Tips for Strength Training Plateaus

By | Fitness Fun, Membership, Personal Training

Does this sound familiar? You have about an hour before your workout. You start thinking about what routine you are going to do. You take your pre-workout drink and even add a little extra. You’re getting yourself jacked up to lift more than you did last week. Today’s workout is going to be great! You get to the gym and find your favorite bench, squat rack, or whatever it may be. You throw plates on, do a couple reps and think to yourself, “OMG, this feels super heavy today.” This happens to almost everyone. It’s deflating, it’s frustrating and it downright sucks. I want to give you a few tips that might help you get over that frustrating plateau.

Change up Your Routine
There are 2 different types of lifters. There are the people who write everything down. They have a set routine that they will do for 8-12 weeks, nothing changes. Then there are people like myself, who just kind of wing it. We go in kind of knowing what muscle group to work but have no clue what exercise will be done and in what order. Neither one of these is right or wrong, it’s a personal preference. Whichever lifter you are, try to change something up. If you are constantly in that 8-12 range, try 6-8 weeks at 15-20 reps or 3-6 reps. If it’s not the reps you’re changing, try slowing down. Take 3-5 seconds both on your up and down motion. You will definitely need to lower your weight, which also means throwing your ego out the door. There are many studies done that getting more “time under tension” has really helped in gaining strength and size. Your body needs a change, it adapts quickly to the routine you are in.

This can be controversial. There are some experts who don’t believe in overtraining as long as you are taking at least 48 hours before working the same muscle group. If you are already strength training 6-7 day per week, maybe scale back a bit. Try 4 days by working out Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, Friday. If you just must get into the gym then do some light cardio or abdominal training on your “off” days. It may also be beneficial to take a whole week off from all training. Another issue may be that you are spending too much time in the gym. There is no reason to workout for 2 hours at a time. Stop the chit chat, checking out social media and everyone’s favorite, the selfies in the mirror. Keep track of your rest time and then get back to work. You will be amazed how good your workout can be in less than an hour if you stay focused.

There is a new study out that says we need 9 hours of sleep to fully give your body the rest it needs. Now, as we all know, this is very unrealistic in today’s society. We are busy people. Especially if you have young kids. There is already no time for you to relax and destress from the day so how in the world can anyone get this much sleep. If you are one of the lucky ones, good for you! If you are like me, I function quite well with 6-7 hours of sleep. Anything over that makes me draggy. The key is to take advantage of the sleep you do get. Try not to drink much water after supper. There is nothing worse than getting up 2-3 times per night to use the bathroom. There is nothing worse than interrupted sleep. I don’t have the perfect answer for you on sleep as everyone’s situation is different. Do the best you can to plan your day so that you get crawl into bed as early as possible and get yourself a good night sleep.

If the 3 tips above have not helped you break through the dreaded plateau, you might not be eating enough. If you are really dedicated to getting bigger and stronger you should also be dedicated to tracking your nutrition. You should have a pretty good idea how many calories you are eating per day and what the breakdown is with your protein, carbs and fats. I would suggest upping your calories by as little as 100 calories per day. The best way would be to get those from carbs. 25grams pre and post workout. You want the majority of your carbs eaten around your workout. If you start breaking through, great, keep the calories where they are. Once you get stuck again, increase a little more. The bigger and stronger you get, the more you will need to eat. Also, don’t forget to hydrate. I find that the more hydrated I am the more energy I have. Your body is made up of mostly water so keep pumping the fluids.

I hope at least one of these tips helps you in your strength training journey. If you need more help or would like to talk to one of our Trainers please visit our website or call us at 701.237-4805.

Furry Friends Pet Walk

By | Fitness Fun, Youth

Are you and your dog bored and just staring at each other on the couch wondering what to do? Get up! And BOTH of you go for a walk! There are a handful of benefits to both you and your dog if you decide to do this activity. There are studies that show a 30 minute walk, three times a week can help if you/your dog are overweight, give you more energy, lower blood pressure, lower both weights by a total of 20% between the two of you and just increase your overall well-being! Aren’t these enough reasons?

PLUS! You would also be training for the 1½ mile walk during our Furry Friends Pet Walk. This is right around the corner–Tuesday, August 14th starting at 6:00pm. This is a great event with a variety of booths/information, door prizes from various pet friendly businesses around the Fargo/Moorhead and surrounding areas, T-shirts and food! Watch for more information coming soon on our website

Have You Lost Your “Why”?

By | Fitness Fun, Membership, Personal Training

By: Rhys Geske, Personal Trainer


What is your “Why”?

Are you much too comfortable in your routine?  Are you not reaching the goals you once set out to get?  Have you hit the wall and plateaued?  If this is you, I have some advice and strategies that have helped both clients and myself.

When you enter the gym, have you misplaced your “why”?  Ask yourself where you are in your fitness journey.  It should be just that, “a journey”.  Health and fitness is not just seasonal or monthly, its’s a life-long journey.  Something as simple as reminding yourself why you’re walking into the gym.  Getting into shape, or even just staying in shape can be very difficult. It can be time consuming, tiring, your muscles may get sore, and even eating healthy can be confusing, but if you know the reasons why you’re doing it, then you’re most likely to keep doing it.

Change is good.

How’s your training intensity?  Are you really putting forth a high enough heart rate to get the results you’re seeking?  Some training tactics I’d implore would be to check out some different fitness classes that you’re not used to.  Mix things up a bit. Instead of always “zombie walking” to your favorite treadmill, make a quick turn to the step mill.  That rowing machine isn’t all sunshine and rainbows either!  Change your volume or the number of reps you normally get at the weights.  Instead of doing cardio for a “x-amount” of time, change it to distance ran, floors climbed, or meters rowed.  Most likely you’ll pick up the pace because you can see that finish line!

Exercise selection should be varied for lots of reasons.  The body is incredible at adapting and gets used to the same old  routine of weight training.  A simple change of moving past the machines and getting into some free weights or cables.  (Insert “Morgan Freeman’s” voice here / ad promotion to hire a trainer for instructions on programming and proper technique for free weights.)

Go heavier.

Breaking a plateau can be done by shorter rest breaks in between sets.  Again, that’s the training intensity I mentioned above.  Get it out of your head that you need to do reps that are divisible by “5”!  Instead of stopping at 15 reps, push yourself to do a few more. If you are always staying in that higher rep range, it might be time to increase your weight, even if it’s only by 5 or 10 pounds, even if that means doing less reps. I’d venture to guess you might see some increase in strength and muscle size.

To wrap this up, mix things up.  Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.  There are many more ways to get you to your goals and break plateau’s.  Stay the course and be patient. Try hiring a Personal Trainer to help with a new routine.  With consistency in your training you will reap the rewards.  Just perhaps remind yourself “why” from time-to-time.

Benefits of Child Care

By | Membership, Youth

With many new moms coming in the gym lately, I thought a fun topic for this week would be to discuss a few benefits of bringing children to a child care center/ facility such as Courts Plus Community Fitness Center! I know many people automatically think of germs and colds when they think of child care. While that is an obvious fact, there are many other reasons that outweigh that “scary” factor. Here are a few benefits:

  1. Socialization- In my opinion, there is no better place to socialize your children then a child care facility. At Courts Plus, we have 20 children max at a time. This makes it nearly impossible for every child to not be able to find someone to play and socialize with on a daily basis. Socializing helps children learn how to share and get along with others. We have had countless children enroll as a shy, quiet child and now walk into the room with a big smile and “Good Morning” to the teachers and the kids.
  2. Structure and routine- Children thrive on structure and routine. Whether you decide to take your child to a center or just drop them off to play for 2 hours at Courts Plus, you are helping teach your child (ren) consistency. I can definitely tell when a family has been on vacation and away from the gym for a week based on the child’s mode and behavior. It does not take long for them to get back into the normal daily routine, but it does disrupt them enough to the point where they can act out. Children and parents NEED consistency and I believe child care benefits from that!
  3. Academic readiness- Child Care is full of learning opportunities. Kids are introduced to the basics of math through counting numbers and/or colors, physical fitness through continuous activities, art through art projects and communication with others in the room. Just about everything in a center promotes education and learning which helps children of all ages to grow to their fullest potential.
  4. Stability and reliability- Child Care centers/ facilities have set hours and are always staffed accordingly. It is nice to have a reliable place to bring your children where you can have peace of mind that your children are being taken care of and loved while you get your work out in.
  5. Parent support- Courts Plus is a great example of this benefit! We have many moms who have a monthly “mom’s night” where they will get together because of the family they have gained through the child care. We are much more than a gym and you can see the relationships and trust that has formed throughout our parents.
  6. Promotes creativity and imagination- There is no better place to promote creativity and imagination in a room full of children and teachers who have a true passion for loving children and helping them grow to be the best they can be. At Courts Plus, we know how to be silly and “weird” because we know that is what it takes to make the kids day. We love to do things such as sing songs, make up fun games, play tricks on the teachers, dress up with our friends, play dolls, build tracks, play cards, make forts, do art projects, go for walks, tell stories, read books, play on the playground and so much more!


* If you are interested in learning more about our child care here at Courts Plus feel free to visit our website or come on in for a tour!

How’s Your Recovery?

By | Personal Training

By: Rhys Geske, Personal Trainer

Do you wake up in the morning and feel sometimes like Tin Man on The Wizard of Oz?  If you haven’t seen The Wizard of Oz I highly suggest you stop reading this and rent that classic movie now!

Muscle soreness and stiffness can be brought on by multiple factors, i.e., lifting weights, just beginning a new program, starting a new sport season, running, poor nutrition, lack of sleep, stress and even high anxiety.

To combat DOMS, or delayed onset muscle syndrome, it’s important to incorporate proper recovery tactics in your arsenal of training.  Types of various recovery methods are:  foam rolling, stretching, ice, nutrition, proper foot wear, massage, heat packs and even steam rooms to just name a few.  I want to touch on the first one – foam rolling!

I must admit, I wasn’t giving it a chance.  My massage therapist swore by the foam roller and I was always battling some type of muscle tightness/soreness.  Okay, I’ll give this “slow painful, ugly, torture, yet free, massage therapist device” a chance.  For 45 days and counting I have been daily foam rolling my legs.  They feel great and I can walk without them feeling like cement pillars!  It took around day 15 before I started noticing how little it hurts anymore to foam roll.  My massage therapist was right again as she told me the more I do it, the less it hurts.

Icing is great to diminish inflammation.  Static stretching or holding a pose for 20-30 seconds helps with elasticity and flexibility of the muscles.  Strawberries contain natural inflammatory properties.  Changing out your running shoes every 500 miles really does help.  Courts Plus offers yoga classes that can help relieve some stress out of your life.

These are just some tips and tricks that I personally do that help me out.  Again, find what works for you and as long as you’re staying active and moving… well, just as the saying goes “a body in motion, tends to stay in motion”.

If you have questions about nutrition or need some guidance to match your fitness routines to your healthy nutritious lifestyle, reach out to me to set-up a free consultation. I would love to assist you to meet your goals. Visit our website for more information.

Rhys | Courts Plus

Education: National Personal Training Institute, North Dakota State University with a B.S. in Speech    Communication and Minor in Mass Communication
Certifications/Memberships: NSCA Certified Personal Trainer, NSCA Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist, IKFF Kettlebell Instructor


By | Fitness Fun

Self-affirmations are a great way to help you get motivated and stay motivated! At Courts Plus Community Fitness, we don’t want you to ever lose sight of your goals. We want to help you succeed every way possible. So, I put together 10 motivational quotes for you to look at before, during or after your workout! This is anything that’ll help get you through that one last rep before going home.


Love Your Body

That’s right; we’re telling you to love your body! Even if it’s not exactly what you want you to look like. Self-image love is the first step that you need to take if you are willing to make the changes.


The Road to Nowhere is Full of Excuses

No excuses. That is something we all abide by at Courts Plus Community Fitness. There really is no excuse to not stay on track. If you don’t make yourself work hard you will never see the changes and meet your goal.


Sore the Most Satisfying Pain

It may sound odd, but sore pain is satisfying! That means whatever you just put your body through made it break down and rebuild itself up to a better version! So, enjoy the pain. It means you worked hard and did something right.


Sweat is Just Fat Crying

Don’t be ashamed of sweating! We all sweat. Some more than others, but that’s beside the point. We all sweat nonetheless and should embrace it!


Workout You Didn't Do

Whether you had a 10 minute workout quick before you had to go pick-up the kids or you crammed in a 30 minute session over your lunch break. That is better than nothing. Go you!


Suck it Up

Don’t complain. Yes, it is hard and yes it may be time consuming. But, that day that you notice “Hey, I’m not sucking in my stomach anymore!” is a very gratifying day.


Get Fit In the Gym

This is a very true statement. Being and staying healthy is more than a one part deal of working out. What you put in your body counts too! So, maybe next time you’re offered that second donut at the office, decline.


One Bad Meal

It’s a journey. That one cheat day of going to McDonald’s with your friends and getting a Big Mac won’t throw you so far off course that you have to start all over. Just like eating that one salad every month won’t get you to fit into that summer swimsuit. You have to make the decision to work at it daily.


Work in Progress and Masterpiece

This is my favorite quote! While you are working on improving yourself both physically and mentally, you are still an amazing and gorgeous person! You shouldn’t get down on yourself with small setbacks, because with continual hard work and dedication you will get there.


Weakness to Strength

We all have weaknesses and they are all different. Once we start working on our weaknesses we notice that they soon change into strengths! But, that doesn’t mean to stop there. Once you reach that point, keep going and soon what was your weakness is now second nature to you!

Staying Active As We Age

By | Fitness Fun, Group X, Membership, Personal Training

Benefits of Staying Active

Research has shown the endless benefits of exercise. As we age, the benefits of exercise become even more important. As we age, the risk of osteoporosis, osteopenia, and fractures increase.  Below are just few of the benefits of staying active.

Live longer

According to the World Health Organization, leading a sedentary lifestyle is one of 10 leading causes of death and disability. Even gentle, regular exercise such as walking or swimming can increase lifespan by around three to five years.

Prevent falls

Improving muscle strength and bone density can be helpful in reducing the risk of falls as it can also improve balance. The WHO say regular exercise can reduce the risk of having a hip fracture by 40%.

Reduced risk of stroke or heart attack

Regular cardiovascular exercise, such as brisk walking, cycling or light housework – anything that raises the heart rate – will increase blood flow to the heart and boost your overall health.

Better bone density

Weight-bearing exercise such as walking or jogging can help increase the strength of bones and reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis and fractures. According to The National Osteoporosis Society, one in two women and one in five men will break a bone due to osteoporosis.

Reduced risk of developing dementia

Being sedentary in later years can increase the risk of developing dementia, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. The study, which analysed more than 1,600 older adults over five years, found that those who did not exercise were more likely to develop dementia than those who did.

Prevent or delay disease

Exercise is an effective remedy for many chronic conditions. Studies show that people with arthritis, heart disease, or diabetes benefit from regular activity. It can also help in management of high cholesterol; keeping cholesterol levels within a healthy range can help to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.

More confidence and independence

A study by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society examined exercise in the elderly and found that training led to improvements in functional reach and balance and reduced participants’ fear of falling.

It’s never to late to start moving!  Check out our full senior schedule at!

Tennis Courts | Courts Plus

Good luck to all tennis players this weekend, especially our members!

By | Membership, Tennis

This Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Courts Plus will be hosting the North Dakota Girls High School East Region Championships. 8 High Schools from the Eastern part of North Dakota have earned the right to compete, to make it to State. Out of those 8 high schools 5 of them will be local schools, Sheyenne, Davies, Shanley, Fargo North and West Fargo.
Courts Plus will be rocking will 3 full days of competition along with Island Park, Elephant Park and Discovery. The team event is taking place on Thursday, and the individual singles and doubles will be Friday and Saturday.
At this time I’d like to highlight all of the local players playing on those local teams that we see year round at Courts Plus. It’s no surprise that the top seeded team, Sheyenne High School, have 5 of their top 6 in regular lessons, and all 5 are Courts Plus members! They also have the reigning North Dakota High School Champion, Monti Knewtson. They are not the exception. Davies, Shanley, Fargo North and West Fargo all have Courts Plus members.
The top players in the state know that they have to play year round to stand a chance of competing for a State title. With so many options at Courts Plus throughout the year, even those who play other sports, can keep their tennis game going in the off season. We have pros who work all hours, nights, weekends, early mornings, whatever it takes to keep you or your kid on the court and in the game.
We’d like to wish every competitor good luck this weekend, but especially those friendly faces who we see year round at Courts Plus. They know what it takes to be a champion.
For more info and to see our Summer options click here

Courts Plus Pool Passes

By | Fitness Fun, Membership, Youth

Most people have heard of or have been members of Courts Plus Community Fitness but didn’t realize that we are owned and operated by the Fargo Park District. Because of this we are able to take advantage of some great resources. Not only can we use the great parks for classes and gatherings but we can also offer our members FREE pool passes to all 5 Park District pools. These locations include Davies Recreational Pool, Southwest Recreational Pool, Island Park Pool, Northside Recreation Pool, and Madison Pool and Splash Pad.  In the winter our members can also use the Fargo South and Fargo North High School Indoor Pools during lap swim. For more details on location and hours of operation please click here. In case you were wondering, the slides are included! Your kids are going to thank you for being members of Courts Plus.

The money you will save is crazy! For example a family pass for the summer is worth $156.25. Daily fees to Davies, Northside and Southwest Recreational Pools are $3.25 for kids, $4.50 for adults or $9.50 for a family pass. To check out the full list of fees click here. If you are members and your kids only use the childcare, you can simply add them onto your account for a small fee. It will be well worth it this summer.

Some of our member’s put their membership on hold for the summer because it’s nice out and they can participate in activities outside. By keeping your membership active you now get double the benefits. You are able to get the FREE pool passes plus you can still use the facility for weights, cardio, the playground, etc. There will be many days when the sun is crazy hot and you will need air conditioning. Plus, why work so hard in the gym for 9 months and then just let it all go. At least maintain your hard work a couple times a week, your body will thank you.

If you haven’t already joined Courts Plus, we hope this will strongly encourage you to stop in and check us out. For all of our members, thank you for choosing us and please stop by the front desk to get your pool passes for everyone on your membership.

Courts Plus in the Park

By | Fitness Fun, Group X, Membership, Youth

Need something to do this summer on Thursday evenings? Like last summer, we will have outdoor classes at Milwaukee Trail Park. We will offer an Adult and Youth/Family classes for a fun evening for the whole family. There are playgrounds close by so the kids can play while the adults have their class first! Below is a quick overview of what to expect!

Which park?—Milwaukee Trail Park #1 (North) found at 3601 17th St. S.

What’s going on?—We will be having FREE adult and youth/family classes

When?—Thursdays: June 7 & 21, July 19, August 2 & 16

What time?—Adult class will start at 5:30pm & Youth/Family will start at 6:30pm

Who can attend these classes?—These classes will be FREE for all members and non-members. If you know someone who is debating on joining a gym, bring them with and tell them all the options we have offer at Courts Plus! The adult classes will be for ages 13 and older. Youth/Family classes will be for ages 3-12.

Why should I attend?—There are only a few short months of nice weather so why not enjoy that AND workout at the same time?!

Can I count it as part of my number of times I need to attend the gym?—Yes, of course! Just email Wayne ( or Katie ( and they will make sure you get credit for attending a class!

Can I count this as part of the Fitness Program (Fitness Bingo) that is going on?—Yes, of course! Fitness Bingo is another fun program we have at Courts Plus when you can win prizes for attending classes. This program begins May 21st.

You can find all details of what the classes will be here.