Collect Yourself!

09 Nov

Here in the Center of the Nation most people either own a horse or two of their own or for sure know someone who does. We are a horse and cattle community after all! My wife is a talented horse trainer and the other day I had an interesting realization after a discussion we had about equine posture. One very common postural dysfunction in horses is a sway back. This is when a horses back ends up with a more pronounced curve than it should and often causes pain and discomfort for the horse and sometimes means they can no longer be ridden.

Being a Personal Trainer and Human Movement Specialist, I have a great interest in helping people correct their posture. So my question to her was, “Can you fix a sway back horses posture if you somehow exercised the right muscles somehow?” Her answer was “Yes, definitely! You just have to work with the horse and over time teach them to collect their head and engage the right muscles in their back and hips, until eventually the right muscles get stronger and their sway back improves.”

That process is extremely similar to how I help people with their posture and back pain. Ironically even humans can have a “sway back” posture! What I teach my clients and group fitness class attendees every day is the same thing we do for the horse. If you have ever been to one of our classes or had a personal trainer instruct you before you will hear us constantly reminding you of things like this: “Engage your core!, Neutral spine, Head down!, Neck straight!, Straight back!, Don’t let your back sag!, Engage your Glutes!, Use your hips!” Sounding familiar yet?

All those cues a trainer gives are essentially the same you do for a horse. If you let your horse be loose and you ride like a sack of potatoes in the saddle you are going to have a bumpy ride and eventually contribute to the horse ending up with a sway back by bouncing with all your weight right on their spine! But if you collect their head and use cues to make them move their hips and you ride with the horse with good form and both of you with good posture, you both get a better ride. Now think about yourself, maybe you drive a big heavy commercial truck like me, or you drive a bouncy tractor all day, even if you sit at a desk most of your work day. If you sit like a weak and limp sack of potatoes and let your body weight compress your spine and then bounce around on that compressed spine, you WILL end up with a sore back and eventually some postural dysfunction and chronic back pain. With the right coaching and cues and proper release, stretching, mobility, and strengthening techniques your posture, pain, strength, even your mood will improve.

So think about your posture during your daily activities. Draw your belly in, sit up straight, keep your shoulders back, your chin down and your neck straight, even think about engaging your Gluteus muscles while sitting, standing or driving for a long period of time. In other words, Collect Yourself!

Happy Friday,

Jesse

When you first start, how much cardio and how much lifting?

07 Oct

This little message from Trainer Stacey is for her clients but maybe it will be helpful for you too!

START SOMEWHERE!

If you have a weight loss goal shoot for: 2 days lifting and 2 days cardio

 

CLIENTS:  Your two days lifting will be in a class, options are, PICK 2: 
Mon. and Wed.

5:30am, 8:05am, 3:30pm, 4:30pm, 5:30pm

Tues. 5:30pm

Thurs. 4:30pm, 5:30pm

 

THEN, 2 days cardio:  

FYI VIP Clients and Challenge Goers are welcome to do Noon Cardio Club on Tuesdays and or Thursdays until the week of Thanksgiving for the challenge. This is Client led (staff will not always be present).  Clients, plan to meet your team or gym buddy. (If you do not have a door code you need to meet someone who does have a VIP code!)

 

FOR EVERYONE, you have 3 choices for cardio:

Longer, Steady-state sessions,  Shorter HIIT workouts or a Combo:

 

*Steady state cardio should be 40 mins. Or depending on your current fitness level work up to that

* Shorter HIIT  should be 15- 20 mins. Or depending on your current fitness level work up to at least 20 minutes.

* COMBO of Steady state and HIIT example:

10 mins Steady state (usually treadmill) Increase intensity to a power walk with an incline as you can but at a speed and incline level that you can maintain for the entire ten minutes.

You can do all 10 mins first or split it 5 warmup/5 cool down

 

Next, do 10 minutes of High Intensity Intervals on a stationary bike. Start 20 seconds hard and fast with 40 seconds rest pace (then as you progress do 30/30)

 

Then 5 minutes intervals on the Rowing machine, 20 /40  working up to … 30/30

If the 30/30 becomes “too easy” my guess is you are NOT going hard and fast enough on your intense interval! PUSH YOUSELF!  Interval training is meant to be intense so you get tired and sweaty in a short amount of time!

 

Make it work for you!  Plan it out. Decide when you are going to get this in!
If you have questions, just ask!

Food is for Fuel Not Comfort!

Resolutions Friday Fit Tip with Stacey - New Heart Fitness, Belle Fourche SD
20 Jul

I want to help you open your mind to how you eat and why you eat! This could possibly be a deep emotionally rooted conversation you are about to have with yourself! So, I am going to try to keep this very educational and informational but you can certainly reflect on you and your own habits.   AND definitely read to the end so I can fill you up with some self- love inspiration.

Here we go! Answer these questions honestly!

Do you eat:
when you feel stressed?
when you really aren’t hungry?
to feel better or calm?
to reward yourself?
until you are stuffed?

Does food make you feel safe or better?
Is food your “Friend”?
Do you feel powerless over food?

If you answered NO to all of these questions just skip to the end and I will inspire you to be awesome and then you are on your way.  HOWEVER, IF you answered YES to any of these questions, like me, lets get to the bottom of why!?!

Step 1: Its important to know and pay attention to the difference between emotional hunger and (Real) Physical hunger!

    Physical Hunger                                vs.                         Emotional Hunger

Comes on gradually Hits fast and suddenly
Anything sounds good Craves specific foods
More aware of what you should eat Leads to mindless eating
After meal wait 30 mins, will feel satisfied Is never satisfied
More focused on quality of foods More focused on smells, taste & texture
Food for fuel is good for emotions Leads to regret and shame
Stomach growls or hunger pains Sometimes no physical signs of hunger

So, this makes sense right? There truly is a difference between physical hunger and emotional hunger.  Think about  these differences and pay attention to your signs of hunger.  Ask yourself if you are really hungry and what kind of hunger you are really feeling.

 

Step 2:  Recognize the emotions that are causing you to reach for food and call them out (talk to yourself- Say it outloud)
“I am feeling_____________”
*Tired/exhausted
*Lonely/depressed
*Anxious
*Bored
Or you fill in the blank. It’s just so important to recognize the emotion and accept it! When you deny that your emotions are getting the better of you, they will continue to do so!

Step 3:
So now that you have determined what emotion is causing you to emotionally eat you just need to “deal with it.”
It’s time to cope with or treat the emotion (with something other than food).
Everyone is different but you probably know what works for you but here are some ideas.

Tired: rest, nap, hot tea, bath, candles, workout
Sometimes if you are tired the best thing to do is stop fighting it and go get some sleep!

Lonely/Depressed: call someone, play with a dog or kids, volunteer, think about your goals and aspirations, do something to clear your head, workout

Anxious: jam-out, dance, walk, stress-ball, meditate, yoga, prayer, workout

Bored: read a book, listen to an audio, journal, hobby, get outdoors, workout

So when you learn to deal with the emotion that is causing the emotional eating you on the right track.  However, I will say none of this is easy, mostly because it’s hard to take care of ourselves in this busy world we live in! BUT YOU MUST TAKE TIME FOR YOU!  It’s time to put YOU first.  Take the time to identify your emotions and cope with them appropriately.  It’s time to slowly start making lifestyle changes to become the healthy fit person that you really want to be.  As Rachel Hollis, author of, Girl Wash Your Face, says, https://www.girlwashyourface.com/
“HOPE IS NOT A STRATEGY! ” (By the way, Ladies, READ this book!) 

Truly, when I fail to plan, I plan to fail.   This is going to sound crazy but another thing that has helped me is talking to myself!  And yes, I might even answer myself.  When I am super tired at 11:00 at night I turn the focus on the emotion and not the food, by saying, “I’m not hungry, I’m tired, I’m going to bed now!”

LOVE YOUR BODY- HAVE SELF LOVE: It’ s time to stop the negative talk and self sabotaging!  Be positive! Boost yourself up just like you do for other people! You deserve it!  And, start being honest with yourself!  You know yourself; you know if you are beating yourself up or are you just making excuses when things get the least bit hard?

Lastly, here me when I say this: exercising and eating right is NOT about punishing yourself; instead it is about taking care of and blessing yourself to celebrate your body that is the only body you will ever have!
TAKE CARE OF IT!

Healthy Blessings and love-
Stacey

The 4-R’s of Mobility

13 Jul

I have been on a mobility kick lately. The more people I meet the more I realize almost everyone suffers from a lack of mobility in some form or another. Whether it’s the elderly man who has to walk stooped over and take small shuffling steps. Or the person at Walmart that rides the electric cart even though nothing is permanently wrong with their legs. Maybe its the thirty something guy that has worked manual labor jobs all his life, and now he can barely hold his arms above his head. Then there’s the stay at home mom with back pain and a hip so tight from holding a baby in one arm all day. I could go on with endless examples, many of these I have seen in my own family or in myself. It turns out there is much more to staying mobile than just stretching. This is where my 4-R’s of mobility come in: Release, Relax, Rebuild & Restore.

Release: Many of us are so tight in certain places from continuing the same habits each day that we eventually end up with postural or movement pattern dysfunctions. Think about the stooped over elderly man. This perpetual tightness is due to the overactivity of those muscles that stay in the same place for too long, like sitting for long periods and tight hip flexors. This tightness can be relieved through properly performed foam rolling or massage. Once the tension can be released in those muscles we are well on our way towards full mobility even at an advanced age.

 

Relax: Once we have released those muscles we want them to stay in a relaxed or lengthened state. To do so we must follow up the release by lengthening those muscles by stretching them. Stretching muscles on a regular basis helps to train them to stay at the proper length they were designed to be. This is fairly intuitive for anyone who has done a tough leg workout or a long run and felt the immediate urge to relieve the tightness in their quadriceps muscles by pulling their leg back to stretch them. While it comes easy in these situations, stretching isn’t something we think to do every day, but we should! The human body is a use it or lose it system, you might remember being able to stretch down to you toes as a child, or sit back with you legs folded under you, or reach your hand to the middle of your back. Unfortunately at some point you might have lost that mobility, but when was the last time you tried to do one of those things? You lost the ability to do them because of those other tight muscles preventing you from doing so, and partly because you stopped doing them. If that wasn’t enough, there are also a few more reasons why you lost that mobility.

 

Rebuild: Perhaps the biggest reason we lose mobility as we age is because we also lose strength as we age. All throughout our youth we are building muscle until we reach a point where we have added all the muscle tissue we will ever have. Yes that’s right you cannot naturally add additional muscle tissue to your body, neither can it be taken away. Your muscles can get bigger if you train them but they will however get smaller as you age, thankfully we can prevent this through resistance exercise. It is more than possible to retain much of that strength you had in your younger years and maybe even be stronger than you were if you’ve never trained before. By rebuilding weak and under-active muscles we can restore our body’s natural balance and gain the much needed mobility we lack.

 

Restore: We restore our muscles by giving them the proper fuel and nutrients to build them up. Everything we eat provides our bodies with the necessary tools to repair and restore them to proper working order. Of course there are all kinds of supplements out there that promise the world and while some of them are great, nothing replaces good old fashioned clean eating. Eating our food the way our bodies are designed to by eating food as close to natural as possible is the best way to get all of those needed restorative nutrients. The other way we restore our bodies is through proper rest. Every athlete from powerlifters to olympic swimmers know these restorative rules, and I can guarantee you the best athletes in the world get 8 hours or more of sleep each night and at least one day off from hard training each week. There is no way the human body will have the time to repair damaged tissues from hard workouts without these two most basic and important human needs.

 

So if you want to get your body back to where you want it all you need to do is these four simple things. Maybe if I put it in different terms it might sound less daunting and more appealing. Pamper yourself with massages, relax tired muscles, regain youthful strength, and eat delicious, colorful foods!

– Jesse

Feel Like A Kid Again!

29 Jun

You’ve probably heard it before. If you do this or that, go to this place, buy this product and you will feel like a kid again. Well how do we know what a kid feels like anyways? As a dad of 4 busy little boys I’ve learned a lot about this subject, yes they are energetic, flexible, near indestructible, pain free, eat whatever they want and never get fat… These are things we all want right? We just have to find that secret fountain of youth and turn back the clock and we will have these feelings back. But are these youthful stereotypes even true? Are they really that far out of our grasp now?

 

Children seem to have endless amounts of energy. This is probably the first stereotype kids get, they just go and go all day without ever getting tired right? I know from experience this just isn’t true, if I take my kids out for a hike on one of our beautiful trails in the hills they are tired out by mile two while my adult body is just warming up. A few years ago though, and my kids would definitely have outlasted me. Since I have started to take better care of my body and lost the extra weight and built up my strength and cardiovascular health, I can by far out last my kids most days. Its actually one of my favorite techniques for getting four rowdy boys ready for bedtime, just wrestle and chase them around the house until they have burned off all that extra steam.

 

Kids seem to be impossibly flexible and mobile. While it is true a child’s body is still growing and their joints are more flexible by comparison, I find that if I keep up with my stretching and foam rolling I am still nearly as flexible as my 6 year old at 38 years old. The reason many of us adults are so inflexible is because we have lost the flexibility of our youth by never using it. Its the age old use it or lose it concept. If you never stretch your body after a hard long day of work and sitting at the desk or in the car your body will stay continue to stay tight and bound up and become even more so over time.

 

Yes kids do seem to be nearly indestructible and hardly even know what pain is. My kids will scream at the top of their lungs after a small scrape or head bump. They simply haven’t experienced the life of aches and pains we have. Yet when they do get injured they seem to bounce back with such impossible speed and ease. Kids don’t experience the daily aches and pains of an adult body that has gone through a lifetime of poor posture and past injuries, yet just like us if they are allowed to do so they will eventually have the same painful problems we do. But this doesn’t have to be the way we live either, through a good strength and mobility program and a proper anti inflammatory diet we can rid ourselves of much of our chronic aches and pains.

Take it from someone who has been there. Over two years ago I had spent months seeing numerous, doctors, chiropractors & physical therapists to help me with my nagging neck, back, and shoulder pains yet none of it seemed to have lasting effects. I was still popping 8-12 ibuprofen a day just to be able to function enough to work each day, just to collapse on the couch once I got home. Just to get up the next day, medicate with my jumbo coffee and handful of pills and start the whole vicious cycle over again. Fast forward to today and while I will admit I have good days and bad days, pain is a part of life. Pain is a good thing in fact, pain tells us something is wrong and we need to take action. Just like if you were to put your hand in a hot flame that pain tells you to remove your hand, if you feel those nagging pains it means you need to change something.

 

While I do still have pains from time to time, I know when I feel them it means I need to change my habits. Maybe its my back pain telling me to straighten up my posture, stretch my hips or get up and move. Or neck pain telling me to put down the phone, and shoulder pain telling me to stop slouching and stretch it out. I  now know what to do about those nagging pains. Now that I have spent the time strengthening my body and building back my youthful mobility, even my bad days now are better than the good days I had before.

Even if you have lived with pains like I had for years, believe me when I say there is hope! You can gain back some of that youthfulness with just a little hard work and dedication to taking the time to change long seeded habits. Seek out a knowledgeable health or fitness professional that can help you get started, and before you know it you will feel like a kid again!

-Jesse

How To Get Stronger

18 May

First, I should ask the question, do you even need to be stronger than you are now? It wasn’t long ago that the majority of Americans made their living on small farms or as woodsmen or mountain men (and women), much of their food and clothing was still gained through hunting and gathering. In other words, for people to survive they had to work for their needs. This work wasn’t what we call work today, sitting in desks or behind the wheel of a vehicle or machine. This was hard physical labor.

 

Our bodies were made for this kind of work. Even the great Egyptian pyramids were made mostly by raw human power. Building strength is nothing new for human beings. What is new is the need to exercise for exercise sake. Before the industrial revolution life was our exercise. The harder your life was the more “exercise” you got. The only people in ancient history who had the luxury of becoming overweight were the very wealthy and privileged (just look at pictures of king Henry the 8th.)

 

Our bodies were designed for work and the harder we work the more the body has to adapt to that work. This is the concept behind our understanding of modern strength training, it is called the overload principle. If you overload your body with a greater stimulus or “exercise” than it is used to, then it must adapt to handle the new normal.

 

In the words of popular strength trainer, Mark Rippetoe: ” exercise is the stimulus that returns our bodies to the conditions for which they were designed. Humans are not physically normal in the absence of hard physical effort. Exercise is not a thing we do to fix a problem – it is a thing we must do anyway, a thing without which there will always be problems”

 

There are a lot of different opinions about what it takes to increase strength. These opinions range from the simple to the extreme. From modern fitness fads and hokey machines and even whole gyms filled with machines and fitness classes where people do nothing but bounce on trampolines (hey I’m not judging, something is better than nothing) In truth gaining strength is pretty simple. Yes, it requires work, and the more your body adapts the harder that work needs to be to gain more adaptations. Yet, the concept remains as simple as: do more work than you did the last time and you will get stronger.

 

If you don’t believe me try it yourself. I guarantee if you’re ready to work you will get stronger and feel better no matter how old or how many injuries you may have had. Getting stronger is what your body was made to do.

-Jesse H.

I Don’t Have Time to Workout

20 Apr

We’ve all heard it and probably even said it, “I don’t have time to workout.”  I’m a mom, a wife, a teacher… I get it. Sometimes our lives leave us with very little time to dedicate to fitness.  But, dedicating SOME time to your well-being is better than nothing at all.  It is possible to cram a decent workout (with a warm-up and cool-down — which are important! — built in) into a small, 20-minute window.  Given such a tight time frame, certain things are impossible – you won’t be able to lift super heavy, nor will you be able to run a 10k.  When restricted to a 20-minute training session, compromises must be made.  Your warm-up will be short and focused or may be embedded into the first couple rounds of a workout, and cool-down/stretching will take away from your workout time.

Here’s an example workout that you can do in 20 minutes, from warm-up to cool-down.

Use 7 minutes to build up the deadlift weight (prescribed for women is 155 lb., men 225 lb. – but a lighter load on the bar will allow you to complete more rounds) and warm up your low back and legs.  Do some burpee box jump-overs, banded good mornings, and hamstring stretches.

For the actual workout complete as many rounds as possible in 10 minutes of:

3 burpee box jump-overs

3 deadlifts

6 burpee box jump-overs

6 deadlifts

9 burpee box jump-vers

9 deadlifts

Etc.

Use remaining time after workout for a quick cool down.

Those of you who have worked out with me know that you can get a good sweat going in 10 minutes!

GET CREATIVE with your workouts!  You can do more than just walk on the treadmill if all you have is 20 minutes.  You do NOT need to give up on fitness because you are short on time.

-Danielle

Friday is Leg Day!

05 Apr

It’s Friday! That means it’s the last work day, it’s also my last workout day. For me it’s Leg Day, or should I say Glutes day. Yea that’s right I’m going to talk about butts again… If you’ve known us trainers for long then you know we talk about the glute muscles A LOT! Why is that anyways? Are we just weird like that? Or do we maybe know a secret about the human body that we can’t help but shout from the rooftops every chance we get! I’m gonna go with the latter choice, because I think it is that important.

Did you know the Gluteus Maximus (the main muscle that makes up your posterior) is the largest muscle in the human body? This also makes it one of the most powerful, and most used muscles. Other than your heart, the glutes are probably one of your hardest working muscles. It is the primary muscle involved in hip extension (moving your leg backwards) making it the muscle that propels your body forward. Without this muscle you couldn’t walk, run, climb stairs, or even stand, it is also very important to your posture. Inactive glutes can lead to a forward tilt to your hips because the glutes help to pull your hip bones down to straighten your lumbar spine. If you suffer from low back pain there’s a big chance you have weak glutes.

So, what do you do to strengthen this all important area of your body? The best exercises are the Squat & Deadlift and their many variations. Other exercises like hip bridges and kickbacks work great as well. If these exercises are new to you, you’re in luck because the trainers at New Heart Fitness are all well versed in these exercises and we can show you the proper form and help you to get stronger. Now go grow your glutes!

  • Happy Leg Day Friends! -Jesse Hoffmann

 

Who’s got time for a Cool Down?

29 Mar

This Fit Tip is for those of you who immediately get done training and just head home or sit!  I’m 100% guilty of this.  Right after a workout, I may sit and die in a puddle of my own sweat and consider that my “cool down”.  But, what a “cool down” session really means is slowly bringing your heart rate back down and working to relieve your muscles of lactate buildup.  A proper cool down also helps prevent your blood pressure from dropping too rapidly which could cause fainting or dizziness.

 

Also, research is being done that shows massage immediately after a training session helps muscles return to “normal” more quickly.  This means they aren’t broken down for as long AND there’s an increase in protein muscle synthesis which means our muscles are getting bigger and stronger!  This doesn’t mean you have to schedule a 90 minute deep tissue massage right after your workout (That would be amazing though, wouldn’t it?), just utilize that foam roller, folks!  Stacey has some great foam rolling techniques, too!

 

Below are some sample cool down exercises:

– light cardio on the treadmill, bike, or rower

– static stretching, of all major muscle groups (legs, core, chest, arms, etc.)

– foam rolling/massage

– exercise mimicry (performing the same movements performed in the workout, but with less resistance/intensity)

– yoga

 

So, the next time you hit the gym, spend 10-15 minutes cooling down at the end of your workout.  I know we’re always pressed for time after a workout, but your body will thank you!

– Danielle