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IGNITE! Your Fitness

January 14, 2015 2 comments

Post provided by Meredith Rosson, Youth Programs Director at Cooper Fitness Center.

In any goal-oriented class it’s vital to have one or two participants committed to that goal to serve as role models. Amanda fills that role for the IGNITE! class at Cooper Fitness Center. Amanda has been a participant for more than two years and during that time she has won the highest steps total and highest average step total for the monthly class periods numerous times, highlighting both her effort during class and her consistency in attendance. Since 2011, Amanda has participated in more than 72 IGNITE! classes which include balance, 3D strength exercises, agility, speed, change of direction, plyometrics, hand-eye coordination and competitive games of various nature. Her understanding of these exercises has greatly improved and most importantly her quality of movement has improved. These accomplishments have given Amanda the confidence and skills to be successful when she chooses to play soccer, softball, volleyball or any other physical sport or activity.

Amanda and her mom, Sarah, answered a few questions about her IGNITE! Experience at Cooper Fitness Center below.

What made you initially sign up for IGNITE?
Sarah: Amanda’s pediatrician, Ron Blair, M.D., recommended that Amanda get involved in a fitness program at Cooper Fitness Center. As a family, we reviewed the information on the IGNITE! program and felt that it would be perfect for Amanda.

Amanda: I participated in the first session and enjoyed the activities and games.

Being the most dedicated participant, what makes you sign up month after month for this program and fit it in to your daily routine?
Amanda: I enjoy getting exercise every couple of days. I also enjoy learning new skills for sports. IGNITE! makes exercise fun and I like the competition.

In what areas do you feel you have improved the most?
Sarah: The program has had a positive effect on her being confident in other activities like soccer, softball and gym class.

Amanda: I’ve improved the most in strength, agility and speed.

How would you describe the program to your friend?
Amanda: Fun, but also challenging. You learn something new every day and get better at something, too.

How’s Coach Shannon Edwards?
Sarah: Shannon is both skillful and knowledgeable in directing this program. He has a unique ability to motivate and educate each child while taking into account their individual abilities.

Amanda: He’s really nice and very patient when he teaches you something. He doesn’t go over a skill too quickly and explains it so everybody knows what they’re doing.

What do you enjoy most about IGNITE!?
Amanda: I enjoy learning a new skill every day and then sometimes we get a challenge. I enjoy how Coach Shannon puts our lesson into a game and we use our skills in a game.

What game or drill do you enjoy the most and which one do you find to be the most challenging?
Amanda: My favorite drill is Slingshot because we get to run really fast. The most challenging one is Tall Falls because we start to fall but we run as we fall.

What level have you made it to in IGNITE!?
Amanda: I am beyond the top level!

Anything else to add to get others excited about this program?
Amanda: It is a worthwhile program and I have recommended it to my friends.

Sarah: Our observation is that Amanda looks forward to participating in every session. She also seems to enjoy the other participants and has made some new friends. Finally, we are impressed with the organization and oversight of the IGNITE! program and feel that it meets the standards that one expects from a Cooper Program.

Sarah, some thoughts on changes in Amanda?
In the first basic session, Shannon began to teach Amanda how to run. Amanda has enjoyed her time in the program and does not perceive it as an exercise chore. IGNITE! has definitely improved her agility, flexibility and endurance, and has given a proper perspective on competing to win. Every year we look at all her activities soccer, IGNITE!, dance and tennis. When schedules get more difficult, she rates her activities by enjoyment and IGNITE! is always at the top of her list.

Amanda is a wonderful example of how a kid can come into IGNITE! and have a positive experience with physical activity and allow it to change their life for the better. At Cooper Fitness Center, we always encourage the IGNITE! Participants; it’s not how well they perform a movement the first time they try it, it’s the effort put forth and the improvement. Amanda has given the good effort and now she moves skillfully and with an understanding of how to control her body during exercise. Her willingness to work hard and have fun is contagious!

Read testimonials from other parents and kids’ who participate in Cooper Fitness Centers’ Youth Programs. For more information, visit cooperyouth.com/Dallas or call 972.233.4832, ext. 6402.

2014 Member Awards

December 19, 2014 3 comments

At the end of each year we honor our Cooper Fitness Center Dallas members who strive to live according to the mission of personal wellness. We are thrilled to announce this year’s winners. All of our winners were nominated by fellow Cooper Fitness Center members as well as Cooper teammates. These individuals not only lead a lifestyle of personal wellness incorporating fitness and proper nutrition into their daily habits, but they serve as role models to others and are active in their community. All winners were honored with Drs. Cooper and Cooper Fitness Center’s management team earlier this week—congratulations!

George Graffy, Male of the Year

George Graffy, Male of the Year

Male of the Year: George Graffy

George is a stranger to no one. While busy training with Robert Treece nearly every day of the week, he’s always eager to interact and meet new friends at Cooper Fitness Center. From two years of training, George has worked consistently to lose 20 pounds and build strong muscle.

George shared his time with Robert so that his son, Andrew, could combat a knee injury during his senior lacrosse season at St. Marks where he went on to win the State Championship. Along with his son, George’s wife also works out at Cooper Fitness Center with Collete Cole through the Female Focus program.

As a graduate of University of Penn and Northwestern, George is well-connected and an excellent ambassador for Cooper Fitness Center.

“George is a guy who always brings more to the table than he takes away,” said Robert Treece, Cooper Fitness Center Professional Fitness Trainer. “When interacting with him you feel encouraged yourself and you feel better off than before he came in.”

When George began his weight loss endeavors, he confessed that he paid his son $5 per pound lost for accountability. Aside from training with Robert Treece, George has also worked with Paul Nally, Joshua Cuellas and Lisa Hanley, all Professional Fitness Trainers at Cooper Fitness Center. The Cooper Aerobics campus has become a second home to George and his family, including his co-workers who participated in a corporate meeting at Cooper Hotel & Conference Center.

Vivian Dimas, Female of the Year

Vivian Dimas, Female of the Year

Female of the Year: Vivian Dimas

This time last year, in preparation for the National Duathlon Race in Arizona, Vivian encountered a terrible accident and was hit by a car while training, knocking her off of her bike by impact. Vivian suffered many injuries including a concussion, sprains, fractures, broken bones—it was a miracle she survived.

The most amazing wonder is how she responded to and returned from this traumatic accident. Within weeks of her return to Dallas, she visited Cooper to ride the stationary bike and to maintain muscle mass and strength. Within eight to nine months, she began to slowly restart her training.

Just a few months ago, Vivian placed second overall in the Esprit de She Duathlon in McKinney, finishing the two-mile run, nine-mile bike and two-mile run in less than one hour with our Fitness Director, Mary Edwards, by her side. Mary said, “This was her way of announcing she was back!”

“Her spirit of perseverance has shined as she has endured the physical and emotional trauma associated with her accident,” Mary said. “Vivian’s workouts before and after her accident were balanced and consistent. I believe this is at the core of what we preach everyday—she truly understands the importance of “exercising most days of the week” and “maintaining healthy weight.”

Aside from Vivian’s time with Cooper, Vivian is a pediatric cardiologist, involved in her church and helps with the local Greek Food Festival each year.

Cas Dunlap, Most Improved of the Year

Cas Dunlap, Most Improved of the Year

Most Improved of the Year: Cas Dunlap

Cooper Fitness Center Member Awards are not new to Cas’ family. In 1995 Cas’ grandmother and grandfather were awarded Mr. and Mrs. Aerobics and Cas’ mother has been a loyal member for more than 30 years.

Cas was introduced to Cooper at a young age when his grandparents brought him for a tour. While attending St. Marks School of Texas, he read Aerobics as required reading and now serves as a highly-respected upper level math instructor at Parish Episcopal School.

Through regular workouts with Professional Fitness Trainer David H. Williams and group exercise classes with Scotty Esquibel, Cas has lost 60 pounds over the past 14 months! Coming in on his own for personal workouts but also joining group exercise classes, it’s clear that Cas’ personal commitment is led by his great work ethic. With his diligent efforts in the gym, Cas has been an inspiration to all who knows him.

“No one works harder than Cas. He trains to the max from the warm up to the cool down,” Scotty said. “Watching his progress has brought me great joy!”

“I just decided to stop NOT exercising and I knew where to start, Cooper,” Cas said.

Well-deserving, Cas is a gentlemen and all-around ambassador for Cooper.

Orville Rogers, Classic of the Year

Orville Rogers, Classic of the Year

Classic of the Year: Orville Rogers

Breaking numerous world running records, including the first man over 90 to break the 10-minute mile, Orville is truly Cooperized! As a patient of Dr. Kenneth Cooper’s from the 70s and a member of Cooper Fitness Center, Orville is an inspiration to all.

Orville discovered Aerobics in a Chicago hotel 47 years ago and has been running ever since recording more than 40,000 miles. Cooper Fitness Center members and teammates recognize him by his famed shorts just as much as his red camaro as he still works out three times per week at 97 years young.

Orville credits Dr. Cooper with saving his life, “at least once, probably twice.”  They share Oklahoma roots and both served their country through the United States Air Force. Orville learned to fly airplanes at 24 and using those skills flying airplanes during the Cold War. 52 years later he took a Russian River Cruise from Leningrad to Moscow during a mission trip.

When introducing Orville at the luncheon this week, his dear friend and member, Harold Cox, said, “I could talk about his 11 world-records, his service in the military or his time as pilot for Braniff, but what has he done recently?” The audience laughed and listened on to hear just last week before the Dallas Marathon, Orville spoke at the American Medical Athletic Association’s Sports Medicine Symposium and is still running more than 5 miles per week, preparing for his next race in March.

Within the many nomination forms for Orville, one member said, “Orville has made mission trips literally to the ends of the earth, delivering airplanes from the factory to missionaries across the oceans and around the globe.”

Orville has truly proved that exercise can reverse the aging process. Dr. Cooper reflected on his relationship with Orville beginning with, “I remember the day I met Orville—March 19, 1972.”

For Dr. Cooper, he said what stands out most about Orville is his discipline—in all that he does, as he referred to Proverbs 13:18, “Discipline Whoever disregards discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever heeds correction is honored.”

Congratulations, Orville! We’re looking forward to your future records, in the 100+ age category.

Nick and Luke Maxtone-Graham, Youth of the Year

Nick and Luke Maxtone-Graham, Youth of the Year

Youth of the Year: Nick & Luke Maxtone-Graham

From their first summer camp in 2008, Nick and Luke have been hooked ever since. Meredith Rosson, Cooper Fitness Center’s Youth Programs Director said, “they quickly stood out with their eagerness to learn about sports and nutrition.” From IGNITE! to boxing and tennis to Teen TRX, they have taken advantage of all the Cooper Youth activities they can while excelling in lacrosse at Christ the King.

“When I think of a family to represent Cooper, they are the biggest Cooper Youth ambassadors,” shared Cooper Fitness Center Personal Trainer Paul Nally.

Their character and integrity shined through at an early age. Nick and Luke are well-known for being polite to everyone they meet with excellent manners. Always encouraging other kids in camps and cheering them in support, even if their team lost.

Even too young to account as “student members”, both boys have been actively involved in all programs. With the help of their parents, they learned to value fitness and health at an early age.

Rick and Carol Voirin, Mr. and Mrs. Aerobics

Rick and Carol Voirin, Mr. and Mrs. Aerobics

Mr. & Mrs. Aerobics: Rick & Carol Voirin

Utilizing all that Cooper has to offer, Rick and Carol are truly committed to their health. From group exercise classes to personal training to swimming, they both maintain a consistent exercise schedule—and always decompress at Cooper Spa!

With an active preventive lifestyle, Carol’s cancer was caught early enough to treat. Even through chemotherapy, she practiced good nutrition and a routine exercise regime to care for her body through such a trying time. Group Exercise Instructor and Registered Dietitian Nutritionist at Cooper Clinic, Meridan Zerner said, “Rick and Carol have actively crafted a very balanced lifestyle, both physical and social.”

Together and separately, traveling or working out at their home base at Cooper Fitness Center, Rick and Carol inspire others to exercise on a regular basis.

“They are exemplary members and role models without question,” Meridan expressed.

When presented the award, Rick also said he began running after reading Dr. Cooper’s first book, Aerobics. Truly honored, when thanking Dr. Cooper, Rick referenced an old adage, “you can count the seeds in an apple, but you can never count the number of apples produced from those seeds.”

Following Dr. Cooper’s recommendations of “age fast, age slow—it’s up to you,” it’s clear what they’ve decided to do.

For information about membership at Cooper Fitness Center, learn more about our facility and request a tour today.

Carla Sottovia Named IDEA Fit’s Program Director of the Year

September 1, 2014 Leave a comment

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.

Start a New Walking Program

To show your support of American Heart Association, take a walk and share your photos on social media with #AHALaceUp.

To show your support of American Heart Association, take a walk and share your photos on social media with #AHALaceUp.

Recent studies have shown an increase of inactive adults in the United States. This is a problem when you consider that physical inactivity doubles the risk of heart disease. But, it’s a problem that can be fixed.

Walking for as few as 30 minutes a day, five days a week not only provides heart health benefits, but it reduces the risk of all death by all causes by 58 percent.

To conquer inactivity and celebrate National Walking Day, Cooper Fitness Center Dallas Professional Fitness Trainer April Swales offers advice on how you can start a walking program. Follow these tips to a fit, healthy self.

Getting Started
If you are going from a sedentary lifestyle to a regular walking routine, begin with short walks for a limited amount of time. For instance, start by walking for ten minutes at a time and work your way up from that time period.

Stepping It Up
One shoe does not fit all. Before beginning a new walking program, it is valuable to invest in a good pair of walking or running shoes.

If you live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, you can visit stores like RunOn or Luke’s Locker to have a specialist analyze your foot and the way that you step. From that point, they can fit you with a shoe that complements your foot’s shape and pronation.

Going the Distance
Rather than focusing on the distance traveled, think about how long you have actually spent walking. You do not want to increase your distance too quickly because it could result in negative side effects. Instead, each day add on a few more minutes to your walking routine.

Fit in Hydration
It is important to stay hydrated during your workouts. Water is important for every single cell function in your body. Staying hydrated will keep your body functioning as it should, so you can make the most out of every workout.

Adding Intensity
Once you reach an intermediate level of fitness, you can begin to take your workouts up a notch. You can add intensity by warming up with dynamic stretches, keep a challenging pace or adding interval training to your walking workout.

Find a Walking Path
The American Heart Association has created a list of walking paths. From parks to shopping malls, check out this list of American Heart Association-designed walking paths across the country. And when you’re traveling, you can find a local path to take and keep on your route to healthy living.

Walking is the single most effective form of exercise to achieve heart health, and it is the simplest way to start and continue a fitness journey. Look for ways to incorporate more walking into your day, whether it’s parking the car father away from your destination or going for a family walk after dinner.

For more information on Cooper Fitness Center in Dallas, click here or call 972.233.4832.

TRX Small Group Training

January 31, 2014 1 comment

We’ve gotten an inside look at Cooperized Movement Small Group Training—now Director of Fitness Mary Edwards walks us through a TRX class.

Led by Cooper Fitness Center professional fitness trainers, Small Group Training at Cooper Fitness Center begins Monday, Feb. 3. Click here to sign up!

You’ve Set Your Resolution. Next Step? Action.

Forty-five percent of Americans make New Year’s Resolutions each year. Only 25 percent of those who make resolutions successfully carry their resolutions past the first week of January. A mere eight percent are successful in achieving their goals.

A large percentage (about 38 percent) of New Year’s Resolutions made each year are related to weight and fitness. In some cases, failure to achieve those resolutions could hold negative health consequences.

What is it that holds us back from achieving the resolutions we make? What can we do to ensure the resolutions we make will be more than an unattainable goal, but a reality?

Cooper Fitness Center Group Exercise Director, Scotty Esquibel explains seven tips for making (and keeping) your New Year’s health and fitness resolutions.

  1. Pick a date and commit to start. Even if you are getting a late start on your New Year’s Resolution, what’s most important is that you pick a date and commit. Put it on paper. Tell a friend. Then start ramping up to begin. If your resolution is to run a marathon in 2014, take some time before the end of the year to purchase a new pair of running shoes and select your training plan.
  2. Set attainable goals. Your resolution shouldn’t be unreasonable; instead, it should include a step-by-step plan. For example, if you want to take up running in the new year, but are currently a couch potato, it’s wise to start with a walking program before beginning to run. Achieving your fitness goals should also be attained through activity you enjoy. If you are new to fitness, experiment with different fitness programs until you find activities you enjoy because those are the things you’ll want to do. People are more likely to follow through with a workout, if it’s an activity they enjoy.
  3. Take it seriously. Treat your fitness program like a doctor’s appointment. If you wouldn’t cancel a doctor’s appointment, why would you cancel your workout? Fitness is directly linked to your health. Fit people are more likely to be healthy. Treat your fitness resolution with upmost importance. If you need to, mark each training session on your calendar as an appointment with “Dr. Fitness”.
  4. Fill up your tank before you begin. Before you start working out, it’s important to make sure you are fueled up for your fitness program. Make sure you are eating properly. One reason many people are not successful with their fitness program is because they aren’t properly fueling their body. If you aren’t eating properly, you won’t have the energy you need to enjoy and complete your workout.
  5. Mix it up. Don’t stick with just one thing. For overall enjoyment and benefit, do a variety of activities; after all, variety is the spice of life! Choose some kind of cardiovascular exercise and some kind of strength exercise. There are five components of physical fitness: cardiovascular fitness level, muscular endurance, muscular strength, flexibility and body composition. The healthiest fitness program contains more than one of these five elements.
  6. Get an understanding of the “paradoxes of fitness.” Fitness doesn’t always make sense. For example, the more energy you expend working out, the more energy you’ll have, but if you try to conserve energy, you’ll end up losing energy. This is why couch potatoes are not energetic people. People who are active have more energy. If you want to gain energy, you have to expend it. If you conserve it, you lose it. Keep in mind that recovery is not the same as conserving energy; if you are training five or six days a week, that one or two days of recovery are a vital component of your overall fitness program.
  7. Find a trainer and dietitian to help you reach your goals. The more information you have, the more tools you’ll have to be fit and make better, healthier choices. Call on people who are experts to help you achieve your resolution. If you don’t know how to plan your meals, or how much food you need to eat, talk to a nutritionist or dietitian. Choose a personal trainer to help you define your fitness goals and develop a plan for achieving those goals. There are so many great resources available, there’s really no excuse not to call on experts for help.

Making and achieving your health and fitness goals allows you to “square off the curve,” as Dr. Cooper says. In other words, as you age, you don’t have to gradually decline into old age and unhealthy years. By resolving to maintain a lifestyle of health and fitness, you can live a healthy life your entire life.

To learn more about how Cooper Aerobics can help with your 2014 goals, visit cooperaerobics.com.

Box With The Foxx at Cooper Fitness Center

As a new member of the Marketing and Communications team at Cooper Aerobics, I wanted to study our audience in their element.

Cooper Fitness Center is conveniently located right across the parking lot from our office. For the first few weeks, I was just visiting to check out the renovation site and finally I got around to picking up my membership to Get Cooperized™. I know it is good for many reasons to change up your workout regime and Cooper Fitness Center has no shortage of opportunities with more than 70 group exercise classes a week! On top of the regular classes, they also have Sports Pros.

Derric James, also known as “The Foxx,” is the Boxing Pro at Cooper Fitness Center and recently trained a 2012 Olympic games welterweight boxer to the quarterfinals! He periodically offers 30-minute boxing clinics to members. When I caught wind of the opportunity, I signed up! While attending Texas Tech University (Guns Up!) I went a kick boxing class at the recreation center, but I’d never actually punched a punching bag – until I met The Foxx! My traditional kick boxing class was a great total body workout, but I wasn’t prepared to be trained by a professional boxer.

As soon as my hands were wrapped and pink gloves were on, I was ready to go!

First we assessed my form. Feet shoulder width apart, and body turned to your dominant side (right for me) with toes and heels in line.

It’s all about the technique. When going for the punch, turn your shoulders and torso (use your oblique muscles) facing towards your opponent, coach or punching bag.

If you want to keep up with your opponent, you must add cardiovascular training. After every few rounds, we headed to the track to take some laps or hit the stationary bike for intervals.

When it’s down to the count, core strength is key. After I had taken my last punch, we slowed our heart rates down with a walk around the track and headed to the gym floor. Here, The Foxx led us through the last component of training.

In only 30 minutes I had trained as a real boxer and received a total body workout, and was sore for days! After the clinic I was curious, why do they call him The Foxx? I found that when Derric was fighting professionally, his style was very calculated and smart. He was sly like a fox, hence the name. Rumor has it, that it is spelled with double X’s because his opponents knew they were in double trouble!

To learn more about becoming a member at Cooper Fitness Center in Dallas, visit our website.

Spring Into Shape: 5 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Exercise

March 20, 2013 1 comment

Health Fitting in Exercise QuoteSometimes exercising isn’t the hard part, it’s more about getting motivated! We’re all guilty of forming excuses to avoid the gym on a regular basis. To kick off this Spring, learn ways to get and stay motivated, making fitness part of your routine.

Research has shown that self-change is a staged process. We go through a process from not thinking about changing a behavior, to thinking about it, to planning to change and then testing out ways to do it, all before we actually start.

Cooper Fitness Center Director of Personal Training Education Carla Sottovia, PhD, shares five tips for fitness motivation.

  1. Make exercise a priority. Just like brushing your teeth or going to work, move exercise to the top of your “to-do” list. Once it becomes a habit, getting it to the top of the list will be a piece of cake.
  2. Set goals. Setting short- and long-term goals are extremely important when beginning or continuing an exercise regimen. Carla suggests staring with a weekly, short-term goal. Try goals like exercising 150 collective minutes a week, or three days a week. Make sure your goals are S.M.A.R.T. – they should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and consider Time. Also, have a reward in mind for meeting each goal. Tasks are almost always easier to accomplish when there is something to look forward to in the end.
  3. Make a specific plan. Get your calendar and start planning your exercise routine. Writing down certain days and times to work out helps you stay accountable and less forgettable. Follow this plan to reach your weekly, monthly or annual goals.
  4. Grab a friend. Two heads are almost always better than one. If you’re having trouble with motivation and accountability when it comes to exercise, working out with a friend can be a great solution. Whether it’s just carpooling to the gym or determining your plan and goals together, friends are great supports for exercise.
  5. Find a professional fitness trainer. These experts are there just for you. Just like your friends, they are your biggest motivators to get fit. Not only do they know what’s best for your body and routine, they can easily help you set goals and create plans.

Exercising usually isn’t the hard part. It’s finding the motivation to do it! With these motivation tips, you can take your fitness goals head on.

Should I Have a Personal Trainer?

October 24, 2011 Leave a comment

Often times when beginning a workout schedule or joining a new workout facility, the question comes up “Do you need a trainer?”  There are many factors that play into making this decision.  Here are a few were critical elements in determining your need to work with someone:

  1. Financial.  The most obvious thing that most people have to consider when thinking about a trainer is whether or not they can afford one. Training rates vary greatly by facility or for in-home trainers. On average, training rates can run anywhere from $60/hr up to $200/hr or more. If finances are tight, but you feel it best to have a trainer, a couple of suggestions would be to train 1-2 times every 4-6 weeks. This way, you can have a new workout program made and make sure you are staying on track with your goals, while not breaking the bank.  Often people feel “bad” for not being a regular client, but a secret you may not know is that trainers love clients that get programs made every now in then. It can actually help them fill in the gaps in their schedules between regular clients. Make sure you tell your trainer ahead of time your expectations, that you want a written program you can do on your own. Another way to cut the cost is to split the training session with a friend. Rates are usually higher for two people, but the out of pocket cost per person is less expensive.
  1. Consistency.  If you are paying for a gym membership but not ever using it, you may want to consider using a personal trainer. There are many ways to increase workout consistency, such as having an accountability buddy or regularly attending a group exercise class. If you are having a hard time either getting to the gym or challenging yourself when working out, then a personal trainer would be for you. You may want to start with two times each week and on your off days, stick with walking or some form of cardio (or your trainer may give you assignments to do on your off days). If you are making some headway and are developing the habit of working out, then you may try to backing off to once a week, however some people prefer to continue with a trainer. It’s about finding what works best for you.
  1. Knowledge is key.  There is a ton of information available about working out…yes, there’s an app for that. The problem is that most people don’t fit the cookie cutter mold. Workout sites and articles can be great resources, but they can never take the place of individualized attention to specific needs. You may have an injury, a heart condition or just found out you are pregnant. Most people have specific issues that need to be taken into consideration when working out or creating a workout plan. While there is no license that is required for personal trainers as it is not a heavily regulated industry, there are many reputable organizations that offer personal training certifications. These organizations include The Cooper Institute, AmericanCollege of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and National Association of Sports Medicine (NASM). Having a personal trainer with a degree in kinesiology or exercise physiology is also beneficial. Remember that knowledge goes along with consistency. My degree is in Kinesiology and I work for a health organization, but I couldn’t workout consistently to save my life. I am someone who benefits from using a personal trainer because even though I have the knowledge, I need the accountability and have the desire to “turn my brain off” for an hour and let someone else do the thinking.
  1. A good personality match.  You may have worked with a trainer before and it got off to a rocky start or you may have worked with someone for years and things headed south. While knowledge is important in selecting a personal training, you need someone that you “click” with. This may not be as important if you are only having a program made every month or so, but if you are training weekly with someone you will want to have a good rapport with them. Just because you don’t “click” with someone doesn’t mean they are a bad trainer, it just means that they are not the right fit for you. You may want to tell someone at your workout facility what kind of personality you enjoy working with and then have them make the suggestion. For instance, you may want someone who works well with moms, is upbeat and understanding. Someone else may prefer a direct, no nonsense drill sergeant. Finding the right personality is one of the most important factors in choosing a trainer.

You may be someone who regularly exercises, doesn’t have any special health conditions and feels confident in your ability to access and use resources for working out. If that’s true, a trainer may not be worth the financial commitment. On the other end, you may be someone whose financial resources and schedule are not an issue and you choose to have a trainer regularly. Most of us fall somewhere in between. If so, these tips can help you decide if you need a trainer, how often and who to choose.

For additional information about Cooper Fitness Center or to find a personal trainer, visit cooperfitnesscenter.com.

Getting to Know Kettlebells

September 1, 2011 Leave a comment

Have you ever wondered what the weight resembling a cannonball with a handle is and why it’s useful? It’s called a kettlebell. Originating in Russia, kettlebells are a heavy piece of steel used as a weight for cardiovascular, strength and fitness training.

Laura Alton, a Cooper Fitness Center professional fitness trainer and a certified kettlebell trainer, goes through the benefits and restrictions when using a kettlebell.

The kettlebell provides the following benefits for a full-body workout:

  • Develops hip thrust, a power generator for athletics.
  • Develops back resiliency.
  • Provides an off-set center of gravity improving shoulder strength and flexibility.
  • Provides strengthening for the multifidus muscle, attached to each side of the spinal cord.
  • It’s a complete handheld gym (one piece of steel, used in a small space, gives you cardio, power, strength and flexibility).

Before using a kettlebell, Laura suggests finding a professional skilled in kettlebell training to ensure proper form and technique.

Watch below as Laura shows us a few kettlebell demonstrations.

For more information about Cooper Fitness Center, please visit our website or call 972.233.4832.