April 21, 2024

Are you stronger than your exercise excuses? By Nicole Bryan

Go ahead and try…to get out of it! Yes, there will be days exercise simply won’t fit into your schedule easily; unexpected errands, family emergencies, work projects out of our control. Ultimately, the decision has to be yours and yours alone. My challenge to you is to work to overcome your excuse. Which is your favorite? Bet it’s on the list. Take a look!

I don’t know what to do. Research your options. Talk to your friends and ask what they do for exercise. Ask them if there’s a particular exercises, class or club they enjoy participating in.

Exercise hurts. The bottom line is exercise should not hurt. If your workout hurts, change it.

I don’t want to exercise with others. If you spend all day interacting with others, it makes sense you’d look to your workout for time alone to recharge. Taking a walk is a great option. Or there’s always the option to wear your headphones, with the music off!

I don’t want to exercise alone. If your workout is a social outlet for you, check out one of the many classes, clubs and activities offered around town. There are many recreation sports clubs and city-league teams in which you may participate. There are also many non-profit events year-round which is a great way to meet others with similar interests.

I’m just not motivated. One of the best ways to overcome lack of motivation is to set goals. Set short term goals, as well as long term goals. Break them down and chart your progress.

I can’t afford a gym. Purchase a DVD or Exercise Video. Check out classes offered for nominal fees or no fee such as the adult education program, non-profit classes and city recreation programs.

I’m too tired. Exercise will give you energy. Exercising forces us to breathe deeply. Doing so, decreases stress, muscle tension and helps clear our minds. When you’re feeling tired and sluggish one of the best things you can do is move!

I don’t like to exercise! If you don’t like (at least a little bit) the activity you’re doing, find a new activity! There really is a mode of exercise for everyone. Keep trying a different program until you find one that suits and interests you. And remember, any movement or activity is better than nothing.

I don’t have the time! When something is important we always find the time, don’t we? And bottom line is sometimes we just have to make the time. Scheduling your workouts in your planner will help you carve the time out of your day. Telling friends your plan and goals and asking them to hold you accountable is also helpful.

As you can see, virtually every excuse can be overcome. There is always an answer; if you are stumped it just means you haven’t thought of the solution yet, it doesn’t mean there is no solution. Keep at it until you find the magic combination for your individual fitness goals.

Friendly Competition?

Get Fit Quick Tip

Add in a little friendly competition to increase exercise motivation and adherence. No equipment needed. Recruit friends, family or co-workers to participate in an Exercise Challenge. Agree upon a prize or reward for the winner. Each participant logs total workout time each week. Add up your total at the end of the month. The participant with most logged workout time wins the prize, but everyone wins with improved health and fitness!


Our Get Fit Quick tip will always be easy to remember and you’ll be able to implement it the very same day. Our tip will be so clear and concise you’ll be motivated to forward it to all your friends and family to inspire them to live healthy and fit as well.

Are YOU right for your exercise? By Nicole Bryan

Fads and trends will always come and go. The next latest and greatest quick-fix is just around the corner. Your best friend swears her class is the absolute best way to lose weight. Your boss is adamant that her way is the best way ever! How do you know what’s best for you? Instead of asking yourself if an exercise is right for you, ask are YOU right for the exercise. Here’s how to tell:

What’s your goal? First determine what you’d like to accomplish. If you’d like to run a 5K in a certain time, then your program may be different than if you’re wishing to build strength for your job. Sounds like common sense, but many aren’t aware of what they’re goal is. Determine your goal, and then determine which exercise.

Are you right for your exercise? For example, you’re 2 months out of major back surgery perhaps now is not the time to participate in that karate class where challenging single-stance movements are required. Or you’re just getting back into the swing of your routine after a 20 year sabbatical, maybe now isn’t the time to jump right into a 5 day a week high-intensity circuit class. This point may be summed up in the following question; why do you want to do that particular exercise? Keep in mind this doesn’t mean the certain exercises are bad or impossible; this simply means appropriate exercise/exercise progression is specific to the individual and determined by what one wants to accomplish.

There is a principle called the SAID Principle that reinforces this idea. The SAID Principle stands for Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands. This principle simply states that our body will adapt to the load under which it is placed. In other words, we should do specifically what we’d like to accomplish. For example if we want to be a runner, then we’ll need to run. If our goal is to increase strength to be able to lift our children easier, then we’ll need to perform strength training exercises. If our goal is to increase flexibility, then performing strength training three days each week while beneficial in general, will not improve flexibility. If our goal is to be able to walk around town with less effort, than performing 100lb power-cleans may not be the most appropriate exercise. This is not to say 100lb power-cleans are a bad exercise, it just depends who wants to do them and why.

Every movement performed in our workout should serve a specific purpose in moving us towards our goal. Enlist the assistance of a Fitness Professional to create a program based on your goals.

Is Stretching Important? By Sarah Johnson

Is stretching important in fitness?

There has been some recent controversy as to whether stretching is important: Does it actually prevent injury? Should you stretch before or after a workout? Why should I stretch at all? Whatever you may have heard, I’d like to share my reasons why I believe stretching has its place in a fitness program.


• It helps establish your intentions. Take a few minutes after your warm-up to stretch. Remind yourself why you are doing this; what your goals are and how is this activity going to help you get there.

• It lets you think about your plan. When you set out for a run, walk, hike or any other activity, beginning with a light warm-up and stretch gives you a few extra minutes to think about your route, to clear your head or plan for any obstacles you may encounter.

• Stretching helps you focus. Instead of jumping right into the workout without thinking, you can spend a few quiet minutes lightly stretching, making sure your mind is in the present without any distractions. No matter what your belief is about stretching preventing injury, an unfocused & distracted person plus exercise can be a recipe for an injury!

• It also helps you wind down. After a grueling workout or long training session, five minutes spent relaxing your mind and loosening your muscles is the best way to think about your accomplishment!

By the way, I do believe stretching is most successful when done after your body and muscles are warmed up, when they are most loose and pliable. And as far as if it’s even worth doing (as some have argued), if it feels good and you have the time for it, I say ‘Why not!?’

Follow Sarah on Twitter @SarahJChicago

There’s ALWAYS Time for Exercise! By Tera Busker

Time Saving Workout Tricks

Have you ever planned on getting in a great workout, but you have to skip the gym because you just don’t have the time? We are all running late, in a hurry or have something else that we need to be doing but that doesn’t mean that you have to forgo your workout. You just have to make the most of the time you have.

Time your Rest Periods

In between sets or circuits, rest for ONLY the time it takes to catch your breath and feel ready for the next round and not a second more. Playing around on your phone, chatting with your workout buddy and flipping through a magazine will only distract you. Keep your rest breaks short and stay on task. You will be surprised how much time you save.

Interval Training

Unless you are training for a marathon or another endurance sport, there is no reason why you be doing long cardio sessions at a moderate intensity. Kick your cardio up a notch and decrease your workout sessions with interval training. By alternating high intensity bouts of exercise with moderate “recovery” periods, you can burn a ton of calories in a short amount of time. One great example is tabata training. Do a high intensity exercise like jump squats as fast as you can with proper form for 20 seconds then rest for 10 seconds. Repeat this for a total of 4 minutes.

Strength Training and Cardio in One

Why split your cardio and strength training up when you can get them both done at once? Doing exercises that use multiple muscle groups as once in a circuit style with little to no rest between exercises, will raise your heart rate and challenge your muscles. Exercises like pushups, squat presses, lunges with bicep curls will have you breaking a sweat, shaping your muscles and out of the gym in no time.

Tera Busker is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and owner of Fitness To Go, an exclusive In Home & Private Studio Personal Training Service based out of Roberts, WI. www.fitnesstogo.net

Put enthusiasm back in your exercise! By Nicole Bryan

If your workout routine has become boring and you’re body is no longer changing, you may be on a fitness plateau.  A plateau simply means your body has adapted to your current exercise routine.  It is time to shake up your workout and make your body learn something new.

Performing a new exercise means the mind must develop a new muscle/memory pattern.  In other words, a new neurological pathway will give your body a stimulus to adapt to, and therefore you’ll continue to get stronger, more fit, etc.

Try the following ideas to energize your workout routine and break through the plateau.    


Change the order of your exercises.  While we usually work larger muscles to smaller muscles, changing the order of similar muscle groups will be just enough unaccustomed exercise to prompt change again.

Change the angle at which you are working a specific muscle.  Pick an entirely different exercise or machine to work a particular muscle group.

Change the number of sets and repetitions. While the basic number of sets and repetitions is determined by your goal, try supersets or giant sets for a more challenging workout.  Supersets involve exercising opposing muscle groups back to back without a rest period.  Performing giant sets involve choosing three exercises done in a circuit format.

Cross train. Choose a completely different mode of exercise.  For example, join a spin class or try the rowing machine at the gym.

Circuit train.  Alternate one set of a resistance exercise with one minute of cardiovascular work.  Repeat until all exercises/sets are completed.

It is a good idea to change a component of your routine once every six weeks.  You will increase your chance of reaching your goal, and decrease your chance of injury and boredom.

Is Calorie-Counting For You? By Danielle Prestejohn

For a very long time I was convinced the answer to my weight loss would come down to math. If I could just figure out the perfect amount of calories to eat then I could finally lose weight for good. Problem with this was I got a bit carried away and dipped into some dangerously low calorie counts in the process. When I started to learn that my weight or life for that matter, wasn’t all about the number of calories I consumed I started to get a little less strict.

Eventually I gave up calorie counting all together but in the process I came across a minor hiccup; I knew how many calories were in just about everything. Even now I can easily rattle on the calorie contents of dozens of foods. It seems to be something I retained and have never forgotten. As you can imagine this made taking a blind eye to how many calories I was consuming rather difficult. In the process I developed some strategies to help me get away from the structure of my calorie counting diet and they have brought me tons of success in moving away from such a rigid diet.

Eat out. This was one of the scariest things for me but eating out helped me immensely because I learned to give up the control of my food. Someone else was preparing what I was eating and I had no clue how many calories I was consuming. Was it frightening? Absolutely. Was it worth it? Totally.

Cook. During the deepest of my dieting days I would rely on packaged foods that had a definite number of calories. Things like bars, shakes, and frozen dinners were perfect because they had an exact number of calories. No thinking included. When I started cooking this all became a little less obvious. Sure I knew how many calories were in a piece of chicken, but when I added peppers, spinach, and unknown amount of oil, I had no idea how many calories I was getting. This brings me to my next point…

Don’t weigh or measure a thing. For a very long time my food scale was my best friend. When I threw mine away I took away the knowledge of just how much I was eating. Suddenly I was estimating portions and slowly forgetting what exactly 4 ounces of chicken or a tablespoon of peanut butter looked like.

Cook in batches. I started experimenting with things like soups, stews, and chili because I could throw a ton of ingredients in a bowl, mix it up, and take out a portion without knowing exactly how much of anything was in that meal. I was really hesitant about this one but this ended up being one of the secrets to learning how to listen to my hunger cues again.

This article is written by Danielle Prestejohn, M.S. Applied Nutrition. Sign up for Danielle’s free guide to ditching the diets and ditching the misery via http://danielleprestejohn.com/free-updates/ For more information go to http://www.danielleprestejohn.com and http://www.Facebook.com/daniellegracep

3 Core Mistakes by Chanda Fetter

Having worked in the fitness industry for over twenty years, one of the biggest deficiencies I’ve seen in people’s training is working the Core. Most neglect it all together, others just do the exercises improperly.  Either way it leads to bad posture, low back pain and countless other problems, all which could be eliminated. Remember your core essentially makes up all the muscles between your hips and your ribs both front and back!

Keep the following  in mind the next time you’re working your core:

Core is MORE than just Abs – The language I use with my clients is “front core” and “back core.” Owning a Pilates studio I see people with back problems all the time, I hear the same mistake over and over again. There is a misconception that working your Abs is working your Core.  If you neglect to work your spinal muscles but continue to work only your abs, there will be a drastic muscle imbalance created thus resulting in more back pain, tight hip flexors and even tension to the neck.  So evaluate your workouts and make sure to include “back core” exercises into your routine!

Slow Down – It pains me to walk through the training room and see people rapidly moving through their sit ups. If it hurts more than it helps, don’t do it! Moving too quickly through your motion adds stress to the spine, recruits too much hip flexor and tends to skip over the deeper abdominal muscles.  So just slow down a little and let your muscles define your range, not your momentum.

Be nice to your neck – Neck pain should not be felt during abdominal work. What most people neglect to address is the Lats. Often times when doing crunches people round the head forward too far and pull on it, or when in a plant the weight of the head sinks and adds stress to the neck. By simply pulling your shoulder blades down and engaging your Lats, the tension is pulled out of your neck and shoulders and allows for a much more enjoyable experience with core work.

Chanda Fetter
IMX Pilates Studio & Fitness Center, Owner
IMX Pilates Master Trainer

Teens and Fitness by Maggie Ayre

The Safest and Most Effective Way for a Teen to Get Fit This Summer

From about the age of 14 we begin to think about our bodies and become body conscious. From this age many teens start wanting to look fit.

As a teenager I always felt fat and went from one diet to the next trying to lose weight. Now when I look at photos of myself as a teen I can’t believe how skinny I was. It’s lucky I was never any good at sticking to diets because I really didn’t have any excess weight to lose. Now that you’ve heard that, you may be thinking I’m crazy giving girls, many of whom are in the same situation, tips to lose body fat. But, that’s the great thing about my approach, if you’re slim/skinny and you follow them nothing will happen, you’re not going to get too thin following these tips like you may do following a calorie controlled diet, your energy levels wont drop, you wont get poorly, you won’t become grey and withdrawn in your complexion. In fact, the worst that will happen is that you will get healthier! Having said that, if you do have excess fat that you should really be shifting for health then these tips will be highly effective in helping you achieve your aims.

Getting a fit body comes down to a combination of healthy diet and exercise. Some diets encourage you to starve yourself to lose a few inches from your waist line, but this is counterproductive – starvation actually encourages the body to store fat. Instead learn to listen to your body and eat when you are hungry – but eat healthily.

Let’s educate our teens on the healthy and sustainable way to a fit AND healthy body! Start to include the following seven ingredients in your diet:

Nuts and seeds – a great filling snack, especially when combined with grapes, raisins, apricots or other fruit.

Berries and citrus fruit – bursting with Vitamin C which helps our bodies burn fat when we exercise. In fact research suggests that consuming insufficient quantities of vitamin C can severely hamper any efforts to lose weight.

Eggs – packed full of nutrients eggs at breakfast will leave you feeling fuller for longer.

Fish – the omega-3 in fish improves insulin sensitivity which helps build muscle and decrease belly fat.

Lentils – high in proteins and soluble fibre lentils are a proven belly flattener!

Yoghurt – natural live Greek yoghurt can boost your body’s fat burning mechanism, speed weight loss and trim your belly. But don’t be tempted by fat free or flavoured versions with lots of added ingredients instead flavour your own yoghurt with honey, raspberries or other fruit.

Water – if you want a fit body you must drink plenty of water. Eight glasses a day, every day is about right.

Maggie Ayre is the UKs leading Fitness Coach for Teen Girls. As well as one-to-one and small group nutrition and fitness work with teens she has developed the 3G Program designed to be run at schools as part of the PE curriculum. She also offers mentoring for PE departments on how to re-engage teen girls with PE and has recently published her third book; “Nutrition for Exam Success – A Parent’s Guide” which is now available as a Kindle and paperback at Amazon. For more information go to www.maggieayre.com or www.femalefitnessrevolution.com

Worst Weight Loss Advice by Danielle Prestejohn

Admit it, at some point in time we’ve all fallen suspect to the lure of some fabulous new diet or weight loss tip. Maybe it was to stop snacking at night, eating mini meals, or swapping half of your grains for vegetables. Regardless of whether they’ve worked, you’ve likely tried or at least thought about it. Let’s be honest some of these tips actually work wonders, and others not so much.

Here is a collection of some of what I consider to be the world’s worst weight loss advice. Dieters Beware!  

Low fat diets. Luckily we are slowly moving away from this trend. Eat a diet low in fat and you will be hungry, cranky, and likely not absorbing key vitamins you need to thrive. Fat does not make us fat; instead it protects our major organs, absorbs certain vitamins, and helps our bodies to function. Worst of all are the “health” foods geared at dieters that are far from healthy. Beware of fat free cookies, candy, and snack foods. It’s not healthy and will not lead to weight loss, even if it’s low fat.

100 calorie packs. Limiting your food to 100 calories does not make it a weight loss food. Packaged, processed, and packed full of not so good for you ingredients, 100-calorie packs are simply a marketing gimmick for dieters. You will not lose weight snacking on these. Most are high in carbohydrates and devoid of fats and protein meaning you will burn them off quickly and be hungry again in 20 minutes. Eating 3-100 calorie packs does not equal a healthy snack.

No carb diets. I say no carb as opposed to low carb. Some people thrive on a lower carbohydrate diet that is still full of fruits and vegetables and that is fine. What are not okay are diets that promote an extremely low number of carbohydrates, we’re talking less than 60 grams. This is a quick way to lose energy fast, and put your body into ketosis, which can potentially do some serious damage to your kidneys. The only reason people see initial success with low carb diets is because they lose water weight. Carbohydrates store water in our bodies while fats and protein do not. This means the second you start eating carbohydrates again; your weight will come back.

Skipping meals. Skipping meals is not an effective way to lose weight. You will slow your metabolism and end up hungrier in the long run, likely eating more at your next meal.

Very low calorie diets. I’m not talking about Very Low Calorie Diets, which are considered to be diets consisting of 800 calories or less, are monitored by medical professionals and are designed for those who are obese with serious health problems. I’m talking about the diets that dip below 1200 calories a day. These diets are not only incredibly difficult to follow, but they are also unsafe. Follow a really low calorie diet and you can expect the not so pleasant side effects of low energy, fatigue, a slowed metabolism, potential heart problems, and dehydration.

This article is written by Danielle Prestejohn, M.S. applied nutrition. Sign up for Danielle’s free guide to ditching the diets and ditching the misery via http://danielleprestejohn.com/free-updates/.  For more information go to http://www.danielleprestejohn.com and http://www.Facebook.com/daniellegracep.