Sync Fitness Blog

Finding and Fighting the Roadblocks to Your 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 dry roasted almonds, boild eggs, 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.

Have a list of smart substitutions on hand for those desserts you can’t live without

 

  • Nutritional/body function roadblocks: 

Poor digestion which deprives your cells of getting the right nutirents needed to metabolize and release fat for better assimilation of your food.  Take a digestive enzyme with your food to help improve breakdown, helping your cells to feel full andm 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 as a liver cleanse

 

  • 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 not see a huge drop in numbers since muscle weighs more than fat. Remind yourself the building muscle is one of the most effective ways to burn the fat and help you to stick with the program!

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.

 

 

Don’t Ditch your Workout Regimen 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.

Photo source: Pinterest.

Photo source: Pinterest.

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!

You CAN Meet Your Fitness Goals This Summer

Ok, so June is here…and almost over…which means it’s officially SUMMER.

Summer brings fun adventures and many reasons to celebrate.  It can be a time when people lose focus of health goals.  That doesn’t have to be the case.  Here are a few ways to keep your summer weight loss goals attainable and focused so you can actually make progress in your health and fitness while you’re having fun in the sun.

Specific: Make goals that are clear so you know what you are going to do. “I’m going to get more fit” is not specific. “I’m going to attend 3 Boot Camp classes a week” is specific and easy to track as to whether or not you got it done. 
Measureable: You will have more success if you can see your progress.  A goal such as “lose weight” is not measureable.  “I will eat 5 servings of veggies a day” is measureable. You need to see how much progress you have made and you will stick with it for greater success.

Attainable: A lofty goal such as “lose 50 pounds in 2 months” is not reasonable (or healthy).  “I’m going to lose weight by working out 3 times a week and making the following nutrition changes…” is attainable. When you know your goals are attainable, you will stick with the program.

Relevant: Be sure what you’re doing is actually what you need to do to meet your goals.  I’ve seen people all over Facebook joining a 30 Day Ab Challenge.  If your goal is to get a stronger core, that is relevant.  If your goal is to lose belly fat, a bunch of ab exercises actually are NOT relevant.  You should have a very different plan of action. If you’re not sure if your action plan is relevant to your goal, please check in with me. I’d be happy to talk it over with you.

Time-bound: Have an event or end of season goal to shoot for to keep you motivated. If you are running, pick a 5K or 10K to enter in three months. Maybe you want to fit in a special dress for an occasion within the next 6 months. Use that as your carrot.

Helpful tips for SMART goal setting for the summer

  • Keep fresh fruits and veggies on hand. It is so much easier in the summer months.
  • Plan meals and recipes ahead to cook at home or on the BBQ.  You are less likely to indulge in higher calorie, less healthy options.
  • Keep easy to grab protein on hand such as boiled eggs or pre-cooked grilled chicken.  This will help cut down the quick trips to the carb cabinet!
  • Keep your workout gear packed in a gym bag or your bike on your car ready to go.  It is easier to get out the door and get active if some of the prep is already done for you.

The Best Ingredients for a Rockin’ Boot camp

At Sync Fitness, we know that when you arrive you’re ready to get down and sweaty, and work your booty to see results and challenge yourself without having to impress anyone. Your Sync Fitness trainers know that all of us are in different places on our fitness journey. Regardless of where your fitness stands today, we will give you the challenging workouts you need for the best caloric burn, helping you to build lean muscle mass and stimulate your metabolism for 24-48 hours after every class. Our boot camp is just the ticket for you to work with Seattle’s best trainers, with some rockin’ music to keep you energized and moving, and the encouragement needed to get you to the finish line with your fitness goals.

Screen Shot 2014-03-24 at 5.19.17 PMHere are the top ingredients included in our fabulous boot camps:

  • Knowledgeable trainers to help with your form and efficient movements to build a strong and safe core.
  • Intervals and full body movements mixed to boost your metabolism for optimum fat loss and building lean muscle (HIIT workouts).
  • Strength building with weights and other tools/toys as well as the coaching to use them efficiently and safely for optimum muscle building.
  • Stretches and core work to keep your muscles loose and injury free.
  • A great group atmosphere of encouragement and team spirit to keep you going and even make some new friends.
  • Time-efficient workouts that not only are more interesting than endless hours of steady state cardio, but yield real results in shorter time than hours on machines could ever do.
  • A metabolic boost that carries you through your day and through the night, while you’re sleeping.
  • Reduced belly fat in just a few short weeks, as well as leaner, meaner muscles you never knew you had!
  • Creative workout sessions that change up to keep your muscle groups challenged so you don’t plateau, and interesting exercises to help you get the results you are working for.
  • Fun workouts that not only fire you up during them, but keep you feeling strong, challenged, and energized throughout your day…and coming back for MORE!

So c’mon and join us at Sync Fitness boot camps and get your booty in shape for the life you deserve. Warning: you may get in the best shape of your life.

5 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Reach Your Fitness Goals

Well, we’re two and a half months into the New Year. Perhaps your momentum and motivation to stay on track with the fitness goal you set for 2014 has, well, lost speed? If so, or you just need an extra boost to keep pushing toward your fitness goals, we have come up with some helpful reminders to stick to the bathroom mirror or add to that nifty fitness app on your phone.

  • - Put out your workout clothes and gear the night before.  The first thing you see when you wake up helps you to remember and keep on track as well as pushes the excuses aside.  I often put a small snack next to my toothbrush too.  So I can grab it right after I get up and get in a little fuel for my workout.  These visual reminders send strong messages to your brain and help you to keep workouts a priority.

  • - 8652397443_164bae8daf_zUse goal setting/fitness sites and let your convictions drive you.  Keep to your weekly exercise goals and you donate to your favorite cause; fail to stay on track and donate to a cause or politician you do not support. On Stickk, a site to help you stay faithful to your exercise goals; you pledge the amount and cause depending on your budget and goals. On Plus 3Network, you choose goals from a previously set list of corporate sponsors and if you meet you goals, they pay to the charity you signed up to support.

  • - Re-think your mental hurdles. Take time to make a list of the phrases you typically tell yourself when you are sabotaging your workout routine.  Then turn each one around with a new, positive approach. Have the new ones ready for when you are tempted to dwell on your old mental hurdles. “I am too worn out at the end of my work day to head to the gym.” Re-think it to: “I am tired, but a workout will energize me and I will sleep better tonight after getting in a workout!  Or, “It is taking me forever to see any results!” Re-think it to: “Each day I work out is one more day of building my heart and also bone density; two things I cannot see but are happening. The visual changes will come!”

  • - Invest in your workouts. Not having the right clothes and gear can provide roadblocks to staying on track with workouts. When you spend the money for great looking clothes and gear you make an emotional investment as well a financial one and it keeps you involved.  Cool looking workout clothes and fun new gear makes the workout more fun, anyway!

  • - Join an online workout tracker or social networking site.  This can provide social support when done via FaceBook or other social networking sites.  Online fitness trackers help with a sense of accountability. Fitness magazine provides a free tracker. You can also take advantage of helpful fitness apps like MyFitnessPal and MapMyRun to help you track your progress. Chronicling your workouts and progress provides support and accountability and you are less likely to skip when others are cheering you on. If you don’t want all your “friends” on Face book looking in on your workouts, start a group page or event and begin inviting those you know that would be interested, and they can invite those in their community.  Before you know it, you will have an army of support and encouragement behind you.

“Believe in yourself and all that you are.  Know that there is something in side you that is greater than any obstacle” Christian D. Larson

 

Balancing cardio and weight training

There are vast resources of information on fitness training on the internet, at your local gym, countless books and DVD’s. With all this readily available info is a mix of good, bad, and ugly. Your time to workout is important and often a carefully guarded place in your calendar each week.  No one wants to spend that time inefficiently or worse, losing optimum fitness as a result of “doing it wrong”. So it is important to sort through the good and bad info and come up with a plan that is balanced, time effective, and produce your fitness goals.

It is common to see people at gyms going at it endlessly on the treadmill or other cardio machine hour after hour, day after day. Months later, their body fitness level has not really changed despite these hour long sessions 3-4 times a week. This type of gym rat rarely hits the weight and often does cardio that does not promote fat loss.

Screen Shot 2014-01-24 at 5.38.24 PMThis kind of training regimen is founded in myths and a misunderstanding of how to combine cardio and strength training to make the most of each workout (ie: getting in a full body strength and cardio session in 30 minutes or so.)

Traditional cardio is obviously important for good heart health, increases blood circulation, increases metabolism, improves your hormonal profile, relieves stress, and also burns calories.  Once you stop, however, the bodies’ calorie burning mode slows down almost completely.  On the other hand, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), is a more efficient type of cardio that keeps your heart rate up for up to 48 hours after your workout and greatly increases your EPOC – as explained below.

Regardless of what kind of cardio you choose to do, strength training needs to be an equally important part of your workout equation.  Strength training not only builds muscle as a result of the challenge to the muscle groups, but it also produces an after-burn long after you are done working out, like HIIT cardio.  This is known as the Excess Post-Oxygen Consumption (EPOC). Resistance training builds muscle, but that very muscle building process burns more fat and calories even while you are resting and sleeping. In other words, you body continues to burn calories after a workout.

For you ladies, strength training will NOT build bulky muscles unless that is your specific plan and your workout routine is designed for that.  It typically takes months to years of training very specifically for bulking in order to build large muscle mass as a woman.  Building bulk is not the result of simply starting a healthy resistance training program.

If you aren’t sure how to incorporate strength training and cardio into your workouts, our classes show you how to combine strength and HIIT cardio into short workouts that produce these amazing EPOC benefits for 24-48 hours after each workout.  This is how our clients get steady and consistent results.

If you want to transform your body, improve your heart health, increase metabolism, burn fat, and gain tone and definition, it is critical to balance cardio and resistance training. Keep it balanced, keep it fun, and keep doing it!

 

Resolution and Goal Setting 101

“I can’t believe I. . . .”
“I’m totally disappointed in myself.”
“I thought I’d do better.”

I’ve heard these statements a few times in conversations with clients recently, and I’ve been quick to change the tone of the conversation. Here’s why…

We are two weeks into a new year and already I see people judging themselves for failing. My thoughts?? There are still 49 weeks, YES, 49 weeks to go. That’s really cool. That is a lot of time to make a ton of change in your life.

I’m not a big resolution kind of person for a few reasons – mostly because of how people tend to frame resolutions and set themselves up for failure. But when it comes to resolutions or goals, I think there needs to be a few rules:

Photo from here, labeled for commercial reuse.

Photo from here, labeled for commercial reuse.

Make them positive and desirable.

If you set goals that are not desirable – or that are punitive, you’ll never meet them. If you set a goal to go to the gym 5 days a week in 2014, but you hate your gym, then that’s a HORRIBLE goal. A more appropriate goal would be to try 3 new kinds of exercise in the new year. Chances are you’ll find something you enjoy and it will give you some great results.

Focus on what you can control.

Often, I see people make goals they have no control over. “I will lose 20 pounds”, is a perfect example. You can’t control the scale and the scale does not measure success in fitness or nutrition. Here are some goals you CAN control that would lead you to your desire of getting smaller and leaner:

  • Work out 4 days a week
  • Eat at least 3 servings of veggies a day
  • Eat only 1 dessert a week

Make your goals public.

The more you share your goals, the more likely you are to hold yourself accountable. You will also quickly learn who in your life is going to be helpful and supportive. Spend more time with the helpful/supportive people in your life and less time with the others. You may even need a follow up goal of minimizing time with people who are not positive and supportive.

Create goals that are human and conducive to real life.

Goals like, “I’m not going to eat any sugar”, or “I’m going to exercise everyday” set you up to fail. A goal should not have that all-or-nothing mindset. Reducing sugar is a great goal. Exercising more is a great goal. It’s great to even put numbers with those kinds of goals, (“I’m going to exercise 5 days a week”). You want to avoid something that is unreasonable to maintain for the long haul. Consistent effort over time = huge change. Consistent means 80-90% of the time. Not everyday for the rest of your life.

 

Like I said, I’m not much of a resolution person. But I do like goals. And I’m a million times more accountable if I share them. So, I’ll share some my 2014 goals here:

  • Read 1 professional development book a month
  • Run 2 half marathons
  • Get in 250-260 workouts (about 5 days a week)
  • Take a vacation without my child (Key West in Feb – BOOKED!)
  • Start up Sync Fitness Free Family Boot Camps (starts Feb 1!)
  • Create more charitable giving opps for Sync Fitness, esp related to families and kids
  • Get more speaking gigs (just hired a speaking coach!)
  • Work on book (as in writing one). GULP.

 

I hope this helps you feel better about goal setting for yourself for 2014. If you need support with your goals this year, please contact us to figure out which of our programs would best help you meet your goals.

7 Tips to Stay Healthy Through the Holidays

All the hustle, bustle, and celebrations of the holidays can do some serious damage to a healthy diet and solid workout routine.  Success is on your side if you adapt some preventative strategies to stay ahead of temptation and keep your activity level high.  Holiday scheduling reality may make it difficult for you to make it to the gym as with your regular schedule, but looking for other ways to sneak in activities and discourage complete abandonment of your routine will help.  Here’s some tricks my Holiday Hotties are using to enjoy their holidays:

 

  • Holiday_HealthTake advantage of wait time: While dinner is in the oven or baking those holiday cookies, do push ups, squats, lunges.  Sneaking in squats while brushing your teeth or drying your hair, ab contractions while in the car, and going for just a 15 minute interval run or power walk will all go a long way in adding extra mini workouts to your days during the holidays.

 

 

  • Be prepard for parties and events: Before you leave the house or the office for a party, have a healthy min-meal or snack.  You are less likely to over-indulge if you do not show up having to face that inviting buffet table on an empty stomach.

 

  • Go the distance: Take the stairs instead of the elevator, park as far away as you can while doing holiday shopping.  Every little bit helps to expend more energy.

 

  • CHEAT! Yep, that’s what you heard.  But of course in moderation.  You are less likely to go overboard if you give yourself permission to have a small treat.

 

  • DON’T CHEAT…yourself out of your workout.  Make sure to discipline yourself to get to bed early so you won’t be stacking up too many late nights, resulting in skipping your morning workout.  Have your morning workout gear out and ready to go, as well as your work clothes and anything you need for the day. This helps you to have fewer reasons to not head out the door in the morning.

 

  • Keep your sugar intake down while celebrating: Alcohol translates to sugar in your system, which in turn is converted to fat.  Read here to understand the effects of alcohol calories and how to combat them during the holidays. You can still celebrate, but treat yourself to lower sugar options. White wine spritzers, dirty martinis, and avoiding all fruiting cocktails are some good strategies. The list is too exhaustive for this post, but check out this site for a complete listing of wines that are lower in alcohol and sugar level…

 

These are just a few good strategies to help you avoid those extra pounds during the holidays and start the new year already with success propelling you forward instead of regrets holding you back.

Why our Clients Don’t Use Treadmills and Ellipticals Anymore…

That was no typo; we always encourage you to work out and be active, but we want to be sure you are always working toward your GOALS. Many women think that more cardio will get them closer to their goals, right? WRONG! Here are some reasons our clients have traded their traditional cardio workouts (i.e. time on the treadmill and elliptical) for other, often shorter, workouts.

1. Steady state cardio doesn’t promote fat loss.
Cardio is excellent for heart health. So, if you love logging hours on a cardio machine, go for it. Just beware that if your goal is fat loss, high intensity intervals have been proven over and over again to promote much faster and more effective fat loss in women. If your exercise goals are related to fat loss, make sure you’re not wasting your time on cardio that will not deliver the results you’re looking for in a timely manner.

no-treadmill2. Longer cardio workouts increase the stress hormone cortisol.
Long, steady state workouts can result in increased cortisol levels, which lead to a suppressed immune system and tendency to break down muscle and more fat storage to the abdomen area. Simply put, prolonged cardio at the same pace can give you extra fat around your middle, instead of reducing it.

3. Prolonged cardio results in increased catabolic state.
When your body is in a catabolic state, the body begins to waste muscle, which is critical in losing/burning fat. Building and maintaining lean muscle mass is essential for long term weight loss. This is why our clients get such great results in our transformation programs – they get strong and that makes them lean.

4. Overdoing the same kind of workout increases your chance of injury.
When you do the same kind of exercise over and over and over, you dramatically increase your risk of overuse injuries. With cardio, these injuries are often in the form of knee, hip or back problems. In addition to your body wearing down from the repetitive motion, you are at risk for injury, particularly if you’re not doing strength training as well as cardio.

5. Cardio does not help you build lean muscle.
Resistance training is widely recognized as the best way to build muscle and tone. More muscle allows the body to more effectively burn fat. It also keeps your metabolic rate up so you burn more calories all day and all night – yes, even while you sleep. Women must consider strength training to be of equal or greater importance to cardio training if long term weight loss is your goal. A few minutes of strength training after a long cardio session is not going to help you get stronger and leaner. Resistance training and varied, cardio interval workouts like we do in our classes are key for long term, sustainable weight loss.

So, now what do you do with your valuable workout time? Assess your fitness goals. If you want to run a marathon because that has always been a dream of yours, that’s great! You should follow a program specific to that. If you want to lose 10-50 pounds, like most of our clients, then you should be focusing on these things to keep your workouts effective and goal specific:

  • - Go with a circuit-training workout with high/low intensity intervals. These are the kinds of workouts you’ll find in all our classes.
  • - Be sure strength training is a cornerstone of your workout program.
  • - If you are doing cardio on a machine, such as the treadmill or ellipitcal, vary your intensity frequently. Utilize rest periods appropriately, so that you can also have intense work phases in each workout.
  • - Find a group or environment that supports your goals and gives you some accountability. Our boot camps are well known for both of these components. We know how to make your workout fun and challenging at the same time, with your desired fitness goals in mind. We coach you through varied workouts specifically designed to help you gain lean muscle mass and burn body fat through improving your metabolic output around the clock. Our clients find that in addition to amazing results, they feel more confident and empowered than ever after learning how to workout so efficiently and effectively.

What is Circuit Training and How Does It Make Me Fit?

You don’t need a gym with fancy equipment to get fit. Circuit training offers a fantastic way to get into shape and lose weight – whether you’re working out in one of my bootcamp classes or doing exercises by yourself at home!

Let me start by explaining what the term ‘circuit training’ means. When you do short sets of exercise with weights or other forms of resistance, and frequent repetitions, followed by another set focused on a different muscle group, that’s circuit training! Circuit training doesn’t normally involve rest periods because you’re working different muscle groups in quick succession, so one muscle group can rest while you work on another group.

The benefits of circuit training to improve fitness or assist with weight loss are great because you are combining strength training and cardio into the SAME workout. Since you are not completely resting when you switch from exercising one muscle group to another, your heart rate remains high. Circuit training will help you burn fat and build muscle at the same time, so you can achieve your strength and weight loss goals!

Some common circuit training exercises include the following:

  • Push Ups
  • Jump Squats
  • Pull Ups or Lat Pull Downs
  • Step Ups (optional: with dumbbells)
  • Bent Dumbbell Row
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Single Leg Dead Lifts
  • Dumbbell Chest Press
  • Burpees

 

Perform each exercise for 30 seconds.  Move from one exercise to the next without rest.  Perform 3-5 rounds.  I promise, you will be in a full sweat.

You can learn how to do these and many other circuit training exercises in my bootcamp and fitness classes. Learn more about my boot camp on my website. I’m here to help you get fit and healthy with a circuit training and group exercise plan!