What is your reason to rock your jeans?!?
Post by Amelia Trigg, Assistant Manager at the HealthPlex Fitness
Last month, we focused on setting fitness goals, specifically how to make our individual goals specific, measurable, attainable and realistic. Now that these goals have been established, it is time to GET PHYSICAL! We live in a society that promotes a sedentary lifestyle and only a few lifestyle choices have a greater impact on our health than physical activity. Our bodies are meant to move – they actually crave exercise!
· Helps you live longer and prevents many chronic diseases, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, type 2 diabetes and colon and breast cancers.
· Improves cardio-respiratory and muscular fitness.
· Raises your metabolism and helps you lose weight more easily.
· Reduces stress, anxiety, and depression to improve your overall mood.
· Helps maintain brain function among older adults.
· Increases bone density.
· Helps you age more gracefully by maintaining your looks and your agility.
· Improves sleep quality.
· Improves your overall quality of life.
It is important to ask yourself, what are the costs of inactivity? Is more play time with your kids or grandkids important to you? What about waking up with a positive mental attitude and self image? Or receiving a clean bill of health from your doctor after having a prior conversation about the risk of diabetes?
If you’re just starting to get physical, more doesn’t necessarily mean better. Doing too much too soon or performing intense exercises on a daily basis will have negative effects, such as muscle/tendon strains, loss of lean tissue and fitness-level plateaus. To get the most benefit from your workout, you should begin by warming up for 5 to 10 minutes to increase your blood flow and prepare your body for activity. Follow the warm up with several minutes of stretches to increase your flexibility and lower your risk for injury. Complete your selected exercise or activity for 20 to 30 minutes and conclude the workout with 5 to 10 minutes of cool down and stretching.
Remember, laziness fuels more laziness. Activity fuels more activity! With warmer weather at our doorsteps (FINALLY!), now is the perfect time to get outside and get moving to make your set goals a reality.
When you set a goal what happens? Is it something we wish for but think that we are unable to reach so we don’t try? Or is it attainable with a little bit or a lot of effort on your part? What is our mindset when we set a goal? Do we really believe that we will attain the goal? If we don’t, what happens then? Do we simply give up?
These are some of the questions we ask ourselves every time we set a goal. We feel good setting goals, but we often fail to keep a positive mental attitude when things don’t go our way. With that said, I want to invite you to make a change.
Back in January, many of us set a new year’s resolution in fitness. Have we stuck with it? Statistics show that only 8% of people who set goals for the new year’s actually succeed. I don’t mind admitting it, I have fallen off and it doesn’t feel good but I know that I must maintain a positive mental attitude and draw the line somewhere.
Why not now?
Why not “March” to your goals this month and get back on track. It’s perfect timing; the illusion of the new year’s resolution is over and it’s time to really get down to work. I ask you again, why not “March” to your goals? Take a step forward; make this year the time that you will stick to your goals. And remember, as Zig Ziglar stated, “A goal properly set is halfway reached.”
March is a great time to check in with those goals you set for the new year. How have the first two months been going for you? What has changed? What needs to change?
Remember that the entire staff of HealthPlex is here to support you in your fitness and health. Please let us know if we can help you reach your goals in any way. Keep moving forward and know that it is always worth the effort!
Visit healthplexfitness.com or call 518-383-0225 for more information.
In the late spring of 2006, I packed all my personal belongings into my old Saturn SL1 (which had about 80 hp on a good day) and started on the long drive from Port Charlotte, FL to Schenectady, NY. I packed my final bag into the backseat and I got out the map to reexamine my route north (75 to 10, 10 to 95, etc.). I figured that the whole trip, if I didn't stop, was going to take about 23 hours. I got through the southern states pretty easily and was cruising by the time I got to Washington D.C. I was revved up and excited to get back home and I figured since I got this far just cruising, I could ramp it up and get back faster, so my foot got heavy and I started accelerating, passing cars as I headed towards the signs for 87, the final stretch. I was feeling great because I was going to be back early; I could unpack and meet some friends. It was going to be awesome. I was feeling so good that as I was passing cars on the left, I ended up passing the exit as well! I ended up having to go through Philadelphia and jump on two different highways before I could find my way back to the road I needed. Luckily I made it safely home about the same time I had originally estimated; I just added a full tour of the City of Brotherly Love.
If you are asking how this road trip relates to fitness, I don't blame you, but look at it this way. Everyone who starts some sort of exercise program has a goal or destination. This goal is going to take some time to achieve and you are going to have to map out a plan to reach it. Many people still start a program with intentions to achieve something and then just wing it. For example, start on the treadmill for 10 minutes; do some arm curls; go use the band for something because that guy in the Under Armour shirt used it. Imagine being in Port Charlotte, wanting to get to New York with no map (this was before I knew the genius of GPS) and just start driving around until you get to the city. How long would it take you to get there? It's the same with having a fitness program, and this is why many people struggle with the same goal for years! They don't have a plan. You need to get your road map out.
I understand that you have a goal and you want to get to it fast, so you go as hard as possible with your workouts; push it to the limit and your co-workers will ask if you're okay because you are painfully shuffling your feet around the office the next day after your workout from the day before. Is this the right approach?
The answer is—it depends.
I know, total cop out, but let me explain. A vital part of striving towards reaching a new level in your fitness is pushing yourself hard and staying focused. HealthPlex fitness pro, Amy Jones, has used the analogy of a "light switch". When it is time to go for it, you turn your switch on, and you're on. You give it a heightened focus, plan down to a T, and make big strides towards improving fast. One of the best examples I've seen of turning the switch on is a future bride preparing for her wedding. Talk about an event you want to look your best at.
Another example is marathon runners. They will go off food before they go off their running program before a big race. These are examples of accelerating your progress, but this doesn't mean you should train like this every time you step into the gym. Unless you have no other responsibilities except training, eating, and sleeping, it is mentally and physically draining to keep this intensity up 365 days a year. You will lose motivation, stop making gains, or lose your focus and go off-course. This is a big reason why most people stop exercising after 6 weeks of starting. The go too hard, too fast, drain all their energy, and can't get the focus back.
Health and fitness is not a quick fix, no matter what goal you have. It can be the most influential aspect of your life. Here are some key tips to getting in top shape properly:
1.) Know your calendar. Mark down events and times of higher demand or stress and you can plan out your training more easily. I know that when I work with parents of young kids in December, I know they have so many holiday parties, concerts, shopping nights, etc. and that it's probably not the best time to ramp it up. Know those key dates and plan around them.
2.) Take 6 weeks to ramp it up. Between work, school, kids, and other responsibilities, it is tough just to find time to get training in. The worst thing is for your workout to add stress to your life. That is why it is best to ramp it up within a timeframe. I have found that 6 weeks is a good time period for most people to really push the intensity and focus in their training. Most of the challenges and programs we offer at HealthPlex are 6 weeks long for this reason.
3.) Set a deadline. Just like the future bride mentioned earlier who knows that she needs to reach her goal by a specific date, putting a deadline to your ramp up will keep you focused during this time. Even if it is not a major event, put down a date and hold yourself to it. If your goal is to get back into your old jeans, put a date down and try on the jeans on that date.
4.) Plan your down time. Even when you are not ramping it up, you still need to train. You can still make gains while in your down time, but you should know your training program well so you don't fall into the trap of winging it. This is a good time to try something new. If you are looking at building strength up, try a kettlebell class, or learn how to use suspensions. Enter into a light competition, such as a 5k or a summer softball league. Enjoy this time to stay fit so you can ramp it up when you need to again.
In my experience as both a fitness professional and a human with goals, I have learned that you have to ramp it up and push yourself if you are going to break through barriers and make big gains. However, I have made some bigger gains during times when I was on cruise control because I tried something new or found something to add that helped me the next time I ramped it up.
In Dan John's new book Intervention (which I highly recommend) he refers to these workouts as park bench workouts and bus bench workouts. When on a park bench, we take time to enjoy the view, without much agenda or deadline. When on a bus bench, we are on a deadline, and we need the bus to come at a specific moment to keep on track.
Follow this track, plan ahead, and be fit for life!
Every great journey starts with a single small step. Often times I see people who need to completely change every habit and lifestyle choice they make on a daily basis. They eat the wrong foods too often, they rarely if ever work out, and the list goes on and on. The best advice I can give these people when they’re truly ready and committed to making the change toward a healthy lifestyle is, “Begin with small changes.”
I wouldn’t expect a person to learn Chinese in a single sitting. So why would I expect a person to immediately be able to completely change habits that have formed over years and years? If you try this “all or nothing” approach, you are setting yourself up for failure.
Just for the sake of argument, let’s say you fall into the category of a people who don’t exercise and eat the wrong food. Do not, I repeat, do not start going to the gym five, six or seven days a week. You will burn out or worse hurt yourself. Your body needs time to build up to the stress and demands placed on it with exercise. If you’ve never run before, your first jog probably shouldn’t be a marathon. If you struggle with food, then completely overhauling your diet may sound like a good idea at the time, but again you will fail! Make small changes. Start by doing the things you know you’re supposed to; start drinking more water, add fruits and vegetables to each meal, and stay away from fast food! Don’t over think it. Deep down we know the simple tricks to staying healthy; unfortunately it requires a little more work and discipline.
Discipline is the hard work. We’ve all heard the little tricks and secrets to eating healthy a thousand times. I will say it one more time though, eat real food. If it’s frozen or processed, run, run far away. But to wrap up my point, pick one or two simple changes you can make today and don’t add more to your plate until you’ve perfected the first changes and that small step.
This year, WIN the WAR, not just the BATTLE of the bulge by beginning with the end in mind.
It starts with the fall foliage..the air changes, the weather shifts , life is beautiful...until..suddenly we are getting new junk food ads all but lasered into our retinas as we turn every corner and change every radio or television station! We start with maybe a pumpkin latte (or 2, or 3), a hand full of candy corn every now and then, those have-to-have-'em-just-this-once apple cider donuts.. before you know it you wake up with your head in an empty bowl of left halloween candy!
Ok, maybe I'm exaggerating a bit. But you get my point; All too often we have good INTENTIONS of not adding on those pesky 8-10 holiday pounds yet again we find its just the start of the Holiday season and we are 5 lbs up, full of sugar and cravings, having mood swings and low energy NOT very optimistic about keeping the extra weight off, and we can forget about the 5 we were trying to shed BEFORE that!
So then, looking ahead, we know life really gets busy..we have thanksgiving, Haunnika, Christmas, New Years, and all the holidy parties in between! So we will just enjoy ourselves and take care of our bodies and health after this all just settles down.. you know..in a month or two (just as everyone else in the world is scrambling to get in shape before summer gets here..for real this time)
Did you ever stop and say to yourself, "THIS DOES NOT HAVE TO HAPPEN TO ME?" Because..really..and trust me here.. it DOESN'T! This year I offer you the challenge to get ahead of the game here..Begin with the end in mind (rather than thinking about how hare it will be and give up before you get started!) and you will the whole WAR on that weight gain one holiday battle at a time!
I am a fitness Professional and believe it or not..a fellow Human Being! I understand daily challenges, especially surrounding the Holiday season. I get it! Life gets a little crazy! With a little planning, a helping hand and LOT of determination I KNOW you can win this war (and yes, I do believe the fight against junk food, lethargy, weight gain, etc is an all-out war!)
Here are some of my tips that I personally use to keep myself in check BEFORE and throughout the holidays:
*keep in mind I whole-heartedly believe and recommend staying active and eating well BEFORE the holidays, all through the year is the greatest way to feel and look your best at all times
Fall Season- I know everyone loves their Dunkin Donuts pumpkin lattes, pumpkin muffins, donuts, etc.. but come on.. Do we really need all that fat and sugar every single day? If you love a good seasonal treat like most of us do, pick and plan them out. If you leave them random you will consume WAY more garbage than you intend or even realize. You know the saying, "you are what you eat?" Do you want to walk around looking like a pumpkin muffin!? If you must, I would limit the seasonal treat to ONE beverage and ONE food item per week. This will not only help to prevent the unwanted weight gain, but you will appreciate the treat much much more!
*Fit Tip- Plan this wisely- if that night you know you are going out to dinner with friends (indulgence) then it is not a good day to have the sugary beverage or food item-save it for a day that there are no other junk foods going into your body! Try to limit empty calorie snacks to once per week
Thanksgiving and other Holiday Parties through the New Year- Ok, so we are off to a good start, we managed to escape Halloween without a new pound (or 9 of its buddies)! Now is the time to DECIDE that you can and will continue to make wise choices and plan out your meals and yes your "treats" through the rest of the season. Keep it simple, and keep the end in mind (you are not gaining 10 lbs this Holiday season!). When things get busier we tend to put our workouts on hold until the New Year. Keep those workouts a priority but at the same time don’t overwhelm yourself.
Share the love! Here at Healthplex Fitness Center we are always handing out recipes and teaching people of all walks of life how to make health and fitness work for their lifestyle! Stop in and ask for a copy of our delicious and oh-so-satisfying healthy dishes including Crock pot chicken and brown rice, Crock pot sweet potato Chicken Chili, Sweet potato pancakes, chic pea curry, creamy carrot ginger soup, butternut squash, roasted garlic and apple soup and even our ever famous treat, FUNKY MONKEY BANANA BREAD MUFFINS!
You can win this war. I believe in you, and you can be proud of yourself for accepting this challenge!
Yours in Strength,
Erin Bosford B.S. Kinesiology/Fitness Development
Fit Pro/Functional Movement Specialist
Lately a lot of clients have been coming up to me explaining to me about these new apps in their phone which tracks food, calories and energy used and burned through daily activities and exercise. I think this is a great tool to become more aware of your caloric intake on the day and to become more aware of what exactly you are putting into your mouth on maybe a daily basis. (like what qualifies a vegetable or not) However there is one area of this program that I would like to “debate” so to speak and give you a little insight on. There is also an area on this program where you can track and log your exercise. Now I believe that all exercise is important and does in fact help you lose weight, but it does not serve as a purpose to eat more!!! I have had some people come up to me saying well I ran 3 miles and on my exercise tracker and food diary it now says I have 1600 more calories I can eat today!!! In my opinion this is where sometimes people who exercise- either gain weight or do not lose (no it isn’t due to muscle) .
85% of what you look like is what you eat. That 15% is exercise, yes if you exercise A LOT and really hard you can transform what you look like definitely, but the truth is there are 24 hours in a day and only realistically 1-2 can be spent exercising- the rest is the diet. So next time you track that food diary and exercise here’s some advice, either skip the exercise portion and just concentrate on the food, or log the exercise but just use it as a guide is to how many “extra” calories you burned and pat yourself on the back for that. Keep your food within your normal range whether it be 1300 calories or 2000- whatever works for you and then just know that every time you exercise you are helping those extra calories burn off- not using it alone to allow yourself more food intake on the day!!! Because the truth is Abs are made in the kitchen not the gym!!
By: Amy Jones
Last year, our training team at Healthplex Fitness Center had the great honor of attending the Perform Better Functional Training Summit in Providence. About 30 of the World’s most brilliant minds in the fitness industry were there discussing fat loss, nutrition, athletic conditioning, corrective exercise, and building a successful career. The highlight for me came on Friday night at the group social. While I was talking with a colleague of mine, I turn to my right and see a very recognizable man walking toward me. He saw the RKC instructor logo on my shirt, stuck his hand out and said “Hi, Dan John, its great to meet you. Congrats on your RKC.”
As a young RKC instructor, meeting Dan John was like a musician meeting the Beatles in the 60′s. He is the best of the best in the strength world. His book, “Never Let Go”, is a must read for anyone with any interest in the world of fitness (I read it twice). After talking with him for a little while, I asked him after all his years of experience, is there anything that you consider good advice for EVERYONE!
“Do what you say you’re going to do!”
In the spirit of the new year, everyone take’s a moment to analyze the past and plan for the future. One of the first thoughts that comes to most mind’s is “I want to be in better shape.” Great, you made your choice! You are getting back in shape…but how? What’s the first step? What do you do after that?
In this age, we are blessed (and cursed) with new information about fitness every day. This has caused people to develop exercise A.D.D. We want to achieve everything all at once, so we create a vague, one-size-fits-all training program and lose focus of what the goal initially was.
“Do what you say you’re going to do” is a program where you… DO WHAT YOU SAY YOU’RE GOING TO DO.” It would be great to lose fat, gain strength, increase endurance, add muscle, get better posture, and eliminate that pain in your hip, back, or neck in one program. The fact is, unless you are a fitness mutant, it doesn’t work that way.
Here is any easy way to start your new program…
1. Write down your goal.
2. Track your progress consistently.
3. State your goal to yourself everyday.
4. Tell yourself you can do it everyday.
5. Keep the goal the goal until it is accomplished.
Set next goal. Repeat 1-4.
If your goal is fat loss, focus on fat loss. If your goal is to get stronger, focus on getting stronger. If you want to learn kettlebells or TRX, do it. The key is staying consistent to one plan and giving it everything you got until you demolish it, leaving no room for questions.
Remember, the fastest way to reaching the goals you set is…DO WHAT YOU SAY YOU’RE GOING TO DO!
Good luck to everyone on their new fitness goals and have a very happy and healthy New Year!
By Michael Kurkowski, RKC,CK- FMS, NASM-CPT
HealthPlex Fitness: The Functional Movement Experts.