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Running is an exercise that you either enjoy or really hate. Those who enjoy it post about their sunrise views and race times and those who hate running are tired of seeing them. I am one of those people who enjoy running but only for a short period of time. The idea of keeping a steady pace for an extended period of time is as exciting to me as counting sheep. With that said, I’ve come to thoroughly enjoy Tread at FFC. Check out this efficient treadmill class for your next lunchtime workout!

What is Tread?

Tread is a 45-minute (or 30 minutes, if you’re doing the express version) running class that consists of sprints and hills. The drills are broken up with rest in between and each drill changes so you’re not doing the same run the whole time.

The point of the class is to build strength and cardiovascular endurance. The more efficiently your body delivers oxygen to its tissues, the lower your breathing rate is. What does that mean? The more you do the class, the easier it’ll become. Below is an example of Tread led by FFC’s regional group fitness director, Lois Miller at FFC Union Station.

Example Lunchtime Workout (or for any Tread class or time of day)

Warm-up:

  • 1 minute incline 1.0 intensity (speed) at 60%
  • 1 minute at 70%
  • 1 minute at 80%
  • Repeat the above at incline 2.0

Drill I:

  • Escalator – start at 70%
  • Increase the incline every 60 seconds; then ladder back down in descending order
  • Minute 1 (incline 2.0)
  • Minute 2 (incline 3.0)
  • Minute 3 (incline 4.0)
  • Minute 4 (incline 5.0)
  • Minute 5 (incline 4.0)
  • Minute 6 (incline 3.0)
  • Minute 7 (incline 2.0)

Rest – walk for 2 minutes

Related: want another quick lunchtime workout? Check out this 30-minute squat circuit!

Drill II:

  • Intervals – perform the following as fast as you can (AFSYC); incline stays at 1.0
  • 20 seconds on/10 rest x2
  • 30 seconds on/10 rest x2
  • 40 seconds on/10 rest x2
  • 50 seconds on/10 rest x2
  • 60 seconds on/10 rest x2

Rest – walk for 90 seconds

Drill III:

  • Side Shuffle at a fast walking pace
  • 30 seconds on each side at incline 1.0
  • Repeat at incline 5.0
  • Repeat at incline 10.0

Rest – walk for 60 seconds

Drill IV:

  • Hills – speed is at 60%; every 30 seconds the incline changes for 4 total rounds (no rest)
  • 30 seconds incline 1.0
  • 30 seconds incline 5.0
  • 30 seconds incline 10.0
  • Repeat total of 4 rounds

Rest – walk recovery / 60 seconds of tricep power pushups off the front of the treadmill

Stretch!

What can I expect from this lunchtime workout?

Just like any new workout or class you try, there are always a few items to keep in mind.

  • Do not participate in this workout if you have knee or hip pain. This is a high intensity class that requires a ton of stop and go.
  • Drink plenty of water before, during, and after
  • Recover with potassium. I’m a fan of avocado in my morning smoothie because it has less sugar than bananas (your muscles will thank you by not cramping!).
  • Watch your step. You don’t want to be that person who slips on treadmill (this is my biggest fear).
  • Wear some form of tracker. The class is not measured by distance, since it’s an interval class and drills change every time (MYZONE is my preference – you can read more on my experience here).
  • Stretch before and after! There’s nothing worse than a calf cramping up during a class or an injury taking you out of commission.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re looking to get faster, run longer or just exercise in general, give Tread a shot. Your percentage to max is based on your athletic abilities. What may be fast for others may not be to you. Check out FFC’s schedule here for dates and times.

Post written by FFC Union Station member Omar R.

Want to follow along with Omar’s workouts? Follow him on Facebook and Instagram!

My name is Sam Gonzalez and I am an Elite Trainer with FFC. After 8 years of experience and hundreds of clients and students, I understand the challenges that most people face when they decide to start a new training program. For most, the question of how to train and the techniques involved is the biggest question. Some want to lose body fat. Others want to become strong, add muscle and move without pain. Throughout my time training I have discovered a tool that accomplishes all these goals… the kettlebell. Read on to find out why this is one of the most versatile pieces of equipment out there, plus discover a kettlebell workout you can do on your own!

Anyone can do kettlebell workouts regardless of ability or age. Here’s why:

Kettlebells deliver effective and efficient all-around fitness like no other tool. Although the kettlebell has been around for hundreds of years it has only recently become popular in the US, as an era of fitness machines, poor techniques and injuries have failed to deliver results.

We have become more sedentary, undernourished and overfed. Something must be done before we regress and get even more unhealthy. That change can be as simple as a return to basic physical fitness that is based on natural movement and strength training.

Basic physical fitness can be described as your ability to move in a coordinated, unrestricted way, while being able to complete the demands of everyday life. I assume that you joined a gym or fitness program for this particular reason. You want your time at the gym to result in having a better life outside of it.

Whether it’s getting up and down off the floor, carrying groceries from the car or playing with your kids, we should be able to do these types of natural movements without restriction and especially without pain. (Moms, check out more on functional movement in this recent post!). Kettlebell training can help you achieve all these goals. But despite how easy they are to use, kettlebells are not just resigned for newcomers looking for an effective training technique. Even the most advanced gym member can be humbled by difficulty and skill it takes to perform some of these exercises.

Related: try out a personal training session at FFC on us – click here!

Why Kettlebells Work So Well

The magic of training with kettlebells comes from their ability to create movement patterns that the body craves while vastly enhancing strength, athletic capabilities and physique. While general exercise can be considered a good thing, the idea of working out just for the sake of working out is a road that leads nowhere. Our exercise must be planned and productive.

Think of your exercise as a practice of a collection of movement skills that you are striving to master. Every time we practice/ train we should strive to make progress. Progress can be defined as an increase in the level of exercise sophistication, more resistance, the ability to work at higher speeds and many other variables. Kettlebells are maximally efficient at streamlining peoples’ progress. Kettlebell training can change someone’s life by literally forging the body into a leaner and stronger version of itself.

Still not convinced? Here’s a quick breakdown of all the benefits you can expect from kettlebell training:

  • Act as a new, fun and challenging way of training
  • Replace machines, barbells, dumbbells and cardio equipment
  • Make your workouts fast and efficient focusing on total body movement patterns vs small muscles
  • Burn 600 – 700 calories per session while getting rid of hard-to-lose body fat
  • Help you perform everyday tasks with ease like carrying groceries and getting up off the floor
  • Add natural amounts of muscle to your frame while not becoming bulky
  • Increase your mobility, flexibility and overall functional capacity
  • Dramatically increase your body’s strength
  • Help you become more athletic in any sport or activity

With proper training and nutrition, you can have incredible health, strength and flexibility, all while achieving a look and feel that is your best version of yourself. As an elite trainer, my goal is to deliver these qualities with the methods I have learned and refined using kettlebell training. You as a student, will not only learn learn these methods as well but also understand why they work.

Related: small group HIIT training can give you a great guided workout – plus it will help you lose weight effectively!

As with any skill, it is absolutely imperative to build a solid foundation. Unfortunately, in today’s current gym and personal training environment, there is often no assessment or preparation before we begin to “work out”. At best this leads to mediocre results, and at worst, injury. A program that is scientifically designed and progressed must be given to ensure that a person’s goals are being met while keeping them safe.

“At the time my exercise regiment was restricted because of pain up and down my left leg from misalignment and sedentary work. I’d tried muscle activation technique and physical therapy over the years but have by far had the most success with the mobility drills and proper kettlebell technique Sam taught me. Today I’m able to be consistent because of the efficiency of the workouts Sam has prescribed and am getting better results (i.e. pain management, strengthening, weight maintenance) from a couple strength workouts a week than I ever had from attending a few strength classes (usually incorporating dumbbell and bodyweight sets) a week. I’m also someone who would avoid cardio if I could so I love that kettlebells and cardio are a packaged deal.” -Erin D., FFC West Loop Member

Although sometimes intimidating, kettlebell skills can be regressed or progressed to meet the member’s specific capabilities. I recommend finding an educated and certified coach to help progress you through the variety of skills so that you can start your fitness journey with kettlebell training.

Try Kettlebells for Yourself

It is often said that the kettlebell swing is the “center of the kettlebell universe” – which is somewhat true. Along with kettlebell get ups, they build a very solid base of mobility, strength and conditioning. These skills activate the entire body and will expose your weaknesses. All other skills in kettlebell training begin with these two, so you should master them before you try others. Remember, the idea is to keep technique paramount, not just rush through it. Quality, not speed!

Check out this basic yet challenging and effective workout for yourself! Have questions about form? Email Sam at sgonzalez@ff.com or follow him on Instagram!

30-Minute Kettlebell Workout

  • Kettlebell Swings (10 sets of 10 reps)
    • Men- 20k/24k
    • Women 12k/16k
  • Get Ups (5 right side, 5 left side)
    • Men 20k/24k
    • Women 12k/16k

Try to get all this work done in under 30 minutes.

Post written by FFC Park Ridge Personal Trainer Sam Gonzalez.

Sam Gonzalez FFC Park Ridge

 

About Sam

Sam Gonzalez is an FFC Elite Level trainer. He is a StrongFirst Level 2 instructor, TACFIT and Circular Strength Training field instructor and correctional exercise specialist.

He has used kettlebell and bodyweight training to help people reach their fitness goals for the last 8 years. Have questions or want to set up a complimentary consultation? Email Sam at sgonzalez@ffc.com!

I LOVE the squat! Not only do squats provide a complete full-body workout, but they also tone and strengthen the muscles in the lower limbs (especially those glutes!), and burn a ton of calories too.

Squats are simply great for sculpting the body. Check out these 6 reasons why you should love to squat too, plus a simple 30-minute workout to try on your own!

30 Minute Workout: the squat and why they're so amazing for you

Reasons Why Squats Are So Amazing

1) Improve your circulation.

Squats get the blood pumping throughout your entire body. Good circulation = more nutrients and oxygen to vital organs.

2) Build muscle through the entire body.

Need we say more?

3) No equipment is necessarily needed.

This exercise move can be done anywhere! In fact, I sometimes do ~25 squats in the middle of my workday or right before bed.

4) Burn fat and help you lose weight.

5) Tone the muscles in your legs.

So much muscle! Want another lower-body workout? Check out this post.

6) Give you a rounder and fuller backside!

Practice Proper Squat Form

To prevent injury and reap the benefits of the squat, proper form must be attained.

*Please note, this information is very specific to a person’s biomechanics and anatomy. Typically, a hip-width or slightly wider stance with feet pointed slightly outward is ideal, but what’s more important is that your hips, knees and feet are in alignment and tracking properly during the movement.

30-Minute Squat Workout

  • 3 sets of 50 warmup squats w/15 of weight lb (Note: if this is too much, just do 1 set of 50 reps!)
  • 20 jumping squats with 10 lb ball
  • 20 square squats with 12-17.5 lb of weight
  • 20 jumping squats with 10 lb ball
  • 20 wide squats with 12-17.5 lb of weight
  • 20 jumping squats with 10 lb ball
  • 20 sumo squats with 12-20 lb of weight

Please feel free to do any of these exercises without any weights!

Post written by FFC Oak Park Personal Trainer Cherita Ousley.