Blue Sky Strongbox L.L.C. is a private workout facility owned and operated by Carlton Cullins. The facility is located in South Austin, Texas.
POSTURE. There is good posture and bad posture. Most of us would agree what each of these looks like. Look around. There is more slumping and slouching now than ever before. Even children like bent. Smart phones, as great as they are, have certainly made this issue worse. If you stay in a “bad posture” too often it can become almost permanent. By “almost permanent” I mean it’s potentially reversible but often very difficult and highly unlikely without regular practice and an astounding awareness. The best thing you can do is limit your time sitting and using your phone. I know that sounds like madness. I know most folks have to sit while working. Do everything you can to find creative ways to build “good posture” into your every day. It helps all things health and even helps drastically improve appearance. “Pull yourself TALL”. And don’t forget to breathe. #blueskystrongbox #austinpersonaltraining #austinpersonaltrainer #bssbbooks #fundamentalsofhealthyliving #healthandfitness #heathsndwellness #posturecorrection #posturecorrector #posture
The Big Picture. Never forget the Big Picture. Never forget the basics, the Big fundamentals that make up this “Big” Picture. Remembering what’s really important to you, the essentials, comes in handy when sizing up any new information that comes out about anything Health, Fitness or Medical. I like to ask, “does this new information reinforce something that I already know to be true or essential?”. Chances are, what’s always been “GOOD” for you and I, will always be good for you and I. No need to keep adding to the greatest hits list. Keep it simple. Prioritize these important things for health: 1) Quality Rest 2) Optimal Breathing 3) Adequate Hydration with clean water 4) Eat lots of Plants-Veggies & Fruits, etc 4) Daily Movement & Variety of Movement 5) Daily Sunshine & Nature 6) Personal Alone Time 7) Social Time with Others. There may be more but this is a great place to start. #healthandwellness #healthandfitness #healthfundamentals #fundamentalsofhealthyliving #bssbbooks #austinpersonaltrainer #austinpersonaltraining #blueskystrongbox
Yes, another video on How to Squat Correctly. It’s arguably the most important exercise one can do. It’s also an essential movement that we as humans should be able to do, till we die. The problem is most people do it wrong. Doing it wrong means you might get hurt AND the chances are slim that any benefit will come from doing it. So learn this basic concept: BEGIN THE SQUAT BY BENDING AT THE HIP FIRST & NOT THE KNEES. Yes, the knees do also bend, in fact-they need to, but only after the initial action of “sitting back in a chair” has begun. Another thing to add is that most of us are really tight in our ankles. This can make squatting much more difficult. Of course, doing some focused exercises/stretches to improve flexibility, range of motion AND control is absolutely necessary to remedy this problem. But in the meantime, it is ok to elevate the heels an inch or two. Some athletic shoes may already have heel lifts but if not try putting a 1x4 or 2x4 directly under the heels. You could also use a rolled up towel or a weight plate. Now try practicing the squat using the “sitting back in the chair” technique from the video above. There should never be any PAIN. If so, do consult a medical professional soon. Do make sure to keep your foot balanced. This means much of your weight will be in the heels but do also. try to keep all of your toes touching the ground while moving up and down, especially the big toes. In other words, your weight distribution should be balanced between both the heals AND mid-foot, never on the toes. This helps ensure balance of the entire foot as well as all of your coordinated efforts. You might even video yourself or use a mirror to ensure things are correct. Do everything you can to fix this problem if you are one of the many that tend to Squat by “bending at the knees” first. Put that “ass” into it. No really, that’s what it’s for. #austinpersonaltrainer #blueskystrongbox #healthandfitness #fatloss #healthandwellness #squats #squatchallenge
Like it or not, there is only one major reason why most of us would ever not eat what we want and exercise regularly. It is to improve they way we look. Yes, there are absolutely other important reasons but that one is at the top of the list for most humans. This means that knowing how to improve the way we look in the shortest amount of time is also desirable. How about (re)thinking this whole equation in complete reverse... WHAT IS THE FASTEST WAY TO GET FAT? When looking at things from such a perspective, some things may become more clear. Even if this doesn’t apply directly, it can still be a great little exercise to do from time to time. Reverse engineering can be VERY helpful in any situation if or when things become unclear and fuzzy. #bssbbooks #blueskystrongbox #austinpersonaltrainer #healthandwellness #healthandfitness #fatloss
When was the last time you tried to JUMPROPE? It’s probably been a while right? Skipping rope is a legitimate skill that requires practice. It’s not easy in the beginning and does take time but worth the effort. I consider Jumping Rope to be what I call a “fountain of youth” exercise. This would be anything that preserves or builds back movement abilities that we tend to lose quickly with inactivity and aging. The ability to run, hop and jump might seem trivial but it’s the difference between being a “spring chicken” or “old beef jerky”. Jumping Rope is an excellent way to put some “pep back in your step”. It’s also an excellent way to burn some extra calories and improve your conditioning, aka “cardio”. 5-10 minutes is typically all that most can handle in the beginning. It’s ok. Most folks won’t be able to last but about 20 jumps before resting. Some less. You may hit your feet every time the first few tries. That’s ok. Don’t quit. Any effort is good effort. Another thing I really like is that it keeps us on our toes, literally. Crashing down on the heals of the feet is not typically desirable. People often do this while jogging on concrete. This combined with poor running form literally destroys most people’s knees, feet and ankles. Jumprope is a great way to teach the body to absorb force using the calves, the body’s naturally shock absorbers. #bssbbooks #blueskystrongbox #jumprope #healthandfitness
FLEXIBILITY is this week’s theme. It should always be a “theme”. Watch the video from my last post. This post contains a few “stretches” I would recommend to most healthy individuals. If you already have pain or experience pain during any of these movements, make sure you see a qualified health professional soon. When doing any of these movements above, it’s very important to RELAX INTO the stretch. Never force a stretch. That’s exactly how to hurt yourself. Instead, start slowly and breathe INTO the stretch. If you cannot breathe reasonably well in any particular stretch, you’ve probably gone too far. Back off. Begin again. Breathe slowly in through the nose and out through pursed lips. How long should you hold? I’d recommend starting with a range 5-20 slow breathes. STRETCHES: 1) Child’s Pose 2) Rock Back Baby 3) Cat 4) Down Dog 5) Spider-Man Reach 6) Carlton’s Super-Stretch part one 7) Carlton’s Super-Stretch part two 8) Cossack Squat 9) Hang *Call these whatever you like. Names mean nothing. It’s the movement, the action that matters most. #bssbbooks #blueskystrongbox #stretching #flexibility #mobility #mobilityfirst
Some people are naturally flexible. This basically means they did a good job of NOT losing the flexibility they were born with. However, most of us are not in that boat. Because of a variety of factors (sitting, inactivity, injuries, etc) most of have lost quite a bit of our “natural” flexibility every year as time has moved forward. With that said, it’s not limited to just the mature. I regularly see young folks in the teens, 20’s and 30’s with poor flexibility. Obviously, this is an area that most of us should give more attention. There is no one stretch or technique that will fix everything for everyone. We are each unique. Some people think “I should try Yoga”. It might not be a bad idea. Some think, “maybe a good massage might help”. That’s also a great idea. But even Yoga and a great massage still might not fix everything. Becoming more flexible, increasing mobility and range of motion may require many approaches. The first step is to find what area(s) need immediate attention. We call this “finding the MOST limiting factor(s)”. A great tool to use is a screening test. The Functional Movement Screen (FMS) is a great screening test that many Fitness Professionals prefer to use. Regardless, find a way to assess where you currently are. For many, backs and shoulders feel stiff. For others, it’s more in the hips and legs. Sometimes everything is a bit of a mess. Regardless, most of us will have at least one major area that needs some TLC. It’s ok. It happens. Do something about it. Today, I’m demonstrating a simple lower-body stretch, typically called a Cossack Squat. Try it out. Go slow. Be very careful! This is just a quick example of a little something you could do daily to help get some Stretching into your life. Increasing flexibility take does time. Start slow and practice regularly. The phrase that really helps the most with my mindset needed while stretching is “relax into stretch”. Lastly, count your breathes not the seconds, doing your best to breathe comfortably during all stretching. Holding your breath is the last thing you wanna do when stretching. #bssbbooks #blueskystrongbox #stretchingexercises #flexibilitytraining #mobilitytraining
The #1 killer of men & women in America is HEART DISEASE. It’s also largely preventable and quite possibly reversible in the right situations. There is no one thing that causes or prevents heart disease. A variety of factors influence Heart Health. The most important is BLOOD PRESSURE. Do everything you can to keep it within the safe range of 120/80 or below. Most grocery store pharmacies have free stations to check your blood pressure. Take advantage of them. Too much salt (sodium) in the diet can make blood pressure worse. Extra body weight also causes problems. Most heart issues will be due the development of plaque buildup in the arteries. High Blood Pressure makes this worse. So do diets lacking in plant-based whole-foods that contain plenty of Fiber such as Vegetable & Fruits. Exercise is also obviously important. The blood vessels are very similar to muscles in that they expand and contract. But they don’t expand much without activity. Exercise doesn’t need to maximum effort to be effective. Daily brisk walking goes a long way. Managing stress, getting proper rest and learning to better control your breathing may also help. Lastly, don’t forget about Connection. We are all human. We weren’t meant to be alone. We need to have contact with others. The amount varies for each of us. But this is Connection. Be kind to yourself and others when you can. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. Don’t be afraid to open your heart. I truly believe each of us has an unlimited amount of Love in our heart. Don’t wait till the end to discover a better you. All in all, just know that you cannot “trick” the body (or the heart) into being healthier or loving. It will always requires work. The body wants to be healthy. It wants to heal. Our hearts want to love not hate. We should all try to not get in the way of ourselves. I promise you it is worth it. #healthandfitness #nutrition #healthandwellness #drgregersdailydozen #hearthealth #bloodpressure #walkingasexercise #eatyourfiber #managestressnaturally #stressmanagement #stressmanagementcoach #lifecoach #lifecoachtips #sleepisimportant #bssbbooks #blueskystrongbox
Truth: most of us need more Vegetables & Fruit in our daily diets. By the way, these are also called Plants. Don’t be scared or bothered by that. Embrace it if you can. You don’t have to like everything. Try stuff out. I feel confident that with enough effort anyone could find a few “plants” they could tolerate and might even learn to enjoy. Attitude has a lot to do with it. Also, understand that it might take a bit for your taste buds to get used to new things, so remember to be patient. And yes, you can still eat meat if you want. You can still have some bread, some chips, sodas, cookies, etc. (maybe don’t go too crazy). Just know this, Plants = healthy nutrition. And yes, there are even a few great plant protein sources. Lentils are a great example of a whole food plant protein. The problem is HOW to actually get more in each day?! For many of us, it’s difficult to navigate the real-world logistics of actually how to get more veggies & fruits in our diets on a DAILY basis for say...an entire year. And make no mistake, the goal is every single day, for a lifetime. Once a week is not good enough. Obviously, this takes time. A lot of people think they eat “healthy” just because they cut a few unhealthy things from their diet. That’s great. I applaud your efforts but don’t stop there. What’s equally important are the things we DO intentionally choose to consume regularly. The ONLY solution i’ve found to help overcome this obstacle is to drink a SMOOTHIE each day. I make mine at home. Everything in it is healthy. No BS. Most of my stuff is frozen. For me, this is a simple, fast and affordable option. Otherwise, I can’t lie, there’s no way I’d get in both veggies & fruits every day. I’m too busy. Keep in mind, I enjoy non-healthy food as much as anybody. I also know the importance of proper nutrition. A smoothie is just a suggestion and something I think worth considering for anyone that cares about their health yet finds themselves forever busy. I know the struggle is real. I just wanted to share what’s worked well for me for years. #bssbbooks #blueskystrongbox #smoothies #healthandwellness #healthandfitness #nutrition #drgregersdailydozen
The Core: Part 2. Last week I mentioned that I like the term “braid” to describe the muscles of the core. I also like the term “Pillar”. Think of a Roman pillar supporting the weight of a heavy stone or marble structure. Envision your pillar as 2 shoulder sockets + the spine + 2 hip sockets. One very important job of all these different muscles is to work together to protect the body from injury, especially the Spine. They can also work together to produce large amounts of stability, strength that will hoped translate into sustained durability, if trained appropriately. The “core” is not just abs or stomach muscles. Because of this, we should always focus on keeping these areas “braced” when doing most movements, especially during exercise. At the very least, when exercising, keep your stomach muscles braced tightly as if you’re expecting a powerful punch. This tension is actually useful in creating a strong Core as well as helping the body learn to fire these muscles automatically during future movements. Most “core” exercises, things like sit-ups and crunches for example, don’t typically incorporate the entire body while performing them. It’s not that they have no value, it’s just that better options are available. By the way, the best option for improving the appearance of the Core is still a BALANCED DIET & LIFESTYLE. #coreexercises #healthandfitness #healthandwellness #blueskystrongbox #bssbbooks
The Core. It’s a very popular topic. Why? Because most of us want ours to look better. There’s nothing wrong with that. Why don’t I talk about it more? Well, I do, kind of. I talk a lot about a balanced lifestyle. Why? Because all roads of a balanced lifestyle lead to everything we want, including the improved appearance of our waistlines. A balanced lifestyle typically does a lot to improve health, fitness, happiness and yes, the way we look. Why then does the fitness industry talk so much about special “core” exercises that “target” and “melt” away unwanted fat...and other things like controversial Supplements, Drugs and other Nutritional protocols. Why? Profit. Exercises that target the Core typically won’t do much to improve the way it looks, at least not until very lean. Taking expensive, possibly even dangerous, nutritional supplements, drugs; following questionable nutritional practices, etc...will most likely just deplete your bank account and could possibly even damage your health. And all we wanted was a flatter stomach, right. Instead, seek BALANCE. ✨>Quality sleep. Hydration with clean water. Consume adequate amounts of fibrous Veggies & Plants, adding in some lean proteins & healthy fats. Laugh more, have fun more...after your responsibilities are done, of course! Don’t exercise too much or too little. Do move every day. Walking is a great choice most days. Enjoy time alone and with friends. Have something or someone to Love, something to always do and something to always look forward to. Repeat and tweak as needed...till the end of time. #bssbbooks #blueskystrongbox #healthandwellness #healthandfitness #coreexercises #coreexercise
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By combining fitness and nutrition with a positive attitude, Katie can help you improve the quality of your life and have fun while doing it.
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Certified Eating Disorders Registered Dietitian Supervisor Nutrition Therapy Certified Personal Trainer through NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine)
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