5 WAYS TO OVERCOME GYM FRIGHT

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Whether you’ve just joined a gym or you’re a major athlete, at some point, it is very daunting. Most of the equipment looks completely foreign, you don’t know how to use it, and when you decide to give it a try, you’re afraid of being judged by everyone else who seems to know what they’re doing. Or maybe you’re running on a treadmill next to that super muscular person when all of a sudden, you become self-conscious about how much you’re sweating, panting and how your body is bouncing around. Sometimes this fear even prevents you from stepping foot in your gym. If this sounds familiar to you, then here are some ways to help you conquer your gym fright.

Here’s How to Overcome Gym Fright

1. STUDY THE GYM FIRST

People tour their gyms so they can familiarize themselves with a new environment to prevent being clueless come time for their first workout. During your tour, grab your mental pen and paper and scope out the facility. Study where certain machines are, where the locker rooms are, and any other areas that spark your interest. Ask about classes, personal training, how to use certain equipment, or simply take mental notes of how people are using complex machines. The more informed you are prior to your first workout in the facility, the less intimidating the experience will be.

2. REALIZE THAT YOU’RE NOT ALONE

You are not the only person in the facility who feels self-conscious or has felt this way. No one likes not knowing what to do, but chances are, a lot of other people feel the same way you do. Once you realize that, you’ll be more comfortable, and lifting your 10-pound weights compared to the person lifting 50 pounds won’t be a big deal anymore.

3. WORK OUT WITH A BUDDY

Working out with someone is already motivating, but it’s even more effective for people who have gym fright. If you continuously feel discouraged, exercise with a buddy for a better support system. Not only will you feel more at ease being there with someone you know who has similar fitness goals, but you will be more willing to try new machines that you probably wouldn’t have tried if you went alone. To top it off, having someone by your side at first is excellent leeway into eventually being comfortable going to the gym on your own. This will ultimately lead to more confidence, better workouts and quality usage of your membership. If your workout buddy doesn’t have the same membership as you, ask your club about guest passes.

4. HAVE A WORKOUT PLAN

On top of initial intimidation, there is nothing worse than walking into a gym with no agenda, especially on a busy day when you have to wait for your turn to use a machine and other people have to wait on you. Before stepping foot in your gym, write out a workout plan on your phone so that you have it with you in case you forget. Decide what days of the week you are going to hit the gym and organize your routine based on whatever you want to work on each day. On Monday, you might choose to do a spin class while Tuesday you choose to do arms and core strengthening. Have other machine-less activities in mind like push-ups and planks that you can do in case you have to wait for a machine to open up, that way you don’t feel awkward standing around wasting your time. The more efficient you are, the faster you will acclimate to the gym and the other members in it.

5. FORGET ABOUT YOUR SURROUNDINGS 

At first this is easier said than done, especially because you feel like everyone is staring at you, but in reality, everyone is so focused on themselves to even care about how much weight you’re lifting or what you look like while doing a squat. It doesn’t matter if you can barely do a push-up while the person next to you is lifting 100 pounds because you’re both at the gym to better yourselves. By keeping that in mind, you’ll naturally find yourself drifting away from what other people are doing and be more in tune with your own to-do list, which is where your focus should be.

HELPING YOUR MEMBERS OVERCOME GYM FRIGHT

It’s easy to get comfortable and send a new member on their way once a contract is signed and you have finalized their membership through My Enrollment, but don’t just take their money and let them figure out the rest because chances are, they still have a lot of questions and feel very insecure.

Being almost two months into the new year, now is about the time when resolutions begin to fade. According to FOX News, the perception that fitness clubs are looking a little less crowded is because gym fright is starting to sink in. Aside from gym memberships being too expensive, three out of the five reasons people are already giving up on their resolutions have to do with self-esteem issues and not knowing how to operate gym equipment.

Consistent guidance and follow-up are not only key to helping your members overcome gym fright but are also crucial to keeping them long-term. Here are some ways you can achieve that.

TALK WITH YOUR MEMBERS ABOUT THEIR FITNESS GOALS

As an owner, there’s a lot to keep track of and you probably don’t know all of the details about a member at top of your head, but you can talk with them about what they hope to achieve, take notes and keep that information in their membership file. Ask them questions, get a feel for their specific needs, and make suggestions about different things their membership entails or how our gym software could benefit them. Use our retention cards as a personal touch to continuously make them feel welcome in your facility.

SUGGEST GROUP CLASSES OR PERSONAL TRAINING

One of the most common reasons for people cancelling their memberships is because they aren’t seeing results, and that can derive from gym intimidation. Whether that means the member is doing certain exercises incorrectly or they are afraid to try new machines, it can usually be avoided by introducing them to motivators like personal training or group classes where they will be around others, won’t feel so lost and will have more customized workouts.

WALK THEM THROUGH ALL NECESSARY GYM SOFTWARE 

Members need a strong balance between details and efficiency, especially if they have specific fitness goals. That starts with teaching them how to use all of the tools that will help them be successful. First and foremost, introduce them to our Mobile App. Then in My Club Business, show them how to sign up for classes and personal training sessions using My Scheduler and Rapid Class Check in. Make sure they are aware of everything their membership offers along with any other add-ons they might need like supplements or childcare. A lot of the time, members don’t take full advantage of everything their gyms offer because they weren’t informed from the get-go.

GIVE NEW MEMBERS A TOUR OF YOUR FACILITY 

New members usually have a lot of questions, one of them being where everything is located. According to FOX News, 49 percent of people are intimidated by the thought of the gym. Based on that statistic alone, it’s more than likely that many of your members avoid certain areas of your facility solely because they don’t know what they’re doing. As you show them around, walk them through how to check in, where lockers are and ask them if they have questions about classes or how to use certain equipment. Member money is valuable, and you don’t want them wasting it because they’re too intimidated by the weight room or they’re curious about using an elliptical but are too self-conscious to try it. If they feel limited, it’s likely that they will eventually cancel their membership, or it will expire and never renew. It is your responsibility to reassure them of why they signed up with your gym in the first place and to keep them coming back.

OFFER GUEST PASSES THROUGH OUR PASS-A- FRIEND PROGRAM

Facing fitness fears with a friend is a lot easier than doing it alone, and new members especially will benefit from this and be a lot more likely to step out of their comfort zones with a workout buddy. Not only does our Pass-a-friend program benefit the member with four guest passes, but it’s also a great opportunity for you as a club owner to gain prospects.

Bottom line is that happy members are lifelong members. The more comfortable they feel, the more they will take advantage of, which will lead to consistent usage of their membership and a greater chance of renewing their contract.

HOW TO EAT HEALTHY ON A BUDGET

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Healthy food and clean eating are just as important as hitting the gym on a regular basis and are the key ingredients to seeing results from your sweat sessions. The trickiest part that many people struggle with is balance. They find it challenging to maintain an overall healthy diet and a gym membership while still having extra spending money to enjoy life–and let’s face it, if you’re health-conscious in the first place, you’re not going to give up those things, so what should you do if you’re tight on money?

Many people have the misconception that eating healthy is expensive because of the misread labels and overpriced organic options. Although grocery bills can stack up, the bills at your favorite restaurants can too when you’re forking over $50 or more a meal with an average plate costing around $13. In a typical restaurant scenario, both your wallet and waistline take the hits, but if you strategize correctly and shop smart, your grocery bill will be way kinder to you both financially and physically. Besides, if you’re able to dine out that much anyway, there really is no excuse to start putting your money into the kitchen. Here are some tips to help you eat healthy while on a budget.

Here’s How to Eat Right on a Budget

HAVE A PLAN AND TAKE ADVANTAGE OF LEFTOVERS 

Without structure, we turn to the quickest and easiest options because we don’t already have all of the ingredients right in front of us to cook something. In the long run, we actually end up spending more money and consuming more calories because we turn to takeout and fast food. To avoid this, plan out all of your meals for the week, including the days when you think you’re more likely to dine out or meet friends for happy hour. While you’re doing this, research healthy recipes on social media sites like Pinterest and different food apps.

Many healthy recipes will typically feed more than two people, so if you’re only cooking for one or two, you have a pretty high chance of scoring leftovers for future meals in the week. Once you find realistic and simple healthy recipes, write out your meals on a calendar. Sometimes people often find that their planned meals get pushed back because they have too many leftovers from a previous dish. This is normal and actually a good thing. Take advantage of all the leftovers you can and freeze whatever you are able to, so you can cook something new a different night and go back to the leftovers on a night that you may not feel like cooking. This way, you don’t get bored of the same dish, nothing goes to waste, and you get your money’s worth.

KNOW THE BASICS AND BUY THE BASICS

When we say the basics, we are talking about foods that are inexpensive, versatile and are items you want to have on hand to cook with. This includes things like whole grain bread, eggs, olive oil, spices and skim milk. You also don’t need a gourmet spice cabinet to cook delicious and healthy meals and most basic spices like salt, pepper and garlic powder are very inexpensive. Olive oil and some other specialty spices might seem a bit pricey at first, but your kitchen needs items like these for cooking. Plus, they last forever, so you’ll save money in the long run.

If you’re cooking for one or two people, it might seem difficult to use bread and milk before their expiration dates. In this case, downsize to just a half gallon of milk and get creative with both items. Try to incorporate them into every other meal as you plan for the week. For example, eggs and toast are healthy and cheap breakfast choices, but can also be used for lunch or dinner as BLT sandwiches. Or ditch the bread for a day and incorporate hard boiled eggs into a homemade salad. Buying the basics allows you to hit two birds with one stone.

STOCK UP ON CANNED FOODS

Canned goods sometimes get a bad rap because they contain a lot of salt being non-perishable, but in the grand scheme, you could simply not add anymore salt to your dish, incorporate a fairly healthy side into your meal and save money. Choose canned pinto and black beans along with canned peas and corn to add variety. These could be considered basic foods that you want to have on hand, and you luckily can buy a lot for very little.

COUPONS AND SALE ITEMS ARE YOUR BEST FRIEND 

These might be the most important aspects to smart shopping, and you probably already figured that, but just trust us­–your mother wasn’t crazy for using a coupon to spend 60 cents on something instead of a dollar because it all adds up to big savings. If you don’t already, download coupon apps like Groupon and Retail Me Not, and make sure to be informed about your grocery store’s sale items. If you notice the grocery bill is getting too high, look at your items and double check if you really need something and if you can cut back on it. Chances are, it’s a “luxury” item and you could probably save a few bucks if you ditch it or find a coupon.

THE FREEZER IS COOL

Pun intended, but for those on a budget, frozen vegetables without added butter and salt are your saving grace–just avoid the section with the frozen pizza. Although fresh produce is a wonderful added perk to your refrigerator, many people have trouble using it before it goes bad, so it usually goes to waste and money goes down the drain. If you’re someone that absolutely needs fresh produce in your life, stock up on items like baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and bell peppers, and only buy what you will actually use in a week and incorporate into various meals. You can not only make salads out of these and use them in an assortment of dishes, but they can also be eaten as healthy snacks. Also, buy proteins like chicken breasts, ground turkey, lean ground beef and get in the habit of freezing them to increase their shelf life, which will also make cooking more convenient for you.

LIMIT TAKEOUT AND DINING OUT 

As tough as this might seem, it actually becomes easier once you establish a healthy eating and cooking pattern. Limit your dining out to once a week or every other week, and completely restrict takeout for lunch. Pack all of your lunches for the work week, whether that’s a fresh salad with versatile vegetables that we’ve already mentioned or your leftover chicken from last night. You will save yourself a lot of money and calories this way and going to your favorite restaurant on a Saturday night will be something you look forward to after putting in all of that hard work toward your diet and workouts during the week.

SKIP THE SODA AND CANDY AISLES 

You don’t need these things–plain and simple. Your body and your bank account will thank you later. Choose water instead of soda, add lemon or lime juice for flavor and choose light snacks like popcorn and snacks that are high in protein, like almonds. The great things about these options are that they trick your brain into thinking you’re eating more. Minus all of the butter and salt, you can usually eat a ton of popcorn, reduce calorie intake, feel satisfied longer and still have plenty left over as opposed to a bag of potato chips. Although almonds and many nuts are a bit pricier, they are packed with good fats and protein allowing you to eat less, feel fuller longer, satisfy a salty or crunchy craving and you end up needing to buy less, which as you probably can guess, is easier on your budget.

BOTTOM LINE

From the get-go this might seem daunting and unrealistic, and you might find other outlets or options that work better for you, but the ultimate goal is to live a balanced lifestyle where your wallet and workouts aren’t suffering from your food choices. As hard as it is to believe at first, you can eat healthy, save money, maintain a gym membership and still enjoy your life at the same time. It all comes down to moderation, consistency and compromise. Once you find how these strategies work best in your life, it will become a pattern and turn into a natural way of life where you won’t feel the need to document all of your meals on a calendar.

Resources

https://www.choosemyplate.gov/tips-for-every-aisle

http://www.pbs.org/parents/food-and-fitness/eat-smart/healthy-foods-on-a-budget/

THE BEST TIME OF DAY TO WORK OUT

What is the best time of day to work out?

Whether you’re a major athlete or you’re just starting to adjust to a new fitness routine, we’ve all wondered this at some point. You’re probably asking if a morning workout is better for your health than exercising at night.

It’s normal to wonder these things because you want the best results for yourself, and time of day correlates with energy levels, diet, consistency and motivation. While there is no overall right answer, there is a right answer for you and your life. Let’s dive a little into the benefits and setbacks of both so you can determine which option is best for you.

So, When’s the Best Time of Day to Work Out?

FOR THE EARLY BIRDS

YOU GET IT OUT OF THE WAY 

Let’s face it–we aren’t all stoked to hop on a treadmill, let alone have the energy for it when it’s the end of a long work day, and for many people, their to-do lists are not completely checked off yet when the sun goes down. People still have dinner to cook and kids to take care of among many other things. Some people would also rather have the option of partaking in happy hour with friends or to just be able to spend time with family. If these things sound familiar to you, then it’s probably best for you to exercise in the morning, and plus it feels good knowing that your workout is done, and you don’t have to worry about it when it’s the end of the day.

GREAT FOR WEIGHT LOSS

You know the old tale that breakfast is the most important meal of the day because it sets you up for success? This is the same concept that applies to early birds who get up and get moving. Elite Daily says that your metabolism is actually faster in the morning, which helps burn more calories throughout the day.

Women who do 45-minute workouts early in the morning are more likely to eat less for breakfast and make healthier food choices throughout the day. This is because many have the mentality that they don’t want to “ruin” their good workout with a poor meal, which in the grand scheme, results in more weight loss.

MORE CONSISTENCY 

Yet another reason to get on that grind early in the morning. You have a higher chance of keeping yourself in check when you’re fresh out of bed and have the whole day ahead of you rather than waiting until the end of the day to work out when motivation likely fades for most people. Consistency is key for any fitness journey, especially weight loss, but is also where most people fall short and when progress gets stagnant. Exercising early in the morning can help with setting up your day and providing you with more structure.

MOTIVATES YOU THROUGHOUT THE DAY 

Some people would argue that working out early in the morning does the opposite because starting your day with vigorous activity can only make you more tired right? Think of an early morning workout as a cup of coffee. According to Elite Daily and Men’s Health, not only does it trigger a healthier diet, but because of the release of endorphins, most people actually end up feeling more energized throughout the day, have better concentration and are more productive.

BETTER SLEEP 

If you work out while the sun is out, then your body is more likely to power down easier come nighttime, according to Elite Daily. A study conducted at Appalachian State University also found that morning exercise lowers blood pressure, which triggers better sleep.

FOR THE NIGHT OWLS

HEALTHY WAY TO UNWIND FROM THE DAY

Exercise is known to be one of the most effective stress-relievers, especially for people who have stressful jobs or who work in an office setting and don’t get much activity during the day. Even people who are on their feet all day can still benefit from evening workouts because stress is a mental game.

It’s also very common to turn to the couch and indulge in guilty pleasures as outlets for relaxation, but for anyone, especially those trying to achieve long-term fitness goals, our guilty pleasures are what set us back and cause stress in the long run. Exercising at night may be just the thing you need to unwind, and it replaces those common routines we are used to turning to with something much healthier.

Just like how it feels good to start our day off healthy with a morning workout, it’s also good to end the day on a healthy note too. By exercising at night, you’re more likely to eat a healthier dinner post-workout rather than junk food because your body needs the nutrients.

ALSO HELPS WITH SLEEP QUALITY 

While experts might say exercising at night raises your body temperature and disrupts your sleep, that is actually a myth. According to Men’s Health and the same study conducted by Appalachian State University, evening workouts are equivalent to giving yourself a warm bath, which promotes relaxation and better sleep.

YOU COULD HAVE MORE EFFECTIVE WORKOUTS

Elite Daily and PopSugar both say that evening workouts not only give you better endurance, but you can gain more muscle if you exercise at night as opposed to the morning. In the evening, your lungs are at peak efficiency and testosterone in both men and women are at higher levels, making nighttime, a prime time for weightlifting, muscle growth and faster results.

MORE RELAXED MORNINGS

Some people just aren’t morning people, so that’s why night workouts can be their best friend. Regardless if you pack your gym bag and fill your water bottle the night before, you have more freedom to enjoy your morning as opposed to rushing to the gym at the crack of dawn. You can sleep in longer, you don’t have to worry about being somewhere at a certain time before you have to be to work, and you can take your time in the shower compared to a quick rinse at the gym.

YOU’RE MORE WARMED UP LATER IN THE DAY 

Although a morning workout after a night of restful sleep is also good for your body, Elite Daily says we also naturally have more energy between 2 and 6 p.m. because of higher testosterone levels. Our muscles are also 20 percent more flexible from daily movement, which can prevent workout injuries. Also, if you ate nutrient-rich foods all day, then you have fueled your body and will likely respond better to an intense evening workout.

BOTTOM LINE

There are benefits to both early morning and evening exercise, and what’s “better” doesn’t necessarily come down to the numbers and facts. What truly counts is always finding time to work out, whenever possible and sticking to the routine that best fits your life. When it comes down to it, a workout no matter what time of day, is better than no physical activity at all. The “best time” is on your clock.

Resources

https://www.elitedaily.com/life/theres-big-difference-working-morning-night/1035312

http://www.menshealth.co.uk/building-muscle/morning-vs-evening-workouts-which-is-better

https://www.popsugar.com/fitness/Evening-Workouts-Good-You-42677139

THE TRUTH ABOUT EATING BREAKFAST

Why is eating breakfast important?

Whether you’re scrambling your eggs or scrambling to get out the door in the morning, at some point in your life, you’ve been told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. The truth is that your mother didn’t lie to you all of those years, but have you ever wondered why it’s the most important meal of the day? Most Americans skip breakfast and many breakfast places don’t serve the healthiest or “ideal” options that give you all the benefits. According to Livestrong, there is an average eight to 12-hour time block between dinner the night before and breakfast the next day, which is why the word itself means that it’s the meal that’s supposed to break your fast. Here are some ways how breakfast can literally make your day sunny-side up and how even the busiest people can add it to their plate.

Why is Eating Breakfast Important?

HELPS TO MAINTAIN A HEALTHY WEIGHT

When we suggest eating breakfast to maintain a healthy weight, that doesn’t mean to drench a giant stack of pancakes in a pool of maple syrup. Many of us skip it with the misconception that adding those extra calories to your daily diet will make you gain weight, when in fact, eating a balanced breakfast filled with essential nutrients will actually do the opposite.

According to ABC News, not only does breakfast boost your metabolism and help your body burn more calories throughout the day, but skipping it is actually a predictor of future weight gain and increases someone’s chances of becoming obese. A 12-year study that was presented at the Experimental Biology annual meeting in San Diego, California showed that people starting with a normal BMI who skipped breakfast ended with a larger waist circumference and saw the most overall weight gain. Simply put, this is because come lunch time, non-breakfast eaters feel deprived, which results in over-eating and poor food choices.

BOOSTS ENERGY AND CONCENTRATION 

Just like how breakfast jumpstarts your metabolism, it also can boost your energy during workouts and help you focus throughout the day. Think of breakfast like power for your brain. It keeps you alert and aids in problem-solving skills, creativity and your attention span, according to Livestrong. If you don’t charge your body with the right foods first thing, then you won’t reap these wonderful possibilities.

HELPS WITH AN OVERALL HEALTHY DIET

Starting your day with something that fuels your body sets you up for success for the remainder of the day. Not only do you need nutrients like calcium, vitamins C and D, iron and fiber, but you’re much more likely to choose wisely come time for lunch and dinner if you’ve already filled your body with a nutritious breakfast. This applies especially if you’re someone who works out in the morning. Livestrong says that ultimately, lack of breakfast equals lack of daily needed nutrients.

WHAT KINDS OF BREAKFAST FOODS SHOULD YOU ACTUALLY EAT?  WHAT IF YOU’RE ON THE GO?

For us busy folks who don’t usually have time to fill up a plate Monday through Friday, packing our breakfasts the night before is usually our saving grace. According to Healthline, coffee without all of the added cream and sugar is one of the best things you can start your day with because of the caffeine. Aside from the obvious pick-me-up, it can enhance your mood and help your metabolism. If you’re someone who absolutely needs to sweeten your coffee, try using skim milk with a little bit of real sugar. If you’re not a coffee drinker, sip on some fresh green tea with honey. Green tea contains an antioxidant known as EGCG, which helps protect the brain, heart and nervous system.

When it comes to food, many of us get in the habit of quickly grabbing a granola bar on our way out the door thinking it’s healthy but are unaware of all the added sugars. Healthline says that eggs are one of the best things you can eat for breakfast. They’re packed with good fats and protein, which help keep you fuller longer and can reduce calorie intake during lunch and dinner. Instead of rushing to cook eggs in the morning, make hard boiled eggs the night before and take one with you in the morning.

For cereal lovers, start your day with good carbs like a half cup of plain instant oatmeal. Sweeten it up by squeezing some raw honey on there, add a dash of cinnamon, and pack it in your gym or work bag. For extra sugar and antioxidants, add some fresh fruit like blueberries or strawberries. For more good fats, add raw walnuts or almonds. According to Healthline, nuts are a great addition to breakfast because they are filling and help prevent weight gain. If you’re not someone who likes any of these options, grab a banana and a spoonful of peanut butter for potassium and a quick protein fix.

Resources

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/12-best-foods-to-eat-in-morning#section8

http://www.health.com/heart-disease/health-benefits-of-spicy-food

https://abcnews.go.com/Health/eat-breakfast-prevent-future-weight-gain-decrease-chances/story?id=54706393

https://www.livestrong.com/article/404122-the-importance-of-eating-a-healthy-breakfast/

WHAT SORE MUSCLES ACTUALLY MEAN

Sore muscles during workouts

If you’ve ever worked out a day in your life, you’ve probably experienced the feeling before. You know when you try to sit down in a chair, then get back up and you can barely move your legs? Or when you’ve worked your arm and back muscles really hard and can barely put shampoo in your hair while taking a shower?

That’s the kind of pain we are talking about, and many people refer to it as “good pain” because we associate muscle soreness with how effective our workouts are. It’s the same idea we have about the relationship between sweating and exercise, and although it’s easy to assume that the sorer you are from a workout, the better it was, the two do not always go hand and hand. Here is what that stiffness actually means.

TEARING AND REACTION OF SORE MUSCLES 

That common stiffness many people experience a couple of days after an intense sweat session is known as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, or DOMS for short. According to Daily Burn, the soreness kicks in about eight hours after, with a peak time of typically 24 to 48 hours after a tough workout. DOMS is the technical term for the reaction of your muscles tearing and adjusting to new physical activity. Think of your soreness (DOMS) as your muscles preparing your body for future activity. While this can mean that a workout was effective and does mean your muscles are growing and responding, it does not mean you can’t see growth without it.

LESS PAIN, MORE GAIN

We love this kind of pain because we’ve been told over and over that it’s equivalent to gaining muscle. SWEAT Instructor, Kayla Itsines says that while this definitely holds some truth, we fall under the trap that gains are nothing without pain. She advises to stop confusing a challenging workout with muscle pain, because when it comes to seeing results, they are different. What it comes down to is recovery time, which is something many of us only think about when we experience DOMS.

Take this scenario: you’ve gotten in the groove of a new workout routine. At the beginning, you felt muscle soreness all of the time, but a few months later, you’re doing the same workout, and the soreness has either worn off or is completely gone. In this case, you’re not challenging your body enough anymore.

Your muscles got used to the amount of weight you’ve been lifting which means you can now lift heavier weight. Often times people look at this in a negative way because they aren’t feeling the “pain” part, and it’s very easy to come to the conclusion of “no pain, no gain,” but what it actually means is that you are now stronger because you’re experiencing less DOMS and your muscles are able to recover quicker.

According to Vitals, DOMS is the worst at the beginning of a workout routine. So, if you’re someone who just started a fitness program or going to the gym and your muscles are on fire, it’s because your muscles are trying to adjust. Vitals also says results are not actually visible until DOMS fades or no longer happens. If you’re new to working out, pay attention down the road to when you see a little bicep build or when your abs start to play peek-a-boo. It typically occurs when you experience little to no muscle soreness.

People who train infrequently or at random intensity levels often experience more soreness but see little or irregular growth. Simply put, this is because muscles aren’t sure how to react, so they can’t grow properly if there’s no consistency. Instead of focusing so much on feeling the good burn, think about your overall fitness improvements.

ASK YOURSELF THESE QUESTIONS:

  • Can you lift heavier weight and do more reps than when you started?
  • Are you able to push through a tough workout better than you used to? 
  • Are you becoming more toned?
  • Do your clothes feel looser? 

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then your fitness levels are improving regardless of muscle soreness.

BOTTOM LINE

The more you train, the less soreness you’ll feel, and vice versa. This doesn’t mean, however, that people who train more don’t experience DOMS. It also doesn’t necessarily mean that if you experience DOMS all of the time that you’re out of shape, because it also depends on the person. A safe rule of thumb to follow is to think of soreness as a result of your muscles reacting to something they’re not used to–this goes for everyone, whether you’re a body builder or a gym virgin.

You could be someone who works out five days a week, doing a mix of interval cardio and heavy weight-lifting, but maybe one day you decide to try a barre class. A couple days later, you’re most likely going to feel the effects of that barre class because you worked different muscles or the same muscles in different ways and your body is adapting to it.

If you’re a regular gym-goer, DOMS typically won’t be as intense and will last for shorter periods of time compared to someone who occasionally hits the gym or goes on a hike once in a while. In a nutshell, try to exercise regularly and pay attention to when workouts become too easy or are too difficult. You can still love that “good pain,” just don’t rely on it as an overall fitness test.

SHOULD YOU COUNT CALORIES?

Should you count calories?

It’s been a common question for ages, and for a lot of people practicing a healthier diet, counting calories leads to yo-yo dieting. On one hand, it’s helpful because it can provide structure with real numbers, whereas on the other hand, it can cause people to obsess about what they’re eating, negatively impacting their long-term health and fitness goals.

We count calories now by reading food labels, menus at restaurants and measuring out serving sizes. With that in mind, you’re probably asking again whether or not it’s “better” to count calories. Because it’s a personal choice that depends on your own specific needs, here’s some insight into the question to help lead you to your answer.

So, Should You Count Calories?

THE “YES” SIDE

KNOW HOW MANY DAILY CALORIES YOU NEED

Do you know how many calories you need in a day? If you’re conscious about what you eat, you probably ballpark the amount you need, or have seen the recommended 2,000 calories a day at restaurants and grocery stores, but chances are, you don’t know the actual number. According to WebMD, a survey conducted by the International Food Information Council Foundation reported that 67 percent of Americans consider calorie count when making food purchases, yet nine out 10 people have no idea how many calories they actually need.

Everyday Health says that your daily caloric number depends on your age, sex, weight, height and how physically active you are. If you’re someone that works better with this specific type of structure, then consult with a dietitian first before blindly beginning a fitness journey.

PROVIDES STRUCTURE WITH WEIGHT LOSS

For people with very specific weight loss goals or who just think more analytically, it could benefit them to count their calories. According to an interview between dietitian Lauren Popeck and Shape Magazine, sometimes counting calories is easier than understanding the benefits of complex foods. Shape Magazine also says that many people consume way more calories than they even realize, and when someone hits a plateau during their weight-loss journey, counting calories can help someone determine what they need to cut back on or eat more of, to ultimately keep them in check.

MORE AWARENESS WITH HABITS AND BEHAVIORAL CHANGE 

According to Shape Magazine, this is where stress and emotional eaters can benefit from counting calories. It’s natural for many people to turn to food when they’re either bored, stressed or upset. In many of these instances, calories can really stack up without us even thinking about it. If we know the calorie count of something, even during these emotional states, we can actively choose an alternative coping mechanism or simply swap a high-calorie food for something that’s a little lighter.

THE “NO” SIDE

FOOD LABELS AREN’T ALWAYS ACCURATE 

It’s more well-known for restaurants to display inaccurate numbers on their menus, but according to Time Magazine and the FDA, counting accurate calories might be impossible because the number displayed on food labels is actually 20 percent higher.

The TODAY Show also conducted an experiment back in 2017 about whether or not restaurant menus display accurate numbers. A lot of their results showed lower numbers compared to what was displayed on certain menus, but TODAY also came to the conclusion that even though this was the case, that means that there’s a likelihood for numbers to also be higher than what’s displayed on menus. Either way, the consumer wasn’t getting what they thought. Because of experiments like these, restaurants and major fast food chains display a calorie range under menu items.

Regardless if the calories are displayed on a menu, many people order with a “this or that” mentality and end up being incorrect about which choice is “healthier.” For example, someone who is trying to be food-conscious might order a salad instead of a hamburger at a restaurant, when all of a sudden, the salad comes out doused in bacon and ranch dressing, yet they thought they chose the healthier option because it was a “salad.” You don’t need to know the exact number of calories in either of those food choices to know that you just didn’t choose wisely. In a nutshell, you’re probably better off buying what you initially went to the store for or just ordering the hamburger with fries instead of making yourself crazy about what’s on the label.

LISTEN TO YOUR BODY INSTEAD

This is something that is always a work in progress, especially when it comes to weight loss, because most of us just don’t do it until we are over-stuffed and lying on the floor like we just feasted for Thanksgiving. Lisa Moskovitz, a dietitian interviewed by Shape Magazine says that knowing a caloric range can be beneficial to anyone trying to be food-conscious, but not to rely on the numbers because they can disrupt your body’s hunger and fullness cues. If you feel shaky but you’re hydrated, it’s most likely time to eat. The time to stop is just before feeling “stuffed.” Focus on eating slower so that you can better detect these cues.

UNDERSTAND PORTION CONTROL

You listen to your body and know when it’s hungry and full, but you’re either staying stagnant at your weight or you’re gaining weight. Yes, this means that you’re consuming more calories than what your body actually needs and you’re not “burning off” enough as a result, but the physical calorie itself is not necessarily the bad guy in this situation. It’s more than likely your portion size. In this case, even eating too much of healthy foods can cause a plateau in your weight-loss journey, but that also doesn’t mean to go crazy and measure every little crumb of food that you put into your body either.

According to Shape Magazine, three ounces of meat is close in size to a deck of cards, one cup of veggies is equal to a medium-sized fist and a half cup of grains is about the size of your palm. Everyday Health says that a tennis ball is about the size of one cup, which is recommended for foods like pasta and cereal. It’s also better to snack a little throughout the day so you don’t overeat during “big” meals.

When you’re snacking, instead of mindlessly eating straight out of the container, use those approximate measurements or simply grab a small handful of something healthy like some almonds or vegetables. You don’t necessarily know how many calories you’re taking in, but it feels a lot more natural this way, and if you constantly practice this, it will become a part of your daily routine.

Come time for a main meal, Everyday Health suggests putting your food on smaller plates. A lot of the time, we eat the amount that we are used to because we’ve always been given large plates and have the mentality to fill up our plates, when in fact, that amount is more than what our bodies need. Everyday Health says to trick your mind into thinking there’s more food by filling up a smaller plate. A small plate can make portions look bigger, but you’ll end up consuming the amount your body actually needs.

QUALITY NOT QUANTITY 

All foods are not created equal. In fact, many of us have the misconception that fat makes us fat, when in fact it’s actually high-processed foods that are digested quickly into sugar and raise our insulin levels, according to Health Magazine. When you eat highly-processed foods, the insulin that is released causes calories to store as fat, which leaves your body feeling unsatisfied and still hungry.

Foods high in fiber, protein and fat, which can typically have a normal or even greater number of calories satisfy the body longer. The calorie intake in this case does not matter because if you are filling your body with nutrient-rich foods, they get digested slower, which naturally makes you feel fuller longer and not needing to eat as much.

SOMETIMES YOU JUST DON’T WANT TO KNOW, AND THAT’S OKAY

Think about it this way: It’s Friday night. You’re out at an Italian restaurant with your friends. You’re most likely not going to whip out your calculator to track how many calories you’re going to consume that night, because chances are, it’s going to be more than usual and that’s completely normal–you’re at a restaurant, not in math class. You’re better off just allowing yourself to enjoy the evening because mentally, it’s better to know that indulging is part of a healthy fitness journey, and the less you beat yourself up for setbacks, the faster you’ll reach your long-term goals. When you decide to indulge, go into it with an open mind, accepting that it might set you back a little, allow yourself some wiggle room, enjoy the moment and get right back on track. We’re all human and practicing this is a lot more permanent than counting how many calories are in the pasta dish you just enjoyed.

IN CONCLUSION: BE MINDFUL, NOT OBSESSIVE 

Whether or not you’re a calorie-counter, the ultimate takeaway is to use calories as a reference of being mindful, but not letting them consume your life choices. Unless specific to your needs and weight-loss journey, you’re most likely not going to count your calories in detail on a normal basis, and even if you are on a fitness journey, there are healthier ways to track your progress than through a calculator. For a more realistic approach, feed your body nutrient-rich foods without worrying about the numbers behind them, but also practice moderation by allowing yourself to indulge sometimes.

Resources

http://www.health.com/nutrition/stop-counting-calories

https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/dos-donts-counting-calories#2

http://time.com/4071440/calorie-counter/

https://www.shape.com/weight-loss/tips-plans/should-you-count-calories-lose-weight

https://www.today.com/health/can-you-trust-calorie-counts-restaurant-menus-t117270

https://www.everydayhealth.com/weight/three-calorie-counting-rules-for-weight-loss.aspx

6 REPORTS TO HELP YOUR GYM’S MARKETING EFFORTS

Marketing your gym

Whether your fitness club is always busy, or you think you’re falling short in some ways, every business can improve. Just because you have members locked into contracts and using your facility on a daily basis doesn’t mean your job is done. In order to retain your members for life, it’s not only imperative to stay on top of your marketing strategies, but your gym needs real data to recognize patterns, understand your members, along with ensuring that your overall marketing efforts are working. Here are six of our reports that can help you achieve that.

6 Reports to Help with Marketing Your Gym

1. 30/60/90 DAY RETENTION DETAIL 

This attendance report displays the number of times a member has come into your facility by date range since signing a membership. It also gives a member’s contact information, their last visit date and their membership type. This is vital for your marketing efforts because analytically, it can give you a pretty good idea of whether or not a member is happy in your gym.

This report is also important for the first 30 days of someone’s membership so that you can establish a good first impression, and it’s especially crucial for open-ended contracts that require payments. For example, if you notice a member has not been in your facility for 60 days, there’s probably a high chance of that individual cancelling their membership. The 30/60/90 Day Retention Detail report allows you to track your members’ attendance at any time, on any device and anywhere, so that you can avoid attrition to the best of your ability and rev up your marketing efforts when needed.

2. BIRTHDAY LISTS 

Wishing your members happy birthday does make a positive impact and is a very simple way to effectively market to them. Our Birthday Lists report keeps record of all contract buyer and card holder birthdays, so that you don’t have to. Not only does it show membership beginning and expiration dates, but you can also email members straight from this report. When you individualize something for someone and make that person feel special, you have a higher chance of renewing their contract.

3. HOURLY ATTENDANCE GRAPH (GENDER)

This attendance report digs deep into specifics. It shows how many females and males are coming into your facility on the hour. Showing analytics at an hourly rate is important for determining the peak times of your gym, and retaining gender-specific data is helpful because maybe if there’s a certain time frame you see fewer women, you can market heavier to your female members to get more people in.

Because you are able to recognize hourly patterns, you can easily test out marketing strategies and see if any numbers fluctuate. For example, this is a great report for something like the holiday season. Since people typically tend to fall short with physical fitness during that time, it would be a good chance for you to test the waters on some holiday marketing and see the direct impact for a specific time of day or for a certain gender.

4. AGE BREAKDOWN

Your facility may have people of all different ages coming in, but every gym has a specific demographic. When it comes to physical fitness, age plays a huge factor in determining your demographic. For example, if your fitness club is a barre studio, majority of your members are probably female, specifically between the ages of 18 and 30.

Our Age Breakdown report provides actual numbers for you to track your demographic. Not only can you run reports by contract buyer and card holder, but this report gives you a total count of your members by age and gender. Overall, it helps you know what age range you have coming into your facility so that you know better who to market to. Another example would be if most of your members are seniors, you probably wouldn’t want to advertise an intense body pump class.

5. DAILY NOTES LIST

This report displays all member account notes entered by your club or by ASF for any date. The notes could be financial or anything pertaining to a specific member that might be helpful for your gym to know. If your club has a promotion going on, this is also a great generic report to show who specifically participated in the promotion. Another example could be that if a contract expired, a staff member can make note of having already contacted that member in the Daily Notes List, which will put your club and ASF on the same page to prevent over-calling and excessive marketing.

6. DAILY SERVICE NOTES LIST 

The helpful thing about this report is that it is specific to the upkeep of your facility. It allows ASF to notify you of details about your club that you may not be aware of. When a member calls into ASF, we are able to put their feedback into the Daily Service Notes List so that you can easily view it. For example, if one of your machines is broken or there was a complaint about the cleanliness of your weight room, those notes can be entered into this report, so you can resolve the issue as soon as possible.