December 2017

Get Shaking

Finding the Workout that Works for You

By Jaq Greenspon

Ahhhh… New Year. We meet once again. It seems, almost like clockwork, you come around annually, just as the depression of the eternal darkness is at its worst and yet the daylight is starting to get, ever so minimally, longer, meaning that before we know it, January will have given way to June and it will be time to shed the coats and boots and step out into the sun. And when that happens, New Year, when that happens I will be ready. This won’t be like the last time you came around, or the time before that, when I made promises to myself which proved impossible to keep. Nope, this time I will absolutely lose those holiday pounds and be ready for beach season when it, too, inevitably makes its yearly appearance.

Thankfully, 2018 promises to be different than all those horrible years from the past. The upcoming trends in health and fitness are certainly changing things up and, to be perfectly honest, I’m a bit excited to try some of these 100% absolutely guaranteed proof positive sure fire ways of losing weight and regaining my (never had it before) superhero figure!

Of course, if you’re going to do this right – heck, if you’re going to do anything right – hit up people who know more than you do about how to get started and how to finish, two of the hardest things going, especially when it comes to health and fitness.

Reinier Geyser, for example, understands that motivation really only works to start. “Real success,” he says, “comes from following a routine.”

Geyser, who, along with his wife, owns four locations of Power Hour 360 across Las Vegas, notes that January is always a big month for them, but it’s a melancholic plus. “That’s always the big thing, when people come in January,” he explains. “Everybody wants to start with their New Year’s resolutions. It’s how to motivate these people to actually follow through on it. For me and my wife and our business, the main focus is to really help people to have a healthier lifestyle and better cardio vascular system, better movement, and not just a good body which is a side-effect from doing those things.”

Andrew Levander, the clinical director of Destinations for Teens in Henderson, agrees: “It’s OK to not make a New Year’s resolution,” he says. “For some of us, it’s an annual failed experience.” Instead, he recommends cutting out the resolutions and shooting for a more realistic goal. “Instead of saying you are going to join a gym, say ‘I will exercise one more time a week than I did last year.’”

All of that makes sense, but for me, even just getting off the couch, at times, can be the hardest thing of all. And you know what, turns out that may not be entirely my fault, either. Seems those long nights and short daylight hours has something to do with it.

“When the temperature drastically changes we see a spike in mental health issues,” Levander continues. “It’s very normal. The change in weather messes with our systems. If sunlight is responsible, in part, for producing the dopamine and serotonin ‘feeling good emotions,’ the absence of both can cause depression. Gloominess can also cause depression. The temperature outside or lack of sunlight disregulates our system.”

Levander’s colleague, Destinations for Teens medical director Dr. Bob Gabbay, agrees with his colleague. “One of the best things you can do to ward off seasonal depression is to get outside when it’s light out – even 20 minutes a day. When you’re inside, be sure there’s light in your house. Light gives the aura of heat and warmth. Vitamin D supplements can also be helpful. It’s getting darker earlier. It’s also typically cooler out.”

Great! So now we have some answers but what about solutions? We’ve all tried these huge, national fitness chains, with high pressure sales and contracts impossible to break and I certainly have no desire to get back into that. Thankfully, Geyser tells me I don’t have to. “People are moving away from big box gyms and going to smaller, personalized studios that specialize in specific disciplines,” he explains. “People are paying more of a premium price and getting really the type of workouts that facilitate the change in their body.”

Geyser’s workouts are designed to hit the “full spectrum of fitness,” including traditional workouts like cardio, strength training focused on movement, body expression, or muscle conditioning and nutritional guidance. “not a diet,” Geyser is quick to point out. But “is sustainable for a healthy lifestyle.”

At Power Hour 360, which is a “personal group training facility,” they focus on making sure your workout will help you. Individual performance is where they focus their four structure philosophy, the last of which – “Building of a community that keeps you accountable to your goals and like-minded people to help you to stay in that routine that you have created” – makes the most sense to me. Levander even suggests visiting and “type up what you are interested in and it will show you, in neighboring ZIP codes, what others are doing.”

As for the big box gyms, Levander also concurs: “Many people are sick and tired of paying health club membership bills and never going or they have failed at New Year’s resolutions in the past. By trying something new, like learning to dance, you can potentially double the amount of endorphins released during an exercise.”

Wait. What?

“Whatever gets someone to move is a good thing,” Levander says, “including non-traditional workout programs.”

Non-traditional? Now I’m definitely intrigued!

“The added benefit of non-traditional workouts like pole dancing, in addition the great workout it provides, is that it may make someone feel more confident or even reinvigorate a marriage. There’s an added benefit besides the physical,” he continues. “As for goat yoga, if it gets you to do yoga, practice mindfulness, and get connected to one’s body, it’s a great idea.”

Pole dancing? GOAT Yoga!

A quick search and it turns out Las Vegas is a hotbed of unique and interesting workout environments.

Pole Dancing – evidently, it’s not just for strippers anymore. Seriously. If you’ve ever seen the world pole dancing championships (which is a real thing), you know how athletic and powerful you have to be to gracefully swing around a pole. While this is a specialty work out, a lot more gyms are investing in portable poles because this trend is (pardon the pun) taking off! Places like Pole Fitness Studio and Trapeze Las Vegas not only offer classes in pole dancing, but they go even further with the fun. You can take classes in the various circus arts as well.

Why not learn to fly on the trapeze or hang from suspended silks? You can get instruction in balancing or contortionism, hoop work, choreographed striptease or (and I’m not making this up) Booty Boot Camp! Sure, the thought of running off to join the circus (or the Cirque in Las Vegas) has probably crossed most people’s minds from time to time, but now there’s schools to help you learn the skills you’ll need? Wild!

But Goat Yoga? That can’t be a real thing, right? The great thing about yoga is it comes in all sorts of flavors for all sorts of differentiating palates. There’s Power Yoga and Yogalates, Bikram (the one done in hot and humid environments)and Iyengar. There’s Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Kripalu, Anuara, Kundalini, and Sivananda Yoga. But goats?

Yes indeed! At Goat Yoga Las Vegas, you do all the same yoga poses, but you balance a kid (baby goat – although you could easily use a small child, I’m sure) on your back while you’re doing it. Public classes are on hiatus until the end of February, but you can still book a private class anytime. If you want to see what you might be getting yourself into, the hashtag #goatyogalasvegas is all over social media.

The weird thing is, the more you look, the more cool stuff you find. Mermaid swimming? Yeah, that’s a real thing, too. When I was learning to scuba dive, we called it dolphining, but mermaiding is just so much cooler! A company called Aquamermaid offers both public and private classes, tail rental included! There’s nothing quite like propelling yourself through the water by flexing your abdomen and wriggling like an eel (unless you want to hum “Under the Sea” or “Part of his World” under your breath, just to feel the moment).

And now that we’ve discovered our inner stripper, farmer, circus performer and fairy-tale princess, we can come back to earth by rediscovering our inner rock star! The Pound Workout, where you use Ripstix, weighted drumsticks, you… okay, I can’t really top their own slogan: “Pound is the world’s first cardio jam session inspired by the infectious, energizing and sweat-dripping fun of playing the drums!” How cool does that sound? The stix aren’t expensive and travel well, so this is a workout method you can take with you. Look out Ringo Starr!

As Levander puts it, “be willing to try something new as an adult. There might be things you didn’t like to do when you were younger that you can try now with your family.” Family? Yes family! Exercising with pets and other family members is trending upward in 2018. Taking the dog for a run or lifting weights with junior is a way to kill two birds while losing one stone. “Build activity into your family routine,” adds Levander. “Engage your partner into dragging you out of the house to exercise as a family. Make self care a family value. Give your kids options to choose from such as a bike ride, hike or skating because if you ask them if they want to do something they will likely say ‘nothing.’” It can be a bonding experience and hey, if you fall, there’s a concerned dependent there to go for help.

So, as we begin that year-long affair with 2018, at least now we know we can face it by getting into better shape than we left 2017 – and isn’t that we want with all our relationships?

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