General Fitness

How a Workout Buddy Can Boost Your Fitness Routine

While we all hatch plans to finally hit the gym, jog a mile, or join a fitness class with noble intentions, following through and showing up consistently is far more challenging. However, if you make those plans with a fellow fitness-minded friend, you can hold one another accountable and reap more rewards than you may realize!

Here are a few of our favorite perks of getting fit with a workout buddy.

Accountability: Making plans to go to the gym or even check in with someone about weekly workouts is a highly motivational tool. Keep in mind, accountability is a two-way street – your buddy needs you as you need him or her. Try to find a buddy with a similar schedule so you have fewer excuses to avoid the gym.

Providing support: Group classes are great ways to mix up the routine. Nonetheless, walking through the doors the first time can be daunting. Signing up to try new things with your buddy can ease the awkwardness and help build a stronger bond between you two.

Healthy competition: A little friendly competition never hurt anyone! Trying to keep up with one another or even push each other to continually improve benefits both workout buddies in the long run, especially if you’re both at similar skill levels.

Refreshing the routine: It’s easy to walk into the gym, go through the motions of the same repetitive 30-minute workout you always do, and leave. Workout complete. Inviting someone to join you on your fitness journey can help revitalize the mundane. You and your workout partner can work together to devise a plan to incorporate your favorite modes of exercise into an ongoing routine.

Increased safety: It can be difficult to keep your form in check, as you can only observe yourself in the mirror (if the room is equipped with one). A second pair of eyes is a more reliable method to ensure you’re completing moves correctly. A workout buddy can also help spot you if you plan to lift weights.

Set and meet goals: It is possible to meet and maintain your own fitness goals, but sometimes the road to solo success can feel a bit long and thankless. Talk to your buddy about setting similar and mutual goals. When working as a team, it’s easier to keep the goal in sight and stay on track.

More fun: Simply put, working out with your friends, co-workers, or partner is just more enjoyable. Make fitness fun by blending it with your social circle!

Breaking Down the Benefits of Boot Camps

Fitness is an ever-evolving concept. We’re constantly hearing different, and sometimes conflicting, information about what is the true key to a healthy lifestyle. One friend might preach the gospel of cardio, while others swear by weight lifting, pilates, barre… the list goes on.

In reality, the best thing for your body is typically somewhere in between all of these suggestions. Staying fit usually requires a happy medium of cardio combined with muscle-strengthening activities, which is precisely what a good boot camp program has to offer!

So… what is boot camp?

No, this type of boot camp isn’t synonymous with military basic training! A daytime boot camp at your local fitness center can also kick your fitness routine into gear… without any ruthless drill sergeants or mud pit crawls. Instead, an effective fitness boot camp provides a challenging yet supportive group exercise environment. Of course, you’ll still sweat it out and push your boundaries as you move through a rapid succession of cardio and strength exercises throughout a typical hour-long session.

What are the benefits?

Boot camps offer several benefits that a standard solo workout plan may not. You can expect boot camp to be:

  • Dynamic: Let’s face it — the same old weightlifting routine or monotonous 45-minute session on a treadmill is just not enough to keep most of us committed to a fitness regimen. Boot camp classes offer varied exercises each and every class, so you won’t know quite what to expect next! No matter what, you can expect it to challenge you and push you to discover your strength. Bonus: because you’ll be moving quickly between sets, there’s little downtime to count the minutes until it’s over, so you’re bound to keep your head in the game… and (gasp) you may even enjoy yourself!

  • Efficient: Classes typically last 1 hour or less, which may seem short… however, since you’re working so hard for the entire duration of boot camp, you can still end up burning up to 600 calories per hour on average.

  • Effective: The combination of the team atmosphere, as well as a well-rounded rotation of strength and cardio workouts, makes boot camp an excellent way to shed some extra pounds, improve your endurance, increase lean muscle, and refine your balance as well as your coordination.

  • Motivating: While the physical health benefits of boot camps are obvious, you may be pleasantly surprised to discover the ways in which they can boost your mental disposition. Because there is little downtime in a typical boot camp session, you’ll find yourself scrounging up every last drop of self-determination to push through and complete your workouts. For the moments in which you may doubt your ability to keep going, your instructor and fellow campers are right there to help motivate you. You’ll be feeling on top of the world by the end of the session!

Is your interest piqued? Sync Fitness offers dozens of boot camp classes each week, along with numerous other perks for members. We’ve spent the last 14 years figuring out what works best for our clients, and we remain committed to making sure you leave happier, healthier, and having lifted yourself higher than you ever thought possible. We can’t wait for you to join us and experience the difference!

How to Optimize Body Composition (without Obsessing on the Scale)

If there’s one universal fitness truth, it must be this: shame isn’t going to help you be your best, healthiest self! Unfortunately, for many people seeking a healthier lifestyle, shame can be the end result of fitness programs and weight loss efforts. If the only way your progress is tracked is by a number on a scale, you could end up feeling like you’re constantly falling short. That won’t help you stay with the program. Instead of obsessing about reaching a specific number, shift that focus to your overall well-being and body composition as indicators of your health.

Body composition is essentially your unique ratio of fat and muscle. Your body readily stores fat when you eat excess calories, but it takes more effort to build muscle. For many who start exercising and getting into shape, initial losses trickle to a plateau, at which point your weight hovers in the same zone. Many times, this phenomenon is caused by increased muscle mass and improved body composition. After all, muscle weighs more than fat. Don’t let the scale deter you! Focus on building muscle and the excess fat you’re worried about will be consumed by your increased muscle mass.

Top Tricks to Improve Your Body Composition

1. Focus on strength-building exercises, not just aerobics. The stronger you become, the more muscle you build. That extra muscle, in turn, burns more calories, even when you’re at rest. While you do want to engage in aerobic exercise for heart health, strength-building programs can make a massive difference in your body composition. You may not see the difference that getting stronger makes when you step on the scale, but you will see it when you look in the mirror.

2. Fuel your body for better health. When you want to build muscle, eating enough protein is essential. You should also make sure you have adequate sources of healthy fat in your diet. Combine those two with plenty of veggies and fruits and lots of water, and you have a recipe for easy, clean eating.

3. Determine your healthy ratio of body fat. A personal trainer can help you determine your current body composition. If you wish, you may also track how your shape changes, even if you don’t “lose” any weight.

4. Consider an inclusive, health-focused exercise program. A body-positive fitness program such as a local boot camp can help you feel stronger and happier without pressuring you to drop pounds. You shouldn’t have to feel like a contestant on a weight loss show, being ridiculed and mocked for your body, to lose weight in a gym setting. Your best hope of improving your body composition and physical health will come from working with those who will support you in your endeavors — regardless of what the scale says!

An Abridged Guide to Understanding Your Metabolism

If you’ve ever read fitness articles, talked to a trainer or medical professional about healthy body composition, or wondered how your body processes the food you consume, you’re likely at least somewhat familiar with the concept of metabolism. In the most basic sense, metabolism is the way our bodies convert food into energy. Some of that energy gets used right away, while some of it is stored as fat. Even while you’re sleeping, your body still requires energy to keep your heart, lungs, brain, and other organs and systems functioning.

The rate at which your body converts consumed calories into energy is called your metabolic rate. Generally speaking, more active people have higher metabolic rates, meaning they burn through more calories each day and need to consume more high-quality nutrients to sustain themselves. Your metabolism plays a role in how easily and how quickly you are able to lose, gain, or maintain body weight.

What determines your metabolism?

Many factors impact your metabolic rate, including age (as we celebrate more birthdays, our metabolic rates start to slow), stress levels, sleep patterns, past and current eating habits (extreme dieting or fasting, especially taking in fewer than 1,200 calories a day, can cause metabolism to take a hit), and muscle mass (the more muscle you have, the more calories you tend to burn, even while at rest).

Can you control your metabolism?

Many people assume that their metabolism is set in stone. While factors such as previous health issues and genetics play a significant role in determining your metabolism, there are always ways to actively improve yours. Effective workout regimens, such as boot camps and high-intensity interval training, are one of the best ways to help boost your metabolism. Regular exercise elevates your metabolic rate even after you finish your workout, kicking into higher gear for hours or days.

Does dieting improve your metabolism?

Building lean muscle helps your body burn more calories, including those that are stored as fat. Dieting, on the other hand, can trick your body into believing it is going to starve. This forces it to use less caloric energy for essential internal functions, which can have negative long-term effects on your metabolism. While healthy eating is a critical part of a healthy life, simply restricting calories will not help you burn more fat.

Exercise, specifically strength training exercises, is the most effective means of increasing your metabolic rate. So long as your calorie intake is sufficient (at least 1,200 per day), exercising can create a caloric deficit, where you burn more calories than you consume in a day. This means healthy eating combined with regular workouts is the ideal way to boost your metabolism and maintain a balanced weight.

5 Practical Health and Fitness Tips for New Moms

Whether you’re a seasoned mama, a brand new parent, or expecting a bundle of joy, you know (or will soon find out!) that motherhood, while a labor of love, is a full-time job. Especially on the first go-around, new moms are bound to encounter several challenges — from running on very little sleep to finding time for self-care. But with plenty of mindfulness and a little support, you’ll also discover that the strength to overcome the hurdles is right there within you!

You likely spent a good deal of effort optimizing your health throughout your pregnancy. When your baby’s health depends on it, there’s an extra boost of motivation. However, after your baby arrives, it’s just as important to follow a personal health and fitness regimen for your own sake. The flight attendant’s script before every plane take-off also happens to offer wise life advice: Put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others. Here’s how you can achieve it.

1. Don’t overcommit. Set goals within your reach and take baby steps toward each milestone. If you know you can’t swing a 1-hour gym session every day, start small by committing to three 45-minute workouts each week, such as a group boot camp class to keep you accountable. Ultimately, you simply want to get your feet moving, even if it’s a quick stroll on your favorite trail with baby and stroller in tow. If your little one is napping and you can’t get out of the house, bring the exercise to you! Try some yoga at home or a fun workout DVD in your living room.

2. Ask for help! Sometimes we all need a helping hand, and there is no shame in asking for it. This is especially true when you are a new mother adapting to a more demanding schedule. Ask a trusted family member, friend, or neighbor for help with childcare on a day when you could really use a brisk nature walk to clear your mind and get your blood pumping. You may also consider arranging a babysitting swap with your other parent friends. You’ll be happier and healthier when you tap into your support system.

3. Make a plan. While we all know life doesn’t always go according to plan (especially when young children are in the mix), it helps to make a weekly checklist you can reference for guidance when things get hectic. Leave space for some workout time and pat yourself on the back as you tick off each completed exercise session. Track your progress and make a game of improving your results each week.

4. Exercise early. Some of us aren’t morning people. However, when schedules are busting at the seams, early morning is often the best time to squeeze in some exercise or “me time” before other obligations stand in the way. If possible, do this before your spouse or partner leaves the house, or arrange for childcare.

5. Go easy on yourself. There will be days when the unexpected happens. Remember to go easy on yourself if you miss a scheduled workout. If you miss a day, just keep on truckin’.

How to Find a Workout Modality You Actually Enjoy

One of the most challenging aspects of committing to an exercise regimen can be finding one you enjoy. If your current workout modality doesn’t fuel you, or if you find it more frustrating or boring than rewarding, it can be that much more tempting to let your goals fall by the wayside — especially in the initial stages before you start to notice concrete results.

If you are committing to boosting your health and improving your fitness, start by spending some time experimenting to determine what forms of exercise and workout modalities best fit your preferences and lifestyle. Motivation can sometimes be hard to come by, so if you’re struggling to kickstart your fitness journey, try working out in a group environment where other people can provide you with support.

What Do You Want from Your Workout?

Everyone has a different lifestyle with varying comfort levels. What are your personal fitness goals? For instance, are you hoping to increase cardio for heart health, supplement a healthy diet with regular activity, or build muscle tone? Do you prefer competitive activities, such as handball or soccer, or do you prefer a more collaborative workout environment, such as a group class? It’s important to understand your own goals and motivations, and there is no problem with pursuing realistic, gradual milestones.

Set bite-sized, short-term objectives to help push you toward your longer-term ones. Each day on your feet is another step toward your optimal health. Choosing exercises that are fun, that you look forward to each day, is important in achieving these steps. The more you enjoy your workout, the easier it will be to reach concrete goals. Eventually you can consider an integrated approach that focuses on major points such as flexibility, endurance, joint health, muscle-building, cardio, and more.

Find the Right Program and Commit to It!

One of the most important things you can do is find ways to increase accountability in order to fully commit to an exercise program. Signing up for a multi-week class is one especially effective way to do this.

If you’re looking for a fitness program that will help you reach your fitness goals in a fun, social environment, consider becoming a Sync Fitness member with access to our weekly boot camp courses. We also offer an 8-week program that includes emotional and social support from other women: our Accountability Club! This is a great option for those who seek additional motivation and encouragement within a distinct timeline. Contact us today — we love helping fellow fitness warriors find exercise modalities that suit them!

Get Real This New Year: Fitness Resolutions You Can Actually Achieve

We’re all for committing to self-improvement in the year ahead — but some New Year’s resolutions are notorious for falling by the wayside when we set, ahem, lofty expectations. The reality is sobering: a mere 8 percent of people complete their resolutions. That’s a pretty exclusive group. Far more of us fall into the 92 percent that let go of these goals – often by February. The ensuing disappointment can feel defeating.

The problem, in many cases, is that many people set goals that are difficult to achieve. The key is to focus on what you can realistically commit to accomplishing, especially when considering your personal track record and comfort level. Often, setting small milestone goals can help get the ball rolling, and you may then feel inspired to use that momentum to surpass what you hoped for.

Maybe you want to get in shape, and your goal for doing so is to start running. It sounds awesome to say you’re going to run a marathon in the summer, but for some, that’s an extraordinary goal that can feel far out of reach when your body isn’t used to long-distance running and you find yourself out of breath after a mile. Instead, you may consider signing up for a 5K in the spring and a 10K in the fall. Work toward those smaller goals, and the motivation you feel upon hitting them can spur you to aim for a marathon.

Experts note that the key is to be honest with yourself. Understand what your current fitness level is and where you want to be. Not everyone starts from the same place, and that’s fine. Fitness requires some lifestyle changes, and it’s not going to happen overnight. Below are a few more tips that can help you steer yourself in a positive direction:

 

– Pair up with a workout buddy who can help keep you accountable.
– Join a class or a boot camp to jumpstart your new lifestyle.
– Shoot for small goals first – like running a mile or bench-pressing 100 pounds – with the idea that you’ll level up as your body adapts.
– Keep a journal to track your progress.
– Try not to stress out about it. Instead, find workouts that you enjoy and want to do.

 

If you set up realistic goals for the new year, we’re confident you can and will tackle your New Year’s fitness resolutions!

Sync Fitness is here to help you along the way. We wish you a happy and healthy 2017!

How to Transition Your Summer Workout Regimen for Fall

We’ve been lucky with the ‘Indian Summer’ we’ve been having, but we all know fall chills are just days away. You can already smell the difference in the air!

 

As the rainy, cold fall and winter weather arrives, it’s time to transition your summer workout regimen for fall so that you can stay on track with your fitness goals even if the weather isn’t beckoning. Here are some helpful tips to keep you on course:

 

running-573762_960_720Do something active, TODAY. After the beautiful summer weather goes away, it can be more and more difficult to drag yourself out of bed or off the couch to exercise. If you wait for the weather, you probably won’t work out more than a handful of times between now and April of next year. While scraping up some motivation can be tough, make a point each day to do something active. Even if it’s not a complete workout with cardio and strength training, small daily efforts make a difference!

 

Adjust your goals. During the summertime, your goal may have been to maintain a slim tummy to look good in your swimsuit. As you transition your summer workout regimen for fall, consider switching your focus to strength training in order to build muscles and tone. Over time, increase weight resistance while decreasing repetitions, and then increase repetitions again to build stronger muscles in target groups. Pair that with plenty of core exercise, so that when you break out your suit next summer, you’ll love the results.

 

Switch it up. Sometimes, doing something different is a great motivator. Make the change from outdoor-heavy exercise to things that you enjoy and can do inside – racquetball, table tennis, swimming, hula hooping… whatever gets you excited to be active. Taking advantage of the seasonal transition to switch up your workout routine is perfect timing for a twist on your workout routine. And when winter arrives, be sure to take advantage of fun winter sports such as skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing.

 

Make yourself accountable. Accountability may be the single most important factor to sticking with your workout regimen – during transition times or not! What kind of accountability do you need to reduce the temptation to procrastinate or skip workouts? For some, it’s a friend or exercise buddy, for others, it’s a regular class or bootcamp series, and others only need to make a promise to themselves. Join a team, club (lots of running clubs start in the fall), or bootcamp to kickstart your workout regimen and get some fitness accountability. Whatever your needs are, find a way to support yourself in staying on track during this transition from summer to fall.

 

Plan ahead and track your progress. As the days become shorter, it will become harder to get up early or set aside time after work to exercise in the dark. By scheduling your workout the day before (or planning ahead for the whole week), you can give yourself that extra bit of accountability to make it happen. Keep yourself engaged by tracking your progress, because when you can see the correlation between the improvements during workouts with the effect on the bathroom mirror and scale readings, you’ll be motivated to keep it up.

 

Change your gear. As it gets dark earlier and the sun rises later, it’s important to add layers to your workout apparel to avoid injuring your muscles. You can shed them as you warm up, but these layers accomplish two very important things: retaining moisture and regulating body temperature. These things are critical to keep you from becoming too dehydrated or straining a tight muscle because you haven’t properly warmed it up. If you are exercising outside in the dark, always wear bright, reflective clothing or accessories to stay safe!

 

Think about your meals. Support your exercise efforts with yummy and healthy meals! As summer produce starts to disappear, it will become more and more difficult to find fresh fruit and veggies, but that doesn’t mean you’re stuck with unhealthy choices. Search Pinterest for tasty-looking healthy meals, and add them to a special board that you can peruse when you’re low on inspiration. Take this an extra step by shopping with the meals for the week in mind – it will save you time and keep you from unhealthy snacking if you know you have the makings of a delicious dinner in the fridge! And, make your breakfast before you go to bed each night, since it’s the most important meal of the day and you want to jumpstart your metabolism right.

 

Drink lots and lots of water. It’s easier to remember to drink water during the summertime, when the hot sun makes you sweat more. But you need to drink lots of water throughout the cold months as well, since dehydration is a sneakier risk. The bite of frosty fall or winter chill makes your body temperature fluctuate, sweat evaporates more quickly, and your body’s thirst response is naturally diminished. This means you may not realize that you are thirsty or dehydrated. To be safe, drink lots of water throughout the day and especially before and after exercising to keep your body hydrated and safe.
Ready? Good luck!

3 Easy Summer Fitness Tips!

Jan FeatureSummertime can be a tough time to stay on top of health, fitness, wellness goals. I mean, who doesn’t want to just lounge in the sun all day with a bottomless mimosa?!?

But summer fitness can actually be super easy and practically effortless. If you’re struggling at all with this, email me! I would love to help you out in any way I can.

Ok, here are my 3 Easy Summer Fitness Tips:

>>>1. Get in shorter workouts.
If you have a crazy summer schedule, don’t underestimate the power of getting in a 10 minute workout. It’s better than nothing – and can leave you drenched & fired up for your day. Try this: 30 jumping jacks, 20 squats, 10 push ups, 10 supermans. Repeat as many rounds as possible in 10 minutes.

>>>2. Build movement and activity into your day.
Do walking errands when it’s sunny out. Schedule hikes and bike rides with your family. Hit up parks with trails and go exploring (Discovery and Carkeek are great for this!) Go stand up paddle boarding or kayaking on Greenlake or Lake Washington. Workouts don’t always have to be super high intensity – any movement is much better than sitting in front of a screen.

>>>3. Join a community for support.
Yes, come join us at Sync Fitness! Showing up for a workout takes out all the guesswork. It is so nice to just let someone else tell you what to do. It’s also great to workout in a community of supportive women (our members are super rad!) Email me to schedule a complimentary week of classes OR you could even jump into our upcoming Battle of the Bod Squads if you’re looking for fitness & nutrition support and daily motivation.

Don’t let three months of eating and drinking creep up on you. I’ve seen it happen and it’s very frustrating come fall. Don’t do that to yourself! I’m here for you. My team is here for you. We would love to support you in any way we can.

Oh, and PS: You can save $50 off Battle of the Bod Squads if you register by Tuesday at midnight! Make sure to grab your spot right away (and invite a couple friends to join you – it’s a super fun program!) This program was specifically designed to be a part of your summer routine – you can even do it while traveling!

Sara-Dean-26About Sara Dean and Sync Fitness: Sara founded Sync Fitness in 2003. It is her biggest pride and joy – ok, aside from her 3 year old – and some days that is totally negotiable. Our programs have received multiple awards and accolades over the years. The community my staff and members have built at Sync Fitness is beyond anything I could have imagined when I first started this adventure. We do a lot of laughing, a lot of cheering, and there are quite a few happy tears too. I am proud that this is a safe place for so many women to show up and do their thang, whatever that means on any given day. Our classes are full of all shapes, sizes and fitness levels. Every single person is perfect as is.

You can contact Sara and the Sync Team here. We look forward to connecting with you!

Why Do a Bootcamp vs. Personal Training

Bootcamps and group fitness classes are at the heart of our business at Sync Fitness, and there’s a reason for this! Unlike many gyms and fitness studios in the area, we don’t really focus on the one-on-one stuff, because there’s a far greater benefit and better results when you choose to do a bootcamp vs. personal training. We have built our small but mighty village with a strong sense of community and belonging for everyone.

Benefit of Numbers

In a bootcamp fitness scenario, you’re working out with several other individuals, all sweating together through the pain to attain your different goals. Over time, this group effort and encouragement to reach our individual goals for health and fitness bring us together as a group. And with more people working hard together for their health, there is more positive energy! This is so much more powerful than coaching and encouragement from a single personal trainer; when 12 people are cheering you on versus just one, you have more positive reinforcement and accountability.

Realistic & Fun Approach

One of the big reasons why people don’t like going to the gym is the intimidating thought of working out alongside bodybuilders with rippling muscles and/or mostly naked people women with gleaming six-packs. Group fitness classes with a bootcamp-focus are almost entirely made up of real men and women, particularly at Sync Fitness. Real people with real curves and very little concern for perfection. We have a ton of fun together when there’s a no-judgement approach to getting fit and healthy together. And no two days are alike! Variety is also more enjoyable with new and different workouts all of the time.

Achieve Goals for Less Cost

Not only do they provide an excellent kick-in-the-pants start to fitness, bootcamps and group training classes are less expensive than personal training sessions, so you can get more bang for your buck. Some personal trainers and gyms will indicate that it’s harder for individuals to achieve their goals in a group setting, but the opposite is actually true. Sure, you don’t have a coach over your shoulder for each and every minute of your workout, but you can certainly go to your trainer to get advice and pointers to make your workouts with the group more challenging or focused on specific areas for the results you’re looking for.

There are times when you should consider personal training, and our trainers can help in these special cases:

  • You’re new to working out and need more hands-on help with form.
  • You have injuries that you need to take particular care not to aggravate or worsen.
  • Your schedule can’t accommodate bootcamp classes.
  • If you’re wondering if classes might be a good fit for you, contact us!