16
October

How to choose an exercise bike

Exercise bikes are the most familiar pieces of fitness equipment to people and for good reason. Being compact & very simple to use,       exercise bikes are a convenient means of performing your daily exercise from the comfort & safety of your home. 

When you are choosing an exercise bike, it’s important to look out for these features to ensure you purchase one that feels smooth & comfortable. 

Flywheel

The flywheel is a large metal gear that the pedals are connected to. Like the wheels on a push bike, the flywheel is what generates the momentum as you pedal. 

The weight of the flywheel is what you need to look out for when comparing different exercise bikes. For example, the Bodyworx AC270M features a “5kg” flywheel while the Horizon Paros Pro has a “7kg” flywheel. As a rule of thumb the heavier the flywheel is the more smoother the bike will feel. 

Resistance 

This is what makes it harder or easier as you pedal along. The variability of the resistance will either be provided manually or by a computer. Generally, you will have less variability on a manual exercise bike (typically 1-8 levels) whereas anything up to 32 with a computer controlled bike. 

When deciding on which type to go for, you really need to think about what you want out of using an exercise bike. For example, if you’ve been prescribed by a physiotherapist to strengthen your knees pre/post surgery, a manually controlled exercise bike may be sufficient. However if your wanting a little more out of it, then a computer controlled bike might be a better option. 

When you choose a computer controlled exercise bike like the York C420, not only do you get 32 levels of resistance, but also programs too. The programs will automatically adjust the tension on the bike to make it harder or easier depending on the program selected. More on them next. 

Programs 

As mentioned above, programs are only provided by exercise bikes which feature computer controlled resistance. 

Programs are a useful feature to consider especially if your goal is to lose weight or maintain fitness. 

We’ve got a good selection of exercise bikes in our showroom available for your demonstration. 

   
14
June

Oran Park Home Gym

Tonight we completed this home gym installation in the South West Sydney suburb of Oran Park. 

Our customer recently lost over 70kgs following surgery and wanted to do some strength training from home. Due to time constraints with work, going to a gym was neither desirable or possible. 

The customer settled on the Bodyworx L8000HG home gym which features lat pull down, a dual function pec dec & press, ab crunch plus low row cable & leg extension. 

We also supplies a 1-10kg Rubber Hex Dumbbell package & Force USA FID bench. 

If your in Oran Park, Gregory Hills or any other surrounding suburbs call us today on 46471119 to see how we can help you with your fitness goals. 

Our showroom in Narellan is open 7 days per week. 

   
23
April

Free weights vs Machine weights: Which is right for me?

The age old argument regarding free weights vs machine weights continues. While each can help you build strength there are definite pros & cons for each. Furthermore, one of the key questions I ask customers that are looking to purchase strength equipment has to do with what their strength training goals are.

Machine weights

The most important component in any strength training program is safety. If you are new to strength training or if you are working out alone, variable strength machines like the Bodyworx L8000LP might be a better option initially. While machines can be viable option for serious weight training, they are best for novice, senior and recreational athletes.

For rehabilitating injured athletes, variable strength machines are preferred. They provide a more controlled motion and specifically isolate certain muscle groups. Machines also allow you to track progress and provide objective feedback while increasing the protective participation of the healthy limb or muscle group.

Free weights

Research has shown us that free weights promote quicker strength gains and they require more balance and coordination than do the weight machines. Free weights recruit more muscle groups than variable resistance machines, which tend to only isolate specific muscles.

Free weights are also more versatile than machines because they allow for more variations in range of motion. An example of a free weights machine is something like the a Power Rack. The power rack while basic in its form allows the serious weight trainer the ability to do a wide range of exercises that focus on the major muscle groups.

Freight weights also require balance, and they tend to promote more activity of the joint stabilization muscles. Also in terms of cost, you can start out with a few dumbbells.

As mentioned above, your goals will also play a part in deciding which strength training system you choose. If your goal is more about toning & general fitness then a machine weight system may be the go.

   
01
January

Review: Aquayak Kayaks

It’s usually about a week after Christmas that the kids have almost gotten bored with their Christmas presents that cabin fever starts to set in. With Summer really starting to kick in, we’d been talking for ages about grabbing a kayak from the shop & having a bit of fun.

So it was yesterday, New Years Eve that we decided to grab a kayak for a day of some water fun. We decided to go to a place that we have seen others set off kayaks; Bents Basin which is a popular water hole in Sydney’s South West. First thing first though was how to transport the thing? Good news is that Aquayak have really thought of everything which makes getting into kayaking for the beginner so much easier!

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When I’m not driving around the van, I get around in a small Hyundai Accent hatchback. It’s tiny, so I was a bit skeptical about being able to transport a kayak on the roof, however these roofracks as you can see in the above image did the job really well! The straps hold down the kayak so well that you don’t even know you’ve got one.

Once we arrived, we placed the kayak onto the trolley and away we went. By the time we got to our chosen location, so excited was my son that the kayak was in the water within a minute or so. Within a few minutes he was all the way on the other side of the basin! Lets say I had initial difficulty getting a turn!

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Aquayak Kayaks are known as “Sit on Top” kayaks meaning they are very stable and perfect for the beginner. As I said, none of us have actually ever kayaked before but getting started was so easy.

By the end of the day, we were all very sunburnt & tired. Surprisingly, my upper body felt like I’d done an intense arm & shoulder workout!

   
10
December

Exercise for stress relief

I can remember a time not that long ago when a certain shock jock would proclaim that stress was merely something of the sufferers imagination and his advice would often be that we should `harden up’.

Countless studies & research has thankfully now shown that stress is MOST definitely an affliction with seriously life threatening consequences.

An article I’ve been reading on the Juice Daily website recently listed some exercises that we can all do to de-stress!

 

   
03
September

Client Spotlight: Busyslim

Recently I had the pleasure of attending a free weight loss information night hosted by local businesswomen & personal trainer Tanisha Tottman of Busyslim. Busyslim was founded by Tanisha as a result of her own weight loss success, having lost 50kg forever over 20 years ago. Knowing how well she felt after this, Tanisha wanted to share her knowledge & experience and developed the Busyslim 12 week weight loss program.

During the evening, I heard from 3 of Tanisha’s clients whom shared intimate details of their weight loss successes. A common thread among the stories was the ongoing support provided by Tanisha. Reflecting on my own weight loss journey some years ago, I can say that having the ongoing support of someone specialised like a Personal Trainer or weight loss consultant of which Busyslim have both, can be the difference between long term weight loss success or yo-yoing from one diet to another.

Tanisha and her Busyslim team hold regular information sessions regarding her upcoming 12 week weight loss programs. To find out more, please contact Tanisha on 1300134494 or visit the Busyslim website, www.busyslim.com.au.

   
24
June

How to reduce pain associated with Arthritis of the Knee

How to reduce pain associated with Arthritis of the Knee

By far one of the most prevalent conditions that we here at the store is Arthritis, especially of the Knee. If you’re a sufferer then you’ll only know too well how painful it can be.

While medication can be effective in treating pain associated with Arthritis, exercising is also an effective means. `reduce knee pain, improve motion, decrease stiffness, and increase flexibility’ says Brian Wu, author of 10 Exercises for Arthritis of the Knee.

1. Leg lifts (standing)

Targets: Hips and glutes (buttocks).

Purpose: Leg lifts are an important leg exercise to improve stability, balance, and strength, reducing the impact on the knees.

Steps:

  • Stand against a wall
  • Raise a leg to the side without rotating toe to the side; keep toe pointing forward or slightly in
  • Avoid leaning to stationary side
  • Lower leg down
  • Repeat 15-20 times on each side

2. Sit and stand (seated and standing)

Targets: Quadriceps (front of thigh) and glutes.

Purpose: This repetitive motion is central to improving the range of knee movement and overall leg strength. Over time, it will become easier to stand up pain-free in everyday life.

Steps:

  • Sit straight in a chair with feet flat on floor
  • Cross arms over chest
  • Stand straight up slowly
  • Slowly return to seated
  • Repeat for 1 minute

3. Kick-backs (standing)

Targets: Hamstrings (back of thigh).

Purpose: This exercise is great for strengthening leg muscles and reducing knee stiffness.

Steps:

  • Stand up straight
  • Lift a foot off the floor and bend the knee, bringing the heel toward the buttocks
  • Hold for a few seconds, then lower down
  • Knees should be aligned and posture straight
  • Repeat 10-25 times, and repeat a few times per day

4. The “clam” (lying down)

Targets: Glutes.

Purpose: Knee strain is often at least partially due to weak glutes, resulting in too much shock being absorbed by the knee joint. Strengthening the buttocks leads to a reduced impact on knees.

Steps:

  • Lie down on side
  • Bend hips and knees to 90 degrees with shoulders, hips, and feet aligned
  • Keep feet together
  • Lift top knee up as far as possible, then slowly lower it
  • Hold for 3-5 seconds and repeat 10-25 times, twice daily
  • Repeat on both sides

If lying exercises are too difficult or painful, people can still work their glutes by doing seated buttock clenches or backward leg lifts.

Exercises to improve knee flexibility

5. Quadriceps stretch (lying down)

Targets: Quadriceps.

Purpose: To improve the flexibility of the quadriceps, and the range of motion for the knee.

Steps:

  • Lie down on stomach
  • Place right forearm in front for support
  • Bend left knee and grab ankle or shin with left hand
  • Gently lift knee off floor until feeling slight stretch
  • Hold for a few seconds, repeating alternative sides a few times
  • Switch sides

6. Hamstrings stretch (lying down)

A physiotherapist stretches a woman's leg.
Stretching the hamstring can help improve a knee’s range of motion.

Targets: Hamstrings.

Purpose: To improve the flexibility of the hamstrings, improving range of motion of the knee.

Steps:

  • Lie down on back with legs outstretched
  • Bend right knee and grab the back of thigh with both hands
  • Gently pull the leg toward the chest
  • Relax arms so knee is pointed straight up
  • Straighten this leg toward the sky, or as much as possible
  • Bend knee again, then outstretch it once more
  • Repeat on both legs for a few times each

7. Leg cross (seated)

Targets: Whole leg, especially quadriceps.

Purpose: To improve the range of motion of knees as well as strengthen every muscle surrounding the knees.

Steps:

  • Cross ankles over each other while contracting the thighs
  • Hold to 10-30 seconds
  • Switch sides, and do three to four sets per side
  • Alternatively, repeat the same exercise with legs outstretched

This movement is great “hidden” exercise that can be done anywhere, even at the office. It also improves posture.

Exercises to increase stamina

8. Elliptical training

A person using a recumbent bicycle.
Recumbent bicycles put less weight and strain on the knees than traditional bicycles.

Targets: Arms and legs.

Purpose: A low-impact cardiovascular exercise preferable to running or jogging for those with knee pain or weak knees.

The exercise uses a device called an elliptical trainer, also known as a cross trainer, that copies the movement of walking, running, and climbing.

Click here to see some example of elliptical trainers.

9. Recumbent cycling

Targets: A low-impact cardiovascular exercise targeting the whole leg.

Purpose: Cycling is usually considered a lower-impact exercise than walking or running. However, cycling on hilly terrain or with incorrect form can put great strain on knees.

A recumbent bike positions the rider in a lying-down position. Doing so reduces the weight and strain on knees. It also decreases the risk of pedaling with the knees pointing outwards, which can be harmful to the joints over time.

Click here to view examples of recumbent bikes.

10. Swimming

Targets: A low-impact cardiovascular exercise targeting the whole body.

Purpose: Swimming is a great form of exercise for people of any age. Many people suffering from arthritis find swimming to be a comfortable, meditative routine that’s easy on all joints, especially the knees.

If swimming is too difficult, many of its benefits can also be gained in slower, standing water aerobic exercises performed in shallow water.

 
Source: Wu, B. (2016, June 23). “10 Exercises for Arthritis of the Knee.” Medical News Today. Retrieved from
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/311138.php.
   
01
June

How adopting a morning ritual helped me lose 40 kilos (and keep it off!)

Ok, so not all of us are `morning people’. When I was at my heaviest, mornings were a real struggle and while I do consider myself a morning person, the last thing I felt like doing was springing out of bed! Feeling lethargic, tired & stressed was how I felt everyday, that is until I introduced certain things into my daily routine that helped me shed around 40 kilos. These things have become a morning ritual that I deliberately make time for no matter what.

  1. Lemon water: The first I do each morning is prepare a glass of warm water with a squeeze of lemon juice. Lemon is rich in vitamin C which is just the thing we need to boost our immune system, especially this time of the year! I’ve also found that it aids in appetite control. Lemons contain `pectin’ which is a fibre found in citrus fruits which make us feel full.
  2. Read or listen to a podcast: I love nothing more than enjoying the quietest part of the day reading or listening to my favourite podcast. Nourishing mind with positive thoughts & ideas is a great way to kick the day off. I make it part of my morning ritual to not default to checking emails etc.
  3. Exercise: This part of my morning ritual actually begins the night before. I try to layout the clothes that I want to wear during my workout just before I go to bed. The benefits of exercise became obvious to me as I became more experienced. Feelings of lethargy & having no energy vanished (infact I had more energy!). While I am a believer that diet plays a larger role in one’s weight loss success, regular exercise has been shown to improve heart health & lower the chances of developing diabetes.
  4. Breakfast: I actually look forward to tucking into a creamy bowl of porridge with a cut up Apple & a sprinkling of chia seeds after my workout. This is part of my morning ritual at the moment. Fuelling our bodies with good quality food is essential for weight management & having sufficient energy to perform at your best throughout the day.
  5. To-do list: Your either a list person or your not. I couldn’t function without my task list. For me it serves a dual purpose; 1. A brain dump: any ideas or goals I want to accomplish, I record it on my to-do list. Some of those ideas come from point 2. 2. Day planner: Like most small business operators, I’m a wearer of many hats! So while I need to have time to chat with customers or suppliers, there are somethings that must be done. A well set out to-do list helps me ensure I’m on top of these things. I use a free app called “Wunderlist”. It seamlessly syncs with multiple devices so no matter where I am I can jot down tasks & ideas as I need to.

What’s your morning ritual?

About the author

Eric Giddio is the owner of Macarthur Fitness Equipment. His passion for the fitness industry stems from his own weight loss journey and the desire to help his local community with their health & fitness goals. Eric does this by taking the time to listen to his customers & educating them on the best piece of fitness equipment matched to their needs.

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11
May

Which home gym is right for me?

As a teenager, my father purchased a York home gym which had everything. My mates from around the street would spend hours in an over-sized garden shed, which during the summer months would feel like a sauna! The gym had everything. Leg extension, pec dec, bench press etc.

As we got older, we outgrew our home gym and it lay dormant in the garden shed forever and a day.

These days, the home gym buyer is faced with a limitless amount of options. The quality of systems has also progressed alot in the last 15-20 years to the point that some home gyms would not look out of place in a commercial gym.

When you visit our showroom/warehouse, we start by asking you some important questions:

* Who will be using the home gym?

* What are goals of the main user of the gym?

* Is there any existing strength equipment in the house?

* Are there any space restrictions?

If the primary user already undertakes a fitness routine at say a gym, then maybe a plate loaded system like the Monster Fitness G3 might be worth considering. 

The next step is how you will purchase your home gym. Macarthur Fitness has a number of payment options including interest free payment plans. 

Finally if the thought of putting together one of these things has you shuddering, fear not! We also offer an inhouse  delivery & installation service at a time convenient for you. 

Our store at Narellan is open 7 days at Unit 6, 49 The Northern Road Narellan (best access via Campbell Street). 

 

 

   
22
April

How to choose a heart rate monitor

How-to-choose-a-heart-rate-monitor

Never before has there been so many choices when it comes to heart rate monitors. Some you have to wear a chest strap. Others you slip a wristband on & away you go (not to mention the ones now that sync with your smartphone and provide notifications etc.).

Why monitor my heart rate?

If you’re new to fitness, knowing what your heart rate (measured in beats per minute) is a good way of checking how intense your workouts are. Being able to speed it up or slow it down according to what your heart rate is doing is a great way to ensure that you performing at your best.

Chest strap or wrist?

Heart rate monitors with a chest strap transmit information about your heart rate via a transmitter attached to an elastic strap worn around your torso. The transmitter will send this info via a specialised connection (ANT+ or Bluetooth) to a watch you wear on your wrist. Examples of chest strap based heart rate monitors include Polar FT7

Relatively new to the market, `wearables’ are more a pulse sensor. They work with the aid of optical sensors that shine light into your skin which then sends back information about your blood flow. Fitbit is probably the most common wearable on the market at the moment. 

So which one is more accurate? Heaps of tests have been done comparing the 2 types. A consumer report we read showed little difference between the two.

In the end, go with what your budget & needs are in terms of the information they provide.

   
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