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NIFS Healthy Living Blog

NIFS SLIM IT TO WIN IT: Weapons of Mass Reduction

I’m pleased to introduce to you my second Slim It to Win It group, Weapons of Mass Reduction. It started out as a second team that I took on due to the interest of members during the 6am time frame. It has been a great journey so far. They have started to weigh in halfway through the program and are describe the imagechallenged every other week with homework. With a wide variety of exercises and partner workouts, they continue to grow as a team and as individuals. They will continue to pursue their goals in the Slim It program. I hope they can take away this experience and finish the program strong and leave with personal growth of fitness and health.

Name: Daniel Feinstein

Share your story or a bit about yourself in a few sentences:

Losing weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can be extremely challenging. For me, the exercise piece of the puzzle comes relatively easily; however, I’ve struggled making well-balanced food choices. I am easily tempted by a sporting event or a night on the town, which tends to lead to poor choices.

NIFS programs that you participated in: Summer Showdown, Maintain Not Gain, Slim It to Win It

Why did you join this program?NIFS slim it

To win three free months of NIFS membership! All joking aside, I joined for several reasons: to bring a sense of accountability for my fitness results (both to myself and to my team), to learn more about living and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, to meet new friends, and to experience training sessions specifically designed to target fat loss.

Something you have enjoyed:

I really enjoy group training. It fosters an environment where teammates encourage and push each other, oftentimes outside of typical comfort zones.

Something you have learned or something that surprised you:

Not specifically something I’ve learned during Slim It to Win It, but this program helped remind me how important a well-balanced diet is to achieving certain fitness goals (especially fat loss). As I grow older and my metabolism slows, the more I realize how difficult (or nearly impossible) it is to offset poor diet choices by working harder in the gym. 

Favorite exercise from one of the workouts?

I do not have a favorite exercise; however, I really enjoy the fact that each workout is unique and incorporates several themes into one 60-minute session. So far, a typical workout has included dynamic warm-up, core, strength, metabolic, and cool-down.

What accomplishments have you achieved during your training program for Slim It to Win It (or do you hope to achieve)?

I hope to lose a little fat, meet friends, and develop healthy habits.*

What struggles have you encountered? Tips you have learned along the way?

I typically struggle with maintaining a “clean” diet. Using MyFitnessPal to log meals has helped tremendously. In general, making smart meal choices can be difficult when eating off of a menu. Because of this, I have found that planning and preparing my meals (and snacks) really helps.

How do you stay motivated?

I really enjoy working out, but the following tips help me stay motivated:

  • Schedule: I view working out as part of my daily schedule; of course, rest days are planned. In any given week I have a schedule with an idea of the type of workout planned each day. I enjoy working out first thing in the morning. My workday can be hectic and exhausting; working out in the morning leaves one less thing to worry about.
  • Variety: Variety also plays a big role in staying motivated. I rarely do the same exact workout twice and like to include challenges as part of my workout.
  • Goal setting: When setting goals, I rarely make goals related to my physical appearance (maybe I should!). My goals are more fitness related, such as row 2000m in less than XX minutes, do XX pull-ups, et cetera. I find myself continually adjusting my goals as skills and fitness improve.

    *Weight loss claims and/or individual results vary and are not guaranteed.
Regardless of fitness level or goals, almost every member at NIFS could benefit from Group Training or enrolling in a NIFS program. I highly recommend taking the leap! If you are interested in trying a small group or HIT training session contact Tony Maloney today to get started!

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

Topics: goal setting weight loss group fitness workouts healthy eating group training NIFS programs Slim It to Win It

Four Common Character Traits in People Who Exercise Consistently

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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 7-days and see how we can help you make exercise a priority.

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

Topics: exercise healthy habits motivation group training attitude workout

Team Ben-A-Fits (Team 200) Workout for Slim It To Win It 2014

The Slim It to Win It workout highlighted today focused on a circuit-based, team-style approach. We broke our team into five groups. Each team started on a different exercise and completed 200 repetitions of that particular exercise. The catch was that only one team member could perform the exercise at a time. Once the 200 repetitions goal was met, the team moved on to the next exercise.

The Exercises in Our Circuit-Based Workoutslim it to win it

The following exercises made up the circuit:

  1. Battle Rope Tom-Toms
  2. Medicine Ball Thrusters
  3. Halo Pushups
  4. TRX Rows
  5. Slosh Pipe/jogging laps

This workout is perfect for a Slim It To Win It group for a number of reasons.

Everyone Gets a High-Intensity Workout

One of the biggest challenges of large group training is catering to different fitness levels while maximizing everyone’s results. It is always a priority to keep the intensity high for both seasoned NIFS veterans and newcomers to the program. Splitting the repetition load among teammates allows for different fitness levels to perform a different amount of reps, so all team members can keep their workout intensity at a high level.

A Workout with Just the Right Amount of Rest

Another reason I like this workout is the work-to-rest ratio. Performing the particular circuit exercise to exhaustion allows your partner to get rest time while you work, so you are recovered adequately when your turn is back up. You want to stay moving as much as you can during training, but rest is a very important aspect. The design of this workout allows for rest, but not too much.

A Workout That Emphasizes Camaraderie and Motivation

Finally, this workout has an emphasis on team camaraderie and motivation. While one team member rests, the other can ensure proper technique is being used and provide extra motivation to work together to complete the task.

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 Ben Norris, NIFS Heath Fitness Instructor. Learn more about the NIFS bloggers.

Topics: NIFS group fitness workouts NIFS programs circuit workout HIT Slim It to Win It

Thomas’ Corner: Shin Splint Showdown

March can be a good starting point for goal setting and modifying resolutions (not to mention contemplating the time we have until swimsuit weather arrives). Regardless of individual intentions and goals, starting a new routine, becoming a regular at the gym, not properly warming up and cooling down and breaking in new sneakers all have one nagging issue in common: shin splints.shin splints

What Is a Shin Splint?

A shin splint is described as pain in the lower leg and is typically located on the front, inside portion of the shin bone (tibia). Some individuals experience tenderness, numbness, and even throbbing in the affected area. The pain usually lasts only during exercise and will go away when we are at rest.

What Causes Shin Splints?

Shin splints are mainly caused by running form, running on hard surfaces, overuse/overtraining, nonsupportive shoes, and genetics (flat feet). While the best treatment for shin splints remains simple rest, it is permissible to exercise if proper post-exercise treatment is administered. This treatment includes icing the shin and keeping it elevated for 10 to 15 minutes after your exercise session.

Preventing Shin Splints

Shin splints are treatable and preventable. Do not let them beat you in your quest for fitness and wellness prosperity. Take the necessary precautions and be aware of how your body is responding to your training. For expert advice on footwear, ask your family podiatrist or footwear professional. You can also help your cause by avoiding running on hard surfaces, adjusting workout intensity to a gradual increase (instead of “no pain, no gain” mentality), and making sure you are wearing proper shoes that fit your foot type.

Stretches For Preventing Shin Splints

shin spint stretchshin splint stretchFor shin splint prevention, begin a stretching routine that includes standing calf stretches (shown to the right using a slanted service), Achilles tendon stretches (shown using a towel for better range of motion), as well as a well-rounded dynamic warm-ups.

It is also important to strengthen the muscles in the lower leg with toe raises and toe presses (shown below using a step).

shin spint stretchshin splint stretch

Please contact a NIFS Health Fitness Specialist to help you set up exercises and stretches that are appropriate for your fitness level and goals.

Be well, and best wishes!

If you are interested in training for a half or full marathon, NIFS has programs just for you! Contact Stephanie Kaiser for more information.

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

Topics: Thomas' Corner running injury prevention overtraining

SLIM IT TO WIN IT: Crystal’s Team

Greetings everyone! Slim It thus far has been an exciting experience for me and for both of my teams! I have been blessed with having not only one but two teams due to the high number of requests from individuals wanting to join this year. I will highlight my Monday and Friday team this week. Be sure to look out for my blog about my Tuesday and Thursday team in the near future.Slim It

My M/F team is doing a great job with the exercises that I have been giving them and familiarizing themselves with the structure of our workouts. A few of them have worked with me before in previous programs or through personal training. It is nice to see familiar faces and at the same time getting to know other members. They have adapted well to other trainers and continued to attend those sessions. Many have experienced soreness, which is common during the beginning weeks of a new program. We are currently thinking of a team name and plan to have one by the end of our third week.

The weather hasn’t been cooperating as much as we’d like; therefore, some members were unable to come in. Overall, the program has been challenging in many ways and I plan to continue to motivate them to incorporate a healthier lifestyle and to reach their Slim It goals!

Here’s an interview with one of my team members:

1. Share your story or a bit about yourself in a few sentences:

My name is Jenna Looney. I am 29 years old and have lived in downtown Indy for 1 year. I was a special education teacher and I recently switched to the field of educational technology. In this role I am far less mobile and active at work, but I LOVE the job. I miss the interactions with kids and being active throughout the day. I love travel, Mexican food, reading, being outside, the Pacers, rehabbing furniture, music, dancing, and overall FUN!

I have watched the scale go up and down over the past 10 years in some pretty dramatic swings. I am looking to find a realistic, healthy, maintainable weight and stick to it. I found I felt too busy for exercise or for healthy eating, but I realize it will only get more complicated and busier if I have a family. I want to get it under control now and stop making excuses. I worked with Crystal for about three months prior to starting Slim It and have had positive and exciting results in combination with diet*. I am also currently in the run-walk group for the NIFS Mini Marathon Training Program.

2. NIFS Programs you’ve participated in:

I am a member at NIFS and participated in the Mini Marathon training last year and am doing it again this year. I also started using personal training sessions.

3. Why did you join this program?Slim It to Win It

I enrolled in Slim It to Win It for three reasons:

  1. Groups motivate me to stay strong and committed.
  2. I could pick to work with Crystal and I felt she would bring a challenge, yet she knows me from training so I am comfortable with asking her questions, etc.
  3. I want to continue to work toward my goals of better health and weight loss—I want to look good by my 30th birthday.

4. Something you’ve enjoyed:

I have been surprised with how exercise really does help relieve soreness—but goodness, it’s hard to force yourself to exercise when you are  incredibly sore from a tough workout.

5. Something you have learned or something that surprised you:

Something I have enjoyed: In my one-on-one sessions with Crystal I have loved (and sort of hated) the metabolic ball throws and slams. I love them because I feel the burn and my heart races, so that also makes me hate them. But ultimately I know these bring results, so I love them.

We have incorporated a variation of these metabolic exercises already in our group training and I look forward to more—oh gosh! I cannot believe I just typed that!

6. Favorite exercise from one of the workouts:

BOSU mountain climbers. I don’t really love these because they feel a tad like push-ups, but I guess I like that I have progressed to be able to use the BOSU in mountain climbers and hold it for extended periods while in the push-up/plank position. I knew I was getting stronger when I could do this because it almost killed me the first time I tried it. I like seeing myself get stronger.

7. What accomplishments you have achieved during your training?

Since starting training with Crystal prior to Slim It, I’ve lost 6.5% body fat, gained 6.9 pounds of lean muscle, and have gone down a rating for body fat in three months*. I am excited to continue to decrease my body fat and see less jiggle and wiggle in my gut.

8. What struggles have you encountered? Tips you have learned along the way?

Challenges: When I’ve had a bad day or have had a great day worth celebrating, I find it hard not to want to go out to eat and eat and drink to celebrate or to make myself feel better. To combat this: If I come to the gym I feel better when I’m done. The biggest battle is making myself go—once I’m in the gym it’s rare that I don’t leave feeling better and fulfilled. I’m not perfect at this, but it’s better than it was...

9. How do you stay motivated?

By not quitting if I slip up in my diet, and pushing through excuses and reasons to skip a workout. Also remaining focused on my next goal, 10 more pounds...

10. Any other thoughts?

I love the staff at NIFS. They’re all awesome. I love Crystal and want to thank her for supporting me and helping me make the progress I have. I’m excited to continue my progress!

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!

*Weight loss claims and/or individual results vary and are not guaranteed.

Like what you've just read? Click here to subscribe to our blog!

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

Topics: NIFS weight loss NIFS programs weight management Slim It to Win It

10 Ways to Survive Your Long Run During Half Marathon Training

It’s Mini-Marathon training time, which means thousands of people are logging miles to prepare for the big day. The NIFS Mini-Marathon Training Program is holding strong as we meet together each Wednesday night to complete the long run scheduled for the week.

If you have trained for a half marathon, you know that sometimes simply logging the miles can bemarathon training a hefty task. If this is your first time training for a half marathon, and the thought of running 10-plus miles seems a bit daunting, you are not alone.

Distance running is difficult, but it is not impossible. I have compiled a list of 10 things that keep me going when I am logging the miles, which will hopefully make your long run successful, too.

  1. Plan. Put this long run into your schedule and set yourself up for success. If you know that your long run is tomorrow, do what you need to do to enjoy the run the following day. Things like going to bed early and drinking lots of water may be helpful, while going out and partying with your friends may not be quite as helpful.
  2. Run somewhere you LIKE to run. I get it, running 10 miles can seem a bit monotonous at times. Some days I prefer to do my long runs through town so I can look in all the shop windows and be around a lot of people. But other times I choose to run in areas with much more beautiful, natural scenery. It doesn’t matter where, just pick a place that you will enjoy for a couple of hours at a time.
  3. Recruit a friend or have a friend meet you midway for a few miles.MM5K Logo_2023_name and tag Sometimes when I am running by myself, a little voice inside my head starts to doubt that I can finish the long run I set out to complete. When I bring a friend along with me, she encourages me the entire way…even if she doesn't know it! Sometimes, just knowing someone else is running with me really helps me push through.
  4. Imagine your post-race or post-run reward. Is it a massage? A manicure? A shopping trip? Frozen yogurt? (Frozen yogurt is often a favorite reward of mine!) A really yummy dinner? Whatever it is, imagine that reward and I promise it will make your feet and legs push to the distance you set out to complete.
  5. Create a special running playlist. Music moves and motivates me, and it always seems that the perfect song starts blaring into my headphones as I reach a really steep hill at mile seven, or when I feel like giving up. It also helps me get lost and kind of forget what I am doing, which takes some of the pain away from my legs and feet! I am so serious about my music that I created a special running playlist and listen to it only while running. That way, the songs stay special and never get old.
  6. Think of a motivational mantra to keep you going. When the going gets tough, I always tell myself that this is all mental. Another mantra that keeps me going is, “You are stronger than you think you are.” Find something that works for you to keep in mind while training for your race.
  7. Mentally break up the run. If I am running 12 miles, I think of it as three 4-mile runs to make the distance seem much more achievable. Another trick I do is plan an out and back. If I am running a 10-mile run, breaking it down to 5 miles out and then 5 miles home really helps me push through.
  8. Compare the time you are running to something else you do for that same amount of time. This is probably one of my favorite things to do to help me get through a long run. I absolutely love group fitness, so I think of an hour-and-a-half run as a BODYPUMP class and a CXWORX class. It really helps me realize that the running time is totally doable.
  9. Imagine yourself on race day. Racing is emotional, at least for me it is. There is nothing that beats the feeling of exhilaration and accomplishment that I feel when I cross the finish line. For me, simply imagining that feeling is enough motivation to keep pushing through, even when the running gets tough.
  10. Think about something different each mile. This one takes a little preparation, but it can really do the trick and totally take your mind off of the distance of the run. Before you run, simply decide on the number of miles you are running, and on a piece of paper make a list of things to think about. For instance, you could write down five people you are thankful for if you are running five miles, all the things that are currently on your mind if you are running 26 miles, and the options are endless. Then place the piece of paper in a pocket or easily accessible area (maybe even in a plastic bag if you get sweaty!) and you have something to pull out if you need to take your mind off the run.

I hope you are able to use at least one of these tactics to log those miles as you train for the Indianapolis Mini-Marathon, or any other race you have in the future. Good luck with your training!

Written by Tara Deal Rochford, Registered Dietitian and author of Treble in the Kitchen. Meet our NIFS Bloggers.

Topics: NIFS exercise fitness running mini marathon half marathon NIFS programs race endurance training mental focus


*Hello Fitness Lovers!emilyslimitblogn

As some of you may know, we have our Slim It to Win It competition going on here at NIFS. As a first-timer coaching a Slim It team, I am excited to share with you an interview from one of my team members, and details on how I train my team.

I have 12 members on my team and we call ourselves Em’s Sliminions, due to the fact that I love minions from the movie Despicable Me. Despite all of my team members not knowing one another from the beginning, they have become very close and developed a very good support system. I wanted my team to get to know each other since they will be stuck with each other for 10 weeks, so the first workout was partner exercises. They also had to share with the whole team their story of why they were there. The energy each one brings to the team is awe inspiring!

I design my workouts to keep them constantly moving at a high intensity and have little rest in between exercises, or metabolic training. The team shows up to the workouts pumped up and ready to sweat. Even when they see burpees on the board, they still keep faith!

Here are one of the team members’ thoughts about the Slim It competition and about NIFS.

NAME: Sally Mulvaneydescribe the image

SHARE YOUR “STORY” OR A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF IN A FEW SENTENCES: I’m 59 and want to lose weight. I’ve been at NIFS for almost a year and I love what NIFS has done for me. NIFS gave me confidence in myself and has made me stronger. I look forward to my workouts, even when they are hard. My goal is to lose about 40 more pounds.

NIFS PROGRAMS YOU PARTICIPATED IN: I participate in the weight-loss program two times a week, once a week with a personal trainer, and Mini Marathon Training.

WHY DID YOU JOIN THIS PROGRAM? I joined this program to change things up with my weight-loss journey. 

SOMETHING YOU HAVE ENJOYED: I have enjoyed working as a group and helping each other out. Sharing experiences of how the team does things that could help me out.

SOMETHING YOU HAVE LEARNED OR SOMETHING THAT SURPRISED YOU: I learned that I can do things I thought I would never do again: lifting weights, running, and regular pushups.

FAVORITE EXERCISE FROM ONE OF THE WORKOUTS? The Cheetah and anything that focuses on the abdominals, but definitely not burpees!

WHAT ACCOMPLISHMENTS HAVE YOU ACHIEVED DURING YOUR TRAINING PROGRAM FOR SLIM IT TO WIN IT (OR DO YOU HOPE TO ACHIEVE)? I hope to lose about 10 pounds during this program and lose some inches on my whole body.

WHAT STRUGGLES HAVE YOU ENCOUNTERED? TIPS YOU HAVE LEARNED ALONG THE WAY? Some tips I learned were not to do the exercises too fast and to work the muscles thoroughly.

HOW DO YOU STAY MOTIVATED? I’ve already lost 45 pounds this past year and feel much better. Also, the fact that I could go off some of my medications with my weight loss keeps me motivated to lose more weight*.

*Weight loss claims and/or individual results vary and are not guaranteed.

ANY OTHER THOUGHTS YOU WISH TO SHARE: I feel like joining NIFS and their programs has been the best choice I have ever made. NIFS is a wonderful place to work out and learn about ways to improve my fitness.

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 Emily O'Rourke, NIFS Heath Fitness Instructor. Learn more about the NIFS bloggers.

Topics: exercise weight loss group training mini marathon NIFS programs metabolism Slim It to Win It