Finding the Power of Motivation in Your Community
By Laura Jackson
The number of fitness gadgets available today continues to skyrocket — it has been estimated that one in ten American adults now use some sort of activity tracker or app designed to monitor their level of physical activity. Only time will reveal whether having more gadgets produces any lasting changes in our overall fitness habits. But there’s still a time-tested motivator that’s proven itself more powerful than any technology — the human connection.
Encouraging Healthy Living
Long known as a city where the active lifestyle is not just available, but celebrated, Park City supports more than a wide array of sports and activities. From young aspiring athletes to weekend warriors, retirees and everyone in between, there’s an amazing network of people who support and encourage each other in a daily, yet lifelong, quest for their best physical health.
Park City’s extensive, award-winning Parks and Recreation Department has made sure that its year-round facilities, classes and an impressive system of parks and outdoor trails keep the tradition going. The Basin Recreation Center’s recent renovation and expansion is just one example of Park City’s commitment to consistently improve and update its offerings all around the city, as well as providing invaluable opportunities for both locals and visitors to connect.
Inspiring By Example
As an avid triathlete, personal trainer, instructor, founder of a new fitness initiative, and mother of three, Whitney White Kozlowski understands the strength a community provides. For the past five years, she has spearheaded one of Basin Recreation’s most successful programs, Mom’s Power Hour. Often drawing together 50 or more moms to exercise with their kids in tow, this inspiring class is a mix of cardio, drills, strength training and core work.
“What it’s created is what I call a ‘momraderie,’ with a group of moms in different social circles all around town with kids of different ages,” explains Kozlowski. “The workout is hard and it’s challenging, but they’re there for so much more. They’re there to see other people, to challenge themselves, and to have their kids witness the importance of fitness at a young age.” The magic of Power Hour happens outside at Matt Knoop Park among the beauty of the mountains for as much of the year as possible, then indoors at Basin Rec.
Her newest fitness initiative, the Beau Collective, brings together teams of 12 people for a 12-week high-intensity training course at Hotel Park City. Its exciting format incorporates not just a challenging fitness program, but also fun social events, speakers and the involvement of local businesses.
Members work as a team to push each other out of their physical comfort zones to new levels of fitness and personal success.
Kozlowski believes, “We elevate our efforts, dig deeper and request more of ourselves when we are part of something…and we return day after day when it’s unique, fun, and we see results.”
Motivation is Contagious
Megan Olsen is another big believer in the extra power of motivation that comes from those around you. Whether you see her training clients in Park City’s parks, running a trail, going on a bike ride with her daughter, or teaching a class such as her dynamic, power-building Strength Hour
at Basic Rec, she’s sure to be sharing her energy and passion for fitness within her community.
Everyone experiences those days when it feels nearly impossible to drag yourself to the gym or class. Olsen believes the strength of a supportive community, and looking forward to seeing people you care about, makes a huge difference in the achievement of fitness goals. It also contributes to the success of her tried and true 10-minute rule: “If you can just give it 10 minutes, your adrenaline starts going, endorphins are releasing, and you’re so glad you started your workout. I want clients to remember how good it feels when they’re finished.”
“Exercise should be a stress reliever, not an added stress in your life,” says Olsen. “I used to have a different idea about exercise. It was something like, ‘I’m not jumping off this elliptical machine until I burn 800 calories.’ That type of thinking makes fitness more of a chore you have to do, and most people don’t enjoy or stick to a plan like that.” Instead, Olsen now asks herself and her clients to focus on how great they feel after their workout.
She also understands the importance of recovery time. Olsen believes in exercising hard and efficiently, but then knowing when to take a rest day, “When you put your body under stress, even if it’s a good stress like exercise, it needs time to recover and repair.” She usually recommends the 2-1-3-1 method, a pattern of exercising two days, resting one, then exercising three days and resting another.
Discovering Strength in Numbers
A study published in the American Journal of Health Behavior reports that exercising with others not only helps to decrease feelings of fatigue and increase energy, but it can even increase the intensity of your workout session. Whether it’s the spirit of healthy competition, or simply because it’s human nature to try to keep up with those around us, exercising with a group can make a big difference in the amount of effort we exert.
“I never fully understood the ‘I just can’t find the time to exercise’ excuse in quite the same way as I did after becoming a mother of two,” explains Olsen. “But finding others in the community in your same position makes it so much easier to draw support, encouragement and accountability from each other.”
Kozlowski explains how finding strength in numbers means creating a strong base and community across all her endeavors, whether it’s private training, classes or group training sessions, “I believe that’s really the most important component. Once you have that, then anything is possible. Many times people don’t realize what they are made of until they have other people there to push them along.” On her new website (thebeaucollective.com), look for loads of inspiration and a new favorite quote: “If you sign up for the hard stuff, then the hard stuff in life that you don’t sign up for gets easier.” Iram Leon