If you are what one would define as a #gymrat, or someone who willingly wakes up at 5am to work out, you probably will not be able to relate to what I am about to write. If on the other hand, you are like me, someone who gets bored easily, does NOT enjoy working out , has embarked several times on fitness journeys only to quit months later, then you are just the person who will benefit from reading my take on fitness. If on the other hand squats are your fav, and holding a plank for hours makes you happy, you probably should pass on reading this one.
Anyone will tell you that just like eating habits, if your fitness plan is not sustainable, you will not stick with it. My definition of sustainability in relation to fitness is a routine that you enjoy. Find something that will hold your interest. Personally, I choose a work out that challenges me, yet does not kill me. When I say challenging I mean a form of exercise that builds skill and coordination. Some may feel that building up to 200 push ups , squats , crunches or anything of the sort is a challenge. For me that is building up endurance which is great for some, but for me, and I’m willing to bet many people out there, boring AF.
I don’t necessarily agree with the term #nopainnogain. I believe you can build strength and work up a sweat, working out without experiencing pain but rather a burn. I’ve experienced enough injuries to understand the difference.
If you should choose to enlist a trainer my suggestion is that you do your research. A trainer should sit you down and discuss your goals and expectations. He or she should listen to you, figure out what makes you tick and formulate a program accordingly. If the trainer puts together a cookie cutter program of cardio, squats , planks, weights, resistance bands, don't waste your money. Listening to a trainer,or an instructor bark out repetitions just doesn’t do it for me. If THAT is what you are looking for, I can train you and trust me ill be less expensive. All of the above exercises have their place and effectiveness, and may be incorporated into an exercise regimen, but since no two people are exactly the same, every exercise program should be customized based on goals, a persons body type, and current and past injuries . A trainer must understand the mechanics of your body. If they do not, run as fast as you can. That will be your cardio for the day. The trainer should watch how you walk, and move before taking you on an exercise journey. By doing so, a good trainer can determine your weaknesses and gauge your range of motion. If the trainer does not take into account your weaknesses, previous injuries, personality type, that is not a trainer you should enlist. They should constantly changing things up to keep you interested as well as maximizing the benefits of the program. If your body becomes accustomed to any given program, that program will no longer be as effective in delivering the results you seek on your fitness journey. If you dread your appointments you will most likely eventually quit. It took me years to figure this out and through trial and error, I have finally found several forms of exercise that are challenging, great workouts, and most importantly can hold my interest . The secret is to constantly change things up. What I will be sharing are merely suggestions of what works for me. There are so many new innovative classes and fitness programs out there if you keep experimenting you will find something. If I found my way to fitness so can you. Even if you start out walking briskly every day with some good music, it’s a start and you are one step ahead of the person who chooses to sit on their ass and do nothing.
The sedentary lifestyle will eventually catch up with them, and the outcome will not be good. G-d bless my parents. My dad still goes to the gym 3 times a week, he’s 83. My mom gets on the treadmill most days after a full day of work. She’s 72. May they live to 120. G-d willing!
1. Pole Fitness
Many of you already know about my obsession with the Pole from a previous blog post, “It’s Not About Stripping”. Pole is a full body workout. It is challenging, fun and is NEVER boring. There is ALWAYS a new trick to be learned. No two Pole classes are ever the same. When you will start, seeing some of the tricks may be daunting. You will think that you have a better shot of winning lotto, than being able to do 90% of the tricks . Months later, you will surprise all of your friends and most of all, yourself! This is something I experience on a weekly basis so trust me ANYONE can Pole. You can also choose silks or aerial which incorporate many of the same movements as Pole Fitness. The only difference is the prop.
2. Pilates reformer
I discovered Pilates when I lived in New York. I had some serious back issues and Sciatica. While the diagnosis was herniated discs, I know today that this was only a small factor. there are people in their 80s with herniations, yet they never have experience pain. The more I researched, the more I learned that my problem stemmed from a weak core. To exacerbate the issue, sitting all day causes shortening, tightness In your hip flexors. What I did not know at the time was much of the pain stemmed from the weakness of my psoas muscle. Many of the exercises performed in Pilates, not only strengthen your core which is the support for your back, but also work on strengthening your psoas muscles and opening up your hip flexors. Lower back pain, especially Sciatica is also many times a result of Piriformis Syndrome. Many Pilates exercises involve stretching and loosening the Piriformis, since tightness of this muscle is one of the major causes of Sciatica. Much of the pelvic exercises practiced in Pilates, correct muscle imbalances which lead to tightness and ultimately pain.
Pilates exercises are definitely geared at tightening the core muscles as well as opening the hip flexors.
The below link will provide additional information on which specific Pilates movements can help treat back pain.
This has become on of my favs . First of all, I cannot think of a better way to unload aggression without physically kicking someone’s ass, than punching a mitt. Many times I will visualize the person that is pissing me off on any given day, and punch away . I have to tell you that it is the absolute most satisfying feeling when you hit that mitt in the exact right spot, with the perfect amount of power. You know when that happens because of the sound you will hear upon contact. In addition to the stress release boxing provides it is a full body, strength, stamina building and cardio workout. You will definitely work up a sweat . A coworker had posted a video of herself boxing and I remembered when I had boxed a bit when I lived in NY, and I really loved it . I decided to try out a one on one at Fitness Time in Sunny Isles. My first two sessions were with Moe, who kicked my butt in a fun way. He switched me to Ebi, another fabulous trainer who specializes in boxing. Ebi will incorporate boxing with squats, balance training, TRX, push ups and core work such as holding planks. I normally HATE all of the above but when mixed into a boxing session, they are more than tolerable. My coordination and balance are improving with each session. I highly recommend!
The Figurella concept was developed in Italy. If you’ve ever been to Italy, you may have noticed how fit they are. I’m not talking about the older grandma‘s who sit around and eat pasta all day. In Italy, the women well into their 60s take excellent care of themselves, especially their bodies so its really no surprise that Figurella was developed in Italy.
The concept is that if you work out in a heated environment with resistance bands, you can get the same results in 20-30 minutes as you would in an hour. Because the workout is done in a heated capsule you also burn more calories in a 30 minute workout than you would in a much longer work out. Following the workout, you sit in an #oxygentank for 15 minutes. Oxygen has many proven benefits, especially aiding in muscle recovery. The #figurella training session is 1on1, personalized and low impact! They also provide you with a nutritional program based on a #keto way of eating . The Figurella method is entirely geared and dedicated for women. The method is effective in reducing inches right and aiding in weight loss. You are weighted every session and measured every few weeks. When you see results it will motivate you and when you know you are going to be weighed you are held accountable and therefore less likely to stuff your face.
#petpeeve disclosure .... Figurella promptly shuts down at exactly 7pm, and this means is if you have a session scheduled at 6pm, and you get stuck in traffic causing you to be a few minutes late, you will shown the door at 7pm sharp. For example , I had a 6pm appointment. I arrived at 6:05. The training session was done at 6:35, then by the time I showered for the oxygen tank it was 6:45. After 10 minutes in the oxygen tank I was told they had to shut it down so that I’d have time to get dressed and be out of there by 7pm. I kid you not. I’m surprised they didn’t throw me out when I was half dressed. IMHO, this is no way to treat a paying customer. For this reason, as much as I love the workout concept, I am unsure if I will be purchasing additional sessions, which are not cheap. Range is from $65-80, depending on what kind of package you buy. I can do any of the above workouts for the same or less money without feeling rushed . While I loved the concept and workout, customer service is a big thing for me. They have two more weeks to redeem themselves and I am one to always give a business a chance. Perhaps it was a one time thing and they just had somewhere to go. having said all of this. If you have a work schedule that will enable you to arrive early enough , by all means, try out Figurella because it is indeed a great workout for those with limited time.
6. Dance Dance Dance
About 20 years ago, a friend asked me if I was interested in taking Salsa lessons. We signed up for group classes at Dancesport in NYC. It became an addiction for me. Before I knew it, I had taken every group class the studio offered. I’m not exaggerating. I had outgrown the group classes and decided to take it up a level by investing in privates. I started with Ron Rosario who was an expert in Salsa and Hustle dancing . I would go 2-3 a week to the dance parties at Dancesport and other studios.
Then I graduated to International Latin which focused on technique. I primarily trained with an amazing teacher, Kelvin Roche. I also had some lessons with his wife and dance partner, Lori Ann Greenhouse. This power couple is well known in the dance world as they have won many championships throughout the world, and have since opened their own studio.
I even had the honor of training with world champions Corky and Shirley Ballas. The training greatly improved my posture and helped strengthen my core. Believe it or not, the dancing even helped with my ankle issues. Since I am very flat footed and have no arch, I constantly suffered from ankle injuries. I had skipped dance for a month while recovering from an ankle sprain. One of the teachers noticed I had been gone and when I returned he asked where I had been. When he heard about my ankle issues, Franklin told me that the dancing would help because when you focus on keeping the weight on the balls of your feet and off your heels, you automatically begin to strengthen your arch. I learned that he was correct and I only wish I could find the same level of dance studios in Miami. I did find several places where I could dance Salsa but nothing close to what I was doing on NYC.
There are many forms of dance that are excellent ways to get fit. I have seen first hand, the positive effects dance has had on my body. I always notice how long, lean and shapely dancers’ bodies are. The group of people I used to dance with were all fit, and looked at least ten years younger than their actual age. Dancing is an uplifting, fun, and therapeutic form of exercise that should definitely be considered when formulating a fitness routine. Dancing is a fun way of getting your cardio in while also helping to shape your body. All you have to do is watch Dancing with the Stars and you will realize the truth. We’ve all see some celebrities start the process a little on the chunky side and then a month or so later their bodies are transformed. Granted they are dancing non stop so it may take the average person a little longer to see results but trust me, you will.
7. Stretch and warm up
Lastly, you will want to avoid injuries at all costs, because an injury will derail your fitness journey. The best way to do that is warm up before a workout and stretch afterwards. A quick 10-15 minutes on the treadmill, elliptical or bike will do the trick. When your muscles are cold, they are more prone to injury. Muscle tightness also leads to all kinds of injuries. I decided to try out Stretch Zone. I loved it because the practitioners strap you to a table, so they may isolate the muscle they wish to stretch, and proceed to stretch you to a point that you would not be able to get to on your own. They take you to three intensities of a stretch. 3 being mild, 5 is medium, and 7, a deep stretch without discomfort. You let the practitioner know when you reach each intensity and they hold the stretch for a few seconds. They offer a free 30 minute stretch or you can try them out with a Groupon for an hour stretch. I chose the hour.
Do not forget to stay hydrated. I know you may be tires of hearing that you must drink 8 glasses a day but this is no myth or urban legend. Water helps you cleanse your body and release toxins. We lose water daily, especially during a work out and that water must be replaced in order to maintain a balance of body fluids. The functions of these bodily fluids include digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature. Every morning I drink a large glass of water with a lemon squeezed in and ginger. Sometimes I will add tinctures of an immune boost and liver cleanse. Read more about the benefits of lemon water in the below link:
Now that I have shared my take on Fitness, I think it's important to mention that you can exercise 24/7, if you do not watch what you put in your body, the results will be minimal. Working out for an hour, and then downing a Big Mac and fries will not move you closer to your fitness goals. I've heard the 70/30 rule, that it's 70% food intake 30% exercise. From my personal experience,I believe it's closer to 80/20.
I hope my insight will help some fellow exercise haters such as myself, discover a program that works for them. I'm sure there are many trainers out there that will say I am blowing smoke. I speak from personal experience. The proof is in the results I am seeing. I must be doing something right! I recently attended a trade event, seeing colleagues I had not seen in over 6 months. Several times a day, people would approach me, commenting on how great I looked, asking how much weight did I lose, and saying it appears that I have reshaped my body. Since I received so much similar positive feedback, I'd sat there was some truth to their comments. BTW I only lost 15 lbs, 15-20 to go but I will do it. My goal is to be #skinnybysummer, and to stay that way! Please feel free to contact me with any questions and make sure to #followthetoes! firstname.lastname@example.org. If I can help anyone, that will make me a happy camper!