If you awaken early on a Saturday morning or are up for a challenge on Tuesday or Thursday evenings and are near Contra Costa College, you are sure to see Coach Robert Creer’s Physical Conditioning students running the hills and creek trails and sprinting across the Comets Football field like pros. The students are very diverse, but all have one commitment in mind – to lead a healthy lifestyle. Besides exercise, the motivation, support, and humor that Coach Creer provides during the hour-and-a-half long class make the “E” word something fun!
The class begins with warm-up exercises, stretches, crunches, and plyometrics, then a run or brisk walk around the campus. Students then proceed to the track to climb the bleachers and finish their outdoor exercise routine with field sprints. Next, it’s back to the gym annex to complete “two stairs” that include a set each of high-knees and deep lunges. Then, it is back to the floor mats for a relaxer exercise and you guessed it – more crunches. At this point, you’re too tired to care, so it goes very quickly. You can then opt to go to the weight room or ride the stationary bikes. Before you know it, you are done and have the rest of the day to yourself! The exercise routine, though performed with a group, is very much individualized. In addition to physical activity and meditation techniques, Coach also emphasizes healthy foods and eating the items you love, but in moderation.
Coach Creer has taught physical conditioning classes at CCC for over 34 years. He was Assistant Football Coach for the same amount of time until he retired from that position last year. His students continue to fill the CCC Gym Annex every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Coach is a true motivator and a wonderful encouragement to his students. With his unique humor and genuine love of life, he instructs the class and exercises along with them, counting off sets of crunches in reps of 10, yet topping off between 1,200-2,000 crunches per session, while praising the class for their hard work and commitment to health. It is encouraging to watch Coach exercise along with his students and show them that it is possible to maintain your health, just as he has done.
Although Creer retired from active coaching last year, he continues to teach classes and recently started to take his knowledge and expertise to the streets with his new Mobile Exercise Unit (M.E.U.). The M.E.U. is a fully equipped truck complete with exercise equipment, mats, stereo, and televisions and is available seven days a week, by appointment in your home or at your office or school. Coach teaches individuals or groups, but these days, his specialty is senior fitness. Coach Creer’s passion for fitness shows through when you speak to him. He truly cares about “you” and encourages you to do what you can at your own pace - he stresses that you not push yourself. With consistent effort, students work to levels where they complete the repetitions of crunches, push-ups, and other exercises with relative ease. Coach also reminds his students to exercise safely and encourages regular exercise patterns to make a difference in your life and your health.
Coach believes that it is possible to be healthier, happier, and add at least 10 years to your life through regular exercise. Exercise provides several key benefits including:
- Relief of tension and stress
- Stimulation of the mind
- Helps maintain a stable weight
- Controls appetite
- Improves muscle tone and strength
- Lowers blood pressure
- Relieves insomnia
- Increases “good” HDL cholesterol
- Reduces the risk of diabetes
- Increases energy and decreases fatigue
- Reduces anxiety and depression
- Improves balance and coordination
- Boosts self image
Additionally, Coach believes in balancing your diet and breaking down barriers to exercise. On exercise days, it is important to “eat light.” Don’t eat heavy foods; instead, have foods that are light on your stomach such as crackers and cheese or salads. Limit your intake of fats, oils, and sweets on a regular basis and ensure that your diet is balanced with foods like milk, cheese, meats, poultry, fruits, veggies, bread, cereal, pasta, rice, and tortillas. It is also important to relieve your mind of outside stressors such as work-related or family issues because stress causes ill health. Set aside exercise sessions 2-3 times each week for maximum benefits. Exercise is critical to your good health. Some of the common obstacles to exercise include time, cost, embarrassment, tiredness, bad weather, and no partner to exercise with. These obstacles are easy to overcome with proper motivation and encouragement.
Several of Coach’s students have attended his class for many years and are routinely seen exercising every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. They have learned how to structure their food intakes and are healthier in mind, body, and spirit, and along the way, have made lasting friends with other classmates. When I asked my classmates why they attend the class, they responded that it is important to be involved in exercise and to do it for yourself so you can live a healthy, happy, and productive life. “It’s the example he sets; someone who takes care of himself and has a positive attitude. Taking that principle and carrying it over to the other aspects of your life.”
Each year, the students plan an event. This year, a 50 Plus Awards Dinner is being planned and will be at Salute Ristorante in Richmond’s Marina Bay. Students can purchase “I Survived Coach Creer’s Class” t-shirts and special awards will be presented to those in the 50+ age range. A portion of the monies collected are given to Coach Creer’s scholarship fund for athletes.
So, the next time you are near CCC on Tuesday or Thursday evenings, or walking around the campus on a crisp Saturday morning, keep an eye open for Coach Creers' students. If you’re so inclined, join the class or call Coach Creer and have him come to you! He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 1-800-375-4995.