Does Exercise Give You More Energy or Zap Your Energy?

It’s time to retire the overused excuse that you’re lack the energy to exercise. Research proves that exercise actually increases your energy levels and is more effective at warding off fatigue than a nap or staying on the couch.

The research suggests that the energy boost you feel after exercising is more than just the psychological benefit of knowing that you did something healthy for yourself. Even modest amounts of low-intensity exercise release the body’s natural endorphins into the blood stream, leaving you feeling refreshed and happier than before you began exercising. Exercise also improves the body’s cardiovascular health, allowing your body to transmit oxygen and nutrients more efficiently.happy-workout

Exercise’s ability to improve energy isn’t only physical, but also leads to improved sleep, which allows for you to benefit from a higher level of energy throughout the next day as well. Once you start to enjoy the extra energy exercise brings, exercise will be a habit you look forward to maintaining, rather than a chore you struggle to finish.

To get more energy, rather than less, from your workout regimen:

  • Aim for 2 ½ hours of weekly exercise. If you’re new to exercise, start with moderately intense exercise and increase your effort slowly. If it seems difficult to incorporate exercise into an already full schedule, look for areas where you can fit in even a brief workout at first. FitClub’s convenient locations make it easy to fit in a quick workout before or after work, or even during your lunch break.
  • Choose a workout you enjoy. Nothing is worse than struggling through an exercise you hate. Fortunately, FitClub has a wide array of cardiovascular and strength training equipment, free weights, and group exercise classes. When you find the right exercise or combination of exercises, you’ll begin to look forward to that part of your day.
  • Consider it time for yourself. Instead of treating exercise as a chore that you have to do or a task to cross off your to-do list, consider your workout an opportunity to catch up with a workout buddy, watch a favorite television show while you’re on the cardio machine, or listen to your favorite, motivating music.
  • Try the 15 minute rule. If you’re really struggling to make it through the day and an hour long workout seems too much to tackle, promise yourself that you’ll go to FitClub for fifteen minutes. If you’re not feeling more energized or motivated after fifteen minutes, give yourself permission to quit. This will keep you in a consistent workout regimen, and you will likely find that you are feeling better after fifteen minutes and energized to finish a solid workout.

Swim Safe All Summer Long

Before you buy new swimsuits for the family and start planning long summer days at the pool, it’s important to make sure your family will be safe at the pool. If either you or the kids (or both!) are in need of swim lessons, FitClub has you covered. Don’t dip your toes in the water until you’re sure that you and the kids are competent swimmers.swimming-lessons-1

Preventing drowning, is of course, the most important reason for parents to ensure that children have received adequate swim lessons before heading to the pool. Drowning remains a leading cause of unintentional death among children. There are, however, many other reasons to stop by the front desk at FitClub and sign your children up for swim lessons.

  1. Cultivating a love for the water. It’s not unusual for children to be leery of the water, but you don’t want to spend your summer with children too afraid of the water to enjoy the pool. Group swim classes are a great way to introduce your children to the summer fun of splashing in the pool and help your child overcome their early fear of the water.
  2. Building respect for the water and water safety. If your child is unafraid of the water, though, that may present its own unique challenges. Swim lessons are also important for the brave children that can’t wait to run and jump in without regard for their level of skill. Learning the proper way to behave around the pool and safe ways to enter and exit the pool are skills that will keep the kids healthy and safe all summer.
  3. Developing skills and fitness. If your child is already a good swimmer, swim lessons can help your child further cultivate the sport and perhaps build a basis for lifelong fitness. Swimming is a unique exercise that your child may be able to enjoy his or her entire life. Learning proper technique and improving each stroke sets your child up for lifelong success and fitness in the pool.
  4. Don’t forget yourself! If you’re planning to spend your summer at the pool with your kids, you may want to sign yourself up for swim lessons, too! Taking the time to learn proper technique can allow you to turn a lazy day at the pool into a workout, and even turn that summer workout into an all year workout at FitClub’s indoor pools. It’s never too late to learn a new skill that can keep you safe and active for many years to come.

Whether you’re worried about keeping your children safe at the pool all summer long or hoping to share your love of swimming with your children, this is the perfect time to sign the children up for swimming lessons (and yourself, too!) at FitClub. Swimming lessons not only provide lifelong skills, but can also be fun memories the kids will have for many years to come.

Have you taken swimming lessons at FitClub? Share your experience in the comments with your fellow FitClub members!

Freshen Up Your Diet in Time For Summer

If you spent the winter hibernating and enjoying warm comfort foods, the onset of summer is the perfect time to take a hard look at your diet and freshen it up. Summer’s busy days and fresh produce will keep you inspired all summer long to eat and feel your best with a few minor adjustments.

  1. Take an honest look at how, when, and what you eat. It’s not uncommon to overindulge during winter’s long, dreary nights at home. Whether you’ve been tracking your food in a food journal or an app on your phone, this is a good time to reflect on not just what you eat, but how much and how often. Can you identify any patterns? Do you tend to snack more on weekends or enjoy too many lunches out with co-workers? Finding even one area for improvement may lead to healthy changes in other areas of your life as well.
  2. Think fresh. Summer’s fresh produce not only tastes great, but is convenient to stock up on and healthy to enjoy throughout the day. Check out the local farmers’ markets or your favorite grocery store for the season’s freshest produce. Cleaning and cutting your produce when you get home from the grocery store or market ensures that you have ready to eat, healthy snacks available any time the craving strikes.a1fc62e66a88b6e6e0de25f7ea38f639
  3. Lighten up. If you need a dish for a summer holiday celebration or backyard barbeque, be the guest that brings the light and refreshing dish to pass. Add fresh fruit, fresh produce, or fresh herbs to a healthy salad or side dish to get a taste of summer and a boost of nutrients.
  4. Grow your own. Whether you have room in your backyard for a full vegetable garden or just enough room to pot a few herbs on a patio table, growing your own vegetables or herbs adds flavor and nutrients to your homemade dishes. Growing your own herbs is also a cheaper way to experiment with herbs you may not be familiar with, like basil, thyme, or cilantro. Lemon thyme is also a natural mosquito repellent that can be easily thrown in with other herbs to keep the pests away!
  5. Blend it up. If you’re short on time but craving a healthy meal in the summer, throwing fresh fruit or spinach into the blender makes a healthy taste of summer smoothie that you can enjoy on the go or at the pool. Avoid adding unnecessary sugar or sweeteners to your smoothie, and instead enjoy the natural sugar burst from your favorite fresh fruit.

Do you notice that your diet changes during the summer? If you have a favorite summer recipe or healthy eating tip, leave it in the comments below for your fellow FitClub members and together we can all enjoy a healthier, fresher summer!

Think You Don’t Have Time to Exercise? Think Again!

It can be easy at the end of a long day to tell yourself that you don’t have timebest-time-for-exercise-300x225 to exercise, but if that’s your common excuse, think again! Not only should exercise be a priority for anyone trying to live a healthier lifestyle, but it may add years to your life. In fact, just meeting the World Health Organization’s minimum guideline for of 150 minutes of moderate to intense exercise each week can add 3.4 to 4.5 years to your life.

No matter your age or how long you’ve been sedentary, it’s never too late to start reaping the benefits of exercise, because exercise doesn’t just add years to your life, but makes those years more enjoyable and healthier. Exercise may reduce pain associated with arthritis and reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s. In those fifty years or older, exercise may be as effective as antidepressants in controlling depression.

Adding Time by Adding Exercise

What exercises add the most time to your life?

  • Running–A new study recently found that a one-hour run may add as many as seven hours to a person’s life. Not a runner? Studies have also found that walking at a moderate pace also may add longevity to your life. If you’re looking to avoid running in the heat or at night, hop on the treadmill and fit in that run.
  • The stair machine has been found to cut the risk of premature death by 15%. Like the treadmill, the stair machine is easy to use and conveniently found at FitClub.
  • Riding a bicycle quickly adds more time to your life than riding at a moderate pace. If you’re prone to a moderate stationary bike ride after work, try FitClub’s CycleFit to increase your speed and the intensity of your workout. FitClub’s CycleFit classes are the perfect place to pedal fast and add almost four years to your life!

Whether you enjoy the exercises listed above or you’re interest is in other forms of cardiovascular exercise, research suggests that it may be the intensity of the workout that extends longevity. If you’re accustomed to more moderate or leisurely exercise, challenge yourself to short bursts of intense exercise, followed by a short period of rest. If you have trouble pushing yourself to work out more intensely, try one of FitClub’s group exercise classes. A group exercise class led by a FitClub professional can push you to work harder than you may be able to push yourself.

The next time you find yourself wondering whether you have time to exercise, try focusing on the benefits you’ll receive from your workout years from now. Focusing on the future effects of exercise might help you make your daily workout a priority.

Not convinced? Check out FitClub’s group class schedule and let us know what class you tried and how you felt!

Sitting Too Much? Why is it Dangerous and How Can You Reverse It?

You may have heard by now that doctors and researchers are comparing the dangers of sitting for long periods of time to smoking. Unfortunately, the reality is, most people have to sit for some period everyday to work, drive, enjoy a meal, or watch television at the end of a long day. Our daily sitting habits, though, are not only increasing weight and waist lines, but may also be causing dangerous diseases.Denver Neck and Shoulder Pain Treatment

Sitting for long periods of time stalls the body’s natural ability to breakdown fats and sugars. When the body doesn’t break down fats and sugars consumed throughout the day, the fats and sugars are stored in the body, leading to cardiovascular disease. In fact, Mayo Clinic estimates that sitting throughout the day increases a person’s risk of obesity and may lead to a 125% increase in the risk of cardiovascular disease.

If you’re one of the many that is required to sit for long periods of time at work, there are ways to reverse the damage done by sitting, even without leaving the office.

  1. Make it a habit to stand while talking on the telephone at work. If your job requires you to sit at a desk for seven to nine hours each day, committing to taking even a few moments to stand and break up the periods spent sitting will help.
  2. If your job allows, try using a standing desk that allows you to stand while you complete your daily tasks and avoid sitting altogether, or at least the majority of the day.
  3. Commit to taking a walking break throughout the workday. Give your body and your mind a break every thirty minutes to stand or stretch and ward off the ill effects of prolonged sitting.

After work, make your workout work for you at FitClub. If you’ve been sitting all day, adding the exercises below can do wonders for combating the dangers of sitting.

  1. Add free weights or kettlebells to your workout routine to train and strengthen the muscles that work to stabilize your body and posture, like shoulders, hips, and core.
  2. Try lunges either with or without weights to better engage the glute muscles that have suffered from too much sitting.
  3. Stretch and strengthen unused muscles with a Yoga or Pilates class at FitClub. Both Yoga and Pilates not only stretch and tone muscles, but also realign the body and improve posture that may suffer from slouching in a chair throughout the day.

Once you know the dangers of sitting too much, you can begin to look for opportunities throughout your day to take a walk, stand for a bit, or strengthen the muscles neglected while you’re in a chair.

Do you have a tip or trick to share that helps you beat the dangers of sitting? Be sure to share it in the comment section for your fellow FitClub members!

Do You Plan Your Workout In Advance? You Should!

You wouldn’t start a project without having a plan of attack, right? Your workout isn’t any different. Having a plan when you step into FitClub can motivate you to power through a hard workout and keep you on track to achieve your healthy goals.making-a-plan-1024x682

Why it works.

  1. Taking a few minutes at the beginning of the week to schedule and plan your workouts makes it easier to avoid excuses and keeps you focused on your goals. Putting your workout in black and white not only reinforces your commitment to exercise, but also helps you to keep that time on your calendar available.
  2. Having a plan when you begin your workout will prevent forgetting a move or a set. Instead of wasting valuable time wondering what to do next, a plan allows for you to move efficiently from one machine or weight to the next.
  3. Track your progress. Having a plan for your workout also makes it easier to track your progress. Keep a note of what you did, the time it took, and the speed or weight you used so that at the end of the month, you can look back and see your progress. Not all progress is visible on the scale, and sometimes the far more valuable progress is the result you can see in a training log.

How to do it.

  1. Make a date. At the beginning of the week, use a calendar, your phone, or your to do list to pencil in when you plan to exercise and what you plan to do.   Think of your workouts as meetings or dates that you’ve made with yourself, and treat yourself just like you would anyone else, honoring the commitment that you’ve made. Planning ahead also makes it easy to schedule group exercise classes you want to try at FitClub.
  2. Balance your workout. If you have an hour to plan at FitClub, be sure to include portions of cardiovascular exercise, strength training, and stretching or yoga for a balanced workout. Thinking ahead and making a plan helps to ensure that you’re hitting all the body parts and systems of the body that need attention during a well-rounded workout.
  3. Be flexible. Taking the time to schedule your workout and write it out ensures that you don’t waste time wandering around looking for the next exercise. Being flexible, though, allows for you to make adjustments when a machine or weight is in use, or if something new piques your interest. Give yourself permission to think outside the box and return to your plan when you need the structure.

Do you plan your workouts? Share your tips or tricks in the comments with your fellow FitClub members!

Do You Have Portion Distortion?

If you’ve been eating healthy and exercising frequently but still struggle to lose weight, the portion sizes of your favorite foods may be to blame.hqdefault

American portion sizes are larger than ever! In fact, a study done by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NIH) estimates that American restaurants have more than doubled portion sizes over the last twenty years. The increased serving sizes means that even eating the same meals at the same restaurants today would lead to 1,595 more calories than twenty years ago!

What’s a healthy portion of your favorite food?

  1. Pasta—Pasta is commonly over-served both at restaurants and at home. Instead of a heaping portion of your favorite pasta, limit it to one cup, or about the size of two full hands. Going from a three cup serving to a one cup serving eliminates more than four hundred calories from your plate.
  2. Rice—Rice is easy to overeat because it’s used as a filler at Asian restaurants; but too much of that tiny food creates a huge calorie bomb with few nutrients. Instead of the standard serving of two cups, keep your rice servings to one-half of a cup, or about the size of one hand, and save 308 calories!
  3. Salad dressing—If your salad is more dressing than lettuce, you’re not alone. Restaurant salads can often contain more calories than a cheeseburger. To avoid your healthy intentions from sinking your goals, remember that the serving size of salad dressing is only two tablespoons, or about the size of two fingers.

What can you do to maintain portion control?

  1. Eat at home to avoid the super-sized restaurant portions. When you eat at home, you have total control over portion sizes. To limit the temptation for seconds and thirds, serve portions on individual plates and separate snacks into smaller containers to avoid binging on a bag of snacks in front of the television.
  2. If you do eat at a restaurant, ask the staff to package half of the entrée for you to take home. If the food’s not presented to you on the plate you are served, you are less likely to feel compelled to eat even after you are satisfied.
  3. Check the label. You may be surprised to discover how many servings are in your favorite snack bag. Calories and nutrients listed on a label are per serving. Whether you’re counting calories or nutrients, be sure to measure the serving size before you indulge, or multiply the numbers by the number of servings you actually eat. Snack food, frozen food, and packaged foods can be misleading and contain multiple servings in a small box or bag. For example, a 20-ounce soft drink can easily be consumed during one meal, but may actually be 2.5 servings according to the label.
  4. Measure. Use mixing cups, tablespoons, or measured snack bags to help you learn to identify a correct portion. You don’t have to eliminate all the foods you love, you just have to learn to recognize a healthy portion!