Tag: Athletic

Employee of the Month for April, Jason Anderson!

Jason does an outstanding job balancing being a husband and a father of two with working early and sometimes working late.  He always comes into the club looking for ways to help change one person’s life and make someone’s day better.


Jason Anderson has been a pillar of the fitness department for over 10 years.  In those short 10 years he has been able to reach out and affect hundreds of lives within the club.  His attention to detail, attentive demeanor and superior knowledge has allowed him to create amazing workouts for so many of our members.


Jason Anderson is a quiet leader within the club who gives so much of his energy to such a wide range of members and departments. He is never too busy to help out a member in need or to mentor a younger fitness staff member to grow into the professional they want to be. We feel very fortunate to have Jason on our team; we know that it is people like him that make our club truly exceptional.
Jason Anderson

It’s Only Human Nature

Have you ever wondered why knocking out 20 push-ups in front of your trainer is easier than when you do it alone? Could you swear sometimes that on the weekends when you workout at home you take twice as many rests as you normally do and the workout drags on and on? Is it possible that your squats can be done with 20 lbs extra with your girlfriend in the same room? If you are thinking there is something crazy going on don’t freak out just yet.

It’s true, a second pair of eyes will nearly always make you workout harder than you would by yourself. It’s true if you are in the weight room with 10 other people, if you are working out with a trainer, or if you are running a long run surrounded by a marathon of other people you will inevitably work harder and perhaps that work may even seem easier than when doing it by yourself. It’s human nature to do better, work harder, push more if there are other people around (watching you or not). This is why workout partners and trainers help so much with improving workouts. I’m not saying that if you and your co-worker get on an Elliptical next to each other and talk gossip for 30 minutes that you’ll be working out harder than you would on your own. There are certain ways that a partner can lessen your workout. But if you are keeping your eyes on the prize and working hard already, well then, a workout partner may be just the push you need to work that much harder.

Most people that exercise, whether we admit it or not, have a competitive streak. Some people have that on going challenge inside them and push themselves to do better than they think they can. Those are the lucky few, the few that have enough drive to work hard against themselves as opposed to the person on the bike next to them. But for the most of us a little competition or ever working out with someone who constantly lifts more, runs faster, jumps higher, goes longer can help inspire you to try and catch up. Even if you never are the best one you may find yourself stepping up your game as to not get left behind.

In addition to working out hard with a partner, having a pair of coaching eyes on you will also make a huge difference in the accomplishments you can make in the gym. Trainers do a lot of things for a lot of people. We coach, we encourage, we keep you safe, we design smart effective programming for each individual, we keep you accountable, we challenge, we push, and most of all, we watch. Having a scrutinizing pair of eyes on you will for sure drive you to do your best. The next time your boss comes around your office try surfing the internet instead of working super hard on your work. Let me know how that goes. It’s human nature to work harder with someone else’s eyes on you. So if you don’t have a workout partner, if you do not have the luxury of hiring a trainer, workout at a semi busy time (esp. helpful if you workout when all the hot ladies do) and see if you aren’t doing one extra rep, adding 5 more pounds, or running just a little bit faster. Just by having more than one or two people in the same room as you can ignite a little bug inside of you that says, “I don’t want to look like a weenie, I can do this!” People may not actually be watching you but just in case they are you’ll be ready!

The moral of the story is if you can get a workout partner (that wants to workout, not sit around and talk about the weather) you should! If you can workout with a trainer, I can guarantee you will work harder than you do alone. Or if nothing else maybe you wake up a half an hour earlier and workout when you know the gym isn’t a desert. If you are looking to improve your productivity and do better simple changes can be your answer. Try a group X class instead of working out alone. Come to the gym with your husband instead of staying home and going for a run. Motivation is a huge key in doing your best and working hard, find your motivation and get at it!

Tips for Exercising in the Summer Heat

The sunshine is here! Most individuals prefer exercising outdoors once that sunshine comes out and it is a great idea, especially during the summer. There are a few things you should keep in mind when doing so. Below are some tips for you when you decide to head outside for a run on an 80 degree summer day. I have also included some examples for you to refer too.

Clothing: Wearing lighter colors will help reflect the heat from your clothing and skin. Looser and lighter clothing will help with the evaporation of sweat and make your workout more comfortable. (Example: NIKE Dri-Fit)

Stay hydrated: Drink water before, during, and after exercise to keep your body hydrated when out in the heat. If you do not have enough fluid in your system, it could result in fatigue, nausea, and even heat exhaustion. (Example: ZICO coconut water

Sunscreen: Check the weather before leaving and if it is sunny or even overcast outside, wear sunscreen so you do not risk getting burnt. (Example: NEUTROGENA spf30 sunscreen)

Time of day: The hottest part of the day is normally between 11am and 4pm, so if you have a chance to workout before 11 or after 4 if it is going to be outdoors, I recommend doing so. (Example: At 9am after eating 2 scrambled eggs and peanut butter toast)

Acclimation: If your body is not used to exercising in warmer climates, it takes about 10-14 days for your body to get used to it. Your workouts should be short and slow paced at first so that you get used to the climate before adding intensity. (Example: Monday-15 minutes @ low intensity; Tuesday- 25 minutes @ low/medium intensity; Wednesday -35 minutes @ medium intensity; and so on)

Performance: Don’t be surprised if you do not get your best times or maximum amount of reps when working out in the heat. Your heart has to work harder to pump blood to your working muscles and therefore you might not perform as well as if you were indoors or in cooler weather. (Example: Indoors- 15 box jumps in 10 seconds; outdoors/heat- 15 box jumps in 16 seconds)

Listen to your body: You know your body best, so listen to it. If you start to feel dizzy, confused or light headed during your outdoor workout, I would recommend stopping. (Example: I am running and start to feel a headache coming on, therefore I am going to head to the shade and drink some water before starting again)

Stay close to the water: Some of the best summer activities are on the water where you can be cooled very easily if in the heat. (Examples: Paddle boarding, Kayaking, Swimming, Rowing, Pool volleyball, etc.)

If you have any further questions about exercising in the heat or exercise in general, please contact Amber Gruger at Agruger@sacdt.com.

Wait! Are you rock climbing this summer? Here’s what you need to know:

The sun is finally out here in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. People are taking full advantage of the vitamin D and exploring new adventures outside. Rock climbing can be a really unique and challenge way to experience the Cascades as long as you are prepared. Before you tackle some vertical rock face, here is some helpful information regarding rock climbing both indoors and out!

Rock climbing has been around for hundreds of years. Traditional alpine mountaineers used the skill to scale impossible mountain faces that otherwise could not be traversed. What started as a need-based skill quickly evolved into more of a sport in England in the late 1880s and only grew from there. Several different types of rock climbing exist today, ranging from indoor, traditional to outdoor, big wall extreme! Listed below are just a few possibilities:

Big Wall- Think El Capitan in Yosemite. Or Half Dome also in Yosemite Big Wall climbing is exactly what it sounds like: climbing a huge wall, over 1,500 ft. Climbers spend multiple days camping in portaledges that can be attached to the side of the cliff and slept in like a hammock.

Bouldering- This is a style of rock climbing most people can get their hands on. If you are afraid of heights and don’t like the idea of dealing with a lot of gear, bouldering may be the best solution. These routes are normally small and closer to the ground with a crash pad or ‘bouldering mat’ beneath the climber. They normally consist of climbs 3 to 5 meters high to reduce risk of injury from falls. Bouldering requires more powerful, dynamic movements in short bursts, whereas sport climbing or traditional climbing usually requires more endurance. Bouldering is typically graded on a scale of V0 to V16 increasing in difficulty as the number climbs.

Crack- Crack climbing involves the climber ascending long, technical cracks in the rock face using specific techniques. The cracks vary greatly in size and accessibility. Some climbers choose to wear gloves to allow for more friction and less injury to the hand.

Free/Speed- For the more advanced climbers, free climbing is a way to test their skills. Free climbing is performed without the assistance of climbing equipment such as ropes. Speed climbing has been associated with free climber where the climber attempts to scale the wall as quickly as possible. This challenges the climber to make quick decisions and has been described as ‘dancing’ up the wall. Bouldering is a more common form of free climbing.

Indoor Climbing- Indoor climbing has made rock climbing more accessible to the general population. Climbing gyms rent equipment that would otherwise be expensive to buy, and set up designated routes for climbers to solve. Both sport climbing and bouldering can be found at indoor climbing gyms. Sport climbing will require one person to belay which is a system for lowering the person climbing and catching them when they fall. Climbs are graded on a scale of: 5.5-5.14d, although each gym and route is rated slightly different.

Climbers of all levels will often use chalk to gain more friction and help to absorb the sweat as they climb. For most forms of climbing, participants will wear a harness and climbing shoes which are designed to be form fitting and assist with protecting the feet. Specific queues and rope knots must be known before someone can effectively belay a partner during indoor or sport climbing. Once these are mastered, you’ll be scaling walls in no time!

If you are interested in learning more about rock climbing contact Outdoor Recreation Coach Thomas Eagen at teagen@sacdt.com.

Variations of Jumping Jacks

Many people think of jumping jacks as an activity people did for fun when they were younger, just like jump roping. This is true, but they are still known as great cardiovascular exercises. I will be going through nine different types of jumping jacks to add some variation to your workouts. Some are more difficult than others, but most can be used for all fitness levels.

  • Standard Jumping Jack
  • Modified Jumping Jack
  • Cross-Jack
  • High Knee Jack
  • Split Jack
  • Squat Jack
  • Hop Jack
  • Plank Jumping Jack
  • Push up Jack
  • Burpee Jack

If you are bored of the standard jumping jack, here are some other types you might like to try within your workout. If you have any questions please contact Amber Gruger.

Genuine Movement: Mobility Routine

Mobility is the ability of a joint to move in a functionally adequate range of motion. It is the foundation of movement ability because it allows your body to be comfortable in stable positions. Mobility is the opposite of the stiffness, tightness and restriction that many of us experience everyday. I have noticed several lower body “hot spots” in SAC members lately. Ankles, knees, hips and even upper backs (thoracic spine) are commonly tight which leads to difficulty in squats, jumping and sports. Many people assume that these malevolent joints are caused by muscles being too short but mobility is actually much more complicated. Mobility is in part determined by nervous system control of all the tissues surrounding a joint which means that increasing mobility at a joint really depends on changing the neuromuscular system. The bad news: this means that passive stretching will probably not make a long lasting improvement. The good news: using smarter mobility exercises can help you overcome immobility in as soon as 2-4 weeks of consistent practice. Genuine Movement is a program that teaches great movement ability in a semi-guided format. Here are some Genuine Movement mobility drills to get you moving naturally and spontaneously. Please contact Hunter Spencer at Hspencer@sacdt.com with questions or for more information about Genuine Movement.

½ Kneeling Stretch

  • Targets: Ankle, knee hip
  • Lean forward until you feel a moderate stretch in the thigh or calf
  • Return to starting position. Repeat.
  • Oscillate continuously for 10 reps
  • 2 x 10

Rib Pulls

  • Lying on your side with top knee pressing into the support
  • Keep knee above hip level
  • Rotate shoulders away from bent knee
  • Hold 3-5 seconds and return to starting position
  • 2 x 6

Squat Progression

  • Targets: Ankles, knees, hips, upper back
  • Use small silver box
  • Start with arms overhead
  • Bend down and touch box with straight legs
  • Continue pressing into the box as you drop your hips down into a deep squat
  • Lift one arm and look at your hand, hold 10 seconds
  • Switch sides and repeat
  • Lift both arms overhead and return to starting position
  • 3 x 6

Please contact Personal Fitness Trainer Hunter Spencer with your questions.

Analysis of Skinfolds

As fitness professionals, we are often approached with the question of what is the best, most efficient way of analyzing body fat. There are only a few methods that are applicable in a gym setting: circumference measurement, electrical impedance, and skinfold analysis. Both circumference and electrical impedance have a larger percentage of error, so the blog will compare the accuracies of the Durnin-Womersley four-site skinfold and the Jackson-Pollock seven-site skinfold. While other methods for skinfold measurement exist, these are the two most commonly used.

For our research, we will use six individuals of varying gender, body size, age, and shape to compare the different methods. According to our anthropometric findings, the variation between the four and seven-site, is greatest in females and the largest differential occurs with age. The four-site has a larger fluctuation with older females and this is supposed to account for lower body density resulting in more visceral fat accumulation. Fifty to Seventy five percent of fat is subcutaneous, thus the difference in estimate between methods can only be proportional to the remaining body weight.

According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, select skinfold equations can have a marked overestimation of body fatness. The Jackson-Pollock seven-site skinfold test is known to be more accurate because of the formulation, variation, and quantity of sites being used having a relatively low margin of error in comparison to hydrostatic weight of only 3.3% inaccuracy. A lot of individuals have differing shapes in the lower body region, and none are included in the Durnin-Womersley skinfold test, making it more reliant on estimation.

Regardless, periodic skinfold measurements will give a reflection of change despite the estimate of body fat percent. In other words, doing regular skinfold measurements will still show changes that are occurring.

If you would like to check body fat measurements or have further questions, please contact either Amber Gruger or Amber Walz.

Celebrate Your Right to Bare Arms This Summer

Tank tops, swim suits, strappy sundresses – warmer weather is just around the corner and that can send even the fittest women into a frenzy! Not only do you want to get your body in top, toned shape, but you also want to be ready for anything the season might toss your way.

Here’s a Pilates move that will give you shapelier arms, sexier shoulders, stronger back, and of course, strengthen your core. Perform this exercise at least 2-3 times a week and include it your regular total-body Pilates program and/or current fitness regime.

In no time, you’ll be able to “bare” it all; looking strong and sculpted in any sleeveless style the warm weather demands!

Pilates Push Up

  1. Stand tall with your heels against the back edge of the mat; toes turn out to the Pilates V.
  2. Keeping hips over heels; inhale; pull your navel into your spine and roll your torso down toward the mat. Place hands on the mat slightly more than shoulder width apart. (Knees can be slightly bent.)
  3. Exhale and walk your hands out onto the mat until your palms are beneath your shoulders and your heels over your toes. Your body will be in a Plank (or Push-Up) position – a straight line from head to ankles.
  4. Perform 3 Push-Ups with the elbows into the sides of the body. To come out of the Push-Up, fold up in half, bringing your chest toward your legs; pressing your palms and heels into the mat. Pull your navel in and give yourself a gentle stretch.
  5. Inhale, walk your hands back toward your feet; trying to keep your legs straight.
  6. Exhale, roll your body back up to a standing position and repeat 2 more sets.

For an advanced challenge, perform the entire Push-Up sequence while balancing on one leg. The same steps apply for the Single Leg Push-Up; remember to keep your leg lifted throughout the entire exercise; repeat the exercise on the other leg.

The ABCs of HydroTherapy

Hydrotherapy, or water therapy, is the application of water to promote healing. All three forms of water (liquid, steam, ice) can be used therapeutically.

Advantages to hydrotherapy are:

  • It is almost always available.
  • It is easy to learn and perform.
  • It is painless and has no ill side effects.
  • It is inexpensive and can be done at home or at the gym.

The goal of hydrotherapy is to improve the circulation and quality of blood. This is important because blood delivers nutrients to and removes wastes from tissues and organs. If circulation is poor or slow, healing nutrients cannot be delivered and toxins cannot be removed, which causes degeneration of the tissues and organs. By improving the quality of blood, more nutrients are available for cells to use and toxins are managed more efficiently.

General therapeutic uses of hydrotherapy include:

  • Pain and swelling of injuries
  • Fever
  • Elimination of toxins
  • Antispasmodic
  • Improve immune function

Hydrotherapy treatments include the following:

Baths & Showers
Baths and showers can be healthy and healing. A hot bath or shower can encourage relaxation, reduce stress, and flush out toxins. Adding essential oils or herbs to the bath can enhance the therapeutic benefits. Cold baths and showers can be energizing and stimulating. A rinse of cold water after a hot shower can invigorate, boost the immune system, and improve blood flow.

Hot Foot Bath
A hot foot bath is the immersion of both feet and ankles in hot water for 10 – 30 minutes. It is an excellent way to draw blood from inflamed or congested areas of the body. Indications for use are foot and leg cramps, sore throat, cold, flu, nausea, insomnia, and chest or pelvic congestion.

Cold Compress
The compress is an application of a cold compress to an area that is initially cooled by the water and then warmed by the influx of blood to the area. It is an effective therapy for sore throat, cold, flu, and sinus congestion when it is administered to the throat or feet. When the feet are treated, it is also known as warming socks or wet socks treatment.

Contraindications for Compress
Skin conditions irritated by moisture.

Castor Oil Pack
Castor oil has been used therapeutically for hundreds of years, both internally and externally. Castor oil applied topically has many beneficial effects and can be used for almost any malady. The castor oil pack is a simple procedure, yet it can produce wonderful results. Physiological effects of the castor oil pack include, but are not limited to: stimulating the liver, increasing eliminations, relieving pain, increasing lymphatic circulation, improving gastrointestinal function, increasing relaxation, and reducing inflammation.

You can buy castor oil at most any pharmacy or grocery store. Apply liberally to the area to be treated, such as the abdomen. Place a flannel fabric or tshirt (something you don’t mind gettin oily) over the area and place a hot water bottle or other heating device over the fabric. This is a great thing to do just before bed, as the heated abdomen is very relaxing!

Gain the Edge: Pilates Boosts Cycling Performance

If you take regular cycling classes or are an avid cyclist, Pilates can be used as a cross training tool.

Whether performed on the mat or specialized equipment, Pilates increases core strength and stability. If your core is stable, your body can devote energy and power to your legs. When flexibility improves, risk of injury to neck, spine, knees, and lower back is lessened.

Benefits specifically related to cyclists include:

  • Greater effectiveness of pedal stroke
  • Increased upper body strength
  • Prevention of lower back pain
  • Better endurance through focused breathing
  • Correction of muscle imbalances

Next time you ride, think about how your body is positioned on the bike. Proper alignment helps you power up hills and sprint past opponents.

Most common postural faults are:

  • Rounded (hunched) shoulders
  • Excessive curve of spine
  • Forward head posture
  • Tight calves, hip flexors, hamstrings and low back muscles

Pilates can help correct these faults. It promotes proper body mechanics and postural awareness. Joseph Pilates believed that “the mind moves the body”. Pilates gives you the tools to create that body awareness.

Regular Pilates also helps prevent common injuries and discomfort. For example, cycling works mainly the quadriceps (front thigh). This can lead to a strength imbalance in the leg muscles and to muscle injury. Therefore, having balance between the quadriceps and the ‘opposing’ muscle group— the hamstrings — boosts the recruitment of those under used muscles. The body works as a unit, giving you the edge.

Consider adding Pilates to your workout regimen—it can pay off big; enhancing your performance and enjoyment of cycling as well as the activities of daily living.

Here’s an exercise to get you started: Single Leg Stretch.