Holiday Fitness Gift Guide – the 12 Gifts of a Fit Christmas!

It’s December… you’ve survived the food fest of Thanksgiving and the shopping battles of Black Friday and Cyber Monday but still have gifts to buy. If you’re looking for something for that active person, fitness enthusiast or loved one that just needs to get up and move more, look no further! I’ve compiled a list of fun, thoughtful and even practical gifts that are not only unique, but show you really care. I give to you my 12 gifts of a Fit Christmas!

  • The Grid Foam Roller1. Trigger Point The GRID Foam Roller (~$40), The Tiger Tail Massager (~$30), and Lacrosse or tennis ball (~$3+) – Any one or all of these are good for not only relieving holiday stress, but for restoring function by getting rid of those knots in your muscles allowing for pain free and fluid movement. Simply rolling out the knots with one of these tools can greatly enhance your comfort and the success of your workouts.  Eliminating those knots is probably one of the most widely occurring and misunderstood roadblocks to getting the most out of more traditional exercises and reaching your goals.
  • 2. TRX (~$100 – $300) –  A very cool and relevant way to add many functional and very effective exercises almost anywhere. TRX is a leveraged bodyweight training system that can attach to a ceiling beam, wall mount or outside on a tree branch/fence allowing you to train with a method used in the military, athletic training facilities and commercial gyms all over the world.  We utilize TRX Training systems at SLINKFIT on a very regular basis – in our Personal / Guided Training, Small Group, AND Team Training Sessions.  You can also visit the TRXTraining YouTube Channel to learn more about their story and products.
  • Gymboss Interval Timer3. Gymboss Interval Timer (~$20) –  Let’s face it, it’s hard to push yourself between exercises with minimal rest, but it’s one of the best ways to ramp up training intensity and reach new fitness levels!  This digital device puts time on your side by taking the guesswork out of how long you’ve been resting and gets you back to your work sets. Happy Tabatas everyone!
  • Ninja Blender4. Ninja Blender (~$60+) –  Do you eat enough vegetables and fruit? Probably not. We’re busy and who has time to chop, cut, peel, dice then boil, steam, sear and grill? Put this high powered vortex to work and create easy to drink smoothies, shakes and green drinks chock full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and all the fiber. Add protein powder and create meal replacements. Use your imagination or follow recipes that mix unique favor combinations.
  • Kettlebells5. Kettlebells (~$70) – Who thought swinging a weight between your legs could be so effective in gaining total body strength, building athletic power and producing real fat loss? Sometimes called a hand held gym, these retro fitness tools are traced back to old Russia and are a simple and effective way to perform a host of unique movements that get results fast.
  • Slinkfit Exterior - Kansas City Fitness Center6. SLINKFIT membership or training gift certificate (~$40+) – Have a friend or loved one in the Kansas City area that’s been wanting to take that extra step forward with Fitness?  We’ve got an array of options that suit different schedules and individual training styles!  Are you looking for some friends to work out with?  Be sure to check out our Small Group & Team Training Classes!  Have some specific movement pains you’d like to alleviate?  Perhaps some Personal Training is in order.  Whatever skill level / specific needs – we want to help educate and inspire those in the Kansas City area to achieve their fitness goals!
  • Valeo Jumprope7. Jumprope (~$5+), Valslides (~$30+), & Superbands (~$8+) –  Body weight training is popular right now for good reason…it works! This package makes it easy to stay on track even if your schedule requires that you travel extensively. Each of these items are lightweight and small so they pack easily but are still effective at delivering a great workout at home, hotel room or even at the gym…we use these frequently here at SLINKFIT.
  • Fitbit8. Fitbit (~$25+) or Nike + Fuelband  (~$149) – Ever wonder how many calories you burned in a workout or how far you walked or ran? Take the guesswork out of it by using a tracking device! Track nutrition, steps, get feedback and more….perfect for the gadget minded person on your list.
  • GoPro Hero39. Go Pro Hero3 Camera  (~$199+) – While it’s not necessary to document your adventure or fitness experience, it’s pretty cool to show your friends what your view was first hand. This camera has become a way for many to do just that. It can be mounted to a helmet, handlebar, bumper, dashboard, snowboard, surfboard, boat…you name it – to capture some really unique perspectives with incredible clarity and definition. Now you have proof of your black diamond run, table top jump or trip down whitewater rapids.
  • Xvest10. Weighted vest (X-vest) (~$200+) – Here’s a quick way to GAIN weight and increase performance in terms of strength, speed and weight loss. Strap one of these to your torso to add resistance from 2 to 84 lbs. to all bodyweight actives and burn more calories, increase agility, improve vertical jump through over-loading causing the body and nervous system to reprogram and adjust to this new level of resistance.
  • Maverick 3N1 Plyo Box11. 3-N-1 Cube Plyo Box (~$130) – The simple act of jumping on a box can have many positive effects: Power production, leg strength, coordination and total body conditioning just to name a few. This single box makes it easy to progress or allow for different movements – as well as athletes can use just one box and still get the proper training.
  • Gibbon Slack Line12. Slackline (~$75+) –  What is slacklining? “Slacklining is the act of balancing along a narrow, flexible piece of webbing which is low to the ground and usually anchored between two trees.” Get ready because even the most accomplished at balancing will be challenged. While it isn’t easy, who doesn’t need better balance for everyday life, sport and keeping nimble as we age? Other benefits include core strength and coordination.

These are just a small selection of some of the really useful tools out there, the most important part of all is of course keeping yourself motivated and moving forward!  Here’s to living a Fit Life and having a Fit Christmas!

8 Smart and Easy Ways to Fight Holiday Weight Gain!

Holiday season is here which brings hectic schedules, food and drink fueled festivities and stress.  Add all this together and you have a perfect storm for weight gain and lethargy.  The weather is cold, days are short and demands on you are high, so we need the celebration!  What we don’t need are the extra pounds and the negative effect on our body and spirit.

Here are 8 simple ways to keep you fit and focused throughout all the festivities:

1. Keep a Fitness and Nutrition Journal
– If you accurately track what you eat and drink, it’s much easier to find the motivation to hit the gym.  For those of you wanting to go the traditional route, you can pick up a small moleskine notebook (Moleskine Square Notebook Pocket) OR if you want to go the modern route check out MyFitnessPal available for most smart phones and computers!

2. Eat More = Exercise More
– Counterbalance the extra calories with extra workouts to be in a better position once the holidays end, and start early!  Get into a schedule now and help boost your metabolism BEFORE the extra calories hit.

3. Add Accountability
– Find someone who has similar health and fitness goals and is equally committed. Encourage and support one another.  We’re naturally social beings, and getting fit with a friend is a great way to embrace that!  We also have our Small Group Personal Training & Team Training classes that are a great way to meet and get fit with like-minded individuals!

4. Enter a Holiday Fitness Event
– The commitment to an organized run, walk or bicycle event will help you follow through with the training.  Most metropolitan areas have an assortment of these types of events, and many of them help to benefit good causes as well!  You’d not only be taking care of yourself, but you’d be helping someone else in need in the process!

5. Host Your Own Party
– Controlling the food and drinks you serve makes the choices easier.  There’s plenty of fun and healthful options available for the party host!  Check out Cooking Light and Epicurious’s Healthy Recipes for some fun and tasty alternatives!

6. Maintain Your Sleep Schedule
– Go out and have fun but end it early enough so you can get plenty of sleep.  They call it beauty sleep for a reason. :)

7. Drink in Moderation
– Watch your liquid calories!  Drinking excessive alcohol or caffeine can interrupt your sleep – moderation is key.

8. Manage Holiday Stress
– Striving for perfection at this time of year creates a lot of pressure. Aim for excellence but be realistic. Be sure to take some time to take a breath, and don’t forget, getting in a good workout can also help reduce your stress producing hormones!

The holiday season is only six weeks long. By staying focused and making good choices, you’ll be in a better position when the New Year rolls around!

Here’s a quick video showcasing the Philosophy and Facility at SLINKFIT… don’t waste time, Get started today!



Chicago Functional Training Summit – Day 2

Day two of the Chicago Functional Training Summit was a continuation of the first day…filled with great topics and speakers.  Here is an overview from the second day.

Day 2

John Brookfield – Battling Ropes Training Systems and Progressions

When it comes to hand/grip strength, John is among he strongest in the world.  Much more that that, his system of using heavy ropes is gaining popularity in both training athletes and fitness enthusiast.  This hands on session demonstrated progressive techniques, exercises and drills that improve work capacity, mental endurance and generation of power.  Personally I love using Battling Ropes with my clients….they are a safe, effective and fun way to deliver a very different mode of training.  Clients like it because it is more interesting than traditional exercise and it gets results!

Brett Jones – Dynami = Power

I first met Brett at the RKC kettlebell certification and later at a strength symposium.  In my opinion he has evolved into the thinking man’s strength coach by continuing to advocate developing strength and power without compromise to our primal movement patterns.  This not only makes for more sustainability , but ultimately allows for the greatest potential results.  In braking down the kettlebell push press, into efficient linking of segments, including various squatting and pressing movements, he outlined a foundational progression from patterning to slow strength to symmetry of strength to power.

Todd Durkin – Creating Maximum I.M.P.A.C.T. in the Fitness Field

With his customary high energy approach, Todd used this acronym to get the attendees to look closely at motivation, goal setting, accountability, mastery and taking action.  With consideration of our own mindset, habits and practices we can shape our attitude and create a positive effect our clients, family and even income.  Most interesting to me:  100 senior citizens in nursing homes were polled about what they would do differently if they could do it all over again:

  • Laugh more
  • Spend more time with loved ones
  • Take more risks

Alwyn Cosgrove – The complete Action Guide to Fat Loss Programming & Coaching  

As the founder of Results Fitness  and successful fitness guru, Alwyn Cosgrove knows a thing or two about what works in terms of fat loss.  Weight loss is the number one reason people hire a personal trainer yet most trainers still miss the mark.  This fact filled and detailed presentation challenged the long held belief that the best type of exercise for fat loss is lower intensity, longer duration.  According to actual research and his own findings, best results come from interval metabolic and strength training.  We need to consider the effect created by the exercise in the time follow not just during.  It’s beyond me why has the rest of the industry hasn’t woken up and ditched the ways that simply do not work.

Charlie Weingroff – Trying to Define the Core

Even though this was on day three, I’ve included it.  I attended both his talk and hands on session and was impressed with the way he explained and demonstrated what can be a complex and misunderstood issue.  The relationship between mobility and stability as it relates to biomechanics, muscles, fascia, nervous system, neurodevelopment, were all covered as well as a closer look at a clear definition of the core.  My favorite was the going through the developmental stages in the hands on as an infant grows, learns and masters sensory and motor control.  Charlie is definitely making a name for himself in the industry and I look forward to hearing him speak again.

Chicago Functional Training Summit

I look forward to the Perform Better Functional Training Summit every year.  Aside from a chance to get away for 3 – 4 days, it provides an opportunity to learn and work with the very best professionals in the industry.  It may sound corny, but I always come away from these with renewed enthusiasm plus new and useful information I can apply.

This year’s Chicago lineup of speakers read like a who’s who of current performance fitness giants and with only three days, tough decisions had to be made in selecting sessions.  Here is a breakdown of some key events I attended on the first day.  Each of these may very well serve as a future entry.

Day 0

I arrived a day early to attend the optional half day seminar with Gray Cook.  I have seen him present many times and he never disappoints.  His work has had a huge impact on my training philosophy and methods.  This updated information on his work with the Functional Movement Screen ( reinforced the value of this system to document movement patterns.

Day 1

Thomas Myers – Anatomy Trains and Training

I was really looking forward to hearing him for the first time.  His relatively new work with myofacial pathways and their implications in all our movements is very interesting and I predict with better understanding will help us better deal with correction of posture and related movement issues in the future.

Mike Boyle – Success Secrets

Mike is a pioneer in this industry and a very candid speaker…he stayed true to form in a talk that reflected on his career and advice on success in the fitness business.  The take home is to work hard, grasp every opportunity to gain experience, have something to offer, be honest and don’t quit.

Martin Rooney – Get Fast, Get Fit:  Speed Training for Every Client

Martin took a humorous approach a serious topic:  Despite increasing awareness, as a whole we are becoming less fit and more overweight.  While not a fix all, he suggests simply sprinting more.  We were designed to move in this way and it has many positive effects on building muscle, burning fat, optimizing hormone levels and activating the nervous system.

Thomas Plummer – Evolve or Die:  Five Trends That Will Define Your Career

Thomas is dynamic and at the leading edge of the business of fitness.  His message:  The big box gyms with their membership model are serving less and less of the population and refuse to change.  The shift to a service model is coming from the bottom up with the smaller fitness facilities better positioned to meet the consumer’s desire for results not just a low price.  This was good news as my business model is in line with his design for success as this evolution takes place.

I’ll cover day two at a later date……