Intuitive Eating


Does food hold any power over you? Are you emotionally/psychologically weakened by food and how it makes you feel?

Our goal with our members is to get them to a place where they are “intuitively eating.” What that means is that they are in complete control of their decisions, and emotions, surrounding food.

They’re not eating food because they are weak, but because they choose to. They don’t eat because they’re bored or stressed. They eat when they NEED to eat and they stop when they’re DONE eating.

People give food so much power over their lives and health, and we are here to help people break out of that vicious cycle. “I eat when I feel bad, and I feel bad when I eat.” Have you ever said or thought that?

Like mentioned in past posts, we don’t adhere to any one diet long term. In short term doses it’s a great way to build discipline and to detox the body. We use it as a reset, get the body back to it’s natural way of operating, and then go back to life with more power and control.

Intuitive eating, to us, means that you can:
Choose health above all else
Eat something unhealthy, and bounce right back without stress
Not succumb to peer pressure to eat/drink poorly
Know when foods negatively affect your body (allergies & sensitivities)
Practice eating until satisfied, not until full

Again, diets are restrictive and typically not sustainable. Everyone’s going to eat pizza at some point. It’s whether or not you can control the feelings and emotions are eating the pizza that matters most. Can you eat pizza once, not feel guilty, and go back to eating well? Or does going “off the diet” set you back tremendously?

Food – Why & Healing


Why do you eat food? Not WHY do you eat food, but why do YOU eat food?

Are you simply satisfying hunger?

Are you eating to satisfy some sort of emotional distress?

Are you bored?

Everyone has a different reason for eating, and probably have different reasons at different times. But, what is the predominant theme behind your eating habits? Have you ever even thought about it?

Most people do not eat with intention. That’s the biggest obstacle to overcome, with most people, when it comes to changing their eating habits. We all know that food is the biggest factor in seeing any sort of health and fitness results. Want to lose 20 pounds? Change your food. Want to get abs? Change your food.

What most people forget to talk about is why are we eating poorly to begin with? I can’t answer that, but you can!

You need to have an honest conversation with yourself and find out what motivates you to eat the foods you choose most often. What motivates you to eat when you eat, and how much do you eat?

Once you uncover your reasoning, you then need to come to terms with two facts.

Number one: it’s not going to be easy to just change your habits and thought process surrounding food.

Number two: food is either the best medicine, or the worst poison. Nothing in between.

When you eat fresh fruits, vegetables, and natural cuts of meat it is helping to heal the body. Conversely, when you eat junk food it is hurting the body. It causes decay of the cells and eventually, potentially disease.

Nothing is neutral. It all has a purpose. Are you eating with the intention to heal the body? Are you focused on where the food comes from, the process it goes through to get to you, and what may have changed from “Day 1” to “Day what-ever-you-get-it”?

If you only started changing your food to fulfill the role of healing, you would gain a tremendous amount of health. Without exercise, you would have a much higher quality of life and feel better. Exercise is important to health, but as in everything else it’s just a piece of the puzzle.
However, you can’t only exercise and not change food. If you do, you’ll get stronger. You might build some lean body mass and increase your metabolism slightly, but you’ll never really attain health. You’ll just be a stronger, more functional, unhealthy person.

Diets Don’t Work


FADS. It’s no secret to anyone, really, that these types of diets don’t work long term. They work in the short term usually, but why not long term?

In this article I want to explore just a few reasons why they don’t work forever. And then explain why we, at Reclaim, don’t adhere to any one set diet forever or for every person.

FAD diets, in the simplest concept, are just too restrictive. Too restrictive for long term adherence. They can be great in short term doses. If you need to jump start some weight/fat loss. If you need to detox from processed foods and chemicals. If you just need to learn some discipline. There are definitely benefits to any restrictive eating style. But the biggest reason that people can’t stick with a diet in the long term is that these are usually just too darn restrictive to think you’ll do it forever.

Why wouldn’t you be able to do it, break from it a bit, and then go right back to it? Well, you most certainly could. The issue is that diets inherently make us feel really really bad when we break from the diet. Usually this leads to feelings of failure, and the “it’s all down the drain” set of emotions that cause us to spiral greatly and end up going WAY off track.

Another issue with diets is that it has an ending date. Typically, when someone reaches that ending date they add back in all of the stuff that gave them issues to begin with. What we typically ask people is to reintroduce things one at a time, and do it slowly, so that you can try to experience what specific things give you trouble. Is it dairy? Is it wheat? Is it gluten? Maybe it’s all of them, or maybe it’s nothing. But when people go from nothing to everything, they’ll never know which of those specific things is causing them issue.

These are just a couple of problems that we have with diets. All have their place, and we do at times use them for specific reasons that don’t stop at weight loss. What we prefer, is to teach people how to eat based on their body type and their goals. Everyone strays from “the plan.” What matters is how it affects you and how quickly you get back on your plan.

Every person is different, so every person needs a slightly different approach. Our biggest principle around food is Nourishment. We want to eat foods that nourish our body, and that can be very different from one person to the next.

So, if you’re interested in our food coaching/education protocol feel free to click the link below and set up an appointment to talk to someone about what we offer. Food is medicine. Food is vital. If you’re not using food to take care of yourself, then your results and your health will always suffer.

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Squat Variations


For the last article on this topic, I’m going to cover different types of squats and rank them by hierarchy of difficulty. First, I’m going to cover some universal rules which were mentioned in a previous article, but here they are again.

Rules
Feet engaged and grabbing the floor, think of a monkey’s foot grabbing a tree branch
Knees and toes pointed in the exact same direction at all times, straight forward or just slightly turned out
Hips must get lower than knees, femur beyond parallel to floor
Trunk (core) is engaged and braced to some degree
Head is neutral, not looking up or down

Now, let’s talk about the different types of squats. There are a lot of versions, I’m just going to cover the most common ones with a few extras that can be done in nearly every gym/home gym.

Barbell Back Squat – High bar & Low bar
Front Squat
Overhead Squat
Goblet Squat
Zercher Squat
Box Squat
Single Leg Squat
Bodyweight Squat
Assisted Squat

Ok, so we’ve got a decent list of squat variations. If you rotated these on a somewhat regular basis, you’ll probably never get bored with doing squats. They all have their own unique pieces to doing then well, but for the most part those universal rules apply to them all. Now, let’s rank that list from LEAST difficult to MOST difficult.

Assisted Squat – hands on a suspension trainer, bar, or countertop to help
Bodyweight Squat – no more than just you
Goblet Squat – typically lighter weight held at the chest
Box Squat – great way to learn Range of Motion, can be weighted or unweighted
Single Leg Squat – with or without weight, can be to a box
Zercher Squat – not difficult to learn, but a weird way of adding resistance
High Bar Back Squat – the most common and well known squat version
Front Squat – requires more mobility, can be uncomfortable
Low Bar Back Squat – more of a powerlifting style, can be the heaviest generally
Overhead Squat – requires the most mobility, but can also be done heavy

There you have the hierarchy based on skill and mobility requirements. As far as ability to lift the most weight, any barbell version has a greater potential than not. That’s obvious. However, let’s rank the barbell squat versions by most weight capable of lifting. We’ll go lightest to heaviest.

Overhead Squat – shoulder strength is the limiting factor
Front Squat – thoracic (upper back) strength limiting factor
High Bar Back Squat – bar is placed across the shoulders like you normally see
Low Bar Back Squat – bar is put as low on the shoulders/upper back as possible

So there it is folks! There are plenty of versions of squats, ranked by easiest to hardest as far as technique and also by lightest to heaviest barbell applications. If you don’t know what some of these are, or how to do them, you can always reach out to us to find out more about our coaching and how we educate and train people on these. Or simply go to YouTube, but that’s not always the best idea.

Squat Technique


Now, in keeping with the theme of the month, we’re talking about the proper technique for squatting. There are several techniques that you can research and practice, I’m just going to talk about a general practice of the movement pattern that I know most people can accomplish without too much risk of injury.

Whether it’s Front Squats, Back Squats, High Bar, Low Bar, or any other crazy variation you can Google…these same rules will apply. Every little nuance outside of that serves a purpose, but isn’t NECESSARY to simply build some fitness while focusing on your health. I’m using a “Ground Up” approach to explain this as clearly as possible.

First thing’s first, the FEET. I’ve mentioned in a previous post that the feet are not just blocks of bone and skin that we stand on. They have muscles, they should be strong, they are our only real contact to the ground almost all the time. We want to place the feet directly under the hip joint. Toes pointed pretty much straight forward. Think of your feet like the tires on your car. Not toe’d in or out, simply straight forward so your car drives better and your tires last longer. Also, they should be actively grabbing the ground as if you’re trying to pick something up with your foot…like a monkey.

Now we look at the knees. If your feet are your tires, then your knees are the headlights. They need to point the same direction as your tires. You want to be able to see where you’re driving to. As you drop to the bottom of the squat, they’re pointed straight in line with the toes. As you drive up out of the squat, they’re pointed in that same straight line with the toes. Simple concept, right?

Next comes the hips. This is where things can get really tricky, especially if you do any looking around on the internet or have talked to multiple “trainers” about squat technique and help. Essentially what we are looking for is the ability to, while maintaining good control of everything, get the hip joint slightly lower than the knee joint. This would look like your femur is just below the parallel point to the floor you’re standing on. In order to accomplish this, you need some good mobility in the hips and ankles which I addressed in the last post. Once you can achieve that position at the bottom, then you’re going to think “PUSH THE FLOOR AWAY” and that will help activate the most muscles around the legs and hips to fully stand up out of the squat. ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS finish at the top by squeezing the glutes…your butt!

Now that the feet, knees, and hips are all doing their jobs really well, we are going to look at the torso. You need to understand something, a lot of this is dependent upon an individual’s build and body type. If you have really long legs and a short torso, it looks a little different than someone with short legs and a long torso. But for the most part, you want the torso to be as upright as it can be while achieving the rest of the checkpoints.

If you can’t keep your torso upright, you’re probably not getting your hips all the way down. You can get the hips down and keep an upright torso, but maybe your feet or knees are way out of alignment.

If you try doing squats, and can see/feel that everything is not lined up then refer back to the “Squat Mobility” blog.

Again, this is a very general technique for safe practices. There are a lot of different things to keep in mind, depending on body type or specific goals. As always, if you can’t seem to figure out why you’re unable to accomplish a good squat then consider contacting us for Personal Coaching. That’s where you’ll get the best personal benefit for your movement.

Squat Mobility


In our last post we discussed why squats are so important. This post is to highlight the required flexibility and mobility to accomplish squats safely.

We’re going to look at the major joints involved, how much mobility they each need (depending on body type and shape), and what you can do to improve the mobility in that joint.

First up is the feet/ankle. A lot of people don’t give a lot of thought to the feet, but if you really think about the foot and the fact that it is the only part of the body that is in contact with the ground pretty much all the time then you’ll understand how important that is. The foot is not just a block at the bottom of your leg, it should be strong. It has muscles that need trained the same as anything else. If you have feet problems, orthotics and arch supports are NOT the answer. They are a band-aid to alleviate symptoms, but they don’t fix anything. Buying thicker, cushier shoes is not the answer. You need to go the other direction to force the muscles in the foot to work and strengthen.

Mobility test. If I can keep a foot flat, and push my knee straight forward passed my toes 2-4 inches, that’s pretty good range of motion. But, the foot must maintain some arch off of the floor and NOT flatten out completely. If I draw a straight line from your middle toes to a wall, can you keep your arch up and push your knee in the same direction as that line? If not, there’s an issue.

To increase the mobility in the foot, a simple exercise is simply to do the mobility test repeatedly for stretching. You also need to strengthen them, so do things barefoot and try to “grab” the floor like a monkey would grab a tree branch they’re standing on. Buy more flat, minimalist style of shoes.

Next joint we look at is the hip. A healthy and mobile hip can move in several different directions, planes, and ranges without much issue or pain. An easy test is to sit on something so that your hips and knees are bent at 90 degrees each. Can you sit up tall with good posture, and lift one knee up close to 45 degrees from the starting point? If not, you lack hip flexion which will push your chest down when you squat making you bend over more than you want.

Can you sit in that starting position, lift the knee slightly, and rotate your foot outward at all? Anything close to 45 degrees would be ideal, less than that will do, but if you’re almost unable to do that then there could be issues arise if they haven’t already.

Again, same with the foot/ankle mobility test, this hip mobility test is a great exercise to strengthen yourself into these better ranges of motion.

But where’s the stretching? In my experience, and a lot of research done by people much smarter than myself, doing stretching really has very limited benefit. Typically a flexibility problem is a strength problem. There are usually two muscles that have opposite jobs, like the bicep and tricep. One bends the elbow, the other straightens the elbow. Well, when one of them is really weak the elbow can’t move as much and gets “stiff.” You could stretch the stronger muscle and that might work a little bit, but a better long term solution is to strengthen the weaker muscle.

We incorporate this concept into our training heavily, and can help someone if they have unique issues. You can stretch until the cows come home, but that doesn’t make you stronger or more able to complete a task. It weakens a muscle that is strong, thus making it easier to get injured later on. Stretching isn’t bad, it’s just not the only or maybe not the best answer to someone’s flexibility issues.

Squat Intro


SKWAAAAATS!! The “King” of all strength exercises. But, why is that? For many reasons that I’m not going to list, but some reasons that I will talk about in this post.

First of all, let’s get one thing straight. Everyone should squat, but not everyone should squat. What does that mean? It means that everyone should have the ability to squat with some sort of external load/weight attached to their frame in some fashion. What it also means is that, not everyone is ready to do that on Day 1. That’s OK.

Let’s start with the benefits of squats. I’ll list them below with a very brief reasoning.

Spinal loading – it sounds scary but it’s the best way to strengthen the muscles around the spine to better protect it against outside forces
Testosterone production – by loading the spine, you automatically work the most muscle mass and cause a big hormonal response
Side note: Testosterone is not bad for women, you won’t get huge…I promise
Lower body strength – There’s no other exercise that strengthens the lower body as efficiently, quickly, and thoroughly
Calories burned – refer back to #2, the more muscle you work the more calories you burn
Nervous system – strength is very much driven by the nervous system, squats allow us to drive a ton of nervous system activity because of the “holy crap this heavy weight is literally on top of me” effect
It actually helps your knees – I know, I know, some doctors say it will destroy your knees. Heck, your knee caps might literally explode off your legs like little bone bullets. This has widely been disproven, just Google it.

Now, let’s talk about getting started with squats.

There are about 150,000 different ways to do squats. There’s really only one way of doing it that matters, and that is as close to full range of motion as possible. Regardless of the “style” of squat, you need to get a large range of motion. You’ll see the greatest benefits of each of the points listed above, but also it’s just simply a basic need for humans (and many other creatures/primates).

Starting out, I would go bodyweight only or very light weights. Even doing squats with some sort of support in the beginning, such as Suspension Trainers in the gym or a countertop at home, can help someone get to a range of motion and improve their bodyweight strength. Once those become nearly effortless, remove the support.

Now you’ve got bodyweight squats that you can do until you’re either so good at them it’s as easy as breathing, or you’re so bored you can’t take it. Once you’ve had enough of those, start adding weight. Hold something in your hands, either at your sides, up at your chest, or on your back. Doesn’t matter, just take it slow and get it right.
I believe in a very slow, gradual progression that allows someone to master the technique long before they try to set any real PR’s (Personal Records). Now let’s talk a little bit about technique.

First off you need to make sure your feet and ankles are set properly. Very basic, feet slightly wider than hips. Toes pretty straight forward, like the front tires on your car.

Next, you need to learn how to brace to keep the spine in its’ natural position especially when loaded.

Keep your torso fairly vertical.

Now, you don’t just drop down and bounce back up. “Sit back and down, and just stand up right?” NO. You need to control your hips down into position, keeping your weight and center of gravity balanced in the middle of your foot. If you played high school football, then you’re probably freaking out right now. Hear this, YOU DON’T WANT TO PUSH YOUR HIPS BACK AS FAR AS POSSIBLE! You need to keep balanced, and sit your hips slightly and “pull” them down until your femur is at least parallel to the floor. Anything lower than that is great, but not completely necessary. Anything higher than that is just simply not good enough.

If you don’t go all the way down due to mobility/flexibility restrictions, then continue to squat but work on your limitations until you can get all the way down. You’re simply leaving progress on the table by not using that full range of motion.

If it’s not a mobility problem, it’s probably a discipline or fear issue. Get over it, I don’t know what else to tell you.

While performing the squat, the knee caps need to face the exact same direction as your toes. Think about it like this, your feet are your front tires and your knees are your headlights. You want them facing the same direction. If you’ve ever driven a junker vehicle that isn’t aligned as such, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, congrats…but you’re probably spoiled.

Once you’ve reached the bottom of your squat, you’re going to drive your legs through the floor in order to stand up. Don’t think about lifting the weight, think about pushing the ground away from you. Same movement, different intention, much better technique and muscular activation.

Now, this is a very quick and basic write up on doing squats. If you feel that you’ve tried everything and can’t get it right, or are just too afraid to really try it please reach out to us. There are so many people I know that simply cannot perform this basic task efficiently. If you’re thinking “I don’t need squats” then explain to me how you get down and up off the couch, car seat, or toilet. I’m not saying you couldn’t do those things without squats, but I think it would a lot harder to figure out.

Is Boutique Fitness Right for Me?


If you’re ready for results it’s time to ditch the health club…

There was a time when we got all the exercise we require from our daily activities. But as hunting and gathering lead to farming and eventually the industrialized world we live in today the need for human “labor” has been nearly eradicated. Now that we work desk jobs, eat our meals from the hot bar at Whole Foods, and enjoy a generally sedentary lifestyle we are required to reintroduce this missing physical activity. For some reason, the question of how to add physical activity, or work, back into our lives is one that has proven to be puzzling, controversial, and difficult terrain to navigate.

 

In response to the demands of the market the fitness industry has grown tremendously, particularly in North America where an estimated $28 billion was spent in 2015. Much of this industry is dominated by health clubs and large gym franchises that offer a sampling of strength equipment, cardio machines, TV’s, massage chairs and minimal staffing. Granted  how many staff members do you need when your members don’t actually attend the club? In a study done by students at UC Berkeley found 67% of gym memberships are never used in the population they surveyed.

 

“If you are not going to the gym, you are actually the gym’s best customer.” -Stacey Vanek Smith, NPR

 

The savvy marketers at big box gyms know how to target their marketing towards individuals who won’t actually come to the facility. As humans we often get a rush of excitement by a new fitness undertaking. “This is it, the time I actually change, no looking back,” you say. The challenge is that the health club has made zero commitment to you. They don’t care if you show up or not. Luckily there is someone out there who does.

 

Boutique fitness is the alternative to the traditional health club model. Boutique gyms offer specialized classes based on the expertise of the owners, teachers, or coaches. CrossFit boxes, Barre studios, Bikram yoga, parkour facilities, spin classes  are all great examples of the boutique fitness model.

 

These communities succeed when the all parts are working together; the owner, staff, and clientele all succeed when they each meet their goals. This synergistic effect leads to faster results and more satisfaction from all parties. As a client you have a team of coaches and fellow members who are all rooting for you, teaching you, and most importantly holding you accountable. Becoming fit doesn’t have to be a chore, a challenge, or a pain point. In fact, it can even be fun 😉

 

Boutique gyms have been seen rapid growth in the past decade as clients recognize that when it comes to fitness, not all gyms are created equal. Some of the most common excuses sound like:

  • “I have a hard time sticking to a routine”
  • “I’m just too busy to exercise”
  • “I get bored with going to the gym, it always feels like work”
  • “I don’t know how to lift weights/choose a routine/eat the right food”

 

These are great excuses, but since you’re ready to make a change it’s time to ditch the excuses and focus on RESULTS. By implementing a system that counters your excuses you’ll be left with the only option, the results that you want to achieve.

 

If you struggle with sticking to a routine you will benefit from the coaches, friends, and community members that you’ll meet at each class. A group of people that will ask you about your day, learn about your goals and life, and most importantly encourage you to show up consistently to your workouts.

 

If you claim to be too busy then you should sign up for classes ahead of time. The wide variety of classes that are available each day at time frames that are consistent with your schedule make it easy to squeeze in an hour long workout.

 

If boredom is your challenge then a workout that changes every day is exactly what you need. Not only that but the different coaching styles and friends you’ll make at different times of the day make each class a totally unique experience.

 

If information is the enemy then relax, because that’s already been taken care of for you. Your coach has put a lot of thought into a training program that will improve your fitness and will be by your side to instruct you on form, breathing, and what weights to use. Keep an eye out for group nutrition challenges to boot!

 

To get the results you want sometimes you need to try a new approach. If that trip to the gym feels more daunting than Frodo walking the ring to Mordor then it’s time to see what a boutique gym has in store for you!

The Power of Choice


Most of us have an area in our life we wish we were performing better in. That part of us that doesn’t quite fit into our own skin. It could be a touchy subject that our spouse and friends know to steer clear of, the elephant in the room. It could be the promotion you still haven’t received, the credit card you haven’t paid off, or the weight you were supposed to lose by the beginning of  summer… in 2012.

 

And because you’re wearing this very uncomfortable skin that’s not quite your size I am happy to tell you that you are exactly where you chose to be today.

 

I can already hear the objections rising up so let me explain why.

 

You see I totally understand your story. I understand because it’s yours, mine, and everyone else’s. Sometimes having a new baby, a busy time at work, or the worst timing for a medical emergency/broken down car/economic depression can happen. There are a million and one events in life that can derail us. They are not always fair and can seem impossible to overcome when they show up knocking at our door.

 

“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths.”

-Arnold Schwarzenegger

 

At that point we do an admirable thing. We give up on our dream. We set it aside to go fix the problem. We change our identity and become the superhero who knows exactly how to work overtime and take care of a sick parent. We do it because we want to make sure the story has a happy ending. We do it out of love.

 

And life goes on.

 

And sometimes the situation gets better. And sometimes it doesn’t. Either way, the situation that called for a superhero 6 months ago no longer needs a hero to save it. But there you stand in cape and tights committed to action. Except now it’s time to go home. Time to write a new story.

 

Where you stand today is a result of many choices. Some of your hero moments were the big decisions that shaped your trajectory. Like I said, I’m proud of you for doing that. But now it’s time to get back on the path. Your path. The one you stopped telling yourself that you wanted because it hurt too bad to think that it may never come true.

 

You might think it’s too late (it’s not).

 

You might want to try, but feel that you strayed too far (you haven’t).

 

You have to remember you have the power of choice. And it’s a good thing that you do. It gives you the power to turn your greatest adversity into your greatest strength. You always have the option to shy away or to stand and fight.

 

It’s time for a new story. You’re the hero and you’re at the turning point in the movie of your life. So what are you going to do next?You’ve endured hardship, learned tough lessons, and fallen time and time again. Wouldn’t this be a great time for everything to turn around?

 

Maybe you can recruit someone to help you get there, a long lost friend or a wise old mentor. Maybe you need to crank up “Eye of the Tiger” and experience the training it will take to achieve your success.

 

The time to act is now. Don’t slip back into your old story. You are the hero. The power of choice brought you here. Your choice decides what happens next.

 

So what are you going to do?

 

Schedule your discovery session

5 Reasons to get STRONG


Fitness trends come and go and most fall to the wayside for good reason.

Most programs fail to produce consistent results. It’s a wonder why so many folks stray away from what is tried and true when it comes to exercise programs?

“The rule is: the basics are the basic, and you can’t beat the basics.” -Charles Poliquin

Despite what your goals may be, every individual can benefit from physical resistance training. Not only that, but the health benefits extend far beyond your short term fitness goals. Regardless of why you train, let’s take a look at some of the reasons you should incorporate strength training into your fitness regimen.

1. Training for strength produces results.

Whatever your goals, muscle will help you get there. Some companies in the fitness industry has made a fortune around buzzwords like “tone”, “lift”, and “sculpt.” The problem is there’s no way to measure those loose terms. If you want to change your body composition there is only the ability to gain or lose muscle while simultaneously gaining or losing fat. If you are looking for the most efficient way to do make a change then strength training is your best option.

Strength training, or physical resistance training, can be defined as a type of physical exercise specializing in the use of resistance to induce muscular contraction which builds the strength, anaerobic endurance, and size of skeletal muscles. When you gain muscle you increase your bodies basal metabolism (the amount of calories you burn each day before factoring in physical activity). It’s kind of like putting a bigger engine in a car. The car is capable of moving faster or pulling a heavier load (more muscle), but it also uses more fuel (fat) whether it’s cruising down the freeway or idling in the driveway. Strength training helps us “tone” through this muscle gain/fat loss trade.

2. “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” -Peter Drucker

Training for strength provides a clear path for success. You can set training goals that are specific, measurable, and produce desired outcomes. A good coach will help you design a plan towards these goals with checkpoints along the way. Your strength training program is a road map to success with clear directions. Sets, reps, and weights lifted safely through the full range of motion are the signals that you’re on track. Many people find that a more detailed plan helps them stay motivated as they experience progress.

3. Age gracefully with more muscle mass.

As we get older strength training is one of the most important things we can do for our health. Physical independence is a key factor in a great quality of life.

A comprehensive study of strength training has been proven to:

  • Improve motor function
  • Lower resting heart rate
  • Increase stamina
  • Prevent sarcopenia (age related muscle loss)
  • Improve bone mineral density
  • Prevent and help rehab injuries

Functional strength training will be an asset in daily life too. From picking up grandchildren or bags of groceries to climbing stairs with confidence.

4. You’ll experience epic brain gains.

Did you know that lifting weights can strengthen your brain just as much as it does your body?
Dr. Yorgi Mavros from the University of Sydney has found that high‐intensity physical resistance training (PRT) results in significant improvements in cognitive function, muscle strength, and aerobic capacity in older adults with mild cognitive impairment. Adults who followed a resistance training routine in addition to cognitive training performed significantly better than control groups on a series of mental tests. A couple key factors to note:

The participants exercised 2x/ week working to at least 80% of their peak strength.
The benefits lasted one year after the exercise prescription had ended.

What does that mean? According to Yorgi, “The stronger people became, the greater the benefit for their brain.” Let that sink in for a minute. You actually grow your brain by training to become stronger! It makes me wonder if Einstein developed his Theory of Relativity in between heavy sets of back squats…

5. Strong moms have healthy babies.

During pregnancy, the question always arises of what does fitness look like for this stage of life? With so much on the line, it’s important to consult with a doctor before beginning any fitness routine. Luckily, there is a tremendous amount to be gained by incorporating a strength training routine under normal circumstances. Resistance training can help alleviate symptoms and improve health outcomes for the mother and child. According to the Mayo Clinic, women who follow a consistent strength training routine during pregnancy can experience:

  • Reduce backaches, constipation, bloating and swelling
  • Boosted mood and energy levels
  • Better sleep
  • Prevent excess weight gain
  • Maintain levels of muscle strength and endurance
  • Reduced incidence of gestational diabetes

Not only that but women who train during pregnancy report enhanced body image and better psychological well-being!

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