Trainer Tip: Healthy Mind, Healthy Life

Personal Trainer / Olivia VanGuyse

When times are uncertain, it is easy to put your mental, emotional, and physical health on the back Razor Sharp Fitness Personal Trainer Olivia Van Guyseburner – but in reality, these are the aspects of our well-being that we should be giving the most attention. The human organism is too complex to ignore how these seemingly separate parts all intertwine to make up our overall well-being.

A plethora of studies has shown that physical exercise increases vigor and mental toughness while simultaneously decreasing depression and anxiety feelings. In other words, taking care of your physical well-being helps takes care of your mental and emotional health and increases your ability to deal with challenging situations.

We must reflect on WHY we are exercising though first. The first time I began exercising outside of playing sports, I solely wanted to be skinnier. At the time, I thought that my body did not align with what society and social media had ingrained in my brain as aesthetically pleasing or acceptable.  I did endless amounts of cardio and lowered my calories to the point where I never had energy. Through years of trial and error, I realized that no matter how “skinny” I had gotten, I was never satisfied with my body or my workouts. As soon as I switched my mindset to focus on being strong, mobile, and healthy, my physical and mental health improved, too.

It’s challenging to make this shift, especially if you have been out of the gym for a while and maybe have not been as healthy as you would have liked to be (I’m sure many of us have been feeling this recently). I think it’s important to note that 1. We are in unprecedented times right now and are allowed to react to it however we want, and 2. We are our own worst critics, so we can’t be so hard on ourselves. Be kind to yourself, celebrate the small victories, and make small, attainable goals that will help you achieve your larger goals!

Trainer Tip: Where to Find Information

Personal Trainer Bennett Kothe

Learning about health and fitness can often feel overwhelming. If you have researched online, you’ve probably noticed that there is A LOT of information out there and it can be tough to sift through what’s scientifically proven and what’s “typical lifting-bro” propaganda. Additionally, most people seek information from a friend that has seen success. The only problem with that is everyone’s body is different. What works for some people, might not work for others.

I’d recommend subscribing to a fitness journal such as American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), or National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA.) These journals will keep you in the know with the latest research in fitness.

I would also recommend meeting with a fitness professional certified by one of the above accreditations. As fitness professionals, it’s our job to stay up to date with current research, provide a program that will help you realistically and safely reach your goals, provide support/accountability, and help you push through plateaus.

Trainer Tip: Smart Recovery Technique

Personal Trainer Kristine Gilson

Self Myofascial Release (SMR) is being hailed as one of the 2020’s upcoming “alternative medicines.” The concepts behind this self-manual therapy technique are to recover, relax, and return skeletal muscles to their original structure and function.

SMR is typically achieved using a foam roller on the floor and combined with static stretching. In an ideal situation, it is best done both before AND after a workout as it also serves as a great warm-up and cool down.

Key things to remember while foam rolling: There are different types of foam rollers. Softer is best to start, graduating to a more dense roller with more practice. Think of this as a “search and destroy mission.” You are looking for muscle “knots” or signs of tenderness by gently and slowly rolling over the muscle groups. Once found, although it may be painful, continue breathing and focus the foam roller on that area until it becomes unbearable or you feel the muscle tension release.

So, typically in the New Year we want to jump all in, but with the start of the new decade, let’s make sure to include smart recovery using techniques such as Self Myofascial Release!

Trainer Tip: Start Small

Personal Trainer Lauren Gedemer

On any given day we are bombarded by quick-result diet and fitness programs that promise drastic changes in a short period of time. We see these things throughout the day via social media, television, and billboards. The reality is this: there is no quick fix. It took X-amount of time for you to get where you’re at today, and it’s going to take time and patience to get to where you WANT to be, so start SMALL.

Try making one simple, small change each week and sticking to it. Drink 8oz more of water each day than you have in the past. Opt out of the soda/juice that you normally have with dinner, or vow to eat out only once a week. Get up 30 minutes earlier than usual to go for a walk, spend time meditating, or whatever it is that makes you feel better. Once you’ve accomplished that one small goal for a week, try adding in another small change the following week, and then again the following. Soon, these things will become second nature and you’ll begin seeing and feeling the results. Keep this in mind though: stay SPECIFIC in your goal setting. Write it down. Mark it off on the calendar each day you accomplish said goal. Hold yourself accountable. 

We are coming up to the most stressful time of year with the Holidays and another New Year approaching – don’t let your health and well being fall to the back burner. 

Trainer Tip: Staying Motivated During the Holidays!

Personal Trainer Teresina Watson

With the holidays approaching, staying motivated in your fitness goals can be a challenge.  The goals we set for ourselves should remain a priority. Maintaining your fitness routine will bring you more encouragement going into the New Year. Now is the time to reassess your goals and find time to keep moving forward in the last quarter of this decade. If you anticipate a busy holiday season, give yourself permission to redirect and commit to moving your body in the gym at least three times a week. Let your successes from the year thus far carry you not only into the holidays, but through the festivities for the remainder of 2019. Holidays and social events will continue to come around every year, but we have only one body to maintain and feel good in.

Trainer Tip: Inflammation 

Personal Trainer Kyle Knobloch

Not all inflammation is necessarily a bad thing. In fact, our bodies need it to recover from injury or illness, and even from our workouts. If short-lived, inflammation is a positive part of the immune response that makes us stronger. However, anyone who has suffered from chronic inflammation knows just how miserable it can be. Your joints constantly ache, your mind feels fuzzy, and you feel as though you cannot function normally. This often leads to the ingestion of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, for a temporary fix. Stress, along with poor lifestyle habits contribute to this chronic inflammation.

So, how can we help prevent this? Limiting the consumption of dairy, wheat, added sugars, and alcohol will exhibit an immediate relief of inflammation. Some foods that help fight inflammation include ginger, dark berries, cruciferous vegetables, and fish. Additionally, practicing time-restricted eating as well as meditation or yoga has been shown to be great in the reduction of stress. Preventing or reducing chronic inflammation is crucial in avoiding many diseases and staying healthy!

Trainer Tip: Strength Training

Personal Trainer Nate Skop

Is there anyone who shouldn’t participate in strength training? Short answer is ABSOLUTELY NO!!! Think about it this way; What part of a daily routine that you participate in would not be amplified in a positive manner by being stronger? Could yard work, snow removal, and carrying groceries be helped with an increase of strength? Nearly every aspect of life could be impacted positively by being stronger!
People frequently misconstrue strength training as something that it isn’t; an activity people do to get huge and bulky. Not all strength training is bodybuilding and vanity driven but it can actually be a huge health benefit. Think of some aches or pains you have daily; lower back pain, neck pain or tension, or even foot or ankle pain? Strength training can correct this!
Strength training can be programmed to benefit anyone in a way that can enhance their daily lives and long-term health. It’s more than just looking good and increasing overall strength. Its proven that through strength training, you can prevent or improve things such as posture, lack of sleep, controlling or managing blood sugar, heart disease, and an endless list of other afflictions humans see daily. Getting back to the root of why many people head to the gym; Strength training impacts fat loss aggressively and thus inches lost can be noticeable. Try to stop using the typical excuses that are unfounded or opinion based with strength training; don’t listen to the lies and think of how being stronger can help you today!

Trainer Tip: Make sleep a priority.

Personal Trainer Bennett Kothe

Gym goers are very aware of the role training and nutrition play on one’s fitness, but some may not be paying enough attention to the period of time when their body is repairing itself from the last workout. According to multiple studies, sleep is one of the most anabolic things a person can do because that’s when hormones, like growth hormone, are primarily released. Not getting enough sleep can weaken the immune system, diminish alertness and inhibit your body’s natural production hormones.
Some sleep tips you could follow to get into a good routine:

1) Turn electronic devices off 1-2 hour prior to sleep. Phones, tablets, and TVs can emit blue light that can boost attention, reaction times, and mood; obviously not ideal for a good sleep environment.
2) Regulate caffeine intake- you should avoid caffeine for at least 6 hours before sleep
3) Cut out the nightcap- Yes.. Sorry to say it but alcohol before bed can disrupt sleep cycles. It can mess with your circadian rhythm, dehydrate you, lower testosterone, and hinder muscle growth.
4) Plan sleep into your schedule- set aside AT LEAST 8 hours a day for sleep. Athletes and those training at a high intensity may need more. 




Trainer Tip: The Importance of Corrective Exercises

Personal Trainer Justin Leach

It can be very challenging when considering a workout routine that will get you to your goals safely and effectively. It doesn’t matter if you are an athlete, an average joe, recovering from surgery or an injury, we all have movement discrepancies. These discrepancies over time lead to incorrect movement habits, chronic pain, postural problems, and injury. For these reasons it is very important to see a fitness professional that can correctly assess your movement patterns and be able to recommend exercises that fit your individual needs. Corrective exercises help to avoid these pitfalls and should be an essential part of every program. These exercises should address postural distortions, pain, and imbalances by targeting areas that are deficient in the individual’s movement patterns. Examples of these movements include self-myofascial release techniques, dynamic range of motion exercises, stability work, isolated activation techniques, and more.



Trainer Tip: The Importance of Training Balance

Personal Trainer Lauren Gedemer Lauren Gedemer

Balance is one major component of fitness along with a few others—cardiovascular, stability, strength, and flexibility—however it is often overlooked. Balance is required for almost every type of movement and it plays a large role in preventing falls and even potential fall-related injuries regardless of what age we are.
The American College of Sports Medicine classifies balance exercises as functional fitness training and neuromotor exercise and recommends incorporating the training two to three days per week.
Balance training should be easy to incorporate into any workout. Instead of sitting or standing during dumbbell work for example, try it seated on a stability ball. You can increase the difficulty level by lifting one foot off the floor so that you’re required to balance and stabilize your body in an upright position. The same is true using the black or blue side of the Bosu ball. Single-leg work is another great form of balance training.
If these things seem too difficult to do right now, stand on one foot while you brush your teeth, do the dishes, or wait for something in the microwave – count slowly to 10 then switch feet. Once this begins to get easier, try incorporating some more difficult movement such as those listed above. Remember: if you don’t use it, you lose it!
It’s never too late to improve on anything, including your balance!

Note: This technique is a feature of the small group training program called Fusion that Nate designed and conducted at Razor Sharp



Personal Trainer Justin Leach busts the myth of: Abdominal Crunches Leads to Washboard Abs

The Myth: Doing only sit-ups and crunches will give you six pack abs

The Reality: Pop culture tries to convince us that doing sit-ups and crunches will give us the quintessential six pack that all gym goers desire. This could not be further from the truth. The most effective way to achieve abdominal definition is to combine highly metabolic training variables with a sound nutritional program. It starts in the kitchen. Eating a healthy and balanced diet will contribute highly to a spike in metabolism which is required for weight loss around the


Abdominal exercises are great. Using these dynamic patterns of motion build much needed strength, stability, range of motion, and flexibility. The reason this is important is because we typically neglect using our abdominals

correctly due to our everyday movement habits such as sitting for extended periods of time. These habits have created unstable environments within our movement that could potentially be leading to back, hip, and knee pain.



Tips from the Personal Trainer Nate Skop busts myths about:

How to Maximize Your Workout

The belief: Reps x Sets x Machine = Success!
The reality: How you utilize your time in the gym efficiently is directly related to workload (as measured by heartrate) and time at that rate, making circuit training a “must” for those whose goal is to lean out and tone up. Alternating aerobic and strength activities in 3- to 5-minute bursts, both at a similar workload, will yield extremely good fat-burning and anaerobic threshold results. Studies have shown that a circuit session of approx. three minutes of aerobic activity at 75-85% of your maximum heart rate, followed by five minutes at a strength station at a similar workload provides better results than a traditional lift. A critical factor is to keep your heart rate in an efficient fat-burning zone for a prolonged period of time without killing your recovery time between rounds. So, stay moving for a consistent period of time by utilizing multiple stations and tying in cardiovascular exercise as a filler or bridge between strength training!

Note: This technique is a feature of the small group training program called Fusion that Nate designed and conducted at Razor Sharp



Personal Trainer Lauren Gedemer suggests you:

Have a Drink…of WATER!

Pure, unaltered H2O is often overlooked as a critical aspect of overall health and meeting our weight/fitness goals. Water boosts metabolism, cleanses the body of waste and even acts as an appetite suppressant. A well-hydrated body facilitates faster, more efficient fat loss.

I use the rule, “4 Before Your Feet Hit the Floor:” keep a glass of water by your bed and chug 4 oz. (more if you can!) before you even leave your room each morning. Our bodies dehydrate while we sleep, so it’s only fair that we replenish what we’ve lost during rest. You’ll also fire up your metabolism for the day, flush out toxins and fuel your brain.

Working out and eating right, but still not seeing the numbers on the scale change in your favor? Start logging your water — aim for a gallon a day (that’s 128 oz.!!). You might be surprised at what this one small change can do for you!

Let’s Take it Outside!
We are finally turning the corner to Spring/Summer in Southeast Wisconsin, which means nicer weather! Although we love to see you at the club and in our group fitness classes working out, try to take your workout outdoors at least a few times a week to break up the monotony.

Have a dog? Aim for 30 minutes outdoors with Fido every day – walking, running, playing, anything! Both of you will benefit from the fresh air, cardiovascular activity and extra Vitamin D!

Live near a park or school? Try hill or stair sprints, pushups and triceps dips on benches, and pull-ups on monkey bars. Bring a jump rope with you and create a circuit to do 3-4x.

Take it to the beach — grab friends for volleyball, or take a walk or jog. Any activity in the sand will amp up your cardio work and proprioception for muscles, burning more calories than pounding the pavement alone.

Our climate may only give us a few months of nice weather, so take advantage of it! Your mind, body and muscles will thank you!



Personal Trainer Nate Skop urges you to:

Work on Self-Awareness

It’s important that while you challenge yourself to become stronger, gain more endurance and be more flexible as you train, you are also focusing on self-awareness. Understanding the repetitive movements and posture positions your body experiences day in and day out is very important. Everyone develops imbalances by just existing; it doesn’t matter if you have a job where you sit or if you stand, awareness and correction of the imbalances created by daily life in your training plan will only prolong and improve your health.
Warm Up and Cool Down
A proper warm up and cool down are just as important as, if not more important than, the workout itself. Surprising? Here’s why: using different movements in different planes as part of a warm-up acts as a “body primer.” It can help produce quicker results, as well as prevent injury or pain. Challenging yourself to move in different directions or planes of motion will increase your physical ceiling and make your workout more fun! A gentle cool-down helps heart rate, breathing and temperature return to normal and avoid dizziness. It also aids in removal of waste products like lactic acid from the muscles you’ve been working, and that means less soreness afterwards!



Personal Trainer Krystal DeBaker suggests you:

Try a Yoga Class

Workout fads come and go, but virtually no other exercise program is as enduring as yoga. It’s been around for more than 5,000 years.

Yoga does more than burn calories and tone muscles: it’s a total mind-body workout that combines strengthening and stretching poses with deep breathing and meditation or relaxation.

Razor offers a range of yoga classes with a variety of instructors and different levels of intensity. Try one today!

New Year, New You?
It’s that time of year again — time to challenge yourself with some New Year’s resolutions. Many people resolve to begin an exercise program, only to abandon it before Easter.

The trouble with New Year’s resolutions is that they can be extremely impractical. Setting goals is a great idea, but make sure they are realistic and feasible. For example, a goal to lose 12 lbs by Easter is both reasonable and achievable. So is a goal to complete a 5K run by tax day. Conversely, a goal to complete a marathon by that date is unrealistic and potentially unsafe for newbie runners. Think of it as if you were building a house: start slowly (with low intensity and shorter duration), develop a solid foundation of fitness and then build upon that foundation as your fitness improves!

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