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Training Basket: Cole Summers

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Strength and conditioning coach at Collège Garden City Collegiate, kettlebell specialist, community weight training instructor

Accomplishments: Summers is an icon in strength and conditioning at the high school and community level. He started out in 1981 in community education (now called Continuing Education at the Seven Oaks School Division) instructing women's weight training and self defence at Garden City. In 1989, he started working with students at the school. He's full time in the weight room, continues to instruct Continuing Education weight training classes and coaches individuals.

His father, Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame hockey builder Danny Summers (1995), was a professional hockey player for 20 years, including with the Winnipeg Warriors of the minor-pro WHL in 1955-59. He also played for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 1945. His father's sports career meant Summers grew up in various locations in the United States before eventually landing back in Winnipeg.

Cole Summers was a phys-ed major at Washington and Oregon with a minor in sociology. He started teaching yoga and martial arts in 1972 and from 1972 to 1975, he helped introduce weight-training classes at the University of Manitoba.

A Russian Kettlebell Certified instructor, he's been instructing kettlebell classes for more than a decade and was one of the first to introduce it in Winnipeg.

At Garden City, he leads programs for the school's sports teams, physical education classes and intramurals and mentors the phys-ed staff.

"In the (GC) weight room, we talk about life, being a good person and make it a safe place so that they learn in here and don't go to a gym just to get tired. Learn techniques. Learn safety," Summers said. "I really love doing this, I love learning and spreading the information. The best way to feel good is to help other people."


1. Favourite workout:

I've always enjoyed heavy overhead pressing, standing barbell or kettlebell. I perform front levers daily. (A front lever is a gymnastics move involving lowering the body from an inverted hang until the body is completely horizontal and straight with the front of the body facing upwards). For cardio, kettlebell swings and snatches. I also strike the heavy bag, kayak in the summer and ride my bike year round.


2. Favourite workout song?

My all-time favourite when pushing my kettlebell swings and snatches is Ma vlast by the the great Czech composer Smetana. It was a gift to me from the outstanding Czech rugby player Bruno Kudrna.


3. Fitness tip?

Strength is a skill. Strongly emphasize safety and technique. The No.1 job while coaching kids is to keep them safe and secondly, to help them grow as human beings.


4. What's in your fridge?

Meat, eggs, cheese, butter, nutrient-dense low-carb vegetables and fruit. Protein drink in between coaching classes.


5. What's your guilty pleasure?

One day a week almost anything goes: pizza, pancakes, starchy veggies, bananas, taco chips with hot salsa, pie, cake.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 21, 2013 D12

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