Posts Tagged ‘fitness’

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.

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!

Sheila Kalas and Laura Coombs on KET

Monday, January 30th, 2012

“One to One with Bill Goodman” features Sheila Kalas and Laura Coombs.

Bill Goodman, host of “One to One” on KET, interviewed Sheila Kalas and Laura Coombs about getting fit and healthy, and staying that way.  The show, episode #704, aired in January 2012. Watch the 30-minute show online at

After the show, Bill continued the conversation with Sheila and Laura. He asked them for more tips on nutrition and fitness. That video is on Bill’s blog in a post called “We All Need More Exercise” at

Sheila is a personal trainer and the owner of Fitness Plus. Laura is a personal trainer at Fitness Plus and the faculty head of the Personal Fitness Training certification program at the Lexington Healing Arts Academy.

Health information comes to us from all angles and it can be confusing. Laura advises getting back to the basics. “It can be as easy as eat less and move more,” she said.

Sheila suggests looking at the world of fitness as gray, not black and white. Instead of feeling defeated before you even start, just start. Something is better than nothing. “Early mortality rates are reduced greatly with moderate exercise,” she said.

They both offer tips and information on diet and exercise, the personal training industry, recognizing and removing barriers to fitness, healthy eating habits, and personal accountability.

“Own your own body and take responsibility for it,” said Sheila. “You’re the only person that can make it better or worse.”

Click to play video from KET

Trainer Tip: Working for health, by Jessica Ray

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

jessica hs

Working for Health

The Center of Disease Control and Prevention projects that in 2010, heart disease will cost the United States $316.4 billion dollars. This total includes the cost of health care services, medications, and lost productivity in the work place.  Common risk factors for heart disease include inactivity, obesity, hypertension, cigarette smoking, high cholesterol, and diabetes.  Individuals have in their capacity the ability to combat these risk factors head on, and furthermore, reduce the economic impact it has on America.

Many work places have implemented wellness programs as part of their employee benefits packages.  However, many employees are unaware of this opportunity to monitor and improve their health at no additional cost.   Businesses are striving to improve their employees’ health, which in turn, will lower medical costs and absences at work related to illness.  In doing this, companies offer employees the chance to take health assessment surveys to learn more about their health.  By compiling health assessment data, businesses can better assess what their employees’ health concerns are and how they can provide assistance and guidance to improve upon them.  In addition, most wellness packages provide the opportunity for their employees to be contacted by a professional health advisor with whom they can directly discuss their health related issues.  This opportunity grants people the chance to ask how they can improve their health, set realistic goals, and hopefully eliminate additional risk factors that may lead to harmful diseases and/or conditions.  Some companies may also offer onsite resources such as health screenings, fitness facilities, and health educational seminars.  This makes it easier for employees to designate time during their work day to focus on their health.

Even though the work place is making it easier for individuals to be healthy, it is important for people to take actions in their own hands.  The expense of gym memberships, diet groups, and healthy foods makes it hard to stay in shape.  Instead of joining a gym think about other ways to exercise.  Find a local church that provides inexpensive fitness classes.  Possibly explore walking trails in your neighborhood, or ask a friend who has knowledge in fitness to help you.  There are many creditable exercise videos that can be purchased at a reasonable cost as well.  Exercise videos are very convenient since you can perform your exercise routine right in your own home.  This helps people overcome the intimidation of a gym atmosphere.
As an exercise specialist, I have discovered the barriers that people face with their health.  As people continue to become more and more unhealthy there will be a significantly greater economic impact.  This is why it’s important to take advantage of all the opportunities that can help improve our community’s wellbeing.