Tag: Personal Trainer

July Employee of the Month: Rob Lauren

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Please congratulate Rob Lauren on his nomination as Employee of the Month. Rob has been with the club for the last 12 years working his way up from a Personal Trainer, Fitness Director and then as the General Manager.


He is a mentor to the staff, a friend to the members and a leader of both clubs. He works hands on with all managers and staff to help provide the best experience possible for all members.


His passion for health does not go unnoticed. He is always looking at what activities, programs or offerings we can offer to help better both members and staff.


Please congratulate Rob on being this month’s Employee of the Month.

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

End of Summer Blues

By Personal Fitness Trainer Adriana Brown, Seattle Athletic Club Downtown


Well, it’s coming; fall is right around the corner.  Soon, gone are the mornings of birds chirping, sun shining, and flip flops.  Now comes the hard part, the continual early wake up in the dark, wrapped in your ski jacket, de-fogging your car.  Not such a pretty picture I know.  This is the killer for many workout routines.  In the summer time it’s easy to have motivation to get up early and get your workout in before work but once the cold hits your warm bed talks louder and louder to you.  How do we avoid the bad weather slacking?  A few easy steps and hopefully we’ll stay the course!


  1. GOALS!  Set them now, set at least one goal for the next 3-6 months.  Make them small and achievable but make them something that means something to you.  Remember that Mexico vacation in December?  Now is the time to stay strong and continue to work towards that fit healthy body.  Maybe you just want to do the Tough Mudder in September, continue your training and you’ll make it through with flying colors and a smile on your face!  No matter what your goals are big or small, make yourself accountable and continue on your well earned path to success rain or shine!


  1. GET A WORKOUT PARTNER OR TRAINER!  The number one way to make sure you get out of bed is to have someone waiting for you at the gym.  Whether it is your friend from work, your cousin, or someone you are paying, having a breathing person waiting you at the gym will push you to make the same sacrifice as someone else.  It’s so much more fun to workout with someone else, you can push one another, you can do more partner exercises, you can both bring strength and weaknesses to the table, but best of all you can keep each other accountable.  If you are still ditching your best friend 2 days out of 3 maybe it’s time to pay someone to keep you on track.  By hiring a trainer not only do you get fitness expertise, great effective workouts, but you also get someone forcing you out of bed!



  1. MAKE A DEAL!  Waking up early not working for you?  Make yourself a deal.  Two days a week you go early to the gym and two days a week you do it after work.  If after a month you’ve found yourself only making two workouts a week take a step back and see just what is and isn’t working for your workout times.  If you just aren’t a morning person maybe 6AM isn’t going to work for you.  Then find yourself a better time.  Whatever fits and whatever gets you in and accomplishing your fitness goals!


  1. GOOD SLEEP!  Good sleep makes everything better and easier.  You are more alert, your digestive system works better, your immune system is stronger, you think better, and best of all you feel refreshed and ready to tackle the day.  Make a bed time, stick to it.  Routine at home is just as important as routine in the weight room.  Resist the urge to stay up late for your favorite show, an extra 30-60 minutes of sleep could be your missing link between feeling half sick all the time and feeling like you can run a marathon!



  1. WATER!  Drink it, drink lots of it.  Replace one of your 4 cups of coffee with water.  The more water you have in your system the better your insides function, the better you feel.  It’s so easy to do so DO IT!


These are a few simple ways to keep you going when the going gets wet.  Bring on the dark and the dreary; you’ll be feeling like a ball of sunshine when you finish a tough workout and you are proud of what you’ve done.  You didn’t work that hard all summer to let it go now!  Hang in there and work hard!

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.

Rethinking Your Cardio

One of the key components to any exercise program is cardio, however for most there is still a lot of mystery surrounding this topic. What machine works the best? How fast should I go? How much time is needed? As a result of this confusion most will tend to gravitate to one machine and perhaps even worse, remain at one pace and intensity for weeks on end. The goal of this article is to shed some light on this topic and leave you with some alternative ways to challenge yourself in a more time-efficient and fun manner.

How long should my cardio be?
There are many theories surrounding the topic of most effective duration of a cardio workout. It seems as if every year there is a new study claiming 30 minutes, 40 minutes, 60 minutes, etc. is the key to the most effective cardio workout. With such a wide variety of options to choose from, all claiming to be the superior method, it tends to leave many overwhelmed and confused. There is however good news. What virtually all of these methods have in common is the inverse relationship of time to intensity. The more intense the activity, the shorter the time needed to produce or maintain a training effect; the less intense the activity, the longer the required duration. In short, if you find you only have 30 minutes to devote to cardio, rather than choosing a light jog, try adding in sprint intervals. This will in turn not only promote positive changes to your cardiovascular system, but will also have a significant impact on the total number of calories burned.

What machine works the best?
This is often one of most discussed aspects pertaining to cardio training and unfortunately there is no right answer. Regardless of the machine, all of them have their strengths and weaknesses. For example, while the treadmill has the added benefit of forcing the user to exercise at a certain pace, it provides little to no benefit to the muscles of the upper body. The elliptical provides a low impact option to cardio training but leaves the intensity of the workout solely up to the user. All of these machines can have tremendous benefits but it is important remember to challenge your body in new ways regularly. Remember, there is no “perfect shape”, rather than always gravitating towards that same cardio machine, try a new machine each week. This will help keep your body balanced and prepared for whatever life throws at you.

Lastly, while we all know those certain individuals who absolutely love nothing more than spending an hour on a cardio machine, the reality is that this doesn’t describe the vast majority of us, myself included. Possibly the most difficult hurdle involving cardio to overcome is the mental aspect. All cardio machines revolve around a repetitive movement than can quickly become boring and monotonous. This is especially discouraging when the goal of a quality cardio workout is to challenge your body through intensities it isn’t used to. Here is a list of cardio workouts that will hopefully spark your interest, and in the process, might introduce you to a few new pieces of exercise equipment.

For more information on cardiovascular training or questions surrounding the four workouts, please contact Personal Fitness Trainer Will Paton.

Rebounding – more than just playful jumping

Rebounding is the most efficient form of cellular exercise available because it is a full body workout in the vertical plane, capitalizing on gravity’s vertical force and resulting in the cleansing of the body’s lymphatic system.

Rebounding is done on a soft mat surface called a rebounder, a sort of mini-trampoline. The rebounder is approximately 30 inches in diameter and anywhere from eight to twelve inches off the ground. A person moves up and down on the soft, non-jarring surface of the rebounder at whatever rate of exertion is appropriate to his or her fitness goals—light bouncing, jumping or a full aerobic workout. The exercise occurs completely in the vertical plane. The forces of acceleration and deceleration are at work here as well as the force of gravity. Rebound exercise strengthens our immune system at the same time that muscular and cardiovascular strength and endurance increase without having to sacrifice the health of knees, lower back and neck.

When we walk, run, swim or play a racquet sport we are constantly opposing gravity with every move because their motions are largely in the horizontal plane. Now let’s look at the two other forces at play in exercise. Acceleration is the starting of movement and deceleration is stopping movement. Normally they occur on the horizontal plane, opposing gravity. But with rebounding we accelerate or decelerate with gravity, conserving effort while maximizing gains.

The soft surface of the mat absorbs 87% of shock to muscles, joints, and bones according to a study by the University of Oklahoma. This shock absorption translates to a highly reduced risk of injury to the neck, upper back, and that most problem area – the lower back. The shock to muscles, joints, and bones is almost completely eliminated, thereby allowing you to exercise for longer periods of time with great comfort. Rebounder is an exercise to consider for people who experience shin splints, knee and ankle problems or problems with joint or tendons.

Rebounding puts a positive stress on every cell of the body. Cells become stronger and cleaner by the action of these three natural forces, acceleration, deceleration and gravity on the vertical plane. The motion stimulates and acts as your lymphatic pump, cleansing the lymphatic system.

Unlike blood, which has the heart as a pump, the lymphatic system doesn’t have a pump. It relies on exercise and deep breathing to keep it moving. Muscular contractions squeeze one-way valved vessels that move lymph from your toes and fingers to the base of the neck, where it drains at the sub-clavian vein. Think of it as your second circulatory system, one of the largest systems in the body. The lymphatic system consists of millions of tiny channels, mostly just under the dermis and in large part running parallel to our network of blood vessels. The lymph channels transport fats and other substances around the body and helps with elimination of waste products from cells.

On the rebounder at the bottom of the bounce, the gravitational pull closes the valves, but at the top of the bounce the pressure is decreased and the force of your falling allows the valves to open permitting the lymph to flow up. When lymph is flowing and waste is leaving, the body has a need for more white blood cells. After a few minutes of healthy bouncing, white blood cell count increases, strengthening the immune system.

In a 1980 study, NASA determined that rebounding is 68% more effective as an aerobic exercise than jogging. This effectiveness was determined according to the use of G-Force (gravitational force), which NASA finds of particular importance when training astronauts for the weightless experience of space flight. NASA research sites rebounding as the only exercise that will stimulate the cells of your internal organs, veins, arteries as well as bones and muscles, while increasing circulation and flushing the lymphatic system. “Journal of Applied Physiology 49(5):881-887, 1980”

Let your body become accustomed to this cellular exercise. Rebounding is a compact exercise in which one needs to systematically increase aerobic endurance. If you feel pain anywhere, stop, rest, and continue a little later. Always end with a Health Bounce (cool down) to flush out the lactic acid and uric acid that might cause sore muscles.


  1. Health Bounce – Feet will not leave mat surface. Gentle bounce, place feet hip width and shrug your shoulders or slightly lift your heels to get yourself bouncing. Gentle bouncing will strengthen every cell while flushing the lymphatic system. Two minutes are effective for moving the lymph fluid, flushing toxins and waste products out of your body.
    Use as a warm-up or cool down. Up to 4-5 times a day.
  2. Strength Bounce – To increase strength the feet leave the mat for jumping, jump higher to increase the G-force on each cell. Progression: Add leg weights or hold onto dumbbells will increase the G force. Always cool down.
  3. Aerobic Bounce – Always start easy, arms low and progress to overhead movements, jogging, sprinting, twists, jumping jacks, leg lifts, knee to opposite elbow lifts, front kicks, fast short jumps and fast sprints.
    If you are in good shape a fast sprint for one minute is effective for energizing the body. When changing motions, bouncing or jogging will help in the transition. End with a cool down.
  4. Sitting Bounce – Strengthens abdominals, legs, and back. The ultimate position is the “V Sit” position. Start at the low level to test the back. Sit on the rebounder, feet off the floor knees bent, and bounce by moving your arms in a circular motion. As strength increases you can pull your legs higher from the floor and lean back a little farther while bouncing.
  5. Balance – Standing on one leg hold for balance. Gentle bounce to strengthen one leg can be done for balance training.

7 minute rebound fitness from Linda Brooks

This is a wonderful exercise for anyone who wants a quick, compact exercise that energizes, cleanses, and builds health and strength. Do not attempt if you are a beginner or anyone with injuries who is still on a bouncing routine to rebuild health.

Be sure you can do 1-2 minutes of strength bouncing and a minute of jogging before attempting to put these move together.

Each session of 3 ½ minutes goes like this.
1. Health bounce – for 30 sec (warm up)
2. Strength bounce – for 1 minute (ready to exercise)
3. Fast sprint – 1 minute (pace yourself, full speed last 15 seconds)
4. Health bounce – for 1 minute (cool down)

Fast sprint is all about using up your ATP, and cause your mitochondria (fuel-producing furnaces) to divide. This provides you with more ATP for vigorous exercise, but you can now cool down, equipped with more mitochondria (the power house cell) for burning energy for hours. Rebounding is the most efficient from of cellular exercise available because it is a full body workout in the vertical plane. The internal science is a cellular exercise and the cleansing of the lymphatic system.

Have fun again, jump, rebound and strengthen cells!

Attention Squash Players: Don’t Warm Up

At least don’t warm up in the typical fashion: No 5 minutes on the elliptical, no just jumping onto the court. If you are playing the Seattle Open Squash Tournament this weekend, prepare yourself for success with Purposeful Movement Preparation. A Purposeful Movement Preparation routine facilitates movement patterns common to squash, namely lunges, shoulder rotation and rotational stability. The emphasis is on perfect movements and drills that offer ample feedback. Let’s compare three warm-up options to better understand the benefit of Purposeful Movement Preparation.

Option 1: 5 minutes of light cardio exercise on a bike, elliptical, treadmill etc. combined with static stretching of any muscles that feel “tight.”

Option 2: 5-10 minutes on the court hitting

Option 3: 5-10 minutes of Purposeful Movement Preparation

No single strategy is perfect, but the advantages of Purposeful Movement Preparation are apparent. 5-10 minutes focusing on performing perfect repetitions of the movements most necessary for squash will overcome stiffness and soreness while allowing you to play to your potential. After this, a few minutes hitting on the court will provide adequate cardiovascular and skill preparation.

Performing your Purposeful Movement Preparation will require that you execute drills that foster perfect movement through patterns like lunges, shoulder rotation and rotational stability. First, focus on attaining mobility through a full range of motion and then work on stability in the legs, hips and shoulders in progressively more challenging postures. To make your Purposeful Movement Preparation most effective, tailor it to primarily address the movements that you find most challenging.

If you would like to create a personalized Purposeful Movement Preparation routine to facilitate your performance, please contact Personal Fitness Trainer Hunter Spencer at hspencer@sacdt.com. Hunter will also be available during the Seattle Open Tournament on Saturday Jan. 18. He will be leading complimentary group Purposeful Movement Preparation routines and providing complimentary Functional Movement Screens to identify your area of greatest need. More in depth corrective exercise sessions are also available to ensure that you maximize your potential at this tournament.

Great Things Come in Little Packages

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.

Lower Back Pain: Quick tips to a healthier back

Have you ever bent down to tie your shoe or pick up some small object and come up with back pain? Have you hurt your back while playing with your kids or walking the dogs? Low back pain is a common problem and one of the main reasons is inactivity. As we get older and less active, we lose the strength and the balance in the core muscles (abs and low back) can lead to poor posture, improper alignment, fatigue and pain. Regular exercise is the best way to protect your lower back.

Quick tips to a healthier back


  1. Do not sit for long periods of time.
  2. Avoid sitting forward on a chair with back arched
  3. Sit in a chair with good lumbar support and proper position and height for the task. Keep your shoulders back. Switch sitting positions often and periodically walk around the office or gently stretch muscles to relieve tension. A pillow or rolled-up towel placed behind the small of your back can provide some lumbar support. If you must sit for a long period of time, rest your feet on a low stool or a stack of books.
  4. Avoid sitting with legs out straight and raised on a stool.


  1. If standing for long periods, shift positions from one foot to another or place one foot on a stool.
  2. Stand tall, flatten low back, tighten lower muscles under belly button, and relax the knees a bit to lessen the pull of the hamstrings on your pelvis.
  3. Wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes. A raised heel will exaggerate the curve in your lower back.

Lifting and Carrying:

  1. To pick up an object, bend at knees and not the waist; do not twist to pick up an object. Face the object squarely; and tuck in buttocks and tighten abdomen.
  2. To carry an object, hold object close to body; hold object at waist level; and do not try to carry object on one side of body for extended period of time. If have to be carried unbalanced, chance from one side to the other.


  1. Do not stay in one position too long.
  2. The bed should be flat and firm yet comfortable.
  3. Do not sleep on the abdomen (stomach).
  4. Do not sleep on your back with legs fully extended.
  5. If sleeping on your back, a pillow should be placed under the knees.
  6. Ideally, sleep on the side with knees drawn up to reduce any curve in the spine.
  7. Do not sleep with arms extended overhead. This will increase curve in spine.
  8. If your bed is too soft and gives little support to your back you may need to place a ¾-inch plywood board underneath the mattress to give it a firm, stable surface for your low back.
  9. If dealing with acute pain from an injury the position of least strain on the back is in the fully recumbent position with the hips and knees at angles of 90 degrees.

Regular exercise and a healthy diet will help decrease your chances of a low back injury. Special attention should be placed on flexibility of the muscles that directly impact the movement and stabilization of the hips and low back. Please come and talk with personal trainer Jason Anderson janderson@sacdt.com or any of our training staff at the Seattle athletic club to get you started on a safe and effective workout program to protect your back.

Want cat like speed and reflexes?

Are you someone who enjoys a good challenge? Are you looking to improve every day fitness as well as fitness on the court/field/trail? If you want a leg up in all aspects of fitness it’s time you incorporated more “uneven training” in your routine. What does that mean? What does it look like? How does it help? Hold on, I’m getting there!

Uneven Training simply means uneven load, uneven surface, uneven base of support, and or single sided movements. This can be done with any weight equipment or even no equipment at all. A few of my personal favorite exercises are:

  1. Single leg Power Jump. In this exercise you need no weight (although if you want to grab a 15lb dumbbell be my guest)! Pick a leg, “load up” meaning, drop down into a squat and then power up as high as you can in a jump. You can be way more powerful in this exercise if you use your non weighted leg by swinging it back behind you in your load up and then driving it up (think knee to chest) in your jump phase. The goal is to get maximum height and maximum load up as well as keeping speed and balance. The non loaded leg should never touch the floor.
  2. Slide Board Scissor Lunges. Sounds fancy right? Grab those amazing looking booties, roll out the slide board, and get to lunging! Start in the middle of the board facing one end; begin the movement by SIMULTANEOUSLY pushing one foot forward while the other foot goes backwards. As you do this drop down in your lunge (don’t forget to bend that back knee!), then SIMULTANEOUSLY pull both feet back underneath you. See if you can do this without stopping in the middle. Enjoy!
  3. Uneven kettlebell Squat and Press. Grab two kettlebells of different weight (I would use a 26 and a 36lb). Hold the bells in rack position as you descend down into your squat, as you come up power press (meaning use the quick up out of your squat) to shoulder press both weights. The uneven load will clearly make one side work harder as well as challenge your core to keep the bells tight and even. Don’t forget to switch sides!
  4. Anything Sandbag or Sandbell. Both of these tools are amazing for Uneven Training. Both of these pieces of equipment are filled with sand so the weight is ever changing and the load is always different with each rep. One of my personal favorite Sandbell exercises is Power Jumps Forward and Backwards. In this exercise you hold the Sandbell by the sides (a 20lb-30lb bell is great), drop your hips down into a squat (butt down, chest up, spine extended, shoulders engaged), then stand up opening your hips and swing the bell up over your head as you jump. The weight and the swing should propel you backwards (a backwards jump), then swing the bell down the way you came back into your load up squat, the swing forward now creates a forward jump. Try to keep up your speed and push yourself to jump as far forwards and backwards as you can.

Why are we doing this again? Uneven training, especially combined with lateral training will greatly improve your small supporting muscles (muscles in your core, in your glutes, in your calves, and in your feet) with increased strength and coordination. This will help you move more quickly and efficiently during any sport. In addition, uneven training helps to create better body symmetry (I know how much that left side lags behind… not for long) and better non dominant body awareness. You will quickly find your weak points and by doing things single sided as well as with uneven weight you will quickly make strength, coordination, and flexibility gains. Your body must adjust to perform these exercises; otherwise they simply cannot be done. There is no “muscling” through a Slide Board Scissor Lunge, either you can do it or you can’t, end of story.

So if you are tired of feeling like you aren’t making the strength gains you want to, you just aren’t working hard enough but you don’t know how to push yourself, or if you are tired of your workouts and you are looking for something fun and challenging then Uneven Training is for you! If you have more questions or are interested in learning how to incorporate Uneven Training into your routine please contact Personal Trainer Adriana Brown.