Tag: workout preparation

Weight Loss 75% Diet, 25% Exercise

By Emily Creamer-Collins, Master Trainer
Worcester Fitness 

If fat loss is your goal, both nutrition and exercise are important. Generally speaking, weight loss is 75% diet and 25% exercise. An analysis of more than 700 weight loss studies found that people see the biggest short-term results when they eat smart.

Calories in/out

On average, people who dieted without exercising for 15 weeks lost 23 pounds; the exercisers who didn’t diet lost only six pounds over about 21 weeks. It’s much easier to cut calories than to burn them off.* For example, if you eat a fast food steak quesadilla, which can pack 500-plus calories, you need to run more than four miles to ‘undo’ it!

So what should you eat? It’s true that low-carb diets tend to be the most popular because they offer the fastest results, but they can be difficult to sustain. I recommend striving for a more balanced plan that focuses on real food - fruits, vegetable, lean proteins and whole grains.

*Huffington Post 2014

Less Meat, More Plants

One of my favorite quotes is from Michael Pollan, author of Food Rules, “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”  There’s no room for processed food in that rule!

But do yourself a favor and try focusing more on the FOOD you’re eating and less on the CALORIES you’re taking in.  Most people think controlling portions means counting calories, but there’s a better way.  Leading nutritionists at Precision Nutrition developed this cool Hand Measure System to use instead of getting bogged down by the confusing art of calorie counting. 

Palm of your hand

And your hand is all you need!

Your hand is proportionate to your body, its size never changes, and it’s always with you, making it the perfect tool for measuring food and nutrients – minimal counting required. 

Here’s the breakdown:

A serving of protein = 1 palm

A serving of vegetables = 1 fist

A serving of carbs = 1 cupped hand

A serving of fats = 1 thumb

Here’s how to use this method to build a plate of food:


Step 1 = PROTEIN (meat, fish, eggs, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt)

Men: two palm-sized portions [~ 40-60 g protein]
Women: one palm-sized portion [~ 20-30 g protein]

Step 2 = VEGETABLES (broccoli, spinach, salad, carrots, etc.)

Men: two fist-sized portions
Women: one fist-sized portion

Step 3 = CARBOHYDRATES (grains, starches, beans, and fruits)

Men: two cupped hand-sized portions [~ 40-60 g carbs]
Women: one cupped hand-sized portion [~ 20-30 g carbs]

Step 4 = FATS (oils, butters, nut butters, nuts, and seeds)

Men: two thumb-sized portions [~ 15-25 g fat]
Women: one thumb-sized portion [~ 20-30 g fat]


Men eating 3-4 meals as outlined would get around 2,300 – 3,000 calories each day.

Women eating 3-4 meals as outlined would get around 1,200 – 1,500 calories each day.

This system is easier than counting calories and nearly as accurate.  Just like with counting, though, pay attention to results and adjust as needed.

Try it out and let me know what you think!

How Focusing on Self-Love Can Help You Reach Your Health and Wellness Goals

By Dana Harrison, MS
Worcester Fitness
It’s the first week of January and health and wellness goals are in full throttle. While most people are interested in resolutions related to food and fitness, let’s shed light on what’s really important in succeeding with these goals—love. Without love, there’s not much; no health, wellness, drive, or positivity.
I truly believe that love trumps all; hate, anger, depression; love wins.

Don't Wait

Let's not wait for a horrific or disturbing event to serve as a reminder to spread that love. Love more; hate less. Get ahead of it.
It doesn't have to be big [but it can be]. And don't just do it for others and the fact that you have faith in humanity. Do it for yourself. Love yourself. Self-love and love for others is what keeps us going. So why not take advantage of that and apply it to your New Year’s resolutions.

Focus on Love

As you make some positive changes to your lifestyles try taking the time to reflect on how you treat yourself and others. To focus on love’s importance in the health and wellness puzzle, try the following challenges:
1) Spread some love and kindness, even small, this week to those you know and others you don't. Your actions and words are contagious; spread love and it keeps spreading.
2) Find one thing about yourself that you want to love but aren't there yet-- this one might be tough to come to terms with, but in order to love and grow, tap into that vulnerability.
How do you work on improving this?


Once you’ve reflected, move forward and apply this idea of love to your health and wellness goals by falling in love with the process of changing for the better. It all starts with loving yourself and others. Loving your body allows for appreciation of what it can do now and what it will be able to do in the future. Loving your mind raises the bar higher. Applying this can only set you up for success when aiming towards creating health and wellness goals that are sustainable and fit into your lifestyle.
Applying this can only set you up for success when aiming towards creating health and wellness goals that are sustainable and fit into your lifestyle.

Take a Minute to Prepare for your Workout

By Emily Creamer Collins
Master Trainer
Worcester Fitness
Remember to “get set” before you “GO!”
A few weeks ago I did a 5K race. At the start line, I had my usual pre-race jitters and was doing my usual pre-race routine to calm those jitters: jumping up and down, rotating my feet, taking the obligatory selfie. As the start time approached, the announcer on the loudspeaker called out “Ready…?” Everyone around me yelled and cheered. Then he called out “GO!” And everyone around me took off.
I was still standing standing there, wondering what happened to “Set?”


The phrase “Ready, set, go” is synonymous with “On you mark, get set, go!” It’s a phrase that describes a process.
On your mark, get set, go! is used to begin a competition. It was originally used in England in the 1800s to begin running races.
The word mark referred to the place on the running course where the runner would start, whether a line or a set of starting blocks. Get set is a sort of warning that the signal to start running is about to occur, though today when a runner “gets set” he usually raises his hind quarters and tenses his legs in preparation to run.
The word go, of course, means that it is time to start running.
See how getting set is the equivalent of getting prepared?

Be Prepared

Over the past year or so, I’ve observed that very few people take time to get set in their workouts. They get ready and then they go without getting prepared. Why is that?
To explore this question, let’s look at similar phrases/processes. For example, there’s “Lights, camera, action” and there’s “Ready, aim, fire.” I want to focus on the importance of the middle step. A filmmaker would never complete a movie if she skipped camera. Similarly, a marksman would never hit the target if he skipped aim. So why, as athletes, do we expect to be successful in reaching our goals if we skip getting set?
So what do I mean by getting set for a workout? First, warm-up. Second, focus on your form.

Serious Warm-Up!

Before your workout, take your warm-up seriously! It will prepare you for the best training session possible and it will help to keep your body healthier. A good warm-up works on range-of-motion, activation of muscles, and movement preparation. It can be done in only 10-minutes and should include exercises such as:
Foam rolling
Hip-flexor stretches
Floor bridges
Child’s pose with rotation
Wall slides
Lunges: forward, back, side-to-side
During your workout, focus on your form! It will take just a second and will help get the most benefit from your exercise while reducing the risk of injury.
Here are some examples of check-points that people tend to skip:
Are your hands in the correct position for a push-up?
Are your elbows and hips in the correct position for a plank?
Are your shoulder blades in the correct position for a kettlebell swing?
Are your knees tracking correctly in your lunges?
Are your heels down in your squats?
Are you breathing?
Are you focusing on your movement or are you thinking about something else?

As we head into the New Year, let’s all make an effort to “get set” before we “GO!”