Thursday, March 16, 2017

Full-Body Fit Is a Family Thing for Kauser and Mike Shahpurwala

After trying - and leaving - other gyms and fitness centers over the years, Kauser and Mohamedi (Mike) Shahpurwala have been coming to Full-Body Fit since we opened the Better Living Fitness Center in January of 2016.

“I got a post card from Better Living in the mail and realized that this is near my
work, so I decided to check it out,” says Mike, who is the founder and president of Aven Tools in Ann Arbor. “It was fun, so I brought Kauser with me and we decided to do it.”

According to Kauser, she wasn't very enthusiastic about the idea of working out at first – “...but when I started coming I saw the advantages of the Full-Body Fit class, and I was having a good time.”

Both Kauser and Mike say they appreciate the variety of workouts offered during Full-Body Fit, and they enjoy the friendly group atmosphere.

“We've tried other gyms, and I was a member of a country club that has a fitness center, but working out by yourself isn't very fulfilling,” Mike says. “Not only that, but normally with fitness places you get bored after a certain time. That hasn't happened with Better Living and Full-Body Fit, because the sessions are very interactive and because of the group setting.”

“The people in our classes (on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays) are a lot of fun to work out with, and we really support each other” Kauser adds.

They also like working out together.

According to Kauser, “When we started working out together Mike would push me, and now we push and encourage each other.”

The couple also love the fact that, even though Full-Body Fit is a group session, Better Living trainers customize exercises as necessary to fit the needs and limitations of individual participants.

This is particularly important for Mike, who is recovering from a shoulder injury.

“I have to be careful not to move my shoulder beyond what it can tolerate or to use overly heavy weights, but I'm still able to get a good workout during Full-Body Fit,” Mike says.

In addition to helping Mike strengthen his shoulder and enabling him to work out without further injuries, Mike and Kauser say that they're enjoying the results of coming to Full-Body Fit regularly.

Kauser says that she's more energetic, and Mike adds that he's seen a lot of improvement in his weight.

“I'm more toned, and I feel more fit in general,” he says.

Join the fun at Full-Body Fit! Full-Body Fit is a strength and cardio conditioning session that also features exercises that improve balance, posture and flexibility. We offer Full-Body Fit several times a week to fit a variety of schedules – whether you join Kauser and Mike's sessions or come another time, we guarantee you'll get fit and have fun!

Full-Body Fit is included with our Lifestyle, Comprehensive, and Unlimited memberships. Click here for more information about membership, and get ready to start experiencing your best body ever.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

How to Design the Best Fitness Plan for You Part 2: Getting Specific

Back in November, we talked about the Eight Basics for Optimum Fitness – in other words, the basics that should be included in any fitness plan in order to get the best results.

Just to review, the Basics are:
Strength training is an essential part of any fitness plan -- at any age, as demonstrated by Better Living Fitness Center client Al PIeper

Strength training
Cardio training
Stress management

With eight variables to choose from, though, how can you fit the pieces together to create the best fitness plan for your needs? Whether you're looking to create your own plan or getting ready to your free initial client consultation with a Better Living Fitness personal trainer, here are some quick guidelines to get you started:

1. Identify your weak points. For example, does just the idea of taking the stairs make you feel winded? Are you having trouble getting your groceries into your car? Or are you running into back pain from all the hours you spend in front of a computer?

One great place to start a fitness plan is to look at how your body is performing right now and to start targeting areas that frustrate you.

2. Consider your dreams. Maybe you want to craft a fitness plan that will get you ready to run a marathon – or even a 5K. You may want to join one of our clients, Dawn Weirauch, who at age 54 has decided to find out just how strong she can become. Or maybe you want to be able to dance with your spouse at your 50th anniversary party.

Yoga -- or any stretching to improve flexibility -- is also an important aspect of any well-balanced fitness plan. That's why Better Living Fitness Center incorporates stretching into all of our classes in addition to offering Restorative Yoga.

3. Remember the importance of balance. The goal of your fitness plan may well be to make grocery shopping easier. Or to run a marathon, or to lose fifteen pounds … but whatever your goals, the fact remains that all eight basics are essential to avoid injury and achieve and maintain optimum, long-term fitness. So while you may well want to focus entirely on strength training to become as strong as you can possibly be (like Dawn), forgetting flexibility and posture can lead to injuries that will get in the way of your goal.

4. Define your fitness goals, and keep them reasonable. You've identified where you feel weak. You've tallied your dreams, and you're keeping the eight basics of fitness in mind. Now it's time to set yourself up with achievable, step-by-step goals that will take you from where you are now to where you want to be with your fitness.

(By the way, Better Living personal trainers are fantastic at helping clients with goal-setting. We have the education and experience to know what's generally realistic and achievable – and we'll take the time to get to know you and your body well enough to advise you on the best goals for you.)

5. Remember that life happens. Better Living client Joey Mullick travels a lot for work. Another of our clients, Al Pieper, has had a few surgeries. You may have unique health, career, or other challenges as well. And that's ok – just craft your fitness plan with these obstacles in mind! For example, Joey (obviously) can't come to sessions when his trainer when he's out of town. Instead, Joey's trainer gives Joey a set of exercises that Joey can do in any hotel room.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Personal Training for a Lifetime: Al Pieper's Better Living Fitness Journey

I realized [Better Living Fitness Center founder] Mark would be the best choice for me as a trainer because of the breadth of his knowledge. A lot of personal trainers are fine if you have a narrow range of goals – if you just want to drop twenty pounds, for example, or you want to train for a particular event. But Mark is so well-rounded, I knew we'd be able to develop a long-term working relationship.
-- 10-year Better Living Fitness client Al Pieper, who turns 79 years old this week

Senior fitness superstar Al Pieper enjoys strength training at Better Living Fitness Center in Ann Arbor

Al Pieper has been working out with a Better Living Fitness personal trainer since he was sixty-nine years old.

Ten years later, Al is about to enjoy his seventy-ninth birthday – and he says he's looking forward to many more birthdays, too, “...thanks to my Better Living trainer!”

Unlike some of our clients, Al didn't wait until his older years to start exercising. Instead, his fitness journey first started about forty years ago, when he was working in Detroit.
“I was developing 'executive overhang' – my stomach hung over my belt,” he remembered, laughing. So, Al found a fitness center near his office, and for the rest of his career he worked out instead of going out to lunch.

But as he retired and became older, Al's fitness needs changed and he decided he wanted to work with a professional personal trainer. Eventually, Al met Better Living Founder Mark Thiesmeyer.
During their initial consultation, Al says, “I realized Mark would be the best choice for me as a trainer because of the breadth of his knowledge. A lot of personal trainers are fine if you have a narrow range of goals – if you just want to drop twenty pounds, for example, or you want to train for a particular event.

But Mark is so well-rounded, I knew we'd be able to develop a long-term working relationship.”

Al's relationship with Mark – and the entire Better Living training staff – started with sessions geared to help Al improve his running. But when Al broke his hip and running stopped being an option, Mark developed a different fitness routine to speed Al's overall recovery.
“Physical therapy is great, but physical therapists only concentrate on returning functionality to the part of your body that's healing – not on the rest of your body,” Al says. “Mark and the other Better Living personal trainers helped make sure that my whole body recovered from my hip replacement, and also from a surgery I had on my spine.”
Medical issues aside, it's also a fact that our fitness needs change as we age. Al says that, these days, his personal training sessions are focused on a combination of strength training, flexibility, and balance exercises. In addition, Al has changed his weekly routine – instead of three personal training sessions every week, Al does a training session twice a week and comes to Full-Body Fit every weekend.
“I like the cardio aspect of Full-Body Fit,” he says. “I walk my dog a few miles a
Better Living's Full Body Fit classes focus on core strength and balance, key aspects of fitness for senior citizens. Client Al Pieper works on his core during class.
day, but my dog is getting older, too, so it's not like we get a lot of cardio from our walks. Full-Body Fit gives me the cardio, and I like the group environment.” 

Whether you're training for a particular goal -- like weight loss or athletic performance -- or you want a long-term relationship with a personal trainer to keep you healthy for life, Better Living has a trainer and a program for you. Contact us today to arrange your free initial consultation!

Better Living Fitness Center is proud to participate in Silver Sneakers.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Strong Seniors are Healthier Seniors: The Many Benefits of Strength Training for Older Adults

If you want to enjoy optimum health and independence as a senior citizen, an increasing body of research shows that regular strength training will help get you there.

Not only that, but you can start strength training at any age and still see results – just check out this 2013 video of then 91-year-old Sy Perlis breaking a world record!

But don't worry – you don't have to commit to becoming a world-record holder to benefit from strength training as a senior citizen! Here are a few of the benefits that studies have shown older adults can enjoy from just two, hour-long strength workouts a week:
  • Regular strength training prevents, and can even reverse, the loss of muscle mass and strength that otherwise dogs us as we age. If you want to be able to climb stairs, get out of chairs, or lift your grandkids, strength training is the way to go.
  • Progressive resistance (a.k.a. weight or strength) training builds stronger bones and helps prevent osteoporosis.
  • Consistent, regular strength workouts have also been shown to reduce the signs and symptoms of chronic issues like heart disease, arthritis, and Type 2 diabetes. At the same time, studies seem to indicate that strength training can help older people get better sleep, prevent obesity, and even alleviate depression – while, possibly, even improving memory and cognition.
While there is no cure for getting older, it's increasingly clear that strength training can help prevent many of the issues that make aging difficult.  
One Better Living Fitness client, Sara Constant, loves how working out with Better Living makes her feel:

When I work out every day, I find everything comes into shape: my weight decreases, my aches and pains disappear, and my ability to handle the day's requirements increases. ... I'm 71 years old, and when I look out of my 71 year old eyes, I feel as if I'm 20!
But even though strength workouts are great for us at any age, strength training by itself is only part of the equation for optimum health. We also need to work on our cardio fitness, flexibility, balance, and posture to protect our health and fitness as we get older.

At the Better Living Fitness Center we recognize the importance of strength training for people of all ages,  and we understand that building muscle alone isn't a silver bullet. That's why we created Full Body Fit – our signature fitness session that combines strength and cardio training with exercises to improve flexibility, balance, and posture.

If you're an older adult and you want to see just how fit your senior years can be, check out our Full Body Fit schedule and try a class this week. Don't worry if you have an injury or mobility issue, because your trainer will customize the exercises to fit your needs. Full Body Fit – or an individual or group session with one of Better Living's certified, experienced personal trainers – is a great way to start enjoying the benefits of strength training at any age!


StrongerMuscles May Pump Up Your Memory,” A HealthDay News article published by the National Institutes of Health's MedlinePlus website.

Strengthhelps older adults live longer,” from Science Daily.