Tips for Sticking to Your New Year’s Fitness Resolution

If you’re like many people, this time of year might have you looking ahead at some of the changes you would like to make in your life. New Year’s Resolutions have been a time-honored tradition for decades and are often focused on improving health and fitness. We’ve put together this list of tips to help you stick to your New Year’s Fitness Resolution. After you read our list of tips, call Steel Fitness Riverport to learn about our classes, personal training, and more. At Steel Fitness, we’re here to help you reach your fitness goals.

-Be Realistic

When you’re setting resolutions, it can be easy to have grand aspirations and dreams for what you’ll accomplish in the coming year. While we certainly don’t want you to aim low, it’s very important that you’re realistic when it comes to setting fitness goals. Something we see often is someone who put their finish line far beyond their grasp, which leads to feelings of disappointment and frustration. Set goals that push you, but are still attainable. That way, you can feasibly manage reaching your goals while you avoid falling short.

-Make a Plan

New Year’s Day is just around the corner, but you shouldn’t wait until the day of to make your resolution. Use this time to start putting together a plan for what you’ll be doing. It’s a good idea to have a calendar where you draw up your fitness roadmap. This is a great way to visualize what your plan is, what your goals are, and certain benchmarks you hope to meet by a certain time of the year.

-Rewards

Something that helps many people stick to their resolutions is when they have a reward waiting for them when they accomplish a goal. Decide on rewards that will help keep you motivated throughout the year and attach them to the benchmarks you’ve put on your roadmap. When you have a carrot on a stick to focus on, you won’t spend as much time worrying about the day-to-day struggles of exercising and eating right.

-Talk it Out

Your resolution doesn’t need to be a private thing, even if you’re embarking on this journey on your own. It’s very helpful to discuss your plans with friends and family members because, once it is vocalized, you add some outer sources of accountability. Who knows? You might find out one of your friends has similar goals and is interested in joining you on your trips to the gym. Signing up for a group exercise class together is a great way to keep each other motivated.

-Track it

Fitness is a long-term pursuit and the longer you stick with it, the more results you’re going to see. We recommend keeping a journal or agenda detailing what you accomplished each day. When you track your progress, it doesn’t just record daily tasks, but it will also provide you with a way to see how far you’ve come over time. This is also a helpful way of keeping tabs on your progress toward the benchmarks you’ve set for yourself.

-Stay Positive

Anyone who tells you that fitness is easy isn’t being honest. It’s hard work and you’ll only accomplish your goals if you stick to it. With that said, do what you can to stay positive about it. Fitness isn’t something that will come overnight, so don’t beat yourself up if you’re not progressing as quickly as you hoped or if you have a bad day. The important thing is you aren’t giving up. Approach every workout with a positive mental attitude. Every day and every exercise, no matter how small, is getting you closer to achieving your goals. You can do it!

Pursuing fitness is difficult work, but it is incredibly rewarding. When you adopt a healthier lifestyle, you will avoid many of the health problems that plague so many people. That means making this New Year’s Resolution is your first step towards a better quality of life. As you start on this fitness journey, you don’t need to go it alone. Here in Bethlehem, you have Steel Fitness Riverport to guide you along the way. Whether you jump into one of our group exercise classes or you want the individual focus of personal training, we’re here to help. Call us today to learn how to get started on your way to a healthier and happier life!

6 Tips for Effective Workout Recovery

So you’ve been working out for a little while now, and things seem to be going well, but you can’t help but feel achy and sore for days after you hit the gym. If you ignore post-workout recovery, you’ll end up doing yourself more harm than good. We recently took a look at some of the best foods to eat to help your muscles recover, but today we’re going to broaden the scope a bit. We’ve gathered these tips to help you master effective workout recovery practices to keep you healthy as you pursue your fitness goals. Need some extra help with making your goals a reality? Call Steel Fitness Riverport in Bethlehem to learn about our exercise classes and personal training programs.

-Plan Ahead

We’ve all been there. You’re starting to see results and you’re hitting your stride in your workout regimen. The last thing you want to do is slow down, right? Wrong! The human body, while exceptionally adaptable, still needs rest in order to rebuild itself. The process of working out creates small tears in your muscles, which are then repaired to make them stronger. However, if you don’t give your muscles the opportunity to repair themselves, you risk doing greater damage and causing injury. To avoid this, lay out a plan for your workout schedule. Every three to five weeks, plan for a recovery week. This doesn’t mean you’ll take the whole week off, it just means you’ll do half your normal routine with reduced weight. That will ensure you’re still staying active, while not taxing your body beyond its limits.

-Recovery Time

This isn’t to say you shouldn’t also be planning days where you do get some rest. It is recommended to space out your workouts at least 24–72 hours apart to give your body ample opportunity to heal. This is vital to help stem the effects of DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), which can make your muscles feel overly tender and stiff while reducing the range of motion in your joints and muscle flexibility. DOMS can make even an easy workout much more difficult to get through, so even if you don’t want to take a full day off from your exercise, at the very least space out the time between working the same muscle groups to give them a chance to recover while you work on other parts of your body.

-Sleep it Off

One of the best feelings after a great workout is that knowledge that you’re going to get a great night of sleep. In fact, sleeping is one of the most important pieces of an overall fitness puzzle. As you sleep, resting helps rebuild and repair your body, while restoring your energy to help you get back to it the next day. Through your sleep cycle, hormones will be secreted and circulated to help with this recovery process. Studies have shown that without enough sleep, your body will be less able to tolerate your training, put you in a worse mood, and make you feel even more exhausted than you might be. With eight hours of sleep every night, you’ll be rejuvenated enough to keep working your way to your fitness goal.

-Drink More Water

How many times have you heard it? You need to drink more water. You need to stay hydrated. It goes on and on, but the reality is, it’s the truth. Staying well-hydrated helps your body function properly. After all, most of our body is made up of water, so naturally, it should factor prominently into your workout routine and daily life. Make sure you’re drinking enough water to avoid performance issues and recovery problems.

-Eat Right

Not too long ago, we posted a blog that discussed the best foods to eat to help your muscles recover. Even beyond that, what you eat plays a massive part in your pursuit of health. Not only does your diet affect how much energy you have to get through your workout and how well you recover, but it also plays a part in how your body responds to your exercise. One of the personal trainers at Steel Fitness Riverport will be more than happy to help you put together a nutrition plan suited to your needs.

-Get the Massage?

Studies show that getting a massage is exceptionally helpful to help your body recover. A good massage can help to reduce stiff muscles, boost your body’s circulation ability, and help you relax. This will help you get to sleep easier and make the next day’s workout feel less like a monumental task. Schedule an appointment with your favorite massage therapist for after your workout to help relieve some of the pain and soreness that can come from exercising.

Working out can be tough and painful, but you can make it a bit easier on yourself with the proper post-workout recovery practices. Keep these tips in mind to ensure you don’t cause an injury and get the most out of your exercise routine. We know it can be tough to know exactly what to do to meet your fitness goals, which is why Steel Fitness Riverport in Bethlehem is here to help. Whether you want the one-on-one attention of a personal trainer or you are looking for the social motivation that comes with a group exercise class, we have what you need to meet your goals. Call us today to learn more!

Benefits of Group Exercise Classes

Whether you’re looking for something to liven up your current workout routine or you’re making a new effort to get in shape, a group exercise class might be the perfect fit for you. Today, we’ll be taking a look at some of the many benefits of working out in a group class to show you how it can help you meet your fitness goals. Want to learn more? Call Steel Fitness in Bethlehem to learn about the classes we offer.

-Motivation

It can be tough to muster up the energy to work out sometimes, especially when you’re doing it alone. With the communal atmosphere provided by a group exercise class, it creates a sense of camaraderie, bringing everyone together with a united fitness goal. This ends up being incredible for your motivation because you’ll want to push harder and keep going while helping your classmates reach their goals as well. If you have been having trouble getting motivated to exercise, a class might be just what the doctor ordered.

-Structure

Unless you’re extremely experienced with exercise and fitness, it can be tough to determine what routine you need to do in order to meet your goals. It takes a lot of planning and research, something which can often deter people from working out. With a group exercise class, you have the structure in place with a qualified instructor leading the way. This lets you focus on exercising instead of planning. A class will provide you with a curated workout regimen, complete with warm-up and cool-down periods to help you avoid injury.

-Form

When you don’t know the proper form for an exercise, you can do more harm than good. In fact, doing an exercise with improper form is worse than not doing the exercise at all, as it can result in injuries that prevent you from making progress. Not only will an instructor teach you the proper form, they will give you feedback to ensure you’re sticking to it so you don’t have to worry about getting hurt.

-Variety

With so many different types of group classes out there, you have plenty to choose from (as intense as CrossFit to easygoing yoga). Test one out, see if it is fun and a good fit for you. If you don’t enjoy it, you can give something else a shot. This variety also makes it helpful for muscle confusion, which boosts your metabolism and can make progress occur more quickly. Variety also helps you avoid getting bored.

-Accountability

Something that goes hand-in-hand with the motivational aspect of group exercise is the added benefit of accountability. Working out with a group of people who have similar goals creates a sense of camaraderie, investing everyone in the success of the class. If you’ve felt like you are able to make excuses to get out of working out, a class might give you the accountability you need to keep going.

-Fun

Working out on your own can get pretty lonely. When you workout in a group environment, exercise becomes a fun and exciting social experience. Being around people with similar goals, going through the same activities and aches, talking and playing around to upbeat music all combine to make for a fun time. If you’re looking for a way to be more social and meet new people while you get fit, give a group exercise class a shot!

So what do you think? Are you ready to give group exercise a shot? At Steel Fitness, we offer nearly 60 group classes every week, so you’re sure to find the perfect one for you. Instead of searching for exercise classes in Bethlehem, call Steel Fitness to get information about our class schedule.

 

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Best Foods for Muscle Recovery

One of the most classic fitness lines you’ve probably heard is “Feel the burn,” stemming from the slight burning sensation you get in your muscles as you’re working out. While a little bit of that can feel good — a sign of a good workout — when it gets severe it can make exercising a pain. As you likely know, the food you eat is just as big a part of your fitness regimen as the exercises you do. If you’re looking to minimize that severe muscle pain, you need to eat the right foods to nourish your muscles as they recover. With that in mind, here are some of the best foods you can eat for muscle recovery. Looking for a gym in Bethlehem? Come to Steel Fitness!

-Blueberries and Cherries

Studies have found that blueberries and cherries are packed with nutrients that help to reduce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), so they’re a perfect snack to munch on after your workout. Not only are they a good source of antioxidants and vitamin C, but cherries also have an added bonus of melatonin. Why is that important? Your body needs rest in order to properly recover following a workout. Melatonin helps you sleep, which is a positive benefit for insomniacs and easy sleepers alike.
Don’t like blueberries or cherries? Raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, and plums can also help out your muscles. An important thing to keep in mind if you make your protein shakes with cow milk is that the proteins within it may cause issues with your body’s antioxidant activity. It’s a good idea to wait about an hour after you’ve had a whey protein shake before eating your berries to get the most out of them.

-Leafy Greens

A good salad with leafy greens is full of nutrients that help improve your metabolism, so they’re great to eat when your fitness goals include losing weight. Additionally, they feature compounds that help to reduce inflammation, which is what is causing that burning pain in your muscles. They also give you low-glycemic energy, which means you won’t have to deal with a spike in your blood sugar. There’s never a bad time to eat these greens, because they’re high in good carbs, low in calories, and high in overall nutrients. Avoid fatty salad dressings, as they are often loaded with sodium and sugar.

-High-Glycemic Fruits and Starches

Maybe you’re looking to replenish your muscles’ glycogen storage and rehydrate. If so, high-glycemic fruits like watermelon, pineapple, and kiwi are perfect for this. They also contain a lot of the nutrients our body needs, so they’ll help you out a lot, along with antioxidant compounds that help promote tissue repair and recovery. Starches like potatoes are another great option, as they have a bit of every nutrient we need. Mix it up with some squash or sweet potatoes if you get tired of your standard spuds.

-Fish

Few things are as good for muscle recovery as the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish. This is because they improve your body’s cellular signaling and help reduce inflammation. While fish oil supplements can be convenient, actually eating the fish will likely have more effect, thanks to the additional protein and nutrients that supplements don’t include. Cod and salmon are both ideal choices for reducing inflammation and recovery, but other fish can fit the bill as well.

-Almonds

As a good source of omega-6 fats, almonds are exceptionally good at aiding with the recovery process, especially when it comes to high-intensity exercises like HIIT. They have the added benefit of improving energy use and antioxidant capacity. While almonds are one of the best options, other nuts such as Brazil nuts and walnuts are great thanks to their nutrient- and mineral-rich content.

There are many more foods that are great to eat to help your muscles recover after a workout, but we hope this list acts as a jumping-off point for you. Your diet impacts your fitness just as much as the workout you choose, so it’s important to pay attention to what you eat and how it affects you. If you’re looking for a locally owned gym that cares about your success, look no further than Steel Fitness Riverport. We’re here to help you reach your goals. Call us today to learn how you can get a free 3-day all-access pass!

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