Western Blogs

September 22, 2023
Keep Your Heart in Shape: The Role of Exercise in Heart Health

Love yourself and love your heart. World Heart Day is celebrated across the globe on the 29th of September every year. The mission is to raise awareness of cardiovascular disease (CVD), which is the leading cause of death worldwide. CVD includes heart disease, stroke, and other conditions that affect the heart and blood vessels. To […]

September 15, 2023
The Benefits of Cross-Training for a Well-Rounded Fitness Routine

Are you stuck in a fitness rut, doing the same workout day in and day out, and wondering why you're not seeing the results you desire? Or maybe you're new to the world of fitness and looking for the best way to kickstart your journey to a healthier, stronger, and happier you. Whether you're a […]

September 1, 2023
Welcome Sara, Western's New Group Fitness Director

After 13 years, we are sad but excited (sadcited?) to announce that Kari Merrill will be stepping out of her role as Group Fitness Director and passing the torch to the amazing Sara Smith! Don't worry! Kari's not going anywhere! She will continue bringing her passion and energy to her regular classes and into the […]

September 1, 2023
Fall Forward: Reenergizing Your Fitness Ambitions

The fall season always seems to arrive with an invitation to embrace transformation. While many of us often associate January 1st with the launch of new fitness resolutions, there's no need to wait for the calendar to turn when autumn presents the perfect opportunity to reenergize your fitness ambitions. Instead of waiting for a new […]

August 18, 2023
Your Western Racquet & Fitness Club Group Fitness Questions Answered

I’ve been teaching Group Fitness classes for close to 20 years and have always loved the creative part of teaching–from the programming to the music to the different ways you can piece everything together to create a fun and unique experience. So when I was offered the Group Fitness Director job at Western in 2010, […]

August 4, 2023
Trainer's Toolbox: Effective Fitness Tips for 10 Common Goals

Whether you're just starting on your fitness journey or seeking to elevate your current routine, everyone has their own unique fitness goals. In this blog, we've gathered expert insights from the Western personal trainers on 10 common fitness goals they often see. From shedding unwanted pounds and mastering the art of pull-ups to relieving pain […]

July 21, 2023
Empower yourself with the Health at Every Size Approach to Health & Wellness

In a world that can sometimes feel a little too obsessed with weight loss and rigid dieting, Health at Every Size offers a refreshing paradigm shift that prioritizes individual health and well-being over arbitrary numbers on a scale. Embracing diversity and body acceptance, this empowering approach to nutrition and wellness challenges conventional diet culture by […]

June 30, 2023
Staff Spotlight: Jessica Blatz

Welcome to our "Staff Spotlight" series! In this collection of ongoing posts on The Western Blog, we shine a light on the incredible individuals who make Western special! From passionate trainers & instructors to knowledgeable nutritionists and tennis pros, and many other dedicated staff members, we'll introduce you to the talented team behind the scenes. […]

June 23, 2023
Navigating the Low FODMAP Diet: A Guide to Gut Health

If you’ve been living with digestive issues like IBS, you know just how truly crappy (pun intended) the debilitating symptoms can be. Bloating, indigestion, cramping, constipation, diarrhea…most of us would try just about anything to feel better in the face of these symptoms. If you’ve tried all kinds of diets and remedies, hoping they would […]

June 17, 2023
Lose the Slouch & the Ouch: 6 Easy Ways to Improve Poor Posture & Back Pain

In this series of Healthy Habits blog posts, we'll provide valuable insights into creating healthy habits that promote a healthy life, including aspects of physical fitness, mental well-being, and emotional balance. Whether you're a beginner or already have some experience with healthy living, this series will provide the tools and inspiration you need to create […]

June 10, 2023
Staff Spotlight: Becky Vance

Welcome to our "Staff Spotlight" series! In this collection of ongoing posts on The Western Blog, we shine a light on the incredible individuals who make Western special! From passionate trainers & instructors to knowledgeable nutritionists and tennis pros, and many other dedicated staff members, we'll introduce you to the talented team behind the scenes. […]

June 2, 2023
The Why of BMI

BMI or Body Mass Index has long been the go-to metric used to determine whether an individual falls within a "healthy" weight range. But after decades of using it a standard practice in the health and fitness world, there is now a growing understanding that BMI is actually fraught with error and inconsistency and is […]

May 19, 2023
Kickstart Your Fitness Journey: A Beginner's Guide to Personal Training

If you're new to fitness, knowing where to start can feel daunting. Working with a personal trainer can help you feel comfortable beginning your fitness journey and jump start your progress to reaching your goals. Learn about all the benefits of personal training and how you can find the right personal trainer for you.

May 12, 2023
Olive Oil 101: Understanding the Types, Benefits, and Uses

Olive oil is a staple in many kitchens and is well known for its distinct flavor and versatility in cooking. However, did you know that olive oil is also a powerhouse when it comes to health benefits? With so many types of olive oils on the market, it can be hard to know which bottle […]

May 6, 2023
The Do's and Don'ts of Sleep Hygiene: Tips for a More Restful Night

In the first blog of our Healthy Habits series learn all about sleep hygiene. Learn the do's and don'ts of creating a sleep-friendly environment, establishing a consistent sleep schedule, and developing healthy bedtime habits for a more restful night. Prioritize your sleep and wake up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated each morning.

April 22, 2023
TRX is back and better than ever at Western

Did you know that the TRX Suspension Trainer is one of the fitness industry’s most versatile and effective pieces of equipment? Did you also know that Western has its very own dedicated TRX studio? That's right! And you can join us as we relaunch our TRX program this May with five new TRX classes on the schedule! Learn more about TRX and the history of the program at Western in this blog from Group Fitness Director Kari Merrill.

April 15, 2023
Looking in From the Outside: My Personal Journey with Parkinson’s Disease 

In honor of April being Parkinson’s Awareness month, recognizing the 5-year anniversary of our Rock Steady Boxing program, and celebrating my 5th year as a Rock Steady Boxing coach, I’d like to share my personal story about Parkinson’s Disease and the impact it has had on my life.  

March 31, 2023
The Sunshine Nutrient: What is Vitamin D & How Do You Get Enough of It

Vitamin D deficiency is endemic in Wisconsin because of our long winters and low sunlight. Learn how to get more Vitamin D in your day with tips and guidance from UW-Green Bay Dietetic Intern, Vanessa Vincent.

March 24, 2023
Children's Tennis Lessons: 6 Reasons to Get Your Child Playing Tennis Early & What to Expect

tennis is widely considered one of the best sports for children to participate in because of the unique benefits it offers children that are not always present in other sports. Keep reading to learn some of the benefits playing tennis offers young children, plus learn what to expect at beginner tennis lessons and how to get your child started!

March 17, 2023
How Daylight Saving Time Affects Your Health & 7 Tips for Adjusting

Feeling a little sluggish after "springing forward?" Daylight Saving Time can wreak havoc on our minds and bodies. Here are 7 tips to help you adjust.

March 10, 2023
Staff Feature: Katie's MS Journey

Staff Features highlight the health, fitness, and wellness journeys of Western staff. This month, in honor of Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month, we're featuring Western’s Special Projects & Programs Director, Katie Kane, and her experience living with multiple sclerosis. Keep reading to learn about MS and hear about her journey.

March 4, 2023
Top 11 Extra Amenities You Should Look for at the Gym

Sometimes it’s the little things that make all the difference. The cherry on top of the milkshake. The little massage at the hair salon. The mint on your pillow when you get to the hotel. The extra luxuries are what can elevate an everyday experience into something special, and that includes at the gym. At the gym, some seemingly small amenities can go a long way in supporting your wellness and fitness goals. If you live in the Green Bay area, you know there are plenty of gyms and fitness centers that tout all the best services, but do they actually offer the extra amenities that take the gym experience from typical to exceptional? Let’s take a look at the top ten small but powerful extra amenities you should be looking for in a gym to make sure you get the most out of your membership.

February 24, 2023
4 Ways a Personal Trainer Will Help You Reach Your Goals

When it comes to getting fit, one of the best decisions you can make is to hire a certified personal trainer. Whether you’re just beginning your fitness journey and you’re not sure where to start or if you’ve been working out for years and need to shake things up, personal training can get you where […]

February 17, 2023
What questions should you ask a dietitian?

A dietitian is a great resource for anyone struggling with nutrition-related issues - from losing weight, to managing chronic illness, to simply eating healthier. But what questions should you ask a dietitian to make sure you're getting the most out of your appointment? Read our guide on what questions to ask your dietitian, from registered dietitian/nutritionist Tad Taggart.

January 13, 2023
Is intermittent fasting good for you?

Advice for what to eat, when to eat, and how to eat can be confusing and conflicting. New trends come on the scene that may leave you wondering, "Is this legit?" Curious about the popular trend of "intermittent fasting?" Proponents of intermittent fasting will proclaim the amazing benefits of simply not eating, saying that fasting will make you leaner, stronger, smarter, and even live longer. Are these claims true? Let’s find out from Western Dietitian Nutritionist Tad Taggart.

November 18, 2022
TadBits: Nutrition Tid Bits from Dietitian Tad Taggart

by Tad Taggart, Registered Dietitian, Precision Nutrition Coach
Ever feel like you have a million nutrition questions and don’t quite know where to start? Look no further! Below is what I'm calling a Dietitian Brain Dump. Read through this list to soak up a variety of some of my most random, handpicked nutrition facts! Some may answer your burning questions, some may be nutritional game-changers for you, and some may leave you with more questions than you started with (in which case, email me at tad.taggart@westernracquet.com so I can give you answers).

November 11, 2022
Holiday Health & Fitness Resources at Western

It's not easy to find the balance between indulgence and staying on track with your health and fitness goals during the holidays. Luckily, at Western we have a wealth of resources to help make health and fitness a priority for you this holiday season - without missing out on any of the treats either!

November 4, 2022
Why rowing is one of my favorite forms of cardio

Chances are if you know me or have been a member of Western for a while, you already know about my LOVE for rowing. Here is where it started and here is where I can help you find the love for indoor rowing, too!

It all started at a fitness conference outside of Chicago in 2013. I attended a few rowing classes led by World Champion Rower, Josh Crosby, and his team and fell in love with not only the intensity of the exercise but the beauty of the machine itself - the aesthetics, versatility, and not to mention the water in the tank. It was such a beautiful, smooth, and dare I say, relaxing sound.

"Relaxing" and "rowing" in the same sentence? YES. When you row correctly, it really is. And we can help you achieve that same feeling on the water rowers at Western.

October 14, 2022
The Body Image Trap

Do you feel like your life is on hold until you reach that particular body goal? You’re not alone – the lines between an individual’s body, body image, nutrition, and overall happiness blur all too often. At this point, we are conditioned to accept that a person’s body shape and size are entirely dependent upon they way they eat and exercise. But this line of thinking is far from the truth...

October 6, 2022
5 Health Benefits of Cherries & Their Impact on Wisconsin Culture

If you live in Wisconsin, you will see cherries on the menu just about everywhere – from salads to baked goods, and even in your Old Fashioned (brandy press for me please)! But did you know those sweet little stone fruits have a variety of health benefits and a rich Midwestern history?

September 23, 2022
12 Years of Xiong Yoga

by Amy Xiong, Yoga Instructor & Membership Director
Yoga is a popular exercise routine for good reason - it incorporates strengthening and stretching exercises into one, helping you to improve your overall fitness. If you're new to yoga, though, it can be tough to know where to start. That's why I've put together this list of 9 beginner-friendly yoga poses that will help you to strengthen and stretch your muscles. Give them a try next time you're at the gym or at home. Continue reading to get a step by step for each post and take a look at the beginner friendly picture below.

September 15, 2022
What’s Eating You? The Science of “Comfort Food” & Stress-Eating

by Tad Taggart, Registered Dietitian, Precision Nutrition Coach
Many people are familiar with and understand the concept of “comfort food”, but did you know that there’s ancient biological wisdom hidden beneath this comedic messaging? For generations, fables and mythical tales have been often told to convey moral lessons or wisdom. In our current age, television and film are our most common vehicle of storytelling, and it’s possible that television could be passing along innate, ancient wisdom.

For most, the common reaction to stressful events is either a noticeable increase or decrease in appetite. But why is that? Why would appetite change at all in response to stress, and why is it different in different people? And with that, why is it we would rather reach for something like ice cream than celery?

September 1, 2022
Cardiovascular Health is Full Body & Mind Health

by Tony Salerno, NSCA-CSCS Personal Trainer

No matter where the vast world of fitness takes you, your cardiovascular health will always be forefront. Simply put, cardiovascular activities increase our life expectancy when compared to inactive individuals. This fact alone should make us at least a little motivated to incorporate into our fitness routines. Whether you are running, biking, swimming, or even just brisk walking, you are increasing your aerobic capacity and strengthening your heart. It all starts with one step out the door or into the gym.

August 18, 2022
Electrolytes 101: Your Body Fully Charged

by Tad Taggart, Registered Dietitian, Precision Nutrition Coach

What are electrolytes? These are minerals found in the diet that carry a charge (also known as ions). These minerals are special because of this ionic charge, giving them special functions in the body. The primary electrolytes in the diet include sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, and chloride.

August 11, 2022
Playing Division 1 Tennis

One of our largest portions of our Tennis program at Western is our junior tennis lessons. We have juniors that start as young as 4-years-old playing tennis. Last year we had over 400 juniors take lessons throughout the year at Western. Some of these juniors have set a goal of playing Division I collegiate tennis, and to achieve that level of play it takes hard work, dedication, and a lot of time spent on the court!  We wanted to give you a glimpse of what it means to achieve playing Division I college tennis. We asked two former Western juniors that achieved their goal to give us a glimpse into the Division 1 tennis world:

July 22, 2022
How to Deal with Chronic Foot Pain

by Sydnie Meyer, ACE Certified Personal Trainer, ACE Certified Health Coach
Many people suffer with pain in the feet or ankles. Whether it is poor ankle mobility, low arches, or just pain while walking or doing other activities, feet and ankle pain can be a nuisance and can hinder your workouts. If you miss out on doing activities you love due to feet pain, read on to find out what you can do to get back to being active and feeling yourself.  While there can be a variety of reasons behind the cause of these pains, there are a few easier ways to solve this problem. 

July 13, 2022
Carrot Cake For Breakfast?

by Tad Taggart, Registered Dietitian, Precision Nutrition Coach

Okay, this recipe might not exactly be carrot cake, but don’t leave now because it does taste pretty darn close! I like to say that these muffins are “carrot cake in disguise”. More specifically, these muffins pack many of the same flavors of carrot cake but are “in disguise” as a nutritious breakfast pick.

June 30, 2022
Exercise Your "Hope Muscle"

by Sophie Bebeau, Marketing Director
When we think about wellness, we often think about our physical health, but if you look at the full spectrum of the Dimensions of Wellness, you'll find that wellness is so much more than just exercising and eating healthy. Paying attention to a managing our emotional well-being is a huge part of overall health and can help us lead a fuller life. Today, I want to talk about an emotion that sometimes gets pushed aside in this fast paced world: hope. We get bad news all the time and there often isn't time to process the bombardment of negativity we can experience in this digital age. That's why it's important to take time to hope.

June 23, 2022
Prep-Less Possibilities

by Tad Taggart, Registered Dietitian, Precision Nutrition Coach

“You have to spend money to make money.” This phrase is quite common in the business world, but I am instead going to relate this to "time". In the case of meal prepping, we have to spend time cooking, prepping, and portioning our food to later save time when we want to be able to quickly grab a meal. But what happens when you don’t have the prep time to spend? As the summer months roll in and bring the warmth with them, many peoples’ schedules seem to rapidly fill. Between time at the beach, hiking the trails, concerts in the park, and various barbecues or picnics, it seems there’s less time in the day to spend on the less-as-desirable activities – like meal prepping.

June 17, 2022
German Volume Training

by Robyn French, ISSA Personal Trainer

When it comes to strength training, there are many different approaches. Some people may be looking to tone their muscles while others are looking to bulk up. Sometimes our bodies plateau and we need to make changes to the way we exercise to help get our muscles back on track. One exercise program that has been commonly used to help gain more muscle mass quickly is called German Volume Training, sometimes also referred to as the 10x10 workout. This style program puts our muscles under a lot of stress for a long duration of time, causing both types of muscle fibers to be called in for action, leading to muscle hypertrophy in less time.

June 2, 2022
Superfoods - Assemble!

by Tad Taggart, RDN, CD, ACSM-cPT
It seems superfoods are “discovered” more rapidly than Marvel or DC can drop its next movie or TV series. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a sucker for a good superhero story. Despite that, it can feel pretty overwhelming trying to keep up with the break-neck pace that these shows get released. It can often feel the same way with all the mighty “superfoods” that seem to be discovered.

May 19, 2022
Your Hormones & Your Workout

by Becky Wrobel, RN & Group Fitness Instructor

As women, we know the world expects a lot from us but not as much as we expect from ourselves. For me, the gym was a place to burn off steam and laugh and feel strong no matter what else was happening, but there were days that I just couldn’t get myself to move the same or weights felt heavier. I know there are a lot of factors that go into your energy levels such as diet, sleep, over/under training, stress, progressing workouts, etc. Having heard about hormones coming into play too, my nerdy nurse brain needed answers and I set out to learn as much as I could about how hormones effect our bodies at different points in our cycles.

May 13, 2022
A Mood Through Food

by Hannah Koch, Wellbeing Intern
Stimulate your senses and create a calming experience in the kitchen!

May 5, 2022
Debunking Metabolism Myths

by Taylor Erholtz, UW-Green Bay Dietetic Intern
I had a discussion with someone regarding their metabolism. Now I know, the word metabolism can be a troubling issue for people. I think in today’s wellness world it is constantly thrown around, when in reality so many people do not even know what our metabolism is and how it is affected by so many things throughout our life. So, I wanted to take this chance to talk about what our metabolism is and how it functions, some of the most common metabolism myths, and what are ways to improve its capacity.

April 29, 2022
5 Ways to Improve Communication and Strengthen Your Relationships

by Jennifer Shomin, HCI Certified Health Coach, Certified Life Coach
There are many aspects, habits, and beliefs that can make for a good relationship. No two relationships are the same and as long as both parties are happy, that’s the main goal right? In my own experience, I truly believe that laying a good foundation based upon communication is so important when it comes to a healthy successful partnership. This is my story of how the decision to improve communication saved my relationship and marriage. 

April 22, 2022
How to Make Exercise a Regular Habit in 5 Steps

by Zach Prochnow, ACE Certified Personal Trainer
Ask anyone who has ever used exercise to make a drastic change to their life and they will likely tell you that consistency is the foundation to long-term success. Yes, we all know that behaviors like regular physical activity and proper nutrition are an essential component of long-term health, but in the hustle and bustle of modern life it can be difficult to make the necessary changes to adopt new lifestyle habits.

April 22, 2022
Staying Hydrated: Benefits & FAQs

by Taylor Erholtz, UW-Green Bay Dietetic Intern

Water is essential for life and it becomes even more important when it comes to exercise. Our bodies are roughly 60% water, so it is no wonder why staying adequately hydrated is so important to overall health. We hear general recommendations to drink eight 8-ounce glasses a day, but that number increases even more when we work out. Water lost during workouts varies, however sweat loss can be tracked by measuring weight immediately before and after working out. 

April 14, 2022
Fight For My Life

by Tony Riske, Personal Trainer

How I picked myself up off the canvas and continued a journey I started almost 15 years ago.
Before I get started, if this is our first encounter: Hello! My name is Tony Riske, and I have both the pleasure and privilege of being one of the newest personal trainers here at Western. I currently reside in Appleton, where I was raised, although I consider the U.P. to be my true home. My path to personal training here at Western has been anything but orthodox, but to properly encompass how I ended up here, we have to travel back to the summer of 2008. Back then, I was entering 8th grade, and the only thing on my mind was the upcoming middle school football season. As one of the captains-to-be, in order to help reach the goals we had set as a team and the goals I had set for myself, I knew it was time to get in a weight room. And so on the first Monday in June at 8am that summer, I made it to the Appleton North weight room, accompanied by my best friend’s now brother-in-law, who was going into his senior year. To say I was nervous would be a massive understatement; here I was, a middle-schooler, going into my future high school’s weight room for the first time, surrounded by my future coaches and older future teammates.

April 1, 2022
Food to Fitness: My Journey to Western

by Bianca Jaimes, Membership Director, Front Desk, Billing

When thinking about wellbeing and how Western staff make an impact on your wellness, I bet I don’t pop up immediately in your mind. Honestly, if I made top 10, I would feel quite flattered. After all, I don’t teach group fitness, I’m not a personal trainer, I can’t hit a tennis ball without drawing blood, or make healthy, delicious smoothies for you. I do hope that I still have something to offer to you, my beloved members.  

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