Choose Hard

Choose Hard.

 

90% of Americans are complacent in life.  Why?  It’s easy and it’s what is being pushed on us.

 

We live at the warp speed of our smart phones (not sure they are really all that smart but we can’t leave home without them.)  We hear a “ping” and our entire mindset is distracted.  It’s actually been proven to be addictive, more so than drugs.

 

We are surrounded with choices that provide instant gratification and can help us feel better in the moment.  Feeling stressed?  Overwhelmed?  Angry?  Choose Amazon, choose the local drive thru, Grub Hub or Shipt shopper.  We actually never need to actually leave our house anymore- it can all be done online and at the click of a button.

 

Easy is what our culture wants us to buy into.  We have unlimited access to processed foods, frozen pizza, candy and alcohol.  Why cook when you can just nook?  Why meal plan when you can just hire a mail delivery service to do it for you?  Why outfit plan when you have Stitchfix to do it for you?  (Okay, I digress, but you understand, right!?)

 

Living healthy is HARD.  It is the hardest thing you will ever do. 

 

You will have to make a grocery list.  You will have to figure out what meals you need for family dinners and lunches during the day.  You will have to physically go to the store, pick out colorful veggies and put them in plastic bags.  You will have to then go home, take them out of plastic bags and chop them up for the week ahead.  You will have to spend a few hours on the weekends getting your meals set up, whether that be chicken, soups, salads or snacks.  You will have to have difficult conversations with your kids or spouse about why there is no longer junk food in your pantry.   You will have to carve out time each day to move your body when you feel exhausted from work.  You will have to keep drinking water when you are sick of going to the bathroom all day long.  You will have to go to bed when you want to watch just one more episode on Netflix or scroll social media to numb the pain of feeling alone.

 

You will have to keep choosing hard when that damn scale gives you zero feedback.  When you did all the right stuff but you still feel ugly, tired or alone.

 

And why?  Why choose hard, when it’s so much easier to just give in and go with the flow of those around us?

 

Because we only get one shot at this thing called life. 

 

And you only get one chance to the be the best version of you. 

 

When you choose healthy, you choose hundreds of options in front of you.  When you choose easy, you choose to be mediocre and fit in with everyone around you.

 

Why not be different?  Why not make a difference?  This world certainly needs people who are kinder, happier, healthier and more confident.  And I guarantee your world of humans needs someone who is kind, happy, healthy and confident too.

 

Choose hard.  Choose healthy.  Choose YOU.  One day at a time. 

You Need a Day OFF!

You Need A Day Off!

By Tiffany Karger

Raise your hand if you walked out of a class or workout and didn’t take the time to stretch. Now raise your hand if you do not take one or more off days per week. I know most and possible maybe all of you reading this do at least one or the other. As a personal trainer and group fitness instructor, I can say with confidence that one of the biggest faults in the fitness industry is the lack of knowledge with recovery and its high importance.

To be holistically healthy in all areas of life we need a balance of exercise, nutrition, meditation, and recovery. If one of the four are not met, we will not see results. Being in the fitness industry for the past three years, I noticed that recovery is always forgotten. I teach 14 classes per week and rarely do I see anyone take the time after class to properly recover (i.e. Stretching, self-myofascial release, etc.). When we are taking a class, weight lifting, or running, we break down and create micro-tears within the muscle. For the muscle to repair and grow stronger, recovery needs to happen. Taking time to the stretch and rest helps with blood flow, increase muscle strength/size, and prevent injury. The “No Days Off” lifestyle halts muscle repair and therefore the body never heals properly. We wear fit bits and apple watches to track steps and count our calorie burn for the day. Getting so caught in the numbers, we lose sight in what our body really needs… a day off.

My Top 4 Recovery Techniques (I promise no burpees!)

  1. Rest: Now we are talking about actual rest, sleep. This is one of the most important ways to get your body to quickly recover from the physical and mental demands of hard training.
  2. Hydration: No not alcohol. We need to consume at around eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. That number goes up when our activity increases. Drink up!
  3. Self-myofascial Release: Foam rolling!!! Taking at least 10-15 minutes per day to give your muscles a little TLC. Don’t know how to foam roll? I am at the studio 24/7 so ask me about tips and tricks to foam rolling. I am more than happy to help.
  4. Fuel Your Body: Your muscles need to eat so feed them well. Focus on whole nutrient dense foods to give your body what it needs.

Treat yo self and your body too.

What I Learned From Detoxing Digitally

by Emma Szczepanek

Last month after watching a very convincing Ted Talk I decided that I needed a break from social media. I’d thought about the idea many times before, but watching that video was the catalyst that made me decide it was time. I’ve always had a mostly hate relationship with social media (90% hate 10% love). It seemed like a chore, something I had to do to stay present in a social circle, the make or break of my career. Facebook always seemed like a constant stream of negativity, and Instagram, the ultimate highlight reel felt inauthentic. I never truly felt connected to anyone when I posted on Facebook or Instagram, but the idea of leaving these platforms made me nervous that my career would fail and my life would fall apart (I’m generally a worst case scenario thinker).

Once I made the decision to leave my social media platforms, and step away from the constant connectedness of the world, I actually learned a lot, and thrived without constant Instagram scrolling and Facebook nonsense. I benefited mentally. It felt like my brain changed. Here are a few things that happened:

I became more focused

Recent studies have shown that regular multitasking can reduce our ability to effectively complete tasks. Our brains can only handle so much information at one time and when we consistently bombard our minds with endless streams, it’s forced to switch between everything we’ve given it, putting less focus on individualized tasks.* I can’t even begin to tell you the number of times I found myself trying to read an article while watching a YouTube video, or the number of hours I spent scrolling through Instagram while Netflix played in the background. These seemingly small bouts of multitasking have a huge effect on our ability to focus when we really need to. Once I eliminated the temptation of mindless scrolling I was able to sit down and truly dedicate time to one specific task. Over the course of 30 days, I noticed that the amount of time I was able to really focus became longer and longer. I went from only being able to work for 30 minutes without a break, to sitting down and focusing on something for an hour or longer. I felt motivated by the amount of work I was able to get done.

I actually LIVED the life I wanted

This was something that only the 30-day detox could help me realize. I spent so much time on social media following influencers and other people that were living the life I wanted. Waking up early every morning, working for themselves, traveling, committing themselves to a regular yoga and meditation practice. These were all things that I wanted to do, this was the life I wanted to live, but I wasn’t doing it. I was getting an odd complacency about the life I wanted because I was almost able to live it through other people. Living that life in my imagination through their feed. I got satisfaction from seeing them do all of these things and didn’t actually try to do them myself. Once I gave up social media, I was able to sit down and take a true audit of my life. I was able to tune into the things I truly wanted, and I started to do them. I woke up early, did my meditation, did yoga, spent time on my business, all of the things that I had for some reason been avoiding but coveting in others. During these thirty days, I felt more like myself than I had in a while. I didn’t have other influencers, bloggers, trainers or coaches to compare myself to. I was doing my work the way that I wanted to do it, not being influenced by the things that were popular on social media at the moment. I was able to live my life in that same way. Without stepping away from the people that I envied so much, I think it would have taken me much longer to realize that I was letting them live my life for me.

I was able to create

When I was really able to be with myself and spend time figuring out what I wanted out of life and my career, without the influence of what the “successful” social media influencers were doing. I felt like my creativity was at an all-time high. I came up with new concepts to write about when I had been stuck for months, I came up with an entirely new project that I would have never thought to create before. For a long time, I thought that social media was inspiring to try new things and do something different, but it turned out that it was really holding me back, and instead of standing out, I ended up blending in.

Overall, the past thirty days has truly changed not only my relationship with technology but also my relationship with myself. It’s so easy to get caught up in the digital world because we’re constantly told that we can’t do things without it, but that’s not true at all. Technology and social media have made many things a lot easier, but it’s also taken a lot away. Our ability to connect to our authentic selves, to take chances and do things that may not get likes or follows. Being able to see the world on our phone or computer screen is a wonderful advancement, but being able to see the world with our own eyes is still possible, we just have to lift up our heads.

*[The Essential Digital Detox Plan – Orianna Fielding]

Find Your “Why”

By Jess Welch

Lose 10 pounds in 10 days! Twelve workouts to a flat stomach! Lose unwanted cellulite in just 30 minutes!

Tag lines like these pollute our media and are riddled throughout our everyday lives. Misinformation and misleading titles lead individuals to think sustainable weight loss is as easy as a snap of a finger. This leaves people feeling disheartened and unmotivated with continually fluctuating weights. Not to mention, we live in a society which thrives on instant gratification; thus making the humbling reality of weight loss a tough pill to swallow.

One thing I have continuously learned is this: weight loss is hard. We wouldn’t have an obesity epidemic on our hands if it was easy as pie to avoid… well… pie! Oh, and bacon, ice cream, cheeseburgers, chips, and other sinful tantalizing treats. The old adage of “consistency is key” couldn’t be truer. But those three words are far easier said than done. Too often, I talk to people who have lost a whopping 55lbs in 4 months sometime in their past, gained it all back, lost 20lbs then gained that back too, plus some. The list of weight-loss attempts is never short and too often, I hear defeated voices whisper “I should do better, be better, and have better self-control.” Too many of my clients are consistently reliving their weight loss failures.

The other thing I know about weight loss is this: sustainable weight loss is slow. It is healthiest to lose 1-2 pounds per week. Like I said, sloooow. And when you’re staring at a scale that has a decline as slow as molasses in January, you lose hope.

So why try? Weight loss is difficult and time consuming. Why care? That’s an important question to answer and its one I cannot answer for you. For some people it’s as simple as wanting a pair of jeans to fit or to go to the doctor and finally not receive the advice of “you should really lose weight”. Maybe it’s more clinical, like getting off medications for high blood pressure or getting out of the pre-diabetic range. It could be psychologically deeper, like having a past of bullying or a severe deprivation in self-confidence. Your perception is your reality and once you find a reason captivating enough to make the hard work and patience worth it, weight loss will come easier, I promise!

If you can’t think of your “why”, answer this: What do you gain with weight loss? It could be that size of jeans you always wanted to be in or that number on the scale. You could gain the confidence you never had to rock that bikini you never thought you could. Maybe it’s just the accomplishment itself, the follow through to actually accomplish a goal once thought of as unattainable. Whatever it may be, I urge you to find your “why”. My message is to utilize this as step one in your final weight loss journey to a happierhealthieryou!

 

What, when, and how? Choosing the best workout frequency based on your goals.

What, when, and how? Choosing the best workout frequency based on your goals.

Ryan Pender

Let’s open this up by drawing a poll: How many of you reading right now think about your current exercise program? Maybe you have specific goals and are wondering if you’re taking the right steps to reach those goals? If you’re still reading this, you most likely answered “yes” to one of these questions! Now I’m going to try and peer into my crystal ball and make a bold prediction: you are trying to achieve one (or more) of these three goals; (1) Improve your cardiovascular fitness (getting “in-shape” or running a 10k or half-marathon) (2) Increase your strength/muscle (3) Lose weight. Some individuals can be fit into these three categories, and many of said individuals will inadvertently swing for the fences to try and attain all of these goals at once.

This approach does tend to work with many individuals at the beginning of their fitness journey, let’s think of a fairly common scenario. You’ve signed up at Allegro Coaching (insert shameless advertising 😊) because you’re friend or family member dragged you in, or you made the decision yourself. You started slow, taking some classes and you’re feeling great! A few months go by and you’re going through some tough workouts, you even make a few friends with some of the long-time regulars. Running season starts and your workout friends start signing up for 5k/10k/marathons, and you start thinking to yourself, ”Hmm, I wonder if I can do that?” You do couple of fun 5k runs, a 10k here and there, and you’d like to step things up and get a little more serious. Where do you go from here? Maybe instead of wanting to run more you want to start getting serious about building muscle to show off your guns for beach season, or you want more specific results for weight loss. Regardless of what fitness-based goal you have, there is something called the F.I.T.T. principle (Frequency, Intensity, Time, Type) that we can bring in to help you focus into developing a training program. *Disclaimer*- If you haven’t done so yet, get your Allegro Baseline Assessment (A.B.A.)! You can speak with one of our fantastic personal trainers who can develop the best possible program for whatever results you want to achieve. Best news, the A.B.A. is free!

I won’t get into all of the details of the F.I.T.T. principle, rather I’ll give you the most important points to hit for our 3 broad goals; Cardio, Strength/Muscle, Weight Loss.

Cardio: Running, walking, biking, skiing, etc.

Frequency: If your goal is to complete a run, race, or ride, your optimal frequency will be to train 3-4 sessions per week. Does that seem like not enough running upon first glance? Pacing yourself is incredibly important, especially if it’s your first race! These days off will help your body recover (which is almost as important as the training itself), and eventually give you days to fit in some very beneficial core and strength training to your schedule.

Intensity: Whatever length of event you’re training to complete, it’s a good idea to start slow. Using running as an example: it’s a good idea to see if you can complete 30-40% of the race distance (approximately 4-5 miles for a half marathon) at a slow pace roughly 3 months from the event and go from there. If that 30-40% distance was pretty long and tough, that will be your “distance” day, which you will run once per week. Pair that with one short run (2 miles) at a slightly faster pace, and one more run that’s in the middle of your long and short runs. Try to add a mile to your middle and long distance runs each week, keeping your short runs at the same distance!

Time: Given that many events are distance based, time doesn’t have as much application as it pertains to the time allocated to training. However, it is important to note when you have time to train. Knowing if you will get to trainer before the kids get up, or later in the day is important. Remember this if you have a big goal: you don’t find time, you make time!

Type: If you’re training for a specific event, you’d be calling me Captain Obvious if I told you “You have to run if you’re running a race!” However, it is important to consider cross training with strength/core workouts and flexibility/mobility on your “off” days. This is where classes such as A-Fit, Circuit Training, CXWORX and personal training once or twice a week can drastically improve your performance and prevent running injury.

Strength/Muscle: *Disclaimer*- If you are reading this section and think to yourself,” I don’t want to bulk up, I just want to tone up!” Physiologically, there is no difference between muscle growth and muscle “toning.” Muscle tone simply refers to having a certain amount of muscle mass with a low enough bodyfat percentage to see the muscle. In a nutshell: “Toning up” requires you to build muscle, decrease bodyfat percentage, but your best results would come from a combination of both. Any product or professional that tells you otherwise is just trying to sell you something, and don’t you dare fall for it!

Frequency: The frequency for strength training can fluctuate based on your schedule and goals. You can get away with training 2 days per week but also push to train 5 or 6 days per week. Research has shown that both high and low frequency methods produce the same results, as long as your weekly volume (the total number of sets and/or reps) stays the same. So you can get the same results with training 2 or 3 days per week (focusing on full-body workouts) as you would training 5 or 6 days per week (focusing on one or two body parts per workout), just as long as the number of sets and reps stay the same. I’ve experimented with both methods and the results are the same…although I personally prefer to train 5 or 6 days because I can focus much more on what I’m doing.

Intensity: Whether you are lifting weights, using bands, or doing bodyweight exercises, it’s all considered “resistance” training! The goal here is to use a load that will fatigue your muscles after a certain number of repetitions. The general rule of thumb is this: use a resistance that fatigues your muscles within 6-12 repetitions (for muscle growth) or 2-6 repetitions (for strength), and complete 3-5 sets using that resistance for each muscle group. Since we all have different bodies that respond differently to exercise, some individuals may see more muscle gained from heavier loads!

Time: The amount of time will depend on your training frequency. If you’re training 2-3 days per week, your workouts may need to be longer (up to an hour or more) to make sure you hit all of your muscles groups. Conversely, if you train 5-6 days per week, that would allow you to have shorter workouts (30-45 minutes).

Type: Anything is game here! You can use dumbbells, bands, TRX, bodyweight, it all depends where you are in your journey! This is also where taking a circuit class, A-Fit or doing personal training would cover all of your bases!

Fat Loss: This is either good news or bad news, 80-90% of your fat loss will come from nutrition. However, you can manipulate exercise for some added benefit of fat loss or muscle gain/retention.

Frequency: Try to exercise most days of the week (4-6 depending on the intensity).

Intensity: You can mix this up quite a bit. If you don’t have time to dedicate a full hour, try to increase the intensity of your workout if you only have 20 or 30 minutes! This is where Les Mills GRIT is fantastic, you get a great High-Intensity Interval Training (H.I.I.T.) workout in a short amount of time!

Time: For easy to moderate workouts or steady-state cardio (walking, running, cycling), try to shoot for 20-60 minutes for a good amount of fat burn. More intense workouts can be shorter, 20-30 minutes.

Type: Everything under the sun! Cardio will help with increasing fat burn, strength training will help to build and maintain muscle, and H.I.I.T. training will help cover both areas!

Believe it or not, that is the short version of how to program for your specific goals! If you feel like you need help or you want someone to take out the guess work for you, sign up for your A.B.A. and our team of personal trainers will get you started on the right track!