Blog

April 2016
April 2016

Today's blog is brought to you by Viking Waffles founder Benedicte Engen, a fitness enthusiast, Cross-fit trainer, Kettlebell and Yoga instructor.  She was formerly a professional soccer player in Norway, after which she briefly attended medical school.  During her medical studies she learned about nutrition and the preventive aspects of eating healthy.  That awareness led her to experiment with her own diet and ultimately create the Viking WaffleTM, a high quality, delicious, nutritious baked good that can be enjoyed as a meal or a snack. Viking Waffles is avaliable for online orders and you can check them out on social media, too!  (@Viking_waffles). Benedicte and Viking Waffles is part of Uplift's initiative to partner with women-owned businesses for mutually beneficial engagement.

Norwegian waffles are a huge Scandinavian tradition...though they're usually (and sadly!) not very nutritious. I have so many great memories of eating my grandmother’s waffles growing up, but as I was an athlete, nutrition was--and is--very important to me. I hated to have to give up my favorite comfort food to be able to perform well in my sports.

I started asking myself: “Why is eating healthy associated with a restriction to life and a feeling that you are giving up on a lot of good food?” That question sparked the creation of the Viking Waffles, a nutritious twist on traditional Norwegian Waffles, which allow me to eat waffles guilt-free every day if I want to!

People in Norway started asking me for the recipe after wondering how it was possible to perform well in my sports and eat as many waffles as I did. My biggest dream has always been to be able to eat waffles without it going to my waist, and as I continue to grow my own business and this entrepreneurial adventure, the bonus is that dream is coming true!


March 2016
March 2016

As I sit writing this, and thinking about business, I have a serious case of the Mondays.

I'm hungover from a weekend cousin visit and Easter Sunday. I haven’t been running as much as I enjoy doing or signing up for races. Sharing a bed every night with the guy I love is wonderful, but I’m not sleeping enough (he’s a night owl) or well enough.

But let’s set those annoying little missteps and issues aside for a minute, though. All of the last year was a growing and a building to where I am right now, professionally, and personally as well. I worked so hard to figure out that I wanted to stay at Uplift and take over, and negotiate with my co-founders as they left the company and go through dealing with all of our investors. I have learned the numbers and continue diving into the business of Uplift and developing my ideas of growing it. I feel good about where things are, and where I am.

Doesn’t that mean that there’s a touch of time time to coast a little and rest of my laurels? Relax a bit?

Just writing that makes me feel like a failure and every time I reread that sentence, I start sweating. No. There’s no time to relax.

This is everything I’ve wanted to date: Uplift has been my passion and my baby from the beginning. I am right where I want to be in growing and developing it: my vision of the business as so much more than a fitness studio is going to be coming to life and I know in my gut that it’s going to be incredibly successful. As my first solo iniative, out of the gates I led the charge on a complete rebrand and new logo that hones in on who we really are: a Fitness Studio but also (and maybe more importantly), a Female Society. But while those are all things to be proud of, the work has only just begun.

As I think about it, I actually don’t think after all of the madness and soul-searching of the last year that I actually even wanted to relax and “coast.” Instead I think I was (and am) literally paralyzed sometimes. I have jumped over so many hurdles in my life without an ounce of fear or hindsight. But I am realizing that once I get to the other side of one or many, my adrenaline slows down and I step from “fight” back into “flight” (i.e., fear).

"Making it" in New York. In business and in life. Sweating again just reading the sentence. Overcoming the fear and even sometimes reality of not getting the rug pulled and being destitute and not able to pay my student loans takes such enormous effort, all the time. Forget actually making it to BEING SUCCESSFUL and proud of what I'm doing. It’s really terrifying and I feel so lost sometimes.

But even though those are some of my darkest thoughts, the little voice inside me also reminds me that all of the terror of not knowing, well, really anything, or how to do anything, is not quite as terrifying as not doing it.

In these moments, I know it’s all about forward motion. Baby steps are still steps. I have to keep stretching my limits and learning an growing in new (and potentially wonderful, life-changing!) ways. Simply doing the work, something very small or very big, whatever, instead of sitting back and just looking around me, wide-eyed, not sure how to act next.

Even though it sometimes may seem effortless to the outside world, it’s never, ever easy. But one thing I can say: it's worth it.


March 2016
March 2016

Today's blog is brought to you by our fabulous intern Natasha!

I could not get out of bed this morning! The thought of walking ten steps to go put on a pair of sneakers and run to the gym seemed as if I was being asked to run a marathon. I'm sure I can’t be alone, either. Ladies we’ve all had our moments, where the excited feeling we had yesterday left us as quickly as it came. How can we defeat that sluggish, discouraged attitude? How can being motivated become second nature? WHERE CAN WE FIND OUR EXCITEMENT AGAIN?! Well ask yourself: what causes my lack of motivation? Do you find yourself….

...Overwhelmed, hiding in the bed sheets? All I can think about is what I have coming up in the next two weeks. It’s  overwhelming and even sickening. You feel like you need to get everything done today, but there's simply not enough time in the day. Get rid of the anxiety by focusing only on the day. Worry about tomorrow when tomorrow comes. When I'm overwhelmed, I turn to my planner. Writing everything down and splitting tasks into days is a great way to feel accomplished and unrushed. Writing a to do list will be a great way to manage time without the stress.

...Fearful? “I just don't know how.” The truth is, when we're first trying out something we're all nervous. Concentrate on conquering that fear. In most cases we are scared to try things for the first time, but once we do we laugh at the fact we were so nervous. Conquer your fears by going after them. Don't be scared to fail. If you mess up the first time, try again. Secondly, ask for help: in most cases, whoever you’re asking once had the same question and would be happy to help you out.

...Crowned queen of procrastination? Then you're probably concentrating on unpleasant task. Cleaning dishes, folding laundry and vacuuming are nobody’s top choice of activity, but we all have to do them. Often those pesky tasks can distract us the rest of the day. All we can think about is what we don’t want to do. Instead of viewing those tasks in a negative light lets try spinning a more positive attitude on it. Say to yourself “I can’t wait till this is done.” If you focus on getting it done and the time you’ll have after you complete the task, you be excited to cross it off your to do list.

...Fighting  low self-esteem? “Ugh! That girl who ran next to me yesterday; Why did she have to pick the treadmill next to mine? I looked ridiculous.” Envy and low self esteem go hand in hand. Ladies, remember your natural beauty! I guarantee that whoever you were checking out at the gym has been wishing she looked like someone else. Every morning look at yourself and call yourself beautiful. Think of yourself with confidence and list the things that you do like about yourself, repeating them in your low moments.

...Being the “yes” girl. You're a people pleaser...but you're getting tired of trying to please others. You just can't seem to say no when asked to do something. Saying no would make you feel like a disappointment to someone. Well, it's time to change that attitude. Put yourself first. SAY NO. I promise it's ok. In most cases if you never say no, people can start to take advantage of you. Be a little selfish and realize by saying “no” or “sorry, not today” you can be much more productive with your own task. Inturn, saving energy to be able to jump out of bed and kill your workout. Communication is key, “no” doesn't need to sound harsh, be mindful of what the person ask and explain you just don't have the time today, no further explanation needed. In turn people will learn to appreciate the time you do have to spend with them.


March 2016
March 2016

Today's blog is brought to you by our awesome intern Natasha!

Psychiatrist Lara Pence is a body image specialist at the Renfrew Center, an eating disorders program. When interviewed recently by Shaun Dreisback for Glamour magazine, she noted, “So if you believe—falsely—that you look worse than everyone else, you could scroll through 100 photos of women, 99 of whom have a body you don't find that attractive. But when you see one with a body you'd die to have, that's the image you're going to zero in on and compare yourself to."

With ever-increasing numbers of social media platforms, there is a corresponding increase of images thrown in front of us on a day-to-day basis. Time to face the facts - we often put these images on the proverbial pedestal and then turn, look in the mirror, and critically analyze our own skin. According to Pence, this act that we are all guilty of committing is the Social Comparison Theory.

Social Comparison theory (according to Psychology Today) states that we "determine our own social and personal worth based on how we stack up against others.”

How sad. How exhausting.

Even women involved in the fitness community/industry tend to make similar comparisons. We look at one image of a woman in her peak fitness level and compare ourselves to that. We all do it at some point or another, even the most self-confident among us. Maybe the better option is to instead take the time to look at where we were yesterday and then look at where we are today: most of us have grown better, stronger, wiser, notwithstanding of course, the low moments that everyone also experiences. People tend to post their best days on social media, not their worst!  What we don't see are their average days where that same person (who we put on a pedestal) is sitting at home wearing a stained T-shirt, eating chips, and staring out the window at the rain.

Let's all take a moment to look at goals we have set and the amazing things we have accomplished...instead of comparing yourselves to a stranger in a picture. Downward social comparison is the act of putting ourselves down when looking at another. This Comparison creates, envy, anger, depression, and a lack of self-respect. Those emotions can feel like a never-ending cycle. The women you might be looking at on social media are possibly looking at someone else - and also comparing. So how do we stop?

  • Make a list of all the things you are proud of - whether it is goals you have achieved, goals you have set, physical traits or psychological characteristics that make you uniquely beautiful-and read that list out loud to yourself in your moments of doubt. Look over this list with pride!

  • STOP COMPETING. Life is not a competition with deadlines - recognize the fact that there is always going to be someone out there who is "better" (for lack of a better term) in a certain aspect of life, and it's okay. Look inward and focus on yourself. Compete only with yourself in a positive way and stop setting unreasonable deadlines for yourself. The power is in the journey, not on how quickly you arrive.

  • Beauty is the power to be yourself and be proud of it. Accept your flaws, embrace any past mistakes, learn from them and focus only on being a better you today.

  • HIT UNFOLLOW. Turn off any negative social media, unfollow pages that make you question yourself and embrace positive energy. Follow those positive sources of inspiration, people you care about, and connect offline to those you love!

“Envy is ever joined with the comparing of a man’s self; and where there is no comparison, no envy.” —Sir Francis Bacon

 


March 2016
March 2016

Today's blog is brought to you by the lovely and unstoppable Andi, whose website can be found HERE and who can be followed on Twitter and Instagram (@todayinthecity).

 

 

It’s time to redefine the “rest day.”

Uplift attracts my favorite type of exerciser: the lifestyle athlete.  This woman puts exercise at the forefront of her priorities, up with her other investments in well being, social connections, and financial soundness. She plans her workouts to integrate optimally with other life engagements, making sure that she breaks a sweat several times a week (if not more).

While the lifestyle athlete, does her body a world of good through her commitment to regular heart-pumping exercise, she often neglects to optimize another important part of her workout plan: the rest day.

Rest days are opportunities to reconnect and recharge your body and to fill in gaps that your regular workouts are missing. These should not be misconstrued as “sit-on-the-couch-all-day-days.” You can still get out and go for a nice long walk or brisk hike, swim laps, and other forms of recreational movement that elevate your heart rate. You can also take some time to stretch.

What you are resting from is creating the microtears in your muscles—which are an important part of strength-building—but need a chance to heal and repair before hitting the same muscle group again at full force. You’re not resting from movement all together.

I created Uplift’s Deep Stretch & Renew as one answer to the “what should I do on my rest day?” question.  It’s an hour of stretching and massaging your muscles, giving you the chance to tune in to where you’re sore, tight, and bring circulation to those muscle groups without overtraining.

Uplift Deep Stretch & Renew seeks to elevate a sense of mindful awareness of what’s going on with your body while actively providing physical, yet restorative movement through stretch and myofascial release techniques.

Look for it Sunday evenings, one evening each month, on the studio calendar.



February 2016
February 2016

Today's blog is brought to you by the lovely Liz Barnet. (@LizBarnet on Twitter and Insta).

One of the most common misconceptions I hear from clients is that there is some magic diet plan that will get surefire results for everyone who tries it. Additionally, many clients - particularly women - hold onto the notion that being on a diet equals deprivation: cut calories, cut fat, cut out the foods you love, all in the name of achieving some sort of physical or even health-related goal.

The fact of the matter is, it’s not so simple. Yes, food is fuel for our body, to power us through both our daily activities as well as our workouts. But food also has an effect on our emotions, our mood, even our relationships with other people, both from its physical composition (and the resultant effects on our bodies), as well as from the ritual of consuming it. In some cases, food carries sentimental significance, and can evoke memories and feelings that otherwise exist only in the background.

If you were to come to me as a food coaching client, my very first directive to you would be: find the foods that you love that love you back.

By that, I mean it’s SO important to find a strategy or style of eating that works with your lifestyle, your goals, your preferences, and your budget the majority of the time. Note that I prefer an “eating strategy” or “eating style” to the term diet, which connotates a short-term and probably unsustainable fix.

You should never force yourself to eat something you legitimately don’t enjoy (or can’t afford, or that’s inconveniently difficult to procure or prepare) no more than you should completely cut out foods that bring you joy. (The exception to this suggestion would be if you have a particular food allergy or intolerance; you might love yourself some pizza, but perhaps dairy and gluten don’t have mutual feelings for your digestive system.)

Yes, you should absolutely base the majority of your diet on nutrient-dense foods, preferably seasonal and local when possible, highlighting vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, quality protein, and sensible forms of carbohydrates. But you should also leave room for foods that although they might not be the most health-supportive choice ever, still nourish you in other ways.

So, the next time you hit the grocery store (or Fresh Direct page, for that matter), explore and focus on the nutritious foods you genuinely like, and maybe throw a few new things in your basket. Does salmon with broccoli and brown rice make you feel like a superhero? Awesome, buy that. Tofu stir fry more your thing? Exotic! . A bun-less grass-fed burger with bacon, cheddar and sweet potato fries up your alley? Girl, I feel you.

After primarily filling your plates with the aforementioned nutritious superstars, save room for the “other” foods that you love, and don’t make you feel like you got hit by a truck. If there are foods that for some reason emotionally fulfill you but don’t work for your body or your goals, take pause and ask yourself it it’s worth it considering the potential consequences.  Does spaghetti with meatballs remind you of home, but send you straight to Bloat City? Maybe try some veggie noodles, or wait until the next time Mom makes her speciality. Overall, remember that your relationship with food is a lifelong one, and you want to make it as pleasant and supportive as possible.


February 2016
February 2016

Today's blog is brought to you by the awesome Uplift intern Natasha, with a little inspo from Martha Stewart.

Balancing work, families and our social lives is a challenge our Uplift team faces daily. Too often women are caught up taking care of others before they consider their own health. Well,  It’s time to take care of you!  Uplifters, you can take a step to good health by packing healthy snacks to bring to work.

You wouldn’t wait till your car was empty on gas to fill it up again, would you?

Well then, you shouldn’t wait till you’re starving to eat again!

Eating small meals throughout the day is essential to keep your metabolisum going. Eating fiber-filled nutritious snacks will ease hunger and prevent you from overeating later in the day.

 

Grab and Go Snacks:

  • edamame and cranberries

  • snap peas with kale dip

  • peanut butter stuffed apple

  • almonds and a banana

  • beat chips with curried yogart

  • A cup of granola

In the mood for something sweet? try some Chocolate-Apricot Nut Bars:



Chocolate-Apricot Nut Bars

 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups dried apricots 1/2 cup raw almonds, toasted

2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted

Coarse salt

1/2 ounce dark chocolate, melted

How To:

  • Pulse apricots, almonds, 1 tablespoon coconut, and a pinch of salt in a food processor until finely ground.

  • Line a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with parchment, let parchment overhang

  • Transfer mixture to pan and press firmly to form a rectangle.

  • Use parchment overhang to remove from pan

  • Drizzle mixture with chocolate and sprinkle with remaining coconut.

  • Transfer to refrigerator and leave until firm, about 15 minutes. Slice into six bars.

  • Enjoy!


February 2016
February 2016

Today's blog is brought to you by Shannon, sport adventurer of all seasons. Check out her Stand Up Paddleboarding adventures on her website.

The winter season is upon us and there’s no better way to enjoy the snow than hitting the slopes, strapping on snowshoes, or gliding around an ice rink.   To get the most out of your winter wonderland adventures, here are some of the best exercises to do at the gym to strengthen your muscles, improve power and efficiency, and stabilize joints to prevent injury.

1. Leg Blasters: Legs, legs, legs!  These have been a favorite Uplift’s Winter Snow Sports Prep class.  To better avoid the “I can barely sit down” soreness following day one on the slopes, try out these Leg Blasters for eccentric leg training.

15 seconds of squats

15 seconds of forward lunges, alternating legs

15 seconds of jumping lunges switching legs

15 seconds of jump squats

Rest for 30 seconds, then repeat, building up to 5x total.

2. Hamstring Curls: Strengthen the back of your legs to help protect the knees from ACL injuries and build core stability with these curls.

Lay on your back with a swiss ball underneath your heels, legs straight, arms by your side with palms pressing down gently on the mat.  Lift your bum off the ground keeping your legs straight, tightening through your core.  Keeping your bum lifted, bend your knees pulling the ball towards you, then extend the legs straight.  Repeat 15x, rest for 30 seconds, building up to 3 sets total.

3. Band Walks: To build lateral leg and glute strength and stabilize the hip joints.

Step both legs into a resistance band, bringing it around the middle of your calves.  Keeping your legs completely straight, take 5 steps to the right, then 5 steps to the left.  Repeat 5x.   Keeping the band around your legs, bend the knees and repeat the same exercise but staying in the squat position - make sure to keep the knees over the ankles, pressing out against the resistance of the band.  Repeat  5x.

4. Gliding Planks: To stabilize and strengthen the shoulder girdle and activate the obliques and deep core muscles.

Place two gliders or towels under the ball of each foot.  Start in a plank position.  Slide one leg at a time towards your belly button bending your knee, then slide each leg across your body, twisting your hips so the knee comes toward the opposite elbow.  Repeat for 1 minute, 2 sets.

5. Core: Crucial when standing, and even more important when you’re down!  Getting up when you’ve fallen on a slippery surface with skis/skates/snowshoes attached to your feet is no easy task.   Build your core strength with these V-ups.

V-ups: Balancing on your bum in a seated position on the mat, knees bent, feet off the ground to start. Extend your legs away from your body so they are hovering off the ground, and your upper body is almost on the mat, then pull yourself back into the starting position.  Repeat 15x, 2-3 sets.

And finally, take a few minutes before you hop in the lodge hot tub with your vino to stretch - especially your legs - and make sure you are well nourished and hydrated so you’ll be in great shape for next day. Happy winter adventuring!


February 2016
February 2016

This post is brought to you by the lovely Liz Barnet (@lizbarnet on Insta and Twitter).

With the first month of 2016 already under our belts (seriously? where’d you go, January?!), it’s an appropriate time to look back and see how far we have – or haven’t – come.

I’m all about the long game when it comes to goals + habits, but in order to see progress, it’s imperative you periodically check in and see what’s working – and what’s not.

Check out these sort of staggering statistics:

45% of people drop their new years resolutions after a month.

It’s estimated that only 8% of those who make New Year’s resolutions actually keep them.

I’m certainly no math major, but some simple calculations reveal the following: according to those statistics, out of 100 people who made resolutions January 1, less than 5 will stick to them.

That’s not exactly motivational.

In my years of coaching clients, I’ve come up with a list of the most common reasons I think there is such a low success rate for sticking to your resolutions or goals.

Why we can’t stick to our resolutions or reach our goals, according to yours truly:

  • We try to address too much at once

  • Our goals are not SMART (that’s an acronym, FYI)

  • We focus too much on the end goal (and not the process)

  • Our habits don’t support our goals

  • We depend too much on willpower

Author and habit expert Leo Babauta estimates that when you focus on changing one habit at a time, the likelihood of retaining that habit for a year or longer is 80%. However, if you try to change more than one habit at a time, the success rate drops to as low as 20%.

Here’s the thing: all of those reasons I just mentioned are really just symptoms of a larger issue. If we focus on tackling this one seemingly monstrous task first, it truly becomes much easier to take the necessary steps to reach your individual goals.

The fact of the matter is, many of the things we think we want for ourselves are clouded by outside noise: your friends, your family, your significant other (or lack thereof), your coworkers, your boss, the lady down the hall, the Instagram star you don’t even know in real life. All of these external forces affect + shape what we think we should think, feel, want, do, accomplish, and so on.

My suggestion:

For the month of February, make your one-and-only goal to be that you should showering yourself with an incredible amount of self-love: by integrating self-care, by feeding + moving your body in ways that are nourishing, by being gentle with yourself, by being flexible with your expectations, and overall, by putting yourself first.

I realize that might sound like a tall order (and in fact, sounds like a laundry list of to-do’s) but in reality, it all goes back to one simple idea.

IMG_5028

 

So today, focus on ONE thing you can do to show yourself a little love. This month, try different things and see what sticks. Then, keep what works and throw away what doesn’t.

Personally, I’m going to spend at least 5 minutes *every night* on some relaxing hip stretches; this will not only help me address a physical goal (improve my hip mobility), but also wind me down for bed (which addresses my desire to improve my quantity + quality of sleep). I’ve also got a trip to Florida for a relaxing weekend with my boyfriend and his family, as well as a birthday weekend full of things that excite me with people I love.

I’m so very much looking forward to the month ahead, as I know every time I make a choice to love myself – whether as simple as stretching or as decadent as a trip – I become stronger, more focused + more ready to take on whatever is in front of me.


February 2016
February 2016

 

2016 has brought a number of incredible changes at Uplift: a new look, a new logo, new class names and a renewed focus on two aspects of our brand: “US” as a fitness studio and also a female society.

When people think of February, one of the first things that comes to mind is the idea of love. After all, it is the month that houses Valentine’s Day, long-established in popular culture as THE day for romantics everywhere.

Since it’s inception, Uplift has been all about empowering women in all aspects of their lives, and February is no exception. Yes, we’re going to spend a little time on romantic love relationships (and all of their ups and downs) in our Uplift Your Love Life panel on February 10th. But the rest of the time we’re going to zero in on loving our and your SELF and making ourselves feel good from the inside out--which is ultimately the harbinger for attracting all sorts of amazing things into our lives--including romantic love.

Interestingly enough, self love can naturally grow from giving back to and taking care of others. One thing I am most proud of in our evolving Uplift is the institution of a monthly philanthropic endeavor: every single month, we give back to an organization that helps women in some way. This month, we are giving back to two important organizations: She’s the First and New York Cares. I firmly believe that success and self love (and everything in between) come as a direct result of giving back, and that's going to be part of Uplift's official party line from here on out.

In keeping with the theme of love, our monthly fitness theme is going to be all about Heart Rates in February! Our instructors and trainers are going to be educating our clients all month long about heart rates in our workouts: Why are those tabatas included in strength class? How do classes like sculpt or training sessions with low impact weight circuits still benefit a client's performance and body composition? Why does your heart get higher in an Endurance class while in Strength it doesn't, but your body continues to burn more calories once it's over?

In this context, we are also going to pick new ways to challenge our clients’ thresholds. Bonus: by continuing to evolve our training techniques, this month via heart rates, we are working on combatting the number one killer of women in the U.S.: cardiovascular disease.


January 2016
January 2016

Today's blog is brought to you by the lovely and unstoppable Andi, whose website can be found HERE and who can be followed on Twitter and Instagram (@todayinthecity).

5 Ways to “Winterize” Your Gym Routine

Winter chill may have shifted you away from morning jogs in the park, but you don’t have to hibernate. Hit the studios and gyms and fog up some mirrors this winter. When temps drop to certifiably freezing, follow these 5 tips to keep your workout routine from icing over:

  1. Pack a full change of clothes (minimum change of shirt).
    • If you don’t have time to shower, at least change your shirt before you step out. Your sweaty tank will feel like ice daggers if it gets hit with some wind through the seams of your jacket. If it has been raining or snowing, a change of socks is also imperative in case your feet get soaked on the way there.
  2. Don’t leave with wet hair!
    • For the same reasons you need that change of clothes, hair should be mostly dry before stepping outside. Below freezing temps are not known for producing great air-dry hair styles unless you’re on your way to a Frozen-themed birthday party after the gym. Even if you’re not washing your hair, touch up with a hairdryer if hair is wet from sweating.
  3. Wear your boots; bring your sneakers.
    • The hidden ice puddle will be far less treacherous in your boots. Slipping on a dry pair of sneakers when you arrive will help prevent rubbing, possible blisters and misery.
  4. Plan in extra commute time.
    • Mass transit may be delayed and it’s a good idea to slow your pace on icy sidewalks. If you’re bundled up with a hood or hat that blocks some peripheral vision, take extra care to watch for cars and bikes as you cross streets.
  5. Check your email for studio updates on severe weather days.
    • If a snow storm is expected or has hit, check for email updates from the studio. They may notify you that classes are still in session despite the weather or let you know about class cancellations. If you don’t get an email and need answers, give the studio a call. The phone may be ringing off the hook so if you don’t get someone right away check the studio’s social media pages as well-another common source of updates.



January 2016
January 2016

Today's blog is brought to you by our lovely Liz Barnet, and was republished from her own website and blog, which can be found HERE. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter (@LIzBarnet).

 

For the past 3 years, I’ve taught group fitness classes at Uplift Studios, a premiere women’s only personal training + group fitness studio in Manhattan. It’s been an absolute pleasure to be a part of a growing start-up that focusing on empowering women to be their strongest selves, both inside + out.

One of the practices we’ve added along the way is having a monthly Fitness Focus; that is, a theme or goal that all instructors + trainers thread throughout their classes + sessions. I had suggested this idea a while back, because with such dedicated clients, I felt it was important that both the client + instructor had something specific on which to focus efforts. In the past, we’ve highlighted specific pillars of fitness: speed, agility, power, strength, flexibility, and so forth. But very aptly this month, the goal is simple yet seemingly challenging, and not at all in a physical way: we’re working on being consistent.

With the lofty resolutions that the New Year can bring, I love that Uplift decided to almost scale it back to focus on what I think it the most important aspect when it comes to fitness (as well as to nutrition + general health).

It’s estimated that only 8% of people who make New Year’s resolutions see them to completion. Now, that may have a lot to do with setting goals that are not SMART.

That is, goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant (and realistic), and time-based. (Setting SMART goals is a topic about which I could go on forever. If you’re interested in learning more, be sure to check out my upcoming 6 week remote group coaching program, Creating Healthy Habits + Stronger Willpower for Real Results, starting on January 17.) 

If your goal is just not doable from the start, then you’re setting yourself up for failure. But, if the goal is not outrageous or unrealistic, then what might hinder people from seeing results?

Consistency is key. And by that, I don’t mean going to the gym every morning at 6am, or heading to the hardest class you’ve every been do multiple times a week until you feel like you literally cannot go one more time. By consistency, I just mean do something and do it often + regularly. Like, every day.

This may seem oversimplified, or even, ineffective, but the truth of the matter is, anything will work if you do it. In her book, Better than Before, author and happiness + habits expert Gretchen Rubin points out that “keeping up is easier than catching up.” She also explains that once you’ve established a habit, but then for one reason or another broken it, it’s far more difficult to pick it back up again.

So whether you are a seasoned exercise fanatic looking to up your intensity or brand-new to working out and looking to create a regimen, keep in mind that if you set your sights too high, you might fall fast + hard. Instead, make your goal to be consistent. Look at your calendar, evaluate how much time, energy + effort you can realistically dedicate to not only working out, but being just being active. Every little bit truly counts.


January 2016
January 2016

Today's blog is brought to you by Uplift's personal trainer and brand consultant, Kendall. Follow her on social media (@kenimagoo) and check out her website (http://essenceandphysique.com/).

As a division 1 soccer player, I was introduced to the concept of periodization, a systematic planning of physical training that prepares you to peak at the time of your most important competition. The training breaks up the year into different periods or cycles, each one focusing on a specific training goal.  With each cycle, the type of workout, volume and intensity changes until you’re at your strongest and fastest for your competition, the ultimate goal.

Though the majority of us are not training to peak for a serious competition, the concept of periodization is one that can benefit everyone by creating balance in workouts, encouraging goal setting and preventing training plateaus and/or boredom. Here are 3 ways to use the concept of periodization for your everyday training that will help you stay motivated about working out.

1. Mix it up: Whatever your motivation for consistent training, it is important that you incorporate different types of workouts, intensities and volumes to create balance in your workout. If you’re and avid runner, including strength training is important to increase your stamina. If you are aiming to build muscle, it is still paramount to add cardio to your workouts to increase endurance. And regardless of what you’re doing, incorporating mobility work will help by reducing your chance for injury and building your core strength.

2. Set goals, short-term and long-term: While many of us have long-term goals, like run an eight-minute mile or lose 10 pounds, it is just as important to set smaller goals that can make our big goals become a reality. Break up your training into different periods, each with smaller goals pertaining to your ultimate goal. As you see progress from week to week, these little victories will keep you motivated for success.

3. Include recovery periods: No matter what you are training for, whether it’s a marathon or simply to feel good, it is essential to include recovery periods into your routine. This will prevent you from becoming bored of your workouts and decrease your risk of injury. For example, if you set out a workout plan for the month, work your way up to the highest intensity in the third week. Then use the last week as an active recovery, incorporating foam rolling, yoga and stretching into your day.  Your body will be rejuvenated for the next intense training period and mentally you will be excited and ready to go!


December 2015
December 2015

Today's blog is brought to you by Uplift's awesome Athletic Trainer, Alyssa Exposito. You can follow her on Instagram: @expossentials.

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I know physical training can provide you all the greatest health benefits, aesthetic satisfaction, and vitality, but starting from your core (within) creates a stronger foundation of your being. My hope for you all is that you are so BRAVE with YOUR life-and never stop.

GROW: In ways that challenge the things you thought of yourself to be true. Be open if that truth no longer stands. Redefine. Reinvent. Reclaim.

IMPROVE: Not as to be better than others but to be the most genuine version of yourself. Be willing to ask yourself the questions that will give more meaning to your life. “What will you do this month that you’ll be proud of a year from now?”

MOVE: By boat, by plane, and by foot. Have the insatiable hunger to not be still, but to constantly seek, emerge, and discover.

LOVE: Openly, freely, and limitlessly. Don’t refine it to certain conditions and expectations. Emit with absolute truth that it is unconditional.

LISTEN: Wholeheartedly, mindfully, and with compassion. Do not limit it to an audible sound, or the tone of a voice, but listen to your body, your mind, and always to your heart.

Continue to create and smash your goals with grit & grace.


November 2015
November 2015

Our amazing Liz brought this disturbing story to my attention recently and I in turn felt that it was important to share it with the whole Uplift community.

Two managers of a Marlyand-based Barre studio were featured in their local newspaper. After that happened, they received a piece of what amounted to hate mail from a woman who said, among other things, that they both were fat and “didn’t espouse a healthy lifestyle.”

Instead of cowering, they did what strong women do best: they fought back. In addition to writing a blog post about the incident, they display the article prominently on their studio’s wall as a lesson to everyone who walks in their door (and now, clearly, beyond).

This hits home to me in a variety of ways. Before co-founding Uplift, I was a writer, so judgment of my body wasn’t a big feature of my public/professional life (besides the usual self-shaming we all go through at times). But then almost overnight, I became, in short order, a running coach, a personal trainer, and then the face of Uplift.

Though I’d never really suffered from any major body-image issues (thanks for the instillation of self-confidence and self-esteem, Mom!) I cannot even express how insecure I suddenly became. In those early days, I dreaded every photo, article or in-person meeting with a potential investor or some other perceived judger. How could I be a trainer and run a fitness business when I looked like I did?

“My legs are too big.”

or

“My ass is too fat.”

or

“I’m too flabby.”

or

“I’m too muscular, I look like a beast.”

Even my running coach, a person who was supposed to be supportive of me, joined the chorus of voices in my head. After I had WON a 10K race among the women, he said, “Wow, all I could see when you turned the corner were those arms,” he said, squeezing my biceps, shaking his head doubtfully. Another time he was referring to another competitive runner who happened to be a bigger-boned woman, and he said, “Don’t worry, you’re not as big as SHE is.”

And I repeat, all of this is coming at me, a person who has admittedly high self-esteem. It didn’t feel great, but I could handle it. What about the hundreds of thousands of women out there who can’t? Who SHOULDN’T?

In the midst of going through all of this, I remembered exactly why I started Uplift in the first place: as a place to empower women. ALL women.

And we have to keep reminding ourselves, and our friends, and our moms, and our sisters, that healthy, like beauty, comes in ALL different forms. It’s also a reminder that we women can be our own worst enemies, tearing each other down instead of bolstering each other. Remember, the Maryland Barre studio hate mail came from a woman. This has to stop. I really believe all of the rampant inequality among the sexes in the world has its root in these very issues.

With that, I still struggle. But when I find myself at the beach on a Uplift retreat and start wondering what clients think of my less-than-perfect “bikini body,” and start getting insecure imagining the cellulite they see on the backs of my legs, I just close my eyes, run to the water, and jump in, pulling all the women on the trip along with me for the ride.