One of our personal trainers Adriana recently interviewed another employee, Sabina Lovett, about her weight loss journey this last year and a half. Sabina started out working as a front desk employee and is now our weekend manager on duty. She started using one of her employment benefits here at the SAC, access to the facility and fitness staff, transforming her body and life. To hear about how Sabina lost over 40 lbs read her interview below.
When did you start working at the SAC?
- I started working at the SAC in November 2014.
How did you feel about your general health when you started here?
- I didn’t really start working out/losing weight until this last September. When I started here I felt horrible about myself, to be honest. I was going back and forth between 175 and 165 pounds. I didn’t have a lot of energy and was constantly eating out. My skin looked terrible because it was extremely red and blotchy and I had fairly bad acne.
What have you done exercise/nutritionally/stress wise to better your health?
- I started off just working out and not really changing my diet. I lost about 15 pounds pretty quickly. I was mostly running and doing light weights with a lot of reps. Once I hit about 155 pounds I hit kind of a plateau, which I knew then that I needed to change my diet. I stopped eating out so much (which has saved me a bunch of money too). Portion control was really a big thing for me. I started using smaller plates which really helped. I started upping the weights I was using and slowly added more time into my workouts. I started doing half hour workouts and now try to work out for 1 ½ hours if I have time.
How much weight have you lost?
- When I started losing weight my goal was to just get back to my high school weight of about 135-125. I’ve reached that goal, as I am now 135. Now my goal is to get down to 125 and I’m working hard to have arms like yours 😉
How has your improved health impacted your life?
- Losing the weight and becoming healthier, in general, has helped me a lot. My skin has completely cleared up and I don’t need to wear makeup now 🙂 My energy level is so much better! I’m able to walk to work a lot faster and I don’t sweat as much now when I’m just walking. I have to admit I’ve always suffered from insomnia so even if I do workout a lot, it doesn’t make a difference with my sleeping patterns. I feel so much more confident in myself now as well and it’s definitely helped with my stress level as I can workout my frustrations. I now look forward to working out and it’s become one of my favorite things to do.
August News & Events
health, lost, Sabina Lovett, weight
It’s time for a little reflection. If you look back a few months ago, a year ago, 4 years ago, what about your fitness routine and your fitness level has changed? How many of your major goals have you accomplished? Can you look at a picture from 2 years ago and say, “Wow, I can’t believe how out of shape I was!” with pride knowing how far you’ve come? Can you look back 6 months ago and say, “It’s so awesome my knees have been pain free for 6 whole months!” If you really reflect, I hope that some things have improved for you and that you are on a path of health and happiness. If you are not, if you really are just spinning your wheels there might be a few things holding you back. You can easily change these things with minimal effort. Even if you only change one of these things it could make all the difference!
1. Variety– Are you doing the same machines? Are you working out for the same amount of time? Are you doing the same weight/reps? Are you always doing the same classes? It’s time to mix it up! This is one of the biggest keys to constant improvement as well as keeping your workouts interesting! Go outside your comfort zone and try something a little bit different!
2. Intensity– Not every workout needs to end with you puking in a garbage can. However, not all workouts should end with you skipping down the street without any fatigue or soreness. Everyone has a different idea of how intense a workout should be. In my personal opinion as long as you feel proud of the things you did in the gym (how much weight you lifted, how fast you swam, how high you jumped, etc) then you are on the right track. Just going through the motions will get you nowhere. You must push yourself to some extent nearly every time you do a workout.
3. Rest Days– Have you been working out in the gym every day for the past month? It’s time to take some time off. This does not mean you have to sit on the couch without moving for days. It means, change your idea of what rest is. Go for a walk instead of coming into the gym for the 24th day in a row. Garden, play with your kids, clean out the garage, or take your dog on a hike. To get the most out of your workouts your body needs time to recover and your mind needs time to go on autopilot. Enjoy some time out of the confines of the club!
4. Fun– If there isn’t anything enjoyable about your workouts, you are headed for trouble. There should always be something that you look forward to in your workouts. Maybe it’s just the stretch at the end. Maybe it’s your favorite lift, watching TV while you run, working out with friends, or your favorite song in spinning class. No matter what, there should ALWAYS be something enjoyable about your workout!
5. Multi-directional Movement– We generally move in one direction…forward. It’s very important to train in all planes of motion (frontal, sagittal, transverse); this is especially true if you are an endurance sport athlete. Too much time in one direction means that you aren’t working supporting muscles. You can only gain so much strength if you are only working one group of muscles! Besides, the lateral movements will also add variety!
6. Stretching– I’ll be the first to say it, stretching sucks. But if you want to be the fastest, strongest, and most fit looking you can be, you need to stretch. The more pliable you keep your muscles, the more they can contract, the bigger range of motion you will have, the more muscle fibers you will have to use, and the more capacity your joints will have to maintain good form. While it might be boring and or painful, it’s absolutely necessary for keeping a healthy body.
7. Small Muscle Work– This goes along with stretching. If you don’t improve the little helpers in your body, then they cannot help the bigger muscles perform to their highest potential. Increasing the little muscles around a joint will keep the joint healthy and moving in a full range of motion!
8. Resistance– Increasing resistance will help your muscles grow and help increase cardiac output. We don’t all have goals of back squatting 500lbs but only doing air squats will only improve your muscle tone, joint stability, and caloric burn minimally. So pick up a medicine ball, grab 2.5lb heavier weights than you normally use, and put an extra magnet on your weight stack. Giving your body something to work against will pay off leaps and bounds when it comes to increased strength. You’ll thank me the next time you have to help your brother move that big couch!
So keep working hard, keep having fun, and keep things fresh and interesting. Have goals, achieve them, and then set new ones! Make each workout count and be an inspiration to yourself as well as others!
If you need any help please contact Adriana Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org
Fitness Advice, Fitness Department
Dear Journal,my name is Adriana Brown and I am obsessed and in love. My husband feels as though an intervention may be in order. I cannot stop using the fitness app, MyFitnessPal. Thanks to fellow trainer Shay Massey, I am totally obsessed with this app and I constantly recommend it to clients, friends, family, acquaintances, and relative strangers. If you want to lose weight and feel like you still have a choice in what you consume (nothing is off limits) this is the absolute best way to do it. Here are a few things I totally love about this app:
1. It’s super easy to use.
2. You can tailor it 100% to your personal needs and goals
3. It’s cell phone friendly, computer friendly, and tablet friendly
4. If you are 100% honest with it you are 100% guaranteed to achieve your weight loss goals.
5. Nothing is off limits
Do these all sound too good to be true? Well, it is and it isn’t. You still have to put in effort just like attaining any goal.
First off, you need a food scale. Most foods you input into the app are measured in grams or ounces. It’s imperative that you measure/weigh your food as that will give you the most exact count of your macro-nutrients (carbs, protein, fat).
Second, you need to do a little leg work You can do a general search (Pink Lady apple), or you can scan a barcode (mixed veggies), or you can import the URL for any recipe (who the heck knows the nutritional info for homemade chili?). Once it’s in your food database you can easily select it going forward, so there’s no second time searching for your favorite Lara Bar!
Third, going out to dinner is hard. If you can’t be exact, do a search of something close to what you are eating. I doubt MyFitnessPal has Etta’s clam chowder in it, but you could select “Whole Foods Clam Chowder” and then be annoying and ask your server how many ounces the clam chowder is.
Fourth, it’s best to do most of your food log the day before. If you know you are having two eggs and a banana for breakfast tomorrow, you should go ahead and plan out as far as you can for the next day. That makes the whole day of meal planning much easier and increases the likelihood that you will hit your target amount of macro-nutrients, which is the ultimate goal.
The fifth–and most important step if you really want to lose weight–LOG EVERYTHING to the best of your ability. If my kids don’t eat all their broccoli I will eat it and add in even just 1.2 ounces so that I’m being honest with myself and really achieving my counts for the day. The more exact you are with your logging, the quicker you will achieve your goals.
On the upside, if you want to eat a Snickers Bar tomorrow, you totally can. It may mean that for the rest of the day you eat nothing but baked chicken and carrots to achieve your food goals, but the choice is yours to make. This is not a diet. This is a way for you to learn what kinds of foods give you what kinds of nutrition and how much of those foods you should be eating. It’s not even about calorie counting; it’s much more about hitting the macro-nutrient count. It’s almost like a game trying to hit your numbers, changing food amounts, changing food, etc. I just love it and think it’s an amazing way to stay on track. Even if you only use it for a week or two in order to understand how much of your meals should be carbs/proteins/fats, it’s a great learning tool.
I highly recommend you give it a shot. Perhaps you’ll love it so much, I’ll see you at the next MyFitnessPal addiction group!
If you want more information about this or other ways to achieve your goals, please contact Adriana Brown at email@example.com
Fitness Advice, Fitness Department
apps, goals, MyFitnessPal, personal, tablet, tablet friendly, weight loss
What happens when you only have 15 minutes to workout? For the majority of us 15 minutes means nothing happens. A lot of time we get it in our heads that we have to have at least 30, 45, or 60 minutes to get a workout in and anything less wouldn’t be worth the bother. Well as I can report from my own experience and any of my clients that show up late to a session can attest, a whole lot of good stuff can get done in 30 minutes or less.
One great way to making efficient and productive workouts in a very short amount of time is to:
- Move quickly
- Use big muscles
- Use power exercises
- Incorporate full body movements
- Take few rests
One very valuable exercise for any workout but especially for short workouts is the Kettlebell Front Squat. Here’s how it goes…
Grab one kettlebell (for progression use two kettelbells in rack position), hold it tight to your chest with your hands on the low part of the handle and maybe slightly on the round part of the bell (see left side picture). With the bell on your upper chest descend down into a deep squat. Getting your thighs below parallel should always be the goal (see right side picture). However, to get to full depth in any squat you need to keep your feet flat, your chest up, your hips under you (not behind you), and to maintain tension in your muscles (not relaxing in the bottom). This is the easiest with weight on the front of your body as the weight counterbalances your backside. So not only is the KB Front Squat great for strength it is also a great exercise to help you understand posture in a full depth squat.
Why is this squat so darned good? Front squats are one of the best ways to increase strength in your quads, which in turn increases stability in your knees. The increase in depth also helps you fire more muscle fibers which will in turn increase your heart rate as well as caloric burn. Using your big muscles means a lot of effort goes into the movement thus increasing the results of strength from the exercise.
Here is a very basic and fun way to incorporate the front squat with a short and effective workout. So the next time you only have 15 minutes to workout there should be no excuses!
- 10 Push-ups
- 10 Kettlebell Front Squats
- 10 Bench Tricep Dips
- 10 Kettlebell Front Squats
- 10 Ab Crunches on the exercise ball
- 10 Kettlebell Front Squats
- 1 Minute “Sprint” on the Elliptical.
Repeat for a total of 3-5 times through.
For more information on effective workouts please contact Adriana Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org
Fitness Department, Fitness Programs, Kettlebells, Sports Conditioning, Strength Training
ab crunches, exercise ball, full body, kettlebell, movement, muscles, power exercises, push up, Rest, squats
I often hear from female clients and female members that they don’t like to lift weights, especially heavy weights because they don’t want to bulk up. I know I’ve written about this topic at least twice before. Maybe the third times the charm.
The illusion of bulking up is just that. If you really were bulking up from lifting weights quite a few stars would have to align to result in such things.
• One, you would have to be lifting HEAVY twice a day.
• Two, you would have to be eating nothing but boiled chicken and broccoli.
• Three, you would have to be pushing yourself to the ends of your strength during every workout.
• Four, you would have to workout hard 5-7 days a week consistently.
It’s incredibly hard to put on large amounts of muscle mass and for the average gym-goer takes a long time to add any real size in muscle. Women especially have a much harder time putting on size, we do not have the testosterone, the same fat deposits (women have much more affinity to hold fat in the arms and hips than males do), and women have smaller muscle size in general. So any noticeable size in muscle is super hard to accomplish. You can get stronger and you may see your muscles more (generally that’s just a result of losing body fat and less about having huge muscles), but lifting enough to have serious guns will probably never happen.
What will happen if you push yourself and lift heavy weights? You will get stronger. Who doesn’t want to be stronger? The stronger you are the easier lifting your grandchild is. The stronger you are the easier it is to start the lawn mower. The stronger you are the easier it is to climb that hill. Strength means you can do more for yourself, you can be confident in your physical feats (will I or won’t I throw out my back lifting the dog into the car?).
What will happen if you lift heavy weights? You will lose body fat. You will increase your muscle fibers (fibers, teeny tiny fibers), which means that your muscles will burn more calories every day to function. Adding extra fibers means that your whole body will need to utilize more calories every day to sit, to walk, and especially to exercise. How sweet is that?! Without doing any long cardio or scaling way back in calorie intake you can lose body fat just by increasing your squat weight and doing fewer reps. Sounds good to me!
What will happen if you lift weights? You will increase your bone density. You will feel a bigger sense of accomplishment (When was the last time you got off the exercise bike after your regular 45 minutes while reading the paper and said, Man I can’t believe I just did that, I’m awesome!). You will have better body composition, that strapless dress will look so much better with stronger arms, I swear! You will move better and with more confidence.
Lifting heavy weights is as much (sometimes way more) cardio as it is strength. It takes a ton of energy to perform heavy lower body exercises and thus increases your heart rate substantially. Lifting heavy is comparable to sprinting up a hill. That sounds like a great way to kill two birds with one stone!
I hope more women get in the weight room and really work hard with the weights. I am a total believer in pushing yourself and lifting “real weights”. The women that take my lifting classes all look AMAZING. In case you haven’t noticed, I’m not churning out huge, beefy, bulging biceped women. Strong means fit. Strong means lean. Strong means healthy. Strong is beautiful. Let’s get strong!
For more information on how to start a strength training program please contact Adriana Brown
Fitness Advice, Fitness Programs, Lifestyle, Women's Health, Workouts
Cardio, fat deposits, lifting, muscles, real weights, testosterone
In April I said, “It’s time to lose my last 5lbs of baby weight”. In May I said, “No, seriously, it’s time”. In June I’m saying, “Only 2 or 3 more pounds…”. Well here I am, half way through June still trying to lose the last bit that back in April I was envisioning being gone by now. What’s holding me back? A few things, and I’ll put them out there right now to be honest with myself. One, not devoting enough time to me. It’s the same old sob story, two kids, a job (if you can call working 4 hours a day a job), a husband, a house, etc. etc. But I’ll be darned if the weekends come and I don’t trade a 20 minute hill running workout for family bed time and yard work during nap time. So, every weekend comes along and I tell myself, just 20 minutes for me and I somehow manage to find other things to do with my “free time”. Second, Plantain Chips, those dirty dirty plantain chips. I love them, my 2 year old loves them, it’s my one and only “treat”. It has to stop, no one should eat Plantain Chips or any kind of chips every day or every other day. I must break the habit! Lastly, obsessing. It’s a real killer and as a woman it’s just what we do. I obsess over how my stomach looks, how much sleep I’m not getting, about raising happy healthy kids, about cleaning up the house, about actually cooking a meal, about what we are going to do this weekend, about getting anywhere on time, about sending out birthday cards before said birthdays actually occur, about remembering to pay that medical bill, about getting groceries, about doing the laundry, about the workouts I’m doing (or not doing). If I give myself too much time I’ll obsess, stress, and get anxiety over just about anything. It’s like I always tell my husband, “Once you become a Mom you just can’t turn Mom off… ever.” It’s my job to worry, plan, care for, and put forth my best effort on all fronts for my family. But that also means I lose much of myself in being things for others. It’s about balance and I should probably find mine!
Any who, those are just my excuses. I’m sure I could come up with many more but those are the ones that are the big cripplers, not just in losing my last 3lbs but in just relaxing and living my life. Let it go, live in the now, just be. If only I could listen to myself.
So what holds you back? What holds you back from achieving your goals (fitness or otherwise)? What holds you back from feeling successful? What holds you back from being happy with yourself? What holds you back from feeling content?
Here is my advice on getting past it all one step at a time. Although, I’m obviously still working on it all myself so perhaps I’m not the guru you should totally invest in : )
1. Outline your goals.
2. Don’t make goals just to make goals, make goals that mean something to you.
3. Don’t let yourself off the hook, be accountable, failure is not failure if you try.
4. Be honest. Be honest with yourself, be honest with your family, be honest with your friends. If you really care about your goals the only way to get there is to be honest. NO MORE EXCUSES 5. Understand what it is holding you back and how to either cope with those things or come up with healthy ways to move past the road blocks.
6. Look on the bright side. We are always looking at the negatives but maybe instead of saying, “I didn’t run 20 miles every week like I planned, I’m a loser” you can say, “Well I didn’t quite get 20 miles but I got 15 and that is pretty good. Next week is a new week.”
It’s not easy to feel like you are losing the battle, like you’ve failed, like you are never going to accomplish something. But not trying, being complacent and living in a way that does not make you happy is much worse than the possibility of failing.
So while I stare at the scale (I’m not even a scale person for crying out loud) and think, “I’m so far away from losing these last few pounds, I’m never going to be able to do it” I instead will tell myself, “Good job, good effort, I traded my normal looking stomach for two beautiful children and that was the best trade ever!”. I’ll remember the positive and continue to work at my goals. Perhaps I’ll stop obsessing about my wobbly bits and start obsessing about something a little more healthy and worth my time. I’m open to suggestions here!
In the end, life is too short to obsess over stupid things. Life is too short to hold yourself back. It’s time to stop sitting on the sidelines. It’s time to join the game, you don’t have to be the best player just getting on the field is a great start! So get out of your comfort zone, try something new, break the cycle, form a new habit (a good one please), you can do it, don’t hold yourself back!
Lifestyle, Motivation, Weight Loss, Women's Health
baby weigth, fitness, free time, goals, kids health, Mom
Are you spending a good 20 minutes doing ab exercises every workout? Are you doing the same 3 over and over again? Can you do all those exercises 100 times without getting tired or sore? Well it’s time to change your workout and improve your movements. Here are two simple abs that will make you wish you had never read this article!
Ab Roll-ups. This is a full body movement and is as much about cardio as it is about abs. There are three levels (and more but we’ll stick to the basics here) to this movement, so just in case you feel like you’ve mastered it there are plenty of ways to make it more difficult.
- Level 1: The basic ab roll up will include you, a mat, a medium sized medicine ball (6-10lbs) and some open space (in case things don’t go exactly to plan)
- First- Laying on your back pull your knees up towards your chest, rolling into a ball (but not so much that you roll yourself all the way backwards)
- Second- Throw your legs down with some umph and plant your feet about shoulder width apart, make sure to roll your spine as you come down so your butt doesn’t smack the floor.
- Third- As your upper body pops up off the mat, thrust the medicine ball out in front of you (the extra weight will help add more forward momentum and make it easier to stand up)
- Fourth- with your butt down and chest up (think great squat form) stand up quickly.
- Fifth- come back to the floor the same way you went up and as soon as your butt hits the mat pull your knees to your chest and repeat steps 1-4 The first rep is always the hardest as you start with no momentum. So if you don’t make it up just continue your roll and try again. Shoot for a set of 5
- Level 2: If you’ve mastered that movement know it’s time to get rid of the medicine ball. You can instead (if need be) start your roll with your arms over your head on the mat and as you throw your feet down to the mat shove your arms out in front of you and use that momentum to help you up.
- Level 3: If this is still to easy perform the same movements but this time cross your arms tightly over your chest.
In all of these movements it’s important to strive for good form when you go to stand up. Make sure that as you begin to stand that you have your hips under your shoulders (chest up butt down) and that your spine is extended and not rounded. Ultimately shooting for 10-15 reps is plenty, as you’ll notice that your abs and your cardio will both be taxed and it becomes fatiguing quickly!
The second ab exercise I’d like to share with you is a basic Plank with an added bonus of a shoulder touch. Make sure that you are always engaging your abs in your plank before you add movement.
- First- Start in a plank from your hands and toes. Your shoulders should be directly over your hands or if you’d like to work a little harder putting your shoulders in front of your hands will engage more abs.
- Second- make sure you get a good pelvic tilt so that your abs get turned on, you should immediately feel your stomach muscles engage once you have done a correct pelvic tilt.
- Third- Pull your right hand off the floor and touch your left shoulder, hold for 2 seconds. As you pull your hand off the floor you need to make sure that your hips stay facing the floor (they don’t turn with your arm), to help maintain this squeeze your glutes.
- Fourth- place your hand back on the floor, re-check your hips (facing the floor, abs engaged, shoulders over hands) and then pick up your left hand and touch your right shoulder. Again, hold for 2 seconds. Shoot for a set of 5-8 reps each arm
It is extremely important that you maintain a flat plank (hips stay even with your shoulders, not popping up), there is little to no rotation as you move your hands, and that you always maintain weight in your hands. Hold the full 2 seconds, this is not a rushed exercises. In fact, the slower more deliberate you are the harder this exercise is.
The next time you go to do your 500 ab crunches replace a set or two with one of the above exercises and see how you do. If it’s still too easy find a trainer and I can guarantee we can make you work harder!
Cardio Training, Fitness Advice, Workouts
ab roll up, abs, Cardio, medicine ball
By Personal Fitness Trainer Adriana Brown, Seattle Athletic Club Downtown
Well, it’s coming; fall is right around the corner. Soon, gone are the mornings of birds chirping, sun shining, and flip flops. Now comes the hard part, the continual early wake up in the dark, wrapped in your ski jacket, de-fogging your car. Not such a pretty picture I know. This is the killer for many workout routines. In the summer time it’s easy to have motivation to get up early and get your workout in before work but once the cold hits your warm bed talks louder and louder to you. How do we avoid the bad weather slacking? A few easy steps and hopefully we’ll stay the course!
- GOALS! Set them now, set at least one goal for the next 3-6 months. Make them small and achievable but make them something that means something to you. Remember that Mexico vacation in December? Now is the time to stay strong and continue to work towards that fit healthy body. Maybe you just want to do the Tough Mudder in September, continue your training and you’ll make it through with flying colors and a smile on your face! No matter what your goals are big or small, make yourself accountable and continue on your well earned path to success rain or shine!
- GET A WORKOUT PARTNER OR TRAINER! The number one way to make sure you get out of bed is to have someone waiting for you at the gym. Whether it is your friend from work, your cousin, or someone you are paying, having a breathing person waiting you at the gym will push you to make the same sacrifice as someone else. It’s so much more fun to workout with someone else, you can push one another, you can do more partner exercises, you can both bring strength and weaknesses to the table, but best of all you can keep each other accountable. If you are still ditching your best friend 2 days out of 3 maybe it’s time to pay someone to keep you on track. By hiring a trainer not only do you get fitness expertise, great effective workouts, but you also get someone forcing you out of bed!
- MAKE A DEAL! Waking up early not working for you? Make yourself a deal. Two days a week you go early to the gym and two days a week you do it after work. If after a month you’ve found yourself only making two workouts a week take a step back and see just what is and isn’t working for your workout times. If you just aren’t a morning person maybe 6AM isn’t going to work for you. Then find yourself a better time. Whatever fits and whatever gets you in and accomplishing your fitness goals!
- GOOD SLEEP! Good sleep makes everything better and easier. You are more alert, your digestive system works better, your immune system is stronger, you think better, and best of all you feel refreshed and ready to tackle the day. Make a bed time, stick to it. Routine at home is just as important as routine in the weight room. Resist the urge to stay up late for your favorite show, an extra 30-60 minutes of sleep could be your missing link between feeling half sick all the time and feeling like you can run a marathon!
- WATER! Drink it, drink lots of it. Replace one of your 4 cups of coffee with water. The more water you have in your system the better your insides function, the better you feel. It’s so easy to do so DO IT!
These are a few simple ways to keep you going when the going gets wet. Bring on the dark and the dreary; you’ll be feeling like a ball of sunshine when you finish a tough workout and you are proud of what you’ve done. You didn’t work that hard all summer to let it go now! Hang in there and work hard!
Cardio Training, Fitness Advice, Lifestyle, Sports Conditioning, Strength Training, Uncategorized, Weight Loss, Women's Health
Deal, End of Summer, fall, goals, Personal Trainer, Sleep, water
Have you ever wondered why knocking out 20 push-ups in front of your trainer is easier than when you do it alone? Could you swear sometimes that on the weekends when you workout at home you take twice as many rests as you normally do and the workout drags on and on? Is it possible that your squats can be done with 20 lbs extra with your girlfriend in the same room? If you are thinking there is something crazy going on don’t freak out just yet.
It’s true, a second pair of eyes will nearly always make you workout harder than you would by yourself. It’s true if you are in the weight room with 10 other people, if you are working out with a trainer, or if you are running a long run surrounded by a marathon of other people you will inevitably work harder and perhaps that work may even seem easier than when doing it by yourself. It’s human nature to do better, work harder, push more if there are other people around (watching you or not). This is why workout partners and trainers help so much with improving workouts. I’m not saying that if you and your co-worker get on an Elliptical next to each other and talk gossip for 30 minutes that you’ll be working out harder than you would on your own. There are certain ways that a partner can lessen your workout. But if you are keeping your eyes on the prize and working hard already, well then, a workout partner may be just the push you need to work that much harder.
Most people that exercise, whether we admit it or not, have a competitive streak. Some people have that on going challenge inside them and push themselves to do better than they think they can. Those are the lucky few, the few that have enough drive to work hard against themselves as opposed to the person on the bike next to them. But for the most of us a little competition or ever working out with someone who constantly lifts more, runs faster, jumps higher, goes longer can help inspire you to try and catch up. Even if you never are the best one you may find yourself stepping up your game as to not get left behind.
In addition to working out hard with a partner, having a pair of coaching eyes on you will also make a huge difference in the accomplishments you can make in the gym. Trainers do a lot of things for a lot of people. We coach, we encourage, we keep you safe, we design smart effective programming for each individual, we keep you accountable, we challenge, we push, and most of all, we watch. Having a scrutinizing pair of eyes on you will for sure drive you to do your best. The next time your boss comes around your office try surfing the internet instead of working super hard on your work. Let me know how that goes. It’s human nature to work harder with someone else’s eyes on you. So if you don’t have a workout partner, if you do not have the luxury of hiring a trainer, workout at a semi busy time (esp. helpful if you workout when all the hot ladies do) and see if you aren’t doing one extra rep, adding 5 more pounds, or running just a little bit faster. Just by having more than one or two people in the same room as you can ignite a little bug inside of you that says, “I don’t want to look like a weenie, I can do this!” People may not actually be watching you but just in case they are you’ll be ready!
The moral of the story is if you can get a workout partner (that wants to workout, not sit around and talk about the weather) you should! If you can workout with a trainer, I can guarantee you will work harder than you do alone. Or if nothing else maybe you wake up a half an hour earlier and workout when you know the gym isn’t a desert. If you are looking to improve your productivity and do better simple changes can be your answer. Try a group X class instead of working out alone. Come to the gym with your husband instead of staying home and going for a run. Motivation is a huge key in doing your best and working hard, find your motivation and get at it!
Fitness Advice, Fitness Programs, Lifestyle
Athletic, club, gym, health club, Seattle Athletic Club, workout
Sometimes more is better. Sometimes flare is good. Sometimes getting nuts is totally the thing to do. But sometimes none of those things are the answers. When is that the case? When you stop and ask yourself, “Am I getting any stronger, faster, healthier, fitter, am I making progress?” When you answer no to any and all of those questions then it’s time to dial back and get back to basics.
Here are a few examples of what I’m talking about, first, moving up in weights. If you haven’t been able to add that extra 10lbs to your squat and press weight the answer may lye more in technique than it does in actual strength. It’s time to break down that complex movement and focus on better full range of motion squats (weighted or just plain old air squats), and then practice your shoulder press form. Breaking down complex lifts so that you can put more energy into each piece so that when you put them back together you are stronger in both aspects of the lift is the best way to be more efficient in your movements as well as increase strength.
Same rules can apply to less complex lifts; take the bench press for example. If you feel like you are really struggling to improve your bench press and even more so really struggling to get the bar to your chest at the bottom (lets be real, it’s not a bench press if you aren’t doing the full range of motion) then perhaps adding more weight or doing more reps is not your answer. The best way to improve your strength, especially in the full range of motion of the bottom position is to do the old basic push-up. Teaching your body the path of motion and touching your chest to the floor in your push-ups (let’s be real, it’s not a push-up until you touch your chest to the floor) will increase your joint strength and flexibility 200% more than a heavy bench press to 90 degrees.
Maybe you don’t care about how much weight you can lift, maybe you care about how well you do during the swimming leg of your next triathlon. You’ve been doing all these super cool exercises with a band, you started adding in some crazy new bag full of sand, or you decided using the strength ropes during every workout for 30 minutes was going to get you faster and stronger. You know what makes you a better swimmer…swimming. Will more strength help you? Sure, but unless you are an efficient swimmer with great technique you can only get so far creating stronger muscle fibers.
Sometimes my clients ask me, “How do I get strong enough to do a pull-up? What kind of exercises should I do to improve my pull-up strength?” Easiest answer ever…do some pull-ups. If you are looking to improve your running, run. I don’t think rowing and bicep curls are going to do anything for your 5K time.
Sometimes we get sucked into the new craze, the new in thing. There’s been Abs of Steel, Tiabo, standing on exercise balls, standing on Bosu Balls, Kettlebells, Strength ropes, and the list goes on and on. But when all of these fads come and go or at least stop being the “cool new thing” what keeps you ahead of the rest and improving? Knowing the basics. If you can swing a 50lb sandbag around like it’s your job but you can’t do a proper full range of motion squat you are going to have trouble doing much else besides swinging a sandbag around. To be a good athlete, a well rounded athlete, a strong, flexible, powerful, healthy, uninjured athlete you need to start from the ground up. Good training has nothing to do with how hard you sweat, what kind of crazy equipment you use, what kind of protein shake you ingest; good training comes from good movement and good smart progression.
As the saying goes, you have to learn to walk before you can run. Learn the basics, if you’ve learned them but let some things slide in order to move up in weight, do more reps, sweat more, etc. maybe it’s time you take a step back and get back to basics.
Fitness Advice, Fitness Programs, Strength Training, Workouts
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