Progress as We Age or Regress

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Suzann Yue with Thea Cote-Narem (client/instructor at Dojo Karate)

Health and fitness have been a way of life for Suzann Yue since she was very young. At 18 years of age she was first introduced to the martial arts, discovered she had a natural talent for it, then trained until it turned into a trajectory of successes. “I saw it as a way to gain my independence,” Suzann explained. “I was involved with sports in school and wanted to find a way to continue.”

Not only did Suzann gain her independence through karate, she would go on to earn world champion titles eight times over the course of five years. Through her immense passion for the martial arts and her equal desire to share the benefits of the sport, Suzann trained students interested in pursuing karate from beginners all the way to a world competitor level.

Today as she enters a new phase of life, Suzann’s interest has shifted from coaching karate to helping people who are sedentary yet want to move more, as well as assisting athletes seeking a cross training option to an established exercise routine.

SUZANN, WHY DID YOU DEVELOP, ‘THE PROGRESS WORKOUT’?

Suzann Yue leading a pose.

Since I’ve had a large amount of time to sit back and reflect (due to covid), I had an “ah-ha” moment. I was working out at home and it dawned on me. If I don’t put the effort into becoming stronger and taking care of myself now at the age of 54, what condition will I be in when I’m 64, 74, etc.? My loved ones can encourage me to take care of myself, but only I can set the ball in motion.

After the age of 30, we can lose as much as 3% to 8% of muscle mass per decade. Loss of muscle mass is called sarcopenia and it is a natural part of aging. Losing muscle mass weakens our muscles, causes loss of mobility in the joints, and increases tightness throughout the body which, unfortunately, causes balance issues. Ours is known as the “sitting society,” even more due to
covid. The sedentary lifestyle is damaging our bodies at a fast rate.

I’m a firm believer if we don’t use muscle, we lose it. Another by-product of getting older is that our brain changes. Studies have shown that as we age, we don’t remember names like we used to, we become more forgetful, and it may take us longer to learn new things. I thought it would be great to create an exercise class that brings the community together to reach the same goals.

I combined my martial arts training, postural education, and fitness certification to create a class that will enhance my clients both physically and mentally.

AS AN EIGHT-TIME WORLD KARATE CHAMPION, DID MARTIAL ARTS HELP YOU CREATE THE PROGRESS WORKOUT?

Since 1985 I have been blessed to have studied and taught the martial arts as well as competed all over the country. My specialty is called “kata.” Kata means “form” in Japanese. Kata is a detailed, choreographed pattern of a variety of martial arts movements practiced individually. As you work through your belt ranks in the martial arts, you learn katas to reach your next rank. When practiced, a student develops muscle memory, improves balance, develops stamina, and gains mental agility by memorizing the patterns. I’m a huge advocate for encouraging individuals to study the martial arts, especially children. We are fortunate to have outstanding martial arts schools in our community.

Specializing in kata impacted the design of my new exercise class. During my “ah-ha” moment, I wondered, ‘When was the last time I tried learning a physical activity that required my body and mind to work together as a unit?’ It’s important to put the mind to the muscle while focusing on good form, improving muscle memory, and learning to improve your own personal balance.

WHERE DID THE NAME, ‘PROGRESS WORKOUT’ COME FROM?

The reason I named this workout PROGRESS is because I feel we need to always put one foot in front of the other, regardless of the challenges life throws at us. We need to always progress in life, not regress.

P- Promote Self-Care
R- Relieve Postural Fatigue
O- Optimize Full Range of Motion
G- Goals to Achieve Proficiency
R- Rebalance the Body
E- Elongated Muscles
S- Strengthen Mind & Body as a Unit
S- Stress Release

WHAT DOES A PROGRESS CLASS LOOK LIKE?

I offer group and individual classes. The PROGRESS class is for men and women of all ages, at any fitness level. This is a low-impact workout, I’ve found most of my clientele are 40 and over. The way I like to describe a PROGRESS workout is relaxing and simple to follow, but challenging at the same time.

Classes are 50 minutes long. We focus on strengthening and lengthening techniques that are performed on different planes following the natural chain of the muscles. Many of the moves focus on relieving postural fatigue that can be caused by sitting long hours behind a desk. These specific moves loosen fascia (connective tissue between muscles), which is the key to unlocking chronic pain. Many of my clients say that they need to stretch, but don’t take the time to do so. This class does it for them.

We practice balance exercises by working through choreographed patterns, utilizing both the right and left sides of our body. We, as individuals, tend to not challenge our balance on our non-dominant side. This is crucial as we age because the better balance we have, the lesser our chance of falling. There is no pressure to memorize the patterns in class; it’s a follow-along segment with beautiful music. I’ve had many clients tear up because it’s a wonderful feeling when everyone in class moves in unison to the music. I include printouts of each pattern that is taught in class, so clients can work out on their own at home. Practicing and memorizing the pattern is a great way to enhance your memory skills. Life can be challenging, so a “grateful” period ends each class. We take time to relax and think about all the things we are grateful for in our lives.

WHAT KIND OF RESPONSE FROM HAVE YOU HAD FROM YOUR CLIENTS?

The majority of my clients add the PROGRESS workout to their fitness regimen to balance out their cardio and strength workouts. Some clients attend class to help prevent injury from recreational sports. These are some of the benefits my clients have experienced after attending a PROGRESS workout.

  • sleep better at night
  • eases shoulder and neck pain
  • lessens knee pain
  • creates better balance
  • challenges memory
  • lessens back and hip pain
  • engages the entire body
  • eases foot and ankle pain
  • promotes better posture
  • lessens anxiety
  • helps with T.M.J.

HOW DOES ONE LEARN MORE ABOUT YOUR PROGRESS CLASS?

You can contact me on my website if you’re interested in trying out a class: EvolveWithYue.com or check out my fitness Youtube Channel: Evolve With Yue
The schedule and prices are on the website. I hope you decide to PROGRESS with me. The first class is free!

*Due to covid all classes are on Zoom at this time.

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