conley6.gif (2529 bytes)


Buddy system


June 2014

Having a workout partner is a great way to stay on track to meet your goals. "If you know that somebody is coming to your house and says, ‘Let’s go,’ that’s the biggest thing," says Alex Shapsis, fitness director at Elite Sports Clubs in Mequon and Glendale. "Otherwise, it’s easy to lose your motivation."

Cheri Cope, owner of Athletic Mind, a performance and motivational consulting company in Hartland, adds another item to the buddy benefit list: safety.

"Unfortunately, women are vulnerable in quiet parks and even on very public paths," she explains. "You will have that extra security with a friend by your side."

Experts weigh in with other suggestions to make exercise time enjoyable and successful.

A workout partner or group can bring out the kid in you. Give these childlike diversions a try to spice up your exercise:

• Recess games like tag or capture the flag will incorporate sprints into a training run.

• Gym class classics such as push-ups, chin-ups, squats, plyometrics and jumping jacks can be done during a break from cycling or running — many county parks have the equipment you’ll need.

• Birthday party games like Simon Says, copycat or mirror help you compare your form to others’ and identify flaws.

Even if you and your friends have different fitness goals, you still can train together. Consider these workout work-arounds:

• If you’re training for a triathlon and your friend doesn’t bike, she can join the running portion of the workout.

• You can run with your faster friend on his taper day, which typically is a slower or shorter run.

• Into strength training but your friend isn’t? Get together for a walk or run before or after to extend your workout.

Color me healthy

The best benefit of working out, some say, is the afterburn, when the body continues to burn calories hours after you’ve showered and moved on with your busy day. But how to get there?

Using a heart-rate monitor is the key at the new Orangetheory Fitness in Brookfield. Workouts are organized in hour-long group classes, with each participant’s heart rate displayed on video boards. "The instructor tells everyone what pace to be relative to where you are as an individual," says owner Kevin Scharnek. "You don’t have to worry about the woman next to you who’s an Ironman triathlete — you don’t have to keep up with her."

The gym, part of a national chain, takes its name from the orange zone on a Polar-brand heart-rate monitor; that color represents 80-90 percent of maximum heart rate. Most Orangetheory members have never used a heart-rate monitor, but, says Scharnek, a former collegiate high jumper, "high-endurance athletes are familiar with them, and use them because they work." For more information go to

— Cathy Breitenbucher



This story ran in the June 2014 issue of: