Month: December 2014

Why does our Fitness Staff do what they do?

Here at the Seattle Athletic Club, we are blessed to have a highly qualified staff of health care professionals that are genuinely interesting in helping people. Unfortunately, this is a rarity within the health club industry. At many gyms, sales and commissions will come before the actual needs of the client.

We thought it would be noteworthy to show what motivates each of our training staff to help our members every day.

Each trainer has their own reason why they get up in the morning, why they come to work every day, why they love to share their knowledge and expertise, and why they love what they do. Their “Why” represents their inner most desire in life and thus in their work.

If you would like to learn more about the fitness staff here at the Seattle Athletic Club just read below.

 Adriana Brown

  • Why – I help people create strong feelings of self-accomplishment.
  • What – Giving individuals knowledge for better more effective ways to move.

Jake Pedersen

  • Why – I have an intense curiosity to see what drives people.
  • What – I show people how to have fun and play.

Kendra Kainz

  • Why – I want people to know their self worth.
  • What – I let people be themselves and listen to what they need.

Greg Svoboda

  • Why – I empower others to radiate confidence in every area of their life.
  • What – I teach people the tools for developing their physical and inner strength

Barbara Miller

  • Why – I create opportunities for happiness.
  • What – I help people believe in themselves.

Jody Garcia

  • Why – I want to get people believing in themselves.
  • What – I help people find the artist hidden inside themselves.

Tom Sheriff

  • Why – I give people strength.
  • What – I help people find their mental and physical strength.

Jason Anderson

  • Why – I guide a community of people.
  • What – I invest in people’s success.

Will Paton

  • Why – I want people to feel alive.
  • What – I push the boundaries and challenge the limits of one’s self perception.

Jacob Galloway

  • Why – I motivate people to achieve things they didn’t realize were possible.
  • What – I look to see what each person’s potential is in fitness and life.

Nathan Palmer

  • Why – I help people find and know and do what they truly love.
  • What – I help people practice and perform better

Fitness Challenge: Recap

This Fall the Seattle Athletic Club challenged its members to a battle of muscles and endurance. Each week two exercises were released to test you on based on sex and age categories. In general it appeared that the middle range population outperformed both the younger and older population in most categories. Remember it is never too soon or late to try new things and push your body to new limits. Here are our highlights from our SAC Fitness Challenge this fall:



Maximum Pushups

  • Men’s Winners: Under 30: James 37; 30-50: A. Hazzard 100; Over 50: Bob 65
  •  Women’s Winners: 30-50: Chris B 30; Over 50: Maria B. 60

Jump Rope Revolutions in 60 sec

  • Men’s Winners: Under 30: James 213; 30-50: Joe 196; Over 50: George 144
  • Women’s Winners: 30-50: Abigail 211; Over 50: Maria B 190

Maximum Pull-ups

  • Men’s Winners: Under 30: James 14; 30-50: Josh 27; Over 50: Bob 17
  • Women’s Winners: Under 30: Connie 4; 30-50: Chris B 10

Box Jumps in 60 sec

  • Men’s Winners: Under 30: James 40; 30-50: A. Hazzard 100; Over 50: George 63
  • Women’s Winners: 30-50: Chris B 69

Maximum Plank Hold

  • Men’s Winners: 30-50: A. Hazzard 9:31
  • Women’s Winners: Over 50: Michele 8:15

Maximum Squats in 60 sec

  • Men’s Winners: 30-50: A Hazzard 75
  • Women’s Winners: Over 50: Maria B 51

Maximum Bench Dips

  • Men’s Winners: Under 30: James 38; 30-50: A Hazzard 130
  • Women’s Winners: Over 50: Maria B 38

Sit-ups in 60 sec

  • Women’s Winners: Over 50: Maria 40

Pain in the neck? Relief may lie in how you move.

By Peggy Protz, Feldenkrais® Practitioner

Neck pain really can be a pain in the neck. Especially if the pain affects your ability to move easily and comfortably. Ask anyone who has experienced a whiplash, a pinched nerve, or a bad tension headache. Pain caused by these conditions will often restrict the natural, free movement of the head, creating an experience of life that is limiting. A real pain in the neck!

The pain can easily spiral downward into more discomfort. As you try to keep your head still to avoid pain, muscles in the neck, shoulders, and upper back begin to tighten up. This is understandable, as your body intelligently wants to protect you from further injury. The increased muscle tension, however, can actually cause more discomfort. One way to disrupt this cycle is to begin moving in a gentle way.

Try this experiment…   Sit on the edge of a chair that has a firm, flat surface. Have your feet flat on the floor about hip width apart and your thighs parallel to the floor. Rest your hands comfortably on your thighs. Gently turn your head a little to the right and to the left, keeping the movement in a range that is easy and not painful. Observe how far you turn by taking note of what you see in the room around you.

Next, keeping your head in the center, slowly look downward, lowering your chin to your chest. Allow your chest to sink, relax your shoulders, and think that you are bending your whole back backwards, creating a “C” shape from the top of your head to your tailbone. This position may feel like slouching.

Now reverse the movement. Slowly lift your chin off your chest, looking straight ahead as you straighten your back. Push your chest forward and gently pull your shoulders back. Think that the top of your head is being pulled upward toward the ceiling, causing you to sit taller on your seat.

Repeat the motion: lowering your head as you bend your back, lifting your head as you straighten your back. See if you can feel the pressure of your hips rolling back and forth on the chair; leaning back on your tail bone, then forward on your sit bones.

Begin to coordinate your breathing with the movement. Exhale as you look down, relaxing the chest. Inhale as you lift your head, expanding the chest. Allow your whole body to relax into the motion.

After you’ve done the exercise five or six times, stop and rest with your eyes closed, noticing the feeling in your shoulders, back, and neck. Open your eyes and turn your head again, like you did at the start. See if it feels easier or if you can turn a little further. Notice if you see more of the room around you.

This is an exercise I often share with my students and is something you can do anytime to relieve tension. The back and forth movement or your spine sort of “resets” your nervous system, allowing your body to relax and learn a new way moving, without you having to think about it. With gentle practice, the better way becomes the natural way, and perhaps that pain in the neck won’t have to be such a pain in the neck!

For more guidance on how to reduce neck and shoulder pain, join Peggy for the “Pain Free Neck and Shoulders” Feldenkrais workshop, Saturday February 7, 2 – 4:30pm in the Mind Body Studio

Employee of the Year: Jacob Galloway



At our most recent Annual Holiday Party, we had the pleasure and honor of announcing our newly formed Employee of the Year award; the Cookie Laughlin award.

This award will holds extra meaning and sentiment for a lot of our employees because it is in memoriam of one of our most treasured former members; Cookie Lauglin. Cookie was an extremely caring, supportive, friendly, honest, joyful, loving and hard working person.  Everything that our club strives to find and develop within our employees.

The inaugural Cookie Lauglin award recipient, our Fitness Director Jacob Galloway, personifies all those traits and more.

Jacob received this inaugural award due to his caring, loving, considerate work he has personally given to Cookie and her husband John.  In addition to his devotion to the Laughlin’s health, Jacob also exemplifies what it means to be a complete team player.  Jacob is extremely supportive of his staff, he is responsible, caring, friendly, positive, and above all else shows complete care and belief in what the club does to better the lives of members and clients alike.  Jacob works extremely hard to uphold the club’s standards of professionalism as well as his devotion to his clients.  He gives 100% of himself every day to his staff, his clients, and members.

Congratulations Jacob and thank you Laughlin family for the tremendous honor.

Employee of the Month for December: Armon Martindale



In Armon’s short time here at the Club, he has already made a big impact. From the small details of the Front Desk to the events and offerings of the club, he has become a person of reference for all.

Armon comes to work each day knowing that what he does makes a direct impact on the members he sees and the staff he works with. His calm demeanor when busy to his outgoing personality when things are slow has allowed him to build those connections with all.

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

Inspirational Member of the Year: Lulu Chou

Lulu Chou is much more than an inspirational member; she is a role model. She has earned the trust and respect from members, club staff and fellow squash players for years. Lulu originally started playing squash around 1998 and it’s never been the same since.

Working her way up through the ranks, Lulu has persevered through challengers of any rank or gender. She has helped lead the Ladies Howe Cup team, rallying the troops, creating costumes and showing support for all players, new and old wherever she goes.

As a testament to her passion for the sport, after being out of commission due to surgery last year, she still managed to travel to Vancouver for the Sun and Surf tournament to support the Seattle Squash community. By January, five months after having her surgery and barely being able to walk, Lulu was the runner up in the Ladies A Division. In her own words, “I am a happy runner-up in the ladies draw. Not too shabby. 5 months post-surgery.”

She has shown that regardless of setbacks and challenges, anything is possible with a drive and a passion worth fighting for.

Start the New Year Safely & Successfully in the Gym

Dr. Michael Li, DACRB

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a great holiday! Each January, most of us rush back to the gym determined to burn off some holiday season calories and work toward New Year’s resolutions to get into better shape. Unfortunately, some studies showed more than half of those who join in a gym or fitness club will drop out after 3-6 months. The common reason: injury.

I want to use this article to lay out some strategies that can help you avoid injury and reach your fitness goals any time of year. If you are someone who wants to stay fit for the rest of the year, this article is for you! Here we go.

Overtraining & Injuries

As we are enthusiastically starting our new year training program, sometimes we may do too much, too soon, and those usually lead to early overtraining, and increase one’s risks of injuries. How can you tell if you are over trained? Here are couple things to look for:

  • Test your resting heart rate in the morning or before you have breakfast & coffee. Is it higher than usual?
  • Did you find yourself still feeling tired after a good night of sleep? This can be an early sign of overtraining.
  • Soreness versus pain
  •  This is one of the most frequently asked questions I encountered and I hope the table below helps differentiate the two:


Muscles sores


Discomfort sensation: the area feels tender to the touch, and you feel a dull, tight achy feeling when you are resting Discomfort sensation: sharp pain at rest
Onset: during exercises or 24-72 hours after exercise Onset: during exercise or within 24 hours of activities
Duration: 1-3 days Duration: more than a week
Location: muscles Location: muscles or joints
Feels better with: stretching, some light movement Feels better with: ice, rest (or no relief from either of those)
Feels worse with: being static Feels worse with: any activities
Appropriate action: continue the exercises once the soreness subsides or to a point you feel comfortable Appropriate action: consult with a medical professional if pain is sharp and/or lasts more than 1-2 weeks


What to do?

Gradual increase in exercise intensity/volume.

  •   I found most folks injured themselves by doing too much, too soon. You may be away from training for a while, and thought you would just pick up where you left off. I would say to start off easily and ramp up gently. Start with one set of exercises for two weeks and see how your body response to it. Sometimes it takes time for your body to adapt to the new exercises routine, and you may not feel the good (and bad) effect from the exercises until 2-4 weeks later. Increase the difficulty of the exercises once you master the form and the movement.

Pay attention to your body

  • “Feel” the work you are doing with your body and watch your form. Quality movements always trump high volume and bad forms.


  • Good nutrition: make sure you eat and drink well and put good fuel back in your body after exercise.
  • Sleep well: your body grows when you are sleeping. Better sleep = better recovery = better growth!


Planning & ideas:

Set Goal(s)

  • Some folks train for a marathon, some exercise to prepare for a squash tournament, some just train to be healthier. No matter what your intention is, set a goal. You will commit to your exercises routine when you have a goal. Write it down. Put it at your computer screen or at your fridge. Ask yourself “why” you train/exercise and stick with it!

Make it practical

  • This one follows nicely after you set up your goal(s). Make your training practical to what you want to do. If you are training for a hike that you would do during your next vacation, make sure your training helps you directly with your hike. You will be more compliant with the exercises.

Cross training

  • You maybe training for the marathon, but it does not mean your training only involves running. Our body is a great adapter, both to good and bad stress. By doing cross training, you will train the weak stabilizing muscles you may miss during your regular training, and give the muscles a break. If you are a runner, do some weight training to helps support your joints to take on road.

Have some fun!

  • Going to the gym can be a drag sometimes, especially during the days of 12+hours of darkness outside. Make it fun for yourself to go into the gym. Mix up the exercise routine after you build a strong foundation. Grab a workout buddy. Have a friendly pickup basketball game. Have fun with the exercises. Being healthy can be fun too!


  • Take advantage of the professionals in your circle and in the SAC. If you are dealing with an injury, get it checked out by me or other health care professional during the Wellness Tuesdays. Don’t know where to start on exercising programming, set up an appointment with a personal trainer.
  • The personal training staffs and I have worked together on numerous occasions to help a member reaching their fitness goals. When a member is injured and come to me, I always communicate with his/her trainers to create the best exercise plan for that member. Together, we can check your base fitness to support your desired activities level; identify training errors; correct biomechanical problems; provide an appropriate plan to reach your goals.

I hope this article helps giving you a great start to 2015. Don’t hesitate to email the Seattle Athletic Club’s fitness director Jacob Galloway ( or me if you have any questions. Have a great 2015!

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     

New Year’s Mindset: Mindful Eating vs. Dieting

I am not here to sell you on an approach to eating healthier this New Year. January is a busy month for Nutritionists and I agree it’s a great time to start anew. However, if you’ve tried more than enough dieting approaches before – lower calorie, lower carb, lower fat, higher protein, juicing, detoxes, “eat this but not that” – and you’ve burned out on them and returned to the same challenges around eating yet again – this may be your moment to focus on a different approach: mindful eating.

It can be scary to leave the structure of a diet mentality. We take comfort in numbers, what is good vs. bad and that which can be measured. Mindful eating, on the other hand, doesn’t start with an object to evaluate or deprive. Mindful eating is a process that starts with one simple tool: Curiosity.

Here are two examples that illustrate these two very different approaches:

Situation #1: Afternoon snack hits at work and the chips in the vending machine are calling my name.

Dieter:Chips are my downfall and they don’t have any fiber or protein so I won’t eat them. Fruit, string cheese or yogurt are healthy options.

Mindful Eater: I’m craving chips. If I get up out of my desk chair and take a walk or stairs for 5-10 minutes does that lower the craving? (Crunching helps release some stress hormones just as exercise does.) If not, are there healthier crunchy foods I can have that can satisfy the crunch as well? (Veggies in hummus, snap pea crisps, popcorn, akmak crackers with cheese.)

Bottom-Line Issue: Stress may be playing a part in your craving crunchy foods. Or it may just be a textural preference. Protein/fiber rich crunchy foods are better choices for you than yogurt.

 Situation #2: I have been craving carbs all day today.

Dieter:Fruit and light popcorn are healthy options. Keep focus so I won’t go over my calorie budget.

Mindful Eater: Did I get enough sleep last night? Am I getting some carbs with every meal to give me energy? Did I have protein with all my meals today? Did I eat enough fat today? Am I hydrated?

Bottom-Line Issue: Lack of sleep can cause refined carb cravings during the day. Also, lack of balance in combining carbs, protein and/or fat in meals can cause blood sugar imbalances which lead to cravings. Sometimes we’re hungry when we’re really thirsty.

 As you can see from these examples – starting with curiosity is not an easy approach. But it can lead to graceful experimentation and an end to judging ourselves. Sometimes all we’ll be able to do when we mindfully eat is to be aware as we’re eating that food in which we wish we weren’t. And without the judgment talking we’ll be able to listen in to how our bodies feel afterward. This is progress!

Curiosity creates the space for change. Here’s to more mindful eating and less judgment this New Year.