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BLAST THE BABY WEIGHT: PART 5

BLAST THE BABY WEIGHT: PART 5

Happy Monday!

Another 2lbs down over the past two weeks and after a total loss of 8lbs, I was ready for the pool again. I still have 17lbs to go and last week I took the next important step for my success. Meeting with our BLAST registered dietitian taught me to focus more on mindful eating and realistic meal planning. We also analyzed my resting metabolic rate which I received during my BLAST Profile. Nutrition is vital for fitness success. Any fitness goal, from weight loss to muscle gain, requires proper nutrition. With BLAST classes, my BLAST Profile, and my sessions with our BLAST RD, I'm ready to keep BLASTing the baby weight! 

Melissa

BLAST THE BABY WEIGHT: PART 4

BLAST THE BABY WEIGHT: PART 4

Hello BLAST Family - 

Sometimes, you just need to rest! The past two weeks have been very busy and sleep became a priority. I've been working hard both at the studio and in class. Sleep is a very important part of my weight loss plan. After all, sleep is where the magic happens. It's the only time your body has to repair and recover and I was in need of recovery! 

Over the past two weeks I lost another pound so 6 pounds down total and 19 to go. I was happy to see that I was still losing weight despite my crazy schedule. I know rest played a big part in my success. Now that I'm rested, I'm hoping to kick into high gear for the summer and keep BLASTing the baby weight!

Melissa

BLAST THE BABY WEIGHT: PART 3

BLAST THE BABY WEIGHT: PART 3

Hello Everyone,

What's YOUR number? My number, my anaerobic threshold (AT), is 140bpm. After getting my BLAST Fitness Assessment, I now have my personalized workout prescription based on my body's physiology.

For the past two weeks, I have done at least 2 High Intensity workouts (working above my AT) and 2 Low Intensity workouts (working below my AT) per week with BLAST. I'm continuing to BLAST the baby weight as I've lost another 2 pounds! In total, I've lost 5 pounds and am now 20 pounds away from my goal weight. 

The next step is speaking with BLAST's Registered Dietician. Our BLAST RD will use my resting metabolic rate (RMR) to create a custom nutrition plan. 

~Melissa

BLAST THE BABY WEIGHT: PART 2

BLAST THE BABY WEIGHT: PART 2

Hello Everyone,

I am three weeks into BLASTing the baby weight and have already lost 3 pounds!

Being a new mom and studio manager leaves little time for exercise. BLAST's total body workout is covering everything I need in just 60 minutes. I have consistently taken 3 BLAST classes per week and am currently doing the "walk" protocol on the treadmills.

 

This weekend I am getting my BLAST Profile and Fitness Assessment. I can't wait to add Polar Heart Rate monitoring and Fitmetrix to my weight loss plan. 

Stay tuned to hear how my FA went and what my Cardio Rx will be moving forward.

~ Melissa

BLAST the Baby Weight

BLAST THE BABY WEIGHT

Hello Everyone,

My name is Melissa and I am the new Studio Manager at BLAST in Washington, DC. I have an extensive fitness background including a Masters Degree in Exercise Physiology, a certified National Academy of Sports Medicine Master Trainer, and many other fitness certifications including Vinyasa Yoga, TRX, and BOSU training. 

Before BLAST, I spent the past ten years doing a combination of personal training, group fitness instruction, and gym management. I am so excited to be joining the BLAST team and to start living the BLAST lifestyle!

I recently celebrated the beginning of two new journeys in my life; my first Mother's Day as a mom and my postnatal fitness journey with BLAST. Overall, my goal is to lose the 25lbs I gained during pregnancy by utilizing all that BLAST has to offer. Stay tuned as I'll be getting my Fitness Assessment (FA), taking classes, and working with our registered dietitian to get in better shape than ever before!

I invite you to follow along as I show you firsthand just what the BLASTLIFE can do for you!

~Melissa

Sleep, Fitness & Achieving Your Goals

Sleep, Fitness & Achieving your goals

We’ve heard it all before: sleep is super important, get your full 8 hours, get your beauty rest, but sometimes we work so hard during the day to get the to-do list checked off that we forget to put that same effort towards our quality of sleep. The right amount of sleep, at the right time, is essential to maintaining physical and mental health and your overall quality of life.  How you feel awake is very much determined by how you sleep at night.

OK, so that was a bit broad. We all know sleep is important, but how much does it really impact our lives?

YOUR BRAIN

Sleep is your brain’s chance to prepare for the next day’s new set of challenges (aka tackling that big, long list you need to get through or your boss is going to kill you!). It’s organizing, remembering and processing information from the day, and forming new pathways for information it will encounter tomorrow. A lack of sleep doesn’t give your brain enough time to process and reboot, which in turn can lead to an assortment of not-so-great things like: inability to remember things, mood swings, feelings of depression and even a lack of motivation.

When you cut sleep short, your body doesn’t have the necessary time to repair issues
that over time can lead to heart and kidney disease, diabetes and even strokes.

YOUR BODY

While your brain is busy getting ready for the next day, your body is able to focus on healing and repairing. When you cut sleep short, your body doesn’t have the necessary time to repair issues that over time can lead to heart and kidney disease, diabetes and even strokes.

While sleeping, your body is also able to better repair muscle tissue (think all those sore, tired muscles after a BLAST class!) and help decrease inflammation. So, the harder you are pushing it in class, the more important sleep becomes for your body to take care of itself, and keep your athletic/physical performance at its best.

YOUR WEIGHT

Sleep helps keep your hormone levels in balance. These hormone levels can affect your appetite. Decreased sleep, means decreased balance in hormone levels which leads to increased, unwarranted hunger. Getting adequate sleep not only keeps your appetite at a healthy level, it also can help prevent late night snack attacks!

YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM

Your immune system also relies heavily on sleep to function properly (part of why you sleep so much when you have a cold or the flu!). Continued lack of sleep can wreck havoc on your body’s immune system and leave you vulnerable to falling ill more often than usual.

Studies show sleep deficiency harms your ability to drive as much as being intoxicated;
sleepiness is a factor in about 100,000 car accidents every single year.

YOUR FOCUS

You’ve got a lot going on; a lot of things to remember, things to do and places to be. People who are sleep deficient have a harder time focusing and retaining information, and often take longer to complete tasks. In addition, a lack of sleep can severely impair your driving. Studies show sleep deficiency harms your ability to drive as much as being intoxicated; sleepiness is a factor in about 100,000 car accidents every single year.

OK, so you get it...sleep is important, but just because it’s important doesn’t mean getting a good night’s sleep is easy! For many, sleep can be difficult and frustrating.

Here are a couple BLAST tips to help make sleep a priority and get your body the rest it needs:

  1. STICK TO A SCHEDULE. This way your body will know when it’s time to ‘shut off’ and start recovery mode.

  2. EXERCISE DAILY. After a hard day of work your body will be ready to put head to pillow.

  3. COMFORT. This seems like a no brainer, but make sure your mattress, pillows and even sheets/blankets are comfortable. You’ll be much more inclined to hop into bed on time if it’s a comfy place to unwind.

  4. EVALUATE YOUR ROOM. This goes beyond your sheets and mattress. Think lighting, windows, and room temperature.

  5. AVOID NAPS. This knocks your body off of its schedule.

  6. RITUAL. Creating a bedtime ritual is good for unwinding and settling down for the night. Whether it’s not eating after a certain time, enjoying a warm cup of tea or listening to a certain song that calms you.

  7. NO SCREENS! Set a time at least 1 hour prior to bedtime that all blue screens (i.e. phones, tablets) are turned off.

We want our BLAST Fam to be healthy, happy and, of course, fit! Sleep is a crucial part to successfully accomplishing all three. When considering your overall health and wellness, be sure to always take into account your sleep habits, and give it the time and effort it deserves and needs.

 

Sources: Women’s Health Magazine, National Sleep Foundation, National Institute of Health

 

 

 

When passion & career collide!

A couple of weeks ago we introduced you to our new Midtown co-studio manager, Erika! This week we meet her counterpart, Dana. This dynamic duo is transforming our Midtown location into a well-oiled machine for all of you to have the best BLAST experience possible. While Dana is certainly not new to BLAST, she is excited to have the opportunity to join together her love for fitness and her career.

Although she’s been busy (read: really, really, really busy) learning everything BLAST, we caught up with Dana to ask her a few questions so all of our amazing BLASTers could get to know her a bit better! Check it out.

 

Where are you from?

D: Originally from Los Angeles, California, but I’ve been living the Southern life for about 12 years now!

Why do you LOVE BLAST?

D: I love BLAST because it’s a different workout I can’t get anywhere else or do on my own. Every day at BLAST is different and a challenge.

When did you start BLAST?

D: I’ve been a BLASTer for years, all the way back to some of the old locations. When I saw BLAST was hiring, I knew it was the perfect opportunity for me to blend my passion for BLAST and my career goals.

When did you start BLASTing/living a healthy lifestyle? What motivates you?

D: I wasn’t always the workout enthusiast I am today. But in the last 8 years or so, it’s helped me in more ways than just staying healthy; it’s introduced me to a world I wouldn’t otherwise have been a part of. A world of other people who are passionate about fitness, and I’ve even met some of my closest friends through the fitness community!

What motivates you?

D: My biggest motivations are the endorphins and the way you feel right after finishing your workout!

 

If you see Dana running around the Midtown studio be sure to say Hi and introduce yourself! She may be super busy, but she’s happy to meet as many of our BLASTers as she can; after all, you guys are the best part about being at BLAST!

 

Couples that Sweat Together

COUPLES THAT SWEAT TOGETHER

It’s February. That means Valentine’s Day and all the mushy, gushy romantic stuff is right around the corner. But what’s even more important (and better for you!) than picking out the right flowers, heart-shaped treats and chocolates? Breaking a sweat together! (No, not THAT kind of sweat, folks!!)

There is growing evidence that couples who workout together, really do increase their odds of remaining together! According to studies (Psychology Today), heading to the gym with your significant other can help in a multitude of ways:

  1. Increase happiness with your relationship. 

  2. Improve your efficiency. Your partner’s presence can help boost your speed and confidence.

  3. Help you achieve your fitness goals. Having someone who cares about you and your goals is motivating and encouraging.

  4. Increase your emotional connection. Nonverbal mimicry (weights moving, step patterns) helps you feel even more in-tune with your partner on a subconscious level. (Pretty cool, right?!)

These perks are just the beginning when it comes to the powerful impact working out with your partner can have on you - individually and as a couple.

We touched base with a few of the MANY couples who BLAST together. From those who will only BLAST as a pair to those who coordinate a perfectly executed ‘baby swap’ in order to get a sweat session in, one thing is certain - all BLAST couples are AMAZING!!


How long have you and your significant other been coming to BLAST together?

Somer and Mark: I (Somer) have been coming to BLAST for 5 years (I think!). At any rate, I’ve been BLASTing for a very long time! Mark started 2 or 3 years ago. He visited the Buckhead studio with me once and took Bri’s class, which just about killed him. He decided to try it again when the Midtown studio opened. During my pregnancy, we came together 3-4 times a week. I think he was concerned that I would overdo it, so he was determined to keep an eye on me. Little did he know, I was exaggerating my running pace to him to get him to come with me! I wanted the company and I love it when we can do it together - my plan worked!

Pam and Rob: We are coming up on one year!

Carla and John: About 4 years

Steffanie and Bruce: 1 year

Do you only go to class together?

The baby trade off system works well for Somer and Mark.

The baby trade off system works well
for Somer and Mark.

Somer and Mark: Currently, we have a two month old baby boy at home that requires our full-time attention, so we can rarely go together. We have worked out a carpool/trade off system that works well for us. Mark will go to 10am class on Saturday and then I will bring Cash in the car and we make the quick switch! This works especially well for me as I get to hear about the workout and know what to expect/fear! We have even planned date nights where we get a nanny to watch Cash and we go to BLAST together and then out for dinner/drinks afterwards!

Pam and Rob: Yes! We try to most of the time, if we are both available.

Carla and John: No, but we try to go together at least once every week!

Steffanie and Bruce: No, we are on different schedules so it’s rare we are able to go together - but when we do, we bring our daughter, Payton who loves to support us!

Have you always worked out together?

Somer and Mark: We are both athletic and sports have always played a big role in our lives. I compete in long distance swim races and triathlons and I am recovering marathoner. Mark was a pole vaulter in college and still loves to talk about his high school football and basketball days. BLAST is just an evolution of sports for us - we may be old, but old habits die hard!

Pam and Rob: We have not worked out together in a long time. We never enjoyed doing the same things. We walked together a lot with our dogs, but that was about it. Rob talked me into trying BLAST and we both loved it. I enjoy the weights more and enjoys the treadmill, so it is a good balance for both of us and forces us to do both. We both worked out with a private trainer for years a long time ago and I liked P90X, but had gotten tired of the same thing over and over.

Carla and John: We’ve always worked out together in some fashion. However BLAST has take our fitness program to an entirely different level.

Steffanie and Bruce: We’re pretty independent when it comes to working out. BLAST really is the only reason we work out next to each other now!

What made you start?

Somer and Mark: I was looking for some interval and strength training to supplement my solo trip training. I have also suffered many injuries and I’m not the runner I once was so the brief intervals on the treadmill were attractive to me. Mark was using a personal trainer and doing CrossFit, but BLAST has been a better fit into his schedule and lifestyle.

Carla and John after a BLAST class with Marilu.

Carla and John after a BLAST class with Marilu.

Carla and John: We wanted to keep challenging ourselves physically and mentally. We also wanted to stay healthy and strong.
Steffanie and Bruce: I forced him to try it. Now he’s hooked!

What benefits to your relationship do you feel you get from working out together?

Somer and Mark: We are stronger together! Seriously though, it is fun to encourage each other to go harder and farther. He is my favorite cheerleader and I hope I am his. Plus, we need all the help we can get being older parents and having to keep up with a growing baby boy!

Pam and Rob: I have always workout, but Rob only like to run or walk. I am very happy to see Rob doing some strength training because I think it is important to his health. I also think that attending class together keeps us coming and when one of us doesn’t feel like going, the other one encourages the other one to go! I don’t think either of us would attend as much as we do if we were not both going to classes. We keep each other accountable.

Carla and John: It is fun to keep each other motivated. Besides, as Bri Sexton most eloquently stated, you are too tired to fight with each other afterwards!

Steffanie and Bruce: We love to talk about the classes and compare who worked harder haha

The BLAST mix of cardio, weights, resistance, stretching and more means that there is something for everyone, which is perfect for couples with slightly different tastes in fitness. Runner, walker, weights enthusiast or somewhere in between, BLAST offers a great platform for couples to train for life together!

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to the BLAST FAM: Erika Maxie

MEET ERIKA: New Midtown Studio Manager

You may have noticed a happy new face greeting you at the Midtown studio lately. With an extensive fitness background and an intense passion for healthy living, new Midtown Studio Manager, Erika Maxie, is excited (and it shows!) to step in and make a difference. Her love of BLAST and breaking a sweat is truly contagious and we hope it spreads like wildfire to staff and members!

Erika wholeheartedly believes in the BLASTLife and hopes to help everyone understand that BLAST is more than just coming to a class for an hour a couple times per week. BLAST is about living a fit, healthy and happy lifestyle.

We caught up with Erika for a quick Q&A, but be sure to say hi the next time you’re in studio.

Where are you from? I’m originally from Chicago, IL.

What makes BLAST your favorite? Although I just started BLASTing in late 2016, I LOVE IT! I love that BLAST offers an education and level of expertise on fitness and exercise not offered elsewhere. One big takeaway from my very first class was how instructor, Justyn, share the importance of eating well after class. It was a great reminder that living the BLASTLife doesn’t end after you walk out of the studio. BLAST is special; we promote how to create and maximize a lifestyle of fitness.

Why did you start BLAST/living a healthy and fit lifestyle? I’ve always had a passion for fitness and the BLASTLife has given me the opportunity to share with others an amazing exercise experience. I’m motivated and excited about helping others build a healthy mind/body mindset.

And just for fun, what’s a random, little known fact about you? Outside of fitness and BLAST, I also love playing the flute!

 

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Welcome to the BLAST FAM, Erika!!

 

 

The Infamous Fitness Rut

The Infamous Fitness Rut

Old ways won’t open new doors. We’ve all been there. Whether it’s with fitness, or some other aspect of life. We become set in our ways and slowly, but surely, results change; they slow down and even stop entirely.  It can be unmotivating and a challenge to overcome when what you’ve always done, just isn’t working anymore. You’re putting in the effort, the time, the sweat, but the results just aren’t there. It can be frustrating and infuriating.

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At BLAST we often hear our first time clients talk about how they’re sick of going to their big box, non-personalized gym. They walk around for half hour, maybe 45-minutes; they lift weights, use some machines and maybe even run or ride the elliptical for a bit. They often mention that the results they saw at the beginning of their health and fitness journey have either slowed or ceased completely. They are frustrated with the work they are investing, and the lack of results they are seeing in return.

Every single day at BLAST, our 60-minute workout is different:
different equipment, different time blocks, different tread work.

That’s where the beauty of BLAST comes in! Every single day at BLAST, our 60-minute workout is different: different equipment, different time blocks, different tread work. We do this to make sure your mind and body are constantly being challenged. This state of constant change helps reduce plateaus. So, unlike going to other fitness classes or a gym, we keep your body guessing. Whether you’ve been coming to BLAST for 2 weeks or two years, you will continue to be challenged, both mentally and physically, and best of all, you will continue to see results.

If you’re struggling with your fitness routine and looking to bust out of a fitness rut - come see us! Even if you just implement a BLAST class into your training once or twice a week, we know you will feel (and see!) the difference in the long run. Plus, there’s something fun and exhilarating about trying something new! Walk, run or jog, big weights or little - our classes are perfect for literally every fitness level, and will never leave you feeling like you’re in a rut or hitting a fitness training plateau.

 

Let's Face It...You Sweat!

Let's Face It...You Sweat!

Fitness & Skin Care Tips from Your Favorite BLAST Trainers

Let’s face it. Whether you’re a guy or a girl, a walker, a runner or somewhere in between, when you workout - YOU SWEAT! And when you’re going hard and moving from the tread to the floor during a BLAST class you tend to sweat A LOT!!

While you’re busy focusing on your instructor and the next exercise, your sweat is mixing with dirt and bacteria on your skin. This nasty mix sits on your skin and soaks right back into your pores, which can lead to breakouts and blemishes - yuck!

We checked in with our trainers, who through years in fitness, have mastered the art of keeping their skin healthy and glowing all while sweating up a fat-burning, muscle-building storm! They’ve shared some of their favorite tips, tricks and products for keeping skin looking and feeling great.

Bri S.

Bri, BLAST Fitness Director, swears by Clairsonic.

Bri, BLAST Fitness Director, swears by Clairsonic.

Clairsonic! Clairsonic! Bri swears by it. She says it removes the sweat and dirt better than any other way of cleansing she has tried. It keeps the skin smooth and vibrant. Just use it every night before bed. 

Marilu

Nothing fancy, says Marilu! Just Cetaphil cleanser every night and morning before doing her make-up!

Sarah B.

Sarah keeps it as natural as can be! She refrains from using products and sticks with keeping her skin clean and refreshed with plain, old water. Sometimes it doesn’t take anything fancy!

Nicole

When Nicole is on-the-go she loves keeping Neutrogena’s Shine Control on hand. It helps keep your skin looking fresh and not oily. Perfect for after a hard BLAST sweat session. 

Coconut oil for everything!

Coconut oil for everything!

Kelly and Christa

Coconut oil for everything!! Seriously, these two swear by it! Both Kelly and Christa love using natural coconut oil for moisturizing skin and hair. Plus it can even be used as a moisturizing shaving cream substitute and make-up remover. Christa says she always keeps one jar marked ‘cooking’ and one marked ‘skin/hair’ just to be safe. 


Denae

Another lover of keeping it simple. Denae uses just a Gold Dial Bar every single day. Her key to success is: less is more when it comes to products (food included!) you use in and on your body! If you can’t pronounce an ingredient - don’t use it!

Whether you implement some of the tips, tricks and products mentioned by our BLAST trainers or you already have a skin care regimen that works for you, these last three tips are great for everyone to remember:

“Less is more when it comes to products (including food!) you use in and on your body”
— Denae, Assistant Fitness Director
  1. Get rest! Well-rested skin always looks healthier and more refreshed. Getting those Zzz’s will help your skin and entire body recover.

  2. Change your sheets often! Your face is against a pillow all night long. If it’s dirty, all that dirt is going right onto your skin and into your pores.

  3. Consistency! Find a plan that works for you and stay consistent. Keep products readily available in your gym bag and at home so you aren’t forced to skip out on skin care!

 

“...refreshed with plain, old water. Sometimes it doesn’t take anything fancy”
— Sarah B., DC BLAST

GOALS, NOT RESOLUTIONS

GOALS, NOT RESOLUTIONS

In theory resolutions should be a very powerful tool when trying to move your life or business forward. When a New Year’s resolution is made you are literally resolving to do something; you’re making a firm decision. The problem with all of the resolutions that are made during the New Year and holiday season is we don’t outline steps or goals along the way to achieving these resolutions. 

We simply make sweeping, broad proclamations of these oh-so-amazing resolutions with hopes that somehow we’ll magically get from A to B successfully by the end of the year. And, of course, 9 times out of 10 resolutions fail. They fail so horribly that most people have given up on their resolutions by the end of January. Yikes!

This year, rather than simply resolving to do something, figure out a plan. Set goals - strong, deliberate goals, that will lead you where you want to be by the next year. There are a few keys to success when setting goals for yourself:

  1. Be Specific. The more detailed and measurable your goals are the better. This way you can keep track of progress and adjust accordingly. 

  2. Be Challenging. Your goals shouldn’t be easy to reach, but they also should not be impossible to attain. 

  3. Write it Down. It seems silly, but taking pen to paper will make you more accountable. When you’ve written them down in your own handwriting they become your’s, they become real.

  4. Create a Plan. You’ve done everything right. You’ve set a challenging, yet attainable (with lots of hard work) goal. You’ve written it down and even put it somewhere to be a daily reminder. You made it measurable and quantifiable. But what now? How are you going to get from where you are now to achieving your goal? It’s time to create a plan. This plan should have smaller goals/deadlines to meet along the journey to your final goal. This plan should be semi-flexible as adjustments, small failures and setbacks can and will occur. That doesn’t mean give up. Just make an adjustment to the plan, with the same end goal still in view. 

Now that you’ve set a specific, yet challenging goal, and have an awesome plan in place to achieve it, be sure to keep in mind this is YOUR goal, not anyone else’s. Don’t fall victim to comparison. Be persistent and consistent, and celebrate the success of  smaller, daily goals you accomplish along the way! 

Whether you sit down before the stroke of midnight on December 31st or you make some time now before the craziness of the holidays, remember to set goals and plans, NOT resolutions. Resolutions already have a negative connotation of being an empty promise. Goals are meaningful. They’re something you want to MAKE happen, not something you WISH would happen. Goals with plans lead to results. 

As 2017 approaches ask yourself one question: When you look back in one year what MUST have happened? What must be different?

SURVIVING THE HOLIDAYS

SURVIVING THE HOLIDAYS

SURVIVING THE HOLIDAYS

The hustle and bustle, the smell of pine and freshly baked cookies, ribbons and bows on every aisle - it’s official, the holiday season is here and in full swing. With its arrival comes office parties, ladles of eggnog and family and friend gatherings too numerous to count. We work hard all year long, eating healthy and pushing our bodies in and out of BLAST class, it’s hard to imagine throwing all of the dedication away for a few nights of festive fun. But it’s also hard to fathom skipping out on making memories with those we hold dear during such a magical time of year. 

Good news! With a few simple tips and tricks you can have it all! Keep up with your healthy lifestyle (aka don't pack on the pounds) all while celebrating the season with those close to you.

Pour Smart: Liquid calories can add up fast. Drink water between each alcoholic beverage to keep you feeling full resulting in drinking less.

Think Small: Smaller portions, smaller sips, smaller bites. Not only can you enjoy a taste of all the good stuff, but lots of smaller bites and sips tricks your brain into thinking it ate/drank more than it really did.

Catch those Zzzz’s: Catching a solid 6-8 hours of sleep the night before a holiday party can actually play a positive role in keeping you healthy. When we are sleep-deprived, we are more prone to reach for carbohydrates and fat-laden foods. A good night’s sleep can help women feel fuller after eating and men can have a reduced appetite. Plus, all that rest will have your batteries recharged for a fun-filled party.

Don’t Linger: Out of sight, out of mind. Rather than stand at the table full of creamy dips and salty chips, where you’ll mindlessly chat and munch the night away - fill a small plate and chat elsewhere. 

Break a Sweat: Plan ahead! If you know there are a lot of upcoming holiday parties on your calendar try to sneak in an extra BLAST class. Not able to squeeze in an entire hour, try parking further away while out holiday shopping or taking the stairs at work during the holidays rather than the elevator.

Protein Power: Not only is protein great for fueling your muscles, but it also stabilizes blood sugar which can help to reduce cravings. Before heading to a party enjoy some lean protein and while at the party, reach for meat.

Come Bearing Gifts: Not only is it polite to bring a dish to share, it’s also a great way to bring a healthy option. 

The best part about this list is that it’s easy, it’s doable. Try them all or just a couple. Either way you’ll be setting yourself up for a successful, healthy holiday season all while still enjoying yourself and those around you.

Tips For Dining Out - The Healthy Way

Tips For Dining Out - The Healthy Way

Tips For Dining Out - The Healthy Way

We all know how hard it can be to eat out healthy, but it doesn't have to be that way! It's all about planning and careful selection. You can still enjoy a tasty meal out on the town, without derailing from your healthy, home cooked meals!

Here are a few local dining spots that offer a nice, seasonal selection of healthy foods. We asked our RD Lori which menu items she suggested ordering:

GUSTO!:
Choose the Tahini cucumber and feta mix on greens.  Add grilled shrimp or chicken for protein.

TRUE FOOD KITCHEN:
Choose the Winter Ingredients Salad with grilled fish or chicken.
Or, a warm option is the Teriyaki Bowl-filled with veggies.

 METROFRESH:
*Menu changes regularly
Choose the Black bean hummus sandwich as a healthy vegetarian option if it is available, along with the cucumber gazpacho!

 

Tips To Help You Dine Out The Healthy Way:

  • Choose your restaurant by perusing the menu ahead of time to make sure it offers something that fits with your nutritional goals
  • Opt for grilled fish, chicken or lean meat as a protein source or, go vegetarian and look for legumes and meatless options
  • Load up of fresh, seasonal veggies!! Raw or cooked - you cannot get enough of these.
  • Choose healthy complex carbohydrates such as brown rice, black rice, quinoa or sweet potato. A healthy whole grain bread/roll or wrap is a great option as well.
  • Drink plenty of water for hydration or choose a green, black or matcha tea for extra antioxidants!!

Planning is the key to successful dining out!!  Plan ahead and ENJOY!!

Lori's Favorite Fall Soup

Curried Squash & Chicken Soup

Yield: 2 servings, 1 3/4 cups each
Active Time: 15
Total Time: 20
Calories 274 / Fat 7g / Carbs 22g / Protein 28g

Ingredients:

  • 1 10-ounce package frozen pureed winter squash
  • 1/2 cup lite coconut milk, (see Tips for Two)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast, thinly sliced
  • 1 6-ounce bag baby spinach
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon Thai red curry paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

(The thai red curry paste brings some heat! If you prefer your soup with less kick, you can omit that.)

Preparation:

Heat squash, coconut milk and water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash defrosts, about 10 minutes. Add chicken, reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Stir in spinach, lime juice, sugar, curry paste to taste and salt and continue cooking until the chicken is cooked through, about 3 minutes longer.

 

This yummy fall favorite is from eatingwell.com.

BLAST's Beautiful Brides

BLAST's Beautiful Brides

BLAST's Beautiful Brides

When you get engaged, it’s a whirlwind of joy, excitement, anxiety and stress, all at the same time. In preparation for your big day, these emotions can seem as if they consume you. Oftentimes, a high priority for future-brides is ensuring that they look their best on their special day - head to toe - and that includes being in the best shape of their lives. At BLAST, we have many brides-to-be who come in a few months before their special day, fall in love with how they look and feel and end up staying on as life-long clients. For some, it’s the physical results that turn them into lifelong customers, but for many, it’s the mental and emotional growth. Recently, we sat down with a few of our BLAST BRIDES and asked them what BLAST meant to them as they prepared to walk down the aisle and we wanted to share it with the BLAST FAMILY.

Cheney

Cheney tied the knot on May 3, 2014, in Augusta, Georgia, but just because her day in the spotlight is behind her doesn’t mean she stopped showing up to BLAST. Check out how Cheney used BLAST to help her cope with wedding stress while planning a wedding:

Why did you decide to try BLAST for the first time?
I was working at lululemon Lenox and we were encouraged to try new classes in Buckhead. I came to BLAST for the first time with a friend…after one class, I was hooked!

What kept you coming back?
I kept coming back to BLAST because it works for me. I am terribly ADD when it comes to exercise – I crave variety. I love that no class is exactly alike, yet I know I will come in and get 30 minutes of cardio on the treadmill and 30 minutes of full body strength training on the floor. I like training with intervals because you can do anything for 30 seconds…even burpees!

What is your favorite thing about BLAST?
My favorite thing about BLAST is that it challenges me every single time.  Whether I am doing high or low intensity, there is always a new challenge. Plus, I love the energy from the motivating instructors, great music and vibes from the other clients!

What motivates you to keep pushing yourself in BLAST?
Seeing improvement in my strength, speed and endurance motivates me the most.  I am super competitive with myself.  When I see myself getting better, whether it be through my increased running speed or being able to perform a certain exercise with better form than the class before motivates me to keep coming back.  It's the little successes that motivate me to keep going.

What was the greatest challenge you overcame leading up to your wedding?
My greatest challenge was time management.  It seemed like if I wasn't working, I was doing something wedding related. I used BLAST to keep me de-stressed and it forced me to take at least one hour away for myself where I didn’t have to think about anything but getting through the sprint block or up the 30% incline.

Do you plan to continue BLASTing after the wedding?
Of course!  For me, BLAST was a great escape during wedding planning.  I will continue to use it for exercise, to keep me healthy - body and mind!

Emily

Emily was recently married on August 2, 2014, at the beautiful Chateau Elan. Four months before her big day, she decided to try BLAST to get in the best shape of her life. See what she said about her experience in the interview below:

Why did you first decide to try BLAST?
I had friends who tried it and RAVED about the workouts so I thought I’d give it a shot! I’m now one of those raving fans!

What kept you coming back?
Hands down, best workout class I’ve ever done. Fun, fast paced, makes you sweat, different workouts every time and you start seeing results fast!

What is your favorite thing about BLAST?
It's FUN! And each time you feel yourself getting stronger and faster.

Did you/do you and your fiancée/husband BLAST or exercise together?
We like to go for runs together and play on co-ed sports teams - kickball, softball and flag football.

Define the BLAST Life in three words or less:
Best. Workout. Ever.

What else would you like to share?
If you haven’t tried BLAST, you’re missing out!

Yvette

On June 20, 2014, Yvette and her husband said “I do” on the U.S. Virgin Island, St. Thomas. A natural athlete all her life, Yvette was searching for something to push her physically the way playing tennis at the national level did. See what she has to say about BLAST below:

How did you first come across BLAST/why did you decide to try it?
I first came across BLAST while running past the East Andrews complex.  After several runs by, I looked up what BLAST was online and signed up for a class!  I decided to try it out because I loved the idea of a running/weight lifting class.

Have you always been an active person dedicated to fitness?
I have always been extremely active.  I grew up playing tennis about six hours a day.  Not having that anymore in my life was very hard.  BLAST pushes me the way tennis did.

What is your favorite thing about BLAST?
Not the incline! :)  My favorite thing about BLAST is working out in a group setting and being pushed by the person next to me to go faster.

How did BLAST play a part in preparing you for your wedding?
It took my mind off of wedding planning. I was able to bring my friends in with me to BLAST. It helped me get in the best shape possible!

What motivates you to keep pushing yourself in BLAST?
Everyone in the class with me and the motivational quotes on the wall!

Did you and your fiancée BLAST or exercise together?
Yes :) We BLAST together all the time!  It's nice to have someone to workout with!

Couples That BLAST Together, Stay Together

Couples That BLAST Together, Stay Together

Couples That BLAST Together, Stay Together

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, love is in the air at BLAST! In honor of Cupid’s holiday, we asked some of our BLAST couples to tell us how sweating it out in the studio helps them keep the heat in their love life.

Jenny & James

James and Jenny are fairly new to the BLAST FAMILY and while they have been married for two years, they have been together for more than eight. Although they both attended the same school and church for years, they didn’t cross paths until one fated day at WhirlyBall. Once they fell in love with each others sense of humor, the rest became history!

Do you feel like BLASTing together helps your relationship? 
Yes, we like knowing we’re getting a good workout and we push each other to be better.

Do you workout together outside of the BLAST studio?
Yes, we will go on jogs with our dog and go to the softball fields for batting and fielding practice during the warmer months.

What’s your post-workout refuel routine?
Coffee :) Then we part ways and go to work.

What are your favorite muscle groups to work?
Jenny - Abs and legs.
James - Chest and shoulders.

What’s your favorite BLAST song? 
We like different songs. Jenny loves the Journey remix she heard last week and James likes a Dave Matthews song he heard the other day.

Do you get competitive with each other on the treadmills?
No, we are usually the same pace but we push each other.

Do you have any health and fitness goals you are both working towards?
We are both just looking to lose a little weight. James is working on getting in shape for softball season and I'm getting ready for bathing suit season.

What are your plans for Valentine's Day?
We are going to start the day with BLAST followed by brunch at HobNob. After that we will just hang out, watch a movie and probably order take-out!

Laura & Robert

Better known as the “Wojos” around the BLAST studio, Laura and Robert have been together for nine years and married for two. When Laura’s friends decided to make her a three-day trial Match.com account as a joke, Robert made his move and gave her his number. A month later they went on their first date and have been a duo ever since!

What is a quality you admire most in your significant other?
Laura - Robert’s intellect, as there is never a dull moment.
Robert - Laura’s dedication to health, living a long and healthy life full of love.

Who decided to try BLAST first?
Laura! Laura decided to try BLAST first because she was interested in learning more about the HIIT method. After Laura’s first class, she thought Robert would really enjoy BLAST and kept mentioning it until it intrigued him. Finally, in the car on the way home from work, with a tension headache from a day that started with an energy drink and was surely going to end with a sleeping pill, he asked Laura to “sign him up.”

Have you always worked out together or did it start at BLAST?
Once in a blue moon! BLAST is what has brought us together working out. Prior to that, Robert primarily did weight lifting and Laura did various cardio and light-weight mixes. Rarely would you ever find us in the gym together.

Do you feel like BLASTing together helps your relationship?
Absolutely! Not only does it help reduce stress levels, but it’s something new we have in common that drives us to be better in all aspects of our lives. Our lives now revolve around being healthy and BLAST is a huge part of that.

What’s your post-workout refuel routine?
We always refuel together with a protein shake and a lot of puppy licks - I guess we are a little salty coming home.

What’s your favorite splurge?
You’ve probably heard about it on Laura’s spotlight, but both of us love gelato and have a small serving every night! It really helps keep the cravings down. A really big splurge may include traditional Italian pizza, wine and a nice dessert or some home made Polish perogies. Oh, and more wine.

If you spend an entire Saturday together, what is your ideal itinerary?
You can probably guess how it starts: wake up to a sunny morning, enjoy a cup of “Joe” with the puppies, eat a banana and head to BLAST. After we refuel, it’s on to a stretch class at a friend’s dance studio to limber up, brunch with friends, a nap and then a long walk to Piedmont Park or a hike with the puppies. Finally, we end with a great healthy dinner, wine and a movie.

Do you get competitive with each other on the treadmills or on the floor?
Laura can’t compete with weights, but whips Robert’s butt on the treadmills with her stamina. We both love sprinting at 12 and are very competitive, often competing in “plank offs” to keep our cores in check.

Do you have any health and fitness goals you are both working towards?
Robert would like to condition his body to be better at cardio as this is really the first time he’s done anything else other than throw heavy weights around. It’s been a lot of work (and pain) but he’s progressing along nicely. Laura is aiming for a six-pack and a rocking butt, simple as that!

Courtney & Jermaine

You may recognize Courtney as one of BLAST’s Sales Managers and Jermaine as one of our BLAST Assistants, but did you know that they are a couple of three years? Six years ago, Courtney was in need of a girls’ night so they hit up Wild Bills for the first time. Jermaine had just come home from Iraq and was out with one of Courtney’s friends when they happened to cross paths. Courtney and Jermaine only dated briefly before Jermaine was sent back overseas to Germany, so they decided to remain friends and stay in touch.  When he came home 2.5 years later, they picked up right where they left off and have been inseparable since!

What is a quality you admire most in your significant other?
Jermaine - Courtney is selfless and cares about the needs of others more then her own.
Courtney - His carefree attitude. He doesn't let anything bother him and never has a negative thing to say about a situation.

Who decided to try BLAST first?
Courtney was a client for almost a year before she started working at BLAST. She could never get Jermaine to come take classes with her as a client but when she started working for the company, he came and took some with her. After a couple of classes he said, "Tell Missi I want to work here." Since then, they have become BLAST’s power couple.

What’s your favorite splurge?
Jermaine - Sneakers. They have to match my hat.
Courtney - Workout clothes. I am in them everyday so why not have awesome ones?

What’s your favorite BLAST song?
Jermaine- "Turn Down For What" by DJ Snake and Lil Jon. It makes me run faster and get those sprints out!!
Courtney- "Pop That" by French Montana, Rick Ross, Drake, and Lil Wayne. This song is found on the “Barbara Special” playlist. I can't help but start to dance to it when it comes on!

Do you have any health and fitness goals you are both working towards?
Jermaine is trying to stay sexy for the summer and Courtney is trying to become a better version of herself with a goal to obtain 12-15 percent body fat.

Happy Valentine’s Day from the BLAST TEAM! We love all of you!

BLAST SPOTLIGHT: LAURA

BLAST SPOTLIGHT: LAURA

BLAST SPOTLIGHT: LAURA

Looking for some New Year’s resolution inspiration? Meet Laura: freelance graphic designer, health and fitness enthusiast and a member of the BLAST FAMILY. A woman who strives to live a healthy and active lifestyle, Laura embodies everything BLAST and vows to be an encouraging fitness role model to family and friends. However, this wasn't the case five years ago.

At 5’6” and 186 pounds, Laura was convinced she was completely healthy. She ate three low-calorie meals each day and completed 4-hour cardio workouts 4 to 5 times a week. Assuming that the more she exercised, the more she would tone up, Laura thought she was doing the right thing for her health and fitness.

When Laura came to the realization she needed a change, she experimented with countless slim-quick diets, cleanses, supplements and insane workouts that promised slender bodies. They never worked. After three emergency room visits related to her consumption of “diet” foods containing Splenda and other man-made chemicals, Laura knew it was time for another change.

Fast-forward five years to Wednesday, June 4, 2014 at 5:30 a.m. Laura weighed 155 pounds with 22.9% body fat and was walking into her very first BLAST class.  In August, she signed up for her first BLAST PROFILE assessment. Three months later when Laura went in for her follow-up, she weighed 138 pounds with 16.4% body fat. Wow. With a total loss of 17 pounds and 6.5% body fat, she hasn’t looked back.

Currently a fitness instructor studying nutrition, Laura is an inspiration to us all and we want to share her BLAST experience with the rest of the BLAST FAMILY! Check out our interview with her below where she tells us about her workout regimen, fitness goals and daily bowl of gelato.

Why did you decide to try BLAST?

I first started BLAST on June 4, 2014. I don't know what I was thinking but I took the 5:30 a.m. as my first class. It had just opened downstairs from my condo and I had heard a lot of amazing things about BLAST Buckhead from clients and co-workers, so I thought, “Why not give this new fitness studio a try and see what all the hype was about?” After all, the first class is free.

I did not expect it to do anything for me because I was not a runner, nor did I care to become one. However, I was shocked by my first class. I felt very energized and for the first time ever, I thought I might actually be able to learn how to run and chisel out in record time.

What keeps you coming back?

One week in and I was absolutely hooked! It’s truly a premium experience. It’s a great new space and convenient location right in Midtown with energizing music and they even refill your water bottle during class (LOVE IT). I absolutely love the High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) method as it is always engaging, and the great teachers combined with a fantastic workout really make BLAST for me! Being in the fitness industry, great teachers are hard to come by and trust me, BLAST has them. They're knowledgeable, warming, energetic and overall fantastic people that care about your fitness goals!

When I walk into the studio, it doesn’t matter how tired or stressed I am, I am transformed into a BLASTER for an hour with a clear and energetic path. I love not having to think of what exercises I need to do to get the results I want. BLAST does all the thinking for you. I love feeling that I got a great workout in strength training and cardio within an hour whereas that used to take me a minimum of 2 hours in the gym by myself.

I keep coming back because in the six months I have been attending BLAST, I am constantly seeing results right when I didn't think I could see anymore! More and more fat comes off as I get leaner and stronger! Rock hard body, here I come!

How long did you come to BLAST before you decided to go in for your BLAST PROFILE?

Being interested in nutrition, I immediately got a BLAST NUTRITION assessment with Carolyn to see if there was any additional information I could apply to my knowledge. And there was. She straightened me out with one consultation by telling me if I wanted the fat to come off, I needed to stay away from sugar during the day but could still have it as a treat in the evening, perhaps even daily. And I do… I eat gelato every night while still making sure I'm balancing my meals out evenly throughout the day and maintaining a healthy eating lifestyle. Sometimes you just need someone to yell at you and say, “Stop it.” Thanks, Carolyn!

As for the BLAST PROFILE, BLAST got the KORR metabolic testing system in August and was conducting trial runs and I was one of the guinea pigs given a complimentary BLAST PROFILE.

When you went in for your first BLAST PROFILE, what were you looking to get out of it?

Honestly I had no idea of what I would get out of the profile or if it would even work for me. I thought it may be a gimmick, but since it was free, I figured it might be worth trying out.

Did you consider yourself a fit and healthy person at the time?

Yes, I was already on that path working out regularly and eating pretty well. I was hoping there was a 1% chance that I might actually learn something that would blow my mind and make changing my body even easier than before.

What lifestyle changes did you make during the three months in between your preliminary BLAST PROFILE and your follow-up?

I added more low intensity days to my workout routine and less HIIT. I didn't change my diet too much, but rather just made sure I had a carb such as a banana before class and quick protein within 30 minutes after class. I also eliminated sugar throughout the day, made sure all meals were balanced with protein, fats and carbs, and ate every 3-4 hours throughout the day.

What was the greatest challenge you had to overcome to see your results?

I had to learn to not workout as hard, actually control my heart rate and not let it go past my threshold. Who knew staying under your threshold was so difficult? Especially when you are so used to going hard at 100%.

What were you most surprised by throughout the experience?

That heart rate training works. I always thought the secret to losing weight was pretty much calories in, calories out. The harder and more I work, the leaner I would be.

What are your short-term and long-term health and fitness goals?

I've been making different fitness goals every year inching me to get closer to my “look hot naked goal” and to keep myself looking and feeling young forever. My overall goal is to sculpt out my body, gain lean muscle and get my body fat as low as I can get it. I would like to tap out around 12% body fat while adding a little more muscle.

What would you say to someone who has never had a BLASTPROFILE done?

DO IT! It is a complete game changer! It will change your life and the way you think you should work out. There is no need to work so hard if you can work smarter to get faster and more efficient results. It is worth every dollar you would spend on all the different gimmicks that promise to get you slim. You will not be sorry.

Laura’s Initial BLASTPROFILE Results
(August 26, 2014)
22.9% Body Fat (Normal)
Lean 118.3 lbs
Actual Fat: 35.2 lbs
155 pounds
Anaerobic Threshold: 147 beats/min
VO2 Peak: 46.2 ml/kg/min
Push-Ups: 30
Sit-Ups: 75
Flexibility: 17.5"

Laura’s BLASTPROFILE follow-up Results
(November 26, 2014)
16.4% Body Fat (Athlete)
Lean 115.4 lbs (-2.9 lbs)
Actual Fat: 22.6 lbs (-12.6 lbs)
138 lbs (-17 lbs)
Anaerobic Threshold: 146 beats/min (-1 beats/min, but within margin for error)
VO2 Peak: 52.3 ml/kg/min (+6.1 ml/kg/min)
Push-Ups: 39 (+6)
Sit-Ups: 87 (+12)
Flexibility: 24.25" (+6.75”)

Laura, you ROCK. We can’t wait to see you BLAST past every health and fitness goal you set for yourself!