Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year, Great Motivation: Stronger Body, High-Octane Brain

Here’s How: Meet my Brilliant and Inspiring Fitness Trainer David McGuire

Intelligent fitness and stamina ideas—for gym rats and for the exercise-averse.

For a complete change of pace this week on THE STYLE SALONISTE, Diane talks with top San Francisco fitness trainer David McGuire.

You’ll hear his healthy (and sensible) approach to exercise, lifting your spirits, working out, staying motivated, loving your body, and keeping your brain creative and frisky. 

Note: there are great ideas here for my dear readers who are not exercise fanatics, and for everyone who spends more time at a computer than at the gym. 

Let’s get started.

David McGuire and Juna, photographed in the Presidio, San Francisco, December 2011 

I happily inhabit the design and style world where my vocabulary includes words like gauffrage and Givenchy and Galanos and gilt and gorgeous. 

But I also inhabit another world—where my vocabulary includes abs, lats, biceps, deadlifts, Smith Machines, dumbbells, weights, and triceps.

Fitness trainer David McGuire is responsible for my on-going passion for increasing strength, heightening stamina and endurance, keeping the brain buzzing, and maintaining great health.

Print out these great tips—and stick them on the refrig door, your desk, a mirror, to inspire and motivate. 

My workout goal is to continue to be, for example, able to dash fast through Munich airport after an 11-hour flight. David tailors my exercise for stamina, strength, endurance,

I always want to have the stamina to walk for miles in Rome or Stockholm, and to run up and down the Metro steps in Paris. Travel requires fitness. 

I want to go weekend hiking with a friend on the Green Gulch Trail to the Zen Center at Muir Beach, and head back on the California Coastal Trail. I love to walk along San Francisco Bay at twilight—four miles to the Golden Gate Bridge and back to the St. Francis Yacht Club. I’d rather be outdoors than in a gym—but sometimes I’m on the treadmill or doing deadlifts. 

Stamina, focus, strength, great mood, intensity, and a calm and tranquil approach have been my specific goals. 

David’s approach is entirely healthy, engaging, sensible, effective, personal, and lots of fun. He is always cheerful.

Come and meet David and be inspired. 

DDS: What’s the first essential concept we should all know about exercise? 
DM: The human body is designed to move. It’s an incredible machine. Movement keeps the body happy, healthy and functioning properly. Every system we have- from respiratory to circulatory to emotional—is happy when it gets put to use on a regular basis. 

Our physical and emotional states are more conjoined than we can ever imagine. One feeds the other. When your body is healthy and strong, so are your brain, your mind, your spirit. With moderate exercise we can handle each day with less stress, more patience, confidence and clarity.

DDS: A quick and effective exercise those of us sitting at a computer for hours? 
DM: Sit down and stand up 100x every hour. Seriously. Do one set of 25 every fifteen minutes. Also, lift and rotate and flex your feet.

Move your arms any way you want, but move them. Get as many joints working as possible. Rise up on your toes and test your balance. Lift up one leg behind yourself and feel your glutes in action. Each set will take you less than 60 seconds. That’s 4 minutes of activity each hour. Easy. Done.

DDS: Suggestions on getting motivated? Some of your clients start the day exercising with you at 7am, then shower, and head to work. 
DM: I admire them and love their determination and drive. I’m not talking about having the perfect body at all. I’m talking about being healthy, feeling strong, exuding confidence and getting your body moving. Motivation starts in the brain. That’s the command center. When you feel the effect and see the results of exercise, it is very inspiring.

Find an activity you love. Fit it into your daily schedule.

Exercise with a friend on weekends. Nothing is stronger than just finding it within yourself and charging forward.

But put it on your schedule—for example, a spin class at 6pm every day, yoga every morning at 8, or walking with a friend at 11am every Sunday. Make it specific.

DDS: Best way to do effective regular exercise with or without a gym or a trainer?
DM: Schedule an appointment with yourself. Put it on your to-do list and make it non-negotiable. I will spend time on ME today. It’s a habit, a pattern and one very solid reason to feel good about exercise. Try new activities like hiking with a friend on a Saturday morning. Join a club and swim every Saturday afternoon. Bike to work.

Group exercise classes are offered everywhere and cover movements from yoga to belly dancing. I promise there’s an exercise class for anyone. There’s energy in the group dynamic and you’ll meet some great people. 

DDS: Some equipment to work with at home? 
DM: Your body is a wonderful piece of equipment that needs very little to keep it fit, healthy and challenged. You don’t need anything but your legs to get your heart rate high. Run up the stairs in your house or building and you can really get going. There are times when you just have to have some weights in your hands. I keep a couple of sets of dumb-bells with me. Just 5, 10 or 15 pounds. The options with these are endless. Nothing fancy, just some old-school weights to throw around and play with.
DDS: Light equipment to take on travels to continue with effective exercise? 
DM: I’m a big fan of Theraband stretch bands They’re available in different sizes of rubber tubing with sturdy handles on each end. They are available everywhere and can provide a varied resistance level from any angle for any muscle – push, pull, press, twist, hook them around a door handle and it can all be done.

DDS: Turning a walk into a dynamic exercise? 
DM: Walking is wonderful, convenient, and can be done anywhere. I challenge anyone who’s walking as the primary source of aerobic activity to change it up. Throw something completely different at your body and enjoy your heart-rate climb and your muscles responding. Don’t make it easy on yourself, but have a good time. Challenge the muscles with new exercise patterns. Some ideas:

-change your stride length

-speed up

-change levels as much as possible. There’s no question that this turns your caloric burn way up. Ascend swiftly and descend with complete control. Don’t stop when it gets difficult. Challenge yourself. Stairs, benches, curbs, steep hills and trails all hold countless possibilities.

-sit down and stand up 10 times at every park bench you walk by. Try to get to 100 times before you end your walk. 

DDS: Tips on eating after a vigorous workout? 
DM: A pre-workout meal should be something simple, low in fat and fiber and easily digestible (fruit, toast with jelly, handful of raisins, oatmeal, juice). The important thing is to have something in your stomach before you even begin exercising. You can’t run a car on empty.

Post-workout food is equally as crucial. In this meal you should enjoy protein and carbohydrates together. Your muscles are broken down. They need the power from a protein to rebuild and the energy from a carb. This should be done within 90 minutes of your workout. Keep it low fat. Fat slows down digestion and that’s the last thing you want for your body. Some of my favorites (turkey sandwich, sushi, any type of wrap, a healthy burrito, a salad.) Of course, drink fresh water. Stay hydrated.

DDS: An effective 20-minute daily circuit of exercise to do at home? 
DM: Move all major muscles, move in every direction and incorporate important things like balance, endurance and flexibility. Do any combination of the list below, depending on your goals and what you enjoy doing.

Your 20 minutes should be non-stop action. No resting for more than a minute and no sitting down. Push yourself and get creative.

Squat. One of the absolute best exercises.

Push-up. Start with a good slant in your body and decrease the angle as you get stronger.

Pull something toward yourself. Kneel on a bench and pull hand weights up toward your body. Use anything heavy you can find.

Lift a weight above your head. Repeat. Twenty. This is one of the most crucial movements we have, especially for osteoporosis.

Lift something manageable yet heavy over your head, it sends a compressive force through the body. This strengthens the bones. Highly recommended. 

Get your heart rate high. Really high. How long can you keep it there?

Jog in place, crank out some easy jumping jacks, dance like Beyonce. Whatever you enjoy, do, but keep your furnace on high for 20 minutes. It is important for our bodies to be out of breath on a regular basis. The heart is a muscle and you’ve got to make it work, keep it strong.

Stand on one foot and move your body like crazy - reach, bend, twist, look around. Feel your standing leg rooted and strong and let one leg do the work of two for a while. Balance only improves with practice and it usually responds pretty quickly.

Stretch. Reach longer and farther than you think you can.


DDS: Life-long fitness. What is the best mindset?
Do what you love and be proud of yourself. Stare in the mirror and like what you see.

Keep moving. Be inventive. Get the support of a coach, a trainer, a motivator, an instructor, a teacher. Keep learning about fitness.

Try to do some exercise every day. Try new approaches, Learn new skills. Take tennis lessons. Dance, bike, skate, play Frisbee, walk home from work, swim, get off the bus one stop before your destination, take a Pilates class, try martial arts, take tango lessons. Keep learning and moving.

There’s a big difference between challenging yourself and beating yourself up. We’re really good at the latter and I truly believe that way of thinking is counterproductive.

With exercise, attitude is everything. I work out for the mental strength and the peace it provides me. I’m more calm, patient and stress-resistant after a workout.

Any changes that happen with my body or how it looks are secondary. Health is the goal. Strength. I know what I’m doing is keeping me healthy, strong and ready for anything. I’ll never stop exercising, moving or trying new things. I love it. You have to realize that your body is an amazing, incredible machine designed to move in millions of ways.

I believe in goal setting. Make these goals as complicated or as simple as you want, but there has to be at least one on the table. How else do we see tangible and real results? Achieving these goals, no matter their size is what will get you back into the gym.

DDS: David, thank you so much. You are a great inspiration and the most cheerful person on the planet. Warmest thanks. 

Note: David suggests consulting with your physician before embarking on new exercise. He’s an enthusiastic trainer and motivates people of all exercise levels. He suggests: follow his plans sensibly. Work out with a trainer, or join a group at a gym. Start slowly, perhaps with walks around your neighborhood, and perform these exercises appropriately for your fitness level. Get the basics right, then exercise outdoors, at a gym, with friends, or at home.

Good luck! Let us know how it works and how you feel. 


Photos of David with his beloved dog, Juna, by David’s partner, Tom Dennis.
With thanks.

David McGuire is a certified trainer and exercise instructor, and he works with clients at many levels of fitness, including those who may be recovering from a sports injury or illness. He is dedicated to motivating his clients, and focuses on fitness, health, and ‘being there’. David McGuire says he admires every client who ‘turns up and works out at their maximum’.

To contact David:

David also gives private and group lessons at the Pacific Heights Health Club, on Pine Street near Fillmore in San Francisco,

9 comments: said...

So, wonderful to have you post about your other passion..
I walk almost daily, in the desert, for 3 to 5 miles and it is not just flat, but steading inclines and more challenging inclines to get the heart rate up...
I too, like walking outside as, it is grounding to have you feet on the ground for at least an hour a day..
I sometimes get a heavy rock and do my arms by using a stone... I have been able to maintain a great weight and my "life force" energy is really strong, just from daily walking...

Nice to have such a great trainer to motivate you..


Donna in Potomac said...

Excellent advice - thank you!! I work at a computer so the "stand-up 100x an hour" and the "lift something heavy over your head" tips are easy to incorporate. Besides that, I'm loving my new upgraded AeroPilates Pro XP556 machine. It's a convenient way to build stamina and get aerobic activity, no matter what the weather (we can't all live in California - ha!)

peggy braswell said...

this was wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

Valerie Wills Interiors said...

This is just what I needed as we head into the New Year.... Lots of great advice. Thank you!

Laura Casey Interiors said...

Lots of great tips - thanks,
Laura Casey

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...

Dear Melissa, Donna, Peggy, Valerie and Laura-

Loved your messages!

Yes, I love cheerfulness and optimism. It's the only way.

I especially like the way you all immediately got the 'brilliant brain, strong body' concept.

David McGuire is an inspiring trainer--full of wisdom and humor. His is a classical approach--nothing trendy or silly or boring. I'm so glad you found this useful and informative.

Go for it, now. I think a good motto for this month is 'Drill Down'.
It's a more definite 'Just Do It' and does not allow for excuses or doubt.
best, DIANE

Robert M. McGuire said...

Absolutely loved the article!!! I may be biased, but I think David is the best trainer out there! Thanks for writing about him, Diane.
Robert M. McGuire

Interior Design Pro said...

This article is an inspiration. I'll take care of my body more this new year. Happy New Year!

coupon codes said...

I'm considering to include in my New Years resolution to start a work out program. Thanks for posting. This article is an inspiration.