Can you believe four months have already passed this year?! With spring in full bloom and summer on the way, it’s the perfect time to re-evaluate what brings new life to you personally. It might be a new exercise class or even taking time to breathe and stretch before and after your workouts. Whatever you choose to bring joy to your life, we want to let you know our team is here to guide you and help make you happy.
April showers bring May flowers, but they also help bring carrots! With International Carrot Day falling on April 4th, we wanted to take a bit of time to highlight this orangey delight.
Apart from its crunch, deliciousness and proclivity for being a cartoon rabbit’s favorite food, carrots are full of fiber, antioxidants, potassium, vitamin K1 and beta carotene (a pigment that’s converted into vitamin A by your body). Along with the myriad of nutrients that carrots provide, they have many other health benefits, including:
- Lowering cholesterol
- Lowering weight
- Improving eye health
To celebrate this root vegetable, we have put together a recipe for a fantastic carrot soup that’s sure to put a little hop in your step. Feel free to print off the recipe and use.
Fancy Carrot Soup
One sweet potato
Half an onion
1 carton of veggie broth
1 tbs of butter
Pinch of saffron
Garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste
- Dice onion
- Peel and cut sweet potato and carrots into small pieces
- Heat a large pot and add butter
- Cook onions till translucent
- Add carrots, sweet potato and broth
- Cook until boiling
- Lower heat and simmer until everything is soft
- Blend everything using an immersion blender OR regular blender. (Whichever you have)
Add saffron and spices. Stir and taste until you’re happy. Eat it all.
Our Monumental Members
“Turn your pain into passion.” Is only one of the inspirational messages brought to you by one of our members, @conscious_content87 on IG. His feed is a cornucopia of messaging to inspire the desire to BE BETTER. You can bet he never skips leg day. Or shoulders. Or chest. With his muscle-destroying circuits, he does an amazing job of making workouts look easy. In fact, he created the chest circuit you saw on social media that had your jaw on the floor. Don’t worry, he probably has an exercise for that too. 😄 In fact, we wanted to really get the know the man behind the handle and asked him a few questions this month:
- When did you start working out? Why?
I am a Retired Army Veteran and being physically and mentally tough is a demand in the Military. As I was exiting the Army, I was a leader of soldiers, and they depended on me to be more than myself and set the standard. I wanted to continue with that leader spirit. Of course, life happens as well. I was in a lousy relationship and felt unattractive. I wanted to change my appearance out of depression and anger. I feel like a lot of people start their journey that way as well. You feel unattractive, and you want to feel attractive to your significant other. Along with injuries I sustained while being in the Military, I paid a lot of attention to the things I would do in physical therapy. I wanted to use those ideas to turn it into what I do when I’m at the gym.
- Who inspires you?
People who try, I love to see people strive for consistency. You don’t have to be the best to me; it’s the fact that you keep trying. But the one person that I used to follow before all of this got started was @dnicolemonroe; she actually started out at fitness connection. Now she’s on tv and has sponsorship deals etc. I’d love to meet her one day; watching her workouts makes me want to be more creative.
- What’s your go-to treat on your cheat day?
My go to is Gyro’s. There is a Mediterranean place I go to, and it has the best Gyro’s I’ve had in a long time or I’ll go to Frezko Taco Spot (only on Tuesday).
- What would you tell someone just getting started in the gym?
Take your time. Don’t let the gym intimidate you. Keep coming back; the result won’t happen overnight, but when the results do happen, you’ll have a story to tell.
- What’s your favorite part about working out at Fitness Connection?
It became a family, especially at the Allen, TX one. They know me and care about me. Last year my sister and niece passed away, and Alyssa baked me some cookies. From the managers to the trainers, they have accepted me and have shown nothing but care and support. Plus, the turf that’s there; I love working out on turf makes me feel professional.
- What’s your go-to motivational quote?
It can be done. Leaders lead!!! – Cornell Lockett
Check @conscious_content87 out on Instagram for more words of wisdom and workouts of awesomeness.
Self-proclaimed Queen of Intentionality, @oh.hey.its.chante does her workouts with purpose. She inspires us to never quit, especially when we have fallen down. It’s easy to stop when you fail, but according to Chanté, “Every day is a work in progress.” One of her best traits is her passion for being the best version of herself—even when that involves backtracking on fitness goals. She lets us know IT’S OK. Her dedication motivates us and encourages us to always get back on track. Thank you so much for your self-love and patience. It’s something we all could use a little more of. Follow @oh.hey.its.chante on Instagram for more life-affirmations and inspiration.
Keep Moving Forward
This month we asked a question on social media about the benefits of walking. For avid exercise enthusiasts, walking seems like a no-brainer. But to others, the benefits of just walking for a little bit each day can have huge bonuses to your health.
Just a 30-minute jaunt can help:
- Increase heart health
- Lower the chance of heart disease and stroke
- Improve balance
- Strengthen bones
- Boost overall strength
- Enhance endurance
- Reduce body fat
While 30 minutes is key, walking longer will only add to your health benefits. If you find yourself not being able to complete a 30-minute walk every day, some alternatives to add to your schedule can also help.
- Walking the dog (or A dog; like a neighbors)
- Taking the stairs wherever you go
- Parking farther away from work, or getting off the bus one stop earlier
- Take a 10-minute walk instead of 30 and build up from there
No matter how you get your walking in, the point is to make it a permanent part of your day. This will better your health and help keep you fit and happy.
Don’t Rage Against the Machine
Over the years, there has been mild controversy about which is better: Free weights or machines? Here at Fitness Connection, we believe that the better of the two is the one you enjoy using the most. Did we cop out on the answer? A little, but the benefits of either exercise don’t outweigh the other, so we say, choose your own path (or let our expert instructors guide you).
You don’t have to be training for any Strongman® to reap the wonderful benefits of free-weights. In fact, you’ll burn more calories when you have more lean mass (see muscle) than with cardio alone. If you’re looking to drop those pesky pounds or tone up, weight training is the perfect addition to your fitness routine.
You can start out small and work your way up, but weight training can help:
- Build strength
- Improve flexibility and balance
- Support a healthy heart and bones
- Boosts metabolism
- SO MUCH MORE!
We know how intimidating the machines at the gym can be. You don’t want to hold anyone up or embarrass yourself by getting into them upside down. We all started where you are, so don’t be ashamed about asking a Fitness Connection team member to help you out. After all, the machines are your friends.
Aside from pinpointing specific muscles, our gym machines can also help:
- Limit your workout times
- Keep you safe
- Decrease stress on the joints
- Use more weight without injury
We did a poll online to see which way of working out you preferred. The winner?
Either way, both types of exercise are a great way to help your health. If you personally prefer one over the other, go for it! The BEST workout is one you enjoy.
Cherish What’s Around You
After devouring some tasty carrot soup and doing a complete exercise circuit with featured members consisting of free weights and gym machines, don’t forget to do one thing: enjoy life. Spring is in full bloom and it’s the perfect opportunity to take a breather every once in a while and appreciate the outdoors. Smell the flowers or freshly mown grass. Watch the rain fall or wildlife returning to form. This time of year brings new life and joy to everything around, so take it all in and cherish your world.