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Not Crossfit, Better than Bootcamp…Duffy’s Ultimate Functional Fitness on FUNCTIONAL FITNESS and WHY IT’S IMPORTANT!

It’s in our name and it’s at the core of what we do for clients all over Mount Pleasant and Charleston…but WHAT EXACTLY IS FUNCTIONAL FITNESS?  And WHY IS FUNCTIONAL FITNESS IMPORTANT!?!?

Read on to hear what our favorite experts have to say on the subject!

WHAT IS FUNCTIONAL FITNESS?

According to Mayo Clinic, “Functional fitness exercises train your muscles to work together and prepare them for daily tasks by simulating common movements you might do at home, at work or in sports. While using various muscles in the upper and lower body at the same time, functional fitness exercises also emphasize core stability.”

So basically, functional fitness training at the gym gets you in shape for living a healthy life.  The American Academy of Exercise explains, “Properly applied, functional strength training may provide exercise variety and additional training benefits that more directly transfer improvements to real-life activities.” 

WHY IS FUNCTIONAL FITNESS IMPORTANT?

But why do we need this?  Aren’t my six-pack abs enough?  The New York Times is not subtle when spelling it out why LOOKING fit isn’t always the same as BEING fit: “What good is having the sexiest biceps in town if you can’t scramble up subway steps with ease, run for a bus without knee pain or lift a toddler without wrenching your back?  Functional fitness means that the goal of working out is preparing your body so it can perform daily activities — walking, bending, lifting, climbing stairs — without pain, injury or discomfort.” 

When push comes to shove, well-defined muscles are nice, but living your healthiest life is WAY more important. 

WHAT EXERCISES ARE INCLUDED IN A FUNCTIONAL FITNESS WORKOUT?

Whether you’re doing a group fitness class or working one-on-one with a personal trainer, if you’re working out at DUFF, you’re doing Functional Fitness movements! 

SQUATS:

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, squats are a mainstay in most of DUFF’s workouts.  Why?  Pace Kinetics explains: “It may surprise you to hear, but squats may be the most functional exercise that you can perform. Why? Well, because without even realizing it, you are constantly squatting throughout the day. Whether you are simply sitting down in a chair or performing routine tasks like picking up your shopping, if you are doing it correctly, you are using your muscles to squat.  Squats are not only useful in everyday life, but they are also one of the best exercises to develop strength and muscle growth in your legs and core.”

SLIDERS:

When your trainer has you do those killer exercises with sliders, you are rocking it in the functional fitness department. Men’s Journal quotes Holly Perkins, CSCS, author of Lift To Get Lean, to explain why: “One of the most important aspects to strength and function (from Muscle and Fitness) centers around complex and compound movements, like squats and lunges…sliders are incredible because they provide instability to these movements, forcing your lesser-used stabilizer muscles to work alongside your prime movers.”

KETTLEBELL EXERCISES:

Fitness Republic explains why kettlebells are an important component to your workout: “A functional kettlebell workout can develop muscular strength and dynamic stability from head to toe…adding kettlebells creates an asymmetrical load that further strengthens your core stabilizers and primary movers.”

Not Crossfit, Better than Bootcamp…Duffy’s Ultimate Functional Fitness on GROUP FITNESS DO’s and DON’TS

Clearly we at DUFF believe that Group Fitness is one of the BEST THINGS YOU CAN DO FOR YOUR BODY!  We have clients from all over Mount Pleasant and Charleston to make the commitment to show up regularly and sweat it out with the amazing community we’ve built!

For those of you thinking about trying a class, read these Group Fitness DO’s and DON’TS!

DO MAKE NEW FRIENDS. 

Men’s Journal reminds us of one of the reasons why group fitness rocks—the relationships you form!  MJ quotes Trainer Jonny Edward of Denver’s Pure Vita Fitness:  “DO Introduce yourself. “Many friendships have been forged by the agony and triumph of high-rep burpees, deadlifts, and Tabata circuits.”  And we must say, DUFF has some of the smartest, funniest and overall awesome clients in town! 

DON’T BRING YOUR EGO!

And on the flip side, MJ reminds us that we don’t need to “bring your ego.”  There is no Olympic Gold Medal for machismo.  The greatest thing about working out in a group is that we’re all in it together, no matter what fitness level we’re working at.  The more open we are to our own ability to grow as athletes (instead of showing off what we can do already), the more effective our workouts will be!  DUFF is an inviting place that inspires people to reach their highest potential, no matter where they are on their workout journey. 

DO SHOW UP EARLY.

Especially if you’re new to a class, it’s a great idea to show up a few minutes early to class to prepare yourself for your workout.  The Nutritious Life explains: “Many people like to sneak in late, but a lot of classes require equipment setup and if you don’t allow time for that, it’ll be harder to have a successful session.”  Plus remember those awesome clients we were talking about?  Getting to class early allows you to chat with your friends and get to know your classmates!

DON’T BAIL ON THE COOL-DOWN!

While we all have scheduling issues from time to time and NEED to leave class early on occasion, it’s important to still incorporate some post-workout cool-down.  This is especially true if your trainer has it built into the workout.  BodyBuilding.com explains: “Teachers who include stretching or cool-downs in their class don’t do it willy-nilly. Flexibility, mental focus, breathing recovery—these things all matter, and they can improve your performance during future sessions. Make the most of every minute of your time in the class, not just the sweaty ones.”

DO COME ON THE REG. 

Keeping up a consistent workout routine is really important, and according to the National Institute for Fitness and Sport, group fitness classes are the PERFECT place to keep up that accountability.  “If you start to miss workouts, it will not go unnoticed, and you will have a large group of people there to help you stay on track.”  We’re your people!  We want you to keep up the pace with us!

DON’T OVER DO IT!

But on the flip side, there is a difference between coming regularly and coming too much.  Take it from Shape Magazine, “A blessing can quickly become a curse when you get obsessed with your favorite class. But no matter how much you love [it], if you’re doing it six days a week and not adding in any other exercise elements, your body isn’t getting what it needs for optimal health…You’ll feel better than ever when you equally divide your workouts between flexibility, strength, cardio, and endurance. Not to mention a fit body needs rest…”  So be sure to kick back and relax some too…if you don’t, you may find yourself injured and unable to come at all!

Not Crossfit, Better than Bootcamp…Duffy’s Ultimate Functional Fitness on EXTREME WORKOUT IDEAS

So we all love our time in the gym with our favorite trainers and best workout buds.  But what can we do during this amazing summer to get OUTSIDE and around this gorgeous town of ours?  We recommend adding an EXTREME WORKOUT into your  mix!

This week we are focusing on some extreme workouts you can do around Charleston and Mount Pleasant!  Now this goes without saying, that you should NEVER do any extreme workout (or any workout for that matter) without talking to an expert first and without using the proper safety equipment.  Also, one last thing:  Before starting any new exercise, be sure that you are cleared by your doctor first!

Be sure to check out the links after each sport opportunity to find out where you can practice these awesome outdoor exercises in a supervised and safe setting!

EXTREME WORKOUT #1: WINDSURFING

If you’re an expert, you know that windsurfing is a major workout.   But for those who are starting out, take HealthFitnessRevoution’s word for it, no matter what level you’re working at, windsurfing is a killer in the exercise department!

HRF explains: “As a beginner, you’ll probably spend most of your time learning how to stand on the board of the windsurf. This involves using your leg muscles to balance on the board while employing your shoulders, forearms and lower back to control the force of the sail. Novices might spend half their time in the water, but this is all part of a workout. Falling off the board means you are constantly pulling yourself out of the water which works your arms and increases your calorie output.”

But in terms of numbers?  HFR states: “Expert windsurfers burn up to 1000 calories per hour, and recreational windsurfers burn around 500 calories an hour.”  That’s a pretty rock-solid workout!

DUFF recommends checking out Force Kite & Wake where they offer group and private wake boarding lessons.  Click HERE for more info.

EXTREME WORKOUT #2: ROCK CLIMBING

What can be more “extreme” than incorporating safety harnesses in your workout?  Bring in your rock-climbers.  Whether it’s at an indoor gym or out in nature, rock climbing requires full-body dedication.   

Time Magazine, in their article titled Why Rock Climbing May Be the Ultimate Full-Body Workout explains:  “Exercise is all about engaging your muscles—from your heart to your biceps and quads—and asking those muscles to perform work. And when it comes to activating and training a diverse range of muscles, few exercises rival climbing…Even if a 155-pound person is climbing a few notches below ‘maximal effort,’ he or she will burn between eight and ten calories per minute while climbing…The fear component of climbing can further crank up your heart rate and caloric expenditure.”  That means that according to Time, on average, you will burn around 480-600 calories per hour. Outside? Check!  In nature? Check!  Killing it workout wise? DONE!

DUFF recommends checking out Coastal Climbing where they offer climbing lessons with a focus on fitness.  Click HERE for more info.

EXTREME WORKOUT #3: SKATEBOARDING

Not just for extreme teens anymore, the Skateboarding generation has grown up and is happy to substitute crunches at the gym for some time at the park.  Men’s Journal states why it’s great to rip it on the reg: “Believe it or not, skateboarding is a rigorous cardio workout. Michele Olson, Ph.D., a professor of exercise science at Auburn University in Alabama, compares the fitness benefits of skateboarding to those of jumping rope and even spinning, because it ‘goes from pacing to more explosive efforts.’”

Olson continues, “Even if you’re not attempting any elaborate tricks, just pushing around a board on flat terrain can “accelerate your cardiovascular system and burn between eight and an impressive 12 calories per minute,” says Olson.” That means that skateboarding can burn up to 720 calories an hour. No doubt that workout will help you keep up with the kiddos!

DUFF recommends checking out SK8 Charleston a state-of-the-art skating facility with safety gear rentals, helpful employees and lots of room for all levels to participate.  Click HERE for more info.

Not Crossfit, Better than Bootcamp…Duffys Ultimate Functional Fitness on FITNESS INSTAGRAM INSPIRATION!

Summer is here, Charleston and Mount Pleasant!  And that means that it’s vacation time!  While many of us are fleeing the heat of the LowCountry, that means we have LOTS of time waiting in airports, riding in cars…and away from the gym!  So what’s a DUFFNATIC to do with all this downtime?  Look at your smartphone, of course!  But to keep you from wasting away in cyberland, we have culled the internet for our favorite expert recommendations for INSPIRING INSTAGRAM  ACCOUNTS to follow!

Not only do these Instagram Accounts post inspiring images, most are packed with workout ideas to take on the road with you!

Men’s Health INSTAGRAM Recommendation: @curtiswilliams17

INSTAGRAM CURTIS WILLIAMS

Curtis Williams will help you kick your routine up a notch. This former Baltimore Ravens player is now an elite performance coach and has his own training program. His exercises are designed to enhance your athleticism—so they’re high energy, challenging, and empowering.”  Plus the man has what looks like 20-pack abs. 

Shape INSTAGRAM Recommendation:  @docjenfit

INSTAGRAM DOC JEN

Jen Esquer, a self-proclaimed “avid mover,” has been active since she was a kid, participating in gymnastics, track and field, and dance. She turned her love of movement into a career, becoming a doctor of physical therapy as well as a Pilates instructor and yogi based in Los Angeles. Her specialty, though, is mobility: She created an entire program called The Mobility Method, hosts free mobility challenges online, and serves up functional movement tips daily on her Instagram feed. You can rest assured knowing that anything you get off her IG is backed with serious knowledge of the human body and how it works.”

Huffington Post INSTAGRAM Recommendation: @adamrosante

INSTAGRAM ADAM ROSANTE

“Fitness coach Adam Rosante keeps his technique simple: ‘Results. The byproduct of doing the work, every day,’ Rosante wrote on Instagram. ‘No glamour. No cheering crowds. No pats on the back. Just you and your willingness to move the needle forward,’.” Huff Post recommends Rosante’s food recommendations and motivational workouts.

Harpers Bazaar INSTAGRAM Recommendation: @msjeanettejenkins

INSTAGRAM JEANETTE JENKINS

In their article titled 21 Inspiring Fitness Girls To Follow On Instagram, HB explains why Jeanette Jenkins rocks, “The Hollywood trainer and nutritionist is known for her specialty in toned abs and bikini bootcamp…” Going on vaycay?  Don’t sweat it!  Jenkins has to-go workouts directly on her IG account.

DUFF INSTAGRAM Recommendation: @duff_training

INSTAGRAM DUFF TRAINING

Not to toot our own horn, but if you haven’t checked out our IG yet, click on the link above!  We post client stories, workout ideas, fitness tips, food ideas and more!  Be sure also to check out our own Zach Farris @farris_bullerlifts and Brandon Fowler @b_fowl90 for more exercise inspiration!

Not Crossfit, Better than Bootcamp…Duffy’s Ultimate Functional Fitness on HOW TO STAY COOL BEFORE AND AFTER YOUR WORKOUT!

It’s no secret that it’s hot here in the LowCountry.  With heat advisories daily in Mount Pleasant and Charleston, a workout can feel like a CHORE.  Dangers of heatstroke are REAL.  So what are we DUFFNATICS to do?  We want to hit the GYM and stay FIT.  But how do we stay cool???

Read on for THREE WAYS to STAY COOL before, during and after your workout.

PREPARE PRE-WORKOUT

Pro-athletes deal with high performance exercise in the heat on the reg.  The BBC interviewed Dr Jamie Pringle, senior physiologist at the English Institute of Sport to get the scoop on how these world class athletes prevent heat-related illness.  “Over the last few years we’ve been working on ways to pre-cool the body before competition and before exercise, by simple methods such as getting in a cold bath, or by taking cold water and icy, slushy drinks before exercise. Having those in the stomach before beginning exercise allows you to absorb more heat.”

SWEAT IT OUT DURING YOUR WORKOUT

ABC reminds us that our bodies are pre-equipped with cooling aids built in!  While we often try to AVOID sweating, we need to remember that sweating is an essential part of keeping cool: “While your natural reaction may be to towel off, Jessica Matthews, the senior advisor for health and fitness education at the American Council on Exercise, told Health [Magazine] that letting perspiration stay on your skin will actually help you feel cooler. ‘It’s not just the act of sweating that keeps your body temperature regulated, but how that sweat is evaporated by the body,’ she says. ‘Letting yourself sweat and letting it pool on your skin allows the evaporation process to happen, and that’s what keeps you cool.’ Matthews also suggests using a spray bottle to mimic this feeling at the start of your workout. ‘Just a little mist beforehand gives you that feeling of a light sweat and that process of evaporation already happening, so that’s a great thing to do before you head out.’”

HIT THE POOL POST-WORKOUT

How many times have you wished you could just dive into a giant swimming pool after a sweaty workout?  So WHY DON’T YOU!?!? LiveStrong recommends taking a plunge and stretching at the same time: “Most swimming pools are kept at a low to moderate temperature — certainly lower than body temperature. Sit or stand in neck-deep water and relax for five to 10 minutes. For hygiene reasons, you should always shower before entering a swimming pool. To save time, stretch your muscles as you cool off rather than stretch in the gym. Immersion in cold water may also prevent post-exercise muscle soreness.”

IMPORTANT NOTE: Heat Stroke is REAL

With all this talk about how to stay cool, it’s important to keep in mind WHY its important to watch the heat.  The Mayo Clinic has a thorough article about Heat Stroke and how to prevent it.  In a nutshell:

  • Watch the temperature
  • Get acclimated
  • Know your fitness level
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Dress appropriately
  • Avoid midday sun
  • Wear sunscreen
  • Have a backup plan
  • Understand your medical risks

Click HERE for full descriptions and more information.

Not Crossfit, Better than Bootcamp…Duffy’s Ultimate Functional Fitness on WHY YOUR HEART RATE MATTERS

With Apple Watches and Fitbits the rage around Charleston and Mount Pleasant, many of you may have noticed the ubiquitous heart rate monitor pulsing it’s little red heart every time you workout at the gym.  And while most of us exercise enthusiasts know that having a good heart rate is AWESOME, do we really know that having a good heart rate MEANS?

This week, we are going to focus on exactly what a GOOD HEART RATE is for each age group and WHY keeping your heart in the “happy zone” matters!

WHAT EXACTLY IS A “HEART RATE”?

While this may seem like a silly question, the implications of ignoring your HR are NOT so funny.  We’ve all felt our pulses after exercising in elementary school gym class.  But what’s so important about how fast your heart is going? 

According to The American Heart Association, “Your heart rate, or pulse, is the number of times your heart beats per minute. Normal heart rate varies from person to person. Knowing yours can be an important heart-health gauge.  As you age, changes in the rate and regularity of your pulse can change and may signify a heart condition or other condition that needs to be addressed.”  So basically, getting familiar with the way your ticker beats will help you gauge your fitness levels while you exercise.

WHY SHOULD WE CARE?

According to Harvard Medical School (and who can argue with them?), “Heart rate is important because the heart’s function is so important. The heart circulates oxygen and nutrient-rich blood throughout the body. When it’s not working properly, just about everything is affected. Heart rate is central to this process because the function of the heart (called “cardiac output”) is directly related to heart rate and stroke volume (the amount of blood pumped out with each beat).”

To buy this chart: https://www.amazon.com/Fitness-Heart-Rate-Chart-Poster/dp/1926534018

To buy this chart: https://www.amazon.com/Fitness-Heart-Rate-Chart-Poster/dp/1926534018

CATEGORIZING HR LEVELS

You have probably seen the different “Heart Zones” on treadmills and ellipticals around the gym (or see image above).  They usually range from “inactive” to “maximum” with elusive categories like “Weight Loss Training Range” and “Aerobic Training Range” sandwiched between.  And different age categories have different ranges.  We’ve not had to do so much graph-calculating since grade school!

And unfortunately, these charts are of course, based on AVERAGES.  This means that they might be off for your specific fitness level.  In fact, according to Mike Siemens, M.S. Director of Exercise Physiology at Canyon Ranch Spa, as quoted on active.com these HR levels could be as high as 30 points off of any given individuals fitness level: 

“The reason for this huge potential error is that they all use the generic formula of 220 — AGE = maximum heart rate. This can be off by as much as +/- 30 beats per minute! In real life this means if you are 50 years old — the charts will predict a maximum heart rate for you of 170 beats per minute. Meanwhile, your true maximum heart rate could be as low as 140 or as high as 200 beats per minute. That is the normal range of human maximum heart rates. From the charts you have no way of knowing if your maximum heart rate is lower or higher than 220 — AGE.”

HOW DO WE GET THE RIGHT DATA?

While, (as long as you are having regular visits with your doctor and are in generally good heath) Heart Zone charts work as a good guideline to begin with while planning your workouts, in order to get the most accurate “Zone” reading, Shape Magazine recommends getting a VO2 Test, also known as a Metabolic Test.  This involves making an appointment with a specialist (like, for example at the MUSC Wellness Center) and have an expert help set your heart rate training zones.

Check out the process with this video: 

BREAKING DOWN HEART RATE LEVELS

So once you have your proper HR levels, what do they all mean anyway? VeryWellFit has an amazing article that spells it all out, explaining that there are benefits to working out at every heart rate level. 

In a nutshell (all descriptions taken from VeryWellFit.  To access this article in full, click HERE):

Healthy Heart Zone:

“Your workout in this zone is less intense and won’t give the most cardiorespiratory training benefits. But studies have shown that it works to help decrease body fat, blood pressure, and cholesterol.  In this zone, the body derives its energy by burning 10 percent carbohydrates, 5 percent protein, and 85 percent fat.”

Fitness Heart Rate Zone

“You burn more calories per minute than in the healthy heart zone because the exercise is a little more intense. You are going faster and therefore covering more distance. The calories burned depend on the distance you cover and your weight more than any other factors.  In this zone, your body fuels itself with 85 percent fat, 5 percent protein, and 10 percent carbohydrate.”

Aerobic Heart Rate Zone

This is the zone to aim for when training for endurance. It spurs your body to improve your circulatory system by building new blood vessels and increases your heart and lung capacity.  Aiming for 20 to 60 minutes in this zone is believed to give the best fitness training benefits.  You burn 50 percent of your calories from fat, 50 percent from carbohydrate, and less than 1 percent from protein when you are in this zone

Anaerobic Zone – Threshold Zone

“This exertion level takes you to the limit where your body begins to produce lactic acid. Racewalkers use this zone to build their ability to go even faster.

Workouts in this heart rate zone should be in the 10-20 minute range or part of an interval training workout.  You burn more calories per minute than with the lower heart rate workouts, as you are covering more distance per minute.  The body burns 85 percent carbohydrates, 15 percent fat and less than 1 percent protein in this zone.”

Red-Line Zone

“This zone should only be used for short bursts during interval training, where you work intensely for a minute and then drop back down to a lower intensity for several minutes, and repeat. You should consult with your doctor to ensure you can work out at such a high heart rate safely. While you burn lots of calories per minute in this zone, 90 percent of them are carbohydrates, 10 percent fats, and less than 1 percent protein.“

Not Crossfit, Better than Bootcamp…Duffy’s Ultimate Functional Fitness on HEALTHY SUMMER COCKTAIL RECIPES!

Nothing spells summer like a delicious, savory drink to cool you down!  With beach bonfires and pool parties happening all over Mount Pleasant and Charleston, you KNOW you’ll be tempted by a Mojito or a Margarita.  But all that SUGAR?  Is it possible to enjoy your favorite summer cocktail without derailing all of your hard work at the gym?

We say YES!  Read on to discover how to make these TWO COCKTAIL CLASSICS better for the beach and BETTER FOR YOUR BODY!

http://www.recipe4living.com/recipes/faux_jito.htm

http://www.recipe4living.com/recipes/faux_jito.htm

“Faux” Jito

Recipe found in Shape Magazine

Did we say Mojito??? One of the most popular drinks anytime of year, this minty delight is not only tasty, it’s super refreshing.  But did you know that Newsweek ranks this Cuban classic as number FIVE out of The Six Most Fattening Cocktails?  In fact, coming in around 250 calories per serving, this cocktail will quickly throw all of those squats and crunches you do at the gym OUT THE WINDOW!

So how do you get your Mojito fix without all of the damage?  Shape sourced Emilie Yount, editor of Recipe4Living.com for this 2-minute miracle:

This Makes 1 Serving

Ingredients:

three or four mint leaves, a lime wedge

1 oz. white rum, diet lemon-lime soda (such as Sprite Zero, Diet Sierra Mist, or Diet 7-Up—NOTE that we DUFFNATICS prefer club soda for a more refreshing version)

ice

sugar (just for the rim of the glass!)

To prepare:

“Muddle mint leaves with white rum and the juice from lime wedge (1/8 of the lime). Muddling is done by lightly crushing the mint (just until the leaves bruise) using a mortar and pestle or whatever you have on hand. Just don’t shred the mint!

Run the squeezed lime wedge around the rim of the glass, and then dip the top of the glass in a shallow plate of granulated sugar to coat the rim. Pour the muddled mixture into your glass, fill with crushed ice, and top off with the diet soda.”

http://www.cookinglight.com/recipes/grapefruit-beergaritas

Grapefruit Beergaritas

Recipe found in Cooking Light

CL has our bodies and our behavior in mind with this fun twist on this classic cocktail: “Fresh juice and a little simple syrup replace margarita mix to cut 4 teaspoons (16g) added sugars per serving. Diluting tequila with juice and beer makes for a gentler cocktail that’ll keep guests free from personal fouls.”  By having lower alcohol content, you can eliminate your hangover and keep that progress you just made on your Tabata!

This Makes 8 Servings

Ingredients:

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup water

2 teaspoons grated lime rind

2 (12-oz.) bottles pale lager beer (such as Corona Light), chilled

2 cups fresh pink grapefruit juice (from 2 grapefruits), chilled

1/2 cup (4 oz.) tequila

1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 3 limes)

“Combine first 3 ingredients in a glass jar. Cover with lid; shake until sugar dissolves. Pour mixture into a pitcher. Add beer, grapefruit juice, tequila, and lime juice; stir gently. Serve over ice.”

Not Crossfit, Better thank Bootcamp…Duffy’s Ultimate Functional Fitness on WHAT TO READ THIS SUMMER!

Summer has hit Mount Pleasant and Charleston and for many of us in the LowCountry, VACATION TIME!  And what goes best by the beach or the pool (besides a healthy cocktail)? A great READ! 

Check out three BRAND NEW BOOKS that will inspire you to live your best life this summer!  Read on!

And those healthy cocktails we mentioned above?  Check our our blog next week for recipe ideas!

FITNESS MINDSET by Brian Keane. 

Click HERE to purchase.

VeryWellFit ranks Brian Keane’s  The Fitness Mindset as their top pick for Best Fitness read of 2018.  Keane, world famous for his BKF90 program and popular podcast, delves into the mental aspect of exercise and fitness. 

According to VWF: “The Fitness Mindset covers many of the areas common in fitness books, including diet and interval training, but its innovation is the emphasis on psychological side of things. Keane writes about how to avoid fear and anxiety about undoing the fitness achievements you’ve made and how to manage stress more fruitfully. Amazon reviews of The Fitness Mindset praise Keane’s book for its readability and inspirational quality, giving the book a 5-star review average.”

BETTER BRAIN SOLUTION by Steven Masley, MD

Click HERE to purchase.

Nutritious Life also makes the mind/body connection with their recommendation for a top read with The Better Brain Solution.

As we all know, whether you have diabetes or not, exercising is great for keeping your blood sugar in check.  According to WebMD, “When you do moderate exercise, like walking, that makes your heart beat a little faster and breathe a little harder. Your muscles use more glucose, the sugar in your blood stream.  Over time, this can lower your blood sugar levels. It also makes the insulin in your body work better.”

Dr. Steven Malsey takes this even further to explain how lowering your blood sugar through working out improves your BRAIN function. NL explains why Malsey’s new book is relevant to everyone:  “A top physician explains how elevated blood sugar is not just damaging to your heart health but also majorly affects your brain. And he offers a prescription for a diet and lifestyle that not only prevents diabetes but also addresses memory loss and cognitive decline. It’s a case for taking care of your brain long before it’s too late.”

RUN FAST. COOK FAST. EAT SLOW. by Shalane Flanagan & Elyse Kopecky

Click HERE to purchase (available Aug 2018).

This is a followup to NYT Best Selling Run Fast. Eat Slow.  Like it’s predecessor, this latest installment by 2018 NYC Marathon winner Shalane Flanagan is packed with great recipes crafted by renown Nutrition Coach Elyse Kopecky, but what makes this a great for the summer are the quick and EASY recipes. These will be perfect pre & post workout and will give you enough time to hit the beach afterwards.

Women’s Health explains: “While Flanagan is not a nutritionist, she does provide plenty of quick-but-nutritious recipes crafted by that anyone can benefit from, Salter says. You’ll also enjoy her running stories, tips, and an inside look into the elite running world.”  WH recommends this book to “anyone who’s ever been curious about what elite athletes eat, or people who want to improve their race times or lose weight with running.”

Not Crossfit, Better than Bootcamp…Duffy’s Ultimate Functional Fitness on “UNHEALTHY” FOOD YOU CAN EAT!

It’s beach season here in Charleston and Mount Pleasant.  We talked all about the bikini bod last week with our article on CORE.  And as we noted, a rockin’ bod does not come from exercise alone.  No matter how many miles you clock on the treadmill or how many pounds you lift at the gym, you’re not going to reach your fitness goals without watching what you eat! 

While many fitness experts spend time talking about what NOT to eat, this week we’re going to spend some time debunking diet myths and talk about what you CAN eat! 

Never mind their bad reputation, here are our TOP FIVE BAD FOODS THAT ARE ACTUALLY GOOD FOR YOU!

#1 Peanut Butter

After working hard at the gym, you certainly don’t want to go home and chow down on Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups!  But believe it or not, if you eat the RIGHT kind, peanut butter can IMPROVE your diet.  Take it from Shape: “Research finds that people who eat peanut butter every day have healthier diets overall. Peanut butter may be high in fat, but 80 percent of that fat comes from healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated oils. Peanut butter is a high-protein food with lots of vitamin E, niacin, folic acid, magnesium, and antioxidants. Shop for natural peanut butter made from nothing but ground peanuts, or commercial peanut butter that doesn’t have trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, or much sodium.” 

So skip the Jiffy and go for natural—Whole Foods and Earth Fare have peanut grinders so you can make your own! (We also love Trader Joe’s Crunchy Unsalted PB which has NOTHING but peanuts!).

#2 Bacon

Say WHAT?!?!?!  Now please keep in mind, we’re not telling you to eat the Baconator to reward your serious lifting session.  Consuming bacon is a TREAD LIGHTLY situation.  In fact, Health Magazine reminds us to use bacon almost like a spice: “The key here? Small amounts. Bacon can be loaded with salt and saturated fat, which is why you want to use it more like a garnish than a main event. Sprinkle crumbled bacon atop a side dish of Brussels sprouts or a veggie-filled salad.”  The trick is that if you sprinkle a little indulgence into your meal, you will feel satisfied and be less likely to cheat BIG TIME.

#3 Cheese

Much like bacon, this is not a license to pig out on cheddar after running a few miles! Men’s Health quotes Ginger Hultin M.S., R.D.N., C.S.O., spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, who reminds us that when eaten in proper portions, cheese is loaded with good stuff: “Cheese is a rich source of protein, and it’s especially high in bone-boosting calcium and phosphorus…One ounce (oz) of cheese contains 7 grams (g) of protein. And because, protein is known for its ability to keep you full for a long period of time, snacking on a little bit of cheese goes a long way.  Some research even suggests that cheese may provide gut health boosting probiotics, which are connected to their own slew of health benefits.”

#4 Pasta

We are repeating ourselves here, we know.  “Carbing Up” before or after a major workout at the gym is a BAD IDEA.  Just like with cheese and bacon, to eat pasta is to be about moderation.  Take it from LiveStrong:  “The key to eating pasta is to keep your portions to no more than 1 cup cooked. Believe it or not, the recommended serving size of pasta is 1/2 cup of cooked pasta — the amount you can hold in one cupped hand! If you were served that amount at a restaurant, you’d most likely feel cheated! Most people eat 2 cups of pasta for a meal. For a more balanced (and filling) meal, prepare pasta with veggies, seafood or lean protein such as chicken or tempeh, and top it with a tomato-based sauce rather than a cream-based sauce.”

#5 Chocolate

The health benefits of chocolate have been popular news fodder for years.  The Cleveland Clinic explains that unprocessed chocolate has flavonoids (“When we eat foods rich in flavonoids, it appears that we also benefit from this ‘antioxidant’ power”);  antioxidants (“believed to help the body’s cells resist damage caused by free radicals that are formed by normal bodily processes, such as breathing, and from environmental contaminants, like cigarette smoke”);  and flavanols (“[which] has influences on vascular health, such as lowering blood pressure, improving blood flow to the brain and heart, and making blood platelets less sticky and able to clot”).

But at the risk of sounding like a broken record, eating chocolate it’s all about QUALITY and QUANTITY!  NBC News recommends: “To enjoy chocolate the healthy way, try nibbling on a few squares of 70% or higher dark chocolate paired with strawberries or melted onto bananas, mix 2 tablespoons unsweetened pure cocoa powder into your coffee or a cup of warm milk or sprinkle cacao nibs on oatmeal or a smoothie bowl…”

Not Crossfit, Better than Bootcamp…Duffy’s Ultimate Functional Fitness on CORE DON’Ts

It’s definitely beach season here in Mount Pleasant and Charleston…perfect time to delve into one of our favorite topics, THE CORE! 

But first of all, just to make sure we’re all on the same page—what exactly is your core? 

Self Magazine spells it out like this: “Your core is made up of a group of muscles that work together to support and stabilize the trunk of your body. While we often think of our core as our abs, the abs are only one part of the equation. The core wraps around the entire body, and includes muscles like the rectus abdominus (the abs), obliques, and yes, the muscles in your lower back.”

So beyond your belly, your core is exactly like it sounds, the CENTER of your body.  If you want to delve deeper into the matter, we did an article a while back (click HERE to find it).    

This week we are debunking some myths with our TOP FIVE CORE-BUILDING DON’Ts

https://www.shape.com/fitness/gear/popular-fitness-equipment-then-and-now

#1 Don’t Be Afraid to Hold Still

Contrary to popular belief, getting a strong center does not mean blasting out 500 sit-ups.  It’s time to debase the exercise myth that the more crunches you do, the stronger your core becomes.  In fact, research is showing that JUST doing crunches can actually HURT you.

Nowadays the crazy “ab cruncher” craze of the 80’s is giving way to the idea that when it comes to building a strong core foundation, there is STRENGTH in STILLNESS.   

NBC News quotes Brian Bott, certified functional strength coach, founder of Aspire Fitness and co-author of Get With the Program: “When we think about core training, we focus on preventing movement rather than creating it. A lot of back injuries can be attributed to repeated flexing and extending of the spine. This is the exact movement you are doing performing a crunch. Yes, you feel them in your abs, but it’s not quite the way your core was designed to work and it comes at the expense of your back.” 

#2 Don’t Just Focus on Your Six Pack

To piggyback on the idea of using your center to STRENGTHEN your body, Harvard Medical School reminds us that only caring about the washboard is missing the point:  “A rippling six-pack and a weak back are a recipe for disaster. So don’t just focus on abdominal exercises that buff appearances. A program that works all core muscles protects your back and boosts sports performance.”  An Insta-worthy BEACH BODY is just an added bonus!

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#3 Don’t Neglect Cardio

If you’re STILL obsessed with getting Chris Hemsworth’s bod, unfortunately strengthening your center is only ONE STEP on the way to mythical greatness.  Take it from VeryWellFit: “While exercising the muscle may increase endurance or strength, it won’t burn off the fat in that area…The only way to burn fat from your belly is…with consistent exercise — Cardio, weight training, and flexibility, and a healthy, low-calorie diet.”  So you may be able to plank your way to greatness, you still need to eat well, lift weights and get your cardio in to chisel your midsection.

#4 Don’t Forget to Incorporate Compound Movements

As all DUFFNATICS know, we like to make our workouts efficient and interesting for our clients— and one way to do that is through combining activities in something called Compound Movements.  BodyBuildling.com explains: “Compound movements like deadlifts, squats, and overhead presses engage every inch of your core.”  So you don’t even notice that you’re working your core until AFTER you’ve finished the workout!  Plus combining exercises helps you burn more calories, so win-win!

#5 Don’t Ignore Good Posture

Sorry slouchers, it turns out that standing straight is great for your strength.  Fitness Magazine quotes Brynn Putnam, founder of Refine Method.  Putnam explains that if you maintain proper posture, any exercise can become a CORE exercise: “The key to working your core effectively is to maintain a ‘neutral spine,’ or the natural curvature of your back, in every exercise you do…Just be sure to work with enough resistance or intensity that you feel your core muscles reflexively brace or squeeze when you move.”

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