Posts Tagged ‘professional training’

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 or call 972.233.4832, ext. 6402.

Olympian Cooperized Boxer Takes on Vegas Fight

November 24, 2014 Leave a comment

I’m sitting in the marketing office brainstorming ideas for our holiday social media videos for when an idea comes to mind. Next thing I know, we’re heading over to Cooper Fitness Center because Boxing Pro Derrick James just happens to be training 2012 Olympian Errol Spence Jr. for a Dec. 13 fight at MGM Grand in Las Vegas. We realized it was perfect timing for our holiday social media plans and we decided to make the ask.

Having been to “watch parties” seeing Evander Holyfield, Mike Tyson, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and others go round-for-round, I admittedly had no idea of what training for a professional boxer entailed. I quickly realized it takes a lot of mental strength, agility, discipline, drive and determination. We got what we needed for our video, but watching Spence’s work ethic was humbling. To say I was exhausted just watching is an understatement, but a light bulb went off and I knew it would be a great story. What motivates James? What makes him a great boxer?

A week later, I walk into a dark boxing studio to find Spence with laser focus warming up for his training session with James. James has been training Spence for 6 or 7 years, so it was interesting to hear his advice on what it takes for Spence to succeed. “Stay focused and in the moment—be focused and alert.” That advice seems simple but for someone with more than 35 years of experience as a boxer and a coach, it holds more weight. Spence will tell you, “[his] dad got [him] into boxing” on the last day of school, as he needed something to keep him busy for summer. He started in 9th grade and never looked back. It was something he always wanted to do, so he focused on training and sharpening his skills.

So what does a day of training look like for 7x National Champion with 14 wins and 11 knockouts? Spence arrives at the gym around lunch time and spends two hours “hitting the bags, hitting the mitts and sparring.” But that’s not all, later he runs 5-6 miles for cardio. It’s evident that he’s humble because the week before I stood next to his dad watching him do plyometrics with a weighted vest with ease and precision. A quick scroll through his social media channels and it’s easy to see how far he’s come from a pint-size baseball player to a respected boxer. Spence describes a good boxer as having “mental determination, focus and self-motivation” and it’s clear to anyone who has seen him training in Cooper Fitness Center, he certainly fits the bill.

“Never be satisfied, always focus on evolving and never get settled in a particular way. Set short and long-term goals,” says James. It’s easy to see why Spence trusts James with his boxing career. The boxing pro has years of experience and knowledge from his own career, but also from what he’s learned from his mentor and former boxing coach.

About that upcoming fight, Spence will surely be prepared when Mike Arnaoutis steps into the ring but it’s unlikely he’ll be listening to music to get ready. The 24 year old admits, “[he] listens to Jay Z and T.I.,” but he doesn’t really listen to music before his matches.

Aside from training Spence, James provides private and group lessons for everyone from teens to adults. Cooper Fitness Center offers sports training with pros in basketball, boxing, tennis, martial arts and swimming in addition to more than 26 certified personal trainers. For more information, visit or call 972.233.4832, ext. 4430.


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.

NEW! Teen TRX at Cooper Fitness Center

At Cooper Fitness Center, Dallas, our Youth Programs provide endless activities for kids and teens. Designed specifically for teenagers, this week we are introducing Teen TRX Hybrid!

Teen TRX Hybrid is a full-body workout that incorporates the TRX Suspension Training system and other equipment including battle ropes, kettle bells, slide boards and stability balls. In small groups of no more than six, the teens benefit from the camaraderie of group training and the individualized attention of personal training.

Professional Fitness Trainer Ryan Sheppard is excited to work with teens at Cooper Fitness Center. “TRX training is great for teenagers,” Ryan said. “It ensures that they are proficient with their own body weight before adding weight on the machines.”

He joined Cooper Fitness Center in December, but he first got a taste of being Cooperized in 2004 when he was an intern here. As an innate teacher, Ryan has also worked with The University of Alabama, Birmingham Southern College, Baylor University, YMCA and most recently, was the Assistant Strength Coach at Georgia Southern University.

With the use of the speed ladder and hurdles, teens also learn to move better and improve coordination. Register today!

Tuesdays & Thursdays, 4:45-5:30 p.m.

Session 1: March 18–April 24
Session 2: April 29–June 5

Watch a video as Mary Edwards, Cooper Fitness Center Dallas Fitness Director, introduces TRX suspension training.

For more information, contact Mary Edwards at 972.233.4832, ext. 4230 or email medwards@cooperfitnesscenter.comRegister today!

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!

Small Group Training at Cooper Fitness Center

January 28, 2014 1 comment

Take the camaraderie of group training, add the individualized attention of personal training and you’ve got Cooper Small Group Training—or as we like to call it SGT.

Led by Cooper Fitness Center professional fitness trainers, SGT blends the benefits of working out with a small group—such as accountability and encouragement—with a workout tailored to your fitness needs and goals. It will challenge and motivate you and take you to a new level of fitness. Each small group is limited to six participants.

Hear from Director of Fitness Mary Edwards below during a Cooperized Movement trial class with Cooper Aerobics teammates.

Cooperized Movement is based on the results of a Functional Movement Screen. This training incorporates corrective exercises to improve your mobility and stability for optimal movement. A pre and post Functional Fitness Screen is included.

Other available Small Group Trainings include: TRX, TRX Hybrid and Body SHOCK.

For more information on pricing and registration click here or email Mary Edwards.

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

New Trainers Encourage Change For The Better

December 30, 2013 Leave a comment

On Dec. 2 we welcomed two new Professional Fitness Trainers to Cooper Fitness Center, Dallas: Aaron Feldman and Ryan Sheppard. Both are certified with TRX suspension training and offer great expertise to share with our members and teammates.

Aaron Feldman, MS

Aaron comes to us from Ohio, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Sport and Exercise Science at The University of Akron and a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology at Kent State University. He said he loves to get in the weight room for high-intensity strength training workouts, which is proven true as he is an award-winning natural bodybuilder. Aaron received a personal training certification from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and has also been certified as a swimming instructor by the Red Cross for 10 years. His areas of specialty include: weight loss, exercise as medicine for aches and pains and lifestyle transformation.

To remind himself why he is where he is, he often looks at the collection of the cards and notes he has received over the years from clients thanking him for helping them change for the better.

When Aaron can find extra time in his day, he focuses on his mobility and balance. He said with all of the weight training he does, it is important to invest time to improve movement quality. Along with weight training, Aaron enjoys running outdoors—you just might see him on the Cooper Aerobics outdoor track jamming along to the Rolling Stones.

Aaron isn’t completely new to the South, one summer he lived on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina as a beach lifeguard. We are happy to have you in Dallas, Aaron!

Ryan Sheppard, MSed

Ryan says he is most productive when he has clearly set his goals and objectives—and we are glad he does! Ryan had his eyes set on this opportunity since he  interned at Cooper Fitness Center in 2004 while playing football at the University of West Alabama.

As a Dallas native, he is excited to be back at Cooper—seeing familiar faces and meeting new ones. As Ryan and Aaron build up their clientele, they will also be working closely with Director of Fitness Mary Edwards to implement Small Group Training at Cooper Fitness Center, Dallas in 2014.

Most recently, Ryan was the Assistant Strength Coach at Georgia Southern University. An innate teacher, Ryan has also trained at The University of Alabama, Birmingham Southern College, Baylor University and YMCA.

As a husband and a father of two boys, Ryan says his favorite family tradition is running the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day!

His areas of specialty include:

  • Fat Loss and Muscle Gain
  • Periodized and Progressive Strength Training
  • Sport Specific Power, Speed, Agility and Conditioning
  • Injury Prevention and Post-Rehabilitation Training
  • Quality of Life Improvement for All Ages and Abilities

If a movie were to be made about Ryan, he would choose Chris Hemsworth to play himself. Some of his favorite physical activities include: weight training, jumping, sprinting and mobility work.

Ryan earned his undergraduate degree from University of West Alabama and received his masters at Baylor. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach from the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association (CSCCA).

If you are looking for a Professional Fitness Trainer for the New Year, contact Mukidah Wiggins at 972.233.4832, ext. 4329 or send an email. All Professional Fitness Trainers at Cooper Fitness Center, Dallas have a four-year degree in an exercise science-related field; a Nationally Accredited Certification and a minimum of two years of personal training experience.


December 19, 2013 Leave a comment

We started a video blog series with Cooper Fitness Center Professional Fitness Trainer and Muscle Activation Technique (MAT) Specialist Robert Treece a couple of weeks ago. In the first video we assessed a teammate at Cooper, David, to see how MAT could help him with his knee, see the first post here.  The following week we checked back in with David to see how the tightness in his knee was feeling after his first MAT session–you can see his progress in a video here. This week during David’s third MAT session, Robert demonstrated exercises on the gym floor for David to do to supplement his MAT sessions.

These video demonstrations were created to display the process of MAT at Cooper Fitness Center, Dallas. Each MAT Specialist assesses every client on a case-by-case basis. With David, Robert decided to work on his hips to help realign his knee, but there might be a different path for you.

For more information visit our website and sign up for a session by contacting Mary Edwards at 972.233.4832 or

Muscle Activation Technique, Session II

December 3, 2013 1 comment

Last week we shared a video blog by Cooper Fitness Center Professional Fitness Trainer and Muscle Activation Technique (MAT) Specialist Robert Treece titled ‘Do You Need MAT?’. We checked back in with Cooper Aerobics teammate David to see how his knee was feeling after his first MAT session. Robert met with him and shared the next steps for his MAT journey. Check out the video here:

As Robert said, ultimately the MAT process helps to restore normal body alignment, decrease pain and reduce the risk of injury. Many people see an improvement after just one session; however, a series of four to six sessions is recommended to reinforce the stabilization of your muscles. Stay tuned for the next session with Robert and David to watch his progression.

For more information and to sign up for a session contact Mary Edwards at 972.233.4832 or