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What is Strength Training?

Our bodies function at their best when we optimize our lean muscle mass. How do we increase our lean muscle mass? Strength training! A lot of people who have been to traditional gyms have preconceived notions of what strength training is. Many people picture muscle shirts, clanging weights, and lots of grunting. Don’t worry, strength training is for everybody, and there are many ways to accomplish this goal.
The foundation of strength training is that we challenge our bodies using resistance. This resistance can come in a lot of different forms: weights (dumbbells, kettlebells, and barbells), resistance bands and TRX, and even your own body-weight. The important thing is that you challenge your muscles adequately.
In traditional strength training, we map our workouts using sets and reps. Each move is a rep, and the moves completed in succession without a break are a set. A well designed strength workout challenges you to the point that the last several reps of a set are difficult to complete. It is very important to use a heavy enough weight to reach this point of muscle fatigue. Don’t worry- lifting heavy weights does not make you bigger! It makes you stronger, speeds up your metabolism, and gives you countless health benefits. Many studies have demonstrated concrete benefits of adding strength training to your program. Benefits include: increased bone density, injury prevention, decreased cholesterol, and better weight management than cardio alone.
Currently, American College of Sports Medicine recommends a minimum of 2-3 non-consecutive days of strength training per week. The rest day in between these sessions is important for muscle recovery. How do you get started? As discussed above, to see the benefits of strength training you have to challenge your body. To do this in a safe and effective way, I recommend personal training or Targeted Strength and Conditioning as a starting place. Targeted Strength and Conditioning is a focused program that will progress you in a safe and effective manner. It is appropriate for all levels and is conducted in a small group environment. Time to get strong!

Inside Katie’s Kitchen

Many times, people will ask us what we eat during the day to get an idea of foods that might be healthy for them. Verging slightly from my regular routine of Katie’s Corner, I thought I would bring to you one of the most vulnerable parts of my house-my kitchen! So I sifted through items in my own refrigerator and pantry and am presenting them to you here in hopes that you are able to get an idea of items that might be great for you to eat for meals and snacks. This is not intended to be a guideline for your own diet, but I do think it’s helpful to get an inside view of someone else’s kitchen. I’ve made notes here and there, but if you have specific questions, please reach out to me in the studio or by emailing me at katie@energiastudios.com.

Staples:
Ziploc or Tupperware Storage Containers in various sizes
Olive Oil
Spices
Mozzarella Cheese
Goat Cheese- I like cheese.
Sliced Almonds
Spicy Mustard
Real Maple Syrup- I’m from the South, so I feel the need to clarify the “real” part.

Most of these items you’ll want to use sparingly, as they can be high in calories, but they can provide bursts of flavor even when used sparingly. Healthy food does not equal bland food!Items that you don’t want to use sparingly in this list, however, are the storage containers. Plan your meals in advance and portion them into these, so that you have grab-and-go options for lunches or snacks during the day. I cannot stress this point enough-planning and preparing your meals in advance are the keys to staying on track and in your ultimate success. You will spend less time planning and prepping your meals in advance than if you wing every meal.

Breakfast:
Berries
Fage 0% or 2% Greek Yogurt
Go Lean Crunch

This breakfast combination is what I have most every day for breakfast. I can carry it with me to the studio when I have an early-morning training and not feel like I have to wolf down my breakfast before I leave for the day. When I have more time and am feeling a little fancy, I will have two of the three proteins listed below with half an avocado and salsa. And pepper. Lots of freshly cracked pepper.Smoked Salmon
Eggs
Lentils
Avocados
Salsa
Lunch:
Lentil or Split Pea Soup
Egg White Salad prepared with Greek Yogurt and Mustard
Curried Chicken Salad with Greek Yogurt, Curry powder, Halved Grapes, Sliced Almonds, Cracked pepper
Wheatberry Salad
Loaded Sweet Potato
Many of these things, I get pre-prepared at my grocery store of choice, Trader Joe’s, though sometimes, I will make lunches ahead of time, i.e. the Curried Chicken Salad. I cook the sweet potato in advance and will load it with any combination of chicken breast, cheese, avocado, black beans, or sautéed veggies.
Dinner:
Chicken Breast
SalmonBrussels Sprouts
Heirloom or Cherry Tomatoes
Spinach
Mushrooms
Beets
Quinoa
Quinoa and Brown Rice Pasta
Black Beans
Chick PeasI make the side items in bulk at the beginning of the week and portion them into those storage containers I have been speaking so highly about. That way, I can pop home, cook my protein and heat up the sides in the meantime. And I have a healthy, nourishing meal to eat at the end of a long day.
Frozen Staples:
Turkey and Bison Burgers
Mixed VeggiesSnacks:
Hummus
Cauliflower, Carrots, and Broccoli
KIND Bars
Almond Butter
Apple/Pear
Air-popped PopcornSnacks are such a necessary thing to prepare in advance, and again, grab-and-go options are essential so that you don’t find yourself at the vending machine in the middle of the day.

Desserts:
Dark Chocolate
Greek Yogurt Sorbet with a teaspoon of honey

Yes, I eat desserts! Just in moderation.
Drinks:
Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
This is a low-calorie option for something other than water.
Your challenge this week: Plan, prepare, and portion your meals ahead of time, and ask us for help if you need it!

Quick Guide to the Nutrition Label

1) Serving Size: Start from the top! Serving size is where the main deception lies. Something may appear to be worthwhile when in reality, you are eating multiple servings. Always multiply all nutrient values by the total number of servings you are consuming. A serving is typically much less than you’d think!

2) Calories: Total calories are important. If something is excessive, you’ll know it right away. Your body can only handle and break down so much at once. An overload could lead to fat storage. Keep meals small and often, not large and sparse.

3) Fat: There are good types of fat (essential fats) and bad types of fats. Saturated fats and trans fats can lead to weight gain, clogged arteries and, increased LDL (poor cholesterol). At a whopping 9 calories per gram, it’s important to limit excess consumption. As a general rule, we rarely recommend more than 15 grams for a meal and 5-7 for a snack.

4) Fiber: Fiber is one of the most important nutrients. Fiber helps to eliminate toxins, increase digestibility, and keep you full longer. Aim high. >25 grams for women, >35 grams for men.

5) Sugar: Here’s a task. See how many foods you can find that are higher in fiber than they are in sugar. Not many. Nowadays, almost everything is full of high fructose corn syrup. It’s in our breads, our cereals, our meats, everything. Be careful! There is no use or need for excess sugar.

6) Sodium: Sodium is packed into sauces, canned goods, deli meats, and snacks. It’s everywhere. More often than not, it’s used as a food additive to aid in preservation. You’ll find that your sodium levels will drop off if you start eating natural foods. Low sodium reduces your chances for high blood pressure.

7) Vitamins and Minerals: Always try and get the majority of your vitamins and minerals from food sources. Fruits and veges are your best bet!

8) Chemicals: If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it. If a simple product is loaded with ingredients, why take the risk? Processed foods are mechanically or chemically altered. Enriched, fortified, hydrogenated, bleached, and bromated all mean that the original source was tampered with.

Beginning to Heal

Last week, I wrote about motivation versus commitment. This week, let’s take a step back and delve into what brought about these goals you have set for yourself, whether it be because of the New Year, or because you simply wanted to make a change. Maybe something was lacking or you may have felt disappointed, embarrassed, worried, or angry about a certain event or situation taking place in your life. It is important to note here that’s it’s wonderful that you have the desire to set a goal for yourself, but you must first acknowledge why you wanted to make a change rather than simply what you wanted to change. Identifying and coming to terms with those difficult feelings instead of brushing them all pain under the rug will help you immensely in your success and will keep you from repeating the same mistakes again.

For example, you have decided that you want to drop a pants size in the next two months. You’ve figured out all the logistical steps you need to take to do it: you’ve planned your meals, you’ve got a workout routine in place, you have set a specific time to wake up and go to bed. Good job! Now it’s time to focus on your feelings around your goal, rather than just creating plans for success. Reflect on the way you felt before you decided to change. Why did you decide set your goal of losing a pants size, for instance? Maybe you didn’t like the way you looked, or you felt sluggish during the day. Maybe you don’t want to put yourself at a greater risk of heart disease, or you know that you feel alive and active at a smaller size. You may have to make it a practice once a week to call to mind the reasons let led you to set your goals because, many times, once isn’t enough. Dwelling on the past won’t help you move forward, but understanding the reasons for your motivations will.

Many times, I speak about health and fitness in my Corners, but this could pertain to anything you have goals for. Other examples could be to laugh more in the new year, to forgive yourself or another person, to cut down on spending, etc. Your challenge this week is to think about why you’ve decided that there was a need for change. Because sometimes, in order to move forward, we must go backward first. And once you acknowledge why you finally decided to change your mindset, beautiful things will happen: you will begin to heal and get one step closer toward success.

 

Your Success is our Success,

Justin, Katie, and the entire 50/50 team!

The True Test Starts Now

As we approach the month of February, many of us find ourselves falling into a pattern, a routine, one that may ultimately define our “new year”. Inevitably, many will struggle with continuing to progress and persevere as time ticks on. It’s something about the month of February that really presents a whole new slew of challenges to us all. Momentum wanes and the cold weather takes it’s toll. So how do we make this year different? How do we not fade off into 2016 with our sights forever set on new beginnings? I write this now, because we see it every year. It’s not at all about deciding to make change; it’s about continuing to make change. And the latter takes a lot more work, dedication, and commitment. So we challenge you to forget the last month, throw it away…the good, the bad, the ugly. The real challenge starts now. Your year, your life, all of it.

So here it is, the secret to your sustained success: accountability.

It means keeping food journals so you can monitor your diet consciously. It means setting up a reminder on your phone to notify you every day to take some time to exercise. It means fighting every inclination to drive straight home after work or to take that seat on that couch.

Accountability is EVERYTHING.

If you’re not working towards a specific goal, how likely are you to find success? Where does the passion come from? …the motivation?…the drive? And how can you realistically expect to overcome the obstacles that are constantly thrown your way?

Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer. But, we can help. We are here to hold you accountable. To work through obstacles, excuses, and insecurities. To challenge and support you in ways you never thought possible.

So what’s your biggest downfall? Ask yourself why you can’t exercise on a consistent basis. Or maybe ask yourself why your diet is in pieces. Have the two ever really come together for you?

Are You Motivated? Or are You Committed?

Whether or not you have made a New Year’s Resolution, you have likely been thinking about what the New Year is going to bring, what you want to enhance in your life and what you want to shed. With the holidays behind you, you may be motivated to lose weight, eat better, get fit, reduce stress, try a new hobby, and/or get organized. You are excited to pursue something better or different than what you’ve done previously. You want to change, and you think you can do it. That’s great! Whatever your goal or goals may be, you CAN do it. But it’s first important to differentiate between motivation and commitment.

As disheartening this statement may seem, motivation is temporary. With it, comes feelings of exhilaration and hopefulness. With motivation, your goals are like a new relationship, where everything is simple and easy. You decide you want to set these goals because you have a fascination for what it could bring you.

The key is to be emotionally in tune with the fact that reaching goals is hard work. One week, for one reason or another, you will eat a candy bar or not go to the gym. The progress will be slower than you anticipate, and you will feel like you’re spinning your wheels. Even if you do everything right, you may gain a pound or tweak a muscle. Life will happen and shit will hit the fan in one way or another.

Will you hold on to your goal?

Commitment is long-lasting. It is the difference between setting goals and realizing them. With commitment comes planning and preparation, so plan and prepare your meals for an entire week schedule your specific workouts a week in advance. Set your sights not on short-term satisfaction but instead on the growth you will attain as a result of realizing your goal. Like any successful relationship, the test is not in going through the fun and easy parts, but rather making it to the other side the difficult trials that you will inevitably face.

Your challenge this week is to figure out if you are simply motivated to hit your goals or if you are truly committed to them. (By the way, it’s ok if you are not committed to a goal that sounds exciting and rewarding. Don’t waste your time on it and come up with something you can be committed to!) If you decide that you are committed to the goals yo’ve set, then figure out a plan to get you through the easy times as well as the more difficult ones. And if you need help, you know where to find us!

Changing the Conversation- Coming to you this week from instructor and barre superstar, Sarah Blackmore

Katie’s Corner

“Barre is about building up the mental stamina to dominate those last few reps – not torturing yourself so you’ll look good in a bikini. Let’s change the conversation.” -Robin Hilmantel, Women’s Health Magazine, November 2015

As I was scrolling through my Instagram, I came across this quote and instantly thought of our gym, not only in our barre classes, but in all aspects of our fitness classes and trainings. I clicked thru the link and continued on to read the article and other fitness quotes, and Energia-50/50 kept popping into my head. At the conclusion of the article, all I could think is how lucky we are to be part of a gym that already is having this conversation. The way I hear different instructors motivate during a class is so positive and all about challenging yourself to do things you never thought your body could do—to listen to your body and to do what it is capable of in that moment. I feel extremely lucky to have found such a nurturing, positive fitness environment that still challenges me every time I walk through those doors.

I continued to think about this article as I went about my everyday life, and it kept popping up at different points. Each time I would take a moment to regroup and remind myself of my own mental strength to push through. I have also continued to think about how many times have we heard or even said ourselves “I have to look good for…(bathing suit season, vacation, a reunion)”. Let’s change our thinking on fitness, remind ourselves it’s about feeling good and give ourselves the healthiest body possible! It is absolutely about focusing that mental stamina to push ourselves and dominate those last few reps. It’s knowing you just completed your first race or got your best race time, it’s conquering that heavy hill, it’s holding ourselves accountable and celebrating our fitness milestones. That mental strength and attitude is what will pull you through your workout and will translate into all facets of your life. This is the time of year that we need it the most, the last push of the year, and we want to finish it out strong. In these last two weeks of 2015, continue to remind yourself that living your best life is about creating a healthy, strong body and working out to feel good mentally and physically.

Your Holly Jolly Workout

Shopping, pageants, parties, family gatherings, and food, food, food. The holiday season is filled with good things, making it the holly-est, jolly-est time of year. And it’s easy to get caught up in the tinsel, lights, eggnog, and chocolate and forget about barbells and running shoes. This is why people gain an average of one pound (studies show that overweight folks gain more) during the winter holiday months. You may not think a pound is that big of a deal, but pack them on year after year and they add up.
While a pound is the average, who wants to be average? Beat the statistics and avoid holiday weight gain by fitting in exercise this year. Here’s how.A New Tradition

Along with stockings, trees, and carols, why not create new family traditions that include exercise? After your big family meals, plan to take a walk, go on a hike, or ride bikes together to burn off the extra calories. Spending time outdoors beats sitting around on the couch and you won’t regret it…especially this year. It’s practically Spring!

Shed the Stress

In case you’ve not heard, stress can be a major contributing factor to overeating. For many, the holidays can bring on all sorts of stressors. The good news is that you don’t have to hang onto that stress and use it as an excuse to overeat. When going into a situation that you anticipate will be stressful, gear up beforehand with a run or quick trip to the gym. The good vibes coursing through your veins afterward should help ward off negative stress and help you make better dinnertime decisions.

Lose Your Tunnel Vision

Ideally, you will be able to get in for a workout four to five times each week. However, the holidays often make this impossible. Not only are you on the road part of the time, you also have parties to prepare for and presents to wrap. Don’t let this cause you to fall into complacency. Wherever you are, you’re able to exercise. Remember: jumping jacks, push-ups, sit-ups, lunges, chin-ups, and running requires no special equipment. Just will power.

Shop Healthily

In today’s world, many people prefer to sit in their pajamas and do all their holiday shopping online. Don’t be one of them. Appealing as it may be to shop online, you can burn off a few more calories if you’re willing to shop at stores. Sure, there will be loonies out who are willing to do whatever it takes to get the last toy or sweater available, but shopping at actual stores forces you to walk and get rid of calories while you’re doing one of your favorite things.

Be Useful

Across the world, the holidays are pictured as times of fun and relaxation. While they should be both, that doesn’t mean you should sit around doing nothing. No matter where you’re spending your holidays, someone still has to work to make sure everything goes off as planned. Have family coming over? Better grab a shovel and clear the snow off the sidewalk and driveway. Your mom cooking up her famous recipes in the kitchen? Get in there and help by cleaning the dishes! It’ll give you a chance to burn a handful of calories, while spending quality time with your loved ones. After all, that’s what makes these days so holly jolly.

South-Of-The-Border Chicken & Rice Soup

A bowl of this homemade soup is a wonderful meal to enjoy during the holidays. It’s low carb and filled with protein and veggies to power your day and curb your cravings. Best of all it’s made in the slow cooker, so preparation is quick and easy.

Servings: 8

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 organic, free range chicken breasts
  • 1 (28oz) can diced, fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 (4oz) can green chiles, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 head cauliflower, shredded
  • 32 oz organic, free range chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • dash of sea salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 avocados
  • Tajin seasoning for garnish
  1. Combine all of the ingredients, except the cilantro, avocado and tajin, in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 3 hours.
  2. Remove the chicken breasts from the slow cooker. Shred with a fork and then return to the slow cooker.
  3. Garnish each bowl with a sprinkle of cilantro, a few slices of avocado and a dash of tajin. Enjoy!

Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 178 calories, 11g fat, 414mg sodium, 20g carbohydrate, 6g fiber, and 25g protein.

NEW YEAR, NEW YOU!

If you’re like most people, the holidays are a time of mixed emotions. You’re excited and anxious to spend time with family, and you’re dreading the extra weight that you know you’re bound to gain. Are these holiday pounds inevitable?

Lean in close to catch these seven secret ways to help you fend off extra weight through the holidays. And once you’re done, don’t keep it a secret. Go tell somebody!

Holiday Secret #1: Listen to Your Body

It may not speak quickly enough all the time, but you know your body is constantly telling you things. Sometimes it tells you to stop a certain activity before you get hurt. During the holiday season, it tells you to put the brakes on your eating before you go beyond the point of no return. When your body tells you it’s full, listen up! A single bite after you’re full will lead to extra calories and eventually, extra pounds.

Holiday Secret #2: Confine the Holidays

For some, holidays become weeks and even months of poor eating. Be careful to avoid this pitfall by digging into your holiday foods only on the actual holiday. Treat the other days like normal days—even if you’re off of work. And when the holiday is over, let someone else take the leftovers home and go to your own house without any pudding or gravy in tow.

Holiday Secret #3: Eat First, Party Second

You read right—it’s good to eat before heading out the door. Have a healthy, well-rounded meal at home with fruits, vegetables, and your protein source of choice. And drink a tall glass of water. Why? So when you get to that holiday party that is overflowing with cookies, cakes, candies, and calories, you’re not hungry for it. Your stomach is full of healthy goodness and has no room for the fattening stuff.

Holiday Secret #4: Plan Your Escape

Getting away from food isn’t easy. If you expect to be able to walk away from delicious thigh- and gut-growing foods without any forethought, think again. Before walking into a potentially fattening situation, plan out what you’re going to eat and take your own dish to share if necessary. Any time there is a particularly difficult eating situation, make plans an hour or so after the dangerous-to-your-diet event begins and excuse yourself.

Holiday Secret #5: Exercise Everywhere

One of the best excuses to gain weight is that you have to travel to visit family and don’t have access to your personal trainer. Well, guess what? Just because your trainer isn’t staying in the hotel with you doesn’t mean you aren’t accountable! Scope out the area where you’ll be traveling and take advantage of whatever exercise opportunities are available. There may be a gym or pool at your hotel, a pay-as-you-go gym, or a nice park nearby where you can walk or run with or without family members.

Holiday Secret #6: Pay Attention to People

Holidays are about family and friends…right? Then stop focusing on food! When you go to a party, there is no need to hang out by the food table when there are people all around you! Ignore the grub and go for the meaningful stuff that you’ll remember and cherish. Besides, it’s much easier to talk without munching and you even listen better when you’re not stuck thinking about how good the next bite is going to be.

Holiday Secret #7: Drink Instead

No, this isn’t a license to drink as much alcohol as you can find. Doing that will add lots of useless calories to your waistline. Instead, do your best to make friends with a glass of water everywhere you go. As you mingle with your water glass, you’ll find it challenging to grab more than a couple of finger foods here and there, and the fact that it is water will help you remember to watch what else goes in your mouth!

Wouldn’t you love to make 2016 the year that you transform your body?

Wouldn’t it feel great to throw out all of your fat clothes? To look forward to bathing suit season? To be given a clean bill of health from your doctor? And to be showered with compliments by family, friends and that special someone?

It’s all more possible than you think.

But you’ll need to take massive action.

REGISTER FOR THE NEW YEAR, NEW YOU CHALLENGE

Go on, do it now and secure your spot before the New Year’s rush.

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