Category: Cycling

Bike Tune Up Day with Velofix Mobile Shop

Kendra Kainz

May 24th, 10am – 4pm

Basic Bicycle Tune-Up’s $70 (SAC Members receive 10% off)

Biking season is upon us; it is time to pull the bike back out of storage and get ready for the upcoming road riding and leisurely bike trails in and around Seattle or perhaps your commuter or race bike needs some maintenance.

Yearly bike tunes ups are necessary for safety and to increase the longevity of your bike.  The Seattle Athletic Club wants to help with this task by offering the convenience of one the spot bike tune-up’s from the professionals at Velofix for all SAC members.  

Bring your bike in before your workout and have Velofix bike experts talk you through how to look for wear and tear on parts and how to keep your bike maintained so that you can enjoy many more years of Seattle bike riding.  

For more information please contact Wellness Director Kendra Kainz (

June Employee of the Month: Natalie Swistak!!!




Please congratulate Natalie Swistak for being nominated employee of the month. Natalie has been an instructor for Seattle Athletic Club since 1999 when we first launched Cycle at the club. She has taught many different formats including Kickboxing and Step, but her passion remains with Cycle.

Natalie consistently goes above and beyond when it comes to teaching Cycle classes. Her positive energy and enthusiasm for teaching are reflected in the outstanding classes she teaches and her passion shines through every time.

As a strong leader in the Cycle Department, she is a huge asset to our team. Natalie is a true professional in every aspect of the word. She is dedicated to teaching, having fun, and most importantly, listening to the members every time they step into the room.

This is what Natalie said about her Cycle classes at SAC, “My 6am Cycle classes bring me tremendous happiness because we have amazing, positive, and dedicated members who like to work hard but have fun!  We motivate each other every week and it’s something special I have not seen at many clubs.  I owe my inspiration to the members who make this happen!”

In addition to leading Cycle classes, Natalie is an inspiration outside of the studio as well. She has been competing in triathlons since 1998. She has completed 3 ironman distance triathlons and placed top 10 in her age group at Ironman Whistler in 2013! She is scheduled to do Ironman Arizona in November with her fellow TN Multisport Athletes. When she is not on the bike, running or swimming, she loves to snowboard and travel up to Whistler to mountain bike.

We are delighted Natalie is a part of our team here at SAC! Thank you Natalie for all you do!

Runners, Cyclists, and Athletes – Tight hip flexors? Low back pain?

The combination of certain activities – especially running, hiking and cycling – followed by sitting for long periods of time, can contribute to tension in the front of the hip, and pain in the low back. Have you had a day of activity, followed by a long drive home? Or had a great run or ride, maybe an intense spin class, then sat for hours at the desk? The hip flexors are in a shortened position while sitting, tighten, and then the nagging pain in the low back will often follow. Those muscles in the crease of your hip can actually get so tight, that they stop other neighboring muscles from working. The deep glutes can stop activating when walking. If this pattern continues, not only can your bottom become flat and flabby – AND WHO WANTS THAT – but back pain or discomfort generally follow. Our posture, while standing or walking will change. The top of the hip bones are pulled forward, which increases the curve of the lower back.

What will help, when this imbalance occurs? One stretch that is particularly helpful is a lunge, with the back knee down, sometimes know as the “lizard pose”. Ask one of our massage therapists, trainers or instructors to help you with this. Something else to try is to lay face down on a mat, with a lacrosse ball underneath you, positioned on the front and side of the hip. This can be a little intense, or uncomfortable at first, but if you are consistent, and try it for a few minutes every day, the hip flexors will loosen.

The best solution of all is to get a therapeutic massage session. There are a couple of assisted stretches that will target the front and side of the hip, as well as deep tissue and fascial techniques, that will really make a difference.

Try all three – stretching, self-care with the lacrosse “torture” ball, and a professional massage. Why live with that nagging pain? With some focused effort, one can really make some changes, and start moving freely again. Thank you for reading this,

Leo DiLorenzo
Licensed Massage Therapist
Seattle Athletic Club

Seattle Bicycle Laws and Regulations: What You Need to Know

By: Fitness Intern, Quinton Augusto, Seattle Athletic Club Downtown. 

This upcoming May 17th is Bike to Work Day in Seattle! We would love to encourage everyone to participate in this fun event which promotes a healthy active lifestyle. With over 240 miles of bike trails surrounding the emerald city, we live in a great place to commute in an eco friendly and healthy way. In fact, of the 25 largest US cities, Seattle has the largest percentage of people commuting by bicycle! Let’s keep Seattle at number 1! This being said we would like to educate everyone on the rules and regulations surrounding Seattle biking so your commute can be as efficient and safe as possible



  • Every rider must wear a helmet regardless of age
  • Every person operating a bicycle on a roadway at a speed slower than the normal and reasonable flow traffic should ride as near to the right side of the lane as is safe.
  • It may be appropriate to deviate while preparing to make or while making turning movements, or while overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction.
  • A person operating a bicycle on a one way street that has two or more marked traffic lanes may ride as near to the left side lane as is safe.
  • A person operating a bicycle upon a roadway may utilize the shoulder of the roadway or any specifically designated bicycle lane if such exists.


  • Persons operating bicycles upon a roadway or sidewalk shall not ride more than two abreast except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles.


  • Given continuously during the last one hundred feet traveled by the bicycle before initiation of a turn, unless during the last one hundred feet both hands are needed to control or operate the bicycle.
  • Left turn: left hand and arm extended horizontally beyond the side of the bicycle.
  • Right Turn: left hand and arm extended upward beyond the side of the bicycle, or right hand and arm extended horizontally to the right side of the bicycle.
  • Stop or decrease speed: Left hand and arm extended downward beyond the side of the bicycle.


  • No person operating a bicycle shall carry any package, bundle or article which prevents him from keeping at least one hand upon the handlebars, nor shall he operate the bicycle at any time without keeping at least one hand upon the handlebars.


  • Every bicycle, when in use during the hours of darkness, shall be equipped with a lamp on the front, which shall emit a white light visible from a distance of at least five hundred feet to the front, and with a red reflector on the seat of a type approved by the State Commission on Equipment, which shall be visible at all distances up to six hundred feet to the rear when directly in front of lawful lower beams of head lamps on a motor vehicle. A lamp emitting a red light visible from a distance of five hundred feet to the rear may be used in addition to the red reflector.
  • No person shall use a bicycle to carry more persons at one time than the number for which it is designed and equipped, except that a person eighteen years of age or older may carry a child securely attached to his person.


  • A person operating a bicycle across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk shall have all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances


  • Every person operating a bicycle upon a sidewalk or public path shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian thereon, and shall give an audible signal before overtaking and passing any pedestrian.


With spring and summer approaching, it’s the perfect time to get out and enjoy the weather while being active. Help us keep Seattle the best bike commuter city in the US. See what it’s all about this May, 17th, 2014.

For more information check out:


It’s Just Physics

By Personal Fitness Trainer Amber Walz Seattle Athletic Club Downtown

Physics is the science of matter and energy, intertwined with facets of everything that makes up the physical world. Force is proportional to the mass of something multiplied by the acceleration (f=ma). Every exercise you do is going to relate to how much force needs to be applied to overcome the inertia of the mass in order to create acceleration.

Gravity is fundamental to understanding kinesthetic principles that govern our bodies. Gravity is pulling on our bodies relative to where the fulcrum (pivot point) is located; usually this is at a joint. As an example, when performing a deadlift the fulcrum is at the pelvis and gravity is acting at the longest length of the lever (your head), so you would need to determine how much force would be need to be exerted to move whatever the weight is, or adjust how close the weight in your arms is relative to the body. The use of mechanical levers is used advantageously in the gym in equipment design like pulley systems and can be used in seesaw type lever mechanics by manipulating the lever arm so that you can maneuver a heavier weight at the opposite side of the fulcrum. This can be seen in dollies and tools like wrenches.

The rate of gravity at terminal velocity in free fall is 9.8m/s2. This gives us an understanding of how fast a weight will fall toward the ground once we have lifted it, how this will increase or decrease the difficulty of an exercise dependent on what position we are doing it in, and if we jump, fall, or throw something, what distance it will cover, in what time and with what force. We encounter another force that effects movement and that is friction, of greatest relevance, air resistance. A good example of the effect of air resistance is when we are running. The mechanical advantage is if there is less surface area for the air to hit. In this way, if we bend our knees and elbows at 90 degrees, we reduce the amount of surface area affected by air resistance. So, the study of kinesthetic mechanics dictates our movement through the atmosphere and has to account for both gravity and friction.

Thermodynamics is the conversion of thermal energy to mechanical energy, or heat energy congruent with work input versus work output. Though the first law of thermodynamics states energy can neither be created nor destroyed, complete conservation of energy determining work output does not biologically equate. In other words, energy that should be accounted for degrades, a quantity defined as entropy. The human body has about a 25% efficiency rate with heat energy being of greatest loss. How much we intake should be calculated based on this principle with the understanding of unaccounted for loss through entropy. Heat is a measurement of energy and temperature is an average measurement of energy. Temperature is an important factor when you are working out that determines if it will take more energy when it’s cold to keep your body temperature at homeostasis, or loss of energy through sweat when it’s hot to keep your body temperature at homeostasis. The design of sports clothing is specific to thermal insulation, reduction of water absorption (wick away), and compression for added support in susceptible areas (compression socks/ tights/ sports bras).

Amber WalzIf we are to better control our exercise experience, we can use physics to determine: how to best lift a weight to produce a specific goal, what food intake is needed for a specific workout, and how to best account for weather conditions and terrain. If you have any questions about how physics can be related to exercise contact Amber Walz.

Try 2 Wheels Instead of 4!

Living in Seattle has some pretty great perks: coffee, business, and a few months of sun. The city is also a great place for outdoor enthusiasts looking for the next big adventure. Even if you are not the “extreme sport” type, Seattle will definitely have something right up your alley to get you outside and moving!

Did you know Seattle has an amazing network on biking trails that connect north, south, east and west? You can ride, relatively car-free (excluding certain stretches were you ride in a bike lane), from downtown all the way past Shoreline, around to West Seattle, out to North Bend, and down to Orting or even Tacoma. Several years ago the city of Seattle took on a project to convert many of the unused railroad tracks to biking paths. Some of the trails follow the trail road the whole way while some are actually paved directly over the previous grade. They provide a brand new experience of the city that would otherwise go unnoticed. Next time you are looking for something to do on the weekend, get out and enjoy one of these trails!

Burke Gilman – This is one of the most popular trails in Seattle. On any given sunny weekend you will see cyclist, runners, people on roller blades, walkers, dogs and kids! The trail starts at Golden Gardens and stretches all the way to Bothell (roughly 20 miles). This trail is heavily used as a commuter trail during the week since it connects Ballard, Fremont, Wallingford, and the U district.

Interurban North – If you are looking for some hill climbs, this is the trail for you! Starting north of Ballard at 110th, the trail connects north Seattle with Shoreline and eventually the city of Edmonds. Most of this trail runs through neighborhood streets as it meanders up and over the hills of the city.

Interurban South – Further south of the city, you can take the Interurban to connect with Tukwila, Kent, Auburn, and Pacific. This trail starts at Fort Dent Way in Tukwila and crosses over the Green River. It follows along the Puget Sound Energy power line corridor and is used both for commuting and general recreation. The path ends at 3rd Avenue SW in Pacific.

I-90/Mountain to Sound – This is one of my favorite trails in the city! It gives you several different options if you wish to extend your ride and see some different places. Starting just south of Seattle by Sturgus Park, the trail follows along Lake Washington until it connects with I-90. Take the bridge over (looking at everyone sitting in the traffic!) to connect to Mercer Island. You can get off the trail here and ride a nice loop around Mercer (I recommend riding counterclockwise so you are on the outside). This is roughly 13 miles around the island. You can also keep going and connect out to Bellevue, Issaquah, or even North Bend if your legs can handle it!!

So next time you think about getting in the car, think twice and jump on your bike! Be sure you are prepared. Always bring: a first aid kit, flat tire repair kit, a cell phone, water, extra food, extra water, a change of clothes/warm clothes, some cash (in case you need to bus back!)

For more information on outdoor activities, or training for your outdoor adventures, please contact Personal Fitness Trainer Thomas Eagen.

To Stretch or Not To Stretch…That is the Question!

Do you stretch before, during or after your workout, go on a run, swim or bike ride? Well, anytime is a great time to stretch. It depends on what it is you are trying to achieve. For example, some athletes may perform a brief warm up of 10-15 minutes and then engage in ballistic stretching (a bouncing-type movement without a hold) prior to their athletic performance. For the average person, it’s up to you on when you do it. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research did a study on pre- & post-exercise stretching and found little to no difference on flexibility. Some find it feels good to warm up and then do some stretching before your workout. Others, such as many of my clients, enjoy a nice stretch after a hard workout, especially with the assistance of their trainer. There are even some that like to stretch before, during and after. Whenever it is you decide to do it, I encourage you to definitely include stretching in your workout if you don’t already!

Electrolytes – What They Are & Why You Need Them

You know it’s important to drink lots of water before, during, and after a workout, but you might be forgetting something! During exercise, your body also loses electrolytes, and you need to replenish them for proper organ and cellular function. Common electrolytes include sodium, potassium chloride, and bicarbonate.

Sodium regulates the total amount of water in the body and the transmission of sodium into and out of individual cells also plays a role in critical body functions. Many processes in the body, especially in the brain, nervous system, and muscles, require electrical signals for communication. The movement of sodium is critical in generation of these electrical signals.

The proper level of potassium is essential for normal cell function. Among the many functions of potassium in the body are regulation of the heartbeat and the function of the muscles.

Chloride is the major anion (negatively charged ion) found in the fluid outside of cells and in the blood. Chloride also plays a role in helping the body maintain a normal balance of fluids.

The bicarbonate ion acts as a buffer to maintain the normal levels of acidity (pH) in blood and other fluids in the body. Bicarbonate levels are measured to monitor the acidity of the blood and body fluids. The acidity is affected by foods or medications that we ingest and the function of the kidneys and lungs.

It is especially important to replenish electrolytes after exercise, because many electrolytes are lost in sweat. You can replenish your electrolytes by consuming sports drinks, juice, milk, and many fruits and vegetables. Perhaps the most common and efficient way to replenish electrolytes is through sport drinks like Gatorade and PowerAde. These drinks offer a good source and adequate amounts of carbohydrates and electrolytes to replenish your body. So remember, next time you plan your workout, don’t forget to include a way to properly recover and nourish your body!

Women’s Mountain Bike Clinic – Huge Success!

Recently Outdoor Recreation Coach, Brandyn Roark hosted the Seattle Athletic Club Downtown’s first Women’s Mountain Bike skills camp on July 3rd. The day started at Revolutions Coffee in Greenlake, where owner Phil hosted the group for coffee and a wonderful atmosphere to inventory the amazing swag bags from local and national sponsors: Hammer Nutrition, Title Nine, and Rudy Project USA!

Following coffee, it was time to head across the street to Gregg’s Greenlake Cycle where store manager Leif and Melissa gave an incredible presentation on basic bike mechanics and provided some tips on how to perform bike maintenance while on the trail. Leif graciously provided some of our ladies with demo bikes exclusive for the Seattle Athletic Club Downtown Mountain Bike Clinics.

Now it was time to head out to Duthie Mountain Bike Park! Once at the park the group began with a simple skills sessions – learning practical techniques in the open spaces, progressing to the more technical trails in the park. The group had a blast. Learned a ton and after a couple hours the ladies were riding amazing!

If you are interested in getting on to a Mountain Bike and developing a core set of skills that will make riding safe, fun and exciting, Outdoor Adventure Coach Brandyn Roark will be doing another Mountain Bike Skills Clinic in August… AND YES, all you men who have been asking, you can join the ladies now!

Clinics are open to beginner and advanced riders, as well as teens ages 14 and up.

Mixed Mountain Bike Skills Session/Clinic August 27th
8:00am – 2:00pm
$150.00 per person
Space is very limited in these clinics – Sign Up Soon!

You can also sign up anytime with Brandyn for a private or small group Mountain Bike Skills Session! Email Brandyn Roark to sign up.