fitness

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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

Not Your Basic BBQ

At Ellipse Fitness, BBQ is not what you think. Last week, Ellipse studios took on the challenge of BBQ Week. No, this is not similar to a hamburger eating or milk chugging contest! Rather, BBQ week was filled with workouts focusing on the Biceps, the Booty, and the Quads.

In addition to intense workouts all week long that focused on moves associated with these areas of the body, the contest portion was to get members to check-in on Facebook each time they came to workout. The studio with the most check-ins at the end of BBQ week would be rewarded a new kickboxing bag for their gym. After all was said and done and the BBQ burn was real, WE HAVE A WINNER!

Dumbroll……

Congratulations to Allouez! Ellipse Fitness Allouez location took home the gold with 68 Facebook check-ins from their members! Team work makes the dream work. 🙂

 

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 🙂 ) 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.

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: 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.

Fitness Tip of the Week: Kettlebell Figure 8 Wide Stance Squat

Are you looking for a move that will tone your inner thighs while tightening your booty as well?  Look no further than the Kettlebell Figure 8 Wide Stance Squat!

The wide stance position allows you to drop deeper in your squat with less pressure on your knees and lower back, and then engages and contracts the inner thighs and glute as you drive through your heels and return to a standing position.

In addition, by adding the kettlebell in a figure 8 movement between and around the outside of your legs, you will not only increase your aerobic output, but you’ll burn more calories, as well!  A win, win for low body toning and calorie burning!

 

 

Kettlebell: Triple Crush

If you’re looking for an effective move to tone up your arms (biceps and triceps) and your shoulders this holiday season, then the Kettlebell Triple Crush is for you!

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

Begin by holding the base of the kettlebell with both hands with your arms down at your sides.  Then curl the kettlebell up to your chest.  Next, push the kettlebell up into an overhead press.  Finally, hinge at the elbows to bring the kettlebell behind your head (keeping upper arms close to you head).  Then reverse the order… extend the arms overhead, bring the kettlebell to your chest and then to the starting position.  Repeat.

 

Stability Ball: Planks

One of the most versatile ways to strengthen the entire core is the Stability Ball Plank.

The incline forearm plank is done with feet on the floor, forearms on the ball, and belly off the ball.  This alone is a great ab workout, but if you want to take it up a notch, add a shift forward and back, side to side or in a circular pattern.  If you’d like to take it down a notch but still get a great core workout, drop to your knees while keeping your forearms on the ball and belly off the ball.

Another version of the plank is the decline plank with the legs on the stability ball, and hands on the floor. This move can be intensified by having only your feet or toes on the ball, and can be modified by having the ball make contact with your thighs or hips instead of toes.

Planks are one of the most effective core moves and planks on the Stability Ball are the best way to strength your core at the intensity level that is best for you!

 

 

Training Rope: Grappler Throw

Looking for one move that is both full body strength and great cardio?  Look no further than the Training Rope Grappler Throw!   This move not only burns through major calories in a short period of time, but also strengthens and tones the shoulders, legs and core simultaneously!

To begin, face one end of the room in a forward lunge holding both ends of the rope in a hammer grip with palms facing each other and the ends of the rope facing up.  Then swing both ends of the rope up and to the other side of the room, as you pivot and lunge towards the opposite side of the room.

Training Rope Grappler Throw 1 Training Rope Grappler Throw 2 Training Rope Grappler Throw 3