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Want to reach your goals faster? Rethink your workouts

  
  
  

Attention All Cardio Queens and Kings:

I teach cycling 4 days a week.  When I tell people that I’ll also mix it up and take Britt’s amazing FitStrength class, or Jenny’s FitYoga class, and then maybe throw in a run 1-2 times a week, they look at me like I have five heads.  So, I look ‘em dead in the eye and say “No, I am not crazy”. 

As we’ve mentioned before, switching up your workouts is crucial. Your muscles get used to the same exercises, which will gradually reduce results, causing you to plateau.  If we at FitHouse can suggest ONE thing that will turn your ordinary workout routine from an average 7 to a solid 10, it would be to take YOGA after a cycling class.

Read this article from bycling.com.  Then Google how many gyms are offering a cycle class followed by a yoga class.  The reason?  Yoga develops your flexibility, strength, and balance – which are basically the fundamental means of every workout, no matter what the exercise is. 

Stretching – In cycle class, we increase lactic acid, which may cause stiffness, tension, pain, and fatigue.  No, this doesn’t mean that cycling is bad for you, it just means that if you increase your lactic acid (like in any aerobic workout), you need to release it.  What goes up, must come down.  When you stretch, you release lactic acid, stretching not just your muscles, but also your ligaments and tendons. 

Strength – Lifting weights? Climbing a hill? Training for a Tough Mudder?  I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say I’m pretty sure you’re gonna need some strength.   By holding positions during yoga, you increase the strength of your muscles.   Upper body, quadriceps, hamstrings, the abdominal regional – every part of your body is worked and you will notice over time, each position gets easier to hold because your muscles are getting stronger.  Makes sense, huh?

Breathing – Who wants to be winded after running a mile?  During a yoga class, you will focus on deep, long, and mindful breathing which improves your lung capacity.  With a better lung capacity, you will improve your endurance.  With improved endurance, those cardio workouts [ no matter what they might be ;) ], also improve – allowing you to train longer.  

So basically, what I’m saying is, sign up for Thursday’s cycle & yoga combo class at 6pm called EnergyFlow.  It’s your normal 45 minute EnergyRide, followed by a 15 minute cool down of FitYoga.  I’ll be hyping you up, and Jenny will be winding you down so you’re ready to get home, make some dinner, and get to bed. 

An hour makes up 4% of your day.  You can make excuses, or you can see results.  You choose :)

Get in better shape by throwing away your bathroom scale

  
  
  

cycling training fitness meterWe are all constantly pushing ourselves to stay at the gym longer, to do just one more rep and to put down that second slice of pizza, right? Most people, especially women, measure their success based off of the number presented to them on a scale. What would you think if I told you that you’re measuring your success totally wrong? Interested yet? Keep reading!

For those of us who want to see quantitative results rather than simply “feeling better” I have a new product you’ll absolutely love. Get rid of that dreaded scale taunting you from the corner of your bathroom and pick up a fitness monitor that you can wear during your workouts or even all day.

Why is a using a scale to measure success a waste of time? A scale only measures one thing – how much you weigh. For starters, everyone’s “ideal body weight” is different. A scale can’t possibly know how tall you are or what percentage of that weight comes from fat vs. muscle. Remember, muscle weights more than fat. Often times, the more “fit” you get through weight training and/or alternative muscle building exercises the more you will weigh (even though you will appear smaller and more “solid”).

So what does a fitness monitor do anyways? Well it depends on what brand or monitor you decide to purchase. I personally wear and LOVE the Polar FT40. This monitor is so stylish I wear it all day running errands in addition to the gym. This small, sleek watch includes a fitness test, guidance on how to get in shape faster, calories burned counter, stopwatch and heart rate monitor. I love this monitor so much I can’t even take a class without it anymore! Simply strap on the watch and wear a “like-it’s-not-there” heart rate strap under your shirt and you’re ready for a kick-ass class! 

Of course, there are hundreds -- if not thousands of different brands and styles to choose from. Next time you see me around FitHouse ask me to show you my monitor and give you a quick “how to” on its features. I normally don’t share “product reviews” but I love this device so much I can’t help but spread the word. 

Find out more about the Polar FT40 by visiting their websites at http://www.polar.com/us-en/products/improve_fitness/fitness_crosstraining/FT40. You can also get great deals on these monitors by searching Amazon.com. 

Tropical Temptations Mix Pt.2

  
  
  

Summer's in full swing now and what better way to celebrate than with another installment of the Tropical Temptations Mixtapes, assorted and mixed by one of FitHouse's own. This tape sticks to the original recipe of combining some of the hottest tracks for the summer, but adds a little more flare with some spicy disco shakers that will be sure to put a smile on your face. Listen on a run, listen while your workout, listen on your day off at the beach… No matter what excuse you have, this one's sure satisfy those tropical disco cravings. Enjoy! 

P.S. Check the tracklist for links to your favorites from the mix! Some have free downloads available!

Track List:

Follow Me - Somethin' Bout You (Free DL!)
Daft Punk - Beyond (Ash Reynolds Remix) (Free DL!)
Chris Malinchak - Deal 'Em 
Oliver - All Night  (Free DL!)
Fred Falke - 808 Pm At The Beach
Tempogeist - Romeo (Monitor 66 Remix) (Free DL!)
Crazy P - Changes (Mario Basanov Remix)
All The Lights - Chasing Colours (Plastic Plates Remix)
Finnebassen - Touching Me
Only Children - Down Fever  
Rudimental - Hell Could Freeze (Skream Remix) 
Whitney Houston - It's Not Right (Bongo Remix) (Free DL!)
Duke Dumont - Need U (100%) feat. A*M*E* (Skreamix)

 

The most important thing you're NOT including in your workout

  
  
  

fitness cool downWe all go to the gym to feel great, look great and stay healthy, right? Millions of people flood gyms, yoga studios and the great outdoors EVERYDAY to improve their fitness. Maybe you’ve even stopped by FitHouse to take one of our amazing cycle classes that left you covered in sweat. Well, you’re forgetting one very important thing – a proper cool down!

I know what you’re thinking – “How could I possibly move another inch after that exhausting workout?”. Here at FitHouse we try our best to incorporate a cool-down into all of our classes, but the sad truth is there just isn’t enough time. It’s important to us that you get an incredible, kick ass workout. We want to spend as much class time as we can getting that heart rate up and getting you to sweat. Because of this, we purposely schedule FitYoga directly after high-intensity cycle classes.

Our FitYoga classes are specifically designed to open up the hips, stretch and elongate your muscles, and relax your mind and body. This 45 or 60 minute class doesn’t just give you a proper cool-down, it also releases stress and gives your body much needed relaxation while still continuing a solid workout.

So, why is a cool-down so important? Did you know that abruptly stopping intense exercise can cause your blood to pool in your lower extremities causing dizziness or even fainting? Never felt these symptoms? How about restless or sleepless nights? During workouts, your body releases hormones such as adrenaline and endorphins. If you abruptly stop exercising, you maintain higher levels of these hormones that lead to restlessness and potential sleepless nights.  Still don’t think a proper cool-down is a big deal? When you exercise, your muscles stretch and shorten. By stopping your exercise without a cool-down your muscles “lock” in a misaligned position causing lactic acid build up leading you to feel sore and increases inflammation.

Lesson of the day: Cooling down is just as important as the workout itself! Check out our schedule to see the next time we offer FitYoga following one of your favorite classes. Who knows, maybe you’ll enjoy it so much you’ll take it as a stand-alone class!

The Benefits of using Cycling Shoes

  
  
  

indoor cycle shoesDo you really need cycling shoes? Well, I guess the question is: do you want to get an even better cycle workout? Then grab a pair of cycling shoes, now! The benefits are huge compared to cycling in sneakers, they're long lasting and definitely worth the money!

What are cycle shoes? 

Cycle shoes are specially designed with a stiff sole that attach to your bikes pedals by clipping in. The clip that is used most on indoor bikes is SPD clips.

And this is great because why?

By being able to clip into the pedals, no longer will your foot slip off of the pedal. Clipping in relieves stress and discomfort plus makes riding more efficient. You won't have to worry about using those annoying straps and bending down mid class to tighten them. What a relief! But let’s get down to what really matters, getting the most out of your workout.

Does it really make a difference if I wear cycle shoes?

Yes!!  Everyday sneakers are designed to support you in activities such as running or walking, not bicycling.  The stiff sole causes the force of the pedal to be evenly displaced upon your entire foot. By creating a proper pedal stroke you will maximize impact from a workout and in turn build muscle and burn more calories. When you exercise, you use muscle. This helps build muscle mass, and muscle tissue burns more calories -- even when you're at rest -- than body fat.  The correct pedal stroke minimizes fatigue, injury and incorrect form. Therefore, achieving a circular pedal stroke makes full use your leg muscles (quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes.)

Where can I get them?

To name a few places: Cycle Loft in Burlington, City Cycle in Stoneham, South End Athletic Company in Boston or Wheel Works in Belmont or Cambridge.

As an instructor for the Boston Ride, I teach a challenging high resistance endurance ride that will get those legs toned and strong in no time. Yes, we climb a lot of hills. Yes, your legs will burn and your body will be pushed to its limit. But do you ever regret a hard workout? No! So get those cycle shoes and sign up for my class before summer passes you by!

FitHouse June "Work It" Set

  
  
  

So summertime tunes are great and all but sometimes we really need a playlist that's going to get us through those workout's that just seem impossible. Well don't worry 'cause we got your back. Here's a collection of some of the heaviest, craziest, and generally wacky tunes we love over here at FitHouse. From electrohouse to trap, this set is sure to bring out that intensity you'll need for the most challenging workouts! Enjoy!


Body Balance: Benefits of Yoga for Runners (and cyclists too!)

  
  
  

Running (and spinning!) is hard on our bodies. The high impact and repetitive nature of running stresses our joints and often leads to complaints of tight muscles and pain. Yoga teaches us to respect our limitations and find balance. When combined, yoga can be the key to a long, successful running (or spinning!) career.Boston Yoga Pose

Balance- Many runners (and cyclists) know that balance is the key to staying injury free.  All of our muscles should be balanced so that they support each other equally.  However, no one's body is perfectly balanced.  I have tight hips and weak inner thighs.  This causes my hips to turn inward when I run giving me IT band and hip issues.  Another person may step incorrectly, causing a torquing motion in their muscles resulting on a pull of the muscles in the shin causing shin splints.  Our bodies compensate for our imbalances causing tight muscles to get tighter and weak muscles get weaker. The repetitiveness of running further causes problems. Practicing yoga over time will help to strengthen weak muscles and stretch tight muscles. It will also work to improve your range of motion working your body in a 3D spectrum. Yoga also works to train the mind to focus internally rather than externally.  All of this combined creates a balanced body and mind and a healthier self.

Listen to your body- How often have you heard this advice? How often have you ignored it? I’ve run through many aches and pains, colds and sickness all because I refused to listen to my internal self that told me to stop. Yoga teaches the body that each day is different. How we feel from day-to-day can vary as does our energy levels which can vary hourly. The calmness that can be achieved in yoga allows us to determine what our energy levels are and manage them throughout our workouts and other daily tasks. The result is that we respect the limitations of our bodies when it comes to workouts rather than pushing through a speed workout or long distance workout when our bodies and minds are too tired. Relaxation can also be beneficial for runners. By learning how to relax through our breath, we can reduce the tension we experience while running. We can learn to relax our tense and tight muscles and control our breathing, and the result is that we manage our energy more efficiently. We also experience a greater range of motion and freedom, which will result in less muscle tightness and pain. I often use my breath to relax myself during my runs when I feel myself becoming tense or nervous and it does calm my body and allow me to continue without having to stop or dramatically reduce my pace. I’d encourage you to focus on your breath during your next workout and learn to control it; you’ll likely see some positive results.

Pain Prevention-This comes back to balance and alignment. Remember that misstep or uneven distribution of weight as your feet hit the ground and the pain in your shins? Think about all those ab workouts you have done while forgetting about your back. As we run, we drive forward with our abdomen, further strengthening our abs. And then add in the stress on the hamstrings and now you understand why your low back is tight and sore post run. Practicing yoga will help to increase the muscle strength in these weak areas, eventually making your post run pain much less. As runners we are diligent to stretch and do our abs post workout. We ice and we foam roll and we are sure to re hydrate.  Consider adding in a few yoga poses and stretches before and after your runs to build strength and lengthen your muscles. You’ll help balance your body and adjust your alignment by just adding a few more things to your routine. Check out these yoga videos on Runner’s World.  They have some great poses and stretches to add to your pre-run and post run routines.

Our bodies prefer to be in a state of perfect balance. If we recognize we are out of balance and work to repair it, our bodies will generally follow. It is our inherent nature to do so. Come visit one of my Yoga Classes to improve your balance, strength and flexibility, all which will reduce pain and improve performance. 

Inspired by the article Yoga for Runners by Baron Baptiste and Kathleen Finn Mendola from yogajournal.com.

Craving Something Sweet?

  
  
  

Summer can be a really wonderful time to start eating healthier. So many fresh fruits and vegetables are in season and easily accessible. On the other hand, those weekend cookouts can have you eating more hamburgers, chips, and sugary drinks than you would like. Let's not forget those tempting ice cream shops that are around every corner. Who can resist ice cream when you're craving something sweet?

Luckily, there is a quick and delicious way for you to satisfy your craving without giving into that dairy and sugar overload. Best of all, it only requires two ingredients. Although, feel free to add in whatever other yummy, healthy ingredients you like!

Banana Ice CreamIMG_3218

Ingredients:

  • 4 bananas, chopped in chunks and  frozen
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tbsp nut milk, optional (depending on what other ingredients you add)

Instructions: Using a blender, or food processor, combine bananas and vanilla. Blend until you have a smooth ice cream consistency.

 

Flavor Ideas:

  • Blueberry & Lavender: 1/4 cup frozen or fresh blueberries. Steep
    1/2 teaspoon culinary lavender in 2 tablespoons nut milk overnight in refrigerator and add both to ice cream mixture.
  • Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip
  • Honey & Granola
  • Strawberry

I offer nutrition counselling through FitHouse. If you have questions or would like to set up an appointment, drop by or send an emain to info@fithouseboston.com!

What are some healthy summertime recipes for sweets you like to use?

Tropical Temptations Mixtape

  
  
  

Summer's almost in full swing and what better way to welcome it than with a spicy collection of tropical dance tracks. Whether you're working out or settling in for a day at the beach, this mix is sure to satisfy those summertime disco-dance cravings. Give it a listen and download if you please, it's free! Be on the lookout for these tracks in your favorite FitHouse cycling classes as well!

Track List:

Shame (Original Mix) - ColeCo, Slow Knights
Dance With Me - Le Youth
Gold (Betablock3r remix) - Sir Sly
Trainmann (Tensnake Tranceman Mix) - Lauer
El Barrio (Jay Lamar & Jesse Oliver Remix) - Andy & Vicente
Only You (feat. Patrick Baker) - Satin Jackets
Happy Days (Satin Jackets Remix) - Max Lyazgin
Gold (Moon Boots Remix) - Bondax
Gotta Have U (Original Mix) - Touch & Go
Love Like This (Viceroy Remix) - Bixel Boys
Bay Bridge (Moon Boots Remix) - Zimmer
Nicodemus (Original Mix) - Jesse Oliver
Adeline Is In A Water Drop - Neptune Safari
Take Me Dancing - Lucky Stripes
Party Time (Safari Remix) - Jeremy Glenn
Show Me Love (BRONX Reinterpretation) - Robin S 

Are You Getting Enough Protein?

  
  
  

Dietary protein is essential for growth, muscle building, immune function and other vital body functions. The USDA recommends 46 gram and 56 grams of protein per day for women and men, http://healthcoach.integrativenutrition.com/sites/default/files/beach_running_4.jpgrespectively. With many people trying to incorporate a more plant-based diet into their lifestyle, the most common concern I see as a health coach is based around the issue of getting enough protein. It is a common misconception that meat, poultry, dairy, and eggs are a necessary part of our diet to get enough recommended daily protein intake, especially for active individuals. What you might be surprised to learn is that many athletes consume adequate amounts of protein while being vegetarian or vegan. For example, Dave Scott has won six Iron Man competitions while being a strict vegetarian. A competition which consists of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride, and a 26 mile marathon run. Now, I doubt he is lacking in his protein consumption. This is because there are so many wonderful plant-based foods that are protein packed. Plant-based sources of protein are free of cholesterol, high in fiber, and help alkaline the body. So, whether you are a vegetarian, vegan, or meat-eater you can’t go wrong incorporating more of these healthy sources into your diet!

  • Spirulina is a blue-green algae that is packed with protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It helps support immune function and is a source of complete protein. Meaning, it contains all the essential amino acids our body needs but doesn’t produce on it’s own.
  • Quinoa, considered a superfood, is another great source of complete protein. One cup of cooked quinoa contains about 9 grams of protein.
  • Veggies. Did you know that 1 cup of cooked spinach contains 6 grams of protein, or that a cup of boiled peas has 9 grams? You get the idea, right?
  • Nuts/Nut Butter. Easy to add to any meal or on-the-go snack, one ounce of nuts contains about 6 grams of protein.
  • Lentils containing 18 grams of protein per cup, can be used in veggies burgers, rice dishes, or salads.
  • Beans. They are the most inexpensive source of protein, not to mention extremely versatile. So, how about a protein packed snack of roasted chickpeas, which contain 15 grams of protein.
  • Tempeh is protein-packed containing 30 grams of protein per cup.
  • Chia Seeds have 4 grams of protein per ounce and are a great source of fiber and calcium. They can easily be tossed into your salads, or sprinkle on cereal and soups.

How will you incorporate these healthy proteins into your diet?

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