Flywheel Sports

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I never thought I would enjoy spin classes, or any type of exercise class in fact.  I grew up playing competitive tennis and would sometimes frown upon those who needed an instructor guiding them through exercise in a room packed full of people.  However, once you become an adult, and you no longer have the time or inclination to play a sport for three hours a day to stay in shape, exercise classes are a great way to work out!

I discovered Flywheel through my old ClassPass membership.  I was intimidated at first, never having tried a spin class or used an indoor spin bike.  But once I got the hang of it, it became addictive.  I tried other studios around the city, since with ClassPass you can only go to the same studio three times per month, but none compared to Flywheel.  As such, I decided to cancel ClassPass, and purchase class packages from Flywheel instead.

There are several locations around the city, including a couple on the Upper East Side, a couple on the Upper West Side, as well as Tribeca, Flatiron, and Chelsea.  The locations are modern and clean, the staff is always friendly, and they provide complimentary water, fruit, and spin shoes.

Other studios often charge two or three dollars for shoe rentals, and make you pay for water.  The classes are either 45 or 60 minutes long and will surely make you sweat!  Another great feature is that through their app, you can track when you attended class, how many calories you burned, and how hard you worked.  For example, today I went to a 45 minute class during lunch, and my estimated calorie burn was 780 (sounds a bit high!) and I biked a total of 18.54 miles.

At a time of the year when everyone is making or trying to keep New Year’s resolutions for a healthier and fitter 2016, we recommend giving Flywheel a try.  Turn up the torque!  Never Coast 🙂FullSizeRender

Change For Good

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One of our core missions here at Lyfebulb is to inspire change, which happens to be a popular topic this time of year.

It’s no secret the new year brings with it the notion of change and self-improvement.  And as far as I’m concerned change is a good thing!  It opens up space for small but powerful lifestyle improvements.  Whether that’s healthier habits, cooking, or even breathing, small changes add up (these are all great goals, by the way!).  As my mentors say: small hinges swing big doors.

I’ve shared my top three tips below, which will help you establish achievable, inspired (and inspiring!) goals.  But first, start with this question: If you could wave a magic wand, and really get what you want in the next (insert time period), what would that look like?

State your goal in the positive

Say what you want, not what you don’t want.  This will help keep your mind focused on the positive, which impacts the small, daily decisions.  It’s much easier to make changes when we work toward something, rather than pulling away from something.  For example: “I’d like to incorporate more whole foods to my diet”, instead of “No processed foods.”  Other ideas might include:

  • Drink more water
  • Spend time with a good book each night
  • Experiment with new veggies in my diet

Goal should be initiated and maintained by self

While it’s important to surround yourself with individuals who inspire and motivate you, it’s equally important we set goals that don’t rely on someone else changing.  In other words: look to others for support and motivation, but don’t make them the cause of change.  Here are some examples:

  • Start a new blog to document my favorite recipes
  • Practice yoga for 20 minutes every other morning
  • Smile at strangers on the street

Size matters

Your goals should be large enough to be worthwhile yet small enough to feel attainable.  I love checking things off my to-do list; it makes me feel productive and validates my efforts.  The same thing goes for our goals.  Be realistic.  Maybe you’d like to join a book club that meets twice a week, but you know that might put a strain on your schedule.  Instead, you join one that meets every other week, knowing you can follow through with your commitment with ease.  Here are some other “sizable” goal ideas:

  • Workout twice a week
  • Get to bed 30 minutes earlier at least three times a week
  • Cook one new homemade meal each week

 I encourage you to jot down a goal or two taking these tips into consideration (did you know? writing your goals down on paper will help hold you accountable) and revisit it regularly to ensure your thoughts and actions stay aligned.

If you’re looking for inspiration we invite you to check out Lyfebulb Connect where you can find support and resources dedicated to improving the quality of life for those living with chronic disease.  Here we use our stories and experiences to encourage and inspire one another in making changes – but it all starts with you.  What changes do you see for yourself?  To borrow the quote from Gandhi: “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

Core Fusion Barre at Exhale Spa

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When I first moved back to New York City after graduating from law school, my sister Karin introduced me to Exhale’s Core Fusion Barre classes.  At the time I was quite intimidated by the class at the Upper East Side location, across the street from the Carlyle.  But, considering how toned and what awesome posture the regulars had, I gave it a try.  New students can take advantage of certain discounts, and at the time, they were offering one week unlimited classes for less than $50.  I went for it, but after a few classes, I could barely sit down I was so sore.

A couple years later I joined Exhale SoHo and participated in their monthly unlimited class program.  This studio is smaller and a bit less intimidating than the Upper East Side.  They also have a discounted monthly plan at $155 per month, as compared to the regular New York City monthly plan, which costs $265 per month.  I fell in love with core fusion at Exhale SoHo, and felt myself becoming stronger with every class.  However, when I switched jobs, the SoHo location was no longer convenient, and I canceled my membership.

A few months later I noticed that I had become much more lethargic, and that I missed class.  So I purchased individual class packs that work all over the city.  I am already seeing a difference in how I feel after a few weeks back on the core fusion wagon.  These classes are addictive!  My favorite locations are Exhale Central Park South, and of course, Exhale SoHo.

So what exactly is core fusion barre?  It is a total body workout that consists of small repetitive movements.  Classes generally begin by marching in place, swinging your arms, and getting the blood flowing.  After a few additional warm-up exercises you hit the floor for a series of push-ups and planks.  Then the class moves on to weight work, which includes several series of light and heavier sets of weight exercises, focusing on the triceps, biceps, and the back.  Once you have exhausted your arms, you do a nice stretch at the barre, and then work on your thighs.  You squat in various ways until your legs begin to shake only to switch to glute exercises that will cause your butt to shake!  The class ends with a focus on the core, and then a nice relaxing stretch.

I am so happy I found these studios as recommended by my sister a few years ago.  I have tried various other classes, including bar method, pure barre, and physique 57, but core fusion barre at exhale are by far my favorite.  If you don’t live in a city with an exhale location, they also sell DVDs so you can do the workouts at home!

Looking forward to a more toned me in the weeks to come!  Exhale is definitely a Lyfebulb favorite.

Lyfebulb Lyfestyle – an Introduction

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Here at Lyfebulb we are passionate about connecting people, inspiring change, and impacting lives.  As we grow, we want to be sure we stay in touch with our community on a regular basis.  Therefore we are excited to share a new series on the Blog, Lyfebulb Lyfestyle, which is dedicated to the holistic lifestyle encompassing Lyfebulb’s pillars.

Every Wednesday you’ll find something new: Blog posts promoting simple but effective health tips or videos showcasing easy, delicious recipes.  In either case, the goal of this new series is to inspire us all to live a healthier life and improve the quality of that life in a way that is fun and pleasurable.

Quality of life is important to Lyfebulb and it is important to me.  As a Holistic Health Coach my goal is to help men and women all over the world improve their quality of life, not just through diet and exercise, but through a balanced lifestyle.

My journey began many years ago and has seen me through various dietary approaches, exercise regimens, and life phases.

It started with a relatively healthy upbringing, which had me eating whole grains and healthy fats, but also generous amounts of ice cream and Cheetos.  Around the time I turned 20 I saw my body changing and realized I knew nothing about taking care of my health through food.  I dove head first into the confusing world of diets: the dos and don’ts – so many restrictions!  Not wanting to adhere to one of these strict plans, I did my own research and found a way of eating that kept me healthy and restored my confidence.

After college I moved to Italy where I spent some time soaking in the culture and rediscovering myself in a new setting.  As one might expect, it was here that I began my love affair with food.  I learned to cook, letting my taste buds guide me and discovered that quality mattered.  I stopped being a picky, calculated eater and began to enjoy meals of all shapes and sizes.  And I did so with gusto.

Later I moved to New York City and settled into a career working at one of the largest advertising agencies in the city.  It was my dream job and I was happy with the way life was going, at least from the outside.  The corporate world was wearing me down with its long hours and endless demands.  My energy began to suffer as did my complexion and mood.  Despite the limited time and kitchen space, I still found ways to maintain a healthy diet – though eventually it became clear to me my diet alone wasn’t the solution to living a full and healthy life.  Holistic health mattered.

It was through all these experiences that I learned to get out of survival mode and into a place where my circumstances didn’t determine the fullness of my life.

My name is Alexi Morrison and I am passionate about living a full and vibrant life.  I am a Holistic Health Coach in practice since 2009, and I believe that true health is achieved not just through diet and exercise, but by living a lifestyle that promotes emotional well-being, balance, and joy.

I live in downtown Manhattan with my husband and daughter and I am thrilled to be a part of the Lyfebulb team promoting health and wellness.  Always operating from a holistic perspective, I count Pilates, reading and quality dark chocolate as sustenance.

Stay tuned for many new Lyfebulb Lyfestyle posts to come!

 

My Encounter with Functional Fitness

I first started training with weights my freshman year of high school. My goal was to have all the freshman girls associate me with being the strongest male in the class. When people thought of my name, I wanted it to depict images of Hercules, the great Leonidas, and the legendary Bruce Lee. Despite my vain intentions I did succeed in this goal. I went from being able to barbell bench press 135 to 245 lbs. in just under six months. I would spend day after the day doing dumbbell curls, machine rows, and presses, and a variety of isometric exercises. Although I became ‘stronger’, my physique looked as though I could have landed a lead role in Planet of the Apes; still I felt indestructible. In fact instead of being nicknamed Hercules, my peers bestowed on me the title “King Kong” (looking back I see how foolish of me to think that meant they were calling me an indestructible force). However, my reign of indestructibility began to rapidly disintegrate and turn to ash like the great city of Pompeii. I began to notice my athletic performance (thorough out track and field, football, and crew) begin to steadily decline. I felt clumsier, disproportionate, my muscles began to fatigue more rapidly, and I essentially began to feel as if I was a walking Cinderblock. Yet I continued to ignore these realizations because I thought, “there was no way my mass and pure bench-pressing capability could deceive me”. It was not until I tripped walking up a flight of stairs splitting my knee open, that I realized something was wrong.

My testimony, is not just intended to serve as comic relief at my blind arrogance and turmoil. It serves as a turning point in my life when I realized that my understanding of fitness as being able to bench-press the most weight, or being able to grunt the loudest as being incorrect. After my injury, I began my rehabilitation process by researching, and learning as much as I could about what it meant to be truly fit. I went through a “triathlon athlete phase”, a “body building phase”, and even a “Pilates” phase (thought to be honest that left more of an impression on the freshman girls than my beginner Ape phase). It was not until I reflected back and thought. what training regime would emulate the physical characteristics of the great names of fitness I originally wanted to be associated with? This is when I discovered the value of functional fitness.

What is Functional Fitness?

Functional Fitness’ core premise is to train for the real world. Functional training implies exercises that prepare your body for everyday activities. It was intended to provide people who are not training to be athletes, or whom are not making a living from exercising, an opportunity to still develop themselves physically. Training in this fashion, would makes activities such as playing with one’s children, or carrying groceries much simpler.

Functional Fitness requires exercises that train your muscles to work together. Unlike traditional isometric training that is geared towards increasing the strength, mass or endurance of a targeted muscle group, functional training teaches your muscles to operate as a cohesive unit. This is important because whether you’re an athlete, a soccer mom, or a C.E.O the daily activities you do require you to use multiple muscle groups at once. Try and picture what muscles you engage when lifting up a heavy box from the floor. You are not just using your biceps, but are engaging your quadriceps, gluteus muscles, and your entire core. Therefore, training to have gorilla like biceps, or horse like leg muscles is not practical for carrying out everyday activities.

Functional Fitness- The solution to be becoming truly fit.

Physical therapists created functional training like exercises to allow any individual to carryout their normal daily activities without causing pain, and discomfort to a new or previous injury. This means that functional fitness is not only geared towards making an individual stronger for their every day requirements, but also is intended to injury proof the individual as well. Functional Fitness exercises require you to work not only on muscular hypertrophy and power (which is the main goal for people who want to increase mass and strength), but to ensure that you focus on all areas of fitness, as to not lack sufficiently in any area that would lead to injury. To sum up, we are essentially creating an individual who is well rounded in all aspects of fitness, as well as being injury proof to potentially unforeseen physically demanding circumstances.

Functional Fitness, isn’t that for old people?

The intended audience for functional fitness seems to be either someone recovering from an injury, your average citizen just looking to stay in shape, or an elderly person trying to make sure they do not pop a hip out any time soon. However, I feel this type of thinking limits the endless implications that Functional Training poses. Functional training can be applied to every category of professional athlete, just as much as it can your every day health conscience citizen. In many instances Functional Training may even improve ones performance in athletic endeavors. Functional Fitness aims at assuring one exhibits enough agility, stability, strength, speed, and endurance at whatever there task may be. From my personal experience, I realized the physique and strength I desired fit along the lines of exhibiting combat fitness. Therefore I applied the principles of functional fitness to ensure I was a well-rounded combat athlete, and I can see the beneficial results in my ability to recover faster, train harder, and endure more in my athletic competitions as a collegiate boxer. In fact, over the last few decades’ military divisions throughout the world, including the United States Marine Corps, and United states Army have geared their training regime of their troops towards being functionally fit. This ensures the troops are ready for the multitude of unexpected challenges presented in combat, as well as prevent injury during the troops execution of their demanding daily lives.

Is Functional Fitness for You?

Obviously, I am a supporter and a follower of training geared towards functional fitness. However, this does not mean I think it applies to everyone. If your goal is to solely increase one aspect of fitness, (whether that be strength, speed, size, power etc.) then training geared towards functional fitness may not be for you. It is not without good reason that isometric training has lasted so long in the fitness world. If one focuses on isometric training they will definitively see an increase in mass and muscular power. Still even in this regard functional training may be useful. Rather than training towards functional fitness, one can incorporate functional fitness exercises into their training regime to ensure they do not fall behind in other aspects of fitness while in pursuit of a singular goal. This will be useful in preventing injury, as well as ensuring you can still operate efficiently throughout all the other activities in your life other than training.

 

Beating Those Lazy Days

Friends, it has been weeks since we made our New Year’s resolutions. How can we motivate ourselves to stick to our plans for healthier and happier selves? We know that exercise is good, but also how easy and comfortable it becomes to slack off burning the fat off.

As the saying goes, When the going gets tough, the tough gets going. We’ll break own the three pillars to gym motivation for when being lazy seems so easy: Why you shouldn’t skip the gym, How you can avoid skipping the gym, and You missed the gym…now What.

Why you shouldn’t

Gyms across the country have the slogan “You’ll never say, I wish I hadn’t worked out today” across their walls. Why? Because it’s 100% accurate. You may not appreciate the soreness, or you may feel fatigued later on in the evening, but in a world filled with guilty temptations, one thing about your day that you’ll never regret is that you spent time improving your fitness.

It’s February. Before you know it, you’ll be trading winter coats and boots for bathing suits and sandals. Put the work in now, future you (the one catching rays by the pool) will thank you.

When you work out, you feel more confident. When you skip the gym, you feel more self-conscious. It’s simple. You can’t put price tags on confidence and positive feeling about yourself. Working out is also known to relieve stress and release endorphins. If you care about how you feel, then you know you have to keep a regular workout regimen.

We live in a social media dominated world. Whether it’s a celebrity favorite or your neighbor down the block, you can count on being subjected to photo evidence that other people are working out. A healthy lifestyle is a personal journey, but boy does it brighten your day when you know you too are putting in work at the gym.

Physically speaking, working out has far more benefits than just helping you to look good; but it can actually help regulate your sleep cycle. When you skip the gym, you’ll feel tired and sluggish all day and then wide awake and restless at night. This is easily one of the most annoying phenomenons your body will subject itself too, and the fatigue will negatively affect the productivity of your work week.

Are you worried about food cravings? Do you want to eat a little dessert guilt free? Well when you work out, it’s easier to eat healthier. You feel accomplished about your day’s work and the mindset you have when you return home is to keep the good habits rolling. Also, when you weight train or interval train your body feeds off calories hours after you’ve completed your workout. So if you so please, you can consume a few more calories than if you chose not to work out, without worrying about fat gains.

Remember, if you aren’t getting better, you’re getting worse

How you can avoid it

Now that you have plenty of reasons why you shouldn’t miss the gym, here’s a few tips on actually making it out there:

Your pilgrimage to the gym doesn’t have to be alone. Willpower is much stronger when you have a gym buddy there for support in solidarity. Join a group, carpool, set appointments with friends, whatever is necessary to get you in the room. It still counts if you are only there to not look bad in front of a judging peer.

Take the time to plan out a schedule. Whether it is what you actually want to accomplish in the gym on that day, or when you can make it, it is much easier to stick to a well organized plan. Improvisation is akin to procrastination.

You know what really boosts your motivation? Activities that you actually enjoy. 45 minute treadmill sessions aren’t for everyone. Join a recreational basketball or dodgeball league and get those competitive juices flowing.

Rats… You did miss the gym. Well now what?

So despite my words of wisdom and impeccable advice you still couldn’t make it out the gym. Never fear, here’s a few tips on what to do now:

Don’t overeat, feel yourself getting full. You should drink lots of water and other non sugary fluids throughout the day to mitigate your appetite. You shouldn’t hit 1000 extra calories on top of already missing the gym.

Take the stairs, take a walk around the neighborhood, or run all those errands you have been putting off for some time. It may not be the hour long sweat-tacular , muscle crunching workout you had hoped for, but the day does not have to necessarily be lost.

Take some time to analyze the day and see what happened. Be true with yourself on what caused you to miss on a promise you made to yourself. Was it a party the night before? Improper planning? Work to get better or plan ahead to ensure you won’t miss many more workout days again.

Last but not least, get ready to hop back on your bicycle go again the next day. You lost the battle, not the war.

You can do this, I believe in you.

Tips to a Healthier New Year in 2015: Interval Training

As we look towards a healthier new year in 2015, we should start by adjusting our fitness routines that may not have yielded the results we really wanted to accomplish in 2014.

A technique that will both increase your cardiovascular capacity while also build and tone your muscles is interval training. Interval training consists of low to high intensity, explosive workouts you complete with interspersed rest time between different component exercises and regulated time within each set. Your body operates anaerobically during the high-intensity periods while recovering aerobically during periods of lower intense workouts.

Traditionally, tales of losing weight and getting into shape all revolve around lower to medium intense workouts such as jogging, biking, or exercising on the elliptical or StairMaster machine for extended periods of time. The key difference between these types of exercise and interval training is that calorie burning ends abruptly after your jogging session as concluded. Interval training, on the other hand, will cause your body to continue burning calories for 2-4 hours after you’ve completed your training session. You can also start burning fat right away whereas in low intensity workouts it may take up to 20 minutes before a significant amount of fat is burned.

Adding intense circuit training into your workouts will stimulate muscle building hormones. One of the biggest knocks to traditional cardiovascular exercise is the loss of both muscle and fat. Interval training puts your body in a state where you can burn fat and gain muscle at the same time. interval training also develops the cardiovascular system. By pushing your heart rate high during periods of work, you’ll increase your cardiovascular output.

There it is: a way to workout for less time, and burn more calories. Incorporating interval training will better equip you to reach your goals in 2015.

Here’s an example of an Interval Training workout you can do at home with just your body weight.

If you have the time, I also recommend a low intensity quick 20-30 minute bike ride or jog to be fully warmed up.

1. Warm Up: Get on a stationary bike for 20-30 minutes. Stop, get off the bike, and stretch.

2. Bike Sprint: At a low resistance, and sprint hard on the stationary bike for 30 seconds. Aim for 90% of your maximum heart rate. To recover, bring your speed down to a comfortable pedal speed for a minute.

3. Jump Squats: Get off the bike and jump squat, with your bottom out to the and your legs slightly apart. Then jump from the squatting position into the air, landing in the same squat position as before. Do this for one set of 15-20.

4. Shoulder Wide Pushups: Do one set of 15 pushups, with your elbows at a degree angle from the body with your hands shoulder-width apart.

Modification: Do the pushups with your knees on the ground, but do 25 instead of 15.

5. Bike Sprint: Get back on the bike and sprint for 30 seconds (low resistance). The goal is to be at 80% of your maximum heart rate. To recover, decrease your speed and bike for one minute.

6. 16” Pushups: Do one set of 15 pushups, with your elbows at a 90-degree angle from the body, with your hands 4-16” apart

Same Modification: Do the pushups with your knees on the ground, but do 25 instead of 15.

7. Sprint: Back to the Bike. Sprint for 1 minute at a high resistance, aiming for 70% of your maximum heart rate. To recover, slowly bike at a low resistance for 90 seconds.

8. Jumping Jacks: Do one set of 15 or 20 jumping jacks. If you’re strong enough, add two 10- or 15-pound dumbbells. Lift up the weights when you jump out, in an overhead press position, pulling them back down to shoulder height as your legs go back together.

9. Finisher: Increase the bike resistance to double digits. Bike at a decent speed for 30 seconds, aiming for 60% of your maximum heart rate. To recover, bring the treadmill down to a 1.0 incline and drop your speed to 1.9 or 2.0 for a 1-minute walk. Finish with a light stretch.

For Diabetics: 

Your blood sugar will most likely take two turns. During the warm up, should you choose to warm up, you will likely experience a slight dip in your blood sugar, so plan accordingly to be above your comfortable exercise blood glucose level.

However, during the interval training your blood sugar will stabilize if not rise, so resist the urge to start too high or drink sports drinks with a high glycemic index that may also cause your blood sugar to spike while taking a break.

Tracking your Numbers

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Tracking your Numbers: Walking through the process of checking and recording your blood glucose levels through light and moderate Activity. 

It’s important to learn the levels of your own body, and how different exercises can affect your levels over the course of the activity. Throughout and after playing college football I have participated in yoga to protect my body against the pounding that comes with running, playing pickup basketball, and weight lifting. So we’ll use yoga in this scenario because it’s a light to moderate activity that should produce one singular blood glucose action.

Step 1: Test your Blood Glucose Level (BS) 3 hours before the Yoga Session

At three hours from activity, there’s plenty of time to eat any meals or make adjustments necessary before needing to be truly concerned about BS levels. I recommend this initial check just for general safety and to make sure your number isn’t extremely high due to a missed bolus or pump malfunction

Step 2: Re-Test BS 45mins-1 hour from the start of the Session

Yoga will cause your BS level to drop, so BS levels should be slightly elevated immediately before starting yoga. Having a normal resting BS level an hour before Yoga is acceptable if you then consume a snack to be slightly elevated for the start of the session.

Step 3: Test right before the start of the Activity in order to be thoroughly safe against an adverse event. Knowing whether you need to back out or if you can continue is paramount. Testing just before will also give you an exact starting point if you feel your BS going either high or low.

During Yoga:

Be mindful of the drop in BS the activity might cause. Have your testing materials close by so that in the event you feel weak or lightheaded, you can see exactly where you stand. My yoga sessions are only an hour long, so if not prompted I won’t test again until after the activity is complete

Step 4: Immediately After Yoga, test your BS and note the differences between the starting and resulting numbers after an hour or so of activity. Actually write it down. This change will give you a great indication of how your body reacts to low to moderate sustained activity for this amount of time. You can use this information to better estimate future activities at similar intensity levels.

Step 5: 2 hours after yoga you should test yourself again. By this time, your body should be fully recovered and you may be surprised to see either a substantial rise or drop as a result of that recovery. As suggested in Step 4, write down how your BS has changed and make note of this event for future activities.

LifeTime Athletic Gyms

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LifeTime Athletic gyms are extremely popular around the country and in the tri-state area especially. As a diabetic, staying in shape is essential to my glucose-control and overall health. This summer, I attended a LifeTime Athletics gym in close proximity to where I worked.

A 24-hour gym is extremely convenient for diabetics, and LifeTime provides that service. As diabetics, there are unfortunately plenty of instances where my blood sugar is either too low or too high for me to feel comfortable working out. The 24-hour accessibility of gyms such as LifeTime allow me to take some time away from my originally intended workout time, and carefully allow my blood glucose level to arrive back in my comfortable workout range, without having to rush due to limited gym open hours.

LifeTime offers a wide range of equipment and space for varying workout types. I like to incorporate different types of workouts into my weekly regimen such as weight-training intensive or cardio intensive days. Some facilities are deficient in either free weights, weight machines, or cardio machines, while abundantly supplying the other categories. The LifeTime gym exceeded my basic needs when it came to workout apparatuses. The monthly membership is not without a substantial price, but the gyms are full of great amenities diabetics and athletes in general will appreciate such as fully stocked snack bars (for post workouts or lows), spas, and yoga studios.

Lastly, LifeTime does a pretty fair job of creating a community environment within its gyms. Whether it arise from the aforementioned spas, yoga studies, and snack bars, or events such as 5ks, triathlon events, and groups weight-loss challenges, LifeTime provides a platform for strangers with similar interests to meet, greet, and tackle goals with one another.  The idea of community is especially resounding amongst diabetics because we are all sympathetic to each other’s diabetes-complication and are constantly bouncing tips and ideas off one another. The environment at a LifeTime gym is especially conducive to such an open forum. My experiences with the staff and trainers on sight have been primarily positive in that they are friendly and relatively knowledgeable about any questions I may have. I would feel comfortable referring other diabetics to their trainers for advice on how certain exercises may affect their glucose levels.

Overall my experience with LifeTime Athletics was positive. While membership comes at a steep price, the facilities and amenities attached are of high enough quality to justify the price. I was extremely satisfied with the range of options available to me as someone who likes variety in my workouts and health maintenance.

Whether it be at a LifeTime gym or any other, it is most important we diabetics continue to push ourselves to make regular exercise and workouts a priority. I encourage you all to find an activity you can enjoy and make those trips a staple in your weekly schedules.

This is the first installment of many to come in my NYC-area gym review series. For further information and health & fitness tips follow me at @roycHealth.

A Call to Discipline

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Becoming disciplined is quite frankly the best way to control your health. But before we delve further into exactly what becoming disciplined means, we need to make an important distinction: the Super-humans versus the Disciplined.

Super-humans are incredible. Super-humans once ate bacon cheeseburgers at McDonald’s for breakfast, lunch and dinner before turning it around and going vegan. Maybe they bought a two-month frozen meal package or meal replacement shakes and actually stuck to the plan the entire time. They bought that new gym membership and went from never stepping into a gym to working out 7 days a week. They have every meal, workout, and medication calculated so perfectly that they always look and feel great no matter the scenario. Seriously, hats off to the Super-humans.

This message is not for those lucky few, and I do mean few, who can turn it all around in one swoop. This message is for the rest of the people who want to regain control of their lives in ways that are gradual, but lasting. Embracing the disciplined lifestyle is about making enough small changes so that they you can reach your goal of becoming an new self.

As it pertains to weight loss, new studies have shown a large number of successful dieters will eventually regain the weight they’ve lost and then some.  Whether your goal is to lose weight, gain muscle mass, control your diabetes, or any combination of the three, life changes are going to have to be made.

Somewhere buried amongst the old adages that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and that it takes 30 straight days of an activity for it to form into a habit exists the unforgiving truth: small, permanent life changes are necessary in order for you to reach your goals. Disciplined people are prepared to make these changes for good.

The key to these small changes is to be realistic with yourself about your current lifestyle, and to find viable components of that lifestyle that you can make tweaks to long-term.Here are a few examples of ways you can make that fantasy version of your healthy self into a reality.

When it comes to exercise, commit to taking the stairs, commit to making a day like Monday (rain or shine) a workout day.

After committing to one mandatory day of exercise, it will be easier to fit in 2 or three other days in the week when it’s convenient. When thinking about diets–njoy a cheat meal: if you worked hard to stay on course with healthy, clean food, then enjoy a cheat meal. You must keep the cheat meal to a MEAL. Not a whole day, or a whole week of binging

Use this commitment to not just cut out the foods you love, but as an opportunity to try new foods. Eating chicken, brown rice, and veggies can be monotonous, challenge yourself to cook up tasty, new, and exciting healthy meals.

For diabetics, set a schedule so that your basal rates are adjusted not only 1 or 2 hours prior to a workout but also a few hours following your workout.The best way for your blood sugars to be consistent is if your pre-game/pre-workout meals are consistent.For a full week once every two months, keep extremely diligent notes of your blood sugars and activities. Release your inner perfectionist. This will allow you to make easier generalizations in the future.


Outside of these quick tips, keep looking for ways to become more disciplined and reach your goals. Coming to Lyfebulb and becoming part of our online community is the first step. Together we can continue the fight!

“Going Low” An Athlete’s Perspective

It’s the reason you keep juice in the refrigerator, a Gatorade in your gym bag, and candy in your girlfriend’s purse. “Going low” can be described as that strange, empty feeling pitted in the center of your core that leaves you anxious, irritable, and even worse, sweaty.

‘Hypoglycemia’ is simply defined as the condition in which your concentration of blood glucose is lower than normal. For most diabetics, we start to experience symptoms somewhere in the 70’s or lower (mg/dl). While this condition can be experienced for a multitude of reasons, every diabetic is well aware that they are especially at risk during exercise.

For athletes, the fear is not so much worrying about the hazards of going too low. We all know the consequences: if left untreated, low blood sugars can lead to seizures or coma. But while it may sound illogical, incomprehensible, and fairly reckless to non-athletes, these serious dangers associated with our blood sugar dipping too low are not usually our main concerns.

The diabetic athlete just hates being told “No.” It is the desire to avoid sitting out of an activity that usually motivates us to stay above normal blood glucose ranges.

We don’t want to have to stop exercising.

We don’t want to sit out of practice.

And we certainly don’t want to distance ourselves any further from our friends and teammates.

The diabetic take on FOMO (“Fear of Missing Out”) creates an unintended consequence: diabetic athletes often overcompensate with high blood sugars.

In the ultimate case of shortsightedness, we sometimes take the immediate benefits while disregarding long term detriments we tax onto our bodies. I know for sure that if I trend a little higher than I should, I may not feel awesome, but I certainly won’t have to sit out. It was this careless thinking that led to me walking around with an A1C pushing double digits for a stretch in my high school football days. My brash justification for carrying sky-high blood sugar levels was that my team couldn’t possibly afford to have me sitting out for any extended period of time. I completely ignored any long-term effects I was causing myself, let alone the extremely clouded judgment and sensation of nausea I experienced when I was on the field.

Thankfully, I eventually saw the error in my ways. While maintaining a blood sugar level in the 200’s did indeed keep from me from going too low, I was sluggish, disoriented, and often a liability to my teammates. I came to realize that playing sports at a blood sugar level only slightly above my normal resting range actually provided me with more energy and allowed me to perform at my full potential. Meticulous preparation and consistent glucose level testing in order to remain in the proper range instantly became preferable to dumping high amounts of sugar into my body before game time and simply hoping for the best.

As diabetics, we have to resist the temptation of immediate security and trust ourselves to find solutions more beneficial to our bodies in the long run. I challenge each one of us to continue to explore the blood glucose levels in which we feel comfortable exercising. Obviously it is imperative that you exercise extreme caution, as there will undoubtedly be challenges along the way in the form of going too low. But in my experience, it was when I truly challenged the lower end of my higher “exercise BG range” that I overcame a lot of my fears about “going low” and ultimately flourished. I found a new range where I experienced a ton of energy, a clear mind, and a higher conditioning level. While you definitely want to exercise at a blood glucose level above your normal, resting level, the key is to find a level that’s not too high.

Through Lyfebulb, consulting with your doctors, and your own safe experimentation, you have the ability to work out and keep up with (or surpass) the insulin producing, non-diabetic athletes in the world. All it takes is patience, persistence, and dedication to the cause.

Making The Pact

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When is that time of year, when you especially dread heading to the gym? Whether it’s the beginning of the New Year, or the beginning of swimsuit season, gyms, running trails, and salad bars galore are filled to capacity.  Many people will want to better themselves, only to fall to the unrelenting prophecy of not sticking to their goals.

A relatively new app named “Pact” (formerly “GymPact”) was created to combat this cycle with its three-part system:

Step 1: Committing

Step 2: Meeting your Goals

Step 3: Reaping the rewards

Each week you, the user, make a pact to participate in a healthy activity such as exercising more or changing your diet. But here’s the kick, you also have to set a monetary amount (you connect through a card or bank account) that you have to pay if you don’t reach your pre-determined goals.

The Pact app tracks your progress, whether that entails gym or other fitness center check-ins, outdoor runs, walks, bike rides, or activities measured by wearable tech devices and apps. The app integrates with other fitness tracking devices such as,  RunKeeper, Jawbone, UP, Fitbit, Moves, MapMyFitness, and MyFitnessPal.

As a reward for meeting your weekly healthy-living goals, you earn real monetary compensation from other members who aren’t as disciplined as you and hence don’t reach their goals.

The concept itself is certainly not new, and is derived from the economic concept of a commitment contract. The commitment contract is used against one’s internalities. Most people opt to maximize their utility in the present, ignoring long-term health down the line. Ordinarily this would equate to saying “I’m tired, I don’t want to go for a run,” which is exactly what makes you happier in the immediate future, but ruins your long-term interests.  Commitment contracts allow participants to grapple with the true monetary cost of their actions. Even if it’s simply to gain money back, participants are irrationally more likely to stick with their commitments.

Using personal contracts such as “Pact” literally puts your money where your mouth is. That is enough for some people to get serious about attaining their goals. Will similar incentive contracts work for diabetics trying to check their blood glucose levels more often, or multiple sclerosis patients remember to complete physical therapy every day at home? Remarkably, yes. Most reviews are glowingly positive that the added incentives helped users reach their goals. However, participants must be aware some users have had technical difficulties with the app. From reviews it appears occasional users and “Pact” quitters may be having trouble disconnecting.

Commitment contracts can be ran from a number of services including “Pact” as easily as it could be run from a home or office pool. The key is hard, unwavering, and unambiguous goals set in advance, matched against something that motivates you, namely money. While the saying may be old fashioned, utilizing the old Carrot-And-The-Stick approach to living healthier is an approach that shouldn’t be ignored.