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.
Now that the last of the holiday treats have been thrown out, you may be trying to cut back on sugar or even eliminate it from your diet completely. Most people, paticularly children, eat far more sugar than what experts recommend. If you’re struggling to part ways with added sugar, FitClub has three reasons that might motivate you to make the break permanent.
- Unwanted weight gain. Are you hungrier after you eat a sugary snack or drink a sugary beverage? Added sugar doesn’t help to satisfy your afternoon hunger, it makes you hungrier. Not only are you hungrier than before you indulged in the sweet stuff, but you also just added empty calories to your calorie count for the day. When you start to view that bag of sugary candy as empty calories with no nutritional benefit and the one food that’s only going to make you feel hungrier, you can begin to mentally separate from the craving that drove you to the vending machine.
- Health risks.Whether or not you’re worried about gaining weight and the accompanying health risks, sugar is a health hazard in and of itself. A high intake of sugar contributes to increased risks of heart disease, diabetes, and premature death. Even when experts controlled for those that ate a healthier diet than others, the added sugar was still found to raise blood pressure and allow harmful fats from the liver into the bloodstream. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 100 calories of added sugar (6 teaspoons) per day for women and 150 calories of added sugar (9 teaspoons) for men each day. The next time you reach for a 12 ounce can of soda mid-afternoon, look at the nutrition label, because it contains 9 teaspoons of added sugar.
- Sugar leads to depression. Not only does your body suffer when you eat too much sugar, but so does your mind. A study conducted by the British Journal of Psychiatry uncovered that processed foods and added sugar spike the risk of depression by fifty-eight percent! Not only does sugar trigger unwanted feelings, but it also makes it more difficult for your body to process the nutrient, chromium, that helps the body regulate mood and emotion.
Convinced that it’s time to end your relationship with added sugar? Having a piece of fruit for dessert can help you begin to combat the cravings and hold that sugar might already have over you. Read labels at the grocery store and opt for real food with no added ingredients to ensure that sugar doesn’t sneak up on you as you’re trying to escape its clutches.
What tricks do you use to stay away from sugar? Do you abstain completely or moderate your intake?
It may not come as a surprise to you that January is considered by psychologists to be the most depressing month of the year. December’s Christmas decorations and anticipation have been replaced with gray dull days, unpredictable weather, and cabin fever. There are biological reasons that you may experience bouts of depression in January. FitClub has a few tricks you can try this year to make it a more pleasant month.
- Learn a new skill. The reality is that the post-Christmas month of January is boring. Everyone spends too much time inside avoiding the winter weather and the social blur of December is just a memory. With too much time on your hands, depression and anxiety have time to move freely inside your brain. This year, keep your brain and body busy by learning a new skill that makes you healthier. At FitClub, you can easily find a group exercise class, swim lesson, or work with a personal trainer to pick up a new skill or hobby that can make you healthier and happier while also giving you something on your calendar to look forward to doing.
- Be nicer. Expressing gratitude and kindness not only makes you happier, but it can also make others around you happier. Researchers believe that expressing gratitude and kindness trigger the release of dopamine throughout the body. Dopamine is the hormone that makes you happier and alleviates depression. As you focus on spreading gratitude and kindness around this month, don’t forget to be kinder to yourself and practice more frequent self-care. Learn to meditate (FitClub has a meditation class!), practice deep breathing in a yoga class, or develop a pre- or post-workout ritual that makes your mind as happy as the workout makes your body.
- Eat food that fuels you. When our minds are struggling with depression and anxiety it can be difficult to make healthy food choices. This is exactly the time of year, though, that what you eat matters most. Filling yourself up with healthy choices that satisfy your body without adding unwanted pounds can leave you finishing January 2020 with a healthier mind and no post-holiday weight gain. You can use the time you’re spending inside avoiding the cold to learn to cook, prepare healthy meals and experiment with herbs and spices. This would be a good time of year to gather friends and family for a healthy, home cooked meal to celebrate the end of the holiday season.
- Be patient. New Year’s resolutions often bring up feelings of guilt and impatience. Perhaps you’ve already missed a scheduled workout, eaten an unhealthy meal, or you’re not seeing the results you thought would happen quickly. Whatever you’re beating yourself up for is only holding you back and making you unhappy. This would be a great time to develop the skill of patience with yourself and those around you.
What tricks do you use to get through January happier and healthier than before?
Anyone that’s ever tried to break a bad habit can tell you that habits are extremely powerful. Healthy habits can form the basis of a healthy lifestyle that feels automatic and consistent, allowing you to eliminate any excuses you might have used in the past to skip a workout or overindulge in an unhealthy meal. When we form habits, we are literally changing the brain’s neural pathways. If we can create bad habits that harm our health and wellness this way, we should be able to reverse the process and make healthy habits that form the basis of our daily routines. FitClub has four easy ways to make a healthy habit that sticks!
- Commit to thirty days, every day. Doing something every day makes it easier than a less frequent attempt. If you’re committed to making exercise a habit in 2020, first commit to exercising everyday for thirty days. After thirty days, your neural pathways will begin to associate exercise as non-negotiable daily event and you might find that it is more difficult to craft an excuse to skip your workout.
- Recruit a friend. Accountability matters when you’re intentionally trying to form a healthy habit. If you find that it’s difficult to hold yourself accountable, try recruiting a friend that can meet you at FitClub for a group exercise class or share the workout with you. You’ll likely find that it’s far more difficult to cancel on a friend than it is yourself. Instead of catching up over cocktails at happy hour this year, try catching up over reps and sprints.
- Create a ritual. We all have certain rituals that we practice without noticing. Perhaps every morning before preparing for work, you make a cup of coffee and read the newspaper. This simple, common ritual allows you to mentally prepare for what comes next in your busy day. A ritual should be something that you can easily replicate, that calms your nerves and mentally prepares you for the challenge ahead. A ritual that you can incorporate into a new workout habit might be a gentle stretch that increases your blood flow and allows you the mental space to prepare for your workout. After an invigorating workout at FitClub, you can also give yourself a calming ritual to look forward to by stretching out sore muscles and sitting in the sauna to unwind before you reenter your day.
- Replace negative thoughts with a positive thought. Negative thoughts often hold us back from our happiest, healthiest selves more than any other external factor. If you find yourself thinking that you “can’t” or “won’t” stick with a workout program or that you’ll fail no matter what you try, it’s time to replace the negative self talk. The next time you are caught up in a spiral of negative thoughts, try replacing just one with something positive. “I can and I will,” is a simple, effective mantra that you can carry with you through a negative thought pattern you might be inclined to suffer.
What healthy habits are you creating for a better, happier 2020?
Researchers have determined that most New Year’s Resolutions will fail on January 19, 2020. The researchers are so certain that it’s even been called “Quitter’s Day”. Not this year, not for FitClub members. This year, we can go into 2020 stronger and more determined than ever to see our resolutions through.
- Is your resolution measurable? Many people make abstract New Year’s Resolutions like “workout more” or “lose weight”. While these are certainly healthy resolutions, how do you measure “more”? Science suggests that the more measurable a goal, the more likely you are to achieve success. You can’t track what you can’t measure. Instead, a specific goal might be to try one new group exercise class at FitClubeach week. This goal is certainly measurable and with FitClub’s varied group exercise schedule, it’s easy to fit into an already busy schedule.
- Have you eliminated excuses? Perhaps your resolution this year is to exercise in the morning before your schedule gets out of hand. In order to make that resolution stick, you can get ahead start by eliminating the morning excuses. Don’t just lay out your workout clothes the night before, but actually put the clothes by your bed or even by the coffee pot in the kitchen. It may be too easy to skip a workout if you can’t find what you need when you need it. Taking even just a few minutes the night before to prepare yourself for the morning workout can establish an environment of success immune to excuses.
- Have you visualized what or who you want to be on December 31, 2020? The day to day chore of chasing our resolutions often leads us to procrastinate. It can be hard to visualize how one workout on January 19, 2020 can help us achieve anything that is still a year into the future. Even professional athletes visualize the anticipated outcome before lacing up for practice. At this time next year, what or who will you be if you hold fast to your goals? Will you be a marathoner or tri-athlete at the end of the year? Will you be a swimmer, a weight lifter, fitter? Knowing what your next New Year’s Eve might look like if you stay true to your goals this year can help make sense of every workout you need to get there.
- Do you have a plan to battle perfectionism? Too often perfect becomes the enemy of good and we find ourselves believing that if a workout can’t be perfect it’s better to skip it completely. Every healthy decision you make adds up to a healthier lifestyle. On days when you only have twenty minutes, make that twenty minute workout count and celebrate the fact that you didn’t let the lack of perfection become an excuse.
This year, we can beat Quitter’s Day by celebrating our continued healthier, happier, fitter lifestyles and resolutions together on January 20, 2020! What’s your plan for success?
FitClub is going to be a true hotspot this winter with New Year’s Resolutions to chase and too little daylight for outdoor workouts. This year, you can navigate a crowded FitClub like a fitness pro to maximize your workout and break out of your comfort zone.
- Try a group exercise class. Crowded lines at malls or New Year’s Eve parties can be a drag, but a crowded group exercise class can actually improve your workout. An article published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association discovered that group exercise classes provide even greater physical and mental health benefits over exercising alone. Not only do group exercises classes eliminate the guess work out of managing your own workout, but crowded classes allow you to draw motivation and energy from those around you. A crowded Zumba class can feel more like a dance party than a workout and you’re allowed to laugh, smile, and enjoy yourself while improving your health. This is the perfect time of year for everyone to try something new or learn a new skill and a group exercise class is the perfect place to start.
- Maximize your time and burn more calories. All you need to cycle through a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workout is a small amount of space. HIIT workouts are designed to be very short—think twenty to thirty minutes—and a complete calorie torcher. When your favorite cardio machine is occupied, turn to HIIT to amp up your workout and make the most of the time you have. Almost every cardio exercise can be turned into a HIIT workout (i.e. mountain climbers, jumping jacks, burpees). HIIT is all about the effort. Moving as quickly as you can through short 20 to 30 second intervals with 10 seconds of rest between reps will have you feeling the burn well after your workout has finished. If you’re not sure how to get started with HIIT workouts, check out FitClub’s HIIT class!
- Mix up your workout time. FitClub’s hours make it easy to find a time of day that works for your schedule and your needs. Maybe this is the year that you commit to a pre-work workout or start using your lunch break to burn serious calories. FitClub’s class schedule makes it easy to make the most of the blank space in your daily planner and get a great workout. By hitting FitClub earlier in the day or over lunch, you may find that your energy levels soar throughout your work day and improve the quality of your evenings, too.
This year, we can all resolve to use the high energy and motivation of other FitClub members to push us through the cold months ahead. When you feel your willpower or stamina starting to wane, pulling energy from others working hard around you can be just what you need to power through!
Often, New Year’s Resolutions are tied to a specific goal weight or amount of weight we would like to lose. What if, instead, this year, we resolved that we would try to feel better in 2020. Weight loss is a terrific, healthy benefit of a consistent exercise regimen, but by focusing on how our bodies feel we can reduce the chance that we will throw in the towel before we see progress on the scale. Before you write your resolutions in ink this year, FitClub has a few key points about exercise to help you focus on how you feel.
- Do you feel sluggish? At the end of a long day, you might feel too sluggish to think about a grueling workout. The idea of comfortable clothes and a Netflix binge might be all it seems you have the energy to accomplish. If you’re tired of feeling sluggish in the evenings, exercise can help energize you, clear your mind, and help you restore your energy levels consistently. According to Mayo Clinic, exercise helps your body more efficiently deliver oxygen and nutrients through your body, providing you with healthier, more productive heart and lungs. The more efficient cardiovascular and respiratory systems then give you that energy boost that’s been missing.
- Do you feel like you might be coming down with something? Exercise has been proven to improve immune system function and help you better respond to the threat of colds and flu. Not only does exercise ward off the seasonal frustrations of colds and the flu, but it can also ensure that your cardiovascular system is in peak condition to help you ward off more serious illnesses like cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Exercise can even reduce your risk of developing arthritis and certain types of cancer.
- Do you feel confident? Try achieving a new pace or adding another rep to a challenging strength training session and you’ll find that the way you feel about yourself improves. How you feel in your own skin can improve dramatically when you build a consistent exercise program that allows you to push yourself and achieve results. When you put your fitness first, you might find that your stress level improves, your anxiety reduces, and you feel more comfortable and confident in your day to day life.
So how much and how often do you need to exercise before you begin to see results? The good news is that most experts agree you need about two and a half hours of exercise each week to see improvement in your health and mindset. Of course if you’re chasing certain fitness goals in 2020, you may need more than only two and a half hours, but if you’re new to FitClub or coming back after a long break, start slowly and ramp up.
What are you waiting for? The benefits of a consistent fitness program are endless and life changing!
The beginning of a new year provides us with an opportunity to reflect on the last year and look ahead to what we want to accomplish in the next year. Whether your goal is to lose weight, eat a healthier diet, or accomplish a great athletic endeavor, there’s only one New Year’s Resolution that you need to get you to your healthiest life. Balance.
Instead of vowing to eliminate all sugar or workout every single day, striving for a balanced, healthy lifestyle can help you achieve your goals while maintaining your sanity. Balance also wards off the excuses you might face when the excitement of your new goal begins to fade in mid-February.
Ready to get started? FitClub has everything you need to begin applying balance to all aspects of your life.
- Taking a holistic approach to your health. If you approach your healthy goals by focusing only on one component, you run the risk of falling short and burning yourself out before February 1st. For example, if your goal is to lose weight but you focus only on exercise and neglect a healthy diet or a consistent quality sleep regimen, you may find yourself suffering from frustration when you don’t immediately see results. The truth is that no matter what your health goal is for 2020, a balanced, holistic approach is the only way to achieve long-lasting success. Balancing your efforts to incorporate exercise and a healthy diet and regular sleep will help you achieve your goals and maintain your weight loss all year long.
- Prioritize your mental health, too. Focusing entirely on your physical health leaves you at risk for burnout, anxiety and depression along the way. Challenging yourself to improve your mental and physical health starts at FitClub. Really focusing on how exercise makes you feel, taking a meditation class, and trying new group exercise classes is a great way to keep your brain healthy and happy while your physical health also improves. Fortunately, FitClub has a wide variety of classes, personal trainers, and healthy options to help you expand your mental prowess while you improve your physical fitness.
- Leave room for rest. A balanced life is one that leaves plenty of room for reflection, rest, and redirection. Your body and mind need rest days and your goals need room for flexibility to prevent burnout. Working to tame your inner perfectionist isn’t an easy task, but allowing for moderation in all healthy goals will increase your chances of success. Instead of holding yourself to unattainable standards this year, leave room for the occasional treat, rest day, and forgiveness. Focusing on results and overall effort is far more effective than a punishing regimen you can’t possibly maintain.
As the year comes to an end, let’s all take a moment to reflect on what we accomplished this year and what we may accomplish in the decade ahead to live our happiest, healthiest, fullest lives.
What are your New Year’s Resolutions this year?