In the current state of today’s world, it has become imperative that we take care of our bodies in order to stay healthy. Many of us are beginning to re-think or re-focus how we go about daily activities that would normally have never required a second thought. This attention to detail, which keeps us from getting sick, is a concept that can also help us stay healthy during our workouts.

As a new member of the 30-year-old club, my body is starting to remind me that, if I want to continue to work out at a high level, I need to make sure I am properly warming up and cooling down properly. For example, while coaching softball just last week, I decided to join in during practice and play the outfield when we were short a few kids. I did not warm-up, I did not cool down, and I paid the price with three days of feeling like I got hit by a truck and not being able to work out.

My point here is not to let you know I’m not as young as I used to be; many of my friends already remind me frequently. What I want to express is that our bodies are amazing machines that can perform at a high level, but we need to maintain them regardless of our age so that we’re not paying the price later. For many of us, adding a proper warm-up and cooldown to our routine is somewhat of a foreign concept that we need to wrap our brain around, so here are a few things to keep in mind to help cement the way you think about those parts of your workout.

Warm-ups and Cooldowns Are for Everyone. Many people, including myself at times, think, “I don’t need to warm-up before and stretch after my workout. I know my body.” I’m here to tell you that these concepts are not individualized; they are important for everyone. There is science behind how our muscles perform when warm and loose, and this science applies to everyone, including you and me.

Warm-ups and Cooldowns Save Time. This is a weird concept to think about, right? But, let me ask you this: how much time will you lose if you have to sit out in order to recover from an injury? Weeks? Months? That’s a long time without any workout. When you think about it in that context, a five-minute warm-up and five-minute cooldown seem like a pretty good use of time to help prevent those injuries.

Recovery Is as Important as Your Workout. We all have a reason that we work out. These reasons are called goals. To reach your goal in the quickest and most efficient manner possible, your body needs to function at its peak. This cannot happen if you aren’t taking care of yourself and allowing your body to heal. Pushing our limits is great, but those limits will push us back if we don’t let our bodies recover. Many of us fall into the mindset that we are lazy if we take a rest day, but that’s not the case. In actuality, we are allowing our bodies to do more because they will be healthy and recovered.

If you are unsure of how to get the most out of your workout, with a proper warm-up and cooldown, get in touch with one of our trainers. We’ll keep you safe, healthy, and at peak performance for years!

Are you looking to mix up your fitness routine this summer? Being active for 60 minutes can be fun if you find activities you enjoy. Even get your kids involved in the summer activities planning!

Here are some fun ways to stay active this summer:

The sunny day may be your motivation to be outside and exercise, but the summer heat can be risky. Here are some tips for being safe while staying active this summer:

Pick multiple activities to do this summer, or just choose one that appeals to you. Get outside, be safe, and get active this summer!

COVID-19. No groups larger than 250. No groups larger than 50. Keep 6ft of distance between each other. No groups larger than 10. No all? But...but what about our Group Fitness Classes? I know, I know. It seems so minor in comparison to what is going on all over the world. In fact, I was a little embarrassed at how much and how hard I cried, how I loudly I sobbed, how horrific my face looked, I couldn’t breathe, I made sounds I have never heard before - it was so obnoxious that Popcorn, my hairless cat, didn’t know what else to do than to show me love by rolling his whole body over mine over and over again and giving me so many head butts that it left a mark. I remember that Monday. The night I walked out of Western's doors and knew that we would be closing. Yes, I cried for the world and yes, I cried for "just a fitness class".

It wasn’t a few hours later that I saw our instructors and members connecting on social media more than ever. Our members with a fear of missing their classes and their routines and especially their buddies that stand by them in every class. Missing the sweat and energy. The family and community they know and love. I knew we had to take action. Yes, the world was turning upside down but I know, first hand, how fitness can save you, it can help, even just for that 45 minutes. I wanted to make sure we could still take care of our group fitness community. I NEEDED to give them workouts, and fun memories to smile at, and a chance to just check in.

I remember seeing an Instagram post by Alissa Cotter, who has taught for Western for over a dozen years, with a hashtag that read #groupfitnessinstructorwithoutagroup

Alissa says: “Group Fitness Instructors love what they do because of the group aspect of working out together. The camaraderie and energy of the participants are what they feed off of so when there are no groups for the instructors to lead, they feel a little like fish out of water. A Group Fitness Instructor without a group is just a person wearing a microphone working out."

It might seem like a minor thing if you're not the one on the mic. But when you are the one wearing the mic, spending hours planning classes and even more hours planning just the right music, moves, and special surprise finales. The one who brings back a move that you know Kris in the back row center LOVES. The one who arrives early and stays late, buys their own decor, dice, and songs. The one who makes sure every single person in their class leaves feeling successful, happier, and healthier. Unless you are that person, or the person that comes to classes and makes it a lifestyle - it might just seem like a minor thing.  After all, it is just a fitness class…..

But, like our instructor Sara Smith, a newer instructor on the team who recently became a Rock Steady for Parkinson's Coach, says: “There is nothing more rewarding than knowing you’ve made a positive impact on someone’s life just by doing what you love. How lucky are we to be the ones to help ignite a 'spark' in others to want to set goals for themselves? Even better yet...we get to help them achieve those goals and celebrate with them! This is what I miss and yes, we can still do this virtually, but I’d much rather do it face to face and to celebrate with high fives and hugs in the gym instead of our homes”

That is what we miss as group fitness instructors. CELEBRATING with each and every one of you. Virtually is good and better than nothing, but, man do we miss our group and the energy in the room and our high fives. Will we ever get to do mandatory high gives at the end of my Monday night Zumba class again? Will Amy Xiong, instructor and Membership Director, ever be able to rub China Gel on our necks again during Savasana? The pitter-patter of her feet making her way around her Yogis? Amy says “I miss the calmness of the studio and the energy of my yogis."

Nothing feels normal right now - for anyone - but this is our new normal for a bit. And we are going to roll with it like Instructor Kimberly Uelman, creator of the clever Showtunes Bootcamp class says: "It’s just not the same getting my fitness on in my living room. I miss the energy and laughs..oh yes and the sweat that Western brings. Keep on keeping on - I can’t wait to see you soon!"

This pandemic has affected every single person you have ever met. Every person you have seen on your TV or heard on your radio. Your children. Their teachers. Business owners. First Responders, Nurses, Doctors, Corrections Officers, Police - the list goes on and on from your mail carrier to your local pet food supplier, to your Group Fitness Instructor. We all succeed with the help of others, by being with others, and now we must find a way to succeed alone, together.

I think Katie Dubois, instructor and Corporate Director, really hits home when she says “I love creating an environment where our members feel like they’re a part of something, feel safe, have fun, and feel like ‘we’re all in this together’ Not being able to teach my classes in person and be with our members in person has created a huge void in my life, and the feeling of ‘we’re all in this together’ has a whole new meaning.  But it has also pushed me to find the motivation to seek out alternative ways to connect with my classes.”

Exactly. This we can guarantee. Your Group Fitness Instructors got you. It will just look a little different for a while. Katie adds “I have been amazed at the effort we have all put into maintaining the Western family we are all a part of.”  Yup. I couldn’t agree more and makes me a very proud Group Fitness Director.

Amanda Boeder, Instructor, Membership Director, laugh-a-holic, sums up the energy we feel so perfectly.  She says “I miss so much about teaching. The energy. The endorphins. The cycling studio. The butterflies in my stomach. The hugs and the high gives before and after class. The goals we hit. But I miss my people, my cyclists, the most."

The people. You people. We miss you. And I am not going to apologize for the ugly cries that happen over ‘just a fitness class’ because it represents so much more than just the class and it has the same feeling behind it that so many others are feeling now.

I want to leave you with something I read online a few days after businesses started to close and everything felt so heavy. It was a few nights after I walked out of Western and not sure when I would be walking back in.  It made me feel like it was okay not to be okay over "just a fitness class."

It's just a fitness class!

4 walls, a floor and a roof.
A stereo and a beat.
Trainers and lycra.
Movement to music.

It's just a fitness class!

Things get built here -
Stronger bodies.
Fitter bodies.
Confident bodies.
Things get broken here -

.....but it's just a fitness class!

Friendships are forged.
Community is created.
We rally together in the sad times.
We celebrate the good times.
.....but it's just a fitness class!
We conquer our demons.
We relieve our stress.
We quiet the voices in our heads.
We feel at home here.

.....but it's just a fitness class!

It's the date in our diary we never miss.
It's the time for us to be carefree.
It's the place where we can let go.
It's part of our lives.
It's not just a fitness class.
We will be back. Stronger than ever. Together.

Even when you are not intentionally exercising, you are still burning calories. Whether you are folding laundry or sitting in a chair jiggling your legs. That is NEAT.
Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) is the energy you expend for everything you do that does not involve sleeping, eating, or exercise. NEAT is just one of the four components that makes up your metabolism. Exercise is essential for great health, but so is daily movement throughout the other 23 hours of the day. Our body is designed to move, yet physical inactivity is the 4th leading risk factor for mortality.

Even if you exercise daily, but the remainder of the day you are sedentary, you put yourself at risk for serious health conditions. Are you aware of how many hours a day you spend sitting? The average American spends 12+ hours sitting each day. Being sedentary can involve time spent working at a desk, driving, playing video games, and watching TV.
Most people spend majority of their day at work. So how can you increase your NEAT during the workday, especially if you have a sedentary job? If possible, change your mode of transportation by walking or biking to work. Take the stairs to the 3rd floor of your office building instead of the elevator. Walking meetings are another way to boost creativity and move throughout the day. Move the garbage can out of your office, so you must get up from your desk to throw out trash or recycling. Lastly, if you have a standing desk, try standing more throughout the day than sitting.

Other NEAT examples:
• Taking the stairs over the escalator/elevator
• Parking the farthest from the building
• Performing yard work
• Playing with your kids/pet
• Cleaning the house
• Get up during commercials to do something around the house
• Pace around when you are on the phone
• Fidgeting

When you chose to stand up, sit less, and move more there are great benefits for your health, mind, and body.

• Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease Enhances brain power Increases circulation and blood flow
• Reduced risk of type 2 diabetes Increases energy Improves posture
• Reduced risk of early mortality Increases ability to focus Decreases pain from sitting
• Reduced risk of cancer Increases productivity Strengthens muscles
• Reduced risk of osteoporosis Improves mood Supports bone health

• Enhances brain power
• Increase energy
• Increases ability to focus
• Increases productivity
• Improves mood

• Increases circulation and blood flow
• Improves posture
• Decreases pain from sitting
• Strengthens muscles
• Supports bone health

NEAT is a great addition to your exercise routine that doesn’t take time away from your home or family. You could even involve your family members and friends with you! Increasing NEAT throughout the day can assist with weight loss by burning more calories over time due to an increase in daily expenditure. It may be more sustainable to make small changes in your day than finding an extra hour to do more cardio. Try increasing your NEAT activity each day and assess how you feel physically and mentally.

Today I would like to discuss how increasing your ankle mobility can improve your squat form. While increased ankle mobility can help with multiple moves in and out of the gym, today we will key in on the squat. The first issue we need to address is some of the causes of poor ankle mobility. Some common causes include ankle sprains, high-heeled shoes, tight calves, arch pain and even genetics. When the joint and muscles around the ankle are tight and restrict your range of motion, your ankle will not be able to fully flex. This will inhibit your ability to get below parallel when you squat. Two ways to help improve this issue include self-myofascial release and static stretching. Self-myofascial release is basically a fancy word for foam rolling, you could also use a lacrosse ball or barbell to get the job done. Start by sitting down and placing the foam roller under your calf muscle and roll up and down the length of the muscle for 30-60 seconds. If you feel one spot is a little more tender than others feel free to spend extra time on that area. The second strategy involves static stretching which is holding a stretch in one position for around 30 seconds. My favorite way to incorporate these types of moves is finding a small ledge about 4 inches high, I then place the ball of my foot on the ledge and keep my leg straight. Once I'm in that position I will lean forward until I feel a good stretch in the back of my lower leg. I will then repeat the move with my knee bent because that will represent the bottom portion of a squat. If you start with these basic moves and stay consistent this will open up a whole new level of mobility which will, in turn, improve your squat depth.

About 1.6 million car accidents, every year, happen because of texting and driving. According to the National Safety Council, nearly 400,000 people are injured and 1 in 4 car accidents occur because someone was attempting to text while driving. With this in mind, it’s reasonable to consider distracted driving an epidemic. Unfortunately, humans are terrible at multitasking. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, we spend most of our days looking for solutions to accomplish more than one thing at once.

No two people have the same goals and motivations regarding fitness. Some join the gym with the goals of losing weight. Others lift weights because they want to gain muscle. For some, exercising is therapeutic while for others, making it to the gym is just another check on the “To Do” list. One person may be exercising to stay healthy for their family, and another might exercise for aesthetic goals. Some simply see the gym as a socializing opportunity. Nobody’s purpose in the gym is the same, and nobody’s fitness journey looks the same. Some hit the genetic lottery and see nearly instant results. Others aren’t quite as lucky, and it takes them longer (sometimes much longer) to even start to see progress. No two individuals are the same, but there is one factor that determines absolutely everyone’s satisfaction and sense of accomplishment in the gym: intentionality.

Do you have a sense of purpose when you are in the gym? Are you deliberate about what you do and how you spend your time? It’s time to be honest with yourself. If your goal is to shed some fat but you spend more time talking than moving, it may be time to reevaluate your strategy or change your goal. No single goal is more admirable or impressive than any other. Don’t set goals for anyone but yourself. Regardless, whatever you choose, pursue it with passion and intention. If you want to improve your one-mile running time but spend most of the time trotting at half speed, lost in thought about your day, don’t be surprised when you don’t see progress.

We are all guilty of spending time on “autopilot”. You may often find yourself doing something, but your mind is a million miles away. Maybe you feel the need to multitask, like reply to that one email while you ride the stationary bike. Unfortunately, sitting on the leg press while you catch up on texts will not count towards leg day reps. Many people spend much of their life riding through the present on autopilot while their mind is focused on the past or future. Allow yourself to become distracted, and you will never give your full effort. If you never perform to your full potential, you will never reach your full potential. It’s time to live in the moment. Have a sense of intention for what you are doing and eliminate all other distractions. If you set your life on autopilot and allow yourself to become distracted by something else, you are bound to crash and burn.

Goal setting is one of the most important aspects of our fitness lives. After all, how can we know what to do if we don’t know what we want to achieve? There are countless different goals that can be set, but there is one common way to reach them all: be SMART. I’m not necessarily talking about being intelligent, although that is certainly part of it. I’m talking about making our goals smart. They should be:


Specific. When we say “I want to lose weight,” there is no endpoint. There is no light at the end of the tunnel where we can say, “I did it!” However, if we make a statement such as, “I want to lose 10 pounds,” we have a way to track our progress. This leads to our goals being…


Measurable. We need to be able to track our goal. Going back to the above example, if I weigh-in and see that I’ve lost 5 pounds, I can confidently say I’ve completely 50% of my goal. Being able to see progress helps us stick to the plan. This makes things seem much more…


Attainable. A person who has never run a mile in his or her life would be setting themselves up for failure if they decided to start with a 10-mile run. The likelihood of completing that type of mileage right off the bat is extremely low, and the effort could be damaging both mentally and physically. If someone decided that they instead wanted to start with 1 mile, it would not only be more attainable but more…


Realistic. There is a difference between challenging ourselves and setting ourselves up to fail. I’m a fan of pushing the envelope; I ask my clients and classes to do it every day in their workouts. When I ask it of them, however, I am asking them to push their limits, not exceed them. Choose a goal that pushes you out of your comfort zone, but that you can achieve if you stay…


Timely. Setting up some type of schedule or deadline is a great way to keep your goal at the forefront of your mind. Going back to our first example, setting a general 10-pound weight loss goal could mean 2 months or 2 years! Keeping our attainable and realistic mindset, we may instead recognize that healthy weight loss is 1-2 pounds per week, and choose to give ourselves 10 weeks to lose our 10 pounds.


We all have things a reason behind our fitness. Ranging from general health to weight loss to competition, we’ve got something that gets us out of bed or prevents us from going home early so we can train our bodies. Whatever your goal may be, utilize this method and you will be the SMARTest person in the gym!


I think we all know cardio benefits our hearts, but that is not all! Here is how cardio affects your whole body.

  1. Brain: increases blood flow and decreases chances of stroke; improves memory and thinking ability; combats decline in brain functioning with age
  2. Skin: increases circulation, leading to clearer, healthier skin
  3. Blood: helps control blood sugar; improves “good” cholesterol levels and lowers blood fats
  4. Muscles: increases oxygen supply, allowing muscles to work harder; allows muscles to adapt to an increased workload, making regular activities seem easier
  5. Pancreas: improves blood sugar control; decreases stress on the pancreas; reduces your chance of developing type 2 diabetes
  6. Lungs: helps decrease demands on lungs as exercise ability improves; helps reduce fatigue and shortness of breath in those chronic lung problems
  7. Weight: helps maintain a healthy weight by burning more calories throughout the day
  8. Bones and Joints: fights osteoporosis (when bones become brittle and fragile); helps manage arthritis discomfort; maintains joint range of motion
  9. Mood: boosts your mood, especially after a stressful day; combats depression; improves your self-esteem
  10. Anxiety and Stress: releases tension-fighting hormones: serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine
  11. Sleep: helps you fall asleep faster and promotes REM sleep
  12. Energy: releases endorphins, giving you more, lasting energy throughout the day

The following recommendations are based on the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans for how much aerobic physical activity we need to do to be healthy. At least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination of both spread throughout the week. That comes out to 30 minutes a day of moderate-intensity cardio 5 days a week or 15 minutes a day of vigorous cardio 5 days a week. If 30 minutes of cardio a day is too much, start slow with 10 minute bouts and gradually work your way to 30 minutes.

Breaking down the intensity levels:

  1. Moderate-intensity will make your heart beat faster than resting and you’ll breathe harder than normal, but you should still be able to talk.
  2. Vigorous intensity will require more effort and you will get out of breath and won’t be able to talk much.

Some types of moderate-intensity cardio activities are: tennis (doubles), brisk walking, cycling (slower than 10 MPH), gardening, dancing, active involvement with children or walking animals

Some types of vigorous intensity cardio activities are: tennis (singles), running, swimming laps, hiking uphill, Stairmaster, cycling (10 MPH or faster), jumping rope, basketball game, soccer game

Include these three elements into your next cardio workout:

  1. Warm-up – Before each cardio session, warm up for 5-10 minutes to increase blood flow to your muscles. Maybe try a lower intensity version of your planned activity.
  2. Conditioning – At your own pace, work up to at least 30 minutes of cardio a day.
  3. Cool-down – After each cardio session, cool down for 5-10 minutes. Stretch in our stretching cage, utilize the foam rollers, or stretching tables to allow your heart rate to return to normal.

Try different types of cardio until you find one you like or join one of our many group fitness classes offered here at Western for a great cardio workout!

Tony Robbins said the secret to happiness in one word. ... “I always tell people if you want to know the secret to happiness, I can give it to you in one word: progress. Progress equals happiness.” That's because reaching a goal is satisfying, but only temporarily. It’s a feeling of satisfaction that needs to be replenished again and again. “Did I get that thing that I want? Yes, Now I’m happy. I didn’t get what I want. Now I’m unhappy.” Happiness doesn’t stay in one place forever and that’s why we need progress over and over because progress is an onward movement towards a destination. And moving forward is the only way to attain goals.

I believe that’s what keeps people coming back to the gym and working on themselves: goals. I don’t think it needs to be totally tangible either (while many are very tangible). Some people come to the gym to work out because they need a social connection every day while some come because they want to lift a particular weight. Some come because they want to make their golf or tennis better and others want to lose 15 lbs. by summer. Some work with a personal trainer towards a specific goal and many others make it a priority to make it to a high energy class a few times a week.

I think having a goal and working towards it is a very important part of progress. And progress leads to happiness.

To everyone out there who makes a goal and is working towards it, no matter what it is, I applaud you. Keep up the great work. If you’re new in the fitness world, my advice is this: Do things you like and keep doing it. If you hate running, don’t do it. Maybe you’d enjoy walking your dog every night for an hour instead. If you want to lose weight but can’t seem to figure out how, start with looking at what you eat. Try eliminating one unhealthy thing like sugary treats, candy, or perhaps cut wine down to a glass per day or every other day. You don’t need to overwhelm yourself with adding things you don’t care for such as grueling workouts. Try the process of elimination. You’re body and mind will respond for the better by default. That’s the start of progress which will lead to happiness.

Why wouldn’t I choose a career working in the County Jail?  Look at ALL the people I can help. The job is different every day.  I don’t have to dress up.  I get great benefits. But what I came to realize year after year and almost 13 years later, is that I didn't like what this type of job did to ME and who it was turning me into.

I remember thinking, “I am not this person. I want to LIKE people.” A job in Corrections makes it very tough to keep a happy disposition. You see, you hear, and you smell a lot of things you cannot even imagine. You start to lose faith in mankind. For me, it turned me very cynical, negative, and unhappy but I could do the job well. But deep down, I was not fulfilled. I was not meeting the need to really help people like I feel I was born to do. I needed an outlet. I needed to get out of my house and DO something besides work. I wanted to really bond with people again to trust in people again.

I found Group Fitness. I remember taking my first Group Fitness classes and crushing on my Cardio Kickboxing Instructor - thinking she was magic. How does she make the punches and kicks go along with the beat of the music? How is she making my day every day?  And finally - I WANT TO DO THAT FOR SOMEBODY TOO!

That Group Fitness Instructor was Janet Babe and she also ran Group Fitness at the gym where I found this fitness magic. I will never forget Janet coming up to me in class and asking if I was interested in teaching. Man...what a compliment!  My answer?  “Oh gosh, no, I couldn’t do a class like this.” But on the inside? This is ALL I wanted to do. I needed something positive because almost everything in my life at that moment was sad.

Of course, that night I went home and ordered music, starting busting out different ideas with multiple colored markers and thought "maybe I could do this?" Luckily for me, Janet didn’t take no for an answer and started working with me - teaching me the 32ct beat of the music,how and when to cue ‘4, 3, 2 CUE’, and how to mirror my participants so my left is your right and I remember thinking "Whoa, this is harder than it looks!"

One thing she did not have to teach me is to have fun and smile while I was up there because for the first time in a long time, I was having fun and smiling so much my cheeks hurt! Realizing how I can help people just by putting on a mic and giving them an outlet away from their lives just like I had needed was the best feeling in the world.

So now what? Group Fitness was all I could think about. I taught every chance I could, adding different modalities to my resume. During my free time, I was creating and programming, researching different movements and classes and fusions of classes. I started a Personal Training business where I came to the client's home. "Ding Dong Knock Knock, It’s Kario!" I loved everything about fitness and I was a sponge. I went to conferences, connected with fitness people around the world, read book after book, obtained certification after certification. But all of that didn’t matter as I started thinking about a change of career. My degree wasn’t in fitness so how could I get someone, anyone, to give me a chance? I mean, can my passion count for anything? I knew I could do this full-time!

Enter Western Racquet and Fitness Club. I went for a 7-day trial, just to work out and see a different style of facility. Enter Kat Vanfossen, who was quite persistent with a side order of stalkerish to get me to teach a class - which I finally did! Monday night Zumba every other week at 5:30pm. I remember teaching my first class at Western to 4 people and Kat saying "You have something - you made this 4 person class into a party." She told me a member said "I don’t know who that is, but can we keep her?"  I remember thinking...and I still I really ok up there? I am simply loving what I do...that’s it! It must show, eh?

Little did I know that behind the scenes Kat was working herself OUT of a job (she was the Group Fitness Director) to get me in the doors as a Part-Time Group Fitness Director. She told the GM that if she wanted to grow Group Fitness at Western that I was going to be her gal. I mean, I di have 5,672,893 ideas brewing in my head!

I remember sitting in front of the owners of Western and talking their ears off about everything fitness. That conversation was followed up by a job offer. My dream job….except….part time? In fitness? HOW? How can I leave a County Job that I have been at for 13 years with retirement, protective status, benefits, good pay?

I didn’t know how I would do it, but I knew my happiness counted on me trying. My boyfriend (turned husband that same year) simply said, “Baby, you are not happy. Go take that job and we will figure it out. I got you and we have each other”   It was a BIG change and it was HARD but we did it! AND I LOVE MY JOB.  I love every hour of every day that I am here. I still get goosebumps when I get to put the mic on. I still love that now I am Janet and Kat - and I am telling members "You have what it takes to teach Group Fitness" and then I can teach them the 32ct and how to find their passion in this industry. To pay it forward, over and over again, is one of the most rewarding parts of my job.

The last 9 years have flown by and Western has grown so much. We went from 21 classes per week to over 80 classes per week on the schedule. From 2 studios to 5 studios. We have brought in Water Rowers, TRX, Schwinn Bikes, Barre, Strong By Zumba and kept our original classes such as Step, Cardio Kickboxing, Strength, Core, and Yoga strong as ever. We more than doubled our instructors and with their love and passion for Group Fitness it has made Western a home and community for our members. We are providing the magic that I felt all those years ago and I am thrilled and excited by that every single day.

Nothing beats happiness.  So when I say "Follow Your Dreams" it isn’t just because it’s a cool phrase on the cover of a journal. You can be happy in your career but you must take that leap of faith and work your butt off! But, most importantly, FIND SOMETHING YOU LOVE.

Believe it or not, sometimes our greatest barriers to making successful, healthy lifestyle changes are our loved ones. The key to improving your overall health, whatever the method, is making it a part of your routine and committing to it. As we all know, life tends to get in the way of our commitments. This looks like a number of different things, many of which can manifest from living in an active and engaged family. Maybe you want to try a new diet you read about, but your spouse isn’t on board. You were going to head to the gym after work, but your child has a sports competition tonight. It is the holidays and you spent the whole day traveling and finding healthy food on the go is difficult.

Situations like this are inevitable and unavoidable. The trick to combating these setbacks is to have strategies to engage the whole family in healthy changes. Maybe instead of trying to cook every meal gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, etc., you can simply try to find one meal a week that you could improve as a family. Instead of “spaghetti night”, try out “spaghetti squash night”. Offer a variety of sauces and toppings so everyone can enjoy their own creation. It is a simple swap that gets the whole family to eat something new and healthy.

Another idea is to get the whole family engaged in physical activity, together. Here at Western, there is a wide variety of classes and programs throughout the year. Take the time to investigate them, and you might find there is something for every member of your family. Maybe lugging everyone, every day, to the gym for a workout sounds ridiculous, but that doesn’t mean you’re out of options. Have dogs? Take them for a walk as a family. How about that old sports equipment gathering dust in the garage? Polish off the rollerblades, sports balls, tennis racquets, or whatever else might be laying around. Head for the nearest park, trail, or even your backyard. Or perhaps you could sign the whole family up for an upcoming event? There are races, obstacle courses, and many more events throughout the year, both in Green Bay and at Western, that are a great way to get moving.

In short, the weather is slowly warming up. Here in Wisconsin, we don’t have a lot of months where you won’t be at risk for frostbite or hypothermia just by being outside too long. Take advantage of any chance you have to get your family off the couch and enjoying some active, health-promoting activities. Not only will your family be physically healthier, but they will be happier and better connected to it.

Tad Taggart
ACSM Personal Trainer

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