Endurance Tips

Endurance training, such as running, can seem intimidating when you haven’t been active in a while. The key to success is consistency and customizing workouts that are realistic and appropriate for your particular stage of fitness.

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Our clients come to us at all stages of health, age, and ability level. Don’t get frustrated if you can only do ten to fifteen minutes of a workout at first. Some days you may be able to do more - and some days less. What’s important for beginners is tracking your progress in a journal or an online tool and checking in with your trainer to ensure that you are constantly progressing in your abilities.

The ultimate goal is to aim for moderate endurance activity at least three times a week. Once you hit a plateau or would like to challenge yourself - first build up the time you spend doing an endurance activity and then increase the intensity of the workout.

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Endurance exercises are known to improve your breathing, circulation, and heart rate - allowing you to power through everyday activities. They also mitigate many diseases common to older adults such as heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis.

Here are some tips to help you get started on building your endurance:

  • Exercise caution in rural areas - try exploring a new trail with a friend or a group and wear layers appropriate for the weather in your area. When exercising alone, bring a cell phone, ID, and pepper spray.

  • Be sure drivers see you - wear reflective clothing at dusk and bright colors during the day. Be careful when crossing a road and do not assume drivers will stop for you.

  • To make sure motorists can see you on a bicycle, get a flashing red light for the rear of your bike and a white light and/or reflectors for the front. Always yield to pedestrians and make sure to alert them of your presence when passing on their left.

  • Remember foot care - wear comfortable, well-fitting shoes. Warm up properly to prevent painful injuries.

  • If you aren’t used to vigorous physical activity - speak to your doctor and personal trainer. Seek consultation especially if you often experience dizziness, shortness of breath, heart problems, or recent surgery.

 

Yours in health,

 

Kristin and Pascha

Founders, The Fuse Fitness

Kristin Rios
Take Five for February
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There are many types of meditation, but they all have a common goal - creating synergy between spirit and mind. Here at Fuse Fitness, we are encouraging our clients to take five minutes of each day to meditate. Doing so before your morning routine is recommended, but fitting some time in during a work break or before an evening workout is fine. We find that our clients benefit from meditation because it increases awareness, mitigates stress, and improves circulation.

Meditation is a positive addition to all stages of fitness. Aging and elderly adults benefit from decreased blood pressure, decreased anxiety and even cessation of chronic conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis as well as susceptibility to infections. Craving and binge behaviors such as smoking or overeating have been shown to decrease in some instances as a result of meditation.

Here are some tips for creating a relaxing space for meditation in your home!

  1. Clear out a space - big enough to lay a yoga mat. Natural light and good ventilation is recommended. Make sure that you can make this space noise and distraction-free for five minutes or more.

  2. Record your progress. As you improve your ability to focus and tune out life’s distractions, you may be able better to assess factors that are holding you back from reaching your fitness goals. We find that keeping a small notebook or even recording notes on your phone helpful. For those new to a fitness regimen - tracking your progress can increase your sense of accountability and pride in how far you’ve come!

  3. Find your groove. For different lifestyles and fitness goals, there are so many ways to balance your body and spirit. If you are just beginning, seek out public classes when possible to get a sense of the best-fit type of meditation for you.

As always, we are available to answer any questions you may have about incorporating meditation into your fitness routine!

Yours in health,

Pascha and Kristin

Contact Fuse Fitness

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Marne's Fuse Fitness Success Story!

Hi Fusers!

It’s a new year, and we’ve got our first client success story of 2018! This month we’re giving recognition and praise to Fuse member Marne Sussman. A member since June 2017, Marne has been a force to reckon with, unwavering in her consistency. And guess what consistency gets you? The badge of getting fit, strong, kicking ass and taking names. Boom.

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While Marne has just been here less than a year so far, she has been an awesome addition to Fuse, bringing a healthy dose of determination, power and fortitude, especially when tackling tough to master exercises. Having been a successful, competitive rugby player in her earlier years proves her mental and physical prowess. If you know anything about rugby, it is freaking tough. And Marne applies that same toughness to her workouts. 

After having two kids and holding down a demanding career as a lawyer, Marne was ready to get back into shape. Training hard was nothing new to her, and Marne came in knowing what it takes push herself and hit her goals. Just goes to show, you can take the person out of the competitive athlete, but you can’t take the athlete out of the person. 

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I’ve been lucky, as Marne has been a regular at my 8am Monkey Ninja Bootcamp classes since she started. She has brought a healthy dose of power and hard work to shake up the classes. In just about 7 months, Marne has really tackled her goals, getting fit, lean, and super strong—back into fighting shape! And, a bonus for me—almost every morning she’s taking class, we get a short visit from her adorable daughter with the best dimples you ever did see. So really, it’s a win win ;)

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Here are a few words from Marne herself. Enjoy! :)

I had been thinking about joining Fuse for over a year as I’d been by there many times since my daughter was born. I just finally made the choice to do it and get back into shape. I had gained about 10 lbs after stopping breastfeeding my daughter and my clothes weren’t fitting right so I wanted to try to lose weight, but mostly I wanted to get fit.

The biggest challenge I have encountered has been fitting working out into my schedule. With two young kids and a job as a partner at a law firm in SF it is really hard to make time for classes. I’ve resorted to two 6am classes a week and given up sleep for fitness, but it is infinitely worth it. Continuing to come back is not a problem as the group of people, instructors, and results make continuing a no brainer.

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I’m proud that I can do a pistol squat [single-leg squat]! (on one side only) ☺ Seriously though, my inner athlete is finally coming back after about an 8 year hiatus. I have always been an athlete and pretty fit and one of the fastest/strongest on every team I was ever on, so to start to get back to that level of strength and fitness and remember that my body is strong and that athlete is still there is awesome. I’m proud that I committed to 3 days/week for over 6 months now and I’m trying to figure out ways to get to class more times in the week. The change in my fitness is incredible. I could barely do burpees when I started and could only do maybe 1 pushup from my feet. Now I can rip off a set of 10 pushups and do multiple sets of them in one class. It’s a pretty amazing change and feels great!

My only regret is that I didn’t join sooner! I seriously considered it 3 years ago when my daughter was 6 months old and was just too afraid of the unknown and how out of shape I was to pull the trigger. I should have done it then! So for anyone thinking about joining or considering a new fitness regime, just do it! I wish I hadn’t wasted 2.5 years of fitness!!! It’s not going to get any easier the more time goes by, that’s for sure.

Like I said before, Marne is kicking ass and taking names. Better watch out for this one, it sounds like anything she puts her mind to, she’s not afraid to jump right in, work her butt off, and attack her goals. We love having you Marne, you truly make a great addition to our gym!

Yours in health,

Kristin at Fuse Fitness

P.S. As always, please feel free to contact us by filling out the form below if you have any questions or if you would like to sign up for a free consultation.

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Jump Rope Benefits

Jump Rope is an excellent addition to any fitness regimen. It refines coordination, strengthens your bones, improves heart health, boosts your stamina, and much more.

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Jumping is an efficient and low-cost workout that is perfect for busy parents on the go. Most hotels have a small gym or you can opt for a nearby park. Learning to jump is beneficial for all fitness levels and can add a light break from other types of cardio such as running or swimming.

It doesn’t take much to jump rope like a pro. Here are a few tips to get you started!

Size your rope properly. Stand at the center of our rope - the bottom of the handles should be at your armpits. Purchase a good-quality rope and consider using a timer to set an appropriate work-to-rest ratio, especially if you are a beginner.

Use good posture - no hunching over or flapping your arms. Your wrists should be the primary source of momentum and you should focus on landing at the balls of your feet.

Practice makes perfect. Jump Rope adds fun and variety to your workouts. Getting into a stride may be difficult at first, so don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional trainer for tips. Try the series below in-between Tabata intervals.

Rep 1: 2 leg jumps

Rep 2: single leg jumps

Rep 3: single leg jumps

Rep 4: criss cross jumps

Rep 5: forward / back jumps

Rep 6: reverse jumps

Rep 7: high knee jumps

Rep 8: double unders

As always, the trainers at Fuse Fitness are more than happy to help you refine your jump rope technique. Take advantage of the simplicity and flexibility of jump rope - a wonderful addition to any workout plan.

Yours in health,

The Fuse Fitness

Kristin Rios
The Importance of Water Intake

Whether you are just starting to get in shape or a super-athlete, water is essential to a healthy lifestyle.

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What does water do?

It balances your body’s temperature, lubricates joints, protects sensitive tissues, and flushes toxins through bowel movement, perspiration, and urination. Drinking enough water throughout the day is a great way to remain aware of what you are putting in your body - a necessary step for maintaining your weight this holiday season.

Water intake is a must for any workout. It increases alertness throughout your routine and promotes fast recovery.

The holidays are loaded with temptations that increase your risk of becoming dehydrated--salty foods, alcohol, and sweets galore. When indulging in these treats, it’s very important to increase your water intake. Stay on track with your fitness goals by incorporating these easy tips to increase your water intake.

  1. Plan ahead for long trips or air travel by bringing a reusable water bottle.

  2. Manage your weight by opting for sparkling water with a lemon wedge instead of soda or booze. Your tummy will thank you, since a 20 oz. soda packs a whopping 240 calories!

  3. Choose water when eating out. If you do enjoy drinking, limit yourself to one or two alcoholic beverages, making sure to drink water in between.

  4. Drinking plenty of water before heading to a party helps keep the munchies at bay, helping you not plant yourself in front of the hors d'oeuvres and eating mindlessly .

  5. Don’t forget about water-rich foods such as cucumbers, celery, melons, berries, and leafy greens. Recipes such as bone broth and soups can add to your water intake, but be careful with the salt!

We hope you all have a wonderful, fun-filled holiday month, and enjoy the treats that are worth it, while passing on those that aren’t. The holidays are meant for celebrating and enjoying, so please do, just remember to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated during this busy time!

Yours in health,

The Fuse Fitness

 

Kristin Rios
Karen and Sean's Fuse Fitness Success Story!

Hi Fusers!

This month's Member Spotlight is shining down on Karen and Sean, an awesome couple who has been working out with us at Fuse since August 2012. They had been regular, hard-working 6am-ers up until early Feb. 2015 for Karen and late March 2015 for Sean, when they took a hiatus after having their first of two beautiful babies. Fast forward to June 2017, when they re-emerged.....they went from being a family of 2 to now being an absolutely adorable family of 4! 

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They started back up at Fuse doing personal training together, usually bringing in their two sweet kiddos--a smart, fun-loving toddler and a new, super cute baby boy. No complaints from the trainers at Fuse, any time we can get a baby fix we're thrilled!

Both Karen and Sean are in fantastic shape and are doing such an amazing job being positive, healthy role models for their children. Karen's core strength has improved significantly since having both of her children and her body has become very toned, with much more muscle mass. Sean's muscular endurance and core strength have really improved--gotta love TRX training! We love it that the kids get to see their parents working out and living a healthy life! And we are so happy to have Karen and Sean back working out with us!

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Here are a few words from Karen and Sean about their fitness journey and experience here at Fuse:

1) What was your reason for joining Fuse and what were your goals?

We first started going to Fuse years ago, when we were looking for challenging and exciting workouts to add to our weekly routine. For a time, we were both regulars at the 6 a.m. monkey ninja class. Sean thought he was generally fit before he started going to these classes.  He quickly realized that he was not.  He could not get through a class without taking at least one break.  And he thought, on multiple occasions, that he was going to throw up.  Karen kicked his a** every day. 

Despite the hard knocks, we kept it up even after Karen got pregnant and continued into her third trimester. But then we had the baby, and then we had another. While babies are bundles of joy, they don’t exactly make it easy to fit in some workout time.  We felt so busy during that stretch of time, and so exhausted, that going to the gym was just not a priority. We remained active, but we weren’t doing much to build and maintain strength. Our workouts tended to be more haphazard than planned. Karen, especially, felt like she had lost a lot of the strength that she had before kids. And she missed the energy and sense of accomplishment that she used to derive from exercise.

About three months after having our second child, we made an effort to build fitness back into both of our lives. As a Mother’s Day gift, Sean bought Karen a three-month personal training package, with the idea that we would do the sessions together whenever possible and that otherwise Karen would go by herself. Before you say it, Sean knows what you’re thinking.  And the answer is, “Yes, I really bought personal training sessions for my wife as a gift.”  He really thought that was a key part of what she needed to get back to feeling like her complete self.  Sean’s goals for himself include becoming a world champion CrossFit athlete or American Ninja Warrior.  He has not yet obtained either goal.  Karen’s goals were, by comparison, pretty modest. She hoped that we would get stronger and improve our fitness, but mostly was looking for a commitment device – something to ensure that we would work out, that we would work out hard, and that we would enjoy ourselves in the process. 

2)         What have been the challenges you have encountered?

Sean’s half-joking half-serious answer: “handstands.”

Karen’s answer: the physical challenges that come with having two kids in less than two years. Some parts of me feel stretched out, others feel too tight. When I’m busy chasing after kids, it’s easy to avoid thinking about those changes. Working out has made me reckon with them, and it can sometimes feel demoralizing.

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An answer that both of us agree on is that getting to the workouts, on time and ready to go, has been a big challenge. With two very young kids and no family around to help, we often ended up bringing at least one child with us to our sessions. Sometimes this worked out perfectly. The baby would sleep the whole time, oblivious to the sounds of music and slamming medicine balls! Other times, we found ourselves (with the help of our trainers who have been great!) simultaneously corralling an energetic toddler and comforting a crying baby, all while trying to get through a tough circuit of exercises.  Who knew that two-year-olds could have so much fun with TRX suspension trainers?  While that’s a rhetorical question, it turns out that Pascha and Kristin knew. 

3)         What have been your strengths/successes and what are you most proud of?

We are proud that we showed up to every session, even when the childcare piece was complicated. We also are proud of the results we’ve seen after three months – not necessarily in our appearances or weight, because we haven’t been tracking that, but in the way we feel day-to-day. We both feel stronger and more capable. We think we’re now less prone to injury and more able to keep up with our kids.  Sean can complete a class without feeling like he’s going to throw up.  And, ever the optimist, he thinks he’s well on the way to becoming a champion. 

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4)         Anything else you’d like to add…..

We think that doing personal training sessions together has been good for us as a couple, too. Right now, we still don’t do a regular date night, so working out together has been a way for us to share an experience (other than childcare) and to connect. 

 

Karen and Sean, thank you so much for sharing! We love having you guys here, we think your kids are awesome, and Sean, we definitely see becoming a champion in the near future ;)

Yours in health,

Fuse Fitness team

Nine Exercises that Strengthen the Back

Hi Fusers,

As you all know, September was back month. We focused on strengthening, mobilizing and stretching the back muscles. Hopefully coming into October your back is feeling strong and pain-free from all the back mobility work we’ve done.

A strong back is the foundation of any balanced fitness regimen. Along with adding strength and power to your workouts, a strong back helps you bear day-to-day activities such as standing, sitting, and bending down a bit easier. The following stretches and exercises are designed to improve the strength, mobility, and flexibility of these important muscles.

Here's an example of great back flexibility!

Here's an example of great back flexibility!

 

  • Hamstring/Lower Back Stretch

Sit down with your legs straight in front of you, leaning forward with your arms straight out towards your toes. This stretches your lower back, hamstrings and legs. 

  • Yoga Cat/Cow Stretch

Kneel on all fours with hands beneath shoulders and knees directly below hips. Gently arch your spine upwards and then downwards, like a cat. 

  • Cobra Stretch

Lie facedown on the floor with feet together and palms underneath your shoulders. Slowly raise your chest up off the floor – holding the pose for at least 30 seconds or longer. 

  • Bent-Over Dumbbell Rows using a bench

Place the right knee on top of the end of a bench, bend your torso forward from the waist until your upper body is parallel to the floor, and place your right hand on the other end of the bench. Hold dumbbell in left hand, pull using your rhomboid muscles, bringing your elbow back and towards the spine, squeezing your shoulder blades; lower slowly with control.

  • Child’s Pose

Kneel and sit your hips back toward your heels, forehead to the floor, with arms stretched overhead.  

  • Pull-Ups

Begin in a dead hang from a bar, with your core centered and back straight. Pull yourself up using your lats and core muscles, squeezing your shoulder blades at the top of the movement. Keep your neck straight and guide your chin steadily above the bar.

  • Scapular Push ups

Start out in plank position with your arms shoulder width apart. Keep your arms locked outward, drop your chest slightly and squeeze your shoulder blades together, isolating your scapula. Make sure to keep lower back neutral and avoid bending the elbows.

  • Lower Back Extensions

Lie facedown on the floor with your body fully extended, arms above your head and legs together. Lift your arms and legs up off the floor, using your lower back and glute muscles, making sure not to bend the knees or elbows.

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  • Spinal Twist

Begin in seated staff pose. Bend your right knee over your left leg, placing your foot on the ground next to your left thigh. Your leg can be kept straight ahead or bent. Turn your torso towards the left.

Try these exercises out and let us know you feel. Looking forward to next month–get ready for the 10,000 rep challenge!! As always, if you’d like to set up a free consult with us, please fill out the contact form below.

Yours in health,

Fuse Fitness Team 

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Kristin Rios
Evan McWilliams' Fuse Fitness Success Story!

Hi Fusers! This month we are giving a big shout out to one of our longest members, Evan McWilliams, who has been working out at Fuse Fitness since 2011. He started out with personal training and now is one of our most regular class attendees. Since his first class in 2012, he has logged in 425 hours of workouts (not including personal training sessions). WOW!! And that doesn’t even touch on the many hours/miles of hiking/running he has logged outside the gym.

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As most of you know, Evan always walks in barefoot (even in the winter when it’s RAINING!!!), shoes in hand, baseball cap on, and pretends to be the grumpiest person you’ve ever met. While he does a very good job of being grumpy, he really is one of the nicest and funniest people at the gym.

 

We first met Evan in 2011, and had the pleasure of training him one-on-one. He was gifted some training sessions from a friend of his who had done work for Pascha and me when we opened Fuse. Evan’s friend kindly allowed Pascha and me to do a trade with him, as he knew we were a brand new business working hard to get on our feet. As the story goes, Evan had helped out his friend by taking care of his children while his wife was battling and beating cancer. In return for Evan’s generosity and friendship during this time, he was gifted the training sessions.

Pascha and I both trained Evan in the beginning for the traded sessions. At first, I’m not sure he was entirely enthused or excited to have been gifted the training sessions, however he had to use them. I wasn’t sure whether he would continue after those sessions were done, but he did, and as time moved forward, a new Evan emerged. During this time, I got to know him quite well, and learned quickly how dry and sarcastic his sense of humor is, which I find to be hilarious. It was clear that getting over that initial hump of starting a new, intense fitness program was challenging, however his consistency and hard work paid off. I really began to see big changes in Evan….he became really motivated and confident, and awesomely stayed grumpy. However, I quickly came to see that while perhaps the initial grumpiness when he first started training was real, the new grumpiness wasn’t quite true. But he does do one hell of a job pulling it off ;)

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Here are a few words from Evan himself:

I developed epilepsy in my late twenties and had a doctor tell me all the things that I should not do. I took what he said to heart and basically became sedentary. I had been in law enforcement so had been in okay shape, but spent the next couple of years feeling sorry for myself and gained a ton of weight. When I left police work I started working for an outdoor apparel company that placed a huge emphasis on being active. I did not want to stand out as “that guy” so started to run on my own. No training, no coaching, just running, because I was too self-conscious to workout with other people.

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I lost some weight and ran three marathons in one year (despite my doctor's warning) and realized that I was physically one-dimensional. I could run forever, but I was doing nothing but aerobic exercise. I wanted to see if my times improved as my fitness level became more well-rounded. A friend of mine did some work for Pascha and Kristin when they opened Fuse. He worked out a barter with them for personal training. He gave those training sessions to me. My first session was with Pascha. All I remember was feeling completely out of shape, and her saying, “Oh, Evan” as I struggled during the workout.  All I wanted to do was get into decent shape and be done. I figured I would work out for a few months and then continue working out on my own. I had no interest in the classes, but would watch them as I worked out with Kristin, and they looked really fun.  I eased into one class a week taught by Kristin, but it took another year or two for me to work out with a different trainer because I don’t like change.  Now, I try to be in class 5-6 days a week.

All of my fitness challenges have been self-inflicted. I have developed a knack for hurting myself. I have blown out my back, broken my foot, developed tendonitis in both elbows and just last month I had a bunch of stitches put into my knee. In the past I would have felt sorry for myself and probably quit. Now, I see these challenges as a way to figure out how to work through the injury. I was working out with Kristin while in my cast. I was back working out the day my stitches came out. And recently I have started to do 20+ mile walk/hike/runs to compensate for my elbow issues.  I still struggle with being 50 and not being able to do everything that I used to do. Everyone at Fuse is here for their own reasons. There is such a supportive feel here. It doesn’t matter if you are the fastest, slowest or strongest…it matters that you are here doing what you need to do for yourself! I have NEVER had that feeling working out in any other environment.

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My biggest [fitness] success was finishing the Spring Cleaning Challenge (clean-eating, fat loss challenge) last year. It came at the right time, as I was training to climb Mt. Rainier. It showed me that I could successfully complete something (while hurt) and finish what I had started in a strong manner. I ended up losing 35lbs which was a huge benefit for the climb. After climbing Rainier, I started to look at things differently, and now I try to find things that a couple of years ago I would not have even tried. Right now, I want to do an unassisted hand-stand. For no other reason than 50-year-old men are not generally known for their handstands!  I also want to be able to keep up with my family. Both my wife and son are major outdoors people. We spend an awful lot of time hiking and mountaineering. I want to be able to keep doing that for my entire life.

I LOVE the atmosphere at Fuse. There is such a nice support network here. People check on you if you have missed class. They welcome my son whenever he shows up. AND they hold you accountable in the best possible way. I know when I am slacking, and I love being called out on it because it shows me they want me to do the best that I can!

Evan, while this tells the story of how your fitness journey at Fuse began because of a gift from a grateful friend, the way I look at it, the gift was really to us. You have become one of our most loved and appreciated members at Fuse! We are very proud of how far you’ve come and all the awesome, positive changes you have made. Thank you for your support. AND STAY GRUMPY!!!!

If you're interested in joining Fuse Fitness and becoming one of our next success stories, please fill out the form below to sign-up for a free fitness consult.

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Marni Gonzalez's Fuse Fitness Success Story!

Hi Fusers! This month we're celebrating one of our amazing members, Marni Gonzalez. If I could describe her in one word, in relation to how she is in the gym, I'd say tough. By definition, I mean that she "demonstrates a strict and uncompromising attitude or approach."  When presented with any challenge in class, she always creates a strategy, implements that strategy and then very successfully completes the challenge. Just. Like. That. If you've taken class with Marni, you know that she maintains her strong pace evenly, keeping her focus on the goal. It's quite impressive.

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Having been a member at Fuse since March 2015, Marni has without fail, (unless she is traveling, which is one of her passions) showed up and stuck to her very consistent schedule, for a total of 345 times, logging in just over 300 hours of working out. Consistency and keeping a schedule for working out is what gets results, and Marni has that figured out.

That's just a glimpse into Marni's gym life--as you can see, she is hard-working, disciplined and goal oriented. I'd wager to say that her tenacity probably has something to do with how she became a neurologist. Just a guess on my part :) She has been a practicing neurologist since 2006 and is a senior physician at Kaiser Permanente Medical Group. She also led the creation and implementation of The Memory Center, where she and other team members provide medical and social support for patients with dementia.

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So yeah, in one word I'd say this woman is tough. But since I don't have to only describe her in one word, I'd also like to say that she is incredibly sweet, supportive and I love having her in class. Marni has made a serious commitment to her health since joining, both with her workouts and her diet, and she has really transformed her body. She's super strong, works really hard, motivates everyone and inspires us all. And I love how devoted she is to her family and her faith.

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Here are a few words from Marni about her fitness journey:

"Approaching middle age prompted me to contemplate my future self.  Do I want to be a “healthy” and “active” 65-year-old, enjoying retirement?  Or, do I accept the alternative?  At this crossroad in my life, I made a commitment to get healthier, physically.  I joined Woohoo Fit in June 2012, two months after my 39th birthday and have been working out consistently ever since.  When Woohoo Fit closed in the Spring 2015, some of us former "Woohoo-ers" transferred to Fuse Fitness.  I am so thankful that I decided to do so!  It was a pretty seamless transition for me.  The challenging classes, wonderful trainers, and community of fellow "Fusers" make this place very special. I felt welcomed from the beginning.

"I realized that exercising regularly does not necessarily result in weight loss.  Don’t misunderstand me – I know that it is essential for cardiovascular health.  However, working out three times a week while I continued my undisciplined food habits gradually but surely resulted in a size increase in my clothes!  I also felt I reached a plateau in my fitness level.

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"Fortunately, last February 2016, I committed to a change in my approach to food.  I also increased the frequency of my work outs (from three to four times a week), threw in Monday night yoga sessions with Kelly, and exercised even while on vacation (which I never used to do).  Now, also thirty pounds lighter, I don’t think I have been stronger and more physically fit in my life.

"I am very grateful for the phenomenal trainers who so patiently worked with me over the years at Woohoo Fit and Fuse Fitness – Eva, Kelly, Amy B., Kristen, Pasha, Gail, Beverly, and now Michelle.  My life has forever changed!"

Marni, we are grateful for you and the example you set. Thank you for being such a wonderful and integral part of the Fuse community!

Yours in health,

Kristin at Fuse Fitness

P.S. As always, if you're reading this and interested in finding your own path to success with your health and fitness, fill out the contact form below to sign up for a free fitness consult today!

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In Full Swing

Hi Fusers! I just want to say, you all did a damn good job with those burpees last month. I know you have probably never hated us more than during the month of March, but hey, it’s time to move on—forgive and forget.

Here we are, the beginning of April, and spring is quickly swinging into action. The rain has finally stopped, the sun is out, the days are longer, flowers are blooming, and we are swinging. Ok, so that last thing doesn't really fit the sentence. However, while spring swings into action, we will concurrently be swinging kettlebells. This month, we are focusing on an actual favorite exercise at Fuse (opposed to last month’s "favorite")—the kettlebell swing.

A brief bit of histrory—kettlebells were developed in Russia during the 1700s and were mostly used as a way for farmers to measure crops. Beginning in the 20th century, Soviet athletes began to use kettlebells as part of their training (Wikipedia). What makes the kettlebell unique is it’s design; unlike a dumbbell or barbell, the center of mass is extended beyond the hand, allowing the athlete to incorporate power and swinging movements into his/her program.

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At first glance, the swing looks very similar to a squat and front shoulder raise. However, it is not that, and it is extremely important to learn proper technique to ensure safety as well as get the most out of this powerful, all-encompassing exercise.  So let’s break it down.

The kettlebell swing is an explosive, ballistic exercise that trains the posterior chain of your body—primarily your hips, glutes, back and core. It is composed of a hip hinge movement in which you drive your hips straight back behind your centerline, pulling the kettlebell back between your legs just below the groin. It is imperative to keep your core tight and spine neutral spine/back straight. Your shins stay completely vertical, unlike a squat where the knees track over the toes, creating an angle of <90° between your shins and the floor.

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This movement pattern loads up the glutes and hips, which are extremely strong and powerful muscles. At this point you snap your hips forward powerfully, propelling the kettlebell upward. You maintain loose, straight arms, as the effort comes completely from your hips/glutes/core, and has nothing to do with your arms. While your arms help to control the kettlebell, you shouldn't use your arms or shoulders to pull it up.

This movement pattern loads up your glutes and hips, which are extremely strong and powerful muscles. At this point you snap your hips forward powerfully, propelling the kettlebell upward. You maintain loose, straight arms, as the effort comes completely from your hips/glutes/core, and has nothing to do with your arms. While your arms help to control the kettlebell, you shouldn't use your arms or shoulders to pull it up.

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As the kettlebell reaches its top end range of motion, usually around 45° out from your body, your glutes and abs flex to stop your hip motion so that you do NOT lean back and use your lower back muscles to pull. Your body should be in a completely vertical position, like a standing plank, with your core and glutes fully engaged. If your core is not engaged, you will put too much stress on your spine, causing your lower back, rather than your glutes, to do the majority of the work.

As the kettlebell begins to drop back down, make sure to be patient and wait until it has traveled almost all the way back down before beginning to hinge your hips back by moving your hips out of way. If you begin to hinge too early, you risk the kettlebell coming down much closer to the knees than it should—it should stay right below your groin.

So that’s the breakdown. Pretty technical, which is why we’re going to focus on perfecting it this month. When done correctly, it’s an amazing full-body exercise that is great for both conditioning and muscular endurance.

Keep up the great work Fusers!

Yours in health,

Kristin at Fuse Fitness

p.s. If you're interested in learning how to do a kettlebell swing, want to work on your form, or are simply looking for an awesome strength and conditioning program, fill out the form below to sign-up for a free fitness consult.

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