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Trainers Take to the Trails: Trail 10 – Jessie Vargo

Submitted by: Jessica Campbell

Welcome to our new series, “Trainers Take to the Trails”. We are going to feature different trainers leading you on workouts throughout the different trails in the area. First up is Jessie Vargo and Trail 10!

Please note: when working out, go at your own pace. Do what you feel is comfortable. The most important part is that you get out and get moving!

Warmup: 5 Minutes

  1. Hip Flexor openers: Stand on one leg as you lift your other knee to your chest. Hold for several seconds. Add in straightening your leg out parallel to the ground. Repeat and then switch.

  2. Hamstring opener: Stand on one leg and bring the opposite heel to your butt, hold, and repeat. Then switch legs.

  3. Side lunges: Turn sideways and take a wide step to the left, while lunging and shifting your weight to the left foot. Repeat 5-10 times and then switch to the right foot.

  4. Single leg deadlift: Stand on one foot, with the other leg extended back. Touch your hands to the ground in front of you.

  5. Straight leg lateral swing: Place your hands in front on a fence or your car. Keep your leg straight and swing across in front of your body and then out to the side. Repeat 10-12 times per leg. 

Workout: 25 Minutes

Start on Trail 10 and run 1.5 miles to the split to Trail 2, (Feel free to shorten the run and turn-around sooner on the trail) where there is a bench forked on the trail. Turn around and head back. Or, you can always walk briskly!

During your run, when you reach a bench: 

• Try 10-12 pushups while keeping your hands on the bottom of the bench and lower your torso toward the bench.

• 0-15 dips. Place your feet on the floor in front of the bench, keep your legs parallel to the bench with your hands on the bench behind you. Lower down.

When you see Logs/Stumps:

• 10 step-ups on each leg. Lift your leg up, place your foot on the log, and stand up, squeezing your glutes at the top.

While running along the trail, here are some other things you can do:

Sprints – pick a Three Dunes Challenge hill and sprint up the hill and jog back.

• Lunges – take a flat section of the trail and lunge down to the ground. For some extra balance and focus, add in picking up sticks with one hand as you lunge down and switch legs.

• Squats – also using sticks, squat down and pick up sticks and lift up, squeezing glutes at the top. Keep your feet leveled with your hips, squat down keeping your back straight and your heels on the ground.

Cool Down: Jog or walk back to the car. 

Get to know Jess Vargo

Jessie Vargo has been a personal trainer for the last 12 years, first starting at a retirement community in Bloomington, Indiana and is currently working at OMNI Health and Fitness Center in Chesterton. Vargo graduated from Indiana University in 2008 with an Exercise Science degree and is about to graduate from Valparaiso University this August with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. 

As she transitions into the nursing field, Vargo plans on remaining a personal trainer to continue her passion of helping people reach their physical potential.

“I have always loved fitness and wanted to share that with others who maybe didn’t understand or know how to get the best out of their bodies,” she said. “I saw a lot of people with disabilitiesand ailments and I thought I could with any prehab or post rehab treatments.”

Despite working in the gym, you will rarely see Vargo working out there herself. Instead, she prefers to work outside and encourages others to join her.

“I personally don’t like working out in a gym,” she admits. “I love the experience of being outside. The life that the Indiana Dunes and outdoors in general brings to you is so motivating.

You will never see me on a trail or exercising outside without a big smile on my face.”

Vargo also enjoys hiking in the Dunes, walking her dog on the beach, and running and cycling.


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