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IN A NUTSHELL WEIGHT-LIFTING CARDIO-KICKBOXING A FEW THOUGHTS ON STRESS MEDITATION  
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In a Nutshell:

I've been a trainer for 18 years.
Here’s what I know:
people hate working out.

Most people don't want to sweat. They already work hard at their jobs, which means being able to afford fine wine, gourmet food, and expensive cigars. People want to enjoy these things. Trainers withhold these hard-won pleasures and put their clients in the Pain House. Those trainers don't make it past 3 months; I keep my clients for decades.

Personal training is like psychology; it can be rocket-science, but it's best approached as common-sense. However, "Common-sense is not common." Most trainers speak "trainer-speak," like, “You need to work on your scapula-retraction." This scares people. If you say, "Pull your shoulders back,” everybody relaxes.

Getting in shape is actually pretty easy, under the guidance of an experienced trainer. The most effective things are always the simplest. You don't need endless fads like "Tae-bo Freestyle Funk,” Gyrotonics, or any bootcamp thing, unless you’re seriously type-A and enjoy working out so hard, that, post-workout, you can’t raise your arms in the shower, and have to squirt shampoo against the shower wall and rub your head against it. Definitely get the ex-Navy SEAL for that. I’m addressing those of you who don’t love the pain house.

I don’t do pain house. You don't need a "Pilates Reformer," all you need are a couple of dumbbells, a rubber beach ball, a jumprope, a few square feet, and you're in business. Main thing: it must be fun. It must be an enjoyable time. You must see results. This is all easy to do. Fitness is rocket-science - but it doesn't have to sound like it.

Weight-lifting:

The essence of what I do is based on the philosophy that, no matter what discipline—the simplest way is the most effective. My workout is therefore simple. I train you for strength. Period. This is the most effective method for fat-burning, and overall fitness, bar none. Lift heavy weights quickly for a few reps. Stretch. In and out. Quick. Minimal time in the pain-zone. Every once in a while do something speedy for a short period of time (30 second sprint). That's it. World-class bodybuilder Dorian Yates won the Mr. Olympia (highest award in professional body-building) eight times, with just such a routine.

Train smart, not necessarily hard, and save time. Strong muscles need energy to maintain themselves. They get that energy from your fat supply. When all muscles are in great shape, after a night’s sleep, you’ll wake up two or three pounds lighter. Your muscles have been burning fat while you sleep.

Note to women: strength-training does NOT equal bulking - you need testosterone for that. That’s what steroids are.  

Cardio-kickboxing:

Traditional aerobics are not necessary to weight-loss. However, as an enjoyable stress-busting optional workout, you'll find hitting and kicking pads very gratifying and cathartic. Kickboxing is a highly effective aerobic workout because it's enjoyable. If you're having fun, you don't notice how much actual fat-burning work you're putting in. Ducking a (fake) hay-maker swing every few seconds takes the focus off the fact that you are actually doing a large amount of endurance-building/fat-burning squats.

Unlike generic aerobics, the techniques are real-world applicable; you learn to throw punches, kicks, knees, elbows, & blocks, with proper form and power, as well as how to apply variations and combinations of all of the above. You learn the rudiments of self-defense, get to hit a moving target (me), while substituting me for your annoying boss. It clears bad moods right up.

A Few Thoughts on Stress:

As New Yorkers, we need to have a stress-management routine. We no longer have 1970s New York type stress of junkies, muggings, switchblades, pimps, and dog-crap—but we still have stress. The subways are more crowded than ever. We still need stress relief.

Americans tend to bottle up their anger. We live in a culture that says that anger and irritaton are bad emotions, which is like saying the color red is a bad color. This is an enormous factor in heart disease. In counseling, some therapists use the "Wiffle-bat & pillow" technique. When asked about how, say, catching their wife cheating makes them feel, many men tend to squelch their emotions and feign stoicism. When the therapist suggests they think about what transpired, and then hit the pillow with the bat and yell—they immediately turn into berserkers, and the toxic emotions drain out.

Negative-ion generating emotions need to be eliminated from the body; otherwise they cause emotional constipation—stress builds up in the physical body, usually in the form of neck and lower back pain. These two areas of back pain are so prevalent that they've worked their way into our language - things are either a "Pain in the ass," or a "Pain in the neck."

Stress also registers as tension-headaches, "chronic" migraines, stomachaches, TMJ (jaw-muscle pain from night-time teeth-grinding). it may further express itself as something that feels like arthritic twinges in your shoulder and elbow joints. Acne breakouts. Hair-loss. Stress also comes in the form of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, a highly uncomfortable back-&-forth of diarrhea/constipation. Your sleep will get disturbed - you'll wake up at 3:00 am, toss & turn for hours and then start getting drowsy 10 minutes before you have to wake up at 7:00, and be exhausted all day.

I espouse the philosophy of Dr. John E. Sarno's "Healing Back Pain," which maintains that the body is a perfect machine, but does not function ideally in today's stress-ridden world. Stress is behind hundreds of aches and pains. Anyone remembering the 60s remembers ulcers. Everybody had ulcers, nobody ever talked about back pain—ulcers were a sign of the times. Then we learned to cut down on stomach-lining irritants like alcohol & cigarettes, and stress had to register itself somewhere else. Now everyone has "incurable" lower back pain.

Lifting heavy weights and hitting focus pads are very good substitutes for the bat-and-pillow routine. Better, in fact. Because in addition to draining stress, you also lose weight. :-)

Meditation:

Meditation is the greatest stress-dissolver of all time. I have studied many forms ranging from Eastern: Burmese Vipassana, Korean Dahnhak, Chinese Nei Gung & Falun Dafa, to Western: Native-American Sacred Silence, and Rudolf Steiner's 8-fold path. I have also done many Native-American "Vision Quests" which are, essentially, a solitary 4-day/5-night meditation/fast in the wilderness. It has now been scientifically proven that human beings should do some form of meditation everyday, to achieve optimal health, energy, clarity, balance, and serenity.

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