To reach peak physical condition, you’ve got to commit to a disciplined workout schedule and a healthy, balanced diet. All that gym time and meal planning need a firm foundation built upon adequate sleep. On average, most adults need a full seven to nine hours every night for the body to function at its best. It’s while you sleep that your body gets to work repairing and rejuvenating itself for another day.

Muscle Recovery

Sleep is far more complex than many people realize. You go through five or six 60 to 90-minute sleep cycles throughout the night. During each of those sleep cycles, the body moves in and out of five sleep stages.

Muscle recovery doesn’t start until the body begins to release human growth hormone (GH) during stage III sleep, the first deep sleep stage. When GH enters the scene, it triggers the growth and repair of muscle tissue. Inadequate sleep alters the release of GH, which either shortens the amount of time GH is in the body or reduces the overall amount released. Either way, your muscle recovery slows down.

A Good Brain Cleansing

Throughout a typical day, toxic proteins build up in the brain. At night, while you sleep, your brain cells shrink slightly to create enough space for spinal fluid to flush out toxins. The brain also gets to work strengthening and pruning connections made during the day. Building those you use most and eliminating those you don’t.

A cleansed, pruned brain thinks and acts quickly. It also prevents a slow down in reflexes and response times that follow sleep deprivation.

Sleep Regulates and Stabilizes

Adequate sleep regulates appetite and metabolism too. Without it, hunger hormone levels rise while satiety hormone levels fall. At the same time, the reward center of the brain gets bigger “hits” from foods high in fat and sugar, which leads to intense food cravings.

Appetite isn’t the only way sleep regulates. It also keeps emotions in check. A sleep-deprived brain becomes oversensitive to any kind of negative stimulation as the emotional processing center gets overactive and the logic center slows down.

How to Build Better Sleep Habits

Here’s what it comes down to—sleep helps you build a strong body while maintaining physical and emotional balance.

If you’re chronically sleep deprived, there are ways to improve both the quality and quantity with habit changes. To start, make sure your bed and bedroom support healthy sleep. A mattress and a supportive bed frame that are adequate for your weight and preferred sleep style are absolutely necessary. The room should also be cool, dark, and quiet to prevent disruptions. After that, it’s all about your daily (and nightly) habits.

During the Day:

  • Spend plenty of time outside. Natural light contributes to the appropriate timing of the sleep-wake cycle.

  • Regularly space and time your meals. Try to eat each meal around the same time each day to help your body establish a predictable routine.

  • Establish and follow an exercise regimen. Exercise improves your physical, mental, and emotional health. Plus, it wears your body out so you’re more tired at night.

At Night:

  • Eat an early, light dinner. We don’t recommend heavy, fried foods at any time but especially not before bed. Stomach upset and indigestion can keep you awake.

  • Follow a bedtime routine. Your body loves predictability. A routine can help trigger the release of sleep hormones while giving you a chance to unwind after a stressful day.

  • Go to bed on time. Establish a bedtime and keep it on weekdays and weekends. After a short time, your brain will anticipate your bedtime and start releasing sleep hormones accordingly.


You might be unconscious but your body works hard while you sleep. To achieve your fitness goals, adequate sleep can’t be an afterthought. As you make it a priority, you’ll have the energy and stamina to push your physical limits.

Taylors Gym Personal Training

New research published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise shows that even if you do no actual “cardio,” pumping iron will strengthen your most important muscle, your heart, and protect you from having a cardiovascular event like a heart attack or stroke.

After crunching the data, the researchers found that even a little bit of strength training went a long way for preventing heart disease. They found that as little as one session a week, or less than an hour of pumping iron, cut the participants’ risks of heart disease and dying from a cardiovascular event by 40 to 70 percent, even if they didn’t get the recommended amount of aerobic exercise every week.

Strength training was also linked to a lower body mass index (BMI), which is also associated with better heart health.

There are a number of ways to get a strength training workout at Pivotal Fitness:

  • Our Taylors gym is now offering over 25% off personal training sessions. Get a jump on your 2019 fitness goals and get started today!
  • We offer a number of strength training based group fitness classes in our Taylors health club
  • Our strength training area is a 9,000 square foot space that features selectorized Hammer Strength plate-loaded equipment and variable resistance machines set up in circuits, allowing you to effortlessly proceed from one piece of equipment to the next. Bands, cables, ropes, balls, mats, kettlebells, light dumbbells, medicine balls, and bosu balls all offer the potential to train better and smarter.

Get started on a strength training regimen today at our Taylors fitness center. Your heart and your family will thank you!

Not so sure which deadlift to incorporate into your Greenville health center weight training routine?

The answer to whether you select the sumo deadlift or conventional deadlift is: it all depends.

Both are good. Both emphasize your backside. But often, one works better for your particular body composition. It all depends on your level of flexibility, as well as your torso and limb length.

For those of average to short height, the standard deadlift generally works better.

For the long torso and/or long-limbed folk, the sumo is often better.

If you’re of the long-limbed, long torso category, the sumo lowers your center of balance and shortens the range of motion by widening your stance. This makes it more suitable because you don’t have to worry about your knees getting in the way on the way up as they are out to the side, which lends more efficiency to the movement.

Also, if you have lower back issues (or a tight lower back), the traditional deadlift, which requires you bend over more, may cause some lower back flare-ups. If that’s the case, the sumo is probably your best bet, as it’s more upright and easier to keep your spine long.

To really determine which one you should go with, try experimenting with both variations.

Be sure you practice your deadlift – sumo or standard – with good form. If you aren’t sure, seek the guidance of a Greenville gym trainer to learn how to execute proper technique before incorporating the movement into your Greenville sports club routine. There are so many benefits to this movement, including planting more muscle on your whole body, but without good technique you won’t get all of the benefits deadlifts have to offer. Plus, you will be more likely to suffer an injury.

Be smart! Be safe!

Have questions regarding the Greenville health club personal training service? Call (864) 292-8875 or email


Do you want to get into a weight lifting program at the Greenville sports club, but hesitate because you are concerned that you might be susceptible to lower back flare ups?

It’s a valid concern.

To better ensure that your lower back stays safe, here’s five simple tips to put into practice if/when you start a weight lifting program at the Greenville Gym:

  1. Substitute the traditional deadlift with a sumo deadlift. The wider the stance, the less intense on the lower back.
  2. Elevate your heels. This puts more emphasis on your knees, taking the stress off of your hips and lower back. Either invest in weight lifting shoes or lift your heels on weights.
  3. Invoke the mantra: slow and steady. More times than not, it’s adding on too much weight too quickly that leads to lower back pain or injury. Be smart: add weight on very slowly and steadily over time. Use an app like Strong Lifts to strategically guide and monitor your progress.
  4. Do abdominal work to support your posture. A strong core helps to support and stabilize the spine, especially the lower back, during any lift. Practice planks on plank on planks…to really fortify your abdominal strength. To boost your core strength even more, test out a Greenville yoga class. Vinyasa always delivers a hefty serving of core.
  5. Practice lightweight good mornings. Lightly weighted good mornings will help to strengthen your lumbar spine to help fix any underlying weaknesses that may be contributing to the lower back pain.

Do you have any additional tips and tricks for keeping the lower back safe and sound for a lifting session? Please share/comment below!

For more weight lifting tips and tricks, consider signing up for the expertise of a Greenville health club personal trainer. In fact, if new to the Greenville athletic club, you are gifted a free initial personal training session so you can test it out.

For more information on personal training and more, contact the Greenville gym.

Got core?

If you’re seeking exercises to both strengthen and sculpt your abs, consider yoga your core-boosting solution.

That means skip the old school sit-ups and step away from the ab machine.

Step on to the yoga mat, instead. You (and your midsection) won’t be disappointed. Yoga delivers a complete core workout, effectively targeting all layers of the abs: the rectus abdominis, the obliques (internal and external), and the transversus abdominis (the deepest layer of ab muscle).

Here’s 3 powerful core exercises you can do pre or post-workout at the Greenville athletic club or even, mix into your regular workouts or HIIT routines. Bonus: All exercises also promote greater upper body strength, so you can show off some toned triceps to match that tight tummy.

  1. Core Sequence Using Plank Pose: Plank pose is the Holy Grail of core exercises. Incorporate this plank routine into your Greenville health club workout, do it post-run or cardio session, or add it into the middle of your yoga practice. Whenever, wherever.
  2. Core Strengthening Series: Strengthen your abdominus rectus (the six pack abs) in this core sequence. This sequence is best if practiced after your Greenville sports club workout. Sprinkle it into your cool down routine.
  3. 5 Yoga-Inspired Core Exercises: Challenge your abs from all directions. Two of the exercises in this free online yoga video use weights, but they can be done with or without them. We suggest you accept the challenge and grab a pair of light hand weights.

All yoga is beneficial for the core. To enhance your core intelligence, support and strength even more, we suggest you try out a Greenville yoga class. Choose a more vigorous style, such as Vinyasa, to really get an adequate fix of abdominal work. Visit the Greenville gym website to learn more about our yoga class schedule and styles.


If you’re looking for the best weightlifting app to track your Greenville Gym weight training workouts and boost your strength, the STRONGLIFTS 5X5 app is where it’s at! Available for download on all iPhone/iPod and most Android devices, this app boasts a bounty of easy-to-use features that even the most novice of weightlifters can get behind. And the fact that it’s both free to download and free of ads is a major bonus!

Mehdi, founder of StrongLifts, lists the following app features:

  • “Track how many reps and sets you did with a simple tap so you never forget it again
  • Timer shows how long you’ve rested, and how long you should to get your next set
  • Automatically increase weight by 2.5kg/5lb each workout (customize in settings)
  • Auto-alternate workouts A/B so you know which exercise to do each workout
  • Automatically repeat the weight if you fail to get five reps on every set
  • Automatically deload if you fail three sets in a row on an exercise
  • And a lot more like kg/lb version, notes, calendar, history, etc.” 

If you want to start weightlifting or just create more structure in your training at the Greenville athletic club, StrongLifts 5×5 is both a highly rated and highly recommended tool. It most definitely warrants a download. And it most definitely manifests muscle-building results (Follow StrongLifts on Twitter).

Plus, the Greenville health club has everything you could possibly need to complete this routine in the Advanced Training Area of the gym. If you need a little extra help with the lifts in this program, don’t hesitate to reach out to a Greenville sports club trainer. For those totally new to lifting, a weightlifting coach, at least initially, is strongly urged to ensure your technique is solid and safe.

Happy Lifting!

If you’ve struggled with tight, troublesome IT bands, these yoga-inspired exercises are for you.

In this free yoga demo, running coach and yoga teacher Sage Rountree explains what your IT band actually is, discusses its function, and introduces a two-pronged approach both to alleviate achy IT bands and to strengthen your glutes to prevent future pain. These beginner-friendly yoga exercises can be performed before or after any Greenville gym workout.

Here’s what you’re in for:

First, you’ll learn a quick movement to build your glute strength to improve the communication between your lower leg and hip so your IT band doesn’t have to work so hard to keep you in line. It’s also a great exercise to cultivate more balance! Then, learn a forward folding pose to release all of the muscles that play a role in IT Band Syndrome, especially in the outer hip region where the IT band crosses. This exercise may also provide a bonus hamstring and calf stretch. These exercises, when combined, are especially helpful for runners and athletes in the prevention and/or healing of chronic IT band tightness.

Click here for the video.

Moral of the story: Just stretching your IT band isn’t going to cut it. To effectively deal with IT band issues, you have to BOTH strengthen the places that are weak and release the places that are tight.

So, make sure to mix in a combo of IT band stretches and strengtheners to best support your knee and hip health so you can rock your Greenville athletic club activities pain-free.

To give your IT bands even more love, check out a Greenville Yoga class!


Busting your behind on the elliptical and banging out a gazillion crunches isn’t going to cut it, ladies.

If you’re concerned with getting or staying in shape but don’t have countless hours to put in, here’s 6 gym tips on what you should be doing to maximize your Greenville health club workouts.

  • Up the Intensity: Coasting on the elliptical or treadmill at a cozy speed probably won’t do much for your bod. The biggest mistake women make in their training is failing to exercise with adequate intensity. High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, is typically a 10- to 20-minute routine that alternates short, intense bursts of activity with moderate-exertion recovery periods. It’s the optimal way to enhance your total-body fitness, torch calories, burn fat, and build strength.
  • Train Hard: Are you training hard enough at the Greenville health center? It’s pretty simple to assess your efforts. Sweat, an elevated heart rate, and lactic acid production (i.e., feeling the “burn”) are all indicators that you are putting in work that will pay off.
  • Balance Strength Training and Cardio: Ladies, you can’t get toned, lean muscle by limiting your workouts to cardio routines. You will burn up all the muscle that you have and end up looking stick thin. So, pick up a barbell or some free weights, and/or bust out some pushups and pullups, to kickstart the strength-building process. Check out the Greenville Sports Club Group Fitness schedule to find classes that feature a balance of strength training and cardio.
  • Modify. There’s no shame in modifying an exercise. Modified push-ups, for example, have long been considered the weak girl’s exercise. Just not so. If you have a difficult time doing the knees-off-the-ground variation – so much so that your form ends up suffering – the move is futile. Be smart, do the modified style, and get more bang for your bod, including a stronger upper body and core.
  • Eat to Win. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can eat whatever you want because you’ve put in a hard workout. Nutrition is a HUGE piece of the fitness puzzle. If your nutrition is off, you will not realize the results you want. What you eat and how much you eat matters, workout or no workout. Eat well. Eat clean. Eat enough. To put together a diet plan, consult an expert at the Greenville Gym Nutritional Center.
  • Minimize distractions; maximize results. To really get your head in the gym game, enjoy the privacy of the Greenville athletic club ladies only gym – a 4,000 square foot beautifully appointed and fully equipped facility complete with a separate ladies service staff. Featuring a 1,500 square foot group fitness area and separate strength and cardio equipment, this fem-friendly space boasts all of the gym essentials.

If it’s your first time stepping foot into a gym, these beginner fitness tips are for you.

  1. Warm Up: Try a beginner yoga sequence to build heat and prep your body for the workout ahead. This step-by-step sequence will fit the bill for a beginner yogi.
  2. Hydrate: If you’re not hydrating, you’re doing yourself and your Greenville gym workouts a huge disservice. Drink up!
  3. Consult an Expert: Before you dive in, consult a Greenville health club personal trainer. If you’re trying to shed pounds and are new to the exercise scene, you need a plan that you can actually commit to. Book a session with one of our personal trainers to devise a well-balanced, reasonable workout and nutritional plan to maximize your time and efforts at the Greenville sports club.
  4. Leave Your Ego at the Door: You don’t have to prove anything here at the Greenville athletic club. We don’t care how hard you run or how heavy you lift, as long as you’re giving it your all. Follow this mantra: train hard, stay humble. The moment your ego starts creeping in, is the moment you start making stupid moves that could make you look silly or worse, jeopardize your safety.
  5. Wind Down: Don’t forget to seal your workouts with a cool down! This is crucial for countering the physical stress you’ve put on your body and to reset mentally. To stretch it out and calm the mind, try this 11-minute yoga sequence. To wind down even more, consider a gentle Greenville yoga class.
  6. Recover: A good workout just isn’t complete without a proper cool down. What you do immediately post-workout affects how your body reacts and responds to all that hard work. Be sure to rehydrate, stretch it out, and consume a high-protein, high carb snack. Also, follow up all that hard work with clean, balanced eating. Working out only gets you so far. You must complement all of that effort with proper nutrition!

The upper/mid-back (thoracic spine) are typical areas of stiffness in athletes and gym enthusiasts.

A double leg squat assessment is all it takes to reveal thoracic extension limitations. Many times you’ll see that athletes are unable to keep their upper backs erect as they squat down low. The shoulders collapse forward, the upper/mid-back rounds, and the chest cavity caves in. A similar phenomenon occurs in yoga during poses including Chair Pose and Squat Pose. More times than not, the “collapse” is due to an inability to maintain extension through the mid-back.

Poor thoracic extension not only looks ugly, but is also does ugly things to the shoulders. Thoracic spine extension is a major player in shoulder health, so it’s wise to bring awareness to it. Starting your Greenville gym workout by warming up and priming for thoracic mobility, especially prior to a heavy lift day, is a great place to start.

Here’s 7 thoracic extension mobility poses/exercises you can practice at the Greenville health center to facilitate upper body extension, which will better your shoulder mobility and enhance actions like overhead barbell movements. Bottom line: If you fall into the brutally stiff category, these yoga poses are definitely calling your name.

1. Cat/Cow Exercises

These exercises are great to integrate into your pre-lifting, warm-up routine at the Greenville sports club. Feel your outer body relax as physical and/or mental stress and tension dissolves.

2. Upward Facing Dog and/or Cobra

If you’re new to the practice, Cobra is definitely a more accessible, intelligent place to start, as it’s more gentle on the lower back. Only once you build the appropriate level of strength, intelligence, and mobility, should you move into Upward Facing Dog, a very deep backbend.

3. Low Cobra (Sphinx)

Low Cobra is one of the more mild of backbends. As such, it’s accessible for all levels of yogis. Really lift your chest (pull the sternum forward and up) and lengthen your spine to create more openness in your front body and more extension through your back body (the mid-back region especially).

4. Camel Pose

As a more advanced backbend, Camel Pose may need some adjusting. Explore modifications and variations to keep your lower back healthy, while you open your chest and shoulders.

5. Yoga Strap/Towel Shoulder Opening Exercises

Prior to a heavy lifting workout at the Greenville health club, grab a yoga strap (or towel), and enjoy moving your upper body in all directions. 

6. Saddle Pose (Virasana)

Promote thoracic extension using a prop of your choice as an access point to facilitate segmental extension. Let your head and upper back sink back perhaps using a block or a bolster or foam roller as an access point. To get more bang for your back, reach your arms up over your head. The key here is relaxing your spine over your choice prop in several different segments along the thoracic spine to really deepen the release and increase the mobility in the vertebral joints of the thoracic spine.

7. Downward Facing Dog

Once you get into this pose, let the mid-back sink to the ground, allowing gravity to assist the pose. Hold the pose for 10 to 15 breaths, allowing the thoracic spine or mid-back to sink lower with each exhale. If you feel your mid-back rounding, bend your knees aka Relaxed Dog. Keeping the knees bent, pivot at the hips and lift the tailbone high to find greater extension through your entire spine.

Athlete or not, if you’ve ever experienced neck pain, lower/upper/mid-back pain, shoulder pain, and/or even headaches, you may want to integrate thoracic extension exercises into your regular Greenville athletic club routine, so you can do what you love and stay healthy doing it.

Also, don’t forget to check out our Greenville Yoga class schedule!