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Is Comparison Sabotaging Your Success?

Jeanne Bellezzo May 18, 2018 News

You’ve been faithfully following your workout plan and you’re seeing results, but your friend at the gym seems to be making more gains. And your neighbor dropped almost 15 pounds, while you’re still focusing on losing 10.

Even when you’re making progress, frequently comparing yourself to other people—at the gym, grocery store, Instagram or wherever—can leave you feeling frustrated or discouraged. So why do so many of us do it?

The Power of Sleep

Dr. Erin Nitschke Mar 9, 2018 News

The nation’s population is “intoxicated” due to sleep loss. Sadly, poor sleep is more the rule than the exception. According to the Institute of Medicine, 50-70 million adults in the United States have sleep or wakefulness disorders. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention consider poor sleep a “public health problem.” Ultimately, this means more Americans are at an increased risk for developing other health concerns if they are getting insufficient sleep.

March is National Sleep Month, which is an ideal time to learn more about how sleep impacts the pursuit and achievement of health and fitness goals.

4 Steps for Making a Resolution That Sticks

Kelsey Graham Feb 2, 2018 News

The New Year is upon us and with it comes the desire to improve and start anew. For many, this manifests as resolutions to “eat better,” “exercise more” or “lose weight.”

Despite the best of intentions, many people struggle to maintain these resolutions yearlong, and by February gym floors are empty and new fitness gear has been left forgotten in the backs of closets.

While it may seem that sticking to a resolution is impossible, positive change in health and fitness is achievable. To increase your likelihood for success, shift your focus this year from what you resolve to do to how you’ll do it. Here are four proven strategies for ensuring that your 2018 New Year’s Resolution is one that sticks.

8 Lessons Learned from a Year of Lifestyle Change

Daniel J. Green Jan 26, 2018 News

Early in 2017, I issued myself a challenge: to live according to the rules outlined in the federal Dietary Guidelines and Physical Activity Guidelinesfor a full year. I was in desperate need of a lifestyle change, having reached a weight of 245 pounds on my 5’8” frame. I’ve always been a big guy, but I’d let my weight creep higher and higher over the years, and my body and quality of life had suffered the consequences.

A year later, my health, fitness, appearance and performance have all improved, and I’m feeling great about continuing my new lifestyle moving forward. Looking back over the past year, I see plenty of ups and downs and lots of lessons learned. Here are eight key lessons I’d like to share:

You are Not a “Brain on a Stick”

Gregory Florez Oct 19, 2017 News

Are you bringing your “whole self” to work—body, mind, energy and spirit?

In these high-velocity times, we often operate as if we are “brains on sticks.” We put on our work “costumes,” Monday through Friday, and go to the office where we dive right into our electronics, meetings and any number of other work-driven issues. Eight, 10, even 12 hours go by, often without taking a proper lunch or breaks throughout the day.

Sound familiar? Unfortunately, the increasing prevalence of corporate wellness programs has done little to improve the health and well-being of most employees. This is not for lack of trying or resources; rather, the problem often lies in a “one-size-fits-all” package that works for fewer than 20% of the work force. But here’s some good news: Simple changes—bite-sized hacks to help you be vital and resilient, and show up to work with your whole self—are the key to achieving both vitality and wellness.

After working with more than 45,000 knowledge workers and executives over the past 28 years, we have found that several simple changes work to create a vital, resilient knowledge worker. These rituals or “hacks” do not have to take much time, but they are hugely important in being a fully vital and engaged human being—both at work and at home. These rituals are organized into four pillars:

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.

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?

3 Stretches for Midday Back Pain

Brett Klika, CEO of SPIDERfit Kids Jun 29, 2017 News

If you’re like most people, you’ve probably suffered from back pain at one point or another. According to the National Centers for Health Statistics, back pain is the leading cause of disability in Americans under 45 years old. More than 26 million Americans between the ages of 20-64 experience frequent back pain and it is listed as the most frequent cause of chronic pain.

To keep yourself off the list of frequent sufferers, it’s important to first understand where this problem comes from so you can apply some simple strategies to keep pain at bay.

As a human being, you get to walk around upright. For this to happen, you have a spine up the center of your back that provides an anchor and center point for just about every major articulating joint in your body. It isn’t just a rigid pole holding you upright—it curves in a slight “S” shape, allowing for the different bends, twists and other movements you need to do on a daily basis.

The spine isn’t designed, however, to take on all of your twisting, bending and rotating alone. The joints that articulate with the spine, such as the hips and shoulders, are supposed to work with the spine to make this happen.

When we succumb to the desks, chairs and couches of an inactive lifestyle, these joints that are supposed to work with the spine lose their range of motion. The muscles that help these joints move become immobile and weak. When these joints can no longer work with the spine effectively, the spine has to pick up the slack.

When the muscles that make it possible for joints like the shoulders and hips to move become weak and immobile, the spine has to excessively flex, extend and rotate to allow movement. This places quite a bit of stress on the tissues between the spinal vertebrae. After a while, these tissues become agitated, inflamed and injured. The result is chronic back pain and injury.

A potent two-punch approach to help alleviate some of these issues involves:

  • Improving the ranges of motion of the joints that articulate with frequent and efficient flexibility exercises
  • Avoiding prolonged periods of sitting

As simple as the two-punch approach sounds, modern daily life no longer naturally facilitates frequent movement. We sit in cars to go to a job where we sit at a desk. After a long day, we relish in the idea of sitting in our favorite chair while watching television. Our ancestors would be alarmed at what has now become a “back-breaking” lifestyle.

If this sounds familiar, it’s time to start running some interference throughout the day to break up your bouts of sitting so you can get your back health back. Try setting a timer to chime every 60 minutes and stand up and perform one of the three stretches described below.

Note: If you experience chronic back pain, you should talk to your physician.

Caloric Cost of Physical Activity

Pete McCall, MS, CSCS Jun 8, 2017 News

In the fitness industry, we often talk about burning calories, which can be important for individuals who are exercising specifically to lose weight or for those who need to quantify how hard they’re working with exact metrics. This begs the question: What is a calorie and how does it relate to your personal fitness goals?

Simply put, a calorie is a measure of unit of energy; specifically, it is the amount of energy necessary to increase the temperature of 1 liter of water by 1 degree centigrade. According to the first law of thermodynamics (also known as the law of conservation of energy), energy is neither created nor destroyed, but is merely transferred from one form to another. This means that when you eat food that contains 100 calories, you will do one of two things with it: You will either expend the energy through activity (technically called kinetic energy) or save it for use at another time (referred to as potential energy).

When it comes to managing a healthy body weight or achieving specific weight-loss goals, it is important to monitor both the number of calories coming in through dietary intake and the amount of calories being burned through physical activity. In addition, it is necessary to understand how exercise physiologists measure the body’s metabolism and classify different categories of energy expenditure.

Forever Fat Loss for Men

Brett Klika, CEO of SPIDERfit Kids May 12, 2017 News

Who is that guy in the mirror?

If a blanket of body fat now hides your once lean, chiseled physique, you’re not alone.

An analysis of large population medical-assessment data comparing body mass index and percentage of body fat suggests the average American male is now about 28% body fat. Male body-fat percentages over about 20% start to carry with them increased risks for morbidity and mortality.

But before you hop on the diet and exercise trend roller coaster, it’s important to understand some of the physiological and even cultural reasons why men gain body fat as they age. With this understanding, proper exercise and nutritional steps can be taken to end struggles with fat loss once and for all.

Men and Fat Metabolism

While men’s metabolic processes tend to be associated with higher morbidity and mortality compared to women, they are at a metabolic advantage when it comes to burning fat, particularly at rest. Due to a favorable hormonal profile for building and maintaining lean muscle, men have more lean muscle mass, which means they burn more calories, both at rest and during exercise.

However, as hormonal profiles begin to change as men reach their thirties, lean muscle mass begins to decrease. By the age of 50, it appears to decrease roughly 1-2% per year.

On average, men consume more calories then women. This is due, in part, to the fact that greater amounts of lean muscle mass have a metabolic need for more calories. However, it is also affected by cultural norms, which associate a large appetite with masculinity, regardless of metabolic need for calories.

The most widely accepted and effective interventions for fat loss are similar for men and women. However, keeping a male’s specific physiology in mind while overcoming social and cultural misguidances can offer a blueprint for long-term fat loss.

Here are four “forever fat loss” strategies for men to maximize their physiology, hone their psychology and end frustration forever.

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