There’s nothing like starting your day on a strong note. Whether you’re working from home or ready to start a new routine, getting your heart rate up is a surefire way to ensure that your mind and body is strong enough to tackle whatever life throws your way.

Self-care comes in many forms. For many of our team members and partners, that special morning routine involves a hot, tasty drink, a nourishing breakfast, and a few quick — but effective — HIIT exercises before jumping on conference calls or diving into spreadsheets.

Many athletes begin their days with HIIT activities. HIIT, or High-Intensity Interval Training, is a form of cardio exercise. Generally, these workouts are brief but powerful. In most cases, athletes perform an intensive workout in a short, swift burst, rest, and then repeat.[1] The entire activity takes around 20 minutes, though your version will depend on your athletic skills and comfort levels.

Why Does Everybody Love HIIT So Much, Anyway?

The popularity of high-intensity interval training has soared in recent years. Those who haven’t tried it often feel baffled. They wonder, “What makes this workout better or more effective than other cardio workouts?”

As it turns out, there are a few reasons why HIIT has risen to the top of athletic trends:

  1. It’s Easily Personalized

The great thing about high-intensity interval training? It’s fully customizable. Since HIIT activities come in such a wide range, it’s easy to choose and combine various routines in order to give your daily routine variety. Every morning, you can perform a different set of HIIT activities. The variety is great for accountability, too — you’ve come up with a fun routine for the morning, so why skip it?

  1. You Can Work Out at Home

These days, we’re spending a lot more time in our homes. Many HIIT workouts don’t require any equipment, while others use the type of gym gear that athletes already have at home.

  1. It’s Great For Your Health

One of the best parts of HIIT is that it’s great for you. High-intensity interval training can boost your cardiovascular system, burn fat, and even improve your cognitive function. Pretty impressive for something that can be done in under a half-hour.

What HIIT Exercises Can I Try Now?

Ready to try your own HIIT routine? Here are some of our favorites to help get you started.

  1. Hand Release Push-Ups[2]

To perform this activity, begin in a standard push-up pose. Carefully lower your body to your mat, and lift your hands away. Put your hands back on the mat. As you exhale, press your body back upwards.

Tip: If you are struggling here — they mean it when they say “high intensity” — you can perform this pose from your knees as well.

  1. Speed Skaters[3]

Begin in a standing position, with your feet planted hip-width apart, with your core engaged. With your right leg crossed behind you, jump toward your right, landing on your left foot. Your arms will swing while this happens — your left should go across the front of your body while the right will swing behind it. When you land, switch sides and repeat.

  1. Butt Kickers[4]

This workout will definitely kick your butt!

Begin in a standing position. Pace your feet hip-distance apart, with your hands stacked atop each other at the small of your back. Briskly jog in place, bringing your heels as close to your bottom as possible.

  1. Kettlebell Swings[5]

This workout requires a kettlebell, which many of our athletes keep at home.

To perform a kettlebell swing, stand on a mat with your feet shoulder-width apart,  holding the weight in both your hands. Place your knees at a 90-degree angle, lean forward, and bring the kettlebell down between your legs. Push your hips forward and swing the kettlebell upwards to the height of your shoulders. Return to your starting pose with bent knees and the weight between your legs.

  1. Reverse Lunge[6]

Begin in a standing position with your core engaged, your feets shoulder-width apart, and your hands planted on your hips. With your right foot, lunge backward, so both knees are at a 90-degree angle. Your back should be straight the entire time. Use your right foot to push yourself back up into your starting position before switching sides and repeating.

  1. Floor Burpees[7]

Burpees are HIIT royalty. To perform this one, begin standing — your legs can be pretty far apart here. Bend your knees, squat to the floor, and place your hands on your mat.

Jump your legs back into a plank pose — when done correctly, your body will be in a straight line. Engage your core and slowly lower your body down to the mat.

Using your palms and toes, press yourself back up into a plank. Bring your feet back toward your hands and “explode” upwards, with your hands reaching for the ceiling. You should land back in your starting pose.

  1. Plyo Push-Ups[8]

Begin in a typical push-up pose. Lower your body toward the mat. Push yourself up off the floor, and then lift your hands away off the mat, before returning to a traditional push-up position. You can also perform this push-up from the knees for a less intensive routine.

  1. Russian Twists[9]

This core-strengthening routine is simple yet effective. To perform a Russian twist, begin by sitting on your mat. Keep your hands at your chest and your heels to the mat. Engage your core and twist your body from side to side. That’s all there is to it!

  1. Reverse Crunches[10]

To begin this pose, lay on your back. Keep your legs straight and put your hands to your sides. Raise your legs until they are vertical, sticking straight up. Then, lift your hips off the ground by raising your feet skywards. Lower your hips back to your mat, bring your legs down and near to starting pose, but keeping them slightly elevated. Repeat.

  1.  Pop Squats[11]

Begin in a standing position. Keep your feet together and your hands at your chest. Then, jump your feet into a wide stance and lower yourself into a squat. Keep your glutes engaged and bend both knees — you want your thighs to be parallel to your mat. Hit the floor with your right hand.

Jump back into your starting pose, with your feet together. Hop twice in place, and then jump and drop back into your wide squat pose. This time, smack the floor with your left hand.

  1. Fire Hydrants[12]

Begin this routine by climbing onto all fours on your mat. Keep your hands shoulder-width apart and your head facing down; your back should be straight. Keep your knees bent.

Use one of your hip abductors to raise one of your legs to its side, keeping it bent. When it is parallel to your mat, you can return to your starting pose. Then, repeat with the other leg.

  1. Decline Push-Ups[13]

This exercise requires a workout bench.

To begin, get into a pose where your feet are resting on your bench, while your hands are on a mat. Your back should be perfectly straight. Bring your body down in order to bring your elbows to a 90-degree angle — ideally, your humerus will be parallel to the mat. Repeat.

  1. Forearm Plank[14]

This pose begins on the floor. Place your forearms on your mat. You want your elbows to be right beneath your shoulders, with your arms parallel to one another. Stretch your legs behind you, so that they are about hip-width apart.

Engage your core, as well as your quads and bum. Tuck your tailbone and hold the pose.

  1. Jumping Jacks

Jumping jacks are a classic — you probably performed them back in your school gym class. Here’s a refresher:

Begin with your feet planted on the floor, and then jump them together. As you do that, clap your hands high above your head. Return to a neutral pose, and then repeat.

  1. Tuck-Ups

To perform this pose, begin by laying on your back on a mat. Bring your arms straight over your head. Bring your legs into your chest and bring your back up and off the floor. Grab hold of your legs, and use your glutes to balance yourself. Come back to your beginning pose, and repeat.

Some Frequently Asked Questions About High-Intensity Interval Training[15]

As with any trending exercise, workout, or fitness concept, there are quite a few questions floating around. Athletes want to be sure that they tackle these exercises in the proper way. We’re here to answer those most pressing queries.

Is It Better to Eat Before or After HIIT?[16]

A HIIT workout requires an enormous amount of strength and energy. To properly execute the exercises we’ve outlined, it’s essential to keep your body nourished and able to maintain the appropriate amount of energy. We don’t recommend that you engage in HIIT on an empty stomach — a high-carb snack will give you the energy you need. However, it’s better to give your body a bit of time before working out — ideally, 3-4 hours is best.

We know that can be tough in the mornings. So if you plan to start your day with a HIIT routine, a smoothie or banana might be a good solution. They’re not too heavy, but they will give you the stamina you need.

Once your workout has finished, eat something! As with any workout, your body needs to recover after your HIIT session. Most athletes chow down on a protein-packed meal or shake after their workout to help their muscles heal. We recommend eating something within an hour of finishing your HIIT workout.

Can Beginners Try HIIT?

They sure can! One of the best things about HIIT is that athletes of varying experience and skills can customize a workout to their liking. HIIT is incredibly expansive; the fifteen exercises we listed above are only a fraction of the possibilities. So, it’s easy for beginners to find routines that aren’t too difficult or overwhelming, especially towards the beginning. As time goes on, they can add more intensive exercises to their routines. And remember, your local gym will have a crew of dedicated coaches, who will be ready to help bring you from beginner to pro.

Building your cardiovascular strength and overall fitness has never been easier with Jack City Fitness. Our team is passionate, knowledgeable about HIIT, and here to support you as you reach your fitness goals. Our sparkling-clean gym is open 24/7 to our partners, and we offer a wide range of classes and training options. For those staying at home, we also have a custom coaching option, which allows you to work out with our coaches remotely, no matter where you are.

Get in touch with our team at Jack City Fitness today to learn more about our partnerships — drop us a line on our website or call (208) 999-1111.


[1] https://www.runnersworld.com/training/a25335864/high-intensity-interval-training/

[2] https://www.shape.com/fitness/workouts/hiit-workout-exercises

[3] https://www.insider.com/hiit-workouts-you-can-do-at-home-2018-7

[4] https://www.self.com/gallery/hiit-cardio-workout

[5] https://www.mensjournal.com/health-fitness/10-hiit-workouts-you-can-do-home/

[6] https://www.self.com/gallery/hiit-cardio-workout

[7] https://www.insider.com/hiit-workouts-you-can-do-at-home-2018-7

[8] https://www.shape.com/fitness/workouts/hiit-workout-exercises

[9] https://www.shape.com/fitness/workouts/hiit-workout-exercises

[10] https://www.insider.com/hiit-workouts-you-can-do-at-home-2018-7

[11] https://www.self.com/gallery/hiit-cardio-workout

[12] https://www.mensjournal.com/health-fitness/10-hiit-workouts-you-can-do-home/

[13] https://www.mensjournal.com/health-fitness/10-hiit-workouts-you-can-do-home/

[14] https://www.self.com/gallery/hiit-cardio-workout

[15] https://dohiit.com/hiit-faq

[16] https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/professional/expert-articles/5332/pre-and-post-workout-nutrition-for-high-intensity-interval-training/

There are plenty of articles and techniques out there to help people quit a habit, whether it’s smoking, biting nails, swearing, or incessantly apologizing. However, there are far fewer resources detailing how to establish a new habit. Perhaps this is because the “bad habits” we listed above seem to happen effortlessly. If only the same could be said for healthy habits, like drinking water, eating well, and exercising.

 

Looking after your health feels good, but it can also be a lot of work. The world we live in is partially to blame: modern society has made bad habits feel a lot easier to access than good ones. Take food, for instance. Cooking takes time, but pizza is instant – and as a result, picking up takeout after work becomes a habit. The same goes for commuting. Sure, you can walk, but taking an Uber will give you an extra hour of sleep; soon it becomes your routine. These simple fixes make life easier in the moment but can lead to poor health, which isn’t easy to live with at all. 

 

When it comes to working out, many people face this same dilemma: they enjoy exercise and its results, but struggle to incorporate it into their routine. Days, weeks, and even months can go by without a gym visit or a dedicated day of exercise. 

 

When you finally do exercise, you wonder why you waited this long. The answer is, of course, is that you haven’t made it into a habit.

 

Creating a Healthy Habit

If you’d like to make your next “hard to break habit” a healthy one, working out and looking after your physical health is a great idea. But before we delve into some ideas for creating healthy workout habits, let’s talk about the actual process of developing a routine. 

 

The scientific world has seen a significant amount of discussion about this very topic – for a long time, folks said that any habit could be built in 21 days. That may be true for some small habits, but for larger ones, 21 days might just be the jumping-off point. More recent studies suggest that a more realistic number would be 66 days – that’s just over two months.

 

We recently watched a Netflix series where a character tries to start jogging in order to improve his life. Another runner notices him struggling and tells him, “It gets easier. Every day it gets a little easier. But you gotta do it every day. That’s the hard part. But it does get easier.”  

 

We love this quote because it can apply to so many things in life. It’s very true – and it certainly applies to what we’re covering today. Building a habit takes dedication, but since you’re here, we know you have plenty of that!

 

Here are a few tips for developing healthy habitual workout habits – and getting into the right mindset to do so. 

 

 

 

Everybody needs goals. Whether they’re beginning a fitness journey, starting a new job, beginning a new project, or even embarking on a new relationship, having a vision and goal to work for will give order and direction to your process. 

 

You already have one goal: making exercise a habit, not a chore or an extra activity. You want to seamlessly thread it into your life, right? That’s a fantastic start. Now, let’s set a few more goals to help make that happen.

 

If you’re unsure of which fitness goals to set, that’s okay. Take some time to reflect. Imagine yourself in the future, working out every day as effortlessly as you feed your cat or make your morning coffee. Maybe you see yourself, super fit, in yoga clothes – perhaps your goal can be to master five poses by the end of the year. Or, maybe you see pecs and barbells – your goal can be lifting a certain amount of weight. Eventually, it will become a habit, you’ll be in amazing shape, and everything will be worth it. 

 

Your Mindset Mantra: There is a future that I want, and I can take steps to make it happen.

 

 

 

Working with a buddy or a coach can be a great way to make working out a habit. Be very clear about which goals you’ve established and let them know that it’s crucial for you to make your workout routine a habit. On days that you don’t feel like hitting the gym, or want to blow it off for other plans, you’ll need to answer to them! This will hold you more accountable for your workout, leading you to cancel only when it’s really necessary.

 

Your Mindset Mantra: Cancelling gym plans won’t only affect me – my actions have power.

 

 

 

If working out is new or intimidating to you, that’s completely okay. It’s still something you can make into a habit! The key is to set goals that are realistic for you

 

Don’t push yourself into something you’re not ready for – start small. You can build your way up to longer hours, more reps, and more intensive workouts down the line. For now, focus on laying down the foundation, nailing technique, and building the habits.

 

Your Mindset Mantra: I am building the foundation of my future.

 

 

 

You keep hearing that swimming laps is a great way to work your body, but you detest the smell of chlorine, hate the feeling of your hair being wet, and have a slight (and totally legit) fear of a shark snapping at your foot while you work. Just because swimming is good for you doesn’t mean it’s the right workout for you. If you don’t enjoy your workout – or even dread it – it’s never going to become a habit. 

 

Choose a workout that excites you, makes you feel great, and meshes with your body and lifestyle. That could mean one-on-one training sessions, joining a sports team or activity club, taking a class, or embarking on a solo workout journey. 

 

This is also an excellent opportunity to reflect. Think back; are there any forms of movement or sport that you find interesting? What sports did you like as a child? If you spent your childhood fascinated by ballet performances, perhaps a dance class in order. If you lived and breathed soccer, maybe it’s time to join an intramural team. Remember, no matter what you choose, a good fitness center will have staff members to help you train or get in shape for most of those activities.

 

Your Mindset Mantra: I am working out because I enjoy the activity.

 

  1. Stick With It

Let’s say that your first habit goal is to do a half-hour of yoga stretches every morning before you start your day. That’s your new rule, so don’t let yourself be flexible about it unless you have a legitimate reason. That might mean not snoozing your alarm some mornings, even if you want to. Holding yourself accountable and refusing to make excuses will lead you to make healthier choices in other aspects of your life, too. 

 

If you wake up feeling grouchy one morning but still do your stretches, it probably won’t be the most enjoyable workout of your life, but you’ll likely feel a little better after you’re done. The next day, when you wake up in a better mood, you’ll be glad that you didn’t break your streak. 

 

Your Mindset Mantra: I will not listen to the voice in my head telling me to be lazy.

 

 

 

By now, you’re probably seeing why our very first tip was “set a goal.” It plays a role in all of our other suggestions. Aren’t you glad you took the time to think of some for yourself?

 

When you set those goals, you visualized a healthier version of yourself. On the days where you don’t feel like working out, reflect on that visualization and goal. It will likely inspire you to get moving – and will hopefully remind you that you’ve already made strides.

 

Your Mindset Mantra: The person I want to become is waiting for me in the future – I can do this!

 

 

 

Social media is filled with “fitspiration” content. Whether you feel like following  fitness influencers, pinning your favorite activewear, or watching your favorite YouTube athlete, you’ll be bound to find new ideas to try and goals for yourself. You might even want to make yourself a vision board to look back on when you need an extra push. 

 

Your Mindset Mantra: People just like me have hit their goals, and so can I.

 

 

 

For some of us, everything’s better with company. If you prefer to have a friend by your side while you go about your daily routine – whether that’s walking your dog or grocery shopping – you might find that a workout buddy suits you. As we spoke of earlier, there’s the accountability factor, but that’s not all. Exercising with a friend opens the entire experience for you!

 

Working out with a friend can make the experience more enjoyable and encourage you to engage with more enthusiasm. You can take a class together, hit the gym at the same time, or start hiking or biking as a pair. This gives you a support system, which will in turn allow you to try new things in an environment that makes you feel safe. You can also turn to each other for advice, emotional support, or send each other funny workout memes, too – at its core, this is a friendship that evolved from a shared fitness goal. 

 

Here’s an idea we love: create a fun “post-workout” habit with your gym buddy. Maybe that means enjoying a protein shake at your favorite cafe after sessions. Maybe you head to your place together to watch an episode of a shared show. Whatever you choose, having a fun post-workout plan with your bud will make your gym sesh all the more enticing. 

 

Your Mindset Mantra: Working out with my friend is a highlight of my week.

 

 

 

It’s midnight on a Friday night.  You’ve decided that tomorrow, you’re going to be healthier. You pat yourself on the back and go to bed, convinced that you will wake up on time, exercise, eat a healthy breakfast, do errands, clean, catch up with a friend, and cook a nourishing dinner all before making a cup of herbal tea and diving into an award-winning novel before a 10 p.m. bedtime. The morning comes and none of that happens. Not even the gym. 

 

Break the “skip the gym” habit by creating new ones and planning in advance. Write your plans down. Be tough on yourself. You can handle it. Set multiple alarms so you cannot snooze. Set your gym clothes out. Tell your coach to expect you at the gym at a particular time. Buy the ingredients for your healthy meals – you won’t want to waste them. Even invite someone over for dinner, so you can’t make excuses to not cook.

 

  Plan. You might not keep all of them, but you’re likely to keep more.

 

Your Mindset Mantra: Once my plans are made, I cannot break them unless it’s an emergency.

 

 

 

A support network is the most important gift you can give yourself during any major journey, whether that’s your personal fitness, learning a new skill, moving somewhere new, or anything else that you choose to do with your life.

 

At Jack City Fitness, we’re here to be your fitness circle. With a team of passionate fitness and nutrition coaches, supportive teachers, and a network of friendly partners to work out with, Jack City is Boise’s number one spot to make fitness a lifelong habit. 

 

With us, gym-goers become our partners – and they get all sorts of perks. Gym access is 24/7 at Jack City Fitness, so whether you want to hit the treadmill before your morning commute or lift weights after your 3 a.m. shift finishes, we’ll be waiting for you. You also have access to engaging classes, coaching options, and brand-new equipment to ensure that your fitness journey is an excellent one. 

 

Ready to make some new healthy habits? Get in touch with our team today by calling (208) 999-1111 and we’ll invite you to our Boise facility to see what we’re all about. You can even try a free fitness consultation – it might inspire you to peek into one of our classes or meet a few of our coaches. 

Your Mindset Mantra: At Jack City, I always have a safe space to work on my health.

11 Workouts You Can Do With a Kettlebell

 

It doesn’t matter if you’ve never set foot in a gym before or if you live and breathe workout culture – a kettlebell workout will benefit you either way. Unlike some forms of exercise, which depend on skill level, the kettlebell is for everybody. 

 

However, not everybody knows the ins and outs of this piece of equipment or the correct way to utilize it. That’s where your friends at Jack City Fitness come in. Plenty of our coaches swear by kettlebell workouts, and are thrilled to show our partners just how much can be accomplished with this simple tool.

 

What Is a Kettlebell, Exactly?

Before we delve into the different types of kettlebell workouts, let’s cover the basics.

 

A kettlebell is made from either cast iron or steel. Around the size of a bowling ball or cannonball, this hefty piece of equipment always features a large handle. Its distinctive shape creates unevenly distributed weight, which allows for effective, specialized movement – and works out multiple muscles at once. The kettlebell is particularly popular for workouts that require explosive moments. Generally, athletes work with a kettlebell to gain strength and improve their endurance levels. 

 

The kettlebell actually began life in Russia, under the name girya – back in the 18th century, it was a popular circus prop utilized by “strongmen.” Its popularity spread across Europe and eventually reached the English-speaking world, where it took on the name “kettlebell.” 

 

Today, people are far more likely to see a kettlebell at the gym than in a circus big top – and it’s a much more versatile piece of equipment than you may think. The kettlebell lends itself to all kinds of exercises and routines, no matter what your experience or fitness level may be. You’ll build strength, burn calories, and optimize your workout.  Plus, there’s no handlebar mustache or striped romper required. 

 

Kettlebell Exercises for Beginners

Yes, beginners can absolutely engage in kettlebell workouts! Some gym newbies might find that the kettlebell is actually easier and more enjoyable to use than traditional dumbbells or hand weights. Because of the unique weight distribution of the kettlebell, you will have a different range of motion than you would with other weights. Just be sure to go easy on yourself in the beginning – there’s no reason to lift heavier weights than you can manage. Most beginners do well with a starting weight of 10-15 pounds. 

 

There are plenty of kettlebell exercises that are suitable for beginners, but we’ve narrowed it down to five. 

 

 

 

Squats are a classic workout for any athlete. Though they can, of course, can be performed without weights, many choose to include a kettlebell in their squat routine. Doing squats with a heavy ball in tow will add increased resistance and work your muscles. 

 

To properly perform this squat, grab your kettlebell by the sides and hold it to your chest. Plant your feet on the floor shoulder-width apart and allow your toes to turn outward a bit. Drop your bottom and bend at your hips and knees into a squat in a fluid motion, keeping your kettlebell at your chest. Use the power from your heels to propel yourself back up to the starting pose. 

 

 

 

The secrets to kettlebell swings? According to trainer Jessica Sims, the biggest keys are to engage your bum muscles and use your hips to swing the kettlebell, not your arms. 

 

To perform this swing, use both your hands to grab the handle of your kettlebell. Stand with your feet planted apart and knees slightly bent. Lean forward from the hips and it’s swing time. Allow the kettlebell to curve between your legs. Return to an upright position – your hip movement should help you bring the ball back up to chest level.

 

 

 

We love this particular exercise – it’s not only incredibly effective, but it’s fun to perform! Even the name makes us smile. 

 

To perform a flutter kick, put out a yoga mat and lay on your back. Hold your kettlebell from the bottom using both hands. Lift it so that the weight is just over your shoulders. Then, peel your shoulders and the upper portion of your torso off the mat. After that, you can slightly raise your legs and begin to alternately kick them in a “flutter” motion.

 

 

 

Want to work on core strength and work your chest and shoulders at the same time? Try the halo. Begin in a standing pose with your feet planted shoulder width apart. Grab your kettlebell by the handle and flip it upside-down so the ball is facing upwards. Hold it to your chest. Then, lift it up to your face and, working towards your left, move it around your head while also revolving it – the handle should be face-down when it reaches the back of your noggin. Repeat on the other side.

 

 

 

This simple exercise is a great way to work your abs and core muscles. It also uses a second piece of equipment – a box, step, or even just a chair or stool can do the trick. The key is to use something that will allow your knee to bend at a 90-degree angle when you step up.

 

To perform these steps, grip your kettlebell by the handle to your chest. Using your left foot, step up onto the box. Bring your right knee up to your chest. Step back down one leg at a time, then switch legs and repeat.

 

Kettlebell Exercises for Mid-Level Athletes

If you’ve graduated from beginner status but aren’t ready to call yourself a pro, there are still plenty of kettlebell exercises to keep you on the path to glory.

 

 

 

There are lots of presses in the world of fitness, but the kettlebell push press is one of our favorites. It’s a great way to build up your arm muscles,  and it’s just plain impressive – instead of one kettlebell, this exercise uses two!

 

To perform the kettlebell push press, stand on the floor with your feet planted a shoulder-width apart. Hold a kettlebell (by the handles) in each hand, with your palms facing outwards and your arms bent enough that the weights are at your shoulders. Bend your knees slightly and come back upright, lifting the kettlebells over your head as you do so – keep those arms straight when you do this. Gently bring your hands back down to the starting position and repeat.

 

 

 

Sure, we’ve all done push-ups before, but what about kettlebell push-ups? This two-kettlebell workout is a lot of fun to practice, is a super effective way to work your body, and is sure to impress your gym buddies, too.

 

To perform these pumped-up push-ups, grab two kettlebells and place them on a yoga mat or towel (you don’t want them slipping). Then, grip the handle of each kettlebell and perform push-ups the same way that you normally would.

 

 

 

If you’ve mastered the kettlebell swing, it’s time to try a figure 8. 

 

Plant your feet on the ground, shoulder-width apart. Hold the handle of your kettlebell with one hand. Slightly bend your knees and move your hips forward slightly to pass the kettlebell through your legs. Grab it with your free hand from behind your body. Return to standing while bringing the weight to your chest. Draw your other hand to the kettlebell to keep it stable and safe.

 

Kettlebell Exercises for Pros

You’ve done the work and now you’re a fitness pro. However, even the most experienced athletes benefit from learning new workouts and training tips. 

 

 

 

Presumably named for all the heavy lifting required in a barn, the Farmers Walk is a deceptively simple exercise – it’s easy to learn, but takes a lot of strength and skill to perform. 

 

To try the Farmer’s Walk, grab two kettlebells and hold them each by the handle, with your arms straight down. Engage your core, stand up nice and tall, tuck those shoulders back, and get into the best posture you can manage. Take several steps forward, then turn around and walk back. Small steps are better here. 

 

 

 

Hoping to bring new strength to your delts and triceps? The overhead press is a great way to do this. The key is starting in a proper rack position; hold the kettlebell firmly by the handle across your palm, close to your engaged core. Make sure your posture is flawless before you begin; that’s the ticket to a proper rack.

 

 

 

This exercise is also called the “Kettlebell Kayaker.” Whatever name you use, the concept remains the same. This workout will do wonders for your core muscles, as well as your obliques.

 

Sit on the floor or your yoga mat and bring your knees up to a 90-degree angle. Have a kettlebell next to you, ready to go. Rock backwards while lifting your feet off the mat; only your sit bones should be touching the ground. Grab the kettlebell with both hands and lift it over your abdomen. Tap the kettlebell to the floor on each side of your body; you should move your shoulders along with this movement, but keep your hips and legs stock still. Be sure that your core is engaged this entire time and that your posture is upright and straight. 

 

Maybe you’d like to try some kettlebell exercises with a dedicated coach. Excellent. Perhaps you’d prefer a different style of strengthening and muscle-toning workout. That’s great, too. The truth is, when you come to Jack City Fitness, the workout world is your oyster.

 

At Jack City Fitness, athletes are a part of a larger family and community. To us, the athletes who come into our fitness centers and work with our coaches are much more than members – they’re our partners. And being a Jack City partner will open your world up in ways you didn’t even imagine.

 

Curious? Give us a call or drop us a line! We’d be delighted to chat with you about your fitness history and goals – in fact, we’d rather discuss that with you in person. That’s why we invite all of our potential partners to come and visit us at our Boise fitness center. Onsite, we can really get to know you and learn about your fitness needs and goals. We’ll also invite you to tour our facility, try out a free fitness consultation, and even take a sneak peek at some of our workout classes. Once you’ve signed up, all of those classes are at your disposal. You’ll get 24/7 gym access, as well as the opportunity to work with any of our coaches, either in fitness or nutrition. We also offer custom options, like online workout sessions as well as training for sports teams or small groups. 

 

Ready to be the kettlebell champion and the strongest version of yourself? We can’t wait to help make that a reality. Call (208) 999-1111 today to come and see what you’re truly made of!

 

No two athletes are the same, and neither are their relationships with fitness centers and gyms. Though some may look forward to their workouts, others may dread them. Even gyms that create a welcoming, inclusive environment can still cause stress for some athletes. 

 

We refer to this phenomenon as gym anxiety.

 

What Causes Gym Anxiety?

 

Gym anxiety is nothing to be ashamed of. Like any other challenge, it’s something you can overcome if you work at it. To put it to rest, though, it’s helpful to understand where it comes from. 

 

 

 

Yes, the nation and the world have come a long way in terms of body positivity, but we still have a long way to go. There is still plenty of counterintuitive body-shaming happening around our country, even when said body is exercising. The nerve of those naysayers is just astounding — people of all shapes and sizes should be encouraged to hit the gym and feel their best.

 

For athletes heading to the gym in hopes of weight loss, this negative attitude can be very harmful, and even deter them from working out publically for fear of being criticized or excluded. 

 

 

 

Everybody starts at the bottom, but when you’re watching other athletes lift staggering weights, twist into perfect yoga positions, or run like the wind, it’s easy to feel like you’ll never catch up. Besides feeling discouraged right off the bat, some athletes even begin to psych themselves out about their classmates or coach or instructor judging them. Though this isn’t actually going to happen —  trust us, your fellow athletes are focusing on their own performance, and your coach just wants to help you improve — it can really cause negative thinking. 

 

 

 

For some, dreading the gym doesn’t feel particularly out of the ordinary — the same anxiety occurs whenever they need to face a large group of people. Social anxiety or phobia is said to affect about 15 million Americans, so if that rings true, know that you’re not alone, and there are ways to cope. (Hopefully, some of our tips will help as well.)

 

 

 

We get it. You have a million responsibilities. Whether you’ve been up since the crack of dawn wrangling your children and depositing them safely at school, putting in 100% at your job, studying your head off, or a legendary combination of all three, your schedule is packed. You tell yourself that you’ll hit the gym after work. You even bring your activewear to your job!

 

But when you’re finally finished with a long day, the idea of heading anywhere besides your bed or comfy couch can spark some serious anxiety. 

 

 

 

You’ve always liked hitting the treadmill and elliptical, but your group of friends is suddenly all about CrossFit. They’re also following a special nutrition cleanse that you’re not enjoying, but you’re afraid of what they’ll say if you tell them. After all, you don’t want to be labeled as unhealthy or unfit. 

 

Though exercise is personal, some people forget that and think of it as a competition, or something that’s black and white. That attitude can be harmful to athletes and lead to gym anxiety.

 

Regardless of what’s causing your gym anxiety, we want to help. Your team at Jack City Fitness is here to help and encourage you no matter what your fitness level, size, or experience may be.  

 

7 Tips to Overcome Gym Anxiety

 

If you’ve been struggling with gym anxiety, try a few of these tips from our team. 

 

 

 

They say laughter is the best medicine. Though we’d recommend you head to the doctor if you, say, break your arm, there are cases where this proverb rings true. 

 

Let’s use yoga as an example. Maybe you went to a yoga class once and it felt like a disaster. You were sore and sweating and insecure that everybody knew how much you were struggling. After it ended, you vowed never to set foot in another yoga studio. 

 

Fast forward a few years. Your best friend does yoga. Your boss does yoga. Your mom does yoga. They all claim that learning the ancient practice has improved their lives tenfold. They all feel amazing — and they all look amazing. You want to join them, but you think back to that one tough class from 2009 and balk, thinking, “Everybody is already ahead of me.” 

 

You don’t go. Instead, you continue to envy their perfect posture and seemingly perfect discipline.

 

We get it. It’s hard to jump back on the horse (or in this case, yoga mat). But it’s totally doable, especially if you go into it with a lighthearted attitude. 

 

Try this out: have a laugh. Look up some exercise or yoga memes, or ask your friends to tell their most embarrassing “farting-while-stretching” story that apparently happens so much in these classes. 

 

 

 

Saying you’re going to “the gym” is as broad a statement as saying you’re going “to Europe.” Sure, it’s truthful, but anybody who has actually been to either of these places knows how big and variable they are. In both cases, what you decide to do once you’ve arrived is up to you. 

 

If you are traveling in Europe and have long been fascinated by the ancient Romans, you probably wouldn’t start out in Sweden. However, if you spent your childhood obsessively reading about Vikings, Sweden might be your first stop. Given your passion for the topic, you probably have some historical sites and special spots on your itinerary to ensure you don’t miss anything. Because of this, you feel prepared and excited, not anxious about missing out or making mistakes. Even if your travel buddies lightly tease you for nerding out about Nordic gods, you feel confident.

 

This same rhetoric applies to attending the gym, and it is a surefire way to soothe some anxiety. Doing something that you like and feel comfortable with will give you the same confidence you have when you speak about a subject you’re well-versed in, like the concept of Valhalla. 

 

So, if you’ve always been a fast runner, there’s absolutely no reason why you should go to the gym and feel like you can only lift weights. Start out with something that you feel confident doing. Not only will you arrive with a better and more positive attitude, you already have a base level of experience or skill which will enable you to progress quicker. Once that happens, you’ll be more naturally inclined to try out other, less familiar workouts. Your body will likely adapt better, and you won’t be in your own head about it, as you’ve already proven to yourself that you can improve and grow athletic skills. 

 

 

 

Whether you are dealing with generalized anxiety disorder or occasional bouts of gym anxiety, we know how horrible that can be to live with. Anxiety in all its forms can range from unpleasant to downright debilitating. Many people that we know have found they needed professional intervention to manage their anxiety, like therapy and counseling or medication. 

 

Even if you are in therapy or on medication, working on mindfulness is a powerful tool for anxiety management. This can mean meditating for a few minutes every morning, repeating a daily mantra, or finding some mental and physical balance with yoga. 

 

 

 

It doesn’t matter if your workout choice is a group class, personal training session, or anything else. If you’re feeling anxious or pressure about your time at the gym, it’s a good idea for you to speak up. We know that can be incredibly intimidating, but try to breathe easy, as any good fitness center has a team of empathetic, enthusiastic coaches who want to help their athletes. That means being understanding of any hang-ups, anxieties, or worries, big or small.

 

If you’ve been avoiding that one dance class because your instructor has you switch lines and you don’t want to be up front, tell him. If you’ve stopped seeing your coach because you didn’t want her to be disappointed when you don’t practice at home, be honest. Your coaches are real people who have made it their mission to help others build their athletic skills. They won’t judge you — they’ll help you find a solution. 

 

If they do act rude and judgemental, that’s on them, not you. However, that kind of attitude means it’s time for you to find a new gym. Jack City is always accepting new partners!

 

 

 

Everything’s better with a friend! If you have a pal, coworker, sibling, or even romantic prospect who you don’t mind getting a bit sweaty around, why not make them your gym partner? It’s a great way to hold yourself accountable for your fitness while still being a low-pressure situation. It’s your friend, after all, and you won’t shame each other for making mistakes, having an “off” day, or even occasionally skipping the gym all together. The relaxed environment can allow for a lot of personal growth as well as some great bonding opportunities. Some gyms even offer custom group training classes, so your whole crew can reach goals together.  

 

The best part of working out with a friend? When you finish, you can unwind together over a refreshing drink and the classic Friends ep where Monica and Chandler work out together. 

 

 

 

For some, there’s just too much going on at a gym — it’s over-stimulating, which often triggers anxiety. That can be pretty frustrating for those who still want to work out and hone their athletic skills. Sure, there are some great YouTube videos out there, but you cannot interact with those. That’s where custom online training comes in very handy. It allows for a remote workout plan that is designed around your skills, not some random YouTuber’s — and you can do it from your own home. This is also a great option for frequent travelers who stress about staying in shape while on the road. 

 

 

 

The most important factor of overcoming gym anxiety is working with a solid gym that makes you feel secure, not stressed. If you happen to be living in Boise, Idaho, we’d like to point you in the direction of that very gym.

 

Jack City Fitness was built to help Idaho’s finest athletes hit their full performance potential, hone their skills, and find a renewed sense of confidence. Whether you’ve been an athlete for years or are a complete newbie, our fleet of coaches will show you the same level of respect, encouragement, and professionalism. We know that gym anxiety can feel overwhelming, but we’re here to support our partners to the fullest.

 

If you’d like to see for yourself, shoot us a message or call (208) 999-1111. We’ll invite you over to our gym, which is outfitted with all the latest equipment and elements that you need to really dig into your routine. Try our free fitness consultation, chat with some of our coaches, peek into a class, or even speak with a few of our existing partners to see how they’ve found their time with us. If you like what you see, we’ll sign you up to be a partner — this gives you 24/7 gym access as well as the ability to work with coaches, take classes, and use all of our resources as much as you need.

 

We know how strong you are, and we want to help you find that power. Come and see us today!

 

 

Does this scenario sound familiar?

 

It’s pouring rain. Your cat woke you up before sunrise to go outside. You had back-to-back meetings all day. After work, you hit the gym. Now, you’re heading home and you’re starving. Your favorite show is on and you want to eat dinner while you watch. The problem? You have no idea what you want to eat. Cooking sounds tiring after a long day, and doing dishes afterward sounds pretty bad too. You head to the grocery store anyway. There are too many options and you panic, grab a mediocre frozen pizza, and head home. 

 

Later, as you’re browsing Instagram, you see photo after photo of food. Lush salads. Vibrant smoothie bowls. Creatively plated meals of all types. Suddenly, you’re feeling sad about your dinner— why didn’t you make a kimchi stew as well? Everything looks packed with flavor and healthy, too. Your soggy pizza seems weak in comparison. You feel cheated. How on earth do these people manage to cook things like this on a weeknight?!

 

When you have a busy life, maintaining a nourishing diet can feel like a challenge. This feeling leads to making quick but not very nutritious meal decisions. However, there is a way to eat home-cooked meals midweek without spending every night in the kitchen… Welcome to the marvelous world of meal prep. Likely, you’ve heard of the concept. It’s a hugely popular way for busy people to ensure they eat well every day. Lots of people even dedicate an entire day to it — #mealprepsunday has over seven thousand posts just on Instagram. We love the concept of reserving a day just for meal prep, as it removes a lot of stress and decision-making from the rest of your week. 

 

Just a Few Reasons We Love Meal Prep

Quite a few members of our crew at Jack City Fitness swear by the benefits of  #mealpreplife. Some of those reasons?

 

 

 

Sure, putting a day aside to cook a bunch of food doesn’t exactly sound like a time-saver, but hear us out. A day of cooking, if done in an organized manner, will rack up far fewer hours than you’d imagine.

Rather than spend every day hemming and hawing over what you’re in the mood for, searching for a recipe, fighting crowds at the supermarket, cooking dinner, and then cleaning, you instead have one job after work: reheating something you’ve already made. 

 

 

 

Decision-making can really wear some people down. Sometimes, the responsibility of choosing what to eat and cook can be very overwhelming. Meal prep erases this stress, allowing you to make a few big decisions on your own time. 

 

 

 

Sticking to a routine can be great for your mental health. Dedicating one day a week to meal prep is a fantastic way to give yourself a healthy schedule. The same goes for searching for recipes, grocery shopping, and even cleaning dishes. Structure is good. 

 

 

 

When you have the time to plan your meals in advance, you’re less likely to impulsively choose something like fried macaroni and cheese balls. This is also a great way to stick to a specific nutrition plan, like if you’re trying to build muscle. 

 

 

 

Meal prep is a great way to utilize bulk-buying and will create less waste. We highly recommend investing in sustainable containers for storing your meals, as well as your own bags and/or containers for shopping. Some bulk stores will even give you a discount if you bring your own containers! 

 

 

 

Cooking in bulk will naturally enhance your skills in the kitchen. With each passing week, you’ll find that you can cut faster, work in a more organized manner, and have an increasingly better sense of timing and flavor. Soon enough, you might even find that you don’t need recipes at all — though some of us will always prefer to use one.

 

 

 

Meal prep is straight-up awesome. It gives you the chance to be creative, try new things, and it gives you more time during the week to do what you enjoy. 

 

Some of Our Favorite Meal Prep Ideas

Ready to get started? Here are some of our favorite meal prep ideas. 

 

 

 

Burritos are one of THE most popular choices for meal prep, and we can see why. They’re one of the most versatile foods around; they can be made to suit practically any diet. Even those who can’t do gluten can skip the tortillas and create burrito bowls instead.

One of the main reasons that meal preppers love burritos? They are super easy to make and store in bulk. They also freeze well, so you don’t need to eat a week straight of burritos — you can stow them away for when you want one. 

We love the bulk burrito recipes from Lexi’s Clean Kitchen. Otherwise, you can experiment with your own! Whether you choose to make tofu rajas, carne asada, or your own invention? That’s up to you. 

 

 

 

Like burritos, grain bowls or “nourish bowls” are a really versatile option. You can make an enormous batch of your preferred grain — rice, quinoa, faro, millet are all popular choices — and then prep any topping that you like. This is a great way to bring some variety to your week while still having a streamlined meal prep process: store all of your special veggies and toppings separately, and mix and match as you go. 

We love them because they can follow any theme. Craving middle eastern food? Top your bowl with hummus, za’atar-spiced chickpeas, chopped veggies, and the shawarma-spiced protein of your choice. Would rather something Japanese inspired? Some shelled edamame beans, nori strips, miso tossed cucumbers, and marinated tofu will be delicious. The sky’s the limit. 

 

For some grain bowl inspo, we recommend heading over to Fine Cooking — they break down the “anatomy of the grain bowl” for beginners. After long, we reckon you’ll be coming up with your own.

 

 

 

Chili is fantastic for meal prep for a few reasons. First of all, it’s a cheap and easy meal to make enormous batches of. Secondly, there are a million ways to make it. Depending on your taste, you can make vegetarian versions, versions with no beans, versions with tons of beans, a “green” variety… the list goes on. Third, chili is one of those special dishes that tastes way better after it’s had time to settle in the fridge. Finally, chili is a crockpot champion, and crockpots are a meal-preppers secret weapon.

If you decide to make chili the star of a week’s prep, you can make your life much easier by cooking it in the crockpot. It’s safe to leave cooking while you sleep or leave the house, so you can make a meal while you’re out getting things done.

Another plus? Cooking in the crockpot leaves you more kitchen space to prepare other things. That means you can pair your chili with different things every night, like mashed potatoes, rice, homemade bread, or even spaghetti. 

If you have a tried-and-true chili recipe, it’s easy to convert that method to the crockpot. Cook and sear everything as you would normally, but transfer it to the crockpot when it’s time to start simmering. Otherwise, the AllRecipes version of slow-cooker chili never disappoints. 

 

 

Lentils are a meal-prep staple. Most people we know love to work with them for a few reasons. Firstly, they’re incredibly filling and nutritious. Second, they are cheap to buy in bulk. Third, there are a million ways to prepare them. 

 

If you love hot meals like stews or curries, you can make dal or lentil soup. Like chili, they tend to taste even better after a couple of days, making them meal prep legends. We also love that they work with any protein, as a stand-alone vegetarian meal, or even as a ground meat replacement. 

 

If cold dishes are more your style, there are loads of lentil-based salads to make and try. Just be sure to store any herbs or veg separately to avoid anything getting soggy. 

 

As die-hard Yotam Ottolenghi fans, we have to recommend his crushed lentils with tahini and cumin… yum! 

 

 

 

When we say pie, we’re not talking strawberry-rhubarb or pumpkin. We’re thinking more along the lines of pot pies, quiche, spanakopita, or empanadas. These are a great choice for meal prep as they are super easy to make in batches, freeze well, and reheat like a charm. They also are clean and portable, making them a great option for work lunches and meals on the go. 

There are a few ways you can go about batch-baking pies. 

 

 

 

If you like working with your hands, these are a great choice. You can cook up a few fillings (or even utilize some leftovers), and fold away to your heart’s content. Whether you choose to make a traditional hand-pie, like empanadas or patties, or create your own version is up to you. 

We recently tried a sweet potato, coconut, and spinach hand pie that rocked our world. (If you make something like that, we’re not opposed to you bringing a spare pie over to Jack City…)

 

 

 

These are really simple to make — simply press your preferred base into muffin tins and top with whatever fillings you’ve made for the week. These will freeze well and reheat quickly. 

 

 

 

Salads have been unfairly maligned as boring. Ridiculous claim. That’s like calling music boring. Sure, some flaccid lettuce, soggy shredded carrots, and slushy orange tomatoes drowned in ranch dressing may not be the most appealing idea to you. But that’s not what defines a salad. Salads can include all sorts of tasty ingredients, from nuts and seeds to dried fruits to roasted veg to your favorite grain or meat. 

Our main tip for salad-based meal prep is never to dress or mix things in advance. Cut, grate, roast, marinate, and prepare everything in advance, but don’t mix everything together until mealtime. Trust us on that one.

Some of our all-time favorite salads come from an Australian cookbook called Community. Many of their salad recipes are available online — definitely give it a look. 

 

 

 

Soups and stews are meal prep staples, especially during the chillier months. They tend to be slow-cooker friendly and often only use one or two pots — score!

 

Speaking of soups, a note on stock: it’s helpful to always have some in your freezer. Every time you cook or have a meal prep day, you can save the scraps of all of your vegetables (minus anything cruciferous), as well as bones and meat leftovers. Keep everything in a sturdy, freezer-safe container until it’s full. Then, throw it all in your slow cooker or stock pot, cover it with water, throw some peppercorns and salt in there, and you’ve got the makings of an awesome (and eco-friendly!) stock. Strain it after a few hours, and freeze it in stackable containers. We even like to fill a few ice trays with it, so it can be easily popped into a recipe. 

 

Feeling inspired to start meal prep but want to learn more about nutrition? We’ve got you. At Jack City Fitness, our team includes dedicated nutrition counselors who work with our partners on developing healthy and delicious eating habits for life. Drop us a line or call 1-208-999-1111, and we’ll invite you to our Boise facility to meet our team. While you’re here, you can try a free fitness consultation, pop into one of our classes, and see our cutting-edge equipment. If you choose to sign up, you’ll have 24-7 access to our gym, and plenty of resources to stay as healthy as possible. 

 

We can’t wait to see what you’re made of!

 

As anybody who’s experienced it knows lower back pain can be debilitating. It’s also a pretty common health complaint—around 80% of adults have experienced back pain in their lives.

 

As excruciating as lower back pain can be, there are ways to manage it. Many people find relief from engaging in certain stretches and physical positions to ease the pain. However, before you jump to fix a symptom, it’s helpful to find the actual source of your lower back pain. That will ensure that you’re taking the proper steps to prevent future pain and staying on top of your physical health.

 

What Causes Lower Back Pain? 

Before you address your lower back pain, try to pinpoint why it’s happening. Here are some of the common causes: 

 

 

 

If you feel that your lower back pain has increased since starting a new job where you sit a lot, you might be onto something. Prolonged periods of sitting down have been shown to increase lower back pain. We’re not just talking about hours spent at the office, either. If you’re constantly sitting behind the wheel of a car or spend all of your free time on your couch, this type of pain may affect you as well.

 

 

 

In some cases, lower back pain can be attributed to a physical strain. This can either come about as a one-off or it can become a chronic condition. Chronic lower back pain is common in those who perform repetitive actions in their daily lives, either through work or physical activity. 

 

 

 

As if abdominal cramping wasn’t enough, many women experience lower back pain during their monthly menstrual cycle. Though this is common, it’s best to see a doctor if the pain is consistently excruciating, as it may indicate a larger gynecological issue. 

 

 

 

Sometimes lower back pain can be indicative of a larger health issue, like fibromyalgia or kidney stones. If you can’t seem to kick the pain, it’s a good idea to check in with your doctor.

 

 

 

When your center is unstable, things start to feel out of whack. One of the most common causes for lower back pain is a weak core—that’s actually great news, because it’s something you can easily fix. Working with a fitness coach to strengthen your core won’t just help your lower back pain, it’ll set you up to succeed in other physical environments. 

 

 

 

An injury can certainly contribute to lower back pain. Perhaps you lifted something wrong, took a spill, or had an accident on the playing field. 

 

Is Lower Back Pain Harmful?

Unless it’s persistent and severe, lower back pain generally isn’t indicative of anything too terrible. However, as we outlined above, it can be connected to health issues like fibromyalgia; it can also be a warning sign of impending kidney stones. If you cannot find relief from your lower back pain, it’s recommended you seek medical help. 

 

Can Stretches Ease My Lower Back Pain?

Lots of people suffering from lower back pain find relief from certain stretches. Regularly practicing these stretches can also help to prevent future pain. Here at Jack City Fitness, we’re pretty well-versed in the practice of targeting certain areas through stretching and exercise. Here are some of our tried-and-true stretches for easing lower back pain:

 

 

 

This move is one of our favorites, as you can do it while standing. That makes it a great quick stretch when lower back pain hits while you’re on the train, at work, or out with friends. It’s also a great preventative stretch; it engages and strengthens your core and will contribute to better posture. 

To perform this stretch:

 

 

 

This stretch is fantastic for easing and preventing lower back pain, as it is a brilliant core-strengthener. 

To perform a bridge:

 

 

 

This stretch really does work magic when easing lower back pain. It elongates the back, and can even be a useful sleeping position for those who experience pain when they’re trying to sleep. With that said, if your pain worsens while performing this stretch, stop immediately. 

To perform this stretch:

 

 

 

Whether you prefer canines or felines, the cat scratch stretch will be your new secret weapon for back pain relief and prevention. This move, which gets its name from—you guessed it—the elaborate stretches performed by our furry friends, strengthens and lengthens the (human) back, and helps ease muscle tension. Meowing is optional!

To perform this stretch:

 

 

 

This stretch works your hip flexors, which affect your posture and ultimately your lower back health. Performing kneeling lunges will also help your mobility, thus reducing soreness after you hit the gym. Win-win. 

To perform this stretch:

 

 

 

Be your own hero by practicing a stretch that helps ease and prevent your lower back pain. The superhero stretch is a great exercise for this particular area, as it strengthens your back extensors. 

To bring out your own super-strength (and alleviate lower back pain), follow these steps:

 

 

 

If lower back pain hits while you’re sitting down, there’s no need to suffer in silence. A seated lower back stretch can be done from anywhere: your cubicle, an airplane seat, during jury duty— wherever you’re stuck in a chair. 

To perform this stretch, get into an armless chair and:

 

 

 

Yoga enthusiasts may recognize this pose from some of their sessions. Unlike the other stretches we’ve covered here, the Sphinx pose is one that you’ll hold for a couple of minutes rather than perform in reps. It’s a great way to both relieve lower back pain and unwind after a tiring day. 

Those with chronic injuries should check with a professional before engaging in this particular pose. 

To perform this stretch:

 

 

 

The stronger your abs are, the happier your lower back will be. The pelvic tilt is a fantastic stretch for your abdominal muscles, hamstrings, and glues. Performing this can really help loosen up your back.

To try the pelvic tilt:

 

These are some of our favorite stretches for lower back pain, but they’re not the only ones. The world of stretches and exercises is so vast. Every athlete we know has their own favorite workout or pose, and we encourage you to try new stretches to find some that work for you.

 

Here at Jack City Fitness, we’ve got a team of experts with a passion for fitness and nutrition; we even have a specialist yoga instructor. With our combined knowledge and experience, it’s easy to create a workout plan that suits your individual needs. Whether that’s strengthening your core to avoid pain, learning a new athletic skill, honing your sports performance, or something else entirely, we’ve got your (lower) back. 

 

If you’re in the city, we’d love for you to come and visit our fitness center in Boise Junction. Once you arrive, we can give you a tour of our innovative facility, introduce you to some of our specialists, and let you peek into some of our classes. We’ll even invite you to try your own fitness consultation for free, so it’ll be easier to make you a custom plan. 

 

If you decide to join us and become a partner, you’ll have instant 24/7 access to our gym, as well as a fantastic schedule of classes to try. We even offer custom training options, like online coaching and team sessions. Best of all, we’re always here to offer support and suggestions. 

 

The bottom line? If it involves movement, you can count on us, so get in touch today. You can call (208) 999-1111 or drop us a line right here online. We’ll get back to you ASAP—we can’t wait to help you meet your goals.

During the festive season, we tend to live by a different set of rules and our normal standards can fly out the window. And that’s okay — celebrating holidays with loved ones is one of the great joys of life. It’s okay if you had a few more glasses of prosecco or cookies off Santa’s plate than you’d planned. It’s also okay if a busy calendar of parties and events left you less active than you normally tend to be. It’s all a part of enjoying the holiday spirit — but now, your winter clothes aren’t fitting the way they did last year. 

 

Don’t panic. Plenty of people gain a little weight over the holidays. However, if you’d like to drop those extra pounds, we’re here to help make that happen. Our team at Jack City Fitness is passionate about nutrition, exercise, and healthy living. We love working with partners to reach goals that make them feel great. 

 

If you’re eating a nutritious diet and keeping physically active, you’re already off to a great start. Hoping for some tips to optimize your already-healthy habits? We’ve got you. Here are our top ten ways to burn some of those extra holiday calories during your daily life.

 

 

 

It’s said that the average human being makes a mind-blowing 35,000 decisions over the course of one day. Some feel bigger than others, but every choice you make plays a larger role in your life. Every time you swipe away on a dating app or order a smoothie, you’re making a decision. While these choices seem inconsequential, the truth is that they hold weight. After all, enough tiny drops of water will eventually become a flood.

It’s with this philosophy in mind that we bring you our first calorie-burning trick. Though it’s impossible to consider every daily decision you make, you can focus on a few choices to help improve your life. 

In your daily life, you often need to decide how you’ll get from place to place. This can mean anything from your work commute to how you’ll get upstairs to your apartment. Our advice is to always choose the most active option that you are capable of doing. This can mean walking or biking home from work instead of driving, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or using a yoga ball rather than a chair at your work desk. 

 

 

 

Okay, okay. We know. As we’re writing this, the current temperature in Boise is 30 degrees. But hear us out. 

Riding a bike is a fantastic way to stay healthy both mentally and physically. It’s low-impact, so it’s an appropriate way for people of varying ages and skill levels to stay active. It’s fantastic for one’s cardiovascular system, stress levels, and overall bodily health. It’s also a way to lose weight (cardio is great that way) and remains a favorite of both our staff and partners.

During the snowless months, riding your bike to work, school, or on errands is a great way to get fresh air into your lungs and burn extra calories. However, there’s no reason that you can’t start with cycling right now. The cycling machines at your favorite fitness center are a great way to bike no matter what the weather — and you can even watch your favorite show while you do it. 

 

 

 

How lucky are we that music exists? A good tune can change your mood, inspire you, and speak to you in a way that’s unlike anything else. 

When it comes to getting fit and losing a few extra pounds, music can make a big difference. Whether you’re working away on the treadmill, walking to work, or even having a mini dance party while cleaning your house, your favorite song is likely to put some pep in your step.

Head over to your favorite music-streaming service and start putting some tracks together. Some apps, like Spotify, even have pre-made workout playlists so you can just click and go. 

 

 

 

Over the holiday seasons, we don’t just stop paying attention to the ingredients in our meals. We also tend to have larger servings than we normally do. However, now that you’re dodging curbside Christmas trees and already seeing Easter cards at the supermarket, you know that the holiday season is officially finished for the year. 

You love eating healthy, but you don’t want to abandon your favorite treats entirely. That’s completely okay — everybody deserves food that they love. The key is to manage your portion sizes: start small and remind yourself that you can always have a second helping if you’re starving when your plate is clear. We also recommend eating slowly, and using a smaller plate to make your portion look larger — the human brain is easier to trick than you’d think.

 

 

 

How much do you cook? Whether you’re a budding restauranteur or have never even scrambled an egg, there’s plenty of cooking skills for you to learn. 

Take this as an opportunity to pick up some new cooking skills. There are countless cookbooks, websites, and blogs that specialize in nourishing recipes. Once you’ve gotten the hang of it, you’ll probably begin creating your own healthy dishes without even needing someone else’s recipes. 

If you’re unsure where to start, we love British cookbook author and celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver — his entire mission revolves making delicious food both healthy and easy to prepare at home. 

For some gorgeous (albeit less newbie-oriented) inspo, look for recipes by Yotam Ottolenghi. He has both a Guardian column as well as quite a few cookbooks. Believe us — this man takes vegetables to another level entirely.

 

 

 

Speaking of vegetables: are you getting enough of them in your daily diet? How about fruit? Water?

Perhaps you’re familiar with the concept of “Five a Day.” This international campaign urges people to consume at five servings of fruit and vegetables every day — and that’s the minimum. Ideally, you should be consuming more — some experts even suggest 10 servings of fruits and veggies per day. Consuming this amount of produce daily isn’t only for weight loss, but it will certainly prove helpful. We recommend heaping your plate high with veggies and eating them before moving onto the other parts of your meal. You won’t be as tempted to instantly slam two pieces of lasagne if you’ve just eaten a huge salad. 

 

While we’re on the subject of daily doses, let’s talk hydration. How much water do you drink per day? The general rule is 8 glasses, which comes out to about half a gallon, or 2 liters. 

Staying properly hydrated will make you feel great, keep your energy levels high for exercise, and makes your skin look fantastic. It also fills you up, which is important because we often mistake thirst for hunger.

 

 

 

Sometimes, it’s possible to sneak little workouts into your errands. For example, when we head to the grocery store, we’ve started ditching the shopping cart in favor of a basket. We recommend you give it a shot. By making the tiny choice of basket vs cart, you are actually giving yourself an impromptu lifting session right in the supermarket. You can even do a few curls with your basket! We also like this technique because it gives you a chance to truly consider every food purchase you make — after all, you don’t want to carry more than you need. 

Of course, errands likely aren’t the only thing on your to-do list. Been putting off a call? Throw on a set of Airpods and walk while you talk. Need to get a haircut? Find one within walking distance. Have a dog? Bring her to the woods instead of around your block. There are always ways to sneak activity into your routine. 

 

 

 

It’s so tempting to order delivery or buy a frozen pizza instead of cook a nourishing dinner. It’s equally enticing to call an Uber instead of walking to that party, to have your shopping delivered rather than strolling around a store, or to make your dinner from “just add water” packets rather than whole ingredients. We get it. Your life is busy, and responsibilities often hit a fever pitch following the holiday season. Catching up on post-vacation work as well as social and family responsibilities are valid reasons for wanting to take advantage of technology and the ease it presents. 

Though these convenient inventions are always a handy way to get things done, they aren’t very helpful when it comes to losing weight. If you’re looking to shed those extra holiday pounds, we recommend activity over app-tivity. Not only will it beget healthier eating habits, the extra movements will burn some calories.

 

 

 

If you have a sugar addiction, you’re not alone: it’s one of the hardest habits to kick. It’s also one of the most dangerous vices we can think of: excessive sugar consumption can lead to all sorts of scary problems, from tooth decay to heart disease. It’s also a known contributor to obesity.

Cutting sugar out of your diet is a fantastic way to look after your health, but we know it’s not always easy. Finding more nourishing alternatives as sweet treats can feel daunting, but there are loads of options. Here are some of our favorites:

Blending a frozen banana with some unsweetened peanut butter and raw cacao powder will create a soft and creamy dessert that tastes exactly like a milkshake.

Try swapping your sugar and butter for some mashed sweet potato — it’ll give the same fudgy and decadent texture and flavor that you’re after.

 

 

Instead of chugging loads of sugar, make your own version of a soft drink by infusing some plain seltzer water with your favorite fruit. 

 

 

 

When you were a kid, physical activity likely played a huge role in your daily life. As an adult, you may not have the time or inclination to spend hours jumping rope or chasing your friends around the neighborhood, but there’s still plenty for you to learn from your inner child. Whether you now have your own little ones to play with or not, these fun activities are a great way to get moving and have fun in a way you haven’t for years.

A few ideas:

 

 

Instead of using snowy days as a reason to throw on Netflix, try bundling up and heading outside. Channel your inner Frozen characters and build a snowman, or finally erect the grand fort that you never made as a little kid. Throw some snowballs at your house. It’ll get your blood pumping, and you’ll head back inside later with a smile on your face. 

 

 

If you enjoyed a certain sport as a kid, it’s not too late to get back into the game. Joining an intramural team is a fantastic way to build friendships and stay active. 

 

 

As a kid, jumping on a trampoline was akin to flying. As an adult, it’s tougher work — and it burns a ton of calories. If your kids (or your friends’ kids) have a trampoline, shake off your shoes, climb aboard, and have a jump. It’s fun and it’ll get your heart pounding. 

 

Bonus Tip: You won’t need to shed any extra pounds next year if you go into the holidays with a new attitude towards your personal health and nutritional needs. Here at Jack City Fitness, our coaches are ready to help you build healthy eating and workout habits that will carry you through your life — including the tempting holiday season. Give us a call today, and we’ll invite you to come visit our Boise facility. You can peek into a class, chat with some of our coaches, and even undergo a free fitness consultation. From there, you’ll have 24/7 access to our fitness center, and loads of classes and special services to help you meet your goals. Let’s get started today!

 

A new year isn’t the only thing approaching this January—we’re entering a new decade. And what a whirlwind the past one has been! When we rang in the new year in 2010, smartphones and tablets were still a brand new concept, and something that most people didn’t own or know how to use. Even the term “app” was more closely associated with a plate of nachos than it was with a downloadable program!

 

Ten years ago, it was hard for many to imagine that a telephone could help you optimize your workout. These days, there are lots of ways to do this—most smartphones even have a step-counting app built into their system, so you can see how many miles logged in your daily routine. (We know some people who take their phones EVERYWHERE just to beat their own scores.) 

 

We are huge advocates of fitness apps, as they allow athletes to create and reach their goals in a way that gives them total control, yet still holds them accountable. These apps provide all sorts of useful tools, from tracking and logging to rest-timers, step calculators, routine management resources, and more. Whether you want a way to communicate with other athletes, track your progress, or learn new ways to get fit, these apps keep you in your highest form—and make it easy and fun to do so. 

 

The truth is that we don’t know what the next decade holds. Eventually apps might be replaced by a new fitness innovation that we can’t yet dream of. Until then, however, we’re big fans of using them to make our lives easier across the board. After all, most of us can no longer imagine consuming music and movies, navigating public transport, or hitting the gym without our devices and the apps that live in them. We’re grateful to have all of this at our disposal—and we want to make the most of it. 

 

So, Boise, if you’re ready to ring in the new year with your fitness resolutions made simple, there is indeed “an app for that.”  Here are some of our favorite workout apps from the last part of the decade, which will help usher you into 2020 at the top of your game. 

 

 

 

For many athletes, this is THE fitness tracking app, so we would be amiss to exclude it. 

 

FitBit has been around for a long time—in fact, the company existed for three years when we entered the 2010s. However, its products improved and expanded greatly over the decade, and it wasn’t until the last few years that it became a household name. The FitBit watches and trackers that we know today have inspired countless athletes to push themselves to the limits and feel complete control over their workout and physical health. 

 

Any FitBit owner knows that in order to make the most of their devices, they need the app. However, people who don’t own the branded watches or devices can still use and benefit from the app—it’s great for weight, activity, and nutrition management.

App Cost: Free!

 

 

 

There are a few things we love about this nutrition and diet-focused fitness app. First of all, it has tons of ways to make sure that you are making all the right moves towards your weight loss and fitness goals, from an enormous cache of nutritional information to modern logging tools like barcode scanners, ensuring that you are informed about everything you eat or cook. Secondly, it provides an excellent structure for keeping a food diary. Best of all, it comes with its own fitness community, so you can make friends, connect about similar goals, and help motivate others—and yourself. 

App Cost: There is a free app, and an expanded membership version with a fee.

 

 

 

If weightlifting is your activity of choice, you may already have this app. If you don’t, get ready—this is about to change everything for you. Our weight training coaches and partners cannot stop talking about the Strong app, which allows lifters to create routines and track their progress, all while offering helpful tools like timers and a plate calculator. 

App Cost: Free to download, but there are varying membership costs if you want to use it more than a few times. 

 

 

 

Though we appreciate the services of the paid membership apps, we’re always excited by one that’s entirely free—and actually really useful as well. FitNotes ticks both those boxes. This nifty app is akin to a digital notebook which you can use to save your workouts, and comes with a great database of routines and an easy-to-use calendar. It also shows you all kinds of helpful stats about your activity so you can understand your progress better. Pretty cool, if you ask us. 

App Cost: Free! 

 

 

 

This super user-friendly app is a favorite amongst Jack City partners and staff alike. It’s a great all-rounder tool for both gym and self-led workouts, and includes innovative features like a rest-timer and live workout tracking. It also syncs up with your Google account, which definitely comes in handy for most of us. This app also shows users helpful data and stats. 

App Cost: Free!

 

 

 

Here’s another one for the lifters in the house. RepCount is a name we were hearing again and again from our partners, so we decided to check it out—and did it ever deliver. This modern and well-designed tracker app doesn’t require a subscription—a perk to many—though there are paid versions with extra tools, like statistics. The free version allows for plenty of great features, from a rest-timer to unlimited routines and workout entries. 

App Cost: Free, though there is also a paid version

 

 

 

Daily Strength is one of the most impressive fitness apps out there, and we wouldn’t be surprised if it was already your favorite one to use. The company offers an extensive selection of tools and services for athletes to use, and the (fantastic) premium version only relies on a one-time fee of $10 rather than a monthly rate.  

 

The Daily Strength app is favorite because it includes a large collection of exercises to choose from, rest-timer tools, and even an option for super sets. They’ve also made it easy to add any exercises that you don’t find in their own library, so it suits any athlete with any routine. It even comes pre-loaded with tried and true routines, so you can hit the ground running whenever you’re ready.

App Cost: Free to download. The premium version is $10. 

 

 

 

As if seeing the Northern Lights and experiencing a Midsommar festival weren’t enough enticement to visit Sweden, we now have another reason—it’s the birthplace of one of our all-time favorite fitness apps.  Originally founded as Styrkelabbet and renamed in English once it made international waves, StrengthLog is beloved by athletes across the world for its sleek and easy-to-use design, and extensive tracking and educational tools. 

 

Athletes who download StrengthLog will be bowled over by the sheer magnitude of instructionals—the app includes hundreds of moves and exercises, as well as useful videos to help you execute them properly. It also features a fair amount of pre-planned routines and workouts for you to follow—a great tool whether you’re hoping to change things up in the new year, or if you’re just getting started at the gym altogether.

 

The tracking technology on this app is especially impressive—we love that it can log your reps, how much weight you’re lifting, and even your rest times. It also offers advanced stats, so you can analyze your performance in order to optimize your future workouts. 

 

A plus? We dig the built-in workout timer, which works even when you close the app. (See, YouTube? It’s not that hard.) 

App Cost: Free, with options for in-app purchases

 

 

 

There are lots of reasons to love JEFIT, but there’s one we particularly feel strongly about. This app, which provides workout tracking and planning tools, goes above and beyond in a way that we really respect. In order to motivate their users into sticking to their routines and resolutions, staying on track, and holding themselves accountable, they offer a unique points and rewards system. With JEFIT, the more diligent you are with exercise and filling out your rep and set “sheets,” the more points you get. Once you hit 1,000 points, the Elite version of the app is yours—for free. 

 

Aside from the points system, the app itself is also well-designed, helpful, and easy to use. In fact, they tout themselves as being the “#1 workout app” out there—and with over 7 million users worldwide, we can see why they would. We imagine this is partially because athletes of every ability find this app useful: aside from the tracking feature, JEFIT provides stats and analytics, a timer, body progress logging options, a hefty library of exercises, and even the option to record your physical progress through photos. It also has a built-in social network so you can connect to other athletes, learn from each other, and keep one another in the zone. 

 

All in all, it’s one of the most motivating fitness-related services that we know—and the fact that it’s all available on your device is pretty great. 

App Cost: The app is free to download—and that version has plenty to offer! There are also yearly and monthly-based subscription based “Elite” options.

 

 

 

Sure, just seeing the name will have you humming that Hercules song for days. However, there’s much more to the Zero to Hero app than a clever moniker. It’s designed for weight trainers and lifters, and prides itself in that it’s not only for pros or long-time athletes—with Zero to Hero, anybody in any shape can learn to perform in a way that makes them proud. It includes excellent exercise demos, easy-to-understand stats and analytics, plus a great timer and calculator designed to predict how long your sets will take. One of our favorite features is that it gives live notifications, even if your device is locked, so you don’t need to scramble with your phone mid-rep.

App Cost: Free, with in-app purchases available.

 

Don’t see your favorite app on here? Let us know! At Jack City Fitness, we always have our ear to the ground of the fitness world, and we love to know about the best and most innovative tricks and tools for staying fit, strong, and healthy. 

 

Not a partner yet? Give us a call or drop us a line. We’ll invite you to come and meet us at our Boise fitness center, where you can peek into a class, tour our sparkling facility, try our FREE fitness consultation, and get to know a few of our coaches and staff members. If you decide to partner up with us, we can get you started as soon as you want!

 

When you join the Jack City Fitness family, you unlock access to 24/7 gym use, a great selection of classes; personal, group, and team coaching; nutrition and dietary courses; and even custom-training options. We want you to meet all of your goals, and feel great about doing so—that’s the Jack City way. 

Get ready to ring in 2020 with your fitness future to the forefront. G ive us a call at +1 208-999-1111 or shoot us a message online and one of our team members will get in touch with you soon. We can’t wait to meet you and bring all of your potential to the forefront this new year.

We cannot stress enough the importance of appropriate footwear. Wearing the wrong shoes can do serious damage to your entire body, both in everyday life as well as during exercise and intense physical activity. Yet, it happens all the time — people squeeze themselves into ill-fitting shoes in the name of fashion, or they simply wear the wrong type of shoe for the activity they’re performing. After all, a pair of specialized jazz sneakers are perfect for your intense dance class, but will destroy your arches on a running track. Your brand new Chuck Taylors might look sick with a pair of jeans or on the basketball court, but you’d regret wearing them on a hiking trail. 

 

Whether you’re a total sneakerhead or just need to know the basics in order to protect your body (and optimize your workout), we’re here for you. Check out our guide to putting your best foot forward when it comes to fitness. 

 

 

 

The Shoes: Low Drop Sneakers

Do you even lift, bro? Then you better be laced into the right pair of sneaks. 

 

Any seasoned lifter knows how important it is to stay anchored and stable while working with weights. What they might not know is that the shoes that they wear will affect how much that happens. Yes, lifters, shoes matter. A lot. 

 

For your next lifting session, choose a sneaker that keep your feet low to the ground, not one with excessive cushioning. It helps to give you a more stable and secure base and lets your muscles work more effectively. These shoes are sometimes referred to as minimalist sneakers or trainers. 

 

 

 

The Shoes: Stiff-Soled Shoes

Don’t get soft on us, at least not when there’s a bike involved. This is probably something you can deduce from childhood memories — riding a bike barefoot or in flip flops tends to go badly. It slowed you down and made your adventures more tiring and less efficient. Bring that logic to your modern cycling routine, whether it’s your daily commute or your favorite spin class. When you ride a bike, stationary or mobile, it’s important to wear shoes that fit snugly (but not uncomfortably tight) and have a nice, stiff sole. It will help direct your physical energy to the right place — the pedal — allowing you to move faster without exerting extra energy.

 

 

 

The Shoes: Lightweight Low Drops

Avoid any type of running shoe here — like with lifting, Crossfit and the programs inspired by it require a shoe that keeps you close to the ground and helps with strengthening your feet. Arch support is important in these sneakers, as is avoiding anything too clunky, which could slow you down and get in the way.

 

 

 

The Shoes: Lightweight, Uncushioned Sneakers

Running on a treadmill or other similar piece of equipment is not the same as jogging on city streets. The track of a treadmill has much more cushioning in its construction than the pavement, tracks, or trails that you’re used to running on — and it’s helpful to wear a specific pair of shoes to offset this. That’s why our team wears lightweight and flexible sneakers on the treadmill, and avoids designs that have extra cushioning in them. After all, it’s important to actually feel your feet hitting the treadmill when you run, not a slight sensation swaddled into layers of cushioning. It’s more stabilizing that way, and can help you to avoid the risk of injuring yourself. 

 

 

 

The Shoes: Hiking Boots…or Trail Running Shoes

Sure, hiking boots were designed for the specific purpose of trekking up mountains, through heavily wooded areas, and having adventures safely. For sneaker lovers, however, there’s another option: trail running shoes. Though they were designed for running and jogging in more rugged landscapes, they are often utilized by day hikers, as they are more lightweight than a traditional boot. They’re much safer than wearing regular sneakers on a hike, which plenty of people do and come to regret after they’ve slipped on a wet rock or unexpected knobbly root. 

 

 

 

The Shoes: Climbing-Specific Shoes

This is not the activity to be messing around with the wrong footwear. Rock climbing in the wrong shoes isn’t just uncomfortable or ineffective, it’s dangerous. Whether you’re scaling an outdoor monolith or a man-made climbing wall, the rules are the same: you need the right shoes to do this safely and correctly. 

 

Be sure to shop for a shoe that was designed with rock climbing in mind — they tend to  be cambered to some level, have lots of extra grip, and feature specially-designed soles that allow you to feel the intricacies of whatever is underneath your foot, so you know where to step.

 

If you become super serious about climbing, you might even want to invest in a few different pairs of climbing shoes, as there are various types designed for different activities. For instance, performance climbers might go for a less comfortable but more effective shoe with a down-turned toe, while a novice hiker likely doesn’t need something with much arch at all. 

 

 

 

The Shoes: Running Shoes, Of Course!

Running shoes are ubiquitous in the activewear world, but it’s important to know the difference between them and regular old sneakers. To sort out which running shoe you need, there’s a few things that you’ll need to determine:

 Do you tend to jog on pavement? Wooded trails? The type of shoes that you wear will depend on this. For nature lovers, trail-specific running shoes, which we outlined in our hiking section, are your best bet — they’ve been designed to do exactly what you need safely. 

 

For those who jog on streets or run on sidewalks, you’re going to want to go for a pair of road-specific sneakers. Road running shoes are more lightweight than their trail-specific counterparts, and don’t always have lots of bells and whistles — it just looks like a regular old sneaker. 

 

 

 

The type of outdoor running shoe that you choose should be determined by how you walk or run. If you are are an overpronator, you’ll need a different style of running sneaker than if you are susceptible to supination. Many shoe stores, especially those with athletics as a speciality, will be able to help you out here. Some stores have a walking simulator that enables your shoe salesperson to determine your unique walking pattern. From there, they’ll know which running sneakers are the right fit for your specific gait. 

 

 

 

The Shoes: Tennis Shoes

Tennis shoes are often worn off the courts and as a fashion statement, but their original purpose remains as true as ever. If you’re actually going to play tennis, you should absolutely wear the shoes which were designed for that purpose. 

 

Tennis doesn’t involve long distance running or heavy lifting — instead, your body needs to be agile, quick, and controlled, as it requires a near-constant stream of sudden movements and stops, as well as rapid sprints. For this, you need a very sturdy shoe that allows for these unique movements. 

 

Tennis shoes are flatter than many other athletic sneakers, and often feature a special sole pattern designed to work with court material — and these can change, depending on where you play. If your tennis court is concrete, you should look for a pair of durable tennis shoes that are built with a hearty sole — leather or vinyl is a great choice. If you play in a clay court, there are tennis shoes designed with a sole that’s gentle on the materials. And finally, there are great all-rounder tennis shoes for when you play in multiple settings.

 

 

 

The Shoes: Cleats or Turf Shoes

Got FIFA fever? If soccer is your sport of choice, you’re going to need something other than a standard pair of sneakers to properly play the game. Whether you plan to play with your kids after school or join a team of your own, your soccer game won’t be complete until you’re wearing the appropriate kicks — and a pair of shin guards! 

 

Here’s a primer on the two main forms of soccer footwear — really, it all comes down to the texture of your playing field. 

 

 

This tends to be the more commonly worn option for soccer shoes. They feature large studs on the soles of the shoe, allowing soccer players to get a better grip on wet, muddy, and/or slippery grass and surfaces when they run.  

 

 

 

The less common soccer shoe is generally worn on artificial grass or in drier conditions. Instead of large, protruding studs (like on cleats,) turf shoes feature bumpy-textured sole, which is stabilizing for the player and offers additional traction without slowing anybody down. 

 

 

 

The Shoes: A Pair of Classic All-Purpose Sneakers

Maybe your workout style doesn’t involve just one type of sport or activity. If you’re the type who likes to hit the gym and try a little bit of everything. All the power to you! You probably learn a new skill every day, but do you want to change your shoes that often? Definitely NOT. That’s why we recommend grabbing yourself a good all-rounder to wear when you head to the gym. 

 

Generally, these are lightweight sneakers that have a cushioned midsole and heel, ensuring that your feet will be comfortable and ready for impact. We prefer our all-rounders to have a fair amount of ankle support as well, just for safety’s sake. Once you’ve chosen a style that works for you, you can explore every corner of your fitness center without needing to lug additional sneakers in your gym bag. 

 

Don’t see the sport you were thinking of? Have a specific question about a sneaker you purchased? Chances are, there’s someone on our team who knows the answer. Our passionate crew of trainers, nutrition coaches, and fitness gurus are some of the most knowledgeable people we know — and they love to help our partners make the most of their workout. Drop us a line, and we can invite you to our Boise facility, where you can tour our gym, peek into our classes, undergo a free fitness consultation, and of course, talk to our trainers about their experience and knowledge.

 

At Jack City Fitness, we scrapped the idea of memberships and instead offer athletes the unique opportunity to become one of our partners. As a partner, you’re a part of our team, not just somebody buying a service. Being a Jack City partner means there’s always someone who’s got your back, is ready to help you reach your highest potential, and will lift you up when you’re discouraged.

 

Once you partner up with us, you have full, 24-7 access to our fitness center, a host of classes to choose from, and options for custom, one-on-one, and even team training. We’re here to help you succeed. Find out more today!

A Social Connection Is More Important Than You Might Think

 

Working out is a personal journey for every athlete. Everybody has differing goals, skills, and styles of exercise that make them feel great. For some, that means weightlifting and muscle building. For others, it’s more about martial arts or yoga. Others still prefer team sports — the possible ways to move your body are as endless as types of people out there. 

 

One thing is for sure, no matter what style of exercise you prefer, your physical performance is bound to improve when you have another person (or people!) holding you accountable. In fact, this theory translates to other, non-athletic situations as well — everyone, from artists to academics, benefits from building professional or hobby-based relationships and using them to hold one another accountable for their progress. 

 

No matter what type of exercise is your workout of choice, there are many ways for you to develop the right relationship you need to both hold yourself accountable and encourage your peer(s.)  Or, if you’re more of a lone wolf when it comes to your gym time, there are options for you to explore as well. It all depends on what type of athlete you are and what your personality is like. 

 

Building Strength, Muscles, and Camaraderie

Let’s start with the traditional buddy system. If you have a person in your life with similar fitness goals to you, this can be a great way to go. It’s also ideal if you err on the side of being introverted and aren’t very keen to head to a group class or even to the gym on your own. 

 

Have a think about the people who you know. Is there anybody that you’ve discussed your physical goals or fitness routines with? They might be a good place to start — it can be a friend, a family member, or even a neighbor or a colleague.

 

Let’s say that every morning when you go out to walk your dog, you see a neighbor of yours jogging. You always wave to each other and say hi, but that’s it. Next time you see them, you could ask if they wouldn’t mind if you would join. They might be interested in being accountability buddies, so whenever one of you felt like going for a run, you could call the other to come join you. 

 

Coworkers are a great way to find an accountability buddy as well. If one of your work buddies has voiced an interest in getting more fit, try suggesting an accountability partnership. It doesn’t mean you need to do the unthinkable and actually hang out after office hours — heaven forbid. Instead, this could mean a daily power walk before lunch, or a quick stretching session together instead of a coffee break. They’re small activities, but they can make a big difference if you add them to your daily life.

 

The best part of all this? Though you initially may not have been that close with your fitness accountability buddy, it might happen naturally — and you’ll have your workout to thank. The bonding experience of hitting goals, encouraging each other’s processes, and engaging in physical activity together can create new levels of camaraderie. This is especially nice as a neighbor or colleague is a great support to have nearby — you may even find that it becomes a lifelong friendship. 

 

Undivided and Conquering

For some people, the best motivation comes from multiple sets of eyes. If you perform well under pressure, this may be a concept that you’re quite familiar with!

For people who thrive in a group setting and feel inspired to perform in front of others, you have quite a few options for accountability. 

 

 

 

If you love team sports, you’re in luck — that’s a perfect way to improve your performance through accountability. You will be growing athletically with a group of likeminded people with similar goals, and there is quite a lot you can get out of a situation like that. First of all, your pride will probably lead you to motivate yourself to perform your best in the first place. Aside from that, you can also build relationships with individual teammates in order to create the one-on-one accountability partnerships which we discussed earlier. 

Finally, you might find that some of your teammates have skills that you’ve always wanted to learn. If you’ve built a good relationship over the season, you can bet that they’ll be more than happy to teach or practice with you. You might even have a skill that you can share with them as well. 

 

 

 

If you’re social media savvy and love to bask in the glow of internet love, this one might be for you — and it can be pretty effective.

Starting your own social media account, YouTube page, or blog about your personal fitness journey is a great way to hold yourself accountable. After all, the internet is a ruthless place, and your followers will not be shy about their displeasure when you forget to post or update them about your journey. Of course, in order to create more content, you need to actually work out. You can’t disappoint the masses, after all.

The best part of all? Not only will you be motivated to exercise more (and likely be enjoying plenty of compliments about your progress), but you will also have an opportunity to meet like-minded people from all over the world by taking to the web. And we think that is pretty cool — and a great way to learn about fitness trends from other countries! 

 

 

 

Super confident in an existing athletic skill? Maybe it’s time to focus on something else. If you sign up for a fitness class in an area that you have no expertise, you might feel humbled or even embarrassed by your lack of skill at first, but that will be a great motivator. After all, you know how it feels to master a craft — and you’ll want to show your classmates and instructor exactly what you’re made of. 

 

Investing in Your Fitness

If you have a hard time motivating yourself to get moving, a financial commitment can actually be a great way to light a fire under your bum. We don’t mean that you should pay unnecessary money for something you don’t need, but rather make a few small investments that will encourage you to work out. After all, nobody likes to waste money! 

 

A few ideas:

 

 

Have you always wanted to try ballet, or maybe swing dance? Now’s your chance. Signing up for a paid class or hobby club will give you the opportunity to learn a new skill — and you’ll want to make the most of your dues, so it’s unlikely that you’ll skip it. 

 

 

 

We’d recommend starting off by looking for a local fitness center that works with your wants and needs, seems friendly, and values its athletes. Not only will some of the classes and equipment likely appeal, but it’ll be a good way to meet other people. Best of all, you can hold yourself accountable and try to make the most of your partnership with the gym. 

 

 

 

It might be a good idea to head to your favorite activewear store for some gym clothes or sneakers that make you feel attractive and confident. This way you’ll be chomping at the bit to get moving and make the most of your purchase. 

 

A Sense of Pride

Not everybody wants to involve peers in their workout process, and that’s okay too. Whether you prefer to work out solo or privately with a trained professional, there are many ways that you can hold yourself entirely accountable.

 

 

 

There’s a reason that so many educational and fitness programs encourage you to keep a journal. It does wonders for one’s motivation.

Go out and buy yourself a notebook, and dedicate it entirely to your personal fitness journey. Here, you can keep a daily record of your workout, your stats, goals, and anything else that you deem relevant to you and your process. It’s entirely private, but the sense of accomplishment and thrill that you’ll feel will be palpable as you look back on your own progress. It can really be a remarkable yet simple way to encourage yourself and see results. 

 

 

 

If writing isn’t really your thing, there are other ways to keep a private record of your progress. We know lots of athletes who keep a photographic journal of their fitness journey. This is particularly ideal if your fitness goals include weight loss or muscle building. By taking a daily selfie of your growing muscles or slimming waistline, you can keep a physical record of your progress and feel a sense of pride every time you look back. 

 

 

 

You don’t need to be vocally active in an online community to learn from it and become inspired and motivated by the journeys of others. The next time you’re knocking around on your computer, try searching for some forums and online communities that include people with your same fitness goals or people who love your athletic activity of choice. By reading their stories and what they have to say, you’ll find new ways to inspire yourself. 

 

Accountability, the Jack City Way 

If you happen to be reading this from Boise, Idaho, you’re in luck: you’re within in the Jack City limits. Even if you haven’t been to a gym in years, you’ll be in good hands — we have something for everybody, at every fitness level.

 

Here at Jack City Fitness, we don’t “do” membership. Instead, we offer partnerships to the athletes who choose to train with us. Being a Jack City partner has lots of benefits, and we’ve become the leading gym in the city! We offer 24/7 gym access to our partners, a large selection of group classes, and even special custom training and classes for those with unique needs. 

 

One of the things that we do best at Jack City is make sure that our partners are comfortably accountable. We’re here to make sure that you get the motivation you need from us, no matter what those needs may be. For some, that means personalized nutritional counseling with one of our specially trained coaches. For others, that means making new friends and workout buddies in class: we offer everything from Flexibility and Mobility to Elite Movement. 

 

Finally, many of our partners prefer to work with an actual “accountability coach.” Our fleet of coaches are all well-versed in the art of accountability, and are here to push you just the right amount. We want to help you meet your goals and motivate your performance, but we will never pressure or bully you. We know it can be a fine line for some. Our coaches are empathetic, passionate about fitness, and ready to help you become the very best athlete that you can be. 

 

Come on Over and See Us!

If you’re ready to grow your athletic performance through accountability and relationship-based motivation, get in touch with our team at Jack City Fitness today. We’ll sign you up for a free consultation, where you can tour our beautiful facility, peek into a class, and meet our passionate team of trainers and teachers that you’ll be working with if you decide to partner with us. We think you’ll love it — and we can’t wait to see what you’re made of.