Sometimes just beginning a journey is the hardest part. Taking that first step into the unknown to change your life can be scary, which is why, at Western, we try to foster an environment of education, support, and results for people at every level of fitness, no matter their goals. When you're just starting out on your fitness journey, it can be hard to know where to start.

Whether you're a complete fitness novice or someone who has tried and struggled before, we recommend working with a personal trainer to learn, stay on track, and start reaching your goals. Discover the power of personalized workouts, expert guidance, and the transformational impact of having someone in your corner helping you succeed!

Why personal training can be a game changer for beginners

Customized workouts that never get boring

One of the significant advantages of personal training is the ability to customize workouts based on your individual needs and goals. Personal trainers at Western have a wide variety of specialties and clients of various fitness levels that they work with every week. They have the knowledge and experience to put together the ideal workouts for your body and your goals. Here's how personal trainers accomplish this:

1. Assessing Your Starting Point

If you're a newer member at Western, you've likely already received your Fitness Assessment upon joining. The Fitness Consultation takes you through a comprehensive assessment of your fitness level, taking into account factors such as strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular health. You'll also receive a full body analysis with the state-of-the-art Styku 3D body scan machine. This assessment helps your trainer create a baseline and understand where to start with your training. If you haven't received a Fitness Assessment but would like to, email our Fitness Consultant, Ryan Kostroski, at

2. Goal Setting

Personal trainers work closely with you to establish realistic and attainable goals. We have clients from all walks of life come through our doors, so if you have a goal, it's likely we've helped someone before you achieve it! Whether you want to lose weight, build muscle, improve endurance, or simply want to move better during your daily life, our trainers will tailor your workout plan accordingly.

3. Progression and Adaptation

As you progress, personal trainers adjust your workouts to ensure continuous improvement. They introduce new exercises, increase the intensity gradually, and challenge you to push beyond your comfort zone, preventing plateaus and keeping you engaged. The personal trainers at Western truly love getting creative with your fitness plan and will utilize every tool at their disposal to help you reach your goals and not get bored (inside and outside of Western!).

Learn proper technique from the get-go

When you're a fitness newbie, it's extra important to learn proper form and technique to avoid injuries that might hinder your progress and ensure you are engaging the targeted muscles effectively. Western personal trainers prioritize proper form, technique, and injury prevention for all their clients and will always help correct form to maximize your workout's benefits. By instilling proper form and technique from the beginning, you can more easily develop long-term habits that will benefit you beyond the initial stages of your fitness journey. These habits lay a solid foundation for sustainable progress and injury-free workouts.

Get built-in motivation and accountability

Starting any fitness journey can be hard. It takes time for our bodies to get used to any new kind of physical activity, and it can be a challenge to push past roadblocks and stick to a new fitness routine. When you work with a personal trainer, you have a built-in cheerleader ready to hold you accountable and cheer you on so that you stay on track to success.

Your personal trainer will help you establish specific, measurable goals that truly resonate with you. They'll remind you of your "why" when things get tough and celebrate your victories, big and small. They'll also help you mix up your routine so you never get bored and explore new things like fitness classes, outdoor activities, and new exercises. Lastly, they'll be your fitness buddy! Yes, sometimes our personal trainers like to join in on the workout too! Having someone to share your workout can boost motivation and make the process that much more enjoyable.

How to find the right personal trainer

There are three essential factors to consider when selecting a personal trainer:

1. Qualifications and Certifications

Look for personal trainers who hold certifications from reputable organizations such as the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), the American Council on Exercise (ACE), the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA), the National Council on Strength and Fitness (NCSF), the American College of Sports Medicine (ASCM), or the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). These certifications ensure that the trainer has undergone proper training and possesses the knowledge to guide you effectively. Every trainer at Western is certified by a reputable organization. Many of the trainers at Western also pursue continuing education opportunities and additional certifications in specialties they are passionate about.

2. Experience and Expertise

Consider the trainer's experience working with beginners and individuals with similar goals as yours. A trainer with a track record of helping clients achieve their desired outcomes can provide valuable insights and support. If you have specific needs or preferences, look for a trainer with additional knowledge in specialty areas like pre- and post-natal exercise, kettlebell training, nutrition coaching, bodybuilding, athletic conditioning, mobility, or pain management. At Western, we get to know you first so we can match you with the ideal personal training for your specific needs.

3. Communication and Compatibility

Of course, you want your personal trainer to be an expert at all things fitness, but you want to like them too! Finding a personal trainer who you can connect with on a personal level can make the training experience even more fun. Effective communication is crucial for a successful trainer-client relationship. Find a trainer who listens to your needs, understands your preferences, and communicates clearly. Compatibility in terms of personality and communication style can foster a positive and productive training environment.

What does a beginner personal training session look like?

We all like to have reassurance that we know what we're getting ourselves into when we try something new, so it's no surprise personal trainers often get asked what a training session for a beginner is like. The honest answer? It all depends on you! Every client is different, and at Western, our personal trainers customize each session specifically for their client so no two clients will be doing the same workout.

If it's your very first session with your trainer, you will likely go over some of your goals and any important considerations again before you begin. The trainer will take care to explain everything you'll be doing and make sure you feel comfortable and are having fun.

It's okay to feel nervous before your first session with a personal trainer, but remember that they are here to help you and want to see you succeed just as much as you do. Don't forget to come prepared in proper workout attire that you feel comfortable in, and bring a water bottle!

Is a single personal training session worth it for a beginner?

If you're new to working out, you may wonder if a single personal training session is worth the cost. The answer is: probably not.

If you're just starting out, a single personal training session can be a great way to learn proper form and technique and can help anyone who is uncertain about committing to a full training program get a taste of what it's like, but beyond that, you'll need more time with a trainer if you want to see progress toward your goals.

Personal training is an investment in your health and fitness, and it takes time to see results. Long-term fitness goals take time to achieve. Personal training is a journey that involves progressive training plans, consistent guidance, and ongoing support. To maximize the benefits and see substantial progress, working with a personal trainer over an extended period is recommended. This allows for the development of a tailored program, accountability, and the adjustment of exercises as you progress. Ultimately, while a single personal training session can offer valuable insights, it is the cumulative effect of multiple sessions that paves the way to achieving lasting fitness goals.

Ready to start reaching your goals?

Embarking on a fitness journey as a beginner can be both exciting and challenging. By working with a personal trainer at Western, you can kickstart your fitness journey with confidence and set yourself up for long-term success.

Remember, investing in your health is invaluable, and the guidance of a personal trainer can make a significant difference in your journey. If you're ready to take that first step, partner with a personal trainer at Western and unlock your full potential as you embark on an empowering fitness journey.

Visit Western's personal training page to learn more about our training program, read about our trainers, and get matched with the right personal trainer for you.

Olive oil is a staple in many kitchens and is well known for its distinct flavor and versatility in cooking. However, did you know that olive oil is also a powerhouse when it comes to health benefits? With so many types of olive oils on the market, it can be hard to know which bottle to grab for cooking certain dishes or for reaping specific health benefits. In this blog post, I will explore the many health benefits of olive oil, from its anti-inflammatory properties to its ability to support heart health. So, grab a bottle of your favorite olive oil, and let's dive in!

What is the best kind of olive oil?

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to olive oil! When deciding which type to buy it boils down to two questions: 1.) What do you want nutritionally from the oil? 2.) What will you be using the oil for?

When it comes to the nutrient profile, all types of olive oil have a high concentration of

monounsaturated fatty acids, which have been shown to lower LDL, a type of cholesterol (sometimes referred to as the “bad” kind of cholesterol). High levels of LDL increase the risk of heart disease and stroke, so olive oil is one of the healthiest choices when it comes to choosing cooking oil. In fact, there have been multiple research studies that show a relationship between regular consumption of olive oil and a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease. These same studies have also shown that regular consumption of olive oil decreases the chance of certain types of cancer and even dementia!

Certain types of olive oil also have phytochemicals, which are substances made from plants that give them color and have many health benefits, including anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Extra virgin olive oil and virgin olive oil have less processing and have a higher nutrient profile than other types of olive oil. These less-processed oils are often termed

as unrefined, cold pressed, or stone pressed, and besides having different nutrient profiles, they also have nuanced properties that make them ideal for certain types of cooking.

Refined Olive Oil

Refined olive oil is a type of olive oil that undergoes a process of refining and filtering to remove any impurities or defects. This process results in a lighter-colored and milder-tasting oil compared to extra-virgin or virgin olive oil. While refined olive oil can still provide some health benefits, it is important to note that the refining process removes some of the antioxidants and polyphenols that are present in extra-virgin and virgin olive oils. As a result, refined olive oil may not have the same level of anti-inflammatory and heart-protective properties as its unrefined counterparts. However, refined olive oil has a higher smoke point than extra-virgin and virgin olive oils, making it a better option for high-heat cooking methods like frying or roasting. Despite its lower antioxidant content, using refined olive oil in place of other less healthy oils, like vegetable or canola oil, can still be a beneficial choice for overall health.

Unrefined Olive Oil

Unrefined olive oil, also known as extra-virgin or virgin olive oil, is made from cold pressing or stone pressing of the olives and is not subjected to any chemical or heat treatments.

Cold pressing involves crushing the olives into a paste and then using a hydraulic press to extract the oil. This method involves minimal heat and processing, which helps to preserve the natural flavors and nutritional benefits of the oil.

Stone pressing involves crushing the olives using heavy stone wheels, which can result in a slightly higher yield of oil but may also generate more heat, potentially affecting the quality of the oil.

Both methods are time-consuming and require a significant amount of olives to produce a relatively small amount of oil, but they are highly regarded for their ability to produce high-quality and flavorful oils.

These gentle extraction methods allow the oil to retain more of its natural nutrients and antioxidants, such as vitamin E and polyphenols, which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and heart-protective properties.

Unrefined olive oil has a robust flavor and is best suited for low-heat cooking or as a finishing oil for salads, dips, and sauces. When using extra-virgin olive oil for cooking, it is important to avoid heating it above its smoke point, as this can cause the oil to break down and produce harmful compounds.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil vs. Virgin Olive Oil

Extra virgin olive oil is made from the highest quality olives and has the lowest level of acidity among all grades of olive oil, typically below 0.8%. It is not heated and is therefore considered unrefined and can be cold pressed or stone pressed. This type of oil has the most preserved nutrients as well as a superior flavor and aroma profile compared to virgin olive oil.

Virgin olive oil is similarly extracted by cold pressing or stone pressing but may have slightly higher levels of acidity and a milder flavor compared to extra-virgin olive oil due to the quality of the olives used and slight variations in processing.

The International Olive Council sets strict standards for the production and labeling of olive oils, with extra-virgin olive oil being the highest quality and most prized grade of olive oil.

Light, Extra Light, & Pure Olive Oil

Light, extra light, and pure olive oil are extracted by the use of heat or chemical treatment and are therefore considered refined. Pure olive oil and light olive oil are blends of refined/extra light olive oil and virgin or extra-virgin olive oil. The term "pure" is often used to refer to this type of olive oil in the United States, but it can be misleading as the oil is not entirely pure.

The quality of these olive oils is lower than extra-virgin or virgin olive oils, and they are stripped of most antioxidant vitamins and phytochemicals.

What olive oil should I use for cooking?

When choosing olive oil for cooking, the most important thing to consider is the smoke point.

The smoke point is the temperature at which the oils start to break down and produce smoke. When an oil reaches its smoke point, it can produce harmful compounds and develop an unpleasant taste and odor. The smoke point of olive oil varies depending on the quality and type of the oil.

Olive Oil Smoke Points

Smoke point is also close to the flash point, which is the point at which the oil can actually catch fire. It’s important to choose the right kind of oil for the meal you’re preparing so you still get the most nutritional benefits, but avoid burning down the kitchen!

Extra-virgin olive oil, with its delicate flavor and low smoke point, is best suited for low-heat cooking methods such as sautéing, light frying, and finishing dishes. It's an excellent choice for salads, dips, and sauces as well. When cooking with extra-virgin olive oil, it's essential to keep the heat low and avoid overheating the oil to prevent it from breaking down and losing its flavor and nutritional value.

Virgin olive oil, with its slightly higher smoke point, can be used for medium-heat cooking methods such as baking, roasting, and stir-frying. Its mild flavor and aroma also make it a good option for dishes where a more subtle taste is desired.

Refined olive oil has the highest smoke point and is best suited for high-heat cooking methods such as grilling and broiling. Its mild flavor and high smoke point make it a versatile oil for a variety of dishes.

It's important to note that while olive oil is a healthy cooking oil choice, it's not suitable for all cooking methods. For example, olive oil is not recommended for deep-frying for extended periods as it can smoke and burn quickly.

Olive Oil Cheat Sheet Table

Find the best olive oil for the job with this quick-look cheat sheet. Happy cooking!

Extra Virgin Virgin Refined
Smoke Point 375-405°F 390-420°F 470-480°F
Nutrition High in Vitamin E, and phytochemicals Similar to extra virgin but is considered a lower quality oil, and is more acidic which breaks down healthy fats faster Low in Vitamin E and little to no phytochemicals.
Processing Unrefined, no treatment of chemicals or heating during extraction and bottling. May be cold pressed or stone pressed. Similar to extra virgin, but the acidity is higher in due quality of the olives and variations in processing. Refined/Extra Light: oil extracted by the use of heat and chemical treatment.

Pure/Light: blends of refined and virgin

Common uses Little to no heat: tasting, salads, dips, sauces, light to medium sauteing, and frying. Little to no heat: tasting, salads, dips, sauces, light to medium sauteing, and frying. High heat: frying, cooking, baking.

Chat with Western’s registered dietitian today!

At Western, our registered dietitian can help you navigate the world of olive oil and other healthy foods, providing personalized guidance and advice tailored to your nutrition goals and preferences. Visit our website and fill out the form to schedule a consultation with our registered dietitian today to get the answers to your nutrition questions and start your journey toward a healthier you!

In this new series of Healthy Habits blog posts, we'll provide valuable insights into creating healthy habits that promote a healthy life, including aspects of physical fitness, mental well-being, and emotional balance. Whether you're a beginner or already have some experience with healthy living, this series will provide the tools and inspiration you need to create lasting change in your life.

The first blog in this series will be focused on sleep hygiene. While the term may feel a little clinical, "sleep hygiene" is simply the practice of developing healthy habits and routines to promote restful and rejuvenating sleep.

We all know good sleep is essential for overall health and wellness. During sleep, the body repairs and rejuvenates itself, and the brain consolidates memories and learning. Lack of sleep has been linked to a range of health issues, including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and mental health problems like depression and anxiety. Good sleep also plays a crucial role in regulating mood, increasing productivity, and improving cognitive function.

Despite all of the evidence practically begging us to get a good night's rest, many of us still struggle to catch the zzz's we need on a regular basis. Luckily, building a good sleep hygiene routine is an easy step towards facilitating the rest you need for your body and mind to work their best. So, grab a warm drink, get comfortable, and let's dive into the dos and don'ts of sleep hygiene together!

Sleep Hygiene Dos

Maintain a Consistent Sleep Schedule

One of the most important things you can do to improve your sleep hygiene is to establish and maintain a consistent sleep schedule. This means going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, even on weekends. Doing so helps regulate your body's internal clock, making it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep at night. Following a sleep schedule will help you feel more refreshed in the morning so you have the energy to enjoy your day.

Create a Sleep-Enhancing Environment

If you're one of those people whose bedroom also functions as dining room, office, and playroom, it's time to say no to the extracurricular bedroom activities and create your ideal sleep sanctuary! You can enhance the quality of your sleep just by making sure your bedroom is a place of peace and comfort. Keep your space cool, dark, and quiet. Consider investing in blackout curtains, a comfortable mattress and pillows, and a white noise machine to block out any outside noises that may disturb your sleep. You can even get extra fancy with it and buy yourself some nice pajamas for a luxuriously comfortable sleep experience.

Practice Relaxation Techniques

Practicing relaxation techniques before bed can help calm your mind and body, making it easier to fall asleep. Some techniques to try include deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and meditation. Even just a few minutes of mindful breathing can help us deactivate any stress in our body and trigger the body's relaxation response. Remember, just like any exercise, relaxation takes practice! If you've been operating at a 10 all day, teaching your body and mind to turn it down to 1 before bedtime will take time. Practice short, guided 5-minute breathing exercises or meditations using a meditation app like Calm or Simple Habit to help you get started.

Establish a Relaxing Bedtime Routine

What you do before bedtime is a key part of promoting restful sleep. Doing the same thing each night before bed will signal to your body that it's time to wind down and fall asleep soon. And the best part is that your bedtime routine is unique to you! Spend some time thinking about what activities put you in a state of calm and try different things to find your ideal bedtime routine. If you have kids, create a family bedtime routine that you perform together - this can create an environment of healthy sleep for the whole family! Some bedtime routine activities to try: reading, cuddling with pets, sharing highlights from your day, taking a warm bath or shower, or performing self-care rituals like a skincare routine.

Incorporate Physical Activity into Your Day

Regular physical activity has been shown to improve sleep quality, so make sure to incorporate exercise into your daily routine. Even just 30 minutes a day can reduce stress and anxiety, improve mood, increase body temperature, and help regulate the body's internal clock - all things that promote restful sleep.

Try Different Products to Promote Good Sleep Hygiene

With today's cultural focus on self-care, there are tons of good sleep products that can help banish your insomnia and get some restful sleep. Some extras to incorporate into your sleep hygiene routine might include:

Sleep Hygiene Don'ts

Alcohol & Caffeine

Caffeine and alcohol can both disrupt your sleep cycle, so it's important to avoid consuming them before bedtime. Caffeine can keep you tossing and turning all night, while alcohol may help you fall asleep initially but can lead to disrupted sleep later in the night.

Screen Time

It's not just the kids that need to lay off the screens! The blue light emitted by electronic devices can interfere with your body's natural production of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate sleep. To promote restful sleep, avoid using electronic devices for at least an hour before bedtime. If you absolutely must do some scrolling before bed, use your device's warm light setting or purchase a pair of blue light-blocking glasses to wear at bedtime.

Big Meals & Spicy Foods

Heavy, spicy, or high-fat foods can cause indigestion, which can disrupt your sleep. To promote restful sleep, avoid consuming these types of foods before bedtime.


Nicotine is a stimulant that can interfere with your sleep cycle. If you smoke, it's important to avoid smoking before bedtime to promote restful sleep. (And we suggest not smoking at all - but that's a topic for another blog post!)

Exercising Before Bed

While daily exercise is a great way to promote overall health and wellness and improve sleep quality, exercising right before bed is a don't. Exercising too close to bedtime can stimulate your body and make it harder to fall asleep. If you like a good nighttime workout, aim to finish up at least 90 minutes before bedtime so your body has enough time to wind down.


Napping during the day can be a great way to catch up on missed sleep, but keeping naps short and sweet is important. Long naps can interfere with your body's natural sleep cycle and make it harder to fall asleep at night. Ideally, naps should be limited to 20-30 minutes and taken earlier in the day, preferably before 3:00 pm. If you find yourself consistently needing to nap during the day, it may be a sign that you're not getting enough quality sleep at night.

Sleep Medications

While sleep medications can be effective in helping you fall asleep and stay asleep, they come with potential risks and side effects and should always be used with caution. Sleep medications can be habit-forming and may interfere with your body's natural sleep cycle over time. It's important to speak with a healthcare provider before taking any sleep medications, as they can help determine the underlying cause of your sleep issues and recommend appropriate treatment options.

Ready to catch some zzz's?

In a world brimming with health and wellness tips, good sleep hygiene might seem like just another buzzword, but we promise that changing up your sleeping habits can help you achieve more restful nights and a better feeling of overall well-being. With a little effort and attention to sleep hygiene, you can improve the quality and quantity of your sleep and wake up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated each morning. Sweet dreams!


Sometimes it’s the little things that make all the difference. The cherry on top of the milkshake. The little massage at the hair salon. The mint on your pillow when you get to the hotel. The extra luxuries are what can elevate an everyday experience into something special, and that includes at the gym.

At the gym, some seemingly small amenities can go a long way in supporting your wellness and fitness goals. If you live in the Green Bay area, you know there are plenty of gyms and fitness centers that tout all the best services, but do they actually offer the extra amenities that take the gym experience from typical to exceptional?

Let’s take a look at the top ten small but powerful extra amenities you should be looking for in a gym to make sure you get the most out of your membership.

1. Towel Service

Towel service is probably at the bottom of your list when it comes to extras you think about when you’re looking for a new gym, but it’s one of those perks that you can’t imagine life without once you’ve got a taste. Most gyms have locker rooms and showers available for their members but most gyms do not provide towels. That means if you finish up your lunchtime workout and realize you left your towel at home, you’re going back to the office a little sweatier than you left. It may seem small, but it’s nice to have one less thing to worry about packing in your gym bag each day.

Bonus: You might just get an extra dose of luxury with a fresh, warm towel straight from the dryer.

2. Sauna & Steam Room

One of the best ways to recover and unwind after a workout is by hitting the sauna or steam room. Besides being incredibly relaxing, saunas and steam rooms have some heavy-hitting health benefits. Studies have shown that regular use of saunas and steam rooms improves energy, boosts your immune system, relieves pain, improves skin health, and aids in muscle recovery, among other things. If your gym offers a sauna and steam room, you’ve got a built-in secret wellness weapon! (Plus, if you live in Green Bay, Wisconsin you can look forward to some extra warmth during the winter months.)

Bonus: Look for a gym with separate saunas and steam rooms for men and women for a little more privacy and comfort.

3. Options for Frequent Travelers

If you’re on the road a lot or just on a family vacation and you don’t want to miss your workout, being a member at the right gym can help! If your gym is part of the IHRSA passport program, then you don’t need to miss your wellness and fitness routine when you’re away from home. Members of gyms who are part of IHRSA’s passport program can get flexible day and week passes at other participating gyms around the world (in 45+ countries)!

Bonus: You’ll get a 25% discount on day passes at all clubs enrolled in the IHRSA Passport Program.

4. Referral Bonuses

Good gyms know that word of mouth is golden when it comes to attracting new members. If you love your gym and you tell people about it, check to see if your gym has a referral program. Many gyms provide different incentives, like money off their membership, rewards points, or special prizes, when they refer new members.

Bonus: When you refer friends or family members to your gym, not only do you get referral incentives, you get a workout buddy too

5. Rewards Program

Most of us aren’t strangers to rewards programs these days - just about every business has some kind of incentive for their customers, offering points or prizes for certain activities. Your gym should be no different! Check to see if your gym has a rewards program in place and find out how you can start earning for the activities you’re already doing every week anyway.

Bonus: Some gyms have special events or activities that will earn you double or even triple rewards!

6. Member App

We know - not another app! But trust us, when it comes to the gym, an app can be a huge convenience, making it seamless and efficient to handle fees, check class schedules, sign up for programs and events, and book appointments. Having everything in one easy place for members to access is just a small touch that makes the overall experience as a member that much more appealing.

Bonus: Some apps take streamlining to the next level and allow you to check into the gym via your phone.

7. Regular Newsletter

There’s usually a lot more happening at the gym than you might realize, especially if you’re part of a larger gym, local fitness center, or multi-sport athletic center. A gym with good regular communication with its members will help keep you in the loop about things happening around the gym so you don’t miss that new seasonal smoothie, outdoor boot camp, or kitten yoga class!

Bonus: If your gym has a regular newsletter and you’ve got something you want to get the word out about, it’s likely they’d be happy to save a feature spot for you!

8. Wellness & Recovery Programs

Many gyms nowadays aren’t just focused on giving their members a great workout - they also want to make sure you’re recovering well too! Lots of gyms and sports centers have incorporated wellness and recovery services into their offerings with services like cryotherapy, light therapy, massage therapy, foam rollers, trigger point release, and more. After all, a better recovery today means a better workout tomorrow!

Bonus: Some gyms have these services already built into membership. Check with your gym to see what you might already have access to just by being a member.

9. Free Group Fitness Classes

A lot of gyms advertise group fitness classes, but fail to mention that they cost extra money on top of your monthly membership. Group fitness classes are a great way to inject some variety into your workout, and studies show that working out in a group actually increases your motivation. But if you join a gym with group exercise classes only to find out they charge an additional fee to take, you might feel a little duped. Look for gyms that advertise FREE classes as part of their membership and check out weekly schedules to see what kind of fitness classes they offer to their members.

Bonus: Going to regular group fitness classes is a great way to make friends and become part of a fun community.

10. Nutrition Services

What we put into our bodies makes a big impact on how we look, feel, and perform. Even though regular exercise is a big part of overall health - studies show that just 150 minutes of aerobic exercise each week lowers the risk of dying by any cause by 31% - nutrition plays an enormous role in our overall health and fitness levels. Anyone who has a fitness goal, regardless of fitness level, should be focusing on the food they're eating as well as the exercise they're doing. That’s why some gyms are supporting their member’s fitness goals with in-house nutrition services and on-staff registered dietitians. Look for a gym that offers high-quality nutrition services and qualified nutrition professionals to support your health and wellness goals.

Bonus: Nutrition counseling isn’t just about weight loss. Find a gym that has a full range of nutrition programs and a “body-positive” approach to nutrition for the best results.

11. Community

We know, we know, this probably wouldn’t exactly be considered an amenity, but we think it’s a hugely important “extra” for any gym or fitness center. Being part of a community that is welcoming, supports your goals, cheers your wins, and wants to see you succeed can be transformative in the way you approach fitness and wellness in your life. When you’re part of a community of like-minded people working towards similar goals, your own goals become more achievable, and most importantly, more fun and rewarding to work towards!

Bonus: Becoming part of a fitness and wellness community doesn’t have to revolve around solely fitness activities. Find a gym that fosters a sense of community not only with interesting fitness classes and programs but events that take you outside of the fitness space and help you connect with other gym members in fun and meaningful ways.

Don’t settle for the bare minimum at the gym.

When you’re looking for a gym, don’t settle on just any big box fitness center or one-trick pony studio. Look for a gym that supports your goals and backs it up with its amenities, from the services and programs they offer right down to the towels.

We won’t toot our horn too loudly (okay, we might), but everything you see on this list is something you’ll find at Western Racquet & Fitness Club - and there’s more where that came from! From towel service, dedicated saunas and steam rooms in each of our locker rooms, 50+ free group fitness classes, free recovery services for members, and so much more, Western is invested in making our members’ everyday experience at the gym above average.

Visit us today at 2500 S. Ashland Avenue, Green Bay, WI or activate a free 14-day trial and get a taste of everything Western has to offer.

Already a member? Don’t miss out on referral bonuses and rewards points when you refer a new member to Western. Learn more about all the amenities you know about and maybe some you haven’t tried yet at

Ever feel like you have a million nutrition questions and don’t quite know where to start? Look no further! Below is what I'm calling a Dietitian Brain Dump. Read through this list to soak up a variety of some of my most random, handpicked nutrition facts! Some may answer your burning questions, some may be nutritional game-changers for you, and some may leave you with more questions than you started with (in which case, email me at so I can give you answers).



Have more questions? Contact me to set up a session where we can dispel any nutrition myths or clarify any nutrition confusion you may be contending with. While there are many nutrition “universal truths”, the best nutritional approach is one that is personalized to you and your lifestyle.

Email me at to set up your dietitian consultation.

If you live in Wisconsin, you will see cherries on the menu just about everywhere – from salads to baked goods, and even in your Old Fashioned (brandy press for me please)! But did you know those sweet little stone fruits have a variety of health benefits and a rich Midwestern history?

The History of Wisconsin Cherries

In 1896, E.S. Goff and A.L. Hatch planted the area's first successful tart cherry crop just north of Sturgeon Bay. Goff, a Horticulture Professor at the University of Wisconsin, and Hatch, a local fruit grower, found the shallow, rocky soil, and the lake effect to be the perfect growing environment for Montmorency cherry trees. Farmers across the peninsula took notice and began planting their cherry crops. In 1929, Carl Reynolds created the Cherry Blossom Festival, attracting visitors and attention from around the country.

By the 1940s, 700 Door County cherry growers were producing up to 50 million pounds of cherries every year, or about 10% of the world's cherry supply! But because cherry picking was a tedious and time-consuming process, the fruit growers had to get creative. This is when we saw the rise of "pick-your-own" cherry attractions and cherry picking camps for teenagers. The cherry industry also diversified the local culture by attracting laborers from other states and even other countries. Along with the invention of the mechanical cherry picker in the 1960s came increased production, and Door County cherry products started to be shipped nationwide. Today, Door County still grows 5-10% of all cherries in the United States.

The Health Benefits of Cherries


Cherries are a low-calorie and highly nutritious fruit. They are full of vitamins and minerals including potassium, magnesium, copper, manganese, and vitamins C and K, which all help keep your body functioning properly. Vitamin C is especially helpful for strengthening your immune system, and potassium aids in nerve function and preventing muscle contractions. The fiber found in cherries helps you to maintain your digestive system. Cherries also rank low on the glycemic index when compared to other fruits, so they will not spike your blood sugar or insulin levels.

Antioxidants & Anti-Inflammation

All types of cherries are packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. These compounds protect your body against cell damage and a variety of diseases including diabetes, heart disease, cognitive decline, and some types of cancer. The anti-inflammatory effects of cherries can also help reduce the pain and symptoms associated with arthritis and gout.


The compounds in cherries that give them their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties have also been found to help with muscle recovery and may even help with athletic performance. Research has shown that cherries can help with endurance, prevent strength loss, accelerate muscle recovery, and decrease exercise-induced muscle pain, inflammation, and damage.

Heart Health

Fruit-rich diets are a fantastic way to increase your heart health and prevent cardiovascular disease, but the potassium and antioxidants in cherries can be particularly beneficial. Potassium helps regulate blood pressure by removing excess sodium from the body while the antioxidants in cherries help protect your heart against inflammation and damage. Research has also found that cherries may help to control diabetes and high cholesterol.


Recent studies have found that cherries may even provide health benefits outside of waking hours. Cherries naturally contain melatonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep and mood, which can help you fall asleep and improve the quality of your sleep.

Get your free cherry juice shot for Free Shot Friday!

So, drink to your health and the Wisconsin economy this Free Shot Friday at the Western Racquet FuelBar! Along with our typical offerings, you will also have the option to choose cherry juice as your free super shot with the purchase of any smoothie while supplies last.

Many people suffer with pain in the feet or ankles. Whether it is poor ankle mobility, low arches, or just pain while walking or doing other activities, feet and ankle pain can be a nuisance and can hinder your workouts. If you miss out on doing activities you love due to feet pain, read on to find out what you can do to get back to being active and feeling yourself.

While there can be a variety of reasons behind the cause of these pains, there are a few easier ways to solve this problem.

  1. Take a look at your shoes. Are your shoes pretty old? Do your shoes really offer support? Are you relieved when you finally can take them off? Whether it is your workout shoes or everyday office attire, a little bit of research and an investment in yourself can help the pain you may be feeling in your feet and even your ankles!

  2. Stretch your calves. Your feet and calves work together to create movement, just like your forearm creates movement in your hands. Take a second and grab your forearm and wiggle your fingers. You can feel the movement coming from the forearm while doing this action. The same thing actually applies to your feet! When your calves are tight or weak this can hinder mobility in your feet and ankles and can cause the pain you are feeling. Luckily, there are a couple simple ways to manage and potentially eliminate these issues.

    • Tight Calves- There are a few options you have to self-treat your tight calves. Use a massage gun on the area to help loosen up that muscle. If you don't have a massage gun, try a few sessions wit the Hyperice Massage Gun at in our Wellness & Recovery area. The Hyperice Massage gun delivers percussion therapy that concentrates targeted pulses of pressure into the muscle/tissue, helping to relieve muscle pain, stiffness, and soreness, and increase range of motion. Another great and more cost-friendly form of self-myofascial release available to you is using a foam roller. Foam rollers are great because they allow you to focus on the area as a whole or a specific area that is particularly hurting. You can choose how much pressure you want as well. If you want light pressure, keep your other leg on the ground to take weight off the leg on the roller. If you want more pressure, you can stack your legs on the roller to remove that weight from the ground.

    • Weak Calves- If your calves are weak, it can add pressure onto the ankle and foot. Calves can be worked during cardio exercises, but if you are experiencing pain that may not be the best option as you don’t want to be hurting while trying to correct a problem. There are a lot of different forms of calf raises you can do. There is a calf raise machine at Western that allows you to perform the movement with no weight or as much weight as you prefer. You can also do normal calf raises with no weights and perform these wherever you want! You can add weight for a little extra resistance by using a barbell, kettlebell, dumbbell, or other forms of weight. You can also execute a calf press on the leg press machine by solely lifting the calves with the balls of your feet planted on the machine.

In summary, many people experience foot or ankle pain and do not realize there are more “simple” solutions that can be done to ease this. If this sounds like you, try some of these tips out and notice the difference it makes in not only your workout routine, but everyday life.

If you have any questions or have additional problems that you may need answers on, feel free to contact me at, (920) 400-0984, or stop at the trainers desk and chat with a trainer!
Water is key for a healthy body! Hydrate the body for optimal training!
Water is essential for life and it becomes even more important when it comes to exercise. Our bodies are roughly 60% water, so it is no wonder why staying adequately hydrated is so important to overall health. We hear general recommendations to drink eight 8-ounce glasses a day, but that number increases even more when we work out. Water lost during workouts varies, however sweat loss can be tracked by measuring weight immediately before and after working out.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that people drink about 17 ounces of fluid about two hours before exercise, to promote adequate hydration and allow time for the body to excrete any excess water. Water helps move waste products out of the joints and from our muscles, in turn reducing pain and improving flexibility.
When you work out, you should add 12-15 ounces of additional water to your daily total for every 30 minutes that you work out.
Benefits of water: 
  1. Improves physical performance - Dehydration during exercise can lead to altered body temp control, increased fatigue, reduced motivation, and fogginess. Since muscle is around 80% water, you can see the impact your hydration status has on your workout.
  2. Effects brain function and energy levels - headaches, lack of concentration, and impaired mood are all caused by fluid loss. Headaches are one of the most common symptoms of dehydration.
  3. Keeps your bowels moving - Constipation can occur when there is a lack of water throughout the day.
  4. Aid in weight loss - Water can help increase fullness and boost metabolic rate. Drinking even a half hour before meals can help you feel fuller so you eat fewer calories.
Water FAQs:
Does water temperature have an effect on your health? Should I drink room temperature water or cold water?
-It all comes down to personal preference. Water in general helps increase metabolism by your body having to work to heat the water you drink. Drinking more water increases blood volume to then get more oxygen and nutrients to cells and carry out more waste. In general, you just want to consume plenty of water to stay hydrated, no certain temperature required!
Is tap water bad for you?
- Tap water is safe and healthy to drink! It is the most cost-effective, environmentally friendly, and convenient way to stay hydrated. All public water systems are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency which check for contaminants that would pose any serious health risks. You can also add tap filters or buy filtered water containers for an additional level of filtration.
Do filter water bottles really work?
- Yes! Certain filters purify the water directly once you pour it into the bottle, while others do it while you're drinking.
Strength coach Charlies Poliquin says, "Hydration is the greatest determinant of strength. A drop of 1.5% in water levels translates to a drop of 10% in maximal strength." So, get to filling up those water bottles! Happy hydrating! 

What a beautiful summer we have had here in Wisconsin! It has been great to be back into a regular summer routine with parties, swimming, and all the fun things that we missed in 2020! With that being said, I know a lot of families hit a rut mid-summer with their kiddos! It can start to feel like you've exhausted every activity! So now what? Well, there's still plenty of summer fun to be had! Check out some fun family activities I've compiled in the Green Bay (and Fox Valley), geared toward all different age groups, and broken down into different categories. Keep in mind all kids have different interests, capabilities, and tolerance so use your best judgment as to which ideas would suit your family best. Also, please remember to take the proper COVID-19 precautions when planning activities with your children so you can keep your family and community safe. Different businesses may have different policies regarding masking and vaccination, so it's always best to check their websites before planning and outing!

Click this link to be taken to the interactive map of activities and continue reading for some highlights broken down by type of activity.

Splash Pads, Wading Pool, Aquatic Centers, & more!

Parks & Nature

Outdoor Fun


Indoor Fun

Don't forget to check out our interactive map to find even more activities than the highlighted ones listed here. Now get out there and have some family fun and adventure!


“Summer shred” is a common phrase or phenomenon around the gym. If you aren’t familiar with this term, it is otherwise known as working on the “beach-ready body”. This pursuit often pushes gymgoers to hop on a treadmill or elliptical and pound away for hour upon sweaty hour. The belief is that burning enough calories will whittle away the fat, shedding pounds and revealing a physique akin to those of Greek statues. Unfortunately, it’s more common than not for many ‘summer shredders’ to burn endless calories and still not end up looking like Michelangelo’s David. If the science says that staying in a calorie deficit helps to burn fat and lose weight, why does it still feel like all that running on the treadmill is really going nowhere?

If this resonates with you, the source of your frustrations may be boiled down to an observation of human biology and metabolism known as “Setpoint Theory”. This is likely a phenomenon you, yourself, have experienced but maybe didn’t realized has a name or scientific explanation. While this theory can be explained through an intricate interplay of metabolism, genes, and hormones, I feel this theory is best represented by a rubber band. Imagine you have a rubber band wrapped around an immovable stake in the ground. That stake is your body’s current “setpoint” weight. This is the weight that your body would prefer to be at, based on the many interactions of your physiology. The rubber band is your genes trying to always pull you back to your setpoint weight. Your pull on the rubber band, wrapped around this stake, is like your efforts to change your weight. It is true that you can pull and stretch the band, but note that rubber bands become much harder to pull the more they are stretched. In the same way, your weight is malleable, but only to a point. Truly, your weight will move more easily when it is closer to your setpoint weight. As you continue to stretch that rubber band, it becomes more and more difficult to pull the further from the stake it is. In the same way, your weight becomes harder and harder to budge the further it is pushed from the setpoint. Your efforts to ‘stretch the rubber band’ are reflective, usually, of dieting and exercise to try and lose weight. The more you slave away on the treadmill and lose pounds, the more the weight-loss slows to a crawl and, eventually, a dead-stop. In this instance, you’ve pushed your limit on how far you can truly push your weight from your setpoint. Further, what happens to the rubber band once you release the effort to stretch it? It snaps back toward the original length, looped around the metal stake. This is the same with our efforts to diet and exercise to burn calories. Once all the efforts stop, the body settles back towards the setpoint weight. Note, this theory applies to weight/muscle gain, as well.

So what do we do? Do we despair in the hopeless efforts to change our weight, only to have our genes snap us right back to our setpoint? Not quite. There are various lifestyle and dietary factors that can actually make it easier to move away from our setpoint (and stay there). Some choices, like eating fresh fruits and vegetables, managing stress, and engaging in exercise that supports muscle mass and a healthy metabolism, can all serve to reduce your body's pull back to the setpoint. Some lifestyle factors can even effectively move your setpoint! In the case of our rubber band, our changes in nutrition and fitness are like swapping out our current rubber band for a much thinner one. In this way, the pullback to our setpoint (the stake) is much weaker. In other words, your weight change goals not only become easier to achieve but also more sustainable. These changes often require that you try things you might have never thought to try or develop habits you might have never even considered. For you it could mean trying meditation, cooking a new recipe, attending a new yoga class, having a trainer guide you through a new workout plan, or getting nutritional guidance from a professional.

Don't waste energy and time pulling on that thick rubber band pulling you back to your setpoint. Choose a new approach and swap in a thinner rubber band for greater success in your health and fitness goals.

We tend to focus so much on our physical fitness but do you ever focus on your mental fitness? Your brain needs exercise just like your muscles do. You can become more mentally strong, healthy, and fit at any age! You just need time, practice, and consistency. Here are 10 ways to start focusing on your mental fitness today!

Remember that not every thought is true or helpful.
Our beliefs, past experiences, and feelings are an invisible filter that influences how we interpret and experience the world. We don’t have to accept every thought we have. Just because we think it doesn’t mean it’s true. A different way of seeing the world is possible if you open your mind.

Train your mind to concentrate.
Meditation is a great way to strengthen your ability to focus and tune out distractions. Some other ways to concentrate are cleaning, conscious breathing, coloring, yoga, listening to music, walking, journaling, and dancing.

Notice when you are continuously thinking the same thoughts.
When you catch yourself in the downward spiral of thoughts, bring yourself back to the present moment. These thoughts might happen when you’re stressed, worried, disappointed, angry, or nervous. It’s easy to get lost in your thoughts of overthinking and self-criticism. Use your senses to bring you back to the present moment with what you can see, hear, feel, smell, and touch.

Rest your mind.
Your mind needs to reset and recharge, just like your body does after your workout. Some may think rest equates to lazy, but getting enough rest can increase your focus, creativity, and energy to be more productive and efficient. Find something to rest your mind and give yourself a break from your everyday stressors, whether it is reading a book, crafting, or a board game.

Tune out the noise.
Digital devices are everywhere! We have notifications, messages, social media, and streaming platforms at our fingertips, which can pull us away from what’s important in life. Minimize your push notifications on your phone and practice being in the moment more.

Prioritize sleep.
Sleep is important for your body and brain to repair and recover during the night. If you want to show up the best you, get more sleep at night. It will help your memory, mood, creativity, and problem-solving skills.

Create a routine.
Creating new habits can take time, so finding a routine that works best for your lifestyle, will help you stay consistent. Start by scheduling your habits into your day until you don’t have to and they become a routine.

Let go.
Accept that you cannot control everything in life. Focus on what you can control and let go of the other stuff. Be kind to yourself if you struggle with letting go, too.

Listen to the voice within.
Listening your instincts and gut feeling is a great form of self-love and you can build a relationship of trust with yourself. Sometimes we ignore these feelings because our friends and family can influence your thoughts. Stick with what you think is right.

Take a deep breath.
Deep breathing is a powerful tool to use when you are stressed, nervous, and upset. Slowing down and deepening your breath can calm the mind, reduce blood pressure, improve memory, and settle your emotions.

  1. Take a long, slow, deep inhale through the nose while your belly, ribcage, and chest expand.
  2. Exhale through the nose feeling your belly, ribcage, and chest relax.
  3. Repeat this cycle for as long as you would like.

One thing I love is being able to look back on my journey on how I got to be where I am today. I had my daughter at the very young age of 18 so I had to grow up very fast but gosh, she was the best thing that ever happened to me! A few years later I decided to go to college and I later graduated with a Bachelor's in Criminal Justice in March of 2011. I was ready to dive into a job in the criminal justice field, make a difference, and change the whole dang world. But the funny thing about life is that you might make all the plans to go down a certain path, and life brings you down a path you never even dreamed you would go down!


Believe it or not, I started out at Western Racquet not knowing a single soul except for my good friend, co-worker, and boss, Kari Merrill. Her and I connected through a mutual friend and we were supposed to chat about me working at the jail where she had worked for 13 years, and we did chat about the jail, but she gave me every reason NOT to work there! So instead, we started talking about fitness and she asked if I wanted a tour and to try out a 7-day trial as a member at Western, which I immediately jumped on!


Before I found Western, I had never really enjoyed working out. I would start a workout routine, do it for a few weeks or if I was lucky, a few months, and I would give up because I didn't get the immediate results I wanted and honestly, I would just get bored. Working out was never fun for me, it was more of a chore.


My first class I took at Western was kickboxing and I literally had no idea what I was doing, but I didn’t care! I was jabbing left while everyone else was jabbing right. I was hooking while everyone else was kicking. And you know what? I did all of that with a big smile on my face, I just didn't care what I looked like because I was having the time of my life! I remember telling Kari one time that her kickboxing class was more fun than dancing out in the bars! The atmosphere, the smiles, and the ENERGY was contagious, and I knew in my heart I had found something very special.


I truly lived and breathed Western as a member. I loved trying out each class, I loved making new friends, and I loved the confidence I was slowly building for myself. I loved Western so much that when the opportunity was given to me, I decided to start working part-time at the front desk! Well, part-time quickly turned into full-time, which turned into me getting certified to teach classes, managing the front desk for a bit, and landed me in my current role as membership director for the past 5 years!


Now, what some people don’t know, is I’ve been through a lot in my life. I have suffered from depression, anxiety, and PTSD. I have had some awful things done to me, and looking back, I can finally admire and be proud of my strength for getting through them. My journey ties in perfectly with the title of this blog. I wouldn’t be where I am today if I wouldn’t have climbed a mountain to enjoy the view at the top. I'm not quite sure where I would be if I hadn't found Western. I didn't realize how much I needed this place until I felt a weight slowly lift off my shoulders. Looking back, sometimes the smile I had on my face was forced and fake, and once that weight was lifted, my smile was real and genuine and sincere.


One of the reasons I love my job is that I know exactly what it feels like walking into a new gym not knowing a single person. Not knowing how to use the machines, not knowing how to do a ton of exercises, or remembering even how to get to the locker rooms! It's intimidating and a little scary. But the love that surrounded me instantly by all the amazing members and staff is one of the reasons Western became so special to me and I vowed when I started working here that I would take away that uncertainty and intimidation away for anyone that felt uncomfortable or uncertain being here.


In life, sometimes we just need to take that leap of faith. I wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t gotten the courage to take my first group fitness class or gotten the courage to ask if I could teach cycling or gotten away from the comfort of the front desk and taken my membership role. Comfortable is EASY. It's safe. Not a lot can touch us in our safe bubble we create. It's when we spread our wings and take the jump when we really find out who we are and who we were meant to be.


For those of you who are thinking about taking a leap, whether it be switching jobs, moving somewhere new, ending a relationship, or where my journey started, joining a new gym, I encourage you to take that leap. You may fail, and that’s okay because that is life, my friends. But man, I’m telling you, I know the journey up whatever mountain you're climbing is sometimes very hard, and sometimes you want to give up, but once you're up there, and once you look at how far you've come, it's so worth it. I honestly wouldn’t go back and change a single thing in my life, good or bad. Our experiences shape us into who we are. We may make mistakes and make some wrong turns, but we are always right where we are supposed to be, and right now, you are EXACTLY where you are supposed to be.

The average person thinks 12,000 to 70,000 thoughts a day. And we tend to judge and blame others much more harshly than we do ourselves. We all have our own beliefs, thoughts, and purpose that build our identities, so questioning ourselves can be uncomfortable. No one said change was easy, but it is almost always worth it. The following questions will challenge your purpose and beliefs and may be tough to answer. If you honestly answer them, hopefully you will be able to go forward and make different or better choices in the way you think and act.


What if I’m wrong?

“What if I’m wrong?” is great for managing your emotions and checking your ego.

What do you do when you are wrong? Do you get upset? Do you acknowledge it? Do you shut down?

How often do you admit when you are wrong? We have a hard time taking responsibility when we are not right because it is such an unpleasant thing to admit.

Our beliefs are based on our own life experiences, education, media consumption, and people we listen to and we all view situations through our own eyes. So, your family, significant other, coworkers, and friends may have different beliefs than you, and that is okay! Try to better understand the world around you and respect the beliefs of others.

Nobody is perfect, but it is always smart to check in and ask yourself, “What if I’m wrong?” And if you are wrong, be okay with it.


Is it impossible?

“Is it impossible?” is what you need for overcoming your excuses.

What do you do when you feel stuck or feel like giving up on something? Do you give in to your excuses or do you figure out a solution? This is the perfect question for when you’re feeling frustrated about something you are trying to achieve in life. It may be trying to get to sleep on time, making time for workouts, or some other significant goal you have.

We don’t like to admit when something is impossible, so our brain comes up with multiple solutions. Almost anything can be an excuse if you let it be. Always ask yourself if it’s impossible. You will almost always find that is is not and there is a solution for most obstacles.

Examples of excuses:

Once you overcome your excuses and realize that it is possible, ask yourself, “What do I have to do to make it possible?”

Are you willing to do what it takes?


What’s the worst that could happen?

“What’s the worst that could happen?” is what you can ask yourself to overcome your fears. This is for the stuff you are afraid to do, but you know would be good for you.

If you are scared of something, sometimes it’s best to identify what the worst possible outcome could be. Most of us are afraid of the idea of something, but not the actual thing.

What’s the worst that could happen? Maybe some embarrassment, a bruised ego, or loss of a little time or money.

Are you paralyzed with fear? Do you run away from a situation that makes you uncomfortable? Or do you face that uncomfortable situation head on and overcome it?

When you do the things you are afraid of, usually you’ll feel glad you did it.

What are you giving up on by not taking that chance?


Why not now?

“Why not now?” is the perfect question you need to ask yourself for getting important stuff done.

How accountable do you hold yourself? As a child, our parents hold us accountable, but when you grow up, you become accountable to yourself.

When you have important stuff to get done what do you do? Procrastinate and push it off or get it done right away? When you put things off, it’s still on your mind. You have a cloud looming over you as a reminder that you have something important to do. When you decide to tackle the task now, you save yourself time and you free up space in your mind.

Whether you want to build your own business, start a diet, or any other goal you want to achieve, you need to prioritize and start today. Telling yourself you’ll do it tomorrow or start on Monday just keeps pushing you further and further from achieving your goals. Start now. TODAY. Once the task is done, you can forget about it.

So, what are you waiting for?


What if I’m the problem?

What if you are the problem?

That’s is one of the toughest questions to tackle because you first have to ask yourself if you’re wrong. Nobody likes to admit they are wrong or the problem. People put meaning into comments, words, and actions of others that aren’t there, making others out to be the problem rather than looking at themselves.

If you don’t like how someone treated you, it’s your problem. They were just being themselves. Look at yourself and your actions instead of pointing fingers at others.

We live in a society with others that have different viewpoints. And we might not agree with others on every topic. And that is okay! Your success depends on yourself and your choices, not someone else’s. Learn to let go and focus on what you can control.

So, before you look at your spouse about your marriage, your trainer about your workout plan not working, or your boss about your career, look at yourself.

Ask yourself, “Am I the problem?”


Look back at the last few weeks and ponder on these five questions. Ask yourself these questions regularly and see how much your thoughts and actions change.

Have you ever thought about trying yoga but aren't sure if it's for you? We all have excuses of why we shouldn't try it or how inflexible we are. There are so many benefits as to why you should practice yoga.
1). Practicing yoga helps to create flexibility.
     Yoga can help release tightness, which would help bring a greater range of motion.
2). Yoga can help to build strength in your body as all poses are your own body weight.
3). Yoga helps you to improve balance. Standing on one leg or practicing a headstand - helps to build core strength and stability.
4). Yoga teaches you how to breathe.
5). Yoga helps to build self-confidence.
6). Teaches you to be present.
7). Yoga helps to reduce stress, anxiety and depression.
8). Protects our body from injury.
9). Helps to recognize self-acceptance.
10). Overall, helps to relax your whole body. Connecting mind, body and spirit.
I encourage you to start where you are and you'll be surprised where your yoga journey leads you.
Take some time today to follow Western yogi Amy Xiong in the video below! And remember, start where you are. Yoga is for EVERYONE at every stage of your journey!

As Stay at Home Orders are being lifted and businesses are starting to reopen, you might be thinking of your return to the gym. We are all so excited to see you when our doors open on May 26th! We hope you have been staying healthy and taking care of yourself during this pandemic. Before you return, Western Personal Trainers and Group Fitness Instructors would like you to keep a few things in mind as you head back to the gym.


We all just spent over two months at home with no access to a gym. Some of us are probably nervous to go back and scared to see how our bodies respond after two months of low-intensity workouts or no workouts at all. Please do not beat yourself up for how your body did or didn’t change during this lockdown period. We are all at different stages of our fitness journey. It’s not about the weight gained or lost during this unusual time - it’s about you staying healthy!


Some of you may not have touched a piece of workout equipment for over two months or had access to limited equipment, and that is okay! Here are some important tips to remember as you return to Western:


Western has protocols set in place to keep us all safe with sanitation stations in multiple locations throughout the club. Use them frequently. Please do your part and remember to not only wipe down the benches you sit on, but also everything you touch: weight plates, dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, balls, bands, handles, and pins when done. Pretty much everything you encounter! Practice physical distancing and keep others in mind as you are utilizing the club. Learn more about all the new protocols and cleaning procedures at Western by visiting


In our first phase of re-opening, we will not be adding in-person group fitness classes yet! We will continue hosting Zoom virtual group fitness classes, so check those out on the Western Group Fitness Junkies page on Facebook!

Once in-person group fitness classes start to slowly get added to the schedule, here are some pointers to remember:


A few other reminders for when you re-enter the club:

Please be mindful of your health and the others around you. We are all in this together and we are so glad to see all of you again!

April is National Stress Awareness Month and National Humor Month. What a perfect pair!

National Stress Awareness month began in 1992 to bring attention to the health risks associated with stress and strategies for coping with it. Stress is not always a bad thing and we also cannot get rid of it completely. It is a normal reaction to everyday pressures we face, but it can become unhealthy when it upsets your day-to-day functioning.

There are several types of stress we face at different times in our lives. Everyone has their own unique stressors, and everyone handles stress in different ways. So, what works for one person might not work for the next.

Acute Stress vs. Chronic Stress

Acute Stress Chronic Stress
Occurs in response to a short-term stressor Occurs when stressors don’t let up
Car accident or argument with a spouse/friend/coworker Examples can vary widely: toxic relationship to financial issues
Responds well to coping techniques Everyone responds differently
Can pass quickly Can damage your mental and physical health


Eustress vs. Distress

Eustress – Positive Stress Distress – Negative Stress
Relationships/Marriage Separation/Divorce
Work promotion/raise Job change/Unemployment
Children/Grandchildren/Nieces/Nephews Death
Taking a vacation/Traveling Financial issues
Money Losing contact with loved ones
New friends Hospitalization/Injury/Illness
Retirement Legal problems
Learning a new hobby Fears
Personal achievement Worrying about future events


Short-Term vs. Long-Term Impacts of Stress

Short Term Impacts Long Term Impacts
Tense muscles Decreased immune system
Headaches Type 2 Diabetes
Loss of appetite High Blood Pressure
Short temper Heart Disease
Digestive issues Anxiety
Difficulty sleeping Depression

How to Manage Stress


National Humor Month

National Humor Month was founded in 1976 to utilize the value of humor to improve the quality of our lives and health. Humor is a therapeutic stress reliever, so it’s no coincidence that April begins with April Fool’s Day. This month is a time to remind ourselves to not take everything so seriously and to laugh more!

Laughter is the best medicine. Have you heard that saying before? There is evidence that laughter can improve one’s health and reduce stress. Strong laughter may even bring on tears or moderate muscle pain.

Benefits of Humor

Incorporate More Humor in Your Life

Think about how you deal with your stress now. Hopefully you learned some new techniques you can fit into your life to help you better manage. Enjoy April and try to make it funny and less stressful! ?

Today I would like to discuss how increasing your ankle mobility can improve your squat form. While increased ankle mobility can help with multiple moves in and out of the gym, today we will key in on the squat. The first issue we need to address is some of the causes of poor ankle mobility. Some common causes include ankle sprains, high-heeled shoes, tight calves, arch pain and even genetics. When the joint and muscles around the ankle are tight and restrict your range of motion, your ankle will not be able to fully flex. This will inhibit your ability to get below parallel when you squat. Two ways to help improve this issue include self-myofascial release and static stretching. Self-myofascial release is basically a fancy word for foam rolling, you could also use a lacrosse ball or barbell to get the job done. Start by sitting down and placing the foam roller under your calf muscle and roll up and down the length of the muscle for 30-60 seconds. If you feel one spot is a little more tender than others feel free to spend extra time on that area. The second strategy involves static stretching which is holding a stretch in one position for around 30 seconds. My favorite way to incorporate these types of moves is finding a small ledge about 4 inches high, I then place the ball of my foot on the ledge and keep my leg straight. Once I'm in that position I will lean forward until I feel a good stretch in the back of my lower leg. I will then repeat the move with my knee bent because that will represent the bottom portion of a squat. If you start with these basic moves and stay consistent this will open up a whole new level of mobility which will, in turn, improve your squat depth.

Who is My Skin Buddy? My Skin Buddy is your skincare best friend and I'd love to teach you more about this amazing tool that you can (and should) add to your skincare routine!

My Skin Buddy is one handheld device with four technologies built in (which would cost thousands if you were to buy one of each). Each technology will help you get towards your skincare goals, whether that is anti-ageing, hyperpigmentation, acne, or wanting skin radiance and deep cleansing. With six different settings, you can also choose to spot treat or work all over the face or body.

What are My Skin Buddy's four proven technologies:

1. LED Light Therapy

The beneficial wavelengths of Light Emitting Diode Therapy have been proven and shown to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, fight bacteria that leads to acne, reduce redness and promote brightening and even skin tone.

2. Ion Care

Gently, yet effectively, positively-charged ions work to attract and pull impurities from the skin while negatively-charged ions enhance product penetration.

3. Ultrasonic Vibration

The power of 8000+ ultrasonic vibrations per minute, the user is able to enjoy a soothing mini massage while breaking up dead skin skills, lifting, firming and tightening the skin.

4. Thermal Heat Therapy

The combination of heat with the deep cleansing ions aids in emulsifying dirt and oil so that it can easily be swept away. Thermal heat therapy has also been shown to improve with skin tightening, promoting more oxygen to the cells by improving blood circulation and shrinking pore size.

This tool is also gentle so say goodbye to harsh bristle brush devices that can cause micro-tears and irritation or that can harbor bacteria in the bristles and underneath the brush. (Yuck!) It's also super lightweight and holds a charge for hundreds of hours with a lifetime warranty.

What are My Skin Buddy's six ready-to-go settings?

Setting #1. Deep Cleanse and Exfoliation Mode. This setting lets you experience a gentle yet deep and squeaky clean through ion care while thermal heat therapy, ultrasonic vibrations, and red LED light therapy help break up dead skin cells and promote more oxygen in your skin for an immediately brighter, smoother, and tighter complexion.

Setting #2. Acne Care. Whether you have cystic, mild or hormonal acne issues, this setting should be in your routine. Blue LED light therapy has been clinically proven to kill p. Acnes bacteria that leads to acne formation. This mode also uses ultrasonic vibration and ions to help push your acne products deeper into the skin and break up dead skin cells that may be trapping oils.

Setting #3. Calming and Brightening. This setting is wonderful for individuals who suffer from hyperpigmentation and redness. Green LED light therapy has been shown to help fade dark spots, brighten skin, and reduce redness. Take advantage of the added ions and ultrasonic vibrations in this mode as well, and use a lightening product suggested for your skin type and speed up the results.

Setting #4. Skin Rejuvenation and Anti-aging. Take your serum and moisturizer to the next level with this setting. The combination of a red LED light therapy, ultrasonic vibrations, and ions will deeply infuse your skin care into the dermal layers for optimal nourishment. Pay attention to how plump and radiant your skin will feel and look after the first treatment and see long-lasting results with continued use.

Setting #5. Multi-symptom Therapy. Most people have more than one skin issue. Do you have wrinkles, dark spots, and acne? No worries, we’ve got you! Use this setting that offers all three lights plus product infusion via ultrasonic vibration and ions.

Setting #6. Photosensitive and Ingredient Infusion. Not in the mood for a disco of lights tonight? Try this setting that offers a light-free option with ultrasonic vibration and ions to help you infuse your serum and moisturizers.

Not sure if this handheld tool is right for you? Try it out first at Spa Western! You can add the My Skin Buddy on to any facial, chemical peel, dermaplaning, or body treatment service for only $30 and a licensed aesthetician will explain and demonstrate every setting and answer all questions. Some things are too good to pass up so if you want to take one of these home with you, you are getting a killer deal for only $265! We have this stocked and ready for you in Spa Western: Wellness & Recovery.

Learn more by watching the video below and stop by Spa Western to ask any questions or pick up your My Skin Buddy today!

For those of you who haven’t noticed, there have been some great changes in the weight room in the past couple weeks. While we strive to update and repair equipment as needed, we also look to add pieces that would benefit members in different ways. The latest pieces of equipment are the preloaded barbells. They range from 20-110 and are stored near the end of the dumbbell rack.

One of the biggest benefits of this is the amount of time it saves. Instead of grabbing a 45 lb Olympic bar and having to add or take off weights, all one has to do is grab a preloaded bar, use it, quickly put it back and grab another as needed. And, for those who prefer barbells to dumbbells or those who are looking to switch it up occasionally, the preloaded barbells offer weights lower than a standard 45 lb bar.

The layout of the gym is a big change as well. We’ve rotated the cable pulley system. The reason behind this was to increase the “walkability” of the weight room. The seated row is now parallel to the windows. The power racks have also been moved to the far wall and moved the dumbbells where they used to be, along the longer wall across from the windows. The reason behind this is so the dumbbell racks and benches can be in one straight line along the wall, instead of two walls and this will increase the accessibility and walking space. Plus, there’s room for all the moveable benches. Overall, the changes will create an improved flow to the gym and allow you to gain access to the equipment you would like to use.

As always, get after your goals, lift safely, please clean put away your equipment after use, and have fun. Please feel free to ask the training staff any and every question regarding exercises, how machines work and form.

Being honest with yourself and without shame, how many of you read a magazine article, blog post, or celebrity endorsement and read about the "upcoming product" or "the must-have for your skin!" and either obsessively researched about that one thing or, you end up buying it because you trust them? Or maybe your boss suggested you try this skincare line or your cousin swears by this one mask that cured everything with her skin so you must own it! Eventually, your bathroom is filled with products that may or not be expired? If any of these sounds like you, I must look at your face! Let me explain:


As a licensed aesthetician it is my job to understand skin types, and skin conditions and what best will help your skin be healthy but also what will help you achieve your skin goals.  Every skin is different and it is important to understand what a skin analysis is and why you need one.


1.) A skin analysis is when I take a look at your skin from under my magnifying lamp and break down the skin into zones.  Eyes, cheeks, chin, jawline, temples, nose, forehead, neck and decollete all are their own zones and a lot of times, need to be treated differently.


2.) There are many things that can affect the skin that we talk about during the skin analysis that Youtube blogger or celebrity may not take into consideration:

These are just a few of the many questions we go over during the skin analysis to help me best determine how to proceed.


3.)  A skin analysis will follow with customized product recommendations for at-home care and a treatment plan that will work best for you. These recommendations will most likely change with the change of seasons as well as if any specific lifestyle changes occur such as hormonal changes, moving to a new climate, changes to medications or simply, your skincare goals change.


I started my skincare journey as a teenager with the mentality, "if it hurts it's working!" and "that celebrity has beautiful skin so I MUST do everything they do!" Well, guess what - what works for them may not work for me, and that is okay! The newest and greatest may be new and great but if it isn't good for your specific skin, why do it? That's where I come in, I can look at your face and tell you if that's good for you or not.  We all have our own journeys, let me help you with yours.


Schedule your complimentary skin analysis with me at Spa Western and let's get you on track, starting with me looking at your face!


Have you ever driven down the road for a while, when suddenly you realize you just went ten miles, and you don’t remember getting that far, almost like you blacked out for a few minutes? Have you ever done this during exercise? You mindlessly do a set of bicep curls until your trainer tells you to stop or it starts to burn a little bit. Performing resistance training in this manner is not near as effective when you engage your focus on the muscle group you are trying to target. This is called the “mind muscle connection,” and it is very important when your goal is hypertrophy (increased muscle size).

Most people have no idea how important it is to build a connection to the weights while you’re lifting them. They simply go through the motions of an exercise, like a dumbbell shoulder press with weight that challenges their strength and they try to use good form so they feel it in the shoulders. Reality is, you can use light weights and enhanced mental focus to achieve the same thing. Skip the sets of 120-pound dumbbell bench presses, opt for 80’s, and increase your focus on the muscle, and odds are you will be the biggest you’ve been in years.

The objective should be to make the weight feel like it weighs more than it actually does. If done correctly, you will feel sore for up to three days after you get the hang of it. If you are just going through the motions, or muscling reps with no focus, there’s no point in doing it in the first place. It’s easy to go through a bad workout even though you aren’t feeling anything in your target muscles.

When training for muscle growth your mind needs to be on the target muscle. If you don't focus on the muscle you're trying to bring up, your body will revert to what it's good at, namely letting the same muscles "sleep" and calling upon already overworked muscles surrounding the ones you're wanting to build. Doing an exercise without feeling the target muscle work will not only delay progress, it can also set you back by exacerbating muscle imbalances.

When you keep training a muscle you don't readily feel working, it's natural for your body to try to work around this inefficient, sleepy muscle by changing the motor program to recruit more efficient, ready-to-work muscles. For example, when you are performing a set of dumbbell rows and you only feel it in your biceps and shoulders, you aren’t engaging and focusing on the right muscle group.

The only way to make sure you get the most benefit from an exercise what you need is to use that powerful muscle, the one between your ears. Make sure that you feel the right muscles working as much as possible from the onset of the first rep to the completion of the last. If needed, tweak your form, alter your rep speed a bit (usually by

going slower), or consider employing a technique like isometric holds – especially in the contracted position – to make sure you feel the stress of the exercise in the right place.

If your goal is hypertrophy and you aren’t focusing in that mind muscle connection, you will not be getting the most out of you work out, plain and simple. It’s time to stop going through the motions and start focusing on the muscle group being worked.

It’s common to see people stretch both before and after a workout but which is better? When it comes down to it, both have their benefits. Pre-workout stretching is most commonly in the form of dynamic stretching, or actively moving a joint through its range of motion. These types of stretches help to prepare the body for activity by increasing muscle temperature, core temperature and blood flow to muscles. Dynamic stretching also works to increase dynamic flexibility.

Static stretching and partner stretching are the more common types of post-workout stretching. Both of these types of stretching work to increase range of motion and flexibility.  Post-workout stretching facilitates more range of motion improvements than pre-workout stretching because increased muscle temperature allows for a greater stretch. Post-workout stretching may also help to decrease muscle soreness.

In the end, pre- and post-workout stretching are both beneficial in their own way.  Pre-workout stretching prepares muscles for activity and post-workout stretching may decrease muscle soreness. Both will help increase flexibility but if this is your goal, post-workout stretching is best.

The new year is right around the corner and you may start thinking of what New Year’s resolution you are going to set for 2020. This is the perfect time to reflect on the past year’s behaviors and promise yourself to make positive lifestyle changes in the coming year. I want to help you make that resolution stick by creating some lifestyle changes!

Here are some tips to create a successful New Year’s Resolution:

RealisticThere is a greater chance that you will keep your resolution throughout the year if it is realistic. You should be able to incorporate your new behavior into your daily life. Think about what you have going on in your life right now and what is reasonable for your new goal.

Start Small
Start with setting a small goal! If you want to work out more, is it possible to workout 2-3 days a week or 7 days a week? Once you can sustain your goal, add on more to challenge yourself and progress.

Allow Yourself Time
It is going to take time to change unhealthy behaviors to healthier behaviors. Change does not happen overnight, so trust the process. Focus on changing just one behavior at a time, so it is less overwhelming.

Give Yourself Wiggle Room
Do not expect yourself to be perfect when it comes to changing your habits. It is completely normal to have a minor slipup. Did you skip your workouts one week because you were too busy? That’s okay! Life happens, just get back on track. Tomorrow is a new day.

Being able to share your resolution along with its struggles and successes with family and friends can help you stick to your goal. It is very powerful to have someone to be accountable to besides yourself.

Ask for Support
There is nothing wrong with asking for help! If you feel overwhelmed, need extra accountability, or you’re unable to meet your goals on your own, consider reaching out for professional help.

Email me today and I can see how Health Coaching can assist you in achieving your goals. Health Coaching is different for everybody, which is why each wellness journey is unique.

I approach wellness with eight different dimensions: Physical, Emotional, Intellectual, Occupational, Social, Financial, Environmental, and Spiritual. It doesn’t matter if you are just starting your wellness journey or have been working towards it for some time, Health Coaching can benefit!

Visit to learn more!

Goal setting is one of the most important aspects of our fitness lives. After all, how can we know what to do if we don’t know what we want to achieve? There are countless different goals that can be set, but there is one common way to reach them all: be SMART. I’m not necessarily talking about being intelligent, although that is certainly part of it. I’m talking about making our goals smart. They should be:


Specific. When we say “I want to lose weight,” there is no endpoint. There is no light at the end of the tunnel where we can say, “I did it!” However, if we make a statement such as, “I want to lose 10 pounds,” we have a way to track our progress. This leads to our goals being…


Measurable. We need to be able to track our goal. Going back to the above example, if I weigh-in and see that I’ve lost 5 pounds, I can confidently say I’ve completely 50% of my goal. Being able to see progress helps us stick to the plan. This makes things seem much more…


Attainable. A person who has never run a mile in his or her life would be setting themselves up for failure if they decided to start with a 10-mile run. The likelihood of completing that type of mileage right off the bat is extremely low, and the effort could be damaging both mentally and physically. If someone decided that they instead wanted to start with 1 mile, it would not only be more attainable but more…


Realistic. There is a difference between challenging ourselves and setting ourselves up to fail. I’m a fan of pushing the envelope; I ask my clients and classes to do it every day in their workouts. When I ask it of them, however, I am asking them to push their limits, not exceed them. Choose a goal that pushes you out of your comfort zone, but that you can achieve if you stay…


Timely. Setting up some type of schedule or deadline is a great way to keep your goal at the forefront of your mind. Going back to our first example, setting a general 10-pound weight loss goal could mean 2 months or 2 years! Keeping our attainable and realistic mindset, we may instead recognize that healthy weight loss is 1-2 pounds per week, and choose to give ourselves 10 weeks to lose our 10 pounds.


We all have things a reason behind our fitness. Ranging from general health to weight loss to competition, we’ve got something that gets us out of bed or prevents us from going home early so we can train our bodies. Whatever your goal may be, utilize this method and you will be the SMARTest person in the gym!


Tony Robbins said the secret to happiness in one word. ... “I always tell people if you want to know the secret to happiness, I can give it to you in one word: progress. Progress equals happiness.” That's because reaching a goal is satisfying, but only temporarily. It’s a feeling of satisfaction that needs to be replenished again and again. “Did I get that thing that I want? Yes, Now I’m happy. I didn’t get what I want. Now I’m unhappy.” Happiness doesn’t stay in one place forever and that’s why we need progress over and over because progress is an onward movement towards a destination. And moving forward is the only way to attain goals.

I believe that’s what keeps people coming back to the gym and working on themselves: goals. I don’t think it needs to be totally tangible either (while many are very tangible). Some people come to the gym to work out because they need a social connection every day while some come because they want to lift a particular weight. Some come because they want to make their golf or tennis better and others want to lose 15 lbs. by summer. Some work with a personal trainer towards a specific goal and many others make it a priority to make it to a high energy class a few times a week.

I think having a goal and working towards it is a very important part of progress. And progress leads to happiness.

To everyone out there who makes a goal and is working towards it, no matter what it is, I applaud you. Keep up the great work. If you’re new in the fitness world, my advice is this: Do things you like and keep doing it. If you hate running, don’t do it. Maybe you’d enjoy walking your dog every night for an hour instead. If you want to lose weight but can’t seem to figure out how, start with looking at what you eat. Try eliminating one unhealthy thing like sugary treats, candy, or perhaps cut wine down to a glass per day or every other day. You don’t need to overwhelm yourself with adding things you don’t care for such as grueling workouts. Try the process of elimination. You’re body and mind will respond for the better by default. That’s the start of progress which will lead to happiness.

When we talk about what technology means to the game of tennis, it really means more to the game than most people know in more ways than one. Our first piece of the technology puzzle consists of the differences in generational racket technology. Back in the mid 1900’s, tennis was a growing sport and players used wooden rackets. Due to the design and capabilities of wooden rackets, the game of tennis was played much differently than the modern game we see today. There were much more slice groundstrokes, serve and volley, and shorter points as a result. As time progressed, racket technology geared toward aluminum and graphite frames. And with each generation offering more advanced technology than the previous one, the game began to change as we knew it. There was topspin. There were extended baseline rallies. The serve and volley game began to die out. All of this was thanks to the technological advancements of the tennis racket.

Today, rackets are primarily constructed from state-of-the-art carbon fiber technology. The main brands consist of household names in the tennis world such as Babolat, Wilson, Head, and Yonex, but there are many more out there. These brands have a goal in mind not just to promote their product, but to continue to push the limits of what tennis can become. The game has advanced far from the serve and volley game of old and has entered into a new world of aggressive baseline rallies and huge serves. Once again, thanks to the technological advancements of racket technology.

Another primary aspect of the progression of tennis and technology is multimedia. Capturing the game is so much easier than it used to be with camera and video technology reaching new heights every year. If someone wants to analyze their strokes, say no more. Pull out your smart phone and have a friend record on your high-resolution camera. Due to the technological revolution, these high-quality recording devices are much more affordable than even 5 years ago. Social media also plays a huge role in the progression of the game. The easy accessibility to find out the newest tennis trends, how to develop your strokes, and even just being a fan of the game is much easier than watching the majors on your living room television set just a few times a year on local programming. Social media has allowed the tennis world to connect like it never has before, and it will continue to grow with each new phase of technology.

My name is Devin. I am a Certified Personal Trainer, a Certified Natural Trainer, and a Certified Holistic Lifestyle Specialist. I really focus on training and living in a way that promotes the health of the WHOLE - the mind, the body, the spirit, and the planet. This week, I want to take this opportunity to talk about a concept that will help you to improve almost every aspect of your health and life: wholism.
So, what is wholism?  To put it simply, wholism means taking into account the entirety of something - regarding it as a whole -  instead of reducing it down to its separate parts. I’ll give you three examples so that you can more fully understand this concept and how it can apply to your life.
Example Number 1:  FOOD
Almost everyone agrees at this point that, when possible, it is best to get the maximal amount of nutrients you can get for your body from whole foods instead of highly processed and packaged foods and supplements. This is true because nutrition represents the combined interactions of countless food substances. While science has given us a phenomenal look into what food does in our body and how vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients all interact, there is still a lot that we don’t know in regard to why the body accepts certain nutrients better when consumed as a part of a whole food than when they are isolated and consumed alone. A "wholistic” view would say eat the whole food as often as possible, not a stripped down (and often less tasty) version of the supposed best qualities of that food.
Many people have also heard the phrase: “you can’t exercise away a bad diet.” The viewpoint of wholism couldn’t agree more. Even if you look fit on the outside and are able to work off your bad diet, internally, eating poorly will still take its toll. Down the road you may be paying that toll in a way that you don’t expect to or want to.
TAKEAWAY: Taking supplements or working out enough does not make an unhealthy diet “healthy”. Eat a truly healthy diet consisting mostly of whole, plant-based foods, and then complement that diet with an active lifestyle involving physical exercise as well as additional supplementation if/when necessary.
Example Number 2:  Fitness Training and Alignment
When training the body through physical exercise, it is important to understand that everything is connected and that the body needs to be aligned properly. Alignment issues lead to very common pains. One example of an alignment issue is often found in changing posture. If you drive a lot for work or sit at a desk all day, you may notice your posture start to change because you are using the same flexion muscles every day to sit forward and drive or type.  If one isn’t careful, this will lead to features such as a rounded upper back, rounded shoulders, a forward leaning head, and tight hips. These alignment issues can cause many problems ranging from general body tightness to knee pain, low back pain, and more.
It’s important to take the “wholistic” approach when training the body’s muscles to ensure that if you are doing a lot of forward flexion work throughout your day or in your workouts you do an equal amount of counteractive extension and strengthening work for the back side of the body. As a slightly different example, if your workouts focus mainly on the chest press and other pressing motions, you will start to get much tighter in the front of your body because those muscles will be stronger, leading to alignment issues and pain such as shoulder impingement.
TAKEAWAY: Train the whole body to work in unison. Train your weak areas. Make mobility and body alignment an integral part of your workout routine, not a 30 second afterthought.
Example Number 3:  The Mind and Stress
In order to be truly successful at achieving your health, fitness, and life goals, the body and mind both need to be aligned and working in your favor towards success. Having a stressed mind is very acidic to the body and is considered one of the top precursors to disease. Stress activates the fight or flight response of the sympathetic nervous system. While that response is beneficial to us in the short term in certain situations, it can be extremely detrimental to our health if we can’t turn it off.  High stress, fast paced days in which we are unable to take even a little time for ourselves and our health - such as taking time to relax, exercise, eat a healthy meal, or spend time with friends and family - are recipes for unhappiness, and are the calling card of many of the “diseases of civilization” that are at such a high rate in our country right now.
If we never allow ourselves the time to relax and enjoy any part of the day, then aligning our minds with the goals we want to pursue will be a challenge. What we think about and the way that we live our day to day lives has a major impact on us. Eventually something will have to give. Many people find out too late after having a medical emergency that they need to change the way that they are both living and thinking.
I know that was pretty serious, but to put it plainly, we can no longer afford to take our personal wellness so lightly. I want you to understand that you have the power to achieve your goals, live the life you want, and improve your health in every way...but as with many things, consistency is key. If you don’t set aside time to better your own mental and physical health on a regular basis, then don’t be surprised when your health suffers.  This is good news, because you have the power to make the change!
TAKEAWAY: Start viewing your health as a whole, take time for you, and your life will improve.
In essence, we can no longer afford to separate everything out.  For your ideal long term health, you need to be healthy as a whole!  What happens to one part of you will affect the rest of you. After all, you’re connected aren’t you?!  If your nutrition is poor it will affect your body and mind. If your body alignment is poor and your physical activity level is low it will affect your body and mind.  If your mind is stressed constantly and you are unhappy, it will affect your body as well. View things through the lens of wholism, and understand that you can really build momentum when making positive changes. When you improve one thing, others will begin to improve along with it.
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