CategoriesBlog Move.

Seven Habits That Will Transform Your Life

Many of us set health and fitness goals to change the way we look — but transforming your health and fitness habits can also change every aspect of your life. Not only will you look better, but you’ll also feel and think better.

Follow these seven highly effective habits to become the best version of yourself:    

Habit #1 If you are not assessing, you are guessing. 

When it comes to health and fitness, ignorance isn’t bliss: It’s important to constantly assess and monitor your nutrition. In order to make a change, you need to know your starting point — which means tracking your nutritional habits. While counting calories may not be a long-term solution, it will give you your strongest weapon in any successful transformation: awareness.    

Pro tip:  If you are not assessing, you are guessing. 

When tracking calories, do keep in mind that too much restriction can lead to failure.  This is normal, and it’s why adopting a flexible approach is essentialA general rule of thumb is to eat healthy 80 percent of the time, while treating yourself the remaining 20 percent. By accounting for the occasional indulgence, you’ll be able to quickly get back on track.   

Habit #2 Follow the six-month rule. 

Create habits that are sustainable for at least six months. While shortterm fixes can lead to quick results, they are often unsustainable — and you’ll soon end up back at square one. When you are developing your nutrition or fitness plan, ask yourself: “Can I do this for half a year?” If not, it’s time to reassess.   

Pro tip: The best training program is one you enjoy and able to stick to in the long term while making consistent, measurable progress. 

Habit # 3 Eat mostly whole and minimally processed foods.

The saying “You can’t out train a poor diet” is 100percent true.  It doesn’t matter if you’re busting your butt in the gym: If you are eating poorly, it will be difficult to lose body fat. Focus on eating minimally processed, whole foods. 

What do we mean by “whole foods”? Follow these guidelines when eating: 

  • Stick to foods your grandparents would recognize. 
  • Shop the perimeter of the grocery store; for example, choose the produce section over the cereal aisle or the snack foods. 
  • Eat one serving of fruits or veggies (the size of your fist) with each meal, and eat a variety of colors when doing so. 
  • Replace calorie-dense and artificially sweetened drinks with water. 

Habit #4 Eat enough protein. 

Proteins are essential for repairing and building muscle, so make sure to eat one or two servings with every meal. It’s also the most important of the macronutrients; if you are going to overeat one of them, make it protein.  

Other benefits of eating protein include: 

It prevents muscle wasting: Muscle tissues are the most metabolically active tissues. Along with resistance training, consistently hitting your protein intake helps you retain your muscle while carving away fats — which will ultimately show off your muscle definition.  

It keeps you full:  When caloric intake is low and you have those cravings for carbohydrates, protein is your BFF.

It burns more calories during the digestion process:  Protein has been proven to be up to 30 percent more metabolically expensive than carbs or fats. This means that if you have 100 grams of protein, then your body will burn 30 calories simply by breaking the protein down into usable amino acids.  

Habit #5 Focus on building muscle 

any still believe that building muscle is only for bodybuilders. Strength training is for everyone, and has proven to help people be more active, keep fat at bay, live longer and improve self-confidence. 

The most efficient way to build strength and muscle is to focus on the main compound lifts. These lifts use multiple muscles in one movement, giving you more bang for your buck.  

Most of your compound lifts should include the following movements:  

  • Squat 
  • Hinge 
  • Push 
  • Pull 
  • Lunge 
  • Carry   

To build muscle, you also need to emphasize progressive overloadlifting heavy weights while properly executing each rep. Progressive overload also means you’ll need to challenge yourself by constantly adding weight. However, you should always emphasize form and technique over the amount of weight you’re lifting; piling on the weight with poor technique will do more harm than good. 

Habit #6 Drink plenty of water and/or calorie-free drinks. 

Proper hydration can have a significant impact on your health, performance and weight. Most of us know we aren’t drinking enough water, but we may not be aware of the potential problems that can arise from dehydration. 

The main reasons dehydration has as adverse affect on exercise and overall health are that it: 

  • Decreases blood volume and blood flow 
  • Decreases heat dissipation and removal of wastes from exercise 
  • Decreases metabolism  
  • Decreases body temperature 
  • Increases organ stress 

The general rule of thumb is to drink half your bodyweight (in pounds) in ounces of water. That means a 150-pound person should drink at least 75 ounces of water — about nine standard glasses — each day. Carry a water bottle, drink it up and refill it every two hours or when empty. 

Habit #7 Sleep like a baby again

Sleep is often the forgotten component of health. In fact, it’s equally important to your workouts and nutrition. As many as 30 percent of adults sleep less than six hours per night: the minimum amount necessary for proper health. If you think you can make do with less than six hours, think again.   

Pro tip: Both sleep quantity and quality are incredibly important for optimal health and fitness and for regulating our circadian rhythm. 

  Need more reasons?  A lack of sleep can negatively impact: 

  • Cognitive ability 
  • Recovery from exercise and injury 
  • Sex life  
  • Mood and dietary decisions 
  • Workouts 

Get six to eight hours of quality sleep every night. Without proper sleep, it’s difficult to see significant improvements in general health and/or fitness — and your body, your workouts and your performance will suffer. 

By sticking to these seven habits, you’ll transform your health and your life with results that really last. Come to Flow Fitness today to get started on your journey.   

CategoriesBlog Live Fit.

Five Fitness Principles for Long Term Success

The health and fitness industry is full of myths and misconceptions. Everyday we are bombarded with ads, instagram videos, and articles claiming they have discovered the new diet or exercise.  There’s so much conflicting information on what we should and shouldn’t do. 

That is why I wrote this article.  I wanted to cut through the noise and simplify fitness for you.  When it comes to fitness,having a solid foundation of principles are essential to achieving your goals.  

Why does this matter? 

 Principles are your bullshit detector.  By adhering to principles, you’ll be able to sniff out all the crap information out there.  This will help you eliminate information overload, simplify your decision making, and guide you to achieving lifelong results you deserve. 

 1) Focus on the basics 

The principles for losing fat, building muscle, and having Energizer Bunny levels of energy have remained unchanged throughout the years.  

 In the gym, 80% of your exercises should be big, compound exercises such as deadlifts, squats, bench press, overhead press, and rows. You must also adhere to progressive overload, the oldest and most research strength principle.   

For nutrition, have protein with every meal, plenty of veggies, eat foods that once had a face or came directly from the earth instead laced with numerous chemicals or created in a lab.  

Drink plenty of water (half your bodyweight in ounces of water.) 

Manage stress levels and get 7-9 hours of sleep every night. 

If you are unsure what to do, follow the listed advice above and make sure you’re nailing these daily.  The majority of individuals don’t.  They waste their precious time searching for the “Holy Grail” of hacks.  This is a mistake and we’ll get you nowhere.  Focus on fundamentals first and foremost. 


2) The 6 Month Principle 

The honest truth is the majority of individuals already know what they need to do in order to see the necessary changes they desire.  Instead of being consistent with their approach, they are embarking upon the never-ending search of that perfect training plan, the next best thing, and that one “secret”. 

The “true secret” to losing fat, building muscle and looking your best isn’t one program, nutritional approach, or method.  It’s a plan based on the principles engulf in what you can consistently for months and years, not for weeks and 30 day challenges.  

 I call this the 6 Month Principle and it’s about creating what is sustainable for you.  In order to lose that weight once and for all, you need to focus on being consistent, patient, and staying the course.  Ask yourself this one question: “can I do this for 6 months?”  If not, it’s time to reassess. 

3) Focus on behavior, not the outcome 

Harsh truth coming in hot! 

The uncomfortable truth isn’t your training program nor your nutritional approach; it’s your inconsistent and lackluster commitment that is the problem.  If you want to make dramatic changes to your physique you need to modify your behavior. 

Without question, it’s a difficult process to alter our behaviors without seeing the immediate gratification of doing so.  Sometimes in life, it makes sense to suck it up and make that tough decision (i.e. getting out of a trouble relationship/friendship).  However, when it comes to training and nutrition, you need to delay immediate gratification in favor of greater rewards down the road. 

By focusing on your behaviors, you’ll be better to consistently adhere to your goals.  This is why you need to find a program that you can stick to when life is crazy, not one designed when the stars aline and everything is perfect. 


4) Do the things you enjoy 

If you are not having fun in the gym, then it’s going to be damn near impossible to stick with it.  Thankfully, there are many different ways to get into shape.   

Find what exercises you enjoy and challenge yourself with that exercise.  If it’s weightlifting, then aim to add five more pounds every week.  If it’s running, aim for a faster pace or do one more mile.  Whatever your preferred endeavor is, challenge yourself and work harder than you did last time.   

You’ll stay engaged.  You’ll stay committed.  You’ll stay consistently.  I promise you that.   At the end of the day, consistency is far and away the most crucial factor in achieving long term health and becoming a better version of yourself.   


5) Track, Assess, Adjust 

When you are tracking your spending, it becomes easier to budget your expenses, pay your bills, save for that summer vacation, or car you always wanted.  When you aren’t tracking?  You are walking in the dark without a light and have no idea what’s happening. 

This same principle applies to fitness.   

To lose fat, you must be in a caloric deficit. 

To gain muscle, you must be in a caloric surplus.   

To get stronger, you need to challenge yourself with the weights.   

You with me on that right? 

Good 🙂 

When it comes to tracking your metrics (bodyweight and macros), you need to adhere to your budget.  If you don’t track these metrics, you’re essentially trying to set a budget without knowing what your income, expenses, or where they’re going.  Except it’s your health, not your money. 

With nutrition, track your macros.  It may be tedious at first, but I promise you’ll gain the necessary knowledge to reclaim control over your health. 

In the gym, track your workouts.  Write down your entire workouts (exercises, sets, reps, and weights), and improve your weights.   

The first step in making better decisions and improving your overall well being is awareness. 


By Mackennon Klink, CSCS, PN1

CategoriesBlog Live Fit. Move.

Create Success in Fitness

It’s one thing to know what to eat, which exercises to do and how to do them — but it’s another thing altogether to do all this consistently.  If you have tried and failed to establish long-term, healthful habits, then you know all too well what I’m talking about.

Any kind of change, even toward healthful habits, can feel stressful. Without question, your habits are more powerful than your desires or motivations; while motivation can kick-start you, it’s your habits that will power you through to the end.

The key to making successful changes is understanding that the path isn’t linear. Follow these steps to create healthy habits that will last your whole life.

1. Set some goals — TODAY!

The first step toward making improvements is to create some goals. Most people think goal-setting simply means choosing something to work for that they don’t have (e.g., losing 20 pounds) — but there’s more to it than that.

Saying you want to lose 20 pounds isn’t a goal; it’s a statement. Successful goal-setting is both a science and an art form. Your goal should be specific and realistic; involve both short- and long-term components; and focused on your behavior, rather than on the outcome.

2. Make them specific and measurable

Going back to our example, “losing 20 pounds” isn’t a solid goal because it doesn’t give you anything measurable or specific to work on. What’s more, scale numbers are unreliable, as your weight can fluctuate up to five pounds throughout the day based on what you’re eating.  However, simply changing your goal to “losing 20 pounds of body fat” is specific, since it refers to losing one thing — body fat — and it’s measurable, since it targets a number: 20 pounds.

3. Challenge yourself, but be realistic

A good goal is big enough to inspire you to action — but not so big that you can’t accomplish it, leaving you feeling frustrated. A goal such as, “I will work out 5 times a week” is a bit too lofty for someone who hasn’t been working out.  Instead, pick a goal such as “I will work out 3 times a week”. That’s challenging, yet realistic.

4. Frame your goals around behavior, not outcomes

Make sure to set behavioral goals — those based on things you can directly control — rather than outcome goals: the end product of a series of behaviors. The sad truth? Too many people only set outcome-based goals, such as:

  • I want to lose 20 pounds.
  • I want to make $100,000 a year.
  • I want to squat 315 pounds.

While these goals are specific and measurable as well as challenging and realistic, there’s one problem: They’re focused on the outcome, which is beyond your control. You can’t control your rate of fat metabolism, or force your boss to pay you more.  You can, however, focus on your behaviors.

Try these types of behavior-based goals:

  • I will exercise five times a week.
  • I will eat protein with every meal.
  • I will have either fruit or veggies with each meal.
  • I will drink 150 ounces of water daily.

In the end, if you set goals based on your behavior and things you can control, your outcome goals — such as losing that 20 pounds — will fall right in line,  without you having to worry about them. (Well, except for that $100,000 salary; I’m still working on that one, myself!)

4. Have both a short- and long-term vision

In order to achieve your challenging yet realistic goals, you must break them down into even smaller behavior-based goals. Set the smallest goals just for today, the bigger goals for next week and so on. Save your very biggest goals for later. In this way, you’ll create mile markers on the road to success.

5. Share your goals with someone else

Once you set specific goals that you’re committed to achieving, tell someone else your goals right away. If you keep your goals a secret, it’s easier to either ignore or completely forget them.  But sharing with another person helps keep you accountable; they can hold you to a higher standard, so you’re more likely to get things done.  If you’re up to the challenge, share them on social media and create your peronal online support group.

Remember, what gets measured gets managed. Set goals you can achieve, focus on small behavioral changes, share your plan with someone else — and you’ll be primed to succeed.

CategoriesBlog Move.

Are You Focused During Your Workouts?

Whether you are training for the Olympics or just to improve overall wellbeing, a high level of focus is necessary to achieve your desired results. Moreover, when dealing with complex functional movements, such as jumping, sprinting or lunging, focus is necessary to ensure proper form and lessen the chance of injury. Unfortunately, many gym goers view their workouts as a daunting task and sometimes unknowingly (or knowingly) use distraction tactics to “lessen” the “pain” associated with a challenging workout. These constant distractions eventually lead to a lack of focus and inevitably less-than-stellar results.

Below are a few simple tips to help you regain focus during your training and get you closer to your goals. I do realize that many of the things listed are peoples’ only motivation to go to the gym, but if you realize the detriment it can have to your training, you’ll learn that giving up these distractions will be well worth it in the long run.

  1. Put your phone on airplane mode: 99.99% of the time there is no phone call, text, email, Candy Crush level or Facebook status that can’t wait an hour or two for a response (your parents and grandparents are living proof that we can get by without a smartphone). Yet time and time again we allow a chime or a pop-up to pull us away from our workouts and suck us in to somebody else’s life. Using the airplane function allows you to enjoy your favorite playlist (which research has shown may increase performance in a variety of cases) with none of the distractions of the outside world. If you are concerned with that slight chance that somebody is in dire need of your attention, such as your wife, child or parents (your boss can wait,) make sure they have the phone number of your training facility and to only call in case of an emergency.
  2. Reading is NOT fundamental when you are training: With the growing popularity of tablets, Kindles, and iPads, you can literally have a library at your fingertips. Unfortunately, focusing your mental energy on the latest New York Times Bestseller drastically decreases your ability to truly push yourself during an “intense” bike or elliptical workout. Research also tells us the more complicated the topic, such as global politics or economics (versus reading the funny pages), the less physical energy we expend during our workout. Furthermore, trying to read and run is flat out dangerous (but I’ve seen it done). The take home message here is save your reading for the coffee shop, the bus ride home or before bedtime.  The only thing you should be reading is how fast you are running or how high your heart rate is. For the sake of brevity, the same applies to watching TV and movies (let’s call this 2a.) just DON’T!
  3. The Chatty Kathy: Sure, we know that during light exercise, we should be able to carry on a normal conversation with whoever wants to listen, but we also know light exercise is probably not going to get you where you need to be physically. The truth is, if you are chatting away during a run, a set of deadlifts or while holding a plank, you are completely disassociated from your workout.  As a rule of thumb, think: light and moderate exercise = full conversation; moderate and high exercise = two to three work sentences; maximum intensity exercise = not a peep! If you have a training partner who likes to talk while training, I suggest you switch partners.
  4. Leave vanity for the red carpet:  As great as it is to see your pumped-up shoulders after a set of bench press, watching yourself in the mirror can actually do more harm than good while working out. The main reason you should ditch the mirror is that it lessens our internal sense of balance and awareness (also known as kinesthetic sense), which also deteriorates as we age. The mirror allows you to depend on your vision as an indicator of imbalance, which doesn’t help us in the real world, where we depend on our internal senses to quickly detect small imbalances. Further, on very technical movements that require a lot of force or explosiveness (jumps, Olympic-style lifts), mirrors may slow your reaction time down as well as decrease the force you generate because you have to watch yourself go through the motion in the mirror. So instead of admiring your pump, turn your back on the mirrors, especially for movements that require coordination, balance, and high levels of force and speed. If you are concerned about form and mechanics, pull out your handy smartphone and record yourself, but please resist the desire to post on Facebook or Instagram until your workout is complete.

By making these small adjustments to your current training, you can effectively take your intensity and workouts to a whole new level leading to improved results and a better YOU!

CategoriesBlog Live Fit. Move.

5 Benefits of Exercise That Never Crossed Your Mind

You know the benefits of exercising, right?  
A great way to get in shape and/or lose weight.  Improve your health.   Help your heart.  Relieve stress. And so on…

You’re heard those reasons.

But what if there’s more?  

What if there are benefits to exercise that you no one ever tells you?

Here are my top 5 benefits of going to a gym that likely never crossed your mind.

5. Exercise can create connection — even if you never speak to anyone.  If you come to the gym on a regular basis, the front desk will learn your name or, at the very least, recognize your face. In addition, you usually see the same people.  The super-buff dude, who’s also really nice.  The angry guy who never smiles.  The perky gal, with the crazy arm swing, who runs on the treadmill every. damn. day. The old guy who still lifts more weight than you do. You may never meet them, but you feel like you know them. The simple act of exercise creates this connection to your environment and the people within it.

4.  Exercise improves your ability to thinkIf you’re feeling stuck at work or in life, head to the gym.  Hop on a treadmill.  Take a class.  Use a foam roller.  Let your mind wander.  Allow your blood to flow.  You just never know what answers may come.

3.  Exercise in the early morning, and you might get leaner — plus getting your workout in early sets the tone for the day and frees you up later. Researchers have discovered that exposure to morning light, whether it’s pure sunlight or bright indoor lighting, is associated with leaner body weights. Who doesn’t love that?!

2. Exercise teaches you the difference between real and imagined pain.  There’s pain that tells you to adjust or back off, and there’s mental pain that simply wants you to quit.  When pushing your body, you learn when to fight through and when to say “when.”

1.  Exercise is a chance to improve the practice of life.  You exercise when you feel like it — and when you don’t.  When the alarm goes off and you’d rather sleep. After work, when you’d rather hit happy hour.  You push yourself and go easy.  Sometimes it’s play and other times it’s pain.  And you learn to trust your body and the wisdom that it provides with each and every work out.
What’s your favorite way to exercise?
Let us know in the comments below.