Month: November 2010

Holiday Survival – Lose Weight, Keep Active, Stay Motivated

The holiday season is the busiest time of the year for many people with family, friends, and vacations on top of work and other responsibilities. Keeping up with your fitness goals may be a challenge during the notorious weight gain season between Thanksgiving feasts and New Years celebrations. However, don’t let the progress you have made slip, or allow yourself to wait until the New Year to get back into shape. Even when you can’t make it into the gym, there are ways of consistently getting in the exercise you need to reach your goals. Even cutting fitness time in half is better than cutting it out completely, so below are some ideas for when you can’t make it into the gym!

Try combining many of your daily activities with fitness:

  • If you need to take care of the kids, do activities that get you moving.
  • If you’re sledding, walk up and down the hill with them.
  • Trade in the family sit downs for walks or hikes, point is, participate with them – kick a ball or play chase.
  • These activities can be done with friends or family as well. If you’re catching up, take your coffee to go and take a stroll.
  • If your errands are close enough to walk, choose that over driving.
  • When the weather calls to stay indoors try fitting exercises in during commercial breaks, the kid’s naps, or while your food is cooking.

Exercise balls and resistance bands take up just a little space in the home or at the office, are inexpensive, and easy to use with great results. Planks, curls, crunches, squats, lunges, and more can be done in the space of your own home – avoiding the commute to and from the gym.

Keeping your body active doesn’t require a gym; many studies have shown the increased benefits of walking 10,000 steps per day. Keep a pedometer on you throughout the day, choose the stairs over the elevator and walk them during work breaks or meetings on the go. You could even get up earlier for a brisk walk before getting your day started or after dinner before bed. Even if you are visiting family somewhere away from home, just get the steps in when you can.

Other ways of avoiding holiday weight gain is planning ahead. Go on vacation somewhere warm where you may be showing more skin, you’ll be more motivated to lose the weight for the holidays and keep it off that way. Set goals like going down a pant or dress size before your next big holiday event so you have something to work for and show off. These are just a few of the many ways you can save yourself some pounds this holiday season!

Of Americans that make New Year’s resolutions, 70% end up breaking them. Keeping up with exercise by planning ahead, being more active outside the gym, and doing your own at home exercises, all on your own time, allows you to keep the progress you have made and start the New Year strong. Stay motivated and on track through the holidays can be as simple as trying some fitness programs like the Double Down Weight loss Challenge, the Evolve weight loss program, or getting weight loss advice from personal fitness training staff at Seattle Athletic Club. Contact fitness director Jacob Galloway for information on any of the programs mentioned.

Choosing a Personal Trainer – Be Your Own Investigator!

Adriana Brown, Personal Fitness Trainer How do I figure out who is best to whip me into shape? This is usually the first question a new to training member asks themselves after they decide they want to step up into workout sessions with a professional. There are some first steps you need to take before you pick the perfect match!

  1. Do your research! Make sure that you are choosing a professional with high qualifications, and good experience.
  2. Talk to other members that train, find out how other members chose their trainers, what they like about whom they train with, and any other suggestions they might have.
  3. Talk to a fitness director/manager. The head of the training department knows the most about what each trainer has to offer as well as access to all the trainers schedules. If you are looking for a trainer with certain passions/areas of expertise the manager would be able to tell who your best fit is.
  4. Watch and listen. While trainers are on the floor with their clients see if the trainer does exercises that interest you. See if the trainer’s personality fits well with your own, if you like the way they encourage and instruct their clients.
  5. Try it out. You don’t have to pick one trainer, try a few. You are paying for a service and you have the ability to test the waters and see what you like. Pick a few trainers that you think may be right for you and then you can continue to train with more than one or narrow your choice to just one.

Picking the right trainer will help you to achieve your goals and will help you stay on a routine schedule. This should be about you, so don’t feel bad if you don’t find the right trainer for you right away.

Training Outdoors in Cold Weather

The time is here for the weather to change with winter rolling in, and the days getting darker faster. Exercisers can still take their workouts outdoors to beat the winter blues, and stay off the couch. Going outdoors and exercising with the proper gear allows you to get moving around, giving the body a chance to adjust to the changing season and get revved up for the day.

Go prepared

  1. Dress in layers- avoid cotton-use polypropylene & fleece
  2. If you have asthma wear a face mask or scarf
  3. Cover your head 30 to 40% of heat is lost through your head
  4. Use sunscreen to protect skin & lip balm – remember wind chill goes right through you
  5. Keep hands & feet dry, use wool to keep feet and hands warm

Getting Started
Now you are motivated and have your layers on, and skin protected; it’s time for the outdoors.

  1. Try to head into the wind – less likely to get chilled on way back from your exercise.
  2. Drinks fluids before, during, and after – you are sweating so watch out for dehydration.
  3. Use a headlamp not just for your own ability to see, but for others to see you most likely you will be in the dark.

Staying motivated during the winter can be fun, rewarding, and good for cabin fever. You have the knowledge, and fortitude to meet your goals, of staying active not sedentary. For many people winter outdoor exercise is great for solitude, and quiet time.

Tips to Become a Successful Multisport Athlete: #10 Visualization/Believing

The great athletes know when they have given their best, put in the time, listened to their bodies and believe that they are ready. They show up on race day to execute what they have prepared to do all season and nothing distracts them from this mission. The race becomes the “easy” part because the “hard” work has already been done. They have mentally and physically prepared themselves for their race and have no doubts. I know an athlete is ready when they can give me a detailed description of how their race will unfold to a T. They have it all lined up, have visualized it over and over and know exactly how they will feel, look and breathe each step of the way.

Train on, keep believing, follow your journey.

If you are interested in beginning training, or you are ready to take your training to the next level, contact Teresa Nelson to begin.

Training Tips for the Skinny Guy

Most gym goers are people looking to shed a few pounds and tone up problem areas. However, there are also those guys and gals who want to put on some mass and gain some size. For those people it may seem like no matter what they do they can’t gain any weight. When I started playing college football I was 6’5” and only weighed 180 lbs; I was going against guys that were 140 lbs heavier than I was. By my senior year I had gotten up to 255 lbs, all through the gym and eating. Now many of you may not want to gain that much weight in the gym, but here are some types to help start the process of adding muscle to your frame.

Get in the weight room and out of the cardio room. If you are starting off without much body fat and trying to add muscle, cardio will hinder you in every way. Doing cardiovascular exercises will zap you body of the needed energy required to build muscle. Try cutting your cardio sessions down by one or two days and making those days weights days.

While working out, concentrate on working the larger muscle groups in full body exercises such as squats, deadlift, bench press and shoulder press. By activating the larger muscle groups your release the largest amount of testosterone (your natural muscle builder) into your blood stream; which is then transported to all your other muscles, to be utilized during the rest of your workout.

Train in lower reps with higher weights and more sets equals muscle building. You should try to be from 6 to 1 rep per set, from 75% of your one rep max and 3 – 5 sets of each exercise (you will need larger rest periods). This will help you build muscles and strength.

Eat, muscles burn three times as many calories as fat; meaning they require a lot of good sources of protein to allow them to grow. Studies have shown that the optimal time to ingest protein is within 45 min of finishing your workout. Now don’t cut all the carbs completely out too, protein is going to utilize that to help build muscles as well. Keep fresh fruit and veggies available as you eat your protein.

Finally probably the most underutilized muscle building aide is sleep! Our muscles and body repairs itself during REM sleep. Meaning that if we don’t even get close to the recommended 8 hrs of sleep our body does not repair itself fully, leading to sickness and injuries as well as not fully healed muscles. Try to get as much sleep as possible, allowing your muscles to fully recover and grow.

For those of you who have tried over and over to gain muscle, it can be done. It takes training correctly for muscle gain (commit the time in the gym and you will see results) and making habit changes that will aide you in every aspect of your life. Try adding the tips above to your workout and see where your body goes! If you need any help with any of these tips or want to hire a trainer to get you going in the right direction please feel free to contact the Fitness Director Jacob Galloway at

Tips to Become a Successful Multisport Athlete: #9 REST

Great athletes know when it is time to REST. It is a balance of work, family, play and train. Athletes forget to REST when training is not calling and good athletes know when it is time to put the legs up . Recovery is also the additional element on swim/bike/run!

If you are interested in beginning training, or you are ready to take your training to the next level, contact Teresa Nelson to begin.

Sports Massage for Runners

Sports massage combines techniques including deep tissue, Swedish and therapeutic massage. It reduces muscle and joint tension in the legs, hips feet as well as shoulders and neck- the entire body. Sports massage is a way to flush out the lactic acid that’s produced when we run or repeatedly use our muscles. This waste can build up and cause soreness as time goes by. Removing it speeds up recovery and increases flexibility, and that can improve our performance and just make us move relaxed and happy. Sports massage can be a very effective treatment, along with strength training, stretching and nutrition, for runners with aches and pains.

A runner’s world article on sports massage from August 2004 gives examples of athletes who benefit from this treatment. A 49 year old was training for her 49th marathon, which would put her on target to reach 50 marathons by the age 50. “If it weren’t for massage, I wouldn’t be able to do this.” Says Loretta Ulibarri, a runner form Denver. “I’ve had a lot of inflammation problems and ongoing soreness that interfered with my training. Ten years ago, I started getting a sports massage every 3 weeks, and since then, I’ve been injury-free and able to train year round.”

Dave Deigan is a runner from Sonoma, California who puts in 25 miles a week, and gets massage every other Thursday. “Since I Started getting massages 5 years ago, the chronic tightness in my calves has disappeared, and I’m not getting injured.” This has support in the medical community, as well. Lewis G. says “as far as injuries go, massage is the icing on the cake. Massage can supplement physical therapy as an effective injury treatment.”

When should on get massage? Therapists often recommend a weekly or bi weekly session, but every athlete is different. For some, once a month or six weeks is sufficient. When the legs feel tired or heavy or if there is inflammation, it is time to see a massage therapist. After a hard work out or a race, schedule an appointment 24-36 hours later. An ice bath soon after resting for a day or two, your body will be more then ready for a sports massage.

If you have any questions about massage for runners, ask any of the therapists at the Seattle Athletic Club, And weather you need a maintenance session, a post-race massage or injury treatment, we are available to help.

Correct Breathing for Stronger Lifting

Do you ever wonder while you are lifting weights, when to exhale? Is it when pulling or pushing? Well, it can be both. It depends on which muscle group you are targeting and which aspect of the muscle’s contraction you are in. There are three types of muscle contractions: concentric, eccentric, and isometric. An isometric contraction is when there is no muscle fiber movement. For example, many yoga positions are isometric contractions. Holding a plank position is an isometric contraction for numerous muscles. The concentric contraction is when the muscle fibers are shortening, while the eccentric is the reciprocal and the fibers are elongating. In this dynamic movement, you will want to exhale on the concentric contraction of the muscle group you are targeting and conversely, inhale on the eccentric. In using a chest press for our example, which utilizes the pectoralis major (pecs), one would inhale lowering the bar to the chest because the pecs’ muscle fibers are elongating (eccentric) and exhale as you push the bar away from the body which contracts or shortens (concentric) the muscle fibers in this muscle group. If we are using the seated row as an example of the opposing muscle group exercise utilizing the latissimus dorsi (lats), then one would exhale while pulling the weight towards the body shortening the lats’ fibers and inhale when eccentrically releasing the weight away from the body.

So to sum it up, exhale when you’re doing the work part of the movement and inhale for the non-work part of the movement. If you are ever questioning which muscle group your exercise is targeting or if it is a pushing or pulling exercise, please do not hesitate to ask any one of our training staff. We love to educate.

Pilates During Pregnancy Leads to a Successful Labor for One Member

Ashley started Pilates mat classes about 5 years ago at the Seattle Athletic Club. She was in physical therapy for hip problems and her therapist recommended starting Pilates for core stability. It helped her enough that she was able to stop doing PT.

During her first pregnancy three years ago her doctor was uncomfortable with stressing her abs while pregnant so she stopped at about 3 months and ended up with hip problems during her pregnancy. During delivery she pushed for 2 1/2 hours and her doctor was really close to moving towards a c-section as they were hitting 24 hours of labor. Luckily, she was able to convince them to let her go a little while longer and was able to delivery naturally.

When Ashley got pregnant again 2 years later, she did her research on Pilates and pregnancy. She found information both on-line and on a Pilates videotape. Plus, she talked with me about the modifications necessary for her pregnant self.

She went to her same doctor armed with information and was able to get her comfortable that she could continue Pilates with the modifications. Ashley stacked 5 Yoga blankets behind her back and used this as support during the stomach series, the roll-ups, & neck pulls. Since she was unable to do any exercises on her stomach, I suggested some alternate exercises she could do to keep moving. During rolling exercises she practiced balance instead of rolling. Once she reached her 3rd trimester I made sure that she was only lifting one foot off the ground at a time during any exercise.

By doing Pilates during her pregnancy (up until 3 weeks before delivery), she avoided the hip problems she encountered with her first pregnancy. While most of her labor was similar with her second child (totaling 22 hours!), the major difference was that she pushed for just 12 minutes – 3 pushes total. Her doctor was amazed.

Ashley says, “Since labor requires you to be in a curled up position (just like Pilates), I believe that all the Pilates exercises combined with a deep concentration on pushing were the key to my easy delivery. I owe a big thanks to Jocelyn for all her support and creativity during my pregnancy. She was incredibly helpful along with members of my Monday night class who were always checking up on me.”

Congratulations Ashley!

Tips to Become a Successful Multisport Athlete: #8 Communication and Logging Workouts

Communication and Logging Workouts
Documenting your journey, your workouts, your successes during training, along with the things that didn’t go so well, helps you and your coach see where you are going and what can be improved. If you look back on track workouts from months prior or the year prior and see your improvements then it should give you that extra confidence to know you are showing improvements. Most athletes use the races alone to determine their success, as a coach we see the stuff going on day in and day out that are making you a better athlete. Write down your journey, it is fun to look back to see how far you have come.

If you are interested in beginning training, or you are ready to take your training to the next level, contact Teresa Nelson to begin.