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NIFS Healthy Living Blog

Finding the Motivation to Swim Pays Off!

swim-blognewYou have heard it over and over again: If you are not swimming, you are missing out on a great low-impact, total-body workout. If you were sore from beating yourself up from running on the roads or lifting earlier in the week, you will find yourself feeling much better after a good swim.

If you are like me, though, swimming is not your first choice of exercise, and you find it hard to find the motivation to get to the pool when there are so many other options that you find more enjoyable. 

I am fortunate enough to have a great group of ladies who are committed to heading over to the IU Natatorium twice a week to get in a good swim session. Swimming is not my favorite fitness activity, but it has grown on me and I know that it has great health and fitness benefits*. So I have convinced myself that I need to do it! Even though we are all very committed and consistent with our swimming, we still try to talk each other out of it.

Common discussion and thoughts before and on our way to the pool:

  • Are we really going? Why are going? What if we just go run or bike or lift or do yoga instead?
  • I can’t go today. I just went spray tanning.
  • I think Starbucks is open?
  • Cold walk all the way over there! Can we go to the steam room, sauna, or whirlpool instead (or before)? 
  • I really shouldn’t even go until I get my new suit, which will be on its way as soon as I order it.
  • Wait, should we check to see if the pool is closed today?
  • Am I out of visits? Too bad if I am, because I don’t have my wallet.
  • Oh no, there are no empty lanes. Maybe we should do this another time?
  • The water is so cold…is this colder than it usually is? Why are we doing this? Can we go get coffee instead? It’s not too late!
  • Is the warm pool open today?
  • We have been sitting here with our feet in for 15 minutes. If we don’t get in soon, we will have to leave.
What we are thinking during the workout:
  • What is the workout again? 
  • If I can get through this, I can have coffee after.
  • This is hard. I can’t breathe. My arms are tired. Why I am not getting better?
  • I kind of need to use the restroom…I think I can hold it…I better just hold it.
  • Why do I do this to myself?
  • This pool got really hot all of the sudden.
  • Wow, I’m getting better at this! I am fast!
What we talk about and think about after:
  • That was great! I feel so much better than I did before we started.
  • I am awesome!
  • When are we coming back this week?
  • What is our next workout? I think I need more speed work next week.
  • I really need to buy longer fins and a new swim cap.
  • I am going to sleep good tonight.
  • I can’t wait for this warm shower and lunch.
  • Why do we complain so much? I now understand why people have a hard time committing to exercise. But it feels great at the end!
  • Another one in the books!*Weight loss claims and/or individual results vary and are not guaranteed.
This blog was written by Stephanie Kaiser, Fitness Center Manager. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

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Topics: motivation swimming accountability nifs staff attitude

NIFS Staff in Action: 2014 Summer Showdown Challenge Sneak Peek!

SS2We know what crosses through many of your minds in the middle of the workouts that we provide to you through HIT classes, Group Training, and special programs at NIFS: “I bet he/she doesn’t even do this stuff he/she is putting me through!” With that in mind, it would not be fair of us to expect you to complete our Summer Showdown Fitness Challenge without us testing it out first!

For the Summer Showdown this year, we are sticking with basic fundamental movements that almost everyone can complete with no trouble. The challenge comes into play when we ask that you select a level and complete as many rounds as you can in a given period of time.

Beginner: 10 minutes
Intermediate: 15 minutes
Advanced: 20 minutes

Here is what we have in store for you this year:SS4

Complete as Many Rounds as Possible

50m Suitcase Carry

10 KB Goblet Squats

10 KB Swings

10 TRX Rows

10 TRX Chest Presses

10 Slider Mountain Climbers

As a staff, we had a great time completing the workout! Now you can rest assured that we can relate to what you are going through. If you have never participated in the Summer Showdown, don’t be intimidated. This is your year to pick your level and complete the challenge to give you that extra push this summer!

If you are looking for a a great summer challenge participate in Summer Showdown from June 23-July 25! Sign-up  6/9-6/20 on the bulletin board located in the fitness center hallway.

This blog was written by Stephanie Kaiser, Fitness Center Manager and Health Fitness Specialist. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers click here.

Topics: group training nifs staff NIFS programs Summer Showdown summer HIT

What It’s Like to Be an Intern at NIFS

AU_XC_picFour years ago when I began applying for schools, if someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have laughed and said, “I have NO CLUE!” I was not sure where I wanted to go, who I wanted to be, or what type of job I could see myself in. All I knew was I wanted to be close to home. Growing up I was very family oriented, so I knew whatever college I chose needed to be close enough to come home on the weekends for family dinner.

I found the perfect one, Aurora University—small campus, small class size, with the added bonus of being only 30 minutes from home! Here I found my niche in the Fitness and Health Promotion major, understanding various levels of exercise prescription for diverse populations, and having the expertise to plan and implement prescribed exercise programs.

First_day_of_senior_yearWhen my senior year rolled around, I had one last program to complete before I could hold my diploma: a 16-week internship! Completely overwhelmed at the thought, seeing that the internships I did previously were barely a month long, I spent countless hours searching for a good fit. And after 3½ years of living at home as a college student, I was finally ready to be out on my own. I wanted to challenge myself and find something completely out of my element.

When I came across NIFS, competitive was a complete understatement. I knew I would really need to step up to get accepted as an intern. But all the long hours of resume and cover letter work really paid off. Coming to NIFS was the best decision I could have made at this point in my career. Sure, it was hard for me to pack up all my belongings and live in a city by myself, but the reward was well worth it.carmel_finish_with_family

Wanting to find out where else my major could take me besides the personal training/coaching realm, and having a love for healthy lifestyles, I worked in the Education Services department with Angie Scheetz, RD. I did not just feel like another intern, but an employee who had my own responsibilities and tasks to contribute to the department. I worked on anything from wellness presentations and nutrition consultations to Mini Marathon training. Working with Angie I learned more than I had ever expected and was able to see how maintaining a healthy lifestyle goes hand in hand with exercising.

NIFS was different from any other internship that I have ever experienced, because there was the option to investigate the various other departments. Through shadowing and volunteering, I was able to experience just how diverse each was. Seeing what each job entailed helped to point me in the direction I wanted to go and left me with a better idea for a future career.

Although I still have a long road ahead of me in the fitness and health world, working at NIFS as an intern was a great experience that truly applied my education. I could not have asked for a better end to my senior year.

This blog was written by Alyssa Furman, NIFS intern. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers click here.


Topics: NIFS nutrition mini marathon nifs staff education interns

NIFS SLIM IT TO WIN IT: Team Tank the Plankers!

Another year of Slim-It to Win It and team “Tank the Plankers” are holding strong! Five of the biggest highlights for the team are the following:steph-team-pic

  • Over half of the team has 100 percent attendance.
  • Everyone can hold a plank for at least 45 seconds.
  • Everyone has completed their food logs and made adjustments according to Angie’s feedback.
  • Everyone has completed their Functional Movement Screen and started completing their correctives.
  • Everyone has a great attitude every day.

Along with all of these great things, the team has completed  a wide variety of workouts successfully. One workout that was recently completed was the Partner 100 workout using the  TRX. The workout runs as follows. One partner completes one lap around the indoor track while  the other counts up to 100 reps of the exercise before proceeding to the next one. The exercises completed are listed here:

  • 100 TRX Chest PressSlim-It-logo2
  • 100 TRX 2-count Mountain Climbers
  • 100 TRX Rows
  • 100 TRX Squats

Although it was a very challenging workout both mentally and physically, everyone conquered it and even had a little energy left at the end to finish up with a sled push relay on the sprint lanes!

I will be sad once the program concludes because I feel very privileged to have the opportunity to work with this fun and hardworking group twice a week, but I also cannot wait to see how much progress they have made with all of their health and fitness goals going into this program.


Training with a group is a proven strategy for sticking with a workout routine and is more economical than one-on-one training. If you are interested in trying a small group or large group training session contact Tony Maloney today to get started!

This blog was written by Stephanie Kaiser, NIFS Heath Fitness Instructor. Learn more about the NIFS bloggers.

Topics: nutrition group fitness group training nifs staff functional training NIFS programs Slim It to Win It TRX

Humble Pie: A Fitness Pro Struggles with a New Workout Program

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Stop me if this sounds familiar: “I am terrible at this new workout program. I don’t feel that I am doing it right, and I think I am just going to quit and go back to the familiar.” If you have thought this to yourself, you are not alone. Many people who have started a program have felt this way and have wanted to give up, but I won’t let them give up. I recently found myself on the other side of this process. As a fitness professional it is not easy to accept that you need help moving, and that you can’t do a certain movement or exercise.

Getting Help from a Movement Specialist

I visited a movement specialist to remedy an ongoing shoulder ailment and a newly acquired knee issue. I had to seek an expert because what I was doing just was not getting it done. I was tired of being in pain and not being able to move the way I have grown accustomed to. So I needed some help. I was assessed, and given a program that I was confident would get me back to getting after it in the gym.

I worked with a fitness coach to go over my newfound program and learn how to reset, realign, and fix my body back into shape. But it was not as simple as I thought it would be going in. I felt very confident about my physical abilities, but boy was I mistaken. I KNOW what it feels like to struggle with movement issues and following a program I am not familiar with and feel terrible at. I did not fare very well this day, the first day of a new workout program, and was very frustrated.

Wanting to Go Back to the Old Way

The next week I flew solo with the program to practice and work on the movements, only to build on my frustration and feelings of wanting to go back to the old way of doing things. But it was the old way of doing things that got me in the jam I am in today. Needless to say, I was quite humbled by my inability to pull off what was being asked of me. Now, I am a pretty big believer that a slice of humble pie from time to time is a good thing; it keeps you on your toes and makes you better than you were the day before. But my humility quickly turned to feelings of

  • Denial: There is no way I can’t do this; they must be telling me wrong.
  • Inadequacy: If I can’t do these movements, what else am I failing?
  • Embarrassment: I don't want to be seen by others as struggling.
  • Frustration (who am I kidding; I was ticked off): Am I ever going to get better?

Have you ever felt this way when starting a new workout program, job, or lifestyle change? Well, you are not alone! Those are hard emotions to overcome, and they are REAL! I think often during this process that if this is how I (someone who loves to move) feel, these types of feelings can be very high in someone who is just starting out or is at a low fitness level. I truly feel for this individual, and would love to pass on a message to them:

Don’t give up, because the goal is at your reach. But you have to do just that: REACH.

Step Out of Your Comfort Zone, and Get Support

Step out of your comfort zone to propel your progress and get closer to where you ultimately want to be. Seek out others who are experiencing some of the same things and join them in the gym or in a group training session and work together through the hard times. Failing is a staple of life. It’s how you react to it that will determine your path. Will you lie down and accept defeat, or get up and spit in its face? It’s your choice.

I am happy to report that I have continued with the program and have had great gains and am nearly pain free. I am just getting started, though; there's a long road ahead. But it is a road I no longer dread traveling, and humble pie can be a tasty reminder that struggle equals success!

Schedule a Free Fitness Assessment and step out of your exercising comfort zone.

Tony Maloney Personal Trainer. Find out more about the NIFS Bloggers.

Topics: fitness center workouts group training nifs staff muscles attitude

NIFS 25th Anniversary: Charter Member Dean Behrmann

screenshot dean 5

Charter member Dean Behrmann talks about why he started coming to NIFS and what has kept him
coming back for 25 years. Watch his video.

Dean was also featured in a NIFS video back in 2009. Click here to watch.

Topics: NIFS cardio running marathon training mini marathon half marathon nifs staff anniversary race

NIFS 25th Anniversary: Charter Member Candy Lander

screenshot candy 2

Charter member Candy Lander talks about her favorite things about NIFS. Watch Video.

Topics: NIFS fitness fitness center running marathon training mini marathon half marathon accountability nifs staff anniversary

Ready, Set, Row! The NIFS Staff Rowing Challenge Is Back

Get ready for the 2013 Annual Staff Rowing Challenge here at NIFS! If you are looking for a little bit of friendly competition as the winter rolls in, be sure to sign up with a team this year! The competition is pretty straightforward. All you need to do is sign up for a team; row, row, row; record your meters; and watch the boats on the string-line in front of the rower to see if your team is winning the race!

WARNING: This competition can be pretty intense (all in fun), so bring your “A” game!

For those of you who participated last year, you probably remember how it all turned out in the end. For those of you who didn’t, here are the results from last year:

2012 Team Total Meters Rowed

  1. Tony: 730,336
  2. Rick: 483,377
  3. Adam: 413,370
  4. Ben: 325,370
  5. Mike: 242,032rowing NIFS
  6. Cara: 213,230
  7. Tasha: 206,304
  8. Brad: 199,438
  9. Josh: 90,726
  10. Alex: 84,505
  11. Christy: 83,793
  12. Steph: 77,543
  13. Thomas: 59,297

             Do you know the right way to row?
             Watch our video with Tony and Alex!
             They will show you the proper form before
             you get started!

2012 Team Average Meters Rowed

  1. Ben: 46,481
  2. Adam: 45, 930
  3. Rick: 30,212
  4. Tony: 26,083
  5. Cara: 21,323
  6. Brad: 16,620
  7. Tasha: 12,894
  8. Alex: 12,072
  9. Thomas: 11,859
  10. Christy: 9,310
  11. Mike: 9,309
  12. Steph: 7,754
  13. Josh: 7,560
This year we are adding a little bit of a twist to the program that will be sure to make the race even more exciting and competitive than it has been in the past. Here are the ground rules for the program this year:
  • Choose your team and sign up with a Health Fitness
    Specialist at the track desk for your team starting November 18.
  • Between November 25 at 6am and December 24 at 2pm, row!
  • There are two ways to utilize your meters rowed this year. In the tracking binder located at the track desk, record your meters rowed immediately following your rowing session, either for your team or against another team. Your meters rowed can only count for one or the other.
  • All rowing must take place at NIFS to count toward your team total.
  • Your HFS will move your team boat along the line to show how well your team is doing against the others.
  • There will be two winning teams that will have bragging rights as champions for the year: the team with the most total meters rowed and the team with the highest individual average.

Sign up before Monday 11/25! We are looking forward to another exciting race this year! If you have any questions about the program, contact Stephanie Kaiser at sgreer@nifs.org or 274-2432, ext. 226.

This blog was written by Stephanie Kaiser. Click here to learn more about the NIFS bloggers.

Topics: NIFS winter fitness fitness center nifs staff rowing

Fitness Horror Stories

We have all had it happen….Pushed ourselves so hard in a workout we had trouble sitting down for days afterward, forgotten an important article of clothing for post-workout and had to go to work in smelly gym clothes, and the list goes on.

Because we have all had a moment of “horror” at the gym, in honor of Halloween we thought it would be fun to reach out to our members and staff to compile a list of the most frightening scenarios that have actually happened to us at the gym.

What's my fitness horror story?  
After a 13 day hiatus from all BODYPUMP™ due to my honeymoon I thought I would be fine jumping right back into class with the normal weight on my barbell.  My new husband and I were active on the trip as we went hiking nearly every day and walked everywhere, but I we didn’t do any weight lifting.  I felt fine during the BODYPUMP™ class, but boy was I in poor shape the 4 DAYS after!  That is the MOST sore my entire body has ever been!


Now for some more frightening fitness stories from members and NIFS staff:

“I decided to run a half marathon without a single day of training and ran the entire distance in under 2:30. I could not walk for 2 weeks!!! Literally!!”

“During my first triathlon I made the mistake of only bringing one water bottle to the race. Within the first few minutes of the bike I dropped it and had no water for the rest of my ride leaving me extremely dehydrated for the run!” –Stephanie Kaiser, NIFS staff

“I trained hard for a trail marathon, my first marathon, eat right, got rest, was ready to go except……near mile 4 my foot/ankle twisted and I broke my 5th (outside) metatarsal, I had broken that foot when I was younger so I knew immediately, BUT I trained hard not just to run for 45 min.  I tightened my shoe, hit all the ice cold creeks I could to “ice” the foot, and finished the marathon in just over 5 hours. Thanks to my friend Sarah I got thru (and she could drive me home).” Kris Simpson, NIFS staff

“Over a year ago I attended my third CrossFit class in where I performed the workout “Angie”. Less than a week later, and one week before my 30th birthday, I was in the ER being treated for Rhabdomyolosis a condition in which the muscle breaks down so much it enters the blood stream and can cause kidney failure among other consequences. Luckily my kidneys weren’t damage but I did “enjoy” a hefty hospital bill.  From time to time I still deal with pain in my arms and  the anxiety that I might have it again!” Penny Pohlmann NIFS Corporate Fitness Staff

“Do members that workout in their underwear count?  I mean, I find it pretty horrific.”

“I joined a fun game of ultimate Frisbee while volunteering at a children’s summer camp. Unable to hold back my competitiveness, I tumbled over 3 children while sprinting and diving for the Frisbee. Needless to say, I didn’t catch the Frisbee and I fractured my ankle in the process!”

“I decided to try out a move I saw on “Biggest Loser” where you jump up onto an upside-down BOSU. I had pretty solid landings for the first few I tried, so I started to get cocky, and then fell off and twisted my knee. I wasn’t able to do cardio for about 2 weeks!” Michelle Meadows, NIFS Corporate Fitness staff

“In September 2009 I attended my very first spinning class. It was a great class, though I had no idea how to do most of the things we did, and indeed it was the very first time I had ever been on anything that resembled a bike in any way. I was 50 years old at the time and could barely walk up a flight of stairs, I was about 60 pounds heavier than I am currently. I DID make it to the end of the 60 minute class though my eyes were focused on the clock. As painful as the class was, the real pain was to come the next day, and for the 3 following days. It took my body close to a week to recover from that very first spinning class, though I was already hooked and went back :)”

“I trained like crazy for the ½ Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati. OH.  I did a great job preparing for the hills on treadmills because we had a very cold, wet and snowy winter.  Little did I know, you can’t really simulate going DOWN hills on a treadmill. It took 3-4 miles to climb this huge hill, but we were down to sea-level within 1 mile.  Needless to say, my quads were burning so bad that I had to us the handicapped restroom at work all week because I couldn’t get up from the seat without a handle…fun-fun!!  LOL!” Anne Murphy, NIFS Corporate Fitness staff

“A member was running a marathon, and at about mile 10 or so, nature #2 called. To make matters worse, this part of the course was through a residential community. Being an avid runner, they found a large neighborhood sign and took care of business. Funny enough, they went on to finish the race with a near PR.”

“I was teaching a group fitness class at a corporate site, and in the middle of class my shorts ripped at the seam while doing squats. Not wanting to disrupt class, I carefully angled my exercises and finished the last half.” Doug Trefun, NIFS Corporate Fitness staff

“I have to put inserts in my running shoes, and doing so I take out the padded insert that comes with the shoe.  I went to a triathlon with my shoes packed in my bag and wore flip flops to the race.  I took the shoes out at the race site and noticed the insoles were not in the shoes.  There were in my shoes at my sister’s where I stayed.  I had to wear the shoes with no insole and it felt like I was barefoot! After 4.5 miles my foot hurt and I was later diagnosed with a stress fracture.”  Kris Simpson, NIFS staff

“I was performing step-ups on stairs, without shoes.  I landed wrong and broke my foot.  I couldn’t do lower body exercises for over six months!”

“Like forgetting your shower towel and only discovering after your work out and when you are supposed to be at work in 45 min.? (Also,  I was carpooling with Mike and was dropped off,  so going home to shower wasn’t an option)  AHHHH the horror…. Drying off with the hand towels provided by Wellpoint at the sink is less then idea…. BUT I got a work out in!“
“I did water aerobics at Gold’s Gym and I thought this would be the easiest workout in the world, well I was fooled. I was the youngest person in the pull and slowest. We had to do a figure eight running up to the top of the pool and all the older (elder) classmates were on their way back to the other side and I was still near the starting point. I felt like I was in a dream running as fast as I could but not moving anywhere. I was totally exhausted after that one hour of water aerobics. “

“I went to an offsite exercise class and was trying to challenge myself.  When it was time to do this one particular drill over half the class left out to walk laps outside because it was hard for some to do. Well, I decided to do it and it ended with me running into the wall and in the emergency room with a broken finger. Needless to say that finger will never be the same.”

“When in Denver I decided to start getting fit I walked to work did ok going to work it was 12 miles, going home I was almost crawling by the time I got there my feel and knees were dying, I am over weight, I was limping the next 4 or 5 days and had blisters on the balls of my feet. ouch.”

Now it’s your turn:
What is one of YOUR fitness horror stories? Share it here!

This blog was written by Tara Rochford, NIFS Membership Manager, Group Fitness Instructor and author of Treble in the Kitchen. Meet all of our NIFS Bloggers.

Topics: NIFS exercise fitness group fitness nifs staff safety