Inside the gym

Thinking of getting in shape? If you are interested in working one-on-one with a personal trainer, the small fitness boutiques located in and around Santa Barbara offer a wealth of options both in the environment and in the training approaches that are featured in the different facilities. I recently visited several of these studios looking for a new place to train my clients and was amazed at what Santa Barbara has to offer.

Instead of the muscle isolation machines typical of a traditional gym setting, most studios are filled with stability balls, medicine balls, bands, cables, foam rollers, and all sorts of other tools designed for a more focused approach. functional fitness. These facilities not only cater to athletes who develop strength; They are filled with everyone, from young competitors looking to get better at sports, to older people working to build stronger bones. After visiting some of the local hot spots and exploring some of their various training approaches, I zeroed in on some of the highlights.

The Fitness Studio on Middle Road

Platinum Fitness, located on Middle Road in Montecito, is a bustling little studio where you will find people of all shapes and sizes, including many highly fit and highly competitive endurance athletes. Owner Peter Park competes at the elite level in running, cycling and triathlon, so it’s no wonder his study attracts many of the local endurance athletes, including Lance Armstrong when he’s in town. Platinum is an optimistic facility; Walk through the doors on any day and you’ll be surrounded by a profusion of natural light, inspiring modern music, and a variety of energetic trainers helping clients achieve their goals through “functional training.”

Functional training, the latest trend in fitness training, prepares you for the specific activities you do in your daily life. Perhaps your job requires you to do a lot of stretching, lifting, bending, or standing and your back, knees, or shoulders suffer. Or maybe you find yourself parked in front of a computer all day and your posture needs a little work. And again, you may be rehabilitating an injury and find that you need a little help to get back to work and life successfully. Whatever you do in your daily life, functional training can make it easy.

Unlike the traditional approach of working one muscle at a time, functional training involves combining exercises so that all the muscles, from the calves to the shoulders, are involved in the action. Standing on a bench with dumbbells in your hands and then pressing the dumbbells above your head, for example, will set you up to get on a chair and put a box on a shelf.

The idea is to work against resistance in such a way that the force gained from exercise is “transferred” to the specific movement of your life.

If you want to improve your ability to get up from a chair, you can choose leg extensions to strengthen your legs. But the squat would be a much better exercise option because it is more like the actual movement of getting up from the chair. So the squat develops more functional strength in the legs.

Functional training also improves your performance in sports. If you are a long-distance runner and would like to improve your time in the 10K, Peter Park advocates “strengthening the main engines so that you do not get so fatigued in the long races.” He subjects his endurance athletes to grueling training specifically designed to improve strength and endurance, or muscular endurance, for competition.

Peter’s lower body program consists of a series of exercises performed in a row: a series of 25 repetitions of squats, with bands (for constant tension); followed by a set of 25 repetitions of the leg press, with bands; followed by a series of 15 repetitions of step ups; followed by three different plyometric exercises (jumps) of 12-15 reps. And that’s just one round. It will make your athletes do it three times! As you can see, Peter’s program reflects both the movements and the volume of endurance competition … the functional approach to fitness.

The gym in the lower state

Perhaps the thought of training for activities of daily living is not enough to motivate you to start an exercise program. And you are more interested in sculpting your body to look great in your swimsuit or bikini for the beaches of Santa Barbara. Then the “bodybuilding” approach to fitness may be more suitable for you.

Designed specifically to increase muscle mass and reduce body fat, this method has additional rewards … such as increased confidence, increased sex appeal, less stress, and more energy for daily activities.

Key 2 Fitness, one of the newest fitness studios in the city, located in the Lower State, introduces the bodybuilding approach. Key 2 Fitness, owned and operated by bodybuilders, Jeff Harrison and Leif Tiahrt, is packed with muscle isolation machines and free weights and is ideal for the strength athlete looking for a place to “pack some serious muscle,” according to Jeff Harrison. They also offer membership keys for people looking for a little camaraderie with other strength athletes in the community.

While the goal of bodybuilding is to develop a symmetrical physique, keep in mind that not everyone responds in the same way. Mother Nature, or your genetic makeup, determines, to a large extent, how you react to any training program. Factors such as the type of muscle fiber (strength or endurance), the ratio of testosterone to estrogen, and where body fat is stored all influence its capabilities. And when considering your vision of the ideal physique, remember that you cannot hide from your body type. Are you a thin, small-boned ectomorph, a muscular, lean mesomorph, a large, heavy-boned endomorph, or a combination of all three?

Although these genetic factors affect both men and women, there are still a significant number of women who will not consider the bodybuilding approach for fear of growing too large. The truth is that most women build a relatively small amount of muscle, even with hard work and dedication due to the ratio of estrogen to testosterone. Unfortunately, this fear of being overly muscular prevents many women from reaping the benefits.

Many factors are involved in bodybuilding, but the only thing that really matters is that you progressively overload your muscles. Leif Tiahrt suggests using the “individual body part approach” and “maximizing the exercises for each part of the body.” Advocates a three-day split in which the individual does “push” exercises (chest, shoulders, and triceps) on Monday, “pull” exercises (back and biceps) and legs, on Wednesday, and a body circuit. full, on Friday. Use three to ten reps per set and finish each exercise with a drop to failure set.

By using moderate to heavy loads and moderate to high volume, Leif’s program effectively increases muscle size to create a more aesthetically pleasing physique … the ultimate goal of bodybuilding.

The Arlington Gym

Maybe you have gained some muscle through bodybuilding. And now you’re ready for a more refined approach to your training … one that considers the specific demands of your sport and your goals … like achieving peak performance. Following a well-designed “sports specific” training program can help you meet those goals and achieve the success you want.

To perform at your best in tennis, for example, you need enough aerobic endurance to maintain your endurance for a game that can last several hours; anaerobic endurance (energy is produced without oxygen) for a high intensity rally that can last from 6 to 10 seconds; speed and agility to get into position and take most shots; power for serves, forehands, backhand and volleys; and an element of prevention to avoid injuries and overtraining.

Fitness specialists, located in a historic building just a few doors down from Arlington, present the sports-specific training approach. Doug Holt, owner of Conditioning Specialists and SB Fitness Magazine, gained his experience in competitive sports through soccer, which he played at the college level. His studio has the look of a luxury loft in New York and features a ground floor personal training studio and private rooms for a MAT (Muscle Activation Techniques) and a masseur upstairs, plus an office. for the magazine.

When asked about sports specific training, Doug said that “it is training for a particular goal … not only mimicking the actual demands of the sport, such as hip abduction, knee flexion, but also the demands of Energy”.

To prepare for the specific sport demands of tennis, the strength training program is divided into three phases, or mini training programs, each designed to develop a specific type of strength with the ultimate goal of developing the sport-specific strength that tennis demands power. and muscular endurance.

In the first phase, “fundamental strength”, the goal is to build a solid and balanced base of strength and prepare the ligaments and tendons for the more demanding activity that will follow. The second phase is to develop “maximum strength,” a measure of how much weight you can lift in one rep. If you can squat 225 pounds for one rep and your friend can only squat 205 pounds, then you have more maximal squat strength. The goal of the third phase is to convert the strength you previously developed into sport-specific “power” (a combination of strength and speed) and “muscular endurance.”

Just as the preparation for the competitive season is divided into phases, the general training program is also divided into periods to promote long-term improvements in strength and avoid overtraining. This program, which is usually an annual plan, consists of the preparation period (preseason), discussed above; the competitive period (in season); and the transition period, when the season is closed.

By coordinating the phases of the training program with the different periods of the competitive season, you can maximize your strength and reach peak performance just in time for the competition.

In conclusion

So if you think you might be interested in working one-on-one with a personal trainer, explore the abundance of Santa Barbara training studios to find the one that’s right for you. Be sure to note that while each facility may feature a particular training method, most studios hire a variety of personal trainers, each with their own unique training style and approach.

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