VIDA Blog
Nov 24 2015

Work Out Smarter with a MyZone Heart Rate Monitor

You know you’re sweating buckets and can feel your heart pumping like crazy, but do you know if you’re functioning in an aerobic or anaerobic zone, or what percentage of your maximum heart rate you’re using? Most likely not, since it’s impossible to guess this information without the use of a device monitoring your heart rate.

Heart rate monitors make a world of a difference for individuals looking to increase their cardiovascular endurance and track how hard they’re actually pushing themselves during workouts. If you like viewing the amount of calories you’ve burned after a cardio session, a heart rate monitor provides a much more accurate number than a standard summary from a treadmill or elliptical. Because it’s actually measuring YOUR effort and exertion, not just generic information punched into a machine, you’ll find that your actual calories burned is usually a very different number than what a piece of equipment will tell you.

Here at VIDA, we spent a lot of time researching the most advanced heart rate monitoring systems on the market to find the most fully functioning device to recommend to our members. The MyZone MZ-3 belt (& corresponding MyZone app) incorporates several unique features unparalleled in the heart rate monitoring world that we know VIDA members will love!

The MyZone Physical Activity Belt

The MyZone Physical Activity Belt

These features include the ability to live-track your effort exertion by the second on your phone, personalized workout summaries emailed to you after every session, and the point-earning feature which adds a competitive element to your workouts.

So how does it work?

The MyZone belt fastens around your rib cage with the device placed directly below your sternum. It’s comfortable and easy to adjust, so it doesn’t slip around or get in the way of your movements. You’ll download the MyZone app, which is synced directly to your device via Bluetooth. As soon as you open the app while wearing the belt, your device will beep signaling that it’s reading your heart rate.

Under the ‘effort stream’ tab of the app, you’ll see a colored tile with a big percentage number on it. The percentage is the amount of your maximum heart rate that you’re using in real time, which you’ll see go up pretty quickly as soon as you start moving! MyZone uses different color zones for percentage ranges (blue means you’re using 60-70% of your maximum heart rate, green is 70-80%, yellow is 80-90% and red is 90-100%) so you can easily see what range you’re in by glancing at your phone.

In addition to your current color zone, your tile also displays total calories burned, your current heart rate and the amount of MyZone Effort Points (MEPs) you’ve earned. MEPs are what make using  MyZone really fun – since you get more points for the harder you work. For every minute you spend in the blue zone you acquire 2 MEPs per minute. In green, you make 3 MEPs per minute, and in yellow and red you’re earning a whopping 4 MEPs per minute!

The live feedback from the app is great for group fitness and small group training classes, as it gives the instructor the ability to make sure each person is performing in the same effort zone. It also means no room for slacking, since your phone will show the rest of the room how much effort you’re actually putting out at that moment. If it shows that you have room to be pushing harder, you can bet that your instructor will point that out.

Example of MyZone Leaderboard

Example of MyZone Leaderboard

These tracking features are super helpful for making your workouts as effective as possible, but our favorite feature by far is the social aspect of the app. You add connections on the app the same way you would on social media, and all of your connections’ workouts will appear on your newsfeed.  You can compare stats with a friend after completing the same class together, or check to see what workouts your friends at other gyms are doing.

There’s also the leaderboard – which displays a ranking of you and all your connections total MEP’s for the month.  For those with a competitive side, trying to get ahead of your friends on the leaderboard can be all the motivation you need to crank out another mile, add another gear or do whatever it takes to push yourself harder during your workout. Trust us, it gets addicting.

The MyZone belt is available for VIDA members to purchase for a discounted rate of $99.99 (usually $149.99) using the link here. Use the code ‘VIDAUS001’ to register your belt, and you’re ready to start earning MEPs!

If you need any help setting up your belt or learning your way around the app, feel free to grab a group fitness manager or membership consultant who can help you out or point you in the right direction. And don’t forget to add your fellow VIDA members and instructors as friends, so we can all keep each other accountable for our workouts this holiday season!

 

Nov 16 2015

VIDA Personal Trainer Everett Shipmon On Benefits of Massage

Everett Shipmon

Most personal trainers will tell you that consistent weight training plus eating a clean, balanced diet is the surefire way to build strong, lean muscles. They’re right, but VIDA Renaissance personal trainer Everett Shipmon has another secret ingredient to building a sexy physique – regular sports massages from Aura spa!

Everett has been personal training for five years in the DC area and has been with VIDA since March of 2014. As a former track athlete, regular exercise has always come naturally for him and he enjoys being able to share his passion for fitness with others.

“I understand that what comes so easily for me is more difficult for other people. I want to share my expertise with them and help them reach their goals no matter what they are. My motto is consistency is key – goals are only reached one workout at a time,” he says.

Part of Everett’s consistency model is not only creating healthy habits in and outside of the gym, but giving your body the proper recovery and care it needs after intense workouts.

He currently visits Aura spa once a week for a 90 minute sports massage and says he can feel a noticeable difference in his muscles as a result. The massage is his favorite way to decompress after a heavy lifting session, and he says he can feel an overall improvement in the length and flexibility of his muscles.

“When you do a lot of strength training you’re actually breaking apart your muscle fibers. This forms adhesions (knots) in the muscles which cause tightness, and if not worked out properly can cause injury. Massages iron out those adhesions so the muscle fibers repair and rebuild correctly. I encourage all my clients to do regular massages at Aura” he says.

Everett has been a regular Aura spa client for ten months now and he says he’s never felt better! While he receives a sports massage on a weekly basis, he says he’s also a big fan of the pedi scrub and trying out the different kinds of essential oils we carry.

“The LMT’s are amazing and have helped me out on a number of occasions by recommending different products and checking in with me.  And I highly recommend the pedi scrub – everyone should try that!” he says.

If you’d like to book an appointment with one of our LMT’s or Estheticians, please visit our booking services page here. If you any advice about which services to try first, Everett is your guy!

Nov 12 2015

Tips for Unplugging for a Happier and Healthier Holiday Season

uplugging_holidays_1By: Guest Blogger Danielle Pastula

Even if you’re someone who loves the holiday season, there’s usually a touch of stress that comes along with all the joyous decor and catchy Christmas music. You’re wondering when you’ll find the time to shop and wrap gifts, you’re worried about whose holiday party you’re going to go to, you’re wondering how many times you’re going to have to bite your tongue with your annoying relative.

See? Lots of extra stressors take over this last part of the year.

However, one thing that might be causing you additional stress is that umbilical-like, life-or-death connection you have with your smartphone. And that’s not just at holiday time, that’s all year round.

And since the holidays and New Years are coming up, we thought it would be the perfect time to talk about how we can unplug for a happier and less-stressed holiday season. We also bet that if you follow our tips, you’ll also want to continue these practices long after the twinkly lights come down.

First, let’s talk about the thing I know you’re thinking, “Nice idea, but I can’t “unplug,” my job depends on me being reachable,” or “I’m not that bad with my phone, I could probably be on Facebook less, but whatever, it’s not causing any problems.

Now, I’m going to address these claims in the nicest way I can:

1.) I manage social media accounts for a living and yet I’ve still managed to find ways to unplug in order to avoid becoming a smartphone zombie. If I can do it, you can do it too, the world will not crumble if you don’t have your phone on you 24/7. Don’t believe me? Try the tips below for just one week and it’ll become apparent that you can get away with being less connected than you think.

2.) If you think you’re not that bad with your phone, answer this for me; when you realize you don’t have your phone on you, does immediate panic set in? Do you ever feel like your phone vibrated, but when you go to check it you haven’t received any updates? (That’s called phantom vibration syndrome and yes, it’s an actual thing.) When you go to a restaurant do you automatically put your phone on the tabletop? If you answered yes to any of those questions, you have a problem, don’t worry, you’re not alone, however you are in denial, so keep reading.

Next, let’s look at and mull over several solid reasons why you should put in the effort to unplug:

According to a combination of four studies looking at the effects of heavy computer and cell phone use on the sleep quality, stress levels, and general mental health of young adults, which was conducted by a team of researchers from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, it was found that:

  • Heavy cell phone use showed an increase in sleep disorders in men and an increase in depressive symptoms in both men and women.
  • Those constantly accessible via cell phones were the most likely to report mental health issues.
  • Men who use computers intensively were more likely to develop sleeping problems.
  • Regular, late night computer use was associated with sleep disorders, stress and depressive symptoms in both men and women.
  • A combination of both heavy computer use and heavy mobile use makes the associations even stronger.

 

[Reference: Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-volpi-md-pc-facs/technology-depression_b_1723625.html]

 

All those things are pretty bad for our overall health, and the worst part is, the research that’s out there isn’t slanted, meaning no one’s hiding the “good” or “healthy” benefits of increased mobile phone and computer usage from you. There just simply aren’t any benefits.

Some might argue that this surge in technology is wonderful and allows us to connect with more people than we ever thought imaginable, which is true to a degree, but it’s actually developed a whole new wave of social anxiety and a disconcerting level of disconnect among the people who should matter most to us: our parents, partners, children and even ourselves as we play the comparison game on social media.

Okay, enough of being a Digital Debbie Downer. If you’re feeling less than enamored with your phone or tablet right about now, here’s some tips for unplugging that WILL help you cut that technology dependency:

Use a Real Alarm Clock

Little inconvenient? Sure, but having a real alarm clock can make a huge difference in your phone usage at both the beginning and end of your day, which are two of the most crucial time periods as it relates to your health.

When you use a real alarm clock, you nix the chance that when you go to turn off your alarm in the morning you’ll instinctively start checking emails and scrolling through social media. These first few minutes are a time for you to gently wake up, set intentions for the day, enjoy the quiet, and focus solely on you.

On the flip side, when you use a real alarm clock, it gives you the opportunity to settle in for the night.

Put your phone in another room, put it in your bedside drawer, it doesn’t matter, you just don’t need it. Having your phone out of sight also means no sleep interruptions with notifications or messages.

Put Your Phone Out of Reach

When your phone is sitting on your desk or on the dining table you’re much more likely to reach for it to kill time, take a 5-minute break, or fill some awkward lag in conversation. I don’t need a statistic to prove this, we all agree this is true, yes?

Wonderful. So since we all agree, it makes sense that if you don’t keep your phone constantly within sight you will eventually feel less compelled to reach for it out of habit.

Also, when you purposely put your phone away it creates the inverse action of you only going to retrieve your phone when you have a specific intention for using it.

For example, my phone is across the room from me, out of reach, and it’s behind my back. So if I want my phone, I have to physically turn around, stand up and walk to even touch it or look at the screen. Therefore, the next time I plan on using my phone is when I go to work out during my lunch break at 1 p.m. I have a specific intention of what I’ll be doing the next time I look at my phone.

 

Delete Apps You Spend Too Much Time On

Nobody actually needs Facebook on their phone. Think about it, if you’re constantly compelled to create statuses, post pictures, or mindlessly scroll through your newsfeed, deleting the app from your phone makes it harder for Facebook to distract you.

If you have to physically go to your laptop to use the desktop version of Facebook, you’re addiction to that mindless scrolling becomes less and less.

Of course, I’m not so naive to know that you can’t go re-download an app as quickly as you deleted it, but give it a try and notice how often you go to check a specific app before realizing you deleted it. Being aware of that “checking in” sensation will show you just how much time gets eaten up with “harmless” browsing.

Set a Curfew

Get all “parents-of-an-rebellious-teen” on yourself and set a curfew. No phone usage after [enter at least an hour before you go to bed here].

Done and done.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Set Boundaries

I know you’re probably feeling a little bit of a technology hangover at this point, but don’t look at it as a painful ripping-off-the-bandaid thing and look at unplugging as a permission slip for being in control of how you spend your time and giving yourself more freedom to do all the things you actually care about, especially this holiday season.

Go all out for a White Elephant gift exchange with your closest friends, come up with a new holiday tradition with your partner, go take a Christmas tour of the White House, go ice skating at the National Gallery of Art ice rink and leave your phones at home or zipped away in your coat pocket. If you really want pictures, invest in an Instax camera, not kidding, they’re awesome.

But most of all, soak in those moments with friends, family and people who might become great friends in the next year. Life is too short to let the magic of the people, places and things around you become a blur because you’re too busy looking at your phone.

Nov 6 2015

Tips to Keep You From Gobbling and Wobbling this Holiday Season

Christmas CookiesHello, November, and welcome, holiday season!  Whether you love everything Thanksgiving and Chrismakwanzika or not, everyone is faced with the same challenges this time of year: wavering motivation to hit the gym (aka hibernation mode), faltering self-control over holiday treats, and trying to navigate a busier schedule of social engagements than usual.

It’s these challenges that usually leave us feeling pretty crummy come New Years and thinking we need to lose some over-exaggerated number of pounds and cut every carb to be found in our diet in January (P.S. don’t do that, it’s bad for you). Now let’s pump the brakes for a minute. First of all, some ground rules for the holiday season:

1.) Enjoy yourself, your family, and your friends.

2.) Understand that enjoying yourself doesn’t have to involve copious amount of food or drink.

3.) If you do over-indulge, tell yourself to make smarter choices next time, go break a sweat, and get over it.

4.) Try putting a couple of these tips in to action over the course of November and December and see how much better you’ll feel come New Year’s.

 

Beware of the Workplace Food Fests

The holiday potlucks and festive candy dishes are coming, which also means the opportunity to graze and pick at treats all day long.

It may seem innocent, but all that grazing and sporadic grabbing of candy when you make your way in and out of the office for meetings can add up to a significant weight gain this holiday season if you’re not careful.

Put some boundaries in place regarding how much you’re going to fill up your plate and that you’re only going to visit the food table once. If you really have a hard time with staying in control at work potlucks, still bring your own healthy lunch to eat and then grab a small helping of one or two of the things you want to try the most.

As far as that candy dish goes, make it your Friday treat or something, no one needs a Reese’s Christmas tree everyday.

 

Sign-up for Fun Fitness Events

Themed fun runs, charitable races, turkey trots, there are plenty of seasonal events you can have fun at while fitting in a good workout.

Look for events in your neighborhood (and at the various VIDA locations…we love a good themed workout!) and do that instead of brunch for a couple weekends during the holiday season. Torching calories, spending time with friends, and enjoying the beauty of DC in fall/early winter…what’s not to love?

 

Take Advantage of Perks

Did you know that when you first sign up at VIDA you get a VIDA Fit session with a personal trainer and you can also nix the enrollment fee and get a sweet deal on TRX sessions, Pilates Reformer classes, and personal training sessions instead?

If you signed up awhile ago, you may have forgotten about these perks, but no worries, they’ll still be on your account, just pop in to your membership consultant’s office or shoot them an email asking to get on the schedule. And if you haven’t signed up yet, get in touch with the VIDA nearest you and we’ll get you ready to go!

Although the perks are available all year-round, we have to say, having those one-on-one and small group sessions come holiday season is a blessing for staying accountable during the busiest time of the year!

P.S. – If you don’t have these perks on your account because you used them up, now’s a great time to print out this blog post and highlight this section about how your loved one should totally get you the gift of fitness this holiday season with a VIDA Fitness gift card that can be used on all of our small group and PT offerings. 😉

Hold a Challenge with Your Coworkers

We love a good, friendly competition here at VIDA, and we think you should give it a try over at your workplace, too!

Whether you only have a few coworkers participate, or the whole department, come up with a fitness challenge (push-ups, number of workouts per month, etc.) and prize to incentivize.

Here’s a few starter ideas:

  • Everyone throws in $5-10 to participate in the fitness challenge, winner gets the pot.
  • Create a workout challenge, whoever misses a certain number of workouts has to pay $5, all the money at the end goes to your work’s charitable cause or goes to buying cans of food for a local food bank drive.
  • Create a workout challenge, winner get’s a gift card to a lunch spot near by.

It’ll take a little organization, but we promise you’ll have fun while getting fit, which is a great prize no matter what.

So those aren’t too difficult right? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram when you put these tips to use and we promise to be your holiday season health and fitness cheerleaders!

Nov 3 2015

Studio Upgrades at U Street

The Matrix IC7 that will completely change your cycle experience!

The Matrix IC7 that will completely change your cycle experience!

We have a lot of exciting changes on the horizon at VIDA Fitness U Street! As you may have noticed, we’re totally redesigning our cycle studio to dramatically enhance your class experience. We’re introducing a top of the line lighting and sound system that will get you ‘in the zone’ like never before, plus installing brand new Matrix IC7 bikes with coach-by-color features unmatched in the area!

“We’ll be the only fitness provider in DC offering these bikes. This will completely change our members’ cycling experience and I am so excited to have our U Street team be the ones to raise the bar in indoor cycling!” says Group Fitness Manager Adriana Sanchez.

Our TRX studio is getting a makeover too with a huge expansion scheduled to take place over the next month. We’ll be moving some things around on the second floor (just wait til you see our new abs & stretching area!) so we appreciate your patience while we create a more functional and efficient workout space for you to enjoy!

If you have any questions about the new bikes or upcoming changes, please feel free to contact Adriana (asanchez@vidafitness.com) and we’ll be happy to fill you in. We can’t wait to share the finished product with you!