Trainer Blog

Good Things Come to Those Who Sweat

This week, I want to touch on something that may seem blatantly obvious, but is really worth repeating. Exercise is good for you! There are countless benefits, but some of the best parts of regular exercise are the intangible rewards, such as stress relief, mental fortitude, and the overall feeling of wellness. General stress is normal, but sometimes, things seem to come crashing down all at once. And when that happens, it’s easy to let overwhelm consume us and to check out with distraction, such as TV, food, or alcohol. In more serious cases, stress can cause a sort of mental paralysis, which effectually causes us to fall off our fitness routine completely.

I get it. Sometimes curling up into the fetal position seems like a much better option than subjecting myself to a workout that involves lifting anything heavier than a pint of ice cream. But I ultimately know that I will feel so much stronger and healthier once I am actually doing a workout. Exercise for me is a way of proving to myself that I can absolutely do what I set my mind to, and it almost magically removes my mind from the haze that stress can cause. And I won’t even get into the endorphin rush that I experience after a good, hard class! Taking time that is just mine and pushing past my perceived limits, especially during more stressful periods, helps me reset my attitude, my will, and my approach to problems, big or small. And, based on my professional experience, I bet the same is true for you, too.

If at any point this week you feel that curl-up-into-the-fetal-position overwhelm, your challenge is to immediately take to the stairs, or get into plank and do some pushups, or sign up for a class. Don’t think about it. Just do it. I promise, good things will come to those who sweat.

One Step at a Time

We’re in the middle of the holiday season and things are getting overwhelming. Chances are, your thoughts consist largely of lists and lists of things you have to complete over the next four weeks, like shopping, hosting and/or attending parties, volunteering extra time or getting together donations, and prepping the house for extra guests—not to mention all of the normal daily tasks you have to carry, like work, family, and your own personal care. How is it even possible for fitness and nutrition to fit in to your life at such a stressful time?

The fact of the matter is, it doesn’t. I get it. Trust me. Even though I work in a fitness studio, it can be difficult to get my own workouts in. It is tough to plan out my meals, especially at this time of year. Some days are more successful than others, and that’s ok with me. I find that working on a day-to-day basis, rather than trying to tackle the world helps me to stay focused and on-task. Having overall weekly or monthly goals and breaking them down into smaller daily chunks makes them much less daunting and overwhelming. Then, amid all the busyness, I make myself sprinkle in 25 pushups and 50 squats into my activity so I can stay on track.

You may not be able to do everything (like attend 5 classes per week and eat healthy for every meal), but you can do something every single day to keep you in alignment with reaching your goal. Laying the foundation for achieving your fitness and nutrition goals a step or a day at a time will ultimately turn into miles and marathons. You may diverge from the path occasionally, but the cool thing is, you can step right back on at any time. So, this week, break things down for yourself and take things one step at a time.

Be Thankful for Your Body

Katie’s Corner

Last week I was in a private session with a client who disclosed a story that I thought was quite poignant. She had recently been with a friend in conversation in which she carelessly said that she hated her legs. Without skipping a beat, her friend retorted, “The legs that let you run half marathons and 5Ks? The legs that take you from place to place? The legs that let you travel and see the world? The legs that lift you and move you and carry you? You hate them?” My client quickly saw her friend’s point and immediately changed her tune. She recognized that her legs were actually pretty wonderful, no matter the shape or size. They were hers and she should place value on them rather than criticize them.

We all have things that we don’t particularly like about our bodies. Whether it’s the skin that hangs on your arm when you wave hello, rolls on your belly, or saggy boobs, most of us have something we’d like to “improve.” We hold ourselves to an ideal of beauty rather than appreciating the function and practicality of our bodies. Placing a value on what our bodies do for us on a day to day basis is much more rewarding than disparage it for the way it looks.

At the end of many of my Spin classes, I say, “Thank your body for what it’s done for you and your mind for getting you there.” This week my challenge for you is to take a peaceful moment each day, especially on Thanksgiving Day, to appreciate your body—for it’s function, it’s ability, it’s strength, and, yes, even the way it looks. By spending this small amount of time respecting your body, you may even be more inclined to fuel it with nutritious foods and to be faithful to your workouts. Baby steps, though. First and foremost, thank your body for what it’s done for you.

The happiest of Thanksgivings from all of us at Energia and 50/50!

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

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