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7 Little Things You Can Do to Get A Better Night’s Sleep

Doggie sleeping

We all know — we need to get more sleep. We hear it everywhere we go. Need to lose weight? Get more sleep! Stressed out? Sleep more! Getting sick all the time? You need to rest!

So, duh. Sleep rules, we don’t get enough of it, and we need to fix that.

But life is stressful and full of computer screens. Our modern lifestyles are not very conducive to a solid night’s sleep.

So I — a bona fide insomniac for three years running, I’m sorry to say — have compiled a list of the 7 things that have helped me the most. Some might be old hat, but one or two should be brand new.

Especially #7. That guy’s awesome.

7 Ways to Get a Better Night’s Sleep

1. Turn out the lights. Your sleeping chambers should be pitch dark at night. Like, can’t see your hand in front of your face. No more night lights or leaving the door open a crack. I’m talking blackout curtains, getting rid of any electronics with glowing lights, sleep masks, and whatever else you have to do to achieve optimal blackness. You’ll be way less likely to wake up in the middle of the night.

2. No electronics, especially before bed. Make your bedroom an electronics-free zone. No smartphones. No laptops. If you like to read or use a sleep app, put your device in airplane mode. Avoid looking at a screen at least an hour before bed. It messes with your melatonin (which is what makes you sleepy).

3. No sugar at night. Blood sugar (too high OR too low) is a major culprit behind disturbed sleep. Try to avoid sweets at night. And if you know you’re hypoglycemic, eat a few bites of protein before bed. Like a slice of turkey or a handful of nuts.

4. Eat more protein. This goes back to the blood sugar (see #3 above), but it also helps muscle recovery, appetite, and seratonin production. (Seratonin isn’t just a happy-making neurotransmitter; it’s also essential for a good night’s sleep.)

5. Separate covers. If you share a bed with someone, lots of problems can ensue. Separate covers can eliminate a big one — the motion transfer you feel when your partner tosses and turns. Snuggled in your own personal covers, you won’t even notice. Also, bonus: this lets each sleeper cover up according to his/her temperature preferences, which can vary wildly from one person to another.

6. Keep it cool. We sleep better when we’re a little cold. Try to keep your room a couple degrees colder than feels comfortable. You can always turn the heat up in the morning, or let the sunshine in to warm things up.

7. Andrew Johnson apps. This guy is the best thing that’s ever happened to me. (Don’t tell my husband.) A gentle Scottish man talks you into a deep relaxation, then whispers sweet nothings to your subconscious mind, helping you to sleep, drink more water, or…actually I don’t really know what he says, because I’m always out cold by this point. It’s like having Shrek read you a bedtime story.

There we go!

Have any sleep strategies I missed? Share them in the comments below.

Sleep can be some elusive, slippery prey. But with these tools in your arsenal…

I think you’re about to catch some.

 

Get Glowing Skin at Any Age (Without Chemicals)

photo-1446161543652-83eaa65fddab

 

The other day, my 10-year-old nephew came in from outside and said, “Hey Aunt Sam. Your epidermis is showing.” (Snark snark.)

Ah, kids.

He had a point though — it was showing. It’s always exposed, to sunlight, air pollutants, the chlorine in my water, and who knows what else.

(In case you’re feeling secretly out of the loop right now, epidermis is a fancy word for your body’s largest organ: your skin.)

You’re never too old to start loving up your skin. Sure, it’d be great if we were taking care of it all along, but hey. Live and learn.

Today I’ve got the mother lode of skin care tips. Take what you will; they’re all fairly simple, and any one of them will make your skin happier.

FYI, I’m not talking about “anti-aging.” That is just a ridiculous concept to me. Everything alive ages. And sure, nobody loves to discover a new wrinkle. But what I’m talking about here is your health.

I’m talking about upping the glow, amping up the brightness. Improving your skin’s elasticity and overall appearance. Preventing sunspots and skin cancer. A few wrinkles? Just means you like to smile. 🙂

Sam’s favorite skin care quickies:

Apple Cider Vinegar cocktails. This little miracle is alkalizing (which means it has loads of other health benefits), and it’s been shown to improve some pretty serious skin conditions like Psoriasis and Eczema.

Drinking this daily will help your skin glow and shine, partly because it improves your digestion. Put two tablespoons of ACV in a pint glass of water, and drink up. And make sure to get the raw, unfiltered kind, with the “mother” still floating around in there. You can add lemon or honey for taste.

Skin brushing. Use a medium, natural-bristle brush and brush your skin all over (except your face) before you hop in the shower. Start at your toes and fingers and work towards your heart in short, quick strokes and/or circles.

This exfoliates dead skin, and the vigorous rubbing brings blood to the surface of your skin, which improves circulation and lymph flow.

More water! It’s almost a joke at this point, how I keep bringing up the water. Almost. Because healthy skin is well-hydrated skin. No two ways about, kemosabe. You can up your hydration by drinking aloe juice and/or coconut water, but at the end of the day there’s no substitute for good ol’ H2O.

More skin care tips:

Truly great skin is a reflection of a healthy body. Your skin is the last place in your body to receive nutrients, so if you’re deficient in some way, guess where it shows up?

On the other hand, if your diet is abundant in veggies, fruits, healthy fats, and clean food, your skin will shine.

I’m not an expert on supplements, but vitamins E, A, and C are super important for healthy skin.

Eat plenty of healthy fats. Add a fish oil / Omega-3 supplement to your regimen, and stock up on the coconut oil and avocado. Healthy fats are what gives your skin that glow.

Extra credit: Down a shot of olive oil before bed. Hardcore! (But not as nasty as you think.) Down a shot glass of olive oil, with a lemon water chaser, at night. This not only lubricates your intestines and helps with healthy bowel movements, it also lends a buttery glow to your skin. (The higher quality oil you get, the better it tastes.)

Bathing & beauty:

Swap out your soap, moisturizer, and deodorant for natural alternatives. Many commercial soaps dry your skin, depriving it of its natural oils. They also contain fragrance and other chemical — and all that gets absorbed through your skin.

Get rid of fancy body washes and anti-aging “formulas.” (Unless you’re using something specific, like tar shampoo for scalp issues, or acne treatments.) Mostly this stuff is just a rip-off, to be honest. The more natural, the better.

You can moisturize with natural oils. Sesame and almond are both nice, and coconut oil is awesome after a sunbathing session. Alternatively, try a plant-based lotion (you can find some at your local health-food store).

Get a shower filter. Bad news: all that chlorine you’re filtering out with your Brita? Is getting absorbed through your skin every time you take a shower. Filtering your shower water reduces the need for moisturizer. It can also help alleviate Eczema or severely dry skin, reduces rashes and irritation, and calms Psoriasis.

Quit bathing so much. Really, it’s overrated. If you’re covered in dirt from the garden, or stinking after a long run, sure. But day-to-day, you don’t actually need to wash with soap. Every other day is sufficient. This will help your skin retain its natural moisture.

Cool down your showers. Super-hot water feels great, but it can be irritating to the skin. Try warm showers instead.

Hot/cold plunge. Woooo! This one’s daring. At the end of your shower, run the water as hot as you can stand it for about a minute, then as cold as you can stand it for a minute, then repeat as many times as you can take it (I usually bail after two.) This draws blood to the skin’s surface and encourages circulation and drainage. It’s also good for your pores.

Experiment with natural alternatives to makeup and perfume. Makeup has come a long way here – there are some really great options out there. For fragrance, try essential oil blends instead of alcohol-based perfumes. For more info, visit two of my favorite online resources:

Summer’s right around the corner. Which means you’ll be showing a LOT more epidermis to a LOT more people.

Make ’em jealous.

 

 

Much of this material was originally posted at TheNotMom.com.

 

Image sourced from ThisOldHouse.com.

‘Tis the season… for achy backs, cranky knees, and shoulder knots that rival the tightest nautical techniques any sailor’s ever seen.

Yard work. Pulling weeds. A long hike in the woods.

All these activities are great, and your body definitely appreciates the usage.

But after a long, sedentary winter, you can pay a pretty hefty price for your weekend adventures. Here’s how to relieve and/or prevent the sore muscles and joints that tend to accompany daffodils and tulips as harbingers of spring.

1. Morning stretching. Build 20 minutes of gentle stretching into your morning routine, and your whole day will be so much better. Find a manageable yoga routine (like the one below), or just run through a head-to-toe joint mobility series. Think neck circles, knee bends, shoulder rolls, and twisting back and forth from your spine.

Image courtesy of bosu.com.

2. Evening stretching. Your evening routine can really just be a repeat of your morning movements. But you can also hold longer stretches in the specific areas you worked that day. My favorite? Lie on one side, with a bolster or several pillows propped under the opposite side. Hold for five minutes each side. Like that lady.

3. Drink more water. How many times have I told these people to drink more water? (I wondered while writing this post.) A LOT.  The thing is… it’s important! Dehydrated muscles stay sorer for longer. A lot longer. And they’re more likely to become sore in the first place. Just do it.

4. Take more breaks. This seems like a no-brainer (and it is), but the frequency of your breaks is directly proportional to the happiness — or unhappiness — of your muscles and joints the next day. Set a timer on your phone (and HONOR it). Stand up, stretch, walk around the block, drink some water… and get back to it! (See how that works?)

5. Epsom Salt baths. My personal favorite. Epsom salt is rich in magnesium, which helps your muscles relax, thus reducing soreness. The hot water is great for sore backs and necks (like, the best), and if that’s not enough, epsom salt helps draw irritants and allergens out, so they’re a key element in allergy relief too!

The more love you give your bones (and muscles, and joints), the better able to be to keep doing all those things that made you so sore in the first place.

You’ll be able to weed for hours! (Oh joy). You’ll summit that mountain like it was nothing!

Because when you take care of your body?

It takes care of you.

Change Is Good. Even When It’s Sad.

Sargeant Ross Flat

We close out National Transition Month with the granddaddy of transitions — losing another AFF family member to the great wide open.

That’s right — in case you haven’t heard, Ross is moving on. Before he starts the grueling Physical Therapy program at Western Carolina University this fall, he’s spending the summer visiting family, from L.A. to the Philippines. (And apparently summer starts in April in Ross-land.)

But get this. Not only is he leaving us to traipse across the country in an old Subaru Outback, he’s not letting us go without a final butt-whooping.

Wanna join us in sending him off?

Last Chance Bootcamp starts April 4th and runs Monday- Thursday (at a not-for-the-faint-of-heart 7:30 AM) through the 14th. (Which also happen to be his last two weeks at AFF).

Sign up at the front desk, or register online. (He’ll need the extra money in case he gets stranded in the desert.)

It sounds intense, but it’s adaptable to all levels. There will be some running drills, body weight strength, and….who am I kidding? I don’t know what all he has in store.

But I’ll be there, because it’s Ross.

And we love Ross.

Even though we don’t want him to go. 🙁

Photo courtesy of staticflickr.com

Photo courtesy of staticflickr.com

Coming out of a long winter, your body can feel a little…old.

Dry skin. Stiff joints. Sluggish energy. A day of enthusiastic yard work can leave you sore for a week. And it doesn’t help that the allergies kick in right about now.

This year — in honor of our self-proclaimed National Transition Month — we offer five simple changes to your daily routine that will help you shake off the cobwebs, ease your sore muscles and joints, and make you feel young again.

1. Hot lemon water every morning. Lemon water aids weight loss because it helps your liver process food & toxins. It also stimulates peristalsis, which helps you poop more regularly (and nothing says “young” like a satisfying poop). It also helps clear your skin. And it’s practically free. Win-win.

2. Epsom salt baths. If you’re an allergy sufferer, heads up. Salt baths draw toxins and irritants out of your system. The salt is rich in magnesium, which helps relieve soreness, and helps you sleep. (Come to think of it, magnesium also helps you poop. Maybe my next post will be about pooping).

3. Nighttime yoga. Try this gentle, beginner-friendly routine to ease out of your day and knead out the kinks before you get into bed. You could easily repurpose this for a morning routine as well.

4. Drink more water. I wonder how many times, in how many different ways, I’ve told you to drink more water? Why do you think that is? Because it’s like the easiest, most no-brainer change you can make, and it yields the biggest return on investment (health-wise) I know of. More energy. Better digestion. Appetite regulation. Reduced cravings. Improved mood and sleep. All these issues could be coming from dehydration. Drink up, me hearties, yo ho!

5. Stop watching TV in bed. In fact, make your bedroom a no-electronics zone, and make it as pitch dark as you possibly can when it’s time to hit the hay. One of the keys to restful sleep is allowing your body’s natural melatonin to kick in, which can only happen when your brain isn’t stimulated, and there’s no bright light. Give it a try for one week and see what happens.

They say you’re only as old as you feel.

Let’s shave a few years off that, shall we?

Mediterranean Meatballs recipe

The biggest “obstacle” between you and the healthy, green-eating lifestyle you want?

“But I don’t like it.”

This is the most infuriating stonewall of an argument. There’s no comeback — you don’t like it; you don’t like it. Nothing to be done. (This objection can be lodged by anyone, by the way — your spouse, your kids, even yourself.)

Here are three uber-healthy recipes that defy even the most stubborn un-likers out there.

Mediterranean Meatballs

Serves 4 (about 24 meatballs)

Prep Time: 15 minutes. Cook Time: 20 minutes (You can multi-task some of this.)

Meatballs:

  • 1 lb ground lamb (you can substitute beef if you want)
  • 1 egg
  • 3 T gluten-free bread crumbs, or ground flaxseed
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Handful fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Sea salt & black pepper to taste (a bit more than you think)
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 T honey
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 T olive oil
  • Sea salt to taste
  • A bit of water to thin out (if needed)

Greens:

  • 2 bunches Lacinato kale, chopped

Heat some coconut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Combine all meatball ingredients (except lemon juice) in a bowl and mix by hand. Form into ping-pong-sized balls. When the oil is hot, drop the meatballs into the pan. Cook for about 8 minutes, tossing frequently. Squeeze lemon over cooked meatballs.

Heat an inch of water in a large pot over medium heat. When it starts to bubble, add the chopped greens and toss until wilted. Steam uncovered, tossing frequently, until greens are wilted and water has evaporated. Toss with some olive oil and sea salt.

While the meatballs are cooking, prepare the sauce. Combine all ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth. Add water and adjust seasonings if necessary.

Sausage & Kale Soup

Serves: 4

Prep Time: 15 minutes. Cook Time: 35 minutes.

  • 1 package (1lb.) spicy Italian sausage, sliced
  • 1 package pre-washed/pre-trimmed curly kale
  • 1 onion, sliced into half moons
  • 2 or 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 sweet potatoes, diced
  • 6 C chicken stock + water as needed
  • Salt to taste

Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add sausage and cook until browned, about five minutes. Add onions and celery cook another 10 minutes, until soft.

Add chicken stock and sweet potatoes and bring to a low boil. Dump in the kale and stir to combine. Cover, turn heat to simmer, and let cook about 25 minutes.

Add salt to taste. You may want to add a little water if the soup is too thick, especially after it sits in the fridge overnight. (The fat from the sausage will thicken it up.)

Meatless Shepherd’s Pie

Serves: 4

Prep Time: 15 minutes. Cook Time: 25 minutes + 30 minutes bake time (unattended).

I still make this with lamb too – just swap out the mushrooms & quinoa – but this one time I didn’t have any, and now it’s one of my favorites. If you’re cooking for one, you can freeze your leftovers.

  • 3 Portobello caps, diced
  • 2 carrots, cut into rounds
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, cut in quarters and sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2/3 C frozen peas
  • 4-5 collard greens, chopped
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1/2 C cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 C water or homemade stock
  • 1 tsp each dried oregano & basil
  • Sea salt & black pepper to taste
  • 3 medium-sized parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • Large pat of butter (coconut oil for dairy free)
  • 1/2 C plain yogurt (sub coconut milk for dairy free)
  • 2 tsp granulated garlic
  • 2 1/2 tsp sea salt

Preheat oven to 375°.

Place parsnip and potato chunks in a pot and cover with cool water. Cover and bring to a boil. Cook, partially covered, about 25 minutes, until completely softened. Drain and set aside. Meanwhile: In a large, deep skillet, heat butter over medium heat. Add onion, carrot and celery and cook about 10 minutes.

Add mushrooms and garlic, cover and cook another 6-7 minutes. In a small bowl, mix tomato paste with stock or water.

Add greens and cook another 3-4 minutes, until bright green and wilted. In a small bowl, mix tomato paste with stock or water.

Add tomato paste mixture, quinoa, herbs, salt and pepper to the pan. Mixture should be pretty thick, which you want. As you cook, if it gets too thick (like sticking to the pan), add a little more liquid.

Stir in frozen peas until heated through. Taste and adjust seasonings, then remove from heat.

To the potatoes: add garlic, butter, yogurt and salt and mash with a fork or potato masher.

Spread vegetable mixture into a pie dish. Spread mashed potatoes over the top, like frosting. Bake for 30 minutes, or until sides are bubbling and/or potatoes being to turn brown. If you want more of a toasted top. broil for two minutes before removing from the oven.

ecard

Did you know…March is National Transition Month! (According to us.)

A time of change. A time of growth. A time of crocuses and daffodils and thank heavens it’s not February anymore.

Seriously…was that the longest month in the history of mankind, or WHAT?

There are going to be some big changes at AFF over the next several months — don’t worry; we’ll keep you in the loop — and this week, we invite you to do a little growing and changing along with us.

First order of business: what is up with your exercise routine? Have you been doing the same Gx2 class for the past 37 months?

Or hopping on the elliptical for the same 30 minutes, at the same intensity, with the same resistance, for as long as you’ve been a member?

Yep…those are real examples.

While it’s awesome to find a class/workout/routine that works for you in so many ways (it’s at the perfect time; the difficulty level is just right, and the people are fab), a time comes when you’ve gotta shake things up.

When your workouts become repetitive, familiar, old hat, your body stops adapting. It goes on autopilot. That Gx2 class that was super hard the first few weeks? Now it’s no sweat (literally).

Here’s the thing about bodies and muscles: they’re lazy. And they cheat.

As soon as they figure out the least difficult way to do something, that’s exactly what they’ll do. Which means you stop progressing. Weight loss slows down. Muscles and bones don’t continue to grow.

And the tricky thing is, you won’t feel like you’re plateauing. It’s easy to feel like you’re working hard when you haven’t been pushed to your limits in a while.

You could be in a fitness rut, and you wouldn’t even know.

How to Tell if You’re Stagnating at The Gym

1. You have energy to chat with your neighbors for the duration of whatever exercise you’re doing.

2. You have the stamina to do three and four classes in a row.

3. You’ve been doing the same level Gx class for more than six months.

4. You only ever do cardio.

5. You’ve stopped losing weight (assuming you’ve not reached your goal yet).

6. You’re never, ever sore after a workout anymore.

How to Shake the Cobwebs Out of a Boring Fitness Routine

1. Whatever class you’ve been doing? Try the next level up. You hereby have the staff’s permission.

2. If you’ve only been doing cardio, try a FunGx class. Or at least switch machines!

3. Take advantage of our Pop-Up Classes — one-off classes that highlight different types of exercise (like Zumba!). Check the schedule HERE.

4. The trainers are here to help you do exactly that — shake the cobwebs out. Look for “Ask a Trainer” on the class schedule, and come see us.

5. Make a promise to yourself next time you come in to work as hard as you possibly can. Use the Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale: On a scale of 1-10, 1 = strolling through the mall; 10 = running for your life from an angry bear. Try to work up to peaks of 8 or 9, with rest periods in between that hover around 5 or 6.

6. Commit to a bootcamp. We’ve got Aqua Bootcamp coming up at the end of the month, and Ross’s Last Chance Bootcamp in early April.

One more thing: this isn’t about making you feel lazy or shaming you into working harder (we’ll leave that to The Biggest Loser). Everybody stagnates.

Especially in the winter. Winter sucks.

But we’re optimistically saying, winter’s over! Let’s oil our rusty joints, thaw out our muscles, blow out our lungs before they get filled with pollen.

Happy National Transition Month everyone!

Dive in and celebrate with us, will ya?

 

Ross Elliott, Asheville Family Fitness

As promised…big announcements today.

Class Policy changes in March:

Starting this month, we’ll be implementing a 4-person minimum on our FunGx classes, specifically those taught by Trish & Ross, our Certified Personal Trainers on staff.

Don’t worry — the classes you like won’t just disappear. We’ll be keeping an eye on our attendance levels over a 2-3 week time period, and if we don’t get consistent participation of four or more people, we’ll either remove that class from the schedule, or try something else in its place.

This is just one way that we’re constantly tweaking our offerings to make sure you’re benefitting in the way we had originally intended when we structured our class schedule around a small-group personal training model.

And if you really love a class that’s wavering around 2-3 people…get on your buddies to help keep it alive!

Staff Changes

It’s the end of an era as our Ross prepares to leave us for bigger and better horizons. We’re so proud of him for getting into the Physical Therapy program at Western Carolina University, which he starts in September. (Yay!!!)

He’ll be leaving us at the end of April, to go galavanting across the country before spending a few months in his homeland (The Philippines).

You can look forward to his “Last Chance” bootcamp in early April, and he’ll be working his usual schedule until he bids us adieu.

Make sure to give him some extra love this week!

 

Chair Stretch class with Tricia Thompson

There’s a new trend sweeping the fitness industry. Born out of recent economic shifts, influenced by the new “sharing” economy — the same mentality that’s made Uber and AirBnB so successful — small group personal training is now officially a THING.

The idea is to spread the typically high cost of hiring a personal trainer out among 4-5 individuals. This little group works out together, each spending far less than he or she would on a private training package. (They also reap the additional benefits of working out with a group — accountability, camaraderie, socialization.)

Meanwhile, the trainer can accommodate up to five times as many clients, with a higher opt-in and renewal rate, because she’s not asking for $80 a pop per client.

That’s what we call a win-win. And now, fitness centers all over the country are embracing small group personal training as the Next Big Thing.

Which is funny…because the entire class schedule at Asheville Family Fitness has been devoted solely to small group personal training since we opened over three years ago.

It ain’t easy, bein’ a trendsetter. 🙂

One thing we realized along the way was that calling our classes “classes” was doing a major disservice to the level of personalization and expertise we offer on a daily basis. Joe Schmo gym-goer doesn’t know the difference between a “class” at a big corporate gym vs. a “class” at AFF. We’ve had to do a lot of re-education in this department.

And one thing that’s become clear to us is that we haven’t done a great job of communicating the value you’re getting in one of our small-group functional training classes, compared to what you’d spend on a one-on-one package.

We’ve already covered the difference between our smaller, more personalized classes vs. larger, “big-box” classes.

Today we’re going to look at the similarities and differences between private personal training and small group training.

Cost. Let’s just get this one out of the way first, shall we? Private personal training can run you anywhere from $60 – $100 an hour, depending on where you live, how experienced your trainer is, and what types of package discounts are offered. (Our member rates at AFF are on the low side at $55/hour.)

Ongoing training can become quite the monthly expense, when you consider that 1-2 sessions per week are the usual recommendation for best results.

In a small group scenario, the trainer will accept anywhere from 5-10 participants (10 is a little high; it’s usually more like 8) and charge each person a much lower rate, starting perhaps at $30 per person.

So you benefit, because the cost of your training just got sliced in half (at least), and your trainer benefits because the more people she can bring into the group, the more money she makes per hour. (Like I said, win-win).

But there’s a less tangible benefit, and that’s the energetic shift that happens when you go from working one-on-one to working in a small group.

Energy. The group dynamic changes everything.

In a one-on-one relationship, yes — you’re getting your trainer’s undivided attention. And yes, your exercise routine adapts to your abilities and preferences in more immediate, real-time shifts. When you find the right trainer, it can be a wonderful relationship.

BUT. (There’s always a ‘but,’ right?) It can get boring. Your relationship can stagnate over time, through no fault of the trainer or the client. 

Also, in a one-on-one relationship, your trainer is solely responsible for keeping your energy up, holding you accountable, and boosting your spirits when you get discouraged. Trainers are good at this.

However, a small group spreads that role across several people. Now, the group members support each other; they hold each other accountable; they encourage each other when spirits are low.

Which means your trainer won’t get burnt out and can devote more of her energy toward designing a kick-ass workout for you…week, after week, after week.

So. Cost and energy, big savings. Yay.

Most gyms that are adding small-group training as an option are pricing it out similarly to what we talked about earlier. Which is a savings over private training, but still an additional cost to your monthly membership fee.

Since we opened over three years ago, we’ve included small-group training in your membership fee at AFF. We wanted everyone to have access to this level of instruction, and we knew that most members wouldn’t be willing or able to shoulder an additional fee.

In that time, we’ve learned a lot about what you like, what you want, what actually works, and what doesn’t work as well as we thought.

Which is another way of saying…we have some exciting changes coming down the pipeline that we think will make your gym membership even more valuable.

Keep an eye on our class schedule over the next few weeks.

And be sure to check your inbox next week for a special announcement!

 

4 Reasons You Shouldn’t Work Out Alone

Personal Trainer at Asheville Family Fitness

Getting into the right exercise class is no easy feat. There are so many factors which contribute to your overall enjoyment, engagement, and success.

For one thing, every single instructor has a unique personality, teaching style, and preference when it comes to structuring the class. Some teachers are bubbly and perky; others are more quiet and methodical. Some teachers prefer a circuit-style class; others prefer the whole group to stay together.

You might resonate with the way Ross explains a particular technique, but feel confused when Trish or Susan teaches the same exercise. (Or vice versa. No disrespect, ladies.)

Then there’s the other people in the class. Some people go to class for the social benefit — they like to chat and giggle. You might like that too! Or…perhaps you’re an introvert who prefers to “get in and get out.” You might find all that chatter distracting.

Scheduling also comes into play, of course. If you work, you probably have very specific times when you can get to the gym. So even if there IS a class during that time, the odds of all the above factors lining up at exactly that time are pretty slim.

BUT. If you can find a class that works for you on every level? You’ll double the value of your gym membership (roughly). Here’s why:

1) Accountability

Raise your hand if you’ve ever spent 45 minutes on an elliptical machine, watching Celebrity Name Game and more or less goofing off. Could you work harder? Probably. Will you work harder? Eh.

Here’s the most fun part about being a personal trainer and/or fitness instructor: we can tell how hard you’re working. We can see that you have a little bit more to give, and we feel 100% confident that you can do it.

It’s not about being “mean” (although we do derive some pleasure from the curses and complaints that come our way); it’s about giving you what you came for — a workout.

Accountability means you’re less likely to goof off. And when you’re consistently being encouraged to push a little bit harder, you’re getting ten times the benefit. Every time.

2) Camaraderie

Even if you’re not a giggly chatterbox, there’s something about slogging through your workout with the same group of people, week after week, that makes it easier (and more fun). It’s that spirit of, “We’re all in this together.”

Witnessing someone else push through their limits is super inspiring, too.

And over time, you start to look forward to seeing your classmates every Wednesday morning. On those days when you just want to stay in bed, thinking of all your peeps and how they’ll miss you is often just the push you need to make it to the gym at all. (Which is also a form of accountability, BTW. It all fits together.)

3) Instruction & Supervision

Oh boy. This is the core of our mission at AFF — making sure you’re doing things properly. Ask any trainer who’s been in the business for a while, and they’ll regale you with all kinds of examples of crappy exercise technique they’ve witnessed over the years. We hate it.

Let’s take push-ups, which is my personal pet peeve. Incorrect push-ups do nothing for you, except maybe exacerbate whatever tension and discomfort you already have in your neck and shoulders. While a correctly done push-up is quite possibly the best total-body, no-equipment-needed exercise you can do.

Maximum bang for your buck.

And, it’s also true that executing a proper push-up takes a lot of time, practice, and coaching. Especially if you’re starting with the jacked-up posture most of us computer-sitters have (I say as I hunch over my laptop).

So, it stands to reason that the 45 minutes spent in a class, learning and practicing proper technique over and over again, far outweighs the hours upon hours you might devote to awkward squats and improper push-ups.

Note: If you do prefer to work out alone, taking just a few of our FunGx classes will provide you with the technical guidance you need to make those solo workouts way more safe and effective.

4) Commitment

When you have a secret plan to hit the gym by 8AM every morning, but nobody knows about it or expects you there, you can blow it off with little to no consequence.

But if you’re registered for a class at 8AM and you don’t show up, people will notice. The instructor for sure, plus your buddies who typically expect you there (see “Camaraderie”).

Even if it’s all in your head — instructors don’t really get mad when you don’t show up; these things happen all the time for any number of reasons — it’s still an effective tool.

Humans hate not following through. Saying you’re going to do something, and then not doing it, feels sh*tty. It eats away at your integrity.

And I’d wager that that feels even worse than just dragging your butt to the gym…even when you don’t want to.

Do YOU prefer coming to class over flying solo? What keeps you coming back?