Faithful readers know that in the past couple of years I’ve fallen in love with training. I love to lift. Nearly every day, the first thing I do when I wake up – 5 a.m. on weekdays – is head to the gym. Currently that health club is Athletic Apex – New York, located in DestiNY USA in Syracuse, New York. This place is amazing but part of its draw is the specially-trained personal trainers it has on staff.
These trainers not only bring their own expertise and certifications but also are trained by Athletic Apex in something called bionetics. This allows them to custom tailor programs to individuals based on their bodies and goals. Already there have been some pretty spectacular transformations of members who worked with the trainers to assess their needs and create a fitness and nutrition program that works best for them.
Athletic Apex periodically hosts transformation challenge events where members can pay a fee to enter into six-12 week challenges where they commit to changing their body composition. The latest one is under way now and I’m a contender! I first went through a series of assessments to determine my own personal baseline. This data informed my goal, which is consistent with what it’s been thus far, to gain muscle. Along the way, to help me reach my goal more efficiently, I decided to pay for a few sessions with one of the personal trainers, Shawna Moran.
Shawna is no stranger to training. A former bikini competitor herself, she knows what it takes to build muscle. During my three sessions with her, I also discussed what my ideal macros and caloric requirements should be, and a Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) assessment will soon be completed to provide even more insight into my own body’s needs.
One of the first things Shawna shared with me is a macro breakdown that had me consuming more healthy fats than carbs, which is different than the way I had been eating. At first, I questioned that because I knew I was trying to build muscle while maintaining or lowering my body fat, especially in my trunk and legs. But, Shawna knows that healthy fats stimulate muscle growth by affecting hormones in a certain way. So, I’m trying her plan! It sure is a challenge to eat fewer carbs after working so hard to eat all the carbs!
Shawna also is helping me with new workouts and approaches to the areas I most need to train – legs and trunk. I now have a new glute-focused leg workout, back workout, concentrating on traps, and next week a hamstring-focused leg workout! She also will write me a full workout to try for the next several weeks. I’ll check in with her periodically so she can see how I’m progressing.
Working with a personal trainer is not an inexpensive proposition; it’s a huge investment of time and money. But it’s worth every bit of that investment, if you find the right trainer for you. Athletic Apex takes the guesswork out of a big part of that equation by using hard data and science to craft workout programs that get results. But, you also have to kinda like the person you train with! And I like Shawna!
She’s personable, encouraging, smart and efficient. Even on days I haven’t worked with her, I find myself working harder and using many of her techniques I have picked up from training with her. Today, for example, I did a chest workout from Lyzabeth Lopez that I’ve done dozens of times. But, I added a starter set of Smith machine bench presses and a decline bench dumbbell chest press to further focus on chest, an area where assessments have shown that I’m weak. Plus, I’m pushing myself to do one more rep when I think I can’t and concentrating on time under tension for the muscle groups in a way I wasn’t before.
Shawna is your best champion no matter where you are in your health and fitness journey. I’ve observed her working with beginners to people who are more advanced, young and old. And she’s not alone. Athletic Apex has a team of personal trainers, all specially trained and all with the same approach as Shawna. It’s a great place to consider if you’re new to lifting, looking for a new program or just want a nudge in the right direction.
I love my wine as much as I love my lifting routine, and although wine is not the best when you’re trying to stimulate muscle growth, I still reserve a day or two a week to have a glass at the end of a busy day. Last evening, we enjoyed Jargon Pinot Noir. Harbor View Wine and Liquors had it on sale buy one, get one free. It went wonderful with our homemade pizza (I love homemade better than any take-out and it’s healthier, too!).
I think that choice of wine also goes with the idea of personal training. There’s quite a bit of jargon that you end up learning as you work with the experts. From bionetics to RDLs to RMRs, the acronyms and vocabulary are a whole new world! But, it’s a world I highly recommend for anyone who wants to look and feel like a million bucks! Cheers!