Your health: TRX growing in popularity throughout Truckee-Tahoe
Special to the Sun
EDITOR’S NOTE: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Jessica Moreno as the owner of The Bar Effect. Ms. Moreno is in fact a trainer at The Bar Effect, which is owned by Michelle Rahlves. The Sun regrets the error.
TRUCKEE, Calif. — Here in the Sierra, we like to get outside and exercise. Whether it is sliding on snow, riding a mountain bike, or paddling across the lake, we want to be working up a sweat under the blue sky.
While all of this outdoor exercise increases our aerobic capacity, fitness experts tell us that it can also lead to injury or chronically sore muscles.
The solution is to commit to performing regular workouts that build our core strength and flexibility. One way to accomplish that goal is to take TRX classes.
TRX are suspension trainers, designed to provide a total body resistance workout. They are straps with handles, usually attached to the ceiling at one end, and to your feet or held in your hands, at the other.
They use your own body weight and leverage to add a level of intensity and effectiveness to a series of exercises.
Originally developed by a former Navy Seal, the system began to be marketed to gyms and the public about ten years ago.
The military, professional baseball teams and Olympic athletes use it. In a TRX class, an instructor teaches the students how to use the equipment properly, and guides the students through a series of exercises.
‘UNLIKE ANYTHING ELSE’
Jessica Moreno regularly teaches the class at The Bar Effect in Truckee.
“It’s unlike anything else — it’s very low impact, and you can adapt it to people with injuries, but you quickly gain core strength and stability,” she said.
TRX is also unique, Moreno says, in that it “helps you develop the back of your body.”
This is important, since we do tend to spend most of our lives hunching forward: either on a computer, a steering wheel, or the bars of a bike.
This ability to focus on the back improves posture and helps counteract our every day activities.
Angie Figg from Truckee has been taking Moreno’s classes for several months.
“I went there because I’m small and my lower back always hurt when I raced dirt bikes,” she said. “Just in the short time I’ve been going there I don’t have the pain in my back anymore, which is amazing because I’ve been living with that pain for years. Overall it is making me much stronger. Especially my core.”
She won her last two races in the Nevada desert and found she was able to ride faster and further then she’d been able to do in the past.
‘THE EASIER IT GETS’
For another Moreno student, Blue Whiting, TRX was the pathway to recovery from double hip replacement.
He’s been going to her classes three times a week since May and says that the “class is one of the greatest things that ever happened to me. I’m more flexible and stronger then I’ve ever been. I can’t wait for ski season to start.”
He originally discovered TRX watching a video of the US Ski Team. Members were using the TRX straps to train. He then met Michelle Rahlves from The Bar Effect, who introduced him to Moreno’s classes.
“It feels like every class is tailored to you.” Whiting said. “She takes the time to know where you are, and what you can do. And the more you do it, the easier it gets. I weighed 250 pounds before my hip replacements, now I’m down to 165 pounds.”
‘THEY GET SO STOKED’
Moreno began teaching TRX because she loves passing on her passion for exercise to others. She used to be a flight paramedic, but after years of treating injury and illness, she realized she wanted to be involved in keeping people well and made the big leap to becoming a fitness instructor.
“Fitness is a lifetime commitment,” she said. “You need to get proactive about your health. You need to have strength, stability and flexibility as your foundation to help prevent injuries and improve performance.”
Moreno is inspired by her students’ progress.
“I just love seeing peoples reaction to their success,” she said. “It makes me so happy when somebody accomplishes something that they have been trying to do. They get so stoked.”
Just around the corner from The Bar Effect in the Pioneer Center is The Performance Training Center by Julia Mancuso.
It also offers TRX classes, which are taught by general manager and trainer Chris Cloyd, who says, “almost every class is selling out.”
Like Moreno, he feels that a primary benefit of TRX is that you can tailor the intensity to the needs of the student.
Tim Hauserman, a nearly lifelong resident of Tahoe City, is a freelance author and cross-country ski instructor. He may be reached at email@example.com.