Fitness Connection, this gym became like a second home for me. Quite literally, just last year. I signed up when they first opened here in North Austin. In the last year since they have been open they have gone through at least five new General Manager's just in the time since I had become a member.
Truthfully I haven't found anything good about this gym since day one. I signed up because the price was better, there was more space, I was under the impression I could freely use the studio and was allowed to for a very long time, they have a sauna that is separate for each gender, showers, classes, lots of equipment, etc. It's a normal gym. In the beginning the staff was attentive and courteous. However, this brings me to the bad....
Recently I had to switch banks and, upon handing over my new card to a younger male at the front desk I watched him enter the information, confirm with me that this was the new card for charging my membership, then handed my card back to me. Now, this was at the beginning of the month, and until the 18th nobody said a word to me about my account being past due. So for the last few weeks I have been racking my brain and backtracking trying to find out why a bank account that I had shut down was somehow still active. I never thought the first thing I switched for the new card would be the issue.
So after calling both the customer service line for my previous bank and getting no help nor even being able to put in a claim about it, and the corporate offices of Fitness Connection also telling me that they would not be doing anything - I am left still fighting a $300 charge caused by an employee over a $10 a month membership.
And lastly, I have never dealt with such rude members in my life as I have at this gym. The self-entitlement of the members and staff permeates the air making it thicker than a bad protein shake.
BACK TO GOLD'S
Back to Gold's Gym, the place that sparked my intrigue and passion for fitness. I not only loved working for this gym but being a member after I left was equally as pleasant. That went for any location I walked in to. The members here are also fluent in gym etiquette and are respectful enough to ask to jump in on a set of yours or to even see if you are done using a piece of equipment.
The staff is always friendly and informative; if you miss a payment they call DAY ONE, and I have never had anyone wait over two weeks to mention something. Better yet I shouldn't have to mention something to my front desk. Any information I changed with them was always done quickly and efficiently. No mistakes, no laziness, no carelessness.
THE OTHER GUYS
While Gold's may be 4x as much as Fitness Connection, I have no issues paying for these reasons. I have tried other gyms as well including, Metroflex in Pflugerville, Anytime Fitness, LA Fitness, Lifetime Fitness, World Gym, and Equinox. For all of these, many wonderful qualities of the gym and business drew me to them but in the end I will stick with Gold's for this - they have been my least worry inducing, anxiety boosting, or troublesome establishment that I've ever had the pleasure of utilizing.
If you're shopping around for a gym, make sure that you really look into the staff that run the day to day operations. I have brought a lot of people with me to this gym based on a number of other factors outside of the price, the staff being one of them at one point, and now I regret ever switching from Gold's Gym. I am so happy to be returning to Golds next month. It it absurd to make the member pay for an employees mistake. Thus, I impart the following wisdom to you - be an aware, engaged, attentive, and conscientious shopper and consumer.
I am nearing my 16th year in the customer service and food industry. I have been everything from the peon FNG all the way to "The Man." Now, there are so many things I have learned from being in every position over the years as a server, bartender, manager, trainer, fitness instructor, business owner, trainee, my list goes on and on. My experience is clear, but one thing I never realized before today was simply this - if you want a great worker, hire an artist. Yes. An artist.
You're thinking painter, aren't you? You're largely limiting your scope; an artist is anyone who's creative. Musicians. Actors. Writers. Fashion designers. Photographers. Dancers. Teachers. Here is why we in fact make better workers, from my personal experience over the last decade and a half.
1. OUR BRAINS function and see things differently. For instance, playing the piano helps you compartmentalize because your left hand is doing something completely different than your right hand. You have to focus, think, read, analyze and sometimes even be vocal. That is a lot for the brain to handle all at once, but it can happen. It does happen, everyday.
2. PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT because we repeat everything we do out of passion to perfect it. If we are put in the right position and given the right tools and tasks we can accomplish anything you ask us to. But don't micromanage us! NOBODY GETS WORK DONE BEING PRESSED UNDER A THUMB. Given the allotted time and trust we are more productive than someone put under pressure of a constant watchful eye. Let us do our thing and you won't be disappointed.
3. AN EYE for detail. I have had many managers and higher ups tell me over the years that I have a great eye for detail. I can see the small things that most would overlook. Often times being a meticulous artist has saved the paperwork and someone's job. One small error that may have been overlooked but caught by the eye of an artist. Small things matter most when you are drawing, painting, posing a model, picking the right notes for the song. They can make or break any deal.
4. STRESS often times is much easier for us to handle because of the way that our brains function. Compartmentalization comes slightly more natural to an artist but it is something we practice every time we touch the keys of a piano, pick up our paintbrush, or flex our foot forward ready to create and present our best. Since artists are often performers as well, we are used to pressure and deadlines. Time is different for us. It feels different and it flows different. Often times, for me, time is slower even though I move quickly. Art and meditation have taught me how to utilize time, something I have no control over in the end.
5. PRODUCTIVITY is often higher from artists and those that aren't micromanaged or forced to be taught only one specific way. We often times see other ways to do the same thing but more effectively and/or more efficiently. But when stifled and muffled before we are ever heard we can become frustrated and lethargic internally. Affecting the quality of our work.
With these things in mind, it is important to remember that mixing personalities of artists and non-artists can create conflict. Artists are often times much more open minded individuals and accepting of others viewpoints. Communication barriers may form causing emotions and tensions to rise bringing into play the trickle down of vibenomics.
In the end we should all be mindful of the unique ways one another thinks and approaches the same tasks that we do.
You press your teeth together and grip the steering wheel hard, till your knuckles are white. Your core temperature is rising, testosterone also increasing. Rage sets in and you begin to honk, yell, flash your lights and shake your fist at the driver in front of you. As if they can hear you or as if it will make them go faster. Road rage, something that we all experience in our lifetime. Some of us have learned to let go of it and others, well not so much. But instead of getting angry at someone/something you CAN'T control, take a deep breath, and think about these few things for a second.
1. THIS WAS NO ACCIDENT. Did you know that annually there are roughly 6,800,000 crashes per year in our country. Half of those are fatal. Road rages causes 66% of those crashes. That's a lot based on not being able to control your emotions while on the road. Since 1990 there has been a 51% increase in the accidents caused by rage. Road rage is a side effect of stress, for some it is considered a disorder to jump so quickly to rage. 7% of drivers actually have what is called "intermittent explosive disorder." It is the sudden onset of exaggerated feelings of rage This can often be a catalyst for violent behavior.
2. HAVOC ON THE BODY & MIND. Aside from the awful car accidents that road rage can provoke, it also takes a huge toll on your mind and body. Even if you make it home safely. You're really not as safe as you think. When we let our emotions over run us, especially when it comes to anger, our hormones go haywire. Testosterone, epinephrine, norepinephrine and cortisol all shoot through the roof and send your body and your mind into a "fight or flight" response. This is not good, this response is in our DNA to help us in dangerous situations, not to be angry that we didn't leave our house early enough. Allowing the mind to succumb to these urges also does a number on the psyche. Over time it can break you down and you're left completely rewired. Suddenly all you can think is negative, cynical thoughts all the time. Being this way also releases those nasty hormones that come from rage and stress.
3. HEART HEALTH. Oh yes, I said it. This highly affects your cardiovascular system. Even in the long run, in fact studies are showing more and more that road rage is DECREASING life span in humans. Not only does it elevate blood pressure, but it restricts blood flow from the heart to the rest of the body. A study in 2012 found that the longer a persons commute was, the higher the blood pressure and BMI.
4. BRAIN FOG. If you're angry, you can't think straight, or even two feet in front of you. Road rage causes people to miss more turns, have more near misses on other drivers, and have panic attacks and overreactions than those who realize their mistake and calmly correct it. You rewire your brain every time you are negative or positive. They both affect the brain in very different ways.
5. DON'T ENGAGE. I had a boss who loved to use the analogy of vibenomics. Vibenomics is when one persons emotions start to slowly trickle down until everyone around them is feeling the same way they are. This can be positive vibes or negative vibes. Road rage is a hugely negative one that can turn victims into aggressors. Road rage has such a powerful effect on those around it that is can be difficult to NOT engage. But we shouldn't engage with those who are experiencing road rage. By portraying a calm demeanor we can positively affect those around us for the better. If that's not enough, here's another reason. A report from safemotorist.com found that of the 66% of accidents caused by road rage 37% involved a firearm. Oh and one more thing, 2% admitted to trying to run an aggressor OVER.
In short, there are things we can do to prevent road rage. You may be sitting there thinking to yourself "yeah right," as you giggle sarcastically to yourself; but if you haven't tried you can't knock it. So here are just a few tips to help.
1. LEAVE WITH ENOUGH TIME. Traffic varies in different parts of the country, even in different parts of the same state or city. Knowing your traffic patterns and when your rush hour starts and ends is important. Leaving your home/office/etc a few minutes early never hurts. You could run into construction, an accident, or even just get behind someone for an extra half mile who's going 5 under. DON'T GET ANGRY! It is your own fault here if you did not leave with enough time. Life happens, even on the road.
2. BREATHE, IT'S ONLY LIFE. And with that being said I mean that nothing is worth losing anyones life over. Or even causing harm to another. You can meditate anywhere and during traffic is a great place. You don't need candles, incense, or even to close your eyes. Simply breathe.
3. MUSIC MATTERS! Music does matter, and if you think I'm wrong then put on some heavy metal and drive ten minutes down the road to the store. On your way back play some relaxing jazz. Tell me you don't feel a difference? Music is vibrations, and our bodies and minds feed off those vibrations, even while we sleep. Our hormones react to the noises and sounds we hear daily, adding angry, fast paced music can override those hormones and send them into a raging spiral of furry. Stay calm, you will get where you are going when you are supposed to.
4. MINDFULNESS. This should never stop, even while driving. Being mindful is doing things like waving when someone is nice and lets you over during rush hour, or using your blinker to let other drivers know where you are going (though turn signal usage also happens to be the law anyway). Driving the speed limit, for gods sake just drive AT LEAST the speed limit, it is there in place for a reason. In fact this is a big reason why a lot of people begin to develop rage: being stuck behind Miss Daisy. Be aware of those around you, this sometimes requires slightly quieter music or staying off your phone while on the road (again, in many places now, being off your phone is also the law). NOTHING, I REPEAT, NOTHING IS MORE IMPORTANT THAT SAFE DRIVING.
5. YOU ARE NO MORE IMPORTANT THAN ANYONE ELSE. Deep down inside we are all made of up the same things, right down to our very last molecule. And we forget that all too often. Speeding, raging, yelling, harming..... every time you do this you are telling the rest of us to fuck off and that you are definitely more important than anyone else. That your life is far more important than anyone else's. This is untrue. It does not matter if you're an award winning surgeon or you flip burgers; it does not matter if you're chairman of the board or you're a reserve member of the PTA. We all share this planet and we all share the same allotted amount of time on this Earth. Don't cut someone's time short to sit down and play a video game at home after work, or even to get to work in the first place. Carry yourself about calmly, and begin your unwinding while you drive. Don't worry about rushing, even Myth Busters showed us that speeding and weaving through traffic literally got you to your destination 30 seconds earlier. This is not worth the life of another.
So lower your stress by taking a deep breath! Put on some relaxing tunes and actually enjoy your ride home. We all have to take it, we all have to endure it, we are all in it.
I am in the last year of my twenties, and generally, this is a huge deal. A lot of women tend to freak out, quite frankly over nothing. Why there is some magically huge age difference between 29 and 30 is something that I don't think I'll ever discover the answer to. But during my twenties, here is what I have learned.
1. DON'T GET MARRIED IN YOUR TWENTIES. I am not ashamed to say this, I was married in my twenties. Twice actually. I know, don't do it. I don't care how long you have been with that person, you're still a kid in your twenties. You're still learning in your thirties even. Date instead, even if it's that one person for ten years. Time tells us how we develop and change as we age. Settling down with one person, just shouldn't happen in your twenties. You hardly know yourself! You've just come out of high school and you are learning the ways of the society and the world. Preparing for the real world, for real. Take the time to learn the things they don't teach you in school about being an adult. Being married is work, it's getting to know another person. And odds are you'll start a family. If you aren't ready, don't do it. Wait, you have time.
2. LIFE IS LONGER THAN YOU THINK. Check it out, if there are people who smoke and drink until they are over 100 years old, then you have time on this Earth, in your lifetime to do everything you want. Take your twenties to discover yourself. Build a relationship with yourself. Career? Who cares! First off who says you need to do ONE thing for the rest of your life? If you are happy doing what you are doing, you can survive on it, you can live on it and you are aiding in the progression of society or others, then why are you worried? Life is for learning, if you aren't learning you are getting old. You have time even if you have children. As mean as this may sound you are only lawfully accountable for that child until the day they turn 18 years old. Therefore, even if having a family is part of your life goals you still have life to live after those 18 years. You. Have. Time.
3. TAKE CARE OF YOUR MIND AND YOUR BODY. Again, as mean as it may sound, you CANNOT take care of another human being in any way, shape, or form if you do not know how to take care of yourself first and properly. Since everyBODY is different it is an important lesson to learn what our own bodies need as opposed to what our spouse or even child needs. Knowing yourself will help you to understand and know those close in your life. Not only will you understand better, but your own life will go smoother. Less stress, less medical bills, less drama, more happy, more success, more bliss.
4. NOT EVERYONE IS MEANT TO STAY IN YOUR LIFE. I have a best friend that has been in my life and I in hers for the last eleven years. First off, knowing anyone that long and growing up as teens together into nearly your thirties, you go through some shit with each other. But not everyone will withstand those rough moments. Not everyone that you meet or that enters your life is meant for you. Some people are on this Earth to simply watch it burn. Some people are lessons that are short, others are just passing like the wind. All in all this just means that not everyone you meet will stay, will like you, or will even want to be a part of your life. You may be friends with someone for a decade and then something happens and POOF! There they go.
5. GROWING OLD IS NOT THE SAME AS AGING. Growing old is something that you do when you give in, join the masses and succumb to societal standards. 30 is not old, just like 29 is not a totally ignorant child. You don't magically grow old over night, it is something that happens when we end up at a job we don't like. It will suck the energy and will to go and do the things outside of our means of living that keep us young and happy. If you are a musician then play, play as often as you can and as often as your heart desires. An artist? Draw. Hike. Play video games. Read a book you've never read before. Travel, even through your home state or country to start. Learn a new language. Learn something about the human body you've always wondered about. Keep your brain stimulated and you will age gracefully but never grow old. You can still be a responsible adult while being imaginative and playful for the rest of your life.
6. FAMILY IS NOT ALWAYS BLOOD RELATED. Family comes in many forms. Just because someone brought you into existence doesn't mean they are good for you either. Sometimes family are those we hold dear and near to us. Being related, makes you just that.... related. Again, not everyone in your life is meant for you.
I want to say so desperately that I wish I could go back and tell myself these things with a mulligan. But I can't, and therefore I hope that someone coming out of high school or in their early twenties reads this and finds a little relief. Finds some peace of mind. Finds some good advice to relax and let life happen as it will.
Protein, it's in just about everything we eat. Whether it's a complete protein profile or you are eating large quantities of food to gain that complete profile. On a daily basis I get asked one question; "How much protein should I take?"
Now here is the first issue with that question, I don't know what your goal is. What you are working to achieve makes a difference on how much protein you intake. Before I get into how that works and how to find it, let's take a look at what protein is, how it works in the body, and how to utilize it properly.
WHAT IS PROTEIN?
Okay, for starters knowing what you are putting into your body is crucial. Knowing what protein is actually made of is also crucial. By then end of this you may be shocked to find out you could be taking in too much protein. So if you are someone who drinks BCAA's before, during and after your workout and then consumes a protein shake I am going to assume you don't eat well throughout the day.
Amino acids, or BCAA's as most people know them, are the foundation and building blocks of protein. They make up protein. Amino acids are small units linked together to form a long chain. There are about 20 different amino acids that come together to form protein, each of which has it's own important role in the body itself.
WHAT KIND OF PROTEIN SHOULD I TAKE?
This is a great question, the answer is also simple.
-What are you? Vegetarian? Pescatarian? Carnivore? These make a difference when it comes to the selection of your protein or protein supplement. The way your body digests food makes a difference on the type of protein you should be taking in. There is also a simple answer for why, different sources of protein digest and react differently with everyBODY. By the way, did you know that protein is in nearly everything? Including fruits, vegetables, plants, dairy, eggs, and even grains.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO TAKE PROTEIN?
Studies have changed so many times over the years I have been in the industry, some have stated that you have a 30 minute window to drink or consume your gains. Others have told me I have two hours and others still, more recently, have shown and told me that I have a 24 hour window to get the proper amount of gains in. So here's the deal, I'm not going to give you a link for this I am going to share my personal experience. I have been a meat-eater before and vegan before. In my experience neither made a difference on when I was eating, just how much I ate. Consuming the proper amount is more important than the timeframe in which it consumed. Granted, I found the best time to consume my protein was in fact within a 30-60 minute window after my workout, otherwise not only was my body tapping into the fat left on me but if I waited too long past that hour I would get shaky and angry. If I ate before or consumed some protein during I would get sick. So here's the deal, listen to your body on this one.
WHAT IS THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF PROTEIN FOR ME?
Now this LARGELY depends on what your goals are, more and more studies are finding the proper average amount of protein intake daily is roughly .36g per pound that you weigh, for the average sedentary woman, or 46 grams per day. Obviously for men this will be a bit higher intake. However if you are active you will want to increase accordingly. This means that if you are very active, go to the gym several days a week and hitting at least a good solid 30-45 minutes of straight exercise, you will want to increase your intake between 1 and 1.2g per pound you weigh.
WHAT ARE THE DANGERS OF TOO MUCH PROTEIN?
Oh yes, they are dangers of too much protein. Don't be fooled into thinking that a high protein diet is the best way to gain muscle; it may be one of the quickest, however, it is not one of the best. For starters an excess of un utilized and broken-down protein will turn into fat in turn causing fat gain rather than fat loss which is the opposite of what most gym-goers are looking to achieve. Excess fat gain is fuel for cancer cells, inflammation, sickness, weak immune systems, slow cardiovascular systems, deteriorating bones, ashy skin, and many other issues that arise from excess fat. Why? Fat messes with the body's hormones and homeostasis when there is an over abundance.
Other dangers of too much protein include dehydration, constipation, diarrhea, kidney failure/damage, cardiovascular disease, and even the eating away of calcium in your bones, leaving them frail and brittle.
There are no doubts in my mind, nor any studies that disprove, just how essential and important protein in fact is to our diets. However we should be mindful and watch our intake versus our goals. Knowing those few things can change the way your body changes and adapts to your new lifestyle or diet.
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Note from the Team.
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