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Teen on Fitness

Here it is. Raw. Real.  Are you looking for motivation? Wondering how to incorporate fitness into your life when you have to deal with school, homework, friends, parents and all sorts of other problems?

Here is what one teen has to say about it. Watch this video:



(Post by Thomai Serdari)

Working out should be fun, not torture

Do not set goals that are hard to achieve or goals that are arbitrary. What does it really mean to fit in a certain size of dress by Friday? Is it going to make you a better person?Focus on what exercise can do for you long-term. A person who is balanced achieves fitness on all levels: on body, mind, and soul.

Forget all external pressures and focus on yourself.

Here is something fun to illustrate the point:



(Post by Thomai Serdari)

Cross Country Skiing in New York’s Central Park

When the mounts of snow become a permanent fixture in the city grid, you know you have very good chances to enjoy an adventurous day in the heart of Central Park. Call two or three of your friends, rent the appropriate number of skis and poles and make plans to meet in Central Park.


Cross-country skiing is challenging but it is very rewarding both as a cardiovascular exercise and as a “bonding with friends” experience.


There are a few things to keep in mind for everyone’s safety and fun:


1. Start small. Find a nice stretch in the park that is relatively open and not populated with too many people.

2. Keep it interesting. Create a challenge for you and your friends and set a destination point to which you should arrive within a certain amount of time.

3. Make it adventurous. Don’t follow the easiest path but rather the most challenging, one that will have you work hard and think hard (how can I circumvent that huge rock without getting hurt?)

4. Venture out. Considering that you choose a relatively easy first stretch, move on to a new location. You have warmed up already and you have good command of your skis and poles. Set another challenge for you and your friends.

5. When you finish visit the local recreation stand. Is there hot chocolate? That’s all you need along with a pat on the back for having organized a fabulous treat for your group. Enjoy the chocolate while you organize your next outdoors fitness venture: if the snow is still around next weekend, you may want to repeat. If the weather has improved considerably, we will propose a different outdoors activity that is fun and rewarding.


(Post by Thomai Serdari)


“Don’t tell me what to eat!”

Sounds familiar? Most probably… try something else: Instead of trying to convince your friends to eat healthier or less, convince them to eat more and more often.


This means that one should probably eat every three hours. Each meal can be around 300 kcal. How about setting one challenge only and agreeing to only eating foods that are natural?  Nothing packaged and nothing pre-prepared.

For more tips watch the following video on nutrition fundamentals that lead to fat loss.



(Post by Thomai Serdari)

Group Fitness

The hardest thing to maintain when on a new fitness program is the motivation to make it to the gym and complete your work out.  It's not fun to work out alone and even relying on your favorite music is not enough.


The best way to work around that problem is to try a group fitness class. This of course requires a gym membership. Most gyms understand the value of group fitness for their clients. You will find a variety of classes and teaching methods in New York City’s fitness centers.


Group fitness is appealing because:

  1. Someone else is in command.  You, the gym go-er, don’t need to do any thinking at all. You just need to show up on time at the designated location at your gym. The instructor will have designed an effective program for you. You just need to follow instructions but there is no need to think about the sequence in which the exercises take place.
  2. The time and location are set months in advance. This does not leave you space for excuses of any kind. You cannot forget, you cannot get confused, and you cannot postpone it either.
  3. It is fun to work out with other people both to be inspired by those who are doing the exercises correctly and to feel good about yourself when compared to those who do not do that great…. such is human nature and we cannot deny it.
  4. Regardless of which gym you attend, you most probably share instructors with other gyms in the area. This way you know you are not missing out in terms of technique and innovation because one instructor teaches at several gyms during the week. You lower fee membership probably reflects the quality of your gym’s facilities but not this of the instructor hired to teach the class.
  5. Most classes, no matter what their name is, are a combination of aerobic and anaerobic exercise. Therefore, they help you elevate your heartbeat while you are also working on your major muscle groups.


These are five good reasons to belong to a gym and to find motivation and good instruction in one of the many free group fitness classes offered there.


(Post by Thomai Serdari)




Rafael Nadal loses at the Australian Open

Would you say there is a lesson to take away from Nadal’s loss today at the Australian Open?  While one can never underestimate a competitor, this is not what this post is about. After all, David Ferrer played aggressively against his opponent’s weakness—which is exactly what competitive sports are about.


For us, plain folk, who do not participate in Grand Slams but only try to maintain a healthy level of fitness, what happened before Nadal’s loss is more important. Nadal has already amassed prizes and medals and is the number One tennis player in the world. In addition, he has been preparing himself physically for the Autsralian Open, a major that he would have liked to conquer.


Over-preparation may have the opposite effect, however. By that I mean that athletes, especially top athletes, tend to overdo it. They extend themselves physically and mentally in order to be in the win-zone. They tend to overextend for too long of a period for it to be sustainable. In the end, anyone can crack under pressure. Whether it is a mental de-focus that leads to a physical injury or a physical accident that may drain the athlete from his physical and mental energy, the point is that we are all human. And the great thing about failing, as painful as this may be, is that we get the chance to try again.


The greatest lessons come from challenging oneself so hard that it is impossible to succeed at the challenge. Observe what happens in you then, be objective about your weak point and work at it again. Do it as a learning experience, as an opportunity to learn more about yourself. In the process, you will achieve great levels of fitness and a exceptional sense of accomplishment.



(Post by Thomai Serdari)


Soccer and your daily fitness

You love soccer and you have decided to give it a chance. What is it that you need to know?  You should know how to run. If you have never tried this, begin now by regulating your breathing and finding a pace that is comfortable for you.


Running in soccer means that you need endurance as well as the ability to develop great speeds very quickly. This is called acceleration and in order to achieve it you need to work on it. Think of it as running as fast as you can and as quickly as you can away from your opponent. Not a bad skill to have, right?


The greatest misunderstanding about acceleration leads to the most frequent mistake young soccer players make. Most think that what makes us go fast is the power generated by our legs.  While our legs do all the work, it is our core that pushes us forward. Our core is the center of power.


To achieve maximum velocity, a soccer player needs to relax all other muscles and focus primarily on the center mass of the body and legs. Therefore, a soccer player is equally concerned with overall form, power, coordination, and speed.


The following article describes a few useful exercises that will bring your soccer game to a new level. Have fun!


(Post by Thomai Serdari)





Exercise and winter blues


I have been inconsistent for the last three months. In November I was preparing for a trip, which became a good excuse for me to skip the gym. There was always a project that had to be completed and my usual trick of taking the train that gets me to the gym before it gets me home did not work!

The trip was wonderful and I remained active throughout the ten days of my stay in a different city. But I did not go to the gym. I didn’t even go to the gym in December when I was back in New York. A few new projects came up and kept me away from my fitness routine. While I am not the type of person who gets involved with the holiday frenzy, the prospect of Christmas and the idea that during the break I would have plenty of opportunities to resume my training were the perfect excuse for missing even more work outs in December.

The rest will sound a little bit like a weather forecast. The blizzard was impressive and completely inconvenient. The trains were not running. I lost my TV, phone, and Internet connections for three days, and, in reality, I had a few miserable days stuck at home. Even worse, my break from work was over, the illusion that I would be working out like mad for two weeks completely evaporated.

Fast forward to the last week of January: Here we are!  It is freezing cold and everything has become too heavy. The boots, the overcoat, the gym bag are all weighing me down. Yet, the desire to work out is back with me… along with a few more minutes of daylight at the end of my workday. What a delight! I challenged myself with a difficult workout during the weekend and was overwhelmed with a sense of satisfaction when my routine was over.  In fact, I cannot wait to hit the gym again today. Looking back, I cannot comprehend how I was able to bare these last three months without a consistent fitness routine.


(Post by Thomai Serdari)


Working out in the winter


When the weather is as brutal as it is today in New York City, our options for a good work out are limited. Still, there are a few things one can do to get the blood going.

Option #1: Dress warmly (really warmly–in layers) and go out in the park for a long walk. The secret is not to stall but to keep a brisk pace. Central Park is still covered in snow and ice. While certain parts can be treacherous, if you have the right shoes you can take a friend with you and walk all around the park. This is a great work out.

Option #2: Start with your gym clothes and add layers. Make it to the gym. Yes, cold weather is no excuse to skip the gym if you are so lucky to have a gym membership. Once inside, do a little bit of cardio to get the blood flowing and to get you in the mood. The rest should be fun.

Option #3: Lacking the energy to dress in layers, you decide to stay home. That is perfectly fine, as long as you invite a couple of your friends/classmates and proceed with the following three tasks: a. Clean the living room; b. Watch the video below and dance to the music. Continue dancing for one to two hours.; c. When finished, open the living room windows for a good fifteen minutes to air the room (yes, even if it is cold) and put the furniture back in their place. It is fun!




(Post by Thomai Serdari)





Training for basketball

Do you dream of becoming the next NBA star? How about getting better at basketball and helping your team win? Do you like the sense of accomplishment when your team wins? 

There is a way to improve your game and it does not involve watching  games on TV for hours. The safest way to victory is to train daily. You need to get into plyometrics. This means increase your balance through complicated footwork drills. 

If you incorporate plyometrics in your training you will be able to produce fast, powerful movements. Plyometrics is a great form of exercise known to improve the functions of the nervous system, which generally improves performance in sports.




(Post by Thomai Serdari)