Your October Resolution

Your October Resolution

Did you know that many consider October to be the new New Year’s resolution month for parents?

It’s true. Think about it, you just spent the last 3 months caring for your kids, finding a ton of things to do to keep them busy so their needle isn’t stuck on the “Mom and Dad… I’m BORED” record. It’s not enough that you took two vacations, spent a third of your annual salary within a month and gave your kids an experience that you would have died for when you were that age. You can see the finish line coming and you’re joyfully shopping for pens, pencils of all colors, various paper pads and folders knowing that fall is on its way. It’s almost like Christmas time when you were a kid… but not quite.

So October is here and now you can barely contain yourself long enough to wave at them as they walk out the door with that huge backpack on. You’ve made up your mind to do something nice for yourself for a change and after the initial day or three where you rush them out the door and go back to bed or finish up that novel you started and stopped 8 times since the first flight in June.

Even if you aren’t a parent, it’s your turn and it’s a new year, as it were, and it is a great opportunity to make a change. You’ve been craving normalcy for weeks now and having a consistent schedule couldn’t be a more perfect time to start a new healthy program for yourself. It might be as simple as cutting carbs in your diet or as extensive as doing exercise classes several times a week or hiring a personal trainer. If you’re having a hard time deciding here are some suggestions:

Learning Meditation: There are scientific studies that show the many benefits of meditating. It’s suggested that meditating can help improve your mood, reduce stress, lessen anxiety and improve your brain’s ability in decision making, self-control and sensory perception. Meditating, once you learn how, can be very easy to do.

Do Planks every day: Doing plank exercises every day is a fantastic way to slim down your mid-section, strengthen your core and improve your posture. There are many resources on how to do them correctly online and at the club. Your results can be amazing even if you only start doing them for as little as 5 minutes per day. As always, start slow to avoid any possible injury and please consult your physician before starting any new workout routine.

Move More: Living a sedentary life tends to have some potentially serious consequences later on in life. It will make you more likely to be overweight and it puts you at a higher risk of health issues. It doesn’t matter what you choose as long as you’re raising your heart rate. Take a walk, get up every 20 minutes and move around or stretch, join a dance class, take the stairs instead of the elevator or park further away when you do your errands. All of these help get your blood moving, create oxygen flow and generally will help make you feel better.

Eat fewer calories: For the most part, people use resolution times to make changes in their appearance and most will opt to get smaller. Consuming fewer calories will more likely set you in that direction. Carrying excess weight puts us at a greater risk for a lot of different health problems that include diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. If you gained weight over your vacation I recommend that you eat smaller portions moving forward and keep your body moving.

Let’s have a great rest of the year!

-Dan Engle

Celebrate the Month of Love

Remember, 2019 is your year. I can feel it! This is the year of no excuses and the year to be good to you.

February is typically the month where many tend to focus on your special relationship. Whatever the relationship you choose to celebrate you need to take care of yourself in order to take care of that someone special. So let’s celebrate the month of love by showing some love to our own selves by taking care of our mind and body. You can incorporate taking care of yourself with the love you show to your significant other and your family.

There are a lot of us that sacrifice a lot for our family or our significant other that takes its toll on our body and mind. For most of us this is a choice out of love and goodness of our heart so we need to prepared to do it well.

Some of us work a lot of hours (guilty here) and by the time you get home you’re not able or willing to take time to take care of yourself. It’s the family or significant other first then dinner then bed. If you’re like me you go a million miles an hour during the day and very actively do not sit down too quickly once you get home because you’re absolutely done for the night if you do. If this is your situation you can take some steps during the day to help out.

Here are a few ways you can help feel great in your body and your mind while you’re away from your family:

  • Stay Hydrated – keep a bottle of water with you at your desk and in your car.
  • Avoid Sugar – Limit the trips to the candy bowls scattered throughout the office.
  • Avoid complacency – Stand while you take that phone call go take a walk while you’re on your break.
  • Go the extra mile – Park further away in the parking lot and take the stairs instead of the elevator.

When you’re with your significant other or your family try to do some things during that time that are healthy in mind and body for all of you:

  • Go to the park – spring is coming and taking a walk or playing a ball game outside is great exercise and a great way to bond with your family and get some air.
  • Take a group exercise class – CAC - Silver Lake caters to families and offer classes for everyone.
  • Get the bikes out – A family bike ride on some of the trails of our beautiful state is a fantastic way to stay healthy and bond with one another.
  • Family Fun Nights – Many places have these programs. Our club has one every month that includes activities such as Movies in the pool, family yoga, family badminton, family dodgeball and Nerf wars.

Some of us might find ourselves spending this month alone. Many of us make this an active choice but many of us don’t and it can potentially cause some real health issues. If you find yourself alone or just feeling that way during the month of love, do your best to find ways to help reduce the stress that it inevitably leads to:

  • Exercise – Do it because it’s good for your soul and not so much your outward appearance. Do it not as trying to reach a specific goal. Do it because it makes you feel good.
  • Try not to compare yourself to others – They’re not you and you’re not them. Besides, deep down they may want to be you if they really knew you.
  • Treat yourself – If you can afford it, treat yourself to something you don’t necessarily need. A plane ticket to your dream destination, tickets to a concert or play… How about a cruise?
  • Be good to others – no matter your situation it’s so important to treat others well despite how you may have been treated. Do this because it makes you feel good in the end and not because it’s expected of you.

You really do deserve love in your life. We all do.

– Dan Engle

New Years Resolutions… Done Right

New Years resolutions this year? Most of us have them with the goal to improve health, fitness and athletic performance. So, here are some tips to help you stay focused and on target this season.

• Make realistic goals. Your resolution doesn’t always need to be about weight loss. It can be about adding more variety or value to your workouts. Here are some ideas from current members who have shared ideas:
Have a number of visits to the Club in mind. “I used to be at the Club about twice per week, but this year I have committed to be there 3 days per week. Even if it is not a workout, I sit in the hot tub, stretch, or just have a sauna, but this forces me to be more disciplined and in a routine”
Add in a Mind Body class one day per week. “I spend most of my workout time in the weight room and cardio machines. This year I will add in a Yoga or Pilates class one day per week. I will commit to this for 6 weeks then re-evaluate my progress and make adjustments if needed. I expect to see increase flexibility and will view this as my body’s reward for hard work”.
“Adding 15 to 20 minutes of cardio in before or after my Training session or class has not only allowed me be more focused and ready for my session, but helped me burn a few more calories each day. Added together, this has made a big difference in my progress”.

• Accountability: Write down your goals in a place you see every day and check it off weekly to stay focused and reminded.

• Network: find a workout buddy or tell a friend, family member or staff at the Club! You know we will help you stay on track.

• Set yourself up to succeed: Plan ahead and prepare snacks, lunch or grab and go breakfasts. It’s OK to have a treat now and then but make it an effort to find it in the cupboard or refrigerator. Place the healthy snacks in the forefront and the treats away from sight.

• Count your calories: Portion control is one of the best ways to succeed. Avoid cooking too much or adding too much to your plate. Know what your daily intake should be for your age, body, and activity level. Ask this question to any of our Trainers. They will help you!
A good rule of thumb is 3 oz of Protein is roughly the size and thickness of the palm of your hand. ½ cup of vegetables is roughly the size of a clenched hand

• Eat slowly and without distractions such as a computer, TV or phone. If you are dining out, skip the appetizers and bread.

• Watch the sugar! Protein Carbs and Fat are all essential elements in a balanced diet, but added sugars and sugar substitutes can quickly derail your quest. Avoid sodas, sugary coffee drinks and desserts. Get to know your habits. Is an afternoon coffee drink a habit, a reward, a treat or your body craving a sugar fix. Try something different and then limit these habits to once or just twice a week instead of daily.

• Mix it up! Keep your body guessing. Keep the internal machine working hard to keep up. Whether you are on the elliptical, treadmill or doing laps in the pool once per week change up the routine and add in 2 minutes of speed with 4 minutes of moderate pace. Remember to add in stretching or foam rolling. This is an important part of your recovery and your body’s reward.

• Rest and Sleep is also an essential part of your success. Take time for yourself, relax, visualize, internally reward your efforts and get a restful night’s sleep.

• Drink Water

Stay committed to your goals for 4 to 6 weeks. This is how long it will take before you really see the results! But it will happen! Good luck and remember we are here to support your goals and help you achieve results.

Why Swim?

If swimming laps is of interest to you, then you should do it, and here are just some reasons why:

Stress relief – Yes, all exercise will help with this. However, it is shown that being in the water helps reduce sensory overload and this has a calming influence on the body (like taking a bath). This is also due to the constant stretching and rhythmic breathing which can be meditative, similar to yoga.

Total body workout – in addition to achieving your cardio goals, you are also getting in your strength training due to the resistance of the water. Combine this with the flexibility necessary to adapt to the water and the engagement of muscles that often go underutilized and swimming becomes a one stop exercise shop!

Cross training – Swimming will help improve your overall fitness level and also eliminates the pounding your body takes on land.

Swimming makes you smarter – Blood flow to the brain is increased when the body is submerged in the water. Your body also learns to use oxygen more efficiently due to restricted breathing when you swim which can result in a lower resting heart rate and lower blood pressure.

Swimmers may actually live longer – Researchers at the University of South Carolina looked at 40,547 men aged 20 to 90, for over 32 years. The results showed that those who swam had a 50 percent lower death rate that runners, walkers, or men who didn’t exercise.

If these aren’t good enough reasons to get in the water and swim some laps, then just think about how much more confident you’ll be on your next tropical vacation if you take advantage of the Aquatics facilities at Columbia Athletic Clubs.

For questions about our specific club Aquatics facilities, contact the following:

For Juanita Bay, email us at
For Pine Lake, email us at
For Silver Lake, email us at

The Nutrition Top 5

The trends of health and wellness can be very confusing at times. Nutrition is often one of the most confusing aspects of wellness. Nutrition advice changes very frequently and controversy is common even among professionals. In my health coaching, I have found it is most productive to ensure the food you eat is simply clean. The following are my five guidelines for making healthy food choices. I have found these guidelines are effective in providing a healthy foundation for food consumption. These guidelines along with routine exercise have been shown to lead to weight management.

Drink more Water. Proper hydration is one of the most effective ways to increase your overall wellness. Drinking adequate daily volumes of water will lead to higher energy levels and help to increase your time spent asleep. Furthermore, drinking more water has been proven to increase metabolic activity. This metabolic increase ultimately will lead to burning more calories each day. My favorite tip is to establish a habit of drinking three glasses of water an hour before each meal.

Eat Whole Clean Foods. Look for foods that have not been processed and contain minimal ingredient lists. You should start to make a habit of reading ingredient lists on all food labels. I like to ask myself, can the food be found on a farm? Has the food undergone multiple changes to reach an edible state? Not all your food will go straight from harvest to table but you want a high percentage of your food consumption to be clean.

Fresh is Best. There is no denying the importance of fruits and vegetables in a balanced diet. Did you know not every vegetable is created equal? Look to select vibrant colored vegetables as they hold more vitamins and minerals. I always encourage my clients to be creative in the way they eat vegetables. Trying new combinations and fun ways of cooking vegetables can bring new rich flavors to your old favorites.

Do not fear Fats. Healthy fats are an important and vital part of balanced nutrition. Healthy fats help to curb appetite and provide essential physiological function. Avoid foods that are branded as low fat options. Often foods marketed to be low in fat are high in sugar and processed ingredients. I like to include healthy fats from legumes and fish in every diet plan.

Don’t Fall for a Fad. The nutrition industry is fueled by constantly changing diets and tricks. Be sure to avoid any nutrition information that has not been researched and proven. Keep in mind that foods can be marketed as a healthy food and still lack nutritional content. Every time you consider starting a diet talk to a healthcare professional first.

Were you successful with your fitness New Year resolution? Have you become burnt out with dieting and restricted eating? Traditional dieting adds an additional life stress. This additional stress results in detrimental cycles of weight loss and gain. Here is the good news – You can lose weight by making proven and sustainable lifestyle changes. Following a nutritional sound diet and bringing awareness to your eating patterns will drive sustained body transformation.

Be sure to sign up with our nutritionist Joshua today to start your journey to fuller health.

How You can Battle Plantar Fasciitis

If you’re active, you’ve probably experienced foot pain at some point. Plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of foot pain, affecting 1 out of 10 Americans at some point in their lives. I have experienced it myself a couple of times. If you have pain in your heel or arch that’s worse in the morning, following long periods of sitting or standing, or feels better during activity and worse after, you might have a case of plantar fasciitis.

What is plantar fasciitis?

The plantar fascia is a thick band of connective tissue that attaches at your heel and runs to your toes. It provides structure to the arch of your foot and acts like a shock-absorbing sling when you walk. Repetitive stretching and trauma to the tissue can cause microtears to develop, resulting in pain. The most common causes are:

  • Certain types of exercise, typically high-impact like running, jumping, or dancing
  • Poor foot mechanics (flat-footed or high arches)
  • Obesity
  • Standing on hard surfaces for long periods of time

The most common symptom is sharp pain under the heel, most often felt first thing in the morning when you step out of bed. Your plantar fascia has just spent hours in a shortened position (toes pointed under the covers) trying to heal overnight, and then you step out of bed, abruptly stretching it as your foot hits the floor. The microtears keep recurring.

What can you do about it?

For active people, runners especially, plantar fasciitis can really throw a wrench in the works. But there are several things you can do to keep yourself on your feet:

  • Catch it early. Don’t let yourself be lulled into ignoring your plantar fasciitis because you only feel it in the morning. Chronic heel pain can lead to compensation in your gait and create even more issues up the kinetic chain into your knee, hip, or low back.
  • Wear a plantar fasciitis splint to bed. You can find these at most drug stores, and they’re not uncomfortable to sleep in. The splint keeps your ankle flexed so your plantar fascia isn’t in a shortened position all night. When the microtears heal, they heal with the fascia at a proper length. It also avoids the abrupt stretch as your foot hits the floor. If you’re opposed to sleeping in the splint, this simple trick can help: before getting out of bed, roll your ankle around and point and flex your toes to stretch the plantar fascia before bearing any weight on it.
  • Ice after workouts or long days on your feet. Freeze a water bottle and roll it around under your foot for an ice massage.
  • Strengthen your calves and feet. Calf raises, toe walking, and toe scrunches will help build stability in your arch and reduce the stress on the plantar fascia.
  • Wear shoes with proper support for your foot. Visit a reputable running store (like our local Plateau Runner) where they do a basic gait analysis before making shoe recommendations. If you have structural issues like flat feet or high arches, you may need additional corrective support from inserts or orthotics.

You can implement these strategies as soon as you notice symptoms, but as with any chronic pain, it’s still important to see your doctor to rule out other conditions.

Nikki Brown, CSCS

Put a little Yoga in your New Year!

Workout fads come and go, but virtually no other exercise program is as enduring as yoga. Believe it or not, it’s been around for more than 5,000 years!

Yoga does more than burn calories and tone muscles. It’s a total mind-body workout that combines strengthening and stretching poses with deep breathing and meditation or relaxation.

The benefits of yoga have been long established and touted through the health and fitness community. Yoga can increase flexibility and strength, improve balance, help manage stress and fine tune mental focus. Those that participate in yoga lose weight, decrease blood pressure and lower bad cholesterol. There is a vast growing body of research that shows yoga can help combat health issues, such as chronic pain, fatigue, asthma, and obesity.

There are more than 100 different forms of yoga. Some are fast-paced and intense, while others are gentle and relaxing. Here at CAC - Silver Lake, we offer variety of classes to appeal to all levels of participant.
Examples of different yoga forms include:

Vinyasa: A series of poses that flow smoothly into one another.

Power: A faster, higher-intensity practice that builds muscle.

Hot Yoga: Also known as Bikram Yoga. A series of 26 challenging poses performed in a room heated to a high temperature.

Yin: A slow steady practice that is often stationary. Using props, postures are held for several minutes allowing body to soften and nourish fascia and joints.

Hatha: The form most often associated with yoga, it combines a series of basic movements with breathing.
The intensity of your yoga workout depends on which form of yoga you choose. Techniques like hatha and yin yoga are gentle and slow. Hot yoga and power yoga are more powerful and intense.

Great news–Yoga is a full-body workout! If you’re hoping to strengthen and define your mid-section, there are yoga poses to target just about every core muscle. With yoga, you don’t build arm strength with free weights or machines, but with the weight of your own body. Some poses, like the plank, spread your weight equally between your arms and legs. Others, like the crane and crow poses, challenge your arms even more by making them support your full body weight. Yoga poses work all sides of the legs, including your quadriceps, hips, and thighs. Yoga squats, bridges, and warrior poses involve deep kneebends, which give you a more sculpted rear. Moves like downward-facing dog, child’s pose, and cat/cow give your back muscles a good stretch. It’s no wonder that research finds yoga may be good for relieving a sore back.

Because yoga poses stretch your muscles and increase your range of motion, with regular practice, they’ll improve your flexibility. Yoga isn’t considered aerobic exercise, but the more athletic varieties, like power yoga, will make you sweat. And even though yoga is not aerobic, some research finds it can be just as good as aerobic exercise for improving health.

Yoga is a “practice” and is non-competitive! As you continue to come to class, you’ll see improvements in the way you look and feel. If you haven’t tried yoga before, now is a great time to attend a class. Bring a friend and introduce yourself to the instructor—they’ll get you started on your way to a successful yoga practice.

For more information on Yoga classes offered at our clubs, visit these pages:

Juanita Bay, Pine Lake, Silver Lake

Winter-Proof Your Workout

The winter months provide enough challenges with shorter days and stressful commutes in the rain, ice and snow; do not let your fitness goals become victim to the dreary weather. Here are 3 steps for winter-proofing your workout.

1. Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals

S.M.A.R.T. = Specific. Measurable. Achievable. Relevant. Timely.

As you embark on, or continue on, your fitness journey- it is imperative that you set goals. Whether they are short term or long term, these goals should follow some simple parameters. The S.M.A.R.T. system was established by Paul J. Meyer in his book, Attitude is Everything, and it is a wonderful guideline for helping you to choose your own personal fitness goals.

Let’s look at an example of a well thought out goal that uses the S.M.A.R.T. system: “I will be able to do 30 pushups in 60 seconds by my 30th birthday.” First and second, is it Specific and Measurable? Yes, this goal is clear and unambiguous. There are a specific number of pushups that you will be able to execute in a particular amount of time. Third, is it Achievable? Yes, as long as your birthday is not next week and the number of pushups that you can do right now is zero! If you can already do 10 pushups or so and your birthday is a few months away – you can achieve this goal with a proper training schedule. Do not go to extremes because you set yourself up to fail – choose something that is within reach. Fourth, is the goal Relevant? Determine if it is worthwhile to you. If you have been wanting to improve your upper body and core strength, this goal may be a way to help get you there. If you can already do 25 pushups in 30 seconds, maybe you want to reassess this goal or the timing for it. Finally, is this goal Timely? Giving your goal a target date or deadline helps to keep you focused and allows for you to plan. If your goal starts off with, “Someday I might be able to…” You are setting yourself up for failure.

2. Be Held Accountable

Once your goals are set for the winter – share those aspirations with others. If you tell someone else your goal, it increases your chance of successfully completing it. Family, friends, and co-workers are all wonderful catalysts to keep you moving and hold you accountable to your goals. One of them might even want to join you on your quest. These people can also help you to eliminate excuses. Excuses can be crippling to a goal can and destroy any chance you have of achieving success. It is easy to make excuses to yourself, but when you have to give an excuse out loud to someone else- it often sounds silly.

3. Branch out

Try something new. One of the worst things you can do during the winter is get too comfortable with your habits. Enjoying your soy latte from Starbucks™ and performing the same old routine at the gym may not be enough. Find a class or small group training you have not tried before. Sign-up for a session with a personal trainer. Get in the pool for a few laps. Tap into your inner Federer or Williams’ sister and take a tennis lesson. Register for Pilates and find your center. Use a new piece of equipment that you have been curious about, like the TRX. Whatever you choose- challenge yourself. Push yourself beyond your comfort zone and the results just might amaze you.

Bobby Sorensen, Fitness Director, CAC- Silver Lake

Wellness and Thanksgiving

Most of us already know the health risks we all have around Thanksgiving. Even though we all recognize these health risks we seem unable to resist. Face it. It’s nearly impossible to scroll through social media and food websites showing you photos of the most delicious (and possibly the most evil) desserts and comfort food meals you’ve ever seen and not make them.

The cycle starts around Halloween:

  • We increase our calorie intake and, perhaps, gain some weight.
  • We eat foods that we know will not make us feel very good.
  • We increase our consumption of sugars and processed foods…Thank you Aunt Mary and your office co-workers for all the cookies and fudge.
  • Our dinners may lean more toward more comforting foods that may contain a higher fat and calorie count.
  • We over-schedule ourselves and can’t take a walk or go to the gym

According to the Calorie Control Council, the association that’s been around since the 60’s to study calorie intake for the diet food industry, they estimate that the average caloric intake on Thanksgiving Day is 4,500 calories. The average caloric intake on every other day is 2,000.

On Thanksgiving most of us older folks have figured out that we are definitely going to overeat and try to plan our day based on how much LESS uncomfortable we can be this year over previous years.

Here are some suggestions to navigate your Thanksgiving this year:

Start your day active and stay active: You probably don’t have to work today so stretch out and take a brisk walk. Go to CAC in the morning on Thanksgiving. We offer special group classes to prepare you for the day. Don’t sit for long periods of time. Get up and move around if your surroundings allow for it.

Don’t skip breakfast: Eat a normal breakfast and a few snacks before the big meal. You’ll be less likely to consume as many overall calories plus your body will have a much harder time digesting a high calorie meal after skipping your normal meals.

Drink Water: Drinking a large glass of water before your meal can help fill you up and help you feel fuller sooner.

Use a smaller plate: This equals smaller portions in most cases. You can focus on smaller amounts at a time and possibly less calories overall.

Take a walk after your big meal: Many studies suggest that taking a 15 to 30 minute walk after your meal will help aid in digestion and help improve your blood sugar levels

Focus on others: Many organizations and churches need volunteers for helping to feed the less fortunate every Thanksgiving. Putting things in perspective have a way of making your heart fuller than your stomach could ever be.

-Dan Engle, Membership Director, CAC – Silver lake

Tennis for Beginners

How long will it take to learn tennis?

Beginner: “I would very much like to play tennis on a regular basis but, I’ve never played any sports outside of gym class. I don’t expect to ever be a professional. But I’d like to play competitively some day. Just wondering how much I should play per day, how many times per week. Approximately, how long will an average person take to get the hang of the game?”

Former UW baseball star, a NASCAR driver’s dad: “I win – I don’t lose. If I am not first – I am last. What kind of training should I start with? What types of abilities and physical assets should a tennis player have to win?”

The questions are fair – get ready, here are the facts… Tennis is a SKILL-BASED sport. This puts it in the same category as learning other skills like typing, reading, or driving a car. It is true that the more you practice, the better you get, and the faster you›ll learn. However, you want to really stress QUALITY of instruction at the beginning. Tennis lessons are expensive, but you want to get put on the best path possible, because bad habits in tennis are close to impossible to break. You don’t want a friend, who might be a good player, but has no teaching experience, teaching you how to hit like they do. You want to find a teaching pro who specializes in PLAYER DEVELOPMENT. This person can put you on track to maximizing your inherent ability, and can assure that you will become the best player you physically are capable of becoming.

Also, remember that there are really only SIX shots in tennis. Once you are taking lessons and have good fundamental strokes in place, play as much as you can! Experiment and try to play matches and compete. Every ball you hit increases your sensitivity to the ball (your “feel”), and this will give your fundamental stroke more power, spin, depth, and accuracy, as you continue to play.

Something about the “next level”… Do not try to progress to the “next level” until you get the basics down really well: proper, uncompromised stroke technique, how to judge the ball, how to play with an arc, how to vary the speed of the ball, etc. I would very highly recommend attending one of the Bollettieri, Macci, Newcomb, or similar tennis camps, that are available in all regions of the U.S. They typically run in single week sessions and amount to about 9 hours of tennis per day. They are expensive and intense, but the benefits of attending one are tremendous for new or already semi-competitive players. This is where you will learn to be a more competitive player in a relatively short amount of time.

So to answer the question, ”How long will it take?”, you will never master tennis to your satisfaction! Even Federer misses shots, and that is the essence of the challenge in this sport. You will feel satisfied and happy with your playing level, when your technique and skill level will allow you to maximize your athletic ability, in order to win matches. Whatever level that happens to be, depends on your athletic ability, your competitive spirit, and your talent level.

I have played both at the local, low competitive level, and against excellent players from different parts of the world, and nowadays I teach others how to play. Whether as a player or as a tennis teaching pro, I have never shown up to court and felt like I didn’t have something to learn that day!

Enjoy the process of learning the game the best you can be.

Dusko Andreic, Head Tennis Pro, CAC – Pine Lake

Why Triathletes Should Try Masters Swimming

The triathlete may be tempted to avoid a Masters swim group for a number of reasons. Perhaps they feel that Masters groups are for former high school and college swimmers, or perhaps they feel that they should follow their own swim training program, prescribed by a triathlete coach. I’m here to tell you differently, a triathlete in training should absolutely join a masters swim group and here are six reasons why:

1. The Importance of Knowing More Than Freestyle
It’s doubtful that any triathlete will break into butterfly during a triathlon. But, there are actually several benefits to knowing all four strokes. When conditions are rough in the open water, or when an athlete takes in an unexpected gulp of water, swimming backstroke or breaststroke for a minute or two could be a life saver. Getting your head out of the waves for some survival swimming, some sighting or to regain your composure and settle down, could be critical to even completing the event. Another reason to actually swim a few strokes of breaststroke or backstroke during a triathlon is to switch up the muscle groups. If an athlete encounters an unexpected muscle cramp or muscle fatigue during their open water swim, it may be necessary to give those freestyle muscles a rest and switch to breaststroke or backstroke for a portion of the swim. As for butterfly, you probably won’t need this one in the open water, but practicing this stroke in the pool will improve your overall fitness and prepare you for your swim, bike and run.

2. No One Will Push You Harder Than Your Lane Mates
Swimming your triathlon driven workouts in the pool is not only lonely, it is not the best you can do! Even if you follow prescribed intervals, you simply will not push yourself as hard as you would if you were leading a group of 5 swimmers in a set in your lane, or racing the guy next to you in his lane, or trying to keep up with the other 4 swimmers ahead of you in the set in your lane. Bottom line – swim with others and you will train harder!

3. Embrace the Waves
Any triathlete or life-long swimmer enjoys hopping into an empty pool and being the first and only to make waves as you cruise down the lane; no water splashing in the face, no choking, no waves, just you and the clear calm waters. But, in reality, this is not how your triathlon is going to go and it also isn’t how a typical masters swim workout goes. Swimming with others during a masters workout is a great way to embrace the choppy waters and get used to feet in your face and the occasional hand hit.

4. Improve Your Stroke Technique
Swimming speed has been said to be 80% efficiency and 20% fitness. The point here is your stroke technique is critical to your speed. Your swim workouts should focus on improving your efficiency just as much as they focus on improving your strength in the water. Having a masters swim coach to share drills and technique tips is key to your success in the open water.

5. Variety
Let’s face it, swimming laps can be boring. Swimming with a masters program is a great way to keep your swimming interesting. Most programs focus at least 20% of their workouts on drills, utilizing these drills not only helps to improve your technique, it also keeps things fun. Additionally, masters workouts typically include pull buoys, paddles, kick boards, fins and other gizmos. Using these correctly and effectively in a masters workout will add a ton of fun to your swims.

6. Consistency
Be accountable for you swim workouts! Masters programs meet the same times every week, this is one way to help you stick to your workouts and ensure consistency in your training! – Laurie Jones

Please refer to our Pine Lake, or Silver Lake Aquatics Departments for more information on our current Masters Swim Programs.

Exercising Techniques to Ease Joint Pain

It’s hard to describe joint pain to those that don’t know how it feels. Let’s focus on some exercise that may help with easing joint pain and can also help you sleep better at night and feel better the next day.

Rhonda Reininger, associate director of the physical therapy and occupational therapy department at NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases, tells us that “Exercise can be a key component in keeping joint pain at bay. It can also give you more energy and improve your mood. Walking, cycling, swimming, and light weight training done three times a week for 30 minutes can offer these benefits, but check with your doctor to make sure they are safe for you.”

She also recommends that we start with short exercises, avoiding heavy weights, in order to assess how we will feel when we workout. And that if you experience pain for more than an hour or so after, you may have overdone it.

The most important thing to keep in mind when considering exercise with joint pain is to avoid strenuous exercise if it is painful. Try a short walk or easy peddle on a stationary bike instead. Additionally, if you start to feel joint pain during your workout, try changing your position or activity. And, as always, stay hydrated!

Here are some things to consider when exercising with joint pain:

Stretch – Stretching allows your muscles to better take the weight and strain of your workout. Otherwise, they may pass it on to your joints. Here are three easy stretches to get you started (remember — don’t bounce):

Hips – Lying on your back, bend your knees upward then cross one leg over another. Pull them toward your chest for 20 to 30 seconds. Switch legs and repeat.

Knees and Quads – Kneeling on your right knee, place your left foot ahead of you. Keep that left knee over your left ankle. Hold that position for up 30 seconds and feel the stretch in your right quadriceps. Switch legs and repeat.

Back – Starting on all fours, lift your butt into the air, creating an upside down V with your body. This is a yoga position called “Downward Facing Dog”. Hold this position for up to a minute.

Warm Up – As we get older, our joints and muscles stiffen up and lose some flexibility. After your stretch, go for a short walk of 5-10 minutes.

Cardio – If you’re just starting out, it’s best to first find out where your limits are. Begin with a recumbent stationary bike. If you find that you’re completely comfortable after 10 minutes or so, move to a traditional upright stationary bike. If you start to feel strain in your joints, that’s a good place to stop. Note your progress as you go. Eventually, try moving on to an elliptical or a treadmill.

Yoga and Pilates – The slow, gentle, low-impact activity that Yoga or Pilates provides may be just the thing you need. Yoga and Pilates focuses on, among other things, the mobility, stability and flexibility of joints. Additional benefits include increased body awareness, improved balance and better body alignment. A study by the Arthritis Foundation found that a one hour yoga class, twice each week, helped eased pain and swelling associated with rheumatoid arthritis.

Dive In – As well as reducing the perceived weight of your body, the buoyancy of the water takes much of the impact of a workout off of your joints. The deeper the pool, the better support you get. Water provides resistance. This will build and strengthen the muscle, which (as above) supports and protects your joints.

Four Healthy Exercises To Lower Blood Pressure

First of all, let’s look at some high blood pressure facts from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM):

  • High blood pressure (also referred to as Hypertension) is defined as a chronically elevated blood pressure greater than 140/90 mmHg. Also stated as “one forty over ninety”.
  • Elevation in blood pressure increases chances of a heart attack or stroke
  • More than 75 million Americans have high blood pressure
  • Three out of every four people over age 60 has high blood pressure
  • Many men and women don’t even know they have high blood pressure
  • High blood pressure can be controlled
  • Death rates from heart attacks and strokes in the United States have decreased by 40-60 percent over the last 30 years

That’s good news. And those who are physically active tend to live longer, healthier lives. But let’s explore how you can lower your blood pressure with some simple exercise.

In 2011, the ACSM recommended for healthy adults at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity (working hard enough to break a sweat, but still able to carry on a conversation) five days per week. Or 20 minutes of more vigorous activity three days per week. Combinations of moderate and vigorous intensity activity can be performed to meet this recommendation.

The ACSM also states that a well-rounded physical activity program includes Aerobic Exercise and strength training exercise, but not necessarily in the same session. Let’s focus on Aerobic Exercise:

According to the American Heart Association (AMA), with an average weight of either 150lbs or 200lbs, adults can expect to burn the following calories with the following exercises:

Walking at 3mph: 320 – 416 calories/hour

Running at 5.5mph: 660 – 962 calories/hour

Cycling at 12mph: 410 – 534 calories/hour

Swimming at 25yds/min: 275 – 358 calories/hour

Most of us find it difficult to add exercise to our already busy day — even if it will improve our health. However, the physical activity required to lower blood pressure can be added without making major lifestyle changes. The ACSM suggests these simple measures to increase activity as a part of your existing daily activity:

  • Park your car further away so you can add some walk time to and from work
  • Take the stairs, instead of the elevator
  • Take a 10-15 minute walk during your lunch break
  • Choose a restaurant with low-fat, low-cholesterol options and walk to it for lunch
  • Take your children or grandchildren to the park
  • Take a 30-minute window-shopping walk around the mall when weather is bad
  • Wake up 30 minutes earlier in the morning to start your day with exercise (Most people find they look forward to their exercise time!)

You can vary all of these activities to make exercise interesting!

Before You Exercise

The ACSM recommends that, prior to beginning any exercise program, you should see your doctor and ask for an medical evaluation. It’s important for your doctor to clear you for strenuous activity. This keeps them in the loop as to your daily life and goals, but also allows them to provide critical, personal advice on how to go about your activities.

The ACSM warns, “Not all exercise programs are suitable for everyone, and some programs may result in injury. Activities should be carried out at a pace that is comfortable for the user. Users should discontinue participation in any exercise activity that causes pain or discomfort. In such event, medical consultation should be immediately obtained.”

Columbia Athletic Clubs provides everything you need to achieve your health and fitness goals. Talk to a Columbia staff member today!

American College of Sports Medicine

American Heart Association

Achieving your New Year’s Fitness Resolution

January 1st seems to be a magical date in some of our lives. Millions of Americans take this opportunity to decide, with good intentions, to change our unhealthy behaviors and bad habits or just simply want to feel better from the previous year.

Unfortunately, for most of us, our good intentions fade and by March we fall into the same behaviors. So we procrastinate and start to rationalize with ourselves and set the next special date to begin our goals anew. “I’ll start my diet on Monday”, “I’ll start my workout program after ‘Walking Dead-Pizza-Night-Sundays’ are over”  You get the point. Your new starting point leads to another and pretty soon January is on the horizon again.

Here are some tips to help make your 2015 transition to a healthier you more successful:

1. Set smaller goals that are attainable. We have to stay realistic. If exercising more frequently is your goal, schedule 3 or 4 days per week at the gym to start instead of seven. If weight loss is your goal then set weekly or even daily goals of exercise and dietary intake to achieve your much bigger goal.

2. Take more steps to achieve your goal. Go the extra mile when it comes to your everyday life. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. Stand and walk around while you’re on the phone. Park further away when you go shopping. Take your dog for an extra walk per week.

3. Avoid sabotage. Be aware of your environment. If your goal is to get smaller then avoid social settings that revolve around unhealthy food. Instead of meeting friends for a meal, meet them for a brisk walk. Avoid the aisles at the grocery store that tempt you. You know which aisles I’m talking about. Remove those tempting foods from your pantry.

4. Support and accountability. Enlist friends and loved ones that may have the same goal in mind and help one another. Countless studies show that you get far more success from an exercise program when you have a workout partner. They can motivate you and you can motivate them. Hold yourselves accountable.

5. Get help. Stay humble and never assume that you know everything. If you want or need help… get it. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice. There are countless sources in bookstores and on the internet that specialize in what your ultimate goals are. Study up. Hire a personal trainer or coach to help you with proper form to avoid injury.

There are many important things to consider during your New Year’s Resolution process but the main thing to remember is that your unhealthy behaviors didn’t happen overnight and changing them won’t happen overnight either. Your new healthy choices require time to develop into habits. Remember that the changes you seek are for a positive reason so be patient in the process. You’ll love the outcome.

You’re taking care of yourself and that’s always a good thing.

Dan Engle, Membership Director CAC – Silver Lake

Prepare for IMPACT!

Columbia Athletic Clubs is excited to announce the expansion this winter of our IMPACT training program from just the Silver Lake location to all three athletic facilities, including Pine Lake and Juanita Bay. IMPACT training, which is an acronym for “Intense/Multi-faceted/Performance-driven/Athletic/Cross-Training” represents the best of CAC’s fitness and athletic offerings and encompasses a whole host of small-group training (SGT) options. Classes range from weekly classes, short and long-term series, to youth and athletic offerings all designed to maximize the benefits of both personal and group-based training.

All new small-group offerings:
Small-group training has been a part of CAC programming for years, but recent and upcoming upgrades in facility, equipment, and programming at all three Club locations has spurred the expansion and evolution of the IMPACT training program. SGT is an ideal way to take advantage of personal training without the financial investment of regular one-on-one training, as classes will range in cost but typically fall in the $15 to $20 range per one-hour session. SGT also allows participants to experience new exercises and techniques, and research has shown that class-based training yields higher results than training alone. IMPACT training classes will join GRAVITY at Juanita Bay, and encompass all current SGT and IMPACT training at all three Clubs as an ideal complement or focal point of our members fitness routines. Class schedules will be posted throughout the Club, online at, as well as in this issue of INSPIRE, so take a look and see what interests you!

Benefits of Functional Training and HIIT:
Many of CAC’s IMPACT training classes are designed as functional training, exercise that is defined as training designed to improve function in everyday living. Functional strength training can result in better movement, strength, balance and flexibility in everyday life, and is a crucial component to traditional exercise routines. Many IMPACT classes will be tailored to specific functional movements, such as sport-specific conditioning, speed and agility training, balance and flexibility based sessions, and more. HIIT, or high intensity interval training, will also remain an important component of many of CAC’s IMPACT training classes. HIIT is very high-intensity exercises alternated with low to moderate exercises. TABATA classes, cross-fit style workouts, and some cycle and interval-based classes are all examples of HIIT. While HIIT-based classes may not be for every member of the Club, studies have shown again and again that this style of exercise is one of the most effective ways of burning calories, stimulating muscle growth, and increasing metabolism throughout the day. HIIT, like functional training, is an important element to traditional exercise routines.

Look for more information throughout the Clubs this winter:
As we move into the fall and winter months, look for more information in your home Club regarding IMPACT training classes and all SGT offerings taking place this season. For more information, please contact the Fitness Director at your club.

Brandi Ohlsen, Fitness Director, CAC – Juanita Bay:
Debbie Bredeweg, Fitness Director, CAC – Pine Lake:
Bobby Sorenson, Fitness Director, CAC – Silver Lake:

Health Benefits of Water Exercise Classes

Contrary to popular belief, water exercise classes are for everyone, not just the elderly, those rehabilitating injury or for the physically challenged. Water exercise classes offer multiple benefits for all fitness levels. Here are some of the main benefits to water exercise classes:

Low impact: This may be the single most important benefit of aqua classes or utilizing the water for parts of your workout routine. Exercising in water makes you feel about 90 percent lighter according to the American Council on Exercise. When you jump or run in the water, your body does not experience the same impact that these moves cause on land. Many of the exercise movements have little to no impact at all on your joints. This makes water exercise an ideal activity for those with arthritis, back problems, foot or leg injuries, and knee conditions. Those that are pregnant or severely overweight benefit tremendously with this type of exercise.

Calorie Burning: Many can expect to burn between 400-500 calories per hour in a water exercise class, according to the Aquatic Exercise Association. The actual amount you burn will depend on your size, the intensity of your movements and water temperature and depth. In general, faster movements, incorporating the upper and lower body in deep water, elicit the greatest calorie burn.

Flexibility and Range of Motion: Water exercise, especially in warm water, allows many people the ability to exercise where they are limited on land. For those that are overweight, or have other physical challenges, water provides the ability to make movements that may be impossible on land. Many will experience much better flexibility and range of motion after only a few classes in water.

Increased strength and bone density: When you exercise in water you experience 12 times the resistance of air according to an article published in “American Fitness.” Simply kicking and cupping the water helps contribute to muscle development which translates into increased bone density and a higher metabolic rate. Many classes incorporate equipment like water paddles, noodles, single or double buoys, and kickboards to further increase resistance to increase strength gains.

Emotional Health Benefits: Many sufferers from fibromyalgia indicate that water exercise classes decrease the instances of anxiety associated with a regular workout routine. Some studies indicate that exercise therapy in warm water can decrease depression and improve mood as well. Water exercise classes can improve the health of mothers and their unborn children and has a positive effect on the mother’s mental health. Water exercise helps lift spirits, and provides healthy social interaction in a group setting.

Always check with a doctor before starting any exercise regimen. Some people experience allergic reactions to pool chemicals so it’s a good idea to check with the facility you will be choosing for the chemical content of the water. A salt water pool may be a better choice for you.   Some may need to use earplugs or nose clips. Showering thoroughly after a workout with a chlorine-cleansing soap and applying moisturizer afterward helps avoid itchy skin. Check out our aquatic schedules online at