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!
Fitness Advice, Fitness Programs, Lifestyle
Athletic, club, gym, health club, Seattle Athletic Club, workout
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.
Fitness Advice, Lifestyle
exercise, fitness, health club, Healthy choices, Seattle Athletic Club, wellness, workout
This workout is designed to work your shoulder/back area with emphasis on muscle endurance. It’s a tough workout to perform without breaks; you should be challenging yourself to keep going with little to no rest. You will test every aspect of shoulder strength as well as your ability to maintain core stability. If you are looking to increase prolonged upper body strength (for climbing, swimming, rowing, pull ups etc.) this is the workout for you!
With two 10-15lb dumbbells perform each of the following exercises one time each for a total of the specified rounds:
- 1 shoulder press right arm
- 1 shoulder press left arm
- 1 shoulder press both arms together
- 1 upright row right arm
- 1 upright row left arm
- 1 upright row both arms together
- 1 bent over rev. fly right arm
- 1 bent over rev. fly left arm
- 1 bent over rev. fly both arms
Repeat each round for a total of 6 times; then complete 10 ball slams, and Rest.
Repeat each round for a total of 5 times; then complete 10 ball slams, and Rest.
Repeat each round for a total of 4 times; then complete 10 ball slams, and Rest.
Repeat each round for a total of 3 times; then complete 10 ball slams, and Rest.
Repeat each round for a total of 2 times; then complete 10 ball slams, and Rest.
Repeat each round for a total of 1 time; then complete 10 ball slams, and DONE.
If you are interested in learning more about smart, efficient, and effective programming please contact Adriana Brown.
Fitness Advice, Strength Training, Workouts
back, certified, gym, health club, Personal Training, Seattle Athletic Club, shoulder, workout of the week
From the time we are babies we are taught to share. With this simple teaching the hope is as adults we continue to use this practice. This goes with so many different things in life.
You think “I need to get my laps in, I will go swimming today”. You head to the club. In the locker room you put on your swim suit and cap with goggles in hand you head to the pool after you have showered. You’re all ready to jump in and swim as you walk onto the pool deck you think to yourself “what’s this? All the lanes have someone in them!” There is a swim lesson in one lane, someone jogging in another lane and the other lanes have one person swimming. What do you do? Do you wait for a lane to open up? Do you get mad and leave?
There is a simple answer to those questions and leaving is not it. This is where the life long lesson of sharing comes into play. Watch the swimmers see who fits in with your level or speed of swimming. You can wait for them to stop and see you standing on the deck to ask them if they will share with you. You may think I don’t want to disturb someone’s pace; you can climb in making sure not to get in the way. Stand off to the side when they stop ask if they would like to swim circles or split the lane in half.
If you are the person swimming and see someone looking for a place to swim you can offer to share your lane with them. It is also possible to ask the jogger and lesson if they wouldn’t mind sharing a lane so you can swim laps.
Lap lanes can hold many people in them. If you leave :05 – :10 seconds between you and the person in front of you there will be plenty of room for a lot of people. If you were on swim team growing up you always shared lanes with possibly 10 or more people. It’s nice to have the pool or lane to yourself. Sometimes we get so used to it that the first thought is “What? My lane has someone in it.”
All in all there is plenty of room for everyone. All we need to do is SHARE.
Cardio Training, Swimming, Triathlon & Multisport, Weight Loss
athletic club, classes, conditioning, gym, health club, indoor, lap, lessons, masters, pool, Seattle, swimming, Training
Purpose: To develop abdominal control, scapular stabilization and strengthen shoulder girdle. This exercise is 100% Powerhouse, making it difficult to perform. A trained professional must spot throughout exercise.
Starting Position: Face the pedal & place the palm of your hands on the edge of the chair with fingertips hanging off. Step 1 foot on the pedal to press it down, step the other foot on. Glue your heels together and lift so you are balancing on your tip toes.
- Inhale; Keep scapulae stable and round the trunk in a pike position, scooping your abs. Float your head between your shoulders.
- Exhale; with Powerhouse strength, lift pelvis up towards ceiling allowing weight to shift into hands. For 3 counts, lift pedal higher to top of its range.
- Inhale; lower pedal down with control. Bring pedal just above base (not quite to the floor), maintain the pike position.
- Complete 3-5 reps, lower pedal all the way down. Step 1 foot left; then the other, not letting the pedal rebound.
Visualization: Imagine your are floating upward – levitating.
Head to Toe Checklist:
- Maintain scapular stabilization to avoid sinking through shoulders
- Keep head aligned with spine, think of dropping top of head toward floor
- Stabilize around shoulders and through arms to avoid losing control
- Don’t let your body rock or your hips move from side to side
Modifications: Omit the 3 count pulses.
Athletic, classes, exercises, gym, health club, instruction, Pilates, private, Seattle, studio, tips
She’s a tiny, lovely, wonderful, amazing, hard working, positive, funny, strong, brave, determined woman who I’m proud to call a client and a friend.
Cookie Laughlin has been a member of the Seattle Athletic Club along with her husband John since October of 2004. She has been a mainstay down in the Pilates Studio as well as the occasional venture into the weight room. In the past few years Cookie has battled a serious illness that has kept her from the club for lengthy periods of time. Since August of 2012 she has been back and better than ever! She trains with Adriana Brown as often as her treatment schedule allows, sometimes it’s twice a week, sometimes once, sometimes it’s every other week. But no matter what, Cookie and John find time in their very busy lives to come into the club and train as much as they can. This is some real devotion, with all that is on her plate and all that she has to weekly recover from, Cookie is doing her part to work towards better health. When she started training again in August Cookie was still walking very slowly, couldn’t do much balancing, was having a hard time with her foot and hand neuropathy and was out of shape due to her lengthy period away from the club and her aggressive treatment. But in just these past few months she has overcome so much she hardly seems the same person! She works hard every session, pushing herself, trying new things, moving more and more weight, and really giving 100% every hour spent with Adriana. As of today, Cookie has come along LEAPS and BOUNDS. She can stand on one leg, she can lift 12.5lb dumbbells (for a woman who can barely feel her hands or feet this is nothing short of AMAZING), her cardiovascular health has improved 10 fold, she can go up the stairs every other step (sometimes every 3rd step, with a little help from her friends), she has done so many things that both her, her husband, and even Adriana didn’t think possible. This is the kind of woman trainers would kill to have as a client. She NEVER gives up, she hardly ever complains (she’s known to be disgusted that she sweats, she hates to sweat), she works hard, she keeps a smile on her face, and above all, she pushes herself each and every session.
With all that she’s up against, with all that she deals with concerning her health, she makes the hour in the gym her one and only priority while she’s training. She could duck out, she could sleep in, she could decide that she’s just too run down (most people dealing with what she does would easily go down that road), but she doesn’t. If everyone had her mind set we’d all be accomplishing our goals big and small every day! She doesn’t do it alone, she’s got an amazing support system, her husband John is always sweating right along side her and always has encouraging words. Together these two could move mountains… I think they already have.
Here’s to 2013 and conquering all the bad and making leaps and bounds to all the good. Cookie, you are a rock star, thank you for your inspiration.
Health News, Outdoor Activities, Women's Health
athletic club, goals, gym, health club, inspiration, mobility, Personal Trainer, Personal Training, resolution, Seattle, stability, Strength, success, testimonials
Have you ever taken a mat class, and wondered why we teach them the way we do? I’ve been teaching mat classes since 1999, and I hear these same questions over and over. Let’s address them!
Why doesn’t the Pilates Instructor workout with us?
— A Pilates Instructor teaches her class based on what she sees, and she responds to your abilities. Observe the mat class closely and you will notice that a good Pilates mat class is interactive. Are you having trouble with an exercise? She may come over to help you. Is the class moving too slowly? She will give you energy with her voice. If she did her whole workout in front of you, why would you come to class? You could just stay at home and pop in a DVD if you would rather just go through the motions and not be pushed. You are not the “audience”; you are the active participants and are helping to design the class!
Why does the instructor walk around? What is she looking at?
–She is looking at you! She is watching your form and judging your abilities so that she can form the exercises around the needs of the class. When I’m teaching, I notice right away as people walk in whether they are dragging their heels with a lack of energy, or come bouncing in with a lot of energy. If they have a lot of energy, I’ll make the 100 more challenging by adding the criss-cross legs. During the roll-up, I notice if the class is generally flexible or stiff. If no one can touch their toes, I’ll spend more time stretching during single-leg circles.
I like having the dim lights. Why are the brighter lights on?
–The instructor needs to see you! Dim lights are great for a meditative, stretching, breathy class. But Pilates is meant to invigorate, not put you to sleep.
Why is there no music?
–Pilates is very rhythmic. Can you picture the instructor counting the 100 right now? What about open leg rocker? Have you ever done the criss-cross quickly, then slowly? Each exercise has its own rhythm that is unique to that particular exercise. We manipulate the rhythm to make the exercise harder or, occasionally, easier for you. Music would interfere with this technique.
classes, health club, instruction, lessons, mat, Pilates, Seattle, studio, tips, Training
Musculoskeletal injuries are extremely common in sports. What you do with in the first 24-48 hrs can help or harm you. Immediate first aid efforts should be directed toward controlling hemorrhage and associated swelling. The primary goal directly after sustaining an injury is to reduce the amount of swelling resulting from the injury. If swelling can be controlled initially, the amount of time required for injury rehabilitation will be significantly reduced. The initial management of musculoskeletal injuries should include these 4 techniques: rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE).
Rest after any type of injury is an important part of any treatment program. Once the body is injured, it immediately begins the healing process. If the injured part does not get to rest and continues to be stressed then the healing process never gets a chance to do what it’s supposed to do. The time for rehabilitation is extended the longer it takes the body to get the healing process started. Give the injured area at least 72 hours of rest before a rehabilitation program is started.
The initial treatment of acute injuries should be the use of cold. Get ice on the injured area soon as possible. If heat is used in the initial injury phase then the amount of swelling will increase. The ice/cold will help to decrease pain and promote local constriction of the vessels, thus controlling hemorrhage and edema. The cold will slow down metabolism and the amount of cellular death in the injured tissue as well as help protect the healthy tissue. Ice/cold is also used to decrease muscle guarding which accompanies pain. Its pain-reducing effects are probably one of its greatest benefits. A good rule of thumb is to apply a cold pack to a recent injury for a 20 minute period and repeat every 1-1.5 hours throughout the waking day. Depending on the severity of the injury this process could last from 72 hours up to 7 days if needed. Be careful to not leave the frozen type gel packs directly on the skin for prolong periods of time. The gel has a lower temperature hand stays cooler longer than ice and can cause a burn if left on too long.
It is extremely important to get some compression on the injured area soon as possible. Immediate compression on an injured area will assist in decreasing hemorrhage and hematoma formation by reducing the space available for swelling to accumulate. An elastic wrap applied to the injured area can be just as important in the fight to decrease swelling as the use of ice. It may be helpful to wet the elastic wrap to facilitate the passage of cold from ice packs.
Along with cold compression, elevation reduces internal bleeding. The injured part should be elevated to eliminate the effects of gravity on blood pooling in the extremities. Elevation assists the veins, which drain blood and other fluids from the injured area, returning them to the central circulatory system. The greater the amount of elevation of the injured body part the greater reduction in swelling. The injured part should be elevated for most of the initial 72 hour period after injury. It is particularly important to keep the injury elevated while sleeping.
Even with proper conditioning, equipment and other precautions you may still get injured. The initial treatment (RICE) will give your body the most optimal environment for it to do what it does extremely well and heal its self. If you choose to ignore your injury and just hope for the pain and swelling to go away on its own, you may end up with a chronic problem that could end up sticking around for a long long time.
Fitness Advice, Health News
exercise, gym, health club, injury, Personal Trainer, recovery, rehab, Seattle, tips, Training
Most of us have heard the words “high blood pressure” or “hypertension,” but few of us know what it actually means to have it.
Blood Pressure is the force of blood exerted against the artery walls as the heart contracts and relaxes. One in three adults in the United States has high blood pressure, which is dangerous if not taken care of properly. High Blood Pressure can lead to Heart Disease, Heart Failure, Stroke, Kidney Failure and more. Below is a chart of normal to high blood pressure readings:
If you are one who has high blood pressure, a few ways to keep it lowered are regular exercise, decreased sodium intake, and keeping a healthy weight. Exercise is the greatest way to strengthen the human heart. When the heart starts to strengthen, it pumps more blood with less effort. The less effort it takes to pump blood to and from the heart, the greater decrease of force put on your arteries. All in all, the less overall force put upon your arteries, the lower your blood pressure is going to be.
Anyone can develop high blood pressure, but you are more at risk if you:
- Are over 45 years old
- Are overweight
- Are African American
- Have a family member with high blood pressure
- Eat a diet high in salt
- Drink too much alcohol
High blood pressure doesn’t normally show any symptoms to the body to let you know you have it; therefore it is very important to get your blood pressure checked on a regular basis. The longer you have an elevated blood pressure, the more and worse damage it can do to your organs without you knowing. The best way to keep your blood pressure at a normal range is to exercise constantly and make it a routine; whether it is twice a week or six times a week.
I went to the doctor one day for a check up and my resting blood pressure was 145/90, which is Stage one hypertension. My doctor thought it was just a weird fluke and therefore did not worry about it. I went into the same doctor two weeks later for a follow up and he checked my blood pressure again, which was 150/95. This is when he knew something was weird and not normal. He asked for me to keep track of my blood pressure for the next week (every day) and come back to him in a week to check in. My resting blood pressure readings were as high as 180/110, which is Stage two hypertension and very dangerous for a human heart and arteries if not taken care of. I went back in to see my doctor sooner than he had asked. I had developed high blood pressure at the age of 21 and several doctors had no clue why because of my health status and young age. I had plenty of tests done and finally was put onto a Beta-Blocker, which is used for individuals with hypertension. This medication is used to slow down the heart beat and relax the blood vessel walls. Two months later my resting blood pressure was back to its normal 118/78. I have always been active and continued to stay active during this. I believe that if I hadn’t been exercising on a regular basis, this could have turned out way worse than it did.
Fitness Advice, Health News, Lifestyle, Women's Health
exercise, gym, health club, Heart Health, high blood pressure, hypertension, Personal Training, Seattle, workout
We are friends. We’ve been together for almost 10 years or maybe just a month. I know your wife/husband’s name, I know your pet’s names, I know where your grandchildren live, I’ve been to holiday parties at your house, we get coffee together, we talk about your annoying co-worker, we talk about your horrible mother-in-law, we talk about your basketball tournament last weekend. We laugh, we complain, we work hard, we joke, but above all, I teach and you learn.
You are my friend but I am also your coach and your teacher. My job in our relationship is to teach you skills that make you a more fit person. I teach you things from the most basic (proper air squats, proper push-ups, etc) to the more advanced (proper kettlebell snatches, sandbag cleans, etc). When you walk away from an hour with me you better have learned a new skill or learned how to better an old one, if you haven’t learned one of those two things I’ve failed in this relationship. If you walk away from an hour with me and you are thinking about all the things you still need/want to work on, you feel like you need to spend another hour in the gym because you didn’t get the workout you felt you needed, you feel like you didn’t workout hard enough/were not challenged enough and thus need to do more on your own, I’ve failed.
It’s not about the crazy equipment, it’s not about learning the newest fad, it’s not about laying in a pool of your own sweat trying not to vomit, its not about using chalk and grunting, it’s not about keeping up with your brother-in-law that lives in California. It’s about you being a better, healthier, happier, more fit you. To do that you need to be great at the basics, you need to understand how to move your body properly, you need to understand what it is you are doing and WHY YOU ARE DOING IT. It’s about knowing where you are now and where you want to be. It’s about pushing yourself within your limits and understanding that it takes hard work, effort, and patience to improve. It’s about learning!
I’m here as a friend, a coach, a teacher to motivate you. I’ll yell, I’ll tell you what great effort you are putting in, I’ll let you know when I think you could be working harder and when I think you should be resting more. I’ll keep you accountable, I’ll keep you on schedule, and I will keep you from harming yourself! We’re friends so I’ll do those things for you.
While we laugh, we sweat, we yell, we have angry face (push-ups are going to happen, sorry), we encourage one another, we will be making you a better more knowledgeable you. I will in return, enjoy all the accomplishments big and small like they are my own, because you are my friend and I am proud of you. If you are my friend and you know me… “I’ll take whatever you have left” and I’ll like it.
Fitness Advice, Lifestyle, Motivation, Strength Training
coaching, gym, health club, motivation, Personal Trainer, Seattle, Sports Conditioning, Strength, Training, weight loss, workouts