• This entry was posted in Fitness on January 19, 2016

  • Home to the largest muscle groups in your body, strength training your legs can give you an unparalleled workout.

    Jogs, sprints, and elliptical sessions are great for your overall health, but nothing fatigues the muscles in your legs like exercises devoted solely to them.

    Stronger legs can help create stronger muscles all over your body, and increase your overall functional strength.

    If you’re longing for stronger legs (and who isn’t?), here are a few tips we recommend.

    1) Use your body. Some of the most effective leg exercises around involve using your own body weight and zero equipment. Do four alternating sets of lunges across the room, and squats, and we guarantee you’ll feel the burn. Here are four great leg exercises that don't require equipment.

    2) Squats are your new best friend. And there are all kinds of squat variations you can try.

    3) Embrace free weights. When it comes to time at the gym, focus on leg exercises using free weights, rather than leg machines. Your gym probably offers one free training session with your membership. If not, pay for a session, or get with a good friend who knows what they’re doing, and ask them to teach you some basic exercises.

    4) Incorporate leg training into your workday. With stand up desks and fun gadgets like the air pad (a disk you can balance on during the workday), it’s never been easier to stay productive and active from 9-5. Stuck sitting down? Here are a few leg and butt exercises you can do at your desk.

    5) Take time off. Your muscles need time to relax, recover, and rebuild. If you’re working your legs every day, you’re setting yourself up for failure, and possibly injury. Try to work your legs 2-3 times a week, and spend the other days focusing on cardio, core, or arm training. And remember to take at least one day off from working out a week. Moderation is key when it comes to your wellness goals.

    6) Foam roll it out. Nothing hurts like soreness in your legs. The day after an intense workout, you might struggle with basic everyday movements like walking up stairs or sitting down in chairs. Have a foam roller handy for your first few weeks of working your legs. It’ll help loosen up your muscles and keep soreness at bay.

    Leg training is notoriously hard for amateurs and pros alike. But the focused leg work is worth the extra effort. These six tips can help put you on the road to a stronger you – with more powerful, leaner, and tougher legs.

  • This entry was posted in Fitness on January 15, 2016

  • If getting in shape is your New Year’s Resolution, few workouts offer benefits like strength training. Strength training is good for your bones, helps prevent diseases, increases your energy, and helps you lose and maintain weight.

    Yes, cardio can help you shed pounds – but it’s strength training that tones your muscles, boosts your metabolism, and improves your functional strength.

    Making everyday life easier is one of strength training’s many benefits. You might just find it easier to lift groceries, do household chores, and carry your briefcase after a few weeks of strength training.

    Here are a few tips and ideas to get started with strength training this year:

    - Focus on your form. If you’re new to strength training, we’d recommend seeing a professional trainer, or a good friend who knows what they’re doing, at least once to go over the basics. Strength training isn’t something you can “wing,” and if you try to do so, you could risk injury. At the very least, poor form will hold you back from reaping the benefits of a refined strength training workout.

    - Protein. You need it. Have a protein-packed healthy snack ready to go after every intense strength-training workout. It will help your muscles recover and grow. You might be hungrier than normal when you first start strength training – be strategic about your snacks. A small bowl of lentils, beans, or nuts will tide you over more than a bowl of mac and cheese or a store-bought smoothie. View food as fuel.

    - Don’t get competitive. The only person you should be competing with is you. (It’s a cliché for a reason – it’s so true!) Don’t compare yourself to the person next to you at the bench. For all you know, they’ve been doing strength-training exercises for a decade! We all have to start somewhere. With that in mind…

    - Push yourself, but not too hard. It’s good to challenge yourself, but above all, listen to your body. If something doesn’t feel right, stop. If you injure yourself strength training, you might have to take weeks or even months off. Be patient!

    - Test the waters. Try out kettle bell, barre, and any classes focused on building muscles – you might find something you love, and you’re way more likely to exercise if it involves an activity you enjoy.

    - Forget the scale. Some people actually gain weight when they first start doing strength training. Don’t look for results on the scale – focus on how you feel.

    Strength training can be intimidating to fitness newbies, but the results are worth overcoming your nerves. If you approach strength training strategically, it’s one of the best things you can do for your health – not to mention a ton of fun!


  • This entry was posted in Fitness on January 14, 2016

  • Fitness comes more naturally during the warmer months. Nothing makes you want to stay curled up with a glass of wine more than a snowy driveway and frosty windows. Plus, it’s not like anyone can see muscle definition through oversized sweaters.

    But succumbing to the “winter slump” can significantly affect your overall health and happiness – and not in the good way. Here are a few tips for creating a winter fitness routine that works for you.

    - Schedule it. Plan your workouts a week in advance and treat them like work meetings – you wouldn’t bail on those, would you? Dose of reality: your exercise plans are just as important as your career-related ones.

    - Look at fitness classes. Many people need regular classes to motivate them to stay active, especially during the winter. Fitness classes make working out more of a social experience. Plus, trying different classes can keep your muscles guessing. Many people enjoy doing hot yoga during winter months, which not only builds flexibility, but focus and relaxation.

    - Try winter sports and activities. Volleyball or jogging might be your first love, but there’s at least one winter sport you can enjoy. Look at local ice hockey or ice skating leagues – both build strength and get your heart rate going. Don’t want to commit to a formal sport? You’d be surprised how many calories you can burn just playing in the snow!

    - Get a buddy. Enlist a friend or family member to help you stay active during the winter months. If it helps, set up a rewards system. Plan on hitting the gym together on a Saturday morning, followed by a light brunch at one of your favorite restaurants.

    - Find out what works for you. This can’t be stressed enough: striving for good is so much better than striving for perfect. Don’t plan on 6 AM workouts if you’re not a morning person, and don’t force yourself to go to the gym at 7 PM if that’s the time you love lazing on the couch in your pajamas. Cater your workout to your lifestyle, not the other way around.

    - Set up a home gym. If reluctance to face the cold weather is keeping you from living an active lifestyle, setting up a home gym could be your best option. A few dumbbells and an indoor rower, stationary bike, or elliptical, can go a long way.

    We know winter is a cozy and relaxing time, but there’s nothing calming about that moment around May 1 when you realize you’ve spent the whole winter letting yourself go. Snow days, movie marathons, and mugs of hot cocoa will be infinitely more enjoyable if you’re making an effort to take care of yourself.

    It’s easy and tempting to do, but don’t neglect your wellness goals this winter. You deserve the endorphins, energy, and overall glow and happiness that come from an active, healthy lifestyle. Live your best (active) life this winter – you’re worth it.

  • This entry was posted in Fitness on January 12, 2016

  • It’s easy to avoid healthy choices in the winter months. We’re curled up in sweaters and blankets, and no one will argue with the statement TV shows and books are more appealing than treadmills.

    But spring and summer will be here before you know it, and nothing sheds light on extra pounds gained during the winter season than the bright summer sun at the first pool party of the season.

    Forget your annual “warm weather is coming” diet and workout schedule. Wellness is a year-round effort.

    Here are a few tips for staying healthy this winter:

    1) Watch television – but move while you do it. This a great way to make the most of your relaxation time. It’s 100% okay to catch up on your favorite TV shows after dinner, but try to move for at least half the time. Place a yoga mat in front of your TV and practice a few basic yoga poses. Or arrange your laptop or TV in front of your favorite exercise equipment – nothing makes cardio more bearable than intriguing police procedurals.

    2) Practice moderation, and don’t try to be perfect. Expecting yourself to be superhuman is a surefire way to fail when it comes to your health goals.  Take a few nights off from working out each week, and don’t be afraid to indulge in a small portion of your favorite dessert once a week.

    3) Embrace winter fitness activities. Find a way to incorporate winter-friendly exercises into your social life. Ice skating is great cardio and works wonders for your legs – and you can do it while catching up with a friend!

    4) Make it a group activity. When you work out with friends, you have people to hold you accountable. It’s much easier to blow off a 6 AM solo gym session than it is to blow off a friend who’s planning on picking you up for a healthy breakfast and weight-lifting session in the morning.

    5) Play. Walk and play a game with your dog – the fun will take your mind off the calories you’re burning. Offer to join your kids on a bicycle or scooter ride around the neighborhood. Make physical activities social ones as well.

    6) Reward yourself with tasty, healthy treats. Protein-packed snacks like chocolate overnight oats and pumpkin quinoa breakfast cookies (with chocolate chips!), satisfy your sweet tooth and give you the fuel you need to get moving. Plus, they’re a lot of fun to make! Embrace your inner baker.

    7) Have summer in mind. Get in the best shape possible now so you can enjoy everything summer has to offer – outdoor runs, volleyball matches with your friends, and Frisbee sessions on the beach. Don’t let summer sneak up on you stuck on the couch!

    Most people struggle with how to keep active during the colder months, but if you plan strategically, there are plenty of ways to keep your muscles engaged and strong year round.

  • This entry was posted in Fitness on January 08, 2016

  • They say big progress is made in small steps. Significantly changing your life can’t happen with the snap of your fingers. It takes tiny everyday tweaks, AKA, “life hacks,” to adjust your life for the better.

    New Year’s Resolutions are made by 1 in 3 Americans, but kept by very few. At KETTLER USA, we believe health, wellness, and happiness are attainable to everyone.

    Below are six 100% doable life hacks you can use this year to make your resolution a reality – right now begins the journey to a better, stronger you.

    1. Make it visible. Post signs throughout your home. For example, if your goal is to eat healthier this year, having a printout of the words “Eat mindfully!” on your fridge could be instrumental in remembering not to over-indulge.

    2. Create small goals within your big goal. A goal to eat healthier is too broad. Put your goal into baby steps. For example, if your goal is to cook more, plan to only eat out at a restaurant once a week, and make the rest of your meals from scratch at home. Small steps are better than clumsy leaps.

    3. Be that annoying person. Tell your friends, family, significant other, and anyone who will listen about what you’re hoping to accomplish. Sometimes we need people to hold us accountable. Plus, how will you feel if you end up having to tell your grandma that you were not, in fact, able to cut back on that caffeine addiction? Don’t underestimate the power of impending shame as a motivator.

    4. Make sure you’re being realistic. Reevaluate your resolution if necessary – is it doable? You’re setting yourself up for failure if you’re vowing not to eat a single piece of chocolate in 2016. A more reasonable resolution: commit to only having one piece of chocolate per month.

    5. Plan a reward. Is there a concert coming to town in April that you really want to see? Tell yourself you’ll splurge on tickets if you’re able to cut back on spending per your New Year’s Resolution.

    6. Look at the big picture. For example, your goal to exercise three times a week isn’t just about looking better in your jeans. Regular exercise will have a significant impact on your overall wellbeing, health, and happiness – keep this in mind in moments when you’re struggling. Your resolution is about more than a quick fix – it’s about improving the quality of your life.

    Coming up with changes to implement in your habits on an annual basis is a fantastic tradition, but it falls short if these changes only last one to three months.

    Use the six strategies outlined above to work your way to a better you, and make sure to enlist your friends and family (and possibly your doctor, if your goal is health-related) to help you stay on track.

    Happy New Year – let 2016 be “the year of you.”

    Still need help choosing a resolution? Here are some of the most popular resolutions for 2016.