Questions for the trainers have been pouring in lately, and this month, Steve Lopes takes on a few of them.
An ex-Marine, Steve once competed on a national level for the Caribbean island of St. Kitts as a Power Lifter and Bodybuilder. He moved to Rochester in 2003, and became a full-time Personal Trainer. With the club since 2006, “Sergeant” Steve teaches two early-morning Boot Camp classes per week and runs S.E.A.L. Training with Bruce Hedlund.
His favorite part of his job is the significant role and impact he has in his clients’ lives.
Reader Question: I made a New Year’s resolution to finally lose about 30 pounds. I started the year off by going to the club almost every day. I’m already slacking off. How do I stay motivated?
Steve: This is very common because people tend to set expectations a little high when making goals. In order to prevent the loss of motivation, you should set realistic expectations. For example: if you have never done cardio and decide that you are going to do a half hour of cardio every day, if you miss a day or two you might thing, “Well, I’ve already failed at my goal so why bother?”
A better goal in this case would be 3 days a week for 15-20mins. Once you add this short duration to your current workout, it may have the opposite effect, for example “Well, I’m already here, and it doesn’t feel so bad, I can do more.”
Reader Question: What’s the best group exercise class to take to improve the overall look of my body? I am a slender woman in my 50s, but I want to tone up as much as Mother Nature will allow. The schedule can be a bit overwhelming.
Steve: There are some factors to consider here. First, what type of exercise do you do regularly? Do you play tennis? Do resistance training? Cardio only? Only classes? All of the above? For example, if you only play tennis, then a Group Power class might be a good investment of your time, because of the amount of stress on your joints from the sometimes explosive movement and unpredictable ball direction.
As a woman in your 50s, you are going to need your connective tissue (tendons and ligaments) to be strong and you’ll need to maintain a certain amount of muscle mass to protect your joints. If you do resistance training and yoga, then a spinning class, step class, zumba, and a core class could be good choices, so that you can build your cardio and core strength to help compliment and support your overall fitness level.
And if you are a tennis player who does yoga, does cardio and resistance training, and you just want to take an additional class, then a bootcamp class could be the way to go because it will tie it all together.
Reader Question: I’ve seen other members moving very fast on the elliptical machines and the Arc Trainers, but I tend to increase my resistance and take it slower. Which is better if my goal is to stay in shape (and not get in shape)?
Variety is key. Challenge yourself with intensity and time. Use higher resistance for longer and shorter durations. If you want to move fast, try and be aware of when your body is moving because you are moving it versus when you have built up so much momentum that your body is just going through the motions. Use lower resistance with a slow movement and total focus on muscle contraction through the whole cycle of movement.
Have you ever tried to use the elliptical at a medium incline of around 6 and a resistance of 5 or 6 and tried to not use any momentum and total muscle focus? It’s pretty challenging. I would also recommend using more than one machine during a cardio workout; it will be more interesting and effective in challenging your body’s ability to adapt to different types of cardiovascular requirements.
Also, don’t be afraid of getting off the machine and spicing up a 30-minute bike or elliptical session with 1 minute of jumping rope for every 5 minutes on the machine.
Reader Question: Is tennis a good workout? My doubles partner says yes, but I don’t have the same feeling after a match that I do after a good run on the treadmill.
It really depends on the person and his/her athletic ability. If you have good hand/eye coordination, are light on your feet, and can move quickly while having good ball placement/judgement, then it may feel like less work for you.
If you want to try and increase your workout on the court, try running on the treadmill before your match for whatever may be a challenge to you (time or distance), and when you get on the court, keep moving. Don’t stand still. Bounce around a little and keep in constant motion. Not only will this increase your readiness and increase the amount of exercise you are getting, it may also rattle your opponents.
Reader Question: What do personal trainers eat for breakfast?
Well, we are people too, so we eat a variety of things. Cereal, oatmeal, fruits, sandwiches, eggs, protein shakes, bagels w/ peanut butter and/or cream cheese, and yogurt with nuts. The list is long.
Depending on our day ahead, food allergies, time between appointments, and personal goals, we believe in setting the proper examples while also enjoying some treats from time to time. Two of my early morning favorites, which are quick and easy to make at 4am are:
1/3 cup of dry oatmeal
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
One scoop of protein powder
Mix together nad enjoy.
4 egg whites
1/3 cup of oatmeal
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon of splenda
Mix together, brown on a skillet for a minute or on each side, and voila-a great and healthy breakfast.
Do you have a question for one of the trainers? Post your question as a comment to this post, or email it to me at email@example.com. If you email the question, I will ask it anonymously on your behalf, and post the question and answer (but not your name) on the next “Ask the Trainer” post. You do not need to be a member to ask a question.