Ellipse Fitness

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

Flood Workout

In case you haven’t heard, the rain has been wreaking havoc on the midwest, especially on the Meramec River in and around St. Louis, Missouri.  Many are hoping to keep their homes and businesses dry and safe from the flood waters.  As a result, traffic has become very interesting.

Here is a workout for you to do in case you find yourself on one of many Missouri islands and unable to get to the gym these next few days:

5 x 5  Workout-Perform 5 repetitions each of the following exercises for 5 rounds

  1. Plank Walk Out to Pushup (Go slowly and focus on the lowering portion of the pushup)
  2. Side Lunges or Lateral Squats (5 reps per side w/a 5 sec hold per side)
  3. Burpees
  4. Walking Lunges (5 steps per side)
  5. Squats (Jump Squats for those who like to jump!)

As always, foam roll and warm up prior to any exercise. Listen to your body.  Let us know how long this takes you. Post your sweaty selfie on Facebook or Instagram and tag us.

 

Make Your Life Easier With These Baking Soda Life-Hacks!

Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda) is a chemical salt – a crystal actually – that occurs in its natural form as the mineral nahcolite and neutralizes the PH of both alkaline and acidic substances.  There are deposits of pure nahcolite which occur naturally in the Green River Formation, which spans a few states in the Central US that has enough to supply the entire world with baking soda for many hundreds of years! This gently abrasive, neutralizing substance can save you lots of money and make your life easier!

Boxing gloves less than fresh?  Put some baking soda in an old sock and store inside your gloves or sprinkle baking soda directly in the glove.  It will not harm your skin and will absorb the moisture that causes the odor!

Do you have a Glass Stovetop? Stop buying over-priced, chemical-laden cleaners to keep your stovetop sparkling! Drop spots of dish soap on, sprinkle top with baking soda, then pour on some hydrogen peroxide.  Scrub with a soft sponge.  Wait a few minutes before washing it off. and voila! Now you can toss all those expensive commercial cleaners.

Ice Tea or Coffee stains on your plastic and ceramic?? Storage containers and mugs can take a beating and develop a permanent brown look…or not?!  Pour some baking soda on the stains and scrub it right off!  Really, that easy!

Buildup from Hair Products can really weigh down your hair! Add 1 TBSP of baking soda to your normal amount of shampoo you use for a single wash. Wash and condition as normal. You might be amazed at the difference!  You can also clean your hairbrushes and combs by soaking them in a small container with 1 tsp baking soda.  Rinse them off and air dry.

 

Try making your own simple Toothpaste and Air Fresheners naturally with Baking Soda:

Toothpaste:
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, finely ground
1 drop peppermint, spearmint, sweet orange, clove, or cinnamon bark essential oil
A few drops tap water

Air Freshener:
1TBSP baking soda
5-6 drops (your favorite) essential oil
Distilled water to fill a spray bottle.
Shake and spritz away!

Almond Milk Benefits

Almond milk is one of those things that everyone hears about, but not all have discovered their love for it…yet! Not only is it delicious, but it has great benefits too. Here are some of it’s perks, just to name a few!

Healthy Skin

Almond Milk is a great source of Vitamin E, the primary vitamin for healthy skin. It helps prevent premature aging, reducing the amount of free radicals in the body. Hello beautiful, glowing skin!

Healthy Bones

Drinking almond milk provides you with a regular intake of adequate phosphorous minerals, regulated kidney and organ function delivered by potassium; The essentials for strong bones.

screen-shot-2016-09-15-at-4-18-05-pm

Healthy Cells

I know, I know…you probably don’t think about your cells much. Let’s go back to Biology 101; These are the building blocks of life! With almond milk’s large component of Zinc, you can bet it’s adding to healthy growth and cell division, reproductive functions, immune system performance, and visual acuity.

Heart-Healthy Fats

Unsweetened almond milk has typically half the calories found in cow’s milk, and even the sweetened varieties seem to be lower in calorie count. In terms of fats, with the exception of skim milk, cow’s milk contains animal fats…which tend to be saturated (not heart-healthy.) This may make all the difference to someone on a quest to lose weight. If you need a Calcium substitute for cow’s milk, go for almond!

 

Trainers Are Worth It!

Why should someone work to reach their goals with a trainer or a coach, instead of just “working out”? It’s easy for us at Ellipse to suggest using a trainer…it’s our business, but what is true is that we KNOW there are results when a trainer steps in. We’ve seen time and time again people thinking they’ll get to it and years pass. Having a trainer is not a lifelong commitment if you don’t want it to be and it certainly doesn’t mean you aren’t self-motivated enough. Sometimes you just need someone to get you started and show you a few things.

After asking some of the trainers and Ellipse studio owners their thoughts on the matter, I found that Trey, owner of the Neenah location, said it beautifully. “Trainers are not just here to instruct trainees on the form and movement of the exercises, but we also play a key role in the overall stability and mental aspects of the trainees. It’s easy to pick up a magazine and follow a plan, but not all plans are equal and one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to fitness. As a trainer you’re able to differentiate the different body types from endo, ecto and meso and what plans are appropriate to put into action, in order to assist that trainee and help them reach their goals. We are also in many cases the nutritionist, the therapist, and the friend that keeps you focused and motivated. The relationship between a trainer and their trainee is like a partnership, a team!

What often happens when you workout without a trainer?

  • Overuse of any given movement and underuse of another
  • Missing balance of metabolic strength, heavy strength intervals, mobility, correctives, and metabolic cardio. Balance of these activities is needed for safety and effectiveness.
  • Poor form! Quality trainers ensure your form is on point.
  • Motivation and accountability is extremely difficult to find on your own. This does not mean it’s not possible, but it’s not easy.

Working out is exhausting, but training is rewarding!

Spreading Fitspiration

A heightened sense of community, sportsmanship, and inspiration is taking off throughout Ellipse locations! Striving to be the best part of your day – every day, we believe fitness should be fun! As a whole, we are dedicated to improving lives. Through challenge, reward, and education, we’re spreading the fitspiration in our studios and communities. We’re out to inspire…or rather, fitspire!

Challenge

Last Sunday, Ellipse Fitness Darboy’s Josh Mac took on the Spartan Race in Ohio to scout out the terrain. Darboy’s owner Jamie Harris and business partner Josh have big plans for their members and others in the area; And thus the TRIFECTA was born! This Fall, Darboy coaches, members, and seasonal participants will be working as a team to complete three races. The Warrior Princess Mud Run, the Battle Frog, and the Tough Mudder have been chosen for the TRIFECTA, as they make for a perfect progression of difficulty.

vsco-photo-2

By participating in the Spartan Race, Josh said he was able to identify what will need to be the focus of boot camp at Darboy this Summer. Boot camp begins July 11th and will be the training program for those interested in completing the TRIFECTA. “Working as a team to accomplish the TRIFECTA will be the ultimate sense of accomplishment,” says Josh.

 

Reward 

After reading Jon Gordon’s The Hard Hat, St. Louis studio owner Ann Morrow realized she’d seen characteristics of the protagonist in members at her own gym. In the book, the Hard Hat Award was given to the player who possessed all the qualities a good teammate should possess. Lisa Youngblood, having lost 20 pounds in about 12 weeks, is an absolute hard hat winner! “Not only is she determined to reach her goals, but she also encourages others around her verbally,” says Ann. She continues, “Due to injury, Lisa has had to modify some activity. Even so, she has never brought coaches any excuse or negativity. Rather, she asks what else she can do or what more can be done.”

Lisa’s spirit is inspiring in the gym and because of that, other’s knew the award was rightly earned. Her motivation is contagious and other members are working hard to be next Month’s Hard Hat winner. Congratulations Lisa! Your Ellipse Fitness family is very proud of you!

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Education

Heather Trevarthen, owner of the Allouez location, set out to inspire the young! She visited her daughter’s 3K class and together they all headed to the gym. To grab the children’s interest, she brought toys from the studio. The kids got to stretch the mini-bands, kick the focus pads, and push around weighted medicine balls. One student even announced that his mom hits up the treadmill! 😉

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

In addition to having fun with the props from Ellipse, Heather had the kids stretching, planking, and doing downward dogs. They did bear crawls, frog hops, other animal flows, and ran through the ladders. Heather discussed with the children the importance of exercise. “To keep your heart healthy and your lungs strong. Our bodies were made to move!” Heather emphasized.

 

5 Strategies to Reduce Muscle Soreness

Exercise induces free radicals, boosts serotonin, and energizes. It aids us in burning fat and building muscle. If all goes as planned, we leave the gym feeling awake and accomplished! Exercise also causes our muscles to contract and our bodies to sweat, increasing our chances of muscle cramps, fatigue and dehydration. This is why it is equally important to not only exercise, but to take care of yourself before and after a workout. A large part of getting fit is dealing with muscle fatigue and soreness. Here are 5 Ellipse tips to help reduce muscle soreness and keep you heading back to us for more!

Foam Rolling

What an inexpensive deep tissue massage, am I right? At Ellipse Fitness we encourage members to foam roll for 5 – 15 minutes before and after each workout session. Foam rolling can inhibit overactive muscles by breaking up adhesions and loosening up muscle knots. Before a workout, foam rolling hydrates the tissue and gets blood flowing. After a workout, rolling over tight spots and trigger points can relax the muscle. By rolling them out, you help to clean up some of the lactic acid that builds up when you exercise.

Foam Rollers do not break the bank, but even so, a tennis ball will also do the trick. Heather Trevarthen, Owner and Trainer of the Allouez location, says they keep tennis balls at the studio and hand them out to members to use at home.  Heather says, “Tennis Balls help to grind into those hard to reach areas of the body, like the Piriformis.”

Stretching

Like foam rolling, stretching is a must do when it comes to combatting soreness. Intense training contracts muscles and shortens the fibers. By lengthening them before and after a workout, you’re increasing your mobility and recovery. A post-workout stretch series is excellent for bringing your heart rate back down. Use your breathe to guide you and stretch into each move.

Recovery Fuel(s)

Branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) reduce muscle soreness and improve recovery. BCAAs preserve the bulk of muscle fibers through increased protein synthesis and reduction of muscle breakage. BCAAs can be added to your diet easily by adding a scoop into your water bottle before you workout. Sip during your workout and finish afterwards. Ask your Ellipse trainer to hook you up with some from the pro shop!

Eating Right

Getting those BCAAs is a big part of proper nutrition intake for a healthy post-workout recovery. However, you also need to actually eat. Though you might be trying to consume less during your fitness journey, it is what you eat and how you prepare it that matters. Make sure to be getting enough protein, carbs, and healthy fats in order to repair muscles.

Ultimately when we experience soreness, it is because of inflammation. After your post workout protein, add foods such as salmon, avocado, or flaxseed. These foods are rich in Omega-3s and have anti-inflammatory compounds; Properties that will help to dial back inflammation and soreness.

Movement

When your trainer tells you to cool down, we usually don’t listen because we have to run and pick up our kids or get to work. The cool down instructions are to encourage you to keep moving, even when you have finished your sweat session. The importance behind this is that circulation promotes healing.

Active recovery is something we talk about at Ellipse often. A low-intensity exercise that gets your blood flowing without taxing your muscles is what we consider active recovery, such as yoga or walking. Though you may be tempted to hit the couch after an evening workout, try to keep the movement going for a bit to avoid muscle cramps and enhanced soreness.

Fitness Tip of the Week: TRX Lower Body Mountain Climber

Planks on a stable surface are an awesome exercise for core, hip and shoulder strength however planks on the TRX are even more challenging and effective as the core works harder to stabilize the body. 

Now let’s take the intensity up a notch and create more movement by adding a lower body mountain climber.  This new move will multiply the abdominal workout while simultaneously spiking the heart rate.  With that spiked heart rate comes a higher metabolism and a greater calorie burn both during and post workout as your body recovers back to its original, homeostatic state. 

  1.  Begin by adjusting your TRX to mid-calf length. 

  2.  Then face away from the TRX anchor point and put your toes in the straps. 

  3. Get into a plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders, and keeping the back straight, begin your lower body mountain climber. 

Go hard and fast until exhaustion.  Rest and repeat as many times as you are able.  Enjoy the burn! 

Ellipse Fitness Thanksgiving Sassy Stuffing

Ingredients:
3 tsp. extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for baking dish
1 (3/4 lb) loaf whole-grain bread, cut into cubes (4 cups)
1 lb. sweet Italian-style turkey or chicken sausage
1/2 cup lower-sodium chicken broth
4 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 Bosc pear, coarsely chopped (Bartlett or Anjou are good subs)
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh sage
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Instructions:
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a 9×13 inch baking dish. Place bread cubes in a large bowl.
2. Remove sausage from the casings and break into 1/2 inch pieces. Heat 1 tsp of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook until browned, about 3 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with bread cubes.
3. Return the skillet to the heat. Add 2 Tbsp. of broth and, using a wooden spoon, scrape any browned bits of sausage from the bottom of the skillet. Add the remaining 2 tsp. oil, celery and on-ion; cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Add pear and sage; cook 2 minutes more.
4. Transfer vegetable mixture to the bowl with the bread and sausage. Add egg and stir to combine. Add remaining broth, parsley, salt and pepper; mix well. Spread stuffing evenly in baking dish. Bake until top is crisply and stuffing is heated through—about 30 minutes.
Makes 12 cups
Nutrition
Per 1/2 cup: 80 calories; 2g fat, 0.5g saturated fat; 6g protein; 10g carbohydrate; 2g fiber; 127 mg sodium