Archive by Author

Client of the Month Spotlight May 2011

27 May

Client Name: Tamila Sayar

Age:  40
FIT member since:  I think August 2010

Goal starting your fitness program at FIT – My goal was and is to change my life style to promote better health.  My primary focus was, and continues to be weight loss.

Results: I have lost over 60 pounds, 6 sizes, definitely made long term lifestyle changes for myself and the family, and regained some strength and endurance.

What would you consider the keys to your fitness success? Showing up, taking it one day and one habit at a time, respecting, trusting connecting with my trainer (Matt) and the FIT environment, being ready to make the commitment, and having an exceptionally knowledgeable trainer to guide me.

How did you feel about your fitness and physique before starting your exercise program at FIT? Awful!!! Terrible!!!!

How do you feel about your fitness and physique now? I feel better, stronger, more active, and successful.

 What obstacles, if any, did you have to over come to maintain your commitment to fitness?  Given that I have 3 kids and the demanding line of work I am in, remembering to put myself first in order to show up every time no matter what, fearing failure, and self-consciousness. Having patience with the ups and downs in this process.

Want motivates you through your workouts? It’s the only hour in my day where I can just listen and do what I am being told to rather than giving the directions. I enjoy the discussions with my trainer and others as well as the challenges that each work out presents.

What motivates you to come back each day? For me, there’s no other option, I like to be challenged, I know I have to do it to continue to get results, I like the results I am getting and look forward to my sessions. I enjoy the environment and people at FIT, and LOVE  the post work out feeling.

Exercise Likes: Rowing, push ups and most other exercise activities.

Exercise Dislikes: That roller wheel thing Ab-Wheel

Personal Best:

  • PR 500 meter row: [1:53]
  • PR push ups: started at level 9 in the squat rack last August and is now performing pushups in sets of 10 from the floor with full range of motion!

What is your favorite workout music/song? Not sure since Most of the time I’m talking and not listening to music. I like a variety of songs.

What is your favorite healthy snack? Mixed nuts and berries with plain yogurt

What is your favorite non-gym physical activity? Swimming, walking on the beach

Trainers Comments: Matt – Tamila was a little bit intimidated when she first walked in the door, as this was something that she was wholly unfamiliar with.  While the first few sessions started out slowly, as soon as she started to see results, the enthusiasm increased, and now she’s more gung-ho than ever.  Missing a workout is not an option for her!  We have really tested her physically and mentally, taking her to new depths of what she thought she was physically capable of doing.  Really, there is nothing that she can’t do if she puts her mind to it.  It is great to have a client who won’t back down from a challenge and will fight a workout until the end to make sure she completes it.  Her hard work and dedication have definitely paid off.  Tamila has made amazing progress, and continues to improve every day – both in performance and in physique.

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Mark Your Calendar

9 May
FIT will be hosting Fitness Wave Hydrostatic Weighing

Date: May 13, 2011
Time: 6:30 AM – 12PM
Location: Parking lot directly in front of FIT
Cost: $50 for a one time measurement or $99 for three measurements.
Click here to sign up on line Scroll down to Focused Trainers on May 13 and click “Book Now”

Or contact Serena at admin@focusedtrainers.com or Kevin at kevin@focusedtrainers.com

Top 3 Reasons To Know Your Body Fat Percent

1) Assess risk for chronic disease Unhealthy levels of body fat have been linked to a variety of health related issues, such as type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, and stroke.

2) Measure Progress Knowing your body fat percent is the first step.  The next step is taking action.  If you have been actively working to reduce your body fat percent, measuring your progress can help determine if your plan is working effectively.

3) Motivation Seeing improvement can be very motivating.

May Nutrition Challenge

Challenge Your Self to Eat Clean for 30 days!
Beginning April 25th, we invite all that are curious to join us for a 30-day experiment ending May 22nd. Commit to eliminating all foods that are known to increase your statistical risk for disease, disorder or dysfunction.  For 30 days, alongside your F.I.T. comrades, we challenge you to eliminate:

  • sugar and sweeteners (including honey and agave)
  • grains
  • legumes
  • dairy
  • caffeine
  • alcohol

Enjoy a wide array of vegetables, animal proteins, healthy fats, and fruit.  Track how your body responds – how you feel, how you sleep, energy throughout the day, performance, recovery, and mood.  Engage in an online forum of participants to share challenges, offer suggestions, and share/find recipes.  It’s just 30 days and promises to be an enlightening experiment.  Email admin@focusedtrainers.com or sign up at the front desk when you are in so that we may offer encouragement and help hold you accountable along the way.

10 Year Anniversary Challenge!

Celebrate FIT’s 10 Year Anniversary with this fitness challenge

Men

500 Meter row x 3 with mandatory 1 min rest between 21, 15, 9 reps of:

  • 40 KG Barbell Thrusters
  • 30 LB MedBall Slam
  • Box Jumps to Large Box
  • 32 KG KB Swings

500 Meter row x 3 with mandatory 1 min rest between

Women  

500 Meter row x 3 with mandatory 1 min rest between 21, 15, 9 reps of:

  • 30 KG Barbell Thrusters
  • 16 LB MedBall Slam
  • Box Jumps to Medium Box
  • 20 KG KB Swings

500 Meter row x 3 with mandatory 1 min rest between

Here are the rules:

1. Your challenge must be video taped and time recorded.  No need to get the whole workout on video, however some footage of each exercise should be included for quality control, and a final time off the stop watch (we will use these on our blog later!!)

2. Videos and final times must be submitted before May 31st (our 10th anniversary at FIT!)

3. First and Second place prices will be awarded to the fastest men and women, 300$ for first, 150$ for second.

4. Prices will also be awarded for submitting a Challenge workout video.

5. Work-out can be scaled, however time will not count for the price.

Good Luck and Have Fun!

2011 Norcal Open Weightlifting Competition

When: Sunday, May 22, 2011

Where: FIT, Los Altos

The Science of Healing

8 Apr

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul. – John Muir


Last weekend I watched The Science of Healing a PBS special from 2009 that followed Dr. Esther Sternberg to a tiny village in Greece where she experienced, first hand, the healing power of nature.  This experience had a profound effect on Dr. Sternberg and sparked an exploration into the science behind environment, emotions and healing.

A variety of interesting research was introduced on visual stimuli, built environments, aromas, social connections, exercise, music, and meditation.  Stress was the common characteristic among these studies.  It seems that environments that reduce stress contribute to healing.  One of the benchmark studies presented in this program was from 1984.  The researchers examined the restorative effects of natural views on patient surgery recovery.  Between the years 1972 and 1981 cholecystectomy patients in a Pennsylvania hospital were assigned to either a room with a window over looking a nature scene or a brick wall.  The patients with the tree view had shorter postoperative hospital stays, received fewer negative evaluation comments in the nurses’ notes, took fewer pain relieving medications, and had slightly less minor postoperative complications.  Although the researchers recognized that the results could not be generalized to all surgeries or all built environments (the brick wall was a less than stimulating view) the results implied that hospital design should consider the quality of the patients views for restorative benefits (Ulrich et al., 1984).

Here are some additional research tidbits presented in this program:

  • Good smells. Aromas, such as clean mountain air, are associated with good memories and positive emotions.  This results in a reduced stress response and promotes feelings of calm and relaxation.
  • Become fit. Physically fit individuals have a better stress response. Regular exercise promotes acute stress, which prepares our bodies to handle higher levels of stress more effectively and strengthens the immune system.
  • Feel the beat. Music provides a stress buffer and increases heart rate variability (the beat-to-beat alterations in heart rate).  Low heart rate variability is associated with depression, poor health, and high stress.  High heart rate variability is associated with better emotional and physical health, and reduced risk of stress-related disease.
  • Think yourself well.  The placebo effect is the brains own healing mechanism.  Believing in the positive effects of the treatment produces chemical changes in the brain that allow the body to heal.
  • Take 10. Meditation or breathing awareness produces a reduced stress response and boosts the immune system.  Even as little as 10 minutes a day has positive health benefits.

Dr. Sternberg concluded her exploration with some personal insight into the effects of slowing down and embracing the rhythm of life in the Greek village.  She resolved to include more time in nature and exercise into her daily life and to embrace more stress reducing activities, such as listen to music and socializing with friends.  Sometimes we need to step away from our life to see how we can live more fully.

Reference:
Ulrich et al., 1984.  View through a window may influence recovery from surgery.  Science, 224. DOI: 10.1126/science.6143402

April Client of the Month Spotlight

3 Apr

Client Name: Deanna Williams

Age: 31

FIT member since: 07/01/2010 (I think)

Goal starting your fitness program at FIT: When I first started at FIT my goal was to look great in my wedding dress.

Results: I think you will have to ask my husband.

How did you feel about your fitness and physique before starting your exercise program at FIT? I thought was in good shape until I did my physical assessment test with Matt. 

How do you feel about your fitness and physique now? I am really proud of how far I have come in the last ten months. I have not only seen a physical change, my strength training has improved as well.

What would you consider the keys to your fitness success? Crossfit, the trainers, and my commitment to living a healthier life style.

What obstacles, if any, did you have to over come to maintain your commitment to fitness? My alarm clock, 5:30 a.m. Crossfit is early in the morning but worth it.

What motivates you through your workouts? The more

experienced crossfitters and not wanting to finish last.  

What motivates you to come back each day? The people in the Crossfit classes.

Exercise Likes: The crazy named WODs. Nothing is more satisfying then saying I just completed the Filthy Fifty.

Exercise Dislikes: Rowing

Personal Best: in most weight lifting exercises I no longer have to use the training bar. This is a big accomplishment.

PR Deadlift: 60kg

PR Push Press: 30kg

What is your favorite workout music/song? 90s Hip Hop

What is your favorite healthy snack? carrots, cucumbers and cherry tomatoes.

Do you have a favorite recipe? If so, would you like to share it with us? Peasant Stew from Cooking Light

Trainers Comments

Jimmy: The key to Deanna’s success has been her training consistency and more importantly her tenacity.  Her determination to improve, finish workouts, and push herself beyond her comfort zone has not gone unnoticed by any CrossFIT coach or member.  She started completely new to training and in a short period of time has become proficient in all the movements CrossFIT employs, including weightlifting (clean and jerk and snatch).  She is an inspiration to both CrossFIT beginners and veterans alike.  I see a confidence in Deanna that wasn’t there when she first came to FIT and it shows as she flashes her smile more and more!

Ten Tips to Help You Get Back into Your Exercise Routine

10 Feb

A short break from your exercise routine can be invigorating, allowing you to come back with a renewed sense of purpose and dedication.  However, not everyone enjoys exercise and the motivation to return to the routine can be challenging.  Even exercise enthusiasts, such as myself, struggle with re-prioritizing time and re-committing to a regular exercise program.  It’s easy for a couple of days to turn into a week or two or three.  Here are 10 tips to help you get back into your exercise routine:

1. Make it convenient – Try scheduling your workout session first thing in the morning, or on your way to or from work.  A lunchtime workout can be convenient, as well as provide an energizing break in your day.

2.    Make it social – Connect with people who share your interests.  For example, join an exercise group, or workout with a partner.

3.    Share and discuss what you are learning – about fitness, your body, nutrition, how you feel when you do and don’t exercise or eat healthier.  This can be done with a friend, a group, a Health and Fitness Professional, or even in a blog.

4.    Chart your progress – Keep an exercise log, write in a journal or blog, mark your completed exercise sessions on a calendar, have a fitness assessment and schedule re-assessment dates, or track distance goals for walking and running.

5.    Make it fun – Do something different.  Training for an event. Take a swim lesson.  Workout with kettlebells.  Kick up your heels and swing your hips in a Zumba class.  Participate in a fitness challenge, or just take time to play.

6.    Avoid all or nothing thinking – Use whatever time you have available to be active.  Even a 10-minute brisk walk is sufficient to get the blood flowing, increase energy, and improve mental acuity.

7.    Make your exercise session YOU time! –  Think of your exercise session as something special you are doing just for you rather than something you have to do.

8.    Reward yourself – for the effort, not just the outcome.  Celebrate the daily or weekly accomplishments, which are just as important as the big goals.  I like to reward myself after a workout with a relaxing soak in the tub.

9.    Engage your brain – Learn more about fitness and nutrition.  Read success stories about people like you.  Learn new exercises.  Join a healthy cooking class or take a dance lesson.

10.    It’s all in the Attitude – Focus on how good you will feel when you are done rather than focusing on all the other things you could be doing.  Think about the progress you are making rather than how far you are from your goal.  Motivation is truly a state of mind.

January Client of the Month Spotlight – John Chang

26 Jan

John Chang
Age: 41
FIT member since: 10/2009

John’s goals starting his fitness program at FIT: I wanted to lose some pounds and inches.  I also wanted to get stronger.  In a word – get Fit!

John’s results: To date, I’ve lost 20 pounds of fat, definitely getting stronger – can actually see a muscle or two in my arms and shoulders!  It’s amazing the difference in situps, push ups, assisted pull-ups (at least for now they are still assisted!).  There is still a lot more to do…

Q. How did you feel about your fitness and physique before starting your exercise program at FIT? How do you feel about your fitness and physique now? I felt like I had let myself turn into a tub of goo.  It was harder to compete in sports, my injuries took longer to heal and I’ve had some back and neck issues over the last few years.  Now – I’ve lost 3 inches on my waist, 20 pounds of goo and have a lot more energy overall.  I do feel stronger and look forward to continued progress!

Q. What obstacles, if any, did you have to overcome to maintain your commitment to fitness? I travel a fair amount for business – which means missed workouts and dinners with customers…  I have to admit I’ve missed more than one wake up call for the 6:00am workout!

Q. What would you consider the keys to your fitness success? I think it’s been absolutely key to have workout partners.  I don’t want to let Josh and Karen down by not showing up and going through the pain together!  They keep me motivated, as does our great trainer, Jen.  Jen keeps things interesting by mixing things up and pushing us.  Lastly, commitment to making workouts a routine has made it easier.  It’s finally getting to the point that I miss it when I don’t work out!

Q. Want motivates you through your workouts? And what motivates you to come back each day? The goal of getting healthier / my trainer / my partners.  The results I’ve seen motivates me to keep on going.  It’s amazing how many people have noticed – and I have to admit it’s nice to hear the compliments.

Q. Are there any exercises you enjoy: Squats, kettle bell work, slams, any kind of stretching

Q. Are there any exercises you dislike: Decline situps!  Clean and jerk – haven’t figure that one out yet. That fourth set of rowing!

Q. What is your favorite healthy snack? Greek yogurt with blueberries and raspberries

Q. What is your favorite non-gym physical activity? Road cycling and volleyball.  Does golf count as a physical activity?  ☺

From John: I’ve really enjoyed the FIT community.  The support from the various trainers and early morning regulars is great.  We keep it going for each other.  Thanks!

From his Trainer – Jen: If I remember correctly, after an initial invitation it took about 6-12 months for John to make the decision, or should I say commitment, to come to FIT.  Around his birthday I received an email with all these overweight cartoon characters struggling to lift weights: he said he was ready to come in.

If you’re in the gym at 6am on Monday or Friday, you have met/heard John Chang!  He is always joking around, laughing or yelling about whatever exercise is coming up next.  Some would say we have way too much fun in that hour but Josh, John and Karen just make working hard as fun as it can possibly be.  John is always ready for a challenge and I think what is most admirable is that he is always trying turn a weakness into one of his strengths.  Whenever he comes to me with a new goal, it is not about improving something he is already good.  Rather, it sometimes involves his least favorite exercises.  It’s the things he sees value in improving and he is willing and ready to dive in and tackle them.  John has a very busy lifestyle (as does the rest of his workout crew), however he has made his health and fitness a priority, and has made huge lifestyle changes that I truly feel are permanent.  John is committed to his workouts and eating healthier in and outside of FIT and on and off the road.  Congrats to John and all his hard work!!

Client of the Month Spotlight – Sunny Evans

21 Dec

Sunny’s Goal starting her fitness program at FIT: My goal was to be stronger and push myself harder.

Sonny’s Results: I have definitely gotten much stronger!  I like that Kevin keeps pushing me a little harder each time, getting me to do things I never thought I could.

Q. How did you feel about your fitness and physique before starting your exercise program at FIT? How do you feel about your fitness and physique now? I feel like I’ve come a long way, and I still have a long way to go (pull ups, anyone?)…

Q. What obstacles, if any, did you have to over come to maintain your commitment to fitness? Disc degeneration and stenosis in my back and neck keep me motivated to keep a strong core, and Kevin reminds me to maintain good form so I don’t get injured.

Q. What would you consider the keys to your fitness success? It’s all about personal success – always improving on my own time/weight/reps/strength.  I like to train with Barb because she motivates me to work harder, but I don’t see any point in comparing myself to her.

Q. Want motivates you through your workouts? And what motivates you to come back each day? Kevin is such a great trainer – keeps things super fun while kicking my butt!  And also working out with my “workout wife” Barb.  I couldn’t do it without her!  Someday I might be able to keep up with her…

Q. Do you have any exercise likes? Being done

Q. Do you have any exercise dislikes? Kettle bell hell, PVC

Q. Do you have any Personal Best? I have no idea about my personal bests – I just do whatever Kevin tells me to do.  Every once in awhile I’ll give him  “the look” (which he always calls me on!) when I don’t want to do something, but for the most part, I just do it!

Q. What is your favorite healthy snack? Fermented grapes…

Q. What is your favorite non-gym physical activity? I like to hike/walk – my husband and I have participated in the Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk 8 times.  I also like to ride my bike.

From Sunny: I’m excited that my 15-year-old son Kyle started at FIT at the beginning of the year with Frank, and he loves it!  He went from a complete couch potato to loving being fit and working out hard – and I’m so proud of him!

From Kevin: Since joining FIT, Sunny has displayed nothing but a great attitude and work ethic.  She always works hard, regardless of whether she “likes” the exercise or not, and inevitable ends up with a smile on her face.  Her hard work has made her stronger in all aspects of fitness.  She has participated in fight gone bad, did a sprint triathlon, and the 3-day walk covering 60 miles, without any problems.


Butter Nut Snow Balls

6 Dec

A wintry holiday treat!

Ingredients:
1 cup butter
½ cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
½ tsp salt
2 cups finely chopped pecans or walnuts
Powdered sugar

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325º

Cream butter, sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy.  Shift flour and salt into creamed mixture.  Add chopped nuts and mix well.  Shape into 1 inch balls and place on baking sheet.  Bake at 325º for 20 minutes (do not brown).  Cool and roll in powdered sugar.

Makes 6 dozen

Stress and the Holidays

6 Dec

Parties, social events, festive celebrations, and gatherings with family and friends are part of the holiday season.  Entertaining, sending cards, and wrapping gifts are part of the holiday season.  Shopping, cooking, cleaning, and traveling are part of the holiday season.  Feeling over whelmed with additional “Do To” items, strained budgets, and dealing with family conflicts are part of the holiday season? In other words, have your holidays become a stressor?  With a few tweaks, the holidays don’t have to be a stressful season.  Here are a few tips to reduce holiday stress.

Simplify.
Creating the “perfect” holiday can be overwhelming; and attempting to please everyone and do everything can leave you feeling tired and resentful.  This year simplify.  Choose and prioritized the events and traditions that you value most, and cross the rest off the To Do list.  Be open to creating new, less demanding, traditions.  For example, have a potluck or a cookie party instead of a sit down dinner.

Healthy habits.
How often has a cup of coffee made up for the lack of a full nights sleep? Or an exercise session is skipped to fit in another “to do” item?  Many times the vary things that help us reduce stress are the first things off the “To Do” list.

Oh Silent Night.

Stress and sleep (or lack of sleep) is a double-edged sword.  Stress not only interferes with the quality of sleep (all those thoughts and worries that keep us up at night), but lack of sleep also increases the release of hormones involved in the stress response.  So, you’re not sleeping because you’re stressed, and you’re stressed because you’re not sleeping.  If a good nights sleep has eluded you, napping has been shown to reduce stress, improve mood, increase reaction time, and even enhance learning.  Studies have shown that a 20-minute nap provides more wide spread benefits than 20 minutes extra sleep in the morning.  If possible, rather than hitting the snooze button once, twice, or (“oh no you didn’t”) three times, opt for an afternoon power nap.

OH OH OH
Physical activity increases endorphins.  Have you heard of the runner’s high; that feeling of euphoria that happens during physical activity?  That is the effect of endorphins.  Endorphins reduce stress and relieve pain.  They are also believed to enhance our immune system and even postpone the effects of aging.  A brisk walk on a cold winters day is fantastic for clearing the mind and reducing stress.  Twenty minutes of yoga or calisthenics have a wide range of physical and emotional benefits.  However, exercise is not the only medium to a healthy dose of endorphins; try a few minutes of meditation or deep breathing, or doubling over with laughter.  Yes, laughter produces endorphins.  Have you ever felt stressed after a really good belly laugh? 

This season, let’s add more laughs and less “To Do” items to our holiday celebration.  I wish you a stress free holiday and a happy New Year!

3 Simple Movements to Energize and Revive You

6 Nov

By: Angelo

Remember those old snow globes and how you’d pick them up and shake them to make a snow flurry?  After a while the snow would settle and you’d have to shake it up again?  Well, if you imagine your body as a snow globe, sitting at the computer or standing for a long time without much movement results in stagnation.  It’s these snow flurries of movement that get the blood, lymph, oxygen, nutrients, and metabolic wastes flowing more easily through your brain and body, which can result in a sense of renewal and alertness.

The video below will demonstrate several simple movements that will revive you in three minutes anywhere, any time, and without equipment.  Because these movements apply gentle stress to your muscles, tendons, and ligaments, they help build tissue integrity and develop suppleness and extensibility.  They also provide an energizing massage to your internal organs assisting in their functions.  By exposing the body fuller ranges of motion, you stimulate production of synovial fluid and help keep your cartilage clean and healthy.  This is important because your joints rely on movement for their circulation.

To begin with, move slowly and within a small range of motion.  As you progress, try to move into a greater range of motion and move even slower.  In doing so, you’ll allow time for the fluids in your body to shift.  Here are some other things to keep in mind as you perform these movements with the video:

* Keep weight balanced on feet (or foot) throughout the whole movement.

* Move deliberately in a circle or specific pathway with control and stability.

* Maintain your breathing.  (It’s easy to get focused on the movement and forget to breath).

Try doing each of these 3 movements continuously for 1 minute every morning, afternoon, & evening for a week.  Take note of how you feel after each movement session and please share your experiences on our blog.

Click here for the Movement Video

If you need any clarification on these movements or want to get customized movements to address specific issues with your body, please feel free to contact Angelo:  angelo@focusedtrainers.com

Enjoy!