The holidays are almost here, and that means holiday weight gain can’t be far behind. While studies show the average person only gains about 1-2 pounds during the holidays, other research shows the weight that is gained tends to stick around – often for the rest of your life. And over time, the amassed total can have significant consequences for your health and wellness.

In fact, lots of studies show being just a few pounds overweight can cause or contribute to serious and chronic medical problems like high blood pressure, heart attacks and heart disease, stroke, sleep apnea, arthritis – even cancer. Plus, snacking and feasting on fatty, sugary foods from Thanksgiving through New Year’s wreaks havoc with healthy-eating habits that can take months to establish, which means you’ll be back at ground zero once the holiday merrymaking subsides.

Holiday Weight Gain Solution

So what’s the solution? Be proactive – ramp up your workouts and target problem areas now so your metabolism and your healthy eating habits will be fully revved up before the holiday feasting season begins. At TexasFITT, we don’t believe in one-size-fits-all weight loss and training programs. We specialize in custom fitness and weight loss programs developed to help address each client’s unique needs and stumbling blocks. And when you sign up now, you can get that all-important jumpstart to help you avoid holiday weight gain (and all the medical issues associated with being even a few pounds overweight).

We can also show you how to adjust your everyday activities to maximize your calorie burn with simple changes in routine that can have significant impacts on your health and your weight. That’s because our trainers don’t just focus on weight loss; they look at your whole health and your lifestyle to craft a fitness solution that’s tailored to you. By establishing those habits now, you’ll be ready to ward off holiday weight gain – and you’ll have the positive feedback and support you need to stay on track throughout the holiday season and beyond.

20-30-fast-track resultsAnd if you want to really get your weight – and your healthy lifestyle – back on track fast, we offer our 20/30 Fast Track and Listen to Your Body programs, designed to address all areas of your health and wellness, so the weight you lose stays off. The program addresses the seven different hormones that can make losing weight impossible, so you can enjoy the long-term benefits of leading a healthier lifestyle adjusted and customized for your personal wellness needs.

Plus, our personal trainers are always on hand to provide the level of motivation, education, and encouragement you need to stay on track and achieve your personal weight loss and fitness goals. Not sure how to set those goals? Our trainers can help you with that, too. At TexasFITT, we offer a broad array of membership options to make it as easy as possible to set, achieve and maintain your fitness goals. And we’ve got lots of classes to keep your workouts exciting and effective.

Losing weight, staying fit, and even beating a chronic health problem are all great reasons to head to the gym, but one of the best benefits of working out can’t be seen at all. When you work out, your heart health improves right along with your muscles and performance. The benefits to your heart and cardiovascular system may not create visible physical results but will help you live a longer, healthier life. According to heart experts at the American Heart Association, every time you work out or engage in physical activity, your cardiovascular system benefits.

Regular Exercise Lowers your Blood Pressure

Working out can help lower both your heart rate and your blood pressure. Since hypertension contributes to heart disease and other ailments, committing to regular exercise can lower your risk and prevent you from having to take a medication with uncomfortable side effects.

Natural Weight Control

When you are overweight, your heart has to work harder than ever, according to experts at Johns Hopkins Heart Center. Regular exercise will help you reach and maintain a healthy weight, protecting your heart and health in the process. If you have struggled to lose weight, heart health can be an added incentive to help you maintain what you have lost and to stay on track, too.

Exercise Can Help You Quit Other Habits

Smokers often quit smoking when they start to work out – the two habits simply aren’t compatible. When you opt for a session in the gym instead of indulging in a less healthy practice, you benefit. Your heart will thank you too – smoking is a key risk factor for a variety of heart-related ailments.

Strong Muscles Equal a Healthy Heart

Working out makes you stronger – and those muscles do more than help you look your best. When you add muscle mass, your body is better able to draw oxygen from your blood as it circulates, so your heart doesn’t have to work as hard, according to Johns Hopkins.

Exercise Busts Stress Levels

Are you in an unusually good mood after a workout? That is endorphins at work. When you work out, you naturally ease your stress. Too much stress can lead to unhealthy habits and even stress-related hormones that can damage your heart. Exercise and you’ll feel less stressed out – and your heart will thank you, too.

Whether you work out at a gym, with a trainer, go for a brisk walk, or even swim laps in a pool, taking the time to work out regularly can benefit not only your appearance but your overall health as well. Committing to a regular workout schedule can help protect your heart and ensure you avoid some of the most common risk factors associated with heart disease.

Core Exercises

Doing core exercises can help you do a wide range of sports and other physical activities while reducing your risk of muscle tears and other injuries. These exercises make the muscles in your back, abdomen and pelvic area stronger. You don’t need any special equipment to do these exercises. A simple mat provides you with a comfortable surface to do them on. Keep in mind that you should check with your doctor before doing these if you have any underlying health issues or chronic pain.

Side Plank

For this exercise, lie on one side, then lift your body using your forearm. Hold your shoulders, knees, and hips in a straight line while placing your other arm along your body. Make your abdominal muscles as tight as possible, then hold this position for about 10 seconds. Aim to do five repetitions, then gradually build up to 15 repetitions at a time.

Bridge

To do this exercise, lie flat on your back and bend your knees. Keep your hips flat on the floor, and tighten the muscles in your abdomen. Slowly lift your hips up until your knees, hips and shoulders form a straight line. Hold this position for 10 seconds, and repeat this exercise five times. Build up to doing this exercise for 10 to 15 repetitions to make your core muscles stronger.

Single Leg Abdominal Press

For this exercise, lie flat on your back and bend your knees. Tighten the muscles in your abdomen and lift one leg up so that it forms a 90-degree angle. Push your hand against your raised knee, and pull that knee toward your hand at the same time. Your arm should remain straight as you do this. Hold this position for 10 seconds, then repeat this exercise five times. Work on doing 10 to 15 repetitions at a time.

Bird Dog

To do this core-strengthening exercise, get down on your hands and knees. Your hands should be on the floor in line with your shoulders, and your head should be lined up with your back and neck. Make the muscles in your abdomen tight, then lift one arm off the floor and hold it straight in front of you. Hold this position for 10 seconds, then lower your arm and repeat with the other arm. Lift one leg off the floor, and hold this position for 10 seconds. Repeat this exercise five times, then build up to 10 to 15 repetitions.

If you need help strengthening your core or if you need more exercise ideas, please contact Texas FITT.

Keeping Weight Off Over Time

There shouldn’t be a deadline for achieving a healthy body. Losing body fat, gaining muscle, and improving your overall well-being is a lifelong adventure.

That said, it is possible to lose weight a little more quickly than the standard rate of 1-2 pounds per week. Texas FITT founders Stephanie and Clinton Springer are proud to offer their clients the 20-30 Fast Track and Listen To Your Body Program which can help people lose weight, keep it off, and take back control of their health.

5 Lifestyle Changes That Can Help You Keep The Weight Off

There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to weight loss, but anyone looking to improve their health should be prepared to adopt a lifestyle that supports a healthier, leaner body. Here are 5 practical action steps you can take to ensure that whatever weight you’ve worked so hard to lose will stay off for good:

1. Make time to eat breakfast.

Nourishing your body in the morning with healthy fats and protein can jumpstart your metabolism and stave off those mid-morning hunger pangs (when you’d otherwise be tempted by all those sweets in the office). If you’re trying to lose body fat, avoid eating carbohydrates (even fruit!) in the morning, as this can stunt your body’s fat-burning state.

2. Stay moving.

Get to the gym regularly and find ways to increase your overall physical activity throughout the day to ensure you’re burning calories. Park farther away, take the stairs, go for a lunchtime walk—anything to keep yourself going.

3. Schedule “treat” meals.

If you try to completely ban all “bad” foods, then you may be putting yourself at risk for going completely overboard if and when you give in to temptation. Consciously plan treat meals (in moderation) so that you can enjoy your guilty pleasures without the guilt.

4. Never leave home without a water bottle.

Staying hydrated is key for thwarting food cravings and supporting an active body. Aim to drink at least half your body weight in fluid ounces every day, and probably more given your frequent exercise and our hot Texan climate.

5. Revisit your goals as needed.

If you achieve your weight loss goals, create new ones to help keep you motivated. Perhaps you want to be able to do a pull-up or take a new class. Take time—2 to 4 times per year—to re-evaluate and update your goals so that you’ll have the intrinsic motivation to keep doing what you know is best for you.

No matter how quickly you end up losing weight, we encourage you to care less about pounds lost and more about healthy habits developed. Your future self will thank you.

Looking for more help staying motivated, lean, and healthy? To schedule a free tour or to learn more about the fun and challenging fitness classes we offer at Texas FITT, then call our team today at (817) 459-3488.

Are You Consuming Too Much Sugar?

Sugar – we all love it, but according to our doctors it is evil. How much is actually too much?

The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugars to 36 grams a day for men and 25 grams a day for women. Be careful – sugar is not always called sugar on food labels. “Sugar” also includes sucrose, maltose, high fructose corn syrup, molasses, corn sweetener, syrup, and honey. Some fruit juice concentrates are also “sugar.” In fact, most of us consume about 19.5 teaspoons a day of added sugars. It is not true that high fructose corn syrup is “worse” than other added sugars for most people. However, as it also acts as a preservative it is often put in foods that are not, in fact, sweet, such as white bread.

Why Excessive Sugar is Bad for Your Bod

So, what happens if you eat too much sugar? Excessive sugar puts a strain on your liver, causes you to gain weight and causes metabolic dysfunction (which can lead to diabetes). It also increases uric acid levels, which increases the risk for kidney disease. Excessive sugar consumption can also lead to heart disease.

The easiest way to cut down on sugar is to cut down on soda. A typical can of regular soda contains about 40 grams of sugar – which means you are already over that added sugar limit. Avoid the temptation to just switch to diet – studies indicate that sugar substitutes trick your body into expecting sugar, messing up your metabolism, although it is still better for diabetics and for your teeth. Aspartame, the most common sugar substitute, is not bad for most people’s health but can trigger headaches in some people.

Beware of Hidden Sugars

Also, watch out for hidden sugars – especially that tricky high fructose corn syrup. Sugar is found in most packaged foods – including things that are not particularly sweet. Foods to watch for include salad dressing, especially low-fat salad dressing – low-fat foods often contain more sugar, pasta sauce, breakfast/granola bars, commercially produced bread (especially white bread), fruit yogurt, premade frozen entrees, dried fruit, and barbecue sauce. Keep an eye on your alcohol consumption – and be particularly careful with those mixed drinks. For example, a pina colada can contain as many as 28 grams of added sugar. Beer is a better choice, as is red wine.

It is easy to know how much sugar you should consume – the real challenge is in making sure you don’t go over the limit without noticing in today’s world of packaged convenience foods. Making your own food as much as possible is the best way to keep your sugar consumption, and thus your weight, down.

What it Takes for A Good Warm Up   

At Texas FITT, serving the communities of Pantego and Arlington, we’re passionate about helping all our members achieve their health and fitness goals. But across the board, the number one area we see neglected the most by our clients is a proper warm-up, cool down, and general mobility. Today, our Texas FITT trainers would like to focus on what it takes for a good warm-up that can prepare your body for virtually any type of exercise–and a few things you should probably avoid.

Yes–Your Warm-Up Matters

We’re not totally sure why people often skip or skimp on warm-ups: maybe people feel pressed for time or are just so excited about getting their workout done that they rush into it. Others may simply not know what to do, and if not supervised in a fitness class environment, they may be more likely to skip a warm-up altogether.

The thing is, a good warm-up goes far beyond injury prevention. A properly warmed-up body can move through a greater range of motion with more quality movement and more efficient neuromuscular control.

Why does this matter to you? Simply put: good warm-ups can accelerate your results and maximize your fitness goals!

Warm Up Movements To Do…

The main goal of any warm-up should be to prepare your muscles, joints, heart, and lungs for challenging physical activity. And while specific exercises or movements may require more nuanced warm-ups, the following 5 exercises are super effective for preparing your body in general:

  1. Light cardio. Try 5-10 minutes of light jogging, brisk walking, rowing, or cycling to get your heart rate slightly elevated, blood flowing, and joints and muscles warm.
  2. Arm circles. Hold your arms out in a T. Keeping your elbows straight, swing your arms forward in a large circle 20 times, then reverse directions.
  3. Leg swings. Put your hand against a wall or pole to stabilize yourself. Swing one leg forward as far as you can, then swing it back, moving from the hip and keeping your leg straight as possible. Repeat 20 times, then switch legs.
  4. Bear crawls. Get down on your hands and feet and “crawl” across the floor for about 2-3 minutes. For an extra challenge, try going in the reverse direction.
  5. Burpees. Jump or step down to the floor until you’re resting completely prone on the ground. Then, step or jump up back to standing, and jump and clap once over your head. Repeat slowly or quickly for 2-3 minutes.

What Stretches NOT To Do

  1. Don’t do static stretching. Stretching your muscles when they’re “cold” can cause them to constrict defensively and may damage your muscle fibers, ligaments, and tendons. Static stretching is best done after a workout when your connective tissue is sufficiently warm and loose. The key with any static stretch is to hold the position for at least 90 seconds to 2 minutes–anything less won’t actually do anything to increase your flexibility.

Don’t skip it! No matter how pressed you are for time, you should always make the effort to put in at least 5-10 minutes of dedicated warm-up time. At Texas FITT, we offer many group fitness classes with time specifically set aside for warm up. Our trainers can offer you specific moves that will help you warm up any problem areas.