Fitness & Wellness

How To Overcome Plateaus In Your Fitness Journey

How To Overcome Plateaus In Your Fitness Journey

People in Fort Lee, NJ, often face plateauing when they’re getting fit. They may face stalled weight loss or the inability to progress further in strength, flexibility, endurance, or balance. If you face those same struggles, don’t worry. You can overcome plateaus in fitness by making a few changes. Identifying the type of plateauing you face determines the solution.

Are you having problems with stalled-out weight loss?

Weight loss doesn’t occur in a straight decline. Some weeks you’ll lose more weight than others, despite doing identical workouts and eating the same amount of calories. Sometimes, you are losing fat and gaining muscle. Since muscle weighs more per cubic inch than fat tissue does, you’ll look thinner but weigh the same. That’s not a problem. In that case, you’re making progress. Other times, you’re doing neither, building muscle or losing weight. You have to reevaluate your program to solve that problem.

Both weight-loss and workout plateaus have similar causes.

If you’re not varying your routine or making it more challenging, you’ll plateau. Your body becomes efficient at the workout you’re doing so it burns fewer calories. You may maintain your endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility level, but won’t get any better. The more you continue the same routine, the fewer calories you’ll burn and the less muscle you’ll build. Make your workout more challenging and vary your workout more often to overcome the problem.

Over exercising can lead to plateauing.

If you’ve changed your workout and are pushing hard, maybe you need to look at your workout schedule. Are you working at peak intensity every day without giving your body a chance to rest and recover? That can also lead to plateauing. Overtraining exhausts the body, especially when you’re doing high-intensity workouts and strength-building exercises. Strength training causes micro tears in the muscle that require 48 to 72 hours to heal. If you don’t allow enough time for recovery, it can cause plateauing and even loss of progress. That can lead to weight gain, loss of muscle tissue, and burnout.

  • Plateauing can occur if the workout you’re doing isn’t effective. It can also occur when you’re not exercising consistently, pushing yourself enough, or increasing the reps, sets, or amount of weight used.
  • Lack of sleep can affect your progress. When you sleep, it allows your body to heal. Lack of sleep can also affect your energy level and the intensity of your workout.
  • Maybe your plateauing isn’t starting in the gym. Maybe it occurs because of an unhealthy diet. If you’re eating too many calories, you’ll gain weight. If you don’t have enough protein, you’ll lose muscle mass.
  • Our trainers at VIP Fitness will create a personalized program that includes dietary help. We track your progress to ensure you’re making the fastest progress possible and make the changes necessary to avoid plateauing.

For more information, contact us today at VIP Fitness Center

Tips To Make Your Workout More Effective

Tips To Make Your Workout More Effective

At VIP Fitness in Fort Lee, NJ, we focus on ways to make client workouts more effective. Some of the ways involve how you do a workout and some are specific to our training. Other ways are for people who work out on their own without a trainer. One example of the second group is simple. Make every minute count. Have a plan of action and a list that includes the exercises, number of reps, and number of sets.

Do a HIIT—high intensity interval training—workout.

HIIT isn’t a special workout but a way of doing workouts. You do an interval of high-intensity exercise, followed by a recovery period, and then go back to high intensity. You alternate between the two throughout the workout. Most people use it for a cardio workout, but you also can use it with strength-building exercises by combining it with a full-body circuit Just go at peak intensity and slowly reduce the rest between exercises.

Do compound and full-body exercises.

Compound and full-body exercises work several muscles, joints, and ligaments at one time. Because you have to use more energy to move more parts of your body, you burn more calories. You’d be amazed at how many workouts there are for each muscle. If you only work on individual muscles, your workout will keep you in the gym forever. Lunges and burpees are examples.

Have a cup of coffee and a pre-workout snack before exercising.

It’s all about the caffeine in the coffee. It stimulates the central nervous system to give an extra boost to your performance. The pre-workout snack should be a combination of protein and carbohydrates that keep you going at peak performance. It can be as simple as apple slices spread with nut butter. A pre-workout snack also jump-starts the recovery process, especially when you follow your workout with a post-workout snack.

  • Cut the rest time between sets and repetitions. Five minutes may be best if you’re doing an intense workout, but if the workout is moderate, cut that time in half.
  • Add weights to your workout. Bodyweight exercises bring admirable results, but if you’ve been exercising a while, you may need more challenges. Combine bodyweight workouts with weights.
  • Get down to business. Turn off your phone, and don’t stop to talk to anyone until after your workout is complete. Too often, people spend hours at the gym but get less than an hour of exercise.
  • Track your progress. Winners keep score, and you should too. Log the number of reps and sets for each exercise. Once the exercise feels easy, increase your efforts to match your new fitness level.

For more information, contact us today at VIP Fitness Center

How To Perform A Perfect Squat

How To Perform A Perfect Squat

Squats are part of a group of several exercises that everyone should do. They’re functional fitness exercises that help prevent injuries from falls and strains by improving balance. When you can do a perfect squat, you’ll improve the potential of independent living. It’s a very basic move that most people can do as a baby but lose that ability as they grow older. It requires muscles from both the upper body and lower body that you use doing daily activities.

Boost your nitric oxide with squats.

When you move your muscles during exercise, you increase the nitric oxide in your system. Nitric oxide expands the blood vessels and lowers blood pressure. The larger the muscle, the more nitric oxide you produce. Squats work large muscle groups. Squats work the glutes, quads, hamstrings, hip flexors, calves, and adductors in the lower body and the core muscles.

Focus on the starting position.

The correct starting position can determine whether your squat will be perfect or a dud. The perfect squat starts by holding your trunk straight, your head up, and your shoulders relaxed and back. Your lower back should have a slight curve. This is the neutral position where your spine is in line. It’s the position your upper body should maintain when you squat. Some people bend their heads backward or tilt them forward. That diminishes the benefits. You only bend at the hip.

Start with the basic squat.

There are all types of squats but the basic squat starts with toes slightly pointing outward with feet a little wider than shoulder width. Variations may use different foot widths and positioning. As you lower your body, bending at the hip, keep your abdomen tight with your stomach pulled in to maintain stability as you protect the spine. Lower your hips while keeping your weight on your heels. Keep your knees in line with your big toe and no further out. When your hips are parallel to the floor, push up with your heels back to the starting position.

  • Don’t overarch your back. Keep the natural curve throughout the exercise. You may try compensating for a weak back by overarching or leaning too far forward. Keep the weight off the balls of the feet and on the heels.
  • If your thighs are weaker, your knees will move inward when you squat. That can stress the joints and ligaments to cause injury. When squatting, lower your body as far as you can without feeling discomfort.
  • Always focus on the basic form before you begin any variations. Once you perfect your form, you change foot position, add weights, or even squat on one leg. You can even do jump squats.
  • Your core muscles act like a weight belt when you do squats. They hold everything in place, so keep them activated throughout the entire exercise.

For more information, contact us today at VIP Fitness Center

Is It Possible To Eat Well While Travelling?

Is It Possible To Eat Well While Travelling?

If you focus on eating healthy at home but find that travel can end that, here are tips to help. You can eat well when you travel, but it takes planning. You don’t have to be on an extended trip. It can occur when you take frequent short trips. Whether it’s a quick lunch from a drive-through or food at the airport, you’ll pay a price for those unhealthy meals. No matter how you travel, focus on eating healthy foods.

Make a wise choice when you don’t have options.

Yogurt, some soups and salads, and fruit are good choices. Avoid fruit-in-the-bottom yogurt that has loads of sugar. Choose salads with a wide selection of vegetables and broiled chicken or tuna on top. You’ll find most of these things at food stations in the airport. Avoid creamed soup and opt for one with a broth base. You can get similar foods at drive-throughs but should check their menu ahead on the internet.

Traveling by car lets you pack your own food, but you can carry snacks to the airport.

It’s definitely easier to stop at a restaurant. It also provides a nice break from driving, but you’ll have more control if you pack your lunch. Find a park or place to stop to enjoy it. Get out and stretch your legs. That makes it even healthier. Prepare ahead with good refreezerable ice packs and a small cooler to take along. Include healthy snacks for mid-morning and mid-afternoon. If you need help planning, we provide nutritional advice.

If your trip is long, research for every stop along the way.

You can research local restaurants or do an internet search for farmers’ markets and groceries and make fresh meals. Most people make room reservations before leaving. If you do, check to see if they have a refrigerator in the room. You can purchase fresh vegetables, wash them, and slice them for dinner. If they have a microwave, you have even more food options. Make sure you have healthy snacks for the next day.

  • Drink plenty of water. If you’re driving, have a few in the cooler. When you take one out, replenish it. If you’re flying, take an empty water bottle through security and fill it up at a water fountain once you pass.
  • If you need a full meal and have a layover, check the menus at the airport restaurants. For instance, Newark Liberty International Airport restaurants have veggie triple deckers, steamed veggies, and harvest salad.
  • If you’re on a flight that offers meals, find out what they are ahead of time. Some are very healthy, and others aren’t. Eating light, hydrating, and eating healthy are necessary for digestion if you’re sitting a lot, which can cause digestive issues if you don’t plan well.
  • Avoid fried food and choose grilled or broiled instead. If you have a choice, opt for baked potatoes over mashed. Skip sugary drinks and choose water, unsweetened tea, or black coffee. Choose a vinaigrette dressing for your salad.

For more information, contact us today at VIP Fitness Center

Is Cardio The Best For Weight Loss?

Is Cardio The Best For Weight Loss?

For some Fort Lee residents, running plays a vital role in their lives. There’s nothing wrong with running. It’s a great cardio workout. If they do it simply for weight loss, other ways to achieve that goal can be more efficient. Only doing cardiovascular workouts isn’t a healthy option. Your body needs workouts to build more than just cardio endurance. It requires strength, flexibility, and balance exercises, too. All types of exercise burn more calories than you would watching television, but two of them are better. Cardio is one, and strength-building is the other. Both torch calories, but one boosts your metabolism as it burns extra calories.

Both cardio and strength training burn a lot of calories.

Whether running, bike riding, or jumping rope, you’ll burn more calories than you would doing yoga or stretching. You also burn extra calories doing strength training, too. There’s a reason to include both in your workout. Cardio burns calories but gets those calories from burning fat and muscle tissue. Strength training also burns calories.

What’s the difference between the two?

While cardio burns the most calories, it gets them from muscle tissue and fat. Strength training burns fat and builds muscle tissue. That’s important for your weight loss program. The more muscle tissue you have, the more calories you burn, even when you sleep. That’s because muscle tissue requires more calories to maintain than fat tissue does. The more you have, the more fat tissue you burn 24/7. You get a boost to your metabolism.

Change your workouts and burn more calories.

You can add one variable to strength-building and cardio workouts to make your body a virtual oven to burn calories. Instead of doing steady-state workouts, change the workout to HIIT—high intensity interval training. The difference between the two is the intensity level. For steady state, you continue at the same pace throughout the session. For a HIIT workout, you go at peak intensity for a minute, more or less, and then reduce the intensity to a recovery pace for that length or longer, returning to the high-intensity level. You continue to change intensity throughout the workout. It adds cardio to strength-building workouts and increases the calories burned for both types of exercises.

  • Don’t forget to add flexibility and balance training to your workout. You need all four forms of exercise. Flexibility training doesn’t burn extra calories. It increases your range of motion, so you don’t have an injury that can set you back for months.
  • No matter what exercises you do, consistency is the key to weight loss. Unless you regularly workout, you won’t get the results you want.
  • Intense training is the best for burning calories. It causes excess post-exercise oxygen consumption—EPOC. That makes the body burn extra calories for hours after quitting the workout. HIIT is one example of intense training.
  • You can’t out-exercise a bad diet. No matter how many calories you burn, you won’t see results if you don’t change your dietary habits. It takes 2 ½ hours to burn off the calories of a Big Mac, small fries, and a small soft drink.

For more information, contact us today at VIP Fitness Center

How To Properly Detox

How To Properly Detox

There are many ways to eliminate toxins from the body. There are toxins in shampoos, cleaning products, and even your food. There are healthy ways to eliminate those toxins from the body. Exercising until you sweat is one way to detox. Many people in Fort Lee, NJ, opt for that and a healthy diet. Sweating out toxins is the basis for saunas in Scandinavia and sweat lodges of native Americans. Other types of detoxing were part of ancient traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicines. It all starts with preparing the body for a detox.

Planning a detox and easing into it is the key.

Alcohol and drug abuse, sugar addiction, and tobacco use may be the focus of your detox. If you’re quitting smoking or giving up sugar or other addictive substances, start to prepare your body by cutting back on use. Start eliminating chemicals you use in the house and switch to more natural options. Instead of commercial cleaners, use distilled vinegar to clean and sanitize the bathroom. Toxins can be both external and internal. An overabundance of stress toxins can create as many health issues as other types of pollution. It’s an internal form of pollution. Learn deep breathing techniques, meditation, or other relaxation techniques.

Identify the day or days you’ll detox.

Your detox days should be free of other distractions. Schedule it when you can stay home or have a quiet time to relax. Look for the best detox program for your needs. Some people opt for ones that use only organic fruits and vegetables in smoothies or soups. Others use fasting. If you use fasting, always check with your healthcare professional first. If you exercise regularly, cut back on detox days and focus on mild exercise, like walking.

Detoxing provides a rest for your system.

While a detox flushes out the system, it does even more. A light diet or fast gives your digestion a chance to rest. Both animals and humans cease eating for a short time when they don’t feel good. It allows their body to focus on healing rather than digestion. Detoxing is similar, except you don’t wait until you’re ill to fast or eat lightly. Detoxing helps improve the elimination of toxins through the skin, intestines, and kidneys. It improves liver function and circulation.

  • If you’re detoxing with fruits and vegetables, focus on smoothies instead of juicing. The higher fiber will help with elimination and make you feel fuller. Drink plenty of water.
  • Detoxing isn’t for everyone. If you’re diabetic, pregnant, or nursing, have a medical condition, or are taking medication, check with your healthcare specialist. Stick with natural foods rather than commercial detox products. Not all of them are safe.
  • Life can become complicated. If you’re under stress or find your schedule suddenly crowded, put detoxing on the back burner until you have a break. Instead, focus on exercising and perfecting relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises.
  • Detoxing shouldn’t replace a healthy diet and program of exercise. It’s a supplement. We can help you with our personalized diet and exercise programs that help reduce the toxins daily.

For more information, contact us today at VIP Fitness Center

Fun Fitness Activities To Do With The Kids

Fun Fitness Activities To Do With The Kids

Every parent wants what’s best for their kids. They want them to have all the advantages they didn’t have growing up. Unfortunately, many fun activities for children today revolve around a sedentary lifestyle. While it might be fun, it doesn’t encourage fitness. Studies show that children perform better in school when they’re fit. It can benefit your child to search for ways to keep them active while having fun.

Start making exercise fun when they’re young.

Young children love special time with Mom or Dad. It doesn’t matter whether it’s sitting on their lap, playing peek-a-boo, or holding hands and walking. Why not include them in your exercise routine? You can make your crunches more fun by sitting your little one on your belly and leaning back on your legs. As you lift your head, blow a kiss, say boo, or do whatever it takes to get them to laugh. They can join you in exercise the older they get. They may not have the perfect form for windmills or jumping jacks, but it’s fun and active. It lets you get in exercise time and spend time with them.

Make family time active time.

Go for walks together and discover nature. It helps boost their mental and physical abilities. Take bike rides in safe areas as a family. Stop and have lunch along the way. Visit a park to hike and swim. All these are active ways to enjoy life. Keep the computers at home and cell phones in the backpack and not in use. Don’t allow electronic gadgets to spoil your fun. Use them only for calls or to find directions.

Involve the neighborhood or other parents in the quest for fitness.

Have a neighborhood hula-hoop challenge or get together with other parents and walk your kids to school when the weather is nice. You’ll be surprised at how many other parents love the idea but don’t want to be the only ones to do it. Your kids will appreciate they’re not the only family doing it, especially if they’re older. Whether it’s hanging a basketball hoop or creating an obstacle path to run, making it easier to stay active helps keep children moving.

  • Focus gifts on things that keep you and your child active. Make Christmas a time for giving all family members bikes or choose an active family vacation. Use the trip as an incentive to exercise and get into shape.
  • Turn up the music and dance with the kids. Impromptu dance time can be fun. It doesn’t have to be any particular time. Do it when the mood strikes. Use the same song and act out the song with exaggerated movement.
  • Even chores can be fun. Raking the leaves together and letting the children jump in the big pile of leaves can be fun. Do speed cleaning and make it a race to see who gets finished first.
  • Studies show that too much computer time is unhealthy. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests only an hour or two daily on electronics. Too much time can cause stress. Staying active boosts brain power and keeps your child healthy.

For more information, contact us today at VIP Fitness Center

How Can I Tell If I’m Dehydrated?

You’ll be more prepared for the summer heat and exercise when you can identify that you’re dehydrated. The best way to fight dehydration is to avoid it in the first place. Drink water before you exercise. Sip on it during exercise and finish your session with a bottle of water if you’re perspiring heavily. Dehydration can have many signs which may vary by age. Seniors, who dehydrate faster, often show signs that resemble dementia, while infants may become lethargic.

Dry cracked lips and lack of skin turgor are signs.

One of the first signs of dehydration is thirst and a dry mouth. If you ignore those signs, your lips will become dry and cracked. That suggests you need to take action quickly. You can also test for dehydration the way doctors and veterinarians do, by skin turgor. For humans, it’s a simple pinch of skin on the forearm or abdomen. After the skin is released, if it returns to normal quickly, there’s not a problem, but if it remains tented, it’s a sign of dehydration. With animals, the vet pinches the back of the neck.

A simple test is the color of your urine.

Urine should be a light yellow. If it’s clear, you’re overhydrated. However, if it’s a dark yellow to almost brown, it’s not diluted with enough fluid, an easy sign that dehydration has occurred. Scant urine is also a sign of dehydration, particularly in babies. If your child doesn’t require normal changing frequency, they may be dehydrated. Headaches and exhaustion are also signs. Your brain and heart are mostly fluid. If you don’t have adequate fluid in your body due to dehydration, you can get headaches, brain fog, and cardio functioning problems causing exhaustion.

Your blood pressure is an indicator of dehydration.

Changes in blood pressure vary. Some people experience an increase in blood pressure when they’re dehydrated, while others experience a decrease in it. Dehydration causes low blood volume. Low blood volume can cause blood pressure to drop. It can also cause the body to produce more vasopressin to cause blood vessels to constrict to increase adequate blood flow. The vessels and thicker blood cause an increase in blood pressure. If your blood pressure is abnormally low or high, it’s a sign of dehydration.

  • Dehydration can lead to an interruption of your normal sleep-wake cycle. Scientists discovered that dehydration caused a shorter sleep cycle, which leaves you tired the following day.
  • Your heart won’t function as well if you’re dehydrated. It reduces the functioning of the left ventricle. That change can leave you exhausted and diminish the effectiveness of your workout.
  • Besides a headache from dehydration, it can cause mood changes, lack of focus, poor memory, and interrupted concentration.
  • Dizziness is another indicator of dehydration. Blood thickens from dehydration, causing blood channels in the brain to expand, creating a headache.

For more information, contact us today at VIP Fitness Center

Can "Cheat Days" Ruin Your Fitness Journey?

Can “Cheat Days” Ruin Your Fitness Journey?

The latest diet talks in Fort Lee, NJ, revolves around cheat days for dieters. Some people say it’s an effective way to ensure you stick with weight loss plans, while other professionals believe it may harm your chances. Who is right? First, let’s look at what cheat days are. They’re not days you eat pints of ice cream, cookies, and cake until you’re semi-conscious of all the sugar. Cheat days are days you permit yourself to indulge in a couple of pieces of pizza or a dessert after dinner.

Cheat days are part of a healthy eating strategy.

If you’re eating healthy food, you’re not dieting, but you probably are losing weight. When you choose healthy eating as your road to weight loss, sometimes you eat a piece of cake or sample a cookie. It’s not the end of your focus on eating healthier, but part of it. Healthy eating means focusing more on whole foods and reducing the amount of highly processed food and food with added sugar. It’s all about moderation.

Theoretically, cheat days should boost your metabolism.

Your body is hardwired to survive. When food is scarce, the body slows metabolism to ensure there are enough calories for vital functions. That makes it harder to lose weight. Planned cheat days increase caloric intake periodically to keep the metabolic fires burning high. Short-term results indicate that a cheat day can boost metabolic functioning by up to 10% for up to 24 hours.

You might slow your progress with planned cheat days.

If you’re increasing your calories by an extra 500 for one day a week, it will slow weight loss progress. It’s mathematical. It takes a deficit of 3500 calories to lose one pound. If you cut your caloric intake by 500 calories a day, you’ll lose a pound in one week. If you have a cheat day that week, it will take you 8 days, not seven, to lose a pound. However, you’ll be less likely to feel deprived and more likely to stick with your healthy eating plan the rest of the time. If food with added sugar is your weakness, cheat days may make it harder. It feeds the sugar addiction, keeping it alive.

  • Cheat days don’t mean you eat everything in sight. It means you permit yourself to consume an otherwise forbidden high-calorie food. Focus on portion control, too.
  • If you’ve given up food with added sugar, don’t include those types of food for a while. Wait a month before you do and you’ll probably find the food tastes way too sweet. It’s because you’ve retrained your sense of taste.
  • People who never seem to have a problem with their weight and can eat everything tend to eat more like people who diet and include cheat days. They eat healthy most of the time, but when they want a specific food, they eat it. It never becomes an issue.
  • Plan cheat meals around special occasions so you can join in the fun. On the cheat day, eat slowly and savor the food, allowing your stomach to tell the brain it’s full, so you’ll eat less.

For more information, contact us today at VIP Fitness Center

Fitness And Its Effect On Well-Being

Fitness And Its Effect On Well-Being

There are psychological and physiological reasons that fitness improves your feeling of well-being. When you stay active, it keeps your body and your mind younger. It helps fight inflammation while boosting circulation. That makes you feel better physically and emotionally. A direct correlation exists between a lack of exercise and depression or anxiety. Many therapists use it as an adjunct therapy since it works better than some medications and has no side effects.

When everything goes wrong, take a deep breath and walk for a while.

You can lift that funk with a little exercise. It doesn’t take much to do it. Getting up and moving around can help clear your head and aid in putting some perspective on your problems. The increased circulation increases oxygen and nutrients to the entire body, including the brain. Walking improves memory and focus. It builds more brain neural connections and helps maintain healthy brain tissue. Walking can clear away the cobwebs, calm your nerves, and leave you feeling rejuvenated.

Stress causes you to feel bad.

The same thing that helped the caveman to survive is now killing millions of people. It’s the fight-or-flight response—the body’s way of dealing with stress. It causes changes in the body to prepare it to fight or run like the wind to avoid danger. In caveman days, it was vital for survival. By diverting blood flow to the limbs, the caveman could run faster and further, or fight for survival better. Stress can occur in many situations today. A traffic jam, an angry customer, and noisy neighbors can cause stress but fighting or running isn’t a good resolution, so you don’t reverse the changes and end up with physical and mental issues.

Lack of self-esteem and confidence is a breeding ground for depression.

When you lack self-esteem, your feeling of inadequacy automatically makes you feel bad. It leads to a lack of confidence that shows in your body language. Regular exercise can help you lose weight, get fitter, and in general, feel better about yourself. Studies show that just starting an exercise program improves people’s self-image in a few sessions, even before you can see any results. Exercise improves your posture, one of the mirrors to view self-confidence. When you have good posture, you’ll look more confident to others, who treat you that way. Their response to you builds your inner belief.

  • Exercise improves the production of serotonin. Serotonin is most known for its regulation of sleep, but it also helps improve your mood. Exercise also slows the production of chemicals that affect your body negatively and cause you to feel depressed.
  • When you workout regularly, it helps take your mind off your problems, even if it’s for a short time. After exercising, you’ll have a feeling of accomplishment that transfers to other areas of your life.
  • Put on some happy music and dance like nobody’s looking. When you combine the movements of dancing with happy music, you’ll improve your mental health in several ways. The lyrics, the upbeat melody, and the physical activity of dance.
  • At VIP Fitness, you’ll get all the benefits of exercise, plus a welcoming, friendly environment. We’ll help you reach your fitness goals and provide nutritional tips. Eating healthy and exercising both improve your mood.

For more information, contact us today at VIP Fitness Center