Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Something is Better than Nothing - What Does Jules at Tonicity Fit Have to Say?



Sometimes the hardest part of exercise is getting started. Sometimes you just don't have it in you. Sometimes you're sore, tired, moody, busy, or a host of other emotional states that could keep you from exercising. And that's OK.

What?

You heard me.... it's OK!

It's OK because you are a human being. You do not just have a physical body, but an emotional and spiritual side intertwined - that makes you who you are. You are not a robot who flips the "workout" switch every day. You go to work, interact with family, neighbors and significant others, you take care of pets, pursue hobbies, pay bills and go grocery shopping. In the wise words of the Millenials, you're "adulting" every day which takes up time and can often be stressful.

Are workouts great for your body and mind? Certainly. Is a 15 minute, mild walk around the block also great for your body and mind? Absolutely. It is on those "off" days when something, some small dose of movement, can work wonders for stress relief and active recovery. Or perhaps you've never worked out a day in your life. Is 15 minutes worth of gentle Pilates even beneficial? You bet!

The Science: A study out of France that surveyed over 123,000 older adults found that even just 15 minutes of exercise per day decreased their risk of dying by 22%. That's a HUGE benefit from just 15 minutes of moving your body. Another study out of Taiwan that surveyed over 400,000 people found that 15 minutes of low-level exercise increased life expectancy by 3 years. Again, an enormous benefit from just 15 minutes of movement.

Not only do you receive the wonderful physical benefits from small doses of movement, but it also builds the habit of incorporating physical activity into your daily routine. It's no secret that sedentary behavior is on the rise in developing nations and that this alone contributes significantly towards disease and mortality. However, by habitually adding small doses of movement throughout your day, you can achieve significant improvements in your health and wellness! The more something becomes a habit, the less effort you need to put into it.

So, my encouragement to you is that something is truly better than nothing. Never discount the small efforts you make throughout your week. Those ten squats you do while waiting for the toaster to ding, the 5-block walk to the mailbox and back, that one extra time you opt to take the stairs over the escalator... it all adds up to greater health and wellness!

You got this.



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.

Monday, May 3, 2021

Resistance Bands vs. Free Weights - See What Ken at Tonicity Fit Has to Say



What is the difference between resistance bands and free weights? You have likely used both, but may not be sure when to choose one over the other.

When you use resistance bands, the tension of force increases when the band is being stretched. So, with a primarily concentric movement, resistance increases. However, the resistance decreases with eccentric movements, which is when you move back. This means that there is an inconsistent tension of force within the movement using a band. This can force more muscles to activate and work harder. 


With free weights, there is a consistent eccentric and concentric force which is created gravity. This means that both eccentric and concentric movements have the same work load while performing the movement. This does not necessarily mean that weights are better than resistance bands. Resistance bands play a huge part in dealing with resistance training, corrective exercise, and the rehabilitation of injuries. Both of these type of resistant equipment are extremely important and should be used often to help you reach your goals! 





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.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Smart Shopping - Here Is What Lexi At Tonicity Fit Has to Say




One of the hardest parts of getting back on track with your eating is cutting bad habits and eating “healthy foods”. What are healthy foods? Is a protein bar for a meal healthy? Should you cut out protein or add in more veggies? Is “smart popcorn” a good alternative? Trainers get questions like these often. I want to talk about the best way to shop and know without question that what you're eating is OK.


My first tip for smart shopping is when you walk into the grocery store, you should be full. What do I mean by that? I mean NEVER go to the supermarket on an empty stomach. You will buy whatever you're craving and if you're starting a new health kick, you may be craving unhealthy items. So, try to go after a meal or eat a healthy snack before shopping.


 The next rule for healthy shopping is planning. I suggest walking into the grocery store with a list in hand and your meals mapped out in your mind. It’s ok to not know every item you’re going to buy, but try to have a general idea. I personally get a lot of meal inspiration from healthy food accounts on instagram or Pinterest! 


After you’ve checked everything off your list, the best and most important thing to do is shop the perimeter. Avoid going up and down every aisle because you will be tempted by all the processed foods in the middle of the store. It is better to start shopping at the edges of the grocery store. Why? Because on the perimeter is all natural fresh produce, fresh meats and cheeses, milk and eggs and other great protein options. The middle is full of temptations and “healthy snacks'', but they are not fresh and more than likely processed foods. 


My last tip is to bring reusable bags. Not only is this great for the environment, but it also puts a limit on how much you can buy. You have to fit the food you buy into those reusable bags so you aren't taking dozens of plastic bags full of junk home. 


I hope these tips help so you are able to shop smart and feel good about the food you are bringing home to your family and putting into your body!  




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, April 5, 2021

Start Your Morning With These Protein Banana Pancakes!

 



What better way to start your morning with a stack of warm pancakes? While it's great to treat yourself, we found a pancake recipe that's both delicious and great for your body! Check out these healthy protein banana pancakes that will surely become a staple in your breakfast routine:


Recipe:

*makes 1 serving (approx. 4 pancakes)*


1 egg

1 banana, mashed

1 scoop of your favorite protein powder 

1 tbs oats 

1 tsp vanilla extract


In a bowl, mix together all ingredients. Feel free to blend it for extra mixing (optional). Heat your griddle, and start cooking! Add your favorite toppings and they're ready to eat. These pancakes cook faster than your typical flour pancakes, so try keeping the heat low and check often! Enjoy :) 


Monday, March 22, 2021

Accountability - See What Jules At Tonicity Fit Has to Say



Do you ever have those days where you just don't have it in you? Whether it's waking up with your alarm, hitting the gym early, or making yet another salad for lunch, sometimes we lack motivation in the healthy living department.

One of the best ways to keep working towards your health goals despite fluctuating moods is to have an accountability partner. This could be a family member, a friend, a mentor or a coach. Research shows that the biggest predictor of success with a health-related goal is if the person's spouse/close loved one is supportive of the goal. Pretty good incentive, right? An accountability partner should be someone in your life who isn't afraid to ask you hard questions or challenge you. Someone who has your best interest in mind even when it's uncomfortable.

It's important to have an accountability partner for any big life goals. Preparing for a backpacking trip, pursuing a career change, working toward weight loss, deciding to see a therapist - if you know it's going to be difficult for you, bring someone trustworthy along for the ride. But how do we do that?

1- Share why your goal is important. Your accountability partner may not care about a career in marketing, but they do care about your career in marketing if that is your goal. Share why this is important to you and the deeper meaning will resonate.

2- Ask for specifics. Simply asking someone to hold you accountable can be, well, awkward for them. They might feel like they're scolding or judging you if they check in on your progress. Ask your partner for a specific action. "Please call me every Sunday to check in." "Text me Friday night to make sure I completed my goal for the week." "Let's share a spreadsheet and check in throughout the week." If they know exactly how you want them to hold you accountable, they'll feel much more comfortable doing so.

3- Make sure you are ready for change. If your goal is something you really want, you will be OK with your accountability partner challenging you and encouraging you. If you're not quite ready, you may push back, argue, make excuses, or end up resenting your partner. Assess your readiness. If you find yourself resisting the change, ask yourself if it is really something you want to work towards right now. If not, that's OK! You can always revisit your goal later.

I know you all have big, amazing goals for the rest of the year. Do you have the accountability you need?

If you have any questions or need any help with this part of healthy living, please reach out to your Tonicity staff (it's literally our job)! If you know someone who struggles to follow through with action plans, go ahead and share our information with them. We love helping people live healthy, thriving lives and it is our privilege to work with our clients on their life goals.





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.


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.