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Breakfast of champions

Red quinoa with berries, milk, and agave nectar

The title might have you thinking of Wheaties, but this is more delicious and nutritious. Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) is the rare gluten-free product that people without gluten allergies will find tasty. The Ancient Harvest brand is certified organic. It is a very healthy combination of good fats, carbohydrates, fiber, and protein. If you’re usually an oatmeal gal, this might tempt you with its jazzy colors. Sprinkle with honey or agave nectar, a mix of berries, and your favorite chopped nuts for a breakfast that will start your day off with a bang! This recipe yields 2-4 servings depending on your appetite. You can find this at your local Hiller’s and Meijer stores.

2 c. water
1 c. red quinoa
2 tbsp. agave nectar
1/2 c. berries
1/4 c. chopped pecans

Bring water and quinoa to boil in a small saucepan. Reduce to medium low heat, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes, until grain is tender and almost all liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Scoop in serving bowl(s) and add agave nectar, berries, and pecans. Enjoy!

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Bring a friend to class!

You gotta love your friends

You gotta love your friends

Did you know that if you bring a new friend to fitbarre, then BodyFit will reward you with a free class? This is a win-sin situation for everyone. You get to spend more time with your friends. The time you spend together is constructive. And … you get that free class! Who doesn’t love a free class and spending more time with the people close to them?

This past weekend my sister was visiting me from Chicago. I am the type of person who tries to work out on vacation and also when I have people in town. It doesn’t always happen as ideally as I want it to, but I feel healthy when I make the effort. I knew once we started getting into all our other plans for the weekend (meeting up with friends, cooking delicious meals, finding a new bar in Detroit, walking my dog, sleeping in, chatting, all that good stuff we do with our sisters), we might steamroll over our lofty exercise goals. My solution was to show up for the 6:00 class on Friday evening. I know I’ve said this before, but this is the perfect time to squeeze in your exercise for the weekend and feel good about it later on.

Carly was our instructor and she did a wonderful job of welcoming my sister and introducing her to the fitbarre method. She picked upbeat music, corrected us when we were flopping out of form, and encouraged us to keep going even when our thighs were shaking like plants in a windstorm. It was a really nice first class for my sister who didn’t know what to expect. It was great for me to have her in class since I’ve been talking about the fitbarre method for so long. Now, she’s met an instructor and seen the shop and the studio and will have a better picture of the place when I talk about it in the future. It was the perfect start to a very fun weekend.

And the best part … the free class!

So what are you waiting for? Grab your amigas and and get those bodies workin!

Fitness – if it came in a bottle, everybody would have a great body. ~Cher

The background on Bev, our bootcamp superstar!

What’s your fitness background?

I have been a certified personal trainer for five years from a governing body in Canada, CanFitPro. I was an indoor/outdoor bootcamp trainer in Toronto for two years before we moved to the U.S. where I started training the bootcamp at Body Fit in 2008. I was a competitive runner as a teenager, competing on a national and international level from the age of 13. I earned a full four-year scholarship at an NCAA Division 1 school in Kansas running cross country and indoor and outdoor track. From there I started to run marathons and half marathons. After having children, it was such a great fit to become a trainer and help other people improve their health and get into great shape…something I love doing!

How did you become affiliated with BodyFit?

I was actually just shopping for Lululemon clothes!! Coming from Canada where Lululemon originated, I had fallen in love with their workout clothes a couple years prior. When a friend told me there was a place in downtown Northville that sold Lululemon, I was there before you know it! From there, I met Lizz and tried some of the fitbarre classes, (which I loved) and thought that a bootcamp program would be a great complement to the class offerings at the studio.

Do you have any new ideas for routines or moves that you will be introducing this year?

Every workout is a new idea. I design each workout to compliment the last one and I monitor how everyone is feeling and what we need to do to move on. You will never do the same workout twice in the month and although we may do some of the same exercises I am always changing up the formats in order to shock your body and keep your muscles and metabolism guessing.

What is “Bev’s ab routine” that your bootcampers say is super tough but yet incredibly effective?

The majority of exercises that we do in class use multiple muscle groups and joints which also require you to engage your ab muscles. This means that the abs are being worked almost the entire time during the hour in a non conventional way, ie: not just regular sit ups. We do a short ab section at the end of each workout and I have designed a 10 minute ab routine that clients can do on their own at home, if they want to. I am always educating my clients on why we do each exercise and what types of things we can be doing at home to continue to progress. This helps them get a better understanding of the benefits of bootcamp training and helps them to continue to improve!

Work those planks, ladies!

What can bootcamp do for you? Part I

Bev demonstrating an "advanced" move for the abs

Am I too much of a beginner for the bootcamp classes? How do I even know what to expect?
Know this: a bootcamp class with Bev is only as tough as you want it to be. But if you’re in your workout clothes and you showed up to the studio, be prepared to give your best efforts.

In Bev’s words. Bootcamp is a total body workout incorporating cardio, resistance, interval, and circuit training into the routines. The concept of a group bootcamp is to do each exercise in a specific time frame (30 – 60 sec). This makes it suitable and intense for all fitness levels. We start an exercise together and end together…some people may do 20 repetitions and some people may do five repetitions in that time frame but we all progress together. Beginner, intermediate, and advanced clients complete what they are capable of and then we move on to the next exercise. This method ensures that the class flows smoothly and enables everyone to push themselves to their own limits and get in a great workout. Each class is a progression. The moves that seemed hard initially will start to feel easier and easier the longer you continue to do the workouts. I would say we work hard to get our heart rates up, we take lots of breaks to bring our heart rates back down, and we get great results!

The bootcamp classes are three times a week all year long. Will I get bored from doing the same exercises repetitively?

The short answer: no. I took Bev’s bootcamp for two months before my wedding and what I loved best about it was that each day was very different. I never knew coming into class what to expect and that is what seemed exciting to me.

In Bev’s words. The concept behind a good bootcamp workout is muscle confusion. This means you keep the body guessing and it will continue to respond. I am always looking for new exercises and sequences that work multiple muscle groups and joints at the same time. This enables the body to burn twice as many calories in half the time. I am constantly researching on the Internet, in magazines and books, and buying videos for new ideas. I also attend fitness conferences and take continuing education credit courses every year to maintain my training certification and to learn about what is going on in the industry.

Will Bev be able to help me individually or are we all just thrown into a big class?

The best part about these bootcamp classes is that there is a participant maximum. You aren’t just one more body in a sea of sweating masses, blindly fumbling through, hoping to hide in the background. Bev genuinely cares about each person and their goals. I can attest to that because even know I haven’t been to a bootcamp class in a while, whenever I see Bev she smiles and asks how I’m doing and tells me that I’m missed by the group. It’s nice to have that personal relationship.

In Bev’s words. My favorite thing about training at Body fit is the clients! I love the camaraderie. We are all in this together as a group. We see each other three times per week, every week, and we really get to know one another. The energy and motivation are always high and I find that we inspire each other to push ourselves. It is a great group of people to train!

Look for the next post on bootcamp. In that section, you’ll learn more about Bev’s background and how she came to be affiliated with BodyFit.

And if you haven’t signed up for the March 8 session of bootcamp, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!

Friday night fitbarre

Typically, the fitbarre class at 6:00 on Friday night has only a few ladies attending. Why is attendance lower on Friday nights than the other days of the week? It can’t be due to the instructors. Lizz and Carly rotate teaching this session, and they’re both fitbarre enthusiasts. If you can manage to squeeze an hour of fitbarre into your Friday evening, you’ll be reaping big rewards for the rest of your weekend. I’ve compiled a brief list of the biggest obstacles to a Friday night workout and how you might work around them. Stop making excuses.

  • The party animal. Consider you are going out for a night on the town. Most movers and shakers don’t get going to their events until later in the night. A class at 6:00 provides you ample time to change and get to class after work. You’re finished at 7:00 and you still have hours left to eat something healthy, shower, and get spruced up for your Friday festivities. The bonus is that your self-confidence has grown. You can feel sassy in your party clothes baring some skin and showing a little leg. And doesn’t feeling good about your self-image always make any night of the week more fun?
  • The overwrought parent. Perhaps you’ve got a house full of kids and it honestly isn’t that easy to sneak away at this time. Maybe you have a friend you can introduce to the fitbarre method. Perhaps the two of you can trade off Friday slots for watching kids and working out. There is also the inconvenient fact of the timing of the dinner hour. Maybe you can fire up a crockpot recipe that morning or the previous night. Then if you’re in the studio toning your buns, your oldest kid or your partner can handle the dinnertime routine. What’s the saying … if momma’s not happy, no one’s happy? Well a happy mom who feels strong and fit is a complete part of a happy family dynamic.
  • The Friday couch potato. There is another camp of ladies who could be well served to make it to the 6:00 Friday class. I’m in this camp. We’re the ones in the gray zone of not having that wild of a Friday night but also not having kids. Perhaps Friday is our lazy day. Sometimes, we’re just exhausted after a full work week. All the more reason to shed your work clothes, don your black pants and drag yourself to a class. You’ve got the rest of the night to sit around and watch TV or figure out what your dinner plans are. Can’t all of that wait until 7:00? Didn’t Tracy mention that fitbarre can do some wonders for your sex life? If it’s just you and your partner having a low key weekend night, why not rev it up? Get your fanny into the studio and then come home and see where the night leads!

If you’re looking to shake up your weekend routine, aim to get to BodyFit for the Friday class. You’ll feel proud of yourself. You’ll feel good about your exercise ethic. You will be more prepared to attack your weekend, whatever plans you might have. Start your weekend right!

I can see spring in the distance

February is finally here! We have a weather forecast showing day-time highs above the freezing mark. The holidays are firmly behind us. Plop a little singing robin outside my window and all signs will be pointing toward spring (and spring break!).

This is a good time of year to check in with your work out goals. Perhaps, you didn’t exercise as much as you said you would at the start of the year. Maybe you said you’d cut down the desserts after Christmas but somehow they keep showing up on your plate. Or, if you’re like me, you think about your pale, unshaved legs and just can’t imagine that you’ll be baring more skin in the recent future. You will though. Spring is inevitable, and summer is close on its heels.

Let’s keep in mind that working out isn’t solely about vanity. We love when our legs look toned as they peak from under a skirt. It’s confidence boosting when we slip on that halter top and feel happy about our triceps. But the big picture to focus on is health. It’s quality of life. It’s being able to keep up with your kids. Walking two flights of stairs when you’re 60. Being able to tie your shoes without having to sit on a bench.

Fitbarre is a terrific way to work on your muscle toning and your flexibility. Planks tone your abs so you feel sassy in a two-piece bathing suit. They also help whittle your middle. Research says that excess belly fat can contribute to more health problems for women, even when they are of normal weight. This is something to consider when you’re cursing the next plank moves as your shoulders and stomach muscles are shuddering. We exercise because we need to. We want to push the idea of an early death as far away as possible. This is your life. Claim it with fierce determination. Sure, looking good in a bikini is a wonderful achievement, but nothing beats the immeasurable value of a body that functions like a well-oiled machine. If spring break is your motivation, that’s a great start. But stick with it!

If you’ve been putting off a class lately, come tonight. If you only made it once last week, aim for two classes this week. If you want to change up your routine, sign up for a month of bootcamp. If you’re wondering what boot camp is all about, stay tuned for the next post. I’ll be talking with Bev. She is a fitness dynamo and she’s got some great ideas to keep you healthy and keep you moving!

Take note of the new schedule!

Click on the right hand tab at the top of the page for the new 2011 schedule.

-Tuesday and Thursday mornings, fitbarre is only at 9:00.
-Tuesday and Thursday evenings, the fitbarre is at 5:30 and 6:30
-a 45-minutes express class is now offered at noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays
-Fitbarre is offered at 10:15 and 11:15 on Sunday mornings
Fitbarre is now offered at 4:00 in the afternoon on Sunday. This is new!

Let’s hope changes to the schedule can translate to changes in your own routine and in how you view your body! Here’s a great tip: print out the new schedule and tape it near your mirror in the bathroom or near your computer at work. The more often you see it and think about it, the more likely you are to be in the mindset of getting to a class. Why not try and meet a personal challenge? Go to more fitbarre classes this week than last week, and strive for even more the following week. Or get really bold and try back-to-back classes. After all, body transformations don’t happen while you’re lying on the couch!

Tell us what you think!

Set your alarm earlier: More incentive to exercise early in the day

More evidence suggests that soldiering into that 5:30 a.m. bootcamp class or 6:00 a.m. fitbarre class might be the best decision you make all day.

See New York Times article.

What are the most common excuses for not taking the early morning class? Well, first and most obvious, the classes happen to be that early, and it’s cold out—very, very cold and dark. Second, we think our bodies aren’t trained to function optimally at those hours. Third, it’s quite easy to hit snooze, roll over, curl our bodies into the warm blankets, and tell ourselves we’ll hit the gym or the studio later in the day.

However, we also know that our most lofty goals get sidelined when life’s other plans come sweeping up behind us. Kids get sick. Our boss keeps us late at the office. We have to get groceries because there’s no food for dinner. Subsequently, our vision of making it to the later class becomes the reality of sitting on the couch, watching TV. Then we might overeat. Then we might berate ourselves for not working out. Then we scrutinize ourselves with a more negative focus.

Research suggests that people who work out early in the day are more likely to stay consistent with a program. What’s also fascinating is that people who work out earlier in the day seem to burn calories more efficiently. This theory was investigated in Belgium. Researchers recruited three groups of physically fit and active men. They fed them a similar diet that was composed of 50 percent fat, and contained 30 percent more calories than their average diets. One group didn’t exercise at all. (You can easily imagine what happened to their waistlines.) The other two groups exercised strenuously under supervision four times a week. The difference in the groups was that one ate a carbohydrate-rich breakfast before exercising and also drank sports drinks during their sessions. The other group started on an empty stomach, only drank water throughout the workout, and then ate breakfast afterward. This breakfast was also high in carbohydrates and about the same amount of calories.

This study took place over the course of six weeks. The men who chowed down on the fattening foods and didn’t exercise at all gained about six pounds each. The men who ate the rich breakfasts before working out gained about three pounds each. It was the members of the third group who didn’t gain any weight. The researchers believe exercising in a fasted state allows the body to burn fat more efficiently. These results are illuminating but they do leave some questions open. First, your performance will probably improve with some type of carbohydrates before working out, so is no fuel realistic? Second, how would these results compare if the participants were women or if the exercise wasn’t that strenuous? The answer to this last question is my favorite line from this article:

according to Leonie Heilbronn, Ph.D., a professor at the University of Adelaide in Australia, who has extensively studied the effects of high-fat diets and wrote a commentary about the Belgian study, “I would predict low intensity is better than nothing.”

An old adage that remains true: more exercise is better than some, and some is better than none at all. So, chew on this information next time you’re plotting your upcoming fitness regimen. We’re all facing holiday parties, extra sweets in the office kitchen, and more baked goods around the house. How fantastic would you feel if you began your day with a sweaty workout? It might be rough when the alarm squawks and the sky is still dark, but your feelings of being a champ will last all day long. Go get ‘em tiger!

The ladies are loving on Lululemon

When it comes to deciding what apparel to carry at BodyFit, Tracey and Lizz make their decisions based on feedback from customers. Most of the customers are also participants in the fitbarre and bootcamp classes, so they know what they like and dislike. What they like most turns out to be black Lululemon pants. Depending on your perspective, you ladies are either very boring or very consistent. But let’s face it; nothing hides sweat like a well-made pair of black pants!

Your opinion really does matter to these co-owners. In fact they are willing to work with you and even make special orders on occasion. If it turns out that a new style or brand of clothing isn’t popular with the shoppers, then they usually discontinue carrying it. On the other hand, if something works, they stick with it. Lululemon is consistently the most popular brand sold in the store. It is the one that is always in stock as well.

Lululemon is popular because it lasts. The people who work at the company do a lot of research on their products: Does the item hold up? Is it simple to wash and care for? Are these items cute and fresh compared to the competitors’ product offerings? This company has done their investigations and they know what people want. Tracy says, “Hands down, it is the best fitness apparel out there. You can even wash AND dry the pants without fading and pilling—just don’t use softener! From the wicking, to the (back side) flattering fit, you just can’t go wrong with Lulu!”

If you are a fan of this brand, you can expect to see new apparel every month or every other month. If you like to experiment with other brands, BodyFit has recently introduced inPhorm and Splits59. I saw a Splits59 burgundy racerback tank in the store and it might have been the softest top I had ever felt! Also worth noting is that Splits59 apparel is all made in the U.S.A. InPhorm prides itself on its eco-friendly clothing made at environmentally friendly facilities. For example, it has solar powerd sewing machines. Lizz and Tracey try to keep the stock fresh and they like to carry different brands so they can cater to the varying budgets that we all have.

Are you curious about those exersocks? They are recommended for the grip on the bottom of the sock. This allows for more traction on the carpet in the studio and prevents slipping, allowing you more control over your movements and less possibility of injury. I have not tried them yet. If you are someone who always wears these, leave a comment and let us know why you won’t go back to bare feet. We’d love to hear your thoughts.

As always, Tracey and Lizz are open to your suggestions. They aim to make their clients happy. If there is a product you’d like to see in the store, let them know!

Keep checking back for more updates and don’t miss BodyFit’s holiday sales!

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