Yoga for Back Pain

Marda Zechiel, Yoga Manager

Are you suffering from chronic or occasional back pain? Multiple studies have shown that yoga can be the solution to relieving back soreness if particular attention is given to the correct muscular usage and alignment. In fact, several studies have discovered that yoga can be even more beneficial than the usual care for back pain when it comes to improving back function. According to a study published in the journal, Archives of Internal Medicine, people who took yoga or stretching classes are twice as likely to cut back on pain medications for their back aches as people who managed symptoms on their own.

There are certain yoga postures that can stretch and strengthen your muscles and return your back to its proper alignment.

*It is always a good idea to consult with your doctor before starting any new exercise routine, especially if you are prone to pain. Once you receive the approval of your doctor, try these soothing poses in the sequence below.*

Child’s Pose

A great way to begin or wind down your day. Start on all fours on your hands and knees. Bring your knees as wide as your mat with your big toes touching. Then, stretch your arms out in front of you, sinking your hips down on your heels and resting your forehead on the mat. Hold for 10 breaths.

Table Top to Cow and Cat pose

Come up from Child’s pose and position knees under hip bones and wrists under shoulders, aligning or stacking your joints into Table Top position. You can start by dropping your head and letting your neck muscles relax. As you inhale, go into Cow pose by lifting your head and tailbone and letting your belly drop toward the floor. Keep your shoulders down and away from your ears. As you exhale, come into Cat pose by pulling your belly up, rounding your spine toward the ceiling and tucking your chin toward your chest.

Continue to synchronize these movements with your breath or spend a few extra breaths in Cow, as this really helps to open the lower back. Take 5-10 breaths here.

Downward Facing Dog

From Table Top, tuck your toes and begin to straighten your legs and lift your hips, coming into an inverted “V” shape. Move your hands forward slightly if needed and actively push the floor away. If you feel back pain beyond a gentle stretch, or if your spine rounds due to short hamstrings, try bending your knees and pressing your chest towards your thighs. Move gently in the pose for a few breaths, bending and straightening legs and then hold for 5-10 breaths.

Standing forward bend or Rag Doll

From Downward Facing Dog, walk your feet toward your hands, bringing them hip distance apart. Bend your knees slightly and fold your torso over your thighs, touching your belly to your legs if possible. Allow your arms to hang toward the floor or grab your elbows with the opposite hand. Let your head hang freely. Stay here for 10 breaths.

Plank to Cobra or Upward Facing Dog

Cobra pose-from a Plank, lower to your belly and position your hands under your shoulders. As you inhale, press your hands into mat and lift your chest. Keep your core engaged (drawing your belly button to your spine) and point your toes so that your knee caps lift off the mat.

Upward Facing Dog pose-if Cobra feels like it is enough, stay with this pose. If you want to move into Upward Facing Dog, press into the mat, further straightening your arms and keeping your wrists under shoulders. Press the tops of your feet and hands into the flooras they are the only points in contact with the mat. Make sure to keep an engaged core, draw  shoulders back and lift sternum forward.

Come back to Downward Facing Dog for a few breaths and then complete this sequence with Child’s pose.

The above series can get you started. If you are newer to yoga, do this sequence once or twice a day, trying to stay in each posture for the recommended breaths. If you have any questions about these poses, please ask any of your GATC Yoga instructors. We would be happy to help!

Marda Zechiel, Yoga Manager | 303.770.2582 x324 | MardaZ@GreenwoodATC.com

 

Tips for Raising Healthy Athletes

Here are some great ideas from our registered dietician Kristin Burgess on what kinds of drinks and foods you can give your children to help them be at their healthiest when they are doing sports:

 

 

Sports Drinks:

  • Water is the only fluid needed by the body for under 60 minutes of exercise

-Exceptions are exercising in extreme heat and excessive sweating or more than 60 minutes of moderate activity. In this situation, a healthy sports drink would be in order. Look for one with less than 10 grams of sugar per eight ounces and is free of all alternative sweeteners, artificial sweeteners, dyes, colors and flavors.

Healthy any time snacks:

-Fruit or dried fruit

-Small chocolate milk

-Nuts or trail mix if no allergies

-Fruit snacks are ok as long as they are free of artificial sweeteners, colors, dyes and flavors.

 

Pre exercise meals and snacks:

  • Meal

-one hour to ninety minutes before exercise

-include a healthy carbohydrate, protein and fat such as a grain, fruit, milk, yogurt, eggs, meat, nut butter, veggies

  • Snacks

-thirty to sixty minutes before exercise

-include a healthy carbohydrate plus protein, such as fruit, yogurt, nuts, nut butter, milk, cheese

Post exercise meals and snacks:

  • Meal

-a protein, healthy carbohydrate and fat such as meat, nuts, cheese, fruit, grain, avocado

  • Snack

-healthy carbohydrate and protein such as fruit, nuts, cheese, milk, yogurt

  • WATER!

If you have questions or would like to schedule an appointment to discuss your athletes specific needs, just give Kristin Burgess a call at 303-770-2582 x382.

Cross Training: Better Results, Fewer Injuries

Perhaps you’ve found yourself dedicated to a certain sport, class or treadmill. That dedication is reflected in the fact that bike number 33 is yours, that second treadmill in the upper cardiovascular area facing out has your name on it or that floor space in Jade or Studio 1 is clearly your real estate. That kind of dedication can bring great success, forge strong friendships and open doors of opportunity. But if that dedication hasn’t addressed cross training, it may have left you struggling with overuse injuries or looking to try something new. Fall is the perfect time to give your fitness regimen a tune up and consider the benefits of cross training.

By incorporating a nice variety of cardio, strength and flexibility, you can balance your workouts in a way that will increase your performance and overall fitness without repeatedly stressing the same muscles and putting yourself at risk for injury. This variety will also help you to be more functionally fit and able to complete daily tasks with greater ease.

To get the most out of any activity, and to do it safely, it’s important to consider all of the muscles involved, not just the ones directly related to that activity. That’s where cross training comes in.

For a single-sport athlete, cross training can mean anything outside the athlete’s primary sport, while for the fitness enthusiast, it means using many different activities to ensure total fitness. For some, it simply means living a varied and physically active life.

So where’s the best place to start?

1. Consider your favorite activities, what components are necessary to do them and which ones might be missing from your current fitness regimen.

2. Consider challenges you may have planned in the next three months and what changes in your workouts might help you better achieve them.

3. Look at ways to re-energize your workouts by trying something new.

4. Review the 130+ classes offered each week on our complimentary Group Fitness schedule and find the classes that address what you’re missing.

  • For strength, try BODYPUMP, CXWORX or Power Hour
  • For intense cardio blocks with some strength, consider HIIT, INSANITY, BODYSTEP, BODYCOMBAT or Breakfast Club
  • For other cardio options, try one of our indoor cycling classes, ZUMBA, CVI or Hi NRG Cardio
  • For flexibility with some strength, consider one of our Vinyasa classes or willPower and grade
  • For more flexibility with balance, try Thermal, Vin/Yin, Restorative or Kundalini Yoga.

5. Decide which classes will best complement your overall fitness objectives.

6. Make an appointment with yourself to attend those classes.

7. Share your goals, successes and struggles with your instructor. They can help you navigate through this process and provide accountability.

By adding variety and balance to your training you will set yourself up for better results and fewer injuries. And, not to worry, that studio space or bike you claimed can remain yours throughout your happy, healthy life!

Andrea Morris, Director of Group Fitness at Greenwood Athletic Club

 

Greenwood has Now Adopted MYZONE®!

You may have seen an exciting new addition around the club this year, MYZONE®! We used it in the 2017 Fitness Challenge, in PWRFIT classes, Combat Zone and other miscellaneous programs. Without doing a big promotion or launch, we are already seeing a positive impact with members so we have decided to go ALL IN!

 

One of the first things we will be doing is incorporating MYZONE® into our CVI classes. Simply stated, you will be using colors for your zones to help you reach your goals during class. Using your smartphone (which you already use for Audio Fetch) you will be able to see your colors as the instructor guides you through class, taking you from grey to blue, green, yellow and red.

Here’s a useful guide to using MYZONE® and how it will help your workout experience:

  1. Using a chest strap (belt) with monitor you are able to track your heart rate. Your heart rate is determined using a formula that will adjust with your workouts as necessary. Tracking your heart rate during a workout is a proven way to efficiently achieve your goals and with the MYZONE® belt, your effort is measured with 99.4% EKG-accuracy.
  2. You are able to view your workout using your smartphone via bluetooth in addition to on screen in PWRFIT and other areas of the club, when added.
  3. Your belt will connect to the MYZONE® app along with your other favorite fitness apps and you can upload your data to the cloud wherever you are. You can even upload data without being in the club. Your belt will store data for 16 hours if you are not able to connect to the internet.
  4. You will be able to track your workouts, set goals and analyze your data. You can even make friend connections and see other peoples workouts to keep you accountable.
  5. Lastly, we can have all kinds of fun with challenges; individual, team and we can even challenge other clubs across the country.

As you many of know, wearable technology has become one of the hottest fitness trends in the past three years. MYZONE® is a way for Greenwood to stay on the cutting edge, for you to set goals and see results and ultimately to make fitness FUN!

Look for more information around the club, ask a staff member about purchasing your MYZONE® belt and begin your fitness journey.

Meet our New Trainer Rife Hilgartner

Rife grew up in Baltimore but has lived in Colorado for the last 20 years, primarily in the mountains. He is actively involved in racing in the off road triathlon XTERRA, which is composed of a 1.5 km swim, 30km of mountain biking, and 10 km of running. Rife is very involved with coaching triathlon and teaching Pilates, helping people balance themselves out and move better.

An important part of programming for Rife is strength training, which he believes “is an important component to your total body health. Most people just want to move really well. If you are playing with your kids, you want to be able to play and pick them up properly.”

As Rife points out, everyone is an athlete to some degree, it is important to be involved. While Rife specializes in helping clients train for marathons and cycling, his interest is in helping others train indoors to better prepare for their outside adventures.

Training Indoors for Outside

Being strong indoors can carry over for life. This can be as arduous as skiing, bike riding, running trails, or even just playing in the back yard with your children.

Denver is an active city and the members here at Greenwood Athletic Club want to continue to be active for a long time. “I’m one of those people who believes that age is just a number. With the proper programs and training, you can keep strength, health, fitness and athleticism for your entire life.”

One major area to focus on is the Posterior chain, which is from the back of your head to the bottom of your feet. It’s important to keep this area strong because it’s a major support system. The powerhouse muscles and your core are just as important as that chain, they tie right into that.

Those two systems within the body are important to make strong and to help with posture. A lot of this strengthening is part of the foundation for “Pilates for Dudes,” which demonstrates how Pilates is good for everyone.  Joseph Pilates originally created the work, creating flexibility with length, strength and control. Pilates helps strengthen in muscles you might not have even known existed. What you learn here will translate into other areas.

It’s also important to incorporate in different areas of training and movements, such as weights, yoga, Pilates, cardio, etc. This helps to create different movement patterns and allows you to train different energy systems of the body. If you are spending one day on the treadmill, spend the next on the stair master and a third in the weight room. This means you are channeling different areas to make changes in your body, day-to-day attitude and feelings about life.

Rife is available for one-on-one appointments here at Greenwood Athletic Club. Please feel free to message him HERE or check out his personal website howfittraining.com.

@Instagram https://www.instagram.com/howfittraining/

@Facebook https://www.facebook.com/rife.hilgartner

Meet our New Trainer Bri Gerwitz!

Bri_GerwitzWhile Bri Gerwitz grew up playing sports, it was her weight loss journey starting in 2010 that really helped to inspire her fitness career. The drive of that experience pushed her to want to learn more about the fitness world and to educate and share with other her knowledge and experience. Her trainer interests lie primarily with functional movement orientation, and while she’s certified in Yoga, her interest also lies in helping others who are interested in doing extreme sports. Here are some of her suggestions for movements that will help you conquer the great outdoors.

Rock Climbing

It is important to try out movements before engaging in activities. With Rock Climbing, since you do so much pulling with rock climbing, it’s important to do core stabilization with pushing. This means you will be balancing the body as well as balancing the muscles. To help with this you want to incorporate in some short circuit work such as single leg deadlifts or single leg box jumps. As Bri points out, “you don’t always have a good two-foot grasp while you are rock climbing. This means being able to utilize one foot in a dynamic and then controlled manner is going to help get into and out of a situation on a rock.”

From there, focus on the core, doing exercises such as planks and isometric holds which you might use while rock climbing; this allows you to condition your body for holding. Bri also suggests some dynamic moves while in a plank position, such as skier abs or rotations. These moves are demonstrative, and working on your core in the gym will help you utilize that power.

Kayaking

Here you want to think about a full body workout with oblique’s . It’s important to strengthen your oblique’s with twisting to get a good hit snap to roll back over from a dive/roll out of the kayak. Exercise wise, this might include some cable tucks and rotations from upper and lower body. High rows and chest flies will also help you keep leverage and power when you are awkwardly trying to maneuver around rocks, helping you use the full range of motion from your shoulders.

You also want to focus on chest and shoulders, especially with mobility. It will help to bring in some yoga and mobility work to strengthen these areas because when you can move in the same fashion in different directions, it forces smaller muscles to move when the larger ones are fatigued. This is why exercises such as matrix push-ups, pull ups and rows are going to prepare you outside of the gym.

 

Backpacking or Hiking a 14er

13925113_10157241740120099_6657487935517397989_nHere it’s important to build your lower body strength, such as incorporating in single leg lunges and balancing with weights during your workouts. This helps you get used to a path. Balancing work will help with your footing, when there’s so much exposure outdoors to the unknown. It also will help you deal with what it’s like to be up above the tree line. If you are prepared for the uneasy and shifting of your surroundings with the rocks and boulders, that is going to help you feel better prepared. Endurance and strength are also essential, which means building your core strength. You might engage with some balance reaches, on one leg with a plate or kettlebell to reach down and all the way back up. This helps activate your muscles, and will lead to more strength within the movement.

Bri is now available to work with our Greenwood Athletic Clients one-one-one. Please contact her HERE, or add her on social media: Facebook, Instagram

 

You can also check out her Flex & Function class, which works to strengthen superficial muscles and deep core muscles.

Flex and Function

Welcome our New Trainer Kim Galbreath!

20264995_713648495503418_3625582752079758281_n

You have probably seen Kim at Greenwood Athletic Club over the past year, her smile is hard to miss as you walk into the athletic club. We are excited to have her fully on board as a new Personal Trainer here at Greenwood! Kim’s path to becoming a personal trainer started in 2013 when she embarked on her own weight loss journey. While she embarked on her own journey without the help of a personal trainer or a professional diet plan, she committed to making sure that others would not have to go at it alone. Kim reiterates that there’s no secret to getting healthy, eating right and exercise are a very powerful combination. Yet on her journey to getting there, she wants to make sure that others have some important and helpful advice to find the motivation to get started.

011

Don’t Do It Alone

Losing weight is not a sprint, it is a little sweat, but a lot of patience and forgiveness with yourself. Your weight loss and exercise journey is largely about understanding your own physical and metal balance, and the best thing you can do is to have a trainer there by your side to help you each step of the way.

Weight Training is Your Friend

A lot of people will immediately turn to cardio as a way of shedding those unwanted pounds. However, its not just cardio that you need, but also weight training. Going alone into the weight room can be overwhelming, but if you have the help and guidance from a trainer, especially one like myself who’s been through that exact moment, then it will help you gain confidence not just in the weight room, but in day-to-day activities. There’s a place for every shape and size in the weight room.

As you are starting out, I would encourage calisthenic body weight movements.  For anything that you’re uncomfortable or unable to do like starting out, there are always scaling options. For example, if you aren’t ready to dive into box jumps, you can do step ups, lunges or squats. As you progress, you want to make the use of dumbbells and barbells a top goal, as they are the best way to get the most out of each movement.

cropped-MG_7795

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make Nutrition a Priority

Create an eating routine, so that you are eating at the same time, and the same food. Try to pre-plan what you are going to each day, and set yourself up for success at the start of the week. You are more likely to follow a plan if you have it laid out first. 

Try Something New, Like Boxing or Obstacle Running

Boxing is both a cardio workout, and a great way to de-stress. It kicks your heart rate up, and wearing the gloves means that you are also building up some strength. Boxing targets a different type of muscle fiber than strength training because it requires a quick response. There’s also learning technique and strategies, which requires mental engagements, and provides for an all-around great workout.

18951353_10104494660356719_3095219690349444656_n

Obstacle Running is a great example of an outdoor activity that will push you firmly outside of your comfort zone. Comfort does not always equal happiness, and if you try something new, it helps increase your overall confidence at the gym, at work, or at home. Sometimes you don’t know what you will fall in love with doing exercise wise, until you give it a try.

 

Kim is now available for one-on-one training sessions here at Greenwood, you can schedule appointments with her HERE.

You can also find Kim in the Combat Zone for Boxing Classes! View that schedule HERE

Be sure to read more about Kim’s journey on her personal website, http://www.yogapantsdiary.com.

 

Meet our New Trainer Lindsey Green!

Lyndsey_webOriginally from Oklahoma, Lindsey was drawn to Colorado’s environment and people.  Lindsey is passionate about helping clients learn more about functional varied movements with high intensity. As she explains, its important to have different workouts and different ways of using weights to get the most out of your workout. Wondering what a workout with Lindsey might look like? Take a look!

Getting a Workout Off of the Machine: Functional Varied Movement Workout

Warm Up: Jump on a rowing machine for 3-5 minutes to warm up your body. You can stretch out your body a bit doing inchworms and banded stretches.

Start with a Strength Movement: Starting with strength allows you to warm your body up and get the most out of your strength work for that day. It’s helpful for people to know their one rep max so that I can work off of percentages with them. For example, one day we might do 80% of a back squat with low reps, another day we might do 50% with a higher rep volume. Allowing for this variety in weight percentage and reps will help you get stronger because you’re building endurance over time. It’s not always about going super heavy, but it’s important to know where you are at. Not to mention, Knowing your 1 Rep Max is a good measure of strength and progress.

FullSizeRender 5

Deadlifts are also a great strength movement, but can be challenging to do properly. It’s helpful to start with kettlebell deadlifts, or siting on a box so that you are not fully squatting. Picking up objects from the ground is an important functional movement that is good for everyone, both inside and outside of the gym.

Conditioning: Depending on each client, there are a variety of conditioning methods to cycle through. For example, I often times have clients do burpees, wall balls, or full body movements to help elevate their heart rate. I am also a huge advocate of jump roping, its’ not only a great cardio but it’s a full body movement that’s working your legs, your forearms and your core which you need to keep tight while you jump.

IMG_7506

Scale Your Movements: The best part about having a trainer is having someone in your corner who can assess and re-asses what your body needs. Modifications can always be made to make sure you are getting the most out of your workout, in a way that encourages muscle progression and deters injuries.

Don’t go too long: You are getting more out of your work out in a short amount of time than you would be on a cardio machine. Non-machine workouts help you build muscle endurance, which in turn will help you burn more calories throughout the day. When you can get your heart rate at an elevated state, and work through time intervals, then you can maximize your time. If you only have an hour to get your workout in, functional varied movement workouts make sure you are getting the most out of your hour.

Lindsey is available for one-on-one appointments here at Greenwood, you can contact her by clicking here, or on her Instagram @lindseygreeen.

Also, keep an eye out for her new High Intensity Conditioning Class, starting September 26 thru October 19.

How to Achieve Optimal Chair Positioning at Your Desk

By Sara Talbert

As a Pilates instructor, I think of myself as a teacher of posture. When my clients walk in the door, I look at their posture and ask myself, “what are the best exercises for this person today?” When I teach Spin classes, my cues always involve “sitting tall” and “keep your neck” meaning don’t let your shoulders take over your upper body. When I ask my clients what they think is causing their back pain, they often reply with “sitting at my desk.”

Your chair is perhaps the single most important part of a healthy working environment. I’ve put together some guidelines for achieving optimal chair positioning for long hours at your desk.

1. THE BASICS

You should be able to sit comfortably in the chair, using as much of the chair back as possible for support. The lumbar support should fit comfortably into the curve of your lower back and your feet should be flat on the ground (use a footrest if necessary).

Posture Image 32. CHAIR HEIGHT

Start with your seat at the highest setting and then adjust downward until your legs and feet feel comfortable and the back of your knees are at an open angle (90° or slightly greater and not compressed).

Posture 1

3. SIT BACK IN THE CHAIR

Adjust the height and/or depth of the lumbar support to provide comfortable lower back support.

 

 

4. ADJUST THE RECLINE

If the chair has a recline lock, set this at a comfortable position. Remember to unlock this periodically allowing the backrest to move with your back as you change posture. It’s generally better to be slightly reclined, as this helps relieve tension from your lower back. If the chair allows you to, adjust the recline tension as you move back and forth so that the chair provides consistent support.

5. ADJUST THE SEAT PAN

When sitting back, make any adjustments to the seat pan (e.g., seat pan tilt) to reach a comfortable position. The seat pan should extend about an inch on both sides of your legs and should not apply pressure to the back of your knees.

6. ADJUST THE ARMREST

If possible, adjust the height, width and position of your armrests to one most comfortable for how you work. Keep in mind that armrests will be used only between typing sessions, not while typing or using your mouse. Consider lowering or swinging the armrests out of the way when not in use so as to not inhibit your movement.

Poster Image 2 Arm Rest

7. CLEAR OBSTACLES

Make sure that the chair casters (wheels) move smoothly and that nothing obstructs your ability to position the chair in front of your desk and computer. Lastly, try and get up frequently and walk around. Find the water station at the other end of your work space to fill up your bottle. Your body will thank you.

SaraTalbert1

 

To learn more about posture, check out our schedule for available Pilates classes at Greenwood Athletic Club, or contact Sara Talbert for more information.

The Key to Exercising? It’s Balance!

When the media describes a new fitness trend or training method, they advertise that this is the best new way to train.  Whether it is long duration/low intensity, high intensity interval training or weight training only, each proclaim to be the best. Running from one extreme or another inevitably leads to short-term gain but long-term ruin. Let’s look at the facts versus the fads

1. SAID means Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demand. This means “you get what you train for and nothing else.” For example, if all you do is lift weights and do not train for any form of endurance, you will be able to work up to two minutes and then fatigue out. The same is true for endurance-only training in a steady state; you are not powerful at any level.

DSC_1149

2. Flexibility, but more precisely being able to move within a greater range of motion, is wonderful. But if you have no strength in that range of motion, all you have done is stretch ligaments and joint capsules and have not created a strong and stable joint to increase range of motion.

3. Neurological adaptation is a principle that says the more you perform a movement, the more efficient you become at that movement. The more efficient you become, the less calories you burn at that activity.

4. The larger your muscle, the more calories you burn, the better you look and the better bone density you have. So where does this leave us? Here are some principled suggestions to change your training regime:

Balance what you do. Do less intense cardio one to two days a week for 45 minutes or longer. Do cardiovascular intervals, going to a higher heart rate, up to two days a week. Lift weights to failure two to three days a week. Work on some type of range of motion training one to two days a week.

Key to Balance 2

Train using periodization. Have a goal for a 12-week training cycle. Within that cycle, make two week micro cycles where you vary your workouts with a specific purpose. The first two weeks can be focused on stability (Yoga, lighter weights and stability ball work, Pilates.) The second two weeks can be focused on strength building by doing sets to failure. The third two weeks can be power movements (Olympic lifting, HIIT and Spinning.) Then you repeat the three phases.

REST! Every athlete needs an off-season. Rest and recovery is sometimes the thing you need after training hard for an event or an 8-12 week workout cycle. Recover by also doing massage, trigger point or Rolfing. Resting between intense bouts of exercise is needed, so make sure you have a rest day somewhere in your week.

Key to Balance 3Balance in exercise, diet and lifestyle is key to longevity and happiness. Any of our personal trainers would be happy to meet with you and talk about what kind of balance works best for you. Please contact Vic Spatola, Director of Personal Training, or look through our Personal Training page for more information.