Try These Workouts at Home
Getting in shape is easier than you think. Four local trainers explain where to start.
Are you super competitive? Many will try a new workout because a friend is doing it—and fail to grasp that their friend has been on that program for months. Whatever your ego is telling you, don’t try to keep up right away, cautions Chauncey Graham (pictured on page 51), a certified strength coach and personal trainer with specialties in sports performance and corrective exercise. Instead, focus first on mastering the basics, such as the proper body alignment for squats and lifting weights. “Keeping your torso and your core stable and learning body awareness, the mind/muscle connection—that is the start of fitness,” says Graham, who works at Gold’s Gym in Ballston.
Two universal exercises that Graham recommends are side planks and what he calls a “bird dog”—resting with your knees and hands on the floor, lifting the right arm and left leg parallel to the floor, holding for a few seconds, then doing the same with the opposite arm and leg. These isometric moves build stability in the torso and around the joints. Instead of crunches, which can strain the neck, try a “hollow hold”—lying with your lower back pressed into the floor, then lifting your shoulder blades and legs (first bent, then straight) while tightening and holding the abdominal muscles. Treat exercise as a habit similar to flossing or taking a shower, he says: “If you can make it a daily routine, you’ll be constantly achieving goals and you’ll want to do more.” Fluids, fluids, fluids.
Nutrition Tip: Fluids, fluids, fluids.
Yes, we all need to drink more water. Graham, who holds a fitness nutrition designation from the International Sports Sciences Association, recommends water infused with electrolytes, especially during the summer when heat and physical activity will sap the body of nutrients. (You can try labels such as SmartWater, Propel or the store brand at Whole Foods, or make your own at home.) Muscles and neurons rely on electrolytes to help rebuild damaged tissue. For weight loss, some experts also recommend drinking water a half-hour before meals, which increases feelings of fullness so you eat less.