Trainer Blog

Have your workouts suffered with the change of season?

Ask yourself this question (and answer it honestly!) How hard are you really pushing yourself while you work out?

Do you workout enthusiastically, feeling the burn with a smile, pushing yourself to the limit? Or would you describe your exercise time more like an even trot? Coasting along, breaking a respectable sweat, doing the same old thing.

Since you take the time to exercise and desire to have your body change into a slimmer, more toned version of yourself, then use the following tips to get more out of your exercise time.

Focus your mental energy. It sounds simple, but often isn’t. If you’re lifting weights during class, really focus on that specific muscle group. Researchers saw a significant increase in muscle activity when people focused on the action at hand, rather than thinking about unrelated topics. Make sure you get the most out of each round and each repetition by dialing it in mentally.

Have an audience. Research also shows a significant increase in strength and endurance in people who have an audience, compared to those training on their own. One of the main reasons why group exercise is so effective. The other? Accountability, of course!

Pump up the volume. Listen to upbeat music while you exercise. Researchers found that personal music motivated every day exercisers to complete two more repetitions (on average) than those who were not listening to or engaging with the music.

Keep things fresh. Alter your routine often. This will help you to avoid plateaus and will continue to challenge your body. Try new exercises, new intensities and new environments. Have you been intimidated to sign up for a class that sounds scary and out of your realm? Trust us when we say that no class is ill-suited for any one person. Let us do our job and offer modifications and appropriate accommodations for everyone involved! It’s something that we pride ourselves on.

Stay nourished and hydrated. Pay attention to your food and your hydration levels. You’d be amazed how much being dehydrated can affect your performance, even away from the gym. When you’re eating and drinking well, you’ll feel your energy levels naturally rise and the results will be transparent.

Find your magic time. Work out when your body is at its best. If you’re not a morning person, do not force the issue on your body…if/when you can avoid it.

Wear clothes that you love. Not only will you be happy to put them on and show them off, but you will be able to focus completely on the task at hand, rather than stressing that your pants will split whenever you squat. It sounds silly, but confidence is everything!

Make sure the shoe fits. Can you imagine a tap dancer performing without tap shoes? Your shoes are just as important! With correctly fitted shoes for your workout or run, you’ll keep your feet, ankles, knees, and back protected and healthy. Everything starts from the ground up! If you have been thinking about spin shoes, for example, check-in with one of us. We’d be happy to explain to you the benefits and how you can really start to take your cardio workouts to the next level.

Use a professional. If you haven’t already, have us design a custom routine catered to all of your needs, restraints, limitations, and goals. This will ensure that you’re being challenged appropriately and seeing those long-lasting results.

Don’t know where to start when it comes to exercise? Or making changes to your current routine? That’s where we come in. It’s our passion to make exercise a regular and enjoyable part of your life.

Call or email us today and we will get you started on the exercise program that is right for you.

It’s Just a Cup..

Katie’s Corner

Social media has been splattered this past week with what I’m touting as the 2015 Starbucks Controversy of the Cup. In case you haven’t heard about this on your Facebook newsfeed or even on the front page of major news sources, Starbucks released their paper holiday coffee cups for the season and many customers are up in arms about it. Traditionally laden with snowflakes and festive scenes, the cups this year are a solid red with the company’s logo stamped on. People are essentially accusing Starbucks of taking Christmas out of Christmas, and without going into the flaws of this argument, I want to simply state what I think should be the obvious: it’s just a cup.

The details of this argument are negligible; what’s interesting—and disappointing—is that people are really and truly bothered by the look of the cup and what they have (mis)interpreted the cup to represent. On a broader scale, this is one example of how our society has become accustomed to getting pissed off about the littlest of details while subsequently managing to blow things out of proportion in an epic kind of way. Why though? What is accomplished?

In the spirit of the holiday season especially, I challenge you to actively work to take a more enlightened perspective and to let minor problems roll off your back. Choose a sense of peace where you may otherwise let your blood pressure soar. Physically speaking, this is a great practice for you to explore, but it’s also good for your mental health to keep those cortisol levels in check. And when you do inevitably get flustered, think about what the importance of the issue actually is to you. It very well may be extremely concerning or problematic. But remember, more often than not, it’s just a cup.

What Do You Value?

Katie’s Corner

Do you feel you don’t have time to do enough of the things you want to do? Chances are, there are pieces of your life that can be reordered by simply thinking about the value you place on certain tasks which eat up the free time in your day.

So much of our time is spent doing things by society’s norms—shopping for new clothes, manicuring the lawn, and/or cleaning the house every day just in case company comes over. How much time do you spend doing tasks for the sake of what you think other people expect of you? If the tasks are important to you and you genuinely place value on them, then by all means, get that new suit, trim those hedges, and vacuum all the rugs in the house twice a day. But if these are things you can live happily without, why devote an exorbitant amount of time killing yourself to do them? They don’t fulfill you as a human being, and chances are, the people who you think notice these supplementary gestures actually don’t give them a second thought.

Your challenge this week is to think about your (oftentimes, ever-growing) to-do list and ask yourself if each individual item made the list because you value it or because you think society values it. If you don’t truly value the item, mark it off your list and replace it with something that enriches your life. Let me be clear, I am not advocating an abdication of your responsibilities; I am encouraging a thoughtful practice in awareness of what matters most to you. Marking even one or two things off your list per week in exchange for something you treasure—a massage, a walk around the block with the family, or a group fitness class—can make such a difference in your overall happiness and stress levels.

Amp It Up!

Katie’s Corner

One of the biggest trends this time of the year is to give up, phone it in, and indulge with the intention of hitting the reset button January One. And while we are not ones who believe in being unconditionally strict about diet at this time of year (or at any other time of the year, for that matter), we want to help to keep you on a path for success rather than one that leaves you with a sense of regret and failure afterward. There is no question the regard we hold for the meals and snacks at our annual holidays; in fact, I have already heard people talk about how much they are looking forward to Thanksgiving dinner. The problem lies in lack of preparation or in the fact that we just stop caring about our fitness goals and eating habits in the meantime.

This week, your challenge is simple. Amp up your exercise to stay ahead of the game that is this season. Work harder than you think you can in your favorite classes. Take a class you wouldn’t normally take, or try one you haven’t before. Mix it up and I promise, your body will thank you for it. Because our bodies become very efficient when exposed to the same movements and exercises, it’s easy to feel less successful in this case, and it truly is vital to change up your routines. So amp it up! And when you’re sitting down to that Turkey Dinner in one month’s time, you can reflect on just how hard you worked to keep your journey of health in the going in the direction of accomplishment.

*If you have questions about personal training, small group training, or group classes, we can help figure out what’s best for you in your uniquely wonderful life.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year?

Katie’s Corner

Fall is a time of slowing down, or at least that’s what nature’s version of Fall is. Cooling temperatures, falling leaves, and even the increase in amount of head colds spreading around lends to the idea of taking it easy and settling in by the fire. However, it also means that it’s time to gear up for a stressful time of year: The Holidays.
Chances are, you have likely already planned your Halloween costume or those of your family’s (I know I have and am very excited about the costumed classes we’re offering next week*). You may have figured out where you’re having Thanksgiving or other holiday meals and have even started the process of planning the details.

When I was a kid, I wondered why adults seemed to stress during this time of year; after all, it was a time of celebration and creating memories with friends and family. Right? As adults, that’s what many of us hope for, though heightened expectations in tandem with family dynamics and the coordination of different schedules raises those cortisol levels in ways the rest of the year can’t even touch.

Last year, one of my friends not only noticed that stress was sucking her joy out of the season, but also that it was a pattern she experienced year to year. This reflection led her to take action—to break this pattern she had fallen into year after year and make a change. First and foremost, she realized that she her expectations of other people were too lofty and that her pattern was going to continue if she didn’t change this. She also realized that she was trying to do too much and that the quantity of things she was squeezing in far outweighed the quality of the experience. After her initial effort of realizing what needed to change, she set reminders for herself 9 months in advance on her calendar, starting October 1 and continuing into just after the New Year. These reminders were not just task oriented but also included quotes she thought might inspire her through the season. I truly admire her efforts in being reflective (Clearly! I’ve held onto it for nearly a year.) as well as her willingness to change what she is capable of controlling about the holiday season.

If you find yourself getting increasingly stressed year after year, my challenge for you this week is to take note of what specifically stresses you out and come up with proactive ways to avoid those stressors. Even the tiniest changes can make a huge difference. So, for example, you are going to Aunt Tina’s for Christmas Dinner and Cousin Tom, who you can’t stand, will be there. Rather than outright declining the invite from Aunt Tina and escaping the situation altogether, have pithy, but polite, conversation pieces prepared when Tom is around so that you can keep your cool both inwardly and outwardly. When you feel in control of a situation, your stress will subside and you will be better able to thoroughly enjoy and be present this holiday season. And when in doubt, just say no…to quantity. Simplicity is often better for your physical health and mental health. Here’s to the holidays!

*Halloween-themed classes include:
Theme Ride: Tuesday, 10/26, 7:00pm
Raise the Barre: Friday, 10/30, 5:30pm
ALL of Saturday’s classes
Costumes are encouraged!

Planning Ahead

A couple of weeks ago, I gave you the challenge of dreaming big—to imagine yourself accomplishing a goal that you have wanted to reach for a long time or that you never thought you could, even if that goal seemed unattainable. I am no miracle worker (one of my clients told me that she wanted to be taller!), but I can help you figure out how to break down your goal, turning the seemingly unattainable into something within grasp.

The first step to accomplishing your goal is to realize and embrace the fact that it will likely take time to accomplish. And that realization can help take the overwhelm out of the equation. If you set yourself up from the starting line that this venture is a long-term commitment, you will likely be more comfortable with the idea that you must approach this day by day.

The next step is to get out your calendar. Set a realistic date to accomplish your goal, keeping in mind that life will inevitably throw in minor kinks every once in a while. Now that you have a target date, work backwards. Think of short-term goals that will help move you along your journey. For example, your goal is to run the Hot Chocolate Run with Team Energia-50/50 Fitness, even though you have never run a mile (let alone, a 5K) and have no idea how to train for it. Your target date isDecember 6, 2015, which is the race date, so that gives you 8 weeks. Now, cut that 8 weeks in half, and set a short-term goal of being able to run 1.5 miles, or approximately half of the distance of the 5K, by November 6. Cut that four weeks in half and commit to being able to run ¾ mile by October 23. You’ll find that each time you dissect your timeline to set new short-term goals, the more manageable they become. And because of this process, the long-term goal begins to seem that it’s within reach.

This endeavor takes practice, for sure, but it can be applied to any goal you have, whether it’s a household project or a certain dress size. And remember, reinventing the wheel is usually not an efficient use of your time, so make sure to ask for help and explore resources available to you. Justin and I, as well as the other staff members are here to help in any way we can, so please ask us. Happy planning, and get ready to turn that far-fetched dream into a reality!

P.S. In case your dream is actually to run the Hot Chocolate Run with our team, check out the proven Couch to 5K program. http://www.c25k.com/ See, we’ve got your back already!

Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce A+ Award

October 1, 2015Tonight, Energia Fitness and 50/50 Fitness/Nutrition will receive the Young Professionals Award at the annual Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce Annual A+ Awards Dinner. We are thrilled receive this honor, as we strive to promote health and wellness, within our studios as well as in the greater Pioneer Valley area. We share this award with all of the members and clients who have let us be a part of their journeys toward achievement and fulfillment. It is your faith in our mission that makes our community so enriching and meaningful.

Originally opened in 2010, Energia Fitness has grown dramatically in the past two years, particularly with the addition of 50/50 Fitness/Nutrition earlier this year. Today, we offer over 50 group fitness classes, Small Group Training, a Kids’ Club daycare program, a private studio, and in-home personal training services. Cardiovascular health, strength training, improving flexibility and mobility, enhanced nutrition, accountability, and long-term education are the foundational principles which make up each of our classes, trainings, and programs.

We believe that the relationship with each of our clients should extend far beyond the scope of the session or class to include support in all aspects of a person’s life. Whether a person is training with us individually or taking a group fitness class, we work with our clients to create achievable and clearly defined goals. Everyone deserves that chance to succeed, and it is our mission to get you there.

Thank you to the Young Professionals of Amherst, the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce, our community partners, other local area businesses, and our Energia-50/50 Fitness Family for your loyalty and dedication to our pursuit of health in the Pioneer Valley.

This video will be played at the event tonight

-Justin Killeen and Katie Lipsmeyer, Owners
Energia Fitness, 50/50 Fitness/Nutrition

Dream Big

One of the best parts of my job is getting to do one-on-one consultations, primarily because it is such a helpful tool for people to sit down with someone whose sole purpose in that half hour and design a path for their individual success. Many people I see want to generally be healthier and fitter, but they haven’t allowed themselves to envision what this would realistically look like. They often tell me, “I want to lose weight, eat better, and have less stress.” But many times, they aren’t quite sure how to get there, and I get the wonderful opportunity of helping them figure out just how to do it.

Probably the biggest thrill I get is when I ask the person sitting in the consultation to imagine what specifically their healthy, fit, and less stressed bodies look like. What does a healthy mental state feel like for them? It doesn’t matter what they say; they can have off the wall ideas, like running a half-marathon when they aren’t able to run a mile, or lose 50 pounds and keep it off when they have been living in an overweight body for several years. I enjoy the challenge of breaking down these lofty goals and figuring out just how we’re going to accomplish them.

My challenge for you this week is to imagine the wildest, most outlandish goals for yourself. What have you always wanted to do but were too intimidated to follow through with? What haven’t you had time for in the past but have always wanted to make time to do? Here’s the kicker though: do it without placing perceived limits on yourself. The cool thing about imagination is that there are no limits, so dream big! Now that you’ve got these ideas about what you want to do, imagine what it would feel like to accomplish these things. Delve into this practice. Be specific. Next week, we will go further into how to implement these crazy goals, but this week, your challenge is to visualize what your goals look like at the finish line. Happy dreaming!

The Changing Seasons

Katie’s Corner

This week, my aunt is visiting me and my mom, and I am thrilled that she is here! I thought you might like to see where I get much of my insight and love of expressing my thoughts, so this week’s Katie’s Corner is penned by my wonderful Aunt Beth, as she reflects on the changing seasons:

When it’s 90 degrees outside, it’s hard to notice that the slightest breeze is enough to cause some leaves to separate from their branches and fall gently to the ground.Indeed, this act of separation is one of Mother Nature’s early messages to us that the earth is in, yet, another transition. Summer is ending…winter is fast approaching…and autumn is at our front doorstep.

Autumn is our earth’s “MIDDLE TIME”. This is the time when we get to witness change happening before our eyes. We see vibrant greens turn into vivid yellows, glowing oranges, and brilliant reds! Color permeates our landscape and fills our spirits with amazing diversity and awesome beauty! And then, sometimes suddenly or sometimes gradually, the rain comes, the winds blow, and the trees and bushes let go of their leaves and fall to the ground.They have come to fruition and have served their purpose for yet another season in this life-death cycle of nature.

As it is with nature, so it is with us. Autumn can be our “MIDDLE TIME”.How can we face this “MIDDLE TIME” of change and transition within our own lives?

…Can I slough off the excess baggage in my life?

…Can I let go of what I no longer need and is weighing me down?

…Can I end what is no longer sustainable?

…Can I choose to change behaviors that are no longer life-giving?

How can we embrace this “MIDDLE TIME” of WAITING and WONDERING about what will happen to us and who we will become if we let go of what can no longer be sustained and is no longer life-giving?

And so, our challenge is to take a peek into the living room of our hearts and notice what is no longer working for us, notice what needs to be sloughed off and let go of, notice what within us needs to be changed and transformed. Letting go, when our path ahead looks barren and bleak, takes courage and determination, especially when what is to be born is yet unknown and unclear to us.

Be courageous! Face and embrace this “MIDDLE TIME” of change from what you have been about to who you can become! Let go…wait patiently…and listen to the quiet murmurings of new life stirring within you…new life WILL come…as Mother Nature shows us over and over again.

It’s Only Your Life…

Today I’m going to let you in on a little secret…it’s not hard to get and stay fit. It’s not about hard work and deprivation.

It’s all about boundaries. Let me explain…

When you were a child your parents set boundaries around you. They were the authority on what was or wasn’t acceptable behavior. You had to complete your chores before dinner. You had to finish your homework before going out to play. You had to eat all your vegetables before dessert.

If you failed to comply with these boundaries then you knew that there would be consequences.

As an adult you, and only you, are the authority on what is or isn’t acceptable behavior. You are in the position to set boundaries around yourself. These boundaries serve as a framework of order around you – a rock of support in an otherwise chaotic world.

With self-imposed boundaries you can assure your success in anything…specifically with weight loss.

Your fitness boundaries have to be self-imposed—no one is going to do it for you. Don’t look at this as a bad thing! Self-imposed boundaries are self-empowering. Let’s face it, you’ve been living life without fitness boundaries.

  • You eat whatever you want, whenever you want it.
  • You use any excuse to avoid exercise.
  • You indulge whenever it feels good.

Your Fitness Boundaries

It’s time to introduce boundaries back into your life. These boundaries are the key to unleashing your ideal fit and healthy body.

Fitness Boundary #1: What you eat

If you were to be perfectly honest with me, you could list off the foods that are unhealthy and fattening. So why are you still eating them? You know that refined, fried, processed and sugary foods are not good for you.

Place boundaries around what you will allow yourself to eat. Acceptable food items include whole foods, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean meats.

Fitness Boundary #2: How you exercise

I know that you’re not an Olympic athlete, but that doesn’t mean that you can simply pass on exercise. By now you are well aware of the host of benefits that exercise provides. With regular exercise you’ll look great, feel amazing and have more energy than ever.

Place boundaries around how often you must exercise. Choose exercise that is challenging and fun – don’t be afraid to try new activities that improve your strength and endurance.

Fitness Boundary #3: When you indulge

Let’s face it, we live in a world where indulging has become the norm, rather than the exception. When you live life without fitness boundaries, everyday is an opportunity to indulge. These indulgences all add up quickly, causing your clothes to become tight and your energy levels to drop.

Place boundaries around when you can indulge. You’ll find that by limiting your indulgences you’ll end up enjoying them even more.

Putting It In Action

Sit down and take a long, hard look at your lifestyle. Are you eating as healthy as you could be? Are you exercising 3-5 times each week? Are you indulging too often?

Answer the following questions:

  1. What 3 food items can I eliminate from my daily diet? (These should be nutritionally void items like high-calories beverages, fast food, packaged snacks, high-fat food, candy or desserts.)
  2. When can I schedule exercise into my week? (Pick 3-5 days, and select a specific timeframe. Example: I’m going to exercise on Monday,Wednesday and Fridays from 5am-6am.)
  3. When will I allow myself to indulge? (Don’t go overboard here, especially if you need to lose weight. Enjoy a treat a couple times each month, and do so guilt-free knowing that you’ve maintained healthy food boundaries the rest of the time.

Remember that self-imposed boundaries are self-empowering.

Fitness boundaries put your fitness results on autopilot. If you know what constitutes an acceptable meal, then choosing what to eat just got a whole lot easier. If you’re committed to exercising 3 times a week, soon it becomes second nature.

Need help setting up your fitness boundaries? We are here to help – call or email us now!

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