Tuesday, June 24, 2014


By Fitness Together Trainer, Jenn Noggle
http://www.fitnesstogetherbrecksville.netDo you have trouble squatting down to pick something up off the floor? Is it difficult to reach that scratch in the middle of your back or bend over to touch your toes? Do you experience lower back pain or stiffness? Like many others, actions that used to seem so simple and basic can now be challenging and frustrating. The good news is that more often than not, the solution is simple. Incorporating a consistent stretching routine into your life, whether you exercise or not, is a critical component of your overall wellness.  There is more good news…even a small time commitment can yield huge results! Here are just a few:
Increased Flexibility and Range of Motion
Range of motion (ROM) is the area through which a joint should normally be freely and painlessly moved. A limited ROM means that there is a reduction in a joint’s normal, full range of motion. As you age, and especially if you sit a lot, your muscles will become tighter and shorter over time. This makes you more susceptible to injuries, nagging aches and pains, and compromised daily function. Regular stretching will increase and maintain the proper, full range of motion in your joints. This means better flexibility and balance, decreased pain and tightness, decreased muscular imbalance, and easier overall movement and function.
Increased Circulation and Energy Levels
Stretching has been proven to increase blood and oxygen flow to your muscles, thus increasing the supply of nutrients to your muscles as well. This means reduced muscle soreness and tension, increased comfort and ease of day-to-day activities, increased energy levels, and shortened recovery time.
Better Posture and Reduced Back Pain
Numerous muscles, including the hip flexors, lower back muscles, hamstrings and quadriceps, contribute to your posture. Poor posture means tension, breathing difficulty, fatigue, and back pain. Regularly stretching can improve posture and therefore, greatly reduce or eliminate the back pain that affects millions of Americans today.
Aren’t these benefits worth at least 15 minutes each day? Don’t continue to limit your activity or blame your age for what you can no longer do. Start rejuvenating your body today! Whether it is after your workout, or while you watch your favorite tv program, make the time to improve your body and your life today! A Fitness Together trainer can put together a personalized stretching routine for you to do on your own, or you can try out a Passive Stretching session to help maximize your flexibility and function. 


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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

How Can I Stay Motivated to Workout in the Winter?

How Can I Stay Motivated to Workout
in the Winter?

Justin Traft: Yes, winter is horrible for some and can be very depressing. I mean come on, we are lucky to see the sun once a week. Then you add trying to stay motivated in your workouts during winter…even tougher. Well here are some ideas and ways to help keep your goals and motivation going. First, make a spring fitness goal, sometimes an impending deadline is just the motivation you need to get going. Second, use a journal to hold yourself accountable. Nothing better then to have that in front of your face to keep you on track with workouts and nutrition. Three, write down reasons why you workout and use what you wrote as the "motivator." The very thing that fires your engine. Tape them to the fridge or in the bathroom so you can see it when you are getting ready everyday. Read them to yourself. Four, instead of maybe going three times a week, try going four to keep you going strong. Change the routine to break the daily robotic schedule. Maybe instead of going Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Try going back-to-back days using different muscle groups to double up on your fitness. Five, buy some new gym gear. Something about new gear makes getting out the door and hitting the gym a lot easier. Especially when all you can see is doom and gloom outside. For more tips and idea on staying motivated during winter, see your FT Trainer.  

Jenn Noggle: There are a number of ways I have found it easier to stay motivated during the winter. I suggest to begin with setting a S.M.A.R.T. goal(s) for each upcoming week or month. That means a goal that is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. Then, schedule your workouts into your day/write them on your calendar just as you would any other important appointment. If you plan to workout in the mornings, lay your clothes out or get your gym bag ready the night before so that you can wake up and be ready to go. Scheduling appointments in advance with your trainer will provide the accountability needed to make sure you get your workouts in. Additionally, on the days you are not with your trainer, you can find a buddy that you can plan to meet for your cardio sessions. When someone else is counting on you to show up, it is far less likely that you will hit the snooze button or make excuses not to show up.
Make sure to complete your re-assessments with your trainer every 6 weeks so that you can monitor your progress and continue to set new goals. Reward yourself with healthy incentives when you do accomplish each goal. Some examples might include new workout clothes, a massage, or a healthy pot-luck dinner with friends. Another suggestion would be keeping a small journal in which you can record your thoughts and feelings after your workouts or after accomplishing a goal that you set. The ability to go back and read your prior thoughts when you may not be feeling particularly motivated might just give you the reminder/nudge that you need to make time for your workout.
Most importantly, find what works for YOU. Try some of the suggestions made by your trainers and stick to those that work best for you! Summer will be here before you know it, so don't wait until then to get serious about your health and fitness!

Adam May: There is an old saying. "If it means that much to you, you will find a way, if not, you will find an excuse." Cold weather is an excuse, and it's that simple. There is this place called Fitness Together. It's great because it's indoors so it’s warmer than outside. No matter what the temperature is outside it’s always about the same temperature inside. Show up and work out. Don't use the weather as an excuse. There is your motivation.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Trainer Tuesdays

Trainer Tuesdays

Welcome back to the weekly edition on Trainer Tuesdays. Make sure to check in at our blog every Tuesday evening to learn the expertise of our great staff. Aside from being fantastic exercise coaches, they are also extremely knowledgeable in many aspects of health and fitness; so, it's time that you get to know them a little better! Each week, we will post a frequently asked, or sometimes just a fun fitness related question followed by the answers of each of the trainers at Fitness Together Brecksville.

How Often should I Workout?

Justin Traft: This will be different for everyone. Why is that you ask? Everyone has different goals in mind that they want to achieve. You'll get your best results with either 3 or 4 total weight training workouts per week. Doing different muscle groups if training on back-to-back days. Also, make sure to add cardio in at least 3 times per week. That also comes with sound nutritional choices when planning meals and snacks. Now, if you have the goal of doing something extreme like compete for a figure show or bodybuilding show; or training for something like a marathon or maybe you want to do a warrior dash, then obviously you want to be training as much as 5 days per week. Give your body a day of rest to recover and build muscle.***DONT OVER DO IT*** It’s really a matter of how much time are you committing to your workouts? Or, are you using work and a busy life as a excuse not to. Its important that you listen to your body as well when it comes to working out. Understand that you will be sore… it’s a part of working out. Just because you’re sore still two days later after a workout does mean you shouldn't get in the gym and workout. It means your working hard like you should to meet your goals and/or exceed them. Now, if there is discomfort in joints or muscles not usually felt, then you should lay off. Also, make sure to stretch before and after working out to keep limber and loose. As far as goals go, if you keep coming up short on your goals you need to reassess what you are doing in all three phases of your fitness. Keep in mind working out and being healthy is a lifestyle-- you just don't decide to workout whenever you want and expect to get result if you’re not doing your part to make sure you put your best foot forward. Always keep track of your results and keep a log to track which days you are doing each muscle group or cardio exercise and for how long. 

Adam Teplitz: Your training frequency ( how many times you workout during the week) all depends on your fitness goals. In general, the maximum amount would be 6 days. You always want to leave at least one day for complete rest and recovery.
If your main goal is fat loss and cutting, focus on working out 3 to 4 times per week. Fat loss workout programs involve total body training, large movements, and a lot of energy expenditure to kick start the metabolism. You should include a day of rest or light cardio in between each workout.
If your goal is to increase muscle and size, there are a couple different ways you can go. Your muscles need to receive a sufficient amount of training and stimulus to promote growth. You can do a split by training each muscle   group once per week, or the more optimal route would be training each muscle group twice per week. An example of this would be upper body on Monday, lower on Tuesday, rest on Wednesday, upper body again on Thursday, lower on Friday, and rest on Saturday and Sunday.
The general population and beginners should aim for 3 total body weight training workouts per week. An example would be total body on Monday, rest on Tuesday, total body on Wednesday, rest on Thursday, total body on Friday and then rest on Saturdayand Sunday.
It is important to not go overboard by over training. Rest is just as important to your results as time spent in the gym.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Diet or Exercise: What's More Important For Losing Weight?

Diet versus exercise is like the chicken or the egg debate in the fitness world. While eating right and exercising are both important components of hatching a fit and active lifestyle, of the two a proper diet is the king of the coop when the ultimate goal is to lose weight. In fact, Billy Beyer, personal trainer and studio owner at Fitness Together Basking Ridge, says that when you break it down numerically diet is responsible for 80 percent of accomplishing your weight loss goals while exercise comprises only 20 percent.

“Exercise will increase your energy, give you an overall feeling of well-being and help you get stronger and fitter, but without adding proper nutrition and diet, you won’t visibly see any difference in how you look,” says Beyer. “When you add in proper eating, that’s when you’ll start seeing changes in the mirror and how your clothes fit.”

Changing Your Attitude About Food

One of the biggest challenges to losing weight is managing the emotions and attitudes attached to the foods you eat. Whether you turn to food when you’re stressed out or you use your favorite treat as a reward to accomplishing a goal, what you put in your mouth can weigh you down both mentally and physically.

“I feel like most people know how to eat healthy, but they use food as a way to make themselves feel better,” reflects Beyer. “Whether you face depression, anxiety or are overworking yourself, many people turn to food. I also see a lot of people working out so they can eat whatever they want. Sure, you’ll get stronger and you’ll feel better.  But you won’t visibly see a difference.”

Beyer and the other personal trainers at his FT studio help their clients approach food in a healthier way by changing their outlook and approach toward connecting their emotions with what they eat. Instead of opening the refrigerator door when you’re stressed out, open the gym door so you can redirect your emotions into working out when you aren’t feeling well.

Getting a Grasp on Counting Calories

When you set out on the journey of losing weight, figuring out the proper number and type of calories to consume daily is paramount. To keep the calorie equation simple, Beyer suggests calculating proper calorie guidelines based on your activity level, the number of calories you burn at rest and your ultimate weight loss goals.

The key is to keep your calorie intake below the amount of calories you burn on a daily basis during rest and exercise. But, it’s also important to make sure you are consuming enough good calories – high in protein, low in fat, sugar and sodium – to fuel your daily activities and workouts. Everyone’s calorie range is different, so it’s important to consult a fitness and nutritional professional before starting your weight loss plan so you can hit the ground running shedding pounds and increasing your fitness level.

“If your objective is weight loss, you should expect to lose two to five pounds per week by staying within a certain calorie range and eating a diet based around good calories,” advises Beyer. “The best approach is to slowly take it off so it stays off.”

Integrating Fitness to Fit Your Goals

The final part of the weight loss equation includes setting up a fitness routine that will help you accomplish your goals. When your sole goal is to lose weight, Beyer suggests doing a moderation of everything – cardio, resistance training and eating properly. If your weight loss goals include losing 50 to 100 pounds, Beyer says that it’s important to start off doing a lot of cardio by using ropes, boxing, bicycling, etc. to start the process of burning the weight off. Once you lose a reasonable amount of weight, then he advises moving into a mix of resistance training with cardio to begin building lean muscle mass.

If you are looking to shed the 10-20 pounds you packed on over the holidays, Beyer advises mixing a full-body resistance program with an alternating interval-based cardio program.

“We focus on high intensity in a minimal amount of time for an average overweight person,” explains Beyer. “We do 20-25 minutes of alternating sprints with jogging two to three times per week and then add in resistance training on opposite days for 40-45 minutes two times per week. This helps to gradually take weight off and develop lean muscle.”

Where Do You Start?

If you are like many people this time of year who are coming off the holidays a few pounds heavier and are embarking on a weight loss journey to start off the New Year, you might not have time to focus on both proper diet and nutrition all at once. Beyer advises that you start with getting into an efficient and effective fitness routine first, and then adding in proper nutrition shortly after you establish a consistent fitness regimen. Because of the emotional ties often associated with food, it can be more difficult to start out with eating healthy first.

“At FT, we help you come up with strategies for how you can eat well because everyone is so different,” explains Beyer. “It takes getting to know each of our clients and discovering what their challenges and struggles are in terms of food. We then figure out ways to help combat those challenges. We try to ease our clients into it and try not to overwhelm them at first.”

At the end of the day, the best approach to increasing your fitness level and decreasing your waistline is by tag teaming your efforts with a healthy diet and exercise program. But, make sure to own your diet and be aware of the amount and types calories that you put into your body. You are what you eat and what you put into your mouth will make a big difference on the success of your weight loss efforts.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Setting Yourself Up for Success in 2014

Reasonable Resolutions: Setting Yourself Up for Success in 2014

Now that the last gift boxes have been put away and the holiday decorations are starting to come down, the countdown to the New Year and a new set of resolutionsis well under way.
Before you get sucked into the stress of setting New Year’s resolutions and deciding what type of bandwagon you want to jump on to lead a healthier and fit lifestyle, it’s important first and foremost to establish some solid groundwork to ensure you’re setting reasonable resolutions for yourself that can be realistically achieved.

“Seven out of ten resolutions don’t work because come January 1 people think they can just turn on a light switch,” shares Frank Rosalie, personal trainer and owner at Fitness Together Williamsburg and Virginia Beach. “Right now, your light switch is off and it can be months -- and most of the time years -- that you’ve spent ingraining bad habits into your life like not exercising, eating unhealthy or being stressed out. As a human being, you can’t just change your emotions and habits from being off to on overnight.”

To switch up the odds that may be stacked against you in succeeding with your resolutions this year, make sure to include the following criteria into your planning so that you can successfully transform your 2014 goals, ambitions and resolutions into a new lifestyle for the long term.

Take Small Steps to Accomplish Big Results

Contrary to some New Year tactics, resolutions shouldn’t be an all-or-nothing approach. The foundation to building successful resolutions that last for the long term relies on making incremental realistic changes to your lifestyle on an ongoing basis. For instance, instead of saying that you’re going to start working out and restricting all unhealthy food items all at once, Rosalie suggests that a more successful approach is to pick one goal to focus on for the first couple of weeks and then add the second goal only after you get a good handle on managing the first one.

It's also important to accept that you're going to hit bumps along the way to accomplishing your resolutions. Rosalie advises that the best way to stay on course is to not worry about the past -– it’s already gone.  Or stress out about the future –- it’s not here yet. Only think about today and focus on what steps you can take now to get closer to achieving your goals.

“Within six to seven weeks, up to 70 percent of people who make resolutions drop off,” warns Rosalie. “People are putting too much on their plate.  It stresses them out and when they hit an obstacle like not working out for a few days or having a bad day eating healthy, they just give up. You have to give yourself enough time to work it out and figure out how to break your bad habits. If you do it in small increments, it’s less stressful and more manageable. In time, small steps will equal big steps.”

Give Yourself the Green Light to Enjoy Life

Resolutions can have negative connotations associated with them and they can automatically put you into a negative mindset when the first of the year arrives if they aren’t approached appropriately. Turn the negativity associated with making resolutions -– taking away the food you enjoy, doing exercises you don’t like -– into a more positive experience by adapting your resolutions to fit what you enjoy and what makes you happy.

For example, if want to start exercising next week pick out something that you like to do first. Whether you enjoy bicycling, swimming, walking, doing aerobics classes or playing sports, focus first on becoming consistent with one of your favorite activities. Eventually, after you’ve gotten into a more active routine, you can then branch out to try different workouts or activities when you’re ready for a new challenge or adventure.

The same concept holds true with changing up your diet as well. Rather than starting to eat healthy "cold turkey" and forcing yourself to eat foods that don’t taste good to you, gradually wean yourself off your guilty indulgences -– whether it’s sodas, sweets or salty treats -– until you eventually substitute all of your cravings with healthier alternatives that agree with your nutrition goals and your taste buds.

“Be aware of how you eat and make healthier choices throughout the day,” advises Rosalie. “But don’t get stressed out if you fall off the wagon. Once you start exercising and cleaning out your body, the cravings you had eventually will go away.”

Surround Yourself with a Strong Support System

When you set out to make changes to who you are and the life you live, you have to surround yourself with a strong support group who will accept the changes you want to make for yourself and encourage you to do whatever it takes to successfully meet your goals.
Your personal support can be anyone -– a family member, friend, mentor or even a personal trainer. You just need to have someone who supports what you’re doing and is available for you to turn to when you need advice or guidance.

“If you hang out with the wrong group of people, those resolutions will go right down the drain,” says Rosalie. 

Celebrate Your Successful Results

Although living a healthy and fit lifestyle takes continuous effort and dedication, it should take only about four weeks or so of doing all of your workouts and eating right before you start realizing the results of sticking to your resolutions. The results, though, won’t necessarily be ones that you can see on the outside, but rather ones that make you feel better inside about the accomplishments you have achieved and the person you are becoming.

“I always tell my clients that you’re going to start feeling better on the inside before you starting seeing differences on the outside,” Rosalie advises. “You will become proud of yourself and begin to feel confident in your abilities. You also will start to believe that what you’re doing is really worth it.”

Whether it’s internal or external results that you accomplish first from your resolutions, it’s important to celebrate all of your successes to keep you on course and motivated to continually strive to achieve your ultimate goals for the year. The key to successfully accomplishing any type of resolution is to keep your expectations realistic and to set up a path to achieving your goals that fits with your specific personality and interests.

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Maintaining Your Fit Lifestyle While Traveling Over the Holidays

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Maintaining Your Fit Lifestyle While Traveling Over the Holidays

The holiday season can throw off working out regularly, eating healthy and leading a stress-free lifestyle. When you mix in traveling during the holidays, you can fall even more quickly into an emotional and physical slump if you let things like unfamiliar surroundings, airport food and time constraints take over your game.
When you go on vacation, you tend to throw everything out the window, says Black Beckcom, personal trainer and owner at Fitness Together Mission Hills. You start eating bad, not working out and you take major steps backward by the time you get home. You have to have the will and the want or you will just be left with a bunch of excuses.

Instead of striking out during your holiday travels, stay focused on your game plan for a healthy and fit lifestyle by sticking with some simple but effective home-field strategies while you
re on the road.

Consider Your Holiday Trip a New Fitness Adventure

Whether you
re going to your hometown for the holidays or taking a trip to a new destination, one of the most important things to making sure you stay active during your travels is to maintain a fitness-minded approach throughout your journey. Take what you do in your everyday life and bring it with you on your trip.

From packing workout clothes and accessories that are appropriate for the climate to transporting healthy nutrition for your trip, taking control of your destiny allows you to control what you put in your body so you don
t have a vending machine or hunger putting you in a position to make a bad choice. By preparing yourself with healthy fitness and food essentials, you'll have a better chance to stay on course during the holiday travel season.
Enjoy a destination workout because these kinds of workouts are a blast, advises Beckcom. I used to love traveling to try new gyms, work out with new people and try new things. You just have to plan ahead, think through it and travel with a fitness mindset.

When you decide on a hotel or a place to stay, the first thing you should ask about is the type of fitness equipment or instructors that are available on site, how far away the closest gym is and if there are nature trails nearby for long walks or jogs. Also, putting together an in-room circuit workout can be an easy way to maintain your fitness lifestyle. Simply using a towel for resistance, lifting books for strength training or walking/running up and down the stairs can provide an effective mix of cardio and muscular exercise that is good for your mind and body.

Turn Holiday Stress into Fitness Fuel

With the focus during this time of year on serving others, attending end-of-year events, and making lists and checking them twice, it's easy to get overwhelmed and sideline your fitness routine for the rest of the season. If you
re traveling back to your parents place or where you grew up, you may even be stressed about falling back into unhealthy routines or roles that you lived as a child.

Instead of becoming a victim to the vicious cycle of over-commitments, unhealthy outside influences and holiday stress benching you from participating in a healthy and fit lifestyle, use your emotions to motivate you to actively vent and work through your tension.
Were all stressed out, so it comes down to what youre going to do about it, says Beckcom. You have to take everything that youve been dealing with, focused on and troubled over and put it all into your workout. Its a great emotional uplift and its great for you physically, too, because you go out and burn off that anxious stressful feeling.

Elevate Yourself to the Top of Santa
s Wish List    

One of the biggest trends during this time of year is that people overload their calendars with too many things to do and they don
t value the importance of elevating themselves to the top of their priority list. Instead of focusing on taking care of yourself, you wear yourself too thin and let your nutrition and fitness go out the window. Missing workouts and eating poorly can lead to getting sick, gaining weight and feeling defeated by the time the New Year rolls around. And, the reality of it is that the older you get, the longer it takes to recover from unhealthy choices and behavior.

Instead of abandoning your healthy lifestyle during the holiday travel season, Beckcom suggests keeping some type of activity level going, even if it
s just exercising for 10 minutes each day. He also recommends that you take pride and ownership in the person youve become so that its easy to adopt a healthy mindset when you travel that focuses on carving out time for yourself to exercise, make healthy food choices, and be mindful about keeping everything in perspective and moderation.
There are so many things you can do so you dont end up crowding yourself out, says Beckcom. If you want to stay the course while traveling this holiday season, you have to sample the fares, pack your equipment with you and bring things that are healthy alternatives to eat.

By making the choice to live a healthy and fit lifestyle regardless of where you are, you'll be one step closer to hitting a holiday home run. Implementing these game-winning strategies will help you be able to enjoy your holiday vacation while still staying on plan throughout all of your life
s adventures.