Tag: outdoor

Your guide to adventure in the Pacific Northwest!

Do you have friends or relatives coming to stay with you during this amazing Seattle summer? We all love having company and having the chance to show them a little piece of your city. But what do you do after you take them to Pike’s Place Market and to the Fremont troll? Let the Seattle Athletic Club’s Outdoor Recreation Department take some of the pressure off your shoulders! Maybe you are looking for a short, quick hike that won’t kill your company from Florida who are use to walking on the beach, not mountains. Don’t do another bad hike!! We will give you a wide array of suggested hikes, based on your needs and fitness levels.

The Outdoor Rec Department has TONS of resources to help you plan the best adventure for you and the people with you! We can also recommend the best places to go to buy or rent the gear needed for your outing. Maybe you don’t have people visiting you but you are new to the area and want to go for a long bike ride: Outdoor Rec can provide you with some options as far as trails to take, mileage, and things to see along the way.

The Pacific Northwest has something for everyone! No more sitting around staring at each other while you wait for an idea to magically appear. Simply contact the Outdoor Recreation Coordinator Thomas Eagen through e-mail (teagen@sacdt.com) or on the Seattle Athletic Club Downtown Facebook page to start the planning process!! Get your loved ones off the couch and show them why we moved here in the first place!

Outdoor Adventure Possibilities:

  • Day hikes (examples: lakes, waterfalls, summits, mountain views, seclusion, wildflowers, etc.)
  • Backpacking trips (overnight camping or multi-day trips)
  • Mountain biking
  • Leisure bike rides
  • Endurance bike rides
  • Rock climbing
  • Walking tours
  • Kayaking
  • Open water swimming
  • Geocaching

Skip the Ride the Ducks tour and the 1st established Starbucks and see Seattle a completely different way!

Low Down on Running & Hiking Shoes

With all the great weather on the way I’m sure you are looking to the outdoors to start some adventures; perhaps even looking at getting some new shoes. Then you go to the store and see the huge athletic shoe selection and go, “now what?” Well here are some helpful tips on what makes shoes different.

In general:

  • The running surface you are going to use will determine the kind of shoe you need…if it’s a hard/irregular surface you usually need more support and energy absorption.
  • Look to get the shoe comfortably snug with little to no heal slip.
  • The space between your longest toe and the tip of your shoe should be about a finger width…this is because when you put your body weight into one foot (like when you walk or run) your foot lengthens and need room in the shoe.
  • Most running shoes come with “stock” insoles. If your feet need babying, get a different insole and it may make your outdoor adventures more comfortable.

Trail-Running Shoes:
These are the beefed up heavy looking running shoes; they have aggressive outsoles for traction and fortification usually offering higher ankle support, offering support and sole protection from trail obstacles. Use these shoes if you think you will encounter roots, rocks, mud and animal holes during a run or walk.

Road-Running Shoes:
These shoes are the simplified version of the trail-runner. They are designed for pavement or the occasional trip to a wood chipped running track or groomed nature trail. They are usually light and flexible, made to cushion and stabilize your feet during your stride on hard, even surfaces.

Common Running Mishaps:
Pronation involves the natural inward rolling of the foot following the heel strike. The basic pronation will help to absorb impact, relieving pressure on the knees and joints. It is a normal trait of neutral, biomechanically efficient runners.

Overpronation involves an exaggerated inward rolling of the foot. This common trait can leave runners with knee pains and sometimes injury.

Supination involves the outward rolling of the foot, resulting in insufficient impact reduction at landing. This is not a common running trait.

Shoe Types:
Cushioning in shoes provide an elevated shock absorption with minimal arch support; and are great for runners with light pronation or supination. Cushioning can also be used for those neutral runners who go off-pavement more often (it give runners more variety, keeping them from getting repetitive motion injuries).

Stability in shoes helps decelerate basic pronation. These shoes are great for neutral runners or ones who have mild to moderate overpronation, and often utilize a “post” in the midsole.

Motion Control in shoes offers stiffer heels and a straighter design to counter overpronation. These are great for runners who exhibit moderate to severe overpronation.

Shoe Uppers:
Synthetic Leather is a supple, durable, abrasion-resistant material made from nylon and polyester. It is lighter, quick to dry and breathable, requiring no “break-in” time.

Nylon and Nylon Mesh are durable synthetic materials used to reduce weight and increase breathability.

TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) overlays are small, abrasion-resisting additions used to enhance stability and durability.

Midsole Technology:
(This is the cushioning and stability layer between the upper and outsole)
EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) is foam found in running shoes. Cushioning shoes often use just one layer of EVA, or multiple layers if trying to force a flex pattern.

Posts are areas of firmer EVA needed to create sections of the midsole that are harder to compress. Often seen in stability shoes, they are used to decelerate pronation or boost durability. Medial posts reinforce the arch side of the midsole for those runners with overpronation.

Plates are thin, flexible material (nylon or TPU) that stiffens the forefoot of the shoe; and are often used in trail-runners to protect the bottom of the foot from impact with trail obstacles.
Shanks stiffen the midsole and protect the heel and arch. They boost the shoe’s firmness needed in rocky terrain.

TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) is a flexible plastic used in some midsoles for added stability.

Now that you know about shoes and how they can be used for your body and exercise adventures, go get a pair and enjoy everything that Seattle has to offer. Look to utilize them with upcoming SAC hikes, mountain expeditions, trail running as well as the Run club every week. For more information on shoes and any outdoor adventure going on please feel free to contact Fitness Director Jacob Galloway or Outdoor Adventure Coach Brandyn Roark and Thomas Eagen.

2013 is a great year to take it to the mountains!

Get ready! Seattle Athletic Club Downtown is bringing more Outdoor Recreational opportunities to its members.

Recently I wanted to check out Mt. Baker to get an idea of the opportunities it offers our members to climb, ski and adventure. I’m pleased to share that this summer, the Club will be launching a mountaineering aspect to our Outdoor Recreation program! Starting with an Intro to Mountaineering course; followed by a Level 1 climb on Mt. Baker. Our goal will be to have a blast and learn a ton!

In addition to the prep courses, this summer we will have opportunities available to climb some of the beautiful peaks that surround us. We’ll be focusing on teaching/offering hands-on knowledge about mountaineering, safety, and the beauty of our wilderness in the Pacific Northwest.

We’ll be announcing more details about SAC Mountaineering classes and climbs this spring/summer. Please contact Brandyn if you want to get on the early registration list for our climbs or to learn more about the programs we are planning.

Winter wondering – preparing for outdoor activities

As we head into the fall and winter seasons, outdoor workouts necessitate preparation. With proper attire, understanding of the elements and skincare, a magical world of white awaits!

Some common recreational sports during colder seasons include: trail running, hiking, snowshoeing, downhill skiing, cross-country, snowboarding, and ice skating. Most of these require a lot of balance and elements of power related to speed, agility, and quickness. Exercises that recruit hip stabilizers will translate to easier movement in the new terrain. Here are some simple examples:

  • Single leg stand- This is a great way to prepare the body for snow. Try to keep the ribs pulled in and the hips even as you lift one leg. Once you can stand on one leg for a minute, try closing your eyes.
  • Band side steps- Using one of the bands that are connected in a circle, train your gluteus muscles as well as inner thighs. You can place the band around the ankles or through the arch of the foot (more comfortable if you have hairy legs). Keeping the toes pointed forward, stabilize the core, and take 20 steps to one side then 20 to the other. You will definitely feel the burn!
  • Lateral Bounds or Side to Side Jumps- Now that you can comfortably stand on one leg, maybe even with your eyes closed, it is time to kick it up a notch and start working on some power. Again, keeping the toes forward, launch off of one leg to the side, landing on the opposite leg. Absorb the jump by bending at the hip and knee, keeping the chest up, and launch to the other side. Start easy with small jumps side to side, steadily increasing speed and distance. You should always been in control of the movement and should be able to stop on either side with ease.

There is a lot that can be done in preparation indoors, but then how do we approach the change in elements?

Attire-
It’s important to find the right boots with a medium to high height, making sure they are waterproof. Also essential is a snow jacket and pants with elastic or Velcro at the ankles and wrists to prevent snow from getting in. The right jacket should be multilayered with a shell underneath and hood with a wind guard face protector. More necessities include: long Johns or a base-layer shirt and pants, goggles or sunglasses with anti-glare, a beanie or ear muffs, two pairs of wool socks, and snow gloves (sometimes double layer) for the best protection from the elements.

Skincare-
There are a few things to keep in mind for skincare. Make sure your toe nails are cut far back. Too often pedicure specialists see bruised toenails because of the nails hitting the front of the shoe. Some extras to have on hand are: chapstick to protect against the wind and sun, sunblock for the nose, cheeks and forehead, heat packets for gloves and boots, hand lotion/ face lotion in travel size that can be applied when exposed to the elements for a long time, and Kleenex.

Nutrition-
Another important thing to remember is to eat warm, calorie-dense foods. The recommendation for pre and post-workout, cardio-intensive meals is a 4 to 1 ratio of carbohydrate to protein. Oatmeal with almonds and honey is a great pre-workout. If you choose a more protein-dense pre meal such as eggs, make sure to allow a couple hours at minimum for digestion (not just to become usable as energy, but so that you don’t get nauseated). Snacks are good as dried fruit and nuts, sandwiches, string cheese, and if there is access to a warm tea, or coffee, that would help with thermo regulation. A post-workout meal recommendation is calorie-dense, warm foods with high-glycemic carbohydrates like potatoes to help regulate blood sugar levels. Most importantly, remember to drink plenty of water. The cold can be deceiving in relation to sweat-rate, so stay hydrated!

If you have any additional questions, feel free to contact Personal Fitness Trainer Amber Walz or Outdoor Recreation Coordinator Thomas Eagan for more details.

Get outside to burn some calories

Running on sand
Take your fitness to new levels by changing the work out from the ground up. Instead running on a hard surface, think of instability and softer running surface to ramp up your metabolism. We have great places to do this in Seattle like myrtle Edwards Park, Seattle Sculpture Park, Golden Gardens, Bastyr University to accommodate this type of work out. As soon as you run on a surface that is uneven like grass, sand, that sunken feeling makes you burn 1.6 times more calories! You have to work every muscle to land, and pull out of the soft surface, and not as much hard impact on the joints. If you are running in sand as an example you are burning 300-500 calories per 30 minutes if you weigh 125lbs. You are heavier you are already burning more roughly 500-700 per 30 minutes of exercise in sand. The instability of the surface and constantly having to adjust does wonders to all the little muscles (stabilizers) in the legs, core, back muscles, and keeps the work out fresh.

Try Paddle boarding
The great thing about living in the North West is we are surrounded by water and we can do so many recreational workouts anytime. Take advantage of the instability and coordination needed to workout using water and go paddle boarding. The hardest part of paddle boarding is getting up, requiring you to know how to stabilize your body. The rest is all stance, core, and pulling across the water. Eventually your body will adjust to this ever changing water environment, and then all you have to do is keep in motion; all while burning is 500 to 700 per hour. So what are you waiting for get out there and get moving. You will feel refreshed, centered and not realize you are exercising from just the view alone. Make sure to always wear your life jacket, safely first, and always hydrate.

Wear Your Sunscreen!

Okay, we live in the Puget Sound and we never have sun here, ever! (Well, maybe once in a while.) Meteorologist Chris Burke defined the seasons here like this: August and September is summer, October and November is fall, December through February is winter and March through June is Disappointment. (Notice he didn’t even try with July.) But we Seattleite’s are an active lot: we run and swim and ride and climb and row and ski and on and on. That all means we are exposed to the sun even when it’s not sunny. According to Kendra Bergstrum, MD, FAAD at Pacific Medical Center, the rates of skin cancer has risen in the US 5-8% annually since the 1960’s (even in Seattle!). That’s bad. So it’s good to wear your sunscreen in regular and generous amounts. “But” you may be arguing “It’s Seattle; if it’s not raining now it’s gonna rain soon.” Well guess what: according to Angie Unchie Song, MD at Swedish Medical Center, 80% of the sun’s ultra violet rays penetrate through the clouds so we are still vulnerable to risks of over exposure.

There are two types of ultra violet rays that we need to protect against. The first are UVA rays. They can penetrate through window glass, cause premature aging, and compromise your immune system’s ability to detect the appearance and progression of skin cancer. UVB rays are the ones that cause sun burns and there is a direct link between sun burns and skin cancers. So it is important that you use a broad spectrum water proof (or at least water resistant) sun screen.

It can be confusing to decide what SPF to use, so here are some guidelines from the Skin Cancer Foundation (No sunscreen, regardless of strength, should be expected to last more than two hours):

  • SPF 15 gives you 93% protection
  • SPF 30 gives you 97% protection
  • SPF 50 gives you 99% protection

The American Academy of Dermatology ads these guidelines:

  • Use enough sunscreen to generously coat all skin that will be not be covered by clothing. Ask yourself, “Will my face, ears, arms, or hands be covered by clothing?” If not, apply sunscreen.
  • To be sure you use enough, follow this guideline:
    • One ounce, enough to fill a shot glass, is considered the amount needed to cover the exposed areas of the body. Adjust the amount of sunscreen applied depending on your body size.
    • Most people only apply 25-50 percent of the recommended amount of sunscreen.3
  • Apply the sunscreen to dry skin 15 minutes BEFORE going outdoors.
  • Skin cancer also can form on the lips. To protect your lips, apply a lip balm or lipstick that contains sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
  • Re-apply sunscreen approximately every two hours or after swimming or sweating heavily according to the directions on the bottle.

We all know that when those occasional heat waves hit our beautiful region we should put on the sunscreen. But we also need to put it on regularly any where our skin is exposed to the sun even when the sun is blocked by clouds. And we need to keep re-applying it every two hours or after working up a good sweat. So do your momma proud and take care of your skin.

Try 2 Wheels Instead of 4!

Living in Seattle has some pretty great perks: coffee, business, and a few months of sun. The city is also a great place for outdoor enthusiasts looking for the next big adventure. Even if you are not the “extreme sport” type, Seattle will definitely have something right up your alley to get you outside and moving!

Did you know Seattle has an amazing network on biking trails that connect north, south, east and west? You can ride, relatively car-free (excluding certain stretches were you ride in a bike lane), from downtown all the way past Shoreline, around to West Seattle, out to North Bend, and down to Orting or even Tacoma. Several years ago the city of Seattle took on a project to convert many of the unused railroad tracks to biking paths. Some of the trails follow the trail road the whole way while some are actually paved directly over the previous grade. They provide a brand new experience of the city that would otherwise go unnoticed. Next time you are looking for something to do on the weekend, get out and enjoy one of these trails!

Burke Gilman – This is one of the most popular trails in Seattle. On any given sunny weekend you will see cyclist, runners, people on roller blades, walkers, dogs and kids! The trail starts at Golden Gardens and stretches all the way to Bothell (roughly 20 miles). This trail is heavily used as a commuter trail during the week since it connects Ballard, Fremont, Wallingford, and the U district.

Interurban North – If you are looking for some hill climbs, this is the trail for you! Starting north of Ballard at 110th, the trail connects north Seattle with Shoreline and eventually the city of Edmonds. Most of this trail runs through neighborhood streets as it meanders up and over the hills of the city.

Interurban South – Further south of the city, you can take the Interurban to connect with Tukwila, Kent, Auburn, and Pacific. This trail starts at Fort Dent Way in Tukwila and crosses over the Green River. It follows along the Puget Sound Energy power line corridor and is used both for commuting and general recreation. The path ends at 3rd Avenue SW in Pacific.

I-90/Mountain to Sound – This is one of my favorite trails in the city! It gives you several different options if you wish to extend your ride and see some different places. Starting just south of Seattle by Sturgus Park, the trail follows along Lake Washington until it connects with I-90. Take the bridge over (looking at everyone sitting in the traffic!) to connect to Mercer Island. You can get off the trail here and ride a nice loop around Mercer (I recommend riding counterclockwise so you are on the outside). This is roughly 13 miles around the island. You can also keep going and connect out to Bellevue, Issaquah, or even North Bend if your legs can handle it!!

So next time you think about getting in the car, think twice and jump on your bike! Be sure you are prepared. Always bring: a first aid kit, flat tire repair kit, a cell phone, water, extra food, extra water, a change of clothes/warm clothes, some cash (in case you need to bus back!)

For more information on outdoor activities, or training for your outdoor adventures, please contact Personal Fitness Trainer Thomas Eagen.

Spring Training Outside on Pier 66

With more daylight extending in to the evenings, why not use this opportunity to change your fitness routine?

Training outdoors can awaken your urban fitness child and enhance your workout experiences. All you need is a good pair of athletic shoes, a resistance band and a jump rope. The challenge of having to do something outside of your comfort zone, along with the fresh air and great weather, is what outdoor workouts are all about. Just outside the Seattle Athletic Club Downtown doors, you can find easy access to the waterfront by heading down the overpass and stairs at the base of Lenora Avenue. There are running trails along the waterfront, as well as the pier 66 stairs and Sculpture Park grounds that provide a lot of options to plan a rewarding routine around.

Here are some exercise examples and calories expenditures pertaining to the movement to get you started:

  • Running stairs for a hour = 612 calories
  • Doing a circuit of upper and lower body = 544 calories
  • Running a 12min mile = 544 calories a hour
  • Jump rope 3 minutes = 100 calories

By using some simple activities, mixed with some base exercises, you can easily build a 750 calorie burning workout together. An example might include: a small run in, do a flight of stairs, stop do some upper body & lower body resistance band sequences, add a minute of jump rope, repeat a 2nd set and run back to club to finish with some core work and stretching.

If you need help with putting this routine together contact any member of our fitness team.

If these benefits seem like something that interest you and you would like to be our group workouts please contact Martial Arts Trainer Jody Garcia.