General Fitness, Workouts

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!

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!

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!

Does Your Fitness Plan Measure Up?

You are working out hard, trying to eat clean and light and yet it just doesn’t feel like you are making the progress you think you should for how hard you are working. If this is true of you, you may not have a balanced fitness plan and in this case, it is better to workout smarter, not harder.

We all have seen those amazing cardio addicts at the gym. They seem to be able to go full hours or more just hammering it on the treadmill or elliptical. But their body composition and fitness levels just don’t seem to change much.

That is likely because they may not have a balanced fitness plan. When your fitness plan is balanced, you are seeing results because all components are working together and giving your body the challenges it needs in all areas to be truly fit.

  • Flexibility: Challenging your flexibility allows your muscles to move through full ranges of motion without getting stiff. Working on flexibility is easily skipped, yet one of the most important components of your workout plan. Keeping your muscles flexible helps them to respond better to your workouts and avoid injury with torn or pulled muscles. Yoga, tai chi, and Pilates are good ways to challenge your flexibility. You can keep it simple with a full body flexibility routine daily and in a week or so, you will see results.
  • Cardiovascular Endurance: This is when you are able to do continuous exercise such as running, cycling, hiking, swimming for sustained periods of time. Your lungs and blood vessels (your cardio system) are forced to work hard and fuel your body with the necessary oxygen so your muscles can work continuously. Test your cardio ability and see how you do on the 3 minute Step test or far you can run in 12 minutes. This is known as the Cooper Run.
  • Muscular Strength: Think of your major muscle groups that you use to lift and carry heavy objects. This muscle strength is what is called upon when you need to do the big lifting and exertion of life. The most effective way to increase strength is with weight training.
  • Muscular Endurance: this differs from muscular strength in that it is defined by the ability of your muscles to perform continued contractions over an extended period of time. It is the ability to lift and or carry heavy objects for minutes, rather than short repetition sets. When weight training, you can challenge your muscle endurance by training with lighter weights for 20-25 repetitions.
  • Body Fat: Your composition of body fat is simply the amount of fat on your body compared to your lean muscle mass. Fit qualifications for men and women differ. It is agreed in the fitness and medical communities that men with a body fat composition lower than 17% and women lower than 24% are considered fit. A good quality fitness program will address your body fat composition.

So, make sure you are addressing the above 5 areas of fitness and you will have balance and see results faster as you work hard and play hard!

Boot Camp Still Kicks it!

Every year or so there is a new kid on the block of “exciting new fitness trends”. Fitness fads come and go, but other than providing your bedroom with yet another space hogging, expensive clothes rack, there is no reason to jump on the band wagon. Stick with what works and your staff at Sync can attest to the success of a boot camp approach. Boot camp emerged some time back, but it is still going strong in popularity and effectiveness and here is why:

– Best Metabolic Boost. The use of high intensity intervals and circuit training stimulate your metabolism more effectively than any other workout. The ACSM data shows a burn of 9.8 calories/minute and an average of 600 calories/hour. Equally important to the caloric burn is the spikes of intensity levels mixed with low intensity muscle building moves.

– Build Muscle Burns Fat. That pretty much says it, but we focus on strength training in out boot camps and as your body is working to build muscle, fat is burned more effectively. You become a lean, mean, fighting machine!

– Team Approach leads to success. The accountability found when committed to working out with others causes you to work harder and stay consistent week after week. Add a bit of feisty competition with your team mates and you are pushing yourself your hardest.

– Endorphin Energy Excess. The healthy endorphin production during exercise also releases serotonin to beat depression and fight stress. Many of our members report a reduction in many medications including anti-depressants after regular class participation. Make sure to work with your doctor on this.

– Getting Back to the Basics. There is something appealing about a functional training approach, not only in the workout itself, but boot camp proponents see the strength and lifestyle benefits outside of class as they are able to do activities and challenges in other areas of life.

Remember, Your Sync Fitness staff have proven themselves to be highly successful in designing boot camp workouts that show results. If you have not yet experienced this for yourself, now is the time to join us and go for it.

7 Tips for Fitness Success in 2015

January is not over yet, so technically there is still time to set your fitness and nutrition goals for the New Year. From this point forward, you have 11+ months to make those goals and with a determined attitude, good habits in place, and a supportive community around you, you can DO it! Here are some tips to help make that happen:

  • 30 days and you are good!  Behavioral research has shown again and again that a new habit is set if you can commit to it for 30 days.  Start a fitness tracking calendar to maintain for 30 days and hold yourself accountable.  You WILL see change!
  • Buddy up! There is strength in numbers and that works in fitness/lifestyle changes as well. Sit down together and talk over your goals. Find ways to touch during the day to encourage one another and hold each other to the plan. And of course, workout together a couple of times a week if schedules can make that work.
  • Write it down!  You must set your goals and steps on how to get there and set it on paper or digitally. It makes it more of a commitment for you
  • Get rid of temptation! Clean out your cabinets and secret stashes of those foods that sideline you. Start clean and fresh.
  • Plan ahead! Have your healthy shopping list with you at all times and do some food prep the night before so in the morning on your way out the door, you can just grab healthy options and remove the likelihood of falling into bad choices when you get hungry later on in the day.
  • Pack your bag!  Have that gym bag packed or workout clothes and gear set out the night before so you will attack it first thing in the morning.
  • Visualize!  Spend moments each day visualizing yourself finishing that tri, completing a long ride, or fitting into those skinny jeans.  Whatever it is you are shooting for, take time each day to visualize it happening.

Be determined, be purposeful, and believe in yourself, you can make it happen and when December 2015 rolls around, you will see the results and can say you stuck with it.

Boot Camp is for YOU!

There are so many fitness options and approached out there, how do you decide which direction to go?  Boot camp style workouts have been on the scene for a while, now and do not appear to be going anywhere. Boot camp workouts tend to be outdoors, but that aspect is not necessary. The group classes utilize calisthenics, body weight exercises, plyometric and interval training that push you in ways to resemble a military boot camp. Equipment used is simple and at a minimum, making it easy to adapt to settings and participants.

IMG_2241Your instructor will quickly take you from segment to segment which will drive up your heart rate into fat burning mode, while at the same time challenging your body with explosive body-weight exercises. Your metabolism will stay charged longer, increasing your fat burning through out your day.

There are many reasons that people see results and stay motivated with boot camp workouts. As a result, understanding the benefits of boot camp workouts can help you to stick with a fitness plan and see results faster!

  • By its very nature of utilizing resistance and cardiovascular training in tandem, people see results faster with boot camp style workouts.
  • Boot camp workouts are a great use of your time since you can get a full body workout in 45 to 60 minutes.
  • Muscle is built without lengthy weight lifting sessions in the gym and therefore your metabolism is boosted for greater efficiency.
  • The structure and consistency of approach inherent in boot camps help you to stay on track and reach your goals sooner.
  • Although the intense flow and style of the boot camp is consistent, each class can differ from the one before it, helping participants to stay interested and engaged. Very little boredom!
  • Community happens as people train together, encourage each other, and see results.
  • The cardiovascular component of boot camps results in better heart health to combat the nations’ rising numbers in heart attacks and stroke.
  • Osteoporosis is kept at bay as a result of the weight bearing activities that increase bone density.

The benefits of boot camp workouts are many and the reason for this fitness trend’s longevity. If you have not already checked out one of our boot camp offerings at Sync Fitness, make it a gift to yourself this holiday season and to start your New Year right!

Fight Holiday Weight Gain

The holidays are upon us and it is just inevitable that you will put on a few pounds and miss quite a few workouts since, you, it is the holidays and that’s just part of enjoying the season, right? WRONG!! Recognize that there will be temptations with more social events, yummy treats at the office, and the excuse to indulge in extra alcohol or sugary treats. Thinking ahead and planning to meet those temptations head on is 90% of your success

You can enjoy the season and still stay true to your fitness goals. It starts with reminding yourself that choosing to workout is choosing to feel good about yourself getting that much closer to your goals long after the holidays are over.

We hope the following tips will empower you to holiday fitness and nutritional success!

  • Screen Shot 2014-11-18 at 1.19.04 PMTake into account that holiday events will from time to time make it necessary to skip or cut short a workout and find more time-manageable ways to stay active on those days. Most of us can manage at least a 30 minute power walk, some core work in the morning, or even a 15 minute full body workout to jazz up your metabolism.
  • Take extra steps to insure that you drink your water. Over-eating is tied to dehydration so drink plenty throughout the day, especially if you have a holiday event that evening.
  • If you have to cut workouts, cut some of your cardio work and make sure to keep at least some basic weight training in your day. Building muscles combats fat like nothing else!
  • Allow yourself some “treat cheating” while at parties, but plan ahead to limit that and remind yourself you are not denying yourself, you are choosing health. Make this easier by consuming more macronutrients during the day, keeping your intake up on protein and veggies. When you do arrive at a party, scan the buffet with the express plan of targeting veggie and protein options first. You will be less likely to over-indulge on the sweets and higher fats later on.
  • Sign up for a holiday fun run or other fitness event.  You are more likely to stay accountable to your fitness plan especially if you get a friend to sign up with you.  There is power in teamwork!
  • One of my favorites, especially for preventing late evening eating is to brush my teeth after a meal. Not only do you not want to ruin your nice fresh breath, but the extra step taken not only serves as a mental reminder that you are choosing to not indulge.
  • Limit your alcohol consumption.  Understand how your body metabolizes alcohol and how it sabotages your fitness goals. Choose lower sugar and calorie wines and cocktails if you are going to indulge a little bit. Just a little bit, ok?
  • Play hard! Take advantage of family moments and go sledding, snowshoeing, and have vigorous snowball fights in lieu of a workout. Shoveling snow burns an incredible amount of calories and ups your metabolism at the same time.

With all of these tips, remember that you can choose to adopt them in support of your long term fitness goals and remove the phrase “self- denial” from your vocabulary and replace it with “I choose health!”

Post your fitness goals and these helpful tips where you can see them each day as a reminder of that choice.  Happy Holidays from your team at Sync Fitness!

Featured photos from here and here.

Finding & Fighting the Roadblocks to Success

For almost all of us, we fight various battles on varying levels with pursuing a healthy lifestyle of good weight management and choices that promote long term health.  Weight management seems to be one of the top struggles for many.

Sometimes the old lies and tapes in our heads can be the biggest roadblocks and identifying them is 90% of the battle.  Know your enemy! Here are just a few of those roadblocks and ideas to tear them down.

 

Keep a food diary to identify your patterns of not only what you eat during the day, but the times of day you’re your resistance is at its lowest.

Going it on your own is a sure way to keep yourself back.  Find a walking/workout partner and share your goals and struggles so that you keep each other encouraged, accountable and on track.

Learn to have healthy snack options on hand such as nuts, boiled eggs, string cheese, KIND Bars and other sources of protein and complex carbs to battle the less healthy choices you historically fall back on.

Portion control can allow you some of the more tasty options so you are not in total deprivation mode (which can lead to binges), yet keep things manageable and in perspective.

Drinking a tall glass of water does wonders to not only battle an immediate craving, but is so critical in metabolism boosting.

 

  • Nutritional/body function roadblocks: 

Poor digestion which deprives your cells of getting the right nutrients needed to metabolize and release fat for better assimilation of your food.  Take a digestive enzyme and/or probiotics (with your doc’s permission) with your food to help improve breakdown and nutrient absorption, helping your cells to feel full and reduce the cravings so you get to those goals faster

Imbalanced hormones cause your body to hold onto more fat and retain fluid. This floods your fat cells with the wrong message. Chronic stress depletes the body of needed ingredients to make and maintain cortisol which is the body’s stress hormone.  Progesterone is a key hormone in weight loss as well .  Get to your doctor for a hormone check and consider options to get back in balance.

A liver detox helps to decrease toxins and allow improved nutrient absorptions. Dietary changes can eliminate most of the toxic foods as well cleanse your liver.

 

  • Mental roadblocks can really be debilitating in weight loss.

Learn to identify where you make disparaging remarks about yourself and your body.  Are you on the negative track? Ask those closest to you help you point out where they hear that in your life.  Set some new tapes to replay and get on a better track.

I recently saw a man in the store who was almost morbidly obese and wearing a t shirt that said “Here’s Blubber”.

Focusing too much on numbers on the scale.  Ignore that scale and focus instead on how your body feels, how your clothes fit.  As you get into better conditioning and build muscle/lose fat, you will likely notice a more significant change in your size and how your clothes fit than a change on the scale. Remind yourself that getting stronger by building lean muscle is one of the best ways to lose fat.

Stress in your life drags your spirit down and decreases motivation.  Identify the stressors and put a plan in place to battle it.  Leave work at a more reasonable hour, get an exercise partner, take up an activity that leave you feeling lighter, stress free.

 

So, remember, identifying the roadblocks to your success is 90% of the battle. Learn yours and you are well on your way to victory over your roadblocks.

 

 

 

 

Workout While On Vacation

You have been committed to your workouts, making good choices in with nutrition and getting yourself to the gym and hitting it regularly. You are even starting to see that muscle definition you have been working so hard to achieve.  But then, vacation and summer months arrive…with that comes schedule changes, opportunities to eat out, celebrations and gatherings.  All that is good and important, but can often times make it difficult to keep up your normal fitness regimen. However, it can be done with a bit of planning in advance and determination to succeed.

For starters, don’t just throw in the towel and tell yourself you will pick things up once vacation is over.  The summer months can be a series of mini-vacations almost one after another, and that can mean a couple of months of no workouts. You have worked so hard to get where you are and backward slides can be discouraging.  Do be realistic and accept that you may need to make some adjustments to your regular routine; but promise yourself to allow for an “adjusted program”.  As with most things worthwhile, it is a mindset.

Your vacations can mean schedules from morning to evening, but there are ways to sneak in more activities than you think. Here are some tips to make your vacation successful from a fitness point of view, as well.

  • Do some checking around online before leaving home.  You may be surprised to find a wide variety of workout facilities beyond just the hotel bare bones treadmill. Many fitness clubs, studios, and even personal trainers offer special arrangements for out of town travelers.  Local parks have jogging trails and lakes offer stand up paddle board yoga!
  • Your home gym may have sister gyms in other cities and for a nominal fee, you can take advantage of the services.
  • Think like an adventurer! Make sure one or more day of your vacay includes a bike, kayak, scuba, or surfboard rental.  Consider trying a totally new physical sport or experience since livin’ it up is what vacation is all about.
  • Keep links to my versatile, high calories burning online workouts handy.  Here are a few here: http://www.fithealthymoms.com/2011/11/23/high-calorie-burning-holiday-workouts/.
  • Make a diversion!  As you are seeing the sights, take the long way around, or get off the tour bus completely and do it on foot. Find the closest hills or stair climb and make that a part of your route.
  • Paddle in the pond! Most hotels have at least a small pool. Even if you are not on a beach vacation, take along your suit and get some laps in or a full body water workout.
  • Ditch the rollers. Roller suitcases, that is.  Pack all your essentials in two cases and carry balanced weight to and from your flight, hotel room, etc.  A great upper body workout in the same time you would spend in transit, anyway!
  • Pedometer-it! Get a pedometer and/or fitness tracker to keep yourself aware of steps and activity level.  This awareness will likely cause you to choose more active options and make better meal choices.
  • It’s all in the family. If your vacation involves visiting family and friends, instead of always gathering over food and drink, make walking dates to catch up and get some movement at the same time.  Even casual hikes at nearby scenic destinations will make your visit that much more treasured.

The options are endless and the change of pace may just make you adopt some of these as a part of your fitness plan even once you return from vacation-land.  It’s not an obligation, but an opportunity for adventure!