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!
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.
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 email@example.com to learn how we can boost your fitness routine with our personal trainers and classes.
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
2 ripe bananas
Your choice of mix-in, such as dark chocolate chips or a spoonful or peanut butter
- Cut the bananas into bite-size pieces. Place in a freezer bag and freeze for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Place the banana pieces in a food processor. Pulse until they start to look smashed, then blitz until they start to look smooth.
- 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
1 cup unsweetened fruit juice (like apple)
2½ cups frozen fruit
3 tbsp. honey
½ tsp. lemon juice
- Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
- Pour the mixture into six popsicle molds. Place the lids and sticks on top and freeze until firm, at least 6 hours.
- 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
2 cups yogurt, Greek or regular, plain or flavored
3 cups frozen fruit
3 tbsp. honey or your favorite sweetener
- In a blender or food processor, blend together the yogurt, fruit and sweetener until smooth.
- 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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
Many people choose to start a workout regimen so they can lose weight, build muscle, recover from injuries or train for an event like a road race. But apart from these more obvious reasons to exercise, there are other benefits that may not come to mind as readily. Below you’ll find five surprising perks of moving your body on a regular basis.
While it’s true that exercise requires an output of energy (and it can be a lot of energy, depending on the type of exercise you like and the length of your workout), it will also help you feel more energized afterward. The reason: When you’re sedentary, everything in your body becomes sedentary as well. Your circulation slows down (see: “get your blood pumping”), your muscles weaken, your joints get tight and your brain gets foggy. These effects can even compound, which is why it’s harder to start moving and exercising the longer you go without it. But working out reverses all of these slowdowns, literally reenergizing your body and helping you feel lighter, stronger and like you have more in the tank to take on the day.
There are a few reasons that fitting in a workout will help you go about your day feeling sunnier. When you exercise your body releases endorphins, brain chemicals that work on a cellular level to help improve your mood and brighten your outlook. What’s more, completing a workout, regardless of whether it’s ten minutes long or an hour long, is going to give you an incredible feeling of accomplishment. You chose to use that time to do something healthy and beneficial for yourself, and there’s nothing better than that feeling.
You know that while you exercise your muscles are working hard, which requires them to burn fuel for energy at a faster rate than if you were just sitting. This rate at which your muscles are using fuel is your metabolism, which is naturally higher during a workout. However, studies have shown that your metabolism doesn’t drop back down to previous levels as soon as your workout is complete. In fact, you can continue burning fuel at that higher rate for hours after you exercise—and if you’re working out on a regular basis, you can get to the point where you are spending more time in this state of increased metabolism than not.
Strong muscles are key, especially as you get older, but so are strong joints. The good news: Exercise is going to work both of them. Any movement that is weight-bearing is going to strengthen and reinforce your ankle, knee and hip joints, which play a crucial role in maintaining balance and flexibility and lowering your risk of injury. Likewise, consistent exercise prevents all your joints from getting stiff or inflamed, which can lead to problems like pain and limited range of motion.
Most people think of stress as a mental issue, but it is physical as well. Your feelings and experiences of stress are caused by increases in levels of certain hormones, and when these hormones remain at high levels for an extended period of time it can cause other physical problems. In addition, feelings of stress can manifest physically as pain or stiffness, often in the neck and shoulders for most people. But exercise helps keep levels of stress hormones in check, plus prevents stress from getting stuck in your body. And of course, if you can use a workout to release your stress and anxiety that can also go far towards helping you feel less stress overall in your daily life.
If you live in a P4LF community and want to get your body moving, join us for one of our free virtual fitness classes, taking place 7x per week. To view the schedule, reach out to your leasing office, or follow along with us on Instagram or Facebook.
Clean eating is a term that’s been bouncing around the health and nutrition world for a while. The simple idea behind it: Eat as many fresh, whole, minimally processed foods as you can. In the process, you’ll automatically avoid packaged foods, added sugars and refined grains. If that sounds complicated, it isn’t! Clean eating is just about choosing foods that you can eat in their natural state—and there’s no better time to clean up your plate than spring, when fresh produce is in abundance. Here, three tasty recipes that will help you eat cleaner this season.
Tomato, Watermelon and Feta Salad with Fresh Herbs
3 large heirloom tomatoes, cored and cut into a large dice
2 cups cubed seedless watermelon
½ red onion, thinly sliced
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
2 tbsp. chopped fresh herbs, such as basil or mint
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. red wine vinegar
- Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and season with a pinch of salt. Toss to combine.
Quinoa Pesto Primavera
1 cup quinoa
1 cup snap peas
1 lb. fresh asparagus, trimmed
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
2 cups cooked cubed chicken (optional)
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1 tbsp. pine nuts
1 large garlic clove
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Cook the quinoa according to the package instructions. Transfer to a bowl.
- Cut the asparagus and snap peas into 1-inch pieces. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the asparagus, snap peas and peas, season with salt and pepper and cook until crisp-tender, about 6 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the quinoa and add the chicken, if using.
- In a food processor, process the basil, pine nuts and garlic to a fine paste. With the machine running, pour in the olive oil and keep processing until it’s incorporated. Add the cheese and pulse just to combine.
- Scoop the pesto into the bowl with the quinoa and veggies and toss to coat.
Fresh Berry Smoothie
1 cup your favorite milk
½ cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
2 cups fresh baby spinach
2 cups mixed berries, like strawberries, blueberries and raspberries
1 cup ice
- Add all the ingredients to a blender in order. Blend until smooth.
Not only is spring the time of year when most people start thinking about ways to improve their health, but it is also the easiest time of year to do so (March is National Nutrition Month after all)! Longer days and warmer temperatures encourage people to get outside and be more active. Sweaters giving way to shorts and sundresses provide added motivation to get fitter and healthier. And the rich bounty of fresh foods available in the spring makes it a cinch to change your eating habits for the better. Here, three simple strategies that will help you eat healthier this year.
Visit the Farmer’s Market
There’s nothing better than heading to the farmer’s market on a breezy, spring Sunday morning. You can pick up some fresh flowers, maybe a gourmet coffee and support local businesses. But the focal point of any farmer’s market is the fresh fruits and vegetables. Make a point of browsing these stalls and picking up some produce. Most of what’s available at the farmer’s market has been picked at the peak of its freshness, which will inspire you to use it in your cooking right away. If you’re unsure how to use anything, the food sellers can offer advice on preparation—though when in doubt, fresh, in-season vegetables will always be delicious raw.
No farmer’s market nearby? Consider signing up for a CSA, in which you will be sent a box of assorted fresh produce (and sometimes eggs) on a chosen schedule. This is another great way to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet.
Try One New Vegetable
Even if you’re picking up all your produce at your local grocery store, one smart strategy that can help diversify your cooking and make it healthier is to pick up one new vegetable or fruit each time you go shopping. Maybe it’s one you’ve never heard of, one you always walk by and wonder about, or one that a friend or family member loves and you’ve been meaning to try. Worst case scenario you don’t like it and won’t purchase it again, but best case you discover a delicious addition to your produce rotation that also delivers powerful health-promoting nutrients.
Cook and Freeze
It’s pretty common knowledge that the more you choose to cook at home over dining out, the healthier your diet is going to be overall. But if the idea of cooking every single day feels intimidating or impossible, consider cooking just one or two days a week and freezing healthy foods to enjoy later. You can prepare and freeze individual ingredients to then put together and use in your favorite recipes or cook entire meals that just need to be popped in the oven or in a pot to get you a healthy dinner on the table an hour or two later. Utilizing your freezer is a simple, stress-free way to ensure you have good-for-you options on hand all the time, even on busy days when cooking is the last thing on your mind.
With daylight savings coming up on March 14, we’ll be turning our clocks ahead one hour. On the one hand, this means we’ll be losing an hour of sleep this weekend. But on the other, it opens up a host of new opportunities for enjoying the spring season. Here, three tips that will help you spring ahead with ease.
Stick to Your Schedule
Even though losing an hour of sleep may make you feel groggy for a couple mornings, try to stick to your previous wake up time as much as possible. Not only will this keep you from having to make any adjustments to your schedule for the remainder of the day, but it will also help you eliminate that morning sleepiness that much faster. And this advice doesn’t only apply around daylight savings: Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule has been shown to have countless health benefits.
Open the Curtains
The easiest way to adjust to the time changes: Let the sunlight in! Opening up your blackout curtains will help your body sync up its circadian clock with that of the sun, which will help you feel energized when you want to be during the day and relaxed when you want to be at night. It will be especially helpful in the morning, as the brightening light outside will alert your body that it’s time to wake up and start the day.
Take Advantage of the Evenings
Sure, it may be darker for a bit longer in the mornings, but that means we get those covetable daylight hours back in the evening. Especially with temperatures finally climbing, take advantage of this extra time at the end of the workday to get outside. Go for a walk or a run around your neighborhood, attend an outdoor group fitness class or just sit outside on the patio or the roof deck and breathe in the fresh air. This will further help your body adjust to the new daylight schedule, plus deliver perks of spending time outside like less stress and sunnier moods.