Do You Need to Slow Down to Get Stronger?

Slowing down seems like strange advice at the gym, but it may help you reach your goals faster in the weight room. If you feel like every other part of your life is a rush to the finish line, being told to lift more slowly may be refreshing advice. Instead of rushing through your next strength session at FitClub, slow down to reap maximum benefits.shutterstock_228004504-decisions-tmcphotos

  • Do it right. Changing any habit takes time, even when your goal is to slow down. Start with a lower weight than you usually lift and see if you can feel a difference. Forcing yourself to move slowly through a movement might cause your muscles to burn after fewer reps than when you were rushing to complete a move. Use the extra time to perfect your form and think about what each move is doing to create leaner, stronger muscles while you work.
  • Lifting a weight more slowly builds bigger muscles. Forcing yourself to slow down while you lift a weight causes the muscle to fatigue after fewer reps. In order to compensate for the fatigue, the body builds new, stronger muscles. Slowing your repetitions will also prolong tension on the muscle and promote better blood flow, both resulting in the growth of new muscles. Stronger muscles burn more calories even after your workout and throughout the rest of your day.
  • Count it out. You should expect a new way of lifting to feel strange at first. To keep your mind busy while you lift slowly, count it out. Each rep should take approximately ten seconds to lift through and return to resting position. Counting the seconds in your head can help you appreciate just how quickly you’ve been lifting in the past. Stay patient and focused while you work your way through a new habit.
  • Lifting more slowly reduces your risk of injury. When you’re rushing through a set, you may not being paying enough attention to proper form. By slowing down your movement, you can take the time to check your form and adjust your body to decrease your risk of injury. Save your speed work for the treadmill, and protect your body from injury with a slower, more controlled strength session.
  • Be patient. It may take time for a new way of lifting to feel natural to your body and mind. Before you give up and rush back into lifting as quickly as possible, give your body and mind that time to adjust. After you’ve tried lifting more slowly for a few strength sessions, check in and see if your muscles feel stronger. Are you able to lift heavier weights at your next session? Can you see more definition than you could before you slowed down? It may feel strange to make the adjustment at first, but once you start seeing results you’ll begin to appreciate the positive change!

Do you lift slowly or quickly? If you find yourself in a rush to knock out a set, try slowing down and let FitClub know what you think!

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What Are Your Fall Fitness Goals?

The days are getting shorter and with less daylight at the end of a long workday, you may find your summer fitness motivation waning. If you’ve been running, biking and swimming your way through the summer months, fall is the perfect time of year to take your goals inside to FitClub. Before the temperatures drop and you have the urge to begin hibernating, set a fall fitness goal to keep you ready for your next races!feet

  • Get faster. Aiming for a PR in your next spring road race? The fall and winter are the best times to build your speed inside. Take your morning run to the FitClub treadmills this year and challenge yourself with faster intervals. You may find that the treadmill makes running faster intervals easier than running outside. Instead of sprinting to the next visible landmark and guessing at your speed, you can set a concrete distance or time goal and monitor your pace as you go. Planning an interval workout is as easy as finding a pace that you can only do for thirty to sixty seconds. At the end of the interval, jump carefully to the sides of the treadmill or slow down to a comfortable jog or walk until you’ve recovered enough to run quickly again. Running treadmill intervals this fall will prepare your legs to run faster in your race this spring.

If you spent your summer running road races, your body and legs are likely due for recovery, too. FitClub’s Yoga classes will help your muscles to recover while improving your balance before your next round of races starts next spring.

  • Build bicycle endurance. If you’re looking to build endurance for longer or more competitive bike riding in the spring, don’t let yourself get lazy. Challenge yourself to a higher level of resistance on the spin or stationary bicycles this fall. If you find that you have trouble motivating yourself to work harder on the bike, this is the perfect time of year to throw yourself into a CycleFit class and draw from the energy of the group exercise studio and enthusiastic instructors. You may find that you miss the adrenaline of an outdoor race much less after a high-intensity CycleFit class.

Looking to build strength in your legs for next spring’s bike races? Try Pilates or a Barre class for a new challenge that will leave your legs burning.

  • Swim all year. Unlike many fitness centers, FitClub does have indoor pools that are open all year. You can spend your time this fall perfecting your form while burning calories in the pool. Fall and winter are also opportune times to keep your children in the pool to maximize the skills they learned in the summer. Whether your goal is to complete a triathlon next year or you want a low-impact cardiovascular exercise, you can stay in great shape in FitClub’s pools even while the snow falls outside.

If you want to stay in great swimming shape, but you need a break from continuous laps, check out FitClub’s calendar for aquatic group exercise classes to burn calories,         build muscles, and stay in the pool!

What Does It Take To Change Your Diet?

If you’ve been working out consistently and not seeing the progress you had anticipated, it’s time to reevaluate the way you eat. For many people, committing to a consistently healthy and balanced diet can be more difficult than committing to consistent workouts.

  1. Acknowledge your habits. Most people are routine-oriented and likely shop at the Family Preparing meal,mealtime Togethersame grocery store on the same day of each week. You may find that you often wander the aisles of the grocery store, picking up the same foods mindlessly. Before you commit to any radical diet makeovers, acknowledge what habits you have. Do you routinely buy junk food for your pantry? Do you order out every weekend? Have you found that you never remember to buy enough produce to get you through the week? Make a note of how often you’re preparing certain meals and start to think outside the box. By making ourselves aware of our patterns and habits, we can begin to think more creatively and look forward to trying new things.
  2. Commit to one new healthy change at a time. Before you empty out your pantry and freezer and commit to an entirely different diet, just make one change. By simply adding a fruit and vegetable to each dinner or committing to one less meal out each week, you can improve your diet in a slow and sustainable way. Often healthy lifestyle changes don’t stick because it’s intimidating and confusing. You can eliminate the confusion one day at a time, one decision at a time, by committing to just one change that will lead to other healthy changes.
  3. Measure your portion sizes. You might already be stocking up on healthy fruits and vegetables and being mindful of what you eat and when you eat. If you’re ignoring your portion sizes, though, and eating until you’re stuffed, you may be undoing all the good work you’re already doing. When shopping for foods, particularly prepared, boxed, or frozen foods, pay attention to the suggested serving size. You may find that 100 calories of your favorite indulgence is much smaller than the serving you normally scoop out as a post-dinner treat. Use your measuring cups, teaspoons, and opt for smaller plate sizes to ensure that you’re not overeating when you allow for an indulgence or prepare your plate.
  4. Sleep and reduce your stress. Even the best of intentions can easily disappear when you’re exhausted or stressed from a difficult day at the office. By prioritizing quality sleep each night and taking strides to lower your stress through exercise and meditation, you free up the part of your brain that knows instinctively what your body needs to function at its best.
  5. Drink more water. Before you reach for a snack to satisfy what you think is hunger, try drinking a glass of water. What your mind perceives as hunger, may really be boredom or thirst. Just committing to drinking more water than sugary or carbonated beverages may eliminate hundreds of calories from your day with minimal effort. Add ice, lemon wedges, or cucumbers to add flavor and drink your way to better fitness throughout your day.

What’s harder for you, committing to exercise or a healthy diet? It’s much easier to over-consume calories than it is to burn those calories at the end of the day. Being conscious of your diet will allow you to reap the maximum benefit from your FitClub workouts!

What Are Your Plans for Lunch?

It’s not always possible to fit in a workout at FitClub before or after work. Work and family obligations may even keep the most motivated among us from making time for ourselves and making fitness a priority. If your schedule is making it difficult to make it to FitClub, it might be time to consider the lunchtime workout.

What are the advantages of a lunchtime workout?

If you’re stuck in an office during the day, you are likely already familiar with the afternoon energy slump. Your mind starts to wander, your productivity and creativity decrease, and your energy starts to drop quickly after lunch. Using your lunch hour to burn calories and improve your fitness, though, releases endorphins that you can use to increase energy and productivity throughout the rest of your workday and enjoy into the evening. Whether you use your lunch hour to burn off some steam or clear your mind, you and your colleagues will benefit from having made the most of your lunch hour.out-of-office-gone-to-the-gym

You also may make better nutrition choices throughout the remainder of your day if you commit to focusing on your health midday. As tempting as fast food can be at the end of a long, stressful workday just knowing that you’ve worked hard at FitClub may motivate you to go home and cook a balanced, healthy dinner instead. Empty calories and junk food instantly lose their appeal when you’ve burned calories and made yourself a priority.

Exercise has also been demonstrated to increase creativity. If you find yourself stuck on a difficult problem at work, escaping for a midday workout may allow you to see the problem more clearly, more creatively, or from a different angle.

How can you make it work for you?

By taking a few minutes in the morning to prepare for a midday workout, you can make the lunch hour workout part of your normal routine. Taking your workout clothes and shoes with you to work will alleviate any excuses as the noon hour approaches. You’ll also want to throw in a healthy pre-workout snack and a healthy post-workout lunch you can eat at your desk when you return to work. Taking advantage of FitClub’s showers and locker rooms post-workout will allow you to slide back into the office fresh and ready to tackle the rest of your workday.

Maximizing your lunch your hour at FitClub is easy.

All three FitClub locations have classes over the lunch hour. No matter what form of group exercise class excites you most, FitClub has a class that easily fits into your tight schedule. You can also take advantage of the cardio machines and strength training equipment during the middle of the day to accommodate whatever training plan you enjoy.

Convinced? Make a plan to join friends or colleagues for a healthier lunch date, and let FitClub know what benefits you see from the midday workout!

Looking for Inspiration? FitClub’s Alexa Bates Has It!

If you’ve seen Alexa Bates working out at FitClub, you already know that her workouts are inspiring, tough, and balanced! What you may not know, though, is her mental discipline and inspiring journey far surpass the quality reps you’ve seen her do.IMG_6367

Alexa has always been athletic, competing in softball, basketball, and golf in high school. When she started to get serious about fitness, though, she set a huge goal for herself. She wanted to become a professional bodybuilder and in 2016, she accomplished her goal! The journey taught Alexa a lot about building her body, but the most inspiring realization Alexa shared with FitClub was her epiphany that the physical strength and mental strength had to combine in order for her to achieve her goal.

The road to bodybuilding for Alexa started with great difficulty. Alexa experienced a relapse into anorexia and to pull herself through, she turned to lifting and healthy eating. As she began to build physical and mental strength, she found that she began to love the process. Alexa describes herself at the beginning of her fitness journey as being a malnourished 105 pound, 5’8 body. Over the course of the last four years, though, Alexa’s journey has pulled her through the relapse, allowed her to thrive in and outside of FitClub and to completely change her body mass composition. She is now a healthy, extremely fit professional bodybuilder.

Alexa’s journey is incredible and she’s generously provided FitClub with advice that she believes can help anyone find their path to mental and physical fitness.

  1. Always be changing it up. Your body is always able to adjust to the workout you constantly put it through. Always be changing your workout to keep your body changing and your muscles guessing. As hard as it may be to admit, Alexa finds that usually the moves you hate the most are the moves you most need to do!
  2. Do it for fourteen days! Alexa knows that getting started is the hardest part of anyone’s fitness journey. She tells FitClub, though, that her advice is to stick with your new fitness journey for fourteen days and let it become a habit. Not every lifting or cardio session will be your best, but the important part is staying consistent, showing up at FitClub, and trying your best every single day.

Alexa’s journey has always been about so much more than burning calories. Alexa knows that her fitness journey saved her life. Not only did she build the physical and mental strength that she needed to survive anorexia, but fitness has also opened doors in her career and introduced her to a world of supportive, genuine people.

It’s impossible not to be inspired by Alexa, but what’s exciting, is you may just be that motivation for Alexa, too, if you find yourself working out with her side by side. Alexa says that she draws motivation from anyone she sees working out, staying dedicated to their unique goals, and achieving fitness gains and healthy lifestyles. Every time you walk into FitClub and achieve your personal goal, you are inspiring others, too!

FitClub is proud of you, Alexa, and can’t wait to follow this journey with you!

3 Mistakes You Make That Make It Harder to Maintain Your Goal Weight

Congratulations! You hit your goal weight! After a brief celebration, and maybe even taking a picture of the numbers on the scale to remember this achievement you might feel invincible. Until a week or two later, you notice the number has crept back up. Before you know it, you’re ten pounds above your goal weight and wondering what went wrong.10

First, the good news. You’re not alone! It’s incredibly difficult to maintain weightloss. Researchers even agree that maintaining your goal weight can be even more difficult than actually reaching it for the first time.

Before you throw in the towel and give up, keep reading to see whether you made one of the three most common mistakes people make after hitting their goal weight and get back on track.

  1. You forgot to plan for what comes next. If you lost the weight that was keeping you from your goal weight, you were probably using a specific training plan that incorporated a balance of cardio and strength workouts, healthy eating patterns, and plenty of sleep. Just having a concrete plan is motivating to make sure that you’re hitting your milestones and staying consistent. Most people, though, think of their goal weight as the final victory and fail to adequately plan for what they will do next to maintain that healthy weight. If you’ve made this mistake, consider working with a personal trainer at FitClub that can teach you new exercises, techniques and goals to keep you focused on a lifelong health and fitness trajectory that isn’t focused on just seeing one particular number.
  2. You slip back into your former bad habits. If you were really focused on losing weight, you were also probably very conscientious about what you ate and how you worked out. After seeing that goal number on the scale for the first time, you might have celebrated with food or a hiatus from your workout. All of the bad habits that you left behind to lose the weight, though, are still bad habits that have no place in your healthy future. Rewarding yourself with food or skimping on your FitClub workouts wasn’t your normal lifestyle during your weight loss journey and shouldn’t be part of your normal lifestyle now. Remaining committed to healthy patterns and a healthy lifestyle should be a goal in itself. It’s not too late to start again.
  3. You quit weighing, measuring and tracking. Maybe after months or years of weighing yourself regularly, having your body fat measured, and tracking your calories in and calories out you decided you didn’t need to do that every day after you hit your goal weight. Consistently tracking your health and paying attention to those numbers, though, is what keeps you accountable to yourself, the scale, and your health. If you were able to consistently track your progress when it was new and exciting, you can still do it when you hit your goal weight. When you notice the scale creeping up or your body fat measurement going the wrong direction, you will know right away that it’s time for a correction and stop any major weight or fat gains from setting you too far back. Take a breath, and start again.

Have you ever found it difficult to maintain your goal weight after hitting it for the first time? You’re not alone! Share your tips and tricks with your fellow FitClub members and let’s help each other through the difficult transition to lifelong maintenance.

5 Ways To Make the Best Use of Your Time at FitClub

the-elegant-luxe-life-make-your-workout-efficent-and-effective-planIt can be difficult to commit to an hour long workout at FitClub after a long, busy day at the office or on those days when you just can’t find the time to accomplish all of your goals for the day. By prioritizing the time you do have for your workout, though, you can burn calories, get stronger and make the most of limited time.

  • Make a plan. You wouldn’t go to the grocery store without making a grocery list or at least having some idea of what you needed. Taking time to plan your workout will allow you to move efficiently between machines and weights without wasted time pondering what you should do next. Taking just a few minutes to write out how you want to accomplish your fitness goals today will save you precious minutes once you’re ready to workout.
  • Take a class. You might find that you’re able to push yourself harder for a shorter amount of time in a class than you would on your own. FitClub has several shorter classes designed to get you in and out with a great workout, including Express CycleFit, Zumba and Zumba Toning, CoreConditioning, and Step Express. Check out the FitClub class schedules to find the right class at the right time to hit your fitness goals faster.
  • Go tech-free. If you find your phone or other tech devices distracting while you workout, leave them behind. If you need to plug in while you workout, bring your headphones and catch up on your favorite television shows on the cardio machines. Eliminating the distraction of constant text messages or calls might save you more time than you think.
  • Try a superset. A superset is a combination of strength moves that work different muscle groups. Alternating muscle groups eliminates the need for rest between moves because each body part has a chance to rest while you work the other muscles. For example, work your biceps with a bicep curl while your triceps rest, and then rest your biceps while you do tricep dips. Supersets allow you to fit your strength training in without the need for wasted rest time between sets.
  • Prepare in advance. You can also save time before you get to FitClub by laying out your clothes and gear for your morning workout before you go to bed, or taking your workout gear with you to work. If you can eliminate the need to look for your gear or run home to retrieve it before you head to FitClub, you not only save valuable minutes that you could spend working out, but you also eliminate the chance that you might just decide to stay home once there. Packing a bag or laying out your clothes will jump start your intention to make fitness a priority.

What do you do when you’re short on time?