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So, You Want to Make Fitness a Habit

posted by Fitness Focus Trainers    |   March 7, 2019 23:13

When starting a fitness routine it can feel like there are no extra minutes to spare in your day in the first place. It can be difficult to see where you will make the time work. As a working, pregnant, mother I definitely feel you there. It comes down to this- if you don’t make the time, you won’t have the time, and you won’t reach your goals. It’s pretty black and white. So if you’re ready, really ready, let’s get started!

“The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.” 
–Samuel Johnson

Start small (you don’t have to jump right into some magical exercise routine, this is about a habit)

Look at your calendar and find the best place to make your minutes work, lets start there.

 

NEUROSCIENCE- HABITS

The basal ganglia is the holding place for our habits.

When you repeat something in your life it creates neuronal connections in the brain.

A lot of the time it turns into a subconscious decision, once the neuro-pathways are in place.

Start by strengthening the brain and then you will be able to strengthen the body.

Again it’s very black and white. Consistency + Repetitive Behaviors + Patience = RESULTS.

 

PURPOSE

Don’t just google how to workout and follow some random program by some fit model who has nothing to do with your life. FIND YOUR PURPOSE. WITHOUT PURPOSE THERE IS NO DRIVE! Why do you want to exercise? There are a plethora of reasons:

You want to keep up with your children
You want to get rid of diabetes altogether & get off the stupid pills
You want your sex life to flourish
You want energy for your job, increasing your chances of a raise
You want to look hot, no shame
You want your mental health to improve
You want to become a medieval fighter
You want better hand eye coordination to play better video games
You ache all the time, hating that your movement is inhibited

Start writing this down, we’re just getting started.

Once you have that in place, let’s start breaking this down. What would you need to change or improve to hit that goal or purpose? Instead of complaining to the people around you about your issues, it’s time to start taking life into your own hands and make some habits.

 

TAKE SMALL STEPS

Creating neuro-pathways in your brain takes time, that’s just a fact. So you are going to have to start with something attainable. Say 10 minutes of a home workout 3x/week. Once this becomes easy or has been in place for a couple weeks, you can add on.

Quickly on the nutrition side of things, don’t start by cutting a million things out and trying to “EAT CLEAN” all of a sudden. Start by adding in some healthy things to your routine. Proteins & healthy fats are going to keep you fuller longer, that is a good place to start. Add in protein at every meal and notice the difference it makes. You also need protein to build muscle, so if you want to tone up that’s a good place to start.


COMMITMENT

Book in time in your calendar for your workouts like a date

Leave your workout bag in the car so it’s ready to go

Track your food in a book or on an app (this is all about accountability & understanding the food going into your body)

Meal prep & make your food ahead of time (this is especially helpful for dinners at home for the family as well)

Make use of a crock pot overnight or an instant pot for quick dinners

Have a protein shake ready, for easy protein intake & to keep you from having a binge session when you get home out of hunger.

Grocery shop online if that’s an option for you. It keeps impulse buying at bay and helps you stay on track.

Don’t have binge-worthy snacks at work or in the house (get your spouse on board!). I told my husband he could have as much junk in his car or at work that he wanted; I just couldn’t handle it in the house.

 

STRENGTH VS CARDIO

Now there is no one size fits all when it comes to your fitness training.

Strength training will help you shed fat and build lean muscle tone. Getting bulky only happens if you’re set on that specifically. So the outcome is a fit look.

Cardio will help you lose weight, but you won’t have much muscle tone underneath.

So the next step is choosing how you want to look in the end result. There is no right answer; the beauty of fitness is that you get to choose your outcome.


POSITIVITY

Positive thinking is not some bull crap. Again the science on how the brain works is fascinating:

Negative Thoughts
Slow down brain coordination
Make it difficult to process thoughts or find solutions
Hinders creative ability
Decreases activity in the cerebellum
Impacts the left temporal lobe (fear factor), affecting mood, memory and impulse control
Positive Thoughts
Synapses (areas connecting neurons) increase dynamically
Increases mental productivity by improving cognition
Intensifies ability to pay attention, to focus
Improves ability to think and analyze incoming data
Improves ability to solve problems quicker and enhance creativity

 

HTTPS://METEOREDUCATION.COM/HOW-DOES-THINKING-POSITIVE-THOUGHTS-AFFECT-NEUROPLASTICITY/

When you talk to yourself going forward it’s time to change the conversation. It’s time to write some sticky notes on your mirror, find a self motivating song to play in the car on the way to work & start reading things that fill your mind with positive things. Mantras are also useful just to keep the dialogue flowing.

 

MUSIC

You know that song, the one that comes on the radio and you turn it up and it fills you with passion? If you are feeling unmotivated to do the things you have set out for your goals to happen, this is where your pump playlist comes in handy. You already have it made, in your phone and if you need to make it to the gym throw your aux cord in and get things pumped up! Make sure you have headphones for the gym or home workout as well so that you can tune into those vibes and get your body moving. Music was the only thing that got my butt in gear some days.

“Music is primal. It affects all of us, but in very personal, unique ways,” said Burdette, a neuroradiologist at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. “Your interaction with music is different than mine, but it’s still powerful.

HTTPS://WWW.SCIENCEDAILY.COM/RELEASES/2017/04/170412181341.HTM

It’s really important that your music SPEAKS to you.

There is even science behind how your brain reacts to music, it can be an important tool to use when it comes to creating habits in your life.

Results showed that music increases an antibody that plays an important role in immunity of the mucous system, known as immunoglobulin A, as well as natural killer cell counts, the cells that attack germs and bacteria invading the body.


Listening to and playing music can also lower levels of cortisol (the stress hormone), according to Levitin and Dr. Mona Lisa Chanda, his postgraduate research fellow.

HTTPS://WWW.MEDICALNEWSTODAY.COM/ARTICLES/258383.PHP

 

Time to write out your list!

 

REWARD & ENCOURAGE

Don’t start beating yourself with a stick to get things done. Start treating your body and mind like a child; encouraging it every step of the way. Understanding that you can change your habits should be a freeing realization!

When you complete a task or goal find something to reward yourself with (I advise against it being food, if that is something you struggled with in the first place). There are so many other ways to reward yourself. This puts the brain in a place where it will want to do the task again even if working out didn’t feel awesome the first time, it will remember the reward it was given. 

If you remember anything from your high school psych class it should be about IVAN PAVLOV and his classical conditioning experiments.

Classical conditioning can impact our lives positively or negatively.

But that doesn’t mean that we don’t have a choice in improving our lives using classical conditioning.

HTTPS://WWW.CLEVERISM.COM/CLASSICAL-CONDITIONING/

 

PERSPECTIVE

We in our western culture have the LUXURY of choosing a diet, a grocery store on every corner with every health food available, the option to go to a gym, the work hours that allow play & time management. We are in a bit of a bubble when it comes to our opportunities especially in regards to health & fitness. So take that as a bit of motivation and make use of your privilege.

STEP BY STEP
PURPOSE
GOALS- written out
STEPS
FOOD PREP
MUSIC PREP
COMMITMENT
CALENDAR
KEEP POSITIVE/ENCOURAGE
KEEP PERSPECTIVE
REPEAT even after “bad” days

When I first had my wake up moment and stepped on the scale back in 2014, I was devastated to see that I had almost hit 200lbs. Now I was very ignorant when it came to health. Zero tools were in place for nutrition and exercise. My first steps where calorie counting and dance dance on the PS3. Looking back it was the perfect place to start for me. I loved to dance and tracking gave me the opportunity to see what I was putting in my body. From there I wanted more and more, falling in love with the routine & the way my body felt after exercise. This journey has given me absolute compassion for others who are struggling with their own goals- so if you ever want some more specific help you know where to find me!

https://femaletrainer467632502.wordpress.com/2019/02/26/how-to-make-fitness-a-habit/

https://www.instagram.com/raellehousek/

 

The Benefits of Fitness and Maintaining an Active Lifestyle During Pregnancy

posted by Fitness Focus    |   February 24, 2019 10:08

The Benefits of Fitness and an Active Lifestyle During Pregnancy

There is so much information out on the internet these days and a lot of it is dated when it comes to pregnancy health & fitness. I am a personal trainer, instructor & certified in nutrition studies- as well as a mom & currently pregnant with my second child. The following is going to hopefully help you make informed decisions when it comes to your specific pregnancy health & fitness journey. ***The following is not intended to be taken as a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek advice from a physician before starting any kind of nutrition or exercise program.

 

Raelle Housek, Personal Trainer at Fitness Focus with Team Wawryk Pro Trainers

WHY EXERCISE DURING PREGNANCY?

A healthy baby is top priority, your health is just as important BUT 

Your mental state is effected positively through exercise (and your partner will thank you)

Your aches and pain can actually find some relief through exercise

Pregnancy is exhausting for most of us, exercise helps with fatigue and sleep

Birthing a baby takes muscle, core strength and endurance

Fat gain during pregnancy can be limited and fat loss after baby will be easier

1. YOUR HEALTH

When that beautiful child comes into this world, it is going to be your responsibility to care for it 24/7; from feeding to changing and rocking to feeding… to feeding… to feeding… to feeding… you get the point. Those of you with children already know what I mean. Your health is going to need to keep up with the lack of sleep and lack of minutes you have for your own physical and nutritional state. When you take the time to exercise during your pregnancy, it gives your body the strength and endurance to keep up with your growing baby. Through all the holding, cleaning, cooking and running around you will do. I am a much better mom when I am in a good mood, have energy for life and joy to my step. My first son was very colicky, had a ton of trouble drinking my breast milk and would not breastfeed well outside the house without a fit. For a good 4-6 hours he would scream inconsolably and my partner and I would take turns holding and rocking him, giving him drops for his stomach and doing everything we could to keep him comfortable. The time I took for myself to exercise and take care of me was so coveted and gave me the drive some days to keep going.

2. MENTAL BOOST

Mood swings are not uncommon among pregnant women. Exercising on a daily basis is going to help you wade through the emotions that come and go, up and down. Endorphins are chemicals that are released in the body when we exercise which makes us FEEL GOOD; they also interact with the receptors in our brain that reduce our perception of pain. During my periods before pregnancy I felt like a storm of emotions, bulldozing it’s way through the week. The world felt like it was ending, my insecurities made their way to the surface and all I wanted to do was hide away and eat a bucket of chocolate fudge crackle ice cream. The day I took on exercise was the day all of those things faded from 100% to 20%. My week turned into maybe two bad days, and I was able to realize the feelings for what they were (a hormonal tornado) instead of reality. This bled into my first pregnancy, which naturally was full of so many hormonal ups and downs. I was full of insecurity and had a hard time dealing with the dump of hormones that would come. Taking a look back I wish I would have had this knowledge going in. After my first pregnancy I threw myself into exercise, maybe a little too vigorously, but it sure helped with my mental state throughout the hormonal changes after baby. This time around I have been able to keep a level head during those changes (alongside proper nutrition, but that I will hold for another time). There are many studies that show exercise helps with not just your hormones and emotions, but in the end managing depression and postnatal depression

http://time.com/4966319/exercise-depression-study/ 

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/08/29/exercise-can-help-new-mothers-manage-postnatal-depression-study/

3. PHYSICAL BOOST

Pregnancy aches and pains are among my least favorite parts of pregnancy. My first pregnancy I didn’t move very much. I worked a desk job and was in the midst of moving into a new home. The puffy water weight was extreme, the weight gain was around 50lbs and my laboring was long. This time around I have kept up my exercise routine, my puffiness is low, but the relaxin hormone released has made my hips very loose and achy. Rolling over in bed, walking, back pain and exercising has all been effected by the pain. However I have found strengthening the muscles around the hips and stretching them out properly has given me so much relief! A lot of pregnancy aches and pain can be attributed to tight or inactive muscles pulling joints out of place. In the end exercising does not aggravate the pain, in fact it helps relieve it! Fancy that. Pair that up with a good chiropractor and massage therapist, and I have been able to continue working out even into this third trimester.

4. EXHAUSTION & EXERCISE

Ahh yes, I’m tired. The biggest issue some face for the lack of motivation to get moving. I’m not going to go on and on here, in the end moving and lifting weight is going to give your body a great sleep. It sounds simple, but it brings muscle fatigue and relieves stress. I wouldn’t recommend exercising within a couple hours before bedtime however, because of the energizing effects it has on your mind. Other factors that can effect your sleep include: nutrition, anemia and apnea; so if you think there is something else going on, I would have a chat with your doctor. If that has given you no answers, then a good nutritionist or registered deitician should be able to help you out. https://www.sleep.org/articles/exercise-affects-sleep/

5. PREGNANCY STRENGTH

When it comes time to push out that baby you are going to want everything working in your favor. Strengthening your body and core is a no brainer, it will only help when it comes time to bring that child into this world. There are so many safe ways to strengthen your body and core that I will talk about at another time.

6. WEIGHT DURING AND AFTER PREGNANCY

First of all I just want you to hear that you have lots of time, time to get back into shape, time to be healthy, time to enjoy the process. Don’t worry about getting your “body back” in record time. Taking the time to exercise and watch your eating during pregnancy will help you gain less fat and help you lose fat when you’re done. Make it easy on yourself for later. Those around you still love you regardless of your weight and if they don’t it might be time to let them go. Take things one step at a time. I’ll post a really good process on how to lose weight properly after baby in another blog. Eat good food, fuel your breastfeeding if that’s what you choose to do, and start tracking what you eat- a lot of this is being mindful of what you’re putting in your body. Lastly find something you enjoy: join a group fitness class, pick up a $20 bike off kijiji, join a dance class, invest in a great stroller for walking or join an outdoors mom & baby walk. Start there, one change at a time, it doesn’t have to happen all at once.

CONCLUSION

Pregnancy is a time to take care of your body and the baby inside.

To read more blogs like this visit https://femaletrainer467632502.wordpress.com/2019/02/21/pregnancy-fitness/

The Power of the Deadlift

posted by Fitness Focus    |   February 6, 2019 23:34

Deadlifts have become one of the most popular exercises in the weight room.  You've probably noticed more and more people spending a significant amount of time training with Olympic weights in recent years bu more specifically doing deadlifts, and there's a good reason for this.  For such a primitive and simplistic exercise, it carries numerous benefits which can help nearly anybody, no matter what their training goals.

The simplicity of a deadlift is perfectly described in the exercises' name; it's literally the action of lifting dead-weight up off of the floor, usually with a long bar and weights on either side.  Traditionally, you would have seen deadlifts done in one form of competition or another; maybe in a strongman contest or Crossfit type of setting where the goal is to lift as much weight as possible at one time.

But, deadlifts don't always need to always consist of lifting one's maximum amount of weight.  In fact, that can be the most detrimental mistake when performing the exercise. The term quality over quantity is the best rule of thumb in the case of both an average person in the gym or anyone training with a specific purpose; focus on a quality form and technique versus the quantity of weight lifted.

 

While lifting a dead weight off of the floor seems like a simple task, performing a deadlift with proper technique is another story and is essential for 2 reasons. First of all, no matter the amount of weight you're trying to lift, if you're doing it with improper form you will, at some point, injure yourself.  Second, there are numerous benefits to performing a deadlift correctly so you want to make sure it's being done efficiently and effectively.

A Fitness Focus Trainer would definitely the best recommendation to learn how to deadlift for efficiency and effectiveness; but let's dig more into why you should incorporate deadlifting into your workout and what benefits you can expect to see.


Posture

Some general aches and pains we deal with in our normal day to day life can be related directly to our posture.  Tight chest muscles and ribs, lower back soreness; even stiffness in the knees all tie directly to our posture while we're walking, standing or even sitting.  Adding proper deadlifts consistently into your routine can activate and develop and strengthen the muscles around these areas and helps improve posture, ultimately alleviating these common aches and pains.

Reducing the possibility of Injuries

Legs and back have the most and largest muscles out of every body part.  They are also the body parts which are used the most for a majority of your day to day functions such as going up and down stairs carrying objects and balancing.  Weaker muscles in your legs and back means there's a higher likelihood of an injury accompanied by a longer recovery process.    Developing and conditioning the muscles in and around your legs and back are your best bet for avoiding injuries in the first place.

 

Use More Muscle Groups

Deadlifts use more muscles than any other exercise. Core muscles including abs, obliques and lower back are engaged through the entire exercise.  Grip strength improves through the use of hand and forearms.  Upper back and trapezius muscles which tie into the neck. So, if you were only allowed to use one exercise for the rest of your life, your best choice is a deadlift; it incorporates all the major muscles groups which mean less need to target many of the secondary muscles.

If you're convinced about the power of the deadlift, and you want to learn how or to improve your technique on this or any other exercise in and out of the gym contact a trainer trainer today.

The Most Adorable Yoga

posted by Fitness Focus    |   January 21, 2019 22:30

This February we're beyond excited to present to Saskatoon, Puppy Yoga!  This is our first ever time offering this event which we've aptly called Mutts & Mats: Yoga for a New Hope. What could be more enjoyable than a relaxing Yoga class, surrounded by adorable 3-month old puppies? While this class is currently sold out, the initial response has been so overwhelming, we plan to provide this class again in the very near future.

If you've ever been to our gym you've likely met our Gym Dog named Dak.  Having Dak around, and the reception he's gotten from all of our member, we've realized what an admiration you all have for dogs.  We've also realized just how many of you out there all have a furry family member of your own. We figured it was only fitting to combine something as lovable as dogs with something so many of you are so passionate about as Yoga.  And hey, if yoga can be made more popular with the addition of cats or goats, then puppy yoga might just be the best thing ever invented.

Our friends at New Hope Dog Rescue in Saskatoon will be bringing their newest litter of German Shepherd cross puppies to explore and play around the Fitness Focus yoga studio while all the participants find their zen. All proceeds raised by Mutts & Mats will be going to New Hope Dog Rescue, which provides financial aid for emergency surgeries, housing, food and other expenses associated with the process of finding dogs a forever home.

Saskatoon Puppy Yoga Be sure to watch for upcoming announcements for the next available Puppy Yoga Session.

2019 New Years

posted by Fitness Focus    |   January 3, 2019 20:00

 

Hey Saskatoon, have you already lost your New Years ambition to get to the gym?  It's really easy to get excited about starting that training program when you're just starting a new gym membership, or rejuvenating the one you have been ignoring since the summer.  Here are a few tips that can help you keep on track, permanently:

1.   Have a plan!  If you can plan ahead, your ability to stay the course will be that much better and you'll be able to avoid external stresses and time constraints.

2.   Be disciplined! Make sure you do everything from eating, planning, training and resting with consistency. Once you find your groove, anything that deviates from the routine will be your motivation to get back on track.

3.   Stay positive!  All the negative influences over a few days seem to accumulate and cause your drive to workout to completely crumble.  Leave it all behind you. Dwelling on the negative things in life, even on the way to the gym, will make you feel like turning around and going straight home. After that, you'll wind up feeling guilty that you missed your workout, and the negativity continues.

4.   Define your goal!  To simply go to the gym is not a goal. Too often you might find yourself going through the motions and not facing the challenge each day.  Choose where you want to be and what you want to achieve. Otherwise you'll never realize that you've succeeded

2017 is Behind Us - This is Fitness Focus' Year in Review

posted by Fitness Focus    |   January 3, 2018 19:47

Do you ever notice how some years just fly by? So quickly in fact that you would swear that, despite the cold weather, it was still only August or September.  Well that was 2017 in a Nutshell for us; honestly where did it go?  We want to take a moment to share a few highlight of what we got up to over the past year.

Back to the beginning, we'll set the scene for you. January 2017 started with rising and falling temperatures, which as we know in Saskatoon, causes water mains to rupture. As you likely know, Fitness Focus is located in an older neighborhood, and along with that comes an old infrastructure.  Our busiest time of the year, and we get stuck with no running water. After almost five days fighting well below zero temperatures, the city was able to repair the main and we were back in business.    

In March we added some new equipment to the weight room. Some much needed functional training equipment really brought things together.  A dead lift platform was brought in in the power lifting area; the hard, elevated surface has been put to good use, so much that we've considered adding a second platform.  In addition to the platform we added some new bumper plates which allow for easier loading and smoother lifts.

Another goody in the strength department was a Sissy Squat Bench.  Don't let the name fool you; the Sissy Squat movement is as challenging as exercises get. If you have yet to try it or want a demonstration, you can ask any of the Personal Trainers; they're always happy to share their knowledge.

We pride ourselves on our Personal Training department, as a leading gym in Saskatoon with Personal Training it's important that the Training Team is always expanding, growing and doing new things.  We welcomed Denise Kominetsky and Curtis Korchinski to the Personal Training Team.  They are both nationally certified, extremely knowledgeable, respectful and positive additions to the team.

Also happening in the Personal Training department was a pilot project aptly called the One Year Life Changing Transformation. Over a dozen nominees were narrowed down to five, after which the five remaining were interviewed by Two Trainers, Fitness Focus Managers, Herc's Nutrition Owner, and Owner of The District Kitchen & Bar to determine who was most deserving of this life changing opportunity.

The goal of this project was to offer one person the opportunity to lose a substantial amount of weight and learn how to change their lifestyle and management their health and body weight on their own thereafter.  Our Candidate has so far made great progress, we hope she can reach her goals,learn more about herself and fitness, and inspire people around her to do the same.

What do we have planned for 2018?  Just as we treat our health and fitness, we're planning for nothing but progress in the coming year.  We have some new plans Group Fitness and the Childcare Room, and we're looking forward to running a new member survey to find out from you, exactly how we've been doing and what you want to see moving into the future.

Thank you all for your support over the past year.

Membership Referral Rewards

posted by Fitness Focus    |   November 29, 2017 12:32
Attention Members, it's time for your reward for referring your everyone to your favorite gym in Saskatoon!  Right about now you're asking, "Reward, what reward?"  The answer is yes, your reward of one free month for every friend, family member, co-worker or even a stranger on the street that you refer that signs up at Fitness Focus.
One Month Free on your membership is as good as money in your pocket.  That's like a dinner out at a restaurant, almost a tank of gas (if you don't drive an over-sized truck) or a chunk of your cell phone bill. But you don't have to stop at one referral; there's no limit to how many free months you can earn. In fact, you could get your whole workplace started at the gym to all receive corporate perks.a
Friend Referral to the best gym in Saskatoon
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