Happy New Year! 8 Tips To Follow Your 2019 Resolutions

Written by Jamie Potter. Posted in Blog, Wellness Bites

Resolutions centered around health and fitness always make the it into the top five. But, while half of Americans make resolutions, only 8% follow through with them. If this is the year you plan to dedicate to improving your health, follow these tips to make it the most successful year yet.

1. Pick a realistic and measurable resolution

Statements such as “workout more” or “eat healthier” have no method of quantification, and therefore, no room to plan and evaluate. A targeted goal can be hard to come up with. Experts recommend using SMART goal setting. Is your resolution Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time Sensitive?

Now that you’ve thought of one, leave it at one. There is nothing wrong with wanting to improve more than one thing in your life, but when you focus on too much at a time, you can easily overwhelm yourself. It is better to succeed in one goal, fully, than to half reach several. It is the simple science behind the fact that multitasking doesn’t really work. In the article “The Science is Clear: Why Multitasking Doesn’t Work,” published on June 1st, 2017, by the Cleveland Clinic, contributors– Cynthia Kubu and Andre Machado– quote an old adage: “There is time enough for everything in the course of the day, if you do but one thing at once. But there is not enough in the year, if you will do two things at a time.”

2. Know your why and your how

Make a resolution that aligns with your overall goals and dreams. Don’t make the resolution to achieve that dream, because realistically that will require a lot of steps and may overwhelm you into ditching it all together. Having something that aligns with where you want to end up, gives you your “why.” Your why will be your true sense of motivation throughout your journey.

The best way to think about the “how” is to look at the how not. Reflect back on 2018 and think of what resolutions, plans and goals, you had for the year. Did you achieve them? If so, how, if not, why?

3. Don’t go for the all or nothing approach

The first slip up tends to end all when it comes to resolutions. In the Business Insider article from Jan. 3rd, 2017, writer  Kelsey Mulvey, states that “according to U.S. News, approximately 80% of resolutions fail by the second week of February.” And because of the mindset that Jan. 1st,  should be the time for change, once people stop, they don’t pick back up. Others think that if they don’t start right on time then “why not wait until 2020″! Today, Jan. 3rd, is not too late to begin your resolution!

Studies have actually found, planning to start a drastic change on Jan. 1st might actually lead to failure. You can’t make a permanent behavior change on a whim. Change requires a mental shift, through the five stages of change: pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action and maintenance. So unless you’ve gone through the first three steps already, it is unlikely a change will stick. And it is ok to start the first stage right now, and start the “action” stage in a couple of months.

Have a plan but focus on each day at a time. Keep yourself motivated and positive. And most importantly, be patient. You may be progressing, but not seeing the results you expected. Progress is never linear and occurs for everyone at different rates. If you slip up, acknowledge your mistakes and get back on track!

4. Don’t pick a resolution you don’t even like

If you know you hate running, don’t make your resolution to run more. If you love sweets, don’t make a resolution to cut them out entirely. Making resolutions that you dread is just as bad as making extreme resolutions. Don’t pick a resolution just because your boss, friend, family, or significant other, wants you to.

5. Break it up and plan out

If you followed tip number one, you’ll easily be able to do this. For some, jumping into a change, or going cold turkey, works. For most, slowly merging into a new routine, adding one step, and one progression at a time, is best. It also depends on the resolution. Obviously, if you can’t do more than one push up and your goal is to be able to do 10, you aren’t going to be able to be able to crank out 10 tomorrow.

6. Get help

Knowing when to ask for help is a major secret to success. You can’t always do it alone! Even telling others can keep you accountable! However, there is a fine line. There is a difference between telling people your plan and your goal. You want to do the former, not the latter. New studies are finding that when people set a new goal, they shift their self identity. People start to see themselves as the person who has already hit the goal. When you tell people your goal, you get a kick simply from their reaction. Your friends, family, coworkers- they become impressed with your goal, even before you have achieved it. The feeling that comes from their reaction, makes you less motivated to actually work towards the goal.

If you are looking for support from others, consider joining a “mastermind group.” In the article “Top 10 Most Common New Year’s Resolutions (and How to Follow Them), published by Go Skills, Brad Zonick describes a mastermind group as  “a collection of highly motivated people who share a common goal and are looking to encourage and help each other improve.”

In addition, there are all kinds of apps and websites that can help with tracking, planning, and motivating. Try new apps such as todoist, omnifocus and things. Or, if you haven’t tried a session with a personal trainer, this may be the year to do it.

7. Document

First, simply write down your resolution. If you’ve made a plan, likely, you’ve written it down somewhere. But if not, do it now! It will make your resolution more concrete and keep you from forgetting about it. This will also help keep you motivated when you look back and see how far you have come.

From there, keep tracking. Write down milestones, PRs, struggles, temptations and new goals. A favorite among many is the classic before and after picture. Documenting will keep you reviewing your progress. Try to do this weekly to check in.

In addition, writing it down can actually help with the planning aspect, avoiding the most cliche excuse: “I don’t have time.” Write it down in your calendar, to intentionally make time.

See how you feel after finishing that written down item. In the article, “The Science of Accomplishing Your Goals,” published on Oct. 3rd, 2016, in Psychology Today, writer Ralph Ryback explains how “the satisfaction of ticking off a small task is linked with a flood of dopamine.” That flood will encourage you to continue that behavior in the future.

8.Celebrate all self improvement

At the end of the day, month or year, your reasonable goal may actually not be fully achievable to you. But that does not make you a failure. If you gave something your all, worked hard at it, and improved, celebrate it! You will hit some goals and not others, but if you allow yourself to get down, good luck in your attempt to even start next year!


It is not to late to make a change for 2019! Get to work on your resolution today!


Are Fitness Trackers Actually Making Us Healthier?

Written by Jamie Potter. Posted in Blog, Wellness Bites

Fit bitWalk around and count how many Fitbits or Smartwatches you see. Some use them specifically for exercise, others use them consistently throughout the day. Fitness tracking has exploded in recent years with the theory that these trackers encourage healthier behaviors. In 2015, “1 in 5 American’s owned some type of wearable technology.” Tim Bajaran, Here’s Why Fitness Trackers Are Here to Stay

The rise in wearables can be attributed to many factors; from their perceived encouragement of healthy behaviors, their ability to track your progress and give a real time idea of how you are doing, to their broader impact in Healthcare.

“CDW Healthcare says wearable technology could drop hospital costs by as much as 16% over the course of five years, while remote patient monitoring technologies could save the healthcare system $200 billion over the next 25 years.” Barjaran, Here’s Why Fitness Trackers Are Here to Stay

Others, are excited simply by the idea of being able to measure what only doctors used to be able to measure. The individual now has daily knowledge about the “workings of [their] own bodies” (David Pogue, Fitness Trackers Are Everywhere, but Do They Work?), knowledge they used to only gather once a year through physicals.

However, studies have found these devices aren’t very accurate.

In a study that compared hundreds of tracking devices, and then tested and compared the top 10 in the market, it was found that “even the top picks were consistently off by at least a couple steps every trial.” The Best Fitness Tracker

In addition, every single device was off by an average of 10 beats per minute, in every single test for heart rate. A couple of steps may not be a huge deal, but there is a big difference between a resting heart rate of 60 bpm and 70 bpm.

If you’re purchasing this device to know exact measurements of your body, you’re out of luck, but if you have a fitness tracker for the reason the majority of the population does, all that you really need out of it is consistency.

“The excitement is how companies like Fitbit “bring the importance of physical activity to the forefront…and makes monitoring one’s health part of a lifestyle.” Barjaran, Here’s Why Fitness Trackers Are Here to Stay

Unfortunately, again, this may not be so. There isn’t much data to support that those that own or use fitness trackers are healthier.

A study at the University of Pittsburgh, involving 470 participants, ages 18-35, found that those using a fitness tracker lost significantly less weight. Those in the control group lost an average of 13 pounds, while those in the experimental group lost an average of 7.7 pounds.

Yet, another study involving 51 overweight postmenopausal women, getting an average of 33 minutes of activity a week, did see some increased physical activity when they wore a Fitbit. The 51 were divided into two groups. One group received standard pedometers and the other a Fitbit, an instructional session, and a follow up call after four weeks. The pedometer group did not have a significant increase while the experimental group increased activity by 38 minutes a week. The goal had been at least a total of 150 minutes a week, so neither group hit the goal.

The differences in studies shows the effects of fitness trackers to be inconclusive in motivating people to be active or to lose weight. The difference in outcomes could be due to participants, sample size or duration of the study.

There are other downsides to fitness trackers to be considered. For instance, these devices are tracking everything from activity to sleep cycles. This amounts to millions of bits of data and makes one question who owns the information and has access to it. Some in the medical community feel it is a waste of data to not be actively using it for research. There is also a feeling from some that these devices complicate life, adding stress and pressure to reach goals. Of 200 female Fitbit users, 89% did believe it made them healthier by walking more, eating more and by giving them a “pat on the back”. But, at the same time, 45% of those users said it made them feel naked, 30% said it made them feel guilty when they wouldn’t hit their goals and 79% said they felt under pressure to reach goals.

All in all, if you’re considering a purchase, understand the true use of the product and what you’ll get from it. And that may not be exact numbers, or lost weight.

“The major disadvantage of the devices, says Cadmus-Bertram, is that “sometimes people expect too much from them. The tracker is there to keep you honest and help motivate you. It cannot exercise for you, nor can it motivate an otherwise unmotivated person,”” Amy Fleming, Fitness Trackers: Healthy Little Helpers or No-good Gadgets?

For some, having these devices makes them feel like they are more motivated and that’s all that matters. And maybe it has gotten you personally to keep active. RCSC member, Katrina Kimpel, has had her Fitbit for 3 years and says it keeps her motivated and moving, especially at the office. She also likes the challenge to get steps in.

“It keeps me from getting out of control during the holidays as I stay more focused on my diet and keep moving,” Katrina says.

If you strongly believe you’re that kind of person, don’t let this blog sway you, but, make sure you get the best in the market!

In a study that looked at three different types of trackers–basic fitness trackers, heart rate monitoring devices and heart rate monitoring trackers with GPS—10 of the top referenced trackers were tested. The results showed the Garmin Vivi Fit 3 as the best contender, and the Fitbit Charge as a close second. All 10 trackers tested had wireless syncing, activity notifications, water resistancy, minimum one year warranties, and unisex designs. However, if you’re looking for consistency, the Tom Tom Spark 3 is for you.

Maybe you love the tracker you already have and won’t give it up for the world. Maybe you enjoy watching your steps and celebrating when you hit 10,000. Maybe you haven’t used yours and realize you don’t need it to be motivated.  Maybe you just received one as a holiday gift! Just don’t expect too much from them and Fitbits and Smartwatches can still be a lot of fun.

11 Tips for a Healthier Thanksgiving

Written by Jamie Potter. Posted in Blog, Wellness Bites

thaknsThe holiday season can do a damper on an otherwise healthy lifestyle. To avoid setting yourself back, giving up on that diet, or getting back into bad habits, follow this guide for a healthier Thanksgiving.

1. Pick healthier items to fill your plate with

When choosing what dish to cook, or to scoop on your plate, be aware of the health differences. Chose white meat over dark meat, green bean casserole over sweet potato casserole, pumpkin pie over apple pie, a dinner roll over stuffing and gravy over cranberry sauce. For many of these, it’s as simple as caloric differences but other aspects play a role. Consider pumpkin pie and apple pie. Usually the former goes with whipped cream and the latter with ice cream. Which of those two do you think has more calories? Gravy may come as a shock but the same serving of gravy is around 30 calories while cranberry sauce is around 110. Why? Sugar.

2. Eat smaller portions

The first step in portion control is being aware of the correct portion size. A portion of carbohydrates is the size of your fist, a portion of protein is the size of your palm and a portion of vegetables is the size of your open hand. Try using familiar household items as reference points. Three ounces of meat equals a deck of cards, one ounce is the size of a matchbook and one cup of potatoes is the size of a tennis ball. One way to help is to get a smaller plate!

Other techniques to avoid overeating include: staying warm, since dining in colder environments makes us eat more; sitting next to someone healthier, since we are social creatures and tend to mirror our peers; or chewing on gum, studies suggest the act of chewing on gum tricks your brain into thinking its eating more. Some studies even suggest chewing burns a couple of calories.

Keep your dinner plate before serving yourself dessert. By using it as a reminder for what you’ve already eaten, you’re less likely to serve yourself a huge slice of that holiday pie.

Lastly, try picturing the food you’re about to eat before eating it. Science has found simply visualizing the food makes us less interested, think “bored” by it. The same can work with visualizing exercising. It has been found that those that pictured the workout or the activity they plan to do after eating, ate less.

3.Picking the right lighting and colors

When it comes to plates, a theory called Delboeuf Illusion, shows that when there is a high contrast in the food on the plate with the plate color, people eat less. People eat less, also, on blue plates or when food is dyed blue. While I don’t suggest, for festive reasons (blue is not a thanksgiving color!) dying your food blue, the plate thing could work if you are creative. Blue is a rare occurrence in nature and therefore an appetite suppressant. Blue, purple and black were warning signs for hunter gatherers who were looking to avoid poisonous foods.

Lighting also makes a difference. Dim lighting makes you eat less but bright lighting makes you choose healthier meals! What it comes down to is alertness. The reason bright lighting leads to healthy choices is because of diner’s alertness. In studies, when given a caffeine placebo, people were just as likely as those in brightly lit rooms to make healthful choices. So there are two options: leave the room bright when people serve themselves then dim the lighting to eat, or drink a cup of coffee or go on a brisk walk before sitting down for that dim lit thanksgiving meal.

 4. Drink less alcohol

People tend to willingly forget the added calories that come in alcoholic beverages. This gets even harder when the holiday season rolls around and there are so many fun holiday drinks to pair with your feasts! But not only does alcohol add to your daily calorie count, it also increases your appetite.

Instead, drink lots of water. Not only does this hydrate you but by having something to sip since sometimes having an alcoholic drink is just about the social act of taking sips. Use low calorie mixers or choose a glass of wine over a holiday cocktail. Drink slowly, just as you should eat slowly, to consume less and try to keep the focus on friends and family; that’s what thanksgiving is about anyways!

thansk25. Spread the meal out

Many of us get so excited for the Thanksgiving feast that we fast in the morning to leave room for all the food in the mid to late afternoon. However, this leads to binging! While every person is different, some can fast and be fine, and others need small meals every couple of hours, everyone should at least have a small meal before the big one to avoid over eating. Eat a light breakfast or a tiny and healthy snack beforehand to keep the cravings down.

6. Fit that morning workout in

Get a quick workout early in the day. One of the great events of Thanksgiving is the Turkey Trot! There are turkey trots across the country and several in the area! If you don’t have time for a big event like this try a home workout.

7. Burn calories through chores

Still don’t feel like you have enough time do a home workout? Go a little harder on the cleaning! Housework can burn a bunch of calories. Mopping floors burns about 112 every 30 minutes, vacuuming around 119, sweeping around 136, cleaning windows around 167 and moving furniture (rearranging for all of the guests) can burn 100 calories in 15 minutes!

Along with cleaning, you can burn some calories by cooking too! Burn around 122 calories seasoning, prepping, stirring and whisking while cooking the turkey. Burn 54 calories peeling, cutting and mashing potatoes, another 54 trimming, cooking and tossing green beans for green bean casserole, and another 54 for prepping and stirring cranberry sauce. Burn 135 calories measuring, prepping and mixing pumpkin pie, and last but not least, in 75 minutes of total time, preparing traditional sausage stuffing, you can burn 203 calories chopping, sautéing, and mixing.

8. Drink lots of water

Going off on water helping you avoid alcohol, it also helps you eat less! Not only does water fill you up but it also helps you pinpoint your true hunger levels. Many times we think we’re hungry when really we’re just dehydrated. The feelings of hunger– empty stomach and gurgling stomach, low energy levels, light-headedness– are also associated with thirst. Also, by choosing to drink water, you are choosing to not drink something else. In a 2015 BMC Public Health study, it was found that every 3.4 ounces of water consumed, people drank .7 less in caloric beverages.

9. Get the right amount of sleep

Sleep has an enormous impact on dietary choices. Not only does it impair decision making and rev up the brain’s reward centers but insufficient sleep impacts the hunger and fullness hormones ghrelin and leptin. Cortisol levels spike, asking your body to conserve energy to fuel your waking hours, and your body’s ability to process insulin goes awry, which leads to trouble processing fats from the bloodstream and instead, storing them as fat.

10. Get active after

While you may have worked out earlier in the day, few people will ever leave a Thanksgiving meal with the sudden urge to hit the gym, so it’s good to find another way to be active. Watching football after the feast is an American tradition but just sitting after eating so much is probably the worst thing you can do. Instead, go for a light stroll or initiate a family dance party!

ssfksfja11. Make healthier dishes

While most people look forward to traditional Thanksgiving food all year, sometimes it’s nice to switch it up. Make your own cranberry sauce instead of buying store bought that’s filled with sugar. You can have fun with it, with this orange cranberry or this cranberry apple recipe. Try cauliflower stuffing instead of the traditional sausage stuffing. Pick a unique but festive side dish that’s not usual on the menu like balsamic cranberry brussel sprouts, or roasted brussel sprouts, cinnamon butternut squash, or a fall harvest salad with pumpkin harvest dressing. Or just pick a lower calorie version of the traditional dishes such as this green bean casserole or this sweet potato casserole. Sometimes just switching a topping such as marshmallows for pecans can make a huge difference.


Enjoy these tips but do not stress! Enjoy your Thanksgiving!

*photo credit: timeanddate.com, pioneerwoman.com

Coconuts: What’s a consumer to do?

Written by Jamie Potter. Posted in Blog, Wellness Bites

IMG_0700Coconut products have become the latest superfood solution you could add to just about everything. Coconut milk is called a healthy alternative to cow’s milk and is now available at many coffee shops, Starbucks being a leader in this option. People are swapping out butter in recipes for coconut oil. They sprinkle coconut on top of yogurt, acai bowls, chia pudding, pancakes, oatmeal – you name it. But, is it actually good for you? A quick Google search yields plenty of articles touting the coconut’s miracle-like qualities. Change the wording in your Google search and articles appear warning you to stay away from coconut products.  What’s a consumer to do??

To start, different parts of coconuts and different byproducts of coconut trees, provide different health benefits, or health disasters. Coconut oil is the most contested. Claims have been made that this oil makes hair shiny, skin soft, and teeth clean and white, removes make up, and can even be used as an alternative to sunscreen. Along with topical uses, ingesting the oil is rumored to slow aging, protect against Alzheimer’s, promote weight loss, prevent heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and other chronic disease, improve digestion, strengthen the immune system; and even treat herpes infections and AIDS.   While those claims deserve their own research, from a purely nutritional aspect, should one use coconut oil rather than butter, olive oil, canola oil, or sunflower oil?

IMG_0698Coconut oil is derived from the pressing of the coconut meat. As much as 84-90% of its calories come from saturated fat. Compare this with olive oil, which is 14% saturated fat, or butter at 64%. The American Heart Association recommends limiting saturated fat to 13 grams a day. At 90% saturated fat, that limit is reached with a mere tablespoon of coconut oil.

The widely viewed and scientifically backed problem with saturated fats is that they raise one’s bad cholesterol (LDL), which forms plaque in arteries and causes blockage. The tricky thing about coconut oil, is that while it contains a high percentage of saturated fat, there is more than one variety of saturated fat. The kind found in coconut oil comes from medium chain triglycerides, or MCTs, rumored to be better handled in the body than the longer chained fats found in vegetable oil, dairy and fatty meats. This is from where the weight loss claim is derived. Your body processes these kinds of fats differently and is more likely to burn them as calories than convert them into fat. While not all calories are the same, coconut oil is still very high in calories and should be limited for weight loss goals (“The Truth About Coconut Oil,” 2016).

In addition, coconut oil increases HDL (good cholesterol that plays a role in lowering LDL) at a higher rate than other oils. About half the fat in coconut oil is the 12-carbon variety called lauric acid, which is most likely responsible for the raise in HDL. However, it is unclear how big of a role HDL plays in balancing out the LDL. It takes time to see the overall effects of lifestyle changes on heart disease. Longitudinal studies are needed and experiments are difficult to perform. Therefore, most doctors suggest limiting your saturated fat consumption, regardless of the variety (“Ask the doctor: Coconut oil,” 2011.)

Coconut oil has now become a fad. When the media reports that something is “good”, people jump on the bandwagon, without doing their own research. When the media says something is “bad”, people overreact and overcompensate. Coconut wasn’t always raved about, in fact, it was considered a menace. In the 80s the media demonized coconut oil for its role in heart disease, because of the high saturated fat content. However, while throwing out their coconut oils, people switched to an even deadlier alternative: hydrogenated oils…trans-fat. At the time, the research wasn’t solidified on the effect trans-fat has on the body. Today, we have gone full circle. The media has publicized the danger of trans-fat and people have switched back to tropical oils and other saturated fats (“Is Coconut Oil A ‘Miracle’ Food?”, 2014).

Some have heard the stories of how good coconut flakes, butter, milk, flour, and oil are for you and have embraced these products with no idea of the percent of saturated fat within these products. For others, the knowledge is present, but they are among the consumers challenging decades of research done on the effects of saturated fats, theorizing that these fats are not bad after all and are, in fact, good for you.

This new view on saturated fats is fueled by people like Nina Teicholz, author of The Big Fat Surprise. Nina is on the extreme end, stating in an ABC interview that she believes it is fine to eat red meat three times a day. She praises food items such as bacon, hamburgers, steak and meatballs. Another big name in the pro-saturated fat camp is Dave Asprey, the author of “The Bulletproof Diet” and inventor of Bulletproof Coffee: coffee with butter. While these authors and other recent studies start an interesting conversation, the American Heart Association warns one should not change their diet because of a couple of new studies. They state guidelines will not change until new evidence is concrete.

For the traditionalists, what it comes down to is what is being chosen as replacements within a diet. If you are abstaining from saturated fats but are filling up on processed carbs and sugary foods, you are probably doing your body more harm than good, and definitely not losing weight. But, if you are choosing saturated fats instead of nuts and other unsaturated fats, which are proven to lower heart disease, then you are not helping your body either (“The Truth About Coconut Oil”, 2016). The HDL to LDL ratio should be considered and the more you eat coconut oil the less you are eating your other fat sources, which may have higher HDL and lower LDL levels.

To be safe, most doctors recommend that one use coconut oil sparingly. Despite this new health craze, avoid getting too excited and using coconut oil for all of your cooking! Limit coconut oil consumption to a tablespoon or less a day. At the same time, don’t throw out all of your coconut products, as there are some health benefits: antioxidants, fiber, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, calcium, potassium and magnesium, to mention a few. Not every part of the coconut has equal health benefits.

Similar to coconut oil, coconut milk is high in calories and fat. In countries where coconut is an important part of traditional dishes, the milk is not drunken or used for cereals, as in the U.S. However, what is on U.S. grocery shelves is generally a lower-calorie version.

Coconut butter tends to be a better choice than coconut oil, when considering replacements of traditional ingredients.  It has more fiber and antioxidants and less saturated fat than the oil.

There is little evidence to say one should stay away from coconut’s delicious meat. Which is good news for those that didn’t switch to coconut products just for the benefits, but more so for the taste. One ounce of raw coconut is about 100 calories and contains 9 grams of fat, 3 grams of fiber and very little sugar.

Similarly, coconut flour is made from ground, dry coconut meat. This substitute for wheat flour offers more fiber at the expense of only a few more calories per serving. It also adds that delicious coconut flavor to recipes.

IMG_0699The healthiest part of the coconut, with positive health benefits and no downside, is the water found within. It is fat-free, low in calories, high in potassium and filled with electrolytes.

Lastly, there is coconut sugar. This sugar has nothing to do with the coconut itself. It derived from the nectar of the flowering buds of the coconut tree. It is simply another sugar alternative, meaning your body will break down coconut sugar as it does any other sugar. There is very little that is special about coconut sugar; it is less sweet and more expensive (“Is Coconut Oil A ‘Miracle’ Food?”, 2014)

It is difficult to find perfection in nutrition. New studies come out every year refuting old claims. What it comes down to is finding balance and moderation. So don’t throw out your coconut oil and milk – just be mindful until more concrete evidence comes in about this new “saturated-fat revolution”.


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.


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

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!”

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.


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.


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


  • 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.