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Blog

The Key to Healthy Aging

Dr. Erin Nitschke, ACE Health Coach, Fitness Nutrition Specialist & NSCA-CPT Sep 21, 2017 Fit Fun

September is nationally recognized as healthy aging month, a time to focus on encouraging personal responsibility for health and well-being in all dimensions of life (physically, socially, mentally and financially). There may not be a tangible fountain of youth that promises eternal life and continuous health, but we hold more power than we may realize in the daily choices we make and the habits we adopt and maintain throughout our lives.

Living an active and balanced lifestyle that includes a combination of aerobic, muscular strength, and flexibility exercises helps ward off a range of diseases, slows the rate of muscle tissue loss and improves activities of daily living. Here are some of the cardiovascular and cognitive benefits that come with living a healthy lifestyle.

How Quickly Does Muscle Grow?

Dr. Erin Nitschke, ACE Health Coach, Fitness Nutrition Specialist & NSCA-CPT Sep 14, 2017 News

Like any other component of fitness, muscle growth takes time, solid nutrition, and thoughtful and consistent training practices aimed at developing muscle hypertrophy. How quickly those changes are seen varies for each individual. No two bodies are exactly the same and, therefore, no two people will build strength and size at equal rates.

5 Stretches to “Un-desk” Your Body

Brett Klika, CEO of SPIDERfit Kids Sep 7, 2017 Fit Fun

The average American is inactive nearly eleven hours per day, independent of sleep, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Despite the human body being designed as a perpetual motion machine, modern life has allocated our daytime hours to sitting in cars, on couches and in front of computers, which has left many of us hunched over and in constant pain.

You might be wondering, “How can doing NOTHING actually cause problems?”

The human body is extremely efficient. The form and function of muscles adapt almost immediately to the demands placed on them. When you are perpetually active, your muscles improve their neuromuscular, biomechanical and metabolic machinery to accommodate your activity. Oxygen and glucose are transported to the cells more and more efficiently. Muscles contract and relax as they were designed to do.

When you’re not active, however, your muscles adapt to inactivity. Metabolism of lipids slows down, oxygen and glucose transport to the cells becomes less robust and efficient. Sitting for hours at a time convinces your muscles to accommodate this “scrunched” position. Hip flexors shorten, the neck and upper spine protrude forward, and the glutes and hamstrings weaken. Over time, this creates tension, compression and other pain-inducing joint pathologies.

The good news is that with short, efficient movement breaks throughout the day, you can “un-desk” your body and decrease the health risks of inactivity.

Perform these five movements every 60-90 minutes throughout the day. There’s no need to even leave your desk. In addition, try to stand up every 20-45 minutes and always be looking for ways to move more throughout your day.

3 Ways to Supercharge the Body and Brain for Back to School

Brett Klika, CEO of SPIDERfit Kids Aug 31, 2017 Fit Fun

The last days of summer are slipping away, and school is about to start!

Any change in schedule is challenging, particularly for kids. The first few weeks of school are a difficult time for parents and teachers to capture and channel kids’ energies effectively. The good news is that some simple movement strategies can help clear mental and physical cobwebs brought on by a summer of “slacking.” 

The body and brain have a reciprocal relationship. The brain tells the body what to do, and then the body gives information back to the brain, helping it decide what to tell the body to do next. When the brain and body work together frequently to overcome challenges, they both continue to develop for a lifetime.

Additionally, more and more research on children is finding that when they move more, they not only make their brains better at guiding movement, they actually improve their ability to learn. 

Below are three ways movement can help focus and even expand kids’ (and adults’) physical and mental energy this back-to-school season. These activities can help build stronger brains and bodies. Do them at home or in the classroom.

7 Ways to Stop Overeating Once and For All

Jessica Thiefels Aug 17, 2017 Nutrition

Overeating is easy to do, especially when you’re indulging in an unusually delicious meal. It’s also easy because there are many factors that cause us to overeat, including stress and noshing too fast—both of which we likely experience or do on an almost daily basis.

Fortunately, there are many tactics you can use to stop overeating once and for all, from slowing down to learning your body’s hunger cues. Use these tips to get your eating on track so you can feel fueled and satiated instead of full and frustrated.

Flexibility Training for Beginners

Jennifer Turpin Stanfield, M.A., ACSM EP-C Aug 10, 2017 Fit Fun

Flexibility is an important component of health-related fitness, but flexibility training is often neglected, even among regular exercisers. Flexibility describes the ability of a joint and surrounding muscles to move through a specific range of motion with ease and without pain. Lifting weights promotes lean muscle mass, and aerobic exercise such as running improves the function of the heart and lungs, but what can flexibility training do for you? Here are a few of the benefits:

  • Improved efficiency in completing activities of daily living such as bending, reaching, squatting and stepping over things
  • Better posture
  • Reduced risk of injury (especially those related to sport and physical activity)

In addition to these physical benefits, flexibility training can improve mood by releasing muscle tension and facilitating relaxation. For best results, do some form of flexibility training at least two to three days per week. However, if flexibility exercise is not currently part of your fitness program, you can enjoy the benefits of this type of training by incorporating just a few stretches at the end of your exercise session. Here are three to get you started, and all you will need is a yoga or exercise mat:  

Is Fat the New Nutrition Darling?

Tiffani Bachus, R.D.N., and Erin Macdonald, R.D.N Aug 3, 2017 News

Is dietary fat a friend or foe? Currently, dietary fat is experiencing a comeback in popularity. From weight loss to improved mental clarity, many health professionals are touting the purported benefits of a high-fat diet. Which raises the question: Should you buy into the hype and hop on the high-fat bandwagon or is moderation the way to go?

Eating for the Season: Summer Edition

Tiffani Bachus, R.D.N., and Erin Macdonald, R.D.N. Jul 20, 2017 Nutrition

Summertime and the living is delicious! This is the season with the greatest variety of fruits and vegetables available, which are the perfect fuel for your active days (see sidebar, below). Whether you find yourself hiking, biking or playing a grueling tennis match, you need to stay well-hydrated and nourished to match your energy output. Fortunately, fruits and veggies are filled with water, clean carbs and fiber to keep you satiated for hours.

When choosing your produce this summer, keep in mind that some crops have a heavier residue of pesticides than others. This may influence whether or not you choose to purchase organic varieties instead of conventionally grown produce. The 2017 Dirty Dozen list put out by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) lists strawberries, spinach, nectarines, apples, peaches, pears, cherries, grapes, celery, tomatoes, sweet bell peppers and potatoes as the types of produce with the highest pesticide usage.

By contrast, EWG’s Clean 15 includes sweet corn, avocados, pineapples, cabbage, onions, sweet peas, papayas, asparagus, mangoes, eggplant, honeydew melon, kiwi, cantaloupe, cauliflower and grapefruit because these foods contain the lowest amounts of pesticides. Note that a small amount of sweet corn, papaya and summer squash grown in the United States is from genetically modified seeds. You may want to choose organic versions of these crops if you want to avoid genetically modified foods.

7 Ways to Get More Movement Into Your Day

Kelsey Brown, MEd, CHES Jul 13, 2017 Fit Fun

Take a minute to think about the hours of your day. How much of that time is spent seated or lying down? Regular workout sessions are great, but they may not be enough to negate an otherwise sedentary lifestyle.

Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) is a term for all of your daily movement separate from structured exercise. This includes walking from your car to the office, carrying groceries, playing with your dog and even fidgeting. This daily movement is vital to weight management and health.

Research shows that people who are impacted by obesity sit an average of 2.5 hours less per day than their normal-weight counterparts. However, they could burn an additional 350 calories daily with increased NEAT (Levine et al., 2006). That may not sound like much, but those calories add up to 3 pounds of weight loss in a month, or 36 pounds in a year, all without setting foot in a gym.

If you struggle to find time for activity, it’s time to think beyond the sets and reps. Here are seven ways to get more movement into your day.

7 Great Mornings: Your Prep Guide to the Most Important Meal of the Day 7 Great Mornings: Your Prep Guide to the Most Important Meal of the Day

Katie Ferraro Jul 6, 2017 Nutrition

You've heard it a million times, but breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. You can't start your car without a little fuel in the tank, and a well-balanced breakfast can set you off on the right foot for a fabulous day.

Most people who skip breakfast cite lack of time as their primary barrier. These seven easy-to-prepare breakfast ideas can be made in a few minutes and are packed with the nutrition needed to fuel you throughout your day.

You've heard it a million times, but breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. You can't start your car without a little fuel in the tank, and a well-balanced breakfast can set you off on the right foot for a fabulous day. Most people who skip breakfast cite lack of time as their primary barrier. These seven easy-to-prepare breakfast ideas can be made in a few minutes and are packed with the nutrition needed to fuel you throughout your day.

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