Topics: Merritt blog, diet, family fitness, best diets, Fitness Tips, best kids fitness, balanced diet, kids fitness, Baltimore fitness, best gyms, gym membership
If you're looking for a place to work out, there are options on just about every corner. But if you're serious about getting healthy, you need to look a little deeper into what a health club offers.
Speak with a Dietician
Exercise is important to your health, but it's just as important to monitor how you are fueling your body. People trying to lose weight or just maintain a healthy lifestyle are often left to their own devices in the area of diet, because most gyms just deal with exercise. Merritt Athletic Clubs offers a dietician on staff (learn more here) who can help with issues such as weight loss, nutritional help for medical problems, diets to achieve peak athletic performance, and eating to prevent illness. When trying to achieve wellness, don't leave out this piece of the puzzle.
Many people view massage as an unnecessary, indulgent activity, but it has many health benefits, including stress relief, increasing blood flow, release of toxins, and overall wellness. We offer Swedish, Deep Tissue, Myofascial Release, Sports, and Pregnancy Massages. Call us to find out which one is right for you. Learn more and book appointment here!
Part of overall wellness is simply feeling good about yourself, so we also offer spa services at many of our locations. Whether you need a facial, hair services, a manicure or pedicure, we are hear to make sure you leave feeling your best.
For overall wellness, it's important to have all the pieces of the puzzle. Once you do, exercising becomes much more productive and you will see more impressive results. The Mayo Clinic suggests 150 minutes of moderate, or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week, as well as strength training twice a week. Whether you enjoy swimming laps in the pool, taking a group class, or working out on the machines by yourself, we provide many opportunities so that you can achieve optimal health.
To find a location that provides the services you are looking for, contact us.
Topics: Baltimore health, massage, Merritt blog, best diets, health clubs, diet and exercise, wellness, gyms, massage therapy, nutrition, best gyms
Your own worst enemy
Feb 25, 2014
Topics: CrossFit, Personal Training, health fitness tips, Merritt blog, Weight Loss, baltimore gyms, healthy lifestyle, Fitness Tips, fitness, mindful, Personal trainer, mental health, merritt charm city crossfit, Baltimore fitness, diet lifestyle change, being present, best gyms, yoga
Chances are by now you’ve heard about the “surprising” appearance and percentage of body weight lost by the most recent winner of The Biggest Loser. Rachel Frederickson, lost almost 60% of her body weight in only five months. The trainers and other contestants could hardly contain their surprise and seeming concern at her reveal and final weigh-in. This would be more shocking if it weren’t the logical outcome of a contest conducted in the manner of The Biggest Loser. The contest is judged on total weight loss and pays no attention to body composition; the percentages of fat mass versus lean body mass. There are some wonderful aspects of the show, but this aspect is very misleading. Don’t be fooled.
In this post I mention that weight is only one aspect of a person’s overall health...the one everyone obsesses over. Unfortunately, our attention to the number on the scale is misguided. What most of us are really concerned about is our body fat - a percentage of our overall weight. When most people say they want to lose weight, they really mean that they want to lose fat. The two are not synonymous. However, some people are still under the illusion that gaining muscle is bad, because it contributes to the total number on the scale or for fear of becoming bulky.
Gaining muscle is NOT bad. It’s one of the best things you can do for yourself, especially if you are trying to lose fat. Muscle is expensive, calorically speaking. It takes a lot of calories to maintain and build muscle. The more muscle you have the more energy (calories/food) your body needs to maintain it. Gaining muscle helps you burn fat for energy even at rest, helping you reach your weight loss goals (or fat loss goals) even quicker. Gaining muscle will also make your stronger, not bulkier. Cinnamon buns make you bulky, not dumbbells.
Additionally, when you are too preoccupied with the number on the scale it is way more tempting to crash diet. When people crash diet (ever heard of the master cleanse?) they lose weight for sure - both fat and muscle weight. However, at some point after a crash diet you have to start eating food again. When the inevitable occurs your metabolism is now slower because you’ve lost calorie burning muscle. Meaning, you’ll gain more fat eating the same amount of food that you were eating before. And the cycle begins. You starve yourself to lose weight, you lose fat and muscle, eventually you have to start eating again, but now you get even fatter than you were before, so you starve yourself again to lose some weight…
Stop telling yourself that the number on the scale is the enemy!
Television shows like The Biggest Loser are for entertainment first and foremost. Unfortunately, they perpetuate idea that the scale is the enemy. Contestants are rewarded for losing the most weight, not the most body fat. The insane amount of weight the contestants lose each week is not realistic. It makes a more realistic and sustainable rate of weight loss seem disappointing. If you are trying to lose weight (and keep it off), you want to maintain your muscle mass, if not build upon it. Therefore, ideally most people will be losing some fat, and gaining some muscle each week. That’s why we say it is safe and most effective to lose 1-2 pounds each week...not 25. You have to take a gradual approach to weight loss if you want the results to be long lasting. Remember it’s a journey.
It’s time to end that unhealthy relationship with the scale. To get a more accurate picture of your overall health and weight loss progress find out your body composition. Ask a personal trainer to help you find your body fat percentage, or check out the Bod Pod that comes to Merritt several times each year. It is a quick and highly accurate way to test your body composition and get your estimated daily energy expenditure (the number of calories you burn daily ). The scale is not the be all and end all measurement of your health and fitness. Don’t give it more importance than it deserves.
Joanna Meade (view bio) is a NSCA Certified Personal Trainer at the Downtown Athletic Club. She is a Level OneCrossFit instructor and competitor. She can be reached at Merritt Athletic Clubs Downtown Club at 410-332-0906 or click here for a Free CrossFit Session.
Topics: Personal Training, Merritt blog, Weight Loss, body composition, weight loss and exercise, Fitness Tips, fitness, Personal trainer, weight loss healthy, Baltimore fitness, body fat, best gyms
Family time and kids fitness are two major concerns for modern parents. A new study confirms that Americans are spending barely eight hours a week with their children. A health club membership may be just what you need to reverse the trend and get everyone in shape.
If you feel like you barely see your kids during the week, you’re not alone. The study conducted by Virgin Holidays and Universal Orlando Resort discovered that the daily average is just 36 minutes for the time families spend together. Weekends are a little better with over 2 hours of family time each day, but many people say they mostly count on holidays to reconnect.
Going to the gym as a family is a great way to meet up more often and boost your fitness. There are several ways to get around the most common obstacles:
Meals: Eating quickly doesn’t have to mean fast food. Prepare dishes you can cook ahead of time on weekends and freeze the leftovers. Chili and lasagna are two old favorites. Pack a cooler full of cut vegetables, pita bread and hummus, and stick it in your car for healthy dining on the go. Turn a salad into a balanced meal with leftover fish or chicken.
Homework: Kids usually need a break between school and homework. Hit the gym on the way home from work and school. If you need to schedule visits for later in the evening, present your health club visits as a reward for completing their studies.
Bed Times: Of course, rest is essential too. After your workout, arrange quiet time before retiring. Read books or take a warm bath. Shut off TVs, phones and other devices.
Merritt Athletic Club is committed to keeping Baltimore families healthy. Check out our pool, gymnastics, dance and other programs for kids. Contact us to learn more.
Topics: Merritt Athletics, kids obesity, best fitness programs for kids, Merritt blog, baltimore gyms, kid fit, Fitness Tips, family health clubs, kids party ideas, gyms, kids fitness, Baltimore fitness, nutrition, best gyms
Are You Taking Your First Group Fitness Class?
Dec 13, 2013
Whenever someone takes a class for the first time, it can be a little intimidating or overwhelming. When you arrive for your first group fitness class, you do not know how to start or what equipment you should use. A group fitness class should be fun and energizing. The class should also give you a relief from everyday stress, not give you a headache.
Here are some tips to help you handle the first class:
Meet Your Instructor
Introduce yourself to your group fitness instructor. Let your instructor know you are participating in your first class. Your instructor may recognize that you are new to the class, and he or she will be able to help you with the first steps. Your instructor can get you accustomed to the equipment, and give you helpful advice on what to expect.
Meet Other People
Introduce yourself to anyone standing near you. Most people who participate in group fitness classes are sociable people. When you are running on a treadmill surrounded by people who are pushing you and motivating you to succeed, it can be an amazing experience for you. The other participants can have great information and advice on how to feel comfortable in the class. The other group participants all had a first day of class too, and they stuck with it. So can you!
Try A Few Classes
Before you decide if you like the class, try attending three or four classes first. Not every group fitness class has the same skill level and learning curve. When you go into each class, go in prepared and willing to try new things. If you are participating in a cardio class that has music, you will probably need to learn the steps before you can get down! If you are participating in a strength class, you will have to know your weight limits. Give yourself time to learn everything you need to know before you make a decision.
These tips can help you gain the confidence to participate in a group fitness class. One day you may be able to help a new participant in his or her first group fitness class.
Contact us for more information about group fitness.
Topics: Merritt Athletics, Personal Training, group fitness classes, best fitness trainers, baltimore gyms, Fitness Tips, fitness, weight loss programs, best exercise programs, Baltimore fitness, best fitness tips, nutrition, group fitness, best gyms
How A Thyroid Disorder Couldn’t Stop Kate from Losing Weight and Being in the Best Shape of Her Life
Jul 23, 2013
Topics: quick weight loss, Personal Training, best ways to lose weight, trx results, Merritt blog, Weight Loss, meritt clubs, Kate Erdesky, lose belly fat, Fitness Tips, how to build confidence, Awareness and Support, stronger core, best shape, healthy diet, Member Success Stories, nutrition, best gyms, weight loss diet, fit tips
Many people interested in fitness and nutrition have heard the term “intermittent fasting”. Maybe you are wondering what the buzz is all about and whether it can be a part of a healthy lifestyle?
In simple terms, intermittent fasting means going without food for a certain period of time. There are different types of intermittent fasting, including:
- All-day fasting- Usually this means eating an evening meal, and then going without food until the following evening, or approximately 24 hours.
- Alternating days of fasting- This involves fasting on one day and then eating normally the following day.
- Partial-day fasting- This allows for a specific window of time for eating, and then fasting the remainder of the day. Someone might eat during a 6-8 hours period of time, and then fast for the other 16 to 18 hours in the day.
The human body requires energy to digest or absorb the nutrients in food. Once a meal has been digested and all the nutrients absorbed, the body enters a fasted state, and begins generating energy from stored fat and protein.
An intermittent fast might have some beneficial effects on metabolism, and could help control weight and manage blood glucose levels. Clinical studies have shown that lowering food intake could actually slow the aging process by controlling potentially harmful free-radicals that are produced in metabolizing nutrients in food.
A calorie-restricted diet that has 60-80% of the normal intake of food can result in an unhealthy obsession with food. Studies done at the University of Minnesota during the 1940s showed that men who consumed 40% of their normal intake of food developed unhealthy eating patterns such as bingeing.
Most people find intermittent fasting for certain periods of time or on alternating days easier to follow than a strict calorie-restricted diet all the time. It might be worth experimenting with intermittent fasting to see if it helps you reach your health and fitness goals.
Please contact us for more information.
Topics: Merritt Athletics, eat right, health, best weight management, Merritt blog, Fitness Tips, is fasting good, fitness, weight loss tips, Baltimore fitness, best gyms, fit tips
Towson Members Conquer Baltimore Women’s Classic 5K
Jun 25, 2013
Topics: Merritt Athletics, best fitness classes, baltimore running, fitness results, Fitness Tips, best health clubs, fitness, 5k races, fitness goals, best ways to get in shape, Member Success Stories, group fitness, best gyms
The top reason for not exercising is not having enough time in the day and a misconception that contributes to that excuse is you have to spend a long time at the gym in order to see results. But you can spend as little as 30 minutes in the fitness club on a consistent basis and stay healthy. But in order to do that you have to maximize how you use your time in the fitness center. Here are five tips to ensure you get the most out of each exercise session.
Topics: Merritt Athletics, Personal Training, best fitness centers, Merritt blog, Fitness Tips, best health clubs, gyms, Baltimore fitness, healthy tips, nutrition, gyms in baltimore, group fitness, best gyms, fit tips