NIFS Healthy Living Blog

Avoid This Goal-Setting Mistake When Making New Year’s Resolutions

ThinkstockPhotos-497123324.jpgIt’s that time of year again when most evaluate their current year and set their sights on the upcoming one. Goals and plans of being more successful, losing weight, being more fit, and countless other hopes and dreams will be on the minds of so many individuals hoping for change and happiness. And although goal setting is not for everyone (nor does it have to be), for those who take part in this annual renewal and planning effort many fall victim to a huge mistake that will inevitably leave them in the same spot a year from now.

The biggest mistake most people make when developing their goals for the New Year is the failure to define the behavior that is needed to accomplish that given goal. We are great at defining what are considered outcome goals, but we make the unfortunate mistake of stopping there and not defining behavioral goals. What is the difference between the two? Let’s take a look and define the two, understand the need for both, and learn some tips to make your New Year’s resolutions stick.

SMART Goals

You might have heard about using the acronym SMART when writing a goal. But just in case you haven’t, here is SMART defined. A well-written goal should be

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

I will add another term to this: a goal should also be meaningful. The particular goal should have some significance to you and your life. This is an important aspect to consider when deciding where and how to spend your time and effort.

Now that you’re all caught up, I’ll define both outcome and behavioral goals.

Outcome Goals

An outcome goal is just that: it is the outcome you want to obtain in a certain time frame. These are defined usually by numbers such as a weight goal, or specific levels to be reached in your profession, or even starting a retirement fund. These all have specific end products to be reached, and unfortunately most people stop right here.

Examples:

  • I will lose 20 pounds by April 1.
  • I will make $75,000 this year.

Behavioral Goals

A behavioral goal is a series of actions that will eventually lead you to the achievement of your outcome goal. This plan of attack to get to the outcome you defined is essential to see the results you hope to obtain. The experts at Precision Nutrition consider behavior goals to be goals that you have control over. You ultimately do not have control of your body’s cells or how fast they metabolize fat. Nor do you have complete control over whether your boss pays you the $75,000 you feel you have earned. You do have control over the actions that can get you to that outcome you have defined. Adopting behaviors that lead the way toward your goal is key in obtaining the results you are after.

Examples (expanding on the outcome goals listed above):

  • I will lose 20 pounds by April 1.

I will add more vegetables and protein sources to each meal.

I will eat slowly and mindfully at each meal.

My dining out of the house will be limited to one time per week.

I will limit processed foods and choose mainly whole-food options for every meal.

I will exercise 5 times a week for 60 minutes each session, mixing both resistance and aerobic-based movements.

  • I will make $75,000 this year.

I will acquire a certification or more education in my field.

I will spend more time on big tasks or projects.

I will organize my day to maximize productivity by defining a daily schedule and sticking to it.

I will surround myself with goal-orientated, like-minded individuals every day.

I will ask big questions.

Bonus Tips For Success This Year

I think the biggest step you can take to success in this upcoming year is taking it one step at a time! For example, so many of us want to overhaul our entire diet to get to that goal of losing 20 pounds by April 1, only to fall short because we could not sustain the behavior, or the sheer amount of change at one time was just too much. This could lead to failure, which could lead to a backslide, putting us right back where we were to begin the year.

Implement one behavior for a few weeks, and once you have success with that one behavior, add another one, but not until you are successful with the first one. Create a snowball effect of behaviors and you increase the chance of success in the new year.

Getting started is usually the hardest part. Let us help, sign up for a free Fitness Assessment today!

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This blog was written by Tony Maloney, ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist and Fitness Center Manager. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: goal setting resolutions weight loss goals behavior new year's

Warming Up Before Your Workout

ThinkstockPhotos-498944002.jpgHave you ever gone into the gym and jumped right into your workout, only to notice that it took a good 20 minutes to get into it? Or how about heading out for a run without any form of warming up, and you really don’t start to feel into your rhythm until halfway through?

I know that I have experienced both of these things, and I also know the value of warming up before you begin a workout! Warming up before you start has several benefits that I will talk about, as well as giving you a few good exercises to get yourself moving.

Why Warmups Are Important

Some key benefits to getting in a warmup before you begin to lift or do cardio exercise is that it is one of the most efficient ways to avoid an injury. You want to be sure to get all parts of the body moving to keep yourself from getting hurt. Also, warming up is important if you want to be sure to get the most out of your workout by moving efficiently and reaching your peak performance.

How to Warm Up

The warmup is the prep phase of your workout. This needs to include static and dynamic movements to get the body going. You also want to be sure to incorporate some corrective exercises and foam rolling to get the blood pumping, stretch the muscles out, and make your joints more limber. Getting blood moving through the body and to the muscles will help to increase your body temperature in preparation for movement. Stretching helps to also warm up the muscles and help with making your body more stable, mobile, and flexible. And you want to be more limber so that you are more mobile when beginning exercises and explosive movements.

You might be thinking, “Okay, so what does a good dynamic, all-around warmup look like?” Here are some things that you can include into your warmup (and which take maybe just 10 minutes):

  • Toe-Touch Squats
  • Glute Bridges
  • Bird Dogs
  • Inch Worms
  • Pushups
  • Planks (Side Planks)
  • Lunge Reaches
  • RDLs
  • High Knees
  • Butt Kicks
  • Lateral Lunges
  • Side Shuffles
  • Frankensteins
  • Knee Hugs
  • Line Jumps
  • Reverse Lunges
  • Body-Weight Squats
  • Mini Band Steps

Maybe it’s a time thing, or maybe you just don’t like to warm up, but I want to encourage you to get yourself moving in preparation for working out and see what a difference it makes. Ask one of our Health Fitness Instructors at NIFS to show you some good exercises and come in for a free fitness assessment to get started the right way!

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This blog was written by Amanda Bireline, Fitness Center Manager. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: fitness center workouts injury prevention stretching warmups

Finding Motivation to Beat the Holiday Workout Blues

ThinkstockPhotos-521779117.jpgI don’t know about you, but often during the holidays it just seems easy to blow off your daily workout. You have done well up to this point, staying committed and getting yourself into the gym or out for a run. But with the dark evenings, busy work schedule, and possibly some travel, it tends to be the first thing to take off the list. It’s important for your body to take a break, but if you need some tips on how to keep yourself going, keep reading!

Here are some tips I have come up with to beat the holiday workout blues:

  • Keep it on the schedule. One of the best ways to make sure that you are getting your workout in is to keep it on your schedule. If you have it set in place, it’s not as easy to skip it and head home for some Monday Night Football instead!
  • Meet your workout buddy. If you don’t have one, now is a great time to find one. Find someone that you can be accountable to and make sure you’re getting yourself to the gym.
  • Try a home workout. It’s okay to stay in if you can’t seem to get yourself to the gym; there are plenty of things you can do at home to keep yourself fit. Some ideas are pushups, lunges, squats, planks, and going for a run.
  • Get up early to get it done. If you get your workout done in the morning, you won’t have to think about it the rest of the day! Then once you get out of work and it’s dark, you can just go home and relax.
  • Try something new. This is a great time to try a class or something that you haven’t done before. Try a group fitness class at NIFS or meet with a health fitness instructor to get a personal workout plan.
  • Keep yourself accountable. Check it off in your calendar, put your plan on the fridge, or track your workout in the NIFS app to keep yourself focused on what you need to be doing and create your own accountability.

Whatever it may be for you, find that one thing that keeps you clicking along. You will have to indulge at some point over the next month and half in something that you may have not normally ingested, and if you keep up the workouts, it’s okay! It’s all about discipline during these holiday months, but do your best to keep yourself on track in your exercise to limit the workout blues!

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This blog was written by Amanda Bireline, Health Fitness Specialist and Fitness Center Manager. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: exercise at home motivation workouts holidays accountability

Music with Workouts: Motivation or Distraction?

ThinkstockPhotos-499628790.jpgSalutations, NIFS friends. Picture yourself running across the finish line or standing on the winner’s podium at a major marathon event, scoring a touchdown in the Super Bowl, or even finishing up your final set of EZ Bar preacher curls. (Wait, what was that?) Now that you are wondering what I am getting to here, I must say that all three of those events have something in common, and that is the accompaniment of music.

Do music and fitness go hand in hand, or is the connection overdramatized in television and movies? One thing I know for certain is that when I work out, my music motivates me to sometimes give another rep or stick to my plan, when otherwise I could just as easily pack it in and go home. Here I would like to explore the undeniable links between fitness and music.

The Connection Between Music and Work

Although fitness, as we know it, is a relatively new industry, music and song have been intermingled with work (physical labor) since long before recorded history. There have been articles and studies such as “Let's Get Physical: The Psychology of Effective Workout Music” in the Scientific American online magazine which reiterate that music played in the workplace and workout place contributes to a more productive environment. 

This question has even made its way to the world’s stage, where individuals are prohibited from using personal music devices while participating in Olympic events because it has been shown to provide an “athletic edge” over non-music-listening competition. In essence, working out at the gym isn’t much different than many manual labor jobs, so it would make sense that the same benefits of music to workers and laborers would affect people who work out. Hard, driving beats in the music almost illicit our caveman/cavewoman mentality… beat the drum fast, work fast (Jabr, 2013).

Relaxing Effects

Music can also have a second effect on fitness. Many times it is used as a way to relax and meditate. Soothing ocean sounds make for enough peace and serenity to almost transport you 1,000 miles away to a sunny beach. An example of this type of music takes place in yoga class. The movements of yoga are slow and steady, yet precise. Calming music allows the mind to connect with the body, creating a relaxing atmosphere.

There is the dilemma; not every person wants to “head-bang” to heavy metal at 6 a.m., and not every person wants to take a 30-minute siesta to the sound of trickling water from a creek when their final set is about to go down. In fact, some people prefer that it be completely quiet, because it may be the only time of the day that they get away from the various noises and commotions that accompany day-to-day life in the big city. That’s precisely why the Sony Walkman was introduced in 1979 (and the modern MP3 version, of course); a milestone in human achievement. These devices are great for the music aspect, but not as great for communication and human interaction.

What Music Gives You Motivation for Workouts?

What music gets you pumped or soothes your soul? I know what is on my Top 10 playlist, and it consists of plenty of variety (but always starts and ends with something from the Rocky soundtrack). There are others, of course, but all in all, it’s what drives and motivates me to work out. 

NIFS, not surprisingly, has music in nearly every group fitness class, and in the free-weight room. In adherence to the idea that “not everyone wants to hear your Mega Mix Tape Vol. 2,” the fitness center is limited to personal listening devices only. In the comments, please share what music you are listening to right now to help you get through your reps and sets, or even your day.

Rejoice and Evolve,

Thomas Livengood

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This blog was written by Thomas Livengood, Health Fitness Instructor at NIFS. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers click here.

Topics: fitness center Thomas' Corner motivation group fitness workouts music

The Health Risks of Carrying Excess Abdominal Fat

ThinkstockPhotos-147268279.jpgUnfortunately many people are not fully aware of the danger of carrying excess body fat around their waistlines. Most of us know that in order to get those beach-body abs we all long for, we have to first lose the excess abdominal fat. This is almost everybody’s only motivation for trying to lose belly fat. However, there are deeper and more serious disease prevention reasons to address excess fat in this area.

Two Types of Body Fat

Humans carry two different types of fat in their bodies:

  • Subcutaneous fat: The noticeable layer of fat that is just beneath the skin (the fat you need to lose to see your abs).
  • Visceral fat: Fat that is found deeper in the abdominal area under the muscles and surrounding the organs, such as liver, pancreas, and intestines.

The majority of people are mainly concerned with losing subcutaneous fat since this is the fat you will need to lose in order to let your abs shine through. If you are carrying excess visceral fat, however, there are more reasons to be concerned.

The Health Risks

Because visceral fat resides deep in the abdomen, it can be a huge health risk. Having excess visceral fat can lead to increased risk of the following health conditions:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Breast cancer
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • High cholesterol
  • Metabolic Syndrome
Although genetics do play a role in the amount of visceral fat a person carries, your diet and physical activity level are also major contributors. A sub-par diet and exercise routine puts you at increased risk of carrying excess visceral fat.

Visceral fat can go completely unnoticed because you cannot see it with the naked eye. One way researchers detect visceral fat is through an MRI, which takes a picture of the inside of the abdominal area.

Tips for Losing Fat

Here are some simple tips to help you lose and prevent storing visceral and subcutaneous fat:

  • Use compound movements: Compound movements allow you to get the most bang for your fitness buck. Incorporate as many multi-joint movements as possible into your workout in order to use more energy and burn more calories. Examples are squats, dead lifts, pushups, bench presses, lat pull-downs, and lunges.
  • Try HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training): The purpose of HIIT is to alternate between short bursts of intense activity for a fixed period of time—for example, 20 seconds followed by a short rest period. Because of the fast-paced nature of HIIT, it will cause you to use great amounts of energy within a short time, causing a huge calorie-burning workout. Don’t believe me? Join one of our HIT classes at NIFS and see if it isn’t the best workout you’ve had in years!
  • Change up your workouts: Switching up your workouts periodically will keep your body from becoming too accustomed to your workouts. Once your body becomes too familiar with a certain exercise routine, it begins to decrease the amount of energy needed to complete the routine. By switching up your workouts every 4 to 5 weeks, you are constantly throwing new challenges at your body, forcing it to never reach a plateau. Work with one of our Health Fitness Specialists today to get new ideas on how to switch up your workouts regularly.
  • Improve your diet: NIFS new app, My Nutirition Coach, can help you get daily feedback on your eating habits. Nutrition plays an important part in health and fitness!

Storing fat can be a little more dangerous than you might have thought. When you actually take into consideration the harm you may be doing to your body, hopefully you will be more motivated to shed those extra pounds!

Ready to take the first step to better health and fitness? Schedule a free fitness assessment with us today!

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This blog was written by Darius Felix, Health Fitness Specialist at NIFS. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: weight loss workouts disease prevention excess fat metabolic syndrome

What’s Your 2016 Running Fitness Goal? Consider Marathon Training

ThinkstockPhotos-100454471.jpgI am not someone who is really into New Year’s resolutions. I prefer to use the term “goal” when thinking about next year. When looking ahead, everyone is always trying to make some sort of health and fitness resolution (which for some is awesome and works), but we all know that come the end of February to mid-March, many have fallen off the bandwagon already.

But I feel that when we have certain goals in mind, we typically tend to stick to them more. So, if you have on your bucket list or Yearly 2016 Goals to complete a half marathon, let NIFS Mini-Marathon Training Program help keep you on track!

Running is one of the most popular fitness activities these days. With thousands of races going on around the nation each year, popularity and interest continue to grow. 2015 is killing it with weekly themed races around every corner. If you are not a runner and your 2016 goal is to start running, begin with a 5K; or if you are an experienced runner, work to increase your time in a race, or increase the distance of a run.

Top Tips for New Runners

If you are a new runner, there are some great tips put out by Runner's World to help you get started. Here are the top 10 things (with a little personal addition from me) they suggest to help:

  • Buy the right pair of running shoes. It’s absolutely hands-down worth your investment!
  • Be patient. Don’t freak out about getting a certain time; be patient and focus on completing the race instead of trying to set a pace that might be impossible to complete.
  • Don’t forget rest days. Rest is often neglected, but it’s one of the most important aspects of staying healthy during training. Read this earlier blog on the NIFS page about the importance of recovery.
  • Join a running group. This helps to keep you accountable and committed to your training plan.
  • Make it a habit, even if it’s just a few minutes a day. The toughest part of any exercise routine is to stay committed. Do your best to schedule it into your day.
  • Build your distance gradually. If your goal is 3 miles and you don’t currently run, take your time to build to 3 miles—it’s a process!
  • Mix in some things other than running. Running exclusively can have the the opposite of the effect you want and leads to injury. Be sure to cross-train as well as do some strength training.
  • Make goals that are achievable. You want to be sure to set goals that you can reach and be successful at.

TIME TO TAKE ACTION: Join the NIFS Mini-Marathon Training Program

This program is geared to help both members of NIFS and non-members complete their 5K or half marathon. Program participants are given a specific 14-week training program to follow, which will prepare you for the Mini, the Geist Half Marathon, or the Carmel Half Marathon or a combination of the races. The program is for people of all levels: walkers, joggers, and runners!

Each Wednesday night during the 14-week program, runners will complete their long-distance run with a group. There will be pace groups to help you stay on track for your goal time. Recovery snacks and drinks are provided at the end of each Wednesday training session.

REGISTER NOW! for the 2016 NIFS Mini-Marathon Training Program. We would love to have you join us!

This blog was written by Amanda Bireline, Fitness Center Manager. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: running marathon training resolutions mini marathon half marathon goals

Five Life Lessons from the NIFS Powerlifting Competition

NIFS 2nd Annual Powerlifting Competition happened November 14 in front of a packed house filled with excited onlookers, friends and family of the athletes, and “heavy metal” enthusiasts. The event doubled in size in one year’s time, with competitors from all over the state as well as some of our strongest NIFS members!

power-1.jpgThe fitness center floor was transformed into a makeshift coliseum so all could witness the battles that took place on those power racks and platforms. One could easily learn a great deal about the art of powerlifting, but I witnessed some rather big life lessons on display that were just as powerful as our two champions!

1. Success Favors the Prepared

From the athletes to the support team, success in this event was determined by the level of preparedness and not leaving anything to chance. Preparing for that day resulted in personal records and championships for the athletes and a smooth order of events for the support team. And although the training was difficult and time consuming, putting everything you have into the preparation for anything that you want to achieve is a surefire way to accomplish what you seek.

2. Dynamite Comes in Small Packages

The 2015 Female overall champion weighed in at 124 pounds and pulled 300 pounds off the floor! Now that’s a small package with a HUGE detonation! Although many challenges in your life will be bigger than you, it is possible to overcome them no matter the size of your resources; just keep pulling.

3. Sportsmanship Is ALIVE

Unfortunately, hardly a week goes by that we do not witness an act of disrespect and lack of sportsmanship in some arena of sport in the media. Some are worse than others, of course, but it sometimes can be hard to believe that athletes are competing solely for the thrill and reward of the competition itself. I was reminded at this event that sportsmanship does live on, and it was so inspiring to see athletes support and motivate their fellow competitors. Being more excited about someone’s accomplishments than your own is contagious, and it’s an overall victory for those involved.

4. Failure Breeds Success deadlift.jpg

I have always been a strong believer that failure does breed success, and that sometimes you win and other times you learn. Seeing an athlete fail to complete a lift, almost immediately learn from any mistake that occurred in the preceding lift, and step up and knock out the next one is the truest example of this philosophy. Learning from a mistake, correcting what needs to be corrected, and having the heart to try again is true success.

5. The Bigger the Dream, the Better the Team

NIFS’s first attempt at hosting a powerlifting event was a modest, yet very successful venture that set the tone for future competitions. Due to its success, the event doubled in size and challenges in providing a quality event. Having likeminded and supportive people involved in planning, staging, and putting on an event like this makes those challenges shrink. The staff and volunteers who showed up that Saturday and worked tirelessly is what has allowed the success of this event. And I can’t help but realize that everyday, our lives, is an event; and it takes a strong support team to be successful. We can’t do it on our own! Be sure to thank those that make your everyday events a success!

I know I speak for the rest of the team, NIFS, and the community when I say we are already counting down the days to next year’s big event! Keep your eyes and ears open for the details!

***

LIFT_logo_white.jpgNIFS introduces a new Lifting program in 2016! LIFT is for all levels wanting to learn proper Powerlifting and Olympic lifting techniques. Our expert trainer will teach fundamentals, evaluate movements and help build a customized training program around your lifting goals. If you would like more information contact Aaron at acombs@nifs.org

This blog was written by Tony Maloney, ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist and Fitness Center Manager. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

  

Topics: NIFS fitness center NIFS programs weightlifting powerlifting competition