Monday, December 8, 2014

Healthy Grocery Store Habits

Fitness Showcase in Missouri give grocery store tips

Being a healthy, fit and active person is so much more than the time you spend running on your treadmill or elliptical or lifting weights or utilizing your home gym. Healthy is a lifestyle that you live in every setting of your life. One of the places that is most important for you to adopt a healthy lifestyle is at the grocery store. The food that you buy when at the supermarket sets up how healthy you are going to eat for the week. If you buy unhealthy food, then you are obviously panning on eating in an unhealthy manner. We have a few tips here for some rules you should follow while at the grocery store so that you stay healthy all week long!

1: The outside perimeter is where most of your food should come from
                This one you may have heard before. These areas, versus the aisles, have the least amount of processing and are more natural foods like fruits, vegetables, grain, and dairy.

2. Choose aisle food with less than 4 ingredients.
                When choosing snacks, sauces, cereals, and all the other foods you will find in the aisles of the grocery store, you want to choose the ones that are the best out of the bunch. If a products has a huge list of ingredients, it is more likely that that product is going to contain unnatural and harmful additives or processed ingredients. Stick to the food that have the least amount of ingredients.

3. Have a 5 color cart.
                Having a colorful cart is a way of saying that you are eating your proper amount of fruits and vegetables. If you are new to the healthy lifestyle, this rule of thumb is a good one to force yourself to buy more produce. You won’t be able to resist eating the gorgeous colors in your fridge.

4. If you’re going to buy “cheat” foods, make them a small portion.
                We all know that at some point, you will pass the aisle of cookies or of chips and you will want to bring those home for those days that you just want to cheat a bit. Instead of buying an entire large bag, try buying the single serving size. This way once you cheat, you can get back on track to eating healthy and not be tempted by the remaining junk food in your pantry.

5. Stick to water, coffee, and tea.
                Coffee and tea are water based drinks and they can be customized for many different tastes. The liquids you drink should rehydrate you and nothing does that better than water and others made form water.

6. Make sure all your carbs are 100% whole grain.
                Your breads, pastas rice, etc. should all be whole grain to provide the most benefit to your health.

7. Stay away from frozen meals.
                These meals are basically void of any nutritional value.  Make it a part of your healthy lifestyle to cook more and avoid using these meals that are full of refined grains and simple sugars.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Holiday Healthy

Yes, that time of the year again has finally arrived; the holidays. Pretty soon there will be cookies & candy everywhere in the shapes of Christmas trees & presents & that is only after a day where tables are filled with pies & delicious warm gooey Thanksgiving sides. This is the time of year that some people dread, knowing that the work they’ve done all year long to stay healthy is just not going to be possible. We’re here with some tips to help you stay on track this holiday season so that your New Year’s resolution does not have to be to get back on track again.

    Keep water on you at all times!
By this point we should all know how beneficial water is for every bodily function that we have. It helps our skin, it help our digestive system, it helps energy focus etc. The list could go on for a while. Drink a couple glasses of water before a holiday celebration so you don’t feel starving. Drinking water can help curb your appetite & will really save you from over indulging this holiday season.  

 Don’t stop working out!
Yes the holidays are busy. You want to be sure you’ve got the perfect present for everyone you’re going to be seeing & you just can’t seem to say no to any of the invitations you’ve gotten for parties. Don’t let yourself get so busy that you fall off of your workout schedule. Maybe use this as a time to create a new schedule around dinners & parties or preparations for both. Keep up with your workouts & you won’t feel sorry after the season is over.

       Keep the cold away!
The last thing you need during this busy & exciting season is to get sick. Don’t go out into the cold with wet hair & make sure you’re eating vegetable and taking vitamins to build your immune system.

       Encourage other with active gifts!
Instead of buying DVDs or video games as presents, why not find some workout equipment to gift to your loved one! Or maybe a gift certificate for athletic clothing. Maybe running shoes. Keep activity on your mind as well as everyone you’re buying gifts for.

Don’t cut yourself from enjoying the treats that come along with the holidays! If your favorite thing in the world is pumpkin pie, then have a piece of pumpkin pie, but cut yourself off after one piece. We aren’t encouraging you to sit back eating celery while your family enjoys, but we want you to be smart about it. Research ways to make healthy alternatives of your favorite recipes. You never know they could become your new favorite recipe.


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Maintaining Runner's Form

How often do you think about your form when you’re running? Most often, we’d guess, you really don’t. Whether you're running outside or on a treadmill, we don't imagine you're usually thinking of how you should be holding your body. If you did, however, you could increase your performance and your endurance. Not only that, but you could lessen your chance of injury if you’re holding your body the correct way while you’re running.

Let’s start from the top & work our way down!

Mind: So this isn’t as much about the way you’re physically holding yourself as much as it is about what your mental state is. Don’t over-think while you’re running. This is meant to be a stress-reducing exercise, so clear your mind and just run.
Head: Keep your head up! Looking down means that you’re probably leaning forward which will create more stress on your lower back.
Eyes: Keep them forward:
Jaw: Hold your mouth open while you run that way you will breathe both through your nose & through your mouth so you get the most oxygen through your run.
Shoulders: Relax! Tensing up your shoulders takes energy away from what you could be using to cover more distance on your run.
Hands: Lightly cup your hands. Just as tensing your shoulders takes energy, so does clenching your muscles in your hands while you run.
Back: Be upright. Don’t bend at the waist or hunch since this restricts breathing and blood flow. Tall posture ensures your hip flexors & abductors are in prime function which decreases the chance of injury.
Ankles: Lean forward on your ankles to help push yourself along.
Feet: There is no one correct way to use your feet so use whatever kind of foot strike feels right to you!
Follow these tips for optimal running stance and you will be amazing even yourself with the difference it makes1

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Be Done With Those Post-Run Headaches

You know those days when you feel like that run on the treadmill or elliptical could go on forever and you would be fine with it? Maybe you are running off stress or maybe you're just filled with a ton of energy. You feel great; not at all dizzy, or overheated, or hungry, or feeling any pain and then an hour or more later, a dull headache moves in. 

If this sounds familiar, you're not alone. Headaches can be caused from a couple reasons. One of them being that you are not consuming enough water throughout the day. Maybe not just drinking water, but incorporating water-filled fruits & vegetables like bananas or sweet potatoes. 

Once the actual run starts, if it's under an hour or when it's cool out, hydrating during your workout isn't necessary. If you're running longer than an hour, it's hot, or you're sweating buckets, mix an electrolyte package with your water. 

Something you may not realize is the time of day that you are running also matters. When you run early in the morning, stay hydrated the night before and sip 8 ounces of water 15 minutes before heading out. Later in the day, you should have a water bottle on you all day and drink from it frequently. 

Low blood sugar levels can also cause headaches. One to two hours before your workout, have something quick such as a fruit and nut bar, whole-wheat toast with nut butter, or a small bowl of cereal. After your run, you’re going to want a mix of carbohydrates and protein.

A tightness in the neck or shoulders can also contribute to causing the headache. Take time after your run to stretch out the neck, shoulders, and upper back then reward yourself by relaxing in a hot shower and give yourself a little well-deserved upper-body self-massage.

If none of these tips seem to be working for you, it's best to see a doctor to make sure there isn't a more serious underlying issue.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Cardio Myths Vs. Facts

Those of you who love to hear your elliptical gearing up at the end of a long day can agree that nothing beats cardio. And of course you know how fantastic it is for your heart and that it's a great calorie burner, but there are some cardio myths out there masquerading as fact. We want to make sure that you have all the correct information to work with so here are five of the biggest cardio myths:
MYTH: For weight loss, cardio is the one & only answer.
FACT:  Of course if you’re pushing yourself on that treadmill or elliptical day in and day out, you will drop weight and you will drop it fast. Cardio alone, however, burns away both fat and muscle, which of course you don’t want.  Make sure the weight you lose is the right kind of weight. You need those muscles!
MYTH: Cardio workouts have to be at least an hour long to matter.
FACT: All body movements burn calories, not just the ones that keep your heart pumping for over an hour. To burn them more efficiently, in fact you should introduce high-intensity interval training to routine which can elevate your metabolism so that you could still be burning up to 38 hours after your workout. Even 10 minutes at a high intensity is beneficial. And a recent study suggests that short, infrequent bouts of slow running can do your heart good.
MYTH: Cardio on an empty stomach torches maximum body fat.
FACT: The idea that if your body doesn't have available food calories, it'll dip into the body's stored supply, thus losing inches & lbs, is simply untrue. Fat burn is consistent whether you’ve eaten before a workout or not. In fact, your body needs energy which comes to you in the form of food. Having a pre-workout snack will actually help you perform better, thus burning more fat in the end.
MYTH: It's important to stay in the "fat-burning zone" if your aim is to burn fat.
FACT: This one is half true. But it's total calories burned (those pesky calories out) that matter for weight loss. A higher intensity workout gets more of those lbs off.  
MYTH: You can skip a legs' strength workout if you've ran or biked.
FACT: Although it may seem like you're working your legs and glutes, you aren't getting any muscle building benefits by running or biking. Building up these large muscles in your body help boost your metabolism so you need to do strength moves along with your cardio. And as an added bonus, strength workouts will make you a better runner and cyclist.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Staying Fit on Vacation

Tips for staying fit on Vacation!

  • If you’re flying, eat a large meal before the airport that way you won’t be tempted to eat in the airport’s fast food court.
  • Plan when & where you’ll be stopping for meals. This will help eliminate the number of times you stop at a fast food drive thru.
  • Watch out for jetlag as it will make you hungry at abnormal times. Resist the urge to snack at 4 a.m. and wait for normal meal times instead. Or, if you simply cannot wait then it is best to choose a healthy snack such as a handful of nuts or piece of fruit.
  • We know you’re on vacation, so you’ll want to indulge in some treats & that’s fine! That’s what vacation is all about! On days you’ll be indulging more than usual, try to keep other meals and snacks on the healthy side.
  • Beware of buffets. Avoid them as much as possible.
  • Try to eat roughly the same amount and kinds of food as you usually do. Your body will thank you.
  • Markets are a great place to soak up local culture and eat delicious, cheap fresh food. Local food is better for the environment; you get to pick what you’re eating and you'll even squeeze in some movement as you walk around the market.
  • When you plan to be out all day, bring along your own healthy snacks like trail mix, granola bars, or even PB&J sandwiches to stave off hunger. It’ll save you money & keep you away from unhealthier options.
  • Make your own meals if you’re staying somewhere with kitchen access. You’ll know exactly what’s in it & you’ll have more of an opportunity to eat a fully nutritious meal.
  • Beware of drinks. A single cocktail can contain loads of sugar (and calories). If a stiff drink is necessary (and sometimes it is!), try healthier drinks instead.
  • Skip the bus tours and check out your new surroundings on foot or on bike! You’ll burn calories while taking in the views like locals do! Some cities even offer running tours to let you explore while getting a workout in.
  • Take the stairs. Skip the elevator and sneak in some extra cardio. Lots of sightseeing attractions—churches and towers, for example—have stairs with architectural oddities, letting you kill two birds with one step.
  • Embrace your surroundings. If you’re at the beach, try doing the usual yoga routine on the sand instead of indoors. A change in scenery might be the boost needed to get physical.
  • Take a long walk through a local park.
  • Use vacation as an excuse to try a new, fun activity. Whether it’s rock climbing, sailing, or trapeze swinging, challenge yourself to try something different while you’re away.
  • Do as the locals do! Take advantage of what an area’s known for—or even plan a vacation around it! Unroll a yoga mat in India, climb boulders in Colorado, learn tai chi moves in China, or woo potential suitors with flamenco moves in Spain. It’s a great way to learn about a different culture while getting fit.
  • Make exercise your vacation. A surefire way to guarantee you keep moving while traveling is by planning a getaway around a fitness event or competition. Force yourself to vacation by registering for a race in a different city or try a weekend fitness retreat.
  • Check out amenities first. Make it easy to squeeze in workout time by booking a hotel with a gym or pool. If you hotel does not offer these things, see if there are any discounts at a nearby gym.
  • Check out the neighborhood. Book accommodation near places where you can sweat. If you need to run laps before starting your day, stay somewhere where it will be safe to go for a run. If you need to hear namaste, stay near a yoga studio.
  • Bust a move in your hotel room to keep fit using body weights or simple workouts. Something is always better than nothing!
  • Keep your mini-fridge stocked with healthy snacks like fruits, veggies, and nuts to avoid unhealthy room service.

Get in the Habit of Fitness

1. Exercise even when you don’t have the time. 15 minutes of exercise is better than 0.
2. Invest in a fitness tracker to help determine your activity level outside of the gym.
3. Chang it up. Don’t do the same workout day after day. Find an exciting new way to get your fitness in.
4. Tired? Instead of skipping a workout, focus on how great you'll feel after. 
5. Don't wait for an occasion to get in shape. Waiting until an anniversary, reunion, etc. will just create unrealistic expectations and make you feel unsuccessful even if you have been extremely successful. Make fitness your lifestyle & not just a phase.
6. Eat REAL FOOD. Everything in moderation! It’s healthy food not diet food.
7. Limit the time you spend drinking to the weekend. No weeknight beers or happy hours.
8. Even if you can’t make it to the gym, doing workouts at home is better than nothing! Look up some exercises on Pinterest or do a DVD. You won’t regret it.
9. Workout even when you’re sore. Light-cardio can actually help soreness.
10. Focus on how you want to feel rather than how you want to look.
11. Don’t set unrealistic goals to yourself. Be proud that you made it to the gym rather than push yourself to run 10 miles.
12. Get enough sleep! It is crucial to get the proper amount of rest so that you can get the results you want.
13. Be proud of the results you’ve achieved. Don’t beat yourself up for the results you haven’t. remember fitness is a journey & not a destination.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Strong Legs > Slim Legs

Many times, when people adopt their fitness routines, they want to work their legs. Women are dedicated to achieving a “thigh gap” or having legs like one of their celebrity idols. It’s time you should know, however, that strong legs are so much better than skinny ones. Our legs are extremely important as they are made up of some of the largest muscles in our bodies. Legs are vital for helping us maintain mobility as they take us from place to place.

Legs can be broken down into the quadriceps (the front of the thighs); and the hamstrings (the back of the thighs); and the glutes (even though they're not actually part of the leg).

These muscle groups are so large, it means they burn the most calories. And I don’t know if you know this but muscles burn more calories at rest than fat, therefore developed leg muscles will help burn even more calories at rest. They also provide the most energy based on their size, so stronger legs will increase endurance. Increased endurance means less fatigue. Less fatigue means going harder for longer!

Leg exercises that include multiple joints (such as squats, dead-lifts, and lunges) necessitate increased core stability. This means that muscle, tendon and ligament recruitment is increased, so this works the general strength & stability of your body. Women do not have enough testosterone to get really huge leg muscles. They do, however, tend to have a much stronger lower body than upper body, so they can lift pretty heavy weights!
Do not be afraid to push it more than you think you can! Also, try to get a combination of free weights and machines, as machines target one specific muscle group and free weights target multiple muscle groups (aka stabilizers).
The following combines barbells, machines and kettle bells with cardio intervals. Doing cardio intervals with strength training exercises utilizes the aerobic and anerobic systems. The aerobic system maintains endurance and the anaerobic system maintains short, high intensity exercise. Improving both systems increases cardiovascular capacity in much less time.

Leg Interval Workout
Complete each strength exercise 10 to 12 times. Complete each cardio interval for 30 seconds. Complete entire circuit four times, resting one minute between circuits.
  • Front squat to back squat
  • Pulsing squat (30 seconds)
  • Quad extension with oblique crunch
  • Foot fires (30 seconds)
  •  Hamstring curls with hyper-extension
  • Jump lunges (30 seconds)
  • Kettle bell swing with flip to squat

Monday, June 23, 2014

Shiloh, IL Fitness Showcase store closing-! Special Prices until June 30!

Come to our Shiloh store, where you will find tons of specials & deals on True, Life, Inspire, Helix, Water Rower, & Cybex fitness equipment! We will be closing the doors at this store on June 30th, so make sure to come in & take advantage of our special pricing! If you have any questions be sure to call us at 618-206-2399.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Spring in to Fitness With Best Buys From True Fitness at Fitness Showcase

True Fitness products have been recognized by the Treadmill Doctor as the “best buy” & Fitness Showcase is the only True Fitness Dealer in St. Louis & Springfield. We are proud to sell their award winning equipment!

We have deals running on many True Fitness products, such as the True PS 100 treadmill which was the winner in its price range for Best Buy treadmill, as was the ES900 Elliptical! Check out our specials in store or on our website!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

You're Doing It Wrong On The Treadmill

Wondering why, even though you are dedicated to time on that treadmill, you still aren’t seeing results? You could be doing it wrong. Here are some mistakes you could be making that could be holding you back.

Not focusing: The thing that some people love about treadmills is that they’re convenient for multitasking, like reading a magazine, or having a conversation with your workout buddy. If you want to see results though you need to push yourself. Focus on your workout. Increase your speed. 

Not relaxing: While running on a treadmill may not feel as natural as running outside, you need to remember not to tense up. Try not to crowd the front of the treadmill and relax your form. It can alleviate neck, shoulder, and lower back pains that may cause you to take a break from your routine.

Not adjusting the incline: You’ll become a better runner if you increase the incline on that treadmill & you’ll burn more calories. Even a 1% increase will help & you won’t be able to notice. Increasing the incline also helps you avoid shin splints.

Same old, same old: The reason you may not being seeing the numbers on the scale change at all could be because you aren’t changing the speed on your treadmill. Using a treadmill at the same speed everyday can cause you to plateau, so switch it up! 

Treadmill loyalty: If the treadmill and the locker room are the only parts of your gym that you really see, then you're missing out on some great calorie-burning potential. Break the habit: start or end your running session with strength training (this five-minute basic workout is a great place to start) in order to build those metabolism-boosting muscles. 

Holding on: If you feel unsafe running on a treadmill without holding on to the handle bars, you could be hindering your results. When you run hands free you burn more calories and you work your upper body as well. Slow down your speed until you get the hang of not hanging on and keep your abs engaged to help balance yourself.