Archive for the ‘Professional Team’ Category

Rugged Red Trail Half-Marathon

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

The inaugural Rugged Red half-marathon was held on Sept. 6, 2014, at Red River Gorge in the Daniel Boone National Forest. It was a hot and muggy Saturday. And muddy, thanks to a previous rainy week. Yep, Mother Nature laid it on. The trail run had all manner of hills and slopes, twists and turns, ascents and descents, rocks and trees, creek beds and breathtaking views.

The day started at 5:30 a.m. for the many volunteers (yay, volunteers, you are always awesome people!), including Fitness Plus clients Meribeth Gaines, Debbie James, Sarah Tedford and Julia Fain. FP client Dee Werline’s niece, Baylee, came in from North Carolina to compete in the race. At 8 a.m. the first wave of runners took to the course. Of 380 people who signed up, 310 finished.

For first-time race director (and FP personal trainer) Stephanie Lovely, the day was pretty spectacular. She has worked races on the volunteer side quite a few times before. Being the actual director is like being “vice president in charge of every possible detail,” similar to the way a TV producer of a football game is. Steph planned the half-marathon course itself, dealt with all the logistics, including medals, and anything else race-related that came up.

“Seeing the runners come across the line and having a good time, that was rewarding,” she said. “They’re loving something I created and that I love too.”

Although she couldn’t compete in the Rugged Red on race day itself, Steph ran that 13.1-mile rugged course many times over the past year. Running trails has always been her favorite kind of running. She was brought into the Rugged Red project in August 2013 to plan the event for September 2014. She worked with Joe Bowen, who had the idea in the first place to bring a sporting event to the area to increase tourism.

Because of the heat and humidity, there were some runners who got a little overheated. Search & Rescue teams from Wolfe, Powell and Menifee counties were on hand to help anyone who needed it, from bee stings to a turned ankle to heat exhaustion. “Medical treatment is a lot trickier in the trails of a national forest,” Stephanie said.

With almost a mile of gained elevation throughout the course, running times were slower for the Rugged Red trail half-marathon than they would be for other half-marathons. But it’s not so much about the finishing time as the experience itself. Yes, there are plans to have the 2nd annual Rugged Red in the fall of 2015. www.RuggedRed.com
 
 

Steph Lovely and Rene Sepulveda

Steph Lovely, Rugged Red race director, and Rene Sepulveda, her college coach who came in from California to run the race. He also came in fifth place.

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!

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Trainer Tip: Train smart, not hard

Monday, November 11th, 2013

The Benefits of Functional Training

by Joey Hacker, Personal Trainer

Joey Hacker, personal trainer at Fitness Plus in Lexington, Ky.The human body is an effective vehicle that is built to help us do the necessary things we need to survive. It is created to help us with everyday activities, so why is it when we train ourselves or others we only train for how much we can push, pull, or move an object/weight? When looking at the human body we must first assess how to help it to move properly and strengthen it in those areas.

Every person, from the experienced training enthusiast to the most novice in the fitness world, needs a foundation. Functional training provides a baseline of physical fitness for the body. No matter what a person’s fitness goals may be, we must first prepare the body for movement in the gym and in the “real world.”

The term functional training refers to a method of training that prepares and strengthens your muscles for daily tasks by simulating common movements you may do at home, work, or extra-curricular activities (sports, hobbies, etc.). While incorporating a training program that requires the use of upper and lower body muscles at the same time, we also activate core stability. Core stability is key to our level of success, as it is the center base of gravity for our body. A happy core is a happy body.

There are several functional training exercises that prepare the body for everyday activities. Examples include:

  • Multidirectional lunges (vacuuming and yard work)
  • Squat to biceps curls (lifting a laundry basket or lifting a young child from the floor)
  • Step ups with weights (walking up stairs)
  • Medicine ball chop and lift (housework and cleaning)

The benefits of functional training are simple. It can make everyday activities much easier, reduce your risk of injury, and improve your quality of life. Are these three benefits more beneficial than how much weight you can move? That is the question every person needs to ask before deciding what their goals are on their own or with a fitness professional.

Extreme Rampage 2013

Monday, September 16th, 2013

Facing mud pits, cargo nets, rope walls, tire drills and tunnel crawls… yes, Extreme Rampage 2013 was a blast. The weather was perfect for the event on Saturday morning, Sept. 7, at Masterson Station Park. A crew of six from Fitness Plus went off in wave #5 (of 8) for the 4-mile cross-country obstacle course.

Trainers Laura Coombs and Joey Hacker were veterans from the 2012 Extreme Rampage, so they helped the newbies out. It was a test of strength, balance, agility and determination.

Congrats to Fitness Plus clients David Brian, Kimberly Campbell and Steve MacNeil, for their “veni, vidi, vici” moment. They came and saw and conquered this thing.

Trainer Tip: Posture Before Pain

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

by Amanda Holland

One of the most important things you can do for your body is to make sure you have and use correct posture. We all might slouch, every now and then, but to be mindful of your positions throughout the day is important. This can include things as simple as walking, to something as challenging as carrying and putting away groceries. Flexibility and resistance training play a huge role in improving postural imbalances, and can teach your body how to use correct form even when you don’t think about it (muscle memory).

Important check points involving posture:

  • Use your legs: Anything that requires you to bend over will require you to use your legs. This is important, considering many people use their back to lift. Have you ever heard or said “My low back hurts”? This is one of the main causes of low back pain. Focus on sitting your hips back, not letting the knees come forward, and keeping your chest up during any bending you may do throughout the day.
  • Keep your shoulders back: Unless we are sleeping, we are constantly up and moving around. We may not notice the effects of gravity on our body. If the shoulders are already hunched, that gives gravity an advantage to apply more pressure to the top of the shoulders. Therefore, causing shoulder pain. Try pinching the shoulder blades together and depressing the shoulders. (Let any pain you feel in the shoulders serve as a reminder to keep them back and depressed.)
  • Flexibility: Stretching the major muscle groups every day will increase improvement in overall posture. If you are not flexible enough to get into a correct position it kind of defeats the purpose. Try starting your day off with some stretching: hamstrings, calves, quads, chest, and back. This “feels good” and will be easy to incorporate into your daily lifestyle.
  • Resistance: Resistance training, done in the correct form, can help strengthen week muscles in the back. For instance, a band resistance-back row can help strengthen back muscles (such as the rhomboids) to help keep your shoulders back. Also try squats into a chair using proper form in the legs and hips.

Keep in mind that the simple things make a huge difference. Learning these basic rules can improve your performance and take away possibly any aches and pains you may be experiencing. Give it a try!

Trainer Tip: Kids and summer vacation

Monday, August 12th, 2013

How your kids should spend summer vacation

by Rob Sweet, Fitness Plus Personal Trainer
 

Recent research has shown that K-12 kids lose so much knowledge and academic skills during the summer break that the first two to three months of the next school year are primarily used for catching up.  Likewise, during summer vacation, the usual answer to the familiar essay question “What I Did Over Summer Vacation” is . . . nothing.

And that’s especially true for kids’ bodies.  Research also demonstrates that K-12-ers are sleeping around nine hours a night and using electronic devices—that’s cellphones, TVs, tablets, computers, etc.—for another nine.  That doesn’t leave a whole lot of time in the day for exercise.

Ask your grandparents, or even parents, what they did during these 10-12 weeks, and they’ll likely talk about getting up at the crack of day and riding their bikes off to play or even going to summer camps.  In other words, they naturally got the requisite amount of exercise.

And that exercise, as neuroscientist John Medina points out in Brain Rules (2008), helped in turn to boost their brain power.

Let’s encourage kids to get back outside.  When I was a kid, I spent my summers riding around Richmond on my bike, which built up my legs and my cardio.  I also attended sports camps and, like every Kentucky kid used to, played hoops on my driveway court.  When August came and school opened, my brain was in almost as good shape as my body.

What should today’s kids be doing in the summer?  Exercise.  Recent guidelines suggest that EVERYONE ought to get 30 minutes of exercise a day, even if it’s in two 15-minute spurts.  Another useful guideline is the doctrine of 10,000 steps—that means walking about four miles a day.

Then there’s strength. All kids should develop a love for building muscle and why it will help them with their journey through life. There are some simple ways young kids can start to develop muscular strength. I myself, start my young clients with body weight activities:

  • Push-ups- This exercise will develop the chest and arms while working the mid-section as well.
  • Pull-ups- Will help them build the muscles of the back and arm
  • Squats- Work the muscles of the legs while helping with balance and stability

Not sure of the proper way to perform these exercises?  Consider a trainer.  An experienced professional not only ensures you do the exercises the proper way, but optimizes your efforts.  A professional personal trainer can also develop a well- rounded fitness program, including nutritional counseling.  Remember, you’re up against the armies of the fast-food nation, and grilling at home together has not been outlawed.  Sticking with your solid proteins such as chicken, turkey, and fish is always a healthy option. Also, feeding those brains and bodies their daily fruits/veggies is essential to a well-rounded meal.

And it’s not too late to get started with exercise and a personal trainer.  Those ever-shortening summer days are whispering that the start of the school year isn’t far off.  After all, when they write those September essays on “How I Spent My Summer Vacation,” you don’t want them drooling about the Pretzel Burger at Wendy’s, boasting about the number of new BFFs who friended them, or how they watched the Glee CDs so often they’ve memorized the entire playlist.

Trainer Tip: How to add more activity in your life

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

 

Stephanie Lovely, Fitness Plus personal trainer


Ways to Boost Your Activity

by Stephanie Lovely, Fitness Plus Personal Trainer
 
Technology is constantly creating ways to make our lives easier and more comfortable, and although convenience is nice, it can take away from our well-being if we aren’t mindful of its cost. Where we used to walk over to see someone, now we stop by their Facebook page. Time that we used to spend walking around shopping for gifts is now spent perusing a wider selection online. Often TV, Internet and video games take the place of going places and doing things.

As a society, we’re becoming less and less active, and we’re missing out on some critical health benefits. The benefits of being active are more than building muscles, losing weight, and improving bone density and cardiovascular ability, though all of those are important incentives. Activity also promotes healthy mood, memory, and learning, according to recent reports. Every minute of movement increases brain activity, improving cognitive function, and after just 10 minutes, neural pathways are dramatically shifted.

To take advantage of these benefits, we must counteract our sedentary culture. Small steps can make a big difference, by simply being more mindful of how much we’re moving and by implementing activity into our daily lives.

Easy ways to up your daily activity are all around you. Decide to walk or bike to the store rather than drive. Meet a friend for a stroll around the park instead of meeting for a drink. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Trade movie night for concerts at Thursday Night Live or the jazz series in the park, and wear comfortable shoes so you can dance.

In the office, stay active by seeing colleagues in person rather than calling or emailing them. Trade your seated desk for a standing desk. Some people are even adding treadmill desks to their office furniture. Recent studies find that physical activity in the workplace increases productivity and creativity.

The overall energy you receive from actively moving through your daily life is far greater than the physical energy you expend.

Trainer Tip: What does your can of soda do for you?

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

Amy Ball, personal trainer at Fitness Plus in Lexington, KYBy Amy Ball, NASM, USAT trainer

Ahhh… the refreshing thought of an ice cold soda pop being poured over a tall glass of ice. Nothing sounds better in the summer heat, sitting by the pool with an all-American hotdog and potato salad on your plate.

For many, a soda is a regular part of the day, whether it is the caffeine pick up, the sweet taste, or the fizzy refreshment. Soda has been a part of an American pastime for generations. But let’s talk about what a can of soda does to the body.

We all know there are a lot of empty calories in soda and as a result many soda drinkers turn to diet sodas. This may lower the caloric intake but it does not change the effect it has on our body in regards to our pH level. What exactly is our pH? This is the alkalinity and acidity of our body. The normal range for the human body is 7.4 on the pH scale; water is about 7. Our body constantly tries to keep our pH at or close to 7.4.

Back to that can of soda. When we drink a can of soda it makes our body too acidic. When that happens our blood cannot function normally. The blood cells cannot transport oxygen and nutrients as quickly nor can it remove carbon dioxide or wastes as quickly.

Why? Because our blood turns into sludge and moves very slowly. This happens because the blood cells can’t bounce off each other and so they stick to each other instead. This may explain why we don’t have as much energy.

There are lots of things that are acidic in our world, such as processed foods, pesticides, pollution, alcohol, tobacco, unnatural fruit juices, even energy drinks, and of course, sodas. So the next time you pop open that ice cold Coke, Diet Coke, Pepsi or any soda, keep in mind that it takes 33 glasses of water to neutralize 1 can of soda. Water is good but that is a lot of water!

Make a smart choice: drink real fruit juice or water the next time you’re really thirsty. Your body and blood will thank you.

How fit are your feet?, by Laura Coombs, CSCS, NSCA, ATC

Sunday, May 12th, 2013

Laura Coombs, personal trainer at Fitness Plus in Lexington, KYHow fit are your feet?, by Laura Coombs, CSCS, NSCA, ATC

 

The foot plays an important role as the foundation of our skeleton, both while we stand and while we ambulate.  Our posture, balance, power, and grace are all rooted in our feet.   Without foundation rigidity, we wobble.  Without foundation suppleness, we teeter and tilt.   Are your feet ready for this job?

The foot is made of 26 bones and 20 muscles.    This great number of moveable structures implies that our foot is meant to move!!  So why do we lace it into in a restrictive shoe all day?   Obviously our feet need protection from the elements and from debris, but most of us are deconditioning our feet by limiting their function in tight clunky shoes.    If you have certain conditions and have been advised by a doctor to wear a specific type of shoe, the following recommendations are not for you.  But if you’re ready to make your feet fit AND functional, try these tips:

 

1)      Take your shoes and socks off when you walk around inside your house!  Allow the bones and muscles to absorb the shock of your gait.  This trains them to spring back against the impact and can help build a healthy arch.

2)      Barefooted, try standing on one foot while you wash the dishes or brush your teeth.   Let the tiny joints in your feet react to the instability, thus keeping them mobile.

3)      Sit down and wiggle your toes…all TEN!  Can they move independently?  Use all the muscles in your feet!

4)      Interlace your fingers with your toes.  Squeeze your fingers with your toes, now squeeze your toes with your fingers.  Repeat 5 times.  Feel the burn?

5)      Put a basket of pencils near your couch.  Practice picking them up one by one while you read or watch TV.

6)      Grab a print out of the sign language alphabet and see if you can spell your name with your foot.  Fun!

A strong, mobile foot can improve how your foundation feels as well as how it supports the rest of your body.  Try these exercises and I’ll bet  your knees, hips, and low back feel better too!

Trainer Tip: Benefits of a Walking Program, by Chris Williams

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

Chris Williams, personal trainer at Fitness Plus in Lexington, KY
There are many ways to exercise nowadays. Every time you turn on the television there is a new “foolproof plan” to get you in shape.  The problem with a lot of these plans is the difficulty level. For most people if an exercise plan gets too hard, their next move is probably going to be squatting to the couch.

This is why one of the best exercise plans for longevity is developing a walking program. Walking is a low impact exercise that can help ease you into a higher level of fitness and health. Another benefit is walking is easily accessible to everyone, so your excuses are limited.

There are many health benefits from walking. Walking helps to lower your LDL (bad cholesterol) while also raising your HDL (good cholesterol). It also helps to lower your blood pressure while reducing your risk or helping to manage type 2 diabetes. Also research has shown that regular brisk walking can reduce the risk of heart attack by the same amount as vigorous exercise. A regular walking program can also help to manage your weight as well as improving your overall mood. And whose mood wouldn’t improve if you could manage your weight just by adding some walking to your daily routine.

To see these benefits all you need to do is begin a routine of brisk walking. So don’t worry if you aren’t doing the latest fitness craze, just start with the one that will lead you to better health and keep you moving forward one step at a time.