Sweetheart Workout- Lenox Village

By Lenox Village Trainer, Whitney B

Lenox Village boot campers and their “sweethearts” spent the morning of February the 12th motivating one another to move!  Niki G boot campers were encouraged to bring their “sweetheart” to class to show them just how hard they are working at their fitness.  As a Valentine’s Day gift their “sweetheart” was treated to some fun and challenging partner exercises.

To start, the camper couples paired up for an “Indian Run” with a little twist.  The guys were great sports carrying an oversized pink exercise ball overtop their heads for one mile in honor of Valentine’s Day.  Upon returning to the studio the “sweethearts” were instructed to share weights and wall space as they prepared for their boot camp experience, some of them for the first time.  A partner assisted bodyweight row was the first exercise on the agenda.  Partners interlaced a workout towel  and sat toe to toe as one of them squatted against the wall holding their partner up with their towel while the other raised and lowered themselves in a row.  After each camper had performed 20 the group moved on to partner planks and squats.  With one person in a high plank position the other stood behind and lifted their partner’s feet, holding them at waist level as they squatted up and down.  Before a trip up the notorious hill behind the studio backwards, the “sweethearts” held hands assisting one another in some challenging one legged squats and back and forth lunges.  Out of breath and legs wobbling the they returned from their “jaunt” up the hill to finish the workout with some partner based glute and abdominal work on the mat including one legged bridges and bicycle crunches.

Try it out, a workout buddy and partner exercises are a great way to keep you and your partner motivating and working to your true potential!  The Niki G “Sweetheart” Workout of 2011 was a success.  Boot campers and “sweethearts” alike left the Lenox Village studio with a sense of accomplishment knowing they had each pushed themselves and their “sweetheart” to the next level

For more pictures, please see our Facebook Page>

 

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Second Annual Sweetheart Workout- Cool Springs

Happy Valentine’s Day! This past Saturday, both the Lenox Village and Cool Springs studios were packed from 7-8am when several our members brought their “sweetheart” to boot camp for our Second Annual Sweetheart Workout.

Cool Springs Sweetheart Workout

At the Cool Springs Studio, they arrived two-by-two, ready for some heart-healthy cardio and the usual butt-kicking exercise. Some brought their husbands/boyfriends and shared the love with their sisters or best friends!

Members were able to show their “sweetheart” first-hand why they enjoy boot camp so much,  how hard they work during class and how good it feels to complete the workout!   Trainers, Whitney and Niki,  paired everyone up for some partner exercises and drills and guests were treated the full Boot Camp experience with a little extra creativity, teamwork and laughter!

We are so proud of all our members who share their passion for health and fitness with their loved ones and look forward to the next year’s Sweetheart Workout!

For more pictures, please see our Facebook Fan Page!

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Get a Lift- Tone and Tighten Your Legs with this Stair Workout

Did you know that one of the best pieces of exercise equipment is probably already in your home or in your office building?  Your stairs can provide a simple workout, but with big results! Even if you only have a couple of steps to use, you can tone and lift you backside, get some heart healthy cardio and build strength in your legs and core in less time than it would take on a flat surface! The following workout focuses on the lower body and core and gives you an effective workout in your home with little to no equipment.

Ready for Lift-off?

After you have warmed up, you will alternate a cardio burst of running/walking 30 steps with the exercises below. Once you have completed all five exercises and cardio bursts between, you will rest and then repeat 2-3 more times.

1.       Two at a Time: Walk up the steps, two steps a time. Your goal is to take 30 steps.

2.       Step Lunges: Stand below the bottom step. With your right foot step onto the bottom step lunge down. Be sure that your back knee is under you rather than in-front. Once you have lunged down as far as 90 degrees,  press yourself up and return  your right foot back to starting position. Repeat on the left foot.  Complete 10 lunges on each leg.

3.       Squat with a Side Step-up: Stand facing the wall with your right foot on the step bottom step and your left on the floor. Squat down and as you press yourself, tap your left toes on the step next to your right foot. Then place the left foot back on the ground, squat down and repeat 20 times on each side

4.       High Knee Step-ups: Stand in a lunge position with your right foot on the bottom step and your left foot on the floor. Put your weight into your right leg and quickly lift your left knee up in front of you higher than your hips. Quickly place the left foot back behind you into a standing lunge position. Repeat 20 reps on each side.

5.       Calf Raises: Stand on the bottom step facing the stairs. Place a weight in one hand and place the other hand on the railing. Stand on the step so that your heels are hanging off the edge of the step. Once you feel a stretch in your calves, press yourself up onto your toes, then lower slowly back into the stretch. Repeat 20 times.

Form Dos and Don’ts

Do keep your weight in whichever heel is on the ground during the exercise to keep the pressure off your knees. Follow modifications online if you have knee, back or hip issues.

Don’t lock your knees out. Keep a “micro-bend” to them when coming out of a squat or lunge and when extending your leg.

Don’t slouch

Do relax your shoulders and engage your core for better back support

If you can’t complete the entire workout, even with the modifications listed at our website, don’t give up. You will get stronger. Try again next week and remember better fitness is achieved  “One Step at Time!”

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February Boot Camp Kick-off

Boot Campers Challie, Beth and Alisa with Kelley (right) of Muse Boutique

This past Sunday afternoon, new and returning Boot Campers stopped by our new Cool Spring studio their monthly measurements,  progress photos and some goodies to help them get started on the right foot!

Representatives for Team Niki G were on hand to greet the nervous, yet excited new members and tell them about our running club, which is currently training for the Country Music Half Marathon

Alisa of Team Niki G at the sign in table
Special guests included Fleet Feet Brentwood, Max Muscle and Muse Boutique, who shared some of their latest casual fashions AND will be awarding a NEW outfit at the end of Feb. to the winner of our new “Niki’s Knockout” Award! This award is given to the member who makes the best transformation over the four week Feb. Boot Camp. To be eligible, member must attend kick-off on Jan. 30th and Feb 27th for progress photos and measurements. Winner will be announce the evening of Feb. 27th

Look for some other special awards and prizes at the end of Feb from Max Muscle, Niki G’s, and Lululemon!
Member waiting to get measuredMax Muscle Owner, Jamie Free, shares his knowledge with Members
 
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Fitness Resolution Make-over

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If your New Year’s Resolution was to work on your personal fitness, have you stuck to it over the last month? If not, you don’t have give up, and you are not a failure! You can use your experience to learn what doesn’t work for you. Next, you may need to change the way you think about your goals and how you plan to get there.  Start by focusing on what actually works for weight loss, health and fitness resolutions and how we can get that resolution to stick for a lifetime.

What doesn’t work (Not realistic) Works! (Realistic)
I am going to lose weight this year I will keep an exercise and diet journal for at least one month
I am going to exercise 6 days per week starting Jan. 1st! I am going to schedule workouts and treat them like very important appointments I must work around
I will eat healthier I will spend time each weekend preparing a meal plan and grocery list for the week.
I will not eat any carbs until I reach my goal I will focus on “clean” foods and avoid processed foods
I will lose 20lbs by Spring I will run a Half Marathon (5K, 10K, etc) this Spring
I will banish all my favorite sweets and high calories foods from my life I will allow myself to eat my favorite foods once per week.. and enjoy it!

 

I always recommend small goals at part of a much bigger plan. Decide on resolutions that promote a specific action! Instead of resolving to “lose weight,” “get fit” or “get healthier” start with the a more specific new goal such as resolving to be more committed to yourself and your goals or to be more consistent with your actions. Then define a plan that focuses on the daily actions you will need to take and new habits you will have to make to achieve your personal fitness goals!

 

Remember, creating that New Year’s Resolution to lose weight or get fit is only the first step of your commitment to improving your fitness level! Words are easy, daily actions are challenging. Buddy up with a friend or join a program to stay accountable for those actions.

Your commitment to yourself will be tested almost daily….like bad days at work, your kids’ schedule, traveling, days that are too hot, too cold, etc…  But by staying committed and consistent with your actions like the ones above, you will create lifelong habits and you may actually not need to make a personal fitness resolution ever again!

Niki  Gauthier

Owner of Niki G’s Fitness 

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Have Your Cake and Be Fit Too

Have Your Cake and Be Fit Too™

Key Ingredients to Successfully Managing your Weight

Recently I had a client ask me when she would be able to eat “normal” foods again. We had to talk about what exactly normal is, but in her mind it’s being able to eat all those yummy prepackaged foods, cakes, cookies donuts, and basically eat whatever she wanted.

That’s not normal.

Popular maybe, but not normal or natural, especially if you are trying to maintain your weight! Eating these food on a daily basis will not allow you to look and feel your best, but a little treat now and then won’t keep you from staying fit! Follow the recipe for weight loss without deprivation.

Most of my clients start one of our Boot Camps to lose weight and get fit. We first work on setting goals, committing to a regular exercise schedule, eating clean, natural foods and of course journaling our diet, exercise and any progress made.

But, what happens next? What do you do after you are comfortable with your weight? Do you stop exercising and get to eat whatever you want?

Of course not! Overall you should aim to eat as healthy as possible, mainly to stay healthy and for better energy. But those who become thin and stay thin learn about balance and know that they can enjoy their favorite foods once a while without setting themselves back.

Below are my top tips for finding balance and maintaining your weight:

  1. Work Hard So You Can Play Later. Want to keep your metabolism high and bodyfat percentage low? Want to burn calories instead of just storing them? Then you need to exercise! The three major components are Resistance Training, Aerobic Exercise or “Cardio”and stretching to maintain flexibility, reduce injury and balance out the more intense exercise.
  2. Never say “can’t.” You can eat anything you want. But you choose to eat the most natural form of your foods and correct portion sizes because you want to feel good on the inside and look great on the outside! Plan a “cheat meal” each week, have that piece of cake you’re craving without guilt!
  3. Spice it Up.Change up your exercise regularly to avoid getting stuck in a rut. Always be looking for ways to challenge yourself whether it’s using more weight, or less weight with more reps, different exercise equipment or even just the scenery! You should enjoy your exercise time. Find activities that keep you interested.
  4. Learn It, Love It Live It. Don’t obsess about your fitness program, diet or your body. Strive for a healthy balance of nutritious eating, regular exercise and even look to embrace any flaws you may have. Learn to love the lifestyle and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be fit, healthy and confident.

Managing your weight can be just as challenging as losing weight. But with a little consistency, creativity and commitment, maintaining a healthy weight and improving your fitness level can be a piece of cake!

As seen in LiveSouthNash Magazine Summer 2010

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Snowed IN Work OUT

Winter fun

Sure there are lots of ways to stay in shape even when it’s snowing outside. But if hitting the slopes isn’t possible and shoveling snow, snowball fights or sledding aren’t your thing,  below is a link to a quick workout you can do inside your own home. This is a full-body cardio-sculpting workout that can be modified for all fitness levels.

All you need is a pair of dumbbells and about 30 minutes to burn some calories and warm yourself up on a cold snowy day. Use the workout until you can return to your normal exercise program outside the house. Or who knows, maybe you’ll find the energy for that snow ball fight now!

Snowed IN Work OUT

 

Please check with your doctor before starting this or any exercise program.

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Why Weight Training is Important

Do you want to get buff? Do you want to have defined abs, cut arms and a lifted rear? The most important tool you need to achieve these features, aside from a great nutritional plan and cardio to burn fat, is RESISTANCE TRAINING. While you are enrolled in Boot Camp and you are showing up at least 2 per days per week, you are getting probably most of the Resistance Training you need. However you could easily do up to 4 or even 5 days a week if you want to really accelerate this process.

With that being said, I will keep this very short and to the point and cover some of the highlights of strength training. (I will be posting some at-home workouts and exercises soon at my online community, so make sure you are a member! http://nikigfitness.ning.com/ )

• Resistance Training (also known as Strength Training or Weight Training) is anything that provides resistance against your muscles such as weights, bands, medicine balls or even your own body weight. Walking or running up a hill can even be considering a form of resistance training.

 • How much resistance you need depends on your current strength level and your goals. If you are wanting to build muscle, use as heavy of a weight as you can for 8-12 reps. If you are just trying to tone and tighten, use as heavy of weight as you can for at least 15-20 reps or even more depending on your workout.

Lifting heavier weights will NOT make you look like this bodybuilder!

 • You will not get big and bulky by using weights, even if they are heavy. To think that we can get jacked like a Bodybuilder using heavy weights for 20 reps or so is silly. The people you see with big muscles work VERY hard to look that way. They spend A LOT of time in the gym using very heavy weights, low reps and a lot of rest between sets. They also have a fine-tuned, high calorie diet, and spend YEARS, not months getting that big. I can attest to this because I trained to gain muscle for 2 years as “bodybuilder” and even though I competed and placed 3rdin my weight class in TN State, I still never looked more than a lean fitness model or fitness competitor. It’s very difficult to gain a lot of muscle, so don’t be afraid of the weights!!! As long as you keep good form and do high reps, you will look hot, not scary.

• The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism. This means that when you go into a maintenance phase, you will be able to consume more calories than you would if you had less muscle.

• Resistance Training also helps maintain bone density, improves your energy levels and your overall balance.

OK, and here are a couple of rules for you:

1. The bigger the weights, the higher the intensity. A great way to mix up your routine, especially if you hit a plateau.

 2. Form ALWAYS over heavy weights. Don’t sacrifice your form just to lift a heavier weight.

3. Fat NEVER turns into muscle and vice versa. You lose muscle, and you gain fat, or vice versa.

 4. If you feel like your body weight is too high for you, do more cardio and eat less, but don’t back off the weights! In fact you should lift weight your entire life so you never lose muscle. Resistance Training is one of the best ways to stay young. Also, it’s that weight training, high intensity level and the muscles that will help turn your body into a fat burning machine so don’t give up!

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Team Niki G Fitness Bolts the Blvd 80’s style

At Niki G Fitness fun and fitness go together! That’s why when our team starting planning to do the Blvd. Bolt on Thanksgiving Day, we decided to pay homage to the decade where exercise really became popular- the 80’s! We were in luck because apparently some 80’s clothing is back in style and on a cold morning, the leg warmers actually came in handy over our running tights!

Team Niki G Fitness Blvd Bolt Nashville TN
Team Niki G Fitness ready for the Blvd. Bolt

From the tween-age clothing stores to the Blvd itself we got lots of smiles, pictures, shout outs and of course stares. The girls at the tween stores commented that there were “quite a few of us in our age group looking for 80’s attire” Thanks.

So while we may not look like we did around 10 years old, at least we got the chance to wear some fun clothes and enjoying the energy and youthfulness a good run  always brings us.

 

 

Let’s get physical, physical…….

Team Niki G Fitness Blvd. Bolt Nashville TN
All done, ready for some turkey!
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Trimming or Stuffing Your Figure this Holiday Season? Healthy Holiday Eating Tips

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Healthy Holiday Eating Tips to Help You Continue to Lose Weight

Considering that a traditional Thanksgiving Meal has more calories than some women should eat in an entire day, there are some tips I want you to follow to be sure that the only thing stuffed on Thanksgiving Day is the turkey and not YOU!  So, how do you avoid weight gain or at least maintain your figure during the Holidays? It really is simple math, but you have to be willing to look at the numbers……

The Unpalatable Reality

Let’s put things in perspective. Let’s say you are going to your family’s house for Thanksgiving Dinner and when you arrive you start with one glass of wine and a few tortilla chips and dip while you are visiting. Then you sit down to a modest portion (6oz) of white and dark turkey, half a cup each of stuffing, mashed potatoes, and green bean casserole and on the side, a dinner roll. After dinner you top it off with a slice of apple pie. Sounds reasonable, not overdoing it, right? Well that one dinner alone comes to… wait for it….. 1760 calories! You would need to walk 17.6 miles at a good pace to burn off that meal! And that doesn’t even include everything else you ate that day. Since it only takes an extra 3500 calories than what your body burns to create a pound of body fat, you are already half way there in one day!

Chances are that if you stop there, eat well and exercise the week before and after, you won’t see much movement on the scale. However, if you slack off your workouts, indulge for days, eat lots of leftovers and comfort food, you could easily gain 3-5lbs of stored body fat, in just a week or two. This is fat that could prevent you from zipping up your jeans, fitting in your holiday dress and from looking and feeling your best this holiday season. Now when you finally get back to your workouts, you will be working on the new fat you gained not, the original goals you started with.

The Yummy Solutions

Follow my top six tips for keeping your shape and maybe even trimming up your figure from Thanksgiving Meal to New Years Eve parties…… and beyond!

1. Don’t go hungry. Never put yourself in a situation where you are 1) Starving and 2) have access to tons of high calorie foods. Take the edge off with some high fiber and/or moderate protein foods 30-60 minutes BEFORE the party or meal.

2. Exercise, and then do some more. Did you workout this morning? Great, now tonight, go for a walk, get active. On the weekend rake some leaves, clean out the garage and don’t be bum! The more calories your body burns the less likely you are to gain weight. I know, duh right? Well sometimes it’s good to be reminded that catching up on with your DVR is not helping to avoid the tummy bulge or saddlebags, unless of course you are doing it on the treadmill!

3. Save it. Is your Mom’s casserole to die for and the stuffing just ok? Why waste calories on the stuff (no pun intended) you don’t LOVE or things you can eat every other day of the week? Try a taste of everything you want, but save your calories for the good stuff without overindulging in them.

4. During big meals keep it balanced and stay in control. Serve your own plate and look at it in fourths. One fourth will include one serving of protein (lean meats), another fourth should be one serving of carbohydrates (a roll, potatoes, stuffing) and the last half of your plate can be 2-3 small servings veggies (green beans, salad, peas). Balancing carbs with protein and fiber will help regulate your blood sugar (which is key for weight management), keep you more satisfied and help avoid the bulge. Any extra servings are just calories begging to be stored as fat.

5. Drink lots of water. Sometimes that feeling of hunger is actually thirst. Stay hydrated throughout the day, every day, to avoid eating extra calories and to satisfy your body’s need for water.

6. Engage and interact with your friends and family at get-togethers more than you do with your glass, plate and fork. Focus on the REAL meaning of your holidays and traditions.

Remember you can’t undo months or even just weeks of hard work in only one meal. But, by adopting healthier habits that include healthy holiday meals you can earn your ticket to a great figure now and for the rest of your years. Cheers!

By Niki Gauthier

niki@nikig.net

 

 

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