As they enter the third week of the Biggest Winner competition at the Wilfred R. Cameron Wellness Center, many competitors in the weight-loss and fitness program are starting to feel the effects of hitting the gym four days a week.

While being sore is to be expected, proper warmup techniques and a focus on your movement can make all the difference.

Jackson Momplaisir, a master trainer and exercise physiologist at the wellness center, said focusing on key areas will not only reduce soreness, but increase mobility and stability as well.

“You’ve got to focus on your powerhouse. Your shoulders, core, lower back and glutes. We use those areas with all of our movements, so we want to make sure we’re getting them moving,” Momplaisir said.

Momplaisir suggests taking the first five minutes of your exercise routine to prep those muscles.

“Nothing too intense,” he said. “We’re just getting the muscles moving and making sure we are using the proper techniques.”

Simple things, like squats or push-ups, are all it takes. And on days when fitting in a whole workout is just too much, Momplaisir suggests simply focusing on your pillar preparation.

“It’s more beneficial to do your pillar prep and dynamic stretches,” he said. “They will allow you to do your daily activities with ease. Even if you only have 10 minutes.”

Pillar preparation are specific strategies aimed at priming the body for performance, and focus on an individual’s shoulders, core, lower back and glutes. While a trainer can help assess and address needs pertaining to pillar prep, Momplaisir said taking classes like barre, yoga and pilates at least once a week can improve movement and help create a healthy balance that your body craves.

Focusing on recovery, both before and after your workout, will also have positive impacts on your body. Using foam rollers offers benefits both before and after a workout.

“Foam rolling helps to loosen any tight muscles and allows for more elasticity,” Momplaisir said. “It also helps muscles to recover faster. It decreases knots and increases blood flow.”

Movement is one of four pillars of the EXOS training system the trainers at the wellness center use to assist their clients reach their health goals. The program is comprised of four pillars: mindset, nutrition, movement and recovery, and all are equally important when trying to improve health and performance, decrease injuries and produce results. The movement pillar focuses on increasing your pillar strength, upgrading your movement patterns and improving the way in which you move.

Regardless of the individual outcome, Momplaisir said he and his fellow trainers are focused on getting people to move better.

“Everyone wants to move better,” he said. “And when you move better, you feel better.”

Jerry Prado, a member at the wellness center, couldn’t agree more. He’s been working with Momplaisir for the last year and has noticed changes in his balance and endurance after working on his pillar preparation areas.

“I can go all day,” Prado, 73, of Peters Township said. “My balance is better, and I have more endurance. Overall, I just feel better.”

“The core strength has helped me hit the golf ball better, too,” Prado said.

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