Bellingham Training & Tennis Club

The Secret to Cardio Training for Better Tennis

Cardio is a huge factor in any tennis match. After a tough point, there is a good chance that you are breathing hard. One hard run can hinder your effort level for the next point or the rest of the game.

On the other hand, a well-trained player can recover quickly from one point to the next and give full effort on every play. Watch Roger Federer play. Even after the toughest points, full of running, he barely breaks a sweat! Well before the next point begins, he is calm and ready to go again.

It’s enough to make you wonder: what’s his secret?


Federer’s superior level of conditioning allows him to focus on his shot selection and power instead of reserving energy to make it through the match. This should be every tennis player’s goal.

The First Step to a Cardio Training Plan: Data

To start working toward it, it helps to have some data on where you currently are. We love MyZone because it offers the most complete, accurate data for tennis players. It can really help you improve your game, your fitness level, and your recovery time (aka: less soreness & tiredness!)

When you go out to play, wear your MyZone strap for the entire match. After you are done playing, look over the heart rate data. Was your first 10 minutes in Zone 1 (blue) and 2 (green) before hitting Zone 3 (yellow) or higher (red)? If so, congrats! You warmed up properly.

If not, focus more on a light warm up.

Does the data show you mostly stayed in Zone 1 (Blue)? Consider increasing your effort level. Otherwise, you won’t get all the cardiovascular benefits of regular tennis. Some ways to do this are moving more, and going after more balls. Be more active in your court positioning. Even in a doubles point where you didn’t get a single touch on the ball, you can move quickly for strategic positioning.

A particularly tough and close match may show you were mostly in Zone 3 and Zone 4. Look for these extended periods of high heart rates. It is these tough matches where your true conditioning level is exposed. A well-trained player would still expect times of high rates … followed by a drop back down shortly after. It’s how quickly you can drop back down that is a great indicator of your conditioning and your ability to stay in a match.

Think of Djokovic playing his masterful defense, sprinting all over the court, to then start the next point calm and collected once again. This level of conditioning, and speed of recovery, can separate a good player from a great player.

After your match, did you stay in Zone 1 for at least 5 minutes? If not, this means you skipped the crucial cooldown.

The Key to the Plan: Effort & Timing

Don’t be fooled. It’s not just pros who have such physical conditioning. Every player can achieve spectacular cardiovascular conditioning; it just takes a specific plan and a dedicated work ethic. As a Tennis Performance Specialist, I’ve been trained to help design a plan to address the specific demands of a tennis match, to help get you in the best shape for tennis.

The first step is effort level. Effort is the key to reaping the benefits from your cardio training. On-court cardio takes serious effort, beyond just lightly pedaling a bike. What you need to remember is that your off-court training should be more challenging than your on-court effort. By doing this, your body is more than prepared for the exertion on the court and you are better able to focus on technique and strategy instead of catching your breath. This helps you perform better, feel better after, and prevent injury – so you can play for the long run.

The next step is timing. During tennis points, there are 5-20 seconds where you are expending tons of energy to run around to each ball and hit strong shots. Each point is followed by 10-30 seconds of recovery, until the next serve. After 8 to 18 points (2 full games no ad), you will need a longer recovery during changeover. Knowing this information, we can structure your cardio workouts to prepare your hearts to meet this demand.

Off-court workouts that will increase your conditioning require intervals of great effort to achieve a heart rate of 85-95% of your max, followed by monitoring your ability to quickly decrease your heart rate back into the 70% range. That sounds like a lot of measuring and math, but using your MyZone makes it easy – another reason we love it.

I always wear my MyZone when I train cardio. It is crucial that you know your exact effort level because conditioning is a science. That’s the only secret the pros have: they know this, and train for it.

You can’t fool your body into conditioning by simply thinking you are working hard when you really aren’t. A MyZone helps ensure you’re doing it. Make sure to wear yours to help you train at the correct effort level.

To receive a sample of one of my recommended Cardio Training Plans for Tennis, click here.

Introducing Myzone March Madness!

Robin Robertson, BTTC Co-Owner

Robin Robertson, BTTC Co-Owner

We know it can be easy to get in to a rut with your fitness routine. That’s why we host MYZONE MADNESS each March! It’s a fun way to “level up” - go a little harder and reap the benefits in your waistline, your strength, and your stamina.

I have heart rate trained for more than 10 years and have found it is one of the most important pieces of information I can get while exercising. I SEE when I need to pull back or push a little harder to reach my goals. I find it EASY to use, it’s FUN to earn points, and it has led to my heart getting STRONGER and more resilient.


MYZONE is a unique fitness heart-rate monitoring system that accurately tracks your effort levels during physical activity to keep you motivated and engaged. This improves personalized results and allows you to workout at intensity levels that are right for your fitness level and goals.

MYZONE also utilizes a fun point system that rewards effort and not fitness. This amps up the competition so that through challenges, badges, status rankings, goal-setting, and social accountability aspects, you have fun while you work out.


Strap on your MYZONE belt prior to any physical activity inside or outside of BTTC to track calories burned, heart rate, duration of activity, and more.

Wear your MYZONE belt inside BTTC and look for the displays throughout the club. Your information will be streamed real-time to these displays in the form of a color-coded tile that will show you how much effort you're exerting at that particular moment.

Pair your MYZONE MZ-3 belt to the free MYZONE app, which serves as your portable tile. You can stream your activity, upload your data, and review your results right from your smartphone. In addition, the app allows you to monitor your activity calendar, workout graphs, and challenges, as well as upload your before and after photos and keep a picture food diary.

Your personalized MYZONE tile is full of helpful information to keep you working hard. It displays your name, calories burned, zone color, effort level, heart rate, and MYZONE Effort Points (MEPs) earned.

The color of your tile represents the zone you're working in according to your effort level. MYZONE Effort Points (MEPs) are awarded for every minute spent exercising in a particular zone. High zones indicate more effort, which translates into more MEPs.

Why do you want to track your heart rate?
You heart is your most important muscle! Many people don’t think about “training” for your heart - but by becoming aware of your effort and your heart’s response, you can make BIG changes that will improve your heart function. AND THAT is important for LIFE. 


Fitness Member Survey Results

We heard from more than 100 of you! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your feedback. We are really grateful for it. Here is some of the feedback we heard:

  • You love our classes, our Members, and especially our friendly staff. Our trainers all got high marks, and you really appreciate their high level of knowledge & the personal feedback they offer in class. Generally, you love the class times, energy and music (ok, we'll watch the techno!), and you really feel like you seeing progress from taking the classes.

  • In both our Tennis and Fitness surveys, you said you want more YOGA. While our Saturday yoga class has been rocking, our Thursday noon Yoga class has been very small. Please email me and tell me what days and times you'd like to have a yoga class, and we'll see what we can add into our schedule for you.

  • We heard from both the fitness & tennis surveys that a "cheat sheet" on the Strong area equipment would help. Good news: Kendyl is drafting NEW "Cheat Sheet" workouts that will help you learn more about how to use the Strong floor equipment, in combinations that will give you a complete workout! 

  • We heard you want more nutrition information, which we'll be sure you start to see on the blog, newsletters & Facebook.

The Secret to Setting Goals That Matter

Fitness Director Tyler Brown

Fitness Director Tyler Brown

Goal setting and growth are huge topics during this time of year. You'll hear various opinions on how to "best" approach it, such as: 

-"Shoot for the moon! Set a big scary goal which will feel so good … if you accomplish it."

-"Don't bother. If you didn’t change it before, you won’t now."

-"Set a small goal, accomplish it, then set another one, building more and more momentum."

These contradictions probably are more confusing than helpful. How can we reconcile these?  Let's see what works with each approach:

YES, we need to have a goal that’s big enough to matter if we accomplish it. If your life won't really change if you accomplish your goal, it’s less likely that you’ll care enough to work towards it.

YES, it’s easy to get caught up in the resolution mindset and set goals because it’s “that time of year,” and just setting a goal doesn’t mean anything if you don’t actually care about it, because you won't work towards accomplishing it.

YES, setting smaller, achievable goals to build momentum is a great approach. But where are they taking you? If you’re just setting small goals because they’re easy to accomplish, but they aren’t actually leading you somewhere you care about going, then why set them?

There’s a theme here. Did you catch it?

You have to set a goal that MATTERS to you. How?

First, identify it: What, if you accomplished it, would make you SO EXCITED? What would make your soul sing? What fires you up just thinking about it? What makes you a little nervous to think about going after it? What would elevate you to the next level? What would make you better?

Second, define it as clearly as possible: Instead of “lose weight,” maybe it’s “lose 50 lbs in support of my long-term health.” If possible, make it quantifiable so you can measure your progress by numbers. Also, set a time frame in which you’d like to accomplish your goal, long or short.

At any time in this process, if you’re not excited about what you’re setting out to do, you need to re-evaluate your WHY. You have to be excited about this. This is why so many goals are left unaccomplished and so many lives are left unchanged: it doesn't actually matter to people, or they forget their WHY.

Now, reverse engineer what success looks like. To do that, start at the end: you achieved the goal. Now think, HOW DID YOU GET THERE? Be more and more specific as you go backwards through the steps to get there.

Here's a simple example:  

End: You lost 50lbs and feel great!
How did you get there?: You made lifestyle changes.
What lifestyle changes?: You changed your diet and started exercising.
What does that look like?: You started eating a primarily plant-based diet and came to group fitness classes three times per week.

Start at the end and work your way backwards. 

This is where the small goals come into play. You have your big, audacious, exciting, life-changing goal ("Lose 50 lbs to feel better!") that you’re stoked to work towards. Now here's where you get to set those small, manageable goals. Plan out what each of those steps looks like moving forward, being specific and giving yourself deadlines and quantifiable measures. These smaller goals serve as stepping stones to get you there. Every time you accomplish one of these smaller goals, you know that you are closer to accomplishing your big goal. This is a key approach in personal training and programs like Ignite Your Body that really help skyrocket people to success! 

Here’s a basic example of this:

  • By January 1st, I want to plan which 3 group fitness classes I’m going to come to each week.

  • By January 5th, I want to have gone to those 3 classes.

  • By January 6th, I want to have 1 plant-based recipe that I’m going to make this upcoming week.

  • On January 8th, I’m going to make the plant-based recipe.

  • By January 31st, I want to have my routine of training 3 times per week down and have lost 4lbs.

  • By February 3rd, I want to find 2 more plant-based recipes to try.

  • On February 4th, 6th, and 8th, I’m going to make plant-based recipes.

  • By February 28th, I want to have lost 8lbs.

  • By March 31st, I want to be making 3 plant-based meals per week and have lost 12lbs.

And so on. Define your big goal, break it into smaller goals, then do it! 

All right, here's where the real secret comes in: one of the most overlooked aspects of goal-setting is to CELEBRATE your SUCCESSES and LEARN from your FAILURES.

Each time you accomplish one of your smaller goals, look back at where you started and take note of where you are that moment. Acknowledge how far you’ve come and that you’re progressing because you’re putting in the work it takes! And know that there WILL be failures along the path. There just will be. That’s NORMAL and OK, and there’s NO WAY that you would be able to learn what works best for you without other things not working. 

This is your quest, and at the end, it’s going to feel so good knowing that you put in the work to accomplish what you set out to do. I wish you all the best in your journey during the New Year, and I hope 2019 is your best year yet! 


BTTC Staff Thankful Lists!

November is officially Thankful Month at BTTC! We’ll update this post each week with new gratitude lists from our staff.

Robin Robertson, Club Owner:

Robin Robertson 2018.jpg

I believe in taking time to reflect on life - and giving honor and energy toward the blessings we've had along the way. Thank YOU for showing so much support during our last few years of so much change here at the Club. I am grateful that you have stuck with us to see our club evolve from a lovely mom & pop place to a world-class training and tennis facility - while keeping our caring community. YOU are the reason we are here.

 Here are few more things I'm grateful for...

  • That I love what I do and do what I love.

  • For good health for me, my family, and for you

  • For my ConforMIS knee

  • For Peoples Bank (and the loan to make our dreams come true here at the club)

  • For being a part of the Fairhaven and Bellingham Community


Matthew Iwersen, Tennis Director

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What I love at the club: 

  • * My Wilson rackets, strings, and other accessories. They are the #1 racket in the world, and if it is good enough for Roger, it is certainly good enough for me.

I am thankful for:

* The great staff I get to work with every day.
* All the staff that I have worked with in the last 17 years. I know I am getting old when I see some of the then-kids now have their own family.
* How lucky I am to work in a place where health both in mind and body is the main focus.
* All the great members present and past that have made an impact in my life.
* That my job is fun!

 TJ Tipton, Tennis Pro

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What I love at the club: 

I'm thankful for my Babolat sponsorship, especially my rackets. The current Pure Drive has great feel and fits my game very well!

I'm thankful for:

Being healthy after my accident a year ago, and thankful for being able to play with my girls and to play tennis again!

Griffin Wood, Tennis Pro

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What I love at the club: 

The Rickaroons Pumpkin Spice Coconut Bars are really great! 

I'm thankful for: 

As a tennis pro, to be surrounded by a club full of passionate tennis players who are always trying to improve their game. My job is absolutely the most enjoyable when I'm working with individuals who are committed to personal excellence and getting to share my knowledge with them is a joy. 


Tyler Brown, Fitness Director

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What I love at the Club:

Our new Zone training area. This space is absolutely phenomenal! It’s SO much fun to instruct in there, classes have a great energy, clients love being up there, the music is loud, the equipment rocks, and there’s WINDOWS!

It’s great to have that space designated for classes too so that the Strong training area can be used for training clients and used by anyone who wants to work out while a class is in session.

If you haven’t had a chance yet to experience the Zone, come check out one of our classes! We have our Fitness Schedule at the front desk and online, so check it out, pick the class you want to try, and come to it! If you have tried out the Zone and love it, tell your friends! Your first class is always FREE!

You can also work out on your own in the Zone when there’s no classes going on! Check out open gym times either on the Fitness Schedule or by the door going into the Zone.

I’m thankful for:

My wife! She’s the BEST. I love spending time with her whatever we may be doing, whether we’re on a road trip, or sitting on the couch, or learning new exercises, or trying new recipes, or laughing at our cats, or studying, or doing whatever else.

She encourages me to do tough things, she lets me talk at her about things that she doesn’t think are as exciting as I do, and she is also very patient with me when I’m being an idiot.

She works incredibly hard, right now tackling Grad School as well as working full-time in Cardiac Rehab. She’s such a positive and patient person that she makes me want to be better. She’s an inspiration to me to live and love well. She’s my very best friend, and I love her very much.

Rhod Kelly, Personal Trainer and Zone & Ride Instructor

Rhod Kelly 2018.jpg

Gratitude is the foundation to enjoying all that life has to offer. It sets the tone for your day to wake up and be thankful for all that you have and all of the blessings in your life.  In hard times it helps keep us grounded. I’m glad that we have a time each year to mass encourage thankfulness and share with one another the things of life that make it worth living.

What I love at the Club:

I am grateful for the encouragement I get from all of YOU members.  Whether that be wishing me well in my endeavors, or inviting me to celebrate the holidays with you when family is not around (Thank you!).  Most of all, I am grateful to hear all of your success stories and the progress you have made with your fitness.  Hearing your stories makes me so happy and I am thankful to get to be a part of your journey.  That is what makes it so special to be here.  Together, we are staying strong and healthy. When I hear the impact that it makes in your life and the lives of those around you it makes me grateful to be a part of it.

I am thankful for:

Right now, I am hugely grateful for community.  As you may know, I moved to Bellingham just over a year ago in August 2017.  Part of the reason that my wife and I moved away from Arizona was that we just weren’t feeling like a part of the community in our college town anymore.  We have been blown away with Bellingham!  Within weeks of being here, we were having dinner with several other young couples and out adventuring on the mountain trails.  We have made lots of friends since we moved here and met tons of amazing people.  I am extremely grateful for the community atmosphere in town and here at the club. 

Kendyl Comiskey, Personal Trainer and Zone & Ride Instructor

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What I love at the Club:

Our members! I could sit here all day making a list of members who have made my job better by simply being outstanding friends, community members, clients, and good neighbors to one another. I thank every single one of you, even those who I have not met yet, for making this club such a special place!

Another special aspect about this club is the ability to grow, create, and explore new training styles and classes. I have grown immensely grateful for the opportunity to instruct TRX Yoga on Saturday mornings. It was a class that we (Roxanne and I) dove into over the summer not knowing whether it would sink or swim. The Zone wasn’t open yet, so we had no practice with the equipment that we would be using. Being nearly 5 months in, I can say that TRX Yoga has become one of my favorite hours of the week. I have learned a lot about my abilities as an instructor and individual by overcoming a good amount of self-doubt. So, I thank you, TRX Yoga, and all of you who have taken the time to try it, for helping me grow!

I am thankful for:

My education and the encouragement of friends and family to pursue more of it. It can be difficult to stay motivated in pursuit of big goals, but the support continues to drive me and keep me focused.

Roxanne Sailors, Zone Instructor

Roxanne Sailors 2018.jpg

What I love at the Club:

I am grateful for all the dedicated movers who do the work to show up and give it all they’ve got each session. They make my job feel like fun, they remind me how important it is to stay dedicated to my own movement practice and to continue to hone my skills as an instructor so I can help our members and regular drop-ins move better and stay engaged in our community.

I am thankful for:

I am also grateful for my husband, Erik, and the relationship that we have cultivated over the last almost 13 years. In this season of family togetherness, it is also a season of cold and dark which can also trigger depression and feelings of loss and loneliness for me, especially now that my children are ‘all grown up’. He supports and reminds me to attend to my self-care (a VERY important part of overall emotional AND physical wellness!) and also to relax and enjoy the beauty and connection we have the opportunity to experience throughout this holiday season. I am grateful for his partnership, his friendship and his love.

Elizabeth Sheinkopf, Zone & Ride Instructor 

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What I love at the Club:

The community that we have here: it’s warm and welcoming, supportive and truly invested in making the club a great place to be. I love the members! Over the years, I’ve developed great friendships with members and it’s enriched my life beyond measure. The members (you!) are the reason why I really don’t mind getting up way before dawn to teach.

I’ve worked at a number of other clubs and have found that the atmosphere is much less personal and warm.  People come and go and really never reach out to connect with each other. At this point, I can’t imagine being in that kind of situation again, having experienced what we have here. You are all rock stars!

I am thankful for:

I’m deeply grateful for my health, my ability to do what I do as I get older, but this year I’m thinking a lot about our community in Bellingham, especially the artistic community as something that is precious to me and makes my life rich and satisfying. The artistic community in Bellingham is similar to the community at the club: it’s supportive and collaborative, not competitive and elitist. There are amazing artists of all kinds here--I’ve been involved with community theater on and off for years, and I’m amazed at the depth of talent that we have here in this small city. Participating in theater is satisfying on so many levels: it’s creative and imaginative, it gives me the chance to meet and work with amazing people, and it’s incredibly challenging. I feel so lucky to be able to participate in it!

Piper Renard, Ride Instructor

What I love at the Club:

As a new instructor at the club, I am incredibly thankful to all of the members for being so encouraging, kind and welcoming! I'm also thankful for Robin for giving me the opportunity to work and grow at the club - as well as all my coworkers who believed in me, trained me and cheered me on!

I am thankful for:

Being that my family lives in another state - I'm so grateful for my boyfriend and his amazing family in WA! If it wasn't for them, the holidays would be a bit less jolly! And of course, I must count my blessings that I have a warm, cozy place to call home, friends and loved ones, a healthy body and 2 very cute bunnies - I'm thankful for this life!

Matt Vann, Ride Instructor

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What I love at the Club:

All of YOU – the members – because you place your trust and confidence in me to help you improve your fitness. It’s so much fun having you all in class!

I am thankful for:

All the support from my friends and family. They are a huge encouragement to me through every endeavor!

Member and Guest Services

Michelle Fry, Member and Guest Services Manager

Michelle Fry 2018.jpg

What I love at the Club:

I am thankful for my Team at the front desk. I don't know what I would do without them! I love that we all support each other and help each other out when needed. Life can be busy, stressful, confusing and crazy sometimes but just knowing I have an awesome Team here helps me get through anything. I am also thankful for a sense of humor. I love when people make me laugh and I hope throughout the day I can bring a smile or a good belly laugh to someone else! Oh and free coffee...always thankful for that!!!

I am thankful for: My son, who is 13. I absolutely love the teens, he roles his eyes at me, talks back and has a "tude", all of those make me laugh everyday. He is also so loving, adventurous and the most adorable kid I know.

Brianna Dague, Accounts Manager and Member and Guests Services:


What I love at the Club:

I'm grateful for the whole BTTC team and the support they offer.

I am thankful for:

Shirlee Bird cafe, for without my coffee I don't think I'd be human!

Amanda Short, Member and Guest Services

Amanda Short 2017 Headshot.jpg

What I love at the Club:

The warm BTTC community I get to work with! They impress me with their athleticism, wisdom, and wit every. single. day. My weeks of going to school, throwing javelin, and serving members/guests at the club are seamless and rewarding because my growth and health is always invested in and I am fueled to be the best I can be! I look up to the amazing work our personal trainers do to meet a variety of needs and admire how good they get to help people feel through fitness!

I am thankful for:

God, my family, my boyfriend, and friendships that have guided and encouraged me to follow my heart, even if that meant spontaneously moving up 7 hours from home in OR to Bellingham! The athletic dept. at WWU and my teammates are also my family who build me up on and off the field. And lastly, with the countless contributions from many administrators at WWU I am proud to say we won a hard fought case and I am officially a Washington state resident!

Anna Carlson, Member and Guest Services


What I love at the Club:

I'm grateful for all the fun and exciting events we put on! There is a LOT that goes into these from a "behind the scenes" perspective, but ultimately it's so fun to always have something to look forward to, engage with our members (who are the absolute BEST!), and participate or give back to our community in a variety of ways.

I am thankful for:

Skype. My mom lives in China, but because of Skype, she has been able to see my kids, Eivin (4), and Ira (2), practically grow up! Don't get me wrong, I'll take an in-person hug from her any day, but it's pretty cool that we have this technology available to us and that it's so accessible.

Ivy Munyon, Member and Guest Services

What I love at the Club:

I am grateful for the support system that exists at this club. Between us and the members, and us with one another. It truly feels like a family here.

I am thankful for:

Living in such a beautiful place and still having a few more days of sunshine before winter!

Kris Dirks, Member and Guest Services

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What I love at the Club:

The early morning members. I am morning person (of which NO ONE in my family is) and enjoy greeting those who are ready to start their day here at the club.

I am thankful for:

My whole extended family who now reside in Bellingham. We are a small clan but a strong close one.

Leigha Staffenhagen, Member and Guest Services


What I love at the Club:

All the awesome relationships I’ve formed over the last 3 years, and I’m thankful for the flexible personal training we offer that’s adapted for each individuals specific needs.

I am thankful for:

A loving family, boyfriend, and friends as well as my health!!

Shawnee Konrad, Member and Guest Services:


What I love at the Club:

How such a simple job can be so amazing. The people here make the job easy and pleasant.

I am thankful for:

The weather we’ve had this fall as well as my teammates at WWU.