LIVING YOUR BEST LIFE

Working out and eating clean are crucial for your wellness, but there’s plenty more than goes into having a healthy lifestyle. Read how to make the most of your life outside the gym!

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Easy Stretches to do Throughout the Work Day

11/29/2016

Stretching not only relieves sore muscles, but it also increases flexibility, which helps prevent injuries. When you’re stuck at a desk all day, it can be tough to find time to stretch. Luckily, there are some easier stretches you can do daily at your desk.

Forward Fold

Straighten your legs, fold forward at the hips and reach your fingertips toward the ground. This is a great stretch for your hamstrings. The goal is to be able to touch the ground. If you’re not very flexible, reach your fingertips as close to the ground as possible. As you keep doing this stretch, your fingertips will get closer and closer to the ground.

Side Stretch

Stand with your feet together, raise your left hand overhead and keep your right hand at your side. Make sure your hips are square and don’t tilt forward or backward as you bend to the left and slide your right hand as far as you can down your thigh. Ideally, your fingertips will reach the outside of your knee. Hold for 15-30 seconds and then repeat on the other side. This stretches muscles along each side of your body.

Shoulder Stretch

Place one hand under your elbow and make sure the arm you are holding is straight. Then stretch your straightened arm across your chest but don’t rotate your body. Keep your body square and you’ll feel this stretch in the back of your shoulder. Hold for 15-30 seconds and repeat to the other arm.

Hands Over Head

Sitting in a desk chair, clasp your hands together and raise them above your head. Stretch your hands upward toward the ceiling and raise them as high as they will go. Make sure to keep your body square and hold for 15-30 seconds. This is a good stretch for your back.

Assisted Chest Stretch

Stand close to a window frame or corner of a wall. Hold the edge of either with one hand at shoulder height and rotate away. Keep feet hip width apart and engage your core. This will open up the front of your chest, which stretches pectorals, shoulders, and upper back. If you feel your pectorals are very tight, this could be due to sitting in a hunched position so focus on keeping your shoulders pushed down and back throughout the day. This will help with better posture. Repeat on the other side. 

 

Strategies to Lose Weight and Keep It Off

11/08/2016

Losing weight and keeping it off takes a long-term approach. You’re changing your lifestyle, which doesn’t happen overnight. Wondering where to start making permanent changes? Here are successful strategies to get you started.

 

Set Realistic Goals

Determine how much weight you want to lose each week and make sure the goal is realistic. It’s always a good idea to consult with a doctor or nutritionist. They will look at your dietary needs and work with you to customize a plan that includes attainable goals.

Having goals are important. They keep you motivated to achieve something each week and break up the long-term approach into manageable weekly goals. Whether you are looking to lose weight or keep it off, stepping on the scale is part of the process. Use it as a guide and don’t let a number determine how you feel. Instead, learn from what might have gone wrong and use it to keep pushing toward where you want to be.

 

Enjoy Healthy Foods

Fueling your body with healthy food doesn’t mean you need to give up taste. Do you have a favorite dish that isn’t healthy? Find a recipe that offers a healthy alternative. You also want to consume plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables. A good goal is to eat four servings of vegetables and three servings of fruit each day.

Also, healthy eating starts with breakfast. This gets your metabolism going and helps cut cravings for things you want to avoid, such as sugar and processed food. 

 

Exercise Daily

Exercise offers numerous health benefits, including boosting your mood, strengthening your cardiovascular system and reducing your blood pressure.  

Getting 30 minutes of exercise in most days of the week is a good goal. If you can’t get a workout in, look for ways to still move your body. Do things like take the stairs instead of using an elevator. Every step counts toward reaching your goals.

 

Change your Perspective

You can do this! Remember, these are lifestyle changes and don’t need to be accomplished overnight. There might also be an occasional setback, but don’t give up. Instead, start fresh the next day and remember, tomorrow is a new opportunity to reach your goals. 

 

 

5 Fool-Proof Ways to Be More Effective at the Gym

11/04/2016

You take time out of your day, that’s already jam-packed, to get to the gym and you don’t want to waste it. But with distractions, no plan, and minimal fuel, that’s exactly what will happen.

 Luckily, there are a variety of simple ways for everyone to be more effective at the gym, allowing you to be strong, focused and more productive with the little time you have. Use these tips to make the most of your time at the gym. Bonus: you may even hit your fitness goals faster than you anticipated. 

 

Write a Plan Before You Go

One of the best ways to ruin a good workout is to go to the gym without a plan, which leaves you walking around aimlessly, trying to decide what to do next. Be more effective with your time by writing a plan, the more specific the better. My workout plan usually looks like this:

 

Renegade rows

Heavy weighted squats

Yoga ball - prone back lift

Spiderman

Pushups

DB rows - palms posterior

Yoga ball pass

Lat box w/o drop in front

Superman with alt arm/leg raise

Shoulder press

Alt chest flies

Tricep swings

 

If you want to make it even more effective, write in the weight you’ll use and total rep counts.

I write this plan at home, usually right before I leave, and then email it to myself and pull it up on my phone when I arrive. If you create this in Google Docs or Google Sheets, you can access it directly from Google Drive on your phone.

 If you don’t know how to write a workout or what to include, use an app like Nike Fit that does all the work for you. Choose your goals for the workout and follow along as it times the intervals and gives you the right exercises to do, complete with videos of how to do them.

 

Have a Pre-Workout Meal

If you don’t have enough fuel in your body, finishing a workout will be challenging—unless you’re doing fasted cardio, which is a topic all on its own. Without fuel, your body is running on empty, making output difficult, especially if you’re strength training.

 Everybody has different pre-workout needs, but an easy way to remember how much you should eat is: the closer you get to the workout the less you should eat, focusing on fast-digesting carbohydrates that deliver a quick and readily available source of glucose, which your body needs for lasting energy.

 If your workout is 2 to 3 hours away, indulge in complex carbohydrates and lean protein, like a sandwich with deli meat or chicken and veggies—by the time you hit the gym, your body will have had enough time to digest and absorb the fuel.

 If you plan to work out in an hour or so, go for a small bowl of whole grain cereal or oatmeal with a piece of fruit. The small serving size will allow your body to digest in time for the workout.

 If you work out early in the morning, within a half hour of waking up, grab a piece of fruit like an apple or banana for a quick and digestible burst of energy.

 

Say No to Distractions

There are many distractions at the gym, whether you realize it or not. Eliminating these allows you to focus on your workout, ensuring proper form (to reduce injuries) and greatest output of effort. Here are a few simple rules to avoid some of the most common distractions:

  • No Friends: If you’re a talker, don’t got to the gym with a good friend—chances are you’ll spend more time discussing the latest gossip than actually working out.
  • No wires: Purchase a pair of wireless headphones and you’ll wonder why you never realized how distracting regular headphones are.
  • No single-knotted laces: Always double-knot your shoes. Nothing takes the wind out of your sails like stopping during a good run to tie your shoes.
  • No texting or emails: Use the gym as your “unplugged” time, and don’t answer emails or text messages.

 

Track Your Heart Rate

Your heart rate is one of the best ways to track how hard you’re working. It’s ideal to be training within 55-85 percent of your average maximum heart rate for 20 to 30 minutes—use this calculator from Active.com to determine what that means for you in terms of beats per minute (BPM).

 If you’re not so good with using your fingers to track your pulse, you can track your heart rate, and whether you’re in the target zone, with a fitness tracker. If you don’t have one already, and want to avoid spending half of your savings account on one, check out this pricing analysis, which found that there’s a wearable for every budget, with prices dipping as low as $45.

 

 Pick a “Partner”

This is a fun and helpful trick if you’re a competitive person who hates the “dreadmill.” When you hop on, look around and find someone who seems to be running at a good pace or doing intervals. Without being obvious, try to keep up with that person, as if you’re racing them. Not only will this make the time go by faster, but you may even get a better workout because you’re competing with someone else.

 Another way to use this tactic is to take a class, where you’re working out with a number of other people. This may motivate you to work harder, push through that last set, or pick up a heavier set of weights.

 Use these ideas to be more effective at the gym. You’ll make the most of the little time you have and may even speed up the results you’ve been waiting to see. 

GUEST BLOGGER | Guest Blogger: Jessica Thiefels

Jessica Thiefels has been writing for more than ten years and is currently a full-time blogger. She is also an ACE Certified Personal Trainer, NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition specialist, and the owner of her own personal training business, Honest Body Fitness. She’s using her experience from writing, editing and marketing to help people get healthy and learn to love what their bodies can do. Follow her on TwitterFacebook and Instagram for health articles, new workouts and more.

Success Spotlight: Kris from Alberta

11/01/2016


Hi there! My name is Kris. This month will mark 2 years of my fitness journey. I got into working out when I was in a dark place in my last relationship that consisted of mental and emotional abuse. The gym was my only escape as we had moved 2 provinces away from my family and I had no one to talk to.

I took my anger, stress, and tears out at the gym every morning for almost 2 hours then after work I would go for another hour and a half. Fitness saved me from living in that dark place. It gave me the strength and confidence to finally leave with just my clothes in bags and what I had on my back.

Every storm ends and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The light for me was my best friend and now the love of my life who is constantly supporting me in my dreams and my fitness. This is why I won’t ever give up on fitness. It’s not a hobby. It’s part of me every day.

And now being at Snap Fitness I have started a new goal. I am officially down 100 pounds and am aiming for another 20 pounds. With what this gym has to offer, I know that I will achieve my goals in no time.

How to Train for a Marathon

10/12/2016

Completing a marathon is an amazing accomplishment that takes determination and discipline. If you are new to running, here are the primary elements to training that will help you cross the finish line.

Start slow and build a base

Building weekly mileage too soon can lead to injuries. This is due to the fact that your body isn’t ready to run for long periods of time. Before you begin training for a marathon, it’s highly recommended that you’re able to run at least 20 miles a week. Building your base gradually means you are increasing mileage by no more than 10 percent from the previous week. Also, these runs should be done at an easy pace. If you’re running and can’t carry a conversation, you’re running too hard.

The long run

Once you’ve established a strong base, the most important part of your training is weekly long runs. Spending this extra time on your feet gets your body and brain ready for those 26.2 miles. They also build strength and endurance. Long runs increase by a mile or two each week. About every three weeks, your training plan will scale back on the number of miles so you’re not overtaxing your body.

Speed Work

These workouts increase your cardio capacity and help you run faster. Intervals and tempo runs are the most popular types of speed workouts. Intervals are a set of short runs at a fast pace. Tempos are longer where you run at a challenging, but sustainable pace. Speed workouts are optional elements to a training program.

 Rest and Recovery

Rest days help muscles recover and prevent injuries. If you have a training run scheduled, but are sore, take the day off and give your body the recovery it’s asking for.

Snap Fitness Pumpkins

10/10/2016

Pick out the perfect pumpkin for these Snap Fitness-inspired carving templates! Share your masterpiece with us by using the hashtag #SnapFitnessPumpkin or by tagging us @SnapFitness!

 

 

 

 

 

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