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Which Cardio Machine is Best?

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After “How do I get a flat stomach?” the second most popular question I’m asked is “Which Cardio Machine is Best?” The menu of aerobic choices to pick from is vast and equipment manufacturers are constantly coming up with new ways for us to torture ourselves. If you walk into the cardio area at the gym, you could break a sweat trying to decide which equipment to use. Some choices include the Life Cycle, Precor EFX Elliptical, Stairmaster Crossrobics, Nautilus Arc Trainer, Versa Climber, Concept II Rower, Treadmills galore and one of my favorites, the Step Mill. You can choose lower body only, upper body only or both. You can ski, skate, climb, step or row. The definition of cardiovascular fitness is the ability to perform large muscle movement over a sustained period. It’s related to the capacity of the heart-lung system to deliver oxygen for sustained energy. It’s also called cardiorespiratory endurance or aerobic endurance.

So, with so many machine choices available to improve our cardio fitness, which one is best?When someone asks me “Which is best?” they usually mean, “Which is going to burn the most fat in the least amount of time and make me look great?”

Let’s take a look at some of the popular choices and what the pros and cons are.

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Treadmills:

Pros — These are still the most popular, by far. Walking is a relatively easy activity that you’re already used to doing, so there isn’t much of a learning curve. Walking is a lower impact activity, so it’s gentler to the body. Treadmills help you keep pace and most have a variety of programs that can keep you challenged. You can monitor your progress and see improvements in time, distance and speed.

Cons — Walking can cause shin splints if done excessively, and it’s not the best calorie burner. Many people find indoor walking boring. Running is a great calorie burner, but at a higher cost to your joints. If you do progress to running, take several months to safely evolve to it. To compensate for the belt propelling your stride, add a 2 percent incline to the treadmill which more closely simulates outdoor walking. To make this challenging, try different pre-set programs which vary your speed and incline, then strive to beat your own record.

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Stationary Bikes:

Pros — There are both upright and recumbent bikes to choose from, as well as bikes with upper body levers. Bikes are less stressful on the joints and once you get accustomed to spending time in the saddle, they are relatively comfortable. Recumbent bikes are a good place to start for beginners and those with back pain.

Cons — It’s more challenging to get your heart rate up on a bike since the weight of your legs helps to propel the pedals, therefore needing less effort. To make this challenging, deliberately focus on keeping your cadence up or add resistance. Otherwise this can be a low calorie burner. Think Lance Armstrong as you ride.

 

 

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Step Mills:

Pros — You will recognize this one as being the tallest piece of equipment on the floor. It most closely represents stair climbing, which could be called functional training for those needing to climb lots of stairs. Also this is a very challenging exercise, because you have to support your body weight. This one will get your heart rate up for sure.

Cons — Takes a while to build up speed. The tendency is to want to look down because you feel as if you’re going to trip. You feel like you’re moving slowly, but your heart rate is really racing. It’s also easy to cheat on this one by leaning on the hand rails. To make this more challenging, lightly place your hands on the rails and eventually try to swing your arms by your side naturally as you climb.


 

 

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Ellipticals:

Pros — This family of equipment is relatively low impact and therefore is less stressful to the joints. They are excellent for rehabilitating injuries or for beginners. Arm work will help to elevate the heart rate and increase the work (calories burned).

Cons — Again, unless you are choosing a high level of intensity, it’s just easy to stride alone without breaking a sweat. To make this more challenging, attempt to increase your levels, pump your arms and change programs often.

 

 

 

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Stair Climbers:

Pros — It’s a great calorie burner when done properly. Even though you may be accustomed to going up and down stairs, this machine takes stair stepping and your body to a whole new level. You are completely supporting your body weight on the pedals; therefore, it takes a lot of energy (calories) to sustain this exercise.

Cons — It’s easy to cheat by locking your arms out on the equipment. Stair climbers may not be comfortable for anyone with knee pain. It takes some time to build up the endurance to sustain this exercise for 20+ minutes. To make this more challenging, focus on posture. You can ultimately do this exercise without holding on and by pumping your arms.

 

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Rowers:

Pros — It’s a great total body cardio exercise. Helps to improve the endurance of the postural muscles (abs and upper and lower back). This exercise is low impact and is easy to get into your target heart rate due to the arm and leg involvement.

Cons — It may not be comfortable for anyone with knee or hip problems. If you don’t keep good form, you can encourage poor posture and overstretch the muscles of the upper back and shoulders. To make this more challenging, focus on your posture and perfecting your stroke. Try to beat your personal score of strokes per minute or meters traveled over time. When it comes to cardio, several factors go into the answer of “which is best.” As you can see, there are pros and cons to any exercise you may choose.

Whatever choice you make, you must do it consistently, correctly and intensely. Consistency — Here’s your key. When you find a piece of equipment that you enjoy, you must do it often. “Often” means three times a week to improve your health and up to five times a week to improve your fitness, optimize calorie burn and improve your cardiovascular efficiency. Correct form — Never sacrifice form for speed or performance. If exercise is to be a lifetime commitment, you want to keep your body healthy, injury free and feeling as good as possible at all times. Think about keeping your entire body relaxed when you do cardio and you will find that you can become more efficient on whichever equipment you choose. Intensity — Your heart rate is usually a good indicator of your intensity. Healthy adults should strive for 6090 percent of their maximal heart rate. Click here to determine your target heart rate. If you aren’t working hard enough, you aren’t going to see the benefits. If you’re working too hard, you’re setting yourself up for injury. The bottom line is to choose something that you will do often, is convenient and feels good (when it’s over). The best suggestion I can give is to use a variety of equipment.

Some burn more calories, some are more physically challenging and some feel better than others. Your body may need different things on different days. If you had a tough workout, you may want to do an easy walk or bike ride. If you are rested and feeling energized, you may want to tackle the Stairmaster. What’s important is that you do it. The benefits are priceless.

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Ilen & Lauren Bell are the husband and wife team behind Black Fitness Today, born, in 2011, out of their motivation to change culture, build a platform and lead the charge. Their purpose is to help change the culture towards health and fitness in the African-American community, showcase those who are making an impact, and promote healthier living. They also aim to serve as a platform for African-American fitness and health professionals and enthusiasts who are otherwise overlooked in traditional fitness media.

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Body

Your Guide To Shopping For Produce

Find out what produce you should definitely buy organic, and what is okay to buy conventionally

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It seems to be getting harder and harder to know what is being sold to us at the grocery store. We know that the beautiful, shiny produce is the most affordable but probably contains the highest amounts of wax, pesticides and other chemicals. However, organic can be a bit pricey and possibly unavailable, depending on where you have access to shop.

Did you know that the USDA found a total of 178 different pesticides and pesticide breakdown products on the thousands of produce samples it analyzed? The pesticides persisted on fruits and vegetables even when they were washed and, in some cases, peeled.

See what happens when you pour hot water on conventional apples. The chemicals literally melt! It’s important that we buy organic and if we cannot, at least wash our produce prior to consuming (Video: Laurline Eldemire Lawrence via Facebook):

Check out the most recent list of produce that you should preferably buy organic, known as the ‘Dirty Dozen,’ and which produce is safe to purchase conventionally, known as the ‘Clean Fifteen.’ While you may not find every produce item you like to eat on these lists, this is a great start!

fruit, vegetables, organic

Dirty Dozen/Clean Fifteen. Credit: EWG

Read the full report here:

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Culture

Angela Rye Set To Join BET For New Program

The cultural and political thought leader’s new series ‘Angela Rye’s State of the Union’ begins January 31st

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Angela Rye, BET

It’s about time! We are excited to learn that Angela Rye, Principal and CEO of Impact Strategies, CNN political commentator and NPR political analyst, will be joining forces with BET to deliver a new program, launching this month.

Rye is set to host and executive produce the quarterly news show, which is poised to dig deep into issues and stories affecting black America.

“Working with BET always provides a reminder of why I began to do this work,” Rye said in a statement to Blavity. “It is essential that we have platforms where we can discuss our politics, our challenges, and our culture through our respective lenses. The upcoming special will provide a glimpse of what’s to come with our partnership.”

The first episode of the series is tentatively titled “Angela Rye’s State of the Union,” which will be a primetime rebuttal to President Trump’s State of the Union address airing Wednesday, January 31 at 10PM PT.

Read more on Blavity

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Body

Gee Bryant A Force To Reckon With in the Fitness Industry

Atlanta’s Transformation Specialist Talks About His Road from Uncertainty to Becoming a Successful Businessman and Celebrity Trainer

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gee bryant, ri28

Fitness expert, success coach and entrepreneur Gee Bryant has always been a hustler with a “MUST get it” attitude, and he’s walking in his purpose. He’s the brains behind the #1 online fitness program Results in 28 Days and owner of The Loft Atlanta, Phlexx Fitness and is CMO of Fitness Plane.

Gee says that he never had a “real” job and did whatever he could to make money. He tried multiple business ventures that eventually led him to become a personal trainer, as a way to work for himself while also staying active. Even though fitness was never cool where he’s from, Gee says he’s always been in his own lane. He has always recognized that he is unique and learned that by being a personal trainer he had a major impact on people. This hobby eventually transformed into a passion.

gee bryant

Growing up in Philly, Gee says there was a lot of pain – he used to reflect on it and let it consume him, but now he uses his pain to push him further.

“You can’t be a victim your whole life.”

In 2015, after starting to create buzz around his name as a personal trainer, Gee decided to move to Atlanta with just his car and clothes. He created boot camps, trainings, began marketing himself on social media and just doing anything to make money, to pay rent, and to NOT go back.

“If you ain’t willing to go crazy, then leave the entrepreneurship game.”

Gee created a business plan with the mindset, “I’m going ALL IN.” He started with, “How much money do I want to make? And, How many people do I need to help?” He also began reading books and focusing on personal development.

“As you expand, your mind has to expand as well.”

Gee had a plan and a goal, and decided to do anything he could to make it all come true. His efforts started to work so well that Gee had an overload of clients, which then gave him reason to open up his first gym.

During this time he was constantly growing his brand on social media and in the fitness profession, but knew he wouldn’t be able to fully execute his vision without the right help. So, he reached out to trainers to hire and assist in his gym.

“I’m a control freak, but I had to learn how to let go. It’s better to have someone who can do something 70%, than you trying to do it 100%. If you try to do everything you’ll burn yourself out.”

Gee began pushing online programs that he created on his own, recorded on YouTube and from that he started increasing his clientele. From there, he built his website.

“For this to go global, it has to be beyond me.”

It was then that Gee created the RI28 program. Gee says he makes his program different.

“I get their mind right. Your body won’t go where your mind won’t let it.”

Gee says his program is so effective because it’s easy to follow, he has the RI28 Facebook support group, it’s only a 28 day program, the meal plan and workouts are included, he has a team of like minded people behind him, and it’s SIMPLE.

ri28, gee bryant, joseline hernandez

The Loft Athletic Club opened in Atlanta, GA this year. Not only did Gee need a bigger space, but he says, “It was time.” Loft Atlanta is FOR Atlanta.

“I did it MY way, he says.” He never cheated the process, and changed and helped thousands of people do the same thing.

What he wants people to know is that they can do whatever they want, not become a product of their environment, and he wants his legacy to be a legacy of SERVICE.

Gee encourages other entrepreneurs to be obsessed and consistent about their brand and reminds us that small daily improvements = long term results.

2018 is here and there is so much more for Gee Bryant to accomplish. Make sure to follow him @geebryant and via his website to not only stay in the loop with what he’s up to next, but to get all the information on how to join any of his programs or find his facilities.

gee bryant

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