During the holidays, it’s easy to let your workout routine get interrupted by travel and a crammed pack schedule. Meanwhile, your intentions to eat healthy get overpowered by gravy and pecan pie. Continue reading 5 Tips for Healthier Holidays→
Rainier Health & Fitness member Nancy Shore was hesitant to try Group Training due to back pain, but within a year of working out three times weekly, she experienced both a stronger back and more energy. Recapping the transformation, Nancy wrote:
“I remember telling Patrick that I thought Group Training would be a bad idea due to back pain. Patrick told me that the Group Training would help my back and even promised me I’d gain the strength and form needed to pick up my son. I gave it a try and realized that Group Training would help me move beyond doing just cardio on the elliptical. The trainers are amazing at working with you and modifying the exercises as needed. My son is now five and over 50 pounds and I can still give him uppies. The Group Training classes have been amazing—my back is definitely better and the trainers and other gym members in the class always motivate me. I am definitely stronger than I’ve ever been and find that starting my day off with Group Training energizes me and helps me focus throughout my workday.”
Members like Nancy are exactly who the trainers have designed Group Training to impact. As a program of a non-profit in the Rainier Valley, Rainier Health & Fitness has attracted many residents who never before stepped inside a gym. Consequently, the staff found that a number of these newcomers are intimidated by weights and large equipment so stick to treadmills and ellipticals rather than pushing themselves to a total body workout.
To expand members’ fitness routines at a reasonable cost, the trainers implemented a program called Group Training. These workouts enable participants to vary their exercise routine, receive a total body workout and get guidance from a certified trainer…plus get to know a few of their neighbors in the process! Most importantly, the program encompasses three of RHF’s core values:
Motivating members to take control of their preventative health
Making high-quality fitness affordable and accessible.
Group Training is the type of service people would otherwise only get through Personal Training or CrossFit. And although RHF offers both Personal Training and CrossFit at rates greatly reduced from their competitors, many members still cannot afford these services. Group Training fills the gap. Compared to most gyms where a single session with a trainer costs upwards of $40/hour, Group Training gives members unlimited access to workouts guided by a certified trainer for just $30 per month (that breaks down to approximately $3/session for members who come at least 10 times in the month. Training is offered six days a week nearly every hour so if utilized more, the cost decreases even further).
Capping classes at a maximum of 6 people, trainers are able to offer more personalized feedback in Group Training than in larger CrossFit classes. Meanwhile, workouts offer varying routines so no two days are exactly alike. Sometimes members do circuits and other times a set number of reps. Unlike CrossFit, however, Group Training does not involve heavy lifting but follows the NASM Optimum Performance Training™ (OPT™) Model focusing primarily on functional movements.
“We meet you where you are at based on your physical exercise capabilities and work on improving your capacity to perform functional and physical work,” says RHF trainer Patrick Otieno “For example, tasks requiring you to lift loads or move furniture without experiencing back pain.”
Although each session varies, Group Training breakdowns to essentially 5 phases:
Warm up on a treadmill, rower, bike, elliptical or other cardio of choice (5-10 minutes)
Stretch with a trainer (5 minutes)
Core and corrective training (15-20 minutes)
Circuit or muscle specific workout (20-25 minutes)
Cool down (5 minutes)
One of the best aspects of Group Training is that it makes fitness fun. “Group training is fun and holds them accountable to coming to the gym,” said trainer Mike Nienaber. “There’s always variety, whether the instructor differs or the workout.”
Group Training isn’t for everyone. But for people who are new to fitness, who want to vary their workout without getting injured or who desire to connect to the local community, this program is perfect. As Nancy said, “I also think the group training classes are very supportive and a lot of fun. I believe a strong sense of community forms through participating in these classes.”
Emily Williamson is RHF’s marketing coordinator. Her own experience of suffering a back injury and recovering through exercises prescribed by a chiropractor who doubles as a cross-fit instructor gave her a passion for helping others experience life fully through fitness.
Post-workout recovery is an often under-looked or overanalyzed component to a successful training program. When it comes to a post-workout recovery routine, keeping it simple is best. Try these 3 easy to-do tips from RHF CrossFit trainer David Calderon to help your routine:
1. Food: A recovery shake or small meal consisting of simple sugars to replace glycogen (stored energy) and protein to aid in repair of muscles is key. Here are a couple options depending on your schedule.
Whey protein shake made with milk
Greek Yogurt (8 oz) with berries (1/4 cup) or bananas (1/2 cup) and granola (1/4 cup)
2-4 ounces of deli meat, a handful of nuts and a small piece of fruit
2. Water: Just drink! Hydration post-workout will assist in recovery, help flush out toxins and aid in transportation of nutrients. An easy rule of thumb not just for post-workout but in general is to consume enough water so that your urine is clear.
3. Stretching: Static stretching has its place and is most productive post-workout when muscles are warmed up. Never stretch to a point of pain; instead stretch to a degree that is comfortable to you and accumulate 60-90 seconds per muscle area. Adding a stretching routine will aid in increasing your flexibility, preventing injury and reducing next-day soreness.
David Calderon is a graduate of San Jose State University with a Bachelors of Science in Nutritional Science with a concentration in Dietetics. He’s also the CrossFit trainer at Rainier Health & Fitness.
While gyms are traditionally known to celebrate slim figures and body-builder images, Rainier Health & Fitness has a different purpose: to encourage healthy lifestyles, strong bodies and authentic community. For Amal*, her husband and seven children, Rainier Health & Fitness has been a key part of developing healthy practices. Every family member exercises regularly and Amal herself walks to the gym from their Beacon Hill home to hit the treadmill or participate in a yoga class.
Amal’s friends ask her, “Why do you go to the gym? You’re already skinny?” Amal replies that exercising is about staying healthy and feeling well, not just being skinny. Her mom died in 2008 and had high blood pressure and high cholesterol, so she wants to prevent suffering from the same preventable conditions. Plus, if she doesn’t work out, her muscles get tight and she has migraines. The migraines are actually what drove her to join the gym in the first place in April 2010; Amal’s doctor said she should go to the gym, a stress-free environment, for her migraines. Now they only resume after not coming for a week or two. “Coming here is good for my heart and brain,” Amal says.
In addition to regular exercise, Amal’s family has also made healthy changes to their diet thanks to the influence of their vegetarian daughter. Amal used to drink lots of coffee, but now has reduced her consumption to one cup per day. Coming from Somalia where many dishes are prepared with oil, she has steered away from this ingredient and has quit frying food. Instead, she serves the family only brown rice, oatmeal and whole grain bread, spaghetti and cereal. She also checks the labels of food and looks at calories before purchasing. As a result, no one in her family is overweight.
“Health is number one.” Amal says, “It’s worth $30 per month.” She tells everybody to come here and has met lots of new friends while working out.
* pseudonym, name changed to protect privacy
About Rainier Health & Fitness
Rainier Health & Fitness first opened its doors in March of 2005 with the dream of using exercise to address health disparities in its neighborhood. Since then it has grown to over 1600 members. The volunteers and staff at Rainier Health & Fitness are dedicated to improving the health of their Rainier Valley community by encouraging healthy lifestyles and strong bodies. The fitness center makes exercise fun and accessible by offering affordable prices and creating a non-intimidating workout environment, especially for those who are new to exercise. A variety of group classes including yoga, ZUMBA fitness, Pilates, turbo kick and cycling are available to members at no additional cost while personal training, group training and CrossFit are offered through certified trainers for comparably low additional fees. Regular memberships are an affordable $30 a month with a one-time membership fee of $99.
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