fitness tips or fitness myths

Fitness Tips Or Fitness Myths?

There’s no shortage of fitness tips out there. Don’t believe me? Just scroll through social media. It’s common for well-meaning people to innocently spread misinformation when it comes to fitness. While it may seem harmless, buying in to false fitness tips can lead to physical burnout or even injury. So, how do we avoid falling for fitness myths?

We’re debunking three of the most popular fitness myths to keep you focused and well-informed as you work towards your fitness goals.

1. “No pain, no gain”

When it comes to fitness, ever hear the phrase “no pain, no gain”?  This phrase is commonly used to push an athlete harder during their workout. Don’t get us wrong, challenging yourself occasionally is a great thing! But, doing it too often can lead to potential soft-tissue injuries and even set you back when it comes to making progress towards your fitness goals. In fact, training too hard can make it more difficult for your muscles to recover properly. It can also effect your mood, your sleep cycle, and even hinder your immune system. The best approach is to slowly increase the intensity of your training, rather than over-doing it all at once.

2. “Fasting before your workout helps you loose weight faster”

The idea of doing fasted cardio, or exercising on an empty stomach, is that you’ll burn more fat because your body is using stored fat as energy instead of glucose.

While you may initially burn more calories by doing fasted cardio, at the end of the day, it doesn’t make a huge difference. This is because weight loss really comes down to your total daily caloric intake. If your goal is to lose weight, being in a caloric deficit is far more important than whether you exercise fasted or not. In fact, research has shown that there is no significant difference in weight loss between those who fasted before their cardio workout and those who did not.

The best bet is to listen to your body. If you discover you feel better when you exercise on an empty stomach and are in good health, there’s nothing wrong with doing fasted cardio. However, you may find that fueling up before some types of training, like strength training, is a better option to prevent you from experiencing fatigue during your workout. Always check with your primary care physician first, especially if you’re pregnant, have diabetes, high blood pressure, or other underlying medical issues.

3.” If you’re sore, then you had a good workout”

A common misconception is that being sore after a workout means you had a good training session. Typically, when we experience muscle soreness, it’s because we’ve tried a new exercise or pushed ourselves harder than normal during a workout. This type of soreness is called delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS. DOMS leaves our muscles inflamed, tender, and tight. This discomfort typically lasts 24 to 48 hours after your workout. While DOMS can generally resolve on its own, using a foam roller can aid in faster recovery.

So, what’s the best way to gauge if you had a good workout? Experts agree that evaluating your performance during your workout sessions is a much better indicator. So, if you’re able to lift more or do more reps during your next workout session, you’re on the right track. Even better, as you adapt to a workout routine, the soreness you experience will lessen which will keep you on track with your training and progress.

Ready to bust the fitness myths and start training smarter? At Invictus, we help you do just that! And it’s easy to GET STARTED.

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feel stronger through stretching

Stretch Yourself Strong

A common desire for most martial artists is to increase their strength and performance. Many martial artists incorporate strength and conditioning exercises in their training sessions. But did you know that you can feel stronger through stretching? It’s true! You can actually stretch yourself strong.

You’ve undoubtedly heard how important it is to stretch. When we stretch consistently, we maintain our mobility and overall strength. Here are a few ways stretching makes us stronger:

  • Joints: stronger joints yield improved range of motion
  • Ligaments: stronger ligaments increase stability
  • Muscles: stronger muscles help us with better balance
  • Body: stronger bodies help lower our risk of injury

There are three basic ways to feel stronger through stretching: dynamic, static, and assisted stretching.

Dynamic Stretching

Dynamic stretching uses controlled movements that prepare your muscles, ligaments and other soft tissues for performance and injury prevention. This type of stretching improves speed, agility, and acceleration of movement. As such, dynamic stretches are ideal for pre-workout warm-up. Examples of dynamic stretches include arm circles to help with shoulder mobility and straight leg swings to help with hamstring muscles.

Static Stretching

One of the most popular and familiar types of stretching, static stretching involves stretching a muscle as far as it can go without feeling pain and hold it for 20 to 45 seconds. This type of stretching is great for increasing flexibility. As such, static stretches are ideal for cooling down after a training session. An example of static stretching includes reaching to touch your toes from a standing of seated position.

Assisted Stretching

Also called partner stretching, assisted stretching allows your body to move in ways that it is not able to when stretching alone. This type of stretching can help reduce muscle tightness, increase flexibility, and improve our range of motion. While you can achieve some of these benefits with the help of a trusted friend or exercise partner, it is recommended to seek the help of a trained professional for maximum results.

So, how does any of this improve our performance and make us stronger martial artists? For one, as your flexibility improves, you lower your risk of injury. Additionally, the more flexible you become, the better you will move. Your muscles will work together more efficiently and your techniques will become more effective.

Ready to start experiencing the benefits of incorporating more stretching into your martial artists training? At Invictus, we help you do just that! And it’s easy to GET STARTED.

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Get Moving With Martial Arts

Get Moving With Martial Arts

According to the CDC, a staggering 25% of U.S. adults are considered physically inactive. The health repercussions of not getting enough physical activity can be severe: obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and even cancer. Of course, the benefits of physical activity are numerous including a decreased risk of chronic disease, improved mental health, and better sleep to name a few. Bottom line, as adults, we need to get moving.

There are several reasons adults don’t exercise. The most cited reason is a lack of time. Also noted are a lack of support or lack of desirable options. Let’s face it, the idea of spending half an hour on a treadmill isn’t exactly inspirational.

So, what can adults do to get moving that’s fast, effective, and includes a positive and supportive community?

Martial arts training is an ideal solution. Surprisingly, only 5% of adults have ever trained in a martial arts discipline. With so many benefits, we want to do our part to share our passion for mixed martial arts training and grow that number.

There are a variety of physical, social, and emotional benefits to training in martial arts. Need to loose weight? Want to feel stronger? Could you use a confidence boost? Is a lack of accountability crippling your progress? Regardless of what your fitness goals are, you can completely transform your life with martial arts training. We’ll show you how!

Get Moving With Martial Arts

 

Ready to become part of the 5% of adults that consider themselves martial artists? It’s time to get moving and start getting the results you deserve. At Invictus, we help you do just that! And it’s easy to GET STARTED.

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Make Any Workout More Effective

Make Your Workouts More Effective

We’ve all been there. We start out with the best intensions, come up with a goal, and a plan, and commit to getting in better shape. But then something happens. We get injured. We don’t see the results we expected. We get discouraged. Sometimes, we even quit.

So, how do you make sure to stay on track with your fitness goals?

We’ve come up with some simple tips to make your workout more effective, maximize your results, and minimize your chances of injury.

Always make sure you warm up first. According to Mayo Clinic, a warm-up should last around 5 minutes. Warming up helps prepare your body for aerobic activity and lowers your risk of injury.

Fueling your body before a workout is just as important. Protein is one of the most important nutrients. The recommended dietary allowance is 56 grams per day for men and 46 grams per day for women. While this may sound like a lot, and you may not be a fan of protein shakes or bars, there are several foods that are excellent sources of protein.

Some examples include:

  • 1/2 salmon fillet – 30g
  • half a chicken breast – 26g
  • 3 ounces of lean beef – 25g
  • 7 ounces of greek yogurt – 20g
  • 2 eggs – 12g
  • 2 ounces of almonds – 12g
  • 1/2 cup of lentils – 9g
  • 1 cup quinoa – 8g

Above all, always listen to your body while exercising. Pace yourself and be patient. You will continue to get stronger and more resilient over time. Prioritize cooling down after you workout. A cool down activity can take as little as 5 to 10 minutes. Walking, yoga, or static stretching are great options. This will speed up your muscle recovery and reduce soreness.

Check out the graphic below for more great tips.

Make Your Workout More Effective

Ready to put these tips into practice and start getting the results you deserve? At Invictus, we help you do just that! And it’s easy to GET STARTED.

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Make Your Resolution Stick

One of the most important aspects of any goal-setting activity that you have is to make your resolution stick. Of course, most people would agree that while that’s easy to say it’s more challenging to actually do. So, here are a few quick tips and tricks you can quickly use to make your resolution stick:

Know What You Want

You must first know what it is you hope to accomplish. Whether it’s to fix some mistakes of the past or avoid some undesired future, knowing what it is you actually want to achieve is the first and most important step.

In fact, some of the most successful people agree that creating a vision board is key to actualizing your goals. There are several reasons that this is absolutely true but here are some key points to consider:

  1. You can SEE your goals daily
  2. You will FEEL like you’re making progress
  3. You have a greater SENSE of motivation

Of course, if making a vision board seems daunting to you, simply find some images that inspire you and keep them where you can see them daily.

Remember, this must be personal and doable… but most of all, what you ACTUALLY want. Because people who know what it is they truly want always get it.

Have A Plan

There’s a good reason that books like Discipline Equals Freedom and Atomic Habits are so popular: success only comes from consistent planning and daily execution.

Without a plan to achieve your goals, your resolutions simply become wishes. Having coaches and mentors to support you is crucial and key to accomplishing your goals.

In fact, one of the best examples of this is in mixed martial arts training at Invictus. Each new belt rank and level quickly support your wellness goals (whether physical, mental, etc) while keeping you challenged and growing. It’s easily one of the best ways to feel good and get a great workout while making tangible progress.

Daily Execution

Put simply: your goals won’t work unless you do.

Recently, during one of our small group classes, the coaches were having a conversation with members about small, daily actions and how quickly they can add up. The coaches asked the question: have any of you ever done more than 7,000 push-ups? Everybody agreed that they didn’t know.  The coaches then encouraged the members that if they committed to only 20 push-ups per day that they would accomplish having completed over 7,000 push-ups in a year.

Everyone was stunned.

No one had thought it was that simple.

Small, daily action creates big results. To do this, here are a few suggestions to leverage to turn your goals into results:

  1. Set a reminder on your phone
  2. Tell a friend to help keep you accountable
  3. Join a community of like-minded people
  4. Hire a coach to help you
  5. Schedule your actions

The most important lesson here is this: take consistent and intentional action daily.

Track Your Progress

You need to know where you are today and set up a system to review your progress. There are several great resources available via apps and web services today. But it’s usually the simple one that will help you the most.

For example, when it comes to nutrition goals, most people set big goals (which is good) with unrealistic time frames or caloric targets. This makes keeping your goals so challenging that the goal actually becomes a roadblock. The best nutrition goals are the ones that you can actually do consistently. Meaning, if you have the resolution to drink more water, start simply by drinking 500 ml in the morning and 500 ml in the evening. Then, as you feel thirsty throughout the day, you’re free to drink water as needed. To do this, you can buy a 1,000 ml (about 1 qt) water bottle and mark it halfway so that you can easily see your progress.

Whatever your goal, keep track of your progress to see what’s working and what isn’t. Think of it from a scientific perspective and that you need data to better understand what is effective at helping you achieve your goal and what is less effective.

Set A New Goal

Inevitably, if you’ve been following these success methods, you will need to set a new goal. Now, it could be that you’ve learned along the way that your initial goal needed adjusting. It could also be that you accomplished your goal and now you’re ready for a new challenge. Regardless, always remember that the goal isn’t the point… your transformation is.

It’s been said that the journey is often more important than the destination. But in fact, you can be confident in knowing that who you are becoming as a result of achieving your goals is the ultimate prize and best result you can accomplish.

Make Your Resolution Stick

See, when you become a healthier individual, then your family is better because of it. Because you become better, their lives are positively influenced.

Your health and wellness goals made you a better person…

…improving the quality of life for your whole family,

…which makes for a better community,

…and inspires others to take better care of themselves.

Realize that there are people right now in your life that need you to do this. They are waiting for you to take bold action to accomplish your goals and make your resolution stick.

At Invictus, we help you do just that! And it’s easy to GET STARTED.

 
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More veggies, less drama

Get Your Kids To Eat More Veggies

Parents, we’ve all been there. Despite our best efforts to encourage healthy eating, we still struggle to ensure our kids are getting enough vegetables in their diet. Most parents understand the importance of providing a wide variety of vegetables for their kids to enjoy; however, getting them to actually eat those vegetables is typically easier said than done.

According to the CDC, 90% of children (ages 2-18 years) aren’t eating enough vegetables. In fact, only 2% of teens are getting their recommended servings of daily veggies.

So, what’s a parent to do? When it feels like you’ve tried everything and the temptation to give up is stronger than the desire to stick it out, give these mealtime hacks a try instead:

Lead By Example

That’s right. As parents, we can’t just talk the talk, we have to walk the walk, too. We can offer our kids nutritious meals and encourage them to eat more veggies all we want, but if our behavior doesn’t match what we’re asking of them, they will notice.

In fact, a recent study out of the University of Michigan proved that it’s less about mealtime conversation and verbal encouragement and more about exhibiting the desired mealtime behavior. So, do the work, and lead by example.

Get Them Involved

Involving kids in meal-time decisions can help give them a sense of control. Meal planning and grocery shopping are great activities to invite your kids to participate in. This is also a great way to discover which vegetables they like best and even encourage trying something new. When it comes to meal prep, letting them pick how they want their vegetables prepared (raw or cooked) is also a simple way to get them involved.

Another great idea is planting a small vegetable garden. When kids are involved in where their vegetables come from, they’re more likely to be open to trying them.

Repeated Exposure

A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests the getting kids to eat their veggies mostly comes down to repetition. This means that the more you expose your child to vegetables, the more likely they will eat them.

Be consistent. Offer at least a small serving of veggies at every meal. Even if they only take a few bites, that’s more than they would have eaten otherwise and they’ll be more likely to try again at their next meal.

It’s All About The Pairing

Let’s face it, if kids have the option of eating pizza or broccoli, they’re probably going to eat the pizza first. And once they fill up on their favorite foods, they won’t be hungry enough to eat their veggies.

Consider pairing the veggies with a less desirable main dish that the kids still enjoy but isn’t quite as popular. Get creative! veggies don’t just have to be a side to the main course. If pizza is the go-to dinner of choice, why not add some veggie toppings? Another great strategy is offering veggies before dinner is ready. When kids are hungry, they’ll eat more, even if that means eating foods they normally wouldn’t.

 

Ready to get your kids active and do something good for their health? Try a martial arts training session at Invictus!  Which class below are you most curious about?

Preschool ages 3-5 (CLICK HERE)

Kids ages 6-12 (CLICK HERE)

Adults ages 13+ (CLICK HERE)

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Fight Fatigue With Martial Arts

Fight Fatigue With Martial Arts

If you’re currently hitting the snooze button multiple times every morning, walking around like a zombie during the day, reaching for the nearest energy drink to get you through the afternoon, and unable to unwind and get good quality sleep at night, you’re not alone. Fatigue is a common complaint for many adults. General fatigue is caused by several issues including: poor sleep, poorly managed stress, poor diet, poor life/work balance, and yes…poor fitness habits.

It may sound counterintuitive, but experts agree that expending energy by engaging in regular exercise actually pays off with increased energy over time. This is because regular exercise raises blood oxygen levels and increases endorphins, which helps us feel more energized.

So, which are the most effective exercises at increasing oxygen in the blood and boosting energy? It turns out, aerobic training, like mixed martial arts, is best!

Here are three ways to fight fatigue with martial arts:

Focus On Cardio

Training in mixed martial arts is fantastic for  cardiovascular strength building and endurance. Martial arts drills that incorporate bag or pad drills are great for developing enhanced aerobic and anaerobic respiration.  Additionally, mixed martial arts is great for increasing stamina and endurance. The best martial arts training sessions start with a warm-up designed to get your heart pumping and your muscles conditioned. Additionally, sparring drills focus on developing your cardiovascular endurance. Consistent training improves heart health which helps the body regulate oxygen levels more efficiently, resulting in better energy management.

Full Body Workout

One of the greatest benefits of mixed martial arts training is that it trains the body as a whole. Whether you’re working on the fluidity of your practice combos on a pads or refining the technical aspects of your kicks  on a heavy bag, mixed martial arts training will have you experiencing the benefits of a full body workout. The more you focus on conditioning your body as a whole, the more you’ll realize the benefits when it comes to feeling more energized.

Get Better Sleep

While exercise helps boost your energy, it can also help you wind down. In fact, a recent study showed that exercise plays an important role in improving the quality of your sleep. Experts suggest that people who get at least 150 minutes of exercise per week sleep significantly better at night and also feel more alert during the day. Mixed martial arts training requires both physical exertion and mental focus which helps ready the body for a better night’s sleep. So, while you’re putting in the time on the mat, you can be confident that you’ll be falling asleep faster as well as sleeping through the night more consistently.

So, instead of pouring another cup of coffee when you hit that afternoon slump, hit the mats for a quick 30 minute training session! In the long run, you’ll be happy you did.

 

Ready to feel more energized? Try a FREE training session at Invictus!  Which class below are you most curious about?

Preschool ages 3-5 (CLICK HERE)

Kids ages 6-12 (CLICK HERE)

Adults ages 13+ (CLICK HERE)

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Martial Arts Is Medicine

Martial Arts Is Medicine

When most people think of martial arts, they tend to think of the benefits of learning self-defense. But did you know, training in the martial arts doesn’t just teach your body how to protect you from violence? Regular participation in martial arts training also teaches your body to protect you from common medical conditions as well.

Martial arts is medicine, plain and simple.

In fact, the fitness industry as a whole plays an important role in the Healthcare Continuum: preventive healthcare. Experts agree that regular physical activity is vital for the prevention of several chronic diseases. Of course, you should always check with your primary care physician before starting any new exercise program. Here’s a list of some of the most common medical problems and how martial arts can help prevent them:

Allergies

Participating in regular aerobic exercise, like kickboxing, is one of the body’s most efficient ways to control nasal congestion associated with allergies. This is in part due to the dilation of blood vessels which increases blood flow and improves the body’s ability to extract oxygen from the bloodstream. Physical activity results in increased blood flow which allows allergens to be moved quickly through the body and eliminated by the kidneys and skin.

Another benefit of  martial arts training is focusing on controlled breathing. Breathing exercises can help build stronger lungs that can help protect against severe allergy symptoms.

Arthritis

Individuals with arthritis are often reluctant to exercise because they fear their symptoms and condition will get worse. Fortunately, new research shows, that being active actually improves joint function.

In general, more activity mean less disability.

When you train in the martial arts, performing various punches and kicks forces the skeletal joints to move which induces the production of synovial fluid and helps to distribute it over the cartilage and circulate throughout the joint space. While these things won’t reverse the damage already done by existing arthritis, it can help prevent things from getting worse.

Diabetes

In general, exercise helps lower blood sugar levels, strengthen the skeletal muscles and heart, improve circulation, and reduce stress. In fact, a recent study shows that type 1 diabetic patients who regularly engage in martial arts training can achieve or maintain satisfactory glycemic control without the increased risk of severe hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia.

According to the American Diabetes Association, there are two main ways that exercise lowers blood sugar:

  1. Exercise increases insulin sensitivity which helps your muscles better use available insulin for the uptake of glucose during and after activity.
  2. During exercise, your muscles contract allowing your cells to take up glucose and use it for energy whether there is available insulin or not.

When you make martial arts training, like kickboxing, a regular habit, it can also help lower your A1C levels as well.

Heart Disease

According to the Center for Disease Control, high levels of LDL cholesterol increase your risk for heart disease and stroke. Fortunately, training in the martial arts can help raise HDL (the “good” cholesterol) levels in the blood and lower LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) levels.

In fact, an intense martial arts training session can burn up to 500 calories!

Even better, regular participation in martial arts training results in gaining muscle mass. This helps burn even more calories! As your heart rate increases during your martial arts training, your heart learns how to pump blood throughout your body more efficiently. This results in decreased blood pressure, reducing your risk for hypertension.

Osteoporosis

Exercise promotes bone density, thereby lowering an individual’s risk of experiencing bone fracture. In fact, a recent study shows that adolescents engaging in martial arts training presented higher values of bone mineral density when compared to the control group. This means adolescents that train in martial arts will be less prone to developing osteoporosis later in life.

There is also evidence to support learning how to properly fall during martial arts training can be extremely beneficial for individuals suffering with osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a well-known risk factor for fall-related hip fractures. Learning and practicing simple fall techniques in a safe and controlled environment can help prevent hip fractures in individuals with osteoporosis.

 

Ready to experience these health benefits for yourself? Invest in a personalized approach to your wellness with a FREE training session at Invictus. We have new classes starting and invite you to get real results today. Click below for the class that interests you the most and get started for FREE…

Preschool ages 3-5 (CLICK HERE)

Kids ages 6-12 (CLICK HERE)

Adults ages 13+ (CLICK HERE)

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hydration

Hydration And Why It’s So Important

Everyone knows hydration is important. This is especially true during the hot summer months. But WHY it’s so important often alludes us. Today, we’re going to explore where to find good sources of hydration and its impact on our health.

According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine, “the first formal and widely disseminated guidelines for fluid intake were published by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) in 1996 (Convertino et al., 1996). In the following two decades, knowledge of how water and electrolyte losses affect human performance has continued to expand.”

So, if you’re like so many other people and relying on hydration data from the 90’s, then perhaps it’s time to upgrade your understanding. Let’s dive in!

What are good sources of hydration?

First and foremost, good ole water! Water constitutes roughly 50-70% of our total body mass. According to Jennifer Klau, Ph.D., as little as a 2% deficit can have a profound impact on our mental and physical well-being.

Whoa!

So, what do we do? Evidence suggests that we consume water “Ad-libitum” which means, “as much or as often as needed or desired.” The general rule of thumb is to drink water as often as you feel the sensation of being thirsty.

Now, remember, this pertains to water. While most drinks do contain water, not all are created equal. Here’s a quick list of drinks to avoid as they often have excess sugar, carbs, and unhealthy additives:

  • Sodas (all)
  • Alcohol (all)
  • Energy drinks (all)
  • Other sugar-sweetened beverages

What does that leave? Well, water, of course! But here’s a list of other beverages that can be easily added to your daily ritual:

  • Water
  • Coffee (unsweetened is preferable)
  • Tea (unsweetened is preferable)

Limit the following:

  • Fruit juices
  • Cow’s milk
  • Sports drinks
  • Sparkling water (unsweetened is preferable)
  • Coconut water (look for raw, organic, and unsweetened)
  • Kombucha (be careful as these can have hidden sugar)

QUICK TIP: remember, hydration is about health, not taste or pleasure. But that doesn’t mean it has to taste bad to be good. Try adding a little lime or lemon to your water.

Remember that many fruits contain water but also contain sugars. So, in moderation, eating a handful-sized quantity can be helpful with your hydration plan and also give you some needed fiber. Not to mention, the act of chewing also burns calories– win!

In fact, a recent study found that drinking as little as .5 liter (or 16 oz) of water increased energy expenditure at rest by 30% for about 90 minutes (Horswill & Janas 2011)! So, get drinking that water!

Wait, what about sports drinks?

Sports drinks have remained mostly unchanged since they were first introduced. Their main purpose is to replenish electrolytes from sweat loss during intense and prolonged training. Their primary ingredients are as follows:

  • Sodium
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium

The Standard American Diet typically has plenty of sodium making consumption of more sodium generally unnecessary.

However, foods that are rich in potassium and magnesium are bananas and almonds, respectively. So, a medium banana and quick handful of almonds 30-45 minutes before a workout can have a positive impact on naturally replenishing your body’s electrolytes.

But, what if you don’t have time for that? Well, sports drinks could be helpful. That said, read the labels! Many sports drinks now contain excess sugar (not good) at the expense of giving you the electrolytes you need.

QUICK TIP: electrolyte drinks are best consumed DURING intense and prolonged training. Also, consider diluting the drink with water. Lastly, coconut water contains all the essential elements for a natural electrolyte drink (but read the labels!).

So, where do I begin?

According to Jennifer Klau, Ph.D., “adequate fluid intake for male and female adults are 3.7L/day (15 cups) and 2.7L/day (8 cups), respectively.”

Going back to what we discussed earlier, experts agree that a person should consume water as they feel the sensation of being thirsty. This is your body’s natural signal that you need more hydration.

For some people, keeping a hydration log can be very useful especially if they’re an athlete. There are several helpful mobile apps that can with this.

For others, limiting certain beverages (soda, alcohol, energy drinks, etc) is a great first step.

In fact, here are a few suggestions to help you:

  • Keep a bottle of water with you during the day. To reduce your costs, carry a reusable water bottle and refill it.
  • Drink water before, during, and after a workout.
  • When you’re feeling hungry, drink water. Thirst is often confused with hunger. True hunger will not be satisfied by drinking water. Drinking water may also contribute to a healthy weight-loss plan. Some research suggests that drinking water can help you feel full.
  • If you have trouble remembering to drink water, drink on a schedule. For example, drink water when you wake up, at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and when you go to bed. Or, drink a small glass of water at the beginning of each hour.
  • Drink water when you go to a restaurant. It will keep you hydrated, and it’s free.
  • Consume 500 ml upon waking and again before bed. Then, as needed throughout the day.

Congratulations! You’re now on your way to living a healthier lifestyle simply by being more mindful of your hydration. Of course, this is only the beginning. Easily support this new habit by surrounding yourself with a community of people who will support your healthy decisions. How? Join a FREE session at Invictus where REAL people like you are getting REAL results for the REAL world!

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mental health and martial arts

Improving Mental Health With Martial Arts

May is Mental Health Awareness Month so we’re taking a minute to showcase how martial arts can help. For several years, Mental Health America has acknowledged and advocated for fitness as a tool to help those who live with mental illness find pathways to wellness and ultimately thrive in life.

It is well-known that people who live with mental health issues can benefit from physical exercise like martial arts.

In fact, recent scientific publications in the American Journal Of Men’s Health and BMC Psychology support these claims. Experts agree that training in the martial arts can be a transformative experience offering many benefits to those who live with mental illness including mentorship, a sense of achievement, and increased confidence.

Here are three ways we improve mental health with martial arts…

Manage And Reduce Stress

It is well known that training in martial arts is a great way to get in shape, raise your metabolism, build muscle strength, increases flexibility, and improve immune system responses. But did you know that all of these aspects also play a role in reducing areas of potential stress?

As you train your body to become stronger, physically, you are also training it to better handle future stressors.

Of course, practicing martial arts also naturally releases endorphins, the “feel-good” hormone, into your body. These endorphins can help relieve pain and reduce emotional stress. In fact, the neuron receptors that endorphins bind to are the same ones that bind to some common prescription pain medications. That means you can experience the same relief from martial arts training without the possibility of addiction or dependency. Research out of Harvard Health has also shown that exercise, like martial arts, is an effective but often underutilized all-natural treatment for mild to moderate depression. 

Develop Self-Control

Being able to manage and regulate our emotions is something we practice every day, but for those who live with mental illness, this can be a significant challenge. A common strategy used for regulating emotions is attentional deployment, or redirecting attention. For people who struggle with managing anger or anxiety, martial arts can be a positive channel to redirect their energy. Training in the martial arts can also help redirect feelings of powerlessness and encourage feelings of self-confidence. Specifically, learning self-protection skills helps shift feelings of victimization to feelings of self-control. Sparring under adrenaline stress helps develop skills to manage adrenaline and learn to control fight or flight responses. Ultimately, martial arts training helps people develop improved self-control, form healthier habits, and reduce impulsivity.

Increase Self-Esteem

Because strong social support is important for those with depression, participating in a small group martial arts class may be beneficial. In fact, martial arts group classes can improve self-esteem through consistent positive verbal reinforcement from peers, instructors, and coaches. Additionally, when a person masters a new skill or earns a higher belt rank, their sense of achievement automatically boosts their self-confidence and they learn to feel good about themselves and their accomplishments.

So, when you’re ready to experience how martial arts can transform your life, SCHEDULE YOUR FREE SESSION with us today! We love helping REAL people like you get REAL results for the REAL world.

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