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Do I Really Need Protein?

We get this question a lot at all our Ellipse Fitness locations. Hands down, the answer is YES. If you are looking for results and want to be successful at the time you spend at our gyms, protein is essential.

Protein is an important component of every cell in the body. Hair and nails are mostly made of protein. Your body uses protein to build and repair tissues. You also use protein to make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals. Protein is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.

In addition to this, one of the best methods to change your entire physique through building lean muscle and burning fat is by consuming protein for fat loss. Protein helps curb your appetite and speed up your metabolism, it also helps you maintain muscle while losing fat. Sculpted muscles are what gives you that “toned”, healthy, athletic look.

Lucky for you, our locations sell Bio-available, minimal ingredients, gluten free, and hormone free protein. It also contains a digestive enzyme blend that does not allow the protein to cause bloating or gas. Get your hands on some of our protein to enhance your results and improve your health and wellness.

 

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!

 

Shake It Up

Every weekend we’ve been posting our Shake It Up recipes on Facebook. Each shake is jam pack with different ingredients that coordinate smoothly and nutritiously with our Ellipse Fitness Protein Powders. These recipes are fun because they’re not your average mixtures. Take the Peanut Butter and Jelly Shake for example. This might sound a bit off-putting, but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! Here are a few of our favorites that we’ve shared with you. Keep your eyes peeled for new recipes each weekend on our Facebook page!

Snickerdoodle

  • 8 oz unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 scoop Chocolate Ellipse Protein Powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 5 ice cubes
  • And Blend!

Raspberry Mint Chocolate

  • 8 oz unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 scoop of Chocolate Ellipse Protein Powder
  • 30 frozen raspberries
  • 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
  • 5 ice cubes
  • Blend!

Banana Split

  • 8 oz. unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 scoop Chocolate Ellipse Protein Powder
  • 1 small banana (6 inches)
  • 1 tbsp natural peanut butter
  • 4 ice cubes
  • Blend until smooth!

Enjoy!

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!

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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. 🙂

 

Stiffness and Foam Rolling

When you think about the average person’s day in terms of movement, it looks a bit like this:

7:00 a.m.—wake up (was sleeping in the fetal position)
7:20 a.m.—sit to eat breakfast
8:00 a.m.—sit to drive to work

9:00 a.m.—sit at work
12:00 p.m.—sit to eat lunch
1:00 p.m.—sit at work
5:00 p.m.—sit to drive home
7:00 p.m.—sit to eat dinner
8:00 p.m.—sit to watch TV/Read/Relax
11:00 p.m.—go to sleep (in fetal position)

As you can see, we do a lot of sitting! Areas of our bodies that are more commonly affected by this include the hip flexors, glutes, hamstrings, and the back. If someone sits all day, day after day, week after week, little fibers actually grow around these compressed areas. This is what happens when there’s that feeling of stiffness after sitting for several hours or after a long night’s rest. The stiffness can be from the inactivity and the growing fibers. Luckily, this is very common and with a little movement this feeling and those fibers will melt away! This is where foam rolling can provide massive relief in these areas!

So trainers, here are a few pointers for what to look for and suggest to your client(s):

 

Feet Turn Out
If their feet turn out during the overhead squat, suggest rolling out the calves.

Knees Cave In
If the knees cave in, suggest rolling the adductors.

Pelvis dips forward
If their pelvis dips forward, suggest rolling out the hip flexors.

Arms Drop
If their arms fall forward, suggest rolling the upper back.

Foam Rolling

Foam Rolling came from a hands-on technique that’s been in use for years and has a technical name of self-myofascial release (SMR). Therapists would apply pressure and drag the force on the body for a long period of time. In doing so, the body releases the tissue tightness and restores mobility. From this tactic, the foam roller was born to allow one to be able to do this to themselves. 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.” These inexpensive rollers are a great habit to implement before and after a workout and help to reduce muscle soreness.

 

Healthy Snacking

Coach Cujo at Ellipse Fitness Allouez started with us only last month! Since his first day, he has wowed us and graced us with his great knowledge. Cujo is ACSM certified as a Exercise Physiologist. Today, we’ve decided to share with you this awesome information Cujo brought to his studio in Allouez. Here’s what he had to say about HEALTHY SNACKING! (Save this information and use it to your advantage during cravings!)

“Healthy Snacking is almost imperative to master if you want to achieve your health and fitness goals. If you go through your workout with little or no food before and/or after exercising you won’t get the full benefits of the workout, and you’ll likely have more soreness and fatigue than you should. If your body begins ‘starving’ it will go into survival mode and pack on more fat from the meals you do eat. And finally, if you mentally deprive yourself of all your cravings you will eventually quit whatever routine you are building – or you will go crazy trying to stick to it!”

Here are a few tips for things people commonly experience:

1. Are you feeling light-headed or weak during or immediately following your workout?

Try having a snack with some healthy fats and carbs, but also a high level of protein 1 – 2 hours before your workout. This will ensure your body has the proper fuel to engage in rigorous physical activity

2. Are you suffering from extreme soreness for 24-48 hours following your workout?

Supplying your body with a source of complete protein immediately after exercise – within 1 hour, and the sooner the better – can often drastically reduce muscle soreness. If time and convenience are a limiting factor for you, try a BCAA (Branch-Chain Amino Acid) supplement that can quickly be mixed with water. During strength/power exercises your muscle fibers are literally tearing, and protein is required for them to recover and grow to prevent future muscle soreness.

3. Are you having a hard time putting your finger on what exactly it is that you are craving?

You may just be thirsty! Keep water near by and easily accessible at all times! Sometimes when you are dehydrated your body will send signals to eat what is in front of you, because it contains water! Water is 100% integral to a properly functioning body. If you are dehydrated, nothing from working out to excellent nutritional habits will help you achieve your goals!

Craving this? Substitute that!

Salty! (french fries, potato chips, etc)
Try some edamame (boiled and sprinkled with sea salt), raw snap peas (snow peas), or raw nuts! (roasted/salted nuts are ok too as long as you can control portions)

Greasy! (burger, hot dog, fried cheese)
Instead reach for smoked salmon or beef jerky – both of which don’t require refrigeration before opening! Also, a slice or two of cheese with some grapes or apple slices can just as well satisfy that craving!

Sweet! (you get the picture)
Chocolate? Try a couple small pieces of 50% or more Dark Chocolate! Cookies? A couple of figs or dates might do the trick. Ice cream? Try blending chick peas or frozen bananas with peanut butter and a few semi-sweet chocolate chips and vanilla extract for a healthier alternative.

Alcohol! (also bread)
Oatmeal or granola, nuts, or dark leafy greens can provide good substitutes for the micronutrients you might be craving.

Maybe you are just bored or need to unwind? Try a bath (add Epsom Salt for sore muscles!), go for a walk at sunset or any other activity that gets fresh air into your lungs, and if it’s too cold? Play a game with a friend, child or spouse that forces you to think a little!

If you find that nutrition is one thing that you keep getting stuck on, ask about our Results in 42 program! 6-weeks of working with a coach to get back on track and pick up some new tips along the way.

Healthy and Easy Grill Recipe

What’s even better than Summertime?

Summertime Grilling!

We just can’t get enough of being outside this time of year, especially those of us in the Midwest who understand how cold it can get. So when it’s July and August, we are not complaining!

Here’s a great recipe for on the grill to keep your Summer hot! This is not your typical grilled steak or chicken breast recipe . What’s the best about grilled shrimp is that it feels fancy! It’s unlike “the usuals” for most families. Check it out…and this one is made easy with no mess! Thank goodness for the geniuses at Food Network, right!?

Ingredients

2 large bell peppers, sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 large onion, sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 bunch scallions, quartered crosswise
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Kosher salt
1 1/4 pounds extra-large peeled and deveined shrimp, tails removed
2 limes, halved
Twelve 6-inch flour tortillas
1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves and tender stems
Salsa and chopped avocado for serving is optional, but oh so good!

You’ll also need: 18-inch-wide heavy duty foil & a GRILL.

Plan of Action!

  • Prepare a grill for medium-high heat.
  • Throw together the onions, scallions, bell pepper, oil, chile powder, cumin and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl.
  • Tear two 18-inch pieces of 18-inch-wide heavy duty foil. Spread the vegetable bowl mixture on one piece of foil, leaving a few inches of exposed foil as a border.
  • Arrange the shrimp on top of the veggies in a single layer and then squeeze limes over the entire thing.
  • Top with the remaining piece of foil, lining up the edges. Fold the edges and crimp tightly to make a leak-proof packet.
  • Tear two 18-inch pieces of 18-inch-wide heavy duty foil. Arrange the tortillas, overlapping slightly, on one piece of foil. Top with the remaining piece of foil, lining up the edges. Fold the edges and crimp tightly to make another packet.
  • Put the shrimp packet on the grill, close the grill lid and cook 12 minutes (do not turn the packet over). The packet should puff up and look like a pillow.
  • Slide from the grill onto a baking sheet using tongs. Set aside and let rest while you heat up the tortillas. Put the tortilla pack on the grill and cook until warm, about 2 minutes per side.
  • Carefully open the shrimp packet (hot steam will escape). The shrimp should be pink and cooked through and the onions and peppers just tender.
  • Scatter the cilantro over the shrimp.
  • Serve with the warm tortillas and salsa and avocado, if desired.

 

This recipe is from Television Food Network. Checkout Food Network Kitchen for more amazing recipes and tips from the kitchen.

Self-Love

Last week we spoke about confidence and how we, as trainers, deal with issues surrounding this topic. If you missed it, read here and then come back! When a person comes to Ellipse Fitness and has low confidence, it could be a number of things that are at the root of this. Often, and unfortunately, it stems from having low self-love. We’re usually the ones that beat ourselves up the most and are concerned about what others are going to think.

Why are we hard on ourselves? It seems many people have a hard time with balance. We all have experience with someone who is eating junk food one minute, then counting calories the next. People go back and forth with these extremes, sometimes for years. When we fail at these impossible expectations we set, then our confidence takes a beating as well. At Ellipse Fitness, we try to teach balance. Balance is the goal to a successful life! Let’s face it…we are all crazy busy, so one extreme probably won’t last long. These extremes that people set are not healthy and honestly, living that way is just not that fun!!!!

“I am the greatest. I said that even before I knew I was.” -Muhammad Ali 

I asked coach Bryanna Tremillo from Ellipse Fitness Allouez, How do you react to a client who is too hard on themselves? “Of course, during our initial meeting I would never say “Hey, you should stop talking that way about yourself,” because I don’t know how they would react at that point. But as they continue working in the studio, I make sure that I get to know them to build a relationship and THEN address it when I feel the time is right and they are more comfortable.”

A lot of the time, clients or members don’t see their progress the way we see it. It’s so obvious to us when certain things become easier or their confidence is changing and they have not noticed there’s a difference from when they started. But believe us, there is and we will tell you!

How can we help our members improve confidence? Heather Trevarthen of Allouez states, “Beyond helping them meet their physical goals, we meet with them before a workout and make sure to check in with them after.  If it is someone that needs a lot of positive feedback, we continue to check in with them regularly to see how they are feeling.  A couple times we’ve had to have a heart to heart with clients and remind them about the importance of self-love.  You CAN do this!  You ARE worth the work/effort.  YOU are not a number on a scale!”

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