Fitness: Discover the AVAC® Difference!

The Active Lifestyle – By Sheena Dinga, Team AVAC

sheena climb

The Active Lifestyle

Being active is a way of life. In my opinion, getting out there and choosing to have that lifestyle is not something you just naturally have. It’s something that gets introduced to you and you either love it or hate it. Growing up the extent of what we did to stay active was playing outside with the neighbors. It was, of course, fun at the time, but now that I look back, that’s not all that exciting. It wasn’t until I started to work at AVAC that I was actually introduced to everything that I had no idea was out there.

sheena medal

The people that I worked with became my extended family and since they were ALL active people, I started to try out their hobbies. It started with me meeting up with them to go running. I was never a runner nor did I ever like it. I was the one walking the mile in my PE classes back in the day. But when I was with them it was somehow more fun. Then I went camping. It was the first time I had ever slept in a tent. I even went out and bought my own sleeping bag. It turned out to be a good one because I still have it to this day and it goes with me on all of my trips. And then there was Half Dome…never in my life did I think I would hike up that mountain. That was huge to me. I loved it all so much I tried and tried and tried and finally got my siblings to apply to work here because I wanted them to be a part of this too.

sheena bridge

Since then I run about 5 to 6 races a year, I even ran my first marathon this past May, I do some rock climbing here and there, go camping at least once a year, go on smaller hikes around here and bigger ones when ever I get the chance. Last year I went on a 6 day camping/hiking trip through the Colorado Rockies and earlier this summer I climbed Mt. Shasta. Needless to say staying active has become a part of who I am. I have learned how to make it fun so it doesn’t become a chore or something I have to do. It is now something that I want to do.

-Sheena Dinga, Team AVAC

What Your Activity Tracker Sees and Doesn’t See

via – well.blogs.nytimes.com

High-tech fitness and activity trackers all share one thing: an accelerometer. Here’s how they work — and don’t. Accelerometers record changes in motion relative to the device: up and down, side to side, and front to back. This little device contains a three-axis accelerometer. When still, it records only the force of gravity. When moved, it records acceleration. The needs of guided missiles and spaceflight first advanced accelerometer technology. Later use in cars to deploy airbags drove the cost down — and now they’re used to rotate smartphone screens. They now cost so little they’re being added to almost everything, even forks and toothbrushes and dogs and cats. Today’s most popular human activity trackers are worn on the wrist and use accelerometers to measure motion. Proprietary software algorithms analyze that motion and estimate the number of steps you’ve taken, how many calories you’ve burned and how active you are in general. To count steps while walking, an activity tracker looks for periodic motion with acceleration above a certain threshold. Activity trackers record your activity, but they also record your inactivity — the amount of time you’ve been sitting around. Even if it’s sitting without a chair. Wall-sits or yoga are much harder than sitting at a desk but an activity tracker generally can’t tell the difference. The accelerometer measures only motion, not exertion — no matter how hard you’re straining yourself or how heavy the deadlift is. The smartphone apps for different activity trackers will let you put in exercises manually to get a more accurate calorie-burn estimate. Future devices may even help you perfect–But right now, the algorithms are far from perfect. Time for a snack. The motion from eating chips looks more vigorous than the bicep curls. The algorithms are improving though. And any movement, even household chores, can be beneficial to physical activity. Unfortunately, today’s wrist-worn accelerometers are still calibrated for steps and can’t tell when you’re cycling. But that shouldn’t stop us from enjoying a ride. Activity trackers still can’t understand every different exercise and move — but they do a pretty good job at seeing a person’s overall daily activity level.

Follow This Running Tip to Prevent Dreaded Shin Splints

via – www.fitsugar.com

That sharp, biting pain near your shins is no laughing matter. It happens when you overstress your lower legs and can be so unbearable that you have to stop midrun — or worse — take a break from running altogether. Runners can experience shin splints for a variety of reasons including moving runs from a treadmill to the outdoors, increasing mileage, or improper running form. Doing this shin-strengthening exercise is one way to prevent this issue when you’re not running, but there’s also a way to help prevent shin splints during the run itself.

Heel striking (where your heel makes contact with the ground first) may feel natural for you, but it’s also easier to overstride in this foot strike, causing the body to place extra stress on the joints and lower leg muscles. You can avoid using your joints as shock absorbers with this simple tip from celebrity trainer and TomTom Cardio running expert Joel Harper. While running, he suggests to picture your knees and ankles like springs, then “imagine you are [running] on a sheet of glass and you don’t want to break it.” With each step, think of yourself as floating rather than pounding. “Try to strike as lightly as possible without making any noise,” Joel says. If this seems impossible, focus on landing on your midfoot, which can help you feel lighter when you run. Adopting a new foot strike may seem hard, but with time, it will become more natural, helping to prevent other running-related injuries.

Source: Thinkstock

Get In, Get Out: A Heart-Pumping 20-Minute Elliptical Plan

via – www.fitsugar.com (PopSugar Fitness)

Even when you’re not in the mood to work out, a quick cardio session at the gym will help keep you on your healthy track and feeling fit. This kick-ass 20-minute elliptical workout keeps the pace quick and the resistance high to offer you a solid workout in a short period of time.

00:00-3:00 5 140 Warmup
03:00-5:00 7 150
05:00-07:00 8 150-160
07:00-08:00 10 190-210 Sprint
08:00-10:00 6 150-160
10:00-12:00 10 190-210 Sprint
12:00-14:00 8 150-160
14:00-15:00 10 190-210 Sprint
15:00-17:00 7 150-160
17:00-18:00 8 190-210 Sprint
18:00-20:00 5 140 Cooldown

*SPM = strides per minute
Incline = 20 percent

Click here for an image-free printable version of this elliptical interval workout.

How are YOU warming up?

Photo cred: blog.codyapp.com/

How are YOU warming up?

The “Warm-Up”. Probably THE most important yet, utterly under estimated portion of your fitness routine. The Warm-Up is your opportunity to turn your inner core temperature up, loosen up those tight muscle and ligaments, and get you body ready for work. A proper Warm-Up will decrease your chances of injury, physiologically prepare the body for work, and increase performance.

Big deal, so what, who cares…just tell me what to do! Well then, here it is…

A proper Warm-Up should be a minimum of 5 minutes and last up to 15-20 minutes. First, get the heart rate up! Any way possible: Cardio, Calisthenics, Jumping Rope, Functional Movements, etc. Build up to a light sweat, something around 60-70% of your Maximal Hear Rate for 4-8 minutes should do the trick. Second, MOVE! That’s right, move your body in every way possible! Do some calisthenics, some joint mobility exercises, or some yoga. You want to move the body and loosen everything up. But save the serious stretching for after the workout. Once the engine is warm, now you’re ready to workout!

– Jon Cebula, Personal Trainer
Almaden Valley Athletic Club



Madison’s AbsoluteFIT Progress

Madison Before...and After

Madison Before…and After

Madison’s Story…

“I was cleaning out my room one day and stumbled upon pictures from my years in college and noticed as each year went by, my waistline got bigger and bigger. It was not only a photo collage of the great times I had in college but also an in your face representation of how shifted my priorities had become. Over the years I had always known I was gaining the weight, and would try various weight loss methods. I lost a little weight here and there but was never able to turn the positive changes I had made into a permanent lifestyle. I would become discouraged by the lack of quick results after a few weeks of intense effort then give up thinking it was just another hopeless attempt. I had to limit the stores I shopped in and was forced to shop in the ones that only carried plus size clothes. I would see another picture of myself and try to put another plan into action but be haunted by my past weight loss failures. I felt as though I would never lose the weight.

In March, I was told about AbsoluteFIT and decided to try it out. I was apprehensive at first about signing up due to the overwhelming amount of weight I needed to lose and my history of lower back injuries. I was concerned my back wasn’t ready to handle this kind of challenge. I met with my coach Oceana, who explained that AbsoluteFIT is a whole lifestyle change. You can’t just choose one aspect of your life to change and lose the weight you want. It’s a combination of being active, choosing foods that fuel your body and changing your outlook. In order to really understand my starting point, Oceana took all my measurements (height, weight, body fat percentage and a fitness test) to track my progress as we went through the program. I informed her of my back problems and she went over modifications we could try if my back was acting up. We also went over my goals and put an action plan together where I was to work out 5 days a week and make small changes to my diet. Small changes to my diet, not a problem. Working out 5 days a week, seemed impossible. I communicated my concern with Oceana and told her 5 days a week was too much starting out. She just smiled and told me “We’re going to get you missing exercise on your off days… you can do 5 days”. I laughed out loud and told her I don’t even like exercising and missing it was not going to happen. I walked out of her office telling myself I’d try it out and do my best.

My first AbsoluteFIT class was HARD, I’m not going to lie. My weak legs trembled as I attempted to walk down the stairs after class and I had to sit down before taking a shower, worried about the possibility of passing out. I didn’t know how I was going to keep this up. But class after class and to my surprise, it got easier and I became stronger. All the core exercises during the classes strengthened my back and each trainer gave me modifications as I needed them. I even began craving exercise on my off days (shocker) and felt like my day was incomplete if I didn’t get some sort of exercise in. I unfortunately had to put my workouts on hold after undergoing a procedure for my lower back but Oceana was ready and waiting for me to recover, armed with excellent lower back exercises for when I felt like I was ready to start again. It has been 5 months since starting AbsoluteFIT and I feel like a completely different person. My paradigm towards food and exercise has been shifted and making the better choice has become a habit. I have done a lot of reflection on why my past experiences with weight loss were unsuccessful and the conclusion I have come to is that I was trying to accomplish weight loss by myself. I have found success with AbsoluteFIT due to the constant support from my coach Oceana and the AbsoluteFIT team and I have been motivated and inspired to maintain the new changes in my life. What I like and value the most is that Oceana doesn’t just tell me to watch what I eat and show me how to exercise… I can get that from any website or how to book. She practices what she preaches and it is inspiring to see her working just as hard as I am. About a month ago, I stepped into a “non plus size” shop just to see if I could fit in their pants and to my surprise, I did. It had been 7 years since I could fit into regular size pants and I was out of my mind excited. I now take pictures with pride knowing that when I look back on them in the years to come, I will be happy and proud of the person I have become. Big thanks to Oceana and the AbsoluteFIT team!”