Above: OrangeTheory fitness
Whether you’re new to the gym, go every day or just like running through the reasons to return after a hiatus, it’s wise to review the basics. Pros across Westport use a variety of moves to get us into shape one sprint, one pump, one punch, one lunge, one lift at a time, and all agree on these four pillars of a smart workout plan.
Across the board, fitness pros we polled agreed that hydration is key for keeping up your energy, regulating your body temperature and supporting your overall health. “Keep in mind that optimal hydration occurs the twenty-four hours before your activity,” says Suzanne Vita Palazzo, owner of Upper Deck Fitness, which offers small-group cardio, strength and yoga classes. “So be sure to drink up the day before, not just the morning of, your sweat session.”
The next essential for those chasing optimal fitness: Don’t blow off stretching before and after your class. “Warm up appropriately for your workout,” advises Amy “Pistol” Mandelbaum, CrossFit Master and owner of CrossFit Westport. “Don’t jump in unless you have gotten your heart rate up and have lubricated your muscles and joints with some dynamic stretching. It can improve the range of motion in your workouts and decrease the chance of injury or tearing.”
Effective workouts also require fuel, so be sure to watch what makes up your daily diet. “Eat a small carb/protein-balanced snack one to two hours before and after a big workout,” says Debra Friedman, fitness director at Saugatuck Rowing Club. “Protein helps repair your muscles, and carbs refills them with energy, recovering your muscles and energy system for the next workout.”
Finally, know when to stop. “Let your body recover,” says Andrew Kindt, cofounder of Achieve Fitness. “Knowledge of mobility, flexibility and recovery are essential to building a fat-burning body without injury.” Let your body do the work of recovery for a successful training program.
BREAK OUT OF A RUT – 5 STEPS
Crush an inevitable fitness plateau with creative planning. John Andrade, regional manager of OrangeTheory Fitness—which mixes running, rowing and weight/floor work in each workout—breaks it down to five essentials:
1. Build strength and gain muscle to rev metabolism.
2. Set fresh goals and plan. 3. Use your max heart rate.
4. Replace steady cardio with interval training.
5. Trade more reps for fewer with heavier weights.
DO AS YOUR COACH DOES – TRY TABATA
“Sometimes in life less is more,” says Rhodie Lorenz, cofounder of JoyRide Cycling + Fitness and fitness pioneer. “In the world of Tabata, more is more.” Instructors incorporate Tabata—also known as HIIT (high intensity interval training)—into spin, boxing and boot-camp classes. They switch between a max round, usually twenty seconds, and a recovery round of ten seconds. Control, she says, is more important than speed. Also, she advises, pace yourself so you can give max effort every round.