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.



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 (

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.


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.”


“My ass is too fat.”


“I’m too flabby.”


“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.

November 2015
November 2015

Today's wisdom is brought to you by Uplift's Scultp-Fusion instructor, Kirsten. She can be followed on Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest (@sundayspoils).

We all get caught up in the endorphins of working out/training and the boost in our energy levels, but don’t leave the recovery process out of your fitness formula! Stretching is one aspect of recovery that's important for many reasons: such as relief from pain, increased energy levels, greater circulation of blood to various parts of the body, and improved posture. These two other reasons are just as (maybe even more so) important: first, it allows your muscles the flexibility to become stronger. Your muscles require elasticity in order to contract and to get stronger you most often use resistance training with added weight and ask the muscles to do just that—contract. But if they are too tense and tight, they won't move and your gains will be minimal at best. The suppleness of the connective tissue surrounding your muscles allows for enhanced muscular coordination and better range of motion in your joints.

Second, a side effect of stretching is a soothing of the nervous system. Stretching provides the feelings of relaxation and stress relief and this can lead to a greater sense of well-being. It can calm you down and mellow you out, no matter what is going on in your life.

Here are four stretches to try before race time, or any time:

Sitting seza. This stretch is good for opening up the connective tissue of your soles will give you a better connection to your footing. Start on hands and knees with your knees and ankles together, tuck your toes and start to walk your hands back to your quads as you sit on your heels. Take five deep breaths as you feel the stretch on the bottom of your feet.

Asymmetrical forward fold. This will target your hamstrings, glutes as well as IT bands. Standing with one foot at least 4 inches higher than the other (you can use a yoga brick, or an old phone book – maybe even one of those college textbooks you didn’t sell back). Keep your weight even between both sides and the soles of your feet glued to the ground (or brick) and start to straighten the elevated leg. It may not straighten the entire way, but that’s not really the goal.

Supine Twist. Efficient running requires free movement through the trunk and this stretch will open up your torso. Lay on the ground on your back and hug your knees up to your chest, drop both knees to the left first and open the arms out to make a ‘T’.

Shoulder Sweeps. Sometimes the upper body holds misdirected tension from the lower body, these sweeps will loosen up the shoulders for race day. Holding a wooden dowel or belt in both hands in front of you, start by separating your hands about 4 ft. Moving only the arms in the shoulder joint, take both arms up over the head and then back down behind you. If you can’t keep the arms straight take your hands wider until you create the mobility in your shoulders. Remember to keep your torso steady, this action is only in the shoulders!

October 2015
October 2015

We all love a good sweat, that’s no secret. But what happens when you explode out of that burpee only to land in pain?  Or when no matter what you do, those squats just don’t seem to feel right anymore?  Running, which used to feel exhilarating, now feels achy - or worse, painful. Something is pulling, something is tight, something is…oh no…injured.

Injuries can sideline the best of us.  That’s why Uplift is proud to have recently announced our new in-studio Athletic Trainer, Alyssa!  An Athletic Training session is an excellent way to supplement your workouts, assist in any recovery you might need, and get you back to taking your favorite classes at Uplift quickly, safely, and effectively.

We sat down with all-around dynamo (and certified athletic trainer) Alyssa for a Q&A about Athletic Training.

Q: So, what is a certified Athletic Trainer?

An athletic trainer is a health care provider that specializes in the prevention, assessment, treatment, and rehabilitation of injuries in relation to sports/physical activity.  My job is to ensure that a person returns to their activity/sport in a safe and timely fashion. Having graduated from the University of Miami with an athletic training degree, and being an athlete myself, I know the importance of recovery and maintenance.

Q: What does a session with you entail?

  • Preventative and corrective movement screening(s)
  • Assessment and evaluation of chronic/acute injury/ dysfunction
  • Discussion of preventative measures along with rehabilitation of concurrent ailments
  • Evaluation of maladaptive movement patterns and correction through therapeutic techniques.
  • Facilitation of stretching techniques (proprioceptive, active release and trigger points)

Not all sessions will look the same given that not everyone has the same ailment or physical challenge. Depending on what I see through certain movement patterns will determine the course of the hour. Sometimes all a person needs are a good set of stretches combined with manual work, or sometimes they needs a little bit more of rehabilitative exercise.

Q: Why is having a session with an athletic trainer beneficial?

I often say the body is like a large string, when one end is being tugged it will affect the tension of the string in a different area. That is to say, every piece (muscle) is connected, so if we begin to compensate for one ailment we are inevitably going to cause further injury or ailments. The body is incredibly fascinating in that its ability to recovery and adapt surmounts what we think it is capable of. With the right tools, assessment, and commitment you can prevent and treat existing issues to not only increase your performance in class, but also even increase the capacity of everyday living.

Q: That sounds pretty awesome.  Can a session really increase performance?

Whether you are a competitive athlete, weekend warrior, or very fit, one thing every human needs is a proper recovery. Recovery is not limited to rest, as in not partake in any physical activity (though that is also needed) sometimes rest, is active. Like a day of heavy stretching, a day devoted to more dynamic movement to increase mobility, or a day of less impact where resistance bands are utilized for more activation work etc. The job of an athletic trainer is to assess the underlying issues and prevent further ones from occurring so that you are able to not only get better, but also maintain the machinery you have built for yourself, for a very long time.

Q: How often should I make an appointment to see you?

Depends, really. After the first initial session we both can determine what will be the line of action depending on your goals, training schedule, and the gravity of mobility.

Thanks for the information, Alyssa!  Not convinced? Here's what some of her recent clients had to say:

"I had the absolute pleasure of being able to have an athletic training session with Alyssa recently. From that second I walked into the studio she was warm and energetic, asking about what it was that I wanted to work on and expertly evaluating what I needed. Throughout the session she kept me laughing and made me feel super comfortable through some not so comfortable stretches. After working with Alyssa I felt like a totally different person and can't wait to work with her again. She's a total Uplift babe!"

-Natania S.


"As a runner, my muscles are always tight. What little flexibility I idid have has disappeared as I have gotten older (despite stretching) After only one session with Alyssa, I realized that my tight lower body & tight lats were the probable cause of my recent back injury. In only one session with Alyssa, not only was she able to open up my body, I left with a new effective stretching routine. I look forward to working more with Alyssa to keep me injury free!"

-Cristy F.

October 2015
October 2015

So often, I see women at the gym slogging it out on the elliptical while reading the latest issue of Us Weekly. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love me some Us Weekly, but there fast comes a point with your cardio routine where it just isn’t effective anymore: it’s called the dreaded plateau effect.

In other words, your body starts to stop responding to things that worked before. So that thirty minutes with the magazine and the elliptical isn’t doing much for you. The great news is that changing it up is good for your body, mind and spirit! In fact, whenever I am stuck on a problem in another area of my life (love, work, family--you name it!), I go for a run “ladder” run or jump into the pool for some water jogging. My mind magically clears and more often than not, said problem gets solved, plus I feel amazing.  So let’s get down to it.

Some creative Cardio options to change up your routine and shake up your life:

Ladder Runs: Not in the mood to head out for a 6-miler? Bored with the treadmill? Simple ladders add speed (and spice) to any run: the time will fly, and so will you! Warm up for about one mile. Then choose your “ladder” in speed (for example, two minutes, one minute, 45 seconds, thirty seconds then back up with thirty seconds, 45 seconds, one minute, two minutes). Run the first leg as either a pickup from your regular moderate pace or a full-on sprint. Recover with the same amount of time. Repeat all the way “down” the ladder and then back up again. You can choose any length of time for your ladder rungs--people training for longer races may choose to do longer intervals (e.g., 5-4-3-2-1 minute then 1-2-3-4-5) while those interested in more explosive leg speed can focus on the shorter intervals.

Swimming or water jogging: You can swim laps or strap on a buoyant water-jogging vest and actually run laps in the pool! It’s the perfect combination of zero impact but heavy resistance for the most bang for your buck (and a way to stay injury-free)!

Plyometrics: Feel the thrill of both speed and power when you incorporate a few sets of these into your routine, either as stand-alone cardio, or tacked onto the end of any given workout. Think: broad jumps and high skips across a lawn or room; box jumps in the gym or bench stand-ups in a park; jumping lunges; very short sprints on grass or a track. Regardless of what flavor you choose, plyometric moves will knock minutes off your race time and give you that extra boost of agility, speed and power!

Pick up a sport: Don’t you remember the days when we played sports for FUN?! Now is the perfect time to revisit the carefree days of your childhood when movement was about fun and healthy competition, not who could look best in her bikini. Soccer, basketball, tennis, oh my! The combination of a killer workout and the smile on your face will mirror how you feel when you raise your hands in victory!

September 2015
September 2015

Today's blog is brought to you by Britt Gage, the Director of Studio Operations & Business Development and a personal trainer at Uplift. To get in touch, email

I am tired (every Monday!). I am hungry (all. the. time.). I am unable.

Saying "you are" something is an awesome action. You are both making a verbal statement to yourself that mirrors what you internally think you are, and also are putting out into the world what people are going to see you as. "I am a runner". So what if you're a jog-run-walk-jog-walk-runner? You have communicated that you are a runner and therefore you will be. And the more you remove the negative dialogue and put positive self statements out in the ether the more you have committed to being that person -- the more you will be obliged to take that walk to a jog to a run.

Who is the person who takes the leap to commit to working out? She is you. Whoever you are in whatever fit form you are, you are here and that in itself is immensely powerful. You don't need to be motivated by anything other than you and who you choose to be.

It's as simple as saying "I am going to try and I am going to give it my all." And you know what? When you do, there's nothing stopping you. You have the power to define you, to make the choice of who you are. You're going to be hungry, tired, sad, run-down and just not into it sometimes. But choose to try. Choose to be motivated. Make the choice to define yourself in the way you want to be -- as someone who carries their best friend on their back through the mud, who climbs ropes and crawls through tunnels and not jogs, not runs, but sprints through the finish line.

Close your eyes. Really -- do it. Ok, first read ahead, then REWIND and now close your eyes.

Who are you? Say it out loud. Shout it from the rooftops.

I am able. I am ready. I am strong.

September 2015
September 2015

Today's blog is brought to you by our own Liz Barnet. She can also be followed using @lizbarnet (Twitter + Instagram).

Did you know that in addition to following an intelligently-programmed training or workout plan, your nutrition strategy can have a significant impact on your energy, performance, and recovery?

Rather than focus on a specific diet plan, I encourage you to familiarize yourself with the 4 W’s of pre- and post- workout nutrition. A generally nutrient-dense style of eating that emphasizes seasonal vegetables and fruits, lean sources of protein, and healthy fats is a great start for overall health and wellness. By incorporating the following tips specific to exercise nutrition, you can take your performance and recovery to the next level.

WHAT: The “healthiest” diet is one that features foods that make you feel energetic, function optimally, and fuel your daily pursuits (inside and outside of the gym). This varies greatly from person to person, but usually features some combination of the following: antioxidant-rich seasonal vegetables and fruits, as well as other sources of fiber-rich carbohydrates such as whole grains; lean and ethically-sourced protein like eggs, chicken and fish; and healthy plant-based fats such as avocado, olive oil and coconut oil.

For individuals who feature fitness in their lives, carbohydrates and protein are particularly important. Additionally, minerals such as potassium, magnesium and iron as well as antioxidants should be purposefully consumed via food sources. I refer to these nutrition superstars as “fitness fuel.”

WHY: Being the fitness buff you are, your body requires higher levels of certain nutrients in order to power you through and beyond your workouts. Carbohydrates provide energy through their stored version, glycogen. Protein enables the repair of taxed muscles and improve strength. Potassium and magnesium are key electrolytes that regulate fluid balance and muscle function. Iron is essential to deliver oxygen efficiently throughout the blood.

Although some of these nutrients can be found in supplement form, such as protein powder, your body is most likely to absorb and utilize natural sources from food. While a certain nutrient, like protein, might be of particular importance, nature has an amazing way of packaging up whole foods in useful little bundles.

WHEN: An often overlooked key to exercise nutrition is timing. It’s imperative to fuel yourself properly not only before, but especially after your workouts. Depending on the duration and intensity, you may or may not need to consume something before your workout. If so, stick to light and easily digested carbohydrates and perhaps some lean protein if you are concerned hunger pangs might sideline you. Depending on when you’ve had your previous meal, a small snack 30 minutes - 2 hours before a workout should be sufficient.

You also need to consider how long your body needs to adequately digest food before a workout; your body will shunt blood to wherever requires it the most. If you are busy digesting a big meal, your muscles will have a hard time racing you up that hill. The type of workout also matters; a yoga class with lots of twists will be more enjoyable without a full stomach, but a weekend workout lasting 90 minutes requires a pre-workout meal or snack to fuel you through.

Arguably most important in terms of timing is how you refuel after a workout. Believe it or not, what you eat immediately after a workout has more effect on your next workout than any pre-workout snack. Be sure to include a mix of protein and carbohydrates post workout; a reasonably sized serving of each is a good guideline. (For protein, that’s about the size of your palm; for carbohydrates it’s a cupped hand.)

Again, the type of workout matters; if you have body composition goals in mind, be aware of taking in excess calories. You might be good with coconut water after that yoga class, but go ahead and plan a big brunch after your weekend sweatfest! Your pre- and post-workout meals should be taken into consideration with your overall diet. Depending on the timing and intensity of your workouts, it may be a snack or a full meal. Aim for 30-60 post-workout for the greatest benefits.

It’s important to note that while healthy fats are absolutely essential to your diet, they should be avoided or kept minimal immediately pre- and post-workout. This is simply because fat slows digestion and inhibits immediate absorption of the carbs and protein your body needs to refuel. So go ahead and indulge on that avocado toast for breakfast, but only if you’re working out at night.

WATER: You’ve heard this one before, but it bears repeating: staying hydrated is so important, and water is your best bet. The required amount truly varies person to person; eight 8 ounce glasses might be a good guideline because it’s easy to remember, and other water-rich things like fruit and soup count. On workout days, you should bump that up to an additional 1.5-3 cups depending on how much you sweat and how long you’re working. Similar to pre-workout meals, how much water you can tolerate during a workout varies. For most people, focusing on upping your hydration throughout the day before and after a workout will be tolerated best. Feel free to jazz things up by adding slices of fresh fruit or some juice, or serve yourself using a beautiful bottle or pitcher.

August 2015
August 2015

Take it from me, taking time to stretch isn’t always my bag. I enjoy going for long runs, regularly hit spin class, love lifting weights and am generally really, really active. Getting me to a yoga class, or just to take five minutes to stretch in the morning or at the end of a run, is another story.

As I do, I am learning that stretching is vitally important in the physical sense, but as you prepare to face any big obstacle in working out/training (and in life in general), it’s also an important euphemism.

Stretching stands for reaching for the stars, stretching to the outer edges of your limits, hitting up against, and then over and beyond, roadblocks, standing on the very edge of your tiptoes to just graze that goal. Just believing you can do it. Believing in yourself.

At the same time, stretching is also a reminder to slow down. Rest. Recover. We simply can’t go full throttle all the time. Taking a breath--and a stretch--is a way to recharge and reinvigorate.

I know--it’s easier said than done, but it’s worth the effort.

As you work on your own definition of the proverbial stretch, enjoy my favorite physical stretch to target those often overused and often neglected IT bands (the thick bands of fascia that run from the pelvis down through the outside of your knee): stand straight with feet facing forward. Bring your left foot behind and to the outside of your right foot. bend your left ankle so your foot is resting on its outer edge and the bottom of your foot is exposed outward. Hang down heavy over your leg--you should feel the deep stretch on the outside of your left hip and knee. Repeat on the other side.

July 2015
July 2015

Today's inspiration is brought to you by our very own Kat Ellis, who can be followed on Instagram (@katellis89).

1. Efficiency: Let’s face it. While some of us may flock to the gym for the cute guy or girl in bike shorts or the amazing locker room amenities, we’d probably rather spend more time at home with our families or out and about living it up. Thus, HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) not only transforms your body by boosting your metabolism and athletic performance, it also allows you to maximize your results in a short amount of time. 20 -30 minutes of alternating quick burst of explosive movement with active recovery periods can produce the same cardiovascular results as 60 minutes of steady-state cardio. So unless you go to the gym to get your daily dose of reality tv, you’ll now have more hours to live your life and feel great at the same time.

2. Portability: Traveling is often used an excuse for falling our your health bandwagon. Not anymore. The beauty of interval training is that you can take it with you anywhere. Some of the most effective movements only require the best tool you have: your own body. Think squat jumps, burpees, plyometric pushups. The options are endless,and simplicity is key. Set a timer and alternate 2:1 ratios of bodyweight plyometrics with active recovery (20 second push, 10 second recovery 8x) or pick your favorite song, and every time the big beat drops, do a plyometric. Plus side: you didn’t have to use grimy gym equipment that hasn’t been updated since the 80’s, and your personal trainer will love you when you return.

3. Adaptability: We all have different goals and different lifestyles. Whether you’re a hardcore athlete or a stay at home mom with kids, HIIT training has benefits for everyone. For athletes, different methods, such as Tabata and Turbulence training, are great for creating explosive power. For other fitness enthusiast, bodyweight HIIT circuits, when performed safely, allow for enhanced motor control, thus teaching your body to become agile and efficient. Plus, the combination of aerobic and anaerobic training boosts your metabolism and creates lean muscle mass. Therefore, you’ll have more energy to chase after your kids, run to hail a cab, and keep up with your friends at the club on Saturday night #winwin.

July 2015
July 2015

This blog was contributed by our very own Jessica Mosher. You can follow her on twitter (@jessicaLmosher) and on Instagram (@babymosh).

Sometimes working out feels like THIS.

We know.  We get it.

But you’re a cool lady.

You want to do something awesome that’s going to foster a sense of community, be a ton of fun, get you a little (or a LOT!) dirty and help improve your overall fitness. Strapping on your sneakers and heading to a class at Uplift certainly helps! But once you start, how do you keep going?   Check out the following five tips to help you amp up your motivation and get you sprinting through the finish line.

1.) Sign a literal contract. If you’ve already registered for a class or race, congratulations!  You’ve already completed step 1!  If you’re not, go sign up.  Come back when you’re done. All done?  Great. Putting it in writing that you’ve committed to participating, or doing something tangible like paying your registration fee, is the first step to accepting that yes, you’re doing this. No ifs, ands or buts!  You wouldn’t rescind your signature on a contract with an awesome new company, or a partner that you’ve been waiting forever to get a deal with, right?  By signing up, you’re committing to (at the very least) showing up on race day or to the appointed hour for a class or workout.  And once you’re there…well, you may as well do it.  Post the confirmation email on your fridge, screenshot it and make it the background of your phone, or if you’re like me just leave it on the floor (where most of my stuff ends up) so you’ll continuously be reminded of the promise you made to yourself!

2.) Mobilize a support squadron. Brunch.  Vacations.  Birthday parties.  Everything is more fun with a friend (or several!), including kicking butt on an obstacle course, in a road race, in a class or a small group training session! My father (a very wise man) once said, “you never really know someone until you play a sport with them.” What he meant is that in the extreme mental and physical circumstances of athletics, peoples’ inherent determination is revealed and going through these tough experiences together fosters a sense of community that you just can’t get from a coffee date.  Knowing Debra at the office coached you through that hard set of burpees like a pro makes it easier to trust that she has your back during your big presentation. You helped your BFF Samantha to her feet when she slipped and fell in the middle of the race?  She knows you’ll be there next time she has a big breakup, loses her job or otherwise slips and falls in life. Making it through a challenging obstacle or being there for each other during a difficult training week can bring you closer and help make the experience less about the sweat and more about teamwork.

3.) Keep your language positive. You know that little voice in your head?  That one that creeps into your consciousness a few miles into a long run, or just as soon as you start to sweat in bootcamp class?  It’s a little whiney, admittedly, and usually wants you to stop doing what you’re doing and grab a burrito and settle into your bed with Netflix because gosh, what you’re doing is hard and why can’t we be at happy hour instead?  Making a conscious effort to quiet that voice or to drown her out with positive language can take some time to learn, but it will infinitely help your fitness.  Flexing your mental motivation muscle is just as important as, say, bicep curls.  So every time that voice says “I’m tired, let’s stop,” consciously replace it with “I’ve got this, keep going.”  Adopt a mantra that motivates you.  Write it on a post-it and stick it on your mirror and keep it in the back of your mind.  Be careful, though, to pitch your motivational pushes to yourself in a positive way - studies have shown that when your voice says “don’t stop, don’t stop” all your brain processes is the repetition of the word “stop.”  Switch up your mantra, and tell yourself “keep going keep going,” “push, push” or even the classic “Yes, I can, Yes, I can!”  You’ll be amazed what you can achieve.

4.) If you can do this, you can do anything. Do you need to ask your boss for a raise?  Are you trying to work up the courage to ask that hottie from spin class to join you for a post-sweat juice?  If you can make it through a class or a 10K, you can make it through anything that your normal, everyday non-working-out life throws at you.  Training and/or completing something can raise your confidence and give you a new sense of your own capability.  Even knowing you’re working towards something--even if it's just feeling a tiny bit stronger--can help you feel more empowered and confident throughout the process. I ran my first half-marathon last fall, and I ran in the rain more than I ever had before in my life. The weather didn’t matter to me because I had a training schedule to stick to and if I didn’t get enough mileage each week, I wouldn’t be ready for the race!  I didn’t give myself the option to quit, because then there was a chance I wouldn’t finish.  And I really, really wanted to prove that I could run that race and finish that race. I made it through all 13.1 miles, an achievement I didn’t know was possible.  The next weekend I met my boyfriend’s entire family.  After slogging my way through a half marathon, chatting with Aunt Susan was nothing.

5.) Celebrate! You have chosen to do something awesome: namely, pay attention to your physical (and mental!) health. Each time you complete a day of your training regime, or take a class or meet a friend for a workout instead of wine, put a dollar in a jar that you keep in a visible place in your home.  After a set amount of time, you can spend that money on anything you want – whether it’s a sweet pair of new sneakers, or if you put it towards the bag you’ve been eyeing forever.  You earned it. Then you get to do it all over again.