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The Alaska Club

TAC Board: The Alaska Club Blog

Patrick Curtis

Patrick is The Alaska Club's Director of Fitness & Member Relations, with 20+ years experience in personal training, group instruction & administration.

Recent Posts

Top Tips for Stretching—Why & How

on May 11, 2018 9:32:39 AM By | Patrick Curtis | 0 Comments |
 
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12-Days-of-Fitness

on Dec 5, 2017 1:26:54 PM By | Patrick Curtis | 0 Comments | 12 Day of Fitness
 
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Compound Strength Movements for Enhanced Results

on May 19, 2017 9:45:25 AM By | Patrick Curtis | 0 Comments | fitness strength training
While combining activities or exercises for greater benefit is not an entirely new idea—think alternating push-ups with jumping jacks—the fitness industry has seen a tremendous recent growth in high-intensity-interval-training (HIIT) in a variety of forms.  One of the key concepts in this method of exercise is combining movements or alternating between two types of work through intervals for greater benefit.  The incredible human body will respond to this by getting stronger, faster and more coordinated through the various movements.  Another advantage to this type of training is time savings with the ability to target a variety of benefits in one workout.  For the purpose of this article we will keep the focus on strength specifically and how to get even better results from combining one or more strength movements—known as ‘compound exercises.’  There are a variety of ways to combine movements with one primary approach including a lower body move in combination with an upper body, effectively creating a ‘total body’ movement.  Squats and lunges may be done along with upper body moves to increase balance, control, coordination and, ultimately, functional strength that repeats the moves we make in real life activities.  
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Cross Train for Spring

on Apr 25, 2017 3:12:46 PM By | Patrick Curtis | 0 Comments | strength training cross training
As the warmer months take over and confirm spring has arrived it is impossible to resist the pull of the sun for us Alaskans.  It feels wrong to let a sunny evening pass by without at least a walk outside.  As we switch gears from winter activities to breaking out into the great outdoors for all manner of sport, recreation and even some organized exercise, let’s remember to train our bodies for the change.  Cross training—simply defined as using one form of activity to train for another—can be a great way to help the body in the gym anticipate the variety of outdoor activities to come. 
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The Alaska Club – A Favorite Gym of Alaskans!

on Mar 28, 2016 3:28:24 PM By | Patrick Curtis | 0 Comments | fitness Gym
Choosing a gym or health club where you will work toward your personal fitness goals often depends greatly on your own interests and how you feel when entering and using a facility.  For some there are particular activities they wish to have access to such as sports in addition to exercise equipment.  For others, the knowledge that there are options for families who want to spend time together exercising or recreating in a variety of ways is important.  Perhaps it’s the ability to get a massage when a workout is completed as a reward.  One of the best ways to determine if a health/fitness location is right for you is to try it out! Scheduling an appointment for a tour is a great way to experience what a club has to offer. When touring, be sure to ask questions and review the options in equipment and variety of services available.  Exceptional customer service also can put us at ease and make us feel good about the place where we will spend time investing in our healthy lifestyle. 
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Nutrition: work with your body, not against it!

on Mar 4, 2016 6:26:46 PM By | Patrick Curtis | 1 Comment | Nutrition
Have you ever had someone tell you a factoid that you accepted as true, simply because they said it with confidence? Maybe it just seemed to make sense, or maybe you've heard the same thing before? Perhaps it was the statement "Humans only use 10% of our brains.” Or the popular "If you swallow chewing gum, it will take your body 7 years to digest it."  These statements don't seem so unbelievable as to warrant severe doubt immediately, and the fact you've probably heard a handful of people say the same thing makes them easy to believe. But it also turns out... they aren't true at all! Same thing with NUTRITION!  We continue to learn more and more about what foods are best for our bodies and how foods are processed, and yet all of us probably have a nutrition misconception or two lingering in our brain.  So we're going to callout some of the truths about nutrition and see if it helps!
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Marching to the Beat of Your Own…Heart

on Feb 3, 2016 1:27:21 PM By | Patrick Curtis | 2 Comments | fitness heart health
Chevy Chase. Beyonce. Napoleon. The lunch lady. Bruce Lee. Grumpy Cat. This random assortment of humans (and one animal) all have something in common: hearts. They each have one. February and hearts go together like PB&J (clearly we’re referring to the greatest love story from The Office, Pam Beesly & Jim…) but we’ll let someone else handle the gooey relationship stuff (we’re looking at you, Russell Stover commercial). So while February 14th is a reminder to make plans for your figurative heart, the whole month of February is a good chance to think about taking care of your actual, physical heart. You know, that silent partner that is constantly working to keep you alive. Yeah, we’d say it’s worth showing some love. But you can’t appreciate your heart (or why it’s worth taking care of) without a quick refresher of how it fits into the whole “staying alive” (ah, ah, ah, ah, staying alive, staying alive) scheme.
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Healthy Holiday Eating Starts Now

on Dec 23, 2015 4:19:45 PM By | Patrick Curtis | 0 Comments |
We are once again in the Autumn of our Alaskan calendar with the holiday season fast approaching and with it delectable treats on offer in the office, baked goods at home and of course the great meals shared with family and friends. So how do we keep our waistlines from increasing during the onslaught of sweets, treats and home cooking?
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3 Ways to Beat Holiday Stress

While the holidays are typically a time of sharing cheer with family and friends, the season also brings with it various sources of stress for each of us. Here are three ways to keep your cool while navigating the hustle and bustle this year.
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Simplify and Build from the Basics

on Sep 1, 2015 6:40:00 PM By | Patrick Curtis | 0 Comments | Gym and Health Club Exercises fitness
Whether starting an exercise routine, returning to one or looking for a progression beyond what has been a regular routine, a rundown of the basics as recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine (acsm.org) can help with each of these needs.
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The Balancing Act

on Aug 6, 2015 3:00:00 PM By | Patrick Curtis | 0 Comments | Gym and Health Club Exercises fitness
As kids, we’re typically extraordinarily active when playing. We’re growing, exploring our motor skills and movement; often playing games that require hopping, skipping, jumping, leaping and/or balancing on one foot. However as we approach adulthood, (depending on our recreational or exercise-related pursuits,) we move around and play less, which can result in some loss of balance and coordination. Programs that replicate an “adult recess” experience have grown in popularity in recent years as workout programs such as P90X, Insanity, HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and many others exemplify this approach. The variety and pace of these types of workouts appeal to many exercisers who feel like they offer the perfect counterbalance to an inactive workday; and one of the key aspects to this type of exercise is the integration of balance and coordination along with strength and endurance.
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Cross-Training Concepts for Summer in Alaska

on Jun 29, 2015 4:00:00 PM By | Patrick Curtis | 0 Comments | Gym and Health Club Exercises
A basic definition of the term ‘cross-training’ as it applies to physical fitness is using more than one method to develop a specific skill or fitness component.  A general example is developing cardiovascular endurance with bouts of running, swimming, cycling, group classes, dance cardio etc.  However, we are most often using the term for fitness to describe using similar activities to prepare for the demands of another, such as swimming to prepare for surfing.  In this example there is a relationship between the activities that is easily identifiable: the arm movement with freestyle swimming replicates the paddling action on a surfboard.  
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Plyometrics: Get Your Jump On!

on May 4, 2015 5:00:00 PM By | Patrick Curtis | 1 Comment |
Over in the corner of the gym, a young man in his early twenties has stacked up three hollow boxes with metal frames and a solid platform on top of each other. Each one of the three are slightly smaller and shorter than the one below but stacked, the top of the highest box is close to eye level for the young man now standing in front of the boxes breathing heavily. Two women filling their water bottles stop and stare with several others scattered throughout the weight room. As the young man begins to squat slowly and swing his arms back and forth there is a pause as the observers watch closely, already in disbelief of what they are about to witness. Like a flash the young man’s arms swing forward and he explodes upward and lands softly on the platform of the top box where he perches in a crouch momentarily before gingerly hopping down. The observers look at each other, shake their heads and resume their workouts.
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Mechanics of the Core

on Apr 23, 2015 5:00:00 PM By | Patrick Curtis | 0 Comments | Gym and Health Club Exercises
We hear the term “CORE” often and know it has something to do with our abs and low back or our “trunk,” but what other muscles groups work as part of this power center of our amazing bodies? Most of us know we are supposed to do “core work” to support other activities and muscle groups. It is also said in the fitness industry and academic worlds that “all movement starts with the core.” Our true understanding of the core varies with each individual’s knowledge base, training and education about the body. However, we can quickly cover an overview of what is referred to in clinical terms as the LPHC or Lumbo-pelvic-hip-complex and it need not be too complex!
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Add Intervals to Break-up and Boost-up Your Results

on Apr 14, 2015 2:00:00 PM By | Patrick Curtis | 0 Comments |
I remember very specific cross-country running workouts back in high school as being the hardest and most dreaded practices known to our team. “Interval training day,” our coach would say as we completed our warm-up laps. Our runs on these days would consist of setting a steady pace to carry for different lengths of time, five-minutes, ten-minutes etc. Then our coach, who thankfully ran and suffered with us, would shout “break!’—not the command to rest and get water; in this case, it meant: ‘go as fast as you can!” The group would burst into a sprint until the coach picked a landmark such as a telephone pole ahead when the sprint could change to a light jog. We would repeat this process over and over, changing only the time held on pace and the length of the sprint intervals based on which new landmark would end our torture.
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A Word on Motivation

on Apr 10, 2015 1:44:06 PM By | Patrick Curtis | 0 Comments | Community
Considering generally healthy individuals, there are those among us who will be in the gym, on the trail, in the pool or wherever their exercise activities take place without fail no matter what ad infinitum. These individuals are in a category all their own; call them: “intrinsically motivated.” Perhaps a better word might be ‘obsessed,’ but this is often a side-effect result of a passion for a specific pursuit that exercise provides the foundation for—elite mountain bikers, tennis enthusiasts, marathoners, distance swimmers are all examples. Some however do simply love to exercise. Just this past week I witnessed an individual take part in an aqua class, workout with a trainer, swim laps, play basketball, join a yoga class and a dance cardio class all in the same day!
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Making Sense of Nutritional Basics

on Mar 24, 2015 4:00:00 PM By | Patrick Curtis | 0 Comments | Nutrition
If you have not had the benefit of either working with an expert or the opportunity of studying nutrition yourself, getting a firm handle on the basics as they relate to exercise can be one powerful way to boost your results. So much of what we do with exercise is about efficiency and getting the most out of time spent. Nutrition should also be thought of in this way; however, many of us do not balance our approach to food the same way we might with workouts. Here are a couple brief examples of stories from real exercisers that tell this tale:
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Choose an Event for Specific Goal Achievement

on Mar 18, 2015 9:39:00 AM By | Patrick Curtis | 0 Comments | Gym and Health Club Exercises
Most exercisers are aware of the importance and effectiveness of setting goals in order to achieve results from the time, energy and work put into working out.  The SMART goal acronym is particularly useful with exercise/fitness goals as keeping things specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timed creates a way to break down large goals into increments that are more easily approached.  Once each small increment is achieved a new one is set, creating a progression toward the larger, longer term goal. 
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Train Your Body For Everyday

on Mar 10, 2015 10:01:00 AM By | Patrick Curtis | 0 Comments | Gym and Health Club Exercises
Functional training is a term that has gained attention and focus in the fitness industry in the past ten years with equipment and workouts being designed to specifically accommodate this concept in exercise.  The truth is “functional training” has always been around as its most simple definition is:  training the body for the demands of normal life.  Our everyday activities involve some pretty complex maneuvers we may not even think of in this way, such as getting into a vehicle, which involves lowering the body, turning into the transverse (rotational) plane and shifting our weight laterally at the same time as we transfer from feet on the ground into the automobile.   Since life itself places many demands on us as we move through our normal day, our exercise should also include some moves that prepare us for these demands.  Not in a specific order, the following four pillars of functional movement serve as a simple guide to ensure you are including the basics of functional movement in your routines.
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Active is as Active Does

on Mar 5, 2015 6:00:00 PM By | Patrick Curtis | 0 Comments | Kids Youth Fitness Gym and Health Club Exercises
Recently a colleague and I pondered what things were like thirty years ago in the fitness industry and what has changed. One thing we both remarked on was the emphasis on physical fitness in schools at that time made getting people involved with fitness in general much easier. There was the very active and popular Presidential Fitness Challenge, which is happily still going, but unhappily does not receive the same focus as in the past. There were always healthy challenges to raise awareness about diseases that exercise could help prevent or reduce the risk of, such as Jump-Rope-For-Heart through the American Heart Association among others. Although many of these programs are still active they don’t carry the same weight without a dedicated daily connection to physical education. Now factor in technology, another of the greatest changes affecting most aspects of life these days, with so many diversions and distractions, and we have a tremendous challenge getting youth and their families and adults in general to turn off the electronics and tune in to exercise. So how do we do it?
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A Word On Water

on Feb 26, 2015 2:11:29 PM By | Patrick Curtis | 0 Comments | Nutrition Gym and Health Club Exercises
While most of us have heard that the average person should consume eight 8-opunce glasses of water a day, there are a few more bits of information useful to the exerciser. Proper hydration helps all bodily functions to be more efficient, including performance during exercise and water further enhances our results from our workouts, especially weight loss. Although the general recommendation above is a good starting point, most of us, and particularly those of us actively participating in exercise, need a little more. A good measure that applies to most active exercisers would be two and one-half to three large size (32-oz) water bottles daily.
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Variety as Fuel for Success

on Feb 17, 2015 6:00:00 PM By | Patrick Curtis | 0 Comments | Gym and Health Club Exercises
Whether you are one of the many working to stick to a New Year’s resolution or you are simply open to and interested in trying new ways of working your body with exercise, there are tremendous benefits to ensuring that variety is one of the ingredients in your fitness recipe for success. Not only can boredom with the same routine derail a long term exercise goal but continuing to perform the same or even similar exercises over time creates plateaus in the progress of strength and endurance gains.
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The Function of Functional Training

on Feb 12, 2015 1:42:07 PM By | Patrick Curtis | 0 Comments |
What is “Functional Training?” The term describes exercises that require the mind and body to act or function together, using multiple joints, muscle groups and coordination to perform activities like those that occur in everyday life such as getting into and out of a car or lifting groceries. When we exercise in general, we ask the body to perform tasks that are demanding or at least somewhat difficult. The marvelous human body responds to these demands of exercise by getting stronger and by enduring activities longer. Most traditional exercises, such as bench press, occur in linear or straight lines/planes of movement. The idea behind functional training is to place demands on the body while at the gym that recreate those encountered in daily life by adding additional planes of motion and more than one moving body part. Many typical exercises may be modified slightly to become “functional,” for example, adding a semi-squat to a standing row requires the body to move, stabilize and then perform an isolated muscle action. Using a stability ball and dumbbells for a chest press in alternate with a plate-loaded bar and flat bench is another example of adding functional training to a traditional exercise, requiring additional balance and stability in addition to the original muscle action of the “lift.”
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Flexibility for All

on Feb 5, 2015 8:00:00 AM By | Patrick Curtis | 0 Comments | Gym and Health Club Exercises
These days there are so many places to get information, advice and guidance from Fitness Professionals that it can be a challenge to identify and keep track of the best tips on getting the most from workouts. Sometimes the most powerful inspiration comes from a simple review of the most fundamental basics. Most of us engaged in a regular exercise routine know we are supposed to stretch, but this last basic detail is often either skipped entirely or shortened in the interest of saving time. No to be overlooked, stretching can be one of the most enjoyable and restorative parts of a workout or cool down, and the true benefits are as important as strengthening muscles and conditioning our heart and lungs.
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Strength Training Benefits

on Jan 7, 2015 9:24:00 AM By | Patrick Curtis | 0 Comments |
January is the time of year many of us rededicate ourselves to our exercise routines or begin one based on a resolution for the New Year. One of the pitfalls so many of us fall into is pursuing cardiovascular exercise without the balance of strength training, which both enhances the results from cardio and helps up the metabolism for greater calorie burn and overall health. Combining strength and cardio also helps alleviate boredom through variety and keeps joints and muscles from wearing down from continuous cardio work alone. Here are some tips on how to add strength to your routine to achieve balanced results and keep that new or revitalized routine going throughout the New Year.  
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