Summer Schedule Announced!

A few minor changes to our usual schedule!  Listed below are the recurring classes, but be sure to check out the online registration site for special events like “Spin at the Movies”, Couples Spin, Theme Rides, and Boot Camps!

summerschedule

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What to Look for in a Personal Trainer

Recently, Fitibie had a great article on 5 Things to Look For in A Personal Trainer and then one of my favorite bloggers, StrongFitBeautiful, expanded on the topic even more. Both did a fantastic job capturing all the things to consider when looking for a personal trainer- so I’ve summarized all the tips below!

1. Your personalities click
Trainer tip: Don’t be afraid to shop around
Personality is paramount when it comes to considering working with a trainer. A trainer can have all the qualifications and experience in the world, but if you don’t connect, then it will be difficult to develop a relationship that leads to commitment and success. I always encourage potential clients to interview me during our initial assessment to make sure our personalities match.

2. They put their clients before the program

Trainer tip: The first session will say it all
Going through a workout at the first session can be a sign of a bad trainer. It is impossible to receive personal training until the trainer knows the person behind the program they are creating. Your trainer should become familiar with your goals, history, likes and dislikes, schedule, current movement abilities, and areas of pain.

3. They’re all ears and a lot of heart
Trainer tip: Make sure you do most of the talking
A good trainer has good listening skills, a compassionate disposition, and generally feels like someone with whom you connect personally.

4. They never stop learning
Trainer tip: They are committed to their own ongoing education
Make sure your trainer has a NCCA-accredited personal training certification and also has committed to ongoing learning by attending workshops and conferences. The fitness industry changes at warp-speed, so it’s important for all fitness pros to stay up with the latest trends, knowledge, and practical ways to deliver results.

5. They know why it’s called personal training
Trainer tip: Be sure the workout is about  your specific goals
When you pay top dollar for one-on-one workouts, you deserve more than a canned workout. While every trainer has some favorite moves that they may use for multiple clients, your workout should be very specific to your goals, your shortcomings, and your level. Be sure that your trainer focuses on your individualized needs–and doesn’t just give you the same workout she gives every client.

6. They have references
Trainer Tip: If you know people who are like you who love their trainer- it’s a good bet you might too!
Do a background check. No, I’m not talking do they pay their bills on time – but rather their experience.  Which professional certifications do they hold? How long have they been training? All of these are great questions to ask to make sure you are working with a qualified professional – not just somebody who looks like they work out a lot. You can look up most trainers on IDEAFit or other sites. Here is an example (yep it’s mine) of a trainer profile!

7. It Needs to Be the RIGHT FIT for Both of YOU!
Trainer Tip: You will be spending a lot of time with this person so make sure it works for you both.
Your training should fit your life – and your schedule. If you know you aren’t going to be out of bed and to the gym by 8 a.m. on Saturday morning, find another time (and if necessary, another trainer). Many trainers will still charge your hourly fee if you don’t keep your appointment time – and you aren’t going to make any gains (or losses) if you aren’t committed to putting the work in! Also, be clear about what you want to accomplish in training. A trainer can only help you achieve your goals if he or she is clear on what they are. Are you trying to lose weight? Bulk up? Feel healthier? Different goals require different strategies – and just like people are not one size fits all, neither is training.

Perhaps above all, your trainer should be upbeat, motivational, and committed to helping you become a better version of yourself.what-doesn-t-kill-you-makes-you-stronger-p-source

Belly Button to Spine… What Does That Mean?!

At Boot Camp the other night I had a student ask about proper abdominal contraction during ab workouts. My response was the often heard “…ensure your belly button is drawn back towards your spine”. She looked at me like this ————–>

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Here is a better explanation of this concept…

Are you sitting down? Okay, sit up straight, and try this.

Suck in your gut as much as you can. Notice how you feel as if your belly button turns up. Your waist sucks in. It’s also quite difficult to breath.

Let that out. 🙂

Now, imagine you are using your stomach muscles (abs) to pull your belly button backwards. Not back and up, just straight back. So that your belly button touches (of course it won’t literally) your spine.

You should notice that it feels more muscular, less tummy-sucking, and that your belly button feels straighter, not tipped up, and that breathing is a lot easier than sucking in your tummy.

I notice that when I suck in my tummy my spare roll above sucks in nicely. But when I pull my belly button to my spine it doesn’t anywhere near as much.

Check out the blog entry Is Your Ab Workout Hurting Your Back for a better explanation of the reasoning as to why your back may hurt when doing an ab workout. Here is a great brief article from Livestrong.com too…

Muscle Contractions
When doing ab exercises, make sure to use muscle on the way up and down, and pause in between each movement. Don’t let gravity bring you down after an upward movement. This will create concentric, eccentric and isometric muscle contractions. You’ll get the most benefit from eccentric muscle contractions, such as lowering yourself during a crunch or sit-up. Don’t let yourself fall back down after you sit up — slowly lower yourself using your core muscles. Introduce constant tension by not lowering yourself all the way after a crunch, sit-up or pull-up. If you keep your shoulders off the floor after lowering yourself from a sit-up or crunch, you’ll keep tension in your ab muscles, creating isometric contractions.

Direction
To increase the benefit of your ab workouts, move side to side, not just forward and back. For example, in addition to doing crunches by moving up and down, reach across your body with one elbow toward the opposite knee. Lie on your side and raise your shoulders off the floor to work your obliques, located on the side of core. Use a medicine ball to do twists. Hold the ball at arms’ length in front of you. Turn to the side using your core, then hold the ball. Return to the center, then move in the opposite direction. Change the technique by placing the ball on the floor, next to your hip each time. If you use an ab wheel, roll forward and backward, then add forward rolls veering to the left and right to work the obliques.

Compensatory Movements
You can work your abs using a variety of exercises. You can use an ab wheel, kettlebell, stability ball, medicine ball, weight machines or do body weight exercises such as sit-ups, crunches, hip raises, bicycle kicks or kipping pull-ups. With all of these exercises, it’s important to use your core muscles to perform the movements to prevent back and neck strain. As you begin to tire during your workout, avoid using your hips and back to help you move up or down — this could lead to a back injury. Don’t pull yourself up with your hands if you have them behind your neck during sit-ups and crunches.

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/375907-ab-workout-techniques/#ixzz2M1YIgUka

The Run Down on Food Labels!

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Start here and read the text to understand what you are looking for in a food label! Click on image to enlarge!

Tips for getting as much health information as possible from the Nutrition Facts label:

  • Remember that the information shown in these panels is based on 2,000 calories a day. You may need to consume less or more than 2,000 calories depending upon your age, gender, activity level, and whether you’re trying to lose, gain or maintain your weight. Find out your personal daily limits on My Fats Translator.
  • In general, as you think about the amount of calories in a food per serving, remember that for a 2,000-calorie diet:
    • 40 calories per serving is considered low;
    • 100 calories per serving is considered moderate (why do you think they put everything into 100 calorie packs…?!); and
    • 400 calories or more per serving is considered high.
  • There is no % DV shown for trans fat on the panel because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not have enough scientific information to set this value. Eat less than 20 calories or (less than two grams of trans fat) a day – that’s less than 1 percent of your total daily calories (for a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet).
  • When the Nutrition Facts panel says the food contains “0 g” of trans fat, it means the food contains less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving.
  • When the Nutrition Facts label says a food contains “0 g” of trans fat, but includes “partially hydrogenated oil” in the ingredient list, it means the food contains trans fat, but less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving. So, if you eat more than one serving, you could quickly reach your daily limit of trans fat.

In addition to the Nutrition Facts label, a lot of foods today also come with nutrient content claims provided by the manufacturer. These claims are typically featured in ads for the foods or in the promotional copy on the food packages themselves. They are strictly defined by the FDA. The chart below provides some of the most commonly used nutrient content claims, along with a detailed description of what the claim means.

If a food claims to be… It means that one serving of the product contains…
Calorie free Less than 5 calories
Sugar free Less than 0.5 grams of sugar
Fat
Fat free Less than 0.5 grams of fat
Low fat 3 grams of fat or less
Reduced fat or less fat At least 25 percent less fat than the regular product
Low in saturated fat 1 gram of saturated fat or less, with not more than 15 percent of the calories coming from saturated fat
Lean Less than 10 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat and 95 milligrams of cholesterol
Extra lean Less than 5 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat and 95 milligrams of cholesterol
Light (lite) At least one-third fewer calories or no more than half the fat of the regular product, or no more than half the sodium of the regular product
Cholesterol
Cholesterol free Less than 2 milligrams of cholesterol and 2 grams (or less) of saturated fat
Low cholesterol 20 or fewer milligrams of cholesterol and 2 grams or less of saturated fat
Reduced cholesterol At least 25 percent less cholesterol than the regular product and 2 grams or less of saturated fat
Sodium
Sodium free or no sodium Less than 5 milligrams of sodium and no sodium chloride in ingredients
Very low sodium 35 milligrams or less of sodium
Low sodium 140 milligrams or less of sodium
Reduced or less sodium At least 25 percent less sodium than the regular product
Fiber
High fiber 5 grams or more of fiber
Good source of fiber 2.5 to 4.9 grams of fiber

If you can’t remember the definitions of all of the terms, don’t worry. You can use these general guidelines instead:

  • “Free” means a food has the least possible amount of the specified nutrient.
  • “Very Low” and “Low” means the food has a little more than foods labeled “Free.”
  • “Reduced” or “Less” mean the food has 25 percent less of a specific nutrient than the regular version of the food.

Testimonials

This week in preparation to take Northern Grrrls to the next level (more to come 🙂 ) I asked some of the current grrrls e91ad4fcde303b8cc02ec64679255640to give testimonials and their thoughts on what the Northern Grrrls group means to them and to describe what they have accomplished due to participation in the group. The testimonials I received back were heart warming, uplifting, and inspiring. Most of their comments had similar themes – They could now do things they never thought possible and the support of a peer group of women has kept them inspired and on track. I know that everyone seeks a little inspiration now and then and for me all these testimonials remind and affirm the importance of the group and our little fitness family. I have so MANY other testimonials other than these that I am saving for future motivation and support of our Grrrls!  Read on and find your inspiration!

“…my entire attitude and outlook on physical fitness was changed. I went from believing everything was beyond my ability, to believing no goal is beyond my reach. Her attitude and motivation filtered through to all aspects of my life and I couldn’t be more grateful!” – L. G., Ashland
 

“I want to get up and go to boot camp and spin class. I have never liked working out before, but now I cant wait to go. Mari shows each and everyone of us how great we all are, and what we are capable of doing.” – K. P., Ashland

 

“…bootcamp has changed my life. I am stronger person both body and soul. Mari motivates, inspires, and brings everyone together as a team and works her hardest to help everyone achieve their personal goals.” – A. A., Ashland

 

“I am learning how to make lifetime changes to my health and fitness goals. Mari is always well informed and will stress the importance of not only exercise but also proper nutrition. The Northern Grrrrls bootcamp has had a huge impact on so many women in our community, for me personally Mari leaves me feeling like there is nothing I can’t achieve!” – J. O., Ashland 

“I have been working out with Mari for about eight months now through Bootcamp, Running and Bike training and soon to be training for a triathlon! Mari is always a positive source of inspiration, reinforcement and a great source of health and fitness information! In this short time, I have seen positive changes in the shape of my body and I have improved times on my running and endurance. I look forward to my own continued successes, as well as others in our group!” – J. M., Ashland

AMRAP & Tabata Workout for Boot Campers!

AT HOME or BOOT CAMP: AMRAP and Tabata Workout

This is a great workout in less than an hour that can be done individually or in a group setting! Wondering what a tabata is?  Check out “What is Tabata Training.”

AMRAP (As Many Reps (or Rounds) As Possible): 15 MIN

20 of each:

Speed Skaters: Jump to your right, landing on your right foot and stretching your left arm across your body. Quickly transition to the other side, jumping to your left foot and crossing the right arm across the body. Consistently switch back and forth until finished with the reps.

Sumo Squats: squats with your feet wider than hip width and with toes pointing out—require a unique combination of hip flexibility and glute and inner-thigh strength. 

Plie Jacks: Start in a low plié squat. Hop up as high as you can and click your heels in together at the center. Land back in a plié squat. Repeat for reps.

Ski Jumps: Bend your knees slightly, reach your arms back and jump over your object. Land with both feet on the ground and stop for one second, stabilizing yourself. Repeat: Jump, land, stop, jump, land…


3 sets of the dreaded stairs!
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Then on to the tabata!… 

TABATA: 16 rounds 20 sec/ 10 rest

v-ups
superman
weighted russian twists
plank ups

TABATA: 16 rounds 20 sec/ 10 rest

bicep curls
tricep dips
wide arm pushups
globe jumps

GET MOVING! Set Your 2013 Fitness Goals Now!

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A new year is almost here and this is the time to set your fitness goals for 2013. Why now? If you set your plan in motion now, you’ll have plenty of time to research new gyms, fitness classes, races, and training groups!

There are an abundance of options to kick off the new year in a new frame of mind. If you need inspiration,  13 Hottest Fitness Trends to Try in 2013  is worth a read!  If you still need help narrowing the scope of what you hope to accomplish, talk to a fitness professional or friend.

If you are not sure where to start in your fitness goals, work on setting your goals on a number of levels:

First you create your “big picture” of what you want to do with your life (or over, say, the next 4 years), and identify the large-scale goals that you want to achieve.

Then, you break these down into the smaller and smaller targets that you must hit to reach your BIG goals. Make these achievable! You want to set small goals for each month and week as you work towards meeting the larger overall goal! For example… Ride 40 or miles each week in June,July, and August (then you’ll be read y for the September Iron Girl and also be working towards overall fitness).

Finally, once you have your plan, GO! There is not any point in “waiting till Monday” or “starting after the holidays”. Once you have your plan, move into action!

Find a supportive friend or group of friends with similar goals and share your plan with them.  You will be amazed at how much a bit of peer support can help you along the way!
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Thinking of Doing a DU?

2012-10-07JustDuItpic (1)If you are like most people you may find the idea of a triathlon intimidating because of the swim portion.  There is something very scary about an open water swim if you do not consider yourself  the equivalent of Michael Phelps.  For most of the population an open water swim with hundreds of other people is terrifying.

 

ENTER: the duathlon.  All the fun and none of the fright

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2012 Northern Grrrl Finishers at Iron Girl- Bloomington!

Do not confuse a duathlon with a biathlon (the Olympic term for skiing and shooting at the same time).  A duathlon is a run-bike-run combination and they vary in length from short to ultra distances.  Duathlons are growing in popularity and popular events series like the Iron Girl have added them to their line-ups.  The Iron Girl- Bloomington duathlon is one of my favorite annual “must do” events!

How do you train for a duathlon?

Good news… if you can run and bike you can complete a duathlon.  I have found at many of the duathlons there is not any rule to the kind of bike and gear you need.  You need a bike- be it a cruiser, mountain bike, or road bike, running shoes, and a helmet.  Some  basic bike maintenance knowledge is helpful in case you get a flat, but there are always support vans on the course too just in case!

As with any event you do need to train.  The kind of training will depend on the length of the duathlon course.  A 12-week training program such as this one will get you started, but as with any new training program be sure to get the A-OK from your physician.  To train properly you should plan to spend 9-12 hours per week to training.  This is only a recommended amount of training time- depending on where you fall in the fitness spectrum you may need more or less. Strength training, over the winter months will also be beneficial to your overall fitness.

This is also an excellent link for a  beginner training plan.  You will begin to get the idea as you look through these.  Don’t get caught up in the message boards about  expensive gear and what you will need unless you plan to try to place in your age group or will be aggressively racing.  Just have fun with it.  The ladies I have trained for the duathlon have loved every minute of the race and it really is for anyone.  I think I love the Athleta Iron Girl Series so much because it is overflowing with positive inspiring women of all ages and abilities.

SO GO DU IT!

Winter Workout Tips

Winter

The Northern Grrrls may be used to frigid Wisconsin winter temps, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to force ourselves out the door into temperatures in the teens to get that workout in! We have started our Runners World #RWRunStreak challenge and it is truly helping push us all to get outside or on the treadmill for that extra workout! See the blog from greatestwealthishealth below for more tips on how to break those winter blues!

Winter Workout Tips.

via Winter Workout Tips.

Double the Fun! A Great Paired /Team Boot Camp Workout!

I typically try to alternate between individual and group games each boot camp session.  I have found that the group games foster a positive and encouraging environment for new boot campers, while the individual challenges allow each participant to focus on tackling individual challenges on their own.  The women empower each other and support each other making this a great pair game!

My favorite (and the group’s favorite) partner activity is our Double the Fun activity.  This game is the most fun in the Spring and Summer months when we are able to be outside and run the “stairs”.  The Double the Fun workout is as follows”

Equipment:  Dumbbells (various weights or bands will work, have students bring their yoga mats)

Ask boot campers to partner up! One member of each pair will run the stairs

The dreaded STAIRS!

while the other does the exercise and then they will switch.  When we run the stairs – up and down counts for 1x- as my participants’ fitness ability increased – we went from 1x on the stairs to 2x.

*note that the exercises listed below are just examples.  I switch out different exercises all the time!

Round ONE:

Sumo Squats ———> other person runs the stairs 2x then switches w/ partner
V-Sits ———> other person runs the stairs 2x then switches w/ partner
Bicep Curl ———> other person runs the stairs 2x then switches w/ partner
Speed Ladder ———> other person runs the stairs 2x then switches w/ partner

Round TWO:

Russian Twist ———> other person runs the stairs 2x then switches w/ partner
Plank Ups ———> other person runs the stairs 2x then switches w/ partner
Tricep Dips ———> other person runs the stairs 2x then switches w/ partner
Globe Jumps ———> other person runs the stairs 2x then switches w/ partner

Round THREE:

Right Leg Lunge ———> other person runs the stairs 2x then switches w/ partner
Left Leg Lunges ———> other person runs the stairs 2x then switches w/ partner
Bicycles ———> other person runs the stairs 2x then switches w/ partner
Burpees ———> other person runs the stairs 2x then switches w/ partner

By the time this workout is completed, each participant will have run the stairs 24 times.  A feat that amazes the ladies every time we do it!  The most rewarding aspect of this activity is how excited and proud each grrrl is when they realize how much they accomplished and how great they feel!