Monday, March 1, 2021

Importance of Activating the Transverse Abdominis Muscle - Here is what Ken at Tonicity Fit in West Chester has to say




The core is an extremely important area in the body that is used throughout virtually every movement or exercise. Focusing on core engagement can help reduce strain in other areas of the body.

A very important muscle that people tend to forget to activate is the transverse abdominis. The transverse abdominis works to help keep your spine stabilized. The main function of this muscle is to help reduce lower back pain from core weakness. 

One important technique that you can utilize to improve your transverse abdominis muscle is the draw in maneuver. To perform this maneuver, you would simply draw in your belly and squeeze your core area while performing exercises such as squats, overhead dumbbell press, bicep curls, etc. This will not only improve your stability and strength in your core but will also tone your midsection and help your posture.

Give this exercise a try on your own!



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.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Best Free Fitness Apps - See What Lexi at Tonicity Fit Has to Say



“What should I be doing outside the gym?” 

“How do I even start cardio training on my own?” 

“I’m not motivated without a trainer” 

“I like the competition aspect of being in a gym, where else can I get that feeling?”

“I need to track what I eat and I always forget to do it on paper.” 


As trainers, we get these comments and questions A LOT. Here at Tonicity Fit, we want to motivate you to be your best self inside and outside of the gym. We provide strength training exercises tailored specifically to your goals. 


But what about cardio? What about stretching? What about motivation when you leave? We help encourage this outside of your membership. Every membership at Tonicity has a free cardio membership included. Didn’t know that? Let me explain. On Zenplanner, you can reserve a cardio time where you can come in and use any of our cardio machines. This is a GREAT way to incorporate new exercises into your current workouts. However, I know it can be hard to find motivation, and there are so many apps and pages to follow it can be overwhelming. So in my experience and opinion, these apps are a great way to stick to your goals outside of a physical session with us. Here are some of my favorite apps:




  1. My fitness pal

This is my favorite app to track food. It's FREE! It tracks everything you eat, it can scan food with a label, and it sends push notifications to remind you to track your food. It also syncs with whatever device you use to track your workout. It also tracks macro and micro nutrients. So if you’re specifically trying to up your protein intake you can track just protein! Amazing app to add. 


  1. Vizer

This app tracks your workouts and once you finish the goals it sets for you, you can donate a meal to someone in need. I don’t know about you but one of my goals for 2021 was to give back to others. This app combines my two biggest passions, giving back and fitness! It's completely free and highly motivating. 


  1. Map my run or Map my ride

If you are looking for an app to track your cardio on trails or random rides you take in places where there aren't set mile markers, this app is great. It shows you the path you took when you are done, and it has everything you need to have a great run or ride. At the end of each mile, it will tell you your pace and mile you are at without having to look at your phone! 


  1. All Trails

If you love the outdoors and want to find the perfect hike, this is the app for you. This app provides all hikes available to you. If you type in a town or a zip code and set the radius of how far you are willing to travel, it will give you all hikes around the area. It tells you the level of difficulty, how far the hike is, if it's pet friendly and kid friendly, and how far it is from your current location. Great app. 


  1. Nike Running Club

This is my last and favorite app ever. I don’t know about you, but I was not a natural born runner. Last year I ran my first ever marathon and it took me 5 years to work up to that point. Nike running club has preset runs, and a coach in your ear telling you what to do next. It can be anything from learning to run a half mile or learning to run a full marathon. It doesn’t matter your level of fitness or running experience. Best part? It's totally free. A great app to add to your days off at tonicity. 


I hope these apps help and inspire you to keep up with your fitness and health goals! Keep going!





 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.

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Cozy Up This Winter With a Healthy Vegan Recipe!

 



Healthy eating doesn't have to be difficult! One of the easiest meals you can make is soup. Especially in the colder months, soup gives us all the comfort we need. This hearty lentil soup recipe is great because it is not only easy, but tasty too! This soup is packed full of vegetables and fibers that will keep you feeling completely satisfied. Pro tip: Add a can of white beans for even more protein! 


Sunday, January 17, 2021

Don't Make Big Changes - Here is What Jules at Tonicity Fit Has to Say



Did you make a New Year's resolution this year? Is it the same resolution you made last year? Maybe you promised yourself you would get in shape, lose a few pounds, eat a pristine diet, never drink again and get 6-pack abs by April.

These are certainly admirable goals. The trainer in me says, "Yes! Go for it!" But the motivation expert in me says, "Woah partner, let's reign it in." 

Stop making big changes! This might sound completely counterintuitive and possibly hypocritical from a personal trainer. But after years of studying lifestyle change and motivation, I can tell you that setting enormous life-altering goals for the near future is a surefire way to burn yourself out and give up altogether. My advice? Pick one small accomplishment that you can complete by the end of today. For example: Do 3 pushups, walk for 10 minutes, eat one vegetable, take 5 deep breaths, go to bed 10 minutes earlier, or drink one more glass of water. These little goals don't sound so intimidating do they? And what if tomorrow you did 3 pushups again? And the day after that you did 4? And the day after that you did 4 again? Still doesn't seem like much right? What if you kept on adding one more pushup after a few days and kept up that trend for three months? You could potentially end up cranking out 30 or 40 pushups in a row in a few months time!

The same concept goes for walking. 10 minutes of walking is not a lot. Neither is 11 minutes. You likely would not be able to jump right in and hike for two hours right away. However, if you slowly build up to it, adding one extra minute every few days could easily help you achieve the hike. Any of the examples above could be completed using a similar schedule. Drink one extra glass of water every day this week. Two extra next week, etc. 

So what is my point? Refrain from making big changes all at once because it can be completely overwhelming. Instead, try to tackle one goal at a time, one step at a time. Take small steps. Set tangible daily goals. Work incrementally toward a larger goal. Be flexible and forgiving of yourself, but don't give up. The slower you ease into it, the more likely you are to stick with it and end up achieving something great! You can do it!





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, January 5, 2021

Cardio and Your Joints: See what Ken at Tonicity Fit in West Chester has to say




With the New Year upon us, many people are diving heavy into cardio for their 2021 fitness goals. A lot of times the general population think that running is the best form of cardio. However, this is far from the truth.

Even though running is a great choice for doing cardio, it also has its cons. When you are running, your joints are taking constant impact each time your foot strikes the ground. Whether outside or on the treadmill, that constant impact on your joints overtime can cause injury and discomfort on your knees, hips, back, ankles or even your shins. A great alternative to running is cardio that is non-impact on your joints while mimicking your gait cycle, such as the elliptical. The elliptical is a perfect piece of equipment that is safe on the joints while giving you a resistance that is upper and lower, making it a very safe and effective cardiovascular workout. 

With that being said, if running is something you enjoy, you should do it! My recommendation is to build different cardio days into your fitness routine to avoid overuse injury. This could include running twice a week, and doing the elliptical once or twice a week. This will also work different muscles over time, thus leading to bigger gains when doing cardio. It is important to change up your workout routine so that you can progress. Save your joints other alternatives for cardio when necessary, but listen to your body, and do what feels best for you! 

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.



Thursday, December 10, 2020

How to Stay on Top of Health and Fitness this Holiday Season: Here is what Lexi at Tonicity Fit in West Chester has to say




Don’t throw all your progress out the window for the holiday season. This is the toughest time of year to keep moving towards your goals. First, there was Halloween full of candy and sweets, but that was only one night. Then, there was Thanksgiving, a meal that is filled with appetizers, dinner, and many many pies and desserts. Now, we are coming up on Christmas. The struggle of wanting hot coco and cookies, and maybe a few extra drinks to go along with all the activities you have planned for December is completely understandable. I am here to help you through those cravings, and provide tips on how to not lose months of hard work. 

I want to start by saying, indulging is OKAY! My advice is to let yourself have those yummy treats and drinks, and enjoy family recipes and traditions. Food is not an enemy and should not be treated as such. If you eliminate all holiday treats, you may turn into the Grinch and no one wants to see that happen! Making smart eating choices is the first thing to remind yourself. “Everything in moderation” is a great place to start. If you're having cookies and hot coco maybe skip the alcohol, or limit yourself to 1 to 2 nights a week to indulge. The delicious holiday treats are one of the best parts of the season. However, having too much can make you feel sluggish and put your body into hibernation mode, which can be hard to shake off. 

A great way to avoid the sluggish, sugar filled feeling from the holidays is to remember to MOVE. If you are not hitting your normal gym schedule, try to wake up and walk. Some ways to get in extra steps include: going for a walk around your neighborhood, going to a local park, or taking the kids or pets outside for some fresh air. The holiday season can mean sitting and watching football, and eating just because there is food in front of you. Or sitting by the fire, or sitting and reading or playing games… the list goes on. There can be a lot of “sitting” this time of year, so remember to try to get up and move!

My last piece of advice is to go with the flow, but make a plan. Maybe your plan is to wake up and workout, to drink 60 oz of water, or eat healthy during the week. Whatever it may be, write it down and hold yourself accountable. On the other hand, be prepared for those plans to shift. Possibly, family events go too long, or you stay at work too late, or plans get canceled. Make room in your mind for a backup plan if unexpected situations happen. It is okay to not be as solid on a schedule as you may typically be. One bad day does not ruin all progress. 

Remember the holiday season is not limited to one day like Halloween or Thanksgiving. We have turned the holiday season into a full month. Remind yourself of that, and stay true to your goals and health. Indulge on certain days, but be conscious of your goals. Enjoy time with family, listen to your favorite songs, and watch your favorite shows. Enjoy the whole season, but don't wait for January 1st to get back to your goals. YOU GOT THIS! 


Happy Holidays Everyone!






 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.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Fulfillment - What does Sarah at Tonicity Fit in West Chester have to say?

 


As a professional go-getter, I am constantly struggling with trying to feel fulfilled. If you are anything like me there is a familiar progression: you feel desire, get passionate about the process, maybe do some research on execution, and then you go for whatever that next journey into possible fulfillment might entail. You might even be convinced that this is the one: that final task in the grand scheme of life that is going to fill you up so high that you will finally reach the apex of your life mountain.  

If you are even more like me, then you skate through the next couple of months feeling like you rocked life and figured out how to achieve world peace. Then, you fast forward a few months (maybe years….as I get older it seems to last a couple of years per journey) and your gap has reopened and you are no longer fulfilled. You are lost and frustrated and maybe you even feel like a failure.  That is the point, or at least shortly after that point, where you start to plan again. A new plan begins to conjure in your psyche, and it doesn’t matter if you have to cash in your retirement fund to go for it.

Ok, maybe it is not that extreme, but we all need a little dramatic effect these days.

So, if this is you (and it definitely is me), then you are probably spending a considerable amount of time trying to figure out how to fix this “problem.”  How do we find fulfillment in a life where we can never be satisfied for more than a couple of months???

Honestly, I am starting to think that my 7 year old has it all figured out.  Last year, she had a writing assignment in her first grade class.  It was called, “My Heart is Full.”  In this project, she had to list the reasons why she felt a sense of fulfillment in her life.  Her response rocked my world.  I will post it below:



My Heart is Full

By:  Jessie

My heart is full because I have a mom.  My heart is full because I have a Dad.  My heart is full because I have a favorite toy Giraffee.  My heart is full because I have my family.

-

Just take a moment to soak that in.  Her heart is full of the only things that really matter.  It is full of love.  My daughter feels a great sense of fulfillment because she has her family and her favorite stuffed toy.  That is amazing to me.

How did it get so complicated for all of us?  How is it so difficult to find that simplistic fulfillment as an adult?  


Personally, I think it is because we overzealously overcomplicate our lives.  As we age, our lives become more full of “things” and that makes us feel the need to fix everything.  That is where I think that my 7-year-old daughter is onto something life-changing for us adults who have long since forgotten it: SIMPLICITY.


We spend a significant amount of time over-stuffing our lives with tasks that we think will make us feel more full.  But growth never stops happening.  We grow until we die, and that means that our full bucket will always get a little bit bigger.  It will definitely need to be filled again.

So, how do we fix it without turning ourselves into a 7-year-old again?

I say we need to dial it down.


Whenever I meet with a client who is feeling too overwhelmed and unsatisfied, I always start small with the plan that I give them.  I do a full assessment of their lifestyle, and from there, I plan out a system that guides them to start small and grow over time.  When the growth becomes too large, we start over again.  I would say that when our sense of fulfillment feels lost, we need to shed the skin of our complicated lives and start over.  


This doesn’t mean that I think we need to leave our relationships, ditch our children and move to another country.  Obviously this is not a realistic choice, and you would surely become further away from feeling fulfilled.  


I am saying that we need to remove the parts of our lives that are unnecessarily complicating things.  Start small and grow from there.  Change your daily routine.  Assess your goals and see how they have changed.  Check in with friends or family members and take a timeout with a wine, coffee, or dinner date.  Just SIMPLIFY.


About Sarah Ostroski:  


Sarah is the owner and head trainer at Tonicity Fit Personal training Studio in West Chester.  She has worked as a personal trainer for over 18 years.  She is an American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) nationally certified Exercise Physiologist.  Sarah has a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science from Eastern University and a Master of Science in Integrative Exercise Physiology from Temple University. She is also ACSM Exercise is Medicine Level 2 certified and holds an SCW certification in Nutrition, Hormones and Metabolism.


To learn more about Sarah, Click Here.