small group training

Don’t Fall into this Rut

I recently read a study that showed that as the seasons change and fall sets in, the average person will consume 200 additional calories a day mostly from carbohydrates. Some say this is linked to the biological pull our ancestors felt in advance of the winter when food was scarce and famine was a real possibility. It could also be attributed to fall and winter meals being larger. Or maybe it’s that the pressure of bathing suit season is off.
While 200 calories may not seem like much, this time of year is also when people’s activity level tends to dip. The combination of increased calories and less physical activity can result in 4-5 extra pounds by the time spring rolls around. Here are some ways to not fall into the seasonal change rut.
  • Enjoy fall flavors by loading up on nutritious and high fiber fruits and vegetables like apples, squash, beets, carrots, pumpkin, brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower. Use them generously in soups and stews or roasted in the oven.
  • Get outside and enjoy the fall weather. The fall is the perfect time to enjoy outdoor activities that are tougher in the summer heat.

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Why Good Posture is a Big Deal

If you’ve ever worked out at Synergy, you’ve probably heard one of our trainers say, “stand up straight,” or “put your shoulders back.” That’s because posture is so important when you’re working out. Proper posture and alignment helps reduce the stress and strain you put on your tendons, joints and ligaments and lowers the chances you’ll get hurt. But, good posture is just as important once you leave the gym – maybe even more so.
Did you know that improving your posture can improve your quality of life? It may sound hokey but it’s true.
Several studies have shown that we gain a lot when we work on posture. You can tell a lot about how a person is feeling based on how they carry themselves. For example, slouched shoulders and a drooped head usually indicate sadness. Researchers have found that you can change the way you feel just by changing the way you stand. Forcing yourself to stand up straight and pushing your shoulders back changes your skeletal alignment. One study showed that doing this for 1-2 minutes can actually increase the cortisone and testosterone levels in your body, making you feel more energetic and confident.

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Are Your Food Choices Killing You?

In case you needed another reason to maintain a diet of healthy and nutritious foods, a study released recently shows that bad diet choices lead to more deaths worldwide than any other risk factor, including smoking and obesity. To me, this means that as a population we are literally killing ourselves with the food choices we make! That’s scary!
According to the Global Burden of Disease study, the problem is not only that people around the globe are eating too many unhealthy foods; it’s also that people aren’t eating enough nutritious options. In 2017, there were 11 million deaths in 195 countries from health issues attributable to dietary factors (those issues include heart attack and cancer). And, if you’re thinking the numbers are skewed based on third world countries where food options are low, in terms of lowest diet-related death rates, the United States ranked 43rd, below countries like Rwanda and Nigeria.
“This study shows that poor diet is the leading risk factor for deaths in the majority of the countries of the world,” says study author Ashkan Afshin of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

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5 To Dos for Optimal Health

5 To Dos for Optimal Health
Eat Breakfast – It really is the most important meal of the day according to most nutritionists. One study showed that women who ate a big breakfast lost 21% of their body weight after 8 months vs. 4.5% for women on a low-carb diet whose breakfast was their smallest meal of the day. What’s more – the women who ate a hearty breakfast continued to lose weight over time while the low-carb group started gaining at 4 months.
Do Your Strength Training – When it comes to working out, strength training will get you the most bang for your buck. Strength training reduces body fat, increases lean muscle and spurs your body to burn calories more efficiently. It raises your resting metabolism so you’ll burn calories during your workout and continue to burn more all day long. And, strength training can increase bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
Get More Calcium & Vitamin D – Both are essential for strong bones. The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends that women in their 40s get 1,000 mg of calcium and 400 to 800 IU of vitamin D every day from foods like fortified milk or salmon,

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6 Week Summer Fat Loss Challenge – Week 2

We’re on to week 2 of the 6 Week Summer Fat Loss Challenge! This week’s assignment is to up your activity level. You can do this by adding in an extra workout at Synergy, incorporating a 30-60 minute walk or run or adding a yoga session to your weekly exercise.
But, extra activity doesn’t have to be in the form of a traditional workout. If you don’t have time for a full workout, you can also choose to do things like this instead:
  • Park farther away from the store so you have to walk more.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator at work.
  • Do some yard work – now is a great time!
  • Really walk your dog. You and your dog will benefit!
  • Take your kids to the park and play along with them – climb the jungle gym, swing, push the roundabout.
  • Clean your house. Vacuuming or washing the floor can really get your blood pumping!
  • Make your coffee break a walking break.
  • Stand up and do 10 squats every hour you’re at work.
  • Walk around while you’re on a phone call.

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6 Week Summer Fat Loss Challenge – Week 1 Assignment

Week 1 Assignment: Start a Food Log
Assessments are done. Goals are set. It’s go time! We are so excited to kick off the 6 Week Fat Loss Challenge this week. Each week you’ll get a new fat loss assignment that will make it easy for you to meet your fat loss goal.
This week’s assignment is to start a food log you’ll use to keep track of everything you eat and drink. You can use an app such as MyPlate or MyFitnessPal or even just a pen and paper. But be sure to record everything including dressing on your salad, cream or sugar in your coffee, condiments on your burger, etc. Make a note of portion sizes and the times of your meals and snacks.
Food logs have been proven to be effective in helping people meet their weight and fat loss goals. In fact, a recent study following 1,800 men and women over a six-month period showed that those who kept a food diary lost 50 percent more than those who did not.
Why is tracking your food so helpful?
  • Awareness: It can be eye opening to see everything you’ve put in your body at the end of the day.

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Why You Should Never Skimp on Sleep

We all know that when it comes to being healthy, your diet and your activity level are two very important factors. But there’s another factor to health that so many people overlook and often skimp on. It’s sleep. Research has shown that sleep plays a critical role in maintaining health and unhealthy sleep habits have a negative effect on almost every other facet of your life.

Here are a few important facts that will make you think twice before burning the midnight oil.

  • Research has shown that people who sleep less weigh more. In fact, not getting enough quality sleep is a huge risk factor for obesity. One study showed that children and adults with short sleep duration were 89% and 55% more likely to become obese. These same studies proved that people who are sleep deprived have bigger appetites and consume more calories each day. This is because sleep deprivation disrupts the hormones that regulate your appetite and your hunger and satiety cues.
  • Getting better sleep also improves your brain function. When you are well rested, your cognitive, memory and problem solving abilities are higher. One study showed that prolonged periods of short sleep can affect brain functions in the same way that being intoxicated does.

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The Perfect Pushup

When a new member signs up at Synergy, one of the first things we do during the fitness assessment is count the number of push ups they can do. There’s a reason for that, and it is because that number is an excellent indication of someone’s overall fitness level. Now, you might think a pushup is all about upper body strength. But the reality is that to perform a pushup with proper form takes total body strength. And, doing them regularly has massive benefits.

A traditional pushup hits your upper body by engaging your triceps, chest and shoulders. And when you’re doing them on your toes you build strength in your core and lower back. You’ll keep your legs and butt tight too.

You can hit different muscles with a push up by changing the position of your hands. The most common push up, with your arms slightly wider than your shoulders, works mostly your chest and your shoulders. Bringing your hands and arms in tighter to your body turns a traditional pushup to a tricep pushup. For most people these are more challenging since they rely on the tricep, a much smaller muscle,

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Losing Weight is All in Your Head

If you ask Google how to lose weight, it’ll return millions of articles and videos telling you what to eat and how to exercise. But there’s another overlooked factor that goes in to achieving lasting weight loss and fitness that is MORE important than what you eat and your workouts. It’s your mindset. And, I’ve discovered that a lot of people who set out on a health journey with the best intentions are held back from the results they want by the wrong mindset.

Before you roll your eyes, you should know there is research to prove what I’m saying – it’s not just new age, feel good stuff. Studies have shown that a negative mindset can actually prevent you from reaching your goals. Even if your diet is spot on and you are actively exercising, a negative mindset can squash your progress.

Your mindset plays a role from the very beginning and many people start off on the wrong foot entirely. They decide to lose weight because they are feeling bad about themselves. They don’t like the way they look. They don’t like the way they feel. They are focused on their fat, on their trouble spots and on what they perceive is “wrong” with them.

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HIIT – Big Benefits in a Little Time

There’s a long held misconception that if you want to get in shape you have to work out long and hard. This belief is what holds many people back from starting on their fitness journey. They think, “I’m too busy to spend hours at the gym,” or “I just don’t have the time.” Well, I’m here to tell you that’s false. In fact, I started Synergy based on my knowledge that there is a better way to get fit that doesn’t require that you live at the gym.

One of the ways to make big progress in just a little time is with HIIT training. HIIT stands for high intensity interval training. And if you’re a Synergy member, you’ve probably done a HIIT workout maybe without even realizing it. A typical HIIT workout is a series of short bursts of exercises followed by a brief period of rest. In research, HIIT has been shown to give the same health benefits as a moderate intensity workout that is twice as long.

During a HIIT workout you’ll spend about 45 seconds going all out on an exercise like jump squats or jumping jacks and then about 30 seconds resting before moving on to the next exercise.

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