Thursday, September 21, 2017

Should You Always Be Sore After a Workout?

Should You Always Be Sore After A Workout?

You see your fellow exercisers the day after a hard workout, seemingly feeling pretty proud about their sore triceps, their abs so tender that it hurts to cough, and their inability to climb stairs without wincing. And sure, you worked hard with your trainer, but if you’re not sore does it mean that you didn’t work hard enough? The answer is a stipulation-heavy combination of yes and no. 

When you exercise, especially if it’s a new exercise to you and you go at it pretty hard, it’s likely that you’d feel sore afterwards. When you stress a muscle enough it develops microscopic tears. These tears, when healed, cause the muscle to be stronger, and eventually, larger. Note that it’s important to take a day or two in between workouts to rest your sore muscles. It’s during this recovery time that the real healing and growing take place. Not taking this rest period can inhibit your progress and make you much more susceptible to muscle injury.

And what about if you’re not sore on a regular basis? Does this mean that your workouts are more baby than beefy? The truth is, the most reliable way to tell whether your exercise is working your muscles hard enough is through the results you see. Are you slimming down the way you want to? Are your muscles getting toned and more defined? Do you feel stronger and more able to complete daily tasks without getting tired?

Now, that being said, if you work out a few times a week, and are never, ever sore in the 2 or 3 days afterwards, there’s a good chance that you’re not pushing your body to its maximum potential, as your muscles are never getting pushed past their level of comfort. Ask your trainer to push you just a little harder (what? Are we crazy?), and also to give you ideas for how to step it up a little bit when you’re exercising on your own.

And while some soreness once in a while is good, being sore nearly all the time after you exercise is a drag. One way to keep your soreness in check is through stretching. In fact, keeping your muscles loose and limber make you less likely to score a killer sore muscle the day after a workout, and it can help you recover more quickly. For this reason, and so many others, we always recommend that you devote several minutes at the end of every workout to stretching. Stretching is important at any age, but becomes even more crucial as get into our 40’s, 50’s, and beyond. As we age, our muscles actually get shorter and start to lose their elasticity. This can start a vicious cycle of moving and stretching less because it’s harder, and then being less physically fit because of not moving as much, and so on. (Find more on stretching during one of our Cardio Together sessions at the studio)

Your muscles tend to follow the “no pain, no gain” rule of exercise, and manageable muscle soreness after a workout does give you an indication that you’re on your way to getting stronger and fitter. However, any safe exercise, even mild, is great for your body, and can help you reach your health and fitness goals.

© 2017 Fitness Together, Inc. All Rights Reserved.   

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

What is Your Favorite Time of Day to Workout and Why?

Trainer Tuesdays

Welcome back to the weekly edition on Trainer Tuesdays. Make sure to check in at our blog every Tuesday evening to learn the expertise of our great staff of expert personal trainers. Aside from being fantastic exercise coaches, they are also extremely knowledgeable in many aspects of health and fitness; so, it's time that you get to know them a little better! Each week, we will post a frequently asked, or sometimes just a fun fitness related question followed by the answers of each of the personal trainers at Fitness Together Brecksville.

What is Your Favorite Time of Day to Workout and Why?

Cody Plank: My favorite time of the day to workout is first thing in the morning for many reasons, the first being that it improves your physical and mental energy. This is great for getting the necessary energy to complete your workday or school day more efficiently.  Another reason I enjoy morning workouts is that they enhance your metabolism causing you to burn more calories throughout the day. Lastly morning workouts are great for developing strong self-discipline and accountability.     

Brooke Kratche:  I love to work out in the morning! Oftentimes when you workout to start your day you will feel more motivated to make healthy decisions throughout the day. In addition to that, it'll be done with sooner so you won't have time to make excuses not to do it! Whenever you have time to get it in your day is the best time for you.

Mike Roberto:    My favorite time to workout is first thing in the morning, right after breakfast.  I have the fuel to get me through and also helps wakes me up from any morning grogginess.  Working out in the morning also frees up the rest of my day to do any task at hand that I may have. 

Justin Traft:    So many clients ask “what's the best time of day to workout?”. My favorite time of day to exercise is usually in the evening. After the day has dealt you whatever the day had for you. I have done both working out in the morning as well but I feel like I am stronger in the evening plus you start the next day off right by getting that workout in in the evening go sleep knowing you had a great workout.

© 2016 Fitness Together, Inc. All Rights Reserved.   

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Why Does Personal Training Make The Perfect Christmas Gift for Your Loved One?

Why Does Personal Training Make The Perfect Christmas Gift for Your Loved One?
Click this image to learn how to buy a jumpstart giftcard for personal training sessions at Fitness Together! 

Amanda Ricci:    As we embark upon the Christmas season, many of us are in a frenzy trying to look for that perfect gift for our family & friends.  We organize our lists and begin scoping out the sales in the ads to the local stores.  We may set up tents, wait in long lines, and even endure all the frustration that comes with the holiday season just to see our loved ones light up when they open that gift.  It's in that moment that we capture many of our memories.  Spreading joy and cheer is what the holiday season is all about, and doing so will provide you with a sense of fulfillment. It's what makes all the thought we put into gift giving worthwhile.
     Unfortunately, that initial thrill that someone feels when they open the gift wears off. They may use it a few times and then eventually forget about the item.  When you give someone an experience however, this lasts much longer. After speaking with several clients, they've told me that usually people will not remember a present that you give them but they will remember something that they did. Attending personal training sessions allows the person to grow, build memories, and also increases self esteem.   This is why personal training makes such a great gift this holiday season.  It allows someone to not only reduce stress but also build confidence and develop goals to live a healthier lifestyle.  And with the holiday season who isn't stressed?  So this year offer someone a gift that will spark personal growth and increase their ability to overcome obstacles in life.
       They will thank you for it and remember it for years to come.

Brooke Kratche:  It's that time of year again! Christmas decorations are going up and people are scrambling to find the perfect gift. Save yourself the trouble and get your loved one a personal trainer! Why? Because it's personal. Everybody wants the gift that is personalized to them and what's more personalized than a fitness enthusiast who designs programs specifically for you?! I think I've made my point but just in case I'll remind you that you probably want the people you love to stay healthy. I like to think of personal training as preventative medicine. So, in conclusion, get your loved ones a personal trainer, it's personal and healthy! 

Mike Roberto:     Can't seem to figure out what kind of present to get for your family member or significant other?  Why not buy them sessions with a personal trainer?  Not only does this shows you care about their health, but they will be informed and instructed on how to exercise properly and raise their self confidence about their appearance.  On top of that, some trainers can tell clients about basic nutrition tips towards a healthier lifestyle.  With these tips, Christmas shopping will be a walk in the park!

Justin Traft:   Some may ask why personal training may make a good gift for a loved one. One would say you would have to tread lightly on such a subject to make sure not to offend the person receiving the gift. But keep in mind no out of hate gives a personal training gift. One it's your loved one so they mean a lot to you. Two for most it's a matter of their  loved one getting to workout when they may have been trying to but were unsuccessful at the attempt. Three maybe it's a way for the person receiving it to be held accountable. Four for most it's to help that person get back to they're happy self confidence they have but may have faded because of lack of workout success. Five it always lets the other love ones know that there health means the most to you. When it comes to health they're should be no price tag on that.  Six it may be even present a opportunity for your love and you to workout together to make it less intimidating and more fun.

© 2016 Fitness Together, Inc. All Rights Reserved.   

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

How Do You Plan For The Extra Calories on Thanksgiving?

Trainer Tuesdays

Welcome back to the weekly edition on Trainer Tuesdays. Make sure to check in at our blog every Tuesday evening to learn the expertise of our great staff of expert personal trainers. Aside from being fantastic exercise coaches, they are also extremely knowledgeable in many aspects of health and fitness; so, it's time that you get to know them a little better! Each week, we will post a frequently asked, or sometimes just a fun fitness related question followed by the answers of each of the personal trainers at Fitness Together Brecksville.

How Do You Plan For the Extra Calories on Thanksgiving?
The expert personal trainers at Fitness Together in Brecksville give helpful tips on how to plan for the extra calories for your Thanksgiving Meal this year

Bojana "Boki" Soljaga: As both a Serbian and an American citizen I often say that when it comes to food I refuse to be either of these two nationalities, and I choose to be a healthy person. With roast turkey, small amount of stuffing, sweet potatoes, and a salad Thanksgiving makes the perfect holiday to load on protein and vegetables. Not having a dessert immediately after the meal usually means not overating, and that is an ultimate goal. Also, 30 minutes of exercise in the morning while my kids are playing and the turkey is roasting should feel great. I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving, and please join Fitness Together staff for our 8:00AM walk or run on Thanksgiving Morning! 

Brooke Kratche: I've always been told, my habits will make my health, not my actions. Therefore, don't let the Thanksgiving feast scare you! As long as Thanksgiving feasts don't become your habits. That being said, doing a little prep work before you chow down can give you a little had start in minimizing the damage. Turkey Trots are offered in most neighborhoods so check out your local race! Better yet, join us on Thursday morning at 8am for a little group run of our own! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Mike Roberto:    With Thanksgiving coming up, it can be very easy to overeat and derail your progress towards weight loss.  My advice is to simply slow your eating down.  Taking longer to chew your food will make you feel fuller faster and longer.  Do your best to move around a little more than usual.  Rather than sit down after the feast (tempting, I know), burn a few calories by helping someone wash dishes.  You'll be on your feet and using your muscles to scrub those pesky stains on the dishes, keeping your metabolism burning.  Finally, go for a walk.  Give your food time to digest before digging into the leftovers.  With these tips, you'll enjoy a wonderful meal AND be able to stay on track of your weight goals.

Amanda Ricci:    In order to prepare for the extra calories over thanksgiving I plan to make sure that I am consistent with my workouts, and eating as healthy as possible, as well as continue moving. 

On thanksgiving day I will be doing the burn the bird 5k run.  That way I'll be getting in some exercise in the morning prior to eating and since I did my workout in the morning I will be burning more calories for the day.   At meals, I'll be drinking more water to make sure that I stay hydrated and prevent myself from confusing hunger with dehydration.  I also plan eat my salad prior to the meal due to the high fiber content that will help me to feel more full.  I try to avoid standing near the snack table to prevent or reduce temptation.  Even personal trainers get tempted.  However, coming up with different strategies to avoid or reduce temptation and having a plan in place in advance is a good way to prevent holiday weight gain from creeping up on you.
    Also just continuing to stay moving during the day is helpful as well.  For example: taking the dogs out for a walk, offering to help with dishes, etc. helps to burn more calories than what you would just sitting in one spot all day.

Justin Traft:   There are many ways to plan for extra calories for thanksgiving. One make sure week or days leading up to thanksgiving is filled with either working out or some sort of cardio. Maybe plan a workout the day before and plan on working out the morning of thanksgiving before the day gets to crazy . Also , after maybe you can plan a family walk after to help get the body moving after the big meal. Also, in the days before thanksgivings maybe make sure your doing a little extra cardio or fitting in a extra workout this way you can give yourself a little room to enjoy the holiday meal. Also make sure stay hydrated it help with not only the body during the meal to not over eat but to help the sodium that the body may be taking in or any added extra sugar.

Cody Plank: Luckily for me I don't have to worry about the high number of calories that I'll consume on thanksgiving because I'm at a point in my life where I want to gain weight so the more calories the better! If I were to be cutting tho and monitoring my caloric intake I would plan on going on a walk right when I woke up and I would also plan on doing cardio latter in the night. I would also due my best to try and cut my portion size down as well.    

Heather Plucinski: Thanksgiving only happens once a year and one of the focal points is feasting. While we are engaging with our company, reminiscing our blessings and enjoying the splendor of the atmosphere it's very easy to overindulge on more things than good conversation. 😀 However, a few "preventative maintenance" steps can help prevent damage to your waist lines but not sacrifice the fun! 

There are different routes for strategizing the fool-proof calorie plan, but at the end of the day you must:

 1) Find what works best for you. Whatever you step(s) you choose, they must work for your lifestyle and realistic (because no one is only going to eat 3.25 spears of steamed asparagus!). 

2) Remember it is only one day. If you mess up, recognize the mistake and move on. (Fitness together will be ready to help burn off the excess calories!) 😀💪

Ok, so let's get on with it, right? Here are some strategies that I have found that work for a vast group of clients I have worked with and for myself too! 

  1. EPOC! Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (try saying that three times fast!). Better known as EPOC, is the scientific term for the afterburn effect, which can help you burn more calories long after you’ve left gym. Once you're done with your workout and back to your daily routine (maybe just scrolling through Facebook) your body at rest will burn more calories sitting than it would have if you did not engage in exercise that day. So, you're number one defense to excess calories: engage in exercise prior(or post if you're not too sleepy) to feasting! I always say prior because time flies and before you know it it's time for bed (& sleep is just as equally important when it comes to weight loss & maintenance). 
  2. Breakfast! Just because it's Thanksgiving doesn't make it any less important! Eat a balanced breakfast which will help prevent a breakout binge session at dinner!
  3. Portion Control & mindful eating. Both of these go hand in hand. I've never told a client to take a food scale to Thanksgiving dinner and weigh their starches by ounce. I do encourage mindfully paying attention to their portion sizes. Three ounces of meat is the approximate size of your palm, aim for a small handful for your carbohydrates (I.e. - potatoes, breads, pastas, stuffing), fats (butter, olive oil) are around the size of your thumb, vegetables (not fried or casseroles) around two fists is a serving. I typically discourage seconds, but if you must, wait at least 20-30 minutes and  go after protein and vegetable sources. Lean meats are a great source of protein (and protein does offer a thermal effect which burns more calories!) and vegetables, especially those of the dark leafy green variety offer much needed fiber! Fiber helps greatly fight against bloat and keeps us regular! 
  4. Water. Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Drinking water prior to eating your meals and between each bite will help prevent you eating excess calories. A lot of times when we think we are hungry, it's our body cueing us that we are actually thirsty. Before you get up for a round of seconds, drink 8-12 ounces of water first and wait. You might've just saved yourself an additional 450 calories. 
  5. Speaking of calories, I'm personally a "calorie-hoarder". Meaning, on special occasions I save calories for items that I normally don't have on a regular basis (I'm a glutton for pumpkin pie! I skip the crust though so I have room for brown sugar on my Brussels sprouts). Though I try to save calories for "fun items" my main priority always is to always aim for 25-30 grams of fiber daily. 
  6. Weather permitting (or you have a treadmill at home) go for a walk after dinner. Have your family join you for some bonding time, too. Studies have shown that a 20-30 minute walk helps aid with digestion after meals. 

I hope some of these options may work for you for this holiday season. My main goal for everyone, no matter what, is to avoid the "binge-purge-restrict" cycle. It's very easy to fall in that trap of "well, I already messed up, might as well keep eating" or the guilty/failure feelings and it's our body that pays the price. I like to remind anyone who is reading this that Thanksgiving is just one day. That is it. There's 364 other days to improve! At the end of the day, the holidays are about embracing happiness and our blessings. Happy Thanksgiving!

Lisa Clark: During Thanksgiving we all tend to eat more than we normally would, however we don't have to feel guilty about those extra calories if we plan in advance for them. I usually try to eat less the whole week leading up to Thanksgiving. By eating 50-100 calories less each day for a week I don't feel deprived at all but can enjoy Thanksgiving dinner without the guilt! Also by starting out the day running in a Turkey Trot 5k, I start the day burning lots of calories and that allows me to eat a small piece of pie guilt free!! 

© 2016 Fitness Together, Inc. All Rights Reserved.   

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

If You Were Elected Personal Trainer of the United States, What Policies Would You Implement to Make America Healthy Again?

Trainer Tuesdays

Welcome back to the weekly edition on Trainer Tuesdays. Make sure to check in at our blog every Tuesday evening to learn the expertise of our great staff of expert personal trainers. Aside from being fantastic exercise coaches, they are also extremely knowledgeable in many aspects of health and fitness; so, it's time that you get to know them a little better! Each week, we will post a frequently asked, or sometimes just a fun fitness related question followed by the answers of each of the personal trainers at Fitness Together Brecksville.

If You Were Elected Personal Trainer of the United States, What Policies Would You Implement to Make America Healthy Again?

Brooke Kratche: If I were Personal Trainer of the United States I would create a junk food tax. This would go to most processed food in the hopes that it would become more economical to eat healthy. Secondly, I would encourage health insurance companies to provide lower rates or rebates to people who wear fitness monitors and regularly meet 10,000 steps a day. Many companies already provide this incentive but to get everyone on board I would provide them with tax cuts.

Mike Roberto:    If I were the personal trainer for the entire United States, I would implement the following:

    1. put a tax on snack foods so people would buy more fruits and vegetables, as well as peanuts.
    2. lower the cost of all gym memberships to make it affordable.  Also implement a two week trial across every gym.

    3. Along with the State of the Union address the president makes, I will host a follow along workout right before the         address so that the U.S. can get a little more fit.

   These would be the major things I would do to make America get back in shape.

Amanda Ricci:    If I was the personal trainer of the United States, there are several actions that I would take in order to make America healthy again. 
 First I would start by making changes in the schools.  One of the first things that I would do is provide education to children, at a young age about healthy eating.  It is easier to eat healthier when someone is younger than try to break an adult of bad habits. Therefore,  I would add a horticulture class into the curriculum of all students from 1st grade.through high school across the United States.  This would serve to eliminate what is known as food deserts. The farm bill of 2008, identifies a food desert as "locations in the U.S. with restricted access to nutritious and affordable food.  These areas are mainly lower income communities and neighborhoods" (USDA, ERS, 2009).  Due to this limited access to healthy food it causes not only problems with good nutrition but also an increased risk of diseases such as: diabetes, heart disease, premature death, hypertension as well as obesity.  Therefore, each school would have a garden, and it would be taken care of solely by the students.  As the children progressed in age, the classes would become more advanced. They would participate in growing the fruit and vegetables, and learn about the nutrients and why it is important to eat a variety of fruits and veggies.  It would also be mandatory that the students take classes such as: home economics and gym class..  This way they would be able to learn how to prepare the fruits and vegetables with different meals, and each student would be making their own lunch for the day.  During the gym class the children would learn how to play different sports and also build their cardio-respiratory endurance.
    The second change I would make would be in the work place.  All employers would be required to include an additional 20 minute break for all employees   During this time, there would be several different classes available to them such as: stretching and flexibility, or cardio.  Employees would only get paid if they participated in one of the classes offered.  
      The third change I would make would be with the fast food industry.  I would make it mandatory for them to list the number of calories of each item on their menu right on the wrapper of whatever the person is eating.  This way individuals would be able to see the nutritional info prior to eating their meal.  
      Finally, the last change I would make would be to take away the power from corporations such as Walt Disney, Nestle, Kelloggs, and General Mills who took away the bottom line from the "Let's Move" movement by Michelle Obama in 2010.  More information about that movement can be found on the documentary "Fed Up", which was written and produced by Stephanie Soechtig.  
      I know these sound like a lot of changes.  However, this is what I feel would be necessary to make America healthy again!!!


Justin Traft:    If I was personal trainer of the United States what polices would I enact. First I'd start off by making junk food no longer available in schools. Also, I'd make sure school children had more time for recesses at school. Then I'd raise junk for prices. I'd makes it so all citizen have a opportunity to workout by making community fitness centers open 24 hrs to fit everyone schedule. I'd goes as far as cracking down on manufacturers that claim they're fit choice by making they post all ingredients used this way people can make a more informed healthy choice.

Heather Plucinski: I would allow that all gym memberships and personal training packages could be tax deductible (currently only a physician referral with certain conditions can be used). This way it would give an incentive for people to spend money on health and fitness; or private health insurance rebates for all paid expenses to personal training and gym membership packages. 

© 2016 Fitness Together, Inc. All Rights Reserved.   

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

What is Your Favorite (Healthy) Warm Meal to Enjoy During the Fall?

Trainer Tuesdays

Welcome back to the weekly edition on Trainer Tuesdays. Make sure to check in at our blog every Tuesday evening to learn the expertise of our great staff of expert personal trainers. Aside from being fantastic exercise coaches, they are also extremely knowledgeable in many aspects of health and fitness; so, it's time that you get to know them a little better! Each week, we will post a frequently asked, or sometimes just a fun fitness related question followed by the answers of each of the personal trainers at Fitness Together Brecksville.

What is your Favorite (Healthy) Warm Meal to Enjoy During the Fall?

Brooke Kratche: I love my crock pot and this time of year it is the best for making delicious fall soups! My absolute favorite recipe is butternut squash soup. To make it all you do is skin and cube a medium sized squash and throw it into your slow cooker with 2 cups of chicken broth, cayenne pepper, marjoram leaves, sautéed onions and some black pepper. Let it sit on low for 6 to 7 hours. Once the squash is soft, use a hand blender stick to blend it all together!  Of you don't have one, simply scoop the squash into a blender as many times as you need until it is all smooth. Finally comes the secret ingredient. Place a block of cream cheese (I like to cut it up into smaller cubes) into the soup and let it sit for another 30 minutes. Mix it all up and enjoy! 

Mike Roberto:    I enjoy the fall season.  There's a nice breeze and the days are a little cooler.  Days like that make me pull out my favorite recipe to warm up.  It is a warm and delicious chili recipe using the crock pot including kidney beans, onions, beef and tomatoes.  I let the ingredients sit in the crock pot while I'm curled up with a good book to read as the chili thickens.  8 hours later, I have a soul warming meal.  Yum!!

Amanda Ricci:    One of my favorite healthy meals during the fall would have to be spaghetti squash.  I like to mix chicken, tomatoes, and spinach into a sauce and prepare it in a separate pan.  Once the spaghetti squash is cooked, I’ll cut it in half and then use a fork to create the noodles and then pour the sauce mixture on top.  I like making it because it is easy to make, and takes very little preparation time compared to other recipes. Also, it has a lower level of carbs than pasta, contains omega 3, and Omega 6’s and contains protein once you top it with the spaghetti sauce mixture.  When eating it I cannot tell the difference between eating the spaghetti squash as compared to regular pasta.

Justin Traft:    I would have to say my favorite fall meal is turkey meatloaf muffins. I found this a while Ago on bodybuilding. Com. It's actually high in protein and low in carb. Eating healthy doesn't have to be boring. I usually only make them around this time of year. Calories are 182 fats 8g total carbs 4.6 g and lastly protein 22.2 g. Ingredients are as follows:

2 lbs ground turkey
3 egg whites
1 cup quick cooking Oates
1/2 dried thyme
2 tsp dry yellow mustard
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp chipotle pepper sauce
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp garlic powder (2 gloves minced)
1 small onion finely chopped
2 celery stalks ( finely chopped)
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2. Spray muffin pan with olive oil spray
3. Mix all ingredients together
4. Roll the mixture into balls and place in muffin pan.
5. Bake for 40 minutes
Makes 12 protein packed muffins

Lisa Clark: During the winter months as it gets colder, I like to warm my family up from the inside with one of my favorite meals....Mexican Chicken Chili!
As compared to a more traditional chicken chili that has a cream base, this chili uses broth and salsa as the base and is filled with healthy beans, veggies and lean chicken breasts. For a vegetarian option just leave out the chicken! 

  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 jar (16 oz or 430 mL) thick and chunky mild salsa
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 medium zucchini, coarsely chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups rinsed and drained canned black beans
  • 1 1/2 cups rinsed and drained canned pinto beans
  • 1 cup drained canned whole kernel corn
  • 3 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 1   garlic clove, pressed
  • 1 1/2 - 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  •  Optional toppings such as shredded cheese, sour cream, crushed corn chips or tortilla chips, sliced green onions or fresh cilantro leaves

  1. Combine broth, salsa and tomato sauce in (4-qt.) Casserole. Add zucchini, beans, corn, chicken, pressed garlic, chili powder and cumin. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Ladle chili into soup bowls. Top with desired toppings.
  • 10 cups
  • 6  servings of 1 2/3 cups (excluding optional ingredients)
Nutrients per serving:
Calories 300, Total Fat 7 g, Saturated Fat 1.5 g, Cholesterol 60 mg, Sodium 1620 mg, Carbohydrate 32 g, Fiber 9 g, Protein 29 g  

© 2016 Fitness Together, Inc. All Rights Reserved.