What is Body Fat?

We may think of “fat” as being the dreaded three letter “F word” we want to eliminate at all costs, but do we really know what it is? Does fat serve a purpose in our bodies? Is there a healthy amount of fat to aim for? When we talk about wanting to lose weight, we are really talking about wanting to lose body fat.Screen Shot 2017-06-29 at 9.57.10 AM

The Good

Fat may be a bad word to most of us, but it’s not healthy or possible to eliminate all fat from our bodies. Without fat, our bodies wouldn’t be able to regulate a healthy core temperature or produce energy. Fat moves the vitamins we eat through the body’s bloodstream and promotes healthy cell growth and development.

The goal should always be a healthy body fat percentage!

The Bad

Even though some body fat is essential for good health, excessive body fat is linked to a variety of dire health problems, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers. Researchers at Harvard have discovered that excessive body fat stored around the waist is particularly dangerous.

When you’re setting fitness and weight loss goals, reducing your body fat percentage should always be considered. If you’re not sure whether you need to reduce your body fat percentage, talk to the experts at FitClub or consult with your medical professional. Knowing your numbers will help you design a plan that works for you and allow you to set reasonable weight loss and fitness goals for reaching your optimal health.

What it all means for weight loss.

If your goal is to reduce your body fat percentage, don’t let the science over-complicate the lifestyle changes you can make today to reach your goal.

  • Mix it up. If you’re loyal to one particular type of workout, changing the intensity, duration or type of exercise will keep your body from quickly adjusting to the demands placed upon it. Check out FitClub’s group exercise schedule or talk to a FitClub personal trainer to add variety to your repertoire.
  • Drink more water. Not only does drinking more water throughout the day keep you from confusing thirst with hunger and flush the toxins out of your body more quickly, it also keeps you from reaching for the sticky, sweet sugary drinks. For extra fat-fighting power, make sure your water is cold. Cold water requires the body to use more calories while bringing the water’s temperature up to our normal 98.6 degree body temperature.
  • Calories in and calories out. If you’re not already tracking how many calories you’re consuming each day, today is the day to start. When you consume more calories than you burn in the course of the day, the unused calories are stored in the body as fat. The type of calories that you eat matters, too, so reach for lean proteins, and fresh fruits and vegetables to give your body the most efficient calories available.

Worried about your body fat percentage? Don’t wait to know your numbers and get started on reaching your healthiest lifestyle. Contact FitClub today for an appointment with a fitness professional to get your body composition checked using our In-Body body composition analyzer.

Do You Trust Your Gut? Listening to Your Gut May Change Your Health

The expression “trust your gut,” may be something you hear every day, but is also grounded in science. Your gut, otherwise known as your intestines, is the source for a variety of ailments and conditions that may be keeping you from being your healthiest, happiest self. Learning to trust your gut can allow you to manage your gut health and improve most aspects of your physical and mental wellbeing.024794bb00000578-0-image-a-3_1466554606326

The intestines are lined with bacteria, which may at first, sound like a terrible problem that requires an antibiotic. These bacteria, though, are essential for maintaining good health, proper digestion, and a well-functioning immune system. When your gut has more good bacteria than bad, your digestive system and immune systems both operate at optimal performance and ward off a variety of health conditions, including conditions as diverse as arthritis, joint and tissue ailments, and anxiety and depression.

Once you realize how important your gut is to your overall wellness, you can begin to take steps to optimize the good bacteria in your gut, decrease the bad bacteria, and start living a healthier life with a healthier gut.

  1. Watch your diet. A varied diet high in fiber, leafy greens, and fruit will add a variety of healthy bacteria to your gut. Vegetables and other foods that are high in fiber deliver the best good bacteria to your gut and include asparagus, chicory root, leeks, onions and garlic. Adding healthy fats to your diet like avocados and olive oil also boost good bacteria and help to limit bad bacteria. Eliminating foods that increase the bad bacteria in your gut, is at least as important, though. Dairy, gluten, alcohol, and sugar compromise good bacteria and breed bad bacteria.
  2. Exercise regularly. Early studies suggest that those that exercise regularly tend to have more varied intestinal bacteria and lower levels of bad bacteria. Not all exercise is created equally when it comes to optimal gut health, though. Adding High Intensity Interval Training to your workout regimen has been shown to reap additional benefits to your gut. FitClub has a HIIT class to get you started!
  3. Control your stress. There’s evidence to suggest that an unhealthy gut can also impact the way our brain responds to stress; i.e. nervous butterflies or diarrhea when you’re anxious. Elevated stress or chronic stress increases the body’s production of cortisol. Adding meditation and yoga to your lifestyle will help to reduce stress and manage your cortisol levels. Check out FitClub’s class schedule for meditation and yoga classes to get you started.

When you begin to protect your gut, you may be surprised at the array of health and wellness benefits you begin to see in your day to day life. If you’re worried about problems your gut may be causing, reach out to a medical provider and start taking advantage of the amenities FitClub offers to keep your gut health in check!

What Happens When You Reach Your Goal Weight?

If you started a fitness routine and a healthy lifestyle trying to achieve your goal weight, seeing that number on the scale for the first time may come with its own unique set of challenges. The first time you see that goal number on the scale, you absolutely must ask yourself what you intend to do next.istock_000014588003xsmall

Maintaining a healthy weight may be even harder than reaching your goal weight. The decisions you make in the days and weeks that follow will determine whether you can maintain your goal weight or if you begin to fall back to the patterns that led you to weigh more than you wished.

  1. To lower your goal weight or maintain? When you reach your goal weight, take a moment to celebrate your achievement. Achieving a goal should always be celebrated, but don’t stay in celebration mode for too long. You’ve been putting in the work and consistently making healthy choices and you don’t want to risk falling back. Now is the time to decide whether you should try to lose more weight or maintain the weight you’ve achieved. Talking to your doctor to determine whether your current weight is healthy is a good start. If you’re doctor says you’re at a healthy weight and you’re feeling confident, energetic, changing your focus to maintaining your weight and building muscle can be your new focus.
  2. What other reasons do you have for eating healthy and exercising regularly? Exercising and eating healthy only to lose weight can be challenging, especially when you hit that goal weight. If your weight was the only reason you started living a healthier lifestyle, you may find your motivation waning and considering slipping back into skipping workouts and ordering takeout. Make a list of all of the other benefits you’ve seen since you began exercising. Do you have more energy than before? Are you sleeping better, thinking more clearly, and experiencing less stress? Focusing on a variety of reasons that you want to live a healthier lifestyle can create a new motivator to keep you consistent.
  3. Is it time for a new goal? Now that you’re living at your healthy weight, consider adding a new goal and working to achieve that goal. FitClub has a variety of classes and personal trainers that can get you started on any fitness goal you may set for yourself. Maybe you want to consider running a 5K, learn to lift weights, or learn yoga. Be specific about your goal, measure your progress, and take advantage of the experts at FitClub if you’re struggling to commit to a new goal. A new goal can keep you interested and motivated to stay on track to live your healthiest life.

If you’ve recently stepped on the scale to discover you’ve reached your goal weight, take a moment to congratulate yourself and then get started on a new goal! FitClub celebrates all achievements, and you should do the same!

5 Easy Ways to Motivate Your Friends to Get Healthier

If you’re tired of feeling like the only healthy person at family gatherings or happy hour, it may be time to try to motivate your friends and family to start living their own healthy lifestyles. The problem, of course, is finding the best way to tell your friends and family they need to get fitter or healthier.friend and family620x349

There are polite, friendly ways to suggest that your loved one join you for a healthier summer!

  1. If you’ve been working out for awhile, you know that progress can seem slow when you’re just beginning to exercise. When your friend achieves even a small fitness or health related achievement, be sure to celebrate. The opportunity to celebrate even a small achievement may motivate your friend to work towards a larger goal.
  2. Suggest a healthy dinner party instead of a dinner out. If you’re trying to eat healthier, you know that restaurants can quickly sabotage even the best of intentions. Instead of hitting your favorite pizza place with your family, suggest everyone pitch in to make a healthy meal to share. Adding fresh produce or unique spices will make the activity more fun and prove to your family members that healthy food doesn’t have to be bland and involves more than a standard lettuce salad.
  3. Always mix it up. Maybe you already have a favorite fitness routine that you follow, but if your friend is just starting to get interested in exercise, be sure to keep adding new suggestions to keep his/her interest. The key to consistency is finding an activity that you enjoy and the best way to find that activity is through experimentation. Suggest a group exercise class or a friendly competition on the treadmill to liven things up.
  4. Make it fun. If you’re accustomed to nights out with your friends, make it a healthy night out with a FitClub Zumba class. Zumba is a great cardio workout designed for all fitness levels, and guaranteed to make you smile if you don’t take yourself too seriously and allow yourself to have fun while you get fit. A class like Zumba may help change your friends’ mindsets about fitness. Exercise doesn’t have to be a chore to be effective.
  5. Be persistent and patient. You may not want to nag your friends or family to start living a healthier lifestyle, but you may find that patiently continuing to suggest healthy activities will pay off in the long run. Everyone has their own reasons for wanting to get fit or healthy, and gentle, patient encouragement may be what your loved one needs to find their reason. Don’t get discouraged if your friends and family don’t jump right into a fitness routine, but do continue to be there with healthy ideas and motivation.

Perhaps the most important tip, though, is no matter what, continue to live your healthy lifestyle! Don’t let the unhealthy habits of those closest to you derail what you’ve worked so hard to achieve.

Have you motivated a friend or family member to join FitClub and get healthy? Leave your tips in the comment section!

The Real Reason Your Workouts Aren’t Making You Lose Weight

Have you been working out regularly and not seeing dramatic weight loss results? If you’ve been consistent about fitting in quality workouts on a regular schedule, it’s time to take a look at your habits outside of FitClub.lady-using-scales-in-the-bathroom

A consistent workout regimen is sure to burn calories, but calories are often too easily eaten back as soon as you leave FitClub. What post-workout mistakes can you avoid to ensure you see the best results possible?

  • Don’t just stop eating. The most obvious answer may seem to be to stop eating or cut back dramatically on the amount that you eat, but that may have the opposite effect you’re hoping to achieve. If you’re working out, your body needs food to act as fuel to repair tears to muscles, making the muscles stronger, more efficient fat burning machines. Too few calories also makes your body hold on to the calories you do take in, resulting in weight gain. Instead, check your diet and see where you can eliminate processed foods, junk food, and nutrient-deficient calories. Opt for fresh produce and lean meats when possible, and cut out the calorie wastelands of junk food.
  • Track your food. It’s impossible to know where the problem is if you don’t know what you’re eating day to day. Those quick bites of candy from a co-workers desk or an extra brownie before bed may be the culprit you need to avoid. Whether prefer small notebooks that you can use throughout the day or using an app on your phone, make tracking calories part of your healthy lifestyle and educate yourself on what’s going in (and out) of your body!
  • Don’t reward yourself with food. If you burned 300 calories on the treadmill, you can easily eat those calories (plus some) back if you intend to reward yourself with food! If you catch yourself thinking that you deserve pizza because you worked out earlier in the day, keep in mind that while you may have burned 300 calories in your workout, even one slice of pizza may have up to 400 calories. It’s far harder to burn 300 calories than it is to eat 400 calories. A good workout should leave you with a healthy mindset, instead of undermining the work you’ve done.
  • Drink more water! If you’re not drinking enough water before, during and after your workout, you may find yourself hungrier than usual. Staying consistently hydrated can ward off what might feel like hunger and allow you to make better, healthier meal decisions after your workout. If you struggle to drink enough water throughout your day, try getting in the habit of carrying a reusable water bottle with you everywhere you go. If you have a constant source of cold, fresh water near you, you won’t be tempted to reach for a sugary, calorie bomb beverage.

If you’ve been working out regularly and not seeing the progress you want, start with the tips above and let us know what works best for you in the comment section!

Is Meditation Part of Your Healthy Lifestyle?

Have you considered adding a meditation practice to your healthy lifestyle? If you haven’t, you should. Meditation is becoming more mainstream and research proves that it’s an effective part of a balanced healthy lifestyle.meditation-class_3329670b

  1. Reduce stress and anxiety. Stress and anxiety are detrimental to a healthy lifestyle. Meditation can reduce the impact of stress and anxiety in our day to day lives, by allowing the mind a quiet moment to break away from anxious thinking. Mayo Clinic also recommends meditation as a means of reducing stress for people that may suffer from illnesses or chronic conditions that may be exacerbated by stress.
  2. Practice mindful eating. How often do you find that you ate too much without even realizing it was happening? For many of us, this happens often when we sit down and eat while distracted by our phones or televisions. Meditation is the practice of being mindful in our day to day activities, and mindfully eating may help ward off unwanted weight gain. Mindful eating is simply the practice of paying attention to what, when, and how much you eat and really focusing on the simple act of enjoying a meal. Researchers have found that being mindful when you eat reduces the urge to overeat and makes you more aware of the body’s cues that you’re full.
  3. More focused workout. If you’ve ever noticed a high-performance athlete standing quietly before a game or an event, you may have wondered what’s going through his or her mind. It’s possibly a meditation practice. Meditating before a workout allows your mind to focus on the task at hand and maintain proper form or speed. A pre-workout meditation helps you to leave behind the stresses of home or work when you approach your workout and allows your mind to listen better to your body’s cues.
  4. Better sleep. Better sleep is a critical component of any healthy lifestyle, but for some it’s difficult to fall asleep with a wandering or anxious mind. A brief meditation before bedtime quiets the mind and allows for faster, more restful sleep.

Maybe the best benefit of meditation is that the benefits continue long after your meditation has ended. Even ten minutes a day of meditation can lead to healthier lifestyle and a calmer, more focused approach to the rest of the day and night.

Curious about whether meditation should be a component of your healthy lifestyle? FitClub has a meditation class to get you started! Whether you’ve been meditating alone or just curious about starting your own meditation practice, check out FitClub’s meditation class and be sure to let us know in the comments what benefits you see!

What’s Your Summer Fitness Resolution?

benefits-of-morning-exerciseWhy save your fitness resolutions for New Year’s Eve when summer provides abundant opportunities to start living a healthier lifestyle right now? If your New Year’s Resolutions are feeling stale or have already been forgotten, summer is the perfect time to start over and make positive changes to your lifestyle.

  1. Learn to swim. Signing yourself or the kids up for FitClub’s swim lessons is the perfect summer activity. Resolving to learn how to swim can be the beginning of a lifelong aquatic exercise routine that will keep you and your family healthy all year round in FitClub’s indoor swimming pools, and keep the kids safe at the neighborhood pool this summer!
  2. Become a morning exerciser. If you struggle to fit in a workout late in the day, summer is a good time to start setting your alarm clock earlier and taking advantage of the early morning classes at FitClub. Accomplishing your workout before you head off to work leaves you with plenty of daylight after work to enjoy the summer evening with family or friends. Morning is also a great time to experiment with FitClub’s variety of group exercise classes. Trying a new class or a new workout may help you reinvigorate that New Year’s resolution!
  3. Eat fresh. Whether you’re growing your own vegetables or planning to make it to the local farmers’ markets, summer produce is fresh and healthy. Summer is a great time to get creative on the grill or in the kitchen with summer’s fresh fruits and vegetables. When you’re invited to a friend’s backyard barbeque, resolve to be the healthy friend that brings a fresh fruit salad or a mix of your favorite fresh vegetables.
  4. Enjoy summer vacations. If you’re planning a summer vacation with friends or family, make sure you’re fit enough to enjoy all the action. Start a fitness routine at FitClub now, and you’ll have the endurance you need to enjoy a vacation hike or a day playing in the sand. No matter what your vacation plans are this summer, starting a healthy fitness routine at FitClub can give you the endurance and confidence you need to enjoy every moment.
  5. Have more energy. Exercise has been proven to make you both happier and more energized. Longer days and more activities make summer a busy time for everyone. Make sure you have enough energy to enjoy all of the summer activities by prioritizing your health and giving yourself that extra burst of energy that comes from a great workout!

Healthy summer resolutions can make this your best summer yet! Don’t wait another six months to commit to your health and fitness, when summer offers so many healthy options and reasons to get in shape.

What summer fitness resolutions are you making this year?