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

 

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

Time to get Running!


Hi Fusers!

January is quickly coming to an end, and we’ve had a great month focusing on interval training….all day, every damn day. Whew. It’s been tough, but awesome! Those first days of the month were rough for many of us, coming off of the holidays and trying to get back into a routine. There is just no better way to break up a rut than to go all out with intervals—not necessarily fun, definitely not easy, but certainly effective.

So now we should be back on track, kicking ass again, and feeling back to normal. Thanks interval training 😉

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February is heart health month, so naturally we’re going to focus on cardiovascular health. Since we just spent all of January doing high-intensity, shorter intervals (which is definitely cardio), we are going to shift our focus to longer periods of work/endurance training. Aerobic endurance is the ability to work for longer periods of time without tiring (mayoclinic.com). Which brings me to our challenge of the month—the 1 mile run. Gasp. 

Don’t think for a minute that I didn’t hear the collective gasps that just happened reading that sentence. I hear all the time how much everyone hates running. Why is that? Because it’s hard. You’re right, it is hard. However it is good cardio training. While certainly not the only way to improve cardiovascular health, it is one way, and it is the way we have chosen for this month’s challenge.

We will be having two outdoor bootcamps coming up to run the mile for time. For those who truly can’t run, definitely still come to the bootcamp, we will have something else for you to do to work on your cardio. Here are the dates:

  • Sat. Jan. 28th at 10am—Albany Middle School track
  • Sat. Feb. 25th at 10am—Albany Middle School track

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Be ready for more running, rowing and longer interval training workouts during February to prepare you to better your mile run time, but more importantly, improve your cardiovascular health.

Without further adieu, I’m going to leave you with some facts about heart health/heart disease. In case you need further convincing why you will come to the bootcamps and run. Without complaining. Preferably with a smile on your face. Ok, that may be pushing it 😉

One in four deaths in the United States is caused be heart/cardiovascular disease, which is the leading cause of death for both men and women (theheartfoundation.org). Despite those grim statistics, one’s risk of having heart disease can be significantly reduced by making healthy choices. We truly have so much power over this disease.

Some of the ways in which you can reduce your risk of heart disease are (theheartfoundation.org):

  • Keep a healthy weight; more importantly, keep a healthy level of body fat. It is entirely possibly to be a “healthy” weight but have too high a level of body fat. Conversely, it is also completely possible to have a higher weight with a low/healthy level of body fat. Muscle weights more than fat.
  • Quit smoking. It is the singular most important thing you can do to prevent so many health problems.
  • Follow a healthy diet. Cut out processed food. Drastically reduce sugar intake. Consume a lot more vegetables. Cook at home. Eat clean.
  • Manage anger and stress. Meditate, listen to music, play an instrument, make time for yourself. Breathe. Life is stressful and challenging, find ways to help not take it so seriously.
  • Exercise. If you’re a client at Fuse, you’re definitely on the right path with this. Are you consistent? Could you add another day? Could you work a little harder? Ask yourself these questions. You may be right on track or you may need a push. Figure that out and decide the best path to making yourself healthier.

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So, we’re planning on seeing you all this Saturday at 10am. Dust off those running shoes. Head to the track. Be ready to go. And smile.

Yours in health,

Kristin at Fuse Fitness

P.S. If you’re looking to start up a fitness program, you’ve come to the right place. Please fill out this contact form to get started with a free consultation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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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

 

 

 

 

Lia Swindle’s Fuse Fitness Success Story!


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Over the next few weeks we are celebrating our amazing clients here at Fuse Fitness. Everyday we come in to work we can’t believe that we get to work with such amazing people that inspire us by showing up day in and day out.

Today I have to tell you about Lia Swindle.

We are so proud of Lia! She has made amazing progress this year towards her goal of feeling stronger and empowered. It hasn’t been an easy path for Lia, as it isn’t for anyone to reach his/her goals. But Lia has consistently shown up and worked hard at getting stronger one day at a time. Her results have been amazing.

Lia joined Fuse Fitness two years ago, and she has been a pleasure to have in class and witness her growth over these past few years. While having an ongoing pelvis injury, she is careful to modify certain movements to avoid further injury, but is still a beast when it comes to lifting weights. Watching her goblet squat a 35lb kettlbell, push press two 35lb weights overhead and then deadlift a 70lb kettlbell is so inspiring.

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Lia now looks forward to coming to class with a drive to work on getting stronger and feels good about lifting her bags full of groceries within one trip, as she says “I got this”! Lia is also proud of setting a positive example for her cute, yet “rock star” daughter Hannah. Lia loves that Hannah sees her working out and representing what a strong female is capable of. Overall, Lia feels so much better about herself physically and mentally.

Fuse Fitness is a boutique fitness studio, in which we work hard to provide the safest and most effective way to achieve an active and healthy lifestyle, build strength and lean muscle. Our fitness program is also known for injury prevention and helping our clients keep up with their kids, in a supportive, noncompetitive and community oriented environment.  As you can see from Lia’s success story, we are so proud to know that we have amazing clients who have achieved their goals and understand that health and fitness is a lifestyle and not a trend or something you only participate in during the new year.

Sign up HERE to schedule your free consult today and be our next success story!!

Keep up the amazing work Lia. We are all inspired by you and so proud of you. Bring on 2017!

Yours In Health,

Pascha at Fuse Fitness

Jack Be Nimble and Jane Be Quick!

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 Hey Fusers!

Throughout March, we have been focusing on power in our workouts. Check out this quick video from our excursion to Sky High, where we generated lots of power jumping on indoor trampolines. I hope you all have been enjoying the plyometric movements we have worked on this month–wall balls, ball slams, heavy rope etc. and are feeling stronger and more powerful 🙂 Personally, I have been pretty sore this month from all of the jump squats and have thoroughly enjoyed all of the wall balls! But I can’t seem to shake those horrible thrusters :/

This month, we will be shifting from power onto agility! I’m so excited because we get to work on moving quickly, while pivoting and being light on your feet. This takes a lot of coordination and focus. We bought an extra agility ladder to take you all through some fun drills, so get ready!

Agility is an important modality of fitness, as it requires a person to be able to move quickly, and change directions with control and without reducing speed. There is also an element of dynamic balance, which is the ability to maintain your balance while remaining coordinated, utilizing your body’s sensory organs to achieve this. For example, if Jack is performing drills on the agility ladder, he has to be able to change foot positions quickly while stepping, jumping, running or hopping in a specific spot. The object is to refrain from stepping on the ladder rung and maintain balance, thus efficiency is key.

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In addition to agility being good for speed, balance and coordination, performing agility drills correctly can also reduce injuries. Because you are training your body to control eccentric forces (movements that provide a braking mechanism for muscle and tendon groups, that are experiencing concentric movement, to protect joints from damage as the contraction is released- Wikipedia) in all directions, you develop better movement patterns and performance with a faster and more efficient response.

For example, if Jane is playing tennis and her opponent hits a poor return, Jane has to anticipate the opponent’s stroke. She has to  respond quickly and put herself in an optimal position to retrieve the shot in enough time to execute the play. This takes proper speed and balance and the ability to stop herself quickly and start again quickly with efficient hand/eye coordination.  These movements also require Jane to pivot and cut with control in different movement patterns. If not done correctly, Jane can easily injure herself, whether it be her ankle, knee, wrists, rotator cuff, calves, etc. Matches are often won by players who move better and whose game is more stable even while fatigued.

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Most sports, including soccer, tennis, baseball, football, track and field just to name of few, do a great deal of agility training. At Fuse, we think of our members as athletes as well and recognize that agility is important to work on regardless of being a competitive athlete. So, we hope you are looking forward to some cone drills, agility ladder drills, single-leg drills, high knee drills and more this month. Be nimble and be quick. Be like Jack and Jane 🙂

With love,

Pascha