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 |


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.

Easy Ways to Improve Your Stability

BosulungeThe basic definition of the word stability is “the state of being stable, firm, solid, steady and secure”. Something that is unstable is considered to be weak, uncertain or wavering. I don’t know about you but I want more of my life to be defined by being solid and steady as opposed to weak and wavering. Your body is a tool that when taken care of and trained properly, can improve your physical stability, allowing you to enjoy the things you value longer and more confidently.

In the fitness world, stability typically means strong and steady. Being stable is critical when creating power and improving athletic performance. With greater stability comes improvements in furthering a Yoga practice, or lifting heavier weights in all three planes of motion. Greater stability allows for simple functional balance to be maintained doing normal daily activities like squatting, standing, lifting and twisting, all movements that are critical to longevity and overall health. Plus, stability improves balance, especially when outside forces seek to overthrow it.

At Greenwood there are lots of activities to incorporate into a weekly routine to improve overall stability. We are here to help you create a strong, solid, secure foundation from which you can enjoy the things you like to do most….hiking, cycling, golfing, gardening, and swimming. Try one of Greenwood’s complimentary classes designed to specifically address these areas. Examples include willPower & Grace, CXWORX, Total Body Fit, Yoga, Mat Pilates and more. Hiring a personal trainer or Pilates instructor to develop a personalized workout plan that addresses the type of stability and mobility you need to reach your personal goals is another fantastic way to make a difference in your overall function and performance.

Stability comes from a variety of places including the feet, ankles, knees, hips, back, abdominals and the overall structural alignment of the spine. Like any physical improvement, being consistent by addressing areas of movement and strength that increase stability and mobility is critical to achieving lasting results. As your Member Coach I encourage you to do something physical every day and include a trip to Greenwood at least three times a week. Incorporate strength training, cardiovascular training, flexibility training, mobility training and now you know the importance of stability training as well. You are worth the effort. Be strong, work on your fitness, incorporate stability training and I promise you will enjoy the fruits of your efforts.

For more information, contact Sheri Warren, Member Coach, Director of Sales and Retention

Five Reasons to Try a Barre Class

Five Reasons to Try a Barre Class

Maybe you have seen one of the flyers at the athletic club, but have you tried a Barre Class yet? Certified Barre Instructor Christine Morris shares five reasons why you should try a Barre class today!

Barre 1

  1. Our program is unique! The Barre at Greenwood is not a franchised program, which means that we can adapt to the needs of our clients and provide outstanding service. It also allows our instructors the flexibility to vary their exercises, choreography and music so that no two classes, or instructors, are exactly alike. Not to mention, all classes are one hour and limited to 13 participants per class, which creates a fun and personable environment.



2. You do not need dance experience. Barre is a group fitness class, not a dance class. We incorporate ballet postures, vocabulary and variations into the workout, but they are taught at a level that non-dancers can understand. You will learn to work out with the mind of a dancer. And soon, you’ll have the body of one, too!



3. Barre focuses on small, isometric movements. You will use your own body weight as resistance and target muscles with small, isometric movements to work them to the point of fatigue. These small motions are how Barre transforms your muscles and gives you a more toned physique.

4. Barre is a music-based class. You will follow the beat; if you’re a music lover, you’re in luck! Music drives a Barre class. All exercises are performed to tempo, and let’s face it, performing exercise to upbeat music is just plain fun.

5. Consistency is key. Continuing to take a Barre class every week will help your form improve. Not only will you get stronger and have a better understanding of the method and the movements, but you will see a positive change in your body. Try a class today!


Sign up in advance online or at the Service Desk, 303.770.2582 x274. Our class schedule is available online via the Barre Class link.

Tips for a Fun, Active Summer!

With the kids out of school, summer is the perfect season for changing up your routine. GATC offers rich opportunities for fitness and fun. Whether you discover some new time for yourself, with friends or time as a family, we have over 130 complimentary group fitness classes a week to choose from.

Kid Working OutDid you know that our youth policy allows you to bring your son or daughter with you to a class? What a great way to connect with your child/teen/young adult and establish healthy fitness habits. They must be at least nine years old and in direct visual and speaking contact with a supervising and responsible adult member 18 years of age or older. Your 14-year-old can arrange to become youth certified and use the club without your supervision.

So where should you start? Change up your routine or introduce a new one for your friends/family. Pick some activities that you’ve always wanted to try. Treat yourself to a 30 minute CXWORX class, which is a 30 minute revolutionary core training. This dynamic workout will challenge your abs, glutes, back, obliques and “slings” connecting the upper and lower body, toning core muscles and improving functional strength.

Why not try an hour of Spinning? Or you might enjoy one of our many cardio, strength, or mind-body classes or experience the Barre at Greenwood. Our early morning Summer Boot Camp is a great opportunity to beat the heat, enjoy the beautiful outdoors and find extra motivation to drive yourself to the next fitness level. There’s something for everyone and the advantage of group fitness is that you are more likely to push yourself harder and be more consistent in a group setting than on your own.

If you have any questions, please be sure to contact Andrea Morris, Director of Group Fitness

Big Changes Start with Small Decisions

Big Changes Start with Small Decisions

As another beautiful spring season approaches, I am excited for all of the upcoming changes we are about to enjoy….longer days, bluer skies, greener grass, blooming flowers, chirping birds and warmer weather. Big changes like these start small and improve with every sunrise. The same can be true of you! Big changes in our health, strength and wellness begin with small decisions every morning to choose health. That is all it takes. A commitment to make small changes every day. Every small decision impacts the end result, so whether you are just starting out or have hit a plateau, make the decision to add something positive or remove something negative that could be sabotaging your efforts. Make this the best spring season of your life!

GATC Outside

Make the decision today to eat whole foods, show up for that Group Fitness class, use the weight room, stay a bit longer on that cardio equipment or swim a few more laps. Every small decision will add up to improvements in heart health, strength and overall wellness.

GATC Class

Be careful though, because the same can be true in reverse. Small decisions to ignore your health, drive past Greenwood, skip that class, ignore the weight room, take a few minutes less on that cardio equipment-even choosing to order the fat- laden fries or super, crazy desert-can add up to big results in the wrong direction.

Choose to support your health and you will sleep better, feel better and even look better! Need ideas on how to switch things up or challenge yourself just a bit more this spring? Call me and take advantage of Greenwood’s complimentary Member Coaching services. It’s another small decision that could lead to big results.

SheriWarren_webSheri Warren, Director of Sales and Retention


Grab the Dumbbells: Using Free Weights at the Gym

By Vic Spatola, Director of Personal Training

This article originally appeared in the April 2017 edition of The Pulse

What is the difference between working out on a singular weight lifting machine and lifting with free weights? Aren’t both weight training activities? Shouldn’t they give you the same benefits? In a word-NO!

Lifting in a fixed machine has some benefits:

  • It gives you the ability to isolate a muscle for maximal growth or hypertrophy
  • If you have an injury, the machine can limit the range of motion to allow you to work in a safe method

Traditionally, fixed isolated machines have been the default equipment for most weight rooms. Their simple and easy use has made gym participants more likely to lift weights. They were originally created for body builders in the 1970’s to allow them to isolate specific muscles for competition. Most were designed by former lifters who knew how an exercise should feel and then put resistance against that motion. Arthur Jones revolutionized this type of training by introducing the first line of Nautilus equipment. This equipment was the first to use a cam method, allowing the strength curve to increase as the muscle got stronger and it brought many gym goers into the weight room.

But let’s fast forward to modern times. We now understand that training exclusively in a machine limits core activation, range of motion and hampers your functional ability. Even though machines can isolate a particular muscle, they lack an overall whole body benefit.

When you lift free weights, you benefit in these ways:

  • More intense core activation
  • Stabilizer muscle activation to decrease unwanted motion
  • More muscles working and more calories burned during workouts
  • More balance and vestibular system challenge
  • Better preparation for sports and daily life


Lifting with free weights allows you to train in a three-dimensional world where as a machine locks you into one plane of movement. Every day we are affected by many external forces (i.e. gravity, rotational forces and linear resistance) and these forces are taken away when training on a machine. Not only does free weight training allow for a more complete workout, it allows for compound movements to occur with resistance. For example, if I do a bicep curl and then I add a step up on a bench as I do it, I can burn more calories and have more muscles working then simply doing either exercise. Also, when doing a barbell exercise like a deadlift or a squat, you use more core activation and increase flexibility and overall range of motion.

As the demands of a busy life increase, we need to be more efficient and selective about how we work out. Doing the same old line of machines that we have been doing for the last five years is less beneficial than moving in a three-dimensional pattern with resistance. Ask one of our personal training experts to set you up on a new weight training program!

Greenwood offers One-on-One Training, which allows you and your trainer to individualize your workout and spend a great deal of time focusing on form, technique and the best way for you to see results, or Semi-Private Personal Training, where you and a friend (or group of up to four friends) will get a great workout together with one of our professional trainers. This is a perfect option for those who like to workout with a friend but need guidance and instruction to maintain consistency and remain efficient.

We also offer a number of PWRFIT classes throughout the week, which deliver functional training movements in a circuit style format to create a high energy, calorie burning, muscle-building workout with professionally mixed music. We offer three class options: Upper Body/Core, Lower Body/Core and Total Body.


Smart Start by Les Mills

Smart Start by Les Mills

by Andrea Morris, Director of Group FitnessBodyPump at Greenwood Athletic and Tennis Club

When it comes to motivation, your brain is a mysterious creature. One minute you’re pumped, full of enthusiasm, a few weeks later the excuses start to creep in and before you know it you haven’t been to the gym all week. Smart Start is a beginner’s plan for fitness that is based on scientific research. Follow this simple approach to guarantee that your first steps to fitness are not your last.

Three Secrets to Success

  1. START SLOW– Don’t push your body too soon. It’s okay to stop working out when you’ve had enough.
  2. BUILD GRADUALLY– Aim towards completing full workouts as your fitness builds.
  3. MIX IT UP– Mix strength, cardio and flexibility training options and learn what workouts consistently motivate you to get moving.

Small Changes

When you’re starting out, a good goal to aim for is 150 minutes of exercise a week. Research shows that with 150 minutes of exercise a week you will start enjoying the health benefits of exercise. The next goal is 250–300 minutes. This is the suggested amount of weekly exercise needed to begin seeing some of the physical changes that accompany exercise without making  any changes to your diet. If you’re up for this challenge, you can begin following our scientifically-proven six-week introduction. This workout plan lets you know how to mix up your workouts to maximize effectiveness and keep it interesting.

Another smart move is to set goals. Setting goals can be a huge help at any stage of your exercise journey. We suggest setting two goals; one based on the results you’re after and one on the behavior you’re trying to change. For example, I want to drop one size and I want to get to the gym twice next week. Post these goals where you will see them often, like on the fridge or on your mirror. Make sure your goals are realistic and don’t be too hard on yourself. As you reach each of your goals you can reevaluate how much time you are exercising and what you are trying to achieve.

Get Together

People who work out in a group are far more likely to stick to exercise than those who go it alone. Get Fit Together, a study conducted by Dr. Jinger Gottschall from the Pennsylvania State University, followed 25 sedentary adults through a 30-week program of group fitness classes. The 30 weeks started with an initial six-week period encouraging the exercisers to “dip their toes” into fitness before building up to a six-day-a-week exercise schedule. The gradual introduction meant that instead of feeling sore from overworking unfit muscles and giving up, the group actually enjoyed their path into exercise. The results were so good that participants delayed the onset of cardiovascular disease by an average of 3.6 years. Over the 30-week study, 20 out of 25 study participants never missed a workout – a compliance rate of 98.8 per cent – almost unheard of in exercise studies. This commitment is proof that, when it comes to exercise, you shouldn’t go it alone. Combining a steady start with the support of others works wonders.

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After Six-Weeks

To really lock in your healthy new habit, the next 12 weeks are just as critical to your success. Each week from now should include three 60 minute cardio workouts, two 60 minute strength workouts and one 60 minute session of core/flexibility work. If you want to find out about cardio, strength, core and flexibility workout options, please consult our Group Fitness Schedule.

Andrea Morris, Director of Group Fitness | 303.770.2582 x312 |

Group Fitness Instructors Change Lives

At Greenwood Athletic and Tennis Club, we offer 136 classes each week taught by experienced fitness professionals. We are always looking for more talented individuals to join our team.Group fitness

Our instructors have over 900 years of collective teaching experience, hold national certifications like AFAA, ACE and NASM, have earned certifications in licensed Les Mills and Beach Body programs and have not only pursued numerous continuing education credits, but have also completed over 10,000 hours of shared yoga training. This education and experience, combined with a passion for what we do and who we serve, affords us the opportunity to provide each and every member a truly exceptional group fitness experience.

bodypumptracyWe offer a wide selection of class formats designed to accommodate diverse fitness goals and appeal to a variety of interests. If you’re looking for a total body workout, we offer: Code Green, Breakfast Club, BODYSTEP, SWEAT, Total Body Fit, Cycle & Circuit and willpower & grace.

If you’ve got 30 minutes and want to be better at all that you do from everyday life to your favorite sports, CXWORX is the perfect core workout for you.

For those interested in a total body workout using light to moderate weights with lots of repetition, BODYPUMP delivers.

H.I.I.T. (High Intensity Interval Training) offers seasoned exercisers a new challenge and new exercisers a quick way to see results. We offer: H.I.I.T., INSANITY and CVI.
Yoga provides an opportunity for peace and tranquility achieved through focused training. It can change your physical and mental capacity quickly, while preparing the mind and body for long-term health. We offer: Alignment, Power and Basic Vinyasa classes as well as Classical Hatha, Kundalini, Restorative, Candlelight and Thermal Yoga. We are looking to add Ashtanga as well.

Indospinningpicdennisor cycling classes are known for energy-infused music and motivating instructors who guide you through an imaginary course. We’ve added Performance IQ to increase engagement with participants and provide performance metrics. We offer: Shift Up/Speed up, H.I.I.T. the Road, High Gear,  Ride & Shine and an Endurance Ride.
If you prefer to “Ditch the Workout and Join the Party!”, then Zumba is the class for you. We are also looking for UJAM instructors.

If you have a passion for fitness, helping others achieve their fitness goals and offering a group fitness experience like no other, we would love the opportunity to see if the GATC Fitness Team is right for you. Please submit your resume to: along with any of the aforementioned certifications.

To look for more instructor opportunities at Greenwood Athletic and Tennis Club visit our employment page.