BONUS TIP Watch out for measuring tapes that will pack on the pounds at a weigh-in!
By Joseph Rosenfeld
MY first column of the year concluded with a suggestion to accept yourself as you are and reject trendy notions that don't work for you. It's a lofty resolution to kick off a new year, a holistic approach to self-improvement. As gym memberships and sign-ups for diets spike at this time of year, you may do well to heed some expert advice to prevent good intentions from morphing into a cliché.
Shane Esposito owns CORE Definitions in San Jose. As a private personal trainer, Shane puts an emphasis on nutrition counseling. Take a five-part approach to redefining your body. Combine smart nutrition with resistance training, flexibility development, cardio and what he refers to as recovery.
"The word diet is a bad word, because a diet is something you will eventually go off. You need to go from the diet idea to daily discipline." He says that many people don't eat enough of the right foods at each meal, and that people need to know how to properly portion their meals. The 1970s ushered in the era of larger portions served with a side order of greater inactivity. Combine that with misinformation about what's really healthy to eat, and you've got a recipe for nutritional chaos. Carrots, tomatoes and potatoes are high on the glycemic index, and as a result, each got a bad rap. However, they are actually very good foods because they are very low in calories and provide the body with glucose, which feeds brain function. Shane claims that "nothing is going to replace hard-working good food" that comes from the earth and is filled with healthy nutrients, and he cautions his clients on the use of expensive supplements.
Improving flexibility is important because it positively affects your overall good health. "If you can't move it, you can't use it," he says. If your hips and upper legs are stiff, you're prone to having lower back pain. If your shoulders and neck are stiff, you're likely to get nasty headaches. Forget for a moment about wanting to look hot. How good would it be to consistently have a tension-free body? As for recovery, if you're not getting seven to eight hours of sleep nightly, your body is not being given enough of a chance to eliminate waste. Also, your brain is not getting enough of an opportunity to produce serotonin and norepinephrine, both of which affect mood and energy levels, as well as to produce growth hormones and replenish cells. Esposito assures that "the best energy drink is your bed."
Since clothing tends to fit tightest around the stomach, we tend to focus on wanting the elusive six-pack abs. Shane insists that no diet or cardio program can give you what every fitness magazine promises on every single cover. However, with a good exercise program you'll first notice slenderizing along your cheekbones and neck. Moreover, you'll lose weight from all areas of the body, especially from the inner thigh; upper chest; mid and lower back; and stomach; all of which are areas where most fat is stored. It's so important to remember that your body type dictates its potential physique. If your body type can yield the six-pack, more power to you and your abdominal muscles. Whether you covet the covers of Self or Men's Fitness magazines and want those firm abs, sculpted calves or pumped biceps, personal trainers will be worth their weight in gold when they help you set realistic goals about what you can successfully achieve with a healthy nutritional and exercise program.
Shane advises: "It's better to have three mediocre workouts than one superhard workout," and advocates slow, gradual changes to developing a successful exercise routine. He also points out that two types of goals go into devising a regimen that works for you. First, there is a body goal that is all about making physical improvement, like increasing flexibility. The second goal is fitness- or performance-based, such as being able to bench-press a certain weight. But both goals have a very special component in common: they are about more than how you look; they are about how you feel physically and emotionally.
Joseph Rosenfeld, the nation's only male Certified Image Professional, helps men, women, and corporate employee groups to become more dynamic, compelling and stylish. For more info visit JRImageMentor.com.
Send a letter to the editor about this story.