Does Muscle Weigh more than Fat?

I took a Core Fusion class last night and after someone asked me “How much weight have you lost while doing Core Fusion?” I explained to her that I haven’t lost much weight but I have lost 4 inches on each thigh and a couple inches everywhere else. Not only did I lose inches but I am much toner than I used to be and my clothes fit better. Core Fusion helps you gain lean muscle mass which is better for your body. I told her muscle weighs more than fat and after I said that I started to wonder if that was actually true…

I have always been an advocate of measuring yourself rather than weighing yourself. Losing inches to me is more important than losing weight. I always used the saying muscle weighs more than fat, and guess what I found out… muscle does NOT weigh more than fat. 1 pound of muscle weighs 1 pound and 1 pound of fat weighs 1 pound.  A pound is a pound. Here is the difference between muscle and fat, a pound of fat is much more bulky and take up more room than a pound of muscle. Muscle is leaner and does not take up as much room. So in terms of volume fat will take up more room and will make you look more bulky.

The next thing I learned is fat does not turn into muscle. You can lose fat and gain muscle but fat can not just turn into muscle. Now the reason why I think that measuring yourself makes more sense than weighing yourself is because “the scale only tells you your entire body weight. It does not tell you the composition of that weight. And it is body composition that really matters.” says William R. Sukala, MS, CS, a personal trainer. He also said “Because a pound of muscle burns more fat than a pound of fat, even at rest, by increasing your lean muscle tissue mass, you’re helping your body burn more calories. If you only have a small amount of weight to lose, then you may feel like the weight training is not helping you move down on the scale. In fact, the number may even go up, but you will look thinner. This is due to an increase in lean body mass (muscle, bone, blood volume) and a decrease in body fat. In other words, even if the scale doesn’t change much, you will probably see a difference in how your clothes fit.”

If you have never taken a body composition you should see if you gym offers body composition testing, to get an idea of where your body is. This will not only help you understand your body better but help you choose workouts that will work for you. Martica Heaner, M.A., M.Ed., for MSN Health & Fitness says “If someone is working out and not losing weight, or not losing as much as they want—or if they’re actually gaining weight—the first place to look is the type and amount of exercise. Weight loss boils down to burning more calories than you normally use in a day. Cardio exercise burns more calories than muscle-toning or the average resistance-training workout. So dialing down the stretching and core work to just once or twice a week, and replacing it with more cardio should produce more weight loss. And the more minutes the better when it comes to weight loss.”

So now you know, muscle does not weigh more than fat and if you already knew thanks for reading my blog!

Images from Mad Brew Labs and Cambridge Charlie.

Review: Body Enlightening at Exhale Spa

Today I decided to try a Massage and Body Therapy at Exhale Spa with Fred Devito. The massage therapy I tried is called Body Enlightening. It is a 60 minute session that is a mix of Thai massage, a little acro yoga, stretching and relaxation. The sessions are held at the Exhales Spa locations at Central Park South and the Upper East Side. You should wear comfortable clothing like yoga pants and a tank top. If you are like me, I had no idea what Thai Yoga massage or acro yoga was, so I was in for a complete surprise this morning. But it was the most amazing massages I have had.

I found out that Thai massage is also called “Thai yoga massage, because the therapist uses his or her hands, knees, legs, and feet to move you into a series of yoga-like stretches. Many people say Thai massage is like doing yoga without any work. Muscle compression, joint mobilization, and acupressure are also used during treatment. Thai massage is both relaxing and energizing.” Acro yoga is partner yoga.

After a 60 minute session with Fred I felt refreshed and so much better. My muscles had held so much tension from all the Core Fusion and exercise classes I have done, this was the perfect complement to everything I had done to my body. Why would you do a Body Enlightening session and not a normal table massage? Body Enlightening is really good for athletes, dancers, or anyone that does a lot of fitness classes, running ect, that puts a lot of strain on your body. Since the massage is done in clothing it gives you more freedom to move and stretch than a table massage. In the past I would always go get a deep tissue massage because I thought that would help relieve a lot of the tension I held, but every time I left disappointed. It was extremely relaxing, don’t get me wrong, but they didn’t get to where all my tension was and Body Enlightening did. The best way to describe it is, assisted  stretching, similar to what they do after a personal training session but much more focused.

If you workout a lot or have taken a lot of Core Fusion classes, I recommend that you try a Body Enlightening session, you will leave feeling refreshed and relaxed. It was funny after my session with Fred I asked him “So why do you call it Body Enlightening?” And he said “Well how do you feel right now?” My answer, ” Enlightened and refreshed”. There really wasn’t a better way to describe it :).  For more information on Body Enlightening visit Exhale’s website. One session costs $155 which is very comparable to any massage you can get. Believe me, it is worth it. One note to think about if you decide to try, you must be able to let yourself go, do not hold any tension.

Images from Minnesota Gal.


Bring Core Fusion to You

So you read my blog about Core Fusion and how much I love it but your not anywhere near an Exhale location. That is not a problem Fred Devito and Elisabeth Halfpapp have made DVD’s so you can get the same results at home. During my first visit to Exhale I left with the DVD because I didn’t know when I would be back in New York to take the class again. I bought the Core Fusion: Body Sculpt.

The Body Sculpt DVD is divided into 5 different segments, just like the class, each section last about 10 minutes. The DVD is just like the class except for a few minor things. The one thing I do miss is the fun music they play during class so if you need a little more upbeat music I would suggest playing some of your own music in the background to keep you motivated. Equipment you will need is: a set of 3 pound weights (4 pounds is you want something heavier for biceps), and the back of a chair. If you have a band for stretching that is also a great idea. You do not need too much space for this workout.

If strength training is not part of your routine and you do not know where to get started, this is your answer. I promise if  you do this 3-4 times a week you will start to see changes in your body. I even challenge you to do the 30 Core Fusion Challenge. Do a Core Fusion DVD 4-6 times a week for 30 days and you will start to see amazing changes in your body. I can finally do straight legged push ups!

The DVD even comes with a free class so if you make it out to New York, give me a call and I will go take a class with you. Core Fusion has made 4 DVDs and they have more coming out but Amazon sells Exhale Core Fusion Collection for $32.49 which is an amazing deal. You will get 3 of the DVDs in one.

  1. Core Fusion Body Sculpt
  2. Core Fusion Pilates Plus
  3. Core Fusion Thighs and Glutes

Or if you don’t want to get all three you can order the separate DVDs on Amazon for $10.49.

So What is Core Fusion?

After telling everyone about Core Fusion and Exhale I always get “So what exactly do you do?” and that is a very good question. I like to explain Core Fusion as a mix between Yoga, Pilates, Ballet, and strength training. The class lasts 60 minutes and depending on the teacher it can run a little over.

You start with a quick warm up to get the body warm and when I say quick I mean quick. It was really funny because I brought my Mom to a class in Ann Arbor and she was like lifting you legs is not a warm up but it really helps and it is all you need to do to get you ready for the rest of the class. Next you move into a plank and a serious of push ups. After the push ups you concentrate on arms. You do a series of arm strengthening exercises with 3 pound weights. I know it doesn’t sound like much but you do not need more than that. In the class you burn your muscles to fatigue and then stretch them out to get long lean muscles instead of bulky muscles. After you finish arms you move to the bar todo thighs and glutes. After glutes the rest of the class you work on abs; doing flat back, round back, and an exercise they call “the Curl”. The curl is one of the most effective exercises you can do to work every muscle in your abs, it is also one of the hardest things I have ever done. Class finishes with stretching.

Core Fusion is primarily a core strengthening class it is not a lot of cardio which is why I recommend doing Core Fusion Sport or another cardio activity to complement Core Fusion.

It is suggested you do Core Fusion three times a week but there is no limit to how many times a week you can go, it will not hurt you. You are building lean muscle and the more lean muscle you have the better your metabolism will be. As for the calories you burn in a class it is really hard to say because it depends on the percentage of lean muscle mass that you have in your body. But one instructor told me you probably burn about 250 to 300 calories. Do NOT get discouraged by this, I promise you will see results.

If you live in the New York area and can take a class, here are my favorite teachers: Fred Devito, Elisabeth Halfpapp, Bergen Wheeler, Laurie Levy, Tammy Rowe, Kayleigh Pleas, Myra Thibault, Barbara Boolukos, Page Rockwell, Katie Albarelli, Erin Jacques Lauren Weisman, and Jesse Manocherian.

I hope to see you in a class soon!

Review: Core Fusion at Exhale Spa

So my next visit and my last hope for taking my class in New York was Core Fusion at Exhale Spa. After my visit at Physique 57 I was very nervous, but a girl from Ann Arbor who was from New York had told me very good things about Core Fusion and told me to try a class with Elisabeth Halfpapp who is the Co-Founder of Core Fusion with her husband Fred Devito. I was lucky enough to find a class in the morning with Elisabeth! I was so excited. I checked out the website and did not sign up before hand because the offered a special price for students. I went to the Central Park South location which is right along the Park. It was beautiful! I did not have to take an elevator to get to it, I walked right into a beautiful reception area where the have a large selection of retail and beauty items. I spoke to the front desk staff who were extremely helpful and the guided me back to the locker room. The place was beautiful and serene. The locker rooms were huge, they gave you a complimentary locker and there were showers for after class. After I put my stuff away I found my way to the large studio room for Core Fusion. I can not tell you how happy I was when I saw how large the room was. Not only was it large it had sky light windows to let the natural light in.

Elisabeth walked in and I was amazed, she was beautiful and very in shape. She introduced herself to everyone in the room and you could tell she knew the regulars of the class which is really nice. It made Exhale Spa feel like a community. After and hour of being in good pain I knew I had found my home. During class Elisabeth was very attentive to everyone. She would fix your position if you needed help and if you ever had a concern she would address it. At the end we took a well needed savasana and then stretched after. It was everything I had been looking for, it reminded me of Pure Barre and I was happy. After class I went up to Elisabeth and introduced myself. I told her I had been practicing in Ann Arbor and that I loved Exhale and could not wait to move to New York. I also shared with her my interest of maybe teaching one day. She suggested that I take some of the other classes they offered like Core Fusion Sport and gave me two more classes for free. Since I was only in New York for 3 more days I took the classes back to back. By the end of the third day I was exhausted but loved Exhale even more!

I moved to New York in June and have been a member of Exhale ever since. I belong to the Soho location only because I am a recent college graduate and they offer an amazing deal for that location. I love the Soho Studio. It is also a large room but has no mirrors which I like because I find that I concentrate on myself more in class. Now all the instructors and receptionists know me by name. I love going to class and try to go every day. Living in New York I have found it hard to make friends but taking Core Fusion classes I have met so many wonderful people. In fact one of them has inspired me to start this blog. I used to belong to another gym in the city so I would be able to use the treadmill but I found that I never made it there and with the Core Fusion Sport class they have and Core Fusion Cardio coming out, I have all the Cardio I need. I see changes in my body every week and I am happy to say I have lost 3 inches in my thighs! If you have not tried the Lotte Berk Method I highly suggest you try it. If you want an amazing experience I highly suggest you try Exhale but there are many studios around the City. You just won’t see me there ;)

For more information on Exhale Spa and to sign up for a class go to www.exhalespa.com.

The Lotte Berk Method

I was introduced to the Lotte Berk Method in Ann Arbor, Michigan at the Pure Barre Studio. I had stumbled upon a flyer in the college newspaper and it was offering buy one class get one free. In college I loved any class that would get me out of the gym so I thought I would give it a try.

For those of you who don’t know what the Lotte Berk Method is, it is an exercise method that originated in London almost 50 years ago by a famous German dancer. It got its start as an exercise for women to strengthen their spines and core. But, people noticed how beautiful their bodies were becoming and it soon grew in popularity with the movie stars and stage people like dancers. Lydia Bach brought it to the U.S. and further refined the method to make it a single, all encompassing exercise for women that basically does it all: strength, endurance, cardio, body sculpting, weight loss, and flexibility. The end goal is to develop a dancer’s body. Please go to http://www.lotteberkmethod.net/ to find out more information. After decades of success Lydia Bach closed down her studios but licensed her method to some of her instructors hence the birth of Pure Barre.

Attending my first class at Pure Barre I had no idea what to expect. But one hour later and a rude awakening to how out of shape I actually was I was hooked. I immediately bought an unlimited month pass and attended class 5 to 6 days a week. After a couple of weeks I noticed changes in my body. This was the first time I actually saw a change in my body, my arms and thighs were getting more toned. After all those boring nights on the treadmill and seeing no results I finally found something that I could see a change in. The only sad part was I had just found Pure Barre in January and I was graduating from the University in Michigan in April and I would be leaving Ann Arbor to move to New York City. I was so sad, so I asked my instructors how I would be able to take class in New York and they laughed and said they have some of the best studios there. They mentioned two Physique 57 and Exhale Spa which had Core Fusion.

I was so excited so during one of my trips out to New York I tried both studios.