Thursday, September 8, 2011

SPX Fitness is Great for...Everyone

Kimberly here... most of the time Adam is the mouthpiece for us and he usually writes all of our blogs. However, this time I wanted to write a blog with him where I talked about SPX Fitness and why I am such a huge advocate for it. I recommend it for everyone whether you want to lose weight, tone up, or just maintain your fitness level. We feel like it is such a great system and everyone should take advantage of it. So before you make up your mind, here is a little bit more information on SPX with Adam's scientific analysis!

1. SPX Fitness is NOT pilates. We know that at first glance there seems to be an uncanny amount of similarities from the design of the machine, to the selection of exercise, to the benefits that can be achieved. Although SPX Fitness has some roots in pilates, it has some VERY significant differences as well. The creator of the SPX system, Sebastien Lagree, understood the immense benefit of cross training very early on. However, he found it challenging to deliver intensive strength training, heart rate intensive circuit work, and serious core strengthening in an one hour session without having to travel all over a fitness facility. This became the goal of the original patented Proformer machine - to combine strength training, cardiovascular conditioning, and core strengthening in a circuit format allowing for a high volume of work and very little rest. The exercises performed in our SPX Proformer class are done for a much longer duration of time than many are accustomed to in traditional personal training. In SPX we don't measure our workouts based on sets and reps rather we work on a timed format. For example, in a SPX class you will very likely find yourself doing sets of lunges for upwards of 2 minutes. Exercises are performed on a slow and controlled basis and your muscles will be under constant tension throughout the entire duration of work. This is often done in combination with other various exercises aimed at targeting similar muscle groups to achieve complete muscle failure.

2. The goal of SPX is muscle failure. The idea behind SPX is overload! If we are not consistently overloading muscles and providing adequate stress to the musculoskeletal system, we will not experience noticeable gains. When it comes to loading patterns, when you increase mechanical load (like traditional weightlifting), you run the risk of placing more stress on the joints and structures of the body and therefor potential injury risk increases as well. SPX addresses this by using spring loads to provide resistance so that you can induce more than optimal intensity without a heightened risk of injury.

SPX combines these substantial loading patterns with compound multi-joint movements and will focus 3 to 5 exercises per muscle group per side to ensure adequate muscular fatigue and failure. This accomplishes a few things. First, long duration high intensity training that induces extreme fatigue on muscle groups triggers an aggressive "lactate" response also known as "lactic acid". This is beneficial when training because lactate accumulation has a direct correlation to GH (growth hormone) response. Growth hormone is currently receiving a lot of attention for it's ability to trigger the body to burn more fat, give people a more youthful appearance, reverse osteopenia, and increase structural strength in the body. Secondly, extreme muscle failure creates a significant after burn effect when the workout is over known as "EPOC" (excess post exercise oxygen consumption). This means that the intensive training has triggered the central nervous system to increase metabolic function to recover and adapt to the training stimulus. During EPOC, the body increases oxygen consumption and energy utilization thereby raising resting metabolism and this is done AFTER your workout is over. So what you have is a two fold effect that includes output of hormones that are incredibly beneficial for fat loss and injury prevention as well as an elevated metabolism that may last 24-36 hours post workout.

3. SPX Fitness is great for fat loss but also for building strength & endurance as well. When someone wants to lose weight, the general thought is that they need to do a lot of cardio in order to achieve their desired weight loss. While cardio may help you lose "weight" it is not always quality FAT loss. SPX is great for fat loss because the long duration, slow strength approach guarantees that all energy systems will be challenged AND you will also achieve adequate muscle tone which is the real key to not just losing weight but losing fat.

I am a great example of how great SPX is for fat loss. A few years ago, I found myself in the corporate world and 30 pounds overweight (I have pictures to prove it!). I tried everything - going to the gym, yoga, cardio kickboxing, etc - and nothing seemed to work. It was not until I found a studio that did SPX that I really started to lose the extra weight. After 6 months of doing nothing but SPX 4-5 times a week, I dropped the weight - with no change to my diet. On top of this, I had a significant increase in strength, endurance, and muscular balance. Since my late teens, my right knee always bothered me after I worked out, whether it be running or lifting weights, and I just came to the conclusion that it was something I was just going to have to deal with for the rest of my life. However, one of the best side effects of SPX in addition to the weight loss, was that my knee pain became nonexistent. As a result, I'm able to take up running and heavier weight training in addition to SPX.

We don't offer SPX classes because we think its cool or a good "fad" workout. We offer it because I have seen first hand how effective SPX is and how it can really change one's fitness level. Most people look at me know and would never think that only a few years ago I was 30 pounds overweight and struggling to find an exercise routine that I enjoyed. But 3 years later, here I am - walking proof that SPX works so long as you are willing to put in the work.  So for those of you who are a little weary of taking the SPX Proformer class, I hope after reading this blog post you will at least consider taking it. We look forward to seeing you in class.

Monday, August 29, 2011

BT Likes Green Tea!

What makes green tea so powerful and why do we think it makes such a great companion for training? Recently, green tea has been getting A LOT of recognition for being a powerful metabolism booster and fat burner; however, the true powers of green tea are far greater than just a tool for fat loss. Green tea is also used as a powerful tool in disease prevention and in maintenance of optimal health. Here are 5 reasons why we regularly use this beverage as a powerful antioxidant and immune booster:

1. Green tea boosts the immune system: The antioxidant compound in green tea known as "catechins"have been shown in various research studies to have a profound impact on immune function. Specifically, green tea contains something called "theanine" which has been shown to have an impact on boosting T cell activity which helps to strengthen adaptive immunity. This is important to people engaged in intensive training because high stress workouts can cause an inflammatory response in the body. As a result, drinking green tea can help support immune function and thus speed recovery.

2. Green tea fights allergies in the body: The highly acclaimed "EGCG" (epigallocatechin gallate) is in green tea. This compound has been shown to help block the two compounds that are responsible for allergic reaction in the body: histamine & immunoglobulin E. This means that drinking green tea can help to reduce reactions such as watery eyes, coughing, and sneezing that occur from allergy to external stimuli.

3. Green tea lowers risk of cardiovascular disease: Research has shown a reduced occurrence of death from cardiovascular disease amongst people who drink green tea regularly. This is in part due to green tea's ability to help stabilize cholesterol levels. Green tea does this by reducing the amount of cholesterol that is absorbed by the digestive tract and increases the rate in which it is excreted from the body. Green tea also helps prevent LDL cholesterol from being oxidized which prevents it from turning into the sticky plaque that adheres to artery walls which increases risk of heart attack or stroke.  
4. Green tea promotes fat loss: Green tea is very beneficial for metabolizing fat. Specifically, the polyphenols in green tea help to dissolve triglycerides (substance made up of mostly fat and sugar) in the intestines and liver. Another benefit in aiding fat loss is the combination of EGCG with caffeine as this combination stimulates the central nervous system to release fat into the bloodstream to be used as fuel.

5. Green tea helps prevent tooth decay: Green tea has antibacterial properties that can help to reduce the accumulation of plaque on your teeth. Green tea has been shown to lower the risk of gum disease due to the ingredients responsible for improved immune function and also it contains fluoride which is helpful in preventing cavities. Preventing gum disease and tooth decay also has a two fold effect as periodontists are now beginning to find links between gum disease and other health disorders like heart attack, stroke, and diabetes.

So we say when it comes to green tea - drink up! It's a simple way to integrate a powerful and healthy addition to your current dietary strategies.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Spice Rubbed Mahi Mahi

This meal is great for summer! It is super easy to make, very healthy and great for recovery from a tough workout - not to mention delicious! We used a (wild caught) Mahi Mahi fillet with the skin left on (most of the healthy oils in fish that are great for your skin, cholesterol, and managing inflammation are found in the skin so we recommend leaving it on). The fillet was rubbed with a spice blend containing salt, pepper, granulated garlic, onion powder, chili powder, and lemon zest. When preparing your rub don't get caught up in exact measurements add the ingredients and then put a dab of the rub on you finger and adjust until you reach your desired taste. We let the rub sit on the fish for about 30min before searing the fish on a very hot grill. Depending on the thickness of the fillet, fish is usually good for about 5-6min on each side as you want the center to be slightly opaque and tender. While the fish was marinating we cooked the corn on the grill (in the husk), steamed some long grain organic rice, and made a fresh guacamole using avocado and a freshly made salsa which included diced tomato, red onion, garlic, jalapeno, a little lemon juice, and salt. All you need to do is mix these ingredients with your mashed avocados and BAM you have an amazingly fresh guacamole to serve as the perfect cool compliment to the spice rub on your fish. All in all this meal is only about 400 calories and has a perfect blend of protein, healthy fats, complex carbohydrate, and best of all it only takes about 45 minutes (tops) to make. Give this a shot - we know you will love it!    

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Perfect Breakfast

This breakfast has all of the components to fuel your body, give you adequate nutrients, and help to stave off hunger for at least a few hours. This meal is also super easy to make and really doesn't have to be eaten strictly for breakfast as it would also serve as a perfect POST workout recovery meal as well. The oatmeal is steel cut organic oats that we cooked for about 10min in some organic soy milk (about 1/2 cup oats per cup of milk) and a tablespoon of brown sugar. The eggs are sunny side up cooked in a little bit of vegetable oil and seasoned with some salt and pepper and then sliced strawberries gives you a great burst of sweetness and vitamin C. This meal contains about 300 calories and about 20g of protein and some serious complex carbohydrates and fiber to keep your blood sugar steady and to keep you adequately fueled for intensive training. Start your day with a breakfast like this and you are sure to ramp up your metabolism, feel energized, and avoid any unwanted morning snacking. Enjoy! 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Awesome Recovery Meal

This meal is really great after a hard days training as it will provide a great source of quality nutrients, glycogen replenishment, as well as healthy protein and fats. To make this all you need is some fresh fish (we used WILD caught Pacific Rockfish. Note: it is always far healthier to choose a wild caught fish versus a farm raised fish. This is simply due to the fact that farm raised fish are not found out in the ocean in their natural element and are farmed in very close and compacted living quarters with sometimes very questionable sanitary conditions) some rotelle pasta, fresh garlic, spinach, onion, red pepper, 1/4 stick unsalted butter, and a ripe lemon. For the fish we coated them in a mix of organic flour, some dried oregano, basil, thyme, salt, pepper, and a touch of paprika and cooked them for a couple minutes on each side in a hot pan with a little vegetable oil. We also cooked the minced garlic, spinach, red pepper, and onion in a pan for about 6-8min. Once we boiled and strained the pasta we combined the pasta and veggies in a pan with the melted butted and fresh squeezed lemon juice. Then we simply flaked the fish on top and sprinkled a very small amount of shredded cheese and we had a super tasty complete meal that helped to replenish after a tough day of training. All in all this meal took about 40min to prepare and cook and it offers quality carbohydrate, healthy fats, good protein, and a lot of vitamins and minerals from the garlic, spinach, onion, pepper, and lemon. Stay tuned for more healthy recipes to provide optimal fuel for your active lifestyle!   

Monday, July 25, 2011

Healthy Burger & Fries

Just because you are eating a diet based on minimally processed foods doesn't mean you have to give up the staples of comfort food. As long as you make some minor adjustments there is no reason you can't fit our modified version of a cheeseburger and fries into your diet. What we have done here is taken 90/10 lean ground beef and seasoned with some salt, pepper, basil, thyme, parsley, and a touch of garlic powder. We then grilled the burger so the excess fat will drip away and melted a 1/4 cup of a reduced fat cheddar/jack cheese blend on the patty. In the spirit of keeping it non-processed we skipped the bun and replaced the traditional french fries that are high in saturated and trans fats with roasted red potatoes that also contain a blend of sweet onion and red pepper. Finally to give it a summer feel we added some cool fresh watermelon which provides a satisfying sweetness without all of the calories and refined sugars of a soda or milkshake. The total calories in this meal is only about 400 (a fraction of a burger and fries from a traditional fast food joint) and is packed with protein, complex carbohydrate, and quality nutrients from the fruits and vegetables. Give this a try and we promise you will not miss the refined bun, greasy fries, and sugary soda!   

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Healthy Snacking Options

When people are out and about for a quick bite to quench hunger they often can find very healthy non-processed options in some of the least expected places. A lot of times people will search the nearest fast food spot, or sandwich shop, or even pick up a pastry at Starbucks with their coffee. Most of the time these options are high in fat, sodium, and refined sugars. They will likely cause spikes in blood sugar and potential unwanted fat storage. However, the picture you see above is an eight piece spicy tuna roll with fresh minced tuna, avocado, sprouts, and wrapped in cucumber and best of all it was made right in front of me! Which sushi restaurant did I have to call in advance and then drive to to pick this up? I purchased this snack from the local grocery store where they have an employee who makes fresh sushi everyday from 10-2. The best part this only cost me $7 and packed only about 250 cals. Not only that but it is rich in protein, unsaturated fat, it's non-processed, and very delicious. The moral of the story here is for the same cost of a meal at a fast food restaurant I was able to get a very healthy low calorie meal with quality ingredients to tied me over for a couple hours. These are the kinds of strategies that can make or break an eating plan and the more strategic you can get the greater your chances will be for success in your program!    

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Super Post Workout Meal

This is a very simple meal that would work very well post workout and is easy to make. There are a lot of quality nutrients and the total calorie count is pretty low. The steak is a 4oz sirloin (the leanest cut you can buy) that has been seared with a simple rub of salt, pepper, paprika, chili powder, and a touch of brown sugar. The egg is sunny side up to add some creaminess and depth of flavor to the steak. The potatoes are a blend of sweet and red potatoes cooked with a little vegetable oil and mixed with red pepper & onion. Finally we have some sliced fresh cucumber with a touch of organic thousand island. All in all this meal yields about 400cals and has a lot of vibrant color and best of all the only real processed ingredient is the salad dressing but the amount is pretty negligible as it equates maybe a teaspoon. If you were to eat a meal like this at a restaurant you would easily be looking at probably 900cals but with a simple preparation of about 20min you get all the satisfaction of steak and eggs with half the calories. Stay tuned as we will continue to update our blog with simple & delicious healthy meals to compliment your hard work in the studio.     

Monday, March 21, 2011

Overload...The Gateway to Results

When people want to get into a new fitness routine there is often intensive thought put into deciding what is ultimately going to give them the best bang for their buck. Should it be yoga, pilates, personal training, a general gym membership, or some combination of all the above? Regardless of what option you choose the most important component of training is a concept called OVERLOAD. Overload is defined as imposing a stress on the body that it is not normally accustomed to. This is something that is initially very easy to achieve when first beginning a training program; however, after the first 4-6 weeks the "honeymoon phase" ends and the body needs to be challenged much more creatively to continue to spark noticeable results. The goal is to be using this overload principle to achieve an adaptation that is known as SUPERCOMPENSATION. Supercompensation is the condition where the body has now physiologically adapted to the exercise stimulus and can now tolerate a greater stress. This act of supercompensation results in improved strength & endurance, greater cardiovascular efficiency, reduction in body fat, and improved metabolic rate, to name a few.

The question now becomes how do we continue to get overload on a long term scale? We can do this several ways. One would be altering choice of equipment. Implementing strategies like using kettlebells for 4 weeks, then switching to stability balls, then incorporating some body weight work, and then a blend of all 3 can continue to challenge the body to adapt. Another way to induce overload is to challenge physiological response. This can be done by playing with sets, reps, load, rest periods and finally tempo. An example of this would be workouts done at a slower tempo with higher load and longer rest periods interchanged with workouts using lighter weight, a faster tempo, and shorter rest periods. Finally you can continue to impose overload onto the body by increase difficulty in proprioceptive response. This can be achieved by using single leg & single arm exercises, removing bases of support and adding unstable bases of support in place of stable bases of support.

These strategies all really drive home the principle that intensity in training is always relevant to the situation. Greater intensity does not always mean harder and harder until we are pushing our bodies to the brink of injury. Intensity can be viewed as modifying difficulty subtly with how we address the specific variables in training. If someone goes from sets of 6-8 with 2 minute rest periods to sets of 15-20 with 30sec rest periods this will drive intensity while actually decreasing the necessary load. This really demonstrates that intensity is all in the variables and application. At BT Fitness, we are constantly putting these variables into use to ensure that our clients are continuously placed in new and challenging environments with their training so that adaptation remains constant and results remain consistent!       

Friday, January 28, 2011

Movement Based Training

In the strength & conditioning and personal training world, we at seem to get a lot of inquires about what the purpose of training is, how is a certain exercise different from other exercises, and how important is the application. We want to take this time to really explain our concepts and strategies behind movement based training and how it really relates to people's functional lives and athletes' performance capabilities to create a balanced and effective program.

First, let's talk about variations for the general population and how different exercises would be selected to accommodate different needs and demands. One example is a mother who needs a program to deal with the strength demands of keeping up with a young child. Muscular strength, lower body & core strength, and cardiovascular conditioning should be a very important part of her program. In order to be able to pick up her child without risk of injury, exercises like deadlifts, squats, and core-focused lifts should be incorporated. In order to be able to play soccer or frisbee with her young child, metabolic circuit training will also be a focus. Another example is a middle-aged gentleman who sits at a desk most of the day, but who enjoys cycling on the weekend. He will have different needs than the mother. His program will require more postural strengthening due to long bouts of sitting in his daily life and in his sport. He will also need more muscular endurance, specifically in his lower body, and core based endurance. Lighter weight and higher reps will give him the stamina he needs to keep up with his riding buddies without having to fear gaining too much extra muscle weight.

Next, let's talk about the competitive athlete. Simple variations in exercise selection can make a big difference in improving the specific mechanics needed to play a sport well. An example of this can be demonstrated within kettlebell training. If we are working with a basketball or volleyball athlete that is looking to develop more explosive lower body power, the use of a rectilinear snatch variation (pulling the bell vertically from the floor) will mimic movements used in their sport and potentially have the best carryover in performance. Whereas if we are working with a baseball player or a golfer that needs to generate power from their hips, a curvilinear snatch variation (swinging the bell out and up) would be preferable as this more closely mimics demands in their sport.

These small variations can be integrated into a comprehensive program that help create balance and optimize performance in any person. We do this by ensuring equal amounts of pulling and pushing exercises, stabilization exercises, and single leg/single arm exercises. All of this together gives the training and overall purpose and really creates the value our clients are looking for. For us training with a purpose is what it's all about!    

Friday, January 14, 2011

The 4 "E"s

BT Fitness continues to do everything in its power to bring a results driven approach to our clients through our small group classes. By offering an environment that gives you the ability to work out with other like-minded fitness enthusiasts, we feel it will boost morale and commitment. In addition, we believe that by offering a multi-disciplined approach with a greater selection of training protocols, you will develop a more well-rounded and functional fitness routine. Finally, although some may not want to hear this, we do feel that training 3-5x a week is a must, thereby making small group classes the best option in that they are affordable and a more realistic approach to working out. As a result, at BT Fitness we consistently reassess to make sure that we, as owners, do exactly what we preach to our clients so that our business remains credible. This concept is something we call the 4 "E"s and it includes the following:

Evaluate: It is our responsibility to continually evaluate our own performance when it comes to our level of service. Do we stay up to date with current fitness trends? Do we invest in new tools that will be beneficial to our clients' training? Do we keep our workouts fun and exciting for our clients? Do we have a plan every time we show up to train? Do we keep our facility clean and inviting to create a welcoming atmosphere for people to get healthy and fit? Do we continue to do the little things day in and day out? Just the other day we went to take a class at a well-established studio for the first time only to find that when we walked in the door we were greeted by an instructor who remained recluse behind the desk and on the phone. Let me tell you it had an impact and we were completely turned off by it! These are the habits that, in our opinion, can threaten value and make the difference in the client experience.

Educate: This is something that we put special emphasis on. Our continuing education as trainers and owners allows us to continue to educate our clients to the best of our ability with the most up to date information in the health & fitness world. We never want to become "comfortable" with what we know because there is always more to learn. We stay committed to this by attending workshops, meeting with fellow health professionals and clinicians for brainstorming sessions, and designate specific programming  to stay sharp in our exercise selection and delivery.

Embrace Change: Let's face it we are in an industry that is built on change. What was hot last year or three years ago may be completely obsolete now. Therefore, we do our best to stay abreast of new trends in our field. I think at times we can get into a place where we fight change because it requires effort and adaptation to what was once a successful model. But there are much more benefits that come with change; it ends up helping us grow as practitioners. A perfect example of this was illustrated yesterday while we were working through a functional movement screen with a chiropractor and specialist in A.R.T. He noted that when he started to gain interest in the world of "functional training" other chiropractors in his field viewed this concept as time wasting. If we don't look forward to the continuing changes and advancements in our field, then we will inevitably get left behind.

Evolve: This final phase of this cycle is where we truly get better: the evolution process that takes us from GOOD at one thing to a MASTER of many things. We appreciate the fact that there are many different theories and opinions out there and are willing to evolve even if that means changing our own ways. At the end of the day our focus is on giving the client the safest and most reliable method to success that we can and we will continue to strive to do whatever it takes to achieve that.