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I’ve been teaching Group Exercise classes for quite a while now and I have to say—the thing that irks me the most—is when the same people find excuse after excuse not to try your class when they actually really want to. I know people that for over three years now have used the “I have to get in shape before I come to your class” excuse. Or there’s the ever-popular “your class is too far away”…(I teach all over the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex), or “I’m busy that day”…(I teach 10 classes a week, you can’t honestly tell me you cannot make any of those), the list goes on and on.

Three years ago, these people were overweight, out of shape, unhealthy and unhappy. Their plan was to “get in shape”, and then come to my class. Again, that was three years ago. If they had just come to classes regardless of being “in shape” or not, I can guarantee you that they would not be in the same physical and mental condition that they are today—stuck.

I think sometimes the classes and instructors are taken for granted. Not in a bad way, just that it is assumed that certain classes will always be on the schedule and these instructors will forever teach classes at that particular club. Nothing is ever certain. Lives change, people change, the needs of the gym change, the only thing that is not changing—is you.

Yesterday you said tomorrow nike

If you live your life saying “I’ll do it tomorrow”, you’ll have to accept the possibility that there might not be a chance tomorrow, for whatever reason. I urge you to do it today. No more excuses, no more waiting. It’s funny—it wasn’t that long ago that I considered myself quite the procrastinator when it came to silly day-to-day duties. Call the plumber, return so-and-so’s phone call, pay this bill, return an email. I would hit ignore on the phone because I was too busy to deal with whatever phone call was incoming. But the truth is, that only created MORE stress in my life. Now not only did I need to return that email, but I needed to remember to return the email, put it on my to-do list so I wouldn’t forget, but then I would forget to put it on the list, so it would get missed entirely! Today, I’m much better about handing things as they come. It’s easier to get them crossed off the list before they even make it to the list!

Nike says it best…”Yesterday You Said Tomorrow.”

A quick reminder of my current group exercise class schedule, which may soon change…who knows! 🙂 Please inquire for personal training schedule. (Revised 12/31/12)

Peace, love and action,

Melissa

For up-to-the-minute updates on classes, follow Live Whole Be Free on Facebook!

It’s week 8 of the Biggest Achiever Program, and for the most part the challenges so far have revolved around food, and what we do or don’t put into our bodies. Good nutrition is essential for a healthy body. Also necessary, however, is exercise. Unless you are involved in some sort of rigorous/two-a-day training program, it’s probably safe to say that you could use a little more exercise in your life. So this week’s challenge will be to take your exercise up a notch.*

*There are many different ways to “take your exercise up a notch.” I would say “increase the amount of exercise you currently do”, but some of you will be at your max for the days of week that you train. For some the increase will come by increasing the amount of days per week and for others, it will be the duration or intensity of the exercise itself. There are many other acute variables that can be adjusted as well, including volume, load, rest periods, etc. If you are currently solely doing cardiorespiratory training, adding strength training into your routine is another great way to shake things up.  Since this challenge is so individualized, feel free to email me with questions on how you should safely take this to the next level. 

This challenge will obviously vary based on your current exercise regimen. Below are a few quick examples of what you can do to switch up your routine. As a Group Fitness Instructor, I highly recommend you try a Group Fitness (Group Exercise/GroupX) class. They can be intimidating at first, I understand that. I was intimidated as well. But just remember that everyone has had their first class, everyone has felt those same feelings. Take a risk, you may find that you really enjoy it. Worst case scenario is that it’s not your thing. If so, no big deal. If we all liked the same things, the world would be a terrible place to live. So embrace it, and try something else.

SEDENTARY LIFESTYLE: So let’s say you are currently doing nothing for your body in terms of exercise and/or are currently under a doctor’s care. If this is the case, you will need to start VERY slowly. In fact, I recommend you get your doctor’s approval to engage in exercise. An easy way for someone living a sedentary lifestyle to start exercising is to simply go for a short walk. Any way you can move a little bit more during the day will go a long way for you.

Couple exercising outdoors

MODERATE EXERCISER: Let’s say your current workout regimen is a run or some sort of moderate exercise 2-3 times a week. I would encourage you to add strength training to that, twice a week, and possibly one more day of cardio. If you are a runner, try adding one day of exercise on the elliptical machine, which will provide you with some cardio exercise with less of a stress on your body. Maybe you don’t want to strength train. I could go on and on about the benefits of strength training, regardless if you want to change your muscles/body or not, but I’ll save that for another post. If you prefer not to lift weights, I would recommend you try some body weight exercises, like planks, push ups, bridges, etc. As a moderate exerciser, you are shooting for 4-5 days of exercise, up from 2-3.

WORKOUT-A-HOLIC: Maybe you work out quite a bit, say… 4-6 times a week. I would encourage you to switch up what you are doing for the week. Try interval training for example? Tabata is a great way to torch calories fast, lose weight, retain lean muscle mass, and rev up that metabolism! Or if you always do interval training, try to go for a long walk or a run. Get some strength training in and try some new exercises. Or maybe you always work out in the evenings, try morning workouts this week. This is for the person who is in their groove as far as their workouts go. You never want to get too comfortable. Also, ensure you take at least one day off a week to rest and let your body recover. Hard workouts tear the body down, and you will need to let it recuperate, otherwise your body will being breaking down muscle, which of course is no good.

One week is not nearly enough time to see a difference in switching up your workout routine, but it will be good to introduce yourself to new things. It takes 21 days to make/break a habit, so I highly recommend trying to switch it up for the next 21 days. You’ll truly be amazed at what comes out of it. Contact me for me current teaching schedule! If you are not a member at 24 Hour Fitness or Equinox, please let me know, and I will get you in on a guest pass!

What is Tabata Training?

In short, it’s one of the best ways to lose weight, gain muscle and increase your athletic performance. It is very simple but very intense. Tabata is named after a former researcher at Japan’s National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Kanoya, Japan, named Izumi Tabata.

How Does Tabata Work?

After about a 5 minute warm-up (or more if you feel it’s necessary), you will do one exercise at your maximum effort for 20 seconds. You actually should be working at 170% of your VO2 max. In layman’s terms, you should be working harder than you ever have before, basically working until muscle failure. After those 20 seconds, you will rest for 10 seconds. After your 10 second rest, you will move onto the second round of the Tabata (same exercise, for 20 seconds again). You will do 8 20-second sets, with 10 seconds of rest in between, for a total of 4 minutes. Four minutes may sound easy, but when you are working as hard as you possibly can, you will find those are the longest 20 seconds of your life! I’m not trying to scare you, just want to impose on you how important it is to work as hard as you can. That is the only way you will get the maximum benefits of Tabata Training. Also, you don’t want to spend the first few seconds “ramping up” to your full potential. With Tabata, you need to be at your MAX from the beginning, and you basically have to claw your way through the remaining 20 seconds.

You can use a regular stopwatch, or if you have an iPod Touch, iPhone, etc., you can download the Tabata Pro App from the iTunes store, it is the best app out there for keeping track of your timed intervals. (Shown to the right).

What Are The Benefits of Tabata Training?

There are a myriad of benefits to Tabata Training. For one, it is better for fat loss than steady-state training. When you do a cardio session at the same pace the whle time, your body will adjust itself to the speed you are going and tries to conserve energy (calories). By training in high-intensity intervals, you will be able to avoid this and burn more calories and fat. Another benefit is the afterburn you receive after interval training, also known as EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption). This type of training results in a higher EPOC, which means your body is burning more calories after your workout is over. You will increase your VO2 max (the maximum capacity of your body to transport and use oxygen during exercise, which reflects your physical fitness level). I also love being able to get a killer workout in a short amount of time. We’ll all tight on time these days, so if I can get a quality workout in, in half the time I would have spent in the gym, that sounds good to me! Also, the harder the workout is, the better you feel when it’s over. I feel so much more accomplished after a tough Tabata training than I do after doing comparable time on the elliptical machine at the gym. Boring!

How Often Should I Do Tabata?

It is important to note that you need to have a solid baseline of strength and endurance to attempt Tabata. If you are just starting an exercise program, make sure you give yourself enough time to gain the muscular strength and cardiovascular endurance to get through several rounds of these exercises before diving into a full Tabata workout. If you don’t feel you’re ready to take on some of the tougher Tabata exercises, you can apply the Tabata Training Method to other forms of exercise. So if you are on the elliptical machine, go hard for 20 seconds, then slow it down for 10. You can also apply High Intensity Interval Training methods to your workout (HIIT). This is similar to Tabata in the sense that you are working hard for a set amount of time, then recovering for a set amount of time. If you are a beginner in terms of fitness level, you can adjust the exercises and the amount of training time.

  • HIIT for beginners: I would try a 1 minute walk/1 minute jog. Do this for as long as you can, this time will vary by participant, 2-4 times/week.
  • Intermediate level HIIT: 1 min walk/1 min jog for at least 20 minutes, 3-5 times/week.
  • Advanced HIIT: All out sprints for as long as you can go followed by a 1 min jog, 5-20 minutes, 3-5 times/week.

Both Tabata and High Intensity Interval Training require rest, and should not be attempted on subsequent days.

What is an Example of a Tabata Workout?

For an example, please read my post No Gym? No Equipment? No Problem! There I give you an example of a recent Tabata Training my husband and I completed while out of town, without any access to a gym or training equipment. You can also visit Mindy Mylrea’s You Tube page, where she provides the public with a new Tabata exercise every week! I recently had the pleasure of taking a few of Mindy’s classes, they were phenomenal!

Can I Create My Own Tabata Workout?

Absolutely! There are a few things to keep in mind when developing your Tabata Workout. First, you’ll want to take your fitness level into consideration, please note the HIIT variations above. For a Tabata workout, the exercise needs to be something that you will fail at by the end of a 20 second bout. Any exercise that is intense and can ramp up extremely quickly will work just fine. You’ll want to make sure you’ve hit all major muscle groups with these exercises (arms, legs, core, etc.) and be sure to alternate strength and cardio exercises. Examples of good Tabata exercises are: sprints, jump roping and plyometric jumps. More specifically: Mountain Climbers, Plank with Push Ups, Squat Jumps, Burpees, Lunge variations, etc.

Happy Tabata Training!

I teach a seriously awesome full body functional training group fitness class at Equinox called ViPR. ViPR stands for Vitality, Performance and Reconditioning, and it’s amazing.

ViPR uses strength, resistance and endurance training to create a workout which simulates real life activities. With this class, you’ll regain the power to move more effectively with more energy. This class can be done by anyone, regardless of age or fitness level. All the exercises can be regressed or progressed based on speed, stability, load, simple or complex movements, lever length, repetition, range of motion, power, etc.

See for yourself what ViPR is all about, I teach it every Friday morning, 6am, at the Equinox at Preston Hollow. Here’s a little sneak peek below! See you Friday!

By now I’m sure you’ve heard of these GroupX (Group Exercise/Group Fitness) classes, as they are all the rage! And there’s a reason for that. Maybe you’ve tried one of these classes before, maybe you’re a die-hard GroupX-er (yes, I made that word up), or maybe you’re too intimidated to try a class just yet. Don’t worry, I was too. I watched quite a few boxing boot camps through the windows while I did my time on the elliptical machine, because I was too intimidated to try the class all by myself. Yes, you heard that right. I was scared! But one day, I finally mustered up the courage to ask the instructor what everyone was wrapping their hands for, and what that class was all about. You can read more about that story here. But really, all it took was one 60 minute class, and the rest is history!

So why should you try a GroupX class? There are plenty of reasons. Maybe you need a change to your current workout regimen? Maybe you’ve plateaued, and can’t seem to get as much out of your workouts as you used to. Maybe you want to push yourself a little harder, and it’s hard to do on your own, or maybe you want to make some new friends. The energy in these classes is intoxicating and quite addicting, you will leave with a smile on your face and anxious to attend the next one!

It’s also important to note that GroupX classes can vary quite vastly. Each instructor will have his/her own style of teaching, and it does not mean that one instructor is better than another. In reality, it’s great to have some many wonderful instructor options for members to choose from. Everyone has their own personal preferences when it comes to working out, so it’s great to know that members have so many options to choose from. There is a perfect match out there for all members! I encourage you to try different classes and different instructors. And most importantly, definitely don’t judge an instructor or class after only one class. These classes, their formats, etc. are very organic in the sense that they are constantly evolving. Instructors will (and should) change up the exercises and possibly even the formats from time to time in order to keep it challenging for the participants, and to avoid any plateauing. I can say that even classes with the same format, taught by myself, can vary from location to location as well depending on the audience.

So in short, get out there and try some classes. You may find you love it, you may find you’re not sure about it, or it may not be for you. But regardless, give it a try, it’s a great way to shake up your routine! I’ve converted many “tough guys” into religious Group X members of mine, and I can’t help but think that you’ll most likely love it too! See you in class!

My current teaching schedule can be found on the About page, please scroll down.

Hello world! I’ve started this blog for many reasons, but in short, I needed a better way to share information with others like me. I meet so many wonderful people everyday through my group fitness classes who care about themselves and want to learn more and who are constantly striving to become healthier, happier and more educated when it comes to health, fitness and overall wellness.  So I’m here to share some things that have been successful for me.

Keep in mind when reading this, that everyone is different. What works for some may not work for others. Currently, I’d say 80% of my diet is raw, some days more, some less. I think raw is an excellent way to go, but it’s not for everyone. Personally, I need some fish and chicken in my life/diet. There are others that prefer the gluten-free route, or maybe you just want to watch your calorie intake or begin to make healthier food choices. Whatever your goal, there will be something in this blog for you!

Although nutrition plays an enormous role when it comes to your health and of course your weight, fitness plays a key part as well. As a Group Fitness Instructor for 24 Hour Fitness and Equinox, my passion for a healthy lifestyle has really become greater than it ever has before. Helping people live healthier lifestyles is something that truly makes me happy. Seeing other people make progress is even better than making progress myself. So I’ll also share with you some workouts and fitness tips as well.

Please feel free to drop me a comment or an email. Follow me on Facebook and Twitter, but most importantly, get off your butt and come check out some of my classes!

Peace, health, and wellness,

Melissa