Health & Fitness

17Dec 2014

November 5th marks National Health Day and therefore is the perfect time to start considering how you can improve your health. Many people believe that cutting back on the junk and substituting a salad every now and again is the solution to their health problems but it is never that simple. There is a saying that has been repeated time and again, “an apple away keeps the doctor away”, yet that is not the case according to the American Heart Association. The recommended fruit and vegetable intake is eight or more fruit or vegetable servings everyday. To put that into perspective, that is 4 1/2 cups of fruits and vegetables a day for an average adult. This number may seem excessive to some, however fruits and vegetables provide vitamins, fiber and minerals which can help you control your weight and blood pressure. Finding ways to include these portions into your daily diet and routine may prove a little tricky, so the American Heart Association is sharing a free fruits and vegetables toolkit to help you figure out how to reach the recommended fruit and vegetable intake. Educate yourself today about how to better take care of your body and check out for help to increase your fruit and vegetable consumption!

17Dec 2014

The age of a person is most often determined by the number of years a person has been alive. However, it could be said that a more accurate measurement of age is not merely the number of years a person has lived, rather the conditions of the body due to circumstances and treatment over the course of those years. The Complete Health Improvement Program (CHIP) enables a body age assessment as a tool to determine how old your body truly is based on strength, flexibility, body composition, body mass index, blood pressure, cardiac function, eating habits, and blood chemistry.

Evaluating your body age helps determine health and longevity more so than the number of years of life. Two people can be the same chronological age but have two completely different body ages, therefore requiring different fitness and health regiments in order to maintain or improve ones health and therefore quality of living.

This examination evaluates the individual in each of the categories compared to gender and chronological age norms and provides dietary and fitness guidelines tailored to each person for how to decrease and improve their body age.

Determining one’s body age can help put an individuals health in perspective and give a concise reality of the condition of the body. This reality check can provide the motivation needed for many individuals to make the lifestyle changes necessary to move towards a healthier state of being and a lower body age.

So possibly next time you consider how old you are, instead ask yourself how old do you want to be. Take the body age assessment evaluation and work towards the age that will allow you to maintain a happy and healthy life. We have no control over our chronological age, but you can and should have a say in your body age!

13Oct 2014

In Indianapolis, a new fitness program is starting in local YMCA gyms that is geared towards individuals with cancer. The program is call Livestrong at the YMCA and their goal is to promote fitness to those with cancer and remove the fear and intimidation of the gym for them.  Rather than trying to turn clients into athletes, the program aims to help encourage movement and reuse of muscles that could have become weak with treatment. The program is in a class setting with 8-12 people who are in various stages of treatment. The classroom setting encourages group support as well as education about what the body goes through in regards to cancer, chemotherapy, and radiation. Once an individual feels ready, they will enter the gym with a trainer. The trainer helps to regain balance, endurance, and strength while maintaining a pace that the individual is comfortable with. The workout regimen is tailored to each person’s diagnosis and capabilities, so each person has an experience unique to them. The class is not limited to YMCA members and is open to people at any stage of cancer. The classes begin when there are enough people to fill a class. Hopefully other facilities will begin similar programs to focus on fitness for individuals with cancer.

29Sep 2014

People often debate whether hiring a personal trainer is right for them personally and if it is worth the cost. For many different reasons, personal training sessions can be extremely beneficial to every type of person. One major benefit of having a personal trainer is the accountability and motivation that they provide. Before you even leave your house you are seeing a benefit because the obligation to go exercise is there because you have made a commitment to someone which makes it harder to back out.

A trainer will help you develop a routine that is specific to your goals and your abilities. Personal trainers are educated and experienced in fitness regimen and the body so they know the best way to utilize your time to see the greatest results. If you go to the gym on your own you may not know what machines or weights to use or how much to reach your potential. Trainers will teach you various exercises for the different muscles that you need to focus on and the proper way to do these exercises. You could be completely unaware that you are doing an exercise incorrectly and be actually doing more damage than good so the instruction of someone who is trained in this field will help to guarantee you do not get hurt.

One of the significant benefits that any person who has worked with a personal trainer can tell you is that you will maximize your workout while minimizing the time. One of the main deterrents for people when it comes to exercise is not having enough time. You will burn more calories working out with a trainer because they have already developed an efficient work out plan that incorporates both cardio and muscle strength while keeping you constantly moving. When working out at the gym alone, people tend to have more lag time in between machines or exercises but trainers utilize every minute and will teach you how to do the same on your own. The goal of a personal trainer is to help you to get to a place where you feel comfortable and confident exercising and able to create a workout for yourself that will allow you to feel healthy and fit.

09Sep 2014

Many people struggle to find the motivation to exercise. Whether they are conscious of their capability, in need of peer pressure, or just haven’t found a workout that suits them, getting to the gym can be a battle. A new group fitness app, so appropriately named Gritness, is working to help make fitness more of a fun and interactive experience. The app allows you to search by location and the type of exercise you are seeking to find fitness options around you. Exercises vary from running, cycling, climbing and even fitness facilities in the area. You can see what other groups have formed in your area or you can start your own and other app users can join you. This app is a great way for people to learn more about the fitness opportunities near them as well as a way to meet new people with similar goals who can motivate and encourage you to reach your full potential. The app has gone global so even when you are on vacation you can use the app to find physical activities that you can enjoy in a new place with new people, so no excuses!

20Aug 2014

Most people who focus on healthy eating and exercise do so with the intention of achieving a happier and healthier self. We tend to want to find the fastest and easiest solution to have the body we are proud to flaunt on the beach, however dedication to dieting and fitness is time consuming and often costly. So it is not uncommon for people to focus more on one method for a healthier lifestyle. Therefore it is important to consider whether one method is more significant in achieving a healthier body and mind. Often people who dedicate themselves to dieting will see lower body mass than people who focus solely on fitness, however this does not mean that they are in better shape. While dieting will help reduce fat and calorie intake, exercise helps to burn these undesirables while also building muscle which in turn will add to the body mass. Exercise alone will not give you the body image you are seeking. The individuals who select fitness as their path to slim down and shape up often will focus less on what they are eating because they often justify the calories with the workout they did that day. However it is very unlikely that a person has enough time in the day to burn off all the calories that they take in. So if you are looking to lose pounds quickly dieting will help you achieve that but if you are looking to gain more definition and have a toned physique then emphasis on fitness is necessary. Of course a balance of both is the ideal option and will help you reach become in better shape as well as healthier and less at risk for disease. But if you find that time and money is restricting you and you have to limit your abilities then make sure you know what your goal is and choose the method that will best help you to reach that.

20Aug 2014

In order to gain the most from a work out it is essential to try to maintain your target heart rate. The target heart rate is the number of heart beats per minute you should achieve while exercising. Each person’s target heart rate helps to determine their fitness level and by keeping their target heart rate in check a person is able to avoid under or over training, both of which severely effects the quality of the work out. Under-training happens when a person’s heart rate is too low which results in a low intensity work out. If a person is not working to their body’s potential, there is no way they can burn enough calories to result in weight loss nor can they get up the endurance to build strength. Individuals who under-train will take significantly longer to see the results they desire.

Over-training can be just as dangerous. People who exceed their target heart rate are pushing themselves past their body’s fitness level, which can lead to dehydration putting you at risk for dizziness and possible fainting. If a person consistently over-trains they are at risk for infection or chronic pain.

The best way to avoid either of these scenarios is to continuously monitor your heart rate throughout a work out. Start each work out with some form of cardio and work your way up to your target heart rate. The treadmill, elliptical and the bike are all great examples of how to do this and they often have a sensor that will determine your heart rate for you making it that much easier to track. Constant motion during a workout will keep your heart rate at the optimal level. One small adjustment to your workout that will help keep you moving and your heart rate up is to do a 3 set rotation of a few different exercises doing only one rep at a time. This way you break up reps by walking from one exercise to the next which keeps you active rather than pausing in place and allowing your heart rate to drop. No matter what method you use, make sure to monitor your heart rate to gain the most out of your work out!

20Aug 2014

In the past few years CrossFit, Tough Mudders and Warrior Dashes have inspired people to become more active. Now you can have a front row seat to watch as people who have dedicated themselves to fitness compete. The National Pro Grid League is a league made up of eight charter member teams one of which is Boston Iron. These teams will compete in front of a paying audience at an event called Grid where they will complete isolated exercises and varied activities such as rope climbing and box jumps. The Boston Iron is kicking off the competition at Tsongas Center in Lowell against the Miami Surge this Sunday and the outcome is still unpredictable. General admission cost is $25 and front row seats are $75. The CrossFit Games attracted a large crowd and ESPN coverage however the National Pro Grid League is still unsure they can convince people to pay to watch people work out. The popularity of CrossFit Games does show some promise for Grid because there are great similarities between the two, however Grid is structured differently enough to ensure a unique experience for the audience. Grid has 11 events over the course of two hours in a smaller venue than the CrossFit games. These events will be more frequent and therefore will help functional fitness competitions integrate into the sports entertainment world rather than being a once a year event.

09Jun 2014

Monitor Your Heart Rate to Make the Most of a Workout

Measuring your heart rate during a workout is a great way to know if you are challenging yourself at the right intensity.Do you measure your heart rate when you exercise? I think you should.

Your heart rate gives you valuable feedback to know when exercise is too challenging or not challenging enough. When you set out to do a “cardio” workout, you are trying to exercise your heart at an appropriate intensity to make it stronger and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.

How do you measure your heart rate? Most cardio machines measure your heart rate via metal handles. My experience is that if your heart rate shows up on the machine and remains steady, then the readout is usually accurate. If your machine has trouble displaying your heartrate, or you will be exercising without a machine, you can get a heart rate monitor for your wrist or chest which will display on a compatible watch. Smartphones have great apps and accessories to measure workout intensity, too.

What’s my target heart rate? Well, how old are you? The maximum rate your heart beats can be calculated as 220 minus your age in years. For example, the max heart rate of a 40-year-old is 220-40 or 180 beats/min.Those new to exercise should target a heartrate equal to 60-70 percent of their maximum. For the 40-year-old this is 108-126 bpm. More experienced exercisers can target 75-85 percent of their maximum, now 135-153 bpm for the 40-year-old. If the 40-year-old experienced person sees a heart rate of 110, they can probably increase their workout intensity. If they see a heart rate of 165, they can slow down. Either way, the heart rate information helps.

Give it a try! at if you have any questions.

09Jun 2014

What is your Summer exercise level? Let’s be honest!

Most people believe they get the most exercise during the summer months. Sometimes people are fooling themselves into thinking that they are getting more exercise in the summer than they really are.

Most people will tell you that they are most active, and therefore, get the most exercise during the summer months. Sometimes people are fooling themselves into thinking that they are getting more exercise in the summer than they really are.

Summer seems like an ideal time to get outside and exercise; it is warm out, and the sun stays out late. However, think about the real amount of exercise you get during the summer, not the amount of fresh air. While golf is one of my favorite sports, I know it is really not exercise because there is nothing heavy, and I am not out of breath at any time. The beach is also great fun, but unless you are jogging in the sand or swimming a long distance, the beach doesn’t belong in the fitness category either. Finally, work, driving, movies, and TV are still part of our lives in the summer, and work against our fitness level.

So, do start or maintain your fitness plan in the summer via tennis, basketball, jogging, hiking, or going to the air conditioned gym/personal training studio, because otherwise you may not be getting as much exercise this season as you think.

Have comments? Leave one below or contact me at BodyScapes personal training in Wayland Center at 508 358-9160 We’re the experts in exercise.