MAX Blog

The Challenge Begins!

Challenges make you discover things about yourself that you never really knew. They’re what make the instrument stretch- what make you go beyond the norm.
— Cicely Tyson

Our Fit & Fabulous February Challenge has officially begun! Today, you begin your 28-day commitment to a healthier you. Be sure to join below to be entered into our prize drawings and receive updates throughout the challenge.

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In all the excitement to reach our goals, we tend to just jump right in. But if I have learned one thing from my past failures, it is that success is a continual cycle of preparation, action, and evaluation. So, before we lace up our running shoes, it is time to set some goals.

A goal is only a dream until you write it down on paper! Grab a journal, or if you prefer, I am sure there is some cool goal-setting app out there, and jot down your goals for this challenge. What do you want to accomplish in these 28 days? Remember your goals should be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound). In your journal, you will also track your progress. To help with this, you may want to include your start weight, waist measurements, pant size, blood pressure, etc. 

Next, take your "before" picture. You can decide later whether you would like to share the photo and earn some prizes! For now, just keep it as reference of your progress. Trust me, you will want it at the end of the challenge. 

Alright, now for the real important stuff- FOOD! From an athletic perspective, I can ensure you that working out all day is not going to get you the results you desire. Food is a huge component in athletic performance, weight loss, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. While a perfect diet is ideal, the chances of you sticking to it are slim to noneOver the years, I have tweaked my diet until I found one that can fulfill my performance needs while still satisfying my desired tastes and overwhelming sweet tooth. Finding your perfect balance takes time. So, for this first week, let's just make some small changes that will lead to big results!

  • Get off to a good start. A healthy breakfast will set the tone for the rest of your day.
  • Include a fruit and/or vegetable and lean protein serving in each meal.
  • Use small plates. This one is tried and true. It is the easiest way to control your portions without all the measuring.
  • Follow the 80/20 rule. 80% of your diet should be whole, nutritious food, while 20% is leftover for your eating pleasure.
  • Water, water, and more water. The goal is half your body weight in ounces (180 pound person should consume 90 ounces of water or about 6 bottles of water) plus one bottle for every workout.
  • Make your own meals. This one is going to take some planning, but will make a huge difference! Consider this, the spaghetti and meatball dinner at Olive Garden is over 1000 calories (not including the breadsticks and salad) while the homemade version is easily half that amount.
  • Finally, plan out your week. A little preparation keeps you from an impromptu (and diet-blowing) visit to the drive-thru window.

For those of you with weight loss as a goal for this challenge, trimming just 500 calories a day leads to one pound loss each week. Start by making the above small changes and then keep checking back throughout the challenge for more great tips, meal suggestions, and sample diet plans.

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Last, but definitely not least, let's talk fitness! Bear with me,  I know this is a lot to cover for one day, but preparation is key! For this week, Steve and I have carefully chosen a week's worth of workouts for you that complement one another and appeal to all different fitness interests. The weekly plan includes 2 or 3 active rest days (depending on your preference) which will aid in proper recovery and ultimately better results. While most of our workouts can be done with no equipment and in the comfort of your living room, we will include workouts with weights, medicine balls, jumps ropes, etc. If you do not own or have access to this equipment, we will always include a no equipment version or make another workout suggestion.

Well, that basically covers it! Now it is time for you to take a picture, make your goals, plan your meals, go grocery shopping, and get ready to rock this challenge! You GET what you GIVE!


Workout- Day 1

You have a lot of planning and preparing to do today, so for our first workout, we are going to participate in what I like to call "active rest." Being that this is your first day, you may want to be more "active" than "rest." As the challenge progresses, you may need to use these days to stretch, rehabilitate, and rest your muscles. 

Active rest activities include going for a walk, enjoying a bike ride, taking the family ice skating, or swimming some leisurely laps in the pool. If weather has you cooped up inside, try some housework (you know cleaning those baseboards is no easy task), going up and down your basement stairs, or a favorite among couples- a little bedroom nookie (yes, that counts!) The whole idea is to stay active and not spend your rest day vegging on the couch. 

Enjoy your first day of the challenge, and get ready, because tomorrow's workout is a tough one!

 

 

 

'Tis the Season to Lose Weight!

 

Santa is hitting the gym extra hard these days to get ready for his annual milk and cookie binge... how about you? Are you prepared to beat the inevitable holiday weight gain? 'Tis the season to eat, drink, and be merry. 'Tis also the season to gain a pound or two (or three). No need to stress, we have got you covered! This month, we are continuing with our "Fit for the Holidays" series full of tips and tricks to keep you slim and trim throughout the season.

 

Fit for the Holidays- Part 3 (click here)

Fit for the Holidays- Part 4 (click here)

 

Our latest workout video will leave you soaked in sweat in under 30 minutes! Give it a try today!

 

 

"Short & Sweet" September Challenge- Week 1

Let the fun begin! We are so excited to have you join us for our "Short & Sweet" September Fitness Challenge. If you have not signed up yet, there is still time to receive a free gift and be entered to win additional prizes! Click here to sign up today.

Each week, we will post 5 different workouts for you to complete. You may perform them on any day and in any order throughout the week. We do our best to provide a variety of modifications for our workouts so individuals of all ages and abilities may participate in the challenge! If you require additional assistance, have a question about a workout, or just need a little support, we are here for you! We consider you a part of our MAX family and we want you to succeed!

In all the excitement to reach our goals, we tend to just jump right in. But if I have learned one thing from my past failures, it is that success is a continual cycle of preparation, action, and evaluation. So, before we lace up our running shoes, it is time to set some goals.

A goal is only a dream until you write it down on paper! Grab a journal, or if you prefer, I am sure there is some cool goal-setting app out there, and jot down your goals for this challenge. What do you want to accomplish this month? Remember your goals should be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound). In your journal, you will also track your progress. To help with this, you may want to include your start weight, waist measurements, pant size, blood pressure, etc. Also, many of our challengers like to take a "before" picture. 

Next, it is time to focus on a healthier meal plan. No need to do anything crazy, just get rid of all the junk food in the kitchen. Throughout the challenge we will clean up your diet with small changes, but for now, just lose the junk! 

Last, but definitely not least, let's get our sweat on! Steve and I have carefully chosen a week's worth of workouts for you that complement one another and appeal to all different fitness interests. The weekly plan includes 2 rest days which will aid in proper recovery and ultimately better results. While most of our workouts can be done with no equipment and in the comfort of your living room, we will include workouts with weights, medicine balls, jumps ropes, etc. If you do not own or have access to this equipment, we will always include a no equipment version or make another workout suggestion.

Here we go! Click on the title to view the workout. Remember- You GET what you GIVE!

Workout #1- "Tabata 101"

Workout #2- "8 Minute Shred"

This workout uses a pair of dumbbells. You can do the workout without weights, repeat one of this week's workouts, or choose any of our "Short & Sweet" workouts from our MAX Workouts page!

Workout #3- Perform as many "Body Builders" as you can in 15 minutes! View this video for an exercise demonstration- "Body Builder Burnout"

Workout #4-  "Walk This Way" (beginners) or Go on a 20 minute run, bike ride, or swim (advanced) Push yourself- no pacing on this one!

Workout #5- "Quick Slim Down"

Exercise modifications are not included in this workout video. If you have any trouble with the exercises, we will be glad to come up with some substitutions. Just ask!

Have fun! Please click SHARE below and let everyone know about your challenge. The more supporters, the better! 

How to Lose Weight on Vacation

Vacations are a wonderful thing. We use them to relax, to explore new places, to visit family and friends, and to entertain the kids. Vacations are for making memories, not gaining weight. Unfortunately, it is not that easy.

A few years ago (okay, more like 7), I received an invitation to my 10 year class reunion. I was bummed to see it was to be held just days after we returned from a two week cruise. Two weeks of unlimited trips to the buffet were not going to fare well on our waistlines. But, who wants to spend their vacation worrying about their weight? Not me, that is for sure. Luckily, this was not my first rodeo. I had spent the majority of my life with some tournament or another occurring right after vacation, so I was prepared for the challenge. With just a few tweaks to our vacation routine, Steve and I not only maintained our weight, but lost weight (1 pound for me, 3 for Steve). The best part- we enjoyed every minute of our cruise...and every bite too!

Here are a few tips to keep the weight off during vacation:

  • Pack healthy snacks. Long travel days can lead to mindless munching. Steer clear of airport or convenient store options by packing nutritious snacks instead. Trail mix, fruit, or granola bars are easy to grab on the go.
  • Walk everywhere. Beyond the calorie-burning benefits, walking is one of the best ways to see the sights! Plus, no cab fares, locating bus stops, or figuring out subway routes! 
  • Take the stairs. Skip the elevator and work those glutes! Unless we are carrying luggage, Steve and I always take the stairs. It is a little tough at first, but by the end of the trip you will be racing to the top!
  • Avoid fast food. Take advantage of the local cuisine and explore new flavors. Find fresh markets or ask the locals for their favorite places to dine, then sit down and savor every bite!
  • Fill your day with fun, physical activities. Hike through the mountains, kayak down the river, bike ride around the city, run the local parks, swim with the kids, or join a game of beach volleyball, just get active!  How incredible would it be to run beside Niagara Falls, climb to the top of the Mayan ruins, or take the family skiing down the slopes of Colorado? Now, those are memories!

 

  • Pack a lunch. A few years ago, we discovered you could bring your own food into Disney World. What a huge difference it made on both our wallets and our waistlines! When we were ready for a break, we found a beautiful spot and had a little picnic in the middle of the park! This is also a perfect plan for daytime excursions where food may be hard to find, such as long hikes in the mountains or exploring National parks. 
  • Workout in the morning. Cruise ships, hotels, and resorts are now catering to the fitness world with state of the art equipment, group classes, running trails, personal trainers, or even daytime passes to a nearby gym.  Check out our MAX Workouts page for tons of workouts you can do in your hotel room, fitness center, park, beach, anywhere! 
  • Relax. Stress can wreck havoc on your body that all the exercise in the world can not fix. Never forget why you are on vacation- to relax and rejuvenate! Lay out by the pool, meditate, soak in the tub, sip on some wine, and enjoy your stress-free vacation!

Have a tip of your own? Please share! Post in the comments below or on any of our social media sites. We would love to hear from you!

Great Things Never Come Easy

Never give up without a fight. Never think you aren’t good enough. Never let others get to you, but try your hardest in everything you do even though you may feel as though you’ll never succeed or constantly fail. The great things in life never come easy.
— Unknown

Eventually, we reach a point in our lives when things are no longer easy. As we grow, so do our responsibilities, our challenges, and our fears.  Life just gets tough. Sure, there are easier paths and shortcuts available, but  these avenues never lead to anything worthwhile. Great things- success, pride, love, to name a few- come to those who put in the time and the work and the heart. 

This past weekend, a few of our athletes competed at the US Nationals Qualifier. At this level, there are no more easy tournaments, no more easy fights. Some days I wish they could catch a break, get the luck of the bracket or a lesser skilled opponent. They work so hard, sacrifice many things, and encounter numerous challenges at such a young age. Honestly, it would be much easier if they just played recreational sports or even better, sat on the couch all day and played video games. At least in these scenarios, everyone wins. But instead, when their doubt arises, when they seek an easier path, when they feel defeated, I remind them of the prize that awaits them. 

The great things in life are tough to accomplish. We have to work hard, give it our best fight, and silence all the doubt and fear. You could always give up, take the shortcuts, and hope for the best, or you could give it your all and know the best will come. The choice is yours. 


Our latest training video is an upper body circuit. Get ready to bear your toned, sexy arms this summer!

Fit for the Holidays- Part 3

December is here! Let the parties begin! 

 

Congratulations! You fought off the candy corn and mini snickers to make it through Halloween. You stuck to one helping of Thanksgiving dinner and you worked off the pumpkin pie. Next step- surviving the Christmas party.

 

 

Part 3- The no-guilt party!

#1- Don't skip the warm up-  What you do prior to the party is just as important as the actual event. Eat a healthy breakfast packed with protein, load up on water, and squeeze in a quick workout session. 

#2- BYOG- Bring your own goodies! If your office party is stocked with store-bought cookies and canned fruit punch, skip the sheet cake and upgrade to something worth the calories. If you must indulge, bring some homemade gingerbread men or your favorite Christmas bark. Then, limit yourself to just one. 

#3- Choose wisely- Does your party's buffet rival that of Las Vegas with endless options of yummy goodness await your approving bite? Before you grab a plate and dive in, take a moment to peruse the tables. Finding what you really want avoids you piling up your plate with calories you could do without. 

#4- Satisfying small bites- If you can't decide between the variety of potato salads or choose from the vast selection of desserts, just grab some nibbles of your favorites. You can indulge without the guilt!

#5- Get chatty- Slow down your chow down by engaging in some small talk. There is more to a party than food, so get out there and mingle! 

 #6- Sip and enjoy- Christmas is a time for celebrating! But, too many alcoholic beverages not only packs on the calories, but also leads to nasty hangovers and deep regrets. Limit yourself to a drink or two. Your dignity and your waistline will thank you. 


"Strength & Sprint Circuit"

Sprinting is the ultimate exercise. Incorporating sprints into your workouts helps you lose weight, build muscle, and develop speed and power. In this workout, try to push as hard as you can for the required time, then allow yourself a complete recovery. You GET what you GIVE!

Fit for the Holidays- Part 2

Let's be honest. When we think of Thanksgiving traditions we probably bypass the pilgrims, skip over the football, and go straight to the turkey! Some of us like to bake it, others prefer to fry it, some stuff it, while others don't, some of us choose the dark meat, and others like the light meat, but one thing is for certain- we ALL love to eat it! Thanksgiving dinner is a special meal full of food favorites from pumpkin pie to green bean casserole, and of course, lots of gravy! Not exactly diet-friendly. Have no fear. We have a sure-fire plan to get you through the holidays while still indulging in your favorite family traditions.

Part 2- Surviving Turkey Day

#1- Get your sweat on- Now is not the time to get lazy on your fitness routine, if anything, you should pick up the pace! Try these MAX Training workouts to keep the pounds off:

#2- Drink up- Sorry, I am not talking about martinis, but water. Aim for half your body weight in ounces. So if you are 140 pounds, you should drink at least 70 ounces or about 4 bottles of water. With all the high fat, high calorie food coming your way, you body needs to be hydrated to keep things moving!

#3- Rise and shine (and eat)- Do not skip breakfast in order to cut back on calories. Doing so will only lead to pigging out later. Instead, have a nutritious breakfast that is packed with protein and includes a serving of fruits and vegetables. 

#4- Out of sight, out of mind- Fill your Thanksgiving table with centerpieces, not food. While a beautiful bird is the highlight of the meal, it is better to keep it out of reach. If you insist on serving the food at the table, bring it to the kitchen after everyone has filled their plates. You will have to make a conscious decision to get up from the table for seconds.  

#5- Enjoy the company- I miss sharing the piano bench with my cousin, I miss Grandma's Swedish prayers, and I miss my family who has gone to be with the Lord. You can always eat food, but time spent with family and friends is priceless. Savor the moments. 

#6- Nibble, nibble, nibble- Grandma's pecan pie, your Aunt's fudge brownies, and Mom's Christmas cookies are not to be missed! Rather than stuffing your face until you are too ill to continue, get a tiny slice or bite of each and enjoy them all without the guilt! 

#7- Choose leftovers over seconds- Turkey sandwiches are the best! You don't have to finish up the casserole dish at the table. Saving some for later will keep you from overeating in one sitting and allow you to continue the food festivities later on. Or even better, send the leftovers home with your guests. 

#8- Start a new tradition- Before everyone goes into a turkey coma in front of the TV, get outside for a football game of your own! If sports aren't your thing, go for a walk, try a game of corn hole, or if the weather permits, build a snowman!