Sunday, December 28, 2008

Cardio Kickboxing - Versatile and Effective Calorie-Burning Workout

By Robert Vecchioni

Cardio Kickboxing is truly a full body workout. The class involves both upper and lower body work, combining punches, kicks, simulated rope skipping and a variety of other drills designed to increase your cardiovascular fitness, as well as your overall strength and fitness.

The American Council on Exercise (ACE), a leading organization and certifying body in the field of fitness, notes that during a one hour kickboxing class, an individual can burn up to 800 calories!

At Electra Health Club and Spa, our own cardio boxing/kickboxing class “takes it up another notch” by utilizing free-standing punching bags. The addition of actual contact with a bag adds a great deal of intensity to the class, and by using strikes such as punches, kicks, elbows and knees with both power and speed, it is very possible to not only burn a large amount of calories but also to sculpt, build and tone muscle.

Another element of this class is that it provides a tremendous stress relief. Of course, any class that raises heart rate and releases endorphins is a natural stress reliever, but there is something about punching and kicking an object (and not hurting anyone!) that absolutely relieves stress in human beings. Sort of like a high energy pillow fight that goes on for an hour; who doesn’t feel great after that?!

A caveat is that this class is a high impact, intense class, so in the classic textbook definition, may not be for everyone. However, by making appropriate modifications both for your fitness level and your body limitations, it is a class that should be suitable for just about everyone.
Lastly, while this class does involve using a combination of kicks, punches and other strikes, it is not a class in which a person will necessarily develop self-defense skills. It is an aerobic based class, in which you will have fun burning calories and building muscle!

Electra does have a martial arts program onsite that is specific to the skills and techniques of self defense, and we encourage anyone who is interested in such to come in and visit our martial arts offerings.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Want Fast Results? Stabilize Your Cardio Workout

By Paul Boisvert

When thinking about losing body fat, most people automatically turn to aerobic exercise. Aerobic acivity occurs when a large muscle group is involved in a rhythmic movement for an extended period of time. In most cases, the hip and thigh muscles are the main muscle groups involved. Taking cycling, step, and kickboxing classes, as well as exercising on treadmills, stationary bikes and elliptical trainers are all considered aerobic exercises. The heart and lungs work together to supply the oxygen needed to sustain the exercise. The body also turns to its fuel stores of glycogen and fat to process energy for the activity.

All of these factors make sure that regular aerobic activity conditions your heart, lungs and muscles for more strength and endurance. It will also evict some of those body fat stores in the process. These facts are widely accepted by the general public.

However, one important factor is consistently overlooked. It is most noticeable when you look over to the treadmills and elliptical trainers and see their users slumped over the display board or leaning into the front handles.

This shows a lack of core strength and can cause workout results to drag at a snail’s pace. It may also put your lower back out of commission. The core muscles make up the body’s trunk and hips. Their job is to maintain a strong base while other muscle groups are involved in movement. These core muscles keep the base strong by enforcing proper body alignment or posture. For treadmills and elliptical trainers, it is more effective to let go of the handles and remain upright with your shoulders down and back. You will notice an increase in the intensity level as you include your core muscles in the workout.

All of Electra’s group fitness classes rely on core strength for effective workouts. One example is our indoor cycling class which depends heavily on the stabilizer muscles of the trunk for effectiveness. Without them, the legs would do more work than they need to. It’s better to start all classes at your own pace as you progressively learn how to use your core muscles more efficiently.

Consider this new factor as positive addition to your aerobic workout. Your metabolism will get a boost as new muscles develop and strengthen, the added intensity level will burn more calories, and maintaining proper alignment will help you gain more control of your body for better workouts.

Please Remember This:
Regular aerobic training, regular weight training, and a healthy meal plan are all needed to bring on the results.