Sportsmith Blog
18Jun/110

5 Must Have Workout Products for the Home

Working out at home is becoming one of the most common ways people go about getting into shape and loosing weight.  The are many advantages to working out at home, for instance, its comfortable, private, and everything is yours.  One of the keys to having a good, successful workout is the type of products you are using to work out.  Also, depending on what area of your body you are targeting, you want to make sure that you have exactly what you need in order to get the job done.

Listed below are five MUST have home workout tools.  How you use them and when you use them are completely up to you, but in order to get a successful and rewarding workout you will need these items, at least.

Exercise balls, also known as stability balls, are used for many different workouts and exercises.  Those include aerobics, balance, flexibility, strength rehab, stability, and toning.  All of these exercising come down to core training and with the many different types of exercise balls, such as medicine balls and weighted balls, you will be sure to get in a good core workout.

Resistance bands can be used as a substitute for all kinds of expensive home gym machines.  These bands come in all shapes and sizes and go by many different names including stretch bands and resistance cords.  You can work on all different muscles groups from your upper body to your lower body.  Another object that these resistance bands substitute for are pull up bars.  All though you cannot actually lift yourself off of the ground with these bands, you can simulate the exact same back and chest workout that you would get from a pull up bar.

Weights are a must have.  Whether you have them in the form of kettle bells or dumbbells, they are a requirement for upper and lower body success.  Although the kettle balls allow for swinging moves that you cannot easily do with regular dumbbells, they both come in all shapes, colors, and sizes.  Find a set that fits you, because having your own set will allow you to make progress weekly or daily depending on how often you work out.

Plyometric boxes are key for the success of an awesome leg or lower body workout.  Simple routines that are performed by using these boxes or steps prove amazing results.  Plyometrics steps and boxes come in different heights for different people.  It is about challenging yourself to the burning repetition of a leg workout and looking forward to the end reward.

Finally, everyone needs a little cardio love.  Whether you prefer a treadmill or an elliptical, you need to get your cardio workout in no matter what.  Both machines are commonly used and it is more a personal preference.  Regardless, they can be used for a therapeutic workout, a warm up, or a cool down.

Remember, these are only five of many different workout products.  These are simple and will get the job done especially for being at home.  They also won’t cost you an arm and a leg like many of the big home gym machines out there.

By possessing these must have products, you can significantly get into shape and loosing weight and bettering your health is what it is all about.  Bettering your health not only includes medical conditions, such as blood pressure and metabolism, but also personal conditions such as getting rid of acne and improving your physical appearance.  Whatever the reason may be, having these five workout products can improve you health tremendously.

14Jun/111

Dehydration The Sign and Symptoms

Considering the human body is made up roughly of 70% water, drinking fluids on an ongoing basis is necessary for maintaining bodily functions and preventing dehydration symptoms.  Reality is, most people do not drink enough water throughout the day.  Although the amount needed is dependent on body weight, general rule of thumb is to drink at least eight glasses of water daily.

Dehydration occurs when more water is lost from the body than is taken in.  Water is lost routinely each day through the processes of breathing, sweating, urination, and elimination. While water is found mostly in body cells, the rest is distributed in blood vessels and in spaces between the cells.

Water balance in the body is so critical and so well-regulated that if water is lost from blood vessels, this loss is automatically replaced by moving water from cells into blood vessels. Signs and symptoms of dehydration occur quickly if this loss of water is not replenished. The first recognizable sign is thirst; the body is getting dry and needs a drink of water.

Causes of Dehydration:

Sweat - People lose water through sweating; exercising intensely; or fever due to an infection.  A person can lose a pound of water just by taking a brisk walk on a hot day. It is important this loss be replaced as quickly as possible.

The Elderly - Older people are quite vulnerable during heat waves, as they tend to thirst more slowly and are less likely to recognize signs of dehydration. In the Chicago Heat Wave of 1995, approximately 600 people died in their homes from heat exposure.

Illness - When illness strikes and people are dealing with vomiting or diarrhea, a great deal of water is lost from the body.  It is difficult to hold down fluids with bouts of vomiting.  As for diarrhea, 4 million children die each year, worldwide, from effects of dehydration.

Diabetes - For people who are diabetic, when blood sugar levels are high, sugar tends to draw water, making its exit through the process of urination. Therefore, having diabetes often involves frequent thirst and frequent urination, making it easier to become dehydrated.

Extreme Fluid Loss - This can come about through conditions of cholera (from contaminated water/food), resulting in vomiting/diarrhea and consequent dehydration. Bulimia (purging) can cause dehydration, as well as the excessive use of diuretics (water pills), along with a low-salt diet.  Stomach flu lasting 36 hours can also cause extreme water loss.

Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration:

Initial signs of dehydration are thirst and a decreased output of urine.  At this stage, urine becomes more concentrated and is yellow in color.  In addition, a person can experience dry mouth; weakness or fatigue; dry skin or flushing; head rushes or chills.

A 5% fluid loss can result in symptoms of:

*Increased heart rate/respiration/body temperature

*Decreased sweating/urination

*Extreme fatigue/headache

*Nausea

*Muscle cramps or tingling in the limbs

 

A 10% fluid loss constitutes severe dehydration and requires immediate medical attention. Symptoms associated with severe dehydration are:

*Pale, cool, clammy skin or shriveled skin

*Difficulty breathing, racing pulse

*Chest and abdominal pain, muscle spasms

*Low blood pressure, loss of valuable electrolytes

*Seizure, unconsciousness, organ failure, even death (the brain is most vulnerable to dehydration)

Prevention:

The best way to prevent dehydration is to drink consistently throughout the day (eight glasses minimum). An infant is considered well-hydrated if the diaper is wet at every change.

Avoid doing outdoor activities in high temperatures; hold events under shaded areas.  If you must work in a hot environment, hydrate frequently to replenish water loss.

When suffering from vomiting or diarrhea, change one's diet or use medications to control the degree of fluid loss. When recovering from such symptoms, clear fluids are usually recommended for the first 24 hours.  Then one should progress to what is called a BRAT diet, starting with bananas, then rice, apples and toast, in that order.  Add more foods when tolerated.

Imodium can be taken to control diarrhea; acetaminophen or ibuprofen to address fever.

Symptoms of dehydration can differ from person to person, as well as from differing ages.  Children lose more fluids through vomiting and diarrhea than adults, while the elderly are more prone to fluid loss than younger adults.

6Jun/110

Benefits Of Water Aerobics

Many people automatically think that to get proper exercise, they must participate in activities like tennis, running, weightlifting, basketball, or even yoga. However, there is one element of exercise that is ideal for getting in shape – aquatic fitness. Aquatic fitness, such as water aerobics, usually takes place in a shallow swimming pool and can be considered a type of resistance training. There are many benefits to doing aquatic fitness exercises such as the fact that the use of water supports the body and therefore reduces the chance of muscle or joint injury. Also, the alleviation of gravity due to flotation places less stress on the joints when stretching, and can also allow a greater range of motion.

Some other benefits of water aerobics is that because it is done in a shallow pool, and the ability to float is possible, even the elderly can participate without feeling unsafe. Exercising in water is also great if you are prone to overheating, as the water is constantly cooling the body, leaving it impossible to overheat and potentially pass out. Despite what people may think, you do not have to be a strong swimmer in order to join in on aquatic fitness exercises. As long as you can keep yourself afloat and hold your breath underwater, anyone can do these aerobics.

If you are interested in getting involved in different types of water aerobics, check into any local gym facility or swim club. Many people enjoy working out in groups, which is why aquatic fitness has become so popular. You can now get the exercise you always desired, in a way that won’t put unwanted stress on your body, and will keep you in shape for the rest of your life. Check out what water aerobics can do for you and get enrolled in them today!

31May/110

Battling Rope

If anybody knows about strength conditioning, it’s John Brookfield. John is a Guinness Record holding strong man, who has done some amazing feats in his life. He’s done such things as pull a 24,000 lb. truck a full mile and use a 50 lb. Sledgehammer for over an hour, hitting a tire about 30 times a minute. Obviously, John also knows about stamina conditioning as well! He’s also an author of four books on strength conditioning and is the inventor of the Battling Rope and it’s associated exercises. So, you can rely on the fact that when you use a Battling Rope to exercise and condition yourself, you’re using a product that will do what it’s intended to do, since it’s inventor knows what he’s doing!

The concept behind the Battling Rope is quite simple, as all great inventions are. It’s simply a long length of rope that’s either attached to a wall or doubled up and slipped over a metal pole. You exercise by using a sort of whipping motion with your arms. The idea of these exercises is to build strength, yes, but it’s a strength that has a lasting power. It’s all about duration. The undulating motions use muscles rarely used in the arms, back, and abdomen, and since you do these motions repeatedly over and over, in time it will build incredible stamina. This is stamina that you can count on in hard situations, be it sports or other physical activities.

The exercises are fairly unique. As you work out, you will find that you both push and pull simultaneously, as well as performing isometric exercises. This builds hard strength and stamina in the most efficient way in the shortest amount of time. Weight lifting builds strength, too, but nothing can give you the sustainable strength that using a Battling Rope can. The system will also build incredible grip strength, as John has one of the strongest grips in the world (he has ripped 100 full decks of playing cards in half in under three minutes, if that’s any indication as to how strong his grip is).

SPORTSMITH carries three lengths of Battling Rope, in 40’, 50’, and 60’ lengths. These ropes are 1 and 1/2" thick and are made of durable polyester, with a rubber boot at the end to prevent unraveling. If the proper usage instructions are followed, they will last you a very long time indeed. For more information on battling rope click here.

Currently, the military has recently taken up using the Battling Rope to condition it’s elite operatives for missions that might involve them using their physical strength and stamina under long term conditions. Law enforcement agencies have also began using the Battling Rope to better condition their officers, and many professional sports teams have been using the Ropes for some time now, as have Mixed Martial Arts fighters. With a pedigree like one of the world’s strongest men as it’s inventor, the Battling Rope is a unique item, and one that’s sure to be around for a long time to come.

17May/110

Top 10 Benefits of Using Kettlebell Training

Kettlebells are weights, which resembles a globe with a handle. It has its origins in ancient Greece and it made its way into Russia many centuries ago. However, its popularity as an exercise tool was very recent in the western world.

Top fitness trend for the year 2009:

Kettlebell training was named as one of the top ten fitness trends for the year 2009 by the Council on Exercises (ACE) and still maintains its rising popularity among fitness lovers. For those who are looking for the right fitness tool, Kettlebells could provide the answer. However, making the decision to use Kettlebells should be done with proper understanding and following are the top 10 benefits of using Kettlebell training as a routine workout.

Top ten benefits of using Kettlebell training:

*Total body workout

The design of the Kettlebell with a displaced central gravity would mean that the user has to stabilize the Kettlebell using multitude of muscles and joints. Thus, each swing, press or a lift using a Kettlebell would invariably workout several muscle groups including the stabilizing muscles as well as joints.

*Efficient exercising tool

Its efficiency would be another benefit of Kettlebells and could be attributed to the ‘ballistic nature’ of Kettlebell training exercises. Swings, snatches, clean and jerks would make the body move as a single unit and therefore would be more efficient than traditional weight bearing exercises.

*Building core strength

In order to maintain better fitness and good health, one needs to have a strong and a healthy core.  Kettlebells would provide just that and according to the plane of motion, the core strength would develop on the same direction. This would mean that, everyday activities such as bending and lifting could be done without a hitch and one would never have to feel sore after such a lift.

*Improved endurance

Kettlebell training will enable a person to gain strength as well as stamina. Thus, it improves the endurance level of a person far superiorly to other cardio exercises, which may not be able to give both at the same time, or to the same extent.

*Improves mobility

Kettlebell design and its training routines will increase muscle flexibility along with muscle strength and joint stability.

*Builds better posture

Kettlebell training would enable a person to strengthen the back muscles from head to toe which is essential in maintaining a better posture and to avoid those nagging aches and pains. It will not only enable better performance during sports activities but would also help in the day-to-day activities as well.

*Fits in with a busy schedule

Kettlebell training sessions are usually shorter than traditional exercise routines although it can achieve the same result.  Thus, it would be ideal for persons with a busy schedule whom would not be having time to visit the gym or else to spend time on several exercising machines to build fitness.

*Compact, portable and safe

Kettlebells can be stored in ones bedroom and would not take much space during its workout. At the same time, as Kettlebells come in different sizes and it includes many different training routines, individuals of any age would be able to make use of it without worrying about adverse outcomes.

*Efficient fat loss

Kettlebell training would provide different methods of burning body fat and this would include, increased metabolism due to ‘explosive movements’, building of muscle mass which enables fat burning throughout the day, and hormonal effects due to total body movements.

*Fun and enjoyable

Many exercise routines and equipment would make the person bored and would be less enjoyable with time. However, with its short exercise routines and variations, Kettlebell training would be fun filled and enjoyable to many.

The benefits of using Kettlebells are endless and its superiority has been proved with time as well as through research. With its rising popularity, one could be assured that it would remain a top most fitness trend for many years to come.

Reference:

ACE Study Reveals Kettlebells Provide Powerful Workout in Short Amount of Time – press release

For more information on kettlebells click here.

12May/110

Put Safety First In Your Gym

When exercising, it is important that you make sure you have all of the proper first aid equipment to ensure the safety of your health.  When working out, your endorphins are flowing, your heart is going a mile a minute, and you’re feeling the best you ever have.  However, things can go wrong no matter where you are working out or what kind of exercises you are doing.  It is always more beneficial, however, to work out with other people in case a situation presents itself where you need help from someone else.  For gym owners, it is important that they stock up on the necessary safety items for their current and future customers.

Some of the first aid supplies that gym owners will want to make sure they have include ice packs, elastic bandages, antiseptic, pain relievers, surgical tape, and gauze.  Alongside all of these items, many gyms make it a point to have a defibrillator in stock as well.  A defibrillator is an electronic device that administers an electric shock to the heart through the chest wall, in an attempt to restore the normal rhythm of the heart.  Going into cardiac arrest during a workout is, unfortunately, not uncommon.  Whether you are doing aquatic fitness exercises or aerobic step workouts, there is always that chance that your heart might not be able to take the amount of activity you are putting it through.  Therefore, having an Automated External Defibrillator is a crucial element that every gym facility should make sure they have readily available.  It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Exercising and eating right is vital when trying to take care of your body and your health.  However, sometimes the effects that stress and poor habits have on your body, can weaken it, causing unexpected injury as well as cardiac arrest.  It is suggested that you consult with your doctor before doing any type of straining physical activity, so keep that in mind as well before you jump on that next treadmill.  Having these supplies and more, available in your gym, is a beneficial step to take to ensure everyone’s safety.

4May/110

Strength Products for Trainers: Dumbbells, Kettlebells, & Resistance Bands

As fitness professionals, you know the importance of incorporating strength training into a workout regimen. With that being said, you also know not everyone is willing to hop under a bench press or settle under a squat rack. And while these tried-and-true exercises are often associated with strength training, they’re not the only options.

A number of health professionals are introducing clients to alternative forms of strength training.  Instead of bench presses and dead lifts, they’re using free weights—dumbbells and kettlebells.  And some are even taking it one step further.  They’re forgoing the use of physical weights and opting for resistance bands.

As it turns out, a number of people trying to whip themselves back into shape prefer these methods of strength training.  They’re not as daunting, especially for those who are out of shape or elderly.  Dumbbells and kettlebells offer more varied usage than, say, a bench press.  With dumbbells an individual can perform exercises that hit pectorals, biceps, triceps, forearms, and a number of muscles in your shoulders and back.

When individuals use dumbbells, kettlebells, and resistance bands, they have more control over their workout.  They get the strength training they need without enduring some of the hardships, like injuries, associated with the more common methods.

For more information, be sure to view our strength training products page.

27Apr/110

Steps In Finding The Right Gym For You

There are many things people should consider when trying to find the perfect gym to sign up for. First, you want to figure out what your goals are in going to the gym – whether you want to lose weight or just tone your muscles. Next, you should choose a gym that you feel comfortable working out at. People tend to slack off if they are in a surrounding that they feel uneasy in. Visiting several gyms, at several different times of the day is the only way to determine what gym you would like to attend, what time you want to go, the friendliness of the staff, the cleanliness, and the stability of the equipment.

Another important element is finding the gym that has the right personal trainer for you and your exercise needs. If you have a certain training routine that you are used to, find someone that has a long history of experience and who will test your current condition before enrolling you in a routine. You want a trainer who is going to motivate you and be interested in your overall outcome. Having conversations with numerous trainers is the only way you will find the perfect one.

Next in line is the fitness accessories and equipment. You want to make sure that whatever gym you decide to go to, that it has the right equipment available for you to reach your ultimate goals. Most exercise machines that are used to target major muscle groups, work all the same, so it can be confusing as well as overwhelming in picking out the right equipment. The key is to look for specific equipment such as treadmills and steppers.

Make sure when searching for a gym to remember that the most expensive gym isn’t always the best gym. Just because it is popularized on TV or is a well-known chain, doesn’t mean that the gym you pick will make you will feel comfortable and at ease when you are working out.

Whether you are looking for aquatic fitness facilities and equipment, or your run of the mill aerobic fitness centers, make sure to look into everything that each place has to offer. Doing a little bit of research never hurt anyone and in this case, it will only benefit your total outcome in the end.

21Apr/110

The Best Fitness Centers Have the Best Equipment

Among, the other high quality gym products we sell, we are proud to provide the best yoga blocks, yoga mats, and yoga straps. Our yoga equipment is used by the best professional trainers and the highest quality health clubs in the industry. Yoga mats and other equipment are in high demand. Some of the most successful group classes in fitness today are yoga classes. Health clubs and personal trainers need to have enough yoga equipment to appease the masses. We provide high quality cost-effective yoga blocks, yoga mats, and yoga straps to maintain the great standards of your business.

In the beginning, of your health clubs yoga training classes, yoga straps are extremely helpful. They assist all different yoga levels in successfully maintaining poses. Your yoga students will gain confidence, which will lead to more visits, with our awesome selection of yoga straps.  As your yoga students continue to improve, it is important to present new challenges. This is why we provide a wide selection of yoga blocks. Our yoga blocks can support all different weight levels. If your health club or professional class teaches P90X, we have great yoga blocks to use with this program.

Our selection of yoga mats are light weight and are perfect for all levels of yoga training. From beginners to yoga experts, our yoga mats can be utilized. They provide a smooth non-slip surface, which provides a great location to learn. Treat your customers to high quality yoga mats and keep them coming back for more.  Browse our amazing selection of yoga equipment and let us help your business stay up to date.

4Apr/110

Ultimate Sandbag Training

Working out with sandbags is similar to using a balance or wobble board (or products that achieve a similar result). While using those, you stand on an unstable surface and try to keep your body’s balance on top of the constantly shifting surface. This forces your body to use muscles rarely used in daily life, particularly the core muscles of your lower abdomen and back. Sandbag workouts use a similar principle. Instead of a single, hard lump of weight like a barbell, a sandbag shifts around constantly while in use, and this forces your body to make small adjustments. This works muscles rarely used (as mentioned before, it’s similar to using a balance board), with the addition of applying a traditional workout to your arm and leg muscles. There really isn’t another product out there that can boast of this versatility. Usually, core muscle workouts are separate from other types of exercise, but a sandbag combines them into a unique, and exhilarating exercise program that almost anybody can do. Sandbag training is also catching on with various sports, particularly the NBA. They are also being implemented into the popular high intensity interval training exercise programs.

SPORTSMITH currently carries two varieties of sandbags. These bags are incredibly sturdy and will withstand years of regular use. The outer shell is made of heavy-duty material, and each bag has several grip options for various uses in your workouts. Note that the bags do NOT ship with sand or other filler material. This is to minimize shipping costs. However, this leaves it up to you as to how to fill the bags, as you can use heavy materials like sand, or use lighter material like rice or wood chips. This lets beginners and experts alike tailor their exercises to their own personal needs. Variety and versatility is what these bags are all about!

The first product we carry is the “Ultimate Sandbag Power Package”. This comes with a 9” X 19” bag and two filler bags. These bags can be filled up to twenty pounds each. This package also includes an instructional DVD and a wall map to aid in your training.

The second product we carry is the “Ultimate Sandbag Strength Package”. This one comes with a 10” X 27” bag and two filler bags that can be filled up to forty-five pounds each. As with the Power Package, this also comes with an instructional DVD and a wall map.

SPORTSMITH is excited to bring you these new products. We strive to stay on the forefront of new and unique fitness products, and to bring them to you at the best cost possible!