Can You Fool Yourself Into a Harder Workout?

Instead of spending your April Fool’s Day playing pranks on your kids or your coworkers, it might be time to try to fool yourself. Your mind is incredibly powerful and plays an important role in how difficult your workout willis-exercise-good-for-the-common-cold-1440x810 be. With a few simple mind tricks, you can push yourself harder and see results faster!

  1. Play a game. Maybe the idea of a sixty minute workout seems daunting first thing in the morning or after a long day of work. Instead of thinking of the entire block of time, break it into smaller chunks. Tell yourself you only have to get through a six minute workout ten times. The six minute workouts will fly by and you’ll conquer sixty minutes more easily.
  2. Visualize your workout throughout your day. When you’re brushing your teeth, sitting at a stoplight, or even before you get out of bed, take a few minutes to visualize what your workout for the day will include and how you’ll feel during and after your workout. This trick is so effective it’s used by high performance athletes and successful business people every day. When you step into FitClub at the end of a long workday, you’ll be more mentally prepared to face the work that lies ahead and eliminate time wasted trying to decide what to do.
  3. Focus on a benefit. When we’re feeling great and motivated to workout, we can all name hundreds of benefits of exercise. When you’re in the middle of a particularly hard workout or find yourself doing an exercise you don’t particularly love (hello burpees!), focus your mind and attention on the positive changes happening to your body because of that exercise. While you plow through a mile on the treadmill or knock out your reps in the weight room, put all of your mental attention on the muscles that are growing stronger, or your lungs expanding with each breath of air. Focusing on the positive changes happening inside your body may be the motivation you need to get through even the hardest workouts.
  4. . When you’re struggling during a workout and want to push yourself harder, imagine what your life would be like without a fitness routine. Maybe before you joined FitClub you were living a less healthy lifestyle. Let your mind wander and imagine how your life might look if you hadn’t made a commitment to your health. Would you be unhappy? Unhealthy? Overweight? Get as creative as you can while the minutes fly by. You might find yourself running faster or lifting heavier and feeling more grateful that you’ve made the commitment to make it to FitClub and give yourself a healthier lifestyle.

Do you play any mind games with yourself to get through a harder or longer workout? What works for you?

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Do You Really Need to Warm Up?

Yes! A warm up may seem like a waste of time when you’re eager to get started on your workout, but it’s essential to getting the most benefit from your workout. Warm ups prepare your body and mind for the hard work ahead and leave you feeling more energized. Keep reading for more information about the crucial 10 minutes at the beginning of your workout.54ebb862ab9bd_-_4-woman-walking-treadmill-xl

Warm ups make your workout more efficient.

Warming up your body prior to your workout allows your core body temperature to rise and blood flow to your muscles to increase gradually. Gradually increasing blood flow prior to a workout ensures that your cardiovascular system won’t be overwhelmed when the real work starts, by generating more oxygen to the muscles to power through your workout.

A warm up also sends powerful messages to your body to start releasing the fuel you’ve given it all day. The body begins converting carbohydrates and fats into energy your muscles need to work hard, leaving you with more energy to complete your main sets.

Warm ups prevent injury and soreness.

If you think a warm up is a waste of time, consider how much time you’d waste being sidelined by an injury or muscle soreness. Cold muscles are more susceptible to tears and may be more prone to delayed onset muscle soreness. Either injury or soreness will sideline you for far more time than you would have expended with just a brief warm up.

Warm ups are good for your mind, too.

Think of your warm up as mental preparation for the work ahead. It may be tempting to get quickly to your workout, but if your mind has been asleep or busy with work before your workout, taking a few minutes to warm up allows you to mentally engage with the exercise and set a healthy intention for your workout. Whether you want to run faster or lift heavier, taking a moment for a physical and mental warm up allows you to visualize what you need to do to achieve the day’s goal.

Now that you know you should warm up, keep it simple.

To properly warm up, allow yourself at least ten minutes of easy to moderate cardiovascular activity like an easy swim or a brisk walk. If you plan to lift weights, add a few minutes of jumping jacks, arm swings, or any other low-intensity cardiovascular exercise you enjoy to increase your blood flow, set your intentions, and loosen up any tight muscles.

An efficient, easier workout free from injury and soreness leaves you feeling positive about your workout and optimistic about your next trip to FitClub.

The next time you’re tempted to dive right into your workout, what will your warm up be?

Staying Healthy on the Road

With spring just around the corner, many families will be looking to get away for spring break trips. If you’ve been trying to live a healthier lifestyle, the idea of restaurant menus and fast food stops may be daunting. You don’t have to sacrifice fun on your vacation to maintain your healthy lifestyle when you’re away from home with the tips below.b1a58564e4efe3585b44e8a973def800

  • Remember your motivation. Whether you’re taking a road trip or traveling by air, you will no doubt see bright signs pointing you toward the fast food options as soon as you start your vacation. When temptation strikes to order a super-sized, unhealthy meal, pause for a moment and reflect on why you’ve worked so hard at FitClub and appreciate the progress and benefits you’ve already seen. Taking a moment to reflect on your motivation may be just what you need to let a craving pass and make a healthier decision.
  • Take your healthy options with you. Packing healthy options for the whole family will eliminate the urge to stock up on candy at the gas stations while you fill up. Fresh fruit and vegetables can be prepared the night before your trip and are easy to transport in a small cooler or lunch bag. Preparing healthy snacks in advance will help you avoid convenience stops or vending machines when you get hungry. Don’t forget to bring along plenty of water. Staying hydrated not only makes you feel better and gives you the energy you need to enjoy your vacation, but it can also help you avoid overeating during meals.
  • Read the menus. Once you’re settled in at your destination, you may be craving a nice, sit-down meal. Most restaurants make their menus available online, giving you a chance to review the menu and make healthy decisions before you get to the table. After you’ve made a healthy decision, keep in mind that restaurant portions tend to be much larger than you would serve yourself at home. Eat slowly and mindfully and stop when you’re full. Even a healthy meal can become unhealthy if the portion is supersized.
  • Find time to move. If you’ve been working out at FitClub, you already have the skills you need to fit in an exercise on the road. Be sure to pack good walking shoes and a swimsuit so you’re able to fit in a workout while you see sights or enjoy nature.
  • Before the suitcases are unpacked, make a trip to FitClub when you get home. The sooner you get back to FitClub and into your exercise routine, the more likely you’ll be to reenergize your workout and get back to the healthy mindset you’ve worked hard to create.

How do you stay healthy on vacation? Share your tips with your fellow FitClub members in the comments below.

Stop Self-Sabotage Before It Begins

If you’ve ever noticed that you have a tendency to sabotage yourself just before you reach a goal, you’re not alone. For some people it might happen just before hitting a weight goal, for others it may happen when there’s finally real progress in cardiovascular endurance. Whatever your goal has been, the closer a goal gets, the harder it can be to refrain from sabotaging your progress. Why does this happen and how can you avoid the threat of self-sabotage?avoiding-self-sabotage

The “why” is different for everyone, but there are a few common mindsets to look for.

Trap Number 1: You’ve started to see real progress, so you stop being as careful about what you eat. Maybe you’ve started to lose weight or build muscle and suddenly the idea    of moderation in your diet doesn’t seem as important.

Avoid the trap: If you’ve been working out at FitClub for awhile, you know how much   work it takes to burn calories and yet, how easy it is to over-consume calories in just one meal.

Trap Number 2: You’ve made it to FitClub everyday for a week and you want to splurge on the weekends with cheat days.

Avoid the trap: Even just one cheat day each week can easily add on many more calories than you are able to burn in the course of the same week. If you really must have a treat, think moderation and plan ahead. Plan to enjoy a piece of chocolate, or share a dessert      with a friend, but limit yourself to that one meal or that one treat. Don’t let a treat             become a binge, and you’ll be able to stay on track.

Trap Number 3: Everyone else is enjoying unhealthy foods at a restaurant, and you lose your willpower.

Avoid the trap: If you’re dining out with friends, try to be the first to order. Making a    healthy decision for dinner is easier if you don’t hear everyone else ordering unhealthy,      fat-laden foods first. Make a healthy decision and stick to it, knowing that your friends    may not share the same healthy mindset you’ve been cultivating at FitClub. You can still    enjoy everyone’s company while staying consistent with your goals.

Trap Number 4: Your goal seems out of reach.

Avoid the trap: Maybe you set an ambitious goal for your New Year’s Resolution and after three months, it still seems impractical. Instead of focusing on how much work you have left to do, break your larger goal down into smaller, more manageable goals. If your goal was to run 30 minutes without stopping, break it down into 10 or even 5 minute increments. When you can run 5 minutes without stopping, congratulate yourself and challenge yourself to go another 5 minutes. You don’t have to wait to celebrate until you’ve reached the end goal. Just keep moving in the right direction and appreciate the smaller victories.

Have you ever sabotaged yourself? What helps you avoid sabotage and bounce back?

Hit Reset After a Slip

It happens to everyone. A weekend of overindulgence and not enough sleep, and suddenly, you realize it’s been three days since you’ve made it to FitClub or eaten a healthy meal. All isn’t lost, though, if you recognize unhealthy patterns and commit to jumping back into your healthy lifestyle as soon as possible.healthy-fridge

Step 1: Know When You’ve Slipped

Unhealthy food can be addicting, which leads to more unhealthy foods. Whether it’s been one meal, one day, or an entire weekend, recognize your unhealthy patterns by listening to your body. Do you feel energized, well rested, and healthy or does your body feel exhausted, sluggish, and heavy? The more you listen to your body, the easier it can be to catch unhealthy behavior when it begins.

Step 2: Don’t overreact.

If you had a weekend of guilty pleasures and haven’t made it to FitClub in days, don’t immediately run to the juice cleanses and over-the-counter detoxes at the drug store. You’re a member of FitClub and you know where to go to start undoing the unhealthy patterns. Get in a workout, eat a healthy protein and veggie packed meal, and get a good night’s sleep. If you’ve been living a healthy lifestyle, you know what your body needs to feel its best.

Instead of overreacting, think in simple terms to get back on track.

Drink up! Your unhealthy day or weekend may have involved too much salt, too much alcohol, or too much sugar. Too much of anything will need to be flushed out of your body, so grab your water bottle and keep it handy throughout the day to flush the junk out of your system in the most natural way possible.

Eat healthy, nutrient rich foods. Starving yourself to make up for excess calories and unhealthy foods is not going leave you feeling healthier and stronger. Instead, opt for regularly scheduled meals and snacks that are high on nutrients you may have skipped during your slip.

Sweat it out. Getting back into your workout routine right away will eliminate the guilt you might be feeling and ensure that you resume your regular schedule as quickly as possible. It’s easy to let one or two unhealthy days quickly slide into an unhealthy lifestyle. Getting back to FitClub quickly, though, will prevent an unhealthy day from becoming an unhealthy lifestyle.

Sleep! Your body needs seven to nine hours of quality sleep each night to operate at its best, manage hunger, and balance hormones. As soon as possible, resume your regular bedtime and wake up call.

Step 3: Recommit.

Don’t let a bad day or a bad weekend of unhealthy patterns derail all of the hard work you’ve been doing. Noticing your slips and immediately resuming your healthy lifestyle is a sign of success, not failure! Forgive yourself for the slip and recommit to yourself and your healthy lifestyle each and every day.

We all have slips from time to time. What’s your trick for getting back on track?

Get a Leg Up on Leg Day at FitClub

Whether it’s your favorite day, or just the day before your sorest day, if you’re strength training and toning, you know that leg day is essential for a well-rounded workout regimen. Strengthening and toning the muscles in your legs is important for nearly every activity you want to be able to do, whether it’s running, cycling, or just keeping up on walks with your family. Leg day also burns a tremendous amount of calories because of the size of the muscles in your legs.alternating_side_lunges_resized_03

Whether you’re new to strength training or a seasoned pro, everyone can increase muscle mass in their legs, and learn to love leg day.

  1. Set goals and track progress. You may already be doing the right moves to get the most out of your leg days, but if you don’t increase your reps or weight, you’re losing a lot of potential progress. The best way to determine whether you’re improving or you’ve hit a plateau is to set reasonable goals for reps and weight and track your progress after each workout. Reviewing your progress before your next leg day will let you know where it’s time to step it up or where you might need more work.
  2. Try something new. If you’re doing squats or lunges regularly, try adding free weights to increase your challenge and build your strength. If you find yourself getting bored with your leg routine easily, check out one of FitClub’s classes that focuses on legs and strengthening. Adding a new FitClub class to your leg day repertoire will break up the routine you’ve been using and add a new challenge for your muscles. When you’re focused on building your leg day routine, make sure FitClub’s Step, PiYo, Pilates, Yoga and BarreFit classes are on your schedule.
  3. Stretch, foam roll and rest. The day after leg day doesn’t have to be painful. After you’ve given your legs a great workout, be sure to finish your workout with a thorough stretch of the muscles you’ve just used. If you have any spots that are prone to soreness, or feel extra tight, be sure to use the foam rollers to roll out any areas that need extra attention. Most importantly, rest your tired leg muscles. Strength training creates tiny tears in the muscles used and with adequate rest, those muscles will grow back stronger and leaner than before.
  4. Revisit your goals. After you incorporate a regular leg day into your strength training routine, you will need to revisit your goals and maybe even set new goals. Do you feel faster, lighter, leaner and stronger? Great! But don’t let that be a reason to stop working hard. Instead, return to your goals and set new goals for yourself by adding more weight, more reps, or a new class.

How do you feel about leg day? Love it or hate it? How do you keep it interesting?

Balanced or Burned Out? How Fit Is Your Workout?

If you’ve been fitting in regular workouts each week, it may be time to take stock of how you’re really feeling about your workout. When you think about the day’s workout ahead, are you excited, energized, or feeling unmotivated? Have you hit a plateau or finding it feet-on-treadmillshard to fit in a workout during the day?

It may just be time to take a look at your regular workout and decide if you’re feeling balanced or burned out.

  • Know the difference between balance and burned out. The key to discovering what your body needs is easier than you might expect. Pay attention to your body’s cues throughout the day, and respect what it’s trying to tell you. Do you feel overly tired? Are your muscles sore for days on end? Do you feel irritable, anxious or moody? That’s burnout. A balanced workout will leave you feeling energized, fresh, and motivated to make it to FitClub day after day.
  • If you’re body is showing you signs of burn out, don’t quit exercising, just change it up. If you’re a slave to the treadmill, it might be time to try CycleFit. If you’re only ever using the cardio machines, mix things up and head to the free weights. Your body might just be trying to tell you it needs a new challenge, or a completely different component to your exercise regimen. Check out the FitClub class schedules and step outside your comfort zone. Trying something new is a great break for both over worked muscle groups and your mind.
  • Try variety daily. Your body needs a mix of cardio, strength training, and flexibility to reap the maximum rewards of an exercise plan. FitClub makes it easy to add all three components in the same workout. Plan to mix up your normal routine the next time you’re at FitClub by dividing your workout into three separate components. Raise your heart rate by doing your favorite cardio activity, challenge your muscles through strength training, and then add a Yoga class or a good stretch on the mats before you call it a day. Dividing and conquering your workout will make your workout seem shorter and more interesting than it may be feeling.
  • Give yourself a break. Recovery days don’t have to be rest days. If your body is feeling sore or sluggish, give it a good stretch in a Yoga class, learn how to use the foam rollers, or schedule a massage at FitClub. Active recovery days are essential to achieving maximum fitness.
  • Hire a personal trainer. FitClub has a huge variety of equipment, most of which you’ve probably never really investigated or may not know how to use. A personal trainer at FitClub can show you how to use proper form or a new technique that may help you bust through a fitness plateau or find a new favorite exercise. If you’re tired of the same few moves you’ve been doing with the free weights, a personal trainer can show you new and more effective moves you wouldn’t think up on your own.

What tricks do you have for busting through workout burn out? What makes you feel balanced?