Spring fever. Unexpected storms. Waiting for that vacation that’s just around the corner. Marriage and kids (so I hear…). These things can occasionally make you feel a little bored and even a little anxious. But, right now—springtime—is the last time anyone should allow themselves to fall into a workout rut or feel miffed by their awesome eating habits. Bathing suits are going to be slapped across pasty white bodies any day now. That’s a scary thought. That’s near-nudity.
One thing that I truly love about The BodyLab and the workouts with all of the lifestyle engineers there—especially my main dude, Matt D’Amico—is that it’s different every time. But, duh. I’m working out with a personal trainer, so I should never have to do the same thing. If I did, why would I continue going to said trainer? I would just learn the one routine he/she had to offer me and then do it over and over again on my own. It would also lead to feeling bored and maybe even transforming into a robot. The BodyLab takes it a little further than just “mixing it up” though. Like I said in the beginning—this is graduate school. Liberal thinking is happening here. Plus, most of what they’re having us do behind those wide open windows that face the very busy Broadway is so crazy, it would require someone who really didn’t give a fuck to do it anywhere but inside the four walls of The Lab. Here’s straight from the horse’s mouth (a.k.a. Head Lifestyle Engineer Matt D’Amico): “What we do in our workouts can’t be done in a large group setting–and when I say large group, I really mean anything larger than six, although most of what you’ll see out there are rooms full of 15-25 people. In order to design a workout for that many people, you have to use simple, easy-to-teach movements. Can that translate into an exhausting workout? Yes, but interesting and sustainable over the long term? Not if you’re me or my clients. We get bored really easily and need constant variety and unpredictability to keep our interest.” So you see, Denver? I’m chilling with my peers.
Let’s talk about Sunday, for example. I like to do a little Gut Check (all abs, all the time) on Sundays at 9:30 AM. It’s okay with Ryan (who’s usually running my ab sessions) if I’m still drunk. No judgment. Anyway, as I walked uphill on the treadmill in anticipation of what was to come, watching the group before me do their tris/bis workout, I couldn’t help but notice that passers-by be checking us out, yo. Especially when you’re doing things called The War Bird and your trainer is ca-caaing at you as you sprint across the room, hunched over, with weights in your hand, held upright at your sides… like a War Bird. Or, try bending over your knee, with really heavy weights just slamming them against the ground. If you walk by and see that shit, you’re going to take a peek. It’s so caveman, for one; loud for two and just strange for three. One time, Ryan had me put my sweaty hands next to my hips as I sat with my feet flat against the wall in front of me. Then, he had me turn over, and put my hands in the hand prints I had just created and my feet on the wall and walk up. Essentially, I was doing the same thing I had been when I was sitting on the ground, but this time I was upside down. Walk by a room full of people climbing on the walls, literally, and you’re going to become intrigued.
More than just intrigued, I feel really lucky. I could never come up with this stuff and I would never do it if I didn’t have other BodyLabbers doing it with me. We look so cra cra. My arms, on the other hand, are looking pretty sweet these days. I’ve been noticing them (they’re blushing now). The bottom line is, watching it is really intimidating. Even for me—someone who’s worked out there for a couple months and really knows the range of intensity and the amount of sweat I will produce. When I arrive early and see what I’m about to do, I’m nervous. But, I’m not bored. And, you have to wonder how they come up with it. The great thing about being me is, I actually get to talk to Matt about just that (because I’m a legit journalist). “One of the highlights of my BodyLab life is our bi-weekly workout design. All of the trainers are in attendance, and if anyone were to ever witness one of these design sessions, they’d be equally entertained and terrified. It’s like a band writing a new song. It’s this magically creative process that produces something none of us could create on our own, and that creativity is fueled by an atmosphere of break-the-mold thinking. Like an amazing dish at a five star restaurant, it has familiar ingredients, but they’re combined in such a way that are entirely unique and causes you to see the dish as art as much as food–just like I joke about the BodyLab’s movements being art as much as exercise.”
When I’m at the Lab, I’m having a really good time, honestly. Maybe not despite the pain, maybe actually in spite of it. There’s always someone making me laugh my ass off (which is especially tricky on ab days and legs days), but not really requiring my attention. That is to say—I can listen to the insane shit coming out of their mouths or just focus on what I’m doing. And, that’s part of their job. Seriously. You can’t get hired at The Lab unless you can crack jokes to a room full of people who will most likely not respond at all (because they can’t. They’re in some pretzel, balancing act pulling heavy weights or ca-caaing to each other or literally bumping asses…which is why I record my favorite quotes each week). “Our people want to be entertained,” Matt says. “Life is predictable and mundane much of the time, so make these people laugh, give them a reason to come back beyond even just an amazing workout. Surprise them with your wit and irreverent banter. Catch them off guard. Talk about spraying surface cleaner in their eyes and hitting them with pipes. Highly intelligent and successful people truly appreciate that kind of thing.” I can’t deny his right-ness, though. It’s so simple. People like that shit. It’s why Sex Machine is a good name for a sex toy boutique and why the words to most Beatles songs resonate. It’s good clean fun, and yet a step above stating the obvious. Perfection.
Summer’s coming whether I like it or not (I like it). And I want to spend it enjoying myself (like, my self—my person) instead of working my ass off to look decent just in time to cover myself up.
Ladies and gentlemen (the fancy way of saying you guys), we have a winner! Tyler Corbett is offering free shit to you if you send him a question to [email protected] He’s also answering questions from people who asked questions. It’s that easy. We all sort of win, ya know? So send him an email with your fitness questions!
Q: I love to go out and have a good time and I know in order to keep in shape I should limit my drinking. What drinks should I eliminate completely and what are healthier choices when ordering at the bar? – Lauren Smiley (a.k.a. WINNNNNEEERRRR!)
A: Stay away from all pre-mixed drinks. Most cocktails have at least one type of refined sugar that you don’t need–most of the time a lot more than just the one. Stick with lo-cal beer (Guinness, MGD 64, etc.), and if you’re taking shots, keep them straight and with fruit to chase (if you need it). Shot of tequila with a salt and lime chaser, vodka with one cherry, and so on.
Q: I consider myself a skinny fat guy–meaning I may be skinny, but I have no definition and I can’t really gain weight. What exercises can I do to give my body definition? – Tucker Williams
A: Exercises that focus on muscular hypertrophy (fancy word for gaining size), coupled with ample amounts of cardio. To build, you want heavier weights, fewer reps and longer amounts of rest in between. Hit the weights before you do your cardio.
Q: Every time I work out with a trainer, they tell me there’s no specific way to get rid of love handles. Is that true? – Bethany Rossdale
A: No, not at all. The ways to get rid of them all center around one thing: diet. That is the first important thing that you need to get a handle on if you’re interested in having a ‘nice stomach’ or ‘six-pack abs’. After that, most ab movements help.
For more information about Tyler, Matt and where Laura works out, click here.
AWESOME THINGS I HEARD AT THE BODYLAB SINCE LAST POST
“I want to hear the sound of water buffaloes running toward me as you beat those weights on the ground.” – Ryan
“Be grateful for these exotic movements we provide. You’re at the Galapagos Islands of gyms–you’re gonna see movements in here that aren’t seen anywhere else in the world.” – Matt
“That movement you’re doing right now is fucking genius. I’m like Tupac though–that shit won’t be fully appreciated by the world until I’m gunned down in one of our trainer gang wars.” – Matt
“This shit’s like Hemingway: not everybody can handle it. but see the problem is there’s no Cliff’s Notes for getting in shape, and you can’t fucking watch the movie either. You gotta read every damn line and page of these workouts to understand their true meaning.” – Matt
Laura Standley has been the Editor in Chief of 303 Magazine since 2007. She’s been blogging about fitness since January 2011. To read all of her blog entries, click here.