Thursday, May 23, 2013

To Gym or Not to Gym: The Case for Fitness Everywhere!

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For those of you out there who know me, you already know that I am not the type to spring for fads in fitness. As a matter of fact, when it comes to judging a new fitness craze or cult workout, I am downright bordering on pretentious. But... that's only because I'm a downright genius. Well... not really. I've just spent more time than I would like to admit in gyms, talking to 'fitness gurus'. So when people ask me if they should try out Zumba, I promptly inform them that we are no longer friends and to keep an eye on their Facebook friends count because it just went -1.

I mean, c'mon people! If it's something you can do after a few long islands, it's not a workout. And unless you are leading a completely sedentary lifestyle and are on the verge of having the doors to your place widened, I can tell you with Nostradamus-like accuracy what Zumba will do for you... nothing. Leave that and the shake weight for your mom and her bridge group.

If you are reading this blog, chances are you already cook healthy food, workout all the time and look pretty damn good if I might say so myself. Yeah, you sexy beast! This post is for you! Let's talk about RESULTS. 

I hear it all the time... 

"David, I'm working with Brad, my personal trainer at LA Fitness, but I don't see results anymore."


"Summertime snuck up on me! Even after 4 months at the gym, I'm not exactly beach-worthy and 'so and so' will be there. I need to look GOOD! I mean, GOOD! What do I do, David?"

From the no-nonsense way I started this article, you might think I'm going to suggest jumping on a treadmill and grinding it out for 2 hours a day. For an absolute stranger, yeah... that might be my suggestion. But for you? You are a sexy beast... you need more. You, my friend, are fine-tuning with the precision of an infinite decimal. 

You need to do the following...

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That's right! It's already warming up so now's the time to start working on that tan. Go for a jog with a friend or Charlie your dog. Got a bike? Ride it. I don't mean leisurely. I mean go 'Lance Armstrong' on that thing (minus the blood doping of course). GO FOR TIME. Get a $30 bike speedo, attach it to your bike and see how much you can improve your mile. Lastly, do not underestimate the pool. There is a reason why everyone tunes in for the swimming portion of the Olympics. I mean... look at those bodies! When I saw the bodies on Avatar, I thought to myself 'No way! Thank God it's CGI and not real life!', but then I saw the 400 meter swim at the Olympics and hit the pool shortly thereafter with a renewed passion.

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"But David, you HATE classes!". No, I don't. I HATE some classes, not all of them. Which classes do I HATE? Well, we already addressed those seen at your local gym's Silver Sneaker's program, such as Zumba. Now let's address the rest of the offenders.

Generally speaking, classes offered at the big box gyms suck. How does one figure that out? Ask yourself - Could I have done this workout without the instructor?. If you answered 'yes', then you most likely took a class at LA Fitness, Life Time Fitness or whatever big box you walked into. The instructor didn't motivate you, instruct you properly or even bother asking if you were new to the class. That's because most instructors at these types of gyms are not certified, nor have they done any sort of in-house training. And why should they? They only get paid $30-50 per class. Most just do it for the free membership.

The big corporate gym owners don't care if you show up for a class. They don't make any extra money when you show up. It's not part of their business model. As a matter of fact, it makes much more sense for them to charge your account each month for membership and have you NOT show up for group classes. I mean, heaven forbid you put their equipment to use and it breaks from wear and tear!

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So what classes should you take? Those classes with instructors that care about how you feel and perform in their class. Why? Because they make money on your attendance and they will work hard to make you come back! They have to earn your love and commitment. So pedal that indoor cycling bike until it breaks! They don't care! Sure, these gyms are small, but they have classes back-to-back on the hour. And instead of having to fight for your place in class like you do at the big box gyms, you can reserve your place beforehand and take your sweet time getting there, knowing your spot is secure.

Here are a few classes that will help you in your quest for the perfect summer bod (in order of preference)...

*SOUL CYCLE - Indoor cycling that will get you dancing on the bike!
*TRX - Suspension training that leverages gravity and body weight to perform hundreds of exercises!
*FAST TWITCH - Circuit-based training that utilizes your speed and power!
*CROSSFIT - It's a cult. Find one.

If you find yourself hitting a wall with your workouts, maybe it's time you tried something new! Mix it up a bit, hit the pool, visit a boutique studio and I'll see you sexy things at the beach!

David Prado is a cycling instructor, personal trainer, general fitness enthusiast and recent law school grad (woot! woot!). On his days off, he can be found on his road bike, biking more miles than you've ever thought possible in one day. He also makes a mean mojito and dances salsa like a pro, thereby making him one of the most fascinating men in the Atlanta area, if not the most opinionated. 

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