I love working out! I am a workout junkie, but no matter how much crossfit/HIIT/Tabata/running I do, I have always had a hard time getting the 6-pack of my dreams. That’s when I started to do pull-ups. Being able to do one pull-up for most people, right off that bat, isn’t gonna happen. You either need to use that nifty pull-up helper machine at your gym or jump up so that your chin is above the bar, and then slowly lower yourself down. This is the best way to start to learn how to do a pull-up. You will begin to engage the lats, mid-back, rear delts, biceps, forearms, and core. All key muscles one uses to do this exercise. Once you become strong enough, stop jumping. Hang from the bar an pull yourself up! Repeat this several times. Pretty soon you’ll be doing 10 in a row. I’ve really noticed a big difference in my body now that I’ve incorporated pull-ups into my daily workouts. I’m still waiting for my dream 6 pack…. But my lower abs are definitely flatter, and I am a much stronger woman now. I believe in the statement “Strong Not Skinny.” That’s my goal. It’s kinda cool being able to do more pull-ups than the men at the park.
Heavy Weight Lifting
Years ago, after an ugly break up, I entered a fitness contest at a local gym. The program was free and basically just tracked your progress over a 12 week period. Prizes were awarded to participants judged to have made the most headway. I needed focus in my life and to get back my self-confidence so I felt like this was a perfect opportunity. For me, it was also an opportunity to give personal training a-go. I had dabbled in training one on one before without much success or positive feelings about the monetary investment required. Now, single, pissed off and feeling competitive I was determined to win this contest.
After assessing my physical situation (naturally athletic but totally out of shape) my new trainer immediately got me lifting weights. He had no reservation handing me huge dumbbells to work with, kettlebells to swing around and barbells to lift. It was extremely intimidating since I’d never touched these kinds of weights. Positioning was awkward and at first I felt self-conscious about playing on the “boys’ side” of the gym. Eventually, I got the hang of handling the equipment and started to feel super proud getting over the intimidation. I felt so mighty but also scared I might start to beef up. My trainer did a great job explaining how hormonally it would be highly unlikely for me to develop masculine muscle bulk and reassured me that the more muscle I developed the more calories my body would burn to sustain them. Ultimately, that’s how I would lose weight while toning up. I went all in and eventually my trainer taught me some awesome classic Olympic lifting like barbell squats, deadlifts etc.
My body transformed more quickly than I had ever seen it change before. I felt amazing. My low back pain was gone and I was strong. I got 3rd place in the fitness contest, got back together with my boyfriend (now my husband) and became an official weight lifting enthusiast.
I haven’t lifted much heavy weight in the past year due to pregnancy but now that my daughter is four months old, I’m looking forward to slowly working it back into a diverse fitness routine.
As I walk through this world, I often feel as though I’m the Duke of Earl. The strangers on the street, well, they see me. They recognize me. And they come running from all directions. And, to me and my strong arms, they ask the same question: “Coach, how are you in such great shape? You never work out!”
In response, I can only refer to the great movie Ladybugs and the response from the great Jackee Harry when Rodney Dangerfield asks what happened to her exercise regimen:
Rebecca Lee Lerman
I am an avid yogi and just started my new article series, Hapa Yoga. You can read about my favorite Summer Yoga Postures here! While I am focusing on heart expansion through back bending these summer months, I think it’s also important, when going into Fitness, to remember the mind. We must also slow down, close our eyes and breath. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am finding that Social Media has taken over a lot of my life. If I have a second to spare, I reach for my phone to mindlessly scroll through Facebook or Instagram. After a while, this hurts my eyes, affects my posture, and also affects my mood. Social Media is a great platform to showcase the best of ourselves, and edit out the worst of ourselves. The stress of looking at someone else’s “perfect” life may make us focus on what’s missing in ours. Your mood can greatly affect your body. Our brain is the center of our nervous system, and when our mind isn’t in the right frame, our body can suffer. We can experience aches and pains, insomnia, bad digestion, and anxiety. Back Bending Postures can certainly help counteract this. Heart Opening is a great way to access your inner joy and feel more content in your life in the present moment. However, if you find yourself with a second to spare, maybe try and not reach for the phone so fast. Maybe we will close our eyes, sit up tall, and breath instead. Let the mind go quiet. Let the mind rest.
I worked at a classical Pilates studio for my first year living in NYC, and I became addicted. Taking intense classes with a Master instructor will show you how much of a workout Pilates really is. Sure, you’ve probably heard it all: it’s all core work, low-impact, and you can do it at home! Well, that’s all kind of true. Yes, it’s core work, but there’s also a lot of deep muscle work happening. I’ve never felt more stretched and strong than I do after an intense Pilates tower class. It’s low impact, but take with the right instructor and you will sweat! You can do it at home, but you can only do so much watching videos online. Pilates is a practice; do the work and go to a class! And the best part? You can pair it with any workout and it will make your life better. It’s great for runners, weightlifters, swimmers, everything is made better with Pilates!
I am so bad at working out by myself. I do love working out, but I find it so boring as an activity by myself. That’s why I love a good group fitness class. I essentially treat working out as social time. Sometimes it takes some searching to find a class that works for you, but when you do it is so worth forcing your friends to go with you and feeling fit! Most of the time you will find me at Barry’s Bootcamp or another high intensity interval workout. I like the music during class and how the workout is divided between treadmill cardio and weight strength training.
Guest Contributor: Lauren Lola
With the weather getting warmer, I'm getting back into my routine of running a few times a week. I don't really like this particular exercise, but it's really one of the easiest exercises one can do.
I'm also a martial artist. I can do karate, taekwondo, and I'm slowly learning a little bit of escrima (Filipino stick fighting). I keep my skills up as often as I can, although it would be nice to train with others on occasion and maybe learn from each other.
Guest Contributor: Max Nupen
Yoga. I have to set aside time to find my inner peace now and then.