Strong is the New Sexy

In the mainstream fitness media, strength is not a "sexy" buzzword. I think people are more aware of the general importance of strength a bit more than ten years ago (when we didn’t have the youtubes and the instachats and whatnot) but it's always less sexy or attention grabbing then toning, losing weight, turning your metabolism into a raging inferno etc. My point is, it doesn't sell magazines.

However, regardless of your fitness goal, whether it's lowering your body fat percentage, gaining muscle, being a better athlete or just improving your quality of life (baby boomers I'm looking at you), strength is the key ingredient to making that engine go.

What do I mean by "strength"? Scientifically speaking (Yes, science! I'm very smart) the term is progressive overload.

Progressive overload, put simply, means we want to be able to do more than you could before. We want to get you from lifting, say, your bodyweight for 10 reps on a squat to doing your bodyweight plus an extra 95lb for those same 10 reps.

That extra 95lb, provided you still use excellent form, gives us a bonafide way to track and quantify your improvement. I don't care who you are or what your goal is, this WILL make you better and those goals that much easier to achieve.

Looking to lose body fat?  Awesome! Getting stronger will help you tremendously and has a slew of benefits.

1) It will help you put on muscle. Not like a bodybuilder (Well, actually it's exactly like that but bodybuilding is this concept taken to an extreme) but in a functional, healthy way. Muscle weighs about 1/6 (ish) of what fat does and helps your body burn a lot more calories, even at rest.

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And before I freak out some of you about putting on muscle, think of a hamburger when you throw it on the grill - when the fat melts off and all that's left is the lean meat, is it bigger or smaller? Hopefully you said smaller or I have no idea what you're cooking.

2) Now that we're stronger, when we are doing our conditioning or HIIT (high intensity interval training - think group fitness classes) we can use higher weights, do more reps of bodyweight exercises and generally work at a higher intensity. Which leads to - you guessed it, more calories burned. Nifty, right?

Conversely, say we have an endurance athlete, a runner or triathlon... er? I don't know what the correct term is. (Edit: Triathlete. It's triathlete)

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Getting Stronger Will:

1) Make them more resistant to injury. Strength training increases not only strength of the muscles but the tendons and ligaments as well. Running (I'm picking on this sport for a minute) has a much higher injury rate than people think, I believe somewhere around 70% off the top of my head. There is a ton of force going through your joints with each stride (up to 8x your bodyweight) and the tissues must be strong enough to absorb this pounding (mobile enough too, but that's for another post). A stronger muscle is a more a more durable muscle. Period.

2) Strength = speed. In layman's terms, when we get stronger we're adding more horsepower to the engine. While the bulk of endurance training should be dedicated to building said endurance, being faster will obviously only help you whether you're running a race or desperately trying to out swim a shark, which I assume happens regularly in triathlons.

And my final example:

The elderly. With all due respect of course.

Strong Grandma
While I'm not going to sit here and tell you that getting stronger will make you live longer, I can absolutely, 100% guarantee that getting stronger will vastly improve the quality of your life in those years.

The number one physical indicator of quality of life in elderly populations? Grip strength. One of the best indicators of overall body strength? The grip. Follow where I'm going with this?

A proper strength program can be the difference between getting up off the ground yourself or not at all. Living on your own or in long term care.

If you listen to nothing else I say (In which case you and my wife would get along great. Ba-zing!), it's this - while I truly believe there's no one who wouldn't benefit from this, it's the elderly population that stands to really gain the most by doing some form of resistance training.

This doesn’t mean heavy deadlifts or bench pressing, it can be as simple as bodyweight squats from a chair. But the carryover to real life is enormous.

Now that I’ve hammered this point into your head, I realize this might seem to be a daunting task for some. Honestly though, I’m sure you’ve done a lot harder things in your life. Getting stronger requires no talent, the bar for entry is quite low.

Everyone is capable of getting stronger.

Whether you're brand new to fitness or you've been doing lots of cardio, group fitness classes or something along those lines for years, I'd highly encourage you to either start hitting those weights either on your own or with a trainer.

If you do decide that working with a trainer might be right for you, please contact us at Infinite Fitness. We have a great intro offer of $149 for 3 sessions that lets you get a taste of what we do here, and a great team (including this brilliant, handsome, once in a generation writer) who would love to help you.

As much as that might seem like a shameless plug, I honestly wish I could have had someone to guide me earlier as it would have accelerated my progress by literally years.

So what are you waiting for? Go get stronger! Never again be defeated by a pickle jar!


Article Written by Karl Gellert, CSEP
Personal Trainer at Infinite Fitness

Fall 2016 Infinite Transformation Winner

Congratulations to Natasha Chiam​, the Grand Prize Winner of our 8-week Infinite Transformation Challenge. We're excited to share her inspiring story with all of you. Let's start 2017 full of inspiration and determination!!

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Natasha is an inspirational story! She is a wife, a mother of two children and lives every day with Rheumatoid Arthritis! She has also had bilateral hip replacements and just recently (less than 3 weeks ago) a total knee replacement.

She is a true representative of community, kindness, and motivational force within Infinite Fitness.

Natasha has mentioned that she never feels limited to what she can do as we always make her feel safe and in control of her body. Natasha joined our fall fitness challenge first asking should she do it? We of course said “YES”, why wouldn’t you join!

The transformation challenge is never just about a number on the scale but rather a focus on fitness. Prior to the challenge Natasha was in studio for 3 workouts a week consisting of two private half hour personal training sessions and a fitilates reformer class. Once she joined the challenge, she increased her weekly frequency to 5 workouts a week with two private half hour personal training sessions, one reformer fitilates class, and two small group training sessions - including one at 6:30am (which was not an hour she saw in studio before, lol). Her goals specifically were what she called the 5/5/5 challenge but really it became the 5/5/5/5 challenge (5lbs down, 5 inches lost, 5 assisted pull-ups, consistently 5 workouts a week).

Like everyone, nothing worth it is an easy process but our hearts swelled to witness her determination even through tolerable pain to push herself to be stronger for herself and her family.

Natasha achieved her goals throughout the challenge. She is 4.5 lbs down, 7.75 inches lost, and 5.5 assisted pull-ups and maintained her 5 workouts a week. Through adversary she has came out victorious! We our so proud of you Natasha and it goes to show no matter a persons ability achieving what you want can happen. It’s your will that made it be!

WE LOVE YOU!

5 Misconceptions of Indoor Cycling Classes

Indoor Cycling has made a comeback in a big way! As more stand alone studio’s pop up and fitness and recreation centres are adding classes, it might be time for you to try a class. But as owner of a fitness studio, I often hear reasons as to why many think indoor cycling classes are just not for them. And hey, maybe they are not, but the reasons, no wait misconceptions, as to why not are just not true. It’s time to lay those to rest and have a fresh look at if maybe, this is the workout you’ve been missing.

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1. A Sore Bottom
Ok, ok, this one is not a complete misconception. Yes, after your first class it’s not uncommon to feel, well, a little violated. BUT trust me, this quickly passes. The soreness is often not the saddles fault at all but just your body’s way of adjusting to this new activity you are asking your body to do. An indoor cycling bike, much like an outdoor bike, is designed with a saddle, not a seat. This means that you shouldn’t be sitting completely on your bottom but rather let it carry some of your weight while your legs (and a little bit of your upper body) support you. As your legs fatigue during class, you sink deeper into the seat which makes it slightly uncomfortable. Because of the rocking great time you are having, you may not even notice this until after class is over or the next day!

After a few classes, your body starts to understand the demands being placed on it, you get more accustom to the saddle and your legs are able to go longer. The soreness virtually disappears! If you find you are still quite sore after a month, you may want to invest in a pair of padded cycling shorts. Why shorts and not a padded seat? The padding in the seat can actually disperse the pressure to parts of the body, such as the perineum, where we don’t want it. The padded short remains with you at all times, exactly where it needs to be (less chance of shifting and moving).

2. Everybody is Looking at You
Once again, our ego gets the best of us with this thought. As with most fitness activities, we’re often scared to start because we think we are going to look foolish. The truth is, most of the time, nobody actually cares about what you’re doing cause they are so focused on what they’re doing. There is also no need for fancy choreography or impeccable rhythm, you are just there to ride. Most new cycling studios have low lighting which allows you to further focus on your workout and not worry about those around you. The only person that is likely facing you or looking at you is the instructor and they should never be judging you (remember there’s a big difference between giving you pointers and technique tips and judging you)!

3. Classes are Only for the Super Fit (aka It’s Too Hard)
This is likely the biggest misconception of them all!! Chances are you know how to ride a bike; actually even if you don’t know how to ride a bike, because there is no balance component, chances are you can ride an indoor bike. That’s really all you need. You see, the instructor is going to be at the front, possibly yelling like a maniac or cranking the tunes and asking you to give more gear, push harder, go faster, be the best you can be… but wait, that’s it… this is all about being the best you can be! You’re not Lance Armstrong, you’re you, and your ride is only about you.

The beauty of indoor cycling classes is that it’s almost completely subjective, meaning that on a different day, on a different bike, your ability will change. Your gear (tension) is your own, nobody else can even see it. You may have days where you feel unstoppable, you are there to climb the highest mountain, sprint to the finish, nothing is getting in your way… Or you may be having the worst day ever and it took every ounce of willpower you had just to get your butt to class and everything seems just a little bit harder today. The best thing about an indoor cycle class? You just have to do your best! There’s no medal for going faster or farther. Nobody is voting you off the island if you don’t perform to their expectations, you are there for you.

If it’s feeling a bit too much, ease off a little. Sit this drill out. But just stay on the bike and keep moving. Every class will get a little easier; you’ll be able to push a little more and before you know it, you’ll be telling the new person in class, “don’t worry, it gets so much better!”

4. I Need to Invest in Some Fancy Gear
No. Nope. Nada. You need clothes you can move in. Likely you already have a set or two of these around, after you’ve probably worn your yoga pants to the grocery store. You need a pair of running shoes with a fairly hard bottom. This is not the place to try out your Vibrams or minimalist shoes. And you need a water bottle. Yup, that’s it.

Indoor cycling classes are not about having fancy jerseys, there is no need for wind resistant clothing (there’s no wind, remember) and you certainly don’t need a helmet!

There is one piece of equipment that I recommend just don’t buy them right away. They are not necessary to get started. But a pair of cycling shoes that you can clip into the bike pedals can go along way in improving efficiency, recruiting muscles properly and decreasing risk of injury. Wait to see if this is something you are going to be adding to your schedule on a regular basis. If it is, and especially if you are participating in 2 or more classes a week, I strongly recommend you purchase a pair.

As a side note, you will need to know what type of clips to purchase for your shoes. Check with the facility that you ride at but it’s almost always SPD. You will also want to maintain your shoes (a few turns of the screws every now and then) to ensure they don’t get stuck in the pedals or worse unclip at a less than desirable moment!

5. Indoor Cycling Classes are Highly Competitive and No Fun
This ranks up there with number 3 in misconceptions! They are almost all the exact opposite. Think great music, fun lights, lots of laughing, comradery, with some sweat mixed in and you’ve got a recipe for a great class! Classes should be never boring, challenging yet achievable, and allow you to escape the mundane or chaos of the everyday. There are theme classes, candlelight classes, hybrid classes (Cycle & Strength, Cycle + Yoga, Cycle + Pilates/Core, etc), DJ classes, endurance classes and interval classes, etc, etc. You can lose yourself in the music which ranges from Top 40 to R&B to Old School to well let’s be honest, the options are endless.

As mentioned above, there is no competition, well maybe there is, but it’s only with yourself!

So there you have it, if you’ve been putting off trying an indoor cycle class for any of the reasons above, well no more! If you’ve never tried a class and you are looking for a great workout that may just become slightly addicting, sign up for a class today. After all, you’ll never know until you try!

New to the studio? Try our Infinite Ride classes for only $49 month of unlimited rides (plus our other great classes). Click here to get started today.

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Be Fit, Not Fat

The number one reason clients consult with us is to help them manage their weight and lets be honest, Canadians are getting unhealthier each and every year. Health-related disease such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disorders, and various forms of cancer are at an all-time high. Plus we must consider the effect of excess weight and unhealthy lifestyle on our joints and backs, not to mention the psychological effects on our self-esteem and confidence! At Infinite Fitness, we want you to focus on your fitness, not your fatness. What does that mean exactly?? Read More

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Celebrating Success - Judy R

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Today we're featuring one of our new clients Judy, who is living proof that you can make big changes in just a couple months when you're motivated and have the support, guidance, and training needed to succeed! Our fabulous trainer, Rylee, sent us these before and after photos with this message:

"Days like today make me so proud to be a trainer. I want to highlight one of my clients, Judy!

She came in very shy and extremely nervous. It was all brand new to her. In the short 2 months that I have worked with her, she has made leaps and bounds. She has lost 9 pounds and 6.5 inches, and has made huge progress in her strength and endurance. She has become so much more confident, comfortable, and full of life--her reaction to her results was priceless!

I am so lucky to have been a part of her progress and I can't wait to see what else she will accomplish!

Great work Judy!"

We are so proud of Judy and her hard work combined with Rylee and her guidance!

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Benefits of a Workout Partner

Valentine's day is only a few short days a way and although we think that you should consider giving acts of love year round, we figured we'd focus on the top 5 reasons to workout with a partner.

  1. You are accountable to someone else. - Let's be honest, it's easy to quit on yourself some days. Maybe the alarm rings at 6am and you think, but I need 20 more minutes. Or something comes up at work and you just can't leave the office on time. But if you add in someone else to the mix, it becomes much harder to skip. Maybe they're expecting you to meet them at 6am or they are there at 5pm saving your bike. Whatever the reason, your much less likely to let someone else down!
  2. You are more likely to try new things - human nature wins this one. We are way more willing to try something new if someone else does it with us. Aka, if we look foolish, we won't be alone ;) Grab your friend and hit up the yoga studio down the street or venture out to a cycling class or aerial yoga - anything that strikes your fancy!!
  3. You get better results - and who doesn't want better results?! Working out with someone else adds an element of competition and pushing yourself just a little bit further. By yourself you may have quit at just the slightest bit of discomfort but add your buddy there and you are that much more likely to give an extra 10%!
  4. You won't have to ask anyone for a spot - want to try lifting just a few more pounds or looking to test your 10 rep max? You won't have to approach that stranger in the gym and ask them to help you out. Your partner will be more than happy to help out!!
  5. Personal Training is even more affordable - if the cost of one on one sessions seems a bit overwhelming, a partner session may help to take the strain off your wallet so that you can focus on your fitness!
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Now that you know some of the reasons to grab a partner for your workouts, here's some qualities you should look for in a workout partner:

  • You need to like them - hahahaha, that seems obvious, eh? But if you don't like them, pretty much all of the above goes down the drain.
  • Both of you need to come with good attitudes - while some days one of you may need to lean on each other a little more than the other, it's going to get really old, really fast, if you are constantly leaning more on your friend or vice versa.
  • Similar goals and styles - if one of you wants to run a marathon and the other is looking to increase lean body mass, you're probably not a good match. Same thing if one of you needs a loving, gentle approach and the other prefers the drill sergeant, it's likely going to lead to frustration before results!



We'd love to hear from you... do you workout with a partner?

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Spotlight On Jenaye

We want you to get to know and love the Infinite Fitness team as much as we do, so we thought we'd feature a team member every week. To kick things off we want to point our spotlight on Jenaye, our fabulous studio director! If you've sent us an email or called in or just stopped by during the day, you've likely had the pleasure of chatting with her. Here's a little bit more about her:
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1. What is your favorite part of being a customer service rep?

Without a doubt, my favorite part of being the Studio Director here at Infinite Fitness is the wonderful interactions I have with clients and co-workers and the energy they all bring! I really love the tight-knit community we have here at Infinite Fitness. Work doesn't feel like work when you enjoy the people you're around and feel proud of what you?re doing, and I really love heading home feeling accomplished after a day of helping people organize their schedules to get their fitness journey started or to keep the momentum going. I also love having the opportunity to jump in on group classes, especially Pilates. I can touch my toes now! :D Lastly, I really enjoy helping to create social media content for Facebook and Instagram, like these Feature Fridays!

2. What is a hobby clients might be surprised or interested to know you have?

Scrapbooking! I'm that lady in the Michaels shamelessly spending hundreds of dollars on stickers. You never know when you may need an assortment of rainbow colored lollipop stickers for some obscure holiday or someone's birthday!! I?m also a bit of a foodie and love trying new recipes - some with great success and others, not so much! :)

3. What is/are your favorite sport/sports? If you could play any sport professionally what would it be and why?

In high school I played both soccer and rugby. I loved both, but if I could play one professionally, I would choose soccer. Less bruises and eyes gouged out, more headers and product endorsements!

As you can tell by my picture, I love spending time boarding in the mountains in the winter.

4. What is your favorite quote?

"Your relationship with yourself sets the tone for every other relationship you have." - Brené Brown

5. Where are some places you've traveled or would like to travel?

One of my favorite places on Earth is Hawaii, specifically the island of Maui. I?ve been to both Maui and Oahu and was able to do so many exciting outdoor activities, including snorkeling, paddle-boarding, kayaking, horseback riding, deep-sea fishing, surfing, and hiking. It?s the first place on my list to travel to again, and, in the future, I?d also love to hike to the Havasu Falls in the Grand Canyon, Arizona (once the Canadian dollar picks back up, haha!)

Want to get to know Jenaye more? She's in studio Monday to Friday 8am to 4pm - feel free to bring her a flat white anytime ;)

Do You Set Bad Resolutions?

I recently saw a social media post talking about bad new years resolutions. It got me thinking, what makes a new years resolution bad in the first place?? Is it that as a society we tend to set the same three to five resolutions every year? Or that it's more common for us to fail at our resolutions than it is to succeed??

I don't think that it's any of the above. The definition of resolution is
"a firm decision to do or not to do something."

If we go off that definition alone, then we are nailing the act of making a resolution. However synonymous  with resolution is plan and that's exactly what's missing from most resolutions, making them bad resolutions. The plan doesn't need to be elaborate or even extensive but there needs to be one. Not sure how to come up with the plan, here's an easy way to get started.
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Step One
Make your wish list. Here's where you are going to figure out what it is you actually want to accomplish this year. Grab a piece of paper and a pen, and yes, it must be written by hand, not typed on a keyboard. Why? Because the act of writing has been proven to help you remember things better, clarify your thoughts and even help you achieve your goals! If you're someone who wants to keep this list with you at all times, you're in luck - write it down, snap a picture of it with your phone and carry it with you always ;)

Alright, back to the wish list. Grab that paper and pen and set a timer for 5 minutes. For the next five minutes dream big. What do you want to accomplish this year?? There are no obstacles in your way, no responsibilities and nothing that says you can't. Let your thoughts flow freely and write down whatever comes to mind.

Step Two
Look back over your list and narrow it down to 1 -3 things that speak to you the most. If you're not sure how to narrow it done, write down your whys for dreaming up that goal in the first place. The goals that you can an attach a strong why to are most likely the goals that you should focus on.

Now grab another piece of paper for each goal that you chose to focus on. You'll need to focus on one at a time now so you'll need a little bit more time. Write down your first goal at the top of the sheet of paper as if you have already achieved it. For example, if I currently weight 190 lbs and my goal is to lose 30 pounds in 2016 at the top of my paper I would write: I weigh 160 lbs by December 31, 2016. I have succeed in making my goal specific and timely but there is still no action.
Set your timer for 10 minutes. Write down all the steps that you would need to do to achieve this goal, and I mean all of them. Using my example above, my list may look something like this:

- drink 3L of water a day
- no snacking after 8pm
- eat veggies with every meal
- resistance train 2-4 days a week
- cardio train 2-5 days a week
- core/mind body training 1-4 times a week
- find babysitter so that I can go to the gym
- talk to my boss about leaving 30 minutes early (cut my lunch by 30 minutes) so that I can make it to my fitness class twice a week
- wake up for the 5:30am class 2-3 times a week
- prepare lunches the night before so I don't have to do it in the morning
- meal plan every Friday night
- grocery shop every Saturday
- prep for the week on Sunday
- arrange a walking meeting with a colleague once a week (we discuss work and walk at the same time)
- talk to my personal trainer about my upcoming goals
- weigh in once a week or once every two weeks to track progress

Etc, etc.

Yours will be even more specific to you. Write down everything no matter how small or mundane the task seems! Repeat for goal 2 and 3 if you have them.

Step Three
Now the action truly begins. Go through your list and pick out two goals that you can focus on that day. Based on my list above, maybe I could schedule a meeting with my boss to discuss a flexible work day and I could track my water intake for the day. Then do them. It seems easy right? So easy that maybe you think you could tackle even more steps from that list. And maybe some days you can. But most days you won't. And that's ok. Why set yourself up for failure with too many to-do tasks?? Pick a couple and get them done. Be pleased with yourself that you moved closer to your goal.

If your action steps looks like it would take longer than 30 minutes to complete. Break down your action step. For example, if I simply listed meal plan, that might seem time consuming or overwhelming. But if I made my action step to chose two healthy recipes to try for dinner next week, I could likely do that in less than 10 minutes.

Work Towards Progress, Not Perfection
Small attainable action steps add up to big, mind blowing results. But not over night. Look over your action list at the start of every day. Chose where to focus. Need to revisit an action step, do it. Need to change your goals, do that as well. Remember this is your 2016 and your journey, you get to chose how you want it to go.

I'd love to hear what you have planned for 2016 and if this type of goal setting worked for you! Please feel free to leave me a comment below. 

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4 Winter Fit Tips For You!

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We've put together some of our favorite fitness tips to keep you on track and motivated throughout the winter! And there's a little spoiler for something we have in the works, too! (created by Jenaye Lewis)

Fitness Fact - Halloween Tricks and Treats!

It's no secret that Halloween weekend usually means eating a year's worth of fun-sized candies and chocolate bars and drinking cocktails with friends at numerous Halloween parties. So, for this week's Fitness Fact Friday, we've chosen to ease your minds about ingesting some goodies and write a post in DEFENSE of cheat meals, cheat days, and, realistically, cheat weekends!

Cheat meals don't have to spell diet disaster. In fact, a well-structured cheat meal can actually help you surmount weight-loss plateaus. The secret, however, is to cheat smart.

As everyone knows, diets are a nightmare, and they don't work. It's always best to strive for a 90/10 ratio of healthy, lean meals to cheat meals, not only to maintain your sanity and happiness, but also because these cheat meals help reset hormones responsible for metabolism and insulin regulation, replenish glycogen for increased energy, and keep calorie-burning and fat-torching mechanisms high.

The science behind using cheat meals as a dietary tool revolves around the same hormones we discussed in the post about sleep: leptin and ghrelin. Leptin, a protein mainly produced by fat tissue, regulates appetite and energy balance in the body. It acts on the brain's hypothalamus to suppress food intake and stimulate the use of energy, or calories. Leptin plays a key role in regulating body weight and fat mass through its stimulating effect on the brain. In fact, studies have shown that within 24 hours of fasting, leptin levels decrease to 30 percent of their normal value.

Ghrelin, a peptide hormone mainly produced by the stomach, is an appetite stimulant that signals the release of growth hormone. Low-calorie diets and chronic exercise have been shown to result in increased ghrelin concentrations, which may lead to increasing food intake and body weight.

In addition to affecting appetite and energy use through leptin and ghrelin, sustained caloric-deficit diets also cause the body to attempt to conserve energy by decreasing levels of the thyroid hormones T3 and T4, which help regulate and maintain metabolism. Sustained low-carbohydrate diets deplete the body of glycogen stores and can leave you feeling sluggish and weak, which can negatively affect your training performance.

But keep in mind! This doesn't mean that gorging on 10 lbs of treats is beneficial to your fitness. The trick is to continue to keep track of cheat meals (schedule them if you can!) and to choose treats that are as nutritional as possible. Try choosing a few bites of dark chocolate instead of processed chocolates, or choose the protein-rich smoothie we posted earlier in the week instead of ice cream, etc. And if you just can't resist those adorable little candies and chocolates, remember that we're always here for you to burn off a treat or two ;)

Have a safe and spooky Halloween.

(written by Jenaye Lewis)ghosts&pumpkins

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