Viewing entries tagged

How to Become a Posture Pro


How to Become a Posture Pro

Are you aware of your posture?

It’s not all about puffing your chest out or rolling your shoulders back, as a matter of fact that should be the least of your worries. Yes, those two factors may help your posture, but for how long or how long until you feel uncomfortable? We all want less back pain, less stress, less neck and shoulder pain, improved breathing, and improved energy. Let yourself control the outcome. Body awareness is one aspect that is overlooked but can be the most useful when trying to correct your posture.

“Posture isn't just physical.  It's a psychophysical (mind/body) state that we get into in response to our environment, emotions, and people with whom we interact.”

We habitually tend to put ourselves in postural problems by overly tensing certain muscles in the neck and shoulders that actually pull our heads out of alignment with the spine. Being aware of how your body feels and concentrating on your body movements one thing leads to another; it will allow you to have better focus in general, your body will be in a better alignment,  and can help reduce pain and stress. With the proper help at P4L, learning these aspects will help decrease your pain and discomfort.

Key training tools you’ll gain from us?

  • Observations : we observe and assess your movements
  • Breathing : different ways of breathing that create proper balance in core stability and muscle distribution
  • Corrective exercises and proper queues : modified exercise to fit your body type
  • Proper coaching on body awareness (what/how you should feel)
  • Results and feedback  : measurements of spinal and pelvic angles to show improvements in alignment

Practice, practice, practice! How else will you become good at something? Practicing proper posture alignment with the help of body awareness takes time, concentration, and persistence. For example, reflect on that time when you took the LSATS, or when you had your first corporate presentation (now, you’re a pro), or something even as simple as riding a bike. It does not happen all at once, but being mindful about your body can create an improvement in exercise performance, decreased stress and pain, and better concentration.




Learn more about Coach Brandon here




#HowIPerformForLife : Kathleen


#HowIPerformForLife : Kathleen

What motivates you to get up in the morning?

I wake up at 5 am every day for a commute to work in Mountain View. It's hard to get up so early every morning, but I make sure that I make the most of my early morning commute to get things done. In my life, I'm motivated by success. Whether that is at the gym (lifting heavier weights, doing one more push up, or noticing that my clothes are a little bit looser) or at work (clearing out my inbox, launching or finishing a project, or seeing my team meet their goals).

When did you start "performing for life," and what are some milestones since then? 

Since I left university, I feel I have been working towards having the best and most successful life. When it comes to my health and fitness, I've been a Cardio Queen for years. While hours on a spin bike helped with the stress levels in my life (I have a pretty demanding job), it didn't really do anything for my weight loss!

Since coming to P4L I've changed up the way I workout and think about fitness and health. Even though I still have a pretty demanding job, working about 10 hours a day, making time for exercise is a priority for me. I'm at P4L 5-6 times a week and have really re-evaluated my relationship for food (I think of it as fuel, instead of a reward) and alcohol (still love a good gin & tonic, but I don't drink much these days) to ensure I'm as healthy and happy as I can be! 

What is your go-to work-out song, and what does it say about you?

Work, Britney Spears. Don't judge, I'll always be a Britney fan. I love it because it applies to fitness and health, your job and life in general - "you better work!"

Do you have any advice for someone trying to get fit?

I feel the advice I'd give someone, is also the advice I should take myself! We live in this society, where everything is on demand; you can get an Uber in 3 minutes, groceries can be delivered in an hour, so much can be done at minimal effort and quickly! I'm the kind of person who wants to see results, and see them quickly, but I'm starting to learn that you shouldn't stress out if you don’t see results overnight. When I first came to P4L, I had a very clear goal, I wanted to lose 20 pounds, but I've realized I am more than the number on the scale. Now, I don’t weigh myself anymore; It’s more about how I feel and how I look. I’m a healthier person, I’m a happier person. While my goal is still to trim down, I don’t think about a number anymore. The biggest advice I could give to someone is that it’s going to take a long time, and it’s a long term commitment.




Learn more about Justine here


Going Hard in the Gym but HARDER at Home


Going Hard in the Gym but HARDER at Home

Many people think that if they work hard enough they will achieve their fitness goals. Whether their goal is body composition, performance, or general fitness, the common belief is that success is directly linked to how hard you work. This can be true but there is a important caveat - working hard is more than just going to the gym and busting your ass. The hardest work is changing day to day life habits. Changing these lifestyle habits give us the vitality we need in the gym. Change takes energy. A well hydrated, well rested, and well fueled body is ready for change. Is that you?

"Never rob health to pay fitness" - Gray Cook

But before we work hard at the gym or at changing our lifestyle there are two critically important steps. Your first and most important challenge is identifying your goal(s). Get clear about what you want and why you want it. Don't be afraid to dream big, but make sure it's a dream that has check points. You want to gain 50lbs of muscle? Great. First goal is gaining 5 lbs!

This brings us to step 2: making a strategic, realistic, and measurable plan of action. Be prepared to revisit and revise. If what you're doing ain't working, it might be time to switch things up. Understand your body has not read any medical studies or textbooks. Your mom was right: you are a unique snowflake unlike any other. The interval training program with which your co-worker had great success may NOT be compatible with your unique body. Your program is to be tailored to your life, your goals, your stresses, and your strengths.

Your program MUST include lifestyle changes. In a week, sixty minutes three times of intense commitment to fitness cannot outweigh 165 hours of treating your body like crap: sleeping poorly, making unhealthy eating choices, and poor hydration.

Once the above are identified execute the ENTIRE plan with vigor and PRIORITIZE lifestyle changes over exercise. So often I see clients rearranging their schedules to accommodate for their training schedules. Meetings re-scheduled and dinner plans delayed to make way for the gym. This is great, but often this same client will not attack the rest of their lifestyle with such vigor and commitment. For example, a client will make the sacrifice of getting up an hour early and forego sleep to make their training session. I commend their commitment, but it is a flawed approach. This is a commitment to fitness that violates their commitment to health. I don't want my clients to get up an hour early if they don't go to bed an hour early! We are making change. Change takes energy! How do you expect to make that change on a worn down body? 

If you don't have the discipline to sleep early, you shouldn't be robbing yourself of your important recovery time for the sake of fitness. It doesn't work, and it isn't sustainable. Don't trade health for fitness!

We here at Perform for Life believe fitness is a by-product of health. The four P's of Perform for Life are perspective, purpose, passion, and process.

  • Perspective - It's important to have goals, but goals serve our larger mission of making fitness a lifestyle instead of an end-goal

  • Purpose - Be mindful of what your doing and why your doing it. When we are truly mindful of what we do, we can honestly answer the question: Is this serving me?

  • Passion - Creating a supportive environment for your journey.

  • Process - Committing to process that prioritizes health and lifestyle changes above all. The process might start at the gym but for success it must extend into the rest of your life.

So I leave you with the following questions:

  • Do your lifestyle choices serve your short term goals?

  • Do your lifestyle choices serve your long term health?

  • Chances are you are reading this blog at home or at work. What is the easiest lifestyle change you could make right now that will help you become a more vital human being?

If you can't think of any I offer you three options:

  • Drink a glass of water.
  • Turn off the computer of phone and go spend time without electronics.
  • Take a nap or it's past 9:00 pm, GO TO BED!


How Alcohol Affects Muscle Growth and Fat Loss


How Alcohol Affects Muscle Growth and Fat Loss

Find out how happy hour might not be making you as happy as you thought.

Let’s be honest, you’ve probably trained hard all week and decided to have a few drinks - all that hard work, there must be a reward, right? At the same time, you feel you aren't seeing the results you wanted even though you’re working out and eating right (for the most part). You begin to question everything about your training, including your diet. Chances are what is hurting you is alcohol consumption or the timing of your drinking. Here are ways in which alcohol affects your body and your training:

In a study conducted in 1999, it was found that alcohol reduces muscle mass by blocking protein synthesis. Further research showed meals that were consumed within 24-48 hours after a resistance training session had the greatest effect on growing muscles. We're not just talking about huge muscles, we're talking about lean muscle. It's a cause and effect chain. The muscle growth increases metabolism which then affects fat loss. Using all of this information, we can see that having alcohol on training days greatly affects your muscle growth and inhibits the hard work you have put in for that day.

If you must have a drink, it should never be on a training day.

Research has also shown that alcohol reduces testosterone levels. Testosterone is needed for protein synthesis, increased muscle mass, strength, muscle growth and bone density. From this, we can conclude that we need a lot of testosterone.

In some ways, drinking alcohol is taking steps backward from your goals and hindering your growth.

A study conducted in 2004 found that the subjects that consumed alcohol had lower testosterone levels than those that did not. As alcohol lowers testosterone, it produces estrogen which in turn affects muscle growth goals.

Lastly, studies have found alcohol suppresses growth hormone. Growth hormone helps with protein synthesis, meaning that it is essential to building muscle, and it also releases at its maximum during sleeping.

If you are focusing on muscle gains and on a new program, then restricting alcohol for a few months is the best method. On the other hand, if you are used to the training, going out occasionally won't hurt much. Although, one should stay away from binge drinking as it will have negative effects on muscle growth.

If you are going to drink alcohol in moderation, here are some tips to maximize your gains:

  • Try to stay hydrated! Try drinking a few cups of water while you are drinking and be sure to consume a full glass of water  before bed.
  • If you are going out to enjoy yourself try eating a slow digesting protein like steak to keep the muscles fed and a slow carb like sweet potatoes to keep your energy level up.
  • Ultimately, just make sure you remember alcohol's negative effects on protein synthesis, testosterone, and growth hormone.
  • Always avoid drinking on days you train if you are seeking muscle gains as muscles need nutrition and rest. Drink on your off days away from the gym, but stay away from training the day after drinking because it has ill effects as well.




Learn more about Coach Charles here


To Travel or Not to Travel?


To Travel or Not to Travel?

Everybody travels.

Whether it’s for business, pleasure, or vacation, at some point, we all depart from the comfort of our homes to another location.  It might be a quick trip to the next town over or a thrilling adventure halfway around the world.  No matter what kind of trip it is, one thing stays true:

Our normal routines get thrown out the window when traveling because:

    •       If you work out in a gym, you might not have access to any equipment.

    •       If you run around your neighborhood, you now no longer have a familiar path.

    •       If you usually prepare your own meals, you don’t have access to a kitchen or fridge.

    •       If you’re used to a good night’s sleep, you’re faced with odd hours in different time zones.