The following is an interview I conducted with Son Trinh, Doctor of Physical Therapy. He provided some great insight into ways to get motivated to workout, good workout tips, as well as ways to help avoid injury. You can find Son at his web site located at: www.fitnessisthekey.com
1. Could you provide a little background about yourself and how you got into fitness?
My mom tells me that at 10 months, I went from crawling to running. I don’t think I’ve stopped moving since. Fitness came out of those early experiences, a side effect, if you will, but one that I’ve gladly lived with.
“Getting into fitness” didn’t happen in a formal way until I read a book by neurologist Oliver Sacks during a bus ride along the California coast about 6 years ago. He talked about the “music” of movement and its unlocking effect on the brain, the body, and the systems that integrate the two.
Physical therapy stood at the crossroads. That was the case for Sacks and it became the same for me. Many years and a doctoral degree later, I’ve worked with everything from spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy, and fibromyalgia, to orthopedic rehab, sports conditioning, and aquatic rehab. Recently, I started my own business with Beachbody, a giant in the home fitness industry.
2. What is your workout routine like?
I’m on my second round of P90X. If you’ve been watching TV you’ve probably heard of P90X along with the list of people who are doing it (Sheryl Crow, Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore, Braves outfielder Matt Diaz, and football greats Brett Favre and Ray Lewis along with the entire Philadelphia Eagles team…)
Under all the hype is a program that works. Ninety days of intensity, consisting of three phases that are each four weeks long (90 days total). The variety lies in alternating between kenpo, kickboxing, yoga, weight-based isotonics and plyometrics.
When I’m not doing the “X”, I typically exercise at least 5 days with one to two days of rest/week. Of course, some weeks will be more intense then others. The idea though is simple: functional and mechanically correct exercises with a balance of strength, power, flexibility and fun.
3. What does your nutrition plan consist of? Are you a big supplement user?
You are what you eat, and you eat what you have. People tend to forget the latter. If you stock up with binge bags full of high calorie snacks, what do you think you’re going to end up eating? So, my first priority speaks to this. I keep as little junk food around as possible. While I certainly don’t discourage the occasional “slip”, I just try to prevent it from becoming a slip and slide into the bowels of unhealthful eating.
I typically eat frequent, balanced and nutrient dense foods (usually 4-6 small meals if possible). I also drink a chocolate or berry shake called Shakeology which contains just about every macronutrient known to man as well as all the antioxidants, phytochemicals, prebiotics, vitamins and minerals that I find impossible to find elsewhere.
Other than that I drink a small creatine based recovery drink after my workouts. My supplement philosophy is that it depends on your goals and your needs. If you’re doing intense exercise and want to build muscle, it makes sense to take in some extra protein, especially if you normally don’t eat much. On the other hand, too much of anything is usually bad.?
4. Staying motivated can be tough for many people. What are your suggestions for getting and staying motivated to workout?
1. Get a program that works for you. If you like dance, by golly, don’t get going on a yoga routine.
2. Take measurements, set goals, take pictures, and track your progress. You need to know where you were to find out how far you’ve gone.
3. Establish accountability. Let a few people know what you’re trying to do. It’s harder to flake out on others than it is to flake out on yourself.
4. Stay on track. Just because you fell off the train doesn’t mean you can’t get back on. It’s not all or nothing. You WILL slack off some days. Just re-commit and realize that you don’t have to be perfect to get results. The only people who fail are those who let a few missteps turn into an excuse to quit.
5. What are some things to keep in mind to help avoid injuries when exercising?
Very general principles:
If it hurts, don’t do it (there’s a difference between “burn” and pain)
If you didn’t warm up, don’t exercise. Period.
Too much isn’t necessarily better.
Focus on form unless you want to injure yourself and spend the next few weeks or months getting back to where you were.
Train upper and lower, front and back, right and left. Balance keeps you aligned and when you’re aligned you won’t get injured.
6. What are some good ways to warm-up before exercising?
Keep it simple. Run in place, do some “jacks”, and start of with very light weights. Stretch when your muscles are warm. This shouldn’t take more than 5 to 10 minutes.
7. There are so many exercise programs out there. What would you suggest for people who want to keep things simple but stay in shape.
If nothing else, park far and walk more. Take the stairs and ride a bike. Find ways to challenge yourself and relish in the new, stronger, slimmer and happier person you see in the mirror each morning.
Don’t forget, fitness isn’t about having your cake and eating it too. I mean this literally. Some people think that they’ll just work off that 6lb burger later by doing an extra lap. Eating right and moving more is about making lifestyle choices. It’s not about finding the easiest way to indulge yourself without paying your dues.
8. What would you recommend for people who want to break a plateau or add more challenge to their workouts?
Bodies adapt. That’s a physiological fact. That’s why you need to throw the change-up every now and then. Cycle through one program, switch to another one for a few weeks and cycle back. You have plenty of options. Sports, resistance training, hiking, dancing, running, swimming…variety will keep your body going AND it keeps things interesting.
My workout (P90X) already has the variety built in so plateaus don’t have a chance to develop. As soon as the body starts to say, “Oh, I see the pattern…” the workout changes. That’s the key.
9. Is there a fitness myth that you would like to debunk?
“Jocks are dumb.” While I can’t speak for everyone, I do know this: IF jocks are dumb, they would be even dumber if they stopped exercising. Physical activity doesn’t just help your muscles. It makes your bones stronger, your heart healthier and your brain better at processing information. Braun and brain can definitely go together.
10. Is there anything else you would like to add?
Have fun. For ideas on how you can get fit, visit my website at www.fitnessisthekey.com. You can find out how to win $300 to $1,000 every day just by doing whatever workout you choose. This is completely free and a great incentive to stay on track. You can also enter to win up to $250,000 by being the most inspiring success story in our Million Dollar Body Game. Finally, you can find out how to make fitness a business that will help you and others to get healthy and stay that way.