New Year...

Hey all!

And so the saga continues...Happy New Year! This is a very special time in the fitness community for several reasons. One reason being that the volume of people headed to the gym is much larger. Several people are acting on those new resolutions of losing a few pounds and getting more active. While this phenomenon may have draw somewhat of a cynical response from regular gym goers who can't get ahold of their usual treadmill or recumbent bike, I like to capitalize on the new energy in the gym! 

For at least a couple months we are surrounded by more people who are in the gym for the sole purpose of turning over a new leaf and/or improving their quality of life! I like to use this energy to keep myself in that frame of mind as well, improvement and a fresh start. Over the weeks, months, and years, the day to day sets and reps can become a bit monotonous. Just like that one song or movie that you love and have seen or heard a million times, sometimes you wish you could go back in time and experience it again for the first time! 

With that said, lets welcome the friends, family, and strangers alike who may be new to the gym or dusting off the cobwebs. Also, if you're one of the latter...WELCOME!!!

Happy New Year Y'all!

On Recovery...

Hey all!

This week I wanted to touch on recovery which is often overlooked, but essential to this health and fitness journey. In this post I want to let you in on a couple of the best ways to recover properly and truly maximize the time that we spend in the gym and the kitchen!

 When most of us think of exercise, sleep is one of the last things considered if at all! I mean, getting in shape is all about eating well and working your butt off in the gym right? If only things were that simple though...Getting the adequate amount of rest is key to performing at your best when exercising and recovering from it as well. Sleep is the time that your body uses for mending itself, reducing muscle soreness in the process, and preparing you for your next day.  It is also an important time for your weight management because it acts as a 6-8 hour fast which you typically break the next morning, break-fast anyone? ;) The benefits of a good night's sleep extend to an improved mood, increased energy, less time to eat of out boredom, the list goes on and on. 

Another underrated method of recovering from a tough session is stretching and warming up. I can't tell you how many times I've gone to the gym and been in such a rush to dive right into the task at hand and get it over with that I completely neglect to stretch. Long story short...I've ended up paying for it at times. The best analogy we can use when we consider the importance of stretching and warming up properly is to compare our muscle fibers to elastic bands. So think about what happens when you continuously wind up a rubber band, over, and over, and over again...eventually it...POPS! Think of the last time you tried to wrap an old, unused rubber band around something...stretch it too far and...POP! Our muscles are very much the same way. Each minute and hour we spend doing physical activities from jogging right down to sitting or lying down is constantly winding those muscles up until that one day we bend over to pick something up too quickly and end up straining our back. This is the continuous winding of the band. Or we've missed a couple weeks or months out of the gym and hop right back in cold, ready to conquer the world and pull a muscle in our shoulder. This is the band that sat out too long and snapped when you tried to use it! The solution is to sacrifice the 5 to 10 minutes a day it takes to do static holds, foam roll, active warmups or do yoga. I can assure you those elastic bands that make up your muscular system will thank you!

I hope this gave a little more insight on how we can make the most of the time we spend in our sessions and on our diets! So in parting, don't get so caught up in the hard work that you forget to take a moment to relax!

On Motivation...

Hey all!

"I don't feel like working out today..." These are words that the majority of us have spoken or can at least relate to. I, myself am no exception and to be frank, I'm usually not super stoked to lift. This usually stems from a number of things like a lack of sleep, overload at work, family, etc. To take things a step further, I'd say that most people I come into contact with feel this very same way, I mean lets face it, sometimes working out can be a pain!

However, the beauty of this fitness journey comes into play when you decide what comes after "I don't feel like working out today..." My response tends to go a little something like "Lets go ahead and get it over with". I take my time and warm my muscles up by stretching and a couple minutes of cardio, all the while convincing myself that I can do this. By the time I begin my routine I'm usually feeling a less than stellar response physically, I don't feel like I can lift the world just yet, but I continue... One set...two sets...three...By this time, I'm fired up! Or not...But either way it goes I complete the session and feel much better for it.

The message here is that no matter what level of fitness you may occupy, your mentality will determine your results! 


Location, Location, Location...

Hey all!

Today's topic is all about finding the right place to pursue your fitness goals. I would have to say that the first place someone associates with training is a gym, and usually not just any gym but some corporate chain of labor houses filled with super fit men and women sweating out what few physical imperfections may remain. This can be INTIMIDATING! If the visuals aren't what throws you off then it may simply be the lack of time in your busy day. Travelling to and from a gym and spending an adequate amount of time there can be really inconvenient. 

However, I'm here to tell you that there is a silver lining! The truth is, the gym and whatever and wherever you make it. Whether that be your living room, backyard, a park, your garage, etc. The entire world is your fitness facility! I think of my sister for example, who managed to lose and keep off a significant amount of weight by doing things like walking laps around her building at work and stepping in place at her desk. This may have looked silly at first glance to co-workers but lets just say that these days everyone in the office is registering a bit higher on their step counters ;) 

Think outside the box gym and you'll be surprised what you can accomplish. Lunges in the driveway, walks/jogs around the neighborhood, walks/jogs up and down the stairs, squats in front of the tv while watching your favorite reality show, planks during commercials, push-ups and sit-ups before bed, the list goes on and on. Also, you can reference our previous article about setting goals to make sure that no matter where you choose to exercise you're making some progress. One precious gem that I've learned throughout my experience with the fitness community is the saying that "any program works, you just have to stick with it" 

With that said, continue to pursue your goals and make the world you health and fitness playground!

On Dieting...

Hey all!

     Okay, so let's get down to business! Diet...this is arguably the biggest boogieman in the entire health and fitness experience. Most of us have had some kind of experience with dieting and its often a frustrating one. One day you're enjoying a slice, or two, or three of pizza,having your favorite burger, beer, or wine. Life is good! The next morning you look into the mirror or at the scale and you're less than pleased. TIME FOR A CHANGE! You look up the latest rave diet or stock up on chicken breast and broccoli and prepare to wage all-out war on that belly fat! A couple days or maybe even an entire week're waving the white flag. I'm willing to bet the vast majority of us have been there. With that said, we can all agree that dieting is not the easiest thing to do but I'm here to let you know that there is a silver lining. 

   Dieting is a powerful tool but one that trumps it every time is the MIND! Most times we aren't even eating because we're hungry. Its usually because we're bored, had a long day, are feeling low,in a social setting, etc. Furthermore, we don't usually eat junk because we want to. Oftentimes we feel too pressed for time and money to cook all our meals from scratch or buy the best quality foods. These are all obstacles that we encounter on a daily basis. The answer is to treat food as exactly what it is...FUEL!

    Food is simply an energy source to keep you alive and you should treat it as such. When you're hungry, your body is telling you that fuel source is low and its time to fill up. The key is that once you've filled up, QUIT. You don't take your car to the pump and keep squeezing over and over once the tank is full, so treat your body the same! This simple trick will help you to dominate any diet you attempt and look great doing it!    

Setting Goals...

Hey all! 

This week's topic is a very important, yet often overlooked piece of the transformation process. This crucial piece is setting goals. Now I know this may sound simple enough but I cannot overstate the importance of your goals. Think about it, if you don't have a clear idea of where you are going when you get in your car, it won't be long before you're lost and running out of gas! Fitness is very much the same way. If you don't have an idea of what exactly you're hoping to accomplish when you walk into a gym or when you purchase that cool new piece of training equipment you saw on an infomercial, then chances are you'll be headed nowhere fast. So start with simple goals and flesh them out with as much detail as possible. For example, don't just tell yourself that you're hiring a personal trainer or joining a gym to "lose weight". Instead, you're hiring a trainer or joining a gym to lose 5 pounds. How about taking this simple goal a step further by adding a time frame. I want to lose 5 pounds in 3 weeks. Once again we can expound on this goal even more. I want to lose 5 pounds in 3 weeks by going to the gym or meeting with my trainer 3 days a week. Now you not only have a clear idea of where you're going when you begin your journey, but you also know how long the trip will take and what mode of transportation you'll be using to get there! It's really that simple! So make it a little homework assignment for yourself today and write out one health and fitness goal that you can begin on right now!

Good luck and I wish you all good health and wellness.

The Never-ending Quest...

Looking back it's hard to believe I began this journey in the fitness world roughly 13 years ago. I was going on 15 years old and would describe my physique as being a "string bean". I had no type of experience with sports, nutrition, or fitness in general so I didn't have the most confidence. One thing I did have was a desire to make a CHANGE and so I began my quest. Over a decade later and still haven't reached all my goals, but I can say I'm no longer a "string bean"! I've come to realize that the beauty of this lifestyle isn't in the end result, but it's in the moments in between. With that in mind, I'd like you all to know that we are all fighting every day to UNLEESH our fullest potential!