Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Great Health and Fitness Information by Seattle Health and Fitness Professionals

If you haven't jumped over to our new blogs, we've posted a lot of great material. Use the links below to stay connected with our professionals.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

New Blog for Seattle Health and Fitness Professionals

Over the summer we have been working on creating a better blog experience to share with our readers. The new blog runs on a WordPress foundation to allow many new enhancements that should make searching, indexing and finding specific information much easier. Whatever your interest, whatever your goals, we are sure you will find a wealth of information surrounding numerous health and fitness topics on our new blog.

We invite you to visit, share and connect to the new blogs at:
We hope you enjoy all of the great new features and we look forward to hearing your comments and answering your questions.

Be sure to visit our Twitter (SACDT) (SACNG), Facebook pages (Downtown - Northgate) and YouTube Channel too.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tips to Become a Successful Multisport Athlete: #3 Comparisons

It's all about competition right? So many athletes think that one “less than perfect” practice means they are not progressing. Once again comparing yourself to others on the track, at a bike ride, etc. really should not mean anything to you, or your coach. If you are following your game plan then you should reach your "A" race prepared and ready. If you are chasing down someone in training to get the “win “ for the day, then you are venturing from your plan and possibly causing interruption to the weeks workouts ahead. Compare yourself to YOU, by following your training journal and listening to your coach.

If you are interested in beginning training, or you are ready to take your training to the next level, contact Teresa Nelson to begin.

Written by Teresa Nelson
USAT Level II Triathlon Coach, Seattle Athletic Club Downtown
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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Tips to Become a Successful Multisport Athlete: #2 Following Their Plan

Following their plan
Coaching a team is fun, but an athlete comparing themselves on a daily basis to their team mates is super detrimental, more mentally than anything. A coach prescribes a program for YOU as the athlete, if another athlete is doing more volume in their training, then that is what their coach feels they need. Don't measure your training program against another athlete's without fully understanding the coaches goals for them. More is not always better and the coach is considering several other factors when designing each athlete’s schedule. So it is best to follow your plan, your heart rate and your workout goals. Stay focused and don't be concerned about what others are doing.

If you are interested in beginning training, or you are ready to take your training to the next level, contact Teresa Nelson to begin.

Written by Teresa Nelson
USAT Level II Triathlon Coach, Seattle Athletic Club Downtown
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Monday, September 20, 2010

Stress, Hormones and It’s Effects

Beginning our day with a calm relaxed mind has many advantages as we all know. But in order to see these advantages we need to understand the drawbacks and workings of a non-calmed mind. In essence, a non calmed mind is a stressed mind. Stressors happen daily, whether it is subconscious or conscious and the way that we deal with these stressors can have a big impact on our body, especially when we are attempting to reach a certain goal. When the body is stressed it cannot perform optimally, and many of its thoughts will produce negative reactions and responses to various stimuli within our body which a calmed, stress-free mind would otherwise be able to handle in a more controlled and logical fashion.

The interesting fact is that stress actually changes your body’s chemistry. Trying to put up or deal with stress results in a chemical change that may be quick to pass or could possibly take many weeks, depending on which way your body wants to fight it. In the struggle to gain strength, lose weight or perform at our optimal level, stress is a major factor that needs some consideration. Understanding how to handle stress is very important to achieve the fitness level and physique that you desire.

During stressful situations our body releases two hormomes; fast-acting Adrenaline and long-lived Cortisol. The short term response to body stressors is the release of massive amounts of Adrenaline; which acts to increase your heart rate and breathing like when you are scared or surprised. For our long-term reaction to stress that occur on a daily basis, the body uses a hormone called cortisol, which enters our bloodstream at a slower pace. Once cortisol is present in our body, it slows our metabolism down and may take months or even years to remove its excessive effects. One important fact to know is that cortisol is closely associated with belly fat, which leads to heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other health related issues. Life is becoming more and more stressful as an American and in return our bodies are producing more and more cortisol. People are eating more starchy processed foods only contributing to the obesity epidemic we are facing today.

Its not only our daily stressors that affect us, we even stress when we sleep, making it more difficult to function the next day. Several hours before you get up in the morning, a very tiny portion of your brain, sends a signal to stimulate your adrenal glands which causes a slight rise in adrenaline. And further more after you have awakened, cortisol levels begin to rise. Most heart attacks and strokes occur between 6 am and 8 am in the morning and are often related to the increased rise of cortisol. It is obvious that getting cortisol under control is of a major importance for a healthy fit individual.

Cortisol is usually at its highest level a few hours after you wake. Over a period of time through the day, your levels decrease. This can answer the age-old question of the when is the best time to exercise. Mornings are optimal as your cortisol levels are high and you have the best chance to suppress them at this time. Nothing like releasing a little tension by lifting weights or taking a class!

We all have specific goals we want to achieve, and a general direction we want our lives to head in. If we are running around stressed, frustrated, dishonest, with forced anger and violent actions pressed on others, how can we remain focused and calm enough to accomplish our own life's goals?

This becomes more important when trying to achieve physique related goals. Anytime a goal is set with a stressed or disorganized mind, you can expect to struggle whether you know it or not. Some of the obvious steps to controlling stress are associated with simplifying your life. Putting too much on your daily schedule is a sure way to make life too difficult. There is no question that some people seem to handle stress much better than others, but it is a constant work in progress. Life is too short to walk around stressed out, so try taking a look at your daily habits by organizing your day. Try adding things to help combat stress can help fight these effects; taking a quick vacation, exercising, taking a nap, or doing anything that helps you to relax and feel good, will likely result in a decrease of cortisol!

Written by Christine Moore
Personal Fitness Trainer, Seattle Athletic Club Downtown

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Friday, September 17, 2010

Tips to Become a Successful Multisport Athlete: #1 Consistency

There have been a handful of commonalities I have seen in athletes throughout 9 years of coaching that have lead to some reaching success or their goals sooner than others. Not one tip makes an athlete better than another, it is just a common base of similarities that has been recognized amongst athletes.

Making your training a priority regularly, starting early with base building and continually making your training a habit has lead to many athletes reaching their successes. Several athletes use the procrastination technique due to online programs such as 12 weeks to your first half ironman and such, and as this does get many to the starting line it is eliminating the importance of base training and there is very little room for error with such a short time frame (ie: illness, injury, etc.). When an athlete has been training consistently, lost time tends to have little to no effect on their performance due to the solid base they have established with their base training methodology.

If you are interested in beginning training, or you are ready to take your training to the next level, contact Teresa Nelson to begin.

Written by Teresa Nelson
USAT Level II Triathlon Coach, Seattle Athletic Club Downtown
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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

TRX Suspension Training: Overhead Lunge

Personal Fitness Trainer Katrina Yniguez demonstrates the TRX Burpie. The TRX Suspension trainer is a great tool that provides you with a total body workout using your own body weight.

If you are looking to join the movement and begin training with the TRX Suspension trainer today, contact Katrina Yniguez for more information on how to get started.

Demonstrated by Katrina Yniguez
Personal Fitness Trainer, Seattle Athletic Club Downtown
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Monday, September 13, 2010

Pilates Exercise of the Month: The Seal

Purpose: To massage the spinal muscles, work the powerhouse and test balance and coordination. It is often done at or near the end of a mat routine.
  1. Sit at the front of your mat with your knees bent to your chest and heels together. Open your knees to shoulder width. Hands reaching through the legs to hold outside of ankles.
  2. Tip back and balance on your tailbone. Bring your feet just above the mat. Keep the knees within your frame; scoop the navel deeper.
  3. Inhale, roll back, pulling your feet with you. Balance on the base of the shoulder blades. Allow your legs to extend slightly until your feet are over your head- (head stays on mat). Clap the heels 3 times (like a seal clapping its’ flippers).
  4. Exhale as you roll forward to the starting position, tucking your chin into your chest. Balance and clap the heels together 3 times. Your heels should not touch the mat.
  5. Repeat 5-8 times; feeling the massage up and down the muscles of your back.

  • Maintain a constant C curve of the spine.
  • Never roll onto your head, neck or shoulders…only the base of the shoulder blade.
  • Initiate rolling back from the powerhouse not from the head.
  • Avoid hunching shoulders and tilting head back.
  • Don’t use momentum when rolling up. Roll up slightly slower than you rolled back to challenge the abs.

Note: Omit this exercise if you have an acute back injury. Proceed with caution if you have a delicate wrist or elbow.

Modification: You can begin without the claps and successively add 1,2, then 3 clapls as balance improves.

Visualization: Imagine you are on a rocker, balancing on the edges of both the front and back; trying not to tip over in either direction.

Written by Jocelyn Paoli
Stott Certified Pilates Instructor, Seattle Athletic Club Downtown
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Friday, September 10, 2010

Heave and Ho - What are Sandbags Doing in the Gym?

Sandbags, what and why is this in the gym and not at a construction site? Sandbags (which are literally just bags filled with sand) are an old school tool that are getting a lot of new publicity as of lately. You see them being used by NFL players, by UFC fighters, by that guy at the park. Why are these bags so utilized by highly powerful athletes and those looking to gain that explosive edge?

Here are just a few reasons to use a sandbag instead of a conventional dumbbell or barbell:
  1. Because the bags are filled with sand the weight is constantly varied and no rep will feel the same. As the weight moves around in the bag you'll have to balance it out as you move explosively through exercises.
  2. Balance, ripping a 45lb bag filled with loose sand off the floor to your chest will require much more full body balance and coordination than a unified barbell would.
  3. Real world training. It's cool to bicep curl 50lbs but if you are looking to gain an athletic advantage on the soccer field (increasing your take off speed, jumping, quick turns, etc) or looking to be able to work in the yard without throwing out your back every other weekend, you'll find that sandbags are as real as it gets.
  4. Unique exercises, sandbags are diverse and will challenge you with full body power movements as well as with stretching and core work. The possibilities are endless with this tool.
  5. Fun! The bags are diverse, challenging, and can be used just about anywhere. You can build an intense workout with 4 basic exercises, sounds more fun than sitting on benches doesn't it?!

Sandbags will push you to find new ways to use your legs and arms as one powerful unit and help you build full body strength. Give it a try, pick up a bag and see how unique it is. This is one time you won’t get in trouble for throwing sand around!

To learn more about sandbag training contact Personal Fitness Trainer, Adriana Brown by phone at 443-1111 ext. 273.

Written by Adriana Brown
Personal Fitness Trainer, Seattle Athletic Club Downtown

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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Losing Weight Safely

It is safe to say that a majority of our population today is looking to lose weight, but most are unsure of how to go about doing so. Whether it may be a few pounds or 30, most are striving to get to a place where they are comfortable, confident and healthy. Unfortunately, this leaves many turning to fad diets and/or extreme exercise measures to drop the pounds quick. While you may lose weight initially, you are actually doing yourself more harm than good. There is no supplement, no magical device and no “fad diet” to help you lose weight. The safest and best way is tried and true…through nutrition and caloric expenditure.

Many gym goers believe that weight loss is 80% what you do in the gym and 20% of what you put in your mouth. This is the first mistake many people make. If you would like to see any substantial change in your physique, nutrition is one of the most important factors to the equation. Getting your nutrition under control should be your top priority, followed by your daily exercise.

Weight loss is an equation, we burn a certain number of calories per day based on our metabolic rates. Calories come in through the fuel we feed ourselves and calories are expended either through exercise or everyday functions and daily living. The goal in this equation is to consistently make a big enough deficit in our caloric intake/output to then yield a lower number on your scale. Sound confusing? Well by numbers it is actually much easier than you think!

The first thing we need to find is your RMR* (resting metabolic rate) or how many calories your body burns in a day. You also have to determine what rate you would like to lose weight, I would recommend to achieve safe and permanent weight loss stick to .5-2lbs per week, meaning you need to create a deficit in calories through diet, exercise or both and consistently stick to that deficit.

So, since 1lb=3500 calories…
  • To lose .5lbs/wk you must make a deficit of 250 cals/day
  • To lose 1lb/wk you must make a deficit of 500 cals/day
  • To lose 2lbs/wk you must make a deficit of 1000 cals/day

Take and utilize the following example to jump start your own weight loss! So let’s say I want to lose 2lbs per week and my RMR=2300 cals/day. I would need to make a 1000 calorie deficit per day in order to stay consistent with my weight loss. Cutting 1000 calories out of our diet would be a bold task, the safest way to make this deficit is to cut back on food intake while also supplementing with exercise.

On days that I exercise I will strive to burn at least 400 calories (which is equal to about 40 minutes of moderate intensity exercise) this will allow me to only have to cut 600 calories out of my diet.

After taking my RMR I have found that I expend approximately 2300 calories per day. Our equation would look something like this…
  • RMR=2300 cals so to create a 1000 calorie deficit I must subtract 400 cals(from exercise)-600 cals(through diet) to equal 1000 calories expended.
  • So now that we have our deficit we can determine how many calories we should eat per day. We do this by taking our RMR and subtracting our 600 calories we will cut out of our diet to contribute to the deficit.
    • RMR=2300 cals-600 cals(through diet)=1700 calories total to consume/day.

On days that I do not exercise I have to be cautious to still maintain a deficit making it a little more difficult if I wanted to stick to my 1000 calorie deficit. This would mean I would have to limit my intake to 1300 calories on those days; although you may choose to consume slightly more as long as you stay within a deficit you should not gain weight.

Getting a grip on your nutrition will not only help yield promising results but will also give yourself a sense of empowerment knowing that you are in control of your results. You might find that the simple act of being aware of how much is going in and what effort is being expended will make you feel better in its own. Now granted there are a number of other factors that can go into weight loss, this is one of the safest tools you can use when it comes to planning out your weight loss safely and remember it is always a good idea to speak to a physician first before you begin any weight loss program! If you have any questions on how to set up an RMR test or how to get started on your weight loss program please contact Personal Fitness Trainer Christine Moore at 206-443-1111 x292.

Written by Christine Moore
Personal Fitness Trainer, Seattle Athletic Club Downtown

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