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Monday, December 17, 2012

Third Place is Not as Bad as You Think

Third place.  What does it mean to you?  Do you automatically think "2nd runner up" or "not as good as first place"?  Today I am challenging your thought process and asking you...where is your third place?  Yes, I said "where".  I'm talking about that place that isn't home (first place) and it isn't work (second place), but it's your "third place".  That place where you go during your "in-between" times of home and work.  About 20 years ago, Ray Oldenburg, PhD, who wrote a book called The Great Good Place, argued that there are a number of attributes that make a third place a third place: It has to be convenient, inviting, serve something, and have some good regulars (which, he says, is actually more important than having a good host).  This third place may be a coffeehouse, barbershop, local drinking establishment, or health club.  So...where is your third place?

If you are interested in making healthy changes in your life, why not make your local gym your third place?  Building healthy habits and interacting with others who are working towards similar goals can be accomplished by spending time in your third place, the gym.  What better way to meet new people who are interested in improving their health.  If you already belong to your local gym/health club, do you consider it to be your third place?  Are you comfortable there?  Does it create a place of pure sociability that not only contributes to your quality of life but also makes life not just bearable but enjoyable? 

We've talked about the importance of health and fitness in virtually every blog. You know that adopting healthy habits can create a better you.  You read our blog and learn about what to do and how to do it.  Have you implemented those habits yet?  Turn to your local health club, whether it's here at PROMATx Health Club or another place in your city, and start implementing your new-found knowledge.  Turn to fitness professionals to help you attain your goals.  Turn to nutrition specialists to help guide you through the mountains of nutrition information.  Turn your local health club into your "third place".  

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Post-Workout Protein

Most people have heard that eating protein after a workout is important, but why, how much, and from where do you get it?  Protein is made of complex strands of amino acids that are important for your skin, hair, nails, brain function, immune system, and are the building blocks of your muscles.  When you participate in a vigorous strength training workout, your muscles break down, actually developing tiny tears in the fibers.  This isn't dangerous, but it is important to repair these micro tears.  The amino acids in protein act as the healing agent to your muscles.  Not only does protein repair the tear, but it repairs the fiber bigger and stronger than before to ensure it is capable of handling that load the next time.  You see this change with gains in strength and an increase in lean mass.  

So how much protein should you be consuming?  This depends on your activity level and the amount of lean mass you currently have.  The more strenuous activity you participate in (muscularly), the more protein you need.  Additionally, the more lean mass you possess, the more protein you need.  Generally experts recommend eating between one-half to equal amount of grams of protein per pound of body weight per day depending on the above stated factors and your fitness goals (please note that this information is not recommended for individuals with kidney or liver disease as these individuals should follow their doctors protein guidelines). For example, if you weigh 160lbs, you will want to shoot for 80 to 160 grams of protein per day.  If you have a low body fat percentage (meaning a lower ratio of your weight comes from fat and a higher ratio of your weight comes from lean mass) or you participate in a vigorous strength training regiment (heavy loads 4-6 days per week), you will want to consume a higher amount of protein.  Try to eat a post-workout snack consisting of 15-20 grams of protein within 30 minutes after your workout to deliver a protein shot to your muscles to stimulate recovery.  

When it comes to selecting your sources of protein, your most beneficial source will come from animal proteins such as lean chicken, beef, and dairy.  These sources have "complete" strands of amino acids and are therefore most beneficial to the body.  Vegetable protein sources found in nuts, legumes, and seeds are also beneficial; however, they are what are considered "incomplete" sources of protein. This means you must mix and match sources to form a complete, usable strand of amino acids, versus animal protein which is more of a "one stop shop" protein source.  Getting enough protein can seem like a daunting task for some, but it is important for muscular transformation.  It is best if you consume your protein from natural sources but supplements can be a helpful aid to supplement your protein intake if need be.  Experts agree that a whey protein supplement is most beneficial because whey protein is easily broken down, meaning it is delivered quickly to the muscles.  When shopping for a supplement look for one with a low amount of fat and sugar.  There are many different kinds, some boasting high quantities of protein, but be sure to read the nutrition label because these tend to also have large amounts of fat and sugar as well.

Try these high protein post workout snacks:
Chicken, Turkey, or Tuna Sandwich (3oz meat on wheat bread)
Hard boiled egg (2-3) yolks included
5 oz Greek yogurt
8-16oz low fat chocolate milk
1 scoop whey protein with water or milk

Still have questions about protein and how much you should have?  Schedule an appointment with our nutrition specialist today to learn more.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Are You Sitting and "Weighting" for Your Body to Change?

I can't tell you how many times I've heard some of my training clients say "I work out so hard with you and I eat right...so why is the scale not changing??".  First of all, nutrition is a HUGE component of weight loss and although many people feel they are eating "right", they may still be lacking in well-rounded, nutritious meals/snacks.  Second, which is the focus of today's blog, think about how active you are (or are not) when you are not in the gym working out (with or without a trainer).  Granted you may be busting it during your 30-minute session, 2-3 times per week with your trainer.  However, that is only 60-90 minutes of the 10,080 minutes in the week (roughly 0.6-0.9% of the week).  What are you doing the other approximately 960 minutes in the day when you are awake?  Here's what I am getting at...the average person sits 9.3 hours a day.  So even if you are a competitive athlete doing "two-a-day" workouts, it is still possible to lead a sedentary lifestyle.

It's time to take inventory of your activity levels in a 24-hour period.  When you subtract out time for good, quality sleep, that will leave you with around 14-16 hours.  Granted you may have a job that requires you to sit through most of your work day.  However, unless your job physically requires you to stay tethered to your desk (i.e., call centers), then you still have the opportunity to add activity to your day.  As time evolves, we spend less time moving the muscles in our body.  Our grandparents and great-grandparents lived more physical lives than we do now.  Yes, technology was virtually non-existent when they were growing up, but is there too much technology in your life?  We don't have to use our muscles to open the garage door, to lower a car window, to change the channel on the television, or even get a message to a co-worker down the hall.  Technology has made all of that (and more) easier for us but it is taking away our ability to be physically active.

Once you look at how many hours are left in your day after sleeping, think about how you can make your day more active.  Walk down the hall to talk to a co-worker instead of sending an e-mail or instant message; stand (and pace) when talking on the phone; hang your laundry outside instead of throwing it in the dryer; bike to work; walk to the store around the corner instead of driving.  Put the computer/tablet/smart phone down and go outside and play with your kids or dog(s).

Burn more calories throughout your day and, in conjunction with a sound nutrition plan and regular exercise, you will see changes in your body.  Don't sit and "weight"...instead stand and lose!  One of the few times you'll hear me say that being a "loser" is a good thing!  Get up and get active.  Your health and your waistline will benefit.


Monday, November 26, 2012

Consistency Is The Key

It's about that time of the year.  The holidays are fast approaching and the excuses are starting to fly.  Excuses for what, you ask?  Excuses for not exercising and eating properly.  I say "excuses" because a lot of times that's what they are.  Americans are famous for living big, eating "super-sized" portions and, more often than not, making excuses for not having our health higher on the priority totem pole.  How often have you said "I don't have time to go to the gym today", but yet you spent more than an hour in front of the computer or television?  How often have you gone out to eat, consumed large portions of fried or high-fatty foods, then felt miserable the next day?  I've said it before and I'll say it again...it's time to make time for you and your health.  It's time you make your health the number one priority because if your health fails, how will you continue to do all the things you do now?

So instead of trying to force yourself into lofty fitness and nutrition goals during this holiday season, just shoot for consistency this year.  Consistency with getting away from the computer/television and participate in some sort of physical activity.  Even if it's just means getting out of the house and going for a walk in your neighborhood, your heart and lungs will thank you.  Consistency with your nutrition plan by not gorging on every dish at holiday parties but instead sampling a few items and keeping your plate balanced with vegetables and protein.  Consistency with alcohol consumption at holiday gatherings by alternating water after each alcoholic drink and choosing low-calorie drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic).

Take the time to plan out your holiday events.  If you know there will be a big spread of food and you don't think you'll have the will-power to say "no", eat a healthy meal before you leave the house then you can sample a few items instead of overloading your plate at the party.  Be smart this year and try to maintain your weight instead of gaining weight.  Did you know the average American gains 7-12 pounds during Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays?  Don't become part of that statistic this year.  Enjoy time with family and friends, be smart with your food choices, and most of all, try to fit in a little exercise each day.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Success at Obtaining Fitness Goals (Part 6)

Closing out Brad Covington's blog on becoming successful at obtaining your fitness goals, here is the final piece to the puzzle.  Be sure to go back and check out his introduction, part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, and part 5.

F.I.T.T. PRINCIPLE

The F.I.T.T. Principle is what determines your fitness program. What does it stand for? 
  • F = Frequency
  • I = Intensity
  • T = Time (Duration)
  • T = Type

Frequency

Frequency is how often you do your fitness program.  As with any fitness program you should start off slowly and increase in duration as you become more fit to consistently challenge your body.

Intensity

Intensity is how hard you are working out.  The more in shape you get, the harder you work out. The harder you work out, the more efficient your body will become at maximizing its fat-burning capacity.

Time

Time is the amount of time you spend in the gym...excluding talking/socializing!  Pretty simple, the more in shape you are in, the longer you can go. 

Type

Type is the type of workouts you are doing, such as strength training, endurance training, cardiovascular training, or interval training.  A properly designed fitness program will have a cross-training effect that will tap into all energy systems to maximize time in the gym.

Use this principle to determine your fitness plan to help meet your goals at the gym.  Make sure to mix it up, be consistent, work hard, and have fun!!!  You will never leave the gym feeling worse than when you come in, it's the phenomenon!!!

So there you have it...a seven-piece puzzle to ensure your success at obtaining your fitness goals.  It's not rocket science but it will take some energy on your part to plan your program and to stick with it.  Remember, consult a trained professional when in doubt or if problems arise.  Don't go in it alone!  Gather some friends, family members or co-workers and make a challenge.  You will be more likely to stick with it and be successful if you have a partner (or two) to help you along the way.  You can do it!!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Success at Obtaining Fitness Goals (Part 5)

Here is "Part 5" in Brad Covington's blog on becoming successful at obtaining your fitness goals.  Be sure to go back and check out his introduction, part 1, part 2, and part 3, and part 4.

KNOWLEDGE

The last piece in this series is about knowledge, specifically when it pertains to fitness and your body.  A lot of people think because they begin a workout program, they will immediately
begin to lose weight.  This is a myth due to a basic lack of knowledge about the fitness industry.  Remember, it took you a while to get to where you are today if you are just starting a fitness program, it will take a while to get to where you want to be.

The first stages of beginning a workout program are developing habits, goal setting, and changing mental thought processes.   Don’t worry about losing weight...worry about doing things the right way.  If you do things the right way and develop the proper habits, everything else will simply fall into place.

How do I get there?  Here is where the knowledge part comes into play.   First of all, you have to come into your venture with a well organized plan.   Unless you are in the fitness field and do this on a daily basis, you may have no idea where you should start.  This is why I always encourage people to hire a fitness professional when they first start.  If you start off on the right foot and get pointed in the right direction, you are much more likely to continue your workout program and make the lifelong changes you so desire.

You should develop your program based on your goals.  This will help you to determine how much cardio activity to do, what type of cardiovascular program to be on, what type of strength program you should be on, where to keep your heart rate during your cardiovascular program, how long to maintain your heart rate when you are exercising, how many calories to consume, etc.

Before starting, make sure you understand what you are trying to accomplish.  Be sure to have the right workout designed for you, taking into consideration your abilities and any medical issues.  If you have any questions, make sure to ask a trained professional

In my final part of this series, I will talk about the F.I.T.T. principle and how it can answer a lot of these questions for you.  In the meantime, talk with a trained professional and learn how you can get started in the right direction.  Remember, the fitness professionals here at PROMATx Health Club are here to help you achieve your goals a give you that body transformation you are looking for!!  Stop by or call us today.



Monday, October 29, 2012

Success at Obtaining Fitness Goals (Part 4)

Here is "Part 4" in Brad Covington's blog on becoming successful at obtaining your fitness goals.  Be sure to go back and check out his introduction, part 1, part 2, and part 3.


The next topic we will discuss on being successful at the gym is nutrition...the most vital portion of any fitness program.  There a 2 different mentalities when people join the local gym/fitness center:
  1. I am working out, I can eat whatever I want. 
  2. I am working out, I can’t eat anything and must restrict my diet.

These two trains of thought are both wrong. First it is not strictly about calories, it is about the right calories.   Not all calories are created equal.  For example, a piece of cake is not going to have the same effect on the body as a piece of grilled chicken or cup of broccoli.  So, it is not simply about “counting calories” as much as it is about “eating clean”, as we in the fitness industry like to put it.

What does that mean exactly?

For starters, take all refined sugars out of your body, it is the enemy.  Refined sugars are simply wasted empty calories that the body will turn into fat.  They will make you feel sluggish, unfocused, and unmotivated.

Second, make sure to take out all of the saturated fats in your diet. What that means is stop frying your foods and, instead, bake them, broil them, grill them.  Just don’t fry them!!!  It also means getting leaner meats and not as much red meat.  Add more fish and chicken, which are low in saturated fat.  Fish have a lot of omega-3 fatty acids that will aid in your fat loss.

Also, that means we need to eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies.  Be careful with the fruits though, they still have sugar in them, just not refined sugars.  Eat as many veggies as you can stomach!!  Remember, you are what you eat from your head down to your feet. Remember that one, it is true!!!

Last but not least, leave all of the processed food alone.  If it is processed, it is full of sodium and artificial chemicals that help with the preservation and increase the shelf life.  Have you ever been to France?  Have you noticed there are a lot of smaller people, not a lot of overweight individuals and all they do is eat pasta and drink wine?!  How can this be?  There food is not processed like the food in the good ole USA!!!  So stay away from it and you will see your fitness goals approach faster then you ever thought possible!!!

I almost forgot. Drink your H2O (water) ladies and gentlemen!!!!  If you do not drink enough water, your liver will not metabolize fat as efficiently as it should because it will be taking on some of the function of the kidneys.  So, you are not letting the liver do its job (fat metabolism) because it is doing the job of the kidneys. In fact, most people will retain 5-15lbs. of fluid because 95% of America is walking around dehydrated.   Don’t forget your caffeine intake.   For every 8 oz. of caffeine you consume, you will need to take in 16 oz. of water to replenish the fluids you lose through dehydration because caffeine is a diuretic.  To calculate the amount of water you need per day, simply take your body weight and multiply it by 0.66.  Remember, this does not take into account your caffeine intake throughout the day!!!

Stay tuned for "Part 5"!  If you need assistance with tackling your nutritional habits, schedule an appointment with our nutrition specialist here at PROMATx Health Club.  We will help get you on the right track!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Success at Obtaining Fitness Goals (Part 3)

Continuing on with our guest blogger series on fitness goals, here is Brad Covington's "Part 3".  If you missed previous entries by Brad be sure to check out his introduction, part 1, and part 2.

CONSISTENCY
 
The next part of the blog in this series is about consistency.  There are going to be times when you will have great workouts and times when you won't have good workouts, but you still have to show up.  Workouts are a lot like life - you have to mix in the good with the bad, but you still have to be present to experience both.

One of the worst things you can do, especially when you first start a workout program, is to not show up.  You have to be consistent with what you are doing or it will not work.  It takes 21 days to change a habit, so even if the first part of your workout is simply to show up and do a light workout, that will suffice.  As you begin to develop your habits and you feel your energy levels, strength, and endurance begin to increase, then you should gradually start to increase your intensity, frequency, and duration (commonly known as the F.I.T.T. Principle).

However, if you start and you are here one day this week and maybe three times next week and then don’t even bother showing up at all the third week, you are doomed for failure.  So, how can you become more consistent?  I am glad you asked.  The first thing I would do if I did not have any fitness experience is to meet with a qualified fitness professional and have them make up a plan for me.  You can pull anything off of the internet, but does that make it right for you?  Probably not.  Does the program set a baseline fitness level for you?  Take into account your medical history?  Does it take into account your fitness experience?  Having the right plan developed for you and your needs is vital for you to start and maintain your fitness program.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions either.  Many people stop working out because they feel silly for doing exercises on the main floor.  Guess what?  Most people do exercises wrong anyway, so don’t sweat it.   If you are unsure about something, ask one of the fitness professionals at your club, they will be more than happy to show you the proper way to use the machine or perform an exercise.  Remember, if you learn to do an exercise incorrectly, you will continue to do it wrong and will more than likely end up getting hurt.  If you learn to do it right, you will continue to do it right and have better results and enjoy your experience a whole lot more. 

Stay tuned next week for "Part 4" in my series.  Until then, stop by PROMATx Health Club and let our fitness professionals help you get started!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Raising Awareness for Breast Cancer

OK men.  Just because today's topic is about breast cancer, it's not just geared towards women.  Did you know, according to the U.S. Breast Cancer statistics:
  • About 1 in 8 U.S. women (just under 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.
  • In 2011, an estimated 230,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed in women in the U.S., along with 57,650 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer.
  • About 2,140 new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed in men in 2011. A man’s lifetime risk of breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000.
In other words, just because you are male doesn't mean your risk for developing breast cancer is void.  Therefore today's blog is just about raising awareness. 

With October in full swing, you probably have heard this month is "Breast Cancer Awareness" month.  Instead of haunting you with the gloom and doom of death statistics, our focus today is to just open your mind a little more.  Did you know that in 2011, there were more than 2.6 million breast cancer survivors in the United States?   That means with early detection and early treatment, this doesn't have to be a deadly disease.  For a little background on risk factors for developing breast cancer, refer back to our blog from 2011.

Everyone should be aware of the risks...even if you DON'T have a family history of breast cancer.  Sure your risk may be lower if no one in your family has had or has breast cancer but almost 85% of all breast cancer diagnoses are in women with no family history!!  This is due to genetic mutations that occur through the aging process and through other lifestyle factors.  All the more reason to lead a healthy lifestyle!!

I'm sure most of us know at least one person who is battling (or has battled) breast cancer.  A co-worker, a friend, a family member.  Maybe you participated in a "Susan G. Komen Race for a Cure" event; maybe you saw a celebrity who publicized his or her battle with breast cancer; maybe you saw someone in the grocery store with little to no hair from chemotherapy wearing a little pink ribbon.  It's all around us and it's time to take notice.  Do your part to stay healthy and live a clean lifestyle.  Be sure to know your risks for all diseases based on your family history, your gender, your age, and your lifestyle.  Get regular medical check-ups to catch problems early.  Most of all be aware, be brave, and be healthy!!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Success at Obtaining Fitness Goals (Part 2)

Here is part 2 in Brad Covington's series on how to be successful in obtaining your fitness goals at the gym.  If you haven't read Part 1 yet, be sure to go back and read it before reading this blog entry.

The next 2 phases of being successful that I am going to discuss are "drive" and "motivation".  Each serves as its own purpose, but both are needed to be successful.

DRIVE

What is drive?  Drive is that "inner will" to be successful; that little voice inside your head that says "yes, I can" when your body is saying "no, I can't".  Remember pain is temporary and if being healthy and in shape were easy, everyone would be doing it!!  It is hard to get into shape, it is hard to push through when things are tough.  Kind of reminds you a little of life, right?  So are you going to be successful or are you going to give up?  This is the very foundation of what drive is...don't make excuses, make results!  If you can find this inner being, nothing will hold you back and only positive outcomes are sure to follow.

MOTIVATION

What motivates you?  Find out what that is and never forget it!  Why did you start your workout program?  To feel better?  To look better?  To be healthy?  To get off your medications?  Reunion?  Whatever your motivation is...NEVER FORGET IT!  If you are doing this for an event such as a reunion, make sure there is something else behind it to keep you driving forward.  As long as you have motivation and a reason, everything else will fall into place.

As you read this series you will start to see how all of these topics are closely related and one leads to the next.  That is the point...to see all the factors involved in becoming successful and making the lifestyle changes you are looking for.  If you ever have any questions, please let us know.  That is why we are here!!

Good luck and stay tuned for part 3.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Success at Obtaining Fitness Goals - Introduction

Continuing on with our guest blogger series this month......

My name is Brad Covington and this is the introduction to my fitness blog series on how to be successful in obtaining your goals at the gym.  A little background information on myself, I have been in the fitness industry for 17 years and been training for 16 years.  I graduated with a B.S. in Kinesiology from the University of Kentucky and also was the Fitness Director at World Gym here in Lexington for three years.

From there I was a co-founder of PROMATx and we started out doing in-home personal training and contracted out personal training for several local facilities in Lexington, Georgetown, and Richmond.  In October, we will have been in business for 11 years, with the last 9 years here at our current location on the corner of Winchester Rd. and New Circle Rd. at PROMATx Health Club.

Why did I get into this field?  Because this is who I am!  I love to help people.  I love to see people grow, become more confident, healthy, happier, and more productive!  You don’t get into this business for the money, you get in to it to change lives in a more positive way.  Pretty simple...I like people and I love watching them succeed!!!

Now you know a little about me, let tell you a little about this next series and what areas I am going to be covering.   In the next several weeks I am going to tell you what it takes to be successful at the gym, not simply just going to the gym.  We will cover the following topics and show how they are all intertwined to create one common goal...SUCCESS!!!

* Discipline, Focus, Drive, Motivation, Consistency, Nutrition, Knowledge, and the FITT Principle.

So sit back, relax, and let's hone in on what exactly it takes to achieve what you never thought possible.   If you ever have any questions, please let us know.  You can reach us at info@promatx.com.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Stability Discs - How to Improve Balance & Core

So you've seen those little pillows of air in the gym.  You may have seen someone standing on them.  But what are they and what are they for?  Those pillows of air are stability (or balance) discs and you can do a variety of exercises on them to improve your balance and strengthen your core.  Just for some background information, refer back to our blog entries on balance and core.

Remember, balance exercises aren't just for the elderly.  Everyone should take some time to perform balance exercises to improve core strength and to increase strength in the ligaments of the ankles.  If you are a runner and do any trail running or compete in cross country or mud runs, balance exercises are extremely helpful since you participate/compete on uneven surfaces.  Once you master simple balance exercises you can increase the difficulty by performing the same exercises on stability discs.  Here are a few examples of stability disc exercises you can do to improve your balance and core strength.
  1. Bird Dog:
    • Get down on all fours with hands directly under your shoulders and knees under hips.
    • Place a stability disc under your right hand and left knee.
    • Lift and extend your left arm and right leg.
    • Repeat 10-15 times then switch the discs and repeat on the other side.
  2. Squat
    • Stand on 2 stability discs with feet shoulder-width apart.
    • While balancing on the discs perform a squat as low as you can go.
    • Press feet into discs and stand back up.
    • Repeat 10-15 times.
  3. Half-Kneel Run
    • In a half-kneeling position on your left knee, place a stability disc under your right foot.
    • Be sure your left knee is under your hip and right foot is under your right knee.
    • Grasp 5-pound dumbbells in each hand.
    • Sitting up tall, swing arms as fast as you can without twisting your torso.
    • "Run" for 30-60 seconds and repeat on other side.
    • Can be performed with no dumbbells in hands.
  4. Plank/Mountain Climber
    • Place a stability disc under each hand and extend legs back until you are balancing on your hands and toes.
    • Lower hips slightly so you body is in a straight line from shoulders to toes.
    • Be sure your hands are directly under your shoulders.
    • Hold this plank position for 30-60 seconds.
    • To perform the mountain climber, bring one knee into your chest then quickly switch legs.
    • Repeat for 30-60 seconds. 
  5. Curtsy Squat
    • Start with feet shoulder-width apart and hands on hips.
    • Place stability discs in front of you at a diagonal from each leg.
    • Lift right leg off the ground and step in front of left leg at a diagonal so your right foot steps on the disc.
    • Push off with right foot and return to starting position.
    • Repeat with left leg.
    • Repeat both sides 10-15 times.
As a reminder, you should be able to correctly perform each of these exercises WITHOUT the discs BEFORE adding a stability disc to your routine.  Once you've mastered the exercise then add the disc(s) and perform the same move.  A little more difficult, huh?  When balancing on the discs with your hands or your feet, try to keep the pillow of air stable.  In other words, when standing on the disc, try not to allow the toes to go to the ground or the heels...balance yourself on the disc.  You may wobble around a little bit until you become proficient with these exercises.  That's OK...just keep working at it!!

So the next time you are in the gym, try your hand (or foot) at stability disc exercises.  You'll find out just how proficient you are with your balance.  Don't worry if you fall off the discs.  Stand close to a wall or machine so you can hold on in the beginning.  Gradually work your way further from the wall/machine and let your body take over with improving balance.  Good luck!!  Don't forget...if you need assistance with these or any exercises, be sure to talk with a fitness professional.  We are here for you!!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Success at Obtaining Fitness Goals (Part 1)

It's time for another guest blogger series.  This month our guest is PROMATx Health Club owner and trainer, Brad Covington.  In his 4-part series, Brad will discuss what keeps people from obtaining their goals at the gym and what they can do to be successful.

There are a lot of determining factors to make sure you are successful when deciding to embark on a "fitter you".
  • Discipline
  • Focus
  • Drive
  • Motivation
  • Consistency
  • Nutrition
  • Knowledge
The first two I will focus on is "discipline" and "focus".   Without these two vital steps, obtaining your fitness goals will be a challenge.

DISCIPLINE

What defines who you are, what drives you, and how can you make sure to stay disciplined when you embark on your fitness journey?  The first step to help with your discipline is to find accountability.  This can come in different forms and I recommend doing all of them if you are serious about changing the current state in which you live and function.
  • Make sure to have someone you are accountable to...don't leave it to chance.
    • Hire a personal trainer, get a workout buddy, post it on Facebook or some other type of social media...anything that will have some external force to keep you accountable and on track.
    • The more accountability you have the more compliant you will be.  This will keep you on the right path to success.
  • Keep a food/exercise journal.
    • Research has shown you will lose 64% more weight if you keep track of everything you are doing.
    • Not only does it make you more aware of your caloric intake, water consumption, and consistency of your exercise patterns, it will also aid you in taking it to a more experienced person who could make modifications to your program if you reach a plateau. 
FOCUS

How can you zero in on your goals without letting life get in the way?  This is one thing that can compromise your fitness program to the point of no return!
  • Visualization will help you stay the course and stay focused.
    • What is visualization, you ask?  Get a picture that you would like to look like or a pair of jeans you would like to fit into.  Look at that picture or jeans every day.
    • This will serve as a reminder as to why you are doing the things you are doing to get into better shape.
    • When things get tough, take a look and this will serve as a reminder and help keep you focused on your goals you have set up for yourself.
  • Remember to always set goals for yourself.
    • By doing this you will again increase the level of focus and help you maintain it.
    • When you are setting goals, make sure to set up short-term and long-term goals.
    • The short-term goals will keep you focused on the task at hand while the long-term goals will make sure you stay the course.
    • Make sure the goals are attainable and realistic.  By hitting these goals it will help you vault yourself to the next goal!!
Stay tuned for more tips from Brad on being successful at obtaining your fitness goals.  In the meantime, be sure to go back and check out our blog entry on setting S.M.A.R.T. goals.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Burn 100 Calories - Ways to Light Your Internal Fire

We have talked before about the "Energy Balance Equation" which basically states, to lose weight you must expend more calories than you consume.  In this age of technology, people are much more sedentary because we have all the technology we need at our fingertips.  Kids spend less time outside running around and playing; adults sit in front of their computers/tablets more often throughout the day; families spend less active time together.  If you've been following this blog for a while, you should know that activating your day is important to your overall health and decreases your risk for chronic diseases.  But, other than going to the gym to workout, do you know other ways to burn calories?  Let's take a look at things you can do (from basic exercises to chores around the house) to burn an extra 100 calories.

First let me state this list is an "approximation" of calories burned and it is based on a 150-pound person.  If you weigh more than 150 pounds you will burn more than what's listed below and vice versa.  Here are ways to burn those 100 calories in the gym:
  • Biking: 23 minutes of casual cycling
  • Elliptical: 8 minutes
  • Jumping rope: 9 minutes at a moderate intensity
  • Lifting weights, vigorously: 15 minutes
  • Running: 9 minutes of running at a 6 mph pace
  • Swimming: 15 minutes moderate intensity
  • Walking stairs: 11 minutes
  • Walking: 20 minutes of walking at a 3 mph pace
  • Zumba: 11 minutes
 If you are working around the house, here are some other ideas to burn 100 calories:
  • Mowing the lawn: 20 minutes
  • Raking leaves: 23 minutes
  • Shoveling snow: 15 minutes
  • Washing the car: 20 minutes
  • Weeding the garden: 18 minutes
Finally, here are a few everyday activities you can add to your day to burn 100 calories:
  • Carrying an infant: 24 minutes
  • Cleaning, moderate effort: 26 minutes
  • Cooking: 34 minutes
  • Doing dishes: 40 minutes
  • Mopping the floor: 20 minutes
  • Playing with children: 23 minutes
  • Pushing a stroller: 35 minutes
  • Rearranging furniture: 14 minutes
  • Shopping: 38 minutes
  • Sweeping: 23 minutes
  • Walking the dog: 26 minutes
Now you really have "NO EXCUSES" to get active!!  Add a few of these suggestions into your day and help put your energy balance equation back in the right direction.

Activate Your Day!!!

 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Weight Loss Tips (Part 4)


Here is the final entry in our guest blogger series for this month from Carrie Covington.  Remember, go back and check out Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 before reading this blog.

You are making it worse. 

If you had a disease and your doctor told you that you could take this certain medicine but it would actually make the disease worse, would you do it?  I can guess everyone answered "no".  Dieting is the same way.  It is not a cure to our weight problem; it is part of the problem.

Tip #5:  Stop going on diets.  Educate yourself on nutrients.  Learn what you need and when you need it.  The key to losing weight is changing your metabolism to burn more calories than you take in.  Diets do the exact opposite.  When you restrict your calories too much, your metabolism slows down because your body goes into “starvation mode”.   This is a defense mechanism that allows our bodies to survive on less.  Your body will start using lean muscle as an energy source and it will protect the fat stores.  The less muscle we have, the lower our metabolic rate will be and the less calories we burn.  On the flip side for every pound of muscle you have, you will burn 50 more calories. 

If you are unclear on what a good nutrition plan is then seek help.  Find a professional that can help you with a meal plan to help you lose weight without restriction.  Include foods you enjoy and get plenty of variety.  Combine your meal plan with a balanced exercise program and you will become healthy with the side effect of weight loss.

Remember, the staff at PROMATx Health Club are here to help you but you have to take the first step.  Make an appointment today to talk with our nutrition specialist.  Find out how we can get you back on track and help you lose the weight.  Then work with one of our trainers to get your body back in tip-top shape.  You won't regret it...but you will have to work at it!! 

 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Recovery Days...Do You Include Them in Your Training?

Recovery days.  We need them after a heavy workout or competition/game/race but do you incorporate these days into your training regimen?  If not, you should.  During exercise the body actually breaks down muscle tissue in order to rebuild and repair.  If you don't provide your body with adequate rest and recovery, you could be sending yourself into an overtraining scenario.  Now before you get upset with me, recovery days are not always complete rest.  Active recovery days are just as important as your training days.  Once your muscles have been broken down during the workout, they will immediately begin rebuilding and repairing.  You may notice that after a heavy workout or competition, your muscles are sore and you might even feel a little "puffy".  The soreness is a build-up of proteins released during the "breaking down" process.  That usually lasts about 24-48 hours after your workout.  Muscles might be "puffy" or swollen as the body sends extra fluids and white blood cells to the area to help "clean up".  This is a natural body process and is actually helpful, even though it's merely uncomfortable for you.

So how do you know when you should have recovery days?  First and foremost if you have a particularly heavy workout or big competition, active recovery the following day is extremely important.  If your training regimen includes "general" exercise and isn't too strenuous on a daily basis, then you should include at least one or two active recovery days in a week.  But what is "active recovery"?  On the days you dedicate to active recovery, you can perform light cardio activity with an emphasis on stretching.  An excellent way to achieve this is to hop in a pool.  The cooler temperatures of the pool combined with the buoyancy of the water will provide your body with the proper conditions to reduce muscle tension and swelling.  You can perform light activities such as walking or easy lap swimming followed by static stretching at the pool wall.  The key component in an active recovery is to keep the intensity low enough so your body doesn't further deplete your energy stores.  During your active recovery, be sure to rest and rehydrate frequently.

Passive recovery is more along the lines of total rest and stretching.  Here again, pools can be beneficial.  If you have the ability to be in a warmer water pool, focus more on static stretching in the warmer climate.  Be wary of jumping in the hot tub though.  The higher water temperature of the hot tub can increase blood flow to sore muscles which may increase swelling and discomfort.  If you only have access to a hot tub, then keep time spent in the water minimal (i.e., 1-2 minutes).  You can even do a contrast bath where you are in warmer/hot water for a minute or two then immediately get in a cooler shower/bath for 10-60 seconds.  This can be repeated three times.  Again, be sure to properly rehydrate during this time.

Remember, muscle soreness is natural and should be expected after a workout.  If, however, it does not dissipate or gets worse after a couple of days, then you may need to seek the advice of a certified trainer or, worse case scenario, seek medical attention.  Whether you choose active or passive recovery is dependent on the type of activity you perform and the intensity levels.  Regardless you should incorporate one type of recovery in your weekly routine.  Your body will recover faster and performance will improve by giving your body the rest it needs (and deserves!).  You don't have to "go-go-go" all the time.  Give yourself a little down time to recover and reflect.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Weight Loss Tips (Part 3)

Continuing with our guest blogger series from Carrie Covington, here is Part 3 of "Weight Loss Tips".  If you missed the previous entries, check out Part 1 and Part 2 before continuing to read this blog.

There is no wagon to fall off or track to get on… 

We have to change our relationship with food to have permanent weight loss.  I am sure there are some foods you feel like you can’t ever have if you want to lose weight and keep it off.  You may even label every food as “good” or “bad”.  I can relate…I was once there.  It was torture to always wish I could eat anything I wanted.  In reality, I can and you can.

Tip#3:  Get rid of the guilt and get rid of labels.  There is no wagon to fall off of or a track to get back on…be where you are!  We are completely in control of what we put in our mouth and, in moderation, everything is OK.  Learning a proper portion can help you feel that you can eat foods you may label as “bad”.   It is more about being in a place that you want the healthier choices because you know it is better for you.  Hear this. You are in control of your choices, they are not in control of you...although sometimes the vicious cycle makes you feel that way. 

Tip #4:  Learn to have emotion.  A poor relationship with food will often result in emotional eating.  When you are motivated, you will replace the bag of chips or gallon of ice cream at bedtime with carrots and fat free dip but what is more important is finding what void your eating is filling and fill the void.  Emotional eating is a hard habit to break and an easy one to fall back into.  From birth we are comforted with food from the bottle to the suckers at the doctor’s office.  So give yourself slack if you struggle in this area, it is how we are programmed.  However, if you want to have permanent weight loss you need to fill the emotional void without feeding the emotion.  If you are tired, sleep don’t eat.  If you are sad, what can you do to cheer up?  If you are stressed, learn stress management tools.  If you are bored, then finish one of the hundreds of projects that you have started.  Emotional eating will sabotage your weight loss.  Again remember Tip #1:  weight loss is NOT mindless.  Learning to have emotion is healthy...stop trying to numb it!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Weight Loss Tips (Part 2)

Hopefully you have had a chance to read "Part 1" of this series this month.  If not, take a moment and go back and read "Weight Loss Tips (Part 1)".  So here is part 2 of the series from Carrie Covington.

Tell me if you can relate…

How many times have you had "THE TIME" you're motivated, encouraged, you have a great plan and then you get into your life and just can’t make it work or just don’t know what to do?  Sure, you have a great plan - set small goals, eat this, do that, blah, blah, blah…but when the reality hits that you have to do it AND follow it, you just don’t. 

Tip #2:  You must want it and you must know exactly what you want.  If you are perfectly content, stop complaining and be thankful.  But, if you are in a place that you so desperately do not want to be, you will do whatever it takes to not be there.  Having a powerful reason to lose the weight is crucial.  I have found that wanting to be a size "X" is not always enough to keep you motivated.  However, wanting to feel confident, being included in the family pictures, or being able to have energy to play with your kids is enough.  Some questions to ask yourself would be…
  1. What are you missing out on because of your weight?  
  2. What would your life look like if you were "X" pounds lighter? 
  3. What activities would you be doing that you are not doing now?  
  4. What is it that you want that you don’t have?  
  5.  If you don’t lose the weight what will happen?  
Once you have your reason, create your statement.  Use verbs such as I will, I can, and I am.  By changing the way you think you will take more positive actions.  Forget the past, it will only hold you back, keep your eyes forward pressing towards your goal. 

Stay tuned for "Part 3" of this series.  In the meantime, if you need assistance getting started, call or stop by PROMATx Health Club and make an appointment with Carrie or our nutrition specialist so that we can help you lose the weight and be more confident.  Don't wait...we are here to help!

 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Nutrition and Injury Recovery

Unfortunately we've all been there before...recovering from some sort of injury.  We've sat on the sidelines a time or two, waiting (sometimes impatiently) to get back on the court/field/course.  While you were waiting, what did you do?  Probably you rested, maybe you did some sort of therapy either through a medical professional or on your own.  But did you take into consideration your nutrition plan while you were recovering?  Probably not.  Nutrition is so important, not only when you are healthy but also when your body is going through its repair process.  This blog will give you a few ideas on how to improve your nutrition plan during recovery to lessen the time spent on the sidelines.

During the injury healing process, inflammation occurs almost immediately and can last up to 5 days post-injury.  This is when the body sends extra help to the injured area to help speed up recovery.  While it may be uncomfortable with swelling, heat and redness in the injured area, this is an important part of the healing process.  During this time dietary fat plays an important role.  Omega-6 fats and trans-fats both promote inflammation in the body while omega-3 fats and monounsaturated fats both inhibit inflammation.  As much as you want the swelling to go down, it is vital to allow the body to promote natural healing.  Therefore, during the injury recovery process, especially within a few days of injury, you should up the intake of omega-6 fats slightly.  The ideal ratio during recovery is 2-3 omega-6 fats to every omega-3 fat.  The easiest way to do this, without getting into calculating fat contents, is to increase your intake of olive oil, mixed nuts, avocados, flax oil, ground flax, and other seeds, etc., making sure to get some of each fat source every day.  By eating these foods, you'll likely balance out the saturated fats naturally present in your protein sources.  In addition to that, add approximately 3-6g of fish oil while decreasing your omega-6 fat (i.e., corn oil, safflower oil, processed foods) intake.

Another route you can take to help your body recover from injury is to add certain spices/herbs to your daily nutrition plan.  Because of the side effects of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen and naproxen sodium, many people rely on the anti-inflammatory properties of herbs and spices.  Theoretically, NSAIDs should only be taken during the acute phase of the injury (5 days post injury) because when taken early in the healing process, it rapids blocks the inflammation process.  Remember, this is an important phase because the body sends chemicals to the affected area to clean up the injury and start the healing process.  If inflammation is blocked too early, the body may take longer to heal.  Some herbs and spices that are helpful are:
  1. Curry powder/turmeric – This member of the ginger family has long been used as an anti-inflammatory and for wound healing.  The active ingredient, curcumin, is likely responsible for the effects.  Aim for 1 tsp per day of the powder or 400-600mg of the supplement, 3 times per day. 
  2. Garlic – This has been shown to inhibit inflammatory enzymes.  Adding it to the diet is helpful, but a supplement might be even better.  Aim for 2-4 garlic cloves each day (if you can tolerate it) or 600 to 1,200mg of aged garlic extract. 
  3. Boswellia – A favorite of Ayurvedic medicine, boswellia has many pharmacological uses.  As an anti-inflammatory, try 300mg 3 times per day. 
  4. Pineapple – Bromelain, found in pineapple, is another anti-inflammatory that’s great for digestion and for inflammation/pain relief.  Aim for 2 cups of pineapple per day or 500-1,000mg in supplemental form.
Calorie intake is another important area to take into consideration.  When physical activity is limited or training stops, the body will naturally need less calories to function.  However, even though the training stops, your body still needs an increase in calories to support the healing process.  Many people undereat when they are injured which can slow down the healing process.  Depending on the severity of the injury, your body will need 15-50% more calories than your basal metabolic rate (BMR).  BMR is the amount of calories needed to sustain life and for your body to function at rest.  So while you may not need as many calories during injury healing as you do during active training, it still will be higher than what your body requires when sedentary.

Finally, macronutrients such as protein, carbs and fat should be consumed in sufficient quantities to help the body heal.  Protein should be about 1g per pound of body weight; 1/3 of your diet should come from fat and that amount should be further broken down to include 1/3 saturated fat, 1/3 monounsaturated fat, and 1/3 polyunsaturated fat.  In terms of carbohydrates, there is no recommended level for injury recovery.  You should consume enough carbohydrates to support brain function and provide adequate macronutrient intake.

The important thing to remember is to be sure to eat frequently throughout the day and incorporate the principles listed above to ensure you are consuming high quality, nutrient-dense foods.  Your body will recover quicker and you will be back on the playing field again.  If you still need help with figuring out what to eat during injury recovery, contact PROMATx Health Club and set up an appointment with our nutrition specialist.  We are here to help and we are able to guide you through your recovery process.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Weight Loss Tips (Part 1)


Meet Carrie Covington...

Hi, I’m Carrie.  I have been working out for 20 years now and in the industry as a fitness professional for 17 years with a degree in Kinesiology from the University of Kentucky.  In 2001, I became a founding partner of PROMATx Health Club.  Working in several different gyms in Lexington, we saw that the industry catered to the fit more than the unfit.  PROMATx was founded to provide a non-intimidating, friendly, and family-oriented atmosphere where real people feel comfortable to workout.  It was our mission to provide this space so that lives can be changed and memberships are used instead of wasted.  My personal passion is to help empower women to find freedom from the mental exhaustion that comes from counting calories in versus calories out, comparing their body to others, and most of all missing out on LIFE!  Over the years, I have watched countless women search for the "secret formula" to weight loss success.  They look for an easy solution that will melt away the pounds without changing the way they eat, the way they think, or by adding more activity.  As a former searcher I can tell you there is NO SECRET! Weight loss is hard and permanent weight loss is about changing everything. During the month of September, I will be coaching you and sharing my top 5 tips to stop the search for the secret to “get and stay skinny” and commit to a lifestyle change. 

Tip #1:  Weight loss is NOT mindless.  It is actually the opposite…it is very mindful.  You must have a plan and you must follow the plan to see results.  Once you have a plan you need to think through all the obstacles that WILL come.  Life doesn’t always go how we plan so having strategies for the obstacles that come is a must.  I suggest looking back on the past attempts to lose weight and see what kept you from success as well as think ahead to what obligations you have.  Make a list and have a plan to execute when life doesn’t go as planned.  The more time you spend on the plan the more empowered you will feel when you overcome an obstacle to your success.

Stay tuned later this week for another "Tip from Carrie".