| May is the month we celebrate Mother’s Day and all the LOVE and nurturing our moms (and mom figures) pour into this world. They are strong beyond our concept of strength, loyal to the end of time, busier than an industrious bee, and they are our biggest fans, our rocks, and our peace. In their arms, we know no greater love.|
Empower wants to help you show your special Mom (or mom figure) how much you care about them – by offering this Mother’s Day Gift Card special.Buy your favorite Mom, Grandmother, Friend or Aunty a gift of health and fitness and SAVE with these special Mother’s Day Gift Card offers.
Gift cards can be purchased and delivered electronically – simply click the one of the offer links below to purchase a gift of 5 personal training sessions (either 30 minute or 60 minute sessions) with one of our expert fitness professionals and then personalize your gift card with a message and graphic of your choice.
And . . . with Empower’s virtual training services, she doesn’t have to live locally!
Special Offers5–30 Minute Personal Training SessionsNormally $245–Special offer $2155–60 Minute Personal Training SessionsNormally $400–Special offer $350
|Gift 5 – 30-Minute Sessions Gift 5 – 60 Minute Sessions|
|Coming Soon! New and Improved Empower On Demand Membership Site.|
|Our team is excited to announce that our Empower On Demand Workout Central – a workout video library built by our expert trainers just for you – has gotten A LOT more user friendly. This new membership site offers a large variety of workout formats, intensity levels, and durations – so you will find sessions that fit your goals, your fitness level and your schedule. |
Empower On Demand Workout Central is the perfect solution for your off-day workouts (when you are not meeting with your trainer) or as a standalone fitness solution (you do NOT have to be a current Empower client to take part). For less money than 1 dinner out to eat ($30/month) you can have the expertise of our training team on demand.
We are very excited to be launching this new membership option! Also, we’ll be adding new content regularly and because we want this to be THE BEST solution for your fitness needs, please let us know if there is anything you would like to see added.
Interested in learning more? Email me and I can answer all of your questions and put you on the waitlist for when it goes live.
As the temps warm up, we often find ourselves drawn to more outdoor activities–which is awesome!
Whether your passion is running, rollerblading, swimming, playing a game of tennis with a friend, or hitting the water for some canoeing, these beautiful spring to summer days are the perfect time to enjoy exercising with Mother Nature. However, it is important that you continue the strength training element of your workout routine as well.
Outdoor cardio exercise is great . . . but it doesn’t replace the unique benefits of strength training.
So, while it’s totally fine to forgo the stationary bikes, treadmills, and ellipticals at the studio to get your cardiovascular sessions in outside while the weather’s warm, maintaining your strength training is a necessity.
Strength Training and Muscle Mass
The very first reason to keep up your strength training sessions a few times a week is to ensure you aren’t losing muscle tissue.
As we age, muscle mass loss is inevitable without regular strength training workouts. Muscle tissue is difficult tissue to gain back. Protecting the muscle you have already worked so hard to build is one of the most important considerations of any well-rounded fitness program.
Why is having more muscle so important?
If you lose muscle mass, your strength will decrease, meaning everyday activities–including those outdoor activities you want to take part in–will become harder and harder.
Plus, muscle plays a major role in fat burning…
While exercise burns calories, you only workout a few hours per week. To increase fat burning, you need to increase your metabolism, specifically your Resting Metabolic Rate. Those who have a higher muscle mass burn more calories even when they’re at rest.1 As a person ages, metabolism naturally slows down, leading to gradual weight gain. Muscle is a great way to counterbalance the body’s natural slowdown and the earlier a person starts, the easier it will be to maintain that muscle.
Many people complain that the reason they’re gaining weight into the 40’s and 50’s is because of a ‘slow metabolism’, but really, that slow metabolism is happening (partly) because they are losing muscle. The muscle gains you achieve with a proper strength training program can help reverse this process and actually INCREASE metabolism!
Strength Training and Bone Health
As a person grows older, bone loss is inevitable, especially for women after menopause.2 This can lead bones to break more easily, feelings of fatigue and weakness, and reduced tolerance to physical activity. Weight-bearing exercises strengthen bones, helping minimize natural bone loss and reducing the risk of injury.3
While other outdoor activities may be weight bearing and still help with bone strength and formation, no other exercise is more weight bearing than strength training.
Since you’ll be supporting more weight than just your body weight, you can really take your bone health to the next level. One study published in the journal of Medicine and Science in Sports And Exercise illustrated that strength training is superior to combat osteoporosis compared to aerobic activity only.4
This can prevent stress fractures or bone breaks down the road, both of which could become very serious if you are into your 60’s and 70’s.
Strength Training and Disease Prevention
Strength training has been shown to provide several health benefits, including a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.5 By continuing your strength training year round, you’ll continue to reap the rewards of the hard work you put in during the cold winter months.
A Tufts University study even found that participants in a strength training program could see a marked reduction in arthritis pain. In fact, the study found that the result was better than that received from medications.
Strength training can also improve a person’s mental health, reducing depression and improving sleep quality.
Strength Training and Insulin Sensitivity
Finally, another noteworthy benefit of strength training is its impact on insulin sensitivity.
Your insulin sensitivity level is one of the key factors determining your risk of diabetes and metabolic syndrome, a condition that’s impacting more and more people.
A regular strength training workout routine will help to keep your tissue cells more responsive to insulin, so should you consume carbohydrates in your diet, your body will better use those carbohydrates, directing them towards the muscle cells rather than the body fat cells, as was noted in a study published in the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise Journal.6 It appears the primary reason this occurs is because of the increased lean muscle tissue development, which then increases the insulin sensitivity level.
Just another way strength training helps keep you leaner – since you’ll have a reduced rate of converting and storing those carbohydrates as body fat.
If you can’t tell, we are big fans of strength training. At Empower we believe weight lifting is the one of the most effective form of exercise for guaranteeing good health into the future and keeping you leading the active lifestyle for years to come.
All it takes is 2-3 sessions per week to see all these benefits, which leaves plenty of time to get outside and do all the other spring and summer activities you enjoy.
So . . . if you are strength training 2–3 times a week, keep it up! If not, let’s see if we can schedule an extra session or two.
Who else in your life needs to hear this message? Who do you know who could benefit from a consistent strength training program throughout the year?
Our expert team is here and ready to Empower more people to live stronger, healthier, happier lives. Simply send them this link–and we can help them get started:
- “Weight Loss.” Metabolism and Weight Loss: How You Burn Calories. N.p., 6 Oct. 2011. Web. 06 May 2014.
- “Aging Changes in the Bones – Muscles – Joints: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia.” U.S National Library of Medicine. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 3 Sept. 2012. Web. 09 May 2014.
- “Build Up Your Bones! | NIH MedlinePlus the Magazine.” U.S National Library of Medicine. U.S. National Library of Medicine, Winter 2012. Web. 09 May 2014.
- Layne, JE. & Nelson, ME. (1999). The effects of progressive resistance training on bone density: A review. Medicine and Science in Sports And Exercise. 31(1):25-30.
- “Why Strength Training?” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 24 Feb. 2011. Web. 09 May 2014.
- Ivy, JL. & Sherman, W.M. & Miller, W.J. (1984). Effect of strength training on glucose tolerance and post-glucose insulin response. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 16(6):539-543.
Over the years we have had several clients come to us because they had recently been told by their doctors that they had (or were approaching) metabolic syndrome. You’ve probably heard of this condition, but you may not completely understand what it is. The best way to think about metabolic syndrome is as an advanced warning system. We can compare it to the lights and warning sounds at a railroad crossing.
This railroad warning system is telling you that unless you respond appropriately (you should stop your car before you drive across the tracks), you will risk being hit by a train.
That is exactly what metabolic syndrome is. It is a warning system that lets you know unless you respond appropriately to the warning signs; you are going to be putting your health in danger.
What is Metabolic Syndrome?
It’s called a syndrome because it isn’t a formal disease per se. Rather, it is a cluster of conditions that signal and lead to chronic and life-threatening illnesses. There are several conditions involved and in order to be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome you must have at least three of them.
These conditions include:
- A waistline of 40 inches or more for men and 35 inches or more for women (measured across the belly)
- A blood pressure of 130/85 mm Hg or higher or are taking blood pressure medications
- A triglyceride level above 150 mg/dl
- A fasting blood glucose (sugar) level greater than 100 mg/dl or are taking glucose-lowering medications
- A high-density lipoprotein level (HDL) less than 40 mg/dl (men) or under 50 mg/dl (women) 1
Even if you are just barely in the risk categories of three conditions, such as having slightly high blood pressure, slightly increased blood sugar and a belly measurement of just over 35 (for women) and 40 (for men) inches, you are still in the danger zone. Your body is signaling to you that the environment inside your blood vessels, heart and other organs is toxic and under great duress. Even though it is still early, damage is occurring. The lights are flashing; the horns sound.
What is the risk?
So what’s the danger? What is this toxic environment producing? Someone with metabolic syndrome is at high risk for developing heart disease, diabetes, stroke, kidney problems, blood clots, reduced insulin production and even dementia.
The most at-risk people are those who have extra fat in their abdomen and waist, who have a family history of diabetes, and who have skin changes called acanthosis nigricans (darkened skin on the back of their neck or under their arms) and skin tags (usually on the neck).
Reversing Metabolic Syndrome: You can do this!
And now for glorious news: metabolic syndrome is not only preventable, but even if you already have it, you can reverse it with lifestyle changes.
The first thing to do is lose any extra weight that you are carrying. I know this is difficult – but Empower is here to help. We recommend eating a whole-foods, balanced diet that is high lean proteins & vegetables, as well as some fruit and nuts. Of course, limit the processed stuff! You really are what you eat! If you would like help to create a nutrition plan that will help you lose weight and feel great, we highly recommend you schedule a FREE get to know you session with our Registered Dietitian, Michael Raynor. Remember, weight loss is probably 80% diet and 20% exercise.
Second, be sure to get regular exercise (at least 150 minutes per week). Not only will this burn extra calories and help to prevent further weight gain, but it will really condition and strengthen your cardiovascular system. You will also use insulin more efficiently as you increase your exercise. There is also good evidence that metabolic training is helpful in preventing or fighting metabolic syndrome – so if you have any of the conditions listed above, please ask your trainer about it. If you aren’t currently working with a trainer – we know of some great ones who can help you! Sign up for a FREE initial session today!
Preventing and reversing metabolic syndrome is a lifelong commitment:
You are changing your lifestyle. If you already have some of the warning signs, respect those signs as you respect the flashing lights and blaring horns of a railroad crossing. It’s time to take action, and we are here to help!
Suspension training is a fantastic way to spice up your workout. Try these Fab 4 moves and see.
Use these Fab 4 TRX Moves in the Workout:
15 TRX Rows
15 TRX Pushups
10 TRX Single leg squats – Right Leg
10 TRX Single leg squats Left Leg
Hamstring strength allows you to move efficiently, improves posture, and helps prevent injury. Add these Fab 4 Moves to your workout.
Use these Fab 4 Hamstring Strengthening Moves in the Workout:
15 Hamstring curls
15 Hip drops
Okay, I am going to sound like that nagging mom who reminds you to eat your vegetables, but this missing component of fitness – MOBILITY – is as important as veggies (almost). No matter your age or your fitness level, maintaining or increasing your mobility is very important, especially if you want to prevent injuries, correct muscle imbalances, build more muscle, or even simply move well and pain free.
While HIIT studios and heavy lifting gyms are super popular right now and those intense workouts are a bit more “sexy” for social media posts, there is a lot more to overall fitness than pools of sweat and big muscles. In fact, having good mobility may be one of the most important factors as you age. There are 5 really important components of fitness, and all of them deserve some time and attention in your overall fitness plan.
5 Critical Comments of a Well-Rounded Fitness Plan:
- Strength Training
- Cardiovascular Endurance
- Mobility Training
- Corrective Exercise & Balance Training
- Rest and Restorative Practices
Today we are focusing on MOBILITY because it is often the forgotten component (or the one we skip out on). One of the first things you need to understand is that mobility differs from flexibility. Flexibility is the ability of a muscle to temporarily stretch when needed, whereas mobility is the ability of a joint to actively and with control move through its intended range of motion. So while flexibility helps us become more mobile – it is only one part of the equation.
Other contributing factors are the structure and biomechanics of our joints, tendons and ligaments, and the strength we have to stabilize and control motion around each joint. There is little you can do about the structure of things, but here are some things you can do to help your overall mobility:
3 Ways to Increase Mobility
- Perform soft tissue work like self-myofascial release (foam rolling, for example).
- Perform full range of motion compound exercises. Compound exercises are big multi-joint movements like push-ups, pull-ups, bench press, squats and deadlifts.
- Perform isolated exercise for specific muscles or body parts. Especially where you have muscle imbalances or weakness. Focusing on stretching what is tight and strengthening what is weak.
Do you know what areas of your body need some work? If not, talk to your trainer so they can help you develop a mobility plan – and then it’s up to you to make it happen. We promise it will pay off in the long run. All you need to do is dedicate a few minutes a day to doing a little mobility work. One of the simplest solutions is to add the recommended exercises to your pre-workout warm up or post-workout cool down.
Here is one of many mobility exercises that can help with movement at the hip, which is essential for almost everything we do – from standing up to walking, climbing, and jumping – to sitting back down.
As I mentioned above, MOBILITY is not the same thing as FLEXIBILITY and therefore not all mobility exercises are stretches.
Please check out this video and the others we have included in our Mobility Exercise Library. Start incorporating these into your weekly routine and be on your way to more fluid and pain-free movement!
Boxing is an impressive addition to your fitness toolbox. Benefits include increased hand eye coordination, upper body/ core strengthening, and boosted endurance. Try these Fab 4 moves and see.
Use these Fab 4 Boxing Moves in the Workout:
Back hand x 15ea
Jabs x 30
Upper cuts x 30
Monkey x 20
There’s no downside to having a strong and supple core. Add these Fab 4 moves to your workout.
Use these Fab 4 Core Strengthening Moves in the Workout:
Workout: Do 12 of each, then 10 of each, then 8 of each
This Benefit Shouldn’t Be Underestimated . . . Personal Trainers Hold You Accountable.
Why did you invest in a personal trainer? Was it . . .
“I needed to lose weight,”
“I wanted to get stronger,”
“To prepare for a certain athletic or life event,” or
“Just to be healthier and feel fit.”
All great reasons because as personal trainers we provide exercise plans that are specific to your goals. We help you keep correct form and ensure you’re performing exercises safely, and give you guidance on what to eat or other healthy habits. However, there’s something else that a personal trainer provides that might be the ultimate benefit: accountability.
I have worked with Lori Ireland as her trainer for over 20 years. She will be the first one to tell you she would not be as consistent or as thorough in her fitness plan if it wasn’t for our weekly appointments. Not only is she committed to her health, she feels committed to me for showing up – it works both ways.
Here are some ways in which a trainer helps you stick to your fitness plan.
Never skip a workout.
Okay, so maybe not NEVER, but once you have committed to your trainer, you’re more obligated to show up. Whether that is at the studio or on Zoom. We are all more likely to keep the commitments we make with others than the ones we make with ourselves. You can also get this kind of accountability from a good workout partner, but with a trainer you get the added benefit of having them expertly guide each workout and overall fitness plan. Not to mention, your trainer has a vested interest in helping you achieve your goals. They care deeply about you and your health, and it is their job, their passion, their livelihood – if you succeed, they succeed.
Most of you believe that investing in your health and wellness is the best money you spend, but let’s face it no one wants to waste hard earned money. Statistics show there is more follow through when services are being paid for – there is more skin in the game, so to speak. Why pay for something that you don’t plan on taking full advantage of, right?
Showing up is only the beginning.
Exercising can be hard work, and not everyone looks forward to a tough sweat session. However, when you have a trainer there guiding you through, you not only get a customized workout that is aligned with your fitness goals, but you also have someone by your side motivating you through every rep! They will ensure you do the right exercises, with the right amount of weight to reach your goals and they should also make it FUN!
Life happens, but we are always here.
Our trainers deeply care about each one of you and that doesn’t end when you leave the studio (or the Zoom session). Your trainer will probably encourage you to adopt other healthy habits and help keep tabs on those as well. How is your nutrition, do you sleep well at night, are you staying hydrated throughout the day, etc. So even when life happens and you slip up, or you fall off the workout train for a little while, your trainer will continue to check in with you and help you get back on track when you feel derailed.
Would you or someone in your life value the accountability a trainer can provide? If so, we would love to help you/them keep their health on top of their priority list.
Bridge variations are another tool to help tone your backside. Try our Fab 4 Moves and see.
Use these Fab 4 Bridge Moves in the Workout:
Double Leg Bridge x30
Single Leg Bridge x15e
Walking Bridge (out and in) x20
Bridge March x20