The Secrets To Building Lean Muscle Mass

There is no one way to measure your wellness results — it’s all about your individual goals and how YOU feel! If your goal is to look and feel more lean (we hear this from a lot of people in our community), then the key is building lean muscle mass. The first step is understanding body composition, what lean muscle mass is, and what might be holding you back from creating it. 

We’re breaking down all the science-backed details below, plus sharing 3 secrets on how to see and feel transformative results!

What is body composition? 

Your body composition tells you your body’s unique makeup. It is the percentage of muscle, bone, and fat in your body. These measurements are much more important than numbers on a scale because they impact how you look and feel, and they give you a clearer picture of your overall health. The goal is to have a healthy ratio of fat to muscle. 

What is lean body mass? 

Another important term to know is lean body mass, so let’s break it down. When we talk about lean body mass, we mean bones, ligaments, tendons, organs, water, and muscles — basically everything in your body that’s not fat. The weight of your organs and tendons do not really change, so changing your lean body mass really comes down to muscle. The more muscle you form, the more lean muscle mass you’ll build. 

Why is lean muscle mass important?  

It determines how you look

Two people with the exact same height and weight can look completely different because they have different body compositions. If your goal is to look lean, the key isn’t necessarily losing weight or blasting fat — the real secret is gaining muscle (aka lean muscle mass). You can diet or do cardio (more on that in a minute), but if you’re not targeting your muscles in an efficient, effective way, you will not see the kind of transformative results you’re looking for. 

That’s why Physique 57’s approach isn’t about depriving yourself, running yourself into the ground, or taking anything away from your wellness routine — it’s about adding things that will help you build strength and confidence. 

It impacts your metabolism 

Your lean muscle mass determines your resting metabolic heart rate (RMR), or the number of calories your body burns at rest. That’s why increasing your lean muscle mass is the ONLY way to permanently boost your metabolism. Muscle tissue burns 15 times as many calories as fat, so the more muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn throughout the day, even when you’re not exercising. Translation: Your metabolism will be revving as you sit at your desk, drive your car, run errands, and watch Netflix. How amazing is that? 

It affects your heart health

Studies show that people who have more lean muscle mass have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other health issues ¹.

How you can lose lean muscle mass

Now we know how important it is to build lean body mass, but it’s actually trickier to do than you might think. For many years, strength training was considered the number 1 way to create lean body mass. The drawback: lifting heavy weights (more than 10 pounds) can stress your joints and lead to injury over time. Plus, those same repetitive moves can get boring and lead you to a plateau. Fortunately, your Physique 57 trainers change up the choreography and sequences every class to maximize your results and keep you safe.

Another thing to consider: certain forms of exercise can actually decrease lean muscle mass. If you go all in on cardio — for example, your workout consists entirely of running or aerobics — your body will break down muscle tissue to generate fuel (carbohydrates) for all that cardio. 

You can also lose lean muscle mass if you pair an intensive workout schedule with a super low-carb or no-carb diet. Old school diets made carbs seem like the enemy, but the truth is, our bodies NEED carbs! Without sufficient carbs to fuel your workouts, your body will break down muscle to get the fuel it needs. You’re essentially working against yourself! This is one reason people can be working out frequently but still not be seeing results. 

How you can build lean muscle mass

Rock your Physique 57 workouts

The amazing news is that Physique 57 was designed specifically to build lean muscle mass. In fact, a study done by the Department of Exercise Physiology at Adelphi University showed that Physique 57 produced greater changes in lean muscle mass over a four-week period than aerobics, Pilates, yoga, and running.

The secret is Physique 57’s innovative Interval Overload Training method (you can read more about it here). It is a combination of high intensity interval training and muscle overload. With our interval training sets, your muscles are targeted and overloaded to the point of fatigue, then stretched for relief. 

Numerous studies have shown that high intensity interval training (HIIT) is more effective at creating lean muscle mass and transforming body composition compared to lower intensity steady training ². Be sure to check out our Physique 57-style HIIT workouts On Demand. Get all the intensity your body needs, sans the impact.

Additionally, our interval training sets are designed to push muscles all the way to the point of overload — leaving them burning and shaking — which actually changes your muscles fibers to increase your strength and power. Translation: more lean muscle mass. 

Make sure you’re joining us in class On Demand and in the studio to get all the benefits!

Refuel with protein 

Protein is a powerhouse nutrient for forming lean muscle. When you eat protein, your body breaks it down into amino acids, which are used to repair muscle fibers post-workout and grow new muscle fibers. When you get enough protein in your diet, your body gets into an anabolic (a muscle building) state ³. Some of our favorite sources of protein are lean beef and chicken, fish, eggs, tofu, legumes, hemp seeds, chia seeds, chickpeas, navy beans, and quinoa. Check out more of our favorite foods to build long, lean muscle here.

Rest & recover 

This is a major tip, so don’t sleep on it! Getting quality rest is essential for repairing and forming muscle. In fact, a study found that skimping on sleep decreases the activity of protein synthesis, which leads to muscle loss and inability to repair damage ⁴. When we sleep, our bodies release a hormone that helps our muscles grow. Plus, quality rest means you’ll have the energy to get after it at your next workout! 

Sources: 

  1. https://jech.bmj.com/content/74/1/26
  2. https://dc.etsu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1173&context=etd
  3. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/do-amino-acids-build-bigger-muscles/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21550729/

Counting Macros Was a Game Changer for Tanya – Here’s How She Did It

Co-founder Tanya Becker

Physique 57 co-founder Tanya Becker has always been consistent in her workouts and clean eating. Still, she reached a point when she wanted to shake things up. As she approached perimenopause, she wasn’t feeling quite as healthy and confident in her body — and no amount of healthy eating or exercise was helping. That is, until she discovered the magic of macros!

“I’ve never been a diet person so I thought, ‘Why would I want to count macros?’ Tanya says. But when her husband ordered a book about it, she decided to give the macro counting a try and customize it to make it her own. 

For support in this, Tanya reached out to a former training client, Michelle Waranoski, who works as a Nutrition Coach for Stronger U Nutrition. Together, they calculated Tanya’s target macros based on her body composition, exercise routine, and goals, and made a personalized plan for her. 

Now 18 months later, Tanya will never look back! “Focusing on my macros has been life changing,” she says. “We all want to feel good and confident in our bodies, and this is one of the best tools to do that. Combined with workouts and mindfulness practices, it’s transformative!” 

So how did Tanya do it — and how can you incorporate counting macros into your own life? We break down everything you need to know! Everyone is different, so we encourage you to listen to your body and do what works best for your diet. Here Tanya shares her personal experience of what worked for her. 

What are macros?

Macros is short for macronutrients. All food is made up of macronutrients and micronutrients. Macronutrients — protein, fat, and carbohydrates — are what we use in the largest amounts, while micronutrients are all the other essential nutrients that our bodies need to perform, according to Tanya’s coach Michelle Waranoski, who lost 18 pounds herself counting macros. 

Counting macros essentially means keeping track of how much protein, fat, and carbs you are consuming per day and the percentages of each. 

Why focus on macros?

Knowledge is power — and having knowledge around macros is a major educational tool for your healthy lifestyle. “I think everyone should at least be aware of their macros because most people don’t know what they’re taking in,” Coach Michelle says. “Even the healthiest eaters may not be getting enough protein or may not realize how much fat and carbs they’re having.” Tanya personally noticed that she was having way more fat than protein or carbs. 

Balancing macros also takes the focus off eating or limiting whole categories of foods like low-fat or high-protein diets. “We don’t live in a society where food is made up that way,” Michelle says. “There is delicious food that contains all macros! With this method, we’re not taking anything away from you. We’re teaching you how to eat the right amounts at the right time.” 

The benefits of counting macros

  • It can work for everybody and every body: “What’s so great about this is that it can work for vegans, vegetarians, pescatarians, meat eaters, everyone!” Tanya says. Michelle works with clients of all ages, genders, body types, and dietary needs. 
  • It’s simple: Once you get into the swing of counting macros, it becomes second nature. There aren’t strict rules or complicated formulas, and you can’t mess it up, Michelle assures. “The beauty is that you can’t really make a mistake. If you eat more of your macros at one meal, you can course correct it at the next meal or the next day.” 
  • You can still enjoy your life: Counting macros isn’t about depriving yourself. “If I want pizza one day, I can go for it and balance out my macros at other meals,” Tanya says. Michelle adds: “I want everyone to enjoy their life and enjoy their food!” 
  • It will help you lose weight and maintain consistently: Counting macros is not a quick-fix diet. “I don’t recommend quick weight loss ever,” Michelle says. However, the method will help you steadily lose weight and build lean body mass. 
  • Your overall nutrition will be on point: When you focus on macros, you will naturally be getting tons of veggies and nutrient-packed foods, so your overall nutrition will improve. Tanya now eats more veggies than ever before! 
  • You’ll improve your sleep quality: “We often overlook sleep, but if you can get that in line, that habit is everything,” Michelle says. 
  • You’ll have more energy: Balancing macros helps prevent blood sugar spikes and dips that lead to exhaustion and fogginess. 

How to count macros

Your ideal macro balance is unique to your body, your goals, and your lifestyle. For example, if you want to build lean muscle, having more protein will be important. If you’re an endurance athlete, you might need more carbs and a little less protein, Michelle advises. 

You can calculate your macros by yourself online, but Tanya suggests working with a coach if that’s available to you. “With a coach, you get accountability, guidance and support,” Tanya says. 

Once you know your individual macro breakdown, you can easily track your intake with apps like MyFitnessPal, Cronometer, and Lose It! Once you have a baseline for how much you’re taking in, you can start to adjust your levels to meet your goals. 

Tanya’s incredible results

“I feel healthy, confident, and great in my clothes again!” Tanya says. “I lost about 9 pounds, but the number on the scale isn’t what this is about. It’s about how I feel!” After 18 months counting macros, Tanya also has more energy, sleeps better, has more mental clarity and sharpness, and her skin is glowing! 

Tanya’s sample day of eating 

Every day is a little different, but here’s a peek at what Tanya eats on a typical day: 

  • Breakfast: Protein shake with protein and almond milk
  • Lunch: Egg white omelet with spinach, onions, pepper, garlic, kalamata olives, and cashew milk cheese with a wrap or Ezekiel english muffin 
  • Afternoon snack: Celery juice and broccoli or cauliflower with seasonings like garlic powder and sprinkled cheese
  • Dinner: Protein like shrimp, chicken, or turkey with a sweet potato, veggies, and lots of seasonings
  • Dessert: Yogurt parfait with blueberries and granola and an herbal tea 
  • Tons of water all day long!

Interested in learning more about macros from Tanya’s coach? You can sign up for Stronger U and ask for Coach Michelle Waranoski. 

And of course, healthy eating pairs perfectly with Physique 57 workouts to achieve your goals!

What Trainers Really Eat After a Workout

avocado toast on a plate

Have you ever wondered what foods your favorite trainers eat after they lead you through some major sculpting and toning? We got you! 

We asked a few of our amazing trainers what foods they eat to refuel post-workout. They each have different go-to meals and snacks, but they all have a few things in common — plenty of protein, healthy complex carbs, and nutrient-packed whole foods to hydrate the body and replenish muscles. 

Check out their favorites below, and try these out after your next Physique 57 workout class On Demand or in the studio. These bites will have you feeling satisfied and energized, plus they’ll maximize your toning and muscle building results!

“After a workout you want to try to get a post-fitness snack that refuels and rebuilds your body. To do this you want to aim for something that’s a 2 to 1 carb to protein ratio that will help restore your glycogen stores (that bit of you that really pushes during those last 10 counts) and helps to rebuild your muscles back stronger. For me, that’s a protein smoothie, whole grain peanut butter toast, or simply chocolate milk! Don’t forget to hydrate too!” — Will 

“It’s all about replacing electrolytes (electrically charged minerals) for me, so my post-workout beverage and meal are packed with these. As an island girl, I have to have coconut water. It’s one of the best go-tos to replace the electrolytes you may have lost during a workout. Your body inhales it and you can feel every cell absorbing it. For a post-workout meal, I love a big scrumptious Sweet Green salad, which is walking distance from the studio. Most veggies like kale, spinach, broccoli, avocados, and beans are packed with electrolytes. Remember that salads and eating clean don’t have to be boring. They can be delectable and satisfying!” — Kameica 

“I don’t have a specific go-to meal after a workout, but I always make sure it’s balanced with healthy carbs and protein. This allows me to fill me up without making me feel overly stuffed. My biggest advice is don’t feel guilty eating after your workouts! Your body needs to refuel and you want to make sure you can nourish it so you have the energy to do the things you want to do!” — Erin 

“My favorite post-workout food is a smoothie with peanut butter, banana, oats, and vegan protein powder or an avocado toast! And remember to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate and rest. I can always feel a difference physically and emotionally when I have not properly hydrated! And rest days/stretch days are a huge part of your body’s capacity to recharge itself!” — Shannon

Want to learn more about how to refuel with foods that build muscle? Read our “Best Foods To Gain Long, Lean Muscle” blog post!

How To Set Wellness Goals For Success — And Achieve Them!

A silhouette of a woman standing in front of a sunset with her fist in the air.

So often in the fitness and wellness world, we hear about going after your goals, but we don’t often talk about how to set them. The way you go about setting your goals makes a major impact in how likely you are to achieve them.

When you create a goal — whether it’s to get stronger, feel more confident, be more consistent in your workouts, nourish yourself with healthy foods, or whatever it may be — you’re making a promise to yourself. That commitment is incredibly powerful! 

We’re sharing our best tangible and science-backed tips on how to set yourself up for success with your fitness and wellness goals. 

Start small & specific 

It may be tempting to set a goal like, “I want to work out more” or “I want to get leaner.” While we usually encourage you to think big, in this case, we want you to start small. Research shows that when your goals are specific, tailored, and set in shorter time periods, you are more likely to achieve them ¹. 

For example, start with a goal like: “I will do two Physique 57 classes this week.” When you rock two classes consistently, you can increase your goal to three and then four classes per week. Also, don’t overwhelm yourself with too many goals at once. Start with 1 to 3 challenging yet attainable weekly goals. As you achieve these goals, you will build confidence and be even more motivated to keep up your momentum!

Put pen to paper

Thinking about your wellness and fitness goals is just step one. Your next step is writing them down, and this one is so powerful! When you put your intentions down on paper, you are making a commitment to yourself. Writing them out will help you get clear on exactly what you want to accomplish, and you’ll be able to visualize yourself achieving it. 

Research shows that people were 42 percent more likely to accomplish their goals when they wrote them down ². So grab your journal and get writing! We suggest having a special journal dedicated to your wellness journey. Set aside time on the weekends to write out your weekly intentions. 

Use positive language 

When you jot down your wellness goals, instead of writing, “I want to meal prep every Sunday,” instead write, “I WILL meal prep every Sunday.” It’s a small shift, but makes a big difference in your mindset. If you believe it and put it out there, it WILL happen!

Get clear on your why 

Even more important than what your goal is is WHY you want to achieve it. For example, if your goal is to work out consistently every day, reflect on why this is important in your life. Does working out give you more energy to tackle your day? Does it give you more confidence and self-love? Does it keep you healthy to care for your family? Does it support your mental health? Journal on the why behind your goal, and don’t be afraid to dig deep here. 

At times when you feel discouraged or you may not feel like sticking it out, you can always come back to your why for motivation. 

Make a plan 

Now that you feel clear and confident on the what and why of your wellness goals, it’s time to think about how you’re going to make them happen. Look at your 1 to 3 weekly goals and make a specific action plan for how they will fit into your schedule. 

For example, if your goal is to prep healthy meals in advance, block out time in your calendar to grocery shop and meal prep. Think ahead about how you can make this simpler and more fun — can you order groceries in advance? Can you invite a friend over to meal prep with you? If your goal is to take a certain number of Physique 57 classes per week, book your classes in advance, put them in your calendar, and even lay out your workout clothes. The more you plan ahead, the more likely you’ll be to follow through!

Find someone to hold you accountable 

Accountability partners are everything! Share your goals with a friend, family member, or someone in the Physique 57 community, and ask them to gently hold you accountable. You can start a group text chain with your accountability buddies to check in on each other. Remember, the Physique 57 family is filled with supportive and loving friends who are here to cheer you on! Join us in the studio or On Demand to work out with us!

Sources:

  1. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/06/well/move/exercise-goals.html
  2. https://scholar.dominican.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1265&context=news-releases

Summer Parties on The Calendar? Here’s How to Stick To Clean Eating

Two slices of watermelon in front of a teal background.

Our calendars are starting to fill up again with summer parties, barbecues, picnics, weddings, and outdoor celebrations. But how do you stick to your clean eating habits when you’re surrounded by processed foods, fried dishes, chips, desserts, and lots of wine?

You CAN enjoy yourself and keep it clean at the same time. Here are 6 simple tips to stick to a healthy diet and feel your best at summer soirees.

Sculpt, pulse, and then party

Squeeze in a Physique 57 On Demand workout the morning of your event. Research shows that when you exercise in the morning, it will help curb cravings later in the day. Exercise reduces levels of the hormone ghrelin (aka the hunger hormone) and increases hormones such as peptide YY and peptide-1 that make you feel more satisfied ¹.

A morning sweat session can also help regulate blood sugar levels ², which prevents spikes and crashes that lead you to reach for sugary foods. Plus, you’ll be in a healthier mindset going into the party!

Start your day with a healthy meal

Before the party, have a nutrient-packed breakfast or lunch with a balance of lean protein, healthy fats, and leafy greens. This will make you feel energized, satisfied, and regulate your blood sugar levels so you’re not starving going into the celebration. We suggest having a protein smoothie, overnight oats, or a big salad topped with protein before you head to the event.

Bring your own dish to share

If you’re going to a barbecue or party that you know will be filled with unhealthy options, make it a bring your own situation! Whip up your favorite healthy side dish, salad, or treat to share with the group. Your hosts will appreciate you bringing something — and you don’t even have to tell the rest of the guests that it’s healthy!

Dip into the healthy stuff

Chips and dip are a fixture at summer parties. The great news: many dips are already smart, clean choices. Guacamole is packed with healthy fats, fiber, potassium, and B vitamins from the avocado. Fresh salsa is light and can be a great source of vitamin C. Just do your best to steer clear of heavy and dairy-filled dips.

It also matters what you dip! Swap chips for sliced veggies like cucumbers, bell peppers, and mini carrots. You’ll get extra vitamins from the veggies and feel more satisfied thanks to their fiber. Plus, the dip is the best part anyway!

Cheers to staying hydrated

If you’re going to enjoy a cocktail or wine (and really, wine not?!), make sure you stay hydrated. Drink plenty of H20 before the event and have 1 – 2 glasses of water between each drink. This will help prevent a hangover and keep you feeling energized throughout the party.

If you’re skipping alcohol altogether, you can bring seltzer for some bubbles or bring a pitcher of water with muddled berries and mint for a refreshing sip.

Be easy on yourself & enjoy!

Parties are meant to be fun so please don’t be hard on yourself about what you eat or drink. Do your best to stick to your healthy eating habits, but also remember to relax and be present with your friends and family.

Have fun!

Sources:

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22617393/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4604526/

5 Healthy Travel Tips For Your Summer Getaways

A person laying in a car, holding a map, and sticking their feet out the window.

Summer is in full swing and travel is picking back up, so we’re dreaming of fun and relaxing getaways! Anyone else? 

Whether you’re planning a tropical vacay, road trip, city sightseeing, or a long weekend of R&R, make sure you take your healthy habits with you. 

When you’re in a new place and out of your routine, it can be tempting to skip workouts or get off track with your clean eating. But “out of office” mode doesn’t have to mean out of wellness mode! When you’re on vacation, you want to feel your absolute best. Your fitness and self-care practices will help you feel energized, confident, and radiant as you kick back and enjoy yourself!

Check out our 5 best tips for taking your healthy habits on the road (or on the fly!). 

Work out anytime, anywhere 

The amazing thing about Physique 57 On Demand is that you can do your workouts from anywhere in the world! Crush your sweat sessions from your hotel room, Airbnb, or even take your workout outside so you can soak in the scenery. 

You can find workouts from 5 minutes up to 57 minutes, so no matter how much time you have, we’ve got you covered! Even on your busiest travel days, you can squeeze in a 15-minute sculpt session. 

A workout will help energize you, relieve stress, and boost your mood, so you’ll be ready for whatever is on your travel itinerary! Plus, research shows that exercise can cause changes to your internal body clock, which helps counter the effects of jet lag ¹. 

BYO barre…and more gear

We don’t actually mean bring a barre, of course, but you can easily use a chair or another surface in your hotel room as a DIY barre. 

You can also pack small workout gear like resistance bands and grippy socks in your suitcase. Even easier: Physique On Demand has an entire selection of bodyweight only workout routines that are effective, efficient, and extra convenient for travel. 

Explore your destination 

There’s so much to explore in a new place, whether it’s city streets, parks, mountains, or trails. Go for long walks to take in the sights or rent bikes to tour the area. That way, you can get your steps in, get your heartrate up, and see more of the neighborhood. Walking also increases blood flow to your muscles and can help alleviate soreness ², so it will feel amazing after a long flight. 

Ask for recommendations from locals or you can look up hiking spots on a website like AllTrails

Stock up on healthy snacks

Airport and rest stop food is often highly processed, fried, or full of artificial sugars. Get prepped by packing your snacks in advance. Some of our favorite travel snacks: unsalted nuts, homemade trail mix, dried fruit, and kale chips. 

Hydrated, hydrate, and hydrate some more

Hydration is always key for your health, but especially when you’re traveling. Ever wonder why you’re so thirsty and your skin is dry when you’re flying? In an airplane, the filtration system makes humidity drop drastically (to 10 – 20 percent). Low humidity causes moisture to evaporate from your body quickly, which will dehydrate you faster ³. Changes in climate and altitude at your destination can also lead to dehydration, which makes jet lag symptoms worse ⁴.

Make sure you’re traveling with a reusable water bottle and fill it up often! In general, experts recommend drinking at least 12 cups of water per day for women ⁵. And when you’re flying, aim for about 8 oz of water for every hour you’re in the air ⁶. Drink up!

Sources:

  1. https://physoc.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1113/JP276943
  2. https://www.wellandgood.com/is-walking-good-for-sore-legs/
  3. https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/why-do-i-get-so-dehydrated-when-i-fly
  4. https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/travel-tips-ways-to-minimize-jet-lag
  5. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256#:~:text=The%20U.S.%20National%20Academies%20of,fluids%20a%20day%20for%20women
  6. https://www.asma.org/asma/media/asma/Travel-Publications/HEALTH-TIPS-FOR-AIRLINE-TRAVEL-Trifold-2013.pdf

The Best Foods To Gain Long, Lean Muscle

Closeup of two pieces of salmon coated in sesame seeds and seasoning sitting on a plate.

With every Physique 57 sweat session, you’re forming long, lean, gorgeous muscles. And after you’ve crushed your barre workout at home or in the studio you can enhance your gains in the kitchen! Refueling with whole, unprocessed, and nutrient-packed foods is key for muscle growth and recovery. The combination of your workouts and proper nutrition is where you’ll see the most benefits! 

We’re sharing 6 of the best foods to pair with your workouts to build muscle and feel lean, healthy, and energized.

Salmon 

Salmon delivers a double dose of muscle-building perks — it’s high in both protein and omega-3 fatty acids. First, let’s talk protein. Each 3 oz. serving of salmon contains about 17 g of protein, and protein is a powerhouse when it comes to gaining lean muscle. Research shows that protein helps build muscle strength and lean body mass ¹ ². It also helps repair and replenish your muscles after a tough workout, so you can recover faster and get back after it at the barre ³. Here’s how it works: When you’re rocking a workout, your muscle fibers break down. Protein’s amino acids allow your body to synthesize new cells, which repair the damaged fibers and help build new muscle ⁴. 

Salmon is also an amazing source of omega-3 fatty acids. In addition to protecting your heart health, omega-3s have been shown to maintain bone health and increase muscle gains ⁵. 

Eggs

Eggs also pack a lot of high-quality protein — about 6 g per egg. They are particularly high in the amino acid leucine, which has been linked to building muscle and enhancing post-workout recovery. Leucine is essential for regulating muscle protein synthesis, and it may be the key amino acid for optimizing muscle mass ⁶. 

According to research, you may get the most benefits from whole eggs. A study showed that people who consumed whole eggs had more muscle gains than those who opted for egg whites ⁷. This may be thanks to the cholesterol in yolks — a study shows that cholesterol can contribute to muscle building by enhancing your body’s inflammatory response ⁸. If you’re worried about cholesterol for heart health, it’s important to know that the cholesterol in eggs doesn’t seem to raise LDL cholesterol (aka the “bad” kind) the way other foods like trans and saturated fats do ⁹. Still, if you do have heart disease or diabetes, it’s smart to watch your overall intake. 

Quinoa 

While protein-rich foods are important for muscle gains, getting plenty of complex carbs is also essential. Carbs get a bad rap, but if you choose the right kind, they are a major way to feel energized and gain lean muscle. Slow-digesting complex carbs provide the energy your body needs to fuel your workouts and recover ¹⁰. Cooked quinoa, which is actually a seed and not a grain, delivers about 40 g carbs per cup. 

Plus, quinoa is an amazing plant protein for vegetarians, vegans, and anyone looking to lead a more plant-based lifestyle. Another perk: Quinoa is high in magnesium, which plays an important role in the function of your muscles and nerves and helps protect your bones ¹¹. 

Spinach 

Popeye was on to something! Spinach is a great source of glutamine, an amino acid that is important for muscle growth ¹². Research also shows that glutamine can help your muscles recover faster and soothe soreness post-workout ¹³.

Beets 

This root veggie contains a molecule that enhances muscle power. In a study, people who drank beet juice pre-workout saw an approximately 13% increase in muscle power. The perk comes from the nitrate, an ion found in beets and leafy greens like spinach. When you take in nitrate, it is converted to nitrite and then becomes nitric oxide, a molecule that boosts muscles and may enhance blood circulation ¹⁴. 

Almonds 

In addition to their high magnesium and protein content (16 g per serving), almonds also deliver phosphorus, a mineral that helps the body make protein for the growth, maintenance, and repair of cells. Phosphorus also helps your body make a molecule called ATP, which leads you to use carbs and fat for energy during exercise ¹⁵. 

Eat up and enjoy! We’ll see you at the barre!

Sources:

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25169440/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22958314/
  3. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/112/2/303/5828186
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3381813/
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25285409/
  6. https://journals.lww.com/nutritiontodayonline/pages/articleviewer.aspx?year=2009&issue=01000&article=00013&type=abstract
  7. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/106/6/1401/4823156
  8. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080109173717.htm#:~:text=In%20general%2C%20those%20with%20higher,in%20the%20participants%2C%20Riechman%20said
  9. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/expert-answers/cholesterol/faq-20058468
  10. https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12970-017-0189-4
  11. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-Consumer/
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC426340/
  13. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25811544/
  14. https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/10/14/448314966/why-you-might-want-to-be-drinking-beet-juice-at-the-gym
  15. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002424.htm

How Barre Workouts Boost Your Mood & Bust Stress

Silhouette of a person jumping in front of a sunset and mountains.

Close your eyes right now and imagine that feeling after you rock your Physique 57 workout — joyful, confident, empowered, accomplished, centered, and ready to take on the rest of your day. That’s the power of barre! As we continue to celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month, we’re breaking down exactly how and why barre workouts boost your mood and help you feel calmer and happier. 

1. Exercise releases feel-good chemicals

Exercise activates the production of endorphins, brain chemicals that naturally improve mood, relieve stress, and ease pain ¹. Endorphins deliver that “runner’s high” that comes with any type of challenging workout. With short bursts of intense activity, Physique 57 gives you a more effective form of endorphin-boosting cardio — without being tough on your joints like running. 

Exercise also increases levels of serotonin (aka the “happy chemical”), a neurotransmitter that can help brighten your mood and ease symptoms of depression ² ³. 

2. Exercise relieves stress and anxiety

Aerobic exercise — like the cardio-based movements in a Physique 57 workout class — reduce levels of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline ⁴. 

Exercise also helps relieve anxiety by conditioning the central nervous system. When we’re afraid or stressed, our central nervous system jumps into “fight or flight” mode, which leads to physical symptoms like sweating and increased heart rate. Workouts mimic these physical responses in a healthy way, so our bodies become accustomed to them and we’re less likely to feel anxious in stressful situations. In a study in the journal Depression and Anxiety, people who exercised regularly for just 2 weeks showed significant improvements in anxiety sensitivity ⁵. 

3. Brings your focus to the Barre brings your focus to the present

In addition to challenging your muscles, barre is also a mental challenge. Each small, repetitive movement requires your brain to remain intensely focused on your mind/muscle connection. Think about how you lock in mentally with each lift and pulse! This is a mindfulness practice and a form of moving meditation. You’re focused on the present moment, so your mind is much less likely to wander to your to-do list or other stressors. 

You can enhance this effect even more by practicing gratitude during your workouts. With each small movement, focus on sending love to that muscle and silently thank it for everything it does for you. Your strong legs carry you through your day; your arms are there for you to hug your loved ones. Think about that as you pulse, lift, and curl your way through barre class!

4. Barre helps you stand tall & confident

A 2020 study found that women who regularly did ballet barre exercises for 50 minutes twice per week had significantly improved head, shoulder, and pelvic posture ⁶. And having good posture actually impacts your mood and how you feel about yourself. Research shows that people with proud posture were more confident in their own thoughts and saw more positive attributes in themselves ⁷. Just one more reason to stand tall!

5. Exercise improves mental clarity

Time at the barre also boosts your brain power. The endorphins released during exercise help keep your mind sharp. Research shows that the combination of Pilates and yoga specifically — similar to barre — may improve mental clarity and cognitive function and keep you thinking positively ⁸. 

6. Connects you to a workout community

Whether you’re doing your workouts On Demand, in the studio, or outdoors, you can feel the energy of your supportive and motivating Physique 57 trainers and community. Being in community is so important for your mental health — it will help you feel connected and uplifted in everything you do!

7. And most importantly…Physique 57 is fun!

Our innovative choreography is designed to be fun and feminine — without any of the moves you dread in other workouts. With new sequences in every barre class, you’ll never get bored, and you’ll always be challenged. Best of all, you’ll leave class with a big smile on your beautiful face! 

Join us at the barre in our NYC studio or from anywhere On Demand for these amazing mood-boosting benefits!

Sources:

  1. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/exercising-to-relax
  2. https://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/12/exercise
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27353308/
  4. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/exercising-to-relax
  5. https://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/12/exercise
  6. https://www.koreascience.or.kr/article/JAKO202018436566306.page
  7. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091005111627.htm
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6732550/

Mental Health Awareness Month: 7 Ways To Care For Your Mind & Spirit

Woman meditating in the sun holding a Gyan mudra yoga pose (cross legged with thumb and index finger together on both hands)

Our mission at Physique 57 is to not only sculpt and strengthen your beautiful body, but also to nurture your incredible mind and spirit! In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month in May, we’re sharing 7 simple steps you can take every day to care for yourself from the inside out. 

Move your body

A Physique 57 sweat sesh not only tones your body — it also fuels and nourishes your mind. You’ll finish your workout feeling less stressed and more energized, confident, and empowered! Years of research has proven the mental health perks of exercise. A study from Harvard University showed that exercise can reduce the risk of depression by 26% ¹. Another study found that people who exercised regularly reported a 20% reduction in anxiety symptoms compared to those who didn’t work out ². 

Exercise helps the brain build new neural pathways that bring on feelings of calm and happiness. It also releases endorphins, powerful brain chemicals that give you a boost of bliss ³. You know when you leave class feeling so accomplished and on top of the world? That’s what we’re talking about!

Join us for a workout On Demand or in the studio!

Deepen (or start) your meditation practice 

A regular meditation practice quiets the mind, brings your attention to the present moment, and gives you a deep sense of centeredness, balance, and peace. Multiple studies have shown that mindfulness relieves stress ⁴ ⁵. Meditation helps lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, while releasing mood-boosting hormones and neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin ⁶. 

If you’re new to meditation, ease into it. Start with just 5 minutes a day and work your way up to longer. You can do guided meditations or simply listen to soothing music and focus on your breathing. If your mind starts to race or thoughts come up, don’t judge yourself — this happens to everyone and you’re not doing it “wrong.” Simply take notice of the thoughts and feelings that come up for you without judgement and gently release them in your mind. Your meditation practice will start to feel more natural as you, well, practice it! 

Nourish yourself 

You’ll feel happier and more energized when you nourish your body with healthy, whole, unprocessed foods. Certain foods have also been shown to have mood-boosting benefits. Omega-3 fatty acids in fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts are linked to lower levels of depression ⁷. Foods high in vitamin B6 (think: bananas, salmon, and sweet potatoes) help synthesize feel-good neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin ⁸. And dark chocolate releases several mood-boosting compounds such as theobromine and N-acylethanolamine ⁹ — just in case you needed another reason to eat chocolate!

Have your moment in the sun

Soak in the sunshine! Research shows that sunlight can boost serotonin production, which brightens your mood ¹⁰. Plus, the sun synthesizes vitamin D (aka the “sunshine vitamin”), and vitamin D has been linked to lower levels of depression ¹¹. 

Take a break from your workday to get outside and stroll around your neighborhood. Remember to wear SPF to protect your beautiful skin! Also, watch out for artificial blue light from computer and phone screens, which can increase cortisol levels and zap your energy. There are lots of options for cute and affordable blue light blocking glasses. 

See how  Physique 57 trainer, Christine Mirzayan, makes mental health part of her morning routine.

Grab your journal 

Journaling is a powerful outlet to express your emotions, reflect on your experiences, practice positive self-talk, and release thoughts or feelings that aren’t serving you. Research consistently shows that journaling has a positive impact on mental health ¹². 

You can journal in whatever way feels healing to you — there is no “right” or “wrong” way to do it. Some practices we love: 

  • Free writing: Write whatever comes to mind without editing or judging your thoughts. You can also free draw if that feels more intuitive for you. 
  • Gratitude journaling: Write down 3 specific things you’re grateful for each day and why you’re grateful for them.

Disconnect to connect 

So many of us are on our phones and computers all day long. Give yourself permission to disconnect from your devices in order to reconnect with yourself. Unplugging from technology helps you be more mindful in the present moment, deepen your connection with those around you, and become more in tune with your own feelings and instincts. 

Take a digital detox day or weekend where you turn your phone off and enjoy other activities you love — go on a hike or long walk, be present in nature, read, take a bubble bath, and spend time with loved ones with no distractions. You’ll feel so refreshed after!

Dance it out

Whether it’s pulsing in a Physique workout class or having a dance party in your living room, dancing is amazing for your mind and soul! Research shows that dance can help ease symptoms of anxiety and depression and keep your mind sharp ¹³. 

Come join us for a fun, empowering, and mood-boosting dance cardio class On Demand!

Sources

  1. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/article-abstract/2720689
  2. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100222161848.htm
  3. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-living/the-mental-health-benefits-of-exercise.htm
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24395196/
  5. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0889159112004758
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4769029/
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27472373/
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16763894/
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24117885/
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3779905/
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908269/
  12. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1745691617707315
  13. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0197455613001676

How Interval Overload Training Forms Long, Lean, Sculpted Muscles

A woman sitting on the floor in workout clothes while smiling at the camera

We have heard from tens of thousands of women that their bodies and lives have completely transformed through Physique 57 workouts — they feel strong, lean, fit, powerful, and more confident than ever! We’ve also heard from so many of you in our community that after years of trying different workouts and not seeing results, this was the method that finally worked.

So what is the “secret sauce” behind Physique 57 that makes it so effective? 

We created a one-of-a-kind training method that’s designed for maximum results, efficiency, and fun. Our workout fuses cardio, strength training, and dance — and this combination is where the magic happens! 

Tanya Becker, co-founder and creator of the Physique 57 Method, developed a technique to lengthen and sculpt muscles like a dancer, while also building lean body mass and getting a cardio workout in. 

“I was a dancer and choreographer most of my career and then I started teaching barre,” Tanya says. “Barre classes were traditionally about holding poses in one place, but the choreographer in me craved more movement so I started adding in a cardio element.” 

The result: Physique 57’s innovative Interval Overload Method. THIS is the secret to lean, long, sculpted muscles! 

We’re sharing the science behind our unique workout technique and why it works. 

Here’s the gist: 

It is a combination of high intensity interval training and muscle overload. With our interval training sets, your muscles are targeted and overloaded to the point of fatigue, then stretched for relief. 

Let’s break it down…

What is interval training? 

Interval training alternates between short bursts of high-intensity work and periods of lower-intensity activity or rest. By taking these recovery periods, your body can work much more efficiently during the high-intensity intervals. 

Numerous studies have shown that interval training is incredibly effective at increasing the body’s aerobic activity, cardiovascular health, and stamina. 

One workout study found that just two weeks of high-intensity interval training improves aerobic capacity as much as six to eight weeks of endurance training like steady running, jogging, or biking ¹. 

Research has also shown that consistent interval training is effective at increasing lean body mass ², which helps boost your metabolism. 

How we do it: 

Physique 57 takes interval training to the next level! Between high-intensity sets, we stretch to lengthen the muscles and allow them to recharge so you can start your next series even stronger. 

During recovery periods, we also shift the focus and work a different set of muscles. For example, we’ll do 30 seconds of Triceps Dips between our first and second ab series, which gives your core a chance to recover while simultaneously sculpting the arms.

This way, you’ll get the benefits of interval training while continuing to work different muscles during your recovery so you can make the most of every minute!

What is overload? 

You know that feeling when your muscles are burning, shaking, and feel like they’re on fire?! 🔥 We know you do!That is known as Momentary Muscular Fatigue (aka overload) — when you’ve activated your muscles as much as you possibly can, and you’ve reached the peak of intensity. 

When this happens, you can actually change your muscle fibers to get that long, lean, defined look. We’re about to get real science-y here. 

Each muscle fiber contains water, protein, fat, and multiple strands of actin and myosin, two protein filaments that are responsible for actually moving your muscles. When you bring a muscle to the point of Momentary Muscular Fatigue, it has to adapt to the stress. It does this by growing new strands of actin and myosin. These important proteins increase your strength, power, and give you definition. 

Another benefit of overload: it activates neural pathways between your brain and your muscles. These pathways are how your brain tells your muscles to contract. By activating these pathways again and again, your muscle fibers will remain partially activated all the time. The more this happens, the firmer and more toned your muscles will be!

How we do it: 

We ALWAYS take you to the point of overload. With each workout, we constantly change up the pace, moves, and angles to make sure you feel challenged, and you reach that sweet spot of intensity where your muscle fibers are transformed. 

The perks of this powerful combo: 

You’ll build lean body mass 

A study done by the Department of Exercise Physiology at Adelphi University showed that Physique 57 produced greater changes in lean body mass over a four-week period than aerobics, Pilates, yoga, and running. This is key because increasing lean body mass can help permanently boost your metabolism.

It’s incredibly efficient 

We know your time is precious, so we don’t waste a single minute of your workout! In just 57 minutes (or less for some of our On Demand workout routines), our strategic sequences work every muscle group in the body to overload and even target different fibers within the same muscle. 

It’s easy on your joints 

Other workout modalities like running, plyometrics, and heavy weightlifting put a lot of pressure on the joints and ligaments and can lead to injuries over time. All of our movements, while incredibly challenging and effective, are healthy for your bones and joints. 

It uses your body weight 

While you use the barre as your partner, most movements in our method use only body weight as resistance to challenge your muscles. Your own body is a very effective tool to build long, lean muscles. Plus, this makes it easier to get your sweat sesh in anytime, anywhere!

You won’t plateau 

People often reach fitness plateaus because their bodies get used to certain movement patterns and adapt. With the Interval Overload Method, your body is constantly challenged in new ways. 

Our workouts move quickly, are full of variety, and are constantly evolving, so you’ll never get bored, and you’ll always be excited to be back at the barre!

You can try our Interval Overload Method and experience the amazing results for yourself in our studio workout classes and On Demand!

Sources: 

  1. https://journals.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/japplphysiol.01098.2006
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30622842/