By Anna Redman and Rachel Debling
Chris and Marty Smits, owners of the newly opened FORME Fitness in Toronto, Ontario, specialize in individualized training that promises results, fast. Their small-group training offers affordable, high-intensity circuits that push each member to his or her fullest potential.
1. Bring Up Your Quads. Who doesn’t love glutes training? But (pardon the pun) there’s a problem: during squats, the glutes and hamstrings get most of the fun while the quads play second fiddle. The Smits have a fix: before you start your set, elevate your heels by placing weight plates under them to increase the recruitment of your quads and to help you keep proper form.
2. Join Hydration Nation. We can all feel a little stressed out some days, but slurping on a special exercise-enhancing, tension-busting drink can help with that. Drinking enough water before, during, and after your workout is obviously important, but there are ways to make it even better. Squeeze fresh lime juice into your water bottle — this will help alkalize your body and reduce the production of stress hormone cortisol throughout the day.
3. Press Pause. Life doesn’t go at the same pace all the time — the same should go for your workout. The Smits recommend adding a bit of variety and muscle power to an exercise by pausing for a second in full flexion (for example, at the top of a curl) to reduce the stretch reflex and create more time under tension. (A very good thing for those seeking a little extra strength!)
4. Turn Into A Strong Man. Or, should we say, “strongman.” The exercises that these heavy lifters adhere to are not just for those who have Y chromosomes. Take the Smits’ suggestion and try a modified strongman workout with some tire flips, farmer’s walks, and some sled pushing for an effective body-composition workout. You’ll be working closer to the way your body actually moves — and you’ll have fun at the same time. Sounds like a win-win to us!