10 Ways to Measure Success

10 Ways to Measure Success

10 Ways to Measure Success

There are plenty of “measurements” used to mark the progress of our clients. Contrary to popular belief, the scale, is the least important form of measurement. Too many people rely on this number to feel good, and then find great disappoint when they don’t see what they want. This happens all too often, though you may be eating perfectly, there are a lot of factors that go into achieving your goals in fitness and health. Here is what we look for at Ellipse Fitness, in no particular order.

1. Scale – As stated above, the scale is a form of measurement. Though we do not base results off of weight, we simply take note of these numbers.
2. Body composition – Ann Morrow, owner of St. Louis says it perfectly, “Measuring the amount of muscle and fat is so much better than weight. Weight doesn‚Äôt account for muscle. The more muscle we have, the leaner we appear!”
3. Reduced cravings – You know you’re on track when you push yourself extra hard in a workout because your reward is a protein shake! When motivation increases and someone is pushing themselves to reach goals, things like junk food, desert, and treats become less important and less desirable.
4. Increased Energy – With hard work in the gym and reduced cravings, healthy sleep is more prominent in our lives. With quality rest and nutrition, energy levels rise.
5. Increase in weight (of equipment) – You can tell a lot about progress when a client increases the weight in dumbbell, kettle bell or barbell.
6. Increase in level of body weight exercises – Lead Trainer at ThirdWard Milwaukee, Doug Mueller, explains it best, “Pushups is a great example of this, when a client first comes in and only is capable of doing a limited number of pushups from their knees and now they are doing a high reps from their toes. Also, going from a simpler move to a more complex move is another measure of progression. Going from floor glute bridges to a full kettle bell swing is an amazing progression on the glutes muscle group.”
7. Daily life – Reduction in out of breath moments and increased functionality in daily life. For example, performing yard work, caring for a loved one, more steps on a fit bit, or climbing the stairs. Heather Trevarthen, Owner of Allouez, says, “We had a recent short term program in which a participant’s goal was to feel better. Her knee would bother her and crack going up the stairs. 21 days of training later, her knee does not bother her going up the stairs.”
8. Decreased rest time – After the heart rate is increased, progression is measured by the amount of time needed to recover and be ready for action for the next round.
9. Clothes – Jeans or clothing size in general. This does not mean smaller sizes, but it does mean better fit! In the past, we’ve had a program at Ellipse called “Rock My Jeans.” Participants bring in a pair of jeans that don’t fit them anymore, and by the end of the program, the goal is to be able to zip and button them on comfortably!
10. Self-Esteem – The personal favorite of Ellipse is self esteem. We truly want people feeling better and happier. A new found appreciation for the image in the mirror, and not just because of results, but because of the smile on your face!

So there you have it! Don’t forget, quality of life far outweighs any numbers on a scale. Find your nearest Ellipse Fitness, you won’t regret it! ūüôā

Ellipse’s Take On Periodization

Periodization is a technique that¬†trainers and coaches use to vary intensity, duration and volume of workouts from period to period..hence the word periodization! This is what is used with most athletes when they are ramping up for a specific challenge or event. Creating a program using this method always depends on the goals of the client. A big factor to consider when writing training programs using¬†periodization is if the client has a specific event coming up that they are getting physically ready for. (i.e. a triathlon, not their wedding ūüôā ) In this case, we want them to be in peak¬†shape at the time of the event.

To explain periodization further, we spoke to the trainers.

Lead Trainer Doug M. of Third Ward says, “Periods can be as long as a couple months, to every week. ¬†One period could be focused on higher volume of exercise, and the next period could lower volume but higher intensity and heavier weights.” This is just an example to show how training periods can vary depending on the athlete and their goals.

At Ellipse, this type of training also comes in handy for any member and our group sessions.¬†Often times we have long time members that plateau in their workouts. ¬†This is where¬†splitting their workout regimen into periods could help them “get out of their rut” and see great results again. In terms of group sessions, this is part of the reason you never see the same workout twice. We want to avoid plateaus and rather provide workouts that insist on¬†progression.

Continuous progression in our programs at Ellipse is another important aspect of why planning a training program with periodization is a positive idea. Once the specific event is finished or an athlete has reached desired outcome, we don’t want anyone to just stop. We’re always looking for opportunities to help client’s continue progression and periodization training aids in that.

So how do you know that it’s time for a client to move to the next period of their training? Our very own Josh Mac of the Darboy location explains it best, “There are several quantitative measurements we use: body measurements, increase in strength/cardio, lack of gains, medical markers (cholesterol levels, blood pressure, heart rate, etc.). There are also qualitative measures such as “burnout”, which is an indicator for a new cycle to re-motivate.”

Owner of Neenah, Trey, states he uses periodization for 100 % of the programs that he writes. He says he designs the program on a basis of¬†building blocks of periodization from mini to macro cycles in correlation with the individual’s goals and when they are looking to achieve them. Trey says, “Depending on the starting condition of the individual and the activity level outside the program of that person is where I start, also the monitoring of the progress would, in addition, be pending the program length¬†and is different for each individual but would normally run every four to six weeks.”

So you see, periodization depends on the client’s goals and when they want to achieve them. Trainers design their programs based on time periods, leading up to an event and so that athletes will continue progression afterwards. Periodization is used in the designing of any training program at Ellipse Fitness, personal and¬†group.

High Intensity Interval Training

Each week at Ellipse Fitness the structure of the sessions is designed so the body is getting a balanced mix of strength, cardio and high intensity interval training (HIIT). This format helps with weight loss, burn fat,¬†kick-starting the metabolism, muscle tone,¬†and increasing energy and well-being. Let’s dig¬†into the HIIT benefits and¬†why it transforms the body and helps to maximize results.

First, let’s define HIIT:¬†High intensity interval training is a form of training that alternates between quick, intense activity and fixed rest periods. This type of workout has various benefits, but here are the¬†biggies!

Time Saver: For starters, research shows that a quality 15 minute HIIT workout compared to jogging on a treadmill for 60 min, is more effective, especially when compared over the 24 hour period following the workout. With that being said, time allocated to working out in HIIT style takes less time, yet the impact is more significant.

This is perfect for a busy schedule! Get in 20 minutes or less of HIIT and you’ve had a full workout. HIIT should take place 2-3x/week tops, to help with physical and mental strength. An additional plus of the time saving aspect of HIIT is that you can do it anywhere. No excuses accepted!

You are more likely to stick to it:¬†How many times have you been on a treadmill and tried not to look at the time? We trot along trying to distract ourselves,¬†while hoping that time is flying by while we aren’t looking at the clock.¬†Come on, we know you’ve been there! Well here’s what’s awesome about HIIT. With the time saving benefit, you’ll reach higher¬†endorphin levels quickly, leaving you feeling great after a short amount of time. Ellipse workouts are never longer than 45 minutes, and members aren’t only coming back because they look good, but because they FEEL GOOD! This boost, no matter at Ellipse or not, drives you to make fitness a part of your life.¬†HIIT workouts make you feel good fast, leaving a stronger influence on creating a habit of exercising and even better, a desire for it!

Preserve Muscle Mass & Burn Fat:¬†Research shows HIIT preserves muscle mass, while promoting increased fat burn. Whereas steady state cardio may encourage muscle loss with the fat burn. Once you’ve built strong muscle, it’s not something you want to lose! A HIIT workout kicks your body’s repair cycle into overdrive, helping to preserve your hard earned muscle and instead, burns the fat which in turn is what causes¬†healthy¬†weight loss.

Healthy Heart: HIIT pushes you into an anaerobic zone, fast! Taking your heart rate into this zone, from low to very high quickly, causes pressure on veins and arteries. The veins and arteries then increase in flexibility and elasticity. It may take miles before you reach this state while on a treadmill!

HIIT involves periods of work and rest to increase the heart rate while at work and increase the results while at rest. Lead trainer, Doug Mueller, of Milwaukee Third Ward location says, “This roller coaster ride for the heart enhances the cardiovascular system.” So doing intervals of high intensity exercises with fixed rest periods, breaks down muscle mass which depletes¬†energy stores, causing the body to spend more energy rebuilding and replenishing muscle mass, including our precious muscular organ, the heart. <3

Summertime Slow Cooker

Does anyone else miss the easiness of the crock pot during Summer? Remember when you threw in your ingredients in the morning before work and came home to that ready to eat roast? There was zero cooking to do after a long day! A lot of us at Ellipse are morning people. Sometimes we are at the studio as early as 4:30 in the morning, which makes for a tired crew come evening.

Contrary to popular belief, the luxury of the slow cooker is not only a Wintertime tool! Check out these recipes to keep you out of the kitchen in the evenings and give you that time to spend outdoors! Don’t forget, as we always preach…these recipes are high in protein, and low in sugars! ūüôā

Santa Fe Chicken Salad

This recipe comes from the authors Six Sisters’ Stuff and only takes 10 minutes to prep. Do this before work and you will be so happy that you did¬†after a long day!

Slow Cooker Time: 6 Hours

Serves: 8

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs chicken breast
  • 14.4 oz can diced tomatoes with mild green chilies, not drained
  • 15 oz can black beans, drained
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • ¬ľ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 14.4 oz can fat free chicken broth
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • salt to taste
  • 8 cups spinach or your favorite kind of lettuce
  • 1 Avocado

Instructions

  1. Place your chicken breasts on the bottom of the slow cooker. On top of the chicken dump in the chicken broth, beans (drained), corn, tomatoes, cilantro, zucchini, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, and salt in the crock pot.
  2. Cook on low for 10 hours or on high for 6 hours. Half hour before serving, remove chicken and shred. Return chicken to slow cooker and stir in. Adjust salt and seasoning to taste. Serve over spinach or lettuce. Serve with avocado slices on top.
  3. Dressing as you wish

Zucchini, Tomato, and Feta Frittata

This recipe may be genius! Thank you, The Foodie Corner! A perfect dish for the family or even to impress guests. Easy to make, but feels fancy! The ingredients are based on a 3.5 lt slow cooker so if you have a different size, make sure to think accordingly so that your frittata isn’t too thin.

Slow Cooker Time: 3 hours

Serves: 3-4

Ingredients

  • 2 zucchini, medium sized, coarsely grated + 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/4 tsp thyme, dried
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
  • 3 Tbs parsley, finely chopped
  • 150 gr feta cheese, crumbled
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • few drops of oil for stoneware

Instructions

  1. Place the zucchini in a colander and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt. Let the juices drain for a while and then help it along by squeezing with your hands till most of the liquid has come out. At the end you should have one tightly packed cup of grated zucchini.
  2. Grease the slow cooker stoneware with the oil. Beat the eggs, paprika, thyme, salt, pepper and parsley in a large bowl. Add the grated zucchini, tomatoes and crumbled feta. Mix well and pour mixture into the slow cooker.
  3. Turn on low and leave for about 3 hours. All cookers vary so check your frittata after 2 ¬Ĺ hours or when the surface in the middle looks dry. Insert a knife in the centre; it‚Äôs ready if the knife comes out dry of any juices.

Green Chile Pork

Enjoy this¬†recipe that takes 10 minutes of prep before you head out for the day. Be careful though…this delicious pork recipe may have¬†your mouth watering all day!

Slow Cooker Time: 7 hours

Serves: 8

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pounds poblano or Anaheim chiles (about 4 large)
  • 4 pounds boneless pork shoulder
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 28-oz. can green enchilada sauce
  • 4 tomatillos, husked and quartered
  • Flour or corn tortillas for serving, optional

Instructions:

  1. Place a rack 4 inches from heat source and preheat broiler to high. Place chiles in a single layer on a baking sheet. Broil until skin is blackened, 6 to 7 minutes, turning occasionally. Place in a large bowl; seal with plastic wrap. Let stand until skin has softened, about 7 minutes. Peel, seed and roughly chop chiles. Use immediately or refrigerate overnight in a ziplock bag.
  2. Season pork with salt and pepper. Place in a slow cooker. Add chiles, enchilada sauce and tomatillos; turn to coat.
  3. Cover and cook on low until meat is fork-tender, 6 to 7 hours. Remove pork to a baking dish and shred with two forks. Tilt slow cooker and spoon off some fat. Place pork back in slow cooker, cover and rewarm on high heat. Season with salt and pepper; serve with tortillas, if desired.