Tag: New Year’s Resolutions

Fasted cardio…Good idea of bad?

What is it?
A type of cardiovascular training that has become popular recently is commonly referred to as fasted cardio training. The term “fasted cardio” refers to the practice of performing low intensity cardiovascular exercise immediately after waking up, before eating breakfast.

Why does it sound like a good idea?
Those who choose to conduct fasted cardio typically have two hopes: First that your body will turn to its adipose tissue for stored energy in the absence of fresh glucose in your bloodstream (i.e. you will burn more fat). Second, that exercise done in this fasted state will also target the “stubborn fat stores” on your body, typically hips and thighs for women, stomach for men.

Does the idea hold water?
Regarding your ability to access stored fat on an empty stomach, fasted cardio comes up short. Unfortunately you cannot effectively control where your body is pulling stored fuel from. While some of the energy you will utilize to fuel your fasted cardio session will indeed come from adipose tissue, some energy will also emerge from glycogen stores in your muscles and liver, and still more will come from protein stored in your muscle tissue. Additionally, fat burns in the flame of carbohydrate, and without fresh glucose in your system your metabolism will be operating at a reduced capacity, lessening your ability to burn fat in general, as well as your general capacity to power through your workout.

As for targeting those stubborn areas on your body, that should sound too good to be true, and it is. Body fat is gained and lost at an equal percentage rate all over your body. While you store fat in certain areas more than others, if you lose 1% body fat you lose 1% of the fat stored in your hands and you lose 1% of the fat stored in your hips. That is the way your body works, irrespective of the frequency, intensity, duration, and mode of exercise you choose to participate in.

In the end, fasted cardio is a bad idea. It is ineffective, metabolically inefficient, and has the potential to be dangerous, as your risk of slipping up during exercise increases dramatically when you have not eaten. Always eat your breakfast, and if you are interested in improving your body composition hit the weights, not the treadmill.

When Should You Re-Test Your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR)?

Scenario: A member started a work out program six months ago and had their resting metabolic rate tested. At what point should RMR be retested?

Resting metabolic rate is an individual’s nutritional consumption needs, having this value measured allows for the mathematically precise amount of calories needed to gain, maintain, or lose weight – all depending on the individual’s goal.

After participating in a workout regimen for a given time, such as six months, the body’s caloric demands change. If someone is trying to lose weight, and they hit a plateau of weight loss, they would need to retest their RMR; or if someone is trying to gain muscle mass, and they hit a plateau of weight gains, they would also need to retest their RMR.

With any change in body composition, such as an increase in fat free mass, caloric needs fluctuate. Because muscle burns three times as many calories as fat, a more muscular physique would require more calories than the average overweight physique. The transition into a more muscular body thus causes an increase in metabolism; burning the calories consumed even more quickly then before. This has a snowball effect, as you burn more calories you continually lose body fat, creating a larger fat free mass, again increasing your metabolism.

Factors that contribute to RMR include:

  • Body weight – more body weight requires more calories
  • Muscle mass – each pound of muscle consumes up to 50 calories a day for maintenance
  • Frequency of meals – the body knows to store less fat as it gets fed regularly
  • Hydration levels – slight dehydration can decrease your metabolism by 2%
  • Age – as we age the amount of muscle in our bodies decrease along with metabolism
  • Genetics – Pituitary and Thyroid issues can cause one to gain weight uncontrollably (this occurs in less than 1% of our population).
  • Environment – warmer climates have higher metabolism as they don’t need to store the energy for heat that the colder climates do
  • Gender – men burn more calories daily than women, and women naturally need to store ~ 10% more body fat then men

If you have any questions about resting metabolic rates or would like to schedule an appointment to find out what your RMR is; please contact Fitness Director Jacob Galloway.

Spice Up Your Resolutions with a Group Class

Keep your New Years resolution alive by mixing up your workout and staying motivated. Group exercise classes such as Yoga, cycle, sports conditioning, dance or resistant classes are ways to liven up your workout while staying motivated and having fun. Before you lose site of your goals branch out into other areas of fitness training. Who knows, you might even enjoy it!

Group, by definition, is more than one person. Therefore, more conservative guidelines are set for group exercise than that of a personal trainer who works one-on-one or a coach who works with a well-trained athlete. Due to the nature of group exercise, an educated instructor will evaluate two main components-effectiveness and potential risk. With that in mind, the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America or AFAA, which is a nationally recognized organization for group exercise certifications, has developed five questions an instructor should consider when putting together a safe and effective workout for participants.

First, what is the purpose of the exercise? Consider muscular strength or endurance, cardiorespiratory conditioning, flexibility, warm-up, skill development, and stress reduction. Secondly, are you doing that effectively? Consider proper range, speed or body position against gravity. Third, does the exercise create any safety concerns? Consider potential stress areas, environmental concerns or movement control. Fourth, can you maintain proper alignment and form for the duration of the exercise? Consider form, alignment, and stabilization. Finally, for whom is the exercise appropriate or inappropriate? Consider modifications to increase or decrease the level of intensity based on fitness levels.

When choosing a class that suits your needs, consider your goals whether they are flexibility, cardio-fitness or strength training. Once you have determined this, grab a schedule and jump in! Before you begin a new class, it’s always a good idea to talk with the instructor before class. He or she can provide valuable information as to what you can expect and what you may want to do to modify. Keep in mind, the first couple of times you try anything new it will seem awkward. The key is to keep going back. The more you participate, the better you will become. The energy in the class provided from the instructor, the music and the workout will inspire you to return and reach your fitness goals.

If you are ready to branch out and try something new to help your fitness goals become a reality, try a group exercise class today!

Goals, Because Scoring Feels Good

So why do we have goals? How do we achieve them? Who really cares?

Let’s start with the easy stuff. There are a few reasons we have goals.

  • One, to have something to motivate and inspire us to push hard and better ourselves.
  • Two, to feel the feeling of achievement which also involves success. Warm and fuzzies, can’t beat that!
  • Three, to hold ourselves accountable, to keep us trucking down the right path.
  • Four, some of us just like making lists!

Now here comes the hard part, how do we achieve goals?

I feel like these simple rules apply to most goals. Maybe your goals include physical feats; 100 kb swings in under 1 minute, a muscle up, 10 strict pull-ups, lose 10lbs, run a marathon, etc. etc. Sometimes the goals are personal; get that boyfriend of yours to marry you in a year, buy a house, travel to Iceland (I hear it’s lovely this time of year), finally read The Odyssey. Perhaps they are work related; get a raise, be on time to work, not work through lunch every day, be nicer to the mail room guy, whatever. There are endless kinds and types of goals but there are some simple rules to follow if you want to be successful.

Here are some good tips to make you a super star:

  1. Make at least 3 short term goals that affect the long term. If your goal is to do 10 strict pull-ups making a short term goal of running 3 times a week is not really helping you achieve the big picture. Make sure the effort you are putting in helps you achieve the big end result. Make these three goals small and attainable. If you can only do 1 strict pull up now, probably not the best idea to make a short term goal of 5 in the next month. If your short term goals are too big to achieve in a months time, they are too big and will only result in failure, and failure early on is no good!
  2. Have mid term goals. These are important to check your status. To make sure that you have achieved the stepping stones and can move on. Hopefully if you are looking to lose 10lbs by this half way point (two months, three months, whatever the case may be) you only have 5 more to go. Again, these must be realistic and related to your end goal.
  3. Realistic time management. You can’t expect to be the boss over night (unless your name is Tony Danza); plan, make small steps, and make sure these are things that make you feel good, that you’ve really accomplished something. You can’t move too fast and it’s for certain that if you take too long to achieve these goals you’ll forget, get bored, come up with 5 other goals that sound better, or you’ll stop caring. That’s why the small check point goals along the way are awesome; they keep you working and achieving all the time. Insert, warm fuzzies.
  4. Figure out why. Why are these goals important for me, and how will I feel when I achieve them? The first thing is why, it’s important because you need to make sure you are doing them for you, and that they really mean something. I don’t want to run a marathon because my stupid skinny best friend does them all the time. I want to make sure that it means enough to me personally to stick with it to the end. These are MY goals, not my husbands, not my sister’s, not my children’s goals, they are mine. The reason why you need to think about what you’ll feel like when you get that end result is purely visualization. When your boss gives you a bump in salary how is that going to feel? What will that enable you to do? This helps give you extra incentive to stay the course.
  5. Why didn’t this work before? If you’ve had these goals for a while and still haven’t made any headway ask yourself why? Why did you fail to get to work on time for the last 3 years? What did you try and why did it fail? Not traveling down the same path is the key to success. Repeating stuff is easy, bad habits die hard. If it didn’t work before the way you were going about things what makes you think this time is different?
  6. Who are you going to tell? This one is hard for some people and some of the goals you may have. Do I really want everyone to know that I want to do an Ironman next summer? What if I don’t succeed or what if I decide I just can’t do it. It might be embarrassing or maybe my husband will be mad at me for buying extra swim lessons all for nothing. But then again…the more people you love and trust to tell the bigger the cheering section, the more motivation to accomplish. There is a limitation to this, I don’t really think the guy at the check stand cares that you are trying to fit into a size 4 by the summer. But if you can tell a few people that will support you, your husband, your brother, your co-worker (the one you like), your running partner the more people you will have to push you. The more people you will have to cheer you on and help you stay on the right path. But even more important, the more people you will have to celebrate with!

Simple, easy, make baby steps, feel good about yourself, do it for you, and achieve. Write it down, make a list, put it in your cube at work, tape it to your closet door, find someone else that cares enough to get you there and give them a copy. But whatever you do, write it down! Saving it up in your melon for safe keeping will not help you. You need that map, don’t pull a dad and think you know where you’re going only to get lost. Know where you are and where you want to be. You can do this, I am already so proud of you!

10 Sure-fire Nutrition Tips to Conquer Your Resolution Blues

Many of you started off the New Year with well-intended nutrition goals. You were looking to cut calories, eat out less, incorporate more fruits and vegetables, detox from all the holiday partying, etc., etc., etc. You are now a little over a month in and you may be reaching the point where you wonder why setting those goals was ever a good idea! I want to encourage you to push past the pain and frustration and stay committed! Research has shown that it takes 21 days of forcing yourself through a new routine before your mind and body begin to accept the new routine as a habit. It is likely that many of you are beyond this point and still feel frustrated.

Take a moment to reflect on what methods you are using to achieve your nutrition goals. Use these tips as a guideline and reference to get you back on track as you make your daily food choices and stay on track to achieving resolution success!

1.) Start your day with a healthy breakfast. This is key to jump-starting your metabolism! Try a combination of whole grains, fresh fruit, and low-fat dairy.

2.) Eat multiple small meals throughout the day. Instead of consuming three large meals at breakfast, lunch, and dinner try eating four to five smaller meals throughout the day. This will keep your metabolism elevated and your hunger under control!

3.) Focus on incorporating six to nine servings of fruits and vegetables each day! Use snack times as an opportunity to bring them into your diet.

4.) Work on getting 25-35 grams of fiber per day. Fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains are all great sources of fiber! Fiber will aid in digestion, help you feel fuller longer, and keep your blood sugar at bay.

5.) Drink water! Our bodies are made up of nearly 75% water, so make sure you are hydrated because it is essential for your body to function properly. Try keeping a bottle of water handy at your desk!

6.) Take time to enjoy your meals. The brain takes 20 minutes to recognize satiety, so take time to slow down and pay attention to what you are eating and how you feel. Then you are more likely to enjoy our meal, feel satisfied and not overeat.

7.) Keep your portion sizes under control. Make a habit of reading food labels and measuring out correct portions. For more information on correct portion sizes visit www.MyPyramid.gov.

8.) Take control of your environment. We may not always be able to stand up to temptation, but we can create a positive environment for success. For example, if you know there are certain foods that provoke you to overeat keep them out of the house and out of your desk drawer.

9.) Set realistic goals. Don’t try to revamp your diet from the get go, but commit to achieving one goal each week.

10.) Keep a food journal. The average person underestimates their intake by 600 calories each day! Recording what you eat makes you be accountable to yourself, and also gives you clues about where extra calories are coming from.

The Real Cost of Not Exercising

With the current financial epidemic our country is facing, it seems practical that we go through our bank statements and cut back on any extra spending. But, should your gym membership be one of them? Many publications have been suggesting that the gym is one luxury that you can do without. Although, canceling your membership may seem to save you money, it will cost more than you can afford in the long run and not only in terms of your bank account.

On the surface, an “at-home” routine may appear like a good idea. Before you make the leap, you need to consider the complete ramifications of your actions. After all, a gym environment has a lot to offer. The gym offers structure, and the motivation you get from working out in a group. Exercising with and around others can greatly improve your exercise adherence. Accountability comes from your trainers, friends, and peers, and they often push you during your workout as well. Your home workout will inevitably become less of a priority since you “can do it at any time”. We all know this leads to one place: procrastination. The gym also provides a great deal of equipment that will not be available to you at home. Attempting to replicate your routine outside the gym will leave you without the motivation, community, and the expertise provided by a professional exercise facility.

There is a cost associated with not exercising! Physical activity is necessary for life’s everyday functions, as well as stimulating the body’s own natural maintenance and repair system. By not exercising you increase your risk for many health issues. Research shows individuals who are physically active have substantially lower cancer rates, have fewer heart attacks, are less likely to develop diabetes, have healthier blood pressure levels, lessened risk of stroke, and overall are generally healthier. A variety of studies have shown that exercise combats low energy, stress, and depression and those who participate are more optimistic, sleep better, have stronger bones, and are less likely to be overweight or even catch a cold or the flu. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), inactive adults have considerably higher direct medical costs than active adults, and the costs associated with physical inactivity increase with age. If you take into consideration the costs of maintaining your health without the help of exercise, you are factoring in increased health insurance costs, food costs, pharmaceuticals, and visits to the doctor. The costs of exercising are unmistakable: exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy body can save not only your life, but your money as well.

So, even though your gym membership may cost you every month, think about the savings your membership is actually providing you. If cutting back expenses is what you are attempting, try cutting back on your morning coffee or save by packing your lunch regularly rather than buying. Most importantly, cut back on the things that will not short-change you in the long run. You cannot put a price on your health and personal well-being.

Make Changes that Lead to Success in the First 90 Days

Many gym goers fall out of exercising within their first 90 days of joining a gym or starting a new exercise routine. One of the biggest reasons people stop exercising is because they do not have a very structured workout and/or do not know where to start with their exercising. A new and very beneficial program offered here at the Seattle Athletic Club Downtown is called “The First 90 Days of Fitness”. It’s a structured introduction to fitness involving meeting with a nutritionist to get your diet analyzed in order to meet the demands of exercising; three consultations with fitness trainer where you get measurements and body fat taken and then training session. The Fitness trainers can also get set up on a structured workout program called ActivTrax.

If you are looking for a little more structure to your workout program, there is also our 12 week Evolve program; offering personal training twice a week, fitness assessments, 5 nutritional consultations, two RMR (resting metabolic rate) tests, a shopping trip to your favorite store, educational literature each week.

One of the club’s members, Chris Davidson, has been on this program and just completed his first 90 days of fitness. During his final assessment he was pleased to find out that he had lost 7.6 lbs of fat while gaining a considerable amount of muscle and strength. The major contributing factors to his fitness achievements were that he was at the SAC every day working out or playing racquetball; and that he exercised with a workout partner. This is just one of many success stories at the club. Fitness success is more attainable if you have a structured workout routine and with someone there to keep you accountable, whether it’s a Pilates instructor, personal trainer or workout partner.

Holiday Survival – Lose Weight, Keep Active, Stay Motivated

The holiday season is the busiest time of the year for many people with family, friends, and vacations on top of work and other responsibilities. Keeping up with your fitness goals may be a challenge during the notorious weight gain season between Thanksgiving feasts and New Years celebrations. However, don’t let the progress you have made slip, or allow yourself to wait until the New Year to get back into shape. Even when you can’t make it into the gym, there are ways of consistently getting in the exercise you need to reach your goals. Even cutting fitness time in half is better than cutting it out completely, so below are some ideas for when you can’t make it into the gym!

Try combining many of your daily activities with fitness:

  • If you need to take care of the kids, do activities that get you moving.
  • If you’re sledding, walk up and down the hill with them.
  • Trade in the family sit downs for walks or hikes, point is, participate with them – kick a ball or play chase.
  • These activities can be done with friends or family as well. If you’re catching up, take your coffee to go and take a stroll.
  • If your errands are close enough to walk, choose that over driving.
  • When the weather calls to stay indoors try fitting exercises in during commercial breaks, the kid’s naps, or while your food is cooking.

Exercise balls and resistance bands take up just a little space in the home or at the office, are inexpensive, and easy to use with great results. Planks, curls, crunches, squats, lunges, and more can be done in the space of your own home – avoiding the commute to and from the gym.

Keeping your body active doesn’t require a gym; many studies have shown the increased benefits of walking 10,000 steps per day. Keep a pedometer on you throughout the day, choose the stairs over the elevator and walk them during work breaks or meetings on the go. You could even get up earlier for a brisk walk before getting your day started or after dinner before bed. Even if you are visiting family somewhere away from home, just get the steps in when you can.

Other ways of avoiding holiday weight gain is planning ahead. Go on vacation somewhere warm where you may be showing more skin, you’ll be more motivated to lose the weight for the holidays and keep it off that way. Set goals like going down a pant or dress size before your next big holiday event so you have something to work for and show off. These are just a few of the many ways you can save yourself some pounds this holiday season!

Of Americans that make New Year’s resolutions, 70% end up breaking them. Keeping up with exercise by planning ahead, being more active outside the gym, and doing your own at home exercises, all on your own time, allows you to keep the progress you have made and start the New Year strong. Stay motivated and on track through the holidays can be as simple as trying some fitness programs like the Double Down Weight loss Challenge, the Evolve weight loss program, or getting weight loss advice from personal fitness training staff at Seattle Athletic Club. Contact fitness director Jacob Galloway for information on any of the programs mentioned.

Choosing a Personal Trainer – Be Your Own Investigator!

Adriana Brown, Personal Fitness Trainer How do I figure out who is best to whip me into shape? This is usually the first question a new to training member asks themselves after they decide they want to step up into workout sessions with a professional. There are some first steps you need to take before you pick the perfect match!

  1. Do your research! Make sure that you are choosing a professional with high qualifications, and good experience.
  2. Talk to other members that train, find out how other members chose their trainers, what they like about whom they train with, and any other suggestions they might have.
  3. Talk to a fitness director/manager. The head of the training department knows the most about what each trainer has to offer as well as access to all the trainers schedules. If you are looking for a trainer with certain passions/areas of expertise the manager would be able to tell who your best fit is.
  4. Watch and listen. While trainers are on the floor with their clients see if the trainer does exercises that interest you. See if the trainer’s personality fits well with your own, if you like the way they encourage and instruct their clients.
  5. Try it out. You don’t have to pick one trainer, try a few. You are paying for a service and you have the ability to test the waters and see what you like. Pick a few trainers that you think may be right for you and then you can continue to train with more than one or narrow your choice to just one.

Picking the right trainer will help you to achieve your goals and will help you stay on a routine schedule. This should be about you, so don’t feel bad if you don’t find the right trainer for you right away.