fitness tips

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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: Sandbag Up Down

The ultimate Sandbag was created by Josh Henkin for functional strength training.

Sandbag (Shoulder) Up Downs challenge lateral stability and dynamic motion.

Begin with the Sandbag in the front loaded position.

First, step back with the L. leg into a ½ kneeling position.

Next, bring the R. leg back into a tall kneeling position.

Then step forward with the L. followed by the right. Alternate lead legs.

For a greater challenge try a unilateral position, holding the sandbag on one shoulder as you alternate stepping back into and out of a kneeling position.

Fitness Tip: TRX with Pike/Hip Abduction

Strengthen the upper body, core and lower body simultaneously with this awesome combination move – the TRX Pike/Hip Abduction.

Adjust your TRX to the mid-calf position with both feet in the straps.

Beginning in a plank position with your hands under your shoulders. Next lift the hips up towards the ceiling and tuck your head as you move into the pike position. Then return to the plank and go straight into the hip abductor by bringing the legs out to the sides. Return to the plank and repeat.

(Note: the pike can be modified with a tuck).

Fitness Tip: Kettlebell Single Arm Squat Push Press

Kettlebells were developed in Russia in the 1700s and are holistic in their nature in that they work several muscles simultaneously.

The Kettlebell Single Arm Squat Push-Press engages and strengthens the lower body, the core and the unilateral shoulder.

Start standing with your legs slightly wider than hip width apart and the kettlebell between your feet with the horn of the kettlebell horizontal.

Next hinge back at the hips and keep the back straight as you squat down to reach the kettlebell with your palm facing back.

To begin, dead clean the kettlebell from the ground straight up the center of the body to the chest in a rack position, keeping the upper arm next to the body, the wrist straight and the grip on the kettlebell relaxed.

Then squat down with the kettlebell locked into the shoulder and as you drive through the heels out of the squat, press the kettlebell overhead and finish with the palm facing forward.

Then bring the kettlebell back to the rack position at the chest and repeat your squat push-press.

Fitness Tip: Sandbag Opposing Side Single Leg Deadlift

The Sandbag is a training tool that has an interior load of shifting sand which creates an unstable environment and therefore becomes an effective tool for stabilizing the core while simultaneously strengthening multiple muscle groups. 

The opposing side single leg deadlift is a functional movement that strengthens the glutes, hamstrings, lower back and core.

Begin holding the Sandbag in your L. hand in a suitcase grip with your weight on your right foot.

Balance the body with the left toe slightly behind the body as you hinge the hips backwards, keeping the back straight and R. leg slightly bent.

Then push the R. leg heel into the floor as you contract the glutes, and hamstrings and return to your upright starting position.

To intensity the core activation of this move, raise your left leg as you drop into the deadlift and challenge your core to stabilize your body.

Fitness Tip: Kettlebell Bent Leg Deadlift

The Bent Leg Deadlift with a kettlebell is a functional strength move designed to strength the glutes, hamstrings, quads and core primarily.

Begin with the legs hip width or slightly wider and toes forward or slightly turned out.

Place the kettlebell in the instep between your legs and under your body with the horns of the kettlebell facing horizontal.

Bend your knees approximately 20 percent, then keep your head in line with your spine as you hinge your hips back so that your body is in the shape of a “V” and not an “L”. Looking up will not only put pressure on your neck but will prevent you from lifting as heavy, so keep the head neutral as you hinge back.

Grab hold of the kettlebell horns and crush your arms against your sides as if you’re trying to hold $100 bills against your body.

Finally, squeeze your grip on the kettlebell, push your feet into the floor as you squeeze those cheeks together as you exhale and drive up.

The heavier the kettlebell the more effective the results!

Fitness Tip: Walking Squat Variations

Squats are a great way to strengthen the quadriceps, the hamstrings and gluteal muscles – the powerhouse muscles of the body. By strengthening these muscles we increase our overall muscle mass and therefore increase our metabolism as our body burns through calories to maintain our muscle.

If we take that squat and add movement patterns we can intensify our cardiovascular and core workout.

Begin by hinging the hips back as if you’re sitting down in a chair. Then keeping the knees bent as you walk leading with the heel and rolling onto the toe as you move forward. Then reverse it leading with the toe and rolling off the heel. You can also add a pivot to the walking squat assuming that the surface and your shoe are able to move freely without sticking.

Another variation is a lateral walking squat which will strengthen the abductors (outer hips) and adductors (inner thighs) as well. You can as add a thera-band to intensify the difficulty and effectiveness of this move.
Keep in mind that anytime you can drop that squat lower than 90 degrees you’ll get a more effective glute workout so it’s important to work on both lowering your squat as well as adding movement patterns to make your squat workouts more effective.

Fitness Tip: Center Woodchopper

Enjoy full body strength and core stabilization with the Center Woodchopper.

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent, holding the grip of the dumbbell overhead in both hands. Next, keeping your back straight and chest up, sit the hips back as you squat down, swinging the dumbbell towards the ground and between your feet. Then push with your heels into the ground as you propel your body up and swing the dumbbell overhead to your starting position.

Fitness Tip: Warrior Crunch

Strengthen the core and engage the obliques while working the lower body in the Warrior Crunch.

 

Begin by standing with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width, and toes turned outward. Place the finger tips behind the ears, keeping the back upright and the arms and chest open. Then lower down into a squat until the thighs are parallel to the ground.  Once in this position, crunch side to side, bringing the elbows to the tops of the thighs, engaging the obliques.