Month: November 2014

Avoiding injuries in Winter Sports

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

It’s winter time! It’s also time to dust off those skis and snowboards and get ready for the slope. Before you head out, try out these exercises to get your ski legs ready.

Hip hinge/ box squat

Why do the hip hinge? This exercise helps prepare you to “groove” the hip movement pattern and keeps the low back strong when you are going down the slope.

 Your starting position:

  • Start from a chair or a high box or back of a sofa
  • Use a dowel (or something similar) and make sure the back of your head, the upper-midback, and the tailbone are touching the dowel. This is what we called the “neutral spine” position.

 The movement:

  • Get up from the sitting position while maintaining the three points contact mentioned above, and sit back down.
  • You may also feel the small of your back pushes or “round” against your lower hand. Try not to let that happen.
  • Slow and control is the key here, especially when you try to sit back down.


  • 10-12 reps/ set; 2x/day (see Fig.1)


Hip Airplane

Why do the hip airplane? To be able to control your pelvic position while moving at the hip joint. This exercise is going to help strengthen your hips and spare the knees while you are going down the slope.

 Your starting position:

  • Maintain the three points contact like you did in the last exercise

 The movement:

  • Lean forward on one leg while maintaining the three points contact.
  • Move back & forth in this direction (the middle picture at fig.2)
  • If you feel comfortable and balanced while going back & forth, you can start rotating at the hip and “spin” your chest and belly button together. Maintain the three points of contact.
  • Rotate side to side at the hip like the picture on the right side at fig.2)


10-12 reps/ set; 2-3x/day (see Fig.2)



Side to side hop:

Why do the side to side hop? This exercise is going to help you stabilize your hips, so your knees do not twist too much. Less twisting at the knees = less strains on the knees = happy knees

 Your starting position:

  • Pretend you are a speed skater, standing on one leg

 The movement:

  • Hop to the side and land on the other land, softly.
  • Try to “stick” the landing, before you hop back onto the other side.
  • Keep the knee and the ankle aligned when you land.
  • You should feel your glutes (buttocks) working


10-12 reps/ set; 2-3x/day (see Fig.3)



Practice common sense on the slopes and have fun out there. 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  

Pilates Exercise of the Month: HIP CIRCLES




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

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

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

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

 Head to Toe Checklist:

*  Begin small, increasing circles as you gain strength.

*  Circling the legs too low will compromise your abdominals.

*  Don’t let the upper body collapse.

*  Press the shoulders down and away from your ears.


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

Happy December and News from your local Massage Department!

Jessie Jo here, Director of Massage at the club, and I have an important announcement to make in regards to our senior staff members; Julie Bacon and Maryann Kuchera. If you have ever had a massage from one of these two gals then you know what I am about say. They are amazing assets to us down here at the club and without them- I am not sure where our department would be. They really are both rock stars and solid rocks for us.

Julie Bacon started here at the club not long after it opened in 1982. She came to us already well steeped in the industry and has gone on to be a legend in the massage world here in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Maryann arrived on the scene about a decade after in 1992 and has spear headed many things for our department. Including chair massage, and the addition of a second massage room.

Because of their tenure here at the club and dedication to the field of massage we have decided to put them in their own tier, Master Massage Practitioners. Julie and Maryann’s rates will be going up $10 per session as of January 1st, 2015. This is a way for us to recognize their dedication and commitment to us, here at the club. As well as a method to help them as they mature into leaders of our community and educators for us about our bodies!

The rates for all other practitioners here at the club will remain the same moving ahead. We have established that after 20+ years at the club, it’s a good thing to reward the service and loyalty to all of us.

If you have any questions or concerns, I am always available here at the club.

Employee of the Month of November: Leo Dilorenzo



Leo is a wonderful person and such a gift to us here at the club. Leo came aboard our massage staff in 2006 and what a lucky day for us!


He is always ready to help when asked and is genuinely concerned about his clients and fellow employees. Leo never hesitates to step in and assist in lending a helping hand, even if it is in the massage variety! He works hard and comes to us after a full day of teaching special education with high school kids in the north end.


We are excited to have such a positive staff member as part of our team!


Please join us in congratulating Leo on his well earned

appointment as our Employee of the Month!

Strategies for a Healthful Holiday

  1. Enjoy the food and festivities. This is number one above all else. The more you enjoy your life and create holiday experiences you want vs. being on automatic pilot dreading the various gatherings and traditions that you really don’t want to be a part of – the more energy you’ll have to focus on nourishing yourself. In terms of food, pick those indulgences you really love and forego the things that bring the calories without much enjoyment. If you have to drink or eat your way out of an event you really don’t want to go to – re-assess if it’s really worth it.
  2. Work out more. Exercise is the number one way to maintain your weight. As you mindfully enjoy holiday foods push yourself the next workout to go an extra 15-30 minutes. Look for opportunities to walk more and take the stairs when you can. It all adds up to burning off those extra calories. For most, delaying weight-loss goals to the month of January is more realistic.
  3. Stay hydrated and keep up on fruits and veggies.  With adequate hydration and plenty of fiber – you’ll have less room for other things. It’s always better to focus on what you want more of than simply avoiding things you “shouldn’t” eat.
  4.  Sleep at least 7 hours a night.  If we get enough sleep we won’t be as tempted to indulge in the simple carbohydrates –sweets and bready things that are so abundant during the holidays. If you’re too tired you’ll crave these things. Make your sleep a priority and you’ll be more equipped to make healthful food choices.


Here’s to a holiday season free of guilt and good care. My hope is that you don’t lose sight of one of the most important gifts you can give – your own health and well-being.

Inspirational Member of the Month – Tony Hansen


One of the great privileges of being a Trainer, Instructor or Body Worker at Seattle Athletic Club is the opportunity to work with truly decent and incredible people. Tony Hansen stands in evidence of this. Another great honor of being a Trainer here is that we get to work with colleagues (in the richest sense of the word). The wealth of knowledge and integrity of our Trainers is such that clients never have to feel bound to any single Trainer. Again, Tony can testify to this.

When Tony first came to Kathryn Reed (SAC Nutritionist) and me his goal was to lose weight and get into better shape. Soon however, it became clear that he was really committed to reclaiming his body, his confidence and his spirit. Tony was, from the beginning, very open and trusting to Kathryn and me; he trusted me to nudge him out of his comfort zones and into new realms of ability, agility, strength and belief in himself. Conversely, he gave me room to challenge my own comfort zones and become a more complete Trainer.

During the Holiday Season of 2012—nine months into our training—Tony told me of his annual strategy to find a single worded theme to guide him through the next year. He ultimately came up with “Emerge” for the coming 2013 year. And ‘emerge’ he did! His coordination development and his willingness to be challenged physically really started to become evident. More importantly, the possibility for confidence began to emerge too. As the next Holiday season began to approach he entrusted me as a sounding board while he sought out his theme word for 2014. Finally, he came upon “Embark” which, after he told me, seemed the only possible word. We continued to work together until it was time for Tony to face head-on his apprehensions around the weight room and all that it represented to him. Who better to work with than a three sport collegiate athlete and holder of several Division II football records; who better than the always positive, extraverted and insanely strong Jacob Galloway! In other words, who better to work with than Tony’s worst gym nightmare? Together Jacob and Tony have worked through those issues and Tony actually feels good going to work out in the weight room on his own. He feels he can ‘own his space’ and not feel judged, and more importantly bring its own deep compassion to others in there that may also feel intimidated. Tony and Jacob have become good friends with a deep mutual admiration for each other both professionally and fellow worker-outers.

Tony now proudly wears slimmer and better fitting jeans, is in terrific shape and is sought after as a distinguished Therapist to speak publically, participate in public forums, and present advice in governmental affairs about mental health issues in the work place.

Tony has emerged and embarked as a truly incredible and inspirational person and the world is a better place because of it. Personally selfishly Jacob and I are privileged to work with Tony and call him our Friend.

Get Fit and Slim Fast: LIFT SOME WEIGHT!

I often hear from female clients and female members that they don’t like to lift weights, especially heavy weights because they don’t want to bulk up. I know I’ve written about this topic at least twice before. Maybe the third times the charm.

The illusion of bulking up is just that. If you really were bulking up from lifting weights quite a few stars would have to align to result in such things.
• One, you would have to be lifting HEAVY twice a day.
• Two, you would have to be eating nothing but boiled chicken and broccoli.
• Three, you would have to be pushing yourself to the ends of your strength during every workout.
• Four, you would have to workout hard 5-7 days a week consistently.
It’s incredibly hard to put on large amounts of muscle mass and for the average gym-goer takes a long time to add any real size in muscle. Women especially have a much harder time putting on size, we do not have the testosterone, the same fat deposits (women have much more affinity to hold fat in the arms and hips than males do), and women have smaller muscle size in general. So any noticeable size in muscle is super hard to accomplish. You can get stronger and you may see your muscles more (generally that’s just a result of losing body fat and less about having huge muscles), but lifting enough to have serious guns will probably never happen.

What will happen if you push yourself and lift heavy weights? You will get stronger. Who doesn’t want to be stronger? The stronger you are the easier lifting your grandchild is. The stronger you are the easier it is to start the lawn mower. The stronger you are the easier it is to climb that hill. Strength means you can do more for yourself, you can be confident in your physical feats (will I or won’t I throw out my back lifting the dog into the car?).

What will happen if you lift heavy weights? You will lose body fat. You will increase your muscle fibers (fibers, teeny tiny fibers), which means that your muscles will burn more calories every day to function. Adding extra fibers means that your whole body will need to utilize more calories every day to sit, to walk, and especially to exercise. How sweet is that?! Without doing any long cardio or scaling way back in calorie intake you can lose body fat just by increasing your squat weight and doing fewer reps. Sounds good to me!

What will happen if you lift weights? You will increase your bone density. You will feel a bigger sense of accomplishment (When was the last time you got off the exercise bike after your regular 45 minutes while reading the paper and said, Man I can’t believe I just did that, I’m awesome!). You will have better body composition, that strapless dress will look so much better with stronger arms, I swear! You will move better and with more confidence.

Lifting heavy weights is as much (sometimes way more) cardio as it is strength. It takes a ton of energy to perform heavy lower body exercises and thus increases your heart rate substantially. Lifting heavy is comparable to sprinting up a hill. That sounds like a great way to kill two birds with one stone!

I hope more women get in the weight room and really work hard with the weights. I am a total believer in pushing yourself and lifting “real weights”. The women that take my lifting classes all look AMAZING. In case you haven’t noticed, I’m not churning out huge, beefy, bulging biceped women. Strong means fit. Strong means lean. Strong means healthy. Strong is beautiful. Let’s get strong!

For more information on how to start a strength training program please contact Adriana Brown