Author: Jason Anderson

Personal Fitness Trainer, Seattle Athletic Club Downtown

Sticking with your New Years Routine

Yo-yo dieting does not work and neither does yo-yo exercise. A lot of people start out the New Year with good intentions but quickly fall out of a new exercise routine shortly after the year starts. Most fitness gains are cumulative. For example: the more you lift weights, the more weight you can lift; the more often you walk or run, the farther you’ll be able to go and the stronger your heart and lungs will become.

So if you typically go gangbusters every New Years with a new fitness regimen, only to stall out within weeks, here are some tips for sticking with it:

1. Pick something you really enjoy. Hate running? Don’t do it! There are lots of fat-burning aerobic activities to choose from. Try the rowing machine for low impact but great calorie expenditure or a spin class with inspirational music.

2. Make it a date. Treat your power walk/ kickboxing class/ weight circuit session as an appointment. Write it in your calendar or plug it into your smartphone, and you’ll be more likely to follow through. If you need more reinforcement, schedule a few months’ worth of these dates, so that you’ll have to make your other plans around your exercise. Forming a new habit will take at least 3 to 6 weeks so plan your exercise as far out as possible.

3. Buddy up. Commit to a routine with a friend or two. Whether you’ll be embarking on a regular bike ride, splitting the cost of a personal trainer, or planning to meet up for a yoga class, it’ll be harder for you to make up excuses to get out of your workouts if your friends are counting on you to be there. The Seattle Athletic Club has a variety of fun and inexpensive fitness classes that you and your friends can join together and keep you all on track. Finding a fun class like Will Patons’ Circuit Training class or Amber Grugers’ Insanity class will allow you and your friends to have fun in a group setting with lots of other energetic people.

4. Keep it fresh. Make it a goal to try a new activity every six weeks or so to keep from getting bored. Think of the different areas of fitness you would like to improve and when it is time to try another activity make the switch to something your body needs. If you feel you’re strong but not as flexible as you would like to be then a Pilates or Yoga class once or twice a week may improve your overall fitness level. Come into the Seattle Athletic Club to see what new and exciting classes fit your New Years goals. Trying a new class just might be that extra piece of motivation to keep you going this New Year!

Time Saving Holiday Workout



The holidays are upon us, and our time gets spread thin with all the traveling, shopping, and holiday parties.  You’ve spent the year working on your fitness goals, so don’t slack off during the holidays and diminish your progress.  Whether you’re traveling or just don’t have as much time as you usually do, here are some exercises you can do under 30 minutes, just about anywhere, with little to no equipment.


Perform these exercises in a circuit. Work for 20 seconds, rest 10 seconds and then move on to the next exercise. Rest up to 2 minutes at the end of the circuit, and then start over.  Repeat circuit 2-3 times.


– Jumping Jacks

– Push-ups

– Squat Jumps

– Full Sit-ups

– Pike Push-ups

– Lunge Jumps

– Side Plank (each side)

– Mountain Climbers

– Single Leg Pistol Squat (each leg)

– Plank Jacks

– Single Leg Hip Thrusts


Give this 30-minute workout a try to maintain your cardiovascular fitness, strength, and sanity this holiday season. If you push yourself and move quickly from exercise to exercise, you can get a great workout in half the time.


If you would like more ideas on staying on track this holiday season, please contact Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach Jason Anderson at the Seattle Athletic Club.

Decrease your child’s risk to sport injuries


Summer is upon us which means school is out and now you have to help keep your kids active without pushing them too hard.  A summer of fun activities can quickly turn into a summer of stress and overuse injury.   From various little league teams to sport camps put on by your surrounding community centers the decision of what activities are appropriate and how much your kids can handle is an overwhelming thought.


Keeping your kids safe is a high priority for all parents and coaches.  Keeping an open line of communication with the child and the coach is extremely important for parents to understand the mental and physical demands placed on your child’s body while participating in multiple physical activities over the summer.  Kids are starting organized sports at an earlier age these days which sometimes means the size and athletic ability of your child may put them at risk when competing with others the same age.  Doing a little research and talking with the coaches/instructors before just placing your children into a camp or league can give you a good understanding if that activity will be a good fit for your child.


Risk of Injury


All sports have a risk of injury; some more than others. In general, the more contact in a sport, the greater the risk of injury.  Concussions occur after an injury to the head or neck. They are most likely caused by body-to-body contact, body-to-object (like a ball) contact, or body-to-ground contact.  Most sports injuries involve the soft tissues of the body, not the bones. Only a small percentage of sports injuries involve broken bones. However, the areas where bones grow in children are at more risk of injury during the rapid growth phase of puberty.  The main types of sports injuries are sprains (injuries to ligaments) and strains (injuries to muscles). Many injuries are caused by overuse. Overuse is when a child overdoes it (by pitching too many innings, for example). This places stress on the tendons, joints, bones, and muscles and can cause damage.


How to reduce risks

  • Wear the right gear. Appropriate protective equipment may include pads (neck, shoulder, elbow, chest, knee, and shin), helmets, mouthpieces, face guards, protective cups, and eyewear.
  • Increase flexibility. Stretching exercises before and after games can help increase flexibility of muscles and tendons used in play.  There are a wide variety of stretch assisting tools available such as the foam rolls or stretch bands which can make stretching more fun for your kids.
  • Strengthen muscles. At a young age the focus will be on general motor patterns and as the athletes get older the exercise will consist of more sport specific movements and overall increase in major muscle development.  Conditioning exercises during practice and before games can help strengthen muscles used in play but you may also need to supplement their activities with a specific strength training program.  Gyms such as the Seattle Athletic Club offer summer strength training programs for all ages and skill levels all year round.
  • Use the proper technique throughout the season of play.  Depending on the sport your child’s attention to details and technique will help them decrease risk of injury.
  • Take breaks. Rest periods are important during practice and games to reduce the risk of overuse injuries. During the year, a 2-month break from a specific sport is recommended to prevent overuse injuries.  Going from school organized sport right into summer league can attribute to overuse injuries because there is not adequate recovery from the stress of the port.
  • Play safe. There should be strict rules against headfirst sliding (in baseball and softball), spearing (in football), and body checking (in ice hockey) to prevent serious head and spine injuries.
  • Stop the workout if there is pain.
  • Prevent heat injury or illness. Rules for safe exercise in the heat include the following:
    • Drink plenty of proper fluids before, during, and after exercise or play.
    • Allow athletes to gradually adjust to exercising in hot, humid weather by increasing activities slowly over the first 2 weeks of practice.
    • Decrease or stop practices or competitions during periods when the combination of excessive heat and humidity approaches dangerous levels.
    • Wear lightweight clothing.
  • Stop playing if lightning is detected within a 6-mile radius (follow the “5 second per mile” rule).
  • Play on safe fields. Inspect fields before practices and games. Clear all debris and repair holes and uneven surfaces.


It’s also important to make sure your child has a complete physical exam by your pediatrician before participating in any sport. Most organized sports teams require an exam before a child can play. These exams are not designed to stop children from participating, but to make sure they are in good health and can safely play the game.

Keep your children active with a variety of activities.  The variety will allow for a well rounded development of athletic ability.  The variety will also allow for your children to recover from any excessive demands placed on specific body parts during a sport season.  If you have specific questions about your child’s fitness development or how to keep them injury free please contact personal trainer Jason Anderson at the Seattle Athletic Club.


Best 5 Tips to Improve Your Fitness

There are many things that can get in the way of us reaching our health and fitness goals- lack of time, injury, illness and even traveling for work can all hold us back. Sometimes we can control these things; sometimes we can’t…that’s life. Try to make improvements in these five areas and you will see a change in your fitness.

1. Get Enough Sleep
If you want to work out hard and get the best results, your body needs rest, and lots of it. On a basic level, if you’re feeling tired you’re more likely to skip the gym. If you’ve had a good seven or eight hours of sleep, your body will run more smoothly, your mental state will improve and you’ll be able to workout harder and more frequently.

2. Clean up Your Diet
What you put in your body directly affects how you feel and how you operate. If you put cheap gas in a car it’s not going to run as well, as cleanly or for as long as it would if you chose a higher grade. It’s just the same with your body. Avoid the junk and chose high-quality, fresh, unprocessed foods. Of course enjoy your life and indulge in the things you enjoy from time to time, but make smart decisions and be honest with yourself about your choices.
3. Make Time for Exercise
Like anything in life, if you don’t make time for it then it’s very unlikely to happen. Develop a realistic plan and meet with a personal trainer to keep you accountable. Put workouts in your calendar the same way you’d schedule a haircut or a trip to the dentist. If it’s in your calendar, you’re less likely to skip and more likely to get into a consistent regimen.

4. Increase the Intensity
Doing something is definitely better than doing nothing, but if you’re looking for improved results then you’re going to have to up the intensity of your cardio. If you do the same old workout over and over, your body will very quickly become conditioned to it and your results will stall. You should be tired, you should be sweaty, you should be out of breath. Try to add in a few exercises that push you to your upper limits such as running hills, stairs, or incline treadmill.

5. Hit the Weights
I firmly believe that strength training is an important part of any fitness regimen. If you want to lose fat or change your body, one of the most important things you can do is lift weights. Diet and cardio are equally important, but when it comes to changing how your body looks, weight training wins hands down. Here are a few benefits from lifting weights:
• Help raise your metabolism. Muscle burns more calories than fat, so the more muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn all day long.
• Strengthen bones, especially important for women
• Make you stronger and increase muscular endurance
• Help you avoid injuries
• Increase your confidence and self-esteem
• Improve coordination and balance

These tips can help keep you from reaching an unwanted fitness plateau. Improvements in one or all of these areas will keep your fitness goals moving forward so that you get the most out of life. Talk with a Personal Trainer at the Seattle Athletic Club to get started with your personalized fitness plan.

Lower Back Pain: Quick tips to a healthier back

Have you ever bent down to tie your shoe or pick up some small object and come up with back pain? Have you hurt your back while playing with your kids or walking the dogs? Low back pain is a common problem and one of the main reasons is inactivity. As we get older and less active, we lose the strength and the balance in the core muscles (abs and low back) can lead to poor posture, improper alignment, fatigue and pain. Regular exercise is the best way to protect your lower back.

Quick tips to a healthier back


  1. Do not sit for long periods of time.
  2. Avoid sitting forward on a chair with back arched
  3. Sit in a chair with good lumbar support and proper position and height for the task. Keep your shoulders back. Switch sitting positions often and periodically walk around the office or gently stretch muscles to relieve tension. A pillow or rolled-up towel placed behind the small of your back can provide some lumbar support. If you must sit for a long period of time, rest your feet on a low stool or a stack of books.
  4. Avoid sitting with legs out straight and raised on a stool.


  1. If standing for long periods, shift positions from one foot to another or place one foot on a stool.
  2. Stand tall, flatten low back, tighten lower muscles under belly button, and relax the knees a bit to lessen the pull of the hamstrings on your pelvis.
  3. Wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes. A raised heel will exaggerate the curve in your lower back.

Lifting and Carrying:

  1. To pick up an object, bend at knees and not the waist; do not twist to pick up an object. Face the object squarely; and tuck in buttocks and tighten abdomen.
  2. To carry an object, hold object close to body; hold object at waist level; and do not try to carry object on one side of body for extended period of time. If have to be carried unbalanced, chance from one side to the other.


  1. Do not stay in one position too long.
  2. The bed should be flat and firm yet comfortable.
  3. Do not sleep on the abdomen (stomach).
  4. Do not sleep on your back with legs fully extended.
  5. If sleeping on your back, a pillow should be placed under the knees.
  6. Ideally, sleep on the side with knees drawn up to reduce any curve in the spine.
  7. Do not sleep with arms extended overhead. This will increase curve in spine.
  8. If your bed is too soft and gives little support to your back you may need to place a ¾-inch plywood board underneath the mattress to give it a firm, stable surface for your low back.
  9. If dealing with acute pain from an injury the position of least strain on the back is in the fully recumbent position with the hips and knees at angles of 90 degrees.

Regular exercise and a healthy diet will help decrease your chances of a low back injury. Special attention should be placed on flexibility of the muscles that directly impact the movement and stabilization of the hips and low back. Please come and talk with personal trainer Jason Anderson or any of our training staff at the Seattle athletic club to get you started on a safe and effective workout program to protect your back.

Initial Injury Treatment

Musculoskeletal injuries are extremely common in sports. What you do with in the first 24-48 hrs can help or harm you. Immediate first aid efforts should be directed toward controlling hemorrhage and associated swelling. The primary goal directly after sustaining an injury is to reduce the amount of swelling resulting from the injury. If swelling can be controlled initially, the amount of time required for injury rehabilitation will be significantly reduced. The initial management of musculoskeletal injuries should include these 4 techniques: rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE).

  1. Rest
    Rest after any type of injury is an important part of any treatment program. Once the body is injured, it immediately begins the healing process. If the injured part does not get to rest and continues to be stressed then the healing process never gets a chance to do what it’s supposed to do. The time for rehabilitation is extended the longer it takes the body to get the healing process started. Give the injured area at least 72 hours of rest before a rehabilitation program is started.
  2. Ice
    The initial treatment of acute injuries should be the use of cold. Get ice on the injured area soon as possible. If heat is used in the initial injury phase then the amount of swelling will increase. The ice/cold will help to decrease pain and promote local constriction of the vessels, thus controlling hemorrhage and edema. The cold will slow down metabolism and the amount of cellular death in the injured tissue as well as help protect the healthy tissue. Ice/cold is also used to decrease muscle guarding which accompanies pain. Its pain-reducing effects are probably one of its greatest benefits. A good rule of thumb is to apply a cold pack to a recent injury for a 20 minute period and repeat every 1-1.5 hours throughout the waking day. Depending on the severity of the injury this process could last from 72 hours up to 7 days if needed. Be careful to not leave the frozen type gel packs directly on the skin for prolong periods of time. The gel has a lower temperature hand stays cooler longer than ice and can cause a burn if left on too long.
  3. Compression
    It is extremely important to get some compression on the injured area soon as possible. Immediate compression on an injured area will assist in decreasing hemorrhage and hematoma formation by reducing the space available for swelling to accumulate. An elastic wrap applied to the injured area can be just as important in the fight to decrease swelling as the use of ice. It may be helpful to wet the elastic wrap to facilitate the passage of cold from ice packs.
  4. Elevation
    Along with cold compression, elevation reduces internal bleeding. The injured part should be elevated to eliminate the effects of gravity on blood pooling in the extremities. Elevation assists the veins, which drain blood and other fluids from the injured area, returning them to the central circulatory system. The greater the amount of elevation of the injured body part the greater reduction in swelling. The injured part should be elevated for most of the initial 72 hour period after injury. It is particularly important to keep the injury elevated while sleeping.

Even with proper conditioning, equipment and other precautions you may still get injured. The initial treatment (RICE) will give your body the most optimal environment for it to do what it does extremely well and heal its self. If you choose to ignore your injury and just hope for the pain and swelling to go away on its own, you may end up with a chronic problem that could end up sticking around for a long long time.

VersaClimber 101

Is your workout lacking intensity? Do you find yourself using the same cardio machines day in and day out wondering if they are getting you closer to your goals? If your answer is I don’t know or I think I’m working hard enough then it’s time to challenge your self and try to use the VersaClimber. It is a very unique looking machine that many gym goers over look and could be just the tool for you. My style of personal training is usually geared toward staying away from machines that limited planes of motion, limit core engagement and have little sport specific movement but when I do put my clients on a machine my go to piece of equipment is the VersaClimber.

The VersaClimber is one of those pieces of equipment where what you put into it you get out of it. If you go hard on it you can burn out in seconds and if you go easy on it you can do it for a long time. It is considered non impact so no pounding of your joints but does require hip and knee active range of motion. Your hands and feet stay attached to handles and pedals through the full range of motion. The movement on the machine is vertical so your body weight does play a factor which is different than the rowing machines where the movement is horizontal and weight bearing is not a significant factor. Visually it looks like you are rock climbing at warp speed. Physically your legs and arms are coordinating a push and pull pattern while your body stays suspended in one spot.

The VersaClimber can be used to increase your aerobic endurance by performing longer bouts at slower speeds. It is mainly used, by personal trainers and strength coaches to increase their client’s anaerobic power; which in a nut shell is how hard or intense you can “work” for a short period of time. The VersaClimber does not functionally mimic a specific movement in sports but what it can mimic is the demands of intensity and duration a sport activity places on the body during practice or competition. For example a game of squash goes to 11 points. Each rally may take seconds or even minutes so athletes know they need to be ready for both. The VersaClimber can be used to mimic a 15-30 second rally meaning you would go hard for 15-30 seconds and then depending on the person’s conditioning level they would have a recovery period of 15-30 seconds. If the athlete is de-conditioned they may need a longer recovery bout. This would be repeated 11 times to mimic their first game. A squash athlete may have to play anywhere from 3-5 games. This is a lot of conditioning but absolutely needs to be addressed so that the body can keep up with the demands of the sport without getting injured while playing fatigued.

If you are not trying to mimic demands of a sport but just want to kick up your workout a notch then try setting a goal of reaching a certain height say 500 feet or going for a certain amount of time such as a minute. After a few tries at it you will start to compete with yourself and each time you get on the VersaClimber you can challenge your last height or time. For first time clients I like to challenge them to make 100 feet in under a minute. For my seasoned clients I like them to make 150 feet in under a minute. We would usually perform this 2-3 times with a minute of active rest such as some sort of abdominal exercise to get them off their legs for a minute.

Elevate your golf game

Are you the type of golfer that goes into each golf season with just hitting a couple buckets of balls and feels ready to play? If you are then you are setting yourself up for a disappointing season as well as multiple injures that can plague you through out the remainder of the year. If you want to get the most out of your golf season then you need to get in the gym before the season starts and develop a level of fitness that will allow you to perform your best. The better level of strength and conditioning you develop in the off-season or pre-season will greatly impact the amount of time you can devote to the fine tuning skills developed during the in-season.

Don’t waste your money on the newest driver that claims it will increase your driving distance this season instead focus on the most important piece of equipment used in your golf game…your body! The amount of coordinating muscle actions that have to occur to perform a golf swing is amazing but I believe the most important multi-functioning muscle group is the gluts. Specifically Gluteus Maximus and Gluteus Medius. It is extremely important for both of these muscle groups to work together in harmony to develop power and consistency in the golf swing. The gluts are vital in helping the golfer to maintain lower body stability throughout the swing as well as maintaining core stability. The gluts help to blend the lower body movement into the upper body movements, via the core to produce that perfect timing or rhythm.

So now the big question is how to get your gluts to work? First you need to focus on getting your brain and muscles to start communicating with each other through exercise drills done in your workouts and then eventually through repetition and muscle memory your gluts will remember and fire so that we can call on them again and again for the same purpose. With proper function in the gluts a golfer can increase their level of play while preventing injuries. Add a few of these exercises in to your workout routine or come into the Seattle Athletic Club and talk with one of our trainers to find out how to “wake up your gluts” before you hit the golf course this season;

  • Bridging Two Legs – 2 sets of 10 reps each. Hold each repetition for 10 seconds. While on your back with your knees bent. Raise your hips off the ground focusing the movement from your gluts. It is easy to over activate the hamstrings so try to focus on tightening the gluts.
  • Bridging One Leg – 2 sets of 3-5 reps each. This time raise with just one leg on floor and one leg out straight. Hold each repetition for approximately 3-5 seconds. This time period will increase as your glut strength increases. If you feel a cramp coming on in the hamstring or lower back region, discontinue the exercise immediately. This is a sign that the glut muscle is being shut off and the hamstring/lower back is taking over. It is our goal to work through this issue by reprogramming the mind’s control over specific muscle groups (gluts).
  • Squats and Squat Jumps – 2 sets of 10 reps Start with body weight then work up to dumbbells, barbells or cables for extra resistance.
  • Lateral Lunges – 2 sets of 10 reps each leg. Lunge out sideways or at a 45 degree to load the hip in multiple planes of movement.
  • Single leg balanced lunge reaches – 2 sets of 10 reps each. While standing on one leg lunge and reach out with opposite hand for a cone or a fixed object about a foot in front of you. Slow and controlled!
  • Side Steps with Ankle Tubing – 2 sets of 10 reps each direction. Place tubing around feet but under your arches. Get in ready golf position then take big smooth steps sideways without dragging your feet. Feel the burn in the gluteus medius.
  • Side Leg Lifts – 2-3 sets in each direction, until you reach point of burn. In a side-lying position, with hips directly on top of one another, make sure to bend lower knee to a 90 degree angle. With top hand, isolate the top of the pelvis and secure its position (this bone shall not move!!!). During the leg raise, keep foot positioned at a 90 degree angle and only raise leg straight towards the ceiling. Never allow the foot to pop forward, while the hip shoots backwards. This drill should be felt into the side of the butt and no place else. It is imperative to lock the Iliac Crest (top portion of pelvis that hand is grasping) in place and allow the leg to rise from the actual “hip” joint.

To begin training to improve your golf game, please contact Personal Fitness Trainer Jason Anderson.

Is your warm-up really warming you up?

Have you had to miss a workout due to an injury? Are you one of those people that don’t really warm-up before training or competition? Your warm-up or lack there of, could be the root of the problem.

Warming up is usually the first to go when an athlete or client is short on workout time and when I do hear of a warm-up it usually consists of sitting on an upright bike followed by static stretching. Most individual and team sports have updated their workout routines but many have continued to keep the outdated warm-up method of a linear jog combined with some static stretching on the field followed by a few drills before competition or practice. This “typical” warm-up does not adequately prepare athletes for the demands placed upon them in the session. Most injuries that occur at the beginning of a competition or training session are largely due to inadequate preparation for the activity. It is time for you to switch to a full body dynamic warm-up. A solid dynamic warm-up will help your muscles prepare for a workout, reduce your risk of injury, and increase your heart rate. The dynamic warm-up coordinates all of your moving parts- muscles, ligaments, and joints by challenging your flexibility, mobility, strength and stability all at once. Static stretching alone will not prepare the muscle and connective tissue for the active contraction and relaxation process that will occur during a dynamic sport or training session.

The Goals of a Dynamic Warm-up:

  • Increase core temperature.
  • Increase heart rate and blood flow to skeletal tissue which improves the efficiency of oxygen uptake and transport, as well as waist removal.
  • Increase activation of the central nervous system, which increases co-ordination, skill accuracy and reaction time.
  • Increase the elasticity of muscles and connective tissue, which results in fewer injuries.
  • Open up and lubricate your joints such as in the hips and spine.
  • Reinforce great posture.

This injury prevention warm-up can be used by athletes before they compete in any dynamic sport or even be used as a warm-up for your clients before they start a training session. The “typical” jog or spin on the bike is replaced with a more dynamic series of running drills or exercises that include multiple planes of movement to ensure a complete warm-up is achieved. Static stretching can improve joint range of motion and muscular relaxation and will help with recovery by assisting in waist removal. However, I personally choose to apply it during the cool down or after competition is finished. I believe the warm-up should have the athlete physically and mentally prepared to perform the dynamic actions of the activity at maximal intensity if required.

Examples of Dynamic Exercises:

  • Running Forward
  • Running Backwards
  • High Knee drills
  • Butt Kickers
  • Side Shuffle
  • Crossovers
  • Skips
  • Lunges with rotation

This active warm-up can take between 5 to 10 minutes. The key is to make the dynamic portion of the warm-up progressive and ensure the body is taken through the same ranges of motion that will be required in their training or game situation. Contact any of the personal trainers at the Seattle Athletic club to put together a warm-up routine that will help keep you injury free this year. For more information on developing your workouts to include a proper warm-up, please contact Personal Fitness Trainer, Jason Anderson.

Take Back Control of Your Body: Increase Your Metabolism!

Do you remember back in your younger days when you could eat anything you wanted and it not add a single pound to your body, or back when you could hit the gym once a week to lift weights and your body still look tone? Does the expression “It’s my metabolism’s fault” sound familiar?

If you find each year that you are carrying some extra pounds and struggling to lose them, it may be because of a sluggish metabolism. Some doctors say that by the age of 40 our metabolism slows by five percent each decade. That means we start to pack on extra pounds each year as our bodies become less efficient at burning calories.

It’s time for you to take back control over your body and increase your metabolism! Basically, your metabolism can be thought of as the rate at which we burn calories and ultimately it determines how quickly we gain weight or how easily we lose it. Your metabolism is influenced by your age (it decreases by 5% after age 40), your sex (men generally burn more calories at rest than women), and by the proportion of lean body mass (the more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism rate tends to be). There are plenty other factors that can affect our metabolism such as illness, motherhood, certain medications, and metabolic disorders.

The good news is we can fight back! Here are a few key things you can do to help boost your body’s calorie burning power at any age:

Strength Training is Ultimately the Key

We may be better off spending less time on the treadmill and more time in the weight room. While cardio exercise benefits the heart and lungs, strength (resistance) training builds lean muscle mass and lean muscle mass is paramount to a fuel efficient body. The more muscle we have, the more calories we burn, even in our sleep.

Eat Protein and Eat Often
Never eat fewer than 1,000 calories per day. Our metabolism thrives on food. Eat three protein-packed meals and two protein snacks per day. Snacking will actually give your metabolism a boost while protein provides a thermal (fat burning) effect superior to that of carbohydrates. Eating enough protein also helps to build and maintain muscle mass, another important factor in revving up the metabolism. Eat as often as every two to three hours and never allow more than five hours between meals. Fish, turkey, nuts, low-fat cheese, avocados, and eggs are excellent choices. And don’t forget to spice it up! Many studies have shown that spicy foods, like hot peppers, can boost metabolism.

Stay Hydrated

Your body depends on water for survival. Water makes up more than half of your body weight. Every cell, tissue and organ in your body needs water to function correctly. For example, your body uses water to maintain its temperature, remove waste and lubricate joints. Water is essential for good health. Drinking six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day, is a reasonable goal.

Some people are at higher risk of dehydration, including those who get a lot of exercise, have certain medical conditions, are sick, or are not able to get enough fluids during the course of the day. Older adults are also at higher risk. As you age, your brain may be unable to sense dehydration and send the signals for thirst.

Adequate Amount of Sleep

Get to bed earlier! We need at least eight hours of sleep per night for our bodies to function properly during the day. Research shows that people who don’t get a sufficient amount of quality sleep tend to gain weight. The quality of our sleep affects the hormones leptin and grehlin, which control hunger and metabolism. Being tired also causes us to reach for empty calories like sweets.

It is the beginning of a new year so be sure to make it a priority to take care of your self and contact the fitness department at the Seattle Athletic club to talk with one of our personal trainers. We will help get you started on a wellness program that will allow you to take back control of your body.