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|Exploring NYC's Private Gyms
by Chris Granville
I'd heard a lot about Steel Gym before I headed to Chelsea to meet with owner Ken Hunt. It's won numerous awards and has made the "best of" lists of a number of publications, including Muscle and Fitness magazine, which ranked it fifth in the nation. I'd never visited and I was curious to find out more about one of the better-known private gyms in New York City.
Upon arriving I had a seat in the full-service caf�, which offers shakes and healthy snacks such fresh oranges. An impressive collection of banners and plaques, listing the many accolades the gym has gathered over the years, adorns the surrounding walls. Near the caf� and filling much of the first floor is an array of cardio equipment, including spinning bikes, StairMasters, and elliptical machines.
Since Ken started Steel eight years ago, he's added two locations in Florida, one in Miami and one in Fort Lauderdale, and he's currently in negotiations for studio space to augment the one in Chelsea. Steel is staffed exclusively by private trainers who use the space for a small fee. It's an impressive roster of fitness professionals that includes numerous IFBB pros, figure competitors, and even a Ms. Olympia.
The majority of the equipment is housed on the lower floor, where the high ceilings and square footage make the space feel as large as an airplane hangar-unusual for a Manhattan gym.
Steel focuses on free weights and offers them in abundance. The dumbbells go up to 180 lbs. and, as Ken told me, "they're used." It's not hard to believe-there are a lot of big guys at Steel. But it's not only aspiring IFBB pros that work out here. Ken sees Steel as "a gym for everyone," and on the afternoon I visited, it was filled with a good mix of soccer moms and business professionals there for their regular workouts. This is a gym where you can pump some serious iron, but it's also an all-inclusive place where anyone can focus on getting into better shape.
Beyond the expanse of free weights and plate-loaded machines is the large locker room. Clean, well-stocked, and spacious, it offers all the amenities that you'd expect to find at a top-flight gym.
It's easy to see why Steel has done so well over the years. It's a well-run, well-equipped, and conveniently located gym that gives people a serious yet inviting workout experience. For trainers, it offers a large space that is available twenty-four hours a day and an extensive collection of quality equipment that lets them give clients interesting, creative, and challenging workouts.
Ken's philosophy is that everyone should have a quality experience at the gym, whether they're fitness enthusiasts, athletes, or just looking to drop a few pounds. Judging by the success that Steel has seen over the past eight years, most people seem to agree.
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Chris Granville is an ACSM certified personal trainer. A former NCAA Division 1 and professional athlete, he's a managing editor in book publishing and lives in New York City.
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Learn Your Body Mass Index (BMI)
Body Mass Index (BMI) is essentially a height to weight ratio. Am I a healthy weight for my height.
Figure out your BMI now.
Underweight = < 18.5
Normal Weight = 18.5-24.9
Overweight = 25-29.9
Obese- 30 or higher
Remember, speak to your doctor before starting a fitness program and then seek out the right personal trainer for correct program design. Enjoy your workout!
With over 100 NeighborhoodTrainers fitness professionals to choose from, you are sure to find a match for your fitness goals. Who is in your zip code?
Lisa, Nick, Phillip, and Emory have your March-ing orders for the month.
Plus, this month in "Exploring NYC's Personal Trainer Gyms", Chris visits Steel Gym Chelsea.
Make it a great day!
|How Are You Doing?
So, how're you doing?
Yes, a real question from one friend to another.
And his answer couldn't have been more revealing.
More on that later.
That's because I'm interested in knowing this:
How are you doing? Yes, you.
And since I'd rather not think of the alternative, I am assuming you're well and that a big part of your wellness is the by-product of a great nutrition and workout program.
As for that first question from one friend to another?
Well, his reply took an interestingly unexpected turn, leading straight to the doctor's office.
It had only been twenty eight days since he spent almost a week at the Hospital for Special Surgery and it was time for his follow-up.
In those four weeks, he endured a powerful cocktail of painkillers, taken every four hours -- day and night.
Back at the hospital, the surgeon Dr. Edwin Su looked over the x-rays, taken only a few minutes before, and nodded with satisfaction.
"Everything looks good," he said.
And then came that familiar question:
"So, how are you doing?"
"Well, doc, I can do this," he answered squatting into a sumo stance inches from the ground, "and this," following up with a half lotus.
"That's crazy!" Su blurted out incredulously. "That's crazy! Ninety-nine percent of patients can't do that for five or six months! Obviously. You're in very good shape."
And then pointing his phone with camera at the ready asked, "Can you please do that again."
Then came the all important question: "Do you know what we did to you?" he asked, still taken aback at what he had just seen.
If ever a question deserves an answer this does.
In an operation that took some three hours, Su and his team cut into ligaments, tendons and other tissues of both hips before snapping the head of each femur out of its socket.
Resting each leg on the patient's shoulder, they cleaned up the injured hips, repaired them and re-attached the legs.
I still cringe every time I think of what I was able to endure but I also know that good eating habits and a regular workout program is responsible in a big way in getting me this far.
So, how are you doing?
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Exercising with Shoulder Injuries
You had a shoulder injury, and were just discharged from physical therapy. What do you do next? Before heading to the nearest gym,consider your goals. Is your goal to get back to exercise so you can lose weight? Or are you already at a healthy weight and trying to return to sports, dance, or active hobbies like gardening? If your goal is weight loss, consider alternate cardio options. While we normally think of running as a lower body activity, there is actually considerable shoulder drive involved, and some shoulder injury clients can't tolerate running on a treadmill, at least in the early stages of post-rehab. A stationary bike, or bodyweight cardio drills, might be more appropriate.
Whether you are looking for a personal trainer, a yoga teacher, or a massage therapist, be sure to choose someone experienced with shoulder injuries. Ask your physical therapist if you can do overhead lifting, and if there's a limit on how much weight you can lift. If you're not allowed to lift over 5 or 10 lbs, ask the therapist if you can use tubing and thera-bands instead. Explain these and any other limitations to your trainer so they can design the safest program for you. Many people leave PT with the "healthy" shoulder actually having worse range of motion than the injured shoulder! An experienced post-rehab personal trainer won't ignore your "good" side, but rather will screen you to be sure you have full flexion, extension, and internal and external rotation. If your goal is to get back to sports or an active lifestlye you had prior to your injury, your trainer should be willing to talk to your PT by phone or email to find out what imbalances you still have, and work towards slowly, gradually correcting them.
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Often times its hard for us to prepare for the warm season with the bone-chilling winds continue to knock at our door. But in order to prepare, there has to be a plan, and planning takes time. Every day, we choose to either spend our time wisely, or worthlessly. The time has come to change your physique, and your mentality!
By the end of this article, you will learn how to:
How to visualize your goals
- Distinguish your body type
- How to train and eat for your body type
- How to plan the next 12 weeks
- Figure out how many calories your body actually needs
- My personal tips/strategies
- What to do if you are still overwhelmed
Choose Your Destination
First thing I want you to do is stop reading this for one second and really visualize how you would feel if you actually accomplished this. Don't think about the time, or the money-- just the end product. Something that may help is to visualize different people who have the body, or parts of their body you wish to achieve. This step was extremely difficult for me personally, but it is essential to keeping you on track. I often thought about how long it would take, and how little I believed in myself to actually follow through. This was a huge waste of my energy, and 5 years of my life so I beg you not to make the same mistake! Try to have as vivid a visualization as you can. Pay attention to every detail, and let your dreams become your virtual mentality. You ready? Close your eyes, take a deep breath breathing in through your nose, out through your mouth, and Visualize for as long as you need...
Now I want you to take out a pen, a piece of paper (or notebook), and ask yourself:
- How did you feel during the exercise?
- How do you feel now?
- What details caught your attention?
Repeat this step at least once a week!
Remember-- Most people fail from lack of direction than lack of motivation!
Make it a necessity to set a time, a date, and pick a place that is quiet and easy for you to focus each week.
Distinguish Your Body Type
This is not usually taught but I am a huge on this. Think of it this way...
Read the rest of the article or leave a comment
I really hope that you too would be able to experience this feeling this summer-- you deserve it :)
"Nick is known for Physically AND Mentally transforming his clients! Transform your body, and your life with Nick today!"
A Commentary on Virtual Fitness
Times change, and technology is moving at a pace never seen before in history. Things that were science fiction 20 years ago are children's toys today. We are truly living in the future.
Cities are now large urban metropolises where people no longer have the physical demands of the past. Food that was once personally cultivated and procured is now pre-packaged and delivered to us. Mechanized conveyances carry us about. Stairs move to bring us up and down.
Modernization diminishes human physical activity. Amazing methods of virtual communication negate the necessity for actual contact. The video game is replacing our human games that centered on physical movement and human interaction.
Children play with virtual representations of well-known games and are having solitary dance parties, with avatars of increasing sophistication and no human interaction. However, the human body is designed to move. Gravity's pressure develops and maintains bones, muscles, and connective-tissue integrity and aids in the proper function of our internal organs.
Movement in play teaches the brain patterns. The nervous system realizes its potential and builds copious pathways. Like kittens sparring in the grass, playing children's games teaches us basic movement skills that we need to build our foundation for functional interaction.
Collision gives us feedback, and pain teaches us what consequences are. Our minds learn how to cope with fear using the tools of focus and perseverance.
We will draw upon this knowledge for the rest of our lives. Critical movement transitions, protective reflexes, balance, and developmental movement patterns keep us safe as we move through the world. Or are we developing a society where a lot of people will in fact not move through the real one?
I can only wonder at the deleterious effects of children connecting to a machine in lieu of our natural environment before they know what the environment is-maybe making virtual mud pies, playing virtual stickball, and virtually meeting with friends.
We are severing our basic connection from our original nature and the earth. We are tampering with forces not fully understood nor fully considered. This has consequences, and they are not good.
The Wii and the new video games use motion-capture technologies to put us in the game. They inspire participants to move and have those movements interact with avatars and be represented virtually on a screen. Games are designed to mimic old favorites like baseball, basketball, tennis, and fencing, to name a few.
Exercise routines have also been developed, enticing people who possibly would otherwise not exercise at all. These machines allow fitness routines to take place in the climate-controlled, familiar environment of one's living room.
No more do people have to leave the comfort of their homes. The weather or memberships to a gym are no longer factors for many virtual exercisers.
Can the machine replace traditional physical fitness and sports activity and if so, should it? Is it not safer to exercise at home rather than traveling to a location like a park or a tennis court or a river where any number of things could happen?
The Wii table tennis is an amazing feat of technology. The responsiveness of the interface is indistinguishable from the action you make. When you swing the controller, the movement is translated accurately to the screen.
There are other games in which the translation is not so satisfying, but technicians are working hard to improve the systems so that one day not too far in the future, I can envision such games being even more convincing.
Companies like Microsoft and Sony have already introduced controller-less game interfaces through motion-monitoring cameras and movement tracking-based controllers.
Can they ever replace the feeling of satisfaction you get when the bat connects just right with the ball, and the body is in harmony, transmitting the forces at its disposal like an uncoiling snake?
What about the feel and heft of the bat, the interplay between pitcher and batter, sizing each other up, the weather's effect on everything-the feel of moisture or lack of it, playing in the mud that allows the slider to slide longer? The game is sweeter because of the mess.
Schedule a real world session with personal trainer, martial arts instructor, and health coach Emory Moore.