Rep, Rep, Rep it Up!


Hi Fusers 🙂

As most of you know, this past month we’ve been working on the infamous 10,000 Rep Challenge, where you do 100 reps of 5 exercises–squats, lunges, burpees, push-ups and sit-ups–for 20 days out of the month of October.  At the end of 20 days, you will have completed 2,000 reps of each of the 5 exercises, totaling a whopping 10,000 reps. Whew!

The purpose of this challenge was not to scare you, but was to focus on increasing muscular endurance.  According to Livestrong.com, muscular endurance is the ability of a muscle or group of muscles to repeatedly exert force against resistance. Performing multiple repetitions of an exercise is a form of muscular endurance, as is running or swimming.

In strength training, an example of muscular endurance is how many repetitions one can do of a specific exercise without needing to rest.  The 10,000 rep challenge was just that–how many reps could you perform of each exercise in a row without stopping. We saw a couple different strategies–some people did 5 sets of 20 reps of each exercise, knocking all 100 reps in one workout. Others did 5 sets of 10 reps of each exercises twice a day to complete the 100 reps. Both strategies got the job done.

Another purpose of this challenge, other than increasing your muscular endurance, was to show you that even if you only have 20 minutes to workout, you can accomplish a lot with very little. To complete 5 sets of 10 reps of 5 bodyweight exercises takes less than 15 minutes–anyone can do this no matter where you are, you just need your body and a small amount of space. It might not be realistic to continue doing 100 reps a day, but everyone can find 15 minutes in your day to complete 5 sets of 10 reps of 5 bodyweight exercises. Consistency is what matters most and gets long-term results and maintenance.

So Train Smarter. Live Better. See results and improve your quality of life. If you’re interested in signing up for a free fitness consult to join our wonderful, supportive fitness community, please fill out the contact form below.

Yours in health,

Fuse Fitness Team

 

Nine Exercises that Strengthen the Back


Hi Fusers,

As you all know, September was back month. We focused on strengthening, mobilizing and stretching the back muscles. Hopefully coming into October your back is feeling strong and pain-free from all the back mobility work we’ve done.

A strong back is the foundation of any balanced fitness regimen. Along with adding strength and power to your workouts, a strong back helps you bear day-to-day activities such as standing, sitting, and bending down a bit easier. The following stretches and exercises are designed to improve the strength, mobility, and flexibility of these important muscles.

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  • Hamstring/Lower Back Stretch

Sit down with your legs straight in front of you, leaning forward with your arms straight out towards your toes. This stretches your lower back, hamstrings and legs.

  • Yoga Cat/Cow Stretch

Kneel on all fours with hands beneath shoulders and knees directly below hips. Gently arch your spine upwards and then downwards, like a cat.

  • Cobra Stretch

Lie facedown on the floor with feet together and palms underneath your shoulders. Slowly raise your chest up off the floor – holding the pose for at least 30 seconds or longer.

  • Bent-Over Dumbbell Rows using a bench

Place the right knee on top of the end of a bench, bend your torso forward from the waist until your upper body is parallel to the floor, and place your right hand on the other end of the bench. Hold dumbbell in left hand, pull using your rhomboid muscles, bringing your elbow back and towards the spine, squeezing your shoulder blades; lower slowly with control.

  • Child’s Pose

Kneel and sit your hips back toward your heels, forehead to the floor, with arms stretched overhead.  

  • Pull-Ups

Begin in a dead hang from a bar, with your core centered and back straight. Pull yourself up using your lats and core muscles, squeezing your shoulder blades at the top of the movement. Keep your neck straight and guide your chin steadily above the bar.

  • Scapular Push ups

Start out in plank position with your arms shoulder width apart. Keep your arms locked outward, drop your chest slightly and squeeze your shoulder blades together, isolating your scapula. Make sure to keep lower back neutral and avoid bending the elbows.

 

  • Lower Back Extensions

Lie facedown on the floor with your body fully extended, arms above your head and legs together. Lift your arms and legs up off the floor, using your lower back and glute muscles, making sure not to bend the knees or elbows.

  • IMG_0638Spinal Twist

Begin in seated staff pose. Bend your right knee over your left leg, placing your foot on the ground next to your left thigh. Your leg can be kept straight ahead or bent. Turn your torso towards the left.

Try these exercises out and let us know you feel. Looking forward to next month–get ready for the 10,000 rep challenge!! As always, if you’d like to set up a free consult with us, please fill out the contact form below.

Yours in health,

Fuse Fitness Team

 

 

In Full Swing


Hi Fusers!

I just want to say, you all did a damn good job with those burpees last month. I know you have probably never hated us more than during the month of March, but hey, it’s time to move on—forgive and forget.

Here we are, the beginning of April, and spring is quickly swinging into action. The rain has finally stopped, the sun is out, the days are longer, flowers are blooming, and we are swinging. Ok, so that last thing doesn’t really fit the sentence. However, while spring swings into action, we will concurrently be swinging kettlebells. This month, we are focusing on an actual favorite exercise at Fuse (opposed to last month’s “favorite”)—the kettlebell swing.

A brief bit of histrory—kettlebells were developed in Russia during the 1700s and were mostly used as a way for farmers to measure crops. Beginning in the 20th century, Soviet athletes began to use kettlebells as part of their training (Wikipedia). What makes the kettlebell unique is it’s design; unlike a dumbbell or barbell, the center of mass is extended beyond the hand, allowing the athlete to incorporate power and swinging movements into his/her program.

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At first glance, the swing looks very similar to a squat and front shoulder raise. However, it is not that, and it is extremely important to learn proper technique to ensure safety as well as get the most out of this powerful, all-encompassing exercise.  So let’s break it down.

The kettlebell swing is an explosive, ballistic exercise that trains the posterior chain of your body—primarily your hips, glutes, back and core. It is composed of a hip hinge movement in which you drive your hips straight back behind your centerline, pulling the kettlebell back between your legs just below the groin. It is imperative to keep your core tight and spine neutral spine/back straight. Your shins stay completely vertical, unlike a squat where the knees track over the toes, creating an angle of <90° between your shins and the floor.

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photo credit Onnit Academy

This movement pattern loads up the glutes and hips, which are extremely strong and powerful muscles. At this point you snap your hips forward powerfully, propelling the kettlebell upward. You maintain loose, straight arms, as the effort comes completely from your hips/glutes/core, and has nothing to do with your arms. While your arms help to control the kettlebell, you shouldn’t use your arms or shoulders to pull it up.

This movement pattern loads up your glutes and hips, which are extremely strong and powerful muscles. At this point you snap your hips forward powerfully, propelling the kettlebell upward. You maintain loose, straight arms, as the effort comes completely from your hips/glutes/core, and has nothing to do with your arms. While your arms help to control the kettlebell, you shouldn’t use your arms or shoulders to pull it up.

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As the kettlebell reaches its top end range of motion, usually around 45° out from your body, your glutes and abs flex to stop your hip motion so that you do NOT lean back and use your lower back muscles to pull. Your body should be in a completely vertical position, like a standing plank, with your core and glutes fully engaged. If your core is not engaged, you will put too much stress on your spine, causing your lower back, rather than your glutes, to do the majority of the work.

As the kettlebell begins to drop back down, make sure to be patient and wait until it has traveled almost all the way back down before beginning to hinge your hips back by moving your hips out of way. If you begin to hinge too early, you risk the kettlebell coming down much closer to the knees than it should—it should stay right below your groin.

So that’s the breakdown. Pretty technical, which is why we’re going to focus on perfecting it this month. When done correctly, it’s an amazing full-body exercise that is great for both conditioning and muscular endurance.

Keep up the great work Fusers!

Yours in health,

Kristin at Fuse Fitness

p.s. If you’re interested in learning how to do a kettlebell swing, want to work on your form, or are simply looking for an awesome strength and conditioning program, fill out the form below to sign-up for a free fitness consult.

Burpee-the most badass exercise on the market (did I sell you?)


Hi Fusers!

It’s March!! Woohoo, spring is just around the corner, and I’m pretty sure we’re all sick of the rain. So here’s to sunny, drier days ahead! And burpees.

That’s right, although that looks like a misplaced word in the paragraph above, I want to assure you that you read correctly. This month we will be focusing on burpees. I know, I know….here’s what you’re all thinking….

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The poor burpee. Seriously, for an exercise that is so incredibly effective and efficient, why can’t there be more love for it?! Did you ever think about that? Well guess what??

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I get it. Burpees are hard AF. However, they get results, and that’s what we’re after, right?Burpees are a full body exercise that work pretty much every muscle in the body, meaning that you can burn more calories in a lot less time. They help you develop strength, explosive power and anaerobic endurance. And conveniently, they can be done anywhere with no equipment necessary. That’s right, ANYWHERE. So next time you’re at Whole Foods….just saying 🙂

According to Wikipedia, the burpee was named in the 1930s for American physiologist Royal H. Burpee who developed the burpee test. As part of his PhD thesis, he created the burpee as a simple way to assess fitness. The exercise became popular during WWII, when it was adopted by the US Army to assess the fitness level of recruits. Originally, the burpee consisted of four steps:

  1. Squat down and place both hands on the floor in front of you.
  2. Jump feet back into plank position
  3. Jump feet forward.
  4. Return to standing.

Today, it is commonly done as a 6 step exercise:

  1. Bend over or squat down and place both hands on the floor in front of you, just outside of your feet.
  2. Jump both feet back into plank position.
  3. Drop to a push-up—your chest should touch the floor.
  4. Push or snake up to return to plank position.
  5. Jump feet back in toward hands.
  6. Explosively jump up into the air, reaching arms straight overhead.

Here at Fuse, we generally do the 6 step variation, and prefer this definition:

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Commonly done among inmates….so this month, you guys will be our inmates, and we will be working on the most badass exercise around.

The challenge for the month will be to increase your burpee stamina and will be tested as such: 5 rounds of 60 seconds of burpees followed by 60 seconds of rest in between rounds. You will tally the total amount of burpees you do in all 5 rounds, and that will be your score. Each week, you will perform this challenge (you only need to do once a week, you will have something else to do during this time if you have already completed yours for the week) and the goal is to improve your score each week. We will be giving out prizes to the awesome coffee cart at Flowerland on Solano Avenue for best improvements. However, the strategy is not to go super slow the first week on purpose just to win. While we will be awarding the biggest improvements, we will also be taking into consideration the best efforts all the way through the challenge.

Alright, let’s do this! And maybe, just maybe, we can get just a few likes for the dreaded burpee by the end of March.

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At the very least, Pascha and I will increase that number to 2 people 🙂

Yours in health,

Kristin at Fuse Fitness

Geoff Piller’s Fuse Fitness Success Story


Hi Fusers!

This week Fuse Fitness would like to highlight our member Geoff Piller!

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Geoff is one of our most dedicated clients when it comes to his health and fitness. He is self motivated, extremely consistent and laser focused. Before class even begins, he is off to an early start with a quick sprint outside and then comes inside to foam roll and stretch. Something about Geoff that demonstrates his great work ethic is that while everyone else takes a break to chit chat, he never stops, speeding through his workouts staying super focused, while most others have stopped to talk. He is usually the first one in class to finish an AMRAP or RFT workout.  Afterwards he can repeat everything that was discussed/small-talked about in class–he takes multi-tasking to another level–“listen while you work”.

This sentiment is shared by all of us trainers here at Fuse–Geoff is one of the sweetest people we know. He is one of our biggest cheerleaders and is such a caring and giving person. He always has something encouraging and/or positive to say. And let us not forget what an amazing baker he is! And he shares with us 🙂

Thanks to incredible members like Geoff, we have such a wonderful, interesting and supportive fitness community! With that being said, here is Geoff’s Fuse Fitness success story in his own words:

“I was a long time runner and used this method of exercise to stay in shape. I developed a hamstring injury and had to evaluate whether I could continue to run.  I concluded that running was making me fit, but it was not a complete total body workout- I felt limited. I decided I could get a better return by putting the time into a bootcamp style workout. My goal was to have overall balanced fitness, weight loss, and efficient use of my time.

“Some of the challenges I have encountered were working out with other people, as well as being inflexible.  I now enjoy working out in a group setting and have slowly achieved flexibility victories over time at the Fuse. Lastly, I hate Turkish Get Ups or any other exercise that begins with the word Turkish and still cannot jump rope. However, I do have many strengths and would like to focus on the things I’m good at.  I’m able to keep up with people in class who are considerably younger than me and I like the challenge of a rigorous workout. I can also sprint up the hill several times in a row like a bat out of hell and able to to exercise and play well with others.

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Working on the dreaded Turkish Get-Up…

 

“Overall I feel like I am in much better shape than when I was just running.”

Very true, Geoff! When he says he can “sprint up the hill several times in a row like a bat out of hell” he is not joking one bit. Geoff, you are an inspiration to everyone here and we truly appreciate you!

Yours in health,

Fuse Fitness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s our story….


Hey Fusers!

As 2016 has come to an end, we want to wish you all a very happy new year, filled with good health, good food and good times!

We are looking forward to an exciting year ahead, and as we have been planning what’s in store at Fuse this coming year, we wanted to take a few moments to stop and reflect on where we came from and where we’re heading–so here’s our story….

Pascha and I met in 2008 while working together at a small personal training studio, where we worked side-by-side, learning about each other personally and professionally, and forming the start of a life-long friendship and soon-to-be partnership.

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During these early years, we realized we shared many values that deepened our connection and inspired us to open a business together. The values we share are a dedication to family and friends; having a high-level of integrity, honesty and loyalty; helping others; a passion for health and fitness; working hard; and a mutual respect and admiration for each other.

Three and a half years after meeting, in June of 2011, we opened the doors to Fuse Fitness in Kensington, CA. We spent many months searching for the right space, until we found a place where we knew we wanted to build our community. Many long nights and weekends were dedicated to renovating/cleaning/building this space–we opened 1 month after we signed our contract/lease, while both working full-time during the days and raising families. It was an intense but very exciting month!

What makes us a great team and such great friends is that we have so much in common and really respect each other. However, our business challenges lie in that both our strengths and weaknesses are very similar. It would be great from a business perspective if we excelled in opposite ways, but that’s not how it worked out._mg_7622We both excel at being great teachers/coaches and designing fitness/lifestyle programs, and both have very similar training philosophies and styles. Our biggest struggle/weakness is in business operations, specifically marketing and business organization. We are also challenged when it comes to building and putting things together, esp. anything from IKEA–while this has created some frustrating moments, it has created many more hilarious moments where we’ve found ourselves laughing uncontrollably. At least we know we are pretty much always having a good time!

A couple of months ago, Pascha and I decided it was time to face our challenges head-on and committed to and invested in a 1 year minimum intensive business coaching program. We want to continue to grow, prosper and provide our community with excellent fitness and health programs, and we realized we couldn’t reach our goals if we didn’t tackle our challenges. We took a good, hard look at our business and accomplishments thus far, and were honest with each other–we needed to make a big change if we wanted to continue to grow. We are proud of ourselves for recognizing this and making the big decision to invest both financially and time-wise to the business coaching program.

Our goal is to continue to grow our business and provide a space where we can have the room to have a couple of class options at one time, as well as more room for private and semi-private training for the entire Kensington community. We would love to be able to expand into the space next door sometime this year. Our desire is to continue to help the people in our community reach their health and fitness goals–this includes those who need to lose weight; those who are wanting to increase their strength; those who have fallen off the wagon due to family and career commitments but want to feel healthy, young and fit again; those who are injured and/or in pain; pre and post-natal women; athletes; and senior citizens.

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That being said, we are very proud of ourselves. Through much trial, error and tribulation, we have created a space that truly is a close-knit community. There is no greater feeling in the world to us than being able to help people take control of their health, improve their quality of life, and be a supportive part of their fitness journey. The fitness community here at Fuse is one of the biggest accomplishments in our lives so far–we love all of our clients so much and are so grateful for each and every one of you!

Cheers to a great 2017!!

Yours in health,

Kristin and Pascha at Fuse Fitness

 

 

 

 

Let’s H.I.I.T. it!


Hey Fusers,

Happy New Year! We finished off the year strong with a tough, New Year’s themed outdoor bootcamp. It was awesome to end the year on a good note with some pretty great people–thanks to everyone who came out!

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Many of us have had our fair share of indulgent food, drinks and treats over the last month or two–hopefully you downloaded our Holiday Survival Guide, which provided healthy tips and ideas on how to balance out all the splurging. We’re big proponents of taking the time to enjoy special moments with family and friends, and the holidays are a wonderful time to do just that. We hope you all had a wonderful, magical holiday season!

Now it’s time to get back on track! This month we’re focusing on resetting our metabolisms and burning off those extra holiday indulgences! The best way to do that is with high-intensity interval training, otherwise known as H.I.I.T. This type of training involves repeated timed intervals of high intensity effort followed by timed recovery times. It’s done at 85–100 percent of one’s maximum heart rate rather than at 50–70 percent which is typically done in moderate endurance activity.

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Due to the timed rest periods (note: they’re not very long), this type of workout gives you a run for your money. There’s usually just enough time to catch a couple of breaths, then the timer rings, and you’re right back at going full speed. In just 20 minutes, you will likely do much more than most people will do in an hour wandering around the gym from set to set. It’s a super effective, time-efficient way to work out. Let’s just say H.I.I.T. gets the job done.

While that might be just enough info to get you feeling pumped about H.I.I.T. month, there is an even greater reason why it’s so awesome. Interval training produces a great afterburn effect, meaning that after your workout is done, your body’s metabolism is still amped up and burning calories. The scientific name for this is exercise post oxygen consumption, otherwise known as EPOC, meaning the amount of oxygen required to restore your body back to homeostasis after exercise (American Council of Exercise). Basically, exercise that consumes more oxygen burns more calories. And if you’ve ever done a H.I.I.T. workout before, you know a lot of oxygen is being consumed.

burning-fat

Interval training is also great for your heart–it improves both your heart’s strength and performance by increasing aerobic performance and improving cardiorespiratory function.  When you workout at this intensity, your heart and lungs are supplying oxygen to your body. As your heart becomes stronger, it does this more efficiently, maximizing the body’s oxygen intake levels–and like I mentioned before, greater consumption of oxygen leads to greater calorie burn. Win!

These results sure sound great, don’t they, maybe even too good to be true? Well, the benefits are real, as the results have been scientifically studied and proven. So what’s the catch? While H.I.I.T. doesn’t need to take a lot of time, it is challenging. During your high intensity work intervals, you need to be going all out, 85-100% of your max. heart rate. If you are able to chat with the person next to you about weekend plans or what the kids have going on, you are not working hard enough. Let me repeat–you must bust your ass.

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Nothing that gets results is easy, so this month, commit to working really hard during the interval training sets. As always, you will be properly warmed-up in all workouts at Fuse Fitness. You will still be doing strength training. You will still get your core work in. And YOU WILL give it your all during the interval training sets in each workout.

Cheers to a fat-burning start to the year!

Yours in health,

Kristin at Fuse Fitness