New Year, new workout
Our “New Year, new you” feature reviews a few of the hottest fitness trends for 2013 and beyond.
Barre classes help create long, lean muscles.
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Is your workout routine so 2012? Are you tired of the monotony of the treadmill or stair-stepper? Do you long for a challenge that will take you and your body from blah to better than ever?
The New Year is the perfect time for a new beginning if you are one of the many resolving to improve their health. To help you rev your workout engine — whether you’re a beginner or fitness pro — TulsaPeople went looking for the latest fitness trends and learned there is room in any workout routine to mix things up a little.
Sculpt your way to wellness
If your idea of a perfect physique is long, lean and sculpted like a ballerina, there’s a new fitness studio in Tulsa designed just for you. Sculpt Tulsa opened its doors in October and is the only dedicated studio for the fitness frenzy known as barre.
“(With barre) you can achieve the body you didn’t think you could get at any age,” says Marlene Martindale, owner of Sculpt Tulsa at 4329 S. Peoria Ave. “You get long, lean, sculpted muscles. You walk with grace and feel strong. You stand up tall and are protected from injuries.”
The barre method uses one’s body weight as resistance in a combination of movements with origins in yoga, Pilates and ballet. Using a very small range of repetitive and isolated muscle movement, participants work specific muscle groups to near failure. Special attention is paid to the legs, seat and abs. After each exercise, stretching sequences lengthen the muscles to create a long, lean body shape.
Martindale discovered barre following a string of running injuries that left her in constant pain during her workouts. After talking to her chiropractor, who suggested weak glutes might be the culprit, she began to research how to strengthen her seat and happened upon barre.
“I’ve been an athlete my whole life,” Martindale says. “I’ve worked in fitness for 22 years teaching group exercise and being a personal trainer. I’ve been a triathlete and I’ve run marathons. I’ve never done anything that changed my body like this.”
Barre is an exercise suitable for everyone — men, women, young, old, fit or not, according to Martindale.
“Nobody should be intimidated to come here,” she says. “We’re not judgmental. There (are) a lot of fit people that come here because the benefits are so amazing, but when you’re doing this, you’re so engaged in your own work that nobody’s looking around. Everybody should feel comfortable to walk through the door.”
During the 1960s, Russian Cosmonauts were the first to employ the concept of coupling exercise with vibration to keep their muscles from wasting away while in space.
When the Iron Curtain fell, the theory and its accompanying technology went global, and today everyone from elite athletes such as tennis pro Serena Williams to individuals recovering from spinal cord injuries are vibrating their way to stronger, more sculpted and better conditioned bodies using the Power Plate.
The Power Plate is a fitness machine with a platform that vibrates at a rate of 25-50 times per second. The instability caused by the vibrations trigger rapid muscle contractions that activate about 95 percent of muscle fibers for a full body workout in less than 30 minutes, according to Claire Fey, owner of Claire Fey Wellness, 3130 S. Winston Ave., and a Power Plate personal trainer.
Compare that to a traditional hour-long workout where as little as 40 percent or less of the body’s muscle fibers are activated and it’s easy to see why this fitness craze is all the rage for jet-set celebrities and busy moms alike.
“In just 20 to 30 minutes on the Power Plate, your workout is equal to or more than what you get in the gym in an hour and a half,” Fey says. “It cuts down on people’s time. People who are very active or busy, or who don’t like to go to the gym, love it for that reason.”
Fey has been training clients on the Power Plate since 2008. Her belief in the technology and its results came when she lost 70 stubborn pounds using the machine following the birth of her second child.
Power Plate workouts look similar to traditional weight and toning sessions, except that they are performed on a vibrating plate that accelerates the body’s response to exercise.
Everything from hamstring stretches to squats to planks to bicep curls can be done on the Power Plate. The results include improvement in blood circulation and increased muscle strength, power, flexibility, range of motion, bone density, balance, weight loss, cellulite reduction and hormonal balance, according to www.powerplate.com.
Because the Power Plate helps increase circulation, the body more quickly rids itself of the lactic acid build-up that occurs during intense muscular workouts, so the body has a quicker post-workout recovery and less soreness and pain than what is often experienced after traditional weightlifting sessions, according to Fey.
The cool-down is the best part of every workout, but the Power Plate cool-down is the envy of all cool-downs. Once you’re finished vibrating your way to a totally toned body, the plate can be used for leg, back and upper body massage.