My Sports

16 May 2013

Fitness Expert: Karen Goeller

By // Sports

web-me-aug25-big-ang-event-In recent years, America has become more health conscious than ever before and a desire to look fit has taken root. Fitness centers around the country have begun to sprout up in every major city. New gyms like Retro-Fitness have begun to expand to match the need of the ever growing demand. Yet there are those of us who would rather work one on one with an expert trainer than go it alone in a gym full of strangers.

The idea of personal trainers has been in motion since the 70’s but did not truly make a solid foothold within the public till the 80’s. There have been many videos, DVDs and shows featuring celebrities or ex-athletes trying to sell there “quick workout plans” that most of the time do not work. Hence, when the public realized these “quick workout plans” were worthless, the desire for a personal trainer grew.

In almost every gym you will find Personal Trainers but most of them are not as dedicated as they should be. Sometimes you find one or two who really take their training knowledge seriously. One such individual is accomplished all- around fitness trainer, Karen Goeller, CSCS. Goeller has been involved in gymnastics since the early 70’s and fitness since the 80’s. She realized at a young age that being involved in gymnastics was for her. Her mother enrolled her into a dance studio where she learned ballet and tumbling. She soon graduated to gymnastics and has not looked back.

me-restore-shore-nov12-smallCertified in EMT-D, Nutritional Analysis, Fitness Training and Physical Therapy in addition to a BA, many USAG certifications, and the NSCA-CSCS, Goeller has worked with major names including Olympic Coach Bela Karolyi as well as countless Olympic gymnasts like Kurt Thomas, Tim Dagget, and Kim Zmeskal to name a few. Her track record also includes a few gymnastics National Champions.

In 1991, Goeller was diagnosed with cancer but she didn’t let it stop her from moving forward with her athletic goals. She underwent successful surgery but was left with lymphedema, a swelling in her leg. Twenty years after the surgery, she took to writing and published a book entitled Lymphedema… Sentenced to Life in Bed, but I Escaped.

“Working on the book actually did bring back many memories. And yes, some of it was very difficult to revisit, especially the chapter about my Dad because we were close. It was also difficult to bring back the memories of the doctors telling me that I would be bed-ridden for the rest of my life. I thought my life was over and those feelings did kind of come back while I was writing. But then I also had the opportunity to write about how my life is now and that was nice. It was a great feeling to be able to tell people that I am living the life I thought I would never have. I take a lot of pride in the fact that I can live independently and a nearly normal life.”

Just a few weeks before her cancer diagnosis, Goeller decided to try out for the TV show American Gladiators, missing the cut by one tenth of one second on the sprint but keeping the great experience of the tryout as a symbol of her strength.

books 020In 2000 she suffered another major setback after a terrible accident which left her with spinal damage. On the road to recovery, she turned again to writing, self-publishing a book entitled  Over 75 Drills and Conditioning Exercises that was so successful that it was used to create numerous fitness and gymnastics training programs, including the original Cross-Fit program.

Goeller would use her knowledge of fitness and gymnastics and soon apply it to her own style of training. She developed the Swing Set Fitness system, an alternative way to train your body. The idea stemmed from a casual walk near a playground where she noticed how people used the swings. The way they utilized actual leg exercises on the swing made her realize she could expand on them. She soon would put her ideas on paper and use her nephew as the fitness model.

I was walking near a playground in Seaside, the bay side. I saw people on the swings using their legs to make the swings go forward and back. I said to myself, “Oh, leg extension and leg curl exercises.” Immediately after that thought I thought of several additional exercises that could be done on a swing. I wrote many exercises down as soon as I got back to my car. By the time I saw my nephew Brian Dowd I already had the first book written and asked him if he would be the fitness model.”

The new system spawned a series of books called The Swing Set Fitness Books, which Goeller published in 2007.

Goeller applies her specialty of gymnastics to her own training regimen as well as those of her personal training clients, focusing on the need to train both aerobically and anaerobically.

“Gymnastics and sports conditioning are what I do, my career strengths. Aerobic exercise is important so that you exercise the most important muscle in your body, your heart. It is important to perform strength and cardiovascular exercise for a well-rounded fitness program.”

Her accomplishments have been showcased by media outlets including Good Morning America, GoodDay NY, Eyewitness News, and NY Views as well as print publications like The New York Times, NY Newsday, Brooklyn Bridge Magazine, Interview Magazine, the Brooklyn Heights Press, Carroll Gardens/Cobble Hill Courier, Bay News, and the Spring Creek Sun.

Goeller has done more than the average person in her career as a fitness expert and has no intention of slowing down. Currently, she is on a mission to produce more state, regional, and national champions. Besides that, she wants to continue writing books.  She only recently completed another book that is in the publisher’s hands just waiting for the “green light”.

To learn more about Karen Goeller visit www.KarenGoeller.com.

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