats that you don’t travel with, you may simply be able to set multiple standard mats together.

You also need to consider the thickness of your mat. Use the thickness suggestions mentioned above based on the type of exercise routine you have, but make sure that you feel comfortable with the feel of the mat. If you are heavier or lighter than average, you might need a thicker or thinner mat, respectively. You can also try to use a single mat for multiple kinds of exercise, but this may not be optimal based on your routine. For example, a mat that works ideally for Pilates is likely a little too thick to function well for yoga. You could try to get a mat that is thin for Pilates but thick for yoga in an attempt to find something right in the middle, but doing so might also leave you with the undesirable situation of having a mat that doesn’t feel right with either exercise.

Storing Your Mat

Finally, you should make sure that you know how you will store a fitness mat before you make a purchase. Lightweight mats can be rolled up and carried with you, or even placed in your vehicle between exercises. Heavier mats might require more space and more planning for storage. No matter how easy or hard your mat is to store, be sure that you clean it regularly—ideally after every significant workout. A fitness mat usually has cleaning instructions listed on its tag.

When choosing which fitness mat to buy, you should consider your body type, exercise routine, and health concerns such as allergies. Browse based on these specifications. Beyond that, the advice outlined above and your knowledge of your own body will help guide you to the best fitness mat for your needs.

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