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Is Swimming Good For Weight Loss?

Is Swimming Good For Weight Loss?

People often ask me why I talk about other types of exercise, which don’t involve coming to Evolution Lifestyle Fitness or linking to our website. It’s because I want everyone to enjoy the joys of being active and swimming is a very active sport. It’s fun and a good way to spend time with the family, while burning extra calories for weight loss.

Swimming burns lots of calories.

Just like any type of cardio, swimming helps burn calories. Not only does it provide a great workout to boost your heart health, it also helps boost the calories you burn. Unlike walking, running or bike riding, when you swim, you have an additional obstacle to face. That’s the extra resistance that water adds to the workout. It forces your body to use more muscle. Just walking in a pool that’s waist high can be far more wearing and difficult, burning more calories, than walking the same distance on dry land.

Swimming helps build strength as it burns calories.

The resistance of water works your muscles to burn extra calories as you do it, but it does even more than that, it builds muscle tissue. Muscle tissue requires more calories 24/7 than fat tissue does, so you’ll be boosting your metabolism as you build more muscle tissue. One study showed that middle aged women that spent just 60 minutes swimming three times a week lost substantial amounts of body fat, not just weight.

You’ll lose abdominal fat, too.

Visceral fat, which is the fat around your belly that crowds organs and is the most dangerous, is also the hardest to lose. When you lose weight, you lose it all over your body, but you can target core strength and burning abdominal fat with certain exercises. Butterfly kicks builds obliques and flutter kicks increases the strength in the lower abdomen. A study done in 2015 in the Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation found that swimming as little as three times a week caused the swimmers to lose more fat to come off the waist and hip area than their counterparts who walked that often.

  • Swimming is healthy for people of all ages due to its low impact. It’s far easier on the joints than running and many other cardio workouts and also causes less damage than lifting weights.
  • The number of calories you burn when you swim depends on how vigorous you are and your present weight. It can burn as much as 800 calories an hour for an intense workout to 500 calories an hour for a moderate one.
  • Swimming helps build core strength and works both the upper and lower body. It helps improve muscle definition, too.
  • Don’t forget that you still need to eat healthy, so if you spend the day at the beach, take a long a cooler of healthy snacks and meals to avoid buying unhealthy food at the concession stand.

For more information, contact us today at Evolution Lifestyle Fitness


Why Running Is Good For Your Heart?

Why Running Is Good For Your Heart?

You need all types of exercise to be truly healthy. You need ones that keep you flexible, ones that keep you strong and ones that improve your endurance and cardiovascular system. One of the easiest ways to get that cardio is by running. Running has a number of benefits. You can do it anywhere. It doesn’t require much equipment, outside of a good pair of running shoes. Aside from ensuring you have good posture, running for fun doesn’t require a lot of training either. Running is good for your heart and provides many other healthy benefits.

Running boosts the strength of your heart.

Just like any other muscle, the heart needs a workout to be strong. You wouldn’t expect to get strong biceps without specifically working those muscles. There’s no difference when it comes to the heart, which is a muscle also. Running increases the efficiency of the heart by strengthening the walls of the heart.

Running can help you lose weight.

Obesity is one of the leading causes of preventable deaths. In order to lose weight you have to burn more calories than you consume. Running burns calories. The key to being successful with using running as a weight loss aid is the same as it is for any type of exercise. First, you have to combine it with a healthy diet. Second, you have to be consistent. Third, you have to start off slower and work your way to faster times and longer runs.

Running helps lower both blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Low density lipoproteins—LDL, the bad cholesterol, decrease if you run 30 minutes three to five times a week. High levels of LDLs in your blood can build up and cause plaque, blocking arteries. Running can help lower the levels and prevent it from occurring. In fact, it can even reduce the amount of plaque already there. Running is also proven to help lower blood pressure levels. Like any physical activity, doing it consistently is important to get the results you want.

  • You need all types of exercises, strength, cardio, flexibility and balance, to be truly fit. While running burns a lot of calories, it uses both muscle and fat tissue to provide those calories. Add strength training two or three days a week to ensure you don’t lose muscle mass.
  • You’ll be asking your heart to do less work when you run regularly. Running strengthens the heart and lowers the pulse rate, while providing more oxygen. That means your heart won’t have to work harder.
  • Running helps improve circulation and reduces the risk of blood clots. Running regularly can reduce the risk of heart disease by as much as 55%.
  • A healthy diet is just as important as regular exercise, so make sure you have that as part of your fitness regimen. If you’re trying to shed weight, a healthy diet is the first place to start. You can’t out-exercise a bad diet.

For more information, contact us today at Evolution Lifestyle Fitness


The Best Outdoor Activities To Relieve Stress

The Best Outdoor Activities To Relieve Stress

So much has changed recently. One thing hasn’t changed. Everyone needs exercise and everyone needs a little stress in their life. There are a lot of people in Raleigh, NC that are turning to outdoor activities to relieve stress. It doesn’t mean you give up the gym, but is a great way to spend a little time every day or week to enjoy everything nature has to offer. Finding more green areas to spend time can be a boost to both mental and physical health.

Get out in nature and go for a hike.

Whether you go to a park in the city or opt for the country, a hike can seriously lower your stress level. Whether you hike the Neuse River Trail or take a walking tour of the J C Ralson Arboretum at NC State University. The walking will help relax you and so will the atmosphere. There are acres of beauty to enjoy in both areas. Our parks and wild life areas are often quieter than the busy streets of Raleigh, giving your senses a time to rest.

Take a bike ride with the family.

Most of our parks and local attractions have bike paths, too. They’re perfect when you want to move a bit faster, but still enjoy all that Mother Nature has to offer. Green spaces and getting outside can improve your immune system. Sunshine helps boost vitamin D levels and the decreased air pollution and noise not only helps boost your mental health, also improves your body’s microbiome, part of the immune system. Take a healthy picnic lunch along and have fun with the whole family.

Go for a swim.

There are plenty of lakes near Raleigh for a getaway, which provide more relaxation than a swim in a pool. You get the advantage of the swim and exercise, but also the beautiful surroundings that relax and refresh, when you go to a lake. You can combine your swim with other activities, such as taking a hike or bike ride.

  • In 2012, Raleigh was named one of the “Best Cities in America for Health and Happiness” by EcoSalon. It’s primarily because of all the natural beauty in our area. Enjoy it. It’s part of the benefit of living in Raleigh.
  • Enjoy your lawn or if you don’t have one, find a park. Take off your shoes and walk in the grass. It’s called grounding and some studies show it offers the benefits of reducing inflammation, aiding cardiovascular disease, helping heal muscle damage, relieving chronic pain, and improving mood.
  • Take Rover for a walk. If you don’t own a dog, volunteer at a shelter. They’re always looking for someone to help take care of the dogs. Help your neighbor or join a senior relative when they walk the dog.
  • Play. Join the kids in play. Whether it’s shooting hoops or a game of tag, both the exercise and comradery will make your family stronger.

For more information, contact us today at Evolution Lifestyle Fitness


Favorite Healthy Indoor Activities

Favorite Healthy Indoor Activities

So many of you told me of the healthy indoor activities you’ve developed with your kids during the shut down. There’s so much more you can do with your child besides watching television, although watching a fun documentary with animals can lead to making animal moves, like a walking elephant and pouncing tiger. It’s all about movement and instilling healthy ideals while children are young.

Let’s get physical.

No matter what size your home is, there’s always a few square feet for exercising. You may have worked out with us virtually and requested a program for everyone in the family. Use your imagination and what you have on hand. Do weight lifting with food cans. Try dancing or even do freeze dancing for some isometric training. Balloon volleyball might be a bit too much, but it’s fun if you have room.

Healthy activities can also include learning to eat healthier.

In the earlier days of our country, people stayed home, all the time. Children learned to cook by watching their parent cook. Time inside, whether it’s caused by bad weather or a stay at home order, can also be a great time to teach nutritious meal preparation. Get the kids to help you in the kitchen to make meal plan meals and even get their feed back for some tasty ideas. Try something new for meals or snacks and make that a taste test Friday or Saturday.

Teach children ways to deal with stress before they face it.

Seriously, being a kid can be stressful. While many of the stresses drop away as kids run and play, learning helpful techniques early can also be beneficial, especially if children have difficulty taking tests or speaking in public. Learning mindfulness, breathing exercises or mindfulness techniques is something children can use the rest of their lives.

  • No matter what your age, having a sleep schedule is important. That means going to bed at the same time and getting up at the same time, whether it’s a school night or not.
  • You can even make eating more fun by using scraps to raise veggies. Putting the base of a celery stalk in water until it roots and then transferring to a shallow container is one way. Use the seeds from fruit to start citrus, apple or fruit trees.
  • Take some quiet time and write each other a letter. Make it a habit to include a letter to each person in the family on special and ordinary days. It’s a great way to tell the kids how proud you are and can make a wonderful gift for a child to give to a parent.
  • Create a house scavenger hunt. Hide notes with clues about where the next clue will be with the final clue to help locate the prize. You can include activities at each clue site, like do ten jumping jacks before you hunt for the next clue.

For more information, contact us today at Evolution Lifestyle Fitness


How To Meal Prep Healthy Lunches

How To Meal Prep Healthy Lunches

My clients at Evolution Lifestyle Fitness in Raleigh, NC, focus not only on their fitness, but their family’s health and fitness. That’s one reason we have programs for individuals of all ages, from five to seniors who are 71+. I recommend meal preparation to help busy people stay in shape. Since some of my clients want to have healthier meals than schools offer, they’ve asked for school lunches that can be made ahead. These may be called school lunches, but they’re also a great option to have in the refrigerator for the kids even when they’re not in school.

Start by making a meal plan.

Planning your meals is the first step toward success. You can make your own meal plans or use ones that remove any effort, like ours, which also include a grocery list. Once you’ve created your meals for the week and grocery list, take one day to go shopping. Make sure you ate before you do it. While our meal planner provides lunch menus, if you want to opt for something different for the kids, consider what you cooked for your main meals, such as chicken, to use it for their lunches.

Use the meals you cooked to help direct school lunches.

Did you bake a chicken for a delicious meal? Use some of that chicken for school lunches. For instance, leftover turkey, roast, chicken or ham could be combined with cheese for a roll-up. Add a dish of almonds, sliced fresh vegetables and some fresh fruit, like grapes and/or apple slices with crackers and a small container of butter would make a well balanced school lunch.

Find what your kids love and make it ahead.

Besides using the extras from regular meal planning, have some handy favorites to show up in the lunch box on a weekly basis. Does your child love homemade granola? Make it on the weekend and use some of it for lunch boxes during the week. How about healthy muffins? When you’re doing food prep, you’ll have some return favorites, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, hard boiled eggs and hummus or dip. Make these ahead, too. Try a single container taco bowl made from left over meat like ground beef or finely chopped chicken in taco seasoning, cooked brown rice, corn, a small container of salsa and/or sliced avocado, sliced bell peppers and shredded cheese. Add a small bag of nachos for scooping.

  • Precut fruit, like apples and pears, stay fresher when they’re tossed in a mixture of one part lemon juice and one part water, then stored in an airtight container. Putting a little lemon juice on sliced avocados also prevent browning for 24 hours.
  • Make a salad in a jar. This one is good for teens. Put the dressing on the bottom, add something sweet, like apples, grapes or even sweet peppers. Next add celery, radishes and other veggies, walnuts and top that with walnuts greens and put on the lid. Make a taco version for younger kids.
  • Send a turkey protein sandwich box. Make a dressing from cream cheese, seasoned with horseradish, white vinegar, green onion, salt and pepper. Spread it on healthy bread, add a slice of Swiss cheese, pickled sweet peppers, leaf lettuce and sliced chicken/ turkey. Add sliced apples and carrots on the side.
  • Switch up the interest in sandwiches by making burrito wraps, flat bread or using pita pockets. You can make these with separate dressing that can be used as a dip or added right before eating.

For more information, contact us today at Evolution Lifestyle Fitness


Forming Good Habits And Getting Rid Of The Bad Ones

Forming Good Habits And Getting Rid Of The Bad Ones

Are you trying to build good habits, but find that bad ones get in your way. It’s time to change both. The person you are today is a result of the things you do continuously, which means your habits. If you have to lose weight, it isn’t that one piece of cake that put on the pounds you have to lose. It’s the habit of eating a few extra calories each meal or grabbing a high calorie snack that puts the calorie count over the top. If you’re out of shape, it’s not because you missed one workout session. It’s because you never actually got started and were sedentary most of the time. You are the result of your habits.

Habits all develop the same way, whether good or bad.

Habits are basically a chain reaction. If you’ve ever switched jobs, you’ve probably experienced going toward the old job mindlessly instead of driving toward your new job. You’ve done it so long and it’s your way to work that it’s a natural reaction when you get into your car. It’s the same with habits. You have to first identify the problem, like slumping in your chair when you get home. There’s always something that starts that behavior—called a trigger or reminder. In the case of driving the wrong way, it’s going to work. For those who don’t exercise, it’s getting off work. You then respond with a routine—driving to the old job or hunkering down in the easy chair. The reward is the next step. In the case of driving the wrong way, there’s no reward—paycheck—for going the wrong way, so the chain is broken and the habit disappears or starts to disappear. For those living the sedentary life, it’s watching TV or grabbing some zzzz’s is still a reward.

It’s tough to end a bad habit.

Once you identify bad habits, it’s easier to change them. Find an alternative. For instance, if snacking is your downfall, identify the time you snack and have healthy snacks ready. If you’re a grazer, make sure there’s plenty of healthy food you can eat when you graze that are nutritious, yet low in calories like fresh fruit and vegetables. If slumping in the easy chair after work is your bad habit, go to the gym right after work instead of home. You’ve broken the cycle and changed the trigger.

When you’re developing a new habit, take baby steps at first.

Decide the new behavior you want and create a way to achieve it. If it’s eating healthier, shopping for snack foods simply don’t fit the plan. Having healthy snacks available does. That both ends unhealthy habits and starts new healthier ones. Create reminders that can be your new cues to a healthier habit. Having an appointment with a trainer is a reminder to work out. It’s one of the reasons working with a trainer is more successful. Working out at the same time creates a habit and once it’s formed, it’s easier to keep.

  • Create a compact with yourself to workout at the same time every day and stick with it for at least two months to form a habit, but it’s worth it.
  • If you want to get in the habit of moving around at least five minutes out of every hour, use your phone to remind you to do that. It’s easy to remember if your alarm goes off every 50 minutes to an hour.
  • New habits fail because the change is too big, difficult or ambitious. Start with baby steps. If you need to exercise more, start by taking ten-minute walks and extend the time and pace every two weeks.
  • Don’t give yourself an out. Take your lunch to work so you can’t opt for an unhealthy lunch. Meet a friend at the gym to ensure you’ll go. Create a plan that ensures you’ll accomplish your goal for the day and turn it into a habit eventually.

For more information, contact us today at Evolution Lifestyle Fitness


How To Combat Fitness Complacency

How To Combat Fitness Complacency

There’s nothing wrong with feeling good about your accomplishments or taking time to enjoy the progress you made, unless it causes you to quit trying. If your goal was to lose 20-pounds and you’ve made it to the halfway mark, it can be a time for celebration, but can also be an important time to hunker down and get back to work. It’s too easy to rest on your accomplishment and feel smug or satisfied with your achievements. However, it’s the very time you need to combat fitness complacency.

If you’ve lost weight in the past and even reached your goal, only to regain it, you’ve been complacent.

Even if you made it all the way to your goal, it’s no time to stop. One of the problems is that you’ve reached your goal, but you never set another to take its place. Create a new goal. It doesn’t have to be about losing weight if you’re at your perfect weight, but make it about fitness and staying in shape. Maybe you love the idea of cooking healthier. Make it your goal to try two new recipes a week or even create two. Consider a huge challenge like the Ironman or Tough Mudder and prepare for it. You need a new goal or you’ll go back to old habits that created the problem in the first place.

Find an icon or a mentor that’s doing better than you are.

If there’s someone you admire that’s in great shape, learn from them. Make it your goal to improve your fitness in all areas. One of the reasons many people become personal trainers is that they appreciated the knowledge and skills of other trainers and set their sites to be more like the trainer they admired. While you don’t have to go that far, all the trainers in the gym are willing to help and guide you toward a higher level of fitness, share their secrets and help you be the best you can be.

Develop a hobby that is more than going to the gym, but still keeps you fit.

Maybe it’s hiking all the trails at the local park or scaling that climbing wall, whatever you choose to challenge yourself with should reflect the need to stay in shape. Don’t let your success at achieving your goal leave you complacent and without another goal to fill the void. That’s the key to staying fit. Everyone needs a challenge. It’s what makes life interesting.

  • As you approach your goal, talk with your trainer or a friend into fitness to find another challenge. You’ll be amazed at some of the new ideas you’ll get that you might not have considered.
  • Rather than bathing in your success, always demand more from yourself. It’s good whether your goals are for fitness, business or life in general.
  • It’s counterproductive if you shame yourself for falling off the wagon after having success. Get back to what made you reach your goals and then create new ones so you don’t do it again.
  • Get out of your comfort zone. Take on new challenges that you don’t think you can do. Make it part of your regular workout or daily routine. For instance, it might be lifting a certain weight or extending your endurance.

For more information, contact us today at Evolution Lifestyle Fitness


Parenthood - Being Active In A Family Environment, While Keeping Goals In Mind

Parenthood – Being Active In A Family Environment, While Keeping Goals In Mind

If you’ve experienced a lot of changes in Raleigh, NC, due to the recent outbreak, it’s time to make those changes benefit you and help you be more active in a family environment. You can do this by keeping goals in mind when you’re planning activities. Even though there was a mandatory closing of public places, there’s always fresh air and activity outside of normally crowded areas. If you’re inside, you can set up active games, exercise with the family and even have cooking adventures to make healthy meals.

Things you can do with the family outside that can make everyone healthier.

The weather is nice and it’s time to do some work outside. Whether it’s cleaning up the lawn after winter, planting or even washing windows working as a team, it can actually be family fun. Don’t worry if the kids goof off a little, as long as their doing it safely, just laugh along. You’ll be amazed at how much fun planting a garden can be and how much kids love to see the things they planted grow. Make it a learning opportunity, just in case they’re not back in school. There was an era during WWII where Victory gardens were popular. Why not use this time to grow a few of your own vegetables? It will encourage healthy eating.

Turn on the music and dance at home, take a walk or ride a bike.

Getting outdoors means soaking up some of that great vitamin D from the sun, but if you want to exercise inside and not make it feel like exercising, have a dance session with the kids. It doesn’t have to be anything that you’d actually do in a public area, but just let it all go. Let your body do the dancing to the beat without putting any thought into it. It’s a lot of fun.

Get the family together in the kitchen making meals.

I think one of the things that most people have learned from the recent outbreak is that we don’t spend nearly as much time with our family as we should. It’s time to start doing family activities that get everyone involved. Choose several healthy recipes and let the kids choose which ones they want for supper. Let them help make it, too. Even very young children can help or at least be part of the group if you give them a spoon or cup to bang while you cook. If you have a toddler, they can pour pre-measured ingredients into a bowl, tear up greens into pieces or mash vegetables, just to mention a few.

  • School age children and few that are slightly younger, can help by starting a window herb garden. Herbs add both flavor and nutrition to a dish and being able to just tear off a leaf or two when cooking is super enjoyable, especially when kids started the plant themselves.
  • Shoot some hoops with the kids and get the whole family involved. You can create teams or play HORSE, but teams are more active. Try to balance your teams and let everyone have a chance in the action.
  • If family time is inside and you have younger children, try games like animal charades, where they act out the animal. It’s active and fun. Also an inside obstacle course or musical chairs can be entertaining.
  • The key to any family fun that both brings your family closer and keeps them healthier is understanding and caring. Eating meals together, choosing healthy alternatives and encouragement will help every family become closer.

For more information, contact us today at Evolution Lifestyle Fitness


Real Family Fitness

Real Family Fitness

What’s the best gift you can give to your children, parents, spouse or loved ones? It’s the gift of good health and energy. That’s why we focus on family fitness at Evolution Lifestyle Fitness. What happens to one person in a family affects all the rest, so each member needs to be healthy. If you’re not taking care of yourself, but focus only on others, you’re creating a dynamic that affects your family in both little and big ways. If you’re a parent, you’re a role model. You also need to be healthy to take care of your family, or they’ll end up taking care of you. Keeping each family member is important, even when that member is you.

Family fitness has its perks.

When was the last time you laughed and played with the kids or did anything active as a family? Creating family memories come from little things, like shooting baskets after work or playing hide and seek. It also comes from big things like going to theme parks or vacations hiking. Both of those things need every family member to be fit to enjoy it to its maximum. When the entire family works out together, everyone will be ready for fun and adventure.

Teaching kids early about healthy eating can make a difference.

Making sure your kids are ready for action with a healthy meal is both good for their health and their development. It also helps prevent sugar highs and lows that can destroy a family’s enjoyment. You’ll be amazed at the difference in behavior when kids get healthy snacks, such as apples with peanut butter, nuts or veggies and dip, rather than sweet treats. It can change a lot of behavior that’s less than stellar, improve their school work and keep the home happier. It does the same thing for every family member, including you.

Help Grandma and Grandpa to live on their own longer.

Sometimes, parents and grandparents want to work out and participate, but hate going anywhere alone or simply don’t drive anymore. You could help them remain independent by picking them up and going with them to Evolution Lifestyle Fitness. We have classes for every age, including those 71 and older. We also help with dietary education that’s geared specifically for each age group and personal preference. You’ll be doing something very special for someone you love when you take a parent or grandparent to fitness training.

  • If you aren’t ready for all the changes that lead to family fitness, start with one and add to it later. Whether you choose to change your eating habits first or start an exercise program is up to you. Just do it.
  • Not only does a fitness program help build strong bodies, it helps develop character. Whether you’re six or sixty, setting goals and accomplishing them transfers to other parts of life.
  • Working out not only builds a strong body, it builds a strong mind. Studies show it improves cognitive abilities, helps kids in school and boosts job performance.
  • You can sample the services free at Lifestyle Evolution Fitness. Whether you choose a free personal training session or a week of free group training sessions, we know you’ll be impressed.

For more information, contact us today at Evolution Lifestyle Fitness


Nutrition For Life

Nutrition For Life

If you’ve been on a number of diets and either lost weight, but gained it back again or simply quit after eating some forbidden food, you know the frustration of yo-yo dieting. You lose five pounds only to gain six. You start a diet on Monday, but are starving by Thursday and head for the candy machine at work or grab a chili dog at the gas station. It’s time to break out of that prison and quit living a life that’s a constant diet. It’s time to learn how to develop a plan of nutrition for life.

Too often people think that eating healthy is just like dieting.

Eating healthy is so very different from dieting. The biggest difference is that dieting always ends. Sometimes, it ends in success and other times it ends at three in the morning with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. Eating healthy never ends. It’s more about making smarter choices when it comes to food, rather than depriving yourself. When you eat healthy, you can still have some of your favorite foods that might be forbidden on a diet. You just can’t eat them as often and always keep portion control in mind.

Eating healthy can mean substituting one food for another.

Do you love sour cream on your baked potato? How about trying a dollop of Greek yogurt instead? It still creates a creamy texture when added, adds that delicious flavor, but is higher in nutrition and lower in calories. If you love baking, you’ll appreciate substituting unsweetened applesauce for some of the sugar or oil. It adds to the flavor, while cutting calories and adding nutrition. There are many different substitutions you can make that won’t detract from flavor or your enjoyment.

Planning ahead will help you stick with a program of healthy eating and we can help you do it.

It’s a busy world and sometimes it seems easier just to stop for fast food, even though it’s not the healthiest choice. Sometimes, your hunger overwhelms you and you head for the candy machine at work, the candy counter in the store or those candy bars you stuck in the freezer last Halloween. Eating healthy makes sure you never get to that point of desperation. It provides for three meals a day plus healthy snacks mid-morning and mid-afternoon.

  • The biggest change may be giving up processed foods and foods with added sugar. Switching to whole foods—food that is closer to its natural state—isn’t easy at first. You’ll still crave added sugar for a while, but that quickly goes away in the second or third week.
  • You’ll be less tempted to grab a sugary snack if you combine the program of healthy eating with adequate sleep and exercise. Lack of sleep messes up your hunger hormones and exercise can lift your spirits and eliminate stress that cause you to overeat.
  • You’ll be amazed at how delicious real food tastes. Your sense of taste is destroyed by added sugar and once it returns, you’ll note the true sweetness of fresh fruit and the just how delicious healthy food tastes.
  • At Evolution Lifestyle Fitness, we make it easier to eat healthy. You can access all the information from your phone or computer that provides healthy menus, bar code scanners to find healthy options and even grocery lists to make it easier.

For more information, contact us today at Evolution Lifestyle Fitness