Fitness Nutrition: Eating Right for Your Best Workout

It’s no secret that what you eat highly affects the quality of your home workouts. Without the right fuel, you lose performance and motivation, making you sluggish. Need help planning your nutrition strategy? Here are a few common nutritional challenges and a little advice on how to make them work for you.

Challenge 1: You’re working to lose weight and battling a tight schedule with work and family. You’ll be hitting the elliptical at 5 a.m. and really don’t have the time or appetite for breakfast. Besides, you’ve heard that working out on an empty stomach can help you burn fat.

Making it work: Although working out in a fasted state forces your body to burn fat as fuel, you won’t train as hard or burn as many calories, so you’ll lose ground by the time you eat breakfast. A better bet is an easily digested carbohydrate immediately prior to or during your workout. Great morning pre-workout snacks include juice, a sports drink or a banana smoothie. You may end up taking in a few more calories ahead of time, but you’ll burn them off with better performance during your workout and improved recovery following. Within an hour post-workout, top off with breakfast, including carbs and protein, for the most effective recovery and your best use of nutrients. Eggs and toast or a smoothie containing fruit and milk are both great options. On the go, try a nutrition bar containing both carbs and protein in a 4:1 ratio.

Challenge 2: You and your treadmill are meeting up for a 75-minute distance run after work as part of your half marathon training plan. You don’t want to run out of steam, but the afternoon snack you tried before your last workout left you with a side ache for your entire run.

Making it work: Your last snack probably didn’t work for you because of the timing or the content. If your workout is more than four hours from your lunch, you’re going to need a carbohydrate-heavy snack before you run. If you are one hour out from your workout, think simple carbs like those given above. Two to three hours out, you can probably tolerate something that has a little more fiber and even some protein to give you better nutrition and staying power. Stay low fat, since fat is likely to lead to digestion issues and stomach upset during your run. You might want to start by trying some low fat yogurt and a piece of fruit or some whole grain toast and jam about three hours before your run. Since your run is more than an hour, you’ll also want to experiment with adding in some easily digested carbs, such as a watered down sports drink, during your run.

Challenge 3: Building activity into your daily life has you looking forward to a laid back ride tonight with your favorite playlist and your indoor cycle after the kids are in bed. You don’t want to skip dinner with your family, but you know that a big meal makes for an uncomfortable workout. You also know that proper refueling is important, but you don’t want to overdo it before bed.

Making it work: Since your workout is low impact, you have a little more flexibility on eating beforehand, but you’re still better off keeping your meal light and low fat. Try reducing your portions by a third to half and skip the butter on your bread and veggies (great steps for losing weight, anyway!). You’re right that post workout you’ll need a little something before bed. Once again, concentrate on getting in some carbs and protein for the best recovery, although a little fat at this point won’t hurt you and might keep you satisfied through the night. You could try some pretzels and hummus, apples and peanut butter, or toast and a boiled egg.

The keys to fueling your home workout are to use your pre-workout window to emphasize carbohydrates that are easily digested with a bit of protein and fiber if you’re at least 2 hours out from your workout. For long workouts (more than an hour), you’ll need to add in a little something during the workout to keep you going. This should be easily digested and primarily a carbohydrate, such as sports drink, energy gel, or a banana and water. Post workout, concentrate on getting a meal within the next hour or two or a snack that contains both carbs and protein to help you protect the muscle you’re building and to help your body access its fat stores for better results. Following these few basic steps will make a big difference in the results you see from your workouts.

 

Treadmill Drive Motors and the Question of Horsepower

The treadmill motor horsepower rating is probably the single most recognizable spec that jumps out at a consumer when he or she begins to do their buying research. It is most likely because we have all heard this term since we were young, and many of us think we know what it means. As tends to be our way of thinking, we usually believe bigger is better. However, the truth is, the ratings and numbers can be very confusing and ultimately incredibly misleading. Here are some tips to help you sort through some of the terms and numbers you may have read about to find out what is really important when trying to understand this integral part of the treadmill.vision treadmill motor

Poor horsepower ratings

Unless the treadmill has a strong motor, you will easily wear it out. First, check to see what rating terminology the manufacturer is using. Terms like “treadmill duty” and “peak duty” have been used to mislead consumers in the past to raise the rating number (remember the assumption that bigger is better). What do each of those mean?

  • Treadmill Duty – somewhere in between peak and continuous. Treadmill duty measures the likely horsepower for an average user at an average speed over an average period of time. But because it is an average, it is not a true representation of power.
  • Peak Duty – Maximum horsepower a motor can generate when working at its hardest. This is only sustainable for a short time. Or Peak duty motors measure power at the highest possible rpm with minimal load. But since an efficient motor is not going to run at this high rpm all the time, it is not an accurate horsepower measurement.

Look for Continuous Duty horsepower

When shopping for a treadmill, look for a Continuous Duty Rating (CHP). A continuous duty motor measures the minimum horsepower delivered at all points during a workout, and is a commercial grade standard applied to treadmills used in health clubs and higher-quality home treadmills. Continuous duty motors are the highest quality available. They are more powerful, they last longer, and they deliver smooth performance.

Minimum recommendations have always been at least 1.5 CHP, but you’ll be hard pressed to find a treadmill with such a low rating these days because of all the marketing hype. However, if done right, a 1.5 CHP motor with an RPM rating below 4000 would satisfy the needs of 90 percent of home users.

The importance of RPMs

Rotations per Minute (RPMs) is really important in motor design. The relationship between continuous horsepower and RPM is torque. This is the most significant factor when determining the best suitable motor for you needs. The lower the RPM of a motor, the more torque it will have – torque being the measure of a tendency to cause rotation; in other words, the power to turn. This allows the motor to last longer. I strongly recommend a motor with an RPM rating of 4000 or lower, but never more than 5000.

This is crucial because this is where a lot of manufacturers begin to play with, and boost, the ratings above 2.5 in to the 3.5 and 4 HP range. In a lot of those cases, if we examine the plate stamped on the treadmill, you will find RPM ratings in the 7000 to 8000 range. This is how they can get away with these bloated HP rating numbers. These motors are spinning way too fast and working way too hard to last the years you should expect out of a quality treadmill. RPM tinkering is only one way in which a manufacturer can boost the horsepower rating of a treadmill motor.

Electrical requirements

Finally, there are the electrical requirements needed to support a larger HP motor. Most homes today have either a 15- or 20-Amp circuit, which you plug the treadmill into.  Most 20-Amp lines will only support 2.4 horsepower from an electrical motor for a continuous period of time. So all the “extra” horsepower, if the rating is true, is nice but totally not needed and never really used.

On a related note, it is nice to have a big, strong, powerful motor in your treadmill, but it is just as important to surround that motor with up to date quality components (more on that later). If done properly, the motor won’t have to do all the work so the load can be shared amongst all the integral parts. They reduce the need for overblown horsepower ratings and produce a much more efficient running treadmill – A sort of brains over brawn scenario.

What this all means is that the customer should be more concerned with how well all these parts of the treadmill work together, rather than with a hyped up horsepower rating placed on a website or printed in a brochure. Look for a solid motor with CHP rating and low RPM’s and go from there.

Interval Training on Elegant and Touch Treadmill Consoles

Looking to improve your race times, increase your running speeds, burn more calories in less time or simply break up the monotony of your regular or steady pace treadmill workouts? Try the Interval program on a Vision Fitness treadmill equipped with the Elegant or Touch console. The treadmill Interval program included on these consoles is a speed-based program.

Don’t Get Too Comfortable

When training for your next 5K, 10K or 1-mile race against yourself, it is important that you break through your comfort zone in a way that challenges your body’s desire to achieve homeostasis. Homeostasis is your body’s natural need to achieve balance, to stay the same and to only expend as much energy as is needed to accomplish what it is asked to accomplish. Quite simply, if you don’t force or trick your body into trying something it isn’t used to doing, you will never know if you are even capable.

We humans are programmed to seek out comfort, which is why so many people hop on the treadmill, press go, select their favorite speed and incline and do the same workout they have done any number of times before. This bad habit will not make you more fit – It will not make you faster, decrease your run time or burn any more calories than it did last time. In order to accomplish any of these things, you need to get past your comfort zone. Enter – the Interval program.

What is the Interval Program

This program will give you segments of alternating speeds (adjusted in length according to the total workout time you have selected). The speeds will vary from a “challenge” speed to an “active recovery” speed. As you progress through the program and get warmed up, the “challenge” speeds will increase until the final two segments, which are where the program has already pushed you past your comfort zone and gets you ready to cool down.

A few common questions come up, which left unanswered seem to become excuses for individuals to not try a new program. So, to help you gather up the courage to try something a little more challenging, here are some answers to a few of those questions:

Q: How long should I go for?

A: One option is to base your exercise time on how much time you have available, some exercise is better than none. If you don’t have a lot of time, this is a perfect program because it is higher in intensity than your regular steady workout. Plus, there are a multitude of studies that show a short higher intensity workout is as effective, and sometimes more effective, than a longer workout at a lower intensity. Or base your workout time on how quickly you would like to be able to complete your next race.

Q: What level should I use/how fast should I go?

A: Look up the program chart in the owner’s manual and choose a level where the “challenge” speeds are 1 mph faster than you would choose to go if you were just doing a steady or “comfortable” time-based workout. Or, figure out how fast you need to go to achieve your next race time and pick a level that “challenges” you at a speed just higher than that. Remember, the “challenge” speed is always followed by an “active recovery” speed.

Q: How far should I go?

A: You don’t really need to go any further than the distance you are training for and will even benefit with shorter training sessions. One of the reasons to participate in speed intervals is to get your body used to moving faster and taking longer strides. These adaptations will carry over to your race distances.

There you go! Don’t you feel better already? Next time you’re looking to throw yourself a fitness curveball and take your workout to a new level of intensity, start an Interval program.

Sources

http://www.livestrong.com/article/386878-the-best-treadmill-interval-workout/

http://runners-resource.com/training/intervals/

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/interval-training/SM00110

 

Travel to Different Destinations without Leaving Home

Keep your workouts fresh and exciting. Exercising with Passport Media Player can transform your static workout­ routine into a dynamic adventure, filled with intensity, excitement and education. While en route, scrolling text appears on-screen to inform the user about locations along the way.

Compatible with all Vision Fitness Classic, Touch and Elegant consoles, Passport Media Player with Virtual Active (available for purchase as an accessory) allows users to travel to exotic locations from all over the world.  Below are two of my favorite locations destinations, though that may change as more destinations will become available in the future.

Chicago destination on Virtual Active

While traveling through Chicago, you’ll notice thousands of tulips along Michigan Avenue, also known as ‘The Magnificent Mile.’ These tulips typically bloom in late April, just north of the Chicago River. The historic Water Tower is the largest shopping district in Chicago, with an impressive 3.1 million square feet of retail space. More than 22 million people visit this area annually, where dozens of the world’s leading luxury retailers have a strong presence.

Along your journey you’ll pass through Millennium Park, which is known for its beautiful and interesting public art installations. The infamous ‘Cloud Gate’ (referred to by Chicago residents as ‘The Bean’) is a three-story, 110-ton sculpture that distorts objects with its curved mirror/reflective surface.

From there, you’ll travel along the Chicago River through the heart of downtown. There are 38 movable bridges that span across this river. In a feat of engineering, the flow of the river was reversed for sanitation purposes in the early 1900s. The river is famously dyed green each year in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. In1992, the river broke into an underground freight tunnel network, flooding the lover levels of many buildings.

Italy

The journey to Northern Italy takes you though areas where early adventurers in the Bronze Age were attracted to due to the prevalence of copper ore. Marble, semiprecious stones and oil shales have also been found in this region. Travel along the historic road to Timmelsjoch, which was built in 1959 to accommodate tourists while seamlessly blending into the landscape. Back in 2007, this infamous city had an average of 50,000 tourists a day. On the border of Austria in Italy’s Otztal Alps, Timmelsjoch is often referred to as the ‘secret passage’ because it is used less heavily than other mountain passes in the area.

The transition from Timmelsjoch to Venice is quite noticeable as Venice has no roads and is only navigable on foot or by boat. Known for its canals, gondolas, and beautiful architecture, Venice is also recognized for its film festival. Founded in 1934, the Venice Film Festival is the oldest film festival in the world. Another site worth noting along your voyage is Piazza San Marco, or ‘The drawing room of Europe.’ This is one of the few great urban spaces left in the area that’s not polluted by the sound of motorized traffic.

Try either of these destinations on your Vision Fitness treadmill, elliptical or exercise for an entirely different, interactive workout experience.

Treadmills – To lubricate or not to lubricate?

To ensure maximum life of your treadmill, proper maintenance is a must do! Please refer to your owner’s manual for any questions regarding maintenance. Depending on your model, you may sometimes have to lubricate the running deck with paraffin wax. The reason for applying wax to the running deck is so the running belt moves smoothly over the deck surface. The wax reduces the friction between the two, thus creating a longer life span for your running belt and deck.

Please note that if you have had your running belt and deck replaced in 2012 and after, it is possible you have a maintenance-free running belt and deck. If you are unsure, please call tech support at 800-335-4348 and we can assist you in figuring that out. If you have a maintenance-free running deck and belt, do not put any wax, or any type of lubricant on your treadmill. They are made so the running belt is infused with wax, and will run smoothly onto the deck, requiring no maintenance from you!

If your treadmill running deck does require wax, it is a fairly straight forward procedure. We recommend the use of a SLic-STik, which is a wand with wax on the end, and it makes it a fairly easy process.

  1. Start off by turning off and unplugging the treadmill.
  2. Loosen the rear roller bolts with an Allen wrench to allow the belt to be lifted up from the sides of the deck.
  3. Clean and clear the deck of foreign debris. Inspect the deck for signs of wear. If large deep scratches are present or the black coating has worn to wood color, the deck should be flipped to a good side or replaced.
  4. If surface is OK, lift the side of the belt and insert SLic-STik under the belt to wax the surface. Generously apply the SLic-STik to the deck from front to back using a back and forth movement concentrating on the center surface area of the deck.
  5. Remove the SLic-STik from under the belt and adjust the belt back to its proper tension. Plug the treadmill in and it is ready to use.

A Vision Fitness treadmill deck should be lightly waxed every 500 miles to insure maximum life of the treadmill components, but it is better to wax more often than to wait too long. However it is important to note that over-waxing can have a negative effect, such as belt thumping or excess wear of components.

To assure maximum life of the components without over-waxing, the following schedule may be followed:

lubrication frequency

Following these guidelines can help keep your treadmill in great working condition. If you want to purchase a wax stick, you can by calling tech support at 800-335-4348.

Running Deck Cushioning – What Sets Vision Fitness Apart

Spring is finally here! You’re not about to start over with your fitness at square one like last year. You’ve set yourself up for success by training all winter long on your Vision Fitness treadmill. Today is the day you are going to go outside and test your winter training. Fast forward one hour later – you may not have done as well as you thought. And your legs ache? You’ve run more miles on than this on the treadmill, so what is wrong?

First of all, do not be discouraged. The smooth cushioned surface of the running deck on a Vision treadmill is actually easier on your joints than running on outside terrain. Although we strive for optimal comfort, we understand you may not be doing all of your running indoors, so with our treadmills, we try and keep realistic design and functionality in mind.

Our deck itself is a firm piece of wood, offering you support, while our deck cushioning where the deck attaches to the frame gives you a softer cushioning that transitions with you with each stride. The deck cushioning on our treadmills is designed to absorb the impact of your foot planting at the front of the deck, and increases in firmness as your stride carries through to push off into the next stride. If you think of how running shoes are designed, it is a similar concept, simulated to give you a comfortable, natural feel.

Some other companies use a flexible deck, which is like a springboard. Running on a trampoline does not compare to running outside, so why do it? Keep it realistic with our Vision Fitness treadmills and our variable cushioning. An active and healthy lifestyle is something you will never regret! Let us help you set yourself up for success and year round fitness with our comfortably realistic treadmills.

Test a Treadmill Before You Buy – The 5 & 5 Demonstration

Once you step into a fitness equipment retailer, it can become daunting to think about trying out all of your options. Aside from checking out aesthetics, testing the performance of a piece of equipment, including a treadmill, is equally important. Here are a couple of tips to help you through the process.

I like to demonstrate the best qualities of our new T40 and TF40 treadmills with what I call the “5 & 5” Rule. It really helps display the durability, quietness and stability of our treadmill frames and consoles. Start by placing a set of car keys and any loose change you can gather into the side cup holders. Turn the treadmill on and touch the 5 percent incline and the 5 mph buttons on the console. Then stand four to five feet from the treadmill. If you’re the sales person, ask the customer to do this. By standing back from the machine, you will notice the console’s ‘ease of use’ as well as the great aesthetics (especially the Touch screen).

Proceed to jog or run on the treadmill. What you will see is not only a quiet and comfortable looking treadmill, but one that is well-built, reliable and sturdy without any shaking or side-to-side wobbling. If the treadmill is leveled properly on the floor, the keys and change will not make a sound!

Try this test and you will agree that the Vision Fitness treadmill is a top-of-the-line piece of fitness equipment.

How to Align and Tension Your Treadmill Running Belt

Having trouble with keeping your running belt straight and centered? The running belt may stretch with use, causing it to fall out of alignment, shifting too far to the left or the right. This can also create unnecessary noise and wear on the running belt. Most commonly, the running belt may come out of alignment after lubrication procedures, if needed*, or when adjusting the tension if the running belt seems too loose. The loose feeling would be described as the belt feeling like it is slipping under the user’s feet, or if the running belt stops as soon as weight is applied to the belt to walk.

Don’t be intimidated by this issue. It can be resolved quickly and easily! Below, we are sharing our tips and instructions on how to center, align and tension your running belt.

First, make sure your machine and the surface the machine is on are level. If the surface is not level, try moving to a level spot on the floor, or think about purchasing a treadmill mat to help with this issue. If the floor is level but the machine is not, you may need to adjust the levelers at the bottom of the treadmill. Please refer to your owner’s manual for additional guidance with that procedure.

If all leveling checks out, then the next step would be to adjust the running belt itself. There are 2 tools that you will need. First, a Phillips head screwdriver is necessary to remove the screws that hold the rear end caps on if you want a clearer view of the bolts that adjust the running belt tension. The second required tool is an Allen wrench, preferably the blue-handled T-Wrench that came with the machine. The size of the T-wrench may vary, but generally it is a 6mm or 8mm.

Start by turning on the machine and pressing “Start.”  Adjust the speed to the lowest setting. Let the belt rotate a few times. If the running belt starts to shift toward one side, loosen the rear roller bolt on the opposite side ¼ turn clockwise. For example, if the running belt begins to shift to the left, loosen (turn counter clockwise) the right roller bolt a ¼ of a turn. The key to this is patience as you must wait five revolutions of the running belt between each adjustment. That will ensure you do not over correct the belt.

Continue this step, making ¼ turn adjustments after five revolutions until the belt no longer shifts to one side.

If the belt is still not centering after constant adjustment, then it is possible the front roller has become misaligned. Remove the front motor cover by extracting the Phillips screws attaching it to the frame. Once the treadmill roller bracketcover is removed, check the front roller bolt bracket. On the right hand side, (if standing on the machine), you should see a bolt suspended in a bracket that holds the front roller. Verify that bolt is centered in the bracket. If the bolt is too far forward or backward, adjust the bolt so that it is located right in the center of the bracket.

Next, test the tension by walking on the belt. Run the belt at a comfortable walking speed. Then, walk on the belt while holding the handlebars and step down firmly with your lead foot, trying to stop the belt with each step. If the belt still hesitates, tighten each rear roller bolt another ¼ turn per side. Once it stops hesitating, stop tensioning the belt. Over tightening can cause unnecessary stress on the rollers and belt.

Remember – a clockwise turn will tighten and counter-clockwise will loosen.

Hopefully these tips will have your treadmill belt running straight and working in peak condition. Remember to be patient as the small adjustments will work, they just take a little time.

*Note: Not all units require lubrication. Please refer to your Owner’s Manual for guidance.

7 Tips to Consider When Purchasing a Treadmill

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Walking into a fitness store can be an overwhelming event. There’s typically a wide variety of equipment to view and consider buying for your home. But it doesn’t have to be a fearful experience. Armed with some sound advice, you can find the perfect treadmill to bring home and enjoy for years to come. Knowing a little in advance what you may be looking for will help your specialty fitness retailer provide suggestions on the treadmill for you. Here are seven tips to consider when purchasing a new treadmill.

1. Never ever buy a treadmill you don’t have an opportunity to try first

This advice should be applied to the purchase of any piece of fitness equipment. The way a treadmill fits and feels to you is perhaps the single most overlooked consideration and will have a tremendous influence on whether or not you enjoy using it and whether or not you want to get on and use it again. Reviews are helpful, but do not rely on reviews alone.

2. Space and placementFolding treadmill

Know where you want to put the machine and measure the space before you go shopping. If you are considering a folding unit, know that this feature adds to the cost of any unit and ask yourself if it is a necessary feature, meaning will you actually fold it up when you are not using it.

3. Don’t think that just because you plan on walking that the motor isn’t important

Walking can, in many cases, create more work for a motor than running. This is because at slow speeds the amount of time your foot is in contact and “dragging” or being pulled across the deck surface is longer than when running. Your push off at the end of a running stride will also “push” the belt. This push is missing while at walking speeds. This “push” also occurs when walking at inclines, both of which assist the motor. When the motor is running fast it also has the assistance of inertia.

4. Programs are not bells and whistles

There is a varying degree of quality and effectiveness in programming options, but in general, programs should help you achieve your goals faster while keeping you engaged in your workout. Ask yourself if your current or past “routine” is getting or had gotten you the results you are after. Ask your sales consultant if the unit has any programs that are specific to the goal you are trying to achieve. Great examples of this would be Sprint 8®, Glute Burn, 5K, HR Control and Virtual Active™ programs.

5. Controls

Are the controls for speed and incline displayed and accessible in a way that is easy and comfortable for you to use when walking or running on the treadmill the way you will use it at home? Can you change speed and incline while running or walking at full stride or a high incline without jeopardizing your safety? Again, it is important that you try the treadmill before you buy it, go shopping in comfortable, preferably workout, clothing. Don’t forget to consider the design of the side steps: Are they wide enough, and are they slip resistant?

6. Where you buy is important

Buy from a dealership/salesperson that you can come back to for support and questions after the sale. Although a treadmill purchase can be a pricey endeavor, remember that it is still a mechanical item with many moving parts that must work in unison. And even the very best quality exercise equipment has the potential need for support and service.

7. Prepare yourself for an investment

Know that a quality treadmill should last you for many years and that it is a long-term investment. Although everyone should work within their budget, don’t skimp where you don’t have to. This purchase is a long-term commitment to yourself, and you’re worth it. You don’t want something you won’t enjoy, and you don’t want to buy a treadmill every couple of years.

Print these buying tips out, write them down or save them in a file on your computer. However you choose, make sure you consider these tips when walking into any fitness store to make the next treadmill purchase for your home.