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

THE FIVE ESSENTIAL EXERCISES

Exercise routines can be complicated, intimidating and downright confusing for
those stepping into the weight room for the first time. Training the body is simply identifying natural movement and training the body along those natural movements. When broken down, the human body moves in only a few different ways: squatting, bending, lunging, pushing, pulling or twisting. By combining these moves, we can effectively create five exercises that target all the main movements and work the whole body.

The five exercises are:

single leg dl 21. Single Leg Deadlifts: Simply stand upright balancing on one leg, keeping the leg off the ground as straight as possible. Bend at the waist and reach with your opposite hand to try and touch the foot on the ground. Keep your leg that is off the ground as in line with your torso as you can to get a good stretch for the hamstrings.

BOX SQUAT2. Box Squats: Squatting is a movement we perform all the time. Squat stand with your calves lightly touching a box and push your hips backwards like you are sitting in a chair, doing your best to keep your upper body as upright as possible and your back flat. As soon as you touch the box with the back of your legs, push through the middle of your foot to stand upright again. The lower the box, the harder the movement will be.

dumbell rowpush up and down both (1)3. Dumbbell Rows: Place the left hand and knee on a bench with the hand positioned at the top of the bench and the knee near the bottom, keeping the back as flat as possible. The right leg will remain somewhat straight while the right arm is holding a dumbbell that you will pull straight up to your right hip. Simply switch arms and legs for the other side.

4. Push-ups: Start by lying on your stomach and placing your hands pressed into the ground near your armpits. Keeping your entire body flat, push through the arms and chest to straighten your arms until only your hands and toes are on the ground. Lower to the ground under control to perform one repetition. Start from your knees to make the exercise easier until you feel ready to progress.

medballtwistVERT5. Medicine Ball Lunge and Twist: Holding a medicine ball in front of your chest, step forward with one leg and sink down until you have a 90 degree bend at the ankle, knee and hip with your torso completely upright. The back leg should have similar 90 degree bend as the front leg. When the back knee is almost touching the ground, pause and rotate the torso so the medicine ball goes over the front leg before returning to the middle and pushing through the ball of the front foot to return to a standing position. Repeat for the other leg to complete one repetition.

Matt Weems, GATC Personal Trainer

FIVE GUIDELINES TO A HEALTHY METABOLISM

Tips from Kristin, GATC RD.

1) Eat breakfast within thirty minutes of waking and eat every three hours thereafter

2) Limit starch because it is almost always chemically processed. (ex: breads, chips, pretzels, snack mixes, tortillas, pastas, etc). This is especially true when eating out. If you can read the ingredient list and you know you are not eating a chemically processed food, then choose the whole grain in a proper portion.

3) Choose a fruit or veggie plus a protein, every time you eatstockvault-healthy-eating119775_resized

4) Don’t save your calories for one big mealwater

5) Drink half your body weight in ounces of water

For more tips and information regarding diet and nutrition, visit GATC’s Nutrition Services page.

 

Dietary Supplements: To Take Or Not To Take

The majority of adults in the United States take a supplement. A supplement includes: vitamins, minerals, herbs, protein powders, shakes, amino acids, enzymes, probiotics, and the list goes on and on!

Do wsupplementse really need to be taking these? In my opinion, yes, many of us can benefit from a multivitamin, vitamin D or even a protein shake, for example. However, supplements are just that…a SUPPLEMENT. They do not replace food. Some experts think that if you are eating less than 1600 calories on a daily basis then you can likely benefit from taking a dietary supplement. Taking a vitamin and mineral supplement can insure your body that you are meeting your needs to develop muscles, proper neural function, maintain energy levels, preserve bone and all the other physiologic functions your body performs on a daily basis. Very few of us need a multivitamin that provides greater than 100% of the daily recommended allowance of any nutrient. Again, these supplement your diet. If you are choosing mostly whole, unprocessed foods then you do not need a powerful multivitamin. In fact, high levels of vitamins can enhance the disease process, including some cancers.

Let’s look at protein powders/shakes. There are so many on the market! Mosproteinshake_2t active people can benefit from a protein shake for breakfast, pre- or post-workout. The scary thing about protein powders is that many of the most widely used are loaded with toxic metals, artificial sweeteners, colorings, dyes and other random chemicals that can harm your body. If you are going to purchase a protein powder, why not choose one with added nutrients?  My favorites are whole food powders that are made of real food and free of metals, dyes and other chemicals, such as Vega One or Amazing Grass Raw Reserve. There are some great ready-to-drink products out there as well. My go to is Orgain 25 gram protein.

Much of the food we are consuming is so processed that it isn’t “real.” Chicken breasts at some restaurants are hardly made of chicken breast at all, but chicken parts and chicken flavoring molded into the shape of a breast. Some experts believe that if more than three meals per week are eaten out, you are lacking nutrition and too many chemically processed foods are being consumed. You are what you eat!

For more information visit GATC’s Nutrition Services page or contact GATC RD, Kristin Burgess.

 

True! It’s All About That “Base”

You finally get that long-awaited short ball opportunity which allows you to attack the net and really apply some pressure to your opponent except for one thing, your opponent is the dreaded lobber! What are your options? To start with, nothing says lobbing is a bad idea to your opponent better than cracking an overhead for a winner! So let’s talk about how you can better prepare for this shot.tennisracketball simple graphic

1. In one move, immediately raise both hands up plus align your shoulders and feet sideways to the ball and your intended target. This doesn’t always mean you should be perpendicular to the net, sometimes you’ll find yourself slightly open to the net and occasionally you may discover that you need to turn as much as 45 degrees past perpendicular to the point where your back is exposed to the net. Where you are on the court and your target area determines shoulder and stance alignment.

2. I think most players are familiar with these technical elements but I find perhaps the most important element in gaining confidence and making solid contact on the overhead is having a wide base. By a wide base I mean wider than the width of your shoulders. In doing so, this should also create knee bend and drop your center of gravity. This is important because just the mere fact that you’re looking up, you’ll find yourself a little off balance, so widening your base will make you feel more comfortable adjusting to the ball and more confident.

Confidence plays a major role in having a good overhead. Learn to love them and you’ll have a great one! And remember, as Meghan Trainor says, “It’s all about that base.”

Yes, I twisted her words slightly.

For help with your overhead and more, check out GATC’s programs, drills, clinics, leagues and more!

Ron Steege, Director of Tennis

Fat Loss Tips: Gluten-Free?

gluten-freeSales of gluten-free foods have soared 68% in the last two years.  Almost 1.6 million Americans are gluten-free. Yet only 1% of the population actually has Celiac Disease, a disorder in which one’s immune system reacts to gluten, a protein in certain grains.

In my opinion, many people look for a quick fix. It is easy to jump at reasons/excuses why we are doing everything right and still not losing weight. Is going gluten-free really a magic pill? Is this the ONLY reason people begin to lose weight?

Let’s look at some facts:

1) Limiting any heavy caloric food will cause weight loss

2) Gluten-free can mean less processed, therefore the product MAY retain more natural nutrients (of course this varies product to product and brand to brand, just like any food)

3) Liming the variety of processed carbohydrates will always yield a healthier body

4) Many of the companies producing gluten-free products are companies who produce organic foods. In order for a product to be labeled “gluten-free” it must contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten. Many large companies cannot control production to this minute fraction, allowing for more mom and pop or organic companies to produce gluten-free foods.

5) Even though gluten-free foods are currently available almost everywhere, they are still not as accessible as gluten-containing foods. Therefore, you might be less likely to choose a pizza, cookie or other traditional wheat product.

Gluten is a protein in grains such as wheat, spelt, rye, or kamut.  Who eats spelt and rye on a regular basis? But who eats whole wheat bread for breakfast, crackers or a granola bar for a snack, a sandwich for lunch, pasta for dinner? Most Americans- most days of the week. It might not be pasta for dinner, but it might be a tortilla or even something “healthy” such as a pita.

Let me ask this: would you eat five bananas in one day, on a regular basis, day afteBathroom-scaler day? Probably not. So why would you eat that much wheat in one day? Cutting out gluten does not cause the weight loss for most people.It is more likely that you are now eating a greater variety of foods and food groups. More fruits, veggies, variety of grains, less processed food (let’s face it, the gluten-free bread isn’t the most tasty), more lean proteins, more nuts and seeds and likely less sugar. These things are the likely cause of your weight loss!

Looking for additional information or other nutrition tips? Visit GATC’s Nutrition Services page or email Kristin at kristinb@greenwoodatc.com

Kristin Burgess, GATC R.D.

 

Fat Loss Tips: The Untrustworthy Glycemic Index

glycemic indexHow can it be that a slice of whole wheat bread has a glycemic index of 72 and a Snickers bar has a glycemic index of 41? For those of you who follow the Glycemic Index (GI) Diet, I hope I have your attention. For those of you who do not, the Glycemic Index Diet is one in which you choose foods based on how quickly their carbohydrates enter your blood after being digested.
Low GI = 1-55
Medium GI = 56-69
High GI = 70 and higher

Strawberries have a GI of 40. This means that if you eat 50 grams of carbohydrates from strawberries (three cups of strawberry halves), your blood sugar level would be elevated 40% of what it would be from consuming 50 grams of glucose.

There are several factors that are involved in the amount of carbohydrates that are available to our organs and tissues, post digestion. The amount of protein, fiber, fat and overall nutrient density affect the rate at which the carbohydrate molecules enter our bloodstream. It is not just about how quickly the food is digested, but also the readiness of digestive enzymes; how quickly amylase can access the carbohydrate molecule in the small intestine to break it down.

As you can see, following the Glycemic Index as a primary means for weight loss, diabetes prevention or stubborn fat loss might not be the best way to go. Instead, choose raw, whole foods. Foods that are high in fiber, protein and healthy fat are not only going to keep your blood sugar level in check but will also help with energy and stubborn fat loss.

Need additional information or other nutrition tips? Visit GATC’s Nutrition Services page or email Kristin at kristinb@greenwoodatc.com

Kristin Burgess, GATC R.D.

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.