Welcome to Our FitBlog

We are excited to announce that FitClub will now have a regular blog. This will be a great place for you to visit to keep up with what is new in fitness and wellness. Thanks for visiting.

 

Spice Up Your Meals to Boost Your Health

Adding spice to your home cooked meals doesn’t just improve the taste, it may also improve your health.  FitClub found five readily available, easy to use spices that you can add to your spice cabinet without breaking the bank or studying a cookbook to use.  Ready to add a healthy, tasty spice to your next healthy meal prep?  FitClub has a list of the healthiest spices that can be added to your next favorite dish.

  1. Turmeric. Turmeric has antioxidant properties and has been shown to reduce health problems ranging from a toothache to heart disease.  Turmeric can be easily added to smoothies, coffee, and even egg-based dishes.  As a key ingredient in curry, turmeric can be added to anything you might be inclined to spice up with curry without adding any heat to your dish like rice, chicken, or tofu. While it’s a brightly colored spice, it doesn’t pack the heat like other spices.
  2. Ginger. If you’ve ever sipped a ginger ale to combat nausea, you already know that ginger is the golden-child of spices. Not only is ginger a great-tasting nausea-fighter, but it also reduces inflammation that can help soothe sore muscles after a hard workout.   Ginger makes a delicious addition to your tea and can be added simply by just chopping ginger root and letting it steep.  If you’re dealing with muscle soreness, you can even add ginger root to your post-workout bath for relief.
  3. Cinnamon. Even the American Heart Association recommends swapping sugar for cinnamon when your dish needs a dash of sweetener. Unlike its nemesis sugar, cinnamon actually lowers blood sugar for people with diabetes.  Cinnamon is especially popular during the holiday season and can be easily added to coffee or tea for a dash of taste in lieu of sugar. Adding cinnamon to otherwise relatively bland foods like oatmeal can improve the taste and your health.
  4. Peppermint. Like cinnamon, this spice is very popular this time of year.  Don’t be fooled, though, just because something has peppermint flavor doesn’t mean it’s healthy.  There are a lot of sugary, fattening treats on display right now that taste like peppermint.  Instead of giving in, try peppermint tea which may help with nausea and reduce anxiety and depression.
  5. Garlic. Garlic is a staple in many recipes and it can help to reduce high blood pressure. Garlic’s strong flavor can enhance the taste of many of your favorite healthy dishes like chicken and fish.  If you’re making your own healthy salad dressings at home, try adding garlic to spice up your healthy concoctions and adding flavor to your salad or marinades.  Garlic seasoning can even replace standard table salt to flavor your dishes without hurting your health.

Three Reasons You Should be Challenging Yourself at FitClub

If you have a tendency to fall into a stable routine with your workout, it is probably past time for you to begin challenging yourself.  We all have a preferred workout that we know we can accomplish even when we’re exhausted or unmotivated.  If you want to continue to make progress on your healthy journey, challenging yourself is just as important as showing up to get your workout done.  FitClub has three reasons it’s time to up the ante and push yourself in your next workout.fit-1-1024x588

  1. Learning a new skill changes your brain. Not only is challenging yourself physically a great way to stay healthy and fit, but scientists at Harvard believe that learning a new skill actually creates new brain cells and changes your brain for the better.  FitClub is the perfect place to learn a new skill, whether it’s a challenging yoga pose, a mindful meditation class, or a workout like swimming.  Before you allow yourself to grow bored with your customary workout routine, challenge yourself to learn a new skill and literally expand your mind while you improve your physical fitness.
  2. Fight against adaptation. Adaptation is a vital skill that allows our bodies to adapt to whatever stressors we place upon it.  This means that when you begin running for the first time, your body will adapt and grow stronger so it can meet this new demand you’ve placed upon it.  The problem with adaptation is it is constant and your body needs new challenges in order to continue to improve.  Your body lacks motivation to grow stronger, leaner or faster on its own.  It’s up to you to encourage those changes by increasing the demands you put on yourself. Whether it’s running faster sprints, lifting heavier weights, or increasing the number of reps you perform, your body has to have a challenge to keep improving.
  3. A challenge makes a workout more interesting. Sure, there may be days that you dread pushing yourself.  You might be exhausted from a long day of work or have other demands on your time.  For the most part, though, creating new and more challenging workouts from time to time eliminates the risk that your workout may become too routine or monotonous to bring you enjoyment.  The key to overcoming workout boredom is to prevent it from even creeping in. To do this, you need to look for ways to mix up your routine whether by going harder, faster, longer, or stronger or just trying a new type of workout.

Not everyone is able to challenge themselves sufficiently to keep improving their physical and mental health.  If you struggle with challenging yourself, you might want to consider working with a personal trainer that can effectively show you how much more you might be capable of and help you see progress sooner.  Stop at the front desk and ask for more information if you’re curious about working with one of FitClub’s personal trainers!

A Cure for Insomnia? FitClub’s Tips to Help You Sleep Better

There are few things as frustrating as insomnia. From time to time, insomnia may strike any of us, keeping us tossing and turning when all we really need is a night of high quality sleep.  Over-the-counter and prescription medications may be habit forming, but FitClub has natural and healthy ways to fall asleep, stay asleep, and defeat insomnia before it strikes. woman-sleeping-2-920x726

  1. Review your sleep space. Even if you’ve slept in the same bedroom for years, there may have been a subtle change that you’re not yet aware of that’s keeping you awake.  Before insomnia strikes, review your bedroom and ensure that the temperature is cool and conducive to sleep.  You’ll also want to make sure that there is no light in the room and that the environment is quiet and free of noise and distraction. Sometimes just turning your alarm clock away from the bed can reset the conditions you need for optimal sleep.
  2. Create a new routine. Creating the perfect bedtime routine is different for everyone, but the key element is consistency.  Whether it’s a warm bath, a cup of warm milk, or soothing music just before you turn in, the more often you perform your bedtime rituals, the more easily your brain will come to recognize this as a cue for sleep. Taking the time to relax before bed can help you unwind from a stressful day and allow your mind to turn its thoughts only to sleep.
  3. Check your diet. If you’re already tracking what you eat and drink throughout the day, now is the time to review your notes.  Both alcohol and caffeine can interfere with high quality sleep and a slight increase in the amount you indulge in can leave you warring with insomnia when you should be asleep.  If this may be the case for you, try eliminating alcohol and caffeine for a day or two and see if your sleep habits quickly return to normal.
  4. Eliminate naps. A mid-afternoon nap during a dreary winter Sunday afternoon may sound enticing, but it may also be the main culprit keeping you from real sleep.  Finding relaxing hobbies to turn to during the weekend instead of napping can leave you better prepared for sleep at night. Maintaining consistent sleep and wake schedules, even on vacation or during the weekend can help your body establish a healthy sleep routine that is immune from insomnia.
  5. Reassess your attitude about sleep. Many people think of sleep as an indulgence in today’s busy world.  If you tend to think that sleep is something that can only be possible after everything is done or put away, you might need to reevaluate your relationship with sleep.  Viewing sleep as a fundamental pillar of better physical and mental health can help you maintain a consistent, healthy relationship with sleep.

Insomnia is frustrating and can have both physical and mental health effects. How do you unwind to prevent insomnia from pestering you throughout the night? Share your tips with the FitClub community below.

How Your Weekend Can Kick Start Your Health

Shorter days and cooler temperatures might make you feel like your fitness journey has stalled out.  It can be tempting to resort to Netflix marathons on a couch covered in blankets.  Making a few simple adjustments to your weekend schedule can help you kick start a healthy week.weed-couch-lock-movie-night-popcorn

  1. Maintain a regular sleep schedule. All of the television shows you’ve been planning to binge will be there in the morning if you turn in at the same time you would during the week.  Maintaining a regular bedtime and wake time can help balance your body’s natural biological rhythms even with the absence of abundant daylight.  Waking up on time also allows to enjoy more of your weekend without feeling rushed on Sunday evenings making up for the time spent in bed.
  2. Organize everything you need for better health. It’s hard to get to FitClub on time for your favorite early morning group exercise class if you can’t find your favorite workout clothes.  By taking just a few minutes each evening to lay out your clothes or prepare your after-work bag you can eliminate excuses and prioritize your workout.  Ensuring that your favorite workout tech is charged and easily located will save you precious pre-daylight minutes when you’re in a hurry to get to class.
  3. A better diet starts on Sunday. Sunday symbolizes the start of a new week and it can be particularly impactful for your healthy diet.  Taking time to wash and prep produce can ensure that you have the healthy snacks on hand that will keep you on track and away from the vending machines.  If your weeknights are often hectic, you can bake chicken, boil eggs, prepare side dishes, and chill or freeze the week’s healthy meals so your family can still enjoy healthy, homemade meals without interrupting your evenings.
  4. Plan ahead. When you begin to prepare for your work or school week, you can also plan for your workouts.  What are you goals this week?  Did you meet or exceed those goals last week?  You wouldn’t go into the grocery store without a list and you shouldn’t approach your workout with any less diligence.  Using FitClub’s HYPERLINK “fitclub.net” class schedule, you can plan workouts that help you meet your goals on your own schedule.  Once it’s in writing, it’s also more likely to happen!  Make your workouts with yourself this week as important as any other appointment you would write down in your datebook or add to your phone’s calendar.
  5. Reevaluate last week. What went well last week and where did you fall off track?  By looking back on our own successes and failures, we can prepare to do better in the week ahead.  Tracking your failures as well as your success is integral in learning from your own mistakes and improving your health and fitness week after week.

How do you spend your Sundays?  Do you prepare for success?

Stronger Core, Stronger You? Why Core Strength Matters

You may think core strength only matters to professional athletes or supermodels, but studies show that core strength is essential for every movement we perform in our regular day to day lives.  Before you plan your next workout, delve into the science of core strength for motivation.hyatt-training-exercises-mountain-bikers-plank

  1. Functional fitness begins with the core. Sure, Olympic speed skaters need extremely strong cores to help glide across the ice and change direction on a second’s notice, but what about the rest of us? How important is core strength to your day to day movements?  Extremely! Your core muscles are responsible for nearly everything you do, beginning the moment you get out of bed. How you sit in the chair, lifting a grocery bag, and even tying your shoes requires your core muscles to engage. If you spend your workday sitting in a chair, your core muscles are responsible for your posture and ultimately the protection of your back.  If you experience back pain during the workday, improving your core strength may help dramatically.
  2. Balance and fall prevention. Not only are you better able to move through your tasks with a stronger core, but you’re also more likely to stay on your feet as you age.  A strong core can help you maintain your balance on uneven terrain and reduce your risk of falling.  As you age, your balance may decrease and the risk of serious injury from a fall increases.  By maintaining a strong core, you can prepare for the years ahead and reduce your risk of being injured in a fall.
  3. Get Fitter Faster. Can you think of any single workout that doesn’t involve your core?  Probably not.  Whether you enjoy running or swimming, cardio or strength training, all exercises involve your core muscles to some degree.  According to Mayo Clinic, when your core is strong, every other workout becomes easier, allowing you to do more and increase your fitness.

It’s obvious that core strength is important for better functional fitness and health, but how do you increase your core strength?  First, think outside your abs.  When we think of a strong core, we often think of strong, defined abdominal muscles, but your core muscles are far more than just your stomach. Your core muscles actually stretch into your hip and pelvis and the typical crunch or sit-up isn’t enough to fully engage your core muscles.  Adding variation to your existing routine is crucial; for example, modifying a basic plank to incorporate more muscles or adding a hip bridge between sets will increase the number of core muscles you’re hitting in any workout.

If you’re not sure where to begin or you have concerns about staying injury free, working with a personal trainer at FitClub can get you started.  A personal trainer can introduce you to core strengthening moves and help you ensure that you form is correct.  It’s never too late to get started, so grab a mat at FitClub and strengthen that core!

Ready to Try Bodyweight Training?

Whether you’re new to strength training or looking to add new moves, your own body might provide the perfect resistance to help you get fitter faster.  Body weight training builds muscle, burns calories, and with just a mat and some floor space at FitClub, can be done anytime by anyone.  If you’re still not convinced, FitClub has three reasons to start bodyweight training today.Pushing passed the boundaries of endurance

  1. Bodyweight training helps burn belly fat. Belly fat is not only an annoyance but also detrimental to your health. When cardio workouts are combined with bodyweight training, the end result is often a loss of belly fat. Reducing your body fat also reduces your likelihood of developing certain cancers and diabetes. You don’t have to commit to a life of constant abdominal work to benefit from bodyweight training.  Any strength training will help you maintain a toned and healthy physique.
  2. Bodyweight training builds more muscle than other forms of strength training. According to the Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy, bodyweight training can help you increase lean muscle mass more quickly than any other form of strength training. When you use only your own body weight to strength train, you are forcing your body through a limited space, causing more muscular gains.  Just as you would with other forms of strength training, you can add challenges to the moves to keep increasing your body’s need to adapt.  When pushups at your current weight begin to feel too easy, you can easily add reps or try wearing a weighted vest to increase the resistance.  Likewise, while a squat is a bodyweight exercise, adding a dumbbell in both hands increases the workload on your body while you get fitter faster, primarily using your body’s own weight.
  3. Functionality matters, too. You don’t just want to lose weight and build muscle, right?  You also want to be better at doing the things you love doing.  Whether you’re a runner that wants to build speed or a parent that wants to be able to carry their children with less effort, bodyweight training builds functional fitness.  For example, the more lunges or squats you do, the better you’ll be able to move through your day to day functions.  With more frequent bodyweight training, you’re likely to see improvements in your balance, agility, and core strength in your everyday life.

Ready to get started?  Unlike many other forms of exercise, you probably already know how to do many bodyweight activities.  Pushups, lunges and squats are all bodyweight training exercises that can be easily incorporated to your regular workout.  Perhaps you can interrupt your treadmill workout to throw in a round of squats to increase your muscle mass and calorie burn without straying from your favorite workout.

If you’re completely unfamiliar with the proper form, it is advised that you talk to a personal trainer in order to avoid injury.

Should You Eliminate Certain Foods From Your Diet? FitClub Explores How an Elimination Diet Works

Elimination diets are often marketed as the trendy way to lose weight and improve your health quickly and easily, but do they actually work?  More importantly, would an elimination diet work for you specifically?  Before you ditch any particular food permanently, FitClub breaks down the pro’s and con’s of the elimination diet.tfa_april_2019_2

What is an elimination diet?

An elimination diet is one where you permanently swear off a certain type of food. Some elimination diets suggest that you completely eliminate dairy products, sugar, or the majority of carbohydrate-based foods from your diet.  These diets often promise spectacular results, including less inflammation, more energy, and a lower risk of developing a disease or medical condition.

Do elimination diets work?

In the short-term, there are advantages to elimination diets.  If you regularly suffer from fatigue or chronic inflammation, temporarily eliminating certain foods from your diet may help you pin down exactly what food group is causing your distress.  Certain foods may be processed differently by different people. For example, gluten can have negative consequences for anyone that has an intolerance to gluten or Celiac disease. Other conditions may also benefit from a short-term elimination diet, like headaches, anxiety, or gastrointestinal distress.  Depending upon which diet you’re following or the specific ailment you’re trying to alleviate, certain food groups may be entirely eliminated from your diet.

If you’re eliminating sugar from your diet, for example, you might find that you have more energy and less anxiety.  You may also benefit from short-term weight loss if the food you choose to eliminate is high in calories or added fat.

What happens if you reintroduce those foods into your diet?

Elimination diets are generally seen as helpful in the short-term to determine whether you have any allergens or food intolerances.  If your plan is to lose weight and keep it off by eliminating carbohydrates or sugar from your diet, you may be unprepared for the lifetime of consequences.  The health benefits of an elimination diet end when you reintroduce that food into your otherwise healthy diet.

You may also be missing out on key nutrients and vitamins if you try to adapt to an elimination diet without the advice of a nutritionist or medical professional.  By eliminating any one type of food, your body may not be able to operate at its best. While there is no benefit to added sugar, there is a benefit to eating healthy, unrefined carbohydrates.

Whether you’re interested in losing weight or improving your health, food definitely plays a role.  Before you jump into an elimination diet, make sure you check the diet’s promises with your doctor or a nutritionist to make sure the diet will work for you!