Tag: athletic club

The beauty of a crystal clear swimming pool

All swimming pools have pretty much the same rules. One rule in particular will be at any swimming pool you go to, that is “Please shower before you enter the pool”. This rule is there for a very specific reason. And no it’s not to annoy you. Pool chemistry can be a tricky thing. If you get in without showering your perfume, sweat, make-up and what the day has proceeded to leave on you can throw off the chemicals of the pool. You might think I haven’t been anywhere I haven’t done anything to cause the pool chemistry to go off balance. If everyone has that thought then the pool will never be clean.

In order to help keep the pool chemistry in balance is that everyone showers prior to getting in. So, keeping that in mind on your next visit to the pool please remember to shower before you get in.

Tips for sharing lanes in the pool

From the time we are babies we are taught to share. With this simple teaching the hope is as adults we continue to use this practice. This goes with so many different things in life.

You think “I need to get my laps in, I will go swimming today”. You head to the club. In the locker room you put on your swim suit and cap with goggles in hand you head to the pool after you have showered. You’re all ready to jump in and swim as you walk onto the pool deck you think to yourself “what’s this? All the lanes have someone in them!” There is a swim lesson in one lane, someone jogging in another lane and the other lanes have one person swimming. What do you do? Do you wait for a lane to open up? Do you get mad and leave?

There is a simple answer to those questions and leaving is not it. This is where the life long lesson of sharing comes into play. Watch the swimmers see who fits in with your level or speed of swimming. You can wait for them to stop and see you standing on the deck to ask them if they will share with you. You may think I don’t want to disturb someone’s pace; you can climb in making sure not to get in the way. Stand off to the side when they stop ask if they would like to swim circles or split the lane in half.

If you are the person swimming and see someone looking for a place to swim you can offer to share your lane with them. It is also possible to ask the jogger and lesson if they wouldn’t mind sharing a lane so you can swim laps.

Lap lanes can hold many people in them. If you leave :05 – :10 seconds between you and the person in front of you there will be plenty of room for a lot of people. If you were on swim team growing up you always shared lanes with possibly 10 or more people. It’s nice to have the pool or lane to yourself. Sometimes we get so used to it that the first thought is “What? My lane has someone in it.”

All in all there is plenty of room for everyone. All we need to do is SHARE.

Great Things Come in Little Packages

She’s a tiny, lovely, wonderful, amazing, hard working, positive, funny, strong, brave, determined woman who I’m proud to call a client and a friend.

Cookie Laughlin has been a member of the Seattle Athletic Club along with her husband John since October of 2004. She has been a mainstay down in the Pilates Studio as well as the occasional venture into the weight room. In the past few years Cookie has battled a serious illness that has kept her from the club for lengthy periods of time. Since August of 2012 she has been back and better than ever! She trains with Adriana Brown as often as her treatment schedule allows, sometimes it’s twice a week, sometimes once, sometimes it’s every other week. But no matter what, Cookie and John find time in their very busy lives to come into the club and train as much as they can. This is some real devotion, with all that is on her plate and all that she has to weekly recover from, Cookie is doing her part to work towards better health. When she started training again in August Cookie was still walking very slowly, couldn’t do much balancing, was having a hard time with her foot and hand neuropathy and was out of shape due to her lengthy period away from the club and her aggressive treatment. But in just these past few months she has overcome so much she hardly seems the same person! She works hard every session, pushing herself, trying new things, moving more and more weight, and really giving 100% every hour spent with Adriana. As of today, Cookie has come along LEAPS and BOUNDS. She can stand on one leg, she can lift 12.5lb dumbbells (for a woman who can barely feel her hands or feet this is nothing short of AMAZING), her cardiovascular health has improved 10 fold, she can go up the stairs every other step (sometimes every 3rd step, with a little help from her friends), she has done so many things that both her, her husband, and even Adriana didn’t think possible. This is the kind of woman trainers would kill to have as a client. She NEVER gives up, she hardly ever complains (she’s known to be disgusted that she sweats, she hates to sweat), she works hard, she keeps a smile on her face, and above all, she pushes herself each and every session.

With all that she’s up against, with all that she deals with concerning her health, she makes the hour in the gym her one and only priority while she’s training. She could duck out, she could sleep in, she could decide that she’s just too run down (most people dealing with what she does would easily go down that road), but she doesn’t. If everyone had her mind set we’d all be accomplishing our goals big and small every day! She doesn’t do it alone, she’s got an amazing support system, her husband John is always sweating right along side her and always has encouraging words. Together these two could move mountains… I think they already have.

Here’s to 2013 and conquering all the bad and making leaps and bounds to all the good. Cookie, you are a rock star, thank you for your inspiration.

Light Up Your Body Like a Christmas Tree with M.A.T.

By now you may have seen the massage table with the MAT poster by it in the lobby. Many have seen me working with clients but don’t really understand what it is that I am doing with them. Is it massage? Physical Therapy? Chiropractic manipulations? No, I’m not doing any of those things. I am doing Muscle Activation Technique and here is an analogy that might help you understand what’s going on.

Muscle Activation Technique is like your Christmas tree lights. Every year you pull out the same strands of lights and plug them into the wall to check if they still work. Inevitably there is at least one strand that has only half the lights working. Are all those lights really burned out? Perhaps, but it’s more likely only a few of those lights are causing that strand to not be spectacular. So you methodically pull out one light at a time until you find the ones that are worn out. You replace it and PRESTO! The whole strand magically lights up again. Just like new!

Using the Muscle Activation Technique, I test your individual muscles to determine if they are firing or not, just like those LEDs. Except I don’t replace the worn out muscles with new ones: That would be illegal (which would not be good). Instead, I have the client do a specific series of light isometrics to reengage the muscle until it can fire without hesitation.

There is only one question… Are you just going to set the exact same goals in 2012 and hope they go better? That’s crazy talk!

A year ago you were dead set on trying to lose 20 lbs. You were dead set on going to spin class once a week. You were dead set on getting Michelle Obama arms. It’s been a whole year. You have lost no weight; perhaps maybe you have just put on a few pounds. You went to spinning one day a week for a month and then the schedule wasn’t perfect with work so you haven’t actually done any spinning in 6 months. Your arms look pretty much exactly the same as they did last year…ugh.

So you’ve decided this time to set real goals. To really put your mind and body to accomplishing something that you can see, feel, or at least check off on your calendar. Now the only question is are you just going to set the exact same goals and hope round two is your time? Are you just going to do the same workouts? Are you just going to hope that this year your body loves you and makes miracles happen? How is this time going to be different?

First let’s talk about setting the same goals. This is a sure fire way to fail. If you didn’t accomplish even one of the goals you set last year (or 6 months ago, or one month ago, or one week ago) what is the point of just saying let’s try it again? Why not try setting smaller goals, more specific goals, or completely new goals that you really truly care about. If you do a better job goal setting I can assure you that you will be much more likely to accomplish something this time around.

Are you going to do the same workouts and eat the same way? Doing the exact same thing (or close to it) and expecting a different result is just plain crazy talk. There is no way that you can hope to do the exact same things and expect a different outcome; it’s just not going to happen. So it’s up to you to make the change, this could mean everything from cutting out dairy from your diet to joining a swim conditioning class to swapping one day of long boring cardio for some higher intensity workouts. It could mean a complete overhaul of your program starting with talking to a trainer for ideas, program suggestions, or jumping into some personal training sessions. Let’s face it, you’ve tried it your way and it didn’t work, maybe now it’s time to get serious and talk to a professional. If you really want this it really could be yours!

Can you make miracles happen by just wishing for them to? I doubt it, but if you can please come talk to me and let me know your trick! You can’t just sit on the couch and hope that tomorrow your body turns up its metabolism and starts burning calories like crazy. You can’t hope that by cutting out one packet of sugar from your daily coffee that you’ll lose 10lbs (but cutting out one soda a day from your diet, regular or diet soda, will make you lose 10 lbs in a year). You can’t magically force your body to burn calories while you sit on a bench in between your whopping two sets of biceps curls and hope that this time your muscles are going to respond. It’s just not in the cards my friend. So do yourself a favor, visualize success all you want but you have to actually put in the work to make it a reality, those are the facts.

How is this time going to be different?
First set new, attainable, important goals. Real goals that you really want, that you are ready to work for; goals that you can share with other people and get some support. Goals that you have a clear road map as to how to achieve them.

Second, let go of the idea that wishing, wanting and think positive it is enough…it is a great start, but at the end of the day it’s up to you to put in the work. No magic, no excuses.

Third, try something new. Try a new class, add in a day of different styles of working out (instead of running you can row, instead of Body Pump you can try TRX, instead of ActivTrax you can get some training sessions and learn how to use kettlebells, etc), even changing the time/intensity/format of your workouts can be enough to make a difference. So if you aren’t ready to get nuts and try Power Bands you can at least stop riding the recumbent bike at a level 10 for an hour and get on an Arc Trainer for 30 minutes of high intensity intervals. It doesn’t have to be crazy Crossfit workouts but making changes not only to your general workouts but to your diet as well will help you move to the next level. Positive changes yield positive results plain and simple.

So let’s cut out all the crazy talk, lies, and get down to it; you are ready, you want to make the change, you want to see results, or you just don’t really care that much. These are your goals, not anyone else’s so if you don’t really care then that is your choice. But if leaning out is important to you, if getting off your high blood pressure medicine is important to you, if bettering your half marathon time is important to you, or if just feeling good about yourself and making positive changes to your every day life is important to you than it’s time to make a change. This really could be your year, really!

XXXL and Shrinking… Mark Dyce’s Success Story

Maybe you’ve heard him and his workout yells and sighs. Maybe you’ve seen him in the mornings, hard not to since he trains almost every day. Maybe you’ve noticed a continually shrinking man. Let me introduce to you the SAC’s super star client Mark Dyce. Mark’s weight loss story started when he had just returned from his annual pilgrimage to Hawaii in 2010. He was sick and tired… well, of being sick and tired. Mark had always been an athlete, but was starting to become frustrated not being able to do things he enjoyed – like playing basketball. His weight would no longer allow him to fake to the left and drive to the right… he couldn’t even tie his shoe.

Mark had been a member of the SAC for several years and continued to pay the monthly dues, he just could never get motivated to get back into shape and lose weight. Often he would think, “Just accept who you are – a fat guy, a jolly guy, play Santa at Christmas and just accept you are this way.” But as he kept seeing photos – from Hawaii, from Thanksgiving, from the office – not having that Santa beard, he didn’t like what he saw. Mark was now buying size 42 pants and the only shirts that looked good were the Tommy Bahama XXXL. He was over it. He asked the universe for courage and made a call to the SAC. Mark had known their Fitness Director, Jacob, through playing basketball – and told himself, “I’m simply going to ask for help. If I can’t do it alone, there must be someone at the athletic club that is willing to help me.”

Mark was finally ready to make a decision that would be an investment… financially yes, but more so physically, mentally and emotionally. Knowing it would be a tough journey on his own; and that he would need encouragement, guidance, a routine, and most of all someone to be accountable to, as well as some tough love, Jacob introduced Mark to personal fitness trainer Adriana Brown. It was a match made in… the gym. Adriana immediately understood Mark and was more than willing to help… yet she wanted to work with someone that was ready to make that commitment. The relationship started off with a no BS meeting between trainer and client, discussing the game plan, talking strategy, laying out guidelines, talking about expectations, and setting goals. The goal-setting session really helped Mark to understand what it would take to get to where he wanted to be, how to stay on track, and how to keep a positive healthy mind set.

At the end of November 2010 Mark tipped the scale at 301 pounds – the most he had ever weighed; gaining over 75 pounds in the past seven years. In a year’s time Mark has lost 35 pounds, dropped five pant sizes, wearing just XL shirts of all types and kinds, he is now playing competitive basketball in the Puget Sound Basketball League, gained a tremendous amount of muscle, and has conditioned himself to a place he had only dreamed of a year ago. Not to mention that Mark has also met some wonderful friends during this entire wellness process. Even his doctor was impressed with the changes Mark has made.

His yearly blood work improvements:

  • • Total lipids dropped from 190 to 177 (should be under 200)
  • • HDL (the good one) had gone from 40 to 42 (should be over 40)
  • • LDL (the bad one) had gone from 115 to 105 (should be less than 130)
  • • Triglycerides dropped from 269 to 151 (should be less than 150).

Measurement Changes:

  • Dropped ~3% Body Fat
  • Lost 35 lbs
  • Measurements
    • Arms went down 1 in
    • Chest went down almost 2 in
    • Waist went down 3 in
  • Went from 42 pants to 37 pants
  • Threw out the XXL shirts for XL shirts

Mark works out hard, he pushes himself, he learns new exercises, he faces challenges head on, and for 60 minutes of every workout he puts his best foot forward. Mark continues his regular workout schedule with Adriana to keep his weight loss progressing each month with this schedule:

  • Monday – Band Workout
  • Tuesday – Basketball
  • Wednesday – Men’s Circuit
  • Thursday – Boot Camp
  • Friday – Men’s Circuit

He has made exercising so much of a lifestyle now that on his most recent vacation to Hawaii he sought out and hired a trainer… of course they didn’t hold a candle to Adriana but it kept him working towards his goals.

The other piece of Mark’s weight loss puzzle was not just exercise… it was watching his diet and realizing it also plays a significant role in weight loss. Mark has committed to working harder on his diet in 2012, and has changed his thought process about food; being very aware of all foods he is eating now to just “stuffing his face” as he did in the past.

What has Mark learned most from this experience? “ANYTHING is possible – and if I can do it, ANYONE can. Thank you to Jacob and Adriana for all their help and support – and to all my new friends at the SAC who have been incredibly supportive and a lot of fun!”

To date Mark has dropped the weight, decreased his blood pressure medication, started playing competitive basketball again, has gained unfathomable amounts of lean muscle mass, and gone from a 42 pant size to at 37! He’s a true inspiration, he’s a fighter, and above all he’s a continual success. Way to go Mark, keep at it! If you or anyone else you know needs help with starting their weight loss adventure please take that first step and ask any fitness trainer on staff or contact the Seattle Athletic Club’s fitness director Jacob Galloway! When you are ready to make that lifestyle change we will be here to guide you.

Staying Motivated as Seasons Change

With the transition in seasons, some of us start to revert back to hibernation mode. We are no longer able to enjoy the sunny outside weather that motivates us to get out and move, zapping our energy and in some instances dragging us down with feelings of depression. With the winter months and holidays quickly approaching don’t get caught in the downward spiral of getting too comfortable, missing workouts, or sacrificing your nutrition “just because of the holidays”. As the days get shorter and weather starts to change, it’s a great time to set resolutions early to beat the cold weather blues and keep your motivation running. Don’t lose sight of your fitness goals; try these tips to help keep you motivated!

  1. Make an action plan. Set specific, manageable goals. While you should always keep your eye on your long-term goals, you have to break them down into bite-sized, short-term goals. Set goals by the week so that you don’t lose focus or become frustrated because things aren’t happening as quickly as you think they should. Always write your goals down and revisit them often.
  2. Use a support system. Discuss your goals with loved ones.
  3. Try something new. Try a different class instead of your usual. Maybe there’s an activity you’ve always wanted to try, like a triathlon, snow skiing or Tai Chi. Experimenting with different pieces of equipment such as BOSU balls, core boards, medicine balls, kettlebells, etc will keep things interesting!
  4. Use extrinsic motivation. When you reach those goals, reward yourself! Treat yourself to a massage or buy a new pair of shoes. You can even reward yourself on a daily basis by soaking in the hot tub at the gym or taking a long, hot shower after your workout.
  5. Find a workout buddy. You’ll be more inclined to show up if someone else is depending on you, plus you can pump each other up. Work out with a friend, co-worker, parent or spouse. You can also join a group class, sports league or team.
  6. Download new music! Make a new playlist with your favorite upbeat music!
  7. Visit the blog! Our blog is full of helpful tips to stay on track with your fitness program. Reading and staying updated with insightful and useful fitness information can help remind you of your goals.
  8. Make it a competition. Join the Lose It! Program and challenge your friends, family members or co-workers to a weight loss or fitness contest.
  9. Choose a workout you enjoy. Change your mindset and look at working out as a hobby rather than a chore.
  10. Let your emotions inspire you. Mad at your spouse? Maybe you just got a promotion at work and you can’t contain your excitement. Whether you’re sad, angry or jubilant, exercise is an excellent release for all those emotions and can improve your mood and mindset.
  11. Be a role model. By working hard and setting an example, you will not only motivate yourself to keep going but will also help motivate others around you.
  12. Chart your progress. Monitoring your daily, weekly and monthly progress will help you reach your short-term goals and set new ones along the way. Besides your physical appearance, keeping a written record is another visual reminder of your hard work and progress.
  13. Think about the Longer Term. Think about the warmer months to come: the bikinis, the pool parties, etc. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to not have to shed your winter weight to be in great shape for them? Focusing on the longer term, whether the summer season coming in the future or your overall long term health, is a great way to stay motivated to continue with your exercise program.
  14. Adjust with Daylight. As daylight changes, so may your attitude towards what is the best time of day to workout. You may find that your normal evening workout isn’t as easy to do as a morning time workout, or vice verse. It is best to find the time of day that is going to keep you motivated.
  15. Remember the end result – improving your health. Whether you are exercising to lose weight or to stay in shape, remember it will improve your overall health – physically, mentally and emotionally – and help you live a longer, more fulfilling life.

Everyone will have their own methods for what keeps them focused and determined to keep working towards their goals, so find something that works for you! Just because seasons change is no excuse to put your fitness on the back burner, utilizing these concepts will help you stay motivated to reach your goals in a productive and pleasurable manner. And, if you still find yourself lost and lacking motivation don’t hesitate to contact one of our fitness professionals to help ignite your fire within!