Will My Fitness Suffer If I Take Time Off?

You have busted your ass in the gym for months.  You are seeing muscles that you didn’t know existed.  You are able to fit in your “pre-baby” jeans.  You are able to chase down your kids without getting out of breath. Then BAM…..your job has you sitting more in a plane seat, you throw out your back playing 9, break an ankle not listening to your skydiver instructor, or get sick with some virus that has taken over the world for the last 2 years and will never seem to go away.   Whatever the reason, you are not able to get in your daily workout.  And not just for a day to two but for weeks or more.  It sucks…bad but it is not the end of your fitness journey (or at least it should not be).

It’s why many of us hate missing even one workout and why others struggle to get back into the gym after taking time off.   It seems like our months of hard work in the gym can be lost in a manner of days when you are forced to take time off. While it is true you can expect to lose a little bit of fitness but it is not as bad as your brain and eyes are telling you. 

You will lose some of your aerobic gains, meaning those 400 meter runs might be a little slower and those burpees might seem a little more challenging, but you are definitely not starting from scratch again.  And if you’ve been consistent with your workout routine for the past several months you will regain any aerobic fitness you may have lost pretty fast.  Just moving at a brisk pace every now and then will help minimize your losses. Elevating your heart rate for 20-30 minutes every couple days, even if it is not as hard and intense as you are used to, will help make those first workouts back not seem like you are going to die (at least not a slow painful death).

As far as losing muscle mass, you might feel like you are going from looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger to Pee Wee Herman in a matter of days but you retain muscle mass for quite a while, longer than your aerobic fitness. Just like with your aerobic fitness though, the more time you have spent hitting the weights over the months leading up to your hiatus, the slower the decay.  If you are still worried about the guns turning into toothpicks, pick up and put down whatever you have around that house a few times. A little resistance training goes a long way. So basically as long as you don’t just lay in bed for 6 months and never lift a finger, soon you will still be able to sport that muscle tank top.  Suns out guns out.  

So next time you have to take a break, know that not all is lost.  You can get back to where you were at with a little hard work and may even come out stronger and fitter in the long run. 

-Matthew Kirkendall Head Coach/Owner

Gaining Muscle Is Possible For Women Over 40

You’re never too old to get stronger and challenge your body to learn new things.
Unfortunately, intimidation and skewed perspectives create barriers for women who
want to try and gain muscle as they age.
For many of us the forties are a time of many changes, and this is especially true for
women. Their metabolisms are slowing, many start to experience hormonal changes,
and many feel like they’re too old. We shouldn’t allow these things to get in our way, as
one of the most important things we could do is start to make building muscle our
mission.
As women age, they’re also more likely to experience a loss in bone density, resulting in
serious issues, like osteoporosis. Increased lean muscle mass has a direct relationship
with bone mass density. Also, having lean muscle mass as we age protects us from
potential broken bones. In other words, making an effort to build muscle will make your
bones stronger.
Moving our bodies also helps women with sleep and stress. The higher our stress
levels, the more likely we are to eat unhealthy food and cause more harm to our bodies.
Getting into the gym 3-4 times a week for at least 30 to 60 minutes will improve our
sleep and help us manage our stress levels.
Don’t let time be the excuse that stops you from starting to work on muscle gain. At
Widespread Fitness, we have so many different options available to fit your business
schedule. We have group classes or personal training sessions that can be in person
or via zoom. One hour workout is 4% of your day. No Excuses.

-Erica Erickson, Group Fitness Coach

Mastering The Basics

We all wanted to be the cool kid back in middle school.  The kid who could do it all and made it look effortless.  Well just like back in the day, we all want to be “cool” and do “cool” movements like Muscle-ups or Handstand Push-ups in workouts. Unfortunately this could get you in trouble, just like it could back in the day, haha.

A big mistake I see from my athletes is their desire to perform more technical or advanced movements before they have mastered the basics.  The basics are the foundation that support these “cool” movements.  Without a solid foundation, things break down and injuries occur.

 

If you want to stay injury free and enjoy working out for years to come, focus on getting real good at the basics movements first.  Then once you have the basic nailed down work on maintaining that form for multiple reps, even when you are tired. When you can knock out perfect rep after perfect rep, then slowly add more intensity to these basic movements. When you can keep your form at speed, then you may be ready (depending on your goals) to start working on the “cool” movements.

-Matthew Kirkendal Owner/Head Coach

Shut Up and Sign Up

We’ve all been there.  Perhaps you took a nice vacation and chose to let your body rest and recover….SMART!  Maybe you’ve been slammed with work and family obligations and de-prioritized exercise.  Or you could be out of your rhythm, and can’t quite break the cycle.  Regardless, the result is always the same; weeks have gone by, and you haven’t worked out or joined a class because you’re just too ‘out of shape’.

The reality is that it doesn’t take long for us to lose fitness, but it’s no excuse to not come to the gym.  That’s just the head trash that keeps you from doing exactly what you know you need to do.  The great thing about your health is that what you do from this point forward matters most.  You can choose right now to start eating better and getting to the gym regularly.  The previous day, week, month, year is inconsequential once you start in the direction you want to go.  I recently had a conversation with an athlete who was nervous about coming to the gym after several weeks off.  It was liberating for her to accept that just doing one workout immediately stopped the old pattern.  And what better community than ours to encourage and motivate athletes to get back into those healthy behaviors.  At Widespread, our mission is to spread the love of fitness, not punish you for getting out of shape.

            So, stop with the excuses and the weak justifications for why you are too busy to come to the gym. Just sign up for class.  It’s a quick and easy step toward breaking the cycle and getting back to what you know is best for you.

-Chris “OG” Jackson, Group Fitness Coach

How Often Should You Workout?

One of the most common questions I receive from new athletes is “How often should I workout?”. My response is always the same “Depends on your individual goals, experience and recovery.

How often you should workout is an individual thing and can even change from month to month depending on what you have going on. But a good rule of thumb and what I preach to my new athletes is 3-4 days per week.  I came up with this advice based on the following:

  1. Most of my athletes are just looking for all around health and fitness.  They are not looking to deadlift 3 times their bodyweight or quality for the Boston Marathon. My athletes want to be able to hike 14er, keep up with their kids, feel comfortable in a bath suit and live long healthy lives.  With 3-4 days a week, will see gains in strength (ie. build muscle) and aerobic conditioning (ie. burpees will start to get a little more manageable, not easier)
  2. Most of my athletes are mid-30s to 60s. Their bodies have a little wear and tear on them from playing sports and/or having too much of a good time in their younger years. Their bodies just don’t recover as fast as they used to.  With 3-4 days a week they allow their bodies time to adapt to the intensity and recover between workouts.
  3. All of my athletes enjoy the challenge of pushing themselves and the results they see from it so much that they (myself included) need to be reminded that more is not necessarily better, quality is better.  I would rather have my athletes give me 100% effort 3-4 times per week versus 60% effort 6-7 times per week.

-Matthew Kirkendall, Owner/Head Coach

Group Fitness Workouts

The main goal for most, if not all, of our athletes, is all around health and fitness.   This means being strong and fit at the same time.  It means being able to lift heavy things around the house and running around the block without stopping.

Our group workouts are structured with this #1 goal in mind. Most days our group class workouts consist of both a strength and conditioning component.  This allows for a balance in our athletes overall fitness, while also giving them what they want and need.

Everyone wants to be stronger and for good reason.  In a typical week we include specific strength training on 4 days.  This includes 2 days devoted to lower body and 2 for upper body.   Of those 2 days, one day we keep the rep count low and weight heavier (obviously as form permits).  The other day we do the opposite, keeping the rep count is higher and the weight lower. This allows our athletes to build all around strength to handle any task that is thrown at them from moving the couch to beating their kids in a push-up contest.

While most of our athletes like lifting heavy sh-t, there is not the same desire to run intervals, push a sled or do burpees.  Conditioning is that piece of the fitness puzzle that gets your heart pounding, sweat rolling and leaves you out of breath.  It can be uncomfortable at times, but it’s an important piece if you want to see results.  We include some level of conditioning work in each of our group workouts.  This work can vary in movements, time, intensity and rest.   On the 4 days we have strength training programmed into the workout, we also include a short faster pace metcon (short for metabolic conditioning) of some sort. The other 2 days of the week that we don’t have strength training, we spice things up with a long slower pace aerobic or partner workout. For these workouts, the movements are usually less technical, the weight is lighter and can last from 25 to 40 minutes in length.  These are also the workouts where you will certainly see some type of mono-structural movement like running, rowing, or jump rope. Again we are trying to balance what our athletes want versus need.

We structure our group workouts to be constantly varied, but never random, very intentional and consistent in targeting our athletes strengths (likes) and weaknesses (dislikes). That’s it.  That is our secret to coaching the fittest people in Broomfield. 

– Matthew Kirkendall, Owner/Head Coach

Is Your Workout Routine Supporting Your Goals?

All of us joined the gym for different reasons.  Maybe it was coming off a doctors appointment with some news of borderline high blood pressure.  Maybe it was being winded when we climbed the stairs. Maybe it was finally time to start putting ourselves first instead of everyone else. For most of us, it was to have a healthier lifestyle so years from how we can keep up with our children, grandchildren, or just keep enjoying all the beautiful things that CO has to offer us.

However, are you letting your comfort zone dictate your workout routine, which is impacting your goals? Do you have those workout movements that when you see them you cancel class or have a negative mindset going into the class?   I’m going to let you in on a little secret, those classes that have the movements that give us hives are the ones we NEED to sign up for!  Don’t just signing up for those heavy lifting days and skip (or coincidentally schedule a rest day) those longer cardio days.  Both are important to improving your overall health and getting you to your goal.

I encourage you to Embrace the SUCK!  When you do, you will start to see your fitness level change and overall feel healthier from the inside out. The short and fast workouts will get easier, and you will find your unlimited potential in both your mind and body. In the end, years from now your future self will thank you for not giving up on your goals. 

-Erica Erickson, Group Fitness Coach

Is A Personal Trainer Right For You?

Are you one that sets healthy goals and by the end of January you find yourself saying “I will get started
tomorrow.” “I will find the time in two days, what is one more day of rest.” With each excuse, you are
slipping away from YOUR goals? If you are just starting out with an exercise program or are no longer
seeing results with your current routine, I recommend you keep reading.
Sometimes a Personal Trainer is just what we need to get going or take our fitness journey to the next
level. If you answer YES to one of these questions, now is the time to learn more about investing in
yourelf.
 Are you new and not even sure where to get started on a fitness path?
 Have you hit a plateau and not making progress?
 Need extra accountability to help you be consistent showing up on your training days?
 Need an extra push for the extra intensity in your workouts?
 Want to learn new movements and ensure you are doing them correctly?
 Recovering from an injury or illness and want to ensure you return to the gym safely?
 Trying to get your first pull up, hit a personal PR, or just feel more comfortable in group classes?
Most of us work harder in the presence of others. Have a personal trainer waiting for you will ensure
you show up for yourself, they will provide the encouragement, energy and motivation you need to get
started, but also to finish and not give up on yourself. A trainer will help you set realistic goals, create a
plan to accomplish them and celebrate the day you reach them. When it comes to fitness, everyone is
different and there is no one shoe fits all approach. Your unique body mechanics, experience, goals,
fitness level, likes and dislikes can guide your trainer in creating a plan specific to your needs. With a
program that fits, you are more likely to maintain the habit you are creating and reach the goals you
have set.
Your personal trainer is much more than a fitness coach. They’re there to help improve your fitness, but
they also care about your well-being. They can help improve nutrition and even your mental health by
giving you exercises aimed at relieving stress. Don’t let intimidation hold you back! The benefits of
personal training outweigh your fears by a long shot. You can sign up for in personal or online training
via zoom and know that the one-on-one attention won’t be compromised. Reach out to us today and
we will get you set up with one of our personal trainers to see how we can assist you on your personal
journey.
-Erica Erickson, Group Fitness Coach

Group Fitness

Group Fitness is just one option we offer our members. Our group classes are 60-minutes in length. During that time we are moving from start to finish. Each class is the broken down into 3 sections: Warm-up, Strength, and Conditioning (what we can a metcon). The coach leads the class though each section make sure everyone know what they should be doing and why they are doing it. Our group classes are limited to no more than 8 members. We keep our class size small for 2 reason: 1) Space – with 1000 sqf of working area we want each member to feel that they have enough room to move comfortably and safely 2) Personal attention – with an 8 to 1 ratio of athlete to coach, that coach can provide each member with personal attention they deserve.

About 85% of our members choose this fitness option. Group classes are a great option for the person who enjoys the social aspect and camaraderie that is formed between fellow members.  If you would like to learn more about our group classes schedule your Free Intro now.

-Matthew Kirkendall, Head Coach/Owner

Trust Your Coach

I’ve been nursing a sore shoulder for what feels like months now.   It has been so long I don’t recall what it feels like to sleep on my left side without discomfort.  I’ve done all the responsible things: I’ve been to PT to verify it’s not a major injury; I’m rolling and stretching; I’m modifying workouts, which is the worst part of it all– making necessary modifications to get safely through each workout without pain.  This is not a unique story. Most of us at one time or another have experienced aches and pains that refuse to go away.  One unfortunate consequence of consistent hard work is the occasional over-use injury. It’s not always indicative of poor technique or pushing too hard but is more likely your body’s natural response to over-work. So, what is our most common response?   Unfortunately, many of us respond by changing very little and hoping it “just goes away.” We don’t like to admit to not feeling great, and we really don’t want to change what we are doing. If you don’t want to visit a physical therapist and do the necessary stretching and rolling, etc., then at least tell your coach what is going on.

 As coaches, we are constantly asking athletes how they’re feeling so we can respond to their individual needs.  We aren’t there just to facilitate the workout and manage Spotify. Our goal is to challenge you and keep you safe in the process.  We can customize a workout for you while protecting that aching back or sore shoulder; we just need you tell us what is going on.  There’s a curious human dynamic we all work hard to fight through when admitting we don’t feel great, but there is nothing more important than telling your coach about the ache in your lower back if we’re deadlifting or swinging heavy kettlebells!  “Scaling” a WOD is simply taking a different path to the same destination. It’s the coach’s job to navigate the route to safely avoid any trouble spots and ensure the athlete gets a challenging workout. The goal for any athlete is consistency, which requires doing the work and monitoring the body to optimize recovery and avoid injury.  The two are not mutually exclusive.

So, talk to your coach and share what is going on.  Let us do everything we can to help you get a hard workout and stay consistent.  Missing several weeks of workouts takes an emotional and physical toll far greater than ‘admitting’ to your coach your shoulder is sore.

-Chris Jackson, Group Fitness Coach