Pregnancy Workouts: 4 Reasons to Work Out Before, During and After

**Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program. This general information is not intended to replace your healthcare professional. Consult with your healthcare professional to design an appropriate exercise prescription.*

Exercise has many benefits for women before and after pregnancy. Although the gym might feel like the last thing on your mind, it is important to keep active during all three trimesters of your pregnancy. Greenwood Athletic Club trainer Kelly Buresh has a passion for helping people find their happiest and healthiest self through exercise. “I was always taught that if I put my heart into something, not only could I achieve my goal but I would get immense satisfaction from it.” She believes that taking care of yourself physically improves your life in every facet. She shared with us four important reasons to keep moving before, during, and after your pregnancy.

Leading up to Pregnancy: If you are looking to get pregnant, maintaining a healthy regiment as far as physical exercise, diet and nutrition is key in prepping your body to even attain pregnancy! It can be a challenge to become pregnant if you are overweight or if you are not regularly meeting your nutritional needs.  Furthermore, maintaining healthy levels of blood pressure, and maintaining a healthy diet makes it less likely to experience complications at any stage during pregnancy. While the gym is a great place to get your workout, the best place to start is with something you already enjoy doing, whether it be going on walks, running, taking a group fitness class, playing tennis, or any other form of physical activity. Getting out and moving is important.

Getting Started: During pregnancy, it is important to stay active because the exercise and nutrition decisions you make while pregnant can affect not only you and your baby during pregnancy, but it can affect your child long after their birth. Not only does regular exercise help to relieve unnecessary symptoms such as excessive weight gain, uncomfortable swelling, premature labor, low back pain, sciatica and other pregnancy discomforts. It also greatly reduces the likelihood of experiencing complications such as high blood pressure, hypertension or gestational diabetes during your pregnancy. Maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise can help your child avoid things like diabetes and excessive weight in their early childhood as well. Even if you don’t already exercise on a regular basis (and unless your doctor tells you otherwise), it is recommended that you can begin an exercise regimen while pregnant. The types of exercise you might do varies from each person, but going on short 10-15 minute walks are a great way to get in some movement. Also, body weight exercises such as squats will be helpful in building leg strength, your abdominals, and even your upper body if you want to add in some weights. These exercises help to maximize your time and energy.IMG_2175IMG_2179

Benefits of Exercise: Maintaining muscle tone and building your endurance are both factors in helping women deliver babies. By building up your muscles and maintaining active, it can help alleviate the physically exhaustive process of delivering a baby. A helpful exercise for maintaining muscle tone is to do lunges with weight on one side. This requires your upper body where you have to brace your abdominals during labor to be strengthened. Another exercise, the farmers carry, even with just one weight forces you to use your abdominals to keep upright, again strengthening an area that’s key to labor.IMG_2170IMG_2173

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting Back After Pregnancy: During pregnancy, you might feel a bit of derailment not just with weight, but it might be that your muscle structures have changed as well. Returning to your pre-pregnancy body doesn’t happen quickly and its different for everyone, since each woman has a different labor and birth experience. The important thing is to have a plan and be sure to consult with a personal trainer who can help you get ideas for how to recover. The best thing you can do after labor is to make time for yourself.
It is important to mentally have some time each day for yourself, not to mention the many mental benefits you get from adding in physical exercise. After consulting with your doctor and a personal trainer, you might consider starting 2 to 3 days a week and then assessing how much you can physically handle. Not to mention, our GATC Kids Club is available for you to drop off infants ages 6 weeks to 6 months for 1 ½ hours per visit. Our infant area is completely enclosed offering your baby a quiet and peaceful environment.

Please be sure to reach out to our Kelly Buresh and our Personal Trainers if you are interested in learning more about personal training sessions, and making time to have Greenwood Athletic Club be the best part of your day!

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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

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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.

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Can Strength Training Improve your Cycling?

As the weather warms up, it’s the perfect time to start thinking about all the bike rides that you will be taking this summer. With a variety of different bike paths and mountainous settings, bike riding in Colorado is both challenging and rewarding. Like any other athletic activity, it’s not something that you just want to j18197621_10155253757309911_1756136640_n (1)ump back into. Bike riders from all backgrounds, spanning from recreational to professional, will benefit from one-on-one coaching to help create a regiment that strengthens your body, keeps you safe from injury, and improves your overall experience on your bicycle.  I followed Greenwood Athletic Club personal trainer Jennifer Schumm around the gym where she highlighted four areas to focus on that will pay off when you get on your bicycle.

  1. Working Your Core: Although you may be inclined to think that your leg strength is the first area to focus on, Jennifer recommends starting with your core area. There’s a lot of power in our core, but our brains often don’t use them. Often times we tend to be weak in two areas, specifically the psoas and iliopsoas. These areas come into play when you are working on keeping stable and upright on your bicycle, or when you lift your knees up in the pedal stroke. By strengthening these two core areas, your body uses those muscles for power, speed and endurance on the bike. This gives your body an opportunity to engage an area besides your legs, which can build up lactic acid as you ride. By engaging the power from your other muscles, especially your core area, you will end up having a more powerful, sustained ride. A great way to build up your core area is to integrate in TRX exercises, including mountain climbers, pikes, center tucks with side to side tucks, which Jennifer highlights below:

 

  1. Engaging Your Glutes: There’s a lot of power in our glutes, but we often overlook how important they can be. Strengthening your glutes can also help alleviate imbalances in the pelvis, knees and spine. Think of these muscles as your secret biking weapon. A great way to build up this area is by doing glute hip thrusts, both single and dual leg glute extensions, as Jennifer shows us below. This exercise is beneficial in helping you develop strength and power in your gluteus maximus muscle.

  1. Strengthen your back: If you think about when you are on the bike hunched over, your shoulders are in and your chest becomes concaved. This is why it’s very important to strengthen your back so that you can open up your shoulders and chest. That’s not just going to help you on the bike, but includes long term benefits to improving your everyday posture. Two great places to target in your back are your lats and rhomboids. Having a strong back leads to better posture when you are on your bike. This allows you to pull with your upper body when you are out of the saddle climbing, sprinting, and helps you maintain your bike position for long periods of time. Jennifer demonstrates two important exercises that can help you strengthen this area, specifically body weight pull ups and the seated row.

 

  1. Improve your Upper Body Strength:Off season training is a great opportunity to build up your back consisting of rear delts, lats, rhomboids, and erector spinae.  However you need to think of the upper body as a whole and balanced which is why it is important to also train the opposition of the upper body as well, triceps, chest shoulder and biceps. Incorporating in upper body strength training will help you become less fatigued on your bike ride. You want to be sure to have the upper body strength and endurance to not only maintain your posture on your bike for long rides so that your body and legs become less fatigued, and therefore maintain power speed and position, but also be able to use the upper body when climbing, attacking, sprinting, etc.   You can increase your strength through push-ups, pull-ups, and tricep dips, all of these always bodyweight, and rear delt raises.

 

As Jennifer Schumm has learned from her years as a cyclist and personal trainer, and cycling and Spinning instructor dedicating some time to working on muscle strength before you get out onto your bike will have some long-lasting results. Jennifer specializes her personal training sessions to her client’s needs, so that you can get the very most out of your training sessions. Don’t wait until the summer to get started, feel free to email Jennifer at jennifers@GreenwoodATC.com to set up a consultation today and get started.

Jennifer Schumm
NASM Certified Personal Trainer
USA Cycling, CAT 1 (Semi-Pro) Road Cyclist

The Gamification of Exercise

An example of the current gamification trend is Performance IQ in our cycling classes. By displaying your work on a screen, the instructor can create challenges in class to get more out of each participant, you can view your current level of work in real time and the data is a great motivator! The popular device fitbit™ records movement and counts steps to motivate the individual to move more and sit less.

GATC is introducing another gamification device to our members in MYZONE! This activity tracker/ heart rate monitor records all your workouts and assigns points for your effort and workout. Based on your average heart rate, the device calculates yimages---photos_iphone-mockup-2_800x534our effort level and minutes of activity to assign you MEPs (MYZONE Effort Points.) Those MEPs are then used in challenges to track who is leading, individually or on a team.

Gamification of exercise is more than a screen displaying your output; it is a way to connect with other participants to have fun while staying active. By creating challenges on an app or in social media, people can see where they rank in a challenge and how their effort has elevated their team. These results can be shared on social media and can be viewed by your fellow team mates, holding you accountable for working out and staying consistent. By participating in contests based on your activity and effort, your workouts are more consistent and fun! We are using MYZONE this year for our 2017 Fitness Challenge to help you be accountable and help you achieve your goals.

Accountability and consistency are important keys to attaining the results you’re looking for, but adding FUN to your workouts is important too!

Vic Spatola, Director of Personal Training

Fit Family: the Serenyis

cuteDSC_4696Steve and Christy Serenyis joined GATC ten years ago, just a few months after they were married. Christy: When we moved south of Denver I wanted a good club with some intense classes. I picked GATC primarily because of the class options. We didn’t have children when we first joined, but I had heard the GATC kids programs were really good. I did the Outdoor Fit classes and loved them. A group of five or six of us really bonded last year. We wanted to keep working out really hard so we joined Boxing Babes. Now our group has grown and we participate in PWRFIT with Brandon. I like a teacher that pushes me. PWRFIT has great music and Brandon works us really hard. For Barre, it is the same thing. Christine or Chrissy are both great teachers with some really good high energy flow music.

Steve comes three times a week, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday, and focuses on the weight room and maybe some stair-master work. Christy: The staff in the Kids’ Club is special. They are so understanding and forgiving to the moms when we are tired and dropping off our kids quickly. Not that they know us, it is as simple as opening the door, the kids run in and you run away. I have witnessed crying kids and crying moms with the staff saying “We got this, just go” and I have assured other mothers “they will find you if there is a problem.”

Christy and Steve also speak highly of Little Lobbers instructor, Lisa Thomas. They feel that Lisa is good at engaging even challenging kids. She loves them even when they have bad days as kids do. If Christy wasn’t there at the end of Little Lobbers, Lisa knew she was in a class and took her child back to the Kids Club.

Nine-year old Anna just joined the Greenwood Tiger Shark swim team, but also plays tennis and soccer. Anna likes school (third grade) and is great at everything. MarcuteDSC_4737shall is seven and in second grade. He is an excellent reader, well above his age group. He participated in Little Lobbers with Lisa and has taken Stroke School. Harrison is five and has done a lot here at the club. He is in his third year of Little Lobbers with Lisa. He loves everything and Trish has helped him be really good at swimming.

MacKenzie is the youngest at two and a half. She loves Kids’ Club and taking swim lessons with Trish too. Christy: I often think of my mother’s regret. She wishes now that she had taken time for her own needs while raising children. I tell my friends, take just one hour; your kids will be fine. My husband sees that because I work out, I am a lot happier. I know Steve is happier because he works out and we want our children to find happiness and be healthy too. I like the community here. Since GATC is smaller, a lot of us recognize each other. I think the community creates more respect for each other – it is cleaner, neater and friendlier. I tell people to come here all the time!

Nothing Can Stop You

Let’s face it, joining a health club can be intimidating. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve done athletically in the past. Entering a new environment with new people, processes, studios and classes can be exciting and overwhelming. Be encouraged—you are not alone and we are here to help! Every month new members join our club with the same hopes, goals and expectations you have. Whether you want to run your first 5K, complete all the obstacles in a Tough Mudder, set a personal best in an upcoming triathlon, become leaner, healthier or stronger, or lose that first 20 or last 10 pounds; if you have a goal, Greenwood can help you get there. It really is as simple as getting started. What begins as stepping outside your comfort zone will soon feel like home.

Start by planning your first visit and then your next. Put specific classes on your calendar. Schedule your introductory personal training or Pilates session. Create the habit of consistently walking through our doors at least four times each week and soon Greenwood will become “The Best Part of Your Day!” If you have great intentions, or had them at one point but need accountability, simply invite a friend, colleague or neighbor tstrong_LRo visit the club and join themselves. Then, the two of you can hold each other accountable,
workout together and be the voice of encouragement on sticking to your plan. Studies prove that working out with a friend or trainer you are accountable to, will increase your likelihood of staying consistent, enjoying the process and ultimately reaching your goals.

Whether you’ve been a member for years or are new to Greenwood, don’t let the intimidation factor or anything else stop you. The more you exercise, the better you’ll feel and the quicker you will achieve the results you came here for. Only attending twice per week? Try a new class or add a strength day to your routine. Need a little extra guidance? Set up a time to meet with me. I can help set up a personalized workout plan with class recommendations, workout ideas and exercises you can do to get the results you are looking for. My services as Member Coach are complimentary and open to all Greenwood members. Schedule your next workout today! Get started and let me know if I can help.

Sheri Warren
Member Coach
Greenwood Athletic and Tennis Club

Choose a heart healthy path…

 

blogpath3Heart health could be the most important physical attribute of all. A healthy heart feeds oxygenated blood to every muscle, every organ and every cell in your body. So what is the best way to ensure you have a healthy heart? The most obvious way to improve heart health is to simply be active.

According to the American Heart Association, you should get at least 30 minutes of moderate to intense exercise most days, if not every day for optimal heart health. We can all find 30 minutes in our busy schedules to dedicate to our heart. A 30 minute walk/run through your neighborhood will not only get your heart pumping but could be just the ticket to clear your mind, stimulate positive ideas and allow you to take in some Vitamin D from the sun.

All activity is beneficial. You only have one heart – take care of it, choose to be active and you will thrive in areas beyond heart health. Aerobic exercise like swimming, biking, or use of cardio equipment will strengthen the heart and lungs by improving the body’s ability to utilize oxygen. The stronger your heart the more efficient it is at pumping blood to the rest of the body and eliminating toxins. Yoga, deep breathing and other stress reducing activities help lower blood pressure and bring more oxygen to all areas of the body as well. If that isn’t enough motivation to get moving, I’m not sure what is!

Hate cardio activity? Yoga not your thing? Prefer to lift weights? That’s okay too because even anaerobic activities like strength training and high intensity interval training teach the body to become efficient at creating energy and recovering from bursts of energy output. Strength training will increase your heart rate while creating both muscle strength and muscle density. Increasing muscle strength and muscle density increases your metabolism and strengthens the immune system. Schedule your daily workout and vary your activities and you will improve your heart health and chances for a longer, healthier life. With all the options available to you, finding something to do for at least 30 minutes per day should be easy. Be creative. Use the stairs in your home if all else fails. I’m confident you’ll find something fun to do it in a heartbeat!

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Corporate Executives Capitalize Upon the Benefits of Exercise

Are you a corporate executive or manager striving to increase productivity, improve your bottom line and attract high-achieving employees? Start wbusinessDSC_0415ith investing in employee wellness, setting a personal example and encouraging employees to take the time to work out. These are just three important ways that executives can capitalize upon the benefits of exercise for themselves, their employees and ultimately their company.

Research continues to support the fact that fit employees are less likely to get sick thereby lowering health care costs. Employees who take the time to work out have more energy, exude positive attitudes at work, are typically more productive and can handle stressful situations more effectively. Since those who exercise tend to set physical goals they most likely know how to set professional goals as well and will systematically put processes in place to achieve those goals and won’t stop until they do. Finding employees who have these qualities is essential. Why not partner with your local health club like Greenwood Athletic and Tennis Club in Greenwood Village, CO to customize discounts for your employees or better yet, subsidize those memberships to encourage greater participation.

As a leader, every corporate executive should set an example that health and wellness is critical. When corporate executives provide an example to their employees, employees follow suit. Setting time aside to ensure they are fit and healthy will show that they value the same in their employees. Executives who do so will exude the personal benefits of a healthier, stronger, more energetic, positive leader; one who can handle whatever challenges come their way. This will help employees want to do the same and in doing so become the best, most productive employee they can be. Employees who miss less work, have more energy, are more productive, handle stress more effectively, and are able to set and achieve goals will ultimately benefit the company’s bottom line.  Additionally, employees want to maintain balance between their personal, physical and professional lives. Wisely supporting and encouraging them to do so will reap huge benefits to everyone involved; the company, the employee and their families.
Other statistics that show how corporate executives capitalize upon the benefits of exercise are shown below.  Wellness Proposals, a corporate wellness consulting company recently published the following:

  • Employees who exercise regularly and lead healthy life styles incur 31% lower health care costs than employees who live sedentary, unhealthy lifestyles.
  • Almost 50% of medical costs are incurred due to illnesses that can be avoided with small life-style changes.
  • The typical ROI on corporate wellness investment tends to be about $4 to $5 saved for every dollar spent
  • Make the investment in your company. The benefits are substantial and far outweigh the costs.

By Sheri Warren, Personal Trainer, Member Coach and Director of Sales and Retention

Consistency is the Key!

Speak to a variety of fitness professionals about the best way to achieve fitness results and you will get a variety of answers. Let’s face it, there are a variety of ways to improve your health and a variety of workout programs to improve your waistline. The key to actually achieving those results however is one they will all agree upon; consistency! Consistency is critical to obtaining long term, recognizable and sustainSherriWarren and Hollyable results; results that you can see and results you can feel. So make a daily appointment with yourself to take spin class on Monday, workout with your friend on Tuesday, hike with the dog on Wednesday, meet with your trainer on Thursday and take Yoga on Friday. Doing so will do more than decrease your waistline.

Consistent exercise keeps your blood pressure and cholesterol in check, stimulates the mind, shapes and strengthens muscles, tendons and bones, leads to a general feeling of well being, has been shown to increase productivity in other areas of your life and may even help to ensure deeper relationships with the important people in your life. Consistent exercisers tend to live longer, healthier lives, deal more effectively with stressful circumstances and having a more positive outlook on life. Who wouldn’t sign up for that?  Create a written plan or enlist the help of a fitness professional to write one for you, then schedule each fitness appointment in your calendar. Doing so will greatly increase the likelihood that you will stick to your plan. Relying on whether you “feel” like exercising on a daily basis never works. Feelings change but the truth that consistency is the key will remain true whether you feel like moving or not.

Sticking to a written plan that requires consistent exercise allows your body to respond appropriately and the results will follow. Seeing the physical changes and experiencing the emotional changes in overall well-being reinforces your desire to continue with the plan. So go to the club, attend that class and set an alarm for Boot Camp and watch how the wonderful habit of consistently creates the results you’ve been looking for.

By Sheri Warren, Personal Trainer, Member Coach and Retention Manager

KEYS TO RESULTS: WORKOUT HARD, EAT WISELY AND REPEAT

The fitness industry and society routinely come up with “magic bullets.” Whether it is a program, class or product, the promoters say this is the key for people to lose weight and achieve the body they want. In my opinion, they are full of it. The only path to results is by following these five steps:

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WORKOUT HARD – Whether it is a cardiovascular session or a weight lifting routine, you need to do it intensely enough to break a sweat and feel very fatigued. Often, I see people doing cardio, going through the motions and barely breaking a sweat or breathing hard. The same for lifting- I often see people pick up weights, do an exercise and then put them down and look no more fatigued than as if they were chewing gum. It’s called a workout for a reason people! Sweat, push yourself and feel a little sore the next day.

STOP EATING SO MUCH – Most people say they eat healthy and yet they are overweight. There are three possible explanations for this: either you have a hormonal dysfunction (12% of the total US population has this), you think you eat healthy food but actually do not, or you eat healthy but eat too much. Diet is 70% of the weight loss equation. If you consistently drop your caloric intake, make everything you eat nutritionally relevant and eat a variety of different foods, you can actually achieve weight loss that is long-term and healthy.

HAVE FUN – Try different activities that get you moving. Learn to love to make your body move in different ways. Have fun and involve the family. The more you are around people who are active, the more you become active.

BE CONSISTENT YEAR ROUND – Many people get in shape in January and lose momentum by April. Then they fall back into destructive habits that counteract results. Try this; never let more than 48 hour pass before you exercise intensely. Keep that rule and you will see a dramatic difference in yourself.

DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP – Whether it is a trainer, neighbor, friend or spouse- ask for help to become or stay active. Again, the more you associate with active people, the more active you will become. Don’t be afraid to ask a professional for help in achieving your goals. Everyone needs a coach to help them in a sport, the same goes for fitness.

AGAIN, eat less but healthy food, be active intensely, have fun with it, be social and ask for help once and awhile. Repeat this prescription every day and watch the results.

For more help with your fitness goals, visit the GATC Personal Training page and for nutrition information, the GATC Nutrition Services page.

Vic Spatola, Director of Personal Training