Monday, December 12, 2011

6 Weeks into the Strength Training Phase

I'm 6 weeks into my strength training phase of my program for outrigger racing and I've learned a great deal about my body so far and how to be more efficient with my training.

First, I'm working on addressing any left/right imbalances that I find in my body. I seem to have pretty good mobility except when it comes to hip extension and I discovered this doing the cook lift and single leg bridges, I noticed my right hip did not extend fully. Before, I used to notice that my hips would shift ever so slightly when I squatted but I wasn't sure why...this might be the reason. I also realized that my right hip is also my stronger side when doing single leg exercises. One reason I think this might be the case is because I have for years skateboarded using my right leg for support on the board, over time this repetitive movement pattern might have caused this imbalance in my hip. So I've started focusing more time on my pre-workout mobility drills with specific focus on foam rolling my hip flexors. I use a lacrosse ball to roll since I can tolerate the pain of the foam roller pretty well and I feel it doesn't get as deep. I highly recommend getting one. There only about 2 dollars at a sports store and are the 2nd best thing to getting a real massage. I also spend a lot time immediately after doing hip flexor stretches to reinforce the correct movement patterns of the muscle.

Core Training
When I started the program I based my training on foundation movements like squats, lunges, pushups and pullups and I was focusing my core training towards the end of my workouts. However, Since I started reading Mike Boyle's Functional Training book, I started training my core at the beginning of my workout or in the middle of my workout instead of doing them at the end when I feel most fatigue. Mike suggests in doing it this way because you can do them when your energy is still up and you don't run the risk of skipping over them after a hard workout and this has proved to be the best plan for me and keeping me focused on the exercises which primarily are based on transverse plane standing movements and core stabilization. The stronger my core is the better I'll be able to transfer the power from my legs to my shoulders and back which translates to having a stronger and more efficient stroke.

Stability and Strength
As I started to look closer at my workouts I also discovered that my left hip and left leg strength is a little weaker than my right and so I've integrated specific training exercises that focus on regaining stability and strength on that side of my body. I first start by getting my glutes and hamstrings firing with some ViPR hip activation movements or use mini bands to do some lateral, front and reverse walks to get the blood circulating to those muscles. Then when I move into the strengthening phase some of the exercises I use and recommend to improve single leg strength are; single leg deadlifts, bulgarian squats, one leg stance overhead press, and step ups. Regaining the balance between the left and right side of my hip is essential to my success in my training come race time because even though you might think that outrigger is primarily an upper body sport you actually really get your power from the push off you can generate from the front leg as that energy carries through efficiently to your core and to the upper body as you finish the stroke.

This is just a summary of my experiences and evolution of my training as I learn more about my body and what it needs and I hope that along the way some people might find this helpful. Thanks for reading. Please repost and offer your comments. For information on personal training please contact me at

Friday, November 25, 2011

Training for Outrigger Racing

I have started my journey in planning and training seriously for the upcoming outrigger racing series in the east coast. First, I joined the New York Outrigger Canoe Club this past summer and participated in a few novice and growth sessions and I've been totally hooked since then. I practiced with other NYO members on the OC -6 boats and that was a lot of fun. I got put in the second seat a few times during practices and at first it was a little intimidating because you have to call out the switches but after awhile I got used to it. I also briefly tried out the OC-1 and I hope to learn more about them and maybe do a race or two next year. I want to really prepare myself for what's ahead and use my background as a personal trainer to develop a program that will put me in the best shape possible come race day.

I'm a complete novice to outrigger racing but I've had some paddling experiencing with Cayuco racing in Panama when I participated in the Ocean to Ocean Cayuco race back 1994. Cayucos are carved out of trees and are basically outriggers without the outrigger and you stick lower on the boat to maintain your balance better. Cayuco has evolved so much through out the years and is now a very competitive and international recognized race.

So for now what I've mainly been focusing on is on setting a good strength training foundation for the next 6 to 8 weeks. I have taken all basic fundamental exercises like the squat, deadlift, pullups, and pushups and created a full body workout routine. I stay within a 8 to 10 rep range, with 3 to 4 sets and resting periods of 1 to 1 1/2 minutes long. I compliment these workouts with core strengthening exercises that emphasize transverse plane movements and static strength of my whole core. For these I usually use ViPR, cable bars and resistance bands to add resistance. I have also spent additional time in every workout practicing corrective exercises that will strengthen the rotator cuff muscles. Rotator cuff muscle strengthening is essential especially when you are practicing a sport that involves repetitive movement through the shoulders. YTWs is one of my favorite exercises that works these muscles well. Also, reverse flys with resistance bands and pendulum swings using kettlebells to stretch the muscles in this area. I will be posting some videos to illustrate these movements and effective stretches for the shoulder soon. I hope to have a significant increase in strength and hopefully see my VO2 max go up in the next 6 weeks. This week I'll be taking the functional movement screen which will expose any imbalances that I might need to address throughout my training. I will post more about the FMS and my results next week.

In addition, I'm starting to increase my cardio vascular endurance by cross-training 1 or 2 times a week so I'll either do some boxing or go for a 3 mile run at a moderate intensity. I've also been doing some interval training running up and down stairs but that is usually as a warmup set before my regular workouts. ViPR warmups have also been an integral part of how I warmup since they are an excellent tool to include whole body movements.

I'll be updating the blog with training developments and incite into what I've been learning throughout this journey so please pass on comment or let me know if you have questions in general about training. I'll try my best to answer.

Training is the opposite of hoping. - nike

Monday, September 12, 2011

35 years...35 exercises, classes or events

In celebration of my 35th birthday coming up on 9/13 I've decided to try 35 new exercises, classes or other outdoor physical activities I've never tried before....I'm open for suggestions I'll keep you posted on all my adventures through my training Facebook page at Gael Guevara, CPT

ViPR Group Training

ViPR Group Training

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Can you recommend some exercises that burn fat around your waist that aren't sit-ups?

  • Can you recommend some exercises that burn fat around your waist that aren't sit-ups? I hurt my tailbone again when I fell in Vegas and it really hurts but still want to work out.

  • Gael Guevara Hi Vero! Thanks for your question and I'm sure many people can relate. Especially when you have a lower back or tailbone injury, situps can be very painful. However, the best way to lose a few inches around your waist actually has nothing to do with sit-ups. You can't target a specific area with exercise, genetics will determine from where your body will let go of it first. What you can control is your nutrition and see where you can cut out foods that are high in calories and low nutritional value. Basically in order to lose body fat, you have to burn more calories that you ingest. Include a regular exercise routine to your week and you'll start to increase the number of calories you burn overall.

  • Gael Guevara Also, I would not recommend sit ups for you or any one with a lower back/tailbone injury. Because of the mechanics of a sit up, your spine is going into flexion each and every time you contract your abs so, overtime it can aggravate the vertebrae and disc in your spine, leading to further injury and keeping you away from doing any exercise at all. Its also not a very functional exercise. Meaning that we often don't go around actively flexing our spine (crunching) when doing every day things like brushing our teeth.

  • Sit ups are for the most part aesthetic, done by body builders to build those coveted six pack abs. However, they probably are also under really strict diets to lower their body fat % to extreme numbers and if they are smart they are also working their back muscles just as intensely.

  • Your "abs" are part of a bundle of muscles that make up your trunk and work to keep your spine from going into excessive flexion or extension. Some of the exercises that focus on the functionality of your trunk and help to strengthening it include; planks, side planks, kneeling/standing chops, back extensions, mountain climbers, shoulder taps, push ups, squats deadlifts, lunges, pull you can see your trunk(abs) is working anytime you engage your whole body so when selecting exercises, choose those that engage multiple muscle groups and you'll be sure to hit your trunk, core and abs too. Thanks again for your question! I'll post it on my blog for all to share. Keep the questions coming! :)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Gael!! I need a trainer!! I'm stuck with my last 10lbs n can't get rid of them!!

Question: Gael!! I need a trainer!! I'm stuck with my last 10lbs and can't get rid of them!!
    • Gael Guevara, CPT What are you currently doing with your workouts each week?
    • I do Turbo Kickboxing 3-4 times a week and just started doing weights this past week
    • Gael Guevara, CPT That's great, it looks like you are incorporating cardio really well into your week. Now, what you need is to build muscle so that will continue to burn calories hours after your workout as your muscles recover/repair and get stronger. Keep it simple and stick with exercises/movements that work the most amount of muscles at a time. The more muscles you move - the more calories you burn. Don't waist time with dumbell curls when you can do pullups and pushups.
    • Other exercises that are staples for any program are squats, deadlifts, and lunges for the lower body. Once you get those down everything else is icing on the cake. Also, because your goal is to lose weight, try to stick to weight that challenges you and do 12 to 15 reps, pick about 4 exercises and work them in to a circuit.
    • Move from one exercise to the other without rest and then rest for 30 seconds between the circuits. Repeat 4 to 5 times.
    • Try it out and let me know how it goes. I'll be posting more exercise info and circuits on my blog so be sure to check it out at

Monday, May 16, 2011

Promotion to Tier 3 at Equinox!

I'm happy to announce that I've been promoted to a Tier 3 trainer position at Equinox. Its a great accomplishment for me as I entered this field just about 2 years ago and I've been able to grow so much and learn so much throughout my journey here. I have been able to received a number of certifications including kettlebells, ViPR, Functional Movement Screen, and Pre/Post Natal. I've also attended numerous hours of workshops and trainings including strengthen training for golfers, surfers and snowboarders, Nutrition, Training the injury proof Marathoner, Anatomy Trains for the Personal Trainer, among others. My educational experience at Equinox has been amazing. From here I hope to start my preparation for my next big certification which is the Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist which will open new doors for me in terms of working more closely with competitive athletes and sports teams.

I've also really appreciated the way that working in an environment like 17th. St. where everyone is always striving to excel beyond their own expectations and always continuing to learn really pushes me to do better. Our personal training department is exceptional and I am very excited to see our department continue to grow and stay top ranked in the company in months to come.

Friday, January 14, 2011

ViPR ready for 2011

Vitality, Performance and Re-conditioning

It's a new year, a new you and a new kind of workout! Over the past few weeks since the new year, I started implementing ViPR with my clients. ViPR stands for vitality, performance and re-conditioning and is grounded on the idea that our bodies should be trained as a whole and in a more functional way to achieve proper balance and transferability of exercise into everyday life and sport. Its an exercise tool that offers a lot new options that weren't possible before with just a dumbell or a barbell. You can also implement some of the hardcore moves you can do with kettlebells without the fear a cast iron mass of weight to fall on your head. ViPR is made out of rubber and they have different weight so you can switch them up easily. As for my own workouts, it has been a great way to implement cardio into my routine without spending countless hours on a boring treadmill. Overall, I think its a great tool if used with proper technique. It you are ready to work and improve your overall conditioning, coordination and balance this one is for you! Come out to Equinox 17th St. for a complimentary session.