Our Blog

Our Blog

New Reservation System

Our goal at The Firm Cardio Studio is to make finding time to work out easier. We realize everyone is busy and carving out an hour to workout isn’t easy. We utilize the latest technology to make that time commitment as minimal as possible.

Our online scheduling systems means that you can schedule your workout, show up just before the class starts. No arriving early to ensure you have a spot. No overcrowded classes.  And now, scheduling those classes is even easier when you use one of the two mobile apps available to you.


The Firm Cardio Studio members are now able to book classes using the MindBody app on their phones.

This should make scheduling classes much easier.

Get the MindBody App Here!

Spivi Indoor Cycle

If you enjoy our Cycle classes and would like to reserve a specific bike, download the Spivi App. The Spivi app allows you to spot reserve in Cycle class as well as reserve in the Group X Studio.

Get the Spivi App for Android Here!

Get the Spivi App for Apple Here!

Week One — Maintain Don’t Gain

It’s getting to be that time of year. We all know how easy it is to pack on a few extra pounds through the holiday season. During the next few weeks, we will be addressing ways to help you get through the holidays without adding extra baggage.

Maintain Don't Gain

Week 1 Challenge:

Eat healthy before a holiday party
Welcome to week 1 of the Maintain, Don’t Gain! Healthy Holiday Challenge. Parties are an exciting part of the holiday season, but you don’t have to let your enjoyment of the season throw your commitment to healthy eating off course. This holiday season why not celebrate and be healthy at the same time?

Complete this week’s challenge

  • Eat a healthy meal that includes fruit, protein, and whole grains.
  • Each day, write what you ate in a Food and Physical Activity Log or track it using one of the many fitness apps — My Plate and Map My Fitness are some examples.
  • At the end of the week, answer the questions on the back of your Food
    and Physical Activity Log.

The importance of eating before a party
A well-balanced meal not only gives you energy throughout the day, it’s also linked to health benefits like weight control and improved performance. Studies show that eating
a healthy meal is key to:

  • Maintaining a nutritionally balanced diet that is high in nutrients,
    vitamins, and minerals
  • Improving concentration and performance in the work environment
  • Improving strength and endurance in physical activities
  • Lowering cholesterol

Common misconceptions
Think skipping a meal before a party saves you calories? This is a common misconception.
When you skip a meal, by the time you get to the party, you’ll be craving caloriedense
foods. And, by the end of the night, you’ll have eaten double the amount of
calories you would have if you’d eaten a small, healthy meal before arriving.

Tips for healthy eating during the holiday season:

  • Plan ahead
  • Snack on fruits and veggies before heading to a party
  • Pack a healthy snack and take it on the go

What to eat
A healthy meal should contain a variety of foods. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low- or non-fat dairy, and lean protein are all good choices. Some quick and healthy choices include:

  • A fresh salad with a whole-wheat roll
  • A smoothie made with fruit and low- or non-fat yogurt
  • Fresh veggies with low- or non-fat dressing
  • A slice of whole-wheat bread with peanut butter and a piece of fruit or glass of water
  • Low-fat yogurt and a piece of fruit


Source: WebMD.com

Setting Goals

How to Succeed at Achieving Fitness

Without Really Trying

Being fit isn’t easy. If it was obesity would not be at epidemic proportions.  We know that working out can sometimes be tough to do and tough to stick to. We tend to procrastinate when it comes to hitting the gym. “There is always tomorrow, next week, next month and 5-10 pounds later…Next Year.”

If you want to succeed, you need to set goals. Without goals you lack focus and direction. Goal setting not only allows you to take control of your life’s direction; it also provides you a benchmark for determining whether you are actually succeeding.

To accomplish your goals, however, you need to know how to set them. You can’t simply say, “I want” and expect it to happen. Goal setting is a process that starts with careful consideration of what you want to achieve, and ends with a lot of hard work to actually do it. In between there are some very well-defined steps that transcend the specifics of each goal. Knowing these steps will allow you to formulate goals that you can accomplish.

If you want to achieve fitness, there are 5 basic rules to follow for success.

1. Set Goals that Motivate you

First, start thinking about what’s important to you when you think about your mental and physical health. When we establish our priorities, we set an intention for our exercise accountability game plan. If you went on a road trip and thought you didn’t need a map, you’d be lost. Knowing where you want to go and how to stay on the right path is what will drive you directly to where you want to go. Make a list of your current fitness goals and list why they are important to you. Maybe you want to lose weight so you can run a 5k with your son or daughter on a specific date. There is your motivation.

2. Set SMART Goals

You have probably heard of SMART goals already. But do you always apply the rule? The simple fact is that for goals to be powerful, they should be designed to be SMART. There are many variations of what SMART stands for, but the essence is this – goals should be:

  • Specific.
  • Measurable.
  • Attainable.
  • Relevant.
  • Time Bound.

Set Specific Goals

Your goal must be clear and well defined. Vague or generalized goals are unhelpful because they don’t provide sufficient direction. Remember, you need goals to show you the way. Make it as easy as you can to get where you want to go by defining precisely where you want to end up.

Set Measurable Goals

Include precise amounts, dates, and so on in your goals so you can measure your degree of success. If your goal is to lose 5 pounds, your goal is measurable. You can monitor this by weekly weigh-ins.

Set Attainable Goals

Make sure that it’s possible to achieve the goals you set. If you set a goal that you have no hope of achieving, you will only demoralize yourself and erode your confidence.

However, resist the urge to set goals that are too easy. Accomplishing a goal that you didn’t have to work hard for can be anticlimactic at best, and can also make you fear setting future goals that carry a risk of non-achievement. By setting realistic yet challenging goals, you hit the balance you need. These are the types of goals that require you to “raise the bar” and they bring the greatest personal satisfaction.

Set Relevant Goals

Goals should be relevant to the direction you want your life to take. By keeping goals aligned with this, you’ll develop the focus you need to get ahead and do what you want. Set widely scattered and inconsistent goals, and you’ll fritter your time – and your life – away.

Set Time-Bound Goals

You goals must have a deadline. Again, this means that you know when you can celebrate success. When you are working on a deadline, your sense of urgency increases and achievement will come that much quicker.

Accountability is Important in Attaining Your Fitness Goals

Workout accountability gives you added incentive to stay committed to an exercise program. It’s about changing your mindset from exercise being a means to an end to each and every workout being something that will change your life for the better. Accountability means establishing guidelines, and even consequences that would encourage you to never miss another workout. This is why group exercise works so well. There are other people that you workout with that help keep you accountable. It may only be the idea in your mind that if you don’t show up for a class, the instructor or others in the class will think less of you, or you may have established a workout buddy that gives you a hard time if you miss a class. Either way, there is a reason not to miss a class.

1) Make a schedule.

Take a look at your week and find days and times when you’re free to workout. Aim for keeping a regular schedule. But if that isn’t possible, every Sunday set your schedule for each individual week. At The Firm Cardio Studio, you can schedule your classes 1 or 2 weeks in advance. By doing this you have made a commitment that you need to be accountable to.

2) Find a workout buddy.

Having a support system of friends who have similar goals and exercise interests turns workouts into a more social activity. The Firm Cardio Studio strives to provide a community-centered environment where-while everyone has individual goals, everyone keeps each other accountable and excited to come back for more! If you haven’t already done so, ask another member that takes similar classes if they will be your workout buddy. Or if you notice another member struggling to be consistent offer to be their’s. It will prove to be mutually beneficial.

3) Set or pack your workout clothes for the next day.

Much like you’d pack a briefcase, diaper bag, or school bag, packing a gym bag will make things much easier, and you’ll be more likely not to skip the gym. If you’re a morning person, pack the gym bag or even set your gym shoes by the front door, the night before. If you work out at night, throw a packed gym bag in your car. Either way, after you finish one workout, get ready for the next!

4) Set a “No Excuse” Rule

It is easy to find an excuse not to do something you don’t want to do. Commit to yourself that you will accept “no excuse”. If something comes up that interferes with a planned workout, look for a workaround before letting it take priority over your workout. Maybe you have to leave the class early or switch a planned class to another time, but don’t skip it all together if at all possible.

5) Set up a reward system.

Sometimes we need a little added bonus for making even short-term goals like just making it to the gym this week. Set up rewards for hitting those goals with things like buying a nicer-than-usual body lotion, book a massage, or buy new gym shoes. The Firm Cardio Studio offers a rewards program. For every 50 classes you take, we give you $5 store credit. You can use this store credit to buy yourself that cute little t-shirt you have been eyeballing. We all need a little boost sometimes and if reaching goals means celebrating milestones and non-scale victories, we’re all for it!


Guilt Free Pumpkin Cheesecake

Tofu Pumpkin CheesecakeWell almost guilt free anyway. This rich creamy pumpkin flavored pie is made from Tofu. With the holidays upon us this is the perfect substitution for regular Pumpkin Pie.

Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake

Prep time: Cook time:

This recipe was adapted from Minimalist Baker

Serves: 10

  • 7 ounces (~1 3/4 cups ground) vegan graham crackers (or other similar vegan cracker or cookie)
  • 5 Tbsp vegan butter (or sub coconut oil)
  • 1 12.3 ounce package firm silken tofu*, gently pressed dry
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/3 cup Date Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C). Add graham crackers to food processor and mix until a fine meal is achieved (alternatively, smash with a rolling pin in a large freezer bag). Add melted butter and pulse to combine.
  2. Transfer to a standard pie pan (mine is 9.5 inches, but 9 inches or slightly smaller will work) and press with fingers to form the crust evenly on the bottom and up the sides of the pan. If any surface area of the pan isn’t covered with crust, spritz it with non-stick spray so the cheesecake won’t stick.
  3. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until slightly browned. Then set aside to cool. Keep oven at 350 F.
  4. In the meantime, prepare cheesecake filling by adding all ingredients to a blender and blending until creamy and smooth, scraping down sides as needed.
  5. Pour cheesecake filling into pre-baked crust. Set on a baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 1 hour – 1 hour 10 minutes. The edges should be golden brown and the center should be slightly jiggly.
  7. Let cool completely. Then loosely cover with a paper towel (to catch moisture) and then very loosely with foil and chill for at least 6 hours or overnight before serving.
  8. To serve, gently slice and top with coconut whipped cream.
  9. Will keep stored in the fridge for up to a few days, though best when fresh.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 slice (1/10th of pie) Calories: 206 Fat: 8.7g Saturated fat: 1.8g Carbohydrates: 28g Sugar: 16.7 g Sodium: 190mg Fiber: 1.4g Protein: 4.1g
(Compare to regular Pumpkin Pie
Serving size: 1 slice (133g) Calories: 323 Fat: 13g Saturated fat: 2.6g Carbohydrates: 46g Sugar: 25g Sodium: 318mg Fiber: 2.4g Protein: 5g)



Have You Hugged Your Aerobics Instructor Today?

Hug your instructor

Sounds like a silly question. But if you knew what many of these unsung heroes of the gym go through on a daily basis to to get every last drop of sweat out of your body, you would at least offer up a high 5.

These instructors are entertainers. They make us smile when we are in pain. They are part drill sergeant, part motivator, part compassionate support.  They make us laugh and yes sometimes they make us cry.

They are of course teachers. They show us how to do the exercises correctly, teach us the choreography and sometimes even keep us up on current event.

They are motivators. They keep us moving when we want to give up. They make us jump higher, run faster, lift heavier and push harder that we think we are capable of doing.

They are a friend. Someone to listen to our vents, someone who sympathizes with us, someone that brings us up when we feel down.

They spend countless hours outside the class learning a routine or researching new ways to make a class interesting. They stay up on the latest trends in the fitness world, they invest money into training, ongoing CEC, subscriptions to music, choreography and more. And when you add it all up at the end of the class, they are probably the lowest paid people on the face of the earth.

They don’t do this for the money, (but they do appreciate being paid for what they do). They do this for you. The people that show up to class day in and day out. And when you don’t show up for class, the first thing they think is “What am I doing wrong?” Why don’t they come to my class?” So the next time you think you might just “skip this class”, think about your instructor. If you don’t make the effort for yourself, make it for someone else.”I really regret doing that class, said no one ever!”

The Firm Cardio Studio has some of the finest instructors in the area. I’m proud to have them on my team.

What is Barre and Why Should I Try It?


Is it a Ballet Class?  No, Barre fitness classes are simply ballet-inspired, incorporating a ballet barre, a chair or in the case of “LeBarre” a Lebert Equalizer and maybe some plies an occasional battement or Rond de Bras” here and there into the workout. Essentially, barre classes mix elements of Pilates, dance, yoga and functional training, and the moves are choreographed to motivating music. In each energizing and targeted workout, you’ll use the barre and exercise equipment such as mini-balls and small hand weights to sculpt, slim and stretch your entire body.

Why Should You Do Barre Workouts?

No experience required. The classes offer modifications for all fitness levels. You don’t need to know the first thing about ballet, or even ever taken an exercise class before. All of the exercises are relatively simple with no complex choreography.

Gentle on muscles, kind on joints. Small, super-controlled movements reduce pressure on your joints, tendons, ligaments and spine. At first you may think, “This is way too easy”. But by doing barre regularly, you’ll also notice a remarkable improvement in your core strength and posture along with noticeable improvement to muscle tone.

You work muscless to failure without lifting heavy weights. Barre’s tiny motions, many reps, intentional squeezes and pulses are designed to fatigue muscles to failure. Embrace the shaking as it’s totally natural for your muscles to quiver uncontrollably – it means you are exhausting that muscle and forcing it to tone.

It’s Fun! Ever hear the saying “Time flies quickly when you are having fun”? Barre classes are fun. It’s never the same class twice!

Benefits of Barre. If you’re sitting slumped in your chair reading this, then you may want to think again. According to Lincoln, the major benefits of barre are improved posture, muscle definition, weight loss, increased flexibility and reduced stress.

Rapid results. Yes, you will be sore after the first few classes, but you’ll also see some major results in little time – so stick with it! If you perform a barre workout 2-4 times weekly, you will typically notice changes in as little as one month. Changes may include an improved posture, thinner thighs, chiseled arms, a sculpted back, flat abs and a lifted seat. Barre classes are incredibly effective at transforming so-called ‘problem’ areas, especially for women.

What to Expect from a Barre Class

The typical class will take you through a dynamic and invigorating workout. You’ll start with a warm up and sequence of upper-body exercises, which include free weights, push-ups, planks and other moves to target the biceps, triceps, chest, and back muscles. Next, you’ll use the ballet barre and your own body weight for resistance to focus on the thigh and seat muscles. Your core will be engaged the entire class and then targeted at the end. For the cool down, you’ll go through a series of stretches to increase flexibility and allow your muscles to recover. Most classes are 45- 60 minutes.

What to Wear to Barre

Barre is a barefoot class. If you are not comfortable working out barefooted, you might want to invest in a pair of yoga socks. The Firm Cardio Studio sells these socks in the ProShop, so don’t worry if you can’t find any. Clothing should be comfortable and allow you to move without binding. Traditional yoga wear works well for this.

Will I burn a ton of calories?

Don’t expect to see a double digit calorie burn for this class, while the format does include some cardio, the focus here is on building muscle. The more muscle we have the higher our metabolism is. So while the numbers don’t show up on the leader board, you will begin to see the weight disappearing as everything you do burns more calories than it did before.

Barre is becoming one of the fastest growing exercises formats out there, and it is not all because of hype. Once you experience a class or two, you will understand why this format continues to grow in popularity.


Rainy Days And Mondays

Rainy Days and Mondays

Can Rainy Days Really Get You Down?

By Gretchen Davis

Spring is upon us and that means we will be seeing a lot more rainy days. With the rain, you may experience certain mood changes. How many like the idea of “sleeping in” when waking up to the sounds of rain drops on the roof? Do you seem a little sad or depressed sans sunny days? The Carpenters sang a song about it… “Rainy days and Mondays always get me down.” But can rain really ruin your mood?

There are a number of studies done on how weather affects your mood. Some agree and some disagree. Bottom line: if you are one of those people that find yourself a little less chipper in rainy weather, you are not alone.

If you feel down during a downpour, it’s not your imagination: several studies agree that bad weather can indeed have a negative effect on your emotions. According to one study, nearly 9 percent of people fall into the “rain haters” category. This group feels angrier and less happy on days with more precipitation. Another study found that rain even increased the number of negative posts published on Facebook.

Tecsia Evans, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in private practice in San Francisco (where it rains 67 days a year, on average), says, “When it gets dark and dreary out, some people definitely have more susceptibility to feeling lonely or down. It’s pretty common to see a change in mood — such as feeling sadness or lower self-esteem — when it’s rainy outside.”

Many people are so affected by the weather that it is classified as a disorder. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons — SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year. If you’re like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody. Less often, SAD causes depression in the spring or early summer.

It is not just emotional…

Rain makes everything more difficult and though it can’t directly affect your hormones or energy (unless you are standing in the rain in which case you will further tax your energy as your body tries to heat and dry you up), it can affect your lifestyle in ways that are not conducive to a good mood. For instance the rain is likely to mean that you stay in more and socialize less. Thus if you are staying in you can often start to feel tired and low in terms of your mood, and furthermore the lack of stimulation can arouse feelings of ‘cabin fever’ and frustration.
Meanwhile rain means that you get wet when you walk to your car or to the train station which is frustrating in itself and again likely to cause illnesses. On top of that though it means that more people drive meaning that you will start the day again feeling angry and frustrated.
There are countless different ways in which the weather can affect mood then and this includes direct effects on mood and hormones, as well as more subtle second order impacts. Make sure that you stay warm and dry and that you make up for lower energy in your diet.

If you find yourself a little down when it rains, and maybe even tempted to shut off the lights and crawl into bed during a rainstorm, make the choice to turn on the lights instead. “There has been research that light can boost serotonin, which elevates the mood,” one researcher says.

Julia Samton, MD, a psychiatrist at NYC’s Manhattan Neuropsychiatric who offers light therapy in her practice, takes that advice a step further. “I encourage people to really try to make sure they walk outside, even when it’s cold and rainy,” she says. “Even though it might not seem that light out, you’ll still get some exposure to UV rays, which can help regulate your body’s circadian rhythm and boost your mood.”

When you’re feeling down, get up — literally.

“I encourage people to exercise… that’s a big one,” says another researcher. “It gives people vitality, and can contribute to self-esteem, and increases endorphins that have a positive effect on the mood.” Speaking of endorphins…try working up a sweat. This releases endorphins and as Elle Woods says…”people who exercise don’t kill their husbands..They just don’t”.

Bottom line…if you feel blue because of the rain or dreary skies, your not alone, but don’t let it overcome you. Get up and get moving. Better yet, hit the gym. There you not only exercise and release endorphins to brighten you mood, you also engage in social activities which also plays a big part in mood elevation.


Christodoulou, C.; Douzenis, A.; Papadopoulos, F. C.; Papadopoulou, A.; Bouras, G.; Gournellis, R.; Lykouras, L. (2012). Suicide and seasonality. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 125, 127-146.

Connolly, M. (2013). Some like it mild and not too wet: The influence of weather on subjective well-being. Journal of Happiness Studies, 14, 457-473.

Connolly, M. (2008). Here comes the rain again: Weather and the intertemporal substitution of leisure. Journal of Labor Economics, 26, 73-100.

Denissen, J.J.A.; Butalid, Ligaya; Penke, Lars; van Aken, Marcel A. G. (2008). The effects of weather on daily mood: A multilevel approach. Emotion, 8, 662-667.

Hsiang, SM, et al., (2013). Quantifying the influence of climate on human conflict. Science.

Klimstra, Theo A.; Frijns, Tom; Keijsers, Loes; Denissen, Jaap J. A.; Raaijmakers, Quinten A. W.; van Aken, Marcel A. G.; Koot, Hans M.; van Lier, Pol A. C.; Meeus, Wim H. J.; (2011). Come rain or come shine: Individual differences in how weather affects mood. Emotion, 11, 1495-1.

Koskinen O1, Pukkila K, Hakko H, Tiihonen J, Väisänen E, Särkioja T, Räsänen P. (2002). Is occupation relevant in suicide? J Affect Disord. 2002 Jul;70(2):197-203.

Makris, G. D.; Reutfors, J.; Ösby, U.; Isacsson, G.; Frangakis, C.; Ekbom, A.; Papadopoulos, F. C. (2013). Suicide seasonality and antidepressants: A register‐based study in Sweden. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 127, 117-125.






Is what you eat zapping your energy?

Foods make you tired

Foods that will zap your energy during the day…

Reprinted with permission from Balanced Habits.

Most everyone has experienced it. Your day is going perfectly fine and then it hits you…
A wave of fatigue engulfs your body. All too often when the tiredness over takes you, you’re not in a position to take a power nap. Your only option is to soldier on. Which could result in you making errors and mistakes, a decrease in your motivation and an overall lack of productivity.
This leaves you open to potentially serious repercussions depending upon the tasks you have on
your to-do list that day. Now while there are many potential causes of fatigue during the day (lack of sleep, lack of physical
exercise, too much alcohol to name a few) today I’m going to look at how unhealthy eating habits
might be contributing to you being tired during the day. First I’ll identify you the three categories of food you should especially avoid. Then you’ll discover four foods that are known to cause drowsiness.
The three categories of food you should avoid are…

  1. Refined Carbohydrates – Refined carbohydrates are carbohydrates that have the nutrients and fiber removed. They are known as “empty calories.” The problem with refined carbs is that they can cause a spike in your blood sugar level. This prompts your pancreas to create insulin which is released into your bloodstream. Now while this does provide you with a jolt of energy, it doesn’t last long. The insulin rapidly lowers your blood sugar level making
    you feel fatigued.
    Eating refined carbohydrates also increases blood fats called triglycerides. This puts you at risk for a heart attack, stroke or diabetes. So whether you feel tired or not during the day, it’s a good idea to limit the amount of refined carbs you consume.
    The two main categories of refined carbs are 1) processed sugars (including high fructose corn syrup) and 2) refined grains. It’s extremely important that you pay attention to the sugar level on the label of products like yogurt, breakfast cereal, soft drinks, juice etc. Plus avoid products made with refined flour such as white bread, crackers, breakfast cereals, donuts and so on. Always opt for 100% whole wheat products when possible. Refined carbohydrates are also referred to as simple carbs and processed carbs).
  2.  Highly Processed Foods – Highly processed foods have very little or no nutritional value. They are often made with refined flour and lots of sugar, salt and various types of fat. They are popular because they appeal to the taste buds and offer a high level of convenience and shelf life. Here’s the thing though. Your body has difficulty digesting highly processed foods. Plus because these foods contain very little nutritional value, they give you a short burst of energy after which you feel tired. Plus they don’t satisfy your hunger for very long which puts you at risk of overeating. On the flip side, an apple or an orange is easily digestible into your blood stream and will energize your cells with actual nutrients.There was an interesting psychology study done by the University of California, Los Angeles. It involved rats (rats are used in these studies because their genetic, biological and behavior characteristics closely resemble those of humans). After three months they found that rats who were fed a diet of highly processed foods (low quality, high sugar) were significantly fatter than the group who were fed relatively little or no processed foods (ground corn and fish). Plus, and here’s the kicker, they found that the fat group of mice were significantly lazier. What they determined from this was that the common thinking that being tired and lazy makes people overweight was actually wrong. They believe it’s
    the other way around. People become tired and lazy because they are overweight. Note: Fast food and junk food are highly processed and included in this category.
  3. Fatty Foods – Similar to highly processed foods, fatty foods are harder for your body to digest. They require more energy from your body which can make you feel zapped. Plus fat takes anywhere from six to eight hours to digest which is a long time compared to other types of food (for example, carbohydrates digest in one to four hours). What’s more,
    blood from your arms and legs actually goes to your stomach to aid with digestion. Having less blood in your extremities will make you tired. In addition to these three food groups, here are four specific foods that can make you feel tired
    during the day:

Bananas – Bananas are high in magnesium. Magnesium is an essential mineral that aids with sleep. Dawn Napoli, R.D. who works for Orlando Health, says that “High-magnesium foods like banana, pumpkin seeds, and halibut can make you tired. This mineral is actually a muscle relaxant, so it’s great before bed but could affect your energy during the day.” So the good news is if you do have trouble sleeping, a banana before bed could help you get to sleep quicker.

Cherries – Cherries contain melatonin which is a hormone known to improve the quality of one’s sleep, which means you might want to save them as a snack near bedtime. “Cherries will actually help regulate sleep, so it’s great as an aid but may be poor as a midday snack,” says Napoli.

Salmon (and Halibut) – These fish are a source of the vitamin B6. B6 is what the body uses to make melatonin which makes sleep more inviting. Pamela Peeke, M.D., an internationally renowned expert and speaker in women’s health, fitness and nutrition, says, “If someone is naturally low energy and wants to maintain peak energy and attention,
have salmon at night when its sedative effects can be used effectively. The same goes for halibut.”

Oatmeal – Oatmeal, of course, is a breakfast favorite for many people. But if you feel tired later on, it could be the culprit. Cynthia Pasquella, CCN, CHLC, CWC says, “Oats are also rich in melatonin, which relaxes the body and helps you fall asleep.” It’s not a coincidence that the three categories above (refined carbohydrates, highly-processed foods, fatty foods) consist of foods you’ll want to limit eating as part of a healthy diet. That said, if you sometimes feel tired during the day, it could have something to do with what you’re eating. Cut down on the above and focus more on whole foods and you can’t help but have more energy throughout your day.



Surviving Turkeyfest


Or how to keep from undoing all your hard work in one day.

According to research from the Calorie Control Council, the average American may consume more than 4,500 calories and a whopping 229 grams of fat during a typical holiday gathering from snacking and eating a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with turkey and all the trimmings.

The average Thanksgiving dinner can carry a load of 3,000 calories. (Remember that 3,500 calories = 1 lb. of fat). Snacking and drinking throughout the day can add an additional 1,500 calories. Combined, that’s the equivalent of more than 2 -1/4 times the average daily calorie intake and almost 3 -1/2 times the fat —  45 percent of calories coming from fat. The average person may consume enough fat at a holiday meal to equal three sticks of butter.

Here’s the breakdown:

Thankgiving Calories

Many of us think that the holiday season is for over indulging and celebrating and that they will hit the gym in January and get back in shape.

But as those of us that have struggled to lose those last few pounds can tell you, that is easier said than done.  It is not necessary to place a moratorium on holiday festivities in order to stave off the additional pounds. Good planning and healthy eating habits when not indulging in the festivities will keep you ahead of the game.

First, identify where the calories are coming from. Visit the Calorie Control Council’s list of the most common holiday foods or its calorie calculator. Secondly, revise your holiday recipes to include low fat / low calorie versions of traditional foods.

Try these “Low-Fat Holiday” tips from the American Heart Association:

  • Eat lower-fat and reduced-calorie foods for days in advance of the holiday feast, and for days after.
  • Prepare for handling your worst temptations; if you want both pecan and pumpkin pie, take a tiny slice of each, instead of a full serving.
  • If cooking, provide low-fat foods, or ask if you can bring a low-fat dish.
  • After the meal, start a tradition — a holiday walk, for instance.

Remember, you can lighten your holiday feasting and stiFitness Factsll have a jolly good time!

Thirdly, exercise regularly during the holidays. Make it part of your routine to hit the gym, go for a walk or simply park at the back of the parking lot at the mall instead of closest to the door.

Here are some activities and their corresponding calorie expenditure in 1 hour. The lower number is for 130 lb. person, the larger number for 205 lb. person.


For additional activities click here.



The fourth thing you can do is to perform a vigorous exercise post feast. Take advantage of the “afterburn” effect. Many studies have concluded that High intensity interval training has been shown to elicit an even greater post-workout burn, as has resistance training performed at quick paces and/or high intensity. HIIT and Tabata timing based exercises elicit an “afterburn effect” — which is more officially known as “excess post-exercise oxygen consumption” or EPOC. The idea being that short burst of “maximum” effort exercise performed for a period of 30 minutes or more will offer a metabolic change where the body will use consumed carbohydrates to replenish glycogen stores as opposed to being stored as fat.

After Burn

In plain English – High intensity exercises classes such as Instanity, LeBoot, LeHIIT and Interval based indoor cycle classes can actually help you burn off those excess calories quicker.

The Firm Cardio Studio is offering two Indoor Cycle Classes Thursday Morning — One at 7:00 a.m. and one at 8:00 a.m. Both classes are FREE, so bring a friend!