Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Preventing Sarcopenia

Monday, 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.

Demographics:

* 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

Sunday, 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.

How to Change Your Exercise Focus Over 50

Wednesday, 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
  • How to Avoid Low Back Pain

    Friday, June 5th, 2015

    Golfing and gardening are great. Do they cause you low back pain, though?

    Sheila Kalas, founder and owner of Fitness Plus, gave tips on how to alleviate low back pain by increasing core strength and stability. She shared two exercises in particular with news anchor Lauren Gawthrop during a segment of “Good Day Kentucky” (GDK) on Friday, May 29, 2015.

    First of all, the heat and humidity of summer can be dangerous, so your body needs time to acclimate. Be sure to stay hydrated. One way to know if you’re getting enough water is to check when you pass water: is it clear or pale yellow? Great. Dark urine signifies dehydration.

    Now on to alleviating low back pain by strengthening the core.

    Plank. Watch the video for proper planking form. Work up from a few seconds to one minute or two minutes.

    The farmer carry. Carrying something heavy in one hand, while you keep your shoulders level, will work the core muscles on the opposite side. No tilting as you walk. This farmer carry exercise braces your core and takes pressure off your low back.

    Increasing core strength and stability means less low back pain.

    Watch Lauren’s GDK interview with Sheila:

    Previous GDK interviews:

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

    Sunday, April 26th, 2015

    Sitting is the new smoking. Sheila Kalas, founder and owner of Fitness Plus, gave tips on how to stay healthy if you have to sit all day, when she was interviewed by news anchor Lauren Gawthrop during a segment of “Good Day Kentucky” (GDK) on Friday, April 24, 2015.

    If you spend your entire workday sitting down, get up and moving somehow. Here are some ways to have healthy office habits.

    1. Don’t sit for long periods of time. One suggestion is to stand up every time the phone rings. “When you’re standing and not sitting, you’re helping your health,” Sheila said.

    2. Ask your HR department about being able to use a conversion desk, a standup desk or a treadmill desk.

    3. Have a walking meeting with colleagues or clients instead of a sit-down meeting in the conference room.

    4. Set an alarm to go off every 20 minutes, to do some sort of activity for about a minute or two. Walk down the hall, or do two sets of 10 sit-stand-squat exercises. When you do something that often over the course of a day you’ll get in 16 sets of exercise.

    5. Because sitting for hours at a time causes poor posture (head forward and slumped shoulders), a weak overall core and back pain, here’s an exercise for the back muscles: Squeeze your shoulder blades together. Pretend you’re squeezing a lemon between your shoulder blades.

    6. Engage your core. The core comprises all the muscles from chest to knees, so there are many, many exercises. One example is to pretend someone is going to punch you in the stomach and then contract your abdominal muscles.

    Watch Lauren’s GDK interview with Sheila:

    Previous GDK interviews:
    How to Avoid Common Gym Injuries

    How to Choose a Personal Trainer

    How to Choose a Personal Trainer

    Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

    Sheila Kalas, founder and owner of Fitness Plus, was interviewed on WTVQ-TV on Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015. News anchor Lauren Gawthrop asked Sheila about personal training.

    Sheila wanted consumers to know that personal trainers are not required to have a license in Kentucky. Massage therapists and hairdressers have to have a license, but not personal trainers.

    “You, the consumer, have to understand how to vet that out,” Sheila said. People feel safe about the word “certified,” but it really doesn’t mean much in and of itself.

    Certification is not a substitute for education. Undergraduate and graduate degrees in exercise science are great. “Vocational schools for personal trainers are the wave of the future,” Sheila said. Ask any potential personal trainer about their education and experience.

    “I should let you question me,” Sheila said. A free consultation is standard in the business. As the consumer, don’t feel intimidated about asking questions. A good personal trainer won’t be offended at all.

    Watch Lauren’s interview with Sheila:

    The Pain of Inactivity

    Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

    by Sheila Kalas, personal trainer and owner of Fitness Plus

    Sheila Kalas, owner of Fitness Plus in Lexington KYMost of us have experienced the overwhelming desire to stay in bed after the alarm goes off, especially if it’s a Monday morning. But most of us, very quickly, connect the dots and realize that if we don’t get out of bed and get going, there will be serious consequences. Whether it’s work or family obligations, we realize that we don’t have the option of just lying around day after day doing nothing. We get up and accept the responsibility of performing the tasks that are not necessarily pleasant all of the time, but are necessary for our lives to run smoothly. We go to work, take out the trash, brush our teeth, do our laundry, feed ourselves, etc.

    However, this “connect the dots” scenario does not seem to work when it comes to dealing with the personal responsibility of exercise. When it comes to exercise, most people rationalize that doing nothing feels better. They do not connect the dots that show that regular inactivity is what leads to a low level of energy, poor health, and growing waistlines. It is much easier to blame life for these unpleasant things instead of blaming the choices you make.

    As an exercise professional, one of my most important jobs is to help my clients learn to feel lousy when they don’t exercise. It may sound strange, but they must learn this if there is any hope of them becoming a regular, self-motivated exerciser. They have to connect the dots that it is inactivity that hurts their health and is painful to their body, not exercise.

    It is a fact that exercise does cause mild, temporary discomfort. You do notice it when you are exercising; it does feel different than lying on the couch. This feeling is a major deterrent to most people. As motivational speaker Tony Robbins indicates, avoidance of pain is a stronger motivator than the seeking of pleasure. This is why people let the pain and discomfort of exercise rule their choices when it comes to working out. They rationalize that NOT going to the gym makes them feel better at that moment. Yet the very discomfort they want to avoid is going to be multiplied before they know it.

    Accepting the personal responsibility that it is you and only you that holds yourself back and keeps you from engaging in a healthy lifestyle is the most important key to unlocking the door to better health. Once you accept this responsibility (which people hate to do), you can begin to move forward.

    Helping you get to this place of acceptance is one of the primary roles of a good personal trainer. If you are working with a trainer and you don’t feel like they are helping you accept your role in your exercise program, but instead are just leading you around by the nose, telling you what to do without any explanation of why it is important, then you might be working with the wrong trainer.

    You have to do more than “just do it”; you have to understand WHY you are doing it and WHAT is it that is happening inside your body while you are doing it. I firmly believe that the more a person knows and understands about the exercise they are doing, the more likely they are to continue doing it.

    An uneducated, uninformed person will soon quit their exercise program. Humans do not engage in things for no reason—there has to be some benefit, some reason to continue. A good trainer should provide you this information.

    This a perfect time of the year to sit down and re-evaluate your life, in regards to exercise and health. Take a look at yourself. Is inactivity prevalent in your life? If so, do you realize the consequences of this?

    If you are exercising, do you feel good about your program?

    Do you think it is giving you what you need to progress through the rest of your life in the healthiest way possible?

    Do you feel engaged and connected with your exercise program?

    Do you understand your exercise program? Or are you just going through the motions?

    Look at yourself, your life, your motivations and rationalizations. Take stock and responsibility in your own life, your own health. Accept the fact that it is you who are in control of how you take care of yourself and your body. Remember that it is inactivity that’s painful, not exercise.

    If you feel that you are not where you need to be in regards to an exercise program, then get going! Take the responsibility to get this very important part of your life up and running. Take charge of your health and wellness. It’s a great feeling.

    Check out the bios of our Fitness Plus personal trainers and feel free to call us at 859.269.9280.

    Simplify Your Workouts With Science

    Sunday, October 5th, 2014

    by Sheila Kalas, personal trainer and owner of Fitness Plus

    Sheila Kalas, owner of Fitness Plus in Lexington KYBring up the word “science” in a conversation and often people get a funny look on their face. It is one of those subjects that people often fear. They think that is too difficult to grasp and often avoid it. This fear causes people to veer away from the “scientific” explanation and choose instead the “simple” one.

    Unfortunately, when it comes to fitness, this concept is incorrect. In the world of exercise, it is science that makes it simple. If you familiarize yourself with the science behind the exercise (which is exactly what an exercise physiologist does), you can clearly see through all the hype and confusing choices that flood the commercial fitness marketplace. Science is the best way to answer some of the most commonly asked fitness questions. Here are just a few examples:

    Question 1: What type of aerobic exercise is best?

    The hype says that someone is always inventing THE aerobic workout machine, THE aerobic class. One day it’s kickboxing; the next, step aerobics; the next, the elliptical trainer; then the recumbent bicycle, and on and on. So what do you do? What choice is best?

    Science clears this right up. Science has a clear definition of what constitutes aerobic exercise. There are very clear requirements for an exercise to be considered aerobic and give you the cardiovascular training and fat-burning results you want. Any exercise that meets these criteria is a good choice for your aerobic exercise. Forget the hype and pick the exercise that meets the requirements and is one that you can see yourself participating in.

    In order for an exercise to be considered aerobic, it must:

    1. Use large muscle masses, e.g., legs, back or chest muscles.
    2. Be rhythmical (not a start-and-stop activity).
    3. Elevate your heart rate above 60% of your resting heart rate.
    4. Sustain that elevated heart rate for at least 20 minutes.

    Question 2: How hard should I work out?

    The hype most often says “no pain, no gain.” The marketplace makes it clear that the harder you work the leaner and prettier you are going to get. The commercials of young lean bodies working hard are often so discouraging to the average person that they don’t even try to start exercising. The impression is that you have to be in shape just to get in shape.

    Science eases some of this pressure. While it is true that exercise is more difficult for those who are just beginning to exercise, science tells us that, to get the health benefits of exercise, the “no pain, no gain” attitude is not needed. The best scientific information supporting this came from a study that was released in 2000 (Blair, et al.). This study followed thousands of people for many years and analyzed their exercise habits and how they related to early mortality. The study found that people who were “highly” fit and worked at a very high intensity did have a lower incidence of early mortality than their “unfit” counterparts. However, the early mortality rate of the “highly” fit individuals was statistically insignificant from the “moderately” fit individuals (those who walked 30 minutes 5 times a week). This means that moderate exercise is all you need to provide excellent health benefits. So, relax and enjoy a nice walk in the neighborhood.

    Question 3: What type of strength training routine is best?

    The hype on this subject changes with the wind. Just when you think that light weights and many repetitions is it, they change and start touting “super slow” reps with massive weight. It changes about every 5 years. If you don’t like what they’re saying now, just wait a few years and it will change. Or you could follow science.

    Science reminds us that your muscles don’t care how much weight you lift, how many times you lift it, if you lift pretty chrome dumbbells or ugly bags of sand. All your muscles know is when they get tired. When your muscles are pushed to the point of fatigue on a regular basis, your body will respond by making that muscle stronger. This is called the “principle of overload.” If you consistently overload the muscle it will respond. How you want to get the muscle tired is up to you; it is just the means to the end (fatigue). Science actually can save you some time and prevent you from injury, if you listen. Science recommends that you lift a weight between 8-15 times. These numbers are not the only means, but it makes sense that if you can’t lift a weight at least 8 times, it’s probably too heavy for you and could hurt you. Consequently, if you lift a weight 15 times and you are not fatigued yet, you are spending too much time on one exercise! Keep it simple and you’ll do fine.

    Question 4: What diet is best to lose weight?

    Now that’s an interesting question. So many choices; where do I begin? The hype goes on and on. Every day there is a new “can’t miss” diet. You know them all. You’ve seen them come and go over the years, so what’s the answer?

    Science, again, cuts through the hype and simplifies the answer. The best diet is the one that results in a negative caloric balance, or burning more calories than you eat. You can eat anything and lose weight as long as the calories you are putting in your body are less than the calories you are burning. That’s it! There is no further explanation needed. Forget your blood type and no fruit before noon, or no potatoes, extra bacon, green tea with lemon, and so on. JUST MOVE MORE AND EAT LESS.

    Now, when it comes to nutrition and health what you eat does make a difference. Although you could lose weight eating only french fries, it would not be healthy. But the point is, keep it simple and rely on scientific facts.

    I could continue to shoot down hype with science and keep making exercise and fitness easier and easier for you, but I think you get the point. Most of these examples are common sense. Most of us know when we are hearing hype, but fall victim to it sometimes out of desperation, hope and laziness. I encourage you to be honest with yourself and realize that there is no substitute for “just doing it.” Remember, science can make the seemingly daunting task of regular exercise easier, not harder. Forget the hype, and stick with science.

    Monday, August 4th, 2014

    Laura Coombs, personal trainer at Fitness Plus in Lexington, KYMOVE YOUR GUTS!

    By Laura Coombs, M.S., A.T.C., C.S.C.S.

    Are you serious about getting healthy? Start with your gut! If you’re neglecting your stomach, small intestine, and large intestine, your diet and exercise regime will be less effective. Here’s why.

    The purpose of food is to supply nutrients to our cells. Before it can work at the cellular level, food makes a stop in the stomach, where it is churned by the muscular walls of the stomach and broken down into a thin paste by the gastric juices and stomach acids. Most nutrients are then passed to small intestine, but water, electrolytes, proteins, and alcohol begin the digestion process here. Because high blood alcohol content is potentially lethal, your stomach prioritizes the digestion of alcohol when it is present to prevent it from entering the bloodstream. Consequently, the digestion of beneficial and health-promoting water, electrolytes, and proteins are put on hold and our cells are deprived essential nourishment. Let your stomach do its job by eliminating alcohol from your diet, thereby maximizing your muscles’ supply of protein and fluids!

    Once your food has become chyme (that thin paste your stomach churned out), it passes into the small intestine. Almost all digestion and absorption of nutrients occurs via the blood and lymphatic vessels in and around this 20 foot tube. Once there, our food spends 3-5 hours in the small intestine’s specialized design of villi, mucous, and intestinal juice. These structures thrive in a basic (ph 7.0 or higher) environment that is rich in “friendly” bacteria. Maintaining an optimal environment in your small intestine is critical to proper nutrient uptake, fat metabolism, immunity, and even brain health. Condition your gut with foods that balance your ph (raw fruits and veggies!) and fermented foods that are high in probiotics (keifer, kimchi, yogurt, sauerkraut, miso!)

    Finally, the chyme moves into the 5 foot long large intestine, which is loaded with more friendly bacteria to complete the breakdown of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. The bacteria here also contribute to the formation of vitamins B and K. The large intestine’s lining is suited for water absorption and final removal of waste. With the help of a high fiber diet, things will chug along optimally, and leave the large intestine in 3-10 hours. Be sure to get 20-35 grams of natural fiber (no synthetic supplements!) from a diet rich in vegetables, seeds, nuts, and beans and drink LOTS of water to keep your large intestine healthy.

    Adding water, fiber, raw fruits and vegetables, and fermented foods not only move your guts, but create a habitat for optimal digestion, immunity, vitamin synthesis, and brain power!

    Moveitbuddy: healthy 10-minute solutions for busy bodies and buddies.
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    Young Women LEAD

    Monday, May 19th, 2014

    On March 12, 2014, Fitness Plus took part in the Young Women LEAD conference at Lexington Center. Sheila Kalas was a conference speaker, with the motivational intro for 800+ high school girls.

    Four trainers led them in warm-up exercises: FP personal trainers Joel Chandler and Shane Burry, and Carl Flotka and Sharon Ball from Lexington Healing Arts Academy.

    All the girls were up and moving and having a great time. Young Women LEAD (Leadership, Education and Development) is a one-day conference to empower high school girls to embrace their strengths and to reach their full potential.