Fitness Fun in the Sun

BY KATIE KOZLOFF-BANKS

Summer time is here! Life can get hectic over the summer. Routines change, kids are out of school, you have endless plans since the weather is nice and you want to be outside with family and friends. You think you have all this free time and before you know it, it’s September. Here are some tips for sticking to your fitness goals and getting friends and family to join in.

  1. Workout in the AM. This is important for a few reasons. First of all, summer is hot. Getting your workout done early allows you to avoid the hottest part of the day. Also, as the day goes on, there are always things that come up and it’s easy to push that workout to tomorrow. Maybe your co-workers want to enjoy the nice weather and hit a happy hour at an outside bar, or your kids want to stay at the pool all afternoon. Getting your workout finished early on in the day gives you energy and saves you from that “missing a workout” guilt.
  2. A Quick Mix. Quick workouts can pack a great punch! Get a group of friends together and do a playground or even back yard workout. Get your family excited and involved by creating an obstacle course. Have different exercises at each station and run through the course 2 or 3 times. All you need is 20-30 minutes to get an efficient and effective workout. Add a sprinkler for some extra summer fun!
  3. Get in the Water. There are many fun ways to enjoy the water and be active. I got to try stand up paddle boarding a few weeks ago in California and loved it! It’s a great activity to do with friends or family. Work your arms, core and legs while you enjoy being outside and on the water. If you have a pool, get a game of pool volley ball or basketball going.
  4. Don’t Act your Age. We love playing SPUD with my nieces and nephews. It is always so much fun! Want a game to play with an older crowd? Try whiffle ball or kick ball. Running the bases and competing against each other is sure to bring some fun and laughs. Throw in 5/10 reps of an exercise at each base and it’s a great workout and game for any age! It always tasks us a few minutes to get up and motivated to play, but once we do, it’s a blast!

As with any time of year, you need to make sure you make your fitness goals a priority. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make things fun or include your friends and family. Just be a little creative and you can enjoy the summer while staying active!


Katie Kozloff-Banks, Wyomissing, is the owner of Katie K Active. 

This article appears in the July 2015 issue of Berks County Living. Did you like what you read here? Subscribe to Berks County Living »

How Men & Women Exercise Differently

How Men & Women Exercise Differently

BY KATIE KOZLOFF-BANKS

Men and women are different in many ways. But do we also have an opposed approach to working out? Although I can find many exceptions, I find the following generalities to be pretty true. Men and women seem to approach fitness and their healthy lifestyle in different ways:

  • The Why: I think both sexes are interested in the physical benefits of working out. But it does seem that men are far more interested in building muscle and strength. Where a woman may start out on a new healthy routine in order to look better in front of the mirror or fit into her clothes, but ends up enjoying seeing her strength and abilities increase.

  • The Ask: Women are more likely to seek advice and are more likely to hire a trainer. They tend to be easily coachable and are willing to listen to the advice of these experts. Men seem to naturally feel more comfortable in a gym or workout scenario. They may occasionally seek advice, but are less coachable.The

  • What: It seems any gym class is made up of nearly 100 percent women. Women enjoy the social aspect an exercise class provides. While you occasionally find men in a class, they seem to be more interested in getting a workout done outside of the studio. I think the exception to this is spin and crossfit. For gyms like crossfit, I think it is fun for both sexes because of the camaraderie of a group that helps support and push you.

  • How Much: Men seem to get in longer workouts and spend more time at the gym. But that doesn’t mean they are any more intense or effective. Women feel more pressed for time, but they find ways to make working out a priority.

  • Variety: Men tend to stick to a few standard routines: running, weight lifting and crossfit-type classes. Women are usually more open to trying new classes or workouts. It seems women want a variety of ways to exercise, where men are happy with their routines.

Overall, we can both learn from the opposite sex. Often, men tend to push themselves harder and will grab that heavier weight or see if they can do one more rep. Although I know plenty of competitive women, I can see this being pretty true as a general statement. Men can teach women to push themselves and work harder than the think they can. On the other hand, women seem to really enjoy fitness and make it a social experience. Women seem to be more willing to diversify their workout and their routine, such as by taking a weekly spin class, yoga class, boot camp and TRX. Therefore, women teach men working out can be fun and to expand their exercise horizons.

This article appears in the June 2015 issue of Berks County Living

Cara’s Do’s and Don’t’s for making healthy eating a no brainer!

You can’t out exercise a bad diet.  As much as I would like to say it’s as easy as “move more – eat less”.  This is not the case.  It’s about quality and quantity.  This LIFE STYLE CHANGE includes making healthier decisions about the types of foods you choose as well as the amount.  Here are some do’s and don’ts for food.

  • Do use a smaller plate.

Automatic portion control!  Use a salad plate instead of a dinner plate for your meals.   Trick your brain into feeling more satisfied with less food.   This works for desserts too.   A full small bowl of ice cream will look/feel much more satisfying than the same amount in a cereal bowl with space to spare.

  • Do buy healthy snacks.

Fruits, nuts and veggies are great options.   Note: read the labels on the veggie dips.  Many dips will end up being more calories than eating chips in the first place.  Don’t defeat the purpose of the carrot by ruining the nutritional value with the dip.  Try hummus instead.

  • Do treat yourself.

Telling yourself that you can’t have something will only make you want it more.  Have a small cookie after a healthy dinner if you want it.  Just use moderation.    This will avoid the guilty binging.

  • Do eat the rainbow.

No, I’m not talking about Skittles!  Eat natural color.  Think fruits and veggies.  The bolder the color the better it is for you.  Example: Spinach is a bolder green than iceberg lettuce.    

  • Do sit down at the table to eat. 

You will eat less sitting at the table than you will sitting on the couch watching TV.   Your brain in focused on your entertainment instead of your food.  It won’t send the “I’m full” signals to your stomach until you find the bottom of the container.

  • Don’t drink your calories.

Put down the sodas and high calorie drinks.  Sodas are high in calories and sugar.  Put it this way, a 20 fl oz bottle of Coke has 65 g of sugar.  A regular Snickers bar has 25 g of sugar.  You are drinking 2.5 candy bars worth of sugar on top of whatever you are putting in your mouth food-wise!  Please do not think that if you are drinking diet soda you making a healthier choice.  You are just trading one bad choice for another.  Look at the label.   If you can’t pronounce most of the ingredients and it has a long shelf life than it is not good for you.   (This counts for food as well.)

  • Don’t eat out of the family sized bag.

Take control and ownership over your portion control.  Eat all of your snacks out of a small glass bowl or dish.   Allow yourself to see how much you are eating.  When you can see it, you will eat less.

  • Don’t beat yourself up.

This is a new healthier you.  It’s also a new happier you.  Don’t get down on yourself because you slipped up or your skipped a gym day.  This is about the journey not the destination.   Make it up to yourself by making a healthy choice the next day.

You can do this.  Make the choice to make a LIFE STYLE CHANGE.   Health is a daily choice.

piyo

Follow me on Facebook – Cara’s Fitness – for healthy recipes, exercise ideas, workout videos, motivational quotes, fitness challenges, etc.  If you live in the Raleigh, NC area I would love to have you in one of my group fitness classes.  I teach Insanity, PiYo, Zumba, Fit for Life and Silver Sneakers.

Get Fit and Environmentally-Conscious

Many of us don’t realize the great advantages nature provides us. We are so accustomed to using products or machines in our daily lives that we forget sometimes that simple is great! This can be true in all aspects of our lives, even with fitness and health goals. Here are some ways you can be healthy and active, without creating a huge carbon footprint.

  • Get outside. Go for a hike, walk, run or bike ride. Fresh air can alleviate stress and increase happiness. Getting outside will help reenergize you and make you feel great. I know that going for a walk or run helps me clear my head. I love the way I feel after taking in some nature.
  • Hit up a playground for circuit training. A playground has all the equipment you need – and it’s free – so use it! You can do pull-ups on the monkey bars. Use a bench for dips or step-ups. Put your feet in a swing and work your abs with a simple plank or make it harder by bringing your knees to your chest while in plank position. Have fun and do the rings without touching your feet to the ground. The options are endless! Be creative and you can turn any area into a great spot for a tough workout.
  • Travel by bike or foot. Biking or walking to work is a great way to incorporate some extra exercise into your life. It’s also a good way to give yourself time to prepare for the day ahead and to end your day and reflect as well. You will have time to think, listen to music or an inspirational book. But mostly, it gives you important time with yourself.
  • Outdoor Boot Camp. There are a lot of fitness instructors who run their own outdoor boot camp classes. This is a fun way to be outside but get in a workout. Do it with friends or meet new people.
  • Participate in local races. Many cities and towns have runs. I think there are seasons here where it feels like there is a race every weekend. Participate in these to help raise money for charity. Almost every run store coordinates its own weekly running group. Join in and meet people, push yourself and develop your skill.
  • Join a local team. I loved playing in adult sports leagues. It was great getting my workout in without it ever feeling like it was a workout. It was a fun way to be a part of a team and fulfill that competitive desire.

This article appears in the April 2015 issue of Berks County Living

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Katie’s Top 5 Fitness Apps Revealed!

It’s a new year, which usually brings feelings of a new beginning. Maybe you you want to make new goals for this year or just step them up from last year. Either way, the excitement of a fresh start is everywhere. With all this fitness inspiration swirling around, I wanted to share some of my favorite apps with you:

1.  MapMyFitnessThis is an easy to use app that will record a variety of activities, but I use it for running. Using GPS it then shows you a map of the route. It also displays length, time and distance of your activity, as well as your pace, maximum speed and calories burned.

A post where I used Map My Fitness

A instagram post where I used Map My Fitness

  1. MyFitnessPal: Keep track of what you are eating with this great app. It even has a barcode scanner, so you can scan the packaging of the food. The database of food is impressive, which gives you information on almost any food. You can customize how many meals and snacks you eat. It also enables you to set your fitness goals and track of your exercise and water intake. Follow friends or share with your trainer to keep accountable!
  1. Bit Timer: This simple timer is easy to use and effective. I love using a timer for run/walks (1.5 min run, 30 sec walk). I also use timers for workouts, especially when I’m short on time or traveling. For example, I will pick 8 exercises and do each one for 50 secs with a 10 sec rest, and then repeat it a few times. Or I’ll set it and do a Tabata workout. There are so many ways to use a timer, it’s a great resource to have.
  1. Pocket Yoga: I’ve always wanted to do yoga outside of a studio, but I’m still a beginner and don’t really know what I’m doing. Pocket Yoga comes with detailed voice instructions as well as videos on hundreds of different poses. There is information on the proper execution and benefits too. You can also choose your difficulty, practice and duration.
  1. Workout Trainer: This app provides you with a library of workout routines, including step-by-step audio and video instructions. Customize your own experience and recommended regimen, while also having access to create and edit your own personal workout routine.

These are apps that I use, but there are many more. I really should track my heart rate. Heart rate gives you a more accurate picture of endurance, fitness and calorie burn. I’m just doing my research to find the best one for me.

You can find an app for almost anything! So if you’re looking to revamp your health and fitness goals, consider using an app.

As the saying goes “What gets measured gets managed”. 

Follow Katie K Active’s board Active Living Tips from Katie! on Pinterest.

Katie K Active Active Living Posts via Berks County Living

 

5 Healthy Ways to Survive the Holiday Season with Fleet Feet Sports

 

 

  

 

5 Healthy Ways to Survive the Holiday Season with Fleet Feet Sports

It’s that time of year again, filled with holiday sweets and cocktails. Did you know that the average American gains about five pounds between Thanksgiving and New Years? Below are some tips to help you avoid gaining those extra pounds this holiday season.

  1. Moderate Alcohol Intake: Remember that glass of wine or beer contains calories. Alcohol contains 7 calories per gram which means when you grab a cocktail you’re not only consuming calories from the mix but from the alcohol as well. A long island ice tea contains about 543 calories, a 12 ounce beer contains about 150 and four ounces of wine contains about 100 calories. Alternate your drinks with water to cut back on calories and fill you up so you are less likely to overeat.
  2. Balance Your Meals: Filling your plate with sweets will leave you with a sugar rush and your body will miss out on key nutrients. Make sure to fill your plate with vegetables, whole grains and protein. This will provide your body with the nutrients it needs and keep you satisfied making it less likely to overindulge on the dessert.
  3. Eat Regularly: Many people choose to skip lunch so they can overeat at the dinner party, causing them to overeat at the party. Make sure to eat a light healthy snack before heading out to. Try a low fat yogurt, fresh fruit or a small bowl of whole- grain cereal with skim milk.
  4. Think Portion Sizes: Desserts can be part o f a healthful diet when enjoyed in moderation. One serving of pumpkin pie is 1/8 of a 9 inch pie. Imagine making an L shape with your thumb and index finger that is about the size of one slice. Share dessert with a friend and don’t feel obliged to clear your plate. When you feel full, stop eating.
  5. Keep Moving: The holidays are the worst time of year to abandon your exercise routine. Exercise not only helps avoid weight gain but it is a great way to release stress. Write down your exercise plan at the beginning of the week to help you stay on track.

– Kathryn Szklany, MA, RD, LDN, CNSC Registered Dietitian and FIT Professional, Fleet Feet Sports Pittsburgh

Three Formulas for a Great Workout with Katie Kozloff

Three Formulas for a Great Workout with Katie Kozloff


There are so many great ways to create your own effective workout. Drop exercises
in to the following formulas, and you are ready go!

Three Formulas for a Great Workout with Katie K Active 

Tabata: This is 20 second intervals of activity with 10 seconds of rest. Use a timer
(an app can easily be downloaded). Set it for 20 secs work 10 secs rest, for 8 rounds
or 4 minutes. Do one exercise through the cycle, rest and then move on to another.
For example, do squats through the 4 minute cycle and then do pushups as the
exercise in your next 4 minute round. Pick 5 or 6 exercises and you have an intense,
quick, yet effective 20-24 min workout!

AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible): With this formula, you will set a time limit
and complete as many rounds of your workout as possible. Pick 3 to 5 exercises and
the number of reps to complete in a certain amount of time. An example AMRAP
could be to see how many rounds you can get in of: 12 lunges (per side), 7 pushups,
5 reverse crunches in 20min.

Jack Webb: In this format, you complete a few exercises through a sequential number
series. 1 rep of each exercise, then 2 reps of each exercise and so on until you hit you
a goal number, for example 10 reps of each exercise. And then you work you way back down,10, 9, 8 etc to 1. Pick 2 or 3 exercises to complete the series.

No matter where you are, you can use these formulas to create a great workout. Use
body weight only exercises or mix in free weights. You can do resistance band
exercises, kettle bells or a medicine ball to change it up. Do these workouts at a park
and use a bench for steps ups or pushups. Or use a bar for pull-ups. The options for
exercises are endless. Adjust the workouts when you have more time from 10 minutes to 20 or 30 by adding another round or two.

Giving the Gift of Fitness is Okay

If someone (my husband or parent) gave me a fitness related gift, it may make me second-guess his or her intention. I’d wonder: Are they saying I’m overweight? Do they want me to be more active? If so, why?

Then I take a minute and think about it. Is his or her intention to mean, or are they trying to support me? Have I been talking about trying out new classes or workout routines? Have I shared my desires to become more fit and active, and to shed some weight? Was I complaining about my workout gear not fitting well or being old, dingy and stretched out? Maybe they’re actually trying to do something nice for me. Could they be supporting my health and fitness goals by helping me achieve them?

fitness giftI think this is a common thought process when it comes to fitness related gifts – and a big reason why people shy away from it. A husband could get his wife a treadmill after hearing her complain about how she doesn’t enjoy running in the cold weather and the snow. She gets the gift and thinks, “Does my husband think I’m fat?” Really, he was trying to give her a thoughtful gift so she could continue enjoying her workouts, even in bad weather. He knows how much she enjoys being active and that being healthy and fit is important to her. It shouldn’t be thought of as a negative, rather, a positive. He was supporting her desire to be active and healthy.

To that end, here are some great fitness gift ideas as we near the holiday season:

  1. Gym Membership – A traditional gym gives access to multiple activities: a weight training area, a cardio area and one or two studios. You can do a little bit of everything all under one roof. It is a great gift for someone just getting started or someone looking to try something new. I know I love spin class, but I like to try other classes like Zumba, too. I enjoy strength training, but sometimes it’s fun to take a total body conditioning class to switch things up.
  2. Punch Card – In additional to the tradition gyms, there are a variety of “studio gyms.” These usually come with a higher monthly fee, but also offer punch cards to participate in classes as you wish. Pilates and yoga studios are like this, as are many cross fit-type gyms. A punch card is a great gift for someone who enjoys these activities or wants to try them out. They can participate when they want or try something new without committing to a monthly fee.
  3. Personal Training – Since having a personal trainer is definitely more of a splurge, this can be a great gift. Getting a trainer is a great way to kick-start any fitness goal with the help of a professional. He or she can give you nutritional input as well. Maybe a loved one has been complaining that he or she feels stuck or in a rut, or that they don’t know what they’re doing. A trainer will help teach him or her new fitness ideas and work with them to accomplish their goal.
  4. Equipment – depending on who you’re buying for, there are a ton of equipment options that make great gifts. Maybe the person you’re buying for has been talking about a treadmill or stationary bike. Or he or she has a few free weights but would really like to create a workout space in their house. Free weights, kettle bells, bosu, a stability ball and/or a bench would all be great additions to any home gym.
  5. New Workout Clothes – A new item or outfit creates excitement! Everyone wants to use their new clothes and when it’s activewear, that means a little extra motivation to get that workout in. A new workout can even create inspiration to start that fitness goal or give a push to keep going. Having the right gear for an activity helps to be able to accomplish a goal. It’s amazing how an outfit can change your outlook and get you excited to be active.

I understand giving a fitness-related gift can be tricky. But giving the gift of fitness is truly a wonderful gesture. You’re saying, “I support your goals and I want to help you achieve them.” Just be tactful with your delivery. If you’re worried about the recipient’s reaction, you can remind him or her how they’ve been talking about wanting the equipment or to try out that new gym or class. See, you were paying attention.

This article appears in the November 2014 issue of Berks County Living.

Active at Any Age

My mother is truly an inspiration, especially when it comes to keeping active as she gets older. For as long as I can remember, she played in a tennis group once a week. When I was in high school, she and her friends would power walk every morning after dropping us off at the bus. In the past few years, she’s only cranked it up.

She now plays tennis four days a week, and even occasionally picks up a fifth day!

Being active has helped my mom be independent, strong and capable. She’s been known to rearrange the furniture in her house for family events all by herself. She never shies away from heavy lifting and labor, helping anyone who needs it. She even takes my nephew (now 15) and niece (now 11) for six weeks every summer. She bikes with them, swims and generally runs around and keeps up with them! I can see how her active life helps her in her everyday life.

Being active is important at any age, but especially as we get older. Staying active will not only help you maintain your independence, but will keep your heart and mind healthy. There’s strong evidence that proves that people who are more active have a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, depression and dementia. If you don’t stay active, daily life can become harder and you may struggle with everyday activities.

Benefits of being active as you age:

  • Increase Hearth Strength with Aerobics. You’ll have more energy to do the things you like to do. It can increase your quality of sleep and help you fall asleep faster.
  • Strength Strain to Prevent Muscle Loss. It will help keep bones strong and protect your knees and other joints, too.
  • Maintain Independence and Flexibility with Stretching. Daily tasks like tying your shoes or reaching a shelf will become easier. When you are flexible, you have a more natural walking pattern, which decreases your chance of falling. Most flexibility is lost through inactivity or lack of movement, not age.
  • Balance Exercises Benefit Posture. You will improve coordination and also reduce your risk for falls by practicing balance exercises. A simple one is standing on one leg for 10 seconds (using a chair for support if needed).

The list of activities to choose from is endless. Yoga is a great way to work on posture, balance and flexibility. Weight training reduces muscle loss while strengthening your muscles and bones. Running, walking or biking keeps your heart healthy. It’s never too late to start getting active.

While some activity is better than none at all, the goal to get the maximum health benefit is to aim to for at least 30 minutes a day of moderate intensity activity, five days a week. At least two days a week your activity should include something that strengthens muscles and bones. Maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle as you age will keep you strong to accomplish daily tasks so you can remain independent. The most important thing is to find something you like, so being active is just a part of your life.

This article also appears in the October 2014 issue of Berks County Living

 

Being Fit and Healthy Doesn’t Have to be Expensive

With the invention of the Internet, we have easy access to information now more than ever before. There are tons of websites offering up free tips, workout plans and advice on how to be fit, active and healthy.

Being-Fit-and-Healthy-Doesnt-Have-to-be-Expensive Katie K Active

Many bloggers make a living inspiring, motivating and educating people on the latest fitness trends and gear. However, with all this knowledge, you must be cautious in deciding who to trust and believe. Some individuals are paid to promote products and others don’t have the education or certifications to instruct others.

Don’t want to commit to a gym or monthly fee? Create a home gym. This does not mean you have to remodel a room in your house, but you can be creative. Invest in a few key exercise accessories like a jump rope, kettle bells, free weights and bands. On busy days when I still want to get a workout in, I use our porch. I will pull up a chair for step exercises, as well as for incorporating body weight exercises like dips.

There are a lot people on various social media outlets who want to motivate and inspire you. I follow a few bloggers who post workout tips, recipes and insights into how they live their healthy lifestyle. I get a lot of my home workouts from them and always love when I find new healthy meals to cook up.

YouTube is a great resource for learning how to do exercises. If I’m unsure about an exercise, I’ll look it up and watch it in action. I may view a few videos until I really understand what I’m supposed to do. If I think it’s a little too advanced or I may get hurt, I replace the exercise with something else. Searching for an “alternative exercise” is also great way to learn new ways to work out a particular muscle group.

But if you’re like a lot of people, you need to be in the gym to be motivated. Just being around other people who are working out can give you that extra push you need. I’ll see a girl lifting an impressive weight and it makes me push myself harder and up my workout. Boot camp classes and Couch to 5K programs challenge you mentally and physically. You develop a sense of camaraderie with the other members and look forward to being healthy and active together. Plus a little competition can help you push yourself harder. Being healthy and active with others not only keeps you motivated and focused, but it’s fun too.

Belonging to different gyms for different classes can become expensive. A lot of places have punch cards or allow you to drop in for the classes you want to take. Most places offer a free trial or class so you can try it out before committing to anything long-term. If you’re dying to join a gym but it seems expensive, take a look at your daily spending. Things add up quickly and maybe you can trade one habit in to pay for this one, instead. Think about how much you spend on that coffee every day or by eating lunch out instead of packing. No matter what your goals are, you have to find out what you like to do and what you will stick with.

 

This article appears in the August 2014 issue of Berks County Living

Guest Video: Katie K Active No Roll Fit with Emily from EMJ Pilates

Guest Video: Katie K Active No Roll Fit with Emily from EMJ Pilates

Guest Post: Katie K Active No Roll Fit with Emily from EMJ Pilates

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BE WELL BOOT CAMP featuring Katie K Active!

Meet Katie and see her awesome activewear at Philadelphia Magazine‘s Be Well Philly Boot Camp!

Katie K Active Be Well PHL Boot Camp

Visit #BeWellBootCamp for all the latest event details!

Event Highlights Include:
• Indoor and outdoor group fitness classes from the region’s best instructors
• Experts and motivators discussing running, sleeping, clean eating and more
• One-on-one doctor chats
• A buzzing Marketplace
• Running clinics
• Cooking demonstrations
• Breakfast, lunch & healthy happy hour

An inspirational health and wellness event, Be Well Boot Camp is the ultimate girls’ day out for women of all fitness levels.

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