3 Surprising Benefits of Exercise!

Working out is about more than looking good...

Nobody understands that better than our certified fitness instructor and Personal Trainer, Erica Gold-Spink.  As a former therapist with a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology, Erica knows the important role that exercise plays in mental health.  Read on to hear what she has to say and then…

Strength Exercise ClassResearch has shown that physical activity can also reduce stress, lessen fatigue, enhance memory and cognitive functioning, as well as improve alertness and concentration.  Here are three of the psychological benefits of being physically active:

Reduces stress and anxiety

Within five minutes of moderate exercise, most participants report a mood enhancing effect.  Exercise also gives you a focused activity that can serve as a distraction from your every day stressors and give you a sense of accomplishment.  Group exercise even has the added benefit of a social environment, creating a sense of camaraderie and accountability. Numerous studies have shown that the effects of physical activity extend beyond the short term.  In fact, regular exercise can be just as effective as anti-depressants in treating mild to moderate depression.

Lessens fatigue

Exercsise causes happiness pictureExercise releases our body’s natural hormones: endorphins.  The increased levels contribute to a feeling of euphoria commonly referred to as a “runner’s high.” Exercise also helps you get a better night’s sleep by helping to regulate your body’s circadian rhythms,  allowing you to feel more refreshed during the day. Both quantity and quality of sleep is improved by engaging in fitness activities during the day.

Boosts brain power

Brain activity after walkingStudies have shown that cardio exercises aid in a process called neurogenesis – the creation of new brain cells. Neurogenesis improves overall brain performance, and prevents cognitive decline and memory loss.  Physical activity can also boost creativity and mental energy.   The same hormones that make you feel better also help you to concentrate and feel mentally sharp.  

To read more about how exercising packs huge benefits for your brain, check out articles from the Mayo Clinic, HelpGuide, and Shape.

Our workouts have you (and your mental health) covered

Whether you prefer the one-on-one attention of working with a Personal Trainer, camaraderie of group exercise classes, Pilates Reformer sessions, or all three – our workouts are guaranteed to boost your fitness level AND your mood! 

Top tip to lose weight!

Read on to see what our certified Fitness and Pilates Reformer instructor, Ericka Calcagno, has to say about changing habits that will lead to lifelong results! #GuestBlogger

Resolution: A firm decision to do or not to do something.

Synonym: intention, resolve, decision, intent, aim, aspiration, design, purpose, object, plan

So, we’re finally into 2019. The holidays are over, we’ve rung in the New Year and, of course, made resolutions that we hope to keep. The most common resolutions of the new year are to exercise, eat better, and lose weight. Unfortunately, research shows 90% of resolutions fail by mid January, beginning of February. 
You are your habits – what you do repeatedly, day in and day out.  And sometimes, you are creating suffering for yourself through your habits. Negative patterns that you do over and over again can actually stand in the way of your happiness.  
We’ve all had bad habits that we’ve tried to break and failed. And good habits we’ve tried to acquire and dropped.
You have to be READY…
Ready to want to make the necessary changes that will get you where you want to be. You need to identify your routine and make a plan… a lifestyle change!
It is possible to begin new habits that create happiness and health. If you find yourself engaged in unhealthy habits you can learn how to overcome those habits and replace them with healthy habits. 
Cardinal Rule: Don’t think BIG!! Go SMALL!!
Set goals, but aim small.  Starting with small goals is easier, and easier makes it’s more doable when you’re just getting started. Once you reach the first goal you can move on to the next. The small successes you experience will be the motivation to keep going.  And before you know it, you’ve made healthy lifestyle changes that have become your new habits.

 A Helpful Tool in Your Arsenal:

One way to move on from unhealthy habits is to make conscious decisions, each day, to take care of yourself by exercising and eating properly.   Balanced Habits is a way to do just that – it’s a way to wake-up and stop sleeping-walking through your life.  It’s a way to create healthy habits that are about paying attention to the food you consume and how you treat your body.

There really is no bad food – just bad proportions. The key is eating correctly to fuel your body and lifestyle.

No more just grabbing what is easy.  No more engaging in the same weight-loss programs and fad dieting that doesn’t work. Balanced Habits will give you a roadmap to success. Will give you support. Will help you move past the habits that have stood in the way of your weight-loss and healthy-living success. 

This isn’t something that you go at alone.  Balanced Habits coaches (I’m one of them!) provide support and accountability to help you stay on the path of making conscious, healthy choices.

There’s no better time to start making healthy choices than right now!  The power to make healthy lifestyle changes is in your hands.

Be an action-taker.  

Start making conscious, healthy choices.

Start truly paying attention to what you eat and how often you exercise.

And, if you need help, Balanced Habits can put you on the right path.

Eating for Success: Macro & Micro Nutrients

Macro and micro nutrients

Macro and micro nutrients

Simple, healthy eating tips to fuel your body – the right way!

Boost your workouts and get better fitness results by balancing macro and micro nutrients.  

Macro nutrientsWhat are macro nutrients?

Macros are the carbohydrates, fats, and proteins that we eat in large quantities to keep our bodies satiated, active… and alive!  Combined, those three macro nutrients make up the majority of a healthy eating lifestyle.

  • Carbs: Not to be confused with potato chips, white bread, and cookies.  In terms of macro carbs, we mean the good stuff that nourishes, restores and helps your body perform at its peak while supplying much-needed energy.   Think: veggies, whole grains, fruits, beans, and lentils.
  • Fats: It’s important to incorporate the right kind of fats into your diet because it protects our organs and provides our cells with energy.  When choosing fats, select foods like avocados, fatty fish, extra virgin olive oil, nuts, cheese, etc.
  • Proteins: Evvvverybody knows that a body needs it.  Protein builds and repair muscles, takes care of our hair, nails and skin, and more!  Great sources of protein are eggs, fish, lean meat, black beans, Greek yogurt, and cheese.

What are micro nutrients?

List of micro nutrients

Micro nutrients are vitamins and minerals that we need in small portions to keep our bodies healthy and balanced.   Their main function is to enable necessary chemical reactions to occur in the body, but they provide no energy (i.e. they don’t boost your calorie intake).  Although micro nutrients are needed in much smaller quantities than macro nutrients, they are vital. Getting less than the recommended amount of micros creates a body that is susceptible to disease and more!  Here are a few benefits to getting the right amount of micro nutrients:

  • Regulating various functions in the human body (e.g. metabolism, heart beat, etc.)
  • Preventing, treating diseases and illnesses
  • Sustaining physical and mental well-being

Healthy foods on a tableHow macro and micro nutrients work together

Think of it this way: macros are the airplanes and micros are the luggage.  The plane is necessary to get to your destination and, while the luggage doesn’t impact your arrival time or travel schedule, it greatly influences how prepared you are upon arriving.  Without proper luggage, you’re totally unprepared for a dinner out, the beach…  any activity.

In the same way, if you eat the recommended amount of macros, you’ll feel full and have energy, but if those chosen macros don’t have the necessary amount of micros, your body will be lacking the vital components needed to function smoothly.  This can result in fatigue, weakness, mental fogginess, slow reflexes, abnormal heart beat, mood swings, impaired immune system, brittle bones and so much more!

Fuel your body for success

Group of smiling friendsThe best way to ensure that you’re getting the right amount of macros and micros is to check your eating habits.  One great way to do this is meal planning.  It’s no secret that meal planning provides HUGE lifestyle benefits, it also enables you monitor how well you’re doing on the macro/micro front.

For example, if you know that you need X amount of calories daily (apps like MyFitnessPal come in handy to figure that out), then combining a free meal planning app such as FoodPlanner can help you find tasty recipes, plan your weekly menu, AND see the nutritional facts.  Armed with nutritional info, you’ll not only see the calorie breakdown of carbs, fats and proteins, but you’ll also see what vitamins and minerals are found in each food.

Ready to build a balanced plate?

Check out the Huffington Post’s article about how to get the right amount of macros and micros in your diet!






Top 2 workouts to burn more fat this summer!

Lose more weight

Lose more weight with HIIT and strength exercises

Lose more weight by taking strength and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) classes!

We all want to look our best in the summer sun and these two workouts are guaranteed to get you into your best shape ever.

Sign up for a HIIT or strength class!

Yep, HIIT is where it’s at!

Two words: fast results.

HIIT workouts intersperse bursts of high-intensity exercises with active recovery or rest.  The duration of a HIIT workout varies, but they all follow the same model – intense work followed by active recovery.  Repeat.

In every HIIT workout, you are (safely) pushed to exercise at 100% effort for several intervals with short bouts of rest in between keeping your heart rate up throughout the workout.  Exercising at max capacity means your body increases oxygen consumption during active rest.  “This after-burn effect is referred to as ‘excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC)’ and is the reason why intense exercise will help you burn more fat” and lose more weight.

Check out the research behind how increased EPOC leads to better long-term fitness improvements.HIIT exercise

The history of HIIT

There isn’t a singular genesis moment for high-intensity interval training workouts.  The main consensus is that HIIT-style exercises were first used to train elite athletes for competition dating back to the 1912 Olympics with the first scientific publication of HIIT workouts emerging in 1959.

Although there are several forms of HIIT, perhaps the most widely known style is Tabata.  Named after Professor Izumi Tabata, Tabata interval training was developed in 1996 for Olympic speed skaters.  The interval workout includes 20 seconds of intense exercise followed by 10 seconds of active rest, repeated non-stop for 4 minutes.  After completing this type of training for 6 weeks, studies showed that Tabata participants “improved their anaerobic performance and lowered their BMI more than those who exercised at a steady state for the same time-frame.”

Now, that you know why HIIT workouts are major fat-blasters it’s time to experience them for yourself!

Jumpstart your weight loss with one of our HIIT classes this week:

strength training classOkay, what about strength training?

When thinking of how to lose more weight, cardio exercises inevitably come to mind, but that’s only half of the story.

Enter stage left: strength training.

Strength training incorporates weights, resistance equipment or body-weight based strength moves to contract your muscles, forcing them to work.  Over time, this increases muscle mass.  Increased muscle mass turns your body into an efficient, fat-burning machine because muscles burn more calories to sustain themselves.   The more muscle mass you have, the more fat and calories you burn around the clock; even when you’re not working out.

If you’re a woman worried about turning into the Incredible Hulk by lifting heavy weights: don’t.  Women, by nature, don’t have enough testosterone turn into Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Instead, gals who lift heavy weights or strength train change their body composition.  Think tighter abs, a lifted booty, toned arms and shoulders…  You get the idea.  Discovery Learning’s article gives a bit more insight into why strength training does the body gooood, especially for women looking to lose more weight and tone up.

To see results, it’s recommended that you strength train at least twice per week and we’ve got you covered with several class options!  From BODYPUMP™ to Sculpt & Tone, and TRX & Tone Circuit, our strength training classes cater to all fitness levels and deliver a total-body workout that will build long, lean muscles!

Ready to lose weight, but need a bit more guidance?

Schedule a FREE fitness consultation for expert advice on how to reach your fitness goals!

Book a consultation appointment!

Or, give us a call (248) 477-5248 today!