As fitness experts, there are plenty of opportunities to educate people on how to live their best life. Health and wellness doesn’t just include fitness, but your overall well being. Recently, we were able to lend some stress-management tips to Corp! Magazine. Read on.
It probably comes as no surprise that 83 percent of Americans find at least one aspect of their job to be extremely stressful. Not only is this crazy amount of stress no fun, but it can be costly to your health and overall happiness. Eight hours at a job can take a toll on a person, and only 36 percent of American workers said that their organizations provide resources for managing work-related stress. If you are one that is not privileged with the resources, here are seven ways to cope with workplace stress.
Shorten your to-do list
Basically, prioritize your priorities. Set, small realistic goals each day. What should go on your to-do list that will actually help you reach these goals? Create a balanced schedule by considering your deadlines and what can wait. It makes no sense to try and tackle 30 things before even allowing yourself a morning cup of coffee.
Get some perspective. Is this self-induced stress? Is it really the end of the world if your deadline is reached a day later? Don’t lose sleep over it, and don’t make your problems seem larger than they really are. Just stay in the moment and don’t worry about what the work day tomorrow will bring. There are some things that you simply can’t change or control, so communicate them with your team.
We all know that smiling and trying to win the unspoken friendliest co-worker on a daily basis is exhausting. Get rid of the distractions. Although the social aspect of the workplace is important for productivity and work culture, being busy may mean blocking out the distractors is necessary. Tackle what you need to. Others can read your stress, which in copious amounts can lead to unhealthy work relationships. And if you do have an issue with a co-worker, address it rather than letting it linger.
This practice seems ridiculous to some, but works on many. Take a deep breath. Take a few minutes to focus on your mind (guided meditations are all over the internet). This will help get rid of stress and help you focus.
Recognizing what causes your stress can actually help you to problem solve better. Where were you, what was said, and who was there? Finding patterns of what causes you stress and your reactions is a useful strategy to manage stress.
Ask for help
Sometimes, the stress can become too much to self-manage. Consult with other employees or an employer with an issue that needs to be solved. If you are given an unrealistic deadline, tell your adviser or ask another employee for help. Believe it or not, asking others for help makes them feel desired and reiterates their abilities in the workplace. Everyone is happy.
If you ignore all of your stressors, you could be leading down a long road of unhealthy coping. Your stress can be the main contribution to addictive habits and your overall unhappiness. If your stress gets to be too much, even with these tips, it is always a good idea to ask a professional for help.
A lot of people start a fitness routine because they want to look better. (You look great, by the way.) But fitness is more than just how your body looks. Sure, it’s awesome to love the way you look, but fitness not only helps you achieve that, it also helps you love the way you feel.
That photo of Simone Biles or Michael Phelps may be the thing which gets you into the gym, but your overall wellness will be the thing which keeps you going. When you think about it, an hour a day for three days a week isn’t taking up much time at all. And for all these benefits you get, a regular fitness routine is more than worth it.
Changing the water cooler is no longer a hassle
Let’s start with the most obvious. As you train your body and muscles, you become stronger. That’s just a simple fact. So don’t let soreness deter you from pushing forward. As you sculpt and tone and your body gets responds to the work its doing, the constant or intense soreness will fade, which is a testament to the amount of strength you’ve gained.
Your mind will thank you
We all know about endorphins, the “feel-good chemicals” in our brain. Exercise produces endorphins, which can give you a mood boost, increase brain function, reduce stress, and relax your mind and body. So if your job is giving you extra stress, a morning or lunch-hour workout might curb those stressful feelings.
Tired by 3 p.m.? Not anymore!
The more your heart adapts to working hard during exercise, the less it needs to work while it’s resting. This helps your body to conserve energy and leaves you less tired throughout the day. Just like the muscles you see in the mirror, the heart needs to be worked and strengthened, too. Like your heart, your lungs are conditioned to be more energy efficient. Think about walking up a flight of stairs when you haven’t exercised in a long time. Out of breath, right? Now think how much easier it is when you’ve been exercising consistently.
Your confidence goes through the roof
Confidence doesn’t just come from your superficial body transformation. It comes from your full-body transformation. By feeling better and even looking better, your confidence levels increase dramatically. You walk with a little more swagger, you’re more likely to speak up, you feel good about the work you do at your job, etc., etc. You find confidence in aspects of your life you never expected.
If you’re not already in a regular fitness routine, starting up and getting momentum can be a challenge. Just take things slow and remember that progress big or small is good progress. Over the course of a few months, you’ll be able to reflect on your achievements and affirm how fitness has shaped you for the better.
Within the past 10 years, one word which has scored some buzz is “superfood.” You see it listed on menus, on packaging and in advertisements. So, what is it and what makes this food so “super?” These foods got their name from the high number of nutrients packed into a small serving. For people who struggle with reaching their daily nutrient needs, superfoods are helpful and versatile. The can be used as snacks, sides or complete meals.
Here are more tips and information about these awesome foods.
200 calories in a superfood are different than 200 calories elsewhere
Superfoods are proof that not all calories are created equal. For example, you could have 200 calories of peanut butter cups and 200 calories of avocado and have your body react very differently to each. The peanut butter cups are packed with sugar, which eventually turns to fat, and provide only short bursts of energy followed by a crash. The avocado, on the other hand, is filled with healthy fats. Diet trends of the ‘80s and ‘90s made “fat” a negative word. The fats in superfoods, however, are nutrients your body needs. The fats in an avocado are essential in the key nutrient absorption it needs to sustain health and to assist the body in reaching its maximum potential.
Eating more doesn’t always mean better
With all your daily food intake, you have to be aware of how much you put in your body per day. To maintain weight, your calorie intake must equal your calorie output. The amount of food you eat during the day – no matter how “super” it is – matters. Your aim is to replace less-healthy foods in your diet with superfoods in order to optimize your daily nutrition.
They are easy to incorporate throughout your day
There are a number of different superfoods out there from which you can choose. If you’re just barely reaching your nutrient needs and want that extra push, a perfect solution is raw almonds, blueberries, edamame, strawberries, or a banana for a snack. If you’re really struggling with getting daily levels, start small by adding a superfood to every meal. It can be as easy as switching to a whole-grain cereal with fruit on top or adding a superfood as a side dish to your lunches and dinners.
There are a TON
With superfoods, you’re not doomed to eat nuts and avocados for the rest of your life in the quest to be healthy. There are myriad options you can add into your diet. Not everyone likes the same kinds of food, so if you don’t like one superfood, just move to the next. The different kinds of superfoods also mean diversity in your meals. You don’t have to eat the same thing over and over. You can choose a different superfood every day and even mix up how you prepare each superfood to come up with recipes which will keep your palette diverse.
Luckily for those looking to venture into the superfood realm, the food’s high-profile status has made it more accessible. A simple internet search will bring up all the foods, recipes and uses you need to make your diet a little more super.
The positive part of summer ending is that you fall (pun not intended) back into a routine that is easy to predict and a little better to sustain. Whether you’re going back to school, you have kids going back to school or your schedule is lightening up from all the summer fun, the season change also comes with a schedule change.
As you get your work and life schedules set for the fall, now is the best time to get your workout schedule set. If you don’t plan it now, time is just going to go by and you’re going to put it off. Here are some of our tips on how to get back into the swing of things once the summer sun starts to fade.
Decide the time of day you enjoy working out
This can be a time that works best for your schedule or your personal preference. There is no bad time to work out – the only bad thing you can do is not make time to work out. When it comes to the time of day to work out, everyone has their own sweet spot. Some people like waking up early and getting their workout out of the way. Other people, however, shoot daggers out of their eyes at the mere mention of getting up earlier. Neither opinion is wrong and not everyone operates the same way. Try a few different workout times during the week and decide which one is the best for you.
Keep backup workout clothes with you
You know the feeling. You get to the gym and you’ve only brought one show. Or you’re halfway through changing and realize you have no shorts. Prepare for the worst by always having backup clothes. They could be in your car, office, purse or backpack – just have them! Maybe just one thing, though. Don’t have them hanging around for too long. Remember to swap out those clothes every once in a while to avoid mildew, mold and overall death-stank.
Find a buddy
For most people, work starts to pick up and get busier in the fall. Busier days means more energy spent and sometimes longer work days. All this combined makes it really easy for you to trick your mind into skipping your workout. Make it harder for your mind to trick you by finding a workout buddy. The best buddy is someone who enjoys the same activities as you and whose schedule matches yours. If you’re close with someone at work, they might be a good lunch-hour buddy. If you’re an early bird, find a fellow early bird. You may have to ask a few people, but the hunt will be worth it in the end.
Set a goal
Don’t view your workout as a chore or something you have to slog through. Set a reasonable goal you’d like to accomplish by winter. This could be coming to CKO three times a week instead of two or being able to add an extra 10-20 push-ups onto what you can currently do. Push yourself to make it happen, but don’t let it overwhelm you.
These tips will help motivate your, but the real motivation has to come from yourself. Realize that getting dressed and traveling to your workout is really half the battle. Once you do that, you’ll get into your workout, get in the zone and question why you were debating on skipping in the first place.
Every strike and exercise we do at CKO is important to the full-body workout experience we promise our members. Each move has its own set of muscles that it works and all of them combined helps to strengthen and tone every muscle in your body. Our upper-body resistance training is the perfect kind of training for people looking to get sculpted arms and a strong core, with each strike targeting a different set of muscles from the next.
The jab is a long, straight punch which extends from your chin to your target. It’s quick and simple technique makes proper execution attainable, but it fires a number of muscles in the upper body. It’s not just a bicep/tricep strike, but the jab actually works your entire arm and part of your back and core. Your deltoids and trapezius muscles are challenged and that power extends all the way to your obliques and hip flexors. That’s a lot of muscle engagement in a single punch.
The trunk of your body is the power source in this strike. Using the meaty part of your elbow, you’ll need to angle the elbow up to complete a well-executed strike. With this strike, you’ll be able to feel the power coming from your obliques. Pull your belly button in and make your core tight to get the most out of an elbow strike, and allow your hip to roll in while pivoting your foot (same side as the arm executing the strike). A few powerful, well executed moves on each side will leave you feeling it tomorrow.
This is the kind of strike that is all power and all body. Through the movement, you’re pivoting with your feet, turning with your trunk and powering through with the back of your fist. You feel your muscles working in your shoulders, core, back and all through your arms. The backfist in particular is great for your deltoids, latissimus dorsi (“lats”) and rotator cuff.
The uppercut gets you nice and close to your target. Use your body weight to your advantage to help shovel your fist in. When completing an uppercut, you can immediately feel your biceps and triceps working as you hit the bag. Other muscles you may not feel are those sneaky obliques again, as well as your lats and deltoids.
The hook is another strike where core is key. You’re using your arm to “hook” and fist to strike, but the power behind the motion is your core. Twist your core to bring your body into the bag and the core is what helps absorb the shock of the strike. In addition to the core, your entire arm and shoulder are worked to help provide accuracy and additional power.
Like the backfist, the hammer strike is a great shoulder workout. Unlike the backfist, the hammer is a softer strike, as you are using the side of your fist, which is much more delicate than the back side of your fist—there are a lot of small bones to consider on the impact. Do a few fast hammers back and forth between bags and you will know exactly which muscles you are using.
Each of these strikes are great on their own, but when combined, they give your body the conditioning it needs to strengthen and tone your entire arms, back, chest and core. The best way to see results and get definition is to work the whole body instead of focusing on one part. Together, these strikes will do that for your body.
Xristina is one of CKO’s beloved trainers. She is a National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)-certified personal trainer with a vast pool of knowledge. Her group exercise chronicles over 12 years teaching a variety of formats – boot camp, ride, core, strength and balance, yoga, pilates, cardio kickboxing and Zumba. She has specializations in senior fitness, functional movement training, and TRX.
When not motivating others to find a passion in activity which provides both mental acuity and physically health benefits, Xristina enjoys spending time with her husband and three children, be it traveling, good food or fine red wine. Learn more about Xristina and her journey to CKO:
How did you first hear about CKO?
I heard about CKO from my dear friend Shelby Reno. Shelby and I taught group exercise together for several years. Today she is one of my closet friends, and now I have the privilege of training at her first facility.
What was the one thing about CKO that stood out to you the most?
What stood out most about CKO is, regardless of one’s fitness level, anyone can participate in class, seeing and feeling results of resistance training using heavy bags. It’s just you and the bag!
How did you get involved in fitness?
Nothing sexy here. Simply said it was timing and being prepared when the opportunity presented itself. No one gets rich teaching group X. It’s a passion which includes having a love of fitness, inspiring and motivating people, empowering individuals, and then educating and guiding them to take charge so that they want to continue a healthy lifestyle.
What is your regular fitness routine?
I look at workouts cumulatively, which would be my total output within a week’s time. In that timeframe I seek to accomplish two to three hours of weight training, two hours of yoga, three to four hours of cardio, and two to three hours of active recovery (stretching, balance, resistance tubes, and body weight stuff). And, of course, kickboxing at CKO. For me, looking at things in a block of one week gives me permission to be flexible as well as cut myself some slack!
You have 12 years teaching group exercise. How is CKO different from other classes you’ve taught?
Teaching on heavy bags is definitely a new experience for me. I love that the workout is simply a good old fashioned butt kicking! In some ways it reminds me of boot camp, yet you can truly go at your own pace. When a participant works on a bag, the work is focused quite simply on their bag. It’s great to hear people say after class, “Wow, I needed that!” It’s a stress reducer on top of being an effective body sculptor and fat melter.
How do you motivate others to reach their fitness goals?
The best way I know how to motivate others is by meeting them at their current fitness level and building from there. I approach fitness in myself and others as an ongoing journey. It’s becomes a lifestyle. In life we have good days and bad, awesome trips and mediocre ones, ups and downs, and so on. Again, it’s looking at our actions and behaviors cumulatively.
What is one fitness goal of which you are proud?
I’ve accomplished many disciplines, including bike races, 25Ks, half marathons – with and without pushing a stroller – and two half triathlons. In one of those tris I was training a client in her first competition. I HATE swimming so I cheated and pretended to jump in but never did, LOL! She did great! I believe my biggest fitness goal and challenge still awaits me.
You have three kids. How do you pass down health and wellness to them?
I do have two wonderful sons and an amazing daughter. I feel pretty good about the fact that they enjoy participating and watching sports. All three of them are physically active and make pretty decent food choices. The old saying that “children learn what they live” holds a lot of truth. My husband and I are not perfect, but we focus on staying balanced in everything we do. He and I have always been physically active; it’s nice to see that trickle down into our kids’ lifestyles. Shaping and molding our young people begins within our own four walls.
What do you like to do for fun?
A lot! Not in any particular order: training, instructing and coaching – yep, all GREAT sources of fun. My job is truly fun, and I love what I do! My most important fun job is my family. I really enjoy being with them, especially when all three kids are home at the same time, doing nothing in particular, simply being together! Additionally it is awesome when my kids have their friends over and just chill. Dating my husband again as the nest empties has been incredibly fun, too. Other avenues include concerts, sipping wine with friends, chilling on the river while my husband fishes…and sipping wine 🙂 I’m a pretty simple person, all of the above brings me joy.
What’s one great piece of fitness advice you’ve received?
The best advice I’ve received was simply this: Every day cannot be race day. Do NOT go balls-to-the-wall every workout. This advice is actually something I had to tell myself several years ago after an injury. So it is this advice that I serve up to others and myself regularly. We must give our selves permission to actively recover and, yes, even rest!
It’s bound to happen. One day you’ll begin your workout session and just not feel it. You’ll slug through it and finish feeling no more accomplished than when you started. Sure, there is no such thing as a bad workout, but that doesn’t help when you fall short of your own expectations.
A less-than-stellar workout happens to all of us, but there are measures you can take to ensure you have more of the energized kind which will leave you amped for the next one. Here are six lifestyle-based action steps to help you maximize your fitness potential.
Hydrate to regulate.
This is a no-brainer. You literally need water to perform at life, so of course you need it to fuel you regardless if the effort is high intensity interval-based or steady state-based. In addition to, you know, keeping you alive, water is a lubricant for your muscles, joints and vital organs. It primes your body for physical exertion and helps regulate your body temperature when you are heating things up in a hardcore HIIT workout. Be smart, though. Make sure you are steadily consuming water throughout the day instead of chugging right before a workout.
Fuel your mind and body.
We’re talking food here. The right kind of food can set you up for a spectacular workout. The wrong kind will leave you feeling bloated or sluggish. Stay away from added sugars and salts; avoid heavy meals right before a workout. Like chugging water, scarfing food won’t mix well with physical activity. This is where natural snacks come in handy. Fruits, vegetables and nuts will provide you with an energy boost from quality nutrients, like fiber and protein. When it comes to meals, think of your food as something which will help fuel and repair the body. Focus on whole grains, lean meat, lots of fruits and vegetables, and protein-filled foods like legumes, nuts, leafy greens, seeds, and tofu.
Wear gear that moves with you.
Choose clothes which will work with you, not against you. Think about the kind of activity you are doing and research the best options for that workout. Your clothes and shoes should allow you to move freely, provide stability where you need it, wick moisture, and not ride up. The right clothing will keep you in beast mode when you need it most.
Envision goals for mental prep.
If you’re not in the mood for your workout, it’s probably going to suck. Do whatever you can to convince yourself it’s going to be awesome and moves you a degree closer to your fitness goal(s). Find a motivational quote or mantra and set it on mental repeat. Envision what you will look and feel like with your fitness goals achieved. Find that perfect pump-up jam and blast it to get you in the zone. Whatever you need to do to get you into beast mode, do it.
Determine the best time to work out.
Some people perform their best in the morning hours, while others get top results in the evening. The very best time to work out is that time which is right for you. Sample various times and pick the one where you feel strongest and most energized. We have a winner!
Be kind to yourself.
You’re not going to kill it every time. Each workout is a step toward a better you, so bear in mind your humanness. Do your best and enjoy the experience. Fitness is a journey where a hard-and-fast destination is always just out of reach.
Combine all these tips to maximize your fitness potential and get your best workout ever. Some – like modifying your diet – will take various levels of effort to sustain, but once you start incorporating these tips, they will become ingrained into your routine, and you won’t even have to think twice about them. In fact, they will shape you (both mentally and physically!) for years and years to come.
Several factors go into executing a proper punch, whether it’s a jab, backfist, cross, hook, elbow strike, or uppercut. Like all kickboxing strikes, technique is what stands between you and an injury, so it’s imperative your form is flawless. We cover four of them in this segment.
Jab and Cross
The jab and cross strikes are very similar in body, arm, and fist positioning. Watch Shelby demonstrate how to throw them right.
Hook and Uppercut
The hook and uppercut require you to get closer into your target in order to harness power. Shelby demonstrates the necessary positioning and striking for both.
Practice these on your own. You don’t even need a heavy bag to do it. Shadowboxing will help get your positioning where it needs to be so you are primed and ready when you step up to the bag.
CKO member Kurt Messingschlager was looking for his next fitness challenge when CKO moved in literally across the river from his condo. Kurt spent a year doing low-impact exercise and physical therapy due to injuries obtained from a car accident several years ago. After the yoga and physical therapy helped him to better manage his pain, he began searching out another activity with resistance and high intensity interval training. Luckily, CKO came into town at the perfect moment. Learn more about Kurt and his fitness journey.
In our athletic and fitness-specific pursuits, equipment and active wear are akin to good power tools on a construction job site: each one has its own purpose and use. You wouldn’t wear rock climbing shoes for a marathon, nor would you wear high-top B-ball shoes to a kickboxing class. Most styles are designed for a specific activity and are generally grouped under categories (running, cross training, court, etc.). Kickboxing is no different. A perfect shoe for a CKO class has certain attributes to keep in mind the next time you go shoe shopping.