• This entry was posted in Fitness on January 28, 2016

  • Nothing hurts a fitness plan like boredom. Sure, daily jogs and the reliable weight-training program you’ve memorized are great for you – but cross training with a variety of workout routines and exercises is always better.

    Keeping your muscles guessing not only makes them stronger, but also keeps monotony at bay.

    Need help incorporating variety into your regime? We’ve got a few tips to mix up your workout routine in a healthy, fun way.

    Think strategically when gym searching. The quality of the equipment matters in a gym, but so does the quality (and quantity) of the fitness classes they offer. Gyms that offer free classes at convenient times make it easier to get and stay healthy. Try out anything that looks interesting, and definitely take a whirl at anything that scares you a little – it’s how we grow!

    Look at independent studios. Pure Barre, Bikram Yoga, Crossfit. Lots of innovative fitness routines are popping up every day. Download the app MINDBODY, and check out the fitness programs and boutique studios closest to you. Aerial arts, barre, or hot yoga could be the perfect supplement to your routine. Plus, you might discover a new fitness passion.

    Explore YouTube workouts. There are tons of effective workouts online, and the awesome thing about many of these workouts is that they don’t require any equipment – meaning you can try something new without having to make a financial investment. Remember: listen to your body and stop if anything feels wrong. Just because a workout is online doesn’t mean it’s right for you.

    Tag along. Do you have a friend who’s an avid swimmer? Know someone who religiously SoulCycles? Ask them if you can join them on their next fitness venture. When you exercise with friends, they can introduce you to things you might have never tried on your own.

    Roam the great outdoors. Most of us work and exercise inside – heading outdoors for a workout can be a nice change. Map a scenic route by your neighborhood, or head to a local trail to explore. With epic views and scenery, you won’t even realize you’re burning calories!

    The beginning of the year is a time of renewal. Take 2016 by storm by vowing to have more fun with fitness this year. With unlimited access to all kinds of sweat-inducing exercises online, in the gym, and in fitness boutiques, there’s no reason to get stuck in a rut on the treadmill.

    Now go explore!

  • This entry was posted in Fitness on January 20, 2016

  • When you hear the word “yoga,” skinny women in spandex contorting their bodies into otherworldly positions might come to mind.

    But yoga is more about personal strength than competition and bikini-related aspirations. Yoga as a practice originated in India, but didn’t gain popularity as a form of physical exercise in the United States until around the 1980s.

    Yoga has taken on various forms in gyms and studios around the world since – from hot, to vinyasa flow, to hatha, to power.

    One common thread across all types of yoga is the focus on building a calm, mindful, and happier existence.

    Yoga, in one of its many forms, can benefit and be practiced by everyone.

    Here are a few reasons why you should make it part of your routine. You’ll be saying “Namaste” before you know it.

    1. Greater flexibility. There are few exercises that offer flexibility benefits like yoga. In fact, the entire practice will improve your overall mobility and flow. People often think you have to already be flexible to practice yoga, but there are modifications for every pose. Working at your own pace is encouraged.

    2. Increased strength. Yoga is about more than seeing how far you can reach past your toes. Held poses strengthen your arms, butt, legs, and core. Need convincing? Here are 10 fantastic yoga poses for strength.

    3. Balance and humility. Moves like the tree pose test your awareness, focus, and stability, but yoga also teaches a different kind of balance – listening to your body and not pushing yourself too hard. If you’re wrapped up in performing like a rock star, you’ll struggle.

    4. Inner peace. The focus and calm in yoga puts life in perspective and silences busy minds. Use the 45-90 minutes to focus completely on doing something undeniably good for your body, soul, and mind. You’ll see – the mental and emotional benefits are just as inspiring as the physical.

    Everyone can benefit from having a yoga practice in their life – even if it’s sitting silently on a mat before work and meditating. In a world where we’re constantly tuned it, yoga is more vital than it’s ever been.

    Find a studio in your neck of the woods and give yourself two to three classes to let the benefits and calm soak in. “Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self.” - Bhagavad Gita. The most important reason to add yoga to your routine: it can change your life.

  • 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.