Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Fit and Trim Through the Winter Chill

by Zinta Aistars
Published in Welcome Home Magazine
Winter 2015 Issue

As the holiday season begins, motivation to maintain fitness routines wavers. The ice and snow of Michigan winters make walking, running or biking challenging if not dangerous. Driving to the gym when roads are slick makes a longer sit on the couch, potato chip bag in hand, that much more enticing.

“Typically, people gain one to 10 pounds over the six weeks of the holiday season,” says Kim Brockway, owner of Veritas Fitness, located at The Courthouse Athletic Center, 7365 Sprinkle Road in Portage. “Holidays are goal destructors! People tell themselves they will make up for all that holiday eating after the New Year, but too often that doesn’t happen.”

Brockway has been a personal trainer since 2008, and she opened Veritas Fitness in 2013. “Veritas” is Latin for truth, and Brockway encourages members to remain true to their health and fitness goals. She is ready with advice to make sure members stay stick with their good intentions through the winter.

As for the bountiful holiday table, she says: “Watch portion sizes, of course, but the best advice is to drink 16 ounces of water before you sit down to your meal. Even if you change nothing else, over 12 weeks of drinking all that water before a meal, on average you can lose 5 to 10 pounds.”

Better yet, Brockway advises, find an accountability buddy and check in with that person every day, whether a friend or personal trainer, and not just an app on your phone or other form of technology. Share your exercise with a real person.

“If you only have 40 minutes, do some strength training rather than cardio,” she says. “While cardio can burn more calories quickly, strength training such as squats, push-ups, or using dumbbells will give you a long-term burn. Find something new to do so you don’t get bored.”

Veritas offers a variety of workout boot camps, personal trainers who work with your unique fitness goals, and meal plans for those on the go.

While West Hills Athletic Club at 2001 South 11th Street in Kalamazoo is owned by Western Michigan University, only about a quarter of its 4,000 members have an association with the university, says Tyler Norman, fitness director.

“We’re a full-service athletic club, in business for more than 40 years,” Norman says. He is an exercise specialist, certified by the American College of Sports Medicine. “That’s the gold standard in the industry.”

The most common mistake Norman says that he sees among those working to achieve their fitness goals “is that people don’t have enough protein in their diets, especially when doing strength training.”

Norman encourages his clients to exercise consistently—and that includes throughout the holidays.

“Strength training, weight lifting, any kind of resistance training is great,” he says. “But the most important thing is to do some activity every day for at least 30 minutes. Do strength training twice a week if you’re beginning and work up to three or four times a week if you are more advanced.”

With his long career in the health club industry, Norman says he’s observed a healthy evolution.

“It’s not just the wealthy who are now joining health clubs,” he says. “Health clubs have become very affordable for all kinds of budgets, while personal trainers maximize the effectiveness of your workout, tailor it to your goals, and that eliminates the risk of injury while keeping you motivated and accountable.”

Celebrating 30 years of keeping exercisers looking good and providing the equipment needed for the chosen sport or activity, Gazelle Sports was founded downtown Kalamazoo, but has now expanded to Holland, Grand Rapids, and Northville. Gazelle Sports often sponsors community events, training programs, weekly clinics, and runs and walks.

“Keep moving! Don’t let winter keep you inside, but dress appropriately for the weather,” says Chris Lampen-Crowell, founder and co-owner of Gazelle Sports. “Exercising is more fun with an exercise buddy, and don’t forget your pet can be that buddy, too.”

Lampen-Crowell reminds customers to wear light colors as winter days are short. “Add something reflective that blinks, or you can look like a lamp post rather than a person. We have materials now that move moisture away from your body to maintain your core temperature, so you don’t have to dress in heavy coats to stay warm. Footwear like Yaktrax have small cleats on the bottom to keep you safe on ice—tumbles aren’t fun.”

Lampen-Crowell has a recommendation for starting the New Year on the right foot—with the John Daley One-One Run at Spring Valley Park, Kalamazoo, on January 1, 2016.

“It’s a great way to start the year, and you don’t even have to get up early. It begins at 1 p.m.,” he says. “It’s just 2.2 miles, and you can walk it or run it. It’s a fundraiser for the Boys & Girls Clubs of greater Kalamazoo, so you can help others while having fun and staying fit.” 

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