We’ve come a long way since step class and aerobics were the two most exciting ways to get fit. With endless options on every gym corner, it can sometimes be overwhelming to figure out where you fit in. We’ve done some of the legwork for you in finding a workout that suits your fitness personality, so that you can save your limbs for crawling home when you’re done.
For pushing your workout – and your body – to the max
If you wake up thinking, “Today, I’m going to kill it,” chances are, you’re the Power Prowler. Power Prowlers love to push the limits in the fitness world. Picking heavy things up, throwing heavy things down and moving heavy things all around are essentials to your routine, in addition to testing stamina, endurance and agility. You are aiming to be the overall athlete. Speaking of overall athletes, we turned to ex-NFL player and now-owner of 212 Health and Performance of Rumford, Kerry Taylor, with questions about the importance of including a solid weight-training program into your plan.
“I could give you all the detailed benefits of what weight training does externally, but in the simplest terms, what excites me most about it is what it does for the inside – the stuff you can’t see. It gives you energy, focus and a determination to dominate whatever task may come your way. If you can get your mind straight, you become unstoppable in all areas of your life.” she explains.
Kerry believes the best workouts are the ones that continuously challenge you to become a better version of yourself each week, and to really stick to a weight-training program, it has to be energetic, fun, motivational or with a group of like-minded coaches or trainees. When it comes to lifting, Kerry stands firm on what he believes each client should be able to do, for the most beneficial outcome. “A client should be able to perform essential movement patterns to the best of their ability – which include a good dose of hinging, pulling, bracing and rotation,” Kerry begins. “We live in a society that puts us into bad posture regularly and in positions where we are not prepared to move properly. Weight training with movements that include the above tactics allow clients to move better, functionally, over time. And when you move better, you build up and get stronger, and push forward toward that goal of being in the best shape of your life.”
Examples of (hip) hinging moves are deadlifts; pulling moves are rows; bracing refers to stabilizing your core completely before performing a move and rotation is as it sounds: transferring force through a stable mid-section. Combining all of these forces transforms in to better overall body movement, as Kerry explains.
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Get ready to sweat with these cardio workouts
The Sweat Addict looks for that revved up, nonstop pump that leaves your heart and muscles fatigued but your brain on fire. High-intensity workouts have been proven to be an ideal and optimal form of cardiovascular exercise, resulting in reductions in body fat and increases in muscle mass and aerobic power. Plus, the endorphin high after you’re done is as real as Housewives pretend to be.
Alison Benfeito, longtime fitness pro and trainer extraordinaire at 426 Fitness in Warren talks about the importance of getting those big sweat sessions into your weekly routine. “HIIT training (High Intensity Interval Training) can rev up metabolism and reduce body fat, and, when used in conjunction with a solid strength training program, can help build leaner, more defined muscles.” Alison recommends HIIT training twice a week, alongside all the other varieties of body-drenching workouts that contribute to an ideal fitness routine.
“It’s integral to keep sweat sessions balanced in your regimen. For instance, working with kettlebells builds long-lasting functional strength; rebounding (a mini-trampoline workout) gives a fantastic cardiovascular workout, HIIT does all of what I mentioned already, and yoga provides stability, flexibility and overall strength,” Alison informs. She also doesn’t believe in scheduling “rest days,” saying that we rest enough as a whole and it’s vital to make a decision to get some type of activity in every day, even if it’s not a super intense workout.
Other high-energy workouts that could easily fit into this energetic personality are ones on the Indo-rower (a water rower), variations of barre-infused classes, bootcamps, spin, plyometrics or any style of exercise that keeps your heart rate up. Overall, any type of workout that is cardiovascular in nature will increase metabolism, improve your stress profile, increase your ability to recover and manage health conditions. And did we mention that you’ll sweat?
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Because good for the mind is always good for the body
If you understand the dedication and discipline of a solid exercise routine, but require an extra level of healing on a more transcendent level, you, my friend, are The Spiritual Gangster. Your need to open your heart rivals the need to open your hips. Kyla Rose Maher, founder of spiritual boutique and yoga and meditation center, Long Time Sun Apparel of Newport, remembers the first time she did yoga in her early 20s.
“I was going through a tough time and I needed something to get me out of the dark place I was in. I became interested in Kundalini Yoga, which is very physical but also has a strong mental and spiritual component. I felt so high after my first class. This practice was so unbelievably healing, that it ended up changing my life.” She went on to study under many master teachers, obtain specific practice certifications, and teach around the world – which all led her to her brick and mortar Newport studio, where she continues to share the knowledge and benefits she has practiced for years.
Kyla explains that yoga, on so many levels, contributes to overall wellbeing and the benefits are endless, but when it comes to its contribution to fitness, two big rewards are increased flexibility and building of muscular strength. She firmly believes that anyone wanting to try any practice of yoga for the first time simply needs to just show up. “Yoga is not a competition. No matter the level you work at, you will reap the benefits.”
Practicing yoga, in any of its forms, will give you optimal physical and emotional health. In fact, I’m sure that regardless of your fitness personality, you would be remiss in letting this workout slide from your weekly schedule.
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Keep your body and mind engaged with unique and interesting workouts
If you fall into The Keep Me Motivated personality, you want a great fitness routine, but it needs to be interesting, unique or possess an accountability factor to keep you from slipping off the wagon and back onto the couch. You aren’t looking to kill your body with the highest level of intensity, but, rather, guide your body with purposeful (and joyful) intent – while working up a good sweat.
The good news is that there are tons of workouts that fit into this category.
Mora Babineau and Elizabeth Dewey, former dancers and current owners of Studio47 in Barrington, talk to me about the advantages of two such workouts that fit the ticket for engaging commitment: Barre and Pilates. Barre classes are ballet-inspired and combine elements of Pilates, dance, yoga and functional training, with moves choreographed to motivating music, while Pilates is a set of mindful movement exercises performed (sometimes) on a special apparatus with intent and purpose for overall body enhancement.
“Barre, much like Pilates, has a long list of benefits, the main ones being long, lean muscles, increased bone density, a strong core, mental awareness, and overall strength and flexibility,” they begin to tell me. “Both require you to recruit smaller muscles and work in controlled movement patterns that don’t utilize momentum, thus, you are building strength through control.”
The ladies go on to talk about the positive body-changing results that become more apparent each week of practice and urge all ages to give it a try. “Barre always has a fun, new choreographed class (with great playlists) to keep you challenged and, at our studio, we always say that Pilates is for every body, because it is so adaptable to any body type or injury, and its focus of strength, flexibility and balance are so important to your fitness regime.” Both ladies finish up by telling me that the more you practice Barre and Pilates, the better you’ll become at it, but that ease also brings new challenges as you work at deeper levels and increase your overall body awareness.
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