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NIFS Healthy Living Blog

Relax and Lose Weight: How Relaxation Helps with Weight Loss

GettyImages-954596030Getting healthy and losing weight go hand in hand. If your goal is to get healthy and lose weight, I need you to RELAX! No, really! Relaxing is good for you, and managing stress effectively doesn’t only help with weight loss; it makes us healthier overall. So sit back, relax, and read on for more tips.

How Cortisol Plays a Role

Cortisol is a hormone that your body releases when it is stressed. If you only have small amounts of cortisol, there is no problem. But when stress is constant, as it can be in many of our lives, the amount of cortisol in your bloodstream rises and stays elevated. This all leads to weight gain. Relaxation can help prevent overproduction of cortisol.

When cortisol is released, those cravings for potato chips, candy bars, pastries, and so on are what provide a quick energy boost. As if those choices aren’t bad enough, cortisol goes on to store those extra calories as fat, mainly around your abdominal area. There is also the interference with hormones that control your appetite. You will start to find that you are hungry more often and have a hard time staying satiated.

And if that doesn’t make you want to stop stressing, cortisol can also cause decreased muscle mass because it lowers testosterone levels. The lower your muscle mass, the less fat you will burn when working out.

Ways to Relax

Here are five tips for relaxing.

  1. Meditate. This is an excellent method for cleansing your mind of all the negative and stressful thoughts. Refresh and think positively. Whenever you feel heavy or burdened, or even when you feel tired of doing work, take a deep breath and allow your body to relax. Really focus on your breathing by using a 5 count: Breath in for a count of 5. Hold your breath for a count of 5. Release that breath for a 5 count. Try this a few times a day.
  2. Avoid distractions. To fully relax your lifestyle and live a stress-free life, limit all distractions, such as television, cell phones, or laptops.
  3. Become more active. Exercise alone can be the best stress reliever. Try grabbing a friend for a walk/jog outside in the fresh air. Take a new group fitness class like the various types of yoga classes NIFS offers. Join a small group where you can laugh, work, and have fun with goal-oriented individuals, or have a Health Fitness Instructor design a program dedicated to your needs. The possibilities are endless.
  4. Eat healthy. Like regular exercise, eating a healthy, balanced diet can make a significant contribution to a less-stressful lifestyle. By making healthy eating choices, you can make yourself both physically and emotionally stronger. Eat vegetables, drink plenty of water, and control your portions. Not sure about where to start with your nutrition? Meet with one of our Registered Dietitians to get you going on the right path. If you want the whole package of eating healthy and exercising, check out our Ramp Up to Weight Loss program.
  5. Get enough sleep. The average adult requires between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. Not only can lack of sleep lead to increased stress, but chronic sleep deprivation can impair your judgment, reasoning ability, appearance, and performance at work. Start by establishing a daily sleep schedule. Do something relaxing before bed and turn off electronic devices.

It would be wonderful if we could constantly live in a vacation state, but for most of us that’s not quite possible. By utilizing just a couple of these resources, you help not only your body get to a better state, but your mind as well, which in turn allows for weight loss to occur.

Ramp Up to Weight Loss program  LEARN MORE

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

Topics: weight loss small group training group fitness NIFS programs relaxation stress sleep healthy eating

Are You Ready for Fitness Change? Meet the NIFS Trainers Who Can Help

BarreChange is scary. Getting in a comfort zone, routine, or pattern is easy. But why is change for success so trendy nowadays? This applies to all areas of life. Change your diet habits and you start to “magically" lose weight. Change your workout routine and you start to “magically" see results. Change your spending habits and you start to “magically” save more. Change your mind and commit, and you realize change isn't scary; it’s successful.

Use Change to Make Changes

I have worked at many fitness studios and gyms, tried many fitness trends and challenges, and been given crap when I tell clients we are doing something different today. But then I explain why and it changes their minds. I'm a firm believer in giving it a chance. You can try something new, and if it doesn't work or you don't like it, we can always change it back to what it was. 

I started at NIFS not realizing how much they change the workouts to keep creating beneficial results. I was prepped to manage a typical gym where trainers just keep making you pick up the same weights, do the same motions, and make you do something you “hate” to make it seem like the workout was hard and make bank off that concept. The NIFS program changes weekly. You’re set on a four-week plan, but the staff varies your workout routine in that time by changing your sets, reps, and weights. Then by week 5, there is a new plan, new changes, new results, and new continued growth.

Here are some examples of the experiences and results you can get from working with various members of the NIFS staff:

  • Take a small group training class from Tony, and he guides you through this process with motivation to make it easy.
  • Take a Barre class with Brittany and she uses the same concept with a gentle tone, breath cueing, and education as to why your muscles might start shaking in temporary discomfort the way they do: because they are changing; because they are growing stronger!
  • Try a program challenge with Crystal, and you’ll see that the success stories of members we put up on the Brag Board who are excited to share their accomplishments are truly amazing. It's because they weren't bored doing the same thing weekly. The variety created results, change, strength, and an awesome brag-worthy story.
  • Weight loss is another common goal for members, and we have a program specifically for that with Ashley. Did you know that more than 50 percent of Ashley's day is spent with members who are accomplishing weight-loss success with her guidance? Not just that; as a wife, mom, and caretaker for a child at home, she comes in on weekends to care for her clients. She plans fun meet-ups and gatherings so her clients don't lose track of their goals with the common "weekends don't count" excuse. 
  • Thomas might arguably have the hardest job out there. "My TV channel isn't working,” or "This machine is broken,” are just a few things I have heard members say to him. Within 24 hours, I bet it has been fixed. Because Thomas cares about the members’ happiness—whether that's watching their favorite show or working out on their favorite machine—he is the handyman of the team. Feedback is his cue to grab the toolbox and take action.

Teamwork Does Make the Dream Work

With a wide variety of options, there is always something for everyone. As a team, we don't let change hold us back. We teach our clients that change creates results. We all practice change daily and are never doing the same thing at our desks, but we’re creating programs, events, or requests that will change a member’s experience to be the most beneficial. So are you ready to change your mind, change up your routine, and achieve your goals? There are endless options. Find a place to start and follow through. We are here for you! 

Heading into my third month here, I am grateful to have witnessed the great work of the trainers from the perspective of fresh eyes. Most of the team has been here for five years or more, but that same daily intention to help clients with results and enter the door with passion is why NIFS has been successful for 30 years and will continue growing, because our knowledge behind change is more than a trend; it’s a success story that will continue to be written.

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This blog was written by Brittany Ignas, BS in Kinesiology, 200 Hour Yoga Alliance Certified, Stott Pilates Certified, and Fitness Coordinator. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: nifs staff small group training barre making changes weight loss fitness center teamwork

Get Fit While Helping Others: Fitness Fundraising Events

GettyImages-616006792It’s staggering how many people in the world are affected directly and indirectly by health problems. You might not have an incurable disease, but there is a chance that someone you love does. Sometimes there are medications and treatments for these conditions, but not everyone receives the attention they need. Sometimes there are no medications. Fortunately, people have organized charitable foundations that help find cures, medicines, and other aid for those in need.

Events for Raising Awareness and Money

In the fitness and wellness realm, it’s awesome when those who are trying to help others use fitness activities to help raise awareness and funds for research. In our community alone, there are several organized events that combine fitness and wellness with helping others. You can help yourself by getting exercise while helping others with their situation.

Here are some fundraising events that you might have heard of (and some that you might not have heard of) that incorporate fitness into raising awareness.

  1. Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure: Non-competitive run/walk event dedicated to raising money and awareness for breast cancer as well as honoring those who have or have had breast cancer.
  2. Indiana Tour de Cure: This is a bicycle event centered at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Participants enjoy riding on the actual Speedway track as well as several other courses ranging from 50m to 100m in distance. The purpose is to raise money for diabetes research and help those who have it fight the burdens that come with it.
  3. Fight for Air Climb: There is nothing easy about climbing stairs, especially when you have lung disease or any number of breathing-related issues. Fight for Air Climb is hosted by the American Lung Association and is centered around a strenuous stair climb at your local skyscraper.

If you missed these events, don’t worry; they will be around again soon. There are other events you can participate in that will help you and other people in need. Check out the Around Indy site for more information.

Try a NIFS Training Program

So, as you can see, being fitness minded doesn’t have to end with your third set of 10 on bench press. There are people out there who need support and help to overcome daily strife. NIFS’s staff is knowledgeable about events and can help you train for any event you are planning to take on. Help yourself and help everyone else by participating in one of these fitness events.

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This blog was written by Thomas Livengood, NIFS Health Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer. To read more about the other NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: Thomas' Corner NIFS programs small group training running cardio fundraising