Finding the Motivation to Exercise

The facts are clear and you are completely sold on the benefits of exercise. In fact, you can probably quote the top 10 reasons why exercise is the best thing you can do for yourself every day. crossovercableYou may even LOVE to exercise yet still lack the motivation to do so. You may also find that you get started with great intentions for a few days, then life gets busy, you talk yourself out of your workout and before you know it, it’s been weeks and you feel de-motivated again. It can be a vicious circle.

One way to improve motivation is to examine your personal “why”. Give yourself a reason to exercise and your much more apt to do it every day. Your reason for exercise may have to be bigger than creating changes in your appearance or strength. Maybe your why needs to have more to do with things like how improving your health will positively affect others in your life, making you an exceptional employee, boss, parent, partner or friend. Many people find their motivation increases when they sign up for an event, race, bed and breakfast biking trip or hiking vacation. Knowing you have an upcoming event to prepare for is a great motivator to get started. Your why can be as simple as having a workout buddy waiting for you at the gym. Everyone has a different “why”. What’s yours?

Once your find a big enough “why”, the next step is to create a written plan. Those who work out at the same time every day are more apt to create the habit of exercise. In fact, studies show that those who work out in the morning are significantly less likely to allow other things in life to get in the way of their workout. A recent study by Glasgow University found that morning exercise also enhances mood 30% more than evening exertion. Exercise at any time of day, though, is better than none, and consistency is the most important thing. Improve your chances of exercising by placing a written appointment in your calendar like any other important event you wouldn’t miss. When someone asks you to do something else at that time, let them know you have an appointment at that time and plan around it!

The last great motivator is results. Results come with consistency and a solid plan of attack. Create a plan or have a professional trainer create one for you, put the plan in writing, schedule your workouts at the same time each day and the results will come. As results appear, motivation increases leading to more consistency to maintain the results you’ve created. Find your why, create a plan, experience results and watch your motivation soar. See you at the club!

Sheri Warren
Director of Sales and Retention, Member Coach & Personal Trainer

Yoga – Mix It Up or Commit to One Style?

yoga stretchDon’t mix it up? Beginners should sample a few yoga classes to find one style that they prefer and that is right for their level of fitness. Trying many various styles can be confusing when you’re starting your journey into yoga.

As a beginner, the disadvantages of practicing more than one style include:
-getting confused
-risking injury in a class that is inappropriate for your fitness level
-not being aware of how to modify poses that are too advanced or inappropriate for certain injuries

Private yoga lessons are a great way to begin your journey, giving you the foundation and confidence to step into any of our complementary yoga classes.

Mix it up? Step out of your comfort zone and avoid complacency. After practicing a specific style of yoga on a regular basis for at least six months, it’s a good idea to branch out into different styles. Challenge yourself or maybe explore more restorative or meditative styles. If you have been practicing only heated Vinyasa classes, give an unheated Vinyasa class a try. Mix it up and you will be rewarded with even greater benefits. Most styles don’t fit nicely into one specific category. Many of the styles have crossover techniques that improve fitness, mental health and spiritual growth. Some styles are slow and meditative with a focus on breathing and mental concentration, while other styles focus on the physical aspects of poses and fast movements which result in better fitness and flexibility. Practicing both styles, it is possible to gain mental concentration, spirituality and physical fitness.

The benefits of using several yoga styles can include:
-maximizing the benefit to both the mind and the body
-achieving fitness goals while maintaining meditative focus
-maximizing the crossover between yoga styles

A great way to sample different kinds of yoga is during the yoga immersion weekend coming up on April 15, 16 and 17.

Ultimately, it’s a personal decision whether to use one style of yoga or many. For beginners, it may be best to commit to try different options and select a specific style until after learning the poses and basic breathing techniques. Advanced practitioners may be able to balance various styles at one time,resulting in tremendous growth.

If you’re not sure what class to try or would like additional information, send me an email with your fitness level, goals and questions and I will give you a list of classes that would be best for you.

Marda Zechiel, Yoga Manager

 

Seven Basics for Fitness

spinThe reason we exist at GATC is for the honor of positively impacting people’s lives. We offer over 130 group fitness classes each week as part of your membership. The types of classes are thoughtfully chosen, the instructors are carefully recruited and the class times are strategically placed with the goal of providing you with the best selection of classes offered at the optimal times that cater to a wide variety of interests and provide ample opportunity for achieving results.

On an average day, approximately 1500 people check into the club. Roughly 30% of those check-ins, or 450 people, attend a group fitness class. So how can you optimize your membership utilizing group fitness to achieve your fitness goals? In this “results-focused” issue, I’m offering Seven Basics for Fitness.

FIND SOMETHING YOU ENJOY AND DO IT
If you’re not having fun or being challenged with your workout, it’s easy to lose interest. Instead of dreading the treadmill, consider one of our many other options. With a nice balance of strength, cardio, balance and flexibility classes to choose from each week, there is great opportunity to find your new favorite. Take advantage of our shorter classes that can be done in combination (ex. Cardiovascular Intervals and CXWORX). If you would like some assistance, we offer complimentary Member Coach services or I’m always happy to help. When you find what you enjoy, you’re more likely to stay consistent and see better results.

SET GOALS
Maybe you want to avoid holiday weight gain, fit into a certain dress size, decrease your body fat percentage, cut your mile time, or set a new lifting PR. Map out your plan of attack setting both short-term (30-day) and long-term (three-six months) goals. That plan will help you stay focused and on the path to success. Share your goals with your group fitness instructor so they can help encourage you and keep you accountable.

DRINK ENOUGH WATER
GATC Registered Dietitian and Personal Trainer, Kristin Burgess, recommends drinking half your body weight in ounces every day. This is on top of replenishing fluids lost during your workout. While the reminder to drink water may sound unnecessary and obvious, it is essential to your health.

EAT WELL
No training regimen is complete without the complement of good nutrition. Make sure you eat a consistently well-balanced diet. Dedication to both your training and your nutrition will offer the best results.

GET SUFFICIENT SLEEP
Rest is crucial to our fat-loss and muscle-building goals. Lack of sleep raises cortisol levels and hampers proper recovery. Exercise places stress on your body, and it’s your body’s ability to respond to and rebuild from this stress that creates growth, results and body improvement. This is why nutrition and recovery are essential to achieving your fitness goals.

MIX IT UP
Many dedicated gym-goers fall into a workout rut. Break out of boredom by challenging yourself in new ways. Try new movements, set aside the dumbbells in favor of a barbell or cables, or grab a buddy and try a class. Don’t just set up camp at your usual corner or elliptical. If you are bored with your workouts, chances are your body is, too. Make some changes for a new challenge leading to new results.

STAY CONSISTENT
None of this information will be of much value if it’s not done consistently. No matter your goal, consistent efforts are rewarded with hard-earned results!

Andrea Morris, Director of Group Fitness

KEYS TO RESULTS: WORKOUT HARD, EAT WISELY AND REPEAT

The fitness industry and society routinely come up with “magic bullets.” Whether it is a program, class or product, the promoters say this is the key for people to lose weight and achieve the body they want. In my opinion, they are full of it. The only path to results is by following these five steps:

Tristan blog DSC_1788

WORKOUT HARD – Whether it is a cardiovascular session or a weight lifting routine, you need to do it intensely enough to break a sweat and feel very fatigued. Often, I see people doing cardio, going through the motions and barely breaking a sweat or breathing hard. The same for lifting- I often see people pick up weights, do an exercise and then put them down and look no more fatigued than as if they were chewing gum. It’s called a workout for a reason people! Sweat, push yourself and feel a little sore the next day.

STOP EATING SO MUCH – Most people say they eat healthy and yet they are overweight. There are three possible explanations for this: either you have a hormonal dysfunction (12% of the total US population has this), you think you eat healthy food but actually do not, or you eat healthy but eat too much. Diet is 70% of the weight loss equation. If you consistently drop your caloric intake, make everything you eat nutritionally relevant and eat a variety of different foods, you can actually achieve weight loss that is long-term and healthy.

HAVE FUN – Try different activities that get you moving. Learn to love to make your body move in different ways. Have fun and involve the family. The more you are around people who are active, the more you become active.

BE CONSISTENT YEAR ROUND – Many people get in shape in January and lose momentum by April. Then they fall back into destructive habits that counteract results. Try this; never let more than 48 hour pass before you exercise intensely. Keep that rule and you will see a dramatic difference in yourself.

DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP – Whether it is a trainer, neighbor, friend or spouse- ask for help to become or stay active. Again, the more you associate with active people, the more active you will become. Don’t be afraid to ask a professional for help in achieving your goals. Everyone needs a coach to help them in a sport, the same goes for fitness.

AGAIN, eat less but healthy food, be active intensely, have fun with it, be social and ask for help once and awhile. Repeat this prescription every day and watch the results.

For more help with your fitness goals, visit the GATC Personal Training page and for nutrition information, the GATC Nutrition Services page.

Vic Spatola, Director of Personal Training

WEIGHT LOSS

Losing weight is as much about mindset, changing behaviors and staying motivated, as the actual diet and exercise portion. Here are a few tips to help keep the motivation rolling pound after pound and the motivation to change your lifestyle behaviors to keep the weight off for life:

1. Set realistic goals that are achievable

  • Set your long term goal first but without a date. For example, lose twCalendarenty pounds.
  • Set short term goals second. Get the calendar out and look at each week as an opportunity to lose two pounds
  • Some weeks you might lose one, some weeks you might lose three and some you might not lose any. A realistic, attainable goal for most people is six pounds a month.
  • Set dates. For example: by October 1, I will be at blank weight, by October 15, I will be at blank weight, etc.
  • Think about life activities and events, such as vacations, weddings, etc., and take these into consideration when looking at the calendar and setting your short term goals.
  • Each five to six pounds is a short term goal.
  • Focus on hitting the particular short term goal that you are in rather than thinking ahead about long term goals. Think “It’s only five pounds. I can do this.”
  • Reward yourself when you hit each goal with treats such as a massage, a pedicure, new pair of shoes, a round of golf, etc.

2. Go slow

  • Work on one lifestyle change per week. It’s okay if it takes longer! For example: choosing iced green tea at Starbucks instead of cream/sugared coffee/latte.
  • Work on the most significant first: such as eliminating or limiting alcohol, soda, diet soda, white/enriched foods or sugar and baked goods.

3. Expect setbacks

  • Learn from setbacks.
  • Take note of how they made you feel. For example: how did it feel to eat half a cake? Too full, sick, awful, low energy/lethargic. The next time you are in a situation where cake is presented, remember how you felt last time you ate too much cake and choose to not do it again.
  • Life isn’t perfect so don’t expect your weight loss journey to be.
  • See challenges as setbacks not failures.

4. Find supportKristinBandclientatGreenwoodAthleticClub

  • Join a support group or find a family member and/or friend to confide in.

5. Be patient

  • The biggest diet motivation breaker is not losing the amount of weight you think you should in the time you want.
  • Plateaus are going to happen so expect it. There may be weeks of no weight loss.
  • If two to three weeks go by with no weight loss, shake things up a bit. Add ten to fifteen minutes of cardio; if you’ve been consuming a lot of carbs, cut back; if you’ve been short on veggies, get more in; add fat; take away calories; add protein; meet your water needs.

Keep these tips in mind and they will keep you rolling from short term goal to short term goal, all the way to your long term goal!

Visit GATC’s Nutrition Services webpage to read about our programs and services.

Kristin Burgess, GATC R.D.

Why Is Hamstring Flexibility and Strength So Important?

yoga_stretchOur hamstrings do so much and keeping them healthy takes some work. Hamstrings bend and straighten our legs, so if you are sedentary, you may have weak or tight hamstrings from poor posture and suffer lower back pain. If you are active and engage in sports, you need strong and flexible hamstrings for optimal performance. The hamstrings are at high risk for injury because they cover both the knee and the hip joints. If they are weak or tight, they are vulnerable to strains or tears during exercise. Strong, flexible hamstrings help increase speed and range of motion for runners, cyclists, swimmers, basketball players and tennis players. Stretching your hamstrings also increases blood flow to these muscles and improves your flexibility. One of the primary excuses I hear from people about not starting a yoga program is the biggest reason why they should! “I am not flexible so I can’t do yoga. I can’t even touch my toes.” Starting a mindful yoga practice will improve the health of your hamstrings and so much more! A few hamstring exercises will help, but an hour yoga class will warm you up, prepare your body and mindfully stretch and strengthen your hamstrings.
Still skeptical? Send me an email or give me a call. I would be happy to help you start a yoga program that fits your needs from our schedule of more than 30 classes per week.

Marda Zechiel, Yoga Manager

New Class at GATC – Insanity

INSANITY_POSTER_GUY_STARTING-NOVIf you have been paying attention to the buzz in the fitness world, you may have heard of INSANITY. This revolutionary, cardio-based, total body conditioning program is now at GATC!

Created by American fitness trainer and choreographer Shaun T, Insanity uses MAX interval training techniques to get you a leaner, more muscular body in a short amount of time. This program delivers results by varying the cardio-centered exercises to literally work your body from head to toe.

People will warn you before you embark on your Insanity fitness journey to prepare for the hardest workout of your life. Ever. The program brings your heart rate to its max, keeps it there for a while and then slows it back down by giving you 30 seconds of precious rest. It is designed for all fitness levels, with modifications provided for a safe, challenging and results-driven workout.

If you’re looking to achieve some insane fitness results with great music and positive energy, join us on Mondays in Studio 1 from 5:30-6:20pm.

WHAT ARE THE PILATES LEVELS?

Pilates studio blogJoe Pilates didn’t teach levels, he taught people. He adjusted each exercise and apparatus to the body in front of him. The division of the method into basic (L1), intermediate (L2) and advanced levels (L3) is more recent and slightly artificial, but that’s not to say that it isn’t useful in a health club setting.

The levels are a template or guide, not a competition. Pilates is not a sport, it is a practice. In fact, Pilates is corrective exercise with roots in therapeutic modalities. The exercise levels are made up of developmental goals and a way of moving rather than exactly what exercises you do. Because Pilates is progressive, mastering the basic exercises is vital. The basic exercises are the foundation to the work and aren’t dropped from the repertoire as it increases. Rather, an advanced class is classified L3 due to the number of exercises completed in the hour, the coordination of the exercises, tempo and the strength, stretch and stamina needed to perform the exercises.

The levels are most obvious in a mat or equipment class since in private sessions the work is customized to you.

L1 These classes teach you the basics of the method through a series of simple, challenging exercises. The goal for this level is to find your powerhouse, to begin to find lift in the body and to even out the alignment of the torso. You will start to feel the benefits of Pilates.

L2  When your body has absorbed the basics, you are ready to take intermediate level sessions. The aim of this level is to strengthen and deepen the powerhouse. Some new movement patterns are introduced (e.g. back bends) and other patterns already present in the basic level are expanded upon. What makes you intermediate is not how long you have studied, but how much your body has absorbed and remembers from session to session.

L3 – At the advanced level the focus is on increasing the stamina of the powerhouse. More upper body exercises are introduced with the aim of working the upper back and connecting it more deeply with the rest of the powerhouse. The advanced level is where complete flow and synchronization with the breath takes place.

To be the best version of you in Pilates, there is nothing to be gained by rushing ahead in your progress and practice. Impatience means that you will simply not get as much from your classes as you could. If you have an injury or illness, it is advisable to have private sessions before you join a mat or equipment class to ensure your needs are properly addressed.

At Greenwood, our staff is trained to teach multi-level classes within each level. Additionally, our goal is to build a working Pilates vocabulary in the body and learn Pilates concepts and principles. All of our classes include fundamentals with flow, building block progressions and extra stretches to keep you moving- developing stability, strength, flexibility and stamina.

Sara Talbert, Director of Pilates

 

MAKING TIME FOR FITNESS

clockI often hear that people simply don’t have enough time to exercise. We have to take care of our families, go to work, run errands, buy groceries, feed our pets and sometimes even our neighbor’s pets! Yes, I understand that we all have responsibilities. However, what I do not understand is how you do not make time to feel better, look better and have more energy? If you think it’s impossible to squeeze a workout in over the next 16 hours (I assume an adult sleeps about eight to nine hours a day) then try some of these:
• Write down your daily schedule and cross out some activities that are unnecessary or not urgent for that day. For example, do you need to pick up the dry cleaning today? Do you really need to go to spend all that time on your computer? I promise that you will find an activity that can be replaced with at least 10 minutes of exercise. Replace that activity with a brisk walk. I have seen a guy drop down at a red light and immediately start doing push-ups. What if that is the only 10 minutes of exercise he was able to make time for that day and he’s trying to maximize the effect? Hooray for him!
• If you don’t have a full hour to dedicate to fitness, then split it up. Surely you can make room for 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening. Stop by GATC on your way to work and do a short weight workout, then walk, jog or take a bike ride after dinner. You get your hour in and that’s what counts!
• If you feel like more of a challenge, then do a simple circuit routine with minimal rest between sets. Do 12 to 15 repetitions of each exercise with 15 to 25 seconds of rest.
• We all have heard things like “walk the stairs instead of using the elevator, park your car further away from your job or school etc…” Those little practices can add up quickly, if we are only disciplined enough to actually do them.

We all have days when we feel tired or less energetic than normal. Nobody is expecting a new world record from you on those days and neither should you. However, that is still not an excuse to completely abandon your fitness routine. Surely you can still squeeze in some easy exercise. I believe that consistency is the key to magical results, so just stick to your plan no matter what and enjoy the journey to the new, healthier you.

Daria Matthews, GATC Member Coach