Fitness: Discover the AVAC® Difference!

Tips for a Fit Flight!

via – Mary Ann Smith, Senior Wellness Director, AVAC®

mary ann air tips

Next year we have several trips planned from Almaden Valley Athletic Club®. Our first trip is in April to Washington DC; then to New Orleans and Graceland; next is a trip to the Canadian Rockies & Glacier Nation Park; and last the Southern Charm Holiday to Savannah and Jekyll Island.

With this in mind, we would like to maintain good health while flying. What should we do to keep ourselves healthy?

First:  Dress comfortable because clothes that constrict can cause compression of the blood vessels and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

Second:  The lack of humidity on a plane can make the air feel dry. The dryness makes blood more concentrated and can promote a deep vein thrombosis and its complications. To combat dehydration and dryness, keep drinking water and use eye drops.

Third:  Use easy seat exercises to beat stiffness on long flights. Ankle circles, knee lifts, knee to chest and toe tapping are exercises that are easily done in your seat.

Before you travel be sure to let your airline know about any need for services that you may have. Airlines are willing to help with any assistance you may need.  Hope to see you on one of our new adventures in 2016.

Click to read more about our upcoming trips.

– Mary Ann

Fun Hallowen Recipe: Pretzel Spider Webs

Trick or treat! Halloween season is finally here, which means you have an excuse to make adorable treats like these Pretzel Spider Webs! The pretzel-chocolate combination is a favorite among many kids, so we’re confident these are going to become a Halloween tradition in your house. Plus, two webs will only put you out 71 calories! Don’t forget to pick up some spider rings to surprise the kiddies!

Pretzel Spider Web

photos via skinnymom.com

Pretzel Spider Web

Pretzel Spider Web

”I could not believe how easy these were to make. I’m not the most skilled person in the kitchen but the boys and I made these with ease! Perfect little snack when you need something sweet and salty.” – Raye, Resident Mom, October 2015
Pretzel Spider Web

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: None

Yield: 6 servings

Serving size: 2 webs


  • 48 mini pretzel rods
  • 2 ounces melting white chocolate


  1. Start by carefully breaking the pretzel rods in half, using 4 for each web.
  2. On a silicone baking mat, or a piece of parchment paper, lay out the webs by placing the pretzel rods in a snowflake shape with the broken ends meeting in the middle.
  3. Melt the chocolate in a small microwave-safe bowl in 15 second intervals until it is melted.
  4. Allow the chocolate to cool so it is safe enough to touch, and then transfer it to a resealable ziplock bag and cut a very narrow tip at the corner.
  5. Pipe the chocolate in the center of the pretzel web to connect the pieces, then drizzle in a circular motion to make the web. Each web will use about 1½ teaspoons of melted chocolate.
  6. Allow to harden, then gently pop them off of the surface with a flat metal spatula.

Nutrition Information

Per Serving: (2 webs)

Calories: 71

Calories from fat: 24

Fat: 3g

Saturated Fat: 3g

Cholesterol: 0mg

Sodium: 97mg

Carbohydrates: 11g

Fiber: 0g

Sugar 6g

Protein: 1g

WWP+: 2


Lydia’s AbsoluteFIT Journey | “Drink Some Haterade”


I was looking through some old posts, and I realized I sound like Sunnyside Susie, always chirping and cheering about AbsoluteFIT — which, tbh, is because I really do love it.


Just keeping it real, there are a few things I’m not 100% down with … here’s a sample:

  • Burpees. Good living SHATNER do I hate burpees, and there’s always someone makin’ me do them, just cause they “burn a lot of calories” and “are a really high-intensity full-body move” or stuff like that! Grrrrr!
  • Partnered exercises. I can’t help it — I love my AbsoluteFIT buddies, and partnered exercises give me anxiety: I’m always afraid I’m going to let my partner down (“Gosh, could Lydia BE any slower on those sit-ups???”), or possibly injure them with an ill-timed move or my Hardy Farmer Hand-Grip or whatever.
  • Starting out behind the 8-ball. On days I’m exhausted (like yesterday, when I woke up at 4:05 a.m. for no reason and couldn’t get back to sleep), or late to the studio (KIDS, amirite?), or feeling the effects of the previous night’s ill-advised last glass of wine, I have trouble getting into my workout. It’s always worth it, and I invariably feel much better after, but still, those first few minutes can be a doozy if I’m not on my game.
  • Lunch. I never know what to do about lunch — I want something high-protein, easy to fix, quick, and relatively low-calorie, and I want someone else to provide it for me, and I want to not have to think about it, and I want it right after AbsoluteFIT because breakfast has long since burned off and I’m starving … but it’s not quite 10:00 a.m. So basically, I need a nanny, right? Who is also a licensed nutritionist? In reality, I eat cereal or those awesome Sargento Balanced Breaks more often than a grown adult should. Sigh.
  • Missing a workout. Man, I hate when that happens …

What are your less-favorite workout things? Air them here!

—Lydia M.

Why You’re Out of Breath Walking Up Stairs—Even Though You’re Fit

via – Greatist.com

photo via greatist.com

You can crush a spin class, run a 5K with ease, and power through weight sessions at the gym. But you still get winded climbing a flight of stairs.

The good news is that’s totally normal. “It doesn’t mean you’re out of shape,” says Jordan Syatt, a certified personal trainer and Greatist expert. “You just elevated your heart rate and need more oxygen.” Unless you’re doing staircase workouts or using the StairMaster religiously, a quick burst of energy can leave you short of breath, says Nieca Goldberg, M.D., a cardiologist and director of the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health at NYU Langone Medical Center.

Climbing a flight of stairs uses more muscles than the simple act of walking, Syatt says. After all, you’re essentially doing lunges uphill (and fighting gravity in the process). And a move like that might be slightly more advanced than most people’s fitness level, Goldberg says. As any trainer will tell you, once a workout becomes too easy, you need to add intensity if you want to keep seeing progress. At the new level of difficulty, you’ll be challenged again.

Why Am I Winded Going Up the Stairs?

photo via greatist.com

Another potential culprit? If you’re already working out vigorously to train for a strenuous event, like a half or full marathon, getting up a flight of stairs is just contributing to your already heavy workload. Running up 20 stairs, as opposed to running 20 paces on flat land, combines an aerobic activity with a strength activity, says Jason Fitzgerald, a certified track and field coach and Greatist expert. “Even if you’re in great shape, that’s going to get you out of breath very quickly,” Fitzgerald says.

Your Action Plan

“Like anything, you’ll get better at it with practice,” Fitzgerald says. Syatt suggests incorporating lower-body strength exercises like split squats, lunges, and reverse lunges into your workouts to help mimic the movement of going up stairs.

“Start with your own body weight, then eventually add 15, 30, or even 40 pounds,” Syatt says. “When you’re walking up the stairs, it’ll be a lot easier because you’re more conditioned for it.”

So go ahead and breathe a sigh of relief—as soon as you get to the top, that is.


Have You Challenged Yourself Lately?

via – Sheena Dinga, Team AVAC®

logo basic final

I am currently participating in a ‘trial run’ at AVAC® called the Champs Challenge. It is a 28-day challenge that is simply a great push for those that need to jump start their active lifestyle. You get credit for every workout you do (up to 2 a day), at AVAC®. For those super competitive people, you can log 2 work outs a day and win the prize for most workouts done overall. But for those of us that just want to do it for the extra push, it’s so worth it also.

I’m not saying that I have consistently done a workout everyday, but I have started consciously making the time to do a work out here or there and knowing myself this would not have happened without this Challenge. For instance…I have started attending my normal Yoga class that I have not been to in almost 9 months (Mira’s class at 8:10 on Tuesdays nights- it’s amazing you should go!) and on my days off instead of relaxing all day I make myself get on the stationary bike for a little bit to actually earn the relaxation that happens later. And of course there is the occasional class that I add just for variety and to try something new.

There are also weekly lectures offered on various topics to give you a little more information on how to work out properly. I have to say I really enjoyed them. I didn’t think I was going to have so many “a-ha” moments in the mere 30 minutes we were in there.

As the Challenge comes to an end, I may not win any physical prizes, but I have gained so much more. I am so happy with everything it did for me as far as developing my mind set and having a better understanding as to how a workout can help your cause and how to not “waste my time” while at the gym.  Thank you fitness department for putting this together!


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Lydia’s AbsoluteFIT Journey: “Five For Fitness”


via – Lydia M., AbsoluteFIT participant


A handful o’ things about and around AbsoluteFIT.

Er’body loves a list, right? Here are five things on my mind about AbsoluteFIT lately:

  • New blood: There have been a couple of new trainers working into the rotation lately — new to AbsoluteFIT, not new to fitness training in general. And as much as we love our regular trainers, it is great to experience a workout led by someone whose style you’re not familiar with — keeps you on your toes!
  • Winning at Walk-a-Thon: Remember when I said one of my AbsoluteFIT goals was to be a good example to my kids? Well — I’m taking the TEN MILES my 8-year-old daughter walked at her school’s walk-a-thon last Saturday as evidence that it’s working!
  • AVAC’s new look: I’m liking the new flooring, both upstairs and down — it’s overall a cleaner, sleeker vibe … and gives us something new to look at when we’re doing walking lunges with overhead presses on that catwalk, at least.
  • Yes, I’m really like this IRL: A friend of mine won a set of AbsoluteFIT sessions at our kids’ school’s silent auction, and she described her bidding process thusly: “I thought, this is what you’re always going on about, and you like it so much, I should give it a shot!” Hahahaaaa!
  • SAD thoughts: AVACLife had a post this week about SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder); I am luckily not a sufferer, but I know and am related to many who are, and I second the advice to work out as a way of pushing back against this form of mood disorder. Exercise doesn’t “cure” clinical depression — but if you’ve just got a case of the blahs, AbsoluteFIT is sure to boost your mood and raise your energy level (I swear, like 40% of my posts here are about that!). Get in the studio and kick these shorter days’ butts!

—Lydia M.