Should I Be Building Muscle?

Today on the blog, Julia talks about strength training and its place in a healthy fitness routine.

Strength training is one of those things that people can get really nervous about. Questions arise such as: Should I be doing it? What if I bulk up? Won’t I gain weight if I’m building muscle?

If you’re afraid of adding strength training into your workout regimen, don’t be. The truth is, there are myriad benefits to this kind of exercise. Working big muscle groups will challenge your cardiovascular system, and you’ll burn calories while you change your body composition. The great news about strength training is that it keeps your metabolism pumping for a few hours, even after you stop. That’s different from a run or a bike ride, where your metabolism goes down almost immediately after you stop. So if you’re looking to lose weight and burn more calories over the long-term, strength training is key.

Women often worry about “bulking up,” but we just don’t have enough testosterone in our bodies to create huge muscles like men. What will happen instead is that you’re much more likely to get lean and strong, and you’ll also see an improvement in your functional living. Did you know that women walk an average of three miles each day? This is much more than the average for men, and as one Ypsi Studio goer pointed out to me, women are usually carrying things as well! Kids, groceries, you name it. Strength training can help make these everyday activities easier.

If you’re looking for ways to fold strength training into your workouts, check out the Ypsi Studio calendar. One great way to start is Boot Camp, and you can always modify the workouts if you feel like they’re too challenging at first. There’s also willPower & grace, which builds strength and is aerobic, and don’t forget TRX with Shirley. You can always book sessions with our personal trainers too. If you have questions about this, don’t be afraid to ask. We’re a friendly bunch at Ypsi Studio, and we look forward to helping you achieve your fitness goals!

Julia Looks Back, Looks Ahead

As many of us think about the start of 2013, I know we’ll be crafting New Year’s resolutions. What will we do better? What will we do differently?

This is all well and good, and goals are critical to success. But before you look ahead, I hope you’ll reflect on all the wonderful successes you had in 2012.

At Ypsi Studio, I am blessed to be surrounded by amazing people, day in and day out, and I know there are so many people reading this who kicked butt this year. 

For example, many of you ran races in 2012 that were big milestones. A first 5k, a first 10k, a first Iron Turkey, a first half-marathon, even a first Iron Man! And many of you set personal records when you ran said races. We call these “P.R.’s” and the number of times I heard the phrase “P.R.” this year was mind-boggling.

Many of you also challenged yourselves physically by beginning a personal training journey with Shirley, Josh, or another trainer at Ypsi Studio. These workouts are no joke, and I have seen the results firsthand. I am so proud of all of you who get up when it’s early, or when your muscles still ache from the LAST workout, and you do it even when you don’t want to. That right there is courage and grit and determination—all rolled up into one.

So many of you also got out of your comfort zones with Ypsi Studio classes this year. Whether it was giving willPower & grace a try, or TRX, or a group training class, or climbing on a bike for an indoor cycling class for the first time—I saw countless folks just getting out of their routines. I love to see that. Shaking it up, finding the workout you’re passionate about—these are keys to long-term success.

And I can think of so many people who have experienced a monumental physical transformation as a result of all this hard work. Weight losses, personal bests, added strength and confidence—this is what keeps me coming to my job day in and day out. This is the stuff that changes our lives. It is truly transformative, and I’m so excited by all of it. By all of you.

The community at Ypsi Studio is what knits us all together and keeps us on the right track. So for anyone reading this who is new to the studio, trust that the people you meet (and will become friends with!) will help you in your journey.

I thank all of you for making 2012 so great. Here’s to celebrating what you’ve all done, and to even more success in 2013!

Peace and love,


What is This “willPower & grace” Thing I Keep Hearing About?

Chances are, if you’ve been around the studio for any length of time, you’ve heard people talking about “willPower & grace.” If you’re wondering what in the world that is, wonder no more! This blog post is for you.

In its most technical terms, willPower & grace is  a fitness organization founded in 1999 that marries cardio, yoga, and Pilates in its classes and mandates that all participants go barefoot.

In less technical terms, it’s an amazing workout where you use your body weight to tone and strengthen your muscles, while also being conscious of the way you’re moving. Lucky for us, our very own Julia Collins is a certified willPower & grace instructor — the only one in Michigan, in fact — who is excited to share what she knows about the class with everyone. She covers the basic questions below:

Q: What can I expect in a typical willPower & grace class?

Julia: A  typical willPower & grace workout consists of balance work, some cardio, and muscle toning. We focus on alignment, on using every muscle intentionally. It’s very defined movements and there are no weights and no shoes, but there is a real mind-body connection that makes this aerobic class different from any other I’ve taken.

Q: Really? No weights or equipment?

Julia: Really. But it’s still a serious workout! You can improve your posture and challenge your core muscles just by taking off your shoes and working with your own body weight.

So many times you walk into a gym and there’s this glossy, shiny, technical equipment and people start to think they can’t exercise without it. But the great thing about barefoot exercise is that it teaches you that you don’t need that stuff — you can exercise anywhere.

Q: But what if I’ve never done anything like this before?

Julia: Like any exercise, barefoot workouts can be modified depending on an individual’s ability level. You can easily make adjustments for a beginner or, say, someone who’s pregnant.

Q: What if I hate my feet? Do I really have to go barefoot?

Julia: Don’t worry, everyone’s been in your shoes — no pun intended! After engaging in the willPower & grace classes, a lot of people start treating their feet differently. People are sometimes self-conscious about how their feet look. But when their feet start getting stronger, people adopt a different attitude. They might get a toe ring, or get their toenails painted, or just start going barefoot more in general.

Q: Okay, so a great workout like this: everyone must be offering it, right?

Julia: You won’t be able to find another willPower & grace class in Michigan. Ypsi Studio is one of the few places that actually has certified instructors able to teach it, though we expect more to be added to the mix soon! We just hosted a training for instructors in the Midwest, ten of whom are from Michigan! We hope they are officially certified in the next three months. But in the meantime, Ypsi Studio is the only place you can grab a willPower & grace class, which is just one more thing that makes Ypsi Studio so special!

Sound like something you might want to try? You’re in luck: willPower & grace is taught at Ypsi Studio nearly every day! For a list of times and locations for willPower & grace classes, check out the Ypsi Studio class calendar by clicking here.

Welcome to the Ypsi Studio Blog!

There’s so much going on at Ypsi Studio and so many talented professionals with expertise they want to share with people, we’ve decided to start a blog! The information here is free, and it’s aimed and improving your workouts, helping you stay up-to-date on Ypsi Studio news, and facilitating connections between members of the gym.

Moving forward, the blog posts will be classed into four different categories:

  • On the Move. These will be exercise tips, such as great workouts you can do with an exercise ball.
  • The Best You. These will be motivational articles. How to keep running when you feel like you can’t anymore, for example.
  • The Ypsi Studio Difference. These will be profiles of trainers, news about fun upcoming things, and all the community information that sets Ypsi Studio apart from other gyms.
  • Lean and Mean. This will be nutritional and weight loss information.

We’ll be posting our blog posts to Facebook as well, which is kind of an awesome way to have the blog posts delivered right to you. You need to be a fan of the Studio on Facebook in order for this to happen, so if you’re not a fan, click here.

If you have suggestions for blog topics, please feel free to email: lara [at] help4writers [dot] com.

In the meantime, happy reading and happy exercising!