What Is Endurance Training?

What Is Endurance Training?

There are 4 primary types of exercise: strength, balance, flexibility, and endurance. In order to have a balanced, healthy body, we need to have a fitness routine that incorporates them all.

Here, we’re going to focus on endurance training. Don’t be afraid—while this type of exercise is often associated with marathon runners and triathletes, it really doesn’t have to be as serious as you think. 

Endurance training is important not only for high-performance athletes, it’s important for everyone. 

So, What Is Endurance Training?

Endurance training is a form of exercising that is done to—you guessed it—increase endurance. Endurance is the ability of any organism to exert itself and maintain that exertion for long periods of time.

Endurance exercises are generally characterized by their ability to increase your heart and breathing rates. And, as with most things, it gets a little easier with time. We recommend starting small and working your way up, but we will get to that a little later.

Why Is Endurance Training Important?

At the core of endurance is the idea that the more we can sustain a level of exertion, the stronger we get over time. With endurance training, we’re able to resist future stress or injury on the body parts that we train. Not to mention, it supports recovery time for those instances where we may push a little too far and face an injury.

According to the American Heart Association, endurance training keeps your heart, lungs, and circulatory systems healthy. And while we can certainly do endurance training with weights, it is more commonly associated with “aerobic” fitness. 

This type of workout can actually increase longevity. Endurance training can reduce your likelihood of developing illnesses like diabetes, stroke, and heart disease, and it’s never too late to start training for your health. 

How Much Endurance Training Should I Do?

Your fitness journey is personal, so the amount of training that’s right for you might not be right for someone else. If you’ve been running marathons your whole life, you probably enjoy running enough to make endurance training a significant part of your routine. If you’ve never tried endurance training, something as simple as a 10-minute walk is a fantastic way to get started. 

The American Heart Association recommends 2.5 hrs of moderate – vigorous activity per week. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, you should get 2.5-5 hours of moderate – intense activity per week. According to a Harvard study, walking three miles a week could result in a 10% reduction risk of heart disease—that’s pretty amazing for something that could also help you ground yourself in the present, connect with your neighborhood, and provide a little self-care.

It’s important for you to work your way toward 2.5-5 hours of weekly exercise, but don’t be discouraged if all you can do at first is 10 minutes at a time a few days a week. Make sure you’re working toward a bigger goal and your body will thank you for it. Pretty soon, your 10 minutes of endurance exercise will turn into a full 45 minute workout, you just have to believe in yourself and take the steps to build up your cardiovascular endurance strength.

What kind of endurance exercises can I do? 

When we say “endurance training,” what workout do you think of first?

Here’s a guess: is it running?

Luckily for those who aren’t runners—which is perfectly okay, as running can be very tough on the body and it’s not for everyone—there are a myriad of ways to work your endurance. 

Examples of physical activities that are considered endurance workouts that aren’t running include: 

  • Walking
  • Jogging 
  • Swimming 
  • Cycling
  • Dancing
  • Hiking
  • Climbing stairs
  • Doing burpees in front of the TV
  • Trying to match the energy of a toddler at the park
  • Rowing
  • Elliptical training
  • Jump rope
  • Boxing
  • Muay Thai
  • Surfing
  • Tennis
  • and much, much more

The best thing about endurance exercise training is that it’s about getting your heart rate up more than anything else and there’s a world of activities that can support you in your effort to get healthier. So find what works for you and have fun! 

If you would like to try endurance training, we have equipment and space at all of our locations to get you healthier than ever before. You can also try endurance training workouts on our virtual fitness platform, iChuze Fitness, where we have exercises to help you with your body, mind, and heart. Start your 7-day free trial today!

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Fall Fruit and Vegetable Picks

The days are getting shorter, the temperature is falling, and the leaves are starting to turn… fall has arrived! While this is one of our favorite times of the year, let’s take a moment to mourn the end of fresh summer produce.

Ok, the moment is up because fall brings with it a whole new assortment of fresh fruits and veggies to start weaving into your meals! Below are some of our favorites and some tips on how to select and prepare them!



There are a TON of different squashes to choose from in the fall. Acorn, Butternut, spaghetti, the list goes on and on! Pick the variety you want and look for firm skin and rich coloring. Squash is perfect for roasting and goes great in salads, as a side or pureed in a soup with fresh herbs and a dash of milk or cream.



Did you know that 1 cup of broccoli contains as much vitamin c as an orange? Talk about an instant boost to your immune system! When selecting broccoli at the store, try to find bunches with deep green color and closed buds. Try it roasted or steamed and add some fresh lemon juice to give it some extra flavor!



Missing your fresh tomato? A Tomatillos is the perfect fall substitute! Pick ones that are firm and green with a tightly fitted, dry husk. The tart and acidic flavor are enhanced when cooked, so try them roasted in a salad or pureed to make salsa!



This is the best time of the year for grapes! They are an amazing healthy snack full of vitamins C and K. Look for plump grapes that are firmly attached to the stems. Try them on their own or throw some in the freezer to help bring out the sweetness.



Select pears that are fragrant and free of blemishes. The neck of the pear should be tender to the touch. They can be enjoyed on their own, baked, or poached. For a fall-themed dessert try baking them with cinnamon and currents.



Apples are the ultimate fall ingredient and with so many varieties, you’re bound to find one that you like. Make sure the skins are firm and smooth and store them in the fridge to help preserve flavor and texture. Try them on a charcuterie board with a nice brie, diced and sauteed in a curry sauce, or sprinkled with lemon juice and cinnamon for a sweet snack.


But why stop there? There are SO many more seasonal fruits and veggies to try! Carrots, artichokes, cauliflower, cranberries, leaks, figs, mushrooms, parsnips, pumpkins, pomegranates are all seasonal right now. Have fun exploring all the fall flavors!


Author: Courtney Zell, VASA Fitness Brand Marketing Director

The post Fall Fruit and Vegetable Picks appeared first on VASA Fitness.

Original source: https://vasafitness.com/2020/10/fall-fruit-and-vegetable-picks/

Monster Music Mash-up Workout

Halloween is just around the corner and what better way to celebrate than with a monster-themed workout! We mapped out the first 14 minutes of a Halloween themed workout to get you started. It starts with three songs.


Monster Mash – Bobby Pickett
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Push-up when the song says “mash”

Continue to do jumping jacks and drop down to a push-up every time the songs says the word “mash”.


Freaks Come out at Night – Whodini
  • Mummy Jacks
  • Squat when the song says “freaks”

Start with mummy jacks and drop to a squat every time the lyrics say the word “freaks”.


Thriller – Michael Jackson

As many rounds as possible (AMRAP)

  • 5 (each side) split jumps
  • 5 (each side) dumbbell cleans
  • 10 glute bridges

Finish this 14-minute monster-themed worked out with as many rounds as possible of split jumps, dumbbell cleans, and glute bridges.

We want to see you try this out! Take a picture or video during your workout and tag us on instagram.

The post Monster Music Mash-up Workout appeared first on VASA Fitness.

Original source: https://vasafitness.com/2020/10/monster-music-mash-up-workout/

4 Cardiovascular Endurance Exercises You Can Do at Home

4 Cardiovascular Endurance Exercises You Can Do at Home

Cardiovascular endurance, by definition, is “the body’s ability to deliver oxygen to muscles while they are working.” It begins at about 1.5 minutes into a workout when your body starts using things like fat and proteins for energy. Your body can build up better endurance through regular cardiorespiratory endurance exercises. And, today, we want to give you a few of those to try.

1 | Fast Feet To Spiderman Plank

This is a dynamic move because it asks you to go from one power move into another. Fast feet is a straightforward move we use in many bodyweight cardiovascular exercises, and it does an excellent job of bringing your heart rate up and making you s-w-e-a-t.

To do fast feet, stand with your feet about hip-distance apart, bend your knees, and hinge at the hips. Then, press off of your toes—nice and light—and run in place as fast as you can. Do this for 6-seconds and then move into the spiderman plank.

Coach Anthony on iChuze Fitness showing the fast feet workout with his feet apart, running in place

To do a Spiderman plank, drop down into a plank with your arms straight and back flat (don’t stick that butt up!). Then move your same-side knee to your elbow. That means your right knee should be coming up to your right elbow, and visa-versa. Keep your core engaged so that you stay in a proper form for four rounds (one round is one on each side). Then, hop back up and start the move over again at the fast-feet, continuing these moves together for one full minute.

Coach Anthony, on iChuze Fitness, showing the Spiderman plank with one knee going toward the same side's elbow in a plank position

2 | Curtsy Lunge/Reverse Lunge Combo

Second-up is another dynamic move that takes your reverse lunges to the next level. 

To do a curtsy lunge, plant your front foot and then step back, landing just outside of your front foot behind you. That can sound a little confusing, so, if you need a visual, do a quick curtsy and see where your back leg lands. Typically, in a curtsy, you will bring your leg behind you and land your toes on your back foot to the outside of the front. This is the same in the curtsy lunge, except you will also be getting down into a reverse lunge. Keep your knee over your toes, and come down until your front knee is at about 90-degrees. Then, go back to start to move into the reverse lunge.

Coach Anthony showing a curtsy lunge with one foot going behind and slightly outside of the other as if in a curtsy on iChuze Fitness

Now for a reverse lunge, simply step backward and lower your hips until your front knee is at 90-degrees. Again, be sure to keep your knee in line with your toes. When you drive back up to start position, keep your core and back engaged. Then, go back into the curtsy. Work on one side for 45 seconds and then switch to the other. Be sure to go slow and controlled going into the back lunge, but you can drive out of it a little quicker into the starting position.

A reverse lunge being displayed by Coach Anthony as in the description above

3 | Tricep pushups

Pushups are one of the best exercises for our arms, chests, and core—period. They can also be altered to target specific muscles in the body. The triceps are a little tricky to exercise with bodyweight, but this workout makes it reasonably simple.

To do a tricep pushup, either start on your knees or in the plank position. Then, bring your hands in a little closer together than you would for a regular pushup. In a typical pushup, your wrists would land beneath your shoulders, but for this, we want to see your wrists more underneath your chest. As you go down and push up, be sure to keep your elbows tight to your body. Continue for one full minute.

Coach Anthony displaying how your hands come slightly more in towards your chest during a tricep pushup than a regular pushup

Pro-tip. You may have started these in the plank position, but these. are. tough. Remember, you can go down onto your knees at any time. This will help relieve you of some of that pressure and help you finish your full minute. 

Coach Anthony showing how to do the tricep pushup from your knees after you've started on your toes. Drop your knees to the floor and continue with your hands under your chest.

4 | Extended Hip Press

Hip presses work your abs, glutes, and hips. By extending your feet a little further out in front of you, you are going to be working even harder. 

To start, get into a normal hip press position. In a typical hip press, you will lay on your back with your feet placed on the ground at about 6-inches from your glutes. Start with your feet there and then walk them out one or two feet and begin to bridge up. You will feel your hamstrings working harder with this adjustment. As you bridge up, make sure to pause at the top, contracting your muscles for a quick squeeze, and then slowly and controlled go back down to start. Continue for 45 seconds.

Coach Anthony showing feet placement for an extended hip press. Contrary to the regular hip press, your feet will be further away from your body.

Coach Anthony showing how to push up into the bridge with your core and glutes engaged and hands on the floor to stabilize you.

These workouts are designed to go together in a round. Repeat this three times for a workout, or try them individually and add them into your bodyweight cardiovascular exercise routine. If you loved this workout and want a little more, join Coach Anthony on iChuze Fitness. We grabbed this first round from his Endurance Training 2 | 30 Min exercise video, where he goes through step-by-step talking about form, the muscles being targeted, and much more on our virtual fitness platform. Sign-up for the free 7-day pass to try these engaging cardiovascular endurance training exercises today!

You can try these workouts at home, in any of our locations, or wherever you find yourself today regardless of your physical fitness level. We hope that you come away from this article with a new exercise to love and knowledge on how to increase cardio exercise endurance.

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30-Day Squat Challenge: Get Your Best Butt in 1 Month

Get great legs and your best butt ever with our 30-day squat challenge.

This squat challenge is simple and easy to follow for any lifter, from beginner to advanced.

This program does not take a lot of time. Each day you’ll dedicate 10-15 minutes to the exercise(s) on the calendar day in addition to your normal workout routine. 

The squat is a compound exercise that works all the muscles in the lower body, including your butt muscles, quadriceps, hips, and hamstring tendons. 

When done in the proper form, the squat exercise is one of the best moves for shaping the gluteus maximus which makes up a large portion of your booty. 

Before we jump into the 30-day squat challenge, let’s go over the target muscles, benefits, and correct form.

Once you master the regular squat with your body weight, you can challenge yourself with lighter weights. You can work yourself up to a heavier load, like a heavy barbell or kettlebell.

As your leg muscles, tendons, and glutes become stronger, you can move on to heavy load squat variations such as barbell squat, kettlebell squat, and dumbbell squats.

I would also add that the back squat, front squat, box squat, and snatch squat are amongst the most advanced variations.

If it’s your first time performing these moves or using weight for a heavy squat, be sure to ask a strength coach or a personal trainer to watch your squat form and answer common questions you may have. You can also use a smith machine to assist.

Dumbbell squats or ones with kettlebells or medicine balls are much easier, to begin with. 

Target Muscles

The standard squat is a strength exercise that targets large muscle groups in the lower body. Its primary target muscles include:

  • quadriceps
  • hip flexors
  • hamstrings
  • glutes
  • calves

But those body parts in the lower region aren’t the only ones the squat exercise trains. Its secondary target muscles include the torso, core, and erector spinae in the upper body. 

What’s more, in this squat challenge, we included an array of different kinds of squats to challenge the primary muscles from different angles and different muscles throughout the body.

For example, a sumo squat on Day 6 is a great way to work those inner thighs. On Day 7, after you master the body weight basic squat, as a lifter, you can add a side kick to help develop core strength, activate the glutes, tendons, muscle fibers, and improve agility and balance. 

The different exercises in this 30-day challenge are a great way to add challenge, fun, and more strength to the different muscle groups each move activates. 

Take into account your level of fitness prior to adding additional weight.

Benefits of Squats

There are so many benefits of squats! 

First off, squats can increase your overall strength. The hypertrophy in your quads will reduce cellulite and ignite fat burn for weight loss.

When increasing muscle size, you need to target the specific body part the right way with a focus on proper form and knee position to protect your tendons.

They increase your hip mobility by creating a stronger hip joint and larger range of motion. Ankle mobility is strengthened through flexion. They can reduce your body fat and build muscle.

Squats are a great workout to warm up the lower body before a long run or any type of exercise, really. It can also improve posture.

How to Do This Squat Challenge

Follow the calendar each day and commit to performing the exercise listed in the squat challenge. 

If you have an already established workout routine, whether it’s cardio, other resistance training, or powerlifter training session, don’t stop! Simply add these to your current workout.

Remember, this isn’t a competition! Take your time and focus on form.

Step 1: Learn the proper squat form and master it. 

Be sure to check out the common mistakes on the bottom of this page. 

If you are a beginner squatter, try using a smith machine or adding a resistance band above your knees. This is a good way to learn the proper squat form. The band can help your knees from caving in. 

Step 2: Follow the calendar and commit. 

When starting any new training program, the first day is always the hardest. To stay motivated, add these exercises to your already established routine. Get started now and the next day will get a little bit easier!

On a single day, you’ll have 1-3 booty lifter squat exercises to perform. Except on Day 30, you’ll get 4! Take an extra rest day or lower the number of reps as needed to avoid overexertion or stiffness.

If you are looking for more of a challenge or more advanced exercises, add a bare barbell bar (or even a loaded barbell) to the basic squat. 

For the exercises with kicks, try adding 3 lb. ankle weights as long as your ankle and joints aren’t being strained by the added weight. For an even bigger challenge, try 5 lbs!

Step 3: Enjoy the stronger booty!

Looking to turn this into a full training session that works your entire body?

The best way is to add other functional and effective exercises like lunges, deadlifts, bench press, leg press, planks, and crunches.

Workout Calendar

30-day squat challenge for beginners

Exercise Guide

Basic Squat

  1. Stand tall with your feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart. Stack your hips over the knees and point your toes forward, slightly turned out. Roll your shoulders back and down away from your ears. Keep your pelvis, lower back, and lumbar spine neutral. This is the standard standing position. 
  2. Brace your core and push your hips back. Bend your knees and lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  3. Bottom Position: Pause, and then push yourself back up to the starting position. 

Tip: Keep your abdominal muscles engaged from the beginning to the end as you follow each anatomical cue.

Want to amp it up? A different way is to turn this into a front squat. To make this into a front squat, add a barbell across the front of your shoulders. 

Kickback Squat

  1. Start standing. Hinge at the hips, lowering through the standard squat with your feet a little wider than shoulder-width. 
  2. As you stand, shift your bodyweight into your right leg, kick back with the left foot. 
  3. Return to the starting position and repeat on the opposite side. 

Tip: Inhale as you lower and exhale as you shift your weight into a single leg. 

Sumo Squat with Heel Raise

  1. Start with your feet slightly wider than your hips, turn your feet out into an external rotation. Lift your left heel. 
  2. Engage your core and with control, lower down. Keep your knees behind your toes. Pause, then rise.
  3. Repeat, lifting your right heel. This is one repetition. 

Tip: Press through your opposite heel to rise.

Squat with a Side Kick

  1. Start in the standard standing position. Lower. 
  2. As you rise, shift your weight into your right leg. Lift your left leg out to the side. Return to a squat. 
  3. Repeat on the left side. This is 1 repetition. 

Tip: Exhale as you shift your weight into your standing leg. 

Curtsy Squat

  1. Start standing with your feet shoulder-width distance apart. With your left leg, step back and across to the right. 
  2. Squat until your right quad is parallel with the ground. Return to the starting position. 

Tip: Keep your hands on your hips for stability. 

Oblique Squat 

  1. Start in a wide stance, hands behind your head, elbows wide. Squat until your thighs are parallel with the ground. 
  2. As you stand, lift your right knee to your right elbow, crunching to the side. 
  3. Straighten your spine as you squat back down. This is 1 rep.

Tip: Warm up your obliques with side bend stretches or side plank variations at the beginning of your training session!

Squat Chop 

  1. Start with your feet slightly wider than hip-width distance, hands clasped at your chest. In one motion, lower and twist to the right, hands coming to the outside of your right knee. 
  2. Exhale, untwist, bringing your hands over your head, pivoting onto your right toes. 
  3. Repeat on the left side. This is 1 rep.

Tip: Add a dumbbell or curls for an added challenge!

Bulgarian Split Squat

  1. Stand approximately 2 feet in front of a bench or chair, facing forward. Keeping your feet roughly hip-width distance, lift your right foot and place it on the bench or chair behind you.
  2. Bend your left knee as you keep your body weight evenly across your left foot. Lower into a single leg squat.
  3. Exhale as you lift back up. Replace your right foot to the ground. 

Tip: Keep your spine straight, torso lifted, and gaze forward for stability. 

Jump Squat

  1. Perform the basic bodyweight squat. 
  2. At the bottom of the squat, press through both legs, jumping off the ground. As you land, lower back down. Practice landing with control as silently as possible. This is 1 rep.

Tip: When reps are performed in succession, this can be an endurance-building cardio workout, perfect for your cardiovascular health! You can raise your heart rate and metabolism.

Pistol Squat 

  1. Start with your feet together and parallel. Extend your right leg in front of you, heel off the ground, leg straight. 
  2. Lower into a deep squat while raising your right leg to stay parallel to the ground. 
  3. Straighten your left leg back to standing. This is 1 pistol squat. Repeat on the other side. 

Tip: Keep your arms extended in front of you to help keep your balance in this single-leg squat.

In and Out Squat Jump 

  1. Standing upright with a straight spine, feet together. Bending at the knees, jump your legs wider than shoulder-width distance.
  2. Lower into a squat. Press through your feet and jump your feet back to the starting position. This is 1 rep. 

Tip: Exhale on your jumps!

Side Step Bodyweight Squat

  1. Stand with your feet together, hands on your hips. Step your right foot to the side, lower into a squat position. Stand, stepping your right foot to meet the left. 
  2. Repeat on the left side. This is 1 repetition. 

Tip: Take your time ensuring you’re keeping proper form on both sides.

Overhead Squat 

  1. Start in the standard squat with a barbell resting on your shoulders. Bend at the knees as your straighten your arms, bringing the barbell overhead. 
  2. With your arms overhead, lower into a squat. Exhale to stand. Return the barbell to your shoulders. This is 1 repetition. 

Tips: Keep your chest up and gaze straight ahead to assist in keeping your balance. 

Want to take it up a notch? Add a deadlift!

Too intense? Perform in front of a squat rack or try the front squat instead.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

The most important thing when performing this 30-day challenge is proper form. Learning the perfect form brings better results and a lower risk of injury. Regardless of the type of squat you perform, be sure to avoid these common mistakes many people make.

Squat Depth

This can be not squatting deep enough or too deep. The correct position at the bottom of a squat is when the knees are at a 90-degree angle.

Knees Go Past Your Toes

When a trainee is leaning forward too much, it’s common to see the knees cross over the toes.

Not Bending From The Hip

When initiating the movement, always perform a hip hinge. From there, lower your hips slowly. Relying on your knees to perform this can strain your quads, tendons, and knee joint, rather than activating the muscles of the glutes.

Not Stretching

Muscle stiffness, especially your erector spinae and leg tendons, can prevent you from performing a squat exercise with good form. Be sure to lengthen the leg and glute muscles with lower body stretches prior to your training session. It’s a good idea to target your biceps and triceps when adding a barbell. Try a plank!

Rounding Your Back

Throughout the movement, your erector spinae should be kept straight and steady. At no point, should your back be rounded.

Using weight with Incorrect Form

Use of an object with heavy weight like a barbell should come only after you master the proper squat form.

Bottom Line

There you have it, congratulations on completing our 30-day squat challenge!

I know it wasn’t easy but you did it, great job! You made 0 excuses! Your squat strength, muscle size, and hip mobility will go up with practice, meaning you now can do barbell squats with even more weight. 

But don’t stop there! Next time try the exercises with a harder adaptation or take one of our other 30-day fitness challenges. They are a great way to burn lots of calories, get in better shape, and hit your weight loss goal. Almost all of our workout and fitness challenges use only bodyweight exercises so they can be done anywhere, at home, or outside in the parks.

Medical Disclaimer

Squat exercises and their variations are a great functional movement that targets different body parts and helps strength train your body. But that’s not to say it’s the best exercise for everybody. 

This squat challenge is provided only for informational purposes. 

As with any strength training program, be sure to seek medical advice from health and fitness experts in your area to see if this is right for your fitness goals and medical conditions before starting.

Check out our other 30 – day challenges to transform your body! 

5 Stretching Exercises for Flexibility

5 Stretching Exercises for Flexibility

There are so many incredible ways for us to move our bodies. Stretching is one of the most important tools in our wellness arsenal because it allows us a better range of motion, improved posture, better balance, injury prevention, and more. 

And because our bodies have so many working parts, there are infinite combinations of exercises you can do to stretch your body to improve overall fitness and function. We’ve put together five stretching exercises for flexibility beginners, so put on some stretchy clothes, get out a yoga mat or towel to provide a little extra cushion between you and the floor, and follow along!

1. Side Stretch

This is an awesome lengthening exercise for flexibility training, and it’s very simple to do:

Stand up tall and put your arms straight up in the air above your head. Grab your right wrist with your left hand. Inhale while reaching your body as tall as you can and use your left arm to pull your right arm to the left as you exhale, creating an arcing shape with your entire body. 

Take a few deep breaths and repeat on the other side. This side-opener should feel amazing from your hips to your waist to your lower back to your shoulders to your wrists. 

2. Quad Stretch

Utilizing stretching exercises for your quads is extremely important because tightness in these muscles can cause back and knee pain. 

To do a quad stretch, start standing next to a wall for support if you need help balancing. Bending your right knee, grab your right foot or ankle with your right hand behind you. Make sure you tuck your hips under (don’t let your butt stick out) to deepen the stretch. Hold for a few deep breaths and switch sides. 

 3. Seated Spinal Twist

This move is extremely restorative and contributes to better spinal mobility. It’s a simple way to decompress our vertebrae and relieve pressure in the back. 

To do this stretch, sit on the floor with your legs out in front of you. Bend your right knee, bringing it toward your chest with your foot on the ground. 

Now, lift your right leg and place your foot down on the outside of your left knee. Next, cross your left arm over the outside of your right knee so that your left elbow is touching the right side of your right thigh. 

Take a deep breath as you sit up tall and use the contact between your leg and elbow to twist to the right as you look over your right shoulder and exhale. 

Lift again with every inhale and sink deeper into that twist with every exhale. Take a few breaths here without twisting too hard and switch to the other side. 

4. Cross-Body Stretch to Tricep Stretch

This is a two-in-one stretch to limber up your arms. You probably remember this move from gym class, but we’ll go over it anyway. 

Standing up tall, cross your right arm over your chest so that it’s parallel to the floor. Hook it on the crook of your left elbow. Bend that left elbow in, pulling the right arm toward you. Make sure you’re engaging your back and pulling your shoulder blades together while you do this; don’t let your right shoulder collapse forward. This is the cross-body stretch. 

Next, drop that right arm and swing it over your head, so it’s sticking straight up into the air. Now, without changing your arm’s position from your shoulder, bend it from the elbow. Use your left hand to grab that elbow, and pull toward the middle of your back body. This is the tricep stretch. 

Now wash, rinse, and repeat on the other side. 

5. Child’s Pose

We’re wrapping up with child’s pose because it’s just so relaxing. This full-body stretching exercise for flexibility will feel great for your hips, back, chest, shoulders, ankles, and thighs, and it will allow you to just sink into the earth and breathe.

To get into a child’s pose, start on all fours. Move your knees outward so that they’re a little farther apart than shoulder-width or about the width of a yoga mat if you have one. Make sure your big toes are touching. 

Now, put your weight back on your legs so you can bend your torso toward the ground. Use your arms to support the journey down, walking your hands forward as you go. Eventually, your arms should be extended out in front of you, your forehead should be on the floor, hips should be back, and your chest should be melting down (but don’t worry if it isn’t on the floor or even close). 

If that feels uncomfortable for your hips or shoulders, feel free to put a pillow or two on the floor for your chest to lean on. If it’s a knee issue, place a pillow in the crook of your knee (between the calves and buttocks). 

Take as many deep breaths here as you can. Having a static stretching routine for flexibility like this can be not only helpful but also extremely calming, so take your time here. 

Treating your body to the stretching it needs is one of the most helpful forms of self-care you can do. It will improve performance both in and out of the gym and ultimately lead to a healthier you! You can practice stretching for flexibility at any of our locations. We also have fantastic stretching exercises for flexibility on our virtual fitness platform, iChuze Fitness. Download your free 7-day pass today!

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National Coaches Day

Happy National Coaches Day! To celebrate we wanted to highlight some of our amazing coaches. We are thankful and lucky to have great trainers at all of our locations. Here are just a few of our fantastic coaches. We asked the coaches and those who work with them what makes them an awesome coach and why they are VASA!

Coach Breanna

“I got into fitness because of my parents. There’s these two quotes that they each say that I have adopted and learned to live by. My mother says “There’s Beauty in the struggle”. And my father once said, “Work hard and be kind, the rest will fall into place.” I work every day to be able to help people to the best of my ability. Fitness is a daily reminder that hard work and dedication pays off. There is beauty in the pain of life’s transitions that we all go through- whether that may be mental, emotional, or physical. But always leads to growth. as long as you stay positive, work hard, and be kind.” –  Coach Breanna, CO Springs

Coach Stephen

“It’s easy to see why Stephen is amazing at what he does, why his clients love him & why he is essential to what we do at A2. Stephen is genuinely passionate about helping people be their best selves. His energy is contagious, his integrity is unwavering, & he lives out our core values at work and outside of work. He is an amazing employee, friend, and father and I am grateful he is part of my team.” – Grace, Aurora

Coach Stephanie

“This is one of our VAWESOME Personal Trainers, Stephanie. Stephanie is a major asset to our team as her ability to connect with members and clients is excellent. One of her clients even said, “she is more than just a coach to me”. She comes into work every day with a positive attitude and a friendly smile (under the mask of course). When she isn’t at VASA she is working as a Cardiac Rehab Exercise Specialist at a nearby hospital. She UPLIFTs people regardless of where she’s at!” – Jordan, Wichita Woodlawn

Coach Shakeem

“Why I’m awesome and an asset to VASA” go together. My reason is I have a passion for fitness and improving people’s lives. So I take pride in coaching and I’ll never stop studying and searching for new ones to become a better coach. I motivate others through cheesy quotes and one-liners that people seem to love which is why people come to my class and give it max effort. Not only am I constantly motivating but I’m making sure everyone stays safe on top making Athletic members sweat hard while also making my de-conditioned members work hard but also feel welcome. A lot of people message on social media and tell me just me posting my lifting videos, mobility, flexibility, etc. it inspires them to wake up and do any type of movement which takes me to a quote I heard and have followed for a long time that I make sure to tell everyone I coach “Movement is Medicine”.” – Coach Shakeem, Wichita Georgetown

Coach Alix

“I am a product of my environment. I am both strong and genuine, like all of the people I surround myself with. People around me feel at ease with my extremely optimistic energy. I am the first to make a negative a positive. I motivate others by helping them understand how powerful and unique they are as an individual. Their strengths and weaknesses don’t make them who they are, their will does. People around me feed off of my never-ending bubbly energy and become more eager to do new things. I am an asset to VASA because I’m understanding and get people feeling confident enough to get out of their comfort zone. I love my fitness journey and everything it has become since working at VASA!” – Coach Alix, Phoenix West

Coach Grace

“Grace has recently been promoted to FTL at Thunderbird East as a trainer from another location.  We are just lucky to have her!  Grace has a kindness about her that is not only genuine but she has a way of making you just feel great about your day.  The members and employees love having her around and she is such an asset to this team.  It’s always a win to get a trainer like Grace who motivates others to be their best!!  Be like Grace! 🙂” – Vu, Phoenix East 

Coach Mattea

“I meet people where they’re at and help get them to places they didn’t even think were possible. The journey never stops- your goals may just change along the way. We’re all human, we all have our good days and bad; I’m here to keep you on track no matter what stage of the journey you’re in. So whether it’s in the gym or training at home, my goal is to keep you learning, moving, and always getting better.” – Coach Mattea, Phoenix West

Coach Denise

“Denise is amazing and has been with VASA for a few years. She is currently our GFSTL as well as cycle and core instructor, she commutes from Tooele to West Valley to specifically work and instruct at this location which we have been honored to have. Recently Denise has made the decision that she will be stepping down from the GFSTL position to focus on her family but will remain an instructor here. Denise is definitely the friend you always wanted, the mom you never knew you had, and the coach that will always bring the best out in you.” -Brenton, West Valley

General Manager Sean

“Take a limitation and turn it into an opportunity. Take an opportunity and turn it into an adventure by dreaming BIG!”

Do you have a great coach? We wanna hear about it! Let us know by tagging us on Instagram.

The post National Coaches Day appeared first on VASA Fitness.

Original source: https://vasafitness.com/2020/10/national-coaches-day/

What Is the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) Diet

Perhaps you have heard of this new diet that recently hit the scene?

The Autoimmune Protocol Diet, or AIP for short, is a relatively new dietary protocol that claims to reduce inflammation, improve immune function, and help manage the symptoms of autoimmune diseases.

Many individuals with autoimmune diseases report that the AIP diet has lessened their disease symptoms, reduced autoimmune flare-ups, and improved their quality of life.

What exactly is the AIP diet, and does the research support this dietary approach for autoimmune disorders?

What is the Autoimmune Protocol Diet? 

API diet

The Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) diet is an elimination-focused dietary therapy that may help individuals struggling with autoimmune diseases.

Autoimmune diseases are thought to be caused by various risk factors, including genetic predisposition, environmental triggers, stress, systemic inflammation, and certain medications.

Additionally, some preliminary research suggests dietary factors may play a role in the development of these medical conditions among susceptible individuals. It is hypothesized that certain “trigger foods” may damage the gut wall, which might increase the risk of an autoimmune disorder.

As an elimination diet, AIP involves avoiding these specific foods for several weeks while carefully monitoring disease symptoms and overall health changes.

AIP is rooted in the Paleo diet, although it is considered an even more restrictive diet than the Paleo approach. Additionally, this diet shares some similarities to a ketogenic diet, as it greatly limits carbohydrate intake.

It includes mostly vegetables (with some exceptions) and animal proteins from meats with the elimination of grains, cereals, legumes, nightshade vegetables, gluten, eggs, dairy, nuts, seeds, coffee, alcohol, refined sugars and sweeteners, and processed foods.

Who Can Benefit From the AIP Diet?

AIP is an autoimmune diet designed to reduce chronic inflammation and help control symptoms of autoimmune conditions.

An autoimmune disease is a condition that develops when your immune system produces antibodies that mistakenly attack the healthy tissues of your own body. There are over 80 identified autoimmune diseases (1).

Examples include psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, eczema, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, asthma, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Shwachman-Diamond syndrome (SDS), and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including Chron’s disease and ulcerative colitis (UC) (1).

Common symptoms of autoimmune conditions are fatigue, headache, brain fog, digestion or gut issues, diarrhea, pain, swelling, hair loss, low-grade fever, skin rashes, and stiff or painful joints.

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), more than 24 million people are affected by autoimmune disorders in the United States (1).

How Does This Diet Work?

While the root cause of autoimmune conditions is not entirely understood, it is thought that complex interactions between genetic predisposition, environmental factors, chronic stress, and the immune system may contribute to the formation of autoimmune diseases and inflammatory diseases (1-3).

Additionally, one hypothesis poses that imbalances in the gut microbiome (aka the healthy gut bacteria) and low-grade inflammation can damage the lining of the intestines.

This imbalance in healthy gut bacteria is sometimes referred to as dysbiosis or gut dysbiosis.

Certain foods are also thought to act as “gut irritants” which cause gut inflammation and irritation and increases intestinal permeability.

This hypothesis suggests that certain autoimmune diseases may be triggered in susceptible individuals, in part, as the result of tiny holes or “leaks” in the intestinal wall, also known as a leaky gut syndrome.

It is thought that these holes may allow gut bacteria, food particles, and digestive enzymes to escape into the bloodstream through the walls of the gut lining in the digestive system.

These leaked materials may then prompt an immune system response. The body treats the leaked particles as potential pathogens or foreign invaders and launches an immune response on its own tissues using antibodies.

This immune system reaction results in widespread, chronic inflammation and further damage to healthy cells and body tissues.

The principle behind the AIP autoimmune diet is that avoiding gut irritants or trigger foods will reduce inflammation and allow mucosal healing of the leaky gut.

Proponents in the AIP community claim that this diet improves the intestinal walls, “fixes” hormones and hormone imbalances, and resets the body’s immune system by identifying and eliminating inflammatory foods that trigger inflammation in the body.

Few studies have investigated leaky gut syndrome; however, researchers agree that certain diseases are associated with greater intestinal wall permeability and impaired gut health (4).

It is important to note that AIP is not a cure for autoimmune diseases. Although conventional medicine aims to lessen autoimmune symptoms and reduce symptom flare-ups, there are currently no cures for autoimmune conditions.

In some cases, periods of symptom remission or clinical remission (when there is no objective evidence of active disease) is also possible.

However, AIP may be used as an adjunctive treatment to help manage autoimmune symptoms, identify food sensitivities, improve gut health, and increase nutrient absorption and metabolism, although further research is needed to support these claims.

Foods to Avoid

The AIP diet is an elimination diet, meaning that certain foods are removed from the menu for 30 days or longer to identify food intolerance.

This autoimmune diet is similar to the Paleo diet, as it excludes processed foods, grains, dairy products, and legumes.

Foods eliminated as part of the AIP diet include:

  • Grains, whole grains, cereals, and gluten, including wheat and rice
  • Legumes, such as peanuts, chickpeas, beans, soy, and lentils
  • Refined carbohydrates (or carbs) and added sugars, such as those found in cookies and cakes
  • Nuts and seeds, including items derived from this food group such as coffee, chocolate, certain vegetable seed oils, and certain spices such as cumin and coriander. 
  • Vegetables in the nightshade family, due to their high content of dietary lectins; includes tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, and eggplants.   
  • Eggs 
  • Dairy products, including milk, cheese, yogurt, butter, and ghee
  • Certain beverages including coffee, alcohol, and soda
  • Processed foods
  • Processed vegetable oils and seed oils (sometimes dubbed “industrial seed oils”)
  • Food additives, flavor additives, and preservatives 
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Foods high in lectins- Lectins are a type of carbohydrate-binding protein found in nearly all foods, with the highest amounts legumes, cereal grains, and nightshade vegetables. 
  • Blue-green algae products and supplements, including chlorella and spirulina

Fruits remain a controversial component in the AIP diet. Some protocols recommend eliminating sugar, including fructose- a natural sugar found in fruits. 

The paleo autoimmune protocol from the Paleo Way recommends limiting fructose intake to no more than 20 grams per day (5). This equates to about two servings of fruit, depending on the type. 

Fruits higher in fructose include kiwis, raisins, watermelon, bananas, grapes, and apples. Certain berries, such as raspberries and strawberries, are lower in fructose.

The AIP diet also avoids nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including ibuprofen and aspirin. Be sure to speak with your doctor before stopping an aspirin regimen or discontinuing any medications. 

Some strict, autoimmune paleo versions of this diet also recommend limiting salt and sea salt, saturated fats (like those found in red meats), dietary lectins, omega-6 fatty acids, and natural sugars, such as honey and coconut products.

Foods to Eat

The list of foods that you cannot eat on the AIP diet may sound overwhelming at first, but here comes the fun part… the nutritious foods that you can eat! 

This specific diet includes various nutrient-dense foods rich in vitamins, nutrients, antioxidants, and minerals.

Be sure to pick up the following foods the next time you grocery shop:

  • Vegetables, except for nightshades
  • Lean and minimally processed meats, such as poultry, fish, seafood, and organic meat
  • Organ meats
  • Certain oils, including olive oil
  • Fermented and probiotic-rich foods that don’t contain dairy products. Examples include kombucha, pickled vegetables, sauerkraut, kimchi, and non-dairy kefir. 
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Green smoothie 
  • Cassava and cassava flour
  • Arrowroot starch
  • Coconut, coconut oil, coconut milk, and other coconut products
  • Maple syrup and honey, in small amounts
  • Avocado, avocado oil
  • Avocado and greens smoothie
  • Bone broth
  • Herbs and spices, as long as they are not derived from seeds
  • Gelatin from grass-fed beef
  • Animal fats, such as lard
  • Vinegars, including red wine, balsamic, and apple cider vinegar
  • Green teas, black teas, and herbal teas not derived from seeds
  • Fruits, in moderation

Individuals following the AIP diet are encouraged to consume a wide variety of vegetables, emphasizing cruciferous vegetables. 

Examples include broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage. Additional veggies that you can load your plate with include leafy greens, green beans, onions, mushrooms, celery, kale, beets, and carrots, to name a few. 

While technically considered a legume, green beans are generally accepted as part of the AIP diet. 

Good quality seafood and shellfish, especially fatty fish, are a staple of any anti-inflammatory diet due to their omega-3 content.

Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of fatty acid involved in regulating the body’s inflammatory response and work to reduce inflammation. 

Research has consistently found a connection between higher omega-3 fatty acid intake and reduced inflammation in the body (6, 7). 

Additionally, seafood and shellfish are excellent sources of protein and b vitamins. Foods like salmon, tuna, halibut, and sardines are good sources of zinc, healthy fats, and omega-3s, which are usually lacking in the western diet. 

In general, you should aim to consume high-quality seafood at least three times per week for better health.

Honey and maple syrup are controversial components of the AIP diet, with some proponents recommending natural sugars in moderation. In contrast, others recommend removing added sugars as part of this lifestyle intervention. 

Currently, the paleo autoimmune protocol recommends eliminating all-natural sweeteners and artificial sweeteners from the diet, including honey and maple syrup (5). 

How Long Should You Follow the AIP Diet

The AIP diet is a type of elimination diet, meaning that you eliminate possible trigger foods for a set number of weeks before gradually adding foods or food groups back into the diet while monitoring for symptoms.

Elimination diets are useful for identifying food sensitivities, intolerance, and allergies.

There are two phases: the elimination phase and the reintroduction phase.
As the name suggests, the elimination phase involves the elimination of foods that may be causing an autoimmune reaction. In general, the typical amount of time spent in the elimination phase is about 4 to 6 weeks.

The next step is the reintroduction phase. This phase aims to identify foods that cause autoimmune symptoms or sensitivities and reintroduce any and all foods that do not result in symptoms back into the diet.

In this phase, eliminated foods or food groups are slowly reintroduced into the diet one at a time over 2 to 3 days to determine the impact of diet on symptoms.

During this time, you can carefully monitor for symptoms of inflammation. Some people may find it useful to keep a food journal or symptom diary during this phase to watch for significant change during food group reintroduction.

Examples of symptoms include skin rashes, joint pain, headaches, fatigue, bloating, arthritis pain, asthma, stomach pain, diarrhea, and digestive problems. Individual diseases may also have their own unique signs or symptoms. For example, someone with active IBD may experience bloating or stomach cramps, while someone with arthritis may notice stiff joints.

A return in symptoms could indicate a food intolerance or sensitivity, and you may consider eliminating that food from your diet.

Some individuals may decide to adopt the autoimmune protocol as part of long-term lifestyle changes due to its nutrient density or because of the overall reduction in autoimmune issues.

However, you may want to consult a registered dietitian, functional medicine practitioner, or qualified health coach if you plan to eliminate many foods from your diet, as this could result in micronutrient and nutritional deficiencies.

Overall, the autoimmune protocol is a tool for identifying dietary changes, lifestyle interventions, or dietary factors that may reduce autoimmune symptoms. It is not meant to be a long-term dietary approach.

What Does the Research Say?

The AIP diet is a relatively new dietary intervention, and much of the science surrounding its benefits remains mostly theoretical or based on anecdotal evidence.

There is currently a lack of large clinical trials evaluating the efficacy of AIP, which makes it difficult to provide concrete recommendations about this dietary modification.

However, new research studies are promising and suggest that AIP protocol may be beneficial for individuals with certain autoimmune diseases, including UC and Hashimoto’s.

One study from 2019 looked at the impact of AIP on disease activity among 15 IBD patients, including a final cohort of 6 Crohn’s disease participants and 9 ulcerative colitis (UC) participants.

There was no control group for this trial. Based on the results, study participants experienced significant changes in autoimmune symptoms and quality of life compared to baseline as early as three weeks after dietary intervention (8).

Similarly, a 2017 study that examined the effect of AIP on IBD patients with active IBD (both Chron’s disease and UC) found that participants had significant improvements in symptoms and stress management following the 6-week dietary elimination and 5-week maintenance phase compared to baseline (9).

A different pilot study involved the enrollment of 16 women with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which is an autoimmune disorder that impacts the thyroid gland and can result in hypothyroidism (10).

Study participants followed the AIP protocol for 10 weeks. At the end of the study, inflammatory biomarkers decreased by 29% compared to baseline, and autoimmune symptoms decreased by 68% compared to baseline levels. There were no significant differences or clinical response in thyroid function at study completion (10).

Additionally, research has noted that autoimmune diseases, including food allergies, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis (UC) are associated with greater gut permeability or porousness (4, 11, 12). However, further research is needed to explore the relationship between leaky gut syndrome and autoimmune diseases.

Although promising, it is important to keep in mind that these studies had limited enrollment and a small sample size.

Additionally, most of these preliminary studies did not have a control group and focused on a small subset of autoimmune conditions, such as IBD or UC. Further clinical trials are needed before conclusions can be made concerning the autoimmune protocol.

Additional Considerations and Possible Adverse Effects 

This autoimmune diet is an elimination diet and is, therefore, a restrictive diet, especially during the elimination phase. The long list of foods not to eat may leave many feeling hungry and with food cravings.

The good news is that the elimination phase is only one part of this anti-inflammatory diet. If you experience no symptoms during the reintroduction of specific food or food groups, then you can incorporate those foods into your diet once again.

However, some individuals may be hesitant or fearful to enter the reintroduction phase, as it may trigger a flare-up of symptoms. Once someone is almost symptom-free or has achieved a form of clinical remission, it may be scary to reintroduce potential trigger foods into their diet.

This is a concern because the AIP protocol is highly restrictive, and remaining in the elimination phase for too long may result in micronutrient deficiencies. Anytime that you remove whole food groups from the diet, there is a chance of nutritional deficiencies.

For example, this anti-inflammatory diet is notably low in calcium, soluble fiber, and vitamin D, to name a few. Additionally, this diet eliminates many healthy foods, including whole grains and legumes, which are a good source of zinc, b vitamins, magnesium, and soluble fiber.

It may be a good idea to seek professional medical advice from a qualified practitioner before starting this protocol. A functional medicine practitioner or registered dietitian can help you better identify food intolerances while making adjustments to your meal plans to ensure nutritional adequacy.

Some people may find this elimination diet has too many restrictions. Individuals with a history of eating disorders may want to seek professional counseling from a practitioner before trying any restrictive diet.

Furthermore, people with multiple food aversions, food allergies, or those who follow a vegan diet may find that this dietary approach does not offer enough variety to meet nutritional needs.

Additionally, it is important to note that there is limited research exploring the efficacy of the AIP diet and the role of diet on autoimmune conditions. Further research is needed to establish a link between AIP and potential clinical remission from an autoimmune disease.

The Final Word

Living with an autoimmune condition presents many health challenges and significantly impairs an individual’s overall health and quality of life.

While there is currently no cure, it is possible to manage the symptoms of an autoimmune disease, and periods of clinical remission is possible in some cases.

Preliminary research on the AIP dietary intervention, while limited, appears to be promising. Small studies have currently reported benefits among individuals with a health history of IBD, active IBD, and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

However, more research is necessary to determine the impact of AIP on other autoimmune diseases, such as eczema, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, asthma, and Shwachman-Diamond syndrome (SDS).

While further research is needed, this dietary modification may help reduce baseline inflammation and improve the quality of life for the many people struggling with autoimmune diseases.

Theoretically, the AIP autoimmune diet may also help heal a leaky gut. However, clinical trials are needed to support this hypothesis.

Additionally, this diet may encourage individuals to eat more nutritious foods, as it restricts processed foods, refined carbohydrates or carbs, and added sugars while emphasizing meats, lean proteins, veggies, and real foods.

This diet may also help with optimal health, wellness, insulin resistance, and blood sugar control as it requires careful meal plans and can be used as the building blocks for a weight loss program.

However, this protocol is not meant to be a long-term lifestyle modification. Rather, it is a tool that can help identify food sensitivities and intolerance and may result in nutrient deficiencies if followed for months.

Keep in mind that food choices are not the only way to manage autoimmune disease. On top of eating a nutrient-dense diet, getting enough sleep and physical activity, stress management, meditation, and quitting smoking are also important lifestyle factors that may help reduce inflammation in the body.

Perhaps the best way to get started is by talking to a healthcare practitioner, registered dietitian, or qualified health coach to determine if this dietary protocol is a good option for you.

  1. “Autoimmune Diseases.” National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/conditions/autoimmune/index.cfm.
  2. Minihane, Anne M et al. “Low-grade inflammation, diet composition and health: current research evidence and its translation.” The British journal of nutrition vol. 114,7 (2015): 999-1012. doi:10.1017/S0007114515002093
  3. Belkaid, Yasmine, and Timothy W Hand. “Role of the microbiota in immunity and inflammation.” Cell vol. 157,1 (2014): 121-41. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2014.03.011
  4. Arrieta, M C et al. “Alterations in intestinal permeability.” Gut vol. 55,10 (2006): 1512-20. doi:10.1136/gut.2005.085373
  5. “Autoimmune Protocol.” The Paleo Way, thepaleoway.com/autoimmune-protocol.
  6. Simopoulos, Artemis P. “Omega-3 fatty acids in inflammation and autoimmune diseases.” Journal of the American College of Nutrition vol. 21,6 (2002): 495-505. doi:10.1080/07315724.2002.10719248
  7. Li, Kelei et al. “Effect of marine-derived n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on C-reactive protein, interleukin 6 and tumor necrosis factor α: a meta-analysis.” PloS one vol. 9,2 e88103. 5 Feb. 2014, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0088103 
  8. Chandrasekaran, Anita et al. “An Autoimmune Protocol Diet Improves Patient-Reported Quality of Life in Inflammatory Bowel Disease.” Crohn’s & colitis 360 vol. 1,3 (2019): otz019. doi:10.1093/crocol/otz019
  9. Konijeti, Gauree G et al. “Efficacy of the Autoimmune Protocol Diet for Inflammatory Bowel Disease.” Inflammatory bowel diseases vol. 23,11 (2017): 2054-2060. doi:10.1097/MIB.0000000000001221
  10. Visser, Jeroen et al. “Tight junctions, intestinal permeability, and autoimmunity: celiac disease and type 1 diabetes paradigms.” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences vol. 1165 (2009): 195-205. doi:10.1111/j.1749-6632.2009.04037.x
  11. Groschwitz, Katherine R, and Simon P Hogan. “Intestinal barrier function: molecular regulation and disease pathogenesis.” The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology vol. 124,1 (2009): 3-20; quiz 21-2. doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2009.05.038

5 Functional Training Workouts to Try Today

5 Functional Training Workouts

We have discussed how important functional fitness training is and what it can do to improve your health on our blog. To recap, functional strength training is a form of resistance training based on dynamic movements that we actually use in our day-to-day activities. 

Not to be confused with the traditional strength training of bodybuilders that focus on muscles and aesthetics, functional strength training is about working harder in the gym so you can afford to work less hard carrying your groceries from your car to your kitchen.

Functional training exercises are all about supporting your body to perform all of the things you want to use it for. Without further ado, here are five functional training exercises to create an entire functional training workout that you can use to get started. 

1 | The Power Clean

This is a big, bold move, which is why we want to get it out of the way at the beginning of any round of exercise. 

The power clean is traditionally done with a barbell (which we’ll focus on for this tutorial). Still, it can be adapted to dumbbells or even kettlebells, depending on what is available to you.

Now, the first time you do a power clean, you should use an extremely light weight(s). If you have access to the gym, we even encourage you to ask a Coach to take a look at your form while getting started. 

When you begin this movement, you should be bending down with your feet hip-width apart. The bar should be about an inch away from your shins. Grab the bar on the floor with your hands shoulder-width apart in an overhand grip. 

Put your weight in your heels, keep your chest up, and tighten your core. Pull your shoulder blades together throughout the exercise; don’t let your posture break. 

Next, you’re going to pull the bar up to knee-height, maintaining that posture. Keep your lower back very slightly arched, and make sure you’re lifting with all of those strong core and leg muscles (not with the muscles in the back). Don’t move too quickly just yet. The next part is where the movement explodes. 

Once you’ve reached knee height, you’re going to physically jump as high as you can (don’t worry, while holding a weight, this will probably only be an inch or two) while shrugging your shoulders and bending your elbows to bring the bar up through space in a vertical line. Like the initial lift, make sure you’re using your core, glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves (and NOT your back!). 

When the bar has moved as high in space as it will go, you’re going to bend your knees just enough to scoop the bar onto the shelf of your shoulders by shooting your elbows forward. The bottoms of your arms should end up parallel to the floor (or as close as you can get). Stand up tall from that slightly bent position you entered to catch the bar.

Roll the bar down off your shoulders, carefully catch it in a standing position, and move it back to the floor to go again. This should be one big fluid motion.

A lot is going on here, and you can find great breakdowns of the form online to make sure you’re moving correctly.

2 | The Classic Pull-Up

When it comes to functional fitness training, the pull-up is an absolute classic and is guaranteed to create a stronger foundation for performing your daily activities (both inside and outside the gym). Having a strong back is vital to maintaining posture and moving through the world with ease. 

To do a pull-up, hang from a bar with your arms a little wider than shoulder-width. Drive your elbows down and back until your chin reaches the bar and lower back down with control. Wash, rinse, and repeat.

If a full pull-up is not available to you right now, hooking a resistance band to the bar and stepping your feet into it can provide support. 

If you don’t have resistance bands, a great place to start is with the eccentric movement of the pull-up: lowering down. Put a chair next to the bar and use it to jump up into the top of the pull-up position with your chin at the top of the bar. From there, all you need to do is lower down to a hanging position. After enough of these, you’ll be able to move into the concentric movement of pulling up.

3 | A Twisting Lunge

The twisting lunge is an excellent dynamic exercise that both engages a lot of different muscle groups and forces you to work on your sense of balance. You can do this with your bodyweight or holding any type of weight, so start light and build from there. 

The first move is–surprise–a lunge. Take a medium-large step forward and bend your knees until they’re both at about 90 degrees. Make sure your front knee doesn’t go past your front toes.

At the bottom of your lunge, twist in the direction of your front leg. Twist back to center, step up so that your feet are together, and repeat on the other leg. 

4 | The Renegade Row

This move is amazing for your entire body and forces you to find both balance and strength. It can be done with weights but can easily be done with just your bodyweight to begin. For this example, let’s pretend you have some light dumbbells. 

Get into a push-up position with the dumbbells in your hands. Just like you would in a regular push up position, engage your core to keep your back flat without letting your hips dip or rise. Pull your shoulder blades together without letting your chest sink.

Next, bend one arm and pull the weight up toward your armpit without bending your wrists. Set the weight down and repeat on the other side. 

5 | The Basic Kettlebell Swing

We’ll end with a basic functional movement—the kettlebell swing (you can also accomplish these with a regular dumbbell). 

With your legs a little wider than hip-distance apart, hinge forward with the kettlebell in your hands. Maintain a soft bend in the knees and a flat back (we know you know, but we’ll remind you that you need to use your core and legs and not your back to perform any hinging motion).

Using your glutes, calves, quads, hamstrings, and core, thrust your hips forward and allow the kettlebell to swing up to 90 degrees. At the top of the swing, you should be in a standing plank position: flat back, core engaged, arms straight out. 

Finally, guide the kettlebell back down to that hinging position and repeat the movement.

Combined, these five movements will create a functional training program to get your body heading in a stronger, more-mobile direction, so start with 5 of each (and five on each side with the movements that work one side at a time) 5 times, and build your strong, functional body from there! You can try this circuit at any of our locations. If you are looking for an instructor-guided circuit that you can try at home, we have plenty to choose from on our virtual fitness platform iChuze Fitness.

The post 5 Functional Training Workouts to Try Today appeared first on Chuze Fitness.

Staying Motivated During Fall

The days are getting shorter and the holidays will be here before we know it. This time of year, it can be challenging to prioritize your fitness goals. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Here are our favorite tips and tricks can keep you motivated and on track:  

Revisit your Goals Daily

Keeping your ultimate goal in mind will help you stay on track and focused. Daily reflection on what you want to accomplish with your health and wellness means it stays at the top of your priority list.  


Work Out Early and Often  

With the days getting shorter, it can be hard to leave the house once the sun goes down; even if it’s only 6:00. To avoid missing your workout, and enable you to settle into your warm home in the evenings, plan to work out first thing in the morning. Not a morning person? Another good option is to make sure your workouts are on your calendar. CLICK HERE for tips on scheduling your workout into your day.  


Make It Fun and Keep It Interesting  

Keeping your workouts fresh, fun, and interesting means you’re more likely to head to the gym. Not sure where to start? Here are some ideas we have to help you shake up your workout routine this fall:  

  • Invite a friend to work out with you. You’ll be amazed at how much fun it is to work out with a partner!   
  • Set mini-goals for yourself: Try to hit a new PR this fall and don’t forget to tag us on social media! We love to see our members hit their fitness goals.  
  • Try a Studio or Group Fitness class, VASA has tons of classes to choose from.  
  • Learn some new fitness tips from a Personal Trainer! CLICK HERE to book your free FIT Session with one of VASA’s certified trainers.  


Whatever your goal, your VASA Family is here to support you in your fitness journey! Talk to one of our Member Experience Specialists if you need some help or advice from a Personal Trainer, head to the Nutrition section of our blog for some healthy recipe ideas, or follow us on Social Media for motivational stories to keep you inspired. 


The post Staying Motivated During Fall appeared first on VASA Fitness.

Original source: https://vasafitness.com/2020/10/staying-motivated-during-fall/