More than two decades ago, David Barton opened his first eponymous gym, helping establish New York City’s distinct brand of workout culture. His mini-empire of see-and-be-seen fitness centers transformed exercising from a mere pastime to a bona fide lifestyle from Manhattan to Miami.
Now Barton is shaking up the workout scene again, recently opening TMPL in Hell’s Kitchen. The gym pairs its equipment with new innovations in data-driven fitness technology to help clients achieve peak muscle building and caloric burn with every spin, swim stroke and pullup.
“There always seems to be something slowing down your ability to become stronger, faster or fitter,” Barton tells The Post. “But advances in metabolic science now allow us to assess what’s happening in people’s bodies in a way that works for almost everyone.”
To help them get there, TMPL focuses on detailed body analyses. Barton partnered with wellness expert Jim LaValle, whose Metabolic Code system measures hormone and cortisone levels, to create a personalized diet and fitness routine and to set overall fitness goals.
TMPL has 3-D computers to show folks how they’ll look once they reach their goals. “3-D doesn’t lie,” Barton says. “The technology is very sophisticated and the results are very accurate — and motivational.”
Barton isn’t the only one using data to maximize workouts. On the Upper East Side, the sprawling Asphalt Green complex just launched its all-body AG6 class, which uses a computerized, Spanish-made technology called PRAMA to monitor performance and boost output. And at Body Space Fitness near Union Square, owner Kelvin Gary uses InBody, a tech-heavy “body composition analyzer” that measures fat, water and muscle levels to determine the specific workouts a client might need, as well as how intense they should be and what body parts to focus on.
“Some people need to put on muscle,” Gary explains, “while others just need to make the muscle they already have work better.”
In the Flatiron District, Layla Luciano and Jay Centeno opened PACT PARK, the first local facility to offer group kickboxing classes focusing on the Nexersys system, which features seven boxing pads (equipped with Wi-Fi) that measure the speed and intensity of every kick and punch.
“The data helps devise customized positions and combos calibrated to within a split second,” says Luciano, who co-starred on Bravo’s “Work Out New York.”
Workout enthusiasts say they feel more motivated as a result. “I’ve never sweat so much from just one class,” says Tanaya Macheel, a 26-year-old Manhattan-based writer who works out at least five times weekly. “I am really competitive with myself, so workouts just don’t mean as much to me if I’m not tracking my performance.”
Six trainers share their best tips for staying consistent, accountable, and on track.
Getting your fitness on is a key component of weight loss, and even though certain types of exercise are known for their fat-burning capabilities, at the end of the day, there’s one rule that trumps all when it comes to working out for weight loss: consistency. Easier said than done, but 100 percent worth it.
Put simply, “in order to lose weight, you must burn more calories than you are consuming,” explains Jacqueline Kasen, a trainer at Anatomy at 1220 in Miami. Of course, your body burns calories just by livin’, but exercise helps create an even bigger calorie deficit. However, “the magic doesn’t happen overnight,” says Kelvin Gary, C.P.T., owner of NYC’s Body Space Fitness. (But, let’s be honest: Wouldn’t it be nice if it did work that way?)
“The whole process [of burning fat] takes time and energy,” adds Gary. “Consistency in the gym keeps the process moving in the right direction. It also helps you create the good habits that will eventually be your new normal, helping you reach those goals in a sustainable way.” Plus, if you take extended breaks, you risk losing some of the progress you’ve made from that rise-and-grind life.
Consistency means different things to different people, depending on your goals and what’s realistic for your lifestyle. Kasen reccomends aiming for four to five workouts per week—but you can start smaller, if you want. “Make the commitment to exercise at least three days per week—that will likely lead to wanting to exercise even more, like four or five days,” says Jenn Seracuse, director of Pilates at FLEX studios. “We are human and things happen, but it’s important not to let life completely derail you from your routine.”
Here are trainers’ best tips for staying consistent, accountable, and on track.
1. Try exercising at the same time every day.
Set yourself up for success as much as possible by picking a specific time to work out daily, suggest Kasen. Choose a time of day that works best for your schedule. It might take a couple of weeks to get comfortable with the new schedule, but before you know it, it’ll feel like a natural part of your routine. “Just like when you get up, the first thing you do is shower or brush your teeth—this is the same concept,” Kasen says.
Make a plan that actually fits your life,” says Jackie Dragone, director of barre at FLEX studios. “Take a look at your schedule and the extra pockets of time you have when you can truly commit to working out. If you know you are exhausted in the evening, commit to two workouts in the morning before work and two on the weekend. It’s about making it work for you.”
And if a regular routine just isn’t an option, schedule your workouts at the beginning of the week and stick to your plan (that means writing them down, too).
2. Try the hairband trick.
“Have a visual reminder that you see every day,” suggests Amelia DiDomenico, C.P.T., master trainer at Crunch Gyms. This can simply remind you to actually get your workout in, or it can be something that keeps you focused on your larger goals—whatever is motivating for you. “Just a small sticky note or even an image that reminds you where you’re going. You can use your bathroom, kitchen, or even your desk,” she says. Another sneaky trick? “Wear a rubber band or hair tie around your right wrist, and put it on your left wrist when have completed your workout.”
3. Do workouts you *actually* like.
Find ways to get active that you actually enjoy so you’re not tempted to skip your workouts—plus, you’re more likely to do it often and consistently if you have fun. “It’s different for everyone,” says Seracuse. “If you don’t love it and look forward to it, you won’t do it.” Consistency doesn’t mean doing the same thing every day—variety is important, and you should enjoy all (OK, most) of your workouts.
“If you dread boxing, try indoor cycling. Not a yogi? Maybe Zumba is for you,” adds Kara Hermes, a trainer at YG Studios. “There are so many fun and challenging types of fitness! With warmer weather approaching, experiment with outdoor workouts, too.”
4. Stay accountable with paid classes or workout buddies.
“Take group classes,” suggests Seracuse. “Signing up (and paying for) a group class keeps you accountable, because someone is expecting you and you’re also making a financial commitment to be there.” Not into classes? “Find an accountability buddy,” she suggests. “This doesn’t even mean you have to work out together. Set goals and share them to keep each other on track. Text each other your workout plans, and then let each other know when you’ve completed them. I do this with one of my best friends and it’s very effective. Whenever I don’t feel like following through, I think about having to text her and tell her I bailed.”
5. Above all, keep your goal in mind and remember why you started.
Being consistent isn’t easy at first, but it’s crucial to meeting your goals and setting up healthy habits. “Generally, when starting a new routine, you make sacrifices to stay on course,” says Hermes. And if you’re having a hard time sticking with your new routine, or are thinking about skipping your workout, remember why you started in the first place. “What you put into your goal is what you get out of it, and if you don’t put the work in you won’t see change,” says Dragone.
Be specific about your goals, too, suggests Gary. “If you’re clear on your goals, you can be clear on what you need to do to get there, and you’re more likely to work harder towards them.”
Personally, a morning workout makes me feel energized, positive, and capable of taking on whatever the world throws at me—and when I do hit that snooze button instead of lacing up my sneakers? I usually regret it. And let me tell you, I never thought I’d see the day. These trainers know what they’re talking about, huh?
Meet these morning unicorns, and try their #UpNOut secrets.
Egill Bjarki, Getty Images
Trainers are a rare breed of morning unicorns. What they can accomplish before 8 A.M. is pure magic—from training clients to teaching classes bright and early, many start their days before the sun rises and are out the door while the rest of us are still blissfully enjoying some shut-eye. But an early start to their workday doesn’t mean they don’t take time for themselves in the morning–actually, it’s a priority.
As fitness pros, they make sure they’re caring for themselves first, even when they’re insanely busy. And even though they don’t always squeeze their own workouts in that early (they are a little busy helping the rest of us do that), their mornings feel balanced, refreshing, and productive.
Below are five set-yourself-up-for-success habits that top trainers swear by. They may just inspire you to set your alarm 20 minutes earlier (ugh).
1. Hydrate (with water)—immediately.
Whether they go for a citrus-spiked sip or the regular stuff, drinking water is the first thing on many trainers’ healthy morning routines. “I usually drink two tall glasses of water to rehydrate me and get my metabolism going,” says Kelvin Gary, C.P.T., owner of NYC’s Body Space Fitness. (Staying hydrated is important for helping to keep your metabolism in tip-top shape, no matter how you drink it.) Plus, if you’re trying to get #UpNOut and to a workout, staying hydrated will help you power through your SoulCycle class. “Dehydration is one of the main causes of fatigue,” says Gary.
“I drink a liter of warm lemon water every morning before I eat or drink anything else,” adds Nerijus Bagdonas, a trainer at YG Studios. And while warm lemon water isn’t any more hydrating than regular water, if it’ll inspire you to sip on the H20, by all means, have at it.
2. Foam roll and stretch it out.
When your mind is awake but your muscles feel one step behind, there are ways to break your body out of that cooped-up, sleepy funk. “I foam roll first thing out of bed,” says Gary. “I’ve found this to be the best way to loosen up all the tightness from a night of sleep.” If you don’t have a foam roller, you can give your body a wake-up call with some stretching, too. “Stretching my back and breathing in child’s pose is helpful to release any tension formed from my sleeping position,” says Amelia DiDomenico, C.P.T., master trainer at Crunch Gyms.
3. Enjoy a cup of coffee.
Even unicorn morning people, like trainers, need a little jolt of java to kick off their day. “I drink coffee—it’s a habit at this point, and I love it,” says Rachel Robinson, a trainer at Barry’s Bootcamp Miami Beach. “I only use whole organic milk in my coffee and don’t use any sugar or creamers with high sugar.” Adds Gary, “I can’t go on without my French press coffee.” Know that feel—and here’s hoping YOUR morning java will also be serving up a dose of fitspiration soon.
4. Fuel up for the day with a healthy breakfast.
There’s no need to force yourself to eat if you’re not a breakfast person, but many trainers consider a healthy breakfast an essential part of their morning. “Eating a well-balanced breakfast is so important to me,” says Jackie Dragone, director of barre at FLEX studios. “My breakfasts contain protein, complex carbs, and healthy fat—this combo ensures that I have the energy I need to start the day.” A typical morning meal for Dragone is plain two-percent Greek yogurt with low-sugar granola and fruit, or two hard-boiled eggs with a slice of Ezekiel bread and some avocado slices.
Some trainers start their day with a small snack and eat a bigger breakfast later on. “Fresh fruit in the morning gives me enough energy and mental clarity to focus on my clients…it’s filled with healthy vitamins,” says DiDomenico. “I eat a larger, more substantial breakfast around 10 or 11 A.M.” Second breakfast = life.
5. Make time for reflection.
“I do my Headspace, a meditation app, to make sure my mind is clear and that I’m focused,” says Gary. “As a trainer, my job is very much tied to energy. I need to bring as much energy to every class that I teach and every client session. Energy, either good or bad, is contagious, so I need to make sure my mind is right. Plus, being an owner of a gym and having a team of trainers means that I have a lot of responsibilities that I need to be mentally sharp for.”
Even if you don’t start a regular meditation practice, taking just a minute to breathe in the morning can help center you for the day ahead. “I try to take at least five minutes, usually with my coffee, to just sit and focus on the day ahead and what I want to accomplish. This keeps me from getting overwhelmed by my schedule,” says Jenn Seracuse, director of Pilates at FLEX studios.
These morning #goals may feel overwhelming to try all at once, so start with one healthy morning habit and see if it fits into your routine. Build from there—and incorporate your own personalized healthy habits—and before you know it, you’ll be livin’ life like a bona fide morning person.
Summer barbecues; the days are long, the weather is warm, and the grill is fired up. Everybody loves a barbecue until we think of the staple dishes like hot-dogs, chips, potato salad, beer, and other tempting dishes that wreak havoc on one’s eating plan. No need to stress; I have tips to enjoy those summer festivities and stay focused on your goals.
1. Eat Before the Barbecue
Arriving to the barbecue on an empty stomach can lead to overindulging and choosing unhealthy dishes because they seem satisfying at the moment. Eat something before the party, this will help you exercise control and keep your favorites in smaller portions.
2. Bring a Healthy Side Dish
To make sure there is at least one healthy dish; bring your favorite one or try a new recipe. I do this for every family gathering; especially for barbecues. It is a great opportunity to share a healthier alternative with friends and family. They may hesitate at the sight of greens set next to the baked beans; but be the example! At the end of the party I am sure many will ask for the recipe; it happens all the time with my family!
Take the focus off all the grilled meat. Create colorful kabobs using eggplant, onions, mushrooms, bell peppers, squash and more! Let’s not forget about the summer staple, corn! By cooking corn, the levels of antioxidants and other healthy phytochemicals become more readily available (Berkleywellness.com). Be sure to leave the butter and salt out of the equation and enjoy the sweet savory flavor of summer corn.
4. Make a Lap Before Filling the Plate
Take a lap around the table before filling your plate and prioritize your selections. Swap out the traditional store bought baked beans, cole slaw, and macaroni salad – which are high in saturated fat, sodium and added sugar for a homemade version. Also, when filling your plate use the three-quarter rule. Your plate should contain grains, vegetables, legumes and/or fruit which leaves just a quarter for meat. This will help keep your portions balanced and make an excellent mixture of nutrients (Berkelywellness.com).
5. Think Before you Drink
Choose your beverages wisely. Even light beverages like wine coolers can have 150-300 calories in a 12-ounce bottle. Also, stay away from the ‘fancy’ alcoholic beverages like pina coladas, margaritas, and strawberry daiquiris which are high in calories and sugar. Even non-alcoholic beverages like sweet tea and fruit juices are filled with sugar. Be sure to read the labels and try to stick to water or flavored seltzer in order to stay hydrated and avoid drinking many empty calories.
6. Finish Eating? Time to Play
When you finished eating instead of spending time around the food table where it will be tempting to go back for seconds or thirds get moving. Toss the ball around with the little ones or organize a game. It can be anything to get you and others moving and doesn’t need to be too strenuous. Keep it light, keep it fun and everyone will want to participate!
Through the next couple weeks, you may celebrate outdoors with friends and family. The summer is a wonderful time to share, live, and enjoy. Stay focused on your goals and remember it is the time you spend with your company that is important and not the hamburgers, potato salad, or beer. Have a happy and healthy Fourth of July and see you on the turf soon!
Sarah teaches classes Monday mornings and Friday nights. Click here to sign up for a class with Sarah and ask all your burning questions regarding outdoor fitness and eating right in person!
“13 Tips for a Healthier Barbecue.” Berkeley Wellness, 2017 Remedy Health Media, LLC. Web. 19 June 2017. http://www.berkeleywellness.com/healthy-eating/food/slideshow/13-tips-healthier-barbecue
Coach Tony here to talk about the benefits of exercise on mental health. The physical benefits of exercising go without saying. The focus of this post though, is of the more underlying benefits that are not as obviously observed. The psychological and emotional benefits of regular movement show us the real value of having a fitness routine. With anxiety disorders affecting about 40 million adults and depression hitting more than 15 million adults in the U.S. alone, the advantages of finding your preferred form of exercise can be life changing.
The Benefits On Mental Health
As you become more active, neurotransmitters (such as norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine) and endorphins are released in your brain that specifically help you feel better, manage stress better and reduce the perception of pain. In addition, regular exercise has been shown to be connected strongly to help keep you cognitively sharp into later life as it helps prevent degeneration of the hippocampus, which is used in memory and learning. Moving on a regular basis can also help you get a better night’s sleep, which again goes hand in hand with stress reduction. Also, various studies have shown that keeping fit can create new brain cells and improve overall brain performance.
Put simply, if you want to have a higher sense of overall well-being, you should start moving.
Where Do I Start?
Now that we know exercise is good for you, let us make a game plan.
Now I know that life happens and then priorities start to shift. Try not to have an all-or-nothing mentality. Instead, see if you can have more of an Always Something. See if you can do just a little something most days of the week. Just a 5 min walk will help, if you feel like you can’t do it because you are exhausted.You can also schedule physical activity just like you would with work to fit small amounts into an already overwhelmed schedule. If you do not want to start out being in front of people, maybe home workouts may be better. Need to be held accountable? Find a walking buddy.
Walking is good way to start slow with something that is low impact if you are starting from scratch and not sure what to do first. All it takes it moving 30 minutes a day a few times a week. If you don’t have that kind of time in one block, try breaking it up. Go for 3 10-minute walks or 2 15-minute walks. If the work week does not even allow for that, then become a weekend warrior and fit in physical activity any way you can. Moderate intensity is a good place to start. If you are going for a walk with a friend, you should be able to have conversation comfortably and feel a little bit warmer.
Also, set yourself up for success. If you have higher energy levels in the morning, go for a walk or a jog when you wake up and make yourself a nice breakfast when you get back home. Busy work schedule? See if you can get yourself moving in the middle of the day.
The body and mind are closely related. When you start to treat the body better through exercise and relieve physical tension, the mind will start to relax. The mind-body connection is strong. Capitalize that fact and leverage it to your advantage. Tend to the body and mind will reap the benefit. Find something you enjoy and stick with it. I should mention though, that if you do want some of these benefits faster, you will have to bump up the intensity. Do with this what you will. Have fun and be healthy.
Until next time Famiglia,
Want to learn more? Click here and here to learn how to adjust your diet to eat, move and live better.
Coach Tony here with a few thoughts on one of my favorite meals of the day – breakfast. One of the things that I love is starting the day off on a strong meal. Personally, that means having a hearty feeding that also happens to be healthy and tasty. That helps to fuel me for the day and leaves me feeling light and strong. That being said, it is not so easy doing that consistently with work and life. In a time where convenience and novelty dictates the majority of our decisions, we need to keep our eyes on the bigger picture. With US adult obesity rates consistently rising since 1990, rates range from as “low” as 20% to as high as 35.9% in 2014. New York, by the way, ranks 39th with an adult obesity rate of 27%. Guys, this isn’t about doing the healthy things because we want to – we have to.
Benefits Of A Healthy Breakfast
Having breakfast is always a personal choice, but let me be clear about the benefits. Those that have breakfast consistently also usually notice:
Less body fat
Less chronic, non-communicable disease
Better food choices later in the day
Improved bowel movements
Balanced blood sugars
How To Construct The Perfect Breakfast
Now that we’re all on the same page about the benefits, let us now clear up what a better breakfast looks like. Under ideal circumstances, breakfast should be made up of real, unprocessed foods that are protein dense, varied vegetables, and whole grains such as oats, millet, quinoa, amaranth, sprouted grains, etc.
When The Real World Hits
We all know the real world doesn’t always allow for the perfect breakfast. That’s when the donuts, pastries, fast food, frozen meals, and other polluted calories take over. Now, let me be perfectly honest – I love the way all these things taste. They’re delicious! But what I hate with a burning passion of a thousand suns is how I feel afterwards. The super sugary, factory made, nutritionless, processed crap sold for cheaper than a carton of eggs and “cooked” faster than it takes for you to send an email offers no real substance. Feeling heavy, slow, bloated, and irritable makes just daily living activities uncomfortable. Add in a workout and holy crap am I hurting! In my world, I value strength and resilience. I’ll be damned if anything compromises that, even my own choices.
Tips For You
We now know that eating breakfast is good for you. We also now have a better understanding of what types of food to avoid. Let’s now get to what you can do right now. Include foods and meals you can have that can become routine. Here’s how I like to approach my morning feeding. Like meat? Go for quality such as uncured bacon, sausage made in the traditional way, and ham that looks like it came from an animal instead of square packaging. Like starch? Opt for english muffins instead of bagels, croissants, and rolls. Throw in plenty of veggies with your eggs. Make a quiche or frittata so you only have more feedings from cooking once. One great healthy meal is worthless if you only eat it once a year. Make it routine. It needs to become habit for you to reap the benefits. Once breakfast is second nature, then you can start playing around. Does it have enough protein? What vegetables are in it? Are these whole grains? Is this food real, unprocessed and made with love?
As these April showers turn into May flowers and the weather starts to turn for the better, your opportunities to continue to improve your physical health multiply immensely. With May being National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, the time is now to start making yourself your priority and to help your family and friends as well.
When I think of National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, the first thing that comes to my mind is our youth. Much of my experience in this field comes from working as a Certified Athletic Trainer and Strength/Performance Coach for the youth population. My past experiences include working with local high schools and currently at John McEnroe Tennis Academy as an Assistant Performance Coach.
For your reference: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that only 1 out of 3 children are physically active every day. This include less then 5% of adults participating in 30 minutes of physical activity a day. Also, children now a days can spend up to 7+ hours per day in front of some type of screen.
The benefits to youth health run two-fold; one, for your kids and second, for your family. For you as the as the adult, it gives you an immediate connection into the lives of your kids. Taking your kids on a hike, going a bike ride together, or a walk around the block is invaluable time that you won’t be able to get back. We at Body Space Fitness encourage you to Celebrate National Physical Fitness and Sports Month as a family!
How to Partake in National Physical Fitness and Sports Month:
Below are some links to help find out more about youth health and fitness or feel free to ask me when you stop by Body Space Fitness:
As the weather gets warmer, more opportunities arise for a night on the town or hanging out at an awesome, trendy, brewery or rooftop bar all while trying to get your body “summer” ready. Of course, at all of these new trendy spots, there’s a 99.9% chance you’ll find alcohol and will likely end up with a glass in your hand.
As fitness professionals, we hear, “do I have to give up alcohol?”, or something of the sort. Do not get me wrong, I am also guilty of asking the same question when I began my journey into strict dieting and the competition life.
Many people don’t know that I used to drink a lot; in frequency and quantity. I had my fun in college but I began drinking more as a post grad; going to bars every night or drinking by myself at home. I drank pretty much anything! If I didn’t like it, I would still drink because it gave me the escape I looked for daily. My drinking habits consisted of a frequency of 6 days a week; around 4 to 6 glasses of wine, maybe throw a cocktail in between there if I were with friends. If I were home alone, I’d have maybe 2 to 3 drinks of a distilled beverage; whiskey, rum, it didn’t matter.
Fast forward to beginning my fitness journey in New Jersey when I began working out consistently. I participated in boot camp classes, got myself a trainer and took yoga for variety and restorative purposes. I felt better about myself while I was getting into better shape. Still, I drank like a sailor and didn’t watch what I ate too closely.
The Struggle of Cutting Out Alcohol:
After becoming a Flywheel Instructor, I made the choice to become the person I preached about in my classes. I found myself as a competition coach and began dreaming of becoming a female bodybuilder. Placed on a strict diet, I ate as clean as possible; no processed foods or anything with a shelf life. I made a significant cut on my sugar intake and began drinking tons of water (a gallon a day to be exact).
I struggled with it for months. Struggling to eat 5 to 6 times a day and drinking that much water was hell on my bladder. While I stuck to my diet and workout plans, I would still hang out with my friends and drink to get DRUNK! I was limited to ONLY three glasses of red wine per week. This was torture because 3 glasses of wine was my version of “pre-gaming”.
I followed the rules and stuck to three glasses a week. I was so focused on my fitness goal that sometimes I had less than the limit of three. One day, I recalled not drinking for about 3 weeks. At that moment, I decided to have a glass of wine and the result was feeling like a truck smacked me in the face the next morning.
After that, I stopped drinking for 11 months and the change was remarkable. Most of the time, others are reluctant to commit to fitness goals because it takes a great deal of sacrifice. Cutting back on the drinks is one of them. While the choice is yours on how significantly you want to cut back, I recommend under two to three drinks a week. Whether you are trying to build muscle, maintain your current figure, or lose weight, limiting your alcohol intake is important because it plays a crucial role is digestion. When you consume your adult beverage, your body wants to metabolize the alcohol first. It lowers the body’s ability to generate new proteins, a process crucial for building muscle. Not only that, but we’ve heard it before; alcohol dehydrates you. Water is essential for weight loss but it also plays a role in building muscle mass. Composed of about 70% of water, alcohol acts as a diuretic and pulls water out. Thus, reducing the process of breaking down proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Alcohol impairs the recovery period and has a direct effect on athletic performance.
Tips for you:
While everyone’s fitness goal may vary and we enjoy having a drink or two with family and friends, I challenge you try limiting yourself to 2 to 3 drinks of wine or clear spirits per week. (If you need a mixer, try club soda. No added sugar!) Not to worry, I’ll be there with you. My next drink won’t be until after October 2017.
Who is Crystal Fraser?
Crystal is one of our newest coaches here at Body Space Fitness! She joined us in November 2016 and currently coaches on Saturday mornings. Crystal is also a FlyWheel Instructor and an IFBB Figure Professional. Join her on her continued journey of going alcohol-free!
The top three reasons I think a pushup should be a mainstay in everyone’s training program:
In a recent article in Shape Magazine, I gave my advice on what form I think you should use while doing a pushup. I want to take a second to step back and be clear on why are we doing a pushup and why I think they’re a great exercise that should be in every training program.
Number one, a pushup is a great core exercise. What a lot of people don’t realize is that you’re using force generated in your upper body to affect your dead weight in your lower body. That force needs to be transferred in your core, so in its most basic state, a pushup is a core exercise.
Number two, a pushup is metabolically challenging, meaning relative to other exercises, you can get a lot more metabolic response out of doing a proper pushup potentially than doing, say, a dumbbell chest press, or a bench press, or a cable press.
Number three, no matter what the situation, a pushup is easily measurable. What I mean by that is you may have a gym, you may not have a gym. You may have a gym with a bench, with dumbbells, you may not have a gym with a bench with dumbbells. No matter where you are, no matter what you’re doing, no matter what equipment you have access to, you can always do the exact same pushup. Therefore, it’s an exercise that you can measure consistently no matter what the situation.
Now, that being said, a couple of things about a pushup that I do want to mention is A, I try as much as possible not to do pushups from our knees. That pretty much takes the need to have a strong core not necessarily out of the picture, but it reduces the need, and that’s one of the things that we’re going for. B, I do want you to have a full range of motion with my neck in line with my shoulders. C, when necessary, I do want you to regress or progress the pushup, meaning if I cannot keep proper form, I want to first elevate my hands.
What I mean by this is put my hands up on a 12-inch box, a 6-inch box, an 18-inch box, or even a bar on a squat rack. When ready, I then want to maybe potentially put my hands on an unstable surface, or elevate my feet to progress. Enjoy reading this, and enjoy reading the article in the March edition of Shape Magazine, and feel free to ask questions if you have them.
Kelvin and his expert advice were featured in the 2017 March issue of Shape Magazine. Grab one at your local bodega and skip ahead to page 68 to get the deets!
To help BSF’s clients get to know Alyssa better, we played 21 questions with her. Find out how she teaches her clients how to deadlift, her personal “fitspiration,” favorite workout song, and much more here!
1. How did you first hear about BSF?
I met Kelvin at a fitness event and we bonded over being alum’s of the _ (The University of Miami).. the rest was history! I knew he’d be my coach.
2. What made you want to work here?
The family environment. From clients, coaches, front desk staff, everyone was just so close and I knew immediately this was a team that cares about each other and always strives to get better.
3. Where can we find you in between training clients?
Either lifting something heavy, running, or reading. Being back in school means #nevernotreading
4. What will we find in your gym bag?
Whey Protein, water, 2 pairs of outfit changes, a biostat book (see previous answer) and Justin’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups (da bomb.)
5. What do you do when you’re feeling unmotivated to workout?
I watch Eric Thomas’ speech, “How bad do you want Success?” Gets me going every.single.time. Watch it.
6. When you’re planning out a class, what do you think about?
How can I make the program both effective and challenging, all while making it a fun experience. At the end of he day I want to connect to clients to ensure they trust me and want to come back.
7. What is your favorite exercise to do?
Deadlifts (with a donut on the side)
8. What is your favorite exercise to teach?
Deadlifts. Most people aren’t familiar with picking things up with their legs and not their back. When you say “Take your ASSets to the back wall”, everyone immediately chuckles and knows what to do.
9. What will we never find you working out without?
10. What do you do to relax?
Sit and read on my roof, lay on my yoga mat and not do yoga, or binge Netflix.
11. What do you tell clients who are intimidated by working with a personal trainer?
To choose one they feel the most themselves and comfortable with. In a lot of ways, a personal trainer should be, and most likely will be, more than just a personal trainer. They truly are people who will become so close to you, helping, guiding, and watching you progress.
12. Who is your “fitspiration”?
Not sure I only have one, but any strong bad-ass lady. The best part is, I don’t have to search far.. we have 3 at BSF!
13. Favorite cheat meal?
Oh my, I can only choose one? I am a sucker for chicken wings and FRIES. I will judge a restaurant off their fries sometimes harsher than the food. Terrible, I know.
14. Pre-workout fuel?
Iced Coffee / Banana and PB
15. Post-workout fuel?
Justin’s dark Peanut butter cup!
17. What did you want to be when you were growing up?
Brain surgeon. Neuroscience is still my favorite.
18. Celebrity doppelgänger?
I have gotten so many randoms that I don’t even see it. What do you think?
19. What celebrity would you love to train and why?
Jim Carrey; because I’m sure when I’d tell him to take his “ASSets to the back wall” he’d reenact the talking butt scene from Pet Detective.
20. What is your favorite song to workout to?
When I’m lifting I’ll listen to anything Kanye West. When I’m running, anything Mumford and Sons. Weird, I know but the heavy acoustics give me rhythm for my cadence.
21. What is the best advice you ever received?
Where there’s a will there’s a way. Something my mom always reinforced on me growing up. It has been sort of a measure for me to know when I really, really want something. It’s a willingness to go after it, and find out how, but also what I’m willing to sacrifice to get it done.