One of the things I enjoy most about working at Cooper is the opportunity to keep learning! To that end, I try to attend as many lectures and presentations as possible, with the idea that it broadens my base of health and wellness information, and stretches my mind to learn and think about new and different ideas. (For all of us worried about dementia and Alzheimer’s, there seems to be some research that our brain, just like our other muscles is one that we need to “use or lose”!) This month, Mary Edwards, MS, fitness director and professional trainer at Cooper Fitness Center, presented the continuing education session held for the Cooper Clinic physician team.
Patients who come to Cooper Clinic are typically more physically active than the general population, so it’s not unusual for the physicians to be asked specific questions about fitness and exercise. So Mary’s presentation goal was to educate the physicians on some of the top fitness trends for 2014. As a basis for her talk, Mary referenced the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) survey completed by 3,815 health and fitness professionals worldwide. Here are some of the highlights:
High Intensity Interval Training (HITT) is the number one trend of the year. In a HITT workout, there are short bursts of high intensity work, followed by a period of recovery. The heart rate is typically at 80 to 95 percent of maximum, and the goal is to drive the heart rate quickly up, and then back down. There are all kinds of HITT programs in the marketplace – P90X (the 90-day home workout plan); Circuit Training with 10- or 15 stations that also includes cardio; CrossFit; and outdoor boot camps, are all examples that incorporate HITT.
Twenty minutes of HITT is enough time for a workout, so Mary says this exercise is great for busy people! There’s also the bonus that science shows this type of exercise helps reduce abdominal fat, an issue for many of us. The downside of HITT is that it is potentially dangerous for non-conditioned people – taking an ill-conditioned heart rapidly up and down is a recipe for disaster, so you should discuss your interest in this type of exercise program with your doctor before diving in.
Number two on the list is Body Weight Training. Exactly like it sounds, body weight training requires little (if any) equipment and is strength training that can be done anywhere. In addition to squats, lunges, push-ups, and the like, modern day body weight training typically includes core conditioning – where there’s a focus on strengthening the “core” or trunk of our body. Total Resistance Exercise (TRX) classes, which use a suspension system for exercise, are an example of a popular body weight training program. Mary provided the factoid that TRX classes were started by a U.S. Navy SEAL who wanted to stay fit in a small, confined space, so he sewed together pieces of parachute material and made straps (which he suspended) for exercise. The exerciser uses their body weight and the suspended straps for an all-over body workout. Initially called “suspension training”, the former Navy SEAL came home and built the TRX business on this initial concept.
Mary reported that many outdoor boot camps focus on body weight training, with potentially the addition of terrain, and/or a few pieces of equipment. Boot camp classes cover the gamut – everything from “Mommy & Me” classes to military-style classes where participants use sandbags, truck tires and logs as their exercise equipment!Another general trend is Strength Training. Mary reports that strength training has been popular since the first ACSM survey in 2007, and that this exercise is appropriate for all ages and athletic and/or conditioned ability. In traditional strength training, exercisers use their body weight plus all kinds of toys – dumbbells, kettle bells, TRX, Sandbells and ViPR equipment. Sandbells are neoprene discs filled with sand that can be used as one would typically use a free weight, but they can also be thrown, caught, slammed and gripped. ViPR, which stands for Vitality, Performance and Reconditioning, is a weighted rubber tube with built-in handholds that looks much like an oversized “pool noodle,” and is used to perform task-oriented movement patterning – for example, scooping the ViPR across and up and over the body, or potentially holding the ViPR to do a squat and then overhead raise. Watch video demonstrations from our trainers with the Sandbells and ViPR equipment. Mary also told us about how kettle bells, a weighted metal device that looks like a small purse (with handle) to me, were created in Russia back in the 1700s!
With the numbers of aging baby boomers it’s no surprise that Fitness Programs for Older Adults is another trend. In addition to balance, yoga, Pilates and resistance training (AKA strength training), fitness programs for older adults also purposefully include “brain fitness” exercises, that focus on coordinated movements. So, for example, I might hold the ViPR in front of me and do a Romanian deadlift (RDL) combined with an overhead raise and a leg raise when I do the overhead raise. If my description sounds complicated, I think that’s the point – the idea is that the exerciser really has to focus and think about what they’re doing!
Good fitness programs for older adults also incorporate lots of functional exercises, designed specifically to help us prevent from turning a “trip” into a “fall”, or building muscle strength so if we’re down on the ground we can get back up. So, it’s not a surprise that Functional Fitness was another big trend. Mary shared how the trainers at Cooper Fitness Center have been focusing on functional fitness for years – the whole focus of conditioning in the gym is to support a great life outside the gym!
The economy is likely influencing the trend towards Small Group Personal Training. Like it sounds, two to four people share a trainer and work out together in group personal training. Larger than one-on-one personal training, but much smaller than a traditional group exercise class, group personal training allows the exercisers to have interaction and glean support from one another, but also reduces the cost of personal training. Here at Cooper, we launched Small Group Training in February, 2014. Professional Fitness Trainers conduct the classes, and are adept at customizing exercises based on specific injuries, limitations or disability. Mary reports that Small Group Training is perfect for those who are cost-conscious as well as anyone seeking the camaraderie and support of a group. Small Group Training allows for more personalized service than in a larger traditional group exercise and many of the sessions are targeted to specific exercise goals, be it weight loss, or being lean and toned for skinny jeans!
Mary mentioned that Yoga, another trend for 2014, is part of a 7 billion dollar mind/body business segment! Some classes are technically difficult, while others focus more on the breathing and relaxing, meditative aspects of the practice. The most popular type of yoga in the United States is Iyengar, where individual poses are held.
Mary talked too, about how the fitness industry continues to evolve, with more and more focus being put on certifications and credentials. At Cooper Fitness Center, Professional Fitness Trainers hold a college degree in an exercise related field and have a minimum of two years’ work experience in addition to industry certifications. (Many of the trainers also have graduate degrees.) When the gym adds a new member, the on-boarding process includes a physician supervised exercise Treadmill Stress Test at Cooper Clinic. From there, a Professional Fitness Trainer conducts a functional movement screening developed by Gray Cook of seven tests to assess movement of the body. The seven tests are squatting, stepping, lunging, reaching, leg raising, push-up and rotary stability. Each movement is scored between zero and three points. A zero is assessed if the movement causes pain, and a three is assessed if the person performs the movement perfectly. Anyone with pain gets immediately referred out to a medical specialist for treatment before continuing any exercise. The research shows that a score under 14 is a prediction of injury if the person just jumps into exercise, without undergoing corrective work first. Gray Cook, the founder, says “first move better, then move often.”
The old advice “don’t start an exercise program without first seeing your physician” is still good advice, and all the more important if you’re committed to re-engaging aggressively with physical activity.
Cooper Wellness Strategies (formerly Cooper Consulting Partners), announces a new name to align with the launch of its expanded suite of wellness offerings for employers, insurers, providers and individuals. Read the full press release here.
Earlier this week, the teammates (employees) of Cooper Wellness Strategies invited teammates from the Cooper Aerobics campus to share the exciting news!
Led by Tyler Cooper, MD, MPH, Founding Partner of Cooper Wellness Strategies and President and CEO of Cooper Aerobics, Cooper Wellness Strategies focuses on creating customized wellness plans for groups and individuals based on strategic consulting, leader training and lifestyle education, including new personalized online education programs and mobile health applications. The new name reflects the use of an expanding continuum of tools to positively impact health risk factors with market leading solutions. Cooper Wellness Strategies has serviced more than 100 Fortune 500 companies since 1995 including organizations such as Chick-fil-A, National Instruments, Devon Energy, H-E-B and Mary Kay Cosmetics.
“Cooper Aerobics is committed to creating a world where people can live longer, healthier lives. Each of our businesses focus on helping individuals of all ages and corporations reduce health risk factors based on scientific research through The Cooper Institute, “ said Dr. Tyler Cooper. “Cooper Wellness Strategies realizes communication is essential to a successful program and employers need to use their wellness dollars responsibly.”
To learn more about Cooper Wellness Strategies clients and services visit cooperwellness.com or call 972.560.3263.
Led by Basketball Pro Coleman Crawford, Fall Basketball Academy will give your kids and teens an extra “edge” the rest of the team won’t have! With 30+ years of coaching experience, Coach Crawford has the proven ability to bring out the best in young players.
Most recently, Coach Crawford returned from Hong Kong to visit friends in the basketball community to sharpen his coaching skills and learn from the large basketball community in China. Each year, he utilizes his time in August to explore international coaching to bring new techniques to the basketball program at Cooper Fitness Center. Aside from China, Coach Crawford has also visited Africa, Belgium, South Korea and several other countries to explore his passion for coaching young athletes.
Through basketball strength training, agility and footwork drills and scrimmage play players learn the mental and strategic aspects used in a game setting at Fall Basketball Academy. If you’re looking for an opportunity for your all-star player to sharpen their skills, sign up at Cooper Fitness Center, Sept. 21-Nov. 16. There is limited space available so register today!
For more information, visit cooperyouth.com/dallas or call 972.233.4832, ext. 4380.
Oatmeal is a favorite breakfast staple in my home and as a registered dietitian I recommend it to my patients on a regular basis. Not only does this great grain provide soluble fiber to lower cholesterol, it has also been found to reduce post-meal hunger for up to four hours! That’s great news for those of us who get hungry soon after eating breakfast. One study found that people who ate oatmeal were less hungry later than those who ate cold cereal. Both groups were served the same number of calories, but it’s likely that the oatmeal with soluble fiber and more protein than the other cereal helped stave off the morning munchies.
With so many choices lining the cereal aisles, what do you need to look for when making a healthy choice? Whether you select slow cooked or instant, plain or flavored, there’s something to satisfy everyone’s taste buds, nutrition goals and even match one’s morning schedule (some of us would rather not spend 20-30 minutes slow cooking oats on a busy work morning). Check out these things when reading food labels.
First look for the number of calories per serving. Most plain oatmeal with a standard one cup cooked serving size has 150 calories. Flavored oatmeal in packets or single-serve microwavable cups run the gamut for calories ranging from as low as 100 calories to a high 260 calories per serving.
In general oatmeal is not high in sodium unlike dry cereals that can contain upwards of 300 milligrams! In fact old fashioned oats have no sodium, while a packet of instant oats can have between 240-350 milligrams. It’s ideal to get the lowest amount of sodium possible, less than 100 milligrams per serving, especially if your medical needs require that you keep your sodium count low as part of a healthy eating plan. Generally people with high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes need to keep sodium below 1,500 milligrams a day. Speak with your registered dietitian to find out how much daily sodium you need.
Further down the list of nutrients are total carbs and sugars. If you are trying to be carb-conscious you will notice that whether you prefer plain oats or flavored, there are about 30 grams of carbs per serving. The exception is some of the “new” single serve cups (ex. Quaker® Real Medleys) that contain closer to 50 grams of carbs (and 260 calories). If you have diabetes you may need to watch carbs more closely. A registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator can work with you to match carbs for your personal meal plan to help manage your blood sugars.
- Dietary Fiber: Aim for at least three grams total dietary fiber per serving. This is fairly standard however some cereals can have as much as six grams of fiber. That’s more fiber bang for your buck and we know that fiber helps with fullness- another great reason to choose oatmeal as a breakfast of champions!
- Soluble Fiber: If you are trying to lower your LDL “bad” cholesterol by as much as three to seven percent, it takes three grams of soluble fiber to clinically do that. Slow-cooked oats have a clear advantage over the instant kind. You need 1 ½ cups slow- cooked oats (equal to 3/4 cup dry) compared to three packets of instant to reach this soluble fiber goal. That’s a big bowl of oats! The downside to slow-cooked oatmeal is it takes longer to cook and if you’re like me, trying to get out the door in the morning, it’s far more convenient to cook the instant for 1 ½ minutes in the microwave. Tip: if you plan ahead you can cook some the night before in a crock pot so it’s ready to eat when you wake up.
Sugar is an important component on labels of all cereals and oatmeal is no exception. If the sugars exceed eight grams per serving put the box back on the shelf! You will not find more than one gram of sugar in slow-cooked oats. The 100 calorie packets of OatFit by Better Oats® also has zero grams of sugar as well. My personal favorite is Quaker® Weight Control Oatmeal with one gram of sugar. The above mentioned flavored cereals are sweetened with artificial sugars keeping the sugar count low. Quaker® Lower Sugar flavored oatmeal has 4 grams of sugar and Quaker® Higher Fiber Oatmeal has seven grams of sugar. Most packets of flavored oats contain at least nine grams of sugar per packet. That’s one whole teaspoon worth!
Whether you go plain or flavored, there’s no such thing as a “boring” bowl of oats. If you want to “spice” it up here are some ideas for delicious mix-ins:
- Fresh or frozen mixed berries
- Chopped walnuts and sliced bananas
- Raisins or dried cranberries and sunflower seeds
- Sliced almonds and chopped dried apricots
- Diced pear and ground cinnamon
- Chopped dates and pecans
I couldn’t properly end this blog on my favorite breakfast food without sharing what I like to mix in. For crunch and texture I add about a teaspoon of nuts, either chopped pecans or walnuts and for a natural sweet flavor I throw in a handful of mixed berries. That’s what I call a great bowl of oatmeal! It leaves my taste buds buzzing and I’m satiated all morning.
How do you like your oatmeal? Please share your comments.
Cooper Fitness Center’s Carla Sottovia, PhD, was recognized as IDEA Fit’s Program Director of the Year! Carla is the CooperPT Mentorship Director and Cooper Fitness Center Director of Fitness and Personal Training Education along with Senior Professional Fitness Trainer, Pilates Instructor and Wellness Coach.
To say that she is busy is an understatement and with more than 20 years of experience she is helping individuals all over the world achieve their personal wellness and fitness goals.
IDEA Fit is recognized as the world’s largest association for fitness and wellness professionals. Prior to being named Program Director of the Year, Carla was recognized as IDEA’s Personal Trainer of the Year in 2005.
Last week Cooper Fitness Center members and Cooper Aerobics teammates (employees) gathered in the newly-renovated fitness center to celebrate Carla’s accomplishment with cake and punch!
Next time you’re in Cooper Fitness Center, say congratulations and sign up to try a Pilates session with Carla.
In honor and memory of Diane Proud, former Cooper Fitness Center Running Pro, Matt Mosley, ESPN Radio Host and CFC Member, called on Dr. Tyler Cooper and our Boxing Pro Derrick James for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Watch Matt’s video here.
To show our support from Cooper Fitness Center, we invited our members to join us!
We challenge YOU to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge to honor Diane’s spirit for life and all others affected by this disease. To donate, visit alsa.org.
Walking around the Cooper Aerobics campus in Dallas, you never know who you will cross paths with. After seeing a few groups come in to attend the five-day wellness week hosted by Cooper Wellness, I decided to call my teammate (fellow employee) Susan Thompson, who is the Wellness Director at National Instruments through Cooper Consulting Partners to find out more. Susan explained that participants proactively want to make a change and need manager approval to attend a wellness program. Ideal participants are self-motivated and actively seeking help and support to keep them committed to their health goals.
Susan shared these four activities that participants commit to for the six-month period.
- Log food four days (or more) per week for four to six weeks through the MyFitnessPal app before the program starts.
- Engage 150 minutes of physical activity (walking or even housework counts) per week.
- Personal train once each week with a workout buddy
- Attend a support group once a week.
Employees set goals for the six month period and end up with great success stories to share. Jason attended Cooper Wellness beginning on March 31 and has already seen a dramatic difference in his life and is truly Cooperized.
“Before Cooper (or BC as my group coined it), we spent a large amount of time playing video games or watching TV at home,” Jason confessed. “After Cooper (AC) we are hardly ever at home for long stretches of time. We go out, socialize, work out together and live life,” Jason said. “Cooper helped me regain my confidence, showed me that there were many things I could do that I didn’t think possible any longer and helped me regain my life. I’d always heard the phrase ‘a new lease on life.’ Now I understand what that means fully. I’ve been given a second chance. What a difference a year can make.”
Since April, Jason and his wife have completed multiple 5Ks, regularly walk their dogs, are generally active and have even been hiking. Jason’s group collectively was down 200 pounds at their three month weigh-in and will continue to use the behavior change skills they learned at Cooper as they move towards their six month goal.
Last week another group with Cooper Wellness spent a week on campus participating in the five-day wellness week. “Being here this week has shown the impact of education and support in making healthier choices. I am going back to Austin inspired by the enthusiasm the group developed as they tried new foods and exercise classes. Many would not have tried these new behaviors last week,” said Susan. “Watching the Cooper Wellness team unlock the door for a healthy lifestyle for this group and knowing they can take that with them moving forward has been so rewarding. We are genuinely teaching and empowering people to live longer, and live better!”
Register to attend a Cooper Wellness program individually or contact Cooper Consulting Partners for customized services in strategy consulting, leader training and lifestyle education for your company.