Most gyms assault their members with a cacophony of distractions – thumping music, blaring televisions, and grunting patrons. We are careful to maintain a clean and distraction-free facility. There is no music and there are no mirrors or televisions. The temperature is kept at 68 degrees. The sessions are one-on-one with a focus on privacy. Instructors are dressed professionally at all times and closely monitor and record every aspect of their client's performance.
Exercise tests were performed on a cycle ergometer (Lode Excalibur Sport, Groningen, The Netherlands) or on a treadmill (Ergo ELG 55; Woodway, Weil am Rhein, Germany) depending on the sport. Tests on the cycle ergometer started with an initial workload of 80 W (subjects 6 and 7) or 30 W (subjects 4 and 9), the workload was increased by 40 W every 3 min. Tests on the treadmill started at 5.4 km h−1, the speed was increased with 1.8 km h−1 each 3 min (subjects 1, 2, 3, 8 and 10). One subject performed the treadmill test with an inclination of 1% (subject 5). The duration of each test was recorded in seconds. Subjects wore a heart rate monitor (Polar Accurex Plus, Kempele, Finland) for determination of maximal heart rate (HRmax) throughout the exercise tests. After each exercise test, 20 μl of blood was drawn from the right earlobe to determine maximal blood lactate concentration ([La]max) with enzymatic analysis (EKF; Biosen 5030, Barleben, Germany).
Many exercise protocols are in use in clinical cardiology, but no single test is applicable to the wide range of patients' exercise capacity. A new protocol was devised that starts at a low workload and increases by 15% of the previous workload every minute. This is the first protocol to be based on exponential rather than linear increments in workload. The new protocol (standardised exponential exercise protocol, STEEP) is suitable for use on either a treadmill or a bicycle ergometer. This protocol was compared with standard protocols in 30 healthy male volunteers, each of whom performed four exercise tests: the STEEP treadmill and bicycle protocols, a modified Bruce treadmill protocol, and a 20 W/min bicycle protocol. During the two STEEP tests the subjects' oxygen consumption rose gradually and exponentially and there was close agreement between the bicycle and the treadmill protocols. A higher proportion of subjects completed the treadmill than the bicycle protocol. Submaximal heart rates were slightly higher during the bicycle test. The STEEP protocol took less time than the modified Bruce treadmill protocol, which tended to produce plateaux in oxygen consumption during the early stages. The 20 W/min bicycle protocol does not take account of subjects' body weight and consequently produced large intersubject variability in oxygen consumption. The STEEP protocol can be used on either a treadmill or a bicycle ergometer and it should be suitable for a wide range of patients.
Now that the holidays are creeping around the corner, you may have to break up with your regularly scheduled sweat sessions, at least temporarily. And though the most wonderful time of the year may interfere with your fave spin class or butt-kicking bootcamp routine, it’s completely possible to stay fit—all you need is an Internet connection and a little living room space. (OK, and maybe a few props here and there.) And it’s all thanks to these seriously excellent, totally free workout videos. We’ve rounded up the best YouTube workouts—we’re talking everything from traditional aerobics to ballet to high-intensity interval training routines—so you can keep your physique in tip-top shape this season and beyond.
Instructor Leah Sarago offers moms-to-be six 15-minute workouts in Fit + Sleek Prenatal Physique. Choose from cardio (think lunge variations with leg and arm lifts), bump-friendly core sessions and upper-body mat exercises. String a few together for a longer workout, or "pick just one if you want to ease up as your pregnancy progresses," our due-any-day tester suggested.
With today’s demanding lifestyles, many individuals find it difficult to stick with a regular exercise program. The most common barriers to regular physical activity include lack of time and motivation. Other reported challenges include fear of injury, feelings of self-consciousness or not being athletic enough, and memories of perceived failure with prior exercise programs. Fortunately, many fitness studios offer free trials, flexible class times and even downloadable or streamed classes, so it’s easier than ever to commit.