Strength Training Over 50

August 18th, 2018

by Sheila Kalas, master trainer and owner of Fitness Plus

Sheila Kalas, master trainer and owner of Fitness Plus in Lexington, Kentucky

Keeping your muscle mass is so important, and strength training should be a component of your workout routine. In the mid-’80s, scientists discovered that losing muscle mass as we age is NOT a normal part of the aging process, but is an avoidable and reversible condition called “sarcopenia” or the age-related loss of muscle mass.

Before this condition was identified in 1986, science thought that starting at about age 35, everyone would begin to lose muscle mass and that the loss of muscle tissue would accelerate as we continued to age. At that time, this is what did happen to most people. This loss of muscle leads you down a pretty clear and unattractive path of the aging process.

Loss of muscle mass leads to:
1. Lower metabolism which causes weight gain (muscle burns calories; lost muscle means you burn less calories)
2. Loss of function and mobility (less muscle means your body can do less work)
3. Loss of independence (too much weight or too little mobility and function will leave you unable to take care of yourself)

Science has shown, without a doubt, that strength training can stop and even reverse the effects of sarcopenia. Increased strength through proper resistance training does not just mean you get stronger; it means you develop more muscle power too.

Muscle power is the ability of your muscles to produce force quickly. It is muscle power that can help you avoid falls by your muscles quickly reacting to a stumble, keeping you from falling to the ground.

Muscle power also helps you do daily tasks better, like getting out of a chair or a car. Don’t confuse raw strength with muscle power. Many people, especially men, are strong; they can lift an object. But that does not mean you have muscle power; this comes from proper strength training.

The value of strength training in avoiding or reversing sarcopenia is just one of the important benefits it gives you. Keeping your bone health and density is another.

Cardiovascular exercise is important; yoga and Pilates, dance classes, etc., are all wonderful activities to participate in, but they are not a substitute for strength training.

It does not take much to make a difference in the health of your bones and to help you keep the muscle you have: a couple times a week is plenty, as long as you focus on your big muscle groups (legs, back and chest). Lifting weights is one of your best defenses against the loss of your independence and mobility as you age. For your health and quality of life, please put strength training in your workout routine.


If you are looking for a personal trainer in Lexington and Central Kentucky, check out the bios of our Fitness Plus personal trainers and feel free to reach out to us at Fitness Plus.

Summer Activities

June 22nd, 2018

by Sheila Kalas, master trainer and owner of Fitness Plus

Sheila Kalas, master trainer and owner of Fitness Plus in Lexington, Kentucky

Summers are great for motivating us to get out and move. Lexington and the surrounding communities offer a great variety of activities for you to participate in.

I am amazed at all of the offerings for the public to be active, and many of these are free.

Biking and Sightseeing
The Legacy Trail is a 12-mile long trail that runs from the east end of downtown (North Lexington Family YMCA) to the Kentucky Horse Park campgrounds. The Legacy Trail is paved. Individuals as well as families can use the trail for active adventures, to go for a bike ride, a walk, or a run. It has beautiful scenery and is a good way for you to learn more about your town, the Kentucky Horse Park in particular.

Parks and Programs
Lexington Parks and Recreation Department has an abundance of programs and activities for all ages and abilities. If you know you want to be active this summer, but don’t know what to do or where to do it, search this website. Your tax dollars pay for many fun and healthy activities that you can take part in. Lexington Parks and Recreation also puts on the Bluegrass 10,000 race on the 4th of July.

Organized Sports
The Bluegrass State Games have been around for many years and are a wonderful way to get you and your kids active and competitive this summer. Whether you have a sport that you already compete in or are just interested in having a little fun, you should check out the games and see what’s in it for you. Events go on all summer.

Foot Races
The local race calendar from John’s Run/Walk Shop is a great resource if you are interested in walking or running races of any distance. During the summer months you can usually find a 5K or other event every weekend that is within driving distance of Lexington. You do not have to be a serious athlete to participate in these events and every race has a good percentage of walkers.

State Parks
Boating, camping, hiking, and horseback riding are some of the outdoor activities at many of the 49 state parks within the Kentucky Department of Parks.

These are just a few of the resources you can use to turn your summer into your summer of health and fitness. The internet is a great resource; search for “outdoor activities Lexington KY” or “running events Lexington KY” and you’ll be amazed at what will come up.

Take advantage of what your city has to offer and how it is trying to help you be as fit and healthy as you can. Do your part and participate!


If you are looking for a personal trainer in Lexington and Central Kentucky, check out the bios of our Fitness Plus personal trainers and feel free to reach out to us at Fitness Plus.

A Foundation of Fitness

April 26th, 2018

by Sheila Kalas, master trainer and owner of Fitness Plus

Sheila Kalas, master trainer and owner of Fitness Plus in Lexington, Kentucky

If someone asked you, “Do you take good care of yourself?” How would you answer? Why?

What criteria would you use to judge your answer? Would you look only at your outward appearance? Would you base your answer on your last blood work results or on how much you weigh?

Being fit does not automatically mean that you take good care of yourself, just as being outwardly beautiful does not mean it. There are many pieces involved in building a structure of wellness. Each individual piece of this “wellness house” has importance, but some pieces are more critical than others. Unfortunately, I see too many people focusing on the wrong pieces, only to create a weak structure that can be easily destroyed.

The house analogy may be a little cheesy, but it works for the point. A house needs a good foundation if it is going to last and stand up to the various challenges that Mother Nature and time have in store for it. You can’t only pay attention to the finishing touches that make a house pretty and think that it is strong and will last for years and years.

Fitness is THE foundation on which you must build your “wellness house.” A foundation of fitness will allow you to build a solid structure that will last.

We do react to what we see outwardly. But knowing you have a good, solid, strong foundation and basic structure gives us confidence and makes us feel safe. We don’t see the foundation all of the time, but knowing it’s there is important, for without it the house can collapse.

I believe truly taking care of your self includes both a solid foundation and beautiful “finishing touches.” You want to look good AND feel good; you need both for overall wellness.

Let’s face it, paying somebody to make us look good on the outside is a lot easier than putting in the physical work needed to feel good on the inside. It is amazing to me how much time and money many individuals spend on outward beauty and never spend a minute or a dime on the very foundation of their health and wellness: fitness. I don’t get it. Why spend all that time and money to try and look good, and not do anything to ensure that you will be around long enough to enjoy it?

Contrarily, I don’t understand those that put fitness and good nutrition at the top of their priority list, but do nothing to maintain their outward appearance. Not paying any attention to how you look, in my opinion, is not healthy. Looking in the mirror and liking what you see does make you feel good; it does add to your self esteem and confidence.

So, once again, it comes down to balance. Taking care of your self is a combination of both the inside and the outside of yourself: caring about the foundation of your health and fitness and your outward appearance. Keeping a good balance between these two areas is the key to having a solid structure that will serve you well in your life.


If you are looking for a personal trainer in Lexington and Central Kentucky, check out the bios of our Fitness Plus personal trainers and feel free to reach out to us at Fitness Plus.

Fitness Plus in Versailles KY

February 26th, 2018

In addition to the Fitness Plus location on National Avenue in Lexington, Kentucky, there’s a satellite Fitness Plus facility on Main Street in Versailles. Located on the second floor of Thoroughbred Square, Woodford County clients reach and maintain their fitness goals in this clean and inviting space.

Fitness Plus opened in Versailles in 2005 and is the only dedicated personal training facility in Versailles. It is open seven days a week, by appointment only, for individual or partner training sessions. Feel free to reach out to owner Sheila Kalas ( or trainer Joey Hacker( for a free consultation.

No membership fees. No contracts. Just individual attention, one session at a time, with your experienced and educated personal trainer at Fitness Plus. Your training sessions at Fitness Plus are specifically designed for you: your body, your health and fitness goals, your lifestyle, your time, your budget.
Fitness Plus – Versailles
Thoroughbred Square – Second Floor
209 North Main Street
Versailles, Kentucky 40383


If you are looking for a personal trainer in Lexington and Central Kentucky, check out the bios of our Fitness Plus personal trainers and feel free to reach out to us at Fitness Plus.

Resolutions and Goals

December 31st, 2017

by Sheila Kalas, master trainer and owner of Fitness Plus

Sheila Kalas, master trainer and owner of Fitness Plus in Lexington, Kentucky

It’s hard to separate January from “New Year’s resolutions”; they seem to be synonymous. For quite some time January has been the month to start fresh, to get rid of all those bad habits and adopt new, healthy ones. January is the time that you are going to change and finally become the person you always knew you could be… right?

A resolution is really more like a goal, and proper goal-setting can be achieved if you know how. The problem with most goals is twofold: 1) they are too lofty and unrealistic and 2) they have no timeline or “mini goals” associated with them.

Most goals/resolutions are just big, bold statements like “I am not going to eat fried foods anymore,” or “I’m quitting smoking,” or “I’m going to work out three times a week.”

If you really want to make some changes in your life, then spend a little more time thinking about how you are going to make that happen. Instead of just blurting out some pie-in-the-sky wish that you want to happen, sit down and make a plan.

Make a S.M.A.R.T. plan for goals.


I think that the “timely” element of goal-setting is extremely important. The timetable you set must also be attainable and realistic. Don’t forget that changing habits does take time. If you have not worked out in a long time, hate it and have a really demanding job and busy schedule, don’t set a goal of working out an hour every day. Give yourself a few months to ease into a regular workout schedule.

Remember that every little step towards your goal is progress that you should feel good about.

Give yourself a chance and give yourself a break. Make a resolution, but make it under the S.M.A.R.T. goal standard and don’t be so hard on yourself.

If you are looking for a personal trainer in Lexington and Central Kentucky, check out the bios of our Fitness Plus personal trainers and feel free to reach out to us at Fitness Plus.

Preventing Sarcopenia

May 8th, 2017

by Sheila Kalas, master trainer and owner of Fitness Plus

Sheila Kalas, master trainer and owner of Fitness Plus in Lexington, Kentucky

May is Older Americans Month, a designation established in 1963 by the National Council of Senior Citizens, now the Administration for Community Living.

The youngest baby boomers turn 53 in 2017.

Age-related loss of muscle mass starts around age 35 and gets exponentially worse over 50. It’s called sarcopenia. Without intervention, the body is degrading. Fortunately, sarcopenia can be halted, or even reversed, with strength training and suspension training.

While fitness trends are great because they encourage exercise and social interaction, safety is of utmost importance as we age. Weightlifting and weight-bearing exercises, core-strengthening training and cardiovascular activities should always have safety at the forefront.

The “Strong Over 50” patent-pending equipment for suspension fitness training was designed specifically for safety. The SO-50 program was developed by John Stuef of Raleigh, North Carolina. Fitness Plus became certified in the Strong Over 50 program in 2012 and is the only SO-50 certified facility in Kentucky.


* Baby boomers will be 53 to 71 years old in 2017.

* Kentuckians 65 and older represented 13.3% of the 2010 population.

* Lexingtonians 65 and older were 10% of the 2010 population.

* Lexingtonians 65 and older are expected to represent 13.71% in 2020.

* Lexingtonians 50 and older are expected to be 30.58% in 2020.

If you are near, at or beyond age 50, please educate yourself about sarcopenia and know that regular exercise, including some weight-bearing exercises, can manage, reverse or even prevent this loss of muscle mass. Feel free to reach out to us at Fitness Plus if you are in Central Kentucky, and check out the bios of our personal trainers.

Spring Cleaning for Workout Gear

March 19th, 2017

by Sheila Kalas, master trainer and owner of Fitness Plus

Sheila Kalas, master trainer and owner of Fitness Plus in Lexington, Kentucky

Just as your house needs some spring cleaning, so does your collection of workout gear. Good gear not only looks and feels good, but can help your performance and can keep you healthy. Workout gear is not just about style, but about function.

Here are some things to check for spring weather:

1. Shoes.
This is the most important aspect of your workout gear. Bad feet are the enemy of every active person. You can do very little when your feet hurt. Check your shoes, for all your sports, and see if it’s time to invest in some new ones. Don’t just look at the soles of the shoes to see if they are worn; many shoes can still have soles that look good, but have no cushioning left. An easy test to see if your current athletic shoe has some cushioning left is to put one of your old shoes on one foot and a brand new shoe on the other. Now, walk or jog around and see how great the difference is. If you notice a big one, time to change. Also, don’t be fooled by the cleanliness of your shoes; that doesn’t mean that they’re still supportive. Shoes have a life, measured in miles or months. They are not worn out just when they have holes in them or are so dirty you can’t stand them. A good guide is to change your walking/running shoes every 400 miles. If you walk to play golf and play a couple of times a week, one or two seasons is all you will get out of your shoes. If you play competitive tennis a few times a week, 4 months will be about it for your shoes. Bad shoes lead to bad things: plantar fasciitis, knee pain, hip pain, and low back pain.

2. Clothes.
If you have not changed or added to your wardrobe in the last 10 years, you are working out in ancient technology. There have been many changes in materials being used to make workout, tennis, golf, running and walking clothes. These new materials can help you stay warm or cool, dry, and even protect you from UV rays. Do yourself a favor and look at some of the newer clothes and see if you can make your workout experience more pleasant and even safer with proper clothing.

3. Sunscreen.
Protecting yourself from the sun is a basic safety precaution everyone should take. There are no excuses left as to why you would not use sunscreen. The messy lotions are gone; now you can use instantly drying sprays that do not leave your hands or your clothes greasy.

4. Hats.
These go in both the category of clothes and sunscreen. Hats are great to block the sun from your face, but if you don’t have a hat made of a more modern material, it can cause you to overheat and hinder your performance. If you see that you only have hats from the old college days or from some old vacations spots, it’s time to update to a more athletic cap.

5. Fuel.
As you spend more time outside, away from the house (and the fridge), make sure you think about foods and drinks that are both good for you and easy to take. There are a wide variety of foods that will not melt or spoil that are actually good for you and lots of drinks that can fuel you without loading you up with sugar or caffeine. Ask your personal trainer of nutrition professional about foods for performance.

These are a few things to get you ready for spring. Having the correct workout gear does help and it does keep you healthy and safe. Enjoy the nice weather.

Healthy Vacations

June 13th, 2016

by Sheila Kalas, master trainer and owner of Fitness Plus

Sheila Kalas, master trainer and owner of Fitness Plus in Lexington, Kentucky

Although vacations are supposed to be about relaxation, they don’t have to be about laziness and/or decadence. Gaining weight on a vacation is not unusual, but it doesn’t have to be a given.

First, and most important, is your attitude. If your mindset is that you can eat and drink whatever you want because you’re on vacation, then you will probably gain weight when you are on vacation.

I believe that it is important to use your vacation as a release from your normal daily grind. I don’t believe that all of your releases have to be things that will cause you undo stress when you return. Negative things, such as spending too much money or gaining too much weight will undoubtedly cause you stress. This is not a positive outcome: enjoying yourself for a week or two, only to be stressed for several months afterwards.

Instead of looking at your vacation as a time to let loose in ways that may affect your life negatively, try letting loose in more positive ways. For example, think about vacation as a time of exploration through activity. Whether you are planning a trip to a city or to a more rural location, you can spend many hours, and walk many miles, exploring your surroundings. Any trip can be turned into a “moving vacation” filled with exploration.

The best way to ensure that you will be able to explore your surroundings in a safe and effective manner is to do a little planning. Just arriving at a place you have never been before and having no idea what you will have access to could be a recipe for disaster. Take a little time to learn a little about the geography of where you are going. Make sure you know if your accommodations are near or far from main points of interest and if they are in a safe area. It doesn’t matter if you are traveling to New York City, Napa Valley or Budapest, Hungary, a good travel agent can help you find accommodations that will be conducive to walking, running, cycling, etc. If you want special equipment, like bicycles, then make sure you know how and where to rent them.

A mid-point between the specialized touring trip and the self-guided trip is the private guided walking tour. Most major tourist destinations will have private guides available. Hiring a guide for one day will not break the bank and will give you a great insider’s look and education of your surroundings. The private aspect of this is very valuable; you can gain a lot of local knowledge regarding non-tourist eateries, pubs, and sights. One good day of a private guided tour will give you several more days of meaningful self-exploration.

Getting up every day and exploring your surroundings in an active way is a very gratifying way to spend your vacation. You will feel infinitely more connected to your destination seeing it through daily walks and exploration, and it is a way to become much more of a local than you ever could just riding in cabs or on buses.

Don’t just go on a trip, experience it! Getting out of the cab and off the bus and walking or riding through a new place is the way to do this.

Besides increasing your activity on vacation, you can also see it as an opportunity to better control your eating. In reality, most people eat less frequently on vacation than they do at home. Notice I said less frequently, not less quantity. On vacation, most people eat three meals, or even two, a day. On vacation, access to food is less than at home. Without your own kitchen, the ability to sit and snack is less, especially at night. On vacation, when dinner is over and you retire to your room, that’s it. Even if there is a mini bar with a few incredibly expensive snacks, most people do not sit in bed and eat chips or cookies; they go to bed.

On vacation, you are not surrounded with cabinets and refrigerators full of tempting food. It makes sense to try and capitalize on this reality. Since you will not be as tempted to eat in between meals, all you have to do is get in the mindset to make better choices at the meals you do have.

Your activity level will be up, because you are busy exploring your surroundings, and you are not snacking, so you certainly can eat a hearty meal, just make it healthy. Again, vacation is very conducive to this. Most areas that tourists frequent have a higher quality of food and more fresh food choices than chain restaurants. Take advantage of the variety and freshness of foods we find in tourist locations. Try new things, experience new meats, veggies and salads.

Eating healthy portions of good food will not cause you to gain weight on vacation. Eating the same junk food you find at home or bringing your own snacks with you to fill up your hotel room will. Don’t go on vacation just to eat fast food—what a waste. Use vacation as a time to expand your palate and enjoy fresh food at a slow pace. Remember what it is like to enjoy the act of eating again.

Normal healthy eating and moderate regular activity is a springboard to a healthier you, both at home and on vacation.

Vitamin Sea

Invest in Yourself

March 27th, 2016

by Sheila Kalas, master trainer and owner of Fitness Plus

Sheila Kalas, master trainer and owner of Fitness Plus in Lexington, KentuckyDo you have some type of plan for financing your retirement? We understand that money invested early in life will pay benefits later in life. Even if it is painful at the time, saving and investing money when you are young will increase the quality of your life in later years.

Now, have you thought about those exact same principles in relation to exercise? If you haven’t, then it is time that you do. When it comes to “investing now for future benefits,” exercise and money are a lot alike. If you can start to see exercise as an active investment in your retirement-age health, then you may be much more likely to start and stick with exercise.

When it comes to investing money, the sooner you start, the greater the potential reward. But financial advisers will tell you it’s never too late to start. Is this the same with exercise? Most experts would say yes.

People who moderately exercise throughout their life often have greater “rewards” in their later years, but those who are late starters still reap benefits. In fact, you have a better chance of making up ground with exercise than you do with investing money.

Lifelong exercisers are more likely to avoid conditions such as high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity. However, those who start later and already have one or more of these conditions can often cure themselves of these through exercise.

Exercise is not a guarantee that you will not develop a chronic condition, but there are no guarantees with financial investments either. Do you think you will make more money by NOT investing? Do you think you will see greater results in your body and health by not exercising?

See your body as your most precious commodity, for without it, life is over. Take care of your body and prepare it for retirement like you prepare you bank accounts. Invest in yourself on a regular basis for years and years and you will see the rewards of your efforts. It is not easy and does take discipline, but it is worth it. You are worth it.

How to Change Your Exercise Focus Over 50

July 1st, 2015

Who doesn’t want to be strong over 50?

Sheila Kalas, founder and owner of Fitness Plus, offers solid information about shifting one’s exercise focus from beach body to independence and stability as we age. She shared stats and tips with reporter Matt Groves during a segment of “Good Day Kentucky” (GDK) on Friday, June 26, 2015.

Fitness Plus is a certified Strong Over 50 facility. It is important to develop neuromuscular communication, which is the brain talking to your body. When the brain communicates with muscles, a slip on the ice, e.g., could be embarrassing but not dangerous because you’re receiving the signal to get your hands out in front of you quickly. Your body responds to situations because of good neuromuscular communication.

Without proper neuromuscular communication, however, an older person could slip or fall with an awkward landing that results in a head injury. The 6th leading cause of death in people over 60 is an injury from a fall.

Working on stabilization and balance are more important than how much you can bench press. “Independence is directly tied to your mobility and your stability,” said Sheila.

Watch Matt’s GDK interview with Sheila:

Previous GDK interviews:

  • How to Avoid Low Back Pain
  • How to Have Healthy Office Habits
  • How to Avoid Common Gym Injuries
  • How to Choose a Personal Trainer