Since 2006, hundreds of women each year have participated in more than 3,000 Female Focus classes, a science-based small group training program designed to help women exercise to gain strength as they manage diseases such as osteoporosis, arthritis, fibromyalgia, heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
The women who have participated in Female Focus throughout the past 10 years listed the top 10 reasons why the program has benefitted both their physical and mental health:
- A sense of accountability to health and fitness and provides motivation to work harder both in and outside of class
- Camaraderie and support of women going through similar challenges and life experiences
- Personal attention from Colette Cole, the director of the program, and other trainers – staff expertise and experience is unmatched
- Improved overall strength, posture, balance, mobility, endurance, functional movement and daily activity movement
- Weight loss and maintenance
- Enjoyment from a variety of fun workouts
- Reduction of injury risk and attention to detail regarding training for specific injuries
- Sessions are personalized for both exercise and nutrition
- Focus on specific women’s health issues, including improvement of bone density
- Stress reduction
The program is based on materials and research from Women’s Health and Fitness Guide written by Michele Kettles, MD, MSPH, Chief Medical Officer of Cooper Clinic, and Colette Cole, MS, Cooper Fitness Center Female Focus Director and Professional Fitness Trainer. Under Colette’s guidance, participants learn how to overcome physical and mental challenges that are often a side effect of health issues.
In addition to learning and growing stronger physically, many of the women are drawn to the program because of the bonds they form with each other. Many are going through similar life changes, such as kids going off to college or becoming caretakers of aging parents. They also face similar challenges and are working toward similar goals – to be healthier and happier.
Dr. Jill Ombrello has participated in Female Focus for the past three years. She joined the program because she wanted the accountability of a scheduled and customized workout. However, she had no idea how many additional benefits she would receive as a result.
“Not only did I gain accountability, but I also joined a community of women looking to improve their health in the same ways as me. We are not equally strong or flexible, but Collette creates a different, unique and interesting workout for us every time we attend. In a society where many women are often competing with one another, Colette has created a unique environment where we all feel supported and pushed to achieve greatness.”
For more information about the Female Focus program, visit cooperfitfemale.com.
Dining out can be a challenge when you’re watching your weight. With so many food and drink options put directly in front of you, it can be tough to turn down the free chips and salsa, a refreshing soda or a slice of cake for dessert. Part III of the Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services Weight Loss Checklist will guide you through difficult dining situations and keep you on track for eating healthy and losing pounds. Download the checklist here.
Part II of the exclusive Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services Weight Loss Checklist is now available! You can download it here.
Limiting variety and temptation can be a challenge, but with some kitchen reorganization, healthy substitutions and determination, you can make it happen! Share your best tips for limiting food variety and unhealthy temptations in the comments below.
Looking for a way to jump start your weight loss journey and set attainable goals? Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services has created an exclusive weight loss checklist that can fold into your daily life, one step at a time. Start by taking things slow and substituting certain foods for healthier options, as described in our first weight loss checklist. Download the checklist here, and be sure to share your healthy lifestyle changes and experiences in the comments below!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Quick! Raise your hand if you know someone whose strategy for losing weight is to eat a salad for lunch every day. If you’re like me, you probably know multiple people who have decided to conquer their ever tightening pants by eating an entrée-sized salad each day for lunch. Sadly, for a lot of those folks, this strategy doesn’t work.
Here’s the deal: lettuce, spinach and other salad greens are all incredibly low-calorie and so are all the fresh fruits and vegetables that top salads—carrots, celery, tomato, cucumber and peppers, along with pear, apple, orange and berries. Then we add the extras—chopped nuts, dried fruit, cheese, bacon, olives and croutons with a big ladle or two of dressing. All of a sudden, that healthy salad isn’t healthy and the number on the scale doesn’t budge.
For example, a Dallas chain of Tex-Mex restaurants offers a popular salad that is a large plate of crisp romaine lettuce, topped with two or three baby cherry tomatoes, aged cheddar cheese, fried tortilla strips, a handful of bacon and about 3.5 ounces of sliced Fajita chicken or beef. The house dressing is a spicy blue cheese. The lettuce and cherry tomatoes are terrific salad options and the sliced grilled chicken breast is a great source of lean protein. However, the rest of the salad is full of extra fat and calories! Even with “dressing on the side,” this type of salad isn’t going to help you fit in those snug pants. Sadly, if we pull the salad back to the lettuce, tomato and chicken (with dressing on the side), we are going to be ravenous, which leads us to devour the accompanying basket of chips.
Chicken Caesar Salad is probably one of the most popular salads and is available at most restaurants, from fast food to upscale gourmet. Again, the salad starts with a large plate of crisp romaine lettuce and is topped with grilled chicken, Parmesan cheese and croutons (which are chunks of bread tossed in butter or oil, salt and spices and toasted). If you’ve ordered the dressing on the side, the serving is likely about 1/2 cup. This salad, which many dieters describe as “another (boring) day of chicken and romaine lettuce” can easily have 800 to 900 calories and an amazing amount of heart-clogging saturated fat from the cheese, croutons and dressing.
At Cooper Healthy Living, our goal is to make healthy eating simple and that includes a conversation about the nutrition of salads. A salad that’s a healthy salad is going to start with a plate of greens and then be topped (hopefully) with vegetables and/or fruit every color of the rainbow. This type of salad is a wonder in the world of healthy eating—full of flavor, fiber and the healthy benefits that at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day provide. Our rules for salad dressing follow:
- Order salad dressing on the side, as this gives you full control over the amount of dressing that goes onto your plate. This rule includes vinaigrettes, which we tend to think of as healthier. While vinaigrettes typically contain healthy plant-based oil, oil has 120 calories per tablespoon and a normal vinaigrette recipe is typically three parts of oil to one part vinegar—so that serving of vinaigrette likely has around 400 calories in it.
- Ask for balsamic, red or white wine vinegar on the side. Several squirts of vinegar adds freshness and zest to a salad, which can then be augmented with a drizzle of oil, or whatever other salad dressing you have ordered.
- At Tex-Mex restaurants, boost salad dressings with salsa. A lot of salsa, which is low-calorie, plus a small bit of your favorite dressing tastes delicious and has far fewer calories than straight dressing. (Tip: with a thicker dressing, either dip your fork tines into the dressing first and then spear the vegetables, or use your fork to deposit a bit of the dressing strategically on your salad.)
- Bottled low-calorie dressings are generally pretty dismal, so at home, consider making salad dressings—they take mere minutes, cut calories and are wonderful! Our favorite all time dressing is this Rice Wine Vinaigrette, where we start with a package of Good Season’s Dry Italian Dressing Mix and then substitute water and dried parsley (for thickening) in place of some of the oil. This same recipe is also great switching out rice wine vinegar for balsamic! And this Caesar Salad Dressing, a semi-homemade combination of the low calorie bottled ranch dressing that’s not too tasty, full-fat bottled Caesar dressing, Worcestershire and Tabasco, to quick to make and is really delicious. In addition to using on your salad, the dressing is also terrific smeared on a sandwich or wrap.
This is Cooper Healthy Living, a series of baby tweaks and adjustments that help us live better and longer (and in pants that fit and fulfill our best vision of who we are)!
Walking around the Cooper Aerobics campus in Dallas, you never know who you will cross paths with. After seeing a few groups come in to attend the five-day wellness week hosted by Cooper Wellness, I decided to call my teammate (fellow employee) Susan Thompson, who is the Wellness Director at National Instruments through Cooper Consulting Partners to find out more. Susan explained that participants proactively want to make a change and need manager approval to attend a wellness program. Ideal participants are self-motivated and actively seeking help and support to keep them committed to their health goals.
Susan shared these four activities that participants commit to for the six-month period.
- Log food four days (or more) per week for four to six weeks through the MyFitnessPal app before the program starts.
- Engage 150 minutes of physical activity (walking or even housework counts) per week.
- Personal train once each week with a workout buddy
- Attend a support group once a week.
Employees set goals for the six month period and end up with great success stories to share. Jason attended Cooper Wellness beginning on March 31 and has already seen a dramatic difference in his life and is truly Cooperized.
“Before Cooper (or BC as my group coined it), we spent a large amount of time playing video games or watching TV at home,” Jason confessed. “After Cooper (AC) we are hardly ever at home for long stretches of time. We go out, socialize, work out together and live life,” Jason said. “Cooper helped me regain my confidence, showed me that there were many things I could do that I didn’t think possible any longer and helped me regain my life. I’d always heard the phrase ‘a new lease on life.’ Now I understand what that means fully. I’ve been given a second chance. What a difference a year can make.”
Since April, Jason and his wife have completed multiple 5Ks, regularly walk their dogs, are generally active and have even been hiking. Jason’s group collectively was down 200 pounds at their three month weigh-in and will continue to use the behavior change skills they learned at Cooper as they move towards their six month goal.
Last week another group with Cooper Wellness spent a week on campus participating in the five-day wellness week. “Being here this week has shown the impact of education and support in making healthier choices. I am going back to Austin inspired by the enthusiasm the group developed as they tried new foods and exercise classes. Many would not have tried these new behaviors last week,” said Susan. “Watching the Cooper Wellness team unlock the door for a healthy lifestyle for this group and knowing they can take that with them moving forward has been so rewarding. We are genuinely teaching and empowering people to live longer, and live better!”
Register to attend a Cooper Wellness program individually or contact Cooper Consulting Partners for customized services in strategy consulting, leader training and lifestyle education for your company.