WHAT DOES EXERCISE ACTUALLY DO FOR YOUR BRAIN?
Holly Sawyer /// July 14, 2019
You know how it goes. You’re sluggish before you go into the gym, only making it
in thanks to your discipline. You might have a great workout, or it might suck the whole
time, but either way, you leave feeling better and accomplished. This is because exercise
is a natural mood lifter!
Getting the blood pumping nutrients to the brain has immediate effects,
including increased neurotransmitters. These are chemicals in the brain that make you
feel or think a certain way. Neurotransmitters released during and after exercise include
dopamine and serotonin, both of which make you feel happier and generally improve wellbeing.
Exercise also reduces chemicals that cause feelings of stress and anxiety, thus, improving mood
Individuals should partake in cardiorespiratory exercise to benefit in
preventing Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative disorders. In other words, to reap the
benefits of cardiorespiratory exercise, blood pumping oxygen and other essential nutrients, you
must raise the heart rate for an extended period of time. Once your heart rate is elevated for an
extended period, the increased oxygen and essential nutrients flowing to the brain create the
ability to shift & focus attention for up to 2 hours.
Exercise produces new brain cells in the hippocampus, the area of the brain
involved in learning and memory. The anterior portion of the hippocampus may also
regulate emotional processing and working (short-term) memory. By increasing its
volume through physical exercise, long term memory, verbal memory, and learning can
The amazing benefits of exercise for the brain don’t stop there- it may also
protect the frontal cortex as well as the prefrontal cortex, areas of the brain responsible
for decision making. These areas are especially susceptible to neurodegenerative
diseases including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. By engaging in cardio exercise, one can
increase the size of frontal and prefrontal cortices, making the brain stronger and more
capable to fend off diseases.
You might be wondering, what is the minimum amount of exercise
needed to gain benefits of cardiorespiratory exercise?
Participants of one study walked briskly 1 hour twice a week. What were the results?? Experts
recommend aerobic activities 30 minutes, 3-4 times a week to reap the cognitive benefits of
However, simply moving your body by playing sports, walking, running, dancing,
swimming can boost your health tenfold. If you can’t make it to any of these, keep it
light with household chores: mopping, raking leaves, gardening or vacuuming. It all
helps you stay heart and brain healthy!
Adams, J. L., & Collins, R. O. (2013). Prefrontal Cortex : Developmental Dif erences, Executive and
Cognitive Functions and RoleinNeurological Disorders. New York: Nova Science Publishers, Inc.
Suzuki, W. (2018) “The brain-changing benefits of exercise” TED
Godman, H. (2018) Regularexercisechangesthe brain to improve memory, thinking skills. Harvard
Doyle, H. & Weaver, E. How doesexercise af ect your brain? The Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives
LEMME TELL YOU A FAT TRUTH
Holly Sawyer// May 24, 2019
So we’ve talked about carbohydrates and proteins. To complete the trinity of macronutrients, we
are going to focus on fats (aka lipids)- the role they play in your bodily activities, and the
infamous keto diet.
In the body, fat serves as cushion and protection for internal organs as well as outside of bones.
Fat is also found in bone marrow, the site of blood cell formation and mineral storage. Energy
from lipids or excess carbohydrates (those not metabolized) is stored in adipose tissue.
Fat is a little different than carbs or proteins. While both of those provide 4 calories/gram, fat
provides 9. It’s nutrient and energy density makes it easily consumed in excess. However, it
does provide lots of nutrients including energy, vitamins and minerals in tiny packages, making
it good for a quick snack that will provide long lasting energy.
FAT is GOOD FOR YOU! Eating it w i l l n o t make you fat.
While carbs burn quickly, fat continues to provide energy for low-moderately strenuous
exercises, such as yoga, hiking or gardening.
Fats should constitute 20-35% of your diet by the American Dietary Guidelines. This can vary
based on your daily living choices.
A few of my favorite fatty snacks include full fat greek yogurt, nuts and nut butters, eggs, a
homemade Reese’s with coconut oil.. Can you tell I’m hungry? Maybe I’ll start a recipe page.
Avocado is also a popular source of good fat, but it’s at the bottom of my list.
Tune in next time when we debunk the magical keto diet!
Give GROUP FITNESS a Go!
Holly Sawyer; May 10, 2019
180 fitness offers a variety of group fitness classes to help you reach your fitness and
health goals. If you are new to exercising with cardio or weights, you may want to start light.
Yoga and Body Flow are good classes to warm up the body and get a good stretch. If you are
challenged in the joints or experienced in years, you may want to try Silver Sneakers!
While HIIT and Cardio Circuit focus on cardiovascular health, Brick Bodies or Body
Pump incorporate more weight training. 180X is a healthy mix of both. None of the workouts are
ever the same, so you’re always in something new and challenging.
Our ballet-inspired Barre classes are sure to leave the booties burning and the abs on
fire! Get your dance on in Zumba, or mellow out after a good yoga session. With several
different teachers, you’re guaranteed to experience a variety of teaching styles and get stronger
Our spin classes know how to take it to the next level. The class is offered as early as
5:15 AM a few week days, and again at 5:30 in the evening. Let our instructors take you on a
ride over giant hills, pedaling through mountains and coasting to valleys. Your leg muscles will
thank you later, or maybe you should thank them.
It’s easy to feel intimidated walking into a class you’ve never done. But keep going,
because the only way to grow is by getting out of your comfort zone. Do not forget there are
modifications for every exercise, and our group fitness instructors are happy to tailor the
workout to your abilities to prevent any injuries.
These are only a few of the many group fitness classes we have to offer, but we highly
recommend you try them all! A schedule of classes can be found at the bottom of our home
Your journey is your own // Enjoy the ride, bro
Holly Sawyer; April 17, 2019
Hello readers, hope you all are well and making progress in all areas of life. As we enter the
swing of spring, finals, and the heat of summer, I want to bring a few gentle reminders to your
1. Give yourself a break.
2. Deep breaths; focus on the positive.
3. Rest days are vital.
This season can be stressful, filled with pressure to spring clean, lose the winter weight, and plan
the ultimate summer vacation with the money that you’ve worked so hard for. Somehow, you
manage to balance your full plate and still make time to exercise. From my own experiences, I
believe that sometimes, it feels like the days are running together.
Know that it is okay to not be okay sometimes. Instead of bottling it up, let yourself feel your
emotions, and talk to someone or write down your experiences if you think it would help.
Mental training is just as important as physical training, if not more.
Since you’re reading this, that can only mean that you have survived all of your past days, good
and bad. That’s something to smile about! Facing the day can be hard sometimes. Our trials will
try to weigh us down. If you feel overwhelmed, take a few deep breaths, find one positive thing
about the situation, and go from there. “It is not the load that breaks us, but the way we
For a lot of people, the gym is a safe haven- a place to escape doubt and negativity in our lives.
However, it is important to remember that our bodies need rest, too. Repeatedly training a
muscle creates unnecessary stress on the muscles, joints, and bones. Rest days are essential
for growth and recovery. Without them, people run the risk of torn muscles or ligaments,
fractured bones, or plateauing from overtraining.
I applaud you for working hard towards your goals- but remember to be kind to yourself. Take a
light break when you feel worn out. If you still want to be active, a long walk, yoga, or meditation
can be beneficial for the body as well as the mind.
I AM WOMAN, WATCH ME LIFT
Holly Sawyer; April 9, 2019
There is a common misconception that lifting weights will make people “bulky.” Not only
is this inaccurate for the simple fact that healthy looks different on everyone, but the benefits far
outweigh the negative aspects! Even then, negative aspects of weightlifting typically occur when
individuals do not get enough recovery time or strain a muscle.
I have been working at 180fitness for a little over three years now. When I ask people
why they want to start working out, one common fitness goal I hear is, “I just want to tone up.”
Has this thought ever crossed your mind? Look no further! The general population shares this
same goal, but by reading this article, YOU will have an idea of how to begin building your better
The number one reason for weight training is to build muscle mass. Increased muscle
mass will boost metabolism by causing the body burn more calories at rest. Building strength
will also help to reduce the risk of injury and osteoporosis. Weight training helps increase bone
density by putting more stress on the bones, which is why you shouldn’t be afraid to lift heavy.
As long as you’re using proper form, weight training is a perfectly safe and healthy way to
exercise, spend time with friends, blow off some steam or destress.
Does this mean that you have to run out of your house and pick up the heaviest things
you can find? Absolutely not, you might blow your back out. Weight training can still be effective
with lighter weights, especially if are new to lifting or have any limitations.
Ladies, do not fear the heavy dumbbells! Don’t worry, you won’t get bulky. Most women
simply do not possess the level of testosterone necessary to support a bulky physique. It would
take some serious heavy lifting and a few rounds of steroids to get that swole.
Remember, for your muscles to grow and help you gain that “toned” appearance, you
have to eat! You don’t have to starve yourself to feel pretty. Strong is the new skinny. Several of
our group fitness classes incorporate weight lifting with modifications for every fitness level.
Can’t make it to a class? Ask for a circuit training at the front desk, or just for any exercise
recommendations from the knowledgeable Front Desk Staff! We are more than happy to help.
Holly Sawyer; April 1, 2019
So you want to make gains, do you? Gym rats are all about their protein shakes and 6 ounce steaks- but it’s time to hear the hard truth. The only way to build muscle is through hypertrophy of muscle tissues with strenuous exercise, not excess protein.
Proteins serve as the building blocks of bodies’ cells, including muscle, hair, and organs. They also function as enzymes that power reactions throughout the entire body. They are important for growth and development, especially in children and teens, and during pregnancy.
While protein does build and repair tissues, our bodies do not need as much as we may think. On average, people should consume 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight. (To find your body weight in kilograms, divide your weight in pounds by 2.2) A 140 pound woman needs about 51 grams of protein in her diet daily. A 180 pound person needs roughly 65 grams.
Of the macronutrient ratio, protein should constitute 10-35% of your diet, while carbs are 45-65% and fats are 20-35%
One major benefit of eating protein is that it increases satiety, meaning that it keeps you feeling full longer.
Protein is not stored in the body- instead, it is used and excreted. So, we must get our protein through our diet. The building blocks of proteins are called amino acids; like 26 letters make countless words, 20 Amino acids make thousands of different proteins.
There are 9 essential amino acids that cannot be made by the body: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. Nonessential amino acids can be synthesized in the body from breakdown of essential amino acids.
When choosing your protein sources, make sure to look at the whole package, what comes along with the protein. Dietary sources of protein can come from both plants and animals.
A few animal sources include fish, poultry, eggs, deer, and bison. Salmon and other fish also include omega-3’s, healthy fats that improve heart function. Egg yolks contain cholesterol, another beneficial fat when consumed in moderation, while the whites are strictly protein. If seeking out a “leaner” protein source, deer, bison, and the white meat of poultry are suitable options.
Animal sources are complete proteins because they contain all nine of the essential amino acids.
Non-animal sources include legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and vegetables. Non-animal sources are wise protein choices because they also contain plenty of fiber as well as vitamins and minerals (micronutrients!) with minimal fat or added ingredients. For example, broccoli! This mighty vegetable has almost half as much protein as carbs with very little fat and plenty of vitamins, and may lower the risk of several diseases and premature death.
Non-animal sources are considered incomplete proteins because they are missing some of the essential amino acids, However, when two non-animal sources of protein are eaten together, such as beans and rice, the two serve as complementary proteins, which each making up for the other’s lack of essential amino acids.
Another thing to consider when choosing protein sources would be the environmental consequences that come with the production of each respective protein source. Dairy and red meat (particularly beef, lamb, and goat) stand out for their disproportionate impact of greenhouse gas emissions. Save the planet, go green.
Protein, brotein, motein, flotein.
Traveling soon? Keep these tips in mind!
Holly Sawyer; March 1, 2018
This summer, I studied abroad in Italy for six weeks. It
was truly a once in a lifetime experience, and I wouldn’t trade
it for the world. The people I met, the places we visited and
the food we enjoyed were simply magnifico.
Since I’m used to exercising five days a week and eating
healthy 70% of the time, I was craving physical activity after
the first few days. All the pasta and indulgence were starting
to get to me, and I didn’t want to lose everything I had worked
so hard for. Here are a few of the things I had to remind myself
while living the vacation life:
1. Remember portion control
a. At dinner, there was always wine on the table. It’s
hard to say no to such quality vino, but one or two
glasses a few nights a week was the limit. The rest of
the week, it was sparkling water or an espresso at
most. Alcohol can be tempting and easily consumed in
excess. It’s important to remember there will be
plenty more chances to enjoy!
b. The food was absolutely mouth-watering. Indeed, it was
the ultimate dining experience. It was also a true
test of self-control. Although I cleaned my plate(s)
plenty of times, it was difficult not going back for
seconds and thirds. Carb heaven is a lovely place- but
if overdone, it will quickly lead to a miserably full
belly: something I didn’t want to have every single
night for 6 weeks.
2. Try new things, explore!
a. I also cooked in our apartment a good bit. If
possible, I recommend learning to cook like the locals
to get a real taste of the culture, wherever you
travel! You’ll also know exactly what’s going in your
meal, save money, and have more for later. #mealprep
b. During my month in the city, I climbed more stairs
than I have in my entire life. It was definitely my
main form of exercise. The stairmill ain’t got nothing
on me now!
c. Walking everywhere was actually great exercise and
very entertaining. Simply walking through cities put
our steps around 20,000 per day. Exploring is my
favorite form of cardio
3. Apartment/hotel room workouts are better than nothing
a. I snuck into a gym 3 times during the six weeks (they
caught me on the third, but still let me work outgrazie!)If I didn’t run or bike the wall, I got my
sweat on in our living room. I hope my roommates
weren’t too annoyed by my incessant lunges and planks.
4. Enjoy yourself. Life is short. Eat the desert and don’t
stress about it. You’ll be back to your normal routine
before you know it, and better than before!
a. If I could do it all again, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Micros > Macros
We know that we are supposed to eat a balanced diet of macronutrients (carbs, fats, and protein) but we cannot forget about our micronutrients: vitamins and minerals!
Vitamins help create and speed up reactions in the body. They are obtained in your diet, but they do not provide calories (or energy). They simply allow energy to be burned by releasing calories from macronutrients. There are more than 13 known types, all having different benefits for the body. Vitamins are measured in milligrams or micrograms, and an overdose can be fatal.
All vitamins have specific functions. For example, you may have heard that Vitamin A is good for your eyes. This vitamin contains the compound carotene, which found in many orange foods such as sweet potatoes or carrots. Carotene serves as an antioxidant and helps prevent cataracts.
Fruits and vegetables are loaded with antioxidants, but what do antioxidants do exactly?
When a food is broken down during digestion, it’s molecules are oxidized. Oxygen molecules are separated and released as free radicals, which could increase the risk of cancer. Antioxidants prevent this oxidization, keeping our cells safe and healthy.
Water soluble vitamins dissolve in water- this group contains the B vitamins- biotin, folate, niacin and more, and C. Water soluble vitamins are mostly found in fruits and vegetables.
They are rapidly excreted and should be eaten every day or two. Fat soluble dissolve in fat and are stored in the liver and body fats. This group includes vitamins A,D,E, and K. These can be found in dairy, nuts, seeds, oils and other groups.
Here is a helpful list of vitamins, their function and dietary sources:
Minerals are inorganic substances because they do not contain carbon. Some, such as calcium, help grow bones and keep them strong. Others, like sodium or potassium assist in nervous system functioning, water balance, and other cellular processes.
Here is a list of minerals, their functions and sources:
With a balanced diet, all essential vitamins and minerals can be obtained. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables with lots of different colors, fish, nuts and other good fats to manage your micros!
by Holly Sawyer
We know them. We love them. But we cut them when we want to be “healthy” or lose weight.
Carbohydrates serve many purposes for our body, but their main purpose is to provide energy to our cells, thus our tissues and organ systems.
Glucose is the simple sugar that all carbs ingested become. The are two other simple sugars, fructose and galactose.
Fruits contain fructose. They will provide simple sugars that turn into quick energy for our bodies along with plenty of vitamins and phytochemicals that help boost our immune system and synthesize reactions in the body. In other words, they help make bodily functions happen and move things along.
When glucose combines with one of these or itself, it becomes a disaccharide. Complex carbohydrates, or polysaccharides, are highly branched because they store many units of glucose. Polysaccharides are the most branched carbohydrates, containing 3000 or more monosaccharides. Because of this, they will take longer to break down and keep you full longer than simple carbohydrates.
Glycogen is the branched form glucose that is stored in muscles and liver.
Have you heard about the wonders of keto and all it’s magical fat loss?
While a ketogenic can be effective short term, your body should not go without carbs.
When you do not consume enough carbs, your body will pull energy from your stored energy in adipose tissue. This process is called ketosis: it is fast-acting, but not sustainable.
The Registered Dietary Allowance recommends a minimum 130 grams of carbohydrates per day for the general population.
The Food and Nutrition Board for Americans and Canadians recommends that adults get 45-65% of their calories from carbohydrates. A balanced plate consists of 25 % fruit, 25% vegetable, 25% starch, and 25% protein- 75% of which are carbohydrates.
Fiber is a carbohydrate that is not fermented by bacteria, so body cannot digest it. However, it does add bulk to bowel movements.
An example of insoluble fiber would be cellulose, which is found on the skin of an apple.
Soluble or viscous fiber is pectin, found inside the apple. It is recommended that women consume at least 25 grams of fiber each day and men 38 grams.
Embrace your carbs because they give you lots of good energy! Make sure that the majority of your carbohydrates come from whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Avoid processed foods and added sugars.
WATER FOR WHAT?
Fitness junkies are telling us to drink at least one gallon of water a day to help us
reach our fitness goals, but why? For starters, it’s essential to nearly every chemical
reaction and it constitutes about 60 percent of our bodies in tissue, blood, and fluids. We
use two very small hydrogen atoms and one oxygen to take part in every reaction that
makes us, us.
● Digestion uses water to produce saliva, lubricate the GI tract, and absorb
food in the intestines. Water is transported all over the body to squeeze in
our cells and surround them. “The more water a person drinks, the faster
body water is renewed.” Having enough water in the body to function
optimally is a major key. When we drink more water, our cells can replace
themselves faster, thus having fresher, healthier cells that provide us with
○ Side note: Ladies and gentlemen, it is perfectly normal to bloat! It is
simply your body hanging on to what it needs to do its job well. Like a
car needs oil to run, your body needs water- sometimes it just needs a
● Water helps relieve soreness, prevent dehydration and speed up
recovery time by flushing out toxins. Drinking water prior to and while
exercising brings the much needed electrolytes to muscles for quick and
strong movements. Water makes up most of our synovial fluid, the fluid of
several joints that allow our limbs to move smoothly in various directions.
Dehydration can cause ligaments and joints to sprain or even tear.
● Skin cells, like all other bodily cells require water to function properly.
Moisture and nutrients provided by H 2 O keep skin smooth and supple. Cold
water tightens pores as well as hair and nail cuticles. It also promotes
vitamin consumption, leaving skin, hair, and nails glowing and nourished.
● Although water may seem like water could lower blood pressure , studies
have shown that it actually raises it. Drinking more water increases the
activity of the sympathetic nervous system, therefore constriction blood
vessels. This rise of pressure prevents blood from pooling in legs and arms.
85% of the brain, 75% of the intestine, and 79% of the lungs are water. The body is
so sensitive to dehydration that if we lose even two percent of our water, we feel “fuzzy
short term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty reading small-print.” Your body
recycles most of the 200 L of fluid cycled through the kidneys, but 1-2L can be lost through
urine. It is recommended that people drink at least 8 cups of water a day, or 1 cup per 20
lbs of body weight. If you exercise, you should drink more water to replace what was lost.
Remember to keep calm and stay hydrated!
With so many different approaches to fitness circulating the web, it can be hard to tell fact from fiction. While it is important to realize that different things work for different people, there are some myths out there that just aren’t true. It’s time to unlearn what someone may have wrongly taught you. Let’s bust ‘em!
Carbs are bad for you.
Carbohydrates are 1 of the 3 main macronutrients your body needs, and it is also the nutrient that is most readily converted into glucose- your body’s main source of energy. While the ketogenic diet (high fat & protein, extremely low carb) is effective for burning fat when properly followed, carbs should make up the majority of your diet to sustain energy. The Food and Nutrition Board for Americans and Canadians recommends that adults get 45-65 percent of their calories from carbohydrates. A balanced plate consists of 25 % fruit, 25% vegetable, 25% starch, and 25% protein- 75% of which are carbohydrates!
Cardio is the only thing you need to lose weight.
All you need to lose weight is a caloric deficit, plain and simple. 1 pound is roughly equal to 3,500 calories. To sustainably lose weight, first calculate how many calories you burn according to your body type and lifestyle, then consume 200-300 less. If you still want to enjoy all your calories, cardio can help burn extra. But beware: cardio machines often overestimate the amount burned. Instead of trying to burn calories, work on building muscle and consuming the right calories so they burn themselves!
More gym time is better.
If 20 minutes at the gym is all you have time for, so what? Make the most of it! A short sweat session is much better is bound to get endorphins flowing and boost your mood throughout the day. Do what you can in your limited time and avoid distractions. Don’t forget, rest days are essential. Recovery is necessary to build muscle and regain strength.
Eating fat will make you fat.
Our bodies carry adipose tissue below our skin that serves several different purposes for our bodies. Not only does it cushion our muscles so that we can live comfortably, it surrounds our visceral organs and helps protect them from damage. About 25% of your diet should consists of healthy fats such as avocado, nuts and seeds, fish, or olive and coconut oils.
Lifting weight will make you bulk up.
Women often avoid the weight room in fear that it will “make you look manly.” However, the benefits of lifting weights are far greater than you could imagine! Building muscle will not change your body into that of a man’s unless you take steroids containing testosterone. Instead, simply performing weight bearing activity will tone your muscles, making you stronger and boosting your metabolism, which makes it easier to burn more calories at rest.
The scale is the main indicator of progress.
Pardon my french, but screw the scale! How you feel is much more important than a number that measures how much gravity loves you. Not only is progress towards a healthy life physical, but emotional! How you handle stress and relationships when getting healthy are both signs of lifestyle habits. Instead of turning to food for comfort or envying what someone else has, you make progress by enjoying treats in moderation and learning to love you for you. Having a positive attitude towards yourself is a must for making progress to a healthier, stronger life. Always remember: slow progress is better than no progress. Focus on the positive and KEEP GOING!