Forward Fitness OCR Team

We are thrilled to announce we are starting a Forward Fitness Obstacle Course Team! Check out Suzanne’s top 5 reasons to do an OCR.

We picked our first two events:

Warrior Dash (Old Monroe)- August 4th

Spartan Stadium Sprint (Busch Stadium)- August 11th

Both races are around 5K, or 3.1 miles. The Warrior Dash will be easier than the Spartan Race, but they will both be a challenge. Have a race lined up is a great motivator! It’s a little extra incentive to get all your workouts in and make healthy food choices!

Training will start June 4th, about 8 weeks prior to the events and will include:

  • Week by week training plan
  • Weekly OCR team training (Sunday at 8am)
  • Two team runs per week (TBD)
  • Forward Fitness OCR shirt when you sign up by April 26th

Cost for the training is $197 for member and $597 for non-members. (Does not include cost of race.)

Start Training

5 Reasons to do an Obstacle Course Race

By: Suzanne Klaus RD, LD, CPT

From the Warrior Dash and Tough Mudder to The Green Beret Challenge and Spartan Races, OCR, or Obstacle Course Races are taking over! Back in February I completed my first Spartan Race in Arizona. I loved it! It had such an impact on my life that I wrote a blog specifically about it. I absolutely love obstacle course races! It’s hard to narrow down the reasons, but here are my top five reasons.

1. Have something to train for.

As Joe De Sena said in his book Spartan Up! “When you sign up for something, you’re forced to train for it. Just like in a business, you are forced to work. Just like having a kid, you’re forced to take care of it all. All of a sudden, you become accountable.” After I signed up for my first Spartan Race I took ownership of my workouts. I had some form of training every day, but Sunday. It mattered if I missed a day. You can’t fake it during a race. For me signing up for obstacle course races has made all the difference in my training, 2018 has been my best and most consistent year of training. It’s April 10th and I already have 68 workouts completed!

2. Do something you didn’t think was possible.

I am a firm believer that anything is possible. Maybe the thought of an obstacle course race is scary, but that is all the more reason to do one. With the proper training, nutrition, and mindset you CAN do it! Imagine crossing the finish line! What an AMAZING feeling to conquer something you once thought was impossible! It’s a way to break out of the monotony. It’s a whole new feeling and way of living.

3. Challenge the way you think.

During any race, there is usually a point where you think, “Why am I doing this?” You are tired and there is still plenty of race left. It is during these moments that you are faced with two choices, to dig deep and keep moving forward or to stop. When you choose the mindset to keep moving forward it can translate to other difficult situations in your life. In some of the races you don’t know what the obstacles will be until race day. This forces you to adapt to situations you didn’t plan for. Doesn’t that sound a lot like life. You are forced to put all your focus on the present obstacle in front of you. You aren’t thinking about the stress of work, the laundry that needs to be done, or any family issues. You are focused on the present task at hand. You are choosing to face an obstacle head on and give it your all.

4. Build strength.

One of the reasons I love obstacle course races so much is the fact that they require strength. A marathon is certainly a challenge, but it doesn’t require the same kind of strength that you need to get through an obstacle course race. You must be able to jump over, crawl under, and pull yourself up. Most people I meet with say they want to become more “toned,” which is basically building muscle and losing fat. Trust me, training for an obstacle course race will do just that!

5. Elevate your overall health and fitness.

Having an obstacle course race to train for automatically motivates you to make healthier choices. Not only will you have a reason to train, but you will be more apt to get your 7-9 hours of sleep, drink plenty of water, and make healthier food choices. With all these healthy habits forming, your stress level should decrease too!

What are you waiting for? Join the Forward Fitness OCR Team! We already have a few races lined up. They are roughly 5K or 3 miles.

Warrior Dash: August 4th

Spartan Stadium Sprint (Busch Stadium): August 11th

Spartan Sprint (Nashville): September 22nd

Interested in getting all the benefits of OCRs? Email Suzanne@ForwardFitnessSTL.com to get started!

The “Big 6” Kettlebell Workshop

Kettlebell SwingDo you want to take your workouts to the next level? Do you want to use kettlebells, but don’t know how? Are you scared you will get hurt using kettlebells? If you answered yes to any of those questions, this hands on kettlebell workshop is for you. When performed in good form, kettlebells are a great fat loss, mobility, strength, endurance, and power tool. You can get a challenging workout in less than 30 minutes. If needed, you can even use one kettlebell for a total body workout. Need more reasons to train with kettlebells? Check out coach Mike’s top 8 reasons.

What sets kettlebell workshops at Forward Fitness apart from others? We have three trainers who are specifically certified in kettlebells. Mike Klaus is a RKC II coach, Suzanne Klaus is a RKC coach, and Cati Davis is a HKC coach. All three coaches train with kettlebells on a regular basis and have coached countless people through kettlebell workouts. We have a passion to continue to learn, improve, and try new workouts keeping things fresh and fun.

During this hands on workshop we will break down the “big 6” kettlebell movements.

 

 

 

These movements may seem overwhelming, but with proper instruction and cues they become much easier. You will have experts coaching you into good form so you can do safe and effective workouts at home. You will leave with a kettlebell specific RAMP (our version of a warm-up) and kettlebell workouts you can do at home. Don’t miss out on your chance to learn from some of the best. Space is limited so don’t wait to reserve your space.

 

SIGN UP NOW

8 Reasons to Train with Kettlebells

By: Mike Klaus RKC

kettlbell training, Turkish Get Up, Kettle swing

  1. Melt FatKettlebells are a great tool to burn fat and build muscle. A recent study showed that kettlebells are one of the most efficient training routines, burning up to 20.3cal/min. That is an incredible 1200 calories an hour! Talk about a lot of bang for your buck!
  2. Shape the Butt –Have you checked yourself out in the mirror lately and noticed a droopy or saggy butt? Kettlebells are great for giving you a lift. The kettlebell snatch, swing and clean are hip dominant movements that require explosiveness from your largest muscle, the gluteus maximus.
  3. No Time, No Problem! –There is no need to spend endless hours in the gym when using a kettlebell in order to see results. Kettlebell training is a high-intensity strength and cardio workout that forces the body to build muscle and burn fat fast. You can get a great kettlebell workout in as little as 15 minutes (including the warm up). You really can’t use time as an excuse with this type of training.
  4. Injury Prevention – Not only does kettlebell training build an armor like layer of muscle, but this form of training focuses more on movements. Bodybuilding focuses more on targeting singular muscles as opposed to groups of muscles. Because kettlebell training enhances movement efficiency, injuries are greatly reduced by fixing the compensations and imbalances in the body.
  5. Amp Up Your Power Output – Weekend warrior? Athlete? Who doesn’t want to lead their team (or league) in scoring, hit more home runs in their softball league, or drive a golf ball as far as Happy Gilmore? The explosive movements in Kettlebell training develop your fast twitch muscles which in turn helps you have a quicker reaction time. Many of the movements in kettlebell training cannot be performed slowly forcing you to develop a quality known as power-endurance. Power-endurance is your ability to sustain fast muscular contractions over an extended period of time. This is commonly the determining factor in winning or losing in sporting competitions.
  6. Eliminate Weaknesses –Your greatest strength may be your greatest weakness! Most people who train have a favorite muscle group like chest, biceps, or triceps that they tend to train more often. This leads to muscle groups in your body that are seldom used during training. With full body kettlebell exercises, you tend to train your major muscle groups more efficiently without isolation because smaller muscles throughout your body are engaged as well.  Once the weak parts of your body are strengthened, your workouts become much more effective.
  7. Mentally Stimulating – Bored to death jogging slowly on the hamster wheel? Do you find yourself “going through the motions” in the gym? A multiple movement kettlebell complex may be just what you need. Hit muscles you forgot you had by performing multiple movements quickly using one piece of equipment… the kettlebell!
  8. “Vice” Grip Strength –The weight of the kettlebell lies outside of your hand, unlike the traditional barbells and dumbbells, taxing your grip and developing greater forearm strength. The design of the kettlebell also adds another unique component to your grip training. Since the kettlebells center of gravity is usually in motion, your grip training becomes a combination of dynamic and static muscular contractions to help control the fluctuating center of mass. Why might you need grip strength? If you want to carry all the groceries in one trip or carry your luggage without dropping it, then you need grip strength. What if you never wanted to ask your spouse or kid to open a jar? You need grip strength.

What are Your Intentions?

By: Nick Lape

Intention“I promise I did it with the best of intentions!” How often have we used this line in our own personal lives? We use it to explain a decision we’ve made and/or start an apology. In the social sense, I’d say this term gets used quite a bit. But, what if we started using it in the gym in regards to our own fitness and wellness? Do we actually have the best of intentions for ourselves while we workout in the gym? What I’m getting at is that if we are not at the gym for a purpose or we are not there with the intention of doing the absolute best for ourselves, then what are we doing there?

First, let’s define intentional or just intent. The best definition I’ve found from Merriam-Webster is, “A usually clearly formulated or planned aim or purpose.” If we have intent, and I mean REAL intent then not having a plan or purpose when we walk into the gym becomes pointless and your want to change might not actually exist. That plan starts with a general goal or destination like, “I want to lose ten pounds,” and trickles all the way down to each singular movement that leads you to this destination.

I can hear the silent questions now, “Nick, how I can have intention in one singular movement that usually only takes 30 or so seconds?” And that’s exactly how I want you to think! As a matter of fact thinking is the only way to have intention in each movement or exercise that you perform in the gym. You need to know where your head is positioned, your shoulders, your hips, your knees, and your feet. Once you begin being aware of your position and you start moving with the intention of allowing your body to master movement, your plan, or destination if you will, becomes that much easier to reach. But, with each new movement has to come an additional thought process in order to master it.

I have had the pleasure within the last few years to watch client after client have the proverbial light bulb go off in their head and finally realize why they walked into the gym. These are the people that you can see truly immersing their brain in each movement pattern they are taught. The ones that stop for a second and say, I’m tired of walking in this mindset of, “Maybe someday,” and start thinking that that someday is going to be today. They start living intentionally! Each movement, each leaf of spinach, each post workout shake and even each perfectly performed split squat (because we all know how much we love them) becomes their intent. They are giving their bodies a chance to be great and their minds a chance to be at peace. And, they will continue to strive to improve. THAT is being intentional. Don’t just promise your family and friends that you have the best intentions, prove it to YOURSELF!!

Mobility and Fat Loss

By: Nick Lape BS, CFMS

Mobility and Fat Loss

Watch Nick talk about this fat loss and mobility!

If you have ever been around a gym atmosphere there is a good chance that you have heard the term, mobility. But, what does it mean? A dictionary will tell you that it is the body’s ability to move a joint freely through a range of motion. While that is a great way of putting it, one way I like to talk about it is having the proper flexibility and stability to move a joint through a range of motion. If you do not have proper mobility and are working out, you may not be losing fat like you thought you should. Rather watch a video to learn about this? Click here!

Before we get into fat lost, let’s learn about how we get mobility? It’s through proper programming that has been designed to help a specific person with specific movement issues. Does that mean a program is all stretching and corrective exercise? Absolutely…NOT.  Our first line of defense against immobility is soft tissue work, or foam rolling, or any other massage-like exercises you can think of. But, that isn’t all. As I mentioned above, stability, or strength, plays a huge role in keeping joints mobile as well. That may seem contradictory, but stretching a muscle as well as activating a muscle through simple unloaded movement can help make a muscle pliable. These would be things such as corrective exercises that have been designed to use flexibility and stability to prepare a joint for further manipulation. Either way we are bringing awareness and blood flow to the area by using the combination of both. When both flexibility and stability begin working together in a joint, you have more than likely created better mobility within that joint.

Now for the meat and taters of why you are all reading this article. How could that last paragraph possibly have anything to do with fat loss? Well here is the rundown. If you fail to do soft tissue work and break down possible physical stresses that your body is holding, then there is a good chance your range of motion will be lacking. When this happens your joints will NOT be able to continue moving in a manner that they should or that would be beneficial for strength training. Outside of the gym these joints tend to stiffen up, which makes it hard to move and can even cause pain through other movements. When you are in the gym with joints like this, strength training becomes difficult because of the lack of range of motion. This is when compensations can occur and your body gets out of alignment and those minor aches and pains can eventually get worse.

We all know that in order to burn fat we must challenge the body. We actually need to lift weights and strengthen the body. That’s why we have calisthenics, dumbbells, kettlebells, etc. However, without proper range of motion, or mobility, you will be unable to recruit as many muscle fibers and fewer nerves will fire to the area that you are focusing on. When few nerves fire and fewer muscle fibers work you can actually fail to spike your metabolism in a way that will cause what we like to call the after burn. In other words, your body won’t work for you.

So let’s summarize, less mobility → less range of motion → more pain → lack of muscle fibers working → less neurons firing → less working metabolism → LESS FAT LOSS!!! Let’s not forget cortisol. If you are in pain your body will release cortisol, which will make it a lot harder to burn fat. Now we also know that you can add more and more and more and more exercises to your weekly and daily life in hopes that you will burn fat and lose weight. But, if you have poor mobility (along with a poor diet, lots of stress, and minimal sleep) results will be neat impossible. Instead of adding more exercises focus on performing a few correctly and building that range of motion. Include all aspects of fitness into your life; mobility, flexibility, stability, along with proper sleep, eat and stress management and you will get results. If you don’t, then it takes going back and reevaluating each of these aspects and changing accordingly. Don’t forget watch Nick’s video on this topic!

Five Tips to Stay Healthy this Summer

By: Suzanne Doerries RD, LD, CPT

Attend the summer BBQs, but leave the extra weight behind.

Attend the summer BBQs, but leave the extra weight behind.

BBQs, pool parties, bonfires, vacations, and trips to the local ice cream parlor can become quite frequent during the summer. All of these activities can make it easy to overeat or choose foods that will not help us reach our goals on a more frequent basis.

Listen to your Hunger Satisfaction Scale. I can’t emphasize how important this is. If you are in tune with your body’s hunger scale, you will know if you are physically hungry or if you want to eat out of boredom, stress, social pressure, happiness, sadness, or anger. This is a scale from one to 10. If you rate yourself a one that means you are starving. A 10 means you are stuffed and never want to think about food again. You are physically uncomfortable due to the amount of food consumed. Three is physically hungry. Six is physically satisfied. The bottom line is: eat when you are physically hungry and stop when you are physically satisfied. If you wait to eat until you are starving unhealthy food choices and overeating become common. Eating when you are physically hungry instead of starving will allow you to be more in control of your food choices. It will also allow you to pay more attention to your body and stop when you are physically satisfied verses stuffed. Use this all the time, but especially when put in social situations surrounding food.

Wait to go back for seconds. It takes your body 15-20 minutes to catch up to what you just put in it. If you go back for seconds immediately you will probably overeat. Eating slowly can give your body some time to catch up to what you are putting in it.

Make a plate. It never fails, when you are at a BBQ there is an overwhelming amount of food. It can be easy to stand at the appetizer table and take down a bowl of buffalo dip and chips. Before you know it you are stuffed, but still eat dinner and dessert. To avoid this, make a plate keeping your hunger signals in mind. Try to make half your plate veggies and a quarter protein. Sit at a table to enjoy your plate. If you decided you it is going to be a rare occasion where you indulge in a sweet treat or salty snack make it part of that part and keep your hunger signals in mind.

Drink water. If you are going to have an alcoholic beverage or beverage with added sugar, drink one glass of water before going to get a refill. This will help to decrease your alcohol intake and/or calories coming from beverages. These are empty calories that are not nourishing your body in a positive manner.

Don’t skip your workouts. With the nice weather and enticing pools, summer can be an easy time to put the gym on the back burner. However, one missed week can easily lead to a second missed week and so on. Set your schedule up for success. If you know you are not going to work out after work, schedule your training sessions for the morning or lunch time. If you are on vacation and you will not be active or walking countless miles around a new city ask your trainer to write you a workout that you can do in your hotel.

Which of these five tips are you already doing? Which one will you add to your next summer event?

Level it Down!

By: Nick Lape ACSM, FMS

Don’t risk it, level it down!

We love it when people come to the studio ready to work and ready to put all their effort into their training session. We love the dedication and the desire to improve. However, when that effort and dedication is combined with a lack of body awareness, lack of knowledge of form, and/or fatigue it can turn it into a bad thing. This is where form begins to fail or was never there in the first place. The moment that bad form happens, if it can’t be fixed it right away, taking a step down and moving backwards to reteach yourself a movement or lock in good form could actually allow you to get better results. No matter what we read or what we see on TV leveling down or performing a regressed version of a movement is NEVER a bad thing.

Like I mentioned, when someone works as hard as they can in a workout, form can start to go to the wayside. When this happens, it really doesn’t matter who it is that is doing the work or attempting the movement, when the body starts to fail at a movement it is time for a change. This is where forgetting your pride and adding a little bit of knowledge can come in handy. Level it down!!! Take the time to do it right and you will be SOOO much better for it. Consistently doing exercises in poor form just to pump out another rep or to protect your pride can be disastrous to your body. However, if you level down at the appropriate time you can prevent injuries and get better results. Leveling down an exercise goes so much farther than just physical aspect.

One experiment I like to do with my clients is a quick one. I’ll give you 5 seconds to think about the worst thing that happened to you in the last 48 hours, GO!!! Ok, now think about the best thing that happened to you in the last 48 hours, 5 seconds, GO!!! I have found that people can recall a bad memory faster and in more detail in 5 seconds than they can a good one. I’m not going to get all scientific, but think about that. What do you think happens when you attempt an exercise in poor form? Your brain remembers it, and it can become that much more difficult to re learn the proper version. These ‘bad reps’ are learned when we have either not learned properly or we have become fatigued during the back half of a workout.

In the same sense, doing an exercise improperly can in fact mean the difference between a quality life and painful one or a lack of results or one filled with great results. Even some of the strongest people I know lessen the weight they lift when they know it doesn’t feel right. The difference between them and the person doing that push up that looks like it may actually be killing them is the fact that they know taking a step back at that moment will allow them to go farther in the end. We are all about pushing yourself and doing your best at each training session. To us that means working your hardest while keeping good form through the entire training session.

Mandatory Monday

By: Mike Klaus RKC, FMS

MondayWhat is your opinion of Monday? It is typically seen as the worst day of the week, the day most people dread. However, there are some who see Mondays as a springboard start to a productive and successful week. No matter what your profession is, you have an option to stew in misery or make the very best out of each day and opportunity. The same is true with health and fitness. Imagine the difference in your week if you do or do not workout on Monday. Are you more likely to get more workouts in? How would you sleep that week? What about your food choices? Would your mood be better?

For the most part, gyms are full on Mondays. This is a good thing! These are people who are getting a jump start on their week. This is a practice I whole heartedly believe in. Health and fitness does not happen overnight, it is a process. The work has to be put in and like anything else, getting started is the key. There are many benefits to making your Monday workout “mandatory.” Here are my top 5 reasons why you MUST train on Monday!

  1. You are more likely to train throughout the week. After starting your week with a productive workout, odds are you will continue that trend.
  2. Sleep improves. Mondays are usually packed with tasks. Having 45 minutes to an hour in a workout where you don’t think about work or other stressors will help to ease your mind. You will also be physically tired and in need of recovery.
  3. Nutrition will more likely be a priority. It has been proven in studies that people who work out make more of an effort to eat better. Are you more likely to choose fettuccini alfredo and rolls for dinner or grilled chicken with roasted veggies and goat cheese and beet salad?
  4. Your mood improves. Exercise releases endorphins. Endorphins make you feel good. A morning workout can start your day off right. An evening workout can help you burn off steam. Also, in my opinion it is a great tool to help with depression or anger. Do yourself and everybody the favor of talking your aggression out on the iron!
  5. Erase a weekend that was less than optimal for your health. Did you put down a couple of cocktails? Were queso dip and chips  on the menu for dinner? Work that wild or lazy weekend off!

Make your Monday workout mandatory and set yourself up for success the rest of the week!

No More Negative Self Talk

By: Nick Lape ACSM, FMS

Happiness concept.A few months ago if you would have said, “Nick, I think that there is a bit too much negativity in your life,” I probably would have argued with you and came back with something like, “No I don’t I just have a lot of stress in my life right now.” And then, I would have kept on living the way I was. In all reality you would have been exactly right. This is actually the case for most people when they stop and think about it for a second. We often forget that even though we say, “Oh, I don’t care what other people think or say about me,” we often tell ourselves what is wrong in our lives without even voicing a word of it. We think, “Why do all the bad things happen to me?” “Why can’t I get the job I want?” “Why am I not smart enough?”  This is what I, and a good number of other people such as Tony Robbins, would call Negative Self Talk.

Many times in our lives we think that the reason we can’t succeed in our goals is because of some sort of external source. Someone has said to you that you can’t. You don’t have some sort of training that would allow you to know how to do something. You physically feel that you can’t. The reasons can go on and on with this merry-go-round of not believing in ourselves. But, that is exactly it. WE believe it. We internalize these statements and actions see them as truth in our life. What if we said, “No, I will not believe that.” Or “How can I be successful today. That is all it takes to begin to turn things around.

Now, I said, “begin.” I use this word because it takes way more than one self-empowering statement to turn things around. Think of positive thinking as a muscle in your brain. You need to build that muscle. If you go to the gym and lift a 5 pound weight once a week, do you expect to get results? No! It is the same with positive thinking. You must do it on a consistent basis to get results. Ask yourself empowering questions every day, multiple times a day. How can I do that? Where can I find the answer? What do I need to do to accomplish my goal? What am I thankful for? What am I excited about today? If your brain is focusing on finding the answer to these empowering questions it will not have to for the negativity. Imagine all the possibilities when you let go of negative self-talk and ask yourself positive questions.

If I’m being honest, we all live in a world full of negativity. It’s a can be a constant battle some days. There will DEFINITELY be more than just one time per day, per hour, even per minute that we are faced with the choice of saying I can or I can’t. However, hitting that first test head on with a, “No, that isn’t going to be me today,” or “How am I going to succeed today?” can start a wild fire in your mind and fuel more empowering thoughts. It will take some work, but taking action and controlling your own mind can turn conscious effort of positivity into subconscious reaction. That is where the fun starts.

If you know that you tend to doubt yourself start paying attention to it. See how it makes you feel. If you have never thought about it, start thinking about your actions and interactions with those around you as well as the way you talk to yourself. How do you feel? How do they make you feel? Why do you feel that way? Being in charge of your thoughts is the first step to success. Whether it is in weight loss, job advancement, relationships, or any other trial that gets set in front of you, getting rid of that Negative Self Talk is the first step in achieving even your hardest goals.

I leave you with one of my favorite quotes from Coach K of the Duke Blue Devils: “Doubt, kills more dreams than Failure ever will.”