Photo by Tetsu Kubota
Here we go again: Just as you’re starting to come down from all the year-end debauchery, January hits you like a slap across the face.
You find yourself in the kitchen staring horrifically at a cup full of bacon grease in the fridge and clutching the extra pounds that have suddenly materialized around your waist. The awful realization washes over you that, in just three months, spring will be here.
Don’t fret: There’s still time to get in shape. And it doesn’t involve charlatans peddling liquid diets and four-minute body parts, or even countless hours spent sweating in an expensive gym. Here, we present a no-bullshit, at-home guide to fitness.
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“I’m the king of circuit training,” says Marty Navis. “Well, queen, as it were.” Navis is a private personal trainer ([email protected]) whose main clients are busy Manhattan professionals that need to get in and out of the gym quickly. And yet, you won’t find him selling them seven-minute abs. “You can warm yourself up in seven minutes, but it’s not going to get you big arms,” he says, noting that fitness is something you have to work at. “But if you’ve got the drive and self-discipline, you can do a decent workout at home in 30 minutes." Here's how.
Need to Know: The serratus anterior...is the name of that foreign ab-like ripple tucked underneath Navis’s arm. How do you get one (or two, if you’re lucky)? Transverse exercise: twisting the torso from side to side against varying levels of resistance. “Remember, your abdominals go all the way up to your pecks, and make your chest pop out. A pivot motion—like golf or baseballs swings—will cut you up.”
>>>3 WAYS TO WORK OUT AT HOME
3 Ways to Work Out at Home That Really Count
This may seem obvious, but, as Navis says, “there’s really nothing as great. I do an entire chest and triceps routine with nothing but variance on push-ups.” Start out with sets of regular push-ups on the floor and then alternate with uneven push-ups (one hand elevated while the other arm works), or, for a real challenge, plyometric ones (using both hands to push off the floor on the way up). Repeat this for 10 minutes, breaking for half a minute or so every time you hit muscle failure.
“They’re going to firm up your ass and get your cardiovascular going because you’re pumping blood way down to your legs,” says Navis. “Squats are a great fat-burning exercise.” Just make sure you have the form right: Spread your feet so they’re just under your shoulders, and keep your chest up and shoulders back and relaxed.
If you need a full-body workout on the road, break out fitness bands in the hotel room. “You can do a million things with them,” says Navis. “You can do biceps, triceps, kick-backs, chest flies. Throw them in a suitcase—they’re not heavy.”
These rubber cylinders are called ViPR (Vitality, Performance, Reconditioning). Formulated with cornfed Midwestern farmhands in mind, the tubes engage users in “functional movements.” “ViPR mimics things like shoveling a driveway,” says Navis, “and has the user repeat them, like doing sets of reps with ordinary dumbbells." ViPRFit.com
>>>3 FITNESS MISCONCEPTIONS
Three Fitness Misconceptions
2. Strength Training vs. Hypertrophy: “New clients of mine think the pyramid stack of three sets of increasing weight will enlarge their muscles. Big muscles are a result of hypertrophy training, which consists of a higher volume of reps and sets—meaning at least eight sets with eight reps each.”
3. Less Is More: “Give yourself rest,” says Navis of time between reps. “But when you do it, do it. Rest a minute and a half between reps. You’ll be able to do many more—your recovery is that much greater."
>>>A 5-MINUTE WORKOUT—ANYWHERE
A 5-Minute Workout—Anywhere
Who needs the gym? These four routines, invented by fitness guru Craig Ramsay, are portable, helping you move through the day with intensity and purpose. Check out Craig Ramsay's ulive series, 5-Minute Workout Anywhere.
SEAT BELT CHEST FLYS
Where: In the taxi (or backseat of any car)
How: Sit in the middle of the back seat and grab onto each seatbelt. Draw the seatbelts into the center right at chest level and then back, while using them as resistance. Do this for one minute.
Feel it: In the chest, biceps, triceps, and shoulders.
Where: At the office
How: Stand with your feet and your knees together. Bend your knees as if you are sitting in a chair. With your back straight, “sit” on your chair and hold it for one minute.
Feel it: In the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes
Where: In the elevator
How: Stand about a foot-and-a-half away from the wall with your feet generously outside shoulder width. Place your right hand on the wall just below shoulder height. Lean into the wall using your hand for support and then push away. One minute for each arm.
Feel it: In the chest, pecs, deltoids, biceps, triceps, and lats
GOOD-GIRL, NAUGHTY-GIRL LEGS
Where: In the movie theater
How: Bring your booty to the front of the seat. Lift the legs so your feet are off the ground and your core is engaged. Bring the knees in for the good-girl legs and open up the knees and touch your heels together for naughty-girl legs. Do this for one minute.
Feel it: In the entire lower body and abs
>>>4 MUST-HAVE FITNESS APPS
Four Must-Have Fitness Apps
The best piece of gym equipment is in your pocket.
Nike+ Running (iOS and Android, Free)
Beyond keeping track of your progress, route, and calories burned, Nike+ syncs with Nike’s coterie of Blade Runner–esque accessories for an overview of your general fitness.
Cyclemeter GPS (iOS, $4.99)
Integrated with Google maps, Cyclemeter allows you to easily trade biking routes with fellow Schwinn jockeys via Facebook and Twitter.
Never get lost in the woods again. BackCountry contains the mother lode of off-road hiking trail maps spanning across the globe, and it doesn’t require cell service.
Get your ass to the gym by putting your cash on the line: If you make your gym commitment you make money; skip your workout and lose it.