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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! 

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! 

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
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/GetFitnessTogether
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! 

Unselfishness’ Edge in Exercise Programs


Individual commitment to a group effort — that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”  

– Vince Lombardi

I have a bike race on Saturday.  On Tuesday I needed a short, hot spiky interval workout to prepare and condition my body for clearing the flood of lactic acid soon to be heading my way!

I’ve done this type of interval training plenty of times before … on the bike, on the treadmill, on the elliptical, running hills, etc.  But on Tuesday morning, with that deliciously crisp fall air still hanging around, I headed for the rink for some open hockey.

Hockey’s an ideal game for short, hot, spiky interval training: skate hard, blow up, get off the ice and recover.  Winning (or trying to win) the race for a puck is a very quick way to find the Red Zone.  Do it again and again and again and again and you’ve got a nearly perfect hot spiky interval workout!

But what makes my engagement with the game truly unique, and why it is particularly effective for me in this way has mostly to do with mostly sucking at hockey.

I did not grow up playing the game in an organized way (I began playing at 41) , so when I jump into a local game, I’m almost always the least skilled player on the ice.  What happens next is, I think, fundamental human nature: recognizing my limitations, my primary <ahem> goal is to simply not be THE liability on my team.  It’s rare that I hit the net with the puck, so above all else, I don’t want to be THAT GUY creating the turnover or easy goal that let’s my team down.

I’ve worked extremely hard in individual workouts throughout my life, but almost never as hard as I do when my team is counting on me, or when I’m cycling in a group sprint ride.

  It isn’t necessarily for everyone, but I think group exercise is valuable in at least a limited way for most folks.

I still prefer to train mostly by myself for lots of reasons, but on occasion,  what is helpful to my overall program, and what I NEED most is someone ELSE to count on me.

And THIS is way I’m so excited about the upcoming Rollout of our Small Group Training Program!  

We now have a way to deliver well managed personal training in a small, teamwork-like environment!

PACK WEEK IS THE WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 26TH!

Limited space still available, but call now if you want to jump in!

Carbohydrates for Dummy’s – Part 1


A client recently asked me if I supported low carbohydrate diets.

 I responded with an absolute maybe.

It depends, I told her … are you interested in reducing all carbohydrates, simple carbohydrates, complex carbohydrates, refined grain products, sugars, and/or starch?”  

I got “the gaze,” scheduled her for a Nutrition Together session, and decided it was time to write it all down.

Here then, is Part One of a Three Part series on Carbohydrates …

… compete with two polls … please vote!  And, as always, if you comment on my posting, you’ll be entered into a contest to win free personal training!

We’re going to get a bit technical here in the 1st week.  You don’t really need to know the chemistry (I’ll give my layman’s recommendations in week 3), but following along will definitely improve your awareness of marketing hype and improve your diet!

Question # 1 for you:

A (very) Brief History of the Carbohydrate Conversation

If you thought that Low Carbohydrate (Carb) diets were a consequence of modern dietary remediation, you’d be right.  And you’d also be quite wrong.   

In fact, many anthropologists believe that the early hunter-gatherer humans of thousands of years ago consumed a diet largely consisting of proteins and fats with relatively low carbohydrate content.   Of course, they suffered from very low life expectancies, widespread disease, and chronic illnesses, so it’s probably best not to give too much credit to that <ahem> tribe’s eating habits.   They were also generally more active than our current society. 

More recently, physicians sporadically treated diabetic patients with medications and low carb diets as early as the 1700s … more than 3 centuries ago. 

And if that’s not all, the Glycemic index, an indication of how quickly carbohydrates metabolize, was actually introduced by Dr. David Jenkins around 1981 more than 30 years ago!

But the “low carb craze” as we now know it really started in the 1990s when Dr. Robert Atkins introduced his diet and philosophy on fat.

By that time, of course, highly refined grains had permeated much of the American diet, and, according to the USDA’s 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, they still do.

Considering the position we held on the Obesity Curve in the 1990s, carbohydrates became an easy target for a problem that seems to be getting <ahem> bigger. 

Dozens of Medical Research Communities have studied low carb diets over time, developing both staunch supporters of and staunch opponents to the concept.

In short, it’s a complex topic.  While much there is much consensus around protein and fat intake requirements for varying levels of human activity, the camps on carbohydrates are very much divided. 

 

Further complicating the picture is that we have a very diverse range of activities to consider.  Athletes, weekend warriors, and fitness freaks all need different nutrition than the average consumer.  And the average consumer is different in activity behaviors than highly sedentary folks in the community.
In the end, no diet is right for everyone, and, over the next few weeks, I’ll show you why!
What’s more, carbohydrates cover an extremely diverse category of foods.
 Everything from vegetables to vermicelli is under the carb cover.
Simple table sugar is a carbohydrate just as a bowl of oat meal is.  So to, are cookies, pie crusts, and brussel sprouts.
Everything from simple fruits to complex, highly refined grain food products has been thrown under the carbohydrates-are-bad bus, and that’s just wrong.

Organically Speaking …

Carbohydrates, as the name suggests, are a long chained carbon molecule (carbo -) with oxygen and hydrogen (hydrates).  The ratios of hydrogen and oxygen are about 2:1 (H2O), though the molecule itself has very little in common with water.
Proteins and Fats are also long chained carbon molecules, but with much different ratios of hydrogen and oxygen.   (See the skinny on fats and protein primer).  
The simplest of all carbohydrates is a single unit of a saccharide,  or sugar.  It is called a monosaccharide (C6H12O6).    How the molecule is structured, however, determines what type of a sugar it is, even though it has the same molecular formula (C6H12O6).

Three commonly recognized monosaccharides are Glucose, Galactose, and Fructose.   Glucose, of course, is human blood sugar, an immediately ready source of energy for cellular respiration – the product of which is ATP, our primary energy source.

 

Galactose is the sugar commonly found in dairy product (and is responsible for ‘lactose intolerance’), while Fructose is the sugar found in honey and fruits.    

High Fructose Corn Syrup is a fructose manufactured as an sweetening ingredient from corn starch,  and is a highly controversial processed food ingredient.

 

In fact, if you believe Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivor’s Dilemma, Corn and High Fructose Corn syrup play a major part in the American Obesity Epidemic.
Enough for now.  Next week – the Glycemic Index, and Simple vs. Complex Carbs. 
But before that, please tell me …

Ready to Sweat!? Small Group Training is coming to Fitness Together Minneapolis!


Same great managed training & nutrition programming in groups of 2 to 4.

Bring your A game though, because it gets a little competitive!

Current clients will be offered a taste early this fall!