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Category Archives: Weight Loss Fitness

Take a Walk…

Posted on October 12, 2016 by

fall pathFall is a beautiful time of year.  The temperature is more conducive to outside recreation and there are  many festive activities to partake in. Every week-end in Hampton Roads there are festivals, races, sporting events, and more happenings for the whole family to enjoy. Take advantage of the weather and weekly activities to fit in exercise (remember the goal is 10,000 steps a day!).
The Sportsplex in Yorktown is the perfect place to run/walk during baseball and soccer season.  It’s safe, scenic, and convenient.  Even if your child isn’t involved in a sport, you can still utilize the Sportsplex.  At a track, football, or other sporting event, walk as much as possible and make sure to bring healthy snack along!

Fall festivals abound in October and throughout the fall. These are perfect places to obtain 10,000 steps. Bring the kids to the Hunt Club Farm Harvest Fair in Virginia Beach for a pumpkin patch, carnival rides, hayrides, and vendors.  Check out the Harvest Faire at Endive plantation in Newport News. Also, the Poquoson Seafood Festival in October is a fun event to walk around and fill up on protein (nothing battered or fried!).

A walk in the park can mean weight loss at the scale!

A walk in the park can mean weight loss at the scale!

If you’re a fan of Halloween, attend the Haunted Mansion in Norfolk.  Newport News has The Night of the Living Museum, appropriate for the entire family.  Take the family to ZooBoo at the Virginia Zoo.  Or, roam through the Halloween Pirate Fest in Virginia Beach.  Make sure to wear your FitBit and keep track of all the steps you’re accumulating.

There are races galore to attend.  Being able to run is NOT a pre-requisite.  These events are fun for the whole family.  Virginia Beach has a Halloween Monster Dash at the end of October. The Tuff Enuf Challenge is a 5K obstacle course in Newport News on October 29th.  The obstacle course includes tires, ropes, tunnels, and water.  Oh, and zombies will chase you during the course!

Last but not least, Howl-o-Scream at Busch Gardens has started and lasts through October.  If you go before 5:00pm there’s no need to worry about scary creatures jumping out at you.  The park will provide picturesque fall decorations and great exercise, including steep hills.  If you go after 6pm be prepared to run from the chain saw wielding zombies!

Just remember that every step counts!  You must move your body to be healthy.  Strive for 10,000 steps a day.  If you need some motivation and extra help, sign up with one of our highly trained personal trainers.  Or, check out our fun fitness classes.  Remember you only have one life to live.  Make it a healthy one.

Think Like an Olympian

Posted on September 05, 2016 by

better than yesterdayThe excitement of the Summer Olympics in Rio has ended, leaving us with fond memories and looking toward Tokyo 2020. Watching the greatest athletes in the world performing their sport was awe inspiring. We might not dream of following in their footsteps, but we admire their talent. Michael Phelps dominated swimming, ending his career with a whopping 23 gold medals. Simone Biles soared to Olympic gold on the floor exercise, including leading her team to a Women’s All-Around gold medal. Is there an Olympic sport that makes you want to jump off the couch and participate? Did any of the Olympic athletes inspire you to eat healthier or train harder? You don’t have to be an Olympic athlete, but for health and weight loss it helps to think like one!

HAVE A DREAM AND SET A GOAL

The goal of an Olympic athlete is to master their sport and achieve their wildest dreams. In order to excel on the balance beam, a gymnast must possess superior balance. Marathon runners need to achieve endurance and speed. Volleyball players’ training includes agility and coordination drills. Being an athlete may not be your goal, but in order to feel healthy and be physically fit, exercise needs to be a part of your daily life. Decide what type of exercises you like. Swimming is a very effective workout that strengthens all of your muscles. But, if you wince at the thought of getting into a pool, it’s not the right choice for you. If you’re an outdoors person, you can bike, jog or hike. If you prefer the indoors, fitness centers offer a vast variety of exercise classes. Set short-term and long-term goals using the SMART acronym. Goal setting helps you stay focused and on track.

DONT BE PUSHEDEAT TO LIVE

Depending on the sport, athletes require a variation in the number of calories every day. They require more calories during training due to the long hours they log. Most Olympians are meticulous eaters, choosing clean, natural, and unprocessed foods. During their training they don’t overeat, choosing salads, fresh fruit, yogurt, and lean meats. Nutrition can make all difference when an athlete is at the starting line. Some of the athletes express excitement about being able to eat their “cheat food” following the Olympics. For The Fab 5 gymnasts, that cheat food is pizza. Consistently eating overly processed food will lead to disease, especially in the absence of movement. Choose nutritiously dense foods to keep your body functioning properly. Protein is crucial, as it fuels the muscles and helps increase lean body mass. Lean body mass drives your metabolism and helps with weight loss.

PLAN AHEAD

Olympians usually train 4-8 years before making an Olympic team. They plan training schedules up to 4 years in advance. They enlist the help of a coach, exercise physiologist, sports medicine specialist, and a nutritionist. Formulate your exercise plan every day, just like meal planning. Make exercise a priority every day, even if you only have 20 minutes. Quality is more important than quantity. If you struggle with motivation or need that extra “push”, hire a personal trainer.

championsDETERMINATION

The definition of determination is “a quality that makes you continue trying to do or achieve something that is difficult.” Olympians are determined to win, no matter how difficult it gets. Cutting back the carbohydrates is difficult and might lead to carb withdrawal symptoms. Push through the difficulties and it will get easier. Walking a mile could be daunting at first, but as your endurance builds a mile won’t seem so far. Exercise is supposed to be challenging. Don’t forget the end prize: losing weight and getting healthy. “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”

SACRIFICES

Olympians have to sacrifice tremendously to get to the top. They miss out on family events, time with friends, holidays, and go into debt. At age 14, Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas had to move 1000 miles away from her mother to train with a world-class coach in order to fulfill her dream. To achieve weight loss goals, you will need to make some small sacrifices. You might have to wake up 20 minutes earlier to fit in your workout, forgo your favorite mixed drink every night, walk/jog during your son’s soccer practice, or be the only person at your birthday party not eating cake. The goal for exercise/fitness is 10,000 steps a day which equals 5 miles. Move your body as much as possible.

STRONG WORK ETHIC/MENTAL TOUGHNESS

Olympians are taught to finish the race regardless of the score. Volleyball player Kayla Banwarth of team USA is on the number 1 ranked team in the world. Unfortunately at the volleyball semifinals in Rio, her team couldn’t pull through and Kayla fought back tears. It was shocking to realize the gold was out of the question. However, they banded together, fought back and took the bronze metal. Olympians are focused and comprehend that success will occur as a result of physical and mental strength. Are you at a point in your life where you are mentally prepared for change? Are you ready to put your health number one and get your priorities in check?

DON’T LET SETBACKS GET YOU DOWN

The Williams’ sisters won gold at the last 3 Olympics. Unfortunately, in Rio they lost in the first round to women from the Czech Republic. Russian diver Llya Zakhavov was the defending Olympic champion in the 3-meter springboard. In the semi-final round he did a belly flop and was out of the competition. French gymnast Samir Ait Said suffered a broken leg during the vault qualifying round, abruptly dashing his Olympic dreams. We’re all going to suffer setbacks and distractions: changing jobs, relocating, marriage, divorce, children, illness, or injury. Perhaps you’re struggling to get the 40 pounds of baby weight off. Maybe your boss is making you work overtime and you can’t get to the gym as frequently. You have bad knees and it hurts just to get out of bed. Or, you’ve gone through divorce and the stress has caused weight gain. First of all, tomorrow is another day to get back on track. Pool exercise is a great choice for bad knees and stiff joints. Try massage, relaxation techniques, or regular exercise to reduce stress levels. And, 20 minutes of body weight exercises at home is effective if you can’t get to the gym. There is no time for excuses when our health is on the line.

see life differentlyOlympic gymnast Mary Lou Retton said, “Each of us has a fire in our hearts for something. It’s our goal in life to find it and keep it lit.” We’re not all born to be athletes, but we can think like one. Set goals, and turn those goals into action. In order to lose weight and be healthy, you’re going to have to make sacrifices, plan ahead, and be tough mentally. Remember, life is not a destination, it’s a journey.

Your Challenge: 10,000 Steps

Posted on August 01, 2016 by

feet on sidewalkHippocrates, the Father of Western Medicine, said “walking is man’s best medicine.”  Walking as a fitness activity is becoming increasingly more popular. According to the CDC (The Center for Disease Control) and the NIH (The National Institute of Health) Adults need 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise every day.  We recommend 10,000 steps a day! This helps you stay healthy and lose weight.  Those 10,000 steps will burn between 2000-3500 calories a day. That could result in a 1-pound a week weight loss.  Make walking part of your daily routine.  It’s fun, inexpensive, and easy on the joints.

It’s even more enjoyable to walk in groups, which is why we started the ‘CFWLS – Steps to Success’ walking group.  We are racing, as a group, across America. The race started in California and we’ve already made it to sunny Arizona.  We enjoying setting goals, encouraging each other, and challenging ourselves physically.  Join the fun!  Just download the World Walking app on your smart phone and join our group at:   https://worldwalking.org/groups/cik7y.

steps group banner
GETTING STARTED:

You need comfortable clothes, supportive shoes, and a fitness tracker.  There are many places you can enjoy walking including: your neighborhood, track, water, park, treadmill, or the mall.

PROPER FORM:

Stand tall, keep your eyes on the horizon, practice heel-to-toe walking, neutral pelvis, relaxed shoulders, contracted abdominals, and unlocked arms.

BENEFITS OF WALKING:

Weight loss, encourages bonding with other walking buddies, increases energy and stamina, lowers Blood Pressure, and decreases stress.

ADDING INTENSITY:

Add inclines (hills), wear a weighted vest, add skips or jumps, take bigger steps, or incorporate speed intervals.  Walking longer and faster will help you burn more calories and lose weight faster.

FUN FACTS ABOUT WALKING:

*Former President Jefferson walked 4 miles a day and lived to be 83 years old.

*Walking is the most popular form of exercise in the United States.

*The average person will walk about 65,000 miles in their lifetime.

*Walking an 18-hole golf course is equivalent to about 12,000 steps.

In conclusion, it’s crucial to establish healthy habits.  Move your body as much as possible.  You can dramatically improve your health one step at a time.

I’ve included a short video to get you started!  https://youtu.be/LOYcFLk3YWw

Helping Your Overweight Child

Posted on March 14, 2016 by

active father son The rates of childhood obesity have tripled in the past 3 decades. Today, 1 in 3 American kids are overweight or obese. Our changes in lifestyle have led to this sad epidemic. We’re eating food on the run in lieu of sitting as a family for a home-cooked meal. Video games have replaced exercise, PE has been reduced at schools to 2 or 3 times a week, and portion sizes have tripled.

Children are now facing serious health issues that, in the past, were primarily associated with adults. These health risks include: asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep problems, heart disease, and more! That’s a big burden for a child to deal with. Parents of overweight children are often frustrated and searching for answers.

The first step to helping your overweight child is to make an appointment with your child’s pediatrician for a check-up. It’s important to find out if they are clinically obese and if there are any underlying health issues. Then, follow these guidelines:

*MAKE THEM FEEL LOVED: Above all, make them feel loved no matter what size they are. Their self- esteem is often lacking and they feel stressed and anxious.

*EDUCATE: Teach your child about proper nutrition, how to read labels, and even how to cook. Explain the importance of exercising every day.

*INVOLVE THE WHOLE FAMILY: When a family member has a chronic illness, it affects the entire family. Likewise, if one of the kids is obese the family is impacted. Everyone needs to be encouraging, supportive, and eat home-cooked meals together. Challenge the whole family to eat healthy in order to set a good example.

*NUTRITION: Ensure they eat breakfast every day, drink lots of water, refrain from sugary drinks, limit sweets, and consume sufficient protein.

*EXERCISE: Encourage your child to fit in60 minutes of moderate intensity activities every day. Participate as a family:

*Sign up for a Family-friendly 5K race/walk
*Take the family on vacations where they can hike, ski, climb, or swim
*Sign your child up for a sport
*Take fitness/dance classes together

*LIMIT ELECTRONICS: Use electronics as positive reinforcement after they’ve completed their homework and gotten some exercise. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests no more than 2 hours a day for electronics (TV, IPAD, computer, etc…). Studies have shown that children with TV’s in their bedrooms are more likely to be obese.

As a parent you have the responsibility of setting a good example for your kids by eating healthy and exercising regularly.  Help them lead a healthy, active lifestyle and provide them with love and support.

For more support and advice on helping your overweight child, listen to Dr. Clark’s podcast interview with Childhood Obesity specialist, Dr. Wendy Sinclair at: http://cfwls.com/blog/bouncing-back-from-childhood-obesity/

Boot Camp – A Workout for All Ages and Stages

Posted on February 01, 2016 by

BOOT CAMP BASICSI’ve been a fitness instructor for 27 years. I teach 12 classes a week, 8 different formats, to clients of all ages and fitness levels. Class participants often ask about my favorite class format. I always hesitate because I enjoy all my classes, but my secret favorite is BOOT CAMP! Just the name sounds intimidating to most people. This class is a combo of cardio and strength training and torches fat and calories. But is it really for EVERYONE?

Many people tell me they will come to boot camp once they got in better shape! That seems oxymoronic since fitness classes are meant to get people in shape. The mind set is that the class is so challenging that it can’t be attempted until a certain fitness level is achieved first. Well, I’m going to debunk that myth. First of all, we all have to start somewhere with our fitness level. You challenge yourself and do what you’re able. I don’t expect perfection in my classes. What I expect is effort.

Everyone needs to step out of their comfort zone and attempt the challenges. If it doesn’t challenge you it won’t change you. Safety is number one and it’s perfectly acceptable to modify any of the moves. I have a variety of participants from beginners to triathletes in my class.

Boot camp is a great workout because:
1. Burns a lot of calories and promotes weight loss.
2. It’s diverse, yet intense.
3. Most of the workout is timed so you can go at your own pace.
4. All the moves can easily be modified.
5. There’s no choreography. It’s straight-forward, challenging but easy- to-follow moves.
6. Variety—it’s hard to get bored in this class! Different types of equipment are used: balls, Bosu’s, steps, gliders, and more.
7. Built in rest periods.
8. East to check your progress from week-to-week.
9. Comprehensive—you get everything you need in one workout and it’s highly effective in burning calories and fat. It incorporates strength training, cardio, speed, agility, power, flexibility, and more!
10. It doesn’t require much coordination.

The following people may NOT be good candidates for this class:
1. People with hypostatic hypertension or veritigo.
2. People with serious orthopedic problems—knee or back issues.
3. Pregnant women.

Examples of Modifications:
1. Wall push-ups in place of regular pushups (or on the knees).
2. Wall squats in place of standard squats (lower down as far as you can).
3. Stepping up and down on the step in place of jumping.
4. Floor touches instead of Burpees (or extending one leg at a time).

Boot camp classes should be designed to accommodate and challenge all fitness levels. It’s important to trust and enjoy your instructor. Shelly Thomas teaches Boot Camp every Saturday at 8:30 here at CFWLS. The members are thoroughly enjoying the class along with Shelly’s fun personality and expertise. Come join the fun every Saturday. It will be the perfect start to you day!

Arlyne Spalla-Benson, LWMC, CPT

***Watch for word on our Self-Defense Boot Camp course coming up soon!  This will be a 4-week course taught by Shelly Ann Thomas – beginning March 16th!  Sign up in the Nutrition Store or call us at 757-873-1880.  Price for WLF & WMU Members is $20 – Non-Members are welcome too for just $40!***

Summer Essentials for a Good Night’s Sleep

Posted on June 22, 2015 by

your choiceSummer has officially started, the kids are finished with another year of school, and you’re planning a much-needed, relaxing vacation.  Perhaps you’ve lost a few pounds, feel healthier than last year, and are ready to put on those new shorts!

Packing, traveling, airports, sight-seeing, sleeping in unfamiliar places….it can leave you feeling exhausted!  As fabulous as the getaway sounds, your vacation could be sabotaged if you’re too tired to enjoy it.

Don’t forget how hard you’ve worked to achieve a healthier lifestyle.  Getting sufficient rest is an integral part of that new lifestyle.  Less sleep means more health problems.   Sleep deprivation often causes you to reach for comfort foods.  Leptin is a hormone that tells your brain when to stop eating.  It’s less abundant when you’re sleep deprived.  The hormone ghrelin tells you when to eat, and is more abundant when you’ve haven’t gotten enough Zzzzzzzz’s.

Strategies for ensuring enough rest before and during vacation:

  • Plan Ahead:  don’t wait until the last minute to pack or finish a work project.
  • Plan for Rest:  fit rest times into your vacation.
  • Stick to a Sleep Schedule:  go to bed and get up at the same time each day.
  • Maintain Sleep Rituals:  bring your favorite pillow,  blanket, or relaxing reading  material.
  • Bring your Sleep Aids:  noise machine, fan, sleep mask, or ear plugs.

Have a great time!

 

Kick Through Your Fitness Plateau

Posted on March 23, 2015 by

strongerYou’ve been exercising consistently for a few months now and the payoff has been BIG.  Your weight has dropped, your biceps are bigger, your endurance has improved, and your pants are looser.  Now, suddenly, you’ve stopped seeing results.  It sounds like you’ve hit the dreaded plateau.  Everyone who embarks on this journey will inevitably hit a plateau. What do you do now?  Don’t give up!  You can get past it, but you must work harder and smarter.  It’s an opportunity for you to refine your goals and strategies.  Push through the plateau by kicking it up with exercise.

The solution is NOT necessarily to increase the amount of time you workout. Take a look at the quality of your workouts and how you can change or alter them.

The following are some examples:

1. Walk faster.  If you walk two miles in 20 minutes, cut it back to 18 minutes.

2. Increase intensity by walking on an incline.  If you walk outside, take advantage of any steep      inclines or hills.  On the treadmill, increase the grade to 1 or 2.

3. Make your movements larger in a group exercise class.  Lift your legs higher, sit lower in a squat, or  hold that plank longer!

4. Push your muscles more.  Increase your dumbbells from 5 pounds to 7 pounds.

5. Get out of your comfort zone and try a new fitness class.  Or, attempt a new challenge like hiking or  outdoor biking.

Keep in mind that your goal is to do cardio exercise 4 or 5 times a week for 30 minutes,  and           resistance training 2 or 3 times a week for  15-30 minutes.  If you’re only doing resistance training two times a week, increase it to three.

Increase your daily activity by finding ways to move your body!  Take stairs when possible, park your car far away, play soccer with the kids, or walk briskly through the mall with some friends.  Everything you do will make a difference.

Hitting a plateau doesn’t have to be a negative thing.  Make it positive by re-evaluating your workouts.  If you haven’t yet tried one of our fitness classes taught by our fantastic instructors, come check it out!  Just step out of your comfort zone and reap the benefits.

 

Exercise for Energy!

Posted on March 02, 2015 by

walk in the parkWe talk about exercise a lot.  Both strength training and aerobic exercise are necessary to keep your body healthy, strong and flexible.  There are plenty of positive side effects:

  • Decreases body fat
  • Increases sensitivity to insulin
  • Decreases blood sugar levels
  • Improves sleep
  • Improves reflexes
  • Decreases age related memory loss
  • Improves balance
  • Helps contribute to muscular endurance and flexibility
  • Improves mood
  • Increases energy!

You are right—there wasn’t one negative effect noted!  So let’s explore the last bullet line a little further.

When we improve the heart’s ability to pump blood though out the body, the blood flow to the brain also increases. More oxygen and nutrients to this organ will enhance its overall function. You feel more alert and generally more productive. There is probably even a bit of bounce to your step!

A study published a few years back in the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, University of Georgia researchers found that inactive people who generally complained of fatigue could increase energy by 20% while decreasing fatigue by as much as 65% by simply participating in regular, low-intensity exercise.

If you are not currently in an exercise routine, what’s holding you back?  If trying to figure out where to start, why not try one or more of our group classes. You are always encouraged to start at your own level and modifications can be made to any exercise. If group activities aren’t your thing, personal training can be the perfect fit. Check out the training specials on the next page!

Take advantage of our longer days and increasingly milder weather. Head outside for a walk and breathe deep!  Adding Cardio-respiratory activity can help your body, your health and your mind.

 

Top 10 Benefits of Yoga

Posted on February 23, 2015 by

DONT BE PUSHEDNo matter what your fitness level is, yoga can help you in many ways.  Not only does yoga affect the physical aspect of the body, it addresses the mind and spirit as well.  Yoga exercises are a great way to help relieve the stress of your day and can bring a sense of well-being to your life.  Now we all can use a little of that!  Here are the top ten benefits of yoga.

Stress Relief – Yoga can help reduce the effects of stress on your body.  One of the benefits of yoga is that it encourages relaxation and can lower the amount of cortisol (the stress hormone) in your body.  Studies show that prolonged high levels of cortisol can lead to heart disease and other health problems.

Improved Circulation – Yoga will help improve your body’s circulation.  In turn, with daily exercises, you will see the benefits of yoga with lowered blood pressure and pulse rates.

Increased Cardiovascular Conditioning – Even the gentlest style of yoga will help to lower your resting heart rate and increase your overall endurance.  This is one of the important benefits of yoga to help improve the amount of oxygen taken in during the daily exercises.

Relief from Pain – Daily exercises of yoga can help ease the aches and pains of the body.  Many people with very serious diseases have reported less pain after these daily  exercises or meditation.

Better Breathing – You will learn to take deeper, slower breaths with daily exercises of yoga.  It will help to increase your lung function and set off the body’s relaxation response.  This can be one of the most powerful benefits of yoga.

More Flexibility – You will notice your level of flexibility will increase, which will help you with your range of motion.  Sometimes in the yoga daily exercises, people cannot even touch their toes.  The benefits of yoga will include lengthening the muscles, tendons and ligaments in your body to help you become more flexible.

Increased Muscular Strength – Yoga poses use all the muscles in your body and help you increase your strength level from head to toe.  Yoga and daily exercises will help you strengthen your muscles close to the bones, which increase the support of your skeletal system.

Weight Management – You will see the benefits of yoga begin to affect your scale.  Daily exercises are always recommended, but yoga helps reduce the level of cortisol in your body which aids in weight loss and weight maintenance.

Improved Mental Clarity and Focus – You can have greater coordination, memory skills, reaction times, and improved concentration skills by utilizing yoga for daily exercises.  These benefits of yoga will extend far out of the yoga class.

Inner Peace – What more could you want.  This is one of the primary reasons that people do daily exercises of yoga.  This is one of the most important benefits of yoga and is also one of the more easy ones to attain.

If you haven’t tried yoga, you should!  You may find it is just what you need.

Join us Thursday evenings at 6 p.m.—your first class is free!

 

What Could Be Sweeter Than A Healthy Heart?

Posted on February 16, 2015 by

dishonestThe heart is the crucial organ that supplies blood and oxygen to all parts of the body.  It’s about the size of a clenched fist and is shaped like a cone.  Symbolically, the heart is the center of emotion, including affection and love.  Last week we celebrated Valentine’s Day with our loved ones, maybe a sentimental card, some chocolate, and EXERCISE!?  Actually, we don’t normally think of exercising with our sweetie as an expression of our love.   I’m going to explain why it’s not only a great thing to do for yourself, but also together with your partner!

Cardiovascular exercise is any exercise that raises your heart rate.  It uses large muscle movement over a sustained period of time to keep your heart rate at over 50% of its maximum level.  There are numerous benefits of cardiovascular exercise.  Most people understand that cardio decreases body weight, decreases blood pressure, decreases LDL (bad cholesterol), increases HDL (good cholesterol), strengthens the heart and lungs, and increases metabolism.

In addition, cardio workouts flood the brain with chemicals that enhance memory, problem solving, and decision making.  So, you’re working out your brain at the same time as your heart!  Also, cardio boosts productivity, revs up your energy, and improves your mood.  The overall effect is greater self-confidence.

To reap these amazing benefits of cardio exercise, what formula do you need to follow? (FITT)

FREQUENCY:  3-5X a week depending on your goals.

INTENSITY:  Moderate pace, out of your comfort zone (uncomfortable), about a 6-7 on a scale of 1-10.

TIME:  At least 20 minutes, (beginners will do less), and can be split up into two, 10-minute workouts.

TYPE:  An activity that uses large muscle groups and one you will enjoy doing for an extended period of time.

Examples of fun exercises you can do with your spouse or partner are:  swimming, dancing, walking/jogging, or a group exercise class such as Zumba, kickboxing, or spinning.

Loving yourself means taking care of you.   Make time for cardio exercise and you’ll soon see how it transforms you on the outside and the inside.  It’s a fun and healthy way to spend some quality time with a loved one.