Homemade Protein Bars – The Perfect Power Snack

Need a snack to power you through your day at work, the gym, or just out and about? These protein bars are the perfect power snack for on the go! They are simple and customizable! Plus, you can prep them and store them in your fridge for the rest of the week!

 

Homemade Protein Bars

Ingredients 

  • 1 Cup Oat Flour (or another flour substitute)
  • 1 Cup Vanilla or Chocolate Protein Powder
  • 1/2 Cup Peanut Butter (or other nut butter)
  • 2 Tbsp Agave
  • 1 1/2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4-1/2 Cup Almond Milk (depending on protein powder consistency)
  • Optional Toppings: Nuts, Seeds, Chocolate Chips, Sprinkles, Flax Seeds, Chia Seeds, Dried Fruit

Directions

  1. Line a 13×9 inch pan with parchment paper
  2. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl, slowly mix in the milk a little at a time. Should be a thick cookie dough-like consistency.
  3. Spread dough into the pan and press evenly across the bottom with a spatula. Add nuts, chocolate chips, sprinkles, or other toppings to the top and press into dough.
  4. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2-3 hours.
  5. Slice into bars and enjoy!

Try these out with your favorite flavor of protein powder and your choice of toppings! Let us know on social media what your favorite combo is!

 

The post Homemade Protein Bars – The Perfect Power Snack appeared first on VASA Fitness.

Original source: https://vasafitness.com/2021/03/homemade-protein-bars-the-perfect-power-snack/

A Training Journey – Working out and Setting Goals

Everyone’s fitness journey is so unique. Everyone has different goals and preferred methods of working out. Training may sound intimidating sometimes but it is the best way to find new ways to workout, reach your goals, and make progress! Have you ever thought “training looks cool but it’s not for me”? Well, it can be! Training can be for everyone no matter what your goals are! Each client has different things they want to work on – weight loss, strength building, flexibility, or just getting more active. Our coaches help tailor workouts to fit your needs, goals, fitness levels, and training style.

We love getting to know our training clients, their goals, and their why! Hearing these stories is why we do what we do. Training can give you the confidence you need in yourself and working out. It can help you feel strong and do things you didn’t think were possible.

Iris and Aimee workout with Coach Brady. They show us that reaching your goals can be fun and challenging. Their goals are to get stronger, hit new PRs, and make progress. Working out together helps them stay accountable, push each other, stay positive, and have fun. When checking out their training session with Coach Brady you can really tell that they have the perfect balance of hard work and fun. Working out doesn’t have to be boring and a chore – it can be exciting and rewarding.

Finding a trainer that can help you reach your goals is so important! At VASA, we have different trainers to help fit your needs and goals. Check out what Aimee has to say about her fitness journey, finding the right coach, and getting stronger.

“Brady is an amazing coach. He knows what works for Iris and I and adapts the training to what each of us needs. I train because it builds my confidence and brings happiness but of course it’s also for me to lose weight and build muscle as well. Brady and Iris are my motivators to keep going on the hard days or pushing myself beyond my limits that I didn’t know existed. Brady knows that when I lift, he cannot tell me how much I’m lifting or I will play the mental game and tell myself I can’t do it, and he proves me wrong every time and celebrates my little wins and PRs. I remember when I first started my training journey at VASA and I couldn’t figure out my deadlift form and didn’t even use weights to practice. When I started using weight I would only use 20/30lbs and focus on my right form but I remember it being so hard for me at the time. But now Brady has shocked me with the things he knew I could accomplish and had me PR my deadlift at 210lbs without me knowing it until he told me after. There was an amazing celebration moment with all three of us. We were so proud of each other and we are already excited to work harder to hit our next PR.” – Aimee

Trainers help their clients reach new heights that they didn’t think were possible. They are there to cheer their clients on, hold them accountable, and help them create a plan unique to them! Coach Brady works with Iris and Aimee on things that are important to them while personalizing a program to fit their needs.

“I love seeing people develop into their potential, and being a Coach I get to witness and be a part of that every day. Aimee and Iris have always had a great work ethic and have trusted me with their goals. Some days/weeks are harder than others, but proper planning and adjusting allows us to work around their lives and their problems, and still make progress.” – Coach Brady

As we said, everyone’s fitness journey is different! And that’s okay. The best part about fitness is that it is for everyone – no matter what your goals are.

“I do want to share that my Fitness Journey has been a roller coaster and that’s normal. I have had my ups and downs of losing weight and gaining it back and having to build your strength all over again and it can be so frustrating. But since training with Brady, he makes it a point to make sure I don’t give up on myself and holds me accountable to keep going, along with my accountability buddy, Iris.” – Aimee

Each story is going to be a little different but we can look to those to find inspiration and motivation. Start your fitness journey today and book a free FIT Session with one of our amazing trainers. You are sure to find a coach that is right for you and your goals. Remember, training is for everyone, whether you are wanting to lose weight, build strength, get flexible, hit PRs, or get a little more active. Our trainers are ready to personalize a program for you!

 

The post A Training Journey – Working out and Setting Goals appeared first on VASA Fitness.

Original source: https://vasafitness.com/2021/03/a-training-journey-working-out-and-setting-goals/

5 Dynamic Balance Exercises to Try at Home Today

5 Dynamic Balance Exercises to Try at Home Today

 A good workout routine is well-rounded. It focuses no only on aesthetics but also on our ability to move through the world with ease, grace, and strength. While we appreciate all of the movements that allow us to isolate and work super-specific muscles, we also love dynamic movements that force the whole body to get involved.

One of the best ways to move more dynamically and with function in mind is with simple balance exercises. 

What are Balance Training Exercises? 

Balance training exercises are just what they sound like—they’re exercises that require you to engage multiple muscle groups to keep your balance. They vary from single-leg movements to plank variations to handstands, and they can be performed with an arsenal of tools and space you can find at the gym. 

These moves may be difficult at first, but they’re a whole lot of fun, and they can make your life outside the gym easier than ever. 

What Are Balance Exercises Good For? 

Balance isn’t necessarily innate. It has to be practiced. As we perform our day-to-day tasks—playing in the park with our children, carrying a laundry basket, even walking across unstable surfaces—having a good sense of balance can make or break an activity (falling isn’t fun for anyone).

The older we get, the weaker our joints and muscles become and the more difficult it gets to balance. That’s why dynamic balance exercises are so important for your health in the long run. 

Cultivating an amazing sense of balance is important to any and everyone, so we’ve put together a few exercises that work the whole body and give you a way to start working on your balance!

5 Exercises to Improve Balance

Single-Leg Bicep Curl

To set yourself up for success with a single leg bicep curl, stand with weights in either hand. If you’re trying this for the first time, start light the first few reps and work your way up to your usual bicep curl weight. 

Shift your weight onto one foot, lifting your other off the ground so that your knee is slightly bent with your foot behind you. Your hips and knees should still be even here; don’t sink into your standing leg and find length through the center of your body. If you want to get a little more advanced, you can bring your knee up so that your thigh is parallel to the ground, knee bent. 

Now, perform your bicep curls the way you would on two feet—don’t swing your arms and be mindful of your elbows (don’t let them come forward). Move through these deliberately, engaging your core muscles to maintain your balance and hold your back straight.

Single Leg Overhead Shoulder Press

The setup for a single leg overhead shoulder press is just like the single-leg bicep curl: stand on one foot, either just off the ground or with your leg at a 90-degree bend in front of you. Don’t sink into your standing leg. Engage your core. 

Now, hold your weights (again, start light and build up) with your arms out and bent at the elbows with your hands toward the sky. Your upper arms should be parallel to the floor, and your forearms should be perpendicular (at a 90-degree angle to the upper arms). 

If you’re a yoga fan, you may have heard the term “cactus arms.” This is similar, just don’t forget to engage your core to tuck the tailbone slightly and prevent the back from arching. 

Now, extend your arms straight up into the sky and bring them back down to that cactus arm position slowly and intentionally.

Forward Lunge

The forward lunge is amazing because it’s mechanically simple but very challenging for the muscles as you add weight to the movement. 

Stand up straight with feet hip-width distance apart and weights in either hand (or on the shoulders if you prefer loading your back with a barbell). Step forward, bending your knees until they are both near 90-degree angles. The goal is to gently tap the floor with your back knee, making sure that your front knee doesn’t go over your front foot.

With an explosive (but controlled) burst of energy, push off the front foot, returning to your starting position. Like any other balance exercise, keep that core engaged. 

If you want to add a little something extra to this movement, perform it while holding one weight in both hands and at the bottom of the lunge, twist in the direction of the front leg (if the left leg is in front, twist left), and return to center before pressing back up off your front foot. 

Single-Leg RDL

The single-leg RDL (RDL = “Romanian Deadlift”) is going to take your sense of balance to the next level; these can be super difficult, but they’re incredibly dynamic. They work the whole body while blasting your hamstrings, glutes, and the rest of the muscles that help you get and maintain a strong back and core. 

The first time you try these, do so without any weight. Then add light weights, then go heavier as you get more confident with your strength and balance. 

Start with a weight (or not, at first) in the same hand as your standing leg. Shift your weight onto that standing leg and tilt your torso forward as you let your back leg lift off the ground slightly bent with your back toes pointing straight down (don’t let your hip open up). 

You’ll move with your standing knee bent slightly, standing hip pulling back, your weight-holding arm hanging toward the ground, and your weight-less arm stretched out straight at your side (this will help you maintain better balance). 

The key here is to hinge at the waist with a flat back, using the muscles in the back of your standing leg, your core, and all of the muscles you use to hold your weight to maintain control. 

Move slowly downward until you start to feel your standing leg hamstring stretch, then focus on engaging your legs and core to stand back up and repeat. 

High Plank Variation

Now that we’ve covered upper and lower-body-focused exercises, here’s a movement that’ll have you feeling the burn all over. 

Get into a high plank with your hands and feet on the floor like you’re about to do a push-up. Lift up out of your shoulders and pull your abs in so your back doesn’t arch toward the floor. Be careful not to let your hips stick up into the air, either. 

Start by lifting one hand off the ground and reaching it up and forward. Then the other arm. Next, lift one foot off the ground, reaching it up and back. Then the other foot. 

Finally, put these movements together by lifting one arm and the opposite foot off the ground simultaneously (left arm and right leg and vice versa). This is even harder than it sounds, but it’s worth the work once you figure it out. 

Combined, these movements will support you in your functional and balance-related fitness goals and help you improve balance overall. They can be done at home or in the gym, (we love seeing our incredible Chuze Family practice balance at all of our locations) and they’re well worth the effort for health and longevity!

The post 5 Dynamic Balance Exercises to Try at Home Today appeared first on Chuze Fitness.

Kids Club News: March 2021

Hello Kids Club Families!

We wanted to take this opportunity to send a shout out to all of the grown ups in our Chuze Family. The past 12 months have challenged each of you all in different ways. We recognize the many additional hats you have worn and may continue to now wear everyday for your family. Thank you for your patience, grace, and kindness during this time. The children in your family are blessed to have you as an example. We hope each of you are prioritizing self-care

Thank you to all of our Chuze Kids! We want to send our appreciation to you. Thank you for spreading joy with your laughter and smiles. We understand some days are hard and you can have different feelings. It’s okay to have those feelings. You are not alone.  We miss you all so much. We are looking forward to the time when we all can be together again. 

With all of our love,
The Chuze Fitness Kids Club Team

If your local Kids Club remains closed, not to worry! You won’t be charged Kids Club dues until we’re up and running again.

 

March Craft Calendar

 

More Crafts!

One of our favorite things is to craft with you. We are so appreciative of the time we spend together when crafting everyday. 

March 23 is World Meteorological Day! 

Activity: Shaving cream rain cloud

What you need: clear jar or cup, food coloring, shaving cream, water

  1. Step 1: fill your cups with ¾ water and top with shaving cream
  2. Step 2: add a few droplets of food coloring (don’t do it too fast!)
  3. Step 3: watch and enjoy!

March 31 is National Crayon Day!

Activity: Writing a secret message with a white crayon

What you need: white paper, white crayon (NONwashable), colored markers

  1. Use your white crayon to draw a picture of a secret message on the white paper, ensuring you are pressing down (feel free to retrace it a few times!)
  2. Color across the whole paper with colored markers to make the secret appear!

Kindness Rocks

What you need: rocks, paint

Share your appreciation for your neighbors and community by decorating some rocks with messages of gratitude and inspiration.

 

Appreciation Activities For Kids

  • Read: My Friend Isabelle and Hannah’s Down Syndrome Superpowers
  • Appreciation for Others: Disability awareness activities
  • Appreciation for a friend: Write a positive note for a classmate or Create a Feel-Good Sign to hang on your window.
  • Appreciation for your family: Help a family member around the house
  • Appreciation for your home: Pick Up litter the next time you are outside.

 

Appreciation for All the People in the World

Did you know? March is Women’s History Month and Monday, March 8 is International Women’s Day 2021!

Learn about Women in History

  1. Iconic Women to Celebrate this Women’s History Month 
  2. Jacqueline Woodson: American writer
  3. Anna May Wong: First Chinese American film star in Hollywood. 
  4. Maria Tallchief: First American to dance with the Paris Ballet
  5. Wangari Maathai: First African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize 
  6. Mari Copeny: Social Justice  Activist 
  7. Michelle Wie: Professional Golfer 
  8. Katherine Johnson:Mathematical skills helps NASA send astronauts to the moon. 
  9. Check out the book: 101 Awesome Women who Changed Our World by Julia Adams 
  10. Check out the Board Book: A is for Awesome!: 23 Iconic Women Who Changed the World by Eva Chen

Plus! Get crafty with these Women’s History Month coloring book pages by Classroomdoodles.com. 

 

Appreciate Diversity

Did you know? March 21 is World Down Syndrome Day.

Resources:

Talk to your kids about ones with special needs:

  • Tell them that there are lots of types of people in this world. Everyone is unique. Some kids have differences that are more obvious than others.
  • Some kids have trouble with hearing or cannot hear. 
  • Some kids have trouble with seeing, or cannot see. 
  • Some kids talk in their own special way.  Some kids cannot speak words, but they have other ways of communicating; they might use their hands or their eyes. Or they have an ipad or machine that speaks words for them
  • Some kids walk in their own unique way. Some kids need braces on their feet to help them get around. Some kids use wheelchairs or walkers. 
  • Some kids act certain ways because it makes them feel comfortable, like they like to repeat words, flap their arms or bang their knees against a table.

Explain different kinds of special needs:

  • Kids with Down syndrome were born with it– they got a little extra information in their blood that can change some things, including how their eyes look. Sometimes it takes them longer to do stuff, including walking, talking and taking care of themselves. You could ask a child to talk with her mouth full of food to understand how talking with special needs can be a challenge.

Talk about what’s more alike than different:

  • A child with special needs is still a child. Just like any kid, they can enjoy playing with toys, coloring pictures, watching videos, going to the park and having birthday parties. They have favorite colors, tv shows and songs. They go to school and learn. They have unique talents and gifts, even if a child does not talk like they do or move like they do. They can laugh and get upset and get mad. 
  • They love their moms and dads, like any kid.
  • Their parents love them, like any kid.
  • There is no reason to feel sad for them.
  • Ask your child to treat a child with special needs just like he’d want to be treated. 
  • If they ask how to talk to a kid with special needs , tell them this: “ Start with saying ‘Hi.’”

 

Appreciation for Nourishment

Peanut butter banana roll ups (Share it with a loved one to spread kindness!)

Did you know? National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day is March 1st!

Ingredients: tortillas (any kind!), peanut butter, banana

  1. Spread peanut butter all over the tortilla (completely cover it!)
  2. Place the banana in the middle of the tortilla and roll the tortilla around the banana
  3. Cut into slices (about 1 inch pieces) and enjoy!

 

Berry Spinach Smoothie by Twin Mom Refreshed

Did you know? National Spinach Day is March 26th!

Ingredients: Spinach, avocado, frozen berries, vanilla or plain yogurt

  1. Add ½ cup of frozen berries,2 scoops of yogurt, ½ cup of spinach, ½ avocado (fresh of frozen) into a blender
  2. Add ¼ cup of water to blender and blend until smooth
  3. Pour and enjoy!

 

Appreciation for Joy with Family Jokes

Q: What did the big flower say to the little flower?

A: Hi, Bud!

 

Q: Why do bicycles fall over?

A: Because they’re two-tired!

 

Q: What does the ocean do when it sees its friends?

A: It waves!

 

5 Ways to Spread Kindness In Your Community

  1. Find opportunities to give compliments
  2. Donate food or clothing to your local community
  3. Hold the door open for a stranger
  4. Say “Thank you”
  5. Smile at someone, just because

The post Kids Club News: March 2021 appeared first on Chuze Fitness.

3 New VASA Locations Coming March 2021!

We are excited to be opening our 3 newest locations in March!

We believe fitness is for everyone, and can’t wait to expand our VASA family a little more. Come join us for our Grand Openings to see what healthy, strong, and happy is like at VASA.

 

Grand Opening Details:

Phoenix, AZ

Monday, March 1 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Phoenix, Arizona, 8021 N 35th Avenue

Herriman, UT

Saturday, March 13 from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Herriman, Utah, 13366 S 5600 W

Westminster, CO

Monday, March 15 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Westminster, Colorado, 7353 Federal Blvd

 

Want more information on these new locations? CLICK HERE to read an interview of our CEO Rich Nelson in Club Solutions Magazine, or CLICK HERE for our official press release.

Don’t forget to follow us on social for updates, and more! Click below to get started.

The post 3 New VASA Locations Coming March 2021! appeared first on VASA Fitness.

Original source: https://vasafitness.com/2021/02/3-new-vasa-locations-coming-march-2021/

Balance Exercises For Seniors

Balance Exercises For Seniors

We spend most of our lives taking our sense of balance for granted. We don’t have to consider that it’s there until, one day, we notice that it’s starting to slip. This tends to come as a surprise when, all of a sudden, we may develop balance issues and aren’t able to perform the actions we once considered easy. 

This is but a beautiful piece of the human experience. Recognizing that our bodies require love and care as we age is a gift we can only give ourselves. And taking the time to maintain our bodies’ capabilities is so important for—not only physical health—but also mental and emotional health. 

The simple act of showing your body that you want to care for it by taking those steps to maintain it is a long-term investment, one that can begin with an article like this one. Here we’ll provide seven balance training exercises for seniors in order from easiest to hardest so you can build toward your goals with your body’s needs in mind. 

Head Rotations

When trying out a new exercise regimen, keep it simple. It’s easier to work up to something more difficult than it is recovering from pushing yourself too hard. 

The head rotation is straightforward: look side to side five times each way, up and down five times each way, and make a circle with your nose to rotate your head clockwise and counterclockwise five times in each direction. 

The goal of this exercise is to perform it while standing with your feet hip-width distance apart without any support, but if that sounds even a little bit intimidating, try it sitting down first in a chair with arms to support you in case you need it. Then, try it standing while holding onto a chair, railing, dresser, or the hands of a loved one. 

If you move through this too quickly, you will get dizzy, so be slow and mindful when performing this exercise. If you’re moving as slowly as you can and still feel dizzy, you may want to skip this exercise altogether. You know your limits. Trust your body and your judgment. 

Shoulder Rolls

Our next movement may also seem simple, but it’s a surefire way to activate your connection to the floor with your sense of balance. 

Standing with your feet hip-width apart, bring your shoulders forward, up toward your ears, pinched together at your back, and back to neutral. Start with ten forward rolls and ten backward rolls. 

When you feel comfortable rolling your shoulders, maybe extend your arms and turn those shoulder rolls into arm circles. These will force you to activate those core muscles a bit more so you can maintain and improve your balance. 

The core muscles are so important to our sense of balance, and activating them where we can help you build a base from which to move more freely. 

Walk In Place

Once you’ve got those shoulder rolls down (and maybe those arm circles, too), let’s start incorporating movements with more, well, movement. 

This exercise speaks for itself: you’re going to stand up straight, engage your core, and march in place. We recommend you holding onto a piece of furniture (or maybe a friend) while getting started. 

If you aren’t comfortable doing this standing at first, start in a chair. Lift one leg off the ground, then the other, using the chair for all the support you need. 

Sit To Stand

Sit to stand is straightforward, but it can be sneakily challenging. The idea is to sit in a chair or on a weight bench, stand up, sit back down, and repeat. Do this at least three times and try to work up to 10 or more. 

To build our dynamic balance, we have to build the muscles that allow us to balance and sit to stand covers them all: core, thighs, glutes, hamstrings, calves, and more. It’s a full-body simple exercise, and it’s a prelude to the squat (which is one of the most efficient exercises we can possibly do for our bodies and one that you might want to start doing down the line). 

Tightrope Walk

The tightrope walk is a bit more challenging because you can’t rely on support as much as you have been able to for previous exercises. 

The key to a tightrope walk is just walking forward, one foot in front of the other, placing your front foot carefully from heel to toe. Take ten steps in one direction, turn around, and go back the other way.

This exercise is best done along with some sort of marker in the floor—be it a crack between floor tiles, the direction of wood floors, a piece of string; you can get very creative with this. Holding your arms out to the sides is helpful, and doing this exercise near a wall or in a hallway can be an excellent method of backup support if you teeter over just a little too far one way or the other.

Single-Leg Balance

This is where we can start amping up our sense of balance. While you should begin these with support (chair, table, wall, TRX bands, etc.), the goal is, of course, to do this using only your muscles and sense of balance. 

Standing with your feet hip-distance apart, shift your weight onto one leg. As you move the weight away from the other leg, begin to pull your foot off the ground, starting with your heel so that your toes are still touching the earth with a little bit of weight. 

Once you feel comfortable here, it’s time to lift your foot off the ground completely. Hover that foot a couple of inches off the ground, and bring it back down. Repeat on the other side and work up to 10 on each in total. 

Leg Lifts

The grand finale is leg lifts. It’s effectively the same as that single-leg balance, but now you’re going to try to bring your knee up so that your thigh is parallel with the ground and your shin is parallel with your body (90 degrees if it’s possible).

Work into this slowly and use all the support you need. Focus more on balance than the height of your top leg here; it’s better to have your foot half an inch off the ground safely in the middle of the room than it is to have your knee bent perfectly at 90 degrees while clinging to a piece of furniture. 

Try for ten on each side, and you’re good to go. 

Balance is so important for us to move through our lives with freedom and grace. Work through these movements carefully and mindfully, knowing that practicing every day will surely support you in all of your physical health goals and help to prevent falls! We have room to practice balance exercises for seniors at all of our locations. We also have some wonderful instructor-led classes that you can access anytime, anywhere on our virtual fitness platform, iChuze Fitness. Try it out with a free 7-day trial.

The post Balance Exercises For Seniors appeared first on Chuze Fitness.

What are Balance Exercises?

What are Balance Exercises?

Take a moment and think back to a time in your life where your body caught you by surprise. 

Maybe your toe caught an unruly crack in the pavement on your walk, a sneaky patch of ice sent you sliding, or a bump into a loved one almost knocked you over, but didn’t. 

Think about a time when your body could find equilibrium without you having to think about it, where it felt unbelievable that you didn’t end up on the floor. This incredible sense of balance is something that we all carry, that we all utilize, and can all strengthen over time with practice.

To get you in the mindset of working on your sense of balance control, we will cover the basics of dynamic balance training exercises: what they are and what are some of the different types that you can practice.

What are Balance Exercises?

Balance exercises are, to nobody’s surprise, exercises that work our sense of balance. 

And when we talk about balance, we aren’t just talking about incredible yoga poses that have you locked in a handstand; having a good sense of balance is important for every single aspect of your physical life. 

Walking on uneven surfaces, carrying things, even trying new forms of exercise training all require the adaptability that comes with having a good sense of balance.

Now that we’ve covered the intro to balance exercises and what they can do to improve your life, let’s break them down into a few different categories so you can introduce a variety of movements to your workout routine: dynamic, static, standing, and sitting.

While you can undoubtedly find exercises that utilize combinations of these four types, it can be a more approachable idea when you have options that are already broken down.

Sitting Balance Exercises

Sitting balance exercises provide a world of variety with little consequences, so whether you’re a balance expert or you’re brand new to balance exercises, this is a wonderful place to start. 

If you’ve found that your sense of balance is slipping a bit, sit on a couch, hold your arms straight out to each side and try tilting in each direction, and sitting back up straight without tottering over. For those who want to work their balance in an ab-forward way, v-ups are an awesome way to get your core firing to improve your sense of balance on the ground! 

Standing Balance Exercises

Standing balance exercises are—you guessed it—standing. 

There are an infinite number of standing movements that can work your sense of balance, so finding the right ones for you depends entirely on your skill level and what you’re comfortable with. Trust your body but always work your way up when there’s a risk of falling to the floor. 

A simple standing balance exercise could be marching in place, while a more challenging one could be alternating jumping lunges with your legs bending to 90-degree angles and your knees never going forward past your toes.

Static Balance Exercises 

Static balance exercises are generally the most straightforward, the easiest to support, and a great way to introduce balance exercises to your workouts. 

You know that a balance exercise is static when you get into a position and do your best to maintain it—for example, standing still (doing this with your eyes closed is a great challenge), standing on one leg, or contorting into a crow pose for the yogis at heart

Dynamic Balance Exercises

Dynamic balance exercises are characterized by movement: they require lots of it. 

This type of exercise is easily the most translatable to your everyday life. Dynamic movements are functional movements; your body can’t tell the difference between stepping up onto a bench in the gym or stepping up a flight of stairs in your home. 

Examples of dynamic balance exercises include walking backward, holding a plank on a stability ball, and single-leg Romanian deadlifts. 

No matter where you begin your balance journey, you are in the right place. You can practice balance exercise training at any of our locations, or follow our amazing instructors as they take you through balance exercise on iChuze Fitness, our online fitness platform. Start small, work your way into more challenging movements, and don’t forget to have fun!

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We Asked Fitness Experts Their Best Tips For Heart Health: Here Is What They Had To Say

We Asked Fitness Experts Their Best Tips For Heart Health: Here Is What They Had To Say

In this month filled with love for the people in our lives, we want to focus on one of our most important organs—the heart. When it comes to working out, fueling your most precious moments, feeling a sense of calmness, and more, your heart is at the center of it all. So, we pulled in the experts—leaders on our Fitness Team—to get their tips for optimal heart health.

What Is Your Resting Heart Rate?

To start this conversation, we want to set a baseline for heart health. One way to see how well your heart functions is to get to know your resting heart rate. While it is not the only measurement for heart health, having a lower heart rate typically means that your heart is running well. Top athletes usually have a resting heart rate of 40 bpm (beats per minute) or lower, and the average person tends to sit somewhere between 60 to 100 beats per minute.

We asked Ryan Owen, Fitness Manager at our Littleton Colorado location, about the importance of a resting heart rate and how to lower it if you are on the higher end of BPM: 

“The heart is the most important muscle in the body and cardiovascular exercise is the key to lowering your resting heart rate.  Cardiovascular exercise strengthens your heart just as curls would for your biceps or squats for your glutes. Participating in a variety of different types of cardiovascular exercise will lead to the best results when trying to lower your resting heart rate. HIIT, such as our Team Training sessions, as well endurance training, such as running, swimming, or biking for longer distances allow your heart to take on any type of exertion level throughout your day and lead to a lower resting heart rate.”

HIIT For Heart Health

Jessica Ochoa, Fitness Manager at our Grant & Oracle locations in Tucson, Arizona, agrees, naming HIIT as her favorite cardio exercise for heart muscle health. HIIT workouts are characterized by 1-4 minutes of intense exercise, followed by 1-4 minutes of rest. By training your body to work intensely and then rest, you are building cardiovascular strength.

Other Ways To Exercise Your Heart

While HIIT might interest some of us, it seems a little daunting for others—and that’s A-ok. In fact, your favorite exercise will more than likely lead you to a stronger heart. We asked the Fitness Manager at our Highlands Ranch Colorado location, Sam Murtaugh, what heart-healthy exercise they would love if everyone tried, and their advice was f-u-n, “To dance every day! Not only will dancing help with your physical heart health, but it’s almost guaranteed to make you smile. Plus, it makes some of my favorite memories! Grab someone you love and dance the night away!”

We love this advice because it illustrates how fun staying healthy can be. Want to dance it out? Do it! Love swimming? Make it a routine! Motivated by High-Intensity workouts? Work it out! There are so many options for all of us to have a fun and well-rounded routine that makes us excited to sweat. In fact, you can try your favorite workout at any of our locations, or follow instructor-lead classes in our virtual fitness platform iChuze Fitness. (Try it free for 7-days!)

Cardio vs. Strength Training: Which Is Better?

For this answer, we got some advice from Kevin Camara, MS, CSCS, Regional Fitness Manager of our California, Arizona, and New Mexico locations, for his thoughts on the subject: 

“In terms of optimizing heart health, strength training is going to be more beneficial than cardio. Circuit training is a form of strength training and achieves similar benefits as cardio. Performing exercises targeting different body parts with short rest intervals will result in increased heart rate and respiratory rate similar to when performing cardio. The increase in heart rate and respiratory rate is going to provide the benefits of cardio, also while achieving the benefits of strength training. Circuit training is not going to be optimal for strength training because generally, the weight load has to be reduced because of the increase in fatigue. Both cardio and strength training should not be ignored. Both have their place in maintaining heart health. For those with little time to exercise, circuit training can be a great option to achieve both the health benefits of strength training and cardio. 

To find an optimal routine, taking into account what is sustainable long term should be the biggest consideration. Creating a routine that is hours long or inconvenient is not going to be beneficial if it only lasts a month or two. 

My optimal routine is finding 20 minutes every day to circuit train and taking every opportunity to be active with my family—which may include playing basketball, tag, stroller jogging, or walking. Within the circuit of exercises I perform, I make sure to target all large muscle groups by including a squat variation, upper body pull, deadlift variation, and upper body push. An example is below.

  1. Split Squat 6-10 reps each
  2. Bent Over Row 6-10 reps
  3. Single Leg RDL 6-10 reps 
  4. Banded Push Ups 6-10 reps 

*15-30 seconds rest between each exercise

What is most important is finding what you enjoy because that will make staying consistent with your routine long-term much easier.”

What About Heart-Healthy Food?

As we know, every healthy routine has to start and end with food. But, instead of restricting yourself, Robin Cortez, MS, our Director of Team Training, has different advice. We asked her what one food she would cut out of everyone’s diet if she was given a magic wand, and her answer was powerful:

“I would use that magic wand, rather, to create a more universal understanding that restricting often leads to overcompensating and will more often than not backfire. Restricting is problematic in so many ways for our health, including the heart. With that magic wand, I’d instead encourage people to ADD heart-healthy foods into their diet if they’re missing them at the moment. Ryan’s got great suggestions about what that could look like.”

So, What Foods Should You Add To Your Plate To Increase Heart Health?

Ryan Hogan, Fitness Manager at our Rancho Cucamonga California location, shares:

“Some of the best foods for increasing heart health are leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale. These vegetables are high in vitamin K which protects arteries and promotes proper blood clotting. A great way to incorporate them into any healthy diet is to add a small salad with one of your meals each day. You can also add a little olive oil, which is high in monounsaturated fats and has been shown to reduce risk of heart disease, to give yourself a light, heart-healthy addition to your favorite meals!”

The conclusion? Build a routine around the things that you love and work to a healthy heart through moving your body and adding heart-healthy foods to your plate. It’s not about working out three hours a day, seven days a week, and restricting yourself to avoid all of your favorite foods. It’s about finding what you love to do and then sticking with it!

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What Does Heart Health Mean To Our Team?

For our final question, we asked each of these experts to share what heart health means to them and how they care for their hearts each day. We leave you with these answers:

Jessica Ochoa | Fitness Manager | Grant & Oracle, AZ

Heart health means making choices that help me avoid heart disease. My heart is my most important muscle. Just the way I take care of my other muscles, I customize my heart workouts to include at least 150 mins of steady cardio or 75 mins of vigorous cardio per week. In regards to my diet, I make sure to limit my fatty foods and include at least one vegetable at every meal. Some studies have found that gum disease and heart disease may be associated, so don’t forget to floss. 

Kevin Camara, MS, CSCS | Regional Fitness Manager | CA, AZ, and NM

What heart health means to me is being capable of playing with my kids for extended periods of time, also being capable of performing physical tasks or chores around our home. I don’t want to ever have to worry about my health when playing with my kids, helping a family member move, or doing household chores. I find time to be active and exercise every day because I want to maintain my heart health and physical abilities well into my older years of life. 

Ryan Owen | Fitness Manager | Littleton, CO

Everything. Heart health is my sport of choice now that I am no longer playing football. Improving my heart health assures me that I get to live my life with no limitations. I care for my heart health by including a variety of cardiovascular exercise in my weekly programming. I complete at least 3 HIIT (high-intensity interval training) sessions a week, whether on my own or hitting up one of our Team Training sessions. To be honest, I truly struggle with aerobic exercise; therefore, I have to set up goals for myself by signing up for 5k or 10k races to get that extra motivation to hit the pavement and rack up those miles. 

Ryan Hogan | Fitness Manager | Rancho Cucamonga, CA

To me, heart health comes first. Having a strong, healthy heart makes challenging myself in other ways easier. To care for my heart, I make sure to ask myself, “Am I treating my body the way I need to, so I still feel good 20, 30, 40 years from now?”

Robin Cortez, MS | Director of Team Training at Chuze Fitness

Heart health means having the ability to effectively pump blood and deliver sufficient nutrients and oxygen to meet my body’s demands. My heart is healthiest when there is a balance between parasympathetic and sympathetic activity. It can’t be one or the other exclusively. I care for my heart by being consistently active and listening to my body’s cues when it’s time to be less active and relax. 

Sam Murtaugh | Fitness Manager | Highlands Ranch, CO

Heart health, to me, is being able to go on adventures with family and friends without worrying about my physical capabilities. I am very mindful of what I am putting into my body every day. I prioritize my health in every decision I make. I always want to feel like I am living my life to the fullest!

The post We Asked Fitness Experts Their Best Tips For Heart Health: Here Is What They Had To Say appeared first on Chuze Fitness.