How to Manage Autumn Allergens at Home

How to Manage Autumn Allergens at Home

Now that we’re well into October, we can be fairly certain that the allergens of the Spring and Summer months have settled. With Autumn, however, strong winds, humidity, and even household air can still present irritants to your respiratory system. 

If you suffer from allergies year-round, it’s a good idea to evaluate the possible sources of your sensitivity. A visit with your doctor can also help you identify what you need to do to care for your suffering sinuses. 

Today we’re sharing some easy ways to combat allergens inside the home. As the weather gets cooler, we’re more likely to spend time indoors, so it’s important to make sure that the air we’re breathing is healthy and clean. 

Allergen Sources and How to Manage Them


PEt Dander

Our furry friends love to romp and play around the house or in the yard. To minimize how much of the great outdoors ends up in your home, wipe all paws after outdoor potty breaks, and brush out their coat after a day of outdoor play. This helps leave dirt and pollen outside. Because your pet’s skin releases oils and sweat (just like ours), allergens can easily stick in all that glorious fur. So, if it’s possible, bathe pets as often as is still healthy for their skin, coat, and overall wellbeing. 



If your pet is shedding or if there’s simply more dirt outside to track in because of high winds or harsh weather, cleaning the floors helps keep allergens from accumulating. You can keep a schedule to vacuum or mop on certain days of the week to help you build a routine around the extra chore.



Closed windows are not a bad thing. In fact, recovering cancer patients are often encouraged to keep windows closed and to run the heater or AC to circulate and filter the air in the home. Outside-air can be heavy with traffic pollution, dust, pollen, and, if you live in areas that often experience wildfires or high winds, you’ll get a lot of pollution from that too.

In-Home Air QUality

You typically won’t need an expensive HEPA filter for your air system. If your existing filter is clean, it does a fine job of filtering out most pollutants. Of course, if you know you’re more sensitive to allergens than most, springing for a HEPA filter will help pull even more potential irritants out of the air. 



Be aware of live plants in your home. Your AC or heater can kick up pollen and other irritants from the plant and its soil and carry it through your home. If you suspect that your indoor plants are a problem, try removing them or putting them in a closed room with the air vent closed. This will help keep plant particles from circulating through your home. 



As the air gets humid with the cool autumn moisture, mold has the right environment to grow. Check your kitchen, bathroom, attic, basement, around your windows, and other areas of your home that tend to be exposed to moisture. For small mold patches, you can usually clean it away with a mild cleaning agent from the store. Larger problems may require some professional help.

To tell the difference between cold symptoms and allergy symptoms, we’ll need the space of another post. For now, we hope you feel armed with the knowledge to make your home a more restful place. 

For more wellness topics, check out our podcasts for a variety of interesting discussions, or, take a look at a written overview of our Podcast Favorites. To access our monthly blog post highlights, subscribe to our newsletter today! 

What Happens to Your Body When You Stop Working Out?

What Happens to Your Body When You Stop Working Out?

As a protection mechanism, our brain often convinces us that we are capable of far less than we really are. This is a preservation instinct that is meant to protect your body from over-exertion and from burning through its precious fat-stores.

Our brain relies on its survival skills. It wants your body to expend as little energy as possible to save up for the day when your usual resources are not available. 

If you know that muscles require energy (calories) to sustain themselves, you may already see the picture we’re trying to paint. If your body no longer needs to lift, push, or drag the heavy things, your brain starts to consider your muscles as liabilities instead of assets. They are using more energy than what your activities call for.  

That is why, if you stop working out, your brain responds with “well, we don’t need these anymore!” 

Now, don’t panic. Your muscles won’t completely atrophy as though you’d never seen a day of exercise. In fact, drastic muscle atrophy is really a sign of severe malnutrition, disease, injury, or certain disorders. With less use, your muscles will simply decrease in mass. 

Let’s peer into the details of what really happens to your body when you stop working out. 

Your Cardiovascular Health Is Likely the First to be Affected

At around 2 weeks after stopping exercise, what your body gained from consistent exercise can already start to diminish.  

Several studies, some of which we discuss here, cite cardiovascular endurance and VO2 maximums (how much oxygen your body can process for energy) as the targets of change within the first 2 to 4 weeks of stopping exercise.  

In a study on the effect of training and detraining (a period of no exercise) on heart rate variability, a group of healthy young men completed 12 weeks of intensive training followed by several weeks of not working out.

The participants all saw an increase in their VO2 max and in their heart’s overall power after the 12 weeks of vigorous exercise. Once they started the period of detraining, it took about 2 weeks to see a reduction in both of these areas. It took 8 weeks to completely undo the cardiovascular benefits they built from their 12 weeks of training.1 


Another study found similar results and cited a period of 2-4 weeks to start seeing the decline.2 One spark of hope from this study, however, comes from their comment on current research. This research tells us that the decline can be slowed, and the improvements retained for several months, if training is reduced instead of completely stopped! 2  

Your Strength Takes Longer to Diminish

We found some interesting insights in a study that compared the after-effects of stopping endurance training with the after-effects of stopping resistance training. The first 24 weeks of the study were spent training and another 24 weeks were spent detraining.  

The researchers found that the participants who strength trained maintained their improvements in strength and lean mass for a longer period of time after stopping exercise than those who endurance trained.3 

Another study determined that athletes could take up to 3 weeks off from strength training without suffering loss of strength.4 This is because muscle gain was quickly returned once they resumed strength training after the 3 weeks.

Stopping Exercise May Affect Your Brain

This is a less frequently researched topic, and there are limitations to current literature on the subject, but some of the findings are still worth looking into. One study monitored blood flow to certain parts of the brain in highly athletic older adults.

With the understanding that exercise has positive effects on the structure and function of the hippocampus (the part of the brain that handles emotion and memory), this study wanted to look into what would happen in this area of the brain if exercise was stopped.5 


While the study observed no change in cognitive function, it did find that “training-induced changes in hippocampal blood flow may be reversed with 10 days of exercise cessation.” 5  

What this suggests is that just 10 days after transitioning from an active lifestyle to a suddenly inactive one, you can lose the positive effects that exercise was having on your brain. 

Closing Thoughts

Keep in mind that all these studies focus on a group of people who may be of a different age, sex, fitness level, and on a different workout regimen than you are.

What the results ultimately demonstrate is that changes in physical fitness and body composition have been observed when the participants stopped exercising. The time frame in which it happened, and the extent of the change, was all relative to the specific group that was studied. 

There are also a variety of other potential changes not discussed here, like your percentage of body fat, your blood pressure, your cholesterol levels, and innumerable other pieces of data that can be studied and measured.  

In the end, to avoid losing all of your progress, what can be learned from all this research is this: 

  1. Your cardiovascular endurance and VO2 max can start to diminish at 2-4 weeks


  2. If it’s healthy and safe to do so, try not to stop exercising abruptly. Working out less, or in a different way, can help you maintain the progress you made.


  3. The effects of strength training are harder to lose than the effects of endurance training


  4. In some cases, the positive effects of exercise on the brain can be lost in as little as 10 days 

To learn more about the relationship between cholesterol and exercise, read our article on How to Manage Your Numbers Naturally. For workout tips to help you build your routine, see what our Pro Results® trainer, Kayla V., has to say about leg workouts that won’t disrupt other leg-intensive training. To access our monthly blog post highlights, subscribe to our newsletter today!


  1. Gamelin, F X, et al. “Effect of Training and Detraining on Heart Rate Variability in Healthy Young Men.” International Journal of Sports Medicine, U.S. National Library of Medicine, July 2007,

  2. Neufer, P. Darrell. “The Effect of Detraining and Reduced Training on the Physiological Adaptations to Aerobic Exercise Training.” SpringerLink, Springer International Publishing, 25 Nov. 2012,

  3. Lo, Michael S, et al. “Training and Detraining Effects of the Resistance vs. Endurance Program on Body Composition, Body Size, and Physical Performance in Young Men.” Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Aug. 2011,

  4. Ogasawara, Riki & Yasuda, Tomohiro & Sakamaki-Sunaga, Mikako & Ozaki, Hayao & Abe, Takashi. (2011). Effects of periodic and continued resistance training on muscle CSA and strength in previously untrained men. Clinical physiology and functional imaging. 31. 399-404. 10.1111/j.1475-097X.2011.01031.x.

  5. Alfini, Alfonso J., et al. “Hippocampal and Cerebral Blood Flow after Exercise Cessation in Master Athletes.” Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 19 July 2016, 
How to Celebrate Sweetest Day Without Undoing Your Diet

How to Celebrate Sweetest Day Without Undoing Your Diet

This year, Sweetest Day falls on October 19th. Hardly 2 weeks from Halloween, another day of sweet treats, this candy-filled holiday is a reminder for many that they are loved, appreciated, and cared for by those who celebrate with them.  

Wait? You haven’t heard of Sweetest Day? Well, don’t feel too out-of-the-loop; this holiday is primarily celebrated in the Midwestern and Northeastern parts of the U.S. It’s even better known in the state where it originated: Ohio!  

In 1922, philanthropist Herbert Birch Kingston started the idea of Sweetest Day by distributing candy and gifts to orphans, the elderly, and the disabled to show kindness to those he felt received it less than others.  

Today, people celebrate their friends and loved ones in this way to express their love, their gratitude, and to spread the kindness. If you’re observing Sweetest Day this year, or now thinking of adding a new tradition, we’d like to offer you some great (and less sugary) ideas to help you celebrate. 

healthier treat ideas

Instead of the pure sugar you’d get in a box of candy, try out some of these delicious ideas. Not only are they more natural and nutritious treats, the fact that you made them yourself will definitely earn you some bonus points. 


Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bites 

These sweet treats are super easy. All you need is some banana slices, peanut butter (or almond butter), and dark chocolate. Simply sandwich some peanut butter in between two banana slices and then dip the bite into some melted chocolate. If you like, you can top your creation with crushed peanuts or almonds.  

When using chocolate, we recommend you choose dark because of its lower sugar content. However, if you despise dark chocolate and all that it touches, feel free to use milk chocolate. 

Tips: Freeze the bananas before and after working with them. If you’re using milk chocolate and you’re worried about this treat being too sweet, try dipping only half the bite into the chocolate. 


Watermelon Feta and Mint Skewers 

These skewers are colorful, refreshing, and really tasty, especially if you like to mix sweet and salty flavors. Probably the hardest part of this recipe is figuring out how to cut watermelon into cubes, but really any bite sized shape will do! Simply stack some watermelon, feta, and mint in any order onto some skewers. If you like, you can add a light sprinkle of salt and pepper for a little extra flavor. 

Tips: If you’re cutting mint straight from your yard, try soaking it in a mixture of water and salt for a few minutes to help give the leaves a more thorough clean. 


Healthy Oatmeal Balls 

Not only do these look good, they’re also good for you. They’re little rolled packages of oatmeal, chia seeds, cranberries, coconut, flax seeds, and honey. They take little work but will certainly make a mess of your hands as you roll them together. 

Tips: You can use a variety of ingredients according to the flavor profile you’re looking for. You can use peanut butter as the binder instead of honey, raisins instead of cranberries, cinnamon instead of coconut, and experiment with many other variations. 

If you’re not sure you want to make something edible, there are plenty of other ways to celebrate Sweetest Day. In the next section, you’ll see exactly what we mean. 

Nurture Healthier Relationships 

When it comes to communicating our thanks, sometimes we can be pretty good at letting life, work, school, and everything else get in the way. You can use this day to reflect on the people in your life who matter and on who you’d like to acknowledge more often.

Unlike Valentine’s Day, Sweetest Day is not restricted to celebrating your significant other. Think about all the people who are close to you. Do you have a friend who has been there for you and you want to let them know they are appreciated? Are there people you want to make amends with? Who do you want to show your gratitude for?  

Once you’ve identified your crew, you can start hashing out the details. You can keep it simple or go a little nuts with it. It’s entirely up to you! For some ideas, you can: 


Do Something Nice  

A small act of kindness can go a long way. Do the dishes or take out the trash without being asked. Wash your brother’s car. Buy your coworker a cup of coffee. Compliment your classmate’s outfit. A very ordinary act of kindness, done unexpectedly, can go highly appreciated. 


Write a Card 

Some people are great at “doing,” others are great at “saying.” If you know you don’t say certain things enough, or you’re simply better at expressing what you need to say on paper, writing a heartfelt card is another great option. 


Spend the Day Together 

Let’s be honest, we all have a friend or family member that we don’t see as often as we used to or probably haven’t talked to in a while. Spending some time together may be just what you need. It doesn’t have to be anything outrageous. It can be as simple as going for a walk together, hitting the gym, cooking a meal (or going out for one).  

If you liked our sweet treat suggestions but want even more interesting and healthy ideas, check out our dietitian’s response to this question about Sugary and Salty Snack Substitutions. To access our monthly blog post highlights, subscribe to our newsletter today! 

Your Guide to Mindful Eating

Your Guide to Mindful Eating

Today is World Food Day! With over 2,000,000 farms across the U.S., we produce, export, and consume a lot of food! In 2015, about 48.5 billion pounds of red meat was produced. In 2014, grain production came out to approximately 442.4 million metric tons. 

With all this production comes a lot of waste; 62.5 million tons of wasted food each year, to be more specific. We’re not even considering the waste that comes from actual production, from packaging, and from transporting all this food. 

As an individual, you can easily and effectively help reduce food waste. Here are some ways that you can make a positive impact. 

Reduce Wasted Food 


It can be hard to remember when you made that casserole in the back of your fridge. Create your own labels so you remember when you cooked and to avoid throwing good food out prematurely. 


Create your own labels for store-bought foods as well, particularly if the expiration date is already difficult to see. This is also a great idea if you tend to store certain foods without the packaging it came in. 


Make your grocery shopping trips smaller and more frequent instead of buying large quantities of food less frequently. If you must buy something in bulk, split it up into smaller containers that you can freeze for later use. 


Eat before you shop. We’ve all fallen victim to the hungry shopping-spree that ended with a shopping cart full of items we never intended to buy. Even a light snack before you hit the store can help you make more conscious decisions. 


Try to commit to cooking more at home. If you like to meal prep and you make a big batch of food, freeze some of it so you don’t get tired of eating the same thing. This should keep it from sitting around in your fridge too long. 


Instead of throwing away leftovers, re-purpose them to make an entirely different meal. This article from Taste of Home can give you some ideas on how to make leftovers shine.


To help ward off spoilage, wrap fruits and veggies in a paper towel or toss a napkin into the storage container. This absorbs moisture which will help keep produce fresher longer. If you’re worried about wasting trees, try tree-free products or use regular kitchen towels. 


Don’t toss it just yet! The “Best By” or “Use By” date just means your food will taste the best and be the freshest up to a certain date. It doesn’t necessarily mean it will be spoiled once that date has passed! The USDA explains that “with [the] exception of infant formula…if the date passes during home storage, a product should still be safe and wholesome if handled properly until the time spoilage is evident.”1 

Make Ecologically Sustainable Choices 


Try your best to minimize trash. You may live in a state that has banned single-use grocery bags, but if you don’t, consider reusable grocery bags for your next shopping trip. You can go a step further and bring reusable bags or lightweight containers for buying produce and bulk beans, rice, nuts, etc.


Buy sustainably sourced seafood and choose varieties that are more abundant. For example, choose Mackerel, Tilapia, Catfish, Mussels, Clams, or Oysters over less abundant species like Tropical Prawns, Swordfish, Atlantic Salmon, or Shark. 2


Eat less meat or commit to buying from local sources. Buying local reduces the carbon footprint caused by packaging, shipping, and other transportation. This also goes for fruits and veggies. If you can, stick only to what’s in-season. 


Try composting! Believe it or not, food takes a long time to decompose in a landfill. This is because there is actually very little dirt, oxygen, and very few of the microorganisms that help with decomposition.3 Composting at home is great for the health of your soil and will help you grow your own produce.


If you haven’t invested in a reusable water bottle, this is a great move for your health and for the environment. It’s a reminder to keep hydrated and a way to keep unnecessary plastic out of landfills. You can do the same with straws and cutlery and replace plastic with some reusable and portable alternatives.

For more food and nutrition topics, check out the Meal Prepping 101 Guide or this Super Snacking Guide. To access our monthly blog post highlights, subscribe to our newsletter today! 


  1. “FSIS.” Food Product Dating, United States Department of Agriculture,
  2. Charles, Alba. “How to Know If Fish Is Sustainable.”, 2017,
  3. Talk, Earth. “Do Biodegradable Items Degrade in Landfills?” ThoughtCo, ThoughtCo, 4 Jan. 2019,

Member Spotlight | Little Changes, Big Results

Member Spotlight | Little Changes, Big Results

“Consistency is key; Changes do not happen overnight so do not give up. Start with small changes outside the gym…little changes turn into big results.” 

Nick L.

LAF Member, LA Fitness

Nick’s weight loss journey began with the 8-month birthday of his son. He changed his workout and eating habits over the course of the last year and managed to lose over 100 pounds!  

His motivation came partly from witnessing the success of others who have lost as much weight and more. So, if your goal seems too ambitious and you’re plagued with self-doubt, Nick’s story will show you that with consistency and commitment, big results are possible. 

Nick’s Wakeup Call

“I decided to make a healthy lifestyle a choice when my son became 8 months old and I was too tired to interact and play with him. I knew that if I wanted to be strong enough to provide for my wife and son, something needed to change.  

At that same time, I found a channel on YouTube called BrixFitness where I saw that a man had lost 150 pounds. I thought to myself, if he can do it, I can too. The next day I went and got a membership at LA Fitness. A week later, I showed up to the gym at 5am and I have been going at 5am, 5 days a week for the last year.” 


Commitment to the New Lifestyle

“I have made many eating and drinking changes which have helped drive my progress in the gym, and I am seeing major results. I am more conscious of the labels on the food I eat along with the portions. I even started measuring and weighing my food.”  

If Nick could give others a piece of advice, he would tell them that “Consistency is key. Changes do not happen overnight so do not give up. Start with small changes outside the gym like drinking diet soda versus regular soda or eating a protein bar instead of a candy bar. Little changes turn into big results.” 

Nick started this journey at 332 pounds and, as of today, he is currently 230 pounds. With his primary focus on weight training and diet over the course of the last year, his plan is to continue that and start integrating more Cardio and Core sessions to continue shaping his body. 

 He says that his “ultimate fitness goal is to do one pull up as [he has] never done one in [his] entire life.” We’re rooting for you Nick!  


The Takeaways

  1. Odds are, you’re not alone. Look for success stories that prove it!


  2. Small changes build up over time and really make a difference


  3. Keep it consistent and remember that changes don’t happen overnight 

Do you have an inspirational story you’d like to share with us? Email us at for a chance to be featured in an upcoming post! 

For length and clarity, minor edits – none of which alter the original or intended meaning – have been made to the quotes provided.

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