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Posts Tagged ‘Professional Fitness Trainers’

Motivation to Move

February 11, 2015 Leave a comment

New Year’s Resolutions shouldn’t be a thing of the past. If you need another burst of motivation from the trainers at Cooper Fitness Center, read on.

Aaron Feldman, Professional Fitness Trainer

The KISS Principle: Keep It Simple Stupid.

With all of the exercise related technology, gadgets and new equipment that is available in today’s age, it is easy to forget the underlying principle of exercise: Incorporating a consistent level of cardio-vascular activity with regular resistance training and stretching, we can maintain a level of health and wellness as we age. Instead of overcomplicating it with numbers, formulas and fitness related phone apps that may distract us, sometimes it is better to just get out there and do SOMETHING.

David P. Williams, Professional Fitness Trainer

  • Consistency. I would rather have someone be consistent with a new exercise routine, over intensity any day of the week. When starting a new routine everyone wants to go all out in the beginning then they burn out really quickly. Relax! Rome was not built in a day, so take your time.
  • Careful with the running. You don’t run to get in shape—you get in shape to run. Starting too quickly on a running routine can cause nagging injuries. Remember the body needs time to adapt to the pounding so never underestimate the power of walking first before you hit the pavement jogging.
  • Balanced diet. We can take in more calories in 5 minutes than we can exercise off in an hour. Visit a nutritionist and get some simple guidelines that will help you achieve your goals. Fruits and veggies: eat as many fruits and vegetables as you can. We hear too often “careful with eating too much fruit, that can be too much sugar.”  Meat: I am all about protein, but do we need to have a meat product with every meal? Try to fall into the “meatless Monday” trend to get in more fruits and veggies.
  • Athletic development. No matter how old you are—it is very important to stay athletic! Not everyone should be practicing sprints and plyometric exercises, but some basic athletic drills that require foot work and agility goes along way. All locomotion starts from the feet—work on your balance and foot strength by standing barefoot on each foot for 1 minute.  

David H. Williams, Professional Fitness Trainer

Tired of trying to crunch your way to washboard abs? Strengthen your core, with a few crunch variations.

  • Correct Crunch (Front) – Lay on your back, lift your legs off the ground to form a 90 degree angle with your knees and legs. Then lift your upper body about two inches off the ground for the crunch. Breathe out when you lift up and breathe in when you go back down. If you have neck problems, place your hands on the back of your neck for support, but remember to not pull on your head.
  • Side Plank (Side) – Lay on your side and lift your body off the ground, balancing on one forearm and one foot. Contract your abdominals for the workout, and remember to breathe. For an added workout, lift your hips up and back down remaining lifted. Make sure you maintain good posture and your elbow is supported directly beneath your shoulder.
  • Cobra (Back) – Lay on your stomach and place your hands at your side with your palms down. Squeeze your glutes and raise your chest about two inches off the ground. To engage the exercise, rotate your thumbs up and out and lift your head neutrally. For an advanced version, start on your stomach with your arms bent in 90 degree angles by your head. When you lift up, stretch your arms out in front of your head. This is known as the superman and you may watch the demonstration here.
  • Reverse Crunch (Lower Abs) – Grab a small stability ball and grip it between your thighs while laying on your back. Make sure your palms are facing up. Squeeze the stability ball between your thighs to activate the lower abs. Roll your knees toward your chest with the ball for the exercise.

To achieve your goals for a strong, lean core, you also have to incorporate healthy habits in the kitchen! Mark your calendars to join us at Cooper Fitness Center on Monday, March 2 for our 8th annual Nutrition Expo! Come see 20-plus vendors and new products all devoted to your good health! FREE and open to the public.

Lisa Hanley
, Professional Fitness Trainer

Lighten the weight if it helps you do it correctly. While it is true that exercising with a challenging load increases strength, sharing the work among unrelated body parts will cheat you out of a good workout. Or worse, expose yourself to excessive wear and tear.

Help your body last a long time. There is no substitute for original parts. Reinforce and maintain the ones (knees, hips, discs) you were born with.

Exercise has evolved. Your workout should too. We now have the opportunity to reflect upon the long-term effects of exercises promoted as beneficial 30 or 40 years ago. The risk to benefit ratio of certain activities can range from extremely unfavorable to downright crazy! We should all treat our bodies better than that.

Exercise, massage and stretch. A certain amount of tissue elasticity will be lost as a normal result of aging. The best way to slow this process is through stimulating, increased circulation and range of motion from strength and cardio activities and remodeling soft tissue to be more extensible through massage and stretching. This helps muscles and fascia work more like a rubber band, the way they do in our youth.

To meet with a Professional Fitness Trainer from Cooper Fitness Center, visit cooperfitnesscenter.com/Pros or contact Mukidah Wiggins at 972.233.4832, ext. 4329.

 

Fitness Trends

September 23, 2014 Leave a comment
Mary Edwards, MS, Fitness Director at Cooper Fitness Center

Mary Edwards, MS, Fitness Director at Cooper Fitness Center

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.

Cooper Fitness Center members posed for a fun group shot after a ViPR workout.

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!

Yoga class in Cooper Fitness Center’s Mind/Body Studio. Hard work happens in this calm and serene environment. The accordion doors open for fresh air and cool breeze during seasonal weather.

The economy is likely influencing the trend towards  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.