Wed, 27 May 2009
Todd Whitthorne interviews Colette Cole, a personal trainer at Cooper Fitness Center. Colette has a masters degree in exercise physiology, and co-authored Women’s Health and Fitness Guide with Michele Kettles, M.D., M.S.P.H., medical director of Cooper Clinic in Dallas.
Research shows lifestyle changes such as increasing physical activity and eating a healthy diet can reduce the risk for developing many chronic diseases, and can help manage existing health conditions. With this in mind, Colette started Female Focus, a four- week lifestyle program specifically for women, concentrating on a range of health topics including fibromyalgia, osteoporosis and cancer. Each group of 8- to 10 women meets twice each week for a group exercise class which focuses on the individual needs of the participants. The class aims to teach both how- and why- each exercise is done, and also includes nutrition coaching from a registered dietitian.
Although the health benefits of exercise are known, when we need to exercise often the first thing we don’t want to do is exercise. The class is designed to help women work through barriers to exercise. Colette says the small group dynamic is fantastic. Exercising with a group is motivating and Female Focus offers the benefits of group motivation in small enough classes where participants are ensured personalized attention. Research supports that if we exercise with a “buddy” we’re more likely to stick with it. Colette has noticed that often after a class has ended, the women will continue their friendships and get together to attend a yoga or pilates class, or to walk on the track.
Statistics show one in two women will get osteoporosis, a largely preventable disease, and 30 to 40 percent of the women enrolled in the class are there to prevent osteoporosis. Exercise can improve osteopenia, especially in the trunk. Increasing strength helps prevent falls and improve balance.
Many women lack the knowledge or may be intimidated by strength training and mistakenly participate in cardio training only. Colette believes this is a mistake. It’s a misconception that weight training builds “bulk” in women – in fact it’s the opposite. Strength training helps slim, tone, curve and shape the female figure. Female Focus classes concentrate on increasing trunk strength and balance to prevent falls as well as incorporating exercise into everyday activities outside of class.
For people who don’t have access to Cooper Fitness Center, Todd and Colette talk about how to find a good personal trainer. There are folks in many health clubs who became personal trainers after a 4- or 5 day class. Colette’s advice is to look for a Certified Personal Trainer who has a college degree in exercise physiology, kinesiology, or another related field of study. In addition, the trainer needs to be certified from a reputable organization such as the National Academy of Sports Medicine, Cooper Institute, National Strength and Conditioning Association or IDEA. Continuing education is also key – there’s always new info coming out, so a good personal trainer will continue to engage in ongoing training. Finally, find someone with experience in the area for the need you have. Personal trainers tend to have specialties, so look for someone who has experience working with people who have similar issues.
To enroll in Female Focus, or for more information, contact Colette Cole at 972-233-4832.