3 Ways to Find TIME for Fitness

As a Certified Wellness Coach and Exercise Physiologist, one of the biggest barriers I commonly hear with starting or sticking with an exercise plan is TIME. We live in a fast-paced, busy world and it can be daunting to think about how exercise can or will fit in with all your other obligations. Luckily, there is a 3-step process you can go through to make regular exercise a part of your reality.

1. FIND the Time
The first step is to map out your regular routine on a weekly planner or calendar, ideally one that is broken down into thirty-minute blocks. Begin by filling in your regular obligations – work (including any breaks!), sleep, recurring appointments or meetings, etc. Once you’ve filled in all of your regular obligations, look for the empty chunks of time. Notice where you may have an extra thirty minutes or an hour and look at these spaces as opportunities for fitness. This is the first step of finding time for fitness.

[Note: this could and should be done on a weekly basis so you can set yourself up for success. If you have a busier than normal schedule one week, you may realize you might not have time to get to the gym, but you might be more inclined to take a 20 minute walk around the block (and lose the “guilt” for not going to the gym because it wasn’t part of your plan!) On the flip side, your next week might not be as busy and you have more time to get to the gym. It really is all about balance, even when it comes to our time!]

2. MAKE the Time
Next, examine where the gaps in your schedule are and how these might align with some of the activities you are interested in. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to try Yoga, your work schedule is flexible and you notice your gym has a Wednesday Body Flow class over the lunch hour (hint, hint!). You might notice you have a gap every day when you get off work at 4:15 and before you pick the kids up at 5:30 that there’s a 30 minute HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) class you could hit up (pun intended) at 4:30pm (another hint hint!). Or, you might see you have time for a 15 minute walk with the kids a few nights per week. Once you have found some activities that interest you, and that would fit into your schedule, make the time for them.

3. TAKE the Time
Now that you’ve identified free time in your schedule and decided on the fun fitness activities you would like to fill it with, it’s time to commit to your plan. Treat each workout with the same priority that you would an appointment for something important. Just like you need to show up and be prepared for others, it is vital to show up for yourself. Do whatever you need to do in order to keep these important appointments with yourself, whether it is setting reminders on your phone, having a workout buddy, or a wellness coach or personal trainer to hold you accountable (hint hint!)

Remember to frequently reflect on WHY you’ve decided fitness should be a priority in your life (wellness coaching can help with that!) so that you are able to maintain your focus. Repeat this process as often as needed for continued success!

 

Lindsey Peterson is a Certified Wellness Coach at Proximal50 Life Center. Lindsey coaches her clients to create sustainable lifestyle changes and to help them improve their overall well‐being. She provides support for creating realistic goals and navigating the challenges & obstacles that often get in our way.

Mental Health Monday: Gut Health

#4Mind4Body Mental Health Month Challenge

Mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and well-being, and mental illnesses are common and treatable. So much of what we do physically impacts us mentally –it’s important to pay attention to both your physical health and your mental health, which can help you achieve overall wellness and set you on a path to recovery.

This May is Mental Health Month; Proximal50 Life Center is raising awareness about the connection between physical health and mental health, through the theme Fitness #4Mind4Body. The campaign is meant to educate and inform individuals about how eating healthy foods, gut health, managing stress, exercising, and getting enough sleep can go a long way in making you healthy all around.

A healthy lifestyle can help to prevent the onset or worsening of mental health conditions like depression and anxiety, as well as heart disease, diabetes, obesity and other chronic health problems. It can also play a big role in helping people recover from these conditions.

Getting the appropriate amount of exercise can help control weight, improve mental health, and help you live longer and healthier. Recent research is also connecting your nutrition and gut health with your mental health. Sleep also plays a critical role in all aspects of our life and overall health. Getting a good night’s sleep is important to having enough physical and mental energy to take on daily responsibilities. And we all know that stress can have a huge impact on all aspects of our health, so it’s important to take time to focus on stress-reducing activities like meditation or yoga.

Proximal50 Life Center wants everyone to know that mental illnesses are real, and recovery is always the goal. Living a healthy lifestyle may not be easy, but by looking at your overall health every day – both physically and mentally – you can go a long way in ensuring that you focus on your Fitness #4Mind4Body. For more information, visit www.mentalhealthamerica.net/may.

Call 751-2974 or click here to schedule your free consult and learn how the team of health professionals of Proximal50 can help you.

One More Rep: Lunges!

Ahhh lunges… you either love ’em or hate ’em. But let’s face it, they are one helluva a good way to target your legs.

Three reasons you should be doing lunges in your strength routine:

  1. Lunges mimic several of our daily movement patterns from kneeling down to help a child or tie your shoe to simply walking. Building strength through lunges will help you move better (and safer) throughout your day.
  2. Lunges also train muscular imbalances. In a squat your stronger leg can dominate, but in a lunge you work one leg at a time forcing you to build strength independently in each leg.
  3. Lunges challenge your balance and stabilizing muscles (including your core) important for total strength and injury prevention.

Now this isn’t to say squats and other leg exercises aren’t important too – just make sure lunges are working their way into your training routine.

Below are some trainer tips to get one more rep for a better lunge!

  1. Step forward with toes pointing straight ahead
  2. Lengthen up tall through your spine
  3. Tighten core & lift your chest
  4. Knee over toes – keep the knee stable & minimize side-to-side movement
  5. Drive through your front heel, keeping your weight out of your front toes
  6. Start with body weight lunges to focus on technique

 

 

Trainer Tip: Maximize Your Seated Rows!

The seated row is an excellent way to target your back muscles. Strengthening and developing a strong back side is important for muscle balance & posture. So much of what we do daily – computer work, house work, driving, planking 😉  – involve the muscles in our chest & shoulders. Targeting the muscles in the back counterbalance many of those movements. While it’s important to keep planking for core strength, make sure you are strengthening your back side too! 

Here are a few trainer tips to maximize your next set:

  • Keep upper body movement to a minimum
  • Stay tall through the torso
  • Keep shoulder blades back and squeezed
  • Think about using all your back muscles and triceps
  • If your forearm and biceps muscles burn out before the back muscles then you need to refocus the work to your back muscles

Here are two videos to illustrate the correct and incorrect posture in the a seated row. 

Potatoes – To Eat or Not to Eat?!

Do you know someone who doesn’t eat fruit or yogurt because of the sugar content, yet they will eat pretzels or rice cakes in unlimited amounts? There are so many misconceptions about carbs. If you are going to take one thing from this post: Carbs are not created equal. Here’s just one example – POTATOES!

All potatoes contain beneficial resistant starch. These resistant starches and fiber get fermented in the gut and produce short-chain fatty acids. Short-Chain Fatty Acids:

  • Keep you fuller longer
  • Increase mineral absorption and nutrient circulation
  • Prevent absorption of toxins
  • Decrease inflammation

Are you ready for this… Even. White. Potatoes.

When compared to a sweet potato, the overall nutritional value is similar but the type of nutrients vary. This means a variety of potatoes is important for a variety in nutrients. 

Some people have sworn off white potatoes because of their glycemic index  (a value assigned to foods based on how slowly or how quickly those foods cause an increase in blood sugar levels). But keep in mind that when it comes to the glycemic index and how your body responds, there are many things that come into play. This can vary depending on your cooking method, your sleep quality, genetics, activity level, time of day, medications, gut bacteria and the amount of protein, fiber and fat that’s eaten with the food item. So don’t get so consumed on this number.

Everything in moderation! So yes that means a meat and potatoes meal is not recommended daily (sorry!).  But here are ways to eat potatoes with a healthier twist:

  • Boiled
  • Roasted
  • Baked
  • Topped with olive oil and herbs
  • Topped with salt

Limit potatoes prepared:

  • As chips
  • Fried
  • “Loaded” with all the fixins’
  • With lots of cream and butter

Vanessa Lennick, RD, LRD
Registered Dietitian
Proximal50 Life Center

Want to know more? Ready to ditch the diet and find nutrition strategies that actually work for YOU? Ready to eat real food and enjoy it? Schedule a free consult with Vanessa online:

Online scheduling

Is Reset90 for me?

Reset90 is an 90 day online accountability group led by the team of wellness pros from Proximal50 Life Center. Reset90 is for you, if:

  • You’re looking to create healthy lifestyle habits that stick, like meal planning/prepping and/or incorporating more fruits and veggies
  • You’re lacking in the energy department
  • You’re struggling to get into a fitness routine and need some guidance
  • You’re trying to reduce your “cravings,” but just can’t seem to kick them
  • You’re looking for a community to support and push you towards your goals
  • You’re searching for a way to better manage stress
  • You’re tired of starting the newest fad diet only to end up right back where you started
  • You like the idea of a holistic approach to your health
  • You want to make long-term changes, without meal replacements, products & supplements.

Recipe ideas, meal planning tips, workouts, stress management tactics, education on underrated health topics that make a HUGE difference in your health, daily accountability and motivation – all of this for LESS THAN $10/WEEK! What are you waiting for?

We start February 19th –  Sign up today @ https://squareup.com/store/proximal50-life-center

Questions? Email Lindsey, Wellness Coach @ Proximal50 at lindsey.peterson@proximal50.com

Fiber: What You Need to Know

In an effort to make popular packaged foods healthier, manufacturers began adding beneficial nutrients to help improve the nutrition profile of commonly consumed foods. Fiber is common added nutrient and manufactures will often heavily market the product as being high in fiber. (think fiber-added yogurt)

However, there is concern that these isolated and sometimes synthetic added fibers don’t provide the same nutritional benefit as fiber found in whole plant sources.  The FDA has now come out with a new definition of Fiber. To be listed as fiber, the ingredient must have effects that are beneficial to human health.

The food industry has asked the FDA for a 3 year delay to update food labels to the new compliance standards. Until then, be aware of these commonly used isolated and synthetic non-digestible carbohydrates that don’t meet the new fiber definition:

Alginate
Apple fiber
Bamboo fiber
Carboxymethylcellulose
Corn Hull fiber
Cottonseed fiber
Galactooligosaccharides
Gum Acacia
Insulin/oligofructose/synthetic short-chain fructooligosacchrides
Karaya gum
Oat Hull Fiber
Pea Fiber
Polydextrose
Potato fiber
Pullulan
Rice Bran fiber
High-amylose corn/maize starch
Retrograded corn starch
Resistant wheat and maize starch
Soluble corn fiber
Soy fiber
Sugar beet fiber
Sugar cane fiber
Wheat fiber
Xanthan gum
Xylooligosaccharides

Strive to get different types of fibers for various benefits and to help meet recommended amounts by eating whole plant foods such as whole grains, pulses (beans, lentils, peas), vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds.

Vanessa Lennick
Registered Dietitian
Proximal50 Life Center

Group Workouts Shown to Improve Mental & Physical Wellbeing

A new study into the stress-relieving power of group fitness makes world headlines by proving what many have known all along – there is strength in numbers.

As the old proverb says, “necessity is the mother of invention”. When Dr. Dayna Yorks first arrived at medical school in Maine in 2013, she had a big problem. Group fitness classes were nonexistent on the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine campus, and she knew group exercise was necessary for her to maintain physical and mental health. What did this Les Mills instructor do about it? She not only brought CXWORX™ to campus, she simultaneously studied the effects of the class on medical students.

Now her research, published in the the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association is gaining worldwide attention, including coverage in more than 30 media outlets, for its overall finding that group fitness improves mental and physical well-being.

Yorks has always excelled in sports. She played college softball (pitcher and first baseman) at university, and was chosen as captain in her senior year. When she graduated team sports ended, and Yorks felt something was missing from her life.

“I somewhat begrudgingly tried a BODYPUMP class on the suggestion of my dad. I would have much rather been lifting big weights on the floor! Turns out that I loved it!” she says. “Group fitness filled the void that was missing as I was no longer a part of a team. I started as an enthusiastic participant, then took the leap to become an instructor about 10 years ago.”

Group exercise kept Yorks fit, provided her with social connections, and offered stress relief. “Exercise has always been my outlet, and by the time I started medical school, group fitness in particular was something I needed to feel grounded, whole, and alive,” she explains.

Without a formal group exercise program at medical school, Yorks once again felt that void. “I infrequently taught free-style classes to small groups of friends in an effort to feel like myself. I’ll never forget being in the [medical school gym’s] locker room, and one of my friends said to me, ‘Dayna, you need to figure out how to create an enduring group fitness program that will live on after you leave campus.’ It was her suggestion that inspired me to do just that.”

She did just that and much more. Yorks wanted to provide her fellow students with something lasting that would not only improve their physical fitness but also provide desperately needed stress relief. “Research has shown that incidences of major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder are five-fold higher in medical trainees than their age-matched, non-medical counterparts,” she says. “Additionally, many students and physicians suffer from burnout, fatigue, alcoholism, and even suicide.”

The answer for Yorks was obvious. She set her sights on Les Mills. “I realized that if I could get the school to fund the license for a Les Mills format, then I could effectively lay the foundation for an enduring group fitness program. LES MILLS programs have a strong infrastructure – there are multiple Initial Training Modules across the country for new students to become certified, and instructors are provided with music and choreography, which ensures fresh sounds and safe, effective programming based on science. I chose CXWORX because it’s only a half-hour long, requires minimal equipment, and I knew its focus on core and functional training would be relevant for future physicians.”

Yorks also chose CXWORX because of its potential to affect the way these future doctors practice medicine. “The third leading cause for patients to seek care from a primary care physician is low-back pain, and many times, it can be treated with core exercises,” says Yorks. “By affording medical students a class where they could experience core training first hand, it would hopefully carry over into their future practice as physicians. Research also shows that medical students who engage in physical exercise are more likely to encourage their patients to do so as well.”

It was during a workout at the gym that her anatomy professor suggested she also consider a research project. “We both agreed that concrete data on the effects of group fitness on medical student wellness would be helpful in procuring continued funding for the future. I worked in research prior to starting medical school so I was familiar with the process.”

CXWORX was a huge hit and was regularly attended by 70 students and staff. “I’ve never taught to so many people in a CXWORX class in my life,” beams Yorks.

The focus of the research was two-fold: “We wanted to see if participation in group exercise, individual exercise, or no exercise would have an effect on the wellbeing of medical students.” To that end, Yorks and her team hypothesized that:
1 – Participation in regular exercise would yield decreased perceived stress and increased physical, mental, and emotional quality of life.
2 – Participation in group fitness classes would yield greater stress reduction and quality of life improvement than exercising individually.

Bottom line? They were right!

“Essentially, we found that those who participated in at least one CXWORX class a week had a statistically significant decrease in stress, and an improvement in mental, physical, and emotional quality of life. Those who exercised individually showed improvement in mental quality of life, but no other significant changes were noted. This suggests that participation in group fitness classes could be a solution to improving the wellbeing of medical students.”

Specifically, the data showed the CXWORX group experienced:
12.6 percent increase in mental Quality of Life (QOL)
24.8 percent increase in physical QOL
26 percent increase in emotional QOL
26.2 percent decrease in perceived stress

“The individual exercise group had an 11 percent increase in mental QOL, but otherwise, no other statistically significant changes were observed,” Yorks explains.

Without discounting the well-demonstrated benefits of working out individually, the study suggests the “group effect” does have a particular significance: “The possibility that the social aspects of group exercise improved QOL and decreased stress also cannot be discounted. The social component of group exercise is therapeutic. Furthermore, group exercise classes often use up-tempo music and choreography to make the class more fun and engaging. Bringing together medical students who are all going through similar stresses to work out and have fun may transcend the experience of working out on their own.”

She has been both overwhelmed and thrilled by the media attention her project has attracted. “It certainly was not our intention to take the media by storm, nor were we expecting it,” she says. “Having the study disseminated on such a large scale is also a gift. Our study advocates for a shift in medical education and training to address student and physician wellness, in particular through group fitness. The more people who can become aware of the need for this change and the power of group exercise, the better!”

Today, Yorks is completing residency training to specialize in physical medicine and rehabilitation. “I hope to do additional research in the future, potentially a similar project but for medical residents, which is arguably an even more stressful time in a physician’s career.”

While Yorks’ schedule may seem daunting, she says it’s well worth it. “It was towards the end of my medical education that I became a part of the Les Mills US Trainer team. So yes, juggling all of these roles is challenging! But I can’t imagine my life without all of them. I do the best I can, lead with my heart, and realize it’s okay to be ‘hashtag perfectnever’.”

TAKE FIVE

  1. Medical students suffer above average stress-related depression and anxiety – making them an ideal study group
  2. The study used Les Mills’ CXWORX classes attended by 70 students and staff
  3. Those who attended at least one class per week showed lower stress levels
  4. Compared to individual exercisers, those in the group class scored higher for stress-reduction and physical, mental and emotional quality of life
  5. It was hypothesized that the social component of group exercise in itself is therapeutic.

Dayna Yorks is a medical doctor and researcher who, as a member of the Les Mills US trainer team, helps inspire and upskill a growing tribe of group fitness instructors.

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Originally published on lesmills.com.

Trainer Tip! Get 2-3 more reps out of your set.

Bicep curls… easy peasy right? Sure the movement may seem simple, but there are several small adjustments you can make to get 2 or 3 more reps out of your next set for better results! Here are 5 trainer tips to get you there:

  • Elbows in at sides. Do not let those elbow flair out. If that’s the only way you can curl the weight – the weight is too heavy!
  • Shoulders back – stand tall & be proud of those beautiful biceps.
  • Elbows and shoulders should not move – think elbows under shoulder – the only movement is the biceps muscle lengthening
  • Hips in neutral position (tuck pelvis and brace core) do not pop the hips forward at the top – we are working those muscles.
  • There should be no pain  in front of shoulder. Re-evaluate your alignment!