By Shanti G.,
My journey back to health and fitness began in Fall 2014. My kids were 6 and 4, and I had not had a regular fitness routine for years. In my younger days, I was fairly active – dance, softball, soccer, mountain biking, and more. After having children, I struggled to fit in much physical activity. What used to be toned muscles had turned to soft squishiness. Nutrition had taken a total backseat in my life, too. My husband and I got takeout multiple times a week, and when we cooked at home, it was mostly comfort foods like spaghetti, pot pie, lasagna, enchiladas, chili in bread bowls…and of course plenty of wine, and let’s not forget ice cream for dessert multiple nights per week. Well, things reached a head in 2014, when I had grown to my largest non-pregnancy size and weight. Having gone through ups and downs throughout my life, as many people do, I was caught by surprise at the big numbers on the scale and on the clothes tags…I was saddened, but also angry. After limited success with working out on my own at the gym, I thought it was time to try personal training.
I had driven by Fuerte a zillion times, since it was in my neighborhood. I was attracted by its warm and intimate setting. One day I finally took a chance and made a personal training appointment. This would turn out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made! My first sessions were with Jake, and it was really helpful to re-enter the world of fitness and start to rebuild strength. After a few months, I joined the 12-week semi-private training group led by Adriana. As I wrote in my previous testimonial, I really enjoyed the camaraderie of the small group sessions, and Adriana is just a joy to train with. She kicked our butts, and we loved her for it. The 12-week session really helped me build healthy habits, specifically strength training on a regular basis and tracking food. Adriana measured our body fat, lean mass, and inches on a regular basis, which was really helpful for seeing progress beyond the scale. At first, tracking food was such a chore…but then I started using the MyFitnessPal app and now it’s a breeze. Adriana was super helpful in making suggestions for apps to use and target ratios of calories/carbs/protein/fat, which ended up being key for my personal transformation.
I have continued to participate in the semi-private small group training sessions for the past 2 years, and it is one of the most positive experiences of my life. Adriana and the other trainers she has brought in have been exemplars of healthy lifestyles. Adriana also brings together a positive group of clients. I have learned so much from each of these individuals! Over the past year or so, a few of us have banded together to do 10-day, 14-day, and 21-day cleanses, each of which have helped me get unhealthy foods out of my diet and add more healthy eating habits. Thanks to Adriana and this group of women, I have learned so much about nutrition, as well as what my own body needs for strength and wellness.
Adriana has also been extremely encouraging of personal goal-setting. One of my first goals was to lose 30 lbs…after about a year, I reached that goal and kept going. Now at 2.5 years after starting my journey with Adriana and Fuerte, I am down 44 lbs and 5 dress sizes. My muscles are in the best shape I can remember, and I feel strong and toned! Everyone I know asks, “What have you been doing to get in shape?” and I answer: diet and exercise! At Adriana’s encouragement, I started setting goals for strength, too. Last year my goal was to do a yoga headstand, which requires lots of core strength, and I did it! Next for me is pull-ups…
I am so thankful to have Adriana, Fuerte, and the extended Fuerte family in my life. Here’s to many more years of encouraging each other to live healthy lives.
From Trainer Jake: Pullups are one of those exercises that you either can or can’t do, and there is no in between. Deep down everybody wants to do a pullup it’s a great way to show off to your friends how strong you are or even just a party trick! But what is it about pullups that are so difficult to achieve?
Some people are just able to do 10 pullups without even trying, while others struggle and have to really train just to be able to do 1! I was fortunate enough to naturally develop the strength to do pullups without trying hard, but I still had to train in order to be able to do multiple reps in a row. So If a pullup is something you are trying to do accomplish but can’t quite get it, here are some tips and to help you achieve a pullup.
First, let’s look at where the pullup begins, hanging from something. Sometimes the reason pullups may seem difficult is that our grip isn’t strong enough to hold our own body weight. Strengthening our grip will start to move the process along much faster. Just practice hanging on to the bar until you can’t hold on anymore this will get your hands and forearms trained so that it can you can hold on to yourself! Also any type of forearm exercises are good, such as wrist curls.
Next let’s look at our biceps, increasing the strength in your biceps will help with the pulling motion. Any variation of a bicep curl will be beneficial, make sure you curl the weight up controlled and lower slowly to make sure you develop the right kind of strength in your biceps muscle.
Don’t forget to train your core muscles. Having strong core muscles is beneficial to every exercise, especially pull-ups. A strong core will help you be able to stabilize your entire body so that doing the actual pull becomes less work!
Next let’s look at the shoulders muscles and what is usually the limiting factor when it comes to doing pullups, the back muscles! In order to really have a strong pullup with good form you need to be able to turn on the muscles in your back, more specifically muscle call the latissimus dorsi or “the lats”. These muscles are the biggest muscles in your upper body! So using them while doing a pullups can make it much easier.
You also want to strengthen the muscles in your upper back such as your trapezius, rhomboids, Rear deltoids and the rest of the muscles that surround your shoulder blades. Some great exercises do would be bent-over rows, lat pulldowns or assisted pullups which is basically doing a pullup but with your feet on the ground the whole time! Even doing jumping pullups, or “negative pullups” using a bar that’s low enough so you can grab on to and your feet are still touching the floor, jump up till your chest touches the bar, hold yourself up and the lower as slowly as you can. This will help train your nervous system and muscles all at once so that it recognize the pulling pattern you trying to develop!
Now let’s go over a couple techniques to use while trying to execute the pull-up:
I hope that these tips and techniques will help you achieve the illusive pull-up. Don’t give up on it, always try and eventually one day it will all come together!