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Meet Joli Guenther

Take a moment to meet one of our Horizon Fitness expert bloggers, Joli Guenther!

Joli is a certified personal trainer, yoga instructor and clinical social worker practicing in and around Madison, Wisconsin. She especially loves working with clients on holistic health issues, work-life balance, and fitness for joy and function in daily life. When not working or working out, she enjoys cooking, gardening, and other hobbies related to her 100 year old farm house and acreage in rural Wisconsin and seeking out adventures with her two young children, husband, and chocolate lab named Gus. You can also find her on Facebook by following JoliYoga.

We recently caught up with her to ask a few questions:

How long have you been doing what you do / has your training evolved over the years?

JG: I’ve been teaching yoga and providing fitness training for about ten years. I started with teaching yoga and branched out to other group and small group formats, as well as personal training, as a way of connecting with more people in a way that allowed me to also draw on my Social Work background to meet the needs of my clients in a less intimidating, more individualized environment. The biggest way that my training has evolved is that it has become more integrated. I see the benefit of training in a variety of formats, from interval sessions, to yoga based workouts, to functional movements. Whether you’re a versatile athlete or are just seeking overall health, continued improvement comes from constant variation with recognition of individual differences, such as anatomy, age, or injury and training history.

What is one piece of advice you’d give to someone who wants to become healthier?

JG: As adults, the majority of our actions each day are the result of habits. If you want to be healthier, identify the habits that are preventing that and seek to replace them with a new, healthy habit, rather than emphasizing the things you feel that you need to give up. If snacking in front of the television is the thing that keeps you from your goals, find a new activity and place to be during that time of day. If you’re struggling with establishing daily exercise, find a way to fit it automatically into your day. We know that morning exercisers tend to be the most successful in sticking to their daily workouts, largely because they are able to (habitually) complete the workout before other challenges and activities interfere. Investing in home fitness equipment or finding a convenient way to work out in the morning can be key to making that happen.

How would you describe your coaching/training style?

JG: Playful. Whether I’m teaching or training I motivate my clients to find the curiosity and joy that we all experienced from physical activity as kids on the playground. I recognize that we all have challenges and struggles that can interfere with achieving our goals. My job is to help my clients find reasons to prioritize investing in themselves and to see that those daily investments add up. I help my clients to get curious about exploring their abilities and potential and provide them with the tools and motivation to do so.

Read a few of Joli’s most popular articles:

Five Benefits of Pool Workouts

Strength Training at Home

Tips to Stay Motivated

Fitness Advice for Busy Moms

Best Way to Wash Workout Clothes

Simple Yoga Moves for Morning and Evening

Interested in learning more? Reach about Coach Jenny Hadfield or visit the Meet Our Writers page.


Elliptical vs Treadmill

Walk into almost any gym or specialty fitness retailer and you will be confronted with row after row of treadmills and ellipticals. Although these machines are both classified as “cardiovascular equipment,” both have individual qualities that will suit some exercisers better than others. There’s a lot to consider when you’re faced with an “elliptical vs treadmill” scenario. Luckily, we’re here to help break it down and show you the best each machine has to offer.

For starters, before purchasing a piece of equipment this fundamental to a balanced exercise program, it’s important to consider which would be best for your fitness level, workout style and budget. Let’s walk through the benefits of both ellipticals and treadmills:

Elliptical Machine Benefits

The elliptical machine features two pedals that move in a smooth, uninterrupted circular motion that allows for an impact-free workout. This can be invaluable for individuals with injuries or weaknesses in their knees, ankles, hips and lower back.

Additionally, two long handles extend upward from the base of the machine and place resistance on your upper body. This full-body workout means that you have the potential to burn significantly more calories per hour with an elliptical than if you were to use a treadmill or exercise bike.

There are some potential drawbacks to ellipticals. Because the structure of the elliptical machine controls and limits your range of motion, the movement may take some getting used to. The stride length is also built into the machine, although some allow for slight adjustments, and exercisers with shorter strides may find themselves hyper-extending their knees, which can be problematic over time.

Another factor to consider is that you set the pace on an elliptical (unlike a treadmill, which provides a motorized speed). This can sometimes make it challenging to maintain a constant speed, and if you aren’t highly self-motivated, it can be tempting to go easy.

Video: Look for ellipticals that have simple assembly, one-step folding, a compact footprint like the Evolve 3 Elliptical.

Selecting an Elliptical

As with any piece of exercise equipment, it’s important to compare elliptical machines until you find one that perfectly fits your needs. Look for a durable machine that will be able to fully support the weight of all its users and has a heavy enough flywheel to offer a smooth, quiet workout. Quality ellipticals are designed to mimic your natural body posture and movement.

Shop for ellipticals

Benefits of Treadmills

Apart from the benefits associated with all forms of cardiovascular exercise, the key benefit of treadmills is accessibility. The running or walking motion required to use a treadmill is natural, comfortable and familiar.

Many home treadmills also fold up for easy storage. While running outside can be made difficult by terrain or weather, treadmills offer an even surface and the climate control of your home or gym.

Another advantage is that treadmills can have a built-in motivation factor. The belt speed and the incline will adjust automatically when you follow a program, reducing any tendencies to relax during a workout. Although you can stop or slow the machine at any time, the automated pace prevents you from easing up unintentionally.

The treadmill running surface is cushioned to reduce the stress on your joints from repeated impact, but this is still a concern for exercisers with a history of joint problems. Also, some people find treadmills repetitive, making them less likely to exercise as often as they should.

Video: For comfortable runs, look for a cushioned, maintenance-free belt like that on the Elite T7 Treadmill.

Finding the Perfect Treadmill

When shopping for a treadmill, look for a machine with a solid frame and a wide running belt. These features will allow you to use the machine comfortably without modifying your natural stride. The highest rated treadmills have larger motors that allow the belt to rotate smoothly and quietly.

Integrated support for media players is an additional feature that may help to alleviate some of the boredom experienced when running indoors. Features that allow you to track your progress through multiple workouts will also make your routine more enjoyable.


Shop Treadmills

Elliptical vs Treadmill: Which is Best for You?

If you already enjoy running outdoors but find that your cardio routine suffers because of the weather, a treadmill might be your best choice. People who suffer from joint pain, however, would likely benefit from using an elliptical. Also, if you have difficulty incorporating an upper body workout into your schedule, you may find that the elliptical helps you save time by including these muscles in your cardio.

Regardless of which machine you chose, you’ll want to select a quality model that will last you a long time and help you reach your fitness goals.

Do You Want to Know More?

Join the community at Johnson Fitness and get amazing advice emailed to you for every stage of your fitness journey. Start living the life you imagined with expert tips from nutritional therapists, personal trainers and running coaches. Plus, as a thank you, we’ll give you 5% off your purchase of cardio equipment.