RISE + SHINE: 5 Steps to Become a Morning Exerciser

A guest post from our friends at Sport&Health Club

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Find yourself repeatedly hitting the snooze button? Try these 5 tips to make AM workouts an easy part of your routine. It’s a great feeling to get your workout in early – plus, you’ll have a boost of energy to carry you through the day!

Why Work Out in the Morning?

Morning exercise carries many benefits.  You’ll jump-start your metabolism and keep it elevated for hours.  As a result, you’ll be burning more calories all day long. AM exercise also energizes you for the day and increases mental acuity, which can last four to ten hours after your workout ends. Also, by finishing your workout in the morning, you can better focus on the day that lies ahead. But most of all, nothing can top the feeling of gratification knowing that you have done something good for you.

Here are some steps to help you become a morning exerciser:

Prepare for your workout the night before

Pack your gym bag and lay out your workout clothes. Go to sleep at the proper time each night. The National Sleep Foundation suggests getting between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night to help your body function well the next day. This is the most vital component to becoming a morning exerciser. If we are requiring our body to expend more energy in the morning, then we must prepare it to do so.

Set a time for your workout

When you exercise at the same time every morning, you are regulating your body’s endocrine system and circadian rhythms.  Your body will start to adapt to the pattern that you’re setting and then prepare for waking and exercise several hours before you open your eyes. Amazing, right? Hormones prepare your body for exercise by regulating blood pressure, heart rate and blood flow to muscles. Your metabolism along with all of the hormones involved in exercise will start to elevate while you’re sleeping. You will feel much more alert and energized when you do wake up.

Establish accountability

Schedule exercise with a friend or a certified personal trainer. This will help you gain accountability and give you that extra dose of motivation.

Choose a method of exercise

Whether it’s a group fitness class or a session with a personal trainer, find something that you enjoy and you’ll increase your odds for success. You can choose from so many varieties of fitness: water aerobics, dance, cycling, Pilates, or even team sports. They are all beneficial!

Eat a light snack before your workout

Try a cup of yogurt and a granola bar or pieces of fruit. Combine complex carbohydrates for energy and protein for the best workout recovery. Then eat a healthy meal less than an hour after exercising to start your day properly. You may find that morning exercise regulates your appetite for the rest of the day and will help you choose better portions of healthier foods.

Are you ready to tackle your workout in the morning?

There is nothing more invigorating than the feeling of tying up those laces, heading out the door and welcoming your newfound challenge. Wake up tomorrow morning ready to tackle your workout!

Go to sportandhealth.com for more exercise tips.

 

Fitness Tips for 2017

A guest post from our friends at Sport&Health Clubtrx-2

A sedentary lifestyle is one of the 5 major risk factors (along with high blood pressure, abnormal values for blood lipids, smoking, and obesity) for cardiovascular disease, according to the American Heart Association. Physical activity is key to preventing heart disease and strokes, the nation’s  No. 1 and No. 5 killers.

Here are a few workouts that will give you some amazing heart-health and strength building benefits!

Interval training

While any activity boasts heart-health benefits, interval training is an amazing way to get your blood pumping. Alternate between high intensity intervals and periods of rest or slower paces work – think treadmill sprints followed by a brisk walking break. Be sure you’re working hard enough to get out of breath and then take whatever rest period is necessary to recover. Continuously raising and lowering your heart rate forces the blood to pump a lot harder. In addition to burning tons of calories, it makes the body more efficient at clearing fat and sugar from the bloodstream.

Lap Swimming

If you’ve never taken your cardio workout to the pool, you’re missing out! Try progressing from 6-10 lengths of the pool, trying out different strokes with each workout. Work your chest and back with alternating laps of back crawl and breaststroke. Or try alternating laps of flutter kicks and the front crawl for an amazing upper/lower body workout.

 

Strength training

In addition to building muscle mass, strength training has an incredible impact on bone health and your heart. Over time, your muscles will more efficiently be able to handle the demands placed upon them, easing the burden on your heart. New to strength training? Begin with your own body weight – just be sure that you’re incorporating proper progression over time. In addition to simply adding more weight, you can adjust the tempo of your movements to up the intensity. Once you master 10-12 repetitions of a movement, try challenging yourself by slowing down the movement for an extra burn.

Yoga

Want a more gentle approach to gaining strength and toning muscles? Yoga and Pilates get the job done and also provide amazing heart-health benefits, including lowering blood pressure, boosting circulation, increasing lung capacity and improving respiratory function and heart rate. And bonus – you’ll leave class feeling more relaxed and ready to tackle the day.

Cycling

According to a study recently done by the British Medical Association, regular cycling can reduce risk for coronary heart disease by 50%. Cycling uses the largest muscle groups in the legs to elevate heart rate, boosting fitness and stamina. Try a group cycle class for a fun, interval-based workout or simply hop on a bike at the club for a 20-30 ride!

Ultimately, it’s important to find an activity or training style that you enjoy and will stick to. For those looking to lower blood pressure or cholesterol, the American Heart Association recommends 40 minutes of aerobic exercise of moderate to vigorous intensity three to four times a week to lower the risk for a heart attack or stroke.  For more information, visit sportandhealth.com.

The No. 1 New Years Resolution – Lose Weight

 

A guest post from our friends at Sport&Health Club

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Many individuals resort to the same New Year’s Resolution year after year, to lose weight.

This year, Mitch Batkin, Sport&Health Clubs, Senior Vice President of Fitness, offers the following points that can make sticking to resolutions a breeze:

  • Start today. With the right tools and a little discipline, it is possible to enjoy all foods and stay fit.
  • Find support from a trainer or join a group exercise class. Your success rate increases dramatically with support from others instead of trying to do it alone.
  • Enjoy a healthy snack before a big meal. A cup full of carrot sticks, an apple or a handful of pretzels can be just what you need to curb the appetite, leaving less room for high-fat foods.
  • Eat freely in moderation. Sample the tempting foods on the table, but in small portions. Load up the rest of your plate with vegetables and fruits.
  • Stay active. Perform at least 30 minutes of moderate activity each day. Most fitness experts agree that accumulating about 3 hours of exercise each week, half of cardiovascular conditioning and half of resistance type exercise is best to make significant improvements in your health.
  • Beware of liquid calories. Steer clear of large amounts of alcohol or soda, which will provide little more than empty calories.
  • Drink lots of water. Not only is it important for helping you stay hydrated, it also helps you feel full.
  • Eat only when hungry. Many people eat just because food is in front of them. Pause for a moment before that second or third helping and consider whether you truly feel full.

For more information, visit www.sportandhealth.com.

 

Feed Your Resolution

When January rolls around, many of us make big New Year’s resolutions to change our whole diet in order to start the year off right. But here’s my question… Why not make a resolution to just start the day off right? Making a smaller, simpler promise increases the chances you will stick with it throughout the whole year!

Some of you may be doing great with your resolution and others might already be off the wagon… where ever you are don’t worry! Let’s make this simple pledge to add a healthy breakfast to our day this month.

smoothie

For a quick breakfast, smoothies hit the spot. They are fast to make, satisfying and you can easily take them with you when you walk out the door. The key to making a smoothie that will #FeedYourResolution and keep you feeling full until lunch is to focus on two things: Produce and protein.

Pick Your Produce

The USDA recommends 1 ½-2 cups of fruit per day and for vegetables, the recommendations are even higher at 2 ½-3 cups a day. Adding a smoothie as part of your breakfast, snack or lunch on-the-go is an easy (and delicious!) way to work up to those daily produce goals.

Veggies

Try fresh or frozen spinach leaves, fresh or frozen kale leaves, carrot, cooked sweet potato, cooked pumpkin, beet greens and cooked beets and/or cucumber.

Fruits

Try berries, pears and apples, banana, avocado, pineapple, mango, papaya, kiwi, citrus, figs, plums, melons and/or cherries. Almost all fruit can be used either fresh or frozen.

Pick Your Protein

Adding protein to your blended drinks helps you feel fuller longer —here are easy ways to add extra protein:

Add whole food sources of protein to your smoothie.

Consider yogurt, kefir, nut butters, pasteurized egg whites, or silken tofu to bring richness and flavor to your glass. If you like a thicker, heartier texture boost your smoothie by blending in ground chia, flax seeds, hemp seeds or rolled oats.

Add a scoop of protein powder.

Plant-based protein is a great option that derives protein from nutritious products like brown rice, hemp seed, peas or soy. For dairy drinkers we love grass-fed whey protein—Did you know that at Whole Foods Market, all of our whey protein powder is from cows that are free of growth hormones and antibiotics, just like our milk?

Smoothie Builder

Smoothies are very versatile so you should feel free to experiment with ingredients until you find a combination you love. Check out the diagram below… Simply choose at least one item from each row…then blend your way to breakfast bliss!

builder

Want a tried and true recipe? Here’s one of my favorites:

LEAN GREEN SMOOTHIE

This lean green glass of goodness will keep you energized, full and feeling your best all morning long! Nutrient packed greens join forces with fresh fruit and juice to give you a high impact smoothie.

Makes about 2 ½ cups

Ingredients:

  • 2 heaping cups chopped kale leaves
  • 1 ½ cups cold orange juice
  • ½ of a pear (or apple or mango)
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 scoop protein powder (We suggest a Grass-fed Whey Protein Powder, or if you avoid dairy, Plant-Based Protein Powder)

Method:

Remove kale leaves from their rough center stalk and coarsely chop. In a blender, combine kale and orange juice. Blend until no big kale bits remain. Stop blender and add pear, banana and honey.  Blend until smooth. Enjoy!