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NIFS Healthy Living Blog

Nutrition and Fitness Accountability to Get You Through the Holiday Season

ThinkstockPhotos-524163310.jpgIt’s the time of year that no one wants to talk about. But let’s face it: Christmas decorations have been out in stores for over a month, and the holidays are just around the corner. And for many across the nation, the holidays are one of the most dreaded times for unhealthy eating and putting on unwanted excess weight. But it doesn’t have to be like that. Don’t let this time of year scare you. Instead, view it as an opportunity to meet the weight management challenge for a better you!

Tips for Finding Balance at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Beyond

The holidays are hard, and I would never deny that. Travel bogs you down with fast food on the road and in the airport; visitors come to the house to stay for a week at a time and you have to do all the cooking of holiday meals; and those delicious goodies that seem to appear only once a year are ever-present on the counter yelling, “EAT ME!” So with all this, how do you stay on track? Allow me to share a few ideas that come to mind for having a successful holiday season with your eating and exercise.

  • Find a nutrition balance. While I am not encouraging you to go out and have five of your favorite cookies every day, I am going to say it’s okay to have one. The key to being successful and not overdoing it with what you put into your mouth is balance. There are times through the holidays that the red velvet cake is staring you in the face, and if you do decide you are going to eat it, then create a balance. What are you going to say no to instead? A few tips: don’t eat the entire piece; leave some on the plate. Eat slowly and allow yourself to feel full rather than killing it in two bites. Drink water with it or milk that has some nutritional value. The more water you drink, the more you will feel full, allowing you to scale back on the cake intake.
  • Find a workout balance. You also need to find balance in the gym. You know those people who head to the gym for a three-hour workout on Thanksgiving morning? You don’t have to be that person. If you have a good balance of both exercising on a regular basis through the holidays and eating appropriately, you won’t need that 3,000-calorie burn before the big feast.
  • Have a plan. Making sure that you have a plan is essential to your holiday success. I have found when there is no plan in place ahead of time, it becomes a free-for-all, which leads to overeating. Make a plan before the holidays start and create goals that are both realistic and attainable for yourself. If you know you have travel coming up or you know that you are hosting for a week, come up with a plan that makes sense for how often and how long you will be able to work out each day, as well as what you will be eating and potentially cooking for guests.
  • Stick to the plan. Having a plan can be the easy part, but sticking to that plan is the challenge. Make sure that you commit to your goal: if you said you were going to work out three to four times a week, do it! If something comes up and you can’t get to the gym, do something at home. The biggest thing is to not allow yourself to make an excuse. You may have to get up a little bit early before the guests arise for your homemade waffles, or make sure the hotel that you are staying at has a gym. Whatever you need to do to stay on track, make it happen.
  • Have some accountability. Figure out what type of accountability works for you. Maybe it’s coming up with that plan with a friend or family member. Or maybe it’s tracking it through a fitness tracker, signing up for a personal trainer, or joining a program the gym is putting on. Whatever it may be, find what works for you and commit to doing it.

NIFS Game of Inches Can Help!

If you are looking for some accountability through the holiday season, we have just the thing for you! Whether your goal right now is to put on muscle mass or to shed some inches, this program will suit your desires! NIFS is introducing a new program called Game of Inches.Game-of-inches-logo-final.jpg

The Game of Inches will help to keep you on track as you compete in one of two challenges:

  • Challenge #1—Gain Challenge: Work to at muscle building to put on mass through the holidays.
  • Challenge #2—Loss Challenge: Work to lose inches through the holidays.

For both challenges, measurements will be taken with the Fit3D scanner and an accumulation of specific measurements will determine a winner. To accompany the scans, each program participant will receive weekly newsletters containing videos to keep you focused and working hard! Each week videos will be sent containing workouts, nutrition tips, an exercise of the week, and a warrior challenge to finish it off.

NIFS members can sign up at the NIFS track desk located in the fitness center. All signups and scan-ins must be completed between November 6–12, and a subsequent scan out will take place between January 1–7. For this program we are asking that members “pay” by donating canned food items for Paw’s Pantry. Nonmembers can also join! For a fee of only $95, nonmembers will receive the scan-in/scan-out and all videos accompanying the program. In addition to this, the fee includes full access to NIFS and everything NIFS offers during the 7 weeks of the program between the start and end dates. Nonmembers interested in signing up can stop by the NIFS service desk to register.

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Questions? Please contact Amanda Bireline (abireline@nifs.org or 317.274.3432, ext. 219).

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

Topics: NIFS fitness nutrition fitness center holidays accountability challenge weight management workout Thanksgiving muscle building christmas

Four Reasons to Make Time for a Cool-down after a Workout

cool_down-1.jpgWe know it is encouraged by fitness professionals, and included at the end of group exercise classes, but I want to ask you, personally: how many times after a workout do you actually take the time to cool down?

Many of us tend to finish a hard workout and walk right to the showers or straight to our cars to hurry and get home to the next item on our to-do list. Some of us may not notice much of a difference whether or not we incorporate a cool-down, such as athletes or active adults. However, according to the American College of Sports Medicine, “for the general population, many apparently healthy adults may have heart disease or other diagnosed conditions,” making a cool-down a game-changer for not only everyday movement abilities, but safety.

Here are just a few reasons why you shouldn’t skip out on a few minutes of recovery.

1. Prevent Dizziness

If you have ever felt lightheaded immediately after a hard workout, it could very well be caused from blood pooling. Strenuous exercise causes the blood vessels in your legs to expand, bringing more blood into the legs and feet. After physical activity, your heart is beating faster than normal, and your core body temperature is higher. When you abruptly stop exercising without taking time to cool down, your heart rate slows immediately, which can cause blood to pool into the lower body, causing blood to return at a slower rate to your heart, and your brain. This in turn can cause you to experience dizziness or fainting.

Many accidents in fitness centers actually tend to occur in the locker room from members making a beeline straight to the locker room, steam room, or sauna after a tough workout, without taking adequate time for their body to calm down.

2. Flexibility Is at Its Best

When you finish a tough workout, as stated before, your core body temperature is higher. This means that your muscles are warm and ready for more static stretching. Dynamic stretching is recommended at the beginning of a workout, so static stretching (in other words, taking a deep breath and holding a stretch in a particular position for 15 to 30 seconds at a time) is the next step you can take in maintaining and increasing elasticity in the muscles. This lengthening of the muscles leads to better range of motion and, in turn, improved quality of life for daily activities.

3. Injury Prevention

Tagging onto flexibility, you can prevent yourself from acquiring common injuries with some of this mobility work. One of the most common injuries is in the lower back, which can sometimes be triggered by tight hip flexors and hamstrings. By simply adding some mobility work after you finish, you can not only increase your range of motion, but also increase your ability to catch yourself when you fall or have to react quickly to an unstable surface.

4. Restoration for Your Body

Whether it be simply slowing down to a light jog or walk after some light sprints, or by moving into a savasana pose at the end of a yoga class, a cool-down can have physiological benefits on the body in terms of finality. When we slow down, we feel a “sense of normality” come back into our extremities, and the body begins to restore itself back to a steady state. In other words, it just feels nice!

So whatever you decide to do at the end of your workout, I encourage you to take a moment to think twice for next time. Whether it be adding five minutes of walking to bring the heart rate down, or an extra five minutes to stretch while your muscles are warm, it’s important to note that there are no negative effects to the process. It can only help you in the long run!

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This blog was written by Rebecca Newbrough, Lifestyle Program Coordinator and Health Fitness Instructor. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: yoga injury prevention flexibility stretching workout recovery heart rate cool-down

What’s in Your Luggage?: The Best Traveling Fitness Tools

It’s summertime which is usually synonymous with vacations and miles of traveling. Summertime travels have been some of the best times of my life! The weather is great, there are so many things to do, the sun is out, and it’s time to relax and have some well-deserved FUN.

But it can be somewhat difficult to continue your regimen while on the road. Hotel gyms are not always the best (although most will get the job done in a crunch), you are staying in a rented home or cottage that does not include a fitness facility, and day passes to the local gym can play havoc with your vacation budget. If you are anything like me, you want do something quick but effective so you can get back to what the trip was intended for: RELAXING. So what are you to do?

Planning to stay active during your travels doesn’t have to be a huge challenge. To help you plan to stay on track in your fitness, no matter the environment, I put together a list of great tools that travel really well. So when you are packing all the clothes you probably will never wear (I am the worst about that) and your sunscreen, leave a little extra room for a few of these great tools that stow easily and will keep you moving toward your desired outcomes.fitness-travel

TRX

There is a reason the company that manufactures the very popular TRX is named Fitness Anywhere. The TRX can go and be used anywhere. From hanging the suspension trainer off your hotel door, to getting outside and securing it to a tree, the TRX is ready to go in a matter of seconds. The TRX is really your travel gym because most resisted movements you can think of that you perform in the gym can be done using the TRX. Not sold yet? The TRX rolls up into a super-small bag that won’t take up much room in your luggage or even your carry-on.

Resistance Band

Just like the TRX, the resistance band will add load to any movement and will take up no space in your bag. The band also provides many unique movements as well as tension throughout the entire range of motion. This equals big resistance in a small package.

Tennis/Lacrosse Ball

You have heard me speak about recovery many times before as being a huge part of your training program. A great time to spend some time recovering is when you are on vacation. Pack a tennis or lacrosse ball, or even a small foam roller to take care of your soft tissue rehab needs. Remember, the results from your program happen during recovery, so use this time to reap the benefits.

Val Slides

Also known as furniture movers, Val Slides are a great tool to add a little more oomph to your body weight exercise. With hundreds of ways to utilize these sliders to create a major metabolic and strength effect, they are a great choice to throw in your luggage. By the way, they weigh only a few ounces and are super flat, ensuring that they won’t send your suitcase over the weight limit.

Kettlebell

The kettlebell travels best if you are driving to your destination, not flying. But if you are choosing the automobile route for your vacation, the bell will fit very nicely in the trunk. I can’t even start to cover the multitude of movements that can be accomplished with the kettlebell. For those of you participating in Small Group Training or our HIT program, you’ve witnessed what a single kettlebell workout can look and feel like. The kettlebell is a very effective, very quick, and very easy tool to travel with. Grab one and throw it in the car—you will thank me for it!

These lists of workout tools is by no means exhaustive, but are the ones that I think provide the most impact while taking up the least amount of space. There is a tool I didn’t mention above, but can be the best tool of all and that is a pair of walking shoes. No matter the place, time, and who you are with, you can always go for a stroll. Enjoy your summer. You’ve worked all winter for it.

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

Topics: fitness running walking group training resistance kettlebell workout TRX recovery traveling

8 Essential Winter Clothing Pieces for Runners and Walkers

177522302Winter can be brutal when it comes to getting out the door for a run or walk, however having the right apparel can leave you barely noticing how cold it is outside. With the improvements in the quality of winter gear that popular running apparel companies such as Craft and Pearl Izumi have made, you will hardly notice the cold once you get going!

I visited Runners Forum to take a look at some of the new apparel that they have in stock this year and was very impressed with all they have to offer for this winter. After speaking with the store manager, we came up with 8 essential items you must have before you hit the streets on those cold days:

1)     Running Shoes- No matter what the season it is critical that you are running in a shoe that is right for you. Not having a proper shoe specific to your body mechanics can lead to injuries or discomfort during the run or walk.

2)     Wicking Base Layer- A long sleeve shirt that is efficient in wicking the moisture away from your body is important for both function and comfort. This piece is responsible for moving your sweat away from your body and out to the additional layers to keep you dry and warm.

3)     Insulating Layer- This layer is generally fleece lined and continues moving moisture away from your body. It has the added responsibility of trapping body heat you are producing to keep you even warmer.image001-2

4)     Wind and Water Resistant Jacket- For the most dreary days that involve sleet, rain and snow, a high-tech jacket can make a huge difference in your comfort level. Not only does it protect you from these elements, but it too will continue to wick away moisture from your body and trap your body heat.

5)     Gloves and Socks- Also preferably in moisture wicking, these are crucial for keeping your fingers and toes warm and dry playing a huge factor in trapping your body heat. Additionally your fingers and toes are at a high risk of becoming frostbit on the coldest days so this is a piece that you can not afford to go without.

6)     Running Tights- Since your legs are doing a majority of the work, you are producing a lot of heat in this area. Tights will be most efficient in holding in heat, but if tights are not your style, than a light insulated running pant will be your best bet.image002

7)     Winter Hat or Headband- Similar to your toes and fingers, your ears are at a high risk for frostbite. Cover your ears and head to avoid this as well as add warmth to the area for comfort.

8)     Reflective Gear- In the winter, the days are shorter which means many of your runs may start or finish in the dark. To be safe, wear as much reflective clothing as you can so that you can be visible to cars and others. Many winter clothing pieces are indeed reflective but a reflective vest is a good substitute.

Mini-logo-option-2Cross the finish line with us this Spring! The 25th Annual Mini Marathon & 5K Training Program starts January 21–May 6, 2015. Training is at 6pm at NIFS downtown.

Visit our website or contact Stephanie Kaiser for more information.

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

Topics: winter fitness running walking marathon training mini marathon workout reflective gear weather layers 5k

5 Thanksgiving Day Hacks

5 Thanksgiving Day Hacks [Infographic]

5ThanksgivingDayHacks

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

Topics: exercise calories holidays weight management workout goals Thanksgiving

Slim It to Win It: Shelli's Hard Bellies

This is my first year being a Slim-it to Win–It coach and my team, Shelli’s Hard Bellies, and I are having a blast!shelli-team-picture  Over the past several weeks we have had some ups and downs with teammates being sick and/or injured but no one has given up!

During this program I have tried to spice up each workout utilizing the equipment all over the gym. My team hasn’t loved the sleds at times but understands the importance and major benefits of them.

One of my favorite workouts I have done with Shelli’s Hard Bellies is the DOC (Desk of Cards) workout or “The Card Game.” I love this because it is fun to do and can be done with any age and ability level. It is also a great way to mix strength training and cardio into one kick butt workout.

Start with a deck of cards and give each suit an exercise.  Have fun with this, you could choose all body weight exercises, all strength exercises or list two options for each suit. 

Examples are as follow:
Diamonds: Push Ups
Spades: Goblet Squats (Add Jump)
Hearts: TRX or Barbell Row
Clubs: Push Press

When it comes to the face cards, either simply make Jack=11, Queen=12, King=13 & Ace=14 or make it even harder! I usually do the indicated amounts plus extra exercises on top of it all. Face card are worth more so why wouldn’t they be the hardest part of the workout.  Slim-It-logo2

The last time we played I made Ace the exercise listed above PLUS jog 1 lap around the In door track, King, as listed, PLUS 30 seconds of plank, Queen, as listed, PLUS 30 seconds of Mt. Climbers, leaving Jack as listed, PLUS 10 Burpees. I left the jokers in there too and that indicated a small rest period where the team could grab some water.

Needless to say, this was a tough workout but they loved it! I plan to do the DOC workout again before the end of the program but all the exercises will be different so ensure the element of surprise!


Thanks, Hard Bellies, for working hard throughout this entire program!
I hope to see you all consistently after Slim-it to Win-it wraps up to ensure continued results.

Training with a group is a proven strategy for sticking with a workout routine and is more economical than one-on-one training. If you are interested in trying a small group or large group training session contact Tony Maloney today to get started!

This blog was written by Shelli Kopetsky, NIFS Heath Fitness Instructor. Learn more about the NIFS bloggers.
 

Topics: exercise weight loss workout personal training team training

Four Common Character Traits in People Who Exercise Consistently

exercise priority

Do you find yourself to be inconsistent with your fitness routine? One week you are completing all aspects of your program without missing a beat, and the next you are struggling to get just one workout in? There is a laundry list of ideas for people to adapt to keep themselves on track with their fitness routine, but what are the major character traits seen in individuals who have a consistent workout routine? The best part about these traits is that they can be developed by anyone over time!

1. Exercise Is Valued

Whether material or moral based, things that we consider valuable in our lives are given a much higher priority than things that are not. People who are able to stick to an exercise routine place a value on exercise. This may be something that has been inherent and always a part of their life, or something newly developed based on how they have benefited from exercise itself. They have witnessed how exercise has added value to their life overall.

Think about how adding a consistent exercise routine will add value to your life, whether it is for improved health, some type of outlet, or any reason that you believe makes it valuable to you.

2. Accountability Is Apparent

Not everyone benefits from the same form of accountability, but this can be achieved in different ways and is apparent with those who have a successful routine. Some people are successful with holding themselves accountable and are guided by the voice in their head. They may take it a step further and write down what they have done and plan to do to have a visual form of accountability. Others join a group and find accountability through a coach or the other individuals that are looking for similar results.

Having a group is an excellent source of accountability; if you start to miss workouts, it will not go unnoticed, and you will have a large group of people there to help you stay on track. Others just need one person to stay accountable to their routine, whether it is a friend that is joining them a few days a week or a supportive family member checking up on them regularly. If you are lacking accountability to your fitness routine, give each of these forms of accountability a try and see which you have the most success with!

3. Satisfaction Is Measured

Finding the right balance of opportunities in our life that bring us satisfaction in a healthy way is important. At the end of a long week, it is common to reflect and determine how satisfyingly the week went in all aspects of life. Individuals who see their fitness routines as a valuable aspect of their life reflect on how satisfied they are with sticking with their fitness routine that week. No, these individuals are not always satisfied at the end of the week. Many miss a workout or two for one reason or the other during the week, but they reflect and determine why they missed it. If they are satisfied with the reason that they missed a workout, they will move past it quickly since it was probably missed due to something else of high value in their life. But if they are unsatisfied with their reason for missing, they will look for a way to ensure that it does not happen the following week.

If you do not find satisfaction from exercise currently, consider trying different forms. You might not have found the right fitness niche to achieve this, or to determine whether exercise is a value to you yet.

4. Prioritizing Is Plannedcalendar

There is always an underlying reason that exercise has become a priority for these individuals. Whether they started to exercise because they were told they should to improve their overall health, they exercise to satisfy a competitive drive, or they have just done it for so long that it is a part of their daily life, these individuals will always make their exercise routine a priority. Although they still may miss a workout, they develop a plan that will best ensure that they will have time to make this priority happen during the week.

Two examples of this include waking up early to make it into the gym before work instead of after because of another obligation that came up during your regularly slated time, or having a backup plan available at home if getting out to go to the gym is not going to be an option. Here are some other ways to help make exercise a priority.

The best part about these traits is that they can all be developed if you are lacking in one or more right now! If you are struggling to stick to a fitness routine, take a look at yourself and see where you stack up with them. Learning to develop these traits as they relate to you individually will help you to stick to your exercise routine.

If you are ready to make exercise a priority in your life NIFS is here to help. Membership at NIFS includes a personal assessment and training programs designed for you by a Health Fitness Specialist. Try NIFS free for 14-days and see how we can help you make exercise a priority.

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

Topics: exercise healthy habits motivation group training attitude workout

Fit & Forty+ (Fabulous) Series—Increasing Your Metabolism

Fit & Forty+ (Fabulous) Series—Increasing Your Metabolism with Strength Training (Dumbbell Workout)Band workout at NIFS

For the fourth, and final, workout in this series we are going to be using dumbbells.

Dumbbell training is another in the line of adding more weight to your moves to make you stronger and to fire up your lean muscle mass. Dumbbells are easy to find in varying sizes, but as with the kettlebell, you do not need to buy a pair of them. I would go with a light weight for pressing moves and heavier for any leg moves you will be doing. If it feels “manageable” to lift over your head in the store go a bit heavier (2-5lbs). You can do less repetitions and more sets.





Remember we want to get strong, burn a ton of calories, and be able to move about your day easier.  It is not “hard” but it will be a “challenge” that we all can conquer.

This is our final workout for our Fit & Forty+ blog. I hope this series has helped you incorporate some changes into your exercise and nutrition routine.  Keep in mind it is not how old the calendar says you are it is what your mind tells you. Keep working small steps equal BIG results.
 
Coming up I will be doing a series on Spring/Summer shape up workouts for ANYWHERE. Thanks for watching!

If you have just joined this series please be sure to go back and read all the blogs including:

Getting Started

Foam Rolling and Increasing Your Range of Motion

Eat Right to Feel Right

Increasing Metabolism with Strenght Training (Band Workout)

Increasing Metabolism with Strenght Training (Kettlebell Workout)

Increasing Metabolism with Strenght Training (Bodyweight Workout)

Ready to get started with an exercise program designed for you? Schedule an appointment with Kris by contacting her at 317-274-3432 or email.

This blog series was written by Kris Simpson BS, ACSM-PT, HFS, personal trainer at NIFS. To read more about Kris and NIFS bloggers click here.

Topics: exercise fitness equipment muscles challenge workout dumbbell 40

Fit & Forty+ (Fabulous) Series— Increasing Your Metabolism with Strength Training

Fit & Forty+ (Fabulous) Series— Increasing Your Metabolism with Strength Training (Kettlebell Workout)

For this second workout in the series we are going to be using a Kettlebell. Kettlebell training isBand workout at NIFS becoming a hot new way to change up your workout and is great for women.

Kettlebells come in many sizes, when looking for weights right for you, think of using a lighter weight of 10lbs, that you will use to press off your chest or over your head. You will need a heavier weight of 20lbs or more for leg/full body moves. You do not need more than one of each size, as you can offset your moves (use one arm/move) which challenges you to stabilize your core.

Watch the video below and try the movements. Be sure to start with lower weights if you are new to strength training or are not familiar with the Kettlebell.

 

If you have just joined this series be sure to go back and read all the blogs. Including:

Getting Started

Foam Rolling and Increasing Your Range of Motion

Eat Right to Feel Right

Increasing Metabolism with Strenght Training (Band Workout)

Ready to get started with an exercise program designed for you? Schedule an appointment with Kris by contacting her at 317-274-3432 or email.

This blog series was written by Kris Simpson BS, ACSM-PT, HFS, personal trainer at NIFS. To read more about Kris and NIFS bloggers click here.

Topics: exercise training metabolism strength kettlebell workout