With Heat Wave, Don’t Forget to Hydrate

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With Heat Wave, Don’t Forget to Hydrate

Take a look at our Hartland.Patch.com blog about the importance of proper hydration.

“Michigan is experiencing a heat wave this week which leads me to a very important topic … hydration! Not only is it vital when you exercise but imperative in near record-breaking temperatures. Here are some facts about hydration and electrolytes:

What does water do in our body?

  • Helps regulate body temperature through sweating
  • Assists in digestion
  • Assists in moving oxygen, glucose and fat to muscle tissue and removing waste products from the muscle tissue

How does dehydration affect our bodies?

  • Can cause a drop in blood volume which forces the heart to work harder
  • Can lead to muscle cramps, dizziness, fatigue and heat stroke/exhaustion
  • Loss of aerobic performance with as little as 1-2 percent weight loss

When and how much should I drink?

  • 15-20 ounces two to three hours before exercise
  • 8-10 ounces 10-15 minutes before exercise
  • Start drinking before you’re thirsty during a workout. Drink approximately 8-10 ounces for every 15 minutes of activity.
  • After a workout, drink 20-24 ounces for every 1 pound of body weight lost during a workout.
  • Learn your own body and how much fluid you lose or need to take in during a workout. We’re all different and have different fluid needs!

Key facts about electrolyte balance

  • Sodium, potassium and magnesium are the most common and important electrolytes.
  • Electrolytes help tell our muscles when to fire.
  • Hyponatremia (over hydration or too low of electrolyte concentration) can result from excessive sweating/fluid loss and a lack of electrolyte intake. Water alone is not enough to rehydrate you on the warmest of days and/or if you’re a heavy sweater.

If you’re exercising outside …

  • Limit exercise or strenuous physical activity to the coolest parts of the day, early morning or late evening.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing that’s both lightweight and light in color. Choose
    clothing that draws perspiration away from the skin, such as cotton T-shirts or shorts. Newer perspiration-wicking fabrics also are effective.
  • Don’t overdo it. Start slowly and increase your pace gradually. In weather
    that’s extremely hot and humid, don’t exercise at too high a level. What is
    normal on a cool day might be dangerous on a hot day.
  • Wear sunscreen. It’s harder for the body to keep sunburned skin cool.
    Consider wearing a wide-brimmed hat to keep the sun off the face and head.
    Sunscreen helps protect the skin from sunburn and keeps a person cooler, too.

We hope this gives you some insight as to importance of proper hydration and exercise and helps keep you safe during these hot and muggy summer days.”

Tell Your Kids to Take a Hike

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Tell Your Kids to Take a Hike

No, we are not mean parents I promise … no need to neglect your kids this summer. However, we know by now you might be pulling your hair out with the little ruggers at home all day long instead of in school. Sick of seeing them plant themselves in front of the Xbox instead of running around outside playing freeze tag and drinking from the hose. We found this article in this month’s Fitness Journal by Ryan Halvorsen and thought it was worth your time. Plenty of ideas to help make family time one filled with physical activity.

“Want a great way to combine family time and physical activity? Head into the great outdoors and take a hike. “Getting kids outside is more important than ever,” states outdoor enthusiast Jeff Alt. “Television, computer and video game addictions are replacing outdoor playtime. Passive inside entertainment is contributing to the national obesity epidemic.”

Here are Alt’s tips for getting kids excited about hiking:

  • Hike With Your Baby and Toddler. Children weighing less than 15 pounds should be carried in a front body carrier or sling; those weighing 16–40 pounds will fit into a child carrier backpack; children weighing more than 30 pounds may be ready to hike short distances.
  • Let the Child Lead. This helps you focus on what the kids are interested in and keeps you from leaving them in the dust.
  • Plan Ahead. Choose a trail with easy access to domestic amenities.
  • Go High-Tech. Turn your teenaged computer–gamers on to adventure technology (GPS, pedometers, etc.). “

We hope you found this article helpful and not only does it get your kids active but also you! We want to hear from YOU, what do you do to get your kids burning off energy?

Fun Exercise for the Whole Family

Are Fitness Goals Important?

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Are Fitness Goals Important?

Are fitness goals important? If you said no, we would have to disagree. To set goals for anything in life that you want to achieve are critical to your success. We always say, “well my goal is to lose 30 pounds” … is this a goal? Yes, but how do you plan to get there? If you’ve been on the dieting roller-coaster you know life throws you curve balls and what was working in the beginning may no longer be helping you now.

It’s typically easy in the beginning to shed pounds right? Whether you’re just watching what you eat or working out, you’ve got lots of enthusiasm and this is it, this is your time, you’re finally going to hit that bench mark. Only to lose steam, lose sight of that goal and many times quit alltogether. You’re left feeling defeated, or worse depressed and more than likely beating yourself up about it which is not good for anyone but especially you.

It truly is imperative to set goals that are more “doable” and don’t seem so overwhelming especially when you hit those walls and find it difficult to keep pushing forward. We have a few suggestions that we have seen help many overcome hurdles that we all encounter.

First, having an overall weight loss goal is great. If writing that number down helps then do it, but then put it away. It’s more critical to have a plan on how you intend to get there. Planning is probably one of the biggest activities we see that make people successful at reaching their goals or not.

At the beginning of each week, figure out what days you will fit in strength training, what days cardio exercise and then plan what you plan to put in your mouth. I would also suggest a quick backup plan. Kids, work, things pop up every day that can jar us off track a bit but they cannot be used as an excuse. Pick a few alternate classes you can attend if something does come up so you don’t miss your exercise. Or a survival sack filled with healthy snacks in case you get somewhere and can’t eat the meal you had planned. It may seem like a lot at first, but doing it helps bring clarity and eventually it just won’t feel right if you don’t do it.

Next, don’t focus so much on the scale. We know you’ve all heard this a million times, so there must be something to it right? If you’ve been coming to your strength classes 2 times a week, eating well then we know you’ve seen a difference. Clothes fit better, you’re taking on curves that you thought were lost forever! INCHES COUNT! If you don’t believe us then scan back through some of our blog posts and find previous My Stronger Self “Members of the Month”. Read their stories, seek them out at the gym and listen to people who have been through it and learn.

Gail McCoy - 51 Mile Bike Ride

Another suggestion besides setting a weight loss goal would be to set a goal that involves trying an activity for the first time that maybe you were too afraid to do or thought you could never do. It doesn’t have to be something crazy like a marathon but what about a 5k whether it’s walking or jogging it doesn’t matter. Just being involved in something and finishing can be more exhilarating that seeing a 2 pound loss for the week. You need other bench marks to gauge your success … it cannot be all about the weight.

Accomplishing these types of goals, making it through the week as you planned, exercise, getting stronger and more fit feels good! These are the feelings you need to remember and this is what will keep you going when the going gets tough. If you try and let yourself forget about the pounds and just focus on the task at hand, you will reach your goal sooner than you realize and you will also have some fun along the way.

Every day life gets in the way, but life will always happen.

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My Stronger Self Fitness Studio - Brighton, MI

Perserverance Pays Off

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Perserverance Pays Off


Laura Pierce is our latest My Stronger Self Member of the Month.  Laura is an absolute inspiration to so many of us. If you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting her, go out of your way to track her down at one of her workouts and listen to her story.

Laura – BEFORE

She’s had an amazing journey. Laura almost quit on us early on but with some gentle prodding she hung in there and hasn’t looked back since. Laura’s most recent weigh and measure showed an 11 pound loss, 5% reduction in body fat, and 4.75 inches shed! Her totals so far are 30 pounds, 7% body fat and a whopping 21.25 inches lost. We’re so happy for your success Laura, you’ve worked hard and earned each and every bit of it! Thank you for never giving up!


“I’m Laura Pierce.   I’m 53, and I spent over 30 years sitting at a desk and sitting on my couch.  As a result, I was overweight and out of condition.  I had shoulder issues, back issues, was borderline diabetic, and borderline high cholesterol.  I finally got my head in the game and decided 2011 would be the year to make my health my #1 priority.  No more excuses.  Old age isn’t for sissies, and I want to enjoy being a senior citizen someday.

I joined Weight Watchers and heard about My Stronger Self from a presentation given by Lori at a meeting. Trying to exercise by myself in my basement had not worked in the past, so I decided to join in January 2011. Lori knows each of us and can tailor each exercise to accommodate any physical limitations, like my weak shoulders. And the women in my class are the best!
We celebrate progress together and push each other during the workouts.  Their strength and dedication inspires me.

Laura - AFTER

I never thought I would be able to work out like I am now with Strength and Zumba and have fun at it!  I have more stamina and confidence, and I want to continue to challenge myself.  The pounds and inches I’ve lost are certainly a bonus, but the real prize was my last check-up.  For the first time in over 20 years, all my stats (LDL, HDL, triglicerides, glucose, total cholesterol) were normal.  No notes or asterisks from the doctor.  Both he and I were speechless!

George Eliot said, “It is never too late to be what you might havebeen”.

If I can do it, anyone can.

I love My Stronger Self!”


Sex is Exercise Too

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Sex is Exercise Too

Oh yes, we went there … SEX is a form of exercise! I can almost hear the applause through the computer. We found an

Yeah Baby Yeah?

interesting article written by Kelli Calibrese, a Fitness and LifeStyle Expert, that is worthy of your time. Read on, throw on some Marvin Gaye and ”Let’s Get It On”!

Sex is Exercise Too

By Kelli Calabrese MS, CSCS, ACE

As if you needed any more incentive to hop in the sack with your honey, a study has concluded that having sex three times a week burns the same calories as running about 30 miles per week. Given the choice, I’m guessing a majority of people would prefer having sex! Finally, an activity that’s soooo pleasurable and good for you.
Experts believe that sex in a loving relationship has a healing effect on body and mind, but that promiscuous sex has the opposite effect (sorry to burst your bubble). Sex, like exercise, produces hormones including endorphins and prostaglandins that not only give you a great workout but also reduce pain levels, boost your immune system, relieve stress and lower your cholesterol levels. A healthy sex life can actually help you live longer and slow down the aging process.
Endorphins bear a close functional resemblance to morphine, and they might be part of a natural, built-in, pain-control system. Some researchers claim endorphins have more than twice the strength of morphine — with no side effects or addictive results. A rise of endorphins is measurable after exercise and sexual activity.
Endorphins released during sex are so powerful that they have a placebo effect. Just think in detail about sex and expect an endorphin rush. Your body makes them naturally. Unfortunately, it also makes enzymes that “chew up” the endorphins. The bad enzymes are encouraged by stress and will deplete your endorphin storage.
Your sexual prowess depends on health, fitness level and past experiences. In the Journal of the American Medical Association, scientists found that sexual dysfunction is more likely among those with poor physical and emotional health — and plays a major role in negative experiences in sexual relationships and with overall well-being.
Maximize your results by working out at the gym AND in bed. Engaging in an active lifestyle is one of the biggest boosters for your sex life. The more fit you are, the better your sex life will be. A study conducted at the Harvard School of Public Health revealed that men, who exercised vigorously for 20 to 30 minutes a day, were about half as likely to have erection problems as
inactive men. The scientists in this study also discovered that as a man gained weight, he became more susceptible to experiencing erectile dysfunction.
A University of California at San Diego study of 78 healthy but sedentary middle-aged men documented changes when the men were assigned to exercise three to four times a week for one-hour sessions. Overall, the former couch potatoes reported more
reliable sexual function, more frequent sexual activity and orgasms, and greater satisfaction.
Here’s a study to encourage the ladies to exercise for improved sex lives: Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin studied 35 women, ages 18-34. On two separate occasions, the women first watched a short travel film, followed by an abbreviated X-rated film. To begin with, the subjects cycled vigorously for 20 minutes. The second time they didn’t. Researchers calculated their sexual response (using a device that measures blood flow in genital tissue) and discovered that the women’s vaginal responses were 169 percent greater after exercising.
Even losing weight and quitting smoking or drinking won’t improve sexual function the way exercise does. The following are sexual problems caused by a lack of fitness:
  • Low sexual desire
  • Difficulty with arousal
  • Inability to have an orgasm
  • A dislike of sex, poor libido
  • Painful intercourse, pain after intercourse
Here’s what you’ll need to get the most out of your sex life.
  • For enthusiastic sex, you’ll need to work on your cardio endurance. You don’t want to run out of energy halfway through.
  • You also need muscular endurance for longer-lasting  sex. You may find yourself holding, er, unusual positions for some time, so conditioning your body can be a plus. For endurance, you can try a resistance band workout or good ol’ push-ups and sit-ups. The objective is to use a lighter resistance and perform more repetitions.
  • As you can imagine, having loads of muscular strength can come in handy during your bedroom sessions. Increasing your strength will help you avoid show-stopping leg cramps.
  • Flexibility can enhance anyone’s sex life, making it a bit easier to get into your favorite position with a minimum amount of fuss. Increased flexibility can have you venturing into some new positions that seemed impossible before. Yoga is a great way to limber up?
If exercise can do so much for your sex life, shouldn’t more be even better? The answer is no. Heavy exercise can actually decrease testosterone levels, leading to a less-robust sexual appetite. Over-training can also compromise the immune system, which can adversely affect sexual performance.
So, in addition to your new buff body, exercise will help you enjoy life to the fullest! A sexy body and amazing sex is within your grasp when you follow the right fitness program.
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