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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Basic Maintenance

Seriously, people. Let's set aside all the craziness about getting skinny, and what you're supposed to look like, and guilt, and extreme exercise programs. There's a place for some of that, and that's not here right now. Let's get real for a second. Everyone has a body. Everyone wants their body to work, today, and for as long as they're alive. Nobody wants to be in pain, or unable to move. Everyone wants to have enough energy to do what they need and want to do in a day. You brush your teeth because you don't want them to fall out, and because you don't want toothaches, or bad breath. You do this every day. It is considered basic maintenance. You get your oil changed, because you want your car to keep running smoothly and last a long time without giving you problems. This too is basic maintenance. Exercise is basic maintenance for your body. It doesn't have to be hard. You don't have to get super sweaty. You don't have to hate it. But you do have to move to keep your body working. Period. There's no way around it. This needs to be part of your daily routine. Yes, daily. There is no reason for an able-bodied person to ever spend 24 hours not moving beyond couch to desk to bathroom to bed. You can walk, you can dance, you can stretch, you can bounce on a trampoline, you can ride a bike. You can also do the harder and more intense things, if you're interested in doing so or have fitness goals beyond "survive and feel good and live a long life without my body breaking down on me." But if you do not move on a daily or nearly daily basis, your body will stop working as well as you'd like it to, and eventually it will break. Just like your teeth will rot if you do not brush them, and your car will break down if you do not change the oil. So if nothing else, make sure you spend an hour a day (not necessarily at once - you can add up ten minutes here and there) moving. Out of your seat, out of bed, off the couch. Walk around the office, go outside, ride your bike, turn on some music and dance around, clean your house, dig in the garden, play with your kids or pets... do something. Anything. This is basic maintenance, bare minimum for survival and general health.

Friday, January 4, 2013

BalancePoint Fitness Winter 2013 Class Schedule

A new year brings new beginnings, and BP Fit is happy to offer a variety of classes to help start or breathe some life back into your fitness routine. Classes are ongoing with no start or end dates, so you can jump in at any time! Our instructors love seeing new faces and will be happy to accommodate your questions, requests, and special needs. Best of all, your first class is FREE!

Current Classes

Boot Camp
An intense workout mixing cardio and strength training. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) concepts are used to constantly keep the body's challenges changing and to maximize fat burn. Variations are provided for different fitness levels, so try it out even if you're a beginner!

Power Kick
A fast-paced workout using basic martial arts kicks, punches, and blocks to create a fat-burning, endorphin-pumping class. Self-defense concepts are taught and practiced as a part of each class. Gloves are necessary for working on the punching bags; we recommend that you bring your own but have a few loaners.

A dance party-style workout that will keep you moving and having fun while you torch calories! Incorporates hip-hop, samba, salsa, merengue, mambo, and more. If you have Spotify, you can listen to a sample of what you might groove to:

After your first FREE class, pricing is as follows. Punch cards can be used for any type of class, at any time, within a three-month period.
  • Single class drop-in: $9
  • 8-class punch card: $50
  • 12-class punch card: $70


9:00 - 9:45 a.m.: Boot Camp with Rose
7:00 - 8:00 p.m.: Power Kick with Jibril

7:00 - 7:45 p.m.: Boot Camp with Nicoleta

9:00 - 9:45 a.m.: Boot Camp with Rose
7:00 - 8:00 p.m.: Power Kick with Jibril

6:00 - 7:00 p.m.: Zumba with Nicoleta

8:30 - 9:30 a.m.: Power Kick with Jibril
12:00 - 12:45 p.m.: Boot Camp with Rose

For more information on classes and personal training options, please visit

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Teaching Your Kids--and Yourself--to Love Movement, by guest blogger Lauren LaLonde

It's easy to get so caught up in the whirlwind of child-rearing that regular exercise gradually slips through the cracks until it disappears completely. It's certainly normal, understandable, and admirable for parents to put their loved ones' needs far in front of their own; that's what being a parent is all about. But it's important to teach kids to love and move their bodies in ways that are enjoyable to them, and that teaching process can serve to remind you of the very same thing!

Show your kids as many possible ways to be active as you can.
Remember the ways in which you had fun as a kid, and share those experiences with them. Heck, even show them the activities you didn't like as a kid; maybe you'll like them now. The options are practically limitless: sports, dance, trampolining, sledding, martial arts, hiking, jumping rope, using playground equipment, hopscotch, biking, bowling, swimming, playing catch, flying a kite, walking the dog, gardening, hula hooping, etc.

Make an outing of it.
You can plan an activity based on sightseeing or some other purpose and still build in tons of walking time (e.g., zoo/museum trips, scavenger hunts, geocaching).

They're never too young.
Work on rolling, crawling, dancing, and ultimately walking with your infants. Have dance parties with your toddler and provide her with space in which to run. Chase, swing, and toss your kiddo. Utilize toddler play structures, indoor play places, walkers, ride-on toys, and kiddie pools.

Remember that it's supposed to be fun.
Your child shouldn't feel pressured into something; he's playing, and playing should be enjoyable. Encourage anything that he shows an interest in, and help him find new ideas if or when his interest wanes.

Use the time to bond.
Not only is family bonding time a great idea in general, but your child will also likely associate specific physical activities with happy memories for a long time!

Monday, December 10, 2012

An Introduction to Restorative Yoga, by guest blogger Lauren LaLonde

Even if you’re a novice to yoga, utilizing simple restorative poses is an easy way relax and stretch your tired muscles after a long day. In restorative yoga, props--such as a folded blanket or your bedroom wall--support your body and allow you to hold a pose for an extended period of time, which opens your body through passive stretching and gives you a chance to unwind and collect your thoughts.

One of my personal favorite restorative poses is viparita karani, also known as “legs up the wall.” All it requires is a wall with enough space to accommodate your legs, and a floor that you don’t mind lying on for a while. A yoga mat or blanket will provide extra padding.

  1. Sit with the side of your body against the wall. In one movement, swing your legs up against the wall and bring your lower back to the floor, using your elbows to support your weight. If there’s too much strain on your hamstrings, move away from the wall until you feel a comfortable stretch.
  2. Gradually lower the rest of your back, as well as your shoulders and head, to the floor.
  3. Rest your legs against the wall in a relatively straight position, but don’t strain yourself. You should be able to comfortably hold this pose for at least several minutes. If you feel like you need back support, you can place folded or rolled-up blankets or towels under the arch of your back as needed.
  4. Hold for 5-15 minutes, breathing deeply. You can try holding different positions with your legs, such as touching the soles of your feet together or bending your knees.
  5. To come out of the pose, bring your knees to your chest and roll to one side.
Breathe and enjoy!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Introducing: The Plank by guest blogger Lauren LaLonde

The plank is a popular isometric exercise because it strengthens multiple muscle groups, improves balance and flexibility, stretches and strengthens the spine, and requires no special equipment. It requires maintaining one pose for an extended period of time or for intervals of time, the lengths of which vary depending on fitness level. Here’s a rundown of all the areas that will benefit from the plank exercise:*

Target body part: abs, back
Primary muscles: erector spinae, rectus abdominus (abs), transverse abdominus
Secondary muscles: trapezius (traps), rhomboids, rotator cuff, anterior and medial deltoids (delts), posterior deltoids (delts), pectorals (pecs), serratus anterior, gluteus maximus (glutes), quadriceps (quads), gastrocnemius

There are variations of the plank pose, but for the most basic one, follow these steps:

  1. Get in a pushup position, with your body forming a straight line, or plank, while your hands and toes support your weight. Alternately, you can put your forearms on the ground, beneath your shoulders and parallel to your body.
  2. Tighten your abs and squeeze your glutes.
  3. Maintain a neutral neck and spine. If you feel pressure on your lower back, do a slight pelvic tilt to bring your hips and glutes down.
  4. Hold the position. Don’t forget to breathe!
Click here for a photo of the pose. If this is your first time planking, try holding the pose for 10 seconds or until your hips begin to sag, then rest and repeat if desired.

You should not perform a plank if you have heart problems or high blood pressure, or if you are pregnant. As always, talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about your ability to do the exercise.

Fun plank fact!
The world abdominal plank record, set by George Hood on 12/3/11, is 1 hour, 20 minutes and 5.01 seconds.

*Source: American Council on Exercise.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Challenge Yourself! by guest blogger Lauren LaLonde

Is a pesky lack of motivation keeping you from regular physical activity? It might be time to try a goal-oriented approach. For some people, an important end result to work toward can provide that extra drive needed to throw on those gym shoes and get out the door. If this sounds like you, read on!

Figure out what you would ultimately love to accomplish.
Do you want to aim for a certain running time or distance? Cycle 20 miles? Complete a 5k? Learn a dance? Become a yoga instructor? Be able to do the splits? Pick one thing that you think is achievable, and come up with a reasonable timetable for it.

Commit to a challenge or event.
If it’s an event you’re training for, sign up and tell people about it so that you’re motivated to stick with it. Charity walks/runs are especially good for this, as you’re making a commitment to people who donate money to your cause.

If you’re not training for a specific event, try to come up with other motivational tools, such as working with a friend to meet the same goal or finding an activity-specific local group or online community where you can share your progress and seek encouragement.

Here are just a few fun goal ideas:

Work at it!
Schedule some time each week to train, and don’t be afraid to challenge yourself. Set mini goals along the way. Stay positive, even if you’re struggling or you miss a day; you’re still ultimately working toward something rewarding for both your brain and your body.

Reward yourself.
Regardless of whether you meet your goal or not, you deserve a pat on the back for your effort. Reward yourself along the way with a new outfit, a trip to the movies, a haircut, a chair massage, or whatever will keep you happy and motivated. And if you meet your goal, it’s time to set a new one!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Eat Seasonal, by guest blogger Lauren LaLonde

Even though modern technology makes it easy for us to purchase almost any kind of produce at any time of year, shopping for seasonal fruits and veggies has many advantages: namely, taste! You’ll get the most vibrant flavors from a tomato or watermelon in the summer, or an apple or squash in the fall. And because in-season produce is more likely to come from local farms and orchards, it will spend less time in transit, meaning it will be fresher, more nutritious, and cheaper.

Paying attention to what’s in season is also a great way to keep variety in your diet and even to try new foods, since you know you’ll be eating them at their peak. Look for produce sales at your local grocery store and challenge yourself to try one different fruit or vegetable a week.

Also, bear in mind that some types of produce contain more pesticides than others. The Environmental Working Group has released a list for 2012 of the “dirty dozen” foods that contain the most pesticide residues and should be bought organically. They have also compiled a list of the “clean 15,” or the fruits and vegetables lowest in pesticide.

Produce availability does vary slightly by region, but for the most part, you can count on the following foods to be best during the autumn months:

  • acorn squash
  • arugula
  • belgian endive
  • broccoli
  • brussels sprouts
  • butter (bibb) lettuce
  • buttercup squash
  • butternut squash
  • cauliflower
  • daikon radish
  • endive
  • hot peppers
  • jerusalem artichoke
  • jicama
  • kale
  • kohlrabi
  • mushrooms
  • pumpkin
  • radicchio
  • sweet potatoes
  • swiss chard
  • winter squash
  • asian pears
  • cape gooseberries
  • cranberries
  • grapes
  • huckleberries
  • kumquats
  • passion fruit
  • pears
  • pomegranate
  • quince
In addition, a handful of foods are generally of good quality year-round:

  • beet greens
  • bell peppers
  • bok choy
  • broccolini
  • cabbage
  • carrots
  • celery
  • celery root
  • leeks
  • lettuce
  • mushrooms
  • onions
  • parsnips
  • shallots
  • turnips
  • avocados
  • bananas
  • lemons
  • papayas