Day: October 13, 2014

Mythbuster 4: Pilates is too easy. Pilates is too hard.

Are you an athlete?  Physically active and fit?  Pilates, with its fluid, effortless-looking motions and low-resistance spring-loading, may seem like it won’t challenge you enough.  In actuality Pilates can require as much exertion and stamina as your regular workout routine, but will never leave you exhausted.

The difference is to use mindfulness to work smaller muscle groups that often get passed over for the big movers.  You will also need precision to work only the necessary muscles required to do the movement.  Pilates will fine tune the way you work your body, change bad habits from overworking/underworking muscles, and increase mobility and functionality of your joints so that you can continue in your other physical activities.  In addition, you’ll work your mental acuity by challenging the coordination of the movements of your body.  The holistic development of this coordination with fluidity and control is excellent cross-training that will influence how you approach your other activities as well as reduce your recovery time from them.

Are you just starting a workout routine?  Do you have injuries or other limitations that impede your movement and wellness?  Pilates is a low-impact system of exercise that is gentle enough to allow you to focus on exactly what you need without ever endangering your health or safety.  The use of only gravity or spring resistance allows you to challenge and work your body while in a state of support.  There are hundreds of ways to cater each exercise to your specific needs, as well as to continue to challenge as you get stronger.  A very important element of Pilates is that you will work your body without experiencing pain.  This is radically different from the “no pain, no gain” mentality you may be more familiar with.  In Pilates, pain is the body’s alarm-system that means “stop”!  But, it won’t stop you from still working hard under the guidance of your instructor, who will challenge you and make you feel at ease as you work!

How to make Thanksgiving traveling more forgiving for your spine

By the SAC’s health and wellness professional Dr. Michael Li, DACRB

The human body is designed for movement. Holding any one posture for a prolonged period of time increases stiffness and tension. As a result, sitting is a common cause of neck and low back pain. Many companies advertise that their chair will prevent back and neck pain. However, there is no perfect chair, except the one that get you out of it frequently. As a general rule, you should avoid sitting for longer than 20 minutes without getting up. If you sit for longer than that you begin to accumulate a debt in your tissues that will have to be paid; but if you perform these “micro-break” exercises below you can erase that debt.


So during the holiday season, when you find yourself sitting in your car or on a plane for hours on end; I hope these “micro-break” exercises will make travelling more bearable. Here we go:


The standing overhead arm reach

Your starting position:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.


The movement:

  • Gently raise your arms overhead.
  • Take a deep breath in, through your nose, and hold the breath.
  • Reach your arms up to the ceiling as high as possible without letting your breath go.
  • Then let the breath go as you drop your arms



2-3 reps/ set; 5-6x/day or every 30 minutes when sitting for extended periods of time (see Fig.1)




The standing Brugger exercise

Your starting position:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart with your feet turn out slightly
  • Tuck you chin in slightly like you are nodding “yes”.


The movement:

  • Breath in (through your nose) to your abdomen.
  • Then exhale slowly while at the same time turning your palms out, with fingers extended (open your hands) as much as you can.



2-3 reps/ set; 5-6x/day or every 30 minutes when sitting for extended periods of time (see Fig.2)





The sitting pelvic tilt (for those who cannot get out from the chair, aka inside a car)

Your starting position:

  • Sit comfortably with some space behind the small of your back


The movement:

  • Rock your pelvis back and forth, and from side to side.
  • Don’t hold at the end range position. This is not a stretch.



10-12 reps/ set; 5-6x/day or every 60 minutes when sitting for extended periods of time (see Fig.3)



The sitting “plank”

Your starting position:

  • Sit comfortably with some space behind the small of your back
  • Put your hands at the side of your chairs/seats and feet flat on the ground.


The movement:

  • Push down on the side of your seat (passenger); push down on your steer wheels (driver) as hard as you can
  • Hold the push and do 5 deep breath; in through the nose, out through the mouth. It is a forceful exhale. Pretend you are blowing out candle when you exhale.



5 reps/ set; 5-6x/day or every 60 minutes when sitting for extended periods of time (see Fig.4)






Please keep your focus on the road when you are driving. If you are the driver, please take caution when you are attempting the sitting exercises. If you can pull over and take a rest stop, get out of the car and walk. That’s the best exercise you can do to counter the sitting. Happy Holidays!!



Dr. Li has been taking care of the SAC staff and members since 2010. You can find him at the lobby performing injury screen for members every 3rd Tuesday of the month. His practice, Mobility Plus Sports Rehab, is conveniently located about 10 minute walk from the SAC. You can find out more about him and his clinic at He can be reached by  



Ayurvedic Oils at the Pro Shop!

New Ayurvedic Oils available in the Pro Shop.

As a long time student of all things yoga since the tender age of 12, I decided to make a commitment to the sister science of yoga; Ayurveda. Ayurveda; the word it self meaning “life knowledge, is the medicinal system of India. The origins date back to 5000 BCE. It began as many ancient practices did, orally. Later it evolved into written form and its roots are evident in the Vedas, primarily the Atharvaveda. I stumbled upon Ayurveda when I met my mentor, Dr. Robert Svoboda while on a yoga retreat high in the mountains of Utah in 2001. He has helped me vastly in the art of living and extracting the best out of life in how I care for myself and others. Part of that journey has involved meeting other

extraordinary practitioners of all kinds. One of which has crafted the oils we are now carrying here at the club and I use primarily in my practice and in my life.

They are of a super special quality, full of Ayurvedic herbs and medicines of the naturopathic vein. I have chosen 2. One is a daily oil that can be used as one would use lotion. It takes a bit longer to soak in after the shower but trust me, it is worth it! The other is for bumps, bruises and other boo-boo’s that cause discomfort. Think analgesic’s. Both I use regularly and highly recommend. I use the same brand for my massage services here, a bit more of a viscous variety that is blended for Ayurvedic massage. If you are curious, stop by the pro shop and try it out! It is made with love by Sarada Anastasia in Ojai, California and in India. Feel free to ask any questions about it that might arise!


Be well!

Employee of the Month of October: Janet Nickels



Please congratulate Janet Nickels on becoming the Employee of the Month for October.

Janet came to us from California a year ago and was looking for a change. Over the last year, Janet has grown and found her passion with swimming. Janet originally started as a Sports Desk employee, but was soon asked to help in the Café and has flourished in the Aquatics Department.


Janet is a well rounded employee who has a passion for our members and other staff, as well as a truly friendly personality.


Please congratulate Janet on being the Employee of the Month for October!


Please join us in congratulating Janet on her well earned appointment as our Employee of the Month!

If you have an employee you would like recognized, email our Operations Manager, Tim Schoonover.




Ah Chew – should I get a flu shot?

I recently went into my doctor’s office and saw a sign for flu shot patient check-in. This made me realize that flu season is right around the corner and I will soon have to decide if I will get a flu shot or hope my immune system is strong enough to fend off the flu. After asking people if they were getting a flu shot it made me realize that not everyone gets a flu shot; some people go against the government’s recommendation to get their seasonal flu shot. It made me wonder why they were against flu shots.


I decided to do a little research on the CDC website as well as other sources to find the pros and cons on getting a flu shot as well as some statistics about the flu season and here is what I found:


  • While flu outbreaks can happen as early as October, most of the time flu activity peaks in January or later
  • During a 31-year study period, flu activity most often peaked every year in February followed by the three way tie between December, January and March.
  • Over this same 31 year period the estimated flu-associated deaths in the United States ranged from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people.
  • Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick.


Just how does the flu spread?


Most experts believe that flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, eyes or possibly their nose.

What does my flu shot do to my body?


Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine.


The seasonal flu vaccine protects against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. Traditional flu vaccines (called trivalent vaccines) are made to protect against three flu viruses; an influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus, and an influenza B virus. In addition, this season, there are flu vaccines made to protect against four flu viruses (called “quadrivalent” vaccines). These vaccines protect against the same viruses as the trivalent vaccine as well as an additional B virus.


Pros of getting the flu shot:


  1. Getting the seasonal flu vaccinate cuts your risk of getting the flu by at least 70 percent, according to the CDC. This means have a 70 percent chance to not have any of the flu symptoms like fever, coughs, congestion and body aches.


  1. Among the elderly and people with chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease), getting vaccinated cuts the risk of dying from the flu by 80 percent. When you get vaccinated, you can help prevent death in infants, elderly and the ill who can not get their own vaccinations, or who can not produce the needed immune response to have their own immunity (by having one less person infected with influenza, rapidly making and spreading more viruses, and spreading influenza to many more people who will do the same, exposing more and more people to potential harm and death).


  1. Getting the shot won’t cause you to get the flu. It contains dead viruses, so catching the flu from the vaccine is basically impossible. The virus can incubate for up to a week, so if you were exposed to it right before you got vaccinated you might believe (incorrectly) that the shot made you sick.


  1. Experts say both flu vaccines (seasonal and H1N1) are perfectly safe. The incidence of problems from receiving vaccinations is extremely low, especially when you consider these are given every year in every nation across the world to millions upon millions of people and have, thus, been proven safe. They are proven well worth any minor risks. In fact, the head of the CDC, Thomas Frieden, MD, said that his kids will get the H1N1 vaccine as soon as it becomes available (it’s just starting to roll out across the country now). And William Schaffner, MD, chair of the department of preventative medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, already got it himself (as part of a clinical trial).


  1. Get vaccinated early enough and you’ll be protected for the whole season. You need to get vaccinated before you’re exposed to the flu, so the sooner the better.


Cons of getting the flu shot:


  1. There’s up to a 20 percent chance that you could get vaccinated and still end up with the seasonal flu. (We don’t have enough info about the H1N1 vaccine to know the odds on that one.) That’s because the vaccine contains several flu strains that scientists think are going to be circulating in the upcoming season, but there may be others going around that aren’t contained in the vaccine. A related note: If you only get the seasonal vaccine you’re still vulnerable to H1N1, and vice versa.


  1. This year you need two vaccines—for seasonal flu and H1N1—which means two separate shots (though you could choose to get two nasal sprays instead).


  1. Common side effects of the flu shot include a soreness, redness or swelling in your arm. Some people also end up feeling a bit achy or even experience a low-grade fever after getting vaccinated. And, if you opt for the nasal spray vaccine, there’s a greater chance of developing side effects like a runny nose, chills and headache. That’s because the spray contains weakened (but live) viruses, whereas the shot contains dead viruses.


  1. It’s made with thimerosal, a preservative that contains ethylmercury. While there’s no conclusive evidence that thimerosal causes any major problems, some people have expressed concern about this ingredient (especially in regards to exposing kids to it). Flu vaccines without thimersosal are available, but only in limited quantities.


  1. You can’t get a flu vaccine if you’re younger than 6 months old, allergic to eggs or have had a severe reaction to the flu shot in the past.


  1. There’s a very slight chance that the flu vaccine could increase your risk of Guillain-Barré syndrome, a condition that causes muscle weakness, sometimes paralysis and, in rare cases, even death. No one really knows what causes Guillain-Barre, and most experts think it’s triggered by an infection. Several studies were done to determine if the vaccine and incidence of Guillain-Barre were really linked, and most of them found no such connection. However, one study did find an association: it suggested that one person out of a million vaccinated might be a risk for Guillain-Barre.


If you are still on the fence about whether you should get a flu shot or not here are some suggestions from health officials on how to take steps in the prevention of the spread of flu and many other contagious diseases:

  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or arm; immediately throw away used tissues.
  • Wash hands frequently throughout the day for at least 20 seconds with warm, soapy water.
  • Stay home from school and work as symptoms such as a fever, coughing, sneezing, runny nose, headache and body aches develop.


Additionally, there are healthy ways to naturally boost your immune system with or without the flu vaccine during the flu season:

  • Get quality sleep each night (7-8 hours nightly).
  • Limit the intake of highly processed sugary foods and beverages by drinking quality water, teas and homemade broths, eating fresh vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, seeds, fish, high quality meats, poultry and grass fed dairy products.
  • Take high quality supplements such as cod liver oil, vitamin C (1000 mg 2-3 times daily, and a well-balanced multi vitamin.
  • Get fresh air daily and as much sunlight in the winter as possible (at least 20 minutes daily).
  • Indulge in moderate exercise such as walking, biking, aerobic activity 30 minutes 4-5 times weekly.
  • Limit exposure to secondhand smoke and other household pollutants (dust, mold and chemical filled cleaning products).
  • Limit stressful situations.


Remember that the flu shot is optional precaution against the flu and everyone should assess their own health and beliefs to decide whether a flu shot could benefit them this winter. For more information on flu shots from the CDC follow


Find a Meal Plan you can Live With

I’ve rarely met a client that has “arrived” in terms of meal planning. Our schedules, lives, family preferences and tastes are constantly in flux. The only constant in all this seems to be that we need to eat dinner tonight.   We need to remind ourselves that meal planning and getting dinner on the table is a noble effort…a habit we work on and refine constantly that can have huge pay-offs.   But while always an effort, perhaps we can lessen the load by taking a look at some different and new ways to meal plan. A meal plan you can actually live with and sustain is healthiest. Here are some guiding questions you can ask yourself as you look for some new momentum.


1)       Do you like to grocery shop?

I’ve met some clients that abhor shopping. If this is your main roadblock, don’t fight it! Acknowledge it and use some of the grocery delivery options such as Amazon Fresh or Safeway.   The time spent avoiding that which you hate will pay big dividends as you focus on preparing your meals. If you’d like three meals worth of ingredients delivered to your door each week with recipes check out Blue Apron meals take 30 minutes or less to prepare.


2)       Do you enjoy cooking?

Some people have a passion for cooking but they feel timid in the kitchen. If this is you…keep at it by experimenting, trying recipes and perhaps taking a cooking class or two. If this is not you and you just don’t enjoy cooking at all consider some healthy meal delivery or ready-made meal purchase options. In the Seattle area, check out “Eat Local” for freshly prepared, organic and sustainably packaged meals for two, four or more. Shop at PCC or whole foods and bring home freshly-made deli or hot case options. If you’re shopping on a budget check out Trader Joe’s for plenty of short-cut ready-made sides and entrees. For easy recipes that use some of the specialty items at TJs check out All of these “no-cook” or “cook very little” options, while having more sodium, use quality ingredients without preservatives or additives.


3)       Do you need some new inspiration?

We can all get in a rut. One of the ways I get out of a meal planning rut is to buy a new cookbook. I was at Costco the other day and snagged a copy of the new America’s Test Kitchen “The Make Ahead Cook”. This cookbook has some great recipes that allow you to freeze or refrigerate meals that are fully done or almost done beforehand and finish them off the day of eating. I love that their recipes for make-ahead casseroles are double-batched. I also appreciate some of the new methods in their crock-pot recipes that add more depth of flavor. One chapter is devoted to three meals of groceries in one bag – ingredients than can be used over the multiple recipes that week. All-in-all a great cookbook for those of us that enjoy cooking but are just short on time on the weekdays.


I wish you well as you continue to make meal planning a priority in your life. It’s a noble effort that can provide a bedrock of health and energy for yourself and those you care for.


If you’d like more inspiration and tailored ideas to create a meal plan you can live with, please email Club Nutritionist, Kathryn Reed at