5 Benefits of Protein

(When you eat protein, you do a lot for your body.  Protein staves off hunger, it feeds your muscles for a lean look, it revs the metabolism, it helps keep your skin clear and your hair shiny, keeps your body healthy and it can even help you burn fat!

  • Protein staves off hunger. In fact, adding more protein to your day can help keep you from reaching for those sugary snacks in the middle of the day.  Add more lean chicken, wild salmon, nuts, hummus and eggs to your meals and you will notice a difference right away.  Even nut butters are a way to add protein and feel fuller longer.  Each meal or snack should contain at least 25% protein.
  • Protein gives the body a leaner look. It is true!  Eating more protein will lead to a body with a lean, long look. Protein helps the body build and maintain muscle. Any added muscle on the body will help increase metabolism and burn fat.

And ladies, do not worry about bulking up. It simply will not happen.  Men and women have a different chemical make-up.  Men have more testosterone then women, and this is what lends itself to building larger muscles.

  • As stated before, protein helps your body build muscle.  Protein is actually the building block for muscle, and both men and women need it to help build any type of muscle mass.  You can lift all the weights you want, but without the proper fuel, you will never see any muscular gains.

Why? Because our bodies need the amino acids that come from protein. These amino acids are what the body uses to build and maintain muscle.

  • That additional muscle mass revs the metabolism, too.  All day!  So even if you are sitting on the couch, or your desk at work, your body is burning extra calories.  A pound of muscle burns 35 calories a day while a pound of fat burns just two!
  • In addition to helping the body build muscle, protein also helps hair and nails grow and keep your skin shiny and clear.  Protein will also help to stave off illness and disease because it helps to strengthen the immune system and it even helps to prevent anemia and aids in circulation problems.

In order to get the most out of your protein and to build a lean, strong frame, dieticians suggest that women aim to eat 28 ounces of protein per pound of body weight daily, while men should shoot for half a gram per pound of body weight (so if you weigh 200 lbs, you would need to eat 100 grams of protein per day).

There are many options out there when choosing protein, but there are just two ‘types’ of protein. These are complete and incomplete proteins.  To be a complete protein, the protein must contain all the essential amino acids.  An incomplete protein does not, but if you combine incomplete proteins you can sometimes make a complete protein.

Wondering what a complete protein is?  Good examples are eggs, milk, chicken and fish.  Most complete proteins come from animals.  The incomplete proteins come in the form of nuts, beans and whole grains.

You should, however, note that going overboard with protein is not good either. Eating too much protein can force the body to form ketones that are then released into the bloodstream. This could force the body into ketosis–and this results in fatigue and sluggishness.

Aim to eat protein at each meal, and strive for complete proteins, or incomplete proteins that can be combined to make a complete protein.

Fitness Renovation


Phase 2 will begin on Wednesday, January 22nd


During Phase 2, the cardio gym will be completely renovated,
including the delivery of 41 brand new Artis cardio pieces, new flooring and wall treatments.


The cardio area will be open for member use from Wednesday through Sunday afternoon
January 26th while wall construction is underway


From Sunday afternoon January 26th until Tuesday, the 28th, the cardio area will be closed.
During this time the 41 new Technogym® Artis cardio pieces will be delivered and installed.
The cardio area will re-open on Wednesday, January 29th for member use.


Thanks for your patience while we improve your exercise experience at Saw Mill Club.

3 Great Knee Rehab Exercises

Boring Knee recoveryIf you’ve suffered a knee injury, you should perform distinct exercises to re-build strength and increase flexibility. Such exercises will prevent re-injury and boost your chances of attaining a comfortable, pain free life. Let’s take a close look at a couple of the best knee rehab exercises.

Quad Knee Strengthening

Strong quad muscles help to maintain pain free knees. Quads are the muscles at the forefront of your thigh. One of their functions is to keep the knee straight. Strong quads increase the chances of maintaining healthy knees and improve damaged knees that are in the process of rehabilitation. You should perform quad clench exercises on a regular basis. The purpose of quad clenches is to add strength to the quads as well as maintain the current strength that they already have.

Begin by either lying down on your back or sitting upright. Make sure that your targeted knee and leg are both straight. Push your knee downwards to put tension on the quad muscles. The muscles will clench tightly together. Hold this position for three to five seconds. The quad clench exercise should be performed in a repetitious manner. Do a quad clench twenty times every four hours or so. If your knee won’t fully straighten, put a soft object like a large nerf ball or a folded bedspread below your ankle to elevate your leg. The heightened elevation will facilitate the straightening of the knee. Now perform the quad clench as described above.

Straight Leg Raise

This exercise improves quad muscle strength without forcing the knee to bend. As described above, strong and fit quad muscles are imperative to knee strength and durability. If you have a weak back you might want to skip this exercise as it does put a small amount of strain on the back.

To perform the straight leg raise, lay down flat on your back. Straighten out the knee that you want to exercise. Leave the other leg bent at a comfortable angle. Now pull your toes on the straightened leg towards your body. Make sure that the front thigh quad muscles are tightly clenched together.

Next, raise your foot and lower leg above the ground and hold this position for about five seconds. Then lower it to the ground in a safe and slow manner. You must keep your knee straight during the duration of this exercise. Perform the straight leg raise about fifteen or twenty times in a row, twice per day. You can add weight by wearing a sneaker or a mobile ankle weight in order to make the exercise progressively intense.

Knee Marches

Knee march exercises increase strength while not overburdening the knee joint. To perform a knee march, sit upright in a chair with both of your feet flat on the ground. Now move your legs up and down in a marching motion one at a time. Begin this movement by lifting at the knee until you feel a tightening of the hip. Then lower the knee downwards so that the foot once again rests flat on the ground. Now do the same with the other leg. Keep knee marching each leg, one after the other for a full minute.

Perform the knee march exercise two or three times per day. It is best to knee march after you’ve been sitting still for a half hour or more. It will loosen up your knees and stimulate blood flow. If you’d like to ramp up the knee marching intensity, either  increase your marching speed or wear ankle weights for an additional challenge.

Hot Restorative Yoga

SMC Hot Restorative Yoga 114

Tips to improve posture at your desk

Desk posture blog pic 2Have you ever noticed that car commercials always show cars zipping along on rain-swept streets to show off sporty lines and sleek styling? Reality says your car sits a lot—driveways, parking lots, garages—but you never see car ads where the car just sits, forlorn and unnoticed. You see the same thing with ads for exercise equipment or fitness gyms—supple bodies in fast action, glistening sweat highlighting toned muscles. But today’s bodies, like our cars, sit a lot. We sit at home. We sit in our cars. We sit at our office desks. To counteract the bad effects of sitting, you need to train for it. Sitting is tough work!

Step One: Understand the Risks

Poor seated posture migrates into muscle memory. Atrophy will leave you with rounded shoulders, a curved back and aching legs and stiff joints. Poor posture affects you in other ways:

  • It conveys a depressed, defeated attitude
  • It reduces lung capacity
  • It weakens major muscle groups so you are prone to injury when exercising

Step Two: Diagnose

By far most of us sit to do computer and desk work, causing us to hunch our shoulders, tip forward, and jut our heads. You may sit to do assembly-line work, fine-motor tasks such as knitting or sewing, or to read or watch television.

If you find yourself leaning forward at keyboards or screens, you are:

  • weakening your back muscles
  • collapsing your lungs
  • storing tension in your neck
  • thrusting your head forward, out of alignment with your spine
  • inviting headaches, a sore jaw, worsening vision, and backaches

Step Three: Loosen Up

Interrupt sitting by getting up and stretching whenever possible. When sitting, imagine you are suspended by a wire running through your head and down your spine. Keep everything lined up with that wire. Plant your feet shoulder-width apart and consciously re-stack your back (shift your backbone), imagining each vertebra nesting on the one below. Holding your head on the top of the stack, rotate your head forward to tuck your chin into your chest. Breathe in, expanding your chest as much as you can, and hold as you slowly exhale to a 15-20 count.

After stack-a-back at your chair, add a shoulder blade pinch, trying to make them touch. You can also exaggerate a shrug, trying to get your shoulders up to your ears, and then move them down. Really push your shoulders down, stretching your muscles.

Step Four: Build Up to Sitting

When you rid yourself of stress, tone your muscles and strengthen your body at the gym, don’t neglect your sitting muscles. Yoga is excellent for this, as are stretching exercises and strength training. You have four separate muscles to work on: pectoralis minor, pectoralis major, trapezius and latissimus dorsi.

  • Pectoralis minor—This makes your head droop forward, hunching your shoulders. If your pectoralis minor is tight, you need to stretch it gently so it doesn’t pull the scapula (shoulder blade) forward.
  • Pectoralis major—This attaches upper armbone (humerus) to the collarbone (clavicle) and breast bone (sternum). If it’s tight, it pulls your shoulders up and forward and juts your head. Strengthen and stretch it as part of an upper-body routine.
  • Trapezius—The trapezius balances the forward pull of the pectoralis group. Concentrating on strengthening the trapezius will give you stamina to keep your head erect and in line with your spine.
  • Latissimus Dorsi—If tight, it rolls your shoulders forward and down, towards the humerus. Gentle stretches followed by strengthening exercises stabilize and balance these muscles.

Are You Pregnant? Pre Natal Yoga

SMC PreNatal Yoga 114

3 Endurance Workouts for Swimmers

Swim blog pic 4Swimming is currently one of the most effective workouts in keeping fit. The most important skill for a swimmer to acquire is endurance. The capacity to sustain a high intensity while swimming is vital. With proper guidance, you should be able to have the necessary sustainability practices which will help you keep the energy needed while working out. Good swimming endurance not only ensures you stay fit but also means you get less drained after exiting the water. However, you need to remember that different endurance techniques may vary in their effectiveness depending on the individual. Do not strain yourself. Slow down if you feel a certain workout is uncomfortable for you.

The importance of endurance in swimming is emphasized due to the mileage expected. Fatigue resulting from extensive coverage of mileage while swimming can cause loss of technique which means you lose the most important factor you need to govern your potential in the water. Swimming builds base fitness but the best way to achieve this without undermining technique is to harmonize fitness and technique while working out. With discipline and dedication, you should be able to find a pattern that works for you. You should be comfortable enough to go for a bike ride or jog after your swimming workout. Here are 3 major workouts that will help you master enduring skills while swimming;

  1. Maintaining a steady pace. Your goal in smooth swimming should be to maintain a steady pace to avoid getting exhausted quickly. Giving yourself a pace will also prevent you from swimming too hard and fading out quickly. There are various active rest activities you can perform before swimming to prepare yourself for a smooth and steady swim. A simple warm up session of 200 yards stroke will help you relax your muscles. While swimming, you should ensure you do not drop your hips and avoid dropping your elbow below your hands. You should be consistent with your finish goal and do not cut it short.
  2. Proper breathing technique. Learning the art of bilateral breathing will help you avoid breathing directly into a wave of another swimmer. You will achieve great sustainability by making good use of breathing drills. You simply count strokes and Breath on the5th, 7th and 9th commonly known as the 5 7 9 drill. Although it may hurt, it will help you be more efficient and prevent you from getting weary too soon. Efficient breathing strikes use less oxygen. Good practice on this technique will help you master up this skill. Efficient swimming ensures you breathe as much as needed and at the same time limiting immediate stopping. A regular breathing pattern will help you swim longer.
  3. Drill variations. When swimming for the purpose of keeping fit, you should be creative in your use of variations to increase your endurance. You will soon realize that your body is gradually getting familiarized to swimming for longer distances without stopping at intervals. Warming up swimming at a pace you are comfortable with will prepare you for longer workouts. The pyramid drill is where you swim a variety of distances while giving yourself shot breaks in between. You start with shorter distances and then proceed to longer ones, then go back again to where started. You will notice that the middle length distances feel much easier to work with. This would not be the case if you had just gone to the long distance at first. The interval and fartlek drills help you alternate between fast and slow swimming. You build endurance through this technique since you can recover while still moving.

The importance of setting workout goals

Set fit goals blog pic 2Setting workout goals is one of the most important things you can do for yourself.  In order to track your progress, you really need to know where you want to go. Enter fitness goals.

Create Challenging But Achievable Workout Goals

The first step is to set a challenge, but achievable goal. You need to know what you want to achieve, but make sure it is not unrealistic.  By setting unachievable goals, you are simply setting yourself up for failure.

Don’t try to lose 20 pounds in 2 weeks, as this is not realistic, and it’s not safe, either.

Instead, come up with a goal that really makes sense for you and is something that you can actually incorporate into your day to day life. For example, start with saying you will work out three times a week, for thirty minutes at a time.

To do this, mark it in your calendar (research shows that when you actually make time in your schedule for exercise, you tend to carry through with your plan, and stick to it!).  Carve out that thirty minutes to an hour that you need to get to the gym, workout, and get back home.

Once you have completed that task, begin to add more minutes and/or more days. You might then say you will work out four days a week, for forty-five minutes or an hour.

Setting realistic goals, rather than unrealistic ones, will keep you on track, and keep you wanting more.

Keep Track of Your Progress

One way to keep yourself motivated, and working towards your fitness goals, is by tracking your progress.  A journal is one way to go.  Write down your workouts, how hard they were (or easy), keep track of foods that you ate, the number of reps you were able to do, at what weight, and so on.

These notes will allow you to see the progress you are making from one week to the next. As you make strides, you will feel more motivated to keep working out!

Reward Yourself For a Job Well Done

And finally, fitness goals allow you to reward yourself!  If your workout goal was to make it through an hour spinning class, and you did it, maybe buy yourself a new pair of shorts to workout in, or a new pair of Nikes!

Each time you make progress, you need to acknowledge that and reward yourself (not with candy, though, or a donut), but maybe with a massage or something at the mall you’ve had your eye on. It doesn’t have to be fitness related, but oftentimes, a new pair of running shoes will make you want to hit the gym, or go for a run, which is your end goal, right?

How to transition from Personal Injury to Personal Trainer

AQH6621.TIFA fitness club is an opportunity to stretch yourself. Some members join because of the convenience and others for the amenities. Some join to pursue an exercise plan and others to socialize. But, a quality club also offers the chance to rehabilitate following an injury. That is not something you want to do on your own.

Listen to your doctor.

If you have suffered an injury at work, at home, or on the road, full rehabilitation usually involves some exercises. If you have any musculoskeletal injury, arthritic, or osteopathic condition, some exercise can relieve symptoms. It is up to your doctor to determine what regimen you should pursue in your condition. But, doing it yourself risks additional injury.

Listen to your brain.

Following the doctor’s orders will certainly help your rehabilitation and/or pain management. It makes very good sense. But, too many patients make a halfhearted effort in a few visits to the local gym. They spend money on membership and new workout clothes, but they lose interest very soon.

Knee injuries, shoulder problems, back pain, hip replacement, broken bones – injuries need time and attention. Pain can be reduced with medications, but the failure to stretch and exercise the affected and connected tissues and joints only prolongs the problem.

Wellness is a state of mind as well as a physical condition. A good mindset positions you to handle upcoming surgery and to recover from recent surgery or injury. But, wellness is also a commitment to personal discipline and a change in lifestyle. It is a hurdle most people need help with.

Listen to your trainer.

Recovery is not for amateurs. Trained, certified, and qualified personal trainers will work with your doctor to create a personal plan. They push you over the motivational and commitment hump, and they stay with you throughout the grind. The professional personal trainer is a coach and monitor who helps you to build strength and mobility without worsening your problem. They work on the area of concern but also help you build strength overall to compensate for physical limitations wrought by the injury, surgery, or condition. And, they motivate you to sustain the activity and live a healthier life.

  • A Professional Level Trainer carries training certifications and may have one or more specializations. The Professional Level Trainer is the choice for any generally healthy adult.
  • A Premier Level Trainer meets the requirements of the Professional Level, but s/he has also completed certifications in advanced studies, such as medical exercise, post-rehabilitation, and prenatal/postpartum care.
  • A Master Level Trainer has years of experience at the other levels but has also completed the highest certifications offered by such programs as the National Academy of Sports Medicine, American College of Sports Medicine, and/or National Strength and Conditioning Association. These trainers are more than qualified to handle most patient needs and to train other trainers.

Listen to your body.

Look for a smart start sort of program, one that begins with an overall assessment of your current condition and doctor’s instructions. That start may lead to a variety of options in cardio development, universal machine circuits, water exercises, yoga, massage, and so on. Qualified personal trainers have the energy and talent to make your workouts fun, focused, and fulfilling. The trainer, like you, wants to leave a personal impact on your future.

If you want to restore your ability to function, you need someone who knows anatomy and bio-mechanics better than you. You need a trainer and facility to heal faster and perform at your best. You need a coach and friend to see you through.