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Exercising In The Cold

Exercising In The Cold

When you’re program is running or exercising outside in the cold in the winter, you need to make some changes. Even though Atlanta, GA may not get as cold as areas like Minnesota or Northern Michigan, it still is damp and chilly, with temperatures dropping to the 30s. That can mean you can either switch to working out inside or dress appropriately for the weather. Planning for cold weather is important, since inclement weather is often the reason cancel their workout or run.

Dressing appropriately is top priority.

The colder it gets, the more you have to adjust your clothing. As it gets colder outside, your body has to deal with more issues than just the exercise. When cold weather hits, the arteries constrict and makes the flow of blood to the heart more difficult. Anyone with heart problems should seriously consider moving their workout indoors when the temperature drops. Other health issues, such as breathing difficulties like asthma requires additional attention to maintain moisture in the air you breathe. They trap the moisture and prevent bronchoconstriction that can occur when the air is dryer.

It’s all about dressing for wind, rain, cold and expecting it to be colder.

Always prepare for the worst. While it might look wonderfully warm and clear, that doesn’t mean the wind can’t take its toll. Wind-chill makes you feel colder than you are, just as drizzle and rain do. Take a step outside or check the weather to include the wind-chill factor in the way you dress if you’re going for a jog or run.

Don’t forget to layer your clothing and have a waterproof top layer on drizzly or rainy days.

While we’re lucky enough to have milder winters, it doesn’t mean they’re comfortable. We have drizzle rain and occasionally, even a tad bit of snow or ice, especially in January. On those days, you need a waterproof layer on top. A waterproof poncho is a good idea. Layer your clothing underneath so you can remove a layer or two as you warm up. You definitely don’t want to sweat, which will make you colder. It’s the quickest way to get a chill. Warm socks, gloves and a cap are important. You lose most of your body heat through the top of your head. Your first layer should be thinsulate or other fabric made for insulation. Top that off with several other layers you can remove. Light and layered is the key.

  • Don’t be fooled by the chilly temperatures, you still need adequate hydration when you run or workout, even if it’s colder. Hydrate as you would in warmer weather. You’ll be sweating, but may not notice it as much.
  • One common myth is that you won’t get frostbite in Atlanta. It can occur when the wind-chill is below five degrees. That can occur here, so be prepared and aware of the symptoms. The wind-chill factor affects the body just as though the temperature is that cold.
  • It’s even more important to warm up before starting in the winter. Add a few minutes to your warm up to ensure that your range of motion is at full capacity. You’ll feel stiffer in cold weather.
  • Have an alternative. If you exercise outdoors, have a backup plan for those chilly, wet or windy days. Whether it’s an indoor workout in your home or going to the gym, it’s better to be safe and warm for your workout.

The Importance Of A Healthy Gut

The Importance Of A Healthy Gut

A healthy gut may not mean you’re in perfect shape, but an unhealthy one definitely points to illness and health conditions. Here in our Atlanta, GA gym we encourage healthy eating to ensure not only overall good health but maintaining the proper balance of bacteria, microbes and yeast in your digestive tract. You’re never alone. You have over 40 trillion bacteria, single-celled organisms and fungi with you at all times. They’re in your gut doing thousands of chemical changes. When you consider that if you counted all the genes in the average person’s body, you would come up with over two trillion. Only 22,000 are yours, the rest belong to the microbes in your body. Some are on your skin, but most live in your digestive system.

The gut microbes help you digest food, but do so much more.

While they do help to digest food you can’t digest on your own, they also do other things in your body, like defend you from disease. They even produce neurotransmitters, which play a significant role in how you feel, such as GABA, dopamine and serotonin. Some scientists believe that based on the critters living in your digestive system, it can increase the risk of ADHD, schizophrenia, chronic fatigue syndrome and obsessive-compulsive compulsive disorder.

There are signs that you may not have the healthiest balance of microbes.

A healthy balance and good gut health is important to a wide range of health conditions. It can contribute to depression, obesity, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, rheumatoid arthritis and irritable bowel syndrome. If you have bloating or gas, it may be a sign that you have a microbial imbalance. Sugar cravings are another, since bacteria and especially yeast can give off proteins that increase food cravings. People suffering from chronic halitosis may or may not have a problem. It can stem from the digestive system or bacteria in the mouth Food sensitivities or allergies are another sign.

Create a better balance with a healthier diet.

Some of your digestive flora will flourish based on what you eat, while others won’t. Not all the bacteria, fungi and other microbes in your digestive tract are friendly. If you’re eating unhealthy foods, they tend to flourish and kill of the good guys. Sugar feeds bad bacteria and fungi, while healthy whole foods feed the good guys. Fiber is important to good bacteria, too. In fact, it’s critical to gut health, yet the vast majority of Americans get less than the critical amount of 25 to 30 grams a day.

  • Antibiotics kill off the helpful bacteria, just as glyphosate and other pesticides and environmental factors do. Organic fruits and vegetables, plus fermented foods can help restore some of the bacteria balance.
  • Every time you eat you’re feeding someone. If your food is processed, high in sugar or unhealthy fat, you’re feeding the microbes that can cause chronic inflammation.
  • Prebiotics are as important as probiotics. Prebiotics feed the probiotic bacteria that take residence in the gut. Eating a diet high in fiber from fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes or whole grain helps.
  • If you take probiotics for gut health, they’re most effective and have the highest survival rate through the stomach when taken 30 minutes before a meal or with a meal that had some fat. Think full fat yogurt!

It's Important To Balance Mental And Physical Health

It’s Important To Balance Mental And Physical Health

If you’re just working on your fitness regimen and not practicing healthy mental hygiene, you won’t get the results you hoped to achieve. It’s important to balance mental and physical health because there’s a link between the two. One affects the other dramatically. If you’re under stress, sleepless and filled with anxiety, you often see the scales go up, while your energy level drops. On the other hand, if you’re ill or even just out of shape, you may find your mood dropping and ability to focus impaired.

Relaxation techniques not only restore your mental peace, they affect your body.

Meditation doesn’t just relax you, it actually changes the brain in areas that help you think clearer, have deeper concentration and remember more. It also has a huge affect on the body, lowering blood pressure, improving heart rate, improves breathing rate and of course, brain waves. Stress plays a role in our health and meditation can help reduce daily stressors. It helps the muscles to relax and the tension to dissipate.

Exercise helps burn off the hormones of stress.

When you workout, you’re doing as much for your mind as you are for your body. You’re sending oxygen and nutrient rich blood to all parts of the body, including the brain via the increased circulation. You’re also burning off the hormones of stress that can not only harm your body, but leave you mentally wiped out and anxious or depressed. A hard workout induces the brain to release endorphins and other hormones that lift your spirits and give you a sense of well being.

Taking care of both your mental and physical needs with nutrition is important.

Most people are abundantly aware of sugar highs and lows, just one example of how eating healthy takes care of both your mind and body. You may already know how eating healthy plays a huge role in your overall fitness and health, such as reducing the risk of heart disease, providing antioxidants that protect both the brain and the body and helping you to shed pounds while providing adequate nutrition to maintain cell functioning and other physical and mental requirements. There’s a connection between the foods you eat and your mood. Nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, magnesium, folic acid, B vitamins, and tryptophan all play a role in your mood. One study showed that an imbalance of Omega-3 fatty acids to Omega-6 actually led to anger and violence.

  • You need to take time for yourself mentally, as much as you need to make room in your schedule for healthy activity. Both are important.
  • Dehydration and lack of adequate intake of water has effects on both the body and mind. One study shows that many seniors who were originally diagnosed with dementia actually were dehydrated.
  • A positive self image can boost your efforts to shed pounds and get fitter. By the same token, constantly berating yourself is counterproductive to losing weight.
  • Make sure you get adequate sleep at night in a dark room. It’s good for both the body and mind.

Try Food Journaling

Try Food Journaling

If you’ve never tried food journaling before, you’ll be surprised at how revealing it is when you do. Often people eat without thinking and at the end of the day, don’t realize just how many calories they’ve consumed. I often hear people tell me that they barely eat and still gain weight, but once they food journal, they realize just how many calories they’ve consumed. It’s easier now with Smartphones, because you can just list the food you eat in the memo section or voice record it and transfer it to a journal at the end of the day.

The more information you record, the more you’ll know about your eating habits.

It also can be helpful to record the time of day, place you were, mood and even circumstances when you ate the food. If you reach for candy when you’re under stress, that’s information that can help you change an unhealthy habit. Finding a substitute for that candy, whether it’s taking a walk or eating a healthy snack you have ready will help you make smarter choices and conquer an unhealthy response. Learning how to cope with stress can also be important in a case like this.

You’ll find out if some foods leave you feeling ill.

If you constantly feel sick or have digestive problems, keeping a food journal can be a help to isolate whether a specific food is the culprit. Adding an entry about how you feel, such as nauseous or bloated might indicate an intolerance for certain foods like dairy or gluten. It’s easier to identify the culprit if those symptoms only appear after you ate food that contained the offending substance. It can save you money on doctors visits, eliminate the need for unnecessary medication and help you feel better.

Part of journaling is learning what a portion size is.

Before you can list how much you ate of a specific food, you have to know what portion size is for that food. It’s easier to track when you consider portion size rather than cupfuls or other type of measurement. While it might look like you aren’t overeating if you just list one order of fries, consider the difference it makes when you add the word jumbo before the word fries. Eating off a very large plate will fool you if you don’t know portion size, too.

  • Food journaling not only tells you what you’re getting too much of, like calories. It also tells you what you need more of in your meal, like specific nutrients or additional protein..
  • When you track your food, you’re more aware of those mindless handfuls of candy you ate or that last bit of pudding you finished in the serving bowl before putting it in the dishwasher.
  • One study showed that people who journaled for three months, compared to those who didn’t, lost weight without going on a diet.
  • When you food journal, you start to realize that it’s not a slow metabolism that’s preventing weight loss, but all those nibbles and extras you forget you ate throughout the day.

Set Some Goals And Reach Them

Set Some Goals And Reach Them

You won’t know whether you’re a success in anything unless you set some goals to reach. Anything you’ve accomplished in life has been the result of goals. These goals may not have been formal or written, but you knew what you were aiming for when you worked toward the process. If you watch babies learn to walk, you know they have the goal of walking the minute they try to stand up or take their first step. As you mature, tougher goals need to be written down and formalized to make them easier to reach and more concrete.

Setting goals gives you a concrete result to strive to achieve.

If you set a goal like, “I will lose weight,” you will never reach it or you’ll reach it before you lost a sufficient amount of weight. The amount you lose could be anywhere from one half a pound to 100 pounds, but you set no specific amount. Be specific when you set goals so you can keep your eye on the prize. You also must set realistic goals for them to be of value. In fitness, a realistic goals would be losing 20 pounds in two months. An unrealistic goal would be to lose that same amount in a week.

Setting fitness goals shouldn’t be all about losing weight.

When you’re building muscle tissue, you might not see the scales drop as fast as it would if you weren’t. That’s because muscle tissue weighs more per cubic inch than fat tissue does. However, you will see inches fall away for the same reason. It takes a larger container to hold a pound of feathers than it does to hold a pound of lead. Measuring your success by just the amount you weigh neglects to account for your improved fitness, mobility, cardiovascular endurance and even clothing size.

Big goals should be broken down to smaller goals that are quicker to achieve.

If you were saving your pennies in a jar with a goal of collecting $10,000 when you cash them in at the bank, it could be pretty depressing. The same is true if you have only one large fitness goal. It can be overwhelming and so far down the road that you’re unable to picture it in your head. Before you know it, you’ll be discouraged. Breaking your goals down to smaller more achievable ones gives you a sense of accomplishment on the way to your big goal.

  • Tracking your progress is important. There will be days when you’re discouraged for a variety of reasons. However, being able to see how far you’ve come via the tracking helps keep your motivation higher.
  • You must set a time frame for each goal. Just saying you want to lose two pounds means nothing if you don’t have a specific time in which to achieve it.
  • Make sure the goal is yours and something you want to do. Don’t start a program because a spouse thinks you should look thinner or because all your friends are doing it. Do it for your own health and satisfaction.
  • Remember, our trainers have goals, too. Their goals are to ensure you reach your goals in the safest, fastest way possible.

Are You Ready For A Fitness Evaluation

Are You Ready For A Fitness Evaluation

If you choose to start at Midtown Trainers in Atlanta, GA, expect to undergo a fitness evaluation before you begin your training. It’s the first thing we do so we know your starting level. That’s important for a number of reasons. Getting from unfit to fit or starting any fitness goals begins with a starting point, just like any journey would. In order to map out that trip, you have to know where it is. While you might have a vague idea of how many sets of an exercise you should do or how hard to work yourself, you won’t get the best results. It’s necessary to know where you’re at and use that information to maximize the workout, without making it too hard and unsafe.

A fitness assessment helps you set a realistic goal.

Maybe you want to do a Spartan race that’s coming up in a month or you want to get down to 160 lbs. You have to know where you’re starting to set achievable goals. If you’re completely out of shape, you may need more than one month to get in shape for the race. If you’re trying to lose weight until you reach 160 pounds, it’s not realistic to expect that to happen in a couple of months if you now weight in at 260.

The fitness assessment sets a baseline to measure your progress against.

Just like any journey, you don’t know how far you’ve traveled if you aren’t sure of your starting point. The measurements used in a fitness assessment is how we determine your progress. We can assess not only how much weight you’ve lost, but also how much muscle mass you’ve gained. It’s just as important for the trainers to have the information as it is for you. You may use it as motivation, but trainers need it to tweak your workout program.

What do we look for in a fitness assessment?

Your height and weight is recorded and so is your Body Mass Index—BMI—and body composition. BMI shows whether you’re overweight, underweight or normal for your height and weight. Body mass composition is the ratio of fat mass to lean body mass. Finding your cardiovascular fitness and aerobic capacity is also a must, just as identifying your strength and flexibility. All this information gives us a starting point.

  • Fitness assessments keep you accountable. If you’re working out to your maximum, but not losing weight, it might be that you’re not eating as healthy as you should.
  • It may seem like we ask a lot of questions when you first start, but each one is important. If you have any physical limitations or a medical condition, it’s extremely important to let us know before we begin any program.
  • Tracking your fitness is just as important as the original fitness assessment. You can see how you progress and if there’s any slowing or reversal of that progress, so the trainer can evaluate your program.
  • Assessing your nutritional intake is as important as the fitness assessment. That’s why we have you do a food journal.

How Focused Are You On Nutrition

How Focused Are You On Nutrition

Good nutrition should be at the top of your list for lifestyle changes. Sure, you need to exercise to be healthy and look great, but if you’re running on the treadmill, munching on fries at the same time, don’t expect to be too successful. Just like with computers, junk goes in and junk comes out, but with a bad diet, it’s in the form of poor health and sometimes obesity. Eating healthy helps you keep serious conditions at bay and make the job of getting fit far easier.

It’s too expensive NOT to eat healthy.

I hear people say how expensive it is to eat healthy and it makes me want to scream. It’s just the opposite. First, healthy meals don’t have to cost a lot, especially when you’re eating in season fruits and vegetables. It doesn’t have to take a long time to prepare them either. For those people who often stop for carryout on the way home, consider making twice as much of a healthy meal and having some in the freezer for those days that you’re getting home late. Most of all, if you’re not eating healthy, you’ll spend far more on medical treatment, plus lose time at work. It’s estimated by the Department of Agriculture that if everyone ate healthy, it would reduce the medical expenditures by $71 BILLION dollars each year. For every dollar spent on health care each year, $0.75 of it is for treating preventable diseases…ones that a change in lifestyle could stop.

Stay younger longer with a healthy diet.

You can’t stop aging, nor would you want to do that. It’s far better than the alternative. However, you can slow the effects of aging with a healthy diet. Phytonutrients in fresh fruits and vegetables help slow the aging process by providing adequate building blocks and antioxidants to prevent free radical damage to the cells. If you want better skin, consider adding berries to your diet. They have nutrients necessary to slow skin aging. Add exercise to the mix and you’ll look years younger than your real age.

Boost your energy level with a health diet.

What you eat makes all the difference in how much energy you have. You also need to include what you drink. High sugar items, like pastries, candy and soft drinks, may boost your energy level for a while, but then it comes crashing down to a level of exhaustion that causes you to run for the candy counter. The body needs all types of energy sources, fats, protein and complex carbohydrates. It also desperately needs water, since it’s made of mostly water and water influences all processes in the body. Eating whole foods with healthy servings of vegetables and fruit, plus healthy fat and lean protein is important.

  • Eating healthy can keep you in a better mood. A low carb diet makes you feel more tense, while a higher carb diet makes you feel happy. However, those carbs should be complex carbohydrates.
  • Healthy eating extends your life and keeps you looking and feeling younger. A nutrient rich diet that has few processed foods can extend life expectancy.
  • A healthy diet improves your mental awareness and focus. Fruits and vegetables and other complex carbs can keep the brain functioning well. Foods or herbs and spices that are antioxidants, such as turmeric, have been shown to help prevent inflammation, which can cause mental decline.
  • You’ll boost your immune system when you eat healthier. Some clients tell us that once they started eating healthy, they no longer had their annual cold or flu.

Have You Ever Tried A Spartan Race

Have You Ever Tried A Spartan Race

If you want to challenge yourself beyond just getting fit, consider working toward a personal victory in the Tough Mudder, Spartan Race or Battlefrog. Many of our clients in Atlanta, GA come to shed a few pounds and get into shape and find they love the challenge and the results of setting a fitness goal and achieving it. When they reach their initial goal, they set another. These races are grueling, so they set a huge challenge that tests both the mind and body, which is often why people love it so much. It’s a chance to see just how much they can do and how mentally tough they are.

All three are tough and will challenge you at every turn.

Your endurance, strength and sometimes problem solving skills or teamwork, especially in the Tough Mudder, need to be in top form for each of these races. Which one is best? All three of these are challenging. However, it’s all about what you want. The Spartan Race is for those who want to go it alone and challenge themselves. While the Tough Mudder does also, it’s more about teamwork and people who want a challenging social activity love it the most. The Battlefrog was created by Navy Seals and some say it’s the most challenging of the three.

No matter what your level of fitness, there’s a race for you.

That doesn’t mean that you’ll go from a couch potato to a top competitor in these races. It does, however, mean that with the right training and a little time, you could enter one of the levels of competition, maybe not the hardest, but also maybe not the easiest either. It’s all up to you and how hard you want to work. We provide the guidance, but you have to add the sweat and dedication.

Eating healthy is also a part of completing these races.

Whether you’re training to get fitter or training for one of the grueling races, you need to have the right fuel to make sure your body is at its best. Just like putting sugar in a gas tank will harm the car, putting sugar and other unhealthy foods in your body will slow you down and prevent you from doing your best. You need high octane for these races and that comes from a healthy diet that’s a step beyond the rest.

  • You’ll need loads of cardio training. Having endurance is tops for these races. The obstacles will challenge you and if you fail to complete one, count on doing burpees as a penalty. That takes real endurance.
  • Strength training is also important. Lower body strength is necessary for the jumps and bursts of power uphill. Upper body strength is necessary for some of the obstacles like the sled drag and Spartan ladder will challenge your upper body and lower body strength.
  • Building confidence and mental grit will help you make it through the race. One of the reasons for using a trainer for these races is to have someone push you when you think your tank is empty. That helps you build the mental toughness and determination you need for races like these.
  • Learning what to eat before the race, how to handle certain obstacles and ways to conserve your energy and make every movement count are important parts of training.

Winter Workout

Winter Workout

It’s never too early to start preparing for the busy summer months when clothing gets skimpier and more of your body is showing. That’s why a winter workout can be one of the most valuable tools you have. Heavier winter clothing may hide many of the pounds you put on during the holiday season, but once summer comes, those lighter weight outfits will definitely show it. It’s time to take action and the winter months are perfect for it. The winter months tend to be less hectic. I you have children that are of school age, you may have a window of opportunity while they’re at school. The weather doesn’t always allow for outside exercise, so devoting time at the gym can keep you in tip top shape for the summer or help you get there.

Start changing your eating habits and make smarter choices.

Making smarter choices when it comes to eating isn’t dieting. Diets don’t work. That’s because they always end and you go back to old eating habits that put on weight in the first place. Even worse, if your diet was super low calorie, it puts your body in starvation mode, which slows the metabolism and makes weight loss harder and weight gain easier, so you often regain even more than you lost. Eating smarter allows you to pick your meals based on nutrition. You’ll find there’s never a feeling of being deprived and if you want some of your favorite high calorie junk food, it’s okay once in a while.

A program of regular exercise keeps you toned and fit.

You won’t build bulging muscles like a man when you exercise regularly. In fact, any female body builder will tell you it’s really hard to do that and requires total dedication to a rigorous, continual type of exercise routine. Instead, you’ll build lean muscle mass that tones you and makes you look curvy. You’ll take pounds off quicker when you combine exercising with healthy eating. That’s because exercising burns calories and healthy eating lowers caloric intake, attacking fat on two levels. It also builds muscle tissue. Muscle tissue requires more calories than fat tissue does, so effectively, you’ll be boosting your metabolism.

Getting ready for summer means boosting your energy level.

Summer is always a busy time of year. There’s so much to do. If you have children, a lot of time is often devoted to family outings and adventures. All this activity can leave you drained unless your body is ready for it. Starting now, you can be. Getting and keeping fit during the winter will boost your energy level so you have time for family, job, summer fun and all the other demands you have on your life.

  • Winter blahs can make you feel tired and unmotivated. Working out can eliminate that and leave you energized and ready for the rest of the day.
  • No matter who you are, life holds plenty of stress. Regular exercise is a stress buster, burning off the hormones of stress and putting you back to normal.
  • You’ll be healthier when you eat nourishing meals and exercise regularly. It boosts the immune system and helps prevent serious conditions.
  • Regular exercise and healthy eating can help relieve some of the problems of menopause and reduce menstrual cramping.