Posts Tagged ‘Professional Fitness Training’

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 or contact Mukidah Wiggins at 972.233.4832, ext. 4329.


Vibration Training with the Power Plate

April 12, 2013 2 comments
Power Plate at Cooper Fitness Center Dallas

Power Plate at Cooper Fitness Center Dallas

Have you seen a piece of fitness equipment at your gym that looks similar to a space-age motor scooter? It’s probably a Power Plate, a vibration device used to improve strength and mobility.

The Power Plate creates instability in the body, requiring the muscles to contract to regain balance. When the vibration moves through the body, the nervous system responds in one of two ways. If there is high pre-tension in a muscle when the vibration is sent through the body, adaptations in strength will occur. If there is low pre-tension in a muscle, increases in mobility are realized. Pre-tension in the muscle is created by pre-stretching the muscle.

You can stand or sit on the plate (in a variety of positions) and vary the vibration. Changing the vibration frequency, or the speed of vibration, and duration affects the desired outcome.

The Power Plate can provide the following advantages:

  • Shorter training duration for similar results
  • Increased muscle strength and power
  • Improved flexibility and range of motion
  • Enhanced neuromuscular function
  • Increased blood circulation
  • Reduction of pain
  • Increased bone mineral density
  • Increased levels of key hormones-testosterone, human growth hormone, IGF-I and serotonin
  • Quicker recovery and regeneration
  • Improved balance and coordination

For strength training, Cooper Fitness Center Dallas Professional Fitness Trainer Shannon Edwards, MS, recommends using the Power Plate in conjunction with traditional weight training. For example, Shannon might have a client do a traditional push-up, and then go to the Power Plate and do a static hold in the push-up position on the Power Plate platform. The client would have his hands resting on the plate close to the bottom in a push-up position, with his feet on the floor behind them. The goal is to hold the body in the push-up position while the plate vibrates. As the trainer, Shannon sets the vibration speed/intensity and the amount of time the client holds the position.

Cooper Fitness Center personal trainers and fitness specialists have had Power Plate training and can assist members and guests in using the equipment. To schedule a personal training session or to learn more about becoming a Cooper Fitness Center member, call 972-233-4832 or visit

Cooper Fitness Center Member Award Winners

December 4, 2012 Leave a comment

At Cooper Fitness Center Dallas it’s Member Awards season! It’s time to honor our 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 a role model to others and are active in their community. Congratulations!

Female of the Year: Stephanie Harmon
Stephanie Harmon was recognized for her dedication to health and fitness. Her Professional Fitness Trainer Chris Parker says “she doesn’t trudge through each workout; she takes on the challenges and attacks them.  She strives to break through all barriers to her fitness goals that she faces on a daily basis.” Outside of Cooper Fitness Center, Stephanie has even helped influence her family’s health.

Male of the Year: Scott Malcolm
Since 2007, Scott has lost more than 100 pounds. According to his Professional Fitness Trainer Mary Edwards, “Scott lives by what it means to be Cooperized.” He exercises consistently and manages his nutrition. When asked how he lost his weight, he claims exercise and proper nutrition are the only way to do so and keep off the weight.

Youth of the Year: Haley Janese
As a varsity cheerleader at W.T. White High School, Haley uses fitness as a motivator. She is the conditioning captain of her cheer team and frequently runs in 10k races around DFW. You can find her at Cooper Fitness Center around 5 a.m. every day before school. She even keeps her morning workout routine during the weekends!

Most Improved: Alan Collins
Alan enjoys the journey of fitness, not just the destination, and it shows. He finds balance between his family, job and his love for strength training and cycling. He has completed several grueling bike races including The Hotter Than Hell race. Other Cooper Fitness Center members and teammates have been inspired to see Alan’s progress and improvement.

Classic of the Year: Sheldon Fleishman
Sheldon is faithful at attending Cooper Fitness Center for his exercise program. More than 15 years ago Sheldon started the “Good Guys Club,” a lunch group that meets once a month. He is always inviting others to join and some months has had more than 40 people attend. His friendly and warm personality is known among many Fitness Center members, who see him as a great example of maturing without growing old.

Mr. & Mrs. Aerobics: Phil and Diane Prier
When you think of Phil and Diane, the word dedication might come to mind. You can often see them at early morning cycle class, core class, training on the elliptical or strength training on the weight room floor. They also participate in bike races throughout Texas. Known for their outgoing personality, they continuously share happiness with other members and Cooper teammates.

Top Fitness Trends for 2013

December 3, 2012 Leave a comment

By Sue Beckham, PhD, FACSM, Director of Adult Initiatives, The Cooper Institute

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) just released the results of their top 10 fitness trends for 2013. They surveyed 3,300 health and fitness professionals from around the world to determine the trends in a variety of fitness settings. Whether you are a fitness enthusiast or working in the fitness industry, staying on top of the latest trends add spice to your workouts and keeps you a step ahead of the competition.

Educated and certified fitness professionals ranked as the most important trend. The fitness industry values professional credentials. This is an important step in ensuring that health and fitness professionals are trained to meet the many challenges related to their client’s medical conditions. If you are looking for a trainer or exercise leader, it is worth the extra effort to shop around. Ask questions about an instructor’s formal education, specialty training and certificates, as well as experience. Most of us don’t have much time, so we need to get the most out of every minute of our workout to achieve our goals faster. Educated and highly experienced professionals at Cooper Fitness Center are ready to help you achieve your fitness or sports related goals.

Strength training for all groups is still a big favorite as it ranked number two in 2012. Whether your goal is to increase strength, focus on improved biomechanics to prevent injury or improve function, everyone needs to perform strength training at least two days each week. As a trainer or fitness enthusiast, discover new training techniques for better results in this two-day Biomechanics of Resistance Training course.

Body weight training is back! We used to perform exercises like squats when we didn’t have that much equipment. But like many trends, including bell bottom pants and pointy toed shoes, body weight exercises have made a comeback. Many boot camp classes and trainers incorporate body weight exercises like planks, squats and push-ups into their workouts. Body weight training is far from boring and has become increasing popular with “at home” exercisers and folks “on the road.” It’s affordable (no equipment to purchase), speeds up the workout time (no equipment to adjust), and doesn’t require much space. To learn more about using body weight exercises in a group exercise setting, check out The Cooper Institute’s Boot Camp and Circuits Leadership course.

Exercise for children is crucial in the fight to prevent and reduce overweight and obese kids. Studies show that children who engage in regular physical activity or participate in sports are less likely to be overweight. How can parents and teachers make a difference? Become a role model. When parents exercise, their children are less likely to be overweight. Visit our Youth Zone to learn more about youth fitness and how you can make a difference.

Exercise and weight loss is even more important as the obesity epidemic rises in the adult population. Not all exercise programs are designed for weight loss. Knowing how to balance caloric intake with the right kind of exercise in a busy schedule is critical. Whether you’re a fitness professional helping others lose weight or embarking on your own journey, discover the science of weight loss and how to make every second of your workout count. The first step for a successful weight loss journey is behavior change. Without it, you find yourself gaining the weight back. Science tells us it is harder to lose the weight as the cycle repeats itself. Learn to help clients stop the cycle or do it yourself by attending a one-day workshop for Weight Control Strategies to find the tools you need to stay on track and make lasting changes.

Fitness programs for older adults are in high demand as baby boomers age. Exercise programs for the older adult should address issues like balance, bone health and mobility to keep baby boomers aging gracefully. To learn more about managing the challenges of exercise for persons with dementia, osteoporosis and arthritis, check out this two-day workshop Older Adults and Exercise.

Personal training is here to stay. Trying to get the most out of your workouts amidst an overscheduled day? Personal training may be the answer you need. An experienced trainer can design workouts tailored specifically to your needs and goals while holding you accountable. If you’re in the Dallas-area, connect with Cooper Fitness Center for top notch personal trainers with the experience and credentials to take your fitness program to the next level.

Statistics released by the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor indicate that jobs for personal trainers are expected to grow by 24 percent between 2010 and 2020. This is faster than the growth for all occupations. To learn more about becoming a personal trainer, check out The Cooper Institute Personal Training Education courses offered live and online and the CI-CPT credential for personal training. Personal trainers who want to take their training to the next level can learn the Cooper Training System through the CooperPT Mentorship™ program.

Functional fitness training focuses on physical fitness needed to perform activities of daily living, sports, occupational and recreational activities. In other words, how to specifically tailor an exercise program to improve my performance in the activities I do every day. It starts with a functional assessment and includes functional exercise training to correct improper movement patterns while addressing issues like core strength, flexibility and power. To learn more about functional assessment and client specific program design, sign up for Functional Fitness Training.

Core training focuses on strengthening all the core muscles that stabilize the body during all activities. Most people think that doing crunches is enough to build good core strength and stability. Unfortunately, crunches only address a few of the core muscles which leads to imbalances in core muscle strength. To target the deep core muscles, you have to do more than crunches and back extension exercises. A weak core can increase the risk of injury, reduce power output and lead to poor biomechanics. A short course in Core Training can provide you will lots of exercise progressions that will keep you challenged for months to come.

Group personal training is a great way to have it all – a personalized exercise program and extra money in your pocket. Join a small group of two to six people for exercise, make new friends and get a workout designed to meet your goals all at the same time. If you are a personal trainer interested in expanding your clientele, don’t miss out on this Small Group Personal Training course. A master trainer knows that small group training is not the same as leading a group exercise class. Training small groups requires the trainer to address the goals, needs, fitness level and rate of improvement for each member of the group while keeping them all challenged. Learn to do all this while managing clients who join the workout after it has started in this four-hour course.

Dr. Sue Beckham earned a doctoral degree in physiology and Master of Science degree in Exercise Physiology from Oklahoma State University. Certified by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) as a Registered Clinical Exercise Physiologist (RCEP) and the National Strength and Conditioning Association as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), she has 25 years of experience in the health/fitness field. Sue’s experience includes three years as Director of Cardiac Rehabilitation and Noninvasive Cardiology at the Dallas VA Medical Center, 10 years as Associate Professor at the University of Texas at Arlington, as well as experience in sports medicine, exercise testing, personal training, and corporate wellness. She has published research articles on nutritional supplements, authored chapters in ACSM’s Resource Manual, and serves on the Editorial Board for ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal. Sue is a former age-group triathlete, competing several times in the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon World Championship. Currently, she enjoys recreational cycling, resistance training, and running with her four-legged friends.

Cooper Experts at The Perot Museum

November 30, 2012 Leave a comment

Perot-LogoThe Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Downtown Dallas will open to the public tomorrow, Saturday, Dec. 1. Within the museum there will be 11 permanent exhibit halls – ranging from engineering and brain health to sports. And while I am only slightly biased, I am most excited about seeing two of my favorite Cooper Aerobics teammates featured in the Sports Hall.

A few months ago the folks at the Perot Museum contacted us looking for local experts to feature in the Sports Hall. The Sports Hall is more than information on elite athletes; it explores the physics, anatomy and physiology of sports, teaching visitors about the science behind their bodies in motion. To help visitors understand how to get the maximum use out of their body, there will be several interactive “Coaches Corners.”  Two of the coaches you’ll see are Meridan Zerner, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, registered dietitian at Cooper Clinic, and Carla Sottovia, PhD, Director of Fitness and Personal Training Education at Cooper Fitness Center. And while you might not think of Meridan or Carla as “coaches” in the traditional sense, they are definitely two of the best coaches you’ll find when it comes to learning how to live a longer, healthier life.

Here’s a preview of a few things that Meridan and Carla explore in their Coaches’ Corner:

  • As a professional fitness trainer, what resources do you use to help people improve their fitness, and how do you know what works?
  • If you want to be a professional fitness trainer, what type of education is important?
  • What are some of the barriers people face when it comes to exercise, and how can they overcome them?
  • What are some exercises that can improve flexibility, strength, core and power?
  • What benefits will my body experience if I eat a healthier diet for a long time?
  • How can I eat more for my health to make me smarter, leaner, faster and stronger?
  • Is it true that different sports can benefit from different types of diets? What are the differences of eating for different sports?
  • What types of food should endurance athletes eat? How about strength and speed athletes?
  • What do you need to know about sports energy drinks?
  • What are some easy, tasty snacks that will fuel my body?

The bottom line is, you do not have to train like an elite athlete to get the health benefits of exercise.  It’s never too late to make changes to your health, and it’s never too late to feel better.

Are you planning to visit the Perot Museum of Nature and Science? We hope you enjoy Meridan and Carla’s Coaches Corner! Leave a comment below to let us know what you enjoyed most.

This was written by Christine Witzsche former Communications Director at Cooper Aerobics. Christine is no longer with Cooper Aerobics and we wish her all the best with her future endeavors.