Look all over the DC skyline and you will see new apartment buildings, new condos, and new offices. Thanks to DC's building height restriction, these buildings can only get so tall and are therefore limited in the space to offer tenants. To better entice people to live in their units, building architects have added very nice amenities, including indoor pools, heated pools, kegs of beer, and very, very nice gyms.
If you've recently moved in to one of these buildings and have made a New Years Resolution to lose weight, get in shape, or exercise more, let me give you some general principles on where to begin in that process.
I am trainer and personal at Bodymass Gym as well as an independent Strength Coach and Personal Trainer. If you like what you read below, feel free to share or contact me for more information!
PRINCIPLE ONE (A): stop doing sit ups.
You sit hunched forward all day at work, why do you want to strain yourself forward again?
PRINCIPLE ONE (B): Find ways to introduce instability in your core then make your body work to fight that instability.
Your core is meant to provide stability for your spine -- work it as such.
PRINCIPLE ONE SUGGESTION:
Planks, side planks, balance ball planks, paloff presses, bird dogs, dead bugs, straight arm pull downs, leg raises, and supermans are all great ways to introduce instability and work your core without further straining your forward-hunched body.
PRINCIPLE TWO (A): stop doing cardio.
If you're looking to lose fat, gain muscle, be more tone, and look better between the sheets, then endless cardio is not the answer.
PRINCIPLE TWO (B): If you're going to hop on a cardio machine, do short intervals of high strain activity coupled with longer intervals of low strain activity.
This type of activity makes the muscles work harder, building them up and making you more athletic, rather than just breaking down your muscles to provide energy for the work you're making them do.
PRINCIPLE TWO SUGGESTION:
On the treadmill, don't even turn it on, just try to push the tread with your legs for 15 seconds and then turn the treadmill on and walk for 2 minutes. Repeat 5-10 times. On the elliptical, do hill intervals with increasing intensity -- make your leg muscles do something instead of gliding along. On the bike, sprint for 30 seconds, slow bike for 2 minutes. Repeat 10 times. On a rowing machine, set your screen to see how fast you're rowing 500 meters, then, with proper form, get your 500 meter time down to 2:00 or 1:45 and try to keep that pace up for 30 seconds. Then slowly row for 1:30. Repeat 5-10 times. Doing this type of workout 1-2 times a week will be better for you than hopping on the treadmill for 35 minutes everyday.
PRINCIPLE THREE (A): Stop doing mirror workouts.
People want to look good in the mirror, so they workout what they see in the mirror. The logic makes sense, but unfortunately for your long-term health, it's a logical fallacy.
PRINCIPLE THREE (B): Start working your back side.
Every workout you do should be 2/3 back side focused and 1/3 front side focused. The back side of your body -- the upper back, lats, spinal erectors, glutes, hamstrings -- helps support proper function of the front of your body. Your shoulder blades, traps, lats, and all those muscles back there are the levers and supports to do your high pulls, front delt raises, chest day, and tricep kick backs. Your low back, glutes, and hamstrings are the big movers of your body. They help you be a weekend warrior on the basketball court, enable you to bend over, pick things up off the ground, get up off the ground. These absolutely cannot be ignored.
PRINCIPLE THREE SUGGESTION:
For the upper back, do any sort of pulling toward your body that you can. This includes lat pull downs, pull ups, chin ups, back flies, band pull aparts, DB row, cable row, TRX row, barbell row, ring row, and straight arm pull down.
For the lower back and back of your legs, do any sort of movement that either A) makes you hinge at your hips (ie, get long thru your glute and hamstring then contract back up to neutral position) or B) extend your glute and hamstring in a compound movement and forces your body to work those muscles to get back to neutral position. This includes deadlift, sumo deadlift, romanian deadlift, bulgarian split squat, forward lunge, backward lunge, lateral squats, lateral lunges, broad jumps, vertical jumps, glute bridges, hamstring curls, step ups, and many, many more!