February 22, 2021
(For Busy Adults with Little Free Time or Leftover Willpower)
If you’re ready to lose weight, but struggle to eat the proper portions in order to make your weight loss and health goals a reality, well boy do I have a special treat for you…
Because, with almost zero additional effort, you can increase your calorie deficit, lose weight, AND lose inches faster, without the extra cravings or hunger to go along with it.
Presenting: My 3 favorite weight loss *and general health* meal tips.
Hint: Pleeease make sure you read to tip #3, and I’ll share with you why I use it 5/7 days a week, almost Every. Single. Week. Time to pull back the curtains to show you how simple & easy these weight loss meal tips are!
Tip #1: Substitute Olive Oils with Olive Oil Spray
Let’s be honest. Olive oil is good. Really good. And, you’re probably thinking – “Hunter, if you make me get rid of olive oil, I’m going drop kick you with my fist.”
Woahhh, let’s not get violent now. No, I won’t make you get rid of your olive oil… not completely, anyways. 😈
“But Hunter, isn’t olive oil healthy?”
Sure it is! There’s a lot of “good stuff” in olive oil… BUT:
If not used sparingly, those olive oil calories will add up like 7 inches of snow in Texas. We’re talking 120 calories per tablespoon. YIKES!
So, I’ve found you a 85%-as-good alternative.
Introducing – Olive Oil spray. *angels singing*
It’s olive oil, but you spray it. AND, even more fantastical, the nutrition label says ZERO calories.
Now, don’t be fooled, because olive oil spray does have calories *arghhh pesky food marketers*. But, it does have a lot less calories than olive oil – and will still make your food taste extra tasty.
In fact, olive oil spray has ~8 calories per second sprayed, so you’d have to spray 15 seconds just to match the calories on olive oil.
No thank you.
Tip #2: Almond Milk Over Dairy Milk
A single cup of whole milk clocks in at around a whopping 150 calories! And, a cup of 1% reduced-fat dairy milk even tips the scale at over 100 calories.
A cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk, though, is 30 calories. And, If opinions count, mine is that the almond milk tastes much better – and, as a bonus – you save 70 calories per cup.
The average American drinks ~1.5 cups a day, so there’s at least 105 calories per day that you’re saving (or 775 a week!)
Yes, dairy is a main source of calcium for most people, but did you know…
Silk Almond Milk packs a whopping 450mg of calcium per cup, where the average dairy milk contains ~300mg!
Tip #3: Eat Slaw Salads
My biggest nutrition hack of 2020 was discovering Fresh Express Premium Slaw Salad Kits.
They are satisfying, delicious (I actually crave on a daily basis), and are reasonable on the calories.
For example, the Honey Pecan Salad is 110 calories per serving (275 calories total) and takes about 10 seconds to make.
I’ll eat an entire salad in one sitting, but Melissa, my fiancé will eat it in two (Or I’ll just eat her other half, too 😂)
If you want to lose weight, and have more energy, you want to eat low calorie, high nutrient dense foods as often as possible.
These types of foods promote well-being, and keep you satiated throughout your day.
These salads are a perfect example.
The…The…Tha…Thaat…That’s All Folks!
There you have it! Combining all three of these little-to-no-effort tips will have you eating less total calories, while feeling more full on a daily basis. Follow these tips consistently and you’ll be one step closer to looking and feeling your best!
If you enjoyed this article, swing over to our YouTube channel to check out our latest videos here – Hybrid Fitness YouTube Channel
February 11, 2021
If you’ve ever been in a gym or watched a Rocky movie, you’ve definitely seen someone doing push-ups, and for very good reason. Push-ups not only increase core strength, but shoulder strength, stability, and pressing power of the pectorals and triceps, as well! All without having to load the movement with added resistance, making it more joint-friendly!
In hindsight, push-ups appear like a pretty straightforward thing to do. Simply just lower your body to the floor and push back up, right? Well if you’re one of the countless people who have tried and failed at this, then push-ups can quickly become frustrating, and far more difficult than expected.
Push it to the Next Level
If you’re reading this in hopes of completing your first push-up, then head over and check out our article on how to get your first push-up -CLICK HERE-. BUT, If you’ve already mastered the art of achieving your first push-up, and want to start repping out multiple at a time, you’ve come to the right place!
In this article, I’m giving you my top three exercises to increase your push-ups. Let’s go!
Resistance Band Push-Ups
Another great way to assist push-up production is by adding some resistance to the Push-Ups already being done. To do this simply grab a resistance band with each hand and loop it across your upper back. Then get into the high Plank position and remember these few Push-Up techniques
- Hands are underneath your shoulders
- Body is in a straight line (no sagging in the hips)
- Lower your chest to the floor slowly
- Return to the starting position by pushing yourself back up
To begin, start with a light resistance band and perform as many reps as you can before your form begins to break down. Also, be aware that the added tension across your upper back can cause the lower back and hips to sag quicker once you start to fatigue.
DB Floor Press
DB floor presses are high on my list of not just exercises to help with push-ups, but high on the list for almost any kind of pressing exercises. To do a DB floor press, lay with your back on the floor with a DB in each hand. Then press both DBs towards the ceiling. Lower your elbows back to the floor in a slow and controlled manner. There are a couple things to keep in mind while doing this pressing exercise:
- Keep elbows at a 30-45 degree angle off your body
- Keep shoulders and lower back against the floor
- Inhale on the way down and exhale on the way back up
- Use a weight you can control
This exercise will do a great job at increasing lockout power in the triceps which is where most people will fail on Push-Ups.
Something often overlooked when it comes to push-ups is core strength. Having a strong core will help protect your back when doing push-ups. To begin kneel onto the floor and place hands directly underneath your shoulders. Move onto your toes and remember the couple golden rules of planks below:
- Brace your core to keep your hips from sagging towards the floor.
- Keep hands directly underneath your shoulders
- Breathing! Don’t hold your breath. Continue breathing at a controlled rate
Hold this position for 20-30 seconds while starting out. Once you can hold this for a full minute move from being on your hands down onto your forearms and begin again at 20-30 seconds.
To further intensify the plank and further assist your push-up goals, mix in some plank up-downs. To do this start in the high plank position form earlier and slowly lower yourself to the low plank and then return to the high plank by extending one arm at a time. Repeat this as many times as you can before your form begins to digress.
Gaining the strength to increase your push-ups can be just as frustrating as getting your very first push-up. The exercises above will assist any push-up goals you may have, but always remember that consistency is key. Get into the gym, stay consistent, and be patient. With determined and consistent effort you WILL improve!
If you enjoyed this article, swing over to our YouTube channel to check out our latest videos here – Hybrid Fitness YouTube Channel
Brandon started working out as an athlete in high school, striving to push his limits and reach his full athletic potential. As he spent more and more time working on his own goals, he found a passion in the science of strength & conditioning, and using that new-found knowledge to help others. Brandon is exceptional at giving his clients the extra push to get stronger in a safe manner, while going above and beyond to making sure they feel comfortable and safe.
February 9, 2021
Do you wake up feeling sluggish and tired? Not getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep/night? And what about “monkey brain”? That endless racing of the mind that begins right when you want to fall asleep?
If you are like so many others, and cannot get to sleep, or have trouble sleeping through the night, then this article is for you. Read to the end as I share my 5 tips on ways to improve sleep.
Sleep is so important to us as humans. It is essential to our existence, and has many benefits. When we get adequate sleep we feel refreshed, focused, and energized. Our concentration is improved, we feel great!
But on the contrary, when sleep is compromised, we feel pretty bad overall; sluggish, non productive, headaches, and nausea. Just to name a few.
The long term effects of inadequate sleep include high blood pressure, depression, diabetes, weakened immunity, and anxiety. How do we combat these? Let’s dive into those 5 tips, and find out!
TIP # 1: Make your bedroom sleep friendly
Start by removing clutter. Having a clutter free space will help with undisturbed sleep. The room should be organized and comfortable.
You also want to keep the room as dark as possible. Streetlights, room lights, and even the illumination from an alarm clock can certainly compromise sleep. A couple of things you can do to really enhance the darkness is to get some blackout curtains, or even a fashionable eye mask.
Your bedroom should be for one thing, and one thing only…
In order to do that, you need to separate everything else from it. Make sure and remove any work materials from your bedroom. Don’t keep laptops, phones, or files in your sleeping quarters, especially since a lot of people are working remotely from home.
One of the best things you can do to make your bedroom more sleep friendly is by adding in a little aromatherapy. Use soothing scents like lavender to help you relax, and create a calming space.
TIP #2: Shut down electronics, and decrease screen time
Have you heard of blue light?
Blue light is used in electronic devices such as computer screens and cell phones. During daylight hours it can boost attention and focus.
However, it can affect and interrupt sleep patterns. In a nutshell, blue light is exactly what it sounds like; light on the blue wavelength. Great to keep us focused and help with mood but not so great for nighttime use.
Studies have shown that using electronic devices before bed can interfere with sleep by suppressing melatonin, which can then also reduce the amount of time we spend in REM; otherwise known as rapid eye movement which are the hours we spend dreaming, and in deep sleep. This is the most important part of sleep that helps us feel most rested.
One of the best ways to improve sleep is to eliminate as much blue light before bed as possible. That means shutting the tv off, putting away the laptop, and hanging up the phone about one hour prior to getting in bed. The National Sleep Foundation recommends stopping the use of electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
If you’re unable to completely eliminate all sources of blue light at night, you could utilize blue light blocking glasses. It’s definitely not the same as shutting down the electronics, but it’s an improvement!
TIP #3: Use white noise
Have you ever tried sleeping in a room that was completely dead silent? It can be extremely difficult!
You know what they say, “silence is deafening”.
White noise is a great solution. Especially if you’re a light sleeper. It can even help to drown out noise that can be bothersome.
You can use a fan, or something as simple as a noise machine. Whether you like the sound of rain or ocean, a noise machine can be a huge help.
TIP #4: Get ready for bed earlier than usual
Try to stop answering emails, watching tv, or perusing through social media at least one hour before hitting the sack. Do your nighttime routine or chores earlier in the evening, that way it’s off your list of things to do.
Having a simple routine in the evening before bed will decrease stress and promote feelings of relaxation. Create a consistent routine and stick to it. Maybe a cup of chamomile tea and a good book. The simpler the routine is, the less there will be to stress about once in bed. Doing this will help you to unwind and put your mind at ease.
Which brings us to the next tip…
TIP #5: Meditate and breathe
Meditation and deep breathing can reduce anxiety, sharpen memory, and promote restful sleep.
Meditate for 10 minutes in a quiet space with eyes closed. Let thoughts come, acknowledge them, then simply let them go.
Take a nice deep breath in, hold for 1,2,3 and then let it out slowly. This will help to calm your mind, as well as your body.
Your thoughts will slow, and your body will start to relax. Focus on your breath by inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the nose. Let your thoughts come, acknowledge them, and simply let them go.
Meditation may be difficult at first, but I promise it will get better! There are many guided meditation apps to assist you on gaining better skills. I started using headspace a few years ago and it has really helped me with improving my meditation technique.
Don’t sleep on these tips!
There you have it! My 5 simple ways to improve sleep!
- Make your bedroom sleep friendly to make it your sanctuary.
- Shut down electronics, and decrease screen time to prevent blue light.
- Use white noise to lull you into dreamland; whether it’s a constant noise like a fan, or a machine that makes you feel like you’re in a rainforest.
- Get your chores out of the way, and get ready for bed earlier.
- Meditate and breathe.
Now that you obtain all of the tools you need in order to defeat your nemesis that is poor sleep, it’s time to put them to good use!
Start by just implementing one at a time, making it a routine, and slowly adding to it. You’ll be a professional sleeper in no time!
If you found this helpful, please consider subscribing to the Hybrid Fitness YouTube channel, and be sure to check out all the other articles from our coaches.
And remember…Small Steps, Big Results.
Danielle lives in mid-coast Maine after growing up in Boston, MA. She’s a nursing school graduate, and is currently working towards becoming a certified grief counselor. She also has her personal training certification through ASFA.
Danielle has run multiple half marathons, and has even completed 2 full marathons, including the Boston and Des Moines marathons.
Danielle loves to create a comfortable, fun, and relaxed environment in the gym, and is dedicated to making a positive impact on others, and helping people feel good about themselves while reaching their goals.
February 5, 2021
Perfecting the Boxing Stance
When boxing, establishing the perfect stance is one of the most crucial aspects to becoming fluent in the sport. In this article, I’m going to cover everything that you need to know in order to be comfortable in your stance, and dominate one of the most fun workouts you’ll ever have.
Boxing Stance Fundamentals
Although there are numerous stances and variations, the two most common stances in boxing are orthodox and southpaw. I recommend starting with one of these if you’re a beginner, but once a little more advanced, you can vary your stance for what’s most optimal for you. You can’t beat the basics of a perfect boxing stance!
Orthodox is typically for someone who is right-hand dominant. To set up in this stance, your left foot will be leading, with your right foot behind you.
Southpaw is usually utilized by left-handed individuals. This stance is a mirror image of Orthodox, except we’re just flipping it around. Here, you’ll lead with your right foot, and your left foot will be the trailing foot.
Most people feel comfortable with their given stance based on hand dominance, but use whichever feels most comfortable to you!
Feet should be about shoulder width apart, and in a triangle stance; angled open towards the direction they’re facing (see diagrams below). Make sure your bodyweight is dispersed equally over both feet (don’t lean forward, or back).
Good foot placement allows for both solid balance and mobility. You’ll have great power and reach with both hands without leaving yourself too easily exposed for your opponent.
- A stance that is too forward will provide less power and mobility, all while leaving you head and body more exposed
- Too square of a stance will leave the head and body exposed in the center, have less reach on your jab, give you poor mobility, and make it easier to fall backwards
- A stance that is too straight will make it easy for you to be pushed off balance, and limit your reach with your cross
- Too wide of a stance will make it easier for you to be pushed off balance, give you poor mobility, and limit your reach with your cross.
Lower Body Position
There should be a slight bend in your knees with your weight equally dispersed between both feet. The heel of your rear foot should be lifted slightly, and especially when moving around, you should be on the ball of your foot (area just below the toes, but towards the forward portion of foot).
This stance is optimal by allowing for quicker movement on both offense and defense. As long as you’re not moving, the lead foot can be planted flat on the ground.
- Knees too bent
- Not enough bend in knees
- Feet too wide, square, straight or forwards (shown above).
Upper Body Position
Your torso should remain upright, and your head should not be over or past your front knee. Relax your shoulders, pull them down and back, and keep your elbows tucked in at your sides. Your elbows are actually your protection for your ribs, so make sure they stay in tight.
Keep your chin tucked down towards your chest and not sticking out. The chin is something you do not want to leave open and accessible to your opponent.
Position your hands up in front of your chin, with your lead hand (jab hand) 6-8 inches out in front. This is so it doesn’t block your vision, allows for quick jabs, as well as blocks to your opponent’s rear hand.
The rear hand (cross hand) should be directly on the chin. This hand will be responsible for parrying jabs, and blocking hooks from the opponent.
- Leaning too far forward/backward (throws off balance)
- Leaving your lead hand too low (leaves your head vulnerable, unless used as a decoy)
- Dropping your rear guard hand (leaves head very vulnerable)
Benefits of This Stance
This is the perfect boxing stance that allows you to move quickly to attack, as well as to get into a defensive position if necessary. You’ll have great mobility, and be able to move well around your opponent without sacrificing from the defensive side.
It also gives you the ability to fire out punches quickly, but also with great power. Being in this ideal stance also allows for proper balance. You don’t want to get knocked backwards or fall forward if you miss a punch!
The boxing stance is essential to becoming a great boxer, and is the first thing you should get down if you’d like to improve your craft. All of the greatest boxers have spent countless hours mastering their positioning before working on punching harder, defending better, etc. It’s the foundation to dominating your opponent. And here at Hybrid, to dominating the heavy bags while being one of the most fun, high energy workout classes around.
Check out our article on how to properly wrap your wrists for boxing:
Swing over to our YouTube channel to check out our latest videos here:
Mike grew up as a multi-sport athlete and received his Bachelors in Kinesiology (Exercise Science) and also received his Personal Training Certification from the American Council of Sports Medicine.
Mike has worked with a wide range of ages and abilities and is an expert at working around injuries and helping those individuals reach their health goals.
In his time in college, he also worked with D1 Athletes (specifically the UMASS Amherst Men and Women’s Basketball teams) helping them get stronger, faster, and more athletic.