Category: Workouts

The Beginners Guide To Indoor Biking For Better Fitness

The Beginners Guide To Indoor Biking For Better Fitness from Elevate Fitness Gyms in Syracuse, NY

Biking is a great way to burn calories. More and more people are embracing indoor biking today as a way of boosting their health and fitness. In this guide, we look at the benefits and some of the options available to you:

  1. Air Bikes 

If you are searching for a great bike to help you condition your body, an air bike is certainly the best choice. There is something for everyone when you are looking for an air bike, including beginner’s bikes and elite athlete air bikes. What makes these bikes different from the other types of indoor bikes available is that they have moving arm bars, meaning your entire body will get a good workout. Aside from this, these bikes come with a fan air resistance system, which will adapt to your efforts.

  1. Spin Bikes 

If you are searching for a good bike that will help you to burn heaps of calories,  a spin bike is a full choice. These bikes will give you full control of exertion and resistance. They are perfect when it comes to high-intensity indoor exercise. This type of equipment will help you recreate the type of effort that is needed if you ran the bike outdoors. 

  1. Upright Bikes

Another type of bike that you may want to consider is an upright bike. There are so many options to choose from on the market today when going down this route. These bikes are ideal for people suffering from pain in their lower back, as they offer a low-impact workout. These bikes will keep your spine erect and your abdomen tight, which is ideal with regards to providing an effective abdominal muscle workout, as well as also building muscles and flexibility in your thigh and hamstring.  

  1. Recumbent Bikes 

The last kind of bike that we would recommend is the recumbent bike. These bikes are basically the opposite of an upright bike. They are designed to give you a much more comfortable riding experience. The pedals on these bikes are pretty level with the seat, giving you a back to rest against. Aside from this, these bikes will not focus on the core overly. Rather, you will be concentrating on the legs. However, do not let the comfort fool you with this bike. Often, you can have a harder workout because you will be pedaling against gravity and the machine’s tensions. 

What are the health benefits associated with indoor fitness bikes?

As touched upon, there are many different health benefits you can expect to reap the rewards of with a fitness bike. We will touch upon these in further detail below…

  • They are great for toning – Stationary bikes can work wonders in terms of toning your lower body. This form of exercise will act on your calves, quads, hamstrings, and glutes. 
  • It is a low-impact form of cardio – Using a fitness bike offers low-impact cardio when compared with the likes of running and Zumba. It is a lot easier on your heart and joints.
  • They increase endurance – Stamina or endurance takes practice and time. However, adding a stationary bike to your workout regime is a great way to boost it. 
  • Improve balance – You can also improve gait, coordination, and balance with a stationary bike. 
  • Lower stress – Any form of exercise is beneficial in terms of stress reduction because you will release ‘feel good’ hormones. 
  • Boost brain function – There are a number of different studies that have proven that stationary biking helps to improve attention, memory, and cognitive function. 
  • Improve joint mobility – Cycling can also assist with improving the range of motion in your joints. This is beneficial for your hip joints, ankles, and knees.
  • Lower diabetes risk – Diabetes is linked to obesity. You can burn calories on a stationary bike to lose weight and reduce your diabetes risk.
  • Enhance strength – Adjust the wheel’s resistance so you pedal harder and improve strength. 
  • Improve heart health – Stationary biking enables your heart muscles to work harder, improving heart health. 
  • Weight loss – Of course, another benefit associated with this form of exercise is that it is great for weight loss, enabling you to burn anything from 40 to 80 calories in just ten minutes! You can get more help with this online.

So there you have it: everything you need to know about using an indoor bike for your workouts, as well as the health benefits that you will gain if you decide to take this approach when it comes to health and fitness. 

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The Best Glute-Building Exercises

The Best Glute-Building Exercises from Elevate Fitness Gyms in Syracuse, NY

Think you’re doing all the right things to tone your glutes? You might be surprised.

While squats and lunges are great exercises for the lower body, they may not be providing the stimulus your glutes need to really start firing.

And this is especially valid nowadays, when the majority of the population is sedentary, due to the nature of our modern-day work!

If you’re sitting for hours on end each day to get your work done, the odds are that your glutes have started atrophying.

And that is no good!

Weak glutes mean less lower-body strength and an increased chance of hip, knee, and lower back injuries.

In this post, we’ll outline the best glute-building exercises, so you can make sure you’re getting the most out of your lower body workouts.

So, read on – and get ready to sculpt a sexy backside!

Glute Anatomy

Before we get into any specific exercises for the glutes, it’d be good to understand the anatomy of that muscle group and what functions it has – This is how we can determine the best glute exercises.

Contrary to popular belief, the glutes are not just one big piece of muscle.

The glutes are made of 3 main components:

  1. Gluteus Maximus
  2. Gluteus Medius
  3. Gluteus Minimus

These three muscles work together to realize 3 main functions – Abduction, Extension & Rotation of the hip.

Besides that, the glute muscles help keep us upright, move forward and also aid the stability & balance of the hip!

Fun Fact: The Gluteus Maximus is the BIGGEST muscle in the body! And as such, it needs to be trained properly.

Why Are Glutes Important?

Okay, so far, you learned that the glutes serve a variety of important functions, are the biggest muscle group you have, AND are located right around the center of your body.

Contrary to popular belief, glutes are in fact a part of your core that keeps you stabilized, balanced and helps you generate power through a variety of movement patterns.

This is precisely why glute development is essential!

A set of properly developed glutes will:

  1. Make you more balanced
  2. Help during all lower-body movements
  3. Make you stronger
  4. Help prevent lower back/knee injuries
  5. Make you look sexier naked (regardless of gender)

How To Train Your Glutes

And so, how can you target your glutes and develop them to the best extent possible?

Well, the answer is simple – Choose exercises that target the glutes through all their main functions and overload on those exercises!

Now let us show you our three favorite exercises and then some worthy mentions!

#1 Ah, Yes, Squats!

If there was one single exercise that would be the epitome for lower-body strength, functionality, and development, that would likely be the squat!

Even more so, squatting is one of the most natural movements anyone can do.

During a squat, your quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings work together to move you up and down.

Additionally, the calves, lower back & abs help keep your body upright and stabilized.

So, hey, if you want well-developed glutes and lower body as a whole, don’t forget your squat movements!

Barbell squats, dumbbell squats, hack squats, machine squats, front squats, sumo squats, cannonball squats, etc, etc.

#2 Deadlifts

The second essential hip movement is the deadlift – This is a hip-hinge movement that promotes hip flexion/extension.

The best part of this exercise is perhaps the strong glute flex you get after a nice, deep stretch of the hamstrings.

Generally speaking, most types of deadlifts target the glutes, but if you want to emphasize them, try deadlift movements where your legs are only slightly bent at the knees.

The best one for this purpose is, without a doubt, the Romanian deadlift.

Make sure to initiate the movement up with your glutes and flex them hard up top!

#3 Hip Thrusts

Last but not least, we have hip thrusts!

There aren’t really many exercises that can target the glutes like hip thrusts, mainly because this movement focuses on the primary function of the muscle group.

The gluteus maximus is the primary mover in this exercise, meaning that the hip thrust is quite a direct glute movement, unlike the squats and deadlifts, where the glutes work with surrounding muscle groups in synergy.

The best part? As an exercise, the hip thrust can easily be overloaded on as the glutes get stronger and stronger!

Besides… It also brings a variety of hormonal and motor-movement pattern benefits in bed, too ;)

Worthy Mentions

Though these 3 are our main choices for glute exercises, there are some other movements worth mentioning!

Here are some other movements you should consider including in your training routine:

  1. Sprints
  2. Leg kickbacks
  3. Fire hydrants
  4. Side leg raises

Take-Home Message

When it comes to your glutes, you can’t have enough of a good thing!

So if you’re looking for the best exercises that will help build muscle and tone up your butt, these are definitely worth trying.

And don’t forget – strong glutes are important because they support us when we move, which is key in preventing injury.

If you want more information about how to develop the body of your dreams or need some guidance on the form so that you can do them safely, let us know!

Our trainers would be happy to work one-on-one with you to create an exercise program tailored just for what YOU need.

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The Big Guns Challenge

The Elevate Fitness Big Guns Challenge

There are few pleasures in life as satisfying as big biceps and triceps.

If you want to get the most out of your arm workouts, it’s important to know which bicep exercises work for building mass, and which tricep exercises will help bring out that coveted “peak.”

In this article, we’ll go over some bicep and triceps training tips that can help pack on serious size.

With all of the information provided, we’ll set you off on a 1-month challenge for you to see how much your arms can actually grow!

Now let’s get to the main sauce!

Arm Anatomy

Before we get to the actionable part where we tell you exactly what to do to grow your arms, let’s briefly explain the anatomy of your arms, to better understand how to actually stimulate them.

Here’s a simple breakdown – The upper arm is made of two primary muscle groups:

  1. The biceps
  2. The triceps

These are opposite in placement and function, meaning that when one of them contracts, the other relaxes.

The Biceps

This first muscle group is responsible for flexion of the arm at the elbow, as well as rotation of the wrist.

The biceps are engaged during pulling movements, such as pull-ups, rows and bicep curls.

Its name “biceps” is derived from “bi” meaning “two” and “ceps” meaning “head”, implying that the bicep is a two-headed muscle.

The long head of the biceps is found on the outside of the arm and it forms the so-desired “bicep peak”.

Oppositely, the short head is on the inside of the arm and gives a bulkier, wider look to the arm.

The Triceps

Though the biceps is commonly targeted to grow bigger arms, the truth is that the triceps make up the bigger portion of your upper arm.

By the name, you can tell that the tricep is a 3-headed muscle, that has two heads on the inside of the arm, and one head on the side of the arm.

When properly developed, the triceps will give your arm a more swept, aesthetically pleasing look.

Oh, and it will support you in your other pushing movements!

Triceps are engaged during pushing movements, such as bench press, overhead press, triceps press, dips, push-ups, etc.

The 3-Week Big Guns Challenge

Alright, to really target the arms now, we have to pick exercises that engage all the zones of both muscle groups.

Below, you can find a list of exercises for the biceps and the triceps.

Pick two for each muscle group and carry on with reading our guidelines towards week 1!

Biceps Exercises

Triceps Exercises

Straight Barbell Curls

Close Grip Bench Press

Standing Alternating Dumbbell Curls

Overhead Dumbbell Triceps Press

Close Grip Z-Bar Curls

Straight Bar Cable Pressdown

Hammer Curls

Dumbbell Kickback

Preacher Curls

Parallel Bar Dips

Incline Dumbbell Curls

Bench Tricep Dips

Week 1

In week 1 of the challenge, you have two very simple tasks:

  1. Pick one biceps exercise and place it in your back day training routine, doing 4 high-effort sets of 8-10 repetitions, taken close to failure
  2. Pick one triceps exercise and place it in your chest day training routine, doing 4 high-effort sets of 8-10 repetitions, taken close to failure.

NOTE: If you’re training chest and back twice in a week, do this twice with different exercises every time. Track your recovery and if pushing/pulling performance starts lagging, reduce direct arm work volume as needed.

Week 2

During the second portion of this challenge, you will take the same concept and apply one fundamental principle of muscle growth, namely progressive overload.

Progressive overload implies an increase in training load, which can be done by either means:

  1. Increasing the working weight
  2. Increasing the number of repetitions
  3. Increasing the number of sets

And so, in week 2 of the challenge, copy the exact same thing you did in week 1, but do an extra rep and weight here and there.

Focus your effort!

Week 3

In week 3 of this challenge, it is time to take a rest from the same exercises you’ve been overloading on for the past two weeks and do something else.

Pick one different exercise for the biceps and one for the triceps, add it to your back/chest days respectively just like you did previously.

HOWEVER, instead of focusing on lifting as heavy as possible, lift a challenging weight but maintain a slow, focused pace that places all the tension on the working muscle groups.

This will again be means of progressively overloading, as you are increasing the mechanical tension, but in a way less aggressive manner that does not require redline exertion.

Rinse And Repeat…

The 3-week challenge wasn’t really made to shortcut your way to 18-inch guns…

In reality, this challenge is about feeling and doing what you have to do consistently, to grow your guns big.

After week 3 is over, take these same principles and exercises and continue doing what you’ve been doing so far – Progressively training!

Pair this with a slight caloric surplus and you will be well on your way to increasing the size of your arms.


If you really want to achieve results going through this challenge, you will need some further knowledge.

Here are some tips for you:

  1. When picking biceps exercises, pick ones with different wrist positions – An exercise with supinated wrists (palms facing the front) will target the bicep peak, while a pronated wrist would engage the short head on the inside of the arm.
  2. Do the same for triceps – Pick movements where the elbows are at different positions relative to the body
  3. Overload on pushing/pulling exercises that target the biceps/triceps indirectly (i.e pull-ups, chest presses, etc.)
  4. Flex your arms! Do double biceps, side triceps and other bodybuilding poses – These will bring out the details in your arms!
  5. Stay consistent – Arms are long and hard to fill out! Focus your effort and results will be seen over time.

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The Truth About Fitness Bands and How to Use Them to Step Up Your Workouts

Imagine spending more than $100 for a fitness band and then finding out you’re gaining weight. Some people love these activity trackers, but others struggle to figure them out.

Learn how to use your fitness band to reach your weight loss goals and enhance your health.

The Truth About Fitness Bands and How to Use Them to Step Up Your Workouts from Elevate Fitness Gyms in Syracuse, NY

Tips for if You Struggle With Your Fitness Bands

If you and your fitness band got off to a rocky start, you can still turn things around. A few tweaks can overcome some of the most common challenges.

  1. Shop around. You’ll find plenty of choices when it comes to picking a fitness accessory. Maybe you want a sporty bracelet or an inconspicuous clip on. Consider the features you’ll be using. You could even start out with a free fitness app so you’ll have a better idea of whether you want a simple tracker or a more elaborate model.
  2. Deemphasize calories. Whatever your fitness band says, know that your calorie needs vary widely based on factors such as muscle mass and body size. Focus on your overall wellbeing, rather than a strict calorie count.
  3. Listen to your body. Tune into what your body is trying to tell you. A sore elbow could suggest that it’s time for a day of rest instead of tennis. Some days your hamstrings will feel tight, and other days they’ll stretch easily.
  1. Connect with others. Technology is exciting, but social support is also valuable. Ask a trainer at your gym about how to vary your workouts. Invite a friend to join you for a swim.
  2. Pace yourself. Sustainable weight loss and fitness gains happen gradually. Set short term goals to maintain your enthusiasm for the long haul.
  3. Watch for diet plateaus. It’s natural to hit a stage in your diet when it becomes more difficult to shed pounds. As long as you feel fit, give yourself a break until your body catches up with the changes you’re making.
  4. Cut back on sugar. Sugar causes our bodies to produce insulin and store fat more than other kinds of calories. The same is true for simple carbohydrates, like white rice or white bread. Try eating more lean proteins, vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats.
  5. Contact the manufacturer. Has your fitness band been recalled for defects? Some models may irritate skin or sustain water damage.

Tips for if You Love Your Fitness Bands

Maybe you’re already seeing impressive results. All you need are a few suggestions on how to make the most of your investment.

  1. Live mindfully. For many, increased self-awareness is the greatest benefit of using a fitness tracking device. You may be surprised to find out how much you truly eat or how little you exercise each week.
  2. Feel motivated. Monitoring your progress may encourage you to resist temptations and be more consistent. The gratification of reaching your goals will drive you to show up for yoga class even when you feel like going shopping instead.
  3. Adjust your lifestyle. Frequent reminders help you form more positive habits. For example, your fitness band can even let you know the quality of your sleep.
  4. Talk with your doctor. Today’s fitness bands can do so much more than the old-fashioned pedometers that just measured movement. You may be able to manage all kinds of medical conditions better by tracking your heart rate, blood pressure, and cholesterol.

Fitness bands offer valuable support while you’re working towards your health goals. Monitoring your results gives you the motivation and solid data you need to stay in shape.

Need a place to practice with your fitness bands?

Are you sure you did your push-ups?

Are you sure you did your push-ups with Elevate Fitness Gyms in Syracuse

If your attitude towards physical exercise is the same as If it were a chore then you probably hate doing it.

The psychological barrier towards the word “chore” is that of something that will most certainly not be fun. And this is completely normal.

We don’t do chores, just because we feel like it, or find it fun. Chores are the thing the grown-up life makes you do whether you like it, or not.

For example, If a person wants to clean the bathroom, he or she wouldn’t postpone it until there are guests arriving, right?

Or do his homework, If not for his parents banning something he or she likes to do.

Well then, why can’t we presume there is a possibility your close friend that goes to the gym 4 times a week is lying to you?

I want one!

Procrastination plays a major role in today’s society. It starts out with the younger generation and before you know it people of all ages start doing it.

We encounter whole classrooms, offices and work environments that live by the idea that “It can wait until tomorrow”, or “Someone else will do it”.

But, of course, no one wants to seem lazy in the eyes of their peers, so then we lie. What about? Well, for one thing, how well they follow their dietary plan and how much they work out.

The result of that is the number of people that complain that they don’t have the body they want, nor the muscle mass they wish to.

And here comes the big question…

Are you sure you’re doing it right?

Maybe, just maybe, you are one of the people that don’t have the body you crave to see in the mirror. You do some exercises now and then and you wait to see the veins on your muscles explode. Maybe you’re doing something wrong.

If you have even the slightest of doubt that you may be a little over your head in the gym then these next tips could work for you.

Is there variation?

A lot of people mistake the idea of exercise for something that is supposed to be on repeat. That’s false.

The more you do the same exercises, no matter in, or outside the gym, your body just gets used to the pressure and you don’t get any results.

Maintaining a diverse work out regimen helps your muscle form build better structure and mass.

Stretch, before you bench

Stretching before doing your exercise is key for a safe, well-planned and efficient work out.

If you want to preserve and prepare your muscles for a training session that will help them grow, then remember to always stretch.

And the reason why we are all here…

Not training hard enough!

At the end of the day you have to come clean to yourself – you don’t do enough to get what you want.

I’m not talking about the hours, the sweat, the weights or the money you’ve put in it, you are not giving it all. And the idea is not to give more of that, but do more, when you don’t feel like doing it!

Making yourself admit that you need to ask more from you, is the moment that will change your thinking towards what you really want.

You need to wake up in the morning wanting this, and I’m not even talking about exercise anymore, and go out there and do it. Falling down, then getting up and starting again.

The real battle is happening inside your head and you, and only you, know what needs to be done. 

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Stretching – Should You Do It?

Stretching is widely regarded as a means of improving flexibility and preventing injury, but for many, it’s just a dull routine before exercise.

Stretching can be pretty boring so often people rush through their exercises without really thinking about the reasons behind implementing certain practices before their workout.

But truth be told, it’s not just a pointless activity as it can greatly help with recovery and the overall feeling of your muscles.

In this article, we’ll give you insight on the types of stretching one can do, as well as WHEN you should do it!

Without further ado, let’s get to it!

Stretching - Should You Do It? with Elevate Fitness Gyms in Syracuse, NY

Types Of Stretching

Stretching is divided into two main categories: Static Stretching and Dynamic Stretching.

Each of those can

Static Stretching

This type of stretching consists in holding a position for a prolonged period of time to achieve physical flexibility.

Stretches are usually held at the maximum point of tension for 30 seconds, causing muscles to relax.

This type of stretching is perfect to do after a workout when you are trying to relax the musculature.

However, you should avoid doing this before a workout and instead, focus on exercises that focus on the opposite side of muscular contraction – The activation!

Dynamic Stretching

In contrast to static stretches, dynamic stretches have a natural flow of movement as their main purpose is to prepare the body for activity.

Dynamic Stretching is a type of exercise that moves the muscles and joints through a full range of motion, coordinating multiple muscle groups in order to increase overall flexibility.

Not only does this help with your flexibility, but it also serves as a great warmup before any workout!

When To Stretch?

So now you probably know what types of stretching there are. But do you know when should you stretch? Stretching can be done at almost any time, but you should keep certain factors in mind.

Here’s our list (in no particular order):

  1. Before a workout

Contrary to popular belief, static stretches are in fact counterproductive if you do them before your workout.

This is simply because static stretching relaxes the musculature and brings the feeling of relaxation.

Of course, this is counterproductive to an intense workout, where the goal is to progressively recruit and activate more and more muscle fibers.

If you do stretching before a workout, make sure to do dynamic stretching, rather than static stretching.

Dynamic stretching, as mentioned previously, is perfect for muscle activation, thus preparing the musculature for the workout ahead.

  1. After a workout

During intense workouts, we heavily engage the muscle fibers and the nervous system.

With time, the connective tissue (called the ‘fascia’ ) that covers all muscles gets tense and that tension needs to somehow be relieved.

If you don’t have the chance to get a weekly deep-tissue massage, you can instead rely on post-workout static stretching!

  1. On off days

Unsure what to do on your day off? Well, think of your rest day as the time when you are actively recovering.

Recovery practices like stretching are perfect to prime your musculature for your next training cycle.

On your next day off, try doing some light cardio for 20-30 minutes, followed by a full-body stretching routine!

Take-Home Message

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t really need to stretch your muscles prior to a heavy workout.

Even more so, this is counter-productive and may increase the chance of injury, besides robbing you of performance.

Flex your muscles before a workout, stretch them after a workout and implement stretching sessions on off days to aid recovery!

Need a place to stretch? Try Elevate Fitness.

Why Mindfulness Is Important for Your Workout

A workout for the sole purpose of physical exercise can only have limited health benefits. It can help you stay fit to some level and boost your serotonin levels to some points.

But, when you add mindfulness into your workout, it becomes the secret ingredient to overall well-being, including physical and mental health.

Before we move on to the positive effect of mindfulness on your workout, let’s explain what a mindful workout is.

Why Mindfulness Is Important for Your Workout with Elevate Fitness Gyms in Syracuse, NY

What is a Mindful Workout?

A mindful workout is part of the holistic approach to physical activities. It helps you understand better what is happening in your body and utilize the knowledge to improve your physical and mental strength.

A mindful workout is most commonly in nature, it helps you use all senses, by leaving your headphones at home. You become aware of every breath and the sensations in your body while doing different movements.

Mindfulness during a workout also includes being present in the moment and aware of your thoughts, potential discomfort, and the sensations in your feet while they touch the ground. It helps you truly experience every second of your workout and get the most out of it.

Let’s take mindful running, for example, to describe the benefits of mindful workouts.

How Does Mindfulness Affect Your Workout?

By being concentrated on your mind and body, mindfulness reduces external distractions. Therefore, you are more relaxed, without thinking about your speed, distance, personal records, etc.

By maintaining internal focus, you are ready to overcome your limitations. But, because you are focused on the sensations in your body, the injuries are less likely to happen. You’ll notice the signs of discomfort and expand your limitations.

How to Do Mindfulness Running?

The first thing to remember when practicing mindful workouts is to breathe through your nose. Mouth breathing is part of the stress-induced changes in your breathing, so nose breathing helps you relax and get into the right mood.

Mindfulness is all about the mind-body connection, so try to keep the inner conversation with your body. Let go of the social expectations and social distractions, timings, tracking devices, points, or anything similar, which can shift your focus from internal feelings to external activities and objects. Don’t measure time and think about the technique.

Before you start your workout, prepare for the mindful experience. Do a quick meditation to get out of the state of stress and prepare for the next activity. Five or ten minutes of deep breathing and mindfulness exercises will be enough to get you in the right state of mind for your workout.

How to Start Mindfulness Running?

Once you’ve done the prep work, it is time to engage your focus on your sensations and mind. Start slowly and listen to your body to adjust your pace. Check for the physical sensations as you speed up or slow down.

If your health and breath rate speed up, feel the warming up in your body, the heart beating in your chest, experience every sensation in your muscle.

Maintain that state of mind and internal focus, but try not to think about the sensations, just feel them.

What about Your Thoughts?

Once you maintain the awareness of bodily sensations, focus on your mind. Stop replaying situations and scenarios in your head, and use running (or any other workout) as a time to express gratitude for your physical health.

If you feel like your thoughts are getting out of control, focus on breathing. It will help you calm down in an instant and gain control over your mindful workout.

 Don’t think about the end line, feel every step and movement. Slowly, you’ll increase your abilities and enjoy your workouts more!

Have you ever tried mindful workouts? Did you like it?

If the article gets you interested in mindful workouts, please consider sharing it with your friends and family.

Need a place to practice mindful workouts? Try Elevate Fitness!

Is Cardio a waste of time or a useful tool?

Since the dawn of the fitness industry, cardio has been used by bodybuilders and novices to achieve one goal – decrease body fat percentage.

It is not a secret that many athletes want that six-pack and the first thing that is associated with nice-looking abdominal muscles is cardio…

However, is cardio really that useful for dropping these extra kilos or is it just a waste of time?

Well, today we are going to find that out, but first…

Is Cardio a waste of time or a useful tool with Elevate Fitness Gyms in Syracuse, NY

What is the price of cardio?

Though cardio may offer a variety of benefits that can help us get closer to the ultimate goal of burning extra calories and losing weight, there are hidden costs to it…

So let’s have a look at those!

Cardio is time-consuming.

We live in a world where everything moves fast and if we are not adaptive, we may fall behind.

Putting these extra 30-40 minutes after training is something not many people could afford.

Students, working adults, pregnant women, and entrepreneurs are managing their schedules very strictly and don’t have any spare minutes.

We know for sure that our time is our most valuable asset, so we should spend it wisely.

Furthermore, time spent on cardio is NOT the only price we pay.

Cardio right after strength training decreases our performance.

Our anaerobic work (weight lifting) suffers when we combine it with aerobic work (cardio)

In other words, doing cardio right after our strength training is NOT a good idea.

These are two different types of stress for our body and they require the adaptation of two different types of muscle tissues.

We want to be as efficient as possible.

That’s why we shouldn’t be doing cardio right after our weight lifting session.

But does this mean that cardio is bad for us and we shouldn’t be doing it at all?

Let’s find out in the next paragraph…

Should we totally exclude cardio from our training?

It really depends on our goals.

For instance, if you are trying to lose some body fat for the summer because you want to look good on the beach, then cardio might not be necessary.

Walking 10k steps per day or adding some other aerobic work such as swimming, running or cycling is a great way to increase your physical activity.

However, if we are preparing for a bodybuilding competition or a photoshoot, then cardio might be able to come in handy.

“But you said that cardio right after training will make our progress in the gym suffer.”

Yes, and the solution is simple.

You should split the cardio from your strength training!

Simply, do cardio a couple of times per week when you are NOT having a weight lifting session at the gym.

If you are very busy on your rest days, you can try doing cardio in the morning and then have strength training in the evening.

If your goal is to lose body fat as fast as possible, leave cardio for the last couple of weeks of your plan.

Keep your physical activity high and progressively add cardio if you feel that you’ve hit a plateau.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Strength training burns more calories than cardio
  • HIIT training burns more calories than cardio and requires less time


Cardio is NOT a magical tool that makes you lose fat.

It is just a tool to increase your physical activity and burn more calories.

Cardio could be used to manipulate our calorie consumption. In other words, you could eat your favorite cake IF you have burned some extra calories this day (via cardio)

Focus on progressing on the compound movements in the long-term and walk more.

Take the stairs, instead of the elevator, park further away from the supermarket.

Implement cardio ONLY if it gives you pleasure and you can afford to spend your time on the cardio machines.

We hope that this article helped you understand some important information on this “magical” thing called cardio.

If so, feel free to spread the love by sharing it with a friend who might need to read this.

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How To Train Smart: Understanding the Variables

“Hey bro, I found this sick Dwayne Johnson workout on the internet and I’m about to try it out today, I’m so pumped!” 

If you’ve heard this in the gym, odds are you’ve stumbled upon someone who does not really know what to do with their training plan and is, well, experimenting.

Which is not bad, really!

However, much like anything, training is precise mathematics and you need to understand each variable and factor affecting the end result and create your plan based on that.

And so, if you are over those celebrity workouts and are ready to get in the best shape of your life, keep reading!

How to Train Smarter with Elevate Fitness Gyms in Syracuse

Training Fundamentals

To find out what the best training regimen for you is, you have to first and foremost understand the backend of your workouts.

A workout can be measured using 3 main variables:

  1. Intensity
  2. Volume
  3. Density

Essentially, intensity shows how close you are to your maximum strength capabilities – The heavier the weight, the higher the intensity.

Volume measures the total amount of weight lifted in kilograms or pounds – To calculate volume, you take the working weight and multiply it by the number of sets and reps (100 kg x 10 reps x 2 sets = 2000 kg total volume)

Density measures your volume, relative to the total time needed for its completion including rest times, and is measured in kilograms per minute (i.e 2000 kg volume completed for 2 minutes would be a density of 1000 kg/minute)

Ok, I’m Confused, Why Do I Need This?

Understanding the different training variables presented above is essential for being able to create the correct training stimulus.

Let’s have a look at the variables and how you can set them up for certain results.


The level of intensity, or in other words, how close you get to your maximum strength capabilities, will determine the recruitment of muscle fibers, as well as the stimulus for certain adaptations. (i.e strength gains, bulk muscle growth)

Intensity (%)



This is the warm-up zone, you don’t want to be here for too long if you’re trying to grow muscle!


On here, more and more muscle fibers get recruited – This is a good zone to go through before your heavier working sets


This is the intensity zone where you can do moderate to heavy weight sets for 6-15 repetitions, until failure. 

Focus on this zone if you want bodybuilder-like muscle growth!


In this intensity zone, you can do 1-5 repetitions with a really heavy weight. 

This is known as the powerlifting zone and mainly results in maximum strength gains.

If you are training in the bodybuilder intensity zone, do include this powerlifting one every now and then.



One of the interesting things is that in terms of muscle growth, it doesn’t really matter if you will train in the 65-80% intensity range or the 85-100%, as long as volume is equated.

However, the 65-80% range allows for greater volume to be put out, more easily, due to its less strenuous nature.

Below is a volume cheat sheet, which can help you determine the number of sets depending on your training experience.

Training experience

Volume (per muscle group, per week)


~5 Challenging Working Sets


~10 Challenging Working Sets


15-20+ Challenging Working Sets


Note that a “challenging working set” implies a working set that is taken close to failure (1-4 reps in reserve).

What About Density?

Though many people pay attention to the weight (intensity) and the number of sets and reps (volume), no one really cares about density.

And let us tell you this – Density is important when you are trying to achieve the highest volume of greatest quality possible in your workout because density is dictated by rest times.

For instance, if you do a set of 5 reps using 100 kg and only rest 1 minute, odds are that you will only get 3-4 reps on the next set.

On the other hand, if you take 2-3 minutes of rest between each set, you will be able to sustain sets of 5 and thus, your quality volume will be greater.

Spread that density, both in your workouts and in your entire training plan!

Here’s a rest times cheat sheet:


Rest Times


1 minute


2-3 minutes


4-15 minutes


Take-Home Message

On the back end of your workouts, are different ratios of the 3 main training variables which we discussed in this article.

Now that you have an idea about these training variables and how their different ratios create different end results, let’s hop onto part two of this article series, where we’ll talk about understanding your goals and actually creating the training plan!

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Should You Train To Failure?

If you’ve watched the movie “Pumping Iron” you have probably seen the hardcore, peak intensity training that bodybuilders in the Golden Era went through.

Some of those bodybuilders, like Serge Nubret, swore by the effectiveness of training to failure… On EVERY SET!

And well, the truth is that for most of us, reaching failure on every working set will lead to burnout quite quickly.

This is why it is important to understand this concept and learn how to integrate it in your training regimen properly.

So let’s dive straight into this and discuss training to failure, shall we?

Should You Train To Failure with Elevate Fitness Gym in Syracuse

The Intensity Factor

In sports science and weight training, intensity measures how close you get to your maximum strength capabilities.

To put it simply, the heavier the weight you lift, the higher the intensity, meaning that technically, your one rep max (1RM) represents 100% intensity for you on a given exercise.

For example, if you can bench press 100 kg for one single rep, and fail to do a second rep unassisted, 100 kg is 100% intensity for you on the bench press.

Muscle Activation

One of the more important things to remember, is that the heavier you lift, the more fast-twitch muscle fibers are activated.

Fast-twitch fibers are the stronger, more powerful muscle fibers, which can exert great amounts of force, explosively.

However, fiber recruitment is the primary means of lifting heavier, only up until ~80% of your maximum strength capabilities (intensity).

Going above 85% and until failure is only possible with an increased frequency of brain to muscle signals.

What Does This Mean For Me?

With this information in mind, it is quite clear that training to failure is way more strenuous for the nervous system.

Nevertheless, reaching muscular failure is quite the powerful stimulus as well, but due to its strenuous nature, it should be properly implemented into your routine.

Generally, you should test around muscle failure, by only taking 1 set for each muscle group to failure, per week and working up from there.

If you go overboard with failure, you will experience:

  • Joint/ligament aches
  • Prolonged muscle exhaustion
  • Lowered strength capabilities

Monitor those and adjust the volume of failure sets in your training split accordingly!

Failure And Muscle Growth

Some of the legends like Arnold & Serge can sell you on the idea that reaching failure is ESSENTIAL.

However, modern studies suggest that staying 2-5 repetitions shy of failure is more beneficial for muscle growth, than training to failure.

Nevertheless, each and everyone reacts differently to certain stimuli, so your best bet is to, again, test around!

Take-Home Message

Carefully managing your training intensity will allow you to optimize your quality training volume in the long-term, thus creating a better stimulus and maximizing gains.

Improper implementation of training to failure can prevent this from happening, due to its innate ability to, well, fry your nervous system!

This is why, your main means of creating greater stimulus, should be to increase training weight, number of repetitions and sets, and also, opening up better recovery windows between sets.

Only when you have this covered, you should consider implementing sets to failure, in which case, you can start with just one set and see how far you can take it.

Train smart, not hard!

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The 3 Training Factors

The 3 Training Factors from Elevate Fitness Gym in Syracuse

If you’ve been in the game of training for some time, or are relatively new and are just gathering information, you probably know that training progress is only achieved by creating proper stimulus. 

And while you can look for workouts on the internet, there is one very important thing to learn and understand – What’s actually happening beneath your skin when you’re training, that leads to progress?

In this article, we’re going to look at the 3 most important factors in your workout that induce sufficient stimulus for progress. 

The Muscles 

Before we dive deep into those 3, let us just tell you that your musculature is a complex system, built for high performance. 

The muscle tissue is very adaptive and for that reason, it grows stronger and bigger if it has to do a lot of work. 

Oppositely, if it doesn’t do any work, it will get weaker – If you don’t use it, you lose it! 

The 3 Factors – Metabolic Stress, Mechanical Tension, Muscle Damage 

When we look into the science of muscle growth, it appears that these 3 factors are the primary contributors that trigger the pathways that lead to muscle growth. 

Let’s have a look at why that actually makes sense 

In order to grow and adapt, the muscles need more mechanical tension, created by the progressively increasing training load (more weight, sets, reps). 

When exposed to a new load that the muscles have never experienced before, the muscles are technically overloaded. 

In turn, to endure this, the muscles send signals to satellite cells, which bind to the damaged muscle cells and in result, the muscle adapts and grows. 

This implies that mechanical tension is what induces muscle damage and that therefore sets off a flurry of reactions in the body that allow the muscle to recover and increase its volume, capacity and efficiency. 

Pretty cool, right? 

What About Metabolic Stress? 

The third important factor for muscle development is metabolic stress, which may sound like a fancy term but let us explain. 

Basically, while you are training at a high intensity with weights, you use up a lot of the muscles’ energy 

Needless to say, all this energy is broken down into byproducts, which we refer to as “metabolites”. 

These metabolites act as “anabolic signals” that, again, set off a hurricane of anabolic (constructive) processes that allow for muscle recovery and adaptation. 

How Should I Train, Then? 

Generally, in your workouts, you should look for a balance of effort and volume. 

For instance, lifting just the bar for 100 repetitions won’t really cut it. 

Choose a weight that is challenging enough to take you through a set of 6-10 reps, but just a couple of reps shy of failure. 

Use challenging weights and do 10-20 of those, per muscle group, per week. 

You should even consider going down to the strength rep range of 1-5 repetitions. 

All of this will help you create a strong, aesthetic, stamina-abundant body, which, with the right approach, you can take to your older years. 

To Wrap It Up

It appears that metabolic stress, mechanical tension and muscle damage are the 3 primary factors that set off the reactions that allow the muscles to adapt and grow stronger. 

Neither one alone will be optimal, which is why in practice, you should rely on challenging lifts in your workouts, in sets that take you close to failure. 

Train smart, stay consistent!

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Healthy Tips for Daily Workouts

Healthy Tips for Daily Workouts from Elevate Fitness Gyms in Syracuse NY

Do you want to make working out a part of your daily routine? Exercising has compounding benefits. Working out regularly can uplift your mood, reduce your risk of illness, and help you get better sleep. 

In the long run, working out every day can help keep you mobile, agile, and moving. It can also help you live longer. 

To receive the most benefits from working out each day, it’s beneficial to change up the exercises in your routine. Doing different types of exercises can also help to reduce your chance of injury. 

Research has shown that it’s important to integrate all four main types of exercise into your routine.

These are the four types of exercises to include in your routine:


  1. Endurance. Endurance exercises increase your breathing and heart rate. To build endurance, do aerobic or cardio exercises, like jogging, swimming, dancing, cycling, climbing stairs, or HIIT.

  2. Strength. Strength exercises build your muscles, strengthen bones, and manage weight. These exercises are workouts that incorporate resistance including lifting weights, push-ups, arm curls, or using a resistance band.

  3. Balance. These exercises help prevent falls in the long run. Balance exercises include yoga, tai chi, and balancing on a single leg.

  4. Flexibility. Flexibility exercises increase our mobility and reduce pain. Exercises to work out your flexibility include yoga and stretching. 

You might be tempted to solely focus on your favorite type of exercise. Research has shown, however, that it’s important to receive the different benefits by integrating all four types into your routine.

Luckily, when you improve in one area (like endurance), the other areas (like strength exercises) can also become easier.

But most importantly, start with finding the motivation to work out every day!

Follow these tips to work out every day:


  1. Start with two minutes. When it comes to creating a new daily habit, make it as easy as possible to get started. Transition into the routine of working out by starting with two minutes. After two minutes, do you want to continue? If so, keep going! If not, show up again tomorrow.
  2. Make it easy to exercise. The ultimate mind hack to exercise is making it easy.
  •     The day before, decide the time and place you will work out.
  •     Prepare your workout clothes in a specific, open place each day.
  •     Prepare your food, shoes, and hydration the night before.
  1. Attend a class or hire a personal trainer. If you struggle exercising by yourself, make it social! Sign up for fitness classes or hire a personal trainer. This will help motivate you to work out, as well as give you direction in your workout plan.

  2. Choose consistency over intensity. If you choose an intense workout every day, you might burn out. To avoid losing your motivation, choose to be consistent with your exercise instead of sticking to a rigid “all or nothing” plan.

  3. Write down the benefits. Studies show that permanent change comes from reminding yourself of benefits associated with committing to fitness goals. What benefits are you working towards? Maybe you will get more energy, lose weight, or feel more confident.

It can be a challenge to fit exercise into your already existing schedule. Don’t be afraid to start small as you integrate working out into your daily life. To start, commit to showing up for a short period of time each day.

Remember to give your muscles time to recover. Pushing yourself too hard during a workout can also be damaging. If you feel lethargic or tired, allow yourself to rest.

Exercise can greatly benefit your life. It’s all about finding the motivation to get started!

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Liven Up Your Workout Routine With Kettlebells

Liven Up Your Workout Routine With Kettlebells at Elevate Fitness Gyms in Syracuse

Russian bodybuilders used kettlebells centuries ago and they’re making a big comeback now. People are discovering how effective they are for shaping up and losing weight in less time. Liven up your workout routine and learn how to use these weights safely.

Fun Facts About Kettlebells

  1.     Go back in history. Russian strongmen first started using kettlebells in Russia in the 1700s. You may have seen these objects that look like cannonballs with handles in old bodybuilder pictures or hardcore gyms. Now they’re becoming popular again.
  2.     Feel like a celebrity. Some famous movie stars and athletes train with kettlebells. You’ll have something in common with Sylvester Stallone, Jennifer Aniston, Penelope Cruz and many football players.
  3.     Burn up more calories. Kettlebell workouts are very intense and target your whole body. Some experts estimate that it’s typical to burn about 20 calories per minute. That’s more than three times the average for a regular aerobics class.

Working Out With Kettlebells

  1. Purchase your equipment. You can buy weights online or in sporting goods stores. The exact prices will depend on the poundage. It may be economical to buy them in sets to keep up with the progress you’ll make.
  2.     Enjoy a full body workout. What makes these workouts so special is the way they work everything at once. You get cardiovascular and strength training combined. You even increase the stability of your core muscles as your body works to balance itself.
  3.     Learn the whole circuit. The best way to train is to complete a full circuit of different exercises. You’ll learn to swing the weights as well as to pass them from one hand to the other.
  4.     Adapt your old dumbbell exercises. Even though you’ll be learning a new approach with different equipment, you can make use of what you already know. Some moves like shoulder presses and flys will be familiar if you ever trained with dumbbells.
  5.     Supplement with other activities. Schedule a variety of exercise types to liven up your workouts and maintain interest. Alternate kettlebell days with other activities like hiking or yoga classes.

Additional Tips for Your Best Results

  1. Talk with your doctor. Kettlebell workouts are safe for most people, but you may want to talk with your doctor first. This is especially true if you’ve been sedentary for a prolonged time or you’re over 50.
  2.     Seek out qualified instructions. Proper technique is crucial to avoiding injuries and reaching your fitness goals. You can work with an individual trainer or call gyms in your community to see if they have group classes.
  3.     Use the correct weight. Give your muscles time to build up their capacity. Using lighter weights will let you concentrate on learning the correct form. From there, you can work your way up to the big weights.
  4.     Remain mindful. Once you get into the routine of completing your circuit of exercises, it may be tempting to let your thoughts drift, but try to pay attention. In addition to protecting you from accidents, concentrating your mind plays a big role in sculpting your body.
  5.     Protect your hands. You’ll love how kettlebells are tough on fat, but you may be concerned about what they can do to your hands. Give them some extra care. Use pumice stones and moisturizing lotion to treat callouses. Treat any cuts with an antibiotic ointment promptly to reduce the risk of infection. You can also wear cotton gloves for a more comfortable grip.

Kettlebells are a fun and effective way to get fit even if your time is limited. Swing your way to better health and a leaner figure.

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Developing Strong Shoulders

Developing Strong Shoulders with Elevate Fitness Gyms in Syracuse

Your shoulders are one of the most important body parts, as they allow you to train basically every other part of your upper body. 

For this reason, making them functional and keeping them healthy is an important task on your fitness development to do list. 

In this article, we’re going to tell you more about the shoulders and how to train them properly, so if this is something of interest to you, keep reading! 

Shoulder Anatomy 

To understand exactly what the shoulders are doing, let us have a look at their superficial and deep anatomy. 

The main muscles of the shoulders are the deltoids, which are made up of 3 heads: 

  1. The anterior (front) deltoid
  2. The medial (side) deltoid
  3. The posterior (back) deltoid 

Each of these serves a variety of functions that allow a vast range of motion – You can lift your arms overhead, laterally, to the front and you can even take them back. 

However, this big range of motion can make the shoulder joint unstable and thus, vulnerable to injury. 

So How Do You Stabilize The Shoulders?

Luckily, our bodies were designed like what seems to be a very adaptive machine with components for high performance! 

The shoulders are in fact, very well reinforced with stabilizing muscles, BUT, those muscles often become weaker due to the modern-day sedentary lifestyle and lack of natural movements like climbing. 

There are 4 muscles that stabilize the shoulder and are referred to as “the rotator cuff”. 

Those are namely: 

  1. The infraspinatus – This is the main rotator cuff muscle  that allows you to extend and rotate the shoulder
  2. Supraspinatus – This second rotator cuff muscle allows you to lift your arm and also, keeps the shoulder joint in place
  3. Teres minor – This is a pretty small muscle, but important for the external rotation of the arm, away from the body
  4. Subscapularis – Last but not least, the subscapularis keeps your upper arm and shoulder blades tight and also helps with arm rotation 

To strengthen the rotator cuff, you should do exercises such as: 

  1. Resistance band external rotation
  2. Resistance band internal rotation
  3. Active hanging
  4. Passive hanging
  5. Climbing 

All of these movements will help you stabilize your shoulders and thus, you can have a greater output on the strength exercises for the deltoids, safely. 

Training The Deltoids 

As we already mentioned, the deltoids work with a variety of other upper body muscle groups. 

The main muscle groups that work in synergy with the shoulders are the chest and the triceps. 

These usually work together to help you complete complex exercises, such as: 

  1. The bench press
  2. The overhead press
  3. The push-up 

For this reason, when it comes to getting better, stronger shoulders, you should mostly rely on compound, free-weight movements, instead of isolated exercises. 

Compound movements will allow you to engage synergistic muscle groups to ultimately lift a bigger load, while placing the focus on the desired area (i.e the triceps and upper chest will help you during an overhead press, but most of the work will go for the shoulders. 

Here are the 5 best deltoid building exercises: 

  1. Overhead presses (these are king, especially for the front deltoids)
  2. One Arm Lateral raises
  3. Two Arms Lateral Raises
  4. Machine Lateral Raises
  5. One Arm Dumbbell Upright Row
  6. Handstands
  7. Climbing (again, really?)
  8. Olympic clean 

When you combine powerful, compound deltoid movements, with precise, focused rotator cuff work, you will inevitably set yourself up for a healthy shoulder line in the long term. 

PLUS… Deltoids can make or break the physique you have, so work on them!

Take Home Message 

The shoulders play a major role in your upper body training, which is the main reason why you should pay specific attention to their development. 

Before establishing a foundation of heavy overhead presses and lateral movements, think about your rotator cuff and what you can do to strengthen it. 

Only then, you can move into the more solid exercises that will allow you to develop overall strength and looks of the shoulders.

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The Core & Vacuum Training

The Core & Vacuum Training with Elevate Fitness Gym in Syracuse

Many people get into the gym for the sole purpose of developing a good-looking midsection and more specifically, a six-pack. 

However, what we have in the middle of the body is far more than just abs, as this portion of your torso is responsible for a variety of important functions. 

In this short article, we’ll reveal in detail what you should know about the abs, core, their functions and how to train them with a long-forgotten, old-school exercise – The stomach vacuum. 

The Core 101

For the most part, when you hear the word “core” you may think of your sixpack, but the truth is different. 

The six-pack is just a part of your core and works in synergy with other muscles around it, to ultimately: 

  1. Keep your posture good
  2. Stabilize internal organs
  3. Keep you on your feet
  4. Exert force using other muscle groups 

It is considered that the core is made up of the external and internal abdominal muscles, the glutes, the spinal erectors, obliques and the diaphragm. 

Static VS Dynamic Exercises 

Though crunches are a very popular exercise for the abs, they don’t even get close to the full functional potential of your core. 

As a matter of fact, the abdominals have a variety of functions, both dynamic & static. 

For instance, leg raises would allow the abs to contract and relax dynamically, while just holding your legs raised in a static position would contract the abs statically. 

Both of these functions should be exercised during your training, to achieve maximum development. 

Here are some of the best static & dynamic exercises you can do for the abs: 

  1. Hanging knee raises
  2. Hanging leg raises
  3. Side to side leg raises
  4. Front lever drills
  5. Full front lever
  6. Russian twists
  7. Boxing bag upside down crunches
  8. Dragon flag
  9. L-Sit 

The Stomach Vacuum 

A chiseled set of abs will give your waistline a complete overhaul and if you want to emphasize on that even further, you can implement the stomach vacuum in your training routine. 

With this exercise, you will engage the internal abdominal muscles and your waistline will naturally become more tucked in. 

Additionally, this is a whole workout for the sixpack as well, so do develop new, unseen before lines all over your midsection! 

Here’s how to do the stomach vacuum: 

  1. Stand up on your feet
  2. Take a completely straight body position
  3. Take a deep breath
  4. Slowly exhale and contract the abs while holding your breath
  5. Swallow the abdominal wall in and under the rib cage
  6. Hold this vacuum for a couple of seconds and release

Initially, this may feel odd but with time, you will start feeling more and more mind-muscle connection. 

This exercise is best done on an empty stomach and can be practically completed every single day. 

Take Home Message 

The core is made up of a variety of muscle groups with the abdominals being the predominantly recognized one. 

Your abs and obliques serve a variety of important functions that allow for body stability during complex movements, which is why you should train them both dynamically and statically. 

The stomach vacuum is one of the exercises that will allow you to engage the deep abdominal muscles, thus contributing to a better overall development. 

Stay aesthetic!

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Volume Cycling In Training

Volume Cycling In Training with Elevate Fitness Gym in Syracuse, NY

Training volume appears to be one of the factors that play a primary role in inducing muscle development stimulus. 

And though it is an important one, it needs to be properly combined with intensity and rest times. 

When you combine both, to create an effective working volume, you can start playing around with the numbers of sets and reps, to emphasize the development of certain body parts. 

In this article, we’ll take you through the basics of volume cycling to give you insight on how you can improve your lacking areas. 

What Are Volume & Intensity 

Training intensity & training volume are two separate training variables, which have to be very well combined, as we already mentioned. 

Intensity increases the closer you get to your maximum strength capabilities on a given exercise. 

For instance, if you can bench press 100 kg for 1 rep and fail to do a second rep unassisted, 100 kg represents 100% intensity for you, for that exercise. 

Volume on the other hand, represents the total amount of weight lifted on a given set, exercise or a workout. 

For example, if we take that same 1 rep set with 100 kg, that would be a volume of 100 kg. 

Oppositely, if you do 10 repetitions with 100 kg, that would be a volume of 1000 kg (Volume = Weight * Sets * Reps) 

What Is The Optimal Training Volume? 

When you combine intensity and volume, you get a workload that is challenging and each set takes you within 2-4 reps shy of failure. 

This is effective volume and should be at the core of your workouts, whether you are training for strength or for bulk muscle growth. 

The optimal training volume forms at 10-20 challenging working sets, per muscle group, per week, depending on your level of training. 

Beginners for example can reap benefits with just 5-6 sets per week, but as you progress and reach 15-20 sets, plateaus in development may be reached. 

What is Volume Cycling? 

Trying to build up all muscle groups all at once may be a challenging and unsustainable task, because all compound exercises engage multiple muscle groups. 

For this reason, it often happens that you may not be able to get to peak recovery, especially on your weaker muscle groups. 

This is when you can implement the concept of volume cycling, which implies a slight decrease in the volume for already well-developed muscle groups, and an increase for the weaker muscle groups. 

Technically, this concept works for bringing up weak body parts, because the minimum volume you can MAINTAIN the well-developed muscle groups at, is about 30% of your minimum effective volume (i.e you can do ~5 sets per muscle group per week and maintain it). 

Example Of Training Adjustments 

Now, though you will be putting priority on your weaker muscle groups, you should still consider choosing exercises that work WITH your stronger body parts. 

Those are compound movements that allow you to lift heavy weights, but on top of that, you can also include a good amount of volume with isolated movements. 

For instance, if your chest is well developed, but your triceps are lacking, focus more on close grip bench press & triceps dips – This primarily engages the triceps, but also the chest and shoulders. 

This is mostly applicable for the upper body, where certain exercises for the bigger muscle groups, may leave the smaller muscle groups exhausted and unable to complete quality volume.

Tips For Bringing Up Lacking Muscle Groups 

Manipulating your training variables is one of the most important things about bringing up weaker muscle groups. 

Besides that, you can view your training split and week as a cycle, where you usually have the most energy and focus at the beginning. 

For this reason, you can structure your training around the weaker muscle groups by: 

  1. Placing them first in the training split
  2. Placing them first in the workout 

Furthermore, you can apply volume cycling, place a cooldown on dominant muscle groups and focus on the lacking ones by increasing the weight, sets and repetitions. 

To Wrap It Up 

Training volume is an essential part of your workout and when combined with intensity, it can create a powerful stimulus for overall muscular development. 

Nevertheless, sometimes it happens that some muscle groups develop faster than others, leaving lacking muscle groups behind. 

This is exactly when you can deload on the well-developed groups and pump up the quality volume in favor of your weaker ones. 

Ready to achieve aesthetics? Go for it!

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How To Train For Strength

How To Train For Strength from Elevate Fitness Gyms in Syracuse

When physical development is at stake, you just cannot ignore strength as a fundamental physical property to develop. 

Especially if you are in the game of weight training, developing proper strength is essential towards optimizing progress in the long term. 

In this short article, we’ll give you insight on how to structure your workout plan for the goal of developing strength. 

Understand Rep Ranges

One of the most important things to do before creating your workout plan, is to understand rep ranges. 

That is, understanding what the body does and how it is stimulated under different loads. 

In weight training, we generally have two types of rep ranges: 

  1. Powerlifting rep range (1-5 reps)
  2. Bodybuilding rep range (6-15+ reps) 

The powerlifting rep range is where you exert the most amount of force by activating the fastest muscle fibers. 

This is the rep range where you create stimulus for the development of maximum strength, as well as explosiveness. 

If you’re looking to gain strength as much as possible, THIS is the rep range you have to work at. 

The bodybuilding rep range on the other hand, is still a zone of high-exertion, but it is not nearly as close to your maximum strength capabilities. 

This rep range creates a stimulus for the development of strength endurance, while maximum strength gains are a secondary adaptation. 

Chasing looks? This is the rep range to be at for the most part. 

NOTE: It is always a good choice to combine both rep ranges, but have the balance in favor of the one that reflects your goal most (i.e if you want more strength than looks, do mostly 1-5 reps) 

Choose The Right Exercises 

When it comes to strength development, exercise choice is a crucial element of the process. 

This is because, well, some exercises are simply not suitable for high exertion, heavy loads and one rep maxes. 

Just think for a second, how stupid would it look to attempt a one-rep max on the vertical lat pulldown machine? 

For the most part, you should resort to free-weight, compound exercises, whether you’re strength training in the 1-5 rep range, or bodybuilding in the 6-15 rep range. 

Those exercises are namely: 

  1. Bench presses (flat/incline/decline with dumbbells or barbells)
  2. Squats
  3. Deadlifts
  4. Rows
  5. Overhead presses
  6. Lunges 

All of these movements engage multiple muscle groups all at once, which ultimately allows you to lift really heavy weights, thus creating the best stimulus for strength and muscular development. 

Working Volume 

Using the appropriate strength exercises, within the goal-appropriate rep range is crucial, but how much should you actually do?

Training volume is basically the total amount of weight lifted in a given set, exercise or a workout and is measured using this formula: Weight * Sets * Reps = Volume (i.e 100 kg for 2 sets of 10 reps = 2000 kg volume). 

Now, since we all have a different level of training and ability to adapt to new stimuli, there is no such thing as a concrete, optimal training volume. 

Instead, you should follow these general rules of thumb:

  1. As a beginner, start off with ~5 challenging working sets, per muscle group, per week
  2. As you advance, bump that up to 8-10 sets
  3. After some time, go up to 15-20+ sets 

By starting with a low number of total sets, you will get to know more about your threshold, recovery and adaptation capabilities. 

Through time, you will increase the total number of sets, as well as the weights used, leading to stimulus for more progress, over time. 

This is applicable for both rep ranges (1-5 reps & 6-15+ reps). 

What About Rest Times?

If you’ve lifted heavy weights at some point of your life, you know how demanding it is to do that. 

By nature, high intensity (heavy weight) is strenuous for the central nervous system and the muscles. 

For this reason, taking proper rest between sets is crucial, if the goal is to maximize performance from set to set. 

Generally, if you’re training in the 1-5 rep range, rest times may vary from 4 to 15 minutes, depending on the level of exertion – The higher the exertion, the longer the rest. 

Oppositely, if you’re in the bodybuilding rep range of 6-15 reps, about 3 minutes of rest in between sets will be sufficient. 

As to rest in-between workouts, you should allow each muscle group to rest for 3-4 days before smashing it again with heavy weights. 


Strength development is at the core of your overall physical development, as it places a solid foundation that improves your potential in the long run. 

If your goal is to develop maximum strength, utilize compound movements in the 1-5 rep range, with plenty of rest between sets. 

On the other hand, if you want to gain some strength but more strength endurance and muscle mass, the 6-15 rep range is the ballpark. 

Ultimately, your best bet would be to combine both rep ranges and favor the one that resonates more with your goal. 

This will allow you to create a more functional, better overall physique.

Not a member of Elevate Fitness yet? Try us for FREE!

Can Cardio Exercises Build Muscle?

Cardio and Building Muscle at Elevate Fitness Gyms in Syracuse, NY

For years, the debate between weight lifting and cardio exercising has been going on with full power, as both sides have proponents. 

As you may or may not know, cardio has been dubbed as the number one health improvement tool, while weight lifting is claimed to be more oriented towards visual and functional development. 

And though both have actual benefits for the body and all of its processes, one question remains – Can cardio actually help you build muscle?

To answer this, allow us to dive a bit deeper. 

What Is Cardio? 

Generally, cardio is any low-intensity activity that is done for a prolonged period of time, such as: 

  1. Jogging
  2. Skipping
  3. Swimming
  4. Rowing
  5. Cycling 

These are aerobic activities that primarily engage the heart and the lungs, leading to more efficient energy transportation. 

This in turn leads to increased levels of endurance, where the individual can eventually sustain the activity for hours on end. 

HOWEVER, prolonged, low-intensity activities only engage the slow-twitch muscle fibers, which don’t have a big potential for hypertrophy (growth). 

Nevertheless, there are ways to use cardio exercises AND build muscle. 

The Answer Is… Sprints! 

As we just mentioned, prolonged cardio activities only engage the slow-twitch muscle fibers, due to the fact you don’t really need to exert much. 

However, if you change the WAY in which you do the exercise (i.e running), the stimulus changes. 

Sprints are without a doubt one of the most powerful tools to put in your training arsenal, ESPECIALLY for the goal of lower body development. 

By definition, sprints have all the characteristics of a muscle building exercise, because they involve short, power bursts that engage the fast-twitch muscle fibers. 

Sprints are applicable for any cardio exercise, whether it’s swimming, cycling, running or skipping. 

Just make sure to not do them right before or right after leg day, as sprints are demanding on the lower body and would require recovery time afterwards. 

Sample Sprint Run Workout

Just like your normal gym workout, before you get into sprinting full-on, you have to go through a proper warm-up routine, where you’ll prepare and prime the legs for high exertion. 

The goal of the warm-up is to – Activate the muscles and fill them with blood, raise the heart rate a bit, raise the body temperature a bit. 

A good sprint run warm-up can include: 

  1. Light jogging
  2. Dynamic stretching
  3. Squat jumps
  4. Power breathing 

When you feel like your body is loose enough, follow the steps in the table below.  

Run #


Rest times

#1 – Warm up run, 60-70% exertion


1 minute

#2 – Warm up run, 70-80% exertion


90 seconds

#3 – Full-on sprint, 90-100% exertion


3 minutes

#4 – Full-on sprint, 90-100% exertion


3 minutes

#5 – Full-on sprint, 90-100% exertion


3 minutes


Much like any other workout, you have to apply the principle of progressive overload on sprints, as well. 

This would imply increasing the distance run, the number of sets or, changing the rest times.

Sprint workouts can even replace your weight training leg workout in the gym, so if you have a day where you don’t feel like squatting, get up for some sprints!

Take Home Message

Prolonged, low-intensity cardio exercises are a great tool to boost your heart and lungs, but when it comes to visual development, this approach to training is not really what you are after.

Nevertheless, you can take the same cardio exercise and switch the way of execution, in order to create a powerful muscle-growth stimulus.

Sprints should be in the training arsenal of every self-respecting trainee, who is looking to maximize the aesthetic development and strength of their lower body.

Do your sprints, don’t miss out!

Not a Member of Elevate Fitness Yet? Try us for FREE!

Why Personal Training Works

Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or just looking to get into shape, personal training is the answer. Personal trainers are experts in helping clients achieve their goals, as they design a customized program for you to follow. Whether you’re just starting out or need to increase your intensity, there’s no one better suited than a personal trainer. Let’s explore three of the reasons why personal training works so well when it comes to reaching your fitness goals. 

Personal training can be a very effective tool to help you reach your fitness goals. One of the reasons is that it helps you set clear, measurable goals. Too many people show up at the gym with good intentions but without actual goals. They jump on some equipment and do some work, but at the end of the day because they don’t have clearly defined goals, they also don’t have a way to define their progress or success, and so it becomes impossible to measure whether or not they’re making any progress in the gym.

A good personal trainer will spend the bulk of your first session getting to know you and your goals. They’ll push past all the standard “tone up” and “trim down” standard-responses to really find out what your motivations and aspirations are to help you clearly define your goals and expectations for the gym.

As they say, you can’t manage what you can’t measure. And if you don’t even know what you’re measuring, then it’s a losing battle before you’ve even begun.

10 Reasons to Consider a Career in Personal Training at Elevate Fitness in Syracuse

Another reason that personal training is so effective is that it’s highly personalized to your needs and will work to make sure you are reaching your goals. After all, what’s good for the goose, isn’t always necessarily good for the gander.

By focusing on you as an individual, the personal trainer will be able to not only create a program based on your unique goals and circumstances but to modify that program as you go in response to your progress. This continuous audit and adjustment will help to keep you focused, motivated, and efficient in your progress toward your goals.

3 Questions to Ask Your Trainer During Your Fitness Consultation

Maybe the best reason that personal training is such an effective tool is that personal trainers help you create realistic plans that fit into your busy schedule

The most common reason that people fail to meet their fitness goals is that they fail to make fitness a habit. If you can’t workout 5 days a week and the program you pulled out of Men’s Health magazine calls for that, then you’re stuck. You could spend days, weeks, months, or years finding the pre-designed program that works with your schedule (from when to work out to how to meal-prep to how much sleep and recovery to get to when to hydrate), but wouldn’t it just be easier to hand your trainer your schedule and say, I need you to work around this? 

If you can build a program around your life, you’re more likely to stick with it. And as soon as you make fitness a HABIT, it becomes that much more likely that you’ll not only reach your fitness goals but maintain them too!

These are obviously just a few reasons off the tops of our heads why working with a personal trainer is worth the time and investment. So, are you ready to give it a try? At Elevate Fitness your first session is always free so that you can make sure that the trainer is a good fit for you.

Start by deciding what kind of training you want to do by reviewing this outline (scroll down to where it says New Member Personal Training Programs), and then fill out the form below to book your complimentary, no-obligation personal training session!

The Murph Workout – A Time Honored Memorial Day Fitness Tradition

Do you know how to do a Murph Workout? It has been popularized by the CrossFit community but has its origins in the military. Let’s talk about this workout, where it came from and how (and why you should) you can incorporate it into your fitness plan.

In 2001, CrossFit founder Greg Glassman took the memory of Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy, who was killed in Afghanistan, and created the Murph workout in his honor.

What Is The Murph Workout?

In addition to having an empowering story behind it, The Murph Workout also has many health benefits. If you’re looking for a new way to get in shape or increase your fitness level, this is a great option. The goal of this workout is that each time you do it, you’ll complete it in less time than it’s taken you previously.

The Murph Workout begins and ends the same way – with a one mile run. Between your runs, you’re going to complete the following exercises. Now, you can complete these in any order you prefer. You might do them in rounds, or you might complete each exercise before moving on to the next. All that matters is that you complete each exercise and rep. 

100 Pull-Ups
200 Push-Ups
300 Air Squats

So, you might complete them exactly as listed, or you might do something that looks like this instead:

25 Pull-Ups
25 Push-Ups
25 Air Squats
25 Pull-Ups
25 Push-Ups
25 Airs Squats … etc. until all reps are completed.

And if you’re unable to do a pull up, modify the exercise until you can. So maybe you replace pull-ups with TRX pull-ups or maybe the push-ups become modified push-ups until you build the upper body strength to do traditional push-ups. 

And once you’ve mastered the workout, there are ways to continue scaling up, too. Consider adding weighted vests to increase the challenge!

Keep In Mind

This workout offers a lot of benefits and doesn’t require any equipment. Because you can do this workout anywhere with virtually no equipment, the Murph Workout is a great addition to your fitness routine. But there are some considerations to make before you get started. 

Make sure you have lots of water on hand and you stay hydrated during and after the workout.

Be prepared to modify as you go. Especially since you’re going for time – you may find that you fatigue quickly and need to modify some exercises so that you don’t injure yourself in the process of completing the workout.

Use a timer or clock to track your results- remember, this workout is done for time meaning the faster you can complete the workout, the better. And the more you do the workout, your goal is to get faster and faster.

Benefits of the Murph Workout

There are plenty of benefits to this great workout. You’ll burn a ton of calories, work the major muscle groups and rev up your metabolism (which is great if you’re doing the workout on Memorial Day and heading to a barbeque later!). Additionally, you’re building endurance and power.

Incorporating this workout into your fitness plan will give you better mental and physical endurance, increased muscle strength and tone, and a feeling of self-accomplishment.


Not a Member of Elevate Fitness? Try Us For FREE for 30 Days!

5 Benefits of Strength Training

Benefits of Strength Training from Elevate Fitness Gyms in Syracuse

Not a member? Book a no-obligation tour today to see how Elevate Fitness can help you become the best version of yourself!

At Elevate, we help our members become the best version of themselves with a huge variety of quality programs and cutting-edge fitness technology in a high-value, low-cost, clean, full-service fitness facility. At Elevate Fitness, we believe that high VALUE doesn’t have to mean high cost. We deliver high-quality customized programs and services, many included with membership, for much less than you’d expect. At Elevate you won’t find a candy dish by the door or pizza in the lobby, that because we FOCUS ON WHAT REALLY MATTERS: creating a high-quality experience that generates positive, lasting results through lifestyle change, community involvement, and an outstanding member experience. Locally owned and operated for over 30 years, Elevate is committed to helping its members achieve positive, lasting results through innovative programming, technology, and lifestyle change. Other clubs offer equipment, Elevate offers RESULTS.
At Elevate, we help our members become the best version of themselves with a huge variety of quality programs and cutting-edge fitness technology in a high-value, low-cost, clean, full-service fitness facility. At Elevate Fitness, we believe that high VALUE doesn’t have to mean high cost. We deliver high-quality customized programs and services, many included with membership, for much less than you’d expect. At Elevate you won’t find a candy dish by the door or pizza in the lobby, that because we FOCUS ON WHAT REALLY MATTERS: creating a high-quality experience that generates positive, lasting results through lifestyle change, community involvement, and an outstanding member experience. Locally owned and operated for over 30 years, Elevate is committed to helping its members achieve positive, lasting results through innovative programming, technology, and lifestyle change. Other clubs offer equipment, Elevate offers RESULTS.

Goal-Oriented Training

One of the biggest issues in today’s fitness industry is the state of mind. Everyone is after a physique like a Greek God, and everyone has forgotten about the true purpose of the human body: functionality.

When you look at an Olympic athlete, they look great – some would say amazing. But their goal isn’t to look great. They’re crafting their body from the perspective of human performance, and the physique comes with it.

If you’ve been struggling to meet the rigorous demands of your workout program and diet, it could be time to make a sustainable change towards a program that is progressive in nature and goal-oriented.

What is Goal-Oriented Training?

Exactly as it sounds, goal-oriented training is training towards a specific goal, generally in performance rather than physique and body composition.

For example, in a goal-oriented training program, your goal might be to bench 200 pounds, rather than develop a strong and sexy chest. Another goal could be to squat 300 times, rather than develop lean legs and glutes.

This process enables you to see your body as more than just a superficial item. You view your body as a functional machine that can be changed to look good through functional, performance-based training.

Benefits of Goal-Oriented Training

Why would you train this way rather than strictly for aesthetics? The simple answer is that any training will help you shape your body into better composition with greater muscle development.

This style of training will help you to emphasize form and function. You’ll train to grow stronger, and in the process will develop a spectacular physique.

How to Get Started

Getting started with this style of training is as simple as defining your goals. They don’t have to be anything crazy, just enough to cause some form of sustainable change.

Try these tips for your new training program:

1. Pick compound lifts for your goals. Exercises like squat, deadlift, bench press, and other compound exercises recruit many muscles and large metabolic systems. They’re perfect for your long-term goals.

Top Tip: If you want to develop your legs, orient your goals around increasing your squat and lunging exercises.

2. Understand, this isn’t about physique. The faster you can forget about how you look the better off you’ll be when it comes to true success in the gym. Your only focus should be to increase the weight in your compound lifts and move toward your goal.

3. Start off light and easy. There’s no need to start training with high weights. You’ll train your body and grow your muscles with the resistance as you go. So, start with weights that are comfortable for you.

4. View your program with a long-term mindset. If you’re to be successful in this new regimen, you must view the process as a long-term goal. There is no need to weigh yourself each morning, or constantly measure your waist.

One Last Thing

If weights aren’t your thing, you can always move toward the endurance route. You can have goals of running a half marathon or running a 50-second 400-meters. There’s absolutely no need to be fixated on weightlifting, yet it is one of the easier ways to track progress.

If you’ve been struggling to lose weight and feel satisfied with your current body, then it could be time for you to make a change to goal-oriented training.

Take your time and work through your fitness regimen. Find a trainer that specializes in strength-based progressions rather than physique.

Who knows? You might be a future Olympian and you never saw your own potential!

Ready to Start Goal-Oriented Training for More Effective Weight and Muscle Management?

Skate To Lose Weight

Skate Your Way to Weight Loss, Fitness, and Freedom

If you loved skating as a kid, turn your old hobby into a fun, new workout. Even if you’re a complete newbie, skating is easy to learn and safe as long as you follow some simple precautions.

Put some wheels or blades under your feet. Take a look at the advantages of skating and how to make rollerblading or ice skating part of your exercise routine.

Benefits of Exercising on Skates

1. Lose weight. Ice skating or rollerblading burns as many calories as running, which is about 400 calories an hour, depending on your weight. As a bonus, skating is also easier on your joints than running.

2. Tone your lower body. Skating engages your entire lower body, as well as your core. With one movement, you target your buttocks, thighs, calves, and abdomen.

3. Enjoy socializing. Skating is a fun activity to share with family and friends. Many rinks offer concerts and concession stands. Sip hot chocolate and listen to jazz after your workout.

4. Spend time indoors or outdoors. Indoor rinks allow you to stick to your program, even when it’s snowing or raining. On the other hand, skating outdoors can be especially appealing. Connecting with nature helps reduce stress and restore your energy levels.


5. Feel exhilarated. With rollerblades, also known as inline skates, you’ll be traveling fast from the time you take off. On pavement or ice, some skaters may work up to speeds of 25 miles an hour or more. You’ll feel graceful and relaxed as you fly along.

How to Exercise on Skates

1. Select your footwear. Proper fitting is essential. Your skate size will probably be a bit smaller than your shoe size, especially if you’re a woman. Ensure that your heels fit securely in the back of the boots. You may want to start out with recreational skates and switch to fitness skates as you become more proficient.

2. Take a class. Working with a qualified instructor could save you from many falls. Ask the staff at your local skate shop for recommendations or browse online for classes.

3. Learn to brake. Stopping safely in various conditions is one of the first skills you’ll want to master. Remember that figure skates brake in the front, while online skates brake in the back.

4. Train for balance. Additional balance training may also help keep you on your feet. Ask your instructor for exercises you can perform on your skates. Practice standing on one leg with your eyes closed to increase your balance.

5. Build up your strength. At first, your legs may feel sore as your muscles try to adapt to skating. Performing squats and lunges can help speed up the process.

6. Plan your route. Quiet parking lots or skating rinks are ideal for your first skating practices. As you become more steady on your feet, you can venture out to skating parks and trails.

7. Follow the rules of the road. If you’re skating on public roads, obey the same rules as a bicyclist. Wherever you skate, stay to the right. If you want to pass someone, check that you have enough room and let them know that you’re approaching on their left.

8. Wear safety gear. Helmets are essential when skating. Wrist guards and pads for your elbows and knees will also help protect you from injuries.

9. Intensify your workouts. There are many ways for skaters to heighten the challenge. Gradually increase your speed and distance. Bend forward at the waist to work your legs harder.

If your treadmill is starting to bore you, maybe it’s time to trade it in for a pair of skates. They’re not just for kids or Olympic athletes. You can skate your way to greater health and fitness.

Interested? Meet with a certified personal trainer to find out how to incorporate skating into your fitness plan.

The Hip Hinge

by Personal Trainer Michael Meola

As a personal trainer one of the first things I do when I have a new client, or I’m performing an assessment, is I simply have them bend over and pick something up off the floor. Majority of the time something is out of whack.
But before we go any further, we need to know what exactly it means to “hip hinge”. A hip hinge, in general, is any flexion or extension originating from the hips.

The hip hinge is one of the 7 movement patterns we need to master, along with the squat, lunge, twist, push, pull, and gait. Once we master the hinge we become more efficient at picking things up off the floor, as well as certain exercises such as the deadlift, bent-over rows, and initiating the squat. In fact, often times when people squat, they aren’t performing it correctly. They’re loading into their knees rather than letting the hips guide the movement. I’ve solved a lot of knee problems by fixing up how people initiate their squat. While the squat and hinge are different patterns- the hip hinge being more hips back, and the squat more hip down while being knee dominant, we still want to start from loading the hips, THEN we sit down. This is no quick fix, but it can be one mark off the checklist of potential issues.

Another benefit of this movement pattern is its role in injury prevention. I’m sure we’ve all heard from someone, or dealt with it ourselves, where we go to pick up something heavy and we throw our backs out. Learning how to perform this movement is key in learning, and maintaining a neutral spine – another common problem I see with clients, and the general public where they either fall into massive flexion or they overextend the spine.

How many times have you heard this, “Use your legs, not your back!” While this is true, people take this to the extreme and start to squat down to pick up something, further blurring the lines between a squat and a hinge. By learning how to hinge we learn how to move from the waist, not bending the back, further perfecting this movement pattern.
Hip hinge properly while learning movements such as the deadlift, Romanian deadlift, barbell rows, glute bridges, and hip thrusts and we strengthen our hamstrings, glutes, and low back which are commonly neglected areas.
So, whether you’re an athlete, a weekend warrior, someone who loads trucks for a living, or that grandma/grandpa who wants to pick up their grandkid, EVERYONE can benefit from mastering the hip hinge.
Get those hips moving!!



Mace Training

Certified personal trainer Jeff Nappa brings a brand new workout to Elevate. A workout designed to not only strengthen your body but to challenge your focus and discipline as well. Tap into your inner warrior with the power of mace training. To learn more,  contact Jeff at


At Elevate, we help our members become the best version of themselves with a huge variety of quality programs and cutting-edge fitness technology in a high-value, low-cost, clean, full-service fitness facility. At Elevate Fitness, we believe that high VALUE doesn’t have to mean high cost. We deliver high-quality customized programs and services, many included with membership, for much less than you’d expect. At Elevate you won’t find a candy dish by the door or pizza in the lobby, that because we FOCUS ON WHAT REALLY MATTERS: creating a high-quality experience that generates positive, lasting results through lifestyle change, community involvement, and an outstanding member experience. Locally owned and operated for over 30 years, Elevate is committed to helping its members achieve positive, lasting results through innovative programming, technology, and lifestyle change. Other clubs offer equipment, Elevate offers RESULTS.
At Elevate, we help our members become the best version of themselves with a huge variety of quality programs and cutting-edge fitness technology in a high-value, low-cost, clean, full-service fitness facility. At Elevate Fitness, we believe that high VALUE doesn’t have to mean high cost. We deliver high-quality customized programs and services, many included with membership, for much less than you’d expect. At Elevate you won’t find a candy dish by the door or pizza in the lobby, that because we FOCUS ON WHAT REALLY MATTERS: creating a high-quality experience that generates positive, lasting results through lifestyle change, community involvement, and an outstanding member experience. Locally owned and operated for over 30 years, Elevate is committed to helping its members achieve positive, lasting results through innovative programming, technology, and lifestyle change. Other clubs offer equipment, Elevate offers RESULTS.

Mace Training Comes to Elevate

Mace training at Elevate Fitness in Dewitt, NY

There’s a chance if you’ve worked out in our Dewitt club recently that you’ve seen certified personal trainer Jeff Nappa in the training area working with what looks like a metal club with a ball on the end of it. You may even have wondered what the heck he was doing there.

Turns out, Jeff is bringing a brand new workout to Elevate Fitness in Dewitt. It’s a steel mace workout designed to not only strengthen your body but to challenge your focus and discipline as well. Let’s learn more about steel mace training so that you can tap into your inner warrior with the power of mace training.

First – what’s a mace?

Way back in the 13th century, the athletes (and warriors) would train with heavy Gada Maces, a club to prepare their bodies for performance or battle. The first mace used in training was simply a stone attached to a rod of bamboo. Later, when built for battle, they were often made of iron or bronze. Today, they’re most commonly crafted from high-quality steel.

Next – how do you benefit from using them?

Unlike other training tools, the mace uses its uneven weight distribution to engage more muscles and give you a more robust, full-bodied workout than other weighted equipment does. You’re likely to experience increased shoulder power and flexibility, increased grip strength, increased resistance to injury related to movement and strength training, a stronger core, increase cardiovascular endurance and total body strengthening to name just a few.

Interested in trying it out? Jeff will be conducting a four-week session beginning on Monday, August 5th. His evening session will happen Mondays at 6:30 pm and his morning sessions will run Wednesdays at 8 am. Cost for the four-week session is just $40, but space is extremely limited, so sign up quickly before it’s too late!

You can see a member services representative or email jeff at to get more information or to reserve your spot!


Not a member of Elevate Fitness yet but want to experience The Art of Steel with Jeff Nappa?


The Ultimate Guide to Gym Etiquette

a guest post by Delilah Farrell

Every gym goer has seen something that drives them crazy. Free-weights scattered about, 45lb plates stored where the 5lb plates are supposed to be, or the person working out their thumbs for 10 minutes on the bench that three people are waiting to use; we have all seen things that simply make us shake our heads.

Gym etiquette is something that everyone from casual gym goer to fitness fiend should read into. Having good etiquette is respectful to those around you and beneficial to your own workout. By following the seven etiquette practices in this guide, you can avoid being the annoyance that fellow patrons are staring at.

Put Your Weights Back

The gym isn’t your house, and fellow gym goers aren’t your mother. When you are done using weights, put them back in the correct place. Leaving a mess for others to clean up or sort through is counterproductive to their time. Think of putting your weights back as a part of your workout; you’re taking shortcuts when you lack the execution.

Don’t Text and Lift

Just as you wouldn’t (shouldn’t) text and drive, don’t text and work out. There are certainly ways that technology can help you with your fitness goals, but texting your friends is not one of them. You are at the gym to get after your goals! Stay focused and respect your own time.

Clean Up After Yourself

When you’re “getting after it” in the gym, you’re probably going to get sweaty. After you finish your sets, or before you start them, make sure you wipe down your equipment. Not doing so spreads many germs that are commonly found in the gym. So, just like you would clean up a mess at home, wipe-up your sweaty mess.

Personal Space

Unless you are training with someone or spotting, there is no reason to be “up close and personal”. Whether the person is lifting or stretching, give them space. By invading personal space, you disrupt the fellow patron’s focus and can make them quite uncomfortable. Be mindful of personal space, as you would probably not like it if yours were invaded.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Watch out! When you’re at the gym, you need to be aware of your surroundings. Before walking to grab something, scan the area you are about to go to. If someone is doing sets of lateral raises, it would be smart to not pass by their side. The same goes for any other exercise or lift. Don’t put yourself in a position where you could potentially ruin someone’s set or rhythm.

Always Ask

If it appears that someone is using a machine or weights that you need, ask them. Don’t assume. You will be less of a bother by asking someone if you can work in with them, as opposed to taking the equipment from them. We would all expect the same respect from others.

Never, Ever, Make Fun of Other Gym Goers

This should go without saying, but don’t make fun of others in the gym. We all have our own goals, and we all have our own motivators. Don’t take videos of people that are doing things differently than you would, that’s just wrong. The only thing you should do is let them be and only offer advice if they ask you.

In Conclusion

This etiquette guide should be used as a foundation for being respectful to yourself and others in the gym. By having etiquette, you may become a good contagion that others look to emulate, making for a clean, respectful, and harmonious gym; something that all gym goers could appreciate.

Tonya’s Favorites Spinning Playlist

Tonya Gabriel is a Certified Spin Instructor and Certified Personal Trainer at Elevate Fitness in Dewitt. We asked her to share some of her favorite songs to play during her spin classes to keep her athletes (and herself) motivated. Here’s what she gave us (Spotify and Apple Music playlists at the end of the post).

Americano – Lady Gaga
I have always been obsessed with this song! It’s perfect for flat roads and I love the line at the end where she says “Don’t you try to catch me”. That always makes me want to move a little faster.

Forgive me Friend – Smith & Thell
I’m digging this new Swedish band. This song is great for flat roads and resistance loading.

Clumsy – Fergie
Anything Fergie is just plain fun. But I love this one for a nice and slow and painful heavy climb.

Stereo Love – Edward Maya & Vika Jigulina
Definitely an older tune-but so fun for cadence climb then flat road with resistance loading.

Rocky – Tabata Mixtape Vol 1
I try to incorporate at least one Tabata track in each workout. It definitely helps to max out the heart rate! This track is for running hills, 20 seconds of hard effort followed by 10 seconds of recovery (8 rounds!)

Ballroom Blitz – The Sweet
It’s important to appeal to the wide range of ages in class, and this one is a sure fire way to get everyone pumped. It’s an awesome tune for sprints.

Body Talks – The Struts (feat. Kesha)
Great tune for 4 counts quicker pace (but controlled) jumps.

Make Way – Aloe Blacc
One of my favorites for ending the class. It’s an all out-give-it-all-you-got finisher.

Do Something Crazy  -Outasight
Another one of my favorites for a finisher. My classes love this one and it really pumps them up!

Sax – Fleur East
By far one of the best songs for hills!

Listen to the playlist on Spotify or Apple Music:

Want to take a Spinning class with Tonya and experience a playlist live?

Summer Race Tips for Runners

Elevate Fitness Clubs offer great Run Club programs, we already know that. Run Club Director, Kevin Collins, often shares tips, techniques, and strategies with his runners to help them get them get the most out of their training programs and to allow them to cross-train safely and effectively.

Here, he shares with us the tips he shares with his athletes regarding summer racing, now the summer race season is finally upon us:

1) Any weekend race that is 15k or longer, skip long Run for the week and consider your race the long run. If you’d like to add time to the race day beyond that, limit yourself to 15-minute warm up and a 15-minute cool down jog for an additional 30 minutes. Both are healthy race habits for both better performance and healthier recovery.

2) Any Saturday race less than 15k can follow up with a long run on Sunday provided you run easy!

3) While doable, don’t expect a 5k to go very well the day after a long run or the day after a leg weight workout.

4) Keep your Long Runs between Friday-Sunday or consider them missed for the week. Instead, resume base runs and put your energy and focus into a better attempt the following week.

5) Remember: If you are missing or procrastinating your long runs, it is worth the drive to attend our Saturday Long Runs at either 7 am or 8 am start times. I am there to get you started and your teammates are there to get you through it!

Not a member of the Elevate Fitness Run Club but want to join us for a run or two? Let us know!


The Benefits of Hybrid Training

Maybe you’ve heard someone talking about it, or someone even asked you if you’d be interested in trying it out when you signed up for your gym membership. But what exactly IS Hybrid Training and why should you consider trying it out to reach your weight loss and fitness goals?

What is Hybrid Training?

Hybrid Training is personal training with multiple people training with a trainer at the same time, usually in groups of three or four. This creates a small group experience with the benefits of social accountability without giving up the value of one-on-one instruction and attention that you lose in larger group experiences.

Hybrid Training offers several advantages to a client. Here we explore the top 5 benefits of Hybrid Personal Training.

One. It’s less expensive than traditional personal training.

Because the trainer is working with multiple clients in the same window of time, clubs like Elevate Fitness are able to charge less per Hybrid session and still ensure that our trainers are compensated fairly, while passing some savings along to the member.

Two. Instead of getting motivation from one trainer, you get it from your whole group.

There is power in numbers. Social accountability is a great way to keep you consistent and focused on your goals. Being surrounded by like-minded people with similar goals can help keep you on track to reaching yours!

Three. You’ll have access to a greater range of exercises for your workout.

There’s a lot of things that you can do with another person that you can’t do alone – and that goes for exercise too! Your trainer will have a wider range of options available when customizing your workout by having more bodies to work with during the workout.

Four. Additional clients can provide a nice distraction.

It’s so much easier to hold a plank for 60-seconds when you’re distracted by a conversation about your weekend plans than it is when you’re counting down the (slowly moving) seconds. Creating a positive, social environment allows you a pleasant distraction from the hard work you’re doing.

Five. You’ll make friendships that extend beyond your training sessions.

Whether it’s meeting someone to do cardio with on your days off from training or meeting someone who introduces you to a new group fitness class, you’ll make friends that will last a lifetime. Friends, again, who are like-minded with similar goals who can help you stay on track during non-training, social situations.


Our 1st “Murph Challenge” a Huge Success!

What is the "Murph Challenge"?

The “MURPH” Challenge is a Hero Workout named after Lt. Michael Murphy, a Navy seal who died in Afghanistan serving and protecting. Made popular by Crossfit Gyms, this is now a very popular workout the combines the pursuit of fitness with the celebration of patriotism and gratitude to our service men and women who protect and serve our nation.

In April, Elevate Fitness Personal Trainer David Cruz approached General Manager Rachael Dydyk and club owner Tom Muller and pitched his idea to host a “Murph Challenge” workout in honor of the coming Memorial Day holiday. His plan was approved and the wheels were set in motion to plan the workout and promote the event which was to benefit The Wounded Warrior Project.

In all, the event garnered more participants than expected and raised over $1,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project. To say it was a success is an understatement, and those who did participate are already looking forward to the 4th of July’s challenge!

At Elevate, we help our members become the best version of themselves with a huge variety of quality programs and cutting-edge fitness technology in a high-value, low-cost, clean, full-service fitness facility. At Elevate Fitness, we believe that high VALUE doesn’t have to mean high cost. We deliver high-quality customized programs and services, many included with membership, for much less than you’d expect. At Elevate you won’t find a candy dish by the door or pizza in the lobby, that because we FOCUS ON WHAT REALLY MATTERS: creating a high-quality experience that generates positive, lasting results through lifestyle change, community involvement, and an outstanding member experience. Locally owned and operated for over 30 years, Elevate is committed to helping its members achieve positive, lasting results through innovative programming, technology, and lifestyle change. Other clubs offer equipment, Elevate offers RESULTS.
At Elevate, we help our members become the best version of themselves with a huge variety of quality programs and cutting-edge fitness technology in a high-value, low-cost, clean, full-service fitness facility. At Elevate Fitness, we believe that high VALUE doesn’t have to mean high cost. We deliver high-quality customized programs and services, many included with membership, for much less than you’d expect. At Elevate you won’t find a candy dish by the door or pizza in the lobby, that because we FOCUS ON WHAT REALLY MATTERS: creating a high-quality experience that generates positive, lasting results through lifestyle change, community involvement, and an outstanding member experience. Locally owned and operated for over 30 years, Elevate is committed to helping its members achieve positive, lasting results through innovative programming, technology, and lifestyle change. Other clubs offer equipment, Elevate offers RESULTS.

CORE TRAINING: Alternatives to the Abdominal Curl

Get a flat tummy at Elevate Fitness in Syracuse

The average American spends 55% of their waking life in sedentary behaviors. The average office worker spends 10-12 hours sitting each day. At the same time, the CDC reports that more than one-third of Americans suffer from obesity. Indeed, the scientific community is now using the term “sitting disease” to describe the metabolic syndrome and ill effects associated with an overly sedentary lifestyle.

Sitting at the office for eight hours a day creates a very steep uphill battle for a workout that is only 30 or 60 minutes long. It’s not just that people are less active overall; sitting postures can actually alter the anatomical configuration of the human body.  Core training is an important area to consider when working out for people who are in a sitting position for extended periods of the day.

How many times have you heard someone say that what they want out of a core workout is to “really feel the burn” in their abs? We’ve all heard it, and at some point, we’ve all thought that the “burn” you feel is the hallmark sign of a great core workout. But scientifically speaking, that “burn” doesn’t necessarily equate to effective core training.


The range of motion for ab curls is very small. Compare ab curls to something like a backbend or a full sit-up; ab curls have a range of motion that is visibly much smaller. What causes the “burn” sensation is high repetition of that movement over a 2-3 inch range of motion. The upper abdominals “burn” due to excessive fatigue. However, the lower abdominals and deep core are barely involved in an ab curl. Moreover, the position of the body in an ab curl closely resembles the posture of sitting hunched over a desk staring at a computer screen. In this position of spinal flexion, the ribs are collapsed and the diaphragm is compressed, making it near impossible to take a full breath. Rather than engaging the abdominal muscles, sitting in spinal flexion creates prolonged intra-abdominal pressure, causing a “pooch” or expansion of the lower abdomen.

This posture also results in what is called “passive stiffness.” This means that, even when the abdominals are not being intentionally contracted, those muscles are shorter and tighter at rest because the body is in a hunched over position for so many hours of the day. For example, sitting for too many hours during the day can result in spinal flexion in the standing position; this is due to passive stiffness. In other words, the torso gets “locked” into a position that makes breathing more difficult, even when you’re not sitting down.

Exercises like ab curls exacerbate the postural deficiency that results from sitting. Because of the negative effects on posture, breathing, and movement, this can be detrimental to your overall physical health and wellbeing. Importantly, this does not mean that people should never do ab curls. The significance of this research is that core training should be diversified so that the programming uses different movements that may not feel like a “total ab burnout” but are nonetheless highly effective training.


People need a total-body approach to core training that counterbalances their sedentary lifestyles to improve their overall movement health. First and foremost, if you really want a “six-pack,” then what you need is full-body metabolic conditioning to reduce abdominal fat. Doing ab curls does not necessarily “burn” abdominal fat. People do not get to pick the area of the body where fat burns first – this is called the “spot reduction myth,” and it has been scientifically disproven.

In order to target the abdomen, you need to work the body as a whole using compound movement. That means movements like Squats, Lunges, and Burpees have a much greater effect on carving out your core than what people usually think of as “core training.” In Group Power, for example, participants do the vast majority of “six-pack” building before they ever get to the Core track at the end of the workout.

Group Fitness classes are a great way to incorporate all of these training modalities and options without a lot of extra leg work on your part. Programs like Group Power, Group Active and Group Core especially focus on these benefits of full-body training to increase abdominal strength and toning.

Try your first class free at Elevate Fitness:


Time-Based Runs vs Distance-Based Runs

Why Time-Based Runs are as Important as Distance-Based Runs from Elevate Fitness in Syracuse

By Run Program Director, Kevin Collins

Like many of you, and for more than half of my running life, I too, ran for miles over time-based runs. This was during a time before the Garmin when there were only two ways in which to measure your courses: 1) You measured by a car (if you could). 2) You asked somebody who thought they knew (they never knew). It was even more frustrating for speed work. You’d measure out a quarter mile on your favorite running road and goodness help you if construction or travel prevented you from being there or a track. So, of course, you can imagine how liberating the discovery of time-based running was to an extensive traveler like me in a post-collegiate racing world. It’s hard to let go of. We get jittery when we think we aren’t covering EXACT mileage each day. Time-based 60 minute, for example,ample can be a half-mile to a mile long or short of your daily goal. I’m here to tell you that the fitness gains between a half-mile more or less a day in and out are insignificant as they generally balance each other out. You might even say “Well how will I know how FAST and how FAR I’ve run?”

Stop right there.

Is this a base run, a long run, or a speed/tempo workout?

If it’s a base run, you don’t need to analyze the pace per mile or the distance because “performance” is not at all what these are about. Remember that progress is not pushing harder and harder every run each day. Progress is something you can see and feel in a mindless state.

If it’s a long run, the objective is to run for a LONG time. The 20 miler is no more a mystic make or break distance for your marathon than a 19.6 miler or a 21.2 miler, so when you are doing that 3 hour and 30 minute run, just make sure it’s close. If you see on your Garmin that it’s shorter than intended, add 10-15 minutes – problem solved.

Speed-workout: Is there a difference in benefit between 12 x 300m on a track and 12 x 1 minute on the same track (or road for that matter)? If the instruction was to run them the best you can taking into account # of intervals and total time intended: No, not much. Perceived effort is the art of pacing. Sometimes the watch can intimidate you. Run free. Run wild. You will find the line be can and can’t all the same.

Too many times I’ve seen runners set time goals in their workouts, perhaps too ambitious, only to see themselves fall short, allow frustration to settle in, and mentally deteriorate in workouts, perhaps storm off the track in self-manifested disgust. Is this how to train?

In the world of time-based training, there ARE no bad days. There is only training and the road ahead. Learn to embrace the struggles of training day to day. Nothing will make you tougher and less the quitter (the REAL source of our disappointments).


Teach us how to embrace the “BAD” days and see them as neither bad nor good.
Are easier to schedule around life activities (a 60 minute run is STILL a 60 minute run and always will be for the next 20 years!)
Cater to the obsessive-compulsive just the same: A 60 minute run that ends at 59:46 will bug you just as much as a 10 miler that ended at 9.95 miles.

Like Garmins, allow you to run ANYWHERE (Imagine how liberating time-based runs were BEFORE Garmins on this point).
Make for stronger runners. Your improved capacity to plan runs around scheduling conflicts will result in MORE total days run per year, which, when or if measured, will result in MORE miles run per year. This directly correlates with your base conditioning specific to running and consequent endurance (your ability to sustain high intensity longer than you could before!)

So instead of 2 milers, 4 milers, 6 milers, 8 milers, & 10 milers. Try 15 minute, 30 minute, 45 minute, 60 minute, 75 minute, & 90 minute runs! You will free yourself from needing anything more than a basic wrist-watch.
In the end, it will be consistency that brings the goods, NOT the gadgets!


Want to learn more about running programs at Elevate Fitness in Syracuse?

Running and Patience

Patience and Running from Elevate Fitness in Syracuse

by Kevin Collins, Run Club Director for Elevate Fitness Clubs

Just as one can be frustrated by sitting in a chair staring at the hour hand on a clock so too can it be looking for progress as a runner. When you finally can finally see the big picture and not look at the day to day change, you’ll be able to relax.

In 2000, I was heading into my second U.S. Olympic Trials with a pretty awful injury. I had decided that since it was only three Olympic Trials which I might ever run in a lifetime since they occur every four years, skipping the event was not an option. I decided that come hell or high water, I was going to be merely a finisher – and that’s all I really was: 2nd to last place. Disappointing? Of course!

So it was a bit confusing to my work friends back home when I strolled in the next morning talking excitedly about my morning run. “Wait…What are you training for?” they asked. “The 2004 Olympic Trials of course!” I replied. The blank stares were obvious and then the comments followed. Nobody could believe that I could forecast suddenly to a race four years into the future, but I had both a something very powerful working for me:

Trust in consistency,

and Tremendous patience.

My college teammate (and successor) was in those 2000 Olympic Trials. He had qualified with a much slower time than I but beat me nonetheless paired against my injury. I also knew that he would be, like many of the Qualifier participants in the race, going on a more relaxed approach to training for the next couple of years perhaps more, only to see the upcoming 2004 Trials date approach and begin training again. They would get into great shape again, but would they be better?

In those first two years, pressure-free, I took to my recovery of about two weeks and when my injury cleared, my jogs became runs again, speedwork returned and I raced and trained myself far beyond my best times even if I were healthy in the 2000 Trials race. By the time I reached late 2003, I had reached another plateau altogether and the runners who had begun training again for the 2004 year were simply playing catchup. To re-attain their fitness was to still be behind. A full four minutes better than my 2000 qualifier now (a massive amount of time when you are a sub-2:20 marathoner), my college teammate had remarked that on the loop course of the 2004 Trials, his goal was simply to not get lapped by me!

It didn’t happen all in one day, I chipped away at my best time bits at a time, never backsliding, always consistent. Even if your goals are fitness, it’s the same patience that will get you there. Enjoy the journey. Take your eyes off of the “hour hand”! Here are some tips to help you with patience:

Remember that even a second faster per week is nearly a minute faster in a 5k one year later.

See the big picture: Mark the date on the calendar right now. Where will you be one year from now with consistency? Get an image of yourself hundreds of miles later.

Enjoy the journey. Beyond progress what other reasons do you run for? Weight loss or management? Friendships? Clearing your head? Drive to a place you’ve always wanted to run.


Make it an adventure.


Want to learn more about the Elevate Fitness Run club or Coach Kevin Collins?

Running: Tapering and Racing

Running: Tapering and Racing

by Kevin Collins, Elevate Fitness Run Club Director

The final phase of any block of training is the Taper Phase. This is a phase which we taper off the high stress training and make reductions to “freshen” up your body so that it can perform on race day. You will hear about tapering primarily when it comes the Marathon or Ultras and occasionally for Half-Marathons because the length of the races which demand higher mileage often demand it. “Backing off” for a race is simply a mini-taper which can last 2-4 days which is standard to prepare for a good shorter race where a personal best is the goal. The taper is simply a beefed up version of that, extending 2-3 weeks depending on the degree of your fatigue or the enormity of your mileage base in advance of the race.

To taper and therefore freshen the body up, we have to cut out or sharply reduce the variables that caused you to be fatigued in the first place: 1) The quantity and 2) the quality.

I will do a 3 week taper if I am feeling unnaturally fatigued before a race (Remember that “fatigued” as it applies to training does not refer to “drowsy, bored, dehydrated, or lazy”). Recognize the difference! I will do a 2 week taper if I’m feeling pretty good and ready to go and will not go shorter than ten days. During this taper, I will reduce the amount of running I do per day. For you all, that may be a daily reduction of 15-30 minutes off your base runs (15 minute daily runs require no taper, they require more running!). If your you are doing 75 minutes per day, however, this taper can be pretty effective for bringing life in your legs you don’t even remember since the first month of your training stint.

I will also reduce the quality of your runs. Your final workout called a sharpener is essentially a mini-speed workout, so small it will barely fatigue your legs, yet it will preserve if not restore all the bounce, opened up stride, deep inhalation you’ll want to be on point on race morning. Week one of taper, I’ll remove all quality completely, allow you to jog lightly all week. It’s a “crash” resting tactic to freshen up your legs as much as possible without halting training to the point of deconditioning. Week #2 (the week of your race, I’ll give you the taper workout). Never do the taper after Tuesday. The days ahead matter most. Like landing a plane before hitting the ground you need the focus. Focus on sleep, diet, mental relaxation, hydration, stretching and most importantly, NOT running too hard or too much! If you don’t feel like jumping rope or taking the stairs vs. the elevator the night before your race, you are not ready to go. Once you develop an effective taper routine, you will have trust in it as a template for the future. No two tapers are exactly alike over time. It’s a time to heed the requests of the body and it is a time to listen to it carefully.

The taper can drive you nuts, you will feel like your training hardened muscles are softening, you may gain a couple of pounds, you’ll feel like you are falling out of shape, your runs may go flat and even the first few days of the taper, it may not feel like it’s having any effect (Remember that when you started training you didn’t feel the increasing fatigue in the first few days either! Think of this as a reversal of that). I can tell you that at the 20 mile mark you will thank every extra mile on your base runs leading up to the race you DIDN’T do during this crucial 2-3 week phase. The life preserved in your legs will carry you the last 6.2!

Note: One of the best things you can do 4-6 weeks out from your marathon is to race a half-marathon. This will make you feel race ready and race sharp mentally. Also since the race is half the length of the marathon, you are likely to run a faster pace per mile than expected in your marathon which in turn will make the marathon pace feel smoother and easier mile after mile. It will also calm your nerves because the half-Marathon will give you much needed race confidence – particularly if it goes very well despite the fatigue you are under having not yet reached the taper phase! A reminder that a poor Half-Marathon before your marathon does NOT in any way guarantee a poor forthcoming marathon! I have seen plenty of evidence in my own racing career to support that as well!

Not an Elevate Fitness member but interested in trying out Running Club?

5 Bad Workout Habits to Break Today

5 Bad Workout Habits to Break Today

We all have habits. And some habits are healthy (going to the gym regularly!) and some are less healthy (overeating after a workout because we over-estimate our burn). We’re going to talk today about 5 of the most common bad workout habits and how to break them for good!

Bad Habit: Not knowing the proper rep range for your goals or having bad/sloppy form.

Chances are if you’ve been working out for a while now, you’ve noticed that you can do more reps of exercises you used to struggle with – but should you? And what about the ideal range of motion – do you know what that is for the exercises in your program or are you guessing? Chances are you’ve built some bad habits in both the number of reps you’re doing (which is going to be hugely dependent upon what your goals are, so you might might not want to follow the advice that works for someone else with different goals) or your form. And if you haven’t been working out for a while, this is a good habit to avoid forming in the first place.

Solution: Check in with a personal trainer every now and then to make sure your program is appropriate to your goals from how much you’re lifting or running to form to reps/duration. Get a complimentary consultation with an Elevate Fitness Personal trainer here.

Bad Habit: Not changing up your workout often enough.

Workouts get stale, and what’s worse, they become less effective over time. Doing the same workout day in and day out will not only slow your results, but could actually derail them altogether over time.

Solution: Try group fitness classes. The group classes at Elevate Fitness are designed to be consistent so that you benefit from the programs while being progressive so that you’re constantly challenged and making improvements in your fitness. Plus – if one class gets stale there are literally dozens and dozens of others to try. Learn more about the types of group workouts offered at Elevate Fitness here.

Bad Habit: Leaving the gym and consuming excessive calories in the name of “refueling”. 

Sure, it’s a real thing. You need to fill the tank when you empty it. However, the truth of the matter is that most people overestimate how empty their tank is and underestimate how much they’re filling it back up.

Long story short? We overestimate caloric expenditure during exercise and underestimate caloric intake when we’re eating. The result? We don’t create the caloric deficits we think we’re creating during exercise.

Solution: Use trackers/apps to ensure you are burning the calories you think you’re burning and to make sure you’re not taking in more calories than you mean to. We think Heart Rate Monitors are the bee’s knees at Elevate Fitness. They give you the most accurate data you can get for your day-to-day workouts and make it a breeze to know how many calories you burned in the gym. Pair that with a great calorie-counting app like MyFitnessPal or Calorie King and you’re well on your way to breaking this bad habit most of us don’t even realize we’re guilty of!

Bad Habit: Making your workouts too much work and not enough fun.

Everything in life is about balance, right? And the same is true when it comes to your time in the gym. Yes, you should be working hard – but if you’re not having some fun in the process, how likely are you to stick with it for the long haul?

Solution: Mix it up. Here’s where those group fitness workouts can come in handy. Or how about trying something new in the gym that you’ve never tried before. Do you know how many calories you can burn on the tennis courts? HealthStatus reports a 150-lb. person can burn around 288 calories in an hour of doubles tennis and 414 calories in an hour of singles tennis – more for those weighing more than 150-lb.

Whatever the activity is – find something that’s fun and occupies your mind as much as your body and you’ll stick with it longer and have a much better time putting in the work required to meet your goals!

Bad Habit: Trying to go it alone.

We’re not solitary creatures, and while some people benefit from making the gym a solo effort (and if that’s you and it’s working for you – keep on keeping on!) most of us do better surrounded by others working toward similar goals to share their experiences with us and to hold us accountable to our goals.

Solution: Find that friend who would be good for your routine and ask them to fill out a guest form and try the gym with you – you may find a lifelong workout partner who helps you get into the best shape of your life! Don’t know who to ask? No problem! Find a program in the gym, like the Weight Loss Challenge, that aligns with your goals and try it out – the worst possible outcome is you meet some new people and move on to try something else. Best possible scenario? You change your life!

Whether you’re guilty of one or all of these bad habits, change starts with awareness! Determine what habits are standing in the way of you getting the results you want from your workout program and then make the changes you need to take your fitness to the next level!

Not a member? Not a problem! Try Elevate Fitness in Dewitt and Liverpool for FREE!

Motivating Yourself with Music

Use Great Music to Motivate Your Workout at Elevate Fitness

There are a number of things we can do to get ourselves pumped up to have a great workout, but possibly the most effective of those things is the music. Is it possible to hear the theme from Rocky without pushing yourself a little harder? When the beat drives forward isn’t it hard not to pick up your pace to match it?

Music is a powerful motivator both inside and outside the gym. Finding great music to help you get the most out of your workout can get tiring, and often times we find ourselves listening to the same songs or playlists over time. Changing up your tunes can help you blast through a plateau or set new personal records.

Different types of music are great for different types of workouts. Rock and Hip Hop are great genres for strength training and weight lifting. Dance and House music are great for cardio workouts. We asked certified Spinning Instructor Jason Jaquays-Tarbox what he’s been playing in his Spinning Workouts since Spinning focuses on both high-intensity cardio (speed and sprint work) and strength building (high resistance climbs and jumps). He shared six playlists with us with everything from warmup and cool down tracks to sprint tracks and slow climbs. 

Some Playlists from Certified Spinning Instructor Jason Jaquays-Tarbox

This playlist is a balance of sprints, seated and standing climbs and some jumps. It starts off with an extended instrumental warmup and ends with an easy cool down with Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga.

Exhibit 13 by Blue Man Group
Take me to Church by Hozier
Dance, Dance by Fall Out Boy
Pumped up Kicks by Foster the People
Zombie by The Cranberries
Rise Up by Andra Day
The Edge of Glory by Lady Gaga
Don’t Stop the Music by Rhianna
Waving Through a Window (dance mix) by Ben Platt
Too Good at Goodbyes (dance mix) by Sam Smith
It’s Not Right But It’s Okay by Whitney Houston
Shallow from A Star is Born

This next playlist is another mix of tracks meant to switch it up between speed work and strength work to keep the body moving and working at different intervals throughout the ride.

Pandora by Arno Elias (warmup)
Barrel of a Gun by Guster
Shallow Remix by Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga
What’s Up Remix by 4 Non Blondes
Fallin’ Remix by Alicia Keys
Hit Me With Your Best Shot/One Way or Another from the Glee Soundtrack
Rolling in the Deep cover by Go Radio
Bring Me to Life by Evanescence
Violet Stars Happy Hunting by Janelle Monae
Sweet Caroline Remix by Neil Diamond
Reach (Higher Remix) by Gloria Estefan
White Rabbit Remix by Dr. Drone
Wicked Game by Gnus Cello (cool down)
Chasing Cars by Gnus Cello (stretch)

This next playlist was designed to be HIIT work (high intensity intervals) to build the heart rate up to the 90-100% zone and then recover to 60-70% and then work back up and repeat. This is great for fat loss and putting the body into an extended fat burning period.

Best Day of My Life (instrumental version) by Backtracks Band (warm up)
Shooting Stars by Bag Raiders
Wake Me Up (workout mix) from Power Music Workout
Crazy Crazy for You by Rumor Willis and the cast of Empire
Beautiful Heartbeat (Avicii Remix) by Morten
Mic Drop feat. Desiigner by BTS
Only Happy When it Rains by Garbage
Beats Knockin’ feat. Fly Boi Keno by Skrillex & Diplo
Jump by Rihanna
American Woman by Lenny Kravitz
Somebody Told Me (workout remix) from Power Music Workout
Let’s Get Loud by Jennifer Lopez
Creep (Maelseom Remix) by Make it Rain & Harley Huke
Landslide (cool down) by Dagny
Perfect (stretch) by Gnus Cello

The next two playlists are about progressive building of both speed and strength. They start with a solid warm up followed by speed work (slowly building to sprints) and strength work (building resistance from seated climbs through jumps and into standing climbs).

Children (warm up) by Robert Miles
Basket Case (base speed) by Bastille
Love Runs Out by One Republic
September by Anden
My Shot from The Hamilton Mixtape featuring Busta Rhymes
The Heat (I Wanna Dance With Somebody) by Ralph Felix & SDJM
Losing My Religion remix by Unified Highway
Dance, Dance by Fall Out Boy
Chandelier by Sia
Beats Knockin’ by Skrillex & Diplo
In The End by Linkin Park
Barracuda by Heart
Wolves by Selena Gomez & Marshmellow
Shallow (workout remix) by Power Music Workout
Wicked Game (cool down) by Gnus Cello
Chasing Cars (stretch) by Gnus Cello

Exhibit 13 by Blue Man Group
Counting Stars by One Republic
Hey Brother by Avicii
Coming Home by Sheppard
Havana (remix) by Camila Cabello & Daddy Yankee
4 Minutes by Madonna feat. Justin Timberlake
Uninvited by Alanis Morissette
Hey There Delilah cover by Manuel Costa
Jolene by Straight No Chaser feat. Dolly Parton
Work by Frankie and the Witch Fingers
How Deep is Your Love by Calvin Harris & Disciples
This is Me by Keala Settle & The Greatest Showman Cast
Have You Ever Seen the Rain by A-Sides Club
Skyfall cover by Brynn Cartelli

This final playlist, like the last two, is about progressive workload increase but this time builds strength first and then speed.

Codex Destiny by Frank Borell
Take Me to Church by Straight No Chaser
We Are Young by Fun. feat. Janelle Monae
Toxic by Rumor Willis
Need You Now the Jason Nevins Remix by Lady Antebellum
Gotta Get Thru This by Daniel Beddingfield
Rise Up Tabata Remix at 128 BMP from Power Music Workout
Hella Good by No Doubt
All I Do Is Win (workout remix) from Power Music Workout
Crazy in Love by Beyonce
Poker Face by Lady Gaga
Swing, Swing by All American Rejects
Rewrite the Stars (cool down) by Zac Efron & Zedaya
Electra (stretch) by Airstream


Try a Group Fitness Class with Great Music at Elevate Fitness in Dewitt and Liverpool

What are the Best Exercises to Lose Weight Fast?

What are the Best Exercises to Lose Weight Fast?

Everyone who’s looking to lose weight has the same question: what are the best exercises to lose weight fast? There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to losing weight. However, there are some general rules of thumb that will help you ensure you’re weight loss program is both effective AND efficient.

In order to be effective, your weight loss plan needs to cause you to actually LOSE WEIGHT, right? And it needs to do so in a safe and practical way. It’s neither safe nor practical to eat only celery until you hit your goal weight. We’re therefore going to ignore the unsafe and impractical. For our purposes, we’re also interested in a plan that will help us maintain that weight loss. There are plenty of ways to drop pounds quickly that are short term solutions with no lasting effects, we’re not interested in those.

Once we agree on what makes a weight loss plan effective, we then need to agree on a definition of efficient. With regard to how much weight you can expect to lose in a HEALTHY and SUSTAINABLE way, we’re going to say anything more than 2 – 2.5 pounds of weight loss per week for the average person is unrealistic. Not impossible, but certainly unrealistic.

Here’s why: you may be able to drop more weight than that in a week, but the effect of greater weight loss in that time period can be problematic – it can cause metabolic confusion that slows your loss moving forward meaning you might lose fast out of the gate, but lose the race in the end. It’s also commonly believed that weight loss greater than 2 – 2.5 pounds per week is difficult to maintain as it’s often not achieved through sustainable lifestyle changes, but through tricks that are impossible to maintain for an extended period of time.

Now that we’ve agreed upon what makes a weight loss program or plan effective and efficient, let’s review some basic exercises that are going to help you see progress:

  1. Cardiovascular exercises: these are exercises that increase your heart rate for an extended period of time, putting your body into a state whereupon it requires more energy than the readily available energy available in your bloodstream and therefore turns to fat stores for additional energy. Great cardiovascular exercises for weight loss include running, jump rope and biking.
  2. Resistance exercises: these are exercises that cause your muscular system to work against a force (gravity, weight, etc.) in order to develop additional muscle. Resistance training is great because a basic rule of biology is that the more lean muscle mass you have on your body (achieved through resistance exercises) the more fat your body will burn in everyday life. Muscle burns more fat than fat does. The most common form of resistance exercise is weight training, which is a great addition to any weight loss program.
  3. Active recovery exercises: these are exercises that allow the body to recover from the cardiovascular and resistance training you’ve been doing while keeping your body moving and benefiting from movement and exercise. Yoga is a very popular form of active recovery exercise but can include walking, swimming and other lower intensity exercises that are easier to sustain for longer periods of time.

Keep in mind that weight loss is best achieved through a comprehensive program that is designed specifically for you and that takes into consideration your personal goals, exercise and health histories along with your exercise preferences combined with a customized nutrition plan.

Losing weight is a lot like baking – if you leave out an ingredient you’re not going to get the end result that you’re looking for. Exercise is just one of the ingredients in weight loss. Need help determining what your ideal program should be? Elevate Fitness is happy to help you determine what solution is best for you. Try us out now for FREE:


Weight Training Tips for Beginners

Elevate Fitness Weight Training Tips for Beginners

Weight training exercise has long been recognized to provide many health and fitness advantages. From helping to improve basic physical function to increasing your body’s capacity to burn fat, the benefits of lifting weights are well documented and wide-reaching.

For those just beginning with weight training, though, it can be intimidating to walk into the gym and join those in the weight room so we’ve prepared these beginner tips that will help you to avoid some of the common mistakes and pitfalls that most beginners make. By following these guidelines, you’ll reduce your risk of injury, get more out of each exercise, and have the confidence to hit the weights in the gym without feeling out of your comfort zone.

As with most exercises, it’s always a good idea to start with a warm-up or some light stretching.  Done properly, it will help you to loosen up your joints so you can move more freely and may help in reducing the risk of injury. However, you don’t want to overstretch because it might lead to unstable joints. Holding each stretch for 10 seconds or at the most thirty seconds is adequate.

The first question beginners often have when hitting the weights, is exactly how much weight to lift. This answer is going to vary from person to person and body part to body part and maybe even day to day. A general rule is that you want to lift enough weight that completing three sets of 10-15 repetitions is maxing out your lifting capacity but light enough that you’re not falling short of the three set, 10-15 rep goal.

Starting with heavier weights might be tempting, especially if you’re the type who might be concerned about how much you’re lifting compared to those around you, but you want to withstand the temptation – your body will thank you for it later.  As you acclimate yourself to weight lifting, you’ll find that you can quickly determine what the proper amount of weight is for you.

One of the most important factors in determining how much weight you can lift and how effective lifting that weight will be is the form that you use while lifting. We always recommend that beginners work with a Personal Trainer to learn the proper technique and form to reduce the risk of injury. For true beginners, Elevate Fitness offers a complimentary personal training session to help you get started on the right foot.

Every well-rounded fitness plan includes some form of resistance training, and the most popular form of this exercise is weight training. If you’re not including this fundamental type of exercise in your program, it may be time to consider all the benefits you’re missing out on. Plus, who doesn’t like a little variety in their workouts to keep things from getting boring?


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Power Up With Plyometric Training

Power Up With Plyometric Training at Elevate Fitness


Improve conditioning, increase muscle development and propel your physique to new heights!
While these moves may seem better suited for the playground, they’re actually beneficial to those of us a few years beyond playtime.

These explosive activities are collectively called “Plyometrics”. Put simply, plyometrics works to train the muscles to produce the greatest force in the shortest time. “Plyometrics is used by athletes to develop muscular power, rapid-force production and dynamic agility in fast-paced movements,” says William Kraemer, professor of kinesiology at the University of Connecticut. “Almost all sports these days incorporate some type of plyometric training in their regime, as it enhances total body power in movements like jumping and throwing, hitting and starting.”

The great thing about plyometric training is that an athlete can tailor a programme to enhance his or her own particular sport. For instance, if you play basketball, you’ll want to focus on vertical jumping and throwing skills. If you’re a football enthusiast, you might want to be more lower body intensive. Even recreational bodybuilders can benefit from adding a few plyometrics into the mix. “Plyometrics gets at certain fast-twitch muscle fibres you won’t hit with other lifting exercises,” says Kraemer. “It also helps increase your power output by improving the rate of force production, a benefit you won’t get unless you’re doing Olympic-style lifting.”

So why not regress and play with plyometrics? It offers complete conditioning, improved power, increased muscular development, and is all but guaranteed to propel your physique to new heights.

Begin with lightest medicine ball available – usually 2-4 pounds – and progress slowly to a heavier ball. If you do not have a training partner, use a solid wall or floor at which to throw the ball.

Stand sideways to your partner with your knees slightly bent and your feet shoulder width apart. Hold the medicine ball with both hands at waist level directly in front of your body, and twist using your torso, hips and shoulders as far away from your partner as possible. From this wound-up position, forcefully uncoil, swinging the ball around and throwing it to your partner. Complete all reps on one side before switching to the other.

Lie face-up with your knees slightly bent, your feet flat on the floor and your lower back arching naturally. Have a partner stand behind you and hold a medicine ball over your upper chest. Catch the ball as your partner drops it, absorbing its weight by bending through your elbows and wrists and lowering it slightly toward your chest. Push the ball back up immediately, throwing it straight up into the air to be caught by your partner.

Stand facing your partner with your knees slightly bent and your feet spread shoulder width apart. Hold the medicine ball with your arms fully extended and your elbows slightly bent, and raise it above and slightly behind your head. Avoid arching your back and hyperextending your shoulders. From this position, contract through your abs, lats, triceps and shoulders and throw the ball forcefully toward your partner.

Begin in the push-up position with your hands about shoulder width apart, your abs tight and your back flat. Lower your body to a point a few inches above the ground, then explode up and off the ground, clapping your hands in the air below your chest before catching yourself on landing with your hands in their original position. Immediately go into the next push-up and repeat, keeping the contact time with the ground to a minimum for optimal training effects.

The Workout

Rest Time

Side Throw
2-3 (per side)
2-5 minutes

Bench Push Pass
2-5 minutes

Overhead Throw
2-5 minutes

Clapping Push-Ups
2-5 minutes

Begin your lower body plyometric conditioning with the least amount of sets and the maximal amount of rest. Minimise the time your feet are in contact with the ground between reps for maximal output.

From a standing position, jump up as high as possible and use your abs and hip flexors to bring your knees up toward your chest as high as possible. Land with your knees soft, compress slightly, then immediately go into the next jump, keeping contact with the ground to a minimum.

Stand on a 12-inch box, step or other stable surface, and step – don’t jump – off the box onto the ground, landing with both feet simultaneously. Compress and absorb the impact by bending through your knees and hips, then immediately spring upward into the air, jumping as high as possible and landing with your knees soft.

Think of this as power skipping. With each bound on each side, exaggerate the motion with all parts of your body, brining your knee up as high as possible and swinging your arms as aggressively as possible to skip as high and as far as possible. Instead of going for reps here, you’re shooting for distance, so with each bound, leap upward and forward as far as possible until you move 20 yards.

Stand with your knees slightly bent, and simultaneously jump and rotate 180 degrees to face the opposite direction. Land on both feet and compress as if you were going to jump again, but hold this position for a count of two before exploding and rotating to face your start direction.

The Workout

Rest Time

Tuck Jumps
2-5 minutes

Depth Jumps*
2-5 minutes

20 yards
2-5 minutes

180-Degree Jumps
2-5 minutes

*Try to do these toward the beginning of the workout as they are particularly taxing.
For the first two weeks, take time to learn the exercises, simply going through the motions of the exercises slowly and completely to get the hang of it. Do one set of each, leaving 2-3 days of rest in between for complete recovery. After those initial two weeks, begin powering up into maximal effort, keeping your sets to two and your reps to 3-4.

As you improve and being to increase your output, you can increase your reps to six and your sets to three.

Now shoot for the moon. Try to jump higher, throw further and cover more distance with each and every rep. you may regress to the 3-rep range for a while as your body again has to adapt to a stronger stimulus. But don’t be discouraged! It only gives you a higher standard to shoot for in the coming months.

Since plyometrics works very specific explosive muscle groups, it is well-paired with endurance activities such as cardiovascular training and/or low-key weight training on the same day. “Just do them first, and make sure you’re fully rested before doing them again,” says Kraemer. “If you’re fatigued, you won’t be able to give it your all and won’t be training the correct muscle groups.”

Leave at least two days of rest in between plyometric sessions to ensure full recovery, remembering that the more exercises you perform, the longer your recovery interval will be. If you choose to do plyometric more than twice a week, limit your exercises per session to 1-2 instead of 3-4 to ensure adequate recovery time.

Also avoid doing more than two plyometric sessions per week for the same body group. If you’re doing upper and lower body plyometric on both days, be sure to choose different exercises for each session. “Also switch the order” suggest Kraemer. “If you do lower body first on the first day, do upper body first on the second day.”

For all your exercises, keep the rep range fairly low. “Generally, it stays between 3-6 reps per set, depending on how fatiguing the exercise is,” says Kraemer. “If you can get more than that, you’re probably not doing it right, are not recruiting the muscles you’re trying to get at and are generally wasting your time.”

Most important of all, remember to rest completely between each set of plyometrics. “You have to realise this is not a conditioning programme or an endurance test, it’s a neurological recruitment activity,” says Kraemer. “You’re working at maximal effort each time and have to recover completely to be able to work at your maximal capacity in the next set. You almost have to learn to be lazy!”


ALWAYS do a 5-10 minute dynamic warm up, such as biking, walking, jogging or skipping before beginning your plyometrics.
STRETCH after the plyometrics and not before. “You’ll stretch out the elastic component in your muscles, reducing your capability for he maximal power output,” point out Kraemer.
WAER athletic shoes with good lateral stability, proper arch support and a non-slip sole.
TRAIN on forgiving surfaces such as a good shock-absorbing track, basketball court or grassy area.
PROPER form is imperative. For lower body exercises, land softly on the balls of your feet, bending through the knees and hips to avoid injury. (If you hear smacking, slapping and general raucous noise coming from your foot area, you’re landing too hard!) When performing the upper body exercises, avoid hyperextending the shoulders and elbows, and focus on recruiting your core muscle (abs, lower back, and obliques) to add power.
KNOW your limits and listen to your body. If you’re too sore or tired from heavy lifting session or a previous plyometric workout, forego additional plyometrics in favour of some cardio or light strength training until you feel less fatigued.
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HIIT Vs Steady State – Which Type of Cardio Is Better?

HIIT Vs Steady State - Which Type of Cardio Is Better?

By Todd A Brown

This is a very popular topic in fitness when it comes to cardiovascular workouts. Most people ask me which form of cardio will yield the best results. Before I jump to my recommendation, I would like to outline the pros and cons of each style.

First off, let’s start with Steady State Cardio. This is probably the most popular form of cardiovascular activity. In Steady State Cardio, your perceived exertion is low to moderate difficulty over a period of at least 30 minutes. Examples include running/walking/jogging on a treadmill without stopping, running a marathon, hiking, etc. Your heart rate is usually 55-70% of your Projected Heart Rate Max over the duration of your activity. While performing Steady State exercise, you are working your Type 1, slow-twitch muscle fibers which are involved in endurance activities and they do not tend to hypertrophy (grow) as much as your other muscle fibers. While the calories you burn doing Steady State Cardio are mostly from fat, you will not burn as many calories as you would doing Interval Training for the same period of time. Steady State Cardio does not elevate your metabolism post-exercise as well as Interval Training but is much easier on your joints. People of all ages are most likely to be able to perform Steady State Cardio consistently without much discomfort.

Next is High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). HIIT is growing in its popularity due to its shorter workout times. Most HIIT workouts last 20-30 minutes and are characterized by bursts of maximum activity followed by a short rest period before repeating the activity. Your perceived exertion is high during HIIT with your heart rate falling between 70-85% of your Projected Heart Rate Max. The most popular example of HIIT is running sprints. During HIIT, you are working the more powerful, more strength oriented type 2 muscle fibers which are more likely to hypertrophy (grow). Even though the percentage of the calories you burn during HIIT that come from fat is low, you will still end up burning more fat during your workout than a Steady State Cardio session of the same duration. You can also burn up to 100 more calories in the 24 hours following your HIIT workout. There are some things to watch out for with HIIT. For instance, you should not do HIIT more than 3 times per week as it is very taxing on your joints and nervous system. In addition to that, you are more likely to injure yourself if you did not properly warm up before performing HIIT since your muscles are pushed harder than in Steady State Cardio. It may also be more difficult for older adults to do HIIT since their joints are not as strong as they once were.

After reviewing the pros and cons of both HIIT and Steady State Cardio, I recommend that people should perform 2 days per week of HIIT and 3-4 days a week of Steady State Cardio to get the maximum health and fat burning benefit while preventing your body from breaking down from overworking it. Your nervous system is often overlooked with people start a HIIT program and end up burning out early due to doing too many HIIT sessions.

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NOTE: While the author of this article makes cardio recommendations in the context of this article, Elevate Fitness recommends that you schedule a FREE consultation with a certified Personal Trainer to determine the best exercise prescription for your unique needs.


Tips for a Better Bench Press

The bench press is just one of the many effective exercises you might find yourself doing at Elevate Fitness. In fact, with so many different exercises out there, that often it’s difficult to remember how each one works. Not only that – with so many to choose from, but it can also often be difficult to determine which ones are right for you to use based on your fitness and your weight loss goals. Our certified personal trainers are highly trained and capable of helping you determine which exercises to include in your fitness and weight loss program and how to properly execute them. Feel free to inquire at the front desk if you find yourself needing some guidance.

In this video, we learn how to safely and effectively perform a bench press.

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At Elevate, we help our members become the best version of themselves with a huge variety of quality programs and cutting-edge fitness technology in a high-value, low-cost, clean, full-service fitness facility. At Elevate Fitness, we believe that high VALUE doesn’t have to mean high cost. We deliver high-quality customized programs and services, many included with membership, for much less than you’d expect. At Elevate you won’t find a candy dish by the door or pizza in the lobby, that because we FOCUS ON WHAT REALLY MATTERS: creating a high-quality experience that generates positive, lasting results through lifestyle change, community involvement, and an outstanding member experience. Locally owned and operated for over 30 years, Elevate is committed to helping its members achieve positive, lasting results through innovative programming, technology, and lifestyle change. Other clubs offer equipment, Elevate offers RESULTS.

6 Weight Loss Tips for Everyday Life

6 Weight Loss Tips for Everyday Life

6 Weight Loss Tips for Everyday Life

Not a member yet? Try Elevate Fitness for FREE!


Plain text version:

  1. Drink more water. Water keeps us feeling full and can stave off feelings of hunger. It also helps your body more effectively digest and recover from exercise and activity.
  2. Brush after eating so that you’re less likely to fill up on empty liquid calories like juice and soda to preserve the “just brushed” clean feeling in your mouth!
  3. Consume protein. Make sure that every time you eat, you’re getting protein. It makes you feel fuller than fats and will help you body burn more fat at rest.
  4. Drink green tea. It’ll boost your metabolism helping you to burn more calories, plus it is rich in antioxidants!
  5. Eat off smaller plates. Create the illusion of more food fooling your brain into not overeating by using smaller plates for your meals.


At Elevate, we help our members become the best version of themselves with a huge variety of quality programs and cutting-edge fitness technology in a high-value, low-cost, clean, full-service fitness facility. At Elevate Fitness, we believe that high VALUE doesn’t have to mean high cost. We deliver high-quality customized programs and services, many included with membership, for much less than you’d expect. At Elevate you won’t find a candy dish by the door or pizza in the lobby, that because we FOCUS ON WHAT REALLY MATTERS: creating a high-quality experience that generates positive, lasting results through lifestyle change, community involvement, and an outstanding member experience. Locally owned and operated for over 30 years, Elevate is committed to helping its members achieve positive, lasting results through innovative programming, technology, and lifestyle change. Other clubs offer equipment, Elevate offers RESULTS.


At Elevate, we help our members become the best version of themselves with a huge variety of quality programs and cutting-edge fitness technology in a high-value, low-cost, clean, full-service fitness facility. At Elevate Fitness, we believe that high VALUE doesn’t have to mean high cost. We deliver high-quality customized programs and services, many included with membership, for much less than you’d expect. At Elevate you won’t find a candy dish by the door or pizza in the lobby, that because we FOCUS ON WHAT REALLY MATTERS: creating a high-quality experience that generates positive, lasting results through lifestyle change, community involvement, and an outstanding member experience. Locally owned and operated for over 30 years, Elevate is committed to helping its members achieve positive, lasting results through innovative programming, technology, and lifestyle change. Other clubs offer equipment, Elevate offers RESULTS.

Full-Body Kettlebell HIIT Workout

Jason’s Full-Body Kettlebell HIIT Workout

I like this workout for a number of reasons:

  1. It’s quick, taking about 30 minutes to complete from start to finish including a quick warm-up before I start and a cool-down at the end.
  2. It only requires one piece of equipment – a kettlebell, making it an ideal workout at home, when traveling, or when the weather is nice and you want to head outside.
  3. It’s a high-intensity interval training workout so it’s super effective for getting maximum results in minimal time.
  4. It’s full-bodied, so it only needs to be completed 2 – 3 times a week for maximum effectiveness.

The Exercises:

  1. Kettlebell Swings
  2. Push-Ups
  3. Goblet Pulse Squats
  4. Deadlifts
  5. Upright Rows

Timed Interval Workout:

  1. 45 Seconds Kettlebell Swings
  2. 15 Seconds Rest
  3. 45 Seconds Push-Ups
  4. 15 Seconds Rest
  5. 45 Seconds Goblet Squats
  6. 15 Seconds Rest
  7. 45 Seconds Deadlifts
  8. 15 Seconds Rest
  9. 45 Seconds Upright Rows
  10. 60 Seconds Rest

Repeat this circuit 3-4 times.

No Clock/Timer? No Problem, Try This:

  1. 25 Reps Kettlebell Swings
  2. Let heartrate recover to < 80%
  3. 25 Reps Push-Ups
  4. Let heartrate recover to < 80%
  5. 25 Reps Goblet Squats
  6. Let heartrate recover to < 80%
  7. 25 Reps Deadlifts
  8. Let heartrate recover to < 80%
  9. 25 Reps Upright Rows
  10. Let heartrate recover to < 70

Repeat this circuit 3-4 times.

Want a customized workout for your body and your goals? Book a complimentary session with a personal trainer for first-time clients by filling out the form below. Some restrictions apply.

Elevate Fitness strongly recommends that you consult with your physician before beginning any exercise program.
You should be in good physical condition and be able to participate in the exercise.
Elevate Fitness is not a licensed medical care provider and represents that it has no expertise in diagnosing, examining, or treating medical conditions of any kind, or in determining the effect of any specific exercise on a medical condition.
You should understand that when participating in any exercise or exercise program, there is the possibility of physical injury. If you engage in this exercise or exercise program, you agree that you do so at your own risk, are voluntarily participating in these activities, assume all risk of injury to yourself, and agree to release and discharge Elevate Fitness and its associates and employees from any and all claims or causes of action, known or unknown, arising out of use of this or any workout program.

Is Barefoot Training Right for You?

Is Barefoot Training Right for You?

Do you suffer from Plantar Fasciitis, or Heel Spurs? Do you have fallen arches or pain in the ball or heel of the foot?

Go Barefoot with Elevate Fitness

Go Barefoot with Elevate Fitness

We can help you learn to strengthen the feet and take back your ability to hold yourself in good posture.

Your feet have been trapped in your shoes for all these years, your foot muscles have become weak and your foot and ankle joints have become stiff. Your feet are your base of support and your connection to the earth; if they’re not strong and flexible … imagine how your overall movement will suffer!  We will help you strengthen your body from the ground up – without the external support and control of a shoe. Training barefoot will feed your central nervous system valuable information and improve your balance to help you develop graceful and efficient movement.

Our program is designed to present the latest research in barefoot science as it relates to restoring foot function, corrective exercise, and athletic performance.

We strengthen the feet from the ground up…. Using the strength of the foot to strengthen and stabilize the ankle, knees, hips and low back as it all connects to your core. Learn how barefoot training can change foot structure, improve neuromuscular activation patterns and reinforce integrated movement patterns of the lower extremity.

Come see your Certified Barefoot Trainers  (Evidence Based Fitness Academy) Barb Delaney and Maurita Marley at Elevate Fitness.

Click here for the class schedule in Dewitt and here for Liverpool.

Try your first class for FREE by filling out this short form:


TRX Training 101 (or, What are those strap things?)

Have you ever seen those straps hanging around the club somewhere, and maybe you’ve even seen someone doing an exercise while hanging from them, and wondered what they are and why the heck they’re in the gym? Have you heard people mention TRX Training and wondered what the heck they’re talking about?

It seems like with all of the expensive equipment with fancy gears and levers all over the place that a set of canvas straps hanging from some monkey bars are pretty low tech, and therefore probably not great gym equipment, right? Not so fast. (Also, keep reading, there’s a free session offer at the bottom of this post!)

We talked to Level 1 TRX Certified trainer, Raelynn Baumann, who is also Personal Training and Pilates Certified, about TRX Training so that we could better understand what it is and why it’s in Elevate Fitness clubs.

Q: How and when did you first hear about TRX Training and what attracted you to it?

A: In 2010, I saw TRX in a Men’s Health magazine (yes I read that) and I was intrigued by the fact that you only used your body weight with it, and people were still raving about the quality of the workouts they were doing.

Q: What made you decide that TRX was a tool you wanted to be able to offer to your clients as a Personal Trainer?

A: As soon as I trained on The TRX myself I knew it was my new favorite way to train and would be great for clients too. Anything that can get me personal results, I know that it can work for my clients, too. And I’m always interested in bringing my clients the newest and most effective training modes.

Q: So you personally train on TRX? Why?

A: Yes, everytime I workout I use the TRX, whether it’s a full workout on the straps, or I just hit a body part or two, or use it to stretch out after a session. it’s a compliment to any workout/exercise you do. And it’s working your core 100% of the time you use it, and I really love that.

Q: What makes TRX different than working with weights or machines?

A: With TRX, you ARE the weight or machine! Just by moving your feet closer to or further from the anchor point, you make the exercise harder or easier. It’s pretty basic – 2 straps, and you are only supported by your hands or your feet, depending on the exercise.

Q: It sounds really interesting. So, who should incorporate TRX into their fitness routines?

A: Honestly, everyone!

Q: How did TRX come about?

A: Rope training has been around as early as the 1800s. Randy Hetrick, a former Navy Seal and Stanford MBA graduate, developed the Total Resistance eXercise (TRX) equipment and the associated Suspension Training bodyweight exercises in the 1990s, and started marketing it in 2005.

Q: Are you certified in TRX? Why bother getting TRX certified when you’re already a certified personal trainer and Pilates instructor?

A: Yes, I’m certified. It’s always best to workout with a certified trainer so you are taught the exercise correctly, with proper form to minimize the risk of injury. TRX training uses your muscles differently than traditional strength training, so it’s helpful to work with someone who’s been trained to maximize that effect and get you the best possible results.

Q: As I mentioned, you’re also Pilates certified. What do Pilates and TRX have in common and what makes them different?

A: Good question. They actually have a lot in common. A lot of Pilates instructors love the TRX. Both work on core movement, lengthening and strengthening. TRX is a set of straps, in which either hands or feet are suspended. Pilates is a method which can be done on a mat, or on various pieces of equipment such as a reformer, or chair and barrels. Both can be done almost anywhere.

Q: What advice do you have for someone who’s interested in TRX but hasn’t ever tried it?

A: Find a certified instructor. Have an open mind, your body is the only machine you’ll be using. All exercise can be tweaked to your own desired level of difficulty.

Q: Thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions. Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers about TRX Training?

A: TRX is low impact and will help increase your lung capacity. Your core is challenged through the entire workout. The TRX reduces time spent moving from machine to machine as well. I can’t say enough about TRX, if you haven’t tried it out yet, you should. Come on in to Elevate Fitness and let me get you on the straps to try it out!

Try a complimentary training session (first-time clients, aged 18 and over, local residents only) to learn more about TRX. Some restrictions may apply.



Documenting Your Journey

We’re a highly visual culture. Instagram and Snapchat prove that what we love most about social media are the photos. And that’s probably because, as Fast Company tells us, we remember more information when it’s associated with images. It’s a phenomenon frequently referred to as the picture superiority effect.

Often times, when people begin a weight loss or fitness journey, they’re initially motivated by a shocking visual: catching a glimpse of themselves in a mirror as they walk by, being tagged by a friend in an unflattering Facebook photo or glimpsing back at photos that showcase their more ideal physiques.  

Data is good – don’t get us wrong. It’s incredibly motivating to see numbers change as you work through a weight loss program. But the numbers on the scale can be so misleading. Muscle weighs more than fat. So one pound of muscle takes up less space than one pound of fat. Think about that for a minute: you might physically take up LESS space but weigh MORE on the scale if you’re involved in an effective training program. That’s why so many personal trainers prefer tape measures and calipers to scales. Inches and body composition mean so much more than your body’s relationship with gravity expressed in numeric form (which is all weight is when you really think about it).

Lauren Usherwood, a certified personal trainer at Elevate Fitness in Liverpool, NY says, “The scale can lie. I’ve had clients that have impacted their health and fitness positively in every way imaginable, who weighed more after they trained with me than they did before. BUT what the scale doesn’t show you is that they dropped dress sizes, or they played sports they hadn’t been able to play since high school. Body circumference measurements and body fat percentages tell you way more about a person’s body changing for the better than a scale can.”

At the same time, fitness professionals will warn you that you should have some sort of metric that you’re measuring as you complete any fitness program so that you can ensure the effectiveness of that program and make adjustments as necessary to make sure you reach your goals. And most of us can’t do our own circumference measurements, and we certainly can’t measure our own body fat percentage.

One option is photos.

“Photos are great,” says Mark Clary, a Program Director with over 30 years experience in the health and fitness industries, “getting a full body photograph that shows your body as is, without filters and flattering angles and special lighting will give you the best visual starting point for tracking your progress.” It makes sense, after all, before and after pictures are the most common way for people to share their success when it comes to weight loss.

But maybe you don’t have a timer on your camera or a tripod to get a full body shot. And maybe you’re not comfortable asking someone to take a photograph for you. We get it, it’s not always a practical suggestion. That’s where technology is starting to offer some interesting solutions, like 3D Body Imaging and Composition Analysis.

In less than a minute, this technology can scan your body, create a 3D digital image and take hundreds of body circumference and body composition measurements to give you both a visual AND relevant data to establish your starting point and track your progress as you work toward your goals.

Think about it – you wouldn’t want a surgeon going to work on you without first carefully assessing your condition and THEN creating a plan for you – why should the gym be any different? Why waste your time doing exercises or participating in a program that isn’t the right one for your body or your goals?

Elevate Fitness Clubs in Liverpool and Dewitt, NY are now offering 3D Body Imaging and Composition Analysis on site. Members working with a personal trainer in one-on-one personal training programs will receive monthly scans to track their progress and document their results. Members with VIP status will also get monthly scans. But what about the rest of us? Well, the good news is a) you don’t have to be working with a trainer or a VIP member to get a scan and b) right now, through the end of the year, you can get 50% off body scans! Fill out the form below to request more information or to schedule your body scan and composition analysis today!


The Best Workouts for the Time Crunched

The Best Workouts for the Time Crunched

In this post, we’ll focus on workout modes for people looking for time saving workouts.

In an ideal world, we’d all have all the time we need to meet all of our goals:

  • we’d be able to spend hours a day in the gym sculpting our dream bodies,
  • hours in the kitchen preparing the most delicious, fresh, healthy meals and,
  • we’d have endless hours to spend relaxing, resting and recharging

But where time is concerned, for most of us, we’re living in anything but an ideal world.

So how can we make sure that we’re getting the most out of the time we do have to spend in the gym? How can we make sure that we’re using our time as effectively and efficiently as possible to get the best possible results? What are some workable tips for time saving workouts?

We know that the perfect fitness program consists of four key components:

  • cardiovascular exercise,
  • strength training,
  • flexibility training and,
  • rest/recovery

The most common mistake that people with tight schedules make is by limited their focus to only one or two of these components instead of figuring out how to incorporate all four into their full schedules. A great time saving workout includes at least three of these components. So let’s figure out how to get the full benefit of all the components while still getting in and out of the gym as quickly as possible!

As an example, let’s assume that you have 30 minutes to workout, three days a week. How can we make sure that you’re getting maximum benefit from that time?

When you work with a personal trainer, they’ll adjust your workouts using four important variables:

  • frequency
  • mode
  • intensity and,
  • duration

In this case, we can eliminate frequency (because we’ve already established that we only have three days a week) and duration (because we only have half an hour to spare on our gym days). If you’re looking for the most time saving workouts possible, definitely consider working with a personal trainer.

That leaves us with mode and intensity – these obviously become our most valuable tools in creating the ideal workout for our full schedules.

Intensity is simply how hard you’re working, or how much effort you’re expending in your workout. The more effort required of you, the higher the intensity. Making sure your intensity is appropriate to your goals is key in making the most of your gym time. We HIGHLY recommend heart rate training as an ideal way to monitor and adjust your intensity to your goals. Read more about heart rate training here.

If your goal is weight loss, the ideal intensity is to be working in the 80-90% range of your maximum heart rate, as this will trigger the afterburn response in your body, allowing you to burn more fat at rest in the hours immediately following your workout than you would otherwise.

What is mode of training? Simple – it’s the manner or way in which you’re choosing to exercise. Spinning Class is a mode of exercise, running on the treadmill is a mode of exercise, lifting weights is a mode of exercise, etc. So mode become important in this scenario because we want to choose the modes of exercise that will give us the biggest bang for our buck and offers the best opportunities for time-saving workouts.

For most individuals who are looking to lose weight, or simply tone up, the best option for mode of exercise is going to be interval training. Interval training consists of alternating periods of high-intensity work and recovery. By increasing intensity, we’re getting cardiovascular exercise, and by making the exercises we’re doing full-body bodyweight exercises (think burpees and jump squats and pushups). Interval training is the basis for the very popular HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workouts you see everywhere.

Interval training allows us to address both cardiovascular exercise needs and strength training needs – two of our four components of a successful exercise program! That leaves us with flexibility training and rest/recovery.

We’re going to incorporate these two components in one of two ways:

  1. We’ll either plan a 20-minute interval workout finishing up with 10 minutes of flexibility (stretching) and core work or,
  2. We’ll plan two 30 minute interval workouts and one yoga workout per week.

Either strategy will ensure we’re giving all four components the attention and focus that we need to be successful in the gym.

If you’re looking to see the maximum change in your body with minimal time in the gym – for most of the population, this is going to be the best strategy.

Let’s use a different example and say that you have an hour to spend in the gym three to four days a week. This makes programming your workouts even easier at Elevate Fitness Clubs.

In this case, we’re going to recommend that you combine our popular Cross Training or Group Power classes with our Mind Body classes. (Check out the schedules for these offerings here.)

This option will also address all four components of a solid exercise plan while taking all the responsibility for planning a workout off your plate. Simply use the schedule to determine which classes you’ll be attending, show up, slap on your heart rate monitor (ensuring you’re working in the correct zones during your classes) and watch your body start to change in as little as a month.

It’s easy to turn program design into a super complicated juggernaut that prevents you from ever getting started. Why not sit down with your calendar instead, try to carve out three or four windows a week when you can hit the gym and get started on your journey to your best body ever?

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