Five Post-Baby Exercise Tips

Congratulations! You’ve welcomed your beautiful, bouncing bundle of joy. After the new motherhood fog begins to wear off you’re probably yearning for a little “me time” and may want to get back into your workout routine. We’re here to help you settle back in, but before you do, check out our post-baby exercise tips.

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Fitness gear: 4 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Athletic Shoes

There are countless things to consider when it comes to exercising and staying fit: nutrition, strength training, cardio, hydration and the list goes on. But have you ever considered what goes on at the very foundation of your body? A’hem… your feet? Runner or not, comfortable athletic shoes are one of the most important things you should invest in. They’ll prevent injuries, motivate the heck out of you, and keep you feeling comfy throughout your workouts.

If shopping for new athletic shoes is a new undertaking for you, here are a few things to consider when searching for your perfect sole-mate!

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Home workouts not working out? Gym will treat you better!

Did you set up a fancy home gym with all the equipment you thought you’d ever need? Did you feel confident you’d end up spending more time working out from the comfort of your own home? Have you since found yourself dusting off that expensive equipment or using it to hang your fresh laundered clothes? Don’t fret. You are not alone.

Many have set out to create their very own home workout wonderland but find themselves working out less. That’s because the gym offers benefits that cannot be rivaled by home workouts.

Sense of Mindfulness – Often when we workout at home we do not experience enough separation from our real lives. The simple act of going to the gym forces focus and concentration on your workout and your body.

Sense of Community – Going to a gym allows you to surround yourself with people who provide free motivation. You also have a stellar opportunity to make friends, network, and get involved in the fitness community. Just seeing others put forth effort into physical activity will motivate you to put forth as much effort, if not more.

Sense of Fulfillment – At home no one is watching you (except maybe your four-legged friends). This makes it incredibly easy to slack off. At the gym, you’re surrounded by a community with the common goal of bettering themselves. Your subconscious ego kicks in and, by nature, you work harder.

So, if you left the gym in hopes of better results from your at-home workouts and find yourself less than impressed, give the gym another shot. You might just find that it fills that hole in your pulmonary pumper after all. Making the drive to the gym can be an integral part of your fitness regimen. You make “fitness” a destination. During your drive, you shift your mindset towards a more disciplined state. You know what’s ahead, and you’re ready for it!

Even if you just planned on performing cardio at home, switching back to primarily gym workouts will add that BOOST to your workout that we all need!

To get started, contact us!

Cross Training: Start Mixing Things Up!

It is always preferable doing some exercise rather than no exercise at all, but your results will be even better if you cross train. In many cases, when you go to a gym, you will see people on the treadmills and stationary bikes, and other people lifting weights. Most of the time you will never see those two groups cross over, and that is where the opportunity for greater gain is lost.  If you can lift three hundred pounds, but can’t walk up a flight of stairs without getting winded; that is a serious problem. If you can run a 5 minute mile, but struggle carrying bags of groceries to the car; THAT is a problem. You want overall fitness; not just in specific areas. By cross training, you will address the strength and aerobic capacity of your body, and appreciate those improvements in your day-to-day activities. In the end, isn’t that what you want? You don’t go to the gym just because you enjoy going to the gym. You go to make yourself stronger, get in better shape, and then see and experience the results of your hard work when you are not at the gym.

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Cycle Into Health

We achieve the most when we are healthy, and exercise is crucial to maintaining a healthy body and mind. There is a huge variety of workouts people can make use of, but one workout that maintains popularity is the studio cycle workout. A studio cycle workout is a group exercise in which several individuals make use of stationary bikes while a leader paints a beautiful picture of terrain and environment to modify how the group is pedaling.

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Top 7 Songs to Inspire a Longer Workout… And Ultimately Help You Not Fall Over and Die

You know the feeling… there you are at the gym and the last thing you want to do is one last set of deadlifts. In fact, you’d much rather go die… in a corner… where its cool and safe. However, then you remember that you came to the gym for a reason. You want to be a better, healthier you… and if you turn a few heads in the process – icing on the cake. (Oooo… cake. Focus. Focus.) Whether you are hitting up a fitness challenge at the office or just trying to meet your goals with friends at the gym, these 7 songs will help you go harder, work longer and get those results you’ve been dreaming about…

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Fit To Travel: Part II

Does the Texas heat have you planning an escape to cooler climates? Us too! I’m sitting in a hotel room in Boston typing this article. It’s a balmy 61° and I just finished the workout detailed below! You can have your cake and eat it too when you choose to exercise during your travels. OK, maybe not so much cake but, you get the idea. Be sure to get some extra calorie-burning aerobic activity in your day by attending popular walking tours or creating your own. Many cities have walking tour apps available to smartphone users that come complete with interesting facts and historical depictions. It’s a great way to offset any extra calories taken in from an indulgent meal and a fun way to learn more about your destination.

 

If you’ll recall, last issue we detailed a workout dedicated to toning your lower half. This time, we’re focusing on your upper body: Chest, Back, Shoulders, Arms and Abs. These workouts can be done in the comfort of your hotel room or a hotel fitness room, if you prefer. If you do get out of town this month…Safe travels to you and yours!

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Barre Classes Bring On the Burn

Looking for a new way to add some heat to your workout?  Our barre classes will bring on the burn!  This full-body workout will check all of your fitness boxes in just 1 hour.

Barre Burn’s intense, yet low-impact, nature can benefit athletes from beginner to professional.  Inspired by elements of ballet, barre focuses on small, isometric movements, working the muscle to fatigue, then stretching to build long, lean muscles.  You will hear terms such as tuck, pulse, hold, and press — all different ways of producing the same result — bringing on the “shake” (literally)!  Throughout a Barre Burn class, you may find that your muscles begin to tremble.  This is good!  It means your muscle is reaching its point of fatigue.  Your goal is to hold that shake for as long as you can.

While you may be instructed to rise on your tippie-toes, no need to be Misty Copeland here!  Participating in Barre Burn does not require any dance experience (or any dancing for that matter).  A ballet barre is used as a tool for balance and resistance within the exercises.  That being said, your inner ballerina may surface in the form of sweat, endurance, a strong core, better balance and flexibility, and muscle definition worthy of a standing ovation.

The best part?  You can have all of these benefits without the fear of injury!  Barre classes are centered around exercises that put little to no impact on your joints, making it a popular fitness regimen suggested by health professionals for those recovering from surgery or injury.  So feel free to leave your worries at the door and get lost in the high energy, body pumping music!

Join us Mondays at 10am for Barre Burn! Contact us with questions and check our schedule for Barre Burn and other awesome classes.  Your muscles will thank you later with a high-five and a “shake.”

How to Choose Shoes for Cross Training

If you’re an athlete that participates in multiple sports or fitness regimens, then finding the right pair of cross training shoes can be a life-saver. A good pair of these shoes will handle wear and tear more gracefully than your typical running shoes, and are designed to absorb a variety of impacts to prevent accidents and injuries.

Adaptability is essential when choosing a good cross training shoe. So, whether you’re into aerobics and jogging, or step aerobics and weight training, a great pair of cross trainers need to be able to withstand your regimen. They need to function well, fit well, wear out slowly, and provide support in a variety of sports.

The first thing to do when looking for a pair of new cross trainers is to talk to people and ask for recommendations. Ask your personal trainer or favorite class instructor what shoe they recommend, but be aware that no two people’s athletic shoe needs are the same.

Take down a few recommendations from people you respect. Then read some reviews online, too, to narrow down the list and find out what other people think of the shoe. Keep in mind, however, you can’t trust everything you read online.

For a good pair of shoes, you’ll usually do best by going in person to a store. When it comes to choosing new shoes, especially a brand you’re not familiar with, you can really only know if the fit is going to be right unless you try them on in person.

When you test the shoe in the store, try different strides and motions to get a feel for how the shoes will handle your impact. If the heel falls in the wrong place on the back of your ankle when you take a long stride, you’ll know that the particular shoe model could cause problems like blisters.

Aside from the shoe’s fit and style, you’ll want to get a good look at the materials it’s made of. Does it look sturdy enough to last more than a month or two? Does it offer the kind of protection from the weather elements, or ventilation, for indoor sports? Check the outsoles. Are they sufficiently wide to provide stability and help you maintain your balance?

A good pair of cross training shoes can be hard to come by, but it’s worth the investment for most athletes.

Are you interested in living your life to the fullest? Looking for new challenges for your mind and body? Please feel free to contact us to learn about how we can help you achieve a newer, healthier, happier lifestyle with a few small changes.

Is High-Intensity Cross Training Safe?

What is Cross Training?

Cross training is a term originally used by athletic trainers. When athletes are cross training, they perform exercises that strengthen muscle groups without focusing on the repetitive motions of their sport. For instance, athletes who run a lot need to cross train with weights so they are strong. Conversely, it is important for athletes who focus on weight training to also perform cardio exercises so they can stay lean. Lastly, stretching and flexibility are important for everyone, which is why many athletes cross train with yoga, ballet, and other disciplines that encourage those attributes.

Cross training has also become its own sort of sport. Thousands of people are learning about and training through workout programs that focus on training your body by mixing up workouts regularly. You can check out X – FIT for a generalized cross training class, or the HEAT Program if you want to kick it up a notch, here.

Benefits

Experts and trainers agree, cross training gives you a great workout, longer periods of residual fat burning, and in less time than traditional workouts. The range of possible exercises are nearly limitless. You may do pull ups, jumps, or squats; you may lift weights, flip tires, or wave the battle ropes as hard as you can. The main limitations are your fitness level, which will improve with each session, and your imagination!

Risks

When it comes to moving our bodies, there is always risk. Even for those who haven’t worked out in a long time, daily activities can strain weak joints, causing pain. Building muscle can actually help reduce that pain in some cases, and you should always talk to your doctor before beginning a new exercise routine.

A great way to reduce risk of exercise related injury is by involving a professional! When your car needs a tune-up, you go to a mechanic. If your body needs a tune-up, enlist the help of a personal trainer! A trainer can give you great workout plans to get you started, keep you motivated, and on your journey to success. More importantly, a trainer will ensure you are doing each exercise correctly.

For more information about 360° classes, trainers, and how to get started, contact us today!

Tasty Ways to Spice Up Your Meal Plan!

One of the biggest challenges faced by those committed to a healthy lifestyle is eating the right foods. It’s easy to grab what’s convenient when life gets hectic, but the quick choice isn’t always the healthiest one. These easy and tasty recipes are a great addition to any meal plan and give you the fuel you need for your workouts!

Bananas are known for their potassium, which helps to support healthy blood pressure. It also helps to maintain the electrolyte balance in the body, keeping cells hydrated. Get in your potassium with this tasty treat: peel and freeze a couple of bananas. Throw the frozen bananas in a blender with a little vanilla extract to taste. Blend, scraping down the sides with a spatula until you get a creamy consistency. Guilt free ice cream!

Avocados are a great source of healthy fatty acids, vitamin c and antioxidants which help to maintain cardiovascular health and fight free radicals. Indulge with this easy idea: toast two slices of whole grain bread, slice an avocado in half and scoop out the flesh. Mash with a little sea salt to taste and spread on the slices of toast. Sprinkle some chopped tomato and grated parmesan cheese on top.

Sweet potatoes contain Omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and beta carotene and anthocyamin which has been known to have an anti-imflammatory effect. Peel and slice up some sweet potatoes into sticks. Toss with melted coconut oil, cinnamon and sea salt and bake in an oven heated to 450 degrees for 15 minutes. A sweet and salty treat!

Pineapple contains vitamins A, C and B6, and minerals and antioxidants that can have an antiaging effect on the body. Slice a pineapple into sticks about an inch thick, and brush with olive oil. On a grill (indoor or out) heat pineapple for 6 to 8 minutes on each side. Enjoy as is, or dip into Greek yogurt.

For more on healthy eating to support an active lifestyle, contact us today!

barre class

Barre Class: The Missing Piece To Your Workout Regimen

Real results! Do you want them? 

Tired of going to the gym and feeling like you’re still lacking the definition you want? Ever wondered how to chisel out that last bit of body fat in order to obtain the ultimate definition? A barre class could be the perfect addition to your current fitness plan so you can completely transform your body into the ideal lean machine.

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360 Fitness, Tyler, TX

Study Shows Weightlifting Builds Endurance

If you love swimming, cycling or long-distance running, you may not have put a lot of thought into your weightlifting routine. Sure you want to build your strength, but perhaps you were afraid of building bulky muscles that could slow you down when you needed to be light and fast.

In the past you may have thought of cardiovascular exercise as endurance training, and weightlifting simply as a way to build muscular strength; however, new studies are showing that weightlifting has a huge impact on your endurance. It may be just as important to your race performance as the number of miles (or meters) you’re putting in.

Forbes magazine describes a study of cyclists who engaged in resistance training along with plyometrics and according to the article, “The Health Benefits of Weightlifting and the New Science that Supports Strength Building” by Julie Wilcox,

“Their muscles contain twice as many various signaling molecules that jump-start adaptive changes and make muscles better able to use oxygen–to have in other words, great endurance.” Reynolds continues, “Resistance exercise, authors wrote, ‘amplifies the adaptive signaling response in the muscles. It redoubles the benefits of the cycling or running. It also, as other studies shows, tunes up an out-of-shape nervous system.”

So, if you have been focused on your long runs, rides, and swims but neglecting your time in the gym lifting weights it may be time to double down on your resistance training. A professional trainer can teach you how to build the kind of strength that will give you the competitive edge in your next race or event.

For more information on weightlifting training catered specifically to your fitness goals, please contact us.

How to Find the Right Gym for You

Finding the right gym to meet your needs can be challenging. You need something clean with good equipment, a solid personal training program, and the right price, all relatively close to your house or work. To make things a bit more complicated, many gyms have seemingly similar equipment and class offerings which can make the shopping experience a bit overwhelming.

So, how do you differentiate between a great gym and one that merely appears to be good? What do you look for?

  1. Personalization. The right gym will focus on how it can meet your needs. It won’t just be an exercise facility; it will provide a complete fitness experience, tailored to your lifestyle and body type. Good gyms don’t try to sell each prospective member the same thing; they recognize that each person’s needs are different and adjust accordingly.
  2. Dedication. The right gym WILL REFUSE to cut corners. Its equipment will be up to date and fully repaired, its personal trainers will be thoroughly qualified, and it will take the scientific approach to fitness rather than following the latest fads. A good gym will focus on providing a complete, authentic fitness package that actually works.
  3. Value. The right gym won’t necessarily be cheap, but you’ll get what you pay for. If you are serious about making significant progress in the fitness department, then you may want to think twice about choosing your gym based on price alone. Remember that the gyms who offer incredibly low prices are banking on the fact that most of their members won’t ever step foot in their club. Not necessarily the level of support you need to get you to the next fitness level.
  4. Childcare. If you’re in charge of caring for little ones, you’ll most likely need a safe place for them to play while you get some much deserved “me” time. The best gyms offer childcare at no additional charge. And some even offer complimentary memberships for teens. Be sure to ask about discounts for spouses and if the gym charges for your loved ones under the age of 18.
  5. Programs. The right gym will offer a variety of fitness program options like group classes, educational clinics, webinars and social events. Even the most disciplined of us get bored with the same stale routines and the best gyms work hard to ensure that you’ve always got something to look forward to during your next visit.

The right gym will be dedicated, be able to tailor its services to your individual needs, and be worth the price. Gyms that can’t give you those aren’t worth your time.

Contact us for more information about finding the right gym and learn how you can receive a complimentary workout!

Focus Workout: 5 Exercises for Developing Stronger Feet and Ankles

When people perform their fitness routine, they normally concentrate on back, shoulders, arms, abs and legs. Many seem to forget to exercise the part of the body that holds them up—their feet and ankles! It’s important to keep your feet and ankles strong to provide you with better balance, flexibility, circulation and to avoid injuries. A focus workout of stretching exercises for the feet and strength, balancing and plyometric exercises for the ankles will do wonders for accomplishing this. The best part is that this simple workout is done in just 5-10 minutes each day in the comfort of your own home before or after your gym routine.

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Heel Raises – This is a terrific foot activity to do before your cardio program since your feet’s reflex points corresponding to the lungs and heart will be stimulated. You might want to stand near a wall or counter to help keep your balance. Stand with your back straight, tight abs and feet hip-width apart. Raise both of your heels off the floor high enough that you’re standing on the balls of your feet; hold for 3-5 seconds and slowly lower your heels back down to the floor. Perform this exercise 10 times. For an added challenge, attempt to stand on one foot and raise your heel of the foot you’re standing on; perform 10 reps and then exercise the other foot.

One-Leg-Balance

Single Leg Balance Reach – To perform this ankle balancing exercise, stand with your back straight, contracted abs and feet hip-width apart. Your feet need to be flat on the floor with your arches raised; don’t roll your ankles or move the rest of your body as you perform this routine. Lift your right leg an inch off of the floor. Stretch your right leg out in front of you, hold this position for 5 seconds then bring it back next to your left leg. Move your right leg out to the right side maintaining good form and hold this for 5 seconds before bringing your leg back to the standing position. Extend your right leg backwards holding for 5 seconds and return the leg next to your left leg. Now repeat all of these for your left leg.

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Squat Jumps – To start this plyometric exercise for the ankles, your arms should be at your sides and relaxed; feet should be side by side and hip-width apart. Bend your knees, as you jump swing your arms over your head to aid you in getting more height; during the jump, point your toes down. As you gently land form a squat; this absorbs the jump and gets your ready for the next jump. Perform these for one minute.

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Rock Out – This quick and easy activity will reduce the chance of any ankle injuries and improve your balance. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, abs tight and your back straight. Turn your feet to one side so that you’re now standing on the outside of your feet; return to the start position and complete 5 more of these. Take a short break keeping your feet flat on the floor. Next, turn your feet so that you’re standing on the inside of your feet; return your feet flat on the floor and perform these 5 more times.

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Band Inversion/Eversion – For this foot- and ankle-strengthening exercise you’ll need to sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you and toes pointed up. Loop a resistance band around the ball of the inside of your left foot and tie the other end of the band around a secure piece of furniture that’s foot high—like a couch leg. Now, turn your left foot inward—an inversion—and you’ll feel the pull against the band. You should do 2 sets of 10-20 repetitions. Remember to exercise the right foot too! To perform an eversion, reposition the band so that the loop is now on the outside of the ball of your foot; rotate your foot out and feel that resistance! Again, exercise the other foot 2 sets of 10-20 reps. While you’re performing these band exercises, make sure your legs remain unmoved; only your ankle and foot should be turning.

If you take time to perform these simple exercises every day, you’ll discover that you’ll be better aligned, have improved balance and enhanced flexibility. Thus, you’ll get more out of your fitness program at the gym. If you’d like more advice on strengthening your feet and ankles or would like a custom workout, please contact us.

3 Signs That You Need a Personal Trainer

It’s true that you can work out and lose weight all on your own, without the assistance of a personal trainer. In fact, you don’t even have to have a gym membership to achieve your weight loss and fitness goals. However, there are a lot of people who do better in achieving their goals when they work with a personal training professional. These are a few signs that you need a personal trainer.

1. You’re Having Trouble Getting Motivated

If you are like many people, you might be having a hard time getting motivated. Although you might try hard, you could have trouble with things like sticking to your diet or achieving your fitness goals.

Luckily, a personal trainer can help. Along with helping you come up with an exercise and dieting plan, your personal trainer can help hold you accountable. Knowing that there is someone at the gym who will hold you accountable if you don’t strive to meet your goals can kick you into gear.

2. You’re Not Seeing Results

If you have been working out and dieting but still aren’t seeing any results, then you could be wondering what you’re doing wrong. A personal trainer can help you identify these problems and can help you change your plan so that you can start seeing results again.

3. You’re Dealing With Physical Issues

Do you have any physical issues going on, such as previous injuries or pain when you work out? If so, working with both your doctor and a personal trainer can help you come up with exercises that won’t be so hard on your body.

As you can see, there are a lot of people who can benefit from hiring a personal trainer. If any of these things apply to you, contact us to schedule an appointment with a personal trainer.

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cross training

The Many Benefits of Cross Training

Cross training is a training routine that incorporates several different types of exercises. For many people who exercise, cross training helps maintain a high level of overall fitness because it gives the opportunity to vary the amount of stress put on specific muscles or even the cardiovascular system. Cross training avoids the dreaded plateau. At that point, your overall fitness is limited and the conditioning you get from exercising is reduced. You are simply maintaining a certain level of fitness, rather than improving.

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