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Resolve to Live Positively

You’ve made it past the holiday feasting, travel, and stress and to the middle of January. How are those resolutions working out for you? Oh yes, the dreaded resolutions. They are always along the same vein… I’m gonna lose weight, I’m gonna eat healthier, I’m finally going to pay down those credit cards or save more or get organized. We stick to these fickle goals for what seems like a moment before we go back to our regular lives and our regular habits. What about trying a new kind of resolution this year? Rather than trying to change your life with restrictive measures on food, money, or time try to incorporate kindness and community into your life.

Ok, that sounds good. What does that mean?

I’m not suggesting giving up on your other goals but only adding a layer of positive energy into your life. One way to achieve that is through community participation. Studies have shown that people working together on shared goals have a far higher success rate than those plodding forward on their own. You want to lose weight or change the way you eat? Find a friend that has the same goal and make them an integral part of your process. Start a weekly/monthly healthy recipe swap and go grocery shopping together. It’s harder to grab that triple chocolate ice cream or bag of chips with your workout buddy watching. It’s the togetherness of the activity that can help you be more successful.

You can take it a step further and get out and donate some of your time and energy to helping others. There are many organizations all across town that always need a helping hand. Why not go help out at the local food bank or one of the hundreds of other places that need assistance. Get a group of friends together to volunteer or check out one of the many opportunities to meet new people while doing good for your community. There are sites available to help like minded people get together to do just about anything you can think of. Everything from exercise, eating, cooking, outdoor activities, volunteer possibilities, books, to games or income tax groups. You can add aspects of positivity and community in small ways or go big if you like; the point is there are options to do more this year with your life than you thought possible. Doing it with other people means you’ll stick with it longer and see more success than you ever could by yourself. Give yourself the lasting gift of giving back and you’ll reap the rewards long after the new year.

Holiday Survival Guide

Every year in December the struggle is real. Holiday parties, treats at the office, and the never ending holiday ‘egg nog’.

We want you to not only survive but thrive. Every year thousands of people overeat and are left just waiting for January 1st to finally begin their best year yet.

Not this year! Be sure to check our FREE Holiday Survival Guide.

If you have any questions reach out, we would love to help you.

In his own words: Dave Schulze on the fitness

March 2014

In his own words: Dave Schulze on the fitness coaching, finding balance, and asking for help.

I was initially very cynical about the fitness industry.  People look at it from the outside and see these gurus doing infomercials, trying to get rich.  But I’m not doing it to get rich; I’m doing it to have a better life.  I’m doing it because I like it, and also because it’s a very internal thing to me.  I enjoy the people part of it, but to me, exercise is a really good way to just check in with yourself – to ask if you have balance in your life.  Whatever you’re doing – meditation, yoga, swimming, even going out to eat with friends – is important, because it all needs to fit together. It all creates our well being.  We just have to manage it.  As with anything, people go too far: you’re isolated in your cube at your desk all day and just crave human interaction.  Of course, you can’t wait to go to happy hour.  But then you find yourself drinking a lot and eating a lot of crappy food – and that’s OK every now and then, but it can also become escapism.

Working with a coach

I really believe in coaching.  One of the things we realize as we age is that we can’t do it all by ourselves.  The best coaches have coaches. I think there’s a lot of power in having someone to help you.  It gives you accountability and it means there’s someone to guide you.  You can get a fitness program out of a magazine, but there’s no one there to tell you if your form is good, or if you’re doing the exercises that are right for you, or to help you figure out how you’re going to stay motivated on your own and when you’re traveling.  That’s the biggest part of belonging to a fitness club: life is more and more complicated, and it’s really nice to have a place you can go to that’s easily accessible, and where you know there’s someone there that has your time worked out for you.  I’m going to pick the best exercises for you and put them in an order that makes the most sense and that’s proven to help you get the best results.

I’m not the yell-in-your-face trainer at all.  I’m going to ask how you’re feeling today.  If you need to be pushed, I can push you; if you need not to be pushed then I’m going to hold you back.  And maybe sometimes you don’t know which of those you need, so I can help you figure it out.  And you get that internal check-in every time we work out together.

Using systems that make sense

I think people don’t succeed in gyms because gyms are traditionally very segmented.  They’re good companies, but the trainers all have their own limited niches.  If you’re training for a triathlon, you go to this trainer, but if you’re doing corrective work after knee surgery, you go to someone else – and they both have their own systems and they may or may not talk to each other.

With Focus Fitness, I’ve created an environment where everything is integrated: there’s is a methodology, a system, a mindset, a belief, and everybody is on the same page.  There’s a reason why we do everything.

From an exercise perspective, I’m trying to create teams and systems because that is efficient.  In the athletic world, that’s how it works: there’s a head strength and conditioning coach who designs what you’re going to do, but all the workouts happen with assistant coaches working in a group environment.  There are three to four people to a coach and that coach’s job is to work with those people.

Now we’re starting to transfer this to personal fitness because it’s proven to get results.

Building a community

It’s about community.  I want everyone there because they all have the same goal.  You’re a member of the club and you have a training program, so you don’t have to worry about what to do.  You know that everybody there is serious, but you don’t have to be intimidated by anybody because you’re all part of the same team.

I’m trying to create a place where people want to go, because I want to have that social energy there.  I want it to have a little bit of a spa feeling it to it and the sense that we’re doing things that are a little untraditional.  It doesn’t have to be a social club, but when you walk in and people ask how you’re doing, it’s refreshing.

Getting real results

The motto on our front door is “look better, feel better, move better” – and that’s what happens. You sleep better.  You have more energy.  And that’s going to improve your life. You’re going to perform better at work.  You’re going to be better in relationships.  Your stress is going to go down.

If you’re in pain, it’s going to permeate everything you do.  I’m not a physical therapist, but I do have a massage background and many of my exercises are corrective.  I’ve worked with many therapists and learned from them.  Tons of people have low back pain, shoulder pain, lots of hip stuff because people sit a lot more now.  Hip and shoulder joints are your most complicated joints.  They take a lot of stress.  And there are so many muscles and attachments.  People just get out of whack.  And that’s why I don’t want people just coming in to do bench presses and curls. Guys like to lift heavy stuff because it feels good to lift heavy stuff – and it’s good for you because your bones need it – but I think functional exercises can be just as good because they self-correct.  If you help your body move the way it’s intended to move, it will correct itself.  I see so many people who sit all day.  They’re rounded and they’re hunched.  Then they go do bench presses and that just exaggerates it. Then someone tells me his shoulder hurts.  I know it’s because that shoulder was already out of alignment because he was sitting all day and he just made it worse.  You gotta earn your right to do bench pressing in my place.  Show me you can do a solid, clean push-up.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’ll work with you.  If you don’t like plank, I know why I’m giving you plank.  It’s not just to check off the “abs” box.  There are other exercises that can do the same thing.  It’s not about plank – it’s all about intention and having goals.  It’s an act of faith.  Most people get into a routine and they begin to realize it: that this set of exercises is the right thing for you.  That eventually the things you don’t like are going to be the things you like best and the things that end up doing the most for you.

Remembering the big picture

People go to gyms and think “I’m gonna get in shape!”  But then something happens and they fall off.  Then they have this membership they can’t use.  That’s why coaches matter. Statistically, people who engage in classes or use trainers stay members longer.  And we know that if people don’t engage in the first 21 days, they aren’t as successful in gyms.

We understand that people’s goals change.  But, if you get 90% of the way to your goal and then slack off, we’re going to ask about that.  We’re going to have the big picture in mind for you.  Life happens.  The point is that you keep going and we’re going help you.  You can’t be 100% on it all the time.  Humans go in spurts, we’re seasonal.  At Focus, we keep it real.

So many people skip workouts because they think that’s going to buy them the time to get something done.  I’m totally a case in point.  But I think that by having the facility, having the program, having the accountability, you’re going just fit it in.  Research shows that just three hours per week can do amazing things for people.  And that’s not a lot of time, you know?

Member of the Month-Brad Clark

Focus Fitness is thrilled to introduce Brad Clark as the Member of the Month for November. Many of youbrad-clark know him already as he is a frequent face at the gym and all our extra curricular events. Brad exemplifies what makes a Focus Fitness member great and he is also a darn fine human being. Those of you that have met him know that he is not only one of the most fit people we know but he is always interested in what others have going on and he offers his distinctive perspective to all his interactions.

His motivation for working out with a trainer came, as many do, from recovering from an injury. “I needed to get stronger and balanced after an injury and I wanted to learn new ways to exercise and properly lift weights.” It’s important to maintain proper form when lifting and even more so when bringing your body back from trauma. Since starting with Dave two years ago Brad has achieved his goal of getting stronger and recovering from the injury. He gets “safe, smart progressions that [he doesn’t] have to design or worry are going to work… and are balanced.”

“The cost of training is cheaper than the cost of a doctor visit and a therapy session and can be better than both of those things, getting stronger has helped me in every part of my life from simple things like lifting grocery bags onto the counter to being able to play and pick up and be active with my kids without fear.”

brad-clark-martial-artsIn reaching for our goals we always learn about ourselves and Brad is no exception. “There is always something to learn or self discovery [in] trying something new but the unexpected excitement of seeing my lifts hit PR and finding new muscles or new strength has expanded what I thought I was capable of doing and I love that!” We love hearing about the positive benefits our members are achieving from working at Focus Fitness. “The personal, boutique feel and non-competitive atmosphere of Focus Fitness is a great way to workout after experiencing other types of training. The personal benefits from working out out like getting stronger, feeling better, recovering from injury are all great but the biggest win was the reaction to the “new stronger me” my wife had.” Well you can’t ask for more than that now can you? Keep up the good work, Brad, and we’ll look forward to seeing all of you at the gym!

Lifting Weights vs. Cardio

For years many of us have Jazzercised, Zumba-ed, and run too many miles to count on the treadmill pushin-the-sledand elliptical in the hopes of losing weight. What results has this produced for most of us? Temporary weight loss and burn out. Cardio is supposed to burn all those calories and make me sweat to bring me to a caloric deficit, right? Well, yes and no. The only way to lose weight is to consume less calories than you burn on a daily basis. Seriously, reread that last sentence and sear it into your memory. Now what we do with our bodies in the form of exercise will augment the number of calories you burn in different ways. So, let’s briefly cover what doing cardio only versus an inclusive strength training regimen with cardio components can do to transform your body.

Cardio is great for burning calories and boosting your cardiovascular, pulmonary, and nervous systems. Just doing cardio as your exercise of choice can help you achieve weight loss while strengthening your heart and increasing lung capacity. What it will not do is boost your metabolism long term as you are not building a significant amount of muscle mass with your efforts. Cardio will not give you the muscle definition that makes fat loss look so good and it will not boost your resting metabolic burn rate the way increased muscle mass will.

This is where lifting weights becomes so important, especially as we age. Our metabolic rate (the rate we convert calories to energy) decreases as we age because muscle mass declines in a sedentary lifting-weightslifestyle. Lifting weights increases muscle mass which causes our resting metabolic burn rate to increase. What does that mean? Simply put, muscle requires more energy to function than fat. If your RMR (Resting Metabolic Rate) is low then you are not burning as many calories as you could be. Increasing your RMR by increasing your muscle mass will burn more calories throughout the day, even when you are not exercising.

So can I just lift weights to increase my RMR? There are many health professionals that would say “yes” to this question, but here at Focus Fitness we take an inclusive approach. We like to see our clients weight training in the gym 2-3 times a week in addition to performing some cardio 1-2 times a week for optimal strength and weight loss results. Combining weight training and cardio into your regular healthy lifestyle will give you the results that so many of us are looking for; healthy muscle definition with a low body fat-to-body weight ratio. 

Simply put: Lifting Weights + Cardio + Caloric Deficit = Optimal Health & Weight Loss Results

inches     gun-show

October Member of the Month, Cheryl Rapp

Focus Fitness is incredibly proud to announce one of our long-time members, Cheryl Rapp, as our October Member of the Month. Cheryl was a founding member and has been kicking booty with us ever since. Cheryl inspires us everyday, even on days when we might be a bit low energy, to step up, and give everything we’ve got. We all need a little motivation now and then and we appreciate her tenacity to show up every single time.

Following a car accident about a decade ago, she was restricted from favorite physical activities like lifting weights and running which led to a sedentary lifestheadshot-cherylyle. “I became a couch potato, gained 10 pounds, and could not fit into my favorite pair of jeans. Once the restrictions were lifted I immediately wanted help losing weight and developing a weight training routine. I sought out a trainer who challenged me to run better and workout harder. With [Dave’s]… help I have achieved goals I never thought possible!”

One of the many things we love about Cheryl is that she understands the value of training with a professional who recognizes the individual needs of each client. “Working with Dave has helped keep me centered. When work stress is high, Dave has helped by giving training routines that focus my mind on my workout. This eases the stress all while producing results! Without Dave’s strength training, I don’t think I could have completed a marathon with a personal best finishing time!”

Exercise is an integral part of not just physical but mental health. Getting into the gym and doing the work makes us calmer while boosting our self-esteem. Cheryl has seen the benefits in a very quantifiable way. When she was sedentary, she felt poorly but once she got moving again after the doctor’s go ahead she felt better than ever. “I have learned that the only obstacles getting in my way of achieving more fitness goals are personal struggles with self-confidence and determination.”

“Dave is a hard working trainer who shows genuine enjoyment with his job/gym and helping others achieve goals. No other trainer I’ve had sends personal shout-outs in the middle of the day. These messages are much needed confidence boosters.” A big thank you to Cheryl for working so hard on her personal goals and for letting us be her guide. We are honored for the opportunity
.  She is the kind of member that we hope all our clients aspire to be.

Eating Healthfully While Traveling for Work

Airplane in the sky
Traveling for work can be challenging for many reasons. The number one issue we hear about is how to eat healthfully while in a different city when it seems the only options are fast food or sub-par hotel dine-in menus. So what can we do to combat unhealthy food options when it comes to travelling? The answer is simple but does take a little more effort than running through the drive through (although if you’re going to literally run through the drive through go right ahead!) or ordering room service. It merely takes a bit of planning and a little research.

In the age of the internet where copious amounts of information is available on just about everything it’s a good idea to take a moment to see what’s around you when you arrive to your new city. One of our favorite ways to do this is to take a walk around the vicinity of the hotel you’re staying in. It’s prudent to talk to the concierge or front desk person to see what you should check out and what direction to go. Walking around your hotel is a great way to get some exercise, especially after a day of travelling, while you check out the local establishments.

Once back in the hotel you can take advantage of the wifi in your room or the available office area to fruits-and-vegetables-rainbowsearch for potential restaurants that suit your needs with the added benefit of reviews. You can peruse menu options for a variety of places as well find a grocery store to stock up on some healthy snacks for your room. You don’t want to find yourself bingeing on late night cable TV with no healthy snacks and be tempted to grab that $20 container of 4 macadamia nuts! A few ideas of items to keep in your room are apples, carrots, raw unsalted nuts, bananas, or other self-contained fruits and veggies that won’t spoil.

With a minimal amount of research you’ll find it easy to enjoy healthy meals while you travel for work. Remember to stay hydrated as it is easy to forget to drink water when on the go. Throw in some in-room exercise or make use of the hotel’s fitness area and the trip will have been beneficial for both your job and your body. Take care of yourself and your body will take care of you.

Should I Practice Yoga?

heather-doing-yogaWe have heard several members ask if combining yoga into their regular workout schedule is worth it and we say, “absolutely!” The cornerstone philosophy of functional fitness combines resistance training with proper form. Focus Fitness trainers always encourage rolling out and warming up the muscles and the body before entering into the crux of the workouts. As advocates of being functional through workouts we want that to translate into your body being functional in daily life as well.

Many of you read of the 85 year old woman, Anna Pesce, who lived for decades with a hunch on her back caused from scoliosis as well as a herniated disc. She dealt with constant pain for years with no real relief from doctors or medications, eventually ending up in a wheelchair. She decided at 85 to try yoga and, with a personal instructor specializing in senior citizens, she was able to stand tall and pain free in less than a year of practice. You can read more of her story here. The smile on her face as she stands tall says it all! Anna’s story is an extreme example of what yoga can do but the lesson remains valid. The therapeutic benefits of stretching combined with strength movements as done in yoga is said to improve circulation, flexibility, muscle tone, and can even boost energy levels.

In a functional fitness setting we strive to combine a variety of beneficial activities for overall health. Since form is at the forefront of healthy resistance training, having good balance is important to avoid injury. We’ve all picked up a weight and wobbled a bit on our feet. It’s those moments of instability that can be a source of causing harm to yourself and potentially others. The poses and stretches done in yoga build up those balancing muscles making you stronger and more importantly, steadier.

Focus Fitness wants you to improve your whole self in your exercise so that you can live fully day to day. That’s why the custom work-out for each of our members reflects their goals in a safe and fun way. Regular practice of yoga will only add to the activities and movements you can achieve so bust out that dusty yoga mat and get to a yoga class! There are many free classes all the time around town so cost isn’t a limitation. Here is a link to some of the ones you can try. We look forward to hearing about your experiences and how they affect your workouts! Namaste, y’all!