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Monthly Archives: April 2013

  • How to train for a marathon

    Race season has begun, and if you're feeling inspired to run in your first marathon, now is the perfect time to start training. While 26.2 miles may seem like a lot - and it is - if you begin using the right cardio fitness equipment and commit to your training routine, you'll be ready to run in a marathon with the pros by the time race season begins next year.

    Meet with a doctor
    Marathon training can put a serious strain on your body, particularly if you're not a regular runner, so it's imperative that you meet with a doctor before beginning your training regimen. Let him or her know that you plan on training to run in a marathon, and ask if he or she has any advice that will help you reduce the likelihood of injury. A full physical will also help you detect any potential problems early on and reduce the probability of your training schedule getting sidetracked by an avoidable injury down the line.

    Make sure you have the right equipment
    Unsurprisingly, training for a marathon requires a lot of running, so having a quality home treadmill is key. The TRUE Fitness Z5.4 treadmill is designed for superior stability and durability, so you can be sure it will be around to help you train for many marathons in the future. It also uses a state-of-the-art motor that will give you the quietest and smoothest run possible.

    Start early and run often
    At a minimum, marathon training takes 18 to 26 weeks, but the earlier you start the better! This is especially true if you're not already a die-hard runner. Most people training for a marathon run between four and six days per week, alternating the intensity and length of each workout. If you're training for your first marathon, begin by running two to five miles each day during the week and gradually increase your distance as you approach the race date.

    Find the right pace
    In order to increase your endurance enough to run a marathon, you'll need to find your ideal running pace. In the beginning, you should be able to speak while jogging. Try running each mile at a pace that feels slightly fast to you, and increase your pace as your level of endurance increases. Come race time, focus on reaching the finish line rather than your speed.

  • The best food to complement your workout

    As any fitness guru will tell you when you're trying to lose weight, having a regular exercise routine is only half the battle. You need to have a healthy diet too! But what should you eat? And when should you eat it? Before a rejuvenating workout on your home fitness equipment (we recommend the TRUE ES9.0 Upright Exercise Bike for all those cycling fanatics looking for a realistic indoor cycling experience when April showers get in the way) reach for these healthy snacks to complement your routine:

    Berries When they're in season berries are not only a tasty treat, they'll also protect you from injury! Whether it's acai berries, blueberries, strawberries or raspberries, the antioxidants in these delicious fruits will help protect your muscles from damage. You can also try drinking a glass of cranberry juice or blending up a quick smoothie.

    Chicken Protein is an essential part of any healthy diet, and eating it after a workout can help your muscles recover more quickly. Try grilling up a chicken breast or eating some lean turkey to get your protein fill. If you're a vegetarian, include some soy in your diet.

    Bananas To get up the energy you'll need for your workout, you'll have to ingest some carbohydrates. A banana is a quick and easy snack you can eat on the go. As an added bonus, this fruit also helps prevent muscle cramps!

    Whole wheat bagels Sticking with the carbohydrate category, whole wheat bagels are also excellent fuel for your workout. They contain simple carbs, which burn quickly, so you'll be able to tap into that energy right away. Top it off with some berry jam for an extra workout-friendly snack!

    Greek yogurt For a tasty carbohydrate-protein combination, eat a bit of Greek yogurt before your next workout. It's easy on your stomach and contains less sugar than regular yogurt.

  • A treadmill workout to tone your thighs

    If you're hoping that your home gym equipment will help you get the toned body you're looking for in time for the dreaded summer bikini season, you're in luck! Although firming your thigh muscles can be difficult, given the right equipment and a dedicated fitness routine, you should be ready to hit the beach in no time.

    The TRUE Fitness M50 treadmill gives you the ability to customize workouts, which means you can make sure you work your thighs the way you're supposed to every time. To make sure each of the six muscles in your thighs gets a full workout, you'll need to experiment with the incline of your treadmill and the direction you're walking. For an effective 30-minute workout, try this fitness routine from Prevention:

    Begin by walking normally at a moderate pace for five minutes, then turn to the left and walk sideways with your hands on your hips, as if you were shuffling. After two minutes, turn forward and walk briskly for two minutes, then repeat the action on your right side for two minutes. Repeat the cycle.

    Next, walk briskly for two minutes while facing forward. Then, reduce the speed until you are comfortable walking backward - don't push yourself too hard or you could cause an injury. After two minutes have passed, face forward and walk at a quick pace for a final two minutes before a short cool down.

    If you want to push yourself even harder, try switching up the incline of your home treadmill during the periods of your workout when you are facing forward. Simulating the action of walking up a hill will help tighten your thigh muscles and increase your physical stamina. Combined with a healthy diet and strength-training routine, you'll soon be bikini-ready!

  • How to prevent shin splints

    Shin splints: They're the bane of every runner's existence. More technically known as tibial stress syndrome, shin splints are a common cause of leg pain in athletes and can make it nearly impossible to run. In fact, doctors highly recommend that anyone with shin splints give the bone time to heal rather than push through the pain and potentially trigger a stress fracture. To keep yourself safe and pain-free, take these efforts to prevent shin splints:

    1. Use the right equipment Having the right home fitness equipment can make a world of difference. Some treadmills, like the TRUE Fitness Z5.4, are specifically designed to prevent injuries. The Z5.4 is outfitted with TRUE's patented Soft System™ deck, which reduces the impact of your foot on the front of the treadmill while providing a firm surface towards the rear for an effective push-off. The orthopedic belt also allows you to adjust the firmness of the deck to further reduce leg and foot stress.

    2. Purchase quality running shoes Shin splints are common in people who have flat feet or small arches, which can cause the muscles in the legs to stretch too far during a run. To prevent injury, it's important that runners have enough arch support. This can be accomplished by buying quality running shoes or adding inserts to make exercising more comfortable.

    3. Get in some good stretching An easy preventative measure for shin splints is thoroughly stretching prior to each run. Before getting on your fitness treadmill, stand on the stairs with your feet together and your heels hanging over the edge of a low step (hold onto the banister for extra balance). Dip the heel of your right foot below the step a few inches and hold for 30 seconds, then repeat with your left foot.

    4. Try strength training A key way to prevent injury as you exercise is to make sure you're using proper running form. This is most easily accomplished by ensuring that you have completed the proper strength training to get your legs and hips in alignment. To strengthen your hips, try doing a few leg lifts as you lie on your side or get in a few squats before your run. To give your shins a good workout, try some toe raises: Stand on your toes for 10 seconds, slowly lower your feet, and repeat 10 to 15 times.

    5. Get a massage If your shins are still bothering you and seem to be prone to injury, try icing them or getting a massage. It will keep your muscles loose - just make sure you're in the hands of a certified massage therapist.

  • Top 10 reasons why you should exercise today

    If you're looking for an excuse to work out, we've got you covered. Here are the top 10 reasons why you should exercise today:

    1. New home fitness equipment
    Whether it's a treadmill, elliptical or exercise bike, a new piece of TRUE Fitness equipment is a reason to celebrate. To help you get and stay excited about working out, try the award-winning M50 treadmill: It comes with an easy-to-read LCD screen that will give you data feedback and help you meet your weight loss or fitness goals.

    2. It will make you happy
    Regular exercise not only releases chemicals that can boost your mood, it can also keep you happy and relaxed by reducing the tension that comes with anxiety or depression.

    3. Swimsuit season is coming
    If you want to lose weight or tone your body in time for swimsuit season, working out is a must! Just a half-hour of exercise each day can make a world of difference.

    4. Decrease risk of illness
    Aerobic exercise has been known to decrease the risk of a variety of illnesses, including heart disease, obesity, viruses and certain types of cancer. Exercise can also lower your blood pressure and help control blood sugar levels.

    5. It will strengthen your heart
    A strong heart can pump blood more efficiently through your body. Regular exercise will help you accomplish this feat.

    6. It will keep you energized
    Although it takes a certain amount of energy to exercise, working out will also help you keep you energized by delivering oxygen and essential nutrients to the tissues in your body. It can even increase your stamina over the long term.

    7. You'll live longer
    Because regular exercise keeps you healthy, it will also help you live longer! Studies show that those who participate in physical activities regularly have a much lower risk of premature death than those who do not.

    8. You'll sleep better
    People who have trouble sleeping often find that a bit of exercise helps them relax so they can get those eight hours of rest they so desperately need.

    9. You'll be less stressed
    Research has shown that exercise can be a powerful stress reliever because it stimulates the release of endorphins, which will help to improve your mood so you can confront the day.

    10. It will help you focus
    If you're having trouble focusing at work or school, try fitting in a quick workout. It will improve the blood flow to your brain and help you concentrate.

  • What are the best running shoes for you?

    When it comes to going on a great run, it's all about the shoe. Home fitness equipment like the TRUE PS800 Treadmill, which allows you to customize the firmness of your running surface with its Soft Select™ system, can have a significant impact on the quality of your run. But in the end, if you don't have the right shoe, you'll be less comfortable during your exercise routine and more prone to injuries.

    There are a number of incredible running shoes on the market today, so chances are you'll be able to find one that feels like it was constructed just for you. First, consider your surface: You'll need road running shoes if you plan on exercising on a fitness treadmill or pavement.

    If you're not entirely sure which way your ankle rolls (in or out) and whether you have high arches or flat feet, bring the pair of shoes you wear most often to your local running store. This will help the staff determine how your foot functions and make the right recommendations. Let them know what running surface you generally use and how often you exercise. As you try on different shoes, practice walking and running in them and pay attention to how they feel. Give the staff members feedback about how each shoe fits so they can adjust their recommendations accordingly.

    Aside from going by feeling, you should also check to make sure that there is approximately a thumbnail's length of room in the toe area to accommodate for swelling and running downhill. REI also recommends that you try on shoes at the end of the day when your feet are largest.

    Don't be afraid to be picky! Remember: You won't be able to tackle your fitness routine without a great pair of running shoes. Blisters and ankle injuries are not conducive to having a great workout.

  • Burn fat with these walking workouts

    Just because you're not a fan of running doesn't mean you have to avoid cardio workouts completely. Why not give walking a try? Low-intensity exercise is better for burning fat, which means you can use your fitness treadmill to lose weight even if your joints give you trouble. The TRUE Fitness M50's orthopedic belt even further reduces the stress on your ankles, knees and hips, so get back on the fitness bandwagon and give these fat-burning walking workouts a try:

    Flab Melter
    Use these gradual walk-run intervals from Fitness Magazine to burn fat at lightning-quick speed! You'll only need 20 minutes to feel the burn. Begin by warming up at a moderate walking pace for five minutes. Next, walk briskly for 20 seconds, followed by 20 seconds of jogging and 20 seconds of sprinting. Repeat for five minutes. Follow this interval with five minutes of brisk walking, then repeat the walk-jog-sprint cycle for five more minutes. Finish up your fat-burning workout with a five-minute brisk walk.

    Treadmill Slimmer
    This workout from Prevention magazine is designed to help you burn up to 150 calories in half an hour. All you'll need is your favorite pair of running shoes and a fitness treadmill. Spend the first five minutes of your workout warming up, walking at a speed of 3.4 miles per hour or whatever is comfortable. Next, increase your speed to 4 miles per hour for 60 seconds, then bring it down to 3.4 miles per hour for 60 seconds. Repeat these intervals for six minutes.

    For the third phase of your workout, walk briskly at a speed of 4.2 miles per hour for 40 seconds, followed by 20 seconds of cool down. Repeat for five minutes. Next: A 30-second interval walking 4.4. miles per hour, followed by 30 seconds of recovery. Repeat for five minutes. For the final fat-burning phase, amp up your walk to 4.6 miles per hour for 20 seconds, followed by a 40-second recovery interval at 3.4 miles per hour. Repeat for five minutes. End your cardio burst with four minutes of cool down, matching the speed you started with.

    Arm-toning walk
    There's no need to neglect your arms during your cardio workout! The next time you hop on your TRUE Fitness treadmill for an after-work (or morning) workout, swing your arms from front to back with your elbows bent as you walk, being sure to keep your shoulders relaxed. More ambitious walking enthusiasts can grab a light pair of weights to hold for a double-duty workout.

  • How to burn more fat in less time

    If your busy lifestyle has you making excuses and avoiding a commitment to a regular workout, we'd like to introduce you to interval training. Your schedule is no longer reason for hiding from that TRUE Fitness treadmill you gifted yourself to lose weight and get into shape! Interval training will allow you to burn more fat in less time by pushing your body harder during each short workout. There are simple cardio routines for even the smallest time crunch:

    If you have five minutes ...
    The key is pushing yourself to have as intense of a workout as possible. Lift your knees high for 30 seconds. Then, squat jump for 20 seconds, march in place for 10 seconds and repeat. Next: burpees. Squat with your palms on the floor, jump your feet back so you are in full plank and do a push up. Then, jump your feet in, stand up and jump with your arms overhead. Do this for 20 seconds, march in place for 10 seconds, and repeat the combination. For your last interval, do alternating jump lunges for 20 seconds followed by marching in place for 10 seconds, then repeat. Cool down by marching in place for the last 30 seconds of your workout.

    If you have 10 minutes ...
    Start with 30 seconds of jumping jacks, followed by one minute of step-ups. Next: mountain climbers for 30 seconds (bend over, place your hands on the floor, bend your knees and jump your legs back and forth). Now, hop on your home treadmill and sprint for 30 seconds, followed by jogging for one minute. Repeat this three times. Next, use a bench or couch to do 30 seconds of inclined push-ups, followed by 30 seconds of squats (release for a moment, and do squats for 30 more seconds). To finish up your high-intensity workout, do 30 seconds of burpees and hold the plank position for one minute (followed by one minute of side planks).

    If you have half an hour ...
    If you can spare 30 minutes, treat yourself to a great cardio workout on your TRUE Fitness treadmill. Again, for maximum effectiveness it's all about the intervals. Start by walking for two minutes, then jogging for three. Next, sprint for one minute, then jog for two. Repeat this combination four times. Finish off your quick workout by cooling down with a three-minute walk.

  • The best food to keep your heart healthy

    Having a healthy heart is key for living a long and happy life. Cardio exercise is a huge part of the process, and the TRUE HRC Cruise Control™ available on TRUE Fitness treadmills makes it possible for you to maintain your target heart rate throughout your workout, keeping that all-important muscular organ healthy and strong. But there's even more that you can do! Incorporate these superfoods into your diet for the healthiest heart possible:

    1. Almonds Almonds are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which evidence suggests can boost your heart health. They also contain vitamins B2 and E (which destroys free radicals related to heart disease), magnesium and zinc.

    2. Salmon Incorporating salmon into your diet can reduce your blood pressure and boost your cardiovascular protection. Like almonds, salmon is also rich in omega-3s. For maximum health benefits, eat wild salmon - not farmed.

    3. Oatmeal Oatmeal has been proven to be extremely effective when it comes to lowering your cholesterol and keeping your arteries free of clogs. Just make sure you avoid any instant or flavored oatmeal - they contain a ton of processed sugar.

    4. Asparagus Asparagus is not only low in calories, but it also contains folate and vitamins C and D, which are heart-healthy and anti-inflammatory. It's best to buy asparagus during the spring or summer when it's more likely to be fresh and locally grown.

    5. Blueberries Dark berries like blueberries are full of antioxidants. They also contain anti-inflammatories, which can reduce your risk of coronary disease and cancer. Throw some on top of your oatmeal for an extra heart-healthy meal!

    6. Green tea Although it's not exactly "food," green tea can lower hypertension. Drink a cup or two to soak in its multiple antioxidants, which have cardiovascular benefits such as the ability to reduce blood clots.

    7. Dark chocolate Chocolate lovers around the world, rejoice! Dark chocolate that contains at least 70 percent cocoa has been linked to lower blood pressure. It can also help increase your blood flow and relax your arteries.

    8. Soy Soy is high in isoflavones, which help reduce cholesterol. It's also low in saturated fat, making it the perfect addition to your heart-healthy diet.

    9. Avocado Avocados are packed with monounsaturated fats (what experts call "the good fats"), which help lower cholesterol and minimize blood clots. Add a bit to your daily lunchtime meal for a tasty way to help your heart.

  • Running surface can affect your foot strike

    Avid runners, take note: The surface on which you run may have more of an effect on your foot strike than you realize. As the rear-/mid-/forefoot strike debate rages on, a study recently published in Footwear Science has revealed that the way a runner's foot strikes the ground has more to do with the running surface than whether or not s/he is wearing a running shoe.

    Proponents of barefoot running, or running with minimalist shoes, have argued that wearing running shoes flies in the face of the most natural way for the foot to strike the ground - on the forefoot or midfoot.

    However, the barefoot running craze has been linked to a number of injuries, including stress fractures and pulled calf muscles. Although some doctors advocate for a gradual transition for runners who want to try jogging barefoot, others argue that it's best to strike in a heel-toe footfall pattern.

    According to Runner's World, humans may have adapted over time to run in the way that is best for the body according to the surface on which they are running.

    The study shows this to be true: 65 percent of subjects landed on their midfoot or forefoot while running on a hard surface, while this number decreased to 20 percent on a soft surface. This suggests that the running surface has more of an effect on a runner's footfall pattern than the shoes they are wearing.

    As a result, it's extremely important that runners execute their workout routine on a surface that allows them to maintain a footfall pattern that will lead to minimal injuries. This is most easily achieved on TRUE Fitness treadmills with the patented Soft Select™ cushioning system.

    Available on the PS800, Z5.4, PS850 and ES900 treadmills, the TRUE Soft System™ is the most biomechanically correct running surface available, putting the runners in control of the firmness of the surface on which they are running.

    The TRUE Soft System™ allows for the most orthopedically correct shock absorption, providing a soft surface for impact and transitioning to a firmer surface for a stronger push off as you take each stride.

    Because the surface on TRUE Fitness treadmills with the Soft System™ is adjustable, runners will be able to tailor it to help them achieve their desired footfall pattern, whether their allegiance be to the heel-toe or mid- /forefoot strike.

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