Tag: weight loss

Lose It! Weight Loss Challenge

Monday January 9th 
6:30 PM social
$50 Self-guided, $190 Semi-guided, $540 Evolve.
The New Year is just around the corner! Are you looking to create a new you? If you are looking to start your New Year with weight loss as your goal? Then come join fellow members at the Seattle Athletic Club in the 12 week weight loss competition.
Our kickoff social is Monday, January 9th at 6:30 pm. Come into the SAC conference room to meet the other participants, log your official first weigh-in, get assigned a trainer to assist you throughout the competition, and learn more about the next 12 weeks of your personal journey.With three possible levels of participation, this challenge is guaranteed to make you sweat whatever your fitness level may be. If you want to change your support level at any time, just let us know, as we can always bring as much support as you need!

Lose It! 2016 Recap

The Seattle Athletic Club just wrapped up another very successful 12 week weight loss competition for 2016. This year we had 17 participants looking to start healthy habits and begin their weight loss journey.  Of those that competed in the competition, 88% lost weight. Of those that lost weight, 60% lost over 5 lbs and the top finishers all lost over 25 lbs.

Speaking of top finishers, here is how the competition finished up:

  • 1st place: Mike, lost 15.66% of his body weight.
  • 2nd place: Jon Hocut, lost 15.30% of his body weight.
  • 3rd place: Pip McKay, lost 12.83% of his body weight.

We are proud of all the hard work and dedication from everyone that participated in our competition. Many of our participants had great things to say about their Lose It experience and how it helped them change their lives.

If you are looking to start a fitness program, please come see any of the fitness staff. Everyone at that Seattle Athletic Club is here to help and assist all members with any fitness endeavor. As you can see, you can be more successful using a structured program and network of people looking to help you out. So, when it comes to your next fitness adventure, talk to the professionals at the Seattle Athletic Club!

Dear Journal, I am Obsessed with My Fitness Pal

Dear Journal,my name is Adriana Brown and I am obsessed and in love.  My husband feels as though an intervention may be in order. I cannot stop using the fitness app, MyFitnessPal.  Thanks to fellow trainer Shay Massey, I am totally obsessed with this app and I constantly recommend it to clients, friends, family, acquaintances, and relative strangers. If you want to lose weight and feel like you still have a choice in what you consume (nothing is off limits) this is the absolute best way to do it. Here are a few things I totally love about this app:


1. It’s super easy to use.

2. You can tailor it 100% to your personal needs and goals

3. It’s cell phone friendly, computer friendly, and tablet friendly

4. If you are 100% honest with it you are 100% guaranteed to achieve your weight loss goals.

5. Nothing is off limits


Do these all sound too good to be true?  Well, it is and it isn’t. You still have to put in effort just like attaining any goal.

First off, you need a food scale. Most foods you input into the app are measured in grams or ounces. It’s imperative that you measure/weigh your food as that will give you the most exact count of your macro-nutrients (carbs, protein, fat).


Second, you need to do a little leg work You can do a general search (Pink Lady apple), or you can scan a barcode (mixed veggies), or you can import the URL for any recipe (who the heck knows the nutritional info for homemade chili?). Once it’s in your food database you can easily select it going forward, so there’s no second time searching for your favorite Lara Bar!

Third, going out to dinner is hard. If you can’t be exact, do a search of something close to what you are eating. I doubt MyFitnessPal has Etta’s clam chowder in it, but you could select “Whole Foods Clam Chowder” and then be annoying and ask your server how many ounces the clam chowder is.

Fourth, it’s best to do most of your food log the day before. If you know you are having two eggs and a banana for breakfast tomorrow, you should go ahead and plan out as far as you can for the next day. That makes the whole day of meal planning much easier and increases the likelihood that you will hit your target amount of macro-nutrients, which is the ultimate goal.

The fifth–and most important step if you really want to lose weight–LOG EVERYTHING to the best of your ability. If my kids don’t eat all their broccoli I will eat it and add in even just 1.2 ounces so that I’m being honest with myself and really achieving my counts for the day. The more exact you are with your logging, the quicker you will achieve your goals.


On the upside, if you want to eat a Snickers Bar tomorrow, you totally can.  It may mean that for the rest of the day you eat nothing but baked chicken and carrots to achieve your food goals, but the choice is yours to make. This is not a diet. This is a way for you to learn what kinds of foods give you what kinds of nutrition and how much of those foods you should be eating.  It’s not even about calorie counting; it’s much more about hitting the macro-nutrient count. It’s almost like a game trying to hit your numbers, changing food amounts, changing food, etc. I just love it and think it’s an amazing way to stay on track. Even if you only use it for a week or two in order to understand how much of your meals should be carbs/proteins/fats, it’s a great learning tool.


I highly recommend you give it a shot. Perhaps you’ll love it so much, I’ll see you at the next MyFitnessPal addiction group!


If you want more information about this or other ways to achieve your goals, please contact Adriana Brown at abrown@sacdt.com




Worksite Warrior Recap – May 2015

Worksite Warrior is a team weight loss competition at the Seattle Athletic Club where local corporate teams of 6+ participants band together for 30 days using a team personal fitness trainer, the group exercise classes and the whole facility to see which team can lose the largest percentage of weight.


This quarter we had two teams Big Fish Game and Open Market participate in our Worksite Warrior competition. We are proud to announce that Open Market (trained by Shay Massey) won the competition losing 2.97% of their total team weight. Even though Open Market won the competition each team had some great individual results which you will see below:


1st Place Team Open Market:

  • 3 teammates were male and 3 teammates were female
  • 66% of them lost over 4.5 lbs in the 4 weeks
  • Their team lost a total of 37.1 lbs in the 4 weeks
  • The largest percentage of body weight lose by a team member was 6.04%
  • The average lost per person was 6.2 lbs


2nd Place Team Big Fish Games:

  • 1 teammate was male and 4 teammates were female
  • 80% of them lost over 3 lbs in the 4 weeks
  • Their team lost a total of 19.6 lbs in the 4 weeks
  • The largest percentage of body weight lose by a team member was 4.3%
  • The average lost per person was 3.9 lbs


If you think your company would be interested in participating in next quarter’s Worksite Warrior competition please contact Fitness Director Jacob Galloway.

Struggling with New Year Resolutions to Eat Healthier? Read This.

Resolutions are often created around the premise that we’re going to add a new behavior. Certainly it’s good to focus on what we want to create (as opposed to that which we don’t want to). But, if you’re already struggling with your best dietary intentions this New Year and you’re thinking about beating yourself up, let’s encourage each other to reframe it. Let’s call it feedback, not failure. We know that our dietary choices are often a symptom of a deeper issue. With some curiosity that comes from a more mindful eating approach we may get some new momentum.

Let’s assume your NY resolution involved spending more time in the kitchen. Most realize that preparing more of our own food with less reliance on dine out and processed foods creates a bed rock of nutrition for our self and our family. But, creating new habits to meal plan, shop and cook takes mental space.

We only have so much mental space in a day. We need to get clear on what we’re spending these precious resources on. Michael Pollan in his new book “Cooked” reminds us that we’re spending on average about 27 minutes a day in the kitchen preparing food. Contrast that with how much time we spend on our smart phones or other media. Interestingly, he suggests the increase in watching cooking shows like those on The Food Network over the past decade is linked with our desire for a deeper connection to our own kitchen. It’s a bit of kitchen porn – satisfying our desire to be connected to cooking while we’re sitting in our living room distracting ourselves from how frazzled, unhappy or bored we are.

Having said all of this – I don’t know what the answer is for you – what are the unneeded distractions that are eating up the space in your life – the space needed to create a healthier habit. For me personally, I have decided I don’t need my smartphone pinging me every other minute about another email delivery. I’ve gone back to checking it on my laptop once or twice a day and have told my friends, family and colleagues to text me if an immediate response is required. I finally came to this decision when a recent phone crash occurred and as a result I immediately felt calmer and more focused. I then read an interesting article about a recent study – participants productivity was decreased by 20% simply from having their phone nearby – often pinging them with email. It didn’t matter if the participants checked their email or not – simply the mental space that it took to decide if they were going to check their phone or not decreased their productivity and concentration toward their task.

Again, you can only know what it is taking up the mental space you need to create lasting change. Keep in mind that you may not even be clear what the next steps are in building your healthier life until you remove some distractions. Think subtract before you add. Ask yourself what mental resources you can free up to create the space for change this New Year.

You’re welcome to email Kathryn at kreed@sacdt.com to comment on this blog or to meet to discuss/evaluate your goals toward healthier eating this New Year.

The truth about saturated fats

Have you ever avoided eating saturated fat, fearing it would hinder your weight loss goals and cause heart disease? If you said yes, or if had crossed your mind, you may want to see some newer data that shows this is not the case. Do not be afraid of fat. You should take pride in eating the fat off that juicy steak; below are a few reasons why to include saturated fat in your diet.

  1. Saturated fat does not cause heart disease:
    A meta-analysis was published in 2010 of 21 studies totaling 347,747 people. There was no association between saturated fats and increasing the risk of heart disease. (Patty W Siri-Tarino et. al 2010).
  2. Saturated fats can take the heat:
    Saturated fats do not oxidize as easily as unsaturated fats. When unsaturated fats are introduce to high heat and oxygen the fat becomes rancid and the oil is stripped of nearly all nutrients. Instead of using olive oil for eggs in the morning try using butter or coconut oil for a more satisfying and nutritious meal.
  3. Diets high in saturated fat are good for weight loss:
    Eating fat does not make you fat. Eating poorly makes you fat. A meta-analysis was carried out to study the effects of a low carbohydrate diet on weight loss and cardiovascular disease. Low carb diets, which are usually high in saturated fat, actually make you lose more weight than diets low in fat. LCD was shown to have favorable effects on body weight and major cardiovascular risk factors (F. L. Santos et. al 2012)

Bottom line… eat saturated fats, but in moderation as saturated fat is okay to eat and is necessary to have in our diets. You never want too much of anything. When I personally increased my saturated fat intake after I revamped my diet, I went from ~12.5% body fat to ~8.5% body fat. Not only do you have the data from the published articles to give you some guidance, but you also have my own experience and recommendation to add more saturated fats into your diet. Give it a try yourself and see how your body adapts to eating some bacon.

Analysis of Skinfolds

As fitness professionals, we are often approached with the question of what is the best, most efficient way of analyzing body fat. There are only a few methods that are applicable in a gym setting: circumference measurement, electrical impedance, and skinfold analysis. Both circumference and electrical impedance have a larger percentage of error, so the blog will compare the accuracies of the Durnin-Womersley four-site skinfold and the Jackson-Pollock seven-site skinfold. While other methods for skinfold measurement exist, these are the two most commonly used.

For our research, we will use six individuals of varying gender, body size, age, and shape to compare the different methods. According to our anthropometric findings, the variation between the four and seven-site, is greatest in females and the largest differential occurs with age. The four-site has a larger fluctuation with older females and this is supposed to account for lower body density resulting in more visceral fat accumulation. Fifty to Seventy five percent of fat is subcutaneous, thus the difference in estimate between methods can only be proportional to the remaining body weight.

According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, select skinfold equations can have a marked overestimation of body fatness. The Jackson-Pollock seven-site skinfold test is known to be more accurate because of the formulation, variation, and quantity of sites being used having a relatively low margin of error in comparison to hydrostatic weight of only 3.3% inaccuracy. A lot of individuals have differing shapes in the lower body region, and none are included in the Durnin-Womersley skinfold test, making it more reliant on estimation.

Regardless, periodic skinfold measurements will give a reflection of change despite the estimate of body fat percent. In other words, doing regular skinfold measurements will still show changes that are occurring.

If you would like to check body fat measurements or have further questions, please contact either Amber Gruger or Amber Walz.

Glycemic Index and Weight Loss

If you have ever seen a Nutrisystem commercial, you are missing out. In fact, check this one out before you go any further, it’s worth watching.

Did you catch the bit on the “proven science of the Glycemic Advantage?” I love that line. The good folks over at Nutrisystem have found a way to scientifically determine which carbs are good and which carbs are bad, and created a weight loss program around that premise. At first glance it may seem that the judgment on some carbs is too harsh. Maybe the “bad” carbs had a rough up-bringing and they never had an appropriate role model to teach them any other life-path.

Jokes aside, Nutrisystem , and may other diets are based on the notion of the glycemic index. Glycemic index (GI) is a way of ranking carbohydrates in terms of how quickly your body can break them down into usable sugar in the blood. Pure glucose, the most usable form of sugar, has a GI value of 100. Low GI foods have a value of around 0-30 and are found in foods like legumes, lentils and bitter fruits. Medium GI foods, like sweet fruits and whole grains have a value of around 30-60. Processed bread, food with added sugar and dried fruit are high GI foods with a value over 60.
Glycemic Index is important because the rate that carbohydrates are converted into glucose impacts your blood sugar levels. High GI foods increase blood sugar rapidly which triggers a large release of insulin. Insulin reduces the level of blood sugar by storing some of the sugar as fat. This roller-coaster effect on blood sugar is problematic for those with diabetes or pre-diabetes, but it is also bad news for people concerned with their weight.

Making some substitutions to replace high GI foods in your diet with low GI foods can help you lose weight. A 2009 review of randomized, controlled trials found a consistent effect of weight loss for those who followed diets rich in LGI foods. One study from the review showed equal weight loss for those engaged in an energy restricted, low fat diet that included high GI foods compared to an unrestricted low glycemic index diet. The people on the low GI diet were allowed to eat until they were full for the duration of the diet whereas the conventional dieters where compelled to monitor and restrict their food intake. And there was no difference in weight loss between the two groups! If you do not like the hassle of dieting but need to lose weight, consider incorporating more low GI foods into your diet. It is by no means a magical solution or an excuse to overindulge in fatty foods but it just may be a kick start your weight loss. Look at the GI table below for some examples of common foods and think of some meals and snacks where you can swap a high GI food for a low GI food. This is far from a complete description of how to use glycemic index to your advantage.

Please contact Personal Fitness Trainer Hunter Spencer with your questions.

8 tips to make cardio easier and more fun!

The holidays have come and gone and some of you might have put on extra weight that you want to lose. Or maybe your New Year’s resolution is to drop 10 pounds in the next three months. If this is you; I have some tips to making cardio more enjoyable and easier for you.

8 tips to make cardio easier and more fun:

  1. Start out slow
    When beginning cardio, most people seem to want to hop on the elliptical, put the resistance up, and go as hard and fast as possible to burn those calories. This is okay to do, but can quickly tire you out and make you not want to do cardio as often or at all. My advice is to hop on the elliptical, treadmill; etc.and put the resistance to a light to moderate setting and start slow. Once you get more comfortable with this resistance and speed, you can slowly progress both resistance and speed.
  2. Pick good music
    When you’re listening to music you enjoy, you will want to continue your cardio workout for a longer period of time. Pick music that is quicker paced and keeps you pumped up. Music plays as a distraction while exercising because you are not paying attention to the time as much when you’re enjoying a good song. This is definitely a great method to making cardio go by faster.
  3. Mix it up
    Most of us choose one machine that we like to do and stick to it; for example the elliptical. If you are getting bored of cardio because you are using the elliptical every other day for 30-60 minutes, then switch it up. Try the elliptical for 15 minutes and then the treadmill for 15 minutes. If this still isn’t enough, you can add in the stair stepper or the stair climber as a third machine of use.
  4. Add it into your strength training routine (Circuit Training)
    If you are lifting weights upstairs, take the time to add in a minute sprint on the elliptical or bike between each set of exercises. This will keep your heart rate up as well as blood flowing throughout your muscles. It is easy for individuals to totally forget about cardio, so to make it easier and shorter, just add it between different sets of what you do enjoy.
  5. Interval Training
    If you get bored of jogging on a treadmill at 5.4mph for 20 minutes, then switch up the speed and time frames. For example, walk for a minute at 4mph and then run for a minute at 6mph. Repeat this about five to ten times to keep that heart rate up. If you would like more of a challenge, then increase the speed after each set. For example, walk at 4mph for one minute, run at 6mph for one minute, walk at 4.2mph for one minute, run at 6.2mph for one minute; and so forth.
  6. Find a Buddy
    There are days when we just don’t have the motivation to come into the gym. Therefore, everyone should have that friend that will help motivate you or visa versa, to go to the gym or for a walk outside. When exercising with someone else, you can carry on a conversation and forget you are even working hard or sweating. If that friend is competitive, that is a great way to get incentive to beat each other’s time or distance or whatever the goal may be. This is also another way to make time go by a lot quicker during cardio exercise.
  7. Take a group exercise class
    If you don’t do well by yourself and on the same machine every week, try taking a group exercise class. There is an instructor in each class along with a group of members just like you to keep you motivated and on top of your game. The Seattle Athletic Club offers many different types of classes involving great cardiovascular workouts. Some of these classes are Power Cycle, Zumba, and Step Aerobics.
  8. Jump Rope!
    Most of you probably learned how to jump rope in elementary school at Recess. We think of it as something we did when we were kids for fun, but people forget that this can actually be a cardiovascular exercise. Try it for a minute and see how tiring it can actually be. Jump roping is a great way to keep your cardio workouts fun and effective.

Body fat measurment techniques

There are many techniques to measuring the amount of fat one has on their body; some shown to be very accurate and others not so much. Below are NINE different ways professionals have come up with thus far to measure the amount of body fat on oneself:

  1. Body Mass Index (BMI) – This is a calculation that simply uses the subject’s height and weight. These two numbers are put into a formula and calculated out to give you an estimated body fat percentage. This technique does not take muscle into affect, therefore if we have a male subject who is 5’6” and extremely muscular so he weighs 200lbs, the BMI calculation will say that he is in the obese category.
  2. Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) – This is a scale or handheld device that sends a harmless electrical current through your body to read your body fat. The strength and speed of the electrical signal is measured by this along with your age, gender, height and weight. These devices are very sensitive to hydration; therefore if you have consumed a large amount of water or even a bottle of water right before using the BIA, readings will be hindered.
  3. Skinfold Calipers – This is a pinching test measured at different locations on your body with a device called Calipers. This test depends on the skill level of the person giving the test and how well they know exactly where and how to pinch the skin. The skin fold calipers measure the amount of subcutaneous fat, which is the fat found beneath the outermost layer of skin. It does not take visceral fat into account, which is found between the organs in the peritoneal cavity.
  4. Dual Energy X-ray Absorpitometry (DEXA) – This is the same device specialist use to measure bone density to determine the risks of osteoporosis. This x-ray scanner can also measure your body fat mass as well as your muscle mass. Not only does it measure overall body fat, but it can pinpoint the fat deposits in specific areas of the body.
  5. Infrared Light Measuring – This is a probe that is placed on the body and sends an infrared light ray through the fat and muscle content. It also takes your age, gender, height, weight, frame size, and activity level into account. The probe then gives you an estimated percent of body fat.
  6. Hydro-densitometry (Under water weighing) – This is a tank device filled with water where the subject sits on a chair attached to a scale. They then blow out air and continue to blow out all their air while going under water. The person giving the test will read the scale once the subject has displaced as much air as possible. This number will be put into a calculation and give you a body fat percentage estimation.
  7. Bod Pod – This is a chamber that you sit in while being very still and controlling your breathing. It relies totally on your air displacement to determine your body fat. Your hydration level before the test is one thing that can affect the results, along with movement and breathing technique.
  8. Girth Measurements – This is done with a tape measure at different places on the body. The most common place and the one used for determining body fat is the waist. Waist circumference is taken at the belly button level. Men with a measurement higher than 40 inches and women with a measurement higher than 35 inches are considered obese.
  9. Height/Weight Charts – This is a table or chart comparing weight versus height. Your height is on one axis and weight on the other, then bringing the two to meet in the middle, it determines if you are “underweight,” “average,” “overweight,” or “obese.” This takes gender into consideration, and does not put age or muscle versus fat into play.

I’m sure everyone is wondering which of these 9 techniques is considered the BEST and the WORST. More insight to this will be coming in a follow up to this post in the near future. If you have questions about your body fat measurements, please feel free to contact Personal Trainer Amber Gruger.