12 Days of Fitmas

Do you want to stay in shape over the holidays, but feel like you don't have time to get to the gym? Our 12 Days of Fitmas challenge offers a daily dose of quick exercises you can fit into any hectic schedule! 

Here's how it works:

Begin with day 1, perform that exercise. The next day, add day the exercise from day 2. For example, on day 1, you'll do burpees. On day 2, you'll perform burpees and squats. On day 3, you'll perform burpees, squats and tuck jumps, and so on... until you accomplish all of the exercises on the 12th day. 

The beauty of the 12 Days of Fitness is that you can tailor it to your very own capabilities. We recommend at least 25 of each exercise. Perform 50 of each exercise to really feel your muscles burn! Perform 100 of each exercise and earn yourself an extra bite of pie over the holidays!

Merry Fit-Mas! 


How to Get Your Kids Involved in Being Active

A lot of times when we set out on our own fitness journey, people get left behind.  We concentrate so much on making sure that we are active that we forget that everyone, especially our kids, needs to be active.  About a year into my new fit life it suddenly hit me, my kids need to be active too. As a child I was always in the house reading or watching TV. I was never encouraged to get active. When I think about it, I was never an active adult because I was never an active child. Our children develop habits early, so it is important that getting active at an early age is emphasized.

Coming from someone who has been down that road, kids aren't always ready to “go exercise”. As a parent, it has been my duty to find ways to get my kids active that they will enjoy. Here is my list of fun activities that you can do with your kids to get them moving around and off the couch:

1. Take a walk
2. Go for a hike
3. Go bowling
4. Go on a family bike ride
5. Go on a nature scavenger hunt
6. Go to the pool
7. Go play mini golf
8. Go to an indoor trampoline or bounce house
9. Sign up for a family sports league
10. Play laser tag
11. Do a running plan together such as couch to 5K (my kids loved this)
12. Get a fitness video game
13. Go to the park
14. Do a downtown scavenger hunt, exploring your city
15. Walk to the grocery store
16. Go mall walking
17. Take a family karate class
18. Do a race together (many 5k's have kid fun runs)
19. Go to the zoo
20. Go to an amusement park
21. Go to a rock climbing facility that is kid friendly
22. Require mandatory active commercial breaks where you and your kids do exercises (jumping jacks, jog in place) during a commercial break while enjoying a show together
23. Create a backyard obstacle course for the family
24. Play tag
25. Have a water balloon or snowball fight

While this is just a short list to get you started, I am sure with enough creativity you and your family can come up with many more. The important thing is to get up and get the whole family moving and active. You won't regret it.

The Facts about Fasted Cardio

 Many fitness professionals and fitness aficionados depend on fasted cardio to help them reach their goals, and take their fitness abilities to the next level. But for many people, who are just looking to get more fit, fasted cardio seems like such a foreign concept, or at least that is  how it seemed to me. When my trainer first suggested that I do fasted cardio, I was very hesitant because I wasn't sure that I would be able to do it.

For those of you who don't know, fasted cardio is when you wake up, and first thing in the morning before eating you do cardio. For me that seemed kind of dangerous. I have always eaten breakfast immediately after waking. I questioned if I would have the energy to exercise without eating? I gave it a try, and thankfully I didn't even notice that I had not eaten. Also, surprisingly I have become a fan of fasted cardio. I really look forward to it in the mornings, and best of all it has helped me burst through the plateau that I had been stuck on for what seemed like forever.

So the big question is, why does fasted cardio work? In simple terms, fasted cardio works because when you are exercising first thing in the morning the energy that is used during your cardio will come from the breaking down of fat that you already have. Since you have not eaten, this is your body's only available energy source. When you eat before your cardio, your body's first energy source will be the food that you have consumed. For this reason, fasted cardio is often used to lose those last few pounds that you just can't get rid of.

While expert opinions are still indecisive about whether or not fasted cardio is worth it or not, I really believe it is something that you have to try for yourself. Every body is different and each person's body will react differently. So I challenge you to give it a try and you may just be surprised what fasted cardio can do for you.

The Myth of Spot Reduction

Everyone has a body part that they think is the best. On the flip side, they also have the body part that they would probably sell their first born for in order to change (not really, but I have to throw some humor in here somewhere). The truth of the matter is, there is no such thing as spot reduction. You can’t focus on burning the fat from one body part. It just doesn’t work that way. To burn fat, you must burn it over the entire body through a combination of weight training (yes ladies, lifting weights!), cardio, and a healthy diet.

Doing just one of those three you will not produce changes. You must do a combination of them to see results. Fat cells are released by the body to be burned for energy, and unfortunately, you cannot choose which part of your body the fat comes from.

You also can’t focus on lifting for one body part in hopes that the fat will come off of it. Take your abs for example. You can do 1,000 crunches a day and still not have a visible “6 pack.” That comes from…you guessed it! Cardio, diet, and weight training. Many times the muscle you focus on when you try to spot train is so small that you aren’t doing your body a bit of good. When you try to target the larger muscles then you inevitably hit the smaller ones.

So the next time you hit the gym with every intention of focusing on one small muscle, work the whole body part instead. You’ll not only hit the area you’re trying to improve but you’ll increase your overall level of fitness!


How to Keep Going after the Honeymoon is over

You know how it goes. It is new and even though it may be challenging, it seems so doable. But then it hits you like a ton of bricks, the honeymoon is over. I know what you are thinking. Honeymoon? What does that have to do with fitness and a lifestyle change? Actually it has everything to do with it. For many people who decide to live a new fit life, the beginning can be quite rewarding. You see changes quickly, and you get the results needed to motivate you to continue. When the honeymoon is over the results aren't happening as quickly. It becomes difficult to continue. You are working as hard as you were before but with fewer results. The important thing is to keep going. I know it's easier said than done, but it can be done. I have a few tips to help you along your journey.

Have realistic expectations! Do not expect to run an eight minute mile after two weeks of training. Do not expect to lose 10 pounds every week. Do not expect to squat 300 pounds. Do some research and set realistic goals. At the same time, don't get discouraged if you don't achieve those results at first. If you are working hard, you will get there. Just give it time.

Do what you enjoy! I remember when I first started working out I heard that sprint intervals on the treadmill were the best form of cardio. Every workout session I would do my sprint intervals. I hated every minute of it. Then I noticed myself making excuses to get out of my sessions on the dreadmill. I finally decided that I would much rather do a form of cardio that I enjoyed than totally avoid cardio that I hate. In the end, no matter how effective it is, if I don't do it, it doesn't work.

Treat yourself! Don't be afraid to treat yourself every now and then. Keep in mind this is a lifestyle change, and the new habits that you are implementing need to be habits that you will actually be able to continue with. Don't set unrealistic expectations for yourself such as I will never eat chocolate again. If you want chocolate, eat it, and then get right back on track. Occasional treats can help you stay on track in the long run. I have a treat day every two weeks where I allow myself to eat something that I really want (usually pizza). After that meal, I jump right back on my plan. This treat fulfills my cravings, and also gives me something to work toward and look forward to.

Look for the changes! This may sound silly because you are probably thinking OF COURSE I am looking for changes. But what changes are you looking for? I give myself every opportunity to see what progress is being made. I do not limit myself to only looking at the number on the scale. I take measurements, and I take frequent progress pictures. I also keep track of the amount of weight I lift. This allows me to use all of these factors to determine the progress that I am making. While I may not always lose on the scale, I know if I really look, I will be able to find improvements in my body.

In the end the important thing is to keep working toward your goals. No matter how difficult it may be to reach them, it will be so worth it in the end. 

Warm Ups and Cool Downs - The Importance of Getting Your Body Ready

Many people leave out two very important parts of a training session: the warm up and the cool down. I'm not just talking about stretching. There are many types of warm ups and cool downs, which I will discuss.

 I always recommend to my clients that they do a 5-10 minute warm up before engaging in their resistance training. I suggest doing steady cardio on their favorite piece of cardio equipment or something as simple as jogging or walking. Warming up has a variety of benefits including:

How to stay on track when you are the only one on track

We have all been there. For some of us it is our daily reality. If we are planning on living a healthy life, there comes a time when we finally have to succumb to the fact that not everyone else has the same healthy ambitions that we do. That is when the struggle begins. It is so easy to stay on track when your family or friends are following a similar program as you. The true test is whether or not you can stay on track when everyone else is off track. This does not have to be a test that you fail. Here are my top tips to help you stay on track with a healthy diet, when you are surrounded by people and food who aren't that healthy.