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Finding the time to get in a good workout is hard enough, between a work schedule, gym hours and the commute in between. With much of your focus just on showing up, picking an interesting routine can quickly fall to the wayside and soon you're stuck in the rut of the generic treadmill, weight lifting and aerobic sessions. Alternatives seem so intimidating they probably don't even cross your mind. But if boredom has plagued your inner fitness fanatic, why not try something new that actually challenges you?
Several fitness programs have popped up recently and have gained a dedicated following, in particular TRX Suspension Training, CrossFit and UFC-inspired mixed martial arts. Local experts in the exercises agree that these classes not only diversify the typical workouts, but are also adaptable to all skill levels. More important, the learning component of the regimens is essential in making sure you're aware of what your body is doing, and if it's doing it right.
Remember, what's quick to scare potential exercisers away is the same quality that makes these workouts worth it: They push people to their full potential. So leave your comfort zone behind, kiss that boring elliptical machine goodbye and prepare to really work out.
TRX Suspension Training
If you're looking for a simple but effective workout and one-on- one attention, look no further. Invented by Navy SEAL Randy Hetrick, the TRX Suspension Trainer is a single piece of equipment consisting of a nylon strap and two handles that's meant to target all parts of the body using one's own body weight. Though it's not overly strenuous, don't be deceived by its simplicity. Your first attempt at TRX will leave you satisfied and most of your muscles sore for a couple of days.
"Nothing is left to chance," said Shari Aber, TRX trainer at Gold's Gym in Paramus.
Aber has been working out for 21 years, but took up the exercise after a surgery forced her to give up the more intense routines. And yet, it's still a rigorous workout. A 20-something female and a man in his 60s can get an equally fulfilling workout from the Trainer.
TRX Suspension Training, Aber explained, incorporates "functional," everyday movements that work out the body's core (shoulders, abs and hips). At 30 to 45 minutes per session, there's no time for breaks, but the techniques are modified to fit a person's capabilities.
Once you learn how to use the Trainer and keep an eye on proper posture, TRX is totally manageable. It can be tricky, ineffective and cause injury if done incorrectly, which is why Aber encourages newcomers to start with a trainer instead of taking to YouTube for how-to videos. Visit trxtraining.com for more information.
Described as a very intense, varied workout, CrossFit incorporates a mixed bag of exercises such as weight lifting, rope climbing, pull-ups, tire flipping and gymnastics. Intimidating though that might sound, Jessica Murden, director of marketing and social affairs at CrossFit ACT in Saddle Brook, said that it's fit for people in all stages of fitness.
"We have seasoned veterans who were college athletes and people who have never worked out before," said Murden. With everyone making an effort, Murden said, it's easy to feel part of the CrossFit community, engaging in what she and instructor Bill Shockley both call "collective suffering."
Beginners of CrossFit must go through On Ramp, a 12-session training program that teaches proper techniques in weight lifting. There's a fraternal atmosphere to it that quickly eases the fears of newcomers and establishes a sense of confidence.
Once passed, members attend regular classes, taking part in the "Workout of the Day" and tracking progress in a log. Some places, like ACT, might offer a weekly open gym class in which members can come in and get extra training by instructors.
Visit crossfit.com for more information and list of classes near you.
Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Fitness Boot Camp
The practice of martial arts has been around for centuries, and modern mixed martial arts garnered popularity over the past decade with the rise of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). It's not until recently, though, that the Average Joe and Jane have ventured into the recreational side of the sport. A typical MMA-inspired boot camp at Edge Ultimate Martial Arts in Saddle Brook has a suitable pace for novices, incorporating kettlebell weight lifting, plyometrics (rapid movement exercises such as jumping) and boxing, in addition to mixed martial arts-based drills like jabs and elbow strikes.
Richard Raciti, the executive director and head coach at the Edge, stated that the majority of the boot camp revolves around basic defense skills, or "combat conditioning," and assures that anyone has the capacity to take it on with the proper training. In one of the weekly classes, you might find a high schooler, mom and MMA pro all working side by side.
"The skills are what need to be learned," said Raciti.
Members are taught to work on the entire body instead of "target" areas that other exercises programs focus on. Sessions consist of warm-ups and short, timed segments of drills on the punching bags and the mat. It's your basic kickboxing class, kicked up a notch or two. Newcomers can find relief in knowing that these exercises are all self-paced and no one is pressured to do more than they can handle.
Working alongside other people in this setting builds a sense of camaraderie, said Raciti. That's what makes people stick with similar programs.
While the coaches may act like drill instructors, Raciti assures that they "aren't intrusive. People who take our class feel like the trainers have a genuine sense of caring."
Ultimately, said Raciti, "I can't come to people's houses and drag them off the couch. No one wants to exercise, but we have to show people that there's a benefit to coming. And you've got to let people have some fun." Visit theedgemma.com for information on the gym, or check out other MMA classes in the area.
Contact your local gym to see if any of these programs are available. In most cases, a trial class is free of charge and a beginners session is offered, if not required.
(c) 2012 Record, The; Bergen County, N.J.. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.
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