Shock your body!

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If you could have taken a look inside my mind 3 months ago, heck even 3 weeks ago, you would have seen training plans focused on weights. When I fell in love with weightlifting several years ago it was all I could think about when I’d walk into the gym. “Cardio? What’s that?…” I had a one track mind. Even on my journey through my NASM certification, I had one plan… Teach people, ESPECIALLY women, YES LADIES, I’m typing in caps because (I WANT YOU TO READ THIS IN A STERN VOICE) Ready? LIFTING WEIGHTS WILL NOT MAKE YOU BULKY, WILL NOT MAKE YOU LOOK LIKE ARNOLD AND WILL MOST DEFINITELY GIVE YOU THE CURVES YOU’VE ALWAYS DREAMED OF HAVING. I’m not lying to you. I have no reason too. My job is to help and teach. I thought that this misconception had been cleared up by now and only existed in the world of gym memes… until I started working at the gym. When I’m touring people or just talking with some of the lady members about their goals or trouble areas, I see a look of panic on their face when I say the word “weights” or “deadlift”… It’s like they believe they’ll wake up with monster traps in the morning. “It’s a little offensive actually, that you assume it’s that easy to build muscle”. Like I could workout for a week and wake up with the body of Erin Stern. DROOL. Ehem… anyway… NASM taught me about all the different workout modalities. What am I talking about? Glad you asked!

Modalities are all of the different pieces of equipment you’d find in a gym. Gyms differ in the equipment they have so if any of the pieces that I’m about to mention don’t exist in the gym that you belong too, you should either request that your gym get them or find a new gym 😉 You’re probably thinking, “Wait a minute Erin, didn’t you just say you build your programs around weightlifting?” I don’t want you to be mistaken, I still believe that it is the absolute BEST form of exercise there is. It burns fat and builds muscle. It will always, always, ALWAYS be my FAVORITE. What I’ve recently realized and what I want you to learn is that it is not the ONLY option. This can apply to anyone that is stuck to one particular form of exercise, I’m talking to you too, cardio bunnies. Our bodies are very adaptable. They adapt to familiar movements. Once we’ve adapted, we’re no longer forcing change. If we’re not forcing change, we’re not growing [or shrinking]… depending on your goal 🙂 I’ve been on the same lifting schedule for far too long. While my strength has gone up, I’ve been plateauing. I don’t get sore or achy anymore, because my body is used to the movements. Likewise if all you do is cardio and you’ve been at it for a while, you probably notice you’re not seeing the same percentage of weight loss that you once had. You’re body gets used to the same movement on the elliptical, 30 minutes a day, 4 days a week. The more that it recognizes a movement, the less it has to work. The solution here is to shock your body. Throw something at it that will totally confuse it. This is called, muscle confusion. Throwing unknown challenges at your body will shock your muscles, kick start your metabolism and help you grow! So what are these modalities other than our typical dumbbells, barbells and cardio equipment?

trxAt the top of my list is the TRX suspension trainer! I’m gonna be honest with you guys… I used to make fun of this. I was so focused on weights, that I’d laugh when people would say how hard the TRX workout was. After being subjected to several TRX workouts, my mind has completely changed. INTENSE. If you don’t know what this is, it’s a Y-shaped yellow strap with 2 black handles that attaches to a sturdy structure. The TRX is actually an awesome, portable full body workout. It’s original design was actually created by former Navy Seal, Randy Hetrick, while he was out in the field. He wanted to workout but obviously didn’t have access to a gym. He searched through his gear and found a cord. He tied it around the limb of a tree and proceeded to perform a full body workout. He modified it a bit as he used it and eventually his buddies were paying him (in 6 packs of beer) to make them their own! Once he retired from the seals, he realized he could sell this to the public. The TRX has been growing in popularity over the past couple years. You can do everything from Squats to lunges, chest press to rows, ab exercises and curls. The opportunities are endless. The greatest thing about these, like I mentioned before is that they’re portable. You can buy one yourself and throw it around a tree limb in your own backyard. TRX is definitely at the top of my Christmas list this year 😉

kbNext, we have Kettlebells. These are more well known, however, I always overlooked them because they were “light weight”… What I failed to realize was that light weight with high reps is REALLY FREAKING HARD. I’ve learned several awesome core exercises with these. I’m in love.

slamballThird on my list is the slam ball. This is like a medicine ball with some cushion, because, well, you slam it. If you’ve had a bad day, someone has ticked you off or you have just a little too much pent up aggression just pick up one of these little guys and get to slamming! You would start with the ball in your hands, lift it up over your head, slam it down into the ground, do a squat to pick it up and repeat. Proceed to feel the burn!

swissballNext up is the stability ball. We’ve all seen these. We’ve all probably bounced around on them as kids without ever realizing that they’re actually an excellent workout tool. Stability is not given the attention that it deserves. It’s the basis of all movements. If we can’t stabilize ourselves, we literally can’t do anything. Using the stability ball is not only wonderful in progressing our stabilization but it’s also a heck of a challenge.

bosuLast but not least, is the BOSU ball. This is the half ball with the flat base. BOSU get’s it’s name from the phrase, “BOth Sides Utilized”, meaning, you can use both sides of it. There are so many stabilization exercises for this modality, my favorite being the kayaker. You sit on the ball side of the BOSU and grasp a toning bar in both hands. You can keep your feet on the ground or lift them with a slight bend in your knees. Once you’re in position you begin paddling like you’re in a kayak for 30 to 60 seconds at a time. It’s a KILLER core workout! The best part about this is that you never actually have to get inside a kayak! 😛

These are the 5 modalities that I’ve started incorporating WITH WEIGHT TRAINING. My body has been so sore and so happy since I started switching things up. Shocking your body is key to changing your life! Over the next few weeks, I’m going to do “in depth blog posts” for each of these modalities and give you some workouts you can try out at your own gym! STAY TUNED!

Until next time…


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I'm an NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Corrective Exercise Specialist. I worked in a gym setting back in Florida for over 2 years, training one-on-one clients and leading group fitness classes. I absolutely loved it, but once we moved across the country to Colorado, I decided to take the opportunity to pursue a slightly different career! My obsession with exercise and love for writing collided, which is how I became a fitness lifestyle writer.

1 Comment

  1. Dave

    October 20, 2015 at 3:35 pm

    Great information Erin! I was super sore for three days after that last workout…I just need to go more often. Keep it up!!

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