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How Foam Rolling Can Boost Your Fitness

How Foam Rolling Can Boost Your Fitness

Most people get into fitness for the results. And they think that in order to get speedy results, they need to work out as hard as they can and as much as they can. But many people don’t know that taking the time to help your body recover from strenuous workouts can go far towards helping you achieve those results even faster. One way to do so is to incorporate foam rolling into your routine.

A foam roller is exactly as it sounds: It’s a long, cylindrical piece of foam that comes in varying degrees of softness and different textures. To use it, you place it on the ground beneath the muscle you want to target, say your hamstring, for example, you put as much weight on that body part as feels good and slowly roll back and forth. There are different sizes of foam rollers you can use depending on the muscle you want to work.

In addition to relieving muscle soreness and tightness, foam rolling targets the fascia, a layer of tissue beneath the skin that essentially covers the entire body. When fascia is healthy, which it is if you’re regularly active and eating a nutritious diet, it will be flexible and supple. But things like a sedentary lifestyle, poor posture, unhealthy eating habits, and overexercising can cause the fascia to tighten and clump, leading to pain and decreased range of motion. In the same way, a shoulder massage can get rid of knots in your neck, shoulders, and upper back, foam rolling can work out these clumps in the fascia to improve mobility and flexibility and eliminate soreness. 

So, how does foam rolling help you see results faster? If you’re keeping your muscles and your fascia loose and flexible, your risk of injury significantly decreases. It also means that you’ll be able to continuously build upon and progress your workouts, lifting more weight and running farther and faster without too much soreness. To get the benefits, consider incorporating foam rolling into your weekly or daily exercise routine, rolling after a hard workout or on a recovery day. Then the next time you work out, you’ll feel loose, energized, and ready to go!

For some foam rolling exercises you can try at home, check out our Instagram, and don’t forget to give us a follow while you’re there!

How to Maintain an Active Lifestyle in the Winter

How to Maintain an Active Lifestyle in the Winter

Once the leaves fall off the trees and the days get shorter, it can be tempting to hole up in your apartment under a blanket and wait until spring. But just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you can put your fitness on hold. It is possible to maintain an active lifestyle in the winter, even if you aren’t a fan of chilly temperatures, and here’s how. 

The first thing to remember: Many healthy outdoor activities are just as, if not more enjoyable in the winter than they are in the warmer months. Without leaves on the trees, the views from hikes become much more expansive and impressive, and trails and parks have fewer walkers, runners, and bikers on them, leaving more space and fewer distractions. The key is dressing so that you aren’t bothered by the cold. Layers, hats, gloves, and scarves will make you comfortable and maybe even warm on sunny days, especially if you can get out on the weekends during the warmest hours in the middle of the day.  

Some winter-specific activities will double as an opportunity to socialize, like ice-skating or snowshoeing. Seek these out in your city!

If you’re opposed to being outside on days you can see your breath, take advantage of your property’s healthy amenities, like the fitness center or free group fitness classes offered by Power For Life Fitness. You can also use the building, walking up and down the stairs or the hallways to get your cardio in or completing workouts in your apartment. 

When you exercise outdoors in the winter, warming up and stretching become more important. Cold means your muscles are tighter, so your risk of injury increases if you aren’t warming up before starting or stretching enough when you’re done. If you drive to a hike, make sure you complete a few stretches before you head home—climbing right into the car and then sitting still for an extended period can cause your muscles to tighten up, increasing soreness and injury risk.

Features to Look for in an Apartment Community

Features to Look for in an Apartment Community

Gone are the days when the only factors to consider in your apartment search were the number of bedrooms and the monthly rent. Over the last few years, the apartment buildings in major metro areas around the country have spent time and money adding features and amenities in hopes of attracting new and lasting tenants. Here, four features to consider when you’re shopping for your next apartment. 

Security

In addition to the lock on your apartment’s door, different communities are going to have various layers of security, and you may want to think about how many you need. Do you want to live in a building with a doorman on the clock 24/7? Many communities will have that as an option. Most buildings will require a code or a scan to enter from outside during certain hours, but some also require a code to use the elevator or enter the hallways where apartments are from the community spaces. The number of layers of security between the outside and your apartment door is something you may want to consider. 

Shared Spaces

In the past, apartment buildings consisted of just apartments. But many of today’s luxury apartment communities also offer shared spaces such as a fitness center, business center, library, lounge, courtyard, pool, or roof deck. If you see yourself utilizing any of these spaces, it’s worth seeking out a property that offers them. 

Free Amenities

Shared spaces are great to have, but many communities go one step further and offer complimentary amenities held in those spaces. These may include group fitness classes (like those provided by Power For Life Fitness), community events like trivia and game nights, or events with local businesses. If you want the chance to socialize or improve your health without even living in your apartment building, these sorts of amenities are worth thinking about.

Pet Policy

Do you have a pet? Are you planning to get one? You’re going to want an apartment building that allows pets. Are you allergic to dogs or cats? Is silence vital to you at home? Then you may wish to live in a pet-free property. All things to consider when looking for your future home. 

Even though it means there are more factors to consider in your apartment search, one thing is clear for prospective renters: Today’s apartment communities offer more amenities than ever before.

Top Wellness Apps We’re Using Right Now

Top Wellness Apps We’re Using Right Now

It’s no secret that maintaining a healthy lifestyle can be difficult, and perhaps the most challenging part is holding yourself accountable and sticking to your goals. While it’s fantastic if you’re attending a weekly group fitness class or cooking a healthy dinner a few nights a week, it’s the hours in between during which it can be tough to stay on track. That’s where apps come in: Using the resources on your smartphone can help you meet your goals while improving your physical and mental health. Here are four of our favorites. 

Aqualert: Water Tracker Daily
Drinking water is a critical component of overall health, yet many of us don’t drink enough. This free app helps you track how much water you’re drinking, but it also goes beyond that. By entering some information like your weight and activity level, you can receive personalized water intake recommendations based on what you’re doing on a given day. What’s more, the app will send you notifications reminding you to drink water if you’re falling behind, plus it has a bedtime mode so that you won’t receive those notifications at night. 


Streaks
To create and maintain a healthy lifestyle, you have to develop healthy habits. And to develop habits, you have to repeat tasks until they become second nature and part of your daily routine. This task tracker app is the ultimate habit supporter. Available for $4.99 in the App Store, you can track up to 24 tasks each day, and there are over 600 to choose from—varying from ultra-simple things like brushing your teeth to more complex tasks like running a certain number of miles. The app will track how many days in a row you complete a task, plus allows you to share tasks so you and your friends can keep each other accountable. 


Daily Workouts Fitness Trainer
If you’re looking for a simple app that will help you squeeze more exercise into your day, look no further than this one. This free app offers workouts ranging from 5 minutes to 30 minutes long, with some targeted at specific muscle groups while others work the entire body. Every exercise is demonstrated in a video by a certified personal trainer, but most workouts don’t require an internet connection to watch. If you’re looking for more challenging activities after a while, you can purchase the full version of this app, which comes with more options. 


Headspace
While it’s obvious to most people how to exercise their abs or legs, nurturing their mental health is less obvious. Enter the Headspace app, which features hundreds of guided audio meditations of varying lengths that can help you reduce stress, sleep better and improve focus. To give it a shot, you can try the free Basics course before purchasing an annual or monthly subscription.


Tell us what apps you’re loving right now by heading over to our Instagram and dropping us a comment on our latest post. We want to hear what apps are your favorite right now and why!

Virtual Activities for Residents Still in Isolation

Virtual Activities for Residents Still in Isolation

As a larger percentage of the population is vaccinated every day, people are starting to feel more and more comfortable returning to normal life—just in time for summer, when more activities can be done outdoors. Even so, there are some group activities that we may not want to do in the late summer heat or that simply can’t be done outside. Here are some of the virtual activities Power for Life Fitness is still offering for residents to participate in from the comfort of their apartments. 

Livestream Fitness Classes
P4LF continues to offer weekly group fitness classes taught by our certified and experienced instructors in a variety of formats, including yoga, Zumba, strength training and more. These classes are taught live, so participants are able to ask questions and instructors can offer modifications in real time, making for an experience much more akin to an in-person group fitness class than a pre-recorded workout video. We also offer one-off special classes, such as Tibetan sound bowl meditation, for residents interested in trying new formats. 

Cooking Demos and Events
At the beginning of the pandemic, lots of people dove headfirst into improving their skills in the kitchen. While many have likely slowed down in this pursuit, it’s always fun to try a new recipe or learn a new cooking technique. We offer chef-led cooking demonstrations featuring seasonal ingredients and techniques as well as more focused cooking events, such as ice cream making—perfect for the humid days ahead!

Games and Crafts
For folks who want to relax and have fun, we also offer virtual games and crafting events. These include activities like trivia, scavenger hunts and terrarium-building workshops, which give residents a chance to interact with other members of their community and maybe even make something with their hands, all from the comfort of their own home. 

If you’re interested in any of these activities or want to know if you have access to them, reach out to your building’s leasing office!

Easy Ways to Take Your Training to the Next Level

Easy Ways to Take Your Training to the Next Level

No matter how hard you train or how much you push yourself during your workouts, you may find yourself hitting a plateau every once in a while. It may take the form of boredom with the workouts you used to find challenging or exciting, or it may be that your results start to slow down or stop. If you do reach a point like this, it doesn’t mean you need to overhaul your entire exercise regimen. In fact, there are some small and easy changes you can make that will help you bust through the plateau and maybe even turbocharge your results. 

Do Something New
No, this doesn’t mean you need to start going to dance fitness classes if you’ve only ever used the machines at the gym (though if you do want to do this, the group fitness classes from Power for Life Fitness are a great place to start!). Simply tweaking how you use your muscles can help work them in a new way that will be both mentally and physically challenging. For example, if you typically use the leg press machine to work your glutes, hamstrings and quads, try heading out to the floor to do some squats holding dumbbells at your sides. Or if you usually work your chest with push-ups, try chest presses or chest flies instead. Attacking the same muscle groups from a different angle may be all you need to jumpstart results. 

Incorporate Drop Sets
Drop sets are a fun way to take your training to the next level that will work your muscles more while actually feeling easy. How? A drop set is when you do a certain number of reps of an exercise with one weight, then you switch to a lighter weight and immediately do another set. For example, you could do a set of 10 bent-over rows with 15-pound dumbbells, then immediately do a set of 15 with 8-pound dumbbells. Drop sets are a great way to maximize muscle building and endurance because they help you complete more repetitions total than you would have been able to do without dropping in weight.

Try Intervals
Research continues to tout the benefits of high intensity intervals for increasing fat burning, improving endurance and more. Therefore, if you aren’t already using them, they are a great way to boost results and break through a plateau. If you’re doing mostly cardio, you can start by incorporating just two or three intervals (where you push yourself as hard as you can) as short as 20 seconds long or up to one minute into the middle of your run, walk, bike ride or elliptical session. You can even bring your own intervals into a group fitness class, pushing harder through the chorus of a song in Zumba, for example. If they start to feel easy, try increasing the number of intervals or their length or reducing the amount of rest time you give yourself in between. 

No matter what you do to take your training to the next level, remember our team here at Power For Life Fitness has the tools to help you meet your fitness goals. Email info@powerforlifefitness.com to learn how we can boost your fitness routine with our personal trainers and classes.

Simple Summer Recipes to Keep You Cool

Simple Summer Recipes to Keep You Cool

On hot, humid days when water just isn’t enough to cool us down, there’s nothing like a sweet frozen treat to lower our temperatures. But many of the bars, pops and other goodies in the frozen aisle are loaded with sugar and artificial ingredients, so this summer (and with National Ice Cream Day coming up on July 18) we’re tossing together some homemade frozen treats that are delicious, easy to make and good for you. Try one the next time you need to cool off!

So-Simple Banana Ice Cream
Serves: 2

2 ripe bananas
Your choice of mix-in, such as dark chocolate chips or a spoonful or peanut butter

  1. Cut the bananas into bite-size pieces. Place in a freezer bag and freeze for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  2. Place the banana pieces in a food processor. Pulse until they start to look smashed, then blitz until they start to look smooth.
  3. Add your preferred mix-ins and blitz until the mixture resembles ice cream. Serve immediately (it will be more like soft serve) or freeze and serve later (for a texture more similar to traditional ice cream).

4-Ingredient Frozen Fruit Pops
Serves: 6

1 cup unsweetened fruit juice (like apple)
2½ cups frozen fruit
3 tbsp. honey
½ tsp. lemon juice

  1. Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour the mixture into six popsicle molds. Place the lids and sticks on top and freeze until firm, at least 6 hours.
  3. To unmold, run the molds under warm water for about 30 seconds, until the pops come out. Enjoy immediately or freeze and serve later.

Frozen Yogurt Scoops
Serves: 4

2 cups yogurt, Greek or regular, plain or flavored
3 cups frozen fruit
3 tbsp. honey or your favorite sweetener 

  1. In a blender or food processor, blend together the yogurt, fruit and sweetener until smooth. 
  2. Spread in an airtight container. Freeze at least 2 hours and serve. 

If you don’t feel like making your own ice cream and currently live in a P4LF community, we invite you to join us for our ice cream social taking place during the month of July. For more information, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team, or ask your property manager about the on-site event!

4 Easy Ways to Elevate Your Home Office

4 Easy Ways to Elevate Your Home Office

Chances are you’ve spent some time working from home over the past year, so much that you may be doing so at least part time going forward as well. And while you likely haven’t been able to dedicate an entire room in your apartment as your home office, a few simple tweaks can turn a desk in the corner into a space that you look forward to spending hours each day. Here are four ideas. 

Invest in a Comfortable Chair

If it’s possible space-wise and budget-wise, picking up a comfortable desk chair can go far towards making your office more inviting and making you more productive. If you’re sitting in a hard kitchen chair or a cushy armchair, neither of which are designed to support your body for eight hours or more, you’ll likely wind up with pain in your back or joints that will sap your energy fast. A comfortable chair, on the other hand, will allow you to focus on your work without needing to shift positions or locations throughout the day.  

Get Organized

In your office, you likely had drawers, cabinets, maybe a corkboard or dry erase board, and other supplies that helped you stay organized. If you don’t have these at home, pick some up! Not only will it give your space a more professional feel, but it will also boost your productivity because you won’t need to go digging through folders or searching for a pen that works every ten minutes. 

Decorate

Beyond picking up a quality desk chair, how you decorate your workspace can make it significantly more welcoming. If you have room for one, plants have been shown to boost productivity, plus help improve air quality. Drawings, photos or meaningful knick knacks that will bring a smile to your face on a particularly tough day are just as important to have in your home workspace as they were in your old office. And since you’re at home, you have even more freedom to express your own personal style in how you decorate!

Set Up by a Window 

The traditionally fluorescent lights in an office are notoriously known for draining energy and making it difficult for your eyes to stay focused on your computer screen. But at home, you’re free of these too-bright lights—and depending on the layout of your apartment, you can be free of any artificial light at all. If you set up your home office near a window, you can work by the natural light streaming through, which will be gentler on your eyes as well as help regulate your energy levels throughout the day.


Feeling like redecorating your home office and want to show it off? Tag us on Instagram or Facebook, @powerforlifefitness! We’ll even share them in our stories!

10 Ways to Improve Your Diet

10 Ways to Improve Your Diet

If you’re looking to eat a little bit healthier this spring there are countless changes you can make to your diet. The best part: Making just one or two is going to have an immediate impact on your health, not to mention your energy levels, sleep quality and waistline. Here we’ve provided 10 ideas that can set you on the path to a cleaner diet filled with the nutrients you need to thrive. 

  1. Drink More Water. You’ve probably heard this one a thousand times, but it’s true: Most folks don’t drink enough water. Not only that, but it’s not uncommon for hunger pangs to strike that are actually just your body looking for something to drink. Instead of counting your daily glasses of water (although that is an effective strategy), try having a glass when you feel hungry for a snack, then waiting 15 minutes or so. Chances are your cravings will subside.
  1. Eat More Vegetables. While macronutrients like protein, fats and carbohydrates are important, the body also needs micronutrients to function optimally—many of which are found in vegetables. Spring is the perfect time to seek out some new veggies since so many are in season, meaning you’ll be able to find them fresh at farmer’s markets and grocery stores.
  1. Choose Whole Grain. Let’s face it: Carbs are comfort food and there are very few people who want to cut them out completely. But if you choose the correct ones, you don’t have to! Instead of white bread and white pasta, opt for whole grain and whole wheat, which have more filling fiber. And instead of white rice, choose brown rice or ancient grains like quinoa or farro.
  1. Snack on Fruit. Craving something crunchy? Grab an apple or some grapes. Something savory? Try an avocado or some cherry tomatoes. Something sweet? Munch on berries. No matter what you’re craving, there’s a fruit out there that will satisfy it, all while delivering beneficial micronutrients. 
  1. Keep Drinks Calorie-Free. One incredibly simple way to lower your overall calorie and sugar intake is to only choose drinks that are calorie-free. That means skipping juices, soft drinks and add-ins for your coffee and tea in favor of water (plain, sparkling, or naturally flavored), black coffee and brewed teas. While diet soda doesn’t have any calories, it typically contains artificial sweeteners that have the same effects on the body as sugar, so it’s best to steer clear of those as well. 
  1. Add in Fish. Fish like salmon, tuna, shrimp, scallops, cod, haddock and more are a fantastic source of lean protein. What’s more, they deliver omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to be incredibly beneficial for brain and heart health. If you can’t get fresh fish, don’t sweat it: Fish that was frozen right away and has remained frozen since is just as good for you.
  2. Bring on the Beans. If you struggle with constant hunger or find yourself starving as mealtime approaches, eating more beans may be the ticket. Beans and lentils are packed with protein and fiber to boost satiety and contain virtually no sugar, meaning your blood sugar will stay steady for sustained energy.
  1. Choose Full Fat. The days of vilifying fat are over, as study after study has revealed that eating fat can help you burn fat by supplying a long-lasting source of energy to cells. In fact, full-fat dairy (like milk, cream, yogurt and cheeses) contains conjugated linoleic acid, a type of fatty acid that’s been proven to reduce body fat. 
  1. Avoid Packaged Foods. As a general rule of thumb, you should try to fill your kitchen with foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. This will ensure you’re getting the most nutritional bang for your buck and the smallest amount of man-made additives and preservatives that can make it difficult for your body to stay healthy. 
  1. Shorten Your Eating Window. Are you hesitant to make substantial changes to your diet? Or do you feel like you eat pretty healthy already but you’re not seeing that reflected in the mirror or on the scale? If so, you could try limiting the number of hours in the day in which you eat. A technique called time-restricted eating (a form of intermittent fasting), this extends the number of hours during which you’re not consuming food, giving your body a chance to stop focusing on digestion and instead spend time on the other processes that make you healthy. You can start by limiting your eating window to 12 hours (such as 8am to 8pm), then gradually make it shorter.  

Need some help staying accountable when trying to improve your diet? Show us how you’re staying healthy this spring by tagging us on Instagram or Facebook @powerforlifefitness.

5 Simple Ways to Green Up Your Apartment

5 Simple Ways to Green Up Your Apartment

When you live in an apartment building, there are only so many things about your lifestyle that you can control. And while certain things may be out of your hands, like whether or not your building makes it easy for you to recycle, there are simple steps you can take in any apartment that will make your lifestyle more sustainable and kinder to the planet. Here are five you can take today. 

Swap Out Your Lightbulbs
There’s a good chance that your building is using old light bulbs that are not super energy efficient. Swapping them out for LED bulbs, which can last over three times as long as less efficient bulbs while using half the amount of watts, will save a ton of energy.  

Clean with Old Clothes 
As convenient as disinfecting wipes are, every time you use one you’re throwing away the wipe afterwards—and the same goes for paper towels. Instead, repurpose old t-shirts that you don’t wear anymore as rags for cleaning. They’re washable and reusable, so you won’t be creating waste every time you need to clean your counter. Plus, you’ll be giving clothes that may have been too old and worn to donate a new life. 

Try Composting
If you’re constantly throwing away food scraps in your regular garbage, chances are those scraps are winding up in landfills where they are releasing methane into the atmosphere. The fix: Composting. Composting is super easy if you have a balcony or outdoor space where you can keep a bin, but you can also use an in-home composting bin that will fit on your counter. Then when your bin is full, simply take your food waste to a drop-off point in your city. 

Hang Curtains
Most apartments come already outfitted with blinds or shades but hanging curtains can serve a dual purpose. One, it’s an easy way to add color and style to your space. And two, it will make your apartment more energy efficient. Since curtains are thicker than blinds, they will help keep the heat in during the winter and the cool in during the summer, which can make a big difference if you live in an older building with single-pane windows. 

Eliminate Single-Use Items
This one step can go far toward making your lifestyle more sustainable. The reason: There’s a good chance you are using more single-use items, especially plastic ones, on a daily basis than you might realize. Try swapping out plastic water bottles for a refillable one and plastic straws for a metal reusable one. Instead of buying small plastic containers of spices or hand soap, buy larger ones and refill glass containers or jars that you have. These small tweaks will reduce the amount of overall waste you’re creating. 


Have some green-living tips and tricks of your own? Leave a comment below and/or tell us on Instagram or Facebook so we can share them with the entire #P4LFCommunity.