Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Free Workout Friday: Weight-Loss Circuit

Free Workout Friday

It’s Good Friday! That means two more days until we find ourselves seated around the Easter dinner table, snacking on chocolate eggs, and getting second helpings of ham.

It’s important to remember that even though physical activity is important to overall health and weight-loss or maintenance, you can’t out-exercise a bad diet. A person may be able to burn roughly 300 calories for a 3-mile run or 30 minutes on the elliptical, but it is very easy to consume 300 calories in just a handful of candy, a large soda, or a coffee drink with added flavors and whipped cream.

As you try your best to maintain healthy eating patterns around the holiday, try this weight-loss circuit to help shed calories before (and after) the big feast. Alternating cardio exercises with higher-impact or combination strength moves will keep your heart rate elevated throughout the entire workout, thus burning more calories!

Complete 45 seconds of each exercise, allowing 15 seconds of recovery time in between each exercise. Try not to rest for more than the allotted 15 seconds in order to keep the heart rate up. Repeat the circuit 3 times through for a jam-packed 24-minute workout! Watch our short video for exercise demonstrations!

  1. Butt kicks
  2. Squat, bicep curl, shoulder press
  3. Line jumps
  4. Rolling medicine ball push-ups
  5. High knees
  6. Side lunge with upright row (switch sides halfway through)
  7. Plank jacks
  8. Plié squat with overhead medicine ball swing

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Topics: weight loss weight management Free Workout Friday cardio calories strength training high-intensity workouts

Employee Health: Having Eggs for Breakfast Can Help You Lose Weight

eggsI actually witnessed my brother order a large hamburger with a fried egg on top. It was like Man v. Food! I’m pretty sure that’s not what they are talking about when I read articles about eggs helping you lose weight.

I love eggs, so it’s easy for me to eat those most mornings and even other times of the day. There are many benefits to eating eggs throughout the day. Some like to eat them late at night or throw a hardboiled egg on their salad. But eating eggs in the morning for breakfast is the way to go!

Eggs Are a Healthy and Nutritious Choice

Eggs are packed full of nutrients. They are high in protein, which helps you to feel full longer. Eating eggs for breakfast can also help you to eat a smaller lunch. Eggs are a very low-carb food, and have only roughly 85 calories per egg (depending on the size). I think it’s a myth about the yolk being unhealthy. A lot of protein and nutrients are found in the center. So, quit separating and eat the whole thing!

Boost Wellness with the Inexpensive, Versatile Egg

In addition to the health benefits, there are other great things about eating eggs. Eggs are inexpensive and can be stored in the fridge for long periods of time. They don’t take much time to cook, and can be cooked several different ways to help with variety.

Try these different options: omelet, sunny-side-up, scrambled, hardboiled, or poached. I like to make breakfast wraps with scrambled eggs, hot sauce, and a little bit of cheese. I also like to eat egg sandwiches using English muffins, or cut up some fresh vegetables for omelets.

There are lots of good ways to eat eggs, so get creative and have fun with it! Your body will reap the benefits. You can also talk with your corporate fitness center staff about other healthy options for breakfast.

Topics: employee health overweight employees nutrition weight loss weight management employee wellness healthy habits

Weight Loss: Reducing Calories, Not Taste

This blog was written by Anna Hiple. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.

cooking healthyThe puzzle pieces of successful weight loss or maintenance are not limited to gym visits. They include healthy eating habits as well. Adopting a nutritious diet can seem daunting, so making small changes that add up is often an effective strategy.

Look into how you can incorporate some of the following tips into your own cooking and eating habits:


  • Swap cream and whole milk for skim milk in your coffee and cereal.
  • Substitute egg whites for whole eggs.
  • Use applesauce in baked goods in place of oil.
  • Choose lower-fat versions of yogurt and cheese.
  • Use nonstick cooking spray instead of oil or butter.
  • Trim the fat from meat, remove the skin, and prepare it through baking, grilling, or broiling instead of frying.
  • Use spices to pump up flavor.

 Smart Choices:

  • Eat whole grains instead of refined. They’re nutritious and will keep your stomach satisfied longer.
  • Pile on the veggies in sandwiches instead of cheese, extra meat, and mayo.
  • Use condiments like mustard, ketchup, vinaigrette, and hummus more often than mayo and high-fat creamy dressings.
  • Create bulk on a salad with extra veggies―not bacon bits or cheese.

 Eating Out:

  • Order a cup of soup prior to the meal. This will reduce your appetite.
  • Split an entrée with a spouse or friend.
  • Ask for dressings and condiments on the side.
  • Order grilled or baked foods instead of those that are breaded or fried.
  • Choose a baked potato or salad as a side dish.

 What other tips do you have that work for you?

Topics: nutrition weight loss weight management calories

Employee Health: The Reality of the Weight Loss Rule

This blog was written by Mara M. Winters, HFS. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.

healthy weight lossSlow and steady. These are the two words that participants in the Pound Plunge, Richmond Wellness Center’s weight-loss contest, frequently hear from me as I coach them through eight weeks of total body transformation. To the dismay of many, weight loss is not an instant process. Many wish they could achieve their ideal weight in only a couple of days, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a one- to two-pound per week weight loss rate is successful and safe.

Can you lose more than two pounds a week? Yes, it is possible. Most often, in the beginning of a weight-loss program, you may see that it is easy to lose more weight. As you diet and exercise, your weight loss will slow down and you may hit a weight-loss plateau.

The Wrong Ways to Lose Weight Fast

But how do people rapidly shed pounds? We see celebrities do it all the time; however it takes extreme measures that are not recommended.  

  • Starvation: There are many starvation diets that call for very low calorie intake. You may lose weight, but side effects of this type of dieting include emotional changes, slower metabolism, weight regain, and of course the uncomfortable feeling of being hungry all the time. Low-calorie diets are hard to stick to.
  • Overtraining: You could spend eight hours a day working out. That would burn a huge amount of calories. However, most people cannot dedicate such a large amount of time to training. This type of workout regimen is hard to follow and can lead to overuse injuries, which don’t leave you feeling good, either.

Safe Weight-Loss Alternatives

Try lowering your calorie intake without starvation. With nutritional control plans such as Weight Watchers®, you can have a variety of foods and feel good, too.

The one- to two-pound a week weight loss rate allows for greater adherence to a weight-loss program. You are able to focus on manageable ongoing lifestyle changes through diet and exercise. Greater long-term success is seen with gradual weight loss.

Slow and steady may not be the most exciting method, but a wise turtle once said it always wins the race.

Topics: employee health overweight employees nutrition weight loss weight management weight control

NIFS Nutrition News: Take It Off, Keep It Off!

This blog was written by Angie Scheetz, RD. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.

NIFS, nutrition, portion controlI love what I do. Seeing people succeed with their weight-loss goals is one of the most rewarding feelings as a dietitian. However, it can also be very challenging when I see clients revert back to old habits and struggle to keep off the weight that they worked so hard to remove.

After checking out some research of highly successful dieters, I have found the best things that can be done to keep off the weight for good:

  • Keep a food journal. Individuals who keep food logs tend to eat 40 percent less because they are writing it down. Also, a recent study found women who kept a food journal lost 6 pounds more than those who didn’t. Some excellent online food tracker sites include My Daily Plate and Choose My Plate. Free apps for your smartphone that are highly rated include My Fitness Pal and Lose It.
  • Practice portion control. As a society we are terrible at eyeballing portions! The secret to success is consistently measuring food items to make sure you are eating the same amount you are journaling. The simplest way to do this is to use measuring utensils to dish out your meals and to associate common items to certain portions. For example, a serving of meat should be the size of a deck of cards, a baked potato should be the size of a computer mouse, a half-cup of pasta is the size of a tennis ball, and a teaspoon of oil is the size of one dice.
  • Don’t skip meals. Lots of people think if they skip a meal they will be decreasing the total calories they are taking in for the day. In reality, the opposite usually happens. When someone skips a meal they typically end up overeating at a different time of day to compensate for missing out on the food that their body needed. Also, whenever you skip a meal it makes your metabolism work at a slower rate and, therefore, makes it harder to lose weight. Eating balanced meals and snacks throughout the day is the best way to stay on track!

The more you follow these rules, the higher chance of success you will have in keeping off the weight. For more information or to set up an individualized nutrition appointment, contact me at

Topics: overweight employees nutrition weight loss weight management NIFS weight control healthy habits

New Habits, a Lifetime of Results at NIFS's Slim It to Win It

This blog was written by Lori Griffin. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.

NIFS, Slim it to Win it“Exercise is boring…,” “I don’t have the time…,” or “I don’t know where to start” are words many have used as excuses at some point or another in regard to a fitness routine or lifestyle change. With the emergence of Slim It to Win It in 2011, NIFS sought to squash not one, but all three of those excuses. With the guidance of health and fitness professionals two hours a week, members teamed up to conquer fun, limit-pushing workouts.

After experiencing personal successes the first year, members anxiously awaited the return of Slim It to Win It, and the second run of the program proved to be life-changing once again. Slim It is a chance for people to step outside their comfort zones and into a new way of life. With a total weight loss of 635 pounds and 1.6 percent body fat lost on average, coaches and participants alike celebrated forming new exercise habits and breaking old eating habits.

Slim It Helps Participants Achieve New Fitness Levels

While the empirical evidence demonstrates the physical success, it is the individual stories that explain the true victories. Participants accomplished fitness feats they never thought possible. From kicking their walking pace up to a jog to finally tackling a box jump, participants used the team atmosphere as fuel in their quest to shed some weight.

Nutrition and Healthy Eating Benefits

Not only did Slim It provide stellar exercise sessions, the program also spurred participants toward healthier eating habits. One participant in particular completely shifted his mindset regarding food. Rather than look for convenience at the last minute during lunch breaks, he learned to plan ahead for healthier, more satisfying options. Another member lost 26 pounds in the 10 weeks and attests to a true change in her body composition. “I am wearing jeans I have not worn in months! Not only did the numbers on the scale change, but I can really see a difference in myself.”

The Fun of Working Out as a Group

In addition to encouraging participants to challenge their fitness boundaries and reset their food mentalities, the program also instills a unique camaraderie among team members. Members exchanged numbers and worked out together outside of the team time. Even as the program ends each year, participants still connect to keep up their fitness.

With Slim It, people discover the fun in working out as a group. For example, coaches encouraged participants to log into a calorie-tracking website and when teammates noticed it had been awhile since someone had tracked his or her food intake, teammates made it a point to razz the individual a bit to get back on track. Each year with Slim It, “teammates” quickly turns into strong friendships rooted in a common lifestyle.

A Lifetime of Fitness Results

At the start of Slim It to Win It, 155 people began a 10-week program that took each of them to a new health and fitness level. With the challenging and encouraging group atmosphere, participants conquered their weight-loss goals. Coaches worked to instill new habits so that weight-loss goals were not only achieved, but also maintained. 

One member comments as to why he chose NIFS’s Slim It program two years in a row: “I’ve been able to maintain the weight loss. In the past the weight would reappear.” Combining raw statistics and personal success stories, it is safe to say Slim It to Win It creates a lifetime of results for NIFS members.

Topics: nutrition weight loss weight management motivation NIFS fitness fitness success Fitness Center

Facts on Fiber: Good for Weight Loss and More

This blog was written by Lisa Larkin. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.

facts on fiber, oatmealOther than supposedly helping you go the bathroom, do you know the importance of adding fiber to your diet? Our bodies can’t digest it, so why eat it?

Benefits of Getting More Fiber

Fiber is actually considered a carbohydrate. It has many health benefits, and helps to regulate digestion. It also helps you to feel full longer, which could help you cut back on total daily calories, helping you to lose weight. When you lose a few extra pounds, you also decrease your risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and heart attack; you also lower cholesterol levels and decrease joint pain. Adding fiber to your diet can also help to lower the risk of several forms of cancer.

How Much Fiber Do You Need?

Shoot for getting 20 to 35 grams of fiber per day, which most of us are not even close to getting. And here's a very important side note: Add fiber to your diet slowly, over two to three weeks. If you add too much too fast, you may have stomach issues! Also, drink plenty of water when taking in more fiber to help keep things moving through your system.

How to Get More Fiber

Are you wondering how to add more fiber to your diet? Here are some tips:

  • Increase the amount of fruits and vegetables you eat.
  • Add more whole-wheat products into your diet.
  • Eat popcorn instead of potato chips.
  • Snack on fruit instead of candy.
  • Keep some nuts at your desk or in your car for when you need something to hold you over.
  • Eat oatmeal for breakfast.
  • Try more recipes with beans and lentils.
  • Purchase unprocessed foods.
Topics: diabetes nutrition weight loss heart disease cholesterol weight management disease prevention

Weight Loss Success in the Work Place

People always ask me, "what's your secret?" and I laugh and tell the it's no secret.  Thanks to a huge lifestyle change and the wonderful support system of work buddies, friends, and The Body Shop (worksite fitness center) and it's staff (NIFS) I have lost almost 100 pounds, maybe more!

A couple of years ago, the girls I ate lunch with every day decided to lose weight.  I had been down the path before and was not excited.  I hadn't weighed myself in well over a year and had no intention of starting.  Because my friends were doing it, and I didn't want to eat lunch alone, I gave a half hearted effort.  I decided to stop drinking regular soda and participate in whatever physical activity they did.  And that is exactly what I did, and miraculously my clothes started getting bigger.  We were just walking on the treadmill or outside at our lunch time and giving up soda and I could see results. 

As the initial loss, whatever it was, had slowed because the changes I made were only mild, and as I saw my friends who were already participating in Weight Watchers begin to lose more rapidly, I wanted to make bigger changes too.  So I had to finally weigh myself.  By this time, I had started at a size 24 and was now in a 22, and some 20's, but still hadn't stepped on a scale.  When I finally did I weighed 238 lbs.  I cried the entire day, and thought how did I let myself go this far?  And so I began to count calories, and changing everything about my life.  Eventually through regular physical activity, tracking what I ate and counting calories, I have made huge changes.  It's still a struggle every single day, but when I fall off the wagon, I started again immediately and you know what, the struggle is worth it.  I have zero health issues and I can keep up with my kids.  I look like a different person and I feel like a different person, a happier, much healthier person.

Do you have a support system at work to motivate each other to reach your weight loss and health goals?


Topics: corporate wellness employee health corporate fitness weight loss weight management motivation NIFS employee wellness corporate fitness centers

A Corporate Fitness Professional Looks at the Paleo Diet

This blog was written by Mechelle Meadows. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.

As corporate health and fitness professionals, we are often the first people our members come to with questions about new diets they come across. We all know that fad diets don’t work, plain and simple, but sometimes these new diet trends are disguised just enough to be appealing to even the most health-conscious people.

Recently, a corporate fitness center member asked for my thoughts on the Palecaveman diet, paleoo Diet. While this is not a brand new diet, it has recently become more trendy. The basis of the Paleo Diet (also referred to as the Caveman Diet) is that the most beneficial foods for the human body are the ones that our Stone Age ancestors would have hunted and gathered. Vegetables, fruits, meat, and seafood are the staples of this eating regimen.

At first glance, it looks okay. It includes all-natural foods rather than pushing any premade meal plans or supplements. However, this program recommends a much different meat-to-plant ratio than what we’ve all been taught in our basic nutrition classes. It suggests that up to 68 percent of our diets should be meat, or calories from animals.

Many metabolic functions can be compromised with an extremely high protein intake. A diet consisting of more than 30 percent protein can be linked to kidney problems and dehydration.

Remind your corporate fitness center members that the word “diet” usually indicates that there is some form of restriction. The healthiest mindset towards food is one that acknowledges all foods are permissible. Our main priority should be filling our bodies with nutrients while leaving room to enjoy treats in moderation. When an eating plan makes claims like “Lose weight!,” or the “World’s Healthiest Diet!,” chances are, it isn’t a lifestyle plan that will stick.

Topics: corporate fitness nutrition weight loss

Corporate Wellness: Is Nighttime Eating a DO or a DON'T?

binge eating, late night snackThis blog was written by Anna Hiple. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.

Snacking before bedtime has long been a hotly debated subject. Although we’ve learned that weight control is largely dependent on the balance between calorie consumption and calorie expenditure, late-night eating must be done with care. Otherwise it may damage your weight loss or maintenance efforts. Follow these simple tips for nighttime eating.

Nighttime eating is a DON’T if…

  • You eat out of boredom or habit; not because you are hungry.
  • It leads to mindless consumption of excessive calories, especially of foods void of nutritional value such as potato chips, candy, cookies, ice cream, etc.
  • You tend to suffer from nighttime heartburn, indigestion, or acid reflux.
  • You tend to reach for foods that contain caffeine, such as chocolate.
  • You wake up feeling too full in the morning to eat breakfast.

Nighttime eating can be a DO if…

  • Heavy, greasy foods with a high fat content are avoided.
  • It has been several hours since your last meal.
  • The snack is light and nutritious and contains a mix of carbs and protein (examples: whole-grain cereal and milk, a piece of fruit with cottage cheese, low- or non-fat dairy, popcorn, a small turkey sandwich, whole-grain crackers and cheese or hummus, etc.).
Topics: nutrition weight loss weight control