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NIFS Healthy Living Blog

Five Steps to Begin Your Weight-Loss Journey

ThinkstockPhotos-498764272_new.jpgWeight loss tends to be one of the most controversial topics talked about, but I want to take a positive approach. With the new year right here, weight loss tops the list of many people’s New Year’s resolutions.

I would absolutely never undervalue the effort, time, energy, and commitment it takes to be successful at losing weight. Don’t let anyone lie to you; weight loss is hard and has a “whole picture” element combining exercise, clean eating, and emotional, physical and psychological battles. This is why I like to call weight loss a journey. It will not happen overnight, but I believe that everyone can succeed if they put their minds and hearts into changing their habits*.

Tips for Getting Started

I want to share five things to help you get started on your journey:

  1. Make a commitment. The first step to beginning this journey is to make a commitment that you are going to hold onto. You’ve made the decision that it’s time to make a change, and now you must make a promise to yourself that you are going to stick with it.
  2. Identify your habits. Take some time to think about what healthy habits you have that you want to keep and that will help you in your journey. What things will help you stick to your plan? For example, I am good at following a schedule, so if that habit will help me (like scheduling in my workouts so I am positive I will attend), I want to incorporate that into my plan. Then identify habits that are not helping you and think about how you are going to get those out of the way.
  3. Come up with a plan. This doesn’t have to be something that is crazy and elaborate. Start small and come up with three action steps toward a plan. It’s always easier to stick to a plan when you have one in place before you start.
  4. Find support. One of the hardest things about weight reduction is accountability. You want to be sure to find someone (family, friends, a trainer, someone else on a weight-loss journey, spouse, and so on) that you can be honest with to help keep you accountable. Much of weight-loss success comes from those supporting and encouraging someone else who is on their journey.
  5. Put your plan into action. Okay, you have decided it’s time! Now that you have your plan, do something about it. Sign up for that gym membership or a 5K you have been putting off, or try a weight-loss program—whatever will motivate you to stick to it.

It’s important to remember that there will be times when you mess up. AND THAT’S OKAY! Don’t get down on yourself; get yourself back up and keep pushing through. I hope that if losing weight is one of your goals, you will take these five steps to get you going in the right direction!

Help from NIFSRamp-up-logo-finalNO-SPACE.jpg

Check out NIFS's all new Ramp Up to Weight Loss membership to get you going. This program offers 14-weeks of workouts with one of our certified trainers, meetings with our dietician and fitness assessments to help you plan and track your progress. Click below to learn more.

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

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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: exercise nutrition healthy habits weight loss accountability NIFS programs goals mindset lifestyle making changes

How to Try New Group Fitness Classes

Group exercise classes can be a good way to get in shape and have fun while at the gym. They are designed to allow participants to attend without prior experience. They offer a full warmup, full workout, and cool-down in a variety of settings and styles. However, sometimes trying a new class can be daunting or scary.

Bodypump cropped

You may feel scared to try a new class because you feel inexperienced. You may believe that you can’t keep up with the “regulars.” In turn, these feelings can lead to you missing out on fun and exciting workouts. But I want you to know this: Any good instructor is prepared to teach all levels of participants. Not everybody in the class is at the same level. Some people may be new like you! So trust me when I say that you can try new classes, and you can get a great workout. You may leave the class feeling more confident. So give new group training classes a try to discover whether you like them, rather than never giving them a chance. Here are three classes that you can try now!

Of course, trying a new class is easier said than done. So here are some tips that you can use when you are trying a new group exercises class.

1. Read the Description

All gyms have descriptions of the group exercise classes. They are short summaries of the focus of the class. The difficulty level should also be noted in each description. However, most classes invite all levels to join. The location of the class, the time it starts, and the name of the instructor should also be stated. You can always ask a gym employee questions if you need more information.

2. Arrive Early

You do not have to arrive very early, but arriving about 5 to 10 minutes early will you give you plenty of time to locate the class. Most instructors arrive early as well, in order to advise participants on equipment needed. So being there before class starts gives you time to set up your equipment.

3. Introduce Yourself

As mentioned above, the name of the instructor should be included in the description of that class. Once you have located the class, find the instructor and introduce yourself. This is the time to inform the instructor that this is your first time participating and ask whether they have any advice or instructions for you. Instructors are always happy to help!

4. Find a Good Spot

Even though it is your first time attending, that doesn’t mean you have to be in the back. You want to find an area where you can see and hear the instructor. Even though the front is the perfect spot for that, the middle area will work just fine. You will be able to see and hear, but you won’t feel like you are on display for the rest of the class.

5. Start Slow

Most group exercise classes will have a warmup. During that time, get a feel for how hard you want to work. Since you are new to the class, start slow. The instructors will demonstrate different levels of work for each exercise. Level 1 may be a good place to start. Once you feel comfortable, you can then try to increase the intensity slowly throughout This will help you last longer as well as keep you safe from injury.

6. Have Fun!

The last thing for you to do to enjoy your workout is to have fun! Don’t worry about what others around you think. You are all there for the same reason, and that is to work out, feel good, and have fun.

If you are looking for more information about the group exercise classes offered here at NIFS, see our group fitness schedule. You can also download our free app, which provides the group exercise schedule as well.

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This blog was written by Masie Duncan, Weight Loss Coordinator. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: NIFS exercise fitness center weight loss group fitness NIFS programs core strength strength training

Never Give Up: Fighting Diabetes with Exercise and Diet

Diabetes is a very familiar topic for me. Being diagnosed with Type I diabetes in my early 20s (not far removed from being a collegiate athlete) has made a huge impact on my life and how I face every day.

Always being on the active side and loving the endorphins of exercise has been both a blessing and a curse. Exercise plays a huge role in fighting diabetes, not only in prevention but also in management. Some people who have diabetes are the unlucky ones with inherited genetics, while others develop it through lifelong lifestyle habits ranging from poor nutrition to inactivity. More often than not, we can take control of this situation and overcome the effects by following the guidelines set forth by our healthcare providers and by listening to our bodies. 

Countering the Effects of Diabetes

Covering serious health topics such as heart health and foot health, the negative effects of diabetes are vast. With limited options available, we must turn to good old Mother Nature. Healthy lifestyles consisting of proper nutrition mixed with a modest yet consistent workout routine provide your body the necessary tools to cultivate and sustain some resistance to the overwhelming complications of diabetes. From this, you can see that your best friends will soon be a good gym buddy or a personal trainer to help hold your workout routine accountable, and a myfitnesspal app or a registered dietician to help hold your nutrition plan together.

The Importance of Monitoring Glucose Before Exercise

You may say, “Thomas, this blog can’t be all sunshine and rainbows.” You are correct. There are underlying factors that make simple solutions to diabetes an even steeper hill to climb. Individuals with diabetes are affected by almost every food they eat and every rep and set of exercise they push through. High and low blood glucose levels from improper insulin dosage or other medication are extremely dangerous. The only way to ensure you are ready to work out is to utilize a glucose monitor multiple times throughout the day. This includes before and after meals, before and after workout sessions, and the first thing when you wake up in the morning (fasting) and right before you go to bed. That’s a lot of little finger pokes. 

Diabetic Neuropathy

Another diabetes-related issue is called neuropathy, which is basically the desensitization of nerves in the extremities. You may be thinking, “This is great; I won’t feel pain anymore!” But what you don’t know is that now you can injure yourself without knowing and make it even worse by not addressing the issue, which can lead to irreversible damage. From this, you’ll find that your new best friends are going to be your endocrinologist and your podiatrist.

We Are Here to Help

There are many other friends that you will make along the way, ranging from your optometrist to the friendly types encouraging you to stay on the wagon. My suggestion is to let them help you. Because diabetes is a road that is nearly impassible without the help of others, you will find each helping hand not only makes the journey easier, but lets you know you are not alone in your fight. 

For more information about how NIFS can provide you with the proper atmosphere and knowledge to succeed with diabetes, contact the track desk to speak with one of our certified and degreed fitness professionals. NIFS is also proud to offer a registered dietician who can help you make informed decisions regarding your diet plan.

NEVER GIVE UP

What did you eat today? Don’t underestimate the role that proper nutrition plays in your health and fitness. Contact Angie Scheetz ascheetz@nifs.org or call 317-274-3432 to find out more about the My Nutrition Coach app

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

Topics: NIFS exercise nutrition Thomas' Corner diabetes disease prevention

Video Game Fitness: Is the Trend Here to Stay?

iStock_000015738239_SmallSeveral years ago the Nintendo Company introduced its newest entry into the video game market with the Wii and hit game Wii Fit. The idea seemed bold at the time; graphics were all the rage, but the Wii brought a more simplistic design to the table. While focusing on easy-to-use controls and replay ability, the crossover to the fitness world was quite easy, yet revolutionary. Let’s face it, video games had become synonymous with, to put it nicely, deconditioned individuals. This new technology, however, allowed the gamers to interact with the games in new ways.

Video Fitness for All Ages

What I felt to be most interesting was that this video game phenomenon wasn’t just for 12-year-olds. We started noticing our parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles up and out of their recliners and actively working on balance, strength, and conditioning, and even hand-eye coordination as part of senior fitness. What made it work, though, was the fact that it was both simple to operate and at the same time addictively fun.

10 Years of Wii

Fast-forward almost ten years and we can still see this influence among all the major video game consoles on the market. With the constant upgrading of technology, we must ask questions such as, “How far are they going to take this?” and “How can we make the most of these technological tools to help motivate people to stay fit?” 

Although the future is uncertain, we can definitely see that systems such as the Wii are being used for good, purposeful exercise. The in-home system may be your end-of-the-day stress relief, but more and more laboratory studies are using Wii technology to train athletes and assess abilities. Physical therapists are now using the Wii to help individuals with issues ranging from developing balance and stability for the elderly clients to helping an adolescent with spastic diplegic cerebral palsy to develop movement patterns. 

Are Video Games Real Exercise?

Will video game fitness ever gain enough momentum to be accepted as genuine exercise and a good workout? It would seem as though it would be swept out by most skeptical fitness gurus, but we must be cautious when doing so. If the mission is to bring fitness to the masses, in a realistic scenario, skipping this vast population of typically sedentary individuals would be a huge disservice. The best solution, I feel, is to embrace the tools that we have and translate fitness in a convenient way. The development of smarter technology will only enhance experiences, in turn changing lives. This blog makes it easy to see some of the options that are out there. 

In closing, video game fitness is currently alive and well. Making fitness fun isn’t always easy, but it definitely does not have to be dreaded. Don’t get me wrong, your local health and fitness professionals are still going to give you the best, safest experiences with bountiful knowledge, but now we can develop beyond the two or three hours per week we work out at the gym, in the comforts or our own home and among family and friends. NIFS offers video game fitness opportunities in the nursery area for youth. Contact the service desk for more information regarding hours of operation.

Evolve and Rejoice.

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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: exercise fitness exercise at home Thomas' Corner motivation balance senior fitness technology

50 Shades of Bruise: Non-Contact Contusions After a Workout

With an element of self-consciousness and a mystery to some, non-contact bruises due to exercise can cause some discomfort and become a deterrent to those who really need exercise but don’t want this side-effect. Typically occurring following an intense bout of exercise (such as a marathon), non-contact bruises appear even though the individual may not have physically injured the area.

Other types of bruises occur more often than not from some type of physical trauma. If you have experienced this exercise side effect or just are curious about the topic, we will take a closer look at the bruising phenomena simply known as a contusion.

What Causes Bruising After Exercise?ThinkstockPhotos-200380515-001

Several factors are associated with these developments, including age, experience, current medication, and genetics. Most bruises occur following a significant accident, fall, or surgery, but not always. Some bruises are caused by some underlying weakness in the blood pathways. The exercise (whether it is extensive “pounding the pavement” or “pumping the weights”) intensifies over the course of time, leading to a bruise effect. 

The bruise, usually bluish, purple, or green, is caused by small ruptures in blood capillaries that seem to develop near the recent trauma site and can be more or less serious depending on the severity of the injury. 

On a side note, people who are bruised due to being struck are only amplifying the issue by exercising. The bruise will go away slower, stay the same, or even get worse. Other issues other than bruising that come up include swelling and pain (WebMD, 2015).

How to Heal Contusions

The best remedy for a bruise is to rest the body part that is bruised. Applying a slight pressure wrap can be helpful. Normal pain management devices such as ointment and Tylenol seem to be the most common treatment for aches and discomfort. 

You can also look to a dietitian to see whether your diet is a contributing factor (MD-Health, 2015). People low in certain vitamins and minerals are more apt to the bruise effect. Your age and medications can cause blood to thin, leading to an unmerited bruise (WebMD, 2015).

If the problem persists, I would recommend calling your physician. If your physician feels that your condition is not serious, you can resume exercise when you feel comfortable doing so. Most likely, you can resume normal activity following recovery. Your bruise can just be a simple reminder that our bodies are pretty amazing machines and we need to take care of them to ensure we can continue to “pound the pavement” or “pump the weights” for a long, long time. 

Rejoice and Evolve,

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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: exercise nutrition fitness center Thomas' Corner injury prevention injuries

Foundations of a Strong, Healthy Body: Cardio Workouts

ThinkstockPhotos-77293911Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is a physically fit and healthy body. The great city was built as the result of the culmination of years and years of hard work. From streets to buildings, each single brick or stone was set with a vision in mind to create the best city in the world. I’m sure many mistakes were made throughout the process; however, those mistakes were only microscopic setbacks in the overall plan.

In exercise, the same rules apply. Some programs you try may yield great results; others may fall flat. You may see success for a couple months and then plateau. Remember: it is all a part of the process. Having a strong fitness foundation sets you on the best path to success in your goals and helps minimize the fitness mistakes you make along the way.

Physically fit characteristics must be set individually. These specific traits, such as cardiovascular fitness, muscular endurance, muscular strength and power, and body mobility, are all equally important. They are the foundation of building a strong and healthy body. You must work on them to maintain or improve your current levels. The majority of individuals possess the ability to improve their current state of health throughout these fitness aspects. Whether or not they choose to address them is another story.

Cardiovascular Fitness

I start by talking about cardiovascular fitness. When it comes to starting a program, begin with the basics: running (or walking), biking, and rowing. These three modes of exercise can all be used to help build that cardiovascular base that you can improve upon continually throughout your exercise program. Although it may seem like it is very basic, all individuals need to have some sort of cardiovascular base they can work off of. Without it, your ability to get through workouts (running, lifting, etc.) will be compromised.

My Recommendation: Intermediate Skill Levels*

  • Run/Walk: 10 minutes at a moderate pace
  • Bike: 10 minutes at a constant and moderate pace
  • Row: 10 minutes, 1 minute at a fast pace, 1 minute at a slow pace

*Adjust time or intensity based on your individual skill level.

Part 2 of this blog series will focus on muscular endurance and how to structure your workouts to improve your muscles’ ability to withstand long-duration workouts.

As always, get after it!

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This blog was written by Alex Soller, NIFS Athletic Performance Coach. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers click here.

Topics: exercise fitness cardio running walking workouts cycling

Are You Ready to Race a Triathlon?

Tri-training-Are-you-ready3
Topics: exercise running swimming triathlon race competition biking

Where Do “They” Come Up with These Exercise Names?

Salutations, NIFS friends. Whether you have been working out for 30 years or are brand new to fitness, one mystery that normally goes unsolved is “Where did they come up with the name for that exercise?” Sometimes it’s pretty self-explanatory (such as biceps curl), but other times it can be quite misleading (for example, Burpee). Then when you have met several different trainers, maybe they call the same thing something different (such as torso rotations versus Russian twists). It can be downright confusing.

Here we will explore a few of my favorite mystery exercises and dig a little deeper into their backstories.

Jumping Jacksjumping-jack

So, who invented the jumping jack, and where did it originate? I should preface that by saying that it is really hard to invent exercises, at least classic, iconic ones like “the pushup,” “the sit-up,” and “the jumping jack.” That being said, we really want to credit the jumping jack to the great Jack LaLanne. Although LaLanne made the exercise popular, it was already in use by the U.S. military and gets its name from a traditional toy in which a string is pulled and the arms and legs spread into a star or jumping-jack position. 

Burpees

Another exercise that carries some notoriety for name confusion is the Burpee. To a lot of people, the Burpee sounds like a made-up name for this brutal exercise. Prior to doing Burpees for the first time, you might snicker at the idea of doing some crazy Dr. Seuss-like movement, but then you do them and your opinion changes quickly. 

So, where do Burpees come from? Apparently, in the 1930s, Dr. Royal H. Burpee (sounds made up, right?) at Columbia University invented the Burpee as part of a PhD thesis. His Burpee test was meant to simplify fitness assessments and was used by the U.S. military. Nowadays, the Burpee is mostly associated with cruel and unusual personal trainers.

Turkish Getups

The Turkish Getup is in a category all by itself when it comes to mysteries. To some, it closely resembles a strongman wearing a leopardskin Onesie and handlebar mustache performing for a traveling-circus sideshow. 

As deep as that sounds, finding the exact origins of the Turkish Getup was even more challenging. It is thought to have originated in Turkey hundreds of years ago and to have been passed down from generation to generation to modern times, where it is primarily done with a kettlebell in either a kettlebell class or a during a CrossFit session. One thing that hasn’t changed, though, is the Turkish Getup’s reputation as one of the most intricate movements in all of fitness.

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What are some names that have perplexed you or even made you laugh out loud? Share in the comments below for an open discussion and maybe you can “stump the trainer.”

Whether you call it a squat press or a thruster, one thing we always want to make sure of is safety. Your NIFS health fitness professional will ensure you’re getting a great, safe workout regardless of what you call it. Schedule a free assessment today!

Free Fitness Assessment

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 fitness center injury prevention kettlebell personal training exercises core strength CrossFit

The Importance of Recovery After Exercise

ThinkstockPhotos-184767539One of the most important elements of performance and exercise is rest, and it’s also one of the hardest things to do! According to ACE (a fitness governing body), recovery is the most important part of any person’s program. Taking time to rest your body can be challenging mentally, but rest has significant physical benefits.

The Recovery Stage

To get better at a sport or to enhance your personal fitness, you must expose your body to stresses. Different stresses include training and exercise programs like weightlifting, sprinting, endurance runs, etc. But upon completion of these stresses the human body needs to adapt to the stresses it just underwent, and this is where we get the recovery stage. 

Neglecting the recovery stage can lead to injuries. Many programs have built-in rest days, but if you are creating your own program to follow, be sure to find where to fit one in! It’s essential to listen to your body and gauge how you are feeling as well. If you are physically worn out, take a rest.

It’s Worth Making the Time for Rest

So maybe this is enough to get you to take a day or two off a week. But I know there are still some of you out there saying, “Okay, Amanda, thanks for the tip, but I’m in the middle of training hard right now for the half Ironman in Wisconsin, so I can’t afford to take a day of rest.” Let’s take a look at the benefits of recovery on the body. 

The whole purpose of recovery in exercise is to allow your muscles to repair themselves and to engage muscles that are sore from your workout. There are also different things that you can do during the recovery stage to help move the process along and come out ready to perform better than your pre-rest stage. 

Top 5 Recovery Techniques

Here are some things to keep in mind and apply while recovering:

Rest: Now we are talking about actual rest, sleep. This is one of the most important ways to get your body to quickly recover from the physical and mental demands of hard training.

Hydration and eating: One of the most vital aspects of both training and recovery is being properly hydrated. And nourishment falls right in line with hydration. Food helps to restore the body’s energy supply, so try to eat good, healthy options at the right windows of time to enhance your performance and recovery.

Massages: Getting a massage helps to loosen up muscles, increase oxygen and blood flow into muscles, remove lactic acid buildup (which is what makes you sore), and deliver nutrients from your body to your muscle.

Contrast therapy: If you are or were an athlete this may be familiar to you, but those who don’t have a facility at their disposal might not use it as frequently. You will be contrasting between an ice bath and a hot shower. You want to be sure to start and end with cold (like an ice bath). Jump in the ice bath for about 45 seconds and then into the hot shower for 3 to 4 minutes. Repeat this three times. The benefits of contrast therapy are to increase blood flow to the muscles and speed up the removal of lactic acid.

Ice bath: A familiar process to many, an ice bath causes the blood vessels of the body to constrict, pushing the blood away from the muscle because of the cool temperature. Once you are done and start to warm up, the vessels open up and allow blood flow back into the muscle, bringing with it more oxygen to help you recover.

No matter where you are currently in your workout regime, I encourage you to take some recovery time. It will benefit your performance in significant ways down the road. Consider trying a method from above that you haven’t before and see if it helps you. Different things work for different people, so find out what’s best for your body. You can also consult one of our health fitness specialists here at NIFS for advice. Most important, take time to rest and recover to avoid injury!

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

Topics: exercise fitness running marathon training injury prevention endurance weightlifting recovery

NIFS Ramp Up to Weight Loss Program Participant: Brian Kumle

Brian4NIFS would like to highlight Brian Kumle, one of the recent graduates from its 14-week Ramp Up to Weight Loss Program. This program provides individuals looking to lose weight with the extra tools that they need to take off pounds and keep them off—without compromising their health—by focusing on healthy eating, exercise, and accountability. The program includes one-on-one training sessions, coaching sessions, fitness evaluations, appointments with our registered dietitian, and guidance along the way. Read about what the program has done for Brian.

SHARE YOUR “STORY” OR A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF IN A FEW SENTENCES:

I’m a designer here in Indianapolis, originally from Leo, Indiana. I graduated from Herron School of Art and Design last year.

WHY DID YOU JOIN THIS PROGRAM?

I joined this program because, at the time, I was the heaviest and most out of shape I’ve ever been in my life. I was an athlete in high school and regret each day that I haven’t maintained a body even close to what it was. So I needed a change and to go outside my comfort zone.

SOMETHING YOU HAVE ENJOYED:

I really enjoyed the variety of the workouts and having a little fun doing them. I don’t respond well to being just ordered around, and Emily was very helpful in not only teaching me technique and purpose, but also maintaining a chill AND hardworking atmosphere.

SOMETHING YOU HAVE LEARNED OR SOMETHING THAT SURPRISED YOU:

Something that definitely surprised me was how much body fat I lost in just 14 weeks*. It wasn’t astronomical, but it was more than I expected.

FAVORITE EXERCISE FROM ONE OF THE WORKOUTS?

Love/Hate: The sled push or the medicine ball ab circuit was a love/hate relationship.

WHAT ACCOMPLISHMENTS HAVE YOU ACHIEVED DURING YOUR TRAINING PROGRAM (OR DO YOU HOPE TO ACHIEVE)?

I got a great start in losing the body fat and gaining a bit of muscle*. I also learned a ton of exercises that will definitely help me going forward and make working out exciting.

WHAT STRUGGLES HAVE YOU ENCOUNTERED? TIPS YOU HAVE LEARNED ALONG THE WAY?

Reverting back to old habits on the weekends and struggling to get the ball rolling again after that as well as having to work AFTER work. I learned that even a highly intense 30-minute workout is better than nothing, and that even if I can’t work out on a day, I can still control what I’m putting into my body.

HOW DO YOU STAY MOTIVATED?

Just thinking of what I will look/feel like in a month, 3 months, 6 months, a year if I keep working harder and harder. And, of course, looking in the mirror.

ANY OTHER THOUGHTS YOU WISH TO SHARE:

Just a lot of thanks for all the guidance and resources the program and Emily provided me. THANKS!

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

Ramp Up to Weight Loss program  LEARN MORE

This blog was written by Emily O’Rourke BS, HFS, Weight Loss Program Coordinator at NIFS. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here

Topics: exercise nutrition motivation weight loss NIFS programs