that lean, mean fighting machine is all about dedication and hard
work. But thereís a lot of people out there who just want to live a
little healthier, lose a few pounds and tone up. Maybe entering the
fitness facility for you is on the same level as walking into the
dentistís office to have a tooth extracted.
Donít worry, there are plenty of ways to exercise in Waukesha
County and enjoy the experience while you are doing it.
We divided our ideas into three categories ó flexibility,
endurance and power. Within those categories are activities divided
into beginner and advanced levels.
This summer do a little exploring and try some different ways to
fun and fitness.
Building your muscle strength does not mean you necessarily have to
don the weight belt and "bulk up."
According to Nick Schmidt, strength training will not only help
your body now, but it will prepare it for the future. "It will
help prevent arthritis and increase your bone density," Schmidt
It may not seem possible to make your bones denser, but thatís
exactly what strength training can accomplish. Schmidt explains that
your body starts to remember the pressure you applied to the bones
when youíre strength training and therefore compensates for the
change by becoming denser and healthier.
YMCA Exercise Instructor and record-breaking Competitive
Building your strength not only helps in the prevention of
crippling diseases such as arthritis, osteoporosis and osteopenia, you
will also reap the benefits soon after you start.
"It gives you energy. You start to feel better and your
muscles get stronger," Schmidt says. "It cushions your
Which is a good thing especially if you like to take part in one
activity, such as running. "Overtime working just one area can
cause big problems," explains Schmidt, who adds that it will
cause undo wear and tear on certain joints.
"The main thing is your core, which includes your abs and
lower back. You want to cross train in everything and not neglect an
area," he says.
Schmidt explains that everyone is born with all their muscle
fibers; the difference with strength training is that your fibers get
bigger when you strength train and the bigger they get, the more
cushioning you add to your joints. He reminds everyone that in order
to prevent injury, they should learn the proper technique from a
professional prior to beginning a strength-training program.
Many people head to the weight room when they want to build their
muscles. That is certainly one place that people should visit
regularly, but there are other fun ways to work on increasing your
power. We have listed eight activities, four aimed at beginners and
four more for people who are already athletic, but may want to try
So sculpt those bodies and have some fun while doing it!
1 Start Strong
Building up your body requires a strong foundation, and a good
way to get your muscles engaged is through a functionality class
where each exercise can be made more challenging through
modifications in weight, balance, intensity or technique. Check
it out: be fitness and wellness center in Delafield offers a
Functional Adult Class every other Saturday at 10:15 a.m. Call
2 William Tell It
Developing upper body strength doesnít necessarily mean
hitting the gym. A great alternative workout is archery to work
your arms, upper chest and hand-eye coordination. While some
archers use their skills for hunting, you donít have to as the
skill and sport of archery can be confined to targets. Check it
out: Buck Rub Outfitters in Pewaukee is kind to beginners with
$5 equipment rentals, $15 lessons and indoor and outdoor range
rentals of $10 an hour for adults. League play is also
available. (262) 547-0866.
3 Meet Your Middle
You donít need seven veils to discover the art of belly
dancing, and the ancient tradition is an excellent way to
strengthen and tone your body while having a lot of fun in the
process. The members of Milwaukee-based Rakhshanda Tribal Belly
Dance offer multi-week, try-it sessions throughout the area.
Check it out: For a schedule of classes, locations and fees, log
on to www.rakhshanda.com/classes.htm.
1 Rock Out
Take advantage of the summer weather and head outside to go
vertical, whether you know how to knot and belay or not. Guided
tours for beginners and advanced climbers are available in our
area. Check it out: Brookfieldís Adventure Rock offers
off-site climbing days at Devilís Lake starting at $115 for
non-members and $70 for members. Call (262) 790-6800 for more
2 Go On the Defense
How do the strong survive? They enroll in a Krav Maga class.
This system of fighting and self-defense was first used by the
Israeli Defense Force, and is now tapped by members of the FBI,
NYPD and United States Secret Service, as well as in-the-know
celebrities like Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Garner. Check it
out: Brookfield-based Krav Maga-Milwaukee offers a variety of
evening classes throughout the week. Visit
www.kravmaga-milwaukee.com for more information.
3 Favre It
So you may only don the green and gold as an official fan, but
you can still hit the grass gridiron as a flag football player.
Flag football is a growing league sport in our area, and if you
can find a minimum of six buddies (male or female) to field a
team, you may not win the Super Bowl, but youíll sure have a
lot of fun. Check it out: The Brookfield Indoor Soccer Complex
offers two levels of league play. You supply the team, the heart
and the sweat. Call (262) 781-1439.
4 Get Waterlogged
If you find canoeing just a little on the slow side, step it up
a notch and try kayaking. This mode of transportation relies on
upper body strength and just a little more balance, particularly
if youíre in a sea kayak. Check it out: Laacke & Joys
offers a variety of water-based kayaking classes throughout the
summer, from recreational kayaking in downtown Milwaukee to sea
kayaking on Wind Lake in Racine County; adventure junkies can
even take a class on rolling a kayak on Upper Nemahbin Lake in
Waukesha County. Rentals are available for those who donít own
their own kayaks. Call (262) 782-2960 for more information. The
Oconomowoc Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department also offers
sunset kayak tours on Monday and Wednesday nights on Lac La
Belle. Kayaks are provided; the fee is $10 for residents/$15 for
non-residents. Kayaks are also available for hourly rental at
other times. Call (262) 569-2199 for more information.
Personal Trainer and Professional
Going the extra mile can make some of us wince at the thought when
weíre out pounding the pavement. But following an appropriate plan
can lead to discovering that you may have more in your reserves than
you ever thought possible.
Heather Haviland knows what sheís talking about when it comes to
endurance training. A professional triathlete with multiple Ironmans
under her belt, sheís well aware of the mental and physical toll
endurance sports can make.
It takes motivation to exercise and it doesnít matter if youíre
starting out or at a professional level. It is important, though, to
be smart about building your endurance. Going out and killing yourself
isnít the answer. "Harder is not better," says Haviland.
"Purposeful training is the key."
Haviland likens it to building a pyramid. You work on building your
cardio, speed, length, intensity, duration and consistency when you
are working on your endurance.
Following your heart rate is also key. There are general formulas
that people follow when it comes to monitoring your heart rate, but,
Haviland suggests, getting tested by a professional, which will
determine your own heart rate training zones. Once thatís
established, a trained professional can teach you how to work within
your zones to help build endurance.
She offers four ways to help you on the path to increasing your
level of exercise.
1. You need to set a realistic plan, take baby steps. How much time
can you really commit to an exercise plan?
2. Have a plan of action. In order to achieve your goal, a plan is
3. Consistency is the key. With your realistic goals set, there are
some days you may only have a short amount of time to exercise. Itís
important that you still go out and move, instead of skipping the day
4. Exercise in a group and have fun doing it. The camaraderie of
being active with others is fun and keeps you going. It also holds you
accountable for the next time you plan to work out together.
The following are a list of eight activities to help build your
endurance. Four for beginners and four are for already-active people.
Try something different! You may surprise yourself on how much you
If you havenít picked up a Frisbee since you were a kid, itís
time to check out the adult version: Disc golf. Parks throughout
Waukesha County maintain free disc golf courses, including
Village Park in Sussex, Wales Community Park in Wales, Valley
View Park in New Berlin and Miniwaukan Park in Mukwonago. Check
it out: All of the county parks offer free access to their disc
golf courses, so all youíll need to do is invest in your own
disc, typically available through sporting goods stores and some
big-box retailers like Target. And no, that old Frisbee in the
garage wonít cut it.
2 Take the Long Haul
For beginners, endurance is relative, but the key is to go
further each time than you have in the past. What better way to
do that than to start an attack on the 52 miles of the Glacial
Drumlin State Trail? Thirteen miles of the trail, from Waukesha
to Dousman, are paved, perfect for an afternoon of inline
skating. Bikers can access the entire route, which turns to
crushed limestone westward to Cottage Grove. Check it out: A
State Trail Pass is required to use the Glacial Drumlin Trail
($4 per day/$20 for an annual pass); available from private
vendors and self-registration stations on the trail.
3 Meander the Moraine
Hiking the 1,000-mile footpath known as the Ice Age Trail may be
a little over the top, but a multi-mile segment is just the
right length to help build your endurance. In Waukesha County,
the trail passes through the city of Delafield and village of
Hartland and over Lapham Peak, a prime stamina builder. Check it
out: If youíre just starting out, consider the Monches Segment
in northern Waukesha County, a good hike and a great space to
4 Water Ride
Building endurance is a little more fun when you can do it with
a friend, so why not spend some time in a two- or four-person
paddle boat on the river at Frame Park? High Roller Fun Rentals
offers rentals by the half-hour every day through Labor Day
starting at 11 a.m., weather permitting. Check it out: Paddle
boat rentals start at $7 for a two-seater, $12 for a four-seater.
Guarantee your seats with advance reservations via www.highrollerfunrentals.com.
1 Swim Skillfully
If swimming laps just doesnít keep your attention, stay in the
pool, but change your lane to a master swim class. These adult
fitness classes combine swimming skills with a structured
swimming workout, and are generally appropriate for swimmers of
all abilities. Master swim programs offered at: West Wood Health
and Fitness (262) 650-8000 and Tri-County YMCA (262) 255-9622.
2 Get High
Improving your endurance means challenging yourself, and the
challenge here is a round-trip run up the 45-foot Lapham Peak
Observation Tower, found atop Waukesha Countyís highest point.
A stop at the top is allowed, provided you continue your run on
the challenging Black Loop, which adds another seven miles to
this workout. Check it out: Admission to Lapham Peak State Park
requires a state park admission sticker; a daily sticker is $7,
annual passes are $25.
3 Power Down
Start your weekend powerfully with a wake-up call: A 7 a.m.,
70-mile round-trip bike ride from Transition Cycle and Training
on Pewaukee Lake. The route starts with a 20- to 22-mile warm-up
ride to Dousman, segues into a 90-minute ride and ends with a
recovery ride back to the store. No membership or fees are
required to participate, but riders are asked to be prompt as
the ride starts on time. Check it out: Contact Transition Cycle
and Training at (262) 264-0070.
4 Go Om
If you think that hanging out in Downward Dog is relaxing and
Sun Salutations are routine, then the Power Yoga class at Soleil
Lune Yoga Center in Oconomowoc should be on your calendar. This
challenging, high-energy practice focuses on strength, endurance
and mental focus, while recharging your inner energy. Check it
out: Soleil Lune Yogaís Power Class is held on Thursday
evenings. For more information, call (262) 206-1285.
Stop living on one plane and learn how to stretch
Fitness and Sports Training of Wisconsin (FAST)
Living on the prairie may have been backbreaking work for our
ancestors, but it allowed them to be more flexible when it came to
their bodies and movement.
Dwight Sanvold, owner of FAST in Oconomowoc, says thereís a
growing trend in todayís world and itís one that he doesnít like
to see. "In my experience in this field, we have become a
progressively sedentary society," Sanvold says.
He points out that many of us sit at work, we commute by sitting in
our cars and then we get home and sit in front of the TV. "We are
sitting in a static position for a tremendous amount of time per
day," Sanvold says. "In my experience I see people living in
Instead, people need to focus on multi-level movement, meaning to
move in multiple directions, including to the side, rotating our
bodies and moving the front of our bodies. "All of that lends to
flexibility," he says.
Because people donít do activities to stretch and use their
muscles on a regular basis, people will experience muscular problems
when they decide to take part in some activity.
"People go out and do their weekend warrior thing and they
become easily fatigued and over-injured," Sanvold says.
He explains there are two different types of stretching ó static
stretching and dynamic active warm up.
Static stretching is what many of us are familiar with, involving
holding a stretching pose to "warm up" before starting an
He points out that muscles and tendons donít warm up that way and
need to go through an active range of motion in order to "warm
up" and become more flexible.
He also says that active warm up, such as swinging your legs in
multiple directions, increases the synovial fluid to the joints, which
acts as a lubricant. It also increases the lymphatic flow, which helps
Static stretching is good following exercise.
Sanvold suggests following the 3 Rís when it comes to flexibility
ó Release, Re-educate and Rebuild.
1. Release ó constitutes dynamic warm up stretching before the
2. Re-educate ó Hold your position in a neutral joint position
until your muscle learns the new position.
3. Rebuild ó Involves activity that rebuilds muscles to hold
"Any classes or activities that take you through a range of
motion are important, but they also need to include a strength
training program," suggests Sanvold.
And be careful. Sanvold says any range of motion stretching should
not involve pain. If so, stop or decrease the movement.
Static stretching muscles that are tight is important following a
Here are eight activities, four for beginners and four for more
advanced athletes, that will help with your flexibility and provide
fun in the process.
1 Just Breathe
Fear not ó the Hatha Yoga classes from Menomonee Falls-based
Total Health Yoga wonít turn you into a pretzel. Unlike its
more intense cousins, Hatha Yoga is more concerned with specific
postures and breath techniques, making it an ideal introduction
for stiff bodies. With their focus on breath, posture and flow,
these classes will give you a solid foundation in the ancient
practice while increasing your flexibility one easy Sun
Salutation at a time. Check it out: Rates are based on location
and length of classes, but start at $72 per session in our area;
or call (414) 708-5750.
2 Roll With It
You donít need suspenders, a flannel shirt and a burly beard
to roll like a lumberjack at the log rolling class offered at
City Beach through the Oconomowoc Parks, Recreation and Forestry
Department. While youíre likely to get your feet ó and other
parts of your body wet in the process, the twice a week sessions
will improve your flexibility and balance in the process. Check
it out: Two sessions are offered this summer through the
department, cost is $15 for residents, $22.50 for non-residents
for each session; call (262) 569-6864 for information and to
3 Feel Energy
If youíre less like the hare and more like the tortoise, the
graceful and gentle power of tai chi might just be right for
you. Millions of Chinese canít be wrong; when done regularly,
this ancient Chinese discipline not only increases your
flexibility, but also boosts concentration and relaxation while
strengthening the immune system. Like yoga, once mastered, tai
chi can become a daily, home practice. Check it out:
Waukesha-based Enhancing Balance offers a variety of classes
throughout the area and two styles of tai chi practice;
www.enhancingbalance.com or (262) 662-1060.
4 Soul Dance
One of the best ways to get up and get active is through dance,
making Nia another option to consider for beginners. Nia works
on a simple philosophy: If it feels good, keep doing it. If it
doesnít, stop! Nia classes combine Eastern and Western
movement with elements of the healing arts and the dance world,
all choreographed to music. Check it out: Carol Dusold, a
certified blue belt Nia instructor, offers classes on a
punch-card basis on Monday and Wednesdays at the Delafield Fish
Hatchery through the Hartland Recreation Program; call (262)
367-2714 for more information.
1 Defend and Dance
Combine the art of self-defense, the rhythm of dance and a rich
history, and you have capoeira, the fast-paced African-Brazilian
martial art. Though weíre thousands of miles from its origins
in South America, this complex sport is available in our area.
Try it, and youíll find that your flexibility, balance and
self-confidence will soar; participation is about what you can
do and contribute, not what you canít do. Check it out:
Capoeira Batuque Milwaukee offers classes through the West
Suburban YMCA in Wauwatosa as well as a special summer session
along Milwaukeeís lakefront, too; log on to
www.capoeirawisconsin.com for more information.
2 Get Vertical
Climb rocks without ropes? Itís not crazy, itís bouldering,
a style of rock climbing that emphasizes short climbs,
flexibility and strategic moves over the endurance and height of
traditional rock climbing. And in the relatively flat Midwest,
bouldering is a more naturally available option. Check it out:
Bouldering opportunities are available through the $12 day pass
option at Adventure Rock Indoor Climbing Gym in Pewaukee;
introductory rock climbing instruction and equipment/shoe rental
are also available; call (262)790-6800 for more information.
3 Stretch, Flex and Flow
While some forms of yoga emphasize holding postures, vinyasa
yoga is about movement, specifically the flow from one posture
to another in conjunction with the breath. Along with
traditional yogaís many benefits, vinyasa yoga increases
muscular strength and tone as well as flexibility, not to
mention concentration, as you follow along with your classmates.
Check it out: Haleybird Studios of Wauwatosa offers a variety of
classes throughout the summer; call (414) 777-0108 or log on to
www.haleybirdstudios.com for a schedule.
4 Twinkle Toes
Dancing isnít just something to watch celebrities do on
television. In fact, the quickest way to increase your
flexibility is to turn that television off and turn on to a
local dance studio for your own dance lessons. As a sport,
social dancing offers a myriad of health benefits beyond
increased flexibility, from strengthening your bones and muscles
to providing a cardio workout. Check it out: New Berlinís Casa
di Danza offers private, semi-private and group instruction in
ballroom, Latin and nightclub-style dancing; call (262) 446-7000
or log on to www.casadidanza.com.