Category: How-To

Step Two in Starting Your Weight Loss Journey

Step Two in Starting Your Weight Loss Journey at Elevate Fitness in Syracuse

Yesterday we discussed the fact that you need to know WHAT you want to accomplish (and how to turn that into an actionable SMART Goal) in order to start your weight loss journey. Today it’s time to explore Step Two of Getting Started ….

Step Two: Determine WHY you want to accomplish your goal.

This sounds easier than step one, right? But don’t be deceived – if you don’t have a strong, honest, and inspired WHY, you will fail. Every. Single. Time.

Make your WHY stronger than your excuses.

So here’s a good project. Take a minute to sit down with a notebook. Or a sticky note. Or the back of an old receipt. Use one of the blank pages or the margins in this book. Draw a line horizontally across your page. Above the line, figure out your WHAT. Then, below the line, start to write about your WHY.

Don’t just imagine this exercise, actually put pen (or pencil) to paper and WRITE IT DOWN. Don’t type it into the notes field in your phone, don’t text it to your significant other, go old-school and write it down. Go ahead and set this book down, it’ll be here when you’re done…


Welcome back! Did you do it? Did you write down your WHAT and your WHY? Congratulations! You’ve done it! You’ve begun that journey of a thousand steps! You’ve put into motion something that will gain inertia as you continue forward and will change your life FOREVER.

Want to explore a great program to help you put your WHAT AND WHY into action? Check out the Six-Week Weight Loss Challenge at Elevate Fitness to see how you can get into the best shape of your life in just six short weeks!

Lose Weight Easily with Calories In/Calories Out

How to Lose Weight Easily with the Calories In/Calories Out Strategy at Elevate Fitness in Syracuse

For years we’ve known that the simple truth of weight loss is that you must burn more calories than you take in (called creating a caloric deficit) in order to lose weight. In fact, you can get very mathematical about weight loss.

According to The Mayo Clinic, a pound of fat is equivalent to 3,500 calories. Therefore, to lose one pound, you need to create a 3,500 calorie deficit. If you create a 500 calorie deficit daily, you’d lose a pound by the end of a week.

Now, of course, there are other factors that affect weight loss, but the basic principle of managing calories out and in will provide some weight loss for everyone. And for many, this strategy alone, when implemented and maintained properly, will provide remarkable weight loss results.

So, armed with the knowledge that this is the best strategy for weight loss, how do we implement a program to track and monitor our progress and success? This is the key to our success, after all, the science won’t fail us – if anything fails us, it will be our consistency, accuracy or commitment to the process.

Let’s assume you want to lose some weight and you’ve chosen the caloric deficit method as your strategy. The easiest way to implement your strategy is to start tracking the calories you consume (what you eat) and the calories you expend (what you burn). As a first step, the simple task of tracking your calories will make you more aware and accountable.

The first step in tracking is to determine what method you want to use. The most basic option is to grab a pen and a notepad and start writing down what you’re eating. Another option is to use an app. The advantage of using an app is having access to a database of food items and their caloric content saving you the trouble of having to determine or guesstimate those values.

We recommend MyFitnessPal as its free version is incredibly robust and the database of foods is unmatched.

The most important part of tracking your food, though, isn’t the method you choose, it’s the consistency. You must, must, must log every calorie that you consume in order for this strategy to be effective.

Once you’ve master tracking the calories in, you’ll want to start tracking the calories out. This requires a little more work because you’ll either be using estimates and averages (like doing a Google search for “how many calories does a 190-pound male burn in an hour of jogging?”) or you’ll be using some equipment that may need some calibration in order to turn out accurate data.

Our recommendation for tracking calories out is going to be the high-tech option again, for its accuracy and simplicity. Because it’s accurate it will work. And because it’s simple you’ll stick with it.

We recommend using a heart rate monitor that measures caloric expenditure during your workouts. By using a monitor you can simply pull the number of calories burned from your device at the end of a workout and plug it into your tracker (like MyFitnessPal).

If you’re able to answer the all of following questions with a YES relative to your tracking method (notebook, spreadsheet, app, etc.) then you’re on the right path the successful weight loss!

1. Is this method easy for me to access throughout the day as I eat and/or workout?
2. Is this method easy enough that I can use it quickly and easily without interrupting my day?
3. Is this method something I can commit to using every single day, sometimes multiple times per day?
4. Am I excited about getting started with this method of tracking?

Great! So you’re tracking your calories in and out. Now what?

Now it’s time to create and MANAGE a daily deficit. The formula for determining a deficit is simple:


Now, this begs an important question: how does the basal metabolic rate figure into this equation? Basal metabolic rate or BMR is the calorie burn required by your body to sustain basic day-to-day life.

Some people include their BMR in the equation and that okay, but know that if you choose this method it may slow your progress as BMR can be tricky to determine and it can vary wildly from day to day.

Instead, we recommend clarifying the above formula to mean the following:


This removes a lot of guesswork and provides you with easily obtainable data to work with. It’s also likely to create more dramatic results as you’ll have to work a little bit harder to create that deficit using this formula.

Now to MANAGE your deficit, you’ll want to determine how much weight you’re going to lose and in what time frame. We recommend no more than two pounds per week (on the aggressive side of things) as anything more brings A LOT of additional variables into the equation that can affect your results.

Let’s use a pound per week (a very good goal for most people looking to lose weight, in our opinion). We determined previously that you’d need a 3,500 deficit at the end of the week to achieve this goal. Now you can set out to create a plan to ensure you achieve this.

If you’re looking for a more aggressive weight loss program, you’ll want to work with a fitness professional who is trained to create and manage aggressive strategies. A great example of this type of training is the Elevate Fitness 6-Week Weight Loss Challenge, where past participants have lost as many as 8 pounds a week*!

*Results not typical.

Purpose & Building of The Long Run

Purpose & Building of The Long Runby Elevate Fitness Running Director, Kevin Collins

The purpose of the long run is to teach the body to be able to sustain the running movement for a long, long time without failure. That’s it. It is not a speed workout. It can be merged with tempo (sustained hard effort run) workout, but you have to use caution with this because if the run is truly long, it can wipe you out long before your race day. Ignore that and you’ll get injured. It drives me nuts when people ask me if they should run their long runs at “race pace”. No. Run your long races at “race pace”. Think if Boston & NYC Marathon Champion Meb Keflizighi ran all his long runs at race pace. Sub-4:50 miles every single weekend for 18-24 mile runs? That’s lunacy. If you want to incorporate race pace, add a short tempo run on the end of your long run or begin the early miles hard and cut it for the second half or perhaps try a “step-down” tempo that builds the pace every mile until you are finishing the long run at your hardest effort. Otherwise, separate tempo and long run. On race day, the benefits of both will nicely combine coupled with a nice taper (rest) phase to give you what you want.

Building a long run with regard to length begins with an assessment of your recent long run history.

What is your longest run ever? How long ago was that? I usually start with: what is your longest run in the past two months (a good measure of time that can allow a runner to completely fall out of running shape on 100 percent days off for that duration). What is this long run about? Fitness or a race goal? Race goal – What length?

Let’s say it is 30 minutes. Start there. If you have planned a marathon two months from this point, SKIP the Marathon. Your ascent between 30 minutes and 4 hours of running is so steep a climb for long run that an injury is almost inevitable. Start your ascents earlier. A safely conducted marathon training plan is a 6-month process. It all goes back to consistency. (Consistent runners always do long runs whether for fitness or performance year round).

If you are like me, the long run is simply about fitness. Therefore there is no timeline for building a long run, so take as much time as you need to build it. I generally give my runners 15 minute or 2-mile increases every 2-3 weeks, but if you have no particular timeline add on every 3-4 weeks. So if a long run begins at 30 minutes, progression (in length) looks like this:

Two-week BuildupThree-week buildup
Week #130 minWeek #130 min
Week #230 minWeek #230 min
Week #345 minWeek #330 min
Week #445 minWeek #445 min
Week #560 minWeek #545 min
Week #660 minWeek #645 min
Week #775 minWeek #760 min
Week #875 minWeek #860 min
Week #975 minWeek #960 min
Week #1090 minWeek #1075 min
Week#1190 minWeek #1175 min


A two week build up might be appropriate for a 6 month Marathon goal, but a 6-month Half-marathon goal gives you more time to build up given the distance is half, so why rush the process and increase the distance/time and raise the risk of injury? This also applies to a lifestyle fitness runner. Set a standard for LONG (My standard is 90 minutes or 10 miles) and take your time getting there. Once there, Lifestyle Runner, STAY there! The true effect of a long run is not the actual length, it is the # of consecutive weeks you can get in a long run that makes the difference! Remember that a runner who achieved ten consecutive weeks of 18-mile runs is going to have a better marathon experience than a runner who did nine weekly 10 milers followed by a single 22 miler before tapering. Even in long runs, adaptation to stress of any kind is where the power is. It cannot happen in a single week any more than an aspiring elite runner can become “elite” by following one of their 100 mile training weeks in just a single week. See the big picture. Training, like long runs, is about patience and big picture-thinking!

Some Long Run Training Tips:

  • When time-management is an issue, choose time-based runs over mile based runs. You can always count on being done “on time” regardless of pace.
  • When choosing between a safe route and a boring one, ALWAYS choose safety over boredom!
  • When a mild injury poses a question mark regarding whether or not you will be able to finish, choose tracks or a single neighborhood block so that you are always near your car!
  • If heat is an issue, start the run hydrated, don’t waste time trying to hydrate during the run if you can’t do the former.
  • During Summers, it’s always good practice to start each day off with a few jumbo cups of water.
  • As said before, gel heel cups in your shoes are tremendous prevention of impact injuries that can be caused by extremely long runs.
  • If you can’t get your long run in Friday through Sunday consider it missed! Put your effort into not missing the following weekend.
  • When motivation to finish is an issue, out and back runs in a linear fashion are best. After all, if you can make it to halfway, there is only one way home.
  • If procrastination is an issue, drive to your starting point. Adding a step will reduce the likelihood that you will go back home without the run complete. A promise to pick up my favorite beverage on the way to my starting point can get me at least out the door dressed to run.
  • If being cold and/or drowsy is an issue upon waking for an early morning run, wear your base-running outfit to bed overnight. Reducing steps out the door in this manner can also be the answer.
  • Start runs slow, there is plenty of time to warm up. Secure the confidence you can finish first before applying effort and if the pace doesn’t pick up, don’t analyze it. The run was long and complete. End of story.
  • Remember that the final 15 minutes or 2 miles will ALWAYS be a struggle. This is your longest run and the limits of your endurance specific to running. The only cure to glide easily through an 18-mile run, for example, is to push the long run up to 20 miles and hover there awhile. The same for a 22 miler being the cure for an easier 20.


Want to learn more about running programs at Elevate Fitness?

How Accountability Creates Success in the Gym

How Accountability Creates Success in the Gym


When we start a new diet or exercise program, it’s easy to place blame when things don’t quite work out the way we’d planned. Our local grocer didn’t carry the right type of fish the diet required, or our gym didn’t have the specific brand of rowing machine the program recommended. If pressed, we’d probably have to admit that with a little extra effort we could have adapted that menu or made the available rowing machine work. So why is it so hard to get results in a day and age where you can literally download weight loss programs off the internet for free and where you can follow someone’s diet and exercise plan on Instagram post-by-post?

For most of us, it boils down to the fact that we have nobody holding us accountable. Accountability is a key factor in determining the likelihood of success in any endeavor, and especially in our fitness and wellness endeavors. Just do a quick search of scholarly articles on accountability in exercise on Google and you’ll see pretty quickly how important this single component can be in determining your chances of success.

Let’s take a look at four simple ways to add accountability to your weight loss or workout program.


Get Great Deals on Memberships at Elevate Fitness in Syracuse

A lot of people find it helpful to make a financial commitment to their goals – of course, we recommend joining a gym (and not just any gym, we think you’ll LOVE Elevate Fitness). Whether it’s a new gym membership, new sneakers or a nifty high-tech fitness tracker, investing in your goals helps you feel committed to getting it done. You’re more likely to attend a gym you’re paying for than you are to use that free exercise video on YouTube. And the reason is simple: you’re not losing anything (in theory – really you’re losing the opportunity to reach your goals) when you skip a day of YouTube workouts, but if you skip out on a gym membership – you’re spending real money and it’s harder to make excuses to skip that workout.

Whether it’s buying a gym membership, committing to a trainer or buying new shoes: drop a little cash on your goal and you’ll find that the investment often pays off big in the end!


For some of us, a support system is a workout buddy, for others its participants taking a group fitness class or completing a cross training workout together. Almost everything in life is easier when you have people around you who are rooting for your success. A strong support system is a component of almost every success story.

Working out in the gym? Try a group class or get a buddy pass and bring that particularly encouraging coworker in with you. Check out this post on why you should work out with your significant other. Find someone who’s in your corner and who wants to see you succeed – and better yet – be that person for somebody else and you’ll find that that will help you push harder toward your goals, too!


Plan for success at Elevate Fitness in Syracuse

It’s a fact that committing something to paper has a more profound effect than entering into your phone or a digital calendar. So buy a wall calendar or a day planner or even an empty notebook and start planning your workouts. Get your plan on paper and then it’s easier to stick to.

And don’t just schedule your workouts – plan your meals to discourage taking the “easy” or “fast” route and sabotaging your progress in the gym when you’re in the kitchen. Schedule dates to weigh in or get your next 3D scan (more on that later). The more you plan, the better your chances are of succeeding.

Once you’ve got your plan on paper, start taking steps to make it a concrete plan. Sign up for your classes (Elevate Fitness makes that easy with our mobile app) confirm your schedule with your workout buddy, or even post about your intentions on social media – all of these simple and fast steps will help you hold yourself accountable to your plan. And remember what they say: failing to plan is planning to fail.


Document your journey at Elevate Fitness in Syracuse

Don’t just document your plan, document your results, too. Not only will that help with accountability, but it will help keep you motivated and wanting to accomplish more as well.

There are a number of effective ways to document your journey. The most simple is journaling. Whether that’s keeping a log of your workouts and accomplishments or creating a photo journal of your journey on social media it will help create a history of small victories that keep you motivated and moving forward. Plus – if you’re posting your gym selfies on Instagram and suddenly stop, someone’s bound to inquire why – see? You’re already being held accountable!

Another great way to document your journey is to pick a metric you want to see change. Maybe it’s your weight or your body fat or how much weight you’re squatting. Pick a metric and start tracking, you’ll be amazing at how quickly you’re caught up in the excitement of managing and moving that metric. A great tool for this is a 3D Body Scan which gives you a 3D avatar showcasing your progress as well as hundreds of individual and unique measurements you can manage. Best of all, it takes less than 5 minutes to get a lot of data to record your progress.



Running: Tapering and Racing

Running: Tapering and Racing

by Kevin Collins, Elevate Fitness Run Club Director

The final phase of any block of training is the Taper Phase. This is a phase which we taper off the high stress training and make reductions to “freshen” up your body so that it can perform on race day. You will hear about tapering primarily when it comes the Marathon or Ultras and occasionally for Half-Marathons because the length of the races which demand higher mileage often demand it. “Backing off” for a race is simply a mini-taper which can last 2-4 days which is standard to prepare for a good shorter race where a personal best is the goal. The taper is simply a beefed up version of that, extending 2-3 weeks depending on the degree of your fatigue or the enormity of your mileage base in advance of the race.

To taper and therefore freshen the body up, we have to cut out or sharply reduce the variables that caused you to be fatigued in the first place: 1) The quantity and 2) the quality.

I will do a 3 week taper if I am feeling unnaturally fatigued before a race (Remember that “fatigued” as it applies to training does not refer to “drowsy, bored, dehydrated, or lazy”). Recognize the difference! I will do a 2 week taper if I’m feeling pretty good and ready to go and will not go shorter than ten days. During this taper, I will reduce the amount of running I do per day. For you all, that may be a daily reduction of 15-30 minutes off your base runs (15 minute daily runs require no taper, they require more running!). If your you are doing 75 minutes per day, however, this taper can be pretty effective for bringing life in your legs you don’t even remember since the first month of your training stint.

I will also reduce the quality of your runs. Your final workout called a sharpener is essentially a mini-speed workout, so small it will barely fatigue your legs, yet it will preserve if not restore all the bounce, opened up stride, deep inhalation you’ll want to be on point on race morning. Week one of taper, I’ll remove all quality completely, allow you to jog lightly all week. It’s a “crash” resting tactic to freshen up your legs as much as possible without halting training to the point of deconditioning. Week #2 (the week of your race, I’ll give you the taper workout). Never do the taper after Tuesday. The days ahead matter most. Like landing a plane before hitting the ground you need the focus. Focus on sleep, diet, mental relaxation, hydration, stretching and most importantly, NOT running too hard or too much! If you don’t feel like jumping rope or taking the stairs vs. the elevator the night before your race, you are not ready to go. Once you develop an effective taper routine, you will have trust in it as a template for the future. No two tapers are exactly alike over time. It’s a time to heed the requests of the body and it is a time to listen to it carefully.

The taper can drive you nuts, you will feel like your training hardened muscles are softening, you may gain a couple of pounds, you’ll feel like you are falling out of shape, your runs may go flat and even the first few days of the taper, it may not feel like it’s having any effect (Remember that when you started training you didn’t feel the increasing fatigue in the first few days either! Think of this as a reversal of that). I can tell you that at the 20 mile mark you will thank every extra mile on your base runs leading up to the race you DIDN’T do during this crucial 2-3 week phase. The life preserved in your legs will carry you the last 6.2!

Note: One of the best things you can do 4-6 weeks out from your marathon is to race a half-marathon. This will make you feel race ready and race sharp mentally. Also since the race is half the length of the marathon, you are likely to run a faster pace per mile than expected in your marathon which in turn will make the marathon pace feel smoother and easier mile after mile. It will also calm your nerves because the half-Marathon will give you much needed race confidence – particularly if it goes very well despite the fatigue you are under having not yet reached the taper phase! A reminder that a poor Half-Marathon before your marathon does NOT in any way guarantee a poor forthcoming marathon! I have seen plenty of evidence in my own racing career to support that as well!

Not an Elevate Fitness member but interested in trying out Running Club?

How to Run (Safely) Six Days a Week

How to Run (Safely) Six Days a Week

by Elevate Fitness Running Director, Kevin Collins

In Running, more is more up to the point of diminishing returns. Once adapted to more, your body can sustain paces for longer than before. Remember that speed is also having the ability to resist slowing down miles earlier in a race or not at all at various distances. Diminishing returns or the point at which more running over any given timeframe is no longer making you stronger are different for everyone depending on 1) How much their body can handle currently and 2) How much your lifestyle can handle.

A young All-American Post-Collegiate Runner who is working a full-time desk job and working on an MBA with a newborn, for example, may be perfectly fit and rested enough to run more than 15 minutes per day, but their lifestyle cannot sustain it. Likewise, a 70-year retiree with a long history of sports may have plenty of time to handle 60-75 minutes per day or perhaps even two workouts per day, but their body can’t handle the stress. An All American living under cheap rent and part-time work may be able to run 2 hours per day every day which would undoubtedly lead to adaptations that are on the fringe of the most elite over time. Diminishing returns is different per individual.

The six-day rule is a solution in that it allows the runner to run the maximum amount of miles/minutes per day under the least amount of stress to the body and lifestyle.

If a runner tells me they are “advanced” I might ask them: “By what measure?” They might tell me it’s the speed they can run or how much they can run at one time. My measure is: How much running are you doing per week? What does that look like? After all, a two day per week plan of one 30 minute run and one 60 minute run is nice variety, but it’s essentially the same # of steps, breaths of air, and weight-bearing in a 7 days stretch as a runner packing in 6 days per week of 15 minutes per day. 90 minutes = 90 minutes.

This is not to say that you should not do a long run once per week, but if runner #2 adds just 5 minutes to each of their 6 days per week, 15 minute runs, that adds up to another 30 minutes or 5k per week for some. Multiply that by 52 weeks or one year and that’s an additional 156 miles on Runner #2’s legs at the year’s end! Who is going to have better muscular endurance for running?

The second reason for six days per week is it holds everything in balance. For runners attempting 3 days per week of running, the truth is, nobody sticks to a perfect Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule. It’s much easier to develop an unhealthy mindset for training in which you are looking for excuses not to run that day rather finding solutions to fit it in. Monday/Wed/Friday schedule oftimes become Monday, Friday Saturday schedules one week followed by Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday schedules the next. Look at this on a month calendar and you’ll see vast irregular patterns of amassed mileage into tight frameworks of days followed by random gaps. Sometimes you can count the mileage between one Thursday and the next and see that your mileage has in fact doubled in a seven day stretch not readily visible looking at the standard Sunday-Saturday 7-day week. You can blame many injuries on these irregular and unbalanced patterns of running!
Another problem with a two or three day per week training plan is raw conditioning. Think about it: three days. One should be long run, one is a speedwork, what’s left? One base run per week is not building any base whatsoever. You do not HAVE the base conditioning to 1) Run hard (or fast) or 2) Run long, perhaps even finish them. These two are stressful workouts that challenge the limits of your running potential. Where is your training to do so on one per week? You are conditioned for neither stress.
TIPS for six days:
Be flexible. Excluding a hard day or long day, don’t commit to a wholly rigid distance or time that is absolutely like say 30 minute or 4 miler. Have a range. 30-45 minutes per day or 4-6 miles. This is a way of easing back when tired and advancing when you feel good. Your own habits with this process can be a sign of fatigue or peaking during many cycles throughout the year.
Embrace the 15-minute minimum rule. NEVER go below 15 minutes or 2 miles (choose either rule that suits you). Think of this as a “faith run”. It’s something you do come hell or high water. A run that is solely about keeping in good faith a habit for consistency. It’s a run that reminds you that EVERYONE’S body and lifestyle can handle it and sustain it. Pace be damned!
Know when the day begins and ends. A 12:01 am can start a day’s run just as 11:59 pm start counts as a run that day. I personally love these challenging situations when I confront them. Night runs rock! ☺

Document every run. You will have a greater chance of running daily when you document not only the days you run but the days you skip! Once you stop paying attention, days off will become months!


Want more information about the Elevate Fitness Run Club or other running programs? Drop us a line below!

Recovery and Running

Grow Younger with Group Active

by Running Programs Director, Kevin Collins

One ingredient of training that holds value that I don’t discuss much is “recovery”. The main reason I don’t is that is an easily misinterpreted component of training that many times gets confused as a reward following hard training vs. a tool that is used for your progress. I give you ONE off day per week. This is meant to be a total rest day that is meant for the following reasons….
– To give you a mental rest from training by removing the concept of running as a form of infinity in your daily life.
– To prevent injury by giving you a pressure-free day that also allows you to catch up on sleep.
– To be able to enjoy your fitness at social events and among friends and family without any pressures that day to have to disengage to “get your run in”.
– To be reminded of something runners and people whom workout often forget. 24 hours minus a workout is a pretty nice long day!

When is a recovery day useful? Well, that depends on what you feel you need it for Recovery, confidence, secure quality or completion of a particular workout, the aforementioned? Here are some suggestions for when it’s best of service for you…

The day BEFORE Speed workout or tempo run. If fresh legs are in order, try it the day before a speed workout so that you can guarantee that you show up ready to bring out real quality in your scheduled workout!

The day BEFORE your Long Run. If you are taking on a lengthy long run that you either have not done recently or taking on a distance you have never done in your life, this can bring the freshness to your legs that can give you the confidence to finish!

The day AFTER your speed workout or tempo run. This will ensure that you are absorbing the benefits of a workout. Like a dry sponge soaking up water, your body will absorb the benefits of a good hard workout much better with your off day the next day.

The day AFTER your long run. Same as above. This can also ensure that you are safely given a day to stay off your legs so as not to compound mileage in a tight space so as not to create an overuse injury.

Travel Day. Once your schedule is dependent on arrivals which are often linked to the schedules of others who most times are NOT factoring in a run with you later, things get stressful. Plan your OFF day on travel day!

SUNDAY. More often than not, you’ll find family and social events on Sunday afternoons and you certainly can count on the kids being home. Don’t miss life. Young people especially, you will find yourself wishing years back with family with shorter lifespans with you by mid-life. This can apply to friends, too. Wherever your dearest are planning activity in the week, that’s the day to plan off. Select your day wisely! It can also be Friday or Saturday. Refrain from all three. Be disciplined on that second day and remember 15 minutes counts!

Cross-training Day. Rest day from running can include something alternative. Maybe this “rest” day is a rest from running only. Yoga, a full-body weight-lifting day, a Hydro-run or swim day. Try something else.

No Days Off. I personally run 7 days per week as many runners do. If you choose this method of “active recovery” you can substitute this as “jog day”. While a base run is a more mindless run, you can also substitute that “OFF” day with a “jog” day. However, you must have the discipline to FORCE the pace VERY easy. This is a useful option for those of you who thrive on habit. I don’t like to permit myself OFF days because I don’t personally like my mind to be conditioned in any way to even grant one. It’s a matter of focus maintained for me and not breaking momentum. Not for everyone but perfectly fine if you remember to call it “jog” day!

Remember also…When you are NOT running speed, tempo, or long run you are running for endurance and conditioning only. You do NOT have to run hard to build endurance and base conditioning specific to running, you just have to run. Mindless, pace-less, distance-less minutes. Set a # of minutes and let your mind wander. With company let the conversation flow. Do not treat every running day as you would a race with any set goals. This is both exhausting and pointless. Save your aggression for a hard or long run day.


Want to give Run Club with Kevin Collins a try?

Winter Running Survival

Winter Running Survival with Kevin Collins from Elevate Fitness in SyracuseBy Elevate Fitness Run Club Coach and Running Programs Director, Kevin Collins

As a runner, winter running is my #1 dislike. I’ll gladly run 26 miles in 90 degree heat before a 5k in the freezing temps. I may be different, but to those who share my misery December (Yes, even December) through the end of March, let me also share with you that I have only two days off running in the past two years (15 minutes or longer counts for me as a legitimate “run’). This takes some luck too, of course, but my love of running fitness under most obstacles finds its way. I’ve had more extreme streaks, In training for the 1996 Olympic Marathon Trials, for example, I once averaged 48 consecutive weeks at an average of 18 miles per day on twice daily training both morning and evening in Upstate NY. You can bet I trained through some horrific weather. So why do I do it and HOW do I do it?

Let’s start with the “WHY”…..

  • While I hate running in cold, I hate being out of running-specific shape MORE.  You’ve heard the phrase “Summer bodies are earned in the Winter”. Remember that Spring has no mention here. Spring is too late. Don’t spend Summer getting in beach body shape by Thanksgiving. Be ready BY Spring so that the dawn of Summer is your arrival. If you have a race to prepare for, why not just be prepared? When a runner is truly seasonally committed year-round, that Half-Marathon you saw in two weeks and decided to do on impulse is all yours. You are getting ready for nothing, you are simply ready. “Perma-fit”.


  • I always had a significant goal whether driven by a race, a challenge or desire for better fitness. My current goal is simply no days off in 2019. It’s a goal with an audience of one – just me… or least I am the only one I care not to disappoint. A personal undertaking that brings a zest for daily life. It doesn’t have to be a marathon, but even if it is, the goal of each regarding preparation share one result: Fitness.


Now let’s discuss some HOW tips. Training through the winter does have some obstacles, here are some tips I’ve learned as a CNY Runner for nearly 40 years…


  • Don’t always believe the weatherman’s hype. You should always choose safety above all else. “Safety over boredom” is a rule all runners should follow. As mentioned, I have a 15-minute rule. I will test any conditions on a 15-minute run before skipping. That’s a 7.5-minute jog down the road, turning and jogging 7.5 minutes back to the house. It takes approximately 10 minutes of even a light jog for the body’s blood to warm provided you properly dressed (two layers on bottom, three on top). Judge cold after that 15 minutes. If the conditions pass the 15-minute test, give it another go and finish that 1-hour run!


  • Stay close to home. Even a half-mile block in a neighborhood makes a convenient “track”. If suddenly confronted with extreme conditions that are intolerable, don’t get yourself stranded! Safety should be less than 2 minutes away.
  • Stay close to “powder”.  I have a rule in freezing weather that if it looks “wet, assume it’s ice, don’t step there”. Get your grip on the powder. Ankle deep snow is actually very stable to run in.
  • Stay out of traffic. Parks or neighborhoods are best during winter. A surface suited for running is not always suitable for drivers. Don’t put yourself at risk. If you can reduce the chances of getting hit by a car to “zero” by running on a footpath, in a park, track or an open field, do it!
  • There is no such thing as cold weather, just improper location. Most people don’t have the luxury of training down South as I did while training for the Olympic Trials, but here in Syracuse, we are blessed with gyms that have indoor tracks if you don’t like the treadmill. With friends joining you, a track is timeless. The minutes or miles will roll by just like a car road trip with friends.
  • GET a treadmill. As runners, we all know the misery of the treadmill (AKA: “DREADmill”) Time, in fact, seems slower on a treadmill because pace changes while both natural and common while running outside don’t take us out of the natural mindless “dream state” as a treadmill does. Think of it as a form of “sleep apnea”. Every time you slow down or pick up the pace, you are made aware by the restrictions of the steady pacing of the treadmill and you end up pushing buttons to accommodate much like an annoying alarm clock going off while you sleep. Can you sit in a chair and stare at an hour hand? Yeah, me either, BUT the treadmill IS convenient, safe, effective. Do you LOVE being runner fit MORE than you hate boredom? I do. Get one and/or keep that gym membership. They are your savior!
  • Worship the Winter Hat. Is there any piece of warm running apparel more convenient than the beanie on your head? It obstructs nothing regarding the running movement. Virtually weightless. It should be the first cold weather running apparel added on exiting Summer and the last cold weather apparel coming off entering Spring.
  • Ignore your friends. You hear it every time you go out into the icy, cold blackness: “What are you CRAZY?…Can’t you just take one day off?” Add a sled, skis or snowshoes or shovel or talk of snow forts and snowball fights to the situation and they’ll ask if they can come. It’s not the weather runners, it’s the running they don’t understand. Don’t buy into their own excuses.


Want to try one of Elevate’s Run Programs with Kevin Collins? Fill out the form below for more information!

Top 5 Ways to Improve Your Tennis Game Today!

Top 5 Ways to Improve Your Tennis Game Today with Elevate Fitness in Syracuse

We asked Elevate Fitness Tennis Professional Chris Galle to share 5 ways you can improve your tennis game TODAY, and here’s what he had to share with us!


“Play your Game”-Listen, you’re not Roger Federer or Serena Williams, so why try shots that only they can do?  Construct points that set up your strengths, and you will also feel like a Grand Slam champion.


Reduce your first serve speed by 10%.  By getting more first serves in, you will give yourself a better shot of getting the upper hand in rallies.  Most players are defensive when returning first serves and are more offensive minded on second serves.  Your doubles partner will thank you for not getting them killed on your slow second serve.


Don’t try to hit the line like the pros do on the tour. There is a reason you are a teacher, doctor, lawyer, etc.  Do you want Serena doing heart surgery on you?  Hit the outside 25% of the court to “teach/dissect” your opponent.


Figure out your opponent’s weakness and punish it.   We want you to punish their weakness until your opponent cries, “Uncle.”


Work with a tennis pro to improve your game. Whether it’s private one-on-one coaching and lessons or group lessons or league play, getting involved in coached programming can help you increase your game better than any other single strategy.


Want to give Elevate Fitness tennis programs a try? Fill out the form below to learn more!

Heart Rate Monitors Cheat Sheet

This cheat sheet will give you access to our Heart Rate Monitor articles and resources. If you have questions that aren’t answered here, please feel free to send us an email at

Why Are Heart Rate Monitors the Most Important Thing You Can Buy to Achieve Your Fitness Goals?

How Hard Should You Be Working?

How hard you should be working depends on a number of factors, and our best suggestion is to meet with a personal trainer to set up your heart rate device and to determine what zones you should be working in based on your own unique goals. Read more about how hard you should be working in our recent blog post:

Heart Rate Zones and Goals

When Your Heart Rate Monitor Doesn't Have a Visible ID Number - How Can You Pair It?

In some cases, compatible BYO heart rate monitors won’t have their device ID visible anywhere on or in the device, and you’ll need to take some extra steps to find that number so that you can set up your device to work in Elevate Classes (see instructions above). Here are the step by step instructions for those people who find themselves in this unique situation.

Step 1. Verify that your device is on the list of compatible devices here.

Step 2. Download an app to your phone called WASP Util (this can only be done on an iOS device currently):

Step 3. Go to your phone settings and connect to the network called Gold’s Gym using the password goldsgymdigital

Step 4. n the WASP UTIL app, you should see the WiFi network listed at the top of this home screen. Additionally, you will see any receivers that are connected to that network:

Step 5. Click Sensors at the bottom of the screen. All types of devices will be displayed, organized by their type:

Step 6. Find the Heart Rate category. All Heart Rate monitors currently powered on will be listed in this section.

Step 7. The RSSI number to the right of a monitor indicates how close it is to the receiver (the screens in the club used to display heart rate information). The closer the number is to 0, the closer it is to the receiver. Using the Heart Rate monitor you would like to pair, bring it as close to the receiver as possible (make sure the device is on and actively reading a heart rate).

Step 8. The monitor’s Device ID is the leftmost number shown. In the example above, the heart rate monitor’s Device ID is 34815.

Step 9. Add the Device ID using the directions in the “Pairing For Classes” link at the top of this page.

Still Need Assistance? Email us at

5 Ways to Burn Fat Fast

5 Ways to Burn Fat Fast with Elevate Fitness in Syracuse


Whether you want to improve your overall wellbeing or want to get thin, shedding those extra pounds may not be easy for you. Apart from diets and exercises, many other factors may have an impact on your fat and weight loss. Fortunately, you can take a few steps to boost your fat burning process.

1. Go for the Strength Training

For strength training, you need to contract your muscles in order to boost your strength and build muscle mass. Typically, strength training requires you to gain muscle mass with the passage of time.

According to many research studies, strength training offers a lot of benefits as far as burning fat is concerned. With this type of exercise, you can gain fat-free mass. This can boost your body’s ability to burn fat.

To get started, you can do body-weight exercises, lift weights or use gym equipment.

2. Eat a High-Protein Diet

If you add foods rich in protein to your diet, you can curb your appetite and shed those extra pounds. As a matter of fact, many studies have shown that eating more protein helps you prevent love handles.

Another study found that a higher amount of protein could help you maintain your muscle mass and reduce weight.

Once your protein consumption goes up, you may not feel as much hunger as you did before. As a result, you will begin to lose weight. You can opt for foods, such as dairy products, legumes, eggs, seafood, and meat, to name a few.

3. Get More Sleep

It’s better to get more sleep for weight loss. So, it’s a good idea to get to bed a bit earlier and wake up a bit later.

Many studies support the fact that weight loss can be achieved with more sleep. Another study showed that quality sleep for at least 7 hours per night could also help you shed weight.

On the other hand, lack of sleep may lead to triggered hunger hormones, obesity, and increased appetite.

So, what you need to do is reduce your consumption of caffeine and stick to your sleep schedule.

4. Consume Vinegar

As far as improving health is concerned, vinegar can do a great job. Apart from its positive effects on your blood sugar levels and heart health, it can also help you trigger your weight loss processes.

In a study, researchers found that taking 1 or 2 tablespoons of vinegar on a daily basis could help you get rid of body fat over a period of 12 weeks. Moreover, this practice can reduce your appetite and boost the feelings of fullness.

The method of consumption is quite easy. You can dilute some apple cider vinegar with fresh water and consume it a couple of times each day with your routine meals.

5. Eat Healthy Fats

Although it seems weird, upping your consumption of fat can also help you keep that fat away. Fat consumption may slow down your metabolic process that can reduce your hunger and appetite.

So, these are 5 ways of burning fat fast and get into shape.

Article Source:

Article Source:

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Tips for a Better Bench Press

The bench press is just one of the many effective exercises you might find yourself doing at Elevate Fitness. In fact, with so many different exercises out there, that often it’s difficult to remember how each one works. Not only that – with so many to choose from, but it can also often be difficult to determine which ones are right for you to use based on your fitness and your weight loss goals. Our certified personal trainers are highly trained and capable of helping you determine which exercises to include in your fitness and weight loss program and how to properly execute them. Feel free to inquire at the front desk if you find yourself needing some guidance.

In this video, we learn how to safely and effectively perform a bench press.

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How-To use the Leg Extension Machine

The leg extension is just one of the many effective machines available to you at Elevate Fitness. In fact, we have so many machines, that often it’s difficult to remember how each one works. Not only that – with so many to choose from, but it can also often be difficult to determine which ones are right for you to use based on your fitness and your weight loss goals. Our certified personal trainers are highly trained and capable of helping you determine which machines to use and how. Feel free to inquire at the front desk if you find yourself needing some guidance with the machines in your club.

In this video, we learn how to use the popular leg extension machine.

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How to Set Up Your Bike for a Spin Class

by Darcy Dibiase

How to Set Up Your Spin Bike at Elevate Fitness

It’s the most common reason people avoid spin classes in gyms: they don’t know how to set up their bike for the class. And not every instructor is in the habit of beginning each class with a “How to Set Up Your Bike for a Spin Class” powerpoint presentation. Yet, we know that indoor cycling is a great class to help you meet your goals, so let’s not let fear of the unknown stop us any longer, okay?

So let’s give you a brief tutorial so that if it’s your first class you can set up with confidence, or if it’s your favorite class you can get a nice refresher on how to make sure your bike is set up to give you your optimal workout. These tips apply to both our indoor cycling classes and our Group Ride and R30 classes!

On most spin class bikes, including those at Elevate Fitness, there are essentially adjustments you’ll want to make before the class begins:

1. Saddle position (how high up and forward/back your seat is) and,
2. handlebar position (where your handlebars are relative to your saddle height and arm-length).

Let’s watch Elevate Fitness Instructor Darcy give us a great demo on how to properly set up your bike:

That’s really all there is to it! Make sure to bring your towel and your water bottle, and don’t forget – if you have any questions not only can the instructor help you out, but your fellow classmates are almost always more than willing to help you out! Ready to give spinning or Group Ride a try? Remember – your first class is always free at Elevate Fitness Clubs in Syracuse, just fill out the form at the bottom of this page!  And get more great tips from Darcy here!

How to Update Your Credit Card Information Online

At Elevate Fitness, we strongly recommend that our members set up their monthly billing using a checking account number and routing number. This prevents you from running into issues when your credit or debit card expires, or if your card is compromised. For those members who aren’t able to use a checking account, credit and debit cards are an option. This video shows you how to update your billing information on our website quickly and easily. Update your expiration date, change the card you’re using and more.

Not a member yet? Try Elevate Fitness for FREE!

View, Save or Print your Check-Ins Online

At Elevate Fitness, it’s easy to manage your membership online. Want to see how often you’re using the club? Need a list of your check-ins to provide your insurance company for reimbursement? Or maybe you’re just the type who likes to keep good records. Now you can view, print and/or save a list of your check-ins (all time or you can pull from a custom date range) easily from your computer right at home!

This video provides you with step-by-step instructions and shows you how you can do all this and more!


Not a member yet? Try Elevate Fitness for FREE!

Heart Rate Training at Elevate Fitness

We’re so excited to introduce Heart Rate Training to our Group Fitness Classes at Elevate Fitness here in Syracuse!

In this post, we’ll give you everything you need to start tracking your effort in real time to get the results you want as quickly, efficiently and effectively as possible. Need more convincing? Check out our blog post on Weight Loss and Heart Rate Training.


  1. You’ll need a heart rate monitor. There are a TON of these on the market. The type that we work with are typically chest strap style monitors like the MyZone MZ3 heart rate monitor (don’t be scared by the price mentioned in the review, this device is available to purchase at Elevate for only $79.99). We offer two types of monitors for sale at Elevate, the MyZone MZ3 stores up to 8 hours of data, and a FitMetrix monitor that does all the great things MyZone does minus the memory (you’ll need to be connected to a device to save your workouts with this belt).
  2. You’ll need the phone number and email address associated with your Elevate Fitness membership. If you already have a FitMetrix account (what you use to sign in to our app or to sign in to classes) then you’re good to go! If you don’t – don’t worry, simply stop at the desk before your next workout and ensure we have your current email address and phone number in our system.


The first option for Heart Rate Training you have is to pair your device with the Elevate Fitness app (available in the App Store and Google Play). This will allow you to connect your monitor to your mobile device to view your results in real time. Here’s a short video explaining exactly how to do that:



If you’re already a member, you probably know how awesome our Group Fitness Classes are. If you’re not a member, your first class is on us, so come discover for yourself how amazing our instructors and classes are.

To make our classes even more awesome, you can choose to have your heart rate monitor data displayed in real time during our classes to make sure you’re in the right zones to get the right results! You’ll pair your monitor either through the app (go to menu –> profile and scroll down to Additional Information and click the edit icon) or by visiting this webpage to register your device. Here’s another short video to show you how to pair your monitor to work in our Group Fitness Classes:

Learn more about Heart Rate Training by meeting with a Personal Trainer in a no-obligation, complimentary sessions valid for first-time clients who are local residents over the age of 18 only. Other restrictions may apply.


Signing up for Rewards – Step by Step

  1. Download our app from the Apple App Store for iPhone or Google Play for Android devices.
  2. Read about our Rewards Program in this blog post.
  3. Register for a free Perkville account here, being careful to use the same email address for both the app and Perkville. This should be the same email address as the one we have in our Elevate Fitness membership system for you (using mismatched emails will not allow the systems to communicate properly).
  4. Check your email. You’ll get a message from Perkville asking you to verify your email address. You will not be able to earn any points until you’ve completed this step.
  5. When you register for a class (or complete any other earning activity) make sure you do it through the Elevate Fitness app to ensure you earn your points!
Earning points for group exercise classes at Elevate Fitness, step by step.

Earning points for group exercise classes at Elevate Fitness, step by step.


Not a member yet? Try Elevate Fitness for FREE!

NOTE: Elevate Fitness reserves the right to change the point value for both earning and redeeming at any time with or without prior notice.

Earn Rewards for Working Out at Elevate Fitness

As if getting fit wasn’t rewarding enough, what if you could earn rewards for working out? We’re excited to announce the Elevate Rewards Program! Earn points for club check-ins, referring friends, and more! Then use them towards a list of exclusive rewards! We look forward to seeing you in the club as you earn points and rewards. To join the rewards program, simply click here and follow the on-screen registration instructions!

How will it work?

First, you’ll want our app. This is the easiest way to interact with your rewards account, earn rewards for working out and to track your earnings, see available rewards and more. The Elevate Fitness app is available in the App Store and on Google Play.

You will automatically earn rewards for working out when:

  • Referring a friend to Elevate Fitness: refer through our Elevate Fitness app, and we’ll automatically track your referral for you, and when your friend activates one of our qualifying membership types, your points are automatically added to your account – no action needed from you beyond sending the guest pass to your friends and family and encouraging them to visit the gym. And then your referrals can join the program and earn rewards for working out!
  • Completing your New Member Personal Training Session: when you first join Elevate Fitness Clubs, we encourage you to take advantage of your complimentary personal training session with one of our certified personal trainers on one of your first visits to the gym, when you do complete this session, points will automatically be awarded to your account!
  •  Having a Birthday: I mean, if we’re going to age, we might as well get points for it, right?
  •  Following @ElevateSyracuse on Twitter: We post inspiring stories, gym/fitness/workout types, specials, promotions and reminders about holiday hours, weather cancellations and more. Follow us to stay in the know about all things Elevate.
  • Checking In to the Gym: When you scan your card at the front desk, points are automatically added to your Rewards account!
  • Attending a Class: Elevate Fitness has the BEST group fitness classes of any gym in the Central New York area, and now, when you register to take a class in our app, you get points! Check out our class schedules here.
  • Completing a Personal Training Session: every time your trainer confirms your participation in a personal training session, you’re getting points.
  • Checking in on Facebook: Use your social network to hold yourself accountable to your goals! Check-In and watch those points add up, and watch the support from your friends build as you work toward building the best body of your life!
  •  Posting/Sharing an #ElevateSyracuse photo on Facebook or Tweeting with #ElevateSyracuse: We LOVE seeing our members use social media to help stay on track with their goals. When you use our custom hashtag to tag your posts, you’ll get points AND see your posts displayed on the social media sharing screens located throughout our clubs.
  • Every $1: Spent in our Pro-Shop: you spend, you earn. Get great supplements, custom Elevate Fitness workout and fashion apparel or the fitness accessories you need to up your intensity during your workouts. Whatever you’re buying, we’re rewarding you for it.
  • Just for Joining the Rewards Program: that’s right – you have to register to start earning those points. And we want you to start earning points right away, so as soon as you register, we’re rewarding you!

Redeem Points For

  •        Free membership dues
  •        Elevate Fitness merchandise and swag
  •        Free gift memberships
  •        Retail and personal training discounts
  •        Free body image scanning sessions
  •        and more!

Set Up Your Account

  • Once you have created your account, look for the Settings link in the upper right corner of the page. In the profile settings, make sure to enter your birthday so you can get points just for being born (the first time, don’t worry – we won’t make you go through that again)!
  • The email settings are where you can manage how frequently you receive notifications about your points or unsubscribe. You can also add additional email addresses to merge old Elevate Fitness Rewards Program accounts into one. Those old points don’t have to go to waste!
  • In the Linked Account settings, you can connect your Facebook and Twitter and accounts with the rewards program, and earn points when you post (make sure you post from within your Rewards Program account to get credit for the post)!


  • Make sure you scan in, or manually check in, at the member service center every time you visit Elevate Fitness to get credit for your workout.
  • If you’re taking a group fitness class, check in for that at the class kiosk (coming soon) or via the Elevate Fitness app (also coming soon) as well so you can collect the points.
  • If you’re attending a personal training session, you’ll automatically get points for your session when your trainer completes your session in our scheduling software.
  • You can only check in when you are physically at the gym.

Social Media

  • To get points for checking in on Facebook or Twitter, make sure your social media accounts are linked in your rewards program settings. And use #elevatesyracuse when posting.
  • After you have checked in at a gym, you will receive an invitation in your rewards account to check in on Facebook or Twitter.
  • There may be a delay between the time you check in at the gym and the time your receive the invitation, this is normal.

In the future, we’ll be adding additional ways that you can earn rewards for working out as well as additional rewards that can be redeemed for your hard earned points.

Not a member yet? Try Elevate Fitness for FREE!

NOTE: Elevate Fitness reserves the right to change the point value for both earning and redeeming at any time with or without prior notice.

IHRSA Passport for Traveling

The IHRSA Passport program is great for active members who travel!

Elevate Fitness’s jetsetters and world-travelers need not worry about losing track of their fitness and weight loss goals when on the road. Elevate Fitness is a proud participant in the IHRSA (International Health & Racquet Sports Association) Passport Program.

The Passport Program entitles members of Elevate Fitness Clubs to enjoy guest access at more than 1,700 clubs and gyms  worldwide when they travel. Check out this video from IHRSA explaining how the program works.

The IHRSA Passport Program is easy for members to use! You need only follow a few basic steps:

  1. Obtain valid IHRSA Passport I.D. from the gym on your next visit.
  2. Visit to locate a club in the area where you will be traveling.
  3. Call ahead to confirm availability, as well as any fees that may apply for that club.
  4. …upon arrival at the club, present your IHRSA Passport I.D., pay the guest fee (if applicable) and you’re in!

Some Tips to Make Traveling to a IHRSA Passport Gym Easy:

  1. Make sure you’ve followed the steps above.
  2. Have a photo ID with you when you visit the hosting club so that you can prove your identity matches the Passport ID.

Also, when you call the hosting gym, ask about things that might affect your workout: planning on taking a class – inquire about any additional fees or registration requirements; want to work with a trainer – ask about guest rates for personal training; traveling on a holiday – ask about special holiday hours that may not be listed on the gym’s website or social media.

Travel safely, enjoy your workouts on the road, and we look forward to seeing you back at Elevate Fitness in our gyms when your travels bring you back home to Syracuse!

And if your a traveling guest from another facility, learn more about Elevate Fitness clubs here.

Not a member yet? Try Elevate Fitness for FREE!