Welcome to the Blog!
This is where we will discuss latest fitness trends, ongoing nutrition debates, and whatever fun stuff we have planned.
Check back regularly for workouts, meal ideas, and interesting topics.
We will frequently feature guest post articles from our good friend Jess Klein. Be sure to check out her website here for all things travels, wellness & outdoor recreation.
9 Exercises for Your Best Ski Season Yet!
By: Jess Klein 2/11/2018
Whether you’re just learning the bunny slopes or tackling black diamonds, skiing, snowboarding, splitboarding (and all snow sports) can put some serious strain on your body in ways that it’s not used to. Doing some specific training before and during ski season can keep you injury-free and on the slopes.
Hopefully wherever you are, there is enough fresh powder on the ground for you to get a few runs in on the weekend. If not, we’ve put together some exercises for you to help you keep shredding all season while you wait for ideal conditions.
A few notes before we get started: form is key. We’d rather see you do five reps with excellent form than fifteen with crap form. Doing an exercise with poor posture will not provide the benefits you’re hoping for, and can even risk injury. It might take time and patience to get the feel for it before you can increase weight and reps, that's okay.
Recommended sets and reps:
-Beginner: 1-2 sets of 12-15 reps with 60 seconds between each set
-Intermediate: 3 sets of 12 reps with 60 seconds between each set
-Advanced: If you have been lifting 12-15 reps for ~6 weeks or more, your body should be ready to drop reps and increase weight. Try 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps (you should be using more weight than you were with the 12-15 reps). After ~6 weeks of this, you can continue to decrease reps and increase weights as your body is able. 5-6 sets of 4-6 reps is one example of increasing intensity and working toward increased strength.
*Note: research shows that a mix of endurance (higher reps and less weight) and strength (lower reps and more weight) exercises is optimal for general health!
Need a little extra guidance? Contact us here to set up a consult!
1) Squats with bar, front and back
The classic squat with a barbell is a great exercise for almost everyone. Be sure to alternate between squats with the barbell in front and in back. This variation in the weight-load works the glutes, hamstrings, quads and cores a bit differently.
It’s very important to have proper form in this exercise to avoid risk of injury to knees, back, etc. Don’t be afraid to start off doing this exercise without any additional weight before you increase difficulty. If you’re unsure, ask a trainer (hello!) watch your form and offer pointers.
2) Shoulder elevated bridges
This exercise is great to target the glutes and a great addition to your workout. Again, a simple move but form is key. The pivot point is at the shoulders, as opposed to having the upper half of the back all the way on the bench. Have the arms lay flat out and keep those shoulders and head back and relaxed.
Once you’ve mastered the basic motion add a weight plate or barbell for increase difficulty. Put the weight on midsection and remember to use your core!
3) Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift
The name makes it sound scarier than it is, we promise.
Again, try the move without additional weight until you’re comfortable, then, add a dumbell for more of a challenge.
As it’s a little difficult to describe in text, we’ll let these pictures do the majority of the demo, but here are a few cues:
Pick a focal point a few feet in front of you to help with balance
Engage your core for the entire movement
Keep a slight bend in the grounded leg
Pivot at the hip like a hinge
4) Rear Foot Elevated Squats
Like a squat and a lunge combined, with a twist. Another glute intensive exercise that will help you stay stable and strong on the descent.
The top of your foot should be on the bench, and step far enough away so that the knee doesn’t go past your toes when in the lowest part of the squat. Remember to stay upright (resist the urge to bend at the hips very much, and engage the core.)
Once confident with the exercise, add a ~10lb dumbbell in each hand.
5) Straight arm lat pull-down
The lat pull-down is a perfect way to strengthen up all the muscles you’ll be using with your poles. Plant your feet firmly, and tighten through the core to stabilize through the movement. In this instance, you’re aiming to isolate the lats, shoulders and upper back, whereas on the slopes, it is all interconnected! This exercise can be done on TRX, cable machine or with a band.
6) Single Arm Rows
Depending on your preference, the single arm row can be done over bench with a dumbbell, or with a TRX system.
Either way, when at the top of the movement (dumbbell brought up towards your side or you’re standing upright with TRX) be sure that your elbow doesn’t go too far past your side body.
This exercise will target your biceps, lats, and upper back.
7) Tricep extensions
Again, this exercise can be done a couple ways, including with the cable machine or with TRX, depending on your personal preference.
If using the cable machine, keep the elbows locked in next to your sides, only extending at the elbow. Head should remain in an upright, neutral position, and try to keep shoulders down and relaxed.
With TRX, adjust the difficulty by either moving your feet further back (more difficult) or forward (less difficult) to control how much resistance there is. To avoid having your back bowing backward, it’s very important to keep the core locked - visualize pulling your belly button back towards your spine.
This exercise will primarily focus on the tricep muscles (duh), but will also strengthen the chest, lats, and forearms depending on how you do the exercise.
8) Planks and progressions
Look, more core work!
Once you’ve mastered the traditional plank, try out some of the progressions we’ve featured here. Using the TRX with feet in the handles is more difficult because of the instability. Once you’re able to hold that for at least 3 sets of 30 seconds, try adding in a transition to pike for 3 reps.
Side planks are extra work on different abdominal muscles. Remember to pick a focal point to help yourself balance. Once you’re well-practice in this position, increase the difficulty by raising the top leg and arm. Enjoy!
9) Lateral lunges
A variation of the tradition lunge that is great for strengthening the glutes, inner thigh, and quads. The side to side movement adds an element of instability to the exercise which is great practice for being on the slopes.
You’ve probably noticed a trend with these exercises, as you will with most. Here are a few key tips to keep in mind throughout your workout.
Engage your core! We cannot state this enough. This protects your back, encourages proper form, and just improves your workout overall.
Keep your head/neck in a neutral position unless explicitly stated otherwise. Protecting the spine
Your weight should be in your heels or middle of the foot. This is to avoid overstressing the ankle on knee.
Try and keep these pointers in mind as you move through your workout. Reducing weight/sets/reps and slowing down to ensure proper form is better than cranking through 20 reps at high weight.
Remember, your initial consult is free, check out our offerings here!
Maintaining Your New Year's Resolutions
By: Jess Klein 1/19/2018
We’re now into our second month of 2018. How are those resolutions doing so far?
Many people will abandon their resolutions within the first month of the New Year. Here are some tips to help you keep going and to maintain your intentions and reach your goals.
First of all, set a realistic goal!
Losing 50 pounds in one month is not realistic (or healthy). Setting that goal and falling short of it would also not be helpful for your self-confidence in general.
Most fitness professionals would advise clients to aim for losing anywhere from .5-1.5 lbs per week. So a goal of 2-8 pounds is much more reasonable. Yes, it will take longer to lose 50 pounds if that is your ultimate goal weight, as they say, good things take time.
Consider breaking it into smaller, short-term goals to make your success that much more enjoyable. For example: “Lose 4 pounds in January”. Even take a step further: “reach calorie/macro goals six days in a row”, “exercise three days a week for three weeks”.
There is nothing wrong with setting small goals for weeks or months at a time, and you are more likely to achieve these goals (and long term success) doing it this way. Do a little research on S.M.A.R.T. goal setting to help get you started.
Make it as easy as possible.
Your personal trainer, health coach, doctor would call this “reducing barriers to exercise”. Think of it this way, every time you set out to exercise there are things in your way or that might discourage you. Can’t find your running shoes, headphones aren’t charged, running late, can’t decide what to wear, parking lot at the gym is full, I’m tired, and the list goes on and on.
Our advice - do everything you can to make it as easy as possible on yourself. If you want to go for a run first thing in the morning, set everything out the night before: running shoes, socks, clothes, headphones, hair ties, etc. Put your alarm across the room so you have no choice but to physically get out of bed. Hydrate well the day before and get plenty of rest. Drink a glass of water before heading out the door to help feel energized.
If mornings and evenings are just impossible times for you to do a workout, consider a quick and fun lunchtime workout (check out our services here!
Decide when to start.
Here’s the thing, you don’t need to wait until January 1st to make changes. Or if you tried on January 1st, and two weeks later haven’t made progress, you can start over. Maybe your workload at the beginning of the year is especially heavy, or you know that you have a hard time just getting back into your normal routine after the holidays.
So, set your start date for a time that makes better sense for you, again, be realistic.
Several studies have shown that when you tell people in your life about your goals, you are more likely to achieve them. This doesn’t just have to be your partner - consider finding a Facebook group for exercise and/or weight loss so you have a community of people who will want to talk with you about your progress.
If there isn’t one you like or in your area, start your own! Set up a weekly walking date with a friend. Sharing your goals with others not only helps hold you accountable, but often fosters support as well.
Or, ask for help! Seek out a friend that already has an established fitness routine, visit a local gym or find a trainer in your area.
Cut yourself some slack.
Depending which study you read, it can take 4-6 weeks to build a new habit, and only two days to destroy it.
A major behavioral theory in the health industry, known as the Transtheoretical Model lays it all out in wonderfully complicated terms here, but for simplicity sake I’ll say this: progress is not linear. Again, progress is not linear. It is not just normal, it is expected that you will regress/fail at some point in your resolutions journey. Accept it, and start back at the beginning. Reassess your goal, anticipate obstacles, and get back to it.
Give yourself a pat on the back every now and then.
Part of good goal setting is rewarding yourself for reaching the smaller, incremental goals. A new workout top after losing your first 5 pounds, for example.
A lot of people see New Year’s resolutions as a chance to change their lives, and while that is entirely possible, it doesn’t happen overnight. Allow yourself time to make mistakes, find out what methods work best for you, and then succeed.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
I would love to help support you as you reach your goals. Reach out to me here: http://bit.ly/2mQJYd6 and we’ll get started on your plan for health and wellness!
Couples Who Work Out Together, Stay Together
By: Tricia L. Oxford 9/15/2017
We’re all aware of the most obvious positive effects that exercise and physical activity can have on our bodies and our overall well-being (including, but not limited to, maintaining a healthy weight, gaining strength and endurance and decreasing risk of numerous diseases, depression and even some cancers). But, did you know that working out with your significant other (SO) can increase the quality of your relationship? The concept is backed in science. Research has found that participating in activities that get your heart rate up and perhaps even have you sweating together, can improve your connection with your partner!
Why I find this exciting:
By sweating together, you automatically get “bonus” quality time together!
Why this is important:
Perhaps you have heard of Gary Chapman’s Five Languages of Love. One of these five languages is actually Quality Time. If your partner’s primary love language is quality time and you do not give them quality time, they will feel unloved. (To find your primary love language, go to www.fivelovelanguages.com). Just spending this set-aside time with your significant other each week will increase how much they feel loved, without doing anything more, giving more or saying more.
In addition, Dr. Matthew Lieberman, UCLA Psychology Professor writes that “we are wired such that our well-being depends on our connections with others”. As humans, we strive to feel important, accepted and connected.
What better way to strengthen your connection with your SO than working out together? Seriously, at least 91% of the following will be true during most of your workouts; your partner will witness you dripping in sweat, hair out of your ponytail, stuck to your face at random, make up streaked (if even put on in the first place), guys, I’ve heard it-your shoes squishing from the sweat buildup, snot may be hanging down your face (snot rocket gone wrong?), spit on your chin, you probably both smell like a sock that’s accidentally been left behind the washer for weeks, then after the final rep is completed, you give each other high fives or even a sweaty hug after the workout (when you’re both disgusting, it equals out, right?)… And yet, after ALL of that, your SO still wants to sit down and have dinner with you that night (hopefully after a good shower). Now that’s forming a REAL connection. #truelove #sweatyhugsarethebesthugs
For those who have had getting “into shape”, losing weight or becoming healthier overall as a goal for some time but have had numerous excuses getting in the way, your SO can play a huge role. Say your partner steps in to help you take that first leap toward your goal – attending your first workout together. Having your partner “in crime” (if you will) at your side while you overcome fears, stigmas and enter survival mode to help one another live through each sweat session may be the best way to help you meet your health goals, while strengthening the bond with your partner at the same time!
When you are working out (at an appropriate intensity), you typically do not have time to be on your phone, watching TV, playing on an IPad or participating in any number of other distracting activities, allowing your full attention to be put on your significant other and the task at hand, which you are completing together. These twenty minutes, hour, two hours, whatever the workout may be, gives the sense of importance to your SO; aka he/she is more important than any other task or object in the room or person on the other side of your phone. When we consider the amount of distractions we have to choose from in 2017, this attention given to your partner makes him/her feel that importance they crave.
More Highly Accepted
It can be super intimidating to walk into a new gym for the first time, let alone take your first fitness class. Taking on the things like a new gym space, meeting new people, learning new exercises etc is so much easier with someone by your side who can ease awkward moments, laugh things off with you, or if nothing else, at least look as goofy as yourself. You and your partner will get to see and also learn to accept one another’s areas that need improvement as well as help you feel more accepted in your surrounding environment by being your confidant in daunting situations.
2. You see your partner striving to get better – and that’s attractive.
As humans, we cannot deny it is captivating to watch your SO lifting heavy things, rippling those muscles more and more with each rep, performing exercises you never thought they could do, running faster than you thought was possible, etc. This in itself can escalate your physical attraction to your SO. When you see your partner excelling in anything he/she has put his/her mind to, it makes you proud of them, proud to be with them and when this goal happens to increase your attraction to their physique? Well, we can’t ask for much more than that.
However, it doesn’t end there! Theresa E DiDonato Ph.D. makes the connection between the effects of exercise and those of physiological arousal-sweat, increased heart rate and shortness of breath. Just being around your partner during these physiological changes can increase desirability. What’s more, the endorphins released during exercise stimulate the release of sex hormones, which may potentially be at their height minutes after working out. Therefore, exercising together may not only increase physical attraction, but on a deeper level, romantic attraction as well.
Taking it just one step further; when you see your SO pushing him/herself, it automatically spurs you to want to do the same! Not only to benefit yourself, but it also makes you want your partner to feel the same way you do toward him/her when you see your SO striving for success and getting better each day!
Cheers to a win – win – win!!
3. You get to cheer each other on, provide positive reinforcement and perhaps even high-five by the end of class!
We’ve all been at the point where we hit something of a “rut” in our relationships. We ponder how we can re-light that flame-where can our next spurt of excitement and attraction to our partner come from? How can we get back to the little things like thanking our partner or praising them for even the tiniest of tasks? When is the last time you encouraged one another??
EXERCISE IS YOUR ANSWER!
Of course it’s fun to watch your partner workout, but when you get to interact with your SO during a workout, or, even better, when THEIR performance affects YOUR workout (these partner workouts I offer are SO much fun), the positivity you provide one another is unmatched by any other activity. Encouraging each other can lead to amazing things; accomplishments you didn’t know you were capable of, whether it be your first unassisted pull up or your fastest mile time. This meaningful praise not only makes for better workouts for both of you, but also leaves you with a sense of thankfulness for your SO; he/she was there with you and got you through something you didn’t think you could achieve-what an amazing moment to share! All of these components are imperative to a healthy relationship.
How about leading to further successes. If you have gotten out of the habit of complimenting, praising or thanking your partner, even for the small stuff, then these little words of encouragement will do wonders! Workouts mimic LIFE; when we learn to overcome obstacles in the gym, we learn to transfer these things outside the gym space; at work, at school, with family and most importantly, within your relationship.
4. Exercise = Endorphins = Happiness = Attraction = Love
^^^ I believe this one is self-explanatory <smiley face>
5. You provide accountability to one another – simple, yet effective.
The two most common reasons people do not work out regularly or “cannot” make physical activity or exercise a priority are time and accountability. When you and your partner make working out together a priority, you basically set yourself up for success with your own kind of accountability factor. When you get the “meet you at the gym after work?” text or, “can’t wait for our run later in this beautiful weather!”, how can you be the one to respond, “not today”??! Even if both of you are tired and had a long week, you DO NOT want to be the one to “wuss out” especially when you can tell your SO is excited. That in itself helps get you going. Once you start the workout, you usually feel so much better anyway and, in addition, you both take away that sense of pride for completing the workout even when you didn’t want to do it. Perhaps most importantly, when you take into account the fact that your participation in these workouts may make or break your SO’s achievements on his/her way to his/her goals, it is nearly impossible to “pass” for the day.
On the flip side, it’s also a super awesome, near telepathic, moment for the two of you when you have one of those days when neither of you feel like you can complete a workout that would be any sort of benefit to you bc you are just mentally and physically exhausted, but are trying not to be the first to say it. Then, when you finally realize the other is lagging, you bring it up first, how relaxing an evening with a healthy dinner that you cook together would be and you see the excitement and relief in your SO’s eyes. Yep, you certainly need those evenings too. Then, you both be sure to help each other jump back on the horse the next day!
There you have it. When you have someone who will spend quality time working out with you, make you feel connected, accepted and important, make themselves more attractive to you with each workout, someone who will encourage you and cheer you on, be thankful for you, be proud of you, provide you with love and happiness and hold you accountable, it’s safe to say you probably have a keeper and there’s a good chance you’ll stay together!
Cheers to health!
And always remember, You Only Get Out Of It What You Put Into It (YOGOOIWYPII)
-Tricia L. Oxford, MPH, CPT, FMS
Chapman, Gary. Five Languages of Love.
Lieberman, Matthew. Social: Why Our Brains are Wired to Connect.