All posts tagged: article

GX Thanks

Group Exercise has played a big role in my fitness life for about 14 years. I remember fondly my free access to the state-of-the-art “Strom” center as a student at USC. And, my goodness, I took advantage. That’s where I attended my first GX class – probably pilates. Then I was hooked forever.

All these years, I have participated like mad. There were times when I needed that setting and instructor to motivate me or I was just not going to exercise. As a seeker of variety, I’ve sampled almost every class type. Been ground up and spit out by the bootcamp instructors. Been soothed and flexed by the yoga instructors. Been thoroughly impressed with senior citizens that could outdo me.

I have been a personal trainer for about 4 years. It was not until my latest job that I ventured into group exercise instruction. Exhilarated with the new challenge, I still had to pace myself. I taught 1 class a week from August to December 2017. I taught 3 classes a week January to March 2018. Classes were Plyoga, Total Body and Pep Step.

The participants were my boos. I loved them all, grooving to my playlists, pushing to the max. I did it for them, right. They needed me, and the inspiration flowed both ways. But after only 3 months, I realized GX may not be my perpetual calling…

For one, I was having terrible body issues flare up. I did have a serious car accident last August that contributed. I was still not over some shoulder, back, hip ailments.

For two, I didn’t really get to baby my body in the process. Sure, I shared my journey with classes, but once adrenaline pumped I wasn’t so limited and aggravated things without knowing.

For three, it wasn’t about me. I was performing. I was on. I had to lead these eager folks in high kicks, lunges, planks and downward dogs. I could not be overly concerned with myself.

For four, the schedule was ambitious and demanding for me when I got up to teaching 3 days per week, back-to-back. The show must go on whether I was sore or sick or whatever. People relied on me, and my facility did not have a substitute. Eek!

For five, I realized how much time and care went into class preparation. I spent countless hours pooling music, writing routines, practicing and setting up the room.

For six, I spent many more hours promoting offerings, fulfilling registration and communicating with participants. Each class required tender attention. And, yes, I did want my boos to have access to me.

All this is to say… OMG, I DID NOT REALIZE WHAT GROUP EXERCISE INSTRUCTORS WERE CONTRIBUTING. I did not realize intimately before how much heart they all must have. To hustle through and through. To walk everything off. To keep a smile on their faces. To do all of this for the betterment of others.

I just needed to put it out there. Thank you, fabulous Group Exercise Instructors of the world! You have given so much. And you have shaped me personally and professionally.

Oh, by the way, ACSM’s Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2018 has Group Training listed at #2. The article states that although GX has been a long-time potential trend, it did not make the Top 20 until 2017.

#respect

AarikaGX Thanks
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Cancer & Excess Weight

A recent Internal Medicine News article covered an October report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention citing that “being overweight or obese significantly increased the risk of developing at least 13 types of cancer.”

The study compared statistics between 2005 and 2014, showing that obesity-related cancers* increased by 7%. They found that 40% of nearly 1.6 million of all cancer diagnoses were people with overweight- or obesity-related cancers. The rates were more pronounced in older people (50-74 years of age) and women (possibly because of female-specific cancers). Although, during that same time period, incidences of cancers unrelated to body weight decreased by 13%. [*Excluding colorectal cancer.]

CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald, MD…

“A majority of American adults weigh more than recommended – and being overweight or obese puts people at higher risk for a number of cancers – so these findings are a cause for concern. By getting to and keeping a healthy weight, we all can play a role in cancer prevention.”

Doctor for Life bridges the gap to fight overweight and obesity and chronic disease. Our Healthy Weight Lifestyle approach helps mitigate these negative statistics with screening and prevention. Our lead physician is board certified in both Internal Medicine and Obesity Medicine.

Dr. Cheryl Sarmiento…

“Even though the effects of unhealthy weight on diabetes, cardiovascular disease, mortality and other health outcomes are widely known, there is less awareness that unhealthy weight gain is associated with increased risk of certain cancers. There are opportunities for Clinical Intervention, and at DFL, we have all the available tools with services and programs to fight these dreadful diseases.”

< As written for Doctor for Life >
AarikaCancer & Excess Weight
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HIIT Me

After leaving my job at the YMCA, I found myself right back in the Group Exercise classroom regularly. But this time, I was not teaching; I was participating.

For one, my Wellness Department successor Wendy Jo was leading a new Small Group Training, and I wanted to support her and this effort to bring specialty, pay-for programming to Y members. For two, the class type was High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), and I had never focused on that very intentionally. For three, the commitment was six weeks, and I could really use that as a condensed period for reboot and body change. Wahoo!!!

HIIT Explained

High Intensity Interval Training describes any workout that alternates between intense bursts of activity and fixed periods of less-intense activity or even complete rest. For example, a good starter workout is running as fast as you can for one minute and then walking for two minutes. This Shape Magazine article lists 8 benefits of HIIT…

  1. Efficient
  2. Burn fat
  3. Maintain muscle
  4. Healthier heart
  5. No equipment necessary
  6. Do anywhere
  7. Increase metabolism
  8. Seriously challenging

HIIT Experience

I was right that I was not at my preferred level of fitness. I found that out on Day One of class. Granted, HIIT is not supposed to be easy. But, I really thought I would fair better. So, this revelation made me work even harder over the six weeks. I only missed one session – because of a travel conflict. I even worked out on my birthday – really proud of that choice. Wendy Jo and Jana were the instructors. And, man, did they make us all sweat. I did see improvements in endurance and body fat. Don’t worry about my red face in the photo above. I was just pushing it to the max!

I loved this new experience. It is me upholding an objective for the year – “engaging in new physical challenges to keep my own activity fresh and interesting.” To make twice a week workouts for six weeks took prioritization, and was not without me rescheduling a date night or two. Setting goals is incredibly important for me. I really enjoy executing a plan.

YMCA

I am a member of the YMCA of Greater Spartanburg. I mostly frequent their Thomas E. Hannah branch located in downtown Spartanburg. This facility is pretty amazing. It is only about 6 years old, which means state-of-the-art design and clean. They offer plentiful amenities for exercise – courts, pools, classrooms, Schwinn cycles, machines, free weights, functional tools and adjacency to the city’s Rail Trail. The Y is also well known for Group Exercise, offering 65 classes per week, last time I counted. Some instructors have been staples in the community for decades. And that doesn’t mean they are stale; they are the most energetic, caring people you’ll ever meet. Extra nice – Standard GX is included with your monthly membership fee.

YMCA Small Group HIIT = Great variety. Heart pumping. Falling in the floor but smiling. High fives!

 

AarikaHIIT Me
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Eating a Pomegranate

I don’t like admitting this… I had never eaten a pomegranate. You know, the buy whole fruit at the store and do it yourself eating. I have had plenty of dishes with dried pomegranate seeds or pomegranate flavoring. Yet, that bulbous thing on it’s own was intimidating.

During this week’s grocery store trip, beautiful ruby red fruits beckoned me. I picked it up and turned it about in my hand. Hmm… What would I tell a client? Try it!

At home, I was no less baffled. I had to find an article by searching “how to eat pomegranate.” So silly. But I’ll be damned if I was going to back down from this new idea and be daunted by this food forever because I was too lazy to Google it. (More info at Healthline.)

It looks good – exotic, enticing. It sounds good – sophisticated, cultured. It is healthy – vitamin C, antioxidants. It is versatile – seeds, juice, storage. Now, I must have a pomegranate!

Instructions for easy eating were as follows:

  • Cut fruit in half
  • Spoon out the tiny red “jewels” into a bowl
  • Eat entire seed

Notes after successfully eating my first pomegranate:

It was messy. Like wear latex gloves and an apron messy. And immediately clean your cutting board or counter, because the red juice stains awfully.

It was work. There are tons of jewels, and they are dappled throughout a thick white inner membrane. It took some time and was like a puzzle.

It was filling. Thankfully, I only needed to do one half the first day. Then, “performed surgery” and ate the other half the next day.

It was delicious. Eating the whole seed took getting used to, definitely different texture. But next thing I know I’m chomping away on nutritious nibblets – instead of chips.

#yumyumyum

 

AarikaEating a Pomegranate
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