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  • aurecfit 1:58 PM on May 8, 2017 Permalink
    Tags: , fitness, hiking, outdoors, running, summer, washington dc,   

    5 Outdoor Exercises That Aren’t Running 

    Capital Bikeshare across from Katzen Art Center

    It’s that time of year again: say goodbye to the freezing temperatures, puffy jackets and sweatpants and say hello to gym shorts, muscle-t’s and sunshine!! After a long hibernation it can be hard to leave the nice weather and go workout in the gym, so here’s five ways to take your workout outside in the sun!



    Outdoor gyms are a great way to mix up your workout. In Rock Creek Park, next to the Cleveland Park exit, there’s a series of stations that look like playground equipment, with instructions on how to use them for your workout. Take a friend and think of it like going to a playground for grown-ups!


    Capital Bikeshare makes it easy to bike all over D.C. since the bikes can be rented and returned to stations all over the city. Nervous about biking in traffic? Take a bike down to Rock Creek Park, around the monuments or across the bridge to the Mount Vernon trail in Arlington! 



    The great thing about body weight exercises is that the only piece of equipment they require is you. Mix it up with squats, inchworms, jumping drills, push-ups, burpees, an abs circuit, bear crawls, or anything else you can think of!


    Kayaking on the Potomac


    The Key Bridge Boat House in Georgetown opened April 15 and offers a generous student discount. Rent a kayak or paddle board and paddle up towards the monuments, or around the river for a break from the city!



    Right near AU there is the Glover Archibald hiking trail with multiple entrances and exits (namely the two where it crosses Massachusetts Ave) that stretch from Tenleytown to Georgetown.

    Glover-Archbold Trail near AU

    Looking for something new? Check out the Theodore Roosevelt Island Nature Preserve trails just across the bridge from Georgetown via the Mt. Vernon trail. Or wander the 11-mile Capital Crescent Trail starting along the canal in Georgetown and stretching into Maryland.



    No matter what you decide to do, remember working out outside comes with new challenges. Plan ahead how much water you’ll need to bring, let a friend know where you’re going and when they should expect you back, and don’t skimp on the sunscreen. Most importantly, have fun and embrace the return of Vitamin-D!!

    Julia Baldwin, Wellness Ambassador

  • aurecfit 3:01 PM on April 10, 2017 Permalink
    Tags: , change, fitness, goal setting, goals, journey, personal training,   

    Exercise in the Era of Immediacy 

    Enjoying the process of the journey as much as the results in the destination.

    Humans are a species that crave immediate results. Especially in today’s world. We want to know when our text messages get read (read receipts), we want to have goods and products we buy in two days (Amazon Prime), we want to lose unrealistic amounts of weight in a short period of time (fad diets). Among many other examples, everything we desire, we desire it immediately.

    We have this notion that having immediate results will somehow satisfy us differently than if we took the time, energy and mindfulness to get to the end goal. But does it really? Or would living in the “work” and enjoying the process, not just the end, also give us that satisfaction?

    Enjoying the means to the end is a line of thinking that is often applied to exercise and body composition goals, but not often practiced. Expecting immediate results during exercise is not only unrealistic, but may reflect inauthentic motives. Expecting to gain muscle or drop weight immediately can set us up for failure, rejection and disappointment. When we seek transformation, we are not just transformed by what we look like or what we can do at the end, but by learning from and conquering the steps it took to get there. HAPPINESS is not a desitination, it's a byproduct of enjoying the journey.

    First, it is important to recognize change is going to take time. Second, it is vital to make that time for yourself. Being aware of the time it requires to reach a goal is vital to comprehend before even stepping into the gym. However, what can be immediate is the decision to dedicate more time to self-care, the decision to go to the gym, to try a new exercise or new exercise class. Those are the things that can be accomplished and decided immediately.

    There are many models used to describe how humans change and adopt new behaviors. For example, the Stages of Change Model, consisting of 8 stages for change. The first stage is pre-contemplation, when an individual has not even thought about making a change. Second is contemplation, when an individual has started thinking about making a change. The third stage is preparation, when an individual may start gathering resources and information for how to make the change. The fourth step is action, and actually changing the desired behavior. Fifth, maintenance, meaning an individual sustains the behavior change over time. Sixth is relapse, when an individual reverts back to an old behavior pattern. Reconnecting and reevaluating your goal is vital during this step. The last step is adoption, when the new behavior is officially changed and accepted.[1] What’s important to remember is that each step will take time and there is a lot to learn about each step and the transition to the next.

    When embarking on a new exercise goal or change, we often learn more about our strengths and willpower from the incremental changes over time made in those last sets, miles and minutes, than the big reveal at the end.

    Personal training can be a great way to create a reasonable and SMART (specific, measureable, attainable, realistic and time-bound) goal. Similarly, personal training can give you the tools to reach those goals. This often begins with a fitness assessment that anyone can take at Cassell Fitness Center.


    Bob Beahm, Personal Training Coordinator at American University

    The Personal Training Coordinator at American University, Bob Beahm, gave his insights on personal training and enjoying the small steps it takes to get to the end goal.

    Q: What is the biggest misconception about training goals many of your clients have?

    A: “There are misconceptions about people’s expectations of what they can accomplish. Many clients come in with the goal of weight loss and they want to lose 50 pounds in a month. Realistically, the human body is only capable of losing 1-2 pounds a week. So it is important to change their perception of what is realistic and when people make realistic goals, they are more susceptible to continuously working hard and making progress. Motivation stems from people believing they are capable of accomplishing the goals they’ve set.”

    Q: What is your trick to keep your clients motivated and excited about training? What about when they are not seeing results?

    A:Communication. It’s about understanding what clients enjoy doing and what they don’t like. If they like something, I try to incorporate it more. As a trainer, I need to be able to adapt to the client’s needs. For example, every goal has 100 different exercises you could do, but it’s about finding the right fit for the client.

    A: When a client is not seeing the results they anticipated it’s time to revisit goals. I ask them what they are doing outside of the sessions to reach those goals. We may need to add something else to the plan or just focus on one thing at a time. Similarly, I try to keep them from losing site of the long term goal and the progress they have already made.”

    Q: What is the best piece of advice you could give someone who is contemplating making a fitness goal or embarking on a change?

    A: “No sustainable change is going to happen overnight. There has to be a lifestyle approach. Behavior change is like changing a habit. It’s about the big picture, but also about the small steps and incremental changes.”

    Q: What is the encouragement you could give someone who is on the fence about getting a personal trainer?

    A: “If someone is new, I would encourage them to take a fitness assessment. That means just talking to a personal trainer about where you currently are and where you want to go. The fitness assessment really is the first step and is about getting to know them. This is a chance to identify what improvements you would like to make.

    PTThe main hesitation someone has to starting a fitness goal is they just lack knowledge about what to do. It can be very intimidating. A fitness assessment and working with a trainer gives you that information and is a judgement-free zone.”

    Abby Lore, Wellness Ambassador

    [1] Garber, C. E., Allsworth, J. E., Marcus, B. H., Hesser, J., & Lapane, K. L. (2008). Correlates of the Stages of Change for Physical Activity in a Population Survey. American Journal of Public Health, 98(5), 897–904. http://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2007.123075

  • aurecfit 5:34 PM on March 27, 2017 Permalink
    Tags: , confidence, fitness, lifting, strength training, , women   

    Women on Weights: Getting Women in the Weight Room 

    The common, and stereotypical, image in a gym is women putting in work on the treadmills, bikes, and ellipticals, and males are aggressively pumping iron in the weight room. This would be acceptable, and some regimes work for others, but the fact is integration of strength training is key for many women to reach their fitness goals. This contradiction can leave women feeling confused on a lack of results, or restricted in their exercise plans.

    There are a variety of reasons why women avoid strength training. This could be from misconceptions about “getting bulky” or being intimidated by the weight room. However, there has been a societal shift in the views of women over the past few years. This shift is trickling down into gyms and weight rooms across the country. WoW 44

    Trends show that more and more women actually are interested in lifting weights. There has been a collective effort by researchers, fitness bloggers and trainers to prove strength training misconceptions wrong. The challenge now is less about convincing women why they should be lifting weights and more about educating them how to safely and effectively lift weights; and creating the space for them to do so. Now that the curiosity women have for weight lifting has peaked, the goal is to empower them to act on their curiosity.WoW 19

    The hard part has passed, it’s not that women do not want to be in the weight room, it’s that they have never felt it was their space. Now it’s on us as trainers, fitness enthusiasts, and fellow female weight lifters to create that inclusive environment. It’s on the male weightlifters to step aside, drop judgement and let women lift! There is finally more research on “best practices” for women to lift weights, what affects it has on the female body specifically, and how to best teach women proper techniques.

    The AU Rec Fit Women on Weights (WOW) program is a perfect example of teaching women what to do and how to do it so they have an unparalleled confidence when walking into the weight room.


    “The Women on Weights program was the educational program I knew I wanted but didn’t know I needed. It covers everything from proper warm-up, how-to on all the equipment, weight room tips and tricks, and left me with my own custom workout plan. There is power in numbers and one of the best parts of the program is that you are with a group of peers equally as excited to explore this world of strength training they would not have individually. WOW showed me that a lot of the “intimidating men” often do not know what they are doing either. More importantly WOW showed me how strong my body, and mind, actually is, and something I carry with me in both my workouts and my day-to-day life.”WOW7

    Women lifting weights comes down to empowerment. Women and (men) empowering women to take agency over their bodies, take control of their workouts and collectively create an inclusive space for those with the passion and curiosity for working out. Taking the first, and often scary step, into the weight room could be tomorrow, next month or next year. But women need to know that the weight room belongs to them, and there will be other women lifting them up, along the way.

    Abby Lore, Wellness Ambassador

  • aurecfit 7:45 PM on March 21, 2017 Permalink
    Tags: fitness, ,   

    Two Simple Steps Toward a Heart-Healthy Lifestyle 

    In this day and age, it can be extremely difficult to maintain everyday activities that benefit your collective heart health, however, this guide will help you adapt your habits in order to achieve a heart-healthy lifestyle.


    • Eat whole grains and beans
    • Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables
    • Eat vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds
    • Eat fatty fish and avocado
    • Limit fatty animal products

    A few whole foods that you can commit to eating, which will drastically improve your heart health are oatmeal, brown rice, salmon, almonds, spinach, and berries. These foods contain specific substances that are crucial to maintaining heart-healthy lifestyle. Some of these substances include:

    • Omega 3 Fats
    • Whole grains
    • Soy Protein
    • Soluble Fiber
    • Fish Oil


    For optimal heart health, the American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise throughout the week. Three 10-minute sessions during the day can also be just as beneficial as a half-hour exercise session. Some activities to help improve your heart health could include:

    • Walking
    • Stair Climbing
    • Biking
    • Swimming
    • Elliptical Machine
    • Zumba
    • Yoga

    In addition, your heart-healthy exercise plan should include both aerobic exercise and anaerobic exercise. Aerobic exercises get your heart rate up, and help to strengthen your heart and lungs. Anaerobic exercises like weight-lifting, help your body accumulate muscle which allows your body’s metabolism and immune system to function more efficiently.

    Heart-Healthy Facts

    • On average, every minute you walk extends your life by 1 ½ – 2 minutes
    • Regular physical activity and a healthy diet can help prevent you from depression and arthritis
    • Physical activity helps prevent bone loss, and improves coordination and balance
    • Increased levels of physical activity reduce the risk of many aging-related diseases
    • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), physical inactivity is the top heart disease risk factor


    Julia Snegg, Wellness Ambassador

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