Darin St. George: Your body, your gym
One thing that never changes is the "remember when?" moments that occur when I meet up with a longtime exercise enthusiast that I have met along my fitness journey.
We remember being fitter than we were, lifting more than we actually did and never having mullets. And forget about the Spandex; never even touched the stuff!
This has happened lately with my friend Jeff, who I have known since we were both lifting weights in a local bowling alley turned "only hardcore gym ever," Pep's Gym.
We engaged in the routine of the day, basing everything around the squat, bench press and deadlift moves - all competitive power-lifting stuff. Everyone did it and many never stopped. And that's where Trainer X steps in.
You see, Jeff meets with me once a week and I give him a routine that would seem like it were from the science fiction channel to most members of Pep's, but Jeff is loving it. Only problem is, when he's on his own, he pops in his VHS tape of "Back to the Future" and his routine is definitely as old as I feel on a Monday morning. What to do, what to do? How about we drop the weights and old-school dogma and instead I show you how I'm going to propose to Jeff this coming week at the gym?
Tweak some old favorites and update your body. Everyone knows push-ups and squats but try clap push-ups and jumping squats instead. Clap push-ups aren't impossible, and I bet Jeff will have a newfound love/hate for them this week when I super-set 15 claps with 20 jumping squats for four rounds to start his routine.
Hit the ground and stay there awhile. Take a cue from yoga and strengthen your lower back and core with these four exercises in a row: plank punches, superman, lizard on a hot rock and lying side bends. All four can be done on a mat in rapid succession and pack a powerful wallop when it comes to pounding your core.
When in doubt, do the moves that hurt the most. We've all done wall sits at sports practice; dig deep into your memory and try to remember all the gym class exercises you've forgotten because they hurt so darn much. Walk around like you're playing crab soccer after a set of chair dips for your triceps or stand on your head in a headstand and do miniature pushups...I guarantee it will kill and your body will get stronger, faster.
I know that many of these exercises may seem alien, against the grain or just plain absurd but if you go to the top of the mountain, you'll really get it done, son.
Have a great week, gang.
Darin St. George is a personal fitness coach at Gold's Gym in Natick, Mass. Visit his website atwww.TrainerX.com.