I have some dear clients who forward articles to me and keep their ears to the ground about fitness trends in the media. Thank you!!! Misha sent me this one last week:
It used to feel worthwhile to commit to an annual membership at an everything-and-the-kitchen sink gym featuring high-spirited classes, top-of-the-line cardio machines, weights — and perhaps a shot at striking up a conversation with Ms. Lithe sipping a post-workout smoothie.
But these days, the idea of a full-service gym is as stale as yesterday’s sweat-soaked towel. Up to 45 percent of fitness-club members quit going in any given year, according to the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association.
For all their ads promising to stir motivation, gyms have failed to do so. “Up until the last six years, it’s been relatively easy to sell memberships, and to replace people going out the back door with people coming through the front door,” said Michael Scott Scudder, a consultant who advises health clubs and conducts up to 15 industry surveys annually. “Not so anymore. We’ve come to a point that we can’t sell enough membership in the industry to cover the attrition rate."
Feels pretty great to know that my gut proved right almost five years ago. Maybe this article is just some more proof that business built on shaky core values just get weeded out in the long run (like making people sign contracts or overselling memberships knowing the majority of people don't use their memberships). As the fitness industry matures so do wary consumers. Can't wait to see what the fitness industry will look like 10 years from now.
Many of our clients at Urbanfitt are parents. We strongly encourage bringing kids along to training sessions or classes especially if being able to do so will make it more possible for our clients to fit their workouts into their busy schedules. Alice (changed her name for privacy) has been coming to Urbanfitt for a few years now and many times she's brought one or both of her daughters. We always encourage the girls to jump in and try some exercises out. Sara-Clare, a very gift trainer and instructor, is especially talented at engaging with kids.
Last night during Core Tabata, Alice's nine year old daughter Christine (changed name) came along and participated in class.
We received this note from Alice today...
Christine woke up this morning & said her inner thighs were very sore! She loves doing the split jumps & the frog.
It was an interesting evening with her at the gym and the walk home. She asked me whether I feel much stronger now since coming to Urbanfitt, and said that it's important for kids to exercise everyday -- she went on to explain why! She also talked about the correlation between what we eat & how we feel/look. It was a very adult way of thinking about all this.
Although we have had many discussion about food & exercise at home -- I think seeing & being able to participate in the classes has had a big impact on her -- and she's only nine!!
She was very aware that kids need at least 60 min of exercise daily -- and she listed all her daily activities to prove she gets at least that! She wondered why adults only needed 150 min. per week -- feels that's not neatly enough for us :)
Thanks so much for always encouraging her to participate when she comes with me!
The reality is that our children are going to be more influenced by how we model taking care of ourselves then by what we say or what they hear in school about health and fitness. If we really want our kids to have a health active life, then we have to show them how to do and that we really mean what we say. Walk to talk parents if you want to help your kids!!!! No one said it's easy to fit fitness in but what choice do we have really?
A search of the term "changing the brain" on amazon results in over 500 selections. Maybe part of our evolution involves not only realizing we have control over muscles via exercise but also our brain structure through self awareness and consciously choosing our thoughts. It's a promising trend pointing to the possibility of improvement in our conscious living.
This week clients have been buzzing about a study that was reported in the news, "Change your brain with 8 weeks of meditation". I also have a client who joined an 8 week meditation program that is said to rewire her brain and her ability to cope with stress. Just Monday night, I enjoyed a delicious meditation in Michelle McAdorey's yoga class at Urbanfitt.
So here's what the study said:
A U.S. researcher says mindfulness meditation can change brain structure in eight weeks.
Senior author Sara Lazar of Boston's Massachusetts General Hospital says these changes may account for meditation practitioners' claims of persistent cognitive and psychological benefits.
The study, published in Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, reports meditation produced changes over time in the brain's gray matter -- including increases in density in brain areas having to do with learning, memory, self-awareness and compassion. Decreased density was seen in the amygdala -- an area linked to anxiety -- in those reporting less stress. None of the changes were seen in the control group.
"This study demonstrates that changes in brain structure may underlie some of these reported improvements and that people are not just feeling better because they are spending time relaxing," Lazar says in a statement.
Lazar and colleagues studied magnetic resonance images of the brain structure of 16 study participants two weeks before and after they took part in the eight-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program involving daily sessions averaging 27 minutes as well as images of the brains of a matched control group of non-meditators.
During mindfulness meditation, participants were guided to focus on non-judgmental awareness of sensations, feelings and state of mind, Lazar says.
Meditation will be a consistent component of both of the new Yoga classes being offered at Urbanfitt. You have until the end of January to try either classes.
Saturdays Flow with Anna Hardwick at 12:15 Mondays Ashtanga with Michelle McAdorey at 6:30pm
And remember, your first visit to Urbanfitt is ALWAYS free.
She's just one of those women who has got the IT factor. She connects with people easily, has a great sense of humor and when she decides she's going to make something happen you better get out of her way.
Anyone who is lucky enough to have her in their lives should thank their lucky stars.
Here's an outreach message from her regarding a very inspiring project she's been involved with for some time now. Check it out.
Every year I travel to an underserved region and do something to try to help out. This winter I'll be going to Ghana with a group of women from Canada. Our goal is to raise enough money to build a school (about $17,000) in a rural village. The way it works, is that we, the volunteers, collect money for the supplies and tools necessary for construction, and the villagers use them to build the school themselves. While we are there, we will build the latrine for the school and community and work in local orphanages. I am asking for you help with building this school.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Attend our fund raising concert "We're Ghana Rock 2"
When: Wednesday January 26th (doors open at 6 pm Where: Lula Lounge 1585 Dundas West Tickets: $20 I have some let me know (get them now they're going fast!)
Mike Northcott's "Banned from Heaven" will be playing so get ready to dance!
Anyone catch wind of the fact that yesterday was Blue Monday? I wanted to find out what the hell Blue Monday was and who decided it was the bluest day of the year and why. Here's what I found from a Globe and Mail article from yesterday. Blue Monday was born because a British travel company wanted to market winter travel based on what could be considered the bluest day of the year.
Sky Travel reportedly offered some dough to any academic who would put his or her stamp on the idea that there’s a seasonal mood nadir. A fellow called Cliff Arnall, then a lecturer (and part-time one at that) at Cardiff University in Wales, threw in his hat, and well, the rest is very depressing indeed. (To underscore the flimsy basis for Blue Monday, not everyone agrees on the date; some will “celebrate” next week.)
The mood expert came up with some cockamamie formula using W for weather, D for debt, d for monthly salary, T for time since Christmas, Q for time since failed attempt for a New Year’s resolution, M for motivational levels and NA for need to take action. ( I will spare you the mathematical equation.) Basically, he pseudo-figured that with seasonal affective disorder (the winter blues), broken New Year’s resolutions, the wearing off of any jubilation experienced during the holiday season and mounting debt from having bought everyone presents they may not even like, it is the most depressing day of the year.
We all have blah days for sure. I have to admit, I felt it a bit the last couple days. I'm not a winter person. I'm a West Coaster at heart and the cold kicks my ass. Today, I had to find a way to kick my own ass out of the blahs and find a way to motivate my noon class. So I decided that partnered exercises would be a perfect way to shake things up and shake out the blues.
We all had a blast and definitely got out of our comfort zones. Connecting with other people is one of the best ways to get an escape from grumpy selves, even if it means they sweat on us a bit.
Here's some of the exercises we did today. Grab a partner and give 'em a go.
Blue Monday Workout Blues Buster:
Wheelbarrow push ups - remember from childhood wheelbarrow races? Same starting position. Tighten your core and do 10 -15 push ups. The partner holding their buddies legs and hold themselves in a squat.
Partnered single leg jumps - each partner grabs one ankle facing each other and jumps on one foot. You're going to get a killer burn in your calves, hamstrings, glutes and maybe even quads. Jump 100 times each leg. Ouch!
Partnered towel rows - partners face each other holding a hand towel in either their right hands or left hands. Resist your partner as he/she pulls and rows activating all the back muscles. Do 12 pulls each on each side.
Lower abdominal hand taps - lie on your back and get your partner to stand just above your head. Grab your partner's ankles. Other partner holds their hands up at chin level. Exhale and life your feet in a controlled manner towards your partner's hands. Lower straight legs only to the point the back stays stable and supportive. Complete 30 reps each.
And BTW, some experts argue that NEXT Monday is actually Blue Monday. But at least you're prepared now. Grab a partner and kick the blahs out of your butt.
Just saying. What about life resolutions. Like living life truer to who we are? Like deciding that we should live the rest of our lives with our MOJO intact? Or maybe even finding ways, tools or coaching that will finally make us feel less like the victim in life and instead, in the drivers seat?
Or hell what about shifting our outlooks on getting older? Instead of assuming a whole bunch of crappy things go along with getter older, why not make efforts to feel more vital as we get older instead of less? Why think your life and what you can do is going to shrink?
Sure losing five pounds is a realistic goal. It might be the first step in a larger health goal. But don't you think that it's a little chicken shit to just commit to losing five pounds. Why not let yourself dream a little about what you want the rest of your life to look like and feel like. Maybe it's less about five pounds on a scale and more about a decision to break negative cycles that keep you stuck?
We all need baby steps along the path to truth, wisdom and fulfillment. But if you don't know where you're going how do you know your baby steps are pointed in the right direction. Only brave hearts and souls willing to dream live fully. All you have to decide is that it's going to be you.
Join us at Urbanfitt for your first baby step on this journey towards a life resolution:
Visioning workshop with Certified Life Coach, Ruth Tamari on Saturday January 15th at 11:30.
The cost for the workshop is just $40.
Or you can join us for the COMMIT TO FITT 8 week launching pad into what could be the beginning of a life long journey of lasting vitality and rockin MOJO.
Many of the people at Urbanfitt could attest to my anal fixation. I know how to work bums and I know how to make them hurt the next day. It's not just a random fixation that is about looking hot in jeans. It's also based on the fact that we can't have healthy lower body biomechanics without good glute strength. Often times, physiotherapists or functional therapists will advise me to focus on glute and core strength when working with clients with any sort of lower body injuries or osteoarthritis etc. I could pull up numerous blog posts devoted to bum strength.
I love it when knowledge that has been circulating for years amongst experts finally gets mainstream coverage. The New York Times published an article titled "When the Diagnosis is Dead Butt Syndrome" on December 21st. Urbanfitt's senior trainer Sara-Clare passed along the link.
Here's an excerpt.
“A new thought in running medicine is that almost all lower extremity injuries, whether they involve your calf, your plantar fascia or your iliotibial band, are linked to the gluteus medius,” said Dr. Darrin Bright, a sports medicine physician with Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and medical director of that city’s marathon. “In the last five to 10 years, we’ve just realized how much of an important role the gluteus medius plays in stabilizing the hips and the pelvis in running.”
If you think of the pelvis as a cup, the muscles that attach to it, including the three gluteal muscles and the lower abdominals, interact in an intricate choreography to keep the cup upright when you run or walk. If these muscles are strong, the cup stays in place with no pain. If one or more of those muscles is weak, the smaller muscles around the hip take on pressure they weren’t designed to bear.
Of course, the answer for your current injury or undiagnosed pain might be more complicated than just fixing your glutes, it never hurts to work them well since they are stretched out and lazy whilst sitting at a desk. If you've been dealing with an injury without actually getting a proper assessment, we've got some great people to refer you to. Just drop us a line.
If you want to wake up your lazy bums, sign up for your first free class at Urbanfitt and fire up your asses!