Category: General

The Benefits of Body Weight Exercises!   

body weight exercises female

by Jenny Gaal, Fitness Director

The safest and most effective type of workout is finally getting some much deserved recognition.   If you are not familiar with Bodyweight Exercises or our Fitness Classes at Fun & Fitness Gym… keep reading to learn the powerful benefits of this style of training.

Fitness, there is no better way of building an athletic, toned, physique than using your own body as the resistance. A quick glance at the bodies of gymnasts will show you just how muscular and fat free your body can become using such a program. You can also start your program at any time, regardless of your present physical condition.

Weight loss, your body is an ingenious creation that tries to protect you at all times. Because body fat is a part of the weight being lifted but does not provide any assistance when you are doing bodyweight exercises your body’s metabolism will make sure you lose fat to make the exercises easier and less likely to injure you next time. This is the opposite of weight training which uses an inanimate weight as the resistance and therefore does not require fat loss to prevent injury.

Strength, whether you want to increase your strength a little bit or build the extreme power needed to do hard core exercises it can be done easily and safely with a program of progressively more difficult bodyweight exercises.

Whatever goal you have in mind body weight exercises can be used to achieve it. For example, by changing the position of your body and therefore the leverage, you can create exercises which even advanced gym members would struggle to do.

Muscle, although weight training is excellent for muscle building, forcing yourself to lift such heavy loads can have a down side such as injury or soreness to the joints (particularly the shoulders). You can avoid this and still build incredible muscle with the right bodyweight exercises.

body weight exercises male

What about sports, boxing or martial arts?

If you want to improve your sporting performance these exercises have no substitute because they are so adaptable. If your sport requires more strength but no extra bodyweight it can be done easily with natural, compound (multi – muscle) exercises.

The result is you build functional strength that carries over into real life situations and also improves your speed, co-ordination and flexibility. This is why they are a great inclusion to any sports training program.

How good are bodyweight exercises for women?

They are the absolute best way for women to train simply because most women have far less time than men. It can be very difficult for busy working mothers to find time to work out.  However, everybody can find benefit from scheduling a 45 minutes at some point in the week to learn the power of compound- body weight exercises.

Start your journey today!  Please contact coachjenny@funfitgym.com to learn more about our classes and these safe, simple and effective exercises.

An Active Lifestyle is More Important Than Ever

by Jenny Gaal, Fitness Director

Fitness Coed

As we grow older, an active lifestyle is more important than ever. Regular exercise can help boost energy, maintain your independence, and manage symptoms of illness or pain. Not only is exercise good for your body, it’s also good for your mind, mood, and memory. Check out our Fitness Class Schedule today to find a class that works for you!

No matter your age or your current physical condition, you can benefit from exercise. Here are some facts….
Fact: Exercise and strength training helps you look and feel younger and stay active longer. Regular physical activity lowers your risk for a variety of conditions, including Alzheimer’s and dementia, heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, high blood pressure, and obesity.
Fact: Research shows that a sedentary lifestyle is unhealthy for adults over 50. Inactivity often causes older adults to lose the ability to do things on their own and can lead to more hospitalizations, doctor visits, and use of medicines for illnesses.
Fact: Regular exercise, by building strength and stamina, prevents loss of bone mass and improves balance, actually reducing your risk of falling.
Fact: You’re never too old to exercise! If you’ve never exercised before, or it’s been a while, start with light walking and other gentle activities.
Fact: Chair-bound people face special challenges but can lift light weights, stretch, and do chair aerobics to increase range of motion, improve muscle tone, and promote cardiovascular health.
The benefits of regular exercise are unlimited. Here are just some of the benefits….
• Exercise helps maintain or lose weight. As metabolism naturally slows with age, maintaining a healthy weight is a challenge. Exercise helps increase metabolism and builds muscle mass, helping to burn more calories. When your body reaches a healthy weight, your overall wellness will improve.
• Exercise reduces the impact of illness and chronic disease. Among the many benefits of exercise for adults over 50 include improved immune function, better heart health and blood pressure, better bone density, and better digestive functioning. People who exercise also have a lowered risk of several chronic conditions including Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, osteoporosis, and colon cancer.
• Exercise enhances mobility, flexibility, and balance . Exercise improves your strength, flexibility and posture, which in turn will help with balance, coordination, and reducing the risk of falls. Strength training also helps alleviate the symptoms of chronic conditions such as arthritis.
• Exercise improves your sleep. Poor sleep is not an inevitable consequence of aging and quality sleep is important for your overall health. Exercise often improves sleep, helping you fall asleep more quickly and sleep more deeply.
• Exercise boosts mood and self-confidence. Endorphins produced by exercise can actually help you feel better and reduce feelings of sadness or depression. Being active and feeling strong naturally helps you feel more self-confident and sure of yourself.
• Exercise is good for the brain. Exercise benefits regular brain functions and can help keep the brain active, which can prevent memory loss, cognitive decline, and dementia. Exercise may even help slow the progression of brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Keep in mind there are 4 building blocks of Fitness- Cardio endurance, Strength training, Flexibility and Balance- all equally important to condition at any age. Please email me, Coach Jenny, if you have any questions on the topic or on our Fitness programs at Fun& Fitness Gymnastics. Have a Fit Day! coachjenny@funfitgym.com

10 BEST TIPS TO HELP STAY ON THE HEALTHY TRACK

by Jenny Gaal, Fitness Program Director

food Picture

  1. Drink water- Drink plenty of water or other calorie free snacks to curb hunger and increase metabolic efficiency.
  2. Choose nighttime snacks carefully- Mindless eating in front of the TV is a sure way to throw off your diet. Close the kitchen at a certain hour or portion a small, low-calorie snack.
  3. Enjoy your favorite foods- in Moderation! Deprivation will eventually lead to overindulgence later.  Portion control is the key to success.
  4. Eat several mini-meals during the day-Increase your metabolism and fight off hunger by dividing your total calories into smaller meals and snacks earlier in the day.
  5. Eat protein in every meal-Protein is more satisfying by keeping you feeling fuller for longer, helps preserve muscle mass and encourages fat burning.
  6. Add some spice-A flavor boost not only helps you feel satisfied some spices can also contribute a thermogenic burn which can increase metabolism by about 20% for 30 minutes.
  7. Stock your kitchen with healthy, convenient foods- Spend a lazy Sunday preparing your fresh fruits and vegetables for the week thus making it easier to prepare a quick and healthy snack or meal.
  8. Double the vegetables and decrease the pasta/rice in a recipe- Simply by eating less pasta or bread and more veggies, you could lose a dress or a pants size each year.
  9. Eat fiber-Fiber aids in digestion, prevents constipation, lowers cholesterol and can help with weight loss.
  10. Set realistic goals and weigh yourself once a week- Dropping pounds and toning up takes time. Try not to get discouraged by daily fluctuations or setbacks.

Time To Shed Your “Winter Coat”

by Jenny Gaal, Fitness Director

summer-body-workout-400x400There is no denying that spring is here and if you are like many of us who pack on a few extra pounds in the winter….otherwise known as the “winter coat”…it’s time to Shed the coat and get ready for sunny skies and summer time!  Check out our Adults and Kids Fitness Classes at Fun & Fitness Gymnastics and these helpful tips:

  1. Change your lifestyle.

When you go on a “program” to lose weight, you may set yourself up for failure. A program implies an endpoint, which is when most people return to their previous habits. If you want to lose fat and keep it off, make changes that you can live with indefinitely. Don’t over-restrict calories, and find an exercise program that adequately challenges you, provides progression and offers sufficient variety so that you can maintain it for years to come.

  1. Drink more water.

Water is the medium in which most cellular activities take place, including the transport and burning of fat. In addition, drinking plenty of calorie-free water makes you feel full and eat less. Drink at least 1 ounce of water per 2 pounds of bodyweight a day (that’s 100 ounces for a 200-pound person). Keep a 20-ounce water bottle at your desk, fill it five times a day, and you’re set.

  1. Consume fewer calories than you burn.

To figure out how many calories you burn a day, calculate your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR)—the number of calories you burn daily doing routine activities, not including formal exercise—using this formula: RMR = bodyweight (in pounds) x 13. Next, determine how many calories you burn through exercise—a half-hour of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise burns around 350 calories in the average man, and a half-hour of lifting burns around 200. Add your RMR to the calories you burn in the gym, and keep your daily calorie consumption below that total.

  1. Reduce starchy carbs.

Consuming too many starchy foods, such as potatoes, rice, pasta and breads (especially at one sitting), provides your body with more than it needs for energy and glycogen stores; anything left over will be stored as fat.  You don’t have to eliminate starchy carbs completely but you should really cut back on them when trying to shed body fat.  Limit total starch servings per day to 3-5, where a serving size is one cup of pasta, rice or sliced potatoes.

  1. Limit sugar consumption.

Taking in simple carbs (sugars) right after weight training replenishes muscle and liver glycogen stores, but excess sugar consumed at other times will be stored as fat. Satisfy your sweet tooth occasionally, but try limiting your intake of sugar to fresh fruit. Replace sugary beverages like soft drinks and juice with water, coffee, tea or diet soda.

  1. Eat 5-6 small meals a day.

Dieters often decrease the number of daily meals in an attempt to reduce calories—a big no-no.  If you eat six meals a day versus three with the same total calories, you can lose more fat because more meals burn more calories by increasing thermogenesis, the production of heat, in the body.

  1. Increase vegetable consumption.

Vegetables are nutrient-dense, meaning they pack maximum nutrition value with minimal calories, leaving you more full on fewer calories. Consume five servings a day of veggies, whether as a snack, on a sandwich or on the side of a chicken breast. Order your next burger with fresh vegetables instead of french fries.

  1. Consume 25-35 grams of fiber a day.

Fiber lowers insulin levels—along with total calories.  Fiber absorbs water and takes up more space in your stomach, fighting off hunger pangs, too. Fiber rich foods include bran cereal, oatmeal and beans. Check nutrition labels for fiber content.

  1. Eat more healthy fats.

Healthy fats are totally underutilized by individuals trying to shed body fat. You have to reduce calories to get rid of body fat, but you don’t want to cut out healthy fats completely. Fats take longer to break down in your stomach and help control blood-sugar levels, leaving you more satisfied and reducing your cravings. Include avocados, fatty fish, olives, nuts and seeds, and oils such as olive, flaxseed and canola in your diet.

Your Villain Becomes Your Child’s Villain

One of the more memorable sport movies of the last few years is “42” – the true story of Jackie Robinson’s first season in Major League Baseball as the first African American allowed to play in “the Show”, as it is often called. There is one particular scene in the movie that haunts me, and I hope it haunts you as well. I’m referring to the game when Robinson and the Dodgers play Philadelphia and take the field in front of a very hostile crowd. As Robinson runs out to his position in the first inning, a young boy sitting next to his father watches intently as his father yells racist remarks at Robinson for his mere existence on the field of baseball. Within moments, this young boy who appears to have been caught off guard by his father’s ranting, decides that he too should join in the degrading of the “villain” on the field; it seems like the thing to do.

Liam WOGA P BarsA parent can be a powerful influence on a child. A parent’s values become a child’s values. A parent’s words become a child’s words. A parent’s behaviors become a child’s behaviors. And it stands to reason that a parent’s villains become a child’s villains. What a sobering thought!

Perhaps it’s time to ask, “Who have you cast as villain in your world, and do you want your child to see and treat these people as villains – bad guys, undeserving of respect, targets of personal attacks, ridicule and blame? There are few things as destructive as racism; the movie scene demonstrates a father’s influence on a young mind. But it doesn’t have to be about the color of one’s skin for it to be damaging.

For instance, is it possible that our children learn disrespect for referees, coaches and judges by overhearing our repeated disgust over an official’s cal or evaluation? Can we really expect our children to take responsibility for their performances when we constantly blame the judges or umpires for calling it as they see it? How can we possibly ask our children to listen to their coaches when they frequently hear us criticizing the coach’s decision making?

In truth, parents can be respect-killers for every authority figure in a child’s life by attacking, ridiculing, criticizing, condemning and complaining about referees, umpires, judges, officials, coaches, and sport administrators. When we “villainize” someone, whether it’s during a competition, during the car ride home after a practice, or in front of children while talking to other adults, we should not be surprised when our children demonstrate disrespectful behaviors towards those same people. They didn’t learn it from a stranger.

We have a huge responsibility to teach tolerance and respect for those who volunteer their time (or are paid very little) to officiate or coach our children. If we hope to maintain the services of our officials and coaches, as well as teach our children respectfulness, we must first learn to control our emotions and our reactions on the sidelines of competition. Many organizations are finding it increasingly difficult to retain officials and coaches due to the verbal abuse they suffer at the hands of parents! Yet those same parents expect their children to control themselves.

If youth sports is truly a laboratory for learning life lessons; if its purpose is to help our children develop physically, mentally, and emotionally – then it stands to reason that parents cannot temporarily suspend such virtues as respect and self-control during the minutes of a game or course of a competition. If you recognize the tendency to get emotionally hijacked by your emotions during competitions here are some suggestions:

  • Increase the physical distance between yourself and the field of play; sit farther away from the action
  • Closely monitor your self-talk during the competition to stay focused on only the things within your control; an official’s decisions or scores are NOT within your control so leave them alone
  • Guard your reactions, especially in the first 10 seconds after a play or routine, or a “call” or score by a referee/judge
  • Ask yourself, “How would I feel right now if I were an official at a youth sport competition having to make a close or controversial call, or determine which deductions I should take?”
  • Be ready to consider this question at any moment: “What life lesson is my child exposed to by having to deal with the adversity of a ‘bad’ call, or score during this competition?”

Give these strategies a try. They will go a long way in helping you set a good example for your children and make it safe for our referees, umpires, and officials to continue doing the task they enjoy.

 

HELPING YOUNG ATHLETES DEVELOP A HEALTHY COMPETITIVE MINDSET

Chang WOGA P Bars

It’s important for children who are involved in athletics and team-based activities to learn from a loss or setback instead of letting it negatively affect their attitude and performance. Violent incidents and excessive “drama” involving athletes (and/or their parents) and referee and judges have made recent news headlines, such as the Detroit-area soccer player who was accused of punching a referee after receiving a red card in a recreational league game. Unfortunately, this act of violence was fatal.

Of course it’s necessary for all young people to know that neither rage, and/or most certainly violence is never the solution, but the adrenaline rush that accompanies sporting events can present a challenging emotional situation for child athletes and sport parents, making it necessary to address the young athlete’s disappointment or anger before emotions flare out of control.

Teams are like families, and they can choose to let their values ooze out of their conversations, decisions, policies, and practices. Meetings before and after practice, as well as quick conversations during practice can be opportunities to reinforce good sportsmanship, respect for the event, and for opponents and other participants. The gym locker room, car, and competition site are settings ideal for story, example, or testimony that says to all, “this is who we are.”

“Many young athletes need a paradigm shift in how they see competition”

The most fundamental challenge coaches and sport parents face in youth athletics is shifting the athlete’s thought process about the competitive experience.

I’m referring to a shift from:  “This loss is proof that I’m no good and therefore devastating.”  To: “What does this outcome represent to me in the way of feedback that I can use to get better?”

This more logical approach will not occur to most deeply competitive athletes immediately – as in the first 10 minutes after a poor performance or loss.  Unfortunately, it’s common for athletes to blame others for a defeat, whether they put it on the judge, equipment, teammate, coach or parents. The Detroit soccer player clearly allowed his poor sportsmanship to reach a dangerous level; he is being charged with second-degree murder for fatally punching the referee (and father of two).

In the case of young athletes, the sooner the initial “Boo-Hoo” (pity party) can be replaced with the question “What can I learn from this?” the sooner real progress can begin toward the goal of performance excellence.  This paradigm shift represents a more direct pathway to future victories than the pathway of anger, resentment, self-degradation, and self-pity – which only prolongs the immaturity of the athlete.

This is not to say that the outcome of a competition doesn’t matter, but it matters in a different way than most kids are being taught.  A poor performance is not who you are; it’s only what you did.  It is the responsibility of adults- parents, coaches, mentors- to teach young athletes this concept through leading by example and offering encouragement.

When a child is emotional following a loss, poor performance or setback of some kind, they need to feel understood, but they also must learn to handle defeats as a learning experience. This is where you- the parent, coach, friend or other adult- can help an athlete approach the issue from a positive perspective, guide them on the path to evaluating their own missteps, and not the possible fault of others, and inspire them to try again. Eventually children will begin to process these concepts on their own, allowing them to accept this day’s outcome and work toward higher levels of athletic performance for tomorrow.

YOUNG ATHLETES AND PRESSURE

by David Benzel: “Growing Champions for Life”

 

Athletes of all levels sometimes put immense pressure on themselves, but it’s also common for young athletes to feel pressure from outside sources. Oftentimes that pressure, whether real or perceived, comes from their coaches, teammates, or even their parents.

The level of pressure a young athlete experiences is usually in direct proportion to the level of expectation the athlete has for a particular performance. Pressure is often the cause of nervous energy, and though a little bit of this apprehension can serve as a motivating factor, too much can hinder your child’s confidence and negatively affect their performance by causing them to question their abilities.

There are things sport parents say and do that can cause their child to feel pressured to come in first place, lead their team to a big win or set a personal best. Whether you do so unknowingly or “applying pressure” is your intention, sport parents should assume that their child is aware of the event’s importance and their role in it. The fear of losing or letting someone down can cripple a performance, and actually shorten an athletic career.

Here are some ways in which sport parents unknowingly put pressure on their young athletes:
  • Behaving and talking in ways that suggest that the child’s sport is the most important thing in the family’s life, and maybe even the universe.
  • Attending every practice and every competition; then following up each of those with a lengthy discussion of what happened and what should have happened, i.e. over-analyzing everything.
  • Telling children that the family is making extreme sacrifices for them to practice, train or compete.
  • Constantly comparing a child’s performance to the performances of others.

It’s important to convey to your child that you support them in all of their endeavors and that the reason for this support isn’t their wins and trophies, but your joy in seeing their progress, their efforts to do their best, and their enjoyment of a sport.

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Overall, sport parents can best support their child by refraining from exhibiting negative body language while watching practice and keeping their critical post-game or practice play-by-play to themselves.

When sport parents begin to treat their young athlete’s sports “career” as a learning experience rather than an investment or a means to a scholarship or other award, then it becomes easier for the child to see that their athletic experience is a personal journey that they can enjoy to the fullest.

If they happen to come in first place, lead their team to a big win, or set a personal record, then that’s a welcome outcome of all of their hard work.-David Benzel: “Growing Champions for Life”

Choose Acceptance Over Judgement

When children enter the world of youth sports they unwittingly add one more opportunity for themselves to be judged, evaluated, and corrected. However, it is unlikely any of them thought about this prior to wanting to play.

They sign up for sports to have fun, enjoy their friends, learn new skills, and challenge themselves through competition. They quickly learn that organized sport is all about being measured against some standard.

Consider the average day of any child, age 5 to 18. He or she is evaluated and judged by teachers at school for their work, by friends for their clothing, by coaches and teammates for their performance…and then they arrive home to be once again judged by their parents for a multitude of performance and behavioral issues. It’s a world filled with the evaluating, and sometimes it feels like the “3 C’s” – criticism, complaining, and condemning – that’s all there is.

Parents have a responsibility to guide, redirect, and even correct the misguided choices of their children. However, the three fastest ways to ruin your relationship with your child are to spend your precious time together criticizing, complaining, and condemning… especially about their athletic performance. Children expect their parents to set the rules for behavior at home.

They expect parents to establish the boundaries for certain personal freedoms. And they certainly expect the guidelines for financial responsibilities to come from their parents.

What athletic children do not want is for their parents to be their critics when it comes to sport performance. More than anything else your athlete wants your approval, unconditional love, and total acceptance.

If your approval, acceptance, and love appear to be attached to your child’s performance, the depth of your relationship will be jeopardized – if not right away, in the future.

If you’ve wondered why your child seems defensive and argu­mentative in response to your comments after a game or practice, here’s the reason. While you may only mean it as constructive help, they hear the message as “You fell short of my expecta­tions; you let me down.”

Over time, that message attacks the very foundation of a child’s self-image, partly because of what you’re saying, but more because of who is saying it. They want to please you more than anyone else.

There is an alternative, and the results are amazingly positive : Use the “3 E’s” instead!

  • Encourage with affirmations
  • Educate with good questions
  • Edify with words of praise

These are three activities that build people up to become more of what they were meant to be. Each of these three actions send a message of hope by implying “you are excellent, you are intel­ligent, and you are worthy of praise.”

Most of all, when parents encourage the spirit, educate the mind with life lessons, and edify (build up) the character of their athletes, they are saying “I believe in you”. This becomes the foundation of athletic performance as well as close relationships for years to come.

Nothing is more important than your relationship with your child…not a game, not a season, not a scholarship. Treat it like gold so that it is built to last.

Practical Tip: Start each day with six quarters in your left-hand pocket. For each instance where you hear yourself encourage with affirmations, educate with a question, or edify with praise, transfer one quarter to your right-hand pocket. For each negative complaint or critical statement transfer a quar­ter back to the left side. Check and record your pocket’s contents each night.