Member Spotlight | Having a Ball On and Off the Court

Member Spotlight | Having a Ball On and Off the Court

APPLE VALLEY, Minn. — For the past three decades, Jerry and Marilyn Hoagland have been playing racquetball together.

“Sometimes we get on the court when we haven’t been having a very good time at home,” Marilyn said. “Then we get here, and it’s all gone.”

Every Tuesday night, you can find the pair at the LA Fitness in Apple Valley, a place where they have become revered.

“They’re inspiring,” LA Fitness racquetball coordinator Scott Rosenburg said. “They run hard every single Tuesday.”

At 88 and 87 years young, the Hoaglands haven’t shown any signs of slowing down.

“I wanted to play until I was 100,” Jerry said. “Maybe I will.”

When Jerry and Marilyn aren’t facing each other, you can find them beating opponents more than half of their age.

“Guys don’t like to be beat by an old lady,” Marilyn said.

It started just for fun, but it’s now become a necessity for this couple of 58 years.

“It’s a lifesaver for me right now,” Marilyn said. “This is what keeps me alive. The exercise and doing it on a regular basis.”

But it’s more than just exercise or even fun for that matter.

Racquetball for the Hoaglands, is proof that couples who play together really do stay together.

“We shake hands afterward,” Jerry said. “Sometimes she doesn’t shake my hand, but usually she does.”

Reposted with permission by KARE 11 NBC. Original story written by Ryan Shaver. 

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Are Supplements Really Necessary to Be Successful in the Gym?

Are Supplements Really Necessary to Be Successful in the Gym?

During my time as a writer for LA Fitness, my knowledge of nutrition, fitness, and health topics has grown considerably. As a certified personal trainer, I usually feel comfortable sharing my insights on fitness topics. Yet, there are still questions that I need help answering. My latest query is this:

Are supplements really necessary in order to be successful in the gym?

Personally, I do not take any supplements, and I live a very active lifestyle both inside and outside of the gym. Instead, I choose to focus on maintaining a fairly balanced diet. I choose to eat foods that help fuel me while also allowing myself some “cheat days” – which I know some people disagree with – however, that’s what works best for me.

Because everyone is wired differently, my approach may not be what works for you. When it comes to creating a personalized fitness or nutrition plan, it’s best to speak with a personal trainer or registered dietitian. However, supplements are one of those things that I have found very confusing to educate myself on, mainly because I think of them like vitamins and I get my vitamins naturally, rather than taking a vitamin supplement.

Needless to say, I wanted to reach out to a few experts on the matter.

The Trainer


“Supplements are the elephant in the room when it comes to the gym scene. The first thing you should always do is to check with your physician and have them do the proper testing to see if you have any deficiencies. Depending on those results or documented family history, you may need to add certain vitamins or mineral supplements to your daily caloric intake. A common example would be pregnant women, who typically get put on prenatal vitamins along with additional iron supplements as they go through their pregnancy. However, if your diet consists of the proper amount of lean meats, fruits, and vegetables, most people should be in a position where additional supplements are not needed to keep up with the individual’s active lifestyle.

The more commonly thought of supplements in our gym world are the performance-enhancing types, such as steroids, creatine, and other performance-enhancing drinks, pills, or injections. While these supplements have been documented to show immediate improvements in one’s overall strength and performance gains, they traditionally result in long term negative effects such as hormonal deficiencies. I never recommend any member or client take these types of supplements unless they have been prescribed by their doctor. For instance, these supplements are sometimes prescribed by surgeons as part of the rehabilitation program after undergoing some kind of major surgery where the supplement will aid in the rapid growth and strength of muscles, which aids in the healing process. Again, these supplements should be avoided as much as possible, generally speaking. You can get all the ‘amp’ and ‘steam’ you need from a proper diet.” – LA Fitness Master Trainer, Geoff Fox

The Dietitian 


“Just as you can get in a good workout without ever lifting up a free weight or stepping on a treadmill, you can get good exercise performance without having to take supplements. A sound diet balanced in nutrients with good hydration supports general exercise goals for non-athletes just fine. Now, healthy adults that are already fit and toned, who fuel right and would like to take it to the next level may benefit from that extra push a sports supplement can provide. They might utilize creatine, glutamine or a protein powder high in branched-chain amino acids to start. Also, caffeine can be a boost to those training for endurance.” – Debbie James, RDN

The Doctor 


“Supplements are a highly unregulated area with few randomized, placebo-controlled trials to warrant their effectiveness. For supplements in which we do have good quality data, they have been found to rarely live up to the hype. Furthermore, we want to be cautious and consider what medications one is taking because supplements can sometimes interact and change the effectiveness of medication. Always follow the directions of your doctor, particularly when it comes to taking supplements when you’re also taking medications. The big concern around supplements is that the label may not always reflect what is in the product.  When it comes to “being successful at the gym”, everyone is looking for the edge. The thought is that supplements may help in getting to the goal faster. However, healthy eating and exercise should not be a goal but a lifestyle. Habits are what create lasting change and success. Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts in this journey. At Kaiser Permanente, we believe the key to healthy living is to sleep more, move more, stress less and consider increasing how many greens you eat, such as a plant-based diet. That’s it. This is what research has repeatedly shown to optimize our health.”  – Sean Hashmi, M.D., nephrologist and adult weight management lead, Kaiser Permanente Woodland Hills Medical Center

The Results


From our three experts, it looks like the overall answer is that supplements are not necessary in order to be successful in the gym, but they could be helpful for certain people, depending on your fitness lifestyle and goals.

However, supplements can be dangerous if you’re taking the wrong type. So, before you choose to take any supplement, be sure to fully understand what’s in it and how it affects your body.

A healthy diet combined with a balanced nutrition plan should give you the nutrients and energy you need to build a healthy body for yourself. However, this generalized advice may not apply to those with certain medical conditions, so always follow the recommendations of your doctor.

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The Heart: Love, Fitness and Heartbreak – Podcast Ep. 18

The Heart: Love, Fitness and Heartbreak – Podcast Ep. 18

Welcome to the 18th episode of the Living Healthy Podcast, presented by LA Fitness.

Can you really die of a broken heart? We asked Subbarao Myla, Medical Director at the HOAG Cardiovascular Institute, this exact same question and the answer might surprise you. 

How Are We Doing? 

This podcast should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Timecard Markers – The Heart: Love, Fitness and Heartbreak – Podcast Ep. 18

***The Physical Side of the Heart – Part 1*** 



Introduction of Subbarao Myla, Medical Director at the HOAG Cardiovascular Institute

Begins at 0:55 

What Makes the Heart So Special? 

Begins at 1:41   

What is Heart Disease Exactly? 

Begins at 2:55  

What Causes the Beginning Breakdown of the Heart? 

Begins at 4:28 

What Type of Exercise is Best for the Heart? 

Begins 5:38 

Why Do People’s Heartrates Vary So Greatly?  

Begins at 7:37 

Subtle Warning Signs of the Heart 

Begins at 9:55 

High Blood Pressure vs. High Heart Rate – Which is Worse? 

Begins at 13:53 

***The Spiritual Side of the Heart – Part 2***  

Does Love Actually, Truly, Affect the Heart? 

Begins at 16:02 

Can You Really Die of a Broken Heart?  

Begins at 19:46 

Can You Fix a Broken Heart? How Long Does It Take to Fix a Broken Heart? 

Begins at 22:49  

Teenagers and Cell Phone Use: Predicting Depressive Tendencies  

Begins at 25:00 

How to Make Your Heart Feel Happier 

Begins at 26:04 

The Elderly and Loneliness 

Begins at 28:05 

***The Nutritional Side of the Heart – Part 3*** 

Heart Healthy Foods 

Begins at 30:46 

Eat Brighter Foods? Here’s Why 

Begins at 33:43 

Portion Control – How Much to Cut Out 

Begins at 34:04 

How Much Dark Chocolate is Healthy for You   

Begins at 36:43  

Actionable Advice 

Begins at 38:12  


Begins at 40:32 

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What is ALS and Could It Affect You?

What is ALS and Could It Affect You?

When you think fitness, what comes to mind? Toned muscles, flat abs, strong and trendy fitness influencers? Chances are that your mind doesn’t think of progressive muscle weakness, but that’s exactly what former fitness industry leader Augie Nieto experienced when he was diagnosed with the crippling disease ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), otherwise referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Photographed: Lynne and Augie 

Photographed: Matt Bellina and Team

But what is ALS and who does ALS affect?  

“ALS is a disorder that affects the function of nerves and muscles”1. One of the mysterious things about this disease is that researchers don’t yet know what causes it, but they do have some insight on those most heavily afflicted by the disease.

Per the ALS Association, Massachusetts Chapter –

Most people who develop ALS are between the ages of 40 and 70, with an average age of 55 at the time of diagnosis. However, cases of the disease do occur in persons in their twenties and thirties. Generally, ALS occurs in greater percentages as men and women grow older. ALS is 20% more common in men than in women. However, with increasing age, the incidence of ALS is more equal between men and women.2

While an exact cause has not yet been discovered, “it is known […] that military veterans, particularly those deployed during the Gulf War, are approximately twice as likely to develop ALS.”3

One fortunate thing about this disease is that it is not contagious. However, that doesn’t help ease the minds of friends and families whose loved ones struggle with this deliberating condition.

Fifteen new cases are recorded each day4, estimating that as many as 20,000 Americans have the disease at any given time. The onset of ALS symptoms can be as common as muscle weakness or stiffness. Once the disease progresses, however, “vital functions such as speech, swallowing and later breathing”5 are lost.

There is currently no cure for ALS.

In 1995, the FDA approved a drug known as Riluzole. This drug has scientifically shown “to prolong the life of persons with ALS by at least a few months.”6

Each year, LA Fitness partners with Augie’s Quest, founded by Life Fitness leader, Augie Nieto. His foundation raises money to help fund ALS research. It’s his mission to one day find a cure for this horrible disease.

If you would like to learn more about how you can donate, please visit

For more information on ALS, click here and here.

Photographed: Collin Hadley and family 

Photographed: Andrea Lytle Peet 


  1. “Who Gets ALS?” org,
  2. Ibid
  3. Ibid
  4. Ibid
  5. Ibid
  6. Ibid

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Does Love Really Affect the Heart?

Does Love Really Affect the Heart?

Ah, love. Is there anything more freeing than the feeling of being completely, utterly, and hopelessly in love? When suddenly, the world seems calmer, colors seem brighter, and you just can’t hide the smile that stays stuck to your face. True love is pretty wonderful because it makes us the best version of ourselves – and often, the best version of ourselves makes others want to be the best version of themselves. It’s an ooey-gooey cheesy feeling that is truly amazing.

Reflecting upon how good love makes us feel inside, we reached out to American Heart Association volunteer John A. Osborne, MD, PhD, the director of Preventive Cardiology at State of The Heart Cardiology in Dallas, TX to understand if these feel-good feelings actually affect the heart.

Dr. Osborne, is this true, does love really have an effect on the heart?

Absolutely!  As anyone who has ever been in love (or read about it) knows!  It not only makes one’s heart “pitter-patter” and makes us feel wondrous, it may actually be good for your heart health!  When you are in love (and feel loved), one’s blood pressure responds to that peace and calm and may translate to lower blood pressure.  High Blood Pressure is the most common form of cardiovascular disease and affects about one-half of US adults.  If this “silent killer” is not identified, treated, and controlled, it could take between 5 to 7 years off the average lifespan!  In fact, those who are married or in long -term supportive relationships live longer and have better recoveries if they do encounter heart problems.  Patients who have a good social support system had better recoveries and survival rates after bypass surgery than those who did not.  This survival benefit also extends to our four-legged friends as well!  Don’t forget about them on Valentine’s Day either!

What about the opposite – can you really die of a broken heart?

The short answer is yes!  Only in the 1980s was this described in the medical literature, although for centuries that concept of “dying from a broken heart” has been well described in literature, operas, plays, and, most recently, movies!  It is called “Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy” and is more common in women and looks like a typical heart attack, but in this case, there are no blockages in the blood vessels unlike how the vast majority of heart attacks occur.  It is felt that a sudden, massive release of catecholamines (the stress hormones such as epinephrine, norepinephrine, and other stress hormones) can cause severe vasoconstriction of the blood vessels to the heart and cause a heart attack, heart damage, heart failure, and even sudden death!   Fortunately, if diagnosed properly and with appropriate medical care, the damage can be prevented, and our heart can heal itself with time and medications.

What are some ways you can make your heart feel happier and stronger?

A good diet (the Mediterranean Diet was voted, yet again, the best overall diet in 2019) and regular exercise along with a no tobacco lifestyle are the foundations for excellent cardiovascular and all-around health.  A small amount of dark chocolate – with its blood pressure lowering anti-oxidants, flavonols, and catechins, and best of all shared with your loved one(s) – can’t hurt!  The AHA has a great app to help with this called “My Cardiac Coach” that is available for your smartphone and large number of resources on the web at

Responses above provided by American Heart Association volunteer, John A. Osborne, MD, Ph.D., the director of Preventive Cardiology at State of The Heart Cardiology in Dallas, TX. 

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