Valeo Training

Thursday, September 25, 2008


I took an online "quiz" this afternoon after opening a link on a fitness magazine advertisement. The question was "Do You Need A Personal Trainer?" I answered about 15 multiple choice questions, mixing my answers between what I knew would be a "beginner", "occasional", and "advanced" fitness-level perspective. The end result told me that I "knew what you were doing and were good to continue on your own....In fact, you might want to train others!"


It's kinda like me telling someone "I like to balance my checkbook. Want me to be your Accountant?" I think it'd take about .02 seconds for them to look at me like I was crazy...yet somehow people have no problem accepting non-professionalism in the fitness arena.

I get frustrated by the laxity of this concept of Health and Fitness. Not everyone would agree with me (I understand) but just because someone likes to workout does NOT qualify them to train. Many of us in the field have spent years in a classroom, endless hours reading textbooks about metabolism (yes - an entire class on the biochemical process of our bodies), studying the structure, function and mechanics of the human body and how to apply that to life. While it may look like 'just an exercise', there's a lot of thought that goes into the whats, whys and hows of making a program specific for an individual. The load, direction, firing sequence, energy system demand...these are just a few of the things I'm paying attention to while working out with someone.

Unfortunately, this is a field that is very unregulated. Nearly anyone can take a weekend course, take a test online and become "certified"...but (as my professors at the Fitness Institute International would say...) "certified does not mean qualified." **

OK, enough ranting. I just needed to get that off my chest, as most everyday I face the unique position of having to work in an environment where people take their health and fitness into their own hands with very little knowledge of the whats, whys and hows of what they're doing.

You (hopefully) wouldn't put your finances or education or legal matters into the hands of someone who wasn't a professional - why do any differently with your body?...

** The certifying organizations below are considered legitimate and 'the top' in the health and fitness field. Look for these acronyms when scoping out a trainer's background.
NSCA = National Strength and Conditioning Association
ACSM = American College of Sports Medicine
NASM = National Academy of Sports Medicine
ISSA = International Sports Sciences Association

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


With Introduction by George Knowles, MD
Dr. Candace Corson
· Trained at Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, CT followed by Family Practice Residency at University of Rochester, NY
· National Health Service Corps, Public Health Service, 5 years
· Past decade spent working in Prevention, Integrative Healing and Chronic Illness
· Director of Integrative Medicine,4 years, in Mishawaka, Indiana at the Healing Arts Center on the River
· Community Educator, frequent lecturer on Environmental and Health Issues
· Member -- Healthy Communities Initiative, South Bend, Indiana
WHEN: Thursday, September 18, 2008, 7:00 PM
WHERE GVSU Eberhard Center
300 W. Fulton on the Grand River
Free parking on the lot on south side of Fulton; walk along river to entrance
Sponsored by Juice Plus+ Whole-Food Nutrition
*I've heard Dr. Corson speak and her message is powerful and real...come find out how to possibly change your family's health picture forever. Email me if you have any questions!


“It takes… a commitment to yourself first, not your trainer, your coach or anyone else”
- Gary Lavin
Boca Raton, FL
(my instructor, workout partner and mentor)
Wise Words!

Monday, September 15, 2008


Mike and I had an awesome trip to Colorado from August 29th - September 8th...yes, a nice, long vacation! We went to visit his best friend, Grant, who lives in Colorado Springs - it was so great getting to know Grant better and fun to see the best buds reunited and living it up. The trip was filled with some good relaxation, peaceful morning runs and, though I did spend a good chunk of time on work stuff, it felt good to be in a different environment (surrounded by beautiful mountains!). The downtime was countered with some fun adventures and memories that I'm sure we'll hold on to for a long time.

Here's a little rundown of our week!
FRIDAY: Drove to Chicago and flew to Colorado - had a Labor Day grill-out at Grant's place and got to meet a bunch of his lovely and crazy fun friends.
SATURDAY: After a trip to the grocery store to stock up for the week, a bunch of us put on our country-best and headed to the Colorado State Fair. Yee-Haw! We spent most of the afternoon at the Monster Truck Rally, where "Sudden Impact" and "Martial Law" clearly dominated. :)Another highlight was the Mutton Bustin' competition - this was hilarious! Children would gear up and ride sheep and zoom across the corral to the end or until they fell. All of them fell. The sight of these little kids riding the sheep (who were FAST!) cracked me up!

Notice the little girl tossed into the dirt after trying to ride the sheep out of the gate....

...I'll turn him country if it's the last thing I do... :)

SUNDAY: Church in the morning, then I caught up on some worky work at a local coffee shop while Mike and Grant had a Man Hike. :) We drove through Garden of the Gods on the way home and took some quick postcard-worthy pics. Dinner at Grant's friend, Denise's house, was fantastic. It was Denise's birthday - this would be one of two birthday parties that week of people I didn't know...Yea - Gotta love free meals! :)

MONDAY: Rockclimbing! We were fortunate to have two climbers, Grant and Ryan, who are expert enough to lead us on some pretty beautiful climbs at Red Rock Canyon. This was my first time actually climbing a real rock wall (not man-made)...the challenge was...really challenging, but thrilling and heart-pumping - and so fun! The weather was abosolutely perfect and taking in all the sights (especially the view once you made it to the top) was breathtaking! (either that, or I was experiencing the extreme oxygen deprivation...that could be it, too) ;) Dinnertime was spent in Manitou Springs - it was neat to see 'Old Colorado City' and the eccleticness of this part of town.

Battle wounds from rockclimbing and skydiving the week earlier - we've had some adventures lately!~

TUESDAY: Grant headed to work (oh yea, someone had to, I guess :)) so Mike and I had the day to do touristy stuff around Colorado Springs. We took a guided tour through Focus on the Family, where Grant and a bunch of his friends work - this was really neat to see. The campus is huge, and the ministry and heart of the company is even huger. We then headed to the Air Force Academy and took a self-guided tour (...I thought the security would be a lot tighter!). A highlight here was the Cadet Chapel - built in the 1950s, this building was so modern, it could have been built this year and would STILL look ahead of its time. Each room within the chapel was filled with extravegance and symbolism reminiscent of both the Air Force and religious history - it was gorgeous! The evening was complete with another grill-out/birthday party and spending time with new friends.

WEDNESDAY: Another tour day with just me and my Michael - we spent the later part of the morning at the U.S. Olympic Training Center. The center is essentially a campus that houses a hundred or so resident athletes and numerous other part-time/visiting athletes. The environment and training schedule seemed intense - it was so honoring to be on the grounds and in the same facilities as so many phenominal athletes. Seeing the gymnasium, weight room (my favorite part), pool (where Michael Phelps trained! The pool was only happens every 4-yrs, so pretty cool that we got to see it that way!), athletic training room, exercise physiology labs (another favorite) and all the memoriabilia was really moving, especially as we basked in the afterglow of this year's Olympics!

See, even Olympic athletes use Med Balls!! I wonder if they warm-up with the Chopper... :) :)

We then headed up Pikes Peak, a 14, 110 ft mountain in the springs. Grant let us borrow his car, so I got to drive and Michael got to look over the edge the entire time (did I tell you he hates heights?! haha, sorry Mike). We made it to the Summit, celebrated with some snackins, took some pics, then headed back down. Mike took over the gear changing so I wouldn't burn out the brakes - that descent was intense!

The view on the mountain road!

THURSDAY: This was a do-nothing kind of day. Relaxed, chilled, spent time with Grant and his brother and sister-in-law playing Cranium. Oh, by the way...ask Mike to do his shockingly-good Julia Childs impression for ya.... :) ha!

FRIDAY: After finding our way to Golden, CO to taste the cold Rocky Mt. Spring water (mmmm...) with a tour of the Coors Brewing Co. (very cool, by the way - who knew brewing beer could be so interesting?!), we drove up to Boulder and walked around the university. We had a fun night out in Denver and were shown all the hot-spots downtown - my favorite was Cowboy Lounge - an urban honkey-tonk in all its glory. So fun!
Let me not forget our dinner at Casa Bonita (recommended by many, including my Aunt Kathy - well, Mike didn't forget about that and insisted we go!)- a huge Mexican restaurant that seats 1,100 people. Yes, that's right. It's actually more of an amusement park - little theater acts, people diving into waterfalls, a gorilla-suit man, mariachi band, old-time photo booth, haunted caves, cotton candy was so bizarre! It was definitely an EXPERIENCE - and I dare you to get the theme song outta your head once you hear it...Casa Boniiiittt-a! Casa Boniiiitta-a!...oh dear. :)

Mike LOVES gumball machines. Imagine his delight when we found CIRCUS WORLD inside Casa Bonita!

SATURDAY: Road trip! We packed up the camping gear and headed to Rocky Mt. Nat'l Park - opting to take the 'long way' through the back of the park, which took a good 3-4 hrs. Our first stop, though, was Red Rock Park & Ampitheater - I've seen pictures and couldn't wait to see it in person. It was so beautiful and I'd love to someday go to a concert in the outdoor ampitheater...I bet it's amazing. We also met a guy, Travis, while we were visiting, who just got out of the Marines and took the summer to ride his bike from NYC to LA...then to Candada...Wyoming...Colorado...and beyond! This guy was so inspirational and I wish him the best on his journey! Mike had a good time 'talkin' bikes' with him. Notice the stairs behind us - there were a ton of people running them for their morning workout. I kinda wanted to join 'em...gave me some good ideas for my valeo workouts, though...(look out!) ;)

Once we got in Rocky Mt. Nat'l Park, the views were some of the most magestic I've ever seen - we stopped numerous times along the way for some elk and mountain pics - though the 40+mph winds and coooold temps made us pretty content to do most of the viewing through the car window. We met up with Grant's brother and some buddies and took a seemingly-endless hike (VERY beautiful none-the-less) up the Lily Mt. Trail before heading to our campsite. The night was filled with laughter and converstation over the campfire about 'the good-'ol days' in Lafayette for Grant and Mike - it was fun to be taken back and hear about some of their shinanagens back in high school...:)

SUNDAY --> MONDAY: After a yummy breakfast over the fire, we packed up camp and headed back to Colorado Springs, taking a pit-stop at Estes Park for the afternoon. Back in Colorado Springs, Mike and Grant had one last guy-time together before we all crashed...then headed out early Monday morning for home.

It was such a fun trip that we'll never forget!!

Sunday, September 7, 2008


This post is more for my friends and fam who follow my blog every now and then. I realize I'm a bit behind in writing about it (especially for those who read my sister Tara and Brooke's blogs), but here are a few pics of our family adventure jumping out of a plane at 11,000 ft! (my dad's idea!) :)

The most anxious part was waiting in the tiny plane for over 1/2 hr as it ascended to the right altitude. Mike and I went first - and there was only room enough for us, the pilot and our 2 tandum instructors. Because of the way we were seated, I had to jump first (oh great!) and I could tell by the instructor's progressively-more serious tone that we were nearing the 'now or never' point. All I could think of was 'ARCH!' (really, our only responsibility during the fall)...90% of the risk is eliminated if you do this correctly.

Gettin' suited up!

Michael and me!

Here we go!

It was a real lil' plane...

The Pilot yelled 'DOOR OPEN!' and within a second, the door (aka WALL) of the plane flew open, leaving 1 cm between me and the open space of sky (and loud wind!!). With no time to allow fear to creep in, the instructor yelled 'LEFT FOOT OUT!' Then, after tightening the harness one last time, he yelled 'RIGHT FOOT OUT!' - now I was crouched outside the plane on a piece of platform that seemed to be no bigger than 1-ft long slab of metal. READY, SET...ARCH!

Pulled parachute right after the freefall!

35ish seconds of free-fall felt more like someone put a 122 mph fan in front of me - the wind resistance was insane (and chilly!) - but what a rush!!! I screamed/laughed so much that the wind took all the saliva out off my teeth and my mouth was super dry. haha! After we dropped about 6,000 ft, the instructor gave me the signal to pull the ripcord and we came halting to a slow, peaceful float above the ground for about 10 minutes. By this time, I could see the images of my family on the ground (and glimpses of Mike in the air with me) - it was so surreal to be floating so high as if I was looking out of a plane, only to look down and see my tennis shoes dangling below me.

Made it!! :)

The landing was soft and smooth - it was so cool to just glide down. I'm so thankful for the opportunity to go and if you've EVER thought about doing it - you must! It was an experience I'll never forget and SO fun to do it as a family!!

Sis Andee, Dad, me, Mike, & Bro-in-Laws, Mark and Tim (everyone but the mamas went) :)

Had to throw a couple of these cutie-patooties in there...My nephew, Myles, hangin' out in the cabin of the 1957 plane.

My niece, Teagan, hangin' out with her very anxious mommy as her daddy goes skydiving!