Fitness & Wellness Corner – March 2019

By Christie Simoson, Assistant Fitness Director

The time has come to talk about Group Fitness Etiquette. Many individuals may not know that there are certain spoken – and unspoken – rules of a gym. The good news is that I am about to let you in on a little secret on how to be the best Group Fitness Attendee you could ever imagine to be.

Nobody’s perfect. We get it. There are some days where we may have absolutely no control over the turn of events that are occurring throughout the day, and somewhere we just cruise all the way until our head reaches our pillow at night. While we understand those “I can’t even today” situations, we must ask that you try your best to bring your manners along with you to the gym. What does that mean? Well, we have a few questions we would like you to ask yourself.

Group fitness instructors put time and effort into creating a fun-filled class for participants with a well thought out warm-up, body, and cool-down. Having an individual walk in a few minutes late can potentially interrupt the flow of the class, as well as disrupt other participants. When we begin class, we are typically locked-in, front and center, throughout the entire length of the warm-up. The warm-up is an essential part of the session, as it sets the tone and preps every physical body for the remainder of the class. When you arrive at or after the class start time, you deprive us instructors of the allotted time at the beginning when we would like to welcome and assist you, while asking you if there are injuries we need to help accommodate.

If you are more than 10 minutes late on any given day and you somehow made your way into the studio, please expect the instructor to kindly ask you to come back for the next class. We are not doing this as a punishment, but rather for your safety. We have a 10-minute policy to protect you, as a participant. After 10 minutes, you have completely missed the warm-up which includes an introduction, overview, safety speech, and exercises for muscle preparation and safely increasing one’s heart rate. Even if you warm-up elsewhere or are coming from another group fitness class, your body may not be prepped for what you are about to do in that specific format, as no warm-up is the same. If you were to dive right into the body of any group fitness class (yes, even Yoga) without a proper warm-up, you are putting your body at a much higher risk for injury. Your safety is our top priority, and we are not willing to risk it. Please be sure to enter the studio at least a few minutes prior to the class start time to get yourself set up. Also, I encourage you to SAY HI during this time! We like talking to our participants. Let us know how you are doing that day. Maybe you are just barely making it by and are surprised you even made it to the gym. Or maybe you are ready to rock and seeking that extra push of motivation! Let us know how you are feeling prior to the start time so we can help you get the most out of the class.

I have a confession…whether you sneak your phone on the handlebars of a bike, or run over to check it during a break in any other class, we notice! Looking at your phone during class is not only disruptive to other participants and the instructor, but also to yourself. You are cheating yourself of those sweet, 45 – 60 minutes of class that you specifically put aside for your own well-being (and maybe even sanity) that day. I understand there is a thing called emergencies – we all have them. But unless you are expecting an emergency phone call, I must ask that you keep your phone a healthy distance away from you during class. The class might even seem a bit more enjoyable when you leave all of your stressors at the door. And don’t worry, they will be there for you when you leave – I promise! Also, if you know you are expecting an emergency phone call, please inform the instructor that you will be keeping your phone nearby, as you are expecting an emergency phone call at any time prior to the start of class (see what I did there?). Lastly, please turn your phone on silent. I think the reasoning behind that one is self-explanatory.

Between work, academic classes, the commute, or anything else that life may throw at you, it can be hard to find time to have a chat with your friend(s). We understand; but doing so during a group fitness class is not ideal. We encourage you to make it a fun outing or social gathering for your group of friends, but we ask that you keep the talking to before or after class. Similar to the other etiquette tips and reasonings behind them, talking during a group fitness class can be disruptive and, well, rude. Being a chatter bug shows us that you are excited to be there with us for the class which gets us stoked! But once the warm-up music begins, we ask that you focus on yourself and the task in front of you up until the round of applause that I hope you give yourself at the end. Like I said, this may be the only 45 – 60 minutes you and the other participants have to work on your own health and well-being; let’s make the most out of it!

Almost all of our equipment have labels showing their designated home. While I understand that you may not have picked up your piece of equipment from the right area, we do ask that you return it to the correct one. The instructors can only see or assist with so much at a given time. Have you heard of the ‘pay it forward’ movement? You would be doing us a HUGE favor by ensuring it is put back neatly and in the accurate location, so the participants in the next class can grab what is needed efficiently. Speaking of equipment…

Gym bacteria. Ring Worm. Warts. MRSA. These are things in which we wish to never – I repeat – NEVER encounter in our Group Fitness Studios. However, we do get a bodily fluid known as sweat on our equipment, and this can lead to bacteria among other things. To ensure the cleanliness of our equipment and safety of our participants, we ask that you wipe down the equipment you used at the end of each class with the gym wipes provided in the studios. Do you know the sayings, “if you break it, you buy it,” or, “if you spill it, you clean it?” We use those in the Studios, too; “if you use it, clean it.”

The people of Georgetown are busy, busy folks. While we prefer you stayed for the entire length of class, if you find that you must leave a few minutes early, please do so discreetly. Also, I encourage you to cool-down and stretch on your own. There is this ugly thing that can happen if you do not cool-down properly called blood pooling, which can cause you to faint. What on earth is blood pooling you may ask? In short, your body is continuously pumping oxygenated blood throughout your entire body while exercising; if you were to immediately stop, because your heart rate is still elevated, it will continue to push this oxygenated blood to your extremities. Seeing as the blood is continuously being pulled away from your brain, it can cause you to feel light-headed which can then lead to fainting. While all YFH staff are trained to assist you if this were to occur, we prefer that you just stick around for the cool-down, as it is in our best interest – and yours – that you don’t pass out.

We at YFH, pride ourselves on facilitating a group fitness program in which all participants have a positive experience each time they step into one of our studios. We do our best to make certain that the participants are exposed to a comfortable, non-interrupted class each and every time. In order to accomplish this, we have these policies and procedures to ensure that we deliver this optimal class experience for the participants.

Again, we don’t expect everyone to be perfect all of the time – that’s not realistic. What we do ask is that you try your best to consider these simple items in order for you – and all of the other participants – to partake in the best group fitness class experience we can provide.

I hope you enjoyed the read. If you happen to join me for one of my classes, be sure to say ‘hi’ and let me know what you thought of these group fitness etiquette tips. See you in the studio(s) soon!

Rec Day 2019 Recap

On Friday, February 22, 2019, we celebrated NIRSA’s annual Rec Day! We offered special events throughout the day, including two free pop-up Group Fitness classes, log rolling, Cannonball, and Battleship. Members could also get a free Rec Day t-shirt by participating in our photobooth or rolling our fitness dice and completing the activity. Check out our recap video and photos below!

Fitness & Wellness Corner – February 2019

Too Many Tabs Open: Managing Decision Fatigue

Figure 1: Spongebob Image (The Lady Edison, 2017)

Ever had that bright shining moment when you’ve been running non-stop and you just let someone have it? Yea, I know, we’ve all been there. Not our finest hour, but we’re human and well, it happens. It’s almost inevitable, because “no matter how smart or diligent we are, our ability to make decisions eventually runs out” (Oto, 2012). We call this phenomenon decision fatigue. It is the idea that one’s ability to force oneself to do difficult things, whether that is applying self-control or self-discipline, draws upon a certain limited resource inside of us. When we’re forced to make tough decisions, it calls upon that resource and when our self-control runs low, we tend to start making poor decisions (Oto, 2012).

So why does this happen?

Despite the shortage of a full scope of psychological or neurophysiological understanding behind decision fatigue, there are a few theories:

Ego Depletion was coined by Dr. Roy Baumeister in the late 1990s, and emphasizes the willpower and ability to control your immediate desires. The theory says that “as human beings- endowed with independence and free will- we are frequently faced with a choice between obeying our basic, low-lying orders (eating a piece of cake, sleeping in, venting our anger), or suppressing them with higher-order, more responsible choices favoring long-term benefit (eating healthy, going to work, biting our tongue)” (Oto, 2012). The skill of weighing options and managing priorities is fairly unique to humans and is known as executive function. The ego depletion theory shows us that when we have to perform this feat of weighing decisions, it starts to drain us.  We’ve spent some of our internal energy on the decision making process and as that level decreases, the power of our executive function diminishes along with it. Simply put, we become far less able to override any of our basic desires and our decision making abilities inevitably suffer (Oto, 2012).

It’s important to recognize the realness of decision fatigue and the implications if has for us. We all occasionally make bad decisions when we’re running low on energy, patience, steam, you name it! We collectively believe that if we’re good at what we do, we’ll automatically do a good job, but research may suggest otherwise (Oto, 2012). Being able to identify characteristics of decision fatigue is key.

  • Self-control- the motivating fuel by which you direct your actions and thoughts. When you make yourself do something you’d rather not, you tax your supply of self-control. Next time you have to commit to a decision, you have less in the tank to draw upon (Oto, 2012).
  • Mental energy- most decisions and tasks requiring self-control will drain your reserves of mental energy. The more high stakes or complicated a decision is, the more energy it will consume (Oto, 2012).
  • Rest- Your tank of self control can be replenished by adequate rest. Even something as short as a 10 minute break between tasks can renew your performance output (Oto, 2012).
  • Eating- The impact of decision fatigue can be reduced or eliminated with the consumption of food. Some studies have shown that any intake of glucose can help replenish and restore your ability to make decisions (Oto, 2012).

My parents told me that every decision has a consequence, some far greater than others, but regardless, there was always an outcome that needed to be considered. Ohhhh if I could only give my 16 year old self some advice, probably could have saved myself some “talkin’ to”! When we’ve exhausted our “decision making tank”, we tend to:

  • Avoid unnecessary decisions, a.k.a. procrastinate! If we don’t have to make a commitment right then, we won’t (Oto, 2012).
  • Choose the easy road out. If we can “do nothing”, we’ll likely take that path. If a decision is marked with difficulty, complexity, or hardship, we’re unlikely to pick it. If we potentially have to sort through multiple options, we’re more inclined to pick the first thing that comes to mind or choose arbitrarily (Oto, 2012).
  • Choose based on immediate motivations, such as fatigue or hunger and neglect the long-term or difficult to observe consequences (Oto, 2012).
  • Make decisions based on “rules of thumb” or inappropriately simplified algorithms, rather than thinking through the full breadth of the problem (Oto, 2012).
  • Behave impulsively and neglect our inhibitions (Oto, 2012).

So what do we do? How do we combat decision fatigue?

Figure 2: Alice Wonderland (Giphy)
  • Reduce our decision load by creating good habits

Some of the most interesting findings from studies on decision fatigue are the types of people that manage it best. Individuals who were successful in conserving willpower the longest and maintaining the highest quality in their decision making weren’t doing it by being “tougher”, adhering to higher principles, or demonstrating stronger character, they simply set themselves up to minimize the amount of self-control they’d have to exert. They planned ahead with schedules, lists, finished to-do’s, and handled problems BEFORE they escalated. They were able to reduce the amount of decisions they would have to make by creating good habits (Oto, 2012).

If actions are habits, they do not drain our self-control. “Thoughtful and complex analyses require investment from our internal reserves, but rote memorization and execution requires none” (Oto, 2012). Transitioning more of our daily activities into a routine, something you do without fail or debate every time, the more mental energy you can conserve. It may seem like you’re making more unnecessary work for yourself, but you’re cutting out the burden of having to constantly weigh risks and benefits. Don’t get me wrong, we all need occasional variety, but you are able to control how much of it that you introduce. Keeping a routine helps to make the “easy stuff easy so the hard stuff is possible” (Oto, 2012).

  1. Plan Ahead

A lot of what we encounter is predictable and can be managed. Do the things you don’t like or don’t enjoy earlier in your day. It’s better to complete these tasks before you’ve started running low on self-discipline. Putting them off introduces additional opportunities to not address them at all. Procrastination pushes the harder tasks into the part of the day that is more difficult to push through and can also stack them up so your doing everything at once. Help yourself out! Rather than leaving the hard stuff for the end of the day, get it done early so it’s easier as you become less equipped to deal with unenjoyable tasks or decisions. (Oto, 2012)

  1. Don’t forget to eat!

Nutrition plays a big role in our mood and quality of work. Remember the Hangry article ?!?! Most people should go no more that 4-5 hours between meals. Developing a healthy eating pattern will help balance out your blood glucose levels so you avoid sharp peaks and steep drops. We want to avoid the roller coaster effect!

  1. Know when you’ve reached your limit

Keep a check on your mental state. Know when you need to bow out to avoid burnout. If you don’t have the capacity to engage, it’s ok to say “no” and table for another time (Oto, 2012).

Let’s be real, sometimes our decision-making abilities falter. Creating good habits may seem slightly mundane, but if we are able to relegate our mental busywork to a solid routine, we free up space to be able to deal with true challenges (Oto, 2012).

Resources:

Oto, Brandon. (2012). When thinking is hard: managing decision fatigue… EMS world. 41. 46-50.

Figure 1: The Lady Edison. (2017, February 21). Spongebob Image [Digital Image]. Retrieved January 24, 2019, from http://www.theladyedison.com.au/blog/what-to-do-when-your-brain-has-too-many-tabs-open.

Figure 2: Giphy. Alice Wonderland GIF [Digital Image]. Retrieved February 4, 2019, from https://giphy.com/gifs/bored-alice-in-wonderland-meh-ZXKZWB13D6gFO.

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This blog post was written to provide educational information only. This article should not be used as a substitute or a replacement for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have questions or concerns about your personal health, you should always consult with your physician. It is recommended that you consult with your physician or health care professional before beginning any fitness regimen to determine if it is suitable for your needs. The use of any information provided by this article is solely at your risk.

2018 December Dash Recap

Talk about mental toughness, phew!!! Who said you couldn’t run 4+ miles?!

We at Yates Field House wanted to thank everyone who participated in our second annual December Dash. You were truly an inspiration to us all!

We sincerely appreciate your contribution of non-perishable food items that will be donated to Capital Area Food Bank. As this is the season of giving, we truly cannot express the amount of gratitude we have for your support and provision in times of need to our local community.

We are already planning our 3rd Annual December Dash for next year and we hope to see you there…running the appropriate distance, of course!! Be sure to stay up-to-date on our Facebook page to get the latest news and information!

In the meantime, check out some pictures from the event below!

Fitness & Wellness Corner – January 2019

Keeping it Simple- Steps to Stick To It in 2019

Liz Greenlaw, Yates Field House Health & Wellness Coach

Although we may eat and drink our way through the days between Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s, we wake up on January 1st with every intention of doing things differently for the rest of the coming year…

But, by the second or third week of January, you may have noticed one of two things: You’ve either a) formed some new, sustainable habits that excite you or b) completely ditched your unrealistic resolutions.

In years past, I have started January off with a thorough to-do list of all my hopes and dreams that I wished to accomplish in the coming year. While this process seemed very efficient, it quickly became quite daunting and stressful. And to be honest, it didn’t always help me to accomplish my goals. As much as I enjoy checking items off my “to do” list, sometimes just reading through the remaining tasks led me to focus not on what I had accomplished, but on what I had failed to accomplish. It also pulled me out of the moment and into a state of future anxiety…

Do you find yourself in the same boat? Or maybe you find yourself still worrying about “rollover resolutions” from last year? Don’t get stuck on old resolutions that didn’t work out. Instead, focus on moving forward and making new resolutions that stick! Here are 3 ways to help you shift your mindset in order to set yourself up for success in 2019…

1)    Don’t just “resolve” … COMMIT to something:

To actually stay on track, we need to change the language around our goals and shift our brains to a different way of thinking. Instead of saying, “I would like to,” or “I will try,” make stronger statements to yourself. For example, “I WILL do X, Y & Z in the New Year” creates a different sense of urgency and develops a deeper sense of commitment. To practically apply this idea, you might put some money down to keep you committed. Or, maybe you schedule specific events into your calendar that will serve as milestones.

Commitment entails saying “no” to certain actions and behaviors that don’t align with our goals, so that we have more space in our lives to say “yes” to those things that do align.

2)    Make it CONCRETE:

Write down your aspirations and goals and put them in places where they’ll be seen each day. Those daily visual reminders go a long way in keeping our priorities top-of-mind. The saying, “Out of sight, out of mind” is so true! If you aren’t looking at your goals daily, writing them down and visualizing them as if you have already achieved them, you will never move forward with inspired action towards them. Then, they soon become something that seems hard – something you procrastinate about – and soon those “resolutions” are just a thought of the past.

Research on follow-through shows that it primarily comes down to the written answers to 4 questions: What? When? Where? How?  For example: On Monday and Friday at 6pm I will exercise with a trainer at the gym, and on Wednesday at 5:30pm, I will sprint the hill to the top of campus for 10 minutes after a warm-up.

3)    Create CONSISTENCY:

To reach the goals and intentions that you set for 2019, find ways to consistently remind yourself of what they are. How do you do this? Find an accountability partner (or two!) that will check in with you to see how you’re doing with your goals. This is a great time to seek out a Health & Wellness coach, who can help you map out a plan of all the action steps you need to take, and who will help to create a consistent measure of accountability.

It’s proven that social support has a positive impact on a person’s overall well-being and longevity. Having someone who sticks by your side while you tackle tough goals can build up your confidence and change your life for the better.

Rarely is it a good idea to go wild with New Year’s resolutions. Rather, diligent focus on goals will carry you much farther. Clearly articulated, compelling goals are the key to continual and gratifying progress.

Need some coaching guidance and accountability? We’re here to help! Our Health & Wellness Coaching program, Well Within, is designed to transform your approach to wellness and help you form smart, attainable healthy lifestyle habits that will make you feel great all year long! It’s never too late to start, and it’s not too late to create the life that you are rightly deserving of!

 

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This blog post was written to provide educational information only. This article should not be used as a substitute or a replacement for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have questions or concerns about your personal health, you should always consult with your physician. It is recommended that you consult with your physician or health care professional before beginning any fitness regimen to determine if it is suitable for your needs. The use of any information provided by this article is solely at your risk.