Fitness Tips

Running: Do’s & Don’ts!

Running (and walking) is an incredibly functional movement; your body is literally built for it! The cross-body movement pattern of driving the opposite arm and leg forward in unison helps improve our coordination and stability by nurturing the relationship our disparate muscles share via the muscle fascia.

What is Fascia?

Basically, Fascia is connective tissue superficial to the muscles that helps connect them to other parts of the body. It’s been described as big rubber bands that help us transfer energy during certain movement (such as the see-saw/back-and-forth type movement involved in running….left, right, left, right). But this fascia can get stuck and lose some elasticity when we don’t move it to keep it loose! Then we are stuck with this rigid strap limiting our movement, instead of a supple rubber band which allows us to move and then “snap” back in place.

For more reading and understanding of fascia check out this link below to see how unhealthy fascia can lead to low back pain
http://traineradvice.blogspot.com/2013/01/thoracolumbar-fascia-forgotten-culprit.html
____________________
RUNNING TIPS:

DO

– Your Research! Shoes are a major factor contributing to an effective running program, especially if you’re intending to run on asphalt and/or concrete surfaces.

– Your Homework! If you’ve set your sights on an upcoming run be it a 5k, 10k, marathon or more you need to give yourself adequate time to prepare if you want to finish without injury! There are “proper” running mechanics that will help you not only land a better time, but protect your body from the repetitive stress of running. Bend your arms at 90 degrees and pump them along with the opposite leg during stride, engage your core muscles for stability to avoid excess strain on your low back throughout the run, Relax the shoulders down onto the back and don’t over-stretch your stride length – keep it comfortable and you will be able to hold a steadier pace for a longer period of time. Seek the advice of a professional for help analyzing your gait and setting up an appropriate training program to prepare for your big run.

– Prepare! Be aware of your environment! Don’t decide at the last minute to go for a run at night, through a neighborhood with no sidewalks in all black! It sounds funny, but be aware that it is VERY difficult to see runners! Wear bright colored clothing – even reflective material if running at night. Also, be mindful of WHERE you are running. If you’re trying to achieve a multiple mile run you might easily find yourself in an area of the city that is not runner friendly or safe for that matter. Run with a buddy if possible or plan and drive your route ahead of time.

– Hydrate!

DON’T

– Be a Hero! Running is one of those things people seem to think they can just pick up at any time and go-go-go! While we applaud your motivation, it’s important to approach it just like any other physical activity and ease into it to avoid injury. According to Runner’s World up to 66% of runners suffer an injury every year!!

– ALWAYS Run as FAR as you can! the 80/20 principal is widely used by many top endurance athletes. This means that 80% of their training is in the “low intensity” range (<77% max HR or breathing comfortably through the nose) and only 20% is at the moderate or higher intensity. For instance if you run 100 minutes per week, 80 of those should be in the low range, maybe 15 at moderate intensity (77 to 92% max HR, able to speak in short sentences) and 5 at high intensity (over 92% max HR and breathing as hard as you can after just a couple minutes). HAPPY TRAILS

Building Blocks: 2 Ingredient Recipes

Hey Fit Family!

The road to Health is paved with good intentions…

The best way to develop clean eating habits for the long term is to start with BASIC ingredients that you recognize!
__________
Love Pizza?
Don’t deny yourself the things you love! Try this simple recipe that cuts out loads of unsavory ingredients in take out pizza:

1 C of Plain Greek Yogurt
1.5 C of Self-Rising Flour

Knead the dough for 8-10 minutes. Create your pizza shape and top with choice ingredients. Bake at 500 degrees 10-12 minutes.
__________
Pudding the right way?

Soak 2 TBSP of Chia Seeds in 1 C Almond Milk for at least 10 minutes. Make it smooth by blending or sweeter by adding a little honey. An Omega-3 and Protein rich snack!
__________
Banancakes!

Blend 1 Ripe Banana with 2 eggs until slightly frothy. Batter will be thin. Play around with toppings or roll them up with Greek Yogurt and Fruit!

and let’s be honest, pancakes are awesome – so here’s another recipe to try!

Blend 1 Ripe Banana with 1 C of Oats for thicker, more filling pancakes.
__________
Chicken + Salsa

Layer 3 – 4 Chicken Breasts in a slow cooker with a jar of salsa on top. Cook on low for 4+ hours and you’ve got ready to serve chicken for tacos or over rice, Mexican chicken salad, or get creative with your own idea!
__________
Homemade Snack Bars

In a food processor (an essential kitchen tool to make clean eating easier!) pulse together 1 part Dates and 1 part Oats. Combine until they are the consistency of jam (add just a little bit of hot water if too dry). Press the mixture into a 1/2″ deep pan and freeze for 1 – 2 hours.

Cut it into bars for a super-quick whole food snack for energy on the go!
__________

Until next time, remember to keep it simple at first! Nothing derails your best-laid intentions faster than jumping into the deep end before you know how to swim! Build up your repertoire one simple recipe at a time.

It’s Easy as 1, 2, 3…

Today we are going to highlight ONE ingredient recipes!
wait is that a recipe or just food..?

Food…in a different way!

Hard-Boiled Eggs are one nearly essential source of simplicity for anyone interested in building healthy eating habits. Protein at breakfast is sometimes a challenge. Cereal? Nope. Bagels? Not really… Even oatmeal? Only about 6g of protein per 27g of carbs!
Enter: Hard-Boiled Eggs. 7g of protein; 5g of fat; ZERO carbs. Worried about the fat? Egg whites contain over half the protein of the egg, and NO fat nor carbs. Adding these into your diet is an easy way to boost your protein (which is essential for those cutting it close on calorie intake), and help you make better choices the easy way.

Chickpeas – Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Drain chickpeas and blot with a paper towel to dry, then toss in olive oil and a little salt (or cayenne/paprika if you like it spicier!). Bake about 35-40 minutes until browned and crunchy! Delicious

Grab a Date! No, not that kind…The sugar addiction is very real, and when you get hit with that craving it is hard to ignore. Dates – unlike processed sugar – are a natural, whole sweetener complete with fiber, antioxidants, potassium and magnesium (all major sources of “craving” feelings). Snack on a date to satisfy your sweet tooth, add sweetness to a protein shake, or re-fuel during an endurance activity (running/cycling)!

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

Now, into the freezer!

Banana “Nice” Cream they call it: Take your ripe/over-ripe bananas and freeze them overnight. Peel and cut into 1″ chunks for the food processor or blender, and blend about 1 minute or until they become a smooth, creamy, frozen dessert! Top with blueberries, a little cocoa powder or even peanut butter! Whatever floats your boat.

Or perhaps you prefer sorbet? Watermelon when frozen and pureed makes a delicious, scoopable delight. Freeze on a baking pan to avoid them clumping together and puree them in batches. Pack the puree into a bread loaf pan or other container for storage.

Grapes make an excellent frozen treat as well! Flash freeze about 10 minutes on a cookie sheet (so they do not all clump together when you transfer to freezer bag). The texture and taste is fresh and pleasing, especially on a hotter day.

That’s all for now!
Look out next week for TWO Ingredient recipes!

Mind Over Matter

Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.”

Henry Ford

Mindset is often hard to grasp. It’s so abstract and subjective. Regardless of what your goals are, the reality is that the proper mindset is backed by science and proven to positively influence outcomes. Have faith in yourself!

How many times have you found yourself saying, “Can this day get any worse??” only to find later in the day that – yes…yes it can. Now, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that a person who is constantly telling themselves, “I can do this. I will be better. I am strong enough to achieve what I have set out to.” is MUCH more likely to achieve their goals than someone who keeps beating themselves up, “Why did I even try? This is impossible. I should just give up.”

But we all do it. Things get tougher than we thought and we doubt our ability, or worse yet we get fixated on how far away we are from our goal instead of focusing on how far we have come! Luckily, there are concrete, simple steps you can take to greatly increase your chance of success:


Write it Down!
When you write down your goal and actions you can take to reach it, everything becomes more real. But don’t write it down and throw it away! Out of sight; out of mind. Write it down and put it somewhere you will see it. Edit and rewrite along your path towards the end goal to keep yourself motivated and continue to keep your mind in the right place.


Share Your Success!
Not everything must be as public as sharing on Facebook. Choose a confidant and keep them updated on your specific achievements, and make sure they are keen to why you are sharing with them! One study in particular (link below) showed that people who wrote down their goals and actions, rated them by difficulty, and sent a weekly progress report to a friend were far more likely than any other group to achieve their goals. In this study, 73% of that group were marked as successful as compared with only 43% for those who did none of the above.


Stay in the Present!
Build a ritual: Wake up every morning and identify ONE thing you can do TODAY that will bring you closer to your goal. It can be as small as “Go workout!” or “Drink a glass of warm lemon water”. Or go big! Change careers to offer your life more flexibility if you find you just never have time to commit to the life-changes you want to achieve.


Trust the Process!
We all can be impatient, we get it. 10 days into your new routine and you step on the scale…UP 2 POUNDS?!?! WTH? First off, it is important to note that it is recommended that you seek the guidance of a professional when it comes to making nutritional changes and engaging in high intensity exercise, but if you are eating right, exercising regularly, and keep your stress in check it WILL happen. Sometimes success isn’t measured in numbers and doesn’t occur at the speed at which you think it should. Trust the process of change. Stay the course, and don’t let life derail you! One bad weekend over the holiday? So what! Get back to work on your goals the next morning.

And last, but certainly not least…

Don’t Be A Crab!
If you watch crabs in a bucket, you’ll eventually see that when one tries to climb out that the others will pull it back to its eventual doom. Rather than everyone getting out individually, they collectively pull each other back in and die together. It almost sounds morosely poetic in some kind of darkly romantic way…

Not for the one getting pulled back! If you surround yourself with people that do not support your goals – perhaps your new “fit” lifestyle – you need to change your environment. First, discuss with those people close to you that it is important that they support you, and if they don’t? Find people that will lift you up and share in your decisions and successes, not tear you down or temp you to fall back into the habits you have spent so much effort breaking.

“There is nothing impossible to him who will try.”
– Alexander the Great

http://www.dominican.edu/dominicannews/study-highlights-strategies-for-achieving-goals

K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple for Success!!

Keep. It. Simple. Stupid.

Great advice; hurts my feelings every time.

The more complex your strategy, the harder it is to execute. Especially when we are trying to build NEW habits, it is extremely important that we pace ourselves and keep it SIMPLE! This week we wanted to share some great, high protein, high veggie recipes to help you make good choices throughout the day!

Go shopping! You will only need: cottage cheese, plain Greek yogurt, eggs, chicken, tuna, lemons/limes and raw vegetables/avocado.

Classic Cottage Cheese Dip:
Don’t run away yet! Cottage cheese haters must give this dip a try before knocking it! Mix it all together and dip your fresh veggies (carrots, celery, peppers, radishes, broccoli, cauliflower, etc)

  • 1 c Cottage Cheese
  • 1 c Plain Greek Yogurt
  • Dill Weed, Celery Salt, Onion Powder to taste
  • tiny pinch of Sugar

** Take the leftover dip and toss in chopped veggies for a high protein salad on the go!

Classic Protein Pancakes:
Who doesn’t love pancakes?! Get funky with your add-ins – berries, cooked apple, peanut butter, raisins, cinnamon, honey – you name it! Blend these three ingredients below to make your batter and bust out the griddle.

  • 1/2 c Rolled Oats
  • 1/2 c Cottage Cheese
  • 3 Eggs

Simple Chicken Salad
Avocado and Plain Greek Yogurt are an excellent swap for the mayonnaise in traditional chicken salad, and dare we say it may have a better texture and taste. Mix it all up for an easy go-to To-Go recipe! (Quantities will depend on desired consistency and how much veggies you add-in)

  • Avocado
  • Plain Greek Yogurt
  • Chopped Chicken
  • Onion (preferably red)
  • Lime Juice
  • Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder to taste

*Add an assortment of Veggies, Craisins, Chopped Almonds – whatever you like! Or swap the Chicken for Tuna and try a whole different flavor profile!*

See the link for this recipe below:
http://www.organizeyourselfskinny.com/2014/06/18/avocado-and-greek-yogurt-chicken-salad-no-mayonnaise/

 

Set New Goals. Achieve More. March FORTH!

March FORTH is a little-known holiday we celebrate each year.  It is the only day of the year that is a command encouraging us all to take on new experiences, celebrate our accomplishments, and set new goals.

It is said that more than 80% of all New Year’s Resolutions fail. The word resolve, when used as a noun, is defined as “firm determination to do something.” As a verb, resolve means to “settle or find a solution.”

9 weeks into 2017, March fourth, FORTH rather, brings an invitation to resolve instead of re-solve lingering problems.  This is a time to acknowledge barriers and bust through them.

Here are four simple things we can use to change our life now, energize our bodies all day, provide more joy to our families forever, and add years to your life:

4 Strategies to SSS-HIIT Yourself Fit and March FORTH

  1. Set a goal.

Social goals look good on paper and tend to be based on norms or societal demands.  “Lose weight. Tone up.”  Set personal goals.  What do YOU want? Don’t conform. Change! The best way to do this is to ask one very important question regarding your goal.  WHY?

Dig deep. Once a sincere, personal goal has been established and the motivation behind it is understood, there is no stopping you from achieving it! Our expert staff will reverse engineer your goal to show you the first step to achieving it. The rest snowballs from here! Don’t re-solve. RESOLVE.

  1. Eat better.

We know that knowledge is power, but only “doing” equals change. Try swapping out all those diet plans, quick fixes, pills, and punishments for a simple template that we suggest to our members.

SSS

Enjoy a SHAKE for breakfast.  Protein shakes are fast, affordable, convenient, and available everywhere.  Avoid powders with a long list of ingredients. Dress that shake up with greens, fruit, or veggies instead of chemicals and faux flavors.

SALADS are perfect for lunch.  Veggies, salads, stir fry, and broth-based soups are a great way to satisfy hungry, produce results, and energize our bodies all afternoon. It’s tough to overdo foods high in protein, fiber, and water. So, no need to stress over portions when it comes to vegetables and proteins.  Eat until 80% full, also known as satisfied.

Save the STARCH-y carbohydrates for dinner or post-workout.  That’s the final S in our SSS template. Save half of your plate for vegetables.  25% of your plate contains a protein source such as chicken, beef, or fish.  Reserve the remainder of your plate for a starch.  This starch could range from a sweet potato or wild rice to a glass of wine or a small dessert.  Did you know you can get amazing results without totally depriving yourself? It’s true!

  1. Move more, better, and often!

 HIIT

That’s right! The secret to having energy all day is to HIIT it and keep marching forth, literally! High intensity interval training has been a hot topic lately.  No need to overdo it because everyone is doing it. That’s the beauty of HIIT.  Just 10,000 steps each day and 3 Ellipse Fitness training sessions each week are fundamental to achieving results.   Boxing, strength, and interval training are cornerstones of our program design.  We do more than train you. We educate you!  Learn how to use your body instead of abuse it with our HIIT sessions in a way that is safe, effective, and so much FUN!

  1. Surround yourself with like-minded people

Research supports the fact that we are often a product of our environment.  It’s difficult not to adopt the habits and values of those we spend the most time with.  Choosing a healthy lifestyle means choosing a community of commitment, positivity, and empowerment.  Ellipse believes that we are stronger, healthier, and better together.

Consistency is key.  Start with a positive mindset and a strong goal. Add a Shake, Salad, and a Starch.  Finally, get moving. HIIT it! We will design a safe, effective, comprehensive, and fun program just for you.  So, SSS + HIIT  = SssHIIT yourself fit!  It works.  No sh*t.  There is plenty of success to go around and YOU have exactly what it takes to succeed.

 

 

 

 

 

Supplementation

Supplementation can be misleading and often times implemented poorly. There is no magic pill, drop, or powder that can get you into the best mindset, while helping you to fuel your body and build muscle. True success starts from a drive within you and it is not about a special, or fast fix.

You can think of supplements in this sense….they are like an insurance policy. These “supplement” your diet because you can’t get everything you need from food alone. However, it is key that supplements aren’t replacing your food! If you learn one thing from this blog post, we hope that’s what you remember and the words you think of as you continue on your fitness journey. Food is the ultimate fuel and should never be replaced.

Ashley Haag, owner and trainer, at Ellipse Fitness Milwaukee Third Ward states, “I take these 4 every day: Ellipse protein powder, which contains BCAAs (Branch Chain Amino Acid) L-Carnitine, Multi-vitamin and Fish Oil. Our high grade Ellipse clean protein will add proper nutrients and adequate amount of protein to repair and assist in lean muscle build. Ellipse recovery fuel with BCAAs will lower post workout stiffness and help in fast recovery so you can give 100% in all of your workouts. I just drink it during my workouts!”

Heather Trevarthen, owner and trainer, at Ellipse Fitness Allouez states, “I personally think everyone can use a protein powder due to the ease, convenience, and simplicity of it. The Ellipse Fitness protein powder has five ingredients and tastes great!  We have not found a better one out there!”

L-Carnitine

First of all, what’s L-Carnitine?

L-Carnitine is an amino acid known for promoting growth and development. It has been used to aid in fat-burning, increasing energy, and improving resistance to muscle fatigue.

Fat burning L-Carnitine plays a critical metabolic role in stimulating weight loss, as it helps transport fats to the mitochondria, where they are burned for energy.
Boost Endurance & Performance Clinical research has shown L-Carnitine supports athletic performance and endurance. Through a greater reliance on fat for energy, the body reduces depletion of muscle glycogen. This, combined with the reduction of lactic acid accumulation in muscles, can extend exercise capacity before fatigue.

Ann Morrow, owner of our St. Louis location, says,  “L-Carnitine is said to have great benefits for the heart.  It’s an amino acid that can aid in muscle recovery. We always suggest to our members that they receive the bulk of their nutrients from food. Egg whites are a great source of amino acids. When combined with the omega 3,6,9s found in the yolk and a diet rich in proteins and some animal proteins, the need for a supplement may be minimized or unnecessary.”

At Ellipse Fitness, no two fitness programs are alike. We take the time to figure out what works best for you and will help you achieve lifelong results. In terms of L-Carnitine, we do know that it may adversely affect those who have underachieving thyroid function, or hypothyroidism. In this case, it should not be taken by someone with this condition unless their medical doctor has approved it.

Should I be taking L-Carnitine? We suggest to take L-Carnitine right after a workout, while you’re having your protein shake. Again, no two members are alike. Therefore, we don’t automatically recommend this supplement to everyone. The dosage you need can vary. Most commonly, we recommend L-Carnitine to members that avoid animal products, though to consider this supplement in the absence of any thyroid issues and that it is added, not simply to expedite results, but to facilitate lifestyle programs. As we’ve stated, at Ellipse Fitness we always suggest to our members to use food as fuel for it’s nutrients and benefits. Contact your Ellipse Fitness trainer to discuss if you think L-Carnitine may be right for you.

At Home BBQ

Last week, the type of “BBQ” that Ellipse was up to was brought to your attention…and it was not your average BBQ! If you missed it, here’s your refresher…

BICEPS. BOOTY. QUADS.

This week, we want to share with you some at home moves that you can perform over the long weekend or on your Labor Day weekend travels. These moves don’t require equipment and will give you that bit of sweat you need until you return to us next week! (Don’t forget, most of our locations have particular hours for this weekend. Check with your studio to make sure you’re aware of the workout times.)

BICEPS

We usually think we need to be doing bicep curls to focus on these particular muscles, which isn’t wrong, but what is often forgotten is that zoning in on the other areas of the arm can also give the biceps a burn. Our muscles should always be working together! Owner and trainer Ann Morrow, of Ellipse St. Louis says, “A great way to make the biceps look better is to challenge the triceps! Try to use the triceps more during a pushup by keeping the elbows below the shoulder and moving back towards the ribs at a 45 degree
angle. That is sure to make both muscles work together and look great!”

Ann gives a perfect example here of what you can do on your own and without equipment. Use pushups to challenge different muscles around the arms and shoulders. Use hand placement variations and leg variations (i.e. lift one leg) to challenge you and you can get a great sweat out of this!

 

BOOTY

All you need is a mat and you can perform your own booty burner at home or on the road! Using a movement like the glute bridge will have you feeling the burn in no time.

An option is to do about 4 to 8 sets, and anywhere from 6 to 20 reps. If you have weight options, rest them on your hips. We recommend to start with lighter, more manageable weight, then add to it and decrease reps as needed.

 

QUADS

Combining squats, lunges, wall sits and proper form will surely give you the workout your looking for, no equipment necessary. Take on something like this for 3 rounds and consider yourself golden!

  • 25 squats*
  • 30 sec wall sit
  • 25 (each side) alternating lunges*
  • 30 sec wall sit
  • 25 wide leg squats*
  • 1 minute wall sit (stay low!)

*To add extra challenge add 10 seconds of pulsing to finish the move

Good luck this weekend and happy BBQing!

slide-a

Stiffness and Foam Rolling

When you think about the average person’s day in terms of movement, it looks a bit like this:

7:00 a.m.—wake up (was sleeping in the fetal position)
7:20 a.m.—sit to eat breakfast
8:00 a.m.—sit to drive to work

9:00 a.m.—sit at work
12:00 p.m.—sit to eat lunch
1:00 p.m.—sit at work
5:00 p.m.—sit to drive home
7:00 p.m.—sit to eat dinner
8:00 p.m.—sit to watch TV/Read/Relax
11:00 p.m.—go to sleep (in fetal position)

As you can see, we do a lot of sitting! Areas of our bodies that are more commonly affected by this include the hip flexors, glutes, hamstrings, and the back. If someone sits all day, day after day, week after week, little fibers actually grow around these compressed areas. This is what happens when there’s that feeling of stiffness after sitting for several hours or after a long night’s rest. The stiffness can be from the inactivity and the growing fibers. Luckily, this is very common and with a little movement this feeling and those fibers will melt away! This is where foam rolling can provide massive relief in these areas!

So trainers, here are a few pointers for what to look for and suggest to your client(s):

 

Feet Turn Out
If their feet turn out during the overhead squat, suggest rolling out the calves.

Knees Cave In
If the knees cave in, suggest rolling the adductors.

Pelvis dips forward
If their pelvis dips forward, suggest rolling out the hip flexors.

Arms Drop
If their arms fall forward, suggest rolling the upper back.