by Jenny Gaal, Fitness Director

Thanksgiving is definitely a time we all look forward to spending time with friends and family, it also is a time we start to consider the undeniable temptations of this holiday. Thanksgiving does not have to spell diet disaster. By following some simple diet tips, you can effectively enjoy Thanksgiving without having to slip back into larger pants in the days immediately following…. Because we all know that is never a good feeling!

Start the Day with Breakfast

Yes, I said breakfast. Conserving morning calories to later only be ravenously hungry will only set you up to over indulge. While it may seem logical to save all of your calories for this one, belt-busting meal, by eating a healthy breakfast prior to sitting down at the Thanksgiving table, you ensure that you are not overly hungry and reduce the likelihood of overeating on the often-calorie-loaded Thanksgiving treats.

Peruse the Buffet Before Tackling It

POA!! Create a dietary plan of attack. To keep your calorie intake down on Thanksgiving, eat only the foods that really appeal to you and keep proper portion sizes in mind. Before you begin to pack your plate with food, look over all of your options and decide which ones you really can’t live without. Skip over any not as desirable food options as you don’t need the added calories.

Downsize Your Plate

The size of your plate matters. Face it; if there is space… you’re going to fill it. Choosing a smaller plate ensures that you don’t allow your eyes to get the better of your stomach and pile on a mountain of food.

Stick With Water

Dehydration is often confused as hunger.   If possible, avoid sodas and alcohol when selecting a beverage to wash down your Thanksgiving meal. These high-calorie beverages maybe appealing, but they also pack an added calorie punch that you do not need on a day when you are already planning a large calorie intake.

Burn Calories wherever you can….Pre-Thanksgiving thru Black Friday

Successful weight maintenance is all about burning more calories than you take in. Period!


Best in Fitness & Happy Thanksgiving,

From our Fun & Fitness Family to yours



by Jenny Gaal, Fitness Director

Improving muscular strength by developing the postural muscles will reduce your risk of injury and improve your overall fitness performance. Core muscles include the postural muscles, which includes the muscles of the back, stomach, and hips. These muscles help us stand upright, transfer energy, and distribute the stress of bearing weight on two legs. Coming up with a core workout routine is fairly simple and you can even do it outside after your regular exercise/cardio.

Here are a few of my favorite basic core exercises to get you started.   No special equipment required!  These exercises can be performed daily, but begin with every other day to give your muscles recovery time. Begin with just a few repetitions and increase the number gradually. Planks and the Superman Pose can be held for 20 to 30 seconds initially and then gradually extend the time.

  1. The Basic Plank– Hold for 30 seconds, relax and repeat. Gradually increase the number of repetitions and the length of time you hold the pose.
  2. The Side Plank– Hold for 30 seconds, relax and repeat. Gradually increase repetitions and time.
  3. The Superman Pose– Lie face down. Raise one arm off the ground and hold for 20-30 seconds. Release and raise the other arm. Then move to your legs; hold one leg at a time off the ground. Then, try holding an alternate leg and arm off the ground at the same time. Then, try both arms up at one time and then both legs at one time. The most advanced version is holding both arms and legs off the ground at one time; hence the name Superman Pose. Hold each of these poses for 20 to 30 seconds, relax, and repeat.
  4. Abdominal Crunches– Lie on your back, knees bent and bring your chest towards your knees. Keep your shoulders back and chin up. Repeat.
  5. Abdominal Crunches with a Twist and/or Bicycle Legs– Do the abdominal crunches as stated above but include a Twist to work the oblique muscles. Keep knees bent, feet on the ground. Bring shoulder to opposite knee for a twisting motion. Another version is the bicycle, which is knees bent, feet off the ground and bring opposite should to knee at the same time, alternating legs to elbows.

So what are you waiting for? Get to it!!

gymnastics life lessons

Someday they will perform their final cartwheel, back tuck or giant swing.

There will be no more achievement ribbons to earn, compulsories or optional routines.

No coaches wrangling kids into classes, and no judges in blue handing out scores.

And the leotards will be tucked into storage or passed on to former team members.

Someday, for all kids who do the sport, gymnastics will come to an end. For some it may be after a few months, others after years and still others will only put down the grips when college is over or even beyond.

But this I guarantee: at some point everyone who does gymnastics retires.

So, while I am committed to making sure all the kids in my programs get awesome instruction and have a wonderful gymnastics experience, I am even more committed to ensuring that they take with them life lessons that will serve them far beyond the years that they spent in the gym.

After all, if all goes, as it should, a person should spend significantly more time in the post-gymnastics phase of life.

Gymnastics carries young people forward with a number of skills that aid in making them a successful adult. Here are some of them:

  1. Resiliency. You learn the art of resiliency, falling down and getting up over and over again, literally and figuratively. Being passed over for a promotion is disappointing, but so was seeing your best friend get moved up a level ahead of you. You survived that and you will survive this. It won’t cause you to quit, it will cause you to double down and work that much harder.
  2. Hard work. Speaking of hard work, you understand that hard work is the necessary ingredient to getting what you want. Sure talent is a nice thing to have and so is a little good luck, but you know that in order to reach your full potential hard work is the key ingredient.
  3. Determination. You have a resolute determination to be your best. You’ve developed your grit by staying the course with your long term goals even when frustrated. And, you’ve cultivated your willpower muscle by developing habits that keep temptation at bay.
  4. High Pain Threshold. Not just physically but also mentally. You can endure short-term discomfort for long-term gain.
  5. Patient (but not apathetic). You understand that success does not happen overnight and that there are no short cuts. You also are edgy about the time things take, always trying to work a little harder to speed up the process. In short, you are patiently impatient.
  6. Brave. Being brave does not mean that you have no fears. Rather it means you know how to overcome your fears.
  7. Goal Setting. You understand the importance of setting goals and know how to set them. You aren’t afraid to set big, lofty goals and you know how to break them into smaller manageable bites to ensure that you are making progress. You re-evaluate your progress from time to time, never taking your eyes off the final destination, but rather tweaking the steps to get there.
  8. Action-oriented. You know the difference between wishing and doing. You goals are set and then action is taken.
  9. Thick-skinned. After having coaches telling you what you did wrong repeatedly in practice and having judges attach a score to your efforts, you can take criticism. You can separate someone giving you critical feedback from someone attacking you as a person. As a result you don’t get flustered with someone doesn’t simply gush about your work. You listen and incorporate the feedback just as you have been doing since you first step foot in the gym.
  10. Reflective. All of those years of having your coaches ask, “What do you need to fix on your next turn?” has turned you into a self-reflective person. You can self-coach.
  11. Internally motivated. You learn to work not for rewards or awards, but for the satisfaction of doing the work. You know that the value of your work isn’t in a trophy or medal or even the positive acknowledgement of another; but, rather comes from within.
  12. Self-efficacy. After spending years learning new and difficult things, you believe in your ability to learn things.
  13. Growth mindset. And even when you are unsure as to how to learn something, you know that you can learn how to learn the things that you don’t yet know how to do.
  14. Confident. Standing in front of judges and an audience on a four inch wide beam while wearing a leotard has taught you much about confidence.   Even when you are nervous you know how to hold your chin up and continue.
  15. Physically fit. Gymnastics is the basis for fitness. By doing gymnastics you have a foundation for exercise that will serve you will throughout your entire life.
  16. Balanced. Literally, but also metaphorically. You learned from a young age how to balance your “gym-school” life so that now you effortlessly do the same with your “work-life” balance.


by Jenny Gaal, Fitness Director


With so many holidays and special events coming up it is easy to get overwhelmed with the amount on your “to do” list and generally health and fitness falls to the bottom of the list until New Year’s Resolutions come around.  However, it is important to remind yourself that your health and fitness is worth a top priority year around.  Practicing a simple 4-step action holiday plan is a positive way to keep your holiday fitness goals in reach.


Step 1: Establish a realistic goal.

If you want to achieve your fitness goal(s), make sure that it is realistic and attainable. It’s okay to think big, but start small. For instance, it may sound like a lofty goal to declare that you want to lose 40 pounds this year, but if you’re currently more than 40 pounds overweight it’s actually realistic because it requires you to lose less than a pound per week which is safe and doable. Just don’t allow yourself to get too caught up in the long-term goal because you may end up feeling defeated if the weight isn’t coming off fast enough. Instead, set a weekly or monthly goal so you stay motivated along the way.

Step 2: Clarify your goal.

Once you’ve established a goal for yourself, the next step toward making it happen is to make it as specific as possible. You can do this by developing a list of questions that will help you clarify your goal. For example, if you want to improve your cardiovascular health by exercising regularly this year, here are some questions you may want to ask yourself:

  • What type of exercise will I be doing?
  • How often (e.g. how many times per week) will I do this type of exercise?
  • What’s should the duration and intensity of the exercise be at each session?
  • What time and days of week will I do this exercise routine?
Step 3: Identify challenges.
  • In addition to setting specific guidelines for your goal, you also need to consider potential roadblocks or obstacles that may make it more challenging to achieve it.  Events you know that are coming up such as, the holidays, guests/family coming to visit, or a business trip, you should figure out ahead of time how you’ll fit in exercise before the change in your routine potentially derails your goal. Once you identify these challenges, you can strategize how to overcome them before they present themselves, making you less likely to stray off course.

Step 4: Create a plan to keep you on track.

  • Continuing with the business trip example above, develop a plan such as the following to overcome challenges and help keep you focused on your goal:
  • In addition to setting specific guidelines for your goal, you also need to consider potential roadblocks or obstacles that may make it more challenging to achieve it. Events you know that are coming up such as, the holidays, guests/family coming to visit, or a business trip, you should figure out ahead of time how you’ll fit in exercise before the change in your routine potentially derails your goal. Once you identify these challenges, you can strategize how to overcome them before they present themselves, making you less likely to stray off course.
  • After you answer these questions you’ll have a clear plan as to what exercises you’ll complete, how often you’ll do them, what time of day will work for scheduling in exercise, and how long and how hard you’ll workout at each session.
  1. Pack sneakers and workout clothes in luggage on business trip.
  2. Book a hotel with a fitness center.
  3. Plan to wake up 45 minutes early to workout in the hotel fitness center before your day gets started.
  4. Pack resistance bands, a jump rope, or your favorite workout DVD in case the fitness center is unavailable.

Another way to stay on track is to break down your fitness goals into smaller ‘mini goals’ week to week so you can feel proud of what you’ve accomplished so far rather than sighing at the prospect of how long you still have to go. By staying positive and focused, you’ll conquer your goals before you know it!

Best in Fitness,





fall-fitness shadow exercise

by Jenny Gaal, Fitness Director

Happy Fall!! Can you believe that Thanksgiving will be here in just weeks?

Finding Motivation, Encouragement and Accountability:   Whether you are getting into shape for a Black Friday shopping marathon or a holiday party….. It is important to remember that planning ahead of the holiday or event is always your first step. Finding ways to stay committed, proactive and encouraged are just as important as the workout itself. Surrounding yourself with positive and supportive friends is the ticket to accountability and success. Consider trying a new fitness class with your best friend, talk long walks with family, and/or try a session or two with a trainer to learn new exercises. Plan an accountability system to help you stay accountable to your friends/family/trainer and, more importantly, to yourself.

More Variety — Less Burnout:   Researchers have found that an exercise program is more successful if it includes variety and continually challenges the body to work hard. Find a program that utilizes this concept.  Our personalized workouts at Fun & Fitness Gymnastics include loads of variety and frequent changes to keep your mind from burning out and your body from adapting and hitting a plateau, which can cause you to stop losing weight and/or gaining muscle.

The Right Program For You:   If you are considering Fitness Classes or Personal Training at Fun & Fitness Gymnastics but you… Don’t like jogging?  Love jogging? Hate weight machines? Love dumbbells?  That’s fine! No matter what your likes or dislikes are, we’ll provide exercise programs based on what YOU enjoy doing!  Don’t have much free time available for working out?  Can’t workout during “normal” hours?  No problem.  We can design an effective program for someone who wants to workout everyday or someone who can only workout a few of days a week, and you decide when the right time is for YOU to workout. Can’t wait to see you in the Gym!

Best in Fitness,

Jenny Gaal