NIFS Healthy Living Blog

2013 NIFS Programs: A Look Back at Our Year

It is hard to believe that we are wrapping up another year at NIFS! As instructors looking back over the last year, we like to think that the variety of fitness opportunities that we have offered has provided individuals with the tools needed to move forward toward reaching and surpassing their health and fitness goals. Along with the variety of group fitness classes, personal training, group training opportunities, and fitness assessments and personalized exercise programs, we offer additional special programming throughout the year to keep our members on track and motivated!

Mini-Marathon Training ProgramMini Marathon 2014

Every year, One America 500 Festival Mini-Marathon and other spring half-marathon participants look to NIFS for their training program. NIFS offers a unique program providing pace group leaders for each training group, ranging from a 7-minute run pace, to a run-walk group, to the 16-minute walk group. You will find a group of individuals ready to train for the same goal as you within your group each Wednesday night of the program when you meet for the long run. Participants also receive a snack after they finish their run. With nearly 325 participants and leaders last year, the program proved to be a success and resulted in many happy participants crossing the finish line reaching their goals in the 2013 spring half-marathons.

Slim It logoSlim-It-To-Win-It

Kicking off at the right time, just after the New Year’s resolution rush has worn off and the thick of winter has settled in, NIFS rolls out the Slim-It-To-Win-It 10-week fat-loss team training program, which has proved to be a great motivator for the members to stay on track with their weight-loss goals. This year proved to be a tight competition, with 11 different teams competing for the team title. The aBENger’s claimed the title, losing an average of 2.35% body fat!


Triathlon Training Program
Tri Training logo

As the only program in the city that has been training for the Go Girl Triathlon since the very first race, NIFS spent much of the summer training women of varying abilities to complete the sprint triathlon in August at Eagle Creek Park. Twenty-five very happy women completed the race that day! The program met at NIFS, the IU Natatorium, and Eagle Creek Park on Tuesday nights to complete a weekly group workout with coaches and concluded with a post-workout snack thanks to program sponsor First Watch Daytime Cafe.

Summer Showdown

Always promising to be an excellent fitness challenge, Summer Showdown never disappoints as a challenging test for those looking for an extra push to beat the heat in the height of summer. This past year, participants completed a partner 100 workout at the beginning of the program. After 6 weeks of training two days a week with a team and coach with workouts geared toward improving performance of the challenge, the partners completed the same workout to conclude the program.

Staff Rowing Challenge

A little friendly competition never hurts anyone; it also proves to be very motivating when looking at fitness! That is how we view the annual staff rowing challenge. From November 25 to December 24, members row as many meters as they can for their team. The team that rows the most meters and the team that rows the most meters per person gets bragging rights as team champions. We are currently wrapping up this program, but it has proven to be successful as a motivating fitness competition again this year.

Maintain Not GainMaintainGainLogo

Also currently occurring as a holiday incentive program, Maintain Not Gain proves to be a popular program year in and year out as it encourages fitness and weight maintenance throughout the holiday season. The program includes weekly motivational emails, group workouts, and incentive prizes for those who maintain or lose weight upon completion of the program. With 208 participants completing the 2012–2013 programs, the group lost a total of 208 pounds over the holidays!

Les Mills Launches

Over the past year, the Les Mills classes have become increasingly popular in the fitness center. In January, April, July, and October, Les Mills launches took place in the fitness center to introduce new releases with the goal of injecting energy in the facility and to pump up the members!

NIFS Barbell Club

New this year, Josh Jones headed up the NIFS barbell club in October. The program is great for anyone who is serious about wanting to improve their power-lifting abilities. This session focused on the clean and the snatch. Participants learned the correct way to complete the exercises and saw drastic improvements in their ability to lift like the pros!

Start 2014 off right by getting involved in one of NIFS specialized programs! Mini Marathon training starts Jan 22nd! Get Registered today!

This blog was written by Stephanie Kaiser, Health Fitness Specialist at NIFS. Meet our other NIFS bloggers.

Topics: NIFS fitness center goal setting weight loss group fitness group training mini marathon half marathon NIFS programs challenge Summer Showdown weight management Les Mills

Indoor Cycling Is a Good, Fun Winter Workout

There is nothing like hopping on a bike and riding nowhere. If this sounds dull and boring to you, you have never ridden with me. I teach RPM®, the Les Mills Indoor Cycling Program. Cycling is a great way to balance your workout and helps build leg strength and cardio fitness. With the weather turning cold, this is the time to try indoor cycling. Honestly, it can be terribly boring when done on your own, but a group class always makes it better and the workout factor is not one to be missed!

A Lower-Impact Workoutindoor cycle

My love/hate relationship with running is what brought me to indoor cycling. I love the feeling of the burning in my lungs and the pride of finishing in a sprint up the driveway, but my ankles and shins are not always fans of the inevitable high-impact movements associated with running. A few years ago I was fighting injuries from running and my doctor recommended I ride a bike as an alternative workout. This worked really well until it got cold. That is how I ended up in my first RPM® class.

Honestly, I was dreading the thought of doing it. The concept of sitting on an uncomfortable seat in spandex going nowhere was less than appealing. But I dragged myself there and am so glad I did! I found I could achieve the same physical feeling of running without all of the high impact. High-impact activities have their own benefits and I enjoy them; I just need balance in my workout, and RPM® gives that to me and can provide it for you as well.

Join the Fun of Indoor Cycling

RPM cycleDuring these cold months, do yourself a favor and try out a Cycle or RPM® class. The worst part is getting used to the seat. But after that, all you will notice is the strength building in the legs and the cardio party in your heart. Put that all together with epic music and you’ve got one heck of a workout. Outdoor riders, you may find that you miss the scenery, but the instructors are all pretty entertaining in their own ways, so you won’t be bored. We may not be physically relocating, but we are moving forward with our fitness level. Take a class regularly and you may find your outdoor rides and runs are a little easier next summer! I know mine always are.

Check out the Group Fitness Schedule and pick a class time. Come a little early so the instructor can get you set up on the bike properly. As with any group fitness class, try the class three to five times before deciding if it is for you. Have fun and ride it like you stole it!

Not a member yet? Request a FREE CLASS PASS!

This blog is written by Tasha Nichols, the NIFS Fitness Center Group Fitness Coordinator and Les Mills National Trainer and Presenter.

Topics: winter fitness cardio group training cycling Les Mills

Accommodating Resistance: The Benefits of Using Bands and Chains

NIFS has recently updated the weight room, including seven new half racks. Each rack has lower band pegs, and almost all of the racks have chains on the hooks at the top of the rack. Several people have asked why you would ever need the band pegs or chains to do your everyday squat or bench. In this post, I cover what accommodating resistance is and the benefits of using this form of chainstraining.

The Force-Velocity Curve

Before going into what the chains and bands do, I first have to set the groundwork and explain what the force-velocity curve is. As you see below, when force (weight lifted) increases, velocity (bar speed) decreases. So at the top where force is high and velocity is low, it is considered maximal strength. As you work down the graph, strength-speed is next. In the middle of the graph, you see power (the rate of force development, or RFD). As you continue down the graph, it becomes speed-strength and finishes with speed, where force is at its lowest and velocity is at its highest.

The reason this is important is that chains and bands give you the ability to develop explosive strength. So instead of benching with high weight and slow velocity (maximal strength), or low weight with fast velocity (speed), you can work in the middle of the graph and accelerate the bar in both the lowering and raising phases of the movement. Without the bands and chains, you have to decelerate the bar about halfway through the raising phase of a bench press, or the bar will fly out of your hands. Bands and chains ensure that you drive the bar as hard as you can, generating a high rate of force through the full range of motion (more on this below). The bottom line: Using bands and chains increases your rate of force development (RFD) and forces you to not let up after you get past your sticking point.

How Bands and Chains Workbands

Bands and chains do an excellent job of matching your leverage. The bar is lightest when your leverage is at its weakest, and the bar gradually increases in weight as leverage improves. Let’s break this down even further. You are getting ready to bench with 200 pounds on the bar. You add chains that each weigh 30 pounds. So now the bar total is 260 pounds. However, at the start position, half of the chains are lying on the ground, bringing you to a total of 230 pounds. As you bring the weight down to your chest, the bar gets lighter because more of the chains are lying on the ground. So when the bar is at your chest, you bring the weight down to the 200 pounds that you started with. As you press the weight up, more of the chains come off the floor, gradually increasing the bar total back to the 230 pounds at the top. This idea forces you to drive the bar out into full extension without letting up.

The Benefits of Accommodating Resistance

Bands and chains train acceleration and rate of force development, which is great for the development of power. If you are an athlete, the key to improved sport performance is producing more force in less time. This results when an athlete can absorb more force eccentrically (lowering phase), allowing you to apply higher levels of force concentrically (rising phase) in less time. Sport performance is about which athlete can absorb more force, enabling the athlete to produce more power. The biggest improvements that you will see by using this method are increased power, speed, and explosive strength.

Whether or not you are an athlete, using this method is definitely a game changer if your goal is to move a lot of weight and be explosive. I hope this post answers your questions on whether this type of training is right for you. If you are interested in trying this, be sure to ask a coach to make sure the setup is right, and always have a spotter to ensure safety.

This blog was written by Josh Jones, MS, CSCS, USAW, NIFS Athletic Department Trainer and creator of the NIFS Barbell Club. For more information contact Josh by email. Learn more about the NIFS bloggers.

Topics: fitness center equipment resistance weight lifting weightlifting

Healthier Holiday Cocktails

The holidays are a challenging time because there are so many more delicious foods everywhere. For some people, this is a time of year when they consume more alcohol at holiday parties. Unfortunately, most of these cocktails are loaded with calories. Here are some tips that can help keep the party going—but not increase your waistline!

  • Choose cocktails that don’t add a lot of calories beyond the alcohol with high-calorie mixers. Order soda water and a splash of cranberry juice or diet soda as the mixer.
  • Have a non-caloric beverage (such as water, iced tea, or decaf coffee) in between alcoholic drinks.
  • Order your drink with extra ice.
  • Set a goal to stick to the alcohol recommendations for adults: 1 drink per day for women and 2 drinks per day for men. A drink is 5 ounces of wine, 1½ ounces of liquor, or 12 ounces of beer.

Try some of these lower-calorie beverages at your next holiday party!

Made-over Eggnog egg nog

Ingredients:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 5½ cups low-fat or skim milk
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup Splenda or alternative sweetener
  • 2 TB. cornstarch
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 TB. vanilla
  • ½ tsp. (plus additional for sprinkling) ground nutmeg
  • ⅓ cup dark rum (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a bowl, with a whisk, beat eggs and egg whites until blended; set aside.
  2. In a heavy 4-quart saucepan, with heat-safe spatula, mix 4 cups milk with sugar, cornstarch, and ¼ teaspoon salt.
  3. Cook on medium-high until mixture boils and thickens slightly, stirring constantly. Boil 1 minute. Remove saucepan from heat.
  4. Gradually whisk ½ cup simmering milk mixture into eggs; pour egg mixture back into milk in saucepan, whisking constantly, to make custard.
  5. Pour custard into large bowl; stir in vanilla, nutmeg, rum (if using), and remaining 1½ cups milk.
  6. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 6 hours or up to 2 days.
  7. Sprinkle eggnog with nutmeg to serve. Makes about 6½ cups.

Serves: 13  Serving size: 1 cup
Calories: 90   Fat: 2g  Carbohydrates: 10g  Protein: 6g

 

Sparkling Pomegranate Cocktailpomegrante drink

Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups pomegranate juice
  • ¼ cup grenadine
  • 1 (750-milliliter) bottle Prosecco or dry sparkling wine, chilled
  • 6 lime slices (optional)
  • Pomegranate seeds (optional)

Directions:

  1. Combine pomegranate juice and ¼ cup grenadine in a 2-cup glass measure.
  2. Divide the juice mixture evenly among 6 Champagne flutes or wine glasses. Top each serving evenly with wine, and garnish each serving with lime slices and seeds, if desired.

Serves: 6  Serving size: ¾ cup
Calories: 164  Fat: 0  Carbohydrates: 21g  Protein: 0g

 

Spiced Hot Cidercider

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups apple cider
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 5 whole cloves
  • ½ cup applejack (apple brandy)
  • 2 TB. cinnamon schnapps
  • Cinnamon sticks, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Bring apple cider, cinnamon stick, and cloves to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add applejack and schnapps. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and serve hot.

Serves: 6  Serving size: ¾ cup
Calories: 143  Fat: 0g  Carbohydrates: 23g     Protein: 0g

 

If you need more motivation to maintain your weight during the holidays, schedule a personal nutrition consultation for help surviving the holidays, contact Angie Scheetz, RD, at ascheetz@nifs.org or (317) 274-3432, ext. 239.

Topics: nutrition healthy habits healthy eating recipes snacks calories holidays

Enjoy Holiday Parties While Maintaining Your Weight

We have all heard the statistic that the average person gains 7 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. This is somewhat exaggerated; the actual number is a 1-pound weight gain. However, this pesky 1 pound usually hangs on year after year, so over 10 holiday seasons that is a 10-pound gain! The goal during this time of year is to maintain your weight, which is definitely a challenge with all of the extra food gatherings.

7 Tips for Holiday Eating

Here are some tips to help survive the holiday parties and make sure
your weight is the same on January 2 as it was on November 28.84468673

  1. Restrict the number of alcoholic drinks at holiday parties. At a minimum it is 100 calories per drink, and depending on what you are choosing, can be as high as 400 (eggnog!). The recommendations are one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. Instead of adding all of the empty calories from alcohol, save those calories for filling food!
  2. Have just single servings of your favorite foods. If you are super excited to have a food that comes around only once per year, enjoy every last bite of the single serving, wrap up some and enjoy it the next day, too.
  3. Don’t skip meals to “save room” at the party! This can lead to out-of-control eating. Instead, make sure to have balanced meals and snacks throughout the day, aiming for fruits, veggies, lean protein, whole grains, and low-fat dairy. You can even grab a snack before the party to help with the desperation eating. An apple with peanut butter, Greek yogurt and fruit, or a stick of string cheese with a handful of nuts would be a perfect filling and nutritious snack option.
  4. Be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day and at the party. This can help keep you full; and if your hand is already occupied with a 178360614beverage, it will be more challenging to reach for the food!
  5. Remember that you can have some foods all year long, such as crackers, cheese, and pretzels. Choose the foods that are the most interesting and unique, and come around only once per year. Then frame it positively and say, “I want to save my appetite for the best” instead of “I am not allowed to eat these foods.”
  6. Repeat these words: “No, thanks, on the seconds. It was delicious, but I have had enough.”
  7. Instead of focusing on the food, put effort into enjoying the people and conversations, and really connecting.

Need a little extra help surviving the holidays? NIFS My Nuttrition Coach App, can help you keep track of your diet while receiving daily feedback from our registered dietitian, Angie Scheetz. To learn more click here.

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This blog was written by Angie Scheetz, RD, Wellness Coordinator. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

 

Topics: nutrition motivation healthy eating snacks holidays weight management

How to Make Time for Health During the Busy Holidays

The holidays are known as a time of temptation, bustling around, and busy schedules. It’s part of what makes me love the holiday season so much. Despite the cheerful feelings in the air, many times when we get busy, nutritious foods and regular exercise are the first things to go!

I can definitely relate to feeling the holiday rush and not knowing where or when to fit in my healthy lifestyle. I also know that with a little pre-planning and a conscious effort put into my food and exercise routine, I feel much happier overall and I am able to enjoy fun holiday events even more! Whether you are attending holiday parties, working long hours, or enjoying your child’s holiday performance, it’s still important to make time for health.

Here are my six tips for staying healthy during the busy holiday season.

1. Schedule the Appointment

At the end of the weekend, I like to take out my planner and write down my workouts where I have time available (in ink!). This allows me to know ahead of time I have an appointment. And just as if I were meeting with someone for business, I don’t want to miss it or be late. Looking at my time day by day, and sometimes hour by hour, makes the busy schedule seem a lot more manageable and allows me to find empty time pockets that I can fill if necessary.

2. Make It a Traditionworkout buddy

A couple of years ago, I signed up for my first Thanksgiving morning run and it was a blast! There were tons of crazy costumes, families, and runners of all experience levels participating. The atmosphere was so happy and inviting! Having the race to look forward to kept me on task for the month of November, as I knew I needed to stay in shape to complete the race and feel good the rest of the day. I enjoyed the race so much that I have signed up for a race every year since, and now I am getting my family involved!

3. Cook in Batchesbatch cooking

Make batches of healthy meals and snacks at the beginning of the week so you aren't tempted by holiday treats at all times. I make this a habit even when it’s not the holiday season. It could be as simple as roasting extra veggies, cooking extra chicken or fish to throw on salads, or making sure all of your produce is clean and cut so you can grab and go at any time. Holiday treats are part of the season, so enjoy them, but don’t shape your entire holiday diet around them.

4. Combine Workout with Workbatch cooking

I know how it feels to have a big exam coming up that consumes every thought in my head, or extra work that needs to be completed away from the office. Having things like this on my mind have made me feel guilty about taking the time out of my schedule to get some physical activity in. Luckily, I have found a way to squeeze in some extra work while getting my exercise in. Read your notes while riding a stationary bike, running on the treadmill, or using the elliptical. It may not be your preferred mode of activity, but it is still movement. Combining the two things on your to-do list will hopefully give you a little break in your schedule so you can spend your spare time celebrating rather than at the gym.

5. Pack Your Bagworkout bag

Preparing for the next day the night before helps me stay focused and not miss any appointments I may have coming up, and that includes my workout appointment with myself! I pack my entire bag the night before so I can get up early to work out before my day starts or hit the gym right after work—if you are lucky, squeeze it in during lunch! No matter what, your bag will be packed and ready to go, leaving you with no excuses.

6. Find a Workout Buddy

Having a partner in crime for any activity makes it more enjoyable, and the same is true with working out! Another option is to attend a group class. Meeting the others in the group will help hold you accountable for showing up each day. They will help motivate you during the workout, too!

If you need some extra motivation, NIFS offers Group Training classes throughout the week to keep you on track during the holidays!

This blog was written by Tara Deal Rochford, NIFS Membership Manager and a group fitness instructor. Author of Treble in the Kitchen. Meet our other NIFS bloggers.

Topics: exercise fitness nutrition staying active motivation healthy eating

No-Equipment-Needed Workouts for Holiday Travel

With the holiday season upon us, we can almost guarantee that at some point we will be expected to travel. Sometimes we only have short trips that make for a nice recharging, but other trips can last much longer. Couple that with limitations on equipment and less-than-desirable food options and we have an instant cause for concern. Because that workout your trainer prescribes relies heavily on bands, ropes, foam rollers and weights, you may think you are without a workout plan. But don't give up on your workout just yet, here are some ideas on what you can do with little to no equipment.

Do Stretching Exercises

To maintain flexibility, stretching through dynamic movement patterns is ideal and can be done in a small area. Inch Worms, Knee Ups, and Jumping Jacks are all good examples of dynamic movement patterns.

Perform Simple Exercises That Use Multiple Muscle Groups

To simplify your workout, you can focus on a few great exercises that work multiple muscle plankgroups. These exercises can range from beginner to advanced, with the functionally basic movement of sit and stand at a chair to the more challenging Burpees (add a pushup and squat jump for even more workload). The Plank exercise is also one of the best exercises for building endurance in the abs, back, core, glutes and hip flexor. To make the Plank easier add an incline or lower knees to the floor. For a greater challenge increase the period of time you hold the plank or add movement such as leg lifts or arm extensions.

Cardio Exercises at the Hotel

suitcase carrystairsThere are other “tools” you can use while on the go that you may not realize. For a cardio option, most hotels have a staircase. Use it! Avoid the elevator and take the stairs instead. For a challenge, run the stairs for ten minutes (and because most people use the elevator, it should be mostly empty for your use). Suitably known as a suitcase carry, your suitcase can be used for a one-sided farmer's carry walk that pinpoints your oblique (like a side plank), and a bathroom towel can be used to create an isometric static hold for countless upper-body exercises.

Whether or not you are on the go for the holidays, be sure to exercise the next time you travel; it’s easier than you think. See a health fitness specialist or personal trainer to help design a workout plan that is right for you.

Be sure to sign up for upcoming NIFS exclusive programs geared toward your goals (such as Maintain Not Gain, Slim It to Win It, or Summer Showdown).

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This blog was written by Thomas Livengood, Health Fitness Specialist at NIFS. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers click here.
Topics: exercise cardio staying active healthy habits Thomas' Corner holidays muscles Summer Showdown

NIFS 25th Anniversary: Charter Member Dean Behrmann

screenshot dean 5

Charter member Dean Behrmann talks about why he started coming to NIFS and what has kept him
coming back for 25 years. Watch his video.

Dean was also featured in a NIFS video back in 2009. Click here to watch.

Topics: NIFS cardio running marathon training mini marathon half marathon nifs staff anniversary race

NIFS Lifestyle Program’s 6th Annual Silent Auction

It’s that time of year: the holidays are just around the corner, which means NIFS is hosting the Lifestyle6th annual Lifestyle Program Silent Auction.

The Lifestyle Program serves individuals who have a chronic condition and need extra guidance, education, and assistance with living a healthy lifestyle. This includes individuals with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, COPD, neurological disease, and cancer, to name a few. Members of this program are taught how to manage and prevent progression of their condition through exercise in conjunction with their physician’s recommendations. Our goal is to help participants progress to independence and maintain optimal health. Because of this program, many participants are successfully living with heart and kidney transplants, neurological disorders, and pulmonary disease.

“Being a part of this program has improved my overall health. It is a great way to start BIDmy morning by getting up and exercising, which helps me to feel good throughout the day.”

—Current Lifestyle Scholarship Participant

This auction funds the scholarship portion of the program, which allows individuals with chronic diseases or conditions in a financial hardship to work with NIFS staff members at little or no cost. This event wouldn’t be possible without the generous donations from companies and organizations on a local and national level. We want to give a HUGE shout-out and thank you to St. Elmo Steak House, Green Mountain Coffee, AMC Theatres, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Segway Tours of Indiana, Redbox, and others still coming in!

To participate and see all of the items up for auction, you can visit the auction website. Bidding opens at 8:00am on Black Friday, November 29, and closes at 8pm on December 14. Bidders who place the highest bid will win the item. Last year, the auction raised nearly $1,000 and we can’t thank those who participated enough for their kindness and generosity! We hope to make this year as successful (or more!) Let the bidding begin!

If you or someone you know might be interested in the Lifestyle Program or have any questions about the auction, please contact Stephanie at sgreer@nifs.org.

This blog was written by Stephanie Kaiser. To meet the NIFS bloggers click here.

Topics: NIFS programs health diabetes disease prevention