The Powerlifting World at Rock Creek Sports Club

Written by Jamie Potter. Posted in Blog, RCSC News, Wellness Bites

What is powerlifting? MD state powerlifting championship 2017

Powerlifting is the sport of lifting things up and putting things down, right? Sort of. While lifting large weights is the basic idea in powerlifting, it is far more complex than that. Powerlifting is extremely demanding and taxing, both physically and mentally, and involves more than just picking something up. A powerlifter must learn bracing, rooting, breathing, foot positioning, bar positioning, eye gaze, head positioning and activation (Rodio, 2016).

In contrast to bodybuilding, which is about obtaining a particular physique, powerlifting is about attaining as much raw strength as humanly possible.

“To be a powerlifter means being dedicated to a goal: Find out how strong you can get, and then get stronger than that,” says Sean Collins, C.S.C.S., a certified USA Powerlifting Club Coach.

Powerlifting generally involves three fundamental lifts (“the big three”); low bar back squat, bench press and deadlift.

Powerlifting has a long list of benefits. It is accessible to all ages, decreases one’s risk of osteoporosis(Rodio, 2016), gives one constant physical and mental challenges and goals, burns a lot of calories, enhances confidence, and, of course, increases one’s strength. Zach Tolchin, a personal trainer at Rock Creek Sports Club, quotes a famous strength training coach, Mark Rippetoe: “Strong people are harder to kill than weak people and are more useful in general.” On top of the above obvious benefits, powerlifting is actually a low risk sport. Powerlifting has lower injury-risk than soccer and basketball!

Powerlifting at the Rock Creek Sports Club

Rock Creek Sports Club has a great powerlifting community, with approximately 20 members and employees competing in the sport. One reason for the large powerlifting community is the club’s reputation for being open to a wide range of fitness methods. When requests came in for a lifting platform and bumper plates, the club invested in these basic powerlifting tools.

Another reason for the large involvement here, is the club’s sense of comradery.

“Most of the powerlifters we have at this gym have competed together and are always checking in with each other to see how training is going and eager to share programming advice” says Emily Karl, who works the front desk.

Women in powerlifting IMG_2460

Emily Karl is an example of how powerlifting is not a sport for just men. Powerlifting is a sport both men and women can do as long as they love lifting and do it properly and consistently.

“It burns a ton of calories, a lot of the time more so than cardio (one client of mine burned over 450 calories in one hour of a powerlifting style workout) and it will make you feel strong and confident.” says Zach.

There are currently six competitive powerlifting women at the Rock Creek Sports Club, a considerable number for a gym not “specializing” in the sport. One of our members, Bibi Campos Seijo, set a world record for her age and weight class, with her deadlift of 321 lbs, last year at the American Challenge. Emily competed in this challenge this year on May 20.

Emily was a competitive dancer for over 15 years but stopped while in college. After joining the RCSC, she was introduced to powerlifting and was drawn in to it by its competitive aspects. She had missed the competition from dancing and now enjoys experiencing competition once again, but in “a totally new arena.”

“One of the best aspects of powerlifting is that it requires dedication and constant training, like dance, but in competition there is very little subjective bias- either you get the lift or you don’t.” says Emily.

Emily advises women getting in to powerlifting to be fearless, to not worry about getting “too big” or being judged for lifting heavy.

“Look at any of the female elite lifters and you will see women of all different shapes and sizes- strength is strength, people respect that above all else. It is incredibly liberating to have your primary focus be in strength rather than what you look like.”

 The welcoming reputation the gym has is enough to convince women to train here; becoming part of a new group of friends who train, joke around and motivate one another. Emily also suggests online communities for extra encouragement, which are popular for female lifters.

 “Quite a few members at the gym have come up to me and told me they were inspired by me to try things they normally wouldn’t which is so flattering. Inspiring other people, especially women, to become more healthy is incredibly fulfilling.” says Emily.

So how should someone, woman or man, start powerlifting?

“People get into powerlifting in all different ways. I got into it just by lifting and getting stronger consistently, to the point where I realized my lifts were at a competitive level.” says Zach.

While recovering from shoulder surgery, Zach attended the 2013 Equinox Open to support Devin Knox, another trainer here at the Rock Creek Sports Club. Experiencing the event firsthand he realized he loved the environment and wanted to be a part of it. Zach did his first competition a few months later: the 2013 Maryland State Championships.

Powerlifting takes patience and discipline. Those starting out won’t walk in on day one and be able to lift a super heavy weight. Emily advises beginners to get a coach or mentor to check form and set guidelines for training to avoid injuries. Emily cites certified personal trainers as imperative to adjusting form and creating efficient movement patterns; the secret to hitting big numbers.

Some trainers for powerlifting here are Devin Knox, Zach Tolchin and Steve Basdavanos.

Zach advises novice powerlifters training for a competition to practice the calls that the judges will be using and to be prepared.

Powerlifting competitively requires focus. You can’t be a jack of all trades at the gym, attending spin, Zumba or doing other forms of exercises several times a week and only training for powerlifting once or twice. However, as Emily says, it is good to be healthy and balanced. Emily started training with Marian Lally to incorporate Pilates into her workout routine, to address muscle imbalances and certain weaknesses she had.

“My first session was probably one of the most challenging workouts I’ve ever had!”

Lastly, all powerlifters should listen to their bodies. As in any workout, it is important to not fight through real pain.

The first couple weeks, one will see the biggest change. Then the real patience kicks in.

“The road to 90% is relatively easy,” Sean Collins says. “The road from 90 to 100 is hard as hell.”

Rock Creek Sports Club powerlifting news and competitionsimage1

Employees and members at the gym are consistently training and competing. Events are held throughout the year depending on which federation in which you compete. Some of the popular federations are USAPL and 100% RAW. Most competitions have three lifts: squat, bench press and deadlift, however 100% RAW has a fourth: strict curl.

On May 13th, the USAPL Maryland State Championships were held in Dundalk, in which Zach and Steve competed. On May 20th, Devin Knox and Emily Karl competed in 100% RAW’s American Challenge in Prince Frederick, Maryland. It was Emily’s third “full power” meet but her first time performing in this particular federation, first time competing without supportive neoprene knee sleeves and the first time performing the strict curl! Both Devin and Emily placed 1st in the events they competed in and set Maryland records in the curl.

Best Lifts:

Devin- curl: 174.1, bench: 413, deadlift: 622

Emily- curl: 67.2, squat: 281, bench: 132, deadlift: 358

All results will be compiled at the end of June or July, from challenges across the country. Those with the best lifts over all will be selected to lift for Team USA in the world championships this fall!

One interested in powerlifting competitively should note there were drug tests at 100% RAW’s American Challenge. The majority of federations take steroid use very seriously.

So what now?

If you are interested in powerlifting talk to a trainer! And don’t be intimidated, powerlifting is for everyone. We’ll see you on the lifting platform!

National Foam Rolling Day

Written by Jamie Potter. Posted in Blog, Wellness Bites

May 11th is National Foam Rolling Day! Trigger Point submitted the application for a national holiday and it has been one since 2015. Though the foam roller was patented in 1920, foam rolling has recently gained momentum.foam rollers

What is foam rolling?

Self-myofascial release is a self-massage to release muscle tightness, or trigger points. Trigger points, also known as “knots,” exist in the muscles and occur when our bodies exceed their ability to recover from intense workouts, poor posture, stress, etc.

This type of massage helps muscles recover and return to normal functioning and allows normal blood flow to restore tissue. Through foam rolling, your muscles will be healthy, elastic and ready to perform when needed! On the contrary, not taking care of your muscles can lead to loss of flexibility, adhesions and painful movements. These deep compressions can be done with lacrosse balls, tennis balls or even your own hands, but one of the best methods is using the foam roller!

Foam Rolling is like getting a deep tissue massage, only, you have the control. Ultimately, the process will enhance performance by allowing pain-free movements and proper movement patterns. One cannot rely only on stretching.

“Imagine a bungee cord with a knot tied into it and then envision stretching the cord. This creates tension, stretching the
unknotted portion of the muscle and the attachment points. The knot, however, has remained unaltered,” (What is a Foam Roller, Breakingmuscle.com).

What does foam rolling feel like?

Generally, foam rolling is uncomfortable. It can be slightly painful but not unbearable. If it becomes unbearable, stop and consult a professional. The discomfort and pain is similar to that of stretching. For some, foam rolling is a good discomfort.  You should feel a difference immediately after and as time passes. The longer you have foam rolling incorporated into your workout routine the more you will notice the benefits of it.

There are a lot of types of foam rollers such as high density, Premium EVA, Closed Cell, Rumble Roller, The Grid 2.0, The Grid, and more, that we won’t go into detail here. Some are smooth and others, like the Rumble, are covered in bumps that provide an extra massage.  At Rock Creek Sports Club we have many different foam rollers, of varying sizes and firmness.20170509_112119(1)

“I never knew about foam rolling before coming to this gym. It helped tremendously early on. Foam rolling saved my life!” says Joff Pincher, one of our members, and a recent member of the quarter.

How to foam roll…

Apply moderate pressure, usually your body weight. Roll slowly, no more than an inch a second. When you find knots, pause and relax for 5-30 seconds. You can even rest on an area for as long as 90 seconds (How and When to Use Foam Rollers, McCall). Gradually, you will feel the discomfort, tightness and pain lessen. If an area is too painful, you can help ease into rolling it out by loosening areas around it first.

Do not roll on joints or bones! Also, be careful with your lower back.

What and where you chose to foam roll depends on your fitness needs.

You may target specific areas associated with your workouts. Or, you can focus on trigger points and knots found through self-exploration. Some great places to foam roll are your calves, quads and your buttocks. Isiejah rolling

You can foam roll your calves in two ways. You can have one leg on top of the foam roller and roll it from under the knee to the ankle. Or you can stack both legs and put the pressure on one, this will add more pressure overall.

For your IT Band, lie on your side with the roller at your hip and move it along your outer thigh.

Lastly, for your butt, sit on the roller with one foot on the opposite knee, lean into one buttock and roll back and forth. This is especially effective with a foam ball.

When to foam roll…

Foam rolling can be used after a workout to promote recovery and reduce soreness or before a workout as a warm up. As a warm up it helps reduce tension while also raising temperatures in the muscles without causing fatigue. However, when used as a warm up, foam rolling should be brief. Too much pressure can change a muscle’s ability to produce force (How and When to Use Foam Rollers, McCall). For others, foam rolling is a regular part of the daily routine. A foam roller is then used at home at the beginning or end of the day, or both.

Final notes; you may be sore the next day but not excessively. And as with any workout routine, it works best if you are supplementing it with lots of water, sleep and healthy eating!

 

 

 

What is Clean Eating Anyway?

Written by RCSC Writer. Posted in Blog, Wellness Bites

VeggiesYou have probably heard the term “clean eating” before – but what does that really mean? Well – there’s actually more than one definition , and Registered Dietitian Jae Berman recently helped Washington Post readers break down what it could mean for them.

Berman explains that there is isn’t “one perfect plan” for everyone, and that it’s all about finding out what works best for you as an individual. So the first step is breaking down what your goals and values are based on your own activity level.

“Some physiologically need more fat, some need more carbs, and all need different mixes of vitamins and minerals,” Berman writes.” Behaviorally, there isn’t one plan that fits everyone’s lifestyle, either. Some of us cook daily, while some of us can’t make toast.”

Berman lists the following steps toward Clean Eating:

  • Take time to look at the ingredients of all packaged foods, and look at your plate and note what you’re about to eat.
  • If you can, find out where your food comes from, how it was raised or grown, and how far it traveled to make it to your plate.
  • Determine key ingredients that you are motivated to avoid. What foods don’t feel good to you? Are you avoiding them?
  • Decide what is truly realistic for you. Be honest with yourself about your lifestyle, and decide what is reasonable.

Check out more of her advice and the whole article here: Clean eating’ is a fuzzy term — and that’s why it works in the Washington Post.

 

Meal Prep 101

Written by RCSC Writer. Posted in Blog, Wellness Bites

Prepared MealAdmit it. There’s been plenty of times you have made the vow to eat healthier, then by Wednesday you find yourself grabbing a slice of pizza at lunch because you “just need something quick.” Or maybe the kids’ play rehearsal ran late so now you find yourself just making a box of mac and cheese because “it’s easy, cheap, quick, and I’m tired.”

What if we told you, we can help you squash all of the above excuses, get you eating healthy all week, and kill most of the stress in doing so?

Welcome to Meal Prep 101

Step 1: Pick a Day.

We’re not going to lie, when we say meal prepping saves you time, we mean in the long run. Come Thursday night, you’ll be able to just reach into the fridge, grab a container, and heat. However, you will have to spend at least a couple of hours, one day of the week, doing the actual “prepping.”
Recommendation: Sunday. It will get you all set up for the work/school week.

Step 2: Create a Menu Plan.

Take a look at your upcoming week, what does your schedule look like? Will you have dinner out with friends at any point? Will you have a work lunch? Figure out exactly how many meals you’ll need to get you through. Tip: Include snacks!

Look for recipes with ingredients that overlap. For example, a quinoa salad for lunch, and a quinoa bowl for dinner. It will save you some time when it comes to bulk cooking. Think: one protein, one starchy carb, one fresh produce. Tip: Keep it interesting! We know that eating the same lunch every day can get boring. There’s no reason to have to do that with proper planning (especially with those ingredients that can be used in multiple recipes!)

Step 3: Make a Grocery List

Take a look at your meal plan, are there recipes you need to double up on? Triple up on? Can you use ingredients from one meal, to supplement another. You’ll probably need to do some math here. Tip: Don’t buy anything not on your list! It will keep you away from those tempting not-needed snacks and indulgences.

*Optional Step: Save your menus and grocery lists! This will save you a ton of time when it comes to future planning!

Step 4: Get to Cooking!

This is the step that will most likely take you the longest – but with a a good plan in place, you can cut down on some of that time. For example, you can probably cook all your chicken breasts up at once, and at the same time, roast your vegetables, boil your rice on the stove, perhaps have something going on in the crockpot.

Step 5: Assemble

There are a couple of ways to do this. For some, you may just want to have all the cooked ingredients separated into containers, ready to be thrown together when needed. However, we think a better option — though it takes some time to prep, but saves you time in the long run — is to put your meals together, measure out the correct portions, and place each individual meal in its own container (as long as you have enough containers, course.) This way it’s just a “grab and go” or “grab and heat” for the rest of the week! Don’t be afraid to recruit some team members here!

We know this can seem overwhelming at first, but over time you’ll realize just how much money and time you’ll save. And of course, it will also help you stay on track!

Helpful Resources:

We’ve gathered a couple of helpful links to help you get started!

 

Getting Road Trip Ready!

Written by RCSC Writer. Posted in Blog, Wellness Bites

RoadTripReadHappy Fourth of July Weekend! For many of you, this means setting off on road trips to coastal beaches to celebrate and relax. It also means — possibly sitting in cars for hours on end – so we wanted to share a couple of quick Road Trip Tips to keep you healthy!

Healthy Eating

It’s no secret that many people use road trips as a reason to indulge in junk food, because of all the tempting fast food and gas station stops along the way. However, if you plan ahead, and pack right, you can reduce your urge to splurge!

A few ideas to pack with you (including a cooler!):

  • Fresh Fruit
  • Cut-Up Veggies
  • WATER!
  • Nuts
  • Dried Fruit (look for the stuff without added sugar)
  • Hard Boiled Eggs
  • Beef Jerky

PLUS – All of the above can also be found at many of the larger convenient stores these days – so don’t go convincing yourself that a Snickers is your only option!

Move Around

Don’t forget to move around! The CDC warns that anyone traveling more than four hours, whether by air, car, bus, or train, can be at risk for blood clots.

“Blood clots can form in the deep veins (veins below the surface that are not visible through the skin) of your legs during travel because you are sitting still in a confined space for long periods of time. The longer you are immobile, the greater is your risk of developing a blood clot. Many times the blood clot will dissolve on its own. However, a serious health problem can occur when a part of the blood clot breaks off and travels to the lungs causing a blockage. This is called a pulmonary embolism, and it may be fatal. The good news is there are things you can do to protect your health and reduce your risk of blood clots during a long-distance trip.” (CDC Site)

If you’ve been sitting for a long time, take a break to stretch your legs.

  • Extend your legs straight out and flex your ankles (pulling your toes toward you).
  • Do some standing quad stretches: Stand with your legs hip width apart and pull one heel to your butt and hold for 10 seconds and switch. Do this several times.
  • Can’t get out of the car? Pull each knee up toward the chest and holding it there with your hands on your lower leg for 15 seconds, and repeat up to 10 times.

And since we already know you want to stay comfortable on your trip, you may as well wear your workout clothes, and get in a few body weight exercises after you finish the above stretches. Think: Squats, Jumping Jacks, Lunges and Push-Ups!

Have a great trip – We look forward to seeing you back at Rock Creek Sports Club!

 

Exercising 4 Hours After Studying May Help You Retain Info Better

Written by RCSC Writer. Posted in Blog, Wellness Bites

iStock_000008183124XSmallWe’ve written many blogs about how working out not only improves your body, it also improves your mind. Now a new study shows that exercise can help you retain the information you learn… as long as you do so four after you learn it.

For the study, reported in the Cell Press journal Current Biology, scientists assigned 72 people to three groups. Each group studied 90-picture location associations for about 40 minutes. One group performed 35 minutes of interval training immediately after studying, the second did the same workout four hours later, the third did not exercise at all.

Then 48-hours later, all the participants returned for a recall test. They found:

  • Performing aerobic exercise 4 hr after learning improved associative memory
  • Exercise at this time also increased hippocampal pattern similarity during retrieval
  • Exercise performed immediately after learning had no effect on memory retention
  • Exercise could have potential as a memory intervention in educational settings

This could be some very helpful information to share with all the students in your life!

Related Blogs:

Mangos – Totally Worth the Mess!

Written by RCSC Writer. Posted in Blog, Wellness Bites

mangoIt’s June and we’re excited! Why? Because of all the fresh fruits and vegetables of course! One of our favorites this time of year is the amazing mango.

Nutrition

According to the National Mango Board, Mangos contain over 20 different vitamins and minerals, and one cup includes:

100% of your Daily Vitamin C

  • Vitamin C supports healthy cognitive and neurologic function.
  • Vitamin C is required for collagen formation.
  • Vitamin C plays an important role in immune function.
    Vitamin C is important for wound healing.
    Vitamin C keeps gums and teeth healthy

35% of your Daily Vitamin A

  • Vitamin A is critical for vision.
  • Vitamin A is important for immune function.
  • Vitamin A may be important for reproductive health.
  • Vitamin A helps maintain healthy skin.
  • Vitamin A plays a role in bone growth.

12% of your Daily Fiber

  • Fiber makes you feel full faster and therefore may help support weight management.
  • Fiber aids digestion.
  • Fiber helps control constipation.
  • Fiber slows the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream.

Buying Mangos

Now that we know you’re probably going to pick some up on your way home – here’s a few tips from Mango.org, on how to make sure you’re choosing the right ones. Hint: it’s about the “feel.”

  • Squeeze the mango gently. A ripe mango will give slightly.
  • Use your experience with produce such as peaches or avocados, which also become softer as they ripen.
  • Ripe mangos will sometimes have a fruity aroma at their stem ends.
  • The red color that appears on some varieties is not an indicator of ripeness. Always judge by feel.

AND don’t worry – cutting a mango, can be very messy, but it doesn’t have to be, just check out this video and then enjoy!

Why We’re Celebrating International Pilates Day!

Written by RCSC Writer. Posted in Blog, RCSC News, Wellness Bites

Pilates at Rock Creek Sports ClubWe know you’ve heard about Pilates, but do you really know what it is? Let’s start by quickly dispelling a couple of misconceptions:

-It’s not just for women.
-It’s not just for young, fit people.

First of all, just the history of Pilates, throws these misconceptions right out the window. It all began with Joseph Pilates, a former boxer and circus performer who was interred during World War I. During this time he developed a system of exercises for other interred MEN, eventually devising machines for those in need of rehabilitation due to injury or sickness!

Just for women? Nope. Just for younger, fit people? Nope!

So what is Pilates?
Pilates teaches — people of all ages — flexibility, body awareness, good posture and easy, graceful movements. It focuses on the body’s core muscles, which help keep the body balanced and keeping the spine supported. Pilates can be tailored to fit any client’s fitness and skill levels. The “less is more” theory calls for fewer repetitions, but each one must be precisely executed.
It also focuses on several main principles:
▪ Alignment
▪ Breathing
▪ Centering
▪ Concentration
▪ Control
▪ Precision
▪ Flow or efficiency of movement
▪ Flexibility

Benefits
By focusing on proper breathing, correct spinal and pelvic alignment, and quality over quantity, Pilates is really a total body exercise with numerous benefits. Students who practice Pilates on a regular basis, will often develop a stronger core, a stronger back, and flat abdominals. In addition, many students will also find they are gaining, long, leaner muscles, and flexibility.

Pilates is also a fantastic cross-training exercise for athletes looking to improve mobility, create balance, and prevent injury!

Rock Creek Sports Club offers a number of ways for you to give Pilates a try, from small group training, to Pilates Mat classes, and One-on-One Reformer Training.  Find out more about the Pilates options at RCSC on on Saturday as we celebrate International Pilates Day from 9am-11am! Check out some demonstrations, meet some of the instructors and learn more!

 

Men – It’s Time You Check Out Broga

Written by RCSC Writer. Posted in Blog, RCSC News, Wellness Bites

crowDear Dudes: Want to be stronger? Want to be less susceptible to injury? Want to reduce anxiety, stress, and pain? What if we told you can do all that with Yoga? Don’t stop reading yet! Let us tell you about Rock Creek Sports Club’s “Broga Class!”

Broga
Wednesdays
6:00am -6:45am

First of all, clear your mind of all the stereotypes you have dancing through your head about what a yoga class looks like. Broga is designed to be simple, fun, challenging, and rewarding. There’s no Sanskrit, or “groovy heart talk,” or chanting – classes are straight-forward, physical, accessible, taught in regular English, and accompanied by a distinct soundtrack of awesome music.

The Broga approach is really unique,” explains Jaylene Sarracino, RCSC’s Broga Instructor. “The classes combine traditional power yoga with functional fitness exercises. The result is a practice that builds muscle, improves flexibility, reduces risk of injury, relieves stress and improves balance. Pro athletes practice yoga regularly. Broga brings that kind of fitness-based yoga to the masses with classes designed for people who can’t touch their toes but still need this kind of training.

chair

Yoga isn’t just for the young and flexible either — as a matter of fact, the less flexible you are —the more you need yoga!

“Broga students range in age from 18 to 78,” says Broga® Yoga President & Co-Founder, Adam O’Neill. “They come from all walks of life, all different backgrounds, but they all come looking for what we offer; that unique blend of high-intensity strength workout with the incredible “yoga” benefits such as balance, flexibility, improved circulation, injury reduction, stress-reduction, and many others.”

So come on and join the other 46 million men who say they are going to try Yoga this year (according to an analysis based on a Yoga Journal study) and check out Brogra on Wednesdays at 6am. Yes, we know it’s early – but another benefit of yoga… it leaves you feeling more energized! And ladies – don’t worry – you’re invited too!

 

 

Nutrition Plan Personal Trainer Devin Knox Follows for Gains

Written by RCSC Writer. Posted in Blog, RCSC News, Wellness Bites

Devin-Knox-1-300x197You’ve probably seen Rock Creek Personal Trainer Devin Knox  training in the gym, either working on his own strength gains, or encouraging others to push their own limits. Have you ever seen him do a heavy squat and wonder, “what does he eat?”

Devin follows an online eating plan created for him by Avatar Nutrition, which focuses on what they call “flexible dieting.” His goal when he began was “maximum muscle gain” and he says that since he started a few months ago, he’s put on nearly 10-pounds.

Flexible dieting is “eating according to your unique macronutrient requirements rather than relying on a wishful thinking and lists of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ food.” In other words, no diet plan fits all, and Avatar Nutrition puts together a custom plan for you, depending on your goals and body composition, focusing on your ideal macronutrient (carbohydrates, protein, and fat) targets. The plan and service is $9.99/ a month.

“The whole concept of flexible dieting and tracking macros just makes perfect sense in terms of long term success,” says Devin, who also recently became an ambassador for Avatar Nutrition. “ It allows you to work in some of your favorite treats when you want to instead of restricting you like other ‘diets’ do. I just feel like it sets you up for sustainability.”

You can read more about the program on the Avatar’s website, and Devin says he would be more than happy to answer any questions!

How to Lose Fat, but Not Muscle

Written by RCSC Writer. Posted in Blog, Wellness Bites

iStock_000016156464XSmallEarlier this week, The New York Times  reported that a group of scientists had established a workout and diet plan that can “shed fat rapidly while hanging on to or even augmenting muscle.”

Here’s the catch though, the study had two groups of men reduce their calorie-count by about 40%, and had them vigorously working out six days a week for a month. This isn’t really sustainable for the average person. However, there is some really interesting information we can take away from this study!

In one group the participants diet’s consisted of 15% protein, 35% fat, and 50% carbs. The other group, switched up the fat and protein intake, with 35% protein, and 15% fat.  The results – both groups lost between 11-12 on average, but the one that ate more protein,  gained an average of 3 pounds of muscle!

Why? Well in short, “amino acids in protein help muscle tissue to maintain itself and to grow.”

Lesson learned: Make sure you’re getting enough protein in your diet!

Read the full article here: A Diet and Exercise Plan to Lose Weight and Gain Muscle

Less Calories with Diet Drinks? Mmm Maybe Not So Much

Written by RCSC Writer. Posted in Blog, Wellness Bites

dietsodaSure, you may be saving a couple of calories by reaching for that diet soda, but it’s possible you’re getting them from elsewhere instead, according to a new study.

University of Illinois researchers looked at the dietary habits of more than 22,000 U.S. adults over a 10-year period and found that on the days people drank diet or sugar-free drinks, they ended up eating about 49 MORE calories from “discretionary foods,” e.g., fries or cookies.

Why?

Well, they don’t really know the answer to that yet, but there are some theories. It’s possible people don’t feel satisfied or satiated after consuming zero-calorie drinks, so they reach for something else. There’s some thought that because they drank a diet drink, they don’t feel as guilty going indulging in something unhealthy later, or the reverse, they ate something not so good, so they choose a diet soda thinking that will make up for it.

(Read more here)

Whatever the case may be, it’s something to think about. If you do go for that zero-calorie sweetened beverage, you may want to be more mindful about your other choices.

Pilates 101

Written by RCSC Writer. Posted in Blog, RCSC News, Wellness Bites

11130067_1000534833298872_6629859736813490760_oWhat comes to mind when you think of Pilates? Here’s a couple of common responses we’ve heard:

“Oh, it’s kind of like yoga right?”

“It’s some sort of exercise that women like.”

“It’s that exercise for dancers, you know, the flexible type.”

Well, let us tell you, it’s not just for women, it’s not yoga, and EVERYONE can benefit from it.

First of all, just the history of Pilates, throws two of the aforementioned misconceptions right out the window. It all began with Joseph Pilates, a former boxer and circus performer who was interred during World War I. During this time he developed a system of exercises for other interred MEN, eventually devising machines for those in need of rehabilitation due to injury or sickness!

So just for women? Nope. Just for the super fit? Nope!

We’ll get to the differences from yoga in a minute, but before we get to that, let’s talk about basics -

 

What IS Pilates?

Pilates focuses on developing a strong core (the deep abdominal muscles along with the muscles closest to the spine) by integrating the trunk, pelvis, and shoulder girdle.

It is based on six principles — centering, concentration, control, precision, breath, and flow. Training develops flexibility, control of breath, body awareness or coordination, good posture and easy graceful movements, elongates and strengthens, improving muscle elasticity and joint mobility.

You may thinking, well this sounds a lot like yoga. Yes, and no. They do definitely compliment one another, and both enhance one’s awareness and the connection between the body and the mind. However, many yoga practices focus on increasing strength and flexibility of the spine and limbs, while Pilates focuses on abdominal strength, then extending through the limbs. There’s actually a number of other differences, enough for it to be an an entire other article. (For further reading check out — What’s the Difference Between Yoga and Pilates?)

Why Pilates is for YOU

LONG-TERM BENEFITS OF PILATES INCLUDE:

  • Less chance of injury
  • Better sports performance
  • Full-body conditioning – including the ankles and feet
  • Better posture
  • Improvements in range of motion
  • Improvements in circulation
  • Decreases in back, neck, and joint pain

Pilates at Rock Creek Sports Club

Rock Creek Sports Club offers a number of ways for you to give Pilates a try. This includes:

  • Small Group Training Pilates Mat Classes: In our Small Group Personal Training classes, clients can enjoy the energy of a group class, but have more one-on-one attention, as class size is limited. Training sessions last 45 minutes to one hour, and are sold in packages of five for $125 or 10 for $220. If space permits, drop-in fee is $27.
  • Pilates Mat Group Exercise: Our Group Exercise class schedule offers numerous Pilates mat classes throughout the week in a larger setting for all Rock Creek Sports Club members Check out the schedule here.
  • Pilates Reformer One-on-One Training: Workouts consist of controlled, flowing movements in tune with the breath, working muscles through a full range of motion. The reformer adds increased resistance to the movement and results in increased muscular endurance, strength, flexibility, and improved posture. Due to the complexity of the machine and the exercises, clients must be with a Pilates Instructor to use the Reformer. More information here.

A Simple Trick for More Mindful Eating

Written by RCSC Writer. Posted in Blog, Wellness Bites

utensilsSome experts have said that one way to weight loss, is something called “mindful eating,” which, in short, is taking your time at your meals to give your brain and body enough time to register your enjoyment of the food and in turn, know when you have had enough.

Some of the suggested ways to start doing this are:

  • Make sure eating is your only activity. For example, no TV, phone, books, etc. Some even say to even limit talking.
  • Chew each bite until the food is liquified, usually between 20-40 times.
  • Try to identify every flavor and texture while you’re eating, so that your actively thinking about your food.

Now researchers from Oxford may have discovered another easy trick to encourage you to practice “mindful eating” — heavier utensils.

Food & Wine recently reported:

“Researchers from Oxford University gave 130 diners at a hotel restaurant in Edinburgh, Scotland, identical meals of trout, mashed potatoes, spinach capers and brown ship butter; however, half of those experimented on were given cutlery that was three times heavier than the cheap knives and forks the other half received.

“Those with the heavy cutlery said they liked their meals about 10 percent better and were willing to pay 15 percent more for that same trout dish.”

Charles Michael, chef in residence at Oxford University’s Crossmodal Research laboratory explained to Wired UK, that this could be attributed to something known as “sensation transference,” where people associate better utensils as better quality, therefore better food.

“It’s interesting to think that the heavier weight of cutlery could be making us more mindful, without us realising it,” he said. 

Good Posture is Important, Seriously.

Written by RCSC Writer. Posted in Blog, Wellness Bites

posture2We know, you know, that good posture is important, but do you really know HOW IMPORTANT?

In this short TedEd video, experts explain that your posture “is the foundation for every movement your body makes and can determine how well your body adapts to the stresses on… If your posture is not optimal your muscles have to work harder to keep you upright and balanced.”

This could mean that overtime, some of your muscles can become tight and inflexible, and others inhibited.

Do we have your attention now?  Good. Check out the full video below for some great tips for improving your posture, and in turn, your quality of life.

Video: The Hidden Risks of Sitting Down

Written by RCSC Writer. Posted in Blog, Wellness Bites

Sitting down for brief periods can help us recover from stress or recuperate from exercise. But nowadays, our lifestyles make us sit much more than we move around. Are our bodies built for such a sedentary existence? Murat Dalkilinç investigates the hidden risks of sitting down.

View the Full Lesson on ed.Ted.com - http://ed.ted.com/lessons/why-sitting-is-bad-for-you-murat-dalkilinc

Rowing 101

Written by RCSC Writer. Posted in Blog, RCSC News, Wellness Bites

11136192_994011767284512_3833975141116541603_oIf you follow us on Facebook, you know how excited we were to introduce two new Concept 2 Rowers to the gym, earlier this month!  For those of you are not familiar with rowers, or haven’t thought about adding them into your regimen, we’re here now to tell you about all of their amazing benefits!

Cardiovascular Benefits

Rowing actually has similar cardiovascular benefits as running. It keeps the heart rate elevated and increases breath volume, pumping oxygen to or muscles to keep them functioning.  So over time, you’ll find that your endurance increases, meaning you’ll be able to stay active for a longer period of time.

Strength Benefits

Where do we begin?!  Rowing is a full body exercise where you’re engaging your arms, your legs, your core, and your back.  In both directions, you face resistance, so you are consistently building strength.

Low Impact

Rowing is often recommended as a great cardiovascular workout for those who can’t run (for example:  due to some sort of injury) because of all of its benefits mentioned above, without the impact. Because your feet remain locked into place on the pads, and your hands wrapped around the handle, there’s less pressure on your joints.  As long as you are using proper technique of course, but more on that in a bit.

Posture

We know that many of you are very hard workers and sometimes that means your at your desk and hunched over a keyboard much longer than you should, or want to be. Like we stated earlier, rowing is a FULL body exercise, and that includes all engaging in a lot of those back muscles that don’t get utilized as often, or in the way that should. As you build strength,  over time you may start to  notice you’ll be able to remain sitting up correctly in that office chair for longer! Again, this is also all about using the proper technique. See below.

Getting Started

First things first, if you haven’t used a rower before, please tell the front desk that you would like to learn more, and we’ll find a trainer who can show you some tips on proper form. We’ve also included a video below as a primer (or a refresher for some of you). Form is very important!

Going to the Gym a Chore? Try “Temptation Bundling”

Written by RCSC Writer. Posted in Blog, Wellness Bites

temptationWe have all heard that a great way to keep working toward your goals, is to reward yourself for some of the small milestones along the way. For example, you want to lose 15 pounds, so at 5 pounds, you’ll buy yourself new running shoes, and  at 10 pounds, treat yourself to massage, etc.  We all have days though, where those goals seem far away, and we need some sort of immediate gratification as a little extra push to get our butts moving.   For those days, we suggest possibly “temptation bundling.”

Temptation bundling is basically pairing something you’d rather not do, with something that you could consider a guilty pleasure.  For example, Wharton professor and researcher Katherine Milkman, told Lifehacker.com, she knew she needed to go to the gym more, so she allowed herself to listen to “less-than-scholarly” audiobooks, only while she was working out. Soon she she was the gym 5 days a week!

(CONFESSION: We totally admit, that we sometimes use our treadmill time to catch up on some Real Housewives.)

The article goes on to talk about how you can use this method for other tasks, such as catching up on work emails while getting a pedicure, and you can read about it here.

So we want to know – do you use temptation bundling as a way of going to the gym? What’s your guilty pleasure?  Tell us in the comments! 

 

Identical Twin Study: What Happens When We Stop Working Out?

Written by RCSC Writer. Posted in Blog, Wellness Bites

men-311210_640Trying to figure out how exercise directly effects the body and brain, can often times be a timely and costly feat. However, scientists in Finland have found a way around this, by studying identical twins — and the results are eye-opening to say the least!

As the New York Times explains:

To prove that exercise directly causes a change in people’s bodies, scientists must mount randomized controlled trials, during which one group of people works out while a control group does not. But these experiments are complicated and costly and, even in the best circumstances, cannot control for volunteers’ genetics and backgrounds.

And genetics and upbringing matter when it comes to exercise. Genes affect our innate endurance capacity, how well we respond to different types of exercise, and whether we enjoy working out at all. Childhood environment also influences all of this, muddying the results of even well-conducted exercise experiments.

In this study researchers were able to find 10 sets of identical male twins (so they have the same DNA make-up) who were raised together (so they had similar upbringing) whose workout habits similar when they were younger, but diverged as the years went on. Another interesting factor – the twins’ still had similar dietary habits, it was only their exercise routines that diverged.

Results:

  • The sedentary twins hand lower endurance capacities, higher body fat percentages and signs of insulin resistance.
  • Plus, the active twins had “significantly more grey matter than the sedentary twins, especially in areas of the brain involved in motor control and coordination.”

And this was only a after a few years!

Read the New York Times article here: One Twin Exercises, the Other Doesn’t