Seasonal depression is a real thing, especially in New York. Maybe that’s why you see so many people dressed in black and grey!
At this time of year, we’re close to the winter solstice, which is the shortest (darkest) day of the year. Normally we have a raucous holiday season to offset the doom and gloom, but this year will likely be different. Many of us will be isolated from family and friends or stuck with a small group of local people who could also be suffering from seasonal depression (fellow New Yorkers).
Some people get obnoxiously bright lights to cure SAD and sit in front of them for an hour or so each day. While that might work, we have a better solution: exercise!
Before you roll your eyes at another suggestion from us to hit the gym, consider this study published in 2017 in Frontiers in Pharmacology. The researchers found that exercise was just as good at curing depression as antidepressants. This might seem like a bold claim, but there are other studies out there that show similar results.
This isn’t a recommendation to quit taking medication or skip therapy, but remember that when you get SAD, exercise is just as good as medicine. Whether it’s a HIIT class, weight training workout or just a stroll around the park, anything will do!
Coach Henry Halse
We asked Noam, Owner of TS, to distill everything he’s learned about getting in shape over his years of experience down into one sentence. While it’s good to get caught up in the specifics of training and nutrition, sometimes you need to step back and look at the big picture.
It’s hard to sum up everything from training to mindset and nutrition. If there’s one thing Noam wants you to remember, one simple piece of advice, it’s this:
“When you want to give up, remember why you started."
In an ideal world, you could go to the gym, eat a squeaky clean diet, avoid injury and stay on track. But that’s not how life goes.
Chances are, you’re going to get derailed a lot. To stay on track, remember why you’re doing all this in the first place. Your original goal, your motivation for getting started. Whatever that is, use it to push yourself through roadblocks.
To further distill Noam’s philosophy down into one word, it would be this:
Consistency is the key to success in fitness, but that’s not enough to keep you going. Perseverance is the will to continue even when things get tough (e.g. a pandemic). At the end of the day, you’re just trying to build new habits. To do that, you need to stay consistent. To stay consistent, you need to persevere through setbacks. To persevere, remember why you started!
Coach Henry Halse
I was asked a few months ago to make BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goals) for TS Fitness.
It's a great idea for a company, however, I think it's a LOUSY tool for your individual health and wellness goals.
Getting a six-pack, dropping 40lbs or getting the body of your favorite actor or actress takes a lot of time and commitment.
What you see in the media is not realistic and if it's achieved it's not sustainable.
Changing just one habit is a big deal!
Small changes done consistently over time create BIG results. These 5 habit-changing tips have worked for hundreds of our clients both men and women.
Get in a 15-minute bodyweight workout from home on the days you don’t get to the gym. Those extra calories burned add up to weight loss.
Eat 30 grams of protein per meal to keep your blood sugar level and help build muscle tone ( ie: 6 oz of a lean protein, 5 egg whites).
Drink more water: 70-80 oz per day to keep your energy levels up instead of reaching for sugar or caffeine to give you a boost.
Sleep 7-8 hours to keep your hormones balanced. Lack of sleep leads to weight gain.
Eat every 3-4 hours to keep your metabolism from slowing down and prevents you from overeating.
Friday night was our TS Fitness holiday party. I drank and ate without moderation.
On Saturday, I woke up feeling like I got hit by a truck.
To tell you the truth, I didn’t even leave my apartment all day and just had a bunch of leftover chips and dips. I woke up on Sunday morning and I wanted to do the same thing again BUT...
I got myself to the gym. I had a nice well-balanced breakfast. I put those last few days behind me.
The point here? Try not to let one or two days of indulging during the holiday season make you give up on good nutrition habits for the rest of the week or even month.
Starting your morning off with a workout or a simple activity such as walking and having an understanding of nutrition so you can put together a healthy meal will help set the tone for the rest of the day.
The hardest part is just starting. That’s why it’s great to sign up for a class, have an exercise buddy, and have the experience of completing a nutrition program.
Having supportive resources around you will help you get back on track.
Managing stress in your life is a great way to improve your overall health but we know that is easier said than done of course!
One method of handling your stress during the day is diaphragmatic breathing (using your diaphragm to breathe instead of your chest). We often include diaphragmatic breathing in our warm-ups or cool downs too
By practicing diaphragmatic breathing, you can provide your body with more oxygen, slowing your heartbeat, and possibly lowering or stabilizing blood pressure. This should help lower your stress level.
Next time you feel stressed, try this:
Breathe through your nose and make sure that the air is inflating near your stomach instead of your chest.
Push your stomach outwards to draw air through your nose and then exhale through pursed lips longer than your exhale (4-5 seconds).
Try for 60 seconds and then resume your normal breathing routine.
Though you may not see our coaches banging our reps while you’re in the studio, every member of our team is dedicated to practicing what they preach: consistent work to get the fitness results that they want. To get better understanding of how hard our coaches train to stay fit, Coach Henry shared his workout routine and nutrition program.
Coach Henry likes to keep his exercise routine rather simple. Henry works out almost daily, about 5-7 times a week. “I get very antsy if I don’t workout so I try to get at least 45 minutes of gym time per day but sometimes that’s not possible” Henry said.
Two of his weekly workouts are actually intense and involve cardio. He likes to try studios around the city, such as recently working out EverybodyFights, or with a training partner. Aside from his high intensity workouts, the rest of his week is filled with 45-60 minutes of solo weightlifting sessions.
“I try to stick to an upper/lower body split” said Henry. “This means I’ll do upper body (chest, back, shoulders, arms) one day and legs the next.” Each 45-60 minute sessions consists of 5 sets of each exercise for about 10 reps per set.
For upper body days, Henry employs the bench press, chin ups, dumbbell bench press, and cable or T bar rows. “For arms I do curls and tricep extensions” said Henry. His lower body routine consists of barbell squats or deadlifts, trap bar deadlifts, RFE split squats, or regular split squats, many of which you will find as part of our Group Personal Training programs that Henry designs. By sticking to his body split, it allows Henry to give his muscle groups about 48 hours to recover.
Nutrition is one of the most important aspects of any fitness program. Coach Henry tries to eat fruits and vegetables daily and eats high calorie foods like red meat and pasta to maintain his weight. Henry makes sure that he gets enough calories in his diet otherwise he begins losing weight almost immediately. If you are interested in learning more about how to improve your nutrition and learn the best way to feed your body, feel free to reach out to any of our coaches.
At the end of the day, everyone has different fitness goals but they key to success is consistency. Like Coach Henry, we recommend you put the time in at gym to see the progress you want. Coupled with a quality nutrition program, you should be well on your way to seeing results. We are committed to developing the program that will get you to your goals, which is why every program kicks off with an assessment and goal strategy session and is constantly tweaked through reassessments and goal discussions.
On the 14th of February every year, people across the country exchange flowers, cards, or make grand romantic gestures involving running through airports with oversized stuff bears. Why go through all that hassle when you can simply crush some heart pounding exercises, torch a bunch calories, and release those feel good endorphins to set the mood?
We’ve put together a few of our favorite exercises that you can do with your significant other, friend, roommate, or Seamless delivery guy right at home. We recommend working through the routine of 3 times.
Complete 10x on each leg.
Complete 10x on each side.
Complete 6x on each side.
Complete 5 rolls per partner.
Strength training is not just about losing weight but making long term changes to improve your health and fitness level. If you focus on just the digits on the scale, you may miss the other benefits of your training program. Your weight doesn’t tell you the whole story behind your fitness journey.
Here are 4 ways to know that your hard work is paying off.
Check that pulse! Your resting heart rate, or the measure of how many times per minute your heart beats while you are at rest, is a good indicator of your cardiovascular health and can be positively impacted by exercise. Tracking your HR over time is a good way to measure your fitness progress. First you need to calculate your heart rate.
Many fitness trackers like Fitbit or Apple Watch can determine your resting heart rate or you can figure it on your own without any fancy technology. To start first, find your pulse by placing two fingers between your the bone and tendon over radial artery (located on the thumb side of your wrist). Count the number of heart beats in 15 second and then multiply that by 2 to get your BPM. Your smart phone has a calculator, by the way.
A rate between 60 and 90 beats per minute (BPM) is considered normal. Generally speaking, a lower heart rate indicates that your heart is functioning more efficiently. Though many factors ranging from age, gender, and genetics may impact your baseline heart rate, the one factor you can control is your fitness level. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) like our TS Shred class can help to lower your resting heart rate.
And just for reference, Lance Armstrong had a resting HR of about 32 BPM at his prime but getting close to 60 BPM is a good start.
After you start incorporating a strength training routine balanced with a nutrition program, you may see changes in the way your clothing fit. You may find that jeans are getting looser around the waist or on the contrary, that you’re filling out your your favorite shirt as you develop muscle. You may have lost some weight but if you’re increasing lean mass while losing body fat, the scale might not move but you will feel the results! You can actually lose inches around your waist but have little movement on the scale.
We like to take progress pictures of our clients to help you visually see how your body is changing. Usually after 3 months of strength training, the results can be dramatic.
Are you finding yourself getting a better nice rest? Are you falling asleep more quickly? Are you not tossing your alarm against the wall? Research shows that people who exercise frequently tend to have a better night’s sleep than those that don’t. Interestingly, the benefits of exercise on your sleep patterns may actually take a few weeks to kick into gear. On the flip side, a poor night’s sleep can hurt your workout. So the moral of the story; go to sleep early to insure a good workout!
Do you have more pep in your step? Studies show that people who exercise experience less fatigue than those that do not. Consistently working out can help you build up your energy levels, increase your lung capacity, and pump greater amounts of oxygen rich blood to your brain. Working out also can improve your endorphin levels, which help reduce stress and improve concentration and focus. This endorphin rush may make you feel like you have more energy throughout the day.
So skip the energy drinks and go for a brisk walk or sign up for a HIIT class if you are feeling tired.
We know that progress may be hard to see on a day to day basis but you should take a step back and evaluate how you actually feel, not how much weight you’ve lost. Our coaches are here to help you build a stronger you so reach out if you’d like to discuss your progress.
As professionals in the fitness industry, we love to stay current with the happenings in the industry. We wanted to share with you some of the articles and books that TS team has been geeking out on lately. As part of our dedication to continuing education and keeping our team growing, we select books together to foster conversation and discussion. We actually include related readings as part of our Monday Meetings! Let us know if you have any recommendations; we are always looking to learn something new!
“Typically, people who exercise, start eating better and becoming more productive at work. They smoke less and show more patience with colleagues and family. They use their credit cards less frequently and say they feel less stressed. Exercise is a keystone habit that triggers widespread change.”
This past fall, the TS team read The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. In this NYT best seller, Duhigg dives into the scientific discoveries that explain how people develop habits. The Power of Habit determines that the key to creating last change such as losing weight, working out often, or achieving personal successes hinges on the understanding of how habits work and the ability harness their power to change your life. The Power of Habit is very relatable to the things we see everyday in our own lives and the industry we are in.
“Starting my own business was the only thing that made life’s other risks—marriage, Vegas, alligator wrestling—seem like sure things. But my hope was that when I failed, if I failed, I’d fail quickly, so I’d have enough time, enough years, to implement all the hard-won lessons. I wasn’t much for setting goals, but this goal kept flashing through my mind every day, until it became my internal chant: Fail fast.”
Shoe Dog, written by Nike founder Phil Knight, illuminates the company’s early days as a small business and its eventual transformation into one of the world’s most innovative, disruptive, and profitable brands. Knight demonstrates that the path to business success is riddled with mistakes and struggles and is much messier than it may appear. He advocates for using mistakes as learning opportunities and if one is to fail--fail quickly to learn and move on.
Not only does he analyze his own business decisions but also covers the human relationships that formed the culture of Nike. As a small business in the fitness industry, this sports-related book resonated with the team due to its emphasis of hard work, dedication, and the value of relationships.
In addition to books, we’ve read a bunch of great articles lately, written by members of the TS Community.
“You can’t deny it—ice skaters have insanely great glutes. “When you ice skate, your power comes from glutes,” says Noam Tamir, C.S.C.S., founder of TS Fitness in New York City. “Each time you push off one foot, you go into hip extension and the glutes are the main driver there." He says you also work the adductors and abductors in your legs, "which are very important during the propulsion of the movement, as your legs move away from and then return to the center of your body.”
Amy Schlinger is not only a great writer who specializes in fitness but you can also find her torching calories at TS. She recently wrote an article for Women’s Health featuring Coach Noam Tamir on “10 Winter Workouts That Burn An Insane Amount Of Calories.”
Goblet Squat: If you’re still learning proper squat technique, this is one of the best squat variations. You’ll need a kettlebell or dumbbell for resistance, but you don’t need to go too heavy. The weight helps you lean backward as you squat down, making the movement easier.
Did you Coach Henry also writes about fitness for websites like Livestrong, Elite Daily, and Bustle? Henry wrote a great piece on squat variations for MyFitnessPal. You likely will see a few of these moves in your next GPT class!
We love passing all the things we learn on to our peers, our clients and our community. If you aren’t growing, you’re dying. The hunger to become better is on the forefront of the TS Team’s culture. We are always taking things that we learn and applying them to the community that we have created. Knowledge is power but only if you apply what you learn.
Welcome to 2019! As begin another year, we have the momentum and enthusiasm to make positive changes in our lives. Though buying a new calendar may signal this chance annual we also are lucky to be able to decide to make these changes each and every day.
Each day you can wake up and decide what you want to accomplish. It can seem like a daunting task at first--where to start? We recommend creating a specific goal and a detailed plan to get you there. What is your goal for 2019 regarding health and fitness and how are you going to seize this opportunity to begin anew?
Like with any goal, whether financial, personal, professional, or in the gym, you need to create reasonable expectations to give yourself the opportunity to succeed. The best way to begin is to create SMART goals, ones that are specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time-bound. You should create SMART goals for your weight loss and the supporting activities like your strength training goals just like you would create KPIs for your work performance. To learn more about setting goals, check out our previous blog post.
Plans are a detailed roadmap for getting something done and should serve as your blueprint to achieving your goal. In order to really be successful, you need a plan that is flexible and can change with the ebbs and flows of your daily life. Too many people look at a plan as a rigid document that once written, can never change. Because of few bumps in the road, some folks may lose their grip on their plan and decide that it is impossible to get back on track. Therefore, your plan has to be fluid. Loose the idea that you will be perfect and the stress falls away.
We can help you develop a fitness and nutrition plan that works for you. In the gym, our coaches will create a strength training routines that will help you meet your goal--whether it's to build muscle mass, develop tone, or lose weight. What you do outside the gym is almost more important to see progress. We’ve partnered with Balanced Habits to develop nutrition plans that are successful yet enjoyable. This is program that instills sustainable eating habits to help our clients for years, not just for the 28 days of the program. We don’t believe in diets, we believe in creating habits to live.
Every morning you have the opportunity to decide if you want to stick to your plan such as going to the gym or eating better. How exciting! We know though that once in a while, you’ll sleep in or you'll have those fries. That is OK! LIfe is a long road, you should be able to enjoy it. A plan helps you right the ship after a few weeks off or the holiday season social gatherings.
We start our next Balanced Habits Kickstart on January 18th. Join us and create a strong plan for 2019.
December is one of the most stressful times of year due to the end of the business year, holiday shopping, social gatherings, and the never ending darkness. It is important to take care of yourself during this hectic time and find healthy ways to relieve your stress so you can make it one piece to 2019.
Exercise is easy, natural way to increase your endorphins, the neurotransmitters that control your mood. According to the Mayoclinic,”regular exercise can increase self-confidence, it can relax you, and it can lower the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety.” On top of that, exercise can also improve your sleep, which is often disrupted by more than just sugar plums dancing in your head.
Sticking your regular exercise routine will help you make sense of this extra busy time of year. Getting to the gym at the same time each day will help anchor your schedule. Fortunately, at TS, you can book all your classes online on our website so you can schedule your entire December in one shot!
Since the holidays are filled with post-work happy hours and parties, we recommend working out in the morning when you know your schedule will be clear. Otherwise, last minute plans can derail your routine. Plus having an early workout session is an awesome excuse to exit an awkward social event early when you rather just lounge on your couch.
The holidays are a festive time and many social gatherings are food focused. We’ve discussed how to eat properly through the holidays, but an added benefit of eating (relatively) healthy besides sticking to your nutrition program is that you will keep your body operating in tip top shape. When you’re stressed, you may have less willpower to turn down highly processed foods that are full of sugar and carbs. These types of foods quickly move through your system, ultimately giving you a sugar crash, leaving you lethargic.
Try filling up on complex carbs like oatmeal, whole grain cereals, vegetables, beans and fruits. These foods will help your brain develop the feel-good hormone, serotonin, which will decrease your feeling of stress. Including moderate amounts of healthy fat from avocados, nuts, and fatty fish, also will improve your mood. As the days get shorter, you spend a lot less time in the sun and receive less natural Vitamin D. Vitamin D is crucial to the immune system so incorporate foods like eggs, wild salmon, and mushrooms in your diet to make up for the lack of sun exposure. You can also include Magnesium supplements to help alleviate anxiety.
Hibernating like a bear may not be an option but making sure you are getting at least 7 hours of sleep each night will help you feel as strong as Yogi. When you rest for less than the optimal 7 hours, you incur what is known as “sleep debt.” Sleep debt can cause brain fog, irritability, and fatigue. It can even make you hungrier and cause you turn to unhealthy food as your willpower may be diminished. Additionally, If you are not sleeping well, your body produces releases the stress hormone cortisol, which slows down the production of growth hormone, ultimately affecting your muscle development.
Find ways to relax! For example, create a routine each night that including relaxing activities. Try dimming your lights and consider cutting out technology like your phone or TV an hour before bed time. Light exposure suppresses your body’s natural release of melatonin, a hormone that helps you maintain your circadian rhyme, which can affect your sleep. “Our brains are constantly challenged with technology so the break is an added benefit,” said Coach Alejandro. Reading, meditating, and taking a hot shower are great ways to relax your body.
This stressful time moves quickly and being prepared to take it head on will leave you feeling prepared for 2019.
Though plenty has been written on how technology can be detrimental to many aspects of your life, leveraging the right types of digital resources can support your fitness goals. At TS, we like to use tech to supplement the skills of our well-trained coaches.
We've developed an app that you can use to stay fit when you are away from TS Fitness. We even offer remote training through Skype! Continue reading to learn more about how tech can improve your training.
Our app or social media platforms like Instagram and YouTube, are the perfect way to visually learn the movements in your program. Everyone learns a bit differently but some our clients favor visual cues to help understand the proper and safe way to do an exercise. If you are not watching our YouTube page or checking our Instagram, make sure your are getting your advice from a reputable source. Bad advice is worse than no advice!
Nothing breaks up an intense workout then having to stop to Google an exercise right in the middle of your routine. Being proactive allows you to research each movement before you hit the gym. Some of our clients like to visualize themselves working through a set before they arrive, mentally preparing themselves for their workout. Accessing your routine before you step in the gym gives you time to memorize it, letting you move fluidly from exercise to exercise. No need for unnecessary breaks, keeping your heart rate up and your mind focused. Using technology like our app or similar platforms can allow you to use your downtime commuting through the city to get ready for your workout.
There are plenty of apps that you can download to your phone, like MyFitnessPal, that can help keep you accountable to your diet or your workouts. You can set your phone to remind you to exercise by not only setting calendar appointments but by sending you push notifications. Through our app, our trainers are able to review your routine and just as importantly, see if you completed your workout. We have the ability to gently remind you of a missed session, keeping you on track to hit your goals.
Sharing your accomplishments and goals can also increase your accountability. Some of our clients like to commit to a challenge or a workout goal on social media and are kept accountable by their network. Classpass even lets you see which classes your friends are attending so it is easy sign up to our HIIT class with a buddy. At the end of the day though, make sure you are building a better, stronger you for you, and not for the 'gram.
Having all of your routines in one spot, like an app or a spreadsheet, allows you to watch your progress over time. Goals should be measurable and using the right tech to record your routines will you measure your development and allow you to actively reevaluate.
We love fitness trackers like Fitbit or Apple Watch to get a baseline understanding of our day to day steps. These devices help you keep track of your movements throughout the day and are a great way to always be thinking about your activity level.
Our app-based workout program was created to service clients that are not geographically able to make it to our NYC based studio on a consistent basis. You can even access the program via your phone! Programs are based on goals, equipment available, time and fitness level.
In addition to our app-based program, we also offer virtual video training with our coaches. If you are interested in learning more about our app or remote training, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
The next six weeks are some of the hardest to navigate if you are actively thinking about your nutrition. As the holidays slowly approach with parties and work gatherings, the calories can quickly pile up. After our successful Balanced Habits Kickstart, we picked up a few tips and tricks on how you can enjoy the end of 2018 but keep your goals on track.
The holidays are a festive time and you should enjoy them! But enjoy everything in moderation! Controlling the portion sizes of the food that you consume is one of the key ways to improve weight loss. People are generally terrible at estimating the number of calories in a dish and instead of relying on serving size, they should focus on portions. Portion size refers to the amount that you should be eating based on your fitness goals and body type. Learning more about portion sizes can allow you eat some of the foods you enjoy while still hitting your goals.
When you eat may be as important as what you eat. Though there have been a wide variety of studies surrounding meal times over the years, there is little consensus about what time is best to eat. What we do know is that restricting meals to certain times daily will set your body on a schedule and that sticking to this routine will help you maintain your weight over the long term. We recommend trying to eat at the same time each day and to avoid snacking. For our Balanced Habit Kickstart, we advised that our clients eat four meals every four hours. We were also very strict on the no snacking rule.
How does this come into play for the holidays? If you know you are going to indulge a bit before a work event, you may incorrectly believe that skipping lunch will save you calories. Instead, a skipped meal may slow your metabolism and cause you to be even more hungry when you are surrounded by tempting, high calorie foods. Stick to your meal schedule to avoid overeating later. If you have an evening event, consider eating your last meal of the day before meeting with friends, this way you can be social but control your food choices.
Many social gatherings involve catered or restaurant food. Over 92% of popular menu choices exceed the threshold of calories for a normal meal! It’s a chef’s job to make your food taste great and that may mean added fat, salt, and sugars along with larger than life servings. By cooking at food at home, you are in control and can limit how much butter, for example, that you use in a dish. If your friends want to go out to celebrate Thanksgiving, try instead recommending a potluck or hosting dinner at your apartment. This way all of the food served is likely home cooked (though we know someone will bring food from the hot bar at Whole Foods). If you prepare the food yourself, you will have much more control over the final calorie counts.
If you know that you have a tough time resisting the temptation to overindulge, remove the food from the equation entirely! Catching up with high school friends? Plan a hike at a local park or schedule a HIIT class with TS! Social situations do not always have to be food related; try something active.
Easiest way to avoid empty calories and poor decisions is to drink only water with your meals. We normally recommend about ½ of water per pound of body weight but if you are drinking alcohol, you should make sure to consume even more water.
Alcohol can make a meal go from relatively healthy to a gut buster pretty quickly. If you are going to have booze, consider avoiding craft beers (with over 200 calories a bottle) and sugary, mixed drinks. You can always bring your own beverages to a party, giving you control of what you consume. Hard seltzers and clear liquors are slightly healthier options
The holidays can be a great time to catch up with family, friends, and coworkers to celebrate. Try to take these tips into consideration to set yourself up for success. Since the end of the year is so busy, consider scheduling your fitness classes in the morning, before last minute plans can get in the way of exercise. Plus, committing to a 7am HIIT class may make it easier to say no to that shot of tequila.
Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions or you need an accountability buddy to get you through the holidays. If you are interested in jumping starting your nutrition in 2019, we are offering another Balanced Habit Kickstart in January. Email email@example.com to learn more.
Back pain can ruin any workout and protecting your back may not be on the top of your mind during a workout session. Most exercises incorporate the collection of about 140 muscles that make up your back even if the movement is not directly targeting it. By including a few simple exercises into your normal routine, you can help protect your back from potential injury.
We start every workout with mobility work. Dynamic warm-ups can improve your mobility and ultimately lead to a more productive exercise session and a healthier body. By improving your mobility, you will reduce your body’s asymmetries and compensations, leading to a more balanced muscle structure. With poor mobility and stability, you will create further dysfunction in your body leading to an increased chance of injury and decreased optimal performance.
For example, if you have trouble touching your toes and you were to deadlift, you may end up using you lower back. This puts stress on your back rather than using your core and glutes for the movement.
Studies have shown that that people with weak core muscles have an increased risk of lower back pain. Researchers like Dr. Stuart McGill have advocated teaching your abdominals to resist extension to protect your lower back as your deep core muscles stabilize your entire midsection. When your core is weak, your back is forced to pick up the slack. We like to incorporate anti-extension and anti-rotation movements that will ultimately strengthen the lower spine. An anti-extension movement is a type of movement where you resist extending the lower part of your back while anti-rotational involves keeping your core and spine still while the rest of your body moves.
Give these 3 moves (that are safer than crunches) a try by putting a few sets into your warm up and see how they can build your core and make your back stronger.
Anti-Rotational Isometric Band Holds
Dead bugs are one of the simplest and most effective core exercises. To prevent your back from arching, you must tighten your abs, which makes the Dead Bug an anti-extension exercise. These also help you to strengthen your transverse abdominis, the deep core muscles that are super important in creating stability in the pelvis.
Lie on your back with your arms extended, knees bent at 90 degrees, calves parallel to the floor. While keeping your lower back in contact with the ground, extend and lower your right leg and bring your left arm up. Then tap your heel to the floor and return to the starting position. Repeat with opposite arm and leg. Do 10 reps on each side.
The plank teaches an athlete how to develop more tension in the core to prevent extension.
Assume a push-up position. Your body should form a straight line from your head to your heels. Hold this position while focusing on keeping your abs and low back muscles tightened to prevent bending at the hips. Hold for 30-45 seconds
If you would like to make this a bit harder, lower yourself onto your elbows. Your elbows should be bent 90 degrees and your forearms on the floor. Your elbows should be underneath your shoulders while you look straight toward the floor.
Anti-rotational moves regularly can help strengthen the muscles that stabilize the spine including the obliques. You are resisting rotation, creating stability in an upright position.
Stand with your feet about hip width apart with knees slightly bent. You should set up a resistance band to be perpendicular to your body at approximately chest height. Grip the band in both hands, with your fingers interlocked and elbows by your sides. While keeping your back straight, press the band forward, hold for 20-30 secs or you can do 3-5 reps of 5-10 sec holds, pulling your arms in and pressing back out. Repeat on the other side.
Halloween is right around the corner and there is no reason you can’t start burning off that candy corn right now. Our trainers have put together a ghouling workout so start exorcising!
Our HIIT exercise only requires a decorated pumpkin or you can use a medicine ball. We tried using carved Jack-o-lantern but it ended up squashed.
This workout consists of two circuits. Do each exercise for 40 seconds. Rest for 20 seconds. Repeat for a total of 3 rounds for each circuit.
Get into a hinge position from standing position and drive your hands back behind you. Push into ground, extend your hips forward, with your hands into sky. As soon you are about to land, pull hands back, hinge hips into landing position and stand up. Avoid landing on the pumpkin. Repeat!
Sit on the floor with your feet hip-distance apart in front of you and your arms behind your back with fingers facing hips. Lift your hips off the floor and tighten your abs. Start crawling forward by moving your right hand followed by your left foot, then your left hand followed by your right foot. Move 6 steps forward and then 6 steps back.
Place your hands on the pumpkin directly beneath the shoulders. Pull your shoulder blades down. Slowly walk your legs back until your arms are at 45 degree angle to the pumpkin. Slowly walk forward until you are back in your starting position.
Hold the pumpkin at your chest with both of hands and stand with your feet about hip-width apart. Brace your core, drop your butt back and down to lower into a squat while keeping your chest up. Sit back into your heels without shifting your weight forward onto the balls of your feet. Drive through your heels, return to your standing position and give your glutes a squeeze at the top.
Stand up straight and place your feet about hip-width apart. Place your hands palms down facing the floor, just above your middle.Quickly drive your left knee up to meet your left hand, then bring return to the ground while bringing the right knee to meet your right hand. Make sure you are engaging your abdominal muscles as each knee comes up to meet your hands.
Begin in a seated position with knees bent, feet off the floor and holding pumpkin in front of your chest. Twist the gourd to your left hip bone, while keeping your body centered. Twist to the right. Repeat.
Injuries suck--but they happen. How do you recover from an injury that takes you out of the gym for a few days or a few weeks?
Following up to last week’s article on recovering from a tough or new routine, we've compiled some of our best tips on overcoming an injury so you can get back at it.
Avoiding injury obviously better than recovering from one. Make sure to include proper mobility work in each of your sessions may help avoid injury. By improving your mobility, you will reduce your body’s asymmetries and compensations, leading to a more balanced muscle structure. With poor mobility and stability, you will create further dysfunction in your body leading to an increased chance of injury and decreased optimal performance. For example, if you have trouble touching your toes and you were to deadlift, you may end up using you lower back. This puts stress on your back rather then using your core and glutes for the movement.
Make sure you get enough sleep! Lack of sleep may increase your risk for injuries. Studies have also shown that when sleep deprived, your reaction time suffers significantly. “If you don’t get enough sleep, you will have slower reaction times, and poor judgement of distance, speed, and time. All factors that can impact your body’s ability to perform athletic movements” said Coach Elvin.
We also recommend to working out with certified trainers who can make teach you proper form, decreasing the chances of an issue.
But accidents and injuries can happen, even outside the gym (watch those subway stairs), so what can you do?
In the immediate aftermath of an injury, you should focus on minimizing the swelling by following the RICE method. RICE is Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. You can learn more about RICE on WebMD. If the injury is severe, you should see a medical professional as soon as possible. Although with some injuries, it’s good to move it around and create blood flow that will help to heal the injury
Most sprains improve after 2 weeks of rest but if they do not, you should visit your doctor. Only a medical professional can provide you with a diagnosis and provide you with an actionable rehabilitation strategy. Understanding the nature of your injury allows you to mentally prepare for recovery as well as avoid future issues.
IIf your injury is not initially severe, you should still take a break from movements that may aggravate your injury. You will struggle to heal if you repeatedly stress an acute injury, possibly turning it into something more chronic. Pain is your body’s way to telling you that you’re injured so listen! Don’t “work through the pain”. Taking some time off may delay your fitness goals but worsening your injury could put a much larger damper on your long term outlook.
Though you may not be at your peak training level after a recovery period, most research shows that the bulk of your fitness level is difficult to lose in the short-term.
Rehabbing an injury doesn't necessarily mean that you have to avoid all physical activity. Focus on what you can do, not what you can’t. Talk to your doctor about safe activities that you can do while you recover. For example, if you have a shoulder injury, you may still be to cycle on a stationary bike. Add low impact exercises like swimming into your routine to allow you keep moving but also resting your injury. With your doctor’s clearance, we can help modify our HIIT and GPT sessions to avoid aggravating your injury.
Keeping active is not only great for you body but will help you keep your spirits up.
You can help your body heal faster by consuming protein rich foods, such as meat and fish, to rebuild your muscles. Vitamin C aids the production of collagen, a building block of tissue. Foods like salmon are high in Omega-3 fat that limit inflammation as well. If break a bone, you likely will benefit from calcium rich foods and Vitamin D.
Depending on the level of injury, you may need to be cleared by a doctor before returning to the gym. You may be given exercises to do at home while you are recovering to strengthen the injured area. You should create a plan with your physical therapist or doctor to ease into your routine. Most likely, you will have to start a lower level of intensity than you were used to. A good rule of thumb is to begin at 50% effort; if you typically run 5 miles, start 2.5 miles of walking. Returning to exercising can take time but make sure you listen to your body and avoid rushing your progress.
Being out of the game can take a toll on your mental health and confidence. Try to avoid as negative thoughts can strip your motivation to recover. Find people in your life that can support you through this difficult time. Like our motto, Together Stronger, a strong community can help build you back up.
Proper recovery, especially after exercise that you aren’t used to, will keep your body ready for the next workout and not sore AF. Many of our Group Personal Training (GPT) clients ask us about what to do after their first session to avoid soreness and take care of their body.
If you are exercise regularly, you shouldn't be constantly sore but after a particularly tough workout or starting a new routine you may experience Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness or DOMS. DOMS is an increasingly gradual increasing level of soreness that appears between 24 and 48 hours after activity. DOMS is actually common with both seasoned athletes or folks new to the fitness scene. It is simply a symptom of placing new stressors on your muscles, ultimately making your muscles adapt and become stronger.
We recommend that you give your body 24-48 hours to recover between intense sessions. If you are still sore, you may be overtraining--consider taking it easy for a few days.
What can you do to offset the soreness? We’ve previously covered the benefits of post-workout mobility but to briefly rehash: "Doing mobility exercises to cool down—instead of just stopping—keeps the blood circulating and prevents it from pooling, which may cause dizziness or fainting," said Noam. The extra blood flow in your body keeps your muscles warm and in a prime position to be stretched or foam rolled, leaving you less sore the next day.
Read more about the benefits of mobility’s impact on recovery.
We recommend hoping in an epsom salt bath to help relieve your muscle aches. Epsom salt is natural remedy that often is used for relaxing muscles and loosen stiff joints. It is not the same type of salt that you use for cooking (sodium chloride) but is actually magnesium sulfate and can be found in most grocery stores, pharmacies, or online. The magnesium in the salt may relieve your aches and pains, minimize inflammation, and even reduce your stress. Epsom salt is also an exfoliant and great for your skin; you can turn your soak into a stay at home spa day.
To use, add add 2 cups of Epsom salt to the water in a standard-sized bathtub and soak for at least 12 minutes.
We can’t talk about recovery without mentioning hydration. Most people are chronically dehydrated, leaving them with low energy and risk of muscle spasms. We suggest drinking water throughout the day with an end goal of consuming about ¾ of an ounce of water per every pound of body weight. You can actually eat your water, too: vegetables usually contain a fair amount of water and can offset your fluid intake.
Water helps you digest vital nutrients and repair muscles damaged during exercise. During an intense workout, your muscles break down and are then rebuilt through protein synthesis, requiring water. If you are dehydrated, muscle growth will be slow and delay your recovery. Water will also aid in digestion of your post-recovery meal and allow you to better absorb nutrients. Finally, your heart rate recovers significantly faster after a tough session if you are fully hydrated.
Foam rolling can improve your recovery and alleviate DOMS. Fascia, the connective tissue that surrounds your muscles, can begin to stiffen and form painful knots after working out. By foam rolling, you breakup these adhesions, reducing soreness and also improving your range of motion. We recommend either using our foam rollers or buy one for home use if you find yourself with not enough time to roll out after a session. Amazon sells foam rollers for under $10 so it's not a big financial investment!
We dive into our favorite foam rolling movements in more depth here.
As busy New Yorkers, it is difficult to cram in work, exercise, and a social life while also getting to bed at a reasonable hour but studies show that a lack of sleep can impact your recovery.
During sleep, your body releases growth hormone, improving muscular recovery and regeneration. People who do not get enough sleep see decreases protein synthesis which is the body’s ability to make muscle. Sleep allows your body to replenish nutrients that your muscles need to repair themselves, all necessary for optimal fitness progress.
If you have any questions about your new routine or if you are still feeling sore a few days after a workout out, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are here to build you up, not break you!
At TS, we like to teach chin-ups before moving to the more complex pull-up. We recognize that chin ups are difficult for many of our clients so we’ve mapped out a series of progressions that will train you to be able to complete a set of chin ups in no time (ok, some time).
Progression #1: The Hollow Body Hold
You may be surprised to learn that the first progression to a proper chin up starts on the floor with the hollow body hold. The hollow body hold mimics the way that your body needs to be held during a chin up movement.
Start on the floor in the position that you will ultimately be in when your hands are on the bar. Put your arms up overhead and legs out, while making sure to keep your lower back in contact with the floor the entire time. Breathe in through the nose while exhaling through your mouth. Hold for 45 seconds.
Progression #2 Hollow Body Rocker
Once you’ve mastered the static hold, you can add light rockers to the movement, careful not to not use your legs and arms for momentum or to hinge at the hips. Keep your pelvic tucked and your lower back in contact with the floor while maintaining your breathing. Rock for 45 seconds.
Progression #3 Chin Up Hold
Time to get off the floor and use the skills that you’ve learned from the first two progressions.
Standing on a box or a bench, grab the bar with an underhand grip, keeping your hands about shoulder width (or a little less) apart. Tuck your pelvis, keeping your belt buckle to your chin, just like the hollow body hold. Step off and hang on the bar, pulling down your shoulder blades, tightening your shoulders as if you were making orange juice with your armpits. You should pull your body up so your chin is above the bar. Eventually you should be able to get your bar to the chest. Like the other movements, make sure you to maintain your breathing. Hold this position for about 45 seconds.
Chin Up Hold with Jump Up
If you aren’t strong enough to pull yourself up yet (which we understand, as you’re reading this blog), you can stand on something a little higher so you can jump right up and hold that hollow body position. Try to hold it for 45 seconds.
Typically, people are stronger in the negative (or downward motion of a pulling exercise). We will use this extra control to our advantage. Start by jumping up to the bar like in the previous progressions. Once your chin is above the bar, tuck your pelvis, and slowly lower your body all the way down as not to limit your range of motion. This should take about 5 seconds. Repeat for 6-8 reps.
You’re now ready to do go for the real deal. Grab the bar, hands about shoulder width apart. Start from a hanging position in your hollow body hold. Initiate the movement from the lats, pull up, and get your chin above the bar. Remember to exhale as you go up and inhale on the way down. Slowly come down to a full stretch. Don’t forget to your cues--making orange juice with your arms and keeping your belt buckle to the chin. Reset and repeat about 6-8 times.
If you’re comfortable with the chin-up, you can add more of a challenge by wearing a weighted vest or a belt with a kettlebell or plate attached.
For our visual learners, Coach Elvin and Coach Noam have put together a great video to walk you through the progressions outlined above.
Obstacle courses have become increasingly popular over the past few years as they are great way to challenge yourself and work together with a group of friends for a common goal. In October, members of the TS community will be running the Tri State New Jersey Spartan Sprint. Sprints are usually about 3-4 miles with least 15 different obstacles. Since the course map is not released beforehand, there is little way of knowing what you could expect on race day so you will have to be prepared to face anything!
So how do you train for such a race? Typically obstacles will test your upper body and grip strength, crawling ability, hill running capacity, overall endurance, and teamwork skills.
Spartan Races are known for their tough challenges. In the past, participants have had been required to climb ropes, launch over walls, and swing from across the monkey bars. Each of these obstacles are require a strong upper body and great grip strength. You are only as strong as your weakest link. Many times that’s your grip strength
Farmers carries are an excellent exercise to improve your grip strength and are simple to do. Stand tall with two kettlebells by your side. Keep your shoulders tight and your back straight while you take steps across the gym. Since the gym size may not facilitate long walks, go for time instead of distance.
As for upper body workouts, you can prepare with pull-ups or chin ups. If these exercises are difficult, you can improve your upper body strength TRX Rows. Coach Noam demonstrates how to do the TRX row in the video below.
If you have done some research on the Spartan Race, you know there will definitely be some activity that requires you to crawl. Though you may have had a lot of experience in the crawling department as an infant, practicing crawls will allow you to quickly move through the mud, likely under barb wire.
Coach Noam walks through the Leopard Crawl, which keeps you low to the ground, in the video below.
Courses are not typically flat and require you run between obstacles over grassy hills which may be a new experience for some urban runners that are used to relatively low incline runs. Though New York may not be the hilliest city, you can find areas of decent elevation in Central Park, like the Harlem Hill. If a quiet, relatively serene park is not your thing, try running the pedestrian paths alongside the bridges between the boroughs (except the Brooklyn Bridge, cause tourists….). Bridges offer a great incline along with a well paved surface that will get your heart working and help increase your anaerobic threshold. To really get a great workout, sprint up an incline and jog back down.
Since each of the obstacles are spread out over the 3-4 mile course, you will switch between light jogging to high intensity exercises multiple times during the race, testing your endurance. One of the best ways to improve your endurance is through High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT. Just like a Spartan Race, HIIT is based on being able to go to maximum intensity followed by a short rest so that you can then repeat that intensity again. Our HIIT classes incorporate compound movements such as squats and swings for the lower body and pressing and pulling exercises, like pushups and rows, for the upper body. This means you are using multiple joints rather than doing isolation exercises, mimicking some of the movements you may do on the course.
You can finish a Spartan Race all by yourself but what is the fun in that? Signing up and training with a team will give you the tools to finish. At TS, we believe that whenever you’re working out with a partner, the intensity is always going to be greater than when you’re alone. Whether it is keeping you accountable, or helping you through a particularly tough obstacle, team workouts will push you to be better. We incorporate our community in both our HIIT and GPT sessions, putting you through a workout with like minded athletes who will help motivate you to be the best version of yourself.
As we launch our Balanced Habit Nutrition Fall Kickstart Challenge, we want to help you develop the ideal workout week to support your nutrition goals. Even though nutrition typical makes up at about 70% of weight loss, we want the food that you consume to be used as fuel for your workouts, not just stored in your body.
Though there is no one size fits all exercise routine, we created a simple high-level framework that should work for most folks. If you are looking to lose weight, we recommend creating a six-day plan with one day of active recovery. First, creating a plan allows for you to structure your week and creates an actual routine that you can follow.
Secondly, by having a plan, you make yourself more accountable to your exercise routine. "If you want results, you need to have a routine that you can stick with," said Noam Tamir, founder of TS Fitness. "I’ve seen so many people try to fit workouts in inconsistently, and it ends up being a waste of time." We always recommend exercising in the morning as it not only boosts your metabolism for the entire day, it also helps remove the barriers that can arise during the day. If your work meetings run late or life just gets in the way, you may miss your opportunity to work out. This can be avoided if you have already hit the gym first thing.
“You want a good mix of weight training, steady state cardio, and endurance training,” said Noam. "You also should have at least one day of active recovery, too.”
Aim to do strength training at least twice a week. At TS, we believe in the impact of Metabolic Resistance Training (MRT). Metabolic Resistance Training relies on completing structural and compound exercises, such as deadlifts or overhead presses, with little rest in between exercises to maximize calorie burn and increase metabolic rate during and after the workout. Studies show that MRT workouts, like our Group Personal Training sessions, can burn calories (exercise post oxygen consumption or EPOC) for 38 hours after completing a work out. "Muscle is constantly being broken down, recreated, and synthesized, and all these processes require energy. The more muscle you have, the more energy it takes for this process,” said Noam. Building muscle jacks up your metabolism.
HIIT sessions are great for crushing calories and also developing endurance. HIIT is based on being able to go to maximum intensity followed by a short rest so that you can then repeat that intensity again. Our HIIT classes can burn up to 700 classes for the 50-minute session, an awesome way to start or finish your day. "It also increases your VO2 max, which helps your body utilize oxygen,” said Noam.
Steady State Cardio refers to keeping your heart rate constant for the duration of your workout. “This type of cardio is great for keeping your circulatory system working optimally helping you to recover faster,” said Noam. Running, taking a spin or rowing class, or swimming are all good examples of a steady state cardio workout.
Your body needs to take a rest after a week of working out in order to recover and rebuild. Incorporating an active recovery into your rest day will give your body time to recover but also will keep you moving a bit. For your active recovery, find an activity that you enjoy, like a long walk with your dog or yoga. You don’t need to break a sweat as part of your active recovery, you just need to be active. Recovery days also give you the mental break to avoid training fatigue.
We’ve put together a quick sketch of what the Ideal Workout Week looks like. We recommend spending at least 30 to 40 minutes per session working out. If you have any questions or need help developing a routine, feel free to reach out to our team. We are here to help!
As coach and owner of TS, I am always looking for a new fitness challenge to try. This weekend, I will be competing in my first physique show.
Physique is a type of bodybuilding that focuses on muscle form more than the extreme size of muscles. Contestants wear board shorts and are barefoot on stage.
According to the The National Physique Committee, the largest amateur bodybuilding organization in the United States, physique judges will look at the following:
Muscularity and Body Condition
Judges will be looking for fit contestants who display proper shape and symmetry combined with muscularity and overall condition. This is not a bodybuilding contest so extreme muscularity should be marked down.
Stage Presence and Personality
Judges are looking for the contestant with the best stage presence and poise who can successfully convey his personality to the audience.
I ’ve spent the last four months training for this physique show and have had to modify my normal exercise routine. My training has been divided into two stages, a bulk -up phase and shorter cutting phase.
Normally, I stick to a Metabolic Resistance Training regime mixed with cardio. For this physique show though, I’ve had to make significant changes to my routine.
For the first few months of my bulk phase, I concentrated on split body training or dividing my workouts to focus on specific body parts, like legs or back. I’ve also relied more heavily on exercise machines as opposed to the free weights that I often use at TS.
After building up my muscle mass, I’ve had to lean out my body before the competition. When you are putting on muscle mass, you are also putting on a bit of fat during the process. By doing cardio for over 50 minutes daily and modifying my nutrition, I’ve been able to lose some of that fat to allow my muscle to be more defined for the competition. The impact has been noticeable--you can see my improved muscle definition.
There have been a few side effects from this new routine, though. I have not been able to focus on my mobility as much as I normally would and has found myself a little less limber than usual. Since my cardio has been steady-state on a treadmill, I’ve also has lost a bit of endurance, too.
One of the biggest changes that I have had to make was my nutrition. I have followed a strict macros-based diet that allowed me to put on more muscle mass in the first half my training and I’ve mainly subsisted on lean protein like fish and cut my carb intake. During my bulking phase, I was eating five times a day and consuming over 4,000 calories. As I’ve leaned down, I have dropped my calorie intake to about 2000 calories a day but now eat 7 times per day to keep my metabolism going. I do find myself craving carbs, like bagels, as I get near competition. I also need to drink at least two gallons of distilled water in the final days of training to flush out any bloating in my body.
On top of the physical aspect of the challenge, the hardest part for me has been developing new habits to change my daily behavior. I’ve had to change my workout schedule times and methods, my diet, and sacrifice some of my social life to meet my goals. Even as an owner of a boutique fitness studio, I ’ve had to find outside help, including a fitness coach and a posing coach. Everyone needs that additional push and added accountability to reach one’s goals.
You can’t grow without pushing yourself outside your comfort zone. I plan to give my body a short rest after the competition and incorporate HIIT to improve some of the endurance I’ve lost over the last few months and add back functional training.
We leverage technology every day in our workouts, from clock timers to fitness tracking apps, but we believe that the non-negotiable of long-term fitness success is human relationships.
As a society, we’ve become more and more accustomed to mitigating our activities to the digital world including online banking, food ordering, and even dog walking! Physical fitness though has to happen in person.
There are plenty of great ways that we use fitness tech to support our goals; apps to record workouts and calorie consumption, tutorial Youtube videos, or fitness trackers, but nothing can replace an in-person session with a trainer. We believe that our clients not only come back for our awesome workouts but the relations that develop within our community. One of the biggest commitments that you can make is to improve your fitness so we recommend putting your trust into an actual trainer and not just an app.
At TS, we pride ourselves on being able to develop programs that fit your goals and your body. This second aspect is extremely important--each person’s body type and fitness level can impact the type of exercises that we prescribe. Most online programs provide general recommendations that may not account for your range of movement or injuries.
Though strength training may seem dangerous, studies actually show that weightlifting is generally safer than team sports. Often, injuries are a result of improper form or too much weight. Our coaches are nationally certified or have degrees in exercise. We focus on continual education for our team in order to assure that our clients get the best guidance during a workout.
If you are thinking of beginning an online or remote program, we recommend that you at least work through each of the movements with a trainer before going at it alone.
Apps are great at reminding you to workout but they cannot replace the accountability system of an exercise community. Group classes are one of the best introductions to fitness. Newcomers can join a class and let the coach dictate the workout. Over time, as you become more familiar with the movements, your coach can start to push you more. An app may remind you to keep going but a trainer can make you. Bringing a friend to class makes it harder to slack or even skip a session if you know your buddy is in it with you.
We also believe that a fitness community grows stronger together. We keep our classes small--HIIT consists of 8 athletes, while GPT is just 4 to 1 ratio of clients to coaches. Small classes allow you to receive the personal attention necessary for proper instruction but also allow you to develop friendships with your members.
We are excited to see how fitness technology continues to change and support athletes’ fitness goals but nothing can replace the human relationship between a coach and a client.
After crushing a HIIT class or a GPT session, the last thing you may want to do is take a few more minutes to stretch or foam roll but it is crucial include post-workout mobility as a key aspect of your recovery. At TS Fitness, our goal is to build you up--not break you! We want to make sure you're recovering properly from a great session.
Recovery is often overlooked by gym goers. "When you exercise, you're causing a bit of trauma to the body. You create micro-tears in your muscles. Then, when your muscles repair, they grow stronger,” said Coach Noam. The more you train, the more stress you're putting on the body. If you're not allowing the body to recover, you're causing yourself more harm than good.
If you are working out regularly, you shouldn't be feeling constantly sore. We recommend that you give your body 24-48 hours to recover between intense sessions. If you are still sore, you may be overtraining--consider taking it easy for a few days. In addition to avoiding overtraining, you should be working on your mobility.
Mobility is not just part of our active warm-up but also important to your recovery.
"Doing mobility exercises to cool down—instead of just stopping—keeps the blood circulating and prevents it from pooling, which may cause dizziness or fainting," said Noam. The extra blood flow in your body keeps your muscles warm and in a prime position to be stretched or foam rolled, leaving you less sore the next day. “A few easy movements also give your heart rate a chance to come down slowly, avoiding a drastic drop in your blood pressure,” Noam said.
"If your body doesn't have the proper mobility, you're going to create dysfunction in your movement pattern," Noam said. Exercises are called routines for a reason and if you are doing the same movements over and over such as running, cycling, lifting, etc, without a proper focus on mobility, you could cause an injury.
We recommend stretching and foam rolling on your recovery days to keep your body limber and prevent injury.
Here are a few of our favorite stretches:
Why: We really love the 90-90 Stretch and often include it as part of warm-ups or cool downs. This stretch opens your hips and releases tension from your lower back and also stretches your hamstrings.
Why: The All-Fours Rock Back Stretch re-aligns your spine and allows your lower back to decompress. This stretch also engages your pelvic floor and core. It’s great for your hips, too!
Why: We often include Child’s Pose with Reach after our HIIT classes. This movement releases your lower back, stretches your hips, quads, and ankles. It is also a great way to include some diaphragmatic breathing as part of your cooldown.
Foam rolling is also an excellent way to improve your recovery. Fascia, the connective tissue that surrounds your muscles, can begin to stiffen and form painful knots after working out. By foam rolling, you breakup these adhesions, reducing soreness and also improving your range of motion. We recommend either using our foam rollers or buy one for home use if you find yourself with not enough time to roll out after a session. Amazon sells foam rollers for under $10 so it's not a big financial investment!
Here are two of our favorite ways to roll out:
Why: Use the roller to work on your back muscles. This movements increases T-spine mobility and stretches your chest and abdominal muscles.
Why: This movement is great for your hip flexors if they are tight!
Don’t forget that nutrition is also an important aspect of your recovery. You need to you eat after you exercise to replace the calories that you burned and replenish your body’s glycogen stores. It is best to eat within 30 minutes of completing your workout. If you finished a GPT session which is based on metabolic resistance training (MRT), Noam suggests consuming at least 30 grams of lean protein. If you skip a meal after working out, your body will miss out on the necessary repair process, which may leave you fatigued in the short term, and delay you from meeting your fitness goals .
Depending on the time of your workout, Noam recommends the following combinations of protein and carbs to replenish your system:
Egg white omelette with vegetables
Lean meat or fish
Rice and beans, if you avoid animal products
One of the most commonly overlooked aspects of your fitness is the amount of sleep that you get each night. As busy New Yorkers, it is difficult to cram in work, exercise, and a social life while also getting to bed at a reasonable hour but studies show that a lack of sleep can reduce your fitness gains substantially.
Adequate sleep is more critical than you think--the negative impact of not getting enough sleep has been well documented. According the Center for Disease Control (CDC), over 35% of all Americans are sleep deprived, meaning that 1 in 3 people are not getting the recommended seven hours of sleep nightly. “Sleeping less than seven hours per day is associated with an increased risk of developing chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and frequent mental distress” says the CDC.
Typically, fitness instructors focus on improving the diet and exercise routines but often overlook the amount of sleep that their clients get.
During sleep, your body releases growth hormone, improving muscular recovery and regeneration. People who do not get enough sleep see decreases protein synthesis which is the body’s ability to make muscle. Sleep allows your body to replenish nutrients that your muscles need to repair themselves, all necessary for optimal fitness progress.
You even burn calories while you rest. During the stage of sleep called Rapid Eye Movement (REM), your body metabolizes glucose. The longer that you sleep and the better you sleep directly impacts the number of calories that your body burns overnight. Sleeping too much though (over nine hours), will slow down your metabolism so don’t think sleeping all day is a good weight loss strategy.
The lack of sleep can undo all the hard work you do in the gym. One study showed that sleep deprived participants burned more muscle than fat compared to a group of athletes who got enough sleep. If you are not sleeping well, your body produces releases the stress hormone cortisol, which slows down the production of growth hormone, ultimately affecting your muscle development.
When you rest for less than the optimal 7 hours, you incur what is known as “sleep debt.” Sleep debt or sleep deprivation can impact you more than just decreasing your body's ability to recover from exercise. Sleep debt can cause brain fog, irritability, and fatigue. It can even make you hungrier and cause you turn to unhealthy food as your willpower may be diminished. Sleep debt has even shown to put stresses on your body that can have long term impact on your health: it increases the risk of weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and memory issues.
When it comes to the gym, sleep debt may increase your risk for injuries. Studies have also shown that when sleep deprived, your reaction time suffers significantly. “If you don’t get enough sleep, you will have slower reaction times, and poor judgement of distance, speed, and time. All factors that can impact your body’s ability to perform athletic movements” said Coach Elvin.
To improve your sleeping pattern, make sure that you try to go to sleep at the same time every night, including weekends, if possible. If you are night exerciser, make sure to finish your workout at least three hours before bedtime as you body may not be able to relax enough for quality sleep.
Create a routine each night that including relaxing activities. Try dimming your lights and consider cutting out technology like your phone or TV an hour before bed time. Light exposure suppresses your body’s natural release of melatonin, a hormone that helps you maintain your circadian rhyme. A good night’s rest is more than just giving your body a break but also allows your mind to shut down. “Our brains are constantly challenged with technology so the break is an added benefit,” said Coach Alejandro. Reading, meditating, and taking a hot shower are great ways to relax your body before bed.
If you have issues sleeping, make sure that your room is set to a temperature that is not too hot nor too cold--61 degrees is ideal if you have a controllable thermostat (a NYC luxury). This moderate temperature allows your body to neutralize. If you are too cold, your body may tense your muscles, leaving you with a stiff neck or tight muscles in the morning. Warm temperatures may make you sweat and lead to uncomfortable sleep. “Find the the temperature that is just right--as Goldie Locks would do,” said Coach Alejandro.
If you find yourself short of at least seven hours a night, it may be time to critically think about your daily activities and reorganize your schedule to allow for adequate sleep and regular exercise.
We are dedicated to helping our client’s hit their fitness goals but part of any successful program is actually showing up at the gym. As trainers, we’ve heard every excuse in the book as to why a client couldn’t make it to a session. Adults apparently even have dogs that “eat their gym shoes.”
One of the most common objections that we hear is that our clients don’t have the time to exercise. There are 168 hours in a week--let’s break this down and do some math.
50 Hours of Work
56 Hours of Sleep (8 hours a day)
10 Hours of Commuting (2 hours a day)
14 Hours of Errands (2 hours a day)
120 Total Hours Committed
28 Free Hours (4 hours a day)
You have at least 4 hours a day that you choose not to be working out. If you want to make exercise a priority, you have the time. Cut out an hour of Netflix or social media and you can squeeze in a calorie burning HIIT class.
We all have fears and we recognize that facing them can be difficult. Our coaches are here to help you take challenges head-on and do it safely. In both our GPT and HIIT sessions, we make sure that you are able to do each exercise at a pace and a weight that works for you. Fitness is not a race! It is natural to compare yourself to others but try channeling this feeling into healthy competition with yourself. Push yourself for you--get that extra rep in not to show off but to accomplish your own personal goal.
We will gladly provide modifications or chat with you before a session to help you alleviate any concerns or anxiety. One of the best feelings is putting yourself out there and accomplishing something a little bit outside your comfort zone.
Our clients who are also parents have to go the extra mile (no pun intended) to get their workout in. We spoke to a long time client and mother of two, Erica, about her workout routine.
“I am really lucky. I have a husband and a nanny who both know how important it is for me to work out,” said Erica. Aside from her husband and her nanny’s flexibility, Erica maintains her fitness routine in three main ways.
“Scheduling is important. I try to look at my calendar at the beginning of the week and figure out when I have opportunities to work out and what type of workout to do,” said Erica. Secondly, she books classes with financial cancellation penalties. “ I hate those penalties enough that I will do what it takes to show up” she said. Finally, Erica recommends working out first thing in the morning before she has the opportunity to make excuses. “The morning is also when everyone else is still sleeping, so I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything” said Erica.
We are onboard with Erica’s suggestions and we recommend to schedule your exercise in the morning if you have issues finding the time. By working out first thing during the day, you will be able to avoid conflicts that will inevitably rise over the course of the day. Plus, you get the added benefits of jump-starting your metabolism!
Our motto is Together Stronger--if you are struggling to get yourself out of bed and make it to TS, find an accountability partner and workout buddy to schedule classes with. You will have the added pressure of letting your friend workout alone! ClassPass allows you to join your friends' classes so you can easily coordinate your workouts.
Finally, speak to your TS coaches. If you have concerns about your routine, specific movements during a session, or just need a little push, we are here for you. If you want us to text you before your next session, we will! Hope to see you at the gym. No excuses.
We love to celebrate the success of our clients. For our final blog on Men’s Health this June, we spoke to long-time client, Scott Feldman. Scott just turned 50 years old and is now in the best shape of his life.
Scott is the owner of Two Twelve Management, where he manages relationships for his individual and corporate clients that include prominent chefs and restaurateurs such as Michael Simon, Marc Murphy, and Geoffrey Zakarian. Geoffrey, a TS client himself, gifted Scott a 20 person training pack for Christmas about three years ago. “Geoffrey said that I make him too much money so he needs me around,” said Scott.
Being a talent manager in the hospitality business can put a lot of demands on ones body, especially as most of Scott’s business is conducted in restaurants or around food.
When Scott first started at TS, he weighed 179 pounds and has since lost almost 40 pounds through exercise and diet. “I am now in the best shape of my life at age 50. I recently saw a photo of myself at age 26 and I think I look even better today,” said Scott.
TS Fitness and its team of coaches help make Scott’s transformation possible. “Noam has been there from the beginning and his guidance has been invaluable” said Scott. “Lee is there with me early in the morning, helping me grind out my workouts before the day begins.”
Depending on his schedule, Scott tries to get in at least 2 private sessions a week and a HIIT workout, too. If he is on the road, Scott finds himself leading his own workouts for himself and friends, something Scott would have never done years ago. As for diet, Scott has cut out white flour and sweets, allowing him to capitalize on his workouts and continue to maintain his weight loss. Outside of TS, Scott has completed a marathon and a few half marathons, raising money for various charities including Food Bank of New York and No Kid Hungry. Scott hopes to complete a triathlon soon.
In the spirit of Together Stronger, Scott has brought his own family into the TS community, too. His wife, Jodisue Rosen, is a regular at the gym. His son, Graydon, age 5, recently joined Scott for workout.
His transformation has impacted his business life, too. His clients now know the best place to find Scott for a quick meeting is the gym instead of a restaurant as it was common during his younger years. In the industry, Scott is known for rocking the three-piece suit. “One of my favorite parts of this experience was getting to buy all new custom suits,” he said. “But I told the TS team that if they bulk me up too much and I have to buy another set of suits, Jodisue will not be happy,” said Scott.
TS Fitness is proud to support the wide diversity of our community and our staff. June is not only Men’s Health month but also Pride Month. We’re highlighting the awesome accomplishments of Krystal Molina, a member of our Fitness Concierge Team and proud gay athlete.
When Krystal isn’t creating the artwork on our chalkboard or helping our members with their memberships, you can find her leading the New York Sharks, part of the Women’s Professional Football league, to victory.
Krystal began her football career playing in a more mild, co-ed two-hand touch football league that ultimately shutdown after her second season. Krystal, fortunately, stumbled upon the Sharks a few weeks later and successfully tried out for the team. As a new Shark, she started at safety, winning the team’s Rookie of the Year Award. She is currently finishing up her sixth year with the team. “I may not be the biggest, the strongest, or the fastest but I play every second with all my heart,” said Krystal.
Over the years, Krystal has expanded her versatility and is almost always on the field. She not only plays defense but also is a starting receiver and the punt returner. “It’s a tough sport--women can be quite emotional and extremely competitive and aggressive on the field” said Krystal.
Playing professional football is not easy deal--Krystal practices at least twice a week at night during the season and travels each weekend for games across the east coast. Since she is running up and down the field for almost the entire game, it's an intense cardio and endurance workout.
To stay in shape and improve her conditioning, Krystal is an avid weightlifter and incorporates intense cardio, like running hills, into her routine. “Working in a fitness environment gives me no excuses to avoid training,” said Krystal. She also has seen the benefits of taking TS Fitness HIIT classes. “HIIT has really improved my cardio and endurance, helping me last the entire game on the field,” Krystal said. “I’ve seen a noticeable improvement in my breathing.” During the off-season, she stays active by playing softball and boxing.
Krystal is proud to support the LGBT community. “It is important to be present and visible. You gotta be you and live your life,” said Krystal. She has participated in a variety of Pride events throughout this June, including a trip to the Washington, DC pride parade with her teammates. She plans on marching with the Sharks in the New York Pride Parade later this month.
June is Men’s Health month and so we are focusing on ways that men can improve their lives and their fitness. For the first installment of this series, check out Noam’s tips to improve your posture and to learn about metabolic resistance training.
Nutrition is as important to your fitness goals as exercise. Before starting any nutrition plan, Lisa Jubilee, certified dietitian, and nutritionist as well as co-founder of Living Proof, recommends visiting your doctor for a checkup and requesting blood work. “Generally speaking, I find that my male clients do not go to the doctor as much as women. Women usually see their gynecologist at least yearly and have blood work done,” Lisa said.” Your doctor will be able to advise you on any specific deficiencies or medical concerns before consulting a nutritionist. Lisa starts her nutrition consultations an analysis of her clients' most recent blood work, as well as a 5-7 day food journal review, in order to create a more comprehensive plan and to address any deficiencies.
Many male gym goers are looking to building muscle so protein intake is critical to the process. Often non-professional athletes tend to overestimate the amount of protein needed in their daily diets. “A good rule of thumb is one gram of protein per kilogram of body weight. If you consume too much protein, your body will actually begin to turn the protein into sugar through a process called gluconeogenesis,” Lisa said. There is a wide range of protein products in the market but Lisa recommends whey protein from grass-fed cows, pasture-raised whole eggs, and wild Alaskan salmon as great sources of protein.
Eggs (specifically the yolk) are not only a great way to get protein but are one of the three main sources of Vitamin D in addition to wild Alaskan salmon and mushrooms. Vitamin D is crucial for the immune system and for controlling weight. Men with low levels of Vitamin D have a higher risk of diabetes. You can also get Vitamin D from sunlight--Lisa recommends that men with lighter skin be exposed without sunscreen for about 15 minutes per day, while darker skinned men find approximately 20-25 minutes in the sun. “You may find yourself with more energy during the summer as the weather is nicer. This can be partially attributed to your body getting more Vitamin D from the sun,” Lisa said. If you are low in the Vitamin D, you can also take supplements, which may be particularly helpful during the winter months.
Vegetables are sometimes overlooked as an integral part of building muscle. “I find that my male clients have a bit of a tougher time eating vegetables than my female clients so it is important to seek out greens-- the darker the better,” Lisa said. “Darker greens like kale, collard greens, spinach, and watercress can help give your body valuable co-enzymes that help develop muscle.”
After a tough weight training or HIIT workout, it is crucial to stay hydrated; drink 1 ounce of water per every 2 pounds of body weight or 1/2 of your body weight in ounces of water. To help your body recovery, Lisa also recommends increasing your magnesium through nuts like pecans and walnuts or supplements as magnesium aids in muscle recovery. Give yourself ample time to sleep each night to fully leverage the benefits of a good workout as growth hormone is active at night. Men need more sleep than women- Lisa recommends that men get about 8-9 hours each night.
At TS Fitness, our motto is Together Stronger and we love to offer our expertise to the greater fitness community. Since June is Men's Health Month, we are sharing two great articles that recently featured Noam. In Men’s Health, Noam discusses Metabolic Resistance Training and he covers ways to improve posture in Men’s Journal.
If you’re someone who isn’t content to make just one New Year’s resolution—maybe you have two or 12—this workout is for you. It will help you get stronger and bigger—while simultaneously helping you torch fat and calories.
How? It’s all thanks to concepts called metabolic resistance training and “Peripheral Heart Action Training,” which basically means the workout is structured so that the small muscles around you heart start to work before the peripheral ones in your limbs and core. (Traditional circuit training, on the other hand, aims to get that blood pumping to one area at a time.) “It’s an exercise method that will help to build muscle while at the same time burning calories during the workout,” says trainer Noam Tamir, CSCS, founder of TS Fitness in New York City, who created this routine.
Sitting at desks all day was already and then we became attached to our smartphones, too. Now experts say we have to worry about "text neck," a plethora of problems that result from being hunched over your phone all day. “Your neck is forward, your shoulders are slouching, there's more rounding of the upper back, and you're closing up your body,” says Noam Tamir, C.S.C.S., owner and founder of TS Fitness, a strength and conditioning studio in New York City.
At TS Fitness, we’re celebrating the hard work and dedication of our TS Community mothers. Over the years, we’ve had numerous pre-and post-natal clients train with us. Studies show that exercise may prevent gestational diabetes (diabetes that develops during pregnancy), build the stamina needed for labor and delivery, and relieve stress. Both expecting and new mothers have a wide variety of challenges and things to consider when continuing their exercise routine.
“All women should incorporate some kind of movement/ exercise during pregnancy unless they’ve been advised by their doctor not to do” said Coach Julia Falamas. “If you are not an exerciser, it is wise to start something that is mild. But pregnancy is not the time to decide you want to get into CrossFit. So stick to what you know.” A pregnant woman’s body is already going through so many changes that this is likely not the best time begin new activities. If you are already active, you should consider sticking to similar types of exercises but scale them back as needed over the course of your pregnancy. Exercising is a great way to avoid gestational diabetes and prepares you to regain your level of fitness post birth. Julia recommends limiting workouts to about 3 to 4 times a week for about 30-60 minutes, depending, of course, on how your body feels. It is vital to listen to your body and as a frequent gym goer you should be familiar with what feels good for you or what is pushing you past your limit.
Julia suggests that pregnant women be cognizant of a few specific changes in their bodies. As you’re training, you need to be aware that your core body temperature can fluctuate, which can lead to overheating. Pregnant women may also experience an elevated heart rate, which may reduce their output during high-intensity exercise. Julia suggests speaking to your trainer about modifying your workout HIIT classes with that in mind.
Additionally, as your pregnancy progresses, your joints and ligaments become more pliable and elastic as your body prepares to give birth. Though you may be more mobile, you are at a greater risk of injury if you do not maintain your muscle strength. It is important to incorporate exercises that improve your core and supporting muscles. Julia recommends squats with lighter loads to help develop the pelvic floor, lower back, and hip muscles which will be relied upon during labor.
Julia believes that upper body training is often neglected in expecting mothers. “There is an innate need for women to build upper body strength to deal with the impending need to physically carry a child,” said Julia. A few of our favorite upper body (partial core) exercises are farmer’s and rack carries to build the stamina. These carries will help when you eventually hold your baby. Rows and pull-ups are great exercises to counteract the postural downside of having to carry a baby in your arms, too!
It is also important to understand your limitations and abstain from movements that can hurt your baby and yourself. During your second and third trimester, make sure you avoid movements that put you on your back as your growing uterus has the potential to put pressure on the main vein circulating blood back from the lower body. But there are easy modifications to keep you training-- for example, try doing an inclined bench pressure versus a traditional bench press movement. Julia also recommends avoiding rotational movements like Russian twists and bouncing exercises like jumping jacks.
After birth, don’t expect to rebound right back into your old routines. “Treat your body as if it had recently gone through a major injury,” said Julia. Fortunately though, if you were staying active during your pregnancy, you should have an easier time getting back into the swing of things. If you have a cesarean section, be patient and don’t get frustrated as your recovery may take longer than if you had a natural birth. A pregnant mother will experience separation in the abdominal wall so Julia suggests practicing diaphragmatic breathing and exercises like the “dead bug” after birth to help repair the deep muscles of the abs.
Proper nutrition is extremely important for an expecting mother. Lisa Jubilee, certified dietitian, and nutritionist as well as co-founder of Living Proof, advises that pregnant women focus on getting the right amount of micro-nutrients, in their diet, which is those invaluable vitamins, and minerals our bodies can't function without. “A good rule of thumb is to have your plate at least 3/4 vegetables,” said Lisa. Though many believe that starchy carbs are a great source of energy for exercise, Lisa recommends fueling with foods that provide both energy and nutrient density. “Try fruit, nuts, or a green juice before a workout as opposed to a processed, starchy snack like pretzels,” said Lisa. She also recommends incorporating good, healthy fat in your diet, like avocado toast, since fat will sustain you longer than any form of refined carbohydrate or sugar. Along with exercise, eating right will lower the risk of gestational diabetes. Both Julia and Lisa stress the importance of staying hydrated during and after your pregnancy. Dehydration can leave you feeling fatigued while working out.
Breastfeeding mothers will also face a revved-up metabolism so Lisa recommends carrying healthy snacks around and amending your diet around how you feel each day.
Erica, a long-term client of TS, trained with us twice a week with us during her second pregnancy. After her first child, she made some changes to her routine. “Before I was just focused on cardio, but for my second, I focused on weight training,” said Erica. Erica stuck to GPT sessions about twice a week at TS.
Erica really noticed the results of weight training after she gave birth. “I bounced back so much faster than during my first pregnancy. I returned to the gym about six weeks later. Ramping up was challenging but not as hard as it was after my first baby. I also gained less weight than during my previous pregnancy and had fewer aches and pains,” said Erica.
Aside from the physical benefits, Erica found that it helped emotionally. “Mentally it was great to keep doing something I normally do. It was great to be part of a community that had trustworthy trainers with the proper pre/postnatal certifications,” said Erica. “Noam and the trainers were great and made sure that each of the exercises that I was doing was safe for me.
Our team of trainers is available to help you workout before, during, and after your pregnancy. We have the certifications and experience to help you maintain your fitness goals but we always recommend that you consult your doctor and dietician for the best advice for your specific situation.