Diet Myth-Busting!

This week we are busting diet myths! First up, it’s…


While that CAN be true in some cases, usually people don’t want to lose weight – they want to lose fat! So, if you are comfortable depriving your body the nutrients it needs, feeling hungry all the time, and losing muscle, water and bone density – then this is the diet for you! In order to maintain muscle and proper body functioning (especially for people involved in strength training several times a week like our Ellipse members!) you need to eat at least a certain number of calories in the proper ratio of protein, fat and carbohydrates.
Now of course if an average person was eating 3,000 calories a day sure, cutting their calorie intake a little will probably help them lose some weight. For most of us however, when we “diet” we tend to cut out entire macronutrient categories (*cough cough* carbohydrates), and slash caloric intake below a baseline level needed to ensure your body doesn’t enter “starvation mode”.


These are marketing terms dreamed up in a corporate office to sell cheap (in quality and ingredients, not always in price) products to the incredibly large market of people desperate to lose weight. We’ve discussed the downside to artificial sweeteners in the past, but products with these labels tend to be highly processed, and are often just junk food disguised as a guilt-free indulgence – however, they are anything but. Low or Fat-Free products often have added sugar to make it taste good enough to eat (see the classic example of fat-free frozen yogurt)


The truth is the number one way to boost your metabolism is by increasing the amount of muscle you have – that’s about it. Constant digestion has a negligible effect on your metabolism and might even do more harm than good for your teeth and intestines. Eating a healthy snack (think: Veggies and Hummus, Fruit and Greek Yogurt or Peanut Butter, etc) between meals however can help you to stay more satisfied during the day and prevent overeating at meal time.


This one is patently UN-true because in fact the best way to ensure efficient digestion of protein is to pair it with a high-fiber carbohydrate. Many of the healthiest protein options come pre-paired with carbohydrates already like beans, nuts, seeds etc.


This one is very important because many people striving for a healthy diet almost totally abstain from dietary fat, which is to their detriment because many vitamins (A, D, E and K) REQUIRE fat to be absorbed into the body. Also adding small amounts of healthy fat (EVOO, Coconut Oil, etc) to vegetables makes most people much more likely to eat them, and help you feel full! (Think: apple = still hungry vs. apple + peanut butter = energy + satisfaction)


This might be good advice, but not because late night calories are really any worse than daytime calories. Most of the time late night snacks are our worst ones. High fat, high sugar snacks that don’t actually serve any purpose to sate hunger. Try not to go more than 5 hours without eating during the day to avoid being famished late at night, and try to contain your eating hours roughly within a 12-hour window – that alone might help you save a couple hundred calories per day!

Consider these myths BUSTED

The Inside Scoop (Part II)

Welcome back to day-to-day life for those of you who’ve been traveling or “Up North” as they say here in Wisconsin! We hope you all had a great 4th of July, and we know many of you haven’t made as many workouts as is routine this week so you will definitely want to read on to see what you missed during this week’s educational series!

Every day our workouts are a little bit different here at Ellipse Fitness, and we wanted to be sure that all of our members have some understanding of what we are aiming for with our workout programming. Here is our day-by-day look for this week:

Metabolic Conditioning in the broadest sense is a work:rest ratio implemented to elicit a specific response from the body. Different work to rest ratios call upon different energy systems of the body and help us work towards different goals (i.e sports performance, reducing body fat, increasing endurance). The key to getting the most out of “Met Con” is to push as hard as you can through the work period – “GO, GO, GO!” This increases your EPOC (excess post oxygen consumption) after your workout so you can continue to burn fat hours after your session is over!

Energy Systems: Ready? It’s about to get a little nerdy up in here…
Tuesday boxing combines cardio and strength. By combining both formats we can recruit all three energy systems (phosphagen, glycolytic and aerobic), boost metabolism, help prevent injury, and break the monotony of standard training protocol while still achieving significant results. The phosphagen system provides energy for all-out type exercises you can only do for 10 seconds or less, the glycolytic system is our intermediary system so to speak – for exercises lasting 30 seconds up to a few minutes minutes, and the aerobic system is utilized for those movements you can sustain longer.

HYPERTROPHY!! So much of what we design our workouts around revolves around muscle hypertrophy. In the simplest terms, this means “building muscle”. Hypertrophy includes both the ability to store more glycogen (stored glucose that is mobilized during the above-mentioned glycolytic cycle) and increase of myofibril size (the actual size and strength of the muscle fiber). We want to build more muscle for many reasons, not the least of which are an elevated metabolism and a less injury-prone body!

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has been shown to offer greater benefits to your heart than moderate, steady-state workouts, and it is extremely effective for achieving fat loss, increasing endurance, decreasing blood glucose levels and promoting EPOC (Excess Post Oxygen Consumption). EPOC means your metabolism is elevated and you are burning calories/fat for hours following your workout. But there is a catch! During the peak times of the workout you have to push yourself to the limit to truly reap all the benefits of HIIT!

(Friday & Saturday)
Periodization may very well get its very own blog post dedicated to it in the future, because this here is a major piece of what separates a decent exercise routine from an exceptional one. We look at periodization on a day-to-day level, but also on a much broader scale with the understanding that many of our members are here for life! And while it is important to exercise throughout your life, if you just do the same movements the same way over and over and over and over and over…you get the idea…it will eventually lead to imbalance, chronic pain, boredom and most likely injury.

Periodization is a plan. Planned progressions to prevent plateaus. Planned management of fatigue to achieve continual muscular adaptations. Planned program design to avoid repetitive stress which can result in over-training and can set you back months or more.

Results at Ellipse Fitness come from our careful planning and management of your training program. To get the best results from your Ellipse program, arrive early to foam roll and warm up properly, understand the goal of the day’s workout, work to your full potential during the session, and then recover properly after you leave by eating well, getting enough sleep, and balancing stress. The program can’t work quite as well as it is designed if you don’t also do your part – and THAT is why we are stronger together, healthier together, and better together!

The Inside Scoop on Ellipse Workout Programming

A lot goes into our programming at Ellipse Fitness. This week we’ve brought you a sneak peek into the what some of the components are, and the how’s and why’s of what we do at Ellipse to get RESULTS from our members. Each paragraph corresponds to the respective workout of the day, in order throughout this week!

One important component we look at is Training Volume. # of sets X # of reps. More Volume = More Results/Muscle Growth. No matter the reps, the key here is to work up to – or close to – fatigue to continue to achieve results. However, ONLY doing high volume work can lead to burnout or injury which is why we do not perform high volume workouts exclusively.

Power is another factor we take into account when designing workouts. Remember our partner-resisted runs and broad jumps earlier this week? Power is a combination of strength and speed that reflects how quickly you can exert force to produce a desired movement. As we age, power diminishes even quicker than strength, so it’s important to make it a part of your fitness program. Power training increases reaction time (think catching yourself during a trip or fall). You can’t be powerful without speed, so if you are strong, work on your speed; if you are fast/reactive, work on the strength piece. It is important to train both aspects for overall health and quality of life.

How can you get better at a specific movement or activity? In short, work on the movement pattern! If you struggle stepping up on the boxes, to a specific height or with weight? Work on your split squat, increasing your range of motion first and then adding weight to the movement. If you can’t perform a solid chest press, a push-up will be a real challenge. Both movements require core stability in addition to chest, triceps, shoulders, and back strength, however a push-up forces the core stabilization and works on relative body-weight strength – making it a more difficult move. You may have heard us reference ways to practice push-ups without dropping down to the knees because this common regression takes most of the core work out of the movement, making it difficult to ever progress to a push-up from the full plank position. This principle is called Specificity.

Much like power, Mobility declines drastically as we age if we don’t continue to work through a full range of motion. Mobility training also promotes healthy joints and helps to prevent injury! Flexibility is only one component of mobility. Mobility is flexibility under tension – think flexibility that you can actually put into practice in your day-to-day life. Passive stretching to improve flexibility can last as little as a few minutes sometimes, while mobility exercises actually change the way your body is able to move. Walking like a monkey is a lot more than just a fun move to practice

Rest Based Training (RBT) is another really effective way to achieve strength gains and fitness results. The motto: Push until you can’t; rest until you can again. This training format prevents overexertion, allowing even high intensity workouts to be executed safely. Studies have shown that when individuals are given the opportunity to control their own work to rest ratios, people exercise at a higher intensity than predicted by the researchers. The rest is shown to make exercise psychologically easier, often providing a more enjoyable workout in addition to being safe and effective.

If you’re one of our members you’ve probably been waiting to hear us talk about this next one: Kickboxing! In addition to being a really great cathartic experience that allows you to melt stress right out of your body, kickboxing complements our strength training perfectly by addressing some other key factors related to health and well-being. It sharpens the mind by improving neuromuscular connections, coordination and proprioception, it has been shown to slow the effects of degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Dementia, and it increases you aerobic capacity, abdominal and upper body strength!

Tune in next week for more!

10 Ways to Measure Success

10 Ways to Measure Success

There are plenty of “measurements” used to mark the progress of our clients. Contrary to popular belief, the scale, is the least important form of measurement. Too many people rely on this number to feel good, and then find great disappoint when they don’t see what they want. This happens all too often, though you may be eating perfectly, there are a lot of factors that go into achieving your goals in fitness and health. Here is what we look for at Ellipse Fitness, in no particular order.

1. Scale – As stated above, the scale is a form of measurement. Though we do not base results off of weight, we simply take note of these numbers.
2. Body composition – Ann Morrow, owner of St. Louis says it perfectly, “Measuring the amount of muscle and fat is so much better than weight. Weight doesn’t account for muscle. The more muscle we have, the leaner we appear!”
3. Reduced cravings – You know you’re on track when you push yourself extra hard in a workout because your reward is a protein shake! When motivation increases and someone is pushing themselves to reach goals, things like junk food, desert, and treats become less important and less desirable.
4. Increased Energy – With hard work in the gym and reduced cravings, healthy sleep is more prominent in our lives. With quality rest and nutrition, energy levels rise.
5. Increase in weight (of equipment) – You can tell a lot about progress when a client increases the weight in dumbbell, kettle bell or barbell.
6. Increase in level of body weight exercises – Lead Trainer at ThirdWard Milwaukee, Doug Mueller, explains it best, “Pushups is a great example of this, when a client first comes in and only is capable of doing a limited number of pushups from their knees and now they are doing a high reps from their toes. Also, going from a simpler move to a more complex move is another measure of progression. Going from floor glute bridges to a full kettle bell swing is an amazing progression on the glutes muscle group.”
7. Daily life – Reduction in out of breath moments and increased functionality in daily life. For example, performing yard work, caring for a loved one, more steps on a fit bit, or climbing the stairs. Heather Trevarthen, Owner of Allouez, says, “We had a recent short term program in which a participant’s goal was to feel better. Her knee would bother her and crack going up the stairs. 21 days of training later, her knee does not bother her going up the stairs.”
8. Decreased rest time – After the heart rate is increased, progression is measured by the amount of time needed to recover and be ready for action for the next round.
9. Clothes – Jeans or clothing size in general. This does not mean smaller sizes, but it does mean better fit! In the past, we’ve had a program at Ellipse called “Rock My Jeans.” Participants bring in a pair of jeans that don’t fit them anymore, and by the end of the program, the goal is to be able to zip and button them on comfortably!
10. Self-Esteem – The personal favorite of Ellipse is self esteem. We truly want people feeling better and happier. A new found appreciation for the image in the mirror, and not just because of results, but because of the smile on your face!

So there you have it! Don’t forget, quality of life far outweighs any numbers on a scale. Find your nearest Ellipse Fitness, you won’t regret it! 🙂

Are You Skinny-Fatter?

It’s Your Worst Nightmare!  You lose weight, look in the mirror, and see a skinny-fat version of yourself.

You look no better than when you started.  Maybe even worse. That’s because most people do things the wrong way, starving themselves daily and doing long, slow, boring cardio.

Even if those hardworking, well-meaning folks lift weights, they generally don’t do it right…using light weights that don’t send a signal to muscle that “we need you!”

So the low-calorie diet, lack of protein, and no “lift signal” to the muscles leads to a loss of muscle mass.  The loss of lean mass is the #1 factor that can slow your metabolism.

And when your metabolism slows your body stops burning fat. You plateau. And that causes you to diet harder and do more cardio and get skinny-fatter. Yes, that’s right, skinny-fatter.

It’s a terrible look and a vicious cycle.

Only by stopping muscle loss can you avoid that fate.

Everyone needs muscle. You need it to keep your metabolism as high as possible so you maximize fat burning – especially if you’re post-menopausal!

A recent study  from Mayo Clinic states that increased belly fat is one of the biggest complaints of post-menopausal women, but it isn’t a definite sentence.  Women need to control their protein intake, limit eating grainy and starchy carbs and weight train to maintain muscle.

Baked Chicken Nuggets

Baked Chicken Nuggets

2 – 8 Oz. Chicken Breasts, cut into bite sized pieces

Salt & Pepper to Taste

2 Tsp. Olive Oil

6 Tbsp. Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs

2 Tbsp. Panko

2 Tbsp. Reduced-Fat Parmesan Cheese

PAM Cooking Spray

Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray. Put the olive oil in one bowl and combine the bread crumbs, panko, and parmesan in a separate bowl. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and then place in the bowl with olive oil and mix well. Coat each piece of chicken in the bread crumb mixture, then place on the baking sheet, spray with a quick spray of cooking spray and bake for 8-10 minutes. Turn chicken over and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes or until cooked through.

Serves: 4

Exchanges: 3 Extra Lean Protein, 1 Fat, 1 Carb

Artichoke Spinach Spread



■          1 can (14 ounces) artichoke hearts

■          1/2 cup baby spinach

■          2 tbsp olive oil

■          1/2 lemon, juiced

■          2 cloves garlic, minced

■          1/2 tsp sea salt


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine the spinach, lemon juice and oil in a food processor and process until smooth.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until you have a mostly smooth spread with a few chunks remaining.
  4. Spoon into a glass baking dish, cover with foil and bake 20-30 minutes or until hot.
  5. Spread on flatbread with a little additional drizzle of olive oil and use as a dip with pita chips.

Makes approximately 1 1/2 cups.

Serving size 4 tbsp.

Nutrients per serving:  Calories: 54, Cal. from Fat: 34, Total Fat: 4g, Sat. Fat: .5g, Carbs: 3.5g, Fiber: 2g, Sugars: 1g, Protein: 1g, Sodium: 331mg, Chol: 0mg


Are You Ready?

What is it that separates you from your aspirations? Or from being at the very top of your game?
If you want to be a top salesman – what is it that is keeping you from accomplishing your goal?
Is it education? 
If so – what books do you need to read? 
 Who do you need to meet or consult with?
 What audio CD’s do you need to listen to? 
What seminars do you need to attend?
Is it experience? If so – who can you study under to fast track that experience?
 How many clients would you need to get in front of to get more experience? If you currently call 20 clients per week, if you got up to 25, that would be an extra 250 appointments per year (or over twelve extra weeks of experience each year compared to now).
What about a personal goal of fat loss or muscle gain? What if you want to lose 20lbs?
What foods would you have to eat on a daily basis? What training would you have to do? How much cardiovascular work? How many sets, reps, exercises in your weight training program? Should you even have a weight training program?
What is the best club in your area? Who seems to be getting ALL the results? What time commitment realistic for you?
Are you just lacking the information? Are you lacking a plan? Do you know what to do and just aren’t doing it? Are you supposed to take a 6am class or sleep in instead? Are you just not taking action?
I bet some of you have never even figured out these factors. Some people prefer to stay the same, yet complain about where they are, and how hard it is, and how it’s “different” for them.
As we wind up 2011, are you where you wanted to be 12 months ago? What about 12 months from now? What steps do you need to take?
If it’s a lack of information – then get that information and then take action.
 If it’s a lack of action – then get moving and DO something.
We’re here to help, but we can’t want it more than you! Write down your goals and let’s set up your action plan, TOGETHER!

“Feeling healthy & feeling good about yourself is not a luxury – it’s an absolute necessity.”

“Feeling healthy & feeling good about yourself is not a luxury —- it’s an absolute necessity.”

MOTIVATION—sometimes you give it, sometimes you need it!
Please feel motivated by Jayne O’s journey! Jayne wrote this story of her 8 weeks of the Rock your jeans challenge, and I felt it may touch a lot of us who are struggling with a reason to stay on track!

Remember why we’re named Ellipse! Life isn’t a perfect circle. The straight and narrow path is filled with turns, curves and pot holes! To stay on track you may need support! Or—you may want to offer support to others! We’re all in this together!

Way to go, Jayne!

The past 8 weeks were such a turning point in my life. My first task in the “Rock Your Jean’s” program was to develop a mission statement to keep me focused and on track. Knowing that I needed a drastic change in my lifestyle I came up with the following statement: “Feeling healthy & feeling good about yourself is not a luxury —- it’s an absolute necessity.”

I knew I needed a change in my life and it needed to start NOW. I was working out prior to “Rock Your Jeans,” but when this opportunity came along I jumped at it. The program was such a whole body experience for me, educating me on the importance of nutrition, taking time to de-stress, as well as exercise. Ellipse always stresses that 80% of what we do in our nutrition and sure enough, once I tighten up the food plan I saw and felt amazing results. Ready, set, GO……..

The first week of my journey was the hardest. The bootcamp/cardio night scared me. Typically when done with a workout you feel so good about yourself, this one was different for me. I left that night and I drove home with tears in my eyes thinking, I can’t do this. It was a tough workout for me. I got home that night and took a nice warm bath and talked myself into how good this was for me. My motto I grabbed at that point was “Feel the fear and Do It Anyways.” The next morning I got up for strength class at 5 am even though my whole body was completely sore. As the weeks went on the soreness got better but I continued to push myself. The coaching and camaraderie with the RYJ members was outstanding. I have never been pushed so much in my life!! Wow who would have thought I could do so many squats, lunges, fire hydrants, and high knee runs. It was a great journey for my husband and I to accomplish together, too! We have helped and encouraged each other through the journey.

At 4 weeks when we tried on our jeans (2 sizes smaller!) and I was able to button them. I was so proud of the progress I had made, but I wanted more. I started my journey in a size 22. At final jean try on I was able to button a “16.” WOW!!!! I finally accomplished a goal in my weight loss journey. I am excited for the next few months! Even though they are the hardest with holidays, I know that the support of Ellipse is what I need to succeed. Ask me motto now…“Still Rockin It!”