Tag: motivation

Inspirational Member of the Month: Ethan Kelly

Those of you who have spent any amount of time here in the early morning know Ethan Kelly.

He has been a dedicated member at the club, pretty much since it’s inception. He’s the guy who always has a smile on at 5 am and is front and center at 6:30- yoga, that is after he’s run a bazillion miles or taken a spin class!

Ethan has a special kind of cool, it’s that gentle, easy-going cool that rubs off on everyone in close proximity. He is super warm, super nice and super strong. He’s the kind of guy you want in your corner routing for you, which is why he has so many fans here at the club. His biggest fan is  his amazing wife, Connie Kelly. One of the many things I admire about Ethan is how loving and dedicated he is to Connie, a true gentleman.

The reason we nominated him this month is to highlight how inspiring he truly is. Ethan had a bout of really serious appendicitis a couple months ago. So serious in fact, that his dedication and athleticism was put to the test and it paid off in full. He spent a lengthy stay at the hospital and came out swing’n! After loosing a good deal of weight, Ethan got right back on that horse and started riding! By the time you are reading this, I’m sure he will be back at his normal healthy weight and training for some sort of marathon! That kind of ability, the ability to move ahead and embrace the present is rare and Ethan has it. I want to thank him for being part of my life and my community here at the Seattle Athletic Club. I know I speak for many of us when I say “We Love You, Ethan!”

November's Inspirational Member of the Month, Ethan Kelly
November’s Inspirational Member of the Month, Ethan Kelly


Inspirational Member of the Month: Hazel Singer

Hazel photo



Hazel is such an inspirational person, throughout our time together she has motivated me in ways that she most likely doesn’t know. When I first met with Hazel I was taken aback. She came to me with an array of physical hurdles that most people would have used as an excuse to stay at home and as far from the gym as possible. Yet there she was! Not only was she ready to train, she was well informed and eager to find ways to stay active despite her surgeries and other physical ailments.

When I think of Hazel I don’t think about the fact that she has had a hip replacement, a knee replacement, bilateral retracted rotator cuffs, collapsed bones in one foot as well as scoliosis. No, I think about a woman who goes to the gym 5 days a week without fail, who follows her workout regimen religiously and always has a smile on her face about it. Working with her has taught me to not only question the limitations that I have put on myself but also to question the limitations I put on others.

When I asked Hazel what motivates her and she said she loves the gym culture, the people she sees every morning and knowing that she has control of that aspect of her life. I can honestly say that I didn’t expect Hazel to have progressed as quickly as she did, but her confidence and persistence encouraged me to push her harder. Hazel went from using a cane and the hand rail when going up and down the stairs when we first met to walking confidently without any assistance and this is due to her own will to overcome any hurdle thrown her way.

Hazel is always challenging herself in ways most won’t even dream of. Whether it is her pushing the prowler, doing rope throws or killing the high intensity interval circuits on the elliptical, Hazel is sure to be giving 110%. On days when I want to give myself an excuse to slack I think if Hazel and am reminded that I can make the most out of where I am and that I am the only person in my way.


The other day, I invited several friends to go for a run outside. The response I received was “Are you crazy? It’s COLD outside!” I guess that was a no. In fact, during the winter months, that is a typical response. My reply is always the same, “why would the cold weather stop one from continuing to run outside (certain medical issues excluded of course)?” If more people knew the tips and tricks of how to run in cold weather, they too would find that it’s an enjoyable experience to continue to do what you love! Here are a few things to consider for having a great cold weather run:

1. Motivation – Yes, motivation ceases in less than desirable weather. To keep your motivation strong, it’s always a good idea to make yourself accountable. Making plans to run with a friend or a running group will be your saving grace. When someone else is expecting you, it’s less likely you will bail on your run!
2. Winter Apparel – I say this all the time, IT’S ALL ABOUT THE GEAR! Having key pieces of clothing to cover the body, is imperative to staying comfortable and warm during a cold day’s run. Fabric that is moisture wicking, wind or waterproof, have thermal lining or breath thermo technology is an advantage. Apparel has made major advancements over the last decade and it’s more than worth the money! Look for items made specifically for running, you want those specific features in the garment that assist run motion and enhance your cold weather run experience.
3. Layering – Keeping most of the exposed areas of the body covered is just as important as having the right gear. The less body surface area exposed, the more heat we preserve. Headwear that covers the head and ears is important because the head is 5 times more sensitive to changes in temperature. In extreme cold temperatures, consider a neck warmer or neck muff. Dress in layers, you can peel off a layer if you overheat. It’s typical to wear a base layer, insulating layer and outer layer during a cold weather run, however it really does depend on what is comfortable for the individual. Consider thermal running pants or tights; no need for bulky long johns.
Remember, you do need to move! Lastly, wear thicker run socks. They are likely to be moisture wicking and warmer. Remember, running shoes are made to release heat generated from the feet. You want your feet to stay warm as possible. If it’s particularly a snowy or rainy day; consider wearing a Gore-Tex upper running shoe. They not only warmer but waterproof. (Yes, people…they do exist!) Running gloves will be your best friend. Fingers and toes are the first to frostbite, so it’s essential that we make them as warm as possible. Gloves that have enough warmth, moisture wicking with texting fingers is important (that way you never need to remove them just before or after a run). You may want to layer your gloves with a liner inside a pair of thermal run gloves in extreme temperatures.
4. Do your Warm-up Exercises Inside – It’s best to do your warm-up indoor, enough to get the blood moving without a heavy sweat. That way, transitioning outside doesn’t feel so cool and you avoid injuries.
5. Think Maintenance Not Speed – winter or cold weather running is not about speed. Colder temperatures impact your pace per mile in several ways; the nervous system naturally reduces muscle contractions, therefore slowing pace. The body becomes less efficient in both fuel source and oxygen production, depleting your reserves quicker. It is also true, that more energy is required to maintain your core body temperature resulting is less energy available for performance. Don’t expect to be fast, the point is to maintain your conditioning.
6. Hydration – During the winter months, dehydration becomes a more serious risk. An increase of fluid loss occurs due to heating incoming respiration, an increase in urine production due to cold stress and sweating. It is more important to hydrate before, during and after a cold run.
7. Safety First – Most cold weather days are grey and cloudy. Be sure you are highly visible in reflective gear or bright colors. Run surfaces can become icy, slippery or snowy, therefore take precautions to slow down and sharpen your focus with each step to avoid falling. Know the signs of frostbite and hypothermia, just in case.
8. Check the Temperature – Let’s face it, if it’s greater than -10 degrees F, you don’t have to be a hero. Seek an alternative exercise such as indoor cross-training or treadmill/indoor track running.
For further information on the SAC Run Club or run coaching sessions, please contact Kendra Kainz, NSCA-CPT, RRCA Run Coach Certified, at .

Thank you for being a friend!

We are friends. We’ve been together for almost 10 years or maybe just a month. I know your wife/husband’s name, I know your pet’s names, I know where your grandchildren live, I’ve been to holiday parties at your house, we get coffee together, we talk about your annoying co-worker, we talk about your horrible mother-in-law, we talk about your basketball tournament last weekend. We laugh, we complain, we work hard, we joke, but above all, I teach and you learn.

You are my friend but I am also your coach and your teacher. My job in our relationship is to teach you skills that make you a more fit person. I teach you things from the most basic (proper air squats, proper push-ups, etc) to the more advanced (proper kettlebell snatches, sandbag cleans, etc). When you walk away from an hour with me you better have learned a new skill or learned how to better an old one, if you haven’t learned one of those two things I’ve failed in this relationship. If you walk away from an hour with me and you are thinking about all the things you still need/want to work on, you feel like you need to spend another hour in the gym because you didn’t get the workout you felt you needed, you feel like you didn’t workout hard enough/were not challenged enough and thus need to do more on your own, I’ve failed.

It’s not about the crazy equipment, it’s not about learning the newest fad, it’s not about laying in a pool of your own sweat trying not to vomit, its not about using chalk and grunting, it’s not about keeping up with your brother-in-law that lives in California. It’s about you being a better, healthier, happier, more fit you. To do that you need to be great at the basics, you need to understand how to move your body properly, you need to understand what it is you are doing and WHY YOU ARE DOING IT. It’s about knowing where you are now and where you want to be. It’s about pushing yourself within your limits and understanding that it takes hard work, effort, and patience to improve. It’s about learning!

I’m here as a friend, a coach, a teacher to motivate you. I’ll yell, I’ll tell you what great effort you are putting in, I’ll let you know when I think you could be working harder and when I think you should be resting more. I’ll keep you accountable, I’ll keep you on schedule, and I will keep you from harming yourself! We’re friends so I’ll do those things for you.

While we laugh, we sweat, we yell, we have angry face (push-ups are going to happen, sorry), we encourage one another, we will be making you a better more knowledgeable you. I will in return, enjoy all the accomplishments big and small like they are my own, because you are my friend and I am proud of you. If you are my friend and you know me… “I’ll take whatever you have left” and I’ll like it.

Mediocrity vs. Greatness

What is mediocrity? The state of being mediocre.

What is mediocre? “of only ordinary or moderate quality, neither good nor bad, barely adequate”

Well, I don’t know how that sounds to you, but who wants to be mediocre? Sounds like a boring existence.

How about greatness? Having greatness in your life does not mean you have to graduate magna cum laude, it does not mean you have to be a professional athlete or win the Tour, it does not mean you have to land on the moon or lead the human genome project…it means that you set yourself apart from the mundane of the day EVERY day and you do something above the best of your ability.

Bring greatness into your life by smiling at everyone you see on the street one day…imagine what others will feel as well. Bring greatness into your life by doing 8 reps in your workout with PERFECTION instead of just trying to hammer through 12 them. Bring greatness into your life by not giving your best… give more…go above…go beyond. You can, we are capable of much more than we believe and the human brain has more capacity than you can imagine.

So, set out today and do it right. Mediocrity MIGHT get it done…GREATNESS gets it done with purpose, pride and perfection!

I Want to Lose Weight But Hate Doing Cardio!

How many people think that the only way to lose weight is by doing cardio? I know that I hear that statement all the time. Well I’m here to tell you that there are plenty of other ways to lose fat and burn calories; one of the easiest ways is to start a weight lifting program.

Weight lifting is a great way to increase your lean muscle mass, gain strength, gain flexibility, get coordinated and jump start your metabolism for a week at a time in one workout. Doing cardio is a great way to burn a lot of calories all at one. The average person (150 lbs) using an elliptical will burn about 450 kcal per hour; but their calorie burning would soon subside within about 60 min of finishing the exercise. That same person would only burn 300 kcal in a moderate weight lifting workout for that same time frame. The difference is that the weight lifting workout will increase that person’s metabolism for about a week, and they end up burning more calories total from that one hour workout through the week than by doing that one hour on the elliptical.

Weight lifting using large muscle groups (legs, chest, and shoulders) also releases large amounts testosterone and growth hormone into your blood stream. These hormones start circulating through our body, causing all the muscles to burn fat and build muscle. These and more beneficial hormones are usually only released in these are quantities during weight lifting exercise. Along with a release in hormones, weight lifting also will increase the amount of neurons attached to a muscle fiber, giving you more coordination and balance. You can go from 10 neurons on one muscle to over 1000, imagine how much stronger and graceful that muscle would be if it had that many neurons helping coordinate it. This adaptation is helpful if you are a 15 year old soccer player or a 60 year old still taking the stairs and not wanting to catch a foot on that last step.

One can increase their endurance and flexibility through weight lifting too. When comparing two groups of subjects; one who just cycled and one that just performed vigorous weight lifters over a three month period. The weight lifters had almost the same VO2max as the cyclists. How can one get a cardiovascular workout through weight lifting? Try making a mini circuit with three exercises; two of the exercises can be opposing muscle groups like bench press and rows, while the third one can be a core exercise like a V-situp. Perform each exercise back to back and only rest after you have completed all three. By doing a mini circuit with opposing muscle groups you never overwork a muscle group and don’t have to take a rest between exercises, keeping the heart rate elevated and making it a more efficient, higher calorie burning workout. Flexibility can also be increased if you do a weight workout as long as you perform the full range of motion. In a study done of all the Olympic athletes, the second most flexible athlete, next to gymnasts, was the Olympic lifters! Full range of motion lifting creates long powerful muscles; when someone performs partial range of motion lifting they start to make their muscles adhere to its self and flexibility decreases. The strongest muscle is a fully hydrated muscle and fully elongated muscle!

When it comes to burning calories, just do something…15 min is better than nothing! When it comes to an actual workout program, if you want to burn a lot of calories in one workout, cardio can be the right answer; but if you get bored quickly with the cardio then try hitting the weight room. When it comes to a “weight” lifting workout it doesn’t just mean dumbbells and barbells; it also means machines, cables, group exercise, Pilates, yoga, pool workouts, anything that is weight bearing works (dumbbells and barbells just add to the workout’s fun factor). If you don’t know where to start you can always ask our fitness director Jacob Galloway to set you up with the Seattle Athletic Club’s complementary ActivTrax workout program or get you in contact with one of their highly qualified personal trainers to guide you to a new body.