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.
Is good posture a habit or a practice? Does having better posture have health benefits? It may seem like a cliché you heard often in childhood, but the habit of sitting up straight or avoiding a slouch may impact your physical health into adulthood. If your posture needs some practice, FitClub can help.
Why posture matters.
Better posture can best be described as a neutral spine with your weight evenly distributed whether you are sitting or standing. If you’ve generally slouched or neglected your posture, it will take practice before a neutral spine begins to feel comfortable and less forced. Learning how to hold your body can have health benefits that can help you reach your goals faster. Less back pain, more energy, and reduced headaches are all associated with better posture because there’s less stress on your bones and joints when they are properly aligned. You can even experience better circulation and digestion when your vital organs are less compressed and oxygen and blood is allowed to move more freely and naturally through the body.
Everyone can agree that less pain, more energy and better flow is the ideal, but rebuilding your posture and reversing the decades old habit of slouching can sound daunting. Everything you need to start improving your posture can be found at FitClub.
- Strengthen your core and lower back. Adding just a few moves to your regular FitClub workout can reap huge benefits to your posture and overall health. Moves that strengthen your gluteal and abdominal muscles allow you to rely less on the muscles in your lower back that may feel stiff or sore throughout your day to day activities. If you need help incorporating these moves in to your workout at FitClub, a Pilates classor working with a personal trainer can get you started in a safe and effective way.
- Reduce stress. Often, poor posture results from holding tension in certain muscles like the shoulders and the jaw. If your poor posture is a result of holding too much tension in these muscles to comfortably align your spine, you might find relief with a meditation practice. Meditation can reduce your mental stress and allow you to clear tension from your mind, and as a result, your body. FitClub has a meditation class that can help you begin or deepen a meditation practice that you can take with you through your day. Sitting comfortably and clearing your mind can improve your overall health.
- Practice yoga. Yoga is renowned for its impact on posture, balance, reduced stress, and improved circulation. Adding a consistent yoga practice to your workout routine can improve your posture, making every workout you do feel easier. FitClub’s trained yoga instructors can adjust your poses as you move through a sequence to ensure that those important posture muscles are growing and adapting to the demands of your healthy lifestyle.
Sit up straight FitClub members!
“No” is difficult for most people to say, particularly when you are choosing between family, friends or work obligations and your healthy goals. But if you’re pursuing a challenging fitness goal, using the word “no” more often may help you reach your goal faster. During the summer months there are backyard barbeques, family reunions, and lazy days at the pool, but if you have a training plan that you hope to accomplish, you may have to use the word “no” more often that you’d like. Before you have to choose between your fitness goals and a summer night out, FitClub has information that might help you get to “no” easier and with less guilt.
- There’s only so much of you When you say “yes” to everything, you’re jeopardizing the limited energy stores your body has to meet its daily functions. Couple that with intensive physical training for your goal and you’re setting yourself up for excessive fatigue, mental burnout, and even an actual illness. Your energy stores are limited, even if summer social options aren’t. While your body is generally able to get you through each day with a healthy immune system and mental outlook, it’s not invincible. To be its best and meet the ever increasing physical demands of your training regimen, your body needs extra rest, better hydration, and a healthy diet. These, unfortunately, are often the first things sacrificed when you say “yes” to every social invitation. Making more time for yourself while you’re focused on your goals may be difficult, but saying “no” more often will leave you better able to complete your training plan and accomplish your healthy goals.
- Saying “no” may lead to the opportunity to say “yes”. When you say “no” to the social invitations that don’t excite you, you free up time for invitations the better align with your goals. You can say “no” to that potluck that you’re not terribly interested in to say “yes” to a healthy post-workout dinner with your FitClub friends or to attend a seminar that speaks to your passions. Aligning your social invitations with your goals leads to a more fulfilling experience without the guilt or sacrifice associated with saying “yes” to everything.
- Saying “no” may improve your mental health. Saying “yes” because “no” makes you feel uncomfortable or leaves you feeling guilty can be detrimental to your mental health and prevent you from reaching your goals. Experts believe that saying “yes” when you would prefer to say “no” often leads to anxiety. When you begin to feel that you’re moving further away from your values or goals because of too many “yes’s” and too little time, you may begin to feel anxious and experience unnecessary stress. When you think about your schedule, the time it takes to accomplish your goals, and your energy level, do you feel motivated or anxious? If it’s anxiety or stress, it’s time to say “no” and focus on yourself for a bit.
Do you struggle with saying “no” even when a “yes” jeopardizes your goals?
We know that variety is the spice of life and that the healthiest diet is one that includes a variety of nutrients, lean protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates. But many of us are also creatures of habit that tend to prepare the same meals on a regular basis. Relying on the same foods each day may make it easier to prepare healthy meals and manage your caloric intake, but it may be leaving you at a nutritional deficit.
If you’re eating a healthy diet, how important is variety?
According to the Journal of Nutrition, variety is central to ensuring your diet includes the right amounts of nutrients and fiber. While there are many different types of fruits and vegetables, each has a unique nutritional makeup, yet none can provide your body with every nutrient it needs for better health. For example, produce that is rich in Vitamin C may be lacking in other crucial vitamins. Relying upon any one type of produce to leave you feeling healthier may be starving your body of other nutrients it needs.
Including variety in your diet also ensures that your healthy lifestyle won’t get boring. How many times can you eat a bowl of plain oatmeal for breakfast without falling victim to a sugary breakfast treat? If you’re like most people, boredom with a healthy meal may set you up for an unhealthy slip. Mixing up the healthy snacks you take to work and the toppings you add to a salad can make your healthy meals feel more satisfying and you might find yourself looking forward to a healthy dish.
- If your goal is weight loss, variety may not be helpful. A 2005 study published in “Obesity Research” found that people that ate a limited array of foods consumed fewer calories than those with a more varied diet.
How to incorporate more variety in your diet.
- Think color. You don’t have to memorize the nutrients of each fruit and vegetable pairing to benefit from adding more variety to your diet. Simply try to choose a variety of colors when you shop the produce aisle or farmers’ market and aim for a rainbow effect with dark, leafy greens, bright yellows and oranges, and a smattering of red to fill out a salad or side serving of fruit.
- Manage portions. Even when you’re consuming healthy foods, too many calories can still lead to weight gain. A study published in Obesity Research indicated that having too many options, even if healthy, can contribute to weight gain. Don’t let the need for adding variety turn into an excuse to overeat. Instead of treating variety like a holiday buffet and overeating, swap one healthy food for another at least several times each week to maintain a healthy caloric intake while adding varied nutrients to your plate.
Do you eat a variety of foods or tend to stick to a few healthy favorites? What advice would you offer to those that tend to limit their healthy food options?
We tend to think of fall and winter as cold and flu season, but the truth is colds can happen any time of year. No one wants to spend several days of a beautiful summer suffering through sneezing, coughing, and respiratory symptoms. FitClub has the information you need to stay healthy all summer.
- Keep up your daily exercise habit. Exercise is essential to maintaining a healthy and well-functioning immune system. Your immune system is your best defense from the virus that causes cold symptoms. Unfortunately, summer can also be ripe with excuses for skipping your workout. Perhaps you’re traveling more than usual or lounging in your backyard soaking up the summer sun. Making time for your regular trip to FitClub, though, will ensure that you won’t miss those summer vacations or backyard barbeques because you’re feeling ill.
- Drink more water. Drinking more water during the hot and humid summer months is critical for maintaining better health. Not only do you avoid heat-related illnesses and the risk of dehydration, but you can also prepare your body to ward off a summer cold. When you’ve been exposed to any type of virus, your body needs more fluids than usual to maintain a normal balance and prevent dehydration. Plain water works best, but especially during the fresh-produce summer months, feel free to add a slice of lemon or orange to flavor your plain H20.
- Eat more fruit. Fruit and vegetables provide your immune system with the nutrients and vitamins it needs to stay strong and healthy. Indulging in the freshest tastes of the season not only improves your diet, but also improves your immune system. Citrus fruits that are rich in Vitamin C can help your immune system ward off illness, and can help to lessen the effect of symptoms. Adding fruit to your oatmeal, salad, or enjoying as a snack makes filling your daily requirement easy during the summer months.
- Sleep can be challenging during the summer months when the summer sun can make it difficult to wind down at our normal bedtime and a multitude of summer parties and activities fill our social calendars. Your body still needs seven to nine hours of sleep each night to allow it to repair and rebuild so it can face the challenges of the next day.
- Wash your hands. It might be the most commonly offered advice for preventing the spread of germs and illness, but it works! Especially if you are traveling this summer, maintaining proper hygiene and washing your hands thoroughly and frequently throughout the day can prevent sharing germs with fellow travelers or even your own family. Hand sanitizer is convenient when you can’t rush to a wash room, but soap and hot water is the best preventative measure.
No one wants to be slowed down by a cold during the summer months. How do you prevent inconvenient colds this time of year?
You might have noticed that babies and animals generally only eat when they are hungry and only until they are no longer hungry. Why, then, do adults tend to overindulge at any given moment? The likely cause is that we have learned certain behaviors that make us think we recognize the difference between true hunger and a simple craving. We have learned patterns of eating that lead us to overindulge, eating well past the point of satiety with foods that do nothing to improve our energy or fuel our bodies.
If you’re ready to tackle your cravings for unhealthy food, let FitClub guide you through the process.
- What is your body telling you? Your body knows what it needs and it will tell you what fuel meets those needs if you listen. Your body is smart and will tell you how much food you actually need if you’ll listen. Can’t tell the difference? Try picturing a healthy snack, an apple or carrots, for example. If that sounds good to you in that moment, you’re probably hungry and should feed your body. It’s your mind, not your body that tells you that you want chocolate cake instead. That’s a craving and you can skip the snack.
- Wait it out. A craving will pass if you give it enough time. Cravings can often be relieved by just drinking a glass of water. Thirst is often mistaken as hunger and you might be surprised at how easily the craving slips away if you fill up on water and wait it out. If the need to eat doesn’t pass after several moments, it’s likely true hunger. When you’re hungry and not just experiencing a craving, the feeling will grow stronger. When you’re truly hungry and not just eating out of habit or trying to satisfy a craving, you’ll hear your stomach rumble or feel your blood sugar dip. Fill yourself up with something healthy!
- Think ahead. An unhealthy indulgence might seem like a need in the present moment, but when you take a second to picture how you might feel after you’ve eaten, you’ll understand the difference between a craving and what your body really needs. Will you feel sluggish, guilty, or bloated after you’ve eaten? You know a good, healthy meal doesn’t make you feel that way. Picturing how you will feel a few moments after you’ve eaten can help you opt for better choices.
- Fill up with vegetables. If you’re hungry between meals, fresh vegetables will fill you up without loading you down. Adding nutrients between meals can also help to eliminate any nutrient deficiency you might experience during the day.
Do you recognize the difference between hunger and a craving? What works for you?
If you’ve been avoiding any of FitClub’s group exercise classes because you think it may be too hard, you’re not alone. It’s normal to feel anxiety or even fear when you step outside your comfort zone and try something new and challenging for the first time. Pushing yourself and trying new workouts, though, is the best way to get in even better shape. Group fitness classes aren’t only for the fittest FitClub members. If fear is holding you back, FitClub has a few tricks for jumping in and finishing that challenging class.
- Show up early. If it’s your first time or you’re worried about your limitations, arriving early enough to arrange your space, get comfortable and introduce yourself to the instructor ensures that you’ll feel more comfortable. Instead of sneaking in at the last minute or intentionally arriving late, give yourself a few minutes prior to class to acquaint yourself with the room, the equipment and the instructor. If you have any limitations, questions, or fears let the instructor know so that he or she can make sure you have what you need to get started.
- Slow down. If you’re in a group exercise class and feeling like you’ll never survive the entire hour, simply slow down and focus on your form. Most FitClub group exercise classes are generally done at your own pace and your own fitness level. If you need to slow down the pushups, no one will notice. Your form is more important than risking injury just to keep up with the person beside you.
- Focus on yourself. No one is counting your reps. If you’re pushing yourself and need to back off for a moment to catch your breath, no one will notice. Not pedaling at the same speed or resistance as your friend in the CycleFit? That’s okay. The fear that we can’t keep up in a group fitness class should never be a reason we don’t try. The only way to get fitter, faster, and stronger is to keep trying, keep challenging yourself, and to keep your mind on what your body can do, rather than trying to keep up.
- Try to keep moving. Even if you need to slow down or switch to lighter weights, try to keep moving unless you feel sick or dizzy. Your body will only adapt to the work load you’re willing to give it. If you can do a few reps without the weights or keep going while moving a bit slower, just keep moving.
- Think about your effort. There is likely to be something in every new class that you’ve never done before. That’s how our bodies break through plateaus and continue to adapt to more demands. Rather than worrying that you might be less than perfect, focus on your effort. Are you working as hard as you can? Could you try harder? When you’re trying, you’re learning and with each try you’ll get stronger, faster, and fitter.
Have you experienced fear when you’ve tried a new class for the first time?
Class Schedules: http://fitclub.net/index.php/group-schedules/group-exercise
If you’re carefully watching your weight, you might notice day to day fluctuations in your weight or even wild swings during the course of any one day. Some moments you might be right on track and others you might be startled to see that the number has jumped without explanation. Although it can be frustrating to see the number unexpectedly creep up from time to time, it’s completely normal.
FitClub has a few key points to keep in mind the next time you notice a weight fluctuation.
- It’s not body fat. If you’re gaining body fat, it’s going to occur gradually. You’ll notice it in the way your clothes fit and the number on the scale might rise steadily over the course of several days and weeks. If you see a temporary jump on the scale, it’s just water or waste your body is holding onto. Too much salt, a big meal, and even just more water than usual can cause your weight to increase between morning and afternoon. When your body eliminates the water and waste, the number will decrease.
- Up to 5 pounds?! Yes, your body weight can fluctuate up to five pounds over the course of any day. If you’ve ever weighed yourself before breakfast and again after dinner, you may have already noticed this happening. If you’ve had a larger than normal evening meal or eaten more sodium than usual, you may even see the five pound increase the next morning on the scale. This is not a reason to panic. Your body just needs time to flush the excess out of its system. You’ll return to your pre-dinner weight sooner rather than later and without five extra pounds.
- What can you do instead of panic? Knowing that body weight fluctuations are completely normal is one step in the right direction. You might also want to consider weighing yourself once each week instead of every day or even several times during the day. Weighing yourself at the same time on the same day of each week will give you a far more accurate representation of whether you’re meeting your weight loss goals.
- Don’t get frustrated. Frustration at your body’s normal processes will only hold you back. Frustration might keep you from achieving a consistent workout or healthy diet or give you an excuse to slip from your healthy goals. Focusing on how your clothes fit, how much energy you have, and how your body feels over the course of a day are better ways to gauge your progress than the number on the scale. The benefits of a healthy lifestyle transcend the number on the scale, whether it creeps up or drops down.
- Remember why you started. You didn’t start living a healthier lifestyle to see weight loss throughout the course of one day, did you? Hopefully, you started a healthier lifestyle to get and stay healthier over the course of your life. Achieving a maintainable weight means perseverance and consistency.
Have you panicked after one day of unexplained weight gain? How did you handle it?