Do You Have Some COVID Fat to Burn Off?

damage controlI’m in the gym business. I would love to be able to say that exercise is the answer to your weight problems but it rarely is.

In fact, I think many people workout too hard. Sure, there are people who don’t get any exercise at all but many gym goers spend way too much time at the gym and not enough time in the grocery store shopping for healthy foods and in the kitchen food prepping.

I actually have seen many people get better results focusing more on their nutrition and less on their workouts. They still workout, but the are not enslaved to it.

If you really want to know the truth, even when I am training for a competition, I see people working out way harder than me. I often have people ask me about training, workouts and maybe even what I am taking. But, rarely does anyone ask what I am eating. Why? Because that is the last thing people want to change. They are willing to take a fat burner, add another protein shake or preworkout drink. They are even willing to do another workout, but don’t take away their wine or coffee creamer. Oh no!

Listen, you don’t need to diet hardcore, but you have to have guidelines. You need a plan. You need rules. That applies to everything in life.

We have to be accountable for what we eat like we are accountable for what we spend. Our body is just a physical bank account of calories going in and out. The only thing is, we can eat them a lot easier and faster than we can “spend” them (or burn them).

Let’s clean up our diet to lose weight and workout to get stronger and fitter; not to erase all our dietary sins.

The gym is not where we are supposed to feel like we are “serving time”, it’s a place to grow, make friends, try new things and reach new goals.

What are you trying to work off?

Did you gain the COVID fifteen?

I am starting a 21 Day Reset June 15th.

CLICK HERE to request more info!

Upper Body Home Workout

After being forced to close our gym, we started leading online workouts via zoom and taping them for people who can’t join us live. This is one of our upper body workouts we did with our members.

Whether you have dumbbells or you use 2 cans of soup or 2 gallons of water, this is a very effective upper body workout you can do at home.

20 Hamstring Exercises You Can Do At Home

Screen Shot 2020-03-26 at 2.20.23 AM copyIf you are like me and stuck working out at home while you are in quarantine during this COVID-19 crisis, you are looking for new workouts and exercises.

One body part I think gets left behind (pun intended) is the back of your thighs (hamstrings).

If I had to guess, I bet your list of hamstring exercises is pretty short. Most people rely on machines like prone and seated leg curl machines to target their hamstrings. You aren’t alone. The hamstrings are a little hard to work without big fancy gym equipment.

So, what can you do when you don’t have access to your gym’s awesome machines? Plenty!

15 Hamstring Exercises

Here are some hamstring exercises that require little to no equipment so your hamstrings don’t get left out of your home workout routine. Choose 3-5 exercises per workout. Do 3-4 sets of 18-20 reps (25 reps for exercises with no resistance).

  1. Dumbbell Stiff-legged Deadlift
  2. Barbell Deadlift
  3. Romanian Barbell Deadlift
  4. Dumbbell Single-leg Deadlift
  5. Prone Hamstring Curls With Bands
  6. Cable (or Band) Hamstring Curl
  7. Geronimo
  8. Bridge
  9. Bridge With Leg Lift
  10. Swiss Ball Leg Curl
  11. Swiss Ball Glute Bridge
  12. Resistance Band Hip Raise
  13. Dumbbell Leg Curl (using multi-purpose bench)
  14. Reverse Hyperextension
  15. Good Morning

5 Hamstring Stretches

  1. Straight Leg Stretch
  2. Balance Ball Hamstrings Stretch
  3. Lying Hamstring Stretch
  4. Crossover Leg Stretch
  5. Foam-rolling Hamstrings

SEEGet A Better Backside: 4 Tips and a Workout

Pinterest & Instagram Graphic

20 hamstring 650 copy

5 Tips for the Best Home Workout

Screen Shot 2020-04-13 at 1.23.08 PMWith all the gyms closed and everyone stuck at home in lockdown thanks to COVID-19, there is a lot of talk online about working out at home. Just because it’s a hot topic doesn’t mean everyone is happy about it. In fact, most people really struggle working out at home.

As a gym owner who is dedicated to helping our members stay active during the COVID-19 crisis, I thought I would share a few tips we are sharing with our members to keep them moving when everything seems like it is at a standstill.

1. Stick to a workout schedule.

Our gym, Lift Fitness, has all of our online classes scheduled in our member app so people can reserve their spot in our virtual classes in advance. Not only is this great added accountability, it also helps people plan their workout schedule. While we don’t expect everyone to attend all of our live workouts, scheduling classes in advance helps people make a plan and map out their workout routine for the week, whether they do the classes live or they do them later on demand.

2. Get ready for the gym.

If you think you are going to have a great workout barefoot in your pajamas, think again. What you wear and where you workout matter more than you think. We suggest you throw on your favorite gym clothes and lace up before each home workout. Not only does it get your body ready, it gets your head ready too.

90931147_3466890309994607_3028353724985638912_n3. Prepare your gym space.

In addition to getting your body ready, you need to have your home gym ready too. Decide what device you will use to stream or watch workouts. Gather all the gym gear you have and get it ready for use, even if it’s just a yoga matt and a set of dumbbells.

Whether you are just working out in your garage, living room or back patio, workouts will feel more comfortable and normal the more prepared you are and the more often you use your home gym space.

4. Get psyched up.

It is easy to get geared up for your workout because you have time in the car to help you make that mental transition from work to workout. However, if you are working from home, it’s not as easy to walk a few feet away from the computer and be excited about a workout.

As you your online workout approaches, give yourself enough time to switch gears. Turn off work and turn on your favorite high-energy tunes to get your body ready to rock.

92547835_3505545596129078_6053563512435769344_n5. Stay connected.

We work very hard to make our online workouts as interactive and engaging as possible because we know the importance of community. One of our favorite quotes is from an African proverb, “if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”. Community is the secret to lasting success.

If you don’t have an opportunity to do online interactive zoom workouts with your coaches or friends, you can stay connected on social media. Tag friends in fitness related posts. Challenge friends to do the same workout as you are doing. Post workout #ProofPics for added accountability. Stay connected with all your gym friends so you can lift each other up every day. Believe me. There will be days you don’t feel like working out but one of your friends will inspire you when you need it most.

Working home is different but you can have a great workout if you prepare for a great workout.

Learn more about our online workouts at www.LiftVero.com.

2 Gallon Lower Body Home Workout

All you need is 2 gallons of water and a great attitude for this workout.

As most of you know, many gyms were forced to shut down, including ours. So, we had to set up our studio at home so we could continue to serve our members. I decided to record our LIVE ZOOM workouts we did with our members and share them with you.

If you are interested in joining in our live interactive ZOOM workouts, just shoot us an email using our Contact Page. It’s been fun working out together!

Hope you enjoy this workout!

 

20 Low-Calorie Holiday & Celebration Ideas

Steve Pfiester's Birthday
Birthdays and holidays are always hard when you are on a diet. But, if you really think about it, people don’t need a cake. They just want the day to feel special and have a little fun. 

As an example, Steve’s birthday was yesterday and he’s been dieting so I don’t want people to give him a birthday cake. So, our staff gave Steve a “Birthday Chicken” for his birthday, complete with candles, “birthday boy” decorations and a chicken dance at the gym.

This was a great reminder that celebrations don’t always need to revolve around self-sabotaging events and unhealthy foods. Going out to Cheescake Factory LOL or buying a cake is the easy way to celebrate. Let’s not be lazy. Being creative may take work but there are TONS of healthy ways to celebrate and have a day that feels special and is fun – without the guilt!

Healthy Celebration Ideas

Trade going out to dinner, birthday cakes and traditional “partying” for something different.

  1. Group mani-pedi party
  2. Spend the money you would spend on dinner on something to support your goals – new jeans or a workout outfit
  3. Have a Healthy Recipe Swap Party – have everyone bring their healthiest dish and recipe
  4. Go bowling
  5. CAA4BEBB-D23D-41D4-88C9-F07E071FDF64Do mini-Golf or Top Golf driving range
  6. Enjoy a trip to the zoo with the family
  7. Have a picnic or cookout at the park
  8. Group workout or run with your besties
  9. Go to a trampoline park or rock climbing gym
  10. Do Paintball Wars
  11. Go to a go cart track
  12. Mark something off your bucket list
  13. Explore, hike, site-see! Get outside!
  14. Go Green Party – you provide the meat and everyone else brings a green veggie dish
  15. DYI party – make a craft or make something with friends (great for thanksgiving – look at Pinterest)
  16. Invite friends over to have a paint party or help you do a project you have been putting off as their gift to you
  17. Invest in inexpensive fun outdoor games like cornhole, frisbee, badmitten, horseshoes, etc for the family or friends to all play
  18. Schedule an event and art teacher at a specialty painting school, bead shop or pottery place
  19. Do a themed party like a Luau, 70’s disco theme, etc and focus more on costume
  20. Schedule a photo shoot with your BFFs, family or just yourself! (that will keep you dieting!) This is great for Thanksgiving and Christmas!
There are so many ways to make a day seem special. Plan ahead, be creative and take lots of pictures so the special day lasts and lasts!

COLLAGEN: 7 Ways to PUMP it back UP!

download-1While I can’t tell exactly how much collagen I’ve lost over my 48 years of life, I sure can tell you that it’s decreasing. How do I know? Well, I checked off several of the most common symptoms of decreased collagen according to the Cleveland Clinic.
  • Wrinkles and crepey skin (check!)

  • Stiffer, less flexible tendons and ligaments (check!)
• Shrinking, weakening muscles (fighting this!)
• Joint pain or osteoarthritis due to worn cartilage (check!)
• Gastrointestinal problems due to thinning of the lining in digestive tract

Elizabeth Bradley, MD, Medical Director of Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine explained in one of Cleveland Clinic’s articles on collagen, the importance of eating the right foods too. “Aside from aging, the top reason people don’t have enough collagen is poor diet,” Dr. Bradley says. “Your body can’t make collagen if it doesn’t have the necessary elements.”

Unfortunately, collagen levels in the skin begin to decline in the mid-to-late 20’s. And, here is the scary part. The the rate of depletion is pretty aggressive, with an overall reduction in collagen level of about 1% per year.

The good news is there are a lot of ways to increase collagen in our skin (besides going to the doctor for collagen injections! LOL).

1. Massage

Massaging the skin can stimulate collagen production and boost muscle memory. It also will stimulate nourishing blood flow to the skin. Don’t worry though. You don’t need to go to an expert. Just massage your skin and facial muscles with moderate pressure when washing your face and applying products.

download-22. Eat foods rich in collagen-supporting nutrients

After doing some research, Vitamin C, Copper, Zinc and Sulfur were some of the suggested vitamins and minerals to help support collagen production. Including foods like red and green peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, spinach, spinach, shellfish, nuts, whole grains and beans are a few foods with some of these nutrients. However, I have to admit, taking a really good vitamin pack not only fills the gaps but takes the pressure off of us to have our diet perfect.

broth3. Drink and Cook with Bone Broth

Dr. Bradley said her favorite collagen-boosting brew was bone broth! She went on to explain that bone broth draws collagen out of beef, chicken or fish bones. I guess I’ve been living under a rock. I knew bone broth was good for you but I didn’t know about the collagen in it! YAY! I just ordered a brand new collagen bone broth with Vitamin C so now I am REALLY stoked!! I will have to do a review once I try it but I hear it’s amazing!

4. Drink water.

Hydration is HUGE in providing a better environment for collagen to thrive. Plus, our skin contains about 64% water so it is easy to understand how water can affect our skin’s function and appearance.

Old-Lady-Friends-Talk-Smoking-Smoke-Free-Image-Cig-48775. Quit SSS – Smoking, Sun and Sugar.

I think we all understand how sunburns literally destroys and damages the skin. And, we can even see how smoking affects the skin because a smoker’s skin always looks so much older. Smoking actually actually kills collagen but did you know sugar can damage the skin too? It (glucose) permanently attaches to collagen, weighing it down until it becomes rigid and inflexible. Who would have thunk it?! LOL!

“It is more important to change what we put IN our body
than what we put ON our body.”

skincare 6. Supplement with Collagen Peptides.

A Cosmo Online Beauty Editor had her skin measured by a Dermascan and found taking a collagen supplement (rich in vitamin C) increased her collagen levels by a whopping 25%. That’s CRAZY! Considering the rate of collagen loss after your 20s, this could shave off 25 years of collagen depletion!

While some experts online also recommended using collagen creams, Dr. Bradley says, “it may work” and goes on to explain “it will add a film-like layer to your skin to reduce water loss and act as a barrier from environmental elements. But using skin cream is probably not as effective as healthy eating”. So, basically, she says it is more important to change what we put IN our body than what we put ON our body.

 “Your skin is your body’s largest organ,” she says. “The same way you nourish collagen stores throughout your body will nourish your skin too.”

facialWhat are collagen peptides? Collagen peptides are a form of collagen that is rapidly absorbed and highly bioavailable, effectively delivering collagen’s benefits throughout the body. While ordinary foods like meat, poultry, and fish contain collagen, it’s mainly in the form of long collagen fibers. This form of collagen is difficult to digest and offers few benefits. Collagen peptides are created through an enzymatic process that breaks long collagen fibers into short collagen peptides that are quickly absorbed and easy for the body to use.

7. Healthy Digestion

digestionOne expert explained one of the things we take for granted is digestion. We think if we don’t have any noticeable digestive issues, we don’t need digestive support. Wrong! Getting the right nutrients may be the key to fixing a lot of problems, like deteriorating collagen, but ingesting nutrients isn’t the only obstacle. We must actually absorb the nutrients to cash in on the benefits.

As we age, our body may no longer absorb nutrients as well as it used to so we may need to help our body along by taking quality digestive enzymes and probiotics to support our gut microbiome and better digestive health for maximum absorption of all nutrients. Most of us work way too hard to eat healthy and take care of our body to ignore our gut health.

Summary

The moral of the story is the more we take care of our health and invest in pouring in quality nutrition like quality vitamins, supplements, nutritious foods and plenty of water, the better our body will function and look! And, it also reminds me to go take my vitamins!

WEIGHT LOSS: Are You Blind to Your Own Success?

Let’s see if you can relate to this little scenario. Let’s say you are on a weight loss journey and you check the scale day after day but it just seems like your success is slower than you want.

You think “I work so hard. I feel like all I do is diet and exercise. When will I reap the harvest of all my labor? Is it worth it? Can I ever reach my goal? Should I just give up or is there still hope?”

Does this sound familiar? Maybe you are looking at it all wrong.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH US? LOL!

8cea23ddf5c4eacbe415abbbc138a83aSo many of my clients have shared victories with me and their peers, only to turn around and have a bad moment, bad weigh-in or bad thought rip through all of the victories and send them spiralling down, down, down. It’s an epidemic.

Oftentimes, your spouse notices your changes, your kids notice you have more energy, your coworkers see you shrinking but sometimes you are completely blind to your own progress or you are quick to forget yesterday’s victory because of today’s trials.

How many times will you experience something awesome and have a really positive moment only to complain a few hours later after having a complete mind-shift because you over-ate, skipped a workout or tried on an outfit you didn’t feel fit you just right. It’s SO easy to get side-tracked and you aren’t alone.

CHANGE YOUR FOCUS

Non-scale VictoriesLife Coach, RodHairston, reminds his clients, “what you focus on, you find” – and it’s so true. Think about it. As soon as you buy a new blue car (one that you feel like you have never seen before), all you see after you drive off the lot are all the other blue cars just like yours. It’s like they are suddenly everywhere! LOL!

It applies to everything. If you look for drama, you’ll find it and if you look for failures you will find those too. However, we can practice looking for the positive things in our life, including health victories.

We can look for improved sleep and energy. We can look for improvements in performance and strength. We can look for changes in the mirror and in how we fit in our clothes. We can look for confidence, excitement and all the other perks of being with like-minded friends who are on the same mission as you.

Is it time to change your focus? Sure, the scale is a big help to hold you accountable, but your health goes WAY beyond a few numbers on a scale. In order to live a healthy, consistent lifestyle, you MUST define, recognize and embrace all the many perks of living a healthy life.

What are some of the benefits to your healthy lifestyle that you are already experiencing? I’d love to hear them! Comment below! Let’s encourage each other – and LIFT each other up!

whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. Philippians 4:8

 

Pain Relief for Tech Head

“A new study suggests that looking down at a cell phone is the equivalent of placing a 60-pound weight on one’s neck.” – 

One of the biggest issues we have these days is neck and shoulder pain due to sitting at a computer too long or being sucked into our phone. One health article I read in The Atlantic showed how much looking down at our phone or computer can affect our posture. Check it out! No WONDER we can have a pain in the neck!

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Pain Relief For Tech Head

I had the privilege to do a product review on this neck massager. A lot of our pain can be simply from maintaining a constant stretch on muscles, causing muscle spasms, knots and pain, self-massagers. Having a good massager, like the Naipo massager, can help improve circulation in the muscles and as relieve muscle spasms.

 

Check out all the Naipo products including the new Naipo oCuddle Massager!

Get Your NAIPO Neck Massager

50% off code: VG4CB9Y2
After code: $25
Valid through: October 31, 2019

 

Why Am I’m Not Losing Weight?

Weight Loss Encouragement

Do you know what I’m holding up right now? It’s 5 pounds of fat (left) and 5 pounds of muscle (right).

Notice the size difference? This is why, after starting a new diet and fitness program, you can look and feel smaller but still weigh the same or have a smaller drop in weight than you feel you deserve.

We work SO HARD, especially in the beginning. We want BIG numbers. We want that reward! And, this is exactly why so many people quit within the first few weeks they start a new program. The goal seems too big and the reward seems too small.

You aren’t alone.

Slow Start

Destroy the ScaleWhen we start to exercise, we not only build muscle but we hold more water and glycogen in the muscle cell, causing the muscle to weigh more. It’s not like we will gain 5 pounds of new muscle tissue, but we will gain muscle weight as our muscle stores more energy in the muscle cells so it’s fueled up (like a gas tank) for the next workout.

It is very common for people to have this initial weight gain in the muscle, which is also what causes our muscle (and body) to look and feel more firm. WIN! While we are gaining that small amount of initial muscle weight, we may also be losing body fat but those initial changes are not something you can see on a traditional scale – giving you a false sense of failure.

This is why we have an InBody machine at our gym so people can see exactly what is going on beyond the scale. People are so tempted give up, even though they are making hidden progress, simply because they don’t see their hard work reflected on the scale.

Time Will Tell

Eventually, your initial boost in muscle will level out and you should start to see the scale go down. If not, then you know you are likely eating more calories than you are burning and maybe it’s time to start counting calories in an app like LoseIt and tweak your diet. I find a lot of people eat healthy, but just eat too much.

While you need to understand your body’s changes go far beyond a number on a scale, you also don’t want to use that principle as an “out” either, and assume you are just exchanging fat weight for muscle weight for the next 2 years LOL. That won’t happen. But, it can explain why you may feel like you are getting a slow start.

Look Beyond the Scale

Lose weight nowThe moral of the story is this: don’t JUST look at the scale. I am a big believer in the accountability a scale gives my clients. The scale is a great way to see how your body is trending (it will tell on you!) but there is SOOOO much MORE going on than just weight loss.

If you want to go the distance, and have a real lifestyle change, you need to force yourself to look at other non-scale victories like going down a belt notch, more energy, improved blood work, confidence, better performance, better mood, less pain and all the other amazing benefits to getting healthy. 

It’s easy to be fixated on a weight loss goal so much you miss out on this incredible journey filled with many victories along the way to your the new healthier you!

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