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Never apologize for having high standards 
or for setting healthy boundaries for yourself.

— Betty Rocker, Certified Exercise Coach & Certified Fitness Nutrition Practitioner
In the newsletter this week, we’ve got a startup journey, some kick-ass workouts, and a “worry hour” that will make you calmer. Read on...

Whether it’s in-person or online, fitness instructors motivate us and push us to our physical limits. Now, technology is helping them do their job even better.

Amira Polack is the founder of Struct Club, a mobile app for spin and cycle fitness instructors that makes it easier to plan and coach classes. Working as a fitness instructor on the side while attending Harvard Business School, she was frustrated that planning the class took three times as long as the actual class itself. Her fix was to build an app that lets fitness leaders choreograph classes using Spotify playlists, annotation, and countdown timers.

Struct Club is part of a trend in fitness of using tech to empower creators and help them build personal brands. Polack says of her startup journey: “The biggest personal challenge I’m still learning to surmount is the struggle to practice self-compassion, especially when the dream of the future is bigger than today’s reality. But, that’s also the fun of it.”

Wishing you fun amidst the hard work this week, Katherine & Linda
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Betty Rocker

“Wake up, kick ass, be kind, repeat!” That’s the motto of Bree Argetsinger, the certified exercise coach better known online as Betty Rocker. After attending Tufts on scholarship, Argetsinger applied her knowledge of kinesiology and anatomy to her work with motorcycle races and extreme sports athletes. Eventually, she got certified in fitness and nutrition and now provides personal training to a wider audience. 

Argetsinger preaches that health has four “pillars”: sleep, nutrition, stress management, and exercise. As a person who herself struggled with alcohol, drug, and food addictions, she has ample compassion for those working through life challenges, posting  this encouragement on her website: “When life feels heavy, remember – you’re not alone. Reach out. You’d love to support a friend feeling that way – so don’t be the person who doesn’t let your friends in to support you when YOU need it.”

Try this: Unlike a lot of YouTube workout videos that are similar to a group fitness class, Argetsinger’s workouts are more like working with a personal trainer—no music, lots of verbal coaching. Her 30-minute Upper Body and Abs Smash is a cardio and strength workout that requires dumbbells and an exercise ball; she provides specific form guidance throughout to optimize your results. 

If you prefer a quick, tough cardio routine, Argetsinger’s 20-minute Full Body Power Shred uses bodyweight only and guides you through explosive plyometrics that will boost your endurance. 
Bodyweight only doesn't mean it's easier, by the way! 
Strangely effective fitness equipment: sliders

Sliders are a terrific tool to add to a cardio workout to challenge your core and shoulder stability. Exercise physiologist Peter McCall explains in SELF:  "When you're pressing on a slider, you're essentially pushing force into the ground and since the ground doesn’t move under you, it presses tension back up onto you."

Sliders can be added to plank variations to work your core. This 3-minute Non-Stop Core Routine from Criticalbench using sliders with just three movements looks easy, but we tried it and—believe us—it’s brutal! 

Want more slider ideas? Cori Lefkowith from Redefining Strength illustrates 26 low-impact slider exercises to integrate into your routine.
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Retire your crystal ball: how to stop stressing about the future

“Fortune-telling” is the cognitive-behavioral therapy term for anxiously ruminating on the future. It’s a poor coping mechanism because our thinking is negatively skewed—we’re readying ourselves for unpleasant scenarios that may never occur.

Sahar Motakef, a CBT expert, explains in an interview with Vice: “People feel like, in order to deal with the anxiety of that bad thing happening, they have to prepare for it by rehearsing that scenario in their minds, so that, when it happens, it doesn't feel as hurtful and shocking." But dwelling on awful things that might occur actually doesn’t help us prepare for them—it just drags us down.

How to stop it? Give yourself permission to worry—but just for a while. Motakef recommends setting aside a dedicated “worry hour”: a discrete block of time where you can stress out, journal, and dream up worst-case scenarios. Then, exorcise those thoughts from the rest of your day.
What are the health benefits of kombucha?

Kombucha has gone from being a niche health-food-store product to mainstream grocery shelves. A fermented product, it was first brewed in China from yeast, sugar, and black tea. 

Kombucha made by traditional methods is carbonated, and contains a small amount of naturally-occurring alcohol, typically less than 0.5%. With more awareness of the dangers of sugary sodas, people are trying kombucha as an alternative.

Because kombucha contains probiotic bacteria, some have speculated that it could aid digestion and help strengthen the immune system. Alas, there’s a dearth of controlled, randomized research done on humans to assess the health claims. According to a microbiome scientist quoted in the New York Times: “We don’t know if it does anything.” 

Bottom line: don’t expect health benefits from kombucha, but drink it if you like the taste. We enjoy the Original flavor of GT Kombucha, which is still made traditionally by an independent company; the founder started bottling kombucha in his parents’ kitchen at age 15.
 Feeling less flexible from long hours at a desk? Try this 10-second test to check you how tight your hip flexors are (Well + Good)

 Make extra of these meatless quinoa-stuffed bell peppers with chickpeas and cheddar—they taste even better the next day (Choosing Chia)

 A 7-minute video tutorial on how to perform the perfect kettlebell start-stop swing—an ideal exercise for glute building (Mark Wildman)

 Baked, boiled, fried, or in a salad, shrimp are protein-dense but low in calories. This collection of shrimp recipes will help you add this tasty omega-3 source to your weekly menu (Healthy Recipes)

 Comparing & contrasting running outside versus running on the treadmill — find out which is more aligned with your goals (Greatist)
Thanks for reading, Fit Girls! We’ll return to your inbox next week with more inspiration and knowledge. Got a tip for us or opinion to share? Email us—we love your feedback. Enjoyed this issue? Please forward to a friend—your referrals help us grow!
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