Comments Off on >Safe Shoveling

>Safe Shoveling

Category : Healthy Eating

>If you live in Wisconsin, shoveling snow is as inevitable as eating cheese but not nearly as fun (or tasty!). Shoveling combines intense aerobic activity with weight-lifting, so even if you are in shape, it is important to do it right.

Who should not shovel?
Anyone all ready experiencing back problems or any cardiac risk factors (history of heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smokers) should let someone else do the work or get a snow blower. If in doubt, talk to your primary care giver before you start. You could save yourself a lot of pain and money by delegating this task!

How to Avoid Shoveling Injuries
As for the rest of us, shoveling can be great exercise as long as we do it right. Shoveling snow can aggravate your back and increase your risk of cardiac-related conditions. Here are some tips for avoiding shoveling injuries.

1. Warm-up. Avoid straining your muscles and cardiac system by gradually increasing your heart rate and stretching. Before you pick up a shovel, do each of the following exercises 5x:

· Stand on one leg and swing the other forward with a straight leg and back bending your knee to bring your heel toward your butt.
· Slowly bend forward to touch your toes.
· Circle shoulders forward and backward.
· Reach one hand up to sky while reaching other hand down the side of your leg toward your knee; switch sides.
· Get on hands and knees or stand facing a chair and place your hands on the seat. Arch your back curving it down toward floor with tailbone lifted and shoulder blades pulled together; then round back up toward ceiling tucking tailbone under and letting head hang between arms.

2. Drink water. You will probably break a sweat shoveling so drink some water before you head out. Dehydration can stress your heart.

3. Dress properly. Yes, it is cold and you want to bundle up, but in a few minutes you may start to overheat, so dress in layers you can remove. Overheating places undue stress upon your heart. Also, proper footwear is important not only to keep your toes warm, but also so that you have good traction.

4. Use proper technique.
· Push the snow. Instead of lifting it, lower the handle to about hip height and “plow” it.
· When you must lift; use your legs. That means you should bend your knees NOT at the waist.
· Take small scoops. It might take longer, but you won’t strain as much.
· Avoid holding your breath! It sounds silly, but holding your breath causes a sudden increase in blood pressure.
· Abdominal bracing (tighten up as if someone is about to punch you in the stomach) will protect your back.
· Switch lead leg and hand to avoid overuse. This feels awkward like writing with your non-dominant hand, but do it anyway and you will not only get more coordinated; but stay balanced.
· Avoid twisting and don’t throw snow over your shoulder.

5. Take breaks. Pay attention to how you feel. Take a break every 5-10 minutes to recover if you are over doing it and never ignore chest pain or tightness.

6. Timing is everything. If possible, shovel later in the day because a back injury is more likely to occur in the early morning due to the build-up of fluid in the spinal column from lying down all night. If you have to shovel in the morning (most of us do) be sure use the warm ups listed above!

7. Stretch when you are done. You might feel like collapsing in a heap, but you should do the same stretches mentioned for the warm-up.

Shoveling may be a necessary evil, but done correctly it doesn’t have to be a pain. I hope you will get out and enjoy the snow whether you ski, snowshoe, or just build a snow man with your kids.

Do you have a health or fitness question? Contact me
Yours in Health & Fitness,

Karin Jennings is a certified personal trainer and co-owner of XO Fitness, LLC in De Pere.

Comments Off on >Stressed-Out


Category : Healthy Eating

>Americans are, in general, stressed out and the holidays just put the icing on the cake. According to the American Medical Association, stress is a factor in more than 75% of sickness today. Also, according to the World Health Organization, stress is America’s #1 Health Problem.

How do we reduce stress-levels?
First, you must make reducing your stress a priority which means finding time to manage it. Consider this:
“If we do not make time for health we’ll have to make time for sickness.”~Marilu Henner

How is stress affecting you?
Some people have physical symptoms such as headaches, back pain, heart disease, heart palpitations, high blood pressure, decreased immunity, stomach upset or sleep problems. Others experience anxiety, restlessness, irritability, depression, anger lack of focus or burnout. Stress can also affect behavior causing overeating, angry outbursts, drug or alcohol abuse, social withdrawal, crying spells or relationship conflicts. If you think about it, most of these physical symptoms, feelings and behaviors will just cause more problems and more stress and lead into a downward spiral. Yikes! How do we put on the brakes? Put on the brakes by taking a break.
Here’s my favorite new quote:
“The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.” ~Author Unknown
Ways to reduce stress
Got 5 minutes?
Find a quiet place (even your parked car) where you can close your eyes and breathe. Try Progressive muscle relaxation. In this relaxation technique, you focus on tension and relaxation. Start by tensing and relaxing the muscles in your toes and progressively working your way up to your neck and head. Tense each muscle group for five to ten seconds and then relax and move on to the next muscle group. Most people hold a lot of tension in their upper back, neck, jaw and face. You may not even realize that you are tense in those areas until you try this technique. Imagine letting the tension “melt away”…this really works great.

Got 10 minutes?
Exercise. You just knew I was going to say that didn’t you? It doesn’t take as much time as you may think. Even a brisk 10 minute walk can help to clear your mind. Physical activity increases the production of endorphins, your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters.

Got 20-60 minutes?
Longer bouts of exercise (if squeezing them in doesn’t not stress out your schedule) are highly recommended. Cardiovascular exercises such as walking, running, cycling and swimming will all give you some “me time” which is great for sifting through your list and solving a problem or two. Another suggestion: relax, breathe and get re-focused with yoga or tai chi. Do you need to get totally distracted? Try a playing a sport or attending a choreographed exercise class which will keep you focused on the activity at hand with no chance to dwell on your problems.

Put things into perspective
I love the question: “Will this matter 5 years from now?” Some things will, but a lot of things won’t. Try to identify them.
Follow Richard Carlson’s advice: “Don’t sweat the small stuff… and it’s all small stuff.”

Yours in Health & Fitness, Karin

Comments Off on >Don’t Get Stuffed this Thanksgiving…Part 1

>Don’t Get Stuffed this Thanksgiving…Part 1

Category : Healthy Eating

>Plan a Healthy Thanksgiving Meal

If you’re in charge of dinner or helping to plan, keep these tips in mind:

1) Schedule the meal earlier in the day. Having the big meal at noon or 2 PM will give your body time to digest it before bedtime. Also, if you’ve finished dinner before dark you can go outdoors for some fresh air and possibly a walk.

2) Serve small dishes every hour or so. Another suggestion, turn Thanksgiving into an all- day celebration this will spread the calories out throughout the day and you’ll be less likely to feel awful.

3) Take very small portions. As you fill your plate, remember there are typically a lot more dishes on the table to choose from compared to your ordinary meal. With this in mind, take very small portions. Treat dinner as you would a wine tasting…you TASTE each wine; you do not drink a whole glass of each wine.

4) Minimize the carb overload. Instead of preparing sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, stuffing and rolls choose only one or two of these dishes. It will save a ton of calories and you’ll feel less ‘stuffed!’ (pun intended!)

5) Serve appetizers. Prior to the main meal serve a colorful vegetable platter, delicious soup and/or a beautiful salad.

6) Serve lots of vegetables. Offer two or three different types of vegetables at the table (and they don’t have to be heavy-duty casseroles…just simple steamed vegetables).

7) Drink water. Set out water glasses for everyone with dinner.

Comments Off on >xo fitness thanksgiving training hours

>xo fitness thanksgiving training hours

Category : Healthy Eating


You can schedule a personal training workout anytime during these hours…please call 339-0630 or email us at
Wednesday, November 25: 5 am-8pm
Thursday, November 26: CLOSED
Friday, November 27: 7 AM-6 PM
Saturday, November 28: 8 AM-12 PM

Group Training Times:
8 AM Slow Flow Yoga
9 AM Cardio & Strength
5:30 PM Yoga Basics
6:30 PM Cardio & Strength

8 AM Slow Flow Yoga
9 AM Cardio & Strength
12 PM Cardio & Strength

9AM Cardio & Core

Stay moving this Thanksgiving!!

Comments Off on >Are you a Frog or a Toad?

>Are you a Frog or a Toad?

Category : Healthy Eating

>If you have children you are likely familiar with the Frog & Toad characters created by Arnold Lobel. One of my very favorite Frog & Toad stories is called “Cookies”. It is about cookies and willpower. It does an excellent job of illustrating how two different personality types react to the temptation of cookies.

It goes like this:

Toad bakes a huge batch of delicious cookies and takes them to Frog’s house.

Toad and Frog eat lots of cookies. (Read entire story)

FROG: You know, Toad, I think we should stop eating. We will soon be sick.

TOAD: You are right, let us eat one last cookie and then we will stop.

(There were still lots of cookies in the bowl.)

TOAD: Frog, let us eat one very last cookie, and then we will stop…we must stop eating!

FROG: Yes, we need will power.

TOAD: What is will power?

FROG: Will power is trying very hard not to do something you really want to do.

(Frog suggests putting the cookies into a box.)

TOAD: But we can open the box.

(Then Frog suggests tying a string around the box.)

TOAD: But we can cut the string and open the box.

(Frog suggests placing the box high upon a shelf.)

TOAD: But we can climb the ladder and take the box down from the shelf and cut the string and open the box.

(Frog agrees. He takes the box of cookies outside.)

FROG: Hey birds, here are cookies!

(The birds come, they eat all the cookies.)

TOAD (sadly): Now we have no more cookies to eat, not even one.

FROG: Yes, but we have lots and lots of will power.

TOAD: You may keep it all, Frog. I am going home now to bake a cake.

So, which are you? Frog or Toad?


If you identify with Toad you know you have to leave the chips & candy at the store…you should not even bring them into your home. So, Toads, get rid of that Halloween candy NOW!!


If you are fortunate enough to be like Frog you know that the “out of sight, out of mind” approach works for you and you will be OK with goodies in the house as long as they are not in plain sight. You also know that you can throw them away (or feed them to the birds) if you can’t resist a minute longer.

The message is: know thyself.

What works for Frog does not work for Toad and vice versa.

Comments Off on >Meet Angela Lydia, CPT

>Meet Angela Lydia, CPT

Category : Healthy Eating

Better Function Leads to a Better Life.

I look at each person’s body like a puzzle, and through simple orthopedic testing, I can figure out which muscles need to be strengthened and which muscles need to be stretched. With this knowledge, we can begin to bring the body back into physical balance.

The body is an amazing machine and how it functions continues to challenge me to keep learning more about it. We each have our own unique physical makeup, with our own genetics, injury history, and compensatory movement patterns.

I am a firm believer in functional training and corrective exercise, where we not only strengthen and stretch appropriate muscles, but we correct and strengthen movement patterns. This allows us to function better in our daily lives.

I began doing yoga when I lived in Telluride, CO over twelve years ago. It became a great complement to the high altitude, long distance running I was doing. I fell in love with yoga as I had the mountains.

Shortly after moving to Green Bay, I began teaching yoga at the YMCA and got certified as a personal trainer.

I have completed Precision Neuromuscular Therapy’s Form and Function seminar, and my goal is to become a certified NMT within the next year.

Being a mom and a kitty mom
Animals / Door County Humane Society volunteer
Macrobiotic cooking
Vegetable gardening
Classical music

Comments Off on >Yoga at xofitness

>Yoga at xofitness

Category : Healthy Eating

>This October we are pleased to begin offering Yoga…

Yoga Basics
Wednesdays at 5:30 PM
A new Basic Yoga class will begin the first Wednesday of each month.

We highly recommend that if you are new to yoga you sign up for this 4 week session. The focus will be on basic classical yoga postures, alignment principles, and breathing techniques that will help improve your strength, flexibility, stability and concentration.
Cost: $48 for one month (4 weeks)…no substitutions please! Clients may also deduct from their balance.

Slow Flow Yoga
Mondays 7:00 PM

Wednesdays 8:00 AM
Fridays 8:00 AM

This class is for those who are familiar with yoga. We will focus on linking poses with the breath in a slower paced, yet flowing class and will advance into more intermediate poses.
Cost: Punch Cards for 10 Small Group Trainings are $137 or $285 for 25 trainings. Clients may also deduct from their balance or purchase a separate punch card

Cardio Yoga
Thursdays at 7:00 PM

This class offers a 30 minute cardiovascular workout followed by stretching & relaxation. Combining cardio with yoga allows you to experience all the components of fitness in one hour by increasing strength, enhancing flexibility and improving body composition.
Cost: Punch Cards for 10 Small Group Trainings are $137 or $285 for 25 trainings. Clients may also deduct from their balance or purchase a separate punch card.

Comments Off on >Pilates vs. Yoga

>Pilates vs. Yoga

Category : Healthy Eating

>Thanks to the modern speed of information, both Pilates (pronounced: puh-la-teez) and Yoga have entered mainstream fitness. Infomercials promise amazing results and many celebrities attribute their beautiful bodies to practicing Pilates or Yoga. As a result, the demand for both of these disciplines has increased dramatically in recent years with classes being most popular due to their affordability.

What is Pilates?
In the early 1900’s Joseph Pilates incorporated elements of yoga and Greek exercise routines as a therapeutic form of exercise for bedridden soldiers in Germany during World War I. In 1926 he emigrated to the United States and continued to develop his methods which he called “contrology”. He and his wife, Clara, opened a fitness studio in New York which became very popular with dancers.

There are two styles of Pilates:
1) Mat Pilates work which utilizes a mat and in some cases, simple props
2) Reformer exercise which involves spring loaded apparatus.

Mat Pilates is much more prevalent because mats are easier to afford and store than reformers, however working one on one with a certified instructor and a reformer is an excellent way to ensure proper form and technique.

Besides traditional Pilates, various teachers have modified Joseph Pilates’ original technique. One of the best known and highly reputable is Stott Pilates which was created by a professional dancer and a team of sports medicine experts. Stott Pilates has adapted the many of the original exercises to make them safer by providing proper support to the spine.

What is Yoga?
Yoga originated in India thousands of years ago. It is meant to be both spiritual and physical. There are six different styles of yoga each with a distinct emphasis. Your goals will dictate which type of yoga you choose to practice.

1) Hatha-slow paced, gentle and a good introduction to the basic yoga poses
2) Vinyasa-more vigorous that Hatha with Sun Salutations during which movement is matched to breath.
3) Ashtanga & Power Yoga-fast paced and intense. A set series of poses is performed always in the same order.
4) Iyengar-emphasizes holding poses for long periods instead of flowing from one pose to the next quickly.
5) Kundalini-emphasizes breath and rapid repetitive movements; often includes chanting
6) Bikram/Hot Yoga-Typically uses a set series of poses and is practiced in a room heated to 95-100 F degrees

How are Mat Pilates & Yoga alike?
1) Mind/body focus. This means the movements are mindful and you are encouraged to pay close attention to your body alignment and breathing. Very unlike what most of us try to do at the gym: tune out on the elliptical or treadmill with a book or the TV.
2) Great supplement to your healthy lifestyle
3) Use of mat and simple props
4) Strength building movement through various poses & exercises.
5) Breathing technique. They each have one, however they are not the same.

How are they different?
Pilates exercises are designed to draw on the “powerhouse” (also referred to as core muscles) which includes these muscles: abdominal, low back, upper back, hip and pelvis. These work together to support the spine in proper alignment.
Yoga will increase your range of motion, sense of well-being and can reduce stress.

Getting started in Pilates or Yoga
I highly recommend you try a class with a knowledgeable instructor instead of a video. Videos may be convenient, however, there is no one there to correct your form and help you to understand proper technique. A class, or better yet, one-on-one instruction is the best way to be sure you are doing the moves correctly so that you get the most out of the exercises while reducing the chances of getting injured. If you choose to join a class, be sure to sign up for one designed for beginners. Share any limitations you might have with the instructor and they should be able to show you modifications so that you can perform the exercises safely.

Do you have a health and fitness question? Contact us

Karin Jennings is a certified personal trainer and co-owner of XO Fitness, LLC in De Pere.

Comments Off on >Ideas for minimizing weekend weight gain

>Ideas for minimizing weekend weight gain

Category : Healthy Eating

>Eat before you go grocery shopping
Many people do their week’s grocery shopping on Saturday or Sunday, do not go to the store hungry or you will most certainly put things in your cart on impulse.

Keep healthy snacks on handy in the car
Whether you are traveling or running errands, carrying a healthy snack will keep you out of the drive-thru lane.

Keep a food journal
A journal will make you more mindful of what you are putting into your mouth. A recent study found that food journaling actually doubled weight-loss efforts!

Limit eating out
Try to avoid fast food all together. If you do eat out remember to eat reasonable portions and eat all your vegetables.

Limit your alcohol consumption
There are a lot of empty calories in alcohol. It also reduces your inhibitions to eat junk food AND makes you feel hungrier.

Plan to get some exercise
Schedule in exercise either one or both days. If you are away from home and no equipment is available simply put on your walking shoes and get moving!

After the weekend, reflect back…
o Which tactics above did you try? Did they work?
o What did you do well?
o Ask yourself: What can you do better next weekend?

Comments Off on >How weekend behavior affects weight loss

>How weekend behavior affects weight loss

Category : Healthy Eating

>Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis studied how weekend behaviors affect weight loss.

The study involved 48 healthy adults aged 50 to 60 years. Prior to starting these programs all participants were found to consistently gain weight on weekends, but not weekdays! In fact, the average weekend weight gain would have led to an extra nine pounds over the course of one year.

The researchers divided the participants into 3 groups:
Group 1
(diet group) took in 20% fewer calories each day but didn’t change their activity level.
Group 2 (exercise group) increased their daily exercise regimen but didn’t change their diet, to have a comparable energy deficit as Group 1.
Group 3 (control group) did not change their diet or activity level.
What happened? During the year-long program both Group 1 and Group 2 did well during the week, however on weekends the diet group stopped losing weight and the exercise group gained weight due to higher calorie intake.

According to Susan B. Racette, PhD, assistant professor of physical therapy and medicine at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, “We thought weekends would present a problem for some people attempting to lose weight, but the consistency of our finding before and during the interventions was surprising. Subjects in the diet group lost weight during the week, but over the weekend, they stopped losing weight because they were eating more.”