Revitalize Your Fitness Routine This Spring

The days are getting longer, the sun is coming out and temperatures are warming. Nature is starting to show just how beautiful she is. All the signs of Spring are in the air. It feels good to shake off the Winter coats, step outside and breathe. Amidst the wardrobe and lifestyle changes, you may feel inspired to breathe new life into your fitness routine.

Spring is a great time to take inventory of your current fitness routine and assess what’s working for you and what isn’t. Perhaps you haven’t committed to as many workouts as you resolved to in the new year or the winter weather kept you indoors more than you prefer. Spring weather presents you with more workout options than any other time of year. Here are some ideas to make the most of spring and revitalize your fitness routine for the season:

Incorporate Outdoor Workouts

There are a myriad of outdoor activities to participate in, from outdoor boot camps, group fitness classes, tennis, golf, hiking, cycling, and jogging. Even a leisurely, long walk is worth mentioning as a workout can simply be moving your body. Working out outdoors is a beautiful change of scenery and can improve your mood just from being outdoors in fresh air. There is also the physical health benefit of increased Vitamin D exposure as well. The longer days make it easier to fit in an early morning or evening workout.

Try Something New 

Attend a new group fitness class you haven’t tried before, enlist a trainer at your local gym to motivate and support your fresh start, or sign up for lessons to learn a new sport. You will learn new skills, challenge your body in different ways, and gain confidence. Nothing changes until you do. The two most powerful ways we can physically re-start our body is to re-examine and modify how we move and what we eat.

Schedule Your Workouts

Be realistic about your schedule and start with a plan you can commit to. Enlist a workout buddy to try a fitness class with you. Plan ahead by scheduling your workouts and commit to the time and day. Our minds are easily swayed to sleep in, brunch, or simply skip a workout. A reward system can help to, if you commit to your weekly workout schedule, treat yourself. Setting and scheduling attainable goals can help you achieve success. This in turn builds confidence and improves mental health.

Prioritize Post-Workout Recovery

Sometimes if we go too fast and too hard we are left crippled for days and unable to work out for the rest of the week. Ease into your workout, if it’s been a minute, and be sure to prioritize post-workout recovery. Even ten minutes of gentle stretching after a workout can help our body look and feel better. In addition, our energy will be optimized in a more controlled, calm way. In addition, refuel your body with nutrient rich foods and beverages to promote recovery and optimize performance. Be sure to incorporate hydrating fruits and vegetables like pineapple and cucumbers, and protein like eggs and yogurt, into your post-workout routine. This will help support muscle repair and replenish energy stores.

Try any or all of these tips to maximize your springtime workouts and achieve your health and wellness goals!


Cold Plunge Wellness

You may have already tried the cold water craze that has sparked quite an interest in the fitness and wellness industry. Perhaps it started as an invigorating cold shower for a few minutes to wake up or the one-time ALS challenge of dumping an ice bucket over your head on Facebook. Either way, for time immemorial people have enjoyed jumping into cold water and thus there have always been reasons about why a cold water immersion can be good for you. Since Signature Fitness has heard our client’s request and is now investing in making their dreams come true with an upscale recovery lounge replete with cold plunge tubs, clients can soon find out for themselves. In the meantime, we’re doing the research to see exactly what the benefits of a cold plunge are.

One can already surmise from experiential participation that cold plunging feels amazing. Not when first  submerged of course, but once you acclimate and certainly afterwards, there’s a feeling of invigoration and vitality. You feel motivated, ready, and alive. It’s even risen in popularity as a community event. There are a group of cold plungers, called the Puget Sound Plungers, who meet on Seattle beach weekly to jump into the Pacific Ocean. They claim to have “discovered the magic of cold water immersion that heals and revitalizes their physical and mental health”. Cold plunge groups such as this one have popped up around the world at public cold water locations.

Scientists and researchers who have been studying how the human body is affected by the cold have concluded that more research needs to be done about cold water immersion benefits. In studies so far, the water temperature, duration of immersion, and types of exposure vary so there aren’t consistent results despite the beneficial claims made on cold plunge advertisements and social media. What researchers have been able to gather about cold plunges, through numerous studies, is enough though to inspire a cold plunge. Researchers have gathered enough evidence to claim the following as benefits of cold plunging:

Increased Motivation – One study has shown that a cold plunge at 57 degrees Fahrenheit caused a 250% increase in dopamine levels which may be why one feels so good after a plunge. Some people have claimed that once submerged for a period of time your body acclimates to the cold and it’s possible to stay a bit longer to reap the benefits of the increased dopamine that can last for days.

Improved Mood – Cold plunging can affect our blood sugar level. Science has proven that our blood sugar levels affect our mood. High blood sugar levels can cause mood swings, depression, and acting out. Continual and acute cold plunging can improve insulin sensitivity by lowering our blood sugar.

Reduce Inflammation – Cold plunging after a workout can reduce the degree of exercise-induced muscle damage. This in turn reduces the amount of inflammation and soreness, restoring the body for optimal performance.

Weight Loss – Some studies have shown slight weight loss with cold plunging due to the increase of our metabolic rate when in the cold. The body has to increase our internal furnace when submerged in cold water to survive. This in turn increases our metabolism. However, long term weight loss has not been substantiated in research.

There are some precautions one should take before taking the plunge. Get your physicians ok if you already have a weakened immune system or any heart conditions. Be sure to plunge after a good night’s rest and not after a night of partying, and use your own good judgment about how long to stay submerged. Everyone’s physical condition is unique and can handle varying doses of cold water submersion. Conclusively, cold plunging sounds like it’s worth giving a try and see how you enjoy the benefits.

Love Abound

Valentine’s day is here and images of hearts, chocolates, articles on self-love, and the perfect ‘Gift lists’ are everywhere. It’s that time of the year when we express our love to our loved ones with gifts, cards, and romantic excursions. Doesn’t it make you smile to think of people just taking time to be in love? All relationships need nurturing and Valentine’s Day is a good time to shower our loved ones with affection and chocolates.
It’s also worth mentioning that with all this Valentine expression there is one relationship that can always use nurturing and that is the relationship that we have with ourselves. So before we reach out to others, we can cultivate the kind of love that’s written in the stars within our own selves.
Love shows up as having patience for oneself and taking care of oneself. Being kind to ourselves can lower anxiety, ease depression, and gives us a sense of ownership over the aspects of our lives that we can control. Self-love can grow our resilience and expand our hearts to include others. Practicing self-love can help us to awaken the deep love that exists within all of us. Every time you have picked yourself up after a heartbreaking fall, every time you saw someone in need and reached out to help them, or quietly put your life in loving order one deep breath at a time, you begin to realize that everything you have been searching for is within.
Often the moments that we are invited to choose to move from this loving place are really challenging moments. They are the times in our lives when we would rather lash out at each other, and/or sabotage ourselves in a myriad of addicting ways that the world offers us. So, how do we overcome the obstacles to choose the loving route? Preparedness is key and we can start to reshape our patterns today. Here are a few ways you can start to strengthen a loving connection within your own self:
  • Quiet Time. Take time to be quiet and get to know yourself away from your screens, and the noise of daily life. Insight Timer is a cool app with soothing bells to time your meditation. Even just 5 minutes can be enough to spend time with your thoughts.
  • Journal. Write down what you really like about yourself and expand on those aspects of yourself. Journal about a time in your life when you were hurt, lonely or sad, and contemplate that time. In your mind go back to that age and let yourself know that ‘I got you, I see you and I’m here for you’. Speak to your younger self the way you would speak to someone that you love and respect.
  • Forgive. People hurt others, because they’re hurt. When we realize that we become more compassionate towards others and are able to forgive. It doesn’t mean you should stay close to people who continually hurt  you. In fact, distance might be best. However, we can forgive others, not take everything so personally, and learn from each situation.
  • Say Thank You. When you wake up in the morning, say thank you. Thank you for existing, that in of itself is a miracle. You are here and as the universe moves through you, there is a reason for your being.
  • Help Others. If there is a way that you can be of assistance, do it. If there’s a kind word that can be employed, say it. We exist on this earth together for a reason. It’s through each other that we can realize Love.

I leave this list with you. Maybe just pick one thing I mentioned, think about it, and if you agree it could be useful, try it out for a day. These practices take practice, but are worth the effort because there is an infinite love inside each of us just waiting to be expressed 💕 and on a beautiful plus note, when we love ourselves, this has a ripple effect on others. People can pick up on our emotional state through mirror neurons, so our compassion and self-love is contagious!    Prema xx

p.s. meaning of Prema = Divine Love 🙂

Medicinal Cacao

Reflection on these cold, wintery days can bring about feelings of needing warmth, grounding, and a call for the heart to release blockages. Cacao can be used as a vehicle to transport you deep into your own longing and as a co-creator, you can use it on your path to healing. You can use each experience to work on something different. Enjoy this recipe:

6 oz pure, still water

1/4 100% cacao

2 medjool dates

8 sprouted peeled almonds (can omit)

4 oz fresh almond milk

Bring water to a boil, once boiling lower temp to medium low and whisk in 1/4 c of cacao. Simmer while you blend almond milk, dates, and almonds. Add almond milk mixture to simmering cacao.

From the time you add the water to the pot, start chanting your mantra. If you don’t have one, you can use ‘OM’ or try an affirmation such as I am love, I am loving, I am loved. Once your cacao is ready, fill your mug, ring a bell, close your eyes and take a deep breath in. Thank Mother Nature for the cacao and many blessings in your life. Call to mind what is on your heart and let the worry pass, know that with each mindful, healing sip of your medicinal cacao you are bringing in potent energy for deep healing. Let everything else go.

You are Love. xx


Happy and Healthy New Year 2024!

Happy New Year Signature Fitness! May it bring feelings of comfort, peace, and joy. May we be inspired to share our peace and joy with one and all. As we gently transition into the winter months, our lifestyle is most prevalent to protect ourselves from the elements. Luckily, most of us, if not all, have a warm place to rest our head and this is not to be taken for granted. We have much to be grateful for and a place to call home is a blessing indeed with so many people around the world displaced. If you’re reading this, perhaps take a moment to close your eyes and mentally say ‘thank you’ to the people and the energy that has come into your life to provide the security that you have at this moment.

Gratitude is the key to abundance and to share some of the knowledge, here are some lifestyle tips to help you ring in the new year with good health in the forefront of your mind, for we all know – good health is true wealth.
1. Warm baths – this is the time of the year to indulge in a warm epsom salt bath, not too hot but just enough to indulge in the evening before you go to bed. This will help you sleep deeply and peacefully throughout the night.
2. Sleep in – I know, what!? But it’s true, you may find yourself wanting to sleep a bit past 5:30 am or your typical wake up time. This is expected in the Winter months. The body is telling you it’s time to rest. If you have the luxury of sleeping in until 6:30 am or 7 am, do it. Now is the time to rest. As a side note, sleeping too far into the morning until 9 or 10 am can be too indulgent and result in grogginess throughout the day. It can also affect your sleep come nighttime.
3. Connect with nature – when you go outside, notice the elements of the earth. Right now, it’s cold, dry, windy on some days and when raining or snowing, wet. Notice how these elements make you feel. What do they remind you of? How can you appreciate and move with these elements?
4. Eat wholesome, delicious foods – now is the time to enjoy the heavier dishes of the year, a lentil soup, beef bourguignon, baked potatoes with olive oil and lemon juice, sweet potatoes, collard greens, kale, and most bitter greens with sweet grains. Use warming spices such as cumin, salt, black pepper, ginger, lime, and chilies. It’s also a great time to enjoy the heavier fruits like bananas, dates, papayas, mangoes, and figs. Foods that can be reduced are the foods that share the same qualities as the elements that are dry, hard and processed – like raw foods, chips and crackers, and cold foods like ice cream and dairy products.
5. Dress Warmly – I know it’s tempting to run out of the gym with your shorts on and without a hat, but cold loves to reside in the ears. This can result in ear infections, ear aches, and as we age it can speed up hearing loss. Keep your neck and ears covered, put on a pair of pants and a coat. Keep your body warm.
6. Exercise Daily – this is the season to move the body for at least 20 minutes a day. Go for a run, join a dance class, or any group fitness class and move your body. If you can breathe in and out of the nose easily, this is a good measure of a good cardiovascular zone.
7. Socialize – enjoy the social aspect of being together. Whether it’s at the supermarket or at the gym, say hi to the people next to you. Greet the people who are in a group fitness class with you, greet a member on the stationary bike or treadmill. It doesn’t have to mean that you’re flirting. Perhaps just smiling and sharing a common experience is enough to impress upon our being that we are not alone. Shared experiences are underrated when normalized that it has to be done with a partner. Just being in a common place with others and having a shared experience can enhance feelings of belonging and community.
I hope this New Year brings you good health, an unprecedented joy, and profound peace. May you reach new heights and realize the great love that not only surrounds you but is within you.
Happy New Year Signature Fitness!
p.s. Let me know what you want to learn more about in the lifestyle section, I would love to write articles inspired by your recommendations. Submit your thoughts here: [email protected]

Interview with Coach Jimmy Toppeta

Jimmy Toppeta is a crossfit coach at Signature Fitness. In addition to being a CrossFit coach at Signature Fitness, he holds a master’s degree in Exercise Science, has been teaching elementary school Health and Physical Education for 19 years, and is a single dad of two girls. This month he took the time to answer some of our questions about Crossfit.

Prema: How did you get into CrossFit?
Coach Jimmy: Watching youtube videos of the CrossFit athletes competing at the CrossFit games.  I started watching all of the videos of the different movements involved in CrossFit and I was hooked.
Prema: What are the benefits of CrossFit?
Coach Jimmy: CrossFit is an effective workout for building strength, agility, and flexibility, and improving your aerobic fitness. What’s important is consistency just like any other exercise routine.  Staying consistent will help you reach your goals and maintain them.  Cannot stress this enough with clients – you get what you put into it.

Prema: Tell us a little about the CrossFit community.

Coach Jimmy: Community is one of the things that makes CrossFit unique.  People coming together building relationships.  I have been doing this since 2013 and built strong relationships along the way.  I plan on building more relationships here at Signature CrossFit.

Prema: Are there dietary recommendations for those who make CrossFit their primary workout?

Coach Jimmy: Stick to clean eating.  Stay away from processed food.  Lean meats, fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, plenty of water.  Ingredients that you cannot pronounce, probably isn’t something we should put into our bodies.  Protein is key.  Eat at least 1 gram of protein per bodyweight.  Carbs fuel our workouts.  Healthy fats.  If you’re counting macros, about 45-50% carbohydrate, 25-30% protein, 20-25% healthy fats.

Prema: What does a daily workout schedule look like?

Coach Jimmy: Daily workout schedule for CrossFit includes a whiteboard brief.  Followed by a general warm up which is designed to raise core body temperature.  Then a more specific warm up priming our bodies for the strength portion, or conditioning.  Strength would be either a primary lift such as a back squat, deadlift, bench press, etc. or an olympic lift such as a snatch or clean.  Then finally conditioning which typically lasts anywhere between 5 to 25 minutes.  Then a cool down.

Prema: How do you balance being a single dad, a coach, and maintaining your own fitness?

Coach Jimmy: Balancing all these roles can be demanding, but it comes down to effective time management and prioritization. My daughters are my top priority, so I make sure to schedule dedicated time for them. As for coaching and personal fitness, I integrate them into my routine. CrossFit is not just a job for me; it’s a passion. So, coaching becomes a seamless part of my day. It’s all about finding harmony between responsibilities and personal well-being.

Thank you for your time Jimmy and sharing your knowledge with us. Jimmy coaches at Signature Fitness Thursday evenings at 6:15 pm – 7:15 pm.




Fall Colors

The fall colors are so beautiful right now. It can be too easy to pass them by without so much as a glance though. There’s a lot going on in the world, much of it beyond our control and that can feel overwhelming. It’s important to be reminded that we can be there for each other. When we take time to notice and help others, we realize that our life has meaning and this has proven to increase our own self worth.

Everything we are experiencing is a part of our story and the power resides within each of us to decide how we can live a meaningful life. Our mood can be uplifted by the simple action of smiling at someone we see all the time but never really look at. We can help by holding the door open for others, picking up litter, holding space for someone that needs to cry, and by truly listening to each other. When we need to fill our own cup we must be sure to take care of our physical body – eat well, go for a run, take a deep breath or many. The physical body is not so we can feel worthy of others’ love. We take care of the physical body so that we can use this vessel to serve others, so that we can sit on the floor and play with our children, and live long enough to share inspiring teachings and stories with the next generation.
In all of the busy-ness of the season, take time for yourself, read a good book, write, spend time with nurturing friends, and turn off screens for extended periods of time. Every moment is an opportunity to evolve, and every encounter an opportunity to serve.
Decide for yourself, what kind of person you want to be and even if it’s just for today, start moving in that direction. It can seem daunting to even begin to choose happiness for ourselves when we are weighed down with the brutality around the world, our own expectations, and stress, but there’s an intelligence that moves within each one of us filled with purpose that is waiting to be realized.  The same cosmic intelligence that created this magical universe, and these gorgeous fall colors, created you too. You are here and I am thankful for that, because through each other, we can experience our own divine Self.
At the very least, if you have read this far, spend some time outdoors and check out the fall colors, breathe in some fresh air and experience the beauty of the season. These fall colors are enough to be grateful to be here.

The Autumn Diet

The leaves are beginning to change color, apple picking season is in its prime and soon pumpkins will be arriving by the truckload. The air is crisp, light, and clear and the autumn winds stir up the landscape, signaling the coming of cooler weather. The cooler weather generally inspires a new level of busyness with changing schedules and our diet is naturally affected. Here are some ideas to make the transition into fall a little sweeter and more grounded.

Transitioning into autumn involves clearing excess heat accumulated during the summer and nourishing the body for the upcoming colder months. We can align our diets with the season by incorporating bitter, astringent foods, and sweet tastes.

Bitter and astringent foods cleanse the body from summer, while sweet foods nourish our deep tissue layers preparing the body for late fall and winter. Include coconut oil, figs, brown rice, oats, avocado, eggs, goats milk, nut butters, raw nuts, spinach and other dark, leafy greens, beets, maple syrup and cacao in your recipes. Drink herbal teas and warm water. Try to avoid excessive caffeinated drinks and dry foods like crackers and chips. With proper nourishment our bodies can stay supple with a balanced amount of moisture and energy.

Cooked pears and apples are a delicious addition for your fall menu. Their natural sweetness is enhanced with a sweet spice mix, creating a comforting and wholesome breakfast. Will and Prema recently made a video of cooked pears with a sweet spice to enjoy  on its own, with a sprinkle of granola, or with a warm, comforting bowl of oatmeal. It will be posted on social media soon 🙂

In the meantime, here’s the recipe:

1 pear, 1 c of water, pinch of cardamom, cinnamon and ginger powder, coconut oil. Put a bit of coconut oil and toast the spices for 30 seconds, once you can smell the ginger powder, add the sliced pears and water. Bring to a boil and then turn on medium heat for about 5 -7 minutes. Once the pears are soft, the water should be mostly absorbed. They are delicious with a bit of honey on top, enjoy! 🍐

Stay Cool This Summer

We are in the season of summer fun! Everything seems brighter and we spend more time outside, at the beach, the lake, enjoying campfires, barbeques, festivals, and all the fun that these warmer months bring. By the end of Summer, we can feel depleted, bloated, and burnt out. Instead of rushing into the next season by September, we can balance our bodies and minds and feel our best all summer long.

First, let’s examine the ways that we fall out of balance:

  1. Excessively eating foods that are fried, fermented, oily, spicy, sour, and intense, like caffeine and alcohol.
  2. Overscheduling our social and work calendar
  3. Gossiping, arguing, and debating
  4. Exercising in hot, humid environments
  5. Overly competitive exercise

These imbalances can show up in many ways. Our skin is usually the first part of our physical being that shows imbalances in the body and mind. In the summer, we tend to get skin rashes, acne, more prone to sunburn, and susceptible to poison ivy if we are around the plant. Too much heat in the body can also show up as heartburn, indigestion, bloating, and loose stools. Bloodshot, burning, and irritated eyes are also common telltale signs that there is too much heat in the body. Our behavior is affected as well. We tend to be more critical, easily angered, frustrated, and judgmental.

Like all things in the natural world, there are holistic remedies to cool our fire and enjoy the best of the season in balance:

  1. Nourish Yourself  – Favor nourishing, cooling, and simple foods. Leafy greens, bitter and astringent foods like arugula, and cucumbers. Light soups and any grain are also welcome nutrition for the body.
  2. Exercise – Exercise in a well-ventilated, cool facility.
  3. Slow down – Relax the social and professional calendar. With FOMO a very real feeling, we can put ourselves into overdrive. Take a step back, even if it’s a small part of your day, to chill. Spend time in nature, walk barefoot in the cool morning grass, relax in the shade.
  4. Massage – Practice self-care with a coconut oil self-massage, a cool foot bath, or shower – a cool shower at the end of the day can feel amazing right before you get into bed.
  5. Cold Plunge – Take a cold plunge to reduce inflammation, swelling, and stress. Jump into the ocean at sunrise and experience deep healing from the negative ions by the ocean, Sunbathe with the rising sun. If you can’t get to the ocean, there are local health facilities that now offer cold plunge services.

Lastly, think good thoughts, meditate, and realize the gift of being alive! Take care of yourself and then share your cool, beaming, balanced self with the people around you.

Written by Prema Michelle Petersen