“Old School” Workouts

The FITgals LOVE to switch up the workout routine so if you have been devoted to one video or one class for a long time, it is time to switch it up.

There are SO many great, free exercise videos that we have highlighted for you on our blog from Fitness Blender (we still don’t know how they had the time to film all of that content) to our fav’s Anna Kaiser and Tracy Anderson, but it may be time for you to get your inspiration from an old school workout…

(If you thought we were going to link you to Jane Fonda, we ARE because WHATEVER she is doing is working…so click here.)

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But we don’t have to go THAT far back to get a great workout. Jillian Michael’s 30-day shred really brings it back to the basics and you don’t need crazy dance moves or complex exercises to get a great workout. And, thanks to YouTube, you don’t need the DVD’s anymore either!

With the weather turning wet and cold, take the time in your own home and on your own time to check out Level 1 and Level 2 and let us know how it goes!


Heart Health

Did you know that heart disease is the #1 KILLER of women??

According to the CDC:

  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States, killing 292,188 women in 2009—that’s 1 in every 4 female deaths.
  • Although heart disease is sometimes thought of as a “man’s disease,” around the same number of women and men die each year of heart disease in the United States. Despite increases in awareness over the past decade, only 54% of women recognize that heart disease is their number 1 killer.
  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for African American and white women in the United States. Among Hispanic women, heart disease and cancer cause roughly the same number of deaths each year. For American Indian or Alaska Native and Asian or Pacific Islander women, heart disease is second only to cancer.
  • About 5.8% of all white women, 7.6% of black women, and 5.6% of Mexican American women have coronary heart disease.
  • Almost two-thirds (64%) of women who die suddenly of coronary heart disease have no previous symptoms. Even if you have no symptoms, you may still be at risk for heart disease.

We want to make sure our FITfollowers are not a part of these scary statistics so we are here to help you prevent heart disease!!

First of all, it is important to know the risk factors. Again, according to the CDC these include:

High blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, and smoking (49% of Americans have at least one of these three risk factors), diabetes, being overweight or obese, poor diet, physical inactivity, and excessive alcohol use.

Ok, so beyond just a clean diet, are there foods that are shown to help with your overall heart health? Of course! We encourage you to peruse this wonderful compilation of heart healthy foods from Health Magazine, but here are a few highlights:

1. Fish Oils, Fish Oils, Fish Oils: Good for your skin, good for you heart. Salmon and other fatty fish such as sardines and mackerel are the superstars of heart-healthy foods. That’s because they contain copious amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, shown in studies to lower the risk of arrhythmia (irregular heart beat) and atherosclerosis (plaque build-up in the arteries) and decrease triglycerides. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish and preferably fatty fish at least twice a week. Omega-3 fatty acids are also available as dietary supplements.

2. Berries: According to one recent study, women aged 25 through 42 who ate more than three servings of blueberries and strawberries a week had a 32% lower risk of heart attack compared with those who ate less. The authors of the study attributed the benefit to compounds known as anthocyanins, flavonoids (which are antioxidants) that may decrease blood pressure and dilate blood vessels. Anthocyanins give plants their red and blue colors.

3. DARK CHOCOLATE: We are sure this is one food group you can get behind. Several studies have now shown that dark chocolate may benefit your heart, including one in 2012 that found that daily chocolate consumption could reduce nonfatal heart attacks and stroke in people at high risk for these problems. The findings applied only to dark chocolate, meaning chocolate made up of at least 60-70% cocoa. Dark chocolate contains flavonoids called polyphenols, which may help blood pressure, clotting, andinflammation. Unfortunately, milk chocolate and most candy bars don’t make the grade when it comes to protecting your heart.

4. Extra-virgin olive oil: In a landmark study, people at high risk for heart disease who followed the Mediterranean diet (high in grains, fruits, vegetables) supplemented by nuts and at least four tablespoons a day of olive oil reduced their risk of heart attacks, strokes, and dying by 30%. Olive oil is a good source of monounsaturated fats, which can help reduce both cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Olives themselves—both green and black—are another source of “good” fat, says Graf. And they “add a lot of flavor to salads,” she notes.

The other component to heart health is exercise! So whether it is weight training, cardio (walking, running, swimming, or cycling…as long as you push yourself to the point of panting/slightly out of breath), a circuit training class, or yoga, exercise is good for the heart. Schedule a session with the FITgals today or check out this great treadmill workout/CORE class from POPSUGAR! 

Back on Track – Part II

At this point, all of our FIT readers know that there are two pieces to the FIT-puzzle: diet and exercise. We hope you breezed through the non-cleanse “cleanse” and are embracing some of the changes you made this week, but you can’t forget to move that body!

The simple fact is, if you commit to getting 10,000 steps, take stairs when you can, and add a little bit extra each day (like the 10-minute videos we post often), you will start to see changes. If you can get to an hour long class, or work with a trainer, that’s wonderful, but if you can’t, every little movement counts. So…

Check out this 10-minute cardio-boost video from our FIT-friends over at PopSugar “FITNESS” and GET MOVING!