The New Power Lunch

I know firsthand how challenging it can be to fit a workout in with a busy schedule. For many people getting to the gym early morning is difficult because of work and school schedules. Even for those with more flexible schedules, mornings can be packed with errands and household tasks after getting everyone on their way.

Fast forward to the end of the day and between after school activities, helping with homework, late meetings, dinner and housework, the gym is often an afterthought. That’s not even considering that energy levels may be at their lowest from the pressures of the day.

So my thought is to change the definition of a ‘Power Lunch’ from a working lunch to a workout lunch!

By just taking a half hour out of your day you can build muscle, burn fat and lose the guilt about another day passing without making it to the gym.

To maximize the benefits of the 30 minute class, each day will focus on targeting a specific area of the body.

Monday: Chest and back

Tuesday: Biceps and triceps

Wednesday: Legs and glutes

Thursday: CORE

Friday: Pilates and flexibility

Classes will offer challenging strength training exercises coupled with minimal cardio to ensure you can return to the office or head right back to running errands without feeling like a hot, sweaty, mess.

Classes will start November 17th and will meet 12:15 – 12:45pm Monday through Friday at CustomFit located at 218. E St. Charles in Lombard.

Start making the most of your lunch and come in for a true POWER Lunch. For more information call me at 574-387-1344 or email jenn@customfitpt.com.

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CustomFit Partnership

Last winter I had to decide if I was going to pursue a fitness career in Lombard, IL or if I was going to put back on my heels and head back into a traditional office as a production manager. The job opportunity came out of no where which lead me to believe that I really had to give it a whirl. They gave me a flexible schedule and the pay was pretty decent so I thought I was a fool to pass it up.

I kept up with teaching a class a week as my hobby, but secretly longed for my gym shoes and workout clothes over curling my hair and dressing up. Slowly I added a couple more classes, then a couple more and before I knew it I was teaching 5 classes a week plus working in the office Monday through Friday.

I realized that something had to give, and this time it wasn’t going to be fitness. But to really make a go at personal training and group fitness I was going to have to find the right fit. Big box gyms aren’t my thing and starting a business from scratch seemed entirely too overwhelming to even know where to start.

It was about that time that an email conversation started up between a local trainer and me. When we first moved to Lombard I took BootCamp classes from Julianne at CustomFit and really enjoyed the workouts. Always challenging, never the same, and a great group of people to work out with. I always admired her and her business. For me she was ‘living the dream.’

It wasn’t long that we realized we needed to meet in person to talk about the possibilities of partnering. I would teach some classes while having the opportunity to build new programs and a personal training clientele. I felt like I needed someone to pinch me, or challenge me to another ice bucket challenge to snap me back to reality.

I’m happy to say that this is all becoming a reality and I couldn’t be more excited to invite you to join me at CustomFit. Here’s how:

Mondays 7 – 8pm BootCamp

BootCamp is a full body challenging workout that builds muscle through strength training and burns fat through cardio bursts.

Wednesdays 7 – 8pm PiYo 

PiYo gives you the muscle-sculpting and core-firming benefits of Pilates with the strength and flexibility advantages of Yoga. But don’t for a second think you won’t sweat in this class because it’s all done at an intensity that helps you burn fat with low-impact moves. You’ll burn calories, tone muscles, work on balance and core strength all while getting a great stretch.

For those of you interested in a more customized approach to fitness, let’s chat about personal training. I create unique plans for each of my clients to meet their health and fitness goals. We can establish a schedule that works for you and as your trainer I will work to keep you accountable on the days that you don’t workout with me.

I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of the CustomFit team and I would love to see you there!

Making the Most of Sitting

A couple months ago my husband anxiously awaited the delivery of a stand to convert his traditional desk to a standing desk. As someone who hadn’t been tied to a desk for a few years I had a hard time understanding the purpose or even his excitement about making the change. I can honestly say given the option I would too have a standing desk. 

Sitting all day makes me anxious, and in some ways, even though I’m clearly working, it makes me feel lazy. I work in a small office where I rarely need to get up to have a conversation with a co-worker and there are definitely no stairs involved in my day. The most activity I get is walking to the water cooler to refill my water bottle. By the time I leave the office I’ve accumulated a whopping 1,500 or so steps for the day. 

I think it hit me the hardest when I was completing my profile for the MyFitnessPal app and selected ‘sedentary’ for my lifestyle. Ugh, I saw red flags flash before my eyes and heard warning sirens screaming through my head – personal trainer and group fitness instructor turns to a sedentary lifestyle.  

Unfortunately, I’m not to the point that I feel comfortable asking for a standing desk. First, I’m still relatively new and with it being a small company there isn’t a whole lot of focus on providing customized desk set ups. In fact, I’m pretty sure most of the office chairs would fail ergonomic testing. Second, I’ve already proved myself as ‘which one of these things is not like the other.’ My co-workers think I’m a bit strange for ordering salads with no dressing when we go out to lunch and no one understands why I turn down the daily offerings of breads, pastries and other sweets.

While I don’t have the power to change my seating arrangement, I do have the ability to change my posture and activate my muscles while sitting. One of my favorite classes to teach is Pilates because it largely focuses on body awareness and activating muscles through proper posture. Pilates helps to build flexibility, muscle strength and endurance while developing a strong core. So why not apply the principles of the ‘Pilates posture’ to sitting at a desk? 

Here’s how to do it (give it a try as you read through these cues):

Head: Elongate your spine and pull the top of your head towards the ceiling. You should feel taller.

Shoulders: Draw your shoulders down and away from your ears. You should also feel your chest open and your shoulders slightly tucked back so your shoulder blades are in contact with the back of your chair.

Core: Draw your navel up and in as though you are buttoning it to your spine. You should feel your abdominal muscles engage while your lower back presses lightly into the back of your chair.

Legs: Zip your legs together from your feet to your sacrum. You should feel your inner thighs (or adductors) engage.

Now granted, I understand this posture isn’t one that comes naturally. Believe me, I find myself with hunched shoulders, crossed legs and an overall droopy posture more than I would like to admit. However, now every time that I catch myself slouching I start from the top and work my way to my feet correcting my posture. It’s certainly not a full blown workout but maintaining these ‘connections’ makes my body do more work than if I was sitting here with no body awareness. For me it’s yet another good reminder that even the small things count when trying to maintain health.

Maybe after a while I will be comfortable enough in my own skin to stand at my desk, but until then I’ll continue with my seated Pilates workout.

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The Power of Pilates

I just returned from an excellent training weekend for a Pilates Mat Certification. Two 10-hour days filled with practice and drills, followed by more practice more and drills was both mentally and physically exhausting and it was worth every minute!

I discovered Pilates last fall when I was looking for a noontime class that wouldn’t leave me a hot, sweaty mess for returning to work. And after years of countless crunches and ab work I finally found something that helped to reduce my midsection.

Pilates seeks to increase the strength and flexibility of the body through controlled breathing and movements.

If you have not tried Pilates here I’d like to share with you some reasons you may want to consider it:

  • Body awareness and control: each Pilates move has a very specific purpose. As you become familiar with the exercises you increases awareness of the mind/body connection. As you become aware of the muscles used for the movements you learn how to best control your body for maximized results.
  • Increased core strength: throughout the Pilates routine you are reminded to keep your navel buttoned up to your spine. Once you become accustomed to engaging your core during the exercises it begins to become natural to “button up” during every day activities.
  • Adaptable to fitness levels and needs: regardless of age, gender, fitness level or size you can participate in Pilates. Almost every exercise that has a modification for special considerations. There aren’t a whole lot of exercise programs out there that offer this wide of accessibility to participants. Pilates is a gentle conditioning for those new to a fitness program and an increasing challenge to the physically fit.
  • Creates strength without bulk: so many women avoid strength training because of the fear of “bulking up.” Pilates is an excellent way to build strength with natural body resistance. (As a side note, lifting weights does not mean you will bulk up – it is possible to build long lean muscles with strength training.)
  • Increases flexibility: as we age we lose flexibility. Pilates movements help to increase range of motion and as a result increases flexibility – something we all can use.
  • Improves posture and a lean appearance: the Pilates stance promotes a lengthening of your body. You learn to pull your shoulders down and away from your ears and to pull them back. Drawing your navel up and into your spine helps to support your lower back. Just those things alone improve will help you to stand taller, appear more confident and lean all at the same time.

I encourage you to find a Pilates class near you and to give it a try. If you like it half as much as me you will be hooked!

Note: My experience with Pilates is limited to Mat work but there are also a number of specialized pieces of equipment that can be used for Pilates exercises.