Monday, September 13, 2021

Overnight Oats For an Easy Quick Breakfast!

One of the easiest breakfasts you can meal prep is overnight oats. Many people make hot oatmeal in the mornings, but did you know you can soak them in the fridge overnight too? This recipe is a great option because you can add whatever you want! Make breakfast your own each day with healthy options to kickstart your morning. 

  • - ½ cup rolled old fashioned oats
  • - ½ cup milk of choice
  • - ¼ cup non-fat Greek yogurt
  • - 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • - 1 tablespoon sweetener of choice - honey or maple syrup
  • - 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a bowl, add together oats, milk, greek yogurt (optional), chia seeds, sweetener, and vanilla extract. For extra flavor add any other ingredients you like! My personal favorite is peanut butter. You can also add: chocolate chips, fruit, nuts, cinnamon, etc. Once everything is added, cover your oats and let them sit overnight in the fridge. Once you wake up in the morning, breakfast will be ready!  

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Understanding Pre-Workout - What Does Lexi From Tonicity Fit Have To Say?

    Let’s talk about pre-workout. What is it? Why should you or should you not take it? How can it improve a workout? Can it harm you? Let’s cover it all!
    At Tonicity Fit, we sell a pre workout, Celsius. So, if you ever decide to take pre-workout, it’s important to understand exactly what you're putting into your body. Pre-work is mainly taken just like it sounds, before a workout. The most common ingredient in pre-workout is Caffeine. Pre-workout tends to have more caffeine than your average cup of coffee. Usually ranging from 100-400mg of Caffeine. Caffeine is important for several reasons. Caffeine can support focus, mood, and endurance. Keep in mind more is not always better and too much caffeine may cause nervousness, irritability, sleeplessness, and occasionally rapid heartbeat. It can help kick start your energy for a workout, just be careful of how much caffeine you are consuming.
    Next, pre-workout tends to have Beta Alanine. “Beta Alanine is a non-essential amino acid that can be produced by the body and is also found in meat, poultry, and fish. Beta Alanine is a precursor to carnosine, a molecule that supports buffering acid in muscles in response to physical activity. Beta Alanine can support endurance, carnosine synthesis, and may help you train harder and longer when taken over time. Beta-alanine taken in large doses or by sensitive individuals may cause a temporary, harmless, tingling feeling called paresthesia.” (Optimum Nutrition, 2020)
    Another ingredient that is similar to beta is BCAAs or known as branch chain amino acids. BCAAs or Branched Chain Amino Acids are composed of three essential amino acids, Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine which are considered to be the building blocks of protein. The human body cannot manufacture essential amino acids, therefore, they must be obtained from dietary sources or from supplementation. The biggest difference between beta-alanine and BCAAs are the exact mechanisms of how they work and affect your workout performance. BCAAs help build and rebuild muscle mass by facilitating the process of protein synthesis. Beta-Alanine works by buffering the build-up of lactic acid, delaying muscle fatigue, resulting in an increase in time to exhaustion. The most notable difference is that Beta-Alanine is a non-essential amino acid, while BCAAs are essential meaning you must obtain them through food or supplementation.Both Beta-alanine and BCAAs improve muscular endurance and workout volume, just different ways to do so. 
While all of these ingredients are safe, it's important to remember to take them in moderation. Many pre-workouts come in the powder format. Just make sure to mix them with water and follow the instructions on the side of the canister. Pay attention to how it affects your workout and make sure you consult your doctor before taking any supplements or high levels of caffeine. Hope this helps! 

About Lexi Heckman:  

Lexi Heckman is a certified personal trainer at  Tonicity Fit Personal training Studio in West Chester.  Lexi has a strong love for health and wellness as well as helping others. She has worked within the fitness industry for 5+ years. Working as a recreation attendant, teaching fitness classes and later becoming a facilities supervisor and team leader. She found her love for fitness while working at the recreation center at West Chester University. There she changed her major to reflect that passion and recently completed her undergraduate degree.

To learn more about Lexi, Click Here.

Monday, August 16, 2021

Importance of Progressive Overload - What Does Steph At Tonicity Fit Have To Say?

When most people first start working out or lifting weights, they usually aren’t sure of what to do. What kind of workouts are “right” or “work best”? How much cardio should you be doing? How many reps or sets? There are so many questions out there but there is one principle that is proven time and time again, which is the progressive overload principle. 

The progressive overload principle simply states that it is necessary to increase the intensity, duration, type, and time of your workouts in order to see substantial gains. It is well known that when you go from being sedentary to active, your body will drop weight quick because it is being stimulated in a new way! But what happens if you stick to the same routine for months on end? Your body will go into a plateau — there have not been any new stimulations for your body to adapt to. 

So what is the solution? Start recording and logging the weights you use, the amount of sets and reps, and the amount of rest you take between each set. Maybe one week you will squat 100 lbs for 6 reps and then next week you will try to squat 105 lbs for 6 reps. It is not a drastic increase in weight, but it is a new adaption for your muscles. Remember, change and adaptation don't happen overnight. However, staying consistent and pushing your limits will help you succeed in the long run. 

Key factors in progressive overload are:

  • Frequency: The amount of times in a week you are working out. A change in frequency, say from working out 3 times a week to 4 or 5, will help
  • Intensity: How hard you are training. Are you resting for too long in between sets? Spending too much time socializing or on your phone? If you’re lifting weights, are you challenging yourself for heavier weights each week? 
  • Time: How long are you working out for? Are you completing the workout too quickly? Maximize your time with the movements. 
  • Type: What kind of exercises are you doing? Are you including compound lifts or doing all accessory movements? 

Bottom line is that you want to challenge your body often! Make it exciting and a personal goal for yourself. See what you are truly capable of!

About Steph:  

Steph graduated from West Chester University in 2018 with as a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology. She is a National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer, and is well skilled in group training and weight loss challenge program design. Steph found her passion for health and fitness when in high school, and has been working in the industry ever since.  At the age of 16, she made a complete lifestyle change, and began her own regimented fitness and wellness program. Outside of work, Steph enjoys staying active!  She lifts weights, spends a lot of time outdoors, and focuses additional time on educating herself further on the philosophy of lifelong strength training. 

To learn more about Steph, Click Here.

Monday, August 2, 2021

Check Out This Healthy Summer Dinner Recipe!


Summer dinners can be tough to plan. Nights are longer and busier, and heavy meals aren't too appetizing. This delicious crispy zucchini and corn casserole recipe, however, is a great light option for those busy summer nights! This recipe is healthy, easy, and delicious! It's a great option to meal prep as well. Check it out!

Crispy Zucchini and Corn Casserole

  • 1.5 TBS olive oil, plus more for finishing
  • 3 cups of thinly sliced zucchini (approx. 4)
  • 1.5 cups of corn kernels (from ears of corn or canned)
  • 2 small jalapeños, finely chopped (omit seeds for more mild version)
  • 2 TBS pesto cause (more if needed to taste)
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup of your favorite marinara sauce
  • 1 heaping cup of panko breadcrumbs
  • Flaky sea salt and black pepper for serving
  • Preheat your oven to 375°F/190°C.
  • Prep the vegetables. Slice the zucchini and/or squash into rounds, but don’t slice too paper thin, or they’ll get soggy in the oven. Using a sharp knife, shave the kernels of each ear of corn
  • Char the corn. Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 1/2 tablespoons of the extra virgin olive oil. Add the corn kernels. Cook the corn for 3-5 minutes until charred in spots, tossing just once or twice to get a nice char on them.
  • In a large bowl, toss the zucchini and squash slices, charred corn, and jalapeños with the pesto sauce. Mix well.
  • Assemble the casserole. Pour the marinara sauce on to the bottom of a 13x9-inch (33x22 cm) baking pan. Spread out half of the zucchini/squash slices on top in a single layer (slight overlapping is okay). Then spoon some more of the corn/jalapeño mixture on top. Sprinkle the zucchini with half of the shredded vegan cheese on top (or dollop with blobs of the Tofu Ricotta, if using). Repeat the layers one more time, zucchini slices and corn first, then cheese.
  • Sprinkle the top with the panko bread crumbs, a light sprinkle of flaky sea salt, some freshly cracked black pepper, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (the olive oil aids in browning, so don’t skip it). Bake for 25 minutes, rotating the pan 180° halfway through to ensure even browning on the top, or until the top is crispy and golden brown.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes. Top with sliced basil.

Enjoy the recipe! Let us at Tonicity know if you're looking for more healthy and nutritious meals

Monday, July 19, 2021

Pilates is For Everybody! - See What Jules At Tonicity Fit Has To Say

What do you picture when you hear "Pilates?" Do you imagine a room full of ballerina-type women on complicated contraptions, doing moves a la Cirque du Soleil? Do you foresee a mundane 45 minutes of deep breathing and minimal sweating? Pilates can seem intimidating to some, or boring to others. So let's dive into a few of the common misconceptions about Pilates and see why this form of exercise is truly for every body!

What is it, exactly? Pilates is a methodical form of exercise that emphasizes the use of the core muscles to control all of the body's movements. The core, termed the "Powerhouse," consists not only of the abdominal muscles but the low back, hips, upper back, chest and shoulders as well. A strong emphasis is placed on using the innermost abdominal group, the Transverse Abdominis. Pilates exercises are meant to move the joints through a controlled range of motion while maintaining core stability. Fluidity, quality of movement, control and breathing are main tenets of the practice. You will notice that many of the exercises stretch various muscles and move the spine in many directions. Pilates is intended to be a very low impact, safe form of exercise that builds strength and mobility.

How did it start? The inventor of this style of exercise, Joseph Pilates, developed the methodology during World War I to rehabilitate imprisoned soldiers. He used ropes and bedsprings as resistance for certain movements, paving the way for the modern machines now used in many classes called Reformers. After the war, Pilates emigrated to the US and began working with dancers, using his new system to rehabilitate many of these performers. The Pilates system is still very popular amongst dancers, but has expanded to include all people from many walks of life. It is gentle enough for all ages and safe to perform for many types of injuries.

What are the benefits of Pilates? Pilates is a great way to learn how to use your core muscles properly. It is great for improving posture, strengthening and increasing the endurance of the core, and increasing flexibility. Over time, you will also become more aware of your body's movements and positioning, as mind-body focus is emphasized in these classes. If you've long considered yourself an awkward mover or a "bull in a china shop" exerciser, the control and precision that Pilates helps to develop can help alter your neural networks to produce more fluid movement. Pilates is typically done on a soft mat surface, making this an accessible form of exercise for most people. It is gentle enough to be used as an active recovery session in between more intense workout days.

Who should practice Pilates? The short answer is... anyone! It's a common misconception that you must be thin or flexible to be any good at Pilates. But the truth is, Pilates can be done by anyone of any shape or size and helps you become more flexible the more you practice. If you often feel sore after workouts or tightness in any muscle group, this could be a fun new way to work out the kinks. If you've avoided working out because it seems like a daunting task, Pilates class is a great way to ease back into a routine. If you lift weights often, Pilates is a great way to ensure that you don't lose range of motion with your strength gains.

How can I try Pilates? Tonicity Fit offers two virtual Pilates mat classes every week on Tuesday and Thursday mornings! All you need is a soft surface like a mat or comfortable carpet, a little bit of floor space, and your phone or a laptop. The same core moves are performed every class with slight variations and stretches thrown in, so while you'll get to practice and master the basics, no class will be exactly the same. Sign up through Zen Planner!

About Jules Baratta:  

Jules Baratta is a Philly area born and raised fitness professional who is in love with movement and passionate about your wellness. She was classically trained in ballet and contemporary dance from toddler through the college level and fell in love with Pilates, yoga, nutrition, and fitness in high school. She began picking up heavy objects in college and immediately fell in love with weight lifting. After college, Jules became a personal trainer in the fitness loving city of Austin, Texas before deciding she liked shoveling snow too much to spend winters down south.

To learn more about Jules, Click Here.

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Training With High Blood Pressure - Here is What Ken at Tonicity Fit has to say

Often times people with high blood pressure, or hypertension, get worried about exercise. They wonder, how much should I do, will I put too much stress on the body, where do I begin? When you have high blood pressure is extremely important to continue exercising! This will actually help strengthen your arteries and keep down your blood pressure down over time. 

One of the most effective ways to do this is perform PHA training or peripheral heart action training. This type of training is done when performing an upper body exercise, shortly followed by a lower body exercise. PHA training is beneficial for those with high blood pressure because it forces blood flow throughout the body by working upper and then lower half of the body. Reinforcing this training with cardio that is low to moderate would be ideal for those who are battling high blood pressure. Ask your trainer if you have any questions!

About Ken England:  

Ken England is a certified personal trainer at Tonicity Fit Personal Training Studio in West Chester. He has 19 years of experience in the fitness industry. He holds several certifications in the field- NASM Certified Personal Trainer, NESTA Biomechanics Movement Specialist, and NESTA MMA Strength and Conditioning Coach. He has a Master’s Degree in Sports and Health Sciences. He also continues to stay current in the industry by taking courses through the Brookbush Institute and is currently working towards his Human Movement Specialist Certification.

To learn more about Ken, Click Here.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Swimming As A Form of Cardio - See What Lexi Has to Say

Swimming is one of the best full body workouts you can do. Swimming is great because it has low impact on joints, it is a cardio workout without putting too much stress on your body and it can be at your own pace! Since Tonicity Fit is a strength training studio, we often get asked about how often to do cardio, what kind, and when should cardio be incorporated. Many trainers feel differently about this topic, but according to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), cardio should be done 150 minutes a week. That doesn’t mean you necessarily need to go running for that long. There are many forms of cardio, however swimming hits the trifecta. This means it increases strength, increases endurance and works your heart without adding stress to the body!

There are many different swimming strokes you can do which is great because you can find what works for you. Strokes include backstroke, breaststroke, sidestroke, butterfly and freestyle. Each focuses on different muscle groups, and the water provides a gentle resistance. No matter what stroke you swim, you are using most of your muscle groups to move your body through the water. All of these strokes also burn a ton of calories. "A 160-pound person burns approximately 423 calories an hour while swimming laps at a low or moderate pace. That same person may burn up to 715 calories an hour swimming at a more vigorous pace. A 200-pound person doing the same activities would burn between 528 and 892 calories an hour. A 240-pound person might burn between 632 and 1,068. To compare these numbers to other popular low-impact activities, that same 160-pound person would only burn around 314 calories walking at 3.5 miles per hour for 60 minutes. Yoga might burn just 183 calories per hour. And the elliptical trainer might burn just 365 calories in that hour.” (Healthline, 2020) 

So, no matter what reason you want to do cardio, try adding swimming into the mix! It’s safe for many different restrictions that you may be limited by on other forms of cardio. Enjoy the summer and cool off in a pool!

About Lexi Heckman:  

Lexi Heckman is a certified personal trainer at  Tonicity Fit Personal training Studio in West Chester.  Lexi has a strong love for health and wellness as well as helping others. She has worked within the fitness industry for 5+ years. Working as a recreation attendant, teaching fitness classes and later becoming a facilities supervisor and team leader. She found her love for fitness while working at the recreation center at West Chester University. There she changed her major to reflect that passion and recently completed her undergraduate degree.

To learn more about Lexi, Click Here.