Tag: comfort

Inspirational Member of the Month – Tony Hansen


One of the great privileges of being a Trainer, Instructor or Body Worker at Seattle Athletic Club is the opportunity to work with truly decent and incredible people. Tony Hansen stands in evidence of this. Another great honor of being a Trainer here is that we get to work with colleagues (in the richest sense of the word). The wealth of knowledge and integrity of our Trainers is such that clients never have to feel bound to any single Trainer. Again, Tony can testify to this.

When Tony first came to Kathryn Reed (SAC Nutritionist) and me his goal was to lose weight and get into better shape. Soon however, it became clear that he was really committed to reclaiming his body, his confidence and his spirit. Tony was, from the beginning, very open and trusting to Kathryn and me; he trusted me to nudge him out of his comfort zones and into new realms of ability, agility, strength and belief in himself. Conversely, he gave me room to challenge my own comfort zones and become a more complete Trainer.

During the Holiday Season of 2012—nine months into our training—Tony told me of his annual strategy to find a single worded theme to guide him through the next year. He ultimately came up with “Emerge” for the coming 2013 year. And ‘emerge’ he did! His coordination development and his willingness to be challenged physically really started to become evident. More importantly, the possibility for confidence began to emerge too. As the next Holiday season began to approach he entrusted me as a sounding board while he sought out his theme word for 2014. Finally, he came upon “Embark” which, after he told me, seemed the only possible word. We continued to work together until it was time for Tony to face head-on his apprehensions around the weight room and all that it represented to him. Who better to work with than a three sport collegiate athlete and holder of several Division II football records; who better than the always positive, extraverted and insanely strong Jacob Galloway! In other words, who better to work with than Tony’s worst gym nightmare? Together Jacob and Tony have worked through those issues and Tony actually feels good going to work out in the weight room on his own. He feels he can ‘own his space’ and not feel judged, and more importantly bring its own deep compassion to others in there that may also feel intimidated. Tony and Jacob have become good friends with a deep mutual admiration for each other both professionally and fellow worker-outers.

Tony now proudly wears slimmer and better fitting jeans, is in terrific shape and is sought after as a distinguished Therapist to speak publically, participate in public forums, and present advice in governmental affairs about mental health issues in the work place.

Tony has emerged and embarked as a truly incredible and inspirational person and the world is a better place because of it. Personally selfishly Jacob and I are privileged to work with Tony and call him our Friend.

Holiday Travel Stretches – Stretching 101

If you are traveling this holiday season, remember to be kind to your body. In a plane, train, or automobile your muscles are forced into a shortened position for a prolonged time. Here are some basic stretches that can be done to mitigate the effects.

Chest stretch- A muscle commonly associated with poor posture is the pectoralis, or chest, muscles. As shoulders droop forward and upper back becomes stretched out, the chest muscles become shortened. An easy way to stretch the chest is in a doorway or against a wall. Make sure your shoulder blade is back and down, shoulder joint is back, elbow level with the shoulder line, lean in and slightly angle away from the wall. Putting the forearm flat against the wall makes it easier to have the correct alignment.

Lat stretch- In bad posture the shoulder blades move away from each other and you fall forward into a collapsed ribcage. This shortens the lattisimus dorsi of the upper back. It’s easiest to do this against a wall with the hands against a wall, hinging forward with straight limbs, shoulders down, which also effectively stretches the hamstrings.

Neck and upper trapezius stretch- The collapsed upper body slouch also causes shortness in the upper trapezius area. To stretch this muscle along with the side flexors of the neck take one arm bent behind your back, drop the opposite ear to shoulder and make sure to keep the shoulder back and down.

Spine stretch- To align your spine after being in a prolonged seated posture sit straight, twist to one side, focusing on an open chest and twisting the neck to look over the shoulder.

Piriformis stretch- Inside of your hips the muscles and ligaments can become tight and pull your sacroiliac joint out of alignment. This can cause all kinds of discomfort along the back. An easy way to stretch the hips is sitting straight with feet flat then crossing one leg up and over the other with the ankle over top the upper thigh. This opens the hip to allow a deep stretch.

Hip flexor/ quadricep stretch- The front of the hips also becomes tight from sitting in a fixed posture for a long time. Sit on the edge of a chair and swing the outside leg back while pushing forward with the back of the hip to ensure that you’re not arching your lower back. You should feel the front of the hip and thigh being lengthened.

Another great way to create length in the spine after gravity has worn on you is to hang from a bar above you. This just allows space between the vertebrae and can release any vertebrae that are subluxed, or misaligned. If you do these basic stretches, you can help alleviate any accumulated discomfort in the body that sets in because of travel. For any specific stretch advice contact me, Amber Walz, at the club (206)443-1111 ext.242.