Saturday, June 25, 2011

Collected Fitness Wisdom #36

Anytime you move your body through space as opposed to just moving your arms or a fixed object there’s a higher level of muscle activation, you just incorporate more muscles as opposed to laying on your back and doing a dumbbell press where nothing is really activated except those pressing muscles.

If we flip over and do a pushup, now you’re whole body is activated, so you’re getting much more bang for your buck. Your glutes,your quads, your lower back, your abs, everything comes into play and your stabilizers.

~ Jason Ferruggia (on the benefits of bodyweight exercises)

Our muscles never function in isolation. In the real world (not a gym), they work together in an intricate, global manner to allow us to stabilize, to brace, to support, and to MOVE. Focusing on MOVEMENT is what gets us stronger. Engaging our minds and entire bodies in the practice of movement is what allows us to be fit.

Gym machines with pre-determined pathways do not provide natural movement opportunities. They often force us into an unnatural pattern and give us a false sense of safety and accomplishment. Really - pushing a load over your head cannot truly tax your body's capability unless you stand up out of that comfy seat, take away the external support and engage the internal support of your core musculature.

~ Kim Ball

Okay, I get it. It’s not the best idea to walk around with elevated blood sugar levels (especially if you want to lose body fat). But do you really think that people eating beets and carrots are causing our diabetes epidemic? Or do you think that the prevalence of obesity is directly correlated with the consumption of baked sweet potatoes? Come on. If the worst thing someone did was to snack on an afternoon banana, there wouldn’t even be a single diabetic outbreak in this country.

~ John Alvino (on avoiding high glycemic fruits and vegetables)

I don't "get" diet foods. They are usually full of more chemicals and sweeteners than anything else and are probably less healthy for you. I am a big believer - if you are craving something whether it be ice cream, brownies, pizza, fettuccini alfredo... just have it! If you want chocolate get some real chocolate (I recommend EuropeanJ). Of course count it as one of your splurges making sure at least 90% of your week you are eating foods that will get you closer to your goal but if you want something don't think that having the "diet version" is going to end your craving. Plus the "diet version" may be fat free but is still full of sugar and is still not part of your 90%. If you're going to splurge, go for it and have what you are craving."

~Rachel Cosgrove

It takes training to increase strength, build endurance and DEVELOP the abdominals, but to SEE the definition in your abdominals – or any other muscle group for that matter – is almost entirely the result of low body fat levels.

This may sound counter-intuitive, but if you can’t see your abs, it’s not an issue of "muscle development" at all. You simply have too much body fat covering up the ab muscles.

~ Tom Venuto


Monday, June 20, 2011

Body & Soul's Oldest Member Celebrates Her 95th Birthday!

Happy Birthday to Annie Belstra!

Annie has a regular Monday, Wednesday and Friday schedule. Her positive attitude and perseverance are an inspiration to all the members.


Friday, June 17, 2011

All Gyms Are Not Created Equal. Does Yours Suck?

Shortly after I started working at my first gym, I took a part-time job at another fitness center. I always remember the owner saying he disliked "negative" ads because it made the entire industry look bad. Although, as I remember it, the ad he was referring to didn't really say anything bad about other gyms. I don't remember the specifics but it was something like, "at our gym we'll help you get started / you won't feel intimidated / it's not crowded"- rather vague general statements like that. I guess he disliked the implication that all gyms weren't like that.

For a long time, I thought my old boss had a point and I didn't want to do anything to discredit the fitness industry. It's too important for people to exercise and, for most folks, I think the right gym is the best option. However, the key phrase in that last statement is "the right gym."

I've decided that we're actually doing a disservice to the industry by not acknowledging the shortcomings of too many gyms. There are way too many people who've had a bad experience and then paint all fitness centers with the same brush because they think we're all alike. It becomes, "I tried joining a gym but it didn't work" or "I joined a gym but I didn't like the men staring at the women doing step class" or "I hurt myself on one of the machines."

It may be good for my business but I'm tired of hearing how a woman joined a gym but did nothing but cardio because no one ever showed her how to use the strength equipment, let alone set her up on a proper program. (This happens to men, too but I own a women's gym.)

It upsets me that members of a certain chain are told they can do the same circuit day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, and still get significant weight loss results.

You can't. Your body will adapt to doing the same thing over and over but they don't want to admit that because you'll end up cancelling your membership and going where you have more options.

I'm appalled that people actually get injured during a TRIAL workout because of the incompetence of a big box gym's trainer. I'm not making that up; it happened to one of my boot campers and you can read about it here ==> Becky's Big Gym Experience

It bothers me that woman (and probably some men who aren't muscleheads) are still made to feel like an annoyance in some gyms.

So what brought all this up?

I had asked one of my long-time members to make a video about why she liked Body & Soul Fitness Studio. (You can see it below.) When it kind of turned into a litany of what she'd experienced at other gyms, it was the final straw. Between Barb's video and the things listed above, I decided it was time to get real about what was happening in the fitness industry.

The important thing to know is that there are gyms out there with qualified instructors, that care about whether you actually use your membership, that keep up on the latest research and that teach you how to exercise correctly for your goals. Here's one ==> 

There are gyms where members are expected to return their weight plates and dumbbells when they're finished and they are not allowed to leave puddles of sweat on equipment for someone else to clean up.

I will be writing more about the differences in fitness facilities but, for now, don't give up. If you're thinking of joining a gym, get my free report, "How To Choose The Right Fitness Center For You" at

Here's Barb's video. She does talk more about Body & Soul in another video :-) . I'll post that soon.

Leave a comment below and tell me about your good or bad gym experiences.


Monday, June 13, 2011


Yesterday, I counted up all the money Body & Soul members and friends have raised for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital this year.

Once again, we surpassed our goal! Our 2010-2011 donation to St. Jude will be $1602, beating last year's total of $1451.

I am really proud of the fact that, each year, we have been able to improve upon our total.

2004-2005 - $  515
2005-2006 - $  770
2006-2007 - $ 1015
2007-2008 - $ 1289
2008-2009 - $ 1304
2009-2010 - $ 1451
2010-2011 - $ 1602

I sincerely thank everyone who helped make that possible.

Everyone who has participated in our fundraising over the years should be really proud of what we've accomplished. In speaking to folks at St. Jude they are always impressed by how much Body & Soul, a smaller gym, raises.

St. Jude is the first and only pediatric cancer center to be designated as a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute. In its 2010-2011 rankings, St. Jude was named the #1 children's cancer hospital in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.  

Researchers at St. Jude freely share discoveries with scientific and medical communities around the world. St. Jude is the only pediatric cancer research center where families never pay for treatment not covered by insurance. No child is ever denied treatment because of the family's inability to pay.


Friday, June 3, 2011

What Makes Body & Soul Fitness Studio Special

There's practically a gym on every corner nowadays so what makes Body & Soul Fitness special?

You're always treated like an individual. There is no one-size-fits-all mentality here. Every new member gets a program designed specifically for her, based on her individual goals, fitness level, available time, exercise experience, health/injury issues, etc.

I've had members ranging in age from young teens to a woman in her 90s and everywhere in between. I would never consider having everyone do the same routine. People have different needs, abilities and goals.

Included in your enrollment are 2 one-on-one personal training sessions. You'll go through your program and learn the exercises, practice correct form, learn when to increase your weights, etc.

One of the main things I hear from people who come to Body & Soul from other gyms is that they previously only did cardio (or stopped going to the gym altogether) because they didn't know how to use the strength equipment, didn't know what exercises to do, were afraid they'd hurt themselves, etc. That won't happen at Body & Soul.

The atmosphere is friendly and supportive. You will never feel intimidated or like you don't belong here. Body & Soul has THE best members around and they are very welcoming.

You can see what others have to say here ==>> Body & Soul Fitness Studio reviews

If you been frustrated with your exercise results, I can help. You don't have to spend hours in the gym to get results. You just need to know the what kind of workouts will give you the most bang for your buck.

If your #1 priority when joining a gym is the cheapest price, Body & Soul is not for you. If getting results, a great atmosphere, proper guidance and lots of support are important to you, call me today at (717) 509-7777.