Summer - that time of year where we tend to wear a bit less clothing and even break out swimsuits - officially starts on Monday, June 20th, and if you've been blowing your diet or workout routine lately, there's only one thing you can do right about now:
Only kidding... But that feeling is pretty common. And we usually make it worse by following some extreme program in a futile effort to quickly right a wrong - even if that wrong has been months or years in the making.
Truth is, those extra pounds and that extra pudge didn't come from having an occasional donut. It came from consistently eating donuts (or following some other less than optimal behavior patterns) over a long period of time.
So, how do we break that cycle and improve how we look and feel? Easy. Go back to the basics. Make things simple. Put your time, effort and energy into these four key components of good health - those simple things we often overlook and discard but that give us the most overall benefit.
Hydrate - About 60 percent of our total bodyweight is comprised of water, and if you're dehydrated and not getting enough you will not feel or perform well, and neither will your body. Having your fluid balance off by just half a percent increases strain on the heart (since it decreases overall blood volume). Add in the blazing heat and humidity that comes with just living in south Texas, and you can see how easy it is to be behind the curve before you even get started. Active or not, get your fluid balance in check, and you'll feel and perform better almost immediately.
Sleep - Want to age quickly? Make your hormone levels go crazy? Maintain belly fat, increase cravings for junk food and even perform worse on cognitive tasks? Great! All you have to do is be really bad at sleeping. But don't just take my word for it, click here and here to read all about it. Of course, you could always just make an effort to improve sleep patterns, which will make you look, feel and perform better, along with decreasing your risks of several health maladies, but who the heck wants that?
Eat Food - Actual food, that is. And a good variety of it to shore up any nutrient deficiencies. You're looking for mostly plant based items, lean proteins and healthy fats - namely things that exist in nature as is, as opposed to overly processed or packaged items, or things created in a lab of factory. Actual foods contain a host of nutrients vital to good health, and most are calorically light, meaning you can eat a fair volume of a given item without having to worry so much about the caloric load. If you can't name five fruits or vegetables you've eaten today, then this is an area you can definitely improve on.
Walk - If you've been sedentary, or are looking to add more activity and movement into your routine, you don't have to hit a spin class, Crossfit session, or even step foot in a gym. Keep it simple by going for a daily walk. Doing so will decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, and diabetes. You'll burn a few extra calories in the process, and acquire a new habit that you can actually maintain for a lifetime. Want about one hundred more reasons to add a daily walk to your schedule? Just go here and watch this.
By concentrating on these primary elements, you dramatically improve baseline health markers, incorporate positive behavior patterns, and lay a solid foundation for future body composition or fitness goals. It may not give you the beach body you want right now, but it will certainly provide a solid foundation for one in the future. And that's not a bad way to start the summer!
MBS Fitness has always provided patrons a unique opportunity to get a little art appreciation in while working on their own form. Whether running on a treadmill, working with a Personal Trainer, lengthening and toning with a Pilates Instructor or matching breath with movement in our King William location Yoga Studio, fitness-lovers have enjoyed thought-provoking, startling, beautiful and sometimes even bizarre works of art to stimulate the mind while they're sculpting their bodies. Naturally this connection makes Contemporary Art Month an exciting time for MBS Fitness- and this year MBS is participating in a few ways.
We are excited to announce a major change in our approach to supporting artists and promoting art patronage among the fitness and wellness communities in San Antonio. Beginning this coming April, the MBS Yoga Studio will begin hosting regularly scheduled art openings offering another platform through which patrons may also both contribute and benefit from the arts community.
In order to accomplish this goal, MBS Fitness will host a multi-layered official CAM event during which we will sell the eclectic collection of superstar local artists currently adorning the walls. This bittersweet and not-to-be missed farewell unfolds in two parts. On the evening of Friday, March 24th at 6pm, Josh Levine- personal trainer, yoga instructor, adventurer and founder of MBS Fitness will lead an all-level yoga class focused on breath-work followed by a discussion of the collection. A little farewell party for the beloved gems follows and attendees will have the opportunity to snatch up a favorite piece or two before they're made available to the general public.
As a kid, I was active and fit – I played sports and enjoyed being outdoors and playing outside. As I got older though, I became more interested in videos and video games, and less interested in going outside. Eventually my schoolwork became overwhelming, with long hours of sitting, studying, and practicing for my recitals. I gained weight, and became depressed due to my physique and the stress that school and work put on me. I got up to 220 lbs., possibly more, since after a certain point I just stopped weighing myself. I was disgusted by my weight, and felt that there was no hope for me - and I was just too far-gone.
But eventually, I found my motivation. I wanted to join the Air Force, but would have to lose a significant amount of weight to do so. According to their standards, I wasn’t supposed to weigh more than 175 lbs, meaning I had to lose at least 50 pounds just to qualify.
It was hard to get started, since I was afraid to go to the gym and afraid of being made fun of. So I made my backyard and neighborhood my own personal gym. I started a walk/run program, eventually building up to a steady 20 minute jog. After that I started to work on speed and distance, and then added in push-ups and sit-up as well - barely able to eek out 10 in the beginning. Eventually I tried pull ups; I couldn’t do one by myself, but with the help of a chair I could do about three.
Day after day, and rep after rep, I started to improve, and I remember stepping on the scale for the first time in a while and seeing it hit 210 - it was the first time I was under 220 in a long time, and I was excited about that.
I continued working at it and started feeling better and more confident which helped me in my work and school. I felt I had a goal and a purpose to exercise, and eventually I got up the courage to actually go to a gym. I was nervous, and scared of embarrassing myself, but felt like it was something I needed to do.
To my surprise, I received support from several of the other people there - people I had never met were friendly and helpful with workout advice. And then someone told me something I'll never forget: “Everyone starts somewhere. Everyone has a journey and a challenge to overcome. Some are just further in their journey than others. You are in here for a reason. Don’t forget that.”
After a year I made it down to 165 and made it into the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps, and later became a Pilot in the US Air Force. I continued my workout routine and got up to 175 lbs. of muscle - benching 255 lbs. for reps and being able to run a mile and a half in less than 10 minutes.
From that experience, I am still constantly trying to improve myself and help others do the same. Fitness is by nature a community builder. No one should be scared of fitness or scared of going to the gym. Everyone starts somewhere. How far you get on your journey depends on you and the work you put in. Don’t let anyone else take you down and away from that. Just take it one step at a time, one rep at a time, one exercise at a time. Anyone can reach their goals no matter how far out of reach it may seem. I am living proof of that.
Cameron's full line up of classes with start later this month but in the meantime we invite you to try his FREE Free Boot Camp offerings that started earlier this week:
Wed June 1st at 6pm: Conquer the Bar
Wed June 1st at 7pm: Team Calisthenics
Thurs June 2nd at 6am: Quadric Agility
Fri June 3rd at 6pm: Team Calisthenics
Mon June 6th at 6pm: Conquer the Bar
Tues June 7th at 6am: Quadric Agility
First of all let's be clear: I love breakfast. I mean love breakfast. That goofy, tail-wagging dance your oversized Labrador does in the morning just before the kibble hits the bowl? That's pretty much me.
I think about it all night, and make sure to get up early enough in the morning to prepare and fully enjoy it without having to rush out the door. And all that makes a huge difference, and often sets the tone for the rest of the day. Bottom line: a solid, tasty, nutrient rich breakfast makes me happy, and gives me everything I need for my extra-early, super-busy mornings.
That's not to say you have to eat breakfast. You can skip it entirely and still meet all your caloric, nutritional, and body composition goals. It's really a preference thing, as this recent article pointed out.
That aside, if you love morning eats and have a busy day ahead, then I've got an awesome recipe for you. I've actually got several, but this is one of my current faves which I tend to rotate in several times a week. It's simple, sweet, savory, filling, and so nutrient rich it will make you and your body happy.
So, grab a medium bowl, and throw in the following in the order listed below:
So, why is this such a potent breakfast (or snack)? Because aside from just looking good, nearly every ingredient serves a purpose and packs a punch. And several of the ingredients are straight up superfoods in their own right!
Strawberries (and most berries in general) are high in vitamin C, low in sugar, nutrient dense while calorically light, and among the top 20 foods in antioxidant capacity. In fact, you can eat two full pounds of strawberries for less than 300 calories. Seriously! Think about that next time you're actually hungry and reach for one of those tiny little food bars.
Cacao nibs (the raw, potent, unprocessed origins of chocolate) are pretty much the superfood of the year, high in fiber and magnesium with more antioxidants and flavonoids than you can shake a stick at. They also naturally contain a bit of caffeine and theobromine - both of which are stimulants - so they can give you a bit of a kick if you need it in the morning. They're nutty, crunch texture is also a nice plus.
Pistachios (and most nuts in general) pack in a hearty dose of positive fats, along with some fiber. Pistachios also pack in B vitamins, trace elements of minerals like copper and manganese, and are also higher in protein than most other nuts. They're striking green color also adds a nice visual touch to anything you put them in.
The cinnamon and toasted coconut chips add in a little flavor, color and texture without corrupting the recipe. And the cheeses sticks are an excellent protein source - you'll get 14 grams of the stuff for only 100 calories - and add a nice, savory touch to compliment the berries.
Even better, you can toss this recipe together in just a few minutes, and easily pack it in your own little bento box to take to work and enjoy later.
So, if you're having trouble getting your day started right, give this powerful recipe a try. It will leave you fueled up, satisfied, and fired up for whatever lies ahead!
We all have fear and anxiety about certain things. For me that list includes: bears, a Kardashian Empire, and actual chocolate toxicity. Sure, there are worse ways to go, but knowing that consuming just 13 pounds of the dark stuff could put me in the ground? Well, that still makes me a little nervous...
That aside, when it comes to health and wellness, there's one thing that seems to make people shudder more than just about anything else: the scale.
Heck, it scares people more than carbs. Or gluten. Or sugar. And that's a whole lot of scared peoples!
Say the word 'scale' in a gym, and it's like yelling 'fire!' in a crowded theater - people panic. It is the big bad wolf of the fitness industry, but it certainly doesn't have to be that way.
In fact, the scale is not a scary thing at all. It's not even a bad thing. It can actually be a very good thing - something that can benefit you as much of if not more than any of the other equipment you typically use in a gym - and I'm going to explain to you exactly why and how to use it.
First things first: that number you see on the scale is just a number - a data point to be precise. It doesn't matter if it says 137, or 223, or even 569. Like any other piece of data - it's just a number. It is by no means who you are, or what you are, or an exact indicator of health. Like blood pressure, resting heart rate, cholesterol, or blood sugar levels, it is a reference point at a given time. That's it. Nothing else, nothing more. And like those other numbers, it can be tweaked and improved if you care to do so.
So repeat after me: scale weight is just a data point at a given moment in time. Got it? See, it's not so big and bad after all...
Now, where this number (or piece of data) can be particularly valuable is for anyone wishing to increase or decrease their body weight. More specifically, most people are trying to increase or maintain muscle mass while decreasing body fat. When someone says they are trying to lose weight, that's pretty much what they're trying to do - maintain or increase muscle mass while decreasing body fat. They're not really looking for a specific number on a scale, they're looking for a specific result. But the scale can be a valuable tool in the process.
But wait a second, you say. Scales can be wrong. Scale weight can fluctuate wildly over the course of a single day. It can be manipulated by simple hydration and dehydration. It tells you nothing about the composition of that weight - is it fat or is it muscle? - so how then can it be of any value?
Just like any other form of data, results can be skewed and manipulated, and therefore inaccurate. That's why we have standards when collecting data. It's the reason you fast before specific blood tests, why you don't jump up and down when taking your blood pressure, and why you don't hold your breath when taking resting pulse rate. Scale weight as a data point is no different.
So then, to make the best of things, we need to establish and follow some simple, consistent guidelines for collecting our info. And know that any variance from said guidelines will result in inaccurate, inconsistent results.
Those guidelines include: Weighing in on the same scale, and at the same time of day each time. Wearing the same clothing (or no clothing at all) each time. And, avoiding any extreme behavior (with regard to meals and exercise) before collecting the data.
Following those basic guidelines should help for sure. But there are a few other key points that are as important, if not more important, if you truly want to monitor your progress as it pertains to fat loss.
First, weigh in once a week, or every ten days. And second (and this is critical) take a body circumference measurement each time you weigh in. For males, a good reference point is the thickest part around the waist, and for females a good reference point is the thickest point around the hips and thighs. You're essentially taking a circumference measurement around the widest part of your body. And since most males and females tend to store the bulk of our excess fat in these respective areas, it's a great reference point to use in conjunction with scale weight to make sure you're moving toward fat loss and not just weight loss.
If your goal is fat loss (and you're actively doing things to facilitate that result) you should see a dip in at least one of, if not both of those numbers each time you collect your data. But essentially you're looking for long term trends - plot points that tend to go the same direction after two, four or six weeks and beyond. If scale weight is dropping consistently but body circumference remains the same, then it's probably time to adjust and reevaluate your program. True fat loss should be reflected by a decrease in waist circumference along with a decrease in scale weight.
Is this a perfect, iron-clad system for tracking fat loss and changes in body composition? Absolutely not. There are much more scientific (DEXA), expensive (BodPod), inconvenient (hydrostatic weighing) ways to gauge that. But using a simple scale (and a tape measure) in a consistent way is an easy, cheap, accessible and fairly reliable way to measure long term trends, figure out if you need to adjust your program, and monitor overall progress.
So don't fear the scale, people - it's just a tool. One of many instruments you can use to collect data and monitor health. There are far worse things out there in this big, bad world of ours.
by: Tom Trevino
Tom Trevino is s personal trainer and wellness coach based out of San Antonio. He holds a B.A. from the University of Texas at San Antonio, multiple certifications from the Cooper Institute in Dallas, and is currently pursuing his Precision Nutrition Level 1 certification. He can be found at our Alamo Heights location, or aimlessly wandering the aisles of Central Market.
If you would like information on personal training with Tom please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may view Tom's profile and all of our MBS Fitness personal trainer profiles by following this link.
Conquer The Bar: This class is open to all fitness levels and is completely focused around the pull-up bar using multiple variations of the pull-up. Other exercises include toe to bar, variations of toe to bar, back lever, and some slightly acrobatic type movements. These exercises will all be performed to max rep, aka failure. This class will improve strength, body movement, and in some cases functional flexibility. For this class, if you feel the need, bring work-out gloves as to not hurt the palms on your hand during this one-hour bar centered class.
Quadric Agility: This class is based around quadrupedal movements for all fitness levels. These movements promote flexibility, strength, and agility using all 4 limbs and your body weight, as well as plyometric movements. This will enhance proprioception as well as all around confidence in body movement.
First Class is FREE to San Antonio Residents
First Week Unlimited │ $20
Drop In │ $15
5 Pack │ $55
10 Pack │$85
Monthly Unlimited │ $99
Spring Break is about a month away and we know this is when people will begin to flock to the gym to start preparing. Most times after a week or two of being at the gym, people begin to get bored and tend to forget about the Spring Break bodies they want to achieve. This is when having a personal trainer comes in handy. Personal trainers aren’t just for celebrities or athletes. Everyone and anyone can benefit from a personal trainer. Here are three benefits to having a personal trainer:
Personal trainers are able to hold you accountable for your goals and when you are supposed to be at the gym. They help you come up with goals, but along with that they also make sure that goals you set are realistic. Whether it’s running a mile non-stop or getting a strict pull-up, your trainer will help you come up with a plan on how to achieve your goal. Along with accountability, they motivate you during your workouts. You will never hear you trainer telling you that you CAN’T do something.
Not having the right technique can easily lead into an injury at the gym. Personal trainers are able to show you the proper ways to do certain movements. Proper technique will help you in reaching your goals. Trainers are also able to hold you accountable for proper technique during your workouts. With a personal trainer by your side, you will be less likely to experience a rolled ankle, pulled muscle or any other type of injury.
Going to the gym is one thing, but after you’re on the treadmill for half an hour, then what do you do? A personal trainer is able to help you develop a routine that is realistic for you. They will assess the best routine for your life's daily activities and what makes the most sense for you. They will not expect you to work out seven or even five days a week at the very beginning. Personal trainers are able to develop your routine based on what you are capable of doing, then helping you to meet and break through your limits.
Spring Break is almost here, so come get fit with us! We offer personal training at both our King William and Alamo Height locations. Call us at 210.412.0398 for more information.