Don't Get Stuck on the Machines!

Last week, we talked about training to become comfortable with the uncomfortable. Pushing ourselves above and beyond what we think we’re capable of doing is where change is made. In addition to pushing ourselves further and moving faster, we have to remember that our bodies are made to move freely in space. The gym is full of machines and implements which allow us to overload positions and build full-body strength by individually targeting specific muscle groups. But we have to be cautious. The weight we lift on a leg extension machine doesn’t matter if we can’t also use our quadriceps strength in combination with our hamstrings and glutes to walk up and down stairs. As we train in the gym,

Am I Giving It My ALL?

Do you ever hear a fitness trainer say, “Give it your all!” or “Maximum effort here!”? Is it confusing? Do you know how to gauge what is your all-out or what is your true maximum effort? Many exercisers will rate their intensity based on their heart rate by wearing fitness trackers, using heart rate charts posted in gyms and online, or manually counting their pulse. Heart rate numbers are good to know, but is this really the best way to measure exercise effort? Heart rate values provide us insight as to how our body is responding to our exercise but it is not an indicator of our actual effort. Heart rate is a response to the to the work your body is currently engaging in. Heart rate can be a

Breaking It Down: Intermittent Fasting

It’s not what you eat, it’s when you eat. Well, at least that’s what proponents of Intermittent Fasting (IF) have to say. This eating plan has gained popularity again thanks to celebrities like Hugh Jackman and Jimmy Kimmel who have promoted IF as a way to lose weight, sleep better, and stay in shape. Fasting isn’t a new idea by any means. It’s been around for millennia, and Hippocrates (c. 460 BC-370 BC), the father of modern medicine, used fasting as a way to cure illness. Now proponents of intermittent fasting seem to be in agreement with Hippocrates. Preliminary research seems to show that IF could be beneficial in stabilizing blood glucose, lowering triglycerides, and increasing longevi

Getting Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

No one enjoys being uncomfortable. Whether it’s walking into a room of people you don’t know, exposure to an extreme temperature, or telling a joke that no one finds funny, we avoid these situations with the hopes of either reducing or eliminating discomfort altogether. This is true in the case of exercise as well. Walking for the last 0.1 mile of a run, slowing down as the instructor begins to countdown at the end of an interval, or doing sets of eight squats instead of the ten reps you planned. We underestimate what our bodies are capable of doing, how hard they can truly perform. We tend to back away from the activities or exercises that cause discomfort. It’s important to note the differ

Choose Your Intensity

What makes you feel as if you are doing an “easy” workout? Is it low impact, less pressure on the joints, less running and jumping movements? Though these low impact exercises generally get pegged as “easy”, it is a misconception that these exercises are low intensity. These exercises can easily come together to build a high-intensity workout that will increase the heart rate and give you the feeling of fatigue afterwards. It is important to understand what progressions and regressions are when speaking about an exercise. Progressions of an exercise will often be the most difficult and require the most amount of skill and stability. Regressed exercises are more stable and are less dependent

A New Twist on Soul Food

When we think of soul food, we tend to think of big, hearty meals full of flavor and seasoning from the Southeast region of the United States. We also tend to typically think of foods like fried chicken, hushpuppies, collard greens, and cobbler. Recently, I heard a new take on soul food. I came across this new definition when I was reading a discussion post from one of my fellow interns. The dietitian she is working with as part of her final rotation brought up the terms “cell” foods and “soul” foods during a grocery store tour. At the end of the tour, the participants sampled chocolate, a non-traditional “soul” food. Personally, I think there’s no better way to end a grocery store tour than

Chicken Tabbouleh Bowl

Trying to up your vegetable intake? This recipe has 2+ cups on its own. It's colorful, filling, and if you're focusing on weight loss the whole recipe is under 500 calories. You may even have leftovers! Homemade Chicken Tabbouleh Bowl 1-2 servings Ingredients 1 cup spinach 1 small tomato, diced (could substitute one handful of grape tomatoes, sliced in half) 1 small cucumber, seeded and diced 2 Tablespoons chopped red onion 3 ounces grilled chicken breast, sliced 1 cup cooked bulgur OR rice OR quinoa ¼ cup crumbled feta 1 Tablespoon lemon juice 1/2 Tablespoon olive oil 2 Tablespoons fresh mint 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley Directions Lay spinach in bottom layer of container Mix bulgur/rice/qui

A Breath of Fresh Air

As any true Wisconsinite knows, the slightest hint of warm weather means we unpack our shorts and t-shirts and enjoy the outdoors! Whether that's walking along the river, hiking the bluffs, or walking through the marsh trail, most outdoor adventures are active. When we increase our activity outside, we often don't feel the need to get to the gym as frequently. However, even though we’re getting our cardio in by walking outside, resistance training is still a key aspect of working out. In the summertime, we often find ourselves skipping the weights simply because it’s so nice to be outside. Here are four exercises you can incorporate into your outdoor activities. Tricep dips and incline pushu

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