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Staying Mindful While Vacationing

By: Alison Doak

Now that winter is here to stay, many of us are bee-lining to warmer climates for a quick getaway. I just returned from six days at an all-inclusive resort in Mexico. You may be picturing an all-day eating frenzy, fast flowing cocktails, and lazy days. But really, I found that I was able to strike the right balance. Some of the keys (for me anyway), include: moving my body, starting with a healthy breakfast, and seeking out all the veggies I can find. I find that on vacation, there isn’t a lot of snacking between meals, which really helps. It’s important to stay hydrated too, so alternate a glass of water between cocktails and carry a large water bottle while basking in the sun.

Exercise: Many vacationers don’t even pack their sneakers, because they are “on vacation”. Don’t exercise as a punishment - do it because it feels good, helps you sleep, keeps you regular, or makes you feel confident. Don’t wait until the afternoon, someone will serve you a cocktail at happy hour, and all of your good intentions will fly out the window! Maybe you like a hotel gym. Perhaps the hotel offers fun classes – I tried water aerobics! A walk or jog on the beach may be what you’re after. My fabulous coach, Cheryl Chandler, gave me a couple of 20 minute HIIT workouts, which I actually did on my vacation! They were intense, but quick, leaving me plenty of time to get to the omelet station and then the beach.  

Food: Most resorts offer some kind of buffet breakfast. I suggest a veggie-packed omelet with a healthy dose of tropical fruit on the side. You may find yogurts, dried fruits, and nuts as well. We even indulged in some tasty green juices. Fuel yourself well so that you aren’t looking to snack between meals. At lunch, aim for a salad with a fun protein like local shrimp, native fish, or chicken. Jazz it up with fruit, nuts, salsas, or guacamole. At dinner, choose fish or a local specialty… and really savor it.  Skip the bread basket so that you can enjoy the main course without overdoing it. Share a dessert, or order a couple for a large group to share. 

Take these tips and get out of dodge :o)

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The Benefits of Prenatal Yoga
 
Many moms, especially those who exercise on a regular basis, think prenatal yoga is a little slow. “That’s for when I’m too big to move,” they say to themselves. The truth is that prenatal yoga offers plenty of benefits to all pregnant women, regardless of how many weeks they are along, how they’re feeling, or whether they can still go for a jog or do a burpee. If you’re maintaining a more rigorous exercise schedule, that’s great! You can still get a ton of benefits from a prenatal yoga class.
 
I recommend prenatal yoga for all moms-to-be because:
 
It’s safe. The movements in prenatal yoga are designed to be safe for all pregnant moms, no matter how far along you are. You’re also encouraged to be responsive to your breath, and to take breaks whenever you need them. Prenatal yoga teachers are also able to offer modifications if you have special considerations during your pregnancy.
 
It’s good for your body AND your mind. First-time moms may have a lot on their minds during pregnancy. Second, third, and fourth-time moms may have their hands full taking care of other kids at home. All moms are trying to do their best for themselves and their babies, and this can place moms under significant pressure.  Prenatal yoga helps your mind relax while you do something good for your body. You’ll leave class feeling calm, peaceful, and de-stressed, both in body and mind!
 
It brings you into a community of other pregnant women. When you’re pregnant, your body is constantly changing, and you may not always comprehend the changes, why they’re happening, or how they are affecting you. One of the best parts about prenatal yoga is that you’re in class with other moms-to-be, and you get to talk to them after class. Just the other day, I overheard one student giving another advice on some discomfort she had been feeling, telling her that it was perfectly normal and her doctor could offer additional advice. Getting to share this time with others who understand what you’re going through is a beautiful, healthy way to experience pregnancy!
 
It gives you a chance to connect with your baby. Life doesn’t stop just because you’re pregnant. Prenatal yoga gives you the chance to slow down and acknowledge that there is incredible transformation going on inside your body. It’s an opportunity to pause, connect with your baby, and acknowledge that by doing something good for yourself, you’re doing something good for your baby, too.
 
 
Interested in trying prenatal yoga? Class is every Thursday from 6:00-6:50 pm in Studio 1. $15 for members and non-members.
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Health in Your Hands

By: Ann Marie Boylan

Do you feel in control of your health? The tendency at the start of a new year is to look ahead, set goals, and make resolutions about your future. Maybe you fell short on reaching some fitness and wellness goals last year because of work, kids, unexpected events, and life. Perhaps you find yourself once again setting the same goals you had from the previous year. You cross your fingers and hope that this year will be different. At Fitness Unlimited, it can and will be different because, your “Health is in Your Hands.” 

While in college, I took a class called “Health in Your Hands,” which influenced me to this day. Dr. Virgillio, the professor, drilled into us the importance of taking personal ownership and getting rid of excuses for what we did or didn’t do. She wanted us to understand that it was up to each of us to do our due diligence when it came to all aspects of our lives - nutrition, exercise and wellness, preventative care, and overall mental health, among others. “Health in Your Hands” changed forever the way I look at setting goals and achieving results, and I hope that some of the principles can help you reach your goals.

There are many different variables to a successful fitness and wellness program, but the most important one is the power of decision. When you are 100% committed to a goal, almost anything is possible. You decide how to fit in exercise and prepare meals. You may decide to get up earlier, get home later, or not attend every social event. You realize that no one can do this for you and that there is no quick fix. You understand that you are not going to just wake up with results; you are going to have to work for them. When you are faced with setbacks, you fight through them and get back on track. What you decide to do everyday matters more than what you do once in awhile.

Once you have committed to the decision to put your “Health in Your Hands,” you need to have a plan in place that will get you results.  Whether you decide to enlist the help of a professional or do it on your own, we have every resource accessible to you at Fitness Unlimited. Our programs work, our classes work, and our trainers are highly educated and experienced to provide you with the best plan to meet your health and fitness needs and achieve your goals. However, we cannot make the decision for you and we cannot do the work for you. But we can administer the best program with the highest level of enthusiasm and dedication to the member who is ready, committed, and decides to get the job done.

Make 2017 the year that you decide to put your Health in Your Hands, and the Fitness Unlimited Professionals will get you there with education, motivation, inspiration, and perspiration!

 “But Oz never did give nothing to the Tin Man
That he didn’t, didn’t already have"

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Creating & Keeping Healthy Resolutions

There are countless clichés surrounding New Year’s resolutions. Cynics begrudge them, while the overzealous jump in so deep they can’t possibly stick with them. So what’s a reasonable gal to do?

Ignore everyone else and do what’s right for you, right now. For many of us – this IS a great time of year to refocus. Whether you indulged too much over the holidays, are new to exercise, or have other goals - do it for yourself.  

It’s easy to get carried away with lofty goals and commit to grueling workouts. But can you maintain this? The key is to be optimistic but not unrealistic. Enter more clichés: it’s a marathon, not a sprint! You CAN train for a road race. You CAN lose the weight. You CAN get strong. But it’s not going to happen overnight. When you first begin to work toward a goal your energy is high and so is your motivation. But if the results don’t come quickly, many people give up and return to their old habits, perpetuating the vicious cycle of: resolution -> frustration-> old behaviors -> guilt -> more resolutions.

So don’t set yourself up for disappointment by tackling too much at once. Pick two or three specific things to focus on. Be mindful in creating your goals for 2017. Maybe you’d like to lose weight once and for all. But instead of the weight, focus on the behaviors that will get you there.  You need to eat well and move more to lose weight, and you need strategies that will allow you to do this! You need to make these behaviors habitual. In other words, you need to find a way to do them each and every day.  

Behavior change takes time, especially if you are learning new things. Don’t be afraid to seek help. Try a new class and use what you learn there. Hire a trainer for help creating a fitness plan. Come see me for specific food and meal planning strategies that will work with your lifestyle and can last a lifetime.

Self-care is so important, and many women neglect this while busily working jobs and caring for others. If this is the time for you, embrace it. We are here to help.

Happy New Year, 

Alison Doak MS, RDN, LDN

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4 Ways to Reach Your Fitness Goals

Do you have a 2017 new year's resolution?? Not sure how to actually reach your goals? Check out our professional suggestions below to help you take action TODAY so that you begin moving towards your goals sooner rather than later.

Resolution

Action You Can Take TODAY

Eat healthier

  1. Start simply by drinking more water every day
  2. Slow down while eating and put your fork down between bites
  3. Make an appointment with Alison to help you understand your dietary needs and create a plan!

Exercise More Consistently

  1. Schedule your workouts into your calendar 
  2. Set reminders each night to get your gym stuff together
  3. Sign up for a Small Group Training 

Lose Weight

  1. Begin tracking your calories so you know how many calories you consume each day - we love using MyFitnessPal
  2. Meet with a Personal Trainer to go over your current workout program and how you can change it up to reach your goals!

Renew Your Passion
for Exercising

  1. Check out our new January 2017 Schedule
  2. Choose at least 2 classes that you've never taken and schedule them into your week!
  3. Or sign up for a Team Training Program to get out of your comfort zone.

Still need help figuring out how to reach your goals?! Click here to email our General Manager, Beth to better understand what services are right for you!

 

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When it Comes to Nutrition, One Size Does Not Fit All

“Give me a diet, and I will eat whatever you tell me."

Dozens of women knock on our doors pleading for a manual, a script for what they should eat each day. This is understandable; people are busy, overwhelmed with work responsibilities, home life, and other demands. Sometimes it is easier to have someone tell you what to do. But this approach fails to consider several important things: your lifestyle, budget, medical history, and food preferences, to name a few. The most delectable of meal plans will sit untouched if the recipes are too challenging, too expensive, or simply don’t appeal. And without your medical history in mind, a meal plan may undermine your health goals. 

What works for one person may not work for the next!

Our dietitian will take the time to get to know you, and from there, will work with you to create goals and strategies that fit your lifestyle. We teach our clients how to make good decisions and build their own meal plans. Many would like to lose weight. Some struggle with medical conditions like anemia, high blood pressure, IBS, osteoporosis, or high cholesterol. Others are struggling to feed their families well because they are so busy. Still others lack confidence in the kitchen and simply need some guidance. And while each client brings unique challenges to the table, we have identified some common themes and plenty of strategies to address them.

Rather than diets, we encourage behavior changes that will last a lifetime. Start with one or two behaviors and focus on those until they become second nature. When those become a habit, choose a few more. 

Use the following checklist to help identify if there are areas you can improve upon (answering yes or no): 

  • Are you drinking at least 8-10 cups of water each day?

  • Are you eating at least 9 servings of fruits and vegetables each day?     

  • Do you get enough fiber?  (25 grams for women, 38 grams for men)

  • Do you get adequate calcium? Vitamin D?

  • Do you eat mostly whole grains (vs. refined grains)?

  • Do you take the time each week to plan meals and a grocery list for you and your family?

  • Do you rely frequently on prepared foods or takeout?

  • Do you wish you could plan meals better?

  • Do you wish your children ate more nutritious foods?

  • Do you have medical conditions that could be improved with better nutrition?

  • Are you unsure what to eat and when?

  • Are you an emotional eater? (boredom, stress, sadness) 

Take note of your responses, and identify TWO things that you can take action on right away. If there are more than a few, maybe you need a little bit of help! 

Our Registered Dietitian, Alison Doak, works with women and children on all of the above challenges, and much more. Alison serves members and non-members alike, and accepts most major Health Insurance plans.

By: Alison Doak, MS, RDN, LDN
adoak@fitnessunlimited.com

*This was originally published in the Milton Times, October 2016. 

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Vacation Workout

Away for the summer? Vacationing down the Cape? Looking to exercise outdoors? Try this total body workout when you can't make it to the gym to burn calories and build strength. You don't need any equipment and it can be done at home or at the beach!

Perform each exercise for 45 seconds with 15 sec rest in between and repeat twice:

  • Jumping Jacks
    • We should all know this one! 
  • Plank
    • Either on your hands or forearms, be sure to align your joints and have your hips in line with shoulders and heels.
  • Pushups
    • After plank bring your hands wide so that your thumb is under your shoulder and then bend your elbows out to the sides so they are above your wrists. Bring your knees down to modify! 
  • Sumo Squat
    • Have your feet wide with toes turned out and heels turned in and when you bend your knees they should be directly about your ankles.
  • Tricep Pushups 
    • Instead of a normal push-up have your hands closer to your body and bend your elbows straight back to target the back of the arms.
  • Back Lunge alternating legs
    • Step straight back with one foot and then bend deeply into both knees. 
  • High Knees
    • Like running in place! You can also march as a modification.
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Shout out for Success: Deb Fidrocki

Deb Fidrocki is a local teacher and has been working with Cheryl McDermott and has lost 40 pounds!! Here's her story...

"My weight had been creeping up for some time; my blood sugar level was higher than it should be. So I finally decided to do something - I would watch what I ate and exercise more. It worked; I lost 25 pounds. But I was also doing 45 minutes on the elliptical five days a week and I was afraid to eat anything as I didn't want to gain the weight back. 

Then, for my birthday, my daughter gave me 5 sessions with a personal trainer. What she was thinking, I'm not sure, as I really am not a "gym person" but it was a nice gesture. I decided I would really listen to the trainer but if I didn't like it, I would just quit. My first trainer was Laury Hale. She pointed out that, while I had the habit of going to the gym, I was really making minimal use of the gym as I was only using the cardio and circuit machines.  I agreed to try a class and go 3 times. I picked "Gentle Yoga" (nothing too strenuous here).  Amazingly enough, it was fine - I did not die. So, then I decided to try a Head to Toe class and again, nothing bad happened. Coincidentally, my niece joined at about this time, and she always liked the classes.  The next thing I knew, I was doing Tabata, Head to Toe, Pilates, TRX... Then Laury moved to the Dominican Republic and I needed a new trainer.  

I decided to try working with Cheryl McDermott. I had taken Kettlebell small group training with her and I had seen her working with other members and I thought that I could work well with her. One of the first things that Cheryl and I started working on was being more dynamic and functional in my workouts. She also taught me to be more efficient with my time. I've actually dropped another 15 pounds since working with Cheryl, without trying. I also met with Alison Doak and made a few changes to my diet, actually eating more food while minimizing added sugar."

What I've learned:

There is a difference between being "not hungry" and being "full".  I don't have to be full to be satisfied. And there is a lot of knowledge, support and encouragement to be found at the club-from the trainers, to the desk staff, to fellow members. You have to be open to it.

Biggest challenges & how you overcame them: 

Not everyone is supportive-and sometimes that was surprising. I had people tell me that I wasn't eating right, I looked tired, etc.  I try to avoid the negativity and seek out positive people. It wasn't always easy to make time to exercise, eat right, work, socialize, etc., etc.   I literally write down exercise classes, appointments with trainers, etc. on my calendar. 

Most helpful element of training:

Having someone (Cheryl) who knows my goals and won't make excuses for me. 

How I feel now: 

I feel good. I know that I am strong and I know that I look good. I am more confident than I used to be. 

Thanks for sharing Deb and keep up the good work!! If you want to have your own success story, email Ann Marie to set up personal training to help you get on track!

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Shout out for Success: Lauren Gendreau!

First of all, a BIG SHOUT OUT for Lauren Gendreau for working so hard over the last few years and becoming super healthy - you are a true inspiration! And a BIG THANK YOU for all of her hard work at Fitness Unlimited and for being an amazing person to work with and be around - Lauren we already miss you but we know that you're going to do great in Denver and wish you all the best, you deserve it!

Here's Lauren's Story:

My weight was something I used to just brush off by trying to avoid scales, mirrors, crowed places, etc. However you can't ignore how your body feels and at 20 years old and 250 pounds I had hit the point where I couldn't ignore it any longer.

I had a panic attack December 2012 which my doctor informed me was a result of being severely overweight and that I was on my way to a heart attack if I didn't do anything to change it. This event scared me enough to cause me to start changing my eating habits. I went from eating out constantly and drinking soda with almost every meal to cutting back on sugars, monitoring my food intake and light exercising.

The need to change my lifestyle really hit home the day I started classes at Suffolk University. Things as simple as waking the campus and looking at other young girls who seemed to fit in while I stood out drove me to make some serious changes. It can be tough to exercise a 250 pound body so I start with walking a mile a day. That led to longer more aggressive walks, and eventually running.

After losing 50 pounds I hit a wall and decided I needed help, that is where Fitness Unlimited came in. I joined in June 2013 and engaged one-on-one fitness training with Ann Marie. I can truly say that Ann Marie changed my life. She challenged me to believe in my body and to push myself beyond my limits. After working with her for 5 months that last 60 pounds was melting off and I realized by true physical capabilities. I have continued to train with her for the last 3 years and have seen my goals change from weight loss to getting faster running times and eventually increasing strength. 

It honestly amazes me how your body can change with persistence, diligence, and some motivation and guidance from people who truly care about your wellbeing.

I am stronger, more confident and happier than ever. I am so lucky to have been a member and employee at Fitness Unlimited, I am so grateful to have met you all!

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7 Tips to Stay Healthy this Summer

Memorial Day Weekend marks an exciting time of the year - the unofficial beginning of the summer! We know the summer can be a busy time for many members, making it hard to get to the gym on a regular schedule. However, why not prioritize staying healthy while having fun this summer?

Here are 7 ways for you to stay fit and healthy throughout the summer: 

  1. Workout first thing in the morning
    During the summer it's easy for the days to fill up with plans and even quiet days can fly by. So why not get up 20-30 minutes early and enjoy an upbeat workout? Or get to the gym first thing in the morning for an early class? It'll help you wake up, set the stage for a healthy day, and help you continue to burn calories and build strength. 

  2. Sign up for a Small Group Class
    It's harder to skip or miss a class when you paid ahead of time for the whole month. Also, our small group classes are the perfect size to create camaraderie and accountability. 

  3. Watch what you drink
    Soda, juices, wine, and other alcoholic beverages are often high in calories and can quickly add up. To help you balance them out try drinking water with lemon or mint added, or try Poland Spring sparkling water with a slice of lime for something just as delicious and refreshing, but with 0 calories. 

  4. Be creative with transportation!
    Instead of driving to the store why not dig your bike out of the garage and take that instead? Or if you are planning on going for ice cream with the kids, why not walk together and enjoy the magic of a summer night (and burn some calories before you consume a bunch)?

  5. Have fun while being active
    Instead of simply having a cookout, why not invite your friends and family over for a fun game of baseball or kickball and then enjoy turkey burgers and a big salad afterwards? Dinner always tastes better after it's been earned! 

  6. Find a Fitness Buddy
    Do you tend to fall off the exercise band wagon during the summer? Rather than letting yourself fall off, find a friend or accountability buddy to keep you on track and you can do the same for them. Text each other each day to make sure you've gotten in at least 10 minutes of exercise and maybe even meet once a week to workout together!

  7. Hire a Personal Trainer 
    If you're serious about staying healthy throughout the summer months and want to stay focused on your fitness goals, why not make a real commitment and hire a Personal Trainer? Not only will they keep you focused and accountable but they will create customized workout programs to help you reach your goals. Click here to learn more!

Summer can be both enjoyable and healthy - it doesn't have to be one or another. So be sure to prioritize your health and wellness this summer, so when September rolls around you can look back without regret and with a lot of good memories. 

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Paul’s Favorite Motivation and Positive Affirmations for Living…

1 When you wake up each morning you have two choices to make:
1. Will I have a good day or a bad day?
2. Will I be in a good mood or a bad mood?
The best part is it's your choice!
2

“It is not the years in your life that count; it's the life in your years.”
- Abraham Lincoln

3 Passion = Success
4 Optimists believe we live in the best of times and pessimists fear this is true. Feed the optimist; starve the pessimist!
 5 Life is 90 percent mental.
6 “Winning isn’t everything, but the will to win is everything.”
- Vince Lombardi
7 Dare to believe that the best will happen to you.
8 Exercise is a gift you give to yourself.
9 If you don’t take care of your body, where will you live?
10 Successful people have the ability to carry on long after the initial mood is gone.
11 Consider the postage stamp; its usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing until it gets there.
12 Those who think they have no time for healthy eating will sooner or later have to make time for illness.
13 Let your heart sing by doing something you love each day.
14 “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”
- Mae West
15 The first wealth is health.
16 The ordinary acts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest.
17 Success is to be measured not so much by the position one has reached in life, as by the obstacles which one has overcome while trying to succeed.
18 I believe I deserve what I earn, not what someone hands me.
19 Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.
 
Three keys to success
1. Self confidence
2. Self-motivation and positive thinking
3. Finding outside sources of motivation to re-energize yourself (i.e. motivational books, CDs and DVDs)
 
 
Insight from Joel Osteen…

https://www.joelosteen.com/Pages/Home.aspx

  • Learn how to put a period on things you regret or don’t understand; remove the question mark and move on!
  • Learn how to put things in your “I don’t understand file” and don’t open that file too often.
  • Think of your car’s windshield, it’s much larger than your rear view mirror. That’s because what’s ahead of you is much more important than what’s in your past!
  • Imagine your problems are under your feet or even better under an old pair of boots you have in the back of your closet. This can help you fell in control.
  • Learn how to use your “delete” button. Each time someone or yourself says something negative to you, picture yourself hitting the delete button! “You can’t”…delete. “That will never work”…delete. “You are not smart enough”…delete.                                                                 
For nutrition tips check out http://www.fitnessunlimited.com/staffarticlesp882.php

Paul Maduri is the owner of Fitness Unlimited in Milton, MA

You can achieve your goals
...the professionals at Fitness Unlimited can help!
Have a question for your dietitian or trainer? Click here
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What is a Barre class and why should I do it at Fitness Unlimited?

When I first heard about barre classes in the fitness industry I automatically pictured myself back at the ballet barre in pink tights and a black leotard doing plies and tendus to classical music.  Though I personally LOVE ballet I know that the majority of the fitness population would not be jumping up and down to partake in such a workout.  So then I was left wondering how it has become one of the top crazes in the fitness world today.  I decided to try my first barre class about 4 years ago and I can honestly say that even with a BFA in Dance Performance I had no idea what I was getting myself into!

Luckily, I didn’t show up in my leotard and tights as the class is formatted nothing like a traditional ballet barre class.  So if you’ve been putting off trying a class because you have no coordination or dance skills then you can drop the excuses and head to the barre.  No tutus are required and I guarantee you will get one the most effective, challenging but doable workouts you’ve ever experienced.

So what should you expect in a barre class?  A barre class consists of a high energy fusion of barre exercises, sculpting and Pilates set to music that makes you want to move. The program is designed to create a uniquely lean, firm, sculpted body by combining the muscle-shaping principles of isometrics, the body-elongating practice of dance conditioning, the science of physical therapy and the intense pace of interval training into a powerful exercise format that quickly and safely reshapes and elongates muscles.  That sounds like the perfect formula for all of those “problem areas” every woman hates!

Most barre classes follow the same basic structure: You’ll start with a mat-based warm-up full of planks and push-ups, do a series of arm exercises, and continue at the bar with a lower-body section to work your thighs and glutes. Finally, you’ll finish with a series of core-focused moves at the bar or a short session on the mat.  Though the exercises will change from class to class you can always rest assure that you will leave feeling like you just challenged every muscle in your body to the max in just 50 minutes.

So why should you take a barre class at Fitness Unlimited?  Majority of barre studios allow upwards of 15-20 students in their classes.  Here at Fitness Unlimited we only allow a maximum of 8 students in each class to guarantee a safe, intimate workout environment.  You can count on your instructor offering personal attention to every movement you perform to guarantee the best results and to prevent injury as they are all certified and very well educated across multiple fields of fitness.  Expect to receive detailed instruction on how to effectively target those “problem areas” to ensure that you will get the most benefit from that workout.  Aside from the quality of instruction, here at Fitness Unlimited we offer our barre classes at a reasonably low rate of just $15 per class.  Barre studios in the area charge anywhere from $18-$25 per class. 

So why not give us a try?  Break out your grippy socks and meet us at the barre. We guarantee that you will not leave disappointed…just sore!  If you don’t believe me check out some of our students testimonials.

Danielle Miller
Pilates Director at Fitness Unlimited

Testimonials:

I cannot say enough about barre classes at fitness unlimited! I’ve become obsessed, and part of the reason is because I’ve seen such great results so quickly. I’ve been doing barre for about 1 year now, and the results for my body are astounding. I want everyone to know in the past year I’ve lost 48 pounds, I went from a size 14 to a size 6-8 (which is perfect for my body), my journey and the results I have obtained would not be possible without Fitness Unlimited’s amazing instructors and barre classes. I DO not go to the gym 7 days a week, my job as a nurse does not allow for it as I am working 12 hours shifts (which really means 14-15 hour days, no time for the gym on those days). So I make the most of my days off, making barre classes 2-3 times a week part of my routine.

I remember my first barre class and how the following morning I was so sore I winced walking up stairs, and I thought "this is crazy, why would anyone do this" I figured I’d give it one more try because women at work were raving about barre, after the second class I did not have that pain, so if you're thinking of trying barre KEEP WITH IT, give it at least 2 times I promise that pain isn’t after every class once you get going.

The results you get with barre are what women look for...I’m talking tone and inches like you wouldn’t believe. All women’s problem spots- arms, thighs, butt, the dreaded "back fat" from your bra line, midsection, legs, it takes care of it all in such an amazing way. Barre 2-3 times per week has made me so confident, no more searching through your closet trying clothes on and off because of "problem" areas, when you put clothes on, they just look good. Barre has even made me feel like a millions bucks in a bathing suit as well as naked! When I look in the mirror for the first time since I was in my teens, I like what I see, actually I think I may like my new body even more then my teenage body!

The barre instructors at fitness unlimited are all amazing. I’ve taken classes with Tina, Danielle, Alison, Natalie, Michaela, Sara Lyn, and Lisa. All of them are equally as amazing and knowledgeable regarding barre technique, injury prevention, and motivation. With all of the instructors being so amazing, it makes it easy to squeeze in barre classes no matter what time of day or what day in the week (there literally isn’t a bad class!). When I first started I had gym phobia, was overweight and extremely self-conscious about "pushing" myself from a fitness stand point. I could not do a push up, a sit up, and I didn’t even know what a plank was. All of the instructors were so supportive, giving good advice, offering modifications if needed, discreetly correcting my form. I’ve kept with it and even after 1 year, I still find the classes challenging, and STILL continue to see results. No matter what your age or fitness status, do not be intimidated to try out some barre, the results are well worth it - Leah (Fitness Unlimited Member)

I have been taking Barre since it was first offered at the club and love it. All of the instructors are knowledgeable and are constantly learning new techniques which makes for an exciting class.  It is a low impact work out with amazing results. I have noticed an increase in my endurance and leg strength. My arms are definitely more toned and I love that every class we do a plank and push up series. I would definitely recommend Barre to anyone that has not yet tried it.  - Erin (Fitness Unlimited Member)

I have enjoyed taking barre classes at Fitness Unlimited for the last two years after I had my second daughter. It is an incredible workout that combines ballet, yoga, and Pilates at the barre and on the mat. The music is great too! I love how the teacher targets each muscle to the point that it burns, and then directs you to do a deep stretch to lengthen it out.  Barre has also strengthen my core and muscle definition.  - Kate (Fitness Unlimited Member)

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Less is More: Part 2

You’ve spent 9 months growing a tiny human and you are wondering how this HUGE belly is ever going to return to that pre-baby stomach you worked so hard to maintain through diet and exercise.   You can’t wait to start doing crunches after giving birth to get that flat tummy back before summer starts!  Well, hear is a piece of advice ladies...check yourself before you wreck yourself!  

Yes, I know it’s a cheesy verse from an Ice Cube 90’s song but it is totally relevant.  After delivering my daughter, Penelope, in April of 2014 I realized about 6-7 weeks postpartum that I most likely had a minor case of diastasis recti.  What is diastasis recti? Diastasis recti is a fairly common condition of pregnancy and postpartum in which the right and left halves of rectus abdominis muscle spread apart at the body's mid line fascia.  This can happen for various reasons.  Though my core was strong prior to and during pregnancy, I have a petite build which puts me at a higher risk to develop diastasis recti.  A mid line of more than 2 to 2.5 finger-widths, or 2 centimeters, is considered problematic. My separation was just about 2 fingers, maybe a little less.  Diastasis recti can occur anytime in the last half of pregnancy but is most commonly seen after pregnancy when the abdominal wall is lax and the thinner mid line tissue no longer provides adequate support for the torso and internal organs.  It tends to be more visible when doing core work in flexion.  The first time I tried to do an abdominal exercise in flexion I noticed my stomach protruding down the center.  This is a red flag that your rectus still has a separation.

As a pilates instructor I am trained to recognize this condition.  Unfortunately, most OBs do not check for diastasis recti at your postpartum check-up unless you ask them to therefore most cases go undiagnosed.  When I tried to do basic stabilizing exercises postpartum (at about 6-7 weeks after my OB gave the OK to resume regular activity) I knew something was off.  Obviously my stomach was nowhere near ready to handle even moderate abdominal work yet but I could tell that the stability throughout my entire core and pelvis was weak.  I had a friend and colleague confirm my diagnosis.  So now what?  Unfortunately, flurries of misconception swirl around diastasis recti and abdominal exercise during and after pregnancy in general. If you were to research the condition you would find a broad range of contradictory opinions and advice about how to recondition your abdominal wall and how to restore the midline after childbirth. For example a common piece of advice is to do a lot of "crunches" which can actually worsen the abdominal separation.

So what’s the best way to recondition your abdominal wall?  My advice is less is more!  Instead of killing yourself with tons of ab exercises, keep it simple.  Avoid flexion and focus on exercises that force you to use your transverse abdominis muscle.  Your TA is the key to closing the gap!  Consulting a physical therapist or fitness professional can be helpful.  As a pilates instructor it was certainly a challenge having to back off of my usual abdominal work.  Fortunately pilates is a great method of rehabilitation so I was still able to use the same principles with slight modifications to challenge my TA safely and effectively.  By 14 weeks postpartum my separation decreased to 1 finger width. Woohoo!  I continue to keep it simple with my abdominal work to ensure that my transverse stays strong.  If I feel I can’t perform an exercise properly then I make a modification.  At the end of the day it just matters that my core is being challenged and not whether I can hold a 2 minute plank!

If you think you may have diastasis recti consult your doctor or a fitness professional.  Always inform your instructor if you have diastasis recti so they can make proper modifications.  It’s never too late to rebuild the strength in your transverse and get rid of the dreaded “mummy tummy!” Even if you have a strong core before pregnancy you still may end up with this condition so be proactive and check for it before you start any core strengthening postpartum.  If you learn the proper rehabilitative exercises you WILL get that pre-baby belly back!  

Danielle Miller
Pilates Director & Personal Trainer
Fitness Unlimited

 

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Adapting Pilates Principles to Everyday Life

Have you ever wondered what your Pilates instructor meant when she talked about the “Pilates Principles” during class? This blog entry by Kara Griffin from mindbodygreen.com gives a quick but vivid view on how you can apply these principles to everyday life.  Check it out!

The 6 Pilates Principles are in place to guide the student through a Pilates workout in the most effective way. The hope is that the exercises are done in a manner that will allow the student to carry these principles off the mat. But why can’t this also work in reverse? Whether you’ve never done Pilates before or you’ve had trouble applying these concepts to your practice, let’s think of them in more relatable term- your everyday life.

Breath & Centering

Breath is used in Pilates to send oxygen to your working muscles and to engage the core, but on a more basic level breathing is, of course, essential for life. It’s one of the things we’re born knowing how to do, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that we know how to do it correctly. Respiration is an automatic cycle, but think of the involuntary ways your body tells you to focus on your breath more—yawns, sighs, lip trills, humphs. The list goes on. Even in a non-aerobic state, your body needs deep inhalation to send oxygen to every cell and then deep exhalation to release toxins. Start your morning with some deep breathing in bed, take a deep breath break at your work desk, or have a side “deep breath” while you’re cooking dinner. Close your eyes when you do so, and your mind will feel more centered and grounded. All your little cells with thank you, and you’ll be pleased that you took a few moments during the day to just breathe.

Concentration & Precision

In Pilates, concentration is used to give full attention to your muscles while they perform the technique of the exercise at hand; it is in place to rid yourself of distractions. When you give your real world tasks and activities your full concentration they will be accomplished with more efficiency and precision, leaving your To Do list smaller and smaller. This can mean simply turning off your phone or logging off a social media site, and the items you check off your list will be done to the best of your ability. This principle is true for your relationships, too. Don’t be afraid to tell a friend or co-worker, “I’m busy right this moment, but I can give you my full attention in a moment.” When the time comes for you to interact, they’ll be thankful to have you fully present and engaged, and you will carry out what is asked of you to a tee.

Control & Fluidity

Nobody likes a control freak, so think of applying this principle only to yourself. Just as control is used in Pilates to find stability that then allows another part of the body full mobility, the same is true for your life. If your personal life at home is organized and under control you’ll have more freedom to do what you want in your free time. You’ll be able to flow from one part of your day to the next with ease knowing that you have a strong foundation to stand on. Finding the time to control the constant aspects of life like work, money, personal care and home upkeep can actually allow for more spontaneity and fun!

Danielle Miller
Pilates Director & Personal Trainer
Fitness Unlimited

 

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The Top Ten Secrets to Weight Loss

Did you ever wonder why some people seem naturally thin without effort? You probably attribute this to their genetics; maybe they were born with a fast metabolism, or blessed with a small appetite - and while that may be true in part, the major factor can be described in one word: habit. These people have adapted to a way of life that puts them in balance, meaning they are regularly consuming the number of calories they need to expend through their normal daily activities and exercise. You too can stay in balance by simply adapting some of your habits based on the following tips.

  1. Experience the amazing power of mindful eating. Want to lose weight and enjoy your food more? Practice this very easy and effective technique; at each meal put down your knife and fork at least 3 times. When you do, try placing your fork and knife in a very meticulous, perfect upside down V by turning your fork on its side and placing the last inch of your knife thru the talon in your fork at the top of your plate. Now close your eyes and take one deep, slow breath. Let this be your symbol of mindful eating. Then simply stop, sit back, and enjoy the scenery or the company you are with! Enjoy!

    Remember to always slow down and take well-chewed, small bites, even when you're eating sandwiches. When the speed of your eating feels unnaturally slow or odd, then you have it about right.  You may find that the slower you eat the more you will enjoy your food and the thinner you will become. Practice being the last at the table to finish! Now stay with me on this and remember: it's all about the first 3 to 5 bites, this is when you take or lose control of your meal.  Perfect these techniques and you could lose up to 3-5 pounds this year.  This is my number one tip for a reason, practice it for 60 days and experience its power! It’s not about the quantity of the food you eat; it's about the quality and the dining experience. In short, eat slowly and eat petite!
     
  2. Portion control. In the fifties, every diner across the nation featured 9-inch plates. Today, most of us are eating from 10-12-inch plates and even platters! Use smaller bowls, dishes and glasses; order small sizes on everything. Sound extreme? Just wait and see. Now let’s take this one step further, even use your smaller salad fork and replace tablespoons with teaspoons. This even goes for you big, brawny men with ever increasing waistlines! Remember, most Asian populations tend to be much leaner partially because of the use of chopsticks. Controlling the amount of food you consume in each bite and the amount of food you can fit on your plate is a simple way to cut down how much you are eating at each meal.
     
  3. Know the numbers, know the facts. Now I know not everyone likes the numbers; but stay with me on this because calories trump everything! One pound of fat contains the caloric equivalent of 3500 calories. This is important because consuming an average of just 29 calories more per day than you burn will lead to 3 pounds of weight gain per year. Hard to believe? Let’s break it down: 3500 divided by 365 days = 9.58, or almost 10 extra calories a day will equal 1 pound of weight gain per year. So if you take in just 29 extra calories on average per day you will gain 3 pounds. These are the facts: any calories you consume beyond your maintenance needs are not only unnecessary, they will slowly make you gain weight and could actually shorten your life! The risk of diabetes, cancer and heart disease all increase with excessive weight gain. Fortunately, this also works in reverse! Consume 29 fewer calories per day and you could lose 3 pound over the next year. This could be as simple as cutting out the slice of cheese from your sandwich or leaving the croutons off your salad. Enough of the right small choices can make a big difference over time.

To read more of this article, click here >

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Less is More: Part 1

This month my husband and I celebrated our daughter's first birthday. Seems like yesterday we brought her home from the hospital. I was fortunate enough to have an easy and enjoyable pregnancy followed by what I would describe as a pretty great labor and delivery.  Our daughter, Penelope Gray, is what people might call an "easy baby" and my husband and I are grateful every day for that!  The more challenging area for me this past year has been recovering from the aftermath of growing this tiny, adorable human.  Mothers try to tell you but you just don't get it until you are in it!

My labor and delivery was in my eyes "perfect" and I wouldn't change a thing about it...not like I could anyways.  I went into labor 2 days before my due date.  I was able to do most of my laboring at home and once admitted I delivered my daughter within 2 hours without any medication.  I thank my Pilates and fitness background for helping me manage my labor pains (back labor by the way) and keeping me calm during the process.  Deep breathing was KEY and so was having my husband's hand to squeeze to death during every contraction.  Thanks honey!  What I didn't realize was during my delivery I tore the labrum in my right hip.  A hip labral tear involves the ring of cartilage, called the labrum that follows the outside rim of the socket of your hip joint. The labrum acts like a rubber seal to help hold the ball at the top of your thighbone securely within your hip socket.  Labral tears are unfortunately becoming more common in the delivery process.  The most successful way to repair a labral tear is through surgery which I wanted nothing to do with because of the likelihood that another tear could result from any future childbirths.  I wasn't aware of the injury until I came home from the hospital; the decreased range of motion and pain when I moved it in certain directions was alarming.  This discovery was discouraging considering my full time job requires me to be active and in motion all day long.  Even worse, as a dancer losing any range of motion or stability was a little devastating.

What's next?  Once I figured out why my hip hurt the next step was figuring out how to keep active without re-aggravating the injury. When a joint is not stabilizing properly the surrounding muscles try to take over; that is exactly what was happening to me.  The result was extremely tight hips and glutes that caused chronic low back pain.  I decided to see a physical therapist and it's the best choice I've ever made.  What was the exercise program suggested by my pt? Less is more!

Before pregnancy I enjoyed doing Pilates, sprints on the treadmill, barre and strength training.  I was eager to get back after delivering my daughter but the truth was my body was different, I needed to train differently and that's OK!  I had to turn the intensity back a notch in my classes, demonstrate minimally and nix sprinting all together; though it doesn't directly aggravate my labral tear it tightens my already tight hips and glutes so I have terrible low back pain after...no thank you!  Instead I walk a TON!  I have to stretch and foam roll daily and perform small very BASIC stabilizing exercises for my hips and core.  It took about 7 months post-delivery to regain most of my mobility back.  After all I now have a daughter who requires all of my time and attention outside of work so finding time to rehab my injury takes some creativity.  Penelope's favorite toy is my foam roller.  The great news is I still take/teach Pilates, barre and Tribe Team Training classes weekly.  I've even added in yoga and I feel just as strong if not stronger than I did pre-pregnancy.  I still have to be cautious with certain exercises but the key for me to working through this injury is to listen to my body in the state it is in TODAY.  It doesn't matter what my body could do 2 years ago; when I don't listen to my body I end up limping around the club because I have severe groin pain and then have to ice and rest for a couple of days.  SO I use that as my reminder...the injury will never go away but that doesn't mean I can't stay active.  I just might have to do a little less than I did before and that's OK because less stress on the injury means more mobility.

So happy first birthday to my daughter, Penelope and happy one year anniversary to my body surviving childbirth!  It wasn't an easy recovery but worth every moment I get to spend with my little girl : )

Up next, Part 2: My realization that I had Diastasis Recti...a pilates instructor's worst nightmare!

Danielle Miller
Pilates Director & Personal Trainer
Fitness Unlimited

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The temperature is 65 degrees, the sun is shining - a perfect New England Spring day.

As you go about your day you feel fit and confident. You are proud of your progress and what you have accomplished. You have survived the longest winter in history and lived to tell about it. Your family and friends wonder how come you look so darn good after shedding all of those winter layers. You know that it hasn't been easy but you have pushed yourself to stay consistent one week at a time. You have challenged yourself and that has been the key to your success.

You do not have to imagine this you can make this a reality. Winter is the time to put in the work to improve your strength, energy, eating and mood. Spring is coming and yes you will be able to wear a t-shirt soon. This week is the week to start and I have the answer!
It is TRIBE Team Training!! TRIBE Team Training is Fitness Unlimited's www.fitnessunlimited.com new small group training program that will encourage you to achieve more than you thought possible. It is set in an encouraging team environment where all of the members of the team succeed. There is a maximum of 10 people and you do not have to be a member to register.

I will be teaching Tribe Life on Wednesdays and Fridays from 5:30 - 6:20 AM in March.   There will be a try before you buy, FREE trial held on Wednesday, March 4 and Friday, March 6.  This will give you a chance to check it out and see if it is something that you would like to commit to doing.  Stop by or call the front desk to sign up, 617-698-0260.

With the Tribe Life Program, no two workouts are ever the same and they are progressive. You will start with the basics in week one, continuously learn new exercises until the final two weeks of each session where no new exercises will be introduced but the challenge of the workouts will be at their peak.  In addition, there is a closed facebook page and nutrition tips provided by our dietitian.
 "Do something today that your future self will thank you for."

Cheryl McDermott
Fitness Unlimited
Personal Trainer

 

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