Get in a Quickie to Avoid Holiday Stress and Weight Gain


There’s nothing like a quickie to get your morning started right!  Or pick you up in the afternoon!

Or punctuate your day in the evening!

Exercise Quickies, that is.

You see, December is one of the toughest months of the year for Fitness Professionals. As if busy lives, work schedules, and family affairs weren’t enough, extra travel, holiday parties, out-of-town guests, and office gatherings all add to the daily grind. Making time to exercise is always a challenge, but this added pressure can be a nightmare for trainers trying to keep their clients on track!

Of course, in the blinder-ed world of a Fitness Professional (because no matter what the question is, exercise is almost always one of the best answers), we’d argue that if you’re life gets so stressful that you don’t have time to exercise, you really can’t afford to NOT exercise. Indeed, exercise is the ultimate anti-anxiety medicine.

So, before you blow off your workout in lieu of yet another gluttonous holiday party, consider rolling through December distractions with Frequent Exercise Quickies!

Here’s how it works.

Rather than spending your normal 75 to 90 minutes working out 3 or 4 days per week this month, plan instead for training 4 or 5 days per week (one extra day) for just 40 to 50 minutes (less time per workout).

Normally, we coach clients (and you should plan) for a minimum of 10 to 15 minutes warming up before your workout and 30 to 45 minutes of cardiovascular work following your session.  Along with your 45 minute training  session, this gives you a standard 75 to 90 minute workout.   Normally.   And while that doesn’t seem like a huge time commitment to us (after all, isn’t your health, sleep, and appearance worth it?), it can certainly seem intimidating when there’s cooking to be done, the in-laws are inbound, and you have an unfinished gift shopping list.

A 45 minute workout, on the other hand, is short, sweet, and mentally conquerable.
Indeed, just showing up is the hardest part!

Heck, it’s not even a workout … more of a workoutling ... a workout too small, cute, and incomplete to be a real workout. Get in, get it done, and be on your way.  The key, of course, is that if you reduce you cardio and resistance workout volumes, you’ll really, really need that additional exercise quickie per week!  Quickies are only acceptable if you get more of them into your week!

Training for 45 minutes 4 times per week (200 total minutes) instead of 75 minutes 3 times per week (225 total minutes) also has other advantages.

For one, you raise your metabolism one extra day per week. Not only do you burn calories while exercising, but you’ll burn additional calories recovering from the exercise after your workout. And this extra day of recovery effort more than covers for the reduced total volume (25 minutes).

Additionally, the 4th workoutling per week gives you one more boost of energy to make it through stressful days, and another shot of endorphins to make the holiday stress more tolerable.

If you’re training with FT, your session pace is always quick and with aerobic elements, but if you’re getting your (regular or extra) workoutlings on your own

… keep these things in mind for effective exercise quickies:

  1. It’s just 40 minutes, so plan for being seriously committed for the entire workout; it goes fast!
  2. Rest no more than 1 minute between sets
  3. Drink plenty of water
  4. Perform mostly compound exercises that incorporate a lot of major muscle groups
  5. Wear your headphones, and don’t make eye contact with anyone else in the gym (no time to get pulled away into a conversations)
  6. Look ahead, and plan your next exercise before you’re finished with your current one
  7. Have an alternate exercise in mind with alternate equipment to keep you moving should your equipment get taken before you get there (and good training for the January gym jams)
  8. Go relatively light with high repetitions (20+) on the 1st set of any exercise (the abbreviated warmup will increase the risk of injury, so you’ll need to warmup in-line)
  9. Plan for no fewer than 10-12 repetitions on any exercise (again, making the workout more aerobic in nature to compensate for reduced cardio)

Looking for another way to get in a Great, Quick Workout?  

Try our Small Group Personal Training Sessions! 

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Eating Too Little Contributes to Weight Gain


That’s right, eating too little at the wrong times can actually have a negative effect on your weight loss efforts.

Don’t get me wrong, at the end of the day weight loss is still a very basic calorie calculation: weight lost = calories out – calories in. Consume more than you burn and you gain weight. Burn more than you consume andyou loose weight. Simple math.

However, eating too little at critical times of the day, like breakfast or prior to exercise can actually have a negative effect on your ability to loose fat.

Skipping breakfast, for instance can create a hormone imbalance that triggers the body to go into”starvation mode,” and consequently triggers the body to store more fat than it otherwise would by reducing your metabolism. Not good.

Further, as the day progresses, this hormonal imbalance unnaturally increases appetite to the point where you’re far more likely to overeat for your next couple of meals according to the Journal of American Nutrition. That’s even worse.

Eating too little prior to exercise is another frequently made mistake.
Whether you’re heading to the club to lose body fat, add muscle tone, or just feel good about yourself, it is critical that you have a small pre-workout meal.

And here’s why.

Energy for exercise always comes from a blend of protein, carbohydrate, and fat. But fat sources only work at very low intensity levels, and carbohydrates are quickly utilized and must be constantly replenished.

So, while you might hope that your body will always use fat as an energy source during exercise, stored fat is metabolized ONLY when you are either sedentary or exercising at a very, very low level of intensity.  You will, indeed, burn more calories when you exercise at more rigorous levels, but you’ll burn no more fat. Check out my Heart Rate Zone Training to Look and Feel Fantastic report for LOTS more detail on this.

Most exercise is aerobic in nature. The energy source that will help you work harder to burn more calories, and work more efficiently to recruit additional muscle fibersis carbohydrates.  Unlike fat, which is stored as fat, carbohydrates are stored in the blood stream, muscle tissues, and organs as glycogen and glucose (and, technically ATP at the cellular level, but we’ll ignore that for now).

These immediately available “sugars” are your primary energy source for exercise… at least until they’re gone, which can be in as little as 20 minutes, depending on your metabolism and the nature of your exercise. Once the supply is spent (metabolized to exercise), your body needs to replace those spent sources with new sources .. .your pre-workout meal.

So, when you’re consuming your pre workout meal, you’re really filling your gas tank for the second half of your workout.

If you get it right, you’re in good shape for high energy levels and higher levels of intensity during the second half of your workout.  If you get it wrong, you’ll “hit a wall”, struggle with even moderate intensities, and ask your body to metabolize less efficient sources for energy, like proteins. That’s right, even if you’ve got 30 pounds of body fat to loose, if your body needs energy sources beyond the immediately available carbohydrate sources, it doesn’t convert your stored fat, it converts proteins!

Unfortunately, it gets worse yet, for if those proteins aren’t in your bloodstream (from a consumed meal), your body converts stored proteins …your muscle tissue … through a process called catabolism.

And if you are catabolising you will almost certainly gain fat because maintaining lean body mass is a key factor in loosing body fat!

So, (ahem), here’s the skinny on your pre-workout meal. You don’t need to have much, but be sure that you have a few hundred (200 to 400, depending on your body weight) balanced calories between 30 and 60 minutes prior to exercise. This window will vary from person to person (and your hydration levels and prior daily food intake), but 30 to 60 minutes ahead of your workout is a good place to start. A well balanced snack should consist of approximately 25% protein, 65% carbohydrate and 10% fat. One half of a peanut butter sandwich and half a banana handle this perfectly.  Or a yogurt and a few crackers.

This pre-workout requirement is also well recognized, and aggressively marketed by the nutritional supplements industry (Cliff, PowerbarGatoraide, etc.). Products from these suppliers also nicely handles the requirement.  However, just be sure that you consume the product far enough ahead of exercise for benefit: it takes most digestive systems 30 to 40 minutes to move food to the bloodstream. Consuming these productsduring exercise is almost always too late for any benefit for exercise shorter than 90 minutes.


Looking for more healthy tips on eating right and proper nutrition?Ask me about our New Nutrition Together program!

Get Fitness Together Minneapolis Holiday Gift Card Packages Are Here!


 

 

Check out these One on One and Small Group Personal Training Gift Packages:


‘Lotta Love for the New Year Package

One month of Personal training: 

  • Two One on One Personal Training sessions Weekly PLUS
  • One Small Group Personal Training Session Weekly PLUS
  • A 19 Point Focused Inspired Training (F.I.T.) Consultation PLUS
  • 1 One on One Nutrition Together Consultation
  • $649 (normally $788)

New Year’s Done Right Package

One Month of Personal Training:

  • 1  One on One Personal Training sessions Weekly PLUS
  • Two Small Group Personal Training Sessions Weekly PLUS
  • A 19 Point Focussed Inspired Training (F.I.T.) Consultation PLUS
  • 1  One on One Nutrition Together Consultation
  • $499 (normally $638)

Just Get Started Package

One Week of Personal Training:

  • 1 One on One Personal Training session PLUS
  • One Small Group Personal Training Session PLUS
  • A 19 Point Focussed Inspired Training (F.I.T.) Consultation 
  • $99 (normally $147)

Good through December 22nd Only! 

Top 5 Holiday Training Secrets


DO NOT MAKE THE MISTAKE OF WAITING UNTIL AFTER THE HOLIDAYS TO BEGIN AN EXERCISE PROGRAM!

Soon after Halloween (the beginning of the end), many of us begin to think of the holidays and all the happiness, joy, stress and guilt that comes with them.

So too begins the media hype regarding eat, eat, eating.  And drink, drink, drinking …  and overall indulgences.

Believe it or not, all of that leads us to gaining an average of 6 pounds between Halloween and New Years Day!  6 pounds!  6 pounds of squishy, blubbery,  artery clogging FAT!

It’s an emotional set up! The toxic messages begin….eat more, drink more, buy more! 

As if a lot of us are doing enough of all that already!  Those messages, along with the long-standing, powerful TRADITIONS of your particular family unit may lead you to overindulge throughout the holidays and leave you feeling tired, depressed and frustrated come January.

But This Year can be Different! You CAN go through the holiday season with a spirit of joy and hope with lots of energy and enthusiasm. With just a few small “attitude adjustments”, you can sprint into January feeling refreshed and revitalized.

Here then, are my Top 5 Tips for making it through the Holiday Season WITHOUT gaining the dreaded 6 pounds of fat the average American gains between October and January! 

1. Have a meal replacement shake before attending a party.

Holiday Parties are loaded with irresistible, high calorie, high fat content foods and drinks. It’s a party and it’s the Holiday Season!  You will indulge.  You should indulge.  But the last thing you want is to show up famished and take down a quick 1000 calories before the band even starts! And that wouldn’t take much. Here are a few examples:

  • 1 Mai Tai – 310 Calories
  • 1 Strawberry Margarita – 210 Calories
  • 2 Fried Won Tons 620 calories & 20 g. fat
  • 1 Cheese Ball 155 calories & 14 g. of fat
  • 1 Bacon Wrapped Smoky Link 167 calories, 11 g fat  (who’s wrap-some more-fat-around-fat idea was this anyway!? )
  • – Total: 1152 calories, all of which could easily be consumed inside of 60 minutes
So, take in a healthy, protein rich (15-20g) shake before you go to reduce your appetite to avoid the additional calories. And only have one won ton!

2. Don’t keep trigger foods in the house.

Trigger foods, which are typically high in fat, set the stage for unrestrained eating, and contain hidden calories that subvert weight loss efforts. You don’t need them and your kids don’t either.

The displays in the grocery store can be compelling, but the rule is simple: Don’t buy them and they won’t be a problem

3. Begin or Maintain a Regular Exercise Program NOW

Lots of folks conveniently defer exercise until after the 1st of the Year when the mystic weight lost elves will miraculously help solve both years of unhealthy diet and exercise and eliminate the seasonal weight gain …all within the magical month of January!

Guys, gals …it always was and still is a fallacy.  The only thing you’ll gain by waiting to begin an exercise program until January is a few more pounds.

Get started NOW!

4. Make your Holiday Weight Loss Goals Net Zero

That’s right – plan to loose no weight at all! But plan to gain none either – net zero. Enjoy a few extra calories during the season, but burn them all off immediately with 3 strength training workouts and 2 hours of cardio weekly. Let me know if I can help you with this!

5. Make your Holiday Fitness Goals Cardiovascular or Strength Related

Especially if your New Year’s Health and Fitness Related Goals are weight loss, establish and reach NON-Weight loss goals of improved cardiovascular conditioning or improved strength in December! Improving your cardiovascular fitness levels and muscular strength now can set the stage for accelerated weight loss in January.  Adding lean body mass (muscle, bone, blood) now means that you’ll burn more calories both when you exercise as well as when you’re at rest.

Cardiovascular or Strength related goals can be simple:

  • Walk every day of the week, starting with 10 minutes and add 2 minutes every day – you will be up to 90 minutes of walking by December 31st!
  • Do 3 push ups 3 times a week – you should be able to triple your repetitions in 6 weeks
  • Do sit-ups 3 times per week – you should be able to double your repetitions by boxing day

Or more complex:

  • Have a VO2 Max test done now, then …
    • Run, spin, roller ski or skate twice weekly 40 minutes at moderate intensity
    • Run, spin, roller ski or skate once weekly for 20 minutes at high intensity
    • Test again in 6 weeks
  • Have a sub max bench press and pull-up test done now, then …
    • Complete 3 full body resistance training exercises per week
    • Test again in 6 weeks

And if you’re looking for the Perfect Holiday Gift, Ask me about our…

Check out these One on One and Small Group Personal Training Gift Packages:

 

Lotta Love for the New Year Package

One month of Personal training:

  • Two One on One Personal Training sessions Weekly PLUS
  • One Small Group Personal Training Session Weekly PLUS
  • A 19 Point Focussed Inspired Training (F.I.T.) Consultation PLUS
  • One One on One Nutrition Together Consultation
  • $650 (normally $788)
New Year’s Done Right Package

One Month of Personal Training:

  • One One on One Personal Training sessions Weekly PLUS
  • Two Small Group Personal Training Sessions Weekly PLUS
  • A 19 Point Focussed Inspired Training (F.I.T.) Consultation PLUS
  • One One on One Nutrition Together Consultation
  • $525 (normally $619)
Just Get Started Package

One Week of Personal Training:

  • One One on One Personal Training sessions Weekly PLUS
  • One Small Group Personal Training Session Weekly PLUS
  • A 19 Point Focussed Inspired Training (F.I.T.) Consultation PLUS
  • $99 (normally $147)

Good through December 22nd Only! 

Dealing with Ailments, Injuries, and Illnesses as We Age


Exercising regularly or not, the frequency with which we incur ailments and injuries increases as we age.

As we age:

  •  the body naturally looses mineral density in the bones (sometimes resulting in osteoporosis);
  •  the muscles themselves shrink (technically called atrophy); 
  •  the tendons and ligaments holding it all together become less pliable and weaken; and
  •  metabolism slows, increasing the time it takes for the body to mend.

It all starts somewhere in our early 30s increases into the 40s and then accelerates into the 50s and 60s.  Regular exercise is, of course the best way to stave off the process, but even regular exercisers experience ailments and injuries, sometimes even more so than sedentary adult simply because some of us still think and behave like we’re 20!

Injuries

If you’re exercising regularly it’s typical to pick up injuries large and small overdoing it in some way: that extra mile on a long run; that 6th day of training;  that extra hill on the bike ride;  that extra 20 pounds on the bar when squatting for the 1st time in a while.

Injuries come with acute pain.  You normally know exactly when the pain started and exactly what you were doing when it occurred: it’s tough to forget smacking your face into a forest tree!

Sedentary adults are most frequently injured simply navigating the course of life … hurting your back moving that piece of furniture or slipping on some ice.  Exercisers get injured in these ways too, but less so.  Stronger muscles, joints, and bones help the body tolerate impact better, and, of course improves overall coordination and balance.

Ailments

Ailments are technically injuries too, but are introduced slowly over time as a result of over use and insufficient recovery.   Athletes and aggressive exercisers ( anyone exercising 5 or more days per week) work with ailments on a regular basis, normally around joints.   Runners who only run frequently develop knee and ankle ailments.  Cyclists who only cycle often experience hip and knee trouble.

But ailments also, and perhaps more commonly occur within the daily grind for both exercisers and the sedentary:  carpal tunnel syndrome and strained shoulders are all too common modern-day office worker ailments.

They are incurred with the same problem: overuse of a body part without sufficient recovery. 

Responding to Injuries

For minor injuries and ailments the 1st remedy is normally RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation on the effected area.  Depending on severity, this could be for an hour just once to several intermittent hours each day for a week.

If you are in severe pain, or if the pain lasts longer than a couple of days, or just want some piece of mind, see your doctor.  

Exercising with Ailments and Injuries

Exercising with an injury isn’t just possible, it’s actually quite common.     In fact, it’s often an opportunity to introduce beneficial cross training into the mix … swimming, for example, if you’re working through a calf injury.   Or simply limiting overhead and torsion exercises if you’re nursing a strained back.   Unless you’re in traction, a good fitness trainer will easily find something to do no matter what the injury!

The key to a quick and safe recovery is allowing the injury to completely heal before re-introducing the effected body part  into your exercise program.  

This may include some physical therapy, but almost always begins with the pain-free range of motion test: if you can move the limb or body part completely through its range of motion without pain, you’re probably ready to begin putting a load and stress on it.

Begin cautiously with low resistance, low volume and low intensity.  Increase these three elements (volume, resistance and intensity) one at a time waiting at least a day between any further increases.   Be sure to stretch, stretch, and  stretch some more, especially if it’s a joint issue.  You may develop some minor soreness and swelling in the process; use RICE along the way.   

This process of improving range of motion, incrementally increased load,  and incorporating RICE is, in fact rehabilitation.  It’s best overseen by a physician, but …

If you know your body well, or are working with a highly skilled fitness professional, it’s actually  straightforward enough to rehabilitate yourself through injuries.   You know how your body feels and reacts better than anyone else. 

But if you’re not working with a professional of any type, it’s best to go see your doctor.

Illness

While exercising with and recovering from ailments and injuries gets tricky, handling illness is comparatively simple.

We call it the neck test.

If your symptoms are in your neck and above, you pass and should be OK to exercise in some way.  

Depending on how you feel, it might be a good day for your long, slow cardio event, or other light activities.   Dial it down a bit if you need to, but DO exercise!   It will boost your immune system and increase your metabolism, getting you back to good health more quickly! 

But if your symptoms are in your chest, you fail, and should rest and/or see a physician.

 

Press Release: Small Group Personal Training Craze Hits Minneapolis with PACK™ Training!


Contact: Randy Zarecki, 1024 Washington Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN  55415
(612) 455-2246

raz@fitnesstogether.com
GetFitnessTogether.Wordpress.com

Fitness Together Minneapolis Introduces Leading Fitness Techniques to Everyday Consumers  

Minneapolis, MN – Unlike the “one-class-fits-all” approach to fitness found at Minneapolis’ large group training classes, boot camps, and big box gyms, Fitness Together Minneapolis has redefined the concept of group fitness with PACK™ training, a highly personalized approach to group training where consumers are challenged by state of the art fitness techniques.

Small group personal training at Fitness Together Minneaplis combines the energy of up to four people with coaching from a certified trainer, all in a private setting. From swinging battle ropes at full speed to using suspension trainers to conduct pull-ups, PACK™ training participants engage in total body movements designed for maximum results – a similar approach to a professional athlete’s training, yet scaled to meet each person’s fitness level. PACK™ sessions are packed with exercises that give clients the highest return for their efforts in the least amount of time, burning loads of calories and working more muscles at once.

“Research shows that people tend to push themselves more when working side by side with others in a group setting, yet large group environments do not allow for proper coaching on technique, intensity, modifying exercises to avoid injury, or switching up of routines to attain a higher fitness level,” said Randy Zarecki, owner of Fitness Together Minneapolis.  “PACK™ gives clients the best of both worlds, offering personalized fitness, cardio and nutrition regimens in a small group setting that builds camaraderie and peer motivation. This program also makes personal training more attainable for the average consumer, and builds more revenues for our trainers. It’s a win-win for everyone.”

At about half the cost of a one-on-one personal training session, Fitness Together’s small group personal training program begins with a comprehensive fitness assessment of each member. This includes evaluation of the person’s current fitness level, analysis of range of motion and trouble spots and setting personal fitness goals. Clients are encouraged to train at least twice per week, where each session includes a dynamic warm up, strength training, metabolic conditioning, and stretching. Each client also benefits from nutritional counseling sessions where they learn how to eat light, eat often, and eat healthy.   “Obesity and resulting health issues are increasing at a dramatic rate, and we have a tremendous opportunity to curb this trend in the Minneapolis community,” said Zarecki.

“Whether trying to lose weight, feel their best or achieve higher levels of athletic performance, our clients receive individual assessments to gauge progress against their personal goals to look, feel and perform better, and individual exercises are adjusted for person’s level of conditioning and any physical limitations, yet still benefiting from training with a group.”

Fitness Together Minneapolis is located at 1024 Washington Ave. S, Minneapolis MN  55415.

For more information, please call 612.378.8898 or visit GetFitnessTogether.com
Randy Zarecki Owner & Chief Fitness Officer

Fitness Together Minneapolis

1024 Washington Ave S. Minneapolis  612.378.8898

Our Signals:

Web: GetFitnessTogether.com
Blog: https://getfitnesstogether.wordpress.com
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Twitter: Get_Fit_MN

An Interval Training Primer


Interval Training 101

Most folks get their 1st taste of interval training with cardiovascular exercise.    

In fact, one of the most commonly used and basic interval programs is the hard/easy cycle.

Walkers frequently become runners with interval training without even knowing it!  They walk for a bit, run for a bit, and then walk for a bit more.  And in the process complete their 1st interval workout!

An interval is quite simply a distinct period of exercise followed by a distinct period of rest.

The aspiring runner who runs until ‘very tired’, then rests ‘until feeling better’ is interval training every bit as much as an athlete who sprints for 30 seconds and then walks for 2 minutes.

Four things create an Interval of training:

  1. The Intensity of an Exercise Effort
  2. The Duration of an Exercise Effort
  3. The Intensity of the subsequent Recovery Period
  4. The Duration of the subsequent Recovery Period

Fitness professionals, athletic trainers, and coaches prescribe interval training to accomplish highly specific goals.  For athletes who depend on explosiveness and quickness, much emphasis is placed on short duration high intensity efforts to develop burst and power … those required during competition.

Similarly, endurance athletes commonly use lower intensity intervals with long (and sometimes really long) durations, perhaps with very short recovery periods to develop cardiovascular efficiencies… again, as is required during extended competition.

Unfortunately, athletes and exercisers who exclusively limit their training in this way actually miss out on multiple beneficial exercises askew to their niche.   

Here’s why:

For one, interval training, is hardly restricted to cardiovascular exercise!   In fact, you might legitimately argue that the very 1st straight set resistance (weight lifting) programs were actually the original seeds of interval training!  A Straight Set does quite handily satisfies all 4 of the above interval requirements: lift a weight until failure; then recover for 2 minutes, for example.

Secondly, narrowly focused cardiovascular intervals actually fail to cover all of the zones within a heart healthy exercise program.

More educated athletes do do some form of cross training these days to supplement their sports specific activities, but runners who simply run run run, and cyclists who just ride ride ride are not only prone to overuse injuries, but also cheat themselves of the benefits of a more balanced exercise program.

For the average forty fifty something simply looking to look and feel better, interval training  has significant relevance.

Non only do they play a part in a comprehensive cardiovascular program, but they can be a key element in resistance training as well!

Indeed,  straight sets are hardly the degree to which interval training can be applied to resistance training!  In programming for muscular endurance and body fat reduction,  low resistance, high repetition, longer duration INTERVALS  are a highly effective and extremely efficient resistance training interval.

And THAT is way I’m so excited about MONDAY’S Rollout of our Small Group Training Program where resistance training intervals will be frequently used!