Consistency… The Spice of Life
Here’s a picture I’m going to paint for you.
Four days a week you attend a 45 minute, high intensity interval training workout. You get an average 7 hours of sleep a night. 90% of the time you follow a healthy and supportive meal plan. You’ve reached your most recent weight loss goal and have noticed an increase in strength and flexibility.
Here’s a very different picture.
You’re staying up too late each night trying to get in some last minute work while you have the TV on the background. You miss breakfast and lunch most days and often eat far too much at dinner time as well as snack mindlessly while doing the late night work. You’re often tired and groggy in the morning and it’s tough to get out of bed. You miss morning workouts because you’re tired and you miss evening workouts also because you’re tired. Over the past 6 months you’ve really started to notice that your clothes are no longer fitting well.
Both of these stories have very consistent daily life patterns.
The last one is the slow consistency of becoming more unhealthy each day. Slowly adding on weight and leading a relatively sedentary lifestyle.
The first one might not be the full pillar of health but is the reward of making consistently smarter choices by sticking to the road that is usually less traveled. It can sometimes be harder to stay on this path but the reward when you do is triumph for better daily quality of life.
The first story also isn’t about such rigidity that there is no fun to be had but rather building a foundation that will support your ability to balance the fun, life, work and taking care of you to be able to take care of others.
In the second story, it becomes easier and easier to continue on the sedentary path because to some degree it is easier just not healthier. The full blown reality is that you are slowly letting outside factors take over and ruin the mind and body you were given to protect. It might not seem like it now but soon a few flights of stairs will be uncomfortable for you.
Here’s a starter plan to help lead you from the second story into the first, just remember it’s all about different habits with the same consistency.
- Each week, schedule 3 days at a specific time where you will be active. This can include going to the gym or you can start as simple as going for a rigorous walk outside. You must keep these appointments with yourself.
- Twice a week, plan and prep in advance a few days worth of meals. Don’t try to be elaborate to start. Make a crockpot of chili and grill 2-3 lbs of lean protein. Portion them out into containers with your favorite veggies for your meals for the week.
- Turn the TV and your phones/tablets off at night by at least 10pm and go to sleep. Avoid laying in bed watching TV or surfing the internet, give your eyes and your mind some time to rest.
If you fall off the plan, simply pick it back up with the very next step.
Above all else, remember it’s all about different habits with the same consistency. It takes time but you can succeed.
There’s a really great quote,
“If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.”
If effective exercise and good for you nutrition were easy, everyone would be doing it. Everyone would have successes. As a whole we’d likely be a healthier, happier world.
When your exercise routine doesn’t challenge you anymore you probably won’t see results, at least not the same degree of results you had in the beginning of starting. You can challenge yourself by:
- using heavier weights
- taking less rest
- varying the tempo of the exercise
- completing the same amount of work in less time
- changing the time of day you exercise
The same concept applies for nutrition. It will take more time to prepare your food but it will be healthier and better for you than eating out or buying prepackaged food items. It might be easy to order a pizza for dinner but over the long haul you’ll have a greater response from grilled chicken, roasted vegetables and a salad.
I don’t mean any of this to say that you should purposefully make life harder on yourself, that’s not the angle I’m approaching this from. If you’re going to put in the effort to do a workout, be sure to make it challenging so you benefit from your efforts. If you’re going do that, then you’ll want to fuel and refuel the body with nutrients that are needed by doing some meal prep.
Don’t know what to do for your workouts?
Call us to set up a time for your success session and we’ll show you how! 215-248-2130
Fit for Fall Challenge
October 8 – November 4
What’s the challenge about:
We’re going a little old school on this challenge. There will be nutrition/food tracking, logging your workouts, strict adherence to the plan. It’s four weeks long and includes:
- pre challenge measurements: Friday October 5th to Sunday October 7th
- nutrition & recipes
- minimum three days a week workouts at Urban Athlete
- bonus yoga session: Sunday, October 14th at 12pm
- bonus strength session: Sunday, October 21st at 12pm
- bonus mobility session: Saturday, October 27th at 11am
- bonus strength session: Friday, November 2nd at 6pm
- post challenge measurements: Sunday, November 4th at 12-3pm
There are likely more recommendations on health and fitness, exercise, weight loss and strength gains than any other subject matter on the consumer market. If not, there are at least too many to count.
Who and what should you believe?
First and foremost, all the facts are required to make the best, educated decision for you.
If it sounds extreme like caloric deprivation, under 1000 calories a day while maintaining exercise, it’s not sustainable or healthy. Also, if it’s excessive, like two-a-day workouts with steady state cardio built in, it’s not sustainable or healthy.
All lifestyle; exercise and nutrition, decisions should support increasing your quality of life. That’s not to say that starting them might be uncomfortable compared to what you currently do. After all, consistent exercise and clean eating are not easy tasks to master but they can be mastered.
To avoid making this a mile long read, the basics for the average person with quality of life as goal, look like this:
-Eat lean proteins, healthy fats, non processed carbohydrates, vegetables and low glycemic fruits.
-Exercise consistently throughout the week, at least 3-4 days a week.
-Don’t starve yourself, your body needs nutrients, particularly after you workout.
-Get sleep, at least 7 hours, it’s part of the recovery process.
-If it hurts, don’t do it. Find a substitute.
-Never give up. Keep at it, building habits and creating change won’t happen overnight.
-Keep yourself accountable, let your coach or family member know if you need support during the process.
Once you’ve mastered the above you make tweaks to train for specific events or to see what your body is capable of doing. Just don’t over do it in the beginning. Remember this: extreme and excessive are not sustainable or healthy.
Typically I write to you about my perspective on health, fitness and wellness from being in the industry for almost 15 years – keeping an open mind that I know our fitness programs aren’t for everyone. Today, I want to specifically talk about the programs at Urban Athlete, their benefits and why you shouldn’t hesitate to give them a try.
Let’s look at why you might be hesitant to check us out:
1. You haven’t exercised in quite awhile and you aren’t sure where/how to get started again.
2. You might be concerned that our program is only for athletes.
3. You think you can’t keep up.
4. What if you’re the only new person in the session.
5. You have a few aches you aren’t sure how to work around.
These are actually all great reasons TO workout with us at Urban Athlete!
Let me explain…
All of our group training sessions are specifically designed to be able to allow the newest fitness enthusiast to obtain a great workout along side a fellow Urban Athlete who has been exercising with us for the past 12 years! Each of our workouts can easily be modified based on strength, skill set or mild injury.
Everyone who comes to Urban Athlete is an athlete, even the least suspecting. We believe everyone has the ability and capability to reach their own level of strength, power and endurance. You measure your progress against you, no one else. You set your own bar, achieve it and set a new one. We will help you get there and our community of like minded and supportive folks with similar goals will lift you up in the process.
If you’re new, we have a buddy for you! You won’t have to go through the workout alone. We all started in the same place at some point, so we will make sure a coach is by your side with a more in depth description of the workout, coaching you. We will also do our best to pair you up with a fellow Urban Athlete, who will work by your side every step of the way. This isn’t just on day one either, it’s every session after as you need it.
On day one, even on day 10, we don’t expect everyone to do the entire workout as written. Reps, sets, weights… you name it, can all be adjusted so your first few workouts work for you. At Urban Athlete, exercise is a lifestyle, we want you to love it as much as we do, so we don’t want you to over do it your first few days. Exercise is fun and we believe with this approach that you’ll think so too.
It might sound repetitive but those aches and pains, provided they aren’t serious injuries, will likely start feeling better with some regular movement. Remember, it’s about lifestyle design. We want you to workout for the long haul, move better, feel better, and be stronger.
I’m really confident in saying, once you start on a consistent program, you won’t want to turn back. For many people the gym is their place to go to, to be with like minded friends, to relieve stress, to decompress, to see what you are capable of.
Are you ready to see what you are capable of?
We’re running a 21 day challenge from June 9, 2018 – June 29, 2018: To see if it’s a good fit, click this link and submit your inquiry.
After being in the industry for over 14 years and owning a facility for over 12 years, I’ve noticed that when budgets are tight or expenses need to be cut, gym memberships are often one of the first to go. In reality it should be one of the last.
Here’s my opinion on how to make a gym membership work for you and why it’s valuable.
Years ago the boutique style gym wasn’t quite a thing yet, CrossFit did a great job of helping to get today’s smaller, functional training facilities on the map. Before then there were large, corporate owned gyms that offered classes, personal training and just a regular old membership, where most people just roamed about. The cost typically wasn’t impactful enough if you missed three weeks in a row or eventually three months in a row.
Here’s why those gyms, and most of our mindset about gyms in general don’t work:
- You’re signed up, all excited and motivated to start but you loose that motivation or you simply don’t know what to do when you are there.
- There’s no accountability, so the first week you miss it’s not noticed, then all of a sudden you haven’t gone in 3 months and it’s still not noticed. Eventually you fall out of a routine.
- Larger gyms are actually designed for you to not attend.
- When you don’t know what to do when you’re at the gym you start to wonder if your time might be better spent doing something else.
- If you aren’t following a specific workout and nutrition plan you probably aren’t going to get the results you want in the time period you want and you get frustrated.
In a smaller, boutique style gym, like Urban Athlete, we attempt to break the mindset and limitations listed out above.
- At Urban Athlete – it’s about lifestyle. When you sign up for a gym membership we want you to come on a regular and consistent basis.
- If you are doing personal training we will make sure the workout is tailored to the goals we discussed in your success session.
- If you are doing group training we will make sure that you are comfortable in the group setting and have modifications and progressions available for when/if the workout needs to be adjusted.
- Starting a new habit can be challenging and we want you to succeed, so all you have to do is get to the gym, we will show you what you need to do.
- We also want your workouts to be fun! In addition to the workouts, we host charity events and appreciation events that allow the community to become more connected to each other.
- Supporting you in your efforts is huge, we want to be able to lift you up, even if it’s just for the time you are at the gym.
The best thing for making a gym membership work for you is:
- Make sure it’s convenient to home or work or along the route to get to either of these places.
- Schedule your gym time like you do all other appointments and don’t miss.
- Set small goals; if you attend the gym 36 times (that’s just 3x a week) in 90 days, reward yourself!
- Let your coach know what support you need to keep at it. That’s part of the reason we’re there, to help lift you up.
Gearing Up for Summer…
It’s been a long winter and I know we’re all itching to get outside, myself included. It’ll be great to hike in the Wissahickon, bike around the Art Museum and, run on Forbidden Drive and the Kelly Drive loop. In order to maximize your workout efficiency and not loose any momentum and progress you’ve made over the past 4-6 months you’ll want to keep active with your resistance training / strength training.
Resistance training is one of the most efficient ways to keep lean, sculpt muscles and of course be the strongest version of yourself.
If outdoor activity is your thing, still be sure to get in 2-3 resistance training workouts a week. This will also aid in injury prevention from clocking too many miles on your feet or bike. Alternating workout types throughout the week is also important with a rest day every 4-5 days.
If you really want to ramp things up before the summer officially kicks off, the week of July 4th then you’ll also want to make sure you are dialed in to your nutrition. I know, sometimes eating clean is more daunting than getting into the gym but it’s really very impactful on any body composition changes you want to see happen.
1 – Resistance train at least 2x a week, more if this is your only activity
2 – Get outside for fresh air and Vitamin D
3 – Eat lean proteins, healthy fats, green vegetables and low glycemic fruits
If you’re looking for a swift kick in the pants to help get the process going we will be doing a 21 day summer challenge starting on June 10, 2018 (intentionally placed after the Burpees and Burgers fundraiser and ending before July 4th weekend.) You will also have the option to add on a maintenance program once the 21 days over through the end of July to make this summer your best looking summer. Details coming soon!
In my experience with the fitness, one of the most challenging conflicts in being successful with your fitness plan is sticking to it. I’ll be one of the first to admit, that fitness isn’t easy. It’s one of those things, that if it was – everyone would be doing it and doing it well.
Let’s clear up a few things that often get in the way:
- Starting a fitness journey cannot be a fleeting thought. Decisions made at 2am or because your saw a cool advertising sign, likely won’t be the reason you stick to a program, at least not long term.
- Starting a fitness journey cannot be something someone else wants you to do. If your spouse or partner wants you to lead a healthier lifestyle or your doctor tells you exercise should be in your weekly plan, likely won’t be the reason yo stick to a program, again, at least not long term.
So, if you personally want to make some lifestyle changes and are driven by factors that are important to you like longevity, your family, happiness, better sleep, and so on then here are some steps to help make your fitness journey successful.
- Schedule your workout time. This is a lifestyle change – you must make it a part of your life. These fitness appointments cannot be traded for other time or other appointments.
- Your gym should be convenient. If you choose a gym or coach that is either close to home or close to work you will be more likely to attend. It should be on the physical path you travel most days.
- Invest in you. Fitness and nutrition are a hard and confusing journey. There is a lot of information available to you, hire a professional to guide you and coach you through the process.
- Find a community that fits you. This might sound weird to be in this list but the people who are clients in the gym you decide to work out in are important. You have to like going there and soon enough you’ll even like the workouts despite how easy or hard they might feel.
- Remind yourself why you started on this path every day. You might need a few pep talks along the way. Some will come from your coach, some from your loved ones, many will come from you. Be positive in the talks you have with yourself and celebrate your wins; big and small.
Fitness should be fun and rewarding. Some days might be hard but once you start you’ll have days in the future where you look back and reflect on where you started and how far you’ve come.
We get it… scheduling your workouts can be a challenge, let alone all the other things you need to get done in a day/week. Success comes from being consistent.
Here are our top 4 ways to make your workout plan a success:
- Sandwich your work week. Never miss a Monday or Friday. Start both the week and the weekend off with a positive impact. Monday workouts are a great way to start your week. Friday workouts are a great way to set a healthy and mindful tone to the weekend.
- Workout at least 3 days a week. This is less than half the days of the week. Keep up the momentum with a consistent schedule and guard those times as the really important appointments they are. We often place more value on work appointments or various other obligations, your health should fall at the top of your list.
- Don’t go more than 3 days without exercise. This ties in with the above. Spread out your activity over the week. Ideally, you’d be able to do 10-15 minutes of mobility and movement on the opposite four days.
- Be#uastrong. It’s not just about physical strength, it mental and emotional health as well. Being consistent with a plan that improves your health and wellness makes us stronger in all aspects of life and has a tremendous carry over in least suspecting of places. Keep going #uastrong.
Consider our plan for workout success the next time you start on your journey. If you need a little help along the way be sure to ask us for some guidance if you’re an Urban Athlete already or see how you can start your journey with us. Let us help set you up for some serious success. Call or message us: Start your journey with UA!
First, what is ROM?
Glad you asked! ROM stands for range of motion. It’s a very crucial component of exercise. Working with full range of motion is what makes us stronger overall and specifically in the joint that is doing most of the work. Additionally. as you progress from the basics to more challenging exercises having full range of motion is important.
What does this look like exactly?
Let’s look at the push up as an example. In a full range of motion push up we want:
- the upper body to be in line with the lower body
- the head to be in a neutral position
- the elbows to be in full extension (or straight) at the top of the exercise
- the upper arm to be at least parallel to the ground in the bottom of the exercise
If the all four of these cannot be achieved when doing the exercise, we prefer that you modify the exercise in order to be able to reach full range of motion, particularly with the upper body.
I know that sometimes our ego can get in the way and encourage us to try a version that isn’t modified. Trust me when I tell you, you’ll reach your exercise goals quicker when you work with modifications to help get stronger.
It might even be hard for you to tell when you are or aren’t getting the full range of motion you need. Often, the full range of motion will be harder! That’s ok. Ask your coach if you aren’t sure.
Some things to look at in the push up to determine if you aren’t reaching full range of motion:
- shoulders are always above the hips, or the hips are sagging toward the floor
- hips that are popped up in the air, hips above the shoulders
- if the chin is reaching toward the floor
- if elbows do not come to full extension at the top of each rep
- if the upper arm does not make it parallel to the ground
Ways to modify the movement to become stronger, which is a good thing!!
- Elevate the hands off the floor
- Drop one or both knees to the floor when doing the exercise, be sure not let the hips pop up in the air
- Use a resistance band around the elbows to help lift you up from the floor as you do the push up
- Work on the negative of the exercise, slowly lower yourself to the floor and don’t worry about trying to push up from the floor
Over time with effort you’ll be able to do regular push ups with ease!!
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