Fall-Winter 2014 Unite Swag

Ultra Accurate: Ultra Sound Body Composition Testing

Ever since I opened my first fitness studio I was in search of the best method of testing a client’s body composition, i.e. the percent of body fat to muscle mass to water. I’ve tried lots of methods from calipers (human error) to electronic impedance (way off) to straight calculations (no test data) and even a unit that was adapted from testing cattle (too expensive), but nothing has impressed me until our partner weight loss specialist Dr. Seltzer introduced me to the Ultra Sound Body Composition testing system.

Weight is a good indicator of your body composition levels, but only when your height, sex and other factors like hydration are taken into account. Given the plethora of heights and body type combinations of ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph, weight really doesn’t turn out to be the best measure. The body fat/body composition measurement has always been the preferred choice for doctors, trainers and athletes to be able to really understand what you are made of.  Body composition testing has simply been inaccurate, unscientific and inconsistent to measure or difficult and unaffordable.

You won’t be able to “see” your abs until your body fat is below a certain threshold. If you don’t know your current body fat measurement “abs” become a rather unmotivating goal.  Imagine you know your body composition and trusted that the next measurement would be accurate too, then you can truly track it and motivate to achieve that goal.

Unite has invested in an UltraSound Body Composition system because it provides:

  • Real, scientific body fat/muscle thickness readings
  • Accurate and consistent % body fat calculations
  • Requires no pinching or human error
  • Cannot be swayed by hydration/exercise/eating/etc.

You can get your body composition tested as part of Unite’s Phase 1: Assessment, which we highly HIGHLT recommend for all new members and anyone looking to decrease their body fat. This is an essential step to ensuring faster success because Unite’s Assessment also includes:

  • Full Body Measures
  • Functional Movement Screen
  • Unite Diet Scorecard
  • Goal Planner & Recommendations
  • 1 Body Composition Retest

To schedule your Phase 1: Assessment contact annemarie@unitefitness.com


Train Smarter While Traveling: 8 Tricks to Trim Travel

I personally find vacationing and business travel to be a fun time to train because you are forced out of your normal routines to find new, exciting places to workout, creative ways to work exercise into your schedule and great local foods to sample.  The mistake people make is they shut down when off their routines and assume they are off from exercise and eating well for a couple days. I’ll say it can be a real challenge depending on your line of work and partner but it can also be super rewarding and smooth.

8 Tricks to Trim Travel:

  1. Bring Super Mobile Training Equipment
    Whether you are staying at the Ritz or a campsite there are a few key pieces of mobile equipment that will fit nicely in your bag yet allow you to get a sick ass workout anywhere. No weights, no problem with the suspension trainer that uses your own body weight for totally adjustable resistance.  Our favorite tool I recommend Jungle Gyms’ simpler, lower cost version than TRX as you just throw it over a pull up bar, fence, or tree (I used it in Spain and Shenandoah with equal ease). Other items would be a speed rope and resistance bands for some quick, effective high intensity.
  2. Run, Bike, Swim, Walk, Hike Across Whatever Town You Find Yourself
    Ask the concierge where the best places to go are or call a friend who lives there and catch up while doing something healthy instead of always doing food and drinks. If you are on vacation then you are going to be a little more indulgent so make sure to burn some of those calories off with some active excursions and morning workouts. Hit the beach, the city, the trail, the ocean, whatever is available becomes a fun way to mix up your training.  I find the morning run is my favorite way to really get a feel for the layout of a new city or park when its bright, fresh and quieter. Just bring a map or smart phone!
  3. Pack & Find Healthy Snacks 
    Transportation stations are getting a little better with healthier options but even some so called healthy bars and shakes are loaded with sugar and chemicals. I like to get a high nutrient drink like a Naked smoothie since and good old water to stay hydrated, skip the other beverages as most are just sugar. While you cannot bring liquids you can bring food: nuts, apples, jerky, oatmeal (not instant just throw some steel cut in ziplocks for quick healthy breakfast) are easiest and there are a few bars that pass too: kind, larabar, probar.
  4. Subscribe to Unite’s WIM (Workout, Inspiration, Meal) of the Week Newsletter
    You’ll get free weekly workout programs and meals emailed to you so you can just follow Unite’s programming even when you are out on the road and not knowing what to do. They are usually simple enough to do in most hotel gyms, but you might want a suspension trainer or band.
  5. Hit Up The Best Local Studios and Gyms
    I love to see what different gyms and studios are doing and feed of the energy of new people and a new environment.  Never taken spin, curious about Bar method, everyone’s talking about some trainer, then research and sign up for some fresh local motivation.
  6. Stretch and Meditate in the Plane, Train or Automobile
    Too much seated time can be exhausting and get your body all knotted up, so be sure to do a half time stretch routine with folds, twists, reaches, arching, rounding, and of course breathing.  If you are going to be still and locked in place you might as well do some mental training so meditate. To focus yourself I recommend using some of the great guided meditation tracks available on SoundsTrue.  DOWNLOAD HERE.
  7. Alternate Alcohol with Water to Avoid the Hangover
    The most common reason for missing a morning workout while working or on vacation is that extra drink or two at dinner the night before. Socializing is great but those couple of hours after dinner can be toxic as you stay up later, ingest sugar and alcohol right before bed making you sleep poorly and feel like crap upon waking, hence missed workouts. Alternate every drink or every other drink with water to slow down the process, keep your wits and stay hydrated. I find sticking to beer and wine 90% of the time with a no shot rule keeps me level.
  8. Be a Leader and Choose Meals Wisely
    While exercise will keep you fit and feeling good, the diet is what can really set people back in terms of body composition goals. Don’t check out when you eat out, especially when on business travel. Be a leader and choose healthier restaurants, get the healthier dishes and turn down all the appetizers and desserts. Look for fish and veggies over the heavy stuff. What is really gained by falling to food peer pressure? A big belly and heart problems if my project  partners from my old consulting days are any example.

Sneakers – The Right Fit For You

Buying sneakers has become quite a complex activity, with shoes designed for almost any activity or environment, different foot types, and technology that promise everything from a “barefoot” experience to ultra-stable support. And all of this before you decide what color best matches your gear.  But can the right shoe really improve performance?

First get your feet to a specialty running store where the staff will help you determine whether you need a motion control, stability, or cushioned shoe.  You’ll probably buy most or all of your shoes from this category from now on.

Next, figure out what you’ll be doing once you lace ‘em up.
Runner?  Get a running shoe.

Hitting the trails?  Get a trail running shoe.  They’ll sacrifice a bit of cushioning and flexibility but will improve grip and provide a more stable platform on uneven terrain.

Competing in a race? Most people will be fine training and competing in the same shoe.  As you get more competitive, using a lighter shoe, a racing flat, or a minimalist can help shave a little more time off.

What’s up with all those shoes that look like gloves for the feet?

This is the minimalist category of shoes, designed to reduce the amount of added stability to give a more barefoot experience and strengthen the muscles of the feet.  I asked my go-to-sneaker-guy (Ross Martinson, owner of Philadelphia Runner) his thoughts on the latest lineup to the sneaker world.

“Minimalist shoes are great for short sprints or a fast run once a week, but I don’t recommend running in them everyday (unless someone is blessed with perfect biomechanics).  That said, I think they are great for cross training and gym work like Fusion. Typically they are lower to the ground and give you a little more stable feel for things like lunges.  If you can only get one shoe to do all of your exercises, go with a regular running shoe.  If you can afford it a minimal shoe is a great second shoe for lifting weights, exercise classes, or the occasional run.”

Give your feet the right shoes for the job and they’ll gladly go the extra mile for you.