Month: September 2015

Hiking Club Recap for 2015


Thank you to all that joined me on my first “lead” hiking club expedition, not only did we get in shape but created lasting memories. The Club was a wonderful way for people to make new friends and for those to experience something new. One member conquered her fear of hikes on the Kendall Katwalk, another couple stepped out of their comfort zone and tackled a 9 miles 3000’ elevation gain at Lake Serene (WHOAH!), and I fell even more in love with the Pacific Northwest. The enthusiasm, the laughs, and sometimes grunts as we tackled the last few hills were all worth it in the end when we experienced that “top of the world” view as a team, which is why I love what I do and can’t wait till next year.






Pilates Exercise of the Month: (SIDE KICK SERIES: FRONT/BACK)

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PURPOSE: This exercise will stretch the back of the legs, tone your buttocks and improve balance. It is the first exercise in the Side Kick Series.

SET UP:  Lie on your side and align your body against the back edge of the mat. Prop your head up on one hand and place the palm of the other hand on the mat in front of you. Position your legs in a 45 degree angle in front of your body.  Feet are slightly turned out slightly in a Pilates V.

  1.  Lift your top leg hip height, turn leg out slightly from the hip.
  2.  Inhale, press navel into spine, swing your front leg and pulse it twice (similar to 2 small kicks) as far forward as it will go without rocking forward in your hips. Reach the leg further on the second kick.
  3. Exhale, and swing the leg back, reaching for the back corner of the room; gently pointing your toe; while stretching the front of the hip.
  4. 4. Repeat 8-10 times on each side. Bring your legs back together to prepare for the next exercise in the series- Up/Down.


Visualization: Imagine your leg swinging like a pendulum of a clock while the body holds still.

Modifications: If you experience discomfort in your shoulder, wrist or neck, lay your head down on your arm. You can also use a rolled up towel under your neck for added support.

To advance the exercise, place the hand behind the head and point the elbow to the ceiling.


Head to Toe Checklist:

  • Avoid letting hips and shoulders roll forward.
  • Don’t lift leg too high, only hip height.
  • Make sure your hand on the mat is close to the body with forearm pressed into your midsection.

What’s for Dinner Tonight?

Effective meal planning must encompass the nights when you need to get dinner on the table for yourself and/or your family in 15 minutes or less. If we have the right ingredients on hand we can always answer the question “What’s for dinner tonight?”


Below is a list of some of my favorite quick proteins, starches and vegetables. A healthy meal can combine all these into a well-portioned “balanced plate”: ¼ protein, ¼ starch and ½ vegetables.


Quick Proteins:

Leftovers or rotisserie chicken, precooked chicken sausage (Adele’s or Trader Joes), precooked turkey kielbasa, canned and rinsed LS beans, eggs, tofu, frozen edamame, precooked veggie or salmon patties, canned tuna or salmon, frozen turkey meatballs

Quick Starches:

Frozen microwaveable rice, microwaved sweet or russet potato, frozen peas or corn, roast a bag of pre-cut squash, sweet potato or fingerling potatoes, microwaved spaghetti squash, frozen grain blends, couscous (takes 5 minutes to cook), quinoa or white rice (15 minutes to cook), whole wheat pitas/tortillas/bread

Quick Vegetables:

Frozen: broccoli, asparagus, pepper strips, Brussels sprouts, frozen specialty blends with or without sauce (TJ’s has a lot of interesting blends), bag of broccoli slaw (add raisins/craisins, sunflower seeds and poppy seed dressing), bag of prewashed and cut veggies (green beans, mini zucchini, cucumbers, snap peas, baby carrots, mushrooms, specialty mixes), bagged fresh lettuce: romaine, spinach, mixed greens (add shredded bagged carrot, grape tomatoes, pre-sliced mushrooms)


Next time you meal plan buy the ingredients for a quick meal as a back-up. An example would be a flavored pre-cooked Adele’s chicken sausage, a box of couscous and a new frozen vegetable blend. These ingredients will keep for weeks/months. You’ll always have a quick meal on hand and will avoid the pitfalls of dining out.


For more information, please contact our Nutritionist, Kathryn Reed, MS at

Recap: Scavenger Race 2015

Once again, we had SO. MUCH. FUN! A big thank you to everyone who participated in our second Adventure Race around Green lake on Friday, July 31st. Teams of two ran and explored all corners of the Green Lake area while challenged to solve clues, find checkpoints and perform dares.


A big thank you to all of our supporters – Super Jock n Jill, PCC, Greenlake Bar and Grill, Menchies at Greenlake, and Gregg’s Cycle. Without them, we wouldn’t have had such an exceptional event AND prizes! Everyone finished with a smile and a little sweat so fun was had by all and we got to check it off as a workout.



By: Fitness Director, Dana Lauren, Seattle Athletic Club Northgate

What’s New at the SAC

You may have noticed that the club upgraded some of its workout equipment after the annual club closure. Here is what we have that’s new and some fun ways to use it.


3-way Olympic Benches: these benches have a back rest that moves upward and downward allowing you to perform incline, flat or decline chest press on the same piece of equipment. It can

also be adjusted out or in allowing both short and tall individuals to fit on the bench and workout.









Elevate Series Treadmills: These treadmills have been show to have a 30% reduction in forces in the knees compared to running on the roads. They have a quick control panel by the heart rate monitors to allow for quick changes in speed and elevation. Some of the coolest features lye in the touch screen monitors where you can: watch TV channels, browse the internet, access fitness apps, take guided tours viewing a city France while the treadmill adjusts the incline based on the actual incline on that city road/trail, do any of the 42 pre-programmed workouts or do any of the 8 custom workouts created by the SAC fitness staff, create a profile on Life Fitness Connect ( and track all your workouts on the treadmills and much more.









Cage System: We added a cage system which allows for 6 workout spaces to do any of your major barbell work. The cage also has two monkey bar sets, 6 pull-up bars, 3 sets of bar safeties and J-hooks that can adjust the bar rack position from the floor to the top of the cage. Those are all the basic workout features you can do; there are many other uses for the cage system using resistance/power bands, benches, and a TRX workout area.









If you have any questions on how to set up or use the new equipment please feel free to ask and of the fitness staff or contact the fitness director Jacob Galloway ( to set up some individual time to review the equipment.

Let’s Read

We asked the fitness staff what they would recommend our members read and this is what they came up with:

Jacob Galloway – David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell

To me this book really was about the power of perception and how we look at hardships in our life as negatives when in reality they shape us into the people we are today. These hardships create personality traits that can allow us to overcome other challenges that others would not.

Greg Svoboda – Mastery by Robert Greene, The Power of Less by Leo Baubuta

1. If you are unsure of your passion in life, or have yet to discover your life’s task, get Mastery. It has radically changed my life and continues to serve as an irreplaceable guide. Greene takes you through the journey of discovering and developing your life’s work, along with the process required to grow from apprentice to master of your craft.


2. Are you relentlessly moving towards the direction of your dreams every day? Whatever the answer, grab The Power of Less. Baubuta lays out what I feel is one of the greatest foundational methods for skyrocketing productivity and success. His goal setting process could be better, but the rest is gold. Literally tripled the amount of work I was accomplishing in a day while reducing my overall stress.

Tom SheriffBeyond Basketball by Coach Mike Krzyewski (Duke), Name of the Wind (King Killer Chronicle book 1) by Patrick Rothfuss

1.  This is one of my favorite books that pertain to sport and life. This is an easy read with each short chapter telling a different story.

2. This is my favorite “for fun” book series of all time. It’s an epic fantasy that has nothing to do with training, life lessons, self help etc. (but really it does). I recommend it to everyone because it’s an extremely well written amazing story. It is a series with 2 of the 3 planned books out so far; I can’t recommend it enough.


Shay MasseyThe Alchemist by Paul Coelho


Great read for those who are looking for their purpose or path in life. Encouraging the reader to act now and to live their own personal legend it can be just the thing to encourage forward movement. I also enjoyed the author’s perspective on life’s “obstacles.” Many times the reader is reminded that life’s road bumps are simply that, not dead ends or absolutes.

Amanda Heminger – The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin Sharma


This is a great book about maintaining balance and finding happiness in life. The story is about an over-worked, highly stressed lawyer who has the job, money, and power. Despite all of this, his life feels incomplete. It takes a turn for the worse when he suffers a massive heart attack. Re-evaluating his life, he decides to travel to India and become a Monk in the hopes of getting in touch with his spirituality, and discovering how to be healthy, balanced, and joyous with his life. This book takes you through every step of his journey, teaching valuable lessons and offering eye-opening wisdom in regards to what is important in life, and the value of finding inner peace.

Jason Anderson – The Soul of a Butterfly by Mohammad Ali’s


This autobiography is full of life and sport inspiration (inspirational quotes) which you expect when you think about readying a book about Ali but it also goes pretty deep into him as a man where you almost feel like you know him as a friend not just a celebrity.   You get to know the real man not just the confident/flamboyant boxer most knew him as.  It goes into his life before boxing and what got him into boxing.    It covers times in his life that he was not proud of and what he did to correct his faults which a “tell all book” from others may not get into.   You clearly understand fighting for what you believe in and believing in yourself whether it’s daily life situations, sports, or religion is how he lived his life.

Adriana Brown – The Book Thief  by Markus Zusak, Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War by Karl Marlantes

Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.


Matterhorn is a visceral and spellbinding novel about what it is like to be a young man at war. It is an unforgettable novel that transforms the tragedy of Vietnam into a powerful and universal story of courage, camaraderie, and sacrifice: a parable not only of the war in Vietnam but of all war, and a testament to the redemptive power of literature.

“Core” Value

Hello fellow SAC members,

Phew, what a summer so far! Today, I want to share with you from what I learned from the world-famous spine researches, Dr. Stuart McGill, from the University of Waterloo in Canada. I had the pleasure of working with Dr. McGill the past couple years, and want to share his knowledge with you. In the video (link below), you will find Dr. McGill “de-mystified” a lot of the usual “core” exercises. If you are experiencing low back pain, you will find the video even more intriguing.

Want to learn more about what Dr. McGill said about exercising and how they would apply to your workout routine? Email me 😉   Enjoy!

Dr. Li

Dr. Stuart McGill’s video from NY Times:

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  



Tricks of the Trade: How We Make Muscles Relax

There are several tools that can be used so loosen tight muscles without causing any pain, and in many cases, banishing any feeling of pain in the muscle that might have been felt before treatment. There is Hold/Relax Stretching, Reciprocal Inhibition, Positional Release Therapy, and Eccentric Contraction, to name a few.

Hold/Relax Stretching is an osteopathic technique in which the practitioner passively stretches a muscle until a small amount of resistance is felt, at which point the patient is asked to contract with equal effort against the resistance provided by the practitioner. This results in an “isometric contraction” in which no movement occurs. This sequence is repeated several times (where each point of resistance is felt) until there is no more stretch to be had, resulting in the muscle reaching its normal length. When this type of stretching is used to remove skeletal deviations when tight muscles pull bones out of alignment, it’s called Muscle Energy Technique.

Next we have Reciprocal Inhibition, which takes advantage of the way the body is “wired.” Most muscles have opposing muscles, such as biceps/triceps or hamstrings/quadriceps. If one wanted to put an ice cream cone to his/her mouth, they would be contracting their biceps. Your body is “hard-wired” so that the opposing muscle (triceps) will automatically relax, allowing the biceps its action. So, say a person was lying on their back, knees up and feet together. We want to make the inside muscle (adductor) relax, but if we try a Hold/Relax stretch, the adductor hurts as we ask it to contract. No problem: we have them press against our resistance on the outside of their knee with their opposing muscle, hold for several seconds, and the adductor will lower into a stretch, pain free!

Positional Release Therapy (PRT) is a technique consisting of passively placing clients’ limbs in various positions, each of which constitutes complete slack (and is painless) for a tight muscle being treated. Each position is held for 90 seconds, which is sufficient time for the nervous system to decide that, since there is no pain at that site, it no longer needs to send a guarding signal. Passive replacing of the limb renders the muscle’s tender point pain free. This is a very relaxing protocol for the whole body (mentally as well as physically), and is particularly effective for neck and low back areas, IT Bands, etc.

Eccentric Contraction is the perfect way to not only get a muscle to “let go,” but also make it’s movement very clean and not restricted in any way. (For the bicep muscles, this is the action of slowly lowering one’s self from a “chin-up”.) Let’s say one has a tight left piriformis, or lateral rotator of the hip. The patient would be lying prone with the left knee bent at a 90 degree angle so the calf is perpendicular to the thigh. Pulling the calf outward (to the left) is restricted. I would take the calf at the ankle all the way over to the patient’s right, then have them “resist me, but let me win” as I pulled the bent leg over to the left. We would repeat this action several times, each time getting farther, and producing freer movement. I suspect this exercise somehow “scrubs” muscle fibers clean of adhesions, which allows the muscle to stretch to its full length, with noticeably more freedom of movement.

By communicating with the nervous system, and using several forms of muscle contraction such as eccentric (“putting on the brakes” as the muscle is stretched), isometric (contraction, but no movement occurs), reciprocal inhibition (contracting the opposing muscle), as well as just placing a muscle in a position of complete slack (Positional Release Therapy), we can easily obtain relaxation for muscles, as well as full range of motion – all without solutions which are often time-consuming … and painful!