Tag: exercise

Pilates Exercise Of Month: Roll – Over

 Purpose: To stretch the lower back and hamstrings; develop spinal articulation and improve control of the abdominal muscles.

Note: if you have a bad neck or lower back, leave this exercise out.

  1. Lie on the mat with arms long by your sides; palms down. Lift both legs to a 60-degree angle from the mat.
  2. Inhale, lift the legs to a 90-degree angle. Initiate from the abdominals; bring your legs over your head peeling your spine off the mat. Keep reaching the arms long, shoulders pinned down. Don’t press onto your neck.
  3.  Exhale, open your legs just past shoulder width and flex your feet. Keep the back of your neck long to avoid any tensing. The arms continue to press into the mat. Your body weight should rest squarely in between your shoulder blades.
  4.  Begin rolling back toward the mat, feel your spine stretching longer and longer as you articulate down until the tailbone touches the mat.
  5.  When the tailbone reaches the mat, take the legs to just below 90 degrees and squeeze your legs together again. Repeat the sequence.
  6.  Complete 3 repetitions with legs together when lifting and 3 times with legs apart.

Head to Toe Checklist:

  • Keep your upper body glued to the mat- avoid rolling onto the neck
  • Don’t use momentum to roll over; use abdominals
  • Palms press into mat, arms long throughout.
  • Shoulders are stable on the roll down.

Visualization: Imagine your arms are lead bars pinning you to the mat.








Strategies to Maintain Your Weight this Holiday Season


Many know what it takes to successfully implement the nutrition and exercise strategies to lose weight. It’s a skill and is based on measurable lifestyle changes that target sustainable fat loss. When confronted with the period of Thanksgiving to the New Year, we often deprive ourselves of dietary indulgences or we throw in the towel by allowing ourselves to get out of our routines – most notably, exercise. And then we gain weight. Is this weight gain caused by our dietary choices? Unless you’re going to a holiday buffet on a daily basis I would emphatically vote no. Occasional dietary indulgences are not the reason we gain weight. We at SAC are all here to remind you that exercise is your skill set to maintaining your weight during the holidays!

Exercise is the key to weight maintenance.


As you mindfully enjoy holiday foods, push yourself to go an extra 15-30 minutes during your next workout. Look for opportunities to walk more and take the stairs when you can. It all adds up to burning off those extra calories.


For most, delaying weight loss goals to the month of January is more realistic. By allowing yourself to mindfully include the dietary holiday traditions you enjoy you’ll be that much more prepared to transition to weight loss in the New Year (if that is your goal). And, by practicing the skill of weight maintenance over the holidays you’ll be that much more equipped to maintain your weight when you’ve accomplished your weight loss goals.


Enjoy the holidays and remember to be vigilant and double-down on your exercise routine. What a way to combat holiday stress as well!


For more information, please contact our Nutritionist, Kathryn Reed, MS, at kreed@sacdt.com.


Keep Your Piriformis in Good Form.

The piriformis muscle lies deep to the gluteal muscles in the buttocks. It is an important lateral rotator, the position your leg is in while kicking a ball with your instep, and a essential stabilizer of the pelvis. Because of its importance in our mobilization and balance, it is not only used in vigorous exercise and sports, but also in activities such as getting up from a chair or walking. We are constantly putting demands on this muscle, yet because of the depth and location many are unaware they have a tight piriformis.

If this muscle remains tight it can irritate surrounding structures, such as nerves, which may result in pain. This pain can show up as low back pain, buttock pain, or pain running down the back of the leg. Other symptoms may include numbness, tingling, or a decrease in sensation in those areas.

Perpetuating factors include sitting for extended amounts of time and sitting with your legs crossed, quite common with the desk work and travel demands of todayʼs world. Climbing stairs, squatting, or running might exacerbate the discomfort our tight piriformis might be creating. This can be a frustrating cycle… we want to exercise because we sit all day… but when we sit all day, our tight piriformis might make certain exercises uncomfortable.

Talking with your personal trainer, massage therapist, yoga instructor, or another member of your self-care team, can help you build a great plan to keep your piriformis in good form. Static stretching, foam rolling, hydrotherapy, trigger point therapy, and myofascial release, are all great treatments for a tight muscles. Donʼt let your piriformis cause you to lose form, chat with your team and learn what you can do to help it!

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

February welcomes Valentine’s Day and Heart Awareness Month.

Heart disease is a major problem. According to the CDC every year, about 715,000 Americans have a heart attack. About 600,000 people die from heart disease in the United States each year—that’s 1 out of every 4 deaths. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women.

The term “heart disease” refers to several types of heart conditions. The most common type in the United States is coronary heart disease (also called coronary artery disease), which occurs when a substance called plaque builds up in the arteries that supply blood to the heart. Coronary heart disease can cause heart attack, angina, heart failure, and arrhythmias.

Plan for Prevention

Some health conditions and lifestyle factors can put people at a higher risk for developing heart disease. You can help prevent heart disease by making healthy choices and managing any medical conditions you may have.

  • Eat a healthy diet. Choosing healthful meal and snack options can help you avoid heart disease and its complications. Be sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables—adults should have at least 5 servings each day. Eating foods low in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol and high in fiber can help prevent high cholesterol. Limiting salt or sodium in your diet also can lower your blood pressure. For more information on healthy diet and nutrition, visit CDC’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Program Web site and ChooseMyPlate.gov.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese can increase your risk for heart disease. To determine whether your weight is in a healthy range, you can calculate a number called the body mass index (BMI) or you may also use waist and hip measurements to measure a person’s body fat. If you know your weight and height, you can calculate your BMI at CDC’s Assessing Your Weight Web site.
  • Exercise regularly. Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower cholesterol and blood pressure. The Surgeon General recommends that adults should engage in moderate-intensity exercise for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week. For more information, contact any of our fitness staff.
  • Monitor your blood pressure. High blood pressure often has no symptoms, so be sure to have it checked on a regular basis. You can check your blood pressure at home, at a pharmacy, or at a doctor’s office and even here at the Seattle Athletic Club.
  • Don’t smoke. Cigarette smoking greatly increases your risk for heart disease. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, quit as soon as possible. Your doctor can suggest ways to help you quit.
  • Limit alcohol use. Avoid drinking too much alcohol, which can increase your blood pressure. Men should stick to no more than two drinks per day, and women to no more than one.
  • Have your cholesterol checked. Your health care provider should test your cholesterol levels at least once every 5 years. Talk with your doctor about this simple blood test.
  • Manage your diabetes. If you have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar levels closely, and talk with your doctor about treatment options.

Take your medicine. If you’re taking medication to treat high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes, follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. Always ask questions if you don’t understand something. If you want to get off you medications or lower them naturally start an exercise regime here at the Seattle Athletic Club and see the dependence on pharmaceuticals disappear.

Pilates Exercise of the Month – TWIST

IMG_0381 IMG_0380 Twist



By:  Jocelyn Paoli, Stott Certified Pilates Instructor



Purpose:  This advanced exercise strengthens and stretches the olbique adbominal muscles, stabilizes the shoulder and puts balance and control to the test!


Starting Position: Sit sideways with your weight on one side of the pelvis. Bend the legs and place the top foot over the bottom one. Place your hand, palm down, fingers facing away from you, underneath your shoulder.  Your top hand rests on knee.


  1. Inhale; In one movement, lift pelvis away from floor, straightening the legs; raise the upper arm to shoulder height; fingers pointing to ceiling. The body is in a straight diagonal line; arms straight &  aligned with each other.


2.  Exhale, lift pelvis high, reach free arm (top arm) down toward mat, rotating trunk, as the arm reaches under the body.


  1. Inhale, return to previous position with the body in a straight diagonal line.


  1.  Exhale, now, take our arm and reach it back, allowing upper body to twist toward ceiling, resisting pelvic rotation.


5.  Inhale, return to your long diagonal position of step 3.  Exhale lower body to starting position. Complete 3-5 times.


Visualization: Imagine you are suspended by a strong spring attached through your belt loops and up to the ceiling.


Head to Toe Checklist:

*  Keep your hips still as you twist

*  Keep scapula stable

*  Maintain alignment of the head with the spine

*  Don’t lean all your weight into your wrists or knees



Begin going in one direction, then add on.

Pilates Exercise of the Month: HIP CIRCLES

Hip Circles, Pilates Moment

Purpose:  Hip Circles focus on the abdominal muscles; strethes the front of the shoulders, across the chest, and down the arms.

Starting Position: Sit in a V position with the arms extended behind the body, hands resting on floor; fingers face away from body. The legs are together, about an 60 degree angle from the floor.

  1. Inhale; move your legs down and around to the right.
  2.  Exhale, complete the circle, bringing the legs to the left and back up to the starting V position.
  3. Complete 3-5 sets.


Visualization: Imagine your hands are stuck in cement and you are unable to move your torso except to keep it lifting to the ceiling.

  Head to Toe Checklist:

  1. Begin small, increasing circles as you gain strength.
  2. Circling the legs too low will compromise your abdominals.
  3. Don’t let the upper body collapse.
  4. Press the shoulders down and away from your ears.


Prop yourself up on your elbows if maintaining straight arms is to difficult.

Jocelyn Paoli, Pilates Instructor

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.

Tips to Increase Your Strength Safely

Back in January I wrote a goal card to deadlift twice my bodyweight by June 1. I’m very excited to report that I reached my goal by lifting 348 lbs for 1 rep. Over the last several months, I have put in a lot of time working on deadlifts so I thought I would pass along some tips on how to increase your maximum strength in deadlift or any other exercise.

Get in the Groove
Make sure your deadlift pattern is PERFECT under no load and under sub maximal load. Poor deadlift patterns put your vertebral health in jeopardy and hamper performance through inefficiency. The specifics of the deadlift pattern are beyond the scope of this post but check out this video (by one of my former professors) for some general tips. Take the time to develop the movement competency required to deadlift well and then invest in learning the pattern. Make sure to maintain the pattern by including sub-maximal lifts in your training.

Plan for Success

Set a reasonable goal based on your current level and experience. Then expect to spend at least 10-12 weeks working on it. Invest the first couple of weeks in learning the movement and sub maximal workouts. Spend around four weeks in a hypertrophy phase in which you try to grow muscle with sets of around 6-8 reps. Take a week to re-focus on technique and movement ability before starting the next four week sequence, this one focused on maximum strength by employing very heavy sets of around 3 reps and using long (120+ sec) rest intervals.

Try Complexes

A complex is a heavy lift immediately followed by an explosive, exhausting exercise. The explosive exercise is followed by 90-120 seconds of. I reaped great benefit from complexing medium-heavy deadlifts with kettlebell swings. The combination of heavy weight, lactic acid inducing explosive exercises and rest effectively stimulates testosterone and human growth hormone to help increase muscle mass.

Go Heavy-Medium-Light
Try to lift heavy one day per week. This is the day to try a strength workout like 6 sets of 3 or a hypertrophy workout with 4 sets of 6 at 95-100% of your effort. Lift at a medium intensity one day per week. This should still be a challenging workout but the top priority is to maintain perfect technique throughout. Lift light one day per week. Use just enough load that you are aware of it but it doesn’t come close to distorting your technique. Use this day to rest and prepare for your next heavy day and also experiment with any changes to your technique on these days.

Heavy lifting can be very rewarding and a lot of fun. Enjoy these tips and I hope they help you reach new heights! Please contact me if you need help with your deadlift technique: I can’t overstress the value of investing in your movement ability and technique before even thinking about lifting at a maximum intensity. Reach me at Hspencer@sacdt.com.

Best 5 Tips to Improve Your Fitness

There are many things that can get in the way of us reaching our health and fitness goals- lack of time, injury, illness and even traveling for work can all hold us back. Sometimes we can control these things; sometimes we can’t…that’s life. Try to make improvements in these five areas and you will see a change in your fitness.

1. Get Enough Sleep
If you want to work out hard and get the best results, your body needs rest, and lots of it. On a basic level, if you’re feeling tired you’re more likely to skip the gym. If you’ve had a good seven or eight hours of sleep, your body will run more smoothly, your mental state will improve and you’ll be able to workout harder and more frequently.

2. Clean up Your Diet
What you put in your body directly affects how you feel and how you operate. If you put cheap gas in a car it’s not going to run as well, as cleanly or for as long as it would if you chose a higher grade. It’s just the same with your body. Avoid the junk and chose high-quality, fresh, unprocessed foods. Of course enjoy your life and indulge in the things you enjoy from time to time, but make smart decisions and be honest with yourself about your choices.
3. Make Time for Exercise
Like anything in life, if you don’t make time for it then it’s very unlikely to happen. Develop a realistic plan and meet with a personal trainer to keep you accountable. Put workouts in your calendar the same way you’d schedule a haircut or a trip to the dentist. If it’s in your calendar, you’re less likely to skip and more likely to get into a consistent regimen.

4. Increase the Intensity
Doing something is definitely better than doing nothing, but if you’re looking for improved results then you’re going to have to up the intensity of your cardio. If you do the same old workout over and over, your body will very quickly become conditioned to it and your results will stall. You should be tired, you should be sweaty, you should be out of breath. Try to add in a few exercises that push you to your upper limits such as running hills, stairs, or incline treadmill.

5. Hit the Weights
I firmly believe that strength training is an important part of any fitness regimen. If you want to lose fat or change your body, one of the most important things you can do is lift weights. Diet and cardio are equally important, but when it comes to changing how your body looks, weight training wins hands down. Here are a few benefits from lifting weights:
• Help raise your metabolism. Muscle burns more calories than fat, so the more muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn all day long.
• Strengthen bones, especially important for women
• Make you stronger and increase muscular endurance
• Help you avoid injuries
• Increase your confidence and self-esteem
• Improve coordination and balance

These tips can help keep you from reaching an unwanted fitness plateau. Improvements in one or all of these areas will keep your fitness goals moving forward so that you get the most out of life. Talk with a Personal Trainer at the Seattle Athletic Club to get started with your personalized fitness plan.