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Tips For Starting a New Fitness Routine

13 February

The hardest part of getting fit involves taking the first step. While most people think exercising is hard and getting a routine together is difficult, the simple reality is that neither of these things are true. Working out doesn’t have to be tough, boring or impossible. Don’t let fear stand in the way and a path to improved fitness will easily open up.

So, how can fear be conquered? Here are several tips for taking that first step and making it a whole lot easier:

Start Out Small

Exercise doesn’t have to involve two hours at the gym five days a week to produce results. While the fact is a gym membership can be very useful, it’s not the only way to go. If necessary, take baby steps to get on the road to fitness. Do such things as:

  • Start walking to neighbors or a nearby store instead of driving;
  • Take the stairs instead of using the elevator;
  • Play more vigorously with the kids;
  • Swim;
  • Garden;
  • Go dancing.

Getting active for even a few minutes a day can be the start of something great when it comes to fitness.

Pick Activities that are Fun

Working out isn’t solely defined as lifting weights and running. Find an activity or activities that are personally fun and dive in with both feet. When you do that, “exercise” won’t seem like work – it will be more like play.

Consult a Trainer

Coming up with good ideas to maximize workout time for the greatest results can be a little tough. Our trainers at 24/7 Health Club and Wellness Center, however, might have some great ideas on how to help you get started. Even if you’re not sure you want to join a gym, come in for a tour and a consultation. The ideas offered might very well help uncover the perfect activities for personal fitness.

Rewarding Yourself Is Important For Success

13 January

Rewarding Yourself Is Important For Success

You’ve been working out almost every day. You’re latest trip to the scale showed the results you’ve been seeking. Now it’s time to dive into a great big slice of chocolate cake as a reward for getting the job done, right?

Wrong!

Using food as a reward for doing well in the gym and on the scale is a plan that can backfire in the long run. While you might not have to resign yourself to a life without cake forever to keep your weight off, you don’t want to allow yourself an opportunity to redevelop old bad habits when your weight loss successes are so fresh. Rewards, however, are very important and you should use them when you’re striving to reach exercise and weight loss goals.

If not food, what should you use to reward yourself?

There are all kinds of options that can reward and keep you motivated. Rather than reach for an ice cream cone, cave in on a big dinner out or sneak a slice of cake, why not try:

  • A massage – You’ve been working hard and if you have reached a weight loss milestone, you’ve probably been working out hard, too. Why not give those muscles some much needed TLC? A      massage is a great reward that won’t add calories to your routine.
  • Doing something fun – If you’ve always dreamed of going up in a hot-air balloon, skydiving or just going out and dancing, just do it. Use fun, exhilarating rewards to treat yourself for a job well done.
  • Buy something special – If you’ve had your eyes on a new piece of jewelry or a nifty electronic      gadget, go for it. It’s okay to treat yourself to a fantastic reward if you’ve reached a milestone.
  • Get a good book – Working out and losing weight are taxing, take a break for yourself with a good book.
  • A trip to the spa or salon – Give yourself a makeover to go with your new look. Get your hair done, have a facial, get those fingernails fixed. Just treat yourself to a little indulgence.

Rewarding yourself is a great way to keep motivation high for weight loss success. Your rewards, however, shouldn’t come in the form of food. If you’re having trouble coming up with ideas for goals and appropriate rewards, work with your trainer to set up a milestone system. Think small rewards for mini-goals and big rewards for reaching the long-term goal.

What To Look For In A Fitness Routine

13 January

What To Look For In A Fitness Routine

Your best friend works out six days a week, looks great and is almost ready for that upcoming marathon. You’re ready to start working out, but that routine sounds too intense to meet your tastes. How can you select a fitness routine that fits you, your lifestyle and your personal physical abilities?

The key lies in selecting a routine that does, in fact, fit your personal needs. It’s best to seek out a program that makes sense for you. That friend of yours has probably been working out for quite some time. You don’t want to start with a routine that grueling or you’re likely to not make it past day one.

To find the right routine for you, consider such things as:

  • The frequency of the routine – Sixty minutes a day, five days a week might not sound like a huge time commitment, but it can be tough to stick with. If you have a lot of demands in your life, you might want to find a fitness routine that’s a little less involved. It’s better to select a routine you can truly stick with than go overboard right out of the gate and fail to reach your goals.
  • The types of exercise involved – There are many different exercise opportunities out there. Not every person has to take part in the same one to see results. One person might do very well with aerobics, but another might see better results with a routine that blends traditional strength training with biking, running, swimming or some other form of cardio.
  • Your personal interest – It is vital to pick a routine you actually find enjoyable. Choose an exercise that’s personally boring and you’re likely to want to quit before you even get off the ground.
  • Its targeting ability – Most people have very personal concerns when it comes to fitness. Perhaps      there’s a need to burn off a few extra pounds and tone the legs and arms. Maybe you’re looking to simply build a little muscle? Whatever the case, you will be more motivated to complete your routine if it will show the results you truly want. Remember, there are different routines that are meant      to help participants reach very different goals. A marathon runner, for example, will need to subscribe to a different workout plan than a person trying to shed 20 pounds for health.

One of the best ways to make sure you select a fitness routine that suits your personal needs is to work directly with a 24/7 Personal Trainer to create a workout program just for you. Our experts can help you tailor a routine to your needs and help you make sure your concerns are addressed.

The Benefits of Stretching

14 May

The Benefits Of Stretching

If you’re working with a trainer or other fitness pro at your health club, chances are you’ve been told to stretch and warm up before diving into cardio or weight training exercises. It’s also likely that you’ve heard this so many times you’re tired of being told. After all, your workout would go a whole lot faster if you didn’t have to waste precious time on the preliminaries, right?

Wrong! Like it or not, those preliminaries are important. Stretching is vital for helping prevent injuries during workouts. Fail to warm up and you can pull or tear muscles, sprain ankles and cause yourself a wide range of other problems you don’t want to face. The fact is this is a necessary step to help you keep your weight and fitness goals on track.

While it might not be as fun as jumping right into an aerobics class or challenging yourself with weights, stretching does offer a number of benefits that go beyond prepping yourself to exercise. In addition to preventing injury and sparing yourself admonishment from your trainer, stretching can benefit you by:

  • Lessening muscle tension – Stretching any time can help you lessen the tension in your muscles and help you relax. Learning how to stretch properly can prevent injuries and reduce your stress any time of the day. Stretching exercises do not have to be limited to the gym alone!
  • Increasing your range of motion – This is important for helping prevent injuries during workouts, but it can also boost your overall flexibility all of the time.
  • Boosting coordination – The more limber you are from stretching, the more likely it is your coordination will be spot on. Tight muscles can lead to rather awkward movements.
  • Increasing circulation – Basic stretching exercises not only loosen the muscles, but they also get the blood flowing. This is important for laying the foundation for a good workout and it’s just good for the body in a general sense.
  • Boosting energy – When the blood starts flowing and the heart starts pumping, energy levels increase. Stretching can give you the energy you need to complete a workout routine. It can also be a great pick-me-up in the middle of a long day at work.

While you might not want to admit your trainer is right, stretching and warming up right before workouts is essential for a number of reasons. When you prime your body for a workout, you prevent injuries and better prepare yourself for going the distance in your routine. Plus, learning how to stretch safely can provide you a needed lift out of the gym, too.

How To Overcome Setbacks In Your Weight Loss Journey

14 May

How To Overcome Setbacks In Your Weight Loss Journey

You’ve been working hard, eating right and have even been exercising at home on your off days from the gym. The pounds have finally started to melt off and you’re seeing results. Unfortunately, you slipped up over the weekend and ate like the world was going to end tomorrow. Your guilt level couldn’t be higher.

Relax! You’ve just proven that you’re human. You can get right back on track and will likely not even notice your discretion on the scale.

Losing weight and sticking with a program calls for lots of hard work. It is not uncommon for people to slip up from time to time. In fact, some programs even call for allowed slip ups in moderation. Even if yours doesn’t, you don’t need to beat yourself up and think all efforts have been in vain.

Instead of throwing the baby out with the bathwater, consider taking these steps to overcome the setback you have faced:

  • Own your error – Admit to yourself that skipping routine exercise or binge eating was not in your best interest. While an occasional blooper is not uncommon, you want to get yourself in the right mindset to avoid making cheating a habit.
  • Tell your trainer – If you’re working with a trainer, tell them about the setback. No, your trainer is not going to yell at you or make you drop and give him 20 – at least it’s not likely! Instead, your trainer will probably give you constructive advice for getting back with the program and avoiding temptation in the future.
  • Consider the trigger that set you off – Try to figure out what made you do what you did. Perhaps you were craving sweets? Maybe you were just too busy to get down to the gym? It could be that friends dropped by with your favorite take-out food in hand? Whatever the case, try to recognize the trigger so you can avoid it in the future. Do let your trainer know about possible triggers. He or she can help you come up with alternative behaviors that can help you down the road.
  • Forgive yourself – Slipping up is perfectly human. The mistake is not really a problem. It’s the steps you take now that matter. Let the error go and resolve to stick with the program and refocus yourself on the goals you have set. One or two setbacks doesn’t mean those goals are not attainable.

As much as most people would like it to be, weight loss is not an overnight adventure. To realize healthy, safe and lasting changes in weight, time is often required. How long the process will last depends a lot on starting weight, goals and personal persistence to stick with a program. Occasional detours are often a part of the road to weight loss. Just make sure to clear your mind and get back on the right path when they happen.

If you would like help with your weight loss effort, contact the Weight Watchers team.  For more information on the program, visit the Weight Loss Page of our website.

Fun Strength Training Ideas

02 April

Lifting weights is an excellent and proven way to increase muscle tone and strengthen the body. The problem is the routine can wear thin rather fast. If you want to enjoy your workout time even more, consider working with your trainer to come up with a plan to incorporate fun options into your routine.

If it’s your goal to increase muscle tone and strength, but not necessarily bulk up like a bodybuilder, there are tons of options at your disposal that do not call for barbells and dumbbells. When you work with a trainer or other professionals at your health club, chances are you will find it is easy to work some variety into your strength training routine.

When it’s time to set aside the weights for a while, you might want to consider such things as:

  • Pilates – Take a class or get a video that shows you the ins and outs of a pilates program. This type of exercise routine involves gentle resistance training that focuses on building flexibility and core strength. While it might not result in pumped biceps, it can help you tone muscles and boost overall strength. Plus, it’s a fun alternative to sitting on the bench!  Olga would love for you to join her class!
  • Swimming – Just plain old swimming can help with strength training courtesy of that resistance just mentioned. Mix in a few laps a week to help with toning and strengthening. This activity does tend to impact most major muscle groups, so it provides a fun and refreshing change of pace away from those standard weights.
  • Yoga – Take a yoga class if you want to add an interesting twist to your strength training routine. This ancient art does involve muscle toning movements along with intense flexibility training. It’s a unique and fun way to address health through mind, body and spirit.  Check the Group Exercise Schedule for yoga classes at 24/7 Health Club.
  • Boxing or kickboxing – This particular sport strikes a nice balance between endurance and strength training. Kickboxing classes can be particularly fun if you are tired of typical routines. The BodyCombat would nicely fit the bill in this departent.
  • Kettlebells – Although similar to weights, this type of training can mix things up while also helping to improve endurance and flexibility. Kettlebells are fairly cheap to buy and they can offer adjustable weights so they grow with you as your body strengthens.

Strength training doesn’t have to call for chaining yourself to a weight bench. There are a variety of ways to mix things up and still realize some incredible results. If you’re ready to add fun to your routine, talk to your trainer about incorporating unusual and enjoyable activities into your routine.

Huntsville Diet and Weight Loss Myths

02 April

Many reducing plans boast quick weight-loss results.  But how do popular weight-loss strategies really measure up? 

Very Low Calorie Diets – Such plans claim to help you lose pounds very quickly.  But severaly limiting calories may deprive your body of essential nutrients and create hunger, making these diets difficult to maintain.  Weight is usually regained once normal eating is resumed.

 Omitting Food Groups – Some fad diets limit your food choices or encourage select foods in large amounts, such as ultra low-fat, low-carb or high-protein plans.  Boredom from limited food choices makes maintenance difficult.  These diets are no more effective at keeping weight off than other plans, according to research.

 Skipping Meals – Going without breakfast or lunch often encourages overeating later in the day.  Typically, dieters who eat 3-plus meals a day and include breakfast are more successful at maintaining weight loss.

 Pills and Gimmicks – Studies show that expensive seminars, pills or prepackaged meals work no better than less costly methods.

What’s Next? Design a permanent eating plan you can live with.  Keep in mind that losing takes using more calories than you consume.  Combine increased activity and eating fewer calories for weight loss that lasts.

 Intake – Keep the emphasis on eating a wide variety of wholesome, unprocessed foods.  Fill up on whole (less refined) grains and 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables every day.  Low-fat dairy products, legumes, poultry, fish and soy foods are healthful protein choices.  Good idea:  Watch portion sizes and limit caloric drinks.

 Output – With your provider’s okay, aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day.  Gradually increase activity and be sure you are combining aerobic activity with strength training for total health.  Good Idea:  Gradually increasing to 60-90 minutes of cardio can help you lose pounds.  Most experts recommend a safe weight loss of 1-2 pounds per week.

For healthy foods education and help making a permanent lifestyle change in your relationship with food, speak to one of the Thin & Healthy TOTAL SOLUTIONS team members or request a FREE Metabolism Evaluation today!

Whole and Organic Foods help with Weight Loss

02 April

If you’re working on losing weight and getting into shape, chances are you’ve heard a great deal about the need to eat right. After all, a balanced, low-fat diet that is calorie controlled is an essential component in any well-rounded weight loss plan. While you may need to reduce overall calorie consumption to shed pounds, you also want to think about making the foods you do eat count for more. This is where whole and organic foods can come into play.

Weight loss coaches, personal trainers and other fitness professionals will often recommend the consumption of whole foods and organic products to their clients. The reasons for this are not because they are trendy and fashionable. The reality is both types of food tend to be a lot better at fueling the body with the nutrients it needs without cluttering the system with unwanted junk.

If your weight loss coach has recommended incorporating whole and organic foods into your diet, you need to know how to spot these items. They are not always one in the same.

A Look at Organic Foods

Organic foods are simply those that are grown or produced without the use of chemicals. This means harsh fertilizers, chemical pesticides and even growth hormones are not used in the production of fruits, vegetables, dairy and meat products that bear organic labels.

Organic foods can cost more than conventionally produced products, but many people feel the increase in price is well worth the benefits. While studies have shown that organic foods do not necessarily contain more nutrients than conventionally produced items, they are free of chemical residues and unwanted hormone levels. Although these things have been proven “safe” for human consumption by government agencies, many people worry about the cumulative, long-term effects of consuming food even with trace amount of chemicals and pharmaceuticals.

Finding organically grown foods is not difficult. Just look for organic labels in regular grocery stores or shop at organic or whole food markets.

Whole Foods Are A Little Different

Whole foods are those that undergo no or very little processing prior to their sales. While many whole foods are organic, as well, this is not a requirement for a food to be considered whole.

Whole foods include a variety of standard fare, including fresh fruits and vegetables. Other options include whole grains, unprocessed meat and milk that is not homogenized.

There are a number of benefits to consuming whole foods. This type of food product will not have added salt, sugar, fat or preservatives. This means there is nothing in the way of enjoying the full benefits of the food’s natural nutrients. Essentially, whole foods provide all the nutritional perks without any of the downsides of additives.

If your weight loss coach or personal trainer has recommended incorporating organic and whole foods into your routine, you will find options on both fronts are readily available. They can give you an edge on weight loss by providing you with the nutrients you need without additives and chemicals you don’t.

For more information on incorporating healthy foods into your diet, , speak to one of the Thin & Healthy TOTAL SOLUTIONS team members or request a FREE Metabolism Evaluation today!

Tips for Making Good Food Choices

02 March

You’ve made up your mind to lose weight. You know you need to eat healthier and smarter to make it happen. Unfortunately, knowing and doing are two very different things. Temptations do lurk around practically every corner.

Can you resist and put yourself on a healthier path? You bet you can! These tricks and tips can help you navigate around temptations:

  • Make your home a haven – It’s probably not feasible to put yourself out of the path of temptations all the time. You can, however, give yourself one “safe place” where sweets and other treats are not found in abundance. Get rid of the junk food in your own home by giving it away or tossing it out. If family members get distressed by this notion, give them a “junk” cabinet and stay away from it yourself.
  • Change cooking habits – Eating right doesn’t mean having to give up on flavor. When you opt to grill, broil, boil or bake your favorite foods instead of frying them, you can make a big difference in your eating habits. Replace heavy sauces and tons of butter with spices and healthy side dishes. Be creative on this front and you are likely to find making good food choices tastes quite good.
  • Don’t skip meals – Skipping meals and even planned snacks is bad for your metabolism. It can also make you so hungry at mealtime that you’ll be more likely to select faster, less healthy choices. Eat throughout the day and your hunger level won’t get out of control.
  • Order wisely – Even if you have to eat out, try to look for healthier choices on a menu. Even fast-food restaurants do offer alternatives to fried, calorie-laden foods on their menus.
  • Stock up on healthy snacks – Replace those bags of chips and chocolate bars with healthier snacks. Fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain crackers, low-fat cheese, yogurt and other options can fuel your body and satisfy cravings, too.
  • Cut out sugary drinks – Don’t overlook the need to stop drinking sugary sodas or juices when losing weight is the plan. Opt for lower-calorie choices and your body will thank you for it.  Water is always a terrific option.  Feel free to add lemons or cucumbers to make it a bit more palatable.
  • Think before you eat – Before popping a doughnut or other unhealthy choice into your mouth, stop and think. It’s also a very good idea to read labels when shopping to make sure you know exactly what you are buying and putting into your body.

Making healthy food choices isn’t easy, but it can quickly become a habit. Be creative in your food choices, vary your menu plans and seek advice from your trainer and you are likely to find that eating healthy never tasted better. Changing lifestyle choices doesn’t mean giving up on flavor or going hungry.

For more tips on healthy eating, stop by the Thin & Healthy office and speak to one of our knowledgeable coaches.

Huntsville Fitness – Be a Great Role Model

24 February

Be The Healthy Role Model For Your Family for the most effective Huntsville Fitness

Childhood obesity, underage drinking, smoking and failure to exercise are all concerns for parents these days. If you want your kids to adopt a healthier, wiser lifestyle, you are going to have to show them the light. Children often learn best by example. Lead and they will likely follow.

How can you set the example and get them off on the right foot if your habits aren’t that great? Consider taking these steps to put yourself and your family on the road to better health and Huntsville fitness:

  • Work closely with a personal trainer – Exercise is one of the best ways to get yourself and your family in shape. Coming up with a program that will suit the needs of family members of varying ages isn’t easy though. A trainer can help you pick a plan that works for you while encouraging family members to get involved. You may even want individualized plans that also include family exercise time that’s fun. Taking bike rides together, walks or even jogs through the park might do the trick.
  • Make eating right cool – Children are not born with a hatred for fruits, vegetables and other healthy food choices. They learn to scorn these things when processed, sugary and salty snacks and treats are introduced into their diets. Reserve the unhealthy snacks and fast-foods for occasional treats and make the healthy options the staples in your house. Also make sure your family sees you eating healthy foods. If you munch on grapes, yogurt or whole grain crackers in between meals, your children will be more likely to do the same. At mealtime, present healthy options, but do take the steps to make them tasty and enjoyable. Grilled or broiled lean meats, fresh vegetables, whole grain side dishes and other similar choices are healthy and they can offer a lot of flavor.
  • Make exercise fun for effective Huntsville fitness – When it’s your time to exercise, don’t let your kids hear you complain. If you really can’t handle the idea of a trip to the gym on a particular day, load up the kids in the car and go to a park for a hike. Or, just head to the backyard for a game of Frisbee or something fun. You’ll know it’s exercise, but your kids won’t.
  • Work on breaking bad habits – If you smoke or drink too much, take steps to kick these habits. When children see their parents smoking or drinking, they associate these behaviors with being grown up. They also believe they are acceptable. Keeping drinking down to low or moderate levels or giving up tobacco can send your children the message you want them to learn.

If you want your family to become healthier and encourage more Huntsville fitness, you may have to take the first steps. When your children and even your spouse see you having fun, they are likely to follow your example. Working with your trainer or the pros at your fitness center can help you get off on the right foot to effect a change for yourself and your family.