What is That? Getting Familiar with Kettlebells

If you’ve found yourself asking, “What is that?” while strolling through FitClub during your workout, you’re not alone. FitClub has a huge variety of fitness equipment and it can be daunting to familiarize yourself with everything. If you’re not experimenting, though, you may be missing out on great fitness equipment that packs huge potential.fitclub-trainer-kettlebell

If you’ve stumbled upon a kettlebell in the weight room, you might have noticed it’s unusual shape. The weight is essentially a ball with a handle and knowing what to do with it can really amp up your calorie burn and make a great addition to your workout repertoire.

If you’re looking to add a new challenge to spice up your strength training routine or trying to improve your cardiovascular endurance, it might be time to pick up the funny looking kettlebell and give it a try.

What it works.

You’ll find the kettlbells at FitClub in the strength training rooms, near the free weights. Don’t let the location fool you, though, because kettlelbells also provide an excellent cardio workout. A kettlebell workout can burn huge amounts of calories in as few as twenty minutes, because of the added challenge of its shape. In fact, the American Council on Exercise estimates that an average person can burn up to 400 calories in only twenty minutes using a kettlebell. Unlike dumbbells, the weight in a kettlebell is not evenly distributed, requiring your core muscles to do more work.

While you’re working up a sweat and reaping the cardio benefits of the kettlebell workout, you’re also toning your arms, chest, core, legs and glutes.

How to use it.

If you’re already familiar with the weight room, adding kettlebells to your routine should come naturally. Try using the kettlebells for bent-over rows, dead lifts, and squats in the place of the traditional weights to incorporate new muscle groups into the moves and provide an additional challenge to new muscle groups.

As with all new strength training options you try, start with a low weight and use proper form. Starting off with a low amount of weight is particularly important with kettlebells because of the uneven weight distribution; start off too high and you will likely have problems controlling the weight. Ensuring that you’re able to have proper control and proper form reduces the risk of injury and allows you to build strength and endurance gradually.

There are really no limits to the type of kettlebell workouts available. If you’re looking to add creativity and a huge calorie burn to your workout, consider hiring a personal trainer at FitClub to teach you even more kettlebell moves for maximum results.

 

What unusual objects catch your attention at FitClub? Leave your questions in the comments and get the answer to the question, “What is that?”

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Is Your Office a Calorie Trap?

We can all exercise control over what food comes into our houses, but none of us can predict or control what food comes into our work places. If you’re trying to live a healthier cake_worklifestyle, your work place may come to seem like a calorie trap, testing your willpower every day. If this is happening to you, you’re not alone! Read on for tips and tricks to avoid the office snack trap.

  1. Be prepared. You can’t control what your coworkers bring into the office, but you can help yourself avoid temptation by bringing healthy snacks from home. Arming yourself with fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the day will eliminate the need to forgo the sugary snacks when you’re hungry.
  2. Spread the word. Let your coworkers know that you’re focused on your health and ask that they not try to tempt you with unhealthy snacks. You might be surprised to find that other coworkers feel the same and are encouraged by your dedication to your healthy lifestyle. Not everyone will be supportive or helpful on your journey, but if you can find even one supportive coworker, agree to keep one another accountable throughout the day when temptation strikes.
  3. Decide if you’re hungry or bored. When we fall victim to snacks at the office, it’s likely not because we’re hungry, but because we’re bored or stressed. Don’t engage in mindless eating. If you’re tempted to dive into a candy bowl or family sized bag of chips in the breakroom, ask yourself whether you’re hungry or if you’re eating to relieve boredom. If you find that you’re stressed or bored, take a quick walk, start a new task, or spend a few minutes reflecting on how hard you’re working to get healthier. If you’re hungry, go back to the healthy snacks you brought with you and enjoy filling up on nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables.
  4. Keep motivating reminders nearby. Whether you’re training for a 5K or trying to get in shape for a summer vacation, keep visible reminders nearby for moments when your willpower seems low. Having your race date circled on your office calendar or a picture of a beautiful beach, remembering your reason for getting healthy may make it easier to say no to the cookies on a coworker’s desk.
  5. Set limits before you indulge. If there’s a treat that you just can’t say no to, then at least set a limit for how much you will eat. Maybe you can’t get out of celebrating a coworker’s birthday with a slice of cake, but you can opt for a small piece of cake and keep your splurge to just one piece. Setting your limits before your workplace event will help you stay within that limit and enjoy a small treat mindfully.

How do you avoid the calorie bombs at the office?

Could Regular Massage Help You Reach Your Fitness Goals?

stress-relief-massage-therapyAccording to the American Massage Association, the answer is yes! Most people associate massage with a reward at the end of a long day, or a small splurge you make for yourself. Regular massage, though, may be just what you need to reach your peak physical and mental health.

  1. Eliminates Stress.
    If stress can cause you to gain weight, then the reverse may also be true. Massage promotes improved blood flow to the muscles, joints and tissues you strain when you exercise. When the blood flow increases, so does the distribution of the body’s opiods, which help ward off pain. In fact, research indicates that massage may reduce pain and soreness as effectively as over-the-counter drugs, including aspirin and ibuprofen.
  2. Improves chronic health conditions
    Massage does more than just relax your mind. The increased blood flow has also been found to improve chronic digestive problems, pain associated with fibromyalgia, headaches, and high blood pressure. If you suffer from any of these conditions, talk to your doctor to see if massage is right for you.
  1. Wards off injury and soreness
    Whether you’re new to exercise or have been training hard for years, the familiar    soreness that accompanies a new or harder workout doesn’t have to linger. Regular massage can help ease the delayed onset muscle soreness you may have come to expect     from a workout. Massage may also speed recovery of sore or strained muscles, allowing you to get back to your exercise routine more quickly than expected!
  1. Promotes self-care
    Self-care is crucial to any happy and healthy lifestyle. Neglecting to provide for your mental health will leave you stressed, unhappy, and unmotivated to follow through with your healthy lifestyle. Taking an hour to relax into a massage not only reduces stress, but facilitates better sleep and improves your body awareness. Throughout the course of the day, we all store stress in different tissues throughout our body; allowing yourself a regular massage counteracts that stress and undoes the negative-self talk you might experience during a difficult day.

If you’ve never tried massage therapy, be prepared to answer a few general questions about your physical health and any soreness or discomfort you might be experiencing. Make sure your massage therapist knows about any sore muscles or injuries you have had, and don’t be afraid to ask questions!

Massage isn’t something reserved for high-performing athletes. FitClub has massage onsite for its members. Before you go another day suffering from stress or sore muscles, stop by the front desk and ask about a massage appointment!

Have you tried a massage at FitClub? Share your experience in the comment section below!

Is It Time to Reenergize Your 2017 Resolutions?

By February, the allure of your well-intentioned New Year’s Resolutions may be starting to wear off. In fact, researchers have found that February is the most common time for quitting New Year’s Resolutions. Instead of giving up altogether, reevaluate and reenergize your New Year’s Resolution to make it work for you.

Problem: You hate your workout. Maybe you vowed to take up running this year, but by February you discovered you actually hate running.

Fix: Instead of giving up on fitness altogether, appreciate the fact that you learned something about yourself and move on. 2016-11-07-health-fitness-trends-youll-see-in-2017-04You don’t have to stick to a resolution that you hate. Instead, resolve to find something you do love that makes you feel great and gets you fit. FitClub’s group class schedule makes it easy and convenient to experiment with different types of workouts to find what suits you best.

Problem: You saw quick progress at first, but now you’ve hit a plateau and are ready to give up.

Fix: Before you head to the drive through and resume your bad habits of last year, look at your diet and exercise plan to see where it might be time to step it up. Your body may have hit a plateau because your workouts have become easy. That’s not necessarily bad, it means your body is getting fitter and stronger. It does mean, though, that it’s time to step it up and add more weight, faster intervals, or fewer calories.

Problem: Your motivation for skipping happy hour to hit the gym is waning.

Fix: Make it a team effort. Recruit your friends and family to enjoy healthy activities with you. Make meal prep a family affair so everyone looks forward to enjoying healthy dinners throughout the week. Instead of hitting happy hour, invite your friends to join you at Zumba. Every time you walk into FitClub, you’re surrounded by a community of people working towards similar goals. When you’re feeling alone in your fitness journey, reach out to other members or trainers for support and perspective.

Problem: All of the negative body issues you had are still with you.

Fix: Maybe you expected that when you started working out, you’d automatically start feeling more positive about your body. Negative body images take work outside of the gym. Instead of focusing on what your body looks like, try focusing on how strong and healthy your body feels when you indulge in a great workout. Step outside of your comfort zone and try a Yoga class or a meditation class and learn to silence your mind and reframe negative thoughts in a more positive way.

FitClub Offers Option for Parkinson’s Patients

Parkinson’s Disease is defined as a “neurodegenerative brain disorder.” When affected by Parkinson’s Disease, the brain stops producing dopamine and the person has trouble regulating body movement and emotion. Tremors and difficult walking are commonly associated with the disease that affects one in one hundred people over the age of sixty in the United States. The Michael J. Fox Institute estimates that more than one million people in the United States are living with Parkinson’s.img_3565

Parkinson’s Disease does not yet have a cure, although it is not in itself fatal. Doctors and specialists attempt to address the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease to manage the disease and increase the quality of life of the patient.

FitClub is joining the fight against Parkinson’s Disease through FitClub’s Silver Dynamic group personal training for special populations. Personal trainer, LaVeral “Max” Maxeiner developed this training to focus on exercises specifically planned for those with challenges due to health issues. Max has been working with Ed Pauley, a member of FitClub that has been battling Parkinson’s Disease for more than a decade. Mr. Pauley was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2003, and had been experiencing declines in his balance and mobility for thirteen years. Mr. Pauley felt that he was really heading downhill, but since he started working out with Max in December 2016, he’s seen “exceptional progress.”

When Mr. Pauley began working out, Max evaluated his balance and had to physically support him through their training sessions. Mr. Pauley felt very unsure of his steps at times, but began to feel better and better and is now working out for one hour, three times a week.

Mr. Pauley’s not done yet, though. He has set concrete goals for himself that include being able to walk well enough to go on vacation to Oregon to visit his children, or even Europe! He’s looking forward to being able to enjoy long walks and being able to get rid of his cane.

In a brief chat with Mr. Pauley, it’s easy to see what a uniquely positive attitude he has and it’s easy to imagine that his attitude and commitment are crucial keys to his continued success and improving health. With continued practice and exercise, FitClub has no doubt that Mr. Pauley will soon be enjoying his vacations and will be ready to set even more goals for himself soon!

Mr. Pauley is looking forward to his next appointment with his Parkinson’s specialist, and FitClub is confident his doctor will be as pleased and as proud as FitClub is of Mr. Pauley’s commitment and advancements!

FitClub is extremely proud of the work of both Max and Ed Pauley and will continue to fight back against Parkinson’s Disease.

For more information about Parkinson’s Disease, check out the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.

 

Helping a Friend Start a Healthy Lifestyle

Supporting a friend that’s just beginning a healthy lifestyle can be difficult. Do you acknowledge your friend’s need to lose weight and get healthy? Should you offer advice and tips, tell him what worked for you? It can seem difficult and full of perils to help a friend beginning a healthy lifestyle, but it doesn’t have to be.06-01-14_wt_motivate_shutterstock

  • Be in touch with the process, not the progress. You probably already know from your own healthy lifestyle that progress can’t be measured solely in pounds lost. Even losing inches can be slow going when you’re just starting out. Instead of asking your friend whether he or she has lost any weight, check in and see how the process has been. Asking whether your friend is enjoying less stress and better sleep is likely more welcome than asking whether there’s been a change on the scale.
  • Listen and commiserate. Committing to a healthy lifestyle is difficult, and you probably want to avoid making it more difficult for your friend. When he or she needs to vent about slipping with junk food or missing a workout, share your own experiences and help your friend understand that it happens to everyone. Maybe you can commit to sharing accountability and helping each other try new recipes or make plans to meet for a FitClub group class to help you both stay on track.
  • Be responsible in your own lifestyle. Studies suggest that people generally order a meal similar to their dining partners. If you know your friend is committing to a healthy lifestyle and trying to get in shape, be a good example and make it easier by ordering a healthy option when you dine out together. The same is true for your exercise routine. Share with your friend what works for you, make sure he or she knows about your favorite group exercise class, and try to stay positive when it seems difficult.
  • Avoid being the expert. Whether you’ve been working out for years or just getting started, avoid the temptation to provide expert advice to your friend. Letting your friend in on your favorite workouts or classes is helpful. Telling your friend the only way to lose weight is to eat a particular food (or not eat a particular food) is not helpful. Even if you really do think you’re an expert on a particular matter, being a supportive listener will work much better than coming across as judgmental.
  • Get creative. If your nights out with your friend tend to revolve around junk food and alcohol, allow room for creativity and think of healthier options to enjoy together. Chose an activity like a walk, bowling, or even cooking together one night a week. Even if you’ve been enjoying a healthy lifestyle longer than your friend, you might find that the added healthy night out together is great for achieving your own goals.

In the same way that FitClub provides a healthy community for you to share goals and support, you can be that community for your friend. Has someone positively impacted your own healthy lifestyle? Share in the comments so we can all learn new and better ways to help loved ones reach their goals!

Catching Up with the Coaches’ Challenge

FitClub’s Coaches’ Challenge started on January 9, 2017 and already participants are seeing real progress! The hardest obstacle for participants to overcome, so far, is with food rather than workouts.shutterstock_85465357

For most of us, maintaining consistency in exercise is easier than eating a healthy diet with the complete nutritional components our bodies need. With a better understanding of what you should be eating and a few tips below, we can all clean up our diets and see more progress.

What are macro nutrients?

Macro nutrients are protein, carbohydrates, and fat, all of which our bodies need in varying amounts to reach fitness goals, achieve daily tasks, and stay healthy.

Protein. Protein should make up 10 to 35 percent of the average diet. Protein maintains and repairs body tissues, particularly those tissues that are used when you exercise. For more information about protein, check out the blog.

Fat. Fat has a bad reputation, but is actually essential to a healthy lifestyle. The average diet should consist of 20 percent fat. Knowing the difference between healthy fat and unhealthy fat is the key to successfully adding fat to your diet. Fat allows our bodies to maintain a constant internal temperature and provides cushion to our internal organs. Healthy fat can be found in nuts, avocados, and olive oil. Unhealthy fat is saturated fat, found in junk food and fried food.

Carbohydrates. Carbohydrates provide essential energy to the body and organs, including the brain and heart. The average diet should consist of 45 to 65 percent carbohydrates. Like fats, it’s important to seek out carbohydrates from healthy, unsweetened sources, like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Helpful hints at ensuring you’re meeting your macro nutrient needs:

  • Plan ahead. Thinking about your body’s needs when you start your day will allow you to plan for how you’re going to incorporate macro nutrients into your diet. Plan meals that allow you to take in carbohydrates, fat, and protein at every meal.
  • Measure and track. After you’ve planned what you’re going to eat, check your percentages and watch your portions. Read labels and make use of the internet to find the macro nutrients and serving sizes in your foods. Keep a written log or use an app on your phone to track your progress and see where you need to add or subtract macros from your day to day meal plan.
  • Stay consistent. It seems like a lot of work when you start counting macros, but soon it’ll be part of your routine. When you have built a habit of counting and recording your macros, make a note of your weight loss or fitness progress and how your body feels when you eat right. Seeing results and feeling better will make your new habit part of your lifestyle.

Do you have questions about macro nutrients or tips to share? Comment below!

Good luck to all the participants in the Challenge and we look forward to checking in on your progress throughout the program!