Let me begin by saying that it is challenging to not write a blog post that doesn’t pertain to this current time! We have all had unique experiences with COVID-19, and I certainly cannot begin to speak to yours. However, I am an expert (I like to think) on my current situation, so I’d like to highlight something that I have learned.
I think it is tempting to wish for COVID-19 to leave so that we may return to our lives.
However, we are currently faced with a unique opportunity to work within a situation.
Here are a few examples of how I work within COVID-19, rather than wish for its removal entirely!
Pick something that you love to do, and do it at the same time each day. Each morning, I have fallen into this habit of sitting at my desk that looks out the window into our yard, with a cup of coffee. Sometimes I read, sometimes I think. It sounds cheesy, but I love it! (Mostly the coffee…) What do you love to do? Hang on to that.
Choose health. Urban Athlete is special. I could have written this blog post about so many different topics, because UA takes a wholistic approach to health. Health to me has always meant listening to my body. My body tells me when I need to eat differently, sleep differently, work out differently, or think differently. When I tell this to people, they normally respond with, “Well, my body is telling me to eat ice cream!”. To which I say, “Well yes, my body tells me that too.”
Still focus on people. My favorite part about being a coach at Urban Athlete is that the people are the priority. We have the privilege of offering our workouts over Zoom, but we also delight in reaching out to our clients via phone call or text message throughout the week. As a coach who lives an hour from the gym, I now feel more a part of the Urban Athlete community than I ever have. What are some ways that you have been able to keep people the priority?
Here is a question to consider ~ Have you Hope?
Hope, not only for after COVID-19, but also for during or within it?
Cheers to good health.
~ Jennifer B.
Exercise is a big component to Urban Athlete’s wellness lifestyle program. While most clients might only do resistance workouts 3-5 times a week, we encourage daily movement even on the “off days”. Incorporating activities like walking, mobility and original strength resets are all part of the process of being active.
We’ve always offered bodyweight workouts to our clients when they are traveling so they may stay on track with their exercise program for reaching their goals. Due to recent events we are now offering a full online bodyweight exercise option as a membership option to assist the community in maintaining their health and wellness during this time.
UA at Home Live Streaming is temporarily replacing our traditional gym membership during the Shelter in Place mandate. Our community attends dual coach-led workouts online through a virtual, live streaming platform. Coaches are teaching the bodyweight exercises and correcting form while giving modifications to make exercises either more challenging or easier based on skill set and capability.
Virtual, live streaming bodyweight workouts are offered 11 times a week.
Mon, Wed, Fri 7am
Mon – Sat 9am
Mon, Wed 5pm
Virtual, live streaming weighted workouts are offered 5 times a week.
Tue, Thurs 7am
Tue, Thurs, Fri 5pm
(Once the Shelter in Place mandate has been lifted, the live streaming workouts will return to in facility workouts. There will be a brief period of overlap between the two programs as well.)
UA at Home Live Streaming also includes:
Access to a private, members only, online community
Four, Monthly Recipe Packs
Weekly accountability with check ins from a coach
Variety of members only challenges
Pre-recorded, follow along workouts for when you can’t make the gym
UA at Home Live Streaming Trial $109
Scheduled Discovery Call with an Urban Athlete Coach
Scheduled Virtual Success Session with an Urban Athlete Coach
4 Weeks of Virtual, Live Streaming Coach led Workouts begin as soon as your Success Session is complete.
UA at Home is a monthly workout pack of three pre-recorded bodyweight workouts a week for a total of 12 pre-recorded bodyweight workouts a month. Workouts are delivered weekly with a prescribed warm up. Each month the workouts are refreshed.
Pre-recorded workouts give you the opportunity to workout on your own while not having to plan what to do for your workout on your own. UA at Home workouts also include a scalability option, which assists you with several ways to make your workouts more/less challenging.
UA at Home Trial $74
Scheduled Discovery Call with an Urban Athlete Coach
Your 3 pre-recorded workouts, delivered weekly for 4 weeks are accessible once your Discovery Call is complete.
If you’d like to register for either of our UA at Home Trials, please follow this link: urbanathlete.wodify.com or send us an email at email@example.com !
I believe every single one of us wants to feel empowered.
Empowered to make decisions.
Belief in oneself.
Desire to make the best decisions we can make.
Few of us (especially those reading this) start each day with the mindset of purposefully wanting to have bad, unproductive days by intentional design.
Even if I wasn’t currently faced with so much uncertainty during this time, there remain a few things in life I prioritize all of the time. They either contribute to my belief system, or I find them essential to my well being. As I reflect on these priories, I see that they are also things I can control to some extent. My commitment to them can’t be taken away regardless of any situation I face.
My family. I’ve always felt connected to family, both my biological attachments but also those I’ve given the title of family to (friends and our community). It’s not that I don’t make concessions 100% of the time but when it comes down to it, my family will always be what drives me.
My wellness. It would seem pretty foolish if exercise, nutrition and recovery weren’t essential to my every day living. It builds me up, as I thrive on strength in mind and body. It also contributes to my clarity and decision making. I take care of myself because I feel better when I do, and it allows me to take care of those who are important to me. (See #1)
My surroundings. This one can get a little abstract. I like tidy spaces and everything in its place. Cluttered spaces contribute to a cluttered mind. I enjoy time with people who lift me up and challenge me to be a better person.
It’s not to say there aren’t variables in the above priorities. I’m also certain that I don’t have this dialed in 100%. It’s a constant work in progress. What I do know is that I can plan my days and weeks around these priorities and I find value in it. It helps me to be a better role model to my kids. It also assists me in being the best version of myself.
Reminding myself to focus on the things I do have control over doesn’t make me feel as chaotic if I didn’t. It makes me feel empowered.
What are your top priorities? I’d love to hear about them.
I’ve known Izzy for a number of years. Initially we were peers in the fitness industry but since then have become great friends. Though we live in different cities we get to see each other quite frequently, mostly over Zoom (even before social distancing) but also in person several times a year at peer group meetings, fitness business conferences and when she is visiting the east coast. About two years ago Izzy turned me on to Original Strength and like her I really fell in love with the principles. She sent her blog post to me on self-hugging last week and I immediately asked her if I could share it with all of you. Take a read and let me know what you think. Izzy is the owner of IzzyFit Personal Training and TruFit in Evanston, IL as well as a really rad person who always makes me smile!
We need a hug. And mental clarity. And, from what I’ve heard from at least three people today, we need to get the kinks out of our necks that have settled in from less-than-ideal posture.
Enter the Egg Roll, one of my favorite Original Strength moves!
I’ll tell you why I love it below but if you’re in a hurry to feel better, here’s how you do it:
- Find some space on the floor where you can move to the left and right, preferably carpeted or where you have a yoga mat
- Curl your body into a ball while you place your tongue on the roof of your mouth, breathing in and out through your nose (if you’re stuffy, just work on breathing any way you can)
- STARTING WITH YOUR EYES, look to one side then let your head follow until the rest of your body needs to follow.
- If you have the mobility, keep on looking to see what’s behind you as I demonstrate in the video
- When you’ve gone as far as you can go, LOOK WITH YOUR EYES to the opposite direction, letting your head follow, followed by your body
- You should look like an egg rolling on a counter! Get it?
You can find the how-to video here: https://youtu.be/GyoFvrP40O4
- If feels good. It just does.
- You get to light up a lot of nerve endings as your roll your body on the floor, similar to what you get out of a hug!
- It’s fun! Babies roll on the floor because it’s their job but adults are expected to just sit in front of a computer all day? No thanks.
- By practicing leading your movements with your eyes FIRST, you get to give your neck a break. Quality head control (and posture) starts with the eyes! Master this and your neck discomfort will be a thing of the past.
- Your spine gets super gentle rotation which it needs to stay healthy.
We hope you took comfort, not only in Izzy’s blog post, but also in a movement (self-hugging) that has the ability to ease both your body and your mind!
We thought we’d get a new phrase trending this week – personal scheduling.
This week, one of our coaches shared a NY Times opinion article with our team, “I Spent a Year in Space, and I Have Tips on Isolation to Share,” by Sean Kelly. He used this article to share the necessity of two habits:
- Make a schedule
- Exercise daily
I find it interesting that this same advice was given to me last Fall, way before we found ourselves adapting to a new situation, a new world climate. (Adapting, both physically and mentally, seems like a great topic for next week!)
Let’s use a work meeting to illustrate how creating a schedule affects our mental framework and how we approach the day. Every Monday at 12PM, the Urban Athlete coaches hold a team meeting over Zoom. We treat this meeting and time slot with incredible importance – so much so that its timing affects the rest of the activities in our day.
Because our meeting is at 12PM, we have our Restorative UA class at 11AM and our Young STARS class at 1PM. Hmm…lunch? Eaten during the meeting!
Speaking from experience, it is “easier” to commit to a schedule when an external force holds you responsible or someone is counting on you.
Why is it easier to attend a Zoom meeting than it is to go for a walk, or tune-in to a workout? Your company, coworkers, and CEO might be counting on you in the Zoom meeting, but your body is counting on you to exercise.
I challenge you this week to honor your workout commitment to your body. Don’t reschedule or show-up five minutes late – come prepared and well rested!
A day in advance, try to schedule a specific time that you are going to be active. Once you have honored this commitment to yourself, let your day build from there. If you work out from 9AM-10AM tomorrow, what time will you eat breakfast? What time will you read a good book or spend time with your family? What time will you dedicate to resting?
The commitments you make are yours to keep!
There was something about our Bodyweight Bliss workouts this week that made me feel like I was preparing for battle. Maybe this is an exaggeration, maybe it’s not. But as my heart rate increased and I began to sweat doing Lateral Bounding (in the 4 feet of empty space in my bedroom…), I couldn’t help but feel like I was reminding my body just how strong it was.
Exercise protects our bodies, but it also shields our brains. As soon as I was finished working out, I had the energy and the motivation to cook a healthy dinner for my family.
We wanted to write a blog post this week that empowered you to work out from home. We wanted to give you the freedom to start moving anywhere you find yourself – your living room, kitchen, front porch, or the four feet of empty space in your bedroom.
It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but your body (and your brain) are counting on you to move.
I’ll organize the different movements and household items that you can use by where you find yourself in the house!
Living room: Do you allow feet on the furniture in your house? You can do elevated hip bridges with your heels on a recliner or the couch!
Kitchen: Use a mop or broom for shoulder dislocates! Take a wide grip on the broom, keeping your arms straight and gently travel up and behind your head.
Bedroom: Get those feet up on your bed for an elevated push-up or plank!
Bathroom: Right now, there is currently a bucket of bleach in our bathroom, because we are about to mop the floors! In between cleaning the tub and floor, throw some RDL’s in there with the bucket – but maybe first make sure that it’s just full of water…
Hallway: This is a great space to do anything that we would do while traveling in the gym – think dynamic warm-up. Walking to the bathroom? Throw some lunges in there! Ever done crossovers (think right over left) to your toothbrush? Well, now’s the time!
Front/Back Porch: Throw down a towel or yoga mat and get busy! This can be your favorite core workout or reset!
We are here to support you, as you take this time to focus on your physical and mental well-being. Our hope is that the healthy habits you form now, during these trying weeks, would last your lifetime.
Whether you decided to try RDL’s with a bucket or caught yourself lunging down the hallway, we want to see you exercising at home! Post yourself using one of the suggested home items, and tag @urbanathletephilly on either Instagram or Facebook to win 1 week of Bodyweight Bliss workouts! Don’t forget to use the hashtag #uastrong !
“After being a part of Urban Athlete, I am more motivated and more fit! The ever changing variety of workouts keeps me interested and challenged.” ~Sally P.
Several weeks ago, we had a client show us an article from The New York Times, “How ‘Muscle Confusion’ Might Help Your Workouts.” The article was a summary of a research study done with two groups of people:
- Same exercise routine each time they came into the gym
- Randomly generated exercise routine each time they came into the gym
At the end of eight weeks, researchers used ultrasound to measure the size and strength of the participants’ leg muscles from both groups. The researchers hypothesized that if the group who received randomly generated exercise routines had stronger muscles, then this was evidence of muscle confusion.
However, the researchers did not find a significant difference in physical strength between the two groups. What they did find, however, was a difference in motivation.
The group who did a different exercise routine each time they came into the gym had significantly higher motivation to continue exercising at the completion of the study.
There are a slew of factors that contribute to exercise adherence. (Hmm..Maybe we’ll talk about that in a later post?) However, if workout variety is something that keeps people coming into the gym, then we can definitely control that.
Every Monday at Urban Athlete, the coaches take the time to discuss the workouts for the week. Why? Because they’re different each and every day! This way, coaches can stay up to speed on the many different movement variations and patterns that we use.
A little more time and energy creating different workouts
A lot more motivation from the clients who complete them
If you’d like to check-out the article that we referenced, please follow this link! https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/08/well/move/muscle-confusion-exercise-workouts-fitness.html
Whether it’s been at a doctor’s office or in the comfort of our homes, we have all stepped on a scale at one point in time! Within seconds, a number pops up that tells us how much we weigh.
But what if we had something where not only a number popped up, but also a detailed analysis of what exactly made up that number?
In October 2019, Urban Athlete integrated the InBody scan into our lifestyle design. The InBody is a two minute scan that uses eight electrodes to determine your body composition – skeletal muscle mass, body fat mass, and water.
The InBody scan is well known for its reliability, or its ability to produce consistent results on consecutive scans. When pre-scan protocol is followed, the InBody removes the human error often seen in traditional body composition methods that require the use of equations.
If you choose to use the InBody scan at Urban Athlete, here is an idea of what you can expect:
- First, you will be asked to step on the scan with bare feet, with your heels aligning with the heel electrodes.
- Next, you will be asked to provide your height, age, and gender. These will not affect the results, but they will be used to create normative ranges from the World Health Organization.
- You will then be prompted to take the handles with electrodes designed for your thumbs.
- Lastly, you will see a percentage at the bottom of the screen. Once this reads 100% (in roughly 30 seconds), you can step off the scan!
Once the scan has been completed and printed, a coach will take the time to discuss the results with you. This is a great time to ask questions about what different measurements mean, as well as come up with a plan of action!
As mentioned earlier, the InBody scan will break down your weight into body fat mass, lean body mass (muscle and bone), and total body water. However, the InBody scan will also provide you with a segmental lean analysis – my favorite part! This section tells you how much skeletal muscle mass you have in each limb and if it has the capability to support your body weight. You will find answers to questions, such as, “Is my lower body stronger than my upper body?”
Urban Athlete is excited to provide clients with more than just a number on a scale, and we would love to answer any questions you may have about our InBody machine! Scans are complimentary with our Urban Athlete membership and are taken every six weeks.
Interested in having a scan, but aren’t a member of Urban Athlete? Contact us at 215-248-2130 or firstname.lastname@example.org to set-up a time to meet!
How many times have you heard a coach at Urban Athlete say, “Inhale down, exhale up”?
Probably too many times to count…
But, why do they say it?
We all know that breathing is important! Our lungs play a critical role in our circulatory system. They release carbon dioxide, or waste from our muscles, into the atmosphere and in turn bring oxygen into our system, specifically into our bloodstream.
Our blood transports this oxygen to our working muscles and then picks up its waste products to be released from the body.
It is a super important system that allows our muscles to continue working.
So, why inhale down, exhale up? Why not exhale down, inhale up?
Coaches say, “Inhale down, exhale up” during exercises where at one point the movement is working with gravity, and at another point the movement is working against gravity.
Here are two key terms:
Eccentric – muscles are lengthing, working with gravity
Concentric – muscles are shortening, working against gravity
Think about the Romanian Deadlift (RDL), for example. At the start of the movement, you hinge at the hips with a flat back, letting gravity take the weight towards the floor. This is when “inhale down” applies, because this is the eccentric part of the movement. Next, you come out of the hip hinge – full hip extension. You are working against gravity, as your hamstrings and glutes tighten to bring you back to upright. This is “exhale up.”
We breathe in during the eccentric phase, in order to prepare our muscles for the subsequent contraction. During the contraction, or concentric phase, we exhale all of the waste products that our body accumulated during the lift.
Are you super aware of your breathing right now? I know I am!
Ever walk into a gym and think, “Whoa, what’s going on in here?”
You keep thinking, “How am I supposed to do all of this, when my back hurt just getting out of bed this morning…”
You’re a little stressed from the morning you’ve had and now you’re at the gym where it’s supposed to be fun, right? But now it’s not looking all that fun, and the idea of trying to work out like everything is okay seems pretty miserable.
So instead of walking-out, you speak-up. You need an alternative. You want to be in the gym with your friends, but the pressure to complete a workout, that your body is telling you is too much, can no longer be ignored.
Cue Restorative UA!
At the start of 2020, we launched Restorative UA, a low impact workout designed to keep people, who needed an alternative, coming into the gym. Not necessarily easier, but definitely different. In this way, Restorative UA helps to bridge the gap between physical therapy and functional fitness, or High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).
Let’s answer a few questions you may have:
- Is this for me, if I haven’t done physical therapy? We say physical therapy, but insert any word to describe what has kept you from the gym or your recent health and wellness goals. This could be nagging aches or difficulty with everyday tasks, such as standing or picking-up little ones.
- What is functional fitness? Functional fitness encompasses all of the movements that we do in the gym that you also see in everyday life. For example, hip hinging in Restorative UA is bending over to get something out of the fridge at home.
- What is a low impact workout? Exercise is a stressor on the body – an external stimulus that causes the body to adapt, or make physiological changes. A low impact workout is designed to put less stress on the body, allowing it greater time to make adjustments.
- What can I expect from a Restorative UA workout? Every Monday and Wednesday from 11AM-12PM, you can expect gentle strength training, mobility, flexibility, and balance exercises.
Have a few questions or want to try some FREE classes? Simply call us at 215-248-2130 or send an email to email@example.com !
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