Your Guide To Mastering The Stairmaster
You—and your legs—know the ins and outs of treadmill and elliptical machines. But there’s another way to tap into heart-pumping cardio at the gym: the StairMaster. If you’ve felt intimidated by it in the past, fear no more
Maintain Your Posture
To put strain on the right parts of your body—the glutes and hamstrings instead of your back—slow down and get your posture right. When you’re hunched over, you’re putting strain on your back and turning down your glutes. It’s OK to hinge forward at the hips—a move that’ll engage the glutes even more—as long as your spine is straight.
Don’t Hold On
You know the move: a fellow gym goer is climbing up the cascading stairs, gripping the sides of the machine for dear life. That’s not helping your body work harder—it’s cheating. If you’re feeling off-balance, lightly grasping the sides will help you get steady. But don’t rely on them to hold you up. That reduces the load of your body on the stairs and weakens your workout. Ultimately, you want to build your abilities to not hold on at all.
Do Two at a Time
Once you’re ready to take your stair-climbing workout to the next level, try skipping a step. By taking big, giant steps, you’ll target the glutes and the upper thighs, where the mass of muscle is. The more muscles you get involved, the more calories you burn. Start slowly and focus on methodically climbing up while keeping your balance.
Switch It Up
Going forward targets your glutes and hamstrings, but if you’re looking to work your quads, turn around and climb backward. It’s a great move if you’re looking to break up the workout for monotony’s sake or if you want to tone your quads. Or, try crossover steps, where your body is turned to the right or left as you step up. This move will hit your abductors, stabilizers, and gluteus medius.
Feeling confident, steady, and comfortable? Grab a pair of dumbbells before you head over to the machine. As you step up, add a biceps curl, overhead press, or side raises. Multitasking like this works even more muscle groups and elevates your heart rate.
It’s no secret that we’re fans of interval training. You can take those benefits to the stairs too. For the ideal workout, shoot for 20 to 30 minutes on the machine. Start with a 10-minute warm-up to activate your heart and your muscles. Then, launch into 10 to 15 minutes of intervals. Start with a 1:1 ratio of high intensity to recovery—say 1 minute on, 1 minute off—followed by a 5- to 10-minute cool down.
Monitor Your Heart Rate
After you’ve added the StairMaster to your weekly cardio routine, begin taking note of how your body is reacting. Using a heart rate monitor, measure the time it takes for your heart rate to return to resting levels post-workout. As your body becomes more conditioned, that recovery time will become shorter and shorter. It’s all about getting your heart rate lower and your recovery time shorter.
12 High-Carb Foods That Are Actually Super Healthy
Carbs have been blamed for causing the current obesity epidemic.
However, not all carbs are created equal. Processed junk foods high in sugar and refined grains are definitely unhealthy and fattening — while whole, fiber-rich foods are healthy.
Although low-carb diets can be beneficial for some people, you should not necessarily avoid all high-carb foods.
Here is a list of 12 high-carb foods that also happen to be incredibly healthy.
Quinoa is highly nutritious. It numerous health benefits include improved blood sugar control. Quinoa is also high in protein and fiber, so it may be useful for weight loss.
Oats contain many beneficial nutrients, including fiber and protein. Oats have been shown to lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels
Buckwheat is highly nutritious and contains more antioxidants and minerals than most grains. Eating buckwheat may have benefits for heart health and blood sugar control.
Bananas are high in potassium, which may help regulate blood pressure. Unripe bananas also contain resistant starch and pectin, which can improve digestive health.
5. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of provitamin A (from beta-carotene), as well as several other vitamins and antioxidants.
Beets are loaded with vitamins, minerals and plant compounds. They contain high amounts of inorganic nitrates, which can improve health and boost physical performance.
Oranges are a good source of fiber. They also contain high amounts of vitamin C and other healthy plant compounds. Eating oranges may benefit heart health and help prevent anemia.
Blueberries are phenomenally healthy. They contain many vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, and protect your body from oxidative damage.
Grapefruit contains various vitamins, minerals and plant compounds. It may help with weight loss and provide numerous health benefits.
Apples contain a decent amount of vitamin C, antioxidants and plant compounds. Eating apples may improve blood sugar control as well as reduce the risk of heart disease and some cancers.
11. Kidney Beans
Kidney beans contain many vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Cooked kidney beans are also a good source of protein and are linked to several health benefits.
Chickpeas are an excellent source of plant-based protein and contain many vitamins and minerals. Eating chickpeas has been linked to benefits for heart and digestive health as well as cancer prevention.
The Bottom Line
It is a myth that carbs are unhealthy.
The truth is that some of the world’s healthiest foods are high in carbohydrates.
Although they should not be eaten in large amounts if you’re on a low-carb diet, carbs can be important nutrient sources.
While refined carbs may be unhealthy in high amounts, whole food sources of carbs are very healthy.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 medium sweet yellow pepper, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
- 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 2-1/2 cups cubed cooked turkey
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Cubed avocado and thinly sliced green onions, optional
- In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and pepper; cook and stir until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer.
- Transfer to a 5-qt. slow cooker; stir in the next 10 ingredients. Cook, covered, on low 4-5 hours. If desired, top with avocado and green onions.
1 cup: 192 calories, 5g fat (1g saturated fat), 28mg cholesterol, 658mg sodium, 21g carbohydrate (5g sugars, 7g fiber), 16g protein.