Tips to Stay on Track Throughout the Holidays

The Holiday Season is quickly approaching and for many, this will mean a time of stress and over-packed schedules.  Don’t allow yourself to get caught off guard or get off track of a regular workout routine. Here are tips and a plan to help eliminate some of the stressors, and stay on track throughout the holiday season.

  1. Schedule your workouts.

    Whether you work with a personal trainer, go to small group workouts, or train on your own, make sure your workouts are scheduled between now and the New Year.  Treat those workouts as an important appointment for yourself. Even if you have to adjust your workout time to go around holiday parties or gatherings, be sure it is on the calendar!

  2. Take a measurement to hold yourself accountable.

    It may be a good idea get a DEXA Scan done in order to hold yourself accountable throughout the holidays.  Doing one before Thanksgiving and scheduling one right after the New Year will help keep you accountable to continuing with your workouts and maintaining a good nutrition plan.

  3. Practice Moderation.

    It is inevitable that you will be at multiple holiday parties where there will be foods and drinks that don’t align with your nutrition plan.  Moderation will be the key component to not falling off the wagon. Be sure to not skip meals or allow yourself to overindulge. Is it really worth ruining your progress for a holiday season that comes around every year?

  4. Rest.

    This may be a good time to allow your body to get some additional rest.  Ensuring proper rest will allow your body to recover and lower cortisol levels -- aka unwanted stress!

  5. Celebrate!

    The holidays are a time to be surrounded by those you love the most and celebrate another wonderful year coming to an end.  Don’t forget to celebrate with friends, family, and loved ones!


Written By: Megan Osysko

Fat Loss? Do Without HIIT

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a training strategy that integrates short periods of intense exercise with periods of recovery, in rapid succession, until failure or extreme exhaustion. The goal of HIIT is to maximize caloric expenditure while minimizing activity duration. Although activity duration differs, 30 minutes is generally the cap.

Here are two sample workouts:

10-second sprint, 50-second jog

EMOM*, 10 rounds

Jump Squat, Deadlift 80% 1RM, Plank

AMRAP**, EMOM, 10 rounds

*Every Minute On the Minute

**As Many Reps As Possible

This post addresses THREE pitfalls of a weight management program that strictly utilizes HIIT.

1. Sustainability

First and foremost, when starting a new training program, we need to ask ourselves: can we sustain this activity, both physically and mentally, long term? Health and fitness should be a long-term goal, but quite frankly, HIIT does not allow for this. This is because HIIT requires consistent, high-energy output…even under extreme fatigue. High-energy output under extreme fatigue, more often than not, leads to technique breakdown. Consistent (or acute) technique breakdown will (not can, will) present high injury risk, and ultimately, an injury will prevent the individual from continuing to train. For example, how will your deadlift repetitions look on your 10th round in a workout like the one above? Probably not good.

2. Progression

Next, a training program should be progressive and adaptable because the human body is designed to adapt to the stimuli we provide it. This progression should be realistic. With that in mind, if you start with the intensity that HIIT requires your first week, where will you be in week 10? In a year? For example, you start with 10 rounds of sprints like the sample workout above. Second week, you go to 12 rounds, then 15, then 20… then 60…? Yes, every training program will present challenges and plateaus, but is the risk associated with the necessary training effort worth the outcome? If the answer is no, maybe an intervention is required.

3. Practicality

Lastly, a training program should consider an individual’s or group’s overall make-up and goals. Yes, HIIT can burn plenty of calories—but burning as many calories as possible is not an optimal, long-term fat loss strategy. This is especially the case for beginners or individuals with minimal weight training experience. If improving body composition is the goal (getting “toned”), there needs to be a change in mindset. That is, building and maintaining as much muscle and strength is most optimal, and not simply burning calories, as it will not only burn calories but increase one’s Basal Metabolic Rate over the long term, too. Unfortunately, HIIT, in general, does not allow for this, as one can expect to lose almost as much muscle as fat during the process. For example, John Doe, who is skinny-fat, decides to start working out and utilizing HIIT to get rid of belly fat. Burning as many calories as he can each workout, he notices he has lost weight, but he proportionately looks the same (same body composition). Not ideal. Almost always, a strength-training/muscle-building program coupled with a nutrition intervention will work better in this case.

In summary, HIIT can be a short-term training tool for advanced trainees looking to burn fat, as it can help burn more calories than their average workout. However, when combining all of the above reasons, it’s clear that a strength-training program WITH a nutrition intervention will provide better results long-term.

“Quickly come, quickly go.”

Written by: Dawit Girma

Making An Investment In Your Health

Many individuals who want to be an ideal weight, look a certain way, or want to be stronger do not realize the true investment that needs to be made into their health and wellness.  Everyone seems to want the end result, but aren’t willing to commit to building a healthy lifestyle that will be sustainable for the long-term. So many are looking for a quick fix or the next nutritional fad, rather than making an investment to be the best version of themselves.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the “total costs associated with high blood pressure in 2011 in the US were $46 billion in health care services, medications, and missed days of work.”  One way or another, you will end up paying for your health - the question is would you prefer to make that investment on the front end as preventative health care, or on the back end for medications and medical bills?

Changing your life does not come when there is one foot, it comes when you realize that you are sick and tired of being sick and tired.  As I said, there are a some investments that will need to be made to reach your potential with your health and wellness:

  1. Financial Investment

    • Invest in a gym or personal trainer who will help you achieve your goals.  

    • Invest in choosing healthier foods at the store.  This may mean paying extra for fresh produce over the quick and easy drive thru restaurant.

    • Invest in proper supplementation that will give you support towards your nutritional goals.

  2. Time Investment - results do not come overnight, it will take time

    • Time that will take you away from friends and activities that do not align with what you are trying to achieve.

    • Time that will take to go to the gym in order to build strength and lean muscle.

    • Time that will take you to prepare your meals that align with your nutritional goals.

  3. Social Investment

    • Invest in a support system that will help you achieve your goals - which may mean finding new friends.

These may not be statements you want to hear, but they truly are things you need to hear.  We understand that making such a commitment is the most difficult step in the process. Once you recognize the positive changes you can make by cutting out eating out and going to happy hours (both physically and financially), the investment in your health does not seem all that bad.  

The only question left to ask is are you willing to make an investment in your health?


Why Strength Training? Why Bodymass Gym?

Looking to lose fat?

Looking to gain muscle?

Looking to get “toned”?

Did you say yes to any of the three?

If you did, then you said yes to strength training. You said yes to lifting weight. You said yes to Bodymass Gym.

It’s 2018 and slowly but surely, we’re starting to see more people squatting, more people bench pressing, more people deadlifting, and most importantly, more people moving and feeling better.

So, let’s look at why these people are “doing it right” and why strength training is the most optimal approach to achieving the aforementioned goals.

First of all, in my opinion, strength training is NOT synonymous with resistance training. The difference is very small, but yet so large. Once again, in my opinion, resistance training sounds like and implies a random assortment of exercises done to appease someone’s orders. A doctor’s order, a news article, or a commercial telling you that you should “incorporate resistance training in your exercise regimen”. What does that even mean…?

When I read, “resistance training”, I read bands, cables, and machines. I read a lack of supervision, a lack of coaching, and a lack of progress. I read a lack of direction. I read “I’m doing it just to do it”.

On the other hand, in my opinion, strength training is the pursuit of gaining strength (obviously…? goes without saying…?), and implies progress. But most importantly, it implies using free weights (be it dumbbells or barbells) to improve functional movement. It implies proper coaching, proper form, and proper programming and exercise selection.

With Bodymass Build, you get just that: a strength training program that is specifically designed to improve functional movement patterns, to improve body composition, and to build self-confidence. It will challenge you, but it will also empower you.

More specifically, Bodymass Build is a strength training program that runs in four-week cycles, focuses on multi-joint, compound movements, and utilizes fundamental principles of progressive overload and periodization to produce optimal results. Each cycle provides a breath of fresh air and an opportunity to learn new movements, while maintaining the ultimate goal of full-body strength.

That said, with full-body strength as the goal, Bodymass Gym members can expect to build muscle and to burn fat as a byproduct. This is mainly due to two reasons: getting stronger will require building more muscle and getting stronger will require more work, work that will burn plenty of calories. And the best way to build muscle is to get stronger at using movements that utilize most the amounts of muscle: multi-joint, compound movements. And you guessed it… the best way to burn fat is to do movements that require the most amount of work: multi-joint, compound movements.

This, alone, is why strength training trumps yoga, spin, pilates, boot camp, HIIT, and the like. That is not to say these training methods (I don’t know if I’d really call them training methods, more so classes, but that’s besides the point) do not hold merit, that they should not be done, or that they are not fun, but they just are not the most optimal options when building muscle and losing fat is the goal. They also do not provide the same level of incremental and “trackable” progress that strength training provides, which makes it difficult to continue doing over a long period of time.

Ultimately, there is no magic bullet and there is no secret. Building muscle and losing fat, or getting “toned” (because that is what getting toned means), is a byproduct of training properly and consistently over a long period of time. And our goal at Bodymass Gym is to provide you with the tools to do just that: train properly and consistently over a long period of time.


Written By: Dawit Girma

Pre and Post Workout Nutrition for Specific Body Types

Pre and Post workout nutrition play a key role in one’s recovery and results when they begin a training regimen.  It is important to get a balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats throughout your day in order to maintain a healthy body composition.  Based off of one’s body type, there can be a benefit from getting a specific amount of each pre and post workout, plus adding in proper supplementation during their workout.

The three different body types include the following:

Ectomorph - smaller frame, tends to be leaner, usually trying to gain muscle

Mesomorph - athletic build, medium-sized frame, usually trying to optimize physique or sports performance

Endomorph - larger frame, tends to have a slower metabolism, usually trying to lose fat or support strength

Below are three images to describe the portions sizes and timing of one’s pre and post workout meal.  You can see that all three body types can benefit from a source of protein and vegetables, but the main differences take place in the amount of dense carbohydrates and healthy fats one has.  


An ectomorph can benefit from more carbohydrates and less fat; a mesomorph can benefit from a balance of both carbohydrates and fats; an endomorph can benefit from less carbohydrates and more healthier fats.

Proper supplementation during exercise can also aid in bettering one’s results and recovery.  The two that we highlight are BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids) and a Protein + Carbohydrate Drink (P+C Drink) during your workout.  BCAA’s help fuel and maintain your lean muscle. A P+C Drink is typically has a 1:2 or 1:3 ratio of protein to carbohydrates.

The amounts of each can vary depending on your training and body composition goals, which are highlighted in the diagrams above.  

As you are preparing for your next workout, take all the following into account.  Your body will thank you on the recovery end, and your results will increase at a better rate!

Written by: Megan Osysko

5 Reasons to Throw Away Your Scale


Whenever one is beginning their fitness or wellness journey it is human nature and instinct to step onto the scale to see where they stand.  Of course it is great to get a baseline of where you are at, but the number on the scale is not telling you the whole story on your true body composition.  

Here are 5 Reasons as to why you should throw your scale away:

  1. The scale does not take into account water retention.  You can lose and gain fluid each day. Between the specific foods you are eating, how much water you are drinking, how much waste you are getting rid of, and how much you are sweating through exercise - this fluctuation can be as much as 5.5lbs per day.  

  2. The scale is not telling you how much lean mass you have.  Your lean mass helps fuel your metabolism and keeps you body working at a more efficient rate.  For the average female, we like to see between 100-110 lbs of lean mass, and for the average male between 125-140 lbs of lean mass.

  3. The scale is stressing you out.  It can be easy to get fixated on a number, which can ultimately make you stress out when you are not seeing the exact number you want.  Changing your body composition takes time, commitment, and dedication to the process. High cortisol levels can cause you to hold onto your weight and not see the results you want in the long term.  

  4. The scale is not giving you accurate feedback on how well your clothes may be fitting.  When many begin their journey we will hear the following, “The scale isn’t moving, but I was able to fit into jeans I haven’t been able to since my college years.”  

  5. The scale is not telling you how strong you are.  Were you able to lift 5 or 10 pounds more than the week before, or have you improved your one rep max from a month before?  Those again, are also wins that the scale does not give an accurate view of.

We encourage our members and other fitness & wellness professionals we partner with to utilize a DEXA Scan to give you an accurate measure of body composition.  A DEXA Scan will give you an accurate view of the amount of lean mass and fat mass you have, body fat percentage, and bone density.

The next time you think to step on the scale remember the 5 reasons as to why it should get thrown away!

Written By: Megan Osysko

Turn Motivation and Intention into Habituation

Before diving in to this post, it is important to recognize the differences between the words above.



Motivation: The specific reason(s) for carrying out a specific task or action.

Intention: The commitment to one’s self to carry out a specific task or action.

Habituation: The decrease in response to a repeated stimulus or action.


Now, why does this matter? And, how does this relate to training and fitness as a whole?


Well, the reason most of us start(ed) our fitness journey is because we are/were motivated to change something. Change our looks, change our feelings, physically and mentally, change our environments, change our behaviors. Whatever. But, generally, to change ourselves for the better. To become the best versions of ourselves. We, too, intended to act on this journey. We created schedules, we bought fitness apparel, we got gym memberships. And some of us even hired coaches and trainers.


We started.

We went.

One week?

One month?

Then we left work too late.

Then football season started.

Then we got married.

Then the weather was bad.

We lost motivation.

We lost our intention.

We stopped.


Motivation and intention come and go. Schedules change. Environments change. Things change. So we ask ourselves, how can we continue to change our looks, change our feelings, physically and mentally, change our environments, change our behaviors? How can we become the best version of ourselves when we lack motivation? How can we become the best versions of ourselves when it seems like life is going at 1,000 miles per hour?


We create habits. Habits don’t require motivation. Habits don’t require intention.


Habits are habits. And people with habits do. They do without thinking. They do without motivation. They do without intention.


So, how do we form habits to stay committed to this fitness journey? How do we form habits to be the best versions of ourselves? How do we form habits as strong as our buddy who can’t seem to stop biting his nails? How do we form habits as strong as our significant other who scrolls through Instagram before bed each night?


We make it easy on ourselves. We make it easy to start. We make it easy to start again. And again. And again. We start small. We plan ahead. We commit. We don’t allow ourselves the opportunity to think. The opportunity to think we’re too tired. The opportunity to think to lie down. The opportunity to think to stop at McDonald’s on the way home. The opportunity to think “I can’t”.


We sleep early.

We print our workout programs.

We prepare our food ahead.

We pack our water bottles.

We keep our headphones in our cars.

We take our gym clothes to work.


We make it easy to go to the gym. We make it easy to make better food choices. We make it easy to do. We make it easy to do over and over and over again. After all, habits are just tasks or actions we start over and over again. Tasks or actions too readily and easily achievable to quit.


One week.

One month.

One year.

One lifetime.

We feel better.

We look better.

We are better.


Written By: Dawit Girma


Train to Get Strong. Eat to Get Lean.

All too often people try to use exercise as a way to validate eating whatever they want.... “I just burned 500 calories in my HIIT class, so I can go enjoy brunch now”.  This justification won’t result in progress, and in fact derails progress.

Unfortunately, our environment has shaped us to think that way.  It is important to create a mindset that allows you to feel empowered and proud of how far you have come in your strength training program.

Training allows you to get strong, feel powerful, be motivated, and create muscle. Nutrition allows you to alter your body composition and fuel your training regimen. They go hand in hand. 

Not sure where to start or feeling like you have hit a plateau? A DEXA Scan will give you a better idea as far as how much fat vs. lean muscle you have. On the nutrition end, the best place to start it by tracking your food intake for 3 days. This will highlight any red flags, and allow you to see where you can make some simple switches. 

If you have questions, reach out to a professional who can provide guidance, education, and help you change your mindset that may be holding you back from your next break through.


Written by: Megan Osysko

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