Ellipse Fitness

Super Kale! To The Rescue!

Kale is a popular superfood – maybe the most popular one around – with its high fiber, iron, vitamin A & K, calcium and antioxidant content. Pound for pound (or gram for gram), kale has twice the amount of vitamin C as an orange and more calcium than milk! Got Kale? It has become a pretty notorious scapegoat for social media mockery:

Haters gonna hate…

If you haven’t grown to love it yet, we’re here to give you a few innovative ideas to give it another try or to shake up your kale standards!

START SIMPLE: Add some kale to your smoothie for a quick nutritious boost! It’s flavor won’t overpower fruit-based smoothies, and it blends well for a leafy vegetable.

SUPER KALE DRESSING: A salad may truly only be as good as its dressing! The somewhat bitter flavor of kale can be curbed by purchasing young/earlier harvested kale from your local Farmers’ Market, OR consider complementing that bitter flavor with some sweet!

– 2 c of your favorite fruit (raspberries are a great choice)
– 2 Tbsp. Dijon or Tahini
– 1-2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
– 1-2 Tbsp. maple syrup
– 1 Tbsp. of a fresh herb like thyme or rosemary.

SUPER KALE CHIPS: Cut the thick stems off your kale and tear into bits. Rinse, then run through a salad spinner to dry thoroughly. Rub olive oil and salt in, spreading the leaves over a cookie sheet. Bake 10-15 minute at 350 degrees or until the edges are brown but not burnt. Get creative with different seasonings like Cajun or Chili Powder!

SUPER KALE PESTO: Mix up the flavor profile of your Pesto by swapping the basil out for kale!

– Pour 1 c of olive oil into a food processor
– Add 3 cloves of garlic
– Add 12 cups of chopped kale leaves until blended.
– Stir in 1 cup of pine nuts, 1 cup parmesan, and salt to taste.

**For added veggie goodness, serve over zucchini noodles!

SUPER KALE SOUP: Consider adding roughly chopped kale into soup for texture and flavor! Much like the use of endives in Italian Wedding Soup, Kale is a great complement in broth-based or even cream-based soups! Kale can be purchased in bulk, tossed in a freezer bag, and then simply crumbled into your bowl!

SUPER KALE TACOS: Few social media trends are more prolific than the mockery of healthy eating habits, but the insatiable craze over Tacos may have the upper hand! Hurdle your hesitation on this one and try out this delicious recipe below from Cookie and Kate!

and yes…I know tacos and burritos are not quite the same thing 😉

http://cookieandkate.com/2012/simple-kale-and-black-bean-burritos/

Be Smart this Summer!

The Summer brings many many things, but one thing that is in great supply is SUN!

Now, who doesn’t love the long summer sunshine hours? But it is important to note, that there are some precautions that should be taken with all that sun!

Sunscreen – It’s a hot topic (pun intended!). We need some vitamin D from the sun, but also shouldn’t wait to get burned either. Start with the basics of wearing clothing that shields you from the sun’s UV rays and reducing your burn risk. Seek out shade and plan outings in the early morning or late afternoon when the sun is not at it’s peak. If you plan on soaking up the rays all day and using protection, make sure to investigate your sunscreen (for harsh chemicals, and get rid of those spray sunscreens!) or even consider making your own.
Homemade Sunscreen Recipe

Sunglasses – Don’t forget to protect your eyes! Much like skin, lighter eye colors are more susceptible to damage from harmful UV rays! UV overexposure may lead to macular degeneration (a leading cause of vision loss for older Americans) and some kinds of cataracts (a clouding of the eye lens). Make sure your sunglasses have 100% protection from both UVA and UVB rays. Polarized lenses can help in very bright conditions to reduce eye strain.

Stay hydrated! – Summer can be filled with a lot of parties and events. Keep in mind that alcoholic and caffeinated beverages pull water FROM the body and promote dehydration. Try consuming 6-12 ounces of fluid every 10-15 minutes that you are outside. If you plan to be active outdoors, try drinking 16-20 ounces of fluid 1-2 hours before your activity.

Get Quality Sleep – During the summer it can be a little more challenging to get a full nights shut eye when the early morning sunrise is calling your name, or the extended daylight keeps you awake later than usual. If you have trouble sleeping, try blinking quickly for one whole minute – tired eyes help you fall asleep! If you’re still having trouble, try stretching for 5 minutes; your muscles will relax and it will be easier to find a comfortable sleeping position.

Aloe Vera Ice Cubes – Forgot to heed the sunscreen warnings above? Rub some relief into your skin! Freeze aloe vera in an ice cube tray for quick grab and go relief!

Hack Your Summer with these Cool Tricks

Are you ready for fun in the sun??

But really, are you ready for all that comes along with that? The beautiful weather lures us out in the heat, but lurking everywhere all Summer long are cold, sugary temptations like ice-cream and popsicles! And spending all that extra time out in the sun is sure to affect your hydration – which as we’ve learned in the past has drastic implications for our health and fitness goals.

But fear not! We have some great tricks you can use this Summer to keep you cool, well hydrated and most importantly satisfied all Summer long without boosting your sugar intake.

Protein-Packed Coconut Popsicles

Few things are more satisfying than an ice cold popsicle on a hot, dry day! Boost your protein and energy with this delicious alternative to popsicles containing all kinds of additives, preservatives etc. It’s super simple!

– Blend 2 Scoops of Bio-Whey with 1 Can Full Fat Coconut Milk
– Pour into popsicle molds and serve frozen

Frozen Grapes

Hands down one of the easiest ways to cool down with a delicious treat is to freeze your grapes! Wash beforehand and pat dry so they don’t all clump together. Put in the freezer and enjoy them straight out of the icebox! Or if you want a slushier texture let them thaw a couple of minutes before eating.

Protein Packed Yogurt

Greek Yogurt is another great way to keep cool, and you can boost the flavor and nutrition by mixing in a scoop of Bio-Whey and 1-2 tsp of water to thin a little. 37 grams of protein come packed into this combo!

Stay Well Hydrated

Like the glue that holds together all of your sound nutrition choices, hydration is essential for ensuring your body is working properly and handling the nutrients you are giving it in an effective way! If the taste of water just doesn’t do it for you, consider flavoring it with some citrus! And if carrying a lemon around with you is not really your thing…maybe try something like True Lemon. True Lemon contains no artificial sweeteners, real fruit flavor, and no preservatives; their new crystallized citrus comes in lemon, lime, grapefruit and orange flavor.

Tired of the ice melting in your water bottle within moments of stepping outside into the hot sun? Fill it half full and freeze your bottle over night lying on it’s side. That way when you fill it up the long, vertical ice cube will keep your water refreshingly cold much longer!

Now, no Summer post would be complete without a suggestion for the grill, so save time and flavor up that boring chicken! Before freezing your chicken, toss in your marinade! As the chicken thaws it will be soaking up the tasty flavors. Try lime juice, soy sauce, and ginger OR a lemon juiced w/ zest, garlic, olive oil, thyme, and salt/pepper.
https://www.noshtastic.com/grilled-paleo-lemon-chicken-thyme/

Mighty Micros!

Mighty Mighty Microgreens!

Did you know that Microgreens contain many times the nutrient density of their mature-harvested counterparts? These things pack a nutritional punch! (see USDA article here)

Microgreens are vegetables and herbs harvested when their first set of true leaves sprout. These things pack a lot of flavor, nutrients and vitamins into a small package! Often they are confused with sprouts, so let’s break down the difference:

Microgreens
– Harvested after first true leaves (not cotyledon) sprout – when plants are about 2 inches tall
– Harvest time: 1 – 3 weeks
– Grown in soil and in the sunshine (where plants get most of their nutrients from)

Sprouts
– Harvested during the sprouting phase
– Harvest time: 2 – 3 days
– Grown in water and in the dark

While sprouts are also considered a healthy food source, microgreens are far superior when it comes to nutrient and fiber content. Leafy microgreens for instance are a significant source of beta-carotene, iron and calcium, and dark leafy microgreens (kale, chard, etc) are high in antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin which have been shown to reduce the risk of chronic eye disease and cataracts. Microgreens are very easy to grow, so get yourself some seeds and get started!
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No matter what the season, microgreens can be grown near a sunny window year-round. Snow pea shoots, red beets, purple and green basil, pak choi, cilantro, parsley and mesclun mix germinate and grow to microgreen size in about two weeks. (Susan Smith-Durisek/Lexington Herald-Leader/MCT via Getty Images)

Growing microgreens requires little space and time – unlike a traditional garden. Some good options for seeds to use are: Basil, Beets, Broccoli, Cabbage, Chard, Cilantro, Kale, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Mustard, Parsley, Peas, Radishes and Spinach!

1. Poke a few holes in the bottom of a plastic tub for drainage (see: spinach or mushroom container for instance).

2. Fill the container with 1 – 2 inches of light seedling soil and smooth it out to be even – but not compacted. (Being that we are growing microgreens for a nutrient rich food source, be sure of the quality and safety of your soil! Choose high-quality, organic soil whenever possible)

3. Sprinkle seeds so they almost cover the soil for a dense planting, and then sprinkle a light covering of soil over the seeds and pat gently

4. Water with a spray bottle to avoid dislodging seeds (a plastic cover can help keep moisture in)

5. Keep in a dark, warm area of the house until seeds start to sprout and then transfer to a sunny windowsill until ready to harvest

It really is that easy! Try it out and see for yourself!

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
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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.

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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.

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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!

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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! 😉

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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.