4 Reasons You Need to Be Doing Cardio

4 Reasons You Need to Be Doing Cardio

Cardio is one of the most feared words in the strength and conditioning world. It’s difficult, sometimes it can be tedious, and if you’re doing it right, can make you feel sick when you’re done. So why would anyone actually WANT to add cardio training to their regular workout routine? We’re glad you asked, and we’ll give you 4 reasons why you should want to start doing cardio work in addition to your normal workouts. 1. Doing Cardio Strengthens Your Heart This benefit may seem obvious but that doesn’t make it any less important. In a country where 1 in every 4 deaths is attributed to heart disease, making sure you have a healthy heart should be a priority. While cardio on its own won’t prevent heart disease entirely (Healthy eating habits and abstaining from tobacco use are factors that can help as well), it can go a long way in reducing the risk of it. Like your biceps, the heart is a muscle that will get stronger the more often and harder you challenge it. Because your heart is responsible for pumping oxygen-carrying blood through your entire body, your endurance in other exercises will also increase. 2. Doing Cardio Boosts Your Metabolism Your metabolism is essentially the body’s engine. The stronger the metabolism, the more fuel it needs to function well. A strong metabolism means you can eat more food before the body will store it as fat. Studies have shown that cardio exercise can boost your metabolism for up to 48 hours after your workout is finished. This phenomenon is referred to as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption...
4 ways to get shredded for summer

4 ways to get shredded for summer

With summer coming up quickly you may be panicking and asking yourself how on earth you’re going to get your body looking great for the backyard cookout or the beach volleyball tournament. Hopefully, you’ve already started preparing but if you don’t have a solid plan you could be in trouble. If that’s you, keep reading to find 4 great ways you can shred body fat and look great for summer! Cut the Junk Food There’s no question that the number one barrier to getting a body built for the beach is eating habits. No matter how hard you’re working in the gym, if you don’t clean up your diet, the results you see will be minimal to none. Anyone can workout for an hour a day, the differentiator is what you do with other 23 hours. Foods like pizza, french fries, onion rings, and fried chicken will tank your progress because those empty calories will just store in your body as fat. In order to look shredded, you need to have a very low body fat percentage so eating foods that store as fat is just working against you. Another thing that’s pretty easy to cut out is soda which is high in sugar and lacking in any nutritional value. Low Weight High Reps Once you’re committed to eating right, then you can visit your gym strategy to see what you can do to tone those muscles. While lifting heavy will increase muscle size and strength, it isn’t the best way to tone your muscles and make them pop. As we said earlier, the key to getting shredded is...
Part 2: What’s Better, Free Weights or Machines?

Part 2: What’s Better, Free Weights or Machines?

In our last blog post, we discussed the pros and cons of using free weights in your daily workout routine. If you haven’t read it yet you can find it here. In case you’re short on time and just want a recap, we talked about how free weights are excellent for building overall muscle mass and strength because they work out stabilizer muscles that machines don’t. However, working with free weights can be dangerous if you don’t have perfect form, so you will need to weigh the pros and cons and decide what is best for you. Today we’re going to look at machines and what the pros and cons of using them in your workout routine are. Weight Machines: Pros Weight machines are fantastic for beginners. They’re safe, quick to learn, and pretty easy to use. If you’re just starting out for the first time with a workout program, using machines is a great way to get your bearings in the gym and build your confidence. While free weights are the way to go to get a full body workout, machines are incredible for isolating individual muscles. If there’s a specific muscle you want to work on, for example your biceps, you can find the right machine and work away on them. Another added benefit of using machines is that you generally won’t need a spotter to lift high amounts of weight. Because most machines use a pulley system and are self-contained, you won’t be dropping weight on yourself or others if you work to failure. Weight Machines: Cons We’ve sort of hit this con already but the...
Part 1: What’s Better, Free Weights or Machines?

Part 1: What’s Better, Free Weights or Machines?

When it comes to the best daily workout routine, there are as many opinions as there are equipment choices. On one hand, you have the gurus who will swear by using machines to get fit and build muscle, and on the other are weightlifters who will tell you free weights are the only way to go. With so many differing opinions, how do you decide what’s best for your own workout plan? Read on to find out the pros and cons of free weights, then next time, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of workout machines so that you can make the decision for yourself! Free Weights: Pros Most of the body builders that you see are going to be big proponents of using free weights. That’s because when you use free weights, the muscles in your body not only have to lift the weight of the bar and plates, they also need to constantly adjust for your balance. The muscles that get worked while adjusting for your balance are called stabilizer muscles, and will be different depending on the workout you’re currently performing. For example, when performing a bench press, your pectoral muscles are the main muscle being worked. However, during the exercise, your shoulders, abs, arms, and even your legs are working to stabilize your body to complete the bench press motion. That’s why big compound workouts like the bench press, dead lift, and squat are considered full body exercises. Working out with free weights provides other muscles an opportunity to strengthen themselves in ways that machines don’t allow for. Free Weights: Cons After hearing that working...

Advantages of Bulking and Cutting

Something you’ll hear every year at about this time is “Summer is coming up, time for me to start cutting”. Many people swear by the bulk up for winter and cut back the extra fat for the summer strategy in order to maximize their results. Today we’re going to look at what is involved in a bulking/cutting strategy and find out if it’s the plan for you! In a bulking and cutting plan, the goal is to shred any extra fat you may have so as to increase muscle tone for the summer months. The reason for this is usually that the summer temperatures allow people to more easily show off all the work they’ve been doing at the gym and in the kitchen. After summer is over, however, it’s time to bulk up. That means eating more calories and upping the carb intake so as to maximize muscle growth. Bulking vs. Cutting Workout Routine Regardless of whether it’s bulking season or cutting season, your workout routine will mostly stay the same. You’ll want to spend 3-5 days a week either at a commercial gym or your own in-home gym burning as many calories as possible and exhausting your muscles so they can grow stronger. The one difference is that during cutting season you will want to increase the time you spend on cardio workouts. High-intensity workouts that get your heart rate up tend to burn fat faster than other workouts so these are perfect for your cutting routine. Bulking vs. Cutting Diet The biggest difference in bulking vs. cutting is your diet. If you’re cutting, you will want...
Is Eating Healthy Really That Important?

Is Eating Healthy Really That Important?

Whether you’re brand new to the concept of working out and you just got your first gym membership, or you’ve been working out regularly for years and even have your own in-home gym, you have most likely heard that the most important thing you can do to see improvement is to eat right. But is that accurate? Why can’t you just workout longer, faster, and harder in order to get better results? In today’s blog post we will talk about why eating healthy is so important for your results in the gym. Eating right gives you more endurance in the gym When it comes to your body and the way your nutrition effects it, think of it the way you would a car. Your car needs to have gas to move. If you run out of gas you can still roll backward or push it forwards, but it won’t operate the way it’s designed to unless there is fuel in the tank. Similarly, our bodies are designed to use food as fuel for our daily activities. The type of food matters too. If you put diesel fuel in an engine designed for unleaded you will ruin your engine, and while our bodies are able to adapt to what we put in them, eating empty calories like processed sugars or fried foods high in trans-fat or saturated fat will bog down your system and keep you from operating as efficiently as you could be. If you want to run, lift, or do cross-fit at peak performance, you need to fuel your body with the right types of foods. Make sure...
3 Great Workouts for a Muscular Chest

3 Great Workouts for a Muscular Chest

It’s hard to argue that having a well-defined, muscular chest makes any guy look better. With the new year approaching, you might be resolving to hit the gym and look for a way to develop your chest into that of a Greek god. Getting a chiseled chest isn’t easy, and a lot of people try and fail every year. Here are 3 great workouts that if you stick to them, will help you get that big muscular chest you’ve always dreamed of! Bench Press I’m sorry if you hate bench presses, but there really is no better workout for adding size to your chest than bench pressing. This workout, if done with the right form, will work your core, lower, mid-, and upper chest, and will also work your front delts. Focus on using the right form and not only will you work more muscle groups, you’ll also be able to push more weight. Dig your shoulders back into the bench, arch your back, and plant your toes firmly on the ground. A lot of people try to bench by bringing the bar down towards their upper chest, and then pushing up for the lockout from there. What you really want to do is bring the bar out towards your lower chest, flex your lats while pulling the bar down to your lower pectorals, and then pushing up into your lockout from there. Performing the bench press in this way will provide you a lot more power so you can break through those stubborn plateaus and really build strength and size. Pin Press Another great workout for adding strength...
Home Gyms vs. Commercial Gyms

Home Gyms vs. Commercial Gyms

So, you’re thinking about getting into a workout routine, you’re getting motivated to pump some iron and get that dream body you’ve always wanted. Working out has a lot of benefits both for your body and mind. The only problem is you’re not quite sure which route you should go. Should you get a membership at a local commercial gym, or just buy some equipment and start your own in-home gym? If you’re struggling with this dilemma you are not alone. A lot of people all around the country have a hard time deciding which option is right for them. Much of the decision comes from what best suits your schedule and lifestyle, but there are some things you should know about both options before you make the commitment. Why Choose a Commercial Gym? When deciding between a commercial or an in-home gym, access is often a big deciding factor. With a commercial gym, you pay your monthly fee and all of the equipment you need is readily available to you. You don’t need to go out and purchase the weights and machines yourself. Commercial gyms also generally offer personal training sessions (although you have to pay extra for it) and these sessions can help you reach your goals faster than if you were to work out alone at home. Another benefit that commercial gyms offer is that there are few distractions to actually getting your workout in. For people who have a difficult time with getting sidetracked or staying motivated, working out at home can be a frustrating experience. You have all the right intentions of getting a...
Why You Should Incorporate Weight Lifting into Your Workout Routine

Why You Should Incorporate Weight Lifting into Your Workout Routine

Exercising on a regular basis has many benefits: improved heart health, stronger muscles, more energy, and a general feeling of better health. There are all kinds of different ways to work out your body including cardio training, bodyweight workouts, and weight lifting. Many people are nervous about the idea of training with weights because of the danger of injury. However, weight lifting provides many advantages that other types of exercise can’t, and there are precautions that can be taken to avoid injury during weight lifting. Here are 3 big reasons you should incorporate weight lifting into your exercise routine. Weight Lifting Super-Charges Your Metabolism Compound weight lifting exercises such bench presses, deadlifts, power cleans, and barbell squats use a massive amount of muscles to accomplish. Compound exercises are also referred to as full-body workouts because they require assistance from your core, back, legs, and sometimes even your chest and shoulders. Naturally, when you use more muscles, you will expend more energy and burn more calories. Compound workouts also help boost your metabolism and burn fat for several hours after your workout is over. Weight Lifting Increases Your Overall Strength While cardio workouts are definitely beneficial and bodyweight exercise is great for toning your muscle, no workout is better for building strength than heavy weight training. Have you ever been in the gym performing a workout, and while the weight doesn’t feel overly heavy, you feel pain in your joints? This is caused because your muscles may be able to handle the weight you’re lifting, but your tendons aren’t quite at the same level of strength as your muscles are....

Floor Model Sale Through September 10

Want to get serious about your health goals this fall? Good news—from now until September 10, Balance Fitness is able to offer a sale on equipment to get you on the right track. Floor models of our equipment will be discounted with up to 40% savings at both showrooms—but once they’re gone, they’re gone. This is a once-a-year event, so don’t miss it! We’ll also be offering Labor Day specials all through the week. Stop by one of our two showroom locations and see what we can do to help you reach your fitness goals. Let’s make this season a great one for your health! San Mateo Showroom: 905 North Amphlett Blvd. Phone: 650-348-1259 Hours: Tuesday – Saturday (10:00 am – 6:00 pm) and Sunday (11:00 am – 4:00 pm) Santa Clara Showroom 3109 Stevens Creek Blvd. Phone: 408-244-3010 Hours: Monday – Saturday (10:00 am – 6:00 pm) Sunday (11:00 am – 4:00 pm)...