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Published: Friday, November 24, 2017 @ 6:00 AM
Updated: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 3:38 PM
— There is heart-pumping music and state-of-the-art audio, video and lighting, but it’s not the hottest new club – it’s CycleBar.
CycleBar, which recently opened its doors at Austin Landing, is a franchised indoor cycling studio with more than 100 locations worldwide. Classes are designed to provide a high-intensity, low-impact cardio workout for riders 13 and older of all experience and fitness levels.
“Our goal is to have 50 minutes go by so fast that you don’t realize you burned 600 calories because you’re having such a good time,” said Steve Zubrzycki, who owns the local CycleBar with his wife, Jane.
If the packed CycleTheatere is any indication, Zubrzycki is right on track. Since the facility opened in late October, classes have not only been full, wait lists are common.
“I love that every class has the same basis, but each individual instructor makes their rides completely different,” said Haylie Stites, of West Carrollton. “The atmosphere is one of a kind.”
TAKE A SPIN
The Austin Landing location has 48 bikes, arranged in a multi-tier stadium formation. Rides are choreographed to heart-pumping playlists, complete with expansive video screens, to provide a concert-like experience for your workout.
It couldn’t be much easier to get riding as CycleBar provides shoes that clip into the pedals, along with complimentary water bottles and snacks. The bikes are compatible with SPD and LOOK shoes for those who prefer to bring their own shoes. Lockers with coded keypads are available to store personal belongings and locker rooms are stocked with robes, hair ties, wet clothing bags, and other toiletries.
“We try to provide all the amenities anyone would need,” Zubrzycki said.
Plentiful amenities eliminate some of the exercise excuses and a full slate of classes, offered seven days a week, eliminate several others. CycleBar offers 30 classes a week with some beginning as early as 5:30 a.m. on weekdays and as late as 7 p.m. Most classes are 50 minutes long, with some lunchtime rides wrapping up in 30 minutes, for those who need to get back to the office.
And while spinning has a high-intensity reputation, Zubrzycki – who rides at least four times a week himself – explains that classes are available for all types of riders.
“We have seven instructors, all with different personalities, so people seem to gravitate toward certain instructors after a few classes,” he said. “And, while classes can be intense, I always suggest that riders go at their pace.”
BY THE NUMBERS
And data-driven cyclists will be right at home at CycleBar.
“I love that everything you do during your ride is recorded and automatically emailed to you, and posted to your private account online so I can compare my past sessions,” Stites said. “It tells you your average miles-per-hour, rpm, heart rate – if you have a monitor – speed, time you spent riding, class rank, distance and calories burned.”
CHECK OUT CYCLEBAR
Where: Austin Landing, 3655 Rigby Road
Published: Wednesday, May 30, 2018 @ 10:47 AM
— The rewards for getting proper shut eye (averaging at least 6 hours per night) range from boosted immunity and reduced stress to lower risk of obesity and the ever-important ability to function at work and while driving.
These benefits don't alter in the slightest when summer rolls around. But when Atlanta summer temps start ranging from "sweltering" to "Inferno conditions," the challenge of getting enough sleep becomes all the more difficult.
And tempting as it is to call out with "toss and turn syndrome," ATL employers do seem to expect you to join the workaday world rested and in a timely fashion, even though it's May through August. So it's better all around to work on combating warm-weather sleep thieves.
Begin with the all-weather ways to improve your sleep, from the surprisingly effective tactics like never hitting the snooze button to the zany but practical ways to combat snoring (yours or the weed eater sounds emerging from the other side of the bed.)
Once you've mastered basic good-sleep habits, try these "hot summer nights" add-ons for those seeking slumber in Atlanta this summer:
Seek the optimal sleep temp. Your thermostat can make or break your slumber, according to the National Sleep Foundation's website, Sleep.org. It suggested a bedroom temperature between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal sleep, which allows your body to decrease its own temperature so it can initiate sleep. "If your room is cool, rather than warm, it will be much easier to shut your eyes for the night," Sleep.org advised. "Thermostat settings far lower or higher than what's recommended could lead to restlessness and can also affect the quality of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep."
Think of your bedroom like a cave. "It should be quiet, cool and dark for the best chance at getting enough rest," according to Sleep.org.
Blackout before you sack out.June 21 is the longest day of summer in Atlanta with 14 hours, 24 minutes of daylight. Throughout the summer months, there's a good chance of sunlight seeping into your bedroom when you want to be asleep. "Since darkness is an important body cue for sleep, putting blackout curtains over your bedroom windows can be a great investment in your rest," Sleep.org noted.
Get the air flowing. An air conditioner is usually equal to even the hottest nighttime temperatures. But if you don't have AC or are economizing on utility bills or reluctant to inflict air conditioning woes on the environment, fans can go a long way to help make you more comfortable, according to Sleep.org. It advised overly-warm sleepers to create a path for air to flow by opening several windows and to place a bowl of ice cubes in front of the fan for a cooling boost.
Shower before bed. Rinsing off under the shower mimics your body's natural cooling process, also known as sweating. You'll still be moist after you towel off, noted Sleep.org, and the evaporation will create a chilling effect that sets the stage for sleep. Aim for a shower about an hour for bed. It need not be cold, either, as long as you allow enough time for your body to cool back down before you try to sleep. And don't add to the household heat and humidity by steaming up the bathroom!
Invest in breathable PJs and sheets. When the daytime temps demand lighter clothing, carry that idea into the evening hours. "Avoid pajamas in fabrics like silk that can trap heat and instead consider wicking materials," Sleep.org advised. "The right fabric can also help when it comes to your sheets. Look for natural materials like cotton, bamboo, or linen, and avoid high thread counts, which can trap body heat. A thread count between 200 and 400 may provide a happy medium of softness and breathability."
Published: Friday, March 30, 2018 @ 11:09 AM
Updated: Friday, March 30, 2018 @ 11:09 AM
— For those that take their workouts seriously, be sure to add one more fitness goal to the list: avoiding exercise injuries.
Not only does getting hurt in the gym or on the trail cut back on how much time you spend getting fit, it's also painful and treatment can be costly.
Why workout injuries happen
Personal trainer Justin Price, M.A. told Men's Fitness that there are two main reasons for workout-related injuries. The first is poor posture during the day, which weakens your entire musculoskeletal structure. The second: trying to do too much too fast.
Avoiding injury causes is key, along with understanding which injuries are most common, so you won't become the next person sitting out while everyone else lifts, rows and runs.
According to experts quoted in LifeHacker.com, possible injuries do depend to some degree on what workouts you're doing, but there are five areas of the human body that are most susceptible to workout injuries.
5 most common workout injuries
According to Brian B. Parr, an American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) certified clinical exercise specialist, and Brandon Aiken, an athletic trainer, those top injuries are:
1. Strained back: This is the no. 1 most likely injury, said Parr and Aiken. The cause is simple: weakened back muscles due to extended bouts of sitting at work or home.
Prevention: Lift with your legs, not your back, and gradually strengthen your back muscles with low intensity exercises.
2. Strained shoulder: An extensive range of motion in your shoulders allows more overuse injuries there, along with injuries initiated by poor posture and faulty workout technique. Shoulder dislocations or rotator cuff damage result in the most pain and suffering.
Prevention: Instead of "pushing through" shoulder pain, let your shoulder rest. And to prime your shoulders to resist injury, strengthen them with wall pushups, shoulder presses and elastic tube resistance training.
3. ACL/PCL injuries: These are more common to athletes than garden-variety exercisers, said Parr and Aiken, but knee injuries are common wherever sports with jumping or rapid changes in direction are played. An ACL or PCL tear can keep you out of the gym and off your feet for months, possibly requiring surgery.
Price, who owns The BioMechanics, a corrective exercise and functional fitness facility in San Diego, told Men's Fitness that going from a desk job to intense workouts can cause these knee injuries.
"We don't use our hip muscles during the day. Then we decide to go kickbox or do bootcamp," he said. "If our feet aren't stable, due to improper footwear, and our hip muscles aren't strong, the knee gets all the stress."
Prevention: While leg extensions, curls and presses would seem the most likely to prevent knee injuries during workouts, they don't help because they don't strengthen the muscles of the feet and hips, according to Price. "A better exercise would be lunges. With a lunge your hip and ankle are bending together, stabilizing and strengthening the knee." For extended benefit, he said to do lunges both forward and backward and then side to side.
4. Runner's knee: This irritation of the cartilage beneath your kneecap makes up about 40 percent of all running injuries, Barr and Aiken said.
Prevention: Work to strengthen hip, glute and quad muscles. Also shorten your stride when you run.
5: Achilles tendinitis: Your tendon tightens and becomes irritated during various exercises, especially strength training.
Prevention: Reduce your risk of Achilles tendinitis by increasing strength training gradually (not dramatically) and building strength in your calf muscles.
Published: Monday, January 29, 2018 @ 9:57 AM
— If you're drawn to sugary treats like a kid to the candy store, you are not alone. The average American consumes 19.5 teaspoons (82 grams) of sugar every day, which adds up to about 66 pounds of sugar per year, per person, according to the University of California San Francisco SugarScience website.
Meanwhile, the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting added sugar to 10 percent of daily calories, which works out to about 150 calories or around nine teaspoons (38 grams) of added sugar, or two-thirds of that for women, registered dietitian Amy Gorin told the Weight Watchers blog.
The sheer overabundance of added sugar in the American diet goes well beyond childlike pleasure. Researchers have linked too much dietary sugar to ailments and diseases that include heart disease, kidney failure, Type 2 diabetes and even insomnia.
With all that bad press, you'd think it would be easy for a logical person just to stop eating so much added sugar. But sugar creates a wave of dopamine and serotonin, the brain's "feel-good" chemicals. Your reaction to sugar matches the reaction to certain drugs, including cocaine, according to Self. And once you get that initial sugar high, your body only craves more.
One piece of good news: sugars found naturally in fruit and milk don't count against the recommended daily amount.
Gorin gave the example of oatmeal, where 1.5 ounces of pre-sweetened maple and brown sugar oatmeal in individual servings contains 12 grams of added sugar but ordinary oatmeal (quick cook, old-fashioned or steel cut) has zero added sugar. A 12-ounce can of cola, meanwhile, has more than triple the added sugar of the sweetened oatmeal, 39 grams.
Even if you're not trying to lose weight, these tips provided by Weight Watchers and other nutritionists will help you cut sugar from your diet, and, eventually, tame your cravings:
Drink more water
Avoid sugar-laden sodas like the plague. "If you crave bubbles switch to sparkling water or all-natural seltzer with a splash of 100-percent fruit juice or fresh fruit for flavor," Shape recommended.
Reach for fruit at snack time
"Trading processed treats for fruit-based snacks is a great way to slash added sugar and up your intake of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber," Shape noted. It suggested sliced apples or pears dolloped with almond butter; nonfat organic yogurt layered with in-season fresh fruit, nuts and rolled oats; or a fresh fruit smoothie.
Infuse your water and ice
For a sweet drink without the sugar, combine fresh sliced fruit and water in a pitcher and let it sit overnight before serving, advised sports dietitian Natalie Rizzo.
Swap tea for soda
"I love to drink fruity, herbal teas like peach, apple, lemon, or raspberry, hot or iced, when I want something sweet and I need to make water more exciting," nutritionist Christy Brissette suggested.
Sweeten oatmeal with fruit
"Add frozen berries to your plain, warm, cooked oats instead of purchasing instant oatmeal that's packaged with added sugar," registered dietitian Tori Holthaus told Weight Watchers. "The frozen berries melt and nearly liquefy into the oatmeal - and a sweet, delicious flavor results."
Make your own tomato sauce
"Many jarred tomato sauces have added sugar, and who needs that?" registered dietitian Sarah Pflugradt told Weight Watchers. "You will feel like an Italian chef with a savory sauce simmering away in your house!"
Pre-plan your splurges
Published: Tuesday, October 31, 2017 @ 12:00 AM
— During the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, nibbling on chocolates, sugar cookies, pumpkin pie seems to be a way of life.
The good news is it may not be as bad as you think. The average American gains about 1 pound during the winter holiday season, far less than the 5 to 8 pounds commonly believed, according to the National Institutes of Health.
But the bad news is that people often don’t lose the weight, and it can pile on over the years. People who are overweight are more likely to gain 5 pounds during the holidays, according to the NIH.
Experts agree it’s perfectly fine — even healthy — to indulge during the holidays; just don’t go bonkers. No matter what you do, don’t starve yourself or skip meals, because that only sets you up for grabbing the closest plate of brownies.
Lanier Dabruzzi, a dietitian and senior manager of public relations for the Southeast Dairy Association, suggests eating a healthy snack such as hummus or a cheese stick and vegetable sticks before leaving the house so that you don’t show up to the party too hungry.
When you’re at a holiday party, scan the table of delectables to decide which three high-calorie foods you really want. Devote half of your plate to waistline-friendly choices such as sliced fruits and vegetables.
Elyse Sartor, an outpatient dietitian at Northside Hospital, said one way to ensure the party offers at least one guilt-free treat is to bring one yourself. Her go-to dessert and hostess gifts are citrus fruits, local and seasonal vegetables, or apples, honey, cinnamon and walnuts in a pretty basket.
And remember, all of those bites of food (broken Christmas cookies included) really do count. So do the wine, soft drinks and calorie-mother lode eggnog (which can pack 400 calories in one mug).
Another way to stave off weight gain is by exercising. Keith Kantor, a Norcross nutritionist and CEO of the Nutritional Addiction Mitigation Eating and Drinking program (NAMED), said even if you cannot devote the same amount of time to exercise as you normally do outside of the holiday season, try to remain active throughout the day. He recommends aiming for 10,000 steps every day, and rather than devoting separate time to exercise, counting steps can be done while holiday shopping at the mall, walking your dog, playing with your kids.
At the same time, don’t forget to get enough sleep. When you are sleepy, you are more likely to grab food for an energy boost.
Here are 12 tips for keeping holiday eating under control:
1. Plan ahead. Before you go to the mall, slip a cheese stick and carrot sticks, or another low-fat snack, into your purse (or bag) to fight off temptations in the food court.
2. Be the slowest eater at the table. This will give you a chance to notice when you feel satisfied. Slow down by challenging yourself to chew each bite 20 times, putting your utensils down between bites, and taking 30 minutes per plate.
3. Drink plenty of water. And drink a glass before the party to help fill you up.
4. Bring your own guilt-free dish to a party so you know there’s at least one you can splurge on.
5. Use a small plate so it looks full.
6. Remember, you can eat whatever you’d like, as long as it’s in moderation.
7. Ditch sweet drinks and consume alcohol in moderation, if at all. Choose sparkling water with citrus slices in stemware for no-calorie bubbly.
8. Don’t hang out by the buffet table. Chatting beside it will only tempt you to graze.
9. Go small. Many desserts are being made in bite-sized portions now, which is fantastic for getting the sweet cravings fix while keeping the portion size in check.
10. Before going back for seconds, wait 20 minutes for your food to “settle.” You might feel full and lose interest in more munching.
11. Find ways to exercise every day. If exercise is hard to fit in with a busy holiday schedule, try the 10x10x10 rule: fit in 10 minutes three times throughout the day for a total of 30 minutes per day.
12. Incorporate daily stress relievers like exercise, journaling and meditation — and avoid waiting until the last minute for gifts and preparations. Consider making a list of the traditions you love, and it’s OK to say no and skip some festivities to avoid overscheduling yourself.