Work-out Tips: 12 Exercise Take-aways From Kalamazoo Fitness Foray

KALAMAZOO, MI The Kalamazoo Fitness Foray[1] has eliminated all of my excuses for not working out.

In light of an obesity epidemic and the start of the summer season, I thought it was a good time to highlight local individuals who are leading interesting fitness programs by trying out their classes this week.

On Monday, I gave rock-climbing at Climb Kalamazoos indoor facility a try before attending a cardio class at the Body Love Project, both in downtown Kalamazoo. On Tuesday, I went to a fitness boot camp. I danced and sweated at a Bokwa fitness class on Wednesday and did yoga on a paddle board in the water on Thursday.

Kalamazoo Fitness Foray: Discover paddle yoga, sign-language Bokwa dance, early morning boot camps this week[2]

Usually, my top excuse is not having enough time to work out. It turns out that I am capable of waking up and attending a 5:30 a.m. boot camp class. Whats more? I enjoyed it.

Fitness Foray Schedule

Monday: Noon rock climbing at Climb Kalamazoo, 136 S Kalamazoo Mall, in downtown Kalamazoo[3]

6:15 p.m. Cardio Core-dio class at the Body Love Project[4] at Tuckers Ballroom Dance Studio, 210 Farmers Alley in Kalamazoo

Tuesday: 5:30 a.m. boot camp at Fit For Life Boot Camp[5], at 9027 Portage Industrial Drive in Portage

Wednesday: 5:30 p.m. first Kalamazoo BOKWA Fitness class[6] at The YMCA of Greater Kalamazoo Maple Street branch

Thursday: 5 to 7 p.m. yoga paddle demonstration at Ramona Park in Portage by trainers at Flow Yoga in Plainwell[7]

Fit For Life Boot Camp, launched by a military family who relocated to Kalamazoo this year, was probably the most challenging workout I did this week for two reasons. The first is that I am not a morning person. The second reason it was so challenging for me was the Tabata-style drills, a Japanese style of repetitive, strenuous exercise.

Another common excuse: I dont enjoy running or lifting weights.

Then dont. None of the work-outs I tried this week were related to running or lifting weights. Wall rock-climbing is indoors and safe. Its not repetitive because you have to think about where to place your feet and hands to move up. Rock-climbing is great for sculpting too, owner Philip Grimm said.

Do you think working out is boring? 

Then you havent found the right exercise. Bokwa fitness reminded me of a dance party and trainer Shashu Baraka encourages whooping and hollering in her class. I worked out using plastic swords at the Body Love Project and bean bags at Fit For Life Boot Camp. Laura Sprague, of the Body Love Project, had her class do 15 different exercises in a circuit, that moved every part of the body, which included various props.

There are plenty of fitness folks who are finding creative ways to separate fitness and boredom. Find one of them.

One of my favorites: Im too tired to work out.

Perhaps try a fitness routine that isnt too exhausting is the way to go. Yoga will wake you up, but not in an abrupt way if you are not pushing yourself. Paddle yoga was certainly more difficult than a regular studio class, but being outdoors on a sunny day made for the most peaceful workout Ive ever tried.

Here are some workout tips I observed and compiled from Kim Brockway, of Fit For Life Boot Camp, Philip Grimm, of Climb Kalamazoo, Laura Sprague, of Body Love Project and Jill Baker, of Flow Yoga, this week:

1. Find a buddy: This is especially true for rock-climbing, which requires two people, but can be applied to any workout routine. A rock-climbing duo said they both improved drastically by taking on challenges together and enjoy cheering for one another.

2. Listen to your body: If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it, Philip Grimm said. Never grind through an injury, and don’t allow yourself to be pressured by someone else.

3. Journal your exercise and diet: Grimm said climbers can learn a lot by just recording their progress over a short period of time. You can easily recognize an area with growth potential, identify a mistake, relish in your successes, and chart your progress and accomplishments, he said. I have found the most success following an intuitive training program.”

4. Pay attention to the instructor: This is especially true for fast-moving fitness classes, such as Bokwa. This was true for the boot camp drills, as well.

  Paddle Yoga in Portage[8] Plainwell’s Flow Yoga is offering its first paddle board yoga classes in July. Instructors have demonstrations at Ramona Park on June 20, 2013.


6. Bring an extra hairband or sweatband.

7. Stay hydrated. 

8. Protein: Always consume at least 20 grams of lean protein within 30 minutes of a workout to help your muscles recover and grow stronger, said Kim Brockway, from Fit For Life Boot Camp.

9. 90/10 rule: 90 percent of the time focus on eating clean, healthy meals and snacks. The other 10 percent of the time its OK to indulge in a few treats, Brockway said.

10. Dont take yourself too seriously: Baker said she always encourages people to let go of any competition, judgments or expectations they might have and this is especially true for paddle yoga. Adding a paddle board to your yoga practice adds a whole new dimension of challenge, so poses that may come easy in the studio are far more challenging on the board. That can be a humbling experience, she said.

11. Try new moves: Move as much as possible in as many directions as possible. Sprague said bodies need a wide variety of movement to keep your body systems healthy.

12. Love your body: Remember, when you are reaching toward a new level of fitness, that this body has been with you for every single second since the beginning of your life and it will continue to be with you for every single second until the end of your life, Sprague said.

What did you think of the Fitness Foray? What did you think of the Fitness Foray? Would you be interested if the Gazette could bring you along? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below. 


  1. ^ Kalamazoo Fitness Foray (www.mlive.com)
  2. ^ Discover paddle yoga, sign-language Bokwa dance, early morning boot camps this week (www.mlive.com)
  3. ^  Climb Kalamazoo (www.climbkalamazoo.org)
  4. ^ Body Love Project (www.bodyloveproject.com)
  5. ^ Fit For Life Boot Camp (www.fitforlifebc.com)
  6. ^ BOKWA Fitness class (bokwafitness.com)
  7. ^ Flow Yoga in Plainwell (flowyogaplainwell.com)
  8. ^ Paddle Yoga in Portage (videos.mlive.com)

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  1. Reply

    What Are Some Good Fitness Tips? I have been trying to lose weight for a couple months now and has been stuck at one weight. Do anyone have any fitness tips and also eating tips for me?

    View Comment
      • HealthNut
      • June 25, 2013

      80% of weight loss is diet.
      You can eat a healthy diet and lose weight.
      You can eat a healthy diet and exercise and lose more weight.
      You can exercise and eat a poor diet and not lose and even gain weight.
      A good healthy diet high in fiber, lean meats, eggs, complex carbohydrates, whole grains, antioxidant foods, healthy beverages and low in added sugar and salt help people lose weight, lower cholesterol, increase energy, improve brain function, lower blood pressure, reduce cancer risk and have a more positive lifestyle!
      You need to eat a lot more food and a lot more fiber!
      Diets that exclude foods from any food group are fad diets and do not lead to permanent weight loss or solve any other health issues.
      First, try to kick your fiber intake to 40 grams of both soluble and insoluble fiber.
      Whatever you do, get your fiber from your food, not from a jar.
      Fruits and vegetables have good fiber in them. A high fiber diet increases the metabolism.
      Try a breakfast cereal with at least 20% of recommended daily allowance of fiber in it. They are usually low in sugar so there is a double benefit. Blueberries or raspberries on top add more fiber and antioxidants. But fresh or frozen, not the kind in syrup. Oatmeal with berries or a bit of fresh honey is also good.
      Raw nuts are a great source of fiber, healthy fats, and antioxidants. Avocados are the best.
      Lots of beans, peas, and grains are high fiber. Whole grain breads. Fiber kicks up the metabolism so you actually burn more calories. These foods will give you more gas in the beginning but if eaten daily, the bacteria in the digestive tract will elevate lowering the gas output.
      This will get you on the path for a healthy daily bowel movement. This helps clean the system and aids healthy digestion.
      I know it goes against everything you’ve heard but eating lots of the right foods will actually help you lose weight!
      Next, take an age appropriate basic daily multivitamin. Don’t look at your multivitamin as nutrition but more as an insurance policy. Think of it as filling in the gaps in your daily diet as opposed to a primary source of nutrients.
      You have to drink lots of water to be healthy. But you can disguise it. Fill your glass all the way full with ice before pouring low sugar beverages. Try iced green tea with a splash of orange juice in it for sweet. More antioxidants. Add lemon juice to water for flavor. Slice up a cucumber and float it in pitcher of water. Gives it salty fresh taste. But you must drink up to 100 oz of water daily to help your body get rid of waste and the natural toxins.
      Last, you need to get 7-9 hours of quality sleep depending on your age. All recent sleep studies report a connection between poor sleep patterns and weight gain. This includes going to bed as close to the same time every night including weekends. Most of us stay up late Friday and Saturday night and it throws us off.
      You must combine a healthy diet with exercise to multiply the benefit. Whether an hour a day in the weight room or just a 30 minute brisk walk every day, the added benefit of a regular exercise program really do increase and accelerate healthy weight loss.

      I lost 30 pounds in 5 months by spending my money at the grocery and gym and have kept it off for over two years. Less than 3% of people that attempt weight loss lose it and keep it off for two years. It is not easy. It is a lifestyle change.
      Good luck and good health.

      View Comment
  2. Reply

    What Are Your Best Tips To Live A Healthy Life? Health tips in any area would be great. Especially what foods to eat, fitness tips, avoiding colds or being sick, and being happier.

    Sorry it’s so broad, but I just wanted some really good tips or secrets, or anything. Thanks!

    View Comment
      • HealthNut
      • June 25, 2013

      One has to be happy, not worry about everything little thing that goes wrong, think of others who have life a lot worse or the ones who are gone who whould like to swich with you, but most importantly, you must cleanse your body of toxins and take suppliments.

      View Comment
  3. Reply

    How Can I Increase My Metabolic Rate? Which exercise/fitness tips can you give me to increase my metabolic rate? Also if you can explain the science behind it, I would appreciate it.

    View Comment
      • HealthNut
      • June 25, 2013

      -Eat breakfast. You metabolism is slow in the morning becasue you have been fasting all night. Eating breakfast revs it up.
      -Eat 5-6 small meals throughout the day. Same principal, when you go to long without eating your metabolism slows. Eat something at least every 3 hours.
      -Build muscle through resistance training. The more muscle you have the higher your metabolic rate because muscle is active tissue and burns calories even at rest.
      -Drink lots and lots of water. Being sufficiently hydrated makes you body carry out its metabolic processes more effiecintly.

      View Comment

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