Here at 50/50, April is all about balance… you know a balance of snow showers and spring flowers. Just kidding! Crazy weather aside, we are taking this month to focus on keeping our bodies in balance. While balance is one of our key focal points for a balanced approach to health and wellness, it can be easily overlooked. I want to take some time to discuss why balance is important, and how we can improve our balance. The importance of balance training is paramount. Two types of balance are essential for achieving functional balance: static and dynamic balance. Static balance refers to the ability to maintain your body in a set position, while dynamic balance describes the ability to remain in control of the body during changing circumstances, utilizing movements to maintain a base of support. Picture static balance as simply standing on one foot, while dynamic balance is surfing on a surf board. Both require proprioception, the ability to know where your body is in space, and strength. Focusing on improving proprioception and strength, particularly core strength, will improve your balance. This becomes increasingly important as we age, as falls due to lack of balance are a common cause of serious injury.
Proprioception requires the integration of input from our visual, sensory, and vestibular systems. Working on agility and coordination are great ways to improve your proprioceptive abilities. I encourage you to try a new class that pushes you slightly outside your comfort zone to do this. Great options for improving proprioception are Step and Core or Cardio Kick Boxing. The choreography and movements are fun and challenge your proprioception constantly. Secondly, and just as important is developing strength. As I have stated before, a well-rounded training program includes at least 2-3 days of a full-body strength training routine. Personal training and Targeted training ensure you are receiving this full-body strength programming in a safe and effective way. Pilates and Yoga are also great ways to improve core strength, and will also challenge your balance in other ways. Note, that while Bosu trainers and unstable platforms can be incorporated into a routine, training on these surfaces does not have to be a key part of improving your balance.
I encourage you all to mix up your routine this month.
Challenge your body in new and unexpected ways. Your balance will improve and your future self will thank you!
Do you have enough balance in your life? From cardio to strength to flexibility, nutrition, and everything in between – we’ve got you covered at 50/50. Come on in and speak to a specialist, to get your health and wellness back on track!Click here to Learn about and Claim your Complimentary Health and Wellness Consult!
Written by Michael McCarthy – March 27, 2018
We all have nagging aches and pains (well at least most of us) that have snuck up on us over time. Sometimes it comes rudely and unexpectedly, like the time my distant cousin drove down from Canada unannounced and stayed with us for a week. Either way, these aches and pains are annoying and sometimes hard to get rid of.
To help get rid of these aches, we need to discover the source of the problem. You might say, “Well that’s obvious. The source is where the pain is coming from.” Now that’s not entirely false, because that is where the source of the pain is, however we need to take a look at the bigger picture.
As Certified Functional Strength Coaches we use a method called the Joint by Joint approach that we geniously stole from the original creator of this method (it’s ok, he steals stuff from people all the time). This approach allows us to gain a better understanding of human movement and function, and the roles that our joints play.
Specific joints have a primary need for either being mobility joints or stability joints. Mobility joints such as the ankle and shoulder require the range of motion to properly propel the body through movement. Stability joints such as the knee and lower back need to be stable to support the structure of their associated parts through movement. When a mobility joint becomes too stiff or a stability joint becomes too mobile, it will send a chain reaction up or down the body to the next joint.
For example, if someone has injured their ankle multiple times and it now has adapted to become very stiff, this joint that is supposed to be mobile has now turned into a more stable joint. This joint now does not function with the range of motion that required, but the body still needs to move through Mike’s Spin and Strength class. To compensate for this lack of mobility, the knee joint on the same leg will start to become more mobile. It will twist and turn to adapt for the lack of mobility in the ankle, which without intervention can lead to long term damage in the knee.
As you can see with this example, there is a bigger picture to our aches and pains. The source of the problem can be coming from either above or below where we feel pain. As fitness professionals it is our main goal to improve the performance of all our clients. We look for compensation through functional movement assessments and monitoring movement patterns in attempt to discover the source. Once identified we develop a plan to improve as much function as we can and keep our clients on the path to achieving their goals.
Cardio month continues at 50/50 Fitness Nutrition, and I thought this would be a good time to get down to the nitty gritty of how cardiovascular exercise changes our bodies on a physiological level. I promise, it is actually really cool! We throw around the term cardio all the time: “spinning is great cardio!”, but what does this type of exercise actually do to are cardiovascular system, namely our heart and blood vessels? As we are all well aware, when we exercise our heart rate increases. The body is pumping more blood to our hard-working muscles, and this results in a greater volume of blood returning to our heart per minute. Over time, our heart adapts by enlarging the left ventricle to more efficiently pump this larger volume of blood back to our tissues. These adaptations make our heart more efficient, both while exercising and at rest. One of the results of these changes is a lower resting heart rate. Athletes can have resting heart rates 20-40 beats per minute slower than the average person.
Another cool adaptation of the cardiovascular system to exercise is the creation of new blood vessels. Yes, your body, in some cases, can develop new blood vessels in response to your fitness habits. This is one reason your blood pressure can be reduced by exercise. Along with these changes to your heart and blood vessels, your lungs respond by delivering up to 15 times more oxygen to your tissues during exercise. Just like your heart, over time your respiratory tract adapts to become more efficient. One measure of the efficiency of your lungs is VO2 max. As your fitness level increases, so will your VO2 max. This week, while you are rocking it out in spin class, hiking with your dog up a local mountain, or busting your butt in Tabata, I want you to take a moment to think about all these changes going on in your body. Doing cardio is so much more than burning calories, you are becoming a more efficient pumper of blood and breather of air. Way to go!
Do you have enough balance in your life? From cardio to strength to flexibility, nutrition, and everything in between – we’ve got you covered at 50/50. Come on in and speak to a specialist, to get your health and wellness back on track! Click the image below to schedule your FREE health and wellness today!
Health and Fitness Specialist, Michael McCarthy
We’ve all heard it before – sit up straight, don’t slouch, keep your head up. We’ve been having our posture coached and corrected since we were kids but chances are it didn’t stick (I know I ignored a few of my cues as I sat on the couch watching the Super Bowl for a few hours.) Our professions have become more desk bound and we’re finding our height shrinking, upper backs rounding, shoulders more forward, and lower backs aching as we commute to work or hang over the computer.
Sitting for extended periods can have negative effects in general, but sitting with poor posture will amplify problems. It doesn’t take long for the body to adapt to the position it is being put in. In as little as 30 minutes the muscles will “creep” into the posture that they are put in. Certain muscles will become over active while their counterparts become underactive. Let’s take the example of rounded shoulders: Sitting in a hunched position for extended periods will cause the pectoral muscles to stay in an internally rotated position, effectively making them overactive. Because they are in a constant state of being active, the scapula muscles adapt and become underactive, leaving the shoulders in a forward position. Without intervention, this posture can lead to kyphosis (rounding) in the spine and the shoulders are at a much higher risk for injury.
Being mindful of how you sit or stand is a great way to stay on top of your posture. However being mindful alone will not repeal the adaption that has taken place. A recipe for success, in addition to being mindful, is releasing the overactive muscles and strengthening the underactive muscles by means of soft tissue work and strength training. Having a massage or myofascial therapist is a great way to help release that tension. Another option is to use a tool like a foam roller or lacrosse ball on the soft tissues. Not only is it an affordable and effective way to relieve tension on the overactive muscles – it also helps introduce additional blood flow to the underactive muscles to help get them moving.
When choosing an exercise to target a specific element of posture, choose an exercise that is opposite of the action that is taking place. Staying with the example of rounded shoulders, I would choose an exercise that externally rotates my shoulder, such as a cable row, because it is the opposite of the internal rotation that is caused by the pectorals. Start small and progress slowly. The underactive muscles need to relearn their job and doing too much too soon can result in an injury. Combing deliberate and consistent strength training with consistent and deliberate soft tissue work, over time, will work wonders for your posture.
Here at 50/50, our members take their exercise seriously. Between spin classes, bootcamp-style group fitness, strength training, and training for 5Ks and triathlons, our members definitely know how to stay active. However, how often do you stop and think about how you are fueling these workouts? Are you getting adequate pre- and post-workout nutrition? Are you eating enough calories to sustain your energy through your weekly workouts?
First, with nutrition as with exercise, it’s important to have a clear goal in mind. If you’re looking to lose weight, you must be in a caloric deficit, meaning you are burning more calories than you’re consuming. However, it’s important that this caloric deficit isn’t too large, or it will have negative impacts on your energy levels, training results, recovery, and metabolism. If you’re trying to build lean muscle or gain overall size, you need to be in a caloric surplus. If your goal is to lose body fat while building muscle, eating at a maintenance calorie level while adjusting your protein, fat, and carb levels can help you attain this goal. If you’re training for a marathon or other endurance event, it is imperative that you take in enough calories, particularly carbohydrates, to fuel your long training runs. The moral of the story – the outcome goal matters.
It’s also very important to eat the right foods before and after your workouts to maximize your results. How many times have you had a workout that didn’t quite feel like your best effort? Maybe you felt a little lightheaded or sluggish, or maybe you experienced muscle cramps during the workout. Your nutrition plays a huge role in all of these! It’s important to ingest a small meal or snack 1-2 hours before your workout to ensure you have enough energy to complete the workout. You should eat something that will sustain your energy, improve your performance, help you recover quickly, and hydrate your body. Signs that you haven’t had enough to eat before your workout include lightheadedness, dizziness, and slow recovery. Eating protein in the few hours prior to your workout will boost your muscle-building capabilities, help you recover faster from workouts, and provide sustained energy. Ingesting carbs before a workout, such as a piece of fruit, will enhance your energy, particularly for high-intensity or longer endurance-type workouts.
Finally, what you eat post-workout also plays a huge role in your ability to recover and bounce back for your next workout session. It is also important in achieving the goals you set out to accomplish during your training sessions. Post-workout nutrition should help you rehydrate, recover and refuel, build muscle, and improve your future performance. Most importantly, eat a meal high in protein right after exercise to prevent the breakdown of proteins in your bloodstream and stimulate protein synthesis, which leads to increases in muscle tissue. Eating protein post-workout will also help alleviate some of the delayed-onset muscle soreness (or DOMS) that you may feel after a particularly challenging workout. Second, your body tolerates and processes carbohydrates most efficiently in the 3-hour window post-workout, so this is your best window to eat your starchier carbs. Eating carbs after exercise will replenish your glycogen stores, which have been spent during your workout, and will also improve your ability to bounce back and come back stronger for your next workout. And last but not least, staying hydrated and drinking sufficient water before, during, and after all your workouts is one of the most important steps you can take to properly fuel your body and achieve the results you’re looking for.
Real Results Start with Consistency
Health and Fitness Specialist, Emily Mailloux
You’ve probably heard the saying, “you can’t out work a bad diet.” Here at 50/50, we have a wide array of group fitness classes, strength classes, personal training, and opportunities to be active out in the community. Unfortunately, even if you’re taking full advantage of these options every week, if your diet isn’t where it should be, you may be struggling to see the results you hope for. While exercise is important for many reasons, most body composition changes don’t occur until you start to make lasting changes to your nutrition. It’s a crucial piece of your overall health and wellness, and one of our most important focal points here at 50/50. Here’s how to approach a healthy diet that will support your exercise routine without driving yourself crazy.
First, prioritize protein. Make sure that you’re getting protein with every meal. Healthy protein sources include poultry, fish, lean beef and pork, eggs, beans, and dairy sources such as cottage cheese, greek yogurt, and milk. For a handy reference guide, look no further than your own hand. Men should aim to have two palm-sized portions of protein at each meal, and women should have at least one palm-sized portion per meal.
Next, add your vegetables. US dietary guidelines recommend that you fill half your plate at each meal with vegetables or fruits. Try to get a wide variety of vegetables each day – dark leafy greens such as kale or spinach, starchy vegetables such as sweet potatoes and squash, and red and orange vegetables including carrots, tomatoes, and peppers. Be creative with your veggie choices! Sauteed spinach, mushrooms, and onions go great in an omelette or with your morning eggs. Add lettuce, tomato, or sprouts to your sandwich at lunch, or have a big salad with lots of different veggies and protein on top. For dinner, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower roasted with olive oil and a little salt and pepper are a great addition to any meal.
The US dietary guidelines also recommend that half of your daily grains come from whole grains. Whole grains are present in either their whole form or are ground into a flour, without losing any part of the seed. These grains are higher in fiber, potassium, iron, B vitamins, and other important nutrients than refined grains, which have finer texture and longer shelf life. Some of the best sources of whole grains that should be a part of your daily diet include brown rice, barley, buckwheat, bulgur, oatmeal, and whole wheat breads. When shopping, be sure to look for whole-grain breads, cereals, or crackers instead of refined grain options. Try cooking barley, bulgur, or brown rice with your protein and vegetables for a balanced dinner, have oatmeal, bulgur pancakes, or whole-grain toast for breakfast, and use whole-wheat bread or wraps for your sandwiches at lunch.
Finally, getting an adequate amount of healthy fats in your daily diet is an important part of balanced eating. Between 25-40% of your daily calories should come from healthy fats such as avocados, olives, nuts, seeds, nut butters, coconuts, and oils. Some of these fat sources will also come from animal sources, such as the fats found in dairy products, eggs, fish, and meats. Avocados or almond butter on whole grain toast make great breakfast options, add sunflower seeds or olives to your salads, snack on raw almonds or walnuts, and cook with olive or coconut oils whenever possible. Eating healthy fats will help you feel more satiated, provide energy, protect your organs, and help your body burn stored body fat.
Last but not least, drink your water! Maintaining an adequate level of hydration throughout the day is crucial for your organ health, immune system, energy levels, and fat-burning, among many other benefits. To get started, drink a minimum of ½ an ounce of water for every pound of body weight, and add 12 ounces for every 30 minutes you spend working out. Gradually work on adding more water throughout the day until you are closer to one ounce per pound of body weight.
Health and Fitness Specialist, Katie Lipsmeyer
Well, it’s my final week of teaching and training before I have this sweet little baby! Words cannot express how thankful I am to this wonderful 50/50 community for providing love and support to Chris and me throughout this pregnancy. Baby CKL already has such a gigantic extended family to welcome her into this world!
For all of you who gave individual gifts, we are diligently working on the Thank You notes. We have been so fortunate to receive so many presents from you that it’s taking us a little longer than we hoped to suitably thank all of you, but they’re coming!
For those of you who want to help out after the baby is born, there are two great ways you can. We have started a Meal Train so that you can visit with us and the baby in our home. We have also received so many offers to care for the baby so that Chris can have an hour or two to sleep, have a date night, or to simply have a moment to ourselves. We also realize that some of you may want a “new baby smell” fix, and we can certainly help you out with that! Please click for the Meal Train and for the Sitting Sign-up. We would certainly appreciate either!
Finally, please read the following speech that I gave at the baby shower that was held at 50/50 in October. It sums up the huge amount of warm fuzzies I feel for this community…
“Chris and I wanted to take a minute to thank all of you for joining us in this celebration of the upcoming birth of our daughter. Before I delve in though, you should know that Chris’s very first nickname for the baby was Sparkle Pony Extreme. It will be important a little later on in the story.
“Thank you to Ryan Ambuter and Lindsay Rowe, Megan Dobro, Morgan Lentz, Jamie Cocco for being the main organizers and setting this huge undertaking in motion, Justin for letting us all celebrate in a space that means so much to me, Diane Norman and the entire TRX Basics class (ya’ll have been sneaking around for quite some time), Ann Ward, Ana Devlin-Gauthier, Mellie Black, Kate Cirstiello, Evie Snyder, Melissa “Woodsaw” Woodard, John Stothoff, Megan Carvalho for the delicious cake, and the entire 50/50 community who are here as well as those who weren’t able to make it today but have offered their well wishes and instant love for our daughter since we announced our pregnancy in June.
“I moved here knowing one single person. 4 ½ years ago, I was at a very difficult point in my life, and I decided that it was time to take one of the biggest risks I had ever taken by moving all the way to Western Mass from the likes of Arkansas and Texas. It turned out to be the BEST risk I’ve ever taken. Over the course of these past several years, I have pursued and realized my passion in physical and mental wellness. I have had the gift of inspiring others while simultaneously learning so much from them. I have faced the most rewarding challenges of my life. I have met my best friends and partner here and have garnered a fierce community of people who I receive so much love from every day.
“As many of you know, my mother-Momma-was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s 12 years ago. She raised me by herself, and me, being an only child, it was the two of us against the world. It’s continued to be true, just in a very different sense than I ever anticipated. She lives here in the Alzheimer’s unit of an assisted living community, she knows that I’m pregnant, she knows it’s a girl, and she knows that she’s going to be a grandmother. However, since she is in the late stages and is very limited verbally, it has been difficult to know what she comprehends beyond that. Does she understand that the baby is kicking below her hand when I place it on my belly? When we sing a song, does she know that the baby can hear her? Does she realize the significance and power of her influence when I tell her that the baby will share her same initials?
“As wonderful and amazing it is to be able to bring this sweet baby into the world, it’s also been difficult in terms of dealing with feelings around my own mother. And, because of this, your support is even more potent to me-to us. You have become our village, our family.
“Finally, I must say something to my accomplice, who I wouldn’t be in this situation without. Usually, Chris is more than happy to give me the spotlight, but it’s time for us to shine it on him, at least for a minute or two. Since the moment I met you, Chris, you have brought light into my world. For all of you who know me, you know that I love to talk about how wonderful this person is, and I’m not apologetic about doing so. Chris, you deserve to be celebrated for the amazingly kind, considerate, fun, adventurous, compassionate person you are, so much so, that I feel compelled to tell everyone I know. When we first met, I kept waiting for you to reveal SOMETHING about yourself that didn’t jive with my worldview, because there was no way that my perfect person existed, especially in such a smokin’ hot package, and even less of a chance that I would likewise be his perfect person. But you are, and I am so grateful for the gift of you. You are everything I have wanted and needed in a partner. And I have every confidence that you will be everything Sparkle Pony Extreme will need in a father. I am so utterly happy to do life with you, Chris, and I can’t wait for us to welcome our baby girl into our little family.
“A final thank you to you all for coming out to celebrate this exciting time with us. You have all made such an impact on our lives in your own individual ways, and we know our daughter will continue to be so blessed with love and support from every direction.”
All my love,
P.S. I am dying to get on a bike and do some burpees, so don’t be surprised if you see me in class about four to six weeks after the baby is born!
P.P.S. I expect to return from maternity leave in late February/early March, so I won’t be gone for too long!
|Upcoming Community Events/News|
|New 50/50 Training Facility set to open in January 2018!
We’ll be releasing clues, subtle hints, and updates all month long as we look to continue to grow our personal training, group exercise, and small group Targeted Training services! We have your recent surveys in mind, as well as feedback about suggested class offerings. This will all be met with new equipment, in a brand new space! Ask questions, continue offering suggestions, and know that we are all ears. We strive to continue to create the best training services is the Valley, and beyond. So, please, keep the ideas flowing. Email firstname.lastname@example.org any time, with any specific requests, and we’ll continue to answer any questions you have, in house.