How To "Fit In" Exercise Each Week

How To “Fit In” Exercise Each Week

Like every other city in the nation, people in Alexandria, VA, often find it difficult to fit in their exercise program each week, Life’s busy, and it’s hard to fit everything in a week, so you have to prioritize. Considering all the benefits you reap from exercise and how it relieves stress and boosts energy, it should be your top priority.

Make the time shorter by increasing the intensity.

Worldwide studies have shown that you need between 150 and 300 minutes of moderate exercise or between 75 and 150 minutes of intense exercise weekly. Cut your exercise time by turning up the intensity with HIIT—high intensity interval training. It’s a way of doing any exercise. Do a minute or two at peak intensity and then reduce it to moderate recovery intensity for the same or longer time. Alternate continuously between the two intensities. You get the same benefits in half the time as steady-state moderate exercise.

Break your workout into shorter sessions throughout the day.

You don’t have to do your exercise all at once. You can break it up into smaller sessions throughout the day. If you opt for intense workouts seven days a week, just do ten minutes every morning and ten minutes at the end of the day. That’s 20 minutes a day or 140 minutes of intense exercise. If you decide to go less intense, start your day with fifteen minutes of exercise, walk fifteen minutes at lunch, and exercise another fifteen minutes at the end of the day. You can work out longer some days and skip others. Just don’t try to pack all your exercise into one or two days.

Create a five-minute workout you can do on breaks or do a nitric oxide dump.

Even though going to the gym and a full workout is best, it’s not always an option. Be prepared with a workout you can do at your desk or in the breakroom. It doesn’t have to be fancy. It can be chair leg lifts, wall slides, or chair rises. A nitric oxide dump is a four-minute exercise you can do anywhere. It combines squats, snow angels, tin soldiers, and a military press, doing three intervals of ten repetitions of each exercise.

  • Put fitness on your schedule. If your day is always unpredictable, work out in the morning before any crisis starts. If you have a rigid schedule that doesn’t change, pick a time each day to work out and make it a standing appointment.
  • Get Rover or Kitty in shape and prevent pet obesity. Run with Rover and do active play with the cats, like dangling a string with a toy at the end and letting them chase you.
  • Combine sedentary entertainment with an active workout. If you’re watching TV or streaming at home, do exercises while you do it. Planks, crunches, lunges, and squats let you watch while you exercise.
  • Play with the kids or take them on a walk. Not all exercises have to be calisthenics. Shooting hoops, playing tag, or jumping rope with the kids are vigorous exercises that will help you get fit faster.

For more information, contact us today at Team Worx Fitness

Will "Cheat Days" Ruin My Fitness Success?

Will “Cheat Days” Ruin My Fitness Success?

When people crave some of their favorite unhealthy foods but are trying to focus on eating only healthy ones, cheat days may be an option. There are debates about whether cheat days will still provide success or whether they will destroy a fitness plan. To understand each viewpoint, you have to know what a cheat day is. It’s not a day of gluttony, but a day where you can eat normally and indulge in a slice of cake, fries, or other often forbidden food.

Cheat days may save your efforts to eat healthier.

Craving junk food is a problem, especially when starting a fitness regimen. If you have continual cravings, it can make your life miserable. Even worse, giving in to cravings can cause you to eat everything in sight. A cheat day lets you give in to your cravings without feeling like you’ve failed, so you won’t give up your plan to eat healthier. It provides a time to eat like others when you’re out for burgers with friends and family.

Cheat days may boost your metabolism.

Continuously eating fewer calories can cause your metabolism to slow. Exercise will keep the fires burning hotter, but so can a cheat day. Temporarily increasing caloric intake keeps the metabolic fires burning hot. Your body doesn’t sense potential starvation, so it doesn’t slow metabolism. Keeping metabolism running high is a theory proven true in some short-term studies. They show that cheat days may even increase metabolism by 10%, but only for 24 hours.

The verdict is in, cheat days work for some people and not for others.

For some people, cheat days are perfect for all the reasons mentioned. There are downsides, however. Cheat days can slow weight loss. It takes a 3,500-calorie deficit to lose one pound. Cutting calories by 500 a day causes a one-pound weight loss in a week. If you only consume the additional 500 calories you had removed from your diet, you’ll lose a pound in 8 rather than seven. Some people splurge on cheat days and eat far more than the 500 calories they usually cut from their diet. That can significantly slow your fitness progress.

  • If you consume sugary foods or high-fat foods, it can be even harder to remove them from your diet the next day. These foods are addictive. Some people can’t get back on a healthy eating path.
  • Planning cheat days around special events, like holiday get-togethers or parties, can make it better for you. You don’t have to turn down foods you love and can eat like others without feeling guilty.
  • If you have a friend who never has a weight problem, they probably eat like people who use cheat days. They eat a healthy menu most days, except when they’re out with friends. Then they eat whatever they want.
  • You can have a cheat day once a week or schedule more time between cheat days. Don’t forget to be kind to your stomach on cheat day. Eat slowly and savor every bite. Give time for your stomach to signal to the brain that it’s full.

For more information, contact us today at Team Worx Fitness

Signs You're Working Out Too Much

Signs You’re Working Out Too Much

When you come to Team Worx in Alexandria, VA, we motivate you to push yourself to maximize your benefits. Pushing yourself has its limits. If you’re working out too hard, too often, there are consequences. For instance, if you do intense strength training every day, it can break down your muscles and impede your success. Other signs that working out too much can be disastrous. Look for these signs to make sure you’re staying safe and still getting the results you want.

More is not always better.

Working out too much—-overtraining—can set you back, especially if you’re continuously doing strenuous workouts that take a toll on your body. It can cause stress on your body. While exercise relieves stress, it also causes stress. It doesn’t allow the body to recover adequately. That can cause your immune system to be less effective, so if you’re exercising too hard and too much, you’ll be more prone to minor illnesses like colds or the flu or major problems.

If you’re pushing hard but not making progress, you may be over-exercising.

Your muscles need up to 72 hours after being pushed to the limit. To build muscles, you have to cause microtears in the muscles by working out. The tissue builds as they heal and makes your muscles bigger and stronger. If you don’t allow the tears to heal, the muscle tissue doesn’t heal, and you don’t progress or become weaker than you were previously.

Working out too much can affect more than the body.

If you start to feel depressed or show signs of confusion, irritability, or moodiness, it might be from overworking your body. You might find you’re exhausted after a workout, even though you used to feel great. If your muscle recovery takes longer than it used to take, it’s time to slow down. Give yourself a break between intense workouts. Do recovery exercises, like walking at a moderate pace.

  • Working out longer or exercising several times a day at peak intensity is overworking your body. If you don’t get enough sleep between workout sessions, at least six hours, it also can be a problem.
  • Check your resting heart rate. If it’s high, it’s a sign you’re over-exercising. If a fit person has a heart rate between 40-60 and jumps to 75 or higher, it’s a signal to take it easy.
  • The inability to sleep can happen to anyone, but if it’s occurring regularly, it may be a sign you’ve spent too much time working out. Insomnia can cause too little sleep, which can add to the problem.
  • Working out does more than cause muscle loss. It can decrease thyroid hormones and cause weight gain. It also can increase cortisol, the stress hormone. There’s a link between cortisol and the accumulation of belly fat.

For more information, contact us today at Team Worx Fitness

Why Cardio Is The Best Exercise For Weight Loss?

Why Cardio Is The Best Exercise For Weight Loss?

If your goal is weight loss, doing cardio can help you reach your goal. Cardio is the best type of exercise to burn a lot of calories. It torches calories. Unfortunately, those calories can come from both fat and muscle tissue. It’s one drawback of cardio. The less muscle tissue you have, the harder it is to lose weight. Muscle tissue requires more calories to maintain than fat tissue does, so it boosts your metabolism to burn extra calories 24/7.

Some types of cardio burn more calories than others do.

Most people understand that running at peak speed will burn more calories per hour than the same amount of time spent on a leisurely walk. There are also differences between a steady-state workout and a HIIT—high intensity interval training—workout. Steady-state is just as it sounds. You exercise at a consistent pace. HIIT varies the intensity between peak intensity and recovery. HIIT burns more calories and gets faster results.

HIIT workouts continue burning calories after the workout ends.

If you’ve run several miles alternating between high intensity and recovery, you’ll burn calories even after you quit. HIIT workouts cause excess post-exercise oxygen consumption—EPOC. It’s the reason HIIT burns more calories than a steady-state cardio session. HIIT also increases growth hormone levels in the body. It burns body fat and helps you lose weight.

Do cardio, but don’t forget other types of exercise.

You need all types of fitness training, cardio, strength, flexibility, and balance. Both strength and cardio increase HGH—human growth hormone—and burn a large amount of calories. Flexibility training helps prevent injury that can put your exercise program on pause. It extends your range of motion. Flexibility training also burns calories, just not as many as strength or cardio. So do balance exercises.

  • If you want to burn a lot of calories, try jumping rope. It’s a compound exercise that uses several muscle groups and joints, so it requires energy to move all those areas.
  • You can increase weight loss by increasing your activity when you’re not in the gym. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Climbing stairs is a cardio activity. Walk to close destinations rather than taking the car.
  • How can you tell the intensity of a cardio workout? One method is the sing method. If you can carry on a conversation, but can’t sing, it’s moderate. If you’re gasping for air and can only get out a few words, it’s intense.
  • Vary your workout to burn more calories. If you consistently do the same workout, your body becomes efficient at the moves and burns fewer calories.

For more information, contact us today at Team Worx Fitness

Is My Weight Loss Goal Realistic?

Is My Weight Loss Goal Realistic?

Success starts with setting a goal. It should be exciting but also realistic. At TeamWorX in Alexandria, VA, we can help you with fitness and weight loss goals. Setting expectations too high can be unhealthy if you achieve it and defeating if you don’t. To lose one pound, you need a deficit of 3500 calories. You can increase your calorie output by exercising and reducing your intake with a healthy diet to achieve that.

The number of calories you burn depends on age, weight, activity level, and gender.

Men burn more calories than women do. Adults 30 and under and teens burn more calories daily than older individuals. Active people burn more calories than sedentary ones. An average, extremely active woman burns 2400 calories a day. An average extremely active man burns 3,000 calories. If an average woman changed from a sedentary lifestyle to an extremely active one and ate nothing, her maximum calorie deficit per week would be 16,800. The most she could lose would be 4.8 pounds weekly. Eating nothing isn’t sustainable or healthy. A healthy option would be reducing calorie intake by 500 calories daily and boosting output by 500 calories daily. It would lead to a two-pound loss per week.

How much weight do you want to lose?

Deciding the amount of weight to lose also needs to be realistic. The amount you should weigh will vary by gender, build, amount of muscle, and age. If you’re a 30-year-old 5’6″ female who is muscular with broad shoulders and a large who lacks muscle. Once you find your ideal weight, subtract it from your present weight and divide it by the number of pounds you intend to lose weekly. That’s how long it will take you.

To have lasting results you have to change your habits.

Most people want to change their weight faster than a slow but steady technique provides. You can crash diet, but the lost weight returns when you revert to old eating habits. It took a long time to develop the habits that added the extra weight. It will take a while to break those habits and lose the weight. Once you do change habits, you’ll never have to lose weight again.

  • People who are obese may have better weight loss results initially. The more you weigh, the more calories you’ll burn. You’re carrying extra weight every minute of the day, if you carried a five to ten-pound dumbbell everywhere you went, you’d also burn more calories.
  • Track your progress. Winners keep score. Track your weight loss, measurements, and progress in the gym. If you can do more sets, lift heavier weights, or do an exercise you couldn’t do before, you’re also making progress.
  • Be realistic and understand you can’t change some things. Having a healthy and attainable body image to strive for is vital. If you’re large framed, you’ll never have a petite look, just like someone with size 9 shoes will never wear a size 3 no matter how much weight they lost.
  • Our trainers will help you set a healthy goal and break it down into mini goals you can achieve each week. We also provide nutritional advice and meal plans to help you lose weight easier.

For more information, contact us today at Team Worx Fitness

Best Stretches To Do Before A Workout

Best Stretches To Do Before A Workout

Working out regularly is vital to fitness. You’ll benefit from any exercise, but a planned exercise program is best for your overall health. Every session should start with stretches. When you stretch before a workout, you’re warming the muscles used during that session to loosen them and increase circulation. Stretching before working out prepares the heart for the increased effort of exercise.

Get ready for a full-body workout with a session on a stationary bike followed by arm circles.

Riding a stationary bike increases circulation throughout the body and increases your heart rate. Don’t pedal at top speed, just start slowly and build. If you’re out of shape, reduce the tension to make pedaling easier. The stationary bike can warm the lower-body muscles, but you also need to loosen the upper-body muscles. Stand next to the bike and extend your arms straight out to the side. Start making small circles with your hands and increase their size until they’re large circles. Reverse direction and reduce the size to small circles.

If you’re going for a run, start with a walk.

Whether you start by walking the path you’ll take for the run or just walk in circles, it’s a good warm-up that prepares your body for more exertion from the run. You can add walking lunges to stretch the leg muscles. Increase circulation even more by shaking your hands like you’re shaking off water as you do lunges and walk. You can even twist at the waist as you lunge forward to add a “twist” to the warm-up.

No matter what part of the body you’re exercising, stretch the muscles you’ll use.

Stretching helps prevent injury and improves your overall performance. If you’re working core muscles, twisting your upper body side-to-side with your arms extended straight out and parallel to the ground is a good warm-up. Keep your feet spread to shoulder width for stability. Now bend to one side and tap your fingers on the side of your leg. Stand straight and bend to the other side, doing the same.

  • Mix walking with knees high marching. Lift your knees as high as possible, attempting to press your thighs to your chest. Work into it, bringing them closer with each step. Switch to butt kicks as you pace.
  • Lift one leg behind you and grab your heel, pulling it toward your body as you feel the stretch. It’s an excellent stretch for runners.
  • A movement as simple as jumping jacks can be an excellent warm-up stretch. If you have issues with your leg joints, avoid the impact of the jump and just do the upper body movement as you step to the side and back.
  • Do lunges. Forward lunges, backward lunges, and walking lunges are all excellent warm-up stretches. Try a lateral lunge by stepping to the side as wide as you can. Bend one knee, lunging to that side as you straighten the other leg doing it.

For more information, contact us today at Team Worx Fitness

The Role Of Hormones In Weight Loss

The Role Of Hormones In Weight Loss

When I hear stories of people in Alexandria, VA, who are ready to give up because they can’t lose weight. I’m also happy we can help them. Hormones can sabotage weight loss efforts. Luckily, you can do things to change your hormonal balance. Hormones are messengers. They tell your brain when your stomach is full, so you stop eating. They also tell your cells to open to uptake glucose. Sex hormones affect where you store fat, but other hormones can also affect it. Some hormones, like cortisol, can contribute to belly fat.

Hormonal imbalances don’t make it impossible to lose weight, but they do make it more difficult.

There are a number of hormonal problems that can cause weight gain. One of the plagues of menopause is weight gain caused by a hormone imbalance. Stress hormones also add to weight gain. Some hormones provide a secondary cause of weight gain. There’s a balance between ghrelin, the hunger hormone, and leptin that makes you feel full. If you have too much ghrelin, you’re always hungry so it’s harder to regulate your diet. Too much insulin can cause insulin resistance which also affects weight loss.

Change your diet to help balance hormones.

A healthy diet can help improve hormonal balance. If you’re eating too many foods with added sugar, you’re putting your body under stress and increasing insulin production. Both things can make weight loss more difficult. Eating food high in fiber, a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, and cutting out food with added sugar can improve thyroid functioning. A Mediterranean-style diet can help prevent weight gain during menopause and cutting back on sugar helps prevent both menopausal weight gain and weight gain from stress.

You can improve your hormonal balance by working out regularly.

Exercise burns off the hormones of stress. It also helps improve insulin sensitivity. Exercise burns the stored energy in your muscles and makes the cells more sensitive to the insulin, so they uptake the glucose from your blood. Exercise builds muscles to boost your metabolism. Exercise helps build muscle tissue to improve weight loss during menopause. As you age, you lose muscle tissue, and the more you have, the higher your metabolism and the easier it is to lose weight.

  • While you may never be able to eat whatever you want without gaining weight like a friend can, you can control your weight gain with regular exercise and a healthy diet.
  • Getting more sleep can help control your appetite. When you lack sleep, your body makes more ghrelin, the hunger hormone, and less leptin, the hormone that makes you feel full.
  • Always check with your healthcare professional first. Sudden weight gain may be a sign of a serious condition. If you have a condition like hypothyroidism, it requires medication to lose weight, even though diet and exercise help.
  • Dehydration can increase your risk of a hormonal imbalance and increase your cortisol levels. Drinking more water helps. Green tea can also hydrate you and the L-theanine can help relax you and reduce stress hormones.

For more information, contact us today at Team Worx Fitness

Gluten Fact Vs Fiction: Do You Really Need To Avoid It?

Gluten Fact Vs Fiction: Do You Really Need To Avoid It?

One fact about gluten that many people don’t realize is that it’s a natural protein found in many types of grain. It gives bread and other products made from grain that spongy, elastic texture. It’s in bread, pizza dough, and foods made from rye, wheat, barley, and triticale. It’s also extracted from these grains and added to other products that don’t naturally contain wheat or other grains. A lot of fiction surrounds gluten and gluten-free products. One misconception is that it’s harmful to everyone. That’s not true.

Fact or fiction? Gluten is dangerous.

Every person is unique. It’s why we create individual plans for each person. The same is true of our digestion. Some people are lactose intolerant because they don’t have the enzyme to digest lactose, milk sugar. Some are allergic to nuts. In the case of gluten intolerance and celiac disease, digesting gluten is a problem. Gluten triggers an autoimmune response in celiac disease since the body identifies it as an invader. People with gluten intolerance often have issues with gas and bloating, just like individuals with lactose intolerance. Does that make gluten dangerous to everyone? No more than milk or products with lactose is for most of the population.

Fact or fiction? Celiac disease and gluten intolerance are the same thing.

That’s fiction. They’re two different conditions. If you have celiac disease, you’re also gluten intolerant. However, if you’re gluten intolerant, you don’t necessarily have celiac disease. A third category that causes distress when eating some products with gluten is a wheat allergy. Gluten intolerance and celiac disease cause similar symptoms initially, but celiac disease triggers an auto-immune response that goes beyond bloating and can damage your body. A wheat allergy, like any allergy, can be life-threatening.

Fact or fiction? Going gluten-free is healthy.

That’s fiction, but it could be fact if you do it correctly. Use gluten-free products that include more whole foods and fewer processed foods. If you switch and your new diet includes junk food, like potato chips, or food high in sugar, you won’t be healthier. Going gluten-free also eliminates the benefits of whole grains, besides increasing highly processed junk food with additives, loads of sugar, and few redeeming qualities. Including whole grains in your diet can reduce the risk of colorectal cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Besides fiber, they contain magnesium and folic acid.

  • Fun fact: As scientists learn more about gluten intolerance, they’re finding it might not come from gluten but amylase/trypsin-inhibitors—ATIs. They are also proteins in wheat, barley, rye, and triticale.
  • Fun fact: Some people lose weight when going gluten-free. It occurs because they often eliminate high-calorie foods and focus on whole foods. Others gain weight. They substitute high-sugar junk food for gluten-containing products that are healthier.
  • People with diabetes are ten times more likely to have celiac disease. Gluten-free products often contain ingredients like tapioca starch that raise blood sugar higher than gluten-containing products. Use naturally gluten-free whole foods.
  • Fun Fact: Gluten intolerance is more prevalent than it used to be. Farmers switched to hybrid wheat containing more gluten in the 1960s.

For more information, contact us today at Team Worx Fitness

Best Low-Fat Snacks On The Go

Best Low-Fat Snacks On The Go

Fat is not necessarily the enemy of a healthy diet. Your body needs fat for vital functions and the feeling of satiety. Some foods high in fat are healthy, like avocados and nuts, but most aren’t. People in Alexandria, VA, often opt for unhealthy low-fat snacks, especially when they’re on the go. These are often loaded with sugar or salt and contain the unhealthiest type of fat. One way to avoid food high in unhealthy fat is to choose fresh fruit or vegetables. Oranges, apples, and bananas make ideal choices for a low-fat diet.

Veggies and hummus make a good low-fat snack.

Whether you cut the veggies at home or purchase individual serving sizes at the grocery or convenience store, they’re a healthy fat-free option. The dip that often accompanies them may be a little sketchy when it comes to fat content. For a healthy low-fat option, try hummus as a dip. It does contain some fat, but it’s a healthy fat that your body needs. To make your own, use canned or reconstituted chickpeas—also called garbanzo beans, seasoning, lemon juice, and tahini. Some recipes combine chickpeas with low-fat yogurt, too.

Fruit snack packs can be a delightful addition to your snacking time.

Choose the no-added-sugar variety or fruit packed in their own juices. Fruit cups can be found in the produce aisle of the grocery and many convenience stores carry cups of fruit in their coolers for hungry motorists. The variety of fruit includes melons, grapes, and tropical fruit. Dole is just one company that makes a variety of fruit cups that aren’t prepared fresh daily. They have low or no sugar added options and some come in coconut water for a tropical taste. Always read the label to find the sugar content and calories.

Some options aren’t fat-free but contain healthy fat.

Several studies have shown that full-fat yogurt is healthier than no-fat yogurt. One reason is the sugar that’s added to give the no-fat version flavor. Yogurt is high in protein. If you purchase live culture yogurt, it also is an excellent probiotic to improve your overall health. Get plain yogurt and add fresh fruit, like a handful of berries. Don’t choose fruit-added options unless you read the label to check the sugar content.

  • Cottage cheese is another milk-based option. You can use low-fat options for your snack. Top the cottage cheese with unsweetened applesauce or fresh fruit for a tasty, yet healthy snack that will fill you up.
  • Add mushrooms to your list if you’re making vegetables and dip. It’s a good source of fiber, has protein and a host of nutrients, such as vitamins B6, D, and C, niacin, pantothenic acid, thiamin, folate, riboflavin, iron, potassium, zinc, copper, phosphorus, manganese, and selenium.
  • Keep containers of prepared fruit in your refrigerator. You’ll be more likely to eat watermelon and cantaloupe if it’s already in a bowl cubed. Other options are sectioned grapefruit, oranges, and tangerines.
  • If you make snacks at home, baked sweet potato chips are delicious and low in fat. It takes planning but is worth the effort.

For more information, contact us today at Team Worx Fitness