Fitness & Wellness

Mistakes That Can Add Pounds

Mistakes That Can Add Pounds

When you’re first starting a weight loss program, you’re going to make some mistakes. Some of these can just slow you down a bit, while others are more serious. They can add pounds. Gaining weight when you’re trying to lose is the ultimate in frustration. Not only does it shred your confidence, but it also destroys your motivation and commitment. One of the biggest misconceptions is that it doesn’t matter how you lose weight, just lose it. That opens the door to fad diets that can block your progress in the long run.

If the goal is weight loss, why does it matter how you did it?

Sure, you want to lose weight but doing it with a starvation diet or fad diet that limits you to one or two foods isn’t the right way. You might lose weight, but you have to return to normal eating at some time. When you do, you often gain that weight back and often a little extra. That puts you even further behind than you were when you started. Instead of starving yourself or eating a radical fad diet, focus on eating healthy foods. Cutting out food with added sugar and highly processed food and eating healthy can continue throughout your life so you never have to diet again.

You’re being tricked into believing some foods are diet foods.

Granola bars, energy bars, low-fat yogurt, and many other foods that people buy, thinking they’ll help with weight loss, can pack on the pounds. Fat-free foods can be particularly deceptive. Fat-free foods can cause weight gain. When companies take out fat, it loses some of its flavor and consistency. To make it palatable, they add sugar. Healthy fat helps balance your hormones, stops cravings, and even burns body fat.

People often don’t realize it takes both a healthy diet and regular exercise to lose weight.

If you’re exercising to lose weight but eating junk, you’ll fail. You can’t out-exercise an unhealthy diet. Eating healthy and not exercising isn’t recommended either. You might lose weight if you don’t exercise, but it will be fat and muscle tissue. Muscle tissue requires more calories to maintain, so the more you have, the higher your metabolism is. Shedding muscle tissue makes further weight loss and keeping pounds off harder.

  • Doing constant cardio can also make weight loss harder. Cardio burns tons of calories, but those calories come from both fat and muscle tissue. Do cardio, but also strength training to build muscles.
  • Don’t starve yourself. You can’t do it for long, but that’s not the biggest problem. When you eat too few calories, your body goes into starvation mode, which slows your metabolism for survival.
  • Get adequate sleep. Lack of sleep can cause you to overeat. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body produces more ghrelin—the hunger hormone, and less leptin—the satiety hormone.
  • Drink more water and monitor what you drink. Staying hydrated is vital. Sipping on water throughout the day can diminish your appetite. Drinking soft drinks and fancy coffee can add calories you may miss. Watch out for diet soft drinks. A new study shows they may add inches to your middle.

For more information, contact us today at Team Worx Fitness

Boost Your Confidence With Exercise

Boost Your Confidence With Exercise

People come to Team Worx in Alexandria, VA, hoping to lose weight and get fitter, but end up getting so much more. You can see the change as they get fitter. They develop a self-assurance the longer they stick with a program of exercise. It gives them a boost of confidence that’s hard to ignore. It shows in how they walk, stand, and talk. Part of that confidence comes from sticking with and achieving a goal.

Exercise makes you more energetic and powerful.

You’ll have more energy to deal with problems that occur in life. That energy can help you overcome many obstacles in your way. That gives one more confidence boost. You’ll also feel more powerful. If you’re always tired, it can make you feel weak and helpless. The opposite is true when you’re fit. Feeling strong physically can help you feel strong emotionally. It also boosts your cognitive thinking so you’re stronger mentally, adding to your confidence.

Your posture improves, so you look more confident.

If you’ve ever heard the saying, “Fake it until you can make it,” you know that walking tall and acting confidently can give you the confidence you need. When you workout, it improves your posture, making you look self-assured. People treat you with more respect because they sense that air of confidence. That treatment is internalized and gives you that extra boost.

You’ll burn off stress and look fabulous.

Stress can take you down if you let it. Exercise helps burn off stress hormones. You’ll sleep better at night and function better during the day. Exercising boosts the happy hormones that make you feel safe and secure, putting a smile on your face. Now add to that the fact that you look far better, you can see how working out regularly can improve your mood and confidence. Nothing makes you feel more confident than knowing you look great.

  • The longer you stick with a fitness program, the more you’ll feel like you can accomplish anything. That’s especially true if you’ve tried to get fit before and failed. It gives you a new sense of accomplishment.
  • You’ll be more productive. That can earn the respect of friends and colleagues. Knowing others respect you and turn to you for help boosts your confidence.
  • You’ll feel healthier when you workout regularly. Feeling good can make the difference between a day gone bad and one where you come out victorious. Adding more wins to your day boosts your confidence.
  • Achieving your fitness goal gives you the boost of confidence to tackle other difficult goals. Winning is the ultimate confidence builder. Even your self-talk will improve.

For more information, contact us today at Team Worx Fitness

Most Effective Resistance Band Workouts For Strength And Tone

Most Effective Resistance Band Workouts For Strength And Tone

You’ll have all the equipment you need when you go to the gym, but what about those times you can’t make it? It happens. You can do a variety of bodyweight exercises to build strength and tone your muscles. You can also use resistance bands to add variety to your workouts. Resistance bands are excellent at-home equipment. They’re inexpensive and small enough to store easily. You can add them to traditional exercises, making it easier to incorporate them into your workout.

Use resistance bands to build upper body strength.

Toning your upper body with resistance bands is easier than you think. Start by holding an end in each hand at shoulder-width. Gather the band so there’s no slack between your arms. Raise your hands above your head to do an overhead pull with your palms facing out. Pull outward, attempting to create a T with your arms until you can’t pull any further because the tension is too demanding. Try the same exercise, but instead, hold your palms facing inward. You can also start the pull with your arms outstretched in front, or the resistance band behind your back.

Adding resistance bands to a squat makes it even more challenging.

People who add hold weights when they do squats do so to make it more challenging. You can use resistance bands in the same manner. Choose the appropriate color for your fitness level. Hold one end of the band in each hand with the middle on the floor. and in the middle of the band is on the floor. It should have no slack when your forearms are at waist level. Now bend your elbow and lift your forearm to your ears. You’ll feel the tension. Start your squat in this position. The bands make all the muscles work harder.

Modify the clamshell exercise with resistance bands.

Some resistance bands are like long strips of flat or ropelike rubber. Others resemble large rubber bands that form a complete circle. Place the rubber band-style resistance band around your thighs just above your knees. Lay on one side with your knees bent and head resting on that side’s forearm and hand. Place the opposite hand on the hip that’s in the air. Press the upper thigh outward by squeezing our thigh and glute muscles. Hold the clamshell open, then slowly close it back to the starting position. Do several reps and repeat on the opposite side.

  • Use a longer resistance band and do curls. In a seated position, hold both ends in one hand and loop the band under the foot on the same side. There should be no slack. Do a curl.
  • Use a rubber band style band. Put it around your ankles. Then raise your leg to one side, hold it, and lower it back to the starting position. Do a set and do the other leg. You can also lift one leg forward or backward.
  • Do a high plank with resistance bands around your wrist. Raise one hand until the resistance stops you, then slowly lower it back to the ground and raise the other hand.
  • Glute bridges are even more difficult if you have a resistance band around your thighs. Bring your body up to a bridge by tightening your glutes and pushing your thighs outward. Hold the position then lower your body.

For more information, contact us today at Team Worx Fitness

The Best Ways To Overcome Gym Anxiety This Year

The Best Ways To Overcome Gym Anxiety This Year

Not everyone at Team Worx in Alexandria, VA, had gym anxiety. Those with anxiety overcame the problem and started on the road to good health and fitness. There are as many ways to defeat anxiety as there are reasons it exists. Some people are perfectionists, so facing something new can be intimidating since they know they won’t be able to do it perfectly. Hiring a personal trainer and doing one-to-one training can ease your mind. The trainer will show you the proper form first, so there’s no need to worry.

Get all your information first.

Are you worried you won’t know what to do or where to go? Before you start, ask questions. Before you sign up, ask a lot of questions. Ask for a tour of the facility and learn where everything is and the typical workout session. Check out the gym’s site online. The more information you have, the more comfortable you’ll feel on your first day.

Start slowly and work your way to a more strenuous routine.

Everyone is a beginner at some time in their life. Some people start exercise programs very young, so they don’t remember how scary it was. If you’ve never exercised before and worry you’ll look foolish or won’t be able to keep up with others, know that it will be true. Doesn’t that make you feel more anxious? Not if you realize there are always fitter people, regardless of how good you are. Most people are too focused on how to get fit or too self-conscious about what others think, to worry about you. If someone is focusing on you, aren’t they procrastinating and scared too?

Workout with a friend.

Going to a gym alone can be intimidating if you’re a beginner. However, if you go with a friend who is also a beginner, it’s more fun and less scary. If you go with a friend who already works out at that gym, they can guide you through the process and ease your fears. Joining a beginner’s group fitness class can also help ease your anxiety. Everyone in the class will be a beginner, just like you. It eases you into exercise until you feel comfortable working out alone.

  • Going to the gym after an injury or illness can be intimidating. Talk to your healthcare professional first to get an okay. Use a personal trainer to modify your workout to match your fitness level.
  • Find a time when the gym is less crowded. Ask the staff for help using the machines. If you have problems changing in front of others in the locker room, it’s also a time that it’s less likely to happen.
  • Don’t force yourself to stay for an entire session. Do as many as you comfortably can on the first day and build on that, increasing how long you stay each time.
  • Overcome the worry that you’re too out of shape. It’s why you’re going to the gym. Set a starting date and increase your activity daily to prepare for the gym.

For more information, contact us today at Team Worx Fitness

How To Get Bigger And Stronger

How To Get Bigger And Stronger

People come to Team Worx in Alexandria, VA, for many different reasons. Some come to lower blood pressure, lose weight, or build endurance. Others want to get bigger muscles or want to become stronger. Some want both. Building larger muscles doesn’t necessarily make you stronger. That requires a different type of exercise. You have to build opposing muscle groups to get the best results. You can start by lifting something heavy. While most new mothers don’t develop bulky muscles, they develop the strength to lift the baby and as the baby grows increase that lifting ability.

You use different workouts to build big muscles than you do to build strong muscles.

When you first start training, you’ll build both muscles and strength. Most bodybuilders workout to achieve larger muscle size—hypertrophy. While they’ll gain some strength initially, it won’t be as much as powerlifters, who focus only on strength. What’s the difference between the two? It’s not the type of exercise you do but how you do it. When you build muscle tissue, as bodybuilders do, you do more reps and less weight or resistance.

Build your biceps with lifting and curling exercises.

According to ACE—American College on Exercise—building biceps requires exercises that involve curling weights toward your shoulders or lifting weights. Use a weight you can lift for 12-15 repetitions before your form deteriorates. Do one set of each of these exercises two or three days a week, ensuring you have 48 to 72 hours of rest between sessions to allow muscles to recover. As you get stronger, don’t increase the reps, but increase the sets.

Several exercises can build your lower body strength.

You don’t need weights to build or define your thighs and glutes. Squats and lunges can do the job. These traditional calisthenics build leg and back muscles. Hold weights to build more strength. Curls are excellent for strengthening upper arms. So are push-ups and planks. The two also build core strength and improve balance and mobility. Crunches and bridges can build midsection core muscles.

  • Focus on form when doing all types of exercise, especially strength-building exercises. Don’t forget to do warm-up and cool-down exercises.
  • Women have to work harder to build bulky body muscles. It takes a special diet and a specially designed workout routine. Don’t worry. Strength-building exercises won’t turn you into the Hulk without extra effort.
  • Eat a small snack or meal after your workout. It should contain carbohydrates and protein. Eat it as soon after the workout as possible to boost recovery and provide adequate protein to build muscle tissue.
  • Slowly increase the weight you lift as you get stronger. Don’t go too fast, or it will affect your form. The trainers at Team Worx will help you find the right weight and time to make the change.

For more information, contact us today at Team Worx Fitness

How To Stay In Shape With A Busy Lifestyle

How To Stay In Shape With A Busy Lifestyle

You might think you can’t workout because you have a busy lifestyle, but the truth is, if you want to stay in shape, you have to make the time. Schedule your workout at the same time each day. Consider the gym a way to avoid many doctor’s appointments. Being fit diminishes your potential for serious illness. It increases strength, boosts your immune system, and helps prevent pain from existing conditions. It can prevent obesity, which leads to heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

Your diet plays a vital role in your fitness.

It takes no extra effort to eat healthy since you have to eat. You can make it even easier with meal planning. You plan your meals one day a week, shop for ingredients the next, and cook on the third day. Cooking all in one day saves time. You can use the oven for several dishes, divide the meals into individual serving sizes, and use the excess meat and vegetables for several meals. Then heat it and serve during the week.

Workout early or after work.

If you have a hectic day, workout before it starts. Get up before the kids and do your workout. It prevents emergencies or unexpected intrusions into your schedule. You’ll be ready to take a shower right after the workout and begin your day. If your day ends when you walk out the door at the office and you seldom work past your regular hours, working out after your workday ends is perfect. If neither works for you, break up your workout into shorter sessions of 10-15 minutes each.

Workout smarter and with more intensity.

A shorter workout provides more benefits if you use HIIT—high intensity interval training. It’s not a specific workout but a way of doing any exercise. You alternate between high intensity and recovery rate for a minute or two each. Studies show that HIIT workouts offer the same benefits in a half hour as steady-state workouts provide in an hour. Other types of training that get more done in less time include kettlebell training, circuit training, and full-body workouts.

  • You don’t have to go to the gym to get exercise. Alternate your days at the gym with active recreation. Ride bikes with the kids, go for a walk or go dancing. Include your family in your fitness regimen and make it fun.
  • Get plenty of sleep. You may think you should stay up to finish a project, but you won’t be working as efficiently. Lack of sleep also increases the hunger hormone and diminishes the satiety hormone, so you eat more.
  • If you stop for a drink with friends after work, suggest you all go to the gym instead. You’ll burn off stress hormones, just like liquor does, but you’ll lose weight not gain it and feel better in the morning.
  • Staying hydrated is vital to staying fit. Always carry a bottle of water with you and sip on it throughout the day. It’s the perfect pick-me-up that increases your energy better than coffee does.

For more information, contact us today at Team Worx Fitness

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