Blast Fitness Blog

Blast Fitness Names Dean Parker President and CEO

Posted by Blast Fitness on Dec 15, 2016 9:44:48 AM

Blast Fitness proudly announces the appointment of Dean Parker as President and CEO, effective November 30. Dean brings to Blast Fitness a wealth of experience and success growing businesses, promoting fiscal responsibility, and driving innovation

dean.jpg“I’m incredibly excited to join a market leader in the fitness industry,” Dean said. “We have a great team in place and we’re going to continue furthering the Blast Fitness mission—building local communities where people have a convenient, high-value, low-cost option for working out and living a healthier lifestyle.”

An accomplished corporate executive, company advisor, and political consultant, Dean’s most recent ventures include serving as Founder and CEO of Vita Capital, an early stage investment firm, and as National Finance Chairman for Dr. Ben Carson’s Presidential Campaign. Prior to his time on the campaign trail and at Vita, Dean was the Founder and CEO of Callis Communications, a southeastern leader in unified communications.

Dean’s unmatched insight, passion and vision will enable Blast Fitness to continue providing members the best resources and value in the business, while also expanding, innovating, and moving the brand into the future.

“Our ownership and leadership are aligned for phenomenal growth for 2017,” Dean said. “I look forward to taking my experience and track record in business and applying those principles to help us reach the next level.”

About Blast Fitness:

Our goal at Blast Fitness is to provide each and every member with the resources to achieve their optimal fitness goals in a clean, friendly, and comfortable environment. For as low as $10 a month, members are provided top-notch fitness equipment, group exercise classes, personal training, a women's-only area, unlimited tanning, free babysitting, and more.

With locations in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Texas, and Wisconsin, Blast Fitness is ready to help you achieve your fitness goals.

Go-Tos for Everything Exercise & Fitness

Posted by Blast Fitness on Oct 14, 2016 3:20:43 PM

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Image Source: http://www.workoutwithwolfie.com/news/

You can maximize on your fitness results by keeping yourself informed. Whether you're starting out and defining your fitness goals or looking to improve a tried and true fitness program, our favorite go-tos below will give your exercise regimen a boost! We have you covered with everything from the most effective glutes exercises to diets to the best workout tips of all time.


Proper Breathing

How to Breathe for Every Type of Exercise

http://greatist.com/fitness/how-breathe-every-type-exercise
tired-runner.jpg
How to Breathe When Working Out and Running
http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/how-to-breathe-when-working-out-and-running.html

Breathing During Exercise
https://www.freetrainers.com/c/fitness_guide_faq/fitness_faq/breathing_while_exercising/

Tips and Tricks for Optimizing Your Breathing During Exercise and Daily Life
http://www.askthetrainer.com/proper-breathing-during-exercise/

Image Source: http://www.cliparthut.com/tired-athlete-clipart.html


Correct Form

Form For Fitness - What’s The Correct Way To Train
http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/likness25.htm

Fix Your Exercise Form for Better Results
http://www.shape.com/fitness/workouts/fix-your-exercise-form-better-results

Injury Free: Correct Posture and Exercise Form
http://www.mensfitness.com/training/pro-tips/injury-free-correct-posture-and-exercise-form


Abs, Obliques, and Your Core
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Image Source: http://blog.elivatefitness.com/features/training-insights/post-workout-stretching/

24 Fat-Burning Ab Exercises (No Crunches!)
http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20664616,00.html

Ab Workouts: Our Top 10 Abs Exercises
http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/workout/abs/exercises/top-10-abs-exercises/

The 21 Best Bodyweight Exercises for a Strong Core
http://greatist.com/move/best-bodyweight-exercises-abs

Advanced Core Burning Workout - Challenging 20 Minute Abs and Obliques Workout
https://www.fitnessblender.com/videos/advanced-core-burning-workout-challenging-20-minute-abs-and-obliques-workout

Abdominal Exercises – Exercise Guides
http://www.bodybuilding.com/exercises/finder/lookup/filter/muscle/id/13/muscle/abdominals

Trainers Reveal: The Best Abs Exercises of All Time
http://www.shape.com/fitness/workouts/trainers-reveal-best-abs-exercises-all-tim

7 Best Moves For Crazy Obliques
http://www.muscleandfitness.com/workouts/abs-and-core-exercises/7-best-moves-crazy-obliques


Leg Day

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The Ultimate Leg Training Workout
http://www.muscleandfitness.com/workouts/legs-exercises/ultimate-leg-training-workout

The Ultimate Leg Workout: The Best Leg Exercises for Big Wheels
https://www.muscleforlife.com/best-legs-exercises/

Top 10 Best Leg Exercises
http://www.muscleandperformance.com/article/top-10-leg-exercises-11656

Leg Exercises
http://www.shape.com/topics/leg-exercises
Image Source: http://www.cheatsheet.com/health-fitness/


Upper Body & Arms


Arm Workouts: The Top 10 Arm Moves
http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/workout/arms/exercises/best-arm-moves/

Tank Top Arms Workout - Best Upper Body Workout for Toned Arms, Shoulders & Upper Back
https://www.fitnessblender.com/videos/tank-top-arms-workout-best-upper-body-workout-for-toned-arms-shoulders-and-upper-back

11 Best Exercises to Get Strong, Toned Arms
http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20681364,00.html

The Ultimate Upper Body Workouts
http://www.muscleandfitness.com/workouts/workout-routines/ultimate-upper-body-workouts


Back Strength, Conditioning, & Sculpting


10 Best Muscle-Building Back Exercises!
http://www.bodybuilding.com/content/10-best-muscle-building-back-exercises.html

Best Exercises For a Complete Back Workout
http://www.muscleandfitness.com/workouts/back-exercises/back-exercises-complete-back-workout

4 Exercises to Strengthen Your Back Muscles
http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20709957,00.html


Glutes Exercises & Workouts


The Ultimate Glute Workout
http://www.muscleandfitness.com/muscle-fitness-hers/hers-workouts/ultimate-glute-workout

Glute Workout: 6 Ways To Build Your Perfect Booty
http://www.bodybuilding.com/content/glute-workout-6-ways-to-build-your-perfect-booty.html

glute-kickbacks-silhouette.jpg
Glute Exercises - Exercise Guides
http://www.bodybuilding.com/exercises/finder/lookup/filter/muscle/id/14/muscle/glutes

Trainers Reveal: The Best Butt Exercises of All Time
http://www.shape.com/fitness/workouts/trainers-reveal-best-butt-exercises-all-time

The 17 Best Glutes Exercises
http://www.menshealth.com/fitness/best-glutes-exercises
Image Source: http://www.exercisemenu.com/workoutindex/20-minute-booty-blast-circuit-workout-routine/


Diets - Power & Protein


What to Eat Before, During, and After Exercise
http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/what-eat-before-during-after-exercise

High Protein Diet & Foods List – Benefits, Best Sources & More
http://www.intense-workout.com/protein_diet.html

A Beginner’s Guide to Workout Nutrition: Before, During, and After Training
http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/a-beginners-guide-to-workout-nutrtion.html

The Eye-Opening Truth About Protein
http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/recipes/healthy-eating/nutrition/protein-diet-nutrition-facts/

28 Days to Lean Meal Plan
http://www.muscleandfitness.com/nutrition/meal-plans/28-days-lean-meal-pla

The Complete Guide to Workout Nutrition [Infographic]
http://greatist.com/health/complete-guide-workout-nutrition-infographic


Exercise On-the-Go

Work Out Anywhere: 12 Exercises for the Plane, Train or Car
http://www.theactivetimes.com/work-out-on-the-go

25 Exercises You Can Do Anywhere
http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20788704,00.html

On-the-Go Workout
http://www.realsimple.com/health/fitness-exercise/workouts/on-the-go-workout

Exercise On-the-Go: The Best 5-Minute Workout Routines
http://www.shape.com/fitness/workouts/exercise-go-best-5-minute-workout-routines

25 Easy Ways To Fit In 10 Minutes Of Exercise
http://www.prevention.com/fitness/fitness-tips/fitness-25-fast-and-easy-ways-fit-10-minutes-exercise


Best of the Best Workout Tips

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Image Source: http://www.bybeemartialarts.com/

10 Workout Secrets From the Pros
http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/guide/10-workout-secrets-expert-exercise-tips

The 8 Critical Keys For Building Big Muscle
http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/the-8-critical-keys-for-building-big-muscle.html

15 Best Workout Tips of All Time
http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/workout/tips/best-workout-tips/

The 10 Best Tinning Tips You’ve Ever Heard!
http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/10-best-training-tips-ever.htm

7 Keys to Lifelong Strength Gain
http://www.muscleandfitness.com/workouts/workout-tips/7-keys-lifelong-strength-gain

Top 25 Fitness Tips and Strategies From the Experts
http://www.mensfitness.com/training/pro-tips/top-25-fitness-tips-and-strategies-experts-0

25 Ways to Improve Your Workout
http://www.muscleandfitness.com/workouts/workout-tips/25-ways-improve-your-workout

The 100 Best Fitness Tips
http://www.menshealth.com/fitness/tips-to-transform-your-body

50 Must-Know Fitness Tips to Score Your Best Body
http://www.shape.com/lifestyle/mind-and-body/50-must-know-fitness-tips-score-your-best-body

 

 

Topics: Fitness & Exercise

Stretching: A Workout Necessary

Posted by Blast Fitness on Oct 7, 2016 11:55:23 AM

Warm-Up.jpg

Image Source: karamarchetta.blogspot.com


Stretching can be a pain. You get to the gym, you want to get moving and get your workout in. And when your done, you’re tired and likely looking forward to a post workout meal. We get it, but don’t overlook the benefits (and importance) of stretching - there are many to be had.


Should I Stretch Before or After My Workout?

Both. It is vitally important to stretch before and after physcial exercise, but the key to stretching before your workout lies in warming up first. Warming up before undertaking pre-workout stretching prepares the main muscle groups to be worked out for what’s ahead by increasing the flow of blood and oxygen to your muscles and raising the temperature of your body. Doing a warmup that simulates your exercise routine’s targeted muscles better prepares them for optimal results, as they become more pliable and less prone to injury (i.e., stretching/working out ’cold’ muscles risks injury). Warming up also gets your heart rate going and primes your body to burn more energy. Usually, 5 to 10 minutes of warming up is sufficient.


After your body is warmed up, it's time to stretch. Be sure to stretch the main muscle groups you will target during your exercise routine. Also ensure to breathe properly as this provides your muscles with the oxygen they need for effective stretching. Stretches should be held for about 20 to 30 seconds. Always remember to stretch both sides of your body equally. 

Stretching after your workout is just as imperative as stretching before your workout. It provides many added benefits and can help in achieving your fitness goals by keeping your muscles in good condition. Post workout stretching plays a key role in muscle maintenance and health and helps alleviate muscle stiffness. Essentially, stretching the main muscle groups worked out during your exercise routine facilitates getting the muscles back to their normal length.

After cooling down, focus on stretching the muscles targeted during your workout routine and any areas that show signs of tightness. Stretches should be held for approximately 30 seconds. Anything less than 20 seconds does not serve to lengthen muscle fibers and tissue, thus defeating the prupose of post-workout stretching.

BLAST Fitness TIP: Stretching should never hurt - stop any stretching that causes pain as it can damage your muscles!

Stretching & Your Body Stretching & Your Mind

  • Helps improve flexibility and range of motion

  • Improves posture and form by lengthening tight muscles that pull areas of the body away from their intended position (e.g., hunched over shoulders caused by tight chest muscles that pull the shoulders and head forward)

  • Decreases the potential for muscle injury and muscle and joint strains

  • Reduces post workout muscle soreness and tension by increasing blood flow and nutrient supply to muscles


  • Calms and puts the mind at ease thereby reducing stress levels

  • Provides a mental break and time to recharge

  • Releases mental tension and relaxes the brain

  • Helps regulate automatic functions such as heart rate and blood pressure

  • Aids in the secretion of hormones that act as chemical messengers for insulin control, metabolism, mood, and emotion



 

Topics: Fitness & Exercise

The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise

Posted by Blast Fitness on Sep 30, 2016 3:59:52 PM

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Image source: https://fractalenlightenment.com

Change your mindset, change your life (and your body at the same time!). 
Exercise is one of the most potent and underutilized prescriptions for depression, anxiety, stress, and other mental disorders and conditions. It’s one of the most effective ways to improve your mental health and also positively impacts the brain by relieving stress, improving memory and sleep, and boosting overall mood.

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Research shows that exercise makes a huge difference in emotional well being no matter your age or fitness level. People who exercise regularly tend to do so because it makes them feel good mentally; yes, exercise can improve physical health and shrink waistlines, but the positive emotional aspects of exercise are what motivate people to stay dedicated and come back for more. This is because exercise triggers changes in the brain including: reduced inflammation, neural growth, and new activity patterns that promote feelings of calm and well-being. It also causes the release of endorphins - the magical, feel-good chemicals in your brain that re-energize your mind and body. Believe it or not, studies show that exercise can be just as effective in treating mild to moderate depression as pharmaceuticals, without the awful side effects. A consistent exercise regimen can even prevent episodes of depression from recurring! Who knew?
Image source: http://www.bio360.net/

Exercise & Anxiety

If anxiety is more your thing, exercise is also your cure. Because exercise releases endorphins in your brain - our happy-go-lucky mood boosters - it is a natural and effective anti-anxiety treatment. The key here is to be present while you exercise. Be mindful; take in your workout surroundings, what you can hear, how you feel, and the sensations running through your body. This will distract and interrupt the constant flow of worrisome thoughts running through your brain.

Exercise & Stress
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Image source: www.micannabidiol.com

Next up, stress. The vicious struggle between mind and body is most obvious with stress: tense muscles in your neck, shoulder, back, and face can often culminate in worry and discomfort and lead to more stress. This cycle will repeat itself and more stress means more physical manifestations: tightness in your chest, increased heart rate, insomnia, heartburn, upset stomach… the list goes on… and on. Exercise is the most effective way to break this vicious cycle. In addition to relaxing muscles, exercise relieves tension; the byproduct of a body that feels good, is a mind that feels good too.

Exercising is an effective way to break this cycle. As well as releasing endorphins in the brain, physical activity helps to relax the muscles and relieve tension in the body. Since the body and mind are so closely linked, when your body feels better so, too, will your mind.

Exercise & Keeping Your Mental Health in Check - Where to Start?


Pasted_image_at_2016_09_30_11_08_AM.pngSo now that we know exercise benefits our mental health, it begs the question of where to start? It is hard to motivate yourself to workout at the best of times, let alone when you are feeling depressed, anxious, or stressed. In these instances, getting to the gym can be twice the battle. It’s important to think big but start small. When you are under the cloud of negative emotion, overwhelming yourself with grandiose fitness goals can cause more despondency and leave you feeling hopeless. Start with reachable goals and work your way up from there. Also be sure to focus on physical activities you enjoy and workout at a time of day when your energy is highest. Most importantly, be nice to yourself! Nothing happens overnight and none of us possess a magic wand, so reward yourself for all of your fitness achievements, big and small alike.
Image source: brainspeak.com


Topics: Fitness & Exercise

3 Quick, Easy, & Simple Post-Workout Meals

Posted by Blast Fitness on Sep 23, 2016 8:41:39 PM


During a
workout, your body breaks down muscle glycogen and muscle protein structures. It is therefore vitally important to replenish your body and its energy stores following physical exercise, so as to allow for muscle tissue repair and growth. Eating the right amount of protein and carbohydrates post workout can help fuel your muscles for growth. But figuring out what to eat doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Try these three (3) super simple recipes - packed with the nutrients you need - to get the results you want.

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Image source: http://www.recipeshubs.com

High Protein Salad
1 grilled chicken breast, sliced
½ bag of kale, washed
½ bag spinach, washed
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
¼ cup goat’s milk feta
¼ cup cranberries
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
½ tablespoon olive oil
Pinch of salt and black pepper

Combine balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and salt and black pepper in a small bowl. Set aside. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl and add premixed balsamic dressing.

post-workout-turkey-meatballs.jpg
Image source: http://www.foodnetwork.com

Turkey Meatballs
1 package of extra lean ground turkey
1 teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon ketchup
½ onion minced
1 egg
¼ Italian bread crumbs
2 tablespoons olive oil

Combine all ingredients. Mix well. Preheat one (1) tablespoon olive oil in an iron skillet or frying pan at medium high heat. Form prepared ground turkey mixture into round balls. Place four (4) meatballs at a time in the skillet/pan and cook for approximately six to even (6-7) minutes, turning once. Repeat for remaining meatballs.

post-workout-quinoa.jpg
Image source: http://www.foodnetwork.com

Protein On Protein Bowl
1 cup quinoa, prepared
1 cup steamed spinach
1 grilled chicken breast, chopped
½ cup steamed yellow squash, chopped
½ cup steamed broccoli, chopped
1 tablespoon almonds
2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
½ cup shredded cucumber
2 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch of salt

Combine cucumber, garlic, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside. Layer ingredients in a deep bowl and finish off with premixed yogurt dressing.

Topics: Health & Nutrition

Your Metabolism: Burn, Baby… Burn

Posted by Blast Fitness on Sep 16, 2016 4:54:36 PM

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Image source: http://www.medscape.com

While much of your metabolic rate is determined by age, genetics, gender, and body composition, there are natural ways to boost your metabolism - the little engine in your body that burns calories all day, every day. The rate at which your engine burns calories and fat and converts fuel to energy can be tricky to navigate. Luckily, we’ve got you covered with the metabolic basics that will help transform your metabolism into the little engine that could.

How It All Works
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Image source: http://www.everydayhealth.com/

Metabolism is the process by which your body converts what you eat and drink into the energy it needs to function. In other words, metabolism is the sum total of energy your body expends each day. Even at rest, your body needs energy for functions such as breathing, digestion, circulation, adjusting hormone levels, and growing and repairing cells. The number of calories your body uses to carry out these basic functions is known as your basal metabolic rate (“BMR”), i.e., metabolism, and comprises about 60 (sixty) to 85 (eighty-five) percent of the calories you burn during the day.

While your BMR stays fairly consistent, you burn more calories during the day because you’re more active during this time. It makes sense then, that physical activity and exercise account for the rest of the calories your body burns up each day - they are by far the most variable of the factors that determine daily calorie burn. Essentially, you burn less fuel at rest, and more energy when you are active; therefore, the more active you are during the day, the higher your metabolism. This is why it is vitally important to workout and increase physical activity. The value add is that working out increases lean muscle which itself boosts metabolism. Here, the proof is in the pudding: lean muscle mass expends more energy - even when your muscles are at rest - than fat.

When To Workout
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Image source: http://3hack.net/

We’ve all heard that morning workouts are best because they jumpsuit metabolism and help burn more calories and fat throughout the day. There is some truth to this, but that truth comes with qualifications. Morning workouts are most beneficial if and when you fuel your body before engaging in physical exercise. This is because your body is in fasting mode upon waking. During this time, glycogen (i.e., energy) stores are depleted and the body responds by increasing the use of fat for energy. Adding a workout to a body that is already burning fat seemingly sounds great, but it’s not that simple. The counter effect of an unfueled body is a catch-22 of sorts: working out requires energy and the absence of energy stores means that you won’t burn as many calories and fat when you workout. In effect, depleted energy stores actually slow metabolism. The key here is to fuel your body before you workout and boost your metabolism, to in turn burn more calories and fat efficiently. 

The added benefit of working out in the morning: exercise is scientifically proven to increase mental acuity and reduce anxiety. Reving up your metabolism with a morning workout ensures a positive start to the day. It also makes for a clear head and sharp mind that are ready for anything that comes your way.

The upside: the best time to workout is really subjective. Establishing a routine you can stick to is very important. It is best to workout at times that allow for the most consistency. Ultimately, there is no firm evidence to support the notion that your body burns more calories efficiently at a certain time of day, so focus on what works best for you. While a morning workout may help burn a few more calories early on in the day, the morning metabolic boost that is a byproduct thereof, will gradually fade. On the other hand, a regular training program performed at a time of day best suited to your scheduling needs, maximizes lean body mass thus increasing metabolism and the amount of calories burned all day long.

When To Eat
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Image source: http://healthynibblesandbits.com/

As we mentioned, a sure fire way to boost metabolism is to consume breakfast. It is important to eat within an hour of waking up, as the sooner you jumpstart your metabolism, the more calories you’ll burn in a day. A breakfast of complex carbohydrates such as fruit or whole grains forces your digestive system to get to work and break down food and thus, necessitates burning calories. This elevated calorie burning rate can be maintained by eating meals at regular intervals throughout the rest of the day. On the other hand, skipping meals will cause metabolism (i.e., your elevated calorie burning rate) to drop as your body scrambles to conserve blood sugar. Our final word of advice on when to eat: it is important to have your last meal more than three (3) hours before you go to bed. Remember, metabolism slows while you are inactive - a gut full of unburned calories isn’t going anywhere while you sleep.

When To Cheat
metabolism-donut-cheat-day.jpg
Image source: http://www.psfk.com/

It is best to consume fats in the morning. This gives your body a bigger window of opportunity to burn off excess fat consumption throughout the rest of the day. For carbohydrates, early afternoon is best, as their consumption helps in part to increase your level of serotonin. This increase in serotonin - a neurotransmitter that communicates with brain cells related to appetite (amongst others) and stabilizes them - helps prevent snacking throughout the rest of the day by suppressing appetite.

Follow our lifestyle, health, and fitness tips above and you’ll be well on your way to happy metabolizing!

Chronic Insomnia? Get to the Gym

Posted by Blast Fitness on Sep 9, 2016 3:33:45 PM


The Key is in Consistency
insomnia-01.jpg
According to a study published in The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, the influence of daily exercise on sleep habits is more convoluted than many of us might expect. In fact, in the short term, sleep might have more of an impact on exercise than exercise has on sleep: a poor night’s sleep can shorten the next day’s workout (no rocket science here), while a full-length workout does not, in most cases, produce more and better sleep that night (sounds nonsensical, we know). These findings suggest that people with insomnia and other sleep disturbances will find no solace in exercising where the aim is to be tired enough to fall asleep. But fear not, there are more to these results than meets the eye.

insomnia-02.jpgMaintaining a regular exercise schedule is key. People with insomnia suffer from hyper-arousal of the stress system. Essentially, this means that a single workout could potentially exacerbate insomnia because it is itself a physical stressor. However, all is not lost because consistent exercise can trump a body’s stress response. There is a critical threshold point at which the body and brain become used to a consistent exercise regime; with time, a workout program can condition your body to reduce its physiological arousal thus allowing your body to arrive at sleep more readily. Other studies have also found correlations between consistent, prolonged exercise and better sleep: engaging in aerobic exercise for just thirty (30) minutes, three to four (3-4) times per week also improves moods and increases quality of life.

The point is that the road to better sleep is a gradual one, it takes time for your body to respond to physiological changes. It may seem discouraging at first, but following and keeping a moderate exercise regimen will eventually set off a positive chain reaction: the better your sleep, the better your workouts, those better workouts will eventually help promote a deeper sleep, and deeper sleep will come to manifest in positively enhanced moods and thus, a higher quality of life. While the formula seems simple - exhaust your body to the point that craves sleep - results can be tricky and are not immediate. Improved sleep is akin to weight loss: it doesn’t happen right away and is incremental, with small improvements taking place over time. As with any routine, it takes time to reap the benefits. But rest assured (no pun intended) that in the long run, consistent exercise will positively affect sleep patterns, moods, and everyday life.

Our suggestion: get started now because there is no miracle, overnight cure for sleepless nights. If you have difficulty sleeping, consider hitting the gym three to four (3-4) times a week for at least thirty (30) minutes of cardio while bearing in mind the above findings. Namely, that consistency is key in achieving tangible results.

Topics: Health & Nutrition

Why It Is Important to Mind Your Muscles and Your Diet

Posted by Blast Fitness on Sep 2, 2016 3:05:34 PM

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Muscles and Protein, Protein and Muscles
When it comes to building muscle, countless hours at the gym are only half the battle. Without the proper diet and nutrients, weight training can be futile. This is because engaging in physical activity expedites muscle-protein breakdown, build up, and turnover. While the end goal with protein is to get it to turnover, it is only beneficial if you end up with more protein than what you had. That means the key to seeing muscle size increase lies in keeping protein levels high enough to counter the muscle-protein breakdown that’s occurring simultaneously. Doing so helps ensure you get the workout results you want, so it's important to make conscious decisions and replenish your system with the right nutrients.

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Muscles are made up of approximately 25% protein and 75% water and stored glycogen (carbohydrates). It thus, makes sense to consume the right amount of protein and carbohydrates on a daily basis to optimize muscles for growth. Lowering or increasing carbohydrate intake is extremely important in achieving muscle growth goals (this of course depends on whether you are aiming to achieve weight loss or gain). However, providing your body with the right kind and amount of protein intake is more challenging.

What Kind of Protein?
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Your body needs 22 different types of amino acids to properly function. 13 of those amino acids are non-essential and can be synthesized within the body; however, the other 9 are essential and must be derived from food sources. Essential amino acids are categorically classified as protein and as with most things in life, not all protein is created equal. Protein occurs in nature in two forms: complete proteins and incomplete proteins. Complete proteins contain all 9 essential amino acids and are sufficient to meet your body’s needs, while incomplete proteins do not, and must be supplemented with additional protein to suffice (complementary proteins are those that are combined to make a complete amino acid profile).

Complete Protein Sources (predominantly animal-based):

  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Dairy Products
  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Whey
  • Eggs
  • Quinoa
  • Buckwheat
  • Hemp and Chia Seed
  • Spirulina

Incomplete Protein Sources:

  • Nuts & Seeds
  • Legumes
  • Grains
  • Vegetables

Complementary Proteins:

  • Rice and Beans
  • Spinach Salad with Almonds
  • Hummus and Sprouted-Grain Pita
  • Whole-Grain Noodles with Peanut Sauce

*While complementary proteins need not be consumed together, they should be eaten throughout a day’s meals, as your body does not store amino acids for later use in combining proteins.



How Much Protein Do You Need?
The National Strength and Conditioning Association (N.S.C.A.) recommends 0.4 to 0.6g of protein per pound per day, and up to 0.8 - 1.0g for competitive athletes. Essentially, as a rule of thumb, the higher the overall physical activity, the higher the required protein to build, grow, or retain muscle.

Bonus BLAST Fitness Tip: A higher protein diet is suggested to achieve fat loss because of its high thermic effect - up to 30% of protein calories are burned off during digestion - and propensity to satisfy hunger.

How Often Do You Need Protein?
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Every meal, what you eat, and what’s in what you eat counts. A study conducted by The Journal of Nutrition shows that when protein is distributed evenly across meals, more of the protein from these meals is turned over into muscle tissue. The process by which protein turns muscle is called protein synthesis. Protein synthesis peaks approximately 16 hours post-workout and can remain elevated for up to 48 hours thereafter (protein breakdown is also heightened for 24 hours).

For consistent, long-term training, protein synthesis peaks much earlier - approximately 4 hours post-workout - and returns to baseline levels faster. Under these circumstances, the protein consumed immediately before and after workout is vitally important. To achieve maximum results, a protein-rich meal 2 to 3 hours before training, and another within 1 to 2 hour(s) after finishing is imperative.

Bringing It All Together
Simply put, protein plays an important role in muscle growth. With the proper protein intake and just 3 to 4 workouts a week, your body will build new muscle every hour of the day and breakdown muscle at a higher rate (than sedentary bodies) at least 50% of the time. Below, we have you covered with 3 quick and easy recipes to help fuel muscle growth.

Protein Power Smoothie

Combine and mix:
2 tablespoons protein powder
2 cups coconut, almond, or skim milk
1/2 cup rolled oats
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1/2 cup of kale
4 pitted dates

Blend, blend, blend (in a blender). Enjoy.


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Green Eggs and Ham Protein

Prepare and combine:
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
3 slices of tomato
1/2 cup cooked ground turkey
1/2 cup steamed spinach
4 scrambled egg whites
1 teaspoon crumbled goat or feta cheese o

Layer, layer, layer (in a bowl). Enjoy.


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Muscle Builder Oats

Combine and mix:
2 tablespoons protein powder
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 1/2 cups coconut, almond, or skim milk
1 teaspoon spirulina
1 teaspoon chia seeds
1 cup chopped apples
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Cook, cook, cook (stove top method). Enjoy.
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Topics: Health & Nutrition

6 Back-To-School Health & Fitness Tips For Parents and Kids

Posted by Blast Fitness on Aug 26, 2016 2:44:07 PM

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Summer is coming to an end. Every year we spend months anticipating the arrival of summer to have it quickly slip between our fingertips. Summer gives way to the madness of the new school year. We find ourselves scrambling to adjust to ever-demanding schedules; often our health and fitness is left to take a backseat to the chaos. While it may feel like there is little time for anything but breakfast, bagged lunches, dinner, after-school activities, homework, and practices, there is time for ensuring healthy minds and bodies for all. We have the scoop on how to seamlessly transition back into the craziness of the school year healthy, happy, and fit.

1. The family that works out together, stays together.
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Heading to the soccer field for your kids’ soccer practice? Scrap the lawn chair and take your running shoes with you. Go for a run or do a series of reps while practice is taking place. If it’s feasible, head straight to the gym right after dropping the kids off. Have younger kids in tow? No problem. Many gyms offer childcare in an active, kid-friendly environment while you exercise. When all's said and done, you’ll all be on the same energy plain, having worked off the day’s stress while improving coordination, agility, cardiovascular endurance, and muscular strength and endurance. Remember, healthy bodies equal healthy minds.

2. Organize your time, stick to a schedule, and include the kids.
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The influx of activities and demands that come with the new school year, make it is easy to feel overwhelmed. Scheduling your daily activities and ensuring some physical activity along the way, will alleviate stressors caused by jam-packed days. Include the kids in scheduling by having them make and maintain their own schedules. Having your children participate in scheduling builds accountability for their daily activities - work physical exercise into their schedules, and you can rest assured (after working out yourself, that is) that your kids are responsibly fit.

3. The ready-to-go packed gym bag.
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This one’s simple. Keep a packed gym bag in your car (or by the door to your house). Be sure to include an extra set of clothes, shoes, and toiletries. Follow this tip and be ready for an impromptu workout anywhere, anytime. Schedules sometimes change; don’t miss out on the opportunity to squeeze in a workout when the opportunity presents itself.

4. Choose food wisely.
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Managing busy schedules and making the right food choices is hard, but is not an impossible feat. During the chaos of back-to-school craziness, take a few seconds to make food intake decisions conscientiously. Do not fall into the absent minded void of fast food drive throughs; fried goods; and overly indulgent comfort foods (notorious during the fall and winter months). Making conscious decisions about food reduces excessive calorie intake and keeps saturated fats at a minimum.

5. Practice what you preach, and preach often.
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The age old adage do as I say, not as I do, does not apply here. Educating children about the importance of physical fitness, exercise, and proper nutrition is imperative to proactively maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The health benefits of exercise and clean, wholesome eating can never be overstated. They are also relatively simple to achieve. Having informative conversations about putting physical - and as a corollary, mental - well-being first, will help in achieving a consistently healthy and fit lifestyle. Theory becomes custom -  the same applies here.

6. Keep it fun. 
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Whether eating or exercising, it’s important to enjoy what you are doing, while you are doing it. Staying motivated is key so remember to keep exercise and food fun. Here are some go-to links to get started:

http://www.parents.com/fun/sports/exercise/10-ways-to-exercise-as-a-family/
http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20341216,00.html

Topics: family

Late summer night’s flab got you down?

Posted by Blast Fitness on Aug 23, 2016 8:02:59 PM


Beat sun in the fun fat gain by choosing healthy alternatives and staying active
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Warm weather means grilling time. This means increased calorie consumption that can undercut fitness results and lead to immediate losses in hard earned gains. While the winter months are stereotypically associated with fatty, rich foods, summer months implicitly until their own vice. Commonly consumed summer foods such as grilled meats, sauces, salads, and beverages often contain high amounts of fat and carry surprising calorie counts. Making smart, conscious decisions while staying active helps to maintain a beach ready body throughout the summer months. The value add: practicing physical awareness throughout the summer months ensures entering the holiday season - where high-calorie feasts reign the day - in optimal body condition.

To avoid the summer grilling trap and maintain a fit frame, it is important to follow two simple rules:
icon-1.png Choose the healthy option (there is always lesser evil)
icon-2.png Be mindful of how food is prepared (just because it’s called salad, does not mean it’s healthy).



Below, we outline common caloric danger zones (all of which can also be applied in the months to come).

Avoid sweet tea and lemonade
(Holiday season: avoid eggnog and cider)
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When the sun is out and it’s hot, sweet tea and lemonade may sound appealing but think twice, because these high calorie content beverages can be major sugar minesweepers. Commercially sweetened iced tea has 80 calories per glass, lemonade of the same volition has 99 calories - roughly the same amount of calories as a regular cola. Yes, cola.

Our suggested alternative:
alternative-unsweetened-tea-2.png Unsweetened tea and if you are craving something sweet, dilute 100% fruit juice with equal parts water.
  (Holiday season: unsweetened cider; eggnog diluted with equal parts skim milk)



Choose fruits and vegetables that are fresh - by fresh, we mean fresh, literally
(Holiday season: pair your protein with vegetables and forget the fixings, the includes gravy)
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Crisp fruits and vegetables sound like a great choice when pairing summer grilling meats with sides, but be weary, for all fruits and vegetables are not prepared equal. Commercially produced fruit salads (likely found in the canned goods section) are often soaked in sugar based syrup, thus turning fruit into the equivalent of candy. Likewise and also deceiving are vegetables and salads that are prepared with creamy dressings, oil based sauces, and starchy compares (creamy cold pasta salad is an A-1 offender). Salads and vegetable sides - common accompaniments to grilled meats - may seem like a good choice, but not when they are doused in heavy, high-calorie dressings and sauces. Four tablespoons of dressing can have nearly 400 calories, most of which is fat.

Our suggested alternatives:
icon-1.png Choose fresh fruit, avoid the cans and if you’re craving a little more sweetness, add yogurt (not whip cream!)
icon-2.png Choose fresh cut vegetables and undressed salads, while avoiding heavily dressed salads (yes, that means potato salad).
  (Holiday season: avoid gravies, vegetable souffles and casseroles, and butter sautéed vegetables, and steer clear of whipped cream and marshmallows - pairing them with fruit does not undercut their negative nutritional content and corresponding affect on your body and fitness results)



Use caution when selecting grilled meats
(Holiday season: be mindful when choosing holiday meats, some are surprisingly high in fat)
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Summer barbecues are fun but the effect they can have on your waistline is no laughing matter. For example, hot dogs are high in saturated fat, sodium, calories, and harmful preservatives and ribs contain high amounts of saturated fats. As for other meat options, be cognizant of that fact that most barbecue sauces are jam packed with sugars and contain up to 50 calories per tablespoon. Barbecue toppings entail a similar nutritional downfall: for instance, a burger topped with cheese is high in saturated fat, sodium, and calories. Add to that the pitfalls of starchy, sugary burger buns, and its game over for your hard earned waistline.

Our suggested alternative:
alternative-lean-meat-02.png Choose lean ground/skinless meats, use spice rubs instead of sauces to add flavor to meats, pass on the cheese, and wrap grilled meat in lettuce (if you need some semblance of a bun, keep the bottom and replace the top with a thick tomato slice).
  (Holiday season: opt for high protein, low calorie holiday meats such as turkey; avoid holiday ham as it is high in fat and often coated/marinated in high sugar content sauces)



Frozen yogurt is not your friend
(Holiday season: holiday treats such as kettle corn, rice cereal bars, and alcoholic beverages are just as unhealthy as cakes, pies, and cookies)
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Think of frozen yogurt as a fraud. Many people hold the misconception that it is a healthy food alternative; however frozen yogurt is not traditional yogurt and contains added sugar. Believe it or not, the sugar and fat content in frozen yogurt rivals ice cream, and in some instances, contains even more. Frozen yogurt usually has over 400 calories per cup; it can contain as much as 26 grams of fat. An additional negative: the probiotic benefit found in natural yogurt that contains active cultures is all but missing in frozen yogurt.

Our suggested alternative:
alternative-fruit-ice-cream-bar.png Replace frozen yogurt with all natural fruit popsicles or make your own by freezing natural yogurt in popsicle trays and adding chunks of your favorite fresh fruit.
  (Holiday season: stay away from the holiday treat table and festive, sweet alcoholic beverages; if you must indulge, choose alcoholic beverages that are made with sugar-free mixers, i.e., soda or tonic water, as alcohol itself contains sugars, and remember that a few small treats and a handful of popcorn will add up quickly in the calorie and fat department)



Pay attention to your chips and dip consumption
(Holiday season: ditto)
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An ounce of potato chips contains approximately 150 calories, saturated fat, and provides no beneficial nutrients. The potato chip’s notorious counterpart, chip dip, is also devoid of any beneficial nutrients and contains about 30 to 60 calories per tablespoon with substantial amounts of saturated fat. The danger: it is very easy to lose track of chip and dip consumption causing fat and calories to add up quickly.

Our suggested alternative:
alternative-vegetables.png Replace chips and dips with crisp, fresh vegetables and hummus or yogurt-based dips.
  (Holiday season: same guidelines apply)



Clearly, the age old adage that you are what you eat applies here. Beat summer weight gain and maintain a fit body by making these simple alternatives practice… And enter the holiday season waiting and ready for holiday eats and gatherings.

Topics: Nutrition