Category: Lifestyle

Our commitment to our members, guests, and staff during COVID-19

As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) begins to have an increased impact in New York State, we believe it is important to communicate with you about the steps we are taking across at Elevate Fitness. In addition to COVID-19, it is our intention to equip our entire community with the tools to keep everyone safe, healthy, and free from COVID-19, the flu, and even the common cold.

Even though the situation changes daily, and even hourly, we are keeping abreast of updates from organizations like the CDC and OSHA — learning and adapting as new information becomes available and adjusting our strategies to ensure the best possible protection for our community. To date we have taken the following actions:

  1. We have placed significant signage throughout our clubs to encourage all members to wash their hands frequently and to thoroughly clean equipment after each use. Additionally, it is good practice to protect yourself by wiping down equipment prior to use, as well.
  2. We have added additional cleaning shifts solely dedicated to cleaning the surfaces in the club with which our members, guests, and team are most frequently in physical contact with to reduce the risk of exposure to the germs that cause the spread of illness.
  3. We’ve increased our on-hand supply of hospital-grade disinfectant to ensure a steady supply is available at all of our disinfection stations throughout the club providing the best cleaning experience.
  4. We have increased the number of daily readings taken in our pools and hot tubs to ensure the appropriate level of protection from contagions while using our aquatic facilities and communicated the importance of reporting and variances to our team to ensure a swift reaction to any imbalances.
  5. We have spoken with our vendors to best understand their supplies of important paper products to ensure we are not affected by a shortage caused by the excessive purchasing of products like toilet paper by individuals who are panic-purchasing.
  6. We have met with our housekeeping teams to ensure that they have the tools and resources they require in order to feel safe as they continue to work toward making Elevate Fitness Clubs the cleanest clubs in Syracuse.

It is important to remember that everything we’ve read and heard indicates that COVID-19 is a respiratory virus and is transmitted through respiratory droplets, it is not transmitted through sweat. Therefore good hygiene is truly our best defense against this illness.

Our intention is not to cause any undue concern, as the CDC has indicated that risk to the general American public remains low. However, we will continue to vigilantly monitor the evolving situation and make decisions to ensure we can meet our obligations to our community and maintain the health and well-being of our employees, members, and guests. Please don’t hesitate to contact me directly with any questions or concerns.

5 Running Lessons from 80 Days

5 Running Lessons from 80 Days from Elevate Fitness in Syracuse

by Elevate Fitness Marketing Director and Certified Spinning Instructor, Jason Jaquays-Tarbox

On Wednesday, 2 October 1872, Phileas Fogg, a rich British gentleman, set out on an extraordinary journey.

In some ways, so did I, although my adventure began on June 30 of this year. Now, I didn’t set out to travel the world, in fact, the farthest I travelled in my 80 days was Prospect Park in Brooklyn. But in other ways, I really did go Around the World in 80 Days. 

I previously shared What I Learned Running Every Day for 60 Days, and while that seems very similar to 80 days – let me assure you that those 20 extra days have made a tremendous difference, as I suspect the next 20 may as well.

Instead of sharing at 80 days what I’ve learned, instead, I’m going to share when I’ve proven – if only to myself. There are plenty of things I knew about running that I’m not entirely sure I believed before I started my run streak, but the last 80 days have forced me to be honest with myself about certain facts. And here those facts are, in no particular order …

You really DO need to replace your running shoes regularly. Most experts agree that shoes should be replaced somewhere between every 300 and 500 miles. For me, running a minimum of 3.1 miles 7 days a week, that works out to roughly 97 to 161 days, assuming I started with a new pair of sneakers. Which I did not.

How do I know I should have replaced my sneakers by now? From the pain in my feet, of course. I started my run streak with an OLD pair of Altra zero-drop sneakers with an extra-wide toe that had at least 300 miles on them when I started. Since I’ve put 371.45 miles on during my streak, that puts me around 671.45 or AT LEAST 171 miles overdue for a new pair of running shoes. And boy, can I feel it. 

No matter who you think you are as a runner, there’s plenty of opportunities to surprise yourself. I assumed after years of running and settling in around an 11 minute per mile pace that that was who I am as a runner.

But, consistency and practice have proven that you really can become a much better runner even if that’s not what you’re trying to do. Our Elevate Fitness Run Club coach, Kevin Collins gave me some speed workouts to try and before I knew it, I was running my 5K minimum daily distance in under 30 minutes consistently. Not only that but for some portions of my run, I was actually running an 8:36 per mile pace. Unheard of in all my years of running.

The lesson? We all fall victim to self-fulfilling prophecies and settle into complacency –  probably not just in our runs, but in real-life too (since running isn’t real life, I guess?). Sometimes you have to question the status-quo and seek out a coach or read an article or ask some questions to see if you’re settling.

Overthinking makes things worse. Most days, I get my run out of the way first thing in the morning. Most days, I don’t have to think about anything as my brain doesn’t really fully turn on until I’m a mile or two into my daily run.

This is great because it means that most days I’m not making decisions regarding my runs, I’m just running them! And for me, decisions are what has stood in the way of my consistency in the past. Should I run now or after work? Should I run outside or on the treadmill? Should I listen to must or run music-free? All of these decisions would ultimately keep me from starting my run in the past, but I found that by making my run my first priority of the day, it was so much easier to make it happen.

And this theory was never more clearly true to me than on those days when I didn’t run first thing in the morning. For the entire day, my brain would be plagued with questions that pulled my focus from real-life. And worse, I’d start to ask myself questions like, what if I change my minimum from 5K to a mile today? What if I walked the first and last mile? Maybe 75 days is where I should end my streak. Maybe if I run double tomorrow it will still count as a streak*.

The run may not be physically any easier when I do it first thing in the morning but it’s far, far easier to run mentally when I get it out of the way nice and early.

Not every run will be a great run, but no run is a bad run. Sometimes the runs that make me feel the best, or feel the most accomplished, or the most energized are the ones that look like bad runs on paper. They’re super-show. Or I had to stop and take a break between miles. Or I just struggled with every step.

But in the end, knowing that I’d finished my run and kept my streak going for another day even on those bad-run days was somehow exhilarating. I mean, anyone can do the work and stick with the plan when the work is easy – isn’t it a greater accomplishment to do the work and stick with the plan when the work is hard? Or the weather is crappy? Or you forgot your earbuds and have to listen to the sound of your feet slapping the belt of the treadmill?

I really proved to myself during this experience that there really is no such thing as a bad run. 

People won’t care about your run streak nearly as much as you will. And that’s okay. At first, I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t getting cheers and accolades from my friends and acquaintances. I mean people were commenting, and usually the comments were positive. But where were the balloons? The parades? The tearful confessions of how inspiring my Instagram followers find me?

Yeah, there was none of that. It’s a very private experience for me, my runs. And when I start thinking about how cool it is that for 80 consecutive days, rain or shine, regardless of how busy or bored or sore or far from home I am, I’ve still managed to run my minimum distance every single day – I’m overwhelmed with a sense of pride in myself that I’m not sure I’ve felt in a long time, if ever.

I pick things up, I put them down. I learn a new skill, I abandon it. I reach a goal, I scrap it and set a new one. I’m not one to find long streaks in most things. But in running, I’ve managed to stay the course. And I’ve learned things about running and about myself along the way. And I’ve managed to impress myself and make myself proud.

And I guess, at the end of the day. Everything I thought I wanted from my Instagram followers, I’m getting from myself. And that is so much better.

*Note – I never gave into this line of thinking and every single day I’ve run a minimum of 5K between the hours of 5:30 am and 9 pm.

Want to learn more about Elevate’s Run Club and other run programming?

How Sleep Impacts Your Workout

How Sleep Impacts Your Workout by Elevate Fitness in Syracuse

By Guest Contributor Krista Harper

How is it possible that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is in his 40s, yet still playing the best games of his life? Brady credits plenty of sleep as one of the secrets of his success.

“You can only work out as hard as your ability to recover,” he’s gone on record as saying. “To be able to rebuild my body with a good night of sleep is so important to be able to continue to play football at a very high level.”

And even if you never aspire to be an NFL Superbowl champ, you still need plenty of sleep if you want to perform your best, whether on a field or in the gym. Here is why enough quality sleep is such an important component of your workouts.

It Helps Your Muscles Grow and Recover

If you’re among the one-third of American adults who get less than seven hours of sleep per night and you’re trying to build muscle, your efforts may be fruitless. That’s because your body needs the deeper stages of the sleep cycle to help repair and regrow your muscles after a workout.

Your body actually produces the human growth hormone (HGH) as you sleep, helping your tissue and muscles recover from exercise. The N3 stage of NREM (non-rapid eye movement) sleep is when blood flow increases to your muscles to replenish them. Once you enter the deepest stage of sleep (REM for rapid eye movement) your muscles completely relax to further repair themselves.

To reap these benefits, you need at least eight hours of sleep nightly and possibly more if you’re an athlete, especially if you plan on working out every day.

You’ll Have More Energy to Work Out

It goes without saying that getting a full night’s sleep translates into more natural energy the next day without the need to perk up with a lot of caffeine. You’ll feel more motivated to start your workout and finish it, and you’re also likely to be more coordinated. A study of college basketball players found that their shots became more accurate when they got a good night’s sleep.

You’ll Maintain a Healthy Weight

If you’ve ever gotten a case of the hungry horrors after a lousy night’s sleep, it’s not your imagination. Not getting enough sleep, even if you work out regularly, can lead to weight gain. That’s because skimping on sleep boosts the hormone ghrelin in your body. This hormone stimulates the appetite, which is why you’re likely to feel ravenous when you’re tired. Your body is literally crying out for fuel to keep it going through the day. 

There is a definite connection between sleep and weight loss. People who get enough sleep are less likely to overeat and gain weight, so try to establish a bedtime routine that helps you wind down and relax.

Sleep Your Way to Better Workouts

The importance of getting enough sleep can’t be overstated if you want to lose weight, sculpt your ideal body, and increase your stamina. If you find you’re struggling to get through physical activity or to even make it to the gym, try to go to bed earlier and see what a difference it can make, not just during exercise but in your daily routine.

Elevate Fitness is the best gym in Syracuse for weight loss, personal training, group fitness, aquatics, tennis and more. Check out our list of programs to find the perfect workout for you! 

What I Learned Running Every Day for 60 Days

What My Run Streak Taught Me

On my birthday this year, I decided to take some time and go for a run. I hadn’t been on a run in months, so I laced up my sneakers and hit the pavement. I don’t know what made me do it, but I’m glad I did. I recaptured that euphoric feeling around mile 4 that I hadn’t felt in at least a year. I don’t know that it’s a runner’s high, or if I believe in a runner’s high, but I was happy to be running.

I ran five miles on my birthday. It felt so good that I ran 10k the next day. And 5k the next. And I just kept going. I’m on day 62, and every day I’ve run a minimum 5K (3.1 miles). So after I accidentally started my run-streak, I started reading about them. Runner’s World magazine devoted a whole issue to run-streaks, and they’re something that Elevate’s Run Club Director, Kevin Collins, regularly recommends.

I’m not sure how long I’ll keep this streak going, but for now, it’s something I plan to continue. And I thought now would be a good time to reflect on what I’ve learned so far.

The Benefits of a Run Streak

You Never Have to Decide If You Want to Run Today

Take the daily “should I run today?” question right off the table by making every day a run day. Depending on what your minimum run looks like (1 mile or 15 minutes are popular options) you can often get your daily run complete in the time you’d ordinarily spend debating whether or not to do it.

It’s Cheaper Than Therapy

We’re not recommending that you replace therapy with running, but we do think you might be better equipped to deal with some issues on your own if you take the time to run every day. Running daily gives you time to think (something we often don’t make time for) and get perspective on things.

You’ll Stay Active Longer

As we age, it’s easy to slow down and become less active. But the laws of physics teach us that a body in motion stays in motion, so take advantage of using a run streak to keep your body accustomed to moving and stay active long after you peers have settled into their sofas.

You Just Might Surprise Yourself

Some days you’ll head out for a 5K and find that you just eek out your minimum because you need more recovery or because the weather gets rough or some other reason. But other days, you’ll set out to run your minimum and you’ll surprise yourself by going longer, farther or faster than you’d planned. And trust us, there’s no better feeling when you’re out running than to surprise yourself with a little more endurance or speed or awesomeness.

Want to learn more about run-streaks or Elevate’s Run Club?

How to Make Working Out a Part of Your Daily Routine

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

By guest writer Mollie Wilson

As we get older, a tragic shift occurs. We play less, work more, eat more, and drink more. Our bodies grow, get older and get a bit more worn out. It’s the natural circle of life and it’s an inevitability that one day, you’re going to wake up with knees a bit more tired than usual and a waistline protruding a bit further than it should for the good of your overall health. While a little bit of weight gain is natural as you age, a plethora of it isn’t good and can be detrimental not only to your physical health but to your mental health and overall lifestyle as well. After all, no one wants to be the guy at the office that runs out of breath when he has to take the stairs. The cause of this weight gain and decline in health as you age is a simple one: as we get older, we move our bodies less.

As a kid, you’re constantly running around, playing, and generally causing a ruckus; however, the older you get, the bigger problems and more important priorities you have. We begin to play less, be that outside or in sport, and thus, we gain weight and our bodies become less accustomed to moving, meaning the natural aging that occurs affects us that much more. While this isn’t the best news for those of us working in an office, as it can be tough to get moving when you need to do your work behind a computer every day, there is a bright spot in the drudgery of office life. Moving your body and exercising for just 150 minutes a week has been shown to greatly improve the overall health of the average person. That means working out 5 days a week for just 30 minutes can make a huge difference in your overall health and in your overall quality of life.

While this may sound like a miracle cure, we realize it’s far from that. Finding 150 minutes within your already full week can be a mountain of a task. However, it’s a task that must take a priority if you want to improve your health and set a good example for the health of your family. If you’re trying to incorporate a workout into your every-day (or near every-day) life, then try some of our go-to tricks for making sure we get a sweat on, each and every day!

Start Your Day on a Sweaty Note. 

The biggest excuse people have to not go to the gym is that they ‘simply don’t have the time’, and we can agree that sometimes, (okay a lot of the time) your day can really just get away from you. You have to stay late at the office, pick up kids from practice, cook dinner, run errands, and the list goes on. That’s why, if you’re serious about making the gym and exercise a part of your daily routine, you should consider incorporating it into your morning routine, before you even go to work. There are fewer people demanding your time at this hour and it’ll wake you up better than that first cup of coffee! If you have trouble waking up early, try the app that wakes you up at the best time during your sleep cycle. This way, you’re the least tired for when you wake up and are less likely to hit snooze.

Pack your Gear the Night Before.

Whether or not you take our first tip to heart (we see you night owls), another great way to ensure you get to the gym before or after work is to pack your gear the night before. This eliminates the excuses you could provide yourself and, if you get yourself a cute gym bag, you can take your gym clothes with you. The powers of Netflix are a lot less strong when you’re going straight from the office to the gym instead of having to stop at home first.

Plan your Meals a Week Ahead.

If you haven’t quite caught on yet, planning ahead is a major key when it comes to making time for the gym. By planning your meals, a week in advance, you can cut down on the number of trips to the store you have to make, can request help on nights you need it, and can meal prep. In addition, planning meals ahead tends to lend itself to healthier eating in general, a great habit to accompany your daily trip to the gym.

Focus on Recovery.

This is especially important both as you age and for those just starting to exercise and go to the gym. Chances are, you’re going to be sore and achy when you first start, no matter who you are, and when you’re sore, you want to go back to the gym the next day significantly less than when you’re not sore. A good way to combat this is proper stretching, good hydration, and finding
ways to loosen your muscles. A great way to do this is with a CBD oil. Finding a coconut oil with CBD in it and convincing your spouse to rub it on your sore muscles will leave you feeling much better and ready to get back in the gym!

Motivate Yourself.

This is an age-old trick, but it’s stuck around because it works. Finding ways to motivate yourself, be that through a reward or a competition with friends can be a great way to get in the habit of going to the gym regularly and making healthy habits. We suggest, if you’re looking for a way to motivate yourself, not to do it with food but instead with tools that will make going to the gym easier and more fun! So, if you hit your goal of going to the gym 5 days in a row, reward yourself a new water bottle or set of workout bands, if you hit your goal for a whole month, reward yourself with a new Apple Watch. In terms of competition, it can be as simple as starting a Facebook group with friends who also have health and fitness goals, or you can set up a challenge with other friends on your Fitbit or Apple Watch. Utilizing social media and following body-positive fitness influencers can be another great way to motivate yourself and surround yourself with like-minded individuals as well!

While every method might not work for you, that’s okay, the point isn’t to all of a sudden start trying every single new thing that comes along in order to get to the gym. Instead, find what works for you and stick to it. Getting into a healthy habit, such as going to the gym and getting daily exercise is much more related to the persistence you have rather than the perfection you have doing it.


Not a member of Elevate Fitness yet? Try us out for FREE!

Are You Too Busy to Workout Smarter?

Elevate Fitness Syracuse Asks Are You Too Busy to Workout Smarter?

Are you too busy or too stubborn to workout smarter?

Imagine you are assigned the age-old task of building a fire so that you can cook a meal outdoors. Now imagine that you are limited to using only the tools the cavemen used. Are you going to be cooking anytime soon? Or are you going to die of hunger before you ever see a spark?

Now imagine someone is in the same scenario, but you have the ability to give them a tool to make things easier – a match. You offer the sorry individual (furiously rubbing two sticks together) your book of matches, but much to your surprise, they decline! Their excuse is probably a variation of one of the following:

– I don’t understand how that works.
– I don’t have time to learn how to use that.
– This is how I’ve always done this (followed but a tummy rumble).

Sounds kind of ridiculous, doesn’t it? Mealtime could come so much faster (versus maybe never coming at all!) if only the fire-starter embraced the tool and took a little time to learn how to use it.

Now imagine that instead of building a fire, the task is something else. Maybe it’s losing ten pounds or running a 5K or learning to play tennis. And instead of a lighter, maybe the tools are heart rate monitors or smartwatches or coaches.

People working toward fitness and wellness goals often choose the path of least resistance. Training for a 5K? Run on the treadmill. Trying to lose weight? Try to eat less. Joining a gym? Use the machines you already know how to use and avoid the confusing ones at all costs.

There are tools available to all of us. Some are free like MyFitnessPal, a great resource for tracking calories in and out and helping you reach your weight loss goals. Some are one-time investments like heart rate monitors and smartwatches that you can use for years to come to get better results. Some are ongoing investments like coaches and personal trainers who can help you get the most out the time you put into pursuing your fitness and athletic goals.

The point is, it’s not the stone age and there’s a way better way to build a fire that with two sticks. And there’s a better way train for a 5K than a treadmill (try Elevate’s Run Club programs including a Couch to 5K training plan), a better way to lose weight (check out our heart rate monitors that work great with free apps like MyFitnessPal), and a better way to learn how to play tennis (and make lifelong friends in the process at Elevate).

Before you put in the time and energy to attack your goals, isn’t it worth taking a moment to review the tools available to you and learning how to use them so that you can reach your goals in the most effective and efficient manner possible? We think so.

What are some of the tools you love to use for your fitness goals?

I Changed What I Ate (and Didn’t) to Lose Weight

By Elevate Fitness Marketing Director and Certified Spin Instructor Jason Jaquays-Tarbox

Recently, I found I’d fallen into some bad habits. Bad habits that I’d corrected once before through lots of hard work, determination, dedication, and effort. Bad habits that I’d sworn I’d never allow back into my life regardless of the circumstances.

Oh, Jason, you naive thing you.

I’d recently been recertified to teach spin classes and was teaching and taking classes several times a week burning a butt-load of calories when I took out my summer wardrobe only to discover that some of my shorts were simply too tight to button anymore.

How could this be? I was spinning four to five times a week and burning in the neighborhood of a thousand calories each time. How, when I was doing all that work in the gym, could my waist betray me like that??

Oh, Jason, you naive thing you.

The reality was that on top of all this crazy pedaling I was doing, I was also going home and telling myself that I’d worked so hard in class that morning that I deserved chips before dinner. I deserved full-fat ice cream after dinner. I deserved to bake and eat half a pie before bed.

Yup, I was essentially trying to out-exercise a bad diet. It was time to change things up and take responsibility for what I’d been telling gym members for years – your efforts in the gym only count when they’re accompanied by making good choices in the kitchen.

I set out to attack the problem head-on by avoiding the following things that I self-declared to be out-of-bounds for a month:

  1. No gluten. For me, that meant no bread (and trust me – I could make an entire meal out of bread alone, so this wasn’t an easy task) and no pie. Now, I’d recently discovered that I’m REALLY GOOD at baking homemade pies, so to say this took some willpower is an understatement.
  2. No caffeine. Prior to beginning this journey, I was drinking anywhere from four to six Diet Dr. Peppers a day. I know, I know. I’d chosen for a long time to willfully not believe all the evidence that shows even diet sodas can lead to weight gain.
  3. No white carbs. No regular potatoes (sweet potatoes were acceptable), no white rice (brown rice was acceptable) and no added sugars.
  4. No dairy. That’s right – none.

More important than what I wasn’t allowing myself, though, was what I WAS going to be eating. Afterall, without bread, pie and my beloved Diet Dr. Pepper, what exactly was I going to be eating, then?

  1. Green apples (not red), and lots of them!
  2. Protein shakes with added fiber for breakfast and lunch (meal planning just got a whole lot easier).
  3. Lean protein (chicken) and greens for dinner.
  4. Raw cashews.

Now, I know that list doesn’t look very long or very interesting, but I can assure you that like most routines that we fall into, consuming the same foods day after day became not only normal but almost preferable to me.

In fact, when I set out to do this challenge, my goal was a 30-day period beginning on May 31st and ending June 29th, allowing me to eat anything I wanted come June 30th, my birthday. And I did splurge on the 30th (there was a LOT of bread in my belly when I went to bed that night) but by July 1st, I was ready to get back to the routine I’d established in June.

And so I did, but I added a new rule and went vegan while reverting back to the four off-limits rules from above.

Here’s what I’ve accomplished with this strategy over the past 62 days:

  1. I’ve lost somewhere between 20 – 25 pounds (my weight fluctuates up to 5 pounds a day depending on how long/far I’ve run, how hydrated I am, etc. so this is normal for me).
  2. I’m (mostly) sleeping through the night again (probably thanks to giving Diet Dr. Pepper the heave-ho).
  3. My running form and time have both improved (although, full disclaimer: this could also be due to a recent 32-day run-streak of daily runs of at least 3.1 miles each).
  4. I have experienced fewer and less-severe headaches (again, probably thanks to ditching the doctor).
  5. I feel generally happier and more positive.

Now, you can make your assumptions about why I’m experiencing these improvements, but the bottom line is – they’re improvements and whether the cause is the change in my eating habits or good, old-fashioned placebo effect, the improvements are real.

For me, the effort and discipline have been worth it for the weight loss, the improved sense of well-being and for having been finally able to ditch the soda! And chances are I’ll continue to eat “clean” 90% of the time or more just to maintain the benefits I’ve experienced.

I haven’t been perfect. I’ve faltered. I’ve whined. I’ve complained.

But even when it hasn’t been great, all I’ve had to do is think about how much money I’m saving on soda or how my shorts finally fit (comfortably) again, or how much healthier my skin looks to know that like all things in life, the things worth having (doing?) are rarely easy, but the rewards are oh, so worth it.


Not a member of Elevate Fitness yet and want to try it out for FREE? 

Is Perfectionism Keeping You From Results?

Is the pursuit of perfection keeping you from results?

Voltaire is said to have told us: “The best is the enemy of the good.” while Confucius was credited with: “Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.” Not one to be overshadowed, Shakespeare gave us: “Striving to better, oft we mar what’s well.”

Different takes on the same concept: perfect is the enemy of good. Whether it’s a quest to have a month of perfect workouts or to follow our new-fangled diet to the letter, many of us give up before the finish line because we’ve failed to be “perfect” in our pursuit.

“Most people give up just when they’re about to achieve success, they give up at the last minute of the game, one foot from a winning touchdown,” said H. Ross Perot, a concept that’s frequently echoed by personal trainers lamenting that their clients were on the verge of seeing great results, but gave up just before they’d have begun reaping the benefits of their new workout program or diet.

For many people who achieve success when it comes to fitness or nutrition, success comes from persevering, not from perfection. Five good workouts are FAR more effective when it comes to making changes to your body than one perfect workout would be.  And there’s an unspoken problem with perfect: nobody is, and nobody can sustain perfection for the length of time that it takes to see results.

Elevate Fitness Certified Spinning Instructor and Marketing Director, Jason, tells us that he recently lost 22.5 pounds over a 52-day period by being consistent and accepting the fact that not every day would be perfect,

There were days when my workouts were amazing and I’d cheat and have some gluten in my dinner. Or days where I ate following my program so strictly only to have lackluster workouts where I failed to meet my burn goal or to run the miles I was aiming for. But by accepting the fact that perfection is an impossible goal, I wasn’t discouraged by a bad workout or a cheat meal, and it allowed me to keep going – and in the end, it was the consistency over 52 days that created the result on the scale. Not the perfect or the imperfect workouts or the good foods or the bad foods – it was the consistency.

And fitness professionals agree. Certified Personal Trainer Michael Meola adds, “I’d rather a client had good days and bad days but stuck with a program than tried too hard to be perfect all the time, finally quitting because their goal was an impossible one.”

So what’s the take-away?

“In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins – not through strength but by perseverance.” – H. Jackson Brown


Not a member of Elevate Fitness and want to try it out for FREE?


Book Review: Running with a Police Escort

Book Review: Running with a Police Escort by Jill Grunenwald

By Jason Jaquays-Tarbox

I don’t remember where I first heard about Jill Grunenwald or her brilliantly titled, Running with a Police Escort. I do remember, however, being very disappointed that it was constantly checked out at my local library (having previously taken an oath to use the library and take a break from building the ridiculous collection of books in my tiny apartment).

Then, on the morning of my 44th birthday, shortly after having run the 2019 Paige’s Butterfly Run with my good friend (and first-time 5K runner) Caroline, I decided it was time to start running again. I hadn’t run anything except the Butterfly Run in at least a year. And besides, I was losing weight but starting to plateau, and I knew running would kickstart my weight loss. Plus, I’d always enjoyed running, I just kind of … stopped?

So on my birthday, I ran 5 miles. I didn’t know I was starting a daily running streak, I just set out to run. Here I am 20 days after my birthday, and I’ve run every single day since then for a distance of over 100 miles. But why am I telling you all this? Because I think Jill might be the reason I’ve kept this streak up so long.

Running with a Police Escort is the author’s story, or collection of stories, really, about how she became a runner and then her journey through the world as a runner. But not just any kind of runner, a self-identified SLOW runner. Now, I can relate. I’ve had people ask to run with me only to reflexively tell them, “I’m slow. Really slow.” Which is a) super subjective and b) an apology that’s not even required. But it’s something we slower runners do, and often when we do it, what we’re really saying is, “Oh, I’m not a real runner.”

And Jill’s “Tales from the Back of the Pack” is really a collection of stories whereby she discovers (or reminds herself) that she IS, indeed, a real runner. And often, because of her position in the last place, trailed only by a police cruizer bringing up the back of the pack, she’s a runner with a literal police escort.

So is Running with a Police Escort a book only for slow runners? Or only for runners? No, although runners will definitely relate to Jill’s love for the sport (I often found myself wanting to go out for a run, even if I’d already run that day, after putting the book down). The book is for anyone who’s ever suffered from imposter’s syndrome, or who’s ever felt like they don’t belong. And what’s wonderful about this book is Jill’s ability to embrace (over and over again) what many would view as weakness or “lack of” in her running and champion it, and by extension, herself. Like a lot of things that are running-related, there are some big life lessons to be learned from Jill’s experiences.

I’m an avid reader. I devour books. Usually, once I’ve finished one, I’m so eager to move on that I quickly forget what I’ve just read (no joke – I once bought the same book THREE times, only to discover the second two times when I started to read it, that I had in fact already purchased and read The Lovely Bones) but that’s not the case with Jill’s essays. In fact, not only can I not seem to let go of the book in my brain, but I’m wondering if I should hit up some races in Cleveland and see if I can share a police escort with her one of these days.

In the end, I’m glad I broke my “buy no more books” rule and squeezed this excellent set of life lessons into my tiny apartment, as I’m sure I’ll be returning to them over and over.


Want to experience runner’s high for yourself? Check out Elevate Fitness Run Club led by coach Kevin Collins!

A Story on Perspective

A Story on Perspective by Run Club Coach Kevin Collins

by Elevate Fitness Run Club Director and nationally-recognized Run Coach, Kevin Collins

In college, my obsession with running and racing had reached its peak.

I poured through magazines and books following my idols, learning their stories, adopting and exploring their training methods. I recall watching the Chicago Marathon on TV and got to witness a sudden resurgence of one of biggest idols: Moses Tanui of Kenya, a World Junior cross country champion, World 10,000 Champion, Boston Marathon Champion, a silver medalist in the Olympics.

I once watched him run a televised final lap with only one shoe on holding off some of the greatest last-lap kickers in the World. In this particular marathon at about mile 18, he fearlessly dropped a 4:37 mile onto then World Marathon Record holder, Khalid Khannouchi. I soon had magazine cutouts of Moses on my college bedroom wall.

I had found my idol of idols! It reminded me that focused, Spartan-like training of other-worldly proportions would bring me the glory of such running beasts!

10 years later and now among the top ten U.S. marathoners, I had the greatest opportunity come to me when I was chosen by my Italian Coach, Dr. Gabriele Rosa, to travel with his rock-star Kenyan Team, one that included Moses Tanui himself to the Milano Marathon in Northern Italy.

He had chosen me because he felt I possessed the “grit” worthy of his race. I had just run the fastest half-marathon of my life in 1:04 and was prepared to run the Milano Marathon in my prime. It was my time to feel among these idols and I was fully convinced I was going to run the fastest marathon of my career. Dr. Rosa himself stated in his broken English that a 2:14 was what I would run….

…..but then it didn’t work out the way I’d hoped. Instead of blue skies, I got torrential rain. Instead of a calm, I got blasting headwind. Instead of fluid legs, I got tired legs. I made it to 19 miles and now having to take a much-needed trip to a bathroom, I just sorta….stopped.

This was the first race I had ever dropped out of in my life, still a regret. I might’ve run 2:19. I wasn’t running badly. The problem was in my expectations. Anything less than my best was a total and complete failure.

Shivering, I took the train to the finish line when a kind American born Italian gave me his coinage with directions when to get off.

At my stop, I walked in shame past the finish line, up to my hotel room, turned on the bathtub, crawled in, uniform and all, and sank into the tub up to my nose – my traditional pouting ritual after a bad race.

I could only think of everyone’s high expectations of me, the team, Dr. Rosa, my friends back home.

How could I be such a great champion like my idols, these warriors? Certainly, THEY wouldn’t have quit under these conditions. They would probably cool down an extra two miles, go home, and invest their prize money winnings into yet more twice-daily training and conquests!

Suddenly there was a knock at the door. A man entered, called out my name. Next, I found myself looking up from the tub at one of the runners on our traveling team: the great Moses Tanui himself. He looked down almost in a smirk, shaking his head and spoke in his thick Kenyan accent:

“What happened to you, Kevin.” As if standing before God, I felt myself start to tear up. Moses didn’t judge. Instead, he knelt down, patted my shoulder:

“Oh, Kevin…Marathon is NOT life! Come! Tonight we go to DISCO!”

Interested in Run Club at Elevate Fitness with Kevin Collins?


My Weight Loss Update

How to Lose Weight Fast

by Jason Jaquays-Tarbox, Elevate Fitness Marketing Director and Certified Spinning Instructor

Previously I wrote about how I lost 15 pounds in 40 days. Well, I’m now another week in (47 days total) and down a total of 17.5 pounds and wanted to share some things I’ve learned along the way.

First, let me reiterate how this entire process has been about finally getting my efforts focused on my fitness and my nutrition at the same time (I’m great at working out really hard while eating badly or eating super clean for weeks without ever breaking a sweat). If I hadn’t made the commitment to both increasing my activity level AND getting a handle on some bad eating habits, I’d not be seeing the results I’m seeing, and I know that from experience.

I also knew that because I was already active (having recently gotten re-certified as a Spinning instructor I was teaching and taking a lot of Spin classes, often burning in the neighborhood of 1,000 calories) that it wouldn’t be enough to just start eating better – I’d have to up my activity. Having experienced a lot of joy as a runner in the past, even completing an ultra-marathon, it seemed like running would be a good addition to my strategy.

So here are the five most important things I’ve learned about losing weight in my mid-forties:

  1. As you age, your metabolism becomes MUCH less forgiving. You absolutely have to train yourself to eat clean 95% of the time and to really limit the treats, cheats, and sweets to the remaining 5% of the time. This was tough for me at first, but I think I’m finally at a point where I can eat clean 6.5 days of the week knowing I’m going to have something “off-plan” eventually. And when I say eating clean, I mean really taking a look at how hard you can push yourself. Personally, I’m vegan, gluten-free, caffeine-free, and sugar-free 95% of the time. It’s not exciting – but it makes that other 5% of my eating that much more enjoyable!
  2. You can’t phone in your workouts. You have to be mentally present enough when you’re working out to actually push yourself a little further and to accomplish a little more. I mentioned that I’ve been running. Running didn’t happen at the beginning of my 47-day journey – I actually only started adding runs to my workouts 17 days ago, running a minimum of 5K ever day for a running total of 90 miles so far.  I only accomplished this many miles because when I feel like I want to stop, I push myself another mile or two or three. And I’ve gone from about a 13-minute mile (super slow) to an 11-minute mile (kinda slow) in those 17 days. Not bad, and the weight is still dropping – so it must be working!
  3. Accountability is imperative. Everyone in my life knows what I’m doing and how I’m accomplishing it. And that’s necessary to avoid someone approaching me at a July 4th barbeque and offering me potato chips or a hotdog. Not only does it help me avoid unnecessary (but not all) temptation – it creates a level of accountability that I’m constantly focused on. Because everyone knows that I’m not eating meat or dairy, I hold myself to that lest I be seen eating chicken nuggets and exposing myself as a fraud.
  4. You shouldn’t use just a single metric to determine your success. Some days I get on the scanner (I do Fit3D Scans several times a week to track my progress) and I’ve gained a pound instead of losing a pound, but usually, on those days my BodyFat percentage is lower. Sometimes I find my win on the scale, some days I find it on the trail by running a little further or a little faster. Or some days the win is in how many minutes I’ve been able to be active. There is ALWAYS a win when you’re moving forward – you just have to be open to looking for it.
  5. Every day won’t be perfect. Okay – so this is clearly a theme in the lessons I’ve learned. But it’s so important. Not every meal will meet my program (dinner with my father-in-law meant gluten and dairy with dinner) and not every workout will meet my expectations (only burned 600 calories in spin class last week for example) and I won’t always like what the scanner tells me is happening in my body (how’d I gain two pounds since yesterday when I ate virtually nothing since my last scan?). And it most certainly won’t always be pretty. But I’m taking care of myself, and for that reason, it will always be worth it.

I’ll check-in and share my results and discoveries with you in another week or so!

Not a member of Elevate Fitness yet, but want to give it a try for FREE?

How I Lost 15 Pounds in 40 Days

by Jason Jaquays-Tarbox, Elevate Fitness Marketing Director and Certified Spinning Instructor

A few years back, I lost a significant amount of weight after spending a couple of years being fairly inactive and not giving any thought to what I was eating. Using HIIT training and MyFitnessPal to log my calories along with a Heart Rate Monitor to track my effort, I lost a pretty significant 40+ pounds.

Elevate Fitness's Jason credits Diet and Exercise with his weight loss

Elevate Fitness’s Jason credits Diet and Exercise for his weight loss.

The formula for weight loss is pretty simple. Burn more calories than you consume – create a caloric deficit and you’re pretty much on your way to mastering weight loss. So why is weight loss such a struggle for so many people? Because as simple as the formula is, we live in a world that is determined to derail you and tempt you and distract you from your goals at every turn.

And that’s how, even after losing over forty pounds just a few years back, I found myself in need or a little weight loss recently. While I was nowhere near the before image to the left, I was starting to notice my jeans getting a little tighter and I was a little more self-conscious in tank tops even though I was taking and teaching multiple group fitness classes weekly. And with summer weather finally arriving, I knew I needed to do something if I was going to be comfortable in my own skin for the next several months.

The first step I took was to re-download MyFitnessPal on my phone. I know with 100% certainty that you really can’t manage what you can’t measure when it comes to weight loss, so I knew I needed to get back in the habit of logging my meals and tracking my effort during exercise. I also knew that the key to losing weight this time around likely had a lot to do with what I was eating as I was already getting more than the recommended amount of exercise.

Once MyFitnessPal was safely back on my iPhone’s home screen, I took a long and serious look at what I was eating and I saw some real problems:

  1. I was living with the mindset that because I was working out so frequently and so hard that I really needed to pile on the “nutrients” during each meal.
  2. I was also fooling myself about the nutritional quality of the “nutrients” I was fueling my body with ignoring the bad (high sugar, etc.) in favor of the good (high protein) creating a situation where my food was not only not working in my favor, but was working against me.
  3. I was buying into the idea that “low fat” and “no calories” meant healthy. In fact, I bought into that mindset so hard that I justified drinking four or more diet sodas a day – after all, they were fat and calorie free so how could they possibly be bad for me?

Learning these things pushed me in the right direction to make some big decisions:

  1. I was giving up dairy, caffeine (yes – my beloved Diet Dr. Peppers!) and gluten and I was going to limit my carbs. This was extreme and scary, but all my research indicated that if I could do this for 30-days, the benefits would be significant. I knew, too, that this extreme change would help me reframe my feast/famine mentality when it came to food.
  2. I was going to start running again as a part of my exercise plan. Of any exercise I’ve ever done, nothing has come as close to running (except HIIT training, but being summer the idea of spending time running outdoors appealed to me) when it comes to weight loss effect.
  3. I would make sure that I was getting A LEAST the recommended 30 grams of fiber per day in my diet. And when possible, I would strive for more.
  4. I would drink 1/2 an ounce of water or more for every pound of body weight, daily (this was actually the easiest part of this plan.

That was it – that was my plan. I would get the fiber and make sure my body was properly fueled by using meal replacement shakes for breakfast and lunch (the net effect being that I was feeding more frequently early in the day than I was accustomed to as a life-long breakfast hater).

And ultimately, I decided that if I accomplished nothing more in 30-day than giving up my diet soda habit, this experiment would be a success.

Here’s what happened: the first three days were hell. I wanted bread. I wanted my precious DDP (yes, when you’re in a serious relationship with Diet Dr. Pepper, you resort to nicknames). I had headaches and I was hungry and grump ALL DAY LONG. But by day four, the headaches lessened and so did the constant hunger (again, after all, I was getting more calories that were spread out over the whole day and avoiding that dinner/evening binge that used to happen when I didn’t eat all day and then felt entitled to gorge myself before bed).

By day six, not only did I not feel bad, I actually felt better! I was sleeping better (thanks for all the sleepless nights, my beloved DDP!) and had more energy during the afternoons when I’d ordinarily be needing some sort of caffeine or sugar to restart my engine. And most importantly, my mood was much, much better!

At the end of the 30-days, it was my 44th birthday. My family and I went to dinner and I had some bread and some goat-cheese with my meal. That was the only cheat – no soda. I stayed within my calorie goal for the day (both calories in AND calories out – I even made my morning run a little longer than usual, knowing I’d be going out to dinner). And on day 32, I went right back on my previous program and added an additional layer – now I’m going to try going totally vegan for the month (which is simpler than it sounds, based on what I was eating it meant only giving up chicken).

The results speak for themselves. The first measurements were done (using Elevates Fit3D Scanners) on May 28th and the second set were done on July 8th – 41 days apart.

It’s not super dramatic. It’s not a jaw-dropping change. but it’s a noticeable change after just a little over a month. It’s about .4 pounds per day. Those are the kinds of results you can manage and you can maintain. If I can maintain these results for another 19 days, bringing me to 60 days, I might expect another seven and a half pounds of weight loss bringing me to around 186.1 – while would be my lowest body weight in a couple of decades!

So here’s what I’ve learned in the first 40 days of this experiment:

  1. No fat and no-calorie don’t necessarily mean no problem.
  2. The things I think I’d miss, I probably won’t if I give myself time to adjust.
  3. Any sacrifice at meal time is worth it if you give yourself enough time to start seeing results.
  4. Just because a plan seems extreme at first glance, doesn’t mean it’s not doable.

I can’t wait to see what the next 20 days have to teach me.

Not a member of Elevate Fitness but want to try some of the group classes or running programs that helped Jason drop 15 pounds in 40 days? Try us out for FREE!




How to Introduce Your Kids to Exercise

Guest Post by Delilah Farrell

For many parents, this is a topic that is difficult to face and implement. How does one begin to introduce exercise into a child’s life? This is one of those topics that seems to vary between any parent that is asked. Some may give you “x reasons why it’s too early”, others may not see it as much of an importance. Exercise is important for everyone. Parents that think they don’t have time to exercise may carry the same thoughts into their children’s’ lives.

It’s never too early to introduce your kids to fun physical activities and organized sports. In fact, the earlier the better. Furthermore, physical activity is vital to the development of kids. Pediatricians say that participating in different physical activities assists in muscle-growth develops motor skills, and even reduces the risk of overuse injuries.

Below are some activities that are great for introducing your kids to exercise.

Swim Lessons

Swimming is one of the ultimate, full-body exercises;, especially for children. Enrolling your child in children’s swimming lessons is a great way to both build skill and possibly develop a love for the water! Being in the water will force your child to use many muscles, focus on balance, and develop fundamental motor skills.

Play Dates

As silly as it may seem, a good ol’ fashioned play date is a great way to get your child active. Rather than occupying your children with video games or a tablet, organize some time for them to play with other neighborhood children or friends. Playing with other children will allow your child to socialize and expend a lot of energy. Not to mention, it’s also a great way for parents to make some new friends while your children are getting active!

Set Up A Sprinkler

It’s starting to heat up outside. If you don’t have a pool, try setting up a sprinkler. This is a fun and affordable way to get your children to run around. Many of us can remember running through the sprinkler, right? For kids, the thrill of running through the water is a blast. It’s a great way for them to stay cool and stay active this summer.

Chores Chart

This may not be a “fan favorite” when it’s brought up to kids, but it’s a great way to get them active. Other benefits (along with physical activity) include responsibility, discipline, and the development and understanding of basic household chores. The trick here is to not ask too much of them. For example, don’t expect them to operate things like laundry appliances or the dishwasher. This runs you the risk of ending up with damaged appliances, which would highly discourage their willingness to participate.

Instead, have them participate in simple chores that encourage a bit of physical activity and engagement.

Commercial Break Challenges

Television is something that (almost all of us) get too much of. If your child is watching something, challenge them to exercise during each commercial break. These can be simple exercises like jumping jacks, running in place, or frog jumps. These exercises are fun for children and do not require a lot of coordination.


These are just a few ways to introduce children to exercise. Sports are another good way to do this, but let your child decide whether they want to play. Forcing them to sign up will only discourage them and cause them to lose interest in the sport and exercise as a whole.

Why It’s Hard to Lose Weight

Maybe you’ve tried to lose weight before and struggled until you gave up. Maybe you lost some weight but found that you eventually gained some (or all) of it back. Losing weight is hard, but not impossible. If you understand what makes it so hard, you can create a strategy for yourself to make it a little easier and to ensure your success.

Here are five things that make weight loss hard, and what you can do to overcome these challenges.

ONE. Food companies lie to us.

If you scan the aisles at any supermarket you’ll see tons of labels touting benefits like “fat-free” and “low carb” and the like. And it’s hard to determine what’s ACTUALLY good for you when you’re reading all these confusing and misleading claims.

Solution: Stick to foods with lots of natural ingredients (try to avoid eating anything with ingredients you can’t pronounce, for example) and make the majority of what you consume unprocessed foods, as these are less likely to have adverse effects on your weight loss efforts. (Here’s a great list of 21 reasons to eat unprocessed foods.)

TWO. We have really, really busy schedules.

How many times do we find ourselves scrapping plans to workout because “something came up” or because something took us longer to do than we expected? And how often do we grab foods “on-the-go” because we’re on-the-go, and their not the best choices?

Solution: PLAN ahead. Include your workouts in your plan for the day or the week. Write them down in your planner so they’re appointments and not simply intentions (the best intentions…). And PLAN when it comes to your food. Make sure you have lots of healthy (and unprocessed!) foods on hand for when things get a little crazy so you’re not tempted to hit the drive throughout of convenience.

THREE. We’re inundated with bad information.

The supermarket checkout lanes are lined with magazines offering advice on how to lose weight and get fit. Facebook is full of suggestions, ideas and products to help you get the body of your dreams. The problem with all this information surrounding us is that only a small percentage of that information is good information, and of the good information, only a percentage of that applies to our individual goals and bodies.

Solution: Don’t fall in with every trend or simply follow the “latest information” blindly. Meet with a personal trainer if you can and get a program that is specifically designed for you.

FOUR. We have unrealistic expectations.

We think that we can out train a bad diet. Or we think that we can starve ourselves and sit on the sofa and get the results we want. The reality is that we have to have a balanced approach that works with our lifestyles and preferences to get the bodies we want.

Solution: Same as #3 – meet with a trainer and determine what expectations are realistic for you based on your body type, your experience, and your goals.

FIVE. We are impatient.

We think that we should see results a lot more quickly than is realistic (see #4) and we think that we should lose weight a lot more quickly than we gained it. Of course, this is because our expectations are off, but also because we’re impatient.

Solution: don’t judge your success based on your end goal. For example, if your goal is to lose 2o pounds, break that down into smaller goals, and make sure the timeframe you expect to reach your goals in is realistic when you meet with your trainer!


Not a member of Elevate Fitness yet? Try us now for FREE!

The 1-2-3 Injury Management System

By Run Club Director, Kevin Collins

Editor’s Note: While Kevin wrote this post from the perspective of runners, it can certainly be adapted to all forms of training.

When you get an unusual pain, most of your confusion will come in the form of whether or not you can “train through” the injury. Sometimes you can, sometimes you can’t, but many of the unexplainable aches and pains are fleeting or have a timeline for exit which is unforeseeable but has their end. Still, you can’t see it. This causes panic. What do you do?

Here is a system you can utilize alongside your logsheets that works, which will tell you exactly what to do based on three potential outcomes when trying to run through the injury each day…

First: Understand that any running injury that comes to you was caused by 1) Too much, 2) Too hard, 3) Too soon. Before submitting to another OFF day, always explore the options between continuing to train to your desire and nothing. There is only one option:

1) Train easier
2) Train less per day
3) Ramp up slower.

Slow the pace down. Shuffle your feet lightly. Find something above a walking pace. All running regardless of pace has some benefits. Remember: You do NOT have to run hard to build endurance, you just have to run often and as much as your body and lifestyle will allow. Building back speed is always easy when your base conditioning specific to running is maintained. If you must scale back minutes or miles, you might find you’ll have to retreat all the way back to 15 minutes only per day and 15 minutes is a run! Here’s how you find out if this is what you need to do or if total rest is the only way….

Try to run today (say your base run is 45 minutes) > record the minutes on your sheet.

The next day: Try to run again > record the minutes on your sheet. NOW write a “1, 2, or 3” in the box next to the date indicated on your log sheet. This number indicates the following…
“1” – The pain I’m feeling is BETTER today than it was the previous day following my run.
“2” – The pain I’m feeling shows NO CHANGE today than the previous day following my run.
“3”- The pain I’m feeling today has WORSENED since my previous day’s run.

If you are getting “3’s” day after day. We know the run as it stands is hurting you and running is the cause. Run LESS and EASIER. Continue this process each day until the “3’s” stop. If 15 minutes at a light jog is STILL producing “3’s” it’s time to accept total rest (no running).

If you are getting “2’s” day after day. We know the run as it stands is NOT making things worse but also NOT making you better. Take a gamble: Run LESS and EASIER or keep running with the hopes that things will improve. Remember, if you aren’t getting “3’s” the injury isn’t getting worsened by your current training as it stands.

If you are getting “1’s” day after day, you won’t be logging #’s very long. You are basically getting increasingly better day after day with no further reductions in effort and time length of runs. Don’t ramp things up until it’s gone!

If you are in a situation where a total rest from running is the answer, it’s time to cross-train. There is no reason to let fitness go! Need help figuring out how to balance your training in a way that works for you? Meet with one of our trainers to determine your best course of action!

The Best Workout and Weight Loss Program EVER

The Best Workout and Weight Loss Program EVER at Elevate Fitness in SyracuseBy Certified Spinning Instructor and Marketing Director, Jason Jaquays-Tarbox

My favorite question to get asked is a simple one: “what’s the best exercise program for me to achieve my goal?” I love this question because it’s so easy to answer, and the answer is always the same, regardless of the goal that the person asking wants to achieve.

Are you ready for a revolutionary answer to a question that, combined with the other information in this blog, will help all your fitness dreams come true?

Whichever program you’ll actually DO.

If you ask ten different people who’ve lost weight, for example, what the secret to their weight loss success is, you’ll get ten different answers. It’s not just because weight loss is an intensely personal experience, but because everyone’s perception of what actually did the trick can vary significantly from person to person.

When you add in the unending parade of misleading articles and resources online, countless self-appointed experts and increasing demand on your time and energy and it’s no wonder why so many people struggle to create their own success stories with weight loss.

If you ask most people, they understand the importance of fitness, diet, and exercise as preventative healthcare. If you ask those same people if they believe they’re doing enough to stay healthy – they’ll probably tell you no.


For most of us, simply knowing we need to exercise more isn’t enough information. Where do we start? What kind of exercise is best for me? How often should I workout? How long do I rest between workouts?

The internet can be helpful, but it can also be overwhelming and misleading. Try doing a search for “best workouts” and Google will say, “Now that we’ve got all that out of the way, let’s talk about the specific workouts.” So in an attempt to find the best workout for me, Google wants me to tell it what kind of workout I want to know about … this is beginning to look like work. And if figuring out the best workout for me takes this much work, just imagine the workout itself!

Sometimes the best answer is the simplest answer. In fact, Occam’s Razor is a principle from philosophy that tells us the simplest answer is usually the best answer. And this principle holds true when it comes to your fitness. Let’s look at two possible scenarios:


Cathy spends hours researching various weight loss programs online, after deciding she’s had enough of looking in the mirror and feeling unhappy with what she sees. She looks at countless websites, watches a ton of videos on YouTube and reads dozens of Amazon customer reviews.

Cathy walks away from her computer even less sure of where to start than she was when she sat down. She takes a break and returns to her search a few days later.

After revisiting some websites and checking out new ones that she read about in a Women’s Health magazine, she decides to join an online training program designed to help people lose weight. She enters her credit card information, pays $50 for her first month and tells herself “job well done” as she walks away from her computer again.

She’s done it – she’s started on her path to fitness. She’s certain she’s going to get started first thing tomorrow morning.

The next morning, Cathy forgets until she’s already dressed for work, and then after work, she’s just too exhausted to start something new. This repeats a few times. On the fourth day, she pops out of bed ready for her new program. She logs into the website and spends almost 20 minutes answering questions and clicking on buttons until the system knows enough about Cathy and her goals to assign her to a program. Now, Cathy has to get ready for work. She’ll do her first workout tomorrow, but at least now she’s ready.

It’s now morning and Cathy struggles to see the program as it plays out on her laptop screen. She spends 40 minutes trying to figure out how to get her laptop to stream to her television. She’s not successful, so off to work she goes.

You can see where this is going, right? Now let’s consider Cathy’s neighbor, Wendy.


Wendy decides she needs to lose some weight. She tried before and can’t seem to make it happen. She talks to a friend who tells her to start small, make one change at a time and if that change doesn’t work, try something else. Her friend stresses to KEEP IT SIMPLE.

Wendy decides to walk for 15 minutes on her lunch break every day. For a month, she walks 15 minutes, 5 days a week on her lunch break. But something else happens, Wendy notices she feels good after her walks, so she’s also walking on the weekends for about 30-45 minutes per day when the weather allows.

Before you know it, Wendy has purchased new sneakers and learned to download podcasts to her phone to listen to while she’s out on her walks. She’s increased her walking time to a full hour at lunch, using her walks as an excuse to introduce another healthy change: a giant lunch salad eaten at her desk with tons of fresh veggies.

After about a month, Wendy has lost some weight, has tons of energy, feels great and more importantly, she’s so proud, that she keeps challenging herself to make small changes, one at a time, and she’s really seeing the results!

What’s the difference between Cathy and Wendy? Not a lot. In fact, they could be the same person – it’s simply that Cathy wasn’t able to DO what she set out to do. Wendy was. So the best program was the one that Wendy/Cathy would actually DO.

We can easily change the example:


Cathy spends hours researching various weight loss programs online, after deciding she’s had enough of looking in the mirror and feeling unhappy with what she sees. She looks at countless websites, watches a ton of videos on YouTube and reads dozens of Amazon customer reviews.

Cathy decides to join an online training program designed to help people lose weight. She enters her credit card information, pays $50 for her first month and decides to click around the site and check out the program. She sees she’ll need to answer some questions to get her “customized” workout, so she decides to do that now since tomorrow morning she can’t trust herself to answer the questions properly. She clicks on the first workout once the system has chosen a program for her and sees that it may be hard to see on her laptop. She googles “how to stream from my laptop to my television” and tells herself “job well done” as she walks away from her computer all set to get started in the morning.

She’s done it – she’s started on her path to fitness. She’s certain she’s going to get started first thing tomorrow morning.

The next morning, Cathy wakes up about 40 minutes earlier than usual (thank goodness for that cell phone alarm!) and within ten minutes she’s in front of her television doing her first workout.

Cathy gets to work after her first workout and feels a real sense of accomplishment. She’s finally on the road to achieving her fitness goals. The good feeling she has all day is enough to get her out of bed a full hour earlier the next day, and she uses that extra time to plan a healthy lunch and dinner.

You can see where this is going, right? Now let’s go back and see what Cathy’s neighbor, Wendy is up to in this parallel universe.


Wendy decides she needs to lose some weight. She tried before and can’t seem to make it happen. She talks to a friend who tells her to start small, make one change at a time and if that change doesn’t work, try something else.

So Wendy decides to walk for 15 minutes on her lunch break every day. Wendy is excited to give her new plan a serious effort. The only problem is that it rains for the next six days straight. And on the seventh day, she has a staff meeting that goes long and she needs to use those extra 15 minutes from her lunch hour to get caught up on some emails.

Before you know it, a month has passed and Wendy hasn’t made it out for a walk yet. Worse yet, she’s completely abandoned the idea altogether. She decides she’s just too busy and she’ll worry about her fitness goals when she has more time.

So what are our lessons?

Keep it simple: simple solutions are easier to implement and stick to and you can always build upon success as you go,
Have a backup plan: weather won’t always cooperate, your work schedule won’t always cooperate, heck – your body won’t always cooperate – so have a backup plan for when it rains, or work gets busy or your feet are sore from yesterday’s walk,
There is no single, right program for you and your goals, the best program is whatever you’ll DO.

Want to go the simplest route and try a gym? Try Elevate Fitness for FREE!

When You Believe You CAN, You WILL

Lose weight with the right attitude at Elevate Fitness in Syracuse

By Elevate Fitness Spinning Instructor and Marketing Director, Jason Jaquays-Tarbox

One random day, a friend of mine had mentioned something about seeing an ultramarathon on Facebook. As someone who’d only recently completed his first half-marathon, and was in the very beginning stages of training for his first marathon – it sounded insane. I marveled that there are human bodies out there capable of such a feat and mentally moved on to my next distraction.

At some point weeks later, she mentioned it to me again in passing. Within the context of it being an insane undertaking for a runner. I agreed and continued on with my day.

Twice this ultramarathon entered my attention span, and twice I’d dismissed it as insane. Twice.

Reviewing a local calendar online, the event came to my attention again the morning before the race. Fresh off a recent semi-successful 16-mile training run, my ego and enthusiasm prompted me to joke with my friend, “so, are we doing that ultramarathon tomorrow or what?” … or something similar.

What I wasn’t expecting, was for her to take me seriously.

The next couple of hours are a blur:

Using calculators to figure the slowest possible pace we could run a 50K race and still finish within the allocated time.

Carefully plotting best and worst-case scenarios (including death).

Joking about what great training it would be to run an ultramarathon.

Scouring the internet for tips for running your first ultra.

Trying to register for the race online –

Wait. What? Trying to register???

Well – thank goodness the race had shut down online registrations. So short of driving to the packet pickup location (Fleet Feet) and begging the race director to let us – two novices who’d not trained for an ultra-endurance event – to run on a hot Saturday in August, there was no way for us to make the ridiculous (and in hindsight, dangerous) decision to register for an ultra.

So guess what we did?


We drove to the packet pickup location and begged the race director to let us register. He was clearly not prepared to address such an idiotic request. His response was something very close to, “I don’t want to offend your intelligence, but you understand this is an event people train a very long time for?”

Well at this point, any sane person would heed the warning of an experienced race director and walk away, right? RIGHT?

Let’s just go ahead and cut to 6 am the next morning when two very sleepy and ignorant (and therefore blissful) runners are lined up with those people the director had told us about (you know, the ones who’d trained a very long time for this event?) waiting for the race to begin. We were lined up with folks, like us, running the 50K and folks who were running a 100K (this was the Green Lakes Endurance Race).

Now, my friend is a runner. She’s run marathons, halfs, 10Ks, you name it – she’s done it. More impressively, she often placed in the races she runs. I had, however, only the dubious distinction of having never died in a race. But we were there and this was happening, so we did the only thing either of us was programmed to do: finish. One foot in front of the other, sometimes running, sometimes walking, sometimes hopping painfully down a steep hill; but always one foot in front of the other. We had only one goal: finish. Make four laps around the course and revel in the moment we’d receive our medals allowing us to proudly proclaim (as we’d decided on lap 3) in our email signatures that we were Ultramarathoners.

Here’s the crazy part (I know, I know – most people reading this far have decided the entire thing sounds crazy, but wait for it) not only did we decide to run an ultramarathon with less than 24 hours to prepare. Not only did we continue to push past every sign the universe shoved in our face telling us that we weren’t meant to run this race. Not only did we callously disregard a race director’s warning (accompanied by waivers I’m sure he was certain he’d have to invoke). Not only did we then show up at the crack of dawn. Here’s the crazy part: we finished.

We finished.

Not because we were prepared. Not because we are stronger or tougher or more athletic than anyone else. But because we kept putting one foot in front of the other. Because we simply decided this was something we could do.

Sure, there were times I wasn’t sure if I’d pooped my pants or not. There were several times I instructed nearby runners to look away from me as I was sure I was about to erupt into a flow of tears rivaled only by the most talented toddlers (in tiaras).

But the bottom line is we crossed the finish line, collected our medals (and promptly hightailed it to the nearest soda fountain for bucket-sized Mountain Dews) and completed an ultramarathon with zero preparation (and in my case, zero experience).

The response from people (who didn’t know ahead of time that we were doing this – we didn’t have time to tell anyone!) was always a variation on a theme:

“Wow, I could NEVER …”

You know, exactly what I’d been saying to myself up until 24 hours before the race. That it was crazy, insane and I could NEVER run an ultramarathon. But then I did. How? Am I super athletic by nature and able to do superhuman things? No. Am I such an accomplished runner that this was merely a stretch of existing talents? No. Then what? How?

Was I wrong when I said, “I could never…”? No, I was right.

BUT I was also right that Friday afternoon when I said: “We could do this…” And then ignorance being bliss, and with stubbornness and conviction that if you keep putting one foot in front of the other, you’ll eventually reach your destination – I did the impossible. The insane. The crazy. And the totally achievable.

And this, as you can imagine, changes your perspective significantly. You start to wonder what else you can do. Like, maybe I could do a triathlon even though I’m not a swimmer?

(Famous last words:) No, that’s crazy. I could never do that.

So next time you think that something is out of your reach, or that something could never be accomplished. Change your mind. Literally, decide that you’re going to do it. You’re going to run that race. You’re going to lose that weight. You’re going to do that thing you want to do. Decide that you CAN and then DO.

DISCLAIMER: There are obviously instances where it is not SAFE to attempt certain feats. You should ALWAYS consult your doctor before beginning ANY exercise program.

Is a race on your bucket list? Are you looking forward to the day you claim a medal of your own? Check out the Run Club and it’s various training programs at Elevate Fitness!

Think You Don’t Have Time to Workout? Think Again.

There's always time for weight loss and fitness at Elevate Fitness in Syracuse

“Tumble outta bed and I stumble to the kitchen. Pour myself a cup of ambition. Yawn and stretch and try to come to life.” – Dolly Parton, 9 to 5

While we may no longer work the 9 to 5 schedule made famous by Dolly Parton, the themes of hectic days full of too many obligations, responsibilities and commitments still ring true, probably more than ever.

So where does fitness and wellness fall in when it comes to planning our busy lives? When there’s laundry needing to be done and dishes needing to be washed, and a million other things happening, how do we justify taking time to run to the gym?

The best way to make the most of our time is to implement good time management hacks. Here are six favorite tips for managing your workout time.


Use a workout buddy to keep you accountable to your commitments.

By having a workout buddy, you’re accountable to someone other than yourself. It’s easy to let ourselves down (think about it, we do it all the time, don’t we?) but it’s harder to let someone else down. So when you’re deciding if you should skip that spin class to go catch up on Game of Thrones, you’re less likely to, knowing that you won’t be the only one who’s disappointed.

Always schedule your workouts. On an actual calendar.

Having a basic idea in your head that you’re going to the gym is way too easy to edit. Deciding to wait another hour, or to skip altogether is easy to do when it’s not an actual plan. Writing down an appointment for the gym in a physical calendar has a sort of solidifying effect on your intentions. You took the time to write it down. It’s there in black (or blue, or something really fun if you’re still into those cool gel pens from the 1980s) looking back at you. It’s real.

Plus, once you start seeing those consecutive workouts piling up on your calendar or in your planner, you’re likely to fall victim to gamification and then the desire to protect your “streaks” or fill your rows up will compel you to visit the gym even when you otherwise wouldn’t feel motivated.

Do something you enjoy and you’ll make fewer excuses to skip it.

There’s a reason so many people love group fitness classes. They’re social and feature fun music and lots of motivation from an instructor and your peers. They’re enjoyable. And if you enjoy what you’re doing, you’re more likely to make (and leave) time for it than if you see it as a chore or its unenjoyable.

Group fitness classes aren’t your thing? How about tennis? Or swimming? Running? Raquetball? Yoga? Spinning? You get the idea…

Switch up your workouts to keep things from getting stale or boring.

This is similar to the last tip, but also be aware that something you enjoy can become stale and boring over time if you don’t get enough variety in your workouts. Shlepping into the gym to plop on the same treadmill or hit up the same row of machines day after day will lose its appeal before long and you’ll find yourself missing more and more workouts.

Make sure you belong to a gym (like Elevate, hint, hint) that has enough variety and programming to keep you busy and entertained with options.

Get up early and get your workout in before your brain has a chance to sabotage your body by creating excuses.

This is a trick that works surprisingly well. Ever noticed that the longer you wait during the day to work out the harder you have to fight yourself to make sure the workout actually happens? Getting up and checking this to-do item off your list first thing is a great way to ensure your brain doesn’t have the power/time to create excuses.

It’s also a simple fact that the beginning of the day is when we have the most time ahead of us. By getting our workout in early, we leave the rest of the day wide open to manage all of those other responsibilities, expectations, and commitments.

Find someplace to workout. You’re more likely to keep an appointment if you’re paying for it.

The simple truth is that if you’re paying for something you’re more motivated to make sure you’re getting value for your money. Invest in a gym membership so that you have the financial responsibility of using it. And to send a message to yourself that you and your health and wellness are worth investing in. After all, if you invest financially, then surely you can invest your time?

What are you waiting for? Try it out:

Fitting In When You’re Getting Fit

How to fit in when you're trying to get fit or lose weightby Spin Instructor and Marketing Director Jason Jaquays-Tarbox

I remember my first day of roller derby. No joke. I was a roller derby athlete for a very short time (a broken wrist and nervous mother kept my roller derby career short). I skated with a men’s team out of Central New York called The Quadfathers (we skated on quad-skates, making this name a perfect pun for the sport!) and fell in love with the entire world of derby almost immediately.

My whole derby experience started when my friend Geoff and I decided that we were going to check out a local women’s team (Assault City Roller Derby in Syracuse, NY) in a home bout (that’s what their games or matches are called) that a couple of acquaintances were skating in. I loved it. I’d been a fervent roller skater growing up, so this was right up my alley being one of the few quad-skate based activities happening post-1985.

Fast-forward to me sitting on a bench, nostalgically considering the last time I laced up a pair of roller skates. As a teenager in the 80s my diet consisted mainly of gummy bears and fruit roll-ups, Cyndi Lauper was my personal hero, and my wardrobe contained a quantity of neon rivaled only by the Vegas Strip. Even though few of those details had changed, somehow – this was different.

The last time I went roller skating, for a classmate’s birthday, my skates accessorized with yarn pom-poms but this time they’re paired with $70 knee pads, elbow pads, wrist guards, a mouth guard, and a helmet. Instead of sharing the bench with a dozen other prepubescent “Saved By The Bell” super-fans, I share it with a dozen guys who all look bigger, faster and physically more stable (and some mentally less-so) than me. It’s my first roller derby practice.

The first practice is rough.

We finish with a scrimmage, and while removing my skates I estimated that, by morning, my body will be host to at least four new bruises. I’m excited, reminded of a time when socialization didn’t involve a computer and a virtual social network but actual people and toe-stops. I’m also a little bit proud. I had several good blocks and a couple of solid hits–which isn’t bad for the guy whose Kool-Aid-stained face was usually the last chosen for any team in gym class.

But what I’m most proud of, is showing up. We’ve all heard the expression that showing up is half the battle. And on that first day of roller derby practice, I think I finally understood why, as a 30-something adult. Making friends was no longer as easy as finding someone in the sandbox without a playmate. I wasn’t revisiting a sport I’d played as a child. I was doing something 100% out of my comfort zone with no previous experience.

And somehow my biggest concern wasn’t the athleticism (and boy are those skaters athletic!), it wasn’t the costly equipment and it wasn’t the threat of broken bones or a rearranged face. My biggest concern was whether or not I’d fit in.

I’ve always considered myself to be a pretty confident guy. I don’t have any problems going to parties by myself. I don’t have a problem having conversations with people I don’t know. In fact, as a hobby, I get up on stage in front of thousands of people and act, sing, and dance (before I found fitness as a career, I wanted to be the next Ray Bolger)!

But walking into that first practice, I WAS TERRIFIED.

Did I have the right skates? Would the other guys laugh at my bright red skates? Would they look at my slight frame and wonder why a skinny, older guy was dumb enough to try skating with these giant, bearded, manly men who were body checking each other clear across the practice space?

Where does this fear of fitting in come from? Why do confident individuals find themselves so worried about such a trivial and superficial idea?

Joanna Cannon wrote the following for Psychology Today:

The need for acceptance is a basic human instinct – although some value it more than others. We all want to fit in, to belong.

The key to fitting in is to choose the community or tribe that you want to belong to and then allowing yourself to bring your full value to that community. Easier said than done, right? Let’s dig into the solutions instead of dwelling on how…

SOLUTION ONE: Make the transition into a new group of people or community easier by doing it with a friend. This is especially effective when it comes to fitness or weight loss – having someone to go with you to the gym can make that visit less intimidating, but you’ll also have someone to lean on when your resolve is waining or you’re thinking about reaching for that second dessert.

Even better? Find a gym (like Elevate Fitness) that REWARDS you for bringing your friends to the gym with you!

SOLUTION TWO: Remind yourself that everyone there is working on something and everyone there is worried about fitting in. When you remember that everyone is in the same boat, it makes it less intimidating to go to the gym, or try that group fitness class or hit up that new support group.

SOLUTION THREE: Be aggressive about meeting new people. Instead of waiting to feel comfortable in a new situation, MAKE yourself comfortable by introducing yourself to someone. Find someone else who looks nervous, or uncomfortable or shy and introduce yourself! Not only will you meet someone new, but you’ll help someone else feel more comfortable, too!

What are some tricks you use to help yourself fit in when you’re someplace new? Want to see how easy it is to fit in at Elevate Fitness? Try us out for free.

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!

How to Start Your Weight Loss Journey

How to Start Your Weight Loss Journey at Elevate Fitness in Syracuse

It’s been said that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. We’ve all heard this phrase from Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu. That sounds great and all, but the single step is still just 1/1000 of the overall workload – so how are you supposed to get all excited over the first step?

Instead of Chinese philosophy, let’s look to the science of momentum and inertia (don’t worry – we won’t get too scientific or dwell for too long).

The amount of energy or force required to put an object in motion is usually greater than the energy or force required to keep an object in motion (there are, of course, exceptions to this generality, but let’s not nerd-out just yet). And Newton’s First Law of Motion tells us that once an object is in motion, it takes a significant amount of force to stop it.


And the good news is that getting started is simplified in weight loss, because the first step will always be the same for 100% of the people who are trying to lose weight, and it’s the easiest half of our preparation.

Ready? Here it is:

Step One: Define what success looks like to you.

Decide how you’ll define your success and WRITE IT DOWN. Is it pounds lost? The fit of your favorite jeans? The number of uninterrupted minutes you can spend running? Whatever it is, define it. And make it a part of your tracking habits. Tracking weight? Weigh yourself regularly and write it down. Tracking the fit of your clothes? Take a pic in your favorite jeans twice a week. Minutes spent running? Create a running or activity log.

You MUST have a clearly defined goal and measurement chosen in order to know when/if you’ve created your success story. It’s not enough to say, “I want to lose weight.” You have to say, “I want to lose 10 pounds by the time we open the pool this year.” Or “I want to fit into my favorite jeans before my high-school reunion.” And write it down. Write it down several times. Put it with your tracking logs/journals/diary/whatever you choose. Write it on a post-it note and stick it on your fridge or in the cupboard with those crackers you always run to at the end of a long day. Stick one on your mirror in the bathroom or on your closet door.

This step, although simple, can make or break you when it comes to sticking to your goals.

Consider this: big change is the result of a series of small, targeted actions executed consistently over a period of time. Take for example the Grand Canyon. This marvel of nature wasn’t created by one, giant, defining event – it was carved out of the earth over a period of time, the result of erosion happening on a scale so small, you couldn’t tell it was happening apart from the emergence of the canyon!

This is why people who create a series of small, seemingly unimpressive goals are often more successful than people who set big, headline-worthy goals. You don’t get your Masters Degree by showing up on a school campus one day and performing one giant, remarkable feat. You go credit by credit, class by class, assignment by assignment, semester by semester.

Think about it this way: which seems more doable to you? Finishing your first 5K or winning your age group in your first marathon?

Probably the 5K, right? And that’s because most of us haven’t run a marathon before, so the idea of winning our age group seems preposterous. But what if we win our age group in some 5ks? And then did the same in a few half marathons? Now that marathon seems in reach right?

Winning a marathon is a GREAT goal. But it shouldn’t be your FIRST goal. Take your pipe-dream fitness goals and break them into small, simple SMART goals and see how quickly you find yourself considering that marathon.

You probably learned about SMART Goals at some point in your life, but because this is important, let’s do a quick review:

What is a SMART Goal? A SMART Goal is …

Relevant and

Let’s dissect the previous example to create a SMART Goal for running your first 5K:

Specific: I want to run (and finish) my first 5k race in September
Measurable: I will run three times a week for 8 weeks to prepare (Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays before work)
Achievable: I am in good health and have no medical issues or concerns preventing me from running a 5k, and 8 weeks is sufficient time for me to train for a 5k
Realistic: People run official and unofficial 5ks all over the world every day
Time Bound: the 5k is in 8 weeks on [date] at [time]

Now that you know WHAT you want to accomplish (and how to turn that into an actionable SMART Goal), it’s time for Step Two of Getting Started on your weight loss journey. And that post is coming soon, so keep an eye out – but for now – focus on getting step one right.

Want to take all the guesswork out of weight loss? Try the Elevate Fitness Six-Week Weight Loss Challenge and SAVE 50% off your first Challenge!

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.

10 Reasons to Become a Personal Trainer

10 Reasons to Consider a Career in Personal Training at Elevate Fitness in Syracuse

1. You get to help people become the best versions of themselves. There is no greater job satisfaction than knowing that the work you do is making a difference in someone’s life. Being able to rest your head on your pillow at night knowing that the work you do is making people’s lives better will ensure you sleep like a baby and wake up every day excited to go to work.

2. The career opportunities that exist for personal trainers are varied and plentiful. Whether you want to work in a traditional gym setting, in a physical therapy office, from your own home or online – the possibilities are endless. Not only can you work from virtually anywhere, but the number of people requiring the services of personal trainers is growing by the day along with the waistlines of the public. Not only are the opportunities vast, but job security is virtually guaranteed by America’s obesity epidemic.

3. Personal Training is a career where your earning potential is only limited by your imagination. No longer is personal training primarily one-on-one sessions between one client and one trainer (although it can be if that’s your style). Successful trainers have learned that they can create more income while keeping their services affordable and in-demand with programs like small group and team training and boot camp-style group workouts. Online training is a growing business where people are willing to pay certified personal trainers to create workout plans for them. You might find yourself writing workouts for people on the other side of the globe who you’ll never meet in person!

4. You can literally become an expert in your field. Think about all the morning shows and radio shows preparing their content in January – they want to talk about fitness and resolutions, every year without fail. Who do they turn to? Trainers, of course! People look at personal trainers as experts in fitness and wellness. From talk shows to webinars to interviews in magazines, the expertise of personal trainers is valuable and always in high demand.

5. It’s a flexible career. Most trainers, once fully immersed in personal training as a full-time career, manage their own schedules and business. Need a week off? Write plans for your clients and require them to wear heart rate monitors so you can track their progress and keep them accountable from a beach in Florida. Have a special event at your child’s school this afternoon? Book duo sessions in the morning to create some variety in your client’s workouts while freeing up your afternoon for family obligations. And remember to bring your business cards to your kid’s school play!

6. Not only can you create great variety for your clients through inventive programming and scheduling, but you can create plenty of variety in your days, too! Depending on what specializations you choose to pursue, you might spend one hour training an athlete in sprint drills on the track who’s preparing for the championship game followed by half an hour with a rehab patient recovering from an injury or illness on machines only to finish up your day by coaching a weight loss client as they swim laps in the pool. You can literally design your schedule and days to prevent boredom AND increase your value as a trainer by branching out and considering multiple specializations.

7. You’ll be a part of a very special community. Find a personal trainer on Facebook or Instagram. Now try to find a negative or depressing post or share. You’ll have to search pretty hard to find one. Successful trainers tend to be positive, motivating and inspirational. By surrounding yourself with people who are successful, positive, motivating and inspirational you’ll learn to be all those things on a daily basis, too! You will literally be surrounded by like-minded people who get up every day to make people’s lives better – and what better community could you ask for?

8. You will build wonderful and rewarding relationships with clients and other fitness professionals. Trainers who’ve been working in their field for a while typically find themselves inviting clients and other trainers to family meals, holidays and important life events like weddings. Why? Because when you share something as magical and life-changing with someone as and fitness or wellness transformation, you create lasting bonds with people that you’ll share for your entire life. You will literally find your tribe and build your family because of and based on the work that you do.

9. An almost selfish (but in a good way) benefit is that it will give you a reason to make sure you’re in top physical condition yourself. After all, the best way to inspire others is through your own actions, habits, and accomplishments. In fact, you’ll have no excuses to not workout yourself on a regular basis. It will help you motivate and inspire your existing clients and it will help you attract new clients. Clients are drawn o trainers who don’t just talk the talk – you have to walk the walk, too!

10. What’s it they say? Do something you love and you’ll never work a day in your life? Imagine waking up every day feeling like you get to fulfill a purpose instead of just go to a job. Imagine feeling like the work you do matters to someone instead of just fulfills a quota. Imagine knowing that what you do improves someone’s health, quality of life, personal relationships and affects not just your client but their spouse, their children and their entire network of people? Can you imagine feeling like your job isn’t work, but a great honor an opportunity EVERY SINGLE DAY?



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?

Running and Patience

Patience and Running from Elevate Fitness in Syracuse

by Kevin Collins, Run Club Director for Elevate Fitness Clubs

Just as one can be frustrated by sitting in a chair staring at the hour hand on a clock so too can it be looking for progress as a runner. When you finally can finally see the big picture and not look at the day to day change, you’ll be able to relax.

In 2000, I was heading into my second U.S. Olympic Trials with a pretty awful injury. I had decided that since it was only three Olympic Trials which I might ever run in a lifetime since they occur every four years, skipping the event was not an option. I decided that come hell or high water, I was going to be merely a finisher – and that’s all I really was: 2nd to last place. Disappointing? Of course!

So it was a bit confusing to my work friends back home when I strolled in the next morning talking excitedly about my morning run. “Wait…What are you training for?” they asked. “The 2004 Olympic Trials of course!” I replied. The blank stares were obvious and then the comments followed. Nobody could believe that I could forecast suddenly to a race four years into the future, but I had both a something very powerful working for me:

Trust in consistency,

and Tremendous patience.

My college teammate (and successor) was in those 2000 Olympic Trials. He had qualified with a much slower time than I but beat me nonetheless paired against my injury. I also knew that he would be, like many of the Qualifier participants in the race, going on a more relaxed approach to training for the next couple of years perhaps more, only to see the upcoming 2004 Trials date approach and begin training again. They would get into great shape again, but would they be better?

In those first two years, pressure-free, I took to my recovery of about two weeks and when my injury cleared, my jogs became runs again, speedwork returned and I raced and trained myself far beyond my best times even if I were healthy in the 2000 Trials race. By the time I reached late 2003, I had reached another plateau altogether and the runners who had begun training again for the 2004 year were simply playing catchup. To re-attain their fitness was to still be behind. A full four minutes better than my 2000 qualifier now (a massive amount of time when you are a sub-2:20 marathoner), my college teammate had remarked that on the loop course of the 2004 Trials, his goal was simply to not get lapped by me!

It didn’t happen all in one day, I chipped away at my best time bits at a time, never backsliding, always consistent. Even if your goals are fitness, it’s the same patience that will get you there. Enjoy the journey. Take your eyes off of the “hour hand”! Here are some tips to help you with patience:

Remember that even a second faster per week is nearly a minute faster in a 5k one year later.

See the big picture: Mark the date on the calendar right now. Where will you be one year from now with consistency? Get an image of yourself hundreds of miles later.

Enjoy the journey. Beyond progress what other reasons do you run for? Weight loss or management? Friendships? Clearing your head? Drive to a place you’ve always wanted to run.


Make it an adventure.


Want to learn more about the Elevate Fitness Run club or Coach Kevin Collins?

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.



5 Bad Workout Habits to Break Today

5 Bad Workout Habits to Break Today

We all have habits. And some habits are healthy (going to the gym regularly!) and some are less healthy (overeating after a workout because we over-estimate our burn). We’re going to talk today about 5 of the most common bad workout habits and how to break them for good!

Bad Habit: Not knowing the proper rep range for your goals or having bad/sloppy form.

Chances are if you’ve been working out for a while now, you’ve noticed that you can do more reps of exercises you used to struggle with – but should you? And what about the ideal range of motion – do you know what that is for the exercises in your program or are you guessing? Chances are you’ve built some bad habits in both the number of reps you’re doing (which is going to be hugely dependent upon what your goals are, so you might might not want to follow the advice that works for someone else with different goals) or your form. And if you haven’t been working out for a while, this is a good habit to avoid forming in the first place.

Solution: Check in with a personal trainer every now and then to make sure your program is appropriate to your goals from how much you’re lifting or running to form to reps/duration. Get a complimentary consultation with an Elevate Fitness Personal trainer here.

Bad Habit: Not changing up your workout often enough.

Workouts get stale, and what’s worse, they become less effective over time. Doing the same workout day in and day out will not only slow your results, but could actually derail them altogether over time.

Solution: Try group fitness classes. The group classes at Elevate Fitness are designed to be consistent so that you benefit from the programs while being progressive so that you’re constantly challenged and making improvements in your fitness. Plus – if one class gets stale there are literally dozens and dozens of others to try. Learn more about the types of group workouts offered at Elevate Fitness here.

Bad Habit: Leaving the gym and consuming excessive calories in the name of “refueling”. 

Sure, it’s a real thing. You need to fill the tank when you empty it. However, the truth of the matter is that most people overestimate how empty their tank is and underestimate how much they’re filling it back up.

Long story short? We overestimate caloric expenditure during exercise and underestimate caloric intake when we’re eating. The result? We don’t create the caloric deficits we think we’re creating during exercise.

Solution: Use trackers/apps to ensure you are burning the calories you think you’re burning and to make sure you’re not taking in more calories than you mean to. We think Heart Rate Monitors are the bee’s knees at Elevate Fitness. They give you the most accurate data you can get for your day-to-day workouts and make it a breeze to know how many calories you burned in the gym. Pair that with a great calorie-counting app like MyFitnessPal or Calorie King and you’re well on your way to breaking this bad habit most of us don’t even realize we’re guilty of!

Bad Habit: Making your workouts too much work and not enough fun.

Everything in life is about balance, right? And the same is true when it comes to your time in the gym. Yes, you should be working hard – but if you’re not having some fun in the process, how likely are you to stick with it for the long haul?

Solution: Mix it up. Here’s where those group fitness workouts can come in handy. Or how about trying something new in the gym that you’ve never tried before. Do you know how many calories you can burn on the tennis courts? HealthStatus reports a 150-lb. person can burn around 288 calories in an hour of doubles tennis and 414 calories in an hour of singles tennis – more for those weighing more than 150-lb.

Whatever the activity is – find something that’s fun and occupies your mind as much as your body and you’ll stick with it longer and have a much better time putting in the work required to meet your goals!

Bad Habit: Trying to go it alone.

We’re not solitary creatures, and while some people benefit from making the gym a solo effort (and if that’s you and it’s working for you – keep on keeping on!) most of us do better surrounded by others working toward similar goals to share their experiences with us and to hold us accountable to our goals.

Solution: Find that friend who would be good for your routine and ask them to fill out a guest form and try the gym with you – you may find a lifelong workout partner who helps you get into the best shape of your life! Don’t know who to ask? No problem! Find a program in the gym, like the Weight Loss Challenge, that aligns with your goals and try it out – the worst possible outcome is you meet some new people and move on to try something else. Best possible scenario? You change your life!

Whether you’re guilty of one or all of these bad habits, change starts with awareness! Determine what habits are standing in the way of you getting the results you want from your workout program and then make the changes you need to take your fitness to the next level!

Not a member? Not a problem! Try Elevate Fitness in Dewitt and Liverpool for FREE!

The Weight Loss Challenge Results are IN!

The inaugural Elevate Fitness Weight Loss Challenge has ended, and the results were spectacular! Our Liverpool winner, Nicholas, lost 32 pounds during the six-week challenge, and our Dewitt winner, Tim, lost 20 pounds!

While the winner’s results are obviously not typical, all the participants happily reported seeing results. The most common feedback, though, wasn’t about pounds lost. It was about the friendships built during the challenge. The bonds that formed are lasting beyond the challenge with many of the participants continuing to workout together and with many of them even opting to participate in another challenge together!

Here’s the Liverpool winner, Nicholas, shortly after finding out he’d won:

We’re looking forward to another challenge (starting March 18th with a kick-off event on March 16th) and if you’re interested in being a part of our next cycle, stop by the Member Service Center in the club, or visit this page to learn more. Not a member? Not a problem – the Elevate Fitness Weight Loss Challenge is open to members and non-members alike!

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!

What is Intermittent Fasting?

What is Intermittent Fasting?


You can’t have a conversation about diet and nutrition without somebody mentioning intermittent fasting. But what exactly is it and does it work?

Intermittent fasting is the act of alternating between a fasted and fed state. The length of the fasted and fed states can vary but are usually a repeating pattern of some sort. The purposes of intermittent fasting range from weight loss to disease management to lifestyle.

A pioneer in the world of intermittent fasting, Dr. Jason Fung is best known for his book The Obesity Code. Dr. Fung’s research suggests that intermittent fasting can be a very effective weight loss strategy and may even have the ability to reverse the symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes!

Does it Work?

Intermittent fasting has some very well documented benefits. A quick google search for the benefits of intermittent fasting will return hundreds of webpages all espousing the benefits of this trendy craze. However, most research suggests that intermittent fasting (when performed correctly) is safe and effective, but no more or less effective than traditional diets and weight loss programs.

Ultimately, the answer to this question, like so many great questions is yes and no. The most effective weight loss program, ultimately, is the one you’re most likely to stick with. For some people, that’s intermittent fasting. For others, it’s something else. So simply put: intermittent fasting works for some people but not for others. Of course, it also depends on what your goals are. Some people report weight loss. Some report a decrease in the symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes while others report increased energy. Someone hoping to lose weight who instead sees an energy increase is likely to consider fasting ineffective.

However, when it’s all said and done, there are some lessons that anyone who’s trying to lose, or maintain, weight can take away from the idea of intermittent fasting:

Don’t snack before bed. The hours between dinner and bedtime are often the most dangerous. Whether it’s mindless eating in front of the television or a mad-rush to quell hunger that’s been building all day, eating late in your day can be problematic for a number of reasons. It may cause you to make poor choices when it comes to your food (research suggests those who eat or snack later in the day often choose more calorie dense, less nutritious foods) and it may affect your ability to sleep. It’s best to make dinner your last meal (and eating) of the day.

Think before you eat. Often times we eat simply because we’re conditioned to do so (for example maybe you eat breakfast every day because you always have and not because you’re hungry) or because our environment encourages it (eating at a party or gathering simply because there’s food available). We’re all guilty of eating when we don’t need to or eating past the point of fulfillment. A simple trick to combat this is to ask yourself a simple question before eating: “Why am I eating this?”

Drink lots of water. One of the tools used by most intermittent fasters to reduce the feelings of hunger is to drink water when hunger hits. This is a great strategy to follow as the body often has difficulty distinguishing between hunger and thirst. Often times a goals-defeating binge can be avoided by stopping and downing an 8-ounce glass of cold water.

Whether you choose to dabble in fasting or take some of these fasting tips to incorporate into your own program remember that no program is one-size-fits-all and you should always consult with your doctor before starting any new diet or exercise program. See what doctors have to say about fasting here.


Learn more about Elevate Fitness in Syracuse.

Why You Should Bring Your S.O. to the Gym With You

Why you should bring your significant other to the gym with you

As our lives become busier and busier, it’s become more common for many couples to make their fitness a priority together. Gone are the days where one partner hits the weight-centric gym on the corner while the other partner visits the yoga studio on the other side of town. And it’s not just for convenience that this shift is happening, there are actually a number of reasons you should consider bringing your significant other to the gym with you.

It will save you money.

In today’s age of Netflix memberships and Spotify subscriptions and ten dollar corporate coffee drinks, it’s no wonder we spend a lot of time trying to figure out where we can cut some corners to save a few dollars. Joining a gym with your significant other will often result in some savings as opposed to joining separately, or joining different facilities.

And it’s not just your membership dues where you’ll see the savings – you’re likely to save on gas and wear-and-tear on your car as you’ll be commuting to your gym together. And the two of you sharing in your fitness goals is likely to mean fewer meals out, less fast food and additional savings in ways you hadn’t even considered.

It’s quality time together.

We live in an age with all these tools and resources that are supposed to make us more productive and simplify life, but we’re somehow finding less and less available time in the day. Instead of living separate lives for ten to twelve hours a day and then “connecting” for a few minutes in front of the television before heading to bed before starting the whole cycle all over again, many couples are finding that heading to the gym together before starting their days, or meeting there after work, is a great way to spend productive and quality time together.

It creates accountability.

It’s likely that you can benefit from some accountability when it comes to your fitness routine, no? Think about all those days you failed to go to the gym because you were feeling “tired” or because you worked later than you expected or because of any other excuse that was just that – an excuse.

Having someone who is depending on you has a tremendous impact on your likeliness to hold up your end of the bargain. If that person is your significant other, it’s even better because they’re less likely to let you get away with excuses. Being able to hold each other accountable to your fitness schedule and goals will have a significant impact on your ability to reach them.

It will strengthen your emotional bond.

Not only does working toward a goal together help you to feel closer and more connected, but seeing your partner work toward their goal will strengthen your admiration and appreciation for your partner, making you see the qualities in them that are attractive and desirable.

Studies also suggest that non-verbal mimicry strengthens emotional bonds. Running together at a similar pace, matching your cadence in a spin class or lifting weights in rhythm with your partner are examples of non-verbal mimicry that will help foster a sense of connection increasing your emotional bond to your partner.

It will increase your sense of desire for each other.

Increased heart rate. Sweaty brow. You’re hyper-aware of your pulse and you’re breathing comes fast … I’m talking about exercise, of course. But if you were confused, that’s a good thing! The physical “symptoms” of exercise are very similar to those of physical intimacy.

Engaging in physical activity with your partner can have a significant impact on your life in the bedroom. After all, if you can manage an hour on the treadmill, that’s bound to have some real-world benefits, isn’t it?


We hope these reasons for bringing your S.O. to the gym with you have caused you to stop and think about how you can use fitness to strengthen your relationship. And of course, we hope it’s obvious that the best benefit is a longer, happier, healthier life together – what could be better than that?

If you and your S.O. need a gym so that you can start experiencing these life-changing benefits for yourselves, consider giving Elevate Fitness a try, for FREE!

How to Stay Motivated at the Gym

How to stay motivated at the gym

A lot of time is spent talking about how to get motivated to start your journey at the gym, but not quite as much time is spent discussing how to STAY motivated. And it makes sense – it’s easy to get fired up and excited when something is new, but how do you stay motivated when the newness wears off and the reality of what it takes to make lasting lifestyle change creeps in? Here are five sure-fire ways to stay motivated in the gym.

Revise your goals and reward yourself.

Now that you’re a regular at the gym, you’ve probably learned a few things. Mainly, that you don’t get results overnight – fitness is something that you have to work at, and then keep working at. Setting short term goals that are specific (like, in 30 days I want to be able to run for 30 minutes on the treadmill without stopping or bench press 100 pounds by March) gives you something attainable to work on in the short term while helping you fulfill your bigger goals at the same time.

And the best way to make this strategy work is to decide on how you’ll reward yourself when you reach the goal. Maybe you’ll cash in your Elevate Reward Points in our Rewards Store, or maybe you’ll buy a new pair of jeans or treat yourself to a movie. Whatever you decide on as your reward, make sure you keep your promise to yourself once you reach your short-term goals!

Use measurements to track your less visible progress.

The scale can be a very deceiving indication of what benefits you’re getting from your gym time. If you’re losing fat, but replacing it with muscle (which takes up less physical space on your body, pound-for-pound) you might not see those changes reflected on the scale. Other great measurements are before-during-and after pictures. Seeing a photo of yourself at the beginning of your journey can be very motivating when it comes to keeping you moving.

Body fat is also a great measurement to track if your goal is weight loss. Elevate Fitness offers a 3D body scan that will give you a computer-generated 3d image of your body (even better than a photo, since you can’t choose flattering angles and filters to hide the truth) and hundreds of measurements including body fat percentage, weight, circumference measurements and more. Best of all – a scan takes less than 5 minutes and it’s a great way to check in and make sure you’re moving in the right direction – nothing is as motivating as seeing your success!

Change it up.

Doing the same workout day after day can ruin your motivation and excitement levels faster than anything else. So change up your routine – if you spend a lot of time doing cardio exercise, learn how to do some strength training or vice versa. Always find yourself using the same machines? Challenge yourself to try that one that you could never picture yourself using. Of course, this means doing the appropriate research to make sure you don’t hurt yourself.

Don’t feel like researching? Make it easier on yourself and try a new group fitness class. Immediately you’ve varied your workout and done so in a way that’s safe and effective and comes with built-in motivation and coaching (if you’ve never been encouraged by a group fitness instructor 55 minutes into the hardest 60 minutes class of your life, then you don’t know what you’re physically capable of).

Your membership doesn’t include classes? Talk to a membership coordinator and explain your situation and tell them you’d like to try out the classes. Usually, they’ll let you, after all – if you end up loving them (and you will) you’ll upgrade to a class membership, right?

Mentor a beginner.

Remember when you were just getting started and how easy it was to motivate yourself to go to the gym? How excited you got to try a new workout or learn something new about fitness? Recapture that magic by recruiting someone in your life to come to the gym with you. When you mentor a beginner, you’ll get to experience that newbie fitness bliss all over again, but through their eyes this time.

And even better, get you a gym that rewards you for bringing new members in (at Elevate Fitness you get 500 Rewards Points that can be used in our Rewards Store toward anything from Elevate merchandise to apparel to travel to concert tickets!).

Meet with a trainer.

Now, we’re assuming you’re a good gym-goer and you took advantage of your new member orientation session and met with a trainer when you were getting started, right? RIGHT? (If you didn’t – advance to the front desk immediately – do not pass go and do not collect $200 – and tell them you didn’t get to schedule that when you joined, but you’d like to now!) So you already know at least one of the trainers in your gym.

Often time, trainers are required to do a certain number of complimentary sessions per month. It never hurts to ask if they can do a complimentary follow-up to your consultation. After all, you’re bound to have questions for a trainer now that you didn’t when you were brand new to the gym. Plus, nobody becomes a personal trainer because they’re expecting to get rich and famous (think about it – how many rich and famous personal trainers can you think of? And before you get all excited because you thought of one, how many rich and famous chefs can you think of – more, right?) they do it because they love it and they want to help people – don’t be shy about asking for the help they got into this business to provide.


Not a member of a gym yet? Give Elevate a try for FREE:

The Importance of Community in the Gym

The importance of community at your gym

There are a lot of benefits to not going it alone on your fitness journey. The power of community is something that can benefit us in almost every aspect of our lives, not just our gym lives. But today, we’re talking about five ways that the power of community can increase your results at the gym.

Our first, and favorite, benefit is MOTIVATION. This is what makes activities like 5Ks, Tough Mudders, and most sporting events so much more motivating than a solo jog through the neighborhood. Human beings are motivated by the presence of other people. We don’t want to look like we’re not giving 100% when there are eyes on us, so we naturally try harder. Fitness is a perfect arena in which to harness the power of this simple truth: workout with and around people and you’ll naturally work harder.

The next benefit to explore is the FUN factor. If you’re having a great conversation during a run, it makes the time go by so much faster because you’re having fun. Know why so many people love group fitness classes? Because they have fun taking them. Anything we can do to increase our enjoyment of an activity will increase our likelihood of repeating that activity – which in the gym translates to success. Plus, who among us isn’t looking for ways to find more time with the people who matter to us? Kill two birds with one stone and get your workout done while you’re at it.

A community brings DIVERSITY. A diversifying your workout program will keep you interested and motivated longer than a stale routine will. Whether it’s people with different interests or just the number of activities you can pursue as part of a community but not by yourself (ever tried playing basketball or soccer alone?), diversifying your workout program is a sure fire way to increase compliance and results.

Everybody needs to be accountable to someone. Sometimes we’re strong enough that somebody can be ourselves, but most of the time we need a plan for ACCOUNTABILITY. Signing up for a class, or arranging to meet a friend at the gym both create circumstances in which you’re accountable to something or someone, increasing the likelihood of you actually following through on your plans.

One of the best ways you can benefit from the community is by saving MONEY. It’s cheaper to grab a friend who has similar goals and work together with a personal trainer than it is to do it alone. It’s cheaper to join a gym with unlimited classes and lots of members than to buy individual classes as you go. You’ll never be able to afford the space, equipment, and maintenance necessary to replicate everything in a gym, so joining a gym community will give you access to so much more than you’d ever be able to manage on your own.

So, whether it’s one of these five benefits, or something else you’ve discovered – the power of community can do amazing things for your fitness. Here are some ways to take advantage of the community at Elevate Fitness:


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The Top 5 Myths and Facts Of Weight Loss Surgery

Elevate Fitness The Top 5 Myths and Facts Of Weight Loss Surgery


Year on year, the demand for weight loss surgery is on the rise in the UK and the world. The World Health Organisation (WHO) predicts that by 2015 approximately 2.3 billion adults worldwide will be overweight and more than 700 million will be obese. According to, the prevalence of obesity in England is one of the highest in the European Union with just over a quarter of adults (26% of both men and women aged 16 or over) classified as obese in 2010.

The steady increase of weight loss surgeries performed has made this particular type of elective surgery a target of media coverage and general public social debates. Most likely you know someone who had the surgery or you know someone who knows someone who has had the surgery. The medias, in the UK and worldwide, feature daily stories, either it be a celebrity’s, politician’s or the average person’s successes or failures. The stories vary from patients life saving endorsements to horror stories of post surgery complications gone wrong.

Sensationalism in the media often distorts facts and myths of weight loss surgery which makes it difficult for prospective patients to make an informed decision. To make an informed decision, patients are advised to seek advice from a bariatric surgeon to discuss their own specific needs and requirements. BUT, prior the consultation with a surgeon, it is important to make the differences between fiction and fact. Here are the top 5 myths demystified.

1 – Weight loss surgery is the easy way out.

Nothing is further from the truth than the above statement. There is nothing easy about it. Patients undergoing bariatric surgery have to endure drastic dietary and lifestyle changes. For the first 4 weeks post surgery, they are only able to eat liquids and pureed foods. If they don’t follow advice from their dietitian or nutritionist post surgery, they may suffer from nausea, cramps, vomiting, dumping syndrome or other difficulties in digestion. Once they have mastered their diet, they need to start exercising regularly to shade the extra weight. Weight loss surgery is a tool that when combined with a healthy diet and exercise will support obese patients is achieving a healthier weight.

2 – Weight loss surgery is very risky.

The general public associates bariatric surgery with a very high risk of death, but that is just not the reality. According to a recent report by NBSR (National Bariatric Surgery Registry in the UK), weight loss surgery is safe with a mortality rate of 0.1% overall and a surgical complication rate of 2.6%. The main reasons why most patients undergo surgery are the health risks associated with morbid obesity. In the long run, it is far riskier staying obese than having weight loss surgery.

3 – You will never regain weight.

As stated above, bariatric surgery is only a tool. The amount of weight lost after surgery is down to each individual patients. The sustainability of weight loss is directly correlated to each patient’s motivation to commit to a healthier lifestyle. Some patients do regain some weight. There are no guarantees you will be thin but if you follow professional advice from a nutritionist/dietitian and in some cases a fitness trainer; the chances of not regaining weight are greatly improved.

4 – You’ll never be hungry.

Physical hunger will be greatly diminished straight after surgery. Some patients may experience what is called head hunger, a withdrawal symptom. One to two years post surgery, after most of the weight loss, a large percentage of patients will regain hunger. The good news is by that time a smaller meal will satisfy and most patients have learned to eat a healthier diet.

5 – You can’t get pregnant after weight loss surgery.

Obese woman have a harder time getting pregnant due to hormone imbalances and fertility issues such as a lack of menstrual cycles. Many women post surgery experience a higher level of fertility due to their healthier weight. Pregnancy after bariatric surgery is possible and patients experience a lower risks of complications associated with obesity with pregnancy. Once women have lost their excess weight and have no other health problems, they can expect to have a normal delivery.

For more information on weight loss surgery:
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Why Choose a Gym Over a Fitness Studio

Which Is Better - a gym or a fitness studio?

You can’t drive much more than a block these days without passing a fitness studio of some sorts. From barre to kickboxing to boot camps to HIIT – there seems to be a studio for every type of exercise you can imagine.

There’s a reason these studios are popping up all over – more people are realizing the benefits of physical fitness than ever before, and in response, there are a ton of studios out there ready to promise you the world and take your money.

So why choose a traditional gym or fitness center when there are so many trendy studios to choose from instead? We’re glad you asked. Here are five reasons to choose a gym over a fitness studio.

  1. Convenience: Most studios have a schedule of classes or workouts throughout the week to choose from. Most people pick a schedule and that’s it – that’s when they’re working out. Most gyms, however, offer classes and workouts at scheduled times just like the studios AND give you the option to work out on your own for SEVERAL additional hours throughout the day meaning you’ll never have to use your schedule as an excuse for missing a workout.
  2. Cost: Usually, we prefer to talk about value, after all, spending a dollar on a cup of coffee has a different value than spending a dollar on an entire meal does, right? But even using basic cost as a comparison, you’ll find that you’ll spend less on a monthly membership at a gym than you would on a program at a studio. Why? It’s simple: gyms have more members so they don’t need to charge each individual as much to create a sustainable business model.
  3. Variety: Back to the value point – if you join a kickboxing studio, you’re going to get pretty tired of kickboxing after a while and then what other options will you have? But at a gym like Elevate Fitness, if you get tired of lifting weights, you can try swimming, or if you’re tired of the pool, you can try group fitness classes. Greater variety will mean greater value.
  4. Experience: Gyms take a lot more to open and operate than a studio, so you’ll usually find that most gyms have been around a while and they’re likely to be around for a while. Take Elevate Fitness as an example, Elevate has been a staple of the community (in one form or another) for over thirty years. Those years translate into experience that you can use to your advantage.
  5. Expertise: Gyms are larger than studios. They, therefore, have larger staffs than studios. You get the advantage of having the knowledge and support of so many people with so many specialties and areas of expertise when you join a gym. Elevate has personal trainers, yoga instructors, Pilates instructors, swim coaches, weight loss coaches, tennis pros, spinning instructors, etc. With so many people with so many areas of expertise, you’re getting more for your money (again) and getting more value from your membership!

We’re not saying studios are bad. Ultimately the best workout is the one you’ll actually do – and you have to decide for yourself where that is. But if you’re struggling with choosing between a studio and a traditional gym, keep these benefits in mind as you make your decision.

Need more help making a decision that’s right for you? Let the experts at Elevate Fitness answer your questions:

What are the Best Exercises to Lose Weight Fast?

What are the Best Exercises to Lose Weight Fast?

Everyone who’s looking to lose weight has the same question: what are the best exercises to lose weight fast? There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to losing weight. However, there are some general rules of thumb that will help you ensure you’re weight loss program is both effective AND efficient.

In order to be effective, your weight loss plan needs to cause you to actually LOSE WEIGHT, right? And it needs to do so in a safe and practical way. It’s neither safe nor practical to eat only celery until you hit your goal weight. We’re therefore going to ignore the unsafe and impractical. For our purposes, we’re also interested in a plan that will help us maintain that weight loss. There are plenty of ways to drop pounds quickly that are short term solutions with no lasting effects, we’re not interested in those.

Once we agree on what makes a weight loss plan effective, we then need to agree on a definition of efficient. With regard to how much weight you can expect to lose in a HEALTHY and SUSTAINABLE way, we’re going to say anything more than 2 – 2.5 pounds of weight loss per week for the average person is unrealistic. Not impossible, but certainly unrealistic.

Here’s why: you may be able to drop more weight than that in a week, but the effect of greater weight loss in that time period can be problematic – it can cause metabolic confusion that slows your loss moving forward meaning you might lose fast out of the gate, but lose the race in the end. It’s also commonly believed that weight loss greater than 2 – 2.5 pounds per week is difficult to maintain as it’s often not achieved through sustainable lifestyle changes, but through tricks that are impossible to maintain for an extended period of time.

Now that we’ve agreed upon what makes a weight loss program or plan effective and efficient, let’s review some basic exercises that are going to help you see progress:

  1. Cardiovascular exercises: these are exercises that increase your heart rate for an extended period of time, putting your body into a state whereupon it requires more energy than the readily available energy available in your bloodstream and therefore turns to fat stores for additional energy. Great cardiovascular exercises for weight loss include running, jump rope and biking.
  2. Resistance exercises: these are exercises that cause your muscular system to work against a force (gravity, weight, etc.) in order to develop additional muscle. Resistance training is great because a basic rule of biology is that the more lean muscle mass you have on your body (achieved through resistance exercises) the more fat your body will burn in everyday life. Muscle burns more fat than fat does. The most common form of resistance exercise is weight training, which is a great addition to any weight loss program.
  3. Active recovery exercises: these are exercises that allow the body to recover from the cardiovascular and resistance training you’ve been doing while keeping your body moving and benefiting from movement and exercise. Yoga is a very popular form of active recovery exercise but can include walking, swimming and other lower intensity exercises that are easier to sustain for longer periods of time.

Keep in mind that weight loss is best achieved through a comprehensive program that is designed specifically for you and that takes into consideration your personal goals, exercise and health histories along with your exercise preferences combined with a customized nutrition plan.

Losing weight is a lot like baking – if you leave out an ingredient you’re not going to get the end result that you’re looking for. Exercise is just one of the ingredients in weight loss. Need help determining what your ideal program should be? Elevate Fitness is happy to help you determine what solution is best for you. Try us out now for FREE:


The Ways Weight Loss Makes Your Life Better

The Unexpected Benefits of Weight Loss

We know that losing weight is something that brings benefits to anyone who is overweight. We know that losing weight can mean reduced risk of disease. We know it’s the HEALTHY thing to do, but often times, that’s just not enough motivation to make the lifestyle changes necessary to actually lose weight and to lose it for good.

While researching this blog post, I was struck by the repeated use of the word “better” when reading lists of hidden and unexpected benefits of weight loss. So for this post, we’re going to focus on the ways in which losing weight can make your life better.

  1. Better Energy: Dr. Adam Tsai, a physician at Kaiser Permanente Colorado and a spokesperson for the Obesity Society explains the phenomenon this way, “When you’re carrying around fewer pounds, you use less energy to simply go about your day.” That means simple tasks like putting away your groceries or walking to the mailbox require less energy to complete and therefore your energy stores are not as quickly diminished throughout the day.
  2. Better Mood: Losing weight leads many to feel more confident and less insecure. A natural extension of that is that you’ll find yourself in a better mood much of the time. When you’re not constantly focused on worrying about what people are thinking about you or whether your outfit is flattering your body type or if you’re being judged for your meal choices in a restaurant, you clear up a lot of mental space that can be used to make you happier.
  3. Better Sleep: This article from the Harvard Health School outlines of a Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine study on the effects of weight loss on sleep. If you’re starting to notice, though, the items on this list are not mutually exclusive. Happier people sleep better. People who have ample energy during the day tend to sleep better. And likewise, people who sleep better are likely to have better energy during the day and be in a better mood.
  4. Better Skin: It’s likely that to achieve and maintain your weight loss you’ll be consuming more nutritious foods with higher water content. With the extra hydration and nutrition from your new diet, your skin will be getting more of what it needs to stay healthy. Remember – your skin is an organ, and it needs these things to stay healthy. And again – better sleep will lead to better skin. And better skin will lead to a better mode. It’s all related, folks.
  5. Better Sex: This one goes back to the mood point, actually. That boost in confidence? Better sex. That boost in energy? Better sex. And everyone who’s “been there” knows that better sex can certainly lead to better sleep. Who knows, you may even find that with your increased confidence and lower body weight you’re willing to be a little more adventurous in bed than you’d been previously.

I could keep going; a better back, better immunity, better memory, a better wardrobe, etc., etc. But I think you’re starting to get the picture. And what good is all this information? Sometimes to ignite a change, it’s helpful to dial in on the key benefit or benefits that are most exciting to you.

What will your life look like when you have better energy and are in a better mood more of the time? How will you feel when your skin is clearer and you’re getting the best sleep (or having the best sex) of your life? Imagine the impact these changes can have on your quality of life and combine that expectation with the knowledge you already have about the health and wellness benefits of weight loss.

Let us help you get there. Schedule an appointment with one of the weight loss specialists at Elevate Fitness today to put together a plan that works for your lifestyle, your schedule, and your budget. No cost and no obligation. Let us help you make the rest of your life the best of your life.


Gobble Up More Turkey

(BPT) - New Year’s resolutions are often hard to maintain, especially if you are trying to make healthier food choices after indulging in treats during the holidays. According to a 2019 Marist Poll, 44 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. For those who plan to make a resolution, two of the top resolutions are losing weight and eating healthier. Focusing on nutrition can start with meal planning and healthy protein options like turkey. Protein is essential to a wholesome, balanced diet, and turkey is an excellent source of protein. Turkey is also low in fat and perfect in many healthy recipes. Honeysuckle White offers a variety of turkey options — from ground turkey, to cutlets, breast strips, ready-to-cook meatballs and more. The brand works exclusively with independent family farmers in the U.S. to raise turkeys with care and without growth-promoting antibiotics. Skinless turkey breast is one of the leanest meats available and is considered a superfood by the American Heart Association. A boneless four-ounce serving of turkey contains 26 grams of protein — 12 percent more protein than the same size serving of boneless chicken breast — and only about one gram of fat plus zero grams of saturated fat. Turkey has much more to offer beyond protein. According to the USDA’s nutrition database, turkey typically has fewer calories and less cholesterol than other proteins, and is rich in all the B vitamins, especially B6 and B12, which help the body convert food into energy. Turkey also provides an abundance of minerals, including immune-boosting zinc, selenium and iron. Family farm-raised ground turkey is a great choice for families who want to eat better, and it is excellent for chili, tacos, fajitas and turkey burgers. With 28 grams of protein and only one gram of fat per serving, 99 percent fat-free ground turkey breast provides a great foundation for a wholesome entrée. For families on the go, convenient, oven-ready turkey meatloaf is a versatile option that is perfect for busy schedules. Achieving balanced, wholesome meals only takes a few simple steps. Smart shoppers plan meals before heading to the store and stick to the outside perimeter of the store to purchase fresh ingredients including vegetables, fruit and lean meats. While shopping, be sure to read the nutrition labels to know what you are feeding your family. Another benefit of laying out your shopping routine and planning meals is saving time and money. This budget-friendly approach will eliminate extra trips out to eat and can inspire new creations in the kitchen. Throughout the week you can have fun with your family, building new meals to put a variety of flavors on the dinner table. Working toward a healthier lifestyle does not have to be a drastic overhaul. Making small strides, including planning meals and shopping trips, will lead to smarter food choices. With a mix of lean proteins and fresh produce in the kitchen, you can deliver well-rounded and healthy meals for your whole family in the new year.

(BPT) – New Year’s resolutions are often hard to maintain, especially if you are trying to make healthier food choices after indulging in treats during the holidays. According to a 2019 Marist Poll, 44 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. For those who plan to make a resolution, two of the top resolutions are losing weight and eating healthier. Focusing on nutrition can start with meal planning and healthy protein options like turkey.

Protein is essential to a wholesome, balanced diet, and turkey is an excellent source of protein. Turkey is also low in fat and perfect in many healthy recipes. Honeysuckle White offers a variety of turkey options — from ground turkey to cutlets, breast strips, ready-to-cook meatballs and more. The brand works exclusively with independent family farmers in the U.S. to raise turkeys with care and without growth-promoting antibiotics.

Skinless turkey breast is one of the leanest meats available and is considered a superfood by the American Heart Association. A boneless four-ounce serving of turkey contains 26 grams of protein — 12 percent more protein than the same size serving of boneless chicken breast — and only about one gram of fat plus zero grams of saturated fat.

Turkey has much more to offer beyond protein. According to the USDA’s nutrition database, turkey typically has fewer calories and less cholesterol than other proteins and is rich in all the B vitamins, especially B6 and B12, which help the body convert food into energy. Turkey also provides an abundance of minerals, including immune-boosting zinc, selenium, and iron.

Family farm-raised ground turkey is a great choice for families who want to eat better, and it is excellent for chili, tacos, fajitas, and turkey burgers. With 28 grams of protein and only one gram of fat per serving, 99 percent fat-free ground turkey breast provides a great foundation for a wholesome entrée. For families on the go, convenient, oven-ready turkey meatloaf is a versatile option that is perfect for busy schedules.

Achieving balanced, wholesome meals only takes a few simple steps. Smart shoppers plan meals before heading to the store and stick to the outside perimeter of the store to purchase fresh ingredients including vegetables, fruit and lean meats. While shopping, be sure to read the nutrition labels to know what you are feeding your family.

Another benefit of laying out your shopping routine and planning meals is saving time and money. This budget-friendly approach will eliminate extra trips out to eat and can inspire new creations in the kitchen. Throughout the week you can have fun with your family, building new meals to put a variety of flavors on the dinner table.

Working toward a healthier lifestyle does not have to be a drastic overhaul. Making small strides, including planning meals and shopping trips, will lead to smarter food choices. With a mix of lean proteins and fresh produce in the kitchen, you can deliver well-rounded and healthy meals for your whole family in the new year.

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.

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Identifying Challenges Impacting Your Weight

Weight Loss - Identifying Challenges Impacting Your Weight Loss Results


If you are making effort to lose weight but are struggling to see the results you were hoping for, there may be a few roadblocks coming into play, making it hard to see the progress you were hoping for. Although it can take one or two weeks for you to see the effects of early weight loss, this can be very frustrating for any dieter.

By looking at some of the unknown challenges that could be coming into play, you will be better able to figure out precisely what you might want to consider changing.

Let us take a closer look…

Thyroid Related Issues. The first health factor that could be influencing your lack of weight loss is whether you have a thyroid related issue coming into the mix. If you have untreated hypothyroidism, for example, this is going to make it difficult to lose body fat. Your body will not be burning up calories quickly and, as a result, you will not see the pounds drop off as you had hoped.

Thyroid related issues are a quick fix with medication, so all you need to do is visit your doctor and have a blood test performed to see if this is the case. It is important to note if you are diagnosed with hypothyroidism, this condition will not change. You will have this health issue for life so will need to remain on the prescribed medication.

Medications. Another factor making weight loss a challenge is if you are on drugs that cause medicine related weight gain. While this is rare and most of the effects a drug has are relatively minor, it is still important to note as there are instances where medications promote weight gain. If you feel this may be happening to you, it will be essential for you to speak with your doctor and ask what alternative drugs you may be able to take.

Note, in some cases, there is no alternative, and it is essential for your health to stay on the medication and risk weight gain than come off them. In this situation, be extra careful with your food choices.

Lack of Planning. Finally, the last issue not related to physiology that can have a severe influence on your ability to shed weight is if you are not able to plan out your diet.

For example, if you are someone who is…

away on business a lot,
often on the road, or
just highly active; always on the go,
it is almost impossible to plan a healthy diet.
While being “busy” should not be used as an excuse, there are always those people who take busy to a whole new level. If this is your life right now, you may need to accept for the time being you will not be able to achieve the weight loss results you are hoping for at present and put your efforts off to a time when your life is less busy. Otherwise, you may end up continually facing frustration.

There you have some of the most pressing reasons why you may not be losing your desired amount of weight despite your best efforts. If any of these difficulties are coming into play, know you have not failed altogether and with proper care and action steps, you should be able to start measuring success.

Although managing your disease can be very challenging, Type 2 diabetes is not a condition you must just live with. You can make simple changes to your daily routine and lower both your weight and your blood sugar levels. Hang in there, the longer you do it, the easier it gets.

For nearly 25 years Beverleigh Piepers has searched for and found a number of secrets to help you build a healthy body. Go to to learn about some of those secrets.

The answer isn’t in the endless volumes of available information but in yourself.

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5 Reasons To Do a Weight Loss Challenge

5 Reasons a Weight Loss Challenge is the Solution You Need

If you’re anything like the majority of people, you’ve probably been thinking about changes you’d like to make in your life for 2019. Maybe you’re traditional and you actually set New Year’s Resolutions for yourself, or maybe you’re less formal and you just consider the things you’d like to see happen in the new year.

When we start thinking about the changes we’d like to make, how many of us start thinking about our physical health and fitness and maybe even some weight loss? The truth is – most of us.

Whether you have a few pounds to drop to fit back into your favorite pair of jeans after some holiday splurging, or if you have a more significant amount of weight to lose after allowing it to slowly pile on over the years – your best solution might just be a weight loss challenge.

Before we dive into WHY a weight loss challenge might be the best solution you didn’t know you were looking for, let’s talk about what we mean when we say “weight loss challenge”. For the purpose of this article, we’re considering a weight loss challenge to be a program overseen by fitness or medical professionals. The program would have a clear start and end date with reliable measuring, tracking and documentation throughout. We’d even go so far as to argue that the very BEST challenges will also involve some kind of cost because the more skin you have in the game – the more seriously you’re likely to take it.

Okay, so now we know what we mean by weight loss challenge, let’s talk about our favorite benefits. Here are five benefits of completing a weight loss challenge:

1. Weight Loss. Okay, this one’s obvious, but who among us wouldn’t be happy to step on the scale six weeks from today and see that we’ve dropped a few pounds?

2. Accountability. We usually have the best intentions in life, don’t we? We mean to lose weight. We mean to make healthier choices. We mean to call our mothers on the phone more often. But what happens is that intentions without any actual action just become wishes we’ve made. Joining a challenge is a simple step you can take that swings you from intention into action!

3. It’s short term. For a lot of us, the idea of weight loss is accompanied by the idea of sacrifice. We imagine all the delicious and fun things we’re going to have to give up in order to lose weight and we lose momentum before we’ve even started. Joining a challenge (especially a shorter one like 30 or 45 days) means that you’re only sacrificing for a pre-determined period of time. If you want to go back to your old ways (although you likely won’t WANT to – and then it’s no longer a sacrifice) at the end of the challenge, you can.

4. It’s cost-effective. Challenges usually take advantage of group training or workouts meaning that you pay less than you would if you did it on your own and hired a personal trainer. You’ll get more bang for your buck while still getting effective workouts and coaching from qualified coaches.

5. There’s Support. The same thing that makes challenges cost-effective – the other people – make challenges social, too. And there’s hard science that supports the idea that if your fitness or weight loss program is social, you’ll be more successful in both the short term (for the challenge) AND the long term (lasting lifestyle change).

Now, let’s get the disclaimer out of the way: as with ANY exercise or diet program, you should ALWAYS consult with your doctor before beginning any new programs.

Want to learn more about how the Elevate Syracuse Fitness Weight Loss Challenge addresses ALL of these benefits and more? Fill out this short form for a free, no-obligation session!

Health Experts Strongly Recommend Group Fitness

Why Many Health Experts Strongly Recommend Group Fitness Training

By Anthony Holton

One of the best ways to improve health and maintain a healthy fitness level is through exercise and fitness training. However, not everyone likes to exercise especially when they do not have anyone with them. And so, many health experts actually recommend group fitness training. As with anything, each kind of training comes with its own advantages, so it is worthwhile to determine which type best fits you and your overall goals.

If the boredom and lack of motivation describe you, you should seriously consider group fitness training which is strongly recommended by many health experts. Expert fitness trainers share the advantage of this type of training or exercise.

One of the main advantages of group fitness training, many people ought to know, is that it will provide the motivation to train harder. As you see other people in the class sweating, grunting and overcoming training obstacles, you will be inspired to push past your limitations. When you feel yourself progressing, you get motivated to train consistently, which then allows you to reach your fitness goals faster and be more encouraged to stay fit.

Additionally, training regularly allows you to form a special bond with fellow members of your group fitness training. People in your neighborhood or in your circle of friends can use as a form of accountability. When you know that other people are expecting you to show up, when there are people who actually care about your success, it makes it more difficult to skip a workout or go back to your unhealthy habits.

Fitness training groups offer a wider array of classes, ranging from high-intensity cardio sessions to get your heart pumping, to weight training using a variety of equipment designed to get you functionally fit, and explosively fun boxing classes. This means that you can select classes that fit your personality and goals or perhaps even discover a new passion. As many fitness experts say, finding an activity that you truly enjoy is one of the greatest ways to motivate yourself to train consistently.

And lastly, group training is a great opportunity to meet new people. In these classes, you will meet a diverse number of people, many of which share a common goal with you. This allows you to build a solid network that can help you not only with your fitness goals but in other aspects of your life as well, including your professional career.

Know more about this here.

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Whether you’re trying to lose weight or tone up or train for an event, find out why Elevate Syracuse is your best choice!

Fat Loss Diet Mistakes To Avoid

weight loss is our specialty at Elevate Fitness
By Beverleigh H Piepers

Are you on a fat loss diet? If so, there are a few mistakes you will want to avoid. These errors happen time and time again and take any well-meaning dieter away from their goals. By arming yourself with the following information, you can ensure you stay on track to greater success…

1. Not Tracking Calories Religiously. If there is one thing, everyone should do while dieting it is track calories. If you are serious about seeing the best results possible, you will find a way to make this happen. Yes, it can be a nuisance, but it is the way to guarantee you get the results you are after.

Eventually, you may get to the point of being able to eyeball servings but to start with – count, count, count.

2. Neglecting Your Fiber Intake. Do not forget your fiber intake! It is easy to leave fiber in the dust thinking it is just another carb so to be avoided. However, high fiber diets produce favorable weight loss results. You are better off eating more fiber even if it means eating a few extra carbs some of the time.

Besides, fiber is just plain healthy. It keeps you regular, helps to balance blood sugar, and can aid in the prevention of heart disease.

3. Thinking “Calorie-Free = Weight Loss Friendly.” Another mistake you will want to avoid is thinking “calorie-free means weight loss friendly.” Too many people get caught up in this trap because it would seem to make sense.

If a portion of food does not contain any calories, how could it impact your body weight? However, here is the deal: sometimes calorie-free foods can cause food cravings to set in, and these food cravings can leave you wanting foods you otherwise would not be eating.

If this occurs, you will be taking in calories you need to avoid, and this is what will lead to weight gain.

4. Eating Too Few Calories Each Day. The last weight loss mistake to avoid is eating too few calories each day. This one may seem silly – how could a low-calorie intake be a problem? Eating too few calories each day will set you up for…

a slower metabolism,
binge eating, and quite possibly,
lean muscle mass loss.
It is just not something you want to do as a calorie is the amount of energy needed to convert a certain amount of food to fuel
There you have four fat loss mistakes it would be a good idea to avoid. Are you falling for any of these?

Although managing your disease can be very challenging, Type 2 diabetes is not a condition you must just live with. You can make simple changes to your daily routine and lower both your weight and your blood sugar levels. Hang in there, the longer you do it, the easier it gets.



For nearly 25 years Beverleigh Piepers has searched for and found a number of secrets to help you build a healthy body. Go to to learn about some of those secrets.
The answer isn’t in the endless volumes of available information but in yourself.
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The Many Benefits Of Good Posture

The Many Benefits Of Good Posture

By Robert Finn

Having good posture is an important part of remaining healthy. It helps you avoid back pain and premature wear on your bones, improves lung performance, and much more. In this article, we will explain what good posture is before explaining the many benefits that it provides.

What is good posture?

Posture is the form that your body takes when you are sitting, standing, and laying down. Maintaining “good” posture is positioning your body so there is less strain placed upon your body’s muscles and ligaments when in these positions.

It requires your body to be as close to its natural shape as possible. So if you are sitting down, this would mean:

Keeping your chin up and looking forward
Keeping your shoulders back (not slouching)
Bending your knees at a right angle
Keeping your feet flat on the floor
Keeping your back straight enough that all 3 natural curves of the spine are present.

Sitting with good posture distributes weight more evenly across your muscle groups – helping you avoid neck, shoulder and back pain. It also allows you to comfortably work for longer periods and avoid some serious long-term health problems.
Having a chair with lumbar support will help you maintain good back posture.

What are the benefits of good posture?

Protects your future health

Having good posture will keep your joints correctly aligned, protecting the joint surfaces from abnormal wear-and-tear. By preventing this type of wear-and-tear, you can lower your risk of various illnesses including arthritis and a postural hunchback.

It makes it easier to breathe

The diaphragm is a large muscle that is responsible for respiration. When the diaphragm moves, it changes how much pressure there is within the thorax – causing air to either enter or exit the lungs.

Posture affects breathing because it changes how much room the diaphragm has to move. If you are slouched in a chair or while walking, the diaphragm cannot contract or expand as easily, preventing you from taking deep breaths. As soon as you correct your posture, you will immediately notice how much easier it is to breathe. This is a particularly useful benefit for anyone who has a health condition that affects their breathing.

Can help prevent back pain

Developing good posture can eliminate back pain caused by stressed muscles and poor joint alignment. It does so by actively reducing the strain placed on the muscles and joints by spreading weight across the entire body. This ensures that certain muscles or joints are not overworked or damaged.

Over time, having good posture will even improve the alignment of your spine, which will improve the condition of your back and reduce the risk of back injuries. You will be less likely to suffer from herniated discs, muscle strains or other back problems.

Improved physical performance

Good posture requires the use of more muscle groups. Not only does this reduce the chances of straining a single muscle, but it can also lead to an improvement in overall physical performance. Having the ability to engage muscles more evenly will help you perform better during daily activities and any sports that you play.

Strengthens the core

If you have already made improvements to your sitting posture, you will have noticed that your abdominal muscles feel more engaged. Your abdominals will be “sharing the load” with your back muscles as they keep your torso stable. The more you improve your posture, the stronger your core will get, thus improving the alignment of your spine, reducing stress on your back muscles, and improving your mobility.

Makes you look more attractive

Have you ever seen an actor or actress on a talk show? Did you notice how impeccable his or her posture was? Actors and actresses concentrate on having good posture because they understand how much it affects their appearance. By sitting tall in their seat and keeping their chin up, they will look much more beautiful or handsome to the viewers at home. You will gain the same benefits as you improve your posture.

Improved digestion of food

Sitting or standing with good posture will ensure your internal organs are in their natural position. This makes it easier for the body to digest food and perform other important functions like maintaining good blood circulation.

Can improve your mood

Researchers from the University of San Francisco have discovered that having good posture can help improve a person’s mood. They found that improved posture could also increase energy levels and reduce the risk of mental illnesses like depression.

Improving your posture can deliver some amazing benefits to your health and lifestyle. If you are interested in developing good posture, talk to a chiropractor or general practitioner. You can also use online resources like NHS choices to learn more.

Dr Robert Finn D.C. qualified as a chiropractor over 25 years ago from the Anglo European College of Chiropractors (the oldest and largest chiropractic college in Europe). He is passionate about chiropractic and helping his patients reach their health goals. He has clinics in Newcastle-under-Lyme and Stoke-on-Trent. Read more about Dr Finn here:

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3 Tips for Reaching Your Goals With A Busy Lifestyle

3 Tips To Reaching Your Health and Fitness Goals With A Busy Lifestyle

By Margot Rutigliano  

Life has this sneaky way of creeping in and throwing curve balls left and right. Life will always happen. There will always be a busy day at work or family problems or relationship highs and lows or sick children. Once a conflict arises, it seems like health and fitness routines go haywire. We seek comfort food or we just don’t feel like moving. These are the things that help us stay clear and balanced in both body and mind though! So what do we do when conflict smacks us in the face (and it happens to everyone so if you’re reading this – you’re not alone)? Avoiding the conflict is not reasonable because we can’t always control what comes at us. Figuring out how to navigate through any issues is what needs to happen to stay on track.

I think so many times we approach health and fitness goals with an “all or nothing” mindset. For example, you might think your day is ruined because you veered off of your diet with an unhealthy meal or snack. Or, you decided not to workout today because you couldn’t do the allotted 60 minutes that you had planned for. Instead of doing something, you may have chosen nothing at all. You gave up on day two of 30 days of clean eating. Do any of those sound familiar? It doesn’t have to be all or nothing and something is better than nothing. My tips below might give you some perspective on how to reach your health and fitness goals even when life throws you a curve ball.

My philosophy is: nourish, movement, mindset. If we can work on nourishing our bodies, moving them mindfully and maintaining a healthy attitude, we can function a little better day by day, week by week, month by month and eventually get into the healthy habits on a regular basis that we need to achieve total body balance.

1. Nourish.
Focus on one small thing at a time. Start simple and work from there. Don’t expect to change your eating habits overnight. Small changes executed day after day, week after week and so on can lead to a really big change. So pick one small nutrition action and practice it for one to two weeks before adding in a new change.

Examples: Work on portion control (without regard to food quality), add one colorful food in at each meal, take 15 minutes to meal prep tomorrow’s healthy food or omit your sugary after dinner snack (swap it out with a healthy alternative). You could eat slowly and chew your food completely or focus on balancing your meals so that you have protein, carbohydrate, and fat at each meal. Omitting processed foods at one to two meals per day is also another great option. These are just some examples but it’s up to you to figure out which little step you can take to improve your nutrition.

2. Movement.
Take advantage of the time that you DO have. Carve out space in the small pockets of your time. We get fixated on time so often that we don’t realize that a little is always better than nothing. For example, it’s so easy to think that you have to do a workout for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Wouldn’t 15 minutes of that workout be better than nothing though? The answer is yes! So squeeze in what you can, when you can.

Get unconventional. Maybe you don’t have time to get in a “workout”. Do what you can with what you’ve got. Maybe you take the stairs that day instead of the elevator. Park in the parking space furthest away from the building (gasp!) to get some extra steps in. Stand up from your desk and walk around for a minute every 15 or 20 minutes. Run around at the playground with your kids. Movement doesn’t always have to be in the form of a straight up 30 minute HIIT workout. It can be moving and active – outside or inside. What are the ways that you could get in some more movement?

Move mindfully. Pay close attention to your body and what it’s trying to tell you. Your body and energy levels will fluctuate day by day so take advantage of more vigorous workouts when you can and also add in active recovery, lighter workouts or even yoga or stretching when necessary.

3. Mindset.
Don’t give up. Don’t throw in the towel on eating right and moving your body. It seems easy to take the “all or nothing” approach but that’s not necessary. Something is always better than nothing. Don’t beat yourself up! Life ebbs and flows for everyone. Take a look at where you’re at right now and what you can make work right now.

The most important thing is to honor where you’re at. Only you know what you’re capable of at this point in your life. Make sure the small steps you take are 100% doable for you and your lifestyle. Small steps over time can add up to big change.


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Margot Rutigliano is a freelance writer as well as the owner of Vita Vie Retreat. She has been a fitness trainer, wellness coach, and healthy living adviser since 1999. Vita Vie Retreat is a fitness retreat offering healthy lifestyle transformation programs for men and women of all ages and fitness levels. For more information or to contact Ms. Rutigliano, please visit

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The Relaxation Effect

Relaxation is Important for Your Health


Harvard researchers have discovered what they call “the relaxation effect.”

What they’ve learned is that daily relaxation causes bodily changes all the way down to our genetic level.

For those people who practiced daily relaxation long term, their disease-fighting genes were active, as opposed to people who did not make relaxation a part of their lives.

The relaxation practicing participants seemed to have ‘switched on’ genes that protect them from high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis, pain, and even infertility.

But wait! There’s more…

When the researchers in the study asked the non-relaxation practicing participants to start using relaxation methods, it only took two months for their bodies to begin changing. Genes that fight inflammation and help prevent
cancer began turning on! And the more they practiced relaxation, the more improved were the benefits.

The takeaway message? You can’t afford not to relax. Too much is riding on this.

Guided relaxation meditation from Chad Foreman that will help you relax and revitalize.

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Better Posture Leads to Less Pain and Better Balance

by Susan Ohlsen

Better Posture Leads to Pain Prevention and Improved Balance at Elevate Fitness in Syracuse

Posture is a reflection of how you balance your body, which would fall forward if your muscles did not pull it back. You continually use your muscles reflexively to balance whenever you sit or stand. To help you keep an upright posture, you use your eyes to gauge what is level (which is why balance exercises are harder with your eyes shut), along with sensory information from your inner ears, muscles, and joints. If something affects the way you carry your body, your brain adapts and adopts new muscle and joint positions. To avoid undue pain, you may temporarily adopt a new movement pattern, such as when one of your hips hurts. As a result, you’ll think that you are standing straight up even when you aren’t Muscles, ligaments and nerves change as they adapt to changes in your movement patterns

Effects of Good Posture versus Bad

Over time, your body tends to bend forward, moving your center of balance in the same direction, making your body unstable as you walk, and increasing your chances of falling down. Similarly, adaptive patterns of movement can increase the stress on your joints. For instance, frequently slouching puts pressure on your vertebrae, ultimately causing discs to become compressed and resulting in neck and back pain. Conversely, good posture makes you feel better. Your muscles are more limber, and you have better mobility and less tension in your neck and shoulders, back, legs, and spine. Thus, having a good posture is very important for preventing pain and maintaining better balance.

Improve-Your-Posture Exercise

For better posture, a single exercise done properly is best. We suggest that you stand with your back to the wall with your heels two inches from it. Hold your chin down onto your chest, and then with your chin tucked in, attempt to touch the wall with the back of your head. Most people over 50 years old don’t succeed in doing so, but it is a good exercise to practice anyway.


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Go Barefoot

by Maurita Marley, Group Fitness Instructor

Go Barefoot with Elevate Fitness

Runners – have you ever considered running barefoot?

You might be asking yourself, “What? And ditch my hi-tech running shoes?”

Now before you dismiss this as just a crazy idea, read on …

First of all, let’s clarify – although running completely barefoot is a very natural thing to do (if you’ve read Born To Run by Christopher McDougal you will understand what I am talking about), I am actually suggesting a minimal shoe such as the Vibram 5-fingers shoe. You know…the one that looks like you’re wearing a glove on your foot. There is not actually any cushioning or support, but the sole provides a barrier to protect your tender foot from nasty things that could be in your path.

And why am I suggesting that it a good idea to make such a change in footwear?

If you have ever had a cast on an arm or leg after an injury, think of what happens when the cast is removed. There is a loss of muscle strength so therapy is needed to build up the muscles again. The foot covered by our heavily structured shoe is no different. There are over 100 muscles, ligaments, and tendons in the foot which will atrophy from lack of exercise too! Humans initially walked on their bare feet. When the skin at the bottom of the foot is stimulated, it begins to assess the surface beneath it. A flexible shoe free of cushioning and support that provides separation for the toes will create a situation very similar to being in bare feet. So as we run, the body provides its own technology, and the foot strike will aim for the midfoot rather than the heel. Our highly cushioned and supported shoes force a heel landing which can cause stress to the body over time. Think of those you know (and maybe yourself!) who have suffered from knee issues, shin splints, Achilles tendinitis, hip problems, plantar fasciitis, and other injuries. Back in the 80’s when step aerobics made its debut, studio shoes started to become more cushioned. But instead of protecting us from our landings on the step; the cushioning actually may have weakened the foot making us susceptible to these and other injuries.

Learning a new technique such as barefoot running requires patience as you want to build up your time and distance gradually. Over time, your body may begin to feel stronger, have greater endurance and actually minimize the risk of injury. But the key is to learn some Foot Fitness and to start slowly. Learn proper technique as well as stretches for the feet and lower legs. One place to start is by taking a willPower Method class to learn about foot fitness and how to land safely on your feet. As a bonus, you will strengthen your entire body from the ground up and increase your cardiovascular endurance.

Even if you decide to continue to use your running shoes, it should still make sense to remove your footwear from time to time to re-connect with sensory stimulation. Step outside and allow your bare feet to make contact with the grass, sand or dirt and you may even begin to enjoy some of the many health benefits of Earthing while you wake up those foot muscles!

EDITOR’S NOTE: You should always consult with your physician before making any major changes to your exercise programs or habits. While barefoot training can be beneficial for many, it’s not necessarily right for everyone. The recommendations and opinions shared in this post assume as much.

Maurita teaches willPower classes at Elevate Fitness which are a type of barefoot training. Learn more about these and other Elevate Fitness Group Classes here, and remember that your first class is always free at Elevate! Just fill out the form below:

Try Something New for 30 Days

by Jason Jaquays-Tarbox

I recently stumbled upon a Ted Talk that promotes the idea of giving yourself 30 Day Challenges. (This is a short 3-minute-ish video, and it’s entertaining – do yourself a favor and watch it!)


As a user of the Panda Planning systems, I’m a big fan of setting challenges for myself, however, my planner has a spot for a weekly challenge – no monthly challenges. My planner DOES, however, have a spot for monthly goals. Well, now I got to thinking about the differences between challenges and goals.

I did what I always do when something intrigues me: a Google search. According to this post on SparkPeople, “a GOAL is the purpose towards which an endeavor is directed; an objective the terminal point of a journey or race, and a CHALLENGE is to engage in a contest, fight or competition to take part in something”.

Of everything I found online regarding the difference between challenges and goals, I liked this explanation the best because it seemed to articulate what my initial thoughts were relative to the subject. So where a goal might be to complete a 5K, a challenge would be to run three times a week for a month. A goal might be to lose 10 pounds whereas a challenge might be to avoid sugar for a month.

This, of course, gave life to another line of thinking: setting a series of challenges for yourself might, in fact, be the easiest way to reach your goals. Running several times a week (the challenge) is certainly a good way to ensure you can complete a 5K (the goal). And certainly giving up sugar for a month (the challenge) would be a good step to take when attempting to lose ten pounds (the goal), right?

Now, you should know, I am obsessive about closing the activity rings on my Apple Watch at least five times a week. And I love an app called Done that I used to track my water consumption. Both of these are challenges that I’m able to track for myself. Is the goal to drink more water or be active? No, the goals are to be hydrated and healthy. I’m already using challenges to meet my goals!

So maybe you have a health or fitness related goal, I mean, you are reading this blog, after all. And maybe you’ve struggled with figuring out how to reach that goal. My advice is simple: set the goal, but then focus on challenges to get you there. It’s easier, after all, to rise to a simple challenge than it is to reach a complex goal. Try my favorite challenge advice for new participants in a fitness program:


I can hear the questions already.

Isn’t that unhealthy? Doesn’t my body need time to recover? Won’t that be too strenuous for a beginner? What if I don’t have the time?

Well, this post isn’t about excuses. And I don’t want to dwell on them, because I think that’s another great challenge: no excuses for 30 days.

Will you rise to the challenge? Maybe. Will you reach your goals? Maybe. Will you simply close this browser window and forget all about what could literally be life-changing advice within the hour? Maybe.

What determines the answer to these questions isn’t fate, circumstance, your schedule, your body mass index, your diet or anything else. What determines the answer to these questions is YOU.


BONUS: Elevate Fitness offers a 30-day money-back guarantee on its full memberships, which means you can even join a gym while participating in your own 30-day exercise challenge with no financial risk involved. Fill out the form below to get more information about how we can help you start your own 30-day challenge.

Should You Buy Cycling Shoes?

By Tonya Warner

Cycling Shoes Can Make Your Workout More Effective

If you’re a regular participant in indoor cycling classes, you already know that it’s a perfect low impact way to raise your heart rate, torch calories, and increase your lung capacity. You’ve also most likely looked around at your peers and noticed those sleek looking velcroed shoes that a lot of people are wearing. Maybe you’ve wondered to yourself “What’s the difference between regular sneakers and cycling shoes and should I invest in a pair?” Before you talk yourself out of it because they tend to be expensive, here are some major advantages to owning a pair.

-Because of minimal wear and tear to your new indoor shoes, they will last for years.

-Cycling shoes have stiffer soles. This means the stiffer the sole, the more power you get when pedaling. Also, you’ll have more balance when you’re out of the saddle.

-Your feet stay in constant position when clipped in. This means perfect alignment that will prevent your feet from pronating. Your hips will also thank you for it!

-Your pedal stroke is smooth as silk! Cycling shoes help lift your pedals on the upstroke which takes pressure off your quads and brings your hamstrings in the mix.

-No shoe laces to worry about! It can be terrifying getting a shoelace stuck in the flywheel if they’re not safely tucked in the toe cages. The Velcro straps that come with most cycling shoes ensure a secure fit.

-More controlled and powerful pedal stroke ensures an awesome workout every time. Once you get used to clipping in and out, you’ll be amazed at how much more efficient you are, maximizing your time in class!

Once you try them out, you’ll most likely never go back to cycling in sneakers again!!

Click here to see Elevate’s indoor cycling class schedule and fill out the form at the bottom of the page to get your first class free!

ABOUT TONYA: Tonya is a Group Ride and Indoor Cycling Instructor at both Elevate Fitness’s Dewitt and Liverpool locations.

Exercising to Survive (Life)

by Jason Jaquays-Tarbox

Exercising to Survive Life at Elevate Fitness

Recently, The Lancet Global Health Journal, a resource intended for the education of health professionals, published a study; Worldwide trends in insufficient physical activity from 2001 to 2016: a pooled analysis of 358 population-based surveys with 1·9 million participants.

A key finding in this study, and certainly the finding that interests us most, is that 25% of adults do not get adequate exercise. With sedentary lifestyles being one of the leading contributing factors to non-communicable diseases, this study indicates that one out of every four adults is, knowingly or not, putting themselves at risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, certain types of cancer and more according to John Hopkins Medicine.

The World Health Organization researchers involved in this study defined “adequate exercise” as 75 minutes of vigorous exercise or 150 minutes of moderate exercise.

As you might expect, the study suggests that wealthier parts of the globe fall lower on the spectrum of activity than poorer nations, this suggests that the nature of sedentary jobs and advanced transportation options in those more economically prosperous nations simply requires less physical activity than their less-advantaged counterparts.

Mark Clary, a Program Director for Elevate Fitness in Liverpool, NY says that in his 30-plus years in the fitness industry he’s seen a significant shift in the factors that motivate someone to join a health club. “Twenty years ago it was a recreational activity that brought people into health clubs, today its survival. People are trying to get off of expensive medications or to increase their health because they know they’ll have to work later in life. It’s really about training for life instead of training for a sport or to lose weight. It’s about being fit to survive.”

Because of this shift, more people are looking to full service, multi-feature clubs as opposed to short-term programs and single-focus clubs. “Because people know they’re making a lifestyle change and not starting a short-term program, they’re looking for clubs with more amenities and more services – knowing that this will keep them interested, engaged and active longer than short-term solutions,” says Gil Stedman, GM Elevate Fitness, Liverpool.

Gil goes on to explain that what’s kept Elevate popular over the years (or at least the last year, and as Gold’s Gym before that, and Sundown before that) is that members can experience a number of different activities and, when they start to lose interest in one, they can find something else to keep them active and motivated without having to go through the hassle of finding their next source of activity.

Footage of Elevate Fitness Clubs (you can see Dewitt’s video here and Liverpool’s video here) shows a wide variety of options and offerings from within. From fitness machines to free weights, swimming pools to group fitness, tennis, and racquetball, personal training, spin classes, yoga, and Zumba  … well, you get the point.

With memberships starting as low as $19.95 per month, you really can’t afford NOT to get active and start getting meeting the weekly activity guidelines set forth by the World Health Organization. “It’s less than the cost of a daily cup of coffee, and what you’re getting in return is so much more. In larger cities like Boston or New York, people pay close to $200 a month for the amenities that we offer at Elevate. Most people don’t realize how much value you get from an Elevate Membership.”

He might just be right, Stedman says that incentive programs (Elevate offers a free perks and loyalty program that rewards its members for just showing up, in addition to a list of other activities, points are earned and then redeemed for merchandise, discounts, etc.) and technology (state-of-the-art heart rate monitoring programs and 3D body imaging and scanning technologies) make it possible for the staff at Elevate to create highly-effective, custom programs for its members, while keeping them motivated to achieve their goals.

Regardless of the many benefits, “the challenge lies,” Stedman states, “in educating the public to understand how important it is to meet the physical activity guidelines. Stedman and Clary are up for the challenge. “There’s a lot of satisfaction in helping people survive,” says Clary.

To see for yourself what Elevate Fitness is doing to make Central New York a healthier and happier community, try their no-obligation 7-Day VIP Membership by filling out the form below. Also, get a complimentary 3D Body Imaging Scan session by mentioning this article!



Get Running with our Walk to Run Program

You’ve probably heard of walk to run programs. You may even have seen them in the app store on your smartphone or heard about a co-worker or neighbor who used on to run their first race. When it comes to exercises that everyone can do, running immediately pops to mind for most people. Running is something most of us learn to do at a very young age, it requires almost no equipment (really, all you need are some sneakers) and you can do it almost everywhere. The appeal of running as a simple, go-to exercise is easy to understand.

But running is also a highly beneficial activity. From weight loss to disease prevention to increasing your heart health, the benefits are well documented and a quick Google search will provide you with hundreds, if not thousands, of unique benefits that running can provide you.

But let’s be honest – we did a lot of things effortlessly as kids that aren’t so effortless as adults. Not only that – our bodies were probably able to take a little more wear-and-tear when we were younger. That means that when we’re re-introducing running into our lives as adults, it’s important to learn the proper techniques and to use a training program that is both beneficial AND kind to our bodies.

Walk to run training programs abound. You can download apps like “Couch to 5K” to your smartphone for a couple of bucks and follow a simple plan that takes you from someone who only runs when being chased, to someone who runs happily.

The problem with these apps, or programs torn out of magazines, though, is that they lack customization. Maybe you ran in college but haven’t laced up in 20 years and you’re looking to get reacclimated. Maybe you’re ready to make a significant lifestyle change after a lifetime of being sedentary. Or maybe you’re just looking to lose a few pounds and prepare to run a 5K for a charity that’s near and dear to your heart.

Elevate Fitness in Dewitt and Liverpool, NY recently introduced their Walk to Run programs under the direction of former Y Running Coach, and now Elevate Fitness Director of Running, Kevin Collins. Collins has coached thousands of Central New Yorkers from elite athletes to seniors looking to reverse the ills of aging. What Kevin brings to the table that apps and articles can’t, is a personalized approach to coaching using years of science-backed training and research and personal experience.

Collins describes his Walk to Run program this way: “Walk to run is a 10-15 week program instructional program that bridges the gap between walker and runner by teaching core principles for progression and lifetime maintenance. When you finish the program you’ll be equipped to handle a daily 15 minute run without stopping – which is what we consider to be the baseline for all running progress!”

walk to run programs at Elevate Fitness

Walk to Run is a part of the Elevate Fitness Run Club. Some quick Run Club facts:

  • Networking within and between Elevate Fitness Dewitt and Liverpool participants with similar running abilities and goals.
  • Introduction to and maintenance of fundamental training concepts for lifetime optimal fitness and development.
  • Detailed training plans and logs for each seasonal program duration.
  • Free-floating access to over 14 running group sessions across CNY.
  • Direct guidance from a former World-class runner who has trained over 1,000 of all levels beginner to advanced throughout CNY – Kevin Collins – A 2:15 marathoner, was among the top five U.S. ranked Marathoners and Half-marathoners of 2003, a three-time Olympic Trials qualifier, and the 1st American finisher in the 1996 Boston Marathon.

If you’d like to learn more about how Collins can help get you “up and running” just fill out the short form below and he’ll reach out and tell you more about the Walk to Run and other Elevate Running programs!

Stay Fit After Fifty – a Guest Post by Diane Lowery

How did you imagine you’d be living your life after 40? After 50? What about after 60? Medical advances mean that our life expectancy is longer than ever before, and when coupled with a healthy lifestyle, that means the average age of the folks getting their fitness on in the gym is increasing. And that’s great news! But how do we make sure we can stay involved and keep fit after fifty?

Enjoy this guest post by Elevate Group Fitness Instructor Diane Lowery. Then, at the end of the post, click the link to try your first class with Diane for FREE!

Do you remember disco balls?  How about mood rings, leisure suits, and P.O.W. bracelets?  Did you actually WATCH the first man walk on the moon?….in REAL time?  Did you spend Saturday night watching Carol Burnett and The Mary Tyler Moore Show?  How about Jackie Gleason and Ed Sullivan on Sunday nights?    Well, my friend, if you can say yes to any of these memories, you are probably a baby boomer who is feeling the realities of an aging body.

Who would have thought the generations of kids who believed they would never grow old, actually….got old?  Heck, we originated the idea of being young forever!  I still secretively think I am in my 20’s until I look in the mirror or try jumping out of the car after a long trip…OUCH!!  Why won’t these legs move like they used to?

Yes, “age is only a number” but that number can bring big changes when it comes to working out.  I have been moving my body either playing sports (through high school, college, and adult leagues) or teaching fitness classes my entire life.  This has been great fun and I have loved moving my body through the decades, but no one told me the price I would pay.  The joints  I depended on to help me jump, run, twist and turn would eventually turn on ME, leaving me with pain and stiffness.

How do we aging athletes and baby boomers gracefully enter this new stage of fitness? I have thought about this a lot and have experienced a variety of challenges and obstacles first hand. Fortunately, I have finally come to a happier place.  I hope to continue moving my body, exercising, working out, and challenging myself for many years to come, but I have also found a need for caution and kindness.

I feel my body has served me well and now needs me to give it a little love. I have found that being kind to my changing body by changing my workout style has brought me to a much more peaceful place.  No longer do I feel compelled to compete with the others around me to jump higher, move faster and work out better or longer.  I no longer need to do the newest fitness fad.  I don’t need to run a marathon or compete for the top spot on the fitness scorecard.  I have had my run, so to speak.  My body has served me well.  I will choose to drop my risers OUT of my Step to save the remaining cartilage in my joints.  I will feel free NOT pushing myself to take three classes in a row just to get ALL of my physical components met in one day.  There is always tomorrow!  I will not feel shame when taking a bit more time getting up from the floor to move on to another exercise.  I will decrease my weights on my bar when my legs or arms are feeling a little tired or my joints have had too much fun dancing or stepping in Groove or Blast class the day before.  I am content with a little more cushion around my middle knowing my muscles are probably stronger than many of the millennials pushing weights on the floor or in the cage.

Yes, I have “come a long way baby” (sorry, Virginia Slims of the 70s) from my younger, athletic self.  I feel stronger and more fit today than I ever did when I was younger.  I have time to work out every day if I choose.  I no longer have to rush a workout to get home to kids.  I don’t need to squeeze a frenzied workout in after an exhausting day at work.  I can go to the gym to connect with friends and get a great workout while having fun.  I like that aging has made me less serious, more relaxed, kinder to my body and much stronger…. inside and out!!


Get your first class FREE with Diane or any of our amazing Group Fitness Instructors at Elevate Fitness! And read Marketing Director Jason Jaquays-Tarbox’s take on the evolution of Group Fitness classes here!


The Great Balancing Act (Or, How to Do it All)

The Great Balancing Act (Or, How to Do it All)

A Guest Post by Lisa Dolbear

I’m often asked how I manage to do “all the things.” In no particular order, I’m constantly juggling expectations and needs across the following areas:

  • My professional career as a strategist in an advertising agency
  • My freelance career as a fitness and lifestyle writer
  • My ability to deliver effective (and fresh) fitness classes in spinning, weight-training and kickboxing six times a week
  • My responsibilities as a mom (to my two pre-K children)
  • My desire to remain “exciting” as a wife (date nights, new recipes, etc.)
  • My hard-wired need to have a clean and orderly house

Yeah, it’s a lot — but it’s not impossible. The secret? Passion. Across the board, I am mentally engaged in everything I do in a meaningful way. I rarely “go through the motions.” Being passionate is about letting the motions go through YOU — it’s about finding ways to let your responsibilities empower and uplift you, rather than hinder you and hold you down. Think of the word passion as “a strong emotional investment.”

When something inspires a strong emotional investment, we tend to make time for that thing. Finding a half an hour to go for a run is easier than finding a half an hour to clean the refrigerator. Why? Because subconsciously you know that the run is going to fuel your body and mind for anything else that happens during the day. You know that you’re putting in 30 minutes to get 12 hours of feel-good back. Without realizing it, you’ve conditioned yourself to make running a part of “your balance,” whereas cleaning out the refrigerator just feels like a chunk of time you’re throwing away.

Many people think about balance in terms of time — if something can’t fit within the day, then it doesn’t get done. Yes, there’s a scheduling component to successfully doing many things, but the bigger key to balance is recognizing how each engagement you take on can nourish you and give you the ability to thrive across multiple areas. Over time, as you become more careful about what you choose to balance in your life, you’ll realize that if you’re making the right choices everything in your life starts to interconnect and act as a synergy.

As a fitness instructor, I work hard on memorizing choreography, cueing movements at the right time during a workout, and finding a motivating way to deliver the whole experience seamlessly. I’m getting a workout in for my body and my brain — this in turn makes me a better strategist when I work with clients in advertising. My brain is trained to see patterns, group things together or separate them apart and find meaning in that. In this way, I see my work as a fitness instructor as a supporting tool for my work as a strategist and vice versa. It’s a natural progression for me to write about fitness — I’m pulling from a long background as an athlete, a coach and an instructor, and using skill sets from advertising to share that background (developing insights, creatively expressing ideas, etc.). All of this helps me to have a healthy regard for my body and mind, which in turn makes me a better mom and wife.

Finding balance doesn’t happen overnight, but there are a few things you can start doing today to get better at “doing it all,” especially when it comes to incorporating fitness into your lifestyle.

  1. What does your workout do for you? What are you getting out of it? Focus on the things that are more mental and spiritual. How do those things tie into other areas of your life? When you start to see the workout as more than a block of time, you’ll be more inclined to “fit it in.”
  2. Be flexible — If you normally take a 60-min kickboxing class but you only have 20 minutes for a workout today, find something you can do in the shorter time period that might enhance your next workout. Crank out 20 minutes of lunges or jump knees to your favorite music. Try a completely different workout, or get creative in your immediate environment (run stairs, do box jumps on a park bench, etc.).
  3. Be unapologetic about your time. I schedule workouts like meetings. They’re woven into my day and they are firm appointments I must see to, unless an emergency comes up. There are few things that override the designated workout time — it’s a priority like brushing your teeth, or getting an appointment to see a medical specialist. You must treat your “fitness” time as something that is required to your being. — and you must not apologize for that.
  4. Identify at least three ways your workout makes you better at another area in your life. Be specific. It could something as simple as “when I go for a run, it clears my head to make better decisions at work.” The goal is to tie your success in the gym to the wider world around you.

And one last word — balance is something you’ll ever nail: it’s a game that changes daily. Life is unpredictable and circumstances change. Balance only works if you can build it from the inside (your attitude, your perceptions, etc.). Once that’s intact, it doesn’t matter what happens on the outside because you’ll the tools to adapt.


Get a customized program for your busy lifestyle by taking advantage of a complimentary personal training session at Elevate Fitness. Valid for first-time training clients, local to the Syracuse area aged 18 and over only. Other restrictions my apply.


Advice from a Trainer by Andrew Shoen

About 6 years ago, I moved back to Syracuse. I had been through a teaching career and relationships that didn’t work out as planned and realized I was nearly starting over at 30. I figured it was just as good a time as any to attempt to do something I always wanted to do, and something I felt passionately about. Fitness had changed my life in such positive ways, and I wanted to do the same for others by becoming a personal trainer here at Elevate Fitness.

Getting involved in fitness can be an altogether life-changing experience. If I could offer something to live by, I would tell people to “be their best” both in fitness and in life and to find (and allow themselves to experience) happiness, whatever that may be for them.

I find there’s a great correlation between what we accomplish in the gym to its application in daily life. When people achieve great things in our workouts, they then are able to tackle the world (jobs, relationship, etc) with a newfound confidence.

If I had any advice to give to those not involved in a lifestyle of fitness and health, it would be this: We are given this one body, and oftentimes don’t take care of it. Why is that?

People take better care of their cars and lawns than the very vessel in which they reside. You don’t have to settle for getting by every day. Do things that make you feel great. Make your body a priority, the biggest one, and you will develop the health and drive and longevity to do all other things you want to do. I’m not talking about looks or six-pack abs; I’m talking about training and developing your body to be strong, conditioned, mobile, flexible, balanced, and pain-free. When that is the prime focus, your health will greatly improve, and you will be able to do the things you wish to do. The aesthetics will come along as they will as you reach whatever genetic potential your particular body possesses.

  • Written by certified Personal Trainer, Andrew Shoen.

Want to meet with a personal trainer at Elevate Fitness to assess your fitness goals and set up a program that works f0r you and your lifestyle?  Just fill out the short form below, some restrictions apply.


Success Tips from a Fitness Instructor

FITNESS SUCCESS TIPS from Certified Fitness Instructor, Darcy DiBiase

It happens to the best of us. You walk in, you sign up, you carry the key tag, but you never really find your gym groove. Sometimes the hardest part of getting started is just… getting started.

Have you seen Elevate Fitness? If you’re not a regular #gymshark it can be overwhelming. So what’s the best way to get started? I have an idea.

Pick a timeslot. Add it to your calendar: pretty paper or the latest tech with alerts to your watch, the idea is the same. Commit. Repeat. Give it two weeks. That’s how long experts say it takes *on average* to develop a new habit. (But we know you’re not average. You’re amazing!)

Maybe after two weeks you find that 5:30 pm is just not working for you, your dog, your boss, your hair, whatever. We get it. No hard feelings. Pick a new time slot and try again.

What about 5:30 am? Hey, at least no one is judging your hair. Seriously. When you pinky promise to a time slot at Elevate Fitness, you aren’t obligated to a sentence of “dreadmills” and gym bro’s. For every weekday time slot that fits perfectly into your life, there’s a ton of variety for what you can do when you report for duty. The more of those options you try, the less of a chore it becomes, the more fun you have and the more you want to try again.

Consider that early morning appointment… Monday-Friday you get 5 days of different group fitness options including

… all with certified instructors dedicated to your success. Maybe you like a smaller group vibe– check out team in training in the cage. You get your own personal trainer with a fresh WOD, at a fraction of the cost. Need a little less impact? Hop in the pool.

If you’re feeling a little intimidated by all that equipment on the floor, connect with a personal trainer. If you don’t, get out there: lift heavy and get after that cardio on one of a dozen different machines. Like hanging out between reps? Get hooked up with TRX.

Stretch it all out before you hit the showers and you can be on the road by 7:30 AM, even if you have to do your hair. Not a bad way to kick off another amazing day.

Yes, those first two weeks of building a new habit might be a challenge, but stick with it. Get out of your comfort zone and into your results zone. We’re looking forward to seeing you soon.

Not a member of Elevate yet? Try us for FREE!

Workouts and Drinking Alcohol

How drinking alcohol after your workout can compromise your GAINS…

By David Cruz C.P.T.

Relaxing, and drinking seem to go so well together; whether you enjoy wrapping up a busy work week with a few drinks at the pub or drinking a couple of beers off the court after playing basketball with your friends, the two just seem to belong together on such occasions. Now, for some of you there’s probably not much I can say to break this tradition up, nor do I think that having a couple of drinks with your friends is the end of the world, but if it’s a pattern you keep revisiting and alcohol is your go-to post-workout drink, you may want to rethink your strategy because there might be some serious gains you’ve been denying yourself.

Alcohol and Recovery: The Research

I recently came across some research that tested the effects of booze on rugby players to see what kind of effects it would have on recovery, as well as physical and cognitive performance. To test this out, the researchers had the players down the equivalent of about 7 shots of vodka in orange juice after a game (seriously, where do you sign up for research like this?) vs. a placebo group (I think I’d be very aware of it being a placebo after 7 drinks, but anyway…). As you can imagine, the results were not too good. Now, it’s pretty obvious that 7 drinks will likely leave you feeling like crap the next day, but what’s interesting in this research is to see what happens on a muscle recovery level and why that is.

We already know that after a workout your body craves an anabolic state to take advantage of the rest and nutrients you feed it so that it can grow bigger and stronger than it was before. We also know that this anabolic state is a fragile balancing act and that just a few things here and there can make it tip on the wrong side and seriously compromise your gains.

Within this anabolic state, there are two things that happen on a hormonal level that are extremely important: your testosterone-to-cortisol ratio, and your testosterone-to-estrogen ratio. This is where booze hurts on pretty much every level. Even just a few drinks is enough to throw this balance off by raising both cortisol and estrogen, which in turn hinders the possibility for gains because your anabolic potential went down the drain.

‘Man Boobs’ and a Decrease in Strength?

Other research has shown that even 2-3 drinks can boost cortisol and warp you out of that favorable hormonal state; this is far from ideal if you want to recover from a workout and grow. And if you do this over and over again, the hormonal shift will be more and more apparent and you may end up shopping at Victoria’s Secret to find support for your glorious, newly found man boobs. To prevent that from happening, you want to keep these ratios favoring testosterone—moderating your alcohol intake is a good place to start.

Furthermore, not only can alcohol prevent you from recovering from the workout you just did, it will also compromise your next workout(s). Alcohol can cause a decrease in strength and cognitive performance that can last several days, due in part to its diuretic effect. So it’s easy to screw up a week’s worth of training with one night of boozing. In fact, certain studies have shown that a 1-3% drop in water can cause 10-20% decrease in strength.

That means that if you’re 5 lbs lighter on Monday morning than you were on Friday because of alcohol-related dehydration, your max bench of 225 could be down to under 200. This is something I’ve seen in a lot of college sports, where guys go out drinking on the weekend, and spend the rest of the week catching up.  Practices and training sessions end up being cruise-control sessions as they just try to survive instead of profiting from them to acquire new skills and get stronger and better at their game.

This applies to you as much as it does to any athlete getting paid to perform; if you want to maximize your results, you can’t let the effects of alcohol cast a cloud on your training all week long, even if it’s from just one drinking session.
My Advice On Drinking

That being said, you should be able to live your life and have fun, so having a few glasses of wine, or even the occasional night getting out of hand is fine, but keep an eye out on the big picture to stay on top of your training and your results. If you do decide to have a few drinks, try to keep it under three and make sure to stay hydrated throughout the night.

In the end it does come down to personal choice, but I know that most of you are serious about your health and your bodies and don’t want to waste any time; that’s why looking at how your alcohol intake affects your training is something I think you should do. I’m not saying you have to quit drinking completely if you like to enjoy the occasional beer, but looking at the big picture here can allow you to find out strategically on what days you can allow yourself a drink or two, and on what days you shouldn’t. Here again, careful planning could open the door to success.

Stay Strong,
David Cruz C.P.T.

P.S. Apart from all this talk about alcohol, do you have your nutrition and strength training plan dialed in for maximum results?  If not,  reach out to me David Cruz at (315)-446-0376 and my team and I will get you there. Our team of certified professional share my love and passion for health and fitness and are eager to help.

Want more advice? Take advantage of Elevate Fitness’s complimentary personal training session for first-time clients aged 18 and over who are local to the Syracuse area. Some restrictions may apply.

5 Ways to Beat the Bloat on Thanksgiving & Lose Weight


5 Ways to Beat the Bloat on Thanksgiving & Lose Weight

Are you average? If you’re trying to lose weight, you won’t want to be average this holiday season.

If you consider yourself average, you might want to be concerned about your Thanksgiving holiday this year. Did you know that the average American can consume more than 4,500 calories and a staggering 229 grams of fat by the time the dishes are put away on Thanksgiving? This startling statistic comes from research conducted by the Calorie Control Council.

In many cases, this is well over 200% of the recommended daily caloric intake for adults. But don’t panic! Put down that drumstick and read along a little further and we can make sure that you’re not toddling through the aisles come Black Friday.

  1. Be Present
  2. Be Aware
  3. Keep Track
  4. Be Grateful
  5. Reward Yourself


It’s easy to be distracted at the holidays.  There are tasks to do, recipes to follow and parades on the television. All this while you’re catching up with friends and family that you don’t always  get to see on the regular. It’s easy to gain weight when you’re distracted – but we want to lose weight!

It’s important that you’re present though and avoid mindless eating if you’re trying to lose weight. If you’re gorging on cheese and crackers while waiting for the main course while discussing politics (which we recommend avoiding) with your cousin – you may not even realize just how much you’re eating, and worse – you’re probably not focused on the food and enjoying it to its fullest potential!

Stay present. Be mindful. Know what you’re putting in your mouth and why. (Hint – why should be because you mean to and want to. Not because you’re distracted or bored.)


It’s amazing how quick we are as a species to eat something we don’t fully understand. Most of us consume ingredients that we can’t pronounce on a daily basis. Take this food-centric holiday to learn more about what you’re consuming. At the very least, have an idea of how many calories you’re throwing back. Here are some common Thanksgiving foods and ball-park figures for calories:

Mashed Potatoes (with Whole Milk and Butter): 237 calories per 1 cup

Green Bean Casserole: 230 calories per 1 cup

Candied Yams: 206 calories per 1 cup Cranberry Sauce Canned: 420 calories per 1 cup

Stuffing: 350 calories per 1 cup

Biscuit: 150 calories per biscuit with 36 calories per 1 pat of butter

Turkey (3.5 ounces turkey) Dark meat with skin: 232 calories

Turkey Gravy: 100 calories per 1 cup

Brussels Sprouts: 38 calories per 1 cup

Corn: 132 calories per ear; with butter: 36 Calories per 1 pat of butter

Spinach: 41 calories per 1 cup

Beer (Regular): Average 150 calories per bottle

Generic Old Fashioned Cocktail: 155 calories per glass

Reds (Burgundy): 127 calories per glass

Pecan Pie: 503 calories per 1 slice (1/8 divided pie)

Vanilla Ice Cream Scoop: 125 calories per 1/2 cup

Whipped Cream:15 calories per 2 tablespoons

Champagne: 78 calories per glass

Cranberry Sauce Fresh: 408 calories per 1 cup

Candied Yams: 206 calories per 1 cup

Stuffing: 350 calories per 1 cup

Biscuit: 150 calories per biscuit

Turkey Serving Size: 3.5 ounces turkey Breast without skin: 161 calories

Turkey Gravy: 100 calories per 1 cup

Pumpkin Pie: 323 calories per 1 slice (1/8 divided pie)

Spinach: 41 calories per 1 cup

Brussels Sprouts: 38 calories per 1 cup

And since you’re aware of how many calories you’re consuming, check out this Sparkpeople article that shares 50 ways to burn 100 calories. Know what it will take to undo that cranberry sauce.

While you’re increasing your awareness, check out our blog post, Weight Loss 101: Getting Started.


The holidays are the most wonderful time of the year. And for many of us, they are the busiest. We recommend tracking your calories so that you can make informed, intelligent decisions. This is easier to do than ever know that 68% of adult Americans have a smartphone. There are a ton of great calorie tracking apps that are totally free that can help you out. Sparkpeople is one, Calorie King is another. A fan favorite is MyFitnessPal, which allows you to track calories in AND calories out, ensuring you manage a daily caloric deficit – essential if your goal is to  lose weight.

Tracking calories in is easy – log what goes into your mouth. Calories out is a bit trickier. Some fitness wearables like the Apple Watch or some FitBits will give you good numbers. For the best accuracy though, we recommend a heart-rate monitor like MyZone.


Thanksgiving is really about gratitude. Some of us are lucky enough to be surrounded by an abundance of food, which really is something to be grateful for. But remember that’s not everybody’s reality this holiday season. Show your gratitude by wrapping a plate for an elderly neighbor or bringing turkey sandwiches to the homeless. Volunteer in a soup kitchen (less time to eat, more time on your feet). Do something, anything, to express your gratitude. Your health and your waistline will benefit.


Start thinking about the easy or habitual ways you reward yourself and make sure you’re rewarding yourself with things that make sense with regard to your goals. We think that rewarding yourself with activity is the best reward of all. Take a yoga class, go for a swim or even soak in a relaxing hot tub. All these rewards will not only make you feel good while you’re doing them, but long after unlike that chocolate reward you’ve been using for so long. After all, if you lose weight, isn’t that the reward you were aiming for all along?

We want to make rewarding yourself easy, so fill out the form below to get a week of unlimited access to all our facilities at Elevate Fitness including group fitness classes, pool, hot tub, sauna (Dewitt location only), tennis, kids club and more!

Trainer Profile: Why I Change Lives

by David Cruz, Personal Trainer and Life-Changer

My name is David Cruz. I am a personal trainer, group instructor, strength and conditioning coach & corrective exercise specialist at Elevate Fitness Club in Dewitt, NY.  I’ve been part of the fitness industry for almost 13 years now and it’s my absolute passion to be a part of people’s lives and journeys as well as taking charge of their health and fitness goals.

One of my strengths is working with individuals and helping to create change from the inside out. I do this under the umbrella of health and fitness but has to be a lot deeper than that for us to reach the goals that we have set before us.

So what brought me to Syracuse New York..? To tell you that story, I’d first have to tell you the story of my very first client. The person who I consider my very first client is one of the strongest, most stubborn, beautiful, unbelievably dedicated individuals I’ve been blessed to work with. Her name was Carmen.

Carmen was born in Puerto Rico where she was raised by her aunt Chére. She bounced back-and-forth to New York City (Spanish Harlem) to visit her dad who had moved from Puerto Rico for work. She grew up on what I considered a normal Puerto Rican diet which consist of rice, beans, chicken, some vegetables and so on. If you’ve ever eaten in a Puerto Ricans’ home or have been to Puerto Rico, you know what I’m talking about: a standardized carb, grease filled diet, high in sodium most of the time, not what would be considered healthy.

On top of that she had a body type that was very similar to mine. Endomorphs tend to be bigger, are often pear-shaped, and have a high tendency to store body fat. So between the genes that she was dealt and a poor diet, Carmen was always on the heavier side (as was I) growing up. Fast forward into her teenage years, she picked up smoking cigarettes along the lifestyle that comes with being a teenager. You can just imagine that as she got older, things got worse. She attended Columbia University in NYC for business before moving back to Puerto Rico, getting married and having kids – 4 boys to be exact.

Sadly, things with her husband did not work out. She ended up leaving him and moving back to NYC, to the Bronx to be exact. So was now a single mother raising 3 boys full of energy and testosterone, you can imagine that stress levels would have been high. Around this time in her life she had packed on a few more pounds due to stress and lifestyle and before anybody knew it, she found herself getting sicker and sicker as time went on. At first no one ever thought anything of it. She became incredibly fatigued and was in a lot of pain in her lower back, neck, shoulders and fingers.

With that came a more sedentary lifestyle and she ended up on bed rest for a good majority of the time which also led to more weight gain. Before we knew it she was close to the 300 pounds. Because it happened little by little no one really noticed it until she starting experiencing a hard time breathing and sleeping. She was developing sleep apnea along with diabetes.

To her, and everyone around her, it seemed like it was just a weight issue. Lose the weight, get the energy back and solve the weight problem right? Wrong!

In order for her to get up in be active, she would’ve needed more energy than she could muster at this stage in her life. It got to the point where it hurt for her to even get up and use the bathroom. No one had any clue what was going on. At first it seemed like it was a motivational issue. We even considered that she was being lazy at times, not even imagining that there could be a bigger issue lying underneath it all.

OK, let’s fast-forward a little bit. At this time in her life, she was still a single mother, taking care of her three boys (before the fourth one came along), and living in the Bronx. Her three boys starting to run wild and out of control with no positive male role model in sight. They began adapting to their not-so positive environment. Carmen was not going to let the streets of NYC raise her children, so she decided to pack up, move away and start a new life for her family. A friend always told her about a beautiful state where she’d vacation: Maine. Her friend convinced Carmen to visit Maine for a short vacation and she fell in love. The lifestyle was something that she felt would only benefit her, but her boys as well, getting them off the streets. So she packed up her family, moved to Maine and began anew.

I wish that at this point I could tell you that they lived happily ever after. Unfortunately, that was not the case. Carmen moving out of state did not solve her health issues and on top of that her boys were now full-blown teenagers with a NYC mentality living in the suburbs and running wild. You can imagine how, on top of her health issues the struggles of a being a single parent to teenaged boys was adding to her stress, making her sicker. There were countless visits to countless doctors, trying to see what was the underlying issue causing the weight issue. The doctors didn’t clarify much – at first they told her it was a thyroid issue, then changed their minds, finally deciding that Carmen was ” just too overweight”, and that losing the weight would make her well again.

Little by little, Carmen started chipping away at it: being more active by going for small walks, moving around more and tackling her day-to-day activities. She always complained of being extremely exhausted and  felt that she was barely walking as much as she used to (and was in excruciating pain throughout her body). When she began to be more active, she felt like she was in more pain, she expressed this to her doctors and they gave her pain medication and bed rest. She always had a funny feeling that they never really knew what was going on. They just saw an overweight woman and didn’t look any closer.

Slowly but surely, she began to develop a hole-like ulcer in her left leg. It was really weird, I don’t remember exactly when we first noticed it, it started off looking like a rash and it spread like wildfire, from the size of a dime to the size of a half dollar and eventually becoming a half-inch thick full-blown “deep hole” that became terribly infected.

Carmen took this to the doctors and they gave her antibiotics more and more and more pain medication and told her to wrap it. So 90% of the time her infection was wrapped with some sort of ointment,which in my opinion only made it worse. They blamed the lack of healing on her diabetes, and while all of this was going, all of the attention was on her leg and the fear of amputation if the infection continued to spread – her weight continued to rise. In the midst of all the confusion and the worry about her leg, she went for a normal physical and was informed that her weight had climbed to almost 500 pounds.

At that massive weight along with sleep apnea and all her other physical conditions, she had no choice but to get a tracheotomy. This was an incredibly difficult time. No one around us ever had anything like that – we just didn’t see how that would help, and in fact, it seemed like it was getting worse. (I can see now that tracheotomy because of her massive weight actually saved her life in a way and allowed her to continue to fight.)

Now with a new issue in her throat, her leg being out of commission and adding a respirator to the mix which did her breathing for her at night, it seemed like Carmen was ready to throw in the towel. But I’m here to tell you that she was not about to quit… She continued to get up every morning and simply sit up and do something; whether it was to kick her legs, stretch her arms or just move anyway she could. By this time she was living in a one bedroom apartment where her kids frequently visited, helping out with meals and anything they could.

Around this time I was graduating Personal Training School in Boston and going into the fitness field professionally so naturally I took her on as my first official client. Although I knew Carmen, in order for me to work with her on a professional level I had to literally separate our relationship in two parts, so when I was working with her as her Trainer, I was just that! It’s all serious, I am in charge of her fitness, her health, her nutrition and anything that comes along with that and any other relationship that we have had take the back burner. I was fresh out of school, I was hungry and my energy was contagious. Finally I got her excited and she just listened to everything that I had to say. She really practiced every advice that I gave her and she was ready to move forward. Although we had many obstacles, we were ready to move on and conquer this and get her life back on track. Instead of visiting her sporadically, I ended up setting up a specific appointments for when I would visit her to work out! This plan seemed to work perfectly..

Slowly but surely the weight began coming off, and more importantly she just seemed more alive and more vibrant. She was moving more and being involved in all aspects of life, the way it should be. Unfortunately while all this is going on she was still wheelchair-bound because her leg the infection continue to get worse we didn’t know what it was (no one did – not even the doctors).

We got a call one day where they had the miracle fix it was called Maggot Therapy where they would insert maggots in her wound (leg) and monitor her and the maggots were supposed to eat the infection. She agreed. We all did. This seemed very effective at first- like everything did, but although the infection on top of her leg was being eaten, underneath it didn’t seem to be getting any better. The hole was not shrinking and the excruciating pain continued, even with all the pain med. But we continued with our plan, we continued to workout and she continued to chip away at her weight. Some days were better than others. Sometimes her energy decreased and was extremely low so we did only what we could. After that first year it seemed like Carmen just couldn’t muster any energy, and no one really knew what it was. We were on a good streak: her weight was coming down, she was more alive and present but although her energy didn’t completely fizzle out, it definitely slowed down. I noticed this and I just didn’t know what to do.*

All of the sudden, a miracle (disguised as disaster) struck! A pipe burst in her building and because she was on the first floor, it ended up flooding her apartment and she was forced to move out for a few weeks. She was given the option of a hotel, but I spoke to my fiancé Dessa and immediately jumped on the opportunity to bring her home with me where I would have 24 hour complete care of her. Now mind you, at this time I was working as a personal trainer and group instructor at a big box fitness facility, so my idea was that I could take care of her before work, go to work and then come home and care for her – not just make attempts to go and catch her at the perfect time. I would be in complete control of her lifestyle. I just wanted to be more involved. I didn’t know what the issue was I believe that if you move, break a sweat and have a vision, you will see real results! It really is that simple… for me. I was very naïve to think that it’s that easy for everyone.

Fast forward to … she moves in, and we start on her fitness and health journey full-time. My vision was to treat it like the show the biggest loser but at a more appropriate level. I was well aware that this was not Hollywood, we were not on TV and I was not dealing with somebody for whom it would be appropriate to be as extreme as what you see on TV, but that does not mean that we took it easy. We started with bodyweight movements in her wheelchair and from there we graduated to working with household items like cans of beans, gallons of milk and things that had any type of weight to them, along with resistance bands.

We’d start each morning together, before the sun rose, with a health, plant-based breakfast. Finally, the weight started to drop at a rapid pace. Carmen’s energy levels went through the roof and she was happy everything was going so well. When I tell you the weight was coming off fast, I mean it was coming off fast and we weren’t working out 24 hours a day, we just dedicated one hour of physical activity but because she felt so good after our workout, she would go about her day being more active and more positive.

A big win for us was when a home-care nurse came to the house to re-dress her wound and noticed her transformation. The nurse couldn’t get over how great Carmen looked and how vibrant her skin looked (that was one of the comments that we got most) in such a short period of time!

All of that attention lead to more motivation which meant more dedication and the weight continued to melt off. Eventually, word reached the local news stations. We were contacted by Tracy Sable, a news anchor for channel 5 local Portland news. They knew that I was a trainer at a local gym and wanted to do a piece “separated from this” on athletic training which I was involved in at the time.

They also wanted to know if Carmen would be interested in sharing her story for a future weight loss segment. I spoke to her about it and the answer was an enthusiastic YES!

Carmen was excited about sharing her story in the hopes that if there were others out there going through something similar they’d see they weren’t alone. They’d see that you can fight, you can move forward and you can stay in the game. She wanted to make that clear. So she did it, we did it, and it was a huge success – and a good motivation to continue to move forward. The story aired and so many people came forward showing their support and love. I hadn’t seen Carmen that alive and excited in a very, very long time.

Although progress naturally slowed a bit, we stayed consistent with the workouts and we literally worked off half her weight – we were almost to the 250 pound mark!

Everyone was so excited we couldn’t wait for her next physical (which was coming up) to do an actual weigh-in at the doctor’s office. I remember that day like it was yesterday. We were so happy everything was perfect she was up and dressed, I was at work and I came home early and took the rest of the day off to accompany her to her doctor’s appointment. I couldn’t wait to see the doctor’s faces. Doctor visits before had been completely hopeless, but not this time… I wanted them to know that “it ain’t over, till it’s over!” I know Carmen felt the same way. So we go in, she gets on the scale and … Boom! Target hit, we’re in the 250lbs club!

Everything was going as planned, she is a rock star in there … no, not a rockstar – a miracle, an ambassador of hope! Through all the smiles and all the celebrations before the doctors visit was over they drew some blood to make sure that everything was going well. They took some blood, and off we went. For the rest of that week everything went back to normal until few days later when Carmen got a phone call.

I was at work, but when I got home she said that they got the blood work back and that the doctor wanted to speak with her face-to-face. We were both confused, but because of all the stuff that she’s been through, it didn’t seem all that strange -so we didn’t give it much thought and just continued to stay positive.

They wanted some more tests, more visits and then they dropped the bomb. Carmen was diagnosed with stage 3 cervical cancer. They said that because of her massive weight they were unable to detect it before, but because she lost all the weight, they were able to go in and do more thorough testing leading to the diagnosis.

They felt that radiation therapy would be best, everyone seemed very optimistic. I didn’t see fear in her face so I tried to hold back my own fear for her sake. The doctor expressed that cervical cancer is usually something that in most cases can be controlled or taken care of but because she had been overweight for so long they assumed that she may have had it for as long as 10 years. To me that sounded crazy – how can something so serious go undetected for so long? I didn’t get it but I also couldn’t be the one breaking down … if she was strong enough to take this then I had to be strong enough to stand behind her and continue to fight.

When we got back home nothing really changed. It was almost like just a normal day at the doctors. She still wanted to continue her workout routines. She still wanted to keep things the way they were and continue fighting, moving forward with her weight loss even though the fight had become so much more serious.

After countless radiation treatments and doctor’s appointments, the cancer wasn’t letting up, and it had begun spreading as Carmen grew weaker and weaker. I remember at one point the doctor gave her six months to live. I found this out after the fact, because she never said anything. She kept everything from that point a secret even the fact that she had given special orders to her doctors indicating she did not want to be revived in the event that it came to that.

As her son, I now understand why she did that, but I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t feel a bit angry after the nurses told me everything she really knew about her condition and her remaining time here with us at her funeral.

Carmen Maria Diaz was my mother…

My mother passed away March 3rd 2015 at 5:03 am even though her death certificate and other hospital papers say 5:15 am.

I was there … I held her hand and watched her stomach go up and down until it finally stopped moving. My brothers were all sleeping around me at her side, but I was up … I saw it, I held her hand and it suddenly got very cold. I didn’t want to make any noise and wake anybody up, I didn’t know what to do – I just sat there, broken.

I would like to tell you that it was some positive and beautiful moment, but it wasn’t. I felt like we’d lost and that I’d failed her. All this fitness, strong, healthy eating and all this fancy mumbo-jumbo failed. I was angry and I was lost and a part of me died in the bed with her. After five minutes had passed, I nudged my older brother Luis awake, we didn’t say a word to each other, he just looked at me and looked at mom and cried. By now my little brothers, Juan and Tiger, heard us, woke up and joined us. It’s crazy we didn’t even call the nurse we just sat there while the machine made this long beep and showed a flatline…

I can still hear that respirator machine beeping in my head as I type this. The beeping meant “No oxygen” I don’t really remember what happened after that, I know that one of the nurses came in to do her routine check and saw us and immediately sprang to action and followed protocol. I know that at this time we sat back at our chairs until we were eventually escorted out of the room. To be honest with you everything from that moment until the actual funeral was a blur. I couldn’t tell you what happened in those days if I wanted to – or maybe it’s just in the back of my mind and I just don’t want to.

We went to the funeral, that I won’t ever forget. I don’t know why but for me being at my home was the worst – so after about a week, I went back to work and just tried to pretend like everything was normal, hoping that eventually it would be. I tried to avoid people who knew me personally and only did group classes where I wouldn’t have to speak to anybody individually, because the truth of the matter is that people care and love me, I’m very personal and passionate with my coaching and everything I do, and I think that comes across in my training. I remember completely trying to avoid everyone who just wanted to give me their condolences, express their love and sympathy. I just wasn’t ready for that – I just wanted to be left alone.

I came to quickly find out that wanting to be left alone and being a personal trainer and group instructor is almost impossible. You can’t do both so I chose to continue training and running my classes and slowly continued moving forward. My biggest obstacle was to try not to cry in public, emphasis on “try” … Although things never really got easier, I continued to push through and kept moving forward. But at that time I wasn’t myself. I’d lost more than my mother and I didn’t know what it was. I kind of still don’t. I thought it may have been that I lost the true belief in health and fitness or maybe the love for motivating and inspiring others. I don’t know – I know that they were many nights that I thought, I’m just leaving the industry and doing something else. The crazy part about that was that those thoughts were only sporadic. I love what I do, I never stopped working.

I second guess if I wanted to continue to workout or train others, but as soon as I came home from the hospital after my mom passed, the next day, I got up and did a INSANITY workout. Fitness is my happy pill, fitness and working out is my go to place. I am not saying that I always enjoy it, but I never regret doing it and I know I’ll always feel better after my workout.

So all this brings me to getting a phone call. My beautiful fiancé, and the mother of my 3 kids, Dessa White is originally from Syracuse New York. She was born here and partially raised here before moving to Maine where we met and fell in love.

We have three beautiful children together: my oldest Daviel is 12 years old, my second one is DABRIEL (Cheeto) 9yrs old, and the princess of the house, my youngest is Anjaliah (Anja) 4yrs old.

In July 2016, we got a phone call that an apartment was available in her old neighborhood Springfield Gardens. Her father William V. White (Papa) had also recently passed. He was the superintendent in this neighborhood for 32 years so this whole neighborhood was extremely important to Dessa and our family. After the passing of my mom and wanting to be closer to family here in Syracuse because of Papa’s passing we thought that it would be a wise decision for us to move and change scenery.

The decision was made almost immediately. I was on the fence about it at first because I didn’t want to leave my work at they gym where I had been for 9 years where I was established and starting again from the beginning  was hard to fathom. But we definitely needed to get away, so we packed our bags and came to Syracuse in hopes of a new beginning.

I’m blessed to tell you that I started to put in my resume in a few different gyms and my first choice was also the first gym that called me back which was a blessing. It was Gold’s Gym (Dewitt) now known as ELEVATE Fitness. I’d visited a few other local gyms down in Liverpool and although really nice, my first choice was to be at Gold’s Gym (Elevate) which is by far the best decision that I made.

It didn’t take long before the Gold’s Gym (Elevate) family welcomed me in and showed me love, although until this comes out nobody really knows the details of why I move down here until now. They have shown me complete unconditional love and I am internally grateful for this. I got my clients and started teaching again and although everyday is a bit different, some days I think about mom, sometimes I see people at the gym that remind me of her or her condition and there is so much I want to say to them to encourage but I hold back because they don’t know me and at the end of the day, I don’t want to make anybody feel uncomfortable. To be honest, I don’t know if I’m that strong yet.

I leave you with this, please take down my information and feel free to reach out and ask any questions or leave any comments that you want. I would love to hear any type of feedback. I’m ready for it. I absolutely love what I do. Over the past year and a half that I’ve been out here, I found the love that I thought I lost. I know that everyday is a new and beautiful beginning. Some days are better than others but everyday is a chance for change. Stay blessed & blessed those around you. Become the change you wish to see in the world.

Success is failure turned inside out, a silvertip of cloud doubt, and you never know how close you are. It maybe near but it seems so far. So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit, it is when things get worse that you must not quit…

I want to hear from you! Email me at to chat or to set up a complimentary training session (for new clients only), visit my YouTube channel, follow me on Instagram and Facebook! And get out there, get moving and have an awesome day!

Also see our blog post, Weight Loss 101: Getting Started to get motivated to begin your journey.

Get a complimentary session with an Elevate Fitness Personal Trainer to get started on your goals. Offer limited to first-time clients, aged 18 and over who are local residents of the Syracuse area. Other restrictions may apply.


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!


One Foot in Front of the Other

One Foot In Front of the Other at Elevate Fitness

My friend Jenny, who heads up a running club, had mentioned something about an ultramarathon on Facebook. As someone who’d only recently completed his first half-marathon, and was in the very beginning stages of training for his first marathon – it sounded insane. I marvelled that there are human bodies out there capable of such a feat and mentally moved on to my next distraction.

At some point weeks later, she mentioned it to me in passing. Within the context of it being an insane undertaking for a runner. I agreed and continued on with my day.

Twice this ultramarathon entered my attention span, and twice I’d dismissed it as insane. Twice.

Reviewing a local calendar online, the event came to my attention again the morning before the race. Fresh off a recent semi-successful 16 mile training run, my ego and enthusiasm prompted me to joke with Jenny, “so, are we doing that ultramarathon tomorrow or what?” … or something similar.

What I wasn’t expecting, though, was for Jenny to take me seriously.

The next couple of hours are a blur:
Jenny and I using calculators to figure the slowest possible pace we could run a 50K race and still finish within the allocated time.
Jenny and I carefully plotting best case and worst case scenarios (including death).
Jenny and I joking about what great training it would be to run an ultramarathon.
Jenny and I scouring the internet for tips for running your first ultra.
Jenny and I trying to register for the race online –



Trying to register???

Well – thank goodness the race had shut down online registrations. So short of driving to the packet pickup location (Fleet Feet) and begging the race director to let us – two novices who’d not trained for an ultra endurance event – to run on a hot August Saturday, there was no way for us to make the ridiculous (and in hindsight, dangerous) decision to register for an ultra.

So guess what we did?


We drove to the packet pickup location and begged the race director to let us register. He was clearly not prepared to address such an idiotic request. His response was something very close to, “I don’t want to offend your intelligence, but you understand this is an event people train a very long time for?”

Well at this point, any sane person would heed the warning of an experienced race director and walk away, right? RIGHT?

Let’s just go ahead and cut to six the next morning when a sleepy Jason and Jenny are lined up with those people the director had told us about (you know, the ones who’d trained a very long time for this event?) waiting for the race to begin. We were lined up with folks, like us, running the 50K and folks who were running a 100K (this was the GLER, or Green Lakes Endurance Race).

Now, Jenny is a runner. She’d run marathons, halfs, 10Ks, you name it – she’d done it. More impressively, she’d often placed in the races she’d run. I had, however, only the dubious distinction of having never died in a race. But we were there and this was happening, so we did the only thing either of us was programmed to do: finish. One foot in front of the other, sometimes running, sometimes walking, sometimes hopping painfully down a steep hill; but always one foot in front of the other. We had only one goal: finish. Make four laps around the course and revel in the moment we’d receive our medals allowing us to proudly proclaim (as we’d decided on lap 3) in our email signatures that we were Ultramarathoners.

Here’s the crazy part (I know, I know – most people reading this far have decided the entire thing sounds crazy, but wait for it) not only did we decide to run an ultramarathon with less than 24 hours to prepare. Not only did we continue to push past every sign the universe shoved in our face telling us that we weren’t meant to run this race. Not only did we callously disregard a race director’s warning (accompanied by waivers I’m sure he was certain he’d have to invoke). Not only did we then show up at the crack of dawn. Here’s the crazy part: we finished.

We finished.

Not because we were prepared. Not because we are stronger or tougher or more athletic than anyone else. But because we kept putting one foot in front of the other.

Sure, there were times I wasn’t sure if I’d pooped my pants or not. There were several times Jenny was instructed to look away from me as I was sure I was about to erupt into a flow of tears rivaled only by the most talented toddlers (in tiaras).

But the bottom line is we crossed the finish line, collected our medals (and promptly hightailed it to the nearest soda fountain for bucket-sized Mountain Dews) and completed an ultramarathon with zero preparation (and in my case, zero experience).

The response from people (who didn’t know ahead of time that we were doing this – we didn’t have time to tell anyone!) was always a variation on a theme:

“Wow, I could NEVER …”

You know, exactly what I’d been saying up until 24 hours before the race. That it was crazy, insane and I could NEVER run an ultramarathon. But then I did. How? Am I super athletic by nature and able to do super-human things? No. Am I such an accomplished runner that this was merely a stretch of existing talents? No. Then what? How?

Was I wrong when I said, “I could never…”? No, I was right.

BUT I was also right that Friday afternoon when I said “We could do this…” And then ignorance being bliss, and with a stubbornness and conviction that if you keep putting one foot in front of the other, you’ll eventually reach your destination – I did the impossible. The insane. The crazy.  And the totally achievable.

And this, as you can imagine, changes your perspective significantly. You start to wonder what else you can do. Like, maybe I could do a triathlon even though I’m not a swimmer?

(Famous last words:) No, that’s crazy. I could never do that.

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The Best Health Insurance

The Best Health Insurance is at Elevate Fitness

The best health insurance is probably the one you’re not using.

If you ask most people, they understand the importance of fitness, diet and exercise as preventative healthcare. If you ask those same people if they believe they’re doing enough to stay healthy – they’ll probably tell you no.


If we know that exercising more and eating better will not only make us healthier now, but keep us healthier in the future by reducing our risk for heart disease, stroke and cancer (check out WebMD’s article on heart disease and stroke prevention or the National Cancer Institute’s page on the link between exercise and reduced cancer risk), then why do so many of us readily admit we’re not doing enough? Especially when study after study proves that preventative healthcare is the best health insurance?

For most of us, simply knowing we need to exercise more isn’t enough information. Where do we start? What kind of exercise is best for me? How often should I workout? How long do I rest between workouts?

The internet can be helpful, but it can also be overwhelming and misleading. Try doing a search for “best workouts” and Google will say, “Now that we’ve got all that out of the way, let’s talk about the specific workouts.” So in an attempt to find the best workout for me, Google wants me to tell it what kind of workout I want to know about … this is beginning to look like work. And if figuring out the best workout for me takes this much work, just imagine the workout itself!

It’s easy to get overwhelmed. Let’s use an analogy. You’re sick. What do you do? You go to a doctor. Why? Because you know that getting expert advice is the best way to get better. You wouldn’t self diagnose on the internet and then self prescribe based on internet articles or opinions (or if you have, you know how fruitless and dangerous that can be). You’re sick – you go to a doctor. Easiest way to get healthy.

Easiest way to STAY healthy? Go to a fitness trainer or coach. Let them diagnose (assess) and prescribe (program) your workouts for you. Whether you go once to get a program design to follow on your own or you go three times a week and have the trainer monitor and supervise your workouts, either way you’ll get the expert advice you need to get started on the most effective program for your body and your goals.

But why go to a trainer when I can download an eBook from the internet or watch a video on YouTube?

“I’ve been trained and educated to determine the most effective and efficient way for you to get results when it comes to exercise,” says Tyler Shepard, a certified Personal Trainer at Elevate Fitness Club in Liverpool, NY.  “As a certified trainer, I’ve studied countless methods for achieving results and can help you determine not only the most effective method – but one that meets your lifestyle and scheduling needs as well.”

Most trainers in the Central New York area charge somewhere around the $1/minute range and offer 30 and 60 minute sessions. Some clubs (Elevate Fitness Clubs included) and gyms will even offer a complimentary session to new members or guests trying to determine whether or not they want to join a facility.

We’re willing to be that if you ask someone who’s lived with the horror of heart disease or stroke or cancer, you can’t put a price on the kind of preventative healthcare that can save you and your family the physical, emotional and financial costs of these preventable diseases.  And ultimately, isn’t that what truly makes it the best health insurance? Think about it this way: you don’t hesitate to pay for things like toothpaste and medications, so why skimp when it comes to something as important as your future health?

Stop procrastinating and get the very best health insurance by joining Elevate Fitness and getting started on building a healthier and happier version of yourself.

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The Best Workouts for the Time Crunched

The Best Workouts for the Time Crunched

In this post, we’ll focus on workout modes for people looking for time saving workouts.

In an ideal world, we’d all have all the time we need to meet all of our goals:

  • we’d be able to spend hours a day in the gym sculpting our dream bodies,
  • hours in the kitchen preparing the most delicious, fresh, healthy meals and,
  • we’d have endless hours to spend relaxing, resting and recharging

But where time is concerned, for most of us, we’re living in anything but an ideal world.

So how can we make sure that we’re getting the most out of the time we do have to spend in the gym? How can we make sure that we’re using our time as effectively and efficiently as possible to get the best possible results? What are some workable tips for time saving workouts?

We know that the perfect fitness program consists of four key components:

  • cardiovascular exercise,
  • strength training,
  • flexibility training and,
  • rest/recovery

The most common mistake that people with tight schedules make is by limited their focus to only one or two of these components instead of figuring out how to incorporate all four into their full schedules. A great time saving workout includes at least three of these components. So let’s figure out how to get the full benefit of all the components while still getting in and out of the gym as quickly as possible!

As an example, let’s assume that you have 30 minutes to workout, three days a week. How can we make sure that you’re getting maximum benefit from that time?

When you work with a personal trainer, they’ll adjust your workouts using four important variables:

  • frequency
  • mode
  • intensity and,
  • duration

In this case, we can eliminate frequency (because we’ve already established that we only have three days a week) and duration (because we only have half an hour to spare on our gym days). If you’re looking for the most time saving workouts possible, definitely consider working with a personal trainer.

That leaves us with mode and intensity – these obviously become our most valuable tools in creating the ideal workout for our full schedules.

Intensity is simply how hard you’re working, or how much effort you’re expending in your workout. The more effort required of you, the higher the intensity. Making sure your intensity is appropriate to your goals is key in making the most of your gym time. We HIGHLY recommend heart rate training as an ideal way to monitor and adjust your intensity to your goals. Read more about heart rate training here.

If your goal is weight loss, the ideal intensity is to be working in the 80-90% range of your maximum heart rate, as this will trigger the afterburn response in your body, allowing you to burn more fat at rest in the hours immediately following your workout than you would otherwise.

What is mode of training? Simple – it’s the manner or way in which you’re choosing to exercise. Spinning Class is a mode of exercise, running on the treadmill is a mode of exercise, lifting weights is a mode of exercise, etc. So mode become important in this scenario because we want to choose the modes of exercise that will give us the biggest bang for our buck and offers the best opportunities for time-saving workouts.

For most individuals who are looking to lose weight, or simply tone up, the best option for mode of exercise is going to be interval training. Interval training consists of alternating periods of high-intensity work and recovery. By increasing intensity, we’re getting cardiovascular exercise, and by making the exercises we’re doing full-body bodyweight exercises (think burpees and jump squats and pushups). Interval training is the basis for the very popular HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workouts you see everywhere.

Interval training allows us to address both cardiovascular exercise needs and strength training needs – two of our four components of a successful exercise program! That leaves us with flexibility training and rest/recovery.

We’re going to incorporate these two components in one of two ways:

  1. We’ll either plan a 20-minute interval workout finishing up with 10 minutes of flexibility (stretching) and core work or,
  2. We’ll plan two 30 minute interval workouts and one yoga workout per week.

Either strategy will ensure we’re giving all four components the attention and focus that we need to be successful in the gym.

If you’re looking to see the maximum change in your body with minimal time in the gym – for most of the population, this is going to be the best strategy.

Let’s use a different example and say that you have an hour to spend in the gym three to four days a week. This makes programming your workouts even easier at Elevate Fitness Clubs.

In this case, we’re going to recommend that you combine our popular Cross Training or Group Power classes with our Mind Body classes. (Check out the schedules for these offerings here.)

This option will also address all four components of a solid exercise plan while taking all the responsibility for planning a workout off your plate. Simply use the schedule to determine which classes you’ll be attending, show up, slap on your heart rate monitor (ensuring you’re working in the correct zones during your classes) and watch your body start to change in as little as a month.

It’s easy to turn program design into a super complicated juggernaut that prevents you from ever getting started. Why not sit down with your calendar instead, try to carve out three or four windows a week when you can hit the gym and get started on your journey to your best body ever?

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Weight Loss 101: Getting Started

Healthy Eating Habits at Elevate Fitness

If you ask ten different people who’ve lost weight what the secret to their weight loss success is, you’ll get ten different answers. It’s not just because weight loss is an intensely personal experience, but because everyone’s perception of what actually did the trick can vary significantly from person to person.

When you add in the unending parade of misleading articles and resources online, countless self-appointed experts and an increasing demand on your time and energy and it’s no wonder why so many people struggle to create their own success stories with weight loss.

The goal of this piece is simple: to provide you with a basic outline for success in weight loss that will work for 95% of the population. The other 5% will be affected by medical or socio-economic conditions that require a highly personalized approach – but this post isn’t for them – it’s for you.

Here we go: 3 simple steps that when combined create a strategy for guaranteed weight loss success.

ONE. Consult with your doctor. Every exercise program in the world starts with the same words of advice: “before starting this, or any, exercise program, consult with your doctor…” and there’s a reason you hear this advice over and over again – your doctor will a) ensure you’re not in that 5% we talked about earlier and b) create an amazing source of accountability to insure your success.

The truth is, you can’t count on your friends and family to hold you accountable, because often times, it’s falling into the same habits and lifestyles as those folks that put you in your current situation. And because they often suffer from the same health and fitness struggles as you – they may not be invested in your success as it may underscore their own perceived shortcomings or failures in weightloss and wellness.  Because your doctor is invested in your success, talking about a weight loss strategy with them will ensure you have someone holding you accountable who’s objective and rooting for you.

TWO. Count every calorie you consume and spend and track them. This is just basic science, folks. In order to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume. You cannot lose weight without following this principle (and that’s why it’s so important to track these things).

In order to lose one pound, you need to burn approximately 3500 calories. In theory. In reality, what that means is that you need to create a caloric deficit of 3500 calories in order to lose a pound. If you burn 3500 calories but take in 7000 – you’d gain a pound. (And you’d be surprised how many people overestimate their caloric burn and underestimate their caloric intake – create a surplus instead of a deficit!)

So the rule is simple: every day track how many calories you take in and how many you spend. Make sure you end up with a negative number at the end of every single day. If you track-as-you-go there should be no big surprises when you step on the scale. Don’t assume you can lose weight without good tracking habits – simple math on paper cannot lie, but you’d be surprised the lies our brain is willing to tell us when we want that special treat at the end of the day.

Go to bed every single day with a caloric deficit. And if you want to get really specific, plan your deficit based on your weight loss goals using the 3500 cal = 1 pound math. And when I say track them, I mean write the numbers on a calendar. Write them in a journal. Anywhere. Just make sure you’re keeping  a record of your calories in and calories out.

THREE. Decide how you’ll define your success and WRITE IT DOWN. Is it pounds lost? The fit of your favorite jeans? The number of uninterrupted minutes you can spend running? Whatever it is, define it. And make it a part of your tracking habits. Tracking weight? Weigh yourself regularly and write it down. Tracking the fit of your clothes? Take a pic in your favorite jeans twice a week. Minutes spent running? Make a log.

You MUST have a clearly defined goal and measurement chosen in order to know when/if you’ve created your success story. It’s not enough to say, “I want to lose weight.” You have to say, “I want to lose 10 pounds by the time we open the pool this year.” Or “I want to fit into my favorite jeans before my high-school reunion.”  And write it down. Write it down several times. Put it with your tracking logs/journals/diary/whatever you choose. Write it on a post-it note and stick it on your fridge or in the cupboard with those crackers you always run to at the end of a long day. Stick one on your mirror in the bathroom or on your closet door.

Remind yourself regularly of your goal and WHY that goal is important to you. Ultimately, you’re accountable to yourself. If you really want to achieve something, you need to constantly keep the goal and the reasons in front of you to maintain your focus and motivation.

There are plenty of other rules. Plenty of programs and guides and recommendations. But I personally guarantee you that if you do nothing more than these three things you will absolutely lose weight. So before you invest in the big programs or drop bucks on the next big thing, just do these three things consistently for three weeks. If you see results, keep going. If you don’t – go back and read this again – you’re doing something wrong. You can even email me at and we’ll figure out what that is.

So get out there and use these three simple rules to write your own success story. I believe in you. Do you?

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Gym Trial in Syracuse? Not without checking out these tips!

People search for GYM TRIAL SYRACUSE all day long on Google (and sometimes, but rarely, on Bing). But do you know how to get the most out of those trial memberships that you’re seeking out? We’ve pulled together some easy tips and tricks to make sure you get the most out of your GYM TRIAL SYRACUSE.

Most people don’t use all 7 days of their pass. This is a mistake. The best way to get the most value from your 7 day membership, is to use all 3 days. By planning your week you can ensure that issues like overtraining and recovery are addressed while still maximizing the value of your free membership.

Take advantage of any free sessions with a trainer that you’re offered. And if you’re not offered one – ask! Even if it’s not a standard offer, many clubs will give you a complimentary session if you ask for one. Day 1 of your 7 day membership should be spent with a trainer learning as much as you can about how to best reach your specific goals, and to get feedback about how you’re planning to spend the rest of your gym trial.

Go to the Group Fitness Classes! These instructor-led workouts will ensure you’re using your time wisely and getting the most bang for your workout buck. Try to schedule your time so that you are getting different types of workouts on back-to-back days. For example, follow a cardio day (spinning, aerobics, etc.) with a strength-training day (sculpt, power, etc.) and on days you feel like you need to recover check out a yoga or pilates class. This will allow you to go to your gym for 7 consecutive days without overtraining. Check out the Elevate class schedules here.

Socialize! Meet members who are working toward goals similar to yours, or who enjoy the same workouts or classes. The power of having workout buddies will spill beyond your 7 days and help you maintain your motivation to reach your goals.

Don’t be afraid of “double-days” – you’ve only committed to a week so don’t be afraid to schedule double sessions or event to visit the club twice in one day. The more you can expose yourself to during your trial membership (especially classes) the more information you’ll have in your arsenal to maintain your progress outside the gym after your trial ends.

Okay, don’t pester them, but talk to them. Ask lots of questions! Most employees in a gym work there because they’re passionate about fitness and wellness. Take advantage of what they know and learn as much as you can about how to reach your goals from people who genuinely want to see you reach them!

If you decide that you like the club, great! Find a salesperson, or someone who can work with you to get you a great deal on membership. Lots of times, clubs give their sales staff the ability to create extra incentives to get you to join. Don’t be shy to ask for a deal!

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Joining a New Gym? 5 Questions to Ask First

Whether you’re thinking about joining a gym for the first time, or you’re a seasoned exerciser looking for new digs for all those hardcore workouts you’re logging, there are 5 questions you want to consider before signing on the dotted line.

The Questions.


Everyone who’s ever been in a gym knows that something as seemingly simple as a treadmill functions differently based on a number of factors like model and how old the treadmill is and what you’re trying to accomplish on the treadmill.

Make sure you won’t be left without help when you want to learn how to use a new piece of equipment or when you’re ready to change up your workout plan several months into your membership. Lots of clubs will gladly take your membership dues without providing any assistance if you don’t also hire a personal trainer. Stay away from these clubs and choose one that can clearly answer this questions for you.


We all have the same 24 hours in a day that Beyonce has. And look at what she can do with them. Make sure you choose a gym with hours that match your needs. Decide what your workout schedule is going to look like: will you workout before work or after? On the weekends?

Choose a gym that’s open 7 days a week and open long enough each day that if Plan A falls through, you’ll still have time to implement Plan B.


Have you ever looked at your bank statement and said, “I’M STILL PAYING FOR THAT?”. Nobody wants to be in that position. Find out what the gym’s cancellation fees are, what happens if you know you’ll be unable to use the gym for a period of time, and more importantly (because you’re not thinking about joining a gym to NOT use it) – what the gym does to make sure you stay regular. After all, your bank account shouldn’t be the only one getting thinner, right?


Find out what you’ll be charged besides the standard monthly rate. Find out what each fee and charge is used for and what benefits exist for you for each of those charges. Make sure that the answers you get are clearly documented on any paperwork you may sign.


It’s high school all over again, right? Will the other kids like you? Will you have the right clothes to wear? Will you say the right things? It sounds silly, but it’s not! These things are important and will ultimately determine how often you use the gym and how focused you are while using it! Ask questions about appropriate attire (the truth is anything you can safely and comfortably move in is appropriate, but asking will give you insight into the gym’s culture). Ask about busy times, who takes the classes, etc.

The Answers.

We’ve done a little research for you using these 5 questions, and we think that for 99% of the population, Elevate Fitness Clubs will fit the bill. Here’s how they answer these 5 questions according to Mark Clary, a Membership Coordinator with over 30 years in the business:

Who will help me? “Our entire team is here to help you. From your first fitness consultation with a certified personal trainer (included with every membership) to the ongoing help you may need, we only succeed if you succeed, so we’ll be there every step of the way to offer you the resources you need to reach your goals.”

Will I have the time? “We’re open 7 days a week as early as 4:30 am and as late as 11 pm. We’re also open 363 days a year. And we’re not one of those clubs that gives you partial access – when we’re open, we’re really open. We have staff, full amenities. We’re here for you.”

3. Will I Stick With It? “Again, we’re only successful if you are, so we’re committed to making sure we provide every single member with the tools, resources and motivation to create a winning plan for reaching their goals, and more importantly: for sticking to it! This may mean regular reassessments, it might mean getting some emails asking why you haven’t been in the club this week, or some phone calls from yours truly reminding you to get your butt into the gym!”

How much will it really cost me? “With memberships starting as low as $29.95 a month, we can find a program and membership that fits every lifestyle and every budget. We disclose all fees up-front so that there are no surprises when you’re checking your monthly bank statement. I’ve been that guy surprised by a fee, and I personally want to make sure it doesn’t happen to our members.”

Will I fit in? “For a long time, we had a reputation for being an elite club for bodybuilders and people in prime physical condition (when we were a Gold’s Gym licensed club). The reality is that the population of health clubs has changed significantly in recent years. We have a thriving senior population thanks to programs like Silver Sneakers, we have members who are everyday athletes and choose to train with us and we have first-timers who weren’t comfortable anywhere else who’ve made a second home of Elevate Syracuse because of our diverse membership and welcoming atmosphere.”

The Offer.

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Why I Work with a Personal Trainer

by Jason Jaquays-Tarbox

I’ve been working in the fitness industry (sometimes full-time, some times part-time, but pretty much continuously) since 1994. Usually when I share this information with people in person, it comes out as, “I’ve been working in the industry since [cough/mumble/groan].”

I’ve worked in almost every position you can imagine: I’ve taught group fitness class, trained clients, folded towels, cleaned locker rooms, led aqua aerobics, sold memberships, filled drink coolers and picked up trash from parking lots. I’m hard pressed, in fact, to imagine something I haven’t done in the industry.

But that’s all just backstory to increase the shock of my confession: After 23 years in the business, after training hundred of clients and teaching thousands of group fitness participants: I use a personal trainer to keep me focused on, and moving toward my goals.

I can hear you thinking to yourself, “Wait. What? Why?” Why would I pay someone to train me (as recently as two weeks ago) when I have the experience and education to create and implement my own training programs and workouts? I’m so glad you asked. There are 3 reasons why, after all these years making my living in the world of fitness, I still choose to invest in personal training for my own fitness.

Reason One. One of my favorite sayings is, “none of us is as smart as all of us.” Which I take to mean that there is no one who can’t benefit from the experience, insight and perspective of someone else. And that’s why I love working with trainers: they can use their experiences to make suggestion and modifications that my experience haven’t exposed me to. They can give me insight into behaviors that are affecting my results that my ego don’t initially allow me to see for myself. They can share their perspective to tweak what I’m doing to get me better results (it FEELS like I’m getting deep enough in my squats – but am I really?).

Reason Two. Wasn’t it Albert Einstein who said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result? We all have habits, we all get stuck in our ruts and all of us can benefit from a little push out of our comfort zones. Working with a personal trainer forces me out of my typical routine and gives my body a chance to respond to new stimuli and challenges. I’m almost always sore after working with a trainer because of these new challenges compared to when I work out on my own.

Reason Three. I’m more likely to keep a commitment I’ve made to someone else than I am to a commitment I’ve made to myself. I know, I know – this isn’t my best quality, and my therapist and I are working on it. However, as long as it holds true, I can use this quirk to my benefit and schedule sessions with a trainer on days when I know I might be otherwise inclined to skip a workout or to not give 100% during a workout. Being accountable to someone else is a huge motivator for me to show up and put in the work – and at the end of the day that’s what it takes to get results, just show up and put in the work!

Will I ever stop working with a trainer? Maybe. But if I do, I’m certain my results and my fitness will suffer as a result. So while I can’t say I’ll never stop, I can say I certainly hope I never do.

Want to experience the benefits of working with a certified personal trainer for yourself? Fill out the form below to schedule a complimentary, no-obligation session with an Elevate Fitness personal trainer today! (Some restrictions apply.)

Think and Succeed

Ever since Napoleon Hill wrote his groundbreaking book, Think and Grow Rich, successful people have been using mastermind groups to up-level their accomplishments and create opportunities for themselves and for others as well. Perhaps you have heard of mastermind groups but are not sure what they are and how you could benefit from them.

What is a mastermind?

In the words of Napoleon Hill, a mastermind is “Coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose.”

Basically, a mastermind group is a group of people who communicate regularly with each other for the purpose of helping each other reach their goals.

The idea of mastermind is taken from the habits of highly successful people.

Napoleon Hill noticed, for example, that Andrew Carnegie belonged to a mastermind group, which consisted of about fifty men. He surrounded himself with these men for the express purpose of manufacturing and marketing steel. In fact, he later attributed the entirety of his fortune to the power he gained from this group of people. Likewise, most of Henry Ford’s success became noticeable after he became close friends with Thomas Edison. Coincidence? Not likely.

These examples simply show the power that comes from being surrounded by people who are interested in thinking outside the box and are committed to reaching not only their own goals, but helping you reach yours as well.

What are the features of a successful mastermind?

While every mastermind group will have its own individual characteristics, there are some elements that should be present in order for the group to function at the highest level possible.

These include:

• A leader. A leader is an essential ingredient for a mastermind group. Without someone to provide direction and keep the session in line with the agenda, time could be wasted in unproductive chatter. This person may also provide individual coaching for members outside of the group sessions.

• Member commitment. Because a mastermind group is only as strong as its members, participants must be committed to being active in the group. The success of a group depends on the willingness of each member to work hard not only on his own individual goals, but also on the goals of the other members.

• Cost. Most mastermind groups require members to pay a fee to participate. The value of this feature is rooted in the fact that people tend to value what they have invested themselves in. The old cliché, ‘You don’t get something for nothing,’ rings true. When members must pay a fee for the privilege of participating in a mastermind group, they are likely to take it more seriously.

Why do masterminds work?

When highly motivated people join together to reach goals and make things happen, the result is often an up-leveling of success for everyone. Finally, you are not just relying on your own ideas and your own internal motivation. By making yourself vulnerable to the group, you are subjecting yourself to their ideas, their motivation and their accountability.

Your goals become their goals. And their goals become your goals. Sometimes you need to be pushed. Sometimes you can’t see what is in front of you. Sometimes you need someone else believing that you can do something, even when you are beginning to doubt yourself.

And of course, sometimes all it takes is being surrounded by successful people who are high-energy, highly positive and highly motivated to stay in the driver’s seat of their own lives. And if these people see you trying to crawl into the back seat of your own life, they will drag you back and make sure you stay on top of your game.

Who can benefit from a mastermind?

Do you have goals that you want to reach? Then you can benefit from a mastermind group. Perhaps you want to set a goal of working out a certain number of hours each week. Maybe you want to finally get a handle on what you eat, but you aren’t sure where to find the motivation that it takes to break ingrained habits. It could be that if you had a group of people counting on you to show up and be strong for them, you might be stronger for yourself.

A great place to try out the benefits of a mastermind is in a fitness boot camp. All the essential elements are there waiting for you. Harness the power of this decades-old success principal, and get back in the driver’s seat of your life.

Not a member yet? Try Elevate Fitness for FREE!

Gym Motivation: What Motivates You?

Gym Motivation is fleeting. One day we’re inspired to hit the gym hard, the next day we’re inspired to get our entire monthly Netflix value in a single sitting.

Mike Fohner, cross country running coach, tells this story about one of his students:
Last year, one of my young cross-country runners was fully content walking up the hills and avoiding physical exertion to the maximum extent possible. I tried all sorts of tactics and motivation techniques…to wits end. Even my “walkers club” (post practice sprints for those that walk during practice) had no effect. One meet, this runner unexpectedly knocked 3 minutes off her best time to which I gave a look of amazement to her parents. They smiled and said, “Well…she didn’t walk…so I guess we owe her ten bucks!!” So it appears that money is an effective motivator for all ages!

The Statistics

What’s the truth about gym motivation? Brace yourself. According to Rod K. Dishman, Ph.D., director of the Behavioral Fitness Laboratory at the University of Georgia, nearly 50 percent of people who begin an exercise program drop out within the first 6 months. The question is, “Why?” What is it about sticking with a fitness routine that causes so many people abandon it?

The answer? Motivation. They don’t want health and fitness badly enough. It is a simple fact of human psychology that if we want something badly enough, we’ll do everything we can to get it.
Your challenge is to find out what motivates you to get serious about fitness and stick with it.

Unlocking Your Gym Motivation

Mike Fohner’s student found that money was the motivation she needed to push her out of her comfort zone and into a commitment that she previously hadn’t been interested in.

Bryan Reece found a different motivation. Told by his doctors that he was minutes away from a heart attack, Bryan decided to fight back. Even though he had not been in a gym in 30 years, he turned his life around and eventually became a finisher in the Arizona Ironman competition. You can read his story in the book, You Are an Ironman: How Six Weekend Warriors Chased Their Dream of Finishing the World’s Toughest Triathlon by Jacques Steinberg.

You do not have to be part of that 50 percent who quit. You can stay committed and finish strong. It is all about finding what motivates you personally.

Here are some possible motivators for you.

1. Do it for your health. Consistent exercise and healthy eating are the two very best things you can do for your health. You will develop a strong, healthy heart, reduce your chances of many cancers, prevent diabetes, keep a sharp mind and resist dementia and avoid many of the common ailments that come with aging. It is possible to age without decay, and the key to this is exercise and eating well.

2. Do it to look better. Appearance isn’t everything, but most of us care how we look. A strong and healthy person just looks good. And it isn’t all physical. Your demeanor will change as you develop the confidence that comes from the discipline of fitness. You will appear more energetic and confident because you will be more energetic and confident!

3. Do it to relieve stress. Really! It isn’t a cliché. Exercising really does cause physical changes in your brain and nervous system that results in feelings of calmness and well-being. In fact, you may get so hooked on the mental benefits of exercise that you will crave it!

4. Do it to be strong. If you have never done focused weight training, then you literally have no idea of the total transformation that you will feel after just a few weeks. There is nothing like bending over to pick something up that normally results in discomfort, strain and even pain, only to find out that it is a piece of cake! And by getting strong now, you reduce your risk of age-related falls and fractures because you have the core strength and balance to keep yourself stable.

It is worth taking the time to discover the powerful motivators in your life. Don’t worry about ‘bribing’ yourself: do what it takes to get yourself moving. Find out what makes sweating worth it. Find out what you want more than that brownie. Your health is at stake; in fact, your very life is at stake. It’s time to transform yourself.

If you need the extra motivation, check out our member rewards program.

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Why You Need a Coach

Personal trainers can help you reach your goals faster at Elevate Fitness in Syracuse

There’s a reason why celebrities and other highly successful people use coaches and trainers: IT WORKS.

And that is why so many people are turning to personal trainers to help them move from mediocre to excellence in their pursuit of health, fitness and weight loss.

The Reality

More than 91% of people who start an exercise program quit early—even before their new routine becomes a habit, and 61% will give up within the very first week!

Why? Because changing your lifestyle is hard. In spite of all the infomercials and ads claiming that you can lose weight and transform your body in thirty days (or six weeks at the longest), the truth is, getting fit requires a lifestyle makeover that takes.

  • Time
  • Determination
  • Support

If any of these components is missing, the odds of success plummet.

The Fix

The good news is that one component virtually guarantees the continued presence of the other two, and that is support–and support is the heart of what a good personal trainer provides.

A personal trainer helps with the time factor in two ways:

  1. Finding time in your schedule to actually work out
  2. Sticking with your program long enough to reach your goals.

A personal trainers supports you looking at your schedule and find ways to make fitness fit. A seasoned personal trainer has much wisdom in the area of time management and is a master at figuring out how to work exercise into even the busiest schedules. He can also design workouts that are both efficient and effective. Finally, a personal trainer can also provide the motivation that you need to keep going, long after you would have stopped were you doing working out by yourself.
Determination is also an area that a personal trainer supports you in. At the beginning of your new fitness program, you have excitement, novelty and the joy of discovery to keep you going. But eventually, what used to be new and fun becomes old and boring. If determination fades, you will find yourself wandering off track in search of the next exciting pursuit.

Your personal trainer will help you keep your determination. He will remind you why you are doing what you are doing. He will get into your life and help you move past obstacles that arise, and he will talk you out of excuse-making. He will constantly hold before you the consequences of your choices. He will keep you moving forward.

And finally, a personal trainer supports you as your source for practical, step-by-step instructions for building health. Your personal trainer is an expert in the field of exercise science. While under the tutelage of a personal trainer, you do not have to design your own program of fitness, constantly wondering whether you are doing the right exercises in the right way. A personal trainer will create a customized blueprint that will help you achieve your goals.
A personal trainer is your insurance policy against being another number in the appalling fitness drop-out statistics. Don’t try to go it alone; we all need help.

Position yourself for success by working with a personal trainer and watch fitness and robust health become part of your life.


Schedule a complimentary, no-obligation session with a Personal Trainer at Elevate Fitness by filling out the form below. Some restrictions apply.

Gold’s Gym Syracuse become Elevate Fitness!

Gold’s Gym Syracuse became Elevate Fitness effective September 1, 2017. While we have had a successful run as Gold’s Gym franchise for over 20 years, becoming an independent club will allow us to best serve members at our Liverpool and DeWitt locations. We appreciate those of you who’ve been with us all along, and we realize you may have some questions, so we’d like to take this opportunity to answer some of the most common.

  • Both our Liverpool and DeWitt locations will become independent clubs, but will remain under the same management. This decision brings us back to our roots of being a locally-owned business, when we opened in the 1980s as Sundown Health and Racquet Club.
  • This change will not only help our clubs grow, but allow us to invest our time and money to create new and better experiences for our members. Being independent means we have more flexibility and control over what we do as a gym to best serve the needs of our members and build a stronger community.
  • There won’t be any cuts in service, resources, programming or staff, and there won’t be an increase in pricing.

Elevate Fitness continues to be the only full-featured, multi-amenity fitness club in Syracuse. You’ll start noticing positive changes right away.

  • We’re adding more classes. The member experience is our top priority. We already offer more classes per month than any other gym in the area—and we think members will be excited about the new aquatics and yoga programming rolling out this fall.
  • We’re brightening up both locations with fresh paint. Please excuse the temporary inconvenience—we’re striving to finish painting as soon as possible.
  • In Liverpool, we’re putting in a new athletic-based training area complete with turf, kettle bells, ropes and more. The Liverpool location will also add 15 new treadmills with personal TVs. The yoga studio has also been refurbished and a new yoga schedule will be announced in the fall.
  • We’re giving our pool a makeover to accommodate new water fitness classes. We recently invested over $120,000 in new equipment at our DeWitt location.

We live in a technology-driven world, so we built new digital and mobile functionalities and apps to make Elevate Fitness a more personalized, interactive, results-driven experience for members.

  • We have a new mobile-friendly website so members can manage their fitness experience at their convenience. The online member portal enables members to sign up for classes, purchase personal training sessions and class passes, and view their fitness progress at their convenience and discretion.
  • We’re creating a free mobile app (for iPhone and Android) so members can monitor their fitness goals in real time. This includes tracking calories/weight loss and a heart rate monitor that can be used during classes and workouts.
  • We’re installing Fit3D, a wellness assessment 3D body scanner. The 3D body scanner will measure body fat and full body analyses to show muscle mass, posture and track progress—emailed instantly to each member.
  • We’re rolling out a new rewards program for members to earn points for regular to promote a healthy lifestyle. The reward system will track visits automatically and points can be used for retail, food/drinks, memberships, personal training or fitness classes.

There will be no changes to memberships, fees, or the services members currently receive.

  • There will be no change in ownership. Tom Muller began working at the club in 1988 and took ownership in 2005. He is just as passionate and optimistic today as he was 12 years ago.
    Club hours of operation will remain the same, as well as the pricing for our services. This includes membership costs, personal training, fitness classes, retail and food/drinks for purchase.
  • These changes will occur at both locations and will cause minimal to no disruption to staff or members. Both facilities will be brightened with fresh paint, along with new Elevate Fitness signage and branding.

If you have other questions that we haven’t answered here, please call the club, or stop in and speak to one of our team members today! We’re excited to make the move from Gold’s Gym Syracuse and we hope you are too! And make sure to follow us on Facebook here!

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