Build the Body You Want: While Keeping Fitness Fun & Avoiding Plateaus
Everyone’s journey into fitness is personal and unique….and my story is no exception. Any moment or activity can spark inspiration, and mine began in a swimming pool.
In 1993 I was living in Italy and training as a water polo player. One day, I noticed on the other side of the pool there was a Jazzercise class, which peaked my interest as something new and different. I started to take the Jazzercise classes more, and quickly added them to my fitness routine. One fateful day, the Jazzercise instructor didn’t show up to teach the class. As a joke I decided to lead the class…but this was the moment that started my path into fitness and athletic aerobics. I received my first Certification at 16 years old, and one year later I was teaching step classes. Gradually I entered the sport of competitive aerobics throughout European Capitals, and became globally recognized for my athleticism. Most of my competitions were featured on ESPN. My international awards and global status as an athlete started to gain attention in the United States, and soon I was invited to the U.S. to continue my fitness journey.
My career at Crunch began in 2007. I held roles as Fitness Instructor, Ride Coordinator, and gradually became the Group Fitness Director and Master Trainer. Even though my career at Crunch was excelling, I never wanted my personal education about fitness to stop. I continued to learn, and earned over 20+ Certifications. This belief in keeping the fun in fitness is what’s lead to my topic; “Build the body you want while keeping fitness fun and avoiding plateaus.”
The hardest part to any fitness journey is the beginning. The best way to start is to remember the basics; posture and form. Laying the foundation for posture and form is commonly overlooked, which leads to injuries and fitness setbacks. The first step to building the body you want is to make sure you have good posture and form. Even the most experienced athlete can benefit from having a full movement and posture evaluation. Once this foundation is solid, the next step is understanding tempo and choosing correct weights for your body. Not understanding these important aspects to fitness is what will lead to plateauing. What leads to plateauing when working out on your own is using the same size weights. Not increasing weights is extremely common, since you become comfortable with the weight you know you can push yourself with. Always try to increase your weight, as this will avoid plateauing. Remember, when adding more weight still keep in mind correct posture and form. These are just some of the reasons why so much work is involved in curating and creating the correct programs and progressions for clients. Each body is different and unique. It’s important for clients to understand the “why” behind specific tempo and weights. Clients that tell me they want a “shredded” appearance often don’t achieve their desired result, because they don’t know how to adjust their program according to their needs.
Never forget, always listen to your body. If your body is telling you it’s tired, don’t ignore this instinct. Depending on certain times of the month the body’s output could be less than regular. Don’t skip the workout entirely, instead make the proper modifications and adjustments to suit your current feeling. I teach all my clients that there needs to be a full balanced health and physical plan. This includes weight training, cardio, nutrition, supplementation, and rest. Yes, rest. On days clients are sore, I’ll have them do antigravity yoga classes, incorporate foam rolling, and utilize a Theragun to release myofascial pain.
Having a diverse program will keep you the fittest. I recommend all my clients explore different cardio regiments like, Zumba, treadmill sprints, or cardio kickboxing.
I teach all my clients balance, motivation, and fun. These are my core beliefs that I integrate into my fitness plans for clients. Everyone can benefit from the right professional assistance. Not only do you achieve quicker results, but having professional help provides consistency. Even on days you don’t feel motivated, or not in the right headspace, having your workout appointment already set provides accountability. When it comes to your fitness, there shouldn’t be any excuses. Everyone is capable of achieving their fitness goals. I’ve had clients that were unable or afraid to leave their homes at first. I’ve had clients that would only participate in group fitness, and never touch weights due to fears of looking “bulky” or afraid of injuries. With my help, they are now in the best shape of their lives. I helped them overcome their fears and introduced them to the right strength training and cardio workouts. I also work with clients who have injuries or muscle imbalances, and we work together on rehabbing, correcting form, targeting flexibility, and strengthening their bodies.
During my fitness career, not just personally but also with clients, I’ve learned that as our bodies change we must stay open minded. This mental strength and openness is the key to any successful health and fitness journey. Aging is inevitable, and as our bodies change we can’t stick with the same workouts we’ve been used to for years. We have to adapt and grow. Crunch has given me the platform and home that extended my fitness journey through innovative, fun, inclusive, and alternate workouts. My clients and students stay engaged, and always look forward to their next workout. Not fear it. Ask yourself today, “What is my next step to be more well rounded in health and fitness?” I challenge you to step outside your current fitness plateau and find your fun in fitness!
Crunch Fitness South Beach is located at 1259 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139
For more info, visit www.crunch.com/locations/south-beach.
Words by Alexander Fenton Irias, Crunch Group Fitness Coordinator. Edited by Eden Herbstman