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Brighten Your Day With a Morning Routine!

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Not everyone is a morning person. While some people naturally wake up refreshed and ready to go, most of us would probably snooze right through our morning meetings if it was an option.

While it feels great to get extra beauty sleep, this “snooze button” mentality can zap productivity and cause far more issues than it solves.

Instead of spending that hour desperately trying to sleep between alarms, invest that time into you instead! These are our favorite tips to help you be ready to seize the day, from the moment the day starts:

Start the night before.

Don’t wait to plan your day until after it’s started! By writing out your to-do lists and goals for the next day the night before, you’ll already have a plan in place when your feet hit the floor.

Hydrate, right away.

Overnight is (hopefully) the longest period of time you go without drinking water. No one is trying to get in the way of you and your coffee, but chug some water while you wait for it to brew.

Eat within an hour.

We know it can be hard to work breakfast into your schedule, but creating simple meals full of nutrients doesn’t have to take a ton of time! Simple breakfast smoothies or yogurt parfaits will have all the nutrition you need, without all the hassle added to your morning. Look for a breakfast with a carbohydrate, a protein, and a small amount of healthy fat to keep you fueled throughout the day!

Actively seek motivation.

We all have different things that get us motivated. Whether you like to read, write or listen to podcasts, carve out some time in your morning to do what gets you excited.

Set your intention.

Negative thoughts never lead to good things, especially first thing in the morning! Set an intention for the day, even if it’s just making a note to smile. If you start to feel negative, remember your intention and refocus your energy toward staying positive!

Exercise.

We know, we know: We’re obviously biased. Morning workouts admittedly aren’t for everyone, but if they are your thing, it’s the best way to start your day. A kick of energy and crossing exercise off your to-do list early on started sounds like a win/win to us!

 

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A Father’s Day Wish Come True

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Von Hollingsworth and his daughter, Anna, are helping others improve their lives – together

After 30 years as a manager in the electronics field, Von Hollingsworth had become “restless” and he was eager to do something more meaningful the remainder of his working days.  But he wasn’t particularly receptive to the idea when – seemingly out of nowhere – his daughter, Anna, suggested they go into business together by opening a gym.

“My initial response was, ‘You’re nuts. Absolutely no way,’” Von recalls telling Anna. “I said, ‘I’m too close to retirement to take that on at this point in time.’”

Von Hollingsworth and his daughter Anna, at their club in Concord Township, OH

But, in typical Anna fashion, she persisted.

“Next thing I knew my inbox was full of potential franchises,” Von said.  “I started to do a little research on the stuff she sent me. I didn’t give her much feedback because I wasn’t seriously interested at that time.  But the more I read about Anytime Fitness, the more it began to make sense.”

Less than a week before Christmas in 2012, Von and Anna opened an Anytime Fitness gym together in Concord Township, OH.

“At the time, I was only a few years out of college and not financially able to open a gym by myself,” Anna said.  “But I had a pretty good investor in mind, which was my dad.  I had the fitness expertise because I’d been in a gym and knew everything about the equipment and I was a certified personal trainer.  I had that to bring to the table.  And I’d always been a sales personality type.”

Right from the start, their complementary skill sets served the business well.  Von was the “big picture guy” while Anna handled most of the day-to-day operations of the gym.  But they were both motivated by the same thing – and it wasn’t money.

“The most fun that we have – my wife, Anna and I – is when we go out to dinner and talk about [a gym member] who’s lost 70 pounds,” Von said.  “Or we talk about another member who’s off her diabetes medicine.  We talk about the people who come to us and say, ‘You saved my life.’  That’s unbelievable stuff.”

And they’re not content merely helping members while they’re inside the gym.  Anna and Von have become somewhat famous in Concord Township for their various community engagement activities. Over the last three years, the gym’s “24 in 24” Challenge has raised $119,000 and helped make wishes come true for local children battling life-threatening illnesses.

 2018 “24 in 24”

VIDEO

“Last year we had 108 members attempt the Challenge, which was 10% of our entire membership,” said Anna.  “This year we have an incredible 160 Challengers participating.  The ‘24 in 24’ has become the heartbeat of our small business and a huge part of our community.”

And that’s just the beginning.  Each of the last four years, Anna and Von have organized a “Miles for Mutts” 5K event, donating a combined $17,000 to their local Lake Humane Society.  Additionally, last year alone, the gym’s running club, which includes nearly 200 active members, has raised nearly $7,000 via various events for charities in the Concord area.

The fundraisers are important and impressive.  But it’s inside the gym where the magic happens – where Von and Anna have helped literally thousands of members significantly improve their health and fitness.

“I have a blast,” Von said. “I’m in the gym four hours a day and I just talk to people.  That’s what this is all about.  I’ve cried more working for Anytime Fitness than I ever imagined.  I’ve seen so many people improve their lives.”

“I think my dad’s ability to connect with our members is because they can relate to him and he can relate to them,” Anna said.  “He definitely creates a culture inside these walls of having a good time, smiling and just putting people in a good mood.  I usually just laugh when I see him talking to people because you never know what the heck he’s talking about.”

Regarding advice for others who might be thinking about going into business with a close relative, Anna believes being honest about each other’s skills and limitations is the key to success.

“You figure out who is best for a particular task and then you just kind of have to delegate responsibilities and then respect each other,” Anna said.  “With us, we knew that my dad would handle the finances and he would do our accounting and those types of things.  You also need to put someone who has the skills to run a gym in that manager role.  That’s where I feel comfortable.”

Despite his initial hesitations, Von now describes going into business with his daughter as a perpetual Father’s Day gift – and one of the best decisions he’s ever made.

“It’s ended up being the smartest thing we ever did,” Von said.  “It’s been a joy.  A whole lot of fun.”

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7 Surprising Ways to Find Time for a Parent Workout Every Day

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Parent workout

Having kids means experiencing the unbridled joy of forced insomnia, an overwhelming daily to-do list, an underwhelming amount of time to do it in and an endless treasure trove of cheerios in the cracks of your backseat. It also means loving someone more than you ever thought humanly possible which makes it all worth it. Eventually… it’s what I’ve been told. Being a parent also means it can be near impossible to find the time to take care of yourself. You’re too busy putting everyone and everything else first to shine the proper spotlight on yourself. As long as everyone else is taken care of, then all is well! At least that’s what you tell yourself when your schedule is jam-packed. 

Loving (and taking care of) yourself completely is what allows you to love others completely, as well. Imagine you’re a leaky rowboat tasked with ferrying your kids across a large, treacherous lake. Even though you have a leak and are taking on water, it’s not rapid or powerful enough to keep you from floating. Assessing the risks and deeming yourself seaworthy, you decide to set sail fully intent on providing safe passage to your little ones no matter what. However, about halfway through, the leak becomes too intense as your once-steadfast ship begins to sink. What I’m getting at is: taking care of yourself is like patching that leak and fortifying your back to carry the burden of parenthood before you find yourself drowning yourself in the midst of it.

Since every family dynamic is different there is no “one size fits all” solution to sneaking in workout time for yourself. Be that as it may there are definitely a lot of tips and tricks to share on the matter. Here are seven creative ways parents can sneak in a workout.

Introduce the Birds to the Bees

I might as well get the most obvious one out of the way… The details of this one are highly personal and left up to you.

Incorporate “Playtime” Workouts

Depending on how old your kids are, you can either workout with them or workout with them. The first involves things like challenging them to rock out some of your favorite exercises or making outdoor sports/games/hikes a regular thing to do together. The second means making them a literal part of your workout! Squatting whilst holding a baby or planking with a toddler on your back not only adds up if you’re consistent enough but will also help influence your youngsters to be health-conscious in the future. Win-win!

Get Hungry for “Exercise Snacks”

An “exercise snack” is the physical equivalent of grazing the appetizer table, but with fitness instead of delicious chips and cheeses. If you don’t have time to get in a full “meal”, then feed your fitness appetite with mini-workout sessions throughout the day, instead! You can make a list of some of your most beloved and essential exercises with a corresponding set of reps to be done when you have a few free minutes (sometimes that’s all you’ve got) and cycle through them as many times as possible:

  • 20 Push-Ups
  • 30 Squats
  • 25 Jumping Jacks
  • 50 Bicycle Crunches
  • 5 Staircase Climbs

You can alter the list each day with different exercises, even creating a theme (upper body, core, legs, cardio, etc.) if you want to take it up a notch. It all accumulates into one big workout by the end of the day!

Create Your Own “Home Depot”

This doesn’t mean grab a sweet orange vest and develop omniscient deck building skills, but rather develop an excellent backup plan of “tools-at-home” to exercise with when you can’t make it to the gym. With some thrifty shopping you can find affordable BOSUs, TRXs, dumbbells, resistance bands and anything else your heart desires to create a home space fit for living fit. The best part? You’ll get better at using the equipment in the gym from your at-home sweat seshes while also providing a constant visual reminder to keep your head in the game.

Schedule It 

Instead of saying you don’t have time… schedule the time. You schedule everything else, why not schedule 20-60 minutes of “you” time, too? Don’t get me wrong, I know this isn’t possible every day, but it’s possible most days. Try making time in the early morning before the kids are up, late at night when they’re already in bed or in the middle of the day before you head out on errands. If you write it down or plan for a workout on your daily agenda, it’s a lot easier to hold yourself accountable to it.

Eat for Health

Despite how great our bodies feel when we fuel them well, it isn’t always easy to stay on track. When we eat with our health in mind, our quality of life tends to go up drastically—but if it were easy, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Simply put, we’re creatures of instant gratification who unknowingly (or knowingly) turn to food in an effort to soothe our emotions. If you set your sights on the big picture of feeling well and keep your eating as clean as possible, you’ll feel much more up to the task of sneaking workouts in instead of feeling lethargic and unmotivated.

Turn Screen Time into “Me” Time

These days, we are completely surrounded by all kinds of screens. TVs, smart phones, tablets, and laptops are populating our households at an epidemical pace making screen management a hugely difficult undertaking. With the right perspective though we can use this to our advantage! If you’ve given your kids a daily screen-time allowance, odds are they covet their time with tech. When they’re lost in their tablet or TV time, take it as your chance to throw the hammer down on some personal exercise time! Challenge yourself to use this technique along with another from the list. You’ve got this, don’t be afraid to double up!

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Everything New Moms Need to Know Before Working Out After Baby

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Many new moms are searching for answers and ways to reclaim their pre-baby body. Do they really have to wait six weeks to exercise? Why? What are the best ways to get re-started? We know you’re eager. And we’re excited to help! But before you ease (emphasis on ease) back into a fitness routine, please be sure to consider the following things and all that they encompass.

Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day

Your body has undergone 9 months of incredible changes, including weight gain and hormonal shifts that may have you feeling as if you’re a house guest in your own skin. Becoming a mom is a long journey and you should not expect (nor should anyone else) to be back to your pre-pregnancy weight right away. In fact, some doctors would say if you are back to pre-pregnancy weight in less than six months following birth, your exercise and nutrition should be reevaluated.

The first six weeks following birth should be primarily focused on feeling good and finding a little alone time. Approach your exercise program with curiosity and without judgment. Forget charting your progress or setting weight loss or physical goals; simply find time to move and regain a bit of control over your schedule and your body.

Then, barring unforeseen complications, after six weeks you can begin making a plan. You should have a bit more structure in your life at this point, sleep is (hopefully!) more frequent, and your body should be close to fully healed. Now you can begin looking toward getting back to pre-pregnancy weight, restoring core function, and improving body image. But still, approach your program with a dose of humility and grace. It will take time; time to feel like your old self and time to look like your old self. Slow and steady will win the race.

Your Doctor Knows Best

Regardless of how you feel and how desperate you are to return to your non-maternity wear, listening to your doctor regarding post-partum exercise prescription is crucial. The most progressive advice suggests anything that doesn’t hurt, you can do. (This is based largely on your pre-pregnancy and pre-natal routines.) However, it’s important to consider giving yourself time and space to heal. Be honest at your follow-up appointments and respectful of the internal trauma that birth causes (whether vaginal or c-section delivery) when determining your plan.

In the immediate weeks following birth, contraindications to exercise include heavy bleeding, pain, or breast infection or abscess. If you had a c-section or a traumatic vaginal birth (deep tears requiring repair), pain is your ultimate guide. Breast discomfort is for real; if you’re experiencing engorgement, you should wait until this passes before starting or resuming exercise. Finally, if you are experiencing heavy urine leakage or pelvic pressure during exercise for more than a couple of weeks, you should consult a physician before continuing your workouts.

There’s More to Monitor

Whenever you do begin to exercise again, there are important things to monitor (in addition to that new beautiful life!):

  • Hydration Levels – Fluid intake should be high. Monitor the color of your urine to be sure you’re on target with your water intake; or it might be easier to remember you should drink enough that you feel like you need to use the restroom each time you feed the baby.
  • Baby WeightMonitor your baby’s weight gain as you begin to resume your physical fitness. The calories expended and/or eliminated on the nutrition side should not interfere with the expected weight gain for your child.
  • Fatigue – Fatigue is a reality for every new mom and not something you should try to “power through” to get a workout in. If you have to set an alarm to exercise, you probably shouldn’t be doing it. The same goes for skipping an afternoon nap. You might want to consider reducing duration and increasing frequency at this new stage. Sleep is more beneficial at this point!
  • Rest & Activity Cycles – Be sure to maintain a balance between these two items. Activity is important, but rest is too. Rest, such as spending time with your baby or relaxing alone, is as beneficial for your physical body as it is for your peace of mind.

Re-Prioritizing is Your New Normal

One of the best gifts you can give yourself now is embracing the fact life has changed. Being a mom is a wonderfully tough job, and while making time for yourself is critical, you will undoubtedly have competing interests forever more. Time management takes on a whole new meaning with a baby in the house. The number of chores and needs in the household change, finding time for your spouse and friends will shift, work schedules evolve, and though in the past you may have always found time for your exercise, there may be times when it simply doesn’t happen. While I’m not suggesting that as moms we stop putting our oxygen mask on first, I am suggesting that you give yourself a break! If a workout doesn’t happen, all is not lost. Avoid going down the self-defeating path of one missed workout leads to many. Your workouts may look and feel different, happen less frequently, be sporadic, or shorter. Analyze your new normal and make sure everything is working for you and your family. The quickest way to getting your body back is to set your mind right, first!

Read about more ways to reclaim your pre-baby body. 

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